Looking at Australian politics from a libertarian/conservative perspective...
R.G.Menzies above

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Two of my ancestors were convicts so my family has been in Australia for a long time. As well as that, all four of my grandparents were born in the State where I was born and still live: Queensland. And I am even a member of the world's second-most condemned minority: WASPs (the most condemned is of course the Jews -- which may be why I tend to like Jews). So I think I am as Australian as you can get. I certainly feel that way. I like all things that are iconically Australian: meat pies, Vegemite, Henry Lawson etc. I particularly pride myself on my familiarity with the great Australian slanguage. I draw the line at Iced Vo-Vos and betting on the neddies, however. So if I cannot comment insightfully on Australian affairs, who could?


31 October, 2016

Sometimes you can't win

When a school took account of an Aboriginal girl's culture, that was "racist".  When they did NOT treat her differently that was also racist

The mother of an Aboriginal girl has taken racial discrimination action against her 10-year-old daughter's private school.

The mother, who is also a teacher, lodged a complaint against a teacher and staff member from Ipswich Girls Grammar School with the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

She said her daughter was embarrassed when she was told by her teacher to sit outside during a history class because of a YouTube video that showed a dead Aboriginal man,The Courier Mail reported.

The teacher said she was trying to be accommodating of the girl's culture of not naming the dead and gave her the choice to watch the video.

'We, her parents, had never given the school any indication that (our daughter) is unable to participate in any academic or school activities for cultural reasons,' the mother said in a statement.  

The teacher also refuted any claims she bullied the student by submitting a card she gave her that read: 'thank you for a great year in your class.'

Ipswich Girls Grammar School denies any claims of racial and cultural discrimination at the school and by the teacher.

However, the parents claim their daughter has been subject to racial discrimination and a culturally insensitive curriculum for the past six years.

In another incident, the mother said her daughter was teased when she did not dress 'like a colonial' for a history class excursion.

The girl's father said the colonial era represented 'massacres, displacement and genocide' of the Aboriginal people.

'Asking an Aboriginal student to dress like a colonial was offensive, racist and discriminatory,' the mother said.


Jockey Michelle Payne's claims of sexism in the racing have been refuted by a UK female jockey

What a whining creature Michelle Payne is.  She would have to be a feminist.  She was given the greatest privilege in Australian racing -- a winning Melbourne cup ride -- but she still condemned the racing industry as sexist and patriarchal.  Where gratitude might have been expected from her she simply delivered abuse.  No wonder she has not been offered much in the way of rides since.  Who would want to work with such an unpleasant person? Feminists really are unhinged

It is almost a year since Michelle Payne became the first woman to ride a Melbourne Cup winner and famously spoke out about the discrimination faced by women in racing.

But on the eve of this year's race, the UK's first female race-caller, Hayley Moore, said she had not noticed a problem.

Moore, who is also a jockey, in 2011 won a competition for women who wanted to call races, culminating in her calling an event at her favourite track, Ascot.

She has gone on to forge a career as an analyst and commentator and continues to work at her family's stables, where she grew up with her brother Ryan Moore, who is considered one of the world's best jockeys.

An amateur jockey herself, Moore said she was pleased to see Payne win the Melbourne Cup last year, but disappointed with her comments afterwards.

After winning the race on Prince of Penzance, Payne said racing was a chauvinistic sport and the anti-women elements could "get stuffed, because they think women aren't strong enough but we can beat the world."

But Moore said she had not seen any sexism in racing – if jockeys were good enough, they got a ride.

"I completely disagree [with Payne]," she said. "I think that if you're good enough and proven enough, you will get the opportunities," she said.

"Maybe she's come up against situations personally, for herself, but as a whole voice for women, I thought 'unnecessary'.

"I thought, 'can't you reflect on the positive, instead of looking at the negative, the sexism that, in my opinion, doesn't exist because if you're good enough, you'll be used'."

Moore said she did not expect female jockeys to reach equal representation in the top tier of riders.

"I think the cream of the crop will always probably be men, because they always probably will have that little bit more strength," she said.

Moore said women were very successful against men in Olympic equestrian eventing, maybe because there was a strong focus on building up a relationship with one horse, a stark comparison to the world of flat racing where jockeys rode different horses all the time.

Moore is in Melbourne for the Spring Carnival and is working for a racing website focusing on the form of the international horses.

Her brother Ryan will ride Bondi Beach on the big day and Moore got her own taste of the Melbourne Cup in 2009, when she was strapper and track rider for third-place getter Mourilyan.

She has not done much race-calling since her competition win, but hopes to do it again in the future.

Learning the craft, she was grateful for the encouragement of Australia's only female race caller, Victoria Shaw.

Moore said she was keen to do well in the competition to prove it was not impossible for a woman to call a race, although she said did they did face some difficulties men did not.

"Maybe we just don't sound as good as males, particularly when you're reaching the final couple of hundred metres of a race," she said.

"You do find yourself genuinely getting excited, so your voice does go slightly high pitched and then it's not as enjoyable to listen to."


Laws to ban boat people from Australia

The federal government wants to pass laws to make sure no asylum seekers who tried to come to Australia by boat, even those found to be refugees, can ever enter the country.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says the government will enshrine in law what had been a long-standing policy, going back to Kevin Rudd's second prime ministership in 2013.

"This is a tough message we are sending to the people smuggling syndicates and those who pay people smugglers to try and enter Australia," she told ABC TV today.

"They will not be settled in Australia and they won't be visiting Australia."

The laws are expected to apply to any asylum seeker sent to Nauru or Papua New Guinea's Manus Island for offshore immigration processing.

The planned ban would apply whether or not they were found to be genuine refugees and will even extend to tourist visas.

Labor frontbencher Brendan O'Conner, who was reluctant to back the plan without seeing the legislation, says "it is a very vexed area". "With any legislation you want to look at it, see whether in fact it is fair and reasonable and is consistent with our own commitments internationally," he told Sky News.

Mr Turnbull later told reporters the laws would apply to anyone sent to a regional processing country since July 19, 2013 - the date Mr Rudd declared "asylum seekers that come to Australia by boat without a visa will never be settled in Australia".

Mr Turnbull expects Labor and its leader Bill Shorten will support the laws, saying they are "entirely consistent with his party's stated public position".

Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek said it was too soon to determine if Labor would support the bill. "What I'd say is it's a distraction from Peter Dutton's hopeless mismanagement of his portfolio," she told reporters on the Gold Coast.

"It is extraordinary that, three years on, the government has not found third countries to resettle those people who are in limbo on Manus Island and Nauru." She said Mr Dutton needed to find a permanent resettlement option for these people left in limbo.


Data prompts debate on welfare and jobs

Cabinet ministers believe new figures showing thousands of parents on family benefits are financially better off not working demonstrates the need to rein in welfare spending.

But Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has refused to directly say whether people should not be paid more on welfare than if they work.

"I agree with the principle that the welfare system should always encourage people to get into employment," he told Neil Mitchell on 3AW radio on Friday. "We're dealing with people's lives here."

Mr Turnbull says the government needs to ensure it's providing the right level of support in a fair and compassionate way, but there must also be incentives for people to find work. "The best form of social welfare is a job."

Data obtained by The Australian newspaper shows the top 10 per cent of those on parenting benefits - about 43,200 people - received at least $45,032 in 2014/15.

"We do have a generous safety net, but also, people need to be part of our society, part of our community, working and making a difference," cabinet minister Christopher Pyne told the Nine Network.

One of the government's first measures to change the system is a $96 million Try, Test, Learn fund for trials of intervention programs to help welfare-dependent young families.

Mr Pyne said it was designed to help families, especially single parent households, to get back into the workforce with training.

"Ninety six million (dollars), I can tell you, to try and do that, is a drop in the ocean compared to the billions of dollars that we are trying to save by having welfare reform, which the Labor party is blocking in the Senate with the Greens," he said.

Social Services Minister Christian Porter, who is leading the welfare changes, told The Australian depriving people the incentive to work was in no one's interest.

"It is morally incumbent upon us in that in developing policy ... and in making the welfare system fairer we look at mutual obligation and the requirement to prepare for, search for and accept work," he said.

Ahead of a meeting with his New Zealand counterpart in Sydney, Treasurer Scott Morrison said the existing system is saying to people: "you will take home less if you actually go out and get a job".

"It is a crying shame that some Australians would have to take a pay cut to get a job in this country because of the way our welfare system works," he told reporters.

Mr Morrison said the Try, Test, Learn fund was based on a similar model in NZ and was about finding the right answers to stop people being welfare-dependent.

But Labor leader Bill Shorten is worried people can't find work.

"If you want to do something about welfare, have a plan for jobs," he told reporters in Wollongong.

"I'm concerned that we've got a government in Canberra which isn't fair dinkum about ensuring that people on welfare get the opportunity to get good, blue-collar jobs."

Mr Shorten said the coalition was trying to distract from its own problems by demonising people who recieve a pension and putting them in the "sin-bin".


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

29 October, 2016

New photos show worst coral bleaching to date: A third of the Great Barrier Reef is affected

You can of course prove anything with photos. The previous reports from this lot were found to be vastly exaggerated so this report should also be taken with a large grain of salt.  Reading between the lines, I gather that most of the reef has already recovered from the earlier bleaching but the recovery has been uneven so far.

More corals are dying and others are succumbing to disease and predators after the worst-ever bleaching on Australia's iconic Great Barrier Reef.

A swathe of corals bleached in the northern third of the 1,429-mile (2,300-kilometre) long biodiverse site off the Queensland state coast died after an unprecedented bleaching earlier this year as sea temperatures rose.

And researchers who returned to the region to survey the area this month said 'many more have died more slowly'.

On the surface, coral bleaching looks like white, bleached-out coral reefs - quite a departure from the usual colourful structures.

Bleaching occurs when abnormal environmental conditions, such as warmer sea temperatures, cause corals to expel tiny photosynthetic algae, draining them of their colour.

Andrew Hoey, from the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University, said: 'In March, we measured a lot of heavily bleached branching corals that were still alive, but we didn't see many survivors this week.

'On top of that, snails that eat live coral are congregating on the survivors, and the weakened corals are more prone to disease. 'A lot of the survivors are in poor shape.'

Greg Torda, whose team recently returned from re-surveying reefs near Lizard Island, said the amount of live coral covering the island fell from about 40 per cent in March to under five per cent.

It is the third time in 18 years that the World Heritage-listed site, which teems with marine life, has experienced mass bleaching after previous events in 1998 and 2002.

The researchers said even though they were still assessing the final death toll from bleaching in the north, 'it is already clear that this event was much more severe than the two previous bleachings'. They expect to complete all their surveys by mid-November.

Bleaching occurs when abnormal environmental conditions, such as warmer sea temperatures, cause corals to expel tiny photosynthetic algae, draining them of their colour

The reef's northern 700-kilometre section bore the brunt of the breaching during March and April, with the southern areas 'only lightly bleached and remain in good condition'

The reef's northern 700-kilometre section bore the brunt of the breaching during March and April, with the southern areas 'only lightly bleached and remain in good condition'

The reef's northern 435-mile (700-kilometre) section bore the brunt of the breaching during March and April, with the southern areas 'only lightly bleached and remain in good condition', the scientists added.

'As we expected from the geographic pattern of bleaching, the reefs further south are in much better shape,' said Andrew Baird, who led the re-surveys of reefs in the central section.

'There is still close to 40 per cent coral cover at most reefs in the central Great Barrier Reef, and the corals that were moderately bleached last summer have nearly all regained their normal colour.'

The reef is already under pressure from farming run-off, development, the coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish as well as the impacts of climate change, with a government report last week painting a bleak picture of the natural wonder.


Cassie Jaye’s Red Pill too truthful for feminists to tolerate

“The Red Pill: The movie about men that feminists didn’t want you to see.” This was the provocative headline that ran in Britain’s The Telegraph last November, a teaser for a documentary made by a feminist filmmaker who planned to take on men’s rights activists but was won over and crossed to the dark side to take up their cause.

Despite a ferocious campaign to stop the movie being made, it’s finally been released and the Australian screening was due next week in Melbourne. However the gender warriors have struck again, using a petition to persuade Palace Cinemas to cancel the booking. Palace took the decision after being told the movie would offend many in its core audience but by yesterday 8000 had signed petitions protesting the ban. Organisers are now scrambling to find another venue.

Clearly this documentary has the feminists very worried — with good reason. Cassie Jaye is an articulate, 29-year-old blonde whose previous movies on gay marriage and abstinence education won multiple awards. But then she decided to interview leaders of the Men’s Rights Movement for a documentary she was planning about rape culture on American campuses. As a committed feminist, Jaye expected to be unimpressed by these renowned hate-filled misogynists, but to her surprise she was exposed to a whole range of issues she came to see as unfairly stacked against men and boys.

As news of this very public conversion started to leak out, Jaye came under attack. She was smeared, told she was committing “career suicide” and saw her funding dry up to the point where it looked as if the movie would never be made. Prominent feminists she had planned to interview refused to participate; none of the “human rights” funding she hoped to attract proved available for a documentary on men’s rights.

Then a Kickstarter fund raised $211,260, ensuring the movie’s cinematic release. Over the past month there have been screenings in the US, and hopefully Australian audiences will eventually get to see what the fuss is all about.

The title The Red Pill refers to a scene in The Matrix when Keanu Reeves’s character takes the red pill to expose “the truth” that challenges his closely held beliefs. Jaye’s The Red Pill reveals a world where the cultural dialogue is dominated by feminists still complaining that men have all the power, yet the “truth” in most Western countries is that many laws, attitudes and social conventions make life tough for men. Her fly-on-the-wall technique includes interviews with Men’s Rights Movement leaders such as Paul Elam and feminists who oppose the movement, graphics and animations revealing facts about family law and child custody, male suicide rates and the not-so-privileged side of traditional manhood, such as the 90 per cent of workplace fatalities that are male.

There’s a powerful interview with Erin Pizzey, who is no longer allowed near the British women’s refuge she started back in the 1970s, the first in the world. Pizzey ran afoul of the sisterhood by campaigning to expose the truth about women’s role in domestic violence.

Jaye shows feminist protesters shutting down a talk at a Toronto campus by men’s activist Warren Farrell, screeching at a young man who tried to attend and berating him as “f..king scum”, and on another occasion setting off a fire alarm in a building where a men’s rights lecture was to be held.

There’s discussion of men’s lack of reproductive rights, which includes a clip from a chat show where the audience cheers when a woman whose husband is resisting a second child says she’s considering going off birth control without telling him.

Reaction to the movie has been mixed, with the flamboyant anti-feminist Milo Yiannopoulos describing it as “a powerful film on a complicated, important, yet woefully unaddressed issue”. He applauds Jaye for “having the intestinal fortitude to not only tackle this subject, but to do so fairly”. Predictably, the movie has been panned by the left-wing The Village Voice, which calls Jaye an “MRM-bankrolled propagandist”, and the Los Angeles Times, whose reviewer claims she failed to understand “patriarchal systems”.

Stephen Marche in The Guardian admits that “men do sometimes suffer mistreatment from the courts or from the women in their lives”, but suggests the film fails to demonstrate any systemic cause. “Instead, the author of men’s troubles here is always that vague bugaboo feminism, which we’re told is designed to silence its opponents,” sniffs Marche.

That’s pretty ironic, given this “vague bugaboo” persists in trying to silence Jaye’s attempts to tell this story. As she points out in her movie, the issues she examines came as a revelation not only to her but to many others exposed to the material she put together. That bugaboo carries a lot of clout.


Waleed’s Inconvenient Truth

Waleed Aly has taken to the NY Times to tear shreds into Australia’s offshore detention, using the world stage to claim we are responsible for lowering global standards on refugee policy.

He paints a picture of the everyday Australian, as people who just don’t care, that are sedated by Australian political rhetoric.

It seems that these bleeding hearts seem to conveniently forget that over 1200 lives were lost under the Rudd & Gillard Labor governments.  Waleed’s attempt to label Australians as unintelligent people who simply swallow whatever sedative the Australian Government feeds us is downright offensive.  Many Australians are concerned about the loss of life of refugees in detention, many are especially concerned about the children in detention.  But the majority of Australians are able to recognise the truth, in Waleed’s eyes the “inconvenient truth”.

In a statement from Senator George Brandis to the Australian Human Rights Commission, George wrote “The Rudd Government’s dismantling of the Howard Government’s successful border protection policies directly resulted in more than 51,000 illegal maritime arrivals, including more than 8,400 children, while it has been estimated that at least 1,200 people (including hundreds of children) perished at sea.”

Waleed seems to completely reject the lives that have been saved “So Australia’s detention regime becomes virtuous, brutality repackaged as compassion.” Waleed wrote.

Waleed continues in the article raising concerns of the deaths in custody and claiming we have inadequate medical care “Those languishing in detention centres, even the people who die there thanks to violence or woefully inadequate medical care for simple afflictions, they’re just a warning to others who might be tempted onto a boat.” Waleed wrote.

We can acknowledge that since 2010 there have been 33 recorded deaths of asylum seekers in immigration detention facilities, this pales in comparison to the 1200 that died over a few years under the Rudd & Gillard government.  But of course that doesn’t fit the narrative or agenda being pushed by Waleed.  If he really cared about the welfare of refugees then he would back the very strong deterrent we have in place that has potentially stopped thousands of deaths.

Surprisingly enough Waleed didn’t really touch on the number of children in detention, maybe he knew that if he did, then some damaging statistics would come out.  Currently there are fewer than 5 children in detention, whilst astonishingly Labor actually had nearly 2,000 children in detention at its peak in July 2013.  So why under the Labor government were there so many children in custody? The answer is simple, with no deterrent in place large numbers of boat people made the journey to Australia.  All of these asylum seekers can’t simply walk on shore and suddenly be an Australian citizen, no they need to be placed into an onshore detention centre, where they are assessed before either being sent back home or granted refugee status. This is to ensure that there is a fair and orderly queue in Australia’s refugee program and also to ensure the security of Australia is protected. There is no doubt that the humane option for all involved is to continue with offshore processing.  Lives are saved on the sea and we don’t have to see large number of children stuck in detention.

Waleed, next time you decide to attack a nation that has given you so much, at least have the stats to back up your claims.


Melbourne high school teacher says she would refuse to teach ‘lewd’ safe schools and respectful relationships program

A MELBOURNE high school teacher says she would refuse to teach “lewd” material in the Victorian government’s mandatory respectful relationships program to be introduced in all state schools next year.

Moira Deeming, a teacher and mother-of-three, said she was shocked by the content and would rather be fired from her job than teach such “sleazy, unnecessary drivel” to her students.

Ms Deeming, 33, said educating children as young as 12 about porn and getting them to have classroom discussions about masturbation and sex was not appropriate and would not help to stop gender-based violence and discrimination as the program intended.

Under the program, children as young as prep are also being introduced to same-sex relationships through children’s books, including Tango Makes Three, a tale about two male penguins who adopt a baby penguin.

The book has been banned in Singapore and after parent outrage was scrapped from some school libraries in the UK and the US. It also featured in the most complained about books in America over five consecutive years for “promoting a homosexual agenda”.

“I feel that this program is bullying male students and stigmatising and stereotyping them — the absolute opposite to what it is supposed to do,” she told the Sunday Herald Sun. “It really does build up stereotypes. It doesn’t tear them down.

“If I was asked to teach it, I couldn’t let it out of my mouth. I’d have to be fired.”

Debate has raged about the content, particularly how students are taught about “male privilege” and that masculinity is associated with higher rates of violence against women, since the government made public the classroom resources of its Resilience, Rights and Respectful Relationships program earlier this month.

The $21.8 million program, a recommendation from the royal commission into family violence, also offers explicit videos to students entering secondary school giving sexual advice in an upbeat way, including that “you don’t have to have an ‘inney’ and an ‘outey’. You can have two inneys or two outeys” to have sex.

Also in the teaching tools for prep students, teachers are recommended to get further information and activities from the learning resource All of Us from the controversial Safe Schools program, which is aimed at much older students in secondary school to teach and increase students’ understanding and awareness of gender diversity, sexual diversity and intersex topics.

In this, one classroom activity suggests dividing the students in half and asking one side to imagine they are 16 and in a same-sex relationship; and the other half in a heterosexual relationship, before asking a series of questions, including would they feel comfortable telling their parents about their relationship.

Ms Deeming, who is a member of the Liberal party, has joined concerned parents and politicians to call on the Andrews Government to review the age appropriateness of the program’s content.

In the upper house this week, Democratic Labor Party MP Rachel Carling-Jenkins said the program focused on a “misguided feminist and gender ideology”, alienating and shaming boys by portraying masculinity as bad and women as always being victims.

Metropolitan Region Upper House MP Inga Peulich told parliament it was a “light version” of Safe Schools that targeted younger children.

Safe Schools is only mandatory in high school, while respectful relationships will be rolled out to all year levels from prep to Year 12.

“Victorian parents are concerned about the age appropriateness of the content being presented,” Ms Peulich said.

Opposition education spokesman Nick Wakeling called the program “radical” and said the biggest concern is that parents had not been consulted or given consent.

“Parents want their kids to fundamentally learn how to read, write and count. Parents wouldn’t have expected content on transgender as part of a family violence program,” he said.

But Education Minister James Merlino stood by the program in its entirety and called on those opposing it to “stop playing politics” so violence against women could be stopped.


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

28 October, 2016


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG thinks the Leftist machine might soon have a clashing of gears

Australia's climate heating and drying out: report

The contemptible rubbish below comes from people who pretend that a global temperature rise of a few hundredths of one degree tells us something important.  It does not. Such rises are well within the error of measurement and are not statistically significant for a start.  And they would be trivial even if they were significant.

And when there was a rise of around a degree last year, it was due to El Nino.  El Nino was such a well known natural effect that they had to mention it below but, without mentioning a scrap of evidence, they dismissed it as a minor effect. 

Well let me mention some evidence.  The authors below imply that the temperature rise was part of a continuing warming process due to increased level of CO2 in the atmosphere.  So there must be some sign in the record that CO2 levels have increased recently.  But look at the CO2 levels from Australia's Cape Grim climate observatory over the heart of the El Nino period.

Within an accuracy of parts per billion, there was NO increase in CO2 levels at all!  The warming over the El Nino period was ENTIRELY natural, with NO contribution from a CO2 rise. CO2 levels did NOT rise so they CANNOT be responsible for the higher temperatures.

The article below is an egregious example of cherry-picking and outright lying

The biannual State of the Climate report from the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO shows the effects of climate change are being felt in Australia.

Australia is becoming an even more sunburnt country with worse droughts and more extreme flooding rains.

The latest State of the Climate report, released on Thursday, shows the trends of climate change in Australia are continuing.

"Climate change is happening now; it's having a tangible impact on Australia," the Bureau of Meteorology's climate monitoring manager Karl Braganza told reporters.

The biannual snapshot, prepared by the bureau and CSIRO, shows the country is experiencing very hot days more frequently and rainfall is reducing across the southern part of the continent.

Between 1910 and 1941 there were 28 days when the national average temperature was in the top extremes recorded. In 2013 alone there were 28 such days.

Dr Braganza predicted the record-breaking extreme heat will be considered normal in 30 years' time.

The report also shows below average rainfall across southern Australian in 16 of the past 20 autumn-winter seasons.

"This decline in rainfall for southern Australia, 10 to 20 per cent might not sound like a lot but it's reducing at a time of year where typically we recharge the soil moisture and vegetation and water storages as well," Dr Braganza said.

A 10-15 per cent reduction in rainfall over winter can lead to a 60 per cent reduction in stream flow into water storages.

"That's what we're seeing in southwest WA where their water storages from essentially rainfall (dropped) in 2015 and they're using desal and groundwater to make up the difference," he said.

This combination of drying out and warmer weather increases fire danger, with the fire season already routinely extending into spring and autumn.

The report also shows 15 of the 16 hottest years on record were the past 15 years.

"The earth is warming," CSIRO climate science centre interim director Steve Rintoul said.

While there was some natural variability in temperature caused by effects such as El Nino and La Nina, it was not sufficient to drown out the overall trend towards increasing temperatures, he said.


Australians are in the midst of a potato shortage

This is a bit of a Furphy.  For a start, most vegetable have big price swings thoughout the year.  I buy tomatoes several times a week and I can never predict how much they are going to cost me.  Over quite a short time period, they can vary between a lot less than a dollar per tomato to over a dollar.  Why should potatoes be different?

Potatoes are grown in all Australian States.  They even grow in the tropics.   It is true that Victoria and Tasmania are major growing areas and that both have had a lot of rain recently so there will be some drop in the quantity sent to market overall. But there will still be plenty of spuds in the supermarkets, albeit at temporarily higher price

The potato industry is baked at the moment due to floods cleaning out crops across the country and wet ground has made it near impossible to plant more potatoes, meaning we will have to pay a small fortune for the starchy vegetable until at least February.

It’s not good news coming into barbecue season, with potato salads and potato bakes likely to be off the menu and hipsters may also need to give up their weekend potato rosti.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics said in 2004 Australians were chomping through 63kg of mash, chips and other potato pleasures every year.

Brushed potatoes, the tasty ones covered in dirt, are what’s in low supply and Fairfax Media reports Aussie Farmers Direct has told customers it will only deliver red skin potatoes at the moment.

Potatoes are currently sold for about $3.50 a kilo at major supermarkets but that price is expected to hike as supply becomes limited.

Victorian potato grower Des Jennings said he would need a crystal ball to predict when potatoes would be replenished but thought it would be early next year.

Usually at this time of year, Mr Jennings has planted two thirds of his potato crop, but he said he isn’t even close to planting half because of how heavy rain has affected the soil.

Mr Jennings picked his potato crop four months ago and sold it for about $400 a tonne.

But now potatoes are going for up to $2000 a tonne, showing just how desperate people are becoming to get their hands on the vegetable.

“The growers who have potatoes are laughing,” Mr Jennings said.

“They are getting prices they haven’t seen before.

“But obviously a lot of farmers don’t have potatoes, which is why we have a shortage.”

Mr Jennings said demand had been constant for many years, and weather was the main blame for the shortage.

Mr Jennings grows his potatoes in Thorpdale, in Victoria’s Gippsland region, and he said most of the supermarkets already had their shelves cleared of brushed potatoes.

Lauren Rosewarne, from Melbourne University’s School of Social and Political Sciences, said a potato shortage was something to potentially worry about considering people before had died as a result.

She said however, stepping away from the hash browns and moving to other starchy vegetables could be a healthy decision.

“We’re not hearing of shortages in things like quinoa, and that’s the new superfood we are supposed to be eating at the moment,” she said.

“Sweet potato, that’s considered to be a nutritional powerhouse with a lot of similar properties to potatoes. But it has lower GI and not going to spike blood sugar and counts as a vegetable — potato actually doesn’t.”


How would Donald Trump fare under Australia's hate speech laws

There are just under two weeks to go before the US presidential election, a fact that would normally favour a candidate trailing in the polls. But in Trump’s case I suspect time is not his friend. Like a flaming zeppelin drifting toward the earth, Trump’s trajectory is set. The longer he remains aloft, the more spectacular the crash will be.

But on the morning of November 9, as Trump surveys the ruins of his presidential ambition, there is one humiliation he will be spared: he will not be hauled before Gillian Triggs to account for the blizzard of racial discrimination complaints that would surely be his had he run his campaign in Australia.

Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act might well have been written for Donald Trump. Section 18C, which makes it an offence to offend, insult or humiliate somebody on the basis of their race, more or less defines Trump’s entire candidacy.

On Monday, the New York Times published a compilation of Trump’s insults. The list ran to 6000 and took out two full pages.

Among Trump’s more spectacular barbs was this one, levelled against Mexican migrants: “They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.’’

Even by the wide standards of American discourse, this is edgy stuff. To probe the relationship between immigration and crime is one thing. To label an entire community sex offenders is quite another.

And yet Americans took it in their stride.

I asked Professor James Allan of the Queensland University law faculty what the reaction would be if similar comments were made in Australia.

“It is almost certain that the Human Rights Commission as it’s presently constituted would, given a complaint, act,’’ Professor Allan said.

Surely a Trump-like figure would get off by citing 18D, the public-interest clause that exempts offensive comments provided they’re made reasonably and in good faith?

Doubtful, says Allan.

“If the Bolt case is anything to go by, it’d be a no-brainer. He’d lose for sure.’’

The Bolt case, of course, refers to the 2011 complaint against Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt, whose comments about fair-skinned Aborigines saw him pinged under Section 18C. Factual errors and the “tone” of Bolt’s piece saw him stripped of any protection he might otherwise have enjoyed under 18D.

There is an implied right to political expression in the Australian Constitution, but that’s pretty vague too. To begin with, it’s not even written down.

In short, if Trump were an Australian politician it’s likely vast tracts of his speech would be declared unlawful. And that, I contend, would be a tragedy.

Trump is a charlatan and a buffoon and I sincerely hope he loses.

But by tapping into a well of discontent he has told America something vital about itself. He has shown America’s political classes just how far they have drifted from the concerns of their constituents. He has laid bare the anger of those who feel dispossessed by corporate greed. He has shown us there are two Americas: the affluent, cosmopolitan America of its coastal cities and a second America, one of shuttered factories and faltering local economies.

It is possible Trump could have done this another way - without, perhaps, vilifying 34 million Mexican Americans. But he didn’t. He did it this way.

The free flow of ideas, even the demented idea that Mexicans are rapists, is essential to democratic operation.

It is through debate that we locate truth and orientate ourselves as moral beings.

Outliers like Trump, Pauline Hanson and, if you like, Andrew Bolt, are essential to this process. By marking out the margins of an idea, they allow the rest of us to find its centre.

Trump’s wild exaggerations, his distortions and his lazy sloganeering have prompted a ferocious counter-attack that has told us more about the condition of our times than all the chin-stroking worthies on Q&A put together.

Having created Trump, Americans are now tearing him down.

But outliers are the targets of Australia’s 18C, which was passed in 1995 at a time when the cult of identity politics was in full flight. Back then its presence suggested a national nervousness, a quivering anxiety about where a freewheeling, full-throated debate might lead us.

Twenty years on and it seems little has changed.

My friend and colleague Bill Leak is to be summoned before the Human Rights Commission and made to answer for a cartoon depicting a drunken Aboriginal father who can’t remember the name of his delinquent son.

Leak, I hope, will get off - but not before he’s hauled through the wringer and made to answer charges that he’s a cold-blooded racist.

And for what? The idea at the heart of Leak’s cartoon - that parental neglect is a major problem within Aboriginal communities - is settled ground. Yet instead of debating its causes and possible solutions - a process that might actually yield some good - we are distracted by a foolish argument about whether Leak should have raised it at all.

Then there is the bizarre example of the same-sex marriage plebiscite, where Australians have spent two months furiously debating whether or not it’s safe to have a debate.

Foreigners love to laugh at America. We love to laugh at its excesses, its gaudiness. We cringe at its tub-thumping patriotism and recoil at the gun-toting fatties in their Make America Great t-shirts.

But Americans would never tolerate this. They have a thousand times the cultural confidence of we Australians, or anyone else for that matter.

Long after Donald Trump has stormed off the political stage, Americans will be arguing long and hard about what this bizarre episode in their history has meant.

Thank god they don’t have 18C to stop them.


What's really behind Australia's declining international education results

Not mentioned below is that Australia has taken in a lot of Africans and Muslims recently.  Both groups have markedly lower IQs than the host population, so their children will too -- leading to poorer educational performance overall

Australian students' slide in the international benchmarks for reading and numeracy may not be the fault of the students, the teachers, or even the school system, says Finnish education expert Pasi Sahlberg.

He argues there is a key factor being overlooked, a shift so profound and complete we've almost forgotten life without it: the rise of the smartphone.

Finnish education guru Pasi Sahlberg explains how Finland built its highly regarded education system.

And Professor Sahlberg predicts a tobacco and big sugar-style marketing war between edutech-company-backed research and independent research in the next five years, over whether more technology in the classroom is beneficial or harmful to kids.

"We are not paying attention to the very rapidly increased use of screen technology," he said. "The first three PISAs were in 2000, 2003 and 2006, this thing didn't exist. There were no iPads or smartphones.

"So if you look at kids in Australia, they used a fraction of the time they use today with different types of smartphones and iPads and computer screens compared to the first three."

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests are run every three years by the OECD, comparing a sample of 15-year-olds in different countries on reading, maths and science.

As Australia's results have slipped against other countries, policy-makers and school systems have scrambled to figure out what's going wrong.

But Professor Sahlberg, who has recently returned with his family to Helsinki after three years working at Harvard in the US, said the decline in PISA performance is happening in all western countries.

"Reading performance has been drastically declining in Finland because of this. Our pedagogy and teaching has not changed, the curriculum has not changed. So how else can you explain this dramatic change?"

A second key factor, he said, is that the East Asian countries, which are rising strongly in the PISA rankings, drill their student populations and teach to the test.

"I go to Singapore, I do a lot of work in South Korea, it's all over the place. They have practice halls for the PISA. They practice using the PISA test items so the kids are familiar with that type of thing."

East Asian countries enrol the majority of students in "cram schools" or private tuition, where gadgets are banned while they study, he said. 

"It doesn't really tell you how good the overall system is. It tells you how good the system is at taking these particular tests. It's a different thing."

Professor Sahlberg has been a teacher, educator and policy adviser in Finland, and wrote the book Finnish Lessons 2.0: What can the world learn from educational change in Finland.

He told an audience of education leaders in Sydney on Thursday that it is just a theory, but research on the intrusion of digital technology is ramping up. Studies such as Growing Up Digital in Canada were reporting disturbing preliminary results, he said, with some making the argument that digital immersion changes the way children think and process information in a way that may make deeper learning difficult.

"We're going to see with in the future, a next five years, a war between these kind of research studies, trying to show that doing more screen time [in the classroom] at the time when it's already controlling the lives of young people doesn't make any sense; and then the tech companies will say if you build your teaching and learning around the technology you will decrease the dropout rate and increase the graduation rates - we' re going to see a lot of that in the future."

A frequent visitor to Australia, he is not here to sell the popular line that Finland is the perfect education system, and in fact argues that NSW could teach Finland a thing or two.

"I don't think that Finland has the magic answer to education or anything – no country whatsoever has that. In a way that's a myth."

What Finland does get right, he says, is its child-focused approach, with an emphasis on play, a later school starting age (7), and letting each child develop at their own pace.

"This conversation of having an extended childhood where children can play and be themselves, learn to be with other people – was recognised an important thing [in Finland].

"One thing that distinguishes Australia and Finland is we have much less concern about academic performance in the early years than you have here."

But he said Finland's student population was changing significantly due to increased migration, from almost zero immigrants 20 years ago to around 7 per cent and rising today.

"I think Finland can learn a great deal from Australia, NSW in particular. About what the system should do to be good for everybody, good for Aboriginal and minority children. This is something we are learning in my country right now."

Professor Sahlberg is in Sydney following a tour of regional and remote schools with Education Minister Adrian Piccoli, giving a speech on Thursday about the results of a study of the NSW school system that he supervised at Harvard. He said Australia has a far better system than the US.

An article by a US academic William Doyle who lived for six months in Finland published by Fairfax Media – Why Finland has the best schools – remains among the best read articles on the SMH website. Professor Sahlberg chuckled when I told him this.

"That was my friend," he said. "He's writing from the position of an American."


China is now Australia's biggest wine exports market

The massive growth in China’s middle class has been a godsend for the Australian wine industry, with exports jumping 51% in the last year to $474 million, making it the top export market by value for the first time.

The rise of China is no more apparent than in the fact that just a decade ago, sales there were worth just $27 million.

Wine Australia’s Export Report, released today, reveal double digital growth for local exporters in the 12 months to 30 September 2016, up 10% to a total value of $2.17 billion.

Overseas fans are not only drinking more, they’re drinking better, with bottled exports up 14% to $1.8 billion and the average value increasing by 9% to $5.47 per litre, a 13-year high.

Only the UK disappointed, posting a small drop in sales, down 1% to $361 million.

Europe overall disappointed, down 3% to $570 million. Northeast Asia is now Australia’s number one export region, growing 35% – $177 million – to $678 million.

North America was up 3% to $639 million, while Southeast Asia grew 11% to $152 million.

Wine Australia CEO Andreas Clark said more than half of the total value of growth in the last 12 months was in wines priced at $10 or more per litre.

Growth in the premium price segments (detailed below) added more than $120 million in value.

"Of the 1743 active exporters across the period, 70% contributed to the value growth, an outstanding result. The value of exports grew in 81 of the 122 destinations for Australian wine," Clark said.

Exports priced $10 and more per litre FOB (free on board, the value of the wine leaving Australia, excluding transport costs) were up in all top five markets ­– mainland China by 63%, the US by 21%, the United Kingdom by 20%, Canada by 9%, and Hong Kong by 7 per cent.

Clark said the China–Australia Free Trade Agreement also contributed to the stellar result in that market.

More than a third of Australian wine exports priced $10 and more per litre FOB were destined for China, valued at $190 million and up by 63%.

Negociants International executive director Adam O’Neill said demand premium wines in China showed no signs of abating, with online platforms such as Alibaba’s TMall helping Australian exporters find new customers.

Exports to Malaysia jumped 24% to $55 million, Taiwan was up 23% to $19 million and South Korea 42% to $14 million.

Japan posted a small decline of 0.3 per cent to $45 million, due to a decline in bulk wine exports.

Australia’s top five export markets by value:

· Mainland China – $474 million up 51%

· US – $448 million up 4%

· UK – $361 million down 3%

· Canada ­– $190 million up 1%

· Hong Kong ­– $126 million up 7%.


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

27 October, 2016

Parents' outrage over educational program that teaches children 'men are the greatest threat to women'

Rampant feminism.  The hate never stops

The organisers of an educational program which teaches school children 'men are the greatest threat to women' have received a barrage of hate mail.

Privately run Frame Initiatives travels between about 30 Western Australian schools to teach children about respectful relationships.

Last week, a Perth student set off outrage when he took a picture of a slide with the words 'globally and historically, men are the greatest threat to women' and posted it online, The Australian reported. The slide was part of the Men of Respect workshop for boys in Years 7 to 9.

Director Dan McGrechan said the words were taken out context and was referencing US comedian Louie C.K.  The controversial statement was intended to 'stimulate discussion', he told The Australian.

Critics have accused Frame of teaching superficial and biased content.

The barrage of hate mail appears to have led organisers to delete the Frame Twitter account.

The programs for girls include Please Like Me and Back Off: Sexual Harassment. Other programs for boys, aside from the Men of Respect workshop in question, include Problems with Porn, Sexual Harassment, and Date Rape and Consent.


Police forcibly remove Sydney College of the Arts student barricade after 65 days

Student activists who barricaded themselves inside a University of Sydney building to protest proposed cuts to the Sydney College of the Arts have been forcibly removed after 65 days.

The students had occupied the top floor of the administrative building since August 22 in opposition to planned campus, course and staff cuts, before they were evicted by police and security guards on Tuesday morning.

Sydney College of the Arts students, staff and friends protest in July about University of Sydney plans to relocate and downsize the SCA.

Protesters claim they were treated unfairly and with unnecessary force when they were ousted, and vowed not to stop fighting the changes.

"This will only strengthen the resolve of the 'Let SCA Stay' campaign to continue to fight for the arts and for the interests of the public," protester Stephen Dobson said.

The University of Sydney said it was reluctant to remove the activists and supported their right to protest, but warned students who took part in any further campus barricades could be expelled.

"It has chosen not to do so at this stage, but students and their representative groups have been warned that any further attempt to occupy could see the university exercise this right," a University of Sydney spokesperson said.


Judge backs wife: Islamic ‘divorce on the porch’ not on

The Family Court of Australia has refused a Muslim husband’s effort to divorce his wife under Islamic law under conditions that would have left her with 10 per cent of their million-dollar property pool.

The wife, who cannot be named but is known in court documents as Ms Basra, appealed to the Family Court for help after her husband attempted to get out of the marriage, which produced three children, for $100,000, ­despite having more than $1 million in assets.

The husband, known as Mr Ahmed, wanted the court to recognise an Islamic divorce he says took place on his porch in 2009, with a sheik and several other men as witnesses. But Ms Basra denied she had taken part in such a ceremony and produced an official document from Beirut that recorded her husband as married to two women — herself and a second wife — rather than having been divorced and remarried.

