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, 2017

More survey deception-- about Aboriginal recognition

Do the results below seem fishy to you?  Do they seem too good to be true?  They are in fact an example of how predictable online polls are.  People who answer online polls are a select bunch and predictably give "do-gooder" answers.  They are NOT representative of the population in general. Results like this are one of the reasons why political parties do their own polling  -- because your polling methodology can greatly skew the answers 

A national survey has found widespread support for Indigenous constitutional recognition, including the Voice to Parliament proposal, contrary to views expressed by the Turnbull Government last week that such proposals would command limited public support.

The results were part of the most recent Australian Constitutional Values Survey, conducted in August by an Australian Research Council-funded team led by Griffith University, UNSW Sydney, University of Sydney and the Australian National University.

The survey was conducted online by OmniPoll among a representative sample of 1,526 adults, from all states and territories, age ranges, gender and political affiliations.

“The results were clear and surprisingly strong,” said Dr Paul Kildea, Senior Lecturer in Law at UNSW.

“Not only did general support for Indigenous constitutional recognition remain strong – specific support for the idea of a representative Indigenous advisory body (“Voice to Parliament”) was much stronger than expected, for such a relatively new proposal.”

“Based on this evidence, the idea that an Indigenous advisory body is incapable of winning acceptance at a referendum is simply unfounded.”

The survey asked respondents whether they supported a change to the Constitution to officially recognise the history and culture of Australia’s Indigenous peoples, and a number of specific options drawn from previous Expert Panel recommendations and the Uluru Statement from the Heart – including “a representative Indigenous body to advise Parliament on laws and policies affecting Indigenous people”.

Among the survey’s key findings:

·      A total of 71% of respondents generally supported recognition, 34% of those strongly;

·      61% supported the representative Voice to Parliament, 24% strongly; and

·      58% supported formal agreements between governments and Indigenous peoples, 19% strongly.

Professor John Parkinson of Griffith University, who is studying the Recognise campaign, said the results were stronger than many would have assumed.

“Importantly, there were more supporters in every state than there were opponents, an important factor when it comes to constitutional change in Australia. New South Wales and Victoria were the most supportive states. Only in Tasmania did support for a Voice to Parliament not have majority support.”

“Recognition also continues to enjoy support across the political spectrum, with a majority of Coalition voters (55%) also supporting the Voice to Parliament proposal.

“These results give clear reason to doubt assertions that the Uluru Statement is in any way unrealistic or unachievable,” Professor Parkinson said.

Via email

The big stories from the weekend

After months of speculation about when their election would be Queenslanders will be going to the polls on Saturday 25th Novembers. Despite denying that she was about to call the election and that she would only be visiting her nanna this Sunday Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk also made a stop to Government House in Brisbane to call the election.

Both Palaszczuk and Liberal National Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls made their initial pitch to voters which can be best described as vague, energy, small business and infrastructure seems to be where both leaders believe their strength is. Both leaders also demonstrated they are eager to avoid the One Nation factor at this election who have been polling at 15-20% of the primary vote and predicted to win 5 to 10 seats potentially giving them the balance of power post election. It’s going to be a close election as when it is a three way race nobody should be confident to predict a result.

Lost amongst all the other news of the past week in Australian politics was the Turnbull Government rejected the recommendation of the Indigenous Referendum Council for an Indigenous advisory body to parliament to be enshrined in the constitution.

The government correctly pointed out that such a referendum would be doomed to fail and would violate the principle of all citizens having equal civil rights. It would appear that indigenous leaders thought that with constitutional recognition of Indigenous people having bipartisan and strong public support they could demand even more. But with the constitutional proposal now in its tenth year of consultation they may end up getting nothing.

Over the weekend the biggest weasel in the federal parliament Defence Industry Minister and Leader of House Christopher Pyne was exposed as being up is old tricks again. It was revealed that if his South Australian seat Sturt is abolished or has an unfavourable redistribution he will challenge Liberal MP in the neighboring seat of Boothby Nicolle Flint.

Flint was only elected at the 2016 federal election and is considered future star of the conservative wing of the party. We also learned that back in 2009 when Malcolm Turnbull was about to lose the Liberal leadership that Pyne rang then Director of GetUp Simon Sheikh to get the activist group’s support for Turnbull who was championing Labor’s emissions trading scheme. This is certainly embarrassing given the AWU raids of the past week were part of investigation into a donation they gave to GetUp in 2006


Elon Musk brought to tears by how much Australians pay for power

Billionaire energy mogul Elon Musk was almost brought to tears by Australia's deepening electricity crisis that has prices soaring out of control.

The Tesla boss was confronted with figures showing record numbers of people were disconnected because they couldn't pay their bills.

'Wow, really?' he said in disbelief when told by 60 Minutes that power was becoming a 'luxury item' for many families.

'I didn't realise it was that expensive. Australia has so many natural resources that even if you go the fossil fuel route, electricity should be very cheap.'

His shock turned to sadness when he was told many people were worried they wouldn't be able to turn on their lights or cook food.

'I did not expect that,' he said, his voice wavering, before pausing several seconds and promising: 'We'll work harder.'

Mr Musk in July promised to build the world's biggest lithium ion battery in South Australia after the state's disastrous blackout.

But he didn't realise he was walking into a political firestorm that saw his ambitious project mercilessly mocked by the Federal Government.

'By all means, have the world's biggest battery, have the world's biggest banana, have the world's biggest prawn like we have on the roadside around the country, but that is not solving the problem,' Treasurer Scott Morrison said at the time.

'Thirty thousand SA households could not get through watching one episode of Australia's Ninja Warrior with this big battery, so let's not pretend it is a solution.'

Mr Musk was confused as to what the Big Banana actually was, but admitted criticism from Australia's government go to him.

'I didn't realise there was this big battle going on, I just didn't know,' he said on Sunday night's program.

'We get that all the time. It can be a little disheartening, yeah.'

The government is sticking to its guns, with Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg saying it wasn't enough to stop another blackout.

'Elon Musk's battery was a fraction of the size of the Snowy Hydro Scheme,' he said.

'It was sold to the people of South Australia by Jay Weatherill as an answer to their woes, whereas in reality, it's just a fraction of what that state needs.'

Mr Frydenberg talked up the government's National Energy Guarantee, even though he himself said it would only cut bills by up to $115 a year.

Mr Musk said Australia was 'perfect' for solar power and not only could it get all its energy from solar, wind, and other renewables - it could even export it.

'Australia could export power to Asia, there's so much land there you could actually power a significant chunk of Asia,' he said.

He believed his 100 megawatt (129MWh) battery could be the first step to Australia becoming a renewable energy powerhouse. 'You have to do these things to get the world's attention, otherwise they just don't believe you, they don't think it's possible,' he said.

