Looking at Australian politics from a libertarian/conservative perspective...
The original version of this blog is HERE. Dissecting Leftism is HERE (and mirrored here). The Blogroll. My Home Page. Email me (John Ray) here. Other mirror sites: Greenie Watch, Political Correctness Watch, Education Watch, Recipes and Tongue Tied. For a list of backups viewable in China, see here. (Click "Refresh" on your browser if background colour is missing) See here or here for the archives of this site
Two of my ancestors were convicts so my family has been in Australia for a long time. As well as that, all four of my grandparents were born in the State where I was born and still live: Queensland. And I am even a member of the world's second-most condemned minority: WASPs (the most condemned is of course the Jews -- which may be why I tend to like Jews). So I think I am as Australian as you can get. I certainly feel that way. I like all things that are iconically Australian: meat pies, Vegemite, Henry Lawson etc. I particularly pride myself on my familiarity with the great Australian slanguage. I draw the line at Iced Vo-Vos and betting on the neddies, however. So if I cannot comment insightfully on Australian affairs, who could?
31 October, 2014
There was NO "stolen generation"
My wife and I made the first Aboriginal flags, back in 1972, more than a hundred of them up to 1981 or so, and sent them all around Australia. We were ardent supporters of land rights and self-determination and used to devour any new book on the subject…
In the eighties, I found the Journals of George Taplin, the missionary who set up the Point McLeay Mission on Lake Alexandrina, where my wife was born, and managed it between 1859 and 1879. The Journals were (and still are) in the State Library in Adelaide, in an old type-written copy. At the time, I thought that some fool should type them up again. As it turned out, I was that fool. But I had found a gold-mine of information, much of which did not conform to the dominant paradigm, or ‘narrative’ [See web-site, below].
A friend gave me some old letter-books from the Mission, covering up to 1900, which I carefully copied. By then I was hooked on searching out first-hand sources and went on to type up the thousand pages of the various Royal Commissions ‘into the Aborigines’, of 1860, 1899 and 1913-1916. Many other documents suffered the same fate. More recently, I have been typing up the correspondence of the Protector of Aborigines in South Australia, more than thirteen thousand letters in, and eight and a half thousand letters out, 1840 to 1912.
All in all, I’ve transcribed around eight thousand pages of primary-source material and put it all on a web-site ...
Comprehensively, this material does not support the current ‘narrative’ and, in fact, actively supports a more complex and intriguing perspective.
The dominant paradigm, which is being taught around Australia, in schools and at universities, asserts that
- Aboriginal people were ‘herded’ onto Missions;
- Aboriginal people were driven from their lands;
- Countless children were stolen from their families.
So far, I have found no unambiguous evidence of any of this…
Let’s look at each of these assertions in turn:
‘Herding Aboriginal people onto Missions’:
Between 1840 and the present, the Aboriginal population on Missions never exceeded more than 18 % of the total Aboriginal population in contact with the state, except during the depression when it rose to about 30 %. In other words, for most of the time, more than 80 % of the entire Aboriginal population lived away from Missions, across the State…
It should be noted that the total number of full-time staff of the grandly-named Aborigines Department, was one, the Protector. His main task was to set up and supply up to forty ration depots, as well as roughly as many issuing points for individuals and families. Issuers, mainly police officers, station managers and pastoral lessees, and missionaries, were not paid. So: one full-time staff member and up to seventy five or more issuing-points. So who was doing the ‘herding’ ?
When the first long-term Protector, Dr. Moorhouse, resigned in 1856, the ‘Department’ ceased to exist. Its routine functions, of distributing rations, were handled by the Commissioner of Crown Lands, the Chief Storekeeper and the network of Issuers at twenty or so Depots.
Mission staff rarely numbered more than three or four. They were flat-out issuing stores, building cottages, supervising farm work, running the schools, providing medical attention. As far as I know, no Mission ever had a fence around it to keep people in.
Many times in the Protector’s correspondence, an issuer may ask urgently for more stores as a large number of ‘Natives’ had arrived at their Depot, sometimes hundreds. The Protector arranges for the stores either to be immediately sent out or purchased in the nearest town. A few weeks later, the people have gone off again. People came and went, as they chose.
The Protector sends rations to a Mission near Port Lincoln, located on eighteen thousand acres of crop and grazing land, with the express instruction that the rations are not for the residents but for ‘travelling people’, passing up and down Eyre Peninsula to and from Port Lincoln, and that the rations are to keep them supplied on their journey. The Mission population there were supposed to be self-supporting (which they were from about 1868 onwards). The ‘travelling people’ camped a couple of miles from the Mission and occasionally worked for wages on the Mission, grubbing stumps.
At Point McLeay, from Taplin’s Journal, from the Letter-Books and from the Protector’s letters, one can read of hundreds of people suddenly arriving from down the Coorong or from up the Murray for ceremonies, who camped a mile or two away, and who needed provisioning. A week or two later, they have gone back to their own country.
Rations were strictly for the sick, aged and infirm, mothers with young children, and orphans. Able-bodied people were expected to hunt or fish or gather, or work for farms and stations. Families which had been deserted or widowed were also provided with rations…
Missions regularly expelled people who had behaved badly, or immorally. In other words, they were fairly particular about who could and couldn’t stay on a Mission. I suspect that one Mission had to wind down in the 1890s simply because it couldn’t get enough working men to come and stay there: it seemed to have a chronic shortage of labour from the late 1870s as capable men found work in the district which paid better.
In sum, there does not seem to be any evidence of ‘herding’, or even any obvious intention to ever do so.
‘Aboriginal people were driven from their lands’:
There is only one instance in the Protector’s letters of a pastoral lessee trying to drive people from his lease (in 1876), and as soon as the Protector is informed, he writes to remind the lessee that he would be in breach of his lease, which stipulates that Aboriginal people have all the traditional rights to use the land as they always had done, ‘as if this lease had not been made’, as the wording went. It was assumed that traditional land-use and pastoral land-use could co-exist, as, of course, they could and still can. I’m informed that that condition still applies in current legislation.
By the way, six months later, that pastoralist is applying for rations. The depot there was still issuing rations at least thirty years later.
The Protector provided dozens, perhaps a hundred or more, 15-ft boats, and fishing gear (fishing-lines, fish-hooks, netting twine), to people on all waterways, even the Cooper’s Creek, so that they can fish and ‘stay in their own districts’. He provided guns to enable people to hunt more effectively. Boats and guns are provided free – as well as their repair – to people unable to earn a living, and able-bodied people are expected to pay half their cost.
The Game Act has always expressly exempted Aboriginal people from restrictions on hunting and fishing in ‘Close Season’, even now.
He advises a woman who has been living on a Mission, but whose husband has been knocking her around, that he can provide her with rations at a town near her own country.
Over the years, whenever particular individuals or groups were ‘loafing about the City’ or drunk and disorderly, or begging (what we call ‘humbugging’ these days) about the streets, he provides them with rail or steamer passes to ‘go back to their home districts’.
From the earliest days, Aboriginal people were encouraged to lease plots of land, up to 160 acres rent-free, and to live on the land, which usually happened to be in the country from where they came. The earliest record seems to be a woman who had married a white man – often white men thought that, if they married an Aboriginal woman, they could get a piece of land, but no, the lease was always vested in the Aboriginal partner.
During the 1890s, more than forty Aboriginal people, including at least three women, held such leases. In fact, one Mission may have wound down precisely because the more capable men took out leases of their own, leaving the Mission bereft of labour and getting seriously into debt.
In sum, again there does not seem to be any evidence of any intention to drive people from their country. Again, quite the reverse.
‘Stealing countless children from their families’:
It’s probably no secret that colonisation disrupted much of Aboriginal traditional life and family patterns. Women had children by white Men (as well as Africans, Chinese, Afghans and West Indians) and lived peripatetic lives around the towns. Many children were abandoned or orphaned by single mothers who either could not support them or died. Occasionally, young boys were brought down from the North by stockman and survey teams, sometimes from inter-state, and then abandoned in the city.
All States have fiduciary obligations to their inhabitants, especially to children. The Protector was, in effect and in law, the legal guardian responsible for the well-being of such abandoned children. Facilities in those days were either rudimentary or non-existent, so the most suitable place for such children, short of locating their living relatives (which occurred occasionally), was to ask a particular Mission if they could take them. Often this was not possible, so the Protector had to shop around to see where to place a particular child.
So how many ? I typed up the School Records, 1880-1960, from one Mission/Government settlement and found that, for example, between 1880 and 1900, only eight children – out of a roll of two hundred over those years – had been brought to this Mission without any family. In fact, there were fewer again in the next fifty years.
And – just in case ‘stealing children’ means taking them FROM Missions and settlements, it should be pointed out that, in that period 1880 to 1960, during which eight hundred children were, at one time or another, enrolled at that School, a grand total of forty seven school-age children transferred to homes or institutions or the Adelaide Hospital, and the vast majority of them came back within a year or two. Mothers died, fathers died and mothers re-married, families fell destitute or broke up for all manner of reasons – after all, the reasons for Aboriginal children being put into care of any sort were not much different from those for any other Australians, and at 4 %, neither was the rate of ‘removal’…
In the period under study, 1840-1912, under the Protector’s watch, if children knew their own country and wish to go back there, he arranged for their travel home. One boy from the Far North at one Mission was unhappy and wished to do that, so the Protector promptly arranged for him to travel up to Oodnadatta and then on to his own country. A year or so later, he was back at the Mission, working and asking for some financial support to buy a harmonium.
So, from the record, there does not seem to be any concerted effort to take children from their families. In fact, the Protector notes that he does not have the legal power to do so, and I suspect neither did he have the intention.
So why did I believe as I did, without evidence ? Because the conventional paradigm, the ‘black-armband approach’, fits together. It makes sense. It doesn’t need evidence. And perhaps in other states – Queensland, for instance – conditions were much harsher for Aboriginal (and Islander) people. But that’s for researchers up there to follow up on, if they have the courage.
There are such things as ‘facts’. There WAS only one full-time staff member of the S.A. Aborigines Department. There WERE forty or more official ration Depots from around 1870 onwards – in fact, up to seventy. Sometimes ‘facts’ are like rocks in a stream of ‘interpretation’: flow this way or that, twist and turn as one may, the ‘interpretation’ of history still has to deal with the ‘facts’, the evidence. What comes first, evidence or ideology?
It may not have been all sweetness and light, but neither was it as brutal as the conventional paradigm supposes. Nineteenth century people were no different from ourselves. We are them, they were us. It’s time we relied more on evidence than feelings, or suspicions, otherwise we will forever be barking up the wrong tree.
Cattle industry launches class action against Federal Government, seeking compensation over live export ban
Industries involved in the live cattle trade have launched a class action against the Federal Government that will likely seek hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation.
The class action filed in the Federal Court yesterday will be open to anyone who suffered losses because of the Government's suspension of live cattle exports to Indonesia in 2011.
The industry said the suit, which will be fought by law firm Minter Ellison, was being launched after three years of trying unsuccessfully to negotiate its claim with the Federal Government.
Lead applicant Emily Brett from Waterloo Station, near the West Australian and Northern Territory border, said while the ban lasted a month, the impact for the industry lasted much longer. "It's still going now," she said.
"We lost so much money and incurred so many costs because of that one decision. "They're not costs that we've been able to recoup, they're not costs that we've been able to get back."
Following Four Corners' revelations of shocking animal cruelty in 12 Indonesian abattoirs in June 2011, the Federal Government ordered a shutdown of the live export trade to Indonesia. As a result, the once booming trade was brought to a halt.
Ms Brett said it was a knee-jerk reaction with devastating consequences for businesses across northern Australia.
"It was just such a quick decision made to try and look as though the government was doing something," she said.
"But in effect it just had a crippling effect on anyone involved in the industry and people involved in businesses that supply products to the industry... everyone was affected by it."
Now the industry is taking its case for compensation to the Federal Court in an open class action that is likely to include the full breadth of industry players, from major corporates to smaller family-run pastoral stations.
In Queensland, Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter says he believes the previous government failed its 'duty of care' and has a clear case to answer, while AgForce has described the ban as 'reckless'.
Minter Ellison's existing group of clients covers a range of industries that support the live export trade and the class action will be open to anyone affected by the ban.
Businesses such as Road Trains of Australia - one of the largest trucking companies involved in the live export trade - may also be eligible to join.
Road Trains of Australia managing director David Jones said his business was still recovering. "Financially it was very tough... all the banks hated us," Mr Jones said. "We were a business at risk... there was a lot of people that sort of left the industry, managers and drivers, so we had to tighten our belt very quickly and try and survive."
It is even possible businesses in Indonesia affected by the ban could be eligible to join the class action. While it is still not clear how many parties will join, the claim against the Federal Government could go into hundreds of millions of dollars.
Australia's largest cattle company, Australian Agricultural Company, has already put its damages from the live export ban at more than $50 million.
At Waterloo Station, the Brett family felt the costs of the ban almost immediately. Ms Brett said the ban hit just before the station was due to finalise a major cattle sale they had been counting on to cover items they had already had to buy for the property. "We didn't know when we wouldn't be able to pay those bills," she said.
"I can't explain how stressful it was on all of us, on the whole family, not knowing... that we'd have to go through all of that and tell those companies that we wouldn't be able to pay those bills and we didn't know when."
Operation Boring leading to surprise comeback for Campbell Newman in Qld.
Campbell Newman has staged a surprising personal comeback; voters refuse to warm to him, but believe he should be given another go at the next election.
It is understood that is one of many findings of private LNP research conducted both in Ashgrove, and on Brisbane's south-side.
It is understood the polling - conducted in four tranches less than a month ago - was done to gauge the ongoing damage of the Stafford by-election on both the premier's personal standing and the party's fortunes ahead of the next election.
The economy, job security and wages, cost of living, security/crime and frontline services topped the list of voters' concerns, with the Government's "leasing" argument taking the sting out of privatisation plans.
Voters also believed that Campbell Newman needed longer to do the job, and swinging voters saw him as a strong leader - despite not liking him.
This supports other internal research across the state which shows the premier's shocking negative personal ratings (up to -35 in some areas) has evened out (and is now sitting at -5 in some of those same areas) on the back of 'Operation Boring'.
But the latest research, conducted in marginal Brisbane seats with groups of swinging voters, also highlights three significant problems for the LNP Government.
The first is that voters - rightly - blame the Government for diminished job security.
It is likely Campbell Newman's rushed decision to sack thousands of public servants will continue to haunt him, and it will be exacerbated by his promise to create 420,000 new jobs, and a four per cent jobless rate by 2018.
It is near-impossible to see how the Government will do that - and it will be a target of Labor's electoral campaign.
The second issue raised by the internal polling is voters' abhorrence at what they see as the Government making a big deal about issues to hide the lack of progress in families' cost of living pressures.
Voters raised both the controversial bikie laws and the judge's fiasco as examples which they believed provided a distraction for the government, which should have been focusing more on how their decisions were impacting families.
But LNP MPs are more concerned about the third issue - and that is where a big protest vote is headed because voters want a more balanced Parliament.
Up until now, the LNP had hoped PUP's Clive Palmer and other minority parties would bank the protest vote, which would then exhaust.
But this polling shows it is headed to Labor on the back of Clive Palmer's diving fortunes.
Indeed, Palmer has gone from being seen as "an authentic larrikin" to a "self-serving politician", meaning Labor will be the beneficiary of a strong anti-LNP vote.
Despite that, swinging voters have a "spontaneous hesitation" towards Labor on the back of the Bligh government's performance, and do not see Annastacia Palaszczuk as a strong leader.
That finding flies in the face of other public research, including this week's Morgan poll which shows her leading Campbell Newman as preferred premier, 52.5 percent to 47.5 percent.
"Operation Boring is working," one senior LNP member quipped.
"It's working for Campbell Newman and for us."
Perhaps it's almost strong enough for the premier to call an election before the end of this year...
Palmer backs Green rollback
And the Greenies are fuming-- See below. But they are right about "Direct Action". It won't do anything to the climate -- but nor would Greenie schemes. And it's a lot cheaper
The Abbott government has secured the likely passage of its Direct Action carbon policy through the Senate.
The news comes as a result of an agreement reached yesterday between Environment Minister Greg Hunt and Palmer United Party leader Clive Palmer, for the PUP to support the bill with minor amendments.
Once again, after tough talk and media stunts, Palmer has rolled over in the back rooms and done a deal in his own best interests. As the owner of several large coal and iron ore mines, Palmer has an obvious vested interest in ensuring a taxpayer-funded compensation plan for big polluters.
As we've argued many times, Direct Action is a fraudulent policy that can’t possibly reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions to our target of a 5 per cent reduction by 2020.
What it will do is pay the biggest polluters in the country a total of $2.55 billion over the next six years. All for doing what everyone (except the most ardent climate denialists) agrees they must, if the world is to escape devastating warming: lower their fossil fuel pollution.
The government claims the policy will spend $2.55 billion in reverse auctions to those firms that can promise the biggest reductions. This will be great for the bank balances of big polluters, but won’t do much to reduce Australia’s overall emissions.
You can get an idea of just how little the government cares by reference to Hunt’s plans for those polluters who take advantage of the scheme to rapidly ramp up their emissions. He has no plans to punish rogue polluters.
Hunt just expects everyone to play by the rules. After all, fining polluters for releasing greenhouse gases would look awfully like … a carbon tax. “Our intention is no, our budgeting is no, and that's because we think the firms will operate within it," Mr Hunt told Sky News on Thursday.
No credible analyst believes Direct Action can achieve anything like the 5 per cent emissions reduction target we have signed up to. According to respected analysts RepuTex, Direct Action may be able to reduce emissions by 80 to 130 million tonnes at best. “This is equivalent to a shortfall of over 300 million tonnes for Australia to meet its 5 per cent emissions reduction target of 421 million tonnes by 2020,” RepuTex’s Hugh Grossman told The Australian.
Clive Palmer is lying too. He put out a press release yesterday that read “Palmer Saves Emissions Trading Scheme”. Even in the reality-challenged worldview of Palmerama, this is a pretty impressive confection. Australia doesn’t actually have an emissions trading scheme to save: Palmer voted with the government to abolish it.
Palmer is probably talking about his pet scheme for a “zero dollar” emissions trading scheme that would have a carbon price of zero until Australia’s major trading partners introduce their own schemes (presumably Europe is not a major trading partner). He secured a token concession from Hunt on this point, allowing the Climate Change Authority to research the zero-price ETS and report back.
But Hunt is frank about the government’s attitude to such a proposal. “We have agreed to a review but our policy is crystal clear, we abolished the [carbon] tax and we're not bringing it back," Mr Hunt told the ABC this morning.
Palmer is also trumpeting his success in saving certain climate agencies and initiatives like the Climate Change Authority and the Australian Renewable Energy Authority, both of which the government wants to abolish.
It’s not much of a success. The last federal policy that is achieving any emissions reductions of note, the Renewable Energy Target, is hanging in the balance. Palmer has pledged to vote to keep the RET.
On the other hand, he also pledged to vote against Direct Action, which he is now voting for. On recent form, anything Clive Palmer rules out one week is a good chance to receive his support the next.
30 October, 2014
Blatant attempt by Federal cops to evade their duties in union corruption matter
On Monday 4 August 2014 I made this report to the Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police.
The key points were:
* The AFP enforces the Statutory Declarations Act 1958
* On 24 March 2014 Mr Wayne Forno swore an apparently false Statutory Declaration, stating the TWU NSW Branch had 43,835 members - by his admission he knew at the time it had 17,300.
This morning I received this letter from Superintendent Mark McIntyre of the AFP Crime Operations department.
The Fair Work Commission has no enforcement role in relation to policing the Statutory Declarations Act 1958 - it also has no role in policing murder, rape or armed robbery. Police prosecute a range of Australians every day - normally without regard to the status their job might confer on them. That is the duty of police. Their role is to detect offences and bring offenders before the courts.
Joel Silver makes some very good points in this paper submitted to the Royal Commission into Union Corruption and Governance, summed up in this quote:
"While there is some merit in their separate registration and regulation, there is nothing so unique or complicated about trade unions as to justify investigations into them being handled by a specialist agency, let alone to the exclusion of ordinary law enforcement. Agencies including the Australian Federal Police and
Australian Crime Commission have experience in such investigations (of which the General Manager Fair Work Australia was shown to be lacking), and whose impartiality is not as easily called into question. Such agencies should have responsibility for all and
any future investigations"
I note that the Fair Work Commission's GM Bernadette O'Neill is yet to report any inquiry or investigation into this matter.
Energy company starts fracking in NSW -- to Greenie protests
The NSW government approved controversial coal seam gas exploration at Gloucester before receiving proof that chemicals involved were safe for human health, throwing into doubt claims it is clamping down on the contentious industry.
It comes as protests at the site became heated this week, including allegations that a protester tried to hold the head of a security guard under water during a scuffle. Protesters described the claim as "exaggerated".
Police charged two protesters on Monday after they allegedly accessed the AGL site illegally. About 20 protesters reportedly blockaded the entrance to the site on Tuesday, but were kept out by a large police and private security guard presence.
AGL's Waukivory pilot project, south of Gloucester, has emerged as the latest front in community opposition to coal seam gas, following fierce protests around Narrabri and Lismore.
Fairfax Media has learned that the NSW Office of Coal Seam Gas signed off on the latest stage of the project before receiving lab test results confirming the chemicals to be used were safe to human health and the environment.
The AGL pilot involves the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing or "fracking", which forces gas to the surface by pumping water, sand and chemicals underground.
There are fears it can cause gas leaks, damage aquifers and pollute water with toxic chemicals.
Companies must demonstrate that all fracking additives comply with Australian drinking water guidelines, by having them tested by a certified laboratory.
The NSW government approved AGL's fracking work on August 6, despite officials not receiving the test results until more than two months later, on October 23.
A spokesman for Resources Minister Anthony Roberts said AGL was required to identify the chemicals to be used prior to approval being granted, but did not have to run tests on the chemicals before that date. The company was "compliant with its obligations", he said.
Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham said allowing AGL to start fracking before its chemicals were scientifically deemed compliant "defies common sense" and was at odds with community expectations.
AGL says the pilot will test the amount of gas produced from wells and provide data about the area's geology and groundwater.
A company spokeswoman said test results were supplied to authorities before fracking occurred and AGL had complied with government policy. She said the results confirmed no banned substances were detected in its hydraulic fracturing fluids.
AGL reportedly required police escorts to move fracking equipment onto the site last week.
The spokeswoman said based on information from its private security team on Monday, "protesters were aggressive" and threw punches at guards who were attempting to prevent protesters from accessing the site.
"In one incident a security guard fell into the river and a protester allegedly tried to hold his head under water. A third security guard suffered a cut to his arm," she said.
A spokesman for Mr Roberts said the minister met with concerned community members from Gloucester last week and authorities would "make regular inspections of the [AGL] fracking sites to ensure compliance".
The department "has and will continue to ensure a detailed level of transparency" around coal seam gas applications, he said.
In a report into the industry released last month, NSW Chief Scientist Mary O'Kane said the government should "establish a world-class regime" for coal seam gas extraction and ensure good communication about the industry's activities.
Laws should be supported by a transparent and effective compliance and reporting regime, she said.
Criticism of Aborigines to be banned?
And what will count as "discrimination"?
A BIPARTISAN joint parliamentary committee believes the constitution could be changed to explicitly prohibit racial discrimination against indigenous Australians.
THE government is committed to a referendum to recognise indigenous Australians, however when it will be and what it will look like is uncertain.
The committee on constitutional recognition for aboriginal and Torres strait islanders, chaired by indigenous MP Ken Wyatt, has released three options to include indigenous people in the legal document.
Two include the prohibition of racial discrimination - a recommendation of the government's expert panel in 2012.
It's something opposition leader Bill Shorten also wants, however Prime Minister Tony Abbott has indicated he's not keen for discrimination to be included in the debate.
Both options change the constitution to state: "The parliament shall, subject to this constitution, have the power to make laws for peace, order or good government of the Commonwealth with respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders".
They then state the government can not discriminate on the basis of race, unless the laws are made for the purpose of overcoming disadvantage.
The committee recommends a third option for constitutional change which gives the government powers to make laws with respect to indigenous Australians.
It wants the repeal of Section 25 which allows states to ban people from voting based on their race and section 51(xxvi) to remove any reference to race.
The referendum should also be held on or shortly after the 2016 election.
Mr Abbott has all but ruled out a referendum before 2017, saying it must be bipartisan to be successful and an election would make that near impossible in 2016.
Mr Wyatt told parliament that national, active leadership must be shown on this issue. "It's time to take this step further," he said on Monday.
The committee agreed for the most part with the government's expert panel in 2012 - concurring with all but one major recommendation.
The committee doesn't believe indigenous languages need to be included in the constitution as recommended by the expert panel.
It's final report is due in June next year.
Pickering on Gough
I used to say that I would go to Margie’s funeral to pay my respects but I would go to Gough’s funeral to make sure he was dead. Of course that is quite uncalled for and in extremely bad taste now that he has gone.
But to be honest, he disliked me intensely and I detested him. As the Left today will recall with sombre reverence his many legacies, I will remember him for the irreparable damage he caused this nation, damage that will continue to last generations.
I recall his economic illiteracy, the unwavering belief in himself, his disdain of mere mortals and his self-acclaimed intellectualism, it was painful. Had he been competent in the slightest, it was a pain I could have endured.
Gough, with his corrupt Cabinet, was unable to serve one complete term of Office and what he did serve was utter mayhem.
The Left decry his sacking but Gough, bereft of supply, was quite prepared to go down in flames and take the nation with him.
The ensuing general election was an exercise in what the Australian people really thought of him.
Crean, who printed money like there was no tomorrow. Connor, who tried to borrow even more from a shady loan shark called Khemlani. Cairns, the unabashed communist root rat. Attorney General Murphy, who escaped jail by dying. Grassby the drug lord who dressed with the light off.
Just one example of Gough’s economic empty headedness was his grand idea to provide housing for young Labor voting couples who could not break into the housing market (much like today). He dumped a borrowed $500 million (a lot in those days) into the banking sector at a ridiculously low rate of interest.
Instead of assisting young couples, the banks predictably lent the money to existing home-owners who upgraded to bigger, better homes. Why not? After all they had the security in their current homes the banks wanted. Not one new house was built and the resultant increased demand on existing houses put them even further out of reach of the young couples, who were supposed to vote Labor, but in the end they didn’t.
But Gough’s real crown of thorns was his Schools’ Commission and his fixation with phonetic spelling. The real legacy left by Gough is the kids of today who cannot spell, or construct a sentence.
But never mind, Gillard’s Labor fixed that with a multi-billion Gonski scheme that will do nothing to educate teachers, but will certainly ensure they are paid better.
Kids now lack communication skills, the ability to express themselves, and there is no-one to teach them because the teachers of today were Gough’s pupils of yesterday.
English Expression and Latin are lost subjects, exchanged for ethereal ideological Social Studies’ subjects that extol a global-warming hoax and a One World Government.
Yes, that’s the real legacy of Gough... kids without communication skills who in frustration resort to violence to explain themselves and journalists without the ability to sub-edit their own work.
The Leftist education "revolution" of the 70s led to a rot in standards
Gough gave us universities full of dickheads who can now call themselves doctors and professors. Once upon a time a university education was fought for and deserved. Without excellent marks, a scholarship or doting parents prepared to go without, it was hello workforce.
Now anyone can dodge getting a job, go to uni and the taxpayer will finance you. And we wonder why our education status has slipped well below the international average.
Well Gough certainly achieved his aim because degrees in union thuggery, Marxism, political science, green pursuits, global warming and any other bloody useless subject Left of centre are now held proudly by those who make up the Labor Party... the party of the struggling "working man".
Higher education will never make a person smarter, nor will it increase any person’s IQ. It may make a person more aware of a chosen subject, most of which could be gleaned from the net but the net doesn’t offer fair dinkum doctorates.
Left wing law firms, like Slater & Gordon and Maurice Blackburn, soak up the rubbish with law degrees, like Shorten, Bandt, Roxon and Gillard... all utterly unemployable outside the Labor fraternity and all locked into a Marxist philosophy of new world egalitarianism.
Those who can’t enter the Labor movement return to uni as lecturers to recycle the same garbage that made them unemployable in the first place. And the uni lecturers I know couldn’t teach a bloody fish to swim anyway.
Shorten this morning launched his campaign against Abbott’s university reform policy. A reform that is critical to repairing a broken education regime that Gough started and Gillard perpetuated.
As usual, Labor’s solution to correct its own failures involves dipping into that bottomless piggy bank of the “privileged elite”, ergo those awful employers.
Gonski’s billions won’t mend our illiterate educators any more than the billions thrown at aborigines will mend that disaster.
Higher education should be a reward, a privilege earned from dedicated hard work in secondary school.
As long as taxpayers are forced to finance dickheads through uni we will finish up with Prime Ministers like Julia Gillard and, perish the thought, Bill Shorten.
But you’re entitled to disregard my opinion, I left school at 14 and never returned.
29 October, 2014
Some excerpts from a diatribe by an Australian Green/Left law academic
He's certainly got a good imagination. He implicitly implies that "climate disruption" is going on but seems unperturbed that the 2003 prophecy he quotes (in red) shows no sign of being fulfilled. Mr Obama is in fact letting poor Hispanics flood into America these days. Some fortress! The usual Green/Left lack of reality contact.
And where do we see these days "a dramatic growth in violent political and social unrest over dwindling resources"? I know of none.
And another loss of reality contact in saying that police forces are also adopting military ideas and tactics "to confront demonstrations about climate change". Tactics of that sort are indeed growing in the USA but they are used to confront crime, especially black crime (check Ferguson, Missouri). If middle-class Greenies make a big enough nuisance of themselves they might experience such approaches but that is entirely their doing.
And his last paragraph below is sheer fantasy -- and a good laugh. A definite ivory tower inhabitant
For over a decade, the Pentagon and other Western militaries such as Australia have put serious thought into the medium and long-term implications of climate change. For example, in 2003, the Pentagon released a paper titled “An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and its Implications for United States National Security.”
The report predicted massive flooding, storms, forced migration, food shortages, starvation and water crises. Moreover, as a result of diminishing carrying capacity, the report also foresaw a dramatic growth in violent political and social unrest over dwindling resources.
The authors of the Pentagon report also predicted “boom-times” for militarized security, as nations that have food, water, energy and other resources mobilize high-tech technology to separate themselves from the masses outside of their geographical borders. By 2025-2030, the authors predicted:
The United States and Australia are likely to build defensive fortress around their countries because they have the resources and reserves to achieve self-sufficiency… Borders will be strengthened to hold back unwanted starving immigrants.
Such an outcome would make current LNP immigration policy look like “an evil child's fumbling toys” to quote Hannah Arendt. And yet, the Australian government already uses the Navy to prevent asylum seekers from landing on Australian soil. Moreover, it has continued to build an “economic fortress” around itself by dramatically cutting its foreign-aid budget and refusing to commit to the United Nations Green Climate Fund.
Police forces are also adopting military ideas and tactics to confront demonstrations about climate change and other justice issues. Stephen Graham highlights in his book Cities Under Siege, the way that large defence and IT companies have created a multi-billion dollar market in civilian technologies directed at crowd control and civilian disturbances. Geographic mapping and drone technology are perhaps the best-known examples utilised by the Australian police.
This might sound like hyperbole, but I do not think it is a stretch to imagine a time when the US-Australian Great Green Fleet (complete with biofuel planes) is deployed in the name of national security to “hold back unwanted starving” climate refugees or masses of people suffering from climate related disease.
Greens protest visa ban on West Africans
Showing that they are really Leftists. What part of the natural world is threatened by quarantining Ebola?
THE Greens say shutting the door on west African refugees is cruel and selfish.
THE Immigration Department is no longer processing any humanitarian visa applications from Ebola-affected countries, which include Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.
The government is also cancelling and refusing non-permanent or temporary visas held by people who haven't yet departed these countries for Australia.
Permanent visa holders who have yet to arrive in Australia are being required to submit to a 21-day quarantine period before departure.
Greens immigration spokesperson Sarah Hanson-Young says it is a miserly, selfish and cruel announcement.
"Banning refugees from fleeing west Africa is like shuttering up the windows while a house burns down," Senator Hanson-Young said, calling for the decision to be reversed.
Immigration Minister Scott Morrison says the systems are in place to protect Australians.
South Australian Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young accused of hypocrisy over fossil fuel campaign targeting Santos
Mining and extractive industries are one of the few things S. Australia has going for it so having a South Australian senator attacking such industries is very grievous
GREENS Senator Sarah Hanson-Young is being accused of hypocrisy for targeting fossil fuel companies, yet relying on their products for taxpayer-funded flights and limousine travel.
Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis said public criticism of the campaign urging Adelaide universities to divest shares in resources companies including Santos exposed the hypocrisy of the Greens’ stance.
He said arguments about such important matters should be based on science, not emotion, stressing natural gas produced by Santos was an important transition fuel.
“If you’re going to rely on science, you should rely on science all the time and if you believe that climate change is real then it’s an argument about science,” Mr Koutsantonis said in an interview with the Sunday Mail. “But then when you try to use emotive arguments to try to discredit scientists, you fall flat on your face.
“I think Senator Hanson Young’s hypocrisy by having a reliance on fossil fuels, whether it be through aeroplane flights or using a Comcar, like all of us do, just shows that her argument isn’t based on fact or science. It’s based on ideology.”
However, Senator Hanson-Young’s spokesman rejected the Treasurer’s argument as a petty and baseless distraction, saying all Greens had negated the environmental impact of their travel for years through self-funded carbon offset and abatement options.
Mr Koutsantonis, also the Mineral Resources and Energy Minister, said he believed Australians wanted pragmatic politicians who searched for out-comes, rather than crusading on ideology without regard for the impacts. “If you’re serious about saving the planet, then practice what you preach,” Mr Koustantonis said.
Mr Koutsantonis and federal Liberal MP Jamie Briggs have been prominent critics of the divestment campaign, which resulted in Australian National University earlier this month deciding to sell stocks in seven companies, including those of Santos.
But the campaign has been resisted by Flinders and Adelaide universities.
The latter has close links to Santos, which in 1999 provided $25 million to establish a world-class School of Petroleum Engineering.
Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne, also MP for Sturt, told the Sunday Mail Senator Hanson-Young’s call for organisations to divest support from companies like Santos would have a huge impact on the community.
“If this is genuinely Senator Hanson-Young’s position, it is clear why the Greens can never be trusted to put the best interests of the state ahead of their ideological beliefs,” he said.
But Senator Hanson-Young’s spokesman said Mr Koutsantonis’s petty behaviour showed the desperation of the fossil-fuels industry and the political parties that relied on their donations to survive.
“The fact is that South Australia stands to gain significantly from a pivot away from fossil fuels and towards the renewable energy industry of the future,” the spokesman said, in a written statement.
“It’s concerning for the state that the Treasurer is so openly and closely aligned to the mining lobby.”
The cost of taxpayer funded travel by MPs and senators is publicly available on the Finance Department website.
The latest in-formation for Senator Hanson-Young shows last year she took 114 domestic flights costing $60,990.75, a $4227.57 flight to PNG, three charter flights costing $8140.91 and Comcar limousine trips at $24,188.36.
Comcar’s fleet includes many six-litre V8 Holden Caprices, which are being replaced with LPG models and Ford Falcons with cleaner-burning liquid phase injection technology.
Qantas’s carbon offset calculator estimates the CO2 emissions share for one passenger from an Adelaide to Canberra flight is 131kg.
The figure for a single passenger on a Sydney-Port Moresby flight is 356kg of CO2 emissions. More than 95 per cent of flight emissions come directly from jet fuel combustion, Qantas says.
Report on reorganizing Australia's Federal system
Increasing State Government control of revenue, targeted specifically for schools, health, public transport and roads, along with running a series of conventions across Australia to engage the public in a national conversation on reforming Australia’s Federation, are key recommendations proposed in CEDA (Committee for Economic Development of Australia) research being released today.
CEDA Chief Executive, Professor the Hon. Stephen Martin said the research report, A Federation for the 21st Century, has found Australia’s excessive vertical fiscal imbalance is one of the key issues undermining the positive aspects of our Federation.
“We need to move away from State Governments being held to ransom by the Federal Government and match service delivery responsibility with funding,” he said.
“Currently, for example, the Federal Government fails to deliver suitable levels of funding for transport infrastructure because while it collects the majority of revenue, it is not responsible for delivery.
“Distribution of Federal Government funding to the states in areas vital for the economic and social wellbeing of Australians, such as health and education, should not be swayed by politicking.”
Professor Martin said a key focus of the Federal Government review of the Federation should include examining the distribution of government revenue and ensuring we have clearly defined levels of responsibility among the different tiers of government.
CEDA’s report suggests we need to consider a range of options to align revenue and expenditure requirements such as:
Assigning a fixed portion of income tax to states for funding schooling.
Allowing State Government’s to develop a comprehensive land tax or property charge with funds raised to be used specifically for public transport.
State Government’s extending road-use charging and receiving the fuel taxes collected by the Commonwealth, specifically to build and maintain roads.
Professor Martin said the report examines a range of different approaches for reform as it is likely the best outcomes will be achieved not by a single solution but by a combination of different approaches.
Another key recommendation is to further extend activity based funding reforms in education, health and welfare.
“The reforms to hospital funding in Victoria are a good example of how this can work well, with hospitals now funded on the individual activities undertaken rather than individual hospitals having to lobbying for an overall amount at the start of each year,” he said.
“This has resulted in a much more efficient delivery of services and it is very disappointing that the rollout of this approach to other states has been stalled due to the Federal Government removing funding promised by the previous government in the May Federal Budget.
“Reforms need to focus on making government funding more citizen-focused and able to deliver the services and infrastructure Australians need.
“While the Australian Federation has largely worked well, delivering political stability and economic prosperity for over a century, it can do better.”
In addition to making recommendations around changes to revenue allocation and collection, Professor Martin said it important to ensure ownership of any changes by the Australian public. In this regard the report also recommends:
The creation of a Federation Reform Council to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of reforms to our Federation and make sure there are no unintended consequences; and
A series of Federation Conventions be held in conjunction with the white paper process to encourage the participation of as many people as possible in what must be a significant national conversation on this issue.
“Reforming the Federation has been a recurrent issue and is once again a priority on the national agenda with the Federal Government White Paper due next year,” he said.
“However, the federalism debate has had the best outcomes when it has engaged the imagination of the broader population, which is why it is vital that discussion around reform is much broader than in the halls of Federal and State Parliaments.”
The CEDA research report A Federation for the 21st Century can be downloaded from the CEDA website www.ceda.com.au. The report includes contributions from 19 experts from academics to former politicians such as the Hon. Fred Chaney AO, the Hon. John Brumby and Lucy Hughes Turnbull AO.
'Bring it on' - Newman welcomes PM federation reform talk
Qld. Premier Campbell Newman is picking up what Prime Minister Tony Abbott is putting down about reforming the federation. Mr Abbott has issued a call to the premiers to have "a rational discussion about who does what" in a precursor to the federation white-paper process.
Mr Newman has long called for reform on how the Commonwealth funds the states, especially when it comes to education and health, which are run by the states but reliant on changing funding mechanisms from the federal government.
The latest budget, which announced an $80 billion cut in health and education funding in the forward estimates, has only inflamed the debate.
Giving the Sir Henry Parkes commemorative address on Saturday, Mr Abbott argued states that received a lower share of GST from the Commonwealth, which included New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia, deserved a "fair go", but any changes should not leave smaller states worse off.
"It's basically about giving everyone a fair go – but it has to be fair to the states making the financial contributions as well as to those receiving them, to those who give as well as those who receive," he said in an advance copy of the speech obtained by Fairfax Media. "It should be possible to make these arrangements more equitable between the larger states with the smaller states no worse off."
Mr Newman said to bring it on. "I welcome Prime Minister Abbott's commitment to working with state governments to review the federation," he said. "We need to clearly define which levels of government should deliver education in schools and universities and health services in hospitals, as well as who should provide the roads, rail, ports, electricity and water supplies that are essential to our future prosperity.
"There are far too many areas where federal and state responsibilities overlap and create waste, duplication and confusion.
"We've reached a situation where funding for vital services – like health, education and housing – is provided only if the services are delivered as the federal government sees fit and only if states agree to complex, onerous and expensive administrative requirements. "States must have untied access to a sustainable revenue base that is sufficient to deliver on their responsibilities.
"All Australians are the losers in this because billions of dollars are wasted on unnecessary bureaucracy.
"I also believe that getting out of each other's way will not only mean more efficient government, but more accountable government.
"Right now there's a window of opportunity to make real and positive change. "The Queensland government is keen to grasp this chance and will work constructively with Canberra and the other states to develop a new partnership and secure a brighter future for all Australians."
The Prime Minister is expected to call all premiers together before the middle of next year to discuss federation reform, but not until the Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland elections have run.
28 October, 2014
A silly little Leftist lady tries to "psychologize" conservatives
One does not expect much in the way of profundity from the crusading Australian Leftist organ, "New Matilda", but a rather long diatribe just up there is particularly feeble. Author Lissa Johnson starts out claiming that conservatives are psychopaths but gives neither reasoning nor evidence that could lead to that conclusion. She particularly targets Tony Abbott, Australia's conservative Prime Minister.
So what psychopathic characteristics does Mr Abbott show? Is he, for instance, extremely self centred? Seeing Mr Abbott has for many years taken substantial time out to work hands-on in Aboriginal communities, creating and upgrading facilities for the use of the community's people, that accusation has to earn a resounding "Not Guilty" verdict. I know of no Leftist who has shown anything like Mr Abbott's personal committment to Aboriginal welfare. It is because of that committment that the reviled Prof. Spurr called Abbott an "Abo lover".
So what about the various other attributes of the psychopath? Ms Johnson is a clinical psychologist so she should know them well. Which of those does she find among conservatives? She does not say. She offers no evidence for her assertion. What she does do is however amusing. She offers a survey of the psychological literature on the psychology of conservatism. And her survey is a broadly accurate one. But nowhere in that literature are conservatives accused of psychopathy! Her own literature survey refutes her opening assertion! The evidence that Leftists are pychopathic is however abundant.
So let us look at the psychology literature Ms Johnson believes in. The big problem with it is that it is almost entirely written by Leftists -- with all the lack of ethics and objectivity that one expects from that. The author in that literature most favoured by Ms Johnson is the amusing John Jost, senior author of a paper that purported to be a meta-analysis of the literature on the psychology of conservatism, and which claimed, inter alia, that Stalin, Khrushchev and Castro were conservatives!