The court heard the couple was married in an Islamic ceremony in Australia, and again in Lebanon in July 1997, when Ms Basra was 18. He was 10 years older. The Lebanese marriage was recognised under Australian law.

Mr Ahmed told the court, with judge Garry Watts presiding, that he divorced his wife in 2009 in front of a sheik and “a number of other men” from the community.

He said the sheik asked his wife whether she wished to go through with the divorce, and whether she understood her entitlements under Islamic law, which were vastly less than she would have­ ­received under Australian law, as a full-time mother of three.

He said he then divorced his wife by uttering the words “I ­divorce you” in front of witnesses, and both parties signed the statement of Islamic divorce.

Ms Basra admitted she had been taking a single-parent payment from Centrelink for several years, saying she had done so only after her husband told her to “call Centrelink, and tell them we are separated but living under one roof so you receive the single parent benefit payment”.

Justice Watts said it was unclear from her evidence whether she had done so because she believed they were actually separated or was defrauding the taxpayer.

Counsel for the husband argued Ms Basra was “attempting to portray herself as this downtrodden, under-the-thumb Islamic woman”. The wife “quite candidly conceded this was exactly how she saw herself”, and she was “cynically trying to present her husband as (a) barbaric, misogynist, Arab man”. The wife presented evidence of three apprehended violence orders she had taken against him during the marriage.

The husband argued against a settlement larger than $100,000, saying his assets had been boosted more than $150,000 by compensation for an accident. He said he had given his wife more than 2kg of gold, valued at $115,000; she said it was more like four gold bangles, a necklace and ring.

Judge Watts ruled the divorce on the porch “is not a divorce that would be recognised under Australian law” and ordered a 70-30 settlement in the wife’s favour — partly because he believed the husband had access to resources beyond those he had declared.


Why a Qld ambulance officer described Dreamworld victims as having suffered ‘injuries incompatible with life’

AMID the unfolding tragedy of four deaths on a ride at Dreamworld on Tuesday, an ambulance officer’s seemingly heartless description of the victims’ injuries had social media in uproar.

It caused a social media maelstrom, with many attacking the Gold Coast's acting supervising officer — and the media for reporting it — for a seemingly cold description so soon after four deaths.

But the clearly shaken, senior officer, facing a live national television cross fresh from leaving the grisly scene, was using a clinical term commonly used by medical professionals, police and other emergency services.

Unknown to many was that the term gave a sad insight into the extent of the injuries the victims suffered.

When injuries are deemed by paramedics to be so severe that they are “incompatible with life”, CPR is deemed a futile exercise.

The Queensland Ambulance Service official clinical practice guidelines for resuscitation outline a number of instances in which CPR should not be attempted.

They include where the patient has sustained injuries that are “totally incompatible with life”.

Many social media users rushed to defend Mr Fuller’s use of the term on live television.

A 32-year-old woman and her 35-year-old brother were killed in Tuesday afternoon’s tragedy, which happened on the Thunder River Rapids Ride. The man’s 38-year-old male partner also died. All three were from Canberra. The woman’s 12-year-old daughter was thrown clear of the ride and watched in horror as her mother and uncles perished. Another unrelated woman, 42, from Sydney was also killed. Her 10-year-old son was also thrown free from the raft and watched his mother die.


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

26 October, 2016

Amazing public hospital failure

A bureaucratic disgrace. More careless treatment would be hard to imagine

A former Socceroo died in hospital because his urinary catheter was wrongly connected to an oxygen supply, leading to a burst bladder and collapsed lungs, a coroner has heard.

An inquest is being held into the death of Steve Herczeg at Adelaide's Queen Elizabeth Hospital on September 19.

"The coroner will hear that Mr Herczeg's oxygen supply was incorrectly connected, resulting in his bladder inflating with oxygen, then bursting and his lungs collapsing from the pressure of the oxygen," counsel assisting Naomi Kereru told the South Australian Coroner's Court on Monday.

The court heard Mr Herczeg, 72, who was the first South Australian to play for Australia in a FIFA World Cup qualifying match, was admitted to hospital because he had had a fall and was having hallucinations.

He was also suffering from a urinary tract infection, for which a catheter had already been inserted, but was considered clinically stable when admitted to the respiratory ward and placed on oxygen therapy, Ms Kereru said.

Soon after his admission, a nurse heard screams of pain coming from Mr Herczeg's room and a code blue was called. An emergency team attempted to resuscitate him but was unsuccessful.

The doctor who performed the autopsy found Mr Herczeg's bladder had ruptured and his lungs had collapsed, causing his death by "respiratory failure".

"I understand his oxygen supply somehow became connected to his catheter," forensic pathologist Stephen Wills told the court.

"The bladder ruptured, allowing the gas into the rest of his body."

Dr Wills said it was highly unusual for the tubes to be mixed up the way they were.

"I've never come across it before," he said.

He said it would have been "quite painful" when Mr Herczeg's bladder burst and while the former soccer star was already suffering from respiratory disease, the injuries would likely have killed any healthy person.


Ballarat police again accused of misconduct, heavy-handedness with assault victim

Ballarat police officers have been accused of dragging the victim of a violent assault along the ground, before charging her with assaulting her alleged attacker.

On May 17, Ballarat police were called to an assault in the city's north where they arrested a 43-year-old woman. The woman, who only wants to be known as Sofia, had been the victim of a brutal assault with a tyre iron.

"I just thought I was gonna die," she said. "I was really dizzy and I was on the grass and I just said to myself, I need to stand up and defend myself."

Sofia, who is from South America, said she became panicked and erratic when she saw her alleged attacker, a neighbour, speaking with police.

Her lawyer, Neil Longmore, questioned how officers then reacted.  "The police seemed to think that was reason to then handcuff her and throw her on the ground and start dragging her around and drag her to the ambulance," he said.

Sofia said: "I just want to be helped. Protected." "I was treated like an animal," she said.

Sofia was taken to hospital where she received 14 stitches on the back of her head, and the side of her face. She went home but hours later was woken up by police who arrested her.

"I said 'why am I being arrested if I'm the victim?'. He says, 'it happened, the same thing with your neighbour, don't worry'," Sofia said.

Mr Longmore said bias against his client was a common thread throughout the interview. "She clearly thinks that she's giving them information because they're investigating what's happening to her, not that she's going to be charged," he said.

"She should've been not just read her rights, she should've understood her rights and I think you can see there's a pretty clear line between when somebody's just being read them and doesn't understand them.

"If you do understand your rights in that situation, you certainly shouldn't be giving the police information because they're just about to use that against you to charge you."

Sofia said she thought she was helping with the investigation.

"Just at the end of the interview I understood that they [were] intending since the beginning [to] charge me, whatever I was going to say," she said.

"[The interviewing officer] was repeatedly saying ... 'so you attacked him? Did you attack him?' "And I was trying to say that I was fighting for my life."

Sofia was charged with recklessly causing injury and assault with a weapon, which referred to the mop she used to defend herself, and was served with an intervention order.

The charges were ultimately withdrawn when she appeared at the Ballarat Magistrates Court.

Sofia said she had no faith in Victoria Police's complaints process and instead made a complaint to the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC), alleging officers failed to investigate her case properly.

Her lawyer, Mr Longmore said: "What she really would like is an apology and a proper investigation of what occurred and some better training for police, or younger ones who seem to fall into this conduct."

"There's something not quite right about the police training that allows them to just roll through those rights ... go ahead with their interview ... and use it against a person and the person hasn't understood what's going on."

Sofia said she wanted justice. "I don't think they are prepared, prepared to treat people to protect people. I almost died and they did nothing to help me," she said. Victoria Police said the investigation was ongoing and it would be inappropriate to comment.


Green activist ban on Turnbull agenda

Malcolm Turnbull has flagged a fresh attempt at passing laws to prevent environmentalists using the courts to block major projects, before his week-long visit to Queensland.

Labor and the Greens blocked a previous attempt by the Abbott government to prevent people with political agendas from using the courts to disrupt and delay projects such as coal mines.

The prime minister told reporters in Sydney, on the eve of a Brisbane cabinet meeting, he appreciated the value of a "robust democracy".

"People are entitled to bring their cases before the court, but there is no doubt there has been very systematic, very well funded campaigns against major projects," Mr Turnbull said.

"It's right to express concern about that."

He said the government would test whether the new Senate - which has nine Greens and 11 minor party members on the crossbench - has the "appetite" to reconsider the Abbott government bill.

Queensland Resources Council chief Michael Roche said such laws were important, especially given the increasing role of foreign interests in lobbying against resources projects.

But he said the federal government should go further and reassess taxpayer subsidies for "green activist" groups.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said he was concerned environmental activism and poor management by the Queensland Labor government were holding back major projects.

"I certainly don't take this place for granted, Malcolm doesn't take it for granted and we want to make sure we drag other people along with us on this path of making Queensland a stronger place," he told reporters in Brisbane.

The Greens want a ban on fracking and all coal seam gas and shale development.


This should be end of the road for Gillian Triggs

The idea of human rights is so powerful that those who would ­violate it in the privacy of their torture chambers are compelled to swear fealty to it in public discourse.

Yet established protections have come under growing stress with a gap between commitments and practice. In theory, human rights commissions are instruments to arrest the slide. But when the guardians begin to damage the institutions they lead and the cause they are meant to champion and defend, they should relinquish or be relieved of office. We seem to be at that stage with the Australian Human Rights Commission.

In “correcting” her October 18 testimony to a Senate estimates committee denying statements ­attributed to her, AHRC president Gillian Triggs said that on “further reflection”, she now accepted the accuracy of her April interview in The Saturday Paper. But was it further reflection or the revelation that the interview tape contradicted her denials that prompted her to correct the record?

She also said: “I had no intention of questioning The Saturday Paper’s journalistic integrity.” Pardon? Accusing the paper of inaccurate reporting, taking words out of context and even fabricating quotes was not intentionally impugning the professional integrity of Ramona Koval and the editors in order to cover her own loose words? Triggs has done much good and some of the past attacks on her have been scurrilous. But the effort to mislead parliament and the attempt to damage the professional reputation of a writer to save face make her position untenable.

The priority for a race discrimination commissioner should be reconciliation. Tim Soutphommasane has succeeded in ­inflaming divisions further instead of promoting social cohesion. In criticising elected politicians as an appointed official, he betrays arrogance. In inviting complaints about Bill Leak’s cartoon — satire at its biting best — which he then must adjudicate, he compromised the commission’s institutional integrity. In repeated statements, he fails to grasp that anti-discrimination efforts must sit within the framework of human rights.

Behind the individual failings of the two stands a law that should never have been passed, abuse and excesses under which are pretty much guaranteed, and which therefore would have been rescinded by any government which values core freedoms that underpin liberal democracy. The reason the law survives is a flawed philosophical structure propping it up, namely the progressive subordination of human rights to anti-discrimination machinery.

The promotion and protection of human rights is a bedrock requirement for a liberal society. But different groups of rights demonstrate an ambivalent relationship with governments. Individual human rights can be abused most pervasively and systematically by governments. Yet their protection requires the appropriate legal framework and enforcement machinery of the state. For social and economic rights, the state is the primary provider and guarantor. The same is true of the right not to be discriminated against on grounds of gender, race, religion and so on.

However, anti-discrimination rights, designed to protect against harmful action, have increasingly morphed into the right not to be offended. The citadels of liberal freedoms have been stormed by ­illiberal zealots to mock the very values of tolerance and diversity that sustained their gains. Out-of- control anti-discrimination tribunals have become the tool to enforce political correctness by state power. They attack not so much the particulars of any concrete case as the general principle of dissenters’ right to express a contrary opinion. The debate is no longer about any given issue or case but about the freedom to debate.

Social stigma and public shaming have become the favoured tools of identity activists, with the help of useful idiots in politics, to place increasing areas of policy off limits to public debate. In the name of pursuing tolerance for ­minorities, zealots are increasingly intolerant of those with differing views. This explains the perversion that institutions meant to defend human rights instead lead the assault on human rights. The result is minority fundamentalism with all the trappings of religious fundamentalism: certainty about truth and falsehood, intolerance of dissent and fanatical imposition of ideological purity.

This includes restrictions on US university campuses, which should be the bastions of debate that raises critical, contrarian, challenging and uncomfortable questions. Instead, concepts such as trigger alert, micro-aggression, safe spaces and the right not to be offended or hurt by a lengthening list of proscribed words have trampled on free speech rights. Meanwhile, an increasingly intolerant India has been transformed into the republic of hurt sentiments as litigious “offendees” haul writers and artists, those who have escaped vigilante lynch mobs, to courts that can take decades to decide cases.

The road-to-tyranny threat posed by this trend of narrowing speech rights is shown by two cases the AHRC has badly mishandled, confirming that political judgment may be more important than legal qualifications to be president.

Because Leak’s cartoon of parental neglect of indigenous children in remote outback com­munities was essentially true (satire doesn’t work without the kernel of truth), it hurt, and some people take offence at truth that hurts. Those who recognise Leak is speaking truth to the power of political correctness and act to rectify the pathology will advance the cause of reciprocal racial respect. By contrast, a Queensland University of Technology staffer has done more harm than good to the cause of reconciliation by her too precious claims of racial hurt that requires $250,000 to be assuaged.

The Australian has the resources to mount a robust challenge to the AHRC apparatchiks. Most people don’t. Therein lies the rub. The process is weighted heavily against the defendant. Once a complaint is lodged, the AHRC can use state power and resources to pursue action against them.

Allegations of racist insults can ruin reputations and destroy lives, even if the ultimate judgment finds for the defendant. The complainant suffers no penalty but can gain substantial financial advantage: heads I win, tails you lose.

Many simply settle out of court to get on with their lives rather than risk being caught in a legal nightmare with an uncertain outcome. No citizen should have to spend time and money to defend a basic human right in the modern-day version of a star chamber. Some QUT students chose to pay $5000 effectively as extortion money to escape the trap. This is an incentive structure inviting abuse of law and process.

Free speech is meaningless if in practice it does not include the freedom to offend. I find it easy to tolerate all who agree with me. Any law that attempts to silence free debate deserves contempt and should be challenged and rejected by the people if the politicians are too pusillanimous to rescind it.


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

25 October, 2016

Multiculturalism in Australia, success or failure?

David Forde, below, seems to think there has been some sort of success of multiculturalism in Australia.  Maybe there has been, though he offers no proof of it.  But the big success with immigrants to Australia has in fact been with assimilation.  People from all over the world have come to Australia and fitted in well with the mores of the host society.  And by and large, their children are indistiguishable from other Australians.  Not much multiculturalism there!

The ARE multiculturalists here but do we call African crime and Muslim hostility a success?  I can't see it.  It's true that not all Africans commit crimes and not all Muslims wage jihad against us but the crimes and the jihad clearly come from the alien culture of the offenders.  Not many Presbyterians wage Jihad and not many Han Chinese do breaking and entering.  The culture clearly makes a difference.  The assimilated Han are no problem but who would say that of the Africans?

David Forde's big problem is that he has swallolwed the Leftist hokum that all men are equal. To him the Han and the Africans are all the same.  If only Africans WERE as civilized as the Han!  But he is quite incapable of discussing such differences. He relies totally on overgeneralizations.  He inhabits a world of mental fog.

As we read below, Forde thinks that if all are treated and made to feel equal within the rule of law, that will create "a sense of belonging and strengthening social cohesion".  So how come it hasn't?  There's certainly no "sense of belonging and social cohesion" among members of the South Sudanese Apex gang members who are terrorising parts of Melbourne these days.  But they have all been treated equally before the law.

If we look at the detail that Forde cannot see, we have to conclude that assimilation is the answer to social cohesion, not multiculturalism

RECENTLY there has been a resurgence in negativity regarding multiculturalism.

As I see it, we have two choices. We can speak up in support of inclusion where all are treated and made to feel equal within the rule of law, thereby creating a sense of belonging and strengthening social cohesion.

Or, we don’t speak up and treat multiculturalism as a concept to be avoided or scapegoated. Thereby letting the negative control the narrative while creating a sense of exclusion, where people are more readily labelled and some are considered more Australian than others. As a result, we encourage division as people retreat into various ethnic groupings and put up the barriers as they seek a sense of belonging and acceptance from within.

It also creates an environment where the more vulnerable are left open to exploitation.

Yes, there are people who don’t want to, or don’t feel comfortable associating with people outside their own given identity – this is normal and applies to people of all backgrounds.

The important thing is that it’s not about everyone agreeing or being the same, that’s simply impossible, it’s about acceptance and a fair go where everyone is treated equally. Surely everyone is entitled to that.

There are too many Australians, including many born here, who feel excluded from society and continually have to justify their “Australianness”.

Every one of us is different, but as individuals we share more in common than we realise. One of those commonalities is that everyone, except our First Peoples, is of migrant stock; it’s just that some are more recent than others.

Currently more than 28 per cent of Australia’s population was born overseas. Australia is a multicultural success story.

So scapegoating the very substance that has delivered today’s Australia is not the answer. In fact it is completely counter-productive, not least for economic reasons around trade and tourism.

I have been very fortunate to call Australia home for the past 24 years and live in one of the most culturally diverse suburbs in Queensland. I have neighbours who originate from all parts of the globe. Despite this diversity – or because of it – we have a tremendous sense of community, not least when the community, be they from the local service clubs, mosques, churches, temples or just everyday community members, rally together to assist those in need.

Creating fear of the “other” or the unknown is very easy. But rather than rejecting or scapegoating Australia’s multicultural success story, we should embrace it; there are simply too many benefits.

Go out and meet your fellow Australians, engage and replace (politically motivated) fear of the unknown with curiosity.

This leads to one simple question. What sort of Australia do we want, a weak and divided Australia or a strong and inclusive Australia?

I know what I want and what is in Australia’s long-term interests.


Slow and steady on climate: Joyce

The Turnbull government will ensure the next phase of its climate policy meets Australia's obligations under the Paris deal but isn't "messianic", Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce says.

The government will review its full suite of climate policies in 2017, as the emissions reduction fund exhausts its $2.55 billion budget and the coalition looks to other methods to cut carbon pollution.

Environmental groups have concerns the review will provide a smokescreen to drop climate action and respond to sceptics within the government and on the Senate crossbench who see it as a waste of taxpayers' money.

Mr Joyce told reporters in Brisbane on Monday the government would ensure it met its Paris target - to reduce emissions by 26-28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 - which builds on its 2020 target of reducing emissions by five per cent below 2000 levels.

"We believe in our obligations as signed off by an international treaty in Paris and we'll make sure we meet them," Mr Joyce said.

"We are on target to meet them at the moment and we are doing it at a vastly more affordable way than the Labor party ever was."

But he said the government would not achieve the target "by changing the whole world, like the ACT, to 100 per cent renewables - what a load of crock".

"We are not going be a messianic figure out there by ourselves," he said.

Labor leader Bill Shorten said he would like the review to be conducted in a bipartisan way.

"(But) we're not going to get bipartisanship while Malcolm Turnbull has lost his spine on climate change," Mr Shorten told reporters in Perth.

"He did have it once, no questioning that, but now he's so keen to keep his job he'll swap climate change policy for climate scepticism ... he won't take any real action in terms of the fundamental issues including standing up for renewable energy."

Mr Turnbull's deal with the Rudd Labor government on a carbon pollution reduction scheme ended with his own party dumping him in favour of Tony Abbott.


Self-righteous prick David Morrison

Miranda Devine

It’s not too late to say sorry, David Morrison. Many are still waiting to hear a few simple words

The visit to Townsville of former army chief David Morrison last week ended in humiliation when a savvy local reporter rocked him with a question about the Jedi Council sex scandal that launched his career as a gender maven at the expense of innocent officers.

“What a ridiculous assertion,” Morrison thundered at Townsville Bulletin reporter Kieran Rooney. “I’m surprised actually and disappointed you would take this opportunity, when I am here in a civilian capacity engaging with the business community in Townsville around diversity, to try and dredge up a matter that is years old.”

The outburst prompted the Bulletin to slap Morrison on its front page under the mocking headline: “Return of the Jedi”.

Townsville is a garrison town where Morrison is widely detested because of the egregious injustice done to one of their own, the former commanding officer of the Joint Logistics Unit North Queensland, Lt Col Karel Dubsky, sacked by Morrison for not reading emails containing sexist material cc’d to him.

That’s right: NOT reading. Not even opening.

Morrison’s logic was that Dubsky, as commanding officer, should have been across the entire contents of his inbox.

The reality was that, having made the thundering “standard you walk past” YouTube speech in 2013 which catapulted him onto the global stage as a feminist hero, Morrison had to justify his claim of systemic sexism in the Australian Defence Force.

The most senior scapegoat was the blameless Dubsky.

On June 13, 2013, two months after his YouTube speech, Morrison called a press conference to announce that a group of 17 Army officers were allegedly, “in production and distribution of highly inappropriate material demeaning women across both the Defence computer systems and the public internet.”
Former commanding officer of the Joint Logistics Unit North Queensland, Lt Col Karel Dubsky, was sacked by Morrison for not reading emails containing sexist material. (Pic: Supplied)

The group came to be known as the “Jedi Council”. Dubsky was not one of them.

Asked the highest rank of the men involved, Morrison replied: “There is one lieutenant-colonel who is part of this group”.

He didn’t name Dubsky but everyone in the Army knew who he was.

“There were not many Lieutenant Colonels in Townsville subjected to an Australian Defence Force Investigative Service office raid on June 5, 2013,” Dubsky recalled later.

“Then my name and image were released in the media. Despite knowing I had done nothing wrong, (Morrison) made no effort to protect my name… He embarrassed (me) on national TV.”

Army investigators trawled through every email Dubsky had sent or received and all they found were two private emails to two male friends, containing no images but with the words “DD boobs” and “shag”, which Dubsky admits was “inappropriate language” but hardly a hanging offence.

“Morrison tried hard to pin the Jedi Council on me but when he couldn’t, he sacked me from command because ‘I failed to remain aware of issues that affect me, my unit and Army’.

“... everyone thought I was part of Jedi Council. I was just dead man walking.”

Dubsky didn’t just lose his command, and an upcoming prestigious posting to the United States. He lost his reputation and his identity.

In October, 2013, he was officially cleared, in a letter from then Defence Force Chief David Hurley, saying “I accept... that you were not a part of the activities of a group styled ‘the Jedi Council’’.

Hurley also made the decision, against Morrison’s recommendation, not to terminate his service.

But by then Dubsky was a broken man. The father of two succumbed to PTSD, triggered by events in Afghanistan, was discharged from the Army medically unfit and has been in and out of psych wards ever since.

His pain culminated in a suicide attempt on Australia Day this year, while at home watching his TV in disbelief as the leader he felt had betrayed him was honoured as Australian of the Year.

So when Army people complain that Morrison has done nothing for veterans, there is a special sting in their accusations.

Vietnam veteran Tony Dell, founder of Stand Tall 4 PTS, a charity for post-traumatic stress sufferers, says: “It was an absolute travesty he was made AOTY. I travel around the country and talk to a lot of veterans and a lot of people in Defence and no one says a kind word about him.”

Veterans still fume about Morrison’s comment to the ABC last year that: “I don’t think that there’s a military solution to anything.” And they can’t forgive his attack on the Anzac legend as too male and “Anglo-Saxon”.

Dell says when he asked Morrison last year to appear at a PTSD forum to be held in Brisbane six months later: “Without a moment’s hesitation he said ‘I’ll be too busy’.”

Of course, by September Morrison had retired from the army, become chairman of the Diversity Council and embarked on a lucrative career as gender warrior.

As he nears the end of his AOTY post, in which his much ridiculed attempt to ban the word “guys” was the highlight, there is mounting pressure for an apology to Dubsky.

All Dubsky wants is official recognition of what the private letter from Hurley states, that he was not part of the Jedi Council.

“It galls me that Morrison does not understand that if you publicly accuse someone of something and then find out they’re innocent that you should then correct the record publicly.”

Just a few words would mean so much.


David Morrison’s Australian of the Year award brings many complaints

Political correctness has got him a long way -- but few fans among the people

It was meant to be a widely ­applauded and unifying gong: the awarding of Australian of the Year to former chief of army Lieutenant General David Morrison.

He became a contender after achieving social-media celebrity status for a 2013 speech, about unacceptable sexism by servicemen, written for him by transgender senior military officer Catherine McGregor. She was rewarded with Queenslander of the Year shortly before Defence chiefs confidentially paid $25,000 in compensation in January to an army major who was criticised and mocked by Ms McGregor on ­social media.

But for bureaucrats in the ­Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the choice of Morrison kept them busy with written explanations to placate disgruntled voters, a troubled senator — Queensland’s James McGrath, Assistant Minister to the PM, who questioned Ms McGregor’s award — and Liberal supporters expressing annoyance and bewilderment.

Documents released to The Australian by Malcolm Turnbull’s department after a Freedom of ­Information request show that a senior public servant replied to everyone in terms which carefully distanced the Prime Minister from any part in the selections by the National Australia Day ­Council.

A common theme of the letters and emails sent to the Prime Minister was that the selection was wrong, divisive and brought discredit to the awards. None of the missives were positive about the choice of Mr Morrison, whose first major speech in his new role promoted his view that Australia should be a republic. He has subsequently lobbied Australians to cease using the word “guys” to ­address men and women in the workplace, arguing the term is sexist and insensitive to females.

One of the documents released under FOI shows council chairman Ben Roberts-Smith — Australia’s most highly decorated soldier as the recipient of the Victoria Cross and Medal for Gallantry — wrote to Mr Turnbull in February and acknowledged the public backlash.

“You will be aware David’s ­selection has generated some healthy debate which isn’t unusual for someone who wants to challenge conventional thinking,” Mr Roberts-Smith wrote to Mr Turnbull.

However, Mr Roberts-Smith, also general manager of Queensland’s Seven TV network, did not believe the controversy was unique.

“This has happened many times in the history of the awards and I believe it simply reflects the significance of the program and that everyone seems to have an opinion on who should take the honour,’’ he added. He undertook to “factor into our annual review of the program” the public debate.

But senior sources said the 2016 awards had eclipsed earlier years for public and media protests. Senator McGrath, whose ministerial portfolio gives him ­direct responsibility for the ­National Australia Day Council, wanted to know how Ms McGregor became Queenslander of the Year — and an automatic finalist as Australian of the Year — when she had not lived in the state for about 30 years.

Ken Wyatt, the Liberal Party’s federal member for the West Australian seat of Hasluck, passed on to Mr Turnbull’s staff negative feedback from unhappy constituents, including one who wrote “to express my disgust at the appointment of the latest Australian of the Year”.

The National Australia Day Council was asked by Senator ­McGrath a series of questions ­including who prepared the shortlist in the Queensland Premier’s Department, who chaired and sat on the selection panel, and what guidelines had to be met for someone to win the state award?

The council’s then chief executive Jeremy Lasek told Senator ­McGrath: “After Catherine had progressed through the process, the NADC contacted Catherine to check that she was comfortable being considered for the award in Queensland, even though she had not lived there for some time. Catherine said she always identified as a proud Queenslander.”

Queenslander of the Year Catherine McGregor. Picture: Gary Ramage
Queenslander of the Year Catherine McGregor. Picture: Gary Ramage
Ms McGregor, who earlier this year criticised the choice of her former boss, Mr Morrison, as a “weak and conventional” choice for Australian of the Year, has felt pointedly ignored by the Queensland government for the past 12 months. She has been given no official ­duties by the office of Premier ­Annastacia Palaszczuk or any of her ministers, a senior source revealed yesterday. Her visits to Queensland for public events have been privately funded and organised by her and others.

Mr Lasek advised the Prime Minister’s department on February 1 that Senator McGrath “just called me direct in mobile. He says there is some concern in his home state about the Qld AOTY not having lived in the state for many years and how Cate McGregor came to be AOTY there”.

Most of the correspondence to explain the decisions was managed by Peter Arnaudo, assistant secretary at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, who repeatedly and prominently stressed that while Mr Turnbull presented the award, “he is not ­involved in the selection process”.

Mr Arnaudo and his staff workshopped internal explanations to send to citizens who criticised Mr Morrison for allegedly grandstanding and publicly shaming and ousting a small number of military men: the so-called “Jedi Council” who had exchanged emails about sex with women. Affected officers said the disciplinary and public action taken was overkill which destroyed careers and led to the attempted suicide of a respected ­officer who had done nothing wrong.

Typical of the tone in letters sent to Mr Turnbull was this: “I am aware that there is a small well-paid bureaucracy that beavers away to produce the recommendation to government. But in the end it is the government that makes the choice and must take the flack for an exceedingly poor choice.”

Another described the awards as a laughing stock and rebuked Mr Morrison for having sworn ­allegiance to the Commonwealth but now saying “he didn’t believe in that and wants a republic”.

One wrote: “The choice of David Morrison was a bad call by all involved. Mr Morrison took less than 24 hours to create an ­irreparable split in the Australian public with unnecessary utterings about both a republic and the Muslim issue.”

Another urged: “Dear Malcolm, please show some courage and heart and ask this man to stand down.”

One wrote: “Dear Mr Turnbull, I ask that the decision to award Mr David Morrison the title of Australian of the Year is reviewed. There is too much of a cloud over him which denigrates the role …’’

Mr Turnbull was told: “His duty would be to bring Australians together. Instead, he is causing division with his dictatorial spruiking about a republic.”


Tasmanian Governor Kate Warner utters good-sounding but stupid overgeneralizations

Senator Hanson said Governor Kate Warner should consider stepping aside after she challenged her views on Muslim immigration at rally in Hobart on Saturday.

Professor Warner addressed the Walk Together rally in Hobart and questioned Senator Hanson's position that Australia was being swamped by Muslims and that there should be a ban on Muslim immigration.

Professor Warner used the speech to ask Australians to challenge those ideals. "She [Pauline Hanson] declared that Australia was being swamped by Muslims and ... reiterated a call for a ban on Muslim immigration," she said.

"I think we must call out racism and stand up to intolerance and, as Governor of Tasmania, I'm very proud to stand up and say welcome to Australia to all asylum seekers and immigrants, no matter what colour or creed. "I think it's so important for Australians who oppose her views to stand up and be counted."

In a statement, Senator Hanson described Professor Warner's comments as naive. "Governor Warner's comments misrepresent my position and the seriousness of the situation facing Australia with regard to Islamic immigration," the statement said. "Like much of Australia's political class, the Governor is naive about Islam."

Senator Hanson called on Governor Warner to consider stepping aside. She accused the Governor of "moralistic posturing" and breaking a tradition of staying out of political debate. "She has broken with tradition by using her symbolic position to enter into political debate," Senator Hanson said.

Government House in Hobart said the Governor would not be commenting further. But in a statement, Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman said he had taken the matter up with the Governor.

"The Premier has spoken to Her Excellency the Governor about the matter," the statement said. "It wouldn't be appropriate to publicly disclose the details of that conversation. Her Excellency the Governor retains the Premier's full support."

Senior Tasmanian Liberal senator Eric Abetz said he respected the Governor but questioned her actions. "With respect, it is not the role of the Governor to involve herself in controversial issues of the day because at the end of the day the role of the Governor amongst many others is to be the arbiter in the event of a political dispute that the Parliament cannot resolve," he said.


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

24 October, 2016

Hunt for the radical centre: confronting welfare dependency

Noel Pearson is the leading Aboriginal intellectual and he is unusually realistic below.  He recognizes the bad effects of welfare dependency, for instance. But in the end his solution to Aboriginal problems is despairing.  He in effect says that only a great new Messiah could solve them. His pessimism is  understandable.  Of all the things that have been tried by many  governments for many years, nothing works. 

And that nothing works is a clear case of the basic scientific truth that if your theories are wrong, you won't get the results you expect. Pearson simply pooh-poohs without evidence the plain truth that Aborigines are genetically different.  They have evolved over 40,000 years or more to cope with an environment vastly different from the modern world.  They are fish out of water. Only a willingness to deal with what Aborigines are actually like will have any prospect of success

But to deal with what Aborigines are actually like would imperil the insane Leftist faith that all men are equal.  So the status quo will continue

My subject is the legacy of the great American public intellectual and politician Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the author of one of the most famous briefings in the history of public policy. As an aide in president Lyndon Johnson’s labour department, Moynihan’s 1965 paper The Negro Family: The Case for National Action argued that the US government was underestimating the damage done to black families by "three centuries of sometimes unimaginable mistreatment" and the "racist virus in the American blood stream" that would continue to plague blacks in the future. He wrote:

"That the Negro American has survived at all is extraordinary — a lesser people might simply have died out, as indeed others have … But it may not be supposed that the Negro American community has not paid a fearful price for the incredible mistreatment to which it has been subjected over the past three centuries.

"The Negro family, battered and harassed by discrimination, injustice, and uprooting, is in the deepest trouble … While many young Negroes are moving ahead to unprecedented levels of achievement, many more are falling further and further behind."

Fifty years later, we live in the wake of Moynihan’s electrifying thesis on African-American prospects in the wake of civil rights. The discourse reverberated here in Australia.

Moynihan’s was an attempt to identify the radical centre in thinking about the legacy of slavery and racism and its effects on African-Americans, and what it would mean for the hopes and dreams they held after the catharsis of civil rights. These 50 years saw a tum­ultuous dialectic play out: between those captured by Moynihan’s striking call to arms and those alarmed by its analysis. This discourse began immediately with a vehement campaign by liberal social reformers and leftist activists to oppose the adoption of Moynihan’s thinking by the US federal government.

The first riposte to The Negro Family came from Harvard academic William Ryan, taking aim at Moynihan’s identification of the black family as the ground zero of black poverty and social crisis, later published in book form in 1971, Blaming the Victim. I re-read Moynihan and Ryan in preparation for this oration, as well as a bracing retrospective by Ta-Nehisi Coates in Between the World and Me. Coates is the leading black intellectual of the Black Lives Matter movement and his book is a searing analysis of the ongoing American dilemma.

Last year on its 50th anniver­sary, The Atlantic republished The Negro Family and Coates’s article "The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration". It is astounding to reflect that in the entire leftist argument that any attempt to attribute responsibility or personal agency to individuals in respect of social problems has its genesis in Ryan’s accusation that one may be "blaming the victim". It became the most powerful nostrum of leftist objection to social analyses on personal behavioural terms and any policy responses predicated on such analyses. In my reading of Ryan, however, I cannot gainsay much of its insight and perception. Unlike the leftist discourse that he spawned in subsequent decades, Ryan’s original critique cuts to the quick and warrants reflection.

I won’t rehearse the terms of that original disputation, except to say Ryan objected to the so-called "tangled pathology" within African-American families as a misattribution of their predicament. While Moynihan’s denunciation of the ongoing horrific effects of racism against black Americans was unequivocal, Ryan cogently argues slavery was not the immediate cause of the problems manifesting in black families: poverty was their cause. Similar problems were manifesting with other peoples around the world in like circumstances.

I find Ryan’s critique sobering in long retrospect because he reminds us of the danger of conveniently pathologising specific aspects of black life, particularly family life in the ghettos, without turning our eyes to the economic and structural circumstances in which these families live and the deprivations they not only suffered in the distant past but continued to endure. Social policy responses in the modern era have been confined to addressing segments of egregious disparity without looking at the broader circumstances that gave rise to those problems and which, more importantly, drive these problems into the future.

The chief accusation against Moynihan is the Negro family’s causal role in poverty. This is, I think, unfair. The better way to understand Moynihan’s argument is that the Negro family was the victim and became the transmitter of poverty. Once entrenched in poverty with all its effects on black family life, the family then becomes the means by which poverty is transmitted to future generations.

When I reflect on the history of this discourse over half a century, I wonder how much better it would have been if the insights of these two great intellectuals had somehow been reconciled, each correcting and balancing the other rather than repudiating the other. Instead, they became polar opposites in an unresolved discourse that organised a liberal progressive tribe on the one side, and a conservative tribe on the other.

Charles Murray’s 1984 book Losing Ground, which laid out the modern articulation of welfare reform, is the legatee of Moynihan’s Negro Family.

However, the very alarm harboured by Ryan that the political and intellectual Right would pathologise and blame African-Americans for their own predicament was realised when Murray and Richard Herrnstein subsequently published The Bell Curve, spuriously arguing that black Americans were innately intellectually inferior to whites. The problems of poverty and social inequality had their source in the innate character and genetics of black people, and the old assumptions about black racial inferiority found its new sociological cloak in The Bell Curve.

Attempts to build policy in the radical centre found their apotheosis in president Bill Clinton’s enactment of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act in 1996, aiming, in Clinton’s invocation of Moynihan’s original words, "to end welfare as we know it". It sought to reconcile the behavioural dimension of welfare dependency and the structural opportunity of employment. These reforms were supported by the now New York senator Moynihan, to the dismay of the welfare rights lobby.

There is great debate about the success of the PRWORA reforms, but it is clear this reconciliation was dependent on the availability of work. The deal worked during the Clinton administration when jobs were available but could not be sustained in the economic downturn. You can mandate personal responsibility but not employment opportunity.

My interest is the radical centre. This is the place where those in search of a better society might best hunt. It is the sweet spot representing the right combination of conservative, social and liberal ideas and insights. Rather than the weak, "lowest common denominator" compromise between left and right, the radical centre is the highest, noblest compromise. It brings together high ideals with hard realism. It is high-minded pragmatism informed by intense dialogue and negotiation.

Clinton, Tony Blair and other social democratic leaders around the world were the chief proponents of radical centre politics, however its invention began in Australia with the Hawke-Keating government in 1983. Paul Keating was its greatest exponent. My own view is the difference between Keating as the champion of the radical centre — seeking to produce social good underpinned by economic reform — and John Howard, is that Howard was the great manager of the centre, whereas the exceptional character of Keating’s leadership was to drive the radical centre: to pursue reform and not just management.

The politics of the radical centre have declined in the past decade and a half and we have retreated to that old tepid partisanship, plying for the promiscuous affections of swinging voters. The terms of public political debates are largely between the 15 per cent of the far right against the 15 per cent of the far left, with the middle just sagging.

As perspicacious as Ryan is in Blaming the Victim, in retrospect his thesis informed a half-century’s worth of leftists encouraging the poor to see themselves as victims. This was not his intention but it was his effect. His riposte to Moynihan was a nostrum that became an ideology that became a mindset, and legions of leftist social workers and academics compounded the idea that the victimised were indeed victims and entitled to a sense of victimhood.

I have long argued against the horrific results of this legacy. Inculcating a sense of victimhood in the victimised is for me to remove power from the victims. In a sense, the Right’s relative heartlessness was preferable: better to object to the Right’s hypocrisy than to succumb to the Left sanctifying victimhood. The frog falling in the fire can at least jump, whereas the frog in the freezer hibernates peacefully to his death.

In 1999, I published my thesis Our Right to Take Responsibility. My conviction was in the difference between poverty and passivity. Poverty in the Third World as I had witnessed in Vietnam was of a different character to the passivity in my home community.

My thesis was based on the idea that we needed to assume responsibility as a power — as a power to take control over our lives and to have the kind of self-determination that successful citizens, communities and peoples need, expect and are entitled to in a liberal and social democratic society. Like Moynihan, however, my thesis aroused objections from the Australian Left, indigenous and non-indigenous. A similar discourse that engulfed the Moynihan report played out in a provincial echo here in Australia.

I want to go through the main contentions in this discourse that have eluded common ground. First, in relation to social disadvantage and poverty, the issue of explaining the ultimate origin of these problems going back to the colonial past, to the legacy of racism and exclusion, versus more proximate explanations such as indigenous communities leaving the cattle industry and joining the welfare rolls, and the rise of substance abuse epidemics, is the subject of great convulsion. My argument has been that, though historical wrongs have ongoing impacts, many problems now manifest in our communities are of recent origin. They concern the rise of substance abuse epidemics and welfare dependency in recent decades.

Another debate centres on causation. What drives poverty — is it the structural circumstance of disadvantaged peoples, or is it the behaviour of the peoples themselves that explain the cause of these problems?

Yet another dimension is the effect of racism. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have experienced and continue to experience appalling racism in Australian society. But in responding to that racism, should we inculcate a sense of victimhood in the victimised, or should we resist racism while ensuring it does not become our burden? We should never inculcate a sense of victimhood, otherwise we let the racists win.