'People in Australia should be proud of the fact that Australia has the world's biggest battery. 'This is pretty great.'It is an inspiration and it will serve to say to the whole world that this is possible.'

Mr Musk said the world needed to quickly switch to renewable power or it would be sent back to the 'dark ages'. 'We will have the choice of the collapse of civilisation and into the dark ages we go or we find something renewable,' he said.

Batteries on a much smaller scale were already available and helping Australian families slash their power bills.

Michael and Melissa Powney installed a Tesla lithium battery and connected it to their solar panels, which can charge it up in a few hours of sunshine.

Instead of huge power bills, the family even made $32 in power sent back to the grid in the past month - and had the only house on the street with power during the blackout.

'We were seeing electricity bills of over $1,000 before we put the solar in, so I can only imagine what they would be like now if we didn't,' Mr Powney said.


You can't say that -- unless you are a Leftist

The latest TV ad to be rolled out by the anti-same-sex marriage lobby has been deemed unacceptable for general viewing, with the commercial television body declaring passages attributed to the controversial Safe Schools sexuality education program can be aired late in the evening only.

Free TV has advised the Coalition For Marriage that its latest commercial warrants an ‘‘MA’’ classification due to “depictions of implied sexual activity and verbal sexual references” and can air only after 8.30pm, or 9.30pm during a sports program or a film classified as ‘‘G’’ or ‘‘PG’’.

The 30-second commercial, which is due to air tonight and features footage of Safe Schools founder Roz Ward speaking at a same-sex marriage rally, includes passages from the Safe School-endorsed OMG I’m Trans and OMG I’m Queer resources, which are available from the Victorian Department of Education and also appear on the websites of some South Australian schools.

The passages include “penis-in-vagina sex is not the only sex and certainly not the ultimate sex,” and “it’s a total lie that all guys have dicks, that all girls have vaginas”, which appear on the screen as text.

The Coalition for Marriage tried to point out to Free TV’s commercial advice arm that the passages had been lifted directly from learning materials approved by various state governments and taught to students from Years 7 upwards. However, it was told the organisation was independent of governments and under the definitions of the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice the material was not appropriate for viewing by minors.

Coalition for Marriage spokesman Lyle Shelton said he was disappointed by Free TV’s stance given the topical nature of the advertisement. “It beyond belief that taxpayer- funded LGBTIQ sex and gender education materials openly made available to students of all ages are given an MA rating for television,” Mr Shelton said. “The issue of these materials, of parents’ rights, and the direct relationship with changing the Marriage Act are there for all to see, and parents should beware.

While the Coalition for Marriage has been heavily criticised for arguing that legalising same-sex marriage would lead to an extensive rollout of Safe Schools-style “radical” sexuality and gender diversity education programs in schools, Mr Shelton said evidence was mounting to support the supposition. “Just this week we have seen footage of the British Prime Minister saying that after redefining marriage they would be pressing ahead with LGBTIQ and gender education in all British schools,” he said, referring to comments Theresa May made last week. “The idea that all of these issues are unrelated is actually laughable.”

Free TV, the industry body representing Australia’s commercial free-to-air television licensees, was embroiled in controversy earlier this year when an ad celebrating Father’s Day was deemed “political” ahead of the same-sex marriage plebiscite.

That was criticised as “political correctness gone mad” by politicians, but Free TV blamed the ad’s creator, not-for-profit group Dads4Kids, for the ad not running, saying they were asked to add an identification tag declaring political content and refused to do so.


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

30 October, 2017

Aboriginal IQ and visual ability

In their devotion to their strange ideal of all men being equal, Leftists get frantic about the concept of IQ -- which is all about inequality.  So they find all sorts of ways of claiming that IQ doesn't exist, doesn't matter or that intelligence is not measured by IQ.

Psychometricians have of course heard it all before and can easily refute the little Leftist brainstorms about the matter.  A common leftist claim is that there are "multiple" intelligences so that IQ tests measure only a small part of what constitutes intelligence.  The big problem for that is to specify what these other omitted "intelligences" are.  What form of mental ability is overlooked by IQ tests? 

The suggestions there are usually quite pathetic.  The best known example of such a claim is the work of Howard Gardner -- and his theory of "multiple intelligences" -- eight of them, would you believe? There is a very clear and simple demolition of the whole Gardner theory here -- which points out that the Gardner theory not only ignores the data but that its criteria for calling something "an intelligence" are so loose that sense of humour, sense of smell, musical ability, athletic ability etc could all be called "intelligences". By adopting similar rules I could say that all cats, dogs and horses are birds -- but that would still not make them so.

I do think however that there is a marginal case for saying that Australian Aborigines have mental abilities that are not well captured by any form of IQ test. Australian Aborigines have attracted considerable attention from psychometricians because their original lifestyle is so different from ours.  And their average IQ scores are some of the lowest ever observed. 

University of Queensland psychologists, Donald McElwain and George Kearney, however, rose to the challenge of those low scores and constructed the "Queensland test", which used only those questions that seemed to work best among Aborigines.  By their responses, Aborigines effectively constructed their own IQ test.  A set of questions relating to mental ability were sifted out that intercorrelated with one-another and correlated with various indices of ability to handle an Aboriginal environment.  So how did whites score on a test that was biased towards an Aboriginal population and environment?  They scored much higher than Aborigines themselves.

That has to be seen as pretty strong evidence that average Aboriginal intelligence really is unusually low.  But I am not so sure.  Aborigines have very great abilities in areas where we do not.  Their ability to see and remember small details of the landscape is completely beyond us. 

For many years they were used as "black trackers", people who were used to find escaped criminals.  The trackers could "see" where the criminal had been and would follow a trail that he had left behind him -- a trail that no white man could see.  So many a criminal who had every reason to feel that he had got clean away would often find that he had a most unexpected and unwelcome knock on his door.

And it is no mystery why Aborigines could do that.  They had evolved into a harsh landscape and had only the most rudimentary weapons to use in capturing juicy animals for food. As a small isolated population, they did not have access to the inventions  that arose on the vast Eurasian continent.  So it was only their own wits that could help them survive.  By noticing tiny details of the landscape they could "see" where a juicy animal might be lurking.  And a great aid in such "seeing" was a detailed memory of what the landscape had previously been like.  Noticing what had changed would be a major clue to what had happened and what was happening.

So it seems to me that Aboriginal visual ability and memory does a job very similar to what high IQ enables.  It is strongly pro-survival in the environment where it arose.  I don't think there is any point in trying to integrate it into IQ measures but it should remind us that there are many abilities that increase survival chances and not all of those abilities are mental. 

Africans, for instance are in general very good at sprinting and that no doubt once had survival value in enabling them both to catch prey and escape predators.