And one of his co-authors was the anti-scientist Frank Sulloway, who tried to use litigation to suppress publication of a research report that contested one of his theories. Leftist attempts to suppress speech that they disagree with are notorious (See TONGUE-TIED) but Sulloway stands out even in that company.
And suppressing contrary evidence was Jost's bag too. His article purported to be a meta-analysis and should, as such, have offered a comprehensive view of the relevant literature. It did not. It omitted about half of the relevant research. Which half? The half that disagreed with his foreordained conclusions, of course! Any hope of finding truth in the writings of Prof. Jost and his ilk is therefore highly likely to be disappointed.
And even if one conceded every claim about conservatives made by Leftist psychologists, the gruel is thin. They have such a lot of trouble finding something wrong with conservatives that they confine themselves almost entirely to cognitive style variables. And such variables can be seen in a variety of lights. Even Jost ended up admitting that. For instance, one of the earliest accusations hurled at conservatives was that they are "intolerant of ambiguity". But that can equally be parsed as showing that conservatives seek order. And seeking order in natural phenomena is precisely what real scientists do. The idea that such a cognitive style is in any way aberrant is simply ludicrous.
I in fact have had many papers published in the academic literature on cognitive style research and repeatedly found that the measuring instuments used fell far short of accepted psychometric standards. So even the literature that Jost & Co. reviewed was inadequate to support their conclusions. My most recent article in that genre is here
And I would be remiss if I did not take some note of two more of Ms Johnson's academic inspirations: Altemeyer's RWA research and the SDO scale associated with Jim Sidanius. Both are fairly hilarious pieces of work, as I show here in the case of SDO and most recently here in the case of Altemeyer.
The unfortunate Ms Johnson is simply credulous. But Leftists believe what they want to believe anyway, and damn the evidence
Barry Spurr hounded by moral crusaders of the new inquisition
WHY is it bad to hack and expose photographs of a woman’s naked body but apparently OK to steal and make public the contents of a man’s soul?
This is the question that should burn in our minds in the wake of the Barry Spurr scandal.
For just a few weeks ago, when a hacker invaded the iCloud accounts of female celebs and rifled through their intimate snaps, there was global outrage.
This theft of explicit private photos of actress Jennifer Lawrence and others was a sex crime, we were told. It was an act of misogynistic tyranny, proof that even women’s private lives were not safe from the bulging eyes and clasping hands of a hateful, macho culture.
To peer into a woman’s most intimate moments was a “sexual violation”, said a writer for Guardian Australia. Just because these women were in the public eye, just because they “offer their image to public consumption”, that didn’t mean they were “trading (in) their intimacy”, she said.
Fast forward to last week, and some of the same people whose jaws hit the floor at the audacity of those who leaked these women’s private, unguarded pics were cheering the hacking of Spurr’s private, unguarded words.
Spurr, a professor of poetry at the University of Sydney, has had his private emails pored over and published by pseudo-radical, eco-miserabilist website New Matilda. In some of his emails, in what he has since claimed was a cheeky competition between him and his friends to see who could be the least PC, Spurr used words that would no doubt cause pinot gris to be spilled if they were uttered at a dinner party.
He described Tony Abbott as an “Abo lover”, referred to a woman as a “harlot”, called Nelson Mandela a “darky”, and used “Mussies” for Muslims and “chinky-poos” for Chinese. He now has been suspended by the university.
Many people will wince on reading those words. Just as we will have winced if we happened upon those photos of well-known women doing porno poses or engaging in shocking sex talk in videos shot by their boyfriends.
And that’s because these behaviours, both Spurr’s knowingly outrageous banter and the actresses’ knowingly sluttish poses, share something important in common: they were private acts, not intended for public consumption. They were things done or said between intimates, far from the eyes and ears of respectable society. Yet where right-on commentators and tweeters stood up for the right of famous women not to have their private nakedness splashed across the internet, they have relished in the exposure of Spurr’s soul to the panting, outraged mob.
Spurr’s private thoughts are fair game for public ridicule, they claim, because of his position as a specialist consultant to the federal government’s review of the national curriculum.
New Matilda says Spurr’s standing as someone who could “influence what will be taught to every child in every school” means his intimate chatter is a legitimate target for moral policing. His private thoughts clash with his public duties, it says.
Imagine if this tyrannical insistence that everyone should have a spotless private life were taken to its logical conclusion. For a start, we might argue that it was legit to leak those female celebs’ intimate photos on the grounds that they exposed the women’s hypocrisy. Many of these actresses and singers are role models to young girls and pose as demure creatures in their work lives. But behind closed doors they get up to stuff that wouldn’t look out of place in Hustler. Their private lives run counter to their public personas. Does that mean they should be exposed, mocked, ridiculed, made into quarry for pitchfork-wielding moralists? Of course not. And neither should Spurr.
No amount of faux-progressive lingo about exposing “institutional racism” in the upper echelons of Australian society can disguise the fact Spurr-bashing is an old-fashioned, McCarthyite hounding of someone for having a private life and private thoughts that fail to adhere to new orthodoxies.
The hounding of Spurr by an army of intolerant tweeters and hacks is Salem-like intolerance dolled up as a radical exercise in tackling racist attitudes.
New Matilda rather gave the game away when it said it had one aim — “cleansing the national curriculum review of the toxicity of this man’s views”.
Cleansing. What a word. It speaks to the true driving force behind the assaults on Spurr: an incredibly authoritarian instinct to rid the public realm of anyone whose outlook is not 100 per cent pure and decent, as defined by the new self-styled guardians of moral probity: so-called progressives, with righteousness in their hearts and rotten tomatoes in their hands.
We need to face up to the seriousness, to the sheer intolerance, of the creeping new trend for punishing people for their private thoughts. It isn’t happening only in Australia. In the US, Donald Sterling, a business magnate and owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team, was expelled from basketball earlier this year and turned into an object of international ridicule following the leaking of an entirely private phone conversation in which he said something disrespectful about black people.
In Britain, two football managers were sacked following the leaking of private emails in which they made juvenile jokes about gays and black people.
There is something Stasi-like in this moral policing of private speech. In the wake of the Sterling scandal, a columnist for The Washington Post said: “If you don’t want your words broadcast in the public square, don’t say them … Such potential exposure forces us to more carefully select our words and edit our thoughts.”
This is terrifying. It is a straight-up celebration of the kind of public denunciations of private deviancy that were encouraged under Stalinist regimes. Why don’t we just put a Nineteen Eighty-Four-style telescreen in everyone’s homes? That’s surely the only way to ensure that no one misspeaks privately, and instead edits their thoughts and suppresses their more “toxic views”, or risks finding themselves a target of “cleansing” by their betters. The haranguing of Spurr and others turns the clock back to a darker moment in human history.
During the Inquisition, people were regularly tried and punished for their private beliefs. The Enlightenment thinkers who came in the wake of that calamity insisted that such tyranny should stop. In the words of the great enlightened 17th-century English jurist Edward Coke: “No man, ecclesiastical or temporal, shall be examined upon the secret thoughts of his heart, or of his secret opinion.” Spurr is being punished for his secret opinion.
Coke’s enlightened view, his conviction that individuals must be free to think and say what they want in their private lives, is in mortal danger today. It’s being crushed by a New Inquisition, staffed by members of the chattering classes, inflamed by Twitter and assaulting not only individuals such as Spurr but also the very principles of privacy, autonomy and freedom of thought.
Labor's 'stubborn pride' on boat turnbacks
LABOR needs to get over its "stubborn pride" and fully support asylum seeker boat turnbacks, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison says.
LABOR has signalled it might continue the government's policy of turning back boats - despite arguing against it for years - if it could get Indonesia's backing for it.
Opposition immigration spokesman Richard Marles at the weekend conceded turnbacks have helped stop the boats, but says his party still has reservations about the measure.
Mr Morrison says Labor should support the policy wholeheartedly.
"The policies that were put in place have proven to be a success and it's time for the Labor party to frankly get over their stubborn pride, stop making excuses and support the turnback policy," he told ABC radio.
He says there has only been one successful asylum seeker boat venture since the government started turning boats back to Indonesia on December 19 last year. "If that doesn't convince him, then what would convince Labor that turnbacks should be implemented?"
Indonesia's new president, Joko Widodo, has expressed his own reservations about turnbacks. But Mr Morrison says his government will continue to "do what we need to do".
He says co-operation with the Indonesian government is off to a "very good start". "I have no doubt that we will be able to work with the new government."
Labor MPs deny there has been any change in the party's policy on boat turnbacks.
NSW MP Stephen Jones noted the caveats in Mr Marles' support for the measure. "I'm very comfortable, the Labor caucus is very comfortable where our policy is at the moment," he told reporters in Canberra.
Victorian backbencher Tim Watts said he was happy with Labor's position. "Labor will not support boat turnbacks where it is unsafe to do so or where it jeopardises our relationships in the region," he said.
Combating (genuine) poverty need not punish 'the rich'
But Leftists WANT to punish the rich, of course
October 12-18 was Anti-Poverty Week, aiming to encourage all Australians "...to organise or take part in an activity aiming to highlight or overcome issues of poverty and hardship here in Australia or overseas." Anti-Poverty Week often provokes new offensives in the poverty wars, which usually ensures a few entertaining op-eds, but does nothing to alleviate genuine poverty.
In recent times Anti-Poverty Week has been kicked off with the release of the Australian Council of Social Services' (ACOSS) Poverty in Australia report. According to this year's report, 2.55 million Australians (13.9%) were living below the poverty line.
Poverty, as defined in the report, includes anyone in a household with an income less than half of the median household income (after adjustments for differences in household composition and housing costs).
By defining poverty in these terms, the focus is shifted away from living standards towards income inequality so that poverty can only be eradicated through an extreme policy of income redistribution that leaves all households with the same (equivalised) disposable income.
This focus on relative poverty as a metric for measuring the effectiveness of Australian social policy conflates income inequality with the material deprivation that most Australians associate with 'living in poverty'.
The other consequence of the income inequality/anti-poverty rhetoric of the left is to shift the focus away from those who are living in genuine poverty to the incomes of those they deem to be "the rich". Redistribution of income alone tells us nothing about the effectiveness of programs that aim to improve the lives of the disadvantaged.
The effectiveness of programs targeted at the less fortunate is far more important. If these programs are not working, the costs imposed on society are not being offset by any increase in overall social welfare. As we learned earlier in the week it is possible to spend $120 million on an employment program that manages to provide only 277 jobseekers with a job that lasts more than six months at a cost of $433,000 per placement.
Alleviating poverty should focus on ways to change people's lives for the better. While this will require some income redistribution, redistribution should never be an end in itself.
Halal battlefront over Byron Bay's Anzac biscuits
They deny that money from Halal certification goes to support terrorism but do not say WHAT it goes to
A SOCIAL media storm has erupted after it was revealed on Facebook that Byron Bay Cookie Company produced Anzac biscuits were halal certified.
By 2pm yesterday more than 1300 people had posted on the company page, the majority expressing their disgust at the announcement that all the companies' products were halal certified.
But do you really know how mainstream halal certified products have become?
Chocolate maker Cadbury has 71 products on its website that are halal certified, ranging from Dairy Milk chocolate to Freddo Frogs and Red Tulip chocolates.
Nutri Grain, Nutella, Peters Ice Cream, Four' N Twenty pies and sausage rolls, Norco Foods Nimbin Cheese, Extra chewing gum, Milo, SPC tinned fruits, Mars bars, Bega cheese and Heinz jams, marmalades, relishes and sauces are all halal certified.
Products from the Northern Co-operative Meat Company's abattoir at Casino have been halal certified since 1995.
Supporters and producers of halal products claim the social media hysteria had been whipped up by the group Boycott Halal in Australia.
Boycott Halal in Australia identifies halal certified producers and products on its Facebook page, calling for a boycott of their products.
The group also incorrectly claims money raised by halal certification contributes to funding construction of Islamic mosques and global Islamic expansion.
Sydney-based company Halal Australia has been certifying producers and their products since 2005.
Chief executive Muhammad Khan refuted allegations funds from halal certifications were directed to Islamic terrorists.
"Halal certification profits do not go towards supporting any terrorist activities or violent politically motivated religious organisations," he said.
Mr Khan said Halal Australia did not provide the Byron Bay Cookie Company with halal certification.
Police confirmed they are investigating posts on the Facebook pages of both the company and its employees.
What you said:
STEVE SMART: Our Anzacs died for this country , why should a company disrespect them by complying with an Islamic tax that a percentage of goes to fund terrorism.
RACHEL JENNER: I think it's great that they recognise the fact that as a country we are made up of many faiths and religions and people that want to enjoy Anzac biscuits may belong to any number of these.
JASON HAILES: Good screw this halal SCAM. It is helping fund terrorism and Islamic schools which help breed new generations of extremists.
ERIKA TAYLOR: People are outraged on behalf of ANZAC soldiers who fought in Gallipoli?
Do they not realise there were many Muslim Anzacs that fought for this country, Britain, Canada, New Zealand.... or that the first Mosque was built in Australia in the 1860s?
LINDA MILLS: For goodness sakes. All halal means is compliance with certain requirements around hygiene and how an animal is butchered.
Nothing to do with supporting or funding terrorism.
This is another excuse to persecute and target a religion and for people to show how bigoted and racist they are.
JENNY DOWELL: It makes marketing sense to make and market all of their products as Halal so more of the world can enjoy them. I'm appalled that people would boycott a biscuit company for having good business sense.
MARS MIRZA: As a Muslim I half agree with the backlash.
The ingredients that go into making Anzac cookies have nothing to do with the dietary restrictions of Muslims, unless they use lard (which is mainly pig fat) instead of butter, but if they did that then that the cookies would be gross.
There is no reason to put a "halal" label on it, the ingredients list on the packing is enough to tell anyone these cookies are okay to eat. as many have pointed out this is purely marketing.
These cookies are exported and some Islamic countries the law prohibits the importing/sale of non halal foods.
27 October, 2014
Climate mindset awry
Retired Professor Bob Carter of Townsville had the following Letter to the Editor published in "The Australian"
ROBERT Manne (Letters, 23/10) decries the “mindset of geologists and engineers” in responding to Nick Cater’s commentary (“Time for cooler heads to prevail”, 21/10).
That mindset includes the beliefs that a bridge should be constructed so that it does not fall down, and that the raw materials to provide the infrastructure and energy needs of our modern society should be located, mined and processed in a cost-effective and environmentally responsible way.
The mindset does not include the belief that the planet’s most environmentally beneficial and life-giving essential gas should be ignorantly demonised as a pollutant; and therefore does not support the implementation of foolish and swingeingly expensive schemes to limit industrial carbon dioxide emissions in the naive hope that future weather will somehow be altered for the better.
Today’s geologists and engineers continue to discover and develop the resources that have for more than 100 years provided the backbone of the Australian economy, on which rests the wealth, health and happiness of all our citizens.
I am glad that the wealth thus created provides Manne and his ilk with the highly privileged lifestyle that they now enjoy.
‘I support same sex marriage’: Bill Shorten says he ‘cannot stay silent’ on Australia’s in action over marriage equality laws
Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has confronted a crowd of conservative Christians, saying he is a Christian and a supporter of same-sex marriage.
'I am a Christian and a supporter of marriage equality under the law,' Mr Shorten told the Australian Christian Lobby national conference in Canberra on Saturday.
The move drew a mixed reaction with some gay marriage advocates saying he shouldn't have given the ACL credibility by addressing them.
The opposition leader began his speech as if was a sermon - by quoting from the scriptures. He went on to say when the scriptures are used to attack blended families like his own, demonise people based on who they love or claim marriage equality is a step towards bestiality, 'I cannot stay silent'.
'No faith, no religion, no set of beliefs should ever be used as an instrument of division or exclusion,' Mr Shorten said. 'Freedom of worship does not mean freedom to vilify. 'These prejudices do not reflect the Christian values I believe in.'
These attitudes sent a message that Christianity was incompatible with modern life, he said. He added that the current laws in Australia are discriminatory, and it was time they were changed.
Mr Shorten was applauded on the conclusion of his speech and ACL managing director Lyle Shelton thanked him for his 'fearless and frank' speech.
Liberal senator Cory Bernardi, who made comments linking bestiality and gay marriage, said no one would take Mr Shorten's comments seriously.
Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said the issue wasn't even on the table for the government which has the more pressing matters of national security and the economy.
But his colleague, Josh Frydenberg, who supports the idea of a conscience vote in the Liberal party, admitted there had been a shift in attitudes.
Australian Marriage Equality acting director Ivan Hinton-Teoh congratulated Mr Shorten on his 'powerfully-worded address' and said the speech marked a powerful moment in history.
But Equal Marriage Rights Australia said Mr Shorten's attendance was hypocritical after Labor's motion against Liberal politicians attending the 'extremely anti-gay' World Families Congress in August. '(His attendance) is completely outrageous and extremely hypocritical,' spokesman Ben Cooper said in a statement.
Spurr a scapegoat of those who would shut down free expression
LILY YUAN WANG
A RECENT graduate of the University of Sydney with a bachelor of arts in English and international and comparative literary studies, I have read every article concerning professor Barry Spurr.
The unauthorised exposure of his private emails, his suspension and, worst, the overreaction of the ignorant public and apathy of his fellow academics who have stood by in silence grieve me more than words can say.
Spurr is one of the very few lecturers I unreservedly admire. When I began my degree I was a lone Asian face in a sea of fair-haired and clear-eyed Australians. I struggled to understand my lecturers. Their tendency to nominalise common adjectives rendered familiar words alien to me. Their habit of monotonously reading pre-prepared scripts and their inability to interact with students left me dissatisfied. Yet when I audited Spurr’s lectures on modernism, I saw, for the first and last time, every inch of the lecture hall, including the staircases, occupied by students. He spoke with confidence, clarity, eloquence, humour, pacing the room with a stately gait, quoting from a copy of Yeats (apparently unannotated) that always seemed to open at the right page. He took me on a breathtaking journey through Irish literature and revolution. They were classes to remember and set the bar by which I measure all teaching.
I never found Spurr patronising or discriminatory. I never felt undermined or underestimated. Contrary to the unapproachable, unsympathetic professor New Matilda eagerly paints, Spurr is actively involved in student societies: from poetry and religion to the defence of animal rights.
At his lectures, student-society talks and charity functions, I met some of the kindest, most intelligent and open-minded of my friends. The surprise and joy we felt at the congregation of such an unlikely combination of people was immense.
I cannot say that I have never experienced racism from academic staff at Sydney although most racism we encounter in life is very subtle. But if we were to investigate every staff member’s private correspondence we might overhear a few grumpy words that could be labelled racist or sexist. If we take words out of context, truth is distorted and the author’s intention misunderstood.
Moreover, any comment not published in accordance with the will of the author, or delivered as a personal attack towards an individual, has no impact on social mores, however distasteful the language, so ought not be grounds for punishment.
Freedom of expression is fundamental to academe and democracy. Deprived of it, Australia is headed down the perilous path towards totalitarianism. At Sydney University students and staff enjoy, as well as suffer from, the great freedom using or abusing their languages to express their views. When it is acceptable to use the most vulgar language in student campaigns, on T-shirts, pavements, when f. k and bitch are used throughout the student newspaper, Honi Soit, and the groups campaigning for its editorial control last year were named Sex and Evil, how could politically insensitive terms in personal correspondence cause offence?
We are all entitled to our beliefs (however antiquated, unpopular or prejudiced) and to say things we may or may not believe — sometimes merely for social purposes. Our growth as a person and as a society terminates when we allow pride to triumph over our thirst for knowledge and truth. If an opinion offends us, we should respect the right of expression but beg to differ. The aim of education is not to silence people into kind whispers and innocuous small talk but to provoke thought. It’s all part of an ongoing discussion, without which learning is impossible.
The exaggerated outrage at Spurr’s emails is centred on his role in the reform of the English school curriculum, insinuating his judgment on the dominance of indigenous literature in Australian textbooks is coloured by a racist antagonism towards Aborigines. Yet Spurr spent more time in his emails criticising the hypocrisy of the political establishment in its endless gestures towards the Aboriginal community than diminishing the Aboriginal contribution to Australian literature.
In China we boast of our literary heritage and classical Chinese is compulsory in high school, but we have not forgotten the brilliant galaxies outside our own. One of the brightest is Anglo-American literature. To deny its place in the literary universe or reduce the number of masterpieces in the curriculum of an English-speaking country to include an excessive number of texts from another literary tradition would be sacrilege.
If the Australian government and people can garner the energy they’ve wasted on being politically correct and displays of gratitude or guilt, and channel it into constructing better community facilities, education and support services for Aboriginal people and all the sons and daughters of Australia, they would heal more wounds than random “racist” remarks can inflict.
All I know for sure is Spurr’s personal linguistic choices are none of our business. None of the emails prove him guilty of any sin other than a sardonic sense of humour and childlike whimsicality — the common vices of a poet.
To me he is someone who dedicates himself to the noble cause of restoring the beauty of a civilisation that people have too lightly cast away: good manners, respect for the elderly, a sound knowledge of English, modesty of dressing in public. His intentions are honourable, even if they make him unpopular with opponents.
He should not be made a scapegoat for an ideology of which he is not an advocate. He is not the parody the media presents. The university should not lose a jewel in its crown. If I, a small, sensitive, feminist, patriotic Chinese girl, am not offended by these leaked emails, why should anyone else be?
The PUP is dying
THE Palmer United Party, under pressure to come up with a list of 500 Queensland members by Monday or face deregistration, is trying to claim people who have resigned from the party as active members.
The party has four more days to prove to the Electoral Commission Queensland that it should remain eligible for inclusion on the state’s Register of Political Parties.
But former members have told The Australian the PUP advised them their memberships were automatically being reinstated, and that they would be listed as members of the political party in the PUP’s submission to the ECQ.
One former member received an unsolicited email from the party’s executive committee late on Wednesday advising that he had until the close of business yesterday to object or his name would be automatically included as a current member.
“The party executive has reviewed the memberships for the party and have decided that any membership of a person residing in Queensland be renewed by resolution of the party executive,’’ it read. “Any outstanding membership fee is waived.
“We wish to advise that your name will be submitted to the Queensland Electoral Commission (sic) … Please email back, by close of business tomorrow Thursday 23rd October, if you do not wish your membership details to be submitted to the QEC.”
The former PUP member in question said he resigned from the party last month when he realised it was “completely one-sided” in dealing with members.
He said he was frustrated with the PUP’s attempt to continue to claim him as a member when he clearly did not want to be, claiming it was “just not allowed”.
According to current Queensland legislation, his resignation from the PUP renders him ineligible to be listed as a legitimate party member with the ECQ.
The former member said he believed the party was “getting desperate” to meet membership numbers, given that his resignation had been acknowledged by the PUP in August.
The party boasted this week that it had “thousands of Queensland members”, but a party spokesman declined to state the actual number. Two party spokesmen were asked yesterday for comment about the email but declined to respond.
In 2003, a criminal prosecution was launched against Pauline Hanson, the former leader of the One Nation party, over claims that there had been fraudulent registration of members in Queensland. She was convicted and jailed, but freed after the decision was reversed on appeal.
At the heart of the case were claims that non-party members were falsely put forward to meet the 500-member requirement for a political party to be registered.
The PUP is required to prove that it has 500 members as it lost its status as a parliamentary party when the two MPs who joined from the Liberal National Party, Alex Douglas and Carl Judge, both resigned from the PUP.
More building union crookedness
The huge Construction and Building Unions Superannuation fund (CBUS) is heavily politicized and deep into union shenanigans
Lisa Zanatta who confessed to premeditated perjury at the Trade Union Royal Commission a few weeks ago has been sacked it was revealed on Thursday. CBUS CEO David Atkin confirmed Ms Zanatta had been terminated as an employee of industry super fund Cbus.
The evidence shows that it is not the perjury that concerned the Cbus Directors but the fact that she was caught. The Directors are in a lot more trouble than they realise and their days are numbered.
I wrote about Ms Zanatta a few weeks ago in relation to her perjury on the 3rd of October. The article is titled “Lisa Zanatta – Perjury Queen of the Trade Union Royal Commission”
“The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union CFMEU managed to obtain personal data which included contact details for the customers of Cbus (Construction and Building Unions Superannuation) who worked for the company Lis-Con. The CFMEU wanted the data to use in an industrial battle with Lis-Con. It has been alleged that the CFMEU wanted to contact the employees and make trouble for Lis-Con.”
“As the facts show Cbus employee Lisa Zanatta who lives in Melbourne had the data printed out and couriered to her house on a Friday. The following Monday she flew to Sydney and hand delivered the data to the CFMEU Lidcombe office at the request of Brian Parker who wanted the data.” (Click here to read more)
Lisa Zanatta was caught perjuring herself in relation to giving the personal data to the CFMEU as is shown in the transcript in the previous post.
On the 9th of October Cbus issued a statement which said that Lisa Zanatta had been suspended:
“On Friday 3 October, a Cbus employee admitted under oath at the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption to wrongfully supplying personal information, including contact details of Fund members’ who were employees of Lis-Con Services and Concrete Construction, to the CFMEU.”
“Having misled Cbus management during an internal and external investigation, and the lawyers acting for Cbus at the Royal Commission, the employee has been suspended.” (Click here to read more)
Lisa Zanatta’s sacking – Very strange indeed
At a time between the 9th of October and the 23rd of October Lisa Zanatta was sacked. Exactly when and why is unknown at this stage although the perjury is the obvious reason why. Cbus should have issued a press release one would have thought given the circumstances and given they did when Ms Zanatta was suspended. I tried to find out more and hit a brick wall.
Who is Rod Masson?
I phoned the Cbus media person Rod Masson on Thursday (23/10/14) to ask a few questions but his voicemail said he is overseas until November and to call Peter Keogh. Mr Masson’s background is interesting to say the least. His LinkedIn profile says he is “National Director Policy and Communications at Finance Sector Union of Australia”. Another union boy who obviously forgot to update his profile. I wonder what he knows of Cbus giving the personal data to the CFMEU. Mr Masson also previously worked at Essential Media Communications which received a mention in a previous post by me (Click here to read) as being the company that is doing the Crisis Management for the CFMEU for the Royal Commission. Such a small world.
Who is Peter Keogh?
I phoned Mr Keogh who is Senior Adviser, Corporate Affairs at Cbus on Thursday as well and left a message. He never did return the call. Mr Keogh previously worked as Chief of Staff for Victorian Labor Party MP and Minister Richard Wynne from February 2007 to November 2010.
The point about Mr Masson and Mr Keogh is that Cbus is clearly a money train for the Labor Party and union movement with every man and their dog having their snout in the trough. It is not just the Directors who are Labor Party and union cronies, it is the whole organisation and that is why they are all involved in the cover-up and why there is very little information being made public or available to the media..
Admission of sacking by CEO David Atkin
It was not known in the media that Lisa Zanatta had been sacked until Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission Jeremy Stoljar asked Cbus CEO David Atkin while he was giving evidence on Thursday what her current situation was. Mr Atkin replied that Zanatta’s employment had been “terminated”.
Mr Atkin had an obligation to say a lot more about Ms Zanatta’s termination before he was asked when he was in the witness stand. But the situation is really a Board of Directors responsibility now although they are hiding behind Mr Atkin at the moment.
Cbus Directors are liable and are in breach of their Director Duties
Cbus Chairman -Steve Bracks - Former Premier of Victoria
Cbus Chairman – Steve Bracks – 2013 salary $102,020 – Former Premier of Victoria
There is a crisis going on at the $27 Billion Cbus and Chairman Steve Bracks and the other Directors are nowhere to be found. If you have a look at the Directors list it is full of Labor Party and union boys and girls. (Click here to see the Directors list and pay)
The Directors have legal obligations that they need to abide by and they are clearly failing and should be charged themselves. The lack of action by the Cbus Directors clearly shows they are protecting the CEO, staff and most likely one or more Directors from being exposed for criminal conduct. They have clearly given the green light for staff members to perjure themselves at the Royal Commission as long as they do not get caught.
Questions Chairman Steve Bracks, and the other Directors need to answer:
1. Given the evidence at the Royal Commission why haven’t the Directors sacked or suspended the CEO David Atkin?
2. Has the Board of Directors made a complaint to the police in relation to Lisa Zanatta stealing the personal data of the Cbus members and giving it to the CFMEU. If not why not?
3. Has the Board of Directors made a complaint to the police in relation to Lisa Zanatta perjuring herself at the Royal Commission given she did it as a Cbus employee? If not why not?
4. Given the Royal Commission has been investigating the CFMEU, have the Cbus Directors employed at the CFMEU stood aside as Cbus Directors until the end of the Royal Commission. Those directors being: Dave Noonan, Rita Mallia and Frank O’Grady.
Numerous ways Lisa Zanatta can be charged with perjury and other crimes
The chances of Lisa Zanatta facing criminal offences would have to be extremely high and one would expect if she does she might roll over on others. Cbus themselves should have made a formal complaint to the police. Commissioner Heydon can refer her conduct to the Director of Public Prosecutions. Members of Cbus can make a complaint to the police and relevant authorities and the company Lis-Con can also make a complaint to the police
Commissioner Heydon warned another Cbus staff member, Maria Butera, on Thursday of the consequences of perjuring herself. So unless Commissioner Heydon was bluffing then Cbus could find a current staff member being charged as well as former staff member Ms Zanatta.
NSW Brian Parker
Dave Noonan Brian Parker - 2
Brian Parker and Dave Noonan at the Royal Commission on Friday (24/10/14) They had a good chat after Brian Parker gave evidence. Probably had a good chat before he gave evidence as well.
If Cbus sacked Lisa Zanatta for perjury then the obvious question is why haven’t the CFMEU sacked Brian Parker for clear and blatant perjury. (Mr Parker was previously caught lying when they asked him questions about threatening to bash a whistleblower which he denied. They then played an intercepted phone call of Mr Parker making the threat.) Why Mr Parker has not been sacked is a question Dave Noonan should be able to answer given he is a Director of Cbus and National Secretary of the CFMEU. Unless of course Mr Parker is protecting Mr Noonan. Rita Mallia might also be able to answer the question as she is President of the NSW CFMEU and also on the payroll of Cbus as a Director.
The situation at Cbus will heat up over the next few months after Commissioner Heydon publishes his interim report in December. Commissioner Heydon I would expect to be writing beside many witness’s name the words “not a credible witness” and/or “the witness gave deliberately false evidence”. Watch Cbus explode if he does.
While there is no evidence of fraud and theft of members money at Cbus it makes you wonder when senior management are so obviously corrupt.
26 October, 2014
A Leftist witch-hunt
Brilliant Australian comedian Barry Humphries (Dame Edna) is fairly conservative on the rare occasions when he is being serious and one of his serious comments appears below. It appeared as a letter in "The Australian" newspaper, a Murdoch creation. He is appalled at the furore generated when some private emails from a professor of poetry at the University of Sydney, Barry Spurr, were leaked to the Leftist press. I think I should add a few points here in addition to the points made by Humphries.
The opinions expressed by Spurr were basically old-fashioned these days and being an oldster myself, I share many of them. But the main thing that has the Left up in arms is the type of language Prof. Spurr uses. His vocabulary is the antithesis of political correctness, probably deliberately. For instance, when describing the undoubted increase in obesity in recent years, he refers to "fatties" instead of "people of girth" or whatever the politically correct term is these days.
And obesity figures prominently in the ways Spurr disapproves of modern life. He bewails a loss of standards these days and thinks that social customs, values and such things were better in the old days. And the fact that people were a lot slimmer back in the '40s and '50s is one of the examples he gives of slipping standards these days. But that is simply truthful. Politicians worldwide have declared a "war" on obesity, accompanied by a claim that we and our waistlines are going to the dogs these days. Spurr is right that standards have slipped.
Basically, Spurr offends against Leftist pieties without, I believe, saying much that would disturb the average Australian. But people who breach those Leftist pieties publicly earn such a torrent of Leftist abuse that people have become cautious about plain speaking. And the dominance of the Left in the media, in education and in the bureaucracy has made plain speaking simply dangerous to one's career on many occasions.
And Prof. Spurr was clearly aware of that. He confined his uninhibited language to private emails. But, with typical Leftist lack of scruple, someone (presumably someone involved in looking after the university email system) "hacked" Spurr's emails and forwarded them to a far-Left publication, which promptly reproduced them. Read them here for yourself.
And the very mention of some social groups is automatically called "racist" by Leftists, let alone claiming differences between those groups, and let alone using mocking language about such groups. So Spurr's references to Muslims as "mussies" is deep-dyed offensiveness to leftist minds.
And Spurr's failure to respect feminism was also deemed offensive, despite the fact that most men and many women would concur with that. We even had some good evidence of that in Australia a couple of years ago, when our Leftist Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, made an angry feminist speech condemning "misogyny". The speech was applauded by feminists worldwide but it sank Julia. Her popularity among men reached such catastrophic low in the public opinion polls that her own party booted her out of the Prime Ministership not long thereafter.
Spurr also despairs of the obsessive attention paid to Aborigines in Australian universities and elsewhere. You cannot go to a graduation ceremony in an Australian university these days without being addressed by some Aboriginal person about things that have little or nothing to do with the university. It is just political correctness and I deplore it too. It is simply boring and irrelevant. It does nothing for anyone as far as I can see. I am sure that the drunken Aborigines who infest many public places in Queensland, where I live, are not uplifted by it. It is just Leftist tokenism.
And it seems unlikely that even Leftists believe in their own pieties. Every now and again their real beliefs do leak out. A prime example comes from the constant arguments about voter ID in America. There is a lot of fraudulent voting in America. As that great authority on crime, Al Capone, said: "Vote early and vote often". In response American conservatives have pushed hard for people to present photo ID before they are allowed to vote. But because a lot of the fraudulent voting is in favour of Leftist candidates, Leftists have repeatedly gone to court to block the requirement for voters to present photo ID.
And what argument do Leftists constantly use to support their case? They argue that it would "disenfranchise" blacks. They claim, in other words, that blacks are too dumb to be able to acquire such ID, even though you need photo ID to do almost anything in America. And the whole Leftist program of "affirmative action" reveals a barely hidden belief that blacks are unable to make it in open competition with whites. With their constant obessing over race, it is Leftists who are the real racists and the big hypocrites. More on that here
I saw that hypocrisy repeatedly in my research career. Although nothing could be more authoritarian than Leftism (they want to MAKE people behave in a way they approve of) my survey research always revealed great reluctance for Leftists to approve of anything authoritarian or pro-authority. They could not admit their own motivations. Leftists rely heavily of the psychological defence mechanisms of denial and projection. On many issues, they just cannot let reality in at all.
And I showed long ago. that Leftists will espouse views that they actually disagree with if it suits their purpose. And in the run-up to the 2004 American presidential election, John Kerry and other Leftists even argued for the status quo and something very similar to the venerable Treaty of Westphalia of 1648 in order to criticize GWB's military excursions in the Middle East! See here and here
And their condemnation of "racism" is of a piece with their hypocrisy. As psychological research has often shown, it is completely natural for people to have a preference for people like themselves, for their own group. And they do. But say so out loud and Leftists will come down on you like a ton of bricks. As human beings, they too have such feelings but for political expedience, they deny it. There are many Barry Spurrs out there and many of them will be Leftist.
HAS Australia gone slightly mad? I read in the London press of some poor professor in Sydney who has been persecuted and suspended for sending emails to a friend in which he employs outrageous vernacular epithets for race which would be offensive if they were not so clearly jocular.
His reported response to the storm in a teacup which followed this revelation is, unsurprisingly, bewilderment. How could anyone take such deliberate touretting seriously? The answer, I fear, is that there are a lot of Australians these days who are totally bereft of a sense of humour. The new puritanism is alive, well and powerful.
Not long ago some poor guy was actually prosecuted for saying that the Aboriginal welfare services were sometimes exploited by faux Aborigines, even though we knew it was true.
Recently, I announced that when I curate next year’s Adelaide cabaret festival I will ban the F-word, and there was a howl of protest, indeed outrage, particularly from comedians. What kind of comedians were they, do you suppose? Why, comedians with no sense of humour of course! Or comedians whose stand-ups would be meaningless if deprived of one over-used word.
We really ought to be aware of this malignant brand of cultural fascism, and restore our reputation as a funny country before it’s too late.
Barry Humphries, London, UK
Say no to Australia's coal killers
CONVICTED killer, now Anglican priest, Evan Pederick is the perfect poster boy for the fossil fuel divestment campaign. The convicted and self-confessed terrorist has been taken into the bosom of the Anglican Church and joined forces with other churches to divest their institutions of investments in fossil fuels (and some minerals).
That other church of green ideology, the Australian National University, has done the same.
Pederick willingly and knowingly set out to destroy a life, that of the Indian prime minister, by planting a bomb in Sydney in 1978. He missed and killed three others instead. Divestment activists, perhaps unwittingly, also will harm innocent people.
Instead of Killers against Coal, why not Christians for Coal?
The moral calculation is simple. An effective divestment campaign would increase the cost of power and harm the poor.
It would substitute the possible risk of some harm to life from climate change decades into the future with the certain harm to life from denial of access to cheap energy now. An ineffective campaign, which is more likely, would waste the opportunity to put funds to better use.
Had the ANU, for example, announced that it would devote more of its (taxpayer supported) trust’s investments to low carbon energy research, building on its actual contribution to society, education, few outsiders would have quibbled. Except, of course, the trustees, who bypassed the opportunity because the investment would have been high risk and harmed its own income.
Instead, ANU trustees took a moral preening stance with low risk to its own income and high risk of harm to the poor. While accepting taxpayers’ money to train engineers, the ANU trustees and its vice-chancellor treat the work of those engineers with a likely future in fossil fuel and minerals mining with disdain. In the spirit of undergraduate activism that now infects the ANU at the highest levels, I urge all engineering aspirants to boycott the ANU.
The mystery is why the disease of divestment has spread so far and wide. Partly, it is because the climate change research pool has been tainted by a culture of silencing dissent in pursuit of public funds. Partly, it is a consequence of the growth of green non-government organisations, most with taxpayer privileges, and partly because industry has given up arguing the case for science in the service of progress.
Industry, especially companies with head offices in Europe, allowed itself to be demonised. It got sucked into the social licence to operate gibberish. It ceded legitimacy to a bunch of moralists who would keep the poor poor.
“Beyond Petroleum” was the tag adopted by a BP too embarrassed to face the public about the fact the public, indeed, the poor, needed hydrocarbons. BP chief executive John Browne’s famous 1997 speech signalled that “We in BP … must now focus on what can and what should be done, not because we can be certain climate change is happening but because the possibility can’t be ignored. If we are all to take responsibility for the future of our planet, then it falls to us to begin to take precautionary action now.”
At that time of climate change hyperbole BP (and many others) failed to defend its role in society. Of course, the greens never accepted the ploy, renouncing it as Beyond Belief. Indeed, from its 2000 announcements of investments in bio fuels, wind and solar, by 2011 BP had sold the solar business and by 2013 had attempted to sell the wind business. Bio-fuels remain beholden to huge taxpayer subsidies, harming the poor.
As Browne wrote in his 2013 book Seven Elements That Have Changed the World, one of which is carbon, “the prospects for meaningful international agreement on climate changed (sic) have diminished with each passing year”. He also concedes that political leaders “need to prepare us to adapt to a different set of climatic conditions”. Adaptation is the new reality, not the fantasy of abatement, which is at the heart of the divestment strategy.
Shell, on the other hand, has decided to fight back. Last week, Shell’s chairman in Australia, Andrew Smith, said rising activism was “fast becoming one of the greatest challenges facing Australian growth”.
Many more must join the fight, the first task of which is to name the enemy within — the killer priest, the ANU vice-chancellor and trustees, and scores of green NGOs. These should be made to feel the cold steel of rationality, which by the way, cannot be made without coking coal.
Murdoch lashes Abbott on journalists law
News Corp co-chairman Lachlan Murdoch has invoked his grandfather's reporting of Gallipoli to lash the Abbott government's new national security laws that could jail journalists for up to 10 years.
Mr Murdoch said Australia's press freedom was under threat and had already fallen dramatically by world standards.
"It might surprise you that today Australia ranks 33rd, just behind Belize, on the Freedom house index. 20 years ago we ranked 9th," Mr Murdoch said during the Keith Murdoch Oration at the State Library in Melbourne on Thursday night.
Mr Murdoch said the government was frequently asking Australians to trust them 'we're from the government', when attempting to censor the media.
"But trust is something that should not be a consideration when restricting our fundamental freedoms. Our freedom of speech and freedom of the press are not things we should blindly entrust anyone."
Mr Murdoch singled out the government's national security laws that could jail journalists for up to 10 years for revealing "special intelligence operations".
Many, including human rights commissioner Tim Wilson, have condemned these laws, saying they would restrict legitimate scrutiny of Australia's secret agencies.
Mr Murdoch said the government's terminology, particularly "secret intelligence operation", was ambiguous.
"It's left up to government agencies at the time to decide. Would the Gallipoli campaign have been a special operation?"
Mr Murdoch's grandfather Sir Keith Murdoch revealed the devastation of Gallipoli, which killed more than 8000 soldiers, in a letter to then Prime Minister Andrew Fisher, despite reports from the battle field being censored by the military.
"Incredible as it seems today, Fisher … had received little notice of the Gallipoli invasion.
"Would Sir Keith have been arrested … to spend the next 10 years in jail? And remember, the taking of that letter … a private communication to the prime minister, was tremendous overreach by the military at that time.
"A century ago, Keith Murdoch's Gallipoli letter was Australia's boldest declaration that our nation had the right to know the truth."
Mr Murdoch also took aim at the previous Labor government's attempts to introduce a public interest media advocate to oversee all media as the "most draconian attack on the press this country has ever seen in peacetime".
Failure to comply with advocate could have seen the removal of the Privacy Act exemptions, which "are essential for journalists to do their work", Mr Murdoch said.
"And, if all else failed, a single unnamed 'super expert' could apply his or her own undefined 'public interest test' and punish an organisation commercially," he said.
"Censorship should be resisted in all its insidious forms. We should be vigilant of the gradual erosion of our freedom to know, to be informed, and make reasoned decisions in our society and in our democracy.
"We must all take notice and, like Sir Keith, have the courage to act when those freedoms are threatened."