And finally, the whole question about agency: should we focus on personal agency or structural reform? The Left says structural reform and the Right says personal agency. Like Clinton and Obama, I say both/and. Because at the end of the day, it is personal agency that will drive structural reform. We can’t just sit back and hope structural reform will somehow happen, and absolve us of the necessity of agency. This is the passive leftist dream of social justice. Social justice in truth can be secured only when two by two, clutching our children to our breasts, we climb the stairs of social progress in pursuit of better lives for our families, animated by the engine of our own liberal self-interest, while supported by the social underpinnings of that staircase built by the distribution of opportunity.

We need strong, healthy, educated children to emerge in distressed communities while working for the structural reforms for the progress of our communities. The stronger our children are, the better they will be able to fight for structural reform.

In 2015, eight regional communities across indigenous Australia developed and provided the federal government with an agenda for empowered communities, which grapples with the structural dimensions of indigenous empowerment.

This blueprint sought to answer the call for empowerment made in the 1990 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. Twenty-five years after the royal commission the number of indigenous people in prison doubled. Australia’s indigenous imprisonment rate is the highest in the world: 27 per cent of our prisoners come from 3 per cent of the population. No statistic speaks more profoundly to the structural nature of our predicament than this one. If there is not a structural, indeed, constitutional basis for 3 per cent of any society filling 27 per cent of its jails, then we would have to subscribe to a theory of innate criminality on the part of those peoples. The most notorious figures concerning the indigenous plight in this country make plain this is not a problem of criminology or socio-economic development — this is a problem of disempowerment derived from that people’s status in the nation.

We proposed a comprehensive policy program for consideration by the federal, state and territory governments. Essentially, the challenge of creating a level playing field between the elephant of government and the mouse of indigenous Australia is to find the right fulcrum between the two, to create a relationship of negotiation and mutual responsibility and respect, rather than a top-down relationship of mendicancy and control.

The other structural agenda that is imperative, in my view, is the constitutional recognition of indigenous Australians. This, too, is about empowerment and responsibility. Australia’s first nations must be empowered with a voice in relation to the laws and policies affecting our people.

Finally, the country needs to embrace the indigenous heritage of Australia in a way that celebrates it as the heritage of the entire nation, and which provides assurance to our first nations that the extraordinary languages and cultures of this land may endure long on this continent, as they have done for more than 50,000 years.

Empowerment. Recognition. Cultural embrace. These are the structural agendas of indigenous policy to which we must employ the shoulders of the nation. But achieving them must be the mutual responsibility of indigenous Australians and non-indigenous Australians alike. We all recognise the problems and yearn for solutions. The question is: will the nation’s leaders take up this challenge? Are we willing to work together to make the paradigmatic shifts that are needed? Is anybody willing to lead?

As a nation, we must have the courage to change the way we do business in indigenous affairs.

I put these views forward from the unfortunate conclusion that there is little that is promising in what has been done and is being done under the banner of "welfare reform" in Australia. Fiddling around with entitlement design and conditions is not by itself going to reform welfare. They will be components of a comprehensive agenda, but they are not sufficient to constitute real reform.

Indeed, we have probably worsened things with the move to outsourcing human service delivery to the private sector. While this outsourcing may be said to be more efficient, the truth is that we have now created and entrenched industries whose sole rationale is the existence of social problems. Beyond the employment and training services industries, we now have private sector industries in all manner of social need and misery, the dead end of which is child protection. The profit motive now exists in the space that separates lost children from their mothers’ bosoms. These vampire industries have completely colonised indigenous communities, and constitute the Australian welfare state’s main response to poverty and the problems that arose from welfare dependency.

Now that rentals flow in these industries there is no incentive for players to work to resolve the social problems that is their market. Rather, the imperative now is simply to manage and, indeed, sustain them. The purveyors of these quasi-markets of outsourced government service delivery now hold the commanding heights, and resist reform.

My belief has always been that we need to pursue reform on both fronts: at the behavioural and structural levels. I do not resile from mutual responsibility and conditional welfare. By themselves they will not solve our problems but there is no escaping the fact disadvantage over time becomes dysfunction, that poverty over time becomes passivity.

The struggle for structural reform is not easy. Even where we have developed concrete agendas for empowerment, the country’s political leaders do not know how to respond. If I have learned anything these past 15 years it is that reforms to secure the radical centre on poverty and disadvantage require national leaders to lead them. You need the equivalent of Keating to lead real social reform, as the flip side of economic reform. The radical centre cannot be secured by activists and provocateurs from the outside, and neither by minor ministers. Only a Johnson or Keating can have the dexterity and authority to do what needs to be done.


Gillian Triggs is just another Leftist liar

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield has criticised the President of the Human Rights Commission Gillian Triggs for misleading a Senate inquiry, saying that it is "extremely important" that government officers be "honest and transparent".

Senator Fifield said that Professor Triggs may be recalled before the Senate to explain her "misleading" comments to an estimates hearing, where she wrongly accused journalists at The Saturday Paper of publishing inaccurate comments.

Professor Triggs was forced to correct the parliamentary record after it emerged the newspaper had kept a recording of its interview with the Professor.

"It is extremely important that statutory officer holders, when they are before committees of the parliament, weigh very carefully every word that they use," Senator Fifield told Sky News Australian Agenda this morning.

"Obviously those officers should conduct themselves in an upfront, honest and transparent way, but it is particularly so when they are giving evidence to a Senate committee.

"People should mean what they say, and say what they mean and they should be upfront and honest in their presentations to committees of the Australian Parliament."

When asked if Professor Triggs maintained the confidence of the Turnbull cabinet, Senator Fifield said it was up to Attorney General George Brandis to make that judgment.

Manager of Government Business Christopher Pyne said he was sorry that Professor Triggs had allowed herself to "get dragged into politics in Australia."

He said the Human Rights Commission and her position as President of the AHRC should be above politics, and said she had made "substantial errors of judgement" by commenting on the political process and commenting on politicians.

"The interview in which she roundly criticised one political party, which was then reported and then she said it was taken out of context, it was a mistake on her part. I feel disappointed that the position of Human Rights Commissioner has been politicised in this way," he said.

"Whether the government has confidence in her or not is a matter for the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General.

He said that people would be disappointed that Professor Triggs had a high-profile political role, rather than an administrative one, "standing up for the human rights of Australians".


NSW police officers under investigation over claims of aggression and cover-ups

A culture of aggressive policing, cover-up and intimidation is infecting some police local area commands and driving officers to break their oath of duty.

The claims have been made by former NSW police officers, and come as one local area command on the border of the NSW and the ACT is plunged into crisis.

Intensive investigations are underway into the actions of officers at the Monaro Local Command at Queanbeyan in NSW's south, after former police officer Lucie Litchfield claimed she was pressured to lie in court and ultimately forced to resign her position due to relentless bullying.

Queanbeyan police are also under the spotlight after an officer drew his weapon and pointed it at the face of a driver who attempted to evade a random breath test.

In both cases, police professional standards officers are investigating.

A year after her resignation from the NSW Police Force, Ms Litchfield is calling for greater attention on what she says is a toxic culture that centres around protecting mates.

"There is still a significant lack of respect for women in policing," Ms Litchfield said.

"I believe that police are becoming a little bit more heavy-handed and getting away with it.

"I can quite openly say that I saw several incidents which were more excessive than they needed to be, which senior officers were also aware of and it never got reported and was never dealt with."

Ms Litchfield was a senior constable in the NSW Police force and was based at Queanbeyan when she was called to a roadside stop that turned violent, and would ultimately end her career.

On the evening December 21, 2013, she responded, with two male officers, to a urgent call that a green Holden Commodore had escaped the scene of a violent home invasion.

The three police officers pulled over a green Commodore in a suburban street in West Queanbeyan, but they had the wrong car.

When one of the male officers asked the occupants of the vehicle if they had any weapons, a passenger in the back seat, Ricky Caton, produced a plastic toy dinosaur, and declared: "No, but I've got a dinosaur … roaaaar!"

Mr Caton was then allegedly forcibly pulled out of the car along with the other passengers.

In a statement of claim filed with the NSW District Court, Mr Caton alleges he was forcibly pulled from the vehicle, kicked in the legs, his face shoved into the ground and handcuffed.

A second passenger, Adam Antram, who is also suing police, says that he was shoulder-charged by one of the male officers despite the fact he was complying with all police requests.

Mr Antram was allegedly thrown into a retaining wall where he hit his head and lost consciousness.

Ms Litchfield supports Mr Antram's version of events. But in statements filed in court, the two police officers involved provided a different version.

Constable Patrick Hicks, the officer alleged to have shoulder-charged Mr Antram, said he was forced to "check-drill" Mr Antram, who was charging at the other male officer, Senior Constable Todd Finnigan, as he handcuffed Mr Caton.

Both Mr Caton and Mr Antram were charged with assaulting police and resisting arrest. Charges were withdrawn after Ms Litchfield's evidence — described as "cogent and compelling" by Kiama Magistrate Mark Douglass — cast doubt on the bona fides of the prosecution.

Magistrate Douglass found the prosecution should never have been brought.

Mr Caton and Mr Antram are suing the police for assault and malicious prosecution. NSW Police are relying on Officers Hicks and Finnigan's original versions as presented in court in their defence.

"The amount of force that was used against these civilians I believed right from the start was completely unnecessary. It was just totally unprofessional," Ms Litchfield said. "I would still love to be doing the job that I loved and that I woke up every day enjoying.

"But I was very isolated right from the beginning [of this case]. Then after I gave evidence it just intensified.

"There were documents which were printed out and placed on my desk which were basically intimating that I needed security because my life was in danger.

The ABC understands the NSW Office of Public Prosecutions is currently considering whether there is sufficient evidence to charge Constable Hicks and Senior Constable Finnigan — who has been promoted to detective — with perjury, assault and perverting the course of justice. The two officers deny any wrongdoing.

Another case

Concern over aggressive policing at Queanbeyan intensified again recently when vision emerged of an officer pulling a gun on a motorist who was pursued for a random breath test.

A magistrate expressed shock during the prosecution for the man, who was charged with mid-range drink-driving, when the vision was broadcast in court.

Adrian McKenna, the motorist's lawyer, said he had filed a formal complaint with police and his client would be providing a statement to investigators who were probing the actions of the officer, Senior Constable Steven Hilhorst.

"In my view the police officer's actions were appalling," Mr McKenna said. "His conduct was completely unnecessary for the situation he was facing. It was excessive use of force, unnecessary and completely unacceptable.

"To the extent that this kind of conduct is indicative of a broader problem with aggression or lack of accountability in the Monaro local area command, then some serious questions need to be asked about that culture."

Former NSW detective Deborah Locke, a key witness at the Wood Royal Commission into corruption in the NSW Police Force 20 years ago, said she believes a "cowboy culture" is returning to some local area commands.

"I'm hearing of pockets of the boy's club, the bullying, the blue code of 'don't speak out, cover up, be a sheep, don't say anything' because if you do, you'll be squashed and anyone who supports you," she said. "I've had people contact me that are being bullied and harassed and pushed out.

"It's a club, it's a family. It's a job with a badge and a gun and a force of blue and they are tight-knit. But if you speak out about one of your own, there'll be repercussions to make an example to everyone."

The commander of the Monaro Local Area Command, Superintendent Rod Smith, declined the ABC's request for an interview.

The NSW Police Force issued a statement in response to detailed questions from the ABC. "Any complaints of bullying and harassment are investigated and, if found to be sustained, will result in the consideration of serious management action," the statement said.

"The specific matters are currently subject to investigations and inquiries are continuing. "At this stage, it is inappropriate to comment further."


Adani coalmine: Overseas money funding Green opposition

The leader of a foreign-funded, highly orchestrated group of Australian activists working to stop the $16 billion Adani coalmine in Queensland has confirmed links with the Hillary Clinton 2016 Presidential campaign and warned a Clinton administration will "embarrass" the Turnbull Government over coal.

John Hepburn, the executive director of The Sunrise Project, confirmed today the revelations of the foreign-funded campaign against the Adani project by influencing indigenous land owners and environmental legal challenges exposed in briefings to Hillary Clinton’s campaign director.

Mr Hepburn said the revelations via WikiLeaks in The Australian about the previously secret US funding and links with John Podesta, the Clination campaign chairman and former counsellor to Barack Obama, was a warning for the Turnbull government.

"That a major US philanthropist has been emailing the senior adviser to the likely next US President, about the expansion of coal mining in Australia, highlights a major diplomatic risk for the Turnbull government," Mr Hepburn said in a statement responding to the revelations.

Mr Hepburn said the risk was "that a Clinton administration will hold a mirror to Australia’s climate inaction and pursuit of new coal reserves".

"It is no surprise that the ongoing expansion of coal mining in Australia is on the radar of Clinton’s most senior adviser. While the world is ratifying the Paris Climate agreement in record time, Australia is becoming a global embarrassment for being the first developed country to go backwards on climate policy and fast-tracking the approval of new coal mines," Mr Hepburn said.

"With the UN Climate Conference in Marrakesh only weeks away, this leak adds to the wider pattern of international concern over Australia’s failure to meet our international obligations and dogged commitment to give special treatment to the coal industry while the rest of the world rapidly shifts to clean energy," he said.

"Of course we and other environmental groups are fighting tooth and nail to stop the Adani project," Mr Hepburn said.

Another group identified as part of the US-funded campaign against coal mining in Australia, GetUp!, confirmed the global campaign and said the Adani mine "had too much power of the major parties" in Australia.

The Sunrise Project, the lead environmental group in the campaign to stop coalmining in Australia, is funded from the multimillion-dollar US Sandler Foundation and boasts in its secret briefings passed on to Mr Podesta that it is trying to hide its funding sources from the Australian parliament.

The previously secret briefings, released by WikiLeaks as part of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails, say Sunrise tailored its advice to indigenous communities in northern Queensland, and that the "whole Galilee Basin fossil fuel industrial complex is in its death throes".

As part of a chain of emails being forwarded from Australia to progressive US foundations funding environmental challenges to industry worldwide, it is also disclosed that an associated group, Human Rights Watch, offered to help the environmental lobby keep its tax-­exempt charity status because "the mining companies seem to own the Liberals (in Australia) and they play very dirty".

Human Rights Watch chief executive Ken Roth, who ­attacked the Coalition’s offshore refugee processing on Nauru before the election in July, also discloses that his group received "charitable status by special parliamentary bill" in the "waning days of the Labor government".

The Adani mine development, which it is claimed will create 10,000 jobs in construction in Queensland and cheap electric power to tens of millions of poor Indians, has been delayed for at least seven years by various legal challenges, including against a rail line to the coast and the development of a port at Abbot Point.

In a celebratory email to the Sandler Foundation in August last year after a decision against the Adani mine, Sunrise Project director John Hepburn, a former Greenpeace activist and one of the authors of the strategy to block coalmining in Australia, thanks the foundation for support. "Without your support none of this would have happened," he said.

He added he was going to buy a "few bottles of bubbly" for a celebration with "our colleagues at GetUp!!!!, Greenpeace,, Australian Youth Climate Coalition, Mackay Conservation Group, Market Forces and the brilliant and tireless Sunrise team".

Mr Hepburn’s email to the foundation mocked the coal industry for the claim "there is some kind of foreign-funded and tightly orchestrated conspiracy to systemically destroy the Australian coal industry". "I seriously don’t know where they get these wacky ideas from!" he said. "Shudder to think that environmentalists would use environmental laws to protect the environment!"

Adani Australia chief executive Jeyakumar Janakaraj yesterday told The Weekend Australian the leaked emails were "evidence that these are broader well-funded activist campaigns as part of a wider anti-coal campaign that is being financially backed and influenced a long way from workers in Australia and those suffering energy poverty in India".

"The leaks show, however, that the anti-coal campaign is not about the merits of the approval process at all; it’s about activists motivated to stop jobs and investment," he said.

In a note on the August briefing the Sandler Foundation sent to Mr Podesta, who has not denied the accuracy of the WikiLeaks material, it is written that "our high tolerance for risk on this project (opposing Adani) is paying off!"

Mr Podesta was counsellor to Barack Obama when the US President outraged the Queensland and then Abbott governments on his visit to Brisbane in 2014 for the G20 summit and talked about the danger to the Great Barrier Reef — a key argument used by the groups against Adani.

The email also discloses that the Sunrise Project helped the Environmental Defenders Office — which has mounted various challenges against coal companies — find "private donor funding".

When he was prime minister Tony Abbott said the campaign against the Adani mine was sabotaging thousands of Australian jobs and denying affordable power to millions in India. In August this year federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan welcomed the latest Federal Court decision in Adani’s favour and called on green groups to stop "grandstanding".


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

23 October, 2016

Time to fix visa laws, cut Australia’s permanent migrant intake

The government’s unjustified satisfaction with our immigration policy settings was on display last month when Scott Morrison delivered yet another headland speech.

The theme this time was the importance of foreign investment, trade and immigration to Australia’s economic prosperity. In fact, the grouping of these matters is not self-evident — after all, the free flow of goods, services and capital can act as a substitute for the flow of people.

High levels of immigration are obviously associated with a bigger economy. But the assessment of the economic benefits of immigration must be made in per capita terms and it is here that the estimated economic gains are in fact very small and are highly dependent on the model used.

The Productivity Commission thinks gross domestic product could be 7 per cent higher in 45 years because of our immigration program.

But let’s be clear, this is a tiny gain across a very long period. Moreover, no account is taken of the impact of immigration on congestion, environmental pressures or housing affordability.

Notwithstanding the government’s overt contentment with the immigration program, there are some serious faults in the selection procedures as well as the conditions attached to the various visa categories. There is also is a distinct possibility that the annual (permanent) immigration program is too high and has been for some time. The annual intake of permanent migrants, excluding humanitarian entrants, is 190,000. To think that immigration is responsible for at least one-half of our annual population growth surely would surprise many people — 10 or 20 per cent perhaps, but more than 50 per cent?

The Treasurer was very keen to emphasise the dominance of the skilled visa category (about two- thirds of the permanent intake) as a strength of our immigration policies. But there are serious questions about the reliability of the list of occupations deemed to be in short supply and that qualify migrants for points under the skilled visa entry.

It also should be noted that it is only the primary applicant whose skills are assessed. Secondary applicants (and children) are almost always less skilled than the primary applicant and they fare less well in the Australian labour market compared with their partners.

A more recent phenomenon has been the high percentage of temporary migrants — mainly university students and 457 visa holders — who become permanent residents through the skilled visa program. A fair proportion of these migrants then bring in secondary applicants from their original countries, even those who may never have visited Australia.

The reality is that the setting of the permanent migrant intake numbers is partly driven to suit the higher education sector. Selling courses and the potential for permanent residence in Australia is a much more attractive package than selling courses alone.

Also look at the botch that the government has made in respect of the working holiday maker visa program and the rate of taxation that should apply to these valuable workers — just ask the farmers desperate for help to pick crops.

It was a complete brain snap to think the government could impose a 32.5 per cent tax rate from the get-go on these working holiday maker visa holders and that there would be no supply response or attempts to avoid it altogether — via cash payments, for instance.

And what was the logic of imposing a 15 per cent withholding tax on temporary migrants entering under a similar program, the seasonal agricultural workers scheme, on the basis that these migrants are taxpayers in other countries and not apply the same thinking to working holiday makers? The government hopes that it has solved the working holiday maker problem by imposing a 19 per cent tax and — wait for it — a 95 per cent tax on the superannuation payments made on their behalf. Morrison is surely having a lend of us if he thinks this is good policy.

Make employers pay 9.5 per cent of wages as superannuation for their working holiday maker workers and have the government confiscate virtually all of it because superannuation is designed for the retirement of Australian workers, according to Morrison.

The ­obvious solution is to liberate employers from making the superannuation contribution in the first place.

But this sort of distorted thinking is what happens when the Treasurer declares that the government needs the money. Read it here: repairing the budget can never be achieved through defective policies such as the compromised working holiday maker tax arrangements.

And when he says young people won’t be attracted to Canada or New Zealand because they can earn more here — because of our high regulated wages — what he is really saying is that he is more than happy to impose high costs on employers that typically rely on working holiday maker visa holders. There’s no free lunch here, Treasurer: employers and consumers lose out, in particular.

Mind you, the small amount of additional money that will be raised through the higher taxation of working holiday makers will be dwarfed by the additional costs of the temporary parent visa that is being contemplated by the government as a blatant exercise in vote buying in certain electorates.

The Productivity Commission has already belled the cat on the astronomical cost of the contributory parent visa. For a sum just under $50,000 each, the parents of migrants are able to enter the country and, after a period, are fully entitled to every benefit available to those born in Australia, including the Age Pension.

The real cost to the Australian taxpayer is between $335,000 and $420,000 per visa holder. In net present value terms, this amounts to between $2.6 billion and $3.2bn for every annual intake of migrant parents. If Morrison were really serious about budget repair, he would be doing something about this scheme.

But there’s more. For some migrant groups, the cost and conditions attached to this parent visa category don’t suit them. So the government is proposing to introduce a five-year parent visa category, outdoing Labor’s election campaign pledge to introduce a three-year visa category.

In theory, those entering under this new visa category will be required to have private health insurance but, as is the case with international students, this requirement is impossible to police. (International students lob up at emergency departments of public hospitals and are not denied treatment even if they can’t or won’t pay. There is also no integrity in relation to the use of Medicare cards.)

And does anyone honestly think the government will insist on 80-year-old granny being deported when her five-year visa period expires?

There is no point talking about the importance of families and free babysitting for these migrant groups. These are private benefits that shouldn’t be subsidised by the taxpayer. And let’s face it, many Australian families don’t live close to grandparents.

The bottom line is this: self-praise for our immigration program by the government is no recommendation. The number of planned permanent immigrants is too high and has been for some time — it should be scaled back immediately to closer to 100,000 a year. The list of occupations in short supply also needs to be reviewed, again with some serious scaling back required.

The tawdry compromise on the taxation of working holiday makers also should be reconsidered and the absurd expropriation by the government of the superannuation contributions made on behalf of this group should be scrapped immediately.

And as for the proposed temporary parent visa category, just don’t do it. We can’t afford it, it will cause resentment and it’s just bad policy.


Sport and Recreation Centres: NSW government explores privatisation

The state government has held confidential talks with commercial operators and organisations that have Christian mission statements, as part of a controversial outsourcing proposal for Sport and Recreation Centres used for thousands of school camps every year.

Leaked documents show government-appointed consultants have held "market sounding" discussions with eight organisations, including NGOs, the multinational PGL group and organisations linked to the Christian Community Churches of Australia and the Crusader Union of Australia.

Labor has questioned the suitability of Christian groups to deliver services at the camps, which are used by 70,000 students each year, many from public schools.

The Crusader Union's website says it has "proclaimed the gospel to school students since 1930". The group did not return a request for comment by deadline.

Opposition Sports spokeswoman Lynda Voltz said the government had resisted requests to release the documents under freedom of information laws.

"It is not surprising that the Baird government has kept this report secret," Ms Voltz said. "It is hard to argue [these] are suitable organisations to run camps delivered to NSW public schools."

But the state government said the discussions were no indication the organisations had been deemed suitable to deliver services at the camp. The government said it was only seeking initial market information on how to improve the camps.

"Market testing is under way to investigate how services at Sport and Recreation centres can be improved for school, sporting and community groups," said Sports Minister Stuart Ayres. "Sport and Recreation centres are available to all community members in NSW and will continue to be so."

The government has previously confirmed it is considering changing the operators for eight of the 11 camps across the state.

But Mr Ayres ruled out selling the camps and said investigations would be complete by year's end, after which time the government would consult camp users.

Another organisation to have signed a non-disclosure agreement before entering talks with the government, Lutanda, aims to "introduce the Jesus of the Bible".

But a spokesman said the organisation ran a mix of camps, including those where schools used the organisation's facilities but ran their own programs.

Under a leasing plan prepared by the consultants, the government would hand over control for more than half of the camps' operations.

But the plans would have the state government jointly develop a camp's programs with the government; any provider would have sole responsibility for delivering programs.

Ms Voltz also queried whether the state government had approached organisations with large volunteer networks to keep down labour costs, which account for nearly two-thirds of the camps' costs.

The camps now run at a net cost of about $2.6 million a year. The consultants' report finds attendance is uneven and utilisation of the camps averages 50 per cent.

Ms Voltz said that the camps' net loss represented only about $15 for each student using the camps.


David Leyonhjelm once said he would be happy to 'let police bleed to death'

The senator who sparked a furious debate on gun ownership this week once said he would be happy to let police "lie on the side of the road and bleed to death".

Video has emerged of Liberal-Democrat senator David Leyonhjelm speaking at a rally outside Queensland's Parliament in late 2013, where he complained about new laws potentially denying affiliates of outlaw motorcycle gangs their gun licences.

Senator Leyonhjelm was introduced to the rally as a senator-elect who had resigned from the Liberal Party "in disgust" over the Howard-era gun laws. 

"The police and the public, at least the motorcycle riding public, are on a collision course and they wonder why no one comes to their aid when they are in trouble," he said at the rally.

"For myself, I am never going to help someone who thinks it's OK to pull me up, search me and threaten me with jail if I don't answer their questions, merely because I ride my motorcycle in company with a couple of other people.

"If that's what they think, they can lie on the side of the road and bleed to death."

The rally crowd, which had been enthusiastically cheering the speech, laughed nervously in response to the comment.

On Friday, a spokesman for the senator said he was a "libertarian who wishes no ill will on anyone, with the possible exception of authoritarians who would treat law abiding people like criminals".

"He is fed up by governments all over Australia that tell people who are doing no harm to others how to live their lives," the spokesman said.

Comment has been sought from the Queensland police union.

Senator Leyonhjelm ignited a civil war within the Liberal Party this week when he announced the government had been prepared to horse trade on gun laws to get its industrial relations legislation through the Senate.

He produced an email from August 2015 which outlined a deal between the senator and Justice Minister Michael Keenan and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton to end an import ban on the powerful Adler shotgun.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott denied any knowledge of a deal and tweeted his concerns, before doubling down in an interview with the ABC.

Mr Turnbull was forced to publicly contradict Mr Abbott's claims in Parliament and said he was "satisfied that the Minister for Justice acted in the full knowledge of the Prime Minister's Office at that time"

Last year, the Police Association of New South Wales called for Senator Leyonhjelm to be sacked from a law enforcement committee after he criticised police for their treatment of A-League fans at a Western Sydney Wanderers game.

"There is a saying amongst them that all cops are bastards," the senator said in November last year.

"The cops have earned that label, they have to un-earn it.

"The police are not our masters. They are our servants and I think they should remember that."


Light railroaded

Well aren't we glad that we figured that out.  Canberrans have decisively voted for a light rail! This is a prominent interpretation of last weekend's ACT election result. But the better lesson is that governments can easily ignore facts and bamboozle the electorate to support useless projects. Because the projects are infrastructure. And infrastructure is good.

Never mind that the project cost  has already blown out, and may blow out more (as all infrastructure projects do). Never mind that the total cost, relative to the size of the ACT economy, is estimated to be 6 to 12 times larger than the NBN. Never mind that there were alternatives with a much greater benefit-cost ratio, such as improved bus infrastructure, according to the ACT Government's own analysis. The government's decision to ignore the greater benefit of buses has been criticised at length by the Productivity Commission. But trams are more exciting than buses... don't we understand?

Never mind that the need for more public transport is not clear, given  many Canberra bus routes are currently oversupplied. Never mind the environmental degradation caused by the construction of the supposedly environmentally friendly project. It is apparently okay for Greens-inspired projects to cut down more than 860 trees even if they are being replaced -- but good luck mounting the same argument with your local council. And a busway arguably has lower not higher greenhouse emissions than the light rail.

Never mind that the proponents argue the project will create heaps of jobs, while ignoring the people who leave other jobs to work on the rail project. Never mind the benefits being heavily dependent on dubious assumptions about non-transport benefits such as economies of scale and increased tax revenue, assumptions that have also been questioned by the ACT Auditor-General.

Don't worry about all these issues. The ability to do a snow job on the electorate has helped win an election again.

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

20 October, 2016

Australia's human rights record condemned by a "rapporteur" from the world's most corrupt organization

U.N. "rapporteurs" (travelling critics) also regularly single out Britain for criticism on human rights grounds.  But if Britain is deficient, so is most of the world.  Mr rapporteur is totally superficial in his report below.  He thinks it is bad that old bag Gillian Triggs was asked to resign but does not mention her egregiously biased behavior that led to that request. 

Note that she was asked to resign, not made to resign.  Most other places she wouldn't have been given the option.  Mr rapporteur doesn't mention that, of course.

But he is a theologian by background so logical twists and turns can be expected of him, I guess.  He has no discernible social science background at all.  But he is a Frenchman who teaches German so maybe that is something.  It would be amusing to see what he says about Germany.  Free speech is dead in "das vierte Reich"

Australia lacks adequate protections for human rights defenders and has created "an atmosphere of fear, censorship and retaliation" among activists, according to a United Nations special rapporteur.

Michel Forst, who released an end-of-mission statement on Tuesday after a fortnight in Australia, said he was "astonished" by numerous measures heaping "enormous pressure" on public servants, whistleblowers and ordinary citizens.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has rejected Amnesty Internationalâ??s claims that the treatment of refugees on Nauru amounts to deliberate and systematic torture. Vision courtesy ABC News 24.

Increased secrecy provisions, especially with regard to immigration and national security, were hampering the ability of journalists and human rights defenders to hold public institutions to account, he said.

The new metadata retention regime, which enjoyed bipartisan support, had "serious implications" for journalists and media outlets, Mr Forst said. He also heard evidence that freedom of information requests were being delayed and frustrated.

Mr Forst also condemned the secrecy requirements of the Australian Border Force Act, elements of which he said contravened human rights principles, including freedom of expression, and called for the laws to be reviewed.

The special rapporteur reserved particular opprobrium for ministers' attacks on Australian Human Rights commissioner Gillian Triggs, who last year resisted enormous pressure from the Abbott government to resign over alleged political bias in a report on children's detention.

"I was astounded to observe what has become frequent public vilification of rights defenders by senior government officials, in a seeming attempt to discredit, intimidate and discourage them from their legitimate work," he said. He called for an inquiry into the treatment of Professor Triggs.

Mr Forst condemned "anti-protest legislation" in Tasmania, NSW and before the West Australian Parliament targeted at environmental activists, which he said would contravene Australia's international obligations.

He also accused the Abbott-Turnbull government of targeting advocates involved in environmental, immigration and land rights causes through the "drastic defunding" of groups, such as the National Congress of Australia's First Peoples.

"Other contractors, such as Save the Children, have been subjected to raids and egregious allegations of misconduct, removed from operations and had their personal and professional reputations targeted by politicians and media," Mr Forst concluded.

Mr Forst will present his final report to the Turnbull government and the UN Human Rights Council. Australia is seeking a seat on that council and the scathing report may have implications for the bid, although Mr Forst would not personally comment on that prospect.

A spokesman for Attorney-General George Brandis said the government welcomed the opportunity to engage with the special rapporteur but considered Mr Forst had "not presented a balanced view of the situation of human rights defenders in Australia".

The Turnbull government "will consider the special rapporteur's recommendations in the same way as it considers recommendations from all United Nations mechanisms", the spokesman said.

Australia has come under a barrage of criticism from international human rights observers, mainly over the offshore processing of asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru. On Monday, Amnesty International went so far as to accuse the Australian government of deliberate torture.


Nauru rejects ABC report

The government of Nauru has labelled the ABC "an embarrassment to journalism" following a Four Corners report on the island's regional processing system, accusing the broadcaster of racism, political activism and insulting residents.

The Nauruan government asserted Australia was in fact the more violent nation and said the ABC should instead campaign for "no refugees to be allowed into such a violent society as Australia".

The Four Corners program was informed by a major Amnesty International report, released last night, that claimed Australia's regional processing regime on Nauru amounted to the intentional torture of refugees.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull strongly denied the accusation today. "I reject that claim totally. It is absolutely false. The Australian government's commitment is compassionate and it's strong," he told ABC radio.

In its statement, the Republic of Nauru's "media and public information" unit claimed the children who appeared in the program were "coached" and the interview process "stage-managed". Despite this, "viewers could clearly see that the refugees featured were well dressed, well-groomed and healthy", the statement said.

No children were in detention on Nauru, the government said. This is technically true because the processing facility is designated as an "open centre" and asylum seekers are free to move around the 21 square kilometre island. The government said children generally lived with their families in safe accommodation close to shops, and that Nauru was less violent than Australia.

"There are fights in Australian schools on a daily basis and there is crime in Australia. The Australian news shows acts of crime each night that are far more violent that anything Nauru has experienced," the statement said.

"So on this basis, Four Corners should be campaigning for no refugees to be allowed into such a violent society as Australia. Clearly they would not advocate this because it would – in context – be incorrect, yet they are willing to falsely portray Nauru as an unsafe nation, which it is not."

The program also used footage of a now-defunct hospital and failed to mention the "new $27 million state-of-the-art medical facility to which refugees have unrestricted and free access" or the newly-constructed school, the Nauruan government said.

"Last night's Four Corners program on the ABC was yet another example of the ABC's biased political propaganda and lies, and was an insult to the people of Nauru," the statement said. "This report was an embarrassment to journalism. From start to finish it was denigrating, racist, false and pure political activism."

In a statement, the ABC said it stands by the Four Corners report and rejects Nauru's claims. "It was an important story of obvious public interest," the statement said. The ABC also noted interviews with children were conducted remotely because Nauru "routinely refuses journalists access to report on offshore processing".

Nauru regularly accuses its critics of following a political agenda and doing the bidding of advocates. It routinely refuses access to the regional processing centre and denies journalists visas to Nauru, but in a note penned in August, President Baron Waqa said media outlets should not be surprised.

"After their dishonest campaign against us, they expect us to open our arms and allow them to visit and create more trouble within our borders!" he wrote.

One of the main arguments of the Amnesty International report was that Australia, rather than Nauru, was primarily responsible for the conditions inside the regional processing centre and the systemic problems in health, education and justice faced by asylum seekers and refugees on the island.

Mr Turnbull acknowledged there were sad stories on Nauru but indicated the government would not be dissuaded from its harsh policies to deter boat people. "There are 1200 people … from whom we can never hear because they drowned at sea [under Labor's policy settings]," he told ABC radio.

Under questioning at a Senate estimates hearing last night, Department of Immigration and Border Protection secretary Michael Pezzullo also denied Amnesty International's allegations.

"I refute categorically, both on behalf of my own department, and by way of explaining government policy in this regard, that it's not the Australian government's position, more the position of this department, that we flout any laws, international or otherwise," he said.

"As to the notion, inference or implication that we use torture as some sort of instrument of state policy, I personally find it to be offensive but, in any event, what I find to be offensive is not relevant. It's objectively in our view not true."


Australia seen grabbing uninterrupted GDP growth record

Australia is forecast to enjoy at least another two years of solid economic growth, extending a quarter of a century without recession and dodging the deflation that dogs so many of its rich world peers. The latest Reuters poll found analysts expect Australia’s A$1.6 trillion ($1.2 trillion) of gross domestic product (GDP) to expand by 2.9 percent this year, unchanged from the July poll.

Growth was seen at 2.8 percent next year and 2.9 percent in 2018, a result that would see Australia capture the Netherlands’ crown for the longest run without a recession. Surging export volumes, record low interest rates and an historic boom in home building have already underpinned growth of 3.3 percent in the year to June.

A recent revival in the value of commodity exports also promises to boost company profits, national income and tax receipts in coming months. Surging prices for coal alone could eradicate the country’s trade deficit and add 2 percentage points to nominal GDP. The worst also seems to be over for a long slump in mining investment, which subtracted a huge 1.6 percentage points from GDP growth in the year to June.

Policymakers at the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) believe three quarters of the mining downturn has now passed and its drag on growth will greatly diminish for here on.

"The Australian economy’s output performance, in aggregate, has been resilient in what remains a challenging environment," said Westpac senior economist Andrew Hanlan. He is tipping economic growth of 3 percent for both 2016 and 2017.

"That said, downside risks persist. World growth is sluggish, and global financial sector vulnerabilities remain."

At home, jobs growth has turned sluggish and heavily weighted to part time work, restraining wage growth and adding to downward pressure on inflation. Indeed, underlying inflation slowed to a record low of 1.5 percent in the year to June and looks likely to have remained very subdued in the third quarter.

Analysts forecast consumer price inflation would run at just 1.2 percent for 2016 as whole, well under the RBA’s target of 2 to 3 percent. Yet they also expected it to pick up to 2.1 percent next year and 2.4 percent for 2018, a welcome outcome that would eliminate the need for more rate cuts.



APOLOGY: I have undergone surgery and experienced a prolonged cable service outage within the last 24 hours so I am putting up less than I usually would -- JR


19 October, 2016

How the housing boom is remaking Australia’s social class structure

This is quite a sober article but it does fall into the mould of a Green/Left scare story:  "We'll all be rooned, said Hanrahan".  It's fault lies in its confidence that accurate prophecies are possible.  In particular, it relies on straight-line extrapolation: The really dumb belief that all trends will continue unchanged.  It does not allow for Taleb's "Black Swan" events. And just such an event is now happening.  So it is sad that the erudite academic below has not allowed for it.  He has  seen it but has not understood it.

I refer to the huge inflow of Chinese money that is behind the orgasm of apartment building which has now been going on in the big cities for a year or more. Huge apartment buildings are springing up like mushrooms all over the place.  There must be a dozen within 5 minutes' drive of where I live in Brisbane. The process has already brought new accommodation to glut proportions in Melbourne.

And the law of supply and demand tells us what must happen.  A prediction based on the law of supply and demand is as certain as a prediction based on straight-line extrapolation is not.  As the supply of apartments races ahead of the normal demand, the prices will fall and the demand will expand to take up the supply.  We are in other words looking at a major fall in the price of housing in roughly a year's time.  The apartment glut will even hit house prices as the demand for accommodation is somewhat fungible.  Some people who might have been in the market for a house will be diverted by the good value of a cheap apartment.

So the predictions below were out of date the moment they were written

The relentless housing boom in Australia’s cities, especially Melbourne and Sydney, is often framed as an intergenerational conflict in which younger generations are being priced out of the market by baby boomers. However, sociological theories of social class suggest parents’ wealth and social status will eventually be passed onto their children anyway.

So, by focusing on intergenerational inequalities that will eventually be reversed, we are framing the housing affordability question the wrong way. At the same time, the impact of the housing boom is so deep that some long-established ideas about social class may be no longer relevant.

The housing boom has blurred existing boundaries between upper, middle and lower classes that applied to the baby boomers and previous generations. New social class boundaries and formations are being produced.

This does not mean younger generations, as a collective, are disadvantaged compared to their parents. Rather, these younger generations will be subdivided differently and more unequally.

The renting class

In the industrial city, the term "working class" was defined by the experiences of low-income workers in manufacturing jobs. Yet in a post-industrial Australian city it makes more sense to talk about the "renting class".

Not all renters are poor, and not all poor households are private renters. However, the correlation between the two is significant and strengthening. The proportion of private renters in the total population is slowly but surely increasing – from 20.3% in 1981 to 23.4% in 2011.

Simultaneously, public housing – once a symbol of the working class – is undergoing a dramatic demise.

Largely abandoned by the state to fend for itself, with weak regulation for security of tenure or rent control, the renting class faces the unrelenting burden of ever-rising rents. The average renter paid 19% of their income on rent in 1981. In 2011, this proportion increased to 26.9%.

And, in 2014, around 40% of low-income private renters were in housing affordability stress, paying more than one-third of their income on housing.

With hardly enough "after-housing" disposable income to meet basic living standards, savings for retirement is almost impossible for the low-income renter. And with little or no wealth to assist their children to buy a home, the renter’s social class status is likely to be passed from one generation to the next.

The home-owner class

More than just a status symbol, home ownership has become increasingly central to the way most Australians accumulate wealth. About half of the home-owner’s wealth is held in their own home. Each housing boom enriches them further through tax-free capital gain on their homes.