Sprinting is not a mental ability but it is a survival tool.  Aborigines also have their own unique survival tools -- tools which in my view deserve great respect -- JR


Internet 'super villain' Milo Yiannopoulos challenges Australian feminist writer Clementine Ford to debate him

Clemmie would be right to refuse a debate. She is one mixed up woman and is prone to anxiety disorders

Milo Yiannopoulos has taken a swipe at outspoken feminist Clementine Ford, labelling her 'vindictive, spiteful' and 'particularly unintelligent'. 

The so-called 'internet super villain' said he feels sorry for the 'poor lamb' and once again challenged Ms Ford to a one-on-one debate.

'Clementine is a sort of useful idiot. She's one of those people who doesn't really understand what she's parroting,' Yiannopoulos said on Monday.

Yiannopoulos, who revealed earlier this month he wanted to debate the polarising figure, said he didn't think the challenge would be accepted. 'Of course not. She's terrified of me and she knows she'll lose the debate - but let's see,' he said.

'Maybe I'll doorstop her - maybe I'll show up and try to get an interview on camera.'

Ms Ford has lashed out at Yiannopoulos on social media in the past, calling him 'Milo Whinopoulos' and saying he 'can go f*** himself'.  She slammed him for pronouncing her name as 'Clementeen' and said: 'It's tyne, like Milo has a tyne-y brain'.

Yiannopoulos pronounced her name the same way speaking to Daily Mail Australia this week.

Ms Ford has also described Yiannopoulos as a 'liar' and as a threat to women, girls and transgender people and suggested Trump voters would not buy his book because they cannot read.

Yiannopoulos' highly controversial views have seen him banned from Twitter and depart from his role with conservative website Breitbart News. 

From opposing gay marriage - despite being openly homosexual and married to his partner – to his criticism of the transgender rights agenda and the 'Black Lives Matter' movement, his ideas are often divisive.

He has previously likened feminism to cancer and Islam to AIDS, while sparked outrage when he said sexual relationships between underage boys and men could be consensual.

Ahead of his upcoming Australian tour, his opponents started a petition demanding Minister for Immigration Peter Dutton deny Yiannopoulos a visa. As of Monday, it had attracted just over 1,000 signatures.

A counter-petition, set up by political commentator Mark Latham, has been signed well over 11,000 times.

'Aren't they sweet? The best they could do was marshal 900 people to sign that petition,' Yiannopoulos said. 'I just find it adorable and charming when people get so upset about a gay man having the wrong opinions and telling the wrong jokes.'

Yiannopolous will bring his Troll Academy Tour to Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and the Gold Coast from December 1.

'The response had been absolutely amazing. We've just announced a second show in Sydney - the first one sold out in a couple of weeks,' he said.


Three police officers who kicked a woman to the ground and punched a man 20 times face investigation

Three West Australian police officers have been put under investigation after a disturbing video of an arrest was played in court.

The officers, known as Hitchen, Richardson and Thompson, originally claimed a woman grabbed one of their guns during the confrontation.

However, shocking footage captured by a witness shows otherwise, with the officers seen kicking the woman to the ground and unleashing more than 20 punches on another man.

Jacqueline Briffa faced three charges of assaulting a police officer and attempting to possess a firearm, with all thrown out in court after the video was played, The West Australian reports.

The incident occurred in Hamilton Hill, south west of Perth, and was filmed by witness Elise Svanberg, who described the scene as 'awful'.

The magistrate called the allegations Ms Briffa had tried to remove one of the guns as 'frankly nonsense' before throwing the charges out.

Meanwhile, the man who was punched multiple times walked away with a $100 fine after being charged with obstructing police.

The officers pictured in the video have been placed under review, but have been allowed to remain on full duties.


NSW Legal bill for forced property purchases soars to more than $650 million

The state government's potential legal bill arising from compulsory acquisitions has soared to more than $650 million, as landowners challenge the forced purchase of their properties.

Internal emails show officers at Roads and Maritime Services were aware of rezoning submissions which had the potential to significantly increase the amount it would pay for properties.

RMS has been scooping up properties to make way for major infrastructure projects such as WestConnex and NorthConnex using its compulsory acquisition powers.

But the practice has upset some landowners who say RMS is acting opportunistically and offering compensation that's only a fraction of what a property is potentially worth.

That frustration is spilling over into the courts. Since 2012 the value of court cases – expressed as a potential liability in the agency's financial statements – has increased from $52 million to almost $658.9 million last year.

An RMS spokeswoman said the rise was in part due to an increasing number of infrastructure projects in recent years.

She said 84 per cent of acquisitions in the past financial year were mutually agreed without compulsory acquisition and that the agency was defending 31 court cases.

"Roads and Maritime Services understands property acquisition is a sensitive issue and works closely with affected property owners," she said.

Tony Debenham, from Gillespie Cranes in Rozelle, said he was offered more than $50 million for his commercial site from a property company just months before RMS approached him with a compulsory acquisition value of $13 million.

RMS is building the third stage of the WestConnex project in Rozelle, which will provide a link between the M4 and M5 motorways.

"The offer they have given us is just absurd, it is at least 100 per cent below what we could sell it for as an industrial property," he said.

On the same road as Gillespie Cranes, property company The Desane Group has also fought against RMS's valuation of its 5200-square metre site.

The company believes the site is worth upwards of $100 million, despite being offered $18.4 million by RMS. The company is challenging the valuation in the Supreme Court


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, 2017

How Australia escaped the global financial crises of the last 25 years

A lot is not mentioned below.  No. 1 is that Australia is particularly conservative by First World standards.  When even Holy Ireland has homosexual marriage, we do not.  Though that seems about to change.  And Reagan/Thatcher type policies came to Australia via Bob Hawke, a Leftist Prime Minister. And Australia is the only Western country to have stopped illegal immigration.  And conservatism is a regular precursor of prosperity.

Secondly, Australia is not burdened by large parasitical minorities.  There are a few Muslims and even fewer Africans. And our big minority -- Han Chinese -- are huge economic contributors.  In short, we have better minorities overall

THERE’S more to Australia than good weather and a famous laid-back lifestyle — we’ve now powered through 25 years without tasting economic recession.

The quarter of a century milestone means Australia now has the longest period of recession-free growth of any developed country ever.

Famously dubbed “The Lucky Country” — economists believe our true blue good fortune has played a part in this stunning achievement, but there’s more to it than that.

“Luck has certainly played a role,” said Shane Oliver, chief economist at financial services company AMP.

“We are blessed with a lot of things that other countries don’t have like ample resources, space and relatively sensible politics in the grand scheme of things.

“But, really, we’ve been riding on the major economic reforms of the past and that makes us look like The Lucky Country.”


So what kept the Aussie economy insulated while the rest of world was reeling from global economic gloom?

“The moves to make the economy more efficient and deregulated through the ’80s and the ’90s resulted in a more flexible economy — in particular the impact of the floating of the Australian dollar,” Mr Oliver said.