The modern-day Left dislike patriotism
By TANVEER AHMED (A psychiatrist of Bangladeshi origin)
“IT is a strange fact, but it is unquestionably true that almost any English intellectual would feel more ashamed of standing to attention during God Save the King than of stealing from a poor box.” So wrote George Orwell. His sentiments could scarcely be more applicable in modern Australia.
On patriotism, as with other national characteristics and policy strategies, Australia sits between individualist, nationalist America and collectivist, patriotically reluctant Europe.
Recent stormy debate over a T-shirt bearing an Australian flag and the slogan ‘Love it — or leave’ illustrates how difficult it is for Australian progressives to embrace outward displays of patriotism, lest they be stained by, or confused with, chest-beating hypermasculinity or perceived exclusion of minority groups.
Patriotism is a dirty word. Indeed, hip-hop artist Matt Colwell not only labelled the Australian flag “racist” on the ABC’s Q&A, he said later: “The way those people have used the flag has so tarnished the flag for me personally that it stands for a sort of swastika symbol in my mind.”
American social psychologist Jonathan Haidt writes in The Righteous Mind that conservatives have a broader matrix of moral worlds than progressives, who are skewed towards caring for the weak and distributing wealth. He compiled a catalogue of six fundamental ideas that commonly undergird moral systems: care, fairness, liberty, loyalty, authority and sanctity.
When psychologists talk about authority, loyalty and sanctity, those who identify with the Left spurn these ideas as the seeds of racism, sexism and homophobia.
Two world wars left a deep scar on the European psyche, especially on the notion of nationalism, which was seen as causing the rise of fascist Italy and Germany.
This ambivalence spawned a belief that countries such as Britain should be a culturally blank canvas; that patriotism is an old fashioned trapping of empire and countries such as Britain could be shaped afresh with new cultures living side by side in unity.
While we may lack the imperial guilt, there can be little doubt this view is apparent in Australia, perhaps even more so given our relative youth and more malleable historical and cultural foundations.
Orwell made a clear distinction between nationalism and patriotism.
He qualified nationalism as “the worst enemy of peace”, the belief one’s country was superior to others while patriotism was an attachment to and admiration of a nation’s way of life and “of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally”.
While Islamic terrorism is attractive to a very small proportion of the population, it highlights a weakness of liberal democracies in their lukewarm, sometimes conflicted promotion of a collective identity.
The gap for Islamists is filled by the fierce transnational identity that the Islamic notion of the ummah can build, a piety so strong they are prepared to sacrifice their lives. Macabre, evil and disgusting the actions may be, but the intensity of belief is in stark contrast to the relative apathy of mild-mannered secular atheists.
French philosopher Michel Onfray said in an interview last year on the topic of the decline of the West: “Who is ready to die for the values of the West or the values of the Enlightenment?”
Onfray questions the will of Westerners to fight for anything, believing we have been numbed by consumerism in a secular age that creates no attachment to God and country.
The strong patriotism of the US that integrates its extremely diverse population so successfully may explain why so few American-Muslims, as a proportion of the population, have gone to fight in Syria, compared with many thousands from Europe. The several hundred estimated to have travelled from Australia, as a percentage of our Muslim population, are many multiples greater than in America.
While an Australian republic is traditionally derided in conservative circles, there is a direct correlation with Tony Abbott’s Team Australia rhetoric and the intensification of patriotism a republic is likely to promote. It holds promise as a key plank in fostering a greater collective identity.
Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane championed a greater patriotism for the Left in his 2009 book Reclaiming Patriotism: Nation-Building for Australian Progressives. The reaction to a harmless T-shirt promoting love of country suggests the task has a considerable way to go.
Australia to grant 500 work visas to Israelis
Israeli ambassador calls deal ‘a substantial and important reinforcement of bilateral relations’
Israel and Australia signed an agreement Wednesday according to which Canberra will grant 500 work visas per year to Israeli citizens who meet certain requirements.
“This agreement brings Israel in line with other countries that have a similar agreement with Australia,” Israeli ambassador to Australia Shmuel Ben Shmuel said, according to the Israeli news outlet Ynet. “It is a substantial and important reinforcement of bilateral relations between the two countries, and will also enable our two peoples to strengthen their connection and learn about each other’s cultures, which will open the door for more partnerships in the future.”
Israeli citizens aged 18-30 who have completed either military or national service, among other criteria, will be eligible to work legally in Australia for up to one year.
Israelis suffer from a bad reputation in numerous countries worldwide, including Australia, for working illegally, in places such as Dead Sea product mall kiosks, and using aggressive sales tactics.
The egregious maneuvers utilized by the Israeli salespeople, coupled with the fact that many of them are working illegally, have roused the suspicions of the FBI, US Homeland Security, embassies around the world trying to combat labor fraud, and journalists who are uncovering questionable sales tactics.
Though Israelis can enter the European Union, Canada, or Australia without a visa interview, they are not allowed to work unless they get a special working holiday visa.
24 October, 2014
No apologies to Bob Carter?
When Carter first drew attention to the cessation of global warming after 1998, he was roundly abused, condemned and told he was wrong. Now that even Warmists admit to what they call the "pause" in warming, is anybody apologizing to Carter and admitting that he was right after all? Certainly no Warmists are
It was an Australian scientist, Bob Carter, who first drew attention to the flattening trend in an article in Britain’s The Telegraph in April 2006. Carter reviewed the official temperature records of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia for the years 1998 to 2005 and asked: “Does something not strike you as odd?”
Carter’s reward for identifying the lack of global warming was to have his professional reputation trashed. When Carter repeated his suggestion in the Australian press a year later, the CSIRO felt obliged to respond. Carter had presented “an unethical misrepresentation of the facts”, wrote Andrew Ash, acting director of the CSIRO’s Climate Adaptation Flagship. “All scientists welcome honest criticism since it helps to sharpen our analyses and improve our understanding, but scepticism based on half-truths and misrepresentation of facts is not helpful.”
ABC online’s The Drum refused to run his commentary. ABC Radio National’s science broadcaster Robyn Williams gave an open microphone to Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change communications director Bob Ward, who accused Carter of “desperately seeking bits of information to back up a theory”.
Political scientist Robert Manne said the likes of Carter, award-winning geologist Ian Plimer and former head of the National Climate Centre at the Bureau of Meteorology William Kininmonth “have to be resisted and indeed denounced” along with the “anti-political correctness and anti-collectivist ideologues, the right-wing media and the fossil fuel corporations”.
As recently as two years ago, former finance minister Nick Minchin was mocked on the ABC’s Q&A for suggesting that temperatures had plateaued. “There is a major problem with the warmist argument because we have had rising CO2 but we haven’t had the commensurate rise in temperature that the IPCC predicted,” he said.
“That’s just not true Nick,” responded Anna Rose, chairwoman of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition.
The University of NSW’s Matthew England joined in. “What Nick just said is actually not true. The IPCC projections of 1990 have borne out very accurately the projections now 22 years old.”
As it happens, it was true. The 1990 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report predicted temperature rises of 0.3C each decade. In fact, according to the latest report global temperatures have risen only 0.14C per decade since 1978.
In September last year a draft version of the fifth assessment report of the IPCC’s working group 1 that assesses the physical science of climate finally acknowledged the gap between computer projections and observed surface temperatures between 1998 and 2012. The IPCC was not so bold as to admit that its previous reports were wrong. It did accept, however, that there had been a “global mean surface temperature trend hiatus”, which amounts to the same thing.
If science worked as purely as Francis Bacon suggested it should, by the application of induction and observation, climate science would have moved on by now. Experts, however, are only human. Too many professional reputations have been invested in a fixed idea for it to be simply abandoned.
The heating has not stopped, we are told, it has simply “paused”. The word bristles with presumption. Despite their appalling track record in the past 20 years, climate scientists still believe they can predict how temperatures will move in the future.
“The ocean is absorbing huge amounts of heat energy and then will toss it back on us further along,” Dr Karl told Delroy.
Nobody suggested that temperatures should rise in a straight line, he said. “It’s much more complicated than that … there are so many factors involved, El Nino, La Nina, Pacific Decadal Oscillation, etc, that suggests that you need a 17-year window to able to look past the noise.
“And here they are saying we’re looking at a nine-year window and it looks sort of not as uppity as before. Well that’s easy, it’s not a 17-year window.” [Dr Karl Kruszelnicki is ignoring facts that even Warmists now admit -- the "pause" has gone on for 18 years]
A mixed up Syrian in Australia
She has been labelled everything from a government spy to a pro-Bashar al-Assad mouthpiece to a Kim Kardashian wannabe. But Syrian-Australian blogger Maram Susli, who goes by Mimi Al Laham or 'Syrian Girl', says she is just a patriot 'dedicated to the truth'.
Her YouTube channel has received more than 2.5 million views, where she posts videos such as 'Exposed: The "Assad backs Al-Qaeda" Myth' and 'If Syria Disarms Chemical Weapons We Lose The War'.
Born in Damascus in 1987 to what she describes as a middle class, professional family of the majority Muslim sect, Ms Susli moved to Australia when she was a child.
'My mother was a big fan of the series Neighbours during the early 90s and was convinced Australia would be just like it,' she said.
Ms Susli says she speaks out on social media because she is dismayed by watching her birth country being destroyed. She is critical of Syrian rebels, ISIS and the United States. She wants to see Syria's 'army strong' and its 'borders solid'.
'People are dying, and I have a duty as a human being and as someone of Syrian origin to expose the truth about why,' Ms Susli said.
'A duty to give a voice to those Syrians who have not been heard, who have rejected the instability caused by the US support of the extremist rebels.'
But along with her loyal followers come her many detractors who say she is a fame-hungry conspiracy theorist. Some of her more controversial assertions include that 9/11 was an 'inside job', that Ebola could be a US biological weapon and that chemical weapons are Syria's 'only hope'.
She says she was recently accused by one commentator of doing what she does because aspires to have 'Kim Kardashian fame'. 'Highly offensive when I do what I do because I'm watching the country of my birth destroyed before my eyes.'
Ms Susli believes that many don't take her seriously simply because she's a female talking about politics. 'You have to fight tooth and nail for respect and legitimacy that would have comes naturally if you were a middle-aged man in a suit and tie,' she said.
'But far worse are journalists who, because they disagree with my point of view, attack me with misogyny rather than argue against me with facts.
'They would rather abuse me with accusations of plastic surgery than discuss the content of what I'm saying.'
She is often described as being 'pro-Assad' – a label she rejects. 'One doesn't need to be pro-government to support their military against an external terror threat,' she said.
Ms Susli is currently studying a postgraduate degree in Australia after completing a science degree with a double major in biophysics and chemistry.
But she dedicates a large amount of time to blogging about her country of origin, which she has visited many times while living in Australia over the past two decades.
'Politics has been my passion even before the war in Syria, so it's logical that when war began in the country of my birth, which I visit often and where my extend family reside, I'd be even more passionate,' she said.
'When people I know have died, when others have had their lives turned upside down, when it's my family that I couldn't go back to say goodbye to on their death beds, how would I not become emotional about that?'
McCloy's challenge may derail NSW's political finance laws
Last week NSW Premier Mike Baird announced changes to the state's political finance laws. They amount only to an interim measure, with long term reforms to follow based upon the report of the government's expert panel on political donations chaired by Kerry Schott.
Looming over both is the constitutional challenge lodged in July by former Newcastle Mayor Jeff McCloy. His case has the potential not only to frustrate these changes, but to derail ICAC's ongoing investigation into developer donations and political corruption.
Evidence tendered before ICAC shows that McCloy is a property developer who has made a number of political donations. Indeed, he has said of the state's politicians: "They all come to see me for money, I feel like a walking ATM some days."
NSW electoral funding rules ban property developers from making political donations. As a result, McCloy faces the prospect of being found by ICAC to have engaged in "corrupt conduct".
Rather than await such a finding, he has launched a pre-emptive strike in the High Court. His argument is that the ban is invalid, and thus that there is no law in place to prevent him as a developer from making political donations. If he succeeds, the ICAC cases against him and the politicians who accepted such donations could unravel.
In recent weeks, McCloy has broadened his challenge. He has done so because his case overlooked another ground upon which he may have broken the election rules.
NSW law also made it an offence at the 2011 election to provide a political donation of more than $5,000 to a political party or $2,000 to a candidate. The evidence shows that McCloy breached this, and so he is now also asserting that the caps on political donations are unconstitutional.
McCloy's case is far from fanciful. In December 2013, the High Court unanimously struck down a NSW ban on political donations by corporations, unions, and any person not on the electoral roll. The challenge succeeded on the basis that the ban infringed the Constitution's guarantee of freedom of political communication.
There is no doubt that the developer donation ban also restricts freedom of political communication. The High Court said as much last year when it held that the freedom is burdened wherever a law restricts the sources of funds available to political parties and candidates to meet the costs of their political communication.
However, this is not enough to have the law struck down. The law will be saved if the NSW government can show that it is a proportionate response to addressing a legitimate purpose.
The ban on union and corporate donations failed this test because the Court found that it was not directed at preventing corruption, and indeed that it lacked any justifying purpose at all. By contrast, the ban on developer donations can be seen more readily as a measure aimed at stopping corruption. Certainly, the ban was introduced in response to scandals showing how developers can exert undue influence over politicians.
If the court accepts that the law has this purpose, it must then determine whether the law is proportionate to achieving this aim. This is harder to determine. The ban has a wide ambit, not only in applying to developers and their associates, but even to their spouses. The ban might also be seen as discriminatory because, along with the bans on donations from tobacco, liquor and gambling interests, it singles out particular donors, while leaving others untouched. All up, the likely outcome in the High Court is very difficult to predict.
If the developer donation ban is struck down, the scheme will need to be adjusted. The government might respond by lowering the general cap on donations so as to limit the influence developers or others might have.
A far greater problem would arise if the High Court also struck down the cap on political donations. This goes to the heart of how the scheme operates. If commercial and other interests are able to give unlimited amounts of money to parties and candidates, no scheme of political finance regulation can be effective.
Fortunately, this second argument will be far harder to sustain. The cap on donations restricts political communication, but it does so in a general, across-the-board way. Moreover, it does so in response to long-standing concerns about the possibility of large donations corrupting the political process. It seems very unlikely that it will be struck down.
With less than half a year to go to the next state election, it might have been expected that the rules governing political donations would be clear and certain. Instead, they are in a state of flux. Reforms have been proposed, but they are only interim measures, and even then they may be swept away by the High Court's pronouncement in the McCloy case.
Crackdown bid on hookah pipe cafes
Doctors and a coalition of public health groups have called for closure of a legal loophole that allows indoor shisha smoking in Victoria.
The Australian-Lebanese Medical Association joined the Heart Foundation, Cancer Council Victoria, and Quit Victoria, in asking the Coalition and Labor to commit to banning the practice ahead of next month's state election.
Labor says it wouldn't support a ban because it could be unfair to our multicultural community.
Dr Walid Ahmar, a cardiologist and ALMA president, said shisha smoking, popular in cafes in parts of Melbourne, had wrongly been considered harmless.
He said in a one-hour session, users could inhale 100 to 200 times the volume of smoke inhaled in a single cigarette, increasing their risk of heart disease and a range of cancers.
"Water-pipe usage is associated with serious potential health hazards not only to the smoker but to those who are exposed to the smoke. It can cause a number of cancers, lung, stomach, oesophageal, oral cancer in addition to the development and progression of coronary artery disease.
"Given the well-known and documented impacts of second-hand smoking it is absolutely unacceptable to continue to expose staff and customers to this risk, because of a legislative oversight."
Dr Ahmar said shisha smoking is banned in restaurants in Lebanon, "yet it is still prevalent here" and in Turkey, TV ads warn of its harmful effects.
He called on all political parties "to show leadership to support and put the health of our community first and foremost in closing this loophole ahead of next month's state election".
In 2006, the state government banned smoking in enclosed workplaces. But the ban, using a definition in the Tobacco act of 1987, applied to consumption of tobacco product whose "main ingredient" was tobacco.
Because waterpipe tobacco consists of a mix of tobacco, molasses and flavourings, tobacco may not be the main ingredient. Molasses and fruit flavouring can account for up to 70 per cent of the mixture.
The lobbyists propose that the definition of "tobacco product" be amended to remove the term "main ingredient", and be defined as "tobacco, or a cigarette or cigar, or any other product containing tobacco and designed for human consumption or use".
Shadow Health Minister Gavin Jennings said Labor had implemented many reforms such as banning smoking in pubs, clubs and workplaces.
"But reform has to get the balance right. Banning shisha, particularly when it has no tobacco content, could unfairly affect parts of our multicultural community."
Cancer Council Victoria director of prevention Craig Sinclair said Victoria is "unfortunately the only state in the country that still allows such a practice to still continue".
He said given the "well-known and very well-documented health impacts of second-hand smoke", it was "unacceptable that this practice can continue, to expose both staff and customers to this risk because of what is clearly a legislative oversight".
But Rashid Freihat, owner of Arabesque Shisha Lounge and Cafe in Sydney Road, Coburg, said a ban would shut down his business.
Mr Freihat knows of 18 shisha businesses along Sydney Road. Smoking the hookah was a cultural and social practice. At his lounge, friends could gather to watch soccer and eat tapas together. He doesn't serve alcohol.
He said shisha mix was "only about 10 to 15 per cent tobacco and the rest is flavoured fruit".
He hadn't been affected by second-hand smoke in three years working there, and the lounge had an exhaust system.
A spokesman for Health Minister David Davis said: "The Government's immediate priority will be implementing the announced ban on smoking in outdoor dining areas, but will examine the issue raised today."
Reebok fined for misleading customers about EasyTone sneakers
Reebok has been penalised $350,000 and ordered to issue refunds for misleading customers about its EasyTone shoe range, which it claimed for years would boost muscle tone of calves, thighs and derrières more than ordinary sneakers.
The sportswear company conceded in the Federal Court it made false and misleading claims about the benefits of wearing EasyTone sneakers and sandals on shoe boxes, swing tags, booklets and posters.
Reebok, without scientific evidence, claimed "balance pods built-in under the heel" and "balance ball-inspired technology with moving air" in EasyTone shoes would increase "muscle activation" of the buttocks by 28 per cent and of thighs and calves by 11 per cent.
The international advertising drive featured Australian supermodel Miranda Kerr who said: "I work out, do yoga and wear my EasyTone wherever I go so that know that I'm benefitting my body as I go about my daily routine".
The Federal Court found Reebok breached three sections of Australian Consumer Law and had no reasonable grounds to make such representations.
In an agreement reached with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which instigated the court action in December last year, Reebok will issue $35 refunds to customers, set up a hotline, publish corrective notices and start a compliance program.
The EasyTone shoe range has been on sale in Australia since late 2009, but the court action relates to promotional material from September 2011 and February 2013.
In September 2011, the United States arm of Reebok agreed to pay $US25 million in a settlement after the Federal Trade Commission claimed it was deceiving customers about the better legs promise.
Reebok Australia was aware of the US settlement but supplied 16,448 pairs of EasyTone shoes in boxes emblazoned with the false statements between September 2011 and May 2012.
In the 2012 financial year, Reebok raked in half a million dollars in revenue from the sales of Easytone shoes to retailers.
The ACCC first raised concerns with Reebok in August 2012, but it was not until May this year that the sporting goods maker admitted it was in the wrong.
"Where businesses claim their products have certain performance characteristics and benefits, they have a responsibility to ensure that those claims are accurate and supported by credible evidence," said ACCC's deputy chair, Delia Rickard.
"This is particularly important in cases such as this where it is difficult for consumers to independently verify the claims."
Reebok Australia is a wholly-owned subsidiary of sporting goods distributor True Alliance. Its brand manager Karl Pohlman told Fairfax Media that its customers were the first priority.
"We are happy to have resolved the ACCC's inquiry over our historical EasyTone advertising so that we can return our focus to inspiring people everywhere to be their absolute best," he said.
Retailers which flogged the EasyTone range include Myer, Sports Locker, Rebel Sport and Foot Locker.
23 October, 2014
Help wanted in Sydney boutique Alice’s Diary ... but only if you’re Korean
This article is just a beatup. The Koreans obviously wanted someone who spoke good Korean, which is NOT illegal. Their assumption that only a Korean would be able to speak good Korean was reasonable -- as Asian languages are very difficult for people originating from the other end of the Eurasian continent. If you have ever heard Koreans trying to speak English, that will tell you how likely we are to speak good Korean
NON-Koreans need not apply. That is the message from one central Sydney retailer that may have breached the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act with its “Korean speakers only” employment policy.
Fashion and beauty store Alice’s Diary in the heart of Koreatown, on Liverpool Street, is advertising for “Korean staff” at their World Square shop.
Two non-Korean Daily Telegraph staff members who tried to test their employment policy by inquiring about the job were turned away, one in less than two minutes.
The shop could be breaching the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act, which makes it illegal for an employer to use race as a deciding factor in who should be offered a job.
Daily Telegraph reporter Ashlee Mullany visited the shop on Friday after they posted a “Korean Staff Wanted” sign in their window.
When Mullany asked a shop assistant in the store about the job she was asked: “Is she Korean?” The reporter explained she was applying for the job, not a friend.
The shop assistant told her they needed someone who spoke Korean but didn’t bother to see if Mullany could speak the language.
“We have lots of Asian customers and, some of them, their English is worse than mine,” she said.
When Daily Telegraph staff member Rebecca Gredley inquired about the job, she was also asked if she spoke Korean or Chinese.
The shop assistant was surprised when Gredley said she spoke some Chinese and told her that she may be called for an interview which would be partially conducted in that language.
When she asked if they would employ someone with extensive retail skills but who spoke only English, Gredley was told “probably not”.
Australian Retailers Association executive director Russell Zimmerman said he understood the shop needed staff who spoke the majority of their customers’ language but could be going too far.
“To ask job applicants for a particular language would be reasonable but if they are saying you have to be Korean, that would be a huge issue,” he said.
Anti-Discrimination Board president Dr Stepan Kerkyasharian said any business employing people of a particular race would breach the Act, except if they had applied for and had been granted an exemption.
Race Discrimination Commissioner Dr Tim Soutphommasane said it was unlawful to refuse someone employment because of their race, colour, ethnicity or national origin.
“It is also unlawful to treat any person seeking employment less favourably because of their race. There are exceptions for “special measures”,” Dr Soutphommasane said.
“It is unacceptable for any business to advertise for a position for employees with race as a criterion.
“No member of the Australian community is immune from the law. Everyone is entitled to equal treatment, regardless of their race or ethnic background.”
The Australian Human Rights Commission received 168 complaints about racial discrimination in the workplace in 2012-13.
Qantas worker files discrimination claim over crucifix ban
A FORMER Qantas employee has accused the airline of banning crucifixes while allowing Muslim women to wear head scarfs.
Georgina Sarikoudis claims the airline discriminated against the Christian faith by demanding she and others discard the religious insignia.
Mrs Sarikoudis, a member of the Greek Orthodox Church, claims in tribunal documents she was subjected to “threats and ridicule” by managers who ordered her to cut off her prayer-knot bracelet and remove her necklace with a crucifix on it.
“The Qantas uniform policy allows for head scarfs by Muslim females but no allowance for the wearing of crucifixes, religious bracelets or other religious ... artefacts. Qantas staff have a religious belief other than Muslim,” Mrs Sarikoudis claims.
The Ormond woman, who says she wore a crucifix during 19 years at the airline, says she was confronted after Qantas changed its uniforms late last year.
The carrier’s staff dress code — which didn’t change — prohibits visible necklaces and bracelets, except for medical alert purposes. Women are allowed to wear head scarfs for “cultural, religious and medical reasons”.
The former Melbourne Airport customer service agent claims she was “grilled” about her devotion to her beliefs, her reasons for wanting to wear religious symbols, and even how often she attended church. She claims other staff — including a woman who wore rosary beads — were ordered to remove jewellery with Christian icons.
Mrs Sarikoudis, who accepted a redundancy offer earlier this year, said she refused to take off or hide the items of jewellery despite months of bullying. “For Christians, this is our uniform. Everyone should be allowed to manifest their religion as they see fit,” Mrs Sarikoudis said.
In her claim before the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, Mrs Sarikoudis is demanding the airline change its uniform policy to allow “religious items of significance” to be worn, as well as an apology from her former employer.
A Qantas spokeswoman said the uniform standards didn’t ban religious jewellery worn under the uniform. “Our uniform standards don’t prohibit employees from wearing religious jewellery,” the spokeswoman said. “Many of our employees wear such jewellery every day, it’s simply worn under their uniform. [Are Muslim headscarves worn under the uniform too?]
“We give our employees plenty of options so they can continue to wear religious jewellery that is in accordance with the requirement of their faith.
“As with most airlines, employees are required to follow uniform rules and guidelines. “There has been no change to our uniform standards in relation to religious jewellery since the introduction of the new uniform, but we have reminded employees of what the uniform standards are.”
'Real 20%': Abbott government reveals position on renewable energy target
The Abbott government is supporting a scaling back of the renewable energy target which they say will better reflect changes in demand for electricity.
Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane on Wednesday revealed the government's long-awaited position on the target, which would reduce the amount of energy produced by renewable energy projects by 2020 from 41,000 gigawatt hours to about 26,000.
The position rejects the recommendations in the review of the target headed by businessman and climate change sceptic Dick Warburton.
The review, which cost the government more than $500,000, in August recommended Australia's RET be either closed to new projects or scaled back dramatically on the basis of yearly reviews.
But the government, which has been looking to restore a bipartisan agreement with Labor, faces a battle to negotiate its position through the parliament.
Labor has signalled it will reject the scale back proposed, which Mr Macfarlane said would constitute a so-called "real 20 per cent" of Australia's electricity production.
"It won't be a 27 per cent renewable energy target, it will be 20 per cent renewable energy target," Mr Macfarlane said.
Mr Macfarlane said the position put to Labor on Wednesday included exemptions for emissions intensives industries, including aluminium, copper, zinc and cement.
The small-scale solar panel scheme will remain untouched and biannual reviews of the target will cease.
The target legislated in 2009 set Australia's target at 41,000 gigawatt hours, which based on electricity demand at the time would have represented 20 per cent of the electricity produced in Australia in 2020.
But in recent years, electricity demand has collapsed, meaning the 41,000 gigawatt hour target is now closer to 27 per cent.
Labor is expected to reject the proposed RET reduction as too dramatic when it meets the government for talks on Wednesday afternoon.
Earlier on Wednesday, Labor Leader Bill Shorten said the opposition had made it clear it was open to discussing the target but it had established "no-go zones".
"The government say they want a real 20 per cent, I call it a fraud 20 per cent, a fake 20 per cent. The truth of the matter is that renewable energy is part of our energy mix. It's had a great benefit for a whole lot of consumers," Mr Shorten said.
"We've seen thousands of jobs created...and we've seen billions of dollars of investment. The real damage that this government's doing in renewable energy cannot be overstated."
In the ideological tussle within the Coalition about climate policy, the position announced on Wednesday, while a compromise, represents a win for those in the cabinet, such as Environment Minister Greg Hunt, who favour greener policies.
But the renewable energy industry said the target as proposed would devastate the industry and jeopardise millions of dollars in investment.
Lane Crockett, general manager of PacificHydro, said: "What reason can there be [for this cut] other than to protect the coal industry?"
Andrew Bray, national coordinator of the Australian Wind Alliance, said the government had "learnt nothing" from the Warburton review, noting its own commissioned research pointed to electricity prices being lower over the longer term with the RET as it is.
"What the government has indicated today is that it wants to increase the massive profits of big power companies by charging everyday Australians more for their electricity," Mr Bray said.
Another university opts to kick Islamic fundamentalist group Hizb ut-Tahrir off campus
ISLAMIC fundamentalist group Hizb ut-Tahrir has been banned from speaking about its radical views at another Australian university.
The Australian National University (ANU) feared the organisation’s presence at a student-run forum on terrorism would turn into a “political discussion” about death cult Islamic State.
An ANU spokesman confirmed its academics had pulled out of last night’s forum because a Hizb ut-Tahrir representative was invited to speak without the university’s knowledge.
The forum — Rationality and Terror — organised on the Canberra campus by the university’s student newspaper “Woroni”, was then cancelled.
The ANU is the third major university to turn its back on the group, which supports a caliphate and sharia law.
It was also stopped from speaking at the Sydney Opera House in June where its spokesman Uthman Badar was going to deliver a speech titled “honour killings are morally justified”.
Last month Mr Badar was banned from speaking at the University of Sydney, on the anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks.
His appearance was advertised as a highlight of Islamic Awareness Week, run by the Sydney University Muslim Students’ Association.
There were concerns the “Grill a Muslim” event, organised without university approval, would have given the Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesman a platform to spout its extremist views.
In August the University of Western Australia (UWA) vice-chancellor ordered Mr Badar to “give an explicit, written public assurance he is opposed to the cowardly and barbaric act of so-called honour killings” before he spoke at a forum. After hesitation by Mr Badar, the UWA Islamic association cancelled his presentation.
Last night the ANU said it supported the decision of its academics to withdraw from the student-run forum. The students did not advise academics that they had invited Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesman Wassim Doureihi, to take part in the discussion until last week.
“The addition of Wassim Doureihi on the panel, changed the nature of the event from an open academic discussion into a political discussion about the actions of ISIS,” a spokesman said.
“It is clear the views of Wassim Doureihi do not meet the University’s standards.”
Taxi app goCatch teams rich-list backers to take on Cabcharge
On Friday, some of the country's most successful entrepreneurs and rich-list families backed an equity raising of taxi booking and payments app goCatch in the race to "break apart" the country's powerful $5.4 billion taxi industry.
Some of the backers of the business include billionaire family the Kahlbetzers, the Millner family, fund manager David Paradice, Malcolm Turnbull's son, Alex, and Square Peg, a technology venture capital firm backed by James Packer, Seek co-founder Paul Bassat and the billionaire Liberman family.
In a confidential presentation, goCatch's goal was simple: to capture a "dominant share" of the taxi market. It was a shot across the bow to incumbents. The company told investors: "goCatch is breaking apart the Cabcharge network model and redefining how the industry works."
It is big talk for a company that is still a minnow, valued at $19 million, compared with Cabcharge's market capitalisation of almost $600 million.
Its self-belief is coming from the emergence of disruptive smartphone technology and a loosening regulatory environment that began in 2012 when former competition tsar Allan Fels released a controversial report into the Victorian taxi industry.
The report put the spotlight on the many inefficiencies and arguably restrictive trade practices of the sector. More recently, the Harper review into competition called for reform.
Inspiration is also coming from the rise and rise of Uber, a US-based business that launched a phone app four years ago and now operates in 45 countries, including Australia. It is valued at more than $18 billion and Uber's Australian operations are valued at $728 million, according to the goCatch presentation.
goCatch co-founder and chief executive Ned Moorefield says that, when he was looking to start a business in 2011, he examined what kind of new business models were emerging with smartphones.
"We then looked at the industries with monopolies and ones that didn't have good service levels, and we then started researching countries such as Germany, [and cities such as] London and San Francisco," Moorefield says.
The taxi industry was ripe for reform. "People were screaming out for change."
But the latest $4.5 million equity raising wasn't a pushover, taking three months to get away, with Moorefield and co-founder Andrew Campbell agreeing to a radical management and board overhaul, including the departure of Campbell from the board and management.
In an October 14 investor update, it confirmed the appointment of Tim Fung to the board after the capital raising.
Fung is boss of Airtasker – an online business where people post tasks such as house cleaning at a set fee and workers respond to the job – and a director of venture capital group Tank Stream Ventures, which is backed by Markus Kahlbetzer.
The raising means a convertible note agreement with three investors, including Alex Turnbull and Washington H?Soul Pattinson, will convert to shares instead of being redeemed. With tight cash flows, this would have put immense pressure on the company.
Instead it will have a beefed-up board, a simpler management structure and millions of dollars in cash to expand its business and take on incumbents such as Cabcharge.
For companies like Cabcharge, which for years has been clipping the ticket on most aspects of the sector, the old jig is almost up.
This year, the Victorian government introduced a 5 per cent cap on service fees charged for credit and debit cards and introduced legislation that includes slashing in half fees for processing card payments in taxis, as well as replacing the so-called limited-release perpetual taxi licences with annual licences. Cabcharge issued a statement to the ASX earlier this month flagging a similar move by the NSW government in December to cap service fees to 5 per cent.
It said the cap in Victoria reduced its service fee revenue by $4.5 million and it estimates the NSW cap will reduce revenue by $14 million. Total group revenue in 2014 was $197 million and profit was $56 million.
Its presentation was dominated by the challenges ahead. "With a changing environment, we need to refocus our business," the company said.
With 216 million taxi jobs a year, 280,000 registered passengers, 30,000 registered drivers and revenue of $5.4 billion a year, it is a compelling nut to crack. Even more compelling is that a whopping $2.8 billion of the revenue is generated from booked services, according to a report into the taxi industry by research house IBISWorld. The report says hire car and silver services, which make up 15 per cent of annual revenue, are becoming increasingly important.
The brutal reality is that the disruptive technology carries all the hallmarks of what happened in the media industry, the music industry, the book industry and some other traditional enterprises.
The IBISWorld report says: "Smartphones are increasingly changing the way industry participants relate to their customers. Features such as GPS enable both drivers and customers using apps to assess the number of options in their vicinity."
For taxi operators, it says smartphone apps may allow them to bypass networks altogether. "Apps such as goCatch allow customers to increase the likelihood of attracting service by bidding a tip, effectively subverting the supply-side dynamics of the industry."
In an industry that attracts more than its fair share of customer discontent, a rating system is invaluable.
Like goCatch, a plethora of start-ups are busily raising money as they vie for a slice of the traditional taxi industry pie.
Two weeks ago, UBS closed a $9 million equity raising for taxi payments start-up Ingogo, valuing it at $45 million. It follows the Google-backed Uber's global $1.2 billion raising to countries including Australia.
New models are emerging, such as the Sydney-based RideSurfing, which has circumvented the "network" by developing an app that uses a pool of private drivers and a suggested voluntary donation based on time and distance rather than an actual fare.
The traditional taxi industry is highly regulated. Taxis require a licence to operate. They also need to be affiliated with a network such as Yellow Cabs, Taxis Combined or Silver Service. Membership costs an estimated $700 a month for a service which includes taking bookings, then transmitting the details of the job to terminals installed in the taxis.
In more recent years, the networks have broadened their stranglehold by offering additional services to taxi operators and drivers, including safety, training, financial and leasing support, and electronic payment processing. This has further entrenched the networks.
The Fels report noted that the networks exerted too much control over the industry through "their cross-ownership of licences, fleets and electronic payment systems; their brokering of vehicle sales and taxi licensing; and their perceived close relationships with Cabcharge".
If the mandatory network system is dismantled, it will have a big impact on the incumbents.
Uber is causing an uproar as it moves into a new low-cost taxi market, UberX – a move which circumvents the network system. In January it hit headlines in France, when taxi drivers engaged in "guerrilla warfare" against Uber cars, slashing tyres and breaking windows.
In Italy, taxi drivers marched through the streets, calling on the government to ban the smart app that connects customers to the nearest hire car.
But the clock is ticking as start-ups pile into the industry to try to get an early advantage. In the meantime, the traditionalists should take heed of the mistakes of other industries and be part of the revolution, instead of building a fortress against it.
22 October, 2014
In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG has a memoir about the recently deceased Gough Whitlam. He is/was not a fan.
End of the road for Edward Gough Whitlam: aged 98
The memoir below is kind, as befits the dead but I think I should add a few comments here to balance the account. It is not fully set out below WHY he was sacked as PM by Sir John Kerr -- his own appointee as Governor General. It was because Gough had brought on a constitutional crisis by attempting to govern without parliamentary consent, the consent of the Senate, in particular. That he played fast and loose with parliament generally via the "Khemlani affair" was what motivated the Senate to refuse him supply. So Gough was hardly honourable.
One thing that has always amused me about the patrician Mr Whitlam is that he always used his second Christian name. Being a common old "Eddy" was obviously not to his taste.
Although he was undoubtedly a most erudite man, Eddy had a strange and disastrous intellectual gap. He himself admitted that he did not understand economics. And the economic disasters under his regime were unending -- with inflation reaching 19% at one stage.
Somehow or other he did nonetheless manage one very worthwhile economic innovation: He cut tariffs by 25% across the board.
And as a libertarian I have to applaud his ending of conscription. The motive for that was however anti-military -- as we can see from the fact that he also abolished Army cadets in the schools -- who were doing nobody any harm and were in fact a good influence on teenagers. But Leftists resent any power but their own. And his vaunted withdrawal of the troops from Vietnam was only the final stage of a withdrawal that was already almost complete.
His "free" universities did not last. Fees were reimposed by the subsequent Labor party government of Bob Hawke, a man who DID understand economics. And Malcolm Fraser reinstated the cadets.
And as for his free and universal medical care, you can judge the quality of that by the fact that 40% of Australians -- just about all who can afford it -- have PRIVATE medical insurance these days. Australia's "free" public hospitals are like such hospitals everywhere -- only for the desperate or the optimists
Gough Whitlam remained one of Australia's most admired figures despite being the country's only prime minister to be sacked, a key moment in the nation's political history.
Mr Whitlam, who died on Tuesday aged 98, was a flamboyant and erudite war veteran who ushered in a series of important social reforms during just three years in power from 1972 to 1975.
His centre-left Labour government stopped conscription, introduced free university education, recognised communist China, pulled troops from Vietnam, abolished the death penalty for federal crimes and reduced the voting age to 18.
But Mr Whitlam will be best remembered for the events of November 11, 1975, when he became the nation's only leader to be dismissed by the representative of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, governor-general Sir John Kerr.
Mr Whitlam's dismissal was prompted by a refusal by parliament's upper house, where his Labour Party did not hold a majority, to pass a budget bill until the government agreed to call a general election.
To end the impasse, the governor-general took the unprecedented step of sacking Mr Whitlam, installing Malcolm Fraser, then opposition leader, as caretaker prime minister.
Mr Freudenberg said it would never had occurred to his friend to fight Sir John's decision. "The idea of going to barricades would have been inconceivable for a parliamentarian like Whitlam," he said.
"He believed deeply in the parliament as an institution for social reform and the expression of Australian democracy. He had a great love and respect for the parliament. The irony is that it was through the parliament he was destroyed."
David Burchell, of the University of Western Sydney, who has written widely about Australian politics, said it was ironic that the 1973 oil crisis, inflationary pressures and economic stagnation provided one of the worst times for Mr Whitlam's big-spending, socially reforming government to be in power. [The inflation and stagnation were CAUSED by Gough's free-spending and anti-business policies]
"Even though the government was dismissed, a lot of their policies remain popular," he added. "Few of the social reforms enacted were ever rolled back."
Burqa ban: Parliament backs down and makes extremists “smile”, according to Jacqui Lambie
BACKING down from the controversial decision to ban burqas in Parliament’s open public galleries will make Islamic extremists “smile”, according to Jacqui Lambie.
The Presiding officers this morning overturned their controversial decision to segregate people wearing head coverings behind enclosed glass in the chambers.
“The decision today to allow burqas and other forms of identity concealing items of dress to be worn in Australia’s Parliament will put a smile on the face of the overseas Islamic extremists and their supporters in Australia — who view the burqa or niqab as flags for extremism,” the Palmer United Party Senator said.
“To the Islamic extremists, today’s decision will prove how weak and indecisive we have become as a nation and how our PM lacks the courage of his convictions when it comes to Australia’s national security,” she added.
“Today’s decision will boost the extremists’ morale and encourage them to commit more atrocities and acts of violence against Australians — so that they can create a world where every woman is forced by their religious leaders’ law to wear a burqa or niqab.
“Today’s decision will also attack the morale of members of our ADF special forces, as they are about to deploy into Iraq.
“It comes at a time when all ADF members’ morale is at rock bottom after the government’s insulting wage offer. This decision will be like rubbing salt into the wound.”
Senator Lambie said she will proceed with a private members’ bill making it illegal to wear the burqa in public.
Mathias Cormann 'a d---head' for 'inappropriate' girly man reference says Labor's Brendan O'Connor
"Girl" is inappropriate but "dickhead" is appropriate? Strange Leftist values
Labor frontbenchers have attacked Finance Minister Mathias Cormann over his use of the insult "economic girly man" against Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, with one accusing him of "sounding like a dickhead".
Opposition employment spokesman Brendan O'Connor said the joke was on Senator Cormann, who had been left looking like a "bit of a dill" in his attempt to get a headline.
"A Finance Minister of Australia doesn't have to sound like a dickhead if he wants to make a point " Mr O'Connor told Sky News.
A few breaths after swearing on television, the Labor frontbencher then rounded on the Finance Minister for his language.
"It's not the sort of language that a Finance Minister would normally be using. They'd be focusing on the significant decisions that are made in government," he said.
Penny Wong, Labor's leader in the Senate, said that being a girl should never be used as an insult.
"If we use 'girl' as an insult, what are we telling our sons and our daughters about being a girl? You are saying it is somehow less competent, weak, whatever the imputation," she said.
Senator Cormann refused to retreat from his comments for the second day in a row and said he had no regrets.
"I have used a terminology that has been previously used by somebody else, referencing a very well known expression used by somebody else," he said in Melbourne.
"It was a bit of humour to make a very serious point. And the serious point is that Bill Shorten is standing in the way of our government fixing the mess that the government that he was a part of left behind."
Asked about Mr O'Connor's "dickhead" insult, Senator Cormann said: "We live in a free world. He is of course entitled to his opinion."
The Belgian-born senator borrowed the political insult from actor-turned US politician Arnold Schwarzenegger, who used it to describe the opponents of George Bush snr during the 1988 presidential election, and revived the term in 2004, notably attacking Democrat opponents of his budget at the Republican National Convention.
At the weekend, some of the heat came out of Labor's attacks on Senator Cormann's use of the term after it emerged that an ALP senator has used the same term as a put-down.
According to Hansard, in September 2005, during a debate on the privatisation of Telstra, senator Ursula Stephens referred to Liberal MP Alby Schultz as having acted as a "telecommunications girly man".
This is not the first time Senator Cormann has channelled his inner Arnie. Senator Cormann ended his first speech to Parliament with The Terminator's most famous catch-phrase "I'll be back".
The Finance Minister attacked Mr Shorten during a weekend interview for not having delivered a surplus during its recent terms in government.
"The problem that the Labor Party has today is that Bill Shorten is an economic girly man. He doesn't have what it takes to repair the budget mess that they have left behind," Senator Cormann said on Saturday.
Is this man the kind of feminist women need?