The housing boom also creates work in the construction industry, which is the third-largest employer in Australia with more than one million workers. These are no longer working-class occupations, with most skilled jobs paying average weekly earnings of close to A$1,500. So, it is arguably the home-owner class that benefits most from each construction boom.

One consequence of the housing boom is that a growing cohort of moderate-income households is now priced out of home ownership. Had they been born a generation earlier, they would have probably been able to afford a house. Now it is beyond their reach.

Over the years, as their rents rise and their wealth stagnates, the gap between the renter and a home owner will become unbridgeable. Their experience of retirement will be worlds apart.

One lifeline for this cohort is the prospect of inheriting some of the housing wealth of their baby boomer parents. But when this will happen is highly uncertain.
The housing elite

The housing elite is rewarded by the housing boom well beyond the capital gain on their own homes. Much of the massive wealth of Australia’s elite is generated through the housing market – through investment, construction and financing of housing.

Harry Triguboff, Australia’s third-richest person, earned his fortune in the apartment development business. So did the three youngest entrants into the 2016 BRW Rich List. Their entry marks the rising importance of housing in the making of Australia’s super-rich.

The top 20% of the wealthiest Australians hold most of their wealth in their home and in other investment properties. They also hold significant wealth in the sharemarket, which is commanded by big banks whose portfolios are heavily dominated by housing loans. Each housing boom significantly adds to their wealth.

Social class, however, is more than just financial wealth. The wealthiest Australians secure their social class position by living in exclusive suburbs where they are able to associate with the right people and live an elite lifestyle. The astronomical prices of houses in some of these suburbs ensure their hermetically exclusive nature.
Breaking the loop

None of these social class categories is natural or universal. These categories will not apply in some European countries, for example, that have very different housing systems.

The deepening fusion between Australia’s housing system and its social class system creates a dangerous cycle. The further house prices grow, the more important housing becomes as a determinant of social class. And when social class is increasingly defined by housing, people are willing to bid even higher to enter home ownership or the housing elite.

Unless we break this cycle, Australia will continue in its path of becoming a more polarised society, with a weakened renting class, an impenetrable elite, and a shrunken home-owner class between them.


Climate change gloom lessons for kids

Students are being led to believe that global warming will destroy sunsets.  The course materials are clearly far-Left  rather than scientific

DOOMSDAY climate change lessons are being taught to children as young as eight who are concluding that human activity threatens to destroy beautiful sunsets and ­waterways.

Six schools in the state’s north are trialling a "world first" curriculum that is expected to be adopted across the state, if successful.

The NSW Education Department-approved trial is being run by Southern Cross University’s Lismore campus and proposes to give students from Year 3 to Year 8 "political agency" and allow them to be "experts in their own lives".

Running in tandem with the curriculum is a challenge project in which students form their own response to climate change and how they can personally prevent mass extinctions of animals, plants and their habitats.

Some children have concluded that humans have "succeeded in destroying much of the physical world".

One student researcher in northern NSW said: "It is selfish and horrible how humans are causing animal and plant species to die."

Another said: "We must band together to reverse the effects of climate change."

Organiser and Southern Cross University education lecturer David Rousell said schools in Bexhill, Mullumbimby and Alstonville had taken on the interdisciplinary model, which could be taught in English, creative arts, science and history classes.

"This challenge is about bringing schools together to embark on projects that have a public outcome and can create real change," he said.

"Kids are doing amazing work where they take a photo which represents some aspect of climate change and they write about it. Some students take photos of beautiful things such as sunsets or waterways and then write about how it could be lost or destroyed because of climate change."

An Education Department spokesman referred Telegraph inquiries on the new curriculum to the Board of Studies Teaching and Educational Standards, which said the program was being trialled but was not formally endorsed.

Last week more than 300 students came together in a Climate Change Challenge at the uni’s Lismore campus. One student said: "We were not placed on this Earth to make an acquisitive and ideal life that supports the human race only."


Tensions flare over 'Q&A' advice

Grace is certainly a no-nonsense lady

Tensions flared on Monday night's Q&A when industrial relations expert Grace Collier said the unemployed could solve their problems by starting their own businesses.

On a night when industrial relations was a key focus of the program, Ms Collier's remarks sparked several on the panel into life and surprised many in the Melbourne studio audience.

The panel was discussing the future of manufacturing — namely whether governments should subsidise certain industries to keep them afloat and save jobs.

But Ms Collier, a News Corp columnist, said governments did not owe workers any favours.

"Nobody has an entitlement to a job. Society doesn't owe you a job. The Government can't get you a job. The Government shouldn't have to get you a job. There's no such thing as Government money. There's your money and my money," she said.

"Everybody has something that they're good at … You work out what you're good at and you try and make a career out of that."

When Greens Leader Richard Di Natale pointed out there were less jobs than people in Australia, Ms Collier fired back.

"People can start their own businesses," she said, leading to several people in the audience to start heckling.

"It's terrible, isn't it? Wouldn't it be awful to have to start your own business because someone else has to give you a job?" Ms Collier said.

"Why don't you start a business and hire some people? Go on. I dare you." "I'm busy at the moment," Mr Di Natale replied.

Australian Council of Trade Unions president Ged Kearney interjected, saying "nobody has any money in their pockets to spend in that business".

"We are losing our manufacturing industry and there's been absolutely no plan from this Government to try to reinvigorate manufacturing, to find where we can have a competitive edge in the global economy," she said.

Labor MP Tim Watts said the Coalition Federal Government had "nothing" for manufacturing industry workers.

However John Roskham, the executive director of right-wing think tank Institute of Public Affairs, said it was "desperately unfair" for the Government to have to subsidise each job in the car industry to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars.

Economist Judith Sloan disagreed with the whole panel, saying the Australian labour market had been strong for some time.

Has Trump killed the conservative movement?

Meanwhile, Donald Trump's lewd comments led the panel to consider what Australians would need to do to prevent a similar character taking the nation's top job.

Mr Watts labelled the Republican candidate's emergence as the death knell of the conservative movement.

"He's been able to enter the scene in the US because conservative ideology has imploded," Mr Watts said.

"There was a time when conservatives believed in things. What's happened in the US is they've invited people who have subverted these conventions, trashed these institutions into the mainstream."

Mr Di Natale said people were "fed up with establishment politics", leading them to turn to extreme candidates.

"What you're seeing, in my view, is people like Trump and One Nation and others who are scapegoating individuals, who are looking to foreigners and easy targets to blame for what are very complex social problems," he said.

But Mr Roskham said Mr Trump did not represent true conservatism because of his stance on importation tariffs.

"Trump would not have been my candidate or the candidate of a lot of conservatives of a lot of liberals and libertarians … If I was in America I would not know how to vote," he said. Ms Collier was more optimistic about the future, saying she didn't care who the US elected, provided Australia wasn't negatively impacted.

"Don't lose sleep over the stupid things Trump said, because there's going to be another one tomorrow. Don't worry about it," she said.


One Nation soars post-election, Newspoll shows

Support for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party has risen fourfold across the nation since the election and almost doubled to 10 per cent in Queensland, Newspoll shows.

Newspoll surveys taken exclusively for The Australian since the July 2 election reveal support in the House of Representatives for One Nation has climbed to 6 per cent, up from 1.3 per cent on polling day.

One Nation appears to have made its gains over the past four months from other minor parties and independents, as well as ­taking a slice of support from the Turnbull government.

By contrast, support for the other non-major party force at the election, the Nick Xenophon Team, has remained largely ­unchanged at about 2 per cent ­nationally and 21 per cent in its home state of South Australia.

One Nation’s primary vote has jumped to 10 per cent in Queensland, up from 5.5 per cent at the election, where it ran 12 lower-house candidates. The party vote there is also higher than its Senate election vote of 9.2 per cent, which delivered seats for Senator Hanson and Malcolm Roberts.

In NSW, One Nation’s support is 6 per cent, from only 0.6 per cent achieved by its three candidates and, again, is higher than the 4.1 per cent Senate vote that elect­ed Brian Burston.

Similarly, One Nation is polling at 6 per cent in Western Australia, where it did not run any lower-house candidates but where Rodney Culleton won a spot in the Senate with a vote of 4 per cent.

In South Australia, One Nation is polling at 4 per cent and in Victoria at 3 per cent, both slightly higher than in the Senate election. The party did not run lower-house candidates in those states in July.

Senator Hanson and her colleagues hold the balance in the Senate because the government cannot pass legislation opposed by Labor and the Greens without One Nation’s support.

Since the election Senator Hanson has courted controversy, including saying in her first speech that Australia was in danger of being swamped by Muslims.

Last week the government gave Senator Hanson one of its seats, held by the Nationals, on an important parliamentary committee inquiring into the National Broadband Network after she lost a ballot among senators. Communica­tions Minister Mitch Fifield said the government was keen to allow crossbenchers to participate.

Tomorrow Senator Hanson is making a three-day "fact-finding mission" to Norfolk Island, skipping most of this week’s Senate ­estimates hearings.

Newspoll shows voters have continued to move away from the major parties since the election, when 23.2 per cent of people did not vote for the Coalition or Labor — the highest percentage since 1934.

The latest Newspoll shows support for the Greens, minor parties and independents has climbed to 25 per cent, with the Greens ­unchanged since the election at 10 per cent, One Nation’s rise to 6 per cent, NXT at 2 per cent and other parties and independents down from 10 to 7 per cent.

The Coalition’s primary vote of 39 per cent is down three percentage points since the election, while Labor is up 1.3 points to 36 per cent. Based on preference flows from the election, Labor holds a two-party-preferred lead of 52 per cent over the Coalition’s 48 per cent.


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

18 October, 2016

Foolish Aboriginal model wants acceptance as a model only.  Is the Nordic ideal of beauty changeable? 

She hasn't got a hope.  The worldwide standard of female beauty is Nordic -- narrow faces, fine features, white skin, blue eyes and blonde hair.  Even some Japanese ladies blond their hair.  To blacks, a white wife is a trophy.  The unfortunate Magnolia has no Nordic attributes at all.  If her skin were white she would be ugly.  She has received acceptance only because many people want to be kind to Aborigines.  She is an "affirmative action" model.

We may deplore the Nordic standard but saying that people should adopt other standards for females that they like to look at is pissing into the wind.  It won't happen.  It will have zero influence.  Brown hair can be accepted in lieu of blonde but that is the only variation to the top standard.  Mr Trump has plausibly claimed that he can have any sort of lady that he wants. He can have the top standard.  So see the picture of Melania below.  Compare and contrast.

I am sure I will be called a Nazi, a white supremacist and much else abusive for saying what I have just said but I am in fact simply pointing out the obvious.  The attractiveness of Ms Maymuru is very much of a piece with the Emperor's new clothes

So why am I pointing out such obvious truths?  It's because that is what I do.  I attack popular fairy stories.  I think truth serves us best.  A full and frank discussion of beauty standards might even help a black girl to be thankful for what she's got, rather than pining for the impossible.

It's been mere months since the Northern Territory model, Magnolia Maymuru, shot to fame after becoming the first Indigenous woman from a traditional community to become a finalist in Miss World.

But already, the 19-year-old has become something of a role model for countless women and girls around Australia.

Speaking to Sydney Morning Herald, Ms Maymuru said she wants to go above and beyond merely being seen as 'an Indigenous model'.

'I am about breaking down barriers and stereotypes,' she said.  'And I want to get to a place where I'm not described as an Indigenous model but simply as a model.'

So far, things are going pretty well for the girl who was discovered on a Darwin street in 2014 by her now manager, Mehali Tsangari.

At the time, Ms Maymuru was working as a sports and recreation officer, before she entered Miss World Australia and had the opportunity to represent the Northern Territory.

The 19-year-old has since landed her first major gig as the face of the Melbourne shopping centre, Chadstone. She has also recently been the ambassador for this year's Darwin Art Fair.

Magnolia Maymuru, whose real name is Maminydjama Maymuru, recently said that she never believed she would have a career in fashion. Describing herself as an outdoorsy sort of girl, who was into hunting and camping, she didn't have any experience within the fashion industry.

However, these days the model's glamorous Instagram account is testament to the fact that she is as at home on the catwalk as she is outside at home.


No, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia is NOT dead. But it is in trouble

The writer makes only a small obeisance to Warmism below.  He says that the ocean is warming overall.  He does not mention that such warming is only in hundredths of a degree

Perhaps you’ve heard that the epic, 1,400-mile-long Great Barrier Reef in Australia has died.

Perhaps you have read its obituary by writer Rowan Jacobsen on the website Outside Online.

But before you start mourning the loss of what Jacobsen calls "one of the most spectacular features on the planet," the community of scientists that study coral reefs in the Pacific ocean would like you to hold up, slow down, and take a deep breath.

The news isn’t good, but it may not be as dire as the obituary may have you believe.

"For those of us in the business of studying and understanding what coral resilience means, the article very much misses the mark," said Kim Cobb, a professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. "It’s not too late for the Great Barrier Reef, and people who think that have a really profound misconception about what we know and don’t know about coral resilience."

Cobb spoke to the LA Times about the state of the world’s largest reef system, and why there is reason for both concern and hope.
It’s not too late for the Great Barrier Reef, and people who think that have a really profound misconception about what we know ... about coral resilience. — Kim Cobb

Is the Great Barrier Reef dead? No. It’s not. We just had a massive bleaching event, but we know from past research that corals are able to recover from the brink of death.

So bleached corals aren’t dead corals? That’s right. There’s lots of confusion about what bleaching means.

Coral is an animal, and the animal exists in symbiosis with photosynthetic algae. The algae provides food for the coral in exchange for a great home. But when the water gets too warm, the algae become chemically destructive to the coral.

When that happens, the coral convulses and spits out puffs of algae to protect itself. That removes all the color from the coral tissue which is transparent, allowing you to see right through to the underlying skeleton. So you are not necessarily seeing dead coral, you’re really just seeing clear coral without its algae.

But bleaching is still bad, right?

Bleaching events are worrisome because if the coral misses this key food source from the algae for too long it will literally starve to death. But, if the water temperature comes back down, it will welcome the algae back. The key is that the water temperature change has to be relatively quick.

When was the massive bleaching event?

It started with the Hawaiian islands bleaching in the early part of 2015 due to a moderate El Nino event in 2014-2015. After that there was the build up to the massive El Nino that culminated in the warmest ocean waters during the November 2015 time frame.

Unfortunately, these warm waters didn’t release their grip on many of the Pacific reefs until the spring of 2016, so that’s nine months of pretty consistently high temperatures. That is a long time for a coral to be in a mode of starvation.

Has the Great Barrier Reef been through anything like this before?

It has had very severe bleaching events associated with large El Ninos like we had last year, but the problem is we are seeing baseline ocean temperatures getting warmer every year. When you pile a strong El Nino on top of this ever warming trend, you get more extreme and more prolonged bleaching episodes.

What was striking about this year was the extent of the damage. It was staggering. By important metrics the ’97-’98 El Nino was bigger,  but the damage from this last one was far more extensive.

So how can you remain hopeful about the fate of Great Barrier Reef and other reefs in the Pacific?

I work on a research site in the Christmas Islands that is literally smack in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and which was much more devastated than the Great Barrier Reef. It was worse off than any reef in the world with up to 85% mortality. But even in the face of that whole-scale destruction, we saw individual corals that were still alive, looking like nothing had happened.

I cling to that. I know from my own site that there is a lot more resilience baked into the system then we can hope to understand right now and that out of the rubble will come a reef that may not look exactly like it looked before, but may be better adapted for future temperature change


No reasoning with PC bigots

Freethinker Bill Leak is a victim of prejudice so entrenched in our legal and political system it is spar­king anti-establishment ­revolt across the West. It is the conversion of the human rights movement into a bigot rights ­industry.

The principal victims of bigot rights are heterosexual men of Anglo-European descent whose advocacy of freedom, rationality and reason places them on the Right side of politics in the 21st century. The political repression of freethinkers by the bigot rights movement is calculated. PC bigotry is so comprehensive it engulfs the establishment whose members openly celebrate the structural oppression and public humiliation of those excluded from their state-sanctified system of privilege.

The Australian Human Rights Commission is handling a complaint over the Leak illustration that depicted a drunken man neglectful of his son. Some people have chosen to take offence ­because the inebriated figure was depicted as indigenous. So too, however, was the sober authority figure of the cartoon, the police ­officer reprimanding the drunken father. Whether intentional or not, Leak’s illustration revealed a well-documented empirical truth: that some men are alcoholics, some alcoholics neglect their children and some alcoholic men who neglect their children are ­indigenous.

In a rational world where politics were divested of ideology and politicians invested in truth, complaints about Leak’s cartoon would be dismissed. In the world of the bigot rights industry, however, feelings of offence have ­superseded empirical truth as the highest standard of Western ­jurisprudence.

The Racial Discrimination Act classifies acts that people feel offended about as unlawful if they choose to feel offended ­because of their race, colour, ­national or ethnic origin. Section 18C is anti-­enlightenment revolution codi­fied as law. It effects the erosion of truth, rationality and reason as the foundations of Western law by replacing them with ideology, feelings and a consequent culture of unreason.

Following the cartoon’s publication, Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane tweeted that people "shouldn’t endorse racial stereotypes of Aboriginal Australians ­— or, for that matter, of any other group". Agreed. Nor should they endorse the censorship of truth to please the PC establishment. He wrote on Facebook: "If there are Aboriginal Australians who have been racially offended, ­insulted, humiliated or intimidated, they can consider lodging a complaint under the Racial Discrimination Act with the Commission". A ­social media storm ensued in which PC bigots vilified Leak as racist.

The AHRC notified The Australian this month of its plans to ­investigate "allegations of racial hatred under the Racial Discrimination Act" regarding the cartoon. National chief corres­pon­dent Hedley Thomas has reported that documents provided by the commission indicate a single complaint alleging a woman has experienced racial ­hatred and discrimination as a ­result of the illustration. The AHRC has advised the newspaper that "sections 18C, 18D and 18E of the Racial Discrimination Act ­appear relevant to the complaint".

The epicentre of the bigot rights movement is the UN’s human rights office. The founding mission of the UN was to seed global enlightenment by the establishment of universal human rights. It has been replaced by minority rights politics cham­pioned by socialists and Islamists.

Contemporary minority politics is the progeny of Herbert Marcuse. As I have demonstrated previously, Marcuse reversed the idea of equality by advocating a politics founded on the principle of "not equal, but more representation of the Left". In short, the foundational principle of neo-Marxism — the ideology of the 21st century Left­ — is that ­inequality engineered to produce the silencing of conservatives is the constitution of equality.

The Marxist dictatorship of the prole­tariat has been replaced by the neo-Marxist dictatorship of man­u­factured minorities. It is unsurprising that the perversion of universal human rights by bigot rights activists has been codified in race discrimination and affirmative action laws. In the late 1970s, law schools became ground zero for the neo-Marxist revolution against formal equality and human rights. Critical legal theory emerged as the activist successor to black letter law. ­

Kimberle Crenshaw, a critical race theorist, recounts that critical legal theory was organised by "neo-Marxist intellectuals, former New Left activists, ex-counter-culturalists". It emerged, in part, because "civil rights lawyers found themselves fighting and losing rearguard attacks … particularly with respect to ­affirmative action and legal require­ments for the kinds of ­evidence required to prove illicit discrimination".

Critical legal theorists attack objective inquiry, empirical truth and logical reasoning as the basis of Western law and evidentiary standards. They decry enlightenment thought and contend ­instead that subjectivity, feelings and emotions are a valid basis for legal judgment. Thanks to the radical bigotry of neo-Marxists and their determined hostility to reason, we are forced to brook the absurd proposition underlying PC gag law that feeling offended about something indicates an ­unlawful act has taken place.

Leak is entering a bastion of Left politics engineered to produce his silence. Far from correcting their agenda of inequality, bigot rights activists are pursuing it with increased irrationality and anger. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, recently demonised conservative politicians of eight countries for opposing his agenda. The UN has endorsed a new campaign to classify dissent from its open border policy as "xenophobia" and "intolerance".

Just as Leak is vilified as racist for depicting truth, so will dissenters from UN ideology be branded xenophobic and intolerant to justify their public humiliation and censorship.

I don’t know what advice to give Leak because he is neither the problem nor the solution. Labor and the Greens will continue to defend 18C because it is their PC bigotry made manifest. So too the minority groups who receive ­unearned privileges via discrimination law and affirmative action, as well as protection under 18C from ideas that offend them. The governing Coalition should champion free speech and formal equality but it rejected Cory Bernardi’s recent call to amend 18C.

However, there is a growing grassroots movement to return the West to the path of enlightenment — a kind of counter-revolution to ­restore universal human rights and secure the sovereignty of free world states. Whether you like it or not, Bill, you’re an idea whose time has come.


Stop whingeing and just do your exams: Why a lot of kids these days need to suck it up

IT’S HSC [Higher School Certificate] time and I’ve never been happier to not be involved in something. Not because of the studying or the stress of exams, but because of the Facebook groups.

I’ve just lost an hour of my life trawling the posts and comments on "HSC Discussion Group 2016." And while there are the usual notes of encouragement, musings about exams frustrations and memes that make me realise I’m completely out of touch with the next generation, there’s also some pretty disturbing comments in there.

Here are some of the kids who need to suck it up and grow up.


One girl wrote a lengthy essay suggesting to the Board of Studies that HSC students should be provided with free counselling for having to endure the "wrath of the HSC", an extra hour to complete the paper and the requirement that all HSC teachers sit the exam themselves before teaching the course.

Might I suggest that if you believe the Board of Studies should be providing free counselling for the "wrath of the HSC" you may as well lock that therapist in for a standing appointment, because life outside school is going to be a real wake up call.

Surely we’ve been through this enough to realise the HSC is difficult. It’s supposed to be, it’s an exam. I doubt there’d be a single person who wouldn’t have wanted more time, but even if the Board of Studies granted an extra three hours people would still be complaining.

Oh, and everyone who teaches HSC subjects HAS taken the exam. That’s how they ended up in the privileged position of teaching someone who thinks they’re the only one who’s ever been through it. Lucky them.


A young man posted a photo of himself smiling with his arm in a sling with the comment "How to get out of HSC 101: Break your wrist after the first exam ends by jumping off a moving car."

This post was followed by almost 3000 likes and comments that were mostly versions of the word "LEGEND!"

If this kid ends up building an app that makes $30 billion, I give up.


To anyone stupid enough to post the question "How can I cheat on the HSC?" with your real name on a public page, or provide a genuine answer to that question, there is little to no hope for you.


And now we get to the less amusing and more disturbing comments. Most of them aren’t fit to write and include horrible digs at other kids whose only crime appears to be that their memes weren’t funny enough.

One of the most disturbing posts was a screen shot of a direct message sent to Board of Studies director, Tom Alegounarias that reads: "You’re about to cop a f***‘in left right goodnight from about 70 000 angry c***s yeah the boyz." Again, cleverly posted from this kid’s personal Facebook page.

This kind of behaviour is so pathetic I don’t even know where to start. The idea that it’s applauded by other students in the comments and that people are jumping on the bandwagon by sending their own messages is even worse.

Is the HSC a punish? Yes. But from my experience the people who find it most difficult are often the ones who didn’t spend enough time preparing and are looking for an excuse to blame anyone but themselves for their own lack of discipline.

Unfortunately life isn’t all about posting on Snapchat and hanging out with your mates. If you want to do something with your life other than whinge about how everyone’s out to get you, you’re going to have to put in a little hard work.

The whole reason the HSC is difficult is because it’s the way we control competition for university placements.

Are there potential flaws in the system we’ve got? Of course. Are there other ways to do what you want if you don’t get the mark you hoped for? Absolutely.

But is there anything wrong with being asked to dedicate a couple of months of your life to preparing for an exam, regardless of what you decide to do with the mark at the end of it? No.

The idea that the HSC is some kind of conspiracy cooked up by the establishment to break defenceless teenagers and make their life a misery is ridiculous. Exams aren’t meant to be easy. If they were, there’d be no point.

While they’re frustrating and stressful, they prepare you for the harsh reality that if you want to achieve anything in life you need to work for it. And if you spend your entire existence whining on Facebook you’re not going to get very far.

With more exams to go might I advise students who are spending most of their time trolling the Board of Studies and whingeing about the injustice of it all that your time might be better spent focusing on a book with some actual pages in it.

Oh, and one more thing …. grow up.


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

17 October, 2016

Socialist stupidity never stops

THEY have names like Murray, Wood, Casey and Burke. A few know the national anthem, and a couple of their relatives fought at Gallipoli, but they’re not Australian.

Their ancestors were disgruntled bushmen, shearers and unionists, who left the sunburnt country to create a socialist colony in South America in 1893.

New Australia was supposed to be utopia — a place where no-one drank, no-one cheated, and all men were equal — but it took less than two years to fall to pieces.

"They’re not 100 per cent Paraguayan, and they're certainly not recognised by Australia any more," Dr Ben Stubbs told "There’s that impression that they’re stuck."

The colony was led by an Englishman with a drooping moustache called William Lane.

He was a charismatic and intelligent man who liked to press buttons.

Lane grew up in England with an alcoholic father, and even though he was a hard line teetotaller, he once famously posed as a drunk to get thrown into a jail, writing a newspaper report that caused national controversy.

He was also infatuated with socialist ideals, and when he sailed to Australia in 1885, he became heavily involved in the formation of the Australian Labor Federation.

However, according to biographer Gavin Souter, it wasn’t until thousands of Queensland shearers went on strike in 1891 that he seriously considered the idea of a socialist settlement.

The protests were swiftly crushed by government soldiers, and Lane decided there could be no real change without a complete restructure of society.

His radical notion split the Labor Federation. The majority went on to form the modern Australian Labor Party, currently led by Bill Shorten. Lane and his followers set sail for Paraguay.


The promised land was 187,000 hectares in the jungle, and the first contingent arrived in 1893.

At the time, Paraguay was trying to rebuild itself after the Triple Alliance War — which saw nearly all its men wiped out by the armies of Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay — and the government offered Lane a parcel of free land in a desperate attempt to repopulate.

The land was swampy and full of parasites, but they quickly set about clearing jungle, buying cattle, and establishing a township.

It didn’t take long for them to tire of Lane’s strict rules.

"He ordered his men to have nothing to do with native women and forbade them drowning their sorrows in alcohol," journalist Eric Campbell said in a 2006 Foreign Correspondent report.

According to Gavin Souter, Lane showed absolutely no compromise.

"He was autocratic, and under pressure his simplistic communism and mateship developed a non-denominational but distinctly religious tinge."


It was only a matter of months before the cracks appeared.

"What were they supposed to do? Now you dump a bunch of Scots, Irishmen, [and] Australians in the land of the sugar cane. Christ, I bet that they didn’t take off their shoes and they were already making moonshine," descendant Robin Wood told the ABC.

Much to Lane’s horror, the men were also extremely interested in the local women, and by the time the second contingent arrived in 1894, there was trouble in paradise.

The colony was barely self-sufficient. A number of settlers left to seek a better standard of living, others were expelled for breaches of conduct.

Eventually, Lane and a group of about 60 loyal followers left to start a fresh settlement called Cosme — but in 1899, he gave up altogether.

"You must call it more than a cooperative, it was purely communistic," said Dame Mary Gilmore, the famous poet who appears on Australia’s $10 note.

She lived in New Australia until 1899, and spoke about it in a 1959 television interview.

"I wouldn’t say it was a success, but I certainly don’t say it was a failure," she said.


No joking, even Australians would vote for a Donald Trump

Who supports him? That is the question so many Australians are asking about Donald Trump. Who supports a man who says what he says, and does what he does?

Only in America!

But wait. Imagine, if you dare, the prospect of Trump running for office right here in Australia. ­Imagine him, astride the Aust­ralian political landscape in that loose suit, and that ridiculous baseball cap, in all his golden-haired glory.

Would he have supporters?

Oh yes. Trump would absolutely have supporters in Australia, and they wouldn’t be cave-­dwellers and swamp-rompers and knuckle-draggers. They’d be ­people you know, and people you like, and people like you. They may even be you.

Because who are Trump’s supporters, really? Beyond the caricatures, they are mostly people who are tired of being told what to think and what to do. Also tired of being told how awful they are.

How ignorant, and racist, and sexist, and … yes, how deplorable they are.

To expand on that: the average Australian doesn’t think he’s ­racist, mainly because if he’s not a wog himself, then his parents are wogs, or else the neighbours are, or his boss at work, or his colleagues, yet he’s forever being told he’s a racist and, frankly, he’s put out by that.

The average Australian worries about radical Islam — he thinks you’d be crazy not to, given New York and Bali and Brussels and Paris and Nice — and he’s amazed to hear that makes him a bigot.

The average Australian sees somebody like Network Ten star Waleed Aly and thinks: that bloke seems to have done all right for himself. He’s got a column in the Fairfax newspapers, and his own TV show, and the Gold Logie. Then he gets told that Aly has been able to succeed only despite crippling racism, for which the average Australian is of course ­responsible.

This makes him feel aggrieved.

The average Australian sees himself as a generous individual, happy to put his hand in his pocket to pay for things such as Aboriginal health services — $1 billion a year and counting — and he’s astounded by the fact nothing ever improves, and that this is, of course, his fault. The average Australian couldn’t care less what anyone does in the privacy of their own bedroom — gay, straight, whatever — yet he’s apparently so ­vicious a homophobe that he can’t be trusted with a marriage equality plebiscite because he’s got such an ugly heart.

The average Australian hears this and he thinks: me? I’m just trying to get on with my life. And so when somebody like Pauline Hanson, with her quaver, or ­Trump, with his sniff, takes the stage, he thinks: these people make sense to me.
Trump supporters pray during a campaign rally in Ocala, Florida.

Trump supporters pray during a campaign rally in Ocala, Florida.

So, sure, Trump would have supporters. Would he get elected? That would depend on where he stood. To the Senate, almost certainly.


Lessons on ‘male privilege’ in $21.8m Victorian schools program

As usual, feminists think that demonizing men will help women.  It is more likely to make men angry and thus hurt women.  But logic and evidence doesn't come into it for feminists.  Only their hatreds matter to them

Victorian students will be taught about "male privilege" and how "masculinity" encourages "control and dominance" over women, as part of a mandatory new school subject aimed at combating family violence.

The Victorian government will push ahead with the rollout of its $21.8 million respectful relationships education program, despite claims the program fails to consider the multiple and complex drivers of family violence, ignores male victims and amounts to the brainwashing of children.

Evidence has emerged the program risks alienating men — by presenting all men as "bad" and all women as "victims" — a point highlighted in a report evaluating a pilot of the program in 19 schools last year.

As part of its broader campaign against family violence, the Andrews government has released a series of new resources aimed at kindergarten through to Year 12 classes designed to complement a "whole-of-school" approach to violence prevention.

The Resilience, Rights and Respectful Relationships learning materials aim to encourage gender equity in relationships and challenge gender stereotypes, which are key drivers of ­violence against women, it is claimed.

While the program refers to "gender-based violence", the overriding emphasis is on men being the perpetrators of violent acts. Proposed lessons will introduce students to the concept of "privilege", which is described as "automatic, unearned benefits bestowed upon dominant groups" based on "gender, ­sexuality, race or socio-economic class".

"Being born a male, you have advantages — such as being overly represented in the public sphere — and this will be true whether you personally approve or think you are entitled to this privilege," states guidance for the Years 7 and 8 curriculum," it says.

By Years 11 and 12, students are asked to examine their privilege and ways that "equity" can be encouraged, such as catch-up programs, special benefits or entitlements for those who are not considered privileged.

"An awareness of the existence of male privilege is critical in understanding why there is a need for feminist perspectives, and education on gender at all," the curriculum guide points out.

It also introduces students to the term "hegemonic masculinity", which is defined as the dominant form of masculinity in society that "requires boys and men to be heterosexual, tough, athletic and emotionless, and ­encourages the control and dominance of men over women".

Jeremy Sammut, a senior ­research fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies, criticised the program, calling it ­"taxpayer-funded indoctrination" of children.

"The idea behind this program — that all men are latent abusers by nature of the ‘discourse’ — is an idea that only cloistered feminist academics could love," Dr Sammut told The Australian. "A lot of evidence suggests that like child abuse, domestic ­violence is a byproduct of social dysfunction: welfare, drugs, family breakdown."

Kevin ­Donnelly, a senior research fellow at the Australian Catholic University, said the program was biased and lacked objectivity and balance. "There’s no doubt that women are overwhelmingly the victims of domestic violence and more needs to be done," Dr Donnelly said.

"The royal commission found that 25 per cent of victims of family violence are men and there’s little, if anything, in there that acknowledges the impact of violence on men and young boys."

Hannah Grant, a spokeswoman for Our Watch, which ­man­aged the pilot and carried out the evaluation, acknowledged there had been tension in some schools and statistics demonstrating the gendered nature of violence often prompted challenging ­discussion. "Feedback suggested that the whole-school briefing had a varied impact within and across schools," she said.

Education Minister James Merino dismissed concerns over the program. "We will not stand by while one woman in Australia is killed every week through domestic violence," Mr Merlino said.  "It’s ­astounding anyone could think teaching our kids about respect for other people is a bad thing."


I was wrong on NBN: It’s a turkey

Alan Kohler
Unhappily, Australia’s national broadband network is a white elephant and, to mix metaphors, an albatross around the nation’s neck.

I say this by way of mea culpa: your correspondent was an enthusiastic supporter of it in the early days. I thought the fibre-to-the-home plan was a piece of courageous and visionary policymaking all too rare in Australia, and booed what I thought was the Coalition’s penny-pinching, politically motivated decision to cut it back to fibre-to-the-node.

It’s now clear that my colleague Stephen Bartholomeusz was right all along: the thing is a dud, a donkey, a pasty pachyderm, and it would have been much worse if the original FTTH plan had gone ahead.

Bevan Slattery, a serial builder of fibre networks (PIPE Networks, which he sold to TPG Telecom, and now Superloop) threw a metaphorical glass of water in my face recently, when he said the NBN was "like watching a car crash in slow motion". "It’s going to be to the most expensive and least utilised broadband network in the developed world."

TPG’s share price crashed from $12 to $8.50 after its results came out last month, and has since kept falling to below $8, because it has now dawned on the market for the first time how much more the NBN will cost in wholesale access charges than Telstra’s ADSL.

The numbers are simple, and inescapable. The NBN will end up costing $50 billion, of which $30bn is government equity and $20bn will be debt, still to be raised.

After about 2020, it will have eight million customers. At the moment the average access charge is $43 per month (versus Telstra’s $15 a month for ADSL, which is why TPG’s share price crashed).

By 2020, that $43 can perhaps be got up to $50, so $600 a year. Total revenue, therefore, of $4.8bn.

Telstra has to be paid about $2bn a year in rent for its pipes and ducts, and the cost of running the NBN and maintaining the network is expected to be about $1bn a year. Assuming interest on the debt of $800m (at 4 per cent), that leaves a net profit of $1.2bn, or 4 per cent return on equity of $30bn.

To sell the network, as it intends, the government would probably need to write it down by $20bn so the ROE is 10 per cent.

And even then it will be a hard sell because of the high wholesale access price that would have to be charged, and the likely competition by then from 5G wireless.

Is Slattery right that it will be the most expensive network in the developed world?

Not even close. According to a cost-of-living database published by a website called Numbeo, the most expensive broadband is in Ethiopia — $US197.71 per month.

Australia’s monthly price on this list is $US52.85, and based on the today’s NBN access price of $43 ($US32.25), it could still be that price with the NBN as network wholesaler — as long as it is only earning an ROE of 4 per cent.

The problem comes if, or rather when, the NBN has to earn a commercial return. To make an ROE of 10 per cent, the NBN Co would need to charge $73 per month, or $US55.

A reseller margin of 40 per cent would take the Australian retail broadband price to $US77, which is more than Cuba’s $US72.50, but less than Bolivia’s $US81. And it’s an awful lot more than Britain’s $US25.95, where broadband network construction has been left to (the private) British Telecom.

That’s why TPG’s share price is down 30 per cent: it will be lucky to get a margin of 10 per cent, and even then it will be vulnerable to competition from wireless.

What’s to be done? Nothing. As an NBN insider told me with a rueful shrug this week: "We are where we are."

Sorry about that.


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

16 October, 2016

Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott says Donald Trump's policies are 'reasonable enough' - and calls his supporters 'decent people'

Former Australian Prime Minster Tony Abbott has jumped to the defence of Donald Trump's supporters and has even claimed his policies are 'reasonable'.

U.S. Republican candidate Donald Trump has been feeling the heat of the presidential race after his lewd remarks - from a decade ago - caught him in hot water and now finds himself trailing Democratic leader Hillary Clinton by double-digits.

But the former Australian PM is a self-confessed admirer of America and backs most of Mr Trump's policies and his supporters, according to the SMH.

'Many of the Trump positions are reasonable enough,' he said.

Mr Trump's supporters were maligned by Hillary Clinton, when she called half of them a 'basket of deplorables' and were labelled 'racict, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic'.

Mrs Clinton was forced to apologise and Mr Abbott jumped to the defence of the supporters claiming they are citizens who yearn for change and are following a leader they believe can make this happen.

'The point that I want to make is that the vast majority of Trump supporters are not deplorables, they really aren't,' he said.

'They are decent people who want to see change inside their country and that's fair enough.'

However, Mr Abbott condemned Mr Trump's remarks in a recent video that caught him referring to women in an appalling demeanor, back in 2005.

He described the tapes as, 'gross beyond belief' and 'indefensible', on Sky News this past Wednesday night.

Mr Abbott's defence of Mr Trump comes in sharp contrast to Labor leader Bill Shorten who broke the political mold to lambaste the potential U.S. president.

Mr Shorten launched a scathing attack on Mr Trump claiming he was 'entirely unsuitable' to lead the U.S. and even called his positions as 'barking mad'.


Competitive forces in school education
Jennifer Buckingham

Funding changes are not the only threats non-government schools will need to have on their radars in the next decade. School enrolment data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that after four decades of relentless growth, the proportion of students in independent schools has slowed substantially.

The number of students in the independent sector has continued to increase, but the other sectors have begun to regain some territory. The patterns are different for primary and secondary schools. At primary level, government schools have had an uptick in enrolment share for the first time since the 1970s, whereas secondary school growth has been greatest in Catholic schools.

This is arguably a good thing. For competition to be beneficial -- either by raising quality or lowering costs, or both -- it has to work in both directions. Growth in one sector alone over a long period of time creates stagnation; the waning sector is not responding effectively, and the prevailing sector becomes complacent.

Independent schools have been able to maintain their respected and valued position as educational leaders through a combination of strong and visible achievement and, for some schools, a large element of prestige.

But parents are becoming savvy consumers of education. Thanks to the My School website and various other sources of information about comparing schools, parents are able to weigh up school performance in NAPLAN versus the cost commitment of school fees. Of course, NAPLAN is not the only measure of school value, but it provides a hitherto missing piece of the puzzle.

There are also other potential disruptors. The success of free schools and academies in England is arousing the interest of policy makers, and the example of New Zealand's Partnership Schools has been instructive. Free schools and Partnership Schools were inspired by charter schools in the US. They are privately-operated schools that are fully publicly funded. They cannot charge fees and are usually not selective. This combination of independent management (with a high level of accountability) and the absence of fees will be an appealing prospect for many parents.

A healthy and high quality non-government school sector is an important part of the education landscape. But it should not be assumed that the circumstances of the past will be continued into the future.


It’s time for me to face the truth – I am no longer a feminist

Trisha Jha

This is a big deal for someone who was heavily involved with the Women’s Collective at university and helped to organise SlutWalk Canberra in 2011 (though I attended armed with a John Stuart Mill-inspired placard).

It’s been a long time coming – no-platforming, abuse of safe spaces, trigger warnings, microaggressions, you name it. Ideas that were once useful in improving understanding of gender and feminist issues are now instead being used to shut down discussion, rather than enlighten it.

So it’s with dismay rather than despair I read this morning’s Australian, which broke the news that Victorian high school students are going to learn about male privilege:

Victorian students will be taught about "male privilege" and how "masculinity" encourages "control and dominance" over women, as part of a mandatory new school subject aimed at combating family violence…

While the program refers to "gender-based violence", the overriding emphasis is on men being the perpetrators of violent acts. Proposed lessons will introduce students to the concept of "privilege", which is described as "automatic, unearned benefits bestowed upon dominant groups" based on "gender, sexuality, race or socio-economic class".