“This means that whenever there’s been a downturn globally, the Australian dollar tends to go down which has shielded Australia somewhat.

“The Aussie dollar has fallen through the global recessions, which made our exports more competitive. But, more generally, the Australian economy is more flexible than it used to be.”

When the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) hit in 2008, this good financial management came in handy as the Labor government boosted public spending by a whopping 13 per cent in an attempt to stimulate growth.

China also held up pretty well through the GFC, according to Mr Oliver which some economists say shielded us and our exports during the darkest days of the latest major global downturn.


“Another element is the cycles across our economy have become disconnected,” Mr Oliver said. “For years we had a mining boom which boosted Western Australia and other parts of Australia which were exposed to the mining sector — but at the time, the rest of the economy was relatively subdued.

“And (at) times during the last decade, you could argue that NSW has been in recession but it’s all been smoothed out nationwide because of the mining boom.

“More recently, the mining boom has fallen into a hole which has enabled the pressure to come off NSW and Victoria because interest rates have come down, the Australian dollar has come down — that’s enabled the south eastern states to rebound.”

However, economist Jason Murphy said it hadn’t all been “tea, scones and sunny afternoons for 25 years.”

The national picture was good but misleading, he said, with several states falling into serious trouble over the last couple of decades.

“WA is the most recent example, with an economic bloodbath following the end of the mining boom,” Mr Murphy said. “It was hard yakka for people trying to provide for their families, as unemployment shot up and businesses went broke.

“But that human misery doesn’t show up in the national economic statistics because the statistics average out over all the other states.”


Tim Harcourt, an economics fellow at the University of New South Wales said Australia had made its own luck through good economic policies, the currency float, tariff changes and the embrace of Asia.

Apart from natural resources and Australia’s close ties with booming Asian economies, Mr Oliver also said we’ve even been lucky with our the way our national statistics fall.

“We’ve a bit more weakness around the time of the GFC and we could have ended up with two quarters of negative growth and it would have looked like a recession — but fortunately that didn’t happen,” he said. “We only had one quarter of decline in GDP.”


Before we give ourselves a collective pat on the back, Mr Oliver reminds us that it’s not all rosy in terms of our actual living standards.

“The last few years have been a bit so-so,” he said. “We’ve had very high levels of underemployment, wages growth has stagnated and houses are completely unaffordable — so you don’t need a recession to have big issues.”

Mr Murphy said underemployment had shot up as unemployment had shrunk — which was a big part of why wages growth had been so weak in Australia recently.

“Underemployed represent a big source of untapped potential and the economy will need to add a lot of full-time jobs before it has soaked up all the people willing to work in them,” he said.

The Aussie economy was just “muddling along” according to Mr Oliver as housing slows and consumer spending remained weak.

And there was always the risk, after more than 25 years of growth, Australia could become complacent.

“We are probably going to go for at least another few years before we have that recession some people say is inevitable,” said Mr Oliver.


Barnaby to do a Trump

Barnaby Joyce has a big job he wants to get on with. He's writing a book to set out his agenda: "A lot of it will be politically incorrect - I want to shock, I want to startle people into action," he tells me. To do what, exactly? "To give greater economic and personal advancement to the people in the weatherboard and iron in the regional towns."

It's about their economic wellbeing and their social standing. "I'm writing a comparative analysis" that looks at "the social opprobrium attached to poor white people in Australia's towns and regions." Joyce doesn't use the word, but it's about recovering respect. Respect for the people who live outside the big cities and feel overlooked.

It's the same constituency that put Donald Trump in the White House, took Britain out of the European Union and put the Alternative for Germany Party in the Bundestag. He wants to know why it's considered socially acceptable to dismiss them, to be rude about them: "People feel they can denigrate them with impunity. You can't denigrate Asian Australians or Muslim Australians or gay or lesbian or transgender Australians but if they come from a country town you can call them a hayseed or a redneck and it's OK."

"It's a form of antagonism, being on the outer and they resolve that in familiar ways including voting for One Nation. How do we have a cogent way of dealing with this - you can't just close your eyes and hope they go away."

Is he proposing to take this constituency away from One Nation and bring them back into the mainstream? "Yes," replies the leader of the National Party."I will draw on my own experience growing up. People don't understand what it's like for kids to go to school where some of the kids are too young to be there - three or four years old. They shouldn't have kids in the classroom who are still defecating in their pants."

Why are they there? Because there's no parents at home - if they don't work, they're poor, and there aren't the child care places to look after them."

There is a long-standing question about the Nationals. How effective are they? How can they win support for their priorities when they clash with those of their dominant Coalition member? Can Joyce give an example where the Nationals have prevailed over the Liberals on a major policy? "We never supported a clean energy target," he says. "We were certainly instrumental in moving the agenda to keep coal-fired power."

The Turnbull government's decision to dismiss the recommendation of Chief Scientist Alan Finkel to set up a clean energy target was widely regarded as a surrender to the angry agitation by Tony Abbott and a small number of other Liberal conservatives such as Craig Kelly.But Joyce is proudly taking credit - or perhaps responsibility - for the Nationals.

It wasn't a love of coal, however: "I didn't give a toss for where power comes from, but one of the greatest afflictions for people in the weatherboard and iron is they can't afford power, and they suffer the social humiliation of being poor."

According to the Coalition's internal polling, Joyce has a primary vote of 57 per cent, an enormous advantage, against 16 per cent for Windsor. Polling conducted last month for a less sympathetic organisation, the centre-left Australia Institute, isn't quite so emphatic but still gives Joyce a commanding lead - a primary vote of 45 per cent against 27 per cent for Windsor. Labor registered a mere 8 per cent.

Joyce's priorities are very different to Windsor's, even beyond power and climate change. Infrastructure, such as building the inland rail freight line from Melbourne to Brisbane, is at the top of the former deputy prime minister's list. The government is allocating $840 million to begin the project. "If you get the rail corridor right between the major cities, you get growth in the smaller cities in between," he says.

Decentralisation is another priority. Labor describes Joyce's decision to move the Australian Pesticides and Veterinarian Medicines Authority from Canberra to Armidale in his electorate as a disaster - wasting tens of millions of dollars, losing the expertise of staff who are leaving rather than relocating with only 11 out of 216 showing interest, endangering human and animal health. Joyce says it's a great success: "They're starting to improve the time taken to consider pending applications and 450 people have applied for jobs in Armidale. The cost of the relocation is the same as building a new fence around Parliament House. We're spending money in Canberra but we're investing in the regions too."

And he says that he is keen to keep driving overseas new trade deals "on things like nectarines that people thought didn't matter, but when the deputy prime minister of Australia asks, 'Can you help us out with this?', then it does matter."