Senior journalist Wendy Squires has made the discovery that all men are not the same
I have a dear friend who is one of the strongest feminists I know. Yet, when I tell other women that former Footy Show host, Collingwood president and Channel 9 personality Eddie McGuire is that person, the reaction is disbelief.
He can't be! How could he be? It's a PR stunt. I am being conned. There's just no way ...
Now, I understand why some people may have that impression – Eddie does dwell in some blokey domains and some of his mates may not be as inclined, but the fact remains he is not just a committed feminist, but an active one. I know it because I have seen it.
He recently spearheaded the building of a women's change room at Collingwood's training facilities after noticing girls running around the Tan in the mornings had nowhere safe to shower and change. He is determined to find ways to help stem the epidemic of domestic violence in Australia and is tirelessly committed to numerous charities, many with women and children's welfare at their core. What's more, he speaks about the women in his life with respect and near-on reverence, something I know he is passionate about passing on to his two young boys.
He's a guy who gets bagged a lot in the press, but I wish others could see Eddie through my eyes – it would certainly open theirs. There is a lot more to the man than footy calls.
But this isn't about Eddie, this is about good men in general – men who do not want to be considered part of the patriarchy. Good men who read the same domestic violence stats – showing one in four Australian women will be abused by a male known to them in their lifetimes – and who want to do something about it. Good men who do not talk about their sexual conquests with their mates, reducing women to mere sperm receptacles. Men who believe in equal rights, equal pay, equal representation and who respect and value the effort that goes in to raising children.
It is to good men such as these I would like to hand on the baton of feminism because I, like so many women I know, am fatigued. I just don't know if I have the energy to run another lap, to espouse the same messages and urge on change yet again.
I feel we women have shouldered the heavy load for too long, because the reality is, if we really want change, it is men who are going to have to activate it. The next, and much-needed, wave of feminism has to be led by men if it is to succeed.
Think about it: If we want equal pay, it is up to the men who are running the business in Australia to insist on it. If we want more board positions, it is men who are going to have to elect us. If we want generational change, it is men who are going to have to instil respect for women in their sons. And if we want to stop domestic violence, it is men who are going to have to unclench their fists and stop hitting women.
For too long the notion of feminism has entailed women striving for change, with imagery and messages wrongly regarded as anti-men. But the fact is, we need men. We want men on board. We love men. We know they hold the majority of power and influence. The baton needs to be placed in their hands if we are ever going to change over the line.
And while I despair at the statistics, I also take solace that good men exist, strong men who view women as equals and want us represented as such.
Take, for example, some of Australia's top comedians I've had the recent pleasure of contacting on behalf of a fund-raiser I'm helping put together on November 13 to support St Kilda Gatehouse, an organisation that gives street-based sex workers the dignity of a safe place.
Imagine how many charity requests these men receive, yet within 24 hours of contacting Lawrence Mooney, Greg Fleet, Adam Zwar, Mick Molloy and Rhys Muldoon, all replied with an enthusiastic yes to offering their time and talent, with most thanking me for the opportunity.
Good men, all of them, only too willing to take up the baton for their sisters. Not just to talk the talk, but walk the walk.
It is men like this I believe should be celebrated and I don't care who knocks me for it. It is too easy to write off good men; to think that because they are masculine they lack a feminine side, that because the power lies in their hands they need to hold on to it. That you can't be a great bloke, a man's man, and still respect the gender that enable their very existence.
I'll put my hand up and admit it: I was one who would write off men too quickly; to judge them by their footy colours, their burly builds or their limited emotional vocabulary. But I've discovered that big hearts beat in broad chests, bless 'em.
At a time when abortion rights are once again on the public agenda, and many women are actively (and in my view, ignorantly) spurning feminism, or burnt out and brow beaten from fighting the fight, it is the knowledge that good men exist and are willing to take up the slack that restores my faith.
Let's respect, cherish and encourage them, as they do us.
21 October, 2014
African brutes traumatize SA police
Isn't it wonderful how many "refugees" we let into Australia?
A POLICE officer who was stabbed so forcefully that the knife tip had to be surgically removed after an unprovoked attack by three men will likely quit the force, a court had heard.
Yohana Nyawenda, 21, Patrick Nyandwi, 22, both of Davoren Park and Paul Kabura, 26, of Parafield Gardens, have all pleaded guilty to multiple aggravated counts of causing harm with intent over the incident in September 2013.
The District Court today heard that Nyandwi was assaulting his partner, who had a newborn strapped to her back, when neighbours approached and tried to calm him down.
Prosecutor Kelly Smith said that instead of backing off, the men then assaulted a male neighbour by punching him several times in the face and twisting his testicles, causing him to be hospitalised, and then Nyandwi punched another female neighbour in the stomach.
She said that, when police officers Barry Purnell and Stephen Page arrived, Nyawenda got a knife from the house while the other men attacked.
“The knife used by the accused Yohana Nyawenda was thrust with enough force to cause the tip of the blade to break off while the blade was still inside officer Purnell’s cheek,” she said.
She said the blade would later need to be surgically removed from Constable Purnell’s face.
Ms Smith said both officers were also punched and bitten during the assault while Kabura tried to grab Constable Page’s gun from his holster.
In his victim impact statement read to the court today, Constable Purnell said he was still suffering from complications with his jaw over the attack and was advised by a doctor last week it was only going to get worse.
“The incident was over a year ago but my recollection is as clear as it was that night,” he said.
Constable Purnell said the ongoing trauma had forced him to consider abandoning his duties with SA Police and return to Ireland after immigrating to Australia in search of a better life.
The incident took place six months after Kieran David Cregan had doused another officer, Senior Constable Matthew Hill, and tried to set him alight at Camden.
Constable Purcell’s fiancee, Leone Magu, told the court she had became anxious whenever he went to work.
“I am nervous about staying in Australia as I fear everyday he leaves for work he will encounter the characters that he fought with on that night,” she said.
Constable Page, who was badly bitten during the assault while Kabura tried to take his gun, said he had undergone blood tests and had to wait more than three months to be told he had not contracted HIV or hepatitis.
His wife, Anita Page, told the court she now also fears her husband will be killed at work.
“I’m angry because those men thought it was OK to attack my husband for no reason,” she said.
“I ask myself everyday, what if he (Kabura) had been successful, what would he have done with that firearm?”
Lawyers for the men told the court their clients all suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder stemming from horrific childhoods in the African nation of Burundi.
The court heard that all three had seen family members murdered during brutal civil wars.
A psychologist report on Nyawenda tendered to the court said his past had left him vulnerable to “exaggerated and aggressive responses when he feels his family is being threatened”.
Judge Michael Boylan remanded the men in custody to be sentenced next week.
Big dam building programme
The Greenies will be livid
PLANS for the biggest dam-building and irrigation program in decades will be unveiled today in a major policy blueprint for the future of the nation’s agricultural sector that identifies 27 water projects for potential commonwealth investment.
The agricultural competitiveness green paper will outline a nation-building agenda that contemplates dam expansions, infrastructure development and greater access to ports.
Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce will declare the government is moving to reinvigorate the dam-building agenda, arguing that it must recapture the vision and purpose of the post-war Snowy Mountains Scheme.
“Water is wealth and stored water is a bank,’’ Mr Joyce will say. “Sometimes the biggest impediment to our nation returning to the vision and purpose that built the Snowy Mountains Scheme is ourselves ably assisted by the caveats of sacred invertebrates, amphibians and molluscs.
“Chaffey Dam (in NSW) was almost stopped by the booroolong frog, Nathan Dam (in Queensland) was stopped by the boggomoss snail, yet Lake Argyle (in Western Australia) created two RAMSAR wetlands that would prevent us getting rid of that dam, not that we want to.’’
The last major greenfields dam completed in Australia was the Wyarolong Dam in southeast Queensland, finished in 2011.
The pace of dam development has slowed significantly across the nation since the 1980s amid increasing opposition from environmentalists to new projects.
The green paper identifies six irrigation projects in Tasmania and Victoria that could be considered for federal government investment within a year.
Five of these are Tasmanian irrigation projects — Southern Highlands, Scottsdale, Circular Head, Swan Valley and North Esk — and the sixth is the southern pipeline project in the Macalister irrigation district in Victoria’s Gippsland.
Four projects — the Emu Swamp dam on the Severn River near Stanthorpe in Queensland, an expansion of the Nathan Dam on the Dawson River in Queensland, the Wellington Dam Revival Project in Western Australia and the Lindenow Valley Water Security Project on the Mitchell River in Victoria — are identified as potential candidates for federal funding, pending further investigation.
Another 17 projects are flagged as likely to be suitable for further consideration for assistance to accelerate feasibility studies, cost-benefit analysis or design.
These include the water infrastructure components of stage three of the Ord irrigation scheme in Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
Four projects in NSW have been identified, including an enlargement of the Lostock Dam in NSW’s Hunter Valley, Apsley Dam at Walcha, the Mole River Dam in northern NSW and Needles Gap on the central tablelands.
A string of major water projects have been identified in north Queensland: the Burdekin Falls Dam expansion; the Fitzroy Agricultural Corridor; the Mitchell River system; Nullinga Dam near Cairns; and Urannah Dam near Collinsville.
Further study is slated for a north Queensland irrigated agriculture strategy around the Flinders and Gilbert river catchments. In South Australia, upgrades to dams in the Clare Valley and the use of waste water in the northern Adelaide plains are under consideration.
While emphasising not every project will get federal funding or go ahead, Mr Joyce says the government’s dams program has already started. “In the last month we have started the construction of the Chaffey Dam upgrade (in NSW) and allocated $15.9 million for the continuation of the piping and capping of the Great Artesian bores,” he says.
Mr Joyce will say the nation must drive down transport costs to make the rural sector more effective and leverage the mining sector’s common interest in requiring water and the movement of bulk commodities. He will highlight the government’s $300m to start the inland rail line between Melbourne and Brisbane and say he hopes it is later extended to Gladstone.
“We must work with the mining industry to see the transport capital and water capital built that is in both our interests as bulk commodity producers and users,’’ he will tell the National Farmers Federation congress in Canberra today.
The green paper will argue that improving access to reliable water supplies and better managing existing water resources is essential for the continued growth of the agricultural sector.
Water resources in northern Australia are less developed than in the south, meaning opportunities exist for strategic developments to support the development of water-dependent industries. About 65 per cent of Australia’s run-off occurs in far north Australia and coastal Queensland, and only 6.8 per cent in the Murray-Darling Basin.
Declaring farming and “primary and overwhelming ownership” of farms by Australians to be a national good, Mr Joyce will argue that if the nation wants to increase its agricultural output, it must motivate and send the right signals to make people want to do that.
This will involve cheaper and more effective ways of getting products to market.
The paper will argue that while a market solution is preferable, monopolies and oligopolies must be closely monitored and a fair return to the landholder is essential to the future of the industry.
The paper will back the controversial “effects test’’ supported by the chairman of the government’s competition review, Ian Harper.
Mr Harper, in his interim review, backed an effects test that would prohibit business and trading conduct that would have the effect of substantially lessening competition.
The 27 water projects listed in the green paper were identified after Mr Joyce chaired a ministerial working group to identity how investment in water infrastructure, such as dams and groundwater storage, could be accelerated and to identify priorities for investment. Tony Abbott put dam building on the national agenda prior to the last election, at the height of the Queensland floods in 2011.
The green paper will argue that government involvement in water infrastructure development should be directed to activities that are in the national interest, deliver net economic and social benefits, and broader public benefits. But given the states and territories have primary responsibility for water resources, strong state government support for a project is also a prerequisite.
Private views create no public harm
THE Barry Spurr affair is terrifying in the shoddy treatment of Spurr; in what it says about our universities; and in the lack of outrage that either has evoked.
What is certain is that there was a gross invasion of Spurr’s privacy. To that must be added the likelihood that his emails were obtained illegally and used when it was known, or should have been known, that that is how they had been obtained.
Moreover, that use was by a publication, New Matilda, that had only recently committed the same offence; and whose journalists hypocritically denounced the wrongdoing at the News of the World and, since then, have attacked the government’s metadata proposals, with all their checks and balances, as an assault on privacy.
Of course, one expects nothing better from Wendy Bacon, who demands a moral right to invade the private emails of others without providing public access to her own. But it is disappointing that Bill Shorten, who repeatedly invoked the presumption of innocence to shield Craig Thomson and Peter Slipper, failed to show the same concern for Spurr.
And it is a scandal that the University of Sydney has suspended Spurr despite there being no claim, much less evidence, that his teaching, supervision and research have been anything but exemplary.
To make matters worse, the university has set aside Spurr’s explanation that the emails were parodies without according Spurr the prior opportunity to have that explanation tested. Whatever one may think of his emails, that explanation is scarcely implausible: parodies, satires and burlesques, often in poor taste, have peppered the correspondence of literary figures since time immemorial.
Indeed, some of the English language’s earliest comedies were private communications making fun of religious services in terms then considered blasphemous. And one does not need to dig deep in our language’s treasure chest to savour such politically incorrect gems as Paul Dehm’s parody of Robert Herrick (‘‘Whereas in jeans my Julia crams/her vasty hips and … diaphragms’’); Cyril Connolly dispatching James Bond in drag to seduce General Apraxin (‘‘one of those’’, warns M, listing the general’s hobbies as nerve gas, germ warfare and sodomy); or Alan Bennett’s brilliant spoof of James Buchan (in which Hannay decries the possibility of ‘‘a divorced woman on the throne of the house of Windsor’’ as a ‘‘feather in the cap of that bunch of rootless intellectuals, Jews and pederasts who call themselves the Labour Party’’).
It scarcely takes much imagination to think a professor of poetics might similarly revel in using off-colour, if not frankly offensive, language in intimate communication. But assume Spurr’s claim is a sham; that far from being banter between old friends, the emails reflected his innermost views. So long as those views do not intrude on the way he exercises his academic responsibilities, they are no more relevant to his role than the fact that TS Elliot (on whom Spurr is a world authority) was an anti-Semite.
To believe otherwise is to discard the distinction between vice and crime that is at the heart of a free society. Aquinas, although no liberal, put it well when he argued that rather than forcing men to be virtuous, laws exist to enforce the rules of justice; they should therefore not condemn mere vice but conduct ‘‘without the prohibition of which human society could not be maintained’’.
Locke then made that distinction central to the philosophy of liberty, when he noted that ‘‘many things are sins which no man ever said were to be punished’’, for while objectionable, they were neither ‘‘prejudicial to other men’s rights, nor break the public peace’’. And Adam Smith, in terms familiar to JS Mill, emphasised that it was therefore crucial to ‘‘carefully distinguish what is only blamable from what force may be employed to punish or prevent’’.
In other words, Spurr is entitled to his private vices, even if reprehensible, so long as they do not inflict public harms. Instead, the real question is how Australia’s oldest university could believe otherwise.
At the most immediate level, the answer lies in what Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a great scholar and long-time Democratic senator for New York, diagnosed as the ‘‘authoritarian Left’’ spreading throughout academe. Ignorant, intolerant and incapable of contesting ideas, its only weapon is the ad hominem attack.
Sydney’s conduct, coming after the ANU’s witch-hunt against fossil fuels, is a disturbing sign of how far the spread Moynihan feared has gone. The university’s support of Jake Lynch’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, whose anti-Zionism verges on anti-Semitism, only leavens with hypocrisy its disregard for justice.
But there are also deeper forces at work. Historically, intellectual elites had every interest in freedom of expression: no matter how strongly they favoured regulating other markets, they gained from freedom in their own. Now, reduced to mere wards of the state, they clamour for restrictions on competition that enforce conformity, protect mediocrity and entrench their claim on the public purse. And they find in the similarly placed ABC, as well as in publications such as New Matilda, plenty of fellow travellers to speak on their behalf.
Set against that milieu, Spurr stood no chance. By collaborating in the Abbott government’s review of the national curriculum he signed his own death warrant. From that moment on, it was only a matter of time before he paid the price.
None of that is to give Spurr the seal of approval. He may, for all I know, hold beliefs I find abhorrent. But universities need scholars, not saints; and if integrity, in Rawls’s words, means ‘‘defending the principles of morality even when to one’s disadvantage’’, his treatment is not merely a shame: it is a disgrace.
Reversing it should be an obligation, as well as a priority.
Union corruption: Do no work, still get paid
WHISTLEBLOWER Kathy Jackson made a secret deal with the now jailed fraudster Michael Williamson to pay $240,000 over two years to one of her union allies — with a requirement that the recipient of the money do no work.
Under the confidential arrangement, Jackson ally and friend Jamie Martorana agreed to resign from his position as assistant divisional secretary of the Health Services Union in October 2010.
For the next two years, however, he remained on the union’s payroll, with pay-as-you-go tax deducted from his gross weekly “wages” of $2307.69 as though he was still a regular full-time employee turning up for work.
Details of the arrangement have emerged in Federal Court proceedings as union opponents of Mr Martorana try to block his attempt to take over the HSU’s Victorian No 1 branch by challenging his eligibility to contest looming elections.
The 2010 deal for Mr Martorana is the latest and possibly most extraordinary of confidential financial arrangements uncovered during an investigation by lawyers for the HSU’s current leadership into a merger that year between Ms Jackson’s and Williamson’s union branches when they formed a joint entity called HSU East.
Along with other side-deals reached by Ms Jackson and Williamson around this time, it shows how tightknit the pair was in forging lucrative one-on-one arrangements for allies and friends before Ms Jackson turned on Williamson, now serving five years in jail after pleading guilty to large-scale fraud.
It appears Ms Jackson and Williamson made these arrangements — using union funds — without authority from other officials. They remained confidential until later exposed.
Ms Jackson has been praised as “heroic” by Tony Abbott and others for exposing Williamson, but the outspoken whistleblower is now battling allegations that she, too, misused large sums of HSU funds.
Earlier this month, HSU lawyers lodged a claim against Ms Jackson in the Federal Court for more than $660,000 that the union wants repaid after she allegedly used this amount from union credit cards, cash cheques and general accounts for personal expenses — but never repaid the money.
The $660,000 demand is on top of an existing court claim to recover $1 million that the union alleges Ms Jackson was not authorised to spend.
There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing by Mr Martorana, who co-signed a deed of agreement with Ms Jackson and Williamson in October 2010 after “differences” arose about whether his position should continue — just five months after he started in his new role as assistant divisional secretary.
In return for receiving $240,000, Mr Martorana was required to not represent any member of the union for two years. Nor was he permitted to work for any entity competing with the HSU. His name appeared on weekly pay documents with union employees for a further two years — although he did not show up.
Mr Martorana was an assistant secretary of the HSU branch No 1 in Victoria in May 2010, then headed by Jackson-supporter Marco Bolano, when this branch merged with Ms Jackson’s and Williamson’s branches to become HSU East.
It appears Mr Martorana was a victim of the merger leaving too many officials competing for a smaller pool of senior positions — five months after serving as “assistant divisional secretary” of the now disbanded HSU East.
The Jackson-Williamson leadership duo did not offer Mr Martorana a redundancy — with a transparent termination, a different tax treatment and considerably less than two years’ pay, considering his short length of service — or simply secure his resignation. Instead, the leadership pair created the highly unusual $240,000 payment deal in which Mr Martorana received a salary for not showing up.
He was not available for comment yesterday but he has told others of his belief that the payment was fair in the circumstances of his departure from the HSU.
The Australian revealed in August that Ms Jackson signed another such deal with Williamson on March 3, 2010, to put Melbourne barrister and longtime friend David Langmead on a $150,000-a-year retainer as a legal adviser for eight years in the newly formed HSU East branch.
Under Mr Langmead’s retainer, which was paid monthly, he charged $2700 a day, and $385 an hour for legal advice. He was to bill the union for extra services if the annual sum exceeded $150,000. Mr Langmead, who is not accused of any wrongdoing, previously had a long association with Ms Jackson from 1996 to 2010 as a barrister retained for her branch.
His services included legal advice on a $250,000 payment to Ms Jackson’s HSU No 3 branch by the Peter MacCallum cancer hospital in Melbourne after a confidential settlement over workers’ backpay in late 2003.
Mr Langmead’s wife, Beth Jensen, another close Jackson friend, was used by Ms Jackson and Williamson as a consultant around the time of the union merger for a report that recommended big pay rises for them and other officials based on linking their salaries to the senior executive service of the NSW Public Service.
Another Jackson ally and friend, Rob Elliott, scored a $150,000-a-year consultancy deal with the HSU, signed by Ms Jackson and Williamson just a week before the Langmead deal. This arrangement was shorter than the Langmead agreement but similar.
The Australian reported late last month that Ms Jackson also collaborated with Williamson to “retrospectively authorise” the suspected misuse of union credit cards by now convicted former HSU official and federal Labor MP Craig Thomson in March 2008 — despite Ms Jackson later taking credit for ordering an exit audit of Thomson’s dealings.
Mr Martorana is a former hospital orderly whose late mother worked for Labor senator Stephen Conroy and whose stepfather, Peter Clelland, was a federal Labor MP.
The current HSU No 1 branch leadership team, headed by Bill Shorten ally Diana Asmar, is now challenging Mr Martorana’s eligibility to run in coming elections.
Palmer in real trouble
Two Chinese companies suing federal MP Clive Palmer have a genuine dispute against him, a judge says.
Subsidiaries of Chinese government-owned company CITIC Pacific are suing Mr Palmer and his company Cosmo Developments over claims $12.167 million was misappropriated by the MP's company Mineralogy.
CITIC Pacific subsidiaries Sino Iron and Korean Steel claim money deposited in an administrative fund and intended for the day-to-day running costs of a West Australian port was redirected to Cosmo Developments ($10 million) and Brisbane advertising firm Media Circus Network ($2.167 million).
Lawyers for Mr Palmer applied to strike out or permanently stay the Chinese companies' claim for compensation, claiming their wasn't reasonable grounds for the legal action.
But Justice David Jackson on Monday dismissed the application, meaning the matter will proceed to a three-day trial beginning on November 26.
Justice Jackson said one of the arguments used in the application was that the case was brought on a "feigned issue" and was really about "showing up" the defendants.
However, in his written judgment published on Monday, Justice Jackson rejected the argument.
"In my view, there is nothing fictitious about the causes of action pleaded in the claim and the statement of claim filed by the plaintiffs in the present case," he wrote.
The trial will determine whether payments made to Cosmo Developments and Media Circus Network formed a breach of trust and whether CITIC Pacific's subsidiaries are owed compensation.
A CITIC spokesman said on Monday: "We welcome the court's decision and now look forward to having this matter progress to trial."
20 October, 2014
In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is bewailing the absent sense of humour on the Left
Offensive emails investigated by University of Sydney
The emails contained a wide variety of very offensive comments so the claim that they were jocular rings hollow. They probably give an insight into what our Leftist academics really think
A University of Sydney academic involved in the national curriculum review, Barry Spurr, has reportedly described Prime Minister Tony Abbott an "abo-lover" in an exchange of emails.
"Abo Lover Abbott and [Australian of the Year] Adam Goodes are Siamese Twins and will have to be surgically separated," Professor Spurr wrote in an email published on the New Matilda website.
The university said an investigation into the report was under way.
In a series of different email exchanges, he used the terms "Mussies, Chinky-Poos, bogans and fatsoes", labelled South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu a "witch doctor" and the late South African president Nelson Mandela a "Darkie", according to the website.
Professor Spurr was employed by the independent review into the national curriculum, commissioned by the federal government, as a specialist consultant to review the English curriculum.
In correspondence seen by Fairfax Media, Professor Spurr said the emails were part of a longstanding joke with another person.
"These statements are not reflections of my views or his," he said. "The comments that you refer to are largely to one recipient with whom I have had a whimsical linguistic game for many years of trying to outdo one another in extreme statements." They were part of a game "that mocked extreme language", he said.
Professor Spurr said the emails did not reflect his personal views or his professional judgment of Aboriginal literature, which is part of his role as a consultant to the national curriculum review.
"My lawyer informs me that accessing my email is 'a criminal offence' and the university's security service is currently looking into the matter," Professor Spurr told the website.
During one conversation, he called Mr Abbott "gutless and hypocritical", and condemned Mr Abbott's chief-of-staff Peta Credlin for arranging for an "Abo" singer to perform at a ceremony at Uluru for Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge.
Education Minister Christopher Pyne condemned the comments.
"The minister utterly rejects and finds repugnant the denigration of any minority on the basis of their sex, race, sexual orientation or beliefs," a spokesman said.
"The appointment was not made by the government. The minister and his office had no input into the selection of any subject expert. Professor Spurr's alleged private emails are a matter for him."
In a statement, the University of Sydney said it was investigating the "offensive emails" to see if "any breaches of the code of conduct" had occurred.
"The university takes the allegations very seriously ... Racist, sexist or offensive language is not tolerated at the University of Sydney."
Qld.: Leftist lies outed
Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk has been referred to the parliamentary Ethics Committee over her claims of "massive budget cuts" in education and that teachers were losing their jobs.
Ms Palaszczuk made the claims in her budget reply speech. Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek was quick to write to Speaker Fiona Simpson accusing Ms Palszczuk of "intentionally misleading the House".
Ms Simpson said Mr Langbroek disputed both claims and provided "evidence that the budget for education has actually increased in the last two budgets and that no teacher has lost their job because of budget decisions made by the government".
"I sought further information, and in correspondence received on 8 July 2014 the Leader of the Opposition provided further information regarding her statements," Ms Simpson said.
"In relation to the first issue of alleged budget cuts, the Leader of the Opposition accepts that the budget for education has increased in total in the last two budgets but contends that the make-up of funding sources which constitute the total budget support her statement.
"As I have stated in previous rulings, the nature of political debate is that members engage in argument by discussing opposing viewpoints or different opinions – often times using different statistics or methods of calculation. Of course, this does not preclude the question of whether in using different methods of calculation a member was deliberately misleading the House.
Ms Simpson said Ms Palaszczuk had cited various answers to questions on notice to support her claim teachers were losing their jobs because of the budgets.
"The claim that teachers have lost their jobs through the budgets referred to is a very specific and serious claim however the information provided to me by the Leader of the Opposition does not necessarily support the statements made," Ms Simpson said.
"If the assumption cannot reasonably be made from the material it leaves open the issue of intent.
"I remind all Members that, if a matter of privilege is raised regarding their statements, it would help if the Member chose to provide in the House a clarification or apology at the earliest opportunity. It has been refreshing to see this occur in this session of Parliament, and I expect the hardworking members of the Ethics committee probably find it equally refreshing."
But as Ms Palaszczuk had not provided either clarification or an apology, the matter was referred to the committee.
"Referral to the ethics committee should not be interpreted as a determination of guilt, but on this matter, in the absence of sufficient explanation and with a prima facie matter to be investigated; this stands referred to the Ethics Committee," Ms Simpson said.
Journalism schools need practical focus
THERE can’t be many professional or vocational fields of study where teachers spend a disproportionate time bucketing the occupation for which they are supposedly preparing students.
Yet media-bashing is the norm in Australian media and journalism courses.
The sustained and highly critical emphasis on the news media’s failings in performance, ethics, ownership structure and prospects seems the key message of much education in mass communication.
Students have complained to me of never hearing a positive thing said about journalism from their teachers, who are often embittered from their own limited experience in newsrooms.
The Murdoch press is chief villain in the scenario constructed within the broader media academic community, supposedly responsible for forming public opinion and deciding who will govern the country.
The manifest achievements of journalism — constant monitoring of political, social and economic events and exposures of corruption and incompetence — seem little mentioned, or not to the extent that students receive professional formation and walk proud from journalism schools as they do from other professional schools.
The values shared by an earlier generation of journalism educators and brought with them from the industry — old chestnuts such as freedom of the press and the right to know — often seem to have been ditched in favour of an activist, opinionated form of journalism, more often than not dovetailing with a left-liberal view of the world.
Many journalism and media educators share a cluster of left-leaning values — boatpeople are all honest refugees deserving welcome and shelter, doubts may never be expressed about human-made global warming or the weakness of government action, the Abbott government can do nothing right — and are happy to express these on public forums and in classrooms.
In earlier generations of journalism education the teaching staff seemed more representative of the wider community in their values and far less inclined to express their political views, a convention they shared with working journalists.
Social media has changed all that, amplifying educators’ personal views to a wide audience, putting them on the public record and leaving students in no doubt as to their teachers’ ideologies. Journalists, too, are far more ready to tell the world their views.
Among those who’ve enrolled in our small independent journalism college, Jschool, in Brisbane, are disenchanted university students and graduates looking for an education in the basics, free from bias or incomprehensible theory.
From such refugees and from many dozens of students around the country I have heard constant grumbles about the arcane theoretical focus of their courses, the negativity towards the media and the political biases of some lecturers.
One thing I’ve never heard is a complaint about conservative bias in a journalism or media studies course.
Part of the problem is the confusion surrounding the academic location of journalism departments — generally a small section of a communications or media studies school. This contrasts with the US tradition of stand-alone journalism schools or departments where journalism is the dominant partner. In Australia, teachers with significant journalism experience tend to be at the bottom of the hierarchy, senior positions taken by researchers and theoreticians who often lack empathy for or understanding of journalism.
The workplace structure for academics rewards research, no matter how mindless, and research designed to expose weaknesses in media performance is encouraged. While in other vocational disciplines much of the research effort goes into improving professional practice, there is little of this in current journalism research.
Journalism at universities has suffered from a lack of confidence in the importance and vital role of journalism. Embedded among non-journalism academics whose traditional disdain for popular news media is a job requirement, journalism teachers have too readily rolled over and put their energies into surviving within academic hierarchies rather than being defenders of the press.
Universities were reluctant to enter journalism education and were certainly not prodded into doing so by the media industry. Ultimately, it was the marketability of media courses that brought most of the country’s institutions on board, despite the narrow career prospects for graduates.
But things have been better. In the “glory days” of journalism education at the University of Queensland in the 1990s there were more than a dozen full-time academic staff, all of them former journalists, including three editors, plus an army of part-time tutors drawn from the industry. They produced books, journals, a regular newspaper and electronic news service, and were part of the wider journalism community.
Their relations with the industry were often testy, especially when lecturers criticised media performance. But there was a two-way flow — editors and other senior journalists were members of advisory boards and gave talks to students and staff, while lecturers were invited to write columns on media performance, including election coverage, by the very media being criticised, such as The Courier-Mail and The Australian.
That successful and nationally respected department (disclaimer: I was its head!) was merged against student and industry protests into a vacuous communication school and the journalism degree faces extinction.
Earlier forms of journalism education were admittedly too “craft”-oriented. Students at tertiary level need, in parallel with skills development, understanding of the wider media environment, roles and structures, in addition to knowledge of law and politics.
Unfortunately, the small size of journalism staffs at universities around Australia make them prey to absorption into burgeoning media departments that propagate no end of theories rooted in the Marxist-oriented field of cultural studies.
Depending on the energy of their teachers, some students do get a good deal and have produced excellent stories, but far too many complain they do very little journalism in their programs.
I’ve been astonished to speak to students from eminent institutions who are lucky to write more than one or two news stories in a semester or who have never been to a court, council or parliament as part of their course requirements, training that was once considered basic.
At Jschool we’ve returned to these basics, delivered online, stressing constant news gathering and story writing by students all over Australia.
The industry shares the blame in not pushing for a central involvement in the development and monitoring of university journalism courses, which is the norm for all established professional disciplines.
There is plenty to be criticised in the practice of daily journalism, and educators have a role in this, but not at the expense of stressing the positives.
Educators often accuse journalists of being unable to take criticism, of being too defensive and unwilling to examine the basis of complaints. Perhaps educators themselves are as guilty of reacting defensively to criticism.
Missing in much contemporary teaching of journalism is extolling of the achievements and contribution of journalism.
In the past few months Brisbane’s The Courier-Mail has been running a fascinating series, “Journalism Matters”, highlighting the courage and achievements of news gatherers. These are inspiring stories, from former Time and CNN correspondent Michael Ware’s touching tribute to TV cameraman Harry Burton, ruthlessly murdered in Afghanistan, to the revelation by the ABC’s Sally Sara of the personal impact of war reporting; Greg Chamberlin’s recounting of Phil Dickie’s relentless gumshoe work in exposing organised crime and corruption in Queensland, resulting in the jailing of ministers and the police commissioner; a brother’s heartfelt appreciation of the bravery of jailed correspondent Peter Greste; and Trent Dalton’s piece on the role of newspapers in letting sexual abuse victims get a measure of justice and closure.
Let there be no mistake. Democracy cannot function without journalism. It is a pity more journalism students and their teachers don’t know this
Controversial Masjid Al Noor mosque plans $4.5 million Granville school
GRANVILLE’S Masjid Al Noor mosque — which has links to the murdered Jabhat al-Nusra jihadists Yusuf Ali and Amira Karroum — has revealed plans to build an Islamic school.
The Daily Telegraph can reveal the mosque’s management committee last month made a $4.5 million offer to buy an adjacent 6050sq m property on Ferndell St.
The original 7063sq m mosque site was bought by Bukhari House Association Incorporated in 2010 for $3.5 million.
The Granville mosque is one of the fastest growing in southwest Sydney, attracting the most number of converts, according to a joint report by the University of Western Sydney and Charles Sturt University.
Masjid Al Noor’s spiritual leader Sheikh Omar El-Banna — who spoke at the now defunct Al-Risalah centre — knew Ali before he left for Syria, where he and his wife were killed in a bloody turf war with Islamic State terrorists. A memorial service for the couple was held at the Granville mosque.
Through the Masjid Al Noor Facebook page, worshippers were told about the proposed purchase and plans for a school, and asked for help to raise $500,000 for a deposit: “Our intention is to establish a Muslim school there. The total price of the property is $4.5 mil.” A Masjid Al Noor Facebook follower expressed concern about the school proposal, citing traffic congestion on Ferndell St and surrounding roads.
When approached for comment yesterday, a mosque spokesman would not comment about the property deal or proposed school.
The owner of the property in question would also not comment.
19 October, 2014
‘Degrees in activism’ put brake on growth
AUSTRALIA’S largest resources companies have warned green activists campaigning for an end to fossil fuels are destroying jobs and fast becoming one of the greatest challenges to growth.
Andrew Smith, the chairman of the Australian arm of Anglo-Dutch company Shell, yesterday led the debate against what he labelled university students with “degrees in activism”, arguing that they were spreading misinformation and manipulating communities to slow the pace of development.
“Challenging decisions will face more effective campaigns of public outrage, some of it based on confected outrage whipped up by university graduates armed with degrees in activism,” Mr Smith said. “But we cannot allow these dynamics to halt Australian progress.”
Activism courses are being taught in legal, politics and humanities departments at several universities and are often focused on political theory and understanding the role of activism in democracy.
Aidan Ricketts, a law lecturer at Southern Cross University in Lismore, runs a course named Public Interest Advocacy. Its blurb says it provides “skills for successfully advocating for public interest concerns”.
Mr Ricketts described it as an “advanced form of citizenship education”. The lecturer, himself an activist against the use of coal-seam gas, said it was “nonsense” to suggest that universities were preparing students to confect outrage and manipulate information.
“That is a cheap swipe at other people’s opinion’s that Shell don’t agree with,” Mr Ricketts said.
Rio Tinto’s energy chief executive, Harry Kenyon-Slaney, knows the impact activists can have on projects, after his company’s expansion of its Warkworth coalmine in NSW was halted by opposition groups, putting 1300 jobs at risk.
“This is a mine that has been part of the Hunter Valley community for 30 years and provides work for 1300 people, but we’ve spent five years so far trying to secure its future in the face of opposition from activist groups such as The Australia Institute,” Mr Kenyon-Slaney said.
“People at the extreme end of the debate who would like to see all coal exports cease are willing not only to destroy jobs here in Australia, but also the social and economic development that cheap and abundant energy brings around the world.”
Whitehaven Coal has been a constant target of green activists determined to frustrate the development of its Maules Creek coalmine in NSW. Its chairman, Mark Vaile, former head of the Nationals party, said activists had zero accountability for their actions.
“The information the green activists put out is never tested,” Mr Vaile said.
The Australian National University has come under attack after its recent decision to divest its holdings in seven companies — including Santos, Newcrest Mining and Iluka Resources — because it said the companies had a poor record on environmental responsibility. “What is the next thing that the so-called ethical investors and university funds withdraw from?” Mr Vaile said. “Are they now, if they stick to their principles, going to withdraw from all investment in the agricultural industries in Australia, as they are also significant emitters of greenhouse gases?”
Mr Vaile, who recently returned from South Korea, said Australia was now viewed with concern as an investment destination because of the uncertainty in terms of the timing of projects.
“Prospective investors are looking at the fact that approved projects are being challenged in court by some organisation who are unaccountable,” he said.
“We have the government promoting Australia as an investment destination, negotiating FTAs, yet at a state level you have regulations that can be used and abused by green activists.”
Ahri Tallon, a former student of Mr Ricketts, said that in addition to legal skills the course had taught him how to organise meetings and demonstrations and engage with the media.
“Real Australian progress is an active and participatory democracy where decisions are transparent, accountable and debated,” he said.
The value of economic education
I'm a firm believer in the value of economic education. An understanding of incentives, opportunity costs, supply and demand are as essential for making sense of the world as maps, history and periodic tables.
So I was alarmed when I read this week that economics education is not up to scratch. Griffith University's Professor Tony Makin and lecturer Alex Robson, reviewed the economics curriculum concluding the course needs to be re-written from scratch.
The author of the curriculum, Associate Professor Alex Millmow, of Federation University, responded that, "We didn't want to scare away primary school teachers. It's not an economics course".
The current course was introduced by former Minister for School Education Peter Garrett for years 5 to 8 or kids of around 10 to 14 years to: "equip the next generation of entrepreneurs, innovators and businesspeople to continue to grow the Australian economy as well as take advantage of the global business opportunities the Asian Century will bring."
Which means the author had to create a curriculum that could be taught by non-economists to children under 14 but nonetheless meet expectations that it be a serious preparation for becoming young entrepreneurs leading the country in a mighty trade incursion into Asia. No wonder the bloke who wrote it feels unfairly assessed. The job he was given amounted to spinning straw into gold.
CIS research fellow Dr Jennifer Buckingham has noted what is sometimes called the 'Peter effect' -coined for the plea of Saint Peter to the beggar that he could not give him money that he did not have. A teacher cannot teach what the teacher doesn't know.
The former government's enthusiasm to add yet another 'essential' component to the national curriculum has meant yet another case of the curriculum being reduced to the level at which teachers can teach it, rather than being elevated to the level at which students can profit from it.
Many children will benefit from an economic education. But if kids are going to become entrepreneurs and conquer the Asian Century, it needs to be the sort of economics Professor Makin would like to see taught. Rather than simplifying advanced subjects for small kids, we'd be better off teaching small kids to read and count properly so that in high school they are equipped to study any advanced course effectively.
Splitting their primary years between a growing number of poorly taught add-ons is putting at risk the literacy and numeracy education on which the rest of their lifelong learning depends.
ANU decision to sell fossil fuel company holdings not enough: students
An Australian National University (ANU) decision to sell off about $16 million worth of its investments in seven fossil fuel companies does not go far enough, a students' group says.
ANU said it would divesting itself of shares in Newcrest Mining, Iluka Resources, Oil Search and Santos, among other companies.
Vice-chancellor Professor Ian Young said it was important that the university did not invest in companies that are doing some form of social harm.
"Essentially the criteria which we look at looks at their environmental emissions and any social issues associated with them," he said.
"For instance it many look at their position on Indigenous affairs and also the governance."
It is wrong for ANU to continue to profit from these industries that are responsible for the wreckage of the planet.
But Louis Klee from the group ANU Fossil Free said while it was a big achievement for the university, the decision did not go far enough.
He said the ANU still had major holdings in BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Woodside Petroleum.
"It is wrong for ANU to continue to profit from these industries that are responsible for the wreckage of the planet," he said.
However, Professor Young, who us an environmental researcher, said there was nothing wrong with investing these companies.
"These are major Australian companies, they're resources companies," he said.
"Resources are a major part of the Australian economy that underpins our whole society.
"This is not a case of simply saying the university will not invest in resources companies. We do.
"In fact, it would be very difficult to structure a meaningful portfolio in Australia that didn't."
Professor Young said there should be an orderly transition from fossil fuels to alternative energies.
"The reality is that this is a process that is going to take decades to occur," he said.
The University introduced a socially responsible investment policy earlier this year.
Let them divest, but not with taxpayers cake
The response to the Australian National University's decision to divest itself of holdings in certain [fossil fuel] companies has been way out of proportion to the importance of the decision - and both sides of the debate are long on rhetoric and short on facts.
The argument has focused on whether the industries represented by the companies being divested are important for Australia's economy, especially the contributions from Infrastructure Minister Jamie Briggs and the Treasurer.
This argument is overdone. The ANU holds about $16 million in shares in the seven companies (disclosure: the managing director of one of the seven, Iluka Resources, is on the board of the CIS). That $16 million is about 1% of the university's total investment holdings, and the revenue from the entire portfolio was barely 5% of the university's total revenue.
The ANU's holdings represent less than 0.05% of the combined market capitalisation of those companies which approaches $40 billion.
These investments are not financially significant for the university or the companies, so the impact on the economy as a whole will almost certainly be negligible. Which makes the overreaction from politicians, up to and including the Prime Minister, puzzling. At a time when the government is trying to encourage greater financial independence among universities, it seems very odd to try and micromanage their investment decisions.
Unless the ANU's new strategy mentions an exciting new investment in magic beans, if it's not imposing greater costs on the taxpayers then it really shouldn't be the business of government.
The government's interest here is limited to protecting taxpayers by ensuring the ANU exercises due diligence and care with taxpayers' funds. In the absence of evidence that this investment policy will materially impact ANU's revenue the government should be cautious about interfering.
Divestment can be an expression of free speech. In fact it is one of the more valuable aspects of speech because people are a lot more honest with their money than they are with their slogans (as the failure of 'buy Australian' industry policy continually demonstrates).
The problem is when supposed social responsibility transfers costs to taxpayers. Too many non-government organisations and other rent-seekers want to have their public funded cake and eat their private progressive values too.
By all means, use your free speech to criticise industries you don't like and divest any shares you hold, but don't think this entitles you to extra taxpayer money if it leaves you out of pocket.
17 October, 2014
Proud Australian patriotism not a cause for shame
Because of their basic dislike of the society in which they live, Leftists are anti-patriotic. So to condemn patriotism as racist comes easily to them. The fact of the matter, however, is that patriotism and racism are essentially unrelated. See here, here and here. Some other research that is not online is listed here
PATRIOTISM has been declared racist. Just when we must insist Australia is worth defending, we’re told only scum would say so.