"Being born a male, you have advantages — such as being overly represented in the public sphere — and this will be true whether you personally approve or think you are entitled to this privilege," states guidance for the Years 7 and 8 curriculum," it says.

By Years 11 and 12, students are asked to examine their privilege and ways that "equity" can be encouraged, such as catch-up programs, special benefits or entitlements for those who are not considered privileged.

As my colleague Dr Jeremy Sammut pointed out, this is indeed an example of "taxpayer-funded indoctrination" that ignores the complex social problems that inform domestic and family violence.

More than that, it’s truly sad that a program originally labelled "Respectful Relationships", instead inspires alienation, and peddles guilt and shame, when put in practice.

Rather than telling boys and girls as young as 12 that boys are "privileged" and girls are "victims", would it not be better to teach them how to have a healthy, independent sense of self that is more resistant to peer pressure and social messaging about what it is to be an "ideal" man or woman?

But this is more just a wasted opportunity – there is potential for real harm. A focus on ‘control and dominance’ and ‘hegemonic masculinity’, so distant from the lived experience of teenagers who have grown up around family violence where abusive behaviours are seen as the norm, is more likely to result in a dismissive attitude to the whole idea. For students whose understanding of communication and non-violent conflict resolution within intimate relationships is imperfect, this simply means they are more likely to grow into adults who struggle — and perhaps even resort to abusive behaviours themselves.

If the goal is to stop domestic violence at the start, as those federally-funded ads tell us, then it’s difficult to imagine a worse way to do it than this – cooked up by academic experts on gender theory, dished out by teachers who may not know how to effectively communicate nuance, and served to teens at a key stage in their maturation into adults.


ABC's Chris Uhlmann says 'vigilante mob' abuses him online over alleged rightwing bias

After row over coverage of South Australia power failure, political editor says he stands up to a ‘bag of intolerant bastards’ that criticise him from both sides

The ABC’s political editor Chris Uhlmann said there was an online "vigilante mob" who loved to attack him for what they perceive as his rightwing bias.

"Quite frankly, there is now this vigilante mob that exists online, that basically congregates the minute it smells blood," Uhlmann told Guardian Australia after he was criticised for linking the South Australian blackout to the state’s use of renewable energy.

"For whatever reason, years ago, they decided that in their estimation I was too conservative to be on the ABC. Isn’t that the bottom line, that these people think that?"

Conversely, the former 7.30 and AM host said, he was subjected to jibes from another group who assume he is a Labor supporter because he is married to Gai Brodtmann, Labor MP for the seat of Canberra.

Uhlmann said the two groups "don’t read each other" so criticise him from a different perspective: "There [is] a group of people who think that my marriage proves that I’m a Labor party supporter."

Uhlmann, 56, said his reputation as a rightwinger at the ABC had sprung from his earlier career, first as a seminarian and then as a political candidate and staffer with a conservative independent in the ACT legislative assembly.

Uhlmann stood unsuccessfully for a seat in 1998 on a ticket with Christian independent Paul Osborne, and then worked as his senior adviser. Later that year he joined the ABC in Canberra.

But that same experience, he said, has also informed his response to his critics.

"It’s like living in the 12th century and saying, ‘Look, I believe in God, I read the Bible, I go to church. I just have a few issues with the bishops and the inquisitors,’ " he said.

"Having come from the church I recognise these people. This is the same bag of intolerant bastards that I used to deal with when I was in the seminary. It’s that ‘outside the church there is no salvation’ [attitude]."

Separately he said the critics were "absolutely not" getting him down and he was intent on taking them on.

"It’s [like] the kid who grew up having to change school every two years and was bullied in the playground and was a coward for his whole life, basically," he said. "Who got to a point in secondary school where he thought, you know what? They might beat the shit out of me but I’m going to fight.

"They did beat the shit out of me but I felt a whole lot better about myself."

In an interview with the Canberra Times in 2014, Uhlmann described himself as "more conservative" than his wife and said they disagreed on the repeal of section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act: "It’s an insidious, creeping assault on free speech."

He said online critics read his Wikipedia profile and assumed he is on the conservative side. "Isn’t that saying that there is an expectation in the left that everybody in the ABC actually is from the left?

"I, once upon a time, considered myself middle of the road ... My father started out as a communist, ended up as dyed-in-the-wool Labor and died basically by returning to being a communist. That was the family that I came out of.

"When I was growing up all the Catholics I knew were Labor party voters … and I didn’t think that people were anything but Catholic or voted Labor. And I am married to a Labor member of parliament."

Uhlmann said critics jumped on an interview he conducted with the then Greens leader, Bob Brown, in 2011 on 7.30. A complainant to the media watchdog, the Australian Communication and Media Authority (Acma) said he had "aggressively" interrupted Brown.

The ABC stood by the interview and Acma later cleared it of bias.

Uhlmann: "I asked him several times in an interview on 7.30 how he would replace the $50bn in lost revenue. People got very angry about that. That was a complaint that went all the way … I think we got 500 complaints after that."

The ABC has received 180 complaints about the coverage of the South Australian blackout, including the analysis by Uhlmann on News 24 and online which some viewers thought was too quick to blame renewable energy in the states.


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

14 October, 2016

Multicultural Melbourne:  A city to avoid

This is the moment a brave shopkeeper locked himself inside his store with an alleged gangland thief and fought him for ten minutes.

The dramatic footage, captured in Melbourne yesterday, shows the shop owner and suspect exchanging blows as police try to make their way inside.

Eventually the officers get into the store and are forced to use capsicum spray to subdue the struggling man before handcuffing him.

Police told Daily Mail Australia they were called to the store, on Paisley Street, at around 2.45pm to reports that two men had entered and starting taking items.

Officers said the shopkeeper had detained one man, a 24-year-old from Shepparton, who was arrested at the scene.

The second man, a 29-year-old from Footscray, managed to get away but returned to the scene a short time later armed with a knife.

Police say he fled the scene a second time before being arrested a short distance away. Both remain in custody and are assisting police with inquiries.

According to 7 News, which obtained the footage, both men were of African descent and believed to be part of a gang operating in the area.

Video of the incident shows the shopkeeper exchanging vicious blows inside the store before struggling on the floor.

Eventually two officers get inside where they are forced to use batons to get the man in handcuffs before he is pictured on the pavement outside.

Witnesses said a gang of African men were terrorising the street before the robbery, in an area where African Apex are known to operate

Melbourne's streets have been plagued in recent months by the African Apex gang, a group of largely young males of Sudanese refugee background who have left some residents terrified.

The group are believed to have been behind multiple robberies, carjackings, and violent assaults around the city, and were responsible for the Moomba riots.

It is not known if the two men filmed in the store yesterday were part of that group.

News 7 reports that at least one man was arrested following the incident. Daily Mail Australia contacted Victoria Police, but had not received a response by the time of publication.


Power fully restored across South Australia -- after two weeks

So who in their right mind would want to set up a business there? Greenie craziness will have done huge damage to employment in S.A.

Big industrial companies in South Australia finally have full loads of electricity two weeks after extreme weather damaged transmission towers and plunged the state into darkness.

ElectraNet, which provides electricity infrastructure across Australia, has announced the third damaged circuit was back in action ahead of schedule and was energised, returning full access to the transmission network.

The company has built five temporary transmission towers near Melrose in regional South Australia after three transmission lines and 22 towers were damaged in the September 28 storm.

The damage led to a statewide blackout and several regional communities were left without power for days.

ElectraNet has previously described the damage to the lattice steel towers, which were made in the 1980s, as unprecedented.

ElectraNet chief executive Steve Masters said in a statement that "full access to the South Australian transmission network has been restored to all our customers across the state".

"This is a significant achievement that will allow work to begin on permanent repairs," Mr Masters said.

"While the design and scheduling details are still being confirmed, we expect permanent towers to be in place over the coming months, provided weather conditions remain stable."

South Australian Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis tweeted that large companies like BHP would have a "full load" with the system "effectively" back on.

Large industrial sites in the days since the storm had access to some power but not normal loads.

Power was urgently restored to Whyalla's Arrium steelworks which minimised its loss to about $10 million, while the furnace at Port Pirie's Nyrstar smelter was damaged during the outage which is expected to cost the company millions of dollars.


Bankstown terror raid: Sydney cops find Muslim teens wielding bayonets

Two teenage Muslim extremists arrested in southwest Sydney yesterday were members of Islamic State and were moments from carrying out an attack, police will allege.

The pair of 16 year-olds, one the stepson of one of Australia’s most notorious convicted terrorists, were arrested in a Bankstown alleyway wielding "bayonet-type" knives yesterday afternoon.

Early this morning, they were charged with acting in preparation for a terrorist attack, and being a member of a terrorist organisation. The first charge carries a life sentence, while the second carries 10 years imprisonment.

"We will be alleging that two 16 year-old boys went to a gun shop in Bankstown and purchased two knives," NSW Police Force acting commissioner Cath Burn said this morning.

"They’ve then caught a bus to that location in Bankstown where they were arrested and those items seized."

"This is the 11th imminent attack we have prevented in this country, there have been four in NSW."

Ms Burn, also the NSW Police Force’s counter terrorism chief, said three houses and a prayer hall were searched by police in their investigation.

"We did prevent what we suspect was going to be an attack," she said. "In respect of these two, I think that they’ve probably had some degrees or radicalisation from potentially radicalised peers. "This goes to the hub of what were dealing with. We have a number of paths people follow to radicalisation. Whether it’s they have radicalised peers, it’s online , its grooming or whatever, this is what we’re facing.

While the boys had been known to police for a while, Ms Burn said the time between radicalisation and carrying out an attack is short.

"We have been aware of them, and we have been concerned about them," she said. "What we’re seeing is that the time between the radicalisation and when they decide to do an action happens very very quickly."

Australian Federal Police deputy commissioner Michael Phelan said it’s more difficult to track teenage terrorists.

"The activity accelerated quickly," he said, "and had we not been in the right place at the right time, and that’s based on good credible intelligence, then certainly somebody could be without their life. That’s the problem we face every day."

In what has become an all-too-familiar scene in the long battle against homegrown extrem­ism, the two 16-year-olds were ­arrested in the southwest Sydney suburb of Bankstown by heavily armed counter-terrorism police.

It is understood the boys were in possession of bayonets or hunting knives and carrying a note written in Arabic that indic­ated an allegiance with Islamic State.

Police are investigating whether the two were about to carry out an attack like the crude, grisly terror assaults that have ­become a hallmark of Islamic State-inspired beheadings and stabbings.

Counter-terrorism sources said both boys were under intense police surveillance at the time of their arrests.

It is understood one of the boys first came to the attention of police two years ago, after he refused to stand for the Australian national anthem when it was played at East Hills High School, then his school.

The school was also defaced with extremist graffiti, including the slogan "ISIS R coming".

At some point yesterday, surveillance officers trailing the pair noticed they had armed themselves with what were believed to be bayonets or hunting knives.

Police believe they either bought or stole the weapons from a nearby army disposal store ­earlier in the day.

Fearing a terrorist attack was imminent, the officers made plans to arrest the pair without putting members of the public, or themselves, at undue risk.

Within two hours of sighting the knives, police pounced, arrest­ing the two in a laneway outside a Muslim prayer hall.

"He was just talking about some sharia law and some terrorism act like, and some weapons," witness Syed Irfan Ali told Seven News. "He spoke about some weapons but I’m not sure what weapons ... I was a bit ­panicked and a bit scared."

The boys were being interviewed by police at Bankstown Local Area Command last night. As a relative left the station last night, she told the Nine Network the family believed the boys had intended "going fishing".

Since the rise of Islamic State, police have become the target of choice for Muslim extremists, a point brought home to Austral­ians in October last year when Farhad Jabar, 15, shot and killed NSW police employee Curtis Cheng outside police headquarters in Parramatta.

Both teenagers arrested yesterday were well known to counter-terrorism authorities due to their radical views and their ­associations within Sydney’s small network of Muslim extremists. One of the boys was the stepson of a recently convicted terrorist.

The man, serving a prison ­sentence for terror offences, was notorious because of the influence he wielded over a network of ­impressionable young extremists, most of whom are behind bars.

A Bankstown local, who ­declined to be named, said he was not surprised two teenagers were arrested with knives near the ­discreetly located Bankstown Musalla. Adnum Lane, the scene of the arrest, was cordoned off by police yesterday.

"Things have changed a lot here in the last 10 years. They’ve changed a lot," the man said.

The man said it was only a few weeks ago, after Friday afternoon prayers, that a skinny teenager with a meagre beard in traditional Islamic dress approached him — accompanied by a man in his 20s — while he was having a smoke.

"He told me cigarettes and smoking were haram (forbidden)," the practising Muslim said.

"I told him there are people killing women and children in the name of Islam, and to worry about things like that, not me smoking. He could have been one of those boys. I see the young boys around all the time, coming from that mosque."

The man told The Australian that young men often wandered the area, close to shops, a library, and Paul Keating Park, before and after prayers. The man said the teenager became aggressive when he told the boy to focus on atroc­ities committed by Islamic State.

"He told me Daesh was doing jihad," he said. "This is not Islam. They need education. This is ­ignorance."

Neither of the boys had been charged last night. However, detectives executed a number of search warrants and charges are expected.


Huge potential oilfield will not now be exploited

So now Australia will have to continue as an importer.  Despite denials, the decision was undoutedly influenced by the prospect of a big battle with the Greens

The minister for resources, Matt Canavan, says he is "bitterly disappointed" by BP’s decision to not proceed with its controversial plan to drill for oil in the commonwealth marine reserve in the Great Australian Bight.

He said the Turnbull government was still confident the region could be developed, and he would be speaking to other oil and gas companies in coming days.

He criticised environmental groups that have campaigned against BP’s project, saying their celebratory response to the decision showed the "ugly side of green activism".

"We think up to 100 workers will be impacted, and those workers I’m sure went to bed last night a little restless ... but we had other people in this country popping the champagne corks and celebrating that fact," Canavan said on Wednesday.

BP announced on Tuesday it would scrap its $1.4bn drilling program in the Great Australian Bight, off South Australia, citing commercial reasons.

The announcement was applauded by green groups, coming after repeated requests for more information from the Australian regulator, the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority, and mounting public concerns about the impact the drilling and any potential oil spill would have on the pristine waters of the bight.

BP had previously boasted the bight had the potential to be as big an oilfield as the Gulf of Mexico, where there are now more than 4,000 oil rigs.

Karoon Gas Australia, which announced its plans to explore for oil last week, has said the bight holds "the world’s last underexplored Cretaceous basins".

Canavan told ABC radio on Wednesday he was bitterly disappointed . He said BP had been allowed to explore for oil in the marine reserve after making almost half a billion dollars worth of commitments to do work in the area, and now it was walking away from them.

He said he now expected BP to "make good" some of those commitments in other ways. "I’ll be very interested in discussing with them in coming days what those plans might be," he said.

He criticised environmental groups that campaigned against the project. "What does frustrate me is sometimes the workers in these industries, who tend to be fairly quiet, reticent types of people, aren’t the ones on the radio or in the media telling their stories," he said.

The government still believed the region could produce large amounts of oil and gas, he said. "Obviously there is still a lot of uncertainty about the area, but we remain confident of its long-term prospectivity and I’ll be talking to some of those other companies about their plans in coming days," he said.

Canavan was also asked about the effectiveness of the petroleum resource rent tax, after reports that just 5% of oil and gas projects operating in Australia are paying the tax.

The Tax Justice Network has warned that Australia is set to blow another resources boom, forgoing billions of dollars in potential tax revenue, because the PRRT is failing to collect adequate revenue from the explosion in liquefied natural gas exports.

"[The PRRT] is a profits-based tax and what happens, of course, is that resource developments take large upfront costs, particularly some of these LNG developments … that take some time before profits are realised," Canavan said.

"This tax has delivered billions to the federal government over a number of decades, and it has underpinned the development of a massive industry in this country.

"So we’ve got to be very careful about making any changes, particularly to people that make massive investments. We’ve got to attract this investment to our country."


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

13 October, 2016

Australian Christian Lobby thanks 'helpful' Bill Shorten for same-sex marriage plebiscite veto

The Australian Christian Lobby has thanked Opposition Leader Bill Shorten for playing a "helpful" and "important" role in its plan to stop same-sex marriage, after Labor committed to blocking the Turnbull government's proposed plebiscite.

ACL managing director Lyle Shelton, one of the highest-profile campaigners against marriage equality, enthused that Mr Shorten had delivered "the gift of time" to same-sex marriage opponents by torpedoing the planned February 11 public vote.

A day after Labor decided to block the same sex marriage plebiscite, debate is still raging over how to achieve marriage equality.

"We have a plan to win the marriage debate and yesterday Bill Shorten played an important and helpful role in that plan," he wrote in an email to supporters.

"We now have more time to continue building our campaign, more time to build our coalition, and more time to win the hearts and minds of millions of Australians.

"Make no mistake, Bill Shorten is playing politics with this issue. Yet he has unwittingly given our side of the debate the gift of time."

Mr Shelton called on ACL supporters to open their wallets and donate to "ensure we make the most of the time Bill Shorten has given us". It echoes the view of conservative Coalition MPs such as George Christensen, who previously said that if Labor blocked the plebiscite, "that suits me, it will suit a lot of other conservatives as well".

Publicly, the ACL was a vocal supporter of the plebiscite, and on Tuesday issued a press release declaring its disappointment at Labor's decision to "shut out" Australians from having their say on the issue, labelling the decision "perplexing".

Labor finally made an official call on the plebiscite at a caucus meeting on Tuesday, agreeing unanimously to block the proposal in the Senate, ensuring it will not proceed. Mr Shorten said the plebiscite was expensive, non-binding and would subject gay and lesbian people to a hateful campaign by opponents.

He rejected the argument that Labor has effectively killed off marriage equality for the duration of this Parliament, remaining "optimistic" that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will somehow be moved to allow a free vote despite the vehement opposition of conservative backbenchers.

"I am optimistic when you ask about plan B," Mr Shorten said on Wednesday. "The national mood will not be deterred because Mr Turnbull is scared of the right wing of the Liberal Party.

"The national mood is for marriage equality. We will get this parliamentary vote and we will have marriage equality and we will keep working at it."

But one of the roadblocks to that is the Coalition agreement between Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the National Party prescribing a plebiscite rather than a free vote, and Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce showed no sign of backing down on that pact.

Mr Joyce ruled out a free vote on same-sex marriage in this Parliament during an ABC radio interview on Tuesday night. But he also said threats by Nationals MP Andrew Broad to bring down the government and sit on the crossbench if there was a free vote were "obviously not helpful ... you can't really operate like that".

Labor senator Penny Wong said the community would "keep the pressure on" the Turnbull government to change its tune, and called on Liberal MPs who support same-sex marriage to break from the party's position.

But there is little sign of that taking place, with even veteran Coalition gay rights advocate Warren Entsch vowing not to cross the floor or push the issue any further if the plebiscite fails. "I'm done if they vote it down," he told Fairfax Media.


How hardcore Greens trumped unions on ­renewable energy target

Federal Labor’s 50 per cent ­renewable target was forced on to the party’s policy agenda by a hardcore environment offshoot against strong objections from the party’s traditional union base.

The target was hatched in a room above a pub in central ­Melbourne in late 2014 by a self-declared "scraggly bunch" of ­environmentalists operating within the party.

A re-energised Labor Environment Action Network went on to mount an aggressive grassroots campaign across the ALP branch network that conquered party heavyweights despite strong objections from the CFMEU.

Bill Shorten adopted LEAN’s 50 per cent renewables target by 2030 shortly before the ALP’s ­national conference last year, ­admitting he had no idea how the party would get there.

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg yesterday accused the ­Opposition Leader in parliament of a "reckless pursuit" of an "ideological approach" to the target without thinking through the consequences.

Citing a Bloomberg New ­Energy Finance Report, Mr Frydenberg warned the Labor policy would cost $48 billion and took aim at Mr Shorten for refusing to explain how to achieve the 50 per cent target until October next year. "We are told that will ­require 10,000 turbines. Where are they going to be built?" Mr Frydenberg said. "If you had a $48bn program, you’d expect you’d have a bit of detail to show."

In response, Labor sought to pressure Malcolm Turnbull over his plans to support renewable energy projects beyond 2020, with opposition energy spokesman Mark Butler saying the government had no policy and was wedded to coal as Australia’s "only energy future".

LEAN organiser Felicity Wade said yesterday the statewide electricity blackout in South Australia had pushed debate past renewable energy targets to the need for greater market intervention. "Of course there is a huge debate in South Australia," Ms Wade said.

"Targets are all very well but that is not where the debate is at. We need to reform the national electricity market and start a discussion on whether we can expect the market to do it."

LEAN was set up in 2004 as a cross-factional environment ­organisation within the ALP by Jenny McAllister, who is now a senator, and former NSW premier Kristina Keneally.

The organisation welcomes ALP members but not members of any other party and has heavyweight patronage including federal environment spokesman Tony Burke in NSW.

Ms Wade, a former Wilderness Society campaigner and partner to Wilderness Society ­national campaign director Lyndon Schneiders, said LEAN had been revived just before the 2013 Labor election loss out of concern about what would happen to climate change policy in light of the disastrous carbon tax experience.

Ms Wade said senior figures in the ALP had warned her that if she cared about climate change she should back off and leave the issue until Labor was back in government.

She said the 50 per cent renewables policy was developed by a "scraggly bunch" who believed Labor needed to make climate change a conviction issue, not a tactical one.

For policy, the group took its lead from an international report by ClimateWorks, which set out a road map for decarbonisation and identified ways to get to net zero emissions by 2050.

"It was a light-bulb moment because here was a piece-by-piece plan," Ms Wade said.

"That report had 50 per cent renewables by 2030 to net zero by 2050. We stole that target, which at the time was regarded as huge."

Ms Wade said that while the climate change response was being set up as an environmental agenda it crossed into key Labor concerns of jobs, growth and ­security. She said there had been a "lack of recognition in the party" that "if we retool the energy sector there are major ideological ­issues".

"When we designed the last energy system it was done by the state and planned," she said.

"With South Australia we can see how hard it is to redesign the system using market incentives. Labor should be having these discussions. Are we going to import every last bit of plant or are we going to be active in saying we could have a piece of that?

"I am not saying go back to 1950s protectionism but there are huge public policy issues.

"It is in the ALP’s interest to have future-facing policies and natural heritage considerations in deciding the energy transition."

LEAN started its renewables push with a simple PowerPoint presentation, a voiceover and brochure, and hit the road to ­explain it branch to branch. By the time it got to the ALP national conference, LEAN had 370 branches supporting the target.

"We had a clear mandate from members," Ms Wade said. "But weeks out from the conference the CFMEU wrote to the ALP leadership saying they did not like the policy. We thought it was ­derailed but we held our ground."

The target was accepted as ALP policy and taken to the federal election. It has since been adopted by the Queensland Labor government. Mr Shorten has described the target as an ­ambition. "There’s a long way to go in terms of working through all the issues and details," Mr Shorten said last year.

In the party’s Climate Change Action Plan during the election campaign, Mr Shorten said Labor would "announce the proposed design details by 1 October 2017 with legislation for post-2020 ­arrangements to be introduced to parliament in late 2017".


Is It Legal To Smack Your Child?

It’s a controversial topic but there are many parents out there who prefer to give their kids a smack as a way to discipline them. Some parents find hitting a child, no matter how softly you do it, absolutely deplorable. But is smacking your kids even legal? We have the answer.

Wooden spoons were once the weapon of choice for mothers who wanted to physically punish their children. My mum was a seamstress and preferred a long, thick wooden ruler used to measure fabric. These days, time-poor parents use a quick smack, often delivered in the heat of the moment when their children are behaving badly.

In a poll of nearly 1400 Australians by News Corp, 75.7% considered it acceptable to smack children as a way to deter them from misbehaving. Meanwhile 39.5% said they would be furious if they see their friends smack their kids.

It’s definitely a controversial topic but according to the law, it’s not illegal to smack your children in Australia. However, there are conditions. According to the Australian Institute Of Family Studies:

    "In some jurisdictions a parent’s right to use corporal punishment is provided for in legislation (e.g., New South Wales), while in others it is provided for by the common law ("judge-made law") (e.g., Victoria). All Australian states and territories condone (in principle) the use of force by a parent, by way of correction, towards a child."

For example, in NSW, prior to 2002 it was up to judges to decide what kind of physical punishment was acceptable. Since the state introduced the Crimes Amendment (Child Protection Physical Measures Act, there is now clarification on what kind of physical punishment is permissible on a child.

According to the amendment, it’s okay to use physical force on a child provided that it "was reasonable having regard to the age, health, maturity or other characteristics of the child, the nature of the alleged misbehaviour or other circumstances". Also, you can’t hit them above the neck or "any other part of the body of the child in such a way as to be likely to cause harm to the child that lasts for more than a short period".


Not spending, investing

Michael Potter

Investment is the government buzzword. Governments no longer spend money, they invest. Invest in schools education, emergency workers, nurses and doctors. Invest for a better future, invest in jobs, invest in growth.

This farrago of spin omits discussion of the most important type of investment: business investment, even though private capital is a cornerstone of our economy. We won't have any money to pay for anything else if businesses don't acquire new capital.

But this is what is at risk today. Business is cutting back on investment at an alarming rate. Non-mining investment is not recovering as the mining boom ends, and (unsurprisingly) mining investment is falling dramatically; so total investment is set to be at recessionary levels in a couple of years if nothing is done.

And something can be done: cut the tax on investment, through company tax, from 30% to 25%. Treasury forecasts the tax cut will result in investment increasing by 2-3%, and this is probably an underestimate, as detailed in the research report Fix it or Fail: Why we must cut company tax now, released this week.

It details how Australia's company tax system is uncompetitive compared to other developed countries, and even more with the rest of the globe. This is potentially one reason investment is weakening quickly.

The report also explains how the tax cut is expected to provide a substantial boost to wages, national income and productivity, which are all growing at historically slow rates. And despite arguments to the contrary, the policy is easily affordable -- it can easily be funded by the tax measures included in the 2016-17 budget. What is not affordable is doing nothing, which will put Australia at risk of failure.


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

12 October, 2016

Australia’s foreign debt levels rated ‘extreme’ by Standard & Poor’s

And the Labor party, which is responsible for the debt, resolutely obstructs all efforts by the Turnbull government to get the debt down.  So taxpayer funds that could have gone to desperately needed road building will continue to go into the coffers of the banks as interest payments

Australia’s foreign debt has hit "extreme" levels that match the worst in the world, according to a startling warning from ratings agency Standard & Poor’s that will intensify the dispute over budget repair after years of political deadlock on major savings.

The global S&P executive who signs off on Australia’s ­credit rating has rung the alarm over the nation’s debt, suggesting the Turnbull government will need to find substantial new savings to avoid losing its ­coveted AAA rating.

As federal parliament ­resumes today to debate key budget bills this week, the ratings agency’s outlook ramps up the pressure on all sides of politics to avert a credit downgrade that would increase lending costs across the economy.

John Chambers, the chairman of the firm’s sovereign ­ratings committee, suggested the federal government risked losing the AAA rating if it continued to miss its fiscal targets.

"The government will point out that its fiscal position is strong — but it’s not quite as strong as it used to be," Mr Chambers told The Australian, just days after he heard Scott Morrison emphasise Australia’s economic strength at a gathering in New York.

"And you don’t want to have your fiscal situation adding fuel to the fire on the external side.

"Australia would have one of the weakest external positions of the 130 sovereigns that we rate."

The nation’s net foreign debt liabilities rose from $976 billion to $1.045 trillion over the 12 months to June — including federal, state and private sector borrowings — while net foreign equity fell from $70.1bn to $8.6bn over the same period, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The comments are a sign of deepening concern about Australia’s economic fortunes after similar warnings from Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investor Ser­vices at a time when economic leaders are urging stronger ­action to head off a crisis.

Former Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens said the ­nation faced a "moment of crisis" if it did not act as soon as possible to reduce budget deficits, while former Treasury secretary Ken Henry said the "appeals to populism" in Canberra were undermining responsible fiscal policy.

Mr Chambers made it clear a downgrade to Australia’s credit rating was an option in the wake of S&P’s decision in July to put Australia on "negative outlook" in part because of concerns that the new Senate would make budget ­repair hard to achieve. "You’ve already hit an extreme measure of (foreign liabilities) so in terms of a trigger (for a downgrade), it would be more on the fiscal side," he said.

Mr Chambers said the rapid ­increase in Australian house ­prices and property investment was similar, though not as ­pronounced as the surge in unproductive property investment in Spain more than a decade ago, ­before that nation’s credit ­troubles.

"For Spain to have patted itself on the back before the crisis is a ­little bit missing the point," he said, noting that Spain’s public debt surged from about zero to 80 per cent of economic output in the wake of the global financial crisis.

Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten return to parliament today with no sign of common ground on savings, as Labor holds out against unlegislated savings worth about $8bn over four years and more than $30bn over the decade ahead under forecasts from the Parliamentary Budget Office. Finance Minister Mathias Cormann stuck to the government’s plans yesterday despite Labor calls for an end to "zombie measures" that appear unlikely to be passed through a Senate where Labor, the Greens and the crossbenchers can join forces to veto any bill.

"If you look at what has happened over the last two or three years, a whole series of savings measures that Labor initially ­opposed — and opposed for quite an extended period of time — (Labor) eventually ended up supporting and voting in favour of," Senator Cormann said.

He defended the Coalition’s record on annual government payments, which have swelled from $406bn to $445bn since the 2013 election, by insisting the outlays would fall as a proportion of gross domestic product.

"We have been able to stabilise spending as a share of GDP," he told Sky News. "Over the forward estimates, we are projected to bring spending as a share of GDP down to 25.2 per cent."

Yet the government has missed its targets in the past, with its first budget holding out the prospect of driving spending down to 24.7 per cent of GDP in 2016-17 while the most recent budget showed it would be 25.8 per cent instead. The change was largely the result of lower economic growth than expected.

In another sign of this challenge, the final budget outcome ­issued last month showed a deficit of $39.6bn in the year to June compared with an estimate of $12.2bn for the same period in the first budget after Tony Abbott led the Coalition to power.

Labor’s election platform proposed to deepen deficits by about $16bn over the coming four years.

This week’s agenda includes a budget reform backed by both major parties — a small tax cut for workers who earn more than $80,000 a year — but the political fight continues over the enterprise tax cuts Mr Turnbull put at the heart of his election campaign.

The company tax cuts are forecast to sacrifice $48.7bn in revenue over 10 years.

Labor Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen said the government was trying to avoid responsibility for the worsening budget position: "The time for excuses is over."

Mr Chambers spoke to The Australian on the sidelines of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund meetings in Washington DC.


Greenie pride: Airlift of generators rejected by South Australia

The Leftist government refuses to believe that their reliance on windmills is misplaced.  And the thought of relying on DIESEL generators for anything is anathema to them.  Report below dated Oct. 11

The Turnbull government has prepared an emergency plan to fly generators into South Australia to help major employers keep operating after the statewide blackout, mapping out a back-up plan as key industries wait for full power to be restored.

The Royal Australian Air Force is ready to fly the generators into key industrial areas such as Port Augusta or to major manufacturers like troubled steel­maker Arrium.

The "standing offer" remains on the table after being drafted two days after the September 28 blackout, but the South Aus­tralian government has decided it can get its electricity grid up and running without federal help.

The federal authorities prepared the plan behind the scenes on the Friday following the Wednesday outage after officials identified four large generators in Tasmania that could be flown to Port Augusta by RAAF transport planes at short notice.

Amid a furious row over how the state grid went black, the federal proposal highlights the divide between Canberra and South Australia and raises questions about the judgments made on whether to use the back-up power at a time when the state grid is yet to return to full capacity.

Arrium administrator Mark Mentha confirmed to The Aus­tralian that the offer was put to the company more than a week ago as an emergency measure to prevent the company’s furnaces "going cold" and wrecking its steel.

The plan involves four mobile generators capable of supplying a combined 100 megawatts of electricity, enough to run all of Arrium’s steel and mining operations and provide power for others.

The generators were sent to Tasmania earlier this year to help Hydro Tasmania provide power after the failure of the Basslink connection to Victoria, but they had served their purpose and were available to be taken to South Australia.

Industry Minister Greg Hunt helped prepare the plan in talks with Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg and Resources Minister Matt Canavan.

Mr Mentha, whose firm Korda­Mentha is overseeing Arrium after the company went into administration in April, was interested in the proposal but BHP Billiton, which runs the Olympic Dam mine in the north of the state, was planning to bring in its own generators.

The proposal could not proceed without formal approval from the South Australian government, which had to request the assistance under standing agreements between Canberra and the states. South Australian Treasurer and Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said officials assured him there was no need for the federal help.

"We could get the grid up ­before the back-up generators were operational," he said. "If we’d needed the generators, I would have done it but all the ­advice was that we would have the network up in time."

Mr Mentha said he had been impressed with the help from governments and power suppliers in the wake of the storm.

"The South Australian government and Tom Koutsantonis and SA Power Networks and ElectraNet have done everything possible for us — I couldn’t fault them," he said.

But power remains out in key areas, with SA Power Networks warning of shortages in the north of the state and ElectraNet still working to restore all the transmission lines.

ElectraNet said late yesterday that repairs to transmission lines in the state’s Mid North had got one of the damaged lines back up and energised. "Another circuit will follow in a few days, provided weather conditions remain stable," it said.


Steiner schools rising in popularity Australia-wide

They have some wacky ideas but they seem to be good for artistic kids.  I visited a Steiner school years ago with the aim of seeing whether it might suit my son.  I left in a rather stunned state.  I sent him to a Catholic school instead

Steiner schools are rising in popularity across Australia with three new schools built in as many years, lengthy waiting lists, and the introduction of a degree in Steiner education at a Queensland university.

Australia's first Steiner, also known as Waldorf, school opened in 1957 at Castlecrag in Sydney.

The 1970s saw most of the country's 43 Steiner schools built, but Steiner Education Australia CEO Tracey Sayn Wittgenstein Piraccini said the system was experiencing another rise in popularity.  "Over the years it's just grown and it's mushrooming," she said.

"Many of the schools are 30 or 40 years old now, and quite well established in their communities ... and three years ago we had three new schools start, and next year we have another school starting, so there's growing interest in what we're doing."
Steiner school principles

The most recent schools were built at Queensland's Moreton Bay, Victoria's Bairnsdale and Bowral in New South Wales.

Another is planned for Agnes Waters in Queensland next year, while several state schools in South Australia and Victoria have introduced Steiner-based streams to their classrooms.

Ms Sayn Wittgenstein Piraccini said she believed the system's rise in popularity was because of a combination of parents being drawn to the holistic approach of Steiner education, as well as being dismayed with many aspects of traditional, mainstream institutions.

"I think parents are really investigating what they want for their children," she said.

"Many years ago parents just sent their children to the school down the road ... because the world is changing at such a rapid rate, the old forms of schooling just aren't working.

    "We're seeing children with mental health problems, depression, obesity problems, and parents are seeing their children unhappy at school and not engaged in their learning and so they're seeking different ways."

The demand has also resulted in the introduction of a Graduate Certificate and Masters in Steiner education at the University of the Sunshine Coast next year.

"Our plan is to really engage with mainstream education and work alongside our peers in education to try and actually bring impulses from Steiner education into all aspects of education," Ms Sayn Wittgenstein Piraccini said.

"We want to have good dialogue so that all children benefit from an excellent education and are engaged in their learning and are lifelong learners.

"That will bring about a better country for Australia — not narrow standardised testing and data-driven policy that is just impacting on teachers at every level."

She said the demand for Steiner education was particularly high in the Byron Shire, in northern New South Wales.

There are currently two kindergarten to year 12 Steiner schools in the region and waiting lists that could justify the establishment of a third.

Cape Byron Steiner School principal Nerrida Johnson said there were 370 students at her school and a waiting list of more than 500.

    "It's hard to tell people that we don't have a place for them, particularly when they're trying to get into kindergarten and they've been on our list for a long time," she said.

"We do encourage people to stay on our lists, stay in touch with us and stay involved with the school."

Ms Johnson said expansion was not an option for her school because of land restrictions, but there may be a case for starting a new school.

"We love the fact we know each of our students, so it works well for us to be a single stream school and to have the lower number of students, but I also know there's a lot of pressure in this shire for more," she said.

"I don't know what the future is going to hold — maybe at some point there might be a possibility of opening a senior campus or something like that so we can provide more opportunities for students.'

Parent explains appeal

Tanja Nelson has two children at Cape Byron Steiner and a third who has graduated. She said she began investigating the system after being impressed by work experience students from a Steiner school who had volunteered at her graphic design business.

"Those kids were so much more capable of being independent in their roles in our business," she said.  "They had eye contact, self-initiated projects, they were just a world apart from the other kids from state and private schools."

"By that stage we only had a one-year-old child and we said 'that's a really interesting system, where are these kids coming from, why are they so different?'"

She said the best way to describe the Steiner approach was as "holistic". "It's very hard to realise with one little snapshot what actually goes on, but when you watch these children move from kindergarten all the way to year 12 and you see them grow holistically," Ms Nelson said.

"And I really mean holistically — the whole person is educated and supported."

"There's this backwards and forwards between the community and teachers, and this co-operative process to educating the child that makes these amazing people at the end of the journey.

"That constant communal approach to educating the child has very profound impacts for the children.

"This is something that I think parents from other schools or education systems will look at and they can see there's something different in our kids, but not understand what it is or why it is."


You must not have a stroke after business hours, say NSW health bureaucrats

A Sydney hospital with 24-hour stroke care refused to perform a life-saving procedure on a patient because he arrived 45 minutes after business hours.

Prince of Wales Hospital administrators would not allow Shellharbour resident Nick Taousanis to undergo an endovascular clot retrieval in August, despite clinicians being on-site and ready to operate, because the support team had finished their shift, his family were told.

Mr Taousanis died four days later.

The incident is one of several instances in which patients who could have benefited from an endovascular clot retrieval died or were left disabled because their stroke occurred out of hours, despite claims by NSW Health that the state has a 24-hour service for the procedure.

Fairfax Media has confirmed the details of two other cases, and doctors claim 250 to 400 patients have died or been left incapacitated under similar circumstances.

Endovascular clot retrieval is a cutting-edge procedure that involves manually extracting the blood clot that caused the stroke through a tube fed into a major artery and is suitable for up to 25 per cent of patients who suffered an ischaemic stroke.

The first line treatment for most stroke patients is clot-busting medication and this remains available 24 hours.

But hospitals have not been resourced to provide endovascular clot retrieval around the clock since trials proved its superiority over standard drug treatment and it moved into mainstream medical practice in late 2014.

INR specialist Jason Wenderoth said doctors were aware of two deaths in the last few months and other cases where people had completed their strokes and ended up in a nursing home because the theatres could not be opened after hours.

Doctors reported each of them to health administrators as "SAC-1" events – the most serious category of clinical incident. But in each case they were downgraded by the local health administration, which meant they were not forwarded to the ministry.

"There are plenty of doctors, but they won't fund doctors, nurses and technicians to work after hours," Dr Wenderoth said.

"[Endovascular clot retrieval] is the most significant breakthrough in my career in medicine. It is 10 to 15 times as effective in getting patients back to normal as stenting for coronary artery disease."


Australia pitches for a trade deal with Brexit Britain

"UK will dump Australia", warned the stark headline. Australian newspapers did not beat about the bush in the 1970s – much of the economy was geared to supplying Britain, and suddenly the UK was going to turn its back on an old friend.

"The nation’s trade, immigration, cultural development, inflow of capital and standard of living could be seriously affected," the Canberra Times reported in 1970 when the UK was in serious talks about joining the EEC, which would mean taxes and quotas on Australian imports.

It may have been an uncertain situation at the time but we know Australia has since prospered, outperforming the UK for instance by avoiding a recession during the financial crisis. While GDP per capita was higher in Britain than Oz in 2008, now the picture is reversed – Australia’s figure stands at more than $45,500 (£36,565) on a purchasing power basis, above the UK’s $41,300.