Note that all these agenda items are in territory where a member of an incumbent government - especially an incumbent deputy prime minister - has an inherent advantage. It's the government that controls infrastructure spending, decentralisation and trade negotiations. Joyce will campaign on his choice of turf, territory where an insurgent can't compete. An insurgent has to campaign on anger and protest, and that's One Nation's specialisation.

Pauline Hanson's party didn't run a candidate in New England last time and it's not clear whether it will this time.The Australia Institute poll last month found 10 per cent support for a notional One Nation candidate. With Windsor out of contention, however, the field is more open. And anything is possible in politics.

Joyce will not be able relax. It's an unpredictable business and the Murdoch newspapers have carried unsourced rumours of unspecified marital difficulties. "The campaign will be dirty," he predicts, "because it's such a great prize to knock off a deputy prime minister". Especially such a shrewd one.

His approach is bifurcated. He is deputy prime minister and takes advantage of incumbency to promise more government-directed benefits for his electorate - infrastructure, decentralisation of government agencies, trade deals. Yet he also talks like an angry outsider appealing to the alienation of "poor white people". He is the very embodiment of the establishment, promising largesse, yet he musters anti-elite anger as well, appealing to both the satisfied and the seething, the fattened and the forgotten. All at once, all things to all people. This is designed to shut One Nation out. They can seethe but can't satisfy - they are a party of protest.

He won't make a lot of progress on the book for the next five weeks. It's not much use knowing where he stands if he has nowhere to sit. He's concentrating everything he has on winning. "Hell yes, the job's not done."


Concerns as identity politics creep into the classroom

English students face being drilled in the politics of class, race, gender and sexuality, as an influential teacher advocacy group seeks to push social justice issues into the classroom.

The Victorian Association for the Teaching of English, a professional body backed by the state government, will host its annual conference next month, unveiling a program to highlight “the iconoclasts, the dissidents and the marginalised” and celebrate individ­uals “who will not, or cannot, swim in the mainstream”.

Headlining the two-day event will be former Australian Human Rights Commission president ­Gillian Triggs and GetUp! campaigner Shen Narayanasamy, who will deliver keynote speeches. Left-leaning political commentator Van Badham will also appear as a guest speaker.

The focus of the event, which VATE president Emily Frawley confirmed had been designed with social justice in mind, has alarmed some education experts, who have questioned the role of “political activists” at the event and the push to embed divisive “identity politics” into the curriculum.

Sessions include “Stand Up For The Outsiders’’, which will explore teaching strategies for ­“empowering students to speak to issues of class, gender and race”, and ‘‘We Want Gender Equality’’, on “how the plight of woman over time has not changed”. There will also be a discussion of Jeanette Winterson’s 1987 novel The ­Passion, which is billed as “post modernism, queer theory and a romping tale to boot”, while ­‘‘Reflections On Growing Up ­Different In Australia’’ will look at “migration, racism and identity” in various texts.

Another session will advise teachers how to deliver the Victorian government’s Respectful Relationships program — a family violence initiative criticised for pushing gender theory onto children — through English texts in the middle years.

Details of the conference have emerged in the wake of research by the Institute of Public Affairs that pointed to a rise of identity politics in university history courses.

The IPA’s Western civilisation program director Bella d’Abrera questioned what “political activists” were doing at a conference “about English teaching to schoolchildren”.

“This conferences shows that identity politics has not also permeated the teaching of history in Australian universities, but it is also deeply embedded in English teaching in Victorian secondary schools,” Dr d’Abrera said. “There is no place for identity politics in our classrooms.”

Australian Catholic University senior research fellow Kevin ­Donnelly said it was disappointing to see teachers emphasise ideology over good grammar, spelling, punctuation and literary appreciation.

“Instead of English teaching being about giving a balanced view of literature, it’s now more about offering a critique of society, particularly Western society, misogyny, inequality and capitalism,” Dr Donnelly said.

“A lot of kids leave school without a strong foundation of what is good or bad literature.”

Dr Donnelly, a former English teacher and one-time member of VATE, said the association ­appeared to have been captured by the left.

Ms Frawley defended the conference, which had always “traversed the educational, cultural, political landscape”. This year’s event would feature “diverse line-up of presenters”, she said.

“The brief of all presenters is to speak to the themes of the conference, drawing on their expertise and considering their audience,” Ms Frawley said. “We want English teachers to be engaged and challenged, to consider how they can best stand up for their students, and what the role of English content and pedagogy is here.”

Ms Frawley confirmed that the organisation received funds from the department for a range of programs, but the conference itself was not government-funded.


High Court ruling sparks changing climate in Queensland's Senate ranks

The Australian Parliament's most high-profile climate change sceptic appears set to be replaced in the Senate by a man who once made his living warning of the dangers of climate change.

One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts was one of five MPs declared ineligible to stand for Parliament under section 44 of the constitution in a High Court decision on Friday, as he had never formally renounced his British citizenship.

The court also ruled against fellow former Queensland senator Larissa Waters, who resigned in July upon discovering her Canadian dual citizenship, but ruled in favour of LNP senator Matt Canavan, who sits in the Nationals' party room in Canberra.

Former Democrats leader Andrew Bartlett appears certain to replace Ms Waters in the Senate, while Sunshine Coast man Fraser Anning is set to replace Mr Roberts based on a countback of votes cast in the 2016 federal election.

Mr Anning, who once ran the  Sunshine Coast solar installation business Pacific Solar and Heating, once warned of the dangers of climate change in a Sunshine Coast Seniors newspaper advertorial.

The paid editorial said greenhouse gases, carbon emissions and conserving energy were "all subjects about which we are concerned today” and promoted government rebates for solar hot water systems.

“The rebates are substantial and the community's awareness about the need for cleaner energy options is growing," Mr Anning said in the article.

Mr Roberts has been an outspoken critic of climate science, claiming it was "manipulated" by NASA, the CSIRO and others as part of a global conspiracy.

Fairfax Media attempted to contact Mr Anning, who no longer works for Pacific Solar and Heating, on Friday.

While those attempts were unsuccessful, Mr Anning did issue a media statement and there was little love lost for Mr Roberts in its content. "This (High Court) outcome vindicates Pauline Hanson's decision to refer the issue of Malcolm Roberts' citizenship to the High Court," he said.

"It is, however, infuriating that the Australian taxpayer has had to stump up millions of dollars to pay for a court decision, just because five polticians couldn't get their act together to do what was required by the constitution.

"I can certainly assure all Queenslanders that before I nominated I took all steps to ensure that I was eligible to be a senator and, obviously, as a candidate for an Australian nationalist party, not being a foreigner is a pretty important part of that."

Mr Anning also took aim at One Nation leader Pauline Hanson's recent praise of Mr Roberts.  "I fully understand that in recent weeks Pauline needed to express public support for Roberts as long as he occupied a Senate spot, however that naturally changes with the High Court decision," he said.