Greens deputy leader Adam Bandt was outraged this week that two Woolworths outlets sold singlets printed with the Australian flag and “If you don’t love it leave”.
Bandt reposted a tweet blasting these “racist singlets”, fanning the fury of the Twitter Left.
Woolworths took instant fright, declaring the patriotic slogan “totally unacceptable” and promising to never again sell such a wicked thing.
But exactly how is the singlet racist? Which “race” does it attack? Which “race” does Bandt think hates Australia so much that they are the obvious target?
No, the haters of the singlet are not trying to protect some Australia-hating “race” they cannot even identify and would insult if they tried.
They are instead offended by patriotism. They are instead vilifying proud Australians who cannot understand why people who openly shout they loathe this land don’t try their luck somewhere else in a world full of options.
Yet it was only nine years ago that this sentiment was still acceptable enough for even Australia’s longest-serving treasurer, Peter Costello, to voice it. Costello was puzzled why some extremist Muslims, especially immigrants, were demanding sharia law — extremists such as Hizb ut-Tahrir leader Ismael al-Wahwah, who wants Australia under a caliphate in which “those who are guilty of apostasy ... from Islam are to be executed”, according to his party’s website.
Said Costello: “Our laws are made by the Australian Parliament. If those are not your values, if you want a country which has sharia law or a theocratic state, then Australia is not for you.”
Or as the Woolies singlet sums up, if you don’t love us, leave. But now the invitation Costello offered is “totally unacceptable”.
What’s helped to change the climate is the media coverage of the 2005 Cronulla riot. That was mischaracterised as a racist uprising by flag-waving white Australians, rather than an ugly reaction to a minority of ethnic Lebanese youths throwing their weight around.
Now the flag, flown from a house or car, is seen as the summonsing to a racist riot.
Adding to the angst is that mass immigration and the Age of Terror have left us with more ethnic tensions than ever since Federation. The Left particularly seems to fear that peace is now so fragile that just showing the flag is like showing a red rag to a paddock of foreign bulls.
And yes, some Australians do indeed now feel threatened by what immigration and multiculturalism have wrought. The backlash one day could be ugly.
But the trashing of patriotism goes far beyond this often exaggerated fear of bogans carrying flags. Take the campaign even by schools to promote a retribalising of Australia, symbolised by the flying of the Aboriginal flag alongside the Australian one.
Add also extreme multiculturalism, which most rewards the ethnic groups that most keep their distance.
Then add the constant preaching of a largely invented history of genocide, “stolen generations”, racism and environmental devastation until Australia seems faintly disgusting.
So it’s not surprising that Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s appeal for a “Team Australia” was widely mocked by the Left, even though I’m sure most voters backed it.
In fact, the very idea of such a nation state is starting to strike “progressives” and the “alienated” as so last century.
LAST weekend, the ABC’s Encounter program explored what life would be like under a caliphate instead.
“If you’re not a Muslim, it might seem all rather in-house and speculative,” presenter David Rutledge conceded.
“But if you consider that the nation state — like many other products of secular modernity — is beginning to look like a concept whose time could be drawing to a close, then suddenly the caliphate seems less like a medieval fantasy and more like, well, the future.”
It may be crude and even provocative, but “if you don’t love it leave” begins to sound like Socrates against this exhausted toying with totalitarianism. It is also more likely to be just what we need.
Powerful forces today threaten to tear Australians apart, with calls for jihad, sharia law, treaties with the “First Australians”, new racist divisions in the constitution and more mass immigration of the kind that now looks like colonisation.
No society can survive such threats without prizing its past and its symbols and without insisting what members have in common is far greater than what divides them.
Sure, we must stay open to criticism, to make a great country greater. But don’t love it? Then, please, feel free to leave.
Muslim exploitation of Australia's welfare system
There are no fewer than 16 influential Islamic organisations in Australia, including Hizb ut-Tahrir, and there are countless thriving sub Islamic groups in business for some very odd reasons and with some very questionable motives. All receive Government funding.
All Islamic schools also receive Government funding which somehow finds its way into the coffers of the “Australian Federation of Islamic Councils”.
The AFIC is the purse holder and governing body for all things Islamic in Australia.
Since 2010 at least seven major Islamic schools have had their funds temporarily frozen because of “serious irregularities” in financial accounting. Many more are under ASIC investigation where millions in taxpayer funds have simply gone missing without record.
Sydney's largest Muslim school, Malek Fahd, was found to have funnelled back into the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils almost $9 million in school funding. This “accounting” fraud appears to be a common practice in Islamic schools across the country involving hundreds of millions of dollars.
The Government has in most cases decided not to lay charges but merely requests that Islamic leaders promise the defrauded amounts will be repaid in future and in return the funds are immediately unfrozen.
If the Government does decide to continue freezing the funds Muslim leaders challenge the decision in court where orders are made to unfreeze the funds until the matter is determined. This allows the Muslim fraudsters time to cover their tracks.
Eighty seven percent of Muslims are unemployed (in the UK the figure is 85% although it's difficult to assess if that figure includes the unemployable... aged and young Muslims) most are in receipt of disability pensions.
Others are rorting the “carer” system where one Muslim parent agrees to foster-care the other “incapacitated” parent’s children using a government handout of $200 per week per child.
The original Muslim parent then claims she is unable to cope and her children are then foster-cared out to another Muslim parent and on and on it goes in a billion dollar roundabout.
Of course the children all remain with their own parents and in their own homes without any checks because the Government wants no talk of Islamophobia. It is desperate for Islamic “inclusiveness” and fears the screams of victimisation from Islamic lobby groups which will be well aired by the ABC and Fairfax.
If you add to that the halal tax extortion racket that costs Australian shoppers many more millions it becomes clear just how much Islam itself is costing the average Aussie.
More of a worry is where all this hard-earned Aussie money actually goes to. It goes overseas somewhere and you’re entitled to shudder to think where.
Now you’d reckon these guests of ours would be appreciative of this limitless well of milk and honey we provide for them without question.
Well, not really, because many want to cut our heads off, change our legal system and create a Sharia State and the so called Islamic “moderates” don’t whimper a word of protest.
But it doesn’t end there... the forty Aussie lives lost trying to get Muslims a better life in their homelands are vilified as hell-bound infidels who deserved to die.
Dick Smith in dire straits: Aussie household brand faces closure
I have bought quite a lot of his stuff but his brands can be 4 times dearer than a generic and that does make you ask if you are spending wisely -- JR
After 15 years on supermarket shelves, Dick Smith Foods has passed its use by date. “It’s a disaster, it's really sad, because we have the best food,” Smith said. “People stop me in the street all the time and say ‘Dick, we love your foods, we support you’ but most don't.”
At its peak, Dick Smith Foods had a turnover of $80 million per year. Today the range has halved and profits are shot.
Often cheeky but always upfront, Dick now concedes he can't compete because he pays Aussie wages and supports Aussie farmers.
“He can't continue to not make profits, so he has to close,” radio host Alan Jones said.
“If the consumers chooses not to buy that and it's a little bit extra because it's Australian then there is no future and it's very sad.”
The reality is Australians aren't supporting Dick Smith Foods. Dick says only one in 25 shoppers buy one of his products and that is no longer enough to keep the brand alive. “Virtually no one supports us because it's 30 cents dearer,” he said.
Independent senator Nick Xenaphon has thrown his support behind the Australian icon. “I'd like to see consumers rally behind Dick Smith, I'm going to go and buy a few dick smith products tonight,” he said.
“It's really sad but you get to the point where you can't even employ our staff and employ the people in the factories that means it will be closed down,” Smith said.
Dick Smith has previously donated more than $6 million in profits to charity.
Let their warped words be heard
THIS was going to be an open letter to the young radicals who run Hizb ut-Tahrir. To men such as Wassim Doureihi, who fronted ABC’s Lateline last week, whose extremist group is committed to imposing an Islamic caliphate in Australia. Go your hardest, Wassim. Keep talking. Write up your twisted beliefs. Organise your Friday night tirades.
I, and many others, want to know what’s in your head and your heart. We need to see and hear the immorality of a man who will not condemn the barbarity of Islamic State terrorists who behead aid workers and journalists, enslave women and take photos of children holding up severed heads.
But let’s be honest, you are playing evil games. You’re clever enough to know when to hold back publicly, evading every question from Lateline host Emma Alberici. Wassim, why did you say to her, off camera, if you really want answers to those questions, you have my number? Was it a clumsy pick-up line? If so, dream on. Women such as Alberici are not in your league.
In your warped world, women wouldn’t host a television show, dress as she does, challenge and unsettle you as she did with truths that revealed the barbarity and stupidity of your ideas. Your world can only work when women are treated as chattels.
Or was your remark a sly reminder that what you say in private is different to your on-camera remarks? You may be clever, but not clever enough to defeat those of us committed to freedom. Here’s why.
Our ideas are better than yours. We believe in a society based on respect, dignity, equality, the rule of law, freedom of association (so even men like you can meet and plan a caliphate), freedom of religion (so even men like you can use religion as a reason for revolution), free speech (so men like you can try to spread your hate-filled ideology).
However, the moment you incite violence, you commit a crime against the very fabric of our society. Short of that, we will meet and defeat your words and ideas with ours.
On reflection, there’s little point trying to win over, or even explain, our values to these extremists. Their minds are closed, lost to dark dreams of an Islamic caliphate where men rule and sharia law triumphs over human rights.
So this letter is for the rest of us. A reminder of the inherent virtues of our society, where free speech and other human rights allow even abhorrent ideas to be aired. A reminder, too, that we need to defend these values with vigilance. We could shut down extremists. But that’s too easy. That’s what an Islamic caliphate would do. In any case, shutting down words won’t work. It will only drive people underground, allow them to make martyrs of themselves, attracting more attention from the misguided and the aggrieved.
Alternatively, we can let men such as Doureihi speak freely. But free speech means more than offering up a platform to extremists who love attention and controversy. That’s too easy too. Free speech is worth doing only if we do it right. It works as a mechanism of progress only when it operates as the marketplace of ideas. This requires grit and courage. Just as Alberici challenged Doureihi’s incoherent, evasive, reprehensible words, so must we.
Yet, for too long, too many people have taken the intellectually lazy route.
They have given the extremists a platform as if they are a harmless form of freak-show entertainment. That’s not the real deal with free speech. It improves our world only when it becomes the instrument for debate, where good ideas win out by proving the error and evil of bad ideas.
Some say we in the West are too tolerant of the intolerant. So let’s not be so tolerant. For starters, let’s get rid of that deliberately slippery word, multiculturalism, which hints at a moral relativism where all cultures are equal. Our Australian culture, with its intrinsic value of free speech, does not mean tolerating an ideology that would take us back to the dark ages. It means exposing the ideology for what it is: retrograde, repellent and espoused by men threatened by educated, confident women.
But for those whose commitment to free speech kicks in at politically convenient points, here’s the other deal with free speech. It’s not a part-time value. Either condemn free speech equally or support it equally. If the intellectual milksops on the Left must spend thousands of hyperbolic words condemning a conservative such as Andrew Bolt as too offensive to be protected by free speech, it’s only fair and right that you condemn men such as Doureihi. His words are far worse than insulting and offensive. Give us a clue, how long will we be waiting? And here’s an incentive: remember that come the caliphate revolution, the first people up against the wall will be the woolly headed progressives, the homosexuals, the feisty women, the minorities.
And to the faint hearts in the Liberal Party, running the country, wasn’t free speech meant to be part of your political DNA? Didn’t you promise to repeal section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act on the basis that it allows a judge to strike down an opinion because he doesn’t like its tone? What happened? The Prime Minister dropped the free speech ball because he said social cohesion was more important. But rolling over to a group of hysterical and hypercritical critics of free speech is not social inclusion, it’s appeasement that allows minority groups to dictate the limits of free speech.
It’s up to all of us, in the media, the pub, schools and universities, politics, the Muslim community, to keep challenging men such as Doureihi. What will a caliphate look like? Given that voters won’t choose it, does that mean a violent revolution? If we keep asking questions of the extremists in our midst, we will defeat them. Along the way we will bolster our commitment to free speech.
16 October, 2014
Coal is 'good for humanity', says Tony Abbott at mine opening
Prime Minister Tony Abbott says Australia's coal industry has a "big future, as well as a big past" and predicted it will be the world's principal energy source for decades to come.
Mr Abbott also heaped praise on Japan in comments that come just days after China slapped harsh new tariffs on coal imports and will be noted in Beijing as negotiations on a China-Australia Free Trade Agreement move towards conclusion.
Industry has estimated the new tariffs could cost Australia's economy hundreds of millions of dollars annually, though it will be some time before exact estimates can be made.
"Let's have no demonisation of coal," Mr Abbott said on Monday. "Coal is good for humanity, coal is good for prosperity, coal is an essential part of our economic future, here in Australia, and right around the world."
The Prime Minister's comments, which angered the environmental movement, came at the opening of the $US3.4 billion ($3.9 billion) Caval Ridge Mine in Central Queensland, a joint venture between BHP and Mitsubishi. The mine will produce 5.5 million tonnes annually of metallurgical coal and employ about 500 people.
"This is a sign of hope and confidence in the future of the coal industry, it's a great industry, we've had a great partnership with Japan in the coal industry," Mr Abbott said. "Coal is essential for the prosperity of the world." "Energy is what sustains our prosperity, and coal is the world's principal energy source and it will be for many decades to come."
The Coalition had affirmed its faith in the coal industry by abolishing the carbon tax and mining, Mr Abbott said, but if there was a change of government at the next election both of those taxes could come back.
"If you want to sustain the coal industry, if you want to sustain the jobs, if you want to sustain the towns that depend on the coal industry you have got to support the Coalition, because we support coal, we think that coal has a big future as well as a big past."
Mr Abbott's comments about coal having a bright future are in conflict with the United Nations' top climate official Christiana Figueres, who has warned most of the world's coal must be left in the ground to avoid catastrophic global warming.
Less than two weeks ago, a lead adviser to German Chancellor Angela Merkel lashed the Abbott government's championing of the coal industry as an economic "suicide strategy".
Climate Institute chief executive John Connor said the Prime Minister was "taking a higher and higher stakes gamble by putting all the chips on coal".
Earlier on Monday, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said that Australia risked being seen as the climate sceptic capital of the world ahead of the G20 meeting in November.
"We've got the G20 coming up. Most nations in the world at the G20 are dealing with climate change. Yet we're the climate sceptics capital of the world," he said.
"The rest of the world is moving towards taking real action on climate change, yet we've got a government who's slammed the nation into reverse gear and retreating away from action."
Over the weekend, Mr Shorten told Fairfax Media that Labor would take a carbon price - thought not a tax - as policy to the next election.
And he has previously left open the possibility of some form of resources tax, though he has promised to first consult with business over such an impost.
The Woolworths singlet that‘s been flagged as racist: 89% of Telegraph readers say it isn’t
NEARLY ninety per cent of Daily Telegraph readers have condemned a social media campaign to drive patriotic shirts out of Woolworths.
In a poll conducted on The Daily Telegraph’s website, the overwhelming majority of 8000 readers (as of 8.45am today) voted that the singlet tops were not racist.
The backlash against Woolworths over the “accidental” stocking of the shirt promoting Australia has been described as “hypocritical” by a government MP.
The supplier of the singlet — which sports the Australian flag and the words “If you don’t love it, leave” — also expressed concern over social media criticism of the shopping giant.
Only two Woolworths stores, in Cairns and Sydney, sold the singlets and all stock was removed on Monday.
Baulkham Hills MP David Elliott, parliamentary secretary to Premier Mike Baird, said he failed to see how the singlet could be labelled racist — a claim made by left-leaning critics — given that it appears to promote Australia.
An original Tweet by George Craig posting a photo of the singlet with the caption “@woolworths cairns, selling racist singlets for everyday low prices! #racist” was shared by Greens MP Adam Bandt on his Facebook page.
“While I acknowledge that the statement is controversial, I doubt it deserves the level of condemnation that we have seen” Mr Elliott said. “I’d say the majority of Australians read it and say: ‘Yeah, if you don’t like it here you are free to leave’.’’
Neil Booth, the Sydney businessman who supplied the shirts to Woolworths, said: “My father fought for this country. We believe in freedom of speech and I don’t believe Love it or Leave is discriminatory.”
Mr Booth said he had been “making this shirt for eight years now” and had “never had a single complaint about it”. “We accidentally sold a few shirts to Woolworths, which in hindsight was a mistake because it’s a big corporate company and obviously they are more likely to be attacked over any minor problems with stock,” he said.
“We immediately withdrew those shirts from them. We wholesale on the net to people who sell them.’’
2GB host Ray Hadley described the singlet as a “positive image”, with his colleague Ben Fordham giving away 50 shirts on his afternoon show.
“This is the best country in the world — if you don’t embrace it you don’t deserve to be here,” Hadley said.
Mr Craig — the man who sparked the drama while on a footy trip to Cairns — said he was “pretty shocked to see the way this has taken off”.
Uni degrees in indoctrination
FIRST-year media students at some of the nation’s most prestigious universities are being taught the federal government’s media policy process is “corrupt”.
The 18-year-old students are also being told repeatedly that one of the world’s biggest employers of journalists, News Corp, uses “naked political pressure” to the detriment of democracy.
The Australian obtained the first-year course material for media and communications at University of Technology Sydney and The University of Sydney to examine what students are being taught about the media industry.
Over a period of five weeks, The Australian attended some lectures on an undercover basis and obtained the audio recordings of other lectures from students.
The University of Sydney course in particular is leading students to form a critical view of News Corp.
Lecturer Dr Penny O’Donnell teaches students that News Corp newspapers’ 2013 election coverage was driven by a corporate fear of the NBN — a claim that has no factual basis and is incorrect.
She also tells students, studying to become journalists, that the federal government’s media policy process is “corrupted” because it sacrifices public interest objectives in favour of corporate interests.
“We elect governments to act on our behalf so what happens to those public interest objectives?” she asks her class. “They are typically sacrificed to a process that’s very corrupted because it listens more to large corporations than it does to ordinary people. The latest battleground where you see this playing out is over control of the internet.”
A similar claim was repeated by Dr James Goodman in a lecture at The University of Technology Sydney. “You can see individual media corporations having influence over the legislative process, saying what about tweaking this, what about changing this rule and the government quietly changes it partly to keep the media, to keep that organisation on side and it corrupts the political process,’’ he said.
But the indoctrination appeared to be strongest at The University of Sydney where the entire first major lecture focused on News Corp’s power and its impact on journalism, irrespective of the fact it is one of the largest employers of journalists in Australia.
“It’s all about Rupert Murdoch today,” Dr O’Donnell said.
“What is good for the commercial fortune of the media proprietor is not necessarily good for the democratic role. You need to go no further than the case study of Rupert Murdoch to get evidence that supports that statement,’’ she said.
O’Donnell encouraged students to read well known News Corp critic Rod Tiffin and said she “highly recommends” Nick Davies’ anti-Murdoch book Hack Attack, How the Truth Caught up with Rupert Murdoch.
“Thirdly, I’m sure you’ve gathered this from the readings today, I want to suggest that Australia’s media policy fails miserably when it comes to supporting a healthy, competitive and quality newspaper sector. We have instead a very insular, oligopolistic and powerful press industry that spends too much time seeking to skew media policy to serve its own interests and not enough time doing the work that makes newspapers so important,’’ she told her class. “The Murdoch way is political pressure. Naked political pressure. Nothing subtle. Get them Out. Australia Needs Tony. This is the way Rupert exercises power.”
O’Donnell asked the class why Murdoch would want Abbott as Prime Minister instead of former PM Kevin Rudd.
With no reference to the fact Rudd was leading a dysfunctional government, she agreed with students that some of the reasons Murdoch supported Abbott were because: “All the elites stick together”; “We know Murdoch hates unions” but, she claims, it was primarily because of the NBN.
“Your challenge in the next two seconds is to work out why is the man who is tilting to take over Time Warner and become the most powerful media mogul on the planet, why is he worried about the NBN,” she asks, before answering the question by alleging he is protecting his interests and the NBN represents competition.
Directly following this discussion, Ms O’Donnell then questions whether Murdoch is “publicly accountable”.
She tells students of Davies’ argument that Murdoch’s statement “This is the most humble day of my life” was not genuine accountability but simply a “PR sound-bite”. “A good sound-bite, but just a sound-bite,’’ she said.
“We are left with a mogul and a company whose power is undiminished. In fact, it’s growing.”
In a 50-minute lecture, O’Donnell referenced positive aspects of News Corp only briefly, saying it employed some of the best journalists in the country, citing Hedley Thomas’ reporting on Clive Palmer. But even this she qualified, saying the company also employed some “not so good ones as well”.
On slides before the students, the concepts discussed include political pressure, fear-mongering, scandals and regulating media influence.
A lecture slide asks students to discuss how power is exercised through newspaper owners and “what measures, if any, should be taken to control press power.”
Rather than be inspired by some examples of excellent newspaper journalism, students were asked whether they can “find evidence that the internet has replaced print journalism with superior, commercially viable digital journalism.”
After being shown a transcript of the lecture on News Corp, the company’s group editorial director Campbell Reid accused the University of Sydney of indoctrinating students, not educating them.
“Obviously I can’t comment on the full breadth of the content of these courses but on the basis of what has been relayed here I have to wonder if we are dealing with indoctrination rather than education,’’ he said.
“One of my deepest concerns is that when young people who want to be journalists ask me for advice on what education options are best I usually find myself saying ‘not journalism courses.’
“I can’t imagine a senior lawyer advising an aspiring counsel to not get a law degree but I am not alone in my suspicion that journalism as it is taught and journalism as it is practised are two different things.”
Contacted for comment, O’Donnell said “We take our responsibility to educate students about the Australian media very seriously. We do it in public. Everything is recorded and available for review. The lectures are interactive and students are invited to challenge and criticise ideas and views that they do not agree with. That is what higher education is all about. We have no axe to grind against any media company but discuss them all without fear or favour. That is the university tradition. That is our job as media educators. Students are welcome to take any stance they wish on media policy and media politics. We encourage them to first investigate and debate contentious issues, including media power.”
In the introductory lecture at the University of Sydney, Dr Bunty Avieson told students she hoped they were all subscribers to Crikey “if not, be so by next week.” She also recommended websites New Matilda, The Conversation, No Fibs and Media Watch, along with two newspapers a day.
In another lecture, students were advised not to present both sides of the argument on climate change because, similar to the old tobacco debate of the past, there only was one side. The argument was that balanced reporting allowed sceptics to be given airtime. The Australian newspaper was labelled a “repeat offender” of this crime.
Dr Avieson described as “tedious” a Q&A episode where host Tony Jones asked Tanya Plibersek her view on global warming.
“I just about screamed at the television,’’ she said, arguing global warming was an issue for scientists not politicians.
Students were asked to write an essay on news reporting of climate change in the Australian press and how it’s widely criticised as “more partisan than professional.”
“… Critically evaluate whether citizen journalism does a better job of animating public debate and pressure for change on this significant political issue, and provide one case study to ground your discussion and support your argument,’’ it states.
UTS also focuses on media ownership, with students being shown a slide on “content and power” with images of Gina Rinehart, Lachlan Murdoch and James Packer.
When contacted for comment, a spokeswoman said: “The University of Sydney, while not endorsing the comments, defends the academic freedom of its staff. This means it neither censors nor approves the content of lectures and course material delivered by academic staff of the University. “
UTS’s Dr Goodman said he was “referring to the potentially corrupting influence on freedom of political communication, and thus on democracy, of a media system in which there are very few owners and/or dominant outlets. I don’t think this is especially controversial as a free and diverse press is widely recognised as a key precondition of democratic life.”
Frank Salter on State versus Nation in Australia
By John Derbyshire
What follows is a review of the new book by Australian political scientist Frank Salter. The book is titled "The War on Human Nature in Australia’s Political Culture". As the title makes plain, the book is concerned with some particularly Australian themes; but many of the points it makes are of universal interest.
If you’re familiar with biological approaches to the human sciences you’ll know Frank Salter as author of the 2003 book "On Genetic Interests: Family, Ethny, and Humanity in an Age of Mass Migration", a dense and scholarly treatment of social and political topics from the perspective of altruism within groups of genetically similar people.
Salter’s new book contains six stand-alone essays exploring the territory where the rigorous human sciences meet politics and culture. Five of the essays appeared in the Australian conservative magazine Quadrant from 2010 to 2012; the sixth has not previously been published.
The third and fourth essays explicitly address the National Question, which Salter defines at the beginning of the third:
"No front of the culture wars is more important than the national question—what constitutes a nation, the benefits and costs of nationhood, the connections between national identity and interests, ethnic and racial differences, and the proper relations between nation, state, immigration, domestic ethnic groups, and other countries."
The precise topic of that third chapter is Australian media coverage of National Question issues. Salter collected 215 articles and programs from Australian broadsheet newspapers, radio, and TV, during a period from September 2011 to August 2012. The items covered "Aborigines, refugees, white racism, the benefits of multiculturalism and diversity, criticism of white Australia, national identity …, foreign investment, international relations, and overseas ethnic conflict.”
With a handful of exceptions, the reports showed no awareness of biological discoveries in the modern human sciences. For instance:
"The general absence of biosocial perspectives was evident in the media’s lack of interest in signs of ethnic hierarchy. Pecking orders interest zoologists. They are ubiquitous in vertebrate species. Ethnic hierarchy is relevant to the national question because a fundamental legitimation for government is that it protects the people from conquest … Yet the Australian elite media show little interest in ethnic hierarchy, beyond alleging white racism."
Salter follows with several pages of examples of anti-white sentiments from those media reports, some of them quite shocking. There are contrasting mentions of the media treatment dished out to dissidents who have criticized mass immigration and multiculturalism—historian Geoffrey Blainey, for example
Our author then gives a brief history of the shifts in intellectual fashions that led to "the top-down demographic revolution now under way across the English-speaking world.”
"This changing of the intellectual guard occurred in the United States by the 1940s and was already apparent in the 1920s and 1930s with the rise of anti-Anglo ideology dressed up as anti-racism. That was the tipping point … The alienation of the state from the nation left the latter without effective leadership and thus ill-equipped institutionally or financially to contest control of centralized government, education, and the media."
For this analysis Salter uses some of the ideas put forward by sociologist Eric Kaufmann, in his book "The Rise and Fall of Anglo-America" —though without, Salter pointedly notes, "the positive spin Kaufmann puts on cosmopolitanism.”
Salter explains how this changing of the guard played out in Australia, and the present-day consequences
"Australia’s leftist elites are, in effect, electing a new people to replace reactionary Anglo Australia."
The following essay, Salter’s fourth chapter, carries the issue into Australia’s universities. Should not academics from the human sciences step up to enlighten the public and correct the anti-white bias in the media?
Perhaps they should, but resistance to biological theories of human social behavior is even stronger Down Under than in the U.S.A. The resistance is not empirical, nor even properly intellectual, but ideological:
"No political science or sociology department [in a survey Salter conducted] reported a scholar basing his or her research on behavioral biology. The skew towards Marxist and other environmental theories means that scholars of nationality do not know what to do with the wealth of findings drawn from evolutionary psychology, ethology, and sociobiology; except ignore them."
It’s a dismal state of affairs altogether, made dismaler by the lack of constitutional protections for freedom of speech in Australia.
Readers may remember the cases of law professor Andrew Fraser and columnist Andrew Bolt. Fraser was suspended in 2005 for writing, in a letter to his local newspaper, that blacks commit a disproportionate amount of crime. Bolt scoffed at blonde, blue-eyed, fair-skinned Australians who claim entitlement to race preferences, prizes, and scholarships on the basis of some tiny strand of aboriginal ancestry. Nine of these opportunists sued Bolt in court for their hurt feelings … and won!
In the fifth of his six essays Salter tosses and gores Australia’s little—but influential and dismayingly respectable—clique of open-borders libertarians. He rounds off the essay with some blunt facts.
"The only population difference between the immigration levels adopted by succeeding governments over recent decades and open borders is the date at which the country becomes overcrowded. In addition ethnic stratification is growing. Most Aboriginal Australians remain an economic underclass and some immigrant communities show high levels of long-term unemployment. Anglo Australians, still about 70 percent of the population, are presently being displaced disproportionately in the professions and in senior managerial positions by Asian immigrants and their children."
The solution, he believes, is to break the stranglehold of ideology on university departments of humanities and social sciences. Lots of luck with that.
Those three essays—Salter’s third, fourth, and fifth—are the real meat of the book, but the other three are worth reading.
The first, "Introduction to the Culture War on Human Nature,” surveys the different levels of success at which biosocial approaches have penetrated popular media, business culture, and the academic social sciences.
The second, "Sexless Gender Studies,” is a take-down of that area of the social sciences where the biological dimension is most undeniable…you would think.
The sixth and final essay in this collection is an appreciation of Salter’s mentor and colleague Hiram Caton, "Australian Pioneer of Biosocial Science.” Caton’s name was not previously known to me. He was American by birth, a native of North Carolina, and in his thirties contributed to the U.S. conservative press. I smiled to read that: "In 1965 his National Review circle welcomed the immigration reform legislation of that year.” (This may be an exaggeration of NR’s attitude at the time—see More Immigration, by Ernest van den Haag, NR, September 21, 1965.) Caton’s name does not, however, appear in either George H. Nash’s The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945 or the ISI’s American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia.
Frank Salter offers a fresh view of the National Question. His point of view and his arguments may not be shocking to readers here, but he emphasizes their grounding in sociobiology and genetic interests.
The War on Human Nature in Australia’s Political Culture is a fine contribution to the literature of dissent against multiculturalism, mass Third World immigration, and white ethnomasochism. I wish it every success.
15 October, 2014
'Absolutely ridiculous': Joe Hockey denies Australia is dirtiest greenhouse gas emitter in OECD
Australia is very large (3 million sq. miles) so it has a large animal population (both wild and domestic) which emits various gases. The human population is however small (22 million) so blaming all the animal emissions on people and their activities is absurd
Treasurer Joe Hockey has been bombarded with questions on climate change, the economy and Australia's relationship with China during an interview on the BBC World News airing at 2:30pm and 7.30pm on Tuesday.
Hockey has denied that Australia is the highest greenhouse gas emitting country in the OECD per capita, telling a British journalist the statement is "absolutely ridiculous".
He has also refused to explicitly back the democracy movement in Hong Kong, and says Australia's free trade negotiations with China will not be damaged by China's shock move last week to introduce new tariffs on imports of Australian coal.
On his first trip to London since becoming treasurer, Mr Hockey has also told an audience at the Institute of Economic Affairs that Australia's Reserve Bank has only a "limited capacity" to stimulate economic growth and Australia can no longer afford a "she'll be right" approach if it wants to avoid recession or high unemployment.
On the BBC's Hardtalk program recorded overnight, Mr Hockey faced tough questions about Prime Minister Tony Abbott's views on coal, Clive Palmer's recent explosive appearance on the ABC's Q&A during which he called the Chinese government "mongrels who shoot their own people," and Labor leader Bill Shorten's criticism that Australia is now seen as the climate change sceptic capital of the world.
He told BBC host Stephen Sackur that Europeans had a "fundamental misunderstanding" of Australia's economic ties with Asia, particularly China, and the view that Australia had a "massive reliance and dependence" on China for exports was a "complete misread".
He also laughed at the suggestion that Australia was "one of the dirtiest most greenhouse gas-emitting countries in OECD group of developed countries". "The comment you just made is absolutely ridiculous," Mr Hockey told Sackur.
"We've got a small population and very large land mass and we are an exporter of energy, so that measurement is a falsehood in a sense because it does not properly reflect exactly what our economy is," Mr Hockey said.
"Australia is a significant exporter of energy and, in fact, when it comes to coal we produce some of the cleanest coal, if that term can be used, the cleanest coal in the world."
His comments contradict the Garnaut Climate Change Review, which says Australia was the highest per capita emitter of greenhouse gas emissions in the OECD, even without exports of energy.
"Australia's per capita greenhouse gas emissions are the highest of any OECD country and are among the highest in the world," the review says. "Australia's per capita emissions are nearly twice the OECD average and more than four times the world average."
When asked on the BBC program, which will air in full on BBC World News on Tuesday evening, about China's surprise decision last week to introduce 3 per cent and 6 per cent tariffs on coal imports, Mr Hockey said Australia had no political problem with China at the moment. But he would not say if negotiations with China on a free trade agreement would end if there was no agreement by the end of this year.
Science, industry links positive step forward: Academy
The Australian Academy of Science welcomed the announcement of a new suite of measures to cement the role of science in Australian industry in the government’s competitiveness agenda.
The announcement included the establishment of new industry led “growth centres” to connect researchers and business, funding for new science and maths education programs and the establishment of the Commonwealth Science Council – replacing the Prime Minister’s Science Engineering and Innovation Council.
The Academy’s Secretary of Science Policy Professor Les Field said the announcement was a positive step forward.
“Anything which aligns science more closely with industry has got to be a big plus, especially when this is an area where Australia traditionally struggles,” he said.
“One of the things that impacts most on the translation of research into industry is that period that called the valley of death, where you've got a great idea but it's not yet at the stage of being able to attract investment. Hopefully these centres could be one way to bridge this gap.”
He said that while investment in industry links and applied research is essential, it should continue to be balanced with pure research programs.
“With the benefit of hindsight, some of the most significant advances and commercial returns have resulted from fundamental research,” he said.
Professor Field said the Academy looks forward to working with the new Commonwealth Science Council. “It is encouraging to hear there will be a new body for dialogue between the government, industry and the scientific community,” he said.
“It is particularly good to see the Prime Minister is chairing this important new council himself, joined by scientific and business leaders, many of whom are Academy Fellows.”
Professor Field also welcomed the increased focus on improving science and maths skills. “Boosting STEM skills will have a significant impact on the competiveness of Australian industry.”
Radio jock slams Woolworths for pulling offensive singlets
2GB radio shock jock Ray Hadley has lashed out at Woolworths for removing from its shelves a singlet that has been described as "racist" and "offensive". The singlet was emblazoned with an Australian flag and read "If you don't love it, leave".
Hadley said that Woolworths had "caved in" to social media pressure by removing the singlet.
Woolworths announced on Monday that it had withdrawn the "totally unacceptable" singlets. It claimed the singlets were stocked inadvertently in two stores, one in Sydney and one in Cairns. Social media users were quick to condemn the singlets when they first appeared.
Hadley leapt to the defence of the singlets on his Morning Show on Tuesday. "It's very simple; we are inclusive," he said.
"If you're here, if you reside here, if you're an Australian resident, or if you're an Australian citizen, then you love the joint. It's not racist. Its simply a fact of life, this is the best country in the world. If you don't embrace it you don't deserve to be here."
He went on to say that all Australians should be part of Prime Minister Tony Abbott's "Team Australia". "My mates say if you don't love it, leave."
It was the second time on Tuesday morning that Hadley had taken umbrage at Woolworths' decision. On Channel Nine's Today show he took aim at the Greens for promoting the campaign to remove the singlets.
Greens deputy leader, Adam Bandt [an old Trotskyite] , told the Today show the decision was a "victory for social media". "We are a society that operates on a civil law, not an episode of Survivor where you get to say who's next to be kicked off the island."
Hadley was also surprised by the original Twitter post by George Craig and the group of footballers he was travelling with. They were unanimously offended by the singlet.
"I'd love to identify all these footballers who went on a fishing trip to Cairns and stood in the aisle and said: "Oh dear, let's not go fishing or drinking today. Let's stand in Woolies and look at all these T-shirts. Thats just disgraceful, let's put this on social media and start a furore.' "
Woolworths has been at pains to distance itself from the singlet since the controversy began. "The sentiment expressed on the singlet does not reflect the views of Woolworths," a spokesman for the company said. "As soon as we were made aware, we immediately withdrew the product from our shelves."
Why getting rid of school excursions is a scholastic and social travesty
Do you remember the marvellous feeling of waking up on a school excursion day? Maybe it was one of the few days of the year that, as a child, you didn’t complain about going to school. Without having to be asked by your parents, your teeth and hair were brushed, shirt tucked in and lunch packed.
If you were organised, you had handed in your permission slip to your teacher weeks before. Even if you were more of a last-minute child, you wouldn’t leave the house without that parental signature and little envelope of grubby cash clutched in your hand.
School excursions ranged from the classic zoo, beach and aquarium trips to the more adventurous: skiing at Jindabyne, hiking through the Blue Mountains or camping in the outback.
There was the typical farm tour in the early primary school years, the gold fields trip in middle primary, and the Year 6 excursion to Parliament House and participation in a mock Parliament debate.
In high school, you may have been lucky enough to venture overseas to hike the Kokoda Trail, volunteer in a Cambodian orphanage or, like I did, spend three terms fundraising to go on a tour to South Korea with the school jazz band.
But while these school trips have, for decades, formed some of the happiest memories for school students, many of today’s teachers are cutting back on excursions due to liability and litigation risks.
Why? Because some teachers dread the threat of being sued by parents, should a child be injured or experience misadventure while on the trip.
The recent major review of Australia’s National Curriculum found that teachers, particularly graduate teachers, had a fear of teaching outside the classroom on field trips. The report linked this to “a lack of organisational skills, and concerns about liability and litigation.”
The fact that litigation around school based student injury has reached a tipping point where teachers are afraid to leave the classrooms, or simply schedule less excursions because of the sheer pile of red-tape required to take children outside, is a sad outcome.
I’m inclined to agree with the warnings present in the report, that education standards could be at risk if kids are bound to their desks. And it’s not only standards I’m worried about.
As a teacher-turned-journalist, I’m aware that excursions, often completed at the culmination of a topic like Insects (Year 1 and 2), British Colonisation (Years 3-6) or Ancient Rome (Year 9 and 10) bring school work done in class “to life” in a way that no amount of teaching time can.
Lists of food rations, corporal punishment and penal colonies are dry and uninspiring until the students dress up in a pinafore, convict or soldier’s uniform and act out scenes from history.
Do I think inexperienced teachers are to blame for their fear of legal action if misadventure strikes on a school excursion? Certainly not.
As I’ve experienced first hand, new teachers have a huge weight of responsibility to ensure duty of care for their students, both in the classroom and outside of school property. However, I believe the onus is on school administration to make certain that experienced teachers are paired with graduate teachers for excursions.
Seasoned teachers are crucial in showing young teachers that despite the mountain of risk-assessments and permission slips that need to be completed before you hop on the bus, excursions are one of the best memories of school a student can have and shouldn’t be dropped.
Let’s not see the decline of the magical bush camp under the stars, the trip to the snow or excursion to the local art or history museum. Let’s give the next generation of children the best memories of school they can possibly have.
14 October, 2014
Tanya Plibersek mistakenly calls Africa a country
Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs Tanya Plibersek offers sympathy for all the people of Ebola in the country of Africa, promising to find the money to get them onto boats to Australia
Labor's foreign affairs spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek has defended mistakenly calling Africa a country instead of a continent, saying the government's $7 billion cut to foreign aid is the real embarrassment.
Speaking on her way into Parliament on Wednesday morning, Ms Plibersek was asked about Australia's role in trying to combat the outbreak of the potentially fatal disease Ebola.
"Africa is one of the countries that has suffered most from these cuts to the aid budget," she told reporters.
She said the Ebola outbreak was a "real event" where Australia "could and should be doing more", but said it would be difficult with a "$7.6 billion cut to the aid budget".
Ms Plibersek later on Wednesday said in a statement that she "misspoke" and added: "I'd be more embarrassed about cutting $118 million in aid to Africa – which is exactly what the government has done."
The government still provides $187 million in development assistance to African nations.
It's not the first time Ms Plibersek has wrongly called Africa a country.
In an interview in May, Labor's deputy leader also called Africa a country, but on that occasion corrected herself and said: "Africa is a continent where we have previously given aid dollars."
Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop took a diplomatic swipe at her shadow on Wednesday, saying: "Africa most certainly is a continent and Australia has a very good relationship with a number of the countries that make up the African continent so perhaps she made a slip of the tongue."
Liberal rebel senator Dean Smith backs renewed free-speech push
LIBERAL senator Dean Smith, who has broken government ranks to support a renewed push to remove the shackles on free speech, says he refuses to be lectured by Bill Shorten on racism and xenophobia.
Adopting the language used by former prime minister Julia Gillard in her misogyny speech, Senator Smith said the Opposition Leader had accused him of wanting to "give the green light to racist hate speech".
"I will not be lectured on racism and xenophobia by this man, I will not," he said.
"I will not be lectured to about racism and xenophobia by a man who less than one month ago stood before a crowd of unionists on a flatbed truck in Adelaide and gave the most disgraceful, racist, xenophobic speech any Australian political leader has given in decades."
Mr Shorten last month came under fire for attacking the mooted purchase of Japanese submarines.
Senator Smith’s comments came during spirited debate on Family First senator Bob Day’s attempts to rework section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act to remove the words "offend and insult".
Tony Abbott abandoned plans to scrap 18C in August while announcing plans to enhance Australia’s counter-terrorism powers.
Senator Day’s bill has been co-sponsored by Senator Smith and fellow government senator Cory Bernardi, as well as David Leyonhjelm from the Liberal Democratic Party.
Senator Day said his amendment, which is yet to be voted on, was "very minor".
"It simply removes the words offend and insult. Those other words humiliate and intimidate remain."
"Reasonable people do not support racial discrimination. However, reasonable people do support and defend their very precious freedom of speech, expression and opinion," Senator Day told the Senate.
Labor and the Greens have condemned the moves. "Repealing section 18C risks creating a foothold for divisive and hateful abuse," Mr Shorten said. "It sends an insidious signal that somehow the need to guard against discrimination is reduced. "It tips a wink to the purveyors of prejudice.
"And tampering with protections against racial discrimination also threatens to derail the referendum on constitutional recognition for indigenous Australians. Bigotry and racism have no place in modern Australia."
Senator Bernardi said "18C has created an Orwellian environment … It’s a climate where … the tyranny of political correctness has become the price of freedom," Senator Bernardi said. "It has become a tactic of the social progressive agenda to decry something as offensive merely to throw it out of the public arena."
Senator Leyonhjelm questioned how senators could vote against free speech when they enjoyed parliamentary privilege.
And he had a message for those who supported Senator Day’s Bill but would vote against it in the interests of party loyalty. "I would remind you that voting against this bill will not be an act of party loyalty, but an act of betrayal on your electors," Senator Leyonhjelm said.