A shift towards Asia and other economic partners has bolstered Australia in the 40 years since the UK joined with Brussels. Now Britain is leaving the EU and seeking to find new allies around the world.

Now Britain is leaving the EU and seeking to find new allies around the world.

Luckily, the government in Canberra does not appear to bear grudges. Luckily too, Australia is very experienced in striking trade deals. Commerce has helped make the country rich and it is now something of an evangelist for free trade – a rarity in a world of Donald Trump and EU protectionism.

A working group is being established to begin talks, with one expert already in the UK scouting out the terrain ahead of a full negotiation.

The fewer industries Britain wants to protect, the faster a trade deal can be done, says the country’s High Commissioner, Alexander Downer.

"It is called a free trade agreement (FTA) for a good reason – we look for a high quality FTA, without tariffs and without quantitative restrictions, so without quotas," he says, speaking in Australia House, the spectacular embassy on London’s Strand.

"We look for an agreement with an absolute minimum of carve outs. I can’t think of any restrictions in our trade in goods and services with New Zealand. With China, well over 90pc of our trade is tariff-free."

"Our starting point is always that free trade means free trade, to borrow a phrase," laughs Downer, in a nod to Theresa May’s definition of Brexit.

"People often ask me about the timescale. It depends how complicated you want to make the negotiation. If you’re going for a high-quality FTA without a lot of restrictions, it should be quite easy."
May meets Australian PM to talk post-Brexit trade deals Play! 01:04

The prime ministers and trade ministers have already met, and two former Australian ambassadors to the World Trade Organisation have briefed UK civil servants.

"Australia isn’t a country that wants to put in place a lot of obstacles, we’re a free-trading country," says Downer, who served as foreign minister from 1996 to 2007.

Once, such an economically liberal message would have raised no eyebrows, but the global political environment has changed. Britain was seen as the EU’s champion for free trade, yet some obstacles to an Australian deal may already be visible.

The UK has promised its farmers a continuity of EU subsidies, indicating a degree of protectionism is expected. As Australia is a big exporter of food, that affects one of its major markets. So the High Commissioner follows up his pitch with an appeal to shoppers.

"We’re happy to import high-quality, low-priced products because that is one of the ways we build our living standards," he insists, clearly irritated by the focus of politicians on export markets while forgetting the imports. Downer himself sings the praises of British cars sold in Australia.

"Since the UK imports 70pc or so of the food it consumes, Australia is potentially once more a very good source of high-quality, low-price food" – not a bad offer when wages are growing slowly and inflation could pick up following the pound’s tumble.

Migration is another top post-Brexit issue. When Britain joined the EU, as well as harming trade with Oz, it also shut the door on its migrants.

While Australia has its points-based system to accept only those with favoured skills, Britain lets in anyone from the EU but is choosier about those from further afield – "a discriminatory system" in Downer’s words, not that any British leader would enjoy that description.

"Emotionally, Australians have felt uncomfortable with this idea that you give preferential migration access to people from Europe," he says.

Noting Australia’s support for the UK in the world wars as well as the British ancestry of many citizens "I think people in Australia… I wouldn’t overstate this, but it is something they notice," Downer says carefully. "We hope Australia would get a fair deal."

Behind the diplomatic language, the message is clear: Mrs May’s officials will be faced with demands for better treatment for its migrants.


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

11 October, 2016

Sexual misbehaviour in Australian universities is extremely rare

Sexual misbehaviour at universities is a great fad worldwide at the moment.  There are constant wails about it.  And from the wails you would infer that universities are a hotbed of rape. But are they?  Putting a lot of juicy young men and women together is sure to go astray in some instances but is rape in universities any more common than in the community at large? Among all the hyperventilating, I have yet to see any statistics on the question. 

That rather aroused my suspicions.  If rape really were particularly common in  universities, would not all the agonizing ones be forcing the statistics on the matter down our indifferent throats? Instead there seems to be a complete statistical blackout.

So I decided to do a few back of the envelope calculations of my own.  The total university rapes reported across Australia is given below as 126 in five years.  And I estimate the number of students as being about 1 million.  That gives a rate per 100,000 of 12.6.  Compare that with the latest nationwide figure of 28.6 per 100,000 PER ANNUM.  Clearly, by general community standards, rape is exceptionally RARE in Australian universities. Clever young people behave cleverly, which is what I thought.  I spent nearly 20 years in Australian universities without hearing ANYTHING about campus rape

No doubt much scorn will be heaped on my calculations but surely the challenge is to do better.  I would think that no statistical jiggery pokery would close up by much the vast gap I have found

Three young women have shared the harrowing stories of how they were allegedly raped at Australian universities - two when they were just 18.

They are some of 575 students who were sexually assaulted on campus in the past five years, with only six alleged perpetrators expelled.

Dr Rosyln Arnold, a former council member of Sydney University’s St John's residential college who quit her position in disgust in 2012, said it was the product of entrenched rape culture in young men.

'It's endorsing a pattern that women deserve to be victims, that it is acceptable to denigrate and humiliate them and to act violently towards them,' she told Sunday Night.

She said this was made worse by an environment where women were 'objectified and crudely ranked on social media'.

However, one student who had dozens of men make sexualised comments on her Facebook photos said she enjoyed the attention.

'For me, that was really flattering and actually quite funny too. My friends also found it very funny so we just had a bit of a laugh,' Melbourne University student Sydney Watson said.

Sunday Night reporter PJ Madam then read Ms Watson a series of very insulting comments directed at her - including that she 'is a b**** and has bad breath'.

'Look, I won't lie, that some of those thing are really inappropriate but to me that's the nature of the online world. I think it's all in the name of fun,' she responded.

'Whilst they might not be completely right, I don't think that it's in a serious fashion, by any stretch of the imagination.'

Dr Arnold said attitudes like Ms Watson's were 'letting down the side by saying that it's OK. We don't think it's OK.'

Another student, Emma Hunt, was excited to attend Monash University in Melbourne, but her first experience of university life on orientation camp went horribly wrong when she got blackout drunk at a costume party. 'I remember waking up in a cabin with a stranger. And I don't know how I got there, didn't know who he was,' she said.

Her first memory was a lot of people getting her out of the room. She didn't remember how long she was there for, but she was being raped when she woke up.

Ms Hunt only told a friend months later because she didn't know where to go for help. Her alleged rape is now being investigated by police, but she is still scarred by the ordeal

'I wake up fearing i'll run into him every day at uni. It's quite scary, I feel like I have to be hyper-vigilant in case I recognise him,' she said.

'I never really know when the next day is that I'm going to run into him. Last time I was absolutely terrified. I only saw him for a split second, the most unsafe I've ever felt.'

On the other side of the country, former University of WA science student Jannika Jacky said she was raped on her 18th birthday three years ago by a friend from her dorm.

'We met at college, and we became friends quite quickly. He seemed like a perfectly good you know, charming, funny sort of person,' she said.

After pre-drinks at college and then a bar to celebrate, she was feeling drunk and wanted to go home but couldn't find friends who had her room key, so asked him to get her home. 'It was freezing outside and I was just like, "It's really cold, can I just chill in your room for a little bit?"' she said.

'And he was like, "sure, no worries, what are friends for".'

As soon as they were in his room he turned the light off and began kissing her, before raping her despite her protesting.  'I remember quite clearly saying "no. I don't want to do this. because we're just friends". But he just didn't stop,' she said.

'When I got back to my room I just remember taking the longest shower I have probably ever taken.'

Ms Jacky eventually had to drop out of university. Her alleged rapist was kicked out of campus housing but otherwise not punished. He graduated last month.

'The stress was unbearable, depression just went through the roof and so did my anxiety as well. Um, I also have a lot of trouble with having relationships,' she said.

Olivia Todhunter, at the University of Melbourne, alleged she was on exchange overseas when she was raped by a fellow Australian student. 'I remember saying "stop". I remember saying "get off". I remember saying "you have a girlfriend". I remember saying that I didn't want this,' she said.

'When I went to uni counselling they said that my issue wasn't urgent enough to be available for emergency counselling.'

It took Australia's biggest ever freedom of information request to lift the lid on the scale of sexual assault in Australian universities, forcing 27 universities to hand over records of complaints.

There were 575 cases of sexual assault, harassment and indecent behaviour reported over five years, including 145 rapes.

Only six alleged perpetrators were expelled, 14 were suspended, 11 given warnings, 12 reprimanded, and six 'voluntarily separated'.

Those who were punished by universities were in some cases made to pay a $55 fine, write an apology letter, or do just eight hours of community service.

In the vast majority of cases no action was taken by universities and, against their own policies, allegations were often not reported to police. 

The complaints uncovered included a male student breaking into campus dorm rooms and raping women in their beds, and another given a master key to all rooms after he was accused of multiple assaults.

Staff members exchanged sexual favours for free accommodation, and others secretly filmed women using showers and toilets.

Male students grabbed women’s breasts, forcefully kissed them, spat at them, and yelled insults like 'slut, slut, slut', 'I bet you like c**k', 'bitch' and 'scum-c*nt'.

Victims were also advised that any discussion of their sexual assaults or abuse with others 'could be considered a disciplinary matter' due to 'confidentiality’' concerns.


ANU poll confirms widespread unease about Muslims in Australia

I reproduce below just the overall degree of agreement found for various relevant questions.  The authors go on to pooh pooh their own results by saying that men and women have slightly different concerns etc.  Big surprise!  They also say that education affects the results -- but end up admiting that fully 62% of the highly educated "express 'a lot' or 'some' concern about Islamist extremism in Australia.  Their attempt to spin their way out of their own results is pathetic

We set out wanting to establish the limits of Australians' support for national security policies in the face of diminishing civil liberties. To this end, we surveyed a randomly, probability-based sample of 1,200 Australians – not people who had signed up to answer survey questions for money – and explored a range of their attitudes.

We found that many adult Australians are anxious about terrorism, and that anxiety leads to support for government policies such as the retention of telecommunications data, and the justification of strict border protection regimes as a counter-terrorism measure.

For instance, 45 per cent of Australians are either 'very' or 'somewhat' concerned about either themselves or a family member being the victim of a terrorist attack in Australia.

More than half – 56 per cent – think the Government could do more to protect such an attack.

Almost half – 46 per cent – believe the Government's counter-terrorism policies have not gone far enough to adequately protect the country, compared with 28 per cent who believe they have gone too far in restricting Australians' civil liberties.

A full two thirds believe the retention of telecommunications data is justified as a counter-terrorism measure. Only one third of Australians believe the measure goes too far in violating citizens' privacy.

We also found that 41 per cent of Australians are not bothered if Muslims are singled out by increased surveillance policies as part of counter-terrorism measures. Elsewhere we found that 71 per cent are concerned about a possible rise of Islamist extremism in Australia. Asked whether current border protection policies are necessary to protect the country from Islamist extremism and terrorism, 80 per cent of respondents agree.


Job advert that explicitly asks for 'applicants of Aboriginal descent' sparks furious 'discrimination' backlash

The Left are obsessed with race and you can guess that they are pulling the strings here

Job advertisements which say only Indigenous people need apply have been labelled 'discrimination' by a talkback radio host.

Recruitment and labour hire company New Start Australia advertised a series of casual positions on the jobseeker website Indeed at the weekend.

'This is an Indigenous-identified position,' said the notices, which advertised casual positions in Carole Park, Queensland and Derrimut, Victoria. 

'Applicants must be of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander decent (sic) (pursuant to Section 14 (d) of the Anti-discrimination act'.

Radio 3AW Mornings host Neil Mitchell told his listeners he was torn over the advertisements.

'The initial reaction is that's fair enough, there's certainly an employment problem amongst Indigenous people.

'Then I think yeah but hang on, if I'm not Indigenous and I'm a storeman and I'm looking for a job and I see that I'd be very annoyed and put out by it.  'It's positive discrimination, if you like, but it is discrimination... I haven't seen it put quite so blatantly before'.

The report sparked a backlash on social media: 'Imagine if it was reversed!' said one listener.

'Reverse racism is such a nice thing. Bloody disgraceful,' said another. 'Very Racist against white Ausstraalians (sic),' a third added.

New Start Australia is Indigenous owned and says on its website it 'acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the lands on which we work'. It specialises in Indigenous labour hire, recruitment, policy management and consultation.

There have been discrimination exemptions for advertising jobs only for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders since about the 1980s.

Warren Mundine, from the Prime Minister's Indigenous Advisory Council, said the last Closing the Gap report showed Indigenous employment going backwards.

Mr Mundine told 3AW he understood some people would be annoyed at the job ad. 'I'd understand that and I think that's a bit justified as well

'This is an attempt to help out in that process, get more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people into jobs.'


Qld govt invokes special power for new coal mine.  Greenies wail

Qld has long been a pro-mining State so it is interesting that that continues under a Labor government

The Queensland government has invoked special powers to ensure the controversial Carmichael coal and rail project starts next year.

The combined mine, rail and associated water infrastructure have all been declared critical infrastructure - the first time this has happened in seven years.

As well, the development's special "prescribed project" status has been renewed and expanded to include its water infrastructure.

State Development Minister Anthony Lynham says the decision will mean less red tape for the proposed $21.7 billion Adani venture.

"This step bundles together major elements of the project for the first time - the mine, the 389 kilometre rail line and the water infrastructure, including a pipeline, pumping stations and a dam upgrade," he said.

Adani now has the 22 commonwealth, state and local approvals for its project.

However Whitsunday residents are taking court action in a bid to show the Queensland government failed the environment when it approved a port expansion for the mine.

Whitsunday Residents Against Dumping said last week dredging required for Adani's expansion of the Abbot Point coal terminal, north of Bowen, could do untold environmental harm and the mine itself will fuel global warming and endanger the reef.

Dr Lynham said in a statement on Sunday the critical infrastructure declaration was based on advice from the independent co-ordinator-general.


National Australia Bank bans all donations to political parties and candidates

One of Australia's biggest political donors, the National Australia Bank, has quietly announced it will stop giving money to political parties.

According to the bank's policy statement on political donations, the board of directors "resolved in May 2016 that the making of any political donations would cease with immediate effect".

All of Australia's major banks, including ANZ, Westpac and the Commonwealth, give generously to both sides of the political aisle. NAB's move, if honoured, would make it the first to eschew the practice.

"NAB does not make donations or contribute funds to any political party, parliamentarian, elected official or candidate for political office," the policy document states.

The bank defines political donations as including all monetary and in-kind gifts, entry fees and fundraising activities.

In a further move, any employee wishing to attend a political meeting or activity as an NAB representative must clear their invitation with the bank's Government Affairs and Public Policy division.

The decision marks a significant turnaround for one of the country's most generous banks, which has given more than $500,000 to the two major parties in the past three years alone.

In 2014-15, NAB gave $239,686 to the Liberals and Nationals and $35,600 to the Labor Party, according to annual returns lodged with the AEC.

The previous year, the bank gave more evenly, contributing $45,570 to the Coalition's coffers and $43,500 to Labor's. And in 2012-13, it pumped $130,010 through to the Liberals and Nationals, and $56,850 to the ALP.

And as recently as April this year, the bank sponsored a major fundraiser for Liberal frontbencher Kelly O'Dwyer and her re-election in the Victorian seat of Higgins.

The event, with former treasurer Peter Costello and former Reserve Bank board member Warwick McKibbin, took place amid deepening conflict over how to respond to numerous scandals plaguing the banking sector.

The Turnbull government ultimately opted for an annual parliamentary committee inquiry, which commenced this week, rejecting Labor's call for a much more powerful royal commission.

NAB's manifesto still leaves the door open for exceptions to the strict policy, but any political donations would need to be cleared by the board of directors.

Recent scandals have once again shone the spotlight on the murky world of political donations. Turnbull government MP Stuart Robert has questions to answer after Fairfax Media revealed he defended a Gold Coast property developer in a speech penned largely by the developer's lobbyist, shortly before the company donated to the LNP. Labor called for his head but Mr Robert said he had done nothing wrong.

Last month, Labor senator Sam Dastyari was forced to quit the opposition frontbench after Fairfax Media revealed he outsourced a travel bill to a Chinese state government-backed donor, and had taken a position on the South China Sea contrary to that of Labor and the government.

Neither instance appeared to breach political finance rules but once again raised questions about the fairness and transparency of the existing system.


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

10 October, 2016

A far-Leftist half-gets it about Pauline

From "New Matilda"

Nelly Thomas (below) recognizes that ordinary people disagree with and resent much of what they are told and commanded by the political elite.  She even recognizes that the pronouncements and ukases of the Green/Left are part of the problem.  And there is no doubt that such resentments do form part of the base of support for Pauline Hanson.

She is wrong,however, in thinking that ONLY the uneducated support Pauline.  I am part of a pro-Pauline family and two of us are highly educated. What she says is largely a regurgitation of what is said about support for Donald Trump, and surveys of Trump supporters in America find he has extensive support at all educational levels.

What she overlooks is that at least half of Australians support Pauline's ideas about Muslims.  That's surely too many to be dismissed as a "Lumpenproletariat".  I suspect that what underlies her thinking and the thinking of other vocal Leftists is the old "all men are equal" myth.  In accord with that, Muslims must be seen as not significantly different from anybody else.  But they ARE different.  Their supremacist religion makes them a breeding ground for terrorism.  How can anybody deny that when we have seen so much mayhem from Jihadis arising out of Muslim communities?

So it is entirely rational and reasonable for anybody to be  rejecting of having Muslims among us. Muslims are a clear public safety concern. 99% of individual Muslims in Western countries have done nobody any harm but the madmen Islamic communities regularly spawn must make them unwelcome immigrants. In legal terms they are accessories before the fact.  Nelly Thomas is completely oblivious of all that.  Her Leftist selectivity towards the facts is running deep and strong

I am always amused at the way Leftists froth at the mouth over any hint of white supremacism but close their eyes to constantly and blatantly preached Muslim supremacism.  Leftism does entail a profound inability to handle reality.  It's a low-level form of schizophrenia

I’ve been wrestling about whether or not to write this piece. So much has been said about Pauline Hanson, so much has been said by her, and so little of it has been productive. But, I’ve decided to weigh in because I come from Hanson country: working class, socially conservative, racist, homophobic, xenophobic Australia.

I went to a public school, I know what it’s like to worry about the electricity bill. The extent of my early cultural experiences were The Sullivans and Albie Mangles. I left my hometown when I was 17, but my roots are there, my family are there and I know this Australia intimately.

For better or worse, unlike most of the people writing, tweeting and talking about Pauline Hanson, she is part of me; part of my story.

A little peek behind the veil.

The last time I went home for Christmas, I went to a family barbecue. I walked in and one of my Uncles turned, saw me, and introduced me to all his friends as, "This is Nelly, she’s my smart-arse radical niece from Prick-toria" (it gets worse), to which – after the laughing had died down – one of the guests said, "I hope she doesn’t protest for those bloody towel-heads," and everyone cracked up again.

And he’s one of the Uncles who actually likes me. For real.

On the same trip I went to visit a school friend. We were catching up on old times and talking about teachers and who ended up with whom and all that stuff, when her husband joined in and, out of the blue, told me he’d seen a local copper chase a little *&^%$ (a word for "Aboriginal kid" that I refuse to repeat) on a stolen bike in his police car and knock him off it.

The boy was 8. Apparently he was physically uninjured and no charges were laid. We weren’t in Kalgoorlie, but close enough.

On another trip, I rang a cousin to arrange to catch up. His voicemail message was him saying in an Indian accent that he couldn’t answer the phone because he was on the toilet after eating a curry.

Another time, an Aunty – who was sympathetic to my "different" views – tried to find common ground and suggested that "The Aborigines" should be given their land back. I was somewhat heartened until it became clear she meant the "desert" and that she thought they’d "all be happier there".

I don’t want to think about how she’d get "them" there.

I could go on. I won’t. And this is not meant to be confessional or voyeuristic – my point is that, to be frank, no-one outside the inner-city is surprised by Hansonism. I’m certainly not.

So, what’s up with Hanson? The woman herself – who the hell knows. It kind of doesn’t matter. What is more important, is what’s up with Hansonism. Why is anyone listening to someone so clearly off their rocker, let alone voting for her?

The usual explanation is an undercurrent of persistent racism in Australia. That’s undoubtedly a major factor, but I don’t think it explains her resurrection in full.

The first thing to know about Hanson supporters is that most of them feel stupid. Really. There’s a base insecurity in much of working class Australia about being uneducated which, often times, is conflated with being dumb.

Some of it is paranoia, some of it is real. Educated people do routinely talk down to the uneducated. This is probably true in all cultures, across all time, but I think it is a particular marker of the experience of the English colonisation of Australia: we have a deep-seated suspicion and dislike of The Snob. Being belittled or patronised by The Snob is not a nice feeling.

Fear of the snob takes many forms. I have relatives who panic about filling out even basic paperwork for fear of spelling a word wrong and others who talk differently – literally in a different accent – at the bank, doctors, Centrelink or on the phone with any "officials".

Many didn’t finish high school, almost none are university educated (certainly none above my generation) and some are functionally illiterate. When they are in the presence of people who sound and look like they’ve been to university, and/or are rich, they’re intimidated.

They will either strike first (their approach with me at the barbecue) or say nothing for fear of being struck (their approach with authoritarian figures).

This is the first clue as to why Hanson resonates: she speaks working class.

Class is complicated in an Australia where a plumber can earn a six figure salary, but suffice to say there is a culture and even an accent and Pauline embodies it, talks it – even when she’s around important people (politicians, journalists, academics)! She’s one of out of the box.

If we had a more diverse political and commentariat class, there’d be others who’d talk working class too, but sadly, we don’t. There’s Jackie Lambie and Chris Bowen, but Australia’s political landscape is dominated by Christopher Pynes and David Marr’s (yes, I love the latter too, but he does sound like a Sydney Grammar Boy on steroids).

In short, Pauline Hanson talks up to the elite. She makes large swathes of working class Australia feel right and powerful. It’s intoxicating.

To complicate matters, every time a commentator, cartoonist, comedian SNOB makes fun of Hanson (and yes, I do it) – especially when she gets a word wrong or mispronounces something – she’s loved even more.

All working class people have at some point experienced that sense of being laughed at. I still wince at the time in first year uni I tried to order an "Alfresco" (thinking it was a coffee) and the time I was asked if I liked Picasso and replied that I didn’t play the piano (I can only assume I thought he was a classical musician). I can joke about these things now, but they sting.

Cultural capital is a powerful thing; and when you don’t have it you know it.

Hanson doesn’t have cultural capital and lampooning her lack of it – please explain – does nothing more than make those of us who already despise Hansonism feel better. And Superior.

Sometimes that’s ok – the choir needs preaching (especially in a comedy club) – but what it does in the media and political sphere is simply reinforce the idea that WE all think we’re better than THEM (The Greens boycotting her second diatribe Parliament thingy did the same. YOU’RE TOO GOOD TO EVEN LISTEN?).

So, first note to self and others: call out bigoted views for sure, but try to leave the easy target bullshit out of it. Her hair, accent, vocabulary and the like are irrelevant. And when you make fun of them, you kind of sound like a dick.

The other thing to understand about Hanson supporters is that, as Kim Carr’s excellent piece on New Matilda recently emphasised, support for Hanson can be tracked geographically and socio-economically.

This is no coincidence.

Most of her supporters are in Western Australia, Queensland and the low socio-economic parts of other states. Yes, there are some entrenched cultural factors of racism and xenophobia at play here, and those should not be underestimated, but there’s also the simple fact that increasing economic inequality in Australia is hitting those areas hardest.

We are a very wealthy country and by-and-large our poorest are better off than the poor world-wide (some Indigenous communities being an exception), but the gap between rich and poor in Australia is growing. This exacerbates feelings of being "left out".

Just this week the IMF attributed the rise of Trump to this phenomenon, and Hanson is no different. The IMF certainly wouldn’t put it this way, but I would argue the working class know they’ve been royally screwed by deregulation, privatisation, union decimation and globalisation. The rich got richer, the poor paid the price.

I’ll give you a personal example.

My dad left school when he was about 13. He worked a series of shit-kicker jobs (his words) and then landed a low-paid but steady government job in my hometown. When he was in his 50’s, the service he worked for was privatised and he was retrenched with an absolute pittance (no Golden hand-shake, that’s for sure).

He was unemployed for almost two years and eventually got a job at a petrol station earning minimum wage. He was 60 and his boss was 19.

Dad’s story obviously isn’t unique. Hanson and Trump country(ies) are full of stories like his, and none of those workers are consoled by the promises of "trickle down economics" or slogans like "no jobs on a dead planet." They see the rise, rise and rise again of corporate salaries, white-collar wages, banking scandals and profits and literally they suffer for them.

Economic inequality – including unemployment (which can so easily become entrenched and intergenerational), underemployment and the working poor – are central to understanding Hansonism. When you’re wondering if you can fill your fridge or pay your phone bill, it doesn’t take much for someone to activate your fear centre. Add Border Security and you’ve got a time bomb waiting to happen.

I jest, but seriously: when you’re afraid, you cast around for a reason. Enter Pauline Hanson with The Answer. Sure, The Answer changes from Asian to Aboriginal to Muslim to Refugees to Penny Wong, but fear never required logic.

One of the most galling aspects of all this, is that the targets of Hansonism are, by any rational measurement, suffering the same or more than the working classes (and indeed, the categories aren’t mutually exclusive)! One of my greatest frustrations in life is not understanding why the combined oppressed don’t unite and see the elite is screwing them all. Again, perhaps too busy with Border Security.

Hansonism is about racism.

It’s also about economic insecurity, fear, under-education and historical ignorance. Australia was a powder keg just waiting for Pauline and her box of matches.

One thing I know for sure is that being right about Hanson and Hansonism won’t be enough to defeat her. And making fun of her won’t help either. I have no interest in offering her understanding, but I’m afraid we are going to have to work harder to understand.


An admission from the Left that "Renewable" energy was responsible for SA’s Power Outage

By Geoff Russell, writing in "New Matilda"

South Australia has just had some bad weather. Not bad like hurricane Matthew’s trail of destruction in the Caribbean, but bad enough to destroy livelihoods and put lives at risk.

The impacts of bad weather anywhere extend over years. The flooded market gardens will mean increased food prices in the short term and strengthen calls for more money to be spent on flood prevention and mitigation in the long run.

Underinsured businesses may fail and there will be hardship and perhaps even suicide.

The storms toppled power transmission towers and the entire state was blacked out. Large sections of roads in the Adelaide hills fell away as if hit by an earth quake. Backup generators failed in hospitals and businesses. At Whyalla’s steelworks, slabs of steel cooled prematurely and will have to be removed by welding teams in coming weeks.

Medications and much else needing refrigeration had to be dumped and generator sales soared as tens of thousands of households endured not just the initial hours felt by the entire state, but a day or two without power.

Given our propensity for self-interest, I’d expect sales of big battery banks will also boom over the next year or two. If you are into shares, then I’d suggest lead, zinc, cobalt and lithium. One of my UPS units lasted barely 60 seconds instead of the half hour I’d expected, so I’ll certainly be calling for a Royal Commission into UPS standards!

So what went wrong?

Here’s what didn’t happen… a massive storm knocked over huge transmission towers and a grid collapse was the inevitable outcome; the first bit is true and the second is bollocks.

In 2012 a study by Ben Heard and James Brown into a nuclear power option for SA looked at the failure parameters for the South Australian grid.

Grid operators always know how big a generator can fail without bringing down the grid. As a rule of thumb, they want the system to stay up even if their biggest generator fails.

In 2012, Electranet estimated that the grid could handle a 450 mega watt (MW) loss without crashing.

But it’s not just the amount of power that is important. Traditional generators are large lumps of spinning metal which have considerable inertia. Solar doesn’t work like this, and nor, a little surprisingly, do wind turbines. A heavy vehicle has inertia which keeps it moving when it hits a hill. So it is with traditional baseload turbines: they resist slowing down.

If your electricity network has lots of these then it has considerable inertia in the face of sudden losses… it will fail slowly and give you time to respond, typically by load shedding… meaning selectively cutting power to small areas. But the SA network has been radically transformed in recent years and has lost significant capacity to withstand failure.

So how much power did SA lose when those big towers collapsed? A mere 315 MW. The grid should have stayed up and would have stayed up in times past.

At the time of the blackout, the Heywood interconnector was the main source of high inertia power on our grid, and it was running near capacity; shipping in coal power from Victoria.

When the towers collapsed there wasn’t enough capacity in that connector so it was overloaded and turned itself off to avoid damage.

If you want the full blow-by-blow story of what happened, then read the official AEMO report or head over to Ben Heard’s blog for a readable explanation.

The Greens responded locally by making a video reminding people that the storms should be viewed as a powerful portent of our coming destabilised climate. Quite right. Warning people of impending doom soon loses it’s power in the face of continued unruffled contentment amid an almost infinite supply of football finals and cooking programs.

But because their renewable energy policy is rooted in slogans rather than science, they also mounted a robust defence of their renewable energy champion despite him presently spewing blood and thrashing around like the Monty Python Black Knight.

I had a meeting with a senior Greens figure before the recent Federal Election to talk about nuclear power. I was accused of bombarding them with facts. Silly me, I should have arrived with a guitar and a couple of evocative ballads.

"I’m not a scientist" he kept saying, "but I’ve been told" … he went on. "By whom?" By someone else who wasn’t a scientist and doesn’t seem to know any.


Mayhem at Aboriginal settlement

There is a lot of violence at Aboriginal communities

A MAN has been charged with murder after allegedly ploughing his four wheel drive into a Far North Queensland funeral home packed with mourners.

A 48-year-old woman was killed and more than a dozen others were injured on Friday morning when the car ploughed into the home at Kowanyama, on the west side of Cape York, about 10.30am.

A service was underway when the crash occurred. A family dispute is believed to have been behind the crash

Police charged the man, 55, with murder overnight Friday. He is due to appear in Cairns Magistrates Court on Saturday.

The 48-year-old woman died at the scene, while at least 12 others were flown to hospitals in Cairns and Townsville with varying injuries.  Up to eight others were treated at the scene for minor injuries such as cuts and bruises.

Acting Inspector Michael Gooiker said the driver was related to the mourners who had gathered at the home. "There are indications there may have been some sort of dispute at a funeral and this is a result of that," he said.

It is unclear whether the council vehicle belonged to the driver. Two doctors and two nurses from the Royal Flying Doctor Service happened to be attending a nearby clinic and were among those first at the scene.

Police organised a co-ordinated response, with investigators and forensic officers flown to the community.

There was a crowd of about 50 mourners and the vehicle is believed to have smashed all the way through the home on Kowanyama St in the Aboriginal community. The home reportedly collapsed.

Cape York Police Inspector Paul James confirmed a 48-year-old local woman had died.

He said those injured in the incident had suffered serious injuries including broken arms, legs, dislocations and lacerations in the alleged vehicular homicide.

Police deployed an extra 13 officers to the 1200-strong community which is described as extremely tense and on the brink of exploding into a riot with fears of further mayhem and bloodshed.

Kowanyama-born activist Tania Major, a former Young Australian of the Year, said her mother was at the scene when the 4WD Toyota Landcruiser crashed through the house.

"She was there for the burial of my eldest cousin," said Ms Major, speaking from Brisbane. "She heard the smash, came out of the toilet and there were bodies of so many injured ... "He ran over the coffin and smashed right on through the house."

Ms Major said she understood that the woman who was killed in the incident had been standing in front of the vehicle begging with the driver to stop when she was mown down.

"He just took her out, ran her down, and then ploughed into the rest of the crowd in the house who were there paying their respects to the deceased. The entire community was there, 50 inside, the rest outside waiting to go in.


"PICKY" jobseekers are leaving WA restaurants and bars with a shortage of workers, despite the state having the second highest jobless rate in the country

Local venues are resorting to hiring kitchen and wait staff from Asia, Europe and the Americas. The shortage comes despite WA’s unemployment rate hitting 6.3 per cent.

Hospitality industry leaders said some West Australians weren’t prepared to do the "hard work" or evening and weekend hours.

Australian Hotel Association WA chief executive Bradley Woods said the labour shortage was evident throughout Perth, as well as in Bunbury and the Kimberley.

Perth’s unemployment rate was 6 per cent in June, with 68,100 people out of work, while Bunbury was at 6.2 per cent and parts of the Kimberley more than 10 per cent.

A search of jobs website Seek this week returned 570 jobs in "hospitality and tourism" across WA. That included 338 "chef" jobs and 73 for "waiter".

"Hospitality, it’s hard work and people have to work nights and weekends, some people aren’t prepared to do that," Mr Woods said. "Internationally we have the highest wage rates in the world for hospitality workers, even with those high wage rates it’s hard to attract those people."

Mr Woods said the decline in the number of working holiday visas made the shortage worse. The 20 per cent decline of backpackers coming into WA in the past year had affected the availability of labour.

Trattoria Galetto co-owner Vikram Pahwa said it was hard finding local staff for his Subiaco pasta and pizza restaurant. "Most of our staff are from England, Brazil, Colombia and Italy," he said.

"West Australians can be picky, they know more about the markets, venues and conditions. I’d like to see more locals working in my restaurant, locals bring locals."

Brika owner Simon Psaros has posted numerous job ads for his Greek restaurant in Northbridge with no success. Mr Psaros said many big restaurants were opening, meaning quality staff were being headhunted from smaller eateries.

"I’m now looking internationally, particularly Greece," he said. "I’m interviewing guys on Skype, I have one worker from Greece currently over there finding staff for me.

"We have a high turnover of staff, partly because we’re a night venue, it’s hard to retain staff. It’s an industry issue and there’s an attitude problem."


Tony Abbott tells UK Tories he believes he can be PM again

Tony Abbott has told right-wing allies in Britain that he believes he has a reasonable chance of becoming prime minister again, Fairfax Media has learned.

The revelation confirms the former leader is hoping to emulate Kevin Rudd's 2013 success in returning to the Lodge after being booted out by his own party in 2010 despite his public assurances that his leadership is "dead, buried and cremated" and that "the Abbott era is over."

A senior Liberal source close to Mr Abbott said the former prime minister maintained a "good chance" of returning to the job because he is popular with the party membership compared to Malcolm Turnbull.

Mr Turnbull is widely perceived within the party to have failed to live up to expectations, scraped through the election with just a one-seat majority and continues to perform poorly in the polls.

The source said the outcome of the upcoming NSW State Council of the Liberal Party on October 22 was an important opportunity for Mr Abbott to showcase to the Parliamentary Party his strength with the wider membership. There, his Federal Electorate Conference (FEC) will propose a motion for democratic reform of the party. It is likely to be opposed by the left wing of the party, but has a greater chance of succeeding than ever before.

The change would enable the party membership, which is predominantly right-wing, to have a greater say in pre-selecting candidates.

Other Liberals did not rule out the possibility of an Abbott comeback, saying his prospects had improved as Mr Turnbull had failed to improve. They also said it would be difficult to sell a change to a new leader to the base, meaning if a change were to happen it could only feasibly be a reinstatement of the former prime minister.

If Mr Abbott were to return to the leadership, it would spell bad news for Deputy Leader Julie Bishop. Fairfax Media has also learned Mr Abbott is describing the foreign minister to associates abroad in unflattering terms.

Ms Bishop fended off a right-wing challenge to her position when Mr Abbott was un-seated and denied claims she was disloyal and played a role in his demise. Ms Bishop's chief of staff attended a meeting of the plotters on the eve of the coup, but the minister insists her staffer was there to observe the proceedings and did not participate.

Although Ms Bishop's position is elected by the partyroom – where she remains popular – there would be serious questions about whether she could serve as Mr Abbott's deputy.

Mr Abbott has completed a string of backflips on key totemic issues for conservatives, including his stunning admission that he is "quietly thrilled" with the Brexit result despite opposing it prior to the vote. His original position dismayed his allies in the Leave campaign.

He is currently using an around-the-world tour that has taken him to Prague, New York and now London to spruik his legacy as prime minister, which ended after two years when his own party voted to replace him with former leader Turnbull in September 2015.


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

9 October, 2016

De mortuis nil nisi bonum?

The traditional Latin piece of advice above translates as: "Speak only good of the dead".  But is it not absurd?  Should we speak only good of Hitler?

Absurd or not, it seems widely regarded as good manners.  So when an Australian Senator made a perfectly factual comment about a dead person that alluded to something unpopular about that person, that was widely condemned.

The person concerned was a popular media personality and she was being very fulsomely praised in something of a media frenzy.  I infer that the Senator was only trying to restore some balance to the commentary about her.  I don't see that he has anything to apologize for.  An alternative point of view is often unpopular but is all the more important for that

A senator has been slammed on social media and faces calls to resign after a 'horrid, dreadful' tweet about sports journalist Rebecca Wilson.

The 54-year-old broadcast and print veteran died at home on Friday after a 'long' battle with breast cancer she had kept very private.

Just hours after the Daily and Sunday Telegraph columnist's death, Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjlem tweeted: 'Doubt there'll be many #WSW (Western Sydney Wanderers) fans at Rebecca Wilson's funeral #innocentlivesdamaged.'

He quickly came under attack for the post - a reference to Ms Wilson naming and shaming fans allegedly on Football Federation Australia's banned list, nearly half who were fans of the western Sydney club.

Fairfax investigative journalist Kate McClymont said: 'Shame on you, Senator @DavidLeyonhjelm. 'You mightn't have agreed with Rebecca Wilson but with her death so fresh show some human decency.'

'That's a pretty horrid thing to say so close to her death,' tweeted TV critic Steve Molk.

Victorian state Attorney-General Martin Pakula said: 'Resign from the Senate @DavidLeyonhjelm'.

Punter Steven Milburn said: 'Just dreadful mate, time to get out the full-length mirror.'

Christopher Brereton said: 'Just find something better to do than have a go at someone who's passing was reported mere hours ago.' 


Syria refugee intake reveals 22 terror cases

Up to 22 people trying to join Australia’s extra refugee intake of 12,000 Syrians face rejection because of fears they are linked to terrorist organisations, including Islamic State, which used refugees as "camouflage" to enter Europe and carry out the Paris attacks last year.

The Weekend Australian can reveal the government’s independent security checks, involving biometric data and shared intelligence reports, have found at least 22 "potential national security concerns" among refugee applicants since the special intake of Syrian refugees was announced in September last year.

All those applying for Syrian refugee status to Australia in the Middle East have to undergo health, character and security checks before being accepted.

The 22 security concerns include those with links or suspected links to terrorist groups including Islamic State, which terrorised and plundered large areas of Syria and Iraq and claims to have sent 4000 trained terrorist fighters into "sleeper cells" around the world.

In the past few weeks, Euro­pean security chiefs have disclosed that seven of the nine attackers in the Paris shootings and bombings last November, who killed 130 people and injured 368, passed into Europe through Hungary in last year’s uncontrolled mass migration.

In September last year, Tony Abbott announced that in response to the refugee crisis caused by the fighting in Syria and predations of Islamic State, Australia would take an extra 12,000 refugees over and above the 17,500 ­annual humanitarian intake.

The then prime minister promised to help Christians and other persecuted minorities who could never return to Syria and said it would be completed "as quickly as possible".

Since then, the government has been heavily criticised for taking too long in processing the promised Syrian refugees and for not following Canada’s lead of ­accepting 26,000 refugees cleared by the UN and flying them out in a matter of weeks.

In February, five months after the announcement, Australia had resettled only 26 Syrians under the extra program.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton was criticised by the UN Human Rights Commissioner, refugee advocacy groups and the ALP for taking too long.

The UNHCR said families sheltering in nations such as Lebanon and Jordan, where Australia was processing refugee appli­cations, were struggling to find shelter, food, education and work, prompting them to risk their lives crossing the Mediterranean.

Labor’s immigration spokesman, Richard Marles, said Mr Dutton needed to explain why there was such "a pitifully small number" who had been brought to Australia.

Refugee Council of Australia chief executive Paul Power said many people were desperate and "the fact Australia’s offer is happening so slowly is certainly not helping an incredibly difficult situation".

In response, Mr Dutton said the government would not take shortcuts on security checks and it was vital they were carried out before the granting of a visa: "The government’s prime responsibility is to protect the ­Aus­tralian community; Aus­tralians would understand that these checks must be carried out in the current global security environment.