"I have given Pauline unqualified loyalty and supported her for more than 20 years, so naturally I expect this to be reciprocated if and when I am declared elected."

Mr Anning's candidate bio on the One Nation website said he had worked in the hotel industry in Gladstone for the past five years and he has reportedly worked in marketing and plane building.

Meanwhile, experienced former senator Mr Bartlett, who was in Parliament from 1997 until 2008, said he expected to be formally serving as a Greens senator within two weeks.

Mr Bartlett, who pledged to be based in north Queensland if he won a second Senate seat for the Queensland Greens, said he would be instead be based in the south-east corner.

“It is not really tenable (to be based in north Queensland) in these circumstances,” Mr Bartlett said.

“That was a pledge if I got elected last time as a second senator for the Greens.

“We would have had one (office) in Brisbane and one up north, but obviously we will now only have one for the time being and there is an office there that I can move into.

“I can move in at very little cost, whereas if I had to set up in Cairns or Townsville with 20 months left to serve in the term, it would cost taxpayers a lot of extra money, frankly.

“It’s nothing against north Queensland, we would love to get up there, but it is not justifiable at this time.”


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, 2017

Racist "whiteness" concept flourishing among elite Australians

The Left are obsessed with race and racial differences

Is there a collective noun for those who make a living out of publicly decrying the evils of whiteness? Consider for example, a cacophony of virtue-signallers, a soliloquy of self-flagellants, a dirge of self-loathers, a nursery of penitents, and a turgidity of neo-Pharisees.

For such zealots the crusade against racism — or more accurately to be seen as crusading against racism — is a secular calling. Its central philosophy is the disparaging and loathing of whiteness. Are you thinking irony or downright hypocrisy? To describe it so would be correct, but those terms do not illustrate the degree of cognitive dissonance in the crusader’s mind. To describe it as Orwellian doublethink, however, does.

What featured in last week’s episode of ABC Radio National’s The Minefield served as a stark example, its subject title “Wrong to be ‘White’: Is Racism a Moral Problem?”. Apparently rejecting the notion that racism is an aberrant element of whiteness, host Scott Stephens mused that it was innate. “A great many more philosophers and a great many political theorists … would see the persistence of racism not as a moral topic but in some ways as foundational, as fundamental as in some ways infecting and rendering us complicit in pretty much everything we do,” he said. “What do you think”, he asked co-host and Deakin University lecturer Dr Joanna Cruikshank.

You might think the correct answer, after suppressing an outburst of derisive laughter, would be to say this secular construct of original sin was both simplistic and sweeping. But Cruikshank did not demur. “As a historian I think I’m constantly struck by the way the structures of many modern nations have been racial right from the start,” she said. “I think I would even say white supremacist from the start.”

It is a term that Cruikshank resorts to frequently, particularly in respect to self-loathing. “I am a white supremacist,” she wrote in June this year. “I sing a national anthem that proclaims Australians to be ‘young and free,’ directly excluding the ancient nations of this land and their people — people who, for most of the century this anthem has been sung, have been anything but free. I work in institutions and walk on streets named after men who authored the White Australia policy.”

The list of self-indictments is a long one. “I watch television and movies where white people portray almost all of the heroes, while people of colour play the feisty friend, the wisecracking sidekick, the super-strong villain or the treacherous terrorist. If I watched sport more often, I would see players of different races, but almost all white managers and coaches.”

The purpose of telling us this, she writes, is not “to indulge in self-flagellation.” Whether she is trying to convince us or herself of that one cannot say. “No doubt people of colour around me could point to many more examples of the way my words and actions reflect and perpetuate white supremacy,” she adds. “I am working to change this.” These changes, however, do not appear to go so far as the reluctant white supremacist giving up her taxpayer-subsidised job to make way for a person of colour, but that’s by the bye.

The two co-hosts could not be more alike in spirit. “Like you, I’ve been rather troubled by the political response as well to the National Constitutional Convention at Uluru,” said Stephens, who then added the indigenous resolutions such as a treaty and a so-called truth and reconciliation commission to be “clear and unequivocal” and “morally rich”.

As with Cruikshank, Stephens appears to regard the ABC studios as the nation’s confessional. He deplored the “grubby public debates about things like the Australia Day date,” describing them as a reaction to “historical truth-telling.” The protests were a “reassertion of a muscular white nationalism,” he went on to say. “This for me is really the symptom of something that remains very deep and very wrong with who we are.”

You could be tempted to argue in response to such strong sentiments that the attempt by socialist and Greens-dominated councils to change the date of Australia Day is an aggressive form of cultural cleansing. Alternatively, you might suggest that this whole notion of whiteness and inherent racism is sanctimonious piffle, as well as an exercise in attention-seeking.

Ah, but Stephens had anticipated this. “It‘s now common for people to come out and to deny that they themselves are racist while engaging in either forms of speech or patterns of behaviour that would be I think rightly morally described as racist.” To assume that a denial of racism from one accused of such behaviour is evidence of guilt is truly a Kafkaesque mindset.

These views are disconcertingly similar to those of the Australian Human Rights Race Discrimination Commissioner, Tim Soutphommasane. “Not to put too fine a point on it,” he observed only two months ago, “but we must be prepared to say that if people don’t wish to be called racists or bigots, they shouldn’t blame others; they should begin by not doing things that involve racism or bigotry.” But what about the right to a fair hearing? For a cultural Marxist, that is merely a bourgeois anachronism.

Given Stephens and Cruikshank’s controversial and near identical views on whiteness, surely we could expect their only guest would provide a challenging and robust counterargument? After all, ABC editorial policies require The Minefield to “Present a diversity of perspectives so that, over time, no significant strand of thought or belief within the community is knowingly excluded or disproportionately represented.” So how did that work out with this guest?

“I’d like to start off actually by acknowledging that here in Sydney, in the ABC studios, I am actually sitting on lands stolen from the Gadigal people,” began Alana Lentin, associate professor in Cultural & Social Analysis at the University of Western Sydney. Does that give you some indication of how much balance you can expect?

Lentin is also the president of the Australian Critical Race and Whiteness Studies Association. Its charter is to “critically investigate and challenge racial privilege and the construction and maintenance of race and whiteness, both past and present.” In respect to the assertion that denial of racism is equivalent to an admission of guilt, Lentin takes an even more extreme view. “The assertion of ‘not racism’ that accompanies many structurally white discussions of and pronouncements on matters of race is itself a key form of racist violence,” she wrote for ABC only last week.