"I put it to you that if you are one of those people who will vote this down, maybe you don’t believe in anything at all."
Labor senator Jacinta Collins, however, said the 18C issue was being use to "fan prejudice".
Financial pressures sometimes cause parents in affluent suburbs to make do with government schools
If the demographics of the area are good, the school should give good results. The quality of the pupils is a major factor in the quality of the education delivered
MIDDLE-CLASS parents are flocking to high-performing government schools for their children, forcing some prestigious private colleges to cut their fees.
Elite private schools have lost 100,000 students and $1.2 billion in revenue to cheaper, independent, Catholic and top government schools in a decade. The global financial crisis has stoked demand from professional families for fee-free state schooling in affluent inner-city suburbs, new data modelled for The Weekend Australian reveals. Some private schools, which can charge more than $20,000 a year, are now offering half-price discounts to lure more students.
Melbourne private school teacher Elizabeth Blaher bought a house close to McKinnon Secondary College so her son would be guaranteed a place in the high-performing government school. She transferred her daughter Emily from a nearby Catholic girls’ school this year — saving the family $10,000 in private school fees.
"Parents often choose a private school believing their children will receive a better education but we have some outstanding public schools in Melbourne that rival the performance of any private school," Ms Blaher said yesterday.
Emily, 16, is flourishing at her new school: the classmates "look out for each other" while the teachers "push you a little bit more".
McKinnon College principal Pitsa Binnion said the school’s focus on high academic results, inclusion and discipline was a magnet for parents. "There’s a very inclusive community at the school, with strong traditional values and high expectations," she said. "Schools can put out wonderful brochures, but it’s the results that matter."
The Hills Grammar School in Kenthurst, in Sydney’s middle-class heartland, lost one in four students during the global financial crisis, with enrolments dropping by 322 between 2008 and last year.
It charges $15,000 for kindergarten and $23,000 for Year 12. Hills Grammar principal Robert Phipps says a few parents had pulled out of the school for financial reasons, although the school also had "deliberately downsized" to retain a personal touch.
"In tough times, parents have looked around," he says. "Some parents have lost jobs, and incomes have not been rising as fast as they did before the GFC.”
Rising education costs — up 5.1 per cent last financial year, outstripping inflation — are fuelling demand for free or low-fee education. Parents are using the government’s My School website and data from national literacy and numeracy tests to compare the performance of top state schools with private colleges.
Australian Development Strategies chief executive John Black said professional Gen X women were driving demand for government schooling.
"Professional parents want to send their kids to the lowest-cost school where they are most likely to rub shoulders with the kids of other professionals,” he said. "Right now there is strong demand for selective state schools in professional suburbs close to CBDs.”
Australian Bureau of Statistics data reveals the pull towards government schooling is strongest in affluent suburbs. The government and independent school sectors each enrolled 105,000 extra students during the decade to 2011, while Catholic schools took on 52,000 more students.
In the nation’s wealthiest suburbs, government schools gained three times more additional students than independent schools. In suburbs where parents were paying the highest 14 per cent of school fees, government enrolments rose by 16,253 during the decade. Private schools in those elite suburbs enrolled 5265 extra students, while Catholic schools gained 6127 more.
Association of Heads of Independent Schools chief executive Geoff Ryan said selective government schools were "putting a lot more pressure on us to perform".
"You do notice an impact on your enrolments when you have a very high-quality selective entry school in your area," he said yesterday. "All schools put a lot more effort into marketing. Schools are always trying to make savings but 70 per cent of the costs are for teachers, so the only way you can reduce labour costs is to increase class sizes and that’s not something parents, teachers or unions are comfortable with."
A website for "last minute" private school enrolments, School Places, is offering discounts for 39 schools in Victoria, NSW and Tasmania, and is soon to launch in Queensland. The company’s chief executive, Natalie Mactier, said the discounts ranged from 10 per cent to 50 per cent for up to six years of schooling.
She said 2000 parents had registered for email alerts since the site was set up five months ago, and the website had already generated $2m in enrolment revenues with $3m more pending.
In Sydney, the Jewish Masada College at St Ives is offering a 30 per cent discount over four years to Year 7 students enrolling next year. Its full fee this year was $20,492.
The My School website shows its enrolments fell from 341 in 2008 — the start of the GFC — to 299 last year.
In Hobart, St Michael’s Collegiate Anglican boarding school for girls is offering a 15 per cent discount on fees for two years.
Australian Education Union president Angelo Gavrielatos called on state governments to build more public schools in inner-city areas to meet growing demand.
"We do not have the infrastructure in the inner suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne to accommodate the parents’ choice of public schooling for their children," he said.
"Parents understand the value of public education but unfortunately (in some areas) it doesn’t exist due to the policy failure of previous governments that closed down public schools.”
Mr Black said private-school enrolments tended to rise and fall with women’s employment rates. Families often relied on the mother’s part-time job to pay school fees and statistics showed demand for private schooling fell in line with employment rates for women in the school’s catchment.
He said the GFC had destroyed full-time jobs for men in the private sector, but created public sector jobs — in health, education and the bureaucracy — for women.
"These Gen X professional mums tend to take the view of a school in terms of outcomes for money spent," he said.
If they disagree with us we'll just stick "phobic" on the end of it
Xenophobic, homophobic, theophobic, islamophobic, etc and if those stigmatic titles don’t make you back off, there’s the old reliable favourites "racist”, "misogynist” and "bigot”. All are attack words in the armoury of the Left and they sure beat the hell out of constructing a reasoned argument to challenge an alternative view.
Phobia is a fear of something, so I can’t be homophobic ("homo” means "same” and I’m not fearful of the same) that simply doesn’t make sense.
I can’t be Islamophobic because I’m certainly not fearful of Islam. I’d like to ban it and I’d like to bulldoze a few mosques. I’d also like to get hold of a military helicopter (which I’m still licensed to fly) and strafe those bloody Islamic State bastards to kingdom come.
That’s not a phobia is it? It’s more like a blind rage I reckon.
I can’t think of one thing the Left has managed to do successfully, it consistently fails because its heart rules its head. But the Left now finds itself silenced and lost in a fog of ambiguity; things are becoming too complicated for its simplistic ideology and it's interesting watching how it wrestles with some glaring contradictions.
The Left supports women’s rights but remains silent on Islamic genital mutilation and female subjugation.
It supports the global warming mantra but is silent when the Himalayas don’t melt, seas don’t rise, Antarctic ice increases, and temperatures remain the same.
It supports the downtrodden but opposes our attempt to repel the Islamic State.
Well, I’m a devout atheist (and an agnostic) but at the risk of appearing Islamophobic, here’s the difference between Islamic and Christian paedophilia:
We try to stamp out paedophilia within our Christian institutions while Islam glorifies the vile practice embedded within its Sharia law. Again not a word of protest from the Left.
Christian parishioners don’t march with placards demanding the right to practise paedophilia but Islamic adherents march to protest their right to practise despicable Sharia law in which paedophilia is embedded.
Christian parishioners don’t protest in our streets demanding we adopt Christianity under the threat of decapitation. Is this not so, or am I missing something here?
I see the Hillsong Church suffering exposure in the Royal Commission, but not the Lakemba Mosque.
I see Cardinal George Pell publicly disgraced but not Sheikh Hilalay.
Christ said a lot of good things but he also said some bloody stupid things like, "the meek shall inherit the earth”.
That’s not the way it works... are you listening Tony Abbott?
13 October, 2014
In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG draws our attention to the struggle for democracy in Hong Kong
Algerian Muslim attacks an African guard on a Brisbane train
Isn't multiculturalism wonderful?
A SICKENING racist attack on a security guard by a man on a Brisbane train which was filemd and posted on the internet is being investigated by police.
The outburst came after the guard asked the man to take his feet off a seat.
The passenger, who appears to be intoxicated, can be heard repeatedly calling the guard a "n***er” and a "black c***”.
"Learn some f***ing English, because this is Australia, c***, I can’t understand you,” the young man yells.
The tirade continues with the man saying: "Do you even have a citizenship, you f***ing n***er?”
The security guard remained calm during the entire five-minute ordeal.
He continues to berate the security guard with racial slurs, as well as abusing other train users during the five-minute rant. he also challenges the guard to a fight.
Other passengers can be seen looking on in disgust throughout the video, with two men stepping in to try to get the man off the train.
The man then turns his anger on them, before his friend who filmed the whole incident manages to drag him off of the train.
The video, which was uploaded to Youtube on Saturday, has sparked outrage.
On Saturday night a Facebook page in the name of Kader Boumzar posted an apology for the incident. "I was just drunk couldn’t remember shit so stop over reacting (sic), but I am proud to be white! OWS STAND STRONG!”
He later posted: "I’m really sorry to everyone that was affected by the video I really cannot remember anything out of all honesty the post made before was someone else I know this is no excuse. But can you all see fromy (sic) my point of view that I was a F***ing idiot and I’m really sorry.”
Police said they had not yet received a formal complaint, but are investigating.
Queenaland Rail praised the guard for his cool beahaviour during the "appalling” incident. A spokeswoman labelled the incident "appalling” and said the rail company would assist police investigations to potentially bring about the prosecution of the attackers.
"We are disgusted at the anti-social behaviour of this passenger towards our contracted security officers,” the spokesperson said. "We strive to provide a safe workplace for our people to see this occur is appalling. "We congratulate the security officer on his response and attempt to safely de-escalate the situation. "We have contacted the security company to offer our support to the guard.”
The Algerian and his mate have now been charged. The younger man has been charged with various offences including assault occasioning bodily harm. The 18-year-old has been charged with creating a nuisance on a railway.
Paring back ‘overcrowded’ national curriculum a government priority
PARING back the national curriculum to focus on fewer subjects, particularly in primary school, will be a priority of the federal government as it seeks to overhaul what children learn at school.
In its initial response to the review of the national curriculum released this morning, the government nominates the overcrowded curriculum as the most urgent reform required.
"Overcrowding means that teachers are finding it difficult to implement the Australian Curriculum and cover all the content in each subject,” it says.
"It also means that students are not necessarily getting the right amount of time devoted to the content in each subject that they really need — for example, literacy and numeracy in the early years of primary schooling.”
The final report by the reviewers Queensland University professor Ken Wiltshire and education consultant and former Liberal government adviser Kevin Donnelly contains 30 key recommendations for improving the curriculum, as well as changes to each subject.
The report says the national curriculum is overcrowded, particularly in the primary years, with teachers struggling to teach all the content included in each subject.
It says some aspects of the curriculum are too complicated and should be reconsidered, and it also identifies gaps in the content in some subjects.
The controversial decision to embed cross-curriculum priorities of indigenous, sustainable and Asian perspectives in every subject should be dropped, with those issues taught as separate subjects.
The review also criticises the national curriculum for being too complicated for parents, failing to adequately cater for students with disabilities, and lacking an overall vision.
Releasing the report, Education Minister Christopher Pyne said a strong national curriculum was a foundation of the top-performing education systems around the world.
"The review confirms what all education ministers are hearing from parents and teacher, that there’s simply too much to try to learn and students and teachers are swamped,” he said.
The report was critical of Western civilisation and Australia’s Judeo-Christian heritage being demonised in the curriculum. It recommended scaling back focus on indigenous history and Asian studies.
Mr Pyne said the original curriculum architects might have "gone too far in one direction”. "We don’t want any politics in schools ... we want our children to be focused on learning,” he said.
Opposition education spokeswoman Kate Ellis acknowledged the curriculum implemented under the previous Labor government was not perfect.
But she accused Mr Pyne of playing a "game of distraction” to mask broken promises on the six year Gonski school funding deals. The Abbott government has only committed to the first four years. The bulk of the funding was set to come in years five and six.
The Australian Education Union said tinkering with the curriculum would not change the disparity between well off and disadvantaged schools.
Greens Senator Penny Wright said the review reignited the the "culture wars”. "(The) review seems to be suggesting we can just put Aboriginal culture and history in a box, bring it out once a year, and forget about it the rest of the time,” she said. [Why not? Aborigines rarely impinge on the lives of most Australians]
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman said the education system should help create well rounded members of a liberal democracy.
The report also raised concerns about teachers’ poor grammar and punctuation. "It’s hard to expect teachers who have never been taught grammar, to teach it,” Mr Pyne said.
School curriculum is the responsibility of state and territory governments and Mr Pyne will need to enlist the support of his state counterparts for any desired changes when they meet in December.
* Grammar and punctuation training for teachers
* Greater focus on literacy and numeracy in primary school
* Back to basics in literacy - phonics
* More emphasis on western canons of literature especially poetry
* More focus on Western civilisation and Australia’s Judeo-Christian heritage
* Scale back focus on indigenous history and Asia
* Sustainability is overused
Tony Abbott blasts Bill Shorten on carbon
LABOR leader Bill Shorten said yesterday he planned to take a market mechanism for carbon control to the next election due in 2016, on the grounds it was still the best way of dealing with emissions, but it would not be a carbon tax.
Later in Tasmania, Prime Minister Tony Abbott mocked Mr Shorten’s statement on climate change, saying "nothing had changed”.
"What’s the one idea he’s come up with in 12 months as leader? Bring back the carbon tax,” Mr Abbott told the Tasmanian Liberal Party state conference in Launceston yesterday. "Well, nothing’s changed. It’s still the same old Labor.”
Environment Minister Greg Hunt said it did not matter what name the opposition wanted to give its emissions plan for climate change, it was a carbon tax.
"It’s a carbon tax. He knows it, we know it, the Australian people know it,” Mr Hunt told reporters in Launceston yesterday, saying a carbon price was a cost to families. "He should at least be honest and call it for what it is.”
But Mr Shorten said yesterday it was "important we use the market … to help set a priority in terms of tackling climate change... "So we will have a sensible policy on climate change. We do want to tackle carbon pollution, but we won’t be going back to what you saw in the past,” he said.
Stubbing out Carmen leaves smokescreen on money-go-round
The WA Opera this week decided to axe its planned production of the famous opera Carmen because it may glamorise smoking, and the opera company has a significant sponsorship deal with Healthway.
While the decision leaves opera-lovers and anti-nanny campaigners shaking their heads in disbelief - and possibly checking they hadn't become part of some Gilbert and Sullivan farcical comedy - the incident also illuminates something else: the convoluted conduits of government funding.
Healthway is an independent statutory body that answers to the Minister for Health. Its sole purpose is to provide sponsorship for events and causes that promote healthy living, and to this end, it received $21.4 million from the WA Government in 2013. This represents approximately 94% of Healthway's total income.
The WA Opera also receives government funding. It received $1.8 million in 2013 from the West Australian government through the Department of Culture and the Arts, and received a further $445,422 from the federal government through the Australia Council.
Seen this way, the $400,000 two-year sponsorship deal between Healthway and the WA Opera is a drop in an ocean of government funding. But it's also not immediately clear that it's government funding. In the WA Opera's annual report, which isn't itemised, the funding is likely accounted for under 'private and corporate support'. It beggars belief that a sponsorship deal with an organisation that receives the vast majority of its income from the government-and thus from taxpayers-is considered 'private' or 'corporate' support.
The entire saga is instructive, as it suggests that while government sticks its fingers in enough pies in a manner that sufficiently obfuscates what is happening, absurdities such as this one can be met with a shrug of the shoulders, and a belief that it's an isolated bout of insanity.
This, of course, masks the truth. The decision to cancel Carmen to avoid 'glamorising' smoking isn't a decision made by a private organisation to protect its funding from another private organisation.
The WA Government also funds theatre, ballet and the orchestra in Western Australia. Perhaps we can look forward to cancelled productions of Romeo and Juliet due to its 'promotion' of underage sex and suicide, or West Side Story for 'promoting' gang violence.
With so much government money sloshing around, censoring the arts for fear of promoting something unsavoury is inevitably a political decision - and one that should be seen for what it is.
12 October, 2014
Happy To Oblige The BOM
Neville Nichols says:
An independent inquiry into the Bureau of Meteorology? Bring it on
Maurice Newman, chair of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council, has called for an independent review of the Bureau of Meteorology’s climate data, following a stream of recent articles in The Australian newspaper attacking the Bureau’s methods.
I support his call for an open and public inquiry into the Bureau’s climate data and the techniques that the Bureau’s scientists have used to reduce the influence of changes in instrumentation, exposure, and weather station location on its climate records.
I support it because I don’t think the Bureau gets enough opportunities to demonstrate to the public its scientific integrity, hard work, and valuable results.
An independent inquiry into the Bureau of Meteorology? Bring it on
I’m happy to bring it on.
Nicholls used the graph below, purporting to show that BOM surface data closely matches UAH satellite data. But he did a little nature trick – he expanded the scale of the satellite data (right side) to make it appear to match,the surface data! A realistic adjustment would be to do the opposite and shrink the satellite scale, because the troposphere should warm faster than the surface
Next, let’s compare the BOM data from Nicholls graph above to all 1,655 GHCN (Global Climatology Historical Network) stations in Australia. The GHCN data shows no net warming since 1880, but the BOM (Bureau of Meteorology) data shows a hockey stick since 1950, and hides all temperatures before 1910.
NOTE: 1880 temperature higher than 2014
This is not a perfect comparison, because the GHCN data skews towards temperatures in the populated areas near the coasts, and under counts temperatures in the interior. But at a minimum, it shows that there has been little or no net warming over a large swath of Australia, and a strong disagreement with the BOM data.
The BOM anomalies were calculated relative to a 1940-1980 baseline, and the GHCN anomalies were calculated as the differences of each monthly average from the 1940-1980 baseline for that month.
What Nichols really means is that he thinks any enquiry can be nobbled. And he has just shown one way how -- JR
Let’s call a spade a spade and challenge nonsense when discussing Islamic extremism
PARADOXES and hypocrisy can turn the national security debate into series of self-defeating arguments and illogical conclusions.
Like a verbal Escher drawing, rational progress along one path can lead to an inconceivable stairway in another direction.
Some of this is unavoidable as liberal democracies compromise by restricting some freedoms to protect our broader values.
Our tolerance gives freedom of expression to ideologies that would overturn our pluralism and silence any dissent from their dogma.
And some of the ill-formed ideological arguments from the green Left are taken up by those who would impose illiberal regimes on all of us. We could get lost in the paradoxes.
The Coalition that railed indignantly against Labor’s proposed media regulation has now legislated — with Labor support — for tougher penalties on journalists revealing intelligence information.
And after promising to bolster free speech by weakening or revoking racial vilification laws, the Coalition is now proposing to ban speakers and organisations (such as Hizb ut-Tahrir) that have long freely expressed their views on our shores.
It pledged a Jakarta rather than Geneva emphasis in foreign policy but the Coalition has been an eager and leading protagonist in Ukraine and the Middle East.
There are some twists and turns for Tony Abbott to explain here — some no doubt justifiable because of unexpected events — but the changing perspective on freedom of speech will require expansion. On the green Left the contortions are decidedly more convoluted. Politicians and commentators who just a year or so ago supported de facto regulation of all print media content — on the spurious grounds of perceived political bias — now stridently object to narrowly focused legislative restrictions on the reporting of intelligence operations.
Take the uncritical view of media regulation from former Ten Network bureau chief Paul Bongiorno. "They are giving the citizens of this country greater redress against their treatment in the media,” Bongiorno told ABC radio in March last year, "that’s actually all these reforms are doing.”
Yet in recent weeks, seeing bipartisan support of the much more specific national security provisions, Bongiorno tweeted: "Labor’s support of the latest batch of terror laws is frightening. At least Abbott pretended in opposition to believe in our freedom.”
Hypocrisy is not his alone; the same wildly divergent approach has been evident across much of the ABC and even from the journalists union, which was "disappointed” by the proposed media regulation but says the anti-terror provisions are an "outrageous attack” on press freedom.
News organisations and commentators that have been eagerly prosecutorial of the Christian churches for many years now baulk at any criticism of Islam, even on related issues.
The same people, for instance, who condemn the Catholic Church for not allowing gay marriage or female priests not only fail to make the same criticism of Islamic tradition but actively defend the right of Muslim communities to shroud their women in burkas or niqabs.
The green-left politicians and activists who have spent more than a decade campaigning for an open-borders approach on asylum-seekers, demanding we accept any refugee who makes it to our shores, have opposed military intervention to save the lives of innocent civilians in Syria and Iraq.
These so-called compassionistas have long shown a stunning disregard for the 1200 or more asylum-seekers who drowned trying to get to Australia by boat. But they have now trumped that with cold indifference towards the plight of Kurds, Shi’ites, Yazidis and Christians being slaughtered by Islamic State terrorists.
Presumably the compassionistas believe that instead of helping them to save their families and communities, or defend their homeland, we should wait and welcome all the survivors to our shores. But the more complex and important contortions concern the grievances promulgated by Islamic extremists, which are all too often given succour in our political debate.
This was brought into stark relief when Hizb ut-Tahrir’s Wassim Doureihi was interviewed on the ABC’s Lateline this week.
Host Emma Alberici clashed with Doureihi for most of the interview in an unsuccessful effort to have him condemn the murderous actions of Islamic State. This was good theatre and an important point was made.
But the more significant point, and the more nuanced issue for Western liberal democracies to deal with, was that Alberici found it difficult to seriously contest his political grievances.
Doureihi trotted out the familiar complaints about "colonial occupation” and "Western interference in Islamic” lands.
We had the predictable references to the 2003 Iraq invasion — "a million people lost their lives on a lie” — as well as the usual resort to moral equivalence: "It is not Muslims who are dropping bombs from their fighter jets.”
The green Left will find it difficult to undermine this sophistry because it has spent so long promoting similar misinterpretations of Middle Eastern affairs.
In opposing Australia’s military deployment Greens leader Christine Milne has talked about "blindly following the United States” into "another quagmire in the Middle East” and has even called the latest action a "US incursion into Iraq”.
Milne is hardly challenged on this nonsense by our public broadcaster and other media, so it is not surprising that Hizb ut-Tahrir gets away with similar obfuscation.
Crucially, these political arguments are all a ruse anyway.
Islamic extremists use these political causes to undermine the foreign policy and domestic support of Western governments, and to motivate followers and potential recruits.
Whatever the complexities of each cited dilemma — be it the Israel-Palestine imbroglio, the role of the Saudi royal family or complaints about the Shia-dominated Baghdad government — they are not the motivating factors.
Resolution of these issues will not satisfy the extremists — they are tools used for propaganda purposes.
The extremist ideology respects no government other than an all-powerful Islamic caliphate, and will abide no law except sharia law.
We will need to challenge this ideology with intelligent, sure-footed debate, as well as vigilance and resolve.
Labor Party leader says Labor wants to 'tackle carbon pollution', but rules out return of carbon tax
Labor will not bring a carbon tax to the next election but a market mechanism is still the best way of dealing with emissions, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says.
While urging the government to address China's recently introduced tariff on Australian coal, Mr Shorten said the Australian people had spoken on the carbon tax at the last election, which saw Labor lose office.
"We will not have a carbon tax, the Australian people have spoken and Labor is not going to go back to that," Mr Shorten told reporters in Sydney on Saturday.
Fairfax Media earlier reported Mr Shorten had confirmed Labor would take a carbon price, although not a tax, to the election.
"Labor doesn't support a carbon tax, but in terms of real and effective action on climate change I do support a market-based system to set a price and that's where the rest of the world's going," Mr Shorten told Fairfax.
On Saturday he said it was "important we use the market ... to help set a priority in terms of tackling climate change.
"So we will have a sensible policy on climate change. We do want to tackle carbon pollution, but we won't be going back to what you saw in the past."
Mr Shorten also urged the government to "sort out" China's surprise decision during free trade talks to impose tariffs on Australian coal. The decision is a blow to Australian producers dealing with China, the second biggest market for coal, and comes as free trade negotiations continue with an agreement expected later this year.
"This is a new obstacle in the path of Australian coal," Mr Shorten said. "I think the government looks silly when it talks about negotiating a free trade agreement with China, the very people it says it's making new progress in negotiations with. "The government needs to sort this issue out."
Mr Shorten praised the industry for making real efforts to remain competitive, but said mineral producers on the east coast of the country were doing it tough.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Friday described China's decision as a hiccup. "This is the kind of hiccup in our biggest and most important trading relationship that we just don't want or need," the prime minister told reporters in Canberra on Friday. "I think that we will work with the Chinese to get to the bottom of what seems to have happened overnight."
Environment minister Greg Hunt is expected to address Mr Shorten's comment's on the carbon tax at a press conference on Saturday afternoon.
People Power Victoria - No Smart Meters Party Campaign Launch
People Power Victoria – No Smart Meters (PPV) campaign launch for the 2014 Victorian election will be held as follows: Saturday 11th October, 3:00 pm sharp, Oakleigh Grammar Community Conference Centre, 77-81 Willesden Rd, Oakleigh (Hughesdale)
PPV will run in every Upper House seat and selected Lower House seats.
As a newly registered party, PPV has been formed in response to growing public unrest with how Victorians are being treated by essential service corporations and government departments, and in particular, disdain towards our right to cost-effective, safe, and privacy-protected services.
"The Party provides a focal point for voters who are frustrated by the lack of political action and feel strongly that much more needs to be done through our parliamentary system to protect the human and democratic rights of Victorians. It is a party based on consumer rights and protection,” said Marc Florio, PPV spokesperson.
PPV is centred on opposing the mandated rollout of wireless smart meters for electricity, gas and water, and on the commitment to re-establish a healthy environment for Victorians.
"The community's experience with rising essential services’ costs and disregard of our rights and wellbeing is epitomised by the incompetent and aggressive rollout of the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (smart meters) program.”
"Many Victorians have already been adversely affected by the compulsory rollout, be it financially or via deteriorating health as a direct result of exposure to radiation from smart meters. Many also see it as a gross invasion of their privacy,” he said.
10 October, 2014
ABC news and current affairs programs not popular
Their snooty Leftism would have something to do with that
SHOWPIECE ABC news and current affairs programs are failing to pull strong audiences, according to ratings data released in response to senate estimates committee questioning.
Lateline, Q&A, Insiders and Four Corners do not appear in the list of the national broadcaster’s top 20 programs for the first six months of the year.
The 7pm Saturday bulletin was the only regular news or current affairs program in the top 20. It was joined by two one-offs; Treasurer Joe Hockey’s first budget speech and the special edition of 7.30 that followed.
ABC news director Kate Torney yesterday hit back at comments from Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull last week that staff and viewers are entitled to question the broadcaster’s management over how $70 million in additional funding over three years it was awarded last year is being spent, insisting her division is providing "a substantial return on investment". But government figures have seized on the ratings data to call on the ABC to review the tone and content of its news and current affairs programming.
Senate leader Eric Abetz said managing director Mark Scott could learn from the results.
"While it is true that ratings are not the be-all and end-all, it is telling that programs like Lateline, Insiders, Four Corners, Q&A, Foreign Correspondent and the ABC’s weeknight news just don’t seem to rate,” he said. "Surely this should be telling Mr Scott something.”
Tasmanian MP Andrew Nikolic said the ratings "demonstrates the message I hear in my electorate every day: the ABC’s priorities and programming decisions, particularly in relation to their news and current affairs area, have lost touch with mainstream Australia".
"The ABC is funded by the taxpayer and must work harder to ensure its statutory obligations of accuracy and impartiality,” Mr Nikolic said, adding the ABC would win strong audiences for its news and current affairs programs "only by adhering more closely to recognised standards of objective journalism".
Mr Scott has flagged news and current affairs as a key field for the future of the ABC.
Ms Torney on The Drum website yesterday defended the corporation’s newsgathering.
"Just five years ago, ABC News was broadcasting two half-hour television news bulletins to Australian audiences each weekday,” she wrote. "Today, we deliver television news all day every day through ABC News 24 and have increased our programming on ABC TV from one hour per day to more than five hours most days of the week, through the addition of programs like ABC News Breakfast, ABC News Early Edition and The Drum.”
Ms Torney said the new national reporting team had delivered 293 stories in the first eight months of the year. Government figures pointed out this averaged out to little over one a day.
Bad financial advice very common
Personal insurance has long been a bit of a racket. I wrote an article on that myself in the 1970s
Today’s release of ASIC’s damning review into life insurance advice provides the clearest evidence yet as to why FoFA laws should be further strengthened and not weakened.
"ASIC’s review highlights "an unacceptable level of failure” by sales-driven financial advisers offering inappropriate advice that does not put the best interest of consumers first,” said Superannuation fund spokesman David Whiteley.
The report detailed:
* more than a third of advice (37 per cent) did not meet the laws relating to appropriate advice, a result that ASIC describes as an ‘unacceptable level of failure’;
* a staggering 96% of advice which failed paid upfront commissions, compared to alternative payment structures;
* instances of advisers earning up front commissions in excess of $18,000 and premiums that completely eroded the client’s own super contributions;
* inappropriate scoping of advice to exclude circumstances which would have reasonably lead to lower levels of cover (and commissions for advisers)
"The report confirms there is a systemic failure which should ring serious alarm bells for our law makers. There is now a clear pattern demonstrating that sales-based advice is costing consumers dearly,” said Mr Whiteley.
"Life insurance, like superannuation, is a major investment that people make to protect their livelihoods and families. The community is right to be dismayed by the removal of consumer protections at the same time as the financial advice industry is mired in scandal.
"Following this report, it is beyond belief that anyone would persist with the newly created FoFA loopholes which permit front end loaded sales incentives, bonus structures, and commissions on execution services on simple and complex financial products alike.
"If anything the report suggests that the original FoFA laws did not go far enough. While advice outcomes improved post FoFA (the ‘pass’ rate increased from 59% to 67%), a failure rate of one in three pieces of advice post FoFA is completely unacceptable.”
The report not only exposes the detrimental outcomes for consumers arising from sales based advice but also clearly points to the risks that will arise from the changes to the Best Interest Duty, and scoping of advice including the inadequacy of S 961J to protect clients’ interests.
"The only logical response to this report is to extend the ban on commissions to include those paid on individual risk policies inside and outside super, and to withdraw from parliament the wind-back of FoFA until at least after the Financial System Inquiry has issued its final report,” Mr Whiteley concluded.
Palmer party finished in Qld: analyst
CLIVE Palmer's fledgling political party is effectively dead in its home state, with Queensland MP Carl Judge's resignation the final nail in its coffin.
THAT'S the view of political pundits, who say the Palmer United Party (PUP) will fail dismally at the next state election following the resignation of its last sitting member in Queensland parliament.
Dr Alex Douglas, the party's former state leader, handed the mantle to Mr Judge after he resigned from PUP two months ago alleging a party culture of "jobs for the boys" and a lack of democracy in preselections.
Mr Judge, the only remaining PUP MP in state politics, left on more amicable terms, citing a party focus on federal politics and too many distracting side issues.
Griffith University political analyst Paul Williams said six months ago, he would have tipped PUP to gain one or two seats, but there was now next to no chance for the party of having any representation at all after the next poll.
"This is the beginning of the end," Dr Williams told AAP.
"It might even be the middle of the end - the beginning of the end might have been a few months ago."
Dr Williams said things started going downhill for Mr Palmer's party after the federal MP made extraordinary claims on live television in August that the Chinese government were "mongrels" and "bastards" who shoot their own people.
Mr Judge said he could better serve his Brisbane electorate of Yeerongpilly as an independent, without the party's distractions.
In fact, if he stayed with PUP, he would have been pitted against Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie in an almost futile contest for Kawana on the Sunshine Coast.
Mr Judge singled out PUP Senator Jackie Lambie's controversial comments on banning burqas in Australia as one of the key distractions that convinced him to turn his back on the party.
"The way that Jackie Lambie phrased it was inflammatory and unacceptable in my view," he said.
He also had a stab at people working behind the scenes in political parties.
"What we're seeing is faceless people behind political parties driving a political agenda rather than a public agenda," he said.
Mr Palmer said he wished Mr Judge well in Yeerongpilly.
But he couldn't help a veiled swipe, saying Mr Judge was only "standing in" as leader and his party needs "a real leader able to deliver results for Queenslanders".
Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney was already talking about PUP in the past tense on Thursday.
"The Palmer Party was never going to contribute anything to our task of getting Queensland back on track - finding the jobs and building the infrastructure and paying down the debt," he told reporters.
Mr Palmer plans to announce his party's new state leader late next week when he unveils PUP candidates for the election.
WA govt slashes 1500 public sector jobs
THE opposition has accused the West Australian premier of child-like petulance in the face of budget woes that will see 1500 public service jobs slashed.
THE voluntary redundancies are part of a range of measures announced by the WA government on Thursday aimed at saving $2 billion over the next four years.
Government agencies will be expected to do more with less as an additional one per cent efficiency dividend is introduced, although schools have been spared.
Synergy, the Water Corporation and LandCorp will also face a 10 per cent per annum reduction in their operating subsidy payments, but Treasurer Mike Nahan said it would not effect household bills.
While the WA government projected a $175 million surplus for 2014/15, it now concedes a deficit could be on the cards.
Dr Nahan also flagged more belt-tightening to come in the economic mid-year review in December and in next year's budget.
Premier Colin Barnett said he was frustrated at having to take such steps, as the state struggled with lower revenue due to a sharp decline in the iron ore price and a fall in WA's GST share.
"We can deal with the iron ore price fall by itself, or we could probably deal with the GST fall by itself, but we can't deal with both together," he said on Thursday.
"I am just becoming extremely frustrated that the strongest, hardest working part of the Australian economy is being held back for poor reasons."
But opposition treasury spokesman Ben Wyatt said Mr Barnett had no one but himself to blame for spending outside the state's budget while relying on a volatile revenue base.
"In respect to Mr Barnett's anger, I equate it to something like my four-year-old angry at me when I confiscate her paint after she's painted my living room walls," Mr Wyatt said.
"The only difference being my four-year-old takes more responsibility than Mr Barnett has appeared to have done this morning."
Community and Public Sector Union WA secretary Toni Walkington said getting rid of experienced employees in the public service was not addressing the problems of fiscal mismanagement.
Ms Walkington, also the WA secretary for the Civil Service Association, said vanity infrastructure projects were driving the biggest increase in government expenditure with "other operating costs" making up a quarter of total expenses, up 14.2 per cent from 2008.
Another public sector union, United Voice, said the efficiency dividend would cost WA Health and state hospitals an "unacceptable" $80 million.
However, WA's Chamber of Commerce and Industry said reducing government spending rather than increasing taxes was "exactly the right approach".
Federal finance minister Mathias Cormann has repeatedly said there would be no changes to the GST carve-up in this term of government.
9 October, 2014
Lisa Zanatta – Perjury Queen of the Trade Union Royal Commission
Lisa Zanatta admitted to premeditated perjury in the witness box at the Trade Union Royal Commission in what could be regarded as the Commission’s best day so far. Ms Zanatta said she lied under oath to protect her boss David Atkin who is CEO of the $23 Billion industry super fund Cbus and Brian Parker NSW State Secretary of the CFMEU.
Ms Zanatta’s admission to perjury was a real game changer as far as the Royal Commission is concerned and will not only destroy Zanatta’s career but also likely the careers of the many people who have colluded with her.
It was announced today that the Royal Commission has been extended by 12 Months and Zanatta’s admissions in the witness box on Friday (3/10/14) alone would justify the extension.
Who is Lisa Zanatta?
Her job title is Senior Adviser – Member Relationships at Cbus and she is also a former employee of the CFMEU and current member. She is a former candidate for the Victorian government in 2006 (Click here to read more). She also ran for Labor Party pre-selection with the support of the CFMEU in 2009 against Lynne Kosky who was then Victorian Transport Minister. (Click here to read more)
The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union CFMEU managed to obtain personal data which included contact details for the customers of Cbus (Construction and Building Unions Superannuation) who worked for the company Lis-Con. The CFMEU wanted the data to use in an industrial battle with Lis-Con. It has been alleged that the CFMEU wanted to contact the employees and make trouble for Lis-Con.
As the facts show Cbus employee Lisa Zanatta who lives in Melbourne had the data printed out and couriered to her house on a Friday. The following Monday she flew to Sydney and hand delivered the data to the CFMEU Lidcombe office at the request of Brian Parker who wanted the data. She flew to Sydney to try and make sure they did not get caught as email is traceable and normal mail might have ended up in the wrong hands.
Lisa Zanatta was questioned about the trip while giving evidence and she said she went to Sydney for a meeting at Cbus’s Sydney office in the City. She gave a false story of how she could not find the office and how her mobile phone was dead and she called the office from a pay phone and the meeting was cancelled and she went back to Melbourne.
What brought Zanatta unstuck was GPS tracking of her taxi and Google Maps. The Royal Commission produced the data for the taxi trip she took as she paid for it by credit card so they could find which taxi she took. From there they asked the taxi company for the data which showed she did not go to the City at all but went to the CFMEU Lidcombe office. Ms Zanatta had no option but to admit committing perjury.....
The last two lines of the transcript are the most damaging for Lisa Zanatta because she admitted to premeditated perjury and no one can defend that. Ms Zanatta clearly continued to perjure herself about other issues but her credibility is gone and so is her career.
Possible Criminal Charges
Lisa Zanatta should be charged and found guilty of perjury given her admission at the Royal Commission that she deliberately gave false evidence. There are possible other criminal charges as well given the data she took to Sydney was in effect stolen data. The fact that she flew the data up to Sydney instead of email or mail itself says that she knew what she was doing was corrupt.
Others who would want to be very worried include Cbus CEO David Atkin and NSW CFMEU Secretary Brian Parker. Mr Parker also gave evidence on Friday before Ms Zanatta and denied knowing how the data ended up in Sydney, instead Mr Parker and the CFMEU blamed whistleblower Brian Fitzpatrick. (Click here to read more)
Then there are CFMEU National Secretary Dave Noonan and NSW President Rita Mallia who are also both Directors of Cbus. They both have plenty to answer for as well and have a fiduciary duty as Directors
For some reason Lisa Zanatta and her perjury has not received a great deal of media attention which is maybe because it was on a Friday afternoon before a long weekend. But I suspect it will receive plenty of attention when she is charged with perjury which is almost guaranteed.
W.A.: Opera Carmen loses out to tobacco deal
I LOATHE smoking but this seems extreme. A slight reworking of the text would surely be better. It is a wonderful opera
The State opera company has dumped a planned performance of Carmen because it features smoking, putting it at odds with a new sponsorship deal with Healthway.
The 140-year-old opera by French composer Georges Bizet will be banished from the stage under a $400,000 two-year partnership between West Australian Opera and the State Government health promotion agency starting in March. The love story about a fiery Spanish beauty and her rival suitors has been dropped from the opera company's performance schedule and will be replaced with a different opera for the 2015 season.
West Australian Opera general manager Carolyn Chard said the company had voluntarily made the change to accommodate Healthway's policies, describing it as "not difficult".
She said Carmen, which is set in Spain with the first act opening in the Seville town square outside a cigarette factory, portrayed smoking in the setting, action, direction and the libretto, or text.
"We care about the health and wellbeing of our staff, stage performers and all the opera lovers throughout WA, which means promoting health messages and not portraying any activities that could be seen to promote unhealthy behaviour," Ms Chard said.
The two-year partnership is one of Healthway's biggest arts sponsorships and the opera company's 2015 and 2016 seasons will promote the safe drinking message Alcohol. Think Again. It will support the annual City of Perth's Opera in the Park and the opera's winter season.
Regional school tours will also promote the Smarter Than Smoking message.
Healthway chairwoman Rosanna Capolingua said despite smoking becoming less common, it remained the single most preventable cause of chronic disease and early death.
"The portrayal of smoking on stage, in film and on TV normalises smoking and presents it as being attractive, which could dissuade smokers from quitting and encourage young people to take it up," she said.
"In addition, new trends such as smoking electronic cigarettes may re-establish smoking behaviour in our community where the majority of people are non-smokers."
She said Healthway now banned electronic cigarettes as part of its minimum health policy requirements, which meant they could not be smoked at any event Healthway sponsored.
No. Of course not!
If you’re planning on robbing a jewellery store and pistol whipping the owner, it’s best that your father is a Sydney QC and a friend of the presiding judge or you may well face a jail sentence.
Felim Agius, aged 20 and son of John Agius, counsel for the CFMEU in the current Royal Commission into unions, was allowed to walk free last week after his mother, a former DPP officer, told the court how her son had suffered years of bullying at Sydney’s St Aloysius College and did not deserve the appropriate 4-year jail term.
Hmmm, that’s strange because when my son complained of being bullied at Scots College I drove to Sydney and brought him home, and as far as I know he never felt the urge to rob jewellery stores.
Felim Agius was placed on a two-year good behaviour bond by Judge Greg Woods who appears to be a serial softie when faced with the errant behaviour of silks’ sons.
John Bussitil, the son of barrister Joe Bussitil, was clocked travelling at 149km per hour in a 60km zone but the kindly judge Woods, when faced with the accused’s Barrister dad, dismissed the charge and awarded him costs.
No wonder the cops are not keen to prefer charges when piles of paper work gets them nowhere in an incestuous judiciary crammed with incompetent judges who believe penalties have no role in our legal system, especially when the accused is the son of your "learned friend”.
How do you get to be a judge? It’s simple really. First you have to have failed at your role as a solicitor after leaving uni. All judges were previously solicitors and law firms rarely sack solicitors unless it’s to do with, a’hem, outright fraud of over $1 million, because dismissal will mean the solicitor will never work again and the law firm will suffer a bad name.
So, if you prove useless or a small-time crook, your law firm will place you on the magistrates list just to get rid of you.
Attorneys General, State and Federal, will accept nominations from, "qualified persons” for the magistracy and voila! The appropriate Attorney General will simply sign off on the nominations.
So if you're a proven failure as a solicitor and want an appointment to the bench so you can sit in judgment on those with sufficient money to pay your former colleagues $4,000 a day, then it's best you remember to be nice to the very same people who recommended you.
Riots in Western Sydney following last night’s ARL final resulted in not a single arrest. Could that be because of a "cultural” difference out West or was it just not worth the paper work when judges like Greg Woods are still presiding?
Don't Save the Charity Commission
Just a few months ago, the Centre published a paper explaining why the ACNC is not the right regulatory model for the not-for-profit sector and should be abolished, but perhaps it is time for a refresher.
In 2012, the Gillard government created the ACNC as a regulator for Australia's charities, modelled after similar commissions in the UK and New Zealand. From the beginning, the ACNC was a solution in search of a problem. Australians' trust in the charity sector was high by international standards, charitable donations and volunteering rates remained similarly high, and what little fraud existed was well-covered by existing laws.