"As a government, we made it clear at the outset this special intake would take time to fulfil, that processing would be thorough, that there would be no shortcuts."

Mr Dutton said he told Australian staff in Amman, Jordan, and in Beirut, Lebanon, "that we’re not going to sacrifice anything in terms of security checks that need to be undertaken".

" So, if we’re in doubt about a particular person’s identity or we think that maybe their documents aren’t legitimate, then we’re moving on to the next application," he said.

When he was in New York for the UN’s special conference on refugees and security two weeks ago, Mr Dutton said Australia had now issued visas to more than half the intended 12,000 extra Syrian and Iraqi refugees and resettled a quarter in Australia.

"As of 2 September, 6678 visas have been issued and 3532 of these people have settled in ­Australia," he said.

"Another 6293 people have been interviewed and assessed as meeting threshold requirements for a visa. These people are awaiting the outcome of health, character and security checks."

After the Paris bombings and shootings last year, Mr Dutton said the government would continue with rigorous security checks on refugee applicants from the Islamic State strongholds of Syria and Iraq.


Renewable energy faces stormy weather

Could Australian politics sink to a more juvenile level than it did last week after an entire state was hurled back into the dark ages by a freak storm?

Malcolm Turnbull, quite rightly, seized the opportunity to tell the states they had to sharpen up on energy security and consider an achievable single renewable energy target.

It wasn’t simply a case of a politician not wasting a crisis, it was a case of a leader reacting immediately to an unprecedented crisis with the potential to recur with even more devastating consequences rather than simply emoting in front of the media.

Instead of addressing the issue at hand, state and federal Labor leaders, clutching hymn sheets from central command, fell over each other to get to the cameras to express their outrage that the Prime Minister dared suggest their policies were inappropriate or unworkable.

It was as predictable as it was pathetic. Turnbull had, according to everyone from Bill Shorten down, turned into Tony Abbott — who, it has to be said, deserves 10 out of 10 for consistency since he lost the leadership by saying one thing publicly on the leadership and something else privately. But I digress.

Neither Turnbull nor federal Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg questioned that the blackout was caused by the weather. What they questioned was the reliability of the state’s power sources in the face of such an event.

Yesterday’s interim report by the Australian Energy Market Operator suggesting wind power was the root cause of the blackout showed they were spot-on to do so. Rule one, as Turnbull put it yesterday, was to keep the lights on, and again urged South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill to own up to his responsibilities.

The South Australian experience has highlighted the possible disastrous consequences of the political one-upmanship on renewable energy targets (which peaks in the ACT, where it has been set at 100 per cent by 2020) yet the response of premiers and their energy ministers has been to accuse Turnbull of "politicking" or morphing into a climate change denier a la Abbott.

Even if he has morphed (and he hasn’t) they, as climate change believers, are the ones preaching catastrophic weather events will become more frequent. If they are right, we can expect more freakish storms more often, wreaking the kind of havoc witnessed in South Australia.

Surely, then, their immediate duty is to ensure they have the capacity to protect their citizens instead of responding with mantra or ideology or insult.

At the meeting of energy ministers in August, Frydenberg had already proposed they should look at the impact on the stability of the system and energy prices of state-based renewable targets. Unsurprisingly, the two most ideolog­ically driven states, Victoria and the ACT, opposed the idea. Queensland was sceptical and NSW strongly supportive.

To his credit, South Australian Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis was constructive. Koutsantonis could not be anything else given only weeks earlier he had written to the chairman of the Energy Market Commission, John Pierce, conceding the high uptake of wind and solar had made electricity security a "complex matter".

Eventually, after a tense stand-off, ministers agreed the review should proceed and it was announced in the post-meeting communique.

Victoria’s opposition to the review is consistent with its ostrich-like approach to the possible closure of the Hazelwood power plant in the Latrobe Valley, which supplies 20 per cent of the state’s energy needs.

Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio responded to the news of a possible closure by saying the state had the lowest prices in Australia and there was an oversupply of electricity. She insists the state would be able to cope, and does not expect it to affect the state’s energy supply.

D’Ambrosio continued her tedious recital from the hymn sheet on Tuesday, saying Turnbull was being hypocritical and clearly hadn’t done enough hand-wringing over the plight of South Australians. As if that would help.

While condemning the Prime Minister for playing politics rather than showing more empathy, D’Ambrosio showed herself to be a dab hand at politics: "At least with Tony Abbott, the people of Australia knew where they stood on climate policy, we don’t have that when it comes to Malcolm Turnbull."

Because of the complexity of the issue, the review commissioned at the August meeting will not be ready until the end of the year, so Frydenberg tells me his primary goal at tomorrow’s meeting is to actually get the states to confront the issue. First they have to acknowledge a problem exists.

"What is the goal?" Frydenberg asks. "It is to reduce emissions, but the renewable energy target is a means to an end. If you haven’t got the best systems in place, you increase the costs to consumers or you undermine energy security. Then we are all stuffed."

Meanwhile Labor glides over its policy of 50 per cent renewables by 2030, with not one detail about how to get there. We were told we had to wait until October next year for an answer to that (pending an election win by Labor), although Frydenberg helpfully has suggested that installing 10,000 wind turbines at a cost of $48 billion may be one option.

When opposition environment spokesman Mark Butler was asked on Sunday on Sky News when we could expect to see the modelling or consequences of its target, Butler confessed it couldn’t be done from opposition, only from government, so an answer could be a long time coming.


Trouble brewing for childcare
Just as the Education Minister has disabled the landmine that was Labor's troubled VET fee help scheme, he's having to deal with the news of rorting on a massive scale in family day care (FDC).

Now, I confess that a bit of a mea culpa is in order. Whenever a government says they can find budget savings (usually to offset larger spending) through cracking down on rort and fraud, my usual response is 'yeah, right!' In this case I was utterly wrong, as this reporting on a Canberra man charged with ripping upwards of a million dollars off the taxpayer shows.

It's too perfect. Labor in government almost immediately got set to work on this brand spanking new set of regulations, the National Quality Framework, to bring state-regulated childcare systems under one federal jurisdiction (when has that ever ended badly). And in the process of micromanaging every experience that children might have in care they forgot something pretty crucial -- making sure that subsidies are being paid for kids who are actually being cared for.

State governments are now blaming the federal government for not giving them enough money to handle compliance and accreditation. This is despite the Commonwealth already carrying the can for the increased costs of all this quality regulating, and funding ACECQA  -- the body in charge of the quality rating process.

The laws governing the NQF are codified at the state level, with each state and territory having its own separate Act that legislates broadly the same thing. But if the Minister wants to change it, he'll have to get them all to agree. Which, given the trajectory of other negotiations at the COAG level, is not going to be a painless exercise for him.

Furthermore, it spells trouble for the government's landmark childcare reforms which, in an effort to reduce the administrative costs, want to provide subsidies to providers rather than parents -- even though this is exactly the type of provision that has been taken advantage of.

So can the indefatigable Birmo [Senator Birmingham] fix it? As much as I think it is sad for governments to blame their policy problems on governments three years gone, in this case it's definitely a tough one for the poor Minister. Good luck to him.


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

7 October, 2016

A dramatic, sudden loss of wind power generation was the root cause of South Australia’s state wide blackout last week

And no mystery about why the windmills failed.  They HAD to be shut down in high winds or they would have flown apart.  The report below corresponds exactly with my earlier diagnosis of the problem

And the bulk of damage to high voltage transmission lines that was caused by high winds and paraded as evidence to defend renewables most likely took place after the power had been lost.

These are the major facts contained in the Australian Energy Market Operator’s (AEMO) preliminary report:

Preliminary Report – Black System Event In South Australia On 28 September 2016 — Australian Energy Market Operator

More work is needed to flesh out the forensic, time sequenced analysis that has already been conducted.

But there is enough in the interim report to make the rush to defence of renewables mounted by special interest groups and conflicted state governments since the lights went look foolish.

Certainly, the power would not have been lost were it not for the big storm.

And seven big towers were damaged in the lead up to the blackout.

But AEMO said data currently available indicates that the damage to the Davenport to Brinkworth 275 kV line on which 14 towers were damaged "occurred following the SA Black System".

The big event was a 123 MW reduction in output from North Brown Hill Wind Farm, Bluff Wind Farm, Hallett Wind Farm and Hallett Hill Wind Farm at 16.18.09.

Seconds later there was an 86 MW reduction in output from Hornsdale wind farm and a 106 MW reduction in output from Snowtown Two wind farm.

No explanation was given for the reduction in wind farm output.

But the loss of wind farm production put too much pressure on the electricity interconnector with Victoria which cut off supply.

This in turn led to a shut down at the Torrens Island power station, Ladbroke Grove power station, all remaining wind farms and the Murraylink interconnector.

AEMO says a lot of work is needed to fully explore what happened.


Intolerance at Australian Universities too

Greg Sheridan

A sign of our energetic participation in the global madness is the vicious, ugly protest at the University of Sydney against an honorary doctorate for John Howard.

Without doubt, Howard is the greatest Australian prime minister since Menzies. His only serious competition is Bob Hawke, who was certainly a fine prime minister, but Howard puts Hawke in the shade for longevity and his extraordinary achievement in getting GST and securing the nation’s borders.

When I was an undergraduate at Sydney University back in the 1970s, a sizeable number of its academics supported Pol Pot, Mao Zedong and every other communist dictator. That made them all fellows in good standing in the university community. But a democratic giant like Howard — who won four elections perfectly peacefully, and lost two perfectly peacefully, and who has written two splendid books — is somehow or the other profoundly offensive to the newly authoritarian and deeply illiberal atmosphere dominant on our campuses.

The truly mad element here is that this is the new atmosphere of our campuses in repose. Previously they became deeply intolerant during some political crisis, such as the Vietnam War. Now they are intolerant all the time.


How Africans say "thank you" for Australia accepting them as refugees

Terrified families have set up armed patrols of their suburbs because they are living in fear of Apex gang members terrorising their suburbs in Melbourne.

And one woman has even revealed how the midnight attack on her home has left her too afraid to to either stay at home or to complete simple tasks like putting petrol in her car at night.

Paul, from Caroline Springs in the city's west, told Daily Mail Australia he didn't sleep for two-and-a-half days after his next door neighbour's home was targeted by a group of the young thugs.

'We had people coming through our street for five days after the first attack,' Paul said.

'They are pretty cocky I know of one incident where they sat on a family's brick fence and drank beer for thirty minutes after they robbed their home because they knew the cops would take a long time to come.

'They came through at all times day and night, took photos of houses and cars in the street, it made us feel like we could be the next target.'

Paul and his family left their home for eight days before reluctantly returning.

Louie lives in the same suburb and leaves his wife and two young children alone every night so he can help keep his neighbours safe.

'People are scared,' Louie told Daily Mail Australia. 'There is no hiding that they are worried, we are only on the street to help them.

'Everyone started for their own reasons, I started because my neighbour was broken into and her car was stolen.

'We weren't operating as a group at first but it just happened.'
CCTV from the neighbourhood where the patrol units are now operating shows a teenager looking over a tall fence during the day

CCTV from the neighbourhood where the patrol units are now operating shows a teenager looking over a tall fence during the day

The woman Louie spoke about is also a friend of Paul's. 'That lady is a widower and was too afraid to replace her car,' Paul said.

'She ended up losing $30,000 because she didn't want to drive an Audi anymore because she was afraid they would keep coming back.'

Paul calls the neighbourhood patrol guys every time he hears a disturbance.

'We are all fed up,' he said. 'We are fed up with being scared every time we hear a noise, one day someone is going to hurt one of these kids – and then they will be the one who pays for it.

'I think most of us are afraid we will do something extreme if we find them in our homes.'

Richa Walia, 26, told Daily Mail Australia she was asleep when her home was broken into by four Apex gang members.

'I was so scared I came down stairs and saw they had spoken to my parents, I have heard stories about them and thought they had hurt my mother and father.'

The attack happened in mid-July and she is still afraid in her home.  'It just isn't the same, I am afraid during the day and at night,' she said.  'You think you can be safe in your own home - well I don't feel like that anymore,' she said.

Four young men were involved in the break in - they stole two cars and a mobile phone after smashing through a window to get into the house.

'The were all holding weapons, two had baseball bats and two had metal poles,' she said. 'They were tall and really skinny and they were wearing hoodies and tracksuit pants. 'They were yelling at us to give them the car keys. 'I just wanted to do what they said so they wouldn't hurt us.'

Paul who is a father-of-two said the gangs hitting his neighbourhood are mostly African. 'There will be a group of like six Sudanese but sometimes there will be one or two white kids with them,' he said.

An official patrol group has been set up by residents after smaller groups set out to protect their own streets earlier this year.  Louie told Daily Mail Australia he never intended to be part of a big group but realised it was important to help keep everyone safe.

'We patrol 24 hours a day seven days a week,' he said. 'Police resources are spread too thin so we are here to help'. He just wants everybody in his community to feel safe.

'A lady called us the other day because she saw people looking through the windows of her house.

'We got there and she had already called the police. They didn't show up in the 45 minutes we were there. 'I understand they might have more important things to do but for this lady having a teenager looking through her window was important. It was the most important thing happening to her,' he said.

The group of patrol men don't take photos, use video cameras or weapons against the youths. 'We just show up when people call – as soon as the kids see us they just scatter.'

The patrol group was labelled as 'vigilantes' by police when they first started operating in the area. 'We tried to stop because we didn't want to get in trouble but we had so many messages calling for help we started up again,' Louie said.

Paul said he believes the patrol groups are leading to a decrease in violent offences in the area. 'I called the patrol group and the police when I heard a lady screaming the other night and the patrol was there in three minutes,' he said. 'The kids know they can't get away with doing things here now,'

Paul wants more support for victims. 'These poor people have to go back home and they can't sleep at night,' he said.

The damage they cause to people's families is horrific, they come into your home with knives and other weapons in front of you kids.  'These people need to be offered counselling if they have been targeted.'

Louie wants more police on the road. 'If there were more police we wouldn't need to be out there I'd be out there with the kids and wife.'

He said he feels torn leaving his family at night but doesn't know what else to do to keep them and others safe. 'She is scared I am leaving her on own, it has caused a lot of fights,' he said.

He would like offenders to be locked up and the local police station to be open 24-hours a day.

Three concerned fathers have told Daily Mail Australia their families have got a plan in place for when their home are attacked by the gang of youths.

Paul's children, who are 10 and 12, have been told if their house if under attack they need to make their way to the 'safe room'.


And then there are the charming Muslim immigrants

A Pakistani migrant taxi driver declared 'all Australian women are sluts and deserve to be raped', asked female passengers if they were virgins and 'groped' the thigh of a woman he picked up from a bar late at night, a tribunal has heard.

Western Sydney resident Afzal Nazir was found not to be a 'fit and proper person' to drive a taxi by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal on Wednesday.

The decision came after it heard harrowing details of five encounters female passengers had with him over just two months he spent behind the wheel, including him allegedly rubbing a frightened woman's leg before asking her out for curry.

One frightened female passenger who stepped into Mr Nazir's car said he was 'highly agitated' and ranted at her for 20 minutes, including 'that all Australian women are sluts and deserve to be raped because of the way they dress'.

'He said his wife would never dress like Aussie women do as she is a respectable person and has studied for many years,' tribunal senior member Geoffrey Walker said in his decision.

Mr Nazir told the woman he had paid $2000 to enter Australia and 'had not simply arrived on a boat and people should respect him'.

'He said Australians do not care about true relationships, they all want to f*** each other and then f*** them off.'

During his ravings, he began striking the steering wheel and 'yelling about how dumb Australian people are as they constantly mix up his race and said how stupid they could be, that they could not tell where he was from.'

He then detailed an incident with a drunk person the night before and said 'if that happened in his country he would pull out his AK 47 and put 14 bullets in his head' while pretending to fire a gun at her.

One female passenger said when she entered the taxi Mr Nazir told her: 'You're wearing pants so I am thinking you are a lesbian' and demanded she agree with him.

The tribunal heard another woman was picked up at a pub and he told her she looked 'hot' tonight, before asking if she had a boyfriend - and for her name, age and street address. The woman said he asked her 'why I was out alone if I'm such a 'hot' girl and then started rubbing her leg because it looked 'cold'.

Mr Nazir then took the car into an industrial area, the tribunal heard, and 'he asked her if she liked Indian food and whether she would like to go out for some curry'.

Another complaint detailed how he picked up two young women from Fannys nightclub, asked them why they were virgins. The complainant said when they asked him to stop talking about 'sexual relations... he simply laughed and kept talking about it'.

Roads and Maritime Service cancelled Mr Nazir's driving authorities in early 2012. He was also accused of putting a passenger in his boot and of being rude to a pregnant woman.

The tribunal ruled he was not a fit and proper person to drive a taxi - because he would be highly likely to receive future complaints.

He denied all the allegations and argued there might have been a series of misunderstandings, but the tribunal ruled that was 'improbable'.

'He has accepted no responsibility for his misconduct,' said tribunal senior member Prof Walker.


Amber Rudd rules out Australians having easier immigration to UK after Brexit

Hopes of Australians scoring easier access to live and work in the United Kingdom once Britain leaves the European Union have been dashed, with Home Secretary Amber Rudd, saying she has no plans to increase the UK's intake of Australian migrants.

The comments by Mrs Rudd, a prominent campaigner for Britain staying in the EU betray a split within the Tory cabinet over the idea, with the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson promising to campaign for change just last month at a joint media conference with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.

The UK will begin the process of leaving the European Union by March 30, 2017, and forge a unique relationship with the EU, says British Prime Minister Theresa May.

Mrs Rudd also poured cold water on the idea of a free movement zone for Brits and Australians, as is being pushed by former Prime Minister Tony Abbott who is in London and due to appear at a fringe event hosted by the conservative Spectator magazine on Tuesday local-time.

Prominent Leave campaigners including the conservative Member of European Parliament Daniel Hannan, raised the prospect during the EU Referendum campaign, in which the estimated 87,000 Australians living in Britain were entitled to vote. 

When asked by Fairfax Media if there was any chance free movement or relaxed visa requirements might become reality post-Brexit, Mrs Rudd ruled out the idea. "There are no plans to increase immigration from Australia," Mrs Rudd said.

The Home Secretary praised an existing visa young person's access scheme as "particularly very good."

Mrs Rudd said everything is under review but cautioned: "I do think that particular scheme does work very well so I wouldn't envisage any change," she said.

Mrs Rudd was a prominent campaigner for the Remain campaign but was appointed Home Secretary by Prime Minister Theresa May. Mrs May has been criticised for having not released details about how Britain's exit from the EU will take shape, apart from her now commonly mocked refrain "Brexit means Brexit."

Asked how difficult it was to sit in a Cabinet dominated by Leavers, shed told an audience at a fringe festival hosted by The Times she accepted the result. "We know some things about what Brexit means but there's a lot within that that we don't know, 'Brexit means Brexit' but there's a lot to be negotiated and discussed," she said.

The Home Secretary's comments are a blow for Australia which is urging the British government to relax its tough rules for lower-paid migrants but also in stark contrast to the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, a noted Australiaphile's recent commitment to campaign for change.

"To my mind, I think it will be a fantastic thing if we had a more sensible system … this is something where I think we can make progress and I am confident that we will," Mr Johnson said during a joint-media conference with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in London last month.

Australia believes its best chances of securing Australians an easier chance to work and live in the UK lie in any future trade deal which both countries are keen to strike once Britain leaves the EU.

"It is something that we were able to achieve with the United States and I certainly look forward to an increasing number of business visas, student visas and work visas between Australia and the UK. We have significant equities here. Australia is a significant investor in London in particular," Ms Bishop said at the same media conference.

In a bid to curb its migrant intake, the British government began deporting those who earn below £35,000 ($70,000) per year.  But because of its membership of the single market, it is obliged to allow in workers from EU member countries like Bulgaria and Romania, regardless of their skills.

Net migration to the UK in 2016 is 300,000 and well over the government's target of 100,000. Net migration from EU countries is 184,000, which is just short of the total for the 188,00 migrants from non-EU countries combined. Britain will be able to drastically cuts its migrant intake from EU countries once it formally leaves the union.

Mrs Rudd wants to reduce the net migration to the "tens of thousands" by 2020 when the next general election is due.

James Skinner from the Canadian-based Commonwealth Freedom of Movement Organisation said he placed more stock in the commitments made by the Foreign Ministers.

"If Mrs Rudd has no plans to promote free movement or relax visas at this time, she certainly will in the near future," Mr Skinner said.

"Over 164,000 people have signed our online petition for free movement between the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, and only recently, Boris Johnson and Julie Bishop discussed the tremendous potential for visa liberalisation between the UK and Australia. "

"Mrs Rudd's comments are certainly unrepresentative of the general population."

Prime Minister Theresa May will formally trigger Article 50, the formal process for leaving the EU in March 2017. Britain will have two-years to negotiate its exit but Cabinet Ministers have suggested it could occur sooner than 2019.


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

6 October, 2016

Abbott injects dose of realism on Australia-China relationship

Bob Carr is a prominent Leftist but he says the conservative view of China is better than the Labor party one:

Australia’s recent anti-China panic seems to challenge any prospect of a positive relationship with Beijing.

All hysterias exhaust themselves in excess, as this one did when an unnamed spook alleged Chinese espionage around iron ore negotiations when, in fact, the price is set by the spot market and has been for five years.

What’s left to the two nations, when Beijing is said to be stirring pro-Mao rallies to destabilise our politics and wrecking our census website out of pure spite? Both were colourful inventions. Or, just as bizarre, directing its one million tourists to work as spies. What’s left — apart from a Cold War?

Yet Tony Abbott’s speech in New York ("History haunts us in China: Abbott", 1-2/10) relegated Cold War instinct about China and embraced foreign policy realism. This is a significant intervention.

It seems to chime with the views of his successor Malcolm Turnbull and Liberal icon John Howard and embodies the prevailing thinking about China on the conservative side of Australian politics: a generally positive view of the Australia-China relationship. It draws a line with the harshly negative view of China.

The realism? Abbott is prepared to say, "America shouldn’t expect predominance in East Asia any more than it did throughout Europe during the Cold War". This seems just a shade short of saying US primacy or dominance in Asia cannot be counted on forever.

Certainly Abbott was quick to underline the US’s continuing role in preserving freedom of navigation and its alliance relationships. But he also seems at one with Turnbull and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in not snapping to salute US admirals who drop clanging hints that Australia should run patrols in the 12 nautical mile radius of Chinese-claimed territory. Abbott did not take their hints in government; and he did not advocate it in his speech.

It is still possible to recognise the dangers in the US-China relationship — the Thucydides trap, the tension between a rising and an established power. Yet Abbott resists alarmism. He says "the more capacity China gains to challenge the US, the more it has to lose in any conflict".

This echoes Howard’s realism about the South China Sea: Howard foresees a long period of on-and-off tension but without a descent into conflict, rather like tension over the Taiwan Straits in the 1950s and 60s.

Abbott refers positively to the free trade agreement negotiated by Andrew Robb and sealed during the visit of President Xi Jinping to Australia in 2014. He makes the point it was the first between China and a big advanced ­economy.

For the first time, he nominates as one of his achievements Australia’s decision to join the Chinese-led Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank. He invokes the argument "you shouldn’t insist China plays by the rules only to reject it when it does".

And — this is a forceful comment, source considered — he says it is a pity that the US and Japan have declined to join. By implication, it was the wrong call of the White House to lobby allies, something the US administration would probably now admit.

Leading Australia into the bank against the advice of the US President remains an important symbol that Australia can make a China policy without reference to Washington; that we can run a China policy based on national interest.

This places Abbott at odds with commentary on China from Peter Jennings of Australian Strategic Policy Institute and former public servants Paul Dibb and Paul Monk, who have written in The Australian.

His prescription for "constant dialogue" with China, using ­forums such as the East Asia Summit, confirms this. Here is the short-term antidote to strategic mistrust. The so-called "comprehensive strategic partnership" his government concluded with the Chinese leadership fits this pattern of engagement — engagement, not isolation, not containment.

Significantly, he acknowledges internal debate in China over foreign policy — the possibility of an evolution about which the West should not be naive nor blind.

More and more Chinese people travel, study and work abroad. The figure is 100 million a year — which is the biggest difference between China today and earlier Marxist-Leninist models.

It is common sense that, in ­Abbott’s words, this must feed "the taste of freedom".

He says market freedom produces social freedom, academic freedom and finally a measure of political freedom even if, in its first stages, it is political choice under the umbrella of the Communist Party.

This might be optimistic but it’s a prognosis that accords with the Western expectation that when a country is predominantly middle class, as China will be in the 2020s, its politics cannot continue locked in authoritarian mode.

Nothing here would be at odds with the instincts of Abbott’s successor, Turnbull. Realist and pragmatic, it can be considered the ruling wisdom on China of Australian conservatism. It is a more confident and studied position than Labor in opposition has yet produced.


Huge Police goon Hurley under fire again

Best known for droppping his big knee on a black guy's stomach, splitting his liver and killing him.  But his fellow cops contaminated the investigation so he got off

Controversial Queensland cop Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley has been charged with three additional assault charges at the start of a two-day trial on the Gold Coast.

Hurley is facing trial in Southport Magistrates Court over a 2013 incident in which he allegedly grabbed a motorist by the throat.

He had been charged with one count of common assault over the incident but three further counts were added at the start of the trial.

He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Hurley was acquitted of the manslaughter of Palm Island man Cameron Doomadgee in 2007.

The trial is expected to conclude on Thursday.


Racist policy at ANU

Discriminating against the Han.  American Ivy league universities do the same.

Australia's top-ranked global university is moving to lower its proportion of Chinese international students, a group it describes as "dominating" international student numbers.

Documents unearthed in a freedom of information request reveal the Australian National University has since 2015 quietly implemented a "diversification strategy" in an attempt to lower its share of Chinese enrolments.

ANU has the largest proportion of Chinese students in the Group of Eight universities. Over 60 per cent of its commencing international undergraduate enrolments were from China in 2016.

The documents, obtained by ANU student newspaper Woroni, reveal the university has been concerned about the financial risk of heavy dependence on the Chinese market.

There was a need to "mitigate potential risk exposure in the event of market downturn," Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington is recorded as saying in the minutes of a February 2016 ANU Council meeting.

The diversification strategy aims to recruit students from other nations such as India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Singapore.

But the documents reveal mixed success for this strategy, with enrolment from only Singapore and India growing since the implementation of the diversification plan in early 2015. Enrolments from those countries grew by 8 per cent and 24.7 per cent respectively. 

However, in the past five years, enrolments from Chinese students have grown from 42.1 per cent of the international student intake to 59.1 per cent in 2016.

"The University remains exposed to the Chinese international market," a report dated May 2015 said. "Diversification strategies at College and Central level are addressing this issue, but will take time to make a meaningful impact," it said.

 Anne Baly, Director International for ANU, told Fairfax Media the university was motivated mainly by creating a diverse, internationalised student body.

"I suspect ANU is not totally alone in this," she said. "We welcome and actively recruit the best and brightest students from around the world. For us, having a student body that is reflective of the global community at large is great for all students."

Ms Baly said over-reliance on any one country for international students "in itself is not a great business model, but I think that the driver behind this is about diversity. It's not like we're moving away from recruiting students from China. They are overwhelmingly great students to have."

There had been no particular problems with racial tension between groups on the campus, Ms Baly said.

But she said concentrations of students from any one country makes it "hard to provide them with the international experience", because they tended to socialise and work within their language group.

"We would be looking to encourage a broader group of students across all disciplines as well."

The uni was pursuing its diversification strategy through marketing in other countries and pursuing student exchanges through partnership agreements, she said.

ANU International Students department president Harry Feng said he was unaware of the diversification strategy, but said "I am not concerned as long as all the applicants… are treated fairly with the same set of standards."

ANU has agreements with hundreds of overseas education agencies who act as middlemen in the recruitment of ANU international students. One of the FOI documents, a May 2015 report on the diversification strategy, indicates the university management was aware of the need to improve the management of such agents.

In 2015, an ABC Four Corners investigation exposed the sometimes corrupt and fraudulent activities of Chinese education agents, including some representing ANU.

Ms Baly said the university worked through reputable education agents and managed such relationships very carefully.

Several issues involving pro-Beijing Chinese students at ANU have made the news this year, including an incident where the head of a Chinese student group allegedly bullied a campus pharmacy worker over displaying the Falun Gong-linked paper The Epoch Times in the shop.

Chinese dissident and ANU maths student Wu Lebao told the Australian Financial Review he was forced to move out of a flat he sublet from fellow Chinese students after they discovered his political views. A Chinese PhD student at ANU drew attention for creating a pro-Communist party nationalist video that went viral online.

The university also launched an investigation into students using essay cheating services advertising online in Mandarin in January. 

Andrew Norton from the Grattan Institute said universities were exposed when overly dependent on international students from a single market.

"As a general rule, heavy financial reliance on an international source country does have risks – we saw this with Indian students a few years ago, when bad publicity about crime in Australia, a high dollar and changes to visa rules combined to reduce student numbers," he said.

"There is also the risk that political factors overseas make it harder for students to travel overseas or economic problems in their country make foreign education less affordable."

ANU was Australia's top-ranked global university in the 2016 QS World Rankings and second highest in this year's Times World University Rankings. International students' enrolment decisions are typically influenced heavily by global rankings.


Resources Minister Matt Canavan says the abuse of Australia's legal system by green groups seeking to delay mining projects warrants a "fundamental" review of environmental law.

Senator Canavan on Wednesday used a Queensland Media Club luncheon speech to take aim at activists who harbour an anti-development ideology.

He said a leaked document from a NSW green group in 2011 laid bare their "disrupt and delay" strategy, calling for significant investment in legal challenges.

"We have to be very clear that this is an abuse of our legal system," Senator Canavan said.

"Our legal system is there to provide legitimate avenues for people of that view that government decisions, that industry decisions are harming them or are not taking into account proper environmental needs."

Senator Canavan said recent court decisions had dismissed conservationists' concerns about negative impacts on the environment or projects not stacking up economically.

"We still believe fundamentally as a government that our environmental laws need reform," he said.

It was only last week that Queensland's highest court dismissed a conservationist group's latest appeal against Hancock Coal's proposed Alpha coalmine.

Coast and Country has been fighting the Gina Rinehart and GVK mine in court since 2013 and may consider a high court challenge against the last week's ruling.

Adani's Carmichael coal mine has also faced a long string of legal challenges from green groups, while a legal challenge to New Hope's Acland expansion is currently winding up after seven months in the Land Court.

Senator Canavan argued that if governments did not open up resources-rich areas, other competitors would supply products to developing countries.


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

5 October, 2016

African gang members adorning Melbourne again

Three carjackers conducted a brazen robbery at a shopping mall on Monday, pulling a man from his vehicle and making off with it.

The trio approached a man in his gold 2010 Toyota Yaris at the Southland shopping centre in Cheltenham, Melbourne before hauling him from the car and taking his phone.

They had travelled to the area in a white Toyota Hilux that had earlier been stolen from nearby Dingley Village before dumping it to steal the Yaris.

All three men got into the Yaris and drove away leaving the man shaken but uninjured.

It is believed the offenders stole a set of number plates nearby and continued driving. The stolen plates have registration number 1CE 6TU.

Kingston Crime Investigation Unit detectives are appealing for public assistance following the two car thefts


Job advert that explicitly asks for 'applicants of Aboriginal descent' sparks furious 'discrimination' backlash

The Left are obsessed with race and you can guess that they are pulling the strings here

Job advertisements which say only Indigenous people need apply have been labelled 'discrimination' by a talkback radio host.

Recruitment and labour hire company New Start Australia advertised a series of casual positions on the jobseeker website Indeed at the weekend.

'This is an Indigenous-identified position,' said the notices, which advertised casual positions in Carole Park, Queensland and Derrimut, Victoria. 

'Applicants must be of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander decent (sic) (pursuant to Section 14 (d) of the Anti-discrimination act'.

Radio 3AW Mornings host Neil Mitchell told his listeners he was torn over the advertisements.

'The initial reaction is that's fair enough, there's certainly an employment problem amongst Indigenous people.

'Then I think yeah but hang on, if I'm not Indigenous and I'm a storeman and I'm looking for a job and I see that I'd be very annoyed and put out by it.  'It's positive discrimination, if you like, but it is discrimination... I haven't seen it put quite so blatantly before'.

The report sparked a backlash on social media: 'Imagine if it was reversed!' said one listener.

'Reverse racism is such a nice thing. Bloody disgraceful,' said another. 'Very Racist against white Ausstraalians (sic),' a third added.

New Start Australia is Indigenous owned and says on its website it 'acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the lands on which we work'. It specialises in Indigenous labour hire, recruitment, policy management and consultation.

There have been discrimination exemptions for advertising jobs only for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders since about the 1980s.

Warren Mundine, from the Prime Minister's Indigenous Advisory Council, said the last Closing the Gap report showed Indigenous employment going backwards.

Mr Mundine told 3AW he understood some people would be annoyed at the job ad. 'I'd understand that and I think that's a bit justified as well

'This is an attempt to help out in that process, get more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people into jobs.'


Biting back at the political correctness brigade

IT appears that the tide of political correctness that has engulfed Australian society in recent years (less so in Queensland than the southern states) may be in retreat.

Two recent events suggest that this is so.

The first is the debate over the use of shark nets at Ballina and on the NSW north coast.

The second is the dramatic decline in the popularity of the Baird coalition government in NSW, primarily due to Premier Mike Baird’s decision to ban greyhound racing in that state.

The genesis of both these events lies in the lobbying of so-called "animal rights activists" — a particularly fanatical branch of the political correctness brigade. (The term animal rights is a misnomer, only human beings can possess rights).

The original decisions not to install nets to protect surfers and swimmers from sharks (despite numerous attacks and deaths in the Ballina area) and to ban greyhound racing came about as a result of Premier Baird’s capitulation to the animal rights lobby.

"Animal rights" ideology has serious consequences — deaths, injuries and the destruction of people’s livelihoods — but political correctness demands that such consequences be accepted and/or ignored.

Until recently it was virtually impossible to have a proper public debate about these issues, and politicians who opposed the doctrines of political correctness were reluctant to speak out.

This is understandable. Political correctness is well entrenched in certain sections of the media, academia and in large corporations and its proponents are expert in conducting vicious campaigns on the internet designed to destroy and render unemployable anyone who disagrees with them. Even powerful media figures like Eddie McGuire cower and apologise profusely in the face of such campaigns.

The recent debates over shark nets and greyhound racing, however, have broken new ground.

These debates have actually focused on the flawed premises of the animal rights programs and, more importantly, a number of politicians have publicly joined the fray on the side of common sense.

On the shark net issue, commentators have written articles pointing out that the fundamental premise of the "animal rights" campaign — namely that there is no qualitative difference between human beings and animals and that both should be treated in the same fashion — is patently false.

They have also pointed out that the alternative taxpayer funded, high tech solutions advocated by the animal rights lobby — for example the use of drones and a shark app — are wildly expensive and ineffective. (One can just picture a young surfer off Ballina pulling his dripping wet iPhone out of his board shorts to learn from the shark app that he is to be devoured by a white pointer in approximately 10 seconds).

More importantly, a number of politicians have made public statements to the same effect. Josh Frydenberg, the Federal Minister for the Environment, stated that the safety of humans should prevail over the welfare of sharks and urged Premier Baird to install shark nets on the north coast of NSW. The Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, offered to assist Baird in extending the Gold Coast shark net system (which has reduced shark attacks to nil) down the NSW coast.

On the greyhound issue, sections of the media have been even more outspoken. A substantial media campaign is being waged in Queensland and NSW to force Premier Baird to reverse his decision to ban greyhound racing. As well as pointing out the unfairness and dire economic consequences of the ban, media commentators have also pointed out that the ban may well lead to additional cruelty to greyhounds and that the compensation package will cost NSW taxpayers a fortune.

Many politicians have criticised the decision, including Prime Minister Turnbull (who pointed out that rabbits — used in live baiting — are a pest which farmers had been killing for years) and Luke Foley, the NSW Opposition Leader. Baird has also been strongly criticised by members of his own party and National Party politicians. In fact, it appears that Baird and the Leader of the National Party may well be facing a mutiny if the greyhound ban is not reversed.

The public outcry on both of these issues has also been significant.

Ordinary voters, by and large, do not subscribe to the doctrines of political correctness, and certainly not in their most extreme animal rights form. They know, as a matter of common sense, that human beings matter more than animals, and they quite rightly resent funding expensive, futile schemes to satisfy the selfish wishes of minority groups.

Recent polls show that Premier Baird’s approval ratings have plummeted dramatically, and his government may well lose the upcoming Orange by-election.

The other thing that the recent polls reflect is that voters deeply resent the unilateral imposition of policies upon which they have not been consulted and for which they have not specifically voted.

These recent events show how important it is for commentators, politicians and voters to oppose government policies based on doctrines of political correctness.

If each of the above groups, particularly politicians, forcefully oppose such policies then it is possible to prevent fanatical fringe groups from imposing their extreme views on the general community.

It remains to be seen, however, whether political correctness is sufficiently in retreat to compel Premier Baird to reverse his policies on the use of shark nets and the banning of greyhound racing.


Greens propose new burden for taxpayers

They really do seem to think money grows on trees

Battery storage systems fitted to homes and businesses would have helped South Australians who lost power during the severe storms, the Greens say.

The Greens are pushing for a national policy that would give Australians a tax credit of up to $5000 to help with the cost of battery storage for solar energy systems.

"Bringing a battery boom to South Australia will give households and small businesses the energy security that they need," SA Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young said in a statement.

"Renewable energy coupled with battery storage is the future and will help to keep energy demand sustainable while bringing much needed jobs to our state."

The policy also includes a grant scheme for low-income earners, with the grants capped at $5000 per household in the first year of the policy.

The Greens estimate that if the policy were enacted, up to 1.2 million homes across Australia would take up the scheme.

"Battery storage technology is on the verge of major breakthroughs when it comes to capacity and cost," she said.

"This scheme would help South Australian households adopt an emerging technology while also supporting innovation in Australia."

It comes in the aftermath of storms that caused state-wide blackouts across South Australia, sparking a political debate over energy security.

Senator Hanson-Young said it's time for action, not cheap talk and political point-scoring.

"No amount of hot air from blowhard politicians in Canberra will power our state into the future," she said.

"It's time we got real about tackling dangerous global warming and giving South Australians the energy security that they need."


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

4 October, 2016

Lake Tyers update

White do-gooders have for decades been tearing their hair out trying to find some way of "lifting" Aborigines out of what is perceived as their very bad living conditions.  Everything from paternalism to liberty has been tried.  But nothing changes.

There was a experiment in 1970 in Victoria arising from the perception that Aborigines were a rural people who should adapt well to existence as farmers.  So a large tract of land at scenic Lake Tyers was given to them and various funds were allocated to get the enterprise up and running.

But the whole thing very soon became a tale of woe. The existing farm was neglected and nearly all the residents went on to welfare. And what money there was "disappeared".  By any estimation, the whole scheme was an abject failure. 

But the Victorian government was not prepared to give up -- and so reverted to paternalism.  White administrators were hired to run the place and white contractors were hired to provide services.  That, however, just froze a bad situation into place.  And that situation limps on to this day.  Below is a 2015 account from one of the Lake Tyers people

At the beginning of October, I packed up my family and we made the move ‘home’. 

The house is fairly new, but the place is old.  It has a lot of history, and not all of it is good.  Lake Tyers is a former Aboriginal Reserve, started up in 1861 as a place to keep Aboriginal people separated and under strict control, but today, is freehold land that was returned in 1971 to the residents.  My paternal Grandfather, Charlie Carter, was a member of the group of residents who marched with Pastor Doug Nicholls on Melbourne in protest when the mission was threatened with closure at the end of the 60’s, and in his role as eventual Chairman of the Committee they formed, stood and received the deeds when they won their fight and the Governor General of the day, Rohan Delacombe, formally handed back the land to the people in a ceremony held just a short walk from where I sit right now.
On the day, my Grandfather was smiling and happy.  He told the people who gathered to witness the handover that "we won’t let you down", and, for a long time, he was good to his word.  Ask any of the residents or former residents from that day who are still alive what they remember of life at Lake Tyers before he died, and you will be told that life out here was much, much better. 