Not surprisingly, it was a very cosy little chat among the three, with acclaims along the lines of “Absolutely” and “Wow”. “We know that white people in this country are not jailed for unpaid fines,” said Lentin, commenting on the death in custody in 2014 of West Australian indigenous woman Miss Dhu. This is a blatantly absurd fiction, yet neither Stephens nor Cruikshank corrected Lentin.

Judging by her Twitter account, one sees that Lentin has a tendency to weaken labels through overuse. According to her Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is a “fascist”.

Fascist Turnbull presides over same racist policies as Trump regime is trying to install

— alana lentin (@alanalentin) January 30, 2017

So too is his cabinet colleague Scott Morrison, but he is a “total fascist”.

How very fascist: Tony says 'families, jobs, economy, secure nation' and 'I love this country'

— alana lentin (@alanalentin) February 9, 2015

On what basis? It turns out that Abbott had espoused the importance of “families, jobs, economy, secure nation”, and had said “I love this country.”

Her accusatory outbursts do not end there. Lentin frequently refers to immigration detention centres as “concentration camps”.

Her most revealing tweet was one sent on the eve of Australia Day this year. “Does anyone seriously think that #changethedate will resolve the pesky fact that Australia was stolen? No to nationalist days!” Never kid yourself in thinking that the progressives’ campaign to change the date of Australia Day will end there.

As for episodes like that of The Minefield, what does it say of the ABC’s adherence to its statutory charter? Only this month managing director Michelle Guthrie claimed the government’s legislative proposals to amend the charter — including a requirement that coverage be “fair” and “balanced” — amounted to a “political vendetta”.

Finally, one should reflect on the words of Stephens, who linked the concepts of race and whiteness to “products of capitalism itself”.

Capitalism, he asserted, “produces subjects who are willing to profit off the back of the misery and the immiseration of others,” he said. He’s absolutely right. It is called the Grievance Gravy Train, and it is publicly funded through taxes paid by capitalists. And it is not only its drivelling passengers who enjoy such a lucrative run at the expense of others, but also those who stoke its fires and drive it.


'Australia feels like a FOREIGN country': Most Australians believe the country is FULL and almost half support a ban on Muslim immigration

Three quarters of Australians believe the country doesn't need any more people and almost half support a ban on Muslim immigration.

A survey of more than 2000 people, by the Australian Population Research Institute, also found 54 per cent want a reduction in the annual migrant intake.

The independent organisation claims the results are driven by a rapid change in Australia's ethnic and religious make-up and concerns over quality of life.

'Australian voters' concern about immigration levels and ethnic diversity does not derive from economic adversity,' academics Katharine Betts and Bob Birrell wrote in a report based on the survey.

'Rather, it stems from the increasingly obvious impact of population growth on their quality of life and the rapid change in Australia's ethnic and religious make-up.'

Australia's population increased by 389,000 people to 24.5 million in the year to March, largely due to the arrival of new immigrants.

Most people who migrate to Australia are skilled workers (68 per cent) and about a third make the move to be with family.

But 74 four per cent of those surveyed believe Australia is 'already full', with most pointing to roads congestion, hospitals capacity, affordable housing and fewer jobs as evidence.

Some 54 per cent want Australia to cut its annual immigrant intake of about 190,000 people and 48 per cent backed a partial ban on Muslim immigration.

However, another 27 per cent were undecided about a partial ban, while a quarter opposed it.

The strongest support for the partial ban came from One Nation voters (89 per cent), with more than 50 per cent of Liberal voters agreeing and just over a third of Labor supporters.

'The willingness to take a tough, discriminating stance on Muslim immigration is not limited to a small minority, but extends to almost half of all voters,' the report said.

More than half of those surveyed feared Australia risked losing its culture and identity, with a similar number saying it had changed beyond recognition and sometimes 'felt like a foreign country'.

Australia's political and economic 'elites' had ignored rising concerns about immigration, the report said while noting rising support for anti-immigration parties across Europe.

'Such is the extent of these concerns that they could readily be mobilised in an electoral context by One Nation or any other party with a similar agenda, should such a party be able to mount a national campaign,' the report said.

'If this occurs, the Liberal Party is likely to be the main loser.'

The survey was largely based on the views of Australian-born respondents, who were 'much more likely to take a tough line on immigration numbers and ethnic diversity than are overseas-born persons (unless they are UK-born)', the report noted.


Sirius demolition one step closer as state government declines to grant heritage status

The controversial Sirius building on the edge of the Rocks is a step closer to demolition after the NSW government again declined to grant the brutalist former social-housing block heritage status and protection from redevelopment.

NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton announced on Wednesday that she had declined to grant the heritage status, moving a proposal to demolish and redevelop it into a $120-million apartment redevelopment to completion.

"My role is to decide whether the building has aesthetic value and, if so, whether that value is such as to satisfy [heritage value] at a state level," Ms Upton wrote in a decision published on Wednesday. "While the Sirius building is distinctive, in my view, it is not a landmark worthy of state heritage protection."

The announcement comes after a previous decision by Ms Upton's predecessor not to list the building was overturned in the Land and Environment Court in July, after the state government was found to have "side-stepped" its obligation to consider the building's heritage value and misapplied the law.

Shaun Carter, the chairman of the Save Our Sirius action group and former president of the NSW Institute of Architects, said it was unsurprising the state government had decided to resubmit its application.

But he said the coalition of activists that had been fighting the government's plans since 2014 would immediately seek advice from the Environmental Defenders Office about a legal appeal.

"If there's one millimetre of space to take this back to court, we will," he said. "We will stay that course, even if that means we are arm-in-arm in front of bulldozers."

The minister's office declined to comment on whether the decision could be open to further appeal.

The MP for Sydney, Alex Greenwich, said the state government's decision to ignore expert advice was "appalling" and motivated by a desire to push up the building's sale price.

The state government has said that the sale of the 79-unit site would enable the construction of another up to 240 social-housing units elsewhere.

Built more than 30 years ago to allow working class residents to remain in The Rocks during a period of major construction, the Sirius building followed the Green Bans movement of the 1960s and 1970s. The building's remaining two residents are being relocated.

"It's the only building that's come out of a social movement that wasn't local, wasn't just state-based but international," Mr Carter said.

But he argued that its status as a symbol of the left of politics had made its demolition a priority for the Liberal state government.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet described the building as "about as sexy as [a] car park"


Last rites for absurd restrictions on potato growing in Western Australia

The decades-long spud war in Western Australia could soon draw to a close after the Potato Growers Association advised its members to accept a $650,000 reimbursement deal from the state government.

The government sent a letter to 74 potato growers in August offering to return to them more than $650,000 - comprised of $484,316 in Potato Marketing Corporation funds recovered from a legal trust and $200,000 in costs paid by Galati Nominees.

The defunct industry regulator had launched civil action on behalf of growers against Perth's "Spud King" Tony Galati in 2015, accusing him of growing more potatoes than allowed under WWII-era legislation.