The biggest problem facing the sector was an excess of red tape, but a brand new federal regulator with a multi-million-dollar annual budget and unprecedented powers over small churches and charities was not the most obvious solution to that problem.
In his letter, Dr Leigh lauds the ACNC for having 'improved transparency of charities, critical to maintaining public confidence.'
But public confidence in the not-for-profit sector was already high before the ACNC came into operation and shows no sign of declining. Charities score higher in trust surveys than the ABC, the Reserve Bank, and even federal parliament.
As for transparency, that too has been trending upwards for reasons having nothing to do with the charity commission. The rise of online giving has created a more competitive giving market; and because donors want to know where their charitable dollar is going, charities have begun to provide that information voluntarily.
It is true that the ACNC has not added to charities' red tape burden much. It has instituted an 'Annual Information Statement,' which can be burdensome for small charities with little staff power, and some of the questions on the AIS involve information that charities do not already have to provide for other government reporting requirements.
The real problem is the ACNC's fundamental structure. Like the UK charities commission, the ACNC was designed to serve the sector as both policeman and advisor. The advisory side of its mission is important because many charities are run by amateurs, part-timers, and volunteers who want help navigating the paperwork involved in registering and incorporating a not-for-profit organisation.
But as the British precedent has demonstrated, a charities commission that is half regulatory and half advisory will end up prioritising one side of its mission at the expense of the other. In the UK, it is the regulatory side that has predominated and the advisory side that has been short-changed.
Minister Kevin Andrews wants to replace the ACNC with a national Centre of Excellence, one that will respect the independence of civil society and better serve the charity sector's needs. By giving all of its focus to advising the sector and cutting red tape, without the distraction of an additional regulatory mandate, this national body stands a much better chance of success than the flawed experiment of the ACNC ever did.
8 October, 2014
Newspoll shows Tony Abbott rising as Labor, Coalition share spoils
TONY Abbott and the Coalition are clawing back support in South Australia, Western Australia and NSW but Bill Shorten and Labor are making strong gains in Queensland and dominate in Victoria.
Men and voters aged over 50 are clear backers of the Prime Minister, while the Opposition Leader’s strongest support comes from women and voters aged under 35, according to an analysis of Newspolls conducted in the September quarter exclusively for The Australian.
After being savagely marked down in the June quarter on the back of the poorly received budget, Mr Abbott’s personal standing has improved in the September quarter in every state except Queensland and across every age group, among men and women, as well as city and country voters.
Newspoll state by state
Mr Shorten’s biggest gains have been in Queensland where Labor is now in front in two-party- preferred terms for the first time since March 2010.
The quarterly demographic analysis of Newspoll, based on a sample of 6900 voters taken from July to September, shows the Coalition has a higher primary vote than the opposition in every state except Victoria, but preference flows based on the 2013 election give Labor a two-party-preferred lead in every state except Western Australia.
The biggest change in the quarter was in South Australia where support for Labor tumbled six percentage points to 33 per cent. Half those votes went to the Coalition, taking its primary vote to 38 per cent while the rest appear to be parked with independents and others, which now have a 20 per cent share of the vote — the highest for any state and almost double the election result.
The next biggest move in the quarter was Labor’s surge in Queensland, where it jumped four points to 35 per cent. While the Coalition, on 38 per cent still leads, the 16-point margin on primary vote it had at the election has withered to three points.
Western Australia is easily the Coalition’s strongest state with a primary vote of 43 per cent, up three points after a sharp fall in the June quarter. Labor’s primary vote is 27 per cent, down one point. Western Australia has also been cemented as the Greens’ best state with support of 16 per cent.
As Victoria heads for a state election next month, it is the Coalition’s worst state federally with a primary vote stuck at 35 per cent despite Mr Abbott’s claim last year that Melbourne was his "second home”.
Mr Shorten’s home state is the only state where Labor’s primary vote reaches 40 per cent. Only on one other occasion in the past four years has the ALP had a primary vote in any state of 40 per cent (Victoria, December 2012).
The Coalition is back in front in Mr Abbott’s home state of NSW with support up two points to 40 per cent as Labor lost three points to 35 per cent.
In two-party terms, Labor has lost ground in Western Australia where the Coalition now leads by 54 to 46 per cent but the opposition is ahead in every other state, including Queensland for the first time since March 2010 where it leads by 51 to 49 per cent.
In Victoria, Labor has a crushing margin of 58 to 42 per cent, virtually unchanged this year.
In other states, the Coalition is gaining ground. Labor’s big lead in South Australia of 55-45 per cent in the June quarter is now 51-49 and in NSW it has narrowed from 54-46 to 52-48. While the June quarter was dominated by a backlash against the budget, in the September quarter the focus shifted to Mr Abbott’s strong response to the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, tougher terror laws and raids in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne and military involvement in aid and weapons drops in Iraq.
NSW and South Australia are the states where Mr Abbott posted the biggest improvement in his satisfaction ratings (up five points in both) while NSW and Western Australia recorded the best overall ranking for the Prime Minister with a net satisfaction rating of minus 14 points and minus 15 points respectively.
Victoria is the worst state for Mr Abbott on this measure at minus 26 points, although it has improved by five points. Among women, Mr Abbott has a net satisfaction rating of minus 24 points and with men it is minus 15.
Mr Shorten generally has similar satisfaction levels as Mr Abbott but his dissatisfaction ratings are much lower which gives him a more favourable net satisfaction score. His worst state is NSW where his rating is minus seven points while in South Australia he has a balance of zero.
During the June quarter, Mr Shorten publicly identified himself as the senior Labor figure who had been the subject of a Victoria Police investigation into an alleged rape in 1986. Police said they would not be proceeding with criminal charges and there was no reasonable prospect of conviction.
The Opposition Leader said the allegations were "untrue and abhorrent” and there was no basis for the claim, which was deeply distressing for his family.
Mr Shorten’s net satisfaction rating among women improved in the quarter from minus four to minus two points; among men it changed from minus eight to minus 10. Men strongly back the Coalition, with support of 41 per cent to 34 per cent for Labor but the ALP is narrowly ahead among women by 37 to 36 per cent.
On the measure of better prime minister, women prefer Mr Shorten by 40 to 35 per cent while men favour Mr Abbott by 43 to 37 per cent. Mr Abbott has regained the mantle as better prime minister in NSW by two points after he was behind by four in the previous quarter. In Western Australia he leads Mr Shorten by nine points.
In South Australia, Mr Abbott has closed Mr Shorten’s previous eight-point lead to be tied and the two men are tied in Queensland, where Mr Abbott had a 21-point lead at the start of the year. Victoria continues to prefer Mr Shorten.
Reform’s a dirty word for today’s Labor Party
IN 1992 Robert Manne edited a book called Shutdown that floated the idea that the government should build a video recorder factory to compete with the Japanese.
Shutdown attacked the policies of Bob Hawke and Paul Keating, the "radical free-market economics” Manne believed was driving Australia to permanent recession.
Manne later admitted that he didn’t know what he was talking about, telling the ABC’s Terry Lane in 2005: "I have never studied economics formally and found pretty quickly when I began to argue about economic rationalism or neoliberalism, I found myself out of my depth.”
Socially aware public intellectuals have always been inclined to imagine the discipline of economics is beneath them. For great architects of a just and fair society it’s the shape of the building that matters, not the efficiency of the plumbing. At best, they consider economic arguments a mere accoutrement to the public policy debate. At worst they think of economics as a pernicious ideology.
Disturbingly, a fresh outbreak of economic irrationalism is afflicting the upper echelons of Labor. The Hawke-Keating reforms are being treated with disdain. Today’s federal Labor leaders have nothing to learn, apparently, from the party’s longest and most successful spell in office.
"If we really believe we are just Bob and Paul’s dumb-arse step-kids, we should pack up and go home,” Michael Cooney told a gathering in London recently.
Cooney, a former speech writer who heads Labor’s Chifley Research Centre think tank, believes that Hawke and Keating’s work is done. Micro-economics is old hat, if indeed it were ever needed at all. "We have to reject any attempt to ‘do reform again’,” claimed Cooney, "and instead we must approach the conditions of our day as if they are new — because they are new. The politics of progressive change isn’t like using shampoo — you don’t close your eyes, rinse and repeat — no, you open your eyes and confront genuinely new challenges.”
Yet Cooney’s genuinely new challenges — "the clean energy revolution … an Asian century … two retired generations … an end to Australia’s mining boom” — hardly require novel solutions. The structural economic reforms that Cooney appears to despise, such as deregulation, labour market efficiency, competition policy and disciplined government spending, would be a good way to tackle all four of them.
Yet Labor’s conceit that it is the party of fairness means it has little patience for that kind of talk. The micro-economic reforms of the 1980s and 90s have lost their potency, former Rudd and Gillard adviser Tom Bentley says.
"The constant assumption of policy and media discussion is that, somehow, the next ‘wave of productivity’ will come from rehashing a mix of trade liberalisation, domestic competition, and cutting back regulation,” he wrote recently in The Guardian. "Lightning rarely strikes twice in the same place.”
The idea that structural reform has had its day is a point of view, but not one likely to be endorsed by the editorial writers of this newspaper. Call them old-fashioned if you like, but they remain stubbornly attached to the idea that a nation can redistribute the only wealth it earns.
Cooney urges Labor’s neo-Whitlamists to ignore The Australian’s advice. "First, we put that bloody newspaper down and think for ourselves,” he told the London audience.
"If that front page is screaming at us that we are saying the wrong thing — and even more so if that op-ed page is screaming at us — I genuinely believe we must conclude we are making progress, not making a mistake.”
Cooney’s point is that fiscal discipline and micro-economic reform are Liberal ideas that Labor should reject. As for that ideologue Paul Kelly, Cooney says in another article, "Paul Kelly is wrong. And that matters.”
The Kelly-bashing continues in the latest edition of The Monthly, where Manne takes umbrage at Kelly’s Triumph and Demise and its less-than-complimentary assessment of Labor’s two most recent prime ministers.
"In Kelly’s world,” writes Manne, "the very concept of reform has been so narrowed that it includes nothing other than measures to improve economic growth and productivity.”
Kelly, says Manne, "is blithely unconcerned about inequality” and, what’s more, is showing dangerous sceptical tendencies.
"On dozens of occasions Kelly spices his narrative with irrational pronouncements from the songbook of climate-change denialism. He thinks that the warnings of the scientists are ‘alarmist’; that the problem of climate change is self-evidently not ‘a moral issue’; that climate change has become a Labor ‘faith’; that imagined catastrophes in the future provide ‘a poor basis for policy action now’; that only a political ‘mug’ would call upon people to make a ‘sacrifice’ for future generations; and, flatly, that ‘climate change was the priority for neither Australia nor the world at this point’.”
Manne may not know much about economics, but he reckons he knows his climate science. Kelly’s analysis, he writes, is "arrogant and foolish” and reveals "a profound ignorance of the work of climate scientists and its implications”. Readers familiar with Manne’s voodoo logic will know by now where the professor is heading: to the grassy knoll and the book depository, where shadowy figures lurk with loaded guns.
"The most obvious flaw in Triumph and Demise,” says Manne, "is Kelly’s justification of News Corp’s war on both Rudd and Gillard, and his astonishingly dishonest pretence that it was not a principal cause of Labor’s prolonged crisis.” Scarily, we find ourselves back in 1975, with Labor’s true believers imagining that it was not administrative chaos and economic incompetence that brought down a government but a fiendish Murdoch plot.
This time, however, there is no Bill Hayden to pick up the pieces and pull Labor back from the brink. There is no former Queensland policeman to restore economic law and order and lay the ground for the election of a reforming, centrist government less than eight years later.
Instead there’s Bill Shorten and his Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen, who understand the structural challenges well enough. Whether they have the authority to prevail over the forces of irrationality is a different matter.
Jacqui Lambie’s calls for a burqa ban
I’M offended by the burqa, and opposed to even the niqab. People wearing full face coverings, including women, are known to have hidden bombs underneath them which they’ve detonated in acts of terror, in various places around the world such as Chechnya. It happens. And the fact is, Muslim garments create fear.
I know not every Muslim is a terrorist but, to the best of my knowledge; every terrorist attack has been by Muslims.
Jacqui Lambie has made some good points and I’m grateful to her for raising these issues because they’re on the minds of a lot of Australians.
We’ve got politicians who know this but who haven’t got the guts to speak out because they have Muslim constituents whose votes they fear losing.
I agree with Ms Lambie that no one should wear full face coverings in our parliament, banks or in any public place due for security reasons and that’s the general feeling among most Australians.
I can’t walk into a bank or government building with my helmet on without being stopped and told to show my face, which is fair enough. The same should apply to women wearing the burqa.
Sometimes I feel sorry for these women who have been forced to wear it. I reckon many Muslim women would love to break out of the burqa. But each to their own and if they want to wear it in their own home, that’s fine, but not in our shopping centres.
I like to see a person’s face and know who they are. How do I know it’s not a man under there?
Wearing such garments is not the Australian way of life. Those who chose to live here should accept our culture and not try to change it from the country I grew up in.
A lot of migrants come here to enjoy the Australian way of life and don’t want to see this country changed.
When I went to the Vatican City I had to abide by their religious customs and dress conservatively. I expect the same of those who come here.
I’m not having a go at their religion but everyone must be treated equally in this country.
If our law states you cannot have full face coverings, no one — including Muslim women — should be able to cover their face.
We’re asked to be tolerant so it makes me mad that these people are not tolerant of our beliefs and our culture.
I’ve always disagreed with multiculturalism and I was called racist because that was the only way to discredit me. But I stood by my beliefs and a lot of what I predicted has actually happened so I’ve been vindicated.
Muslims are not a race so I’m sick of hearing that it’s racist.
This is Australia. If Muslims aren’t happy with our customs, they should find an Islamic country that accommodates their lifestyle choices and move there.
We need a voice on the floor of parliament and Ms Lambie is raising the issue and creating the debate we need.
‘You have beautiful faces and it would be nice to be able to see them,’ Lambie told Musli
‘You have beautiful faces and it would be nice to be able to see them,’ Lambie told Muslim woman Maha Abdo on Sunrise this week.
If the Australian Government cares about this but isn’t willing to take a stand it should put the issue to a plebiscite because Australians should be given a say on the future of their country.
If the situation is so serious that we’re sending troops to Iraq, then it’s serious enough to take a strong stance on this issue.
I want to see Tony Abbott step up and let the majority choose what they want.
Kill Australia's Kyoto Liabilities
The Kyoto Protocol was dreamed up by the Climate Jet-set in Kyoto, Japan in 1997.
One of the first decisions of born-again-green PM, Kevin Rudd, was to commit Australia to Kyoto Phase 1 in 2007. This treaty required signatories to reduce production of carbon dioxide to 5% below 1990 levels by 2012.
As a late joiner, Australia got a lower target, involving no actual cuts. And they achieved that easy target by robbing Australian landowners - they stole carbon credits from landowners by imposing tree clearing bans. That larcenous trick can’t be pulled twice.
Ironically, the death notice for the Kyoto misadventure was posted by Japan, the birthplace of Kyoto, when they announced at Cancun in 2010 that Japan would not agree to any further targets. Japan was shocked at the billions in liabilities they had accumulated by not meeting Kyoto 1 target cuts.
Undeterred by this warning, another ALP/Green government agreed to Kyoto 2 in 2012 – 5% below 2000 levels by 2020.
This target, agreed to without due diligence, is dreamland stuff for Australia. Once the growing population is taken into account, this target would require Australians in 2020 to maintain industries and create new jobs using 30% less hydro-carbon energy per capita than was used in 2000.
Mining and mineral processing, agriculture, manufacturing, transport, tourism, electricity generation, cement, forestry and fishing are the backbone industries of Australia.
Not one of these industries could maintain production while also significantly reducing their production of carbon dioxide, unless Australia embarks on a crash program of building new hydro and/or nuclear power stations. The chance that green regulators or politicians will allow either of these options any time soon is zero.
The use of carbon fuels, more than any other indicator, measures the growth and health of modern economies. The only way to kill carbon is to kill the economy – close industries or send them overseas. The Global Financial Crisis probably did more to reduce the use of hydro-carbon fuels than Kyoto will ever do.
Japan’s exit from Kyoto obligations was soon followed by Canada and Russia. USA never signed, nor did China, India, South Africa or Brazil.
Thus the four biggest economies in our region (USA, China, Japan and India) are not burdened by Kyoto. Nor are our big competitors - Brazil (iron and beef), Indonesia (coal), Chile (copper) and Canada (wheat). We only have the Kiwis and the faraway Europeans sharing the sinking Kyoto ship.
The Kyoto Agreement is a failure. Australia repealed the costly carbon dioxide tax. Next we should get rid of Kyoto liabilities.
7 October, 2014
The crooked BOM again
Canberra Thermometer Is Carefully Sited Next To A Huge Parking Lot
They are frantic Warmists at the Bureau of Meteorology so will do anything to pump the official temperature up. This is a classic example of an urban heat island effect
I have heard that the station has finally been moved to a more reasonable location so it would be interesting to see what "adjustments" accompany that. Adding a constant to the new measurements would be my guess but they are unlikely to tell us
Melbourne Airport terror swoops
COUNTER-terrorism officers intercepted 11 suspected terrorists at Melbourne and Sydney airports in less than a month in a multi-agency security crackdown.
Officers who searched the grounded suspects found images of beheadings and other violent Islamist propaganda on electronic devices and seized tens of thousands of dollars in undeclared cash allegedly being smuggled out of the country.
A twelfth man, 19-year-old Ahmad Saiyer Naizmand, of NSW, allegedly flew out of Sydney on his brother’s passport before Australian officers raised the alarm and had United Arab Emirates authorities deport him back.
ONE suspect’s luggage was deemed "inconsistent with his stated planned travel movements", and he missed his flight after he was searched.
SIX people were caught with violent or objectionable material. Of them, two were issued with infringement notices and three had their electronic devices seized.
ONE man was refused entry to Australia after arriving on a flight to Melbourne from Malaysia and found to have "visa inconsistencies".
THREE of the suspects copped infringement notices.
OTHERS were caught committing visa and passport fraud.
Customs and Border Protection said the Australian Government had changed the instruction to its officers from "facilitation as a priority to security as a priority".
"That means that on occasion, flights will be held, people and baggage will have to be unloaded ... but this is important for our national security," a spokesman said.
The terror suspects were intercepted by Customs and Border Protection, the AFP or the new Counter-Terrorism Units.
The CTU came into force in late August less than nine months after Sydney man Khaled Sharrouf escaped Sydney Airport in December on his brother’s passport to fight for Islamic State in Syria.
Sharrouf caused international outrage by making his seven-year-old Australian-raised son, with him in Syria, pose for photographs holding a severed head.
In addition to the 11 main intercepted suspects, a further six people were stopped and searched by authorities, missing their flights, between August 9 and September 1 at Australia’s largest two airports.
A currency detector dog sniffed out one man trying to leave Melbourne Airport on August 31 without declaring he was carrying more than $10,000. He was also found to be in possession of extremist propaganda images.
In one incident at Melbourne Airport on August 27, five people, thought to be members of the same extended family, were offloaded from a flight and searched.
On the same day at Melbourne, a man was pulled from another flight, searched, and was found to be in possession of more than $30,000 in undeclared currency and violent propaganda images.
One man caught in September was found not to have Islamist propaganda, but was instead in possession of child abuse images.
Tony Abbott might be a feminist
The Prime Minister is, in my view, a Beyonce Feminist. He believes in the political and legal equality of women and men. This is the feminism described by Annie Lennox as "Feminism Lite".
I'd call it a minimalist feminism. It's the sort of basic legal rights feminism that was radical when the Prime Minister and Germaine Greer were at university.
Greer was known for flouting convention by being intellectually exhilarating and verbally terrifying - and also for showing off her rather fine legs in controversially short skirts. 'First Wave' feminists threw off the modest dress of patriarchy and let the sun warm their gloriously liberated skin.
The feminism I grew up with rejected girdles, corsets, hats, gloves, pantyhose, low hems and high collars as symbols of patriarchal oppression. Partly because freedom means self-expression and partly because modest dress is strongly associated with sexist philosophies of sexuality which hold a woman must cover her temptress flesh lest she incite a good man to temptation.
This is the sort of thinking expressed in the move by Uganda to criminalise the wearing of Greer-esque mini-skirts. The Guardian reported Ugandan Minister for Ethics and Integrity Simon Lokodo as saying the measures were necessary to prevent men from being encouraged to sexually assault women.
Many Muslim women argue that wearing the headscarf has become a feminist act. The new language of 'intersectionality' is used to position it as a gesture against western-defined notions of women's empowerment. Headscarves are posited against the Beyonce school offeminism, which it can be argued does nothing to fight the tyranny of women being judged by their gendered qualities.
However, as a writer at Feministe pointed out "There are certainly oppressive aspects to any article of clothing that is required to be worn by women under patriarchal authority".
Raised on a feminism that rejected modest dress, I am - like the Prime Minister - uncomfortable with the burka and the niqab. I wouldn't dream of banning them. I wouldn't ever want a woman excluded from her parliament simply because she covers her head or even her whole face. I certainly don't want girls excluded from school for how they dress or women kept at home because they can't reconcile their faith with public life. But that doesn't mean I have to celebrate modest dress. It doesn't mean I want to join Everybody-wear-a-hijab Day.
Freedom of religion must include the freedom (within the law) to practice that religion, or it means very little. That means a turban for some, orange robes for others and, for a small minority, a burka. Since it is women who wear the more obvious symbols of Islamic faith, hysteria about dress codes punishes all Muslim women for the actions of a small minority of Muslim men. It is a profoundly sexist reaction to fears about Islam.
Feminism has been appropriated and overcomplicated and adapted to so many new causes in recent years that the simple straightforward feminism of the 1970s is long gone. Were it still holding sway today, the PM's discomfort with extreme modest dress would have been viewed as pretty unremarkable. Tony Abbott may not be everybody's kind of feminist but on this one issue at least, he is my kind of feminist.
ACT grabs chaplain funding for schools
The ACT government will be forced to accept religious-only conditions on school chaplain funding from the federal government.
This leaves the jobs of 25 secular school welfare workers in doubt, with the ACT government saying while it will try to absorb as many as possible under existing school funding arrangements, this cannot be guaranteed.
The federal government was forced to redesign its $244 million National School Chaplain Scheme after the High Court ruled it invalid in June. Under the new arrangements the federal government will fund state and territory governments to administer the scheme.
In August, ACT Education Minister Joy Burch said the ACT would demand secular workers were included and for the existing arrangements funding 56 school welfare workers and chaplains to be continued.
Victoria, WA, the Northern Territory and Tasmania, however, accepted the scheme as is in late September, somewhat scuttling chances of other states to negotiate to include secular welfare workers.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education Scott Ryan gave the rest of the state and territory education ministers until last Friday to accept the funding.
Ms Burch wrote to Mr Ryan on Friday saying the ACT would accept the funding and she was "disappointed" the Commonwealth did not agree to the inclusion of secular counsellors.
"Requiring that these schools apply for a religious-based chaplain without the option for a secular worker is inconsistent with the principles in which they are based," the letter read.
In a final effort to limit increased religious influence in public schools, Ms Burch is urging the federal government to not make provision for new religious chaplains to be appointed.
"It is the ACT government's position that...public schools participation will be limited to seeking funding to continue employing individual chaplains already in the program," Ms Burch wrote.
As of May there were 22 chaplains and 14 secular welfare workers funded in the federal chaplain program in ACT public schools.
Mr Burch said the territory would comply with the scheme's condition to form a cross-sector public, private and Catholic school panel to help administer the scheme.
The panel will be responsible for selecting the reduced number of 47 schools to receive religious chaplains.
6 October, 2014
Couple told to take down Australian flag because of “current political climate”
A DARWIN couple say they have been ordered to take down the Australian flag from their front yard because of the “current political climate.”
But homeowners Paul and Julie Lucas have refused to do so, instead choosing keeping their flag flying.
The pair finished renovations at their Stuart Park property complete with flag pole earlier this week.
Body corporate Castle Real Estate Managing Director Daniel Ferguson has denied he said it was because of the political climate.
“It doesn’t matter what the structure is,” Mr Ferguson said. “Paul and Julie failed to apply to the body corporate for permission to erect a structure, no application has been made.”
Mr Lucas did not believe had to apply for permission.
On Wednesday morning, the body corporate from their unit complex - Castle Real Estate - told them to pack away the flag.
“We’re patriotic people, I’m proud of my forefathers and what people continue to do for us in this country,” he said.
“It’s not there to upset anyone, (but) why do we have to be like this in our own country? People come here because they like the way we live.”
Mr Lucas said he served his country in the Defence Force and so did his father and grandfather.
Ms Lucas said she could not believe when she heard they had to remove the flag. “I honestly thought it was a joke,” she said.
She said the flag was intended to be welcoming not excluding. “I embrace everybody no matter who they are, we work in a multicultural industry, it’s political correctness gone mad.
“Until you can show me a written law that says it is illegal to fly the Australian flag on your property that flag will remain.”
There is no 'right' to help yourself to the taxes of others
This week a parliamentary committee accused the Abbott Government of violating international human rights obligations because it wants to limit the hand out of tax-payer funded welfare benefits.
Welfare changes included in the May Budget set tough conditions for the payment of unemployment benefits to people under the age of 30. Failure to meet those conditions by hopeful recipients would mean no social security payments for six months.
But the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights, set up under the
Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 ruled that the measure was "incompatible with the right to social security".
The so-called "right to social security" is set out in Article 9 of the UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights created in 1966. The Australian government signed up to the ICESCR in 1975, thereby committing to an endless, expanding provision of welfare benefits.
Today, many on the Left affirm the ICESCR provision on social security because of their commitment to alleviating suffering and need. Others on the Right are skeptical because of growing public expenditure, a rising tax-burden, and the erosion of incentives to obtain employment.
But the reality is that human rights - as defined by the Covenant and applied by the Parliamentary Committee in relation to welfare - is a corruption of the true meaning of the term. There is no such thing as a human right to free-flowing and unrestricted welfare.
Human rights, as properly understood, grant individuals specific and important freedoms so that they can pursue their own life and well-being. These rights include the right to the freedoms of speech, religion, and conscience, as well as important rights such as the right not to be enslaved or tortured.
This is to say that human rights are intended to stop governments from acting at the expense of the well-being of its citizens. They create a space for freedom to live under the rule of law. In other words, human rights stop governments from interfering in our lives.
The problem with the 'right' to social security is that it sets out to alleviate a burden borne by some individuals by imposing a duty or obligation on other individuals. It is therefore not a right at all. The parliamentary committee's report criticizing the government for doing what it was elected to do is nonsense. The right to help yourself to the taxes of other people is no right at all.
Newington College cadets told not to wear uniform in public
Army cadets at a private Sydney boys' school have been told not to wear their camouflage uniform on public transport or in public spaces after the Australia Defence Force urged military personnel to avoid being in uniform in public.
Newington College has issued an "urgent cadet announcement" to parents of the school's cadet unit ahead of its promotions camp and parade next week.
The note urges the cadets to travel to the camp in their PE uniform and change when they arrive rather than travelling in their camouflage uniform.
"Please be advised that the college will follow the Defence Department's recommendation that ...uniform not be worn on public transport nor in public spaces," the note from the unit's Major Rod Wood said.
"We will continue to monitor developments and re-assess this directive if and when required."
The Defence Force last month urged its members to carefully consider wearing uniforms in public in the wake of increased terror alerts.
Newington has one of the longest continuously running cadet units in Australia, but many other schools also have cadet units, including The Kings School and Scots College.
A Defence spokesman said the Chief of the Defence Force had advised Defence members to be diligent with personal safety and to "exercise commonsense and judgement when considering wearing uniform in public".
Similar advice has been issued to Army, Navy and Air Force Cadets, the spokesman said.
"Cadets have been urged to be proud of their uniform, but vigilant about where and when they wear it," the spokesman said.
"Cadet activities will continue wherever possible without unnecessary disruption. Cadets or their parents can seek further advice from their local chain of command."
Ashton Wood destroys his ‘lemon’ Jeep after viral campaign
ASHTON Wood bought a $49,000 Jeep - and hated it so much he demolished it. Stuck with a “lemon” that Fiat Chrysler won’t refund or replace, the Wood family today staged a protest by smashing, burning and destroying the car.
Starting tentatively, they ripped out seats and shot arrows to deflate the tyres.
As the destruction ramped up, the windows were shattered with crowbars and the doors ripped off.
Then it was time to bring out the heavy machinery. Angle grinders cut off the roof before a 35 tonne excavator ripped out the engine and dashboard.
The excavator ceremonially dumped the crumpled remains onto a wood pile for the raging bonfire finale on the rural Sunshine Coast property.
The Wood family organised the “Destroy My Jeep” demolition to highlight the need for laws forcing car companies to refund or replace problem vehicles. So-called lemon laws would mean drivers who had suffered more than three faults would not be left with a useless car.
The Wood family jeep suffered 22 faults starting on the night they collected it from the Noosa dealership in 2010.
Before they had even left the showroom, the engine had stopped and fuel was gushing from underneath.
Despite relentless breakdowns, meetings and mediation, Vanessa Wood said Fiat Crystler had refused to replace or refund the faulty vehicle.
“It has been a problem ever since we picked it up from the dealership,” said Mrs Wood. “The kids were sitting in the car ready to go, the gentleman was showing us the controls on the steering wheel and all of a sudden it stopped.
“The engine stopped, he was looking at it and I heard this gush and all the diesel was coming out of the car. “So it had to stay and we had to go home without a car, and here we are 22 issues later and many many breakdowns.”
Mrs Wood said lemon laws would protect consumers who had been sold a dud. “We want lemon laws like they have had in America since the early 70s, so if there are three major faults you either get your money back or you get it replaced, it’s as simple as that.
“Apart from your house, your car is your next biggest purchase. “You buy any white goods, whether it’s a toaster or a kettle, if there’s anything wrong with it, they just replace it so why can’t they do that for cars?
“These are legitimate issues. The Jeep should have been replaced or we should have got our money back, but the law doesn’t support that at the moment and it’s not good enough.”
According to Mr Wood, the 4WD has been towed four times and has 20 defects including windscreen wipers that triggered by turning corners.
A spokesman from Chrysler Australia said the company had fixed any issues under the car’s warranty. “We have, and always will, treat Mr Wood and his concerns in a fair and professional manner.
“Mr Wood’s concerns have been resolved under warranty, free of charge. We have also extended the warranty on Mr Wood’s vehicle an extra year as a gesture of goodwill,” he said.
“Mr Wood has also sought independent ruling on his concerns through the Queensland Office of Fair Trading. The Office found that there was insufficient evidence to require any action by them.”
When Mr Wood asked Chrysler Australia for a refund or replacement vehicle they said they could only repair the car. Unsatisfied Mr Wood flew to Chrysler Australia head office in Melbourne.
“We talked for two hours at the end of that time they said they’d replace the battery and I’d be good to go, that’s all they were going to offer us.”
The next week Chrysler offered to buy Mr Wood’s car at market price, $22,000, less than half of what he bought it for. Earlier this year a Chrysler spokeswomen told the ABC the offer was fair and “well above the market rate” for a car that had travelled more than 50,000km.
After the Queensland Office of Fair Trading did not rule in Mr Wood’s favour, he decided to launch the Destroy my Jeep campaign.
About 150 people donated generously to the Kickstarter appeal raising $18,956 to fuel Ashton’s fire.
Supporters were rewarded with special wrecking privileges like using a hammer to create dents or smashing the headlights with a crowbar.
The Jeep has also been covered in the names of pledgers, drawn on with permanent marker.
“I have been totally consumed by this,” he said. “I travel a lot for work and spend a lot of time wondering if my wife’s going to get stranded again while I’m away.
Mr Wood hopes the stunt will ultimately result in the creation of a Lemon Law in Australia.
“Since I went public I’ve had a lot of vehicle owners come to me and say good on you fight the good fight for us, we’re all in the same boat,” he said.
“I think I have to go through this to make a very, very big point and get people talking about it and get the State Government to seriously consider making the law.”
5 October, 2014
Brainless sea-level report fails to take account of local factors
There is no uniform sea-level
In July 2014, Whitehead & Associates Environmental Consultants, in consultation with Coastal Environment and with funding from the NSW Government, produced a report for Eurobodalla Shire Council and Shoalhaven City Council titled “South Coast Regional Sea Level Rise Policy and Planning Framework, Exhibition Draft.” The conclusion of the following commentary and analysis is that this report does not provide reliable guidance to the complicated issues of measuring, forecasting, and responding to sea-level rise.
The image below presents the unmistakeable pattern of wide variations in rates of tectonic uplift (points above the red zero baseline) and subsidence (points below) in different locations around the world at particular times. In such circumstances, no effective coastal management plan can rest upon speculative computer projections regarding an idealised future global sea-level, such as those provided by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Coastal management must instead rest upon accurate knowledge of local geological, meteorological and oceanographical conditions, including, amongst other things, changes in local relative sea level.
For the central and southern New South Wales (NSW) coast of Australia, this requires basing management policies on the range of long-term rates of sea-level rise of 0.63-0.94 mm/yr that have been measured at the nearby Sydney (Fort Denison) tidal gauge.
The implied 6.3-9.4 cm of rise in the next hundred years is similar to the rise which occurred during the preceding hundred years. This did not require, nor receive, any policy formulation over and above the application of historic 20th century coastal planning regulations.
Truth overboard: Claims of asylum seeker abuse on Nauru were ‘fabricated’
A FORMER integrity commissioner has been asked to investigate allegations a service provider hired to care for asylum seeker children on Nauru fabricated stories of abuse.
Scott Morrison this morning announced Philip Moss would conduct an independent inquiry into the claims against Save the Children workers at the centre.
“Mr Moss will be asked to assess the accuracy of the allegations and determine exactly what the facts are in all of these cases,” he told reporters in Canberra.
An intelligence report provided to the federal government has revealed that staff from the Save The Children organisation based at Nauru had also been involved in “encouraging and coaching” self-harm to “achieve evacuations to Australia”.
The Minister said 10 employees of one of the country’s largest government-funded aid organisations had been removed from Nauru by the Department of Immigration, but he stressed that the action wasn’t in connection to claims of sexual misconduct, abuse or inappropriate behaviour.
“I’m drawing no conclusions about any of these matters but it is very important that we get these matters resolved,” he said.
“The matters that have been brought to my attention are concerning, certainly the allegations of sexual misconduct are abhorrent and I would be horrified to think that things of that nature have taken place.”
Mr Morrison said if people want to be “political activists … they don’t get to do it on the taxpayer’s dollar and working in a sensitive place like Nauru”.
So far no arrests have been made, but Mr Moss will share his findings with Nauruan authorities, the Minister said.
Mr Moss has been asked to deliver an interim report in the next seven weeks, with a final report due by the end of the year.
The Federal Police have also been called in to investigate the alleged misuse by staff of Save The Children of privileged information under section 70 of the Crimes Act.
The alleged fabrications include manufactured cases of sexual abuse against children by security staff.
The intelligence report follows claims by Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young that children had been sexually abused by guards at the centre.
But it appears to refute those claims, alleging some Save The Children staff had helped “manufacture” situations for political purposes.
Senator Hanson-Young said she was concerned “the Minister seems to be prejudging the investigation before it has even started”.
“This is a Minister who blames the victim, shoots the messenger and then drops it all to his favourite home town paper. “That’s not how a Minister who is taking these allegations seriously should be acting.
When asked why she is so convinced the allegations haven’t been fabricated, Senator Hanson-Young said there needs to be an investigation.
But she claimed Mr Morrison is “spinning for his life”. “If there’s one person who fabricates stories, let’s not forget it was Mr Morrison who went out and said that Reza Berati died because he left the detention centre at Manus Island, it wasn’t true.”
The report also cites examples of staff deliberately fabricating abuse, posting it on social media and even providing detainees with cameras to “document protest activity”.
“It is probable the refugee advocates and some service providers are assisting to manufacture situations where ‘evidence’ can be obtained to pursue a political and ideological agenda ... ,” the report says.
“It also assesses as probable that there is a degree of internal and external coaching and encouragement to achieve evacuations through self-harm action.”
Yesterday, the Labor opposition supported a Greens motion, with the backing of the Palmer United Party, for a release of all incident reports at Nauru for the past 12 months.
But assistant immigration minister Senator Michaela Cash said the government would not respond because the information, as revealed in the intelligence report, appeared to have been compromised.
It was first contracted to provide welfare, education and protection for children on Nauru in August last year.
Last night a Save the Children spokesman said: “The past week has been a very difficult time on Nauru, in particular as changes in asylum seeker policy have filtered through to the children and families affected. Save the Children and its staff work tirelessly to help ensure the best possible conditions for the vulnerable people in our care, and we are deeply concerned for their health and wellbeing.
The ABC turns a blind eye to Goulburn riot
THERE was a mini-riot involving Muslim prisoners at the maximum security Goulburn jail two weekends ago. It began with derogatory comments to a female prison officer, at least one beheading threat and the chanting of Islamic religious slogans.
It wasn’t a religious riot because it was sparked by the cancellation of a BBQ for indigenous prisoners, but it is not true to say that religion was not involved. You might never have heard about it if it were not for this newspaper’s longstanding, trusted contacts with prison officers.
What we reported was accurate, but an unholy alliance between Corrective Services NSW, headed by reformist German-born former social worker Peter Severin, and the ABC’s politically correct Media Watch program would have you believe it was a lie.
So, this is the unvarnished account of what happened on September 20, as recounted by unnamed sources on the ground, and verified by the Goulburn prison officers’ union leader Steve McMahon.
In Yard 6, an indigenous inmate, one of about a dozen indigenous Muslim converts in the jail, made “very derogatory comments” to a female prison officer. As a consequence, the monthly BBQ planned for that sunny Saturday was banned.
This provoked what Corrective Services calls a “significant disturbance” in Yard 6, where a number of the 32 indigenous inmates armed themselves with makeshift weapons and threatened staff, destroyed property, and had to be subdued by teargas.
The yards in Goulburn jail’s main centre are arranged like wheel spokes, with inmates segregated along cultural or racial lines, for harmony reasons, but able to communicate through fences.
Yard 6 is alongside Yard 7, which is the area where 26 inmates, predominately Pacific Islanders, are housed, among them several “associated with” the outlaw Rebels motorcycle gang. They provided the rioting indigenous inmates in Yard 6 with “canned foodstuffs” to throw at guards.
In Yard 13 are the Middle Eastern inmates, mainly of Lebanese extraction. It is an area behind Yards 6 and 7, separated from them by two fences and a narrow strip of ground, but still in easy earshot.
This is the unvarnished account of what happened on September 20, as recounted by unnamed sources on the ground
According to unnamed prison officers, again verified by McMahon, one or more of the Middle Eastern inmates encouraged the indigenous rioters in Yard 6 by yelling out Islamic religious slogans, believed to be Allahu Akbar, “God is great.”
While the religious fervour of the indigenous converts is said to “ebb and flow”, officers have long been concerned about the control exerted by a few radical Muslims in Yard 13, who “in the past were doing it by way of financial support”, says McMahon.
“(The Aborigines) seem to be converted as soldiers, and manipulated into action ... We believe that has been part of the motivation to convert them. They’re (seen as) expendable.”
It was important to report this story because it gives the public an understanding of the battle faced by prison officers in keeping an increasingly fractious inmate population under control. And it allowed prison officers, who work unarmed, to express their fears that the undercurrent of tension in Goulburn jail is in danger of blowing up.
“We’re very happy with the media coverage,” says McMahon. “It highlights to the public the sort of thing we face every day, the simmering tension that may have some cultural issues attached to it.
“If they want to make their incarceration a religious battle, which it clearly is not, it adds a whole new tangent to it because it gets into that over-the-top zealot-type behaviour.”
At the same time, Severin’s new broom is changing the no-nonsense approach employed by tough former prisons’ boss Ron Woodham. Many past and serving officers regard Severin as a “do-gooder” who is rarely seen in his jails.
Management of our jails is an important matter of public interest, especially as the inmate population has exploded in the past two years, and the pressure has been on to weaken bail conditions or release prisoners early, at the same time as expanding complaint mechanisms cause headaches for governors.
But if Media Watch had its way, you would remain in blissful ignorance.
Muslims need to stop playing the victim
RAIDS by Australia’s counterterrorism units continued yesterday in Melbourne and come just weeks after the raids across eastern Australia in response to an allegedly imminent terrorist attack in Sydney.
On Wednesday last week, Australia woke to news that a Victorian police officer had shot dead a youth during a horrific attack at a suburban Melbourne police station that left two policemen seriously wounded, one of whom nearly lost his life.
Predictably, there were calls from a few Islamic community leaders for an “open and independent” investigation into the police shooting.
It occurred to me that I have never heard the Catholic or Anglican archbishop make a similar call when one of their flock is gunned down attempting to murder a police officer.
Just as predictable was the stampede of senior police, politicians and other identities placating Islamic leaders after the shooting.
Of course, what would a terrorism-related incident be without some mention somewhere of the youth being “disenfranchised” from mainstream society?
These disenfranchised youth have access to free health, free education, subsidised medicines, public housing and transport. They are free to practise any religion they want, marry whom they want and, if they feel inclined, work for a fair wage and get to live in one of the safest nations on Earth. And did I mention that they also get free legal representation?
What a burden of rights, gifts and privileges these disenfranchised youth have. It must be this burden that makes so many of them want to leave and go to countries in the Middle East that are the complete opposite of ours.
The Islamic community needs to own up to the not so insignificant problems that they have, ask for help and stop playing the victims.
A final note on this current situation comes via Fairfield Local Court, which handed a man a two-year good behaviour bond for possessing a stun gun — an offence that can carry up to 14 years’ imprisonment.
The man, Ahmad Rahmany, was arrested and charged during Sydney’s counterterrorism raids. According to his lawyer, the charge had nothing to do with terrorism.
It must have been unfortunate for Ahmed Rahmany that the police who conducted the raids on his house were from a counterterrorism unit.
Mr Rahmany was quoted as saying the raid on his house was “horrific” and “unAustralian”.
Am I missing something?
The question of accountability
By Prof. Don Aitkin
A correspondent has informed me that the ACT Government has awarded Aspen Island Theatre Company $18,793, to assist with costs of the creative development of a new theatre work, ‘Kill Climate Deniers’. Since in some quarters I am thought to carry the marker of ‘climate denier’ (one of the stupidest epithets of our time) I was naturally alert, and alarmed as well. Perhaps the play is to be a comedy. Who knows. Maybe I’ll wear a disguise and go to see it.