My Grandfather was a smart man, a tough man, and a very determined man.  Sadly, he didn’t live for a long time after the land was handed back, but thought he had fought long enough, hard enough, and won the battle that would mean his children and grandchildren and the generations that came after them would always have this place.  A piece of security and a home for eternity, never again to be threatened or taken away.  That was his dream, and the dream of all the families who lived here - almost all of whom are related to me today through blood or marriage.  My Grandfather was a man who’d lived with the threat of being forced from the land he knew, that he was very much a part of, and it was an intolerable position that he wanted to ensure he protected his family against ever having to worry about.

This was done in two ways.  First - the 4,000 acres went into a Trust, with shares given to every Man, Woman and Child who was a resident at the time.  My Grandfather received shares, as did all his children and so did many other members of my extended family.  Second – there were rules put in place around ownership and transfer of these shares.  Unlike NAB shares or BHP shares, they couldn’t be sold for money or any other kind of consideration, and those who had shares had strict limitations on who they could give their shares to. Only the original residents and shareholders or their bloodline descendants were eligible to receive them, a simple rule that meant it would always pass down to the rightful heirs.  I wasn’t born until two years after this all happened, so did not receive any shares from this initial handout myself.  A little over a decade ago though, my Aunt, who had received shares in the initial handout as a child in 1971, decided to transfer almost all of her shares to those of us in my generation, and as a result, I was the recipient of 100 of her shares.  Or so I thought.

The day I signed the lease for my property, I was also hoping to sign some paperwork to accept the nominations I had received and take a place on the Committee here.  Enter the first stumbling block.  After my paperwork was examined by a man from the Koori Justice Department purporting to hold authority on these matters, I was informed that the Land Council had ruled that the year of my share transfer (2003) deemed me ineligible and as such I was not a shareholder as I thought, and therefore could not take a Committee position. I am not the first, as story after story has been recounted to me by relatives, given the same spiel when they try to assert their rights, yet the Share Register is full of names that don’t belong and people that should never be eligible to hold shares.  There is no avenue of appeal offered for the decisions that have been made, and no opportunity for those who have been excluded to prove their rightful title to this land today.

So even with just two simple rules, and basic principles to underpin them, it all fell apart in less than 40 years.  We may not be able to sell the land, but that is not the only way to make a dollar out of a place like this.

4,000 acres is a lot of land, and not everyone can resist temptation.  Whitefellas and blackfellas alike are both susceptible to greed, and self-determination took a huge step back when the Government had to step in and take charge after one Chairman was caught with his hand in the till – years after they had received information about his misdeeds.  Perhaps they didn’t want to go in heavy handed and create another ‘wasted Aboriginal money scandal’ that they could ill afford at the time, perhaps they didn’t want to seem like they were meddling – whatever the reason for their delay, the end result of their apathy was a greater sum of taxpayer money lost ensuring that when action was taken, it was more severe and far-reaching in the lives of those people who were left behind.  The benefactor of the fraud was banished and no longer allowed to reside here, but the rest of the residents – who received no benefit from his actions nor had any power or control in the community to make the decisions – had to live with the daily consequences of his actions.  The Government stepped in and took power, appointing various people over the more than decade of their rule here to run the day-to-day affairs of the Trust and promised solutions if given power, money and control over an extended period of time to get it done. 

The media releases will tell you that the Government has poured money and effort into this place – millions of it in fact.  A ’10 year Renewal Project’ that was supposed to help improve the place and, as a priority, they would train the people to eventually take over and run this place themselves and attain ‘Self-Determination’.  Instead, the 10 years has ended, and things are not much better than they were a decade ago.  There will be no outcry at the waste of taxpayer money this time though, it was not stolen by a greedy black man but instead funnelled by stealth into wasted programs that provided not hope and change to the people here, but proved useful instead as a means to give kickbacks to the salaried army of contractors and bureaucrats who learnt to make the various schemes work for them instead.

Since coming ‘home’, I’ve seen the real face of racism.  It’s not a foul-mouthed or ill-behaved child at a football match -  as some would lead you to believe, but instead, it’s the disenfranchisement of a whole group of people based on their race, location and history - who have less education, less money and less support than their detractors.  I now see it all day, every day.  From the police officer who attended here and, instead of taking the complaint from the victim who was doused in petrol as I thought he would, gave advice consisting of "wash your clothes and forget about it" before leaving – to the graffiti some filth sprayed on our bus stop the other day that read ‘fucking coons’ – they never let you forget what you are living out here. 

We’re probably not what you’d imagine when you’d think of a remote Aboriginal community, but we are in many ways very isolated.  The term the Government folk were using at one point was ‘discrete community’ – though it hardly seems appropriate.  The closest well-populated town with services like supermarkets and a police station is Lakes Entrance, about a half an hours drive each way, or you can take the 17 kilometre drive to the closest general store - if you don’t mind paying $5 a loaf for your bread.  I use the word drive because that is your only option out.  There is no public transport within about 15 kilometres, the distance from the residential area of Lake Tyers out to the nearest bus stop (a limited service Vline route), with a State Park surrounding you and only the one road in and out.  There once was a community owned bus or two here that took residents out regularly that either couldn’t drive, didn’t have a license, or couldn’t afford a car.  Like the Cattle Enterprise though, you’re not allowed to ask about what happened to them, or where the money went from the sale of those assets.  There is no transparency, no accountability, and for now, that suits the status quo.  If the books were ever opened on this place, I assure you there would be scandal after scandal revealed and waste of taxpayer money in the millions.  If you set foot out here you'll see the beneficiaries are not the Aboriginal people who will be blamed and suffer the consequences when the losses are finally tallied, but instead, the real winners are the army of salaried contractors and government employees who drive in and out of here on weekdays and rely on this place not improving as their means of financial stability for themselves long term.

I don’t know what will become of this blog, or of my future here.  As far as the blog goes, I have very limited internet access for now, but my wish is to write more and post it up when I can.  Not only because people need to know what is going on in places like this, but also in the hope that by speaking up, some questions just might get asked.


Another Muslim charmer

Taxi driver banned for 'threatening to rape and kill government staff' is charged with drink driving

A taxi driver who lost his license after he allegedly told staff at the Transport Department he would come to their home and rape and kill them is now being accused of numerous alcohol and drug offences.

Abdul Qadir will face a lengthy list of charges at the Darwin Local Court later this month, including driving while under the influence of alcohol, consuming liquor in an alcohol protected area, bringing liquor into a protected area, recklessly endangering serious harm and driving without due care, according to the NT News.

He is also charged with possessing cannabis in a public place, possessing a dangerous drug, breaching bail and entering Aboriginal land without permits.

Qadir, who recently had his bail conditions changed so he can travel to Pakistan, was a taxi driver for nine years before he lost his license in 2014.

He appealed the Transport Department's decision to remove his license but the Supreme Court sided with the government staff, ruling that Qadir had been the subject of many complaints, including 'overcharging, rudeness, failure to produce records and other matters.'

He is also accused of threatening to harm two transportation staff members. 'I know where you live. Do you have a boyfriend because I'm going to come around and f**k you?' Qadir allegedly told a female employee on the phone.

He allegedly told a male employee that he was going to kill him before hanging up on him.  Qadir is due back to court on October 17.


Baby boom ends as Australian economy slows

Hmmm  ... The Australian economy is not exactly "slow".  It is still growing but perhaps a little more slowly.  Demand for coal is down but demand for iron, lithium and dairy products is up

The Peter Costello baby boom is over with the number of births falling across the country in a development experts believe is driven by concerns about the economy.

And though the number of newborns has fallen to its lowest in four years, the number of people dying is at record highs in a demographic one-two punch.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show the number of children born across the country last year fell to its lowest in four years.

In WA there was a fall in the number of births for the first time since 2001.

Births soared nationally between 2004 and 2010, helped by the Howard government’s baby bonus, good economic times and an influx of migrants drawn to Australia because of the way it weathered the global financial crisis. But since 2010 total births have lifted just 0.6 per cent across the country while the number of deaths has hit a new high.

In WA, births continued to grow on the back of the mining construction boom to 2014. Over the past five years, the number of deaths in WA has grown at a faster rate than births, with a record 14,582 people dying in the State last year.

Amanda Davies, a senior lecturer in planning and geography at Curtin University, said not even WA’s slightly more youthful population profile was shielding it from the events driving the downward trend.

She said sudden falls in fertility were often linked to downturns in consumer sentiment.

"This data could be indicating that a combination of consumer uncertainty about the economy together with uncertainty about Government policies regarding child care and parental leave are impacting people’s decisions to start families or expand their families," Dr Davies said.

WA’s population growth rate at 1.2 per cent is now half of even the most pessimistic forecasts for the State on which major planning documents and decisions have been based.

Bankwest chief economist Alan Langford said across the nation there was a substantial slowdown in the number of births. "As the mini baby-boom has ended, births per thousand head of population have dropped back again and are now not much above their mid-2000s trough," he said.

Some of the biggest falls in births have been in NSW and Victoria where the prices of homes in Sydney and Melbourne have rocketed.

NSW births peaked at 101,000 in 2012 and last year had fallen to a little over 96,000. Baby numbers have fallen in NSW, Queensland, SA and Tasmania since the start of the decade.

Despite the fall in the number of births, the nation’s overall population continues to grow, driven by immigration.

CommSec chief equities economist Craig James said the sharp lift in house prices might be playing into the falling birth numbers.

"People sometimes have to make a choice in these areas and they may be deciding to put money into buying a house rather than having another child," Mr James said.


Tony Abbott urges open slather post-Brexit trade with UK

Former prime minister Tony Abbott is proposing a comprehensive free-trade deal between Australia and Britain to be negotiated now and come into force on the day Britain formally leaves the EU.

Under Mr Abbott’s proposal, it would be both the most complete, and simplest, free-trade deal Australia has engaged in. "There should be no tariffs or quotas whatsoever on any goods traded between our two countries — there should be no exceptions, no carve-outs, nothing," he will tell a high powered London business breakfast tomorrow.

The second big element of his proposed deal is "full recognition of each country’s credentials and standards".

The objective, Mr Abbott believes, should be "an entirely seamless economic relationship based on free entry of goods, ­mutual recognition of services and standards, and easy entry of qualified people".

He will argue that "if a motor car (say) could be registered in the UK, it should be registrable in Australia; if a trade qualification (say) was recognised in Australia, it should be recognised here".

Mr Abbott pronounces himself an enthusiastic convert to Britain’s decision to leave the EU.

"Post-Brexit, the stockmarket’s up, employment’s up and economic growth is up; the pound’s down, but that should more than compensate for any tariffs that the EU is foolish enough to impose," Mr Abbott will say.

He hails Brexit as the British people taking back their country and lists a slew of advantages for economic management in Britain as a result, among them that no new Brussels directives will apply, British courts will no longer be subject to European courts and Britain will no longer need to admit everyone with an EU passport. He does not believe any British Australia free-trade agreement should wait on any broader European deal.

Free-trade deals involving the whole of the EU are notoriously slow and difficult processes.

Mr Abbott challenges the ­European practice of trying to harmonise regulations and standards across Europe and proposes instead mutual recognition as a much simpler, more effective way of creating an agreement between Australia and Britain.

Such an agreement, he will say, could be a template for the kinds of free-trade agreements Britain could easily do with Singapore and New Zealand.

He sees no reason why negotiators should delay getting the agreements worked out soon, even if they don’t take effect until Britain formally leaves the EU, which will happen two years after it triggers the formal commitment to depart.

"Because Australia and Britain are like-minded countries with similar systems and comparable standards of living, there should be no need for tortuous negotiation and labyrinthine detail," he will tell a UK Australia Chamber of Commerce breakfast

The former prime minister believes Australia and Britain could achieve almost free movement of people between the two nations.

"For the first time in a generation, Aussies shouldn’t face a passport queue at Heathrow," he will say.  "Britons and Australians already have more than 200 years’ experience of each other, so why not allow them more freely to travel and work in each other’s country, provided no one’s bludging."

This reference presumably means that Mr Abbott would envisage restrictions on visitors receiving welfare payments.

Mr Abbott believes Brexit offers enormous opportunities. "Both Britain and Australia should be looking for a quick win."


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


3 October, 2016

A Greenie tool hits blowback

I have no sympathy at all with the dead Greenie described below.  He was the tool of oppressive Greenie regulations that were interfering with a farmer's livelihood.  He knew that the regulations he was enforcing were causing great grief in the farming community but he continued being at the cutting edge of those regulations.  One hopes that a decent man would have resigned instead of continuing as an instument of tyranny.  But he continued in his role and paid a just price for it.

And there was no need for the heartburn.  If Greenies and their representatives had always insisted that farmers be compensated for financial losses inflicted on them by new regulations, there would have been very little anger.  But Greenies hate people and treated farmers as if they were cockroaches to be trodden on.  In their great arrogance they were as contemptous of farmers as they are of people generally.  To them, farmers were not people with feelings and interests but noxious pests interfering with their dreams of a new Eden.

Greenies depend on the peacable nature of ordinary decent people to get their regulations obeyed but on this occasion one elderly farmer cracked.  I would be delighted if there were more incidents like it.  We had enough Fascism in the 20th century to put us off all Fascism forever, including Ecofascism

ROBERT Strange is a haunted man. Hunted like an animal for 20 minutes by a man hellbent on killing, as his mate and colleague slowly bled out through three gunshot wounds, he lived a nightmare which still shocks him from his sleep.

It’s two years since Rob cradled dying environment protection officer Glen Turner in his arms in the dark on the dirt of a remote road outside a property at Croppa Creek, near Moree.

Glen had been shot three times by 78-year-old farmer Ian Turnbull: a man hellbent on revenge, and who will die in prison.

"He shot an innocent man, twice," Robert, the only witness to the murderous 20-minute game of cat-and-mouse Turnbull played with the pair, tells Sunday Night journalist Steve Pennells, who has also gained the first interview with Glen’s wife, Alison.

"He went there with the sole intention of killing Glen."
Glen Turner died in his colleague’s arms, survived by wife Alison, and two children. Picture: Channel 7

Glen Turner died in his colleague’s arms, survived by wife Alison, and two children. Picture: Channel 7Source:Supplied

In his first media interview since the murder, Robert fights tears as he reveals in chilling detail the panicked, macabre cat-and-mouse chase as Turnbull took down the man he had been fixated on after a long-running dispute with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, Glen’s employer, over illegal landclearing.

Land was a valuable commodity to Turnbull, the patriarch of a rich and powerful farming family in an area which boasts some of the most fertile land in Australia.

It was Glen’s job to police the clearing of native forest the area. Turnbull had done just that, illegally, and wound up in court.

By the time Turnbull had been fined $140,000 plus costs over the illegal clearing in 2011, Glen had become, in his mind, his nemesis, the focus of a hate bordering on obsession.

And Turnbull was to prove a merciless, and deadly enemy.

The pair hadn’t seen each other for almost two years until that fateful day on July 29, 2014, when Glen and Rob headed to Croppa Creek to take pictures of stacks of burning vegetation, evidence of fresh land clearing.

Late afternoon, Turner got wind they were there, picked up a pump action shotgun and got in his ute.

And the bloody nightmare began.

Rob fights tears recounting the horror as Turnbull got out of the ute, shotgun pointed, and advanced on them wordlessly.

He was 15 metres away when he fired. The first shot struck Glen’s cheek. The second hit high in his left shoulder. First the head, then the heart.

The gun swung towards Rob. Turnbull told him to get back, and drop his camera.

Cowering with his stricken mate behind their own vehicle, Rob pleaded they were unarmed. "I need to get him help, I need to get him out," Rob begged.

Turnbull replied the only way Glen was leaving was in a body bag.

And the stalking began. Rob would encourage a heavily-bleeding Glen forward or back behind the vehicle to shield them. Turnbull would follow.

At one point Rob felt the gunshots whistle past his ears ands the words: "I told you to f****g get back. I will kill you."

It went on for 20 minutes as the life sapped from Glen. "He was croaky, but still doing everything I told him to. Every time I told him to move forward or back and crouch, he did," says Rob.

As darkness closed in, Turnbull seemed "frustrated" he hadn’t "done what he wanted to do", Rob says.

"If he’d any sense of compassion he would have let us go," he says. "He went there with the sole intention of killing Glen Turner, and he wasn’t leaving until he did."

As the light slipped away, Glen knew he was dying, and made a break for it. Turnbull raised the gun. "I just said ‘oh no’," Rob says, as Turnbull shot Glen in the back as he ran towards a line of trees.

He lowered the gun, looked at Rob and said: "I’m going home to wait for the police. You can go now."

In the darkness, Rob turned the vehicle lights on Glen. "I sat down with him, poured some water over him and said "come on, we’ve got to get home’," he tells Pennells.

"I knew he was dying."  Hearing a car on the road, convinced it was Turnbull coming back to finish them both, Rob stood in the glare of the headlights, arms raised, eyes closed.

It wasn’t a shot that came. It was help.  As Rob cradled Glen in his arms, a neighbour gently told him his mate was gone.


Editorial: Eco madness strangling Queensland’s economy must stop

THERE is a reason Queensland lags behind the rest of Australia in job-creation and economic growth. Many blame the State Government and Labor must accept some of the blame for the economy’s lacklustre performance.

But the biggest contributor to this state’s lack of progression and prosperity is the litigious way the green movement fights big projects through the courts. More than $34 billion of projects are being targeted. Between them, they would generate more than 26,000 jobs.

The projects being stalled include: The Adani and GVK Hancock mines in the Galilee Basin; Brisbane’s West Village development; the city-changing Queen’s Wharf project; a proposed $3 billion casino-integrated resort development on the Gold Coast; and the nearby Mariner’s Cove, which was this week deferred by developers for a year after fierce opposition.

The greenies have already helped scupper a cruise ship terminal on the Gold Coast and the planned $7 billion Wandoan coal mine. Delays have already cost Adani more than $150 million.

Tourism is at stake at the Great Barrier Reef as marine conservation groups ramp up pressure over perceived coral bleaching.

There are also planned land-clearing laws and opposition to dams, which will stymie the growth of agriculture. It is a dangerous cycle and it must stop.

Our political and judicial hierarchy needs to take a stand and say enough is enough.

The Sunday Mail does not advocate a development-at-all-costs attitude and a free-for-all.  We understand the need for sustainable development and we acknowledge there are needed and justifiable legal safeguards in place to protect the environment.

But there are forces in the conservation movement that use legal stalling tactics against projects, particularly coal mining and residential development.

Queensland is fast developing a reputation among international and interstate consortiums as a tough place to do business.

Faced with the prospect of lengthy court delays before a sod is even turned, those bankrolling major projects now look elsewhere.

Money in the global economy is fluid. It is not available on tap and if Queensland develops a reputation as a difficult environment to have projects approved, financiers will go elsewhere.

It is time the Federal Government stepped in and rid Queensland of these delays. It is the biggest issue facing the Queensland economy.

Our children and their children depend on it.


Australia's west, south losing vital rain as climate change shifts winds, study finds

Some amusing stuff here.  Ozone depletion is doing something new and nasty?  What about the 1989 Montreal Protocol and the ozone hole?  Hasn't the ozone hole mostly healed up by now?  Instead of depleting, shouldn't the ozone be increasing?  Is this report undermining the ozone hole story? It would appear that it is. 

And in one way, that's reasonable.  The ozone hole waxes and wanes as it always has and its greatest extent was in fact in September last year.  So the Montreal convention of which Greenies are so proud has in fact achieved exactly nothing. But by the same token ANY systematic change in the ozone levels is a fiction, including ozone depletion.  So the claims below are  rubbish.

I could go on but I like a sentence from the Abstract too much to quarrel further with it:  "climate model simulations that include anthropogenic forcing are not compatible with the observed trends"

Translating that into plain English:  "The global warming theory is wrong.  It does not predict reality".  How's that for today? 

Journal abstract follows the summary below

Rising greenhouse gases and ozone depletion over the Antarctic are increasingly pushing rain-bearing storm fronts away from Australia's west and south, according to a new international study.

The research, which involved the Australian National University and 16 other institutions from around the world, has just been published in the Nature Climate Change journal.

It found Southern Ocean westerly winds and associated storms were shifting south, down towards Antarctica, and robbing southern parts of Australia of rain.

ANU Associate Professor Nerilie Abram, the lead Australian researcher, said this had contributed to a decline of more than 20 per cent in winter rainfall in southwestern Australia since the 1970s.

"That band of rainfall that comes in those westerly winds is shifting further south, so closer towards Antarctica," Dr Abram, from the ANU's Research School of Earth Sciences and ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, said.

The study attributed this shift directly to human-induced climate change, primarily from rising greenhouse gases and ozone depletion.

Dr Abram said the loss of rain combined with "2016 being on track to smash the hottest-year record was ominous for communities and the environment".

"Antarctica and the Southern Ocean are remote but this region influences Australia's heatwaves, affects whether our crops get the winter rainfall they need and determines how quickly our ocean levels rise," she said.

The international research team examined how recent Antarctic climate trends compared to past climate fluctuations using natural archives such as ice cores drilled into the Antarctic ice sheet.

They found the bigger picture of the region's climate trends remained unclear because of Antarctica and the Southern ocean's "extreme fluctuations in climate year to year".

Dr Abram explained the climate measurements were not yet long enough "for the signal of anthropogenic climate change to be clearly separated from this large natural variability".

Lead author Dr Julie Jones, from the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom, said there was still an enormous amount to learn about the Antarctic climate.

"At face value, many of the climate trends in Antarctica seem counter-intuitive for a warming world," Dr Jones said.

"Scientists have good theories for why, but these ideas are still difficult to prove with the short records we are working with."


Assessing recent trends in high-latitude Southern Hemisphere surface climate

Julie M. Jones et al.


Understanding the causes of recent climatic trends and variability in the high-latitude Southern Hemisphere is hampered by a short instrumental record. Here, we analyse recent atmosphere, surface ocean and sea-ice observations in this region and assess their trends in the context of palaeoclimate records and climate model simulations. Over the 36-year satellite era, significant linear trends in annual mean sea-ice extent, surface temperature and sea-level pressure are superimposed on large interannual to decadal variability. Most observed trends, however, are not unusual when compared with Antarctic palaeoclimate records of the past two centuries. With the exception of the positive trend in the Southern Annular Mode, climate model simulations that include anthropogenic forcing are not compatible with the observed trends. This suggests that natural variability overwhelms the forced response in the observations, but the models may not fully represent this natural variability or may overestimate the magnitude of the forced response.

Nature Climate Change 6, 917–926 (2016) doi:10.1038/nclimate3103

Australia's knowledge revolution goes unnoticed

I am not much inclined to share the celebrations below.  Getting more people into university costs a lot of money and wastes people's time.  Jobs such as teaching that now require a 4 year degree were once entered into via apprenticeships. And there is no doubt that educational standards were higher in the past.  I have lived long enough to see it -- and I have spent most of my working life in education.

Chief Scientist for Australia Dr Alan Finkel believes Australia has a strong history of innovation but will need to build on it??s successes in order to move forward.

Morgan Housel, from venture capital firm The Collaborative Fund, wrote in a blog this month that the first references to Wilbur and Orville Wright in The New York Times came in 1906, three years after their historic first take-off.

Housel pointed out that world-changing inventions, like the Wright Flyer, often take a long time to catch on. The same sort of thing happened with the telephone and the car.

We're especially prone to overlooking important changes in the economic realm. The global financial crisis was a telling example. The disastrous lending practices that emerged in the US in the early part of last decade got little attention before triggering the most serious financial meltdown since the Great Depression.

The mining boom that has reshaped our economy is another case in point.

At the turn of the century it became fashionable to view Australia as an old-fashioned "smokestack" economy too reliant on mining and agriculture. That perception sapped confidence in the Aussie dollar in 2001 as it crashed to an all-time low around US48c.

What the critics hadn't factored in was China. Before long "smokestack Australia" was riding high on a once-in-a-century commodities boom driven by China's historic expansion.

Australia is now in the midst of another momentous change that gets very little attention. Since 2005 the proportion of Australians aged between 20 and 64 with a Certificate III qualification or higher has jumped from 47 per cent to 60 per cent (a Certificate III recognises advanced technical skills and knowledge, such as a tradesman's). The share of 20-to-64-year-olds with a bachelor degree or higher has climbed from about 21 per cent to nearly 30 per cent in the same period.

One of the few indicators to capture the benefit from this investment in "human capital", or know-how, is the Fairfax-Lateral Economics Wellbeing Index, which tracks quarterly changes in national welfare.

The index's measure of human capital (which includes adult education and skills, schooling and early childhood development) has ballooned from $10.9 trillion in 2005 to more than $16.99 trillion this year, an increase of about 55 per cent in 11 years.

The index's author, economist Nicholas Gruen, says this has been a "huge driver" of national wellbeing that will pay long-term dividends as more and more jobs become knowledge-based.

"If you compare human capital to all other forms of capital in the economy, the amount by which human capital has grown in the past decade exceeds all other kinds of capital put together," he said. "This is a massive part of our economy ... but are people thinking about it? Not very much."

The latest index report showed the value of human capital rose by $661 billion in 2015-16, which was 12 per cent more than the previous financial year. The biggest contributor was investment in adult formal education.

There's been a know-how revolution but we've hardly noticed.


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

1 October, 2016

Greenie fantasies about power kill babies

Let's not beat about the bush.  The lost embryos were babies ready to go. They were just awaiting implantation into their mothers. And the cause of the blackout is equally clear.  Politicians blame the big storm but HOW did the storm cut all power? Easy and obvious: 

South Australia gets 40% of its power from wind turbines -- but  wind turbines have to be turned off in high winds or they will fly to pieces.  So they were turned off.  But when you lose 40% of your power suddenly, there is no way out of disaster. 

Had they kept their coal-fired generators going, they might have had a chance.  When they saw the storm coming -- and it was heavily predicted -- they could have spun up their coal generators and then turned the windmills off

SOUTH Australia’s power blackouts have destroyed embryos at Flinders Fertility leaving families heartbroken and medics distressed by their loss.

The Advertiser understands more than a handful of potential children became "unviable" because incubators at Flinders Fertility — which is based at Flinders Medical Centre — failed when the entire state’s power went down.

Health Minister Jack Snelling revealed on ABC 891 radio this morning "about 12 patients were affected". It was also suggested up to 25 embryos were lost per patient.

Hospitals all have emergency generators, but the one at Flinders did not work for some minutes. A short but crucial period without power means those embryos, which were ready to be implanted, are no longer able to be used.

Flinders Fertility called it a "devastating" and "distressing" situation. There will be a review. Flinders Fertility assured families and patients that "cryopreserved material" – waiting for a later implantation date – was not affected.

In a statement they expressed their deepest sympathies to the families and said the loss of power compromised incubators, affecting a small number of patients.

"Despite every effort by our scientists, the embryos are no longer viable," they said in a statement.

"This is a devastating situation for our patients, and very distressing for our staff.

"Flinders Fertility doctors have contacted patients directly, and individual support and counselling is being provided."
SA Health Interim Chief Executive Vickie Kaminski.

Families will be given priority for further treatment and there will be no further costs to repeat fertility cycles.

SA Health Interim Chief Executive Vickie Kaminski said there was "an issue" with the generator, leading to battery-powered back-up; that meant that on Wednesday night 17 patients were transferred to Flinders Private Hospital.

Flinders Medical Centre expressed their sincerest condolences.  "We’re currently reviewing the circumstances that led to the Flinders Fertility laboratory being without power during part of Wednesday’s extreme weather event, a spokeswoman said.


The national anthem went off without a hitch at the AFL Grand Final

I doubt Mundine knows what he wants. He probably can’t think of any ideas to improve Australia. He just hates it how it is, because he’s a hateful b*stard.  If people took him up on his call it would just deepen the gulf between white and black society.  He is a racist

OBVIOUSLY no one was listening to Anthony Mundine. The former NRL star-cum-boxer wanted players and fans to boycott the national anthems at this weekend’s AFL and NRL Grand Finals to protest against Australia’s "ignorant" attitude towards Aborigines.

"Been saying this for years!" Mundine wrote on his Facebook page on Thursday. "The anthem was written in late 1700s where blackfullas (sic) were considered fauna (animals) Advance Australia Fair as in white not fair as in fair go ...

"All players aboriginal & non aboriginal should boycott the anthem & start changing Australia’s ignorant mentality. "Lets move forward together yo."

The proposal was rejected by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who said: "Everyone should sing. Those like myself who perhaps are not the best singers should perhaps sing quietly so as not to ruin the experience for neighbours, but everyone should sing and everyone should be proud about our country and the fact that we can come together with sport."

Swans forward Buddy Franklin rubbished the idea as "stupid" and television personality Karl Stefanovic thought it was "ridiculous".

It came after NRL greats Larry Corowa and Joe Williams publicly called on players to "send a powerful message to white Australia" when Advance Australia Fair is played before the rugby league Grand Final at ANZ Stadium on Sunday.

But Mundine’s wish went unheeded, as the anthem went off without a hitch at the MCG on Saturday afternoon. The players put their arms around each other’s shoulders and the crowd was respectful.


Identity politics no substitute for scholarly truth

American novelist Lionel Shriver stirred an international controversy during her recent visit to Australia.

Speaking at the Brisbane writer’s festival, Shriver had the temerity to suggest that novelists should not be constrained by the new rules of the identity politics game. Writers of fiction should be free to explore the experiences of ‘others’, even if they are not members of the same racial, gender or other identity groups.

Shriver’s so-called apologia for ‘cultural appropriation’ is relevant not only to works of imagination but also to the humanities and social sciences.

There is a growing trend for scholarly enquiry into certain subjects to be deemed inappropriate if the researcher lacks ‘lived experience’.

Political criteria also apply, as the social psychologist and critic of the lack of intellectual diversity in the modern academy, Jonathan Haidt, has pointed out.

Activist scholarship committed to fashionable notions of social justice that campaigns for the rights of oppressed racial and gender group is welcome.

But any work that is critical of a particular group, or which make members of the group feel bad about themselves, is unacceptable.

But the real victim of the stultifying culture of political correctness is our ability to accurately, objectively, and effectively describe and address important social problems.

Take the difficult task of overcoming Indigenous disadvantage. Activist-academic accounts perpetually blame every problem in Indigenous communities on the racist legacy of invasion and dispossession.

According to this school, research that explored the links, say, between traditional Aboriginal culture and contemporary Aboriginal men’s violence against Aboriginal women would be condemned as ‘victim blaming’.

We see similar things happening in the debates around Islamaphobia, marriage equality, feminism and gender.

Identity politics — let alone obsessing about the identity of the author — is a poor substitute for focusing on importance of good scholarship that tells the truth about controversial social issues.


Commonwealth Freedom of Movement Organisation wants free movement between UK, Canada, NZ and Australia

WHILE much of the world is throwing up new borders to clamp down on unwanted migrants, one organisation is pushing for free movement between Australia and a select group of countries.

The Commonwealth Freedom of Movement Organisation wants to see unrestricted movement for citizens of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK between nations.

Founder James Skinner claims to have "received significant support" from MPs and senators in each of the countries, who claim it would bring economic and social benefits. An online petition calling for a European Union-style freedom of movement arrangement has gained 162,000 signatures.

"If the European Union can incorporate freedom of movement for citizens of 28 member states (all of whom have different cultures, languages and ancestries), there is no reason why a free movement initiative between Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom could not be introduced," he told

Mr Skinner claims the historical and cultural ties between the Commonwealth countries plus similarities in the legal and political system make it a no-brainer. Similar levels of economic growth, development, healthcare and quality of life added to the case that freedom of movement wouldn’t be a "brain drain" for any particular nation, he said.

"Citizens of these nations could therefore move freely without the risk of a migration exodus occurring, which causes negative consequences for all economies involved," he said.

"One of the current problems with the European Union is citizens from less developed nations emigrating to more prosperous nations for employment opportunities and a better quality of life, causing a brain drain in the primary country and excessive immigration in the secondary country.

"With a free movement initiative between Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, we would not see such migration patterns as all countries involved are similarly developed with exceptional qualities of life."

It’s one of a plethora of ideas fighting for oxygen in the post-Brexit debate as the UK works out what its relationship with Europe and the rest of the world will look like.

Earlier this month, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said free movement could be on the table as part of a future free-trade agreement with Britain now being explored.

"Should we be in a position to conclude a free-trade agreement after Brexit well then obviously [improved access] can be the subject of a free-trade agreement," she said.

"It’s something we were able to achieve with the United States and I certainly look forward to increasing the number of business visas, student visas, work visas, between Australia and the UK."

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who has long been a champion of improved access for Australians in the UK and once called for a free labour mobility zone, praised the "almost glutinous" harmony between the two nations.

While he stopped short of endorsing free movement, he said it would be a "fantastic thing if we had a more sensible system".

"You’ll remember the difficulties we had in recruiting paramedics … so this is something where I think we can make progress and I’m confident that we will," he said.

Despite historical ties, the number of Australians living and working in the UK has fallen by 40 per cent since 2008 due to restrictions on migration.

Australia’s High Commissioner, Alexander Downer, has pushed for greater access and the move is supported by the majority of citizens in each country, according to a survey by the Royal Commonwealth Society.

It found in a YouGov poll earlier this year that 70 per cent of Australians, 75 per cent of Canadians, 82 per cent of New Zealanders and 58 per cent of Britons supported free mobility, with those aged between 18 and 35 in New Zealand and Australia most enthusiastic.

But with about 64 million people in the UK, 34 million in Canada, 24 million in Australia and just 4 million in New Zealand, how would such an arrangement work in reality?

Mr Skinner said the plan would be to create a "single labour market" to service the combined economy that would allow people to work and study freely. It could also be a boon to those frustrated by delays to family reunification.

"With free movement between these nations, families and loved ones would not require visas or work permits, and can be reunited without the cost and stress of arduous immigration controls," he said.

Critics of freedom of movement say it reduces sovereignty over national borders and can allow terrorists and criminals to slip through undetected.

The idea would also have to overcome a major hurdle in public opinion revealed this week through the Essential Poll, which found 31 per cent of Australians feared a free trade deal that could make their jobs vulnerable to overseas workers.

It also showed bitter division on attitudes to Muslim immigration with 49 per cent of Australians supporting a ban on it altogether, while 40 per cent were opposed.

The Australian Government has been contacted for comment.


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

HOME (Index page)

Postings from Brisbane, Australia by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party.

Most academics are lockstep Leftists so readers do sometimes doubt that I have the qualifications mentioned above. Photocopies of my academic and military certificates are however all viewable here

For overseas readers: The "ALP" is the Australian Labor Party -- Australia's major Leftist party. The "Liberal" party is Australia's major conservative political party.

In most Australian States there are two conservative political parties, the city-based Liberal party and the rural-based National party. But in Queensland those two parties are amalgamated as the LNP.

Again for overseas readers: Like the USA, Germany and India, Australia has State governments as well as the Federal government. So it may be useful to know the usual abbreviations for the Australian States: QLD (Queensland), NSW (New South Wales), WA (Western Australia), VIC (Victoria), TAS (Tasmania), SA (South Australia).

For American readers: A "pensioner" is a retired person living on Social Security

"Digger" is an honorific term for an Australian soldier

Another lesson in Australian: When an Australian calls someone a "big-noter", he is saying that the person is a chronic and rather pathetic seeker of admiration -- as in someone who often pulls out "big notes" (e.g. $100.00 bills) to pay for things, thus endeavouring to create the impression that he is rich. The term describes the mentality rather than the actual behavior with money and it aptly describes many Leftists. When they purport to show "compassion" by advocating things that cost themselves nothing (e.g. advocating more taxes on "the rich" to help "the poor"), an Australian might say that the Leftist is "big-noting himself". There is an example of the usage here. The term conveys contempt. There is a wise description of Australians generally here

Another bit of Australian: Any bad writing or messy anything was once often described as being "like a pakapoo ticket". In origin this phrase refers to a ticket written with Chinese characters - and thus inscrutably confusing to Western eyes. These tickets were part of a Chinese gambling game called "pakapoo".

Two of my ancestors were convicts so my family has been in Australia for a long time. As well as that, all four of my grandparents were born in the State where I was born and still live: Queensland. And I am even a member of the world's second-most condemned minority: WASPs (the most condemned is of course the Jews -- which may be why I tend to like Jews). So I think I am as Australian as you can get. I certainly feel that way. I like all things that are iconically Australian: meat pies, Vegemite, Henry Lawson etc. I particularly pride myself on my familiarity with the great Australian slanguage. I draw the line at Iced Vo-Vos and betting on the neddies, however. So if I cannot comment insightfully on Australian affairs, who could?

My son Joe

On all my blogs, I express my view of what is important primarily by the readings that I select for posting. I do however on occasions add personal comments in italicized form at the beginning of an article.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age.

I imagine that the the RD is still sending mailouts to my 1950s address!

I am an army man. Although my service in the Australian army was chiefly noted for its un-notability, I DID join voluntarily in the Vietnam era, I DID reach the rank of Sergeant, and I DID volunteer for a posting in Vietnam. So I think I may be forgiven for saying something that most army men think but which most don't say because they think it is too obvious: The profession of arms is the noblest profession of all because it is the only profession where you offer to lay down your life in performing your duties. Our men fought so that people could say and think what they like but I myself always treat military men with great respect -- respect which in my view is simply their due.

The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody. And I have NO investments in oil companies or mining companies

Although I have been an atheist for all my adult life, I have no hesitation in saying that the single book which has influenced me most is the New Testament. And my Scripture blog will show that I know whereof I speak.

The Rt. Rev. Phil Case (Moderator of the Presbyterian church in Queensland) is a Pharisee, a hypocrite, an abomination and a "whited sepulchre".

English-born Australian novellist, Patrick White was a great favourite in literary circles. He even won a Nobel prize. But I and many others I have spoken to find his novels very turgid and boring. Despite my interest in history, I could only get through about a third of his historical novel Voss before I gave up. So why has he been so popular in literary circles? Easy. He was a miserable old Leftist coot, and, incidentally, a homosexual. And literary people are mostly Leftists with similar levels of anger and alienation from mainstream society. They enjoy his jaundiced outlook, his dissatisfaction, rage and anger.

A delightful story about a great Australian conservative

A great Australian wit exemplified

Bureaucracy: "One of the constant laments of doctors and nurses working with NSW Health is the incredible and increasing bureaucracy," she said. "It is completely obstructive to providing a service."

Revered Labour Party leader Gough Whitlam was a very erudite man so he cannot have been unaware of the similarities of his famous phrase “the Party, the platform, the people” with an earlier slogan: "Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuehrer". It's basically the same slogan in reverse order.

Australia's original inhabitants were a race of pygmies, some of whom survived into modern times in the mountainous regions of the Atherton tableland in far North Queensland. See also here. Below is a picture of one of them taken in 2007, when she was 105 years old and 3'7" tall

Julia Gillard, a failed feminist flop. She was given the job of Prime Minister of Australia but her feminist preaching was so unpopular that she was booted out of the job by her own Leftist party. Her signature "achievements" were the carbon tax and the mining tax, both of which were repealed by the next government.

The "White Australia Policy: "The Immigration Restriction Act was not about white supremacy, racism, or the belief that whites were higher up the evolutionary tree than the coloured races. Rather, it was designed to STOP the racist exploitation of non-whites (all of whom would have been illiterate peasants practicing religions and cultures anathema to progressive democracy) being conscripted into a life of semi-slavery in a coolie-worked plantation economy for the benefit of the absolute monarchs, hereditary aristocracy and the super-wealthy companies and share-holders of the northern hemisphere.

A great little kid

In November 2007, a four-year-old boy was found playing in a croc-infested Territory creek after sneaking off pig hunting alone with four dogs and a puppy. The toddler was found five-and-a-half hours after he set off from his parents' house playing in a creek with the puppy. Amazingly, Daniel Woditj also swam two creeks known to be inhabited by crocs during his adventurous romp. Mr Knight said that after walking for several kilometres, Daniel came to a creek and swam across it. Four of his dogs "bailed up" at the creek but the youngster continued on undaunted with his puppy to a second creek. Mr Knight said Daniel swam the second croc-infested creek and walked on for several more kilometres. "Captain is a hard bushman and Daniel is following in his footsteps. They breed them tough out bush."


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