But the action was dropped by WA's new Labor government after the industry was deregulated last December, with Premier Mark McGowan telling parliament in May "the old system was flawed and stupid".

Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the growers had a "moral claim" to the money, despite deregulation legislation specifying it belonged to the state.

"We acknowledge our potato growers have been doing it tough since the discovery of the tomato-potato psyllid," she said.

"Finalising this issue will allow the industry to focus on rebuilding and finding new markets for our produce."

Potato Growers Association of WA chief executive Simon Moltoni said members had been advised to take the deal.

"We need to move on and look forward through the windscreen and not back through the rear vision mirror," he told AAP on Thursday.

He says potato growers are counting on a new export market opening up in Egypt to reinvigorate growth in the industry.


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, 2017

AFP raids Australian Workers' Union headquarters as part of Shorten and GetUp investigation

Bill Shorten's union days coming back to haunt him?

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) have rushed to conduct raids on the Australian Workers' Union offices, amid concerns documents could be destroyed.

The raids are part of an investigation into payments made when Opposition Leader Bill Shorten was secretary.

The investigation relates to whether donations made to activist group GetUp and to federal Labor campaigns were authorised under union rules.

In a statement, the ROC confirmed it launched the sudden raids because it was concerned evidence could be "concealed or destroyed".

"Since the investigation commenced, the ROC received information which raised reasonable grounds for suspecting that documents relevant to this investigation may be on the premises of the AWU…and that those documents may be being interfered with (by being concealed or destroyed)."

The ABC understands the payments under investigation include $100,000 paid by the AWU National Office to GetUp in 2006.

Another is a $25,000 payment by the AWU National Office to Bill Shorten's election campaign in the Melbourne seat of Maribyrnong in 2007, and two other payments to campaigns in the seats of Petrie (Queensland) and Stirling (WA).

The AWU's National Secretary Daniel Walton described the raids as an "extraordinary abuse of police resources" by the ROC and the Federal Government.

"Malcolm Turnbull, when he's under pressure, calls the police," Shadow Employment Minister Brendan O'Connor told reporters in Parliament House.

"Today we learnt in Senate estimates there are resource issues with the Australian Federal Police.

"At the same time that that was uncovered, we have a situation where the Government is treating the police as its plaything — using the police to investigate a civil matter, an allegation that was made 10 years ago."

A spokesman for the Federal Government argued the AFP is "completely independent of government".

"It is absurd and false to suggest the AFP is in any way politicised," he said.

"Labor is attacking the independence, integrity and professionalism of the AFP and its officers. This is an offensive slur and a disgraceful distraction.

"This matter was referred to the Registered Organisations Commission weeks ago and it is important it is allowed to investigate without hysterical smears from Labor."

Separately, the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has asked GetUp to abide by disclosure laws that would require it to outline what funding it receives and how it is spent.

Groups subjected to such obligations are known as "associated entities", which are defined as a group controlled by one or more political parties, or operating to a significant extent for the benefit of political parties.

In a letter obtained by the ABC, the AEC said there were grounds to suggest GetUp's activities last year could be seen as having benefited Labor and the Greens.

GetUp has denied the claims and insisted it is an independent movement.


We are still paying for Rudd's follies

Electricity customers face an extra burden of between $3.8 billion and $7.5bn in “windfall” subsidies for renewable power generators in the next decade ­because of the stroke of a pen in the last months of Kevin Rudd’s prime ministership.

Against advice from consultants, energy companies and the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Rudd government in 2010 extended the phasing out of the renewable subsidies for existing operators from 2020 to 2030.

The 10-year extension beyond the contracted 2020 phase-out under the Howard government is estimated to cost households and businesses up to an extra $7.5bn.

Based on a pre-2010 renewable generation estimate of about 9500 gigawatts an hour — and cost of certificates of about $80 — the highest estimated cost of the subsidy is $7.5bn. Under estimates based on the generation of 8300GW/h and a certificate price of $47, the total cost would be $3.8bn. The subsidy is coming into focus as the Turnbull government unveils its plans to stop subsidies for new renewable energy projects from 2020 because wind and solar power are becoming “cheaper than coal” and can survive without subsidies. Subsidies for existing projects will continue to be paid to 2030, in line with the Rudd government’s commitment.

The Turnbull government has estimated that not adopting a clean energy target suggested by the Finkel report will cut $11bn in potential renewable subsidies through renewable energy certificates.

Malcolm Turnbull and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg are promoting the Coalition’s new energy plan as not adopting taxes or new subsidies.

“We call upon our political ­opponents to accept the National Energy Guarantee as recommended by the Energy Security Board,” Mr Frydenberg said. “It is a credible, workable, pro-market policy that delivers lower power prices and a more reliable system.”

After the election of the Rudd government in 2007, a series of changes was made to climate-change policy, including increasing the Howard government’s renewable energy target five times to 45,000 GW/h a year, splitting the then mandatory renewable energy target (MRET) into two, and trying to implement an emissions trading scheme by mid-2010.

In 2003, a Howard government review of the MRET, which recommended expanding renewable energy and emissions reduction targets, said the subsidies should not be extended beyond 2020.

Most of the political and parliamentary debate concentrated on ramifications of rapidly expanding rooftop solar systems and splitting the MRET into large and small sections.

Former Labor ministers cannot recall cabinet discussion or parliamentary debate over the extension of the subsidies for existing renewable generation to 2030, which was seen as a minor part of the massive changes to renewable energy policy.

But between 2008 and 2010, a Senate review, government advisers, the ACF, energy companies Origin and AGL as well as aluminium producer Rusal told the Labor government not to extend subsidies for existing renewable energy producers beyond 2020.

The Rudd government was told of the perception of “windfall profits” for existing renewable energy generators, was urged to keep the Howard government 2020 cut-off for subsidies and was reassured there was no sovereign risk because existing contracts and solar and wind farms had been built with the clear agreement that subsidies would end in2020.

Even Greenpeace and the ACF argued against windfall profits.

“Facilities built between 1997 and 2007 should only be eligible for incentives due under the existing MRET,” the ACF said in a submission to the Climate Change Authority.

The Australian Meat Processor Corporation said stations built before the introduction of MRET should not be allowed to access the scheme beyond 2020 because it “does not create a level playing field for these to be included”.

The Rudd government’s own discussion paper — Design Options for the Expanded national Renewable Energy Target Scheme — said the treatment of existing ­renewable energy generators could have large ramifications for climate change policy.

“Treatment of pre-existing power stations under the expanded national RET has implications for the supply of RECs in the market after 2020 and for the cost of the scheme,” the paper found.

“Treatment of pre-existing generators could also have implications for the credibility and effectiveness of the scheme in driving additional generation, if it is perceived that windfall gains after 2020 could accrue for business-as-usual generation