But it raised for me once again the question of accountability. There is a lot of dire warning of ‘climate change’ about, and a lot of abuse of sceptics. In what sense are the Cassandras and abusers accountable for their actions? David Suzuki has asserted that politicians who don’t ‘take action’ on climate change should be jailed. Robert Kennedy Jnr has described such people as committing ‘treason’. The doom-laden utterances of Professor Flannery are familiar to all of a sceptical bent.
What if they’re wrong — quite wrong? If people have acted in particular ways because of what these people have said, and it all proves nugatory — and expensive — what then? Suppose, just suppose, that we are in for a long cooling spell. After all, the Antarctic ice sheet is now at the largest level ever witnessed (though that’s only thirty years or so). Do any of us have redress?
Anthony Watts’ website has run a thoughtful piece on accountability by Tim Ball, whose work I have mentioned before. Ball points out that engineers, in order to practice, must belong to a professional organisation, and that they are responsible for the quality of what they do and produce. So do lawyers and doctors. But not scientists, and especially not climateers.
Vaclav Klaus, the former President of the Czech Republic, and the only outspokenly sceptical national leader there has been in the past fifty years, wrote in his book, Blue Planet in Green Shackles:
"Environmentalism is a political movement that originally began with the intent to protect the environment – a humble and perhaps even legitimate goal – but which has gradually transformed itself into an ideology that has almost nothing to do with nature.
This ideological stream has recently become a dominant alternative to those ideologies that are consistently and primarily oriented towards freedom. Environmentalism is a movement that intends to change the world radically regardless of the consequences (at the cost of human lives and severe restrictions on individual freedom). It intends to change humankind, human behavior, the structure of society, the system of values – simply everything."
The great assertion of the climateers is that humans have caused a problem that threatens the whole planetary eco-system. It is a belief for which the evidence is tenuous and ambiguous, but those who believe it do so passionately. Who decided that humans are the cause of the ‘problem’? Ball says that the climateers did, using scientific methods that are clearly wrong because the predictions are wrong. It is a classic circular argument.
"There are leading environmentalists in every country who practice political abuse of environmentalism, as Klaus defined it. These individuals and their organizations have done great social and economic damage with environmental misinformation and false claims, for a political agenda of total government control under the guise of saving the planet. They are effectively a green fifth-column, the enemy within. Sadly, their exploitation and misuse of environmentalism is putting the entire paradigm in jeopardy, as people stop believing anything they’re told."
Worse, many of these organisations bare defined as charities, and are thus exempt from income taxation. And the big ones seem to be very wealthy indeed. I know that I’ve said all this before. But this time I want to raise the question of redress. What if they are all completely wrong, both about warming, and about the human contribution to it? How can they be held to account?
Dr Ball devotes much of his essay to the question of salmon fishing and farming in British Columbia, where once again the David Suzuki Foundation has been an aggressive foe of the industry, making (according to Ball) completely false statements about, for example, sea lice, climate, global warming and the rest. David Suzuki himself referred to farmed salmon as ‘poison’.
We seem to be in a repetitive cycle. A small minority makes a great fuss about something, and call on ‘science’ as its witness. Pressure grows in the media for the government to ‘do something’. Something is done, but there is little interest in the broad consequences. In the case of climate action in Australia, one outcome was the carbon tax, which cost most people a good deal of money, and had no effect whatever on carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, let alone on global temperature.
Yes, the Abbott Government has now repealed the tax, and a smidgin of money is being returned to us by energy companies. But who is to be held accountable for the mess in the first place? There is no enquiry, as with pink batts. And the doomsayers keep preaching disaster.
It’s a hard one, because so much of the doom is about what will happen at the end of the century, when few of us will be around. Oliver Wendell Holmes, speaking about the right of free speech, pointed out that no one had the right to call out ‘fire!’ in a crowded theatre: there needed to be also a sense of responsibility to go with the right.
Most days it is clear to me that the climateers see the notion of personal responsibility as almost laughable. They are SURE, and we must BELIEVE. It is so like the evangelist Christian revivalists of my youth, Canon Bryan Green, Billy Graham, and that ilk.
3 October, 2014
In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG says that the Left are a bigger menace than the Muslims
Another triumph of multiculturalism
Colombian boy, 17, admits choking three women unconscious before sexually assaulting them in terrifying attacks on Melbourne's streets
A Colombian teenager who choked three women unconscious before sexually assaulting them in the street has pleaded guilty.
The 17-year-old targeted three strangers on separate occasions in Melbourne's CBD between November 2013 and January 2014.
On Wednesday the skateboarder pleaded guilty to a number of charges including rape, attempted rape, robbery, assault with intent to rape and indecent assault, The Age reported.
In each case the teen choked each victim unconscious before sexually assaulting them, sometimes multiple times, according to the prosecution.
The teenager, just 17 at the time of the attacks, was arrested on January 25 more than 200 kilometres from where the assaults took place - at camping grounds in Johanna, near Apollo Bay.
The prosecutor said the teen's family had bought him a one-way flight back to Bogota, Colombia, and had tried to assist him in altering his appearance. He had been due to leave the country the day after his arrest.
In the Victorian County Court on Wednesday Prosecutor Dr Nanette Rogers, SC, described the terrifying nature of each of the attacks, all on young women in their early twenties.
On November 9 around 12.30am the first one took place, when a 22-year-old was grabbed on Bourke Street in Melbourne's CBD and shoved in to a laneway where she was assaulted.
The second victim, a Chinese international student, 24, was speaking on the phone outside a car dealership on Kings Way near Albert street when she was attacked from behind.
She was sexually assaulted some time between 2.30 and 3am. In her victim impact statement the woman expressed her distress over the fact that such an horrific crime could happen in Australia.
'Sexual abuse is an unforgivable offence ... It should not have happened here [in Australia],' she said according to The Age.
The Colombian teenager's third victim was another 22-year-old who according to Ms Rogers had a shard of glass held to her throat on Flinders Street around 6am on January 18.
Her attacker then marched her more than a kilometre through the city before dragging her into a stairway near Southern Cross Station and raping her twice, the court heard.
This victim told the court she could not escape the traumatising memories of the violent rape, and was terrified while waiting for the results to see if she had contracted HIV from her attacker.
The 22-year-old also revealed the devastating impact the incident had on her emotional connection with others, and said she no longer wanted to go to the gym as she believed the less attractive she was the less likely it was she would be assaulted again.
The case was moved from the Children's Court to the County Court because of its severity, and the fact the attacker could have faced a maximum of three years behind bars if he had been tried as a child.
The court heard the teen had moved to Australia to be with his mother late last year. He apologised for the horrific attacks but said the second two were due to alcohol abuse.
He will be sentenced at a later date, and will most likely be deported when he is released on parole.
Senator Bernardi speaks out again -- on free speech and Muslims
Cory Bernardi is a Liberal Party Senator for South Australia
It’s fascinating to watch the reaction of people when their world view comes crashing down around them. Suddenly they feel very vulnerable because their protective cloak of self-righteous belief no longer masks their failures of logic.
We have seen many examples of it this past week surrounding two key issues that I have been involved in.
The first is my support for removing the words ‘insult’ and ‘offend’ from section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act (RDA). Frankly I find it preposterous that anyone can be taken to court on the basis of having offended or insulted someone else.
This is a direct restriction on our freedom of speech and making these minor modifications to section 18C of the RDA has met with a broad cross section of support. People like Julian Burnside QC and David Marr have joined with conservatives like Andrew Bolt and John Roskam in supporting change.
Indeed, it was a long-standing election commitment from the Coalition to introduce such change. Unfortunately that commitment was abandoned, apparently due to 'community concerns'.
However, I am now one of four senators who have co-sponsored a Bill to amend the RDA to ensure freedom of speech is strengthened in this country.
In doing so, many media commentators have been critical of this ‘rogue liberal’ for daring to advance a logical and principled argument at such a sensitive time. Of course, the sensitive time they refer to is the heightened tension surrounding acts of terror at home and abroad.
On one hand, these commentators say we should never give in to the terrorists but then maintain we shouldn’t pursue important legislative changes designed to strengthen our freedoms because of the acts of a barbaric few.
It’s a similar issue with my security concerns about identity concealing garments being worn within Parliament House. It’s entirely logical that in a time of hightened security alerts we should be able to identify those people who enter one of our most important public buildings.
Once again, I am attacked for the lack of sensitivity in raising this matter ‘at this time’. Incredibly, when I raised it over three years ago I was told it wasn’t the right time then either as there was no security risk attached to people hiding their faces in public.
It makes one wonder why we bother to have all the CCTV cameras if we can’t identify the people they capture!
Which brings me back to these critics' ‘world view’.
These individuals have subscribed to the world of political correctness for such a long time that when the obvious cracks in their theories become public they do whatever they can to protect their position.
I mean, it must be soul destroying to have clung to failed ideals for 30 plus years only to be proved so wrong. How can one then explain away such a lack of foresight?
The answer is that you don’t. Instead, you dismiss your opponents by calling them names and never responding to their reasoned arguments.
In the past week, I have been attacked by commentators like Niki Savva for my ‘unhelpful insensitivity’ and listened to panellists on the Project dismiss legitimate security concerns. Even the diminished figure of Bill Shorten failed to reach his own low standards by resorting to name calling rather than standing up for Australia.
And yet, not a single one of them acknowledged that the reason we are in this mess today is because of their (and others) long-standing denial that there has been a growing problem in our midst.
For too long, too many people like those mentioned above have ignored practices and actions that have undermined our social cohesion and cultural mores in the name of diversity and tolerance. They have steadfastly refused to heed the experience of other Western nations who failed to arrest the changes occurring in their society.
Instead, they have chosen to personally attack the few who dared to break the silence and tell it how it is.
That all came crashing down last week when a plot to behead strangers in the middle of Sydney was exposed by our security agencies. This was shortly followed by an attempt to kill two police officers which left the failed murderer shot dead.
While the barbaric plots were a huge concern to mainstream Australia, a section of our community chose to blame the rest of us for creating this situation. Whilst I don’t agree with their reasoning, I do agree we have made this rod for our own back.
For too long our tolerance and our freedoms have been used to challenge our social mores. Moral relativism has been forced down our throats since the 1970s and has left us vulnerable to subversive elements within.
The product of that thinking was seen last week and no matter how much the proponents try to dismiss their failure by attacking others, the Australian people know better.
They know there is something amiss within our community that too few in the public square dare to discuss. And yet, the danger of not discussing it almost inevitably leads to even greater anger and resentment.
In other lands, such sentiments have resulted in an aggressive and sometimes violent counter reaction all of its own. This is the scenario I hope our country can avoid.
However, it will only occur if we can all commit to having the courage to speak about the facts at hand and the freedom to do so without the pejorative slurs of those whose ideas have helped get us into these problems in the first place.
Our future depends on it.
New Christmas Island chief's hardline approach over conditions for asylum seekers
The newly-appointed administrator of Christmas Island has taken a hardline approach to asylum seekers, denying that incidents of self-harm in the detention centre are a result of lengthy off-shore processing.
Barry Haase, a former West Australian Liberal backbencher, will start the three-year position of administrator of the Christmas and Cocos islands on Monday.
Mr Haase will replace outgoing administrator Jon Stanhope, who was critical of custody conditions and now hopes to work as an advocate for refugees and asylum seekers.
'There would be no self harm in the centre if they hadn't gotten on a leaky boat and paid thousands of dollars to be there,' Mr Haase told The Sydney Morning Herald.
Despite widespread concern regarding the welfare of asylum seekers residing at the Christmas Island detention centre, Mr Haase said that the potential refugees cannot blame the system for self-abuse. 'You can't deny that that's the truth,' he said. 'It's no one else's fault.'
The statements come after more claims of child sexual abuse, with figures from the Department of Immigration released to The Sydney Morning Herald on Thursday revealing 33 cases of alleged sexual assault in Christmas Island and Australian detention centres between 2013 and 2014.
'Well, buyer beware is my motto. If one accepts the offer of a product you need to look at it from all angles and if you pay in excess of US$12,000 I would want to know what my destiny was going to be and how seaworthy the vessel was'.
The retired MP said that his hope was for the centre to wind down once the government achieved a higher level of success at preventing asylum seekers from entering Australian water. '[Then] we will not have the need for wasting taxpayers' money,' he said.
Mr Haase has been outspoken about issues relating to asylum seekers for several years, expressing strong support for the government's 'stop the boats' campaign.
In 2012 he accused the Labor government of not acting swiftly enough when boats carrying asylum seekers were found to have cases of typhoid on board, labeling it a 'failed border protection policy'.
Mr Haase criticised the 'decision to introduce mainstream release of asylum seekers into the community, with support payments, free housing and set up packages worth up to $10,000.'
However, the former Liberal MP insists that his political affiliations were unrelated to his selection as administrator, despite his appointment to the position following praise from Prime Minister Tony Abbott. 'Look, I'm neutral on government policy, regardless of what shade the government of the day happens to be,' he said.
Mr Haase's predecessor, Mr Stanhope, drew attention to the long offshore processing policies, stating that hundreds of families had been in custody for over 15 months.
Mr Stanhope, a former ACT minister, said that holding children in detention centre for over a year was in no way appropriate, and labelled the policy as 'extremely hardhearted'. 'I think there has to be a better way and we need to find it,' he said.
In July, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison released a statement responding to claims of self-harm by asylum seekers in the detention centre.
'While the government understands the concern that exists on such sensitive matters of self-harm, it is important to recognise government commentary on such issues takes into account privacy and the impact public commentary may have in encouraging such behaviour,' he said.
Greenie restrictions take a life
Greenie-inspired restrictions on what a farmer can do with his land can be extremely frustrating for the farmers affected. One day a farmer had to lash out at his tormenters. That has now happened
Moree farmer Ian Turnbull made verbal threats against Glen Turner two years before 'he deliberately executed him by shooting him in the back' a judge has said in court while refusing the wealthy grazier bail.
'I'm an old man. I don't care. I can do anything I want' police say Turnbull told Mr Turner on June 28, 2012.
Turnbull is charged with the murder of the 51-year-old father of two, accused of shooting the environment officer during an alleged land clearing dispute, on a public road at Croppa Creek, near Moree in northern NSW.
Justice Anthony Blackmore said the threat to Mr Turner was said in the context of 'if you have any respect for your life you will not interfere'.
Turnbull sat defiantly with his arms folded as Justice Blackmore went further to say that he believed the farmer had 'considerable means' to leave the country and to live well.
He also said that he was still a threat to the community and to all officers working, as Mr Turner had been, for the Office of Environment and Heritage.
'He does have very significant financial means, much more than the ordinary person ... he is able to escape the jurisdiction and live out the rest of his life comfortably.'
'He is charged with the murder of a public official.'
'The facts of the case are virtually overwhelming,' said the judge.
Justice Blackmore said Turnbull had shown no remorse, telling a prison psychologist ' it was the deceased that was at fault'.
He said that 'moreover the dispute between [Turnbull and the environment department] is not over.
'He is a danger to all environment officers if released on bail. He is also a danger to the community.'
Ian Turnbull has been refused bail at the NSW supreme court on Thursday
'What bail conditions could deter a mam who is prepared to execute a public official.'
On the evening the elderly farmer allegedly murdered the NSW environment officer, he went home and told his wife he 'simply cracked'.
He sat looking 'wretched ... just blank' after shooting Glen Turner on July 29, his wife Robeena told the Sydney court early on Thursday.
'I simply cracked,' he told her as he sat on the verandah of their property and waited five hours for the police to come and arrest him.
'I didn't mean to kill him',' Mrs Turnbull told the court her husband told her, adding 'he appeared as though he was somewhere else'.
Turnbull has been in custody since July 29, the day of the killing in the state's north.
Robeena Turnbull, who has been married for more than 50 years to the 79-year-old, told a NSW Supreme Court bail hearing her husband arrived back at the family's homestead about 6.30pm.
He didn't shower or change his clothes, instead, he sat down in a chair and told her he was going to wait for the police, the court heard.
Glen Turner's family have been devastated by their loss
Mrs Turnbull told the hearing that she had visited her husband in jail every weekend since his arrest, a 12-hour round trip that involves driving to Brisbane, where her son lives, flying to Newcastle and renting a car for the final leg to Cessnock Correctional Centre.
She said her husband had difficulty walking and that she could see he was in pain, adding he suffered from peripheral neuropathy, which meant he needed a wheelchair in prison.
'He said he could only walk about 10 feet and then he would crumple to the floor,' Mrs Turnbull said.
'But (he only expresses discomfort) when I ask him. He doesn't come out complaining.'
The court heard that Turnbull would stay with relatives on Sydney's north shore if released on bail.
At a previous court hearing, police had alleged the farmer was armed with a loaded rifle and had told Mr Turner he would be leaving Croppa Creek that day in a body bag.
Mr Turner was shot on a dirt road in the early evening as he and another environmental officer were carrying out unrelated duties on Talga Lane, near Moree.
Turnbull, who appeared via audio visual link from Cessnock prison on Thursday dressed in prison greens, looked haggard and had his arms crossed.
He pressed his lips together and looked grim, occasionally glancing away from the camera as his wife gave evidence.
Prominent Sydney barrister, Tony Bellanto, QC, appeared for Mr Turnbull.
Mr Bellanto cited Mr Turnbull's medical conditions, including a pacemaker in his heart, chest pain, angina and difficulty in walking, as well as offering a $300,000 surety.
Mr Turner and Ian Turnbull had been involved in a long-running dispute over land clearing in the area, where Turnbull and his family own several properties with large tracts of cropping land.
Following the shooting, Mr Turner's family said they were devastated by his early passing and would remember him as a loving husband and father to his two young children, aged nine and 10.
The incident generated widespread debate on native vegetation legislation, and came after years of mounting tension between farmers, environmentalists and governments about landowners' rights to clear vegetation for cropping.
A year before the fatal shooting, Turner had pleaded guilty to illegally bulldozing nearly 500ha of trees and was facing a hefty fine and a potential legal bill of more than $300,000.
2 October, 2014
My goodness, what a fuss!
Peter Hartcher, the Sydney Morning Herald political and international editor, is in a pet below because Tony Abbott is not prepared to put a blanket ban on wearing the burka. Hartcher says that banning the burka is standing up for the freedom of women -- but not the freedom of women to wear what they like apparently. Abbott is clearly the one standing for freedom. The amusing thing is that burka bans are usually promoted by the Right -- while the Left oppose such bans. So is the SMH now to the right of Abbott? That would be a turn up. But it appears to be so. Hartcher could well get a rap over the knuckles from his bosses over this. Hartcher as an Islamophobe -- that has an certain ring to it!
Does Australia stand for the freedom of women? Or for their oppression? As the country confronts the barbarians of the so-called Islamic State, the answer from the national leader should be strong and clear.
The Prime Minister had an ideal opportunity to demonstrate leadership today with a powerful affirmation of the freedom of women.
But, asked whether he thought that women should be banned from wearing burqas, Tony Abbott hedged. He missed the opportunity.
He reverted to the same position he held as head of the opposition, a tribal leader and not a national one.
"I have said before that I find it a fairly confronting form of attire," Abbott told a press conference today. "Frankly, I wish it was not worn."
When he first used this formula, the world had not heard of IS. It did not know that these barbarians were committed to the indiscriminate butchery of anyone who disagreed with them.
The world did not know that they were about to take over a swath of territory twice the size of Switzerland.
And the world did not know that they operated what the former Egyptian minister for families, Moushira Khattab, has called a "master plan to degrade and demean women".
The savages of IS have imposed on women mass rape, mass sexual slavery, genital mutilation, and a market in Mosul where women are sold for 100,000 Iraqi dinars, or about $90, each.
The barbarians are the worst kind of oppressors. Australia is going to war to defeat them. An Australian prime minister should be a forceful champion of freedom, including the freedom of women in Australia to wear what they choose, whether burqa or bikini.
Abbott did go on to make a statement of principle in favour of freedom: "But we are a free country, we are a free society and it is not the business of government to tell people what they should and shouldn't wear."
Unfortunately, he then hedged again: "It is a little different, obviously, in a situation where peoples' identity is important. My understanding is that in courts, for instance, people may be required to show their face. In certain buildings, people may be required to show their face and I think that is perfectly appropriate."
Why say this? Because he wanted to show sympathy for the two members of his government's backbench, Cory Bernadi and George Christensen, who are campaigning for a burqa ban in Parliament House.
Even though all visitors go through metal detectors. Even though members of the public have never, in the history of the building, been required to have their identities checked. Even though motor registries in western Sydney have perfectly acceptable procedures to check the faces of covered women where necessary, without fuss or offence.
The two backbenchers argue that a ban on burqas is necessary for security purposes. So if they are so concerned about security, where are all their other proposals for better security? They have none.
They are not interested in security. They are only interested in fanning prejudice.
Abbott has implicitly endorsed their dirty, divisive dogwhistle politics to appease them. Instead of winking at their intolerance, a real leader would have shut them down in a moment of crisis.
He would have done well to heed the words of his own Attorney-General, George Brandis, who told the National Press Club on Wednesday that, in the face of a rising risk of terrorism, "there could be no greater error than for Australians to demonise our fellow Islamic citizens".
Australia's social cohesion is at risk. The Prime Minister's responsibility is not to play with it but to protect it.
New national security laws pave way for 'police state', says Andrew Wilkie
Any laws mandating secrecy are of concern but Wilkie needs to go for a walkie over this one. The law is quite narrowly drafted and it would be unreasonable to allow journalists to sabotage anti-terrorist operations
Former intelligence whistleblower turned federal MP Andrew Wilkie has accused the federal government of exploiting fears about terrorism to rush through new national security laws that push Australia towards a "police state".
The government's first tranche of national security changes passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday with the support of the Labor opposition, although one Labor backbencher broke ranks to speak out against the laws.
Tasmanian independent Mr Wilkie, Victorian independent Cathy McGowan and Greens MP Adam Bandt all voted against the laws, which passed on the voices.
The laws include jail terms of up to 10 years for journalists who disclose details of ASIO "special intelligence operations" and provide immunity from criminal prosecution for intelligence officers who commit a crime in the course of their duties.
Under the laws, ASIO officers will also be able to access, modify, disrupt or alter an unlimited number of computers on a computer network with a single warrant, which many have feared could allow the entire internet to be monitored, as it is a "network of networks".
ASIO can apply for the computer warrants to be issued and they can only be authorised by the Attorney-General, who is currently George Brandis QC.
Mr Wilkie said he was especially concerned the laws would encourage ASIO officers to use force without the "inconvenience" of including trained Australian Federal Police officers in their operations.
"At some point in the future we'll have spies kicking in doors and using force with no police alongside them and that is another step towards a police state," he said.
"Why is the government – with the opposition's support – wanting to overreach like this?
"I can only assume the government is wanting to capitalise on and exploit the current security environment. I can only assume that the security agencies are delighted they have been invited to fill in a blank cheque.
"It is clearly overreach by the security services who have basically been invited to write an open cheque. And the government, which wants to beat its chest and look tough on national security, said, 'We'll sign that'.
"And the opposition, which is desperate to look just as tough on national security, said, 'We'll countersign that cheque too'."
Mr Wilkie said the new penalties for journalists and whistleblowers who disclose details of "special intelligence operations" (SIOs) amounted to the government "bullying" the media into more compliant reporting.
"This is clamping down on free speech; this is clamping down on oversight of what the security agencies are up to," he said.
"This is absolutely disgraceful," Mr Wilkie said, who was a former whistlerblower who warned Australia not to go to the Iraq war as there was no evidence of weapons of mass destruction.
Labor backbencher and member for Fremantle, Melissa Parke, also spoke out against the bill, breaking ranks with her colleagues.
"I do not support a number of key elements in this bill, and I am aware there are further even more controversial bills coming before the Parliament in the near future," she said.
"There has not been convincing evidence of inadequacies in the existing legal framework that warrant the broad extensions of powers we see here," she added.
"I am particularly concerned that this bill entrenches and amplifies the lack of protection for whistleblowers regarding intelligence information and penalises with up to 10 years jail the legitimate actions of journalists and others doing their jobs in holding the government to account in the public interest."
Greens deputy leader Adam Bandt raised concerns that the media would not be able to report on innocent bystanders killed under bungled SIOs.
"If these laws pass, our security agencies could inadvertently kill an innocent bystander and journalists would not be able to report on it," Mr Bandt said.
He also raised concerns about journalists being put behind bars for up to ten years for revealing the existence of an SIOs.
"People could go to jail under this! People could go to jail under this legislation," Bant yelled.
Justice Minister Michael Keenan said the government made "no apologies" for trying to protect the secrecy of covert intelligence operations.
"This is not, as has been wrongly suggested, about preventing the release of information that might simply embarrass the government of the day or expose it to criticism," he said.
"This is about providing a necessary and proportionate limitation on the communication of information that relates to the core business of intelligence agencies. And I need hardly add that unauthorised disclosures of intelligence-related information, particularly on the scale that is now possible in the online environment, can have devastating consequences for a country's international relationships, a country's intelligence capabilities and very importantly for the lives and safety of intelligence personnel."
Shadow attorney-general Mark Dryfus said the new laws were justified and carefully-targeted, but the government had not explained them well to the community.
"I must say that in the case of the SIO scheme the government has not explained itself well," he said. "It has allowed some misunderstandings of what this legislation enables to gain currency."
Mr Drefus said Labor had demanded amendments so that only journalists who knowingly disclose details about secret counter-terrorism and counter-surveillance operations would face persecution.
"The community should be reassured of the limited scope of the offence provisions," he said.
"Labor would not and will not ever support laws which prevent journalists who report on security and related matters from doing their jobs."
"No-one can inadvertently breach this provision. But where journalists are aware of the possibility of endangering ASIO officers we expect them to act responsibly.
"These laws will not criminalise the good-faith activities of journalists."
Crossbencher Ms McGowan said, "It is not a time to rush through legislation. This is a time for considered approach, this is a time when we should be our best selves as the Prime Minister reminds us."
Must not mention the sex life of politicians?
An interview with former prime minister Julia Gillard on Channel Ten's The Project has caused a backlash on social media.
Twitter has lit up with angry comments over an interview segment that featured former Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Channel Ten's The Project.
On Monday night, Gillard appeared on the show to speak about her new memoir, My Story, which details her time in the office as Australia's first female Prime Minister and the sexism she encountered.
After a brief introduction to Gillard's political legacy, the interview kicked off with birthday wishes from panelists Rove McManus and Carrie Bickmore, with the latter asking, "What has Tim [Mathieson] got you for your birthday, Juilia?”
When Gillard responded that she and Mathieson will be celebrating after she returns from her book tour on the weekend, McManus joked, "Is that a euphemism? Will he have a 'birthday suit'? Is that what you're suggesting?"
Despite visible discomfort at the inappropriate comment, the former PM responded good-humouredly, saying, “No, that was just a straight-up answer.”
Commenters on Twitter, however, weren't as forgiving, immediately calling out the disrespectful nature of the joke:
ABC must present both sides of the debate on terrorism
by Gerard Henderson
THE Attorney-General’s assessment of the present danger is correct. Last Wednesday, George Brandis told the Senate that Australia faced a more immediate security threat than it did during the Cold War.
In the late 1940s and during the 50s, some members of the Communist Party of Australia planned to kill their fellow citizens if and when the CPA came to power. But Australian communists were not into murder or acts of terrorism in the lead-up to their anticipated victory, which they expected would take place as a result of rampant revolutionary fervour.
Currently, Western nations face a two-tiered threat. There is an attack by foreigners, of the kind that took place in New York and Washington on September 11, 2001. And then there is the
lone-wolf attack by a citizen or resident, of the kind that took place in Times Square in 2010 and Boston last year.
So far there has been no foreign-based attack on Australians in Australia. However, in the Operation Pendennis exercise in 2005, security agencies and federal and state police thwarted planned attacks on high-profile targets. On Tuesday, Melbourne-based teenage Numan Haider arrived at the Endeavour Hills police station with the intention of murdering two police. He was shot dead at the scene.
Evidence has emerged that Haider was tracking the movements of senior politicians, including Tony Abbott. It made sense that, even before Haider’s attempted murders, security at Parliament House had been increased. It may be necessary to increase security at some or all police stations.
It would be irresponsible for Australians, politicians,
law-enforcement officials and more besides to ignore the warning of Islamic State. Spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani Ash-Shami last weekend called on supporters to “kill an American or European infidel, especially the spiteful and cursed French, or an Australian or a Canadian or any other disbeliever”. Not long after, Haider arrived at the Endeavour Hills police station carrying two knives and an Islamic State flag.
In the climate of genuine security threat, it is reasonable to expect the taxpayer-funded public broadcaster would act responsibly. This, at the very least, requires a proper balance in the ABC’s presentation of security issues. So far, Mark Scott, the ABC’s managing director and editor-in-chief, has failed to exercise proper editorial control over his employees.
Take Monday’s Q & A, for example. It was a travesty in so far as fair and balanced coverage is concerned. Originally, the focus of the program was to be infrastructure. However, after the police raids in Sydney and Brisbane on September 18, the topic was changed to “Be alert but not alarmed”.
Fair enough. But not for long. For this crucial program, Q & A put together a panel that was grossly unbalanced. Justice Minister Michael Keenan was the political conservative on the panel. The social democratic Mark Dreyfus, Labor’s shadow attorney-general, also got a guernsey. No problem so far.
But the rest of the panel was loaded up with critics of the security approach taken by Abbott and Bill Shorten at home and abroad. Namely, Greens senator Scott Ludlam, university researcher Anne-Azza Aly and writer Randa Abdel-Fattah.
Keenan, with some help from Dreyfus, maintained that the police raids were a response to a genuine security threat. But the rest of the panel, cheered on by a large section of the audience and not discouraged by presenter Tony Jones, was having none of this. Ludlam suggested the raids were an “amazing coincidence” in view of the planned changes to national security legislation.
Paul Barry presented the Media Watch program before Q & A went to air. Barry cited with approval a comment in The Guardian Online by Richard Ackland (a former Media Watch presenter) that the media had become “willing pawns in the politics of terror drama”. To Ackland, the raids were but a splash of “commando bombast”.
On September 19, in the wake of the Sydney and Brisbane raids, Lateline ran a “Friday Forum” segment on national security. There was scant debate as defence commentator Allan Behm essentially agreed with human rights barrister Greg Barns.
There was a near common view the raids had been exaggerated by the police (Barns) and overegged by the media (Behm). No view supporting the need for such raids was heard.
It was much the same on Radio National’s Late Night Live last Monday. Phillip Adams, columnist with The Australian, was in the presenter’s chair with academic lawyers Patrick Emerton and Kiernan Hardy as guests. Adams essentially agreed with the two that the proposed amendments to the security legislation were too tough.
Emerton alleged that in 2007 ASIO officers had committed “serious crimes” of “kidnapping and false imprisonment”. He implied that the Abbott government was intent on making kidnapping “lawful when ASIO does it”. In fact, no ASIO officer was ever charged with, let alone found guilty of, kidnapping and false imprisonment in 2007. But neither Adams nor Kiernan clarified Emerton’s hyperbolic comment.
Every now and then, the ABC engages an employee in the commercial media to become a regular commentator on the public broadcaster. Channel 10’s left-of-centre Paul Bongiorno appears on RN and Radio 702 in Sydney. On 702 last Thursday, he declared the Abbott government “certainly is panicking the community” on security. No other view was heard.
The ABC remains a Conservative Free Zone, without a conservative in any prominent presenter, producer or editorial position. In his role as editor-in-chief, it is up to Scott to ensure a diversity of views is heard during a time of national emergency.
If he fails to do so, it is the responsibility of the ABC board to ensure that the ABC managing director does what he is paid to do. It’s called governance.
1 October, 2014
The nightmare of returning to Sri Lanka?
This report below is just Leftist disinformation. Any Sri Lankan Tamil who REALLY wanted refuge just has to take a short boat ride across the Palk strait to Tamil Nadu in India. How odd that the proximity of the Tamil "eelam" (homeland) is not mentioned below! Australia is about a thousand times more distant than Tamil Nadu so how odd it is that they chose to sail to Australia!
The Abbott government has all but claimed victory in stopping asylum seeker boats.
Offshore processing and turning around boats at sea have been important elements in achieving this goal.
Also important has been its efforts at returning asylum seekers, especially Sri Lankans.
In October 2012, the Labor government introduced a new "enhanced screening" process in order to return Sri Lankans arriving by boat within days.
Since then, more than 1300 people have been returned to Sri Lanka under this process – after just a cursory assessment of their claims.
Scores more have been returned "voluntarily" from the offshore processing system and from Australia, often with the assistance of the International Organisation for Migration.
And 4500 others have been intercepted by the Sri Lankan navy, with which Australia has close ties, while attempting to come to Australia.
Last month, I travelled to Sri Lanka and spoke to people who had been returned from Australia.
One woman, who says she had political problems in Sri Lanka, said the Sri Lankan military raped her before she eventually boarded a boat and fled.
On her second attempt to escape, Australian border officials intercepted her vessel.
After days at sea, as she was kept on an Australian vessel, she was subjected to "enhanced screening," consisting of a 30-minute satellite phone interview, through an interpreter, with an immigration department decision-maker back on the mainland.
With three or four of her fellow passengers, in the same area who she was unsure she could trust, she said that there was no privacy for her to tell her full story.
On the basis of this brief interview, Australian officials determined that it was safe to send her back.
When I met her in a secret location, after an elaborate process involving a lawyer, a "safe" driver, and various phone calls in which I was instructed to go from one place to the next to get further directions, she was terrified of being picked up again by Sri Lankan authorities.
She was living out of a suitcase and moving from house to house.
She has since told me that she has fled her homeland for a second time.
Another man I spoke to, as part of research on those sent back to Sri Lanka, told me he had been subjected to brutal torture after Australian officials rejected his refugee application and he was returned.
After months of monitoring by Sri Lankan security forces, he was abducted and taken to a secret location. He says that for more than two months, he was tortured, including having his fingernails torn out and being hung upside down and beaten.
He was accused of being associated with the defeated Tamil Tigers.
Later, he says he was picked up again and taken to the notorious fourth floor of the Criminal Investigations Department in Colombo.
This time, he says his wrists and ankles were tied behind his back and he was hung from a pole between two chairs.
These stories may seem paranoid or unbelievably brutal, but they are consistent with credible international research.
Earlier this year, human rights lawyer Yasmin Sooka wrote a study called, An Unfinished War: Torture and Sexual Violence in Sri Lanka 2009-2014.
Ms Sooka was a commissioner on South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission. She was also one the UN Secretary-General's Panel of Experts advising him on Sri Lanka.
Ms Sooka's report found that even now, years after the end of the civil war, people accused of being associated with the Tigers are being abducted by men in "white vans" and then tortured, including branding with hot rods. Men and women are sexually abused and raped, including by multiple perpetrators.
Ms Sooka told me that this is planned and systematic and goes to the "highest level" of government.
Sri Lanka is a country that is rebuilding after decades of civil war. Tourists are flocking there is increasing numbers.
Not everyone who comes to Australia from Sri Lanka is in need of international protection.
But the presumption behind Australia's quick return of Sri Lankan asylum seekers after just a cursory assessment of their claims – namely that it is not only administratively and politically convenient, but that it is safe to do so – is not well founded.
So as the government and its supporters congratulate themselves on stopping the boats, including for humanitarian reasons, we need to ask again, "at what cost?"
Farmer rejects wind turbines - and $30,000 carrot
Marilyn Garry has rejected wind farm proponent Epuron's offer of $30,000 a year for hosting three turbines and other infrastructure on her family's grazing property near Binalong.
Wind farm hosts generally welcome an opportunity to host turbines because the cash flow counters drought and volatility in agriculture.
Epuron proposes a $700 million wind farm with more than 130 turbines on the peaks of Coppabella hills and Marilba hills. The two ranges sit on either side of Mrs Garry's property "Mylora".
Mrs Garry's husband John died in April. She said while he considered hosting wind farm infrastructure following a meeting six years ago between Epuron and surrounding farmers, he eventually rejected them, too.
"They are just hideous. They will make sheep and cattle sterile," Mrs Garry said. "The government is paying subsidies, if they don't pay, if they pull the rug, the turbines will be left here to rust.
"We have an airstrip on our property. Our son flies down twice a year from Toowoomba with his wife and children. Everyone around here uses the airstrip for spreading aerial super, they pay $1 a tonne. It is also used for fire fighting," Mrs Garry said.
She said turbines and powerlines would prevent aircraft from using the landing strip.
Mrs Garry has written to NSW Planning saying despite her rejection of Epuron's turbines, they were still shown on maps, along with infrastructure.
Neighbour Mary Ann Robinson said NSW Planning had been led to believe Mrs Garry was to be a host, which meant Epuron was not required to do as many impact assessments.
Epuron says it will not discuss agreements it has with individual landholders.
Construction manager Andrew Wilson said even when a wind farm project had planning approval, infrastructure could not be built on any land without the consent and agreement of the landowner.
"Wind farms are not like other resource projects such as coal-seam gas as it can only proceed with the consent of the landowners and also involves the establishment and annual contribution to a community enhancement fund," Mr Wilson said.
Epuron lodged a development application in 2009 and says the project has been on public exhibition twice, in 2009 and a preferred project report in 2012.
NSW Planning is now preparing an assessment report, which should be released soon, Mr Wilson said.
"The benefits of renewable energy and wind farms in particular are well established, not just for the landowners who lease part of their land to the wind farm company, but also for the surrounding community," Mr Wilson said.
Epuron told the Renewable Energy Target review panel in June it had spent $470 million and, with certainty over the RET, would invest several billion dollars more in renewables.
Muslim Fast Food Worker Screams and Threatens Customer Who Wanted Bacon
A customer at a KFC restaurant received vicious insults and threats from a Muslim employee, when the patron asked for bacon on their sandwich.
In accordance with Islamic law, the KFC restaurant in Sydney, Australia, does not serve bacon, as the restaurant is “halal-friendly.”
The violent outburst was recorded by the customer, and in the video, one employee can be heard saying, “We don’t have bacon,” before the other begins yelling. “Don’t record me bit**! Don’t f—ing record me!”
The disgruntled Muslim KFC employee continues to rant and yell, smacking the cash register display over before another worker grabs him in an attempt to calm him down. As he is led around the corner, he continues: “I’m gonna f—ing break your head bro!!!!”
The employee was suspended after the screaming incident.
How long before restaurants in America start pulling bacon from their menu in an attempt to appease Muslims?
False conflation of classical liberalism
The phrase neo-Liberal gets thrown around a lot, most recently as a prefix to 'Abbott government' or '2014 Budget'.
It's one of many conflated terms which are impoverishing the debate about economic and social reform. For example, recently in a major online publication it was claimed that 'these days, most right-wingers in Australia identify themselves not as conservatives but as "classical liberals".' In my experience, few people identify themselves as classical liberals and fewer still understand what it means.
Classical liberalism is certainly not a synonym for conservative. In his essay 'Why I am not a Conservative' Friedrich Hayek made plain the differences. Conservatism reflects a cautious attitude to change and a Burkean recognition of the value of institutions which have served humankind over time as proven repositories and safeguards of wisdom-the family, the rule of law, parliament and universities and for some people the church.
Hayek pointed out that both conservative and progressive as descriptors define only a position relative to the status quo. Neither provides a positive, principles-based agenda for addressing social or economic challenges. Classical liberalism, by contrast, is not defined in relation to the extremes of current debate or the relative positions of other philosophies. It is defined from first principles as a commitment to individual liberty, the rule of law and limited state intrusion into private life, commercial relationships and very importantly civil society.
These founding principles of classical liberalism are rooted in the Magna Carta, the agreement between King John and his barons which proclaimed that freedom is secured under the rule of law and that no person is above the law. The Great Charter led to parliamentary democracy, the American Bill of Rights and eventually following Federation to our own constitution. One of only four surviving originals of the 1297 Inspeximus issue is on display in Australia's Parliament House. Clauses in the Magna Carta defend the freedom of the Church from whence we inherit our freedom of religion; another confirms the 'liberties and customs' of communities along with early forms of a right to privacy.
Calling for an online Bill of Rights, 'father of the Internet' Tim Berners-Lee has said it must be a Magna Carta for the Internet. Such is the power of this almost 800 year old proclamation of liberty. It is a constant reminder that classical liberalism is not a tactical response to temporary political challenges but an enduring framework for all social, economic and political challenges.
Commentators need to get the definitions right. Conflating conservatism, statism or worse blatant electoral politics with a principled philosophy of liberty almost 800 years old fails not only to recognise the real nature of liberalism but its true promise for another 800 years to come.
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.
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
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, mining companies or "Big Pharma"
UPDATE: Despite my (statistical) aversion to mining stocks, I have recently bought a few shares in BHP -- the world's biggest miner, I gather. I run the grave risk of becoming a speaker of famous last words for saying this but I suspect that BHP is now so big as to be largely immune from the risks that plague most mining companies. I also know of no issue affecting BHP where my writings would have any relevance. The Left seem to have a visceral hatred of miners. I have never quite figured out why.
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.
A delightful story about a great Australian conservative
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/is 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
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."
Index page for this site
DETAILS OF REGULARLY UPDATED BLOGS BY JOHN RAY:
"Dissecting Leftism" (Backup here)
"Education Watch International"
"Political Correctness Watch"
"Food & Health Skeptic"
GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.
BLOGS OCCASIONALLY UPDATED:
Coral Reef Compendium
"Marx & Engels in their own words"
"A scripture blog"
To be continued ....
Queensland Police -- A barrel with lots of bad apples
Australian Police News
BLOGS NO LONGER BEING UPDATED
"Immigration Watch International" blog
"Eye on Britain"
"Leftists as Elitists"
OF INTEREST (2)
QANTAS -- A dying octopus
BRIAN LEITER (Ladderman)
Obama Watch (2)
Dissecting Leftism -- Large font site
AGL -- A bumbling monster
Bank of Queensland blues
There are also two blogspot blogs which record what I think are my main recent articles here and here. Similar content can be more conveniently accessed via my subject-indexed list of short articles here or here (I rarely write long articles these days)
Main academic menu
Menu of recent writings
basic home page
Pictorial Home Page
Selected pictures from blogs
Another picture page (Best with broadband. Rarely updated)
Note: If the link to one of my articles is not working, the article concerned can generally be viewed by prefixing to the filename the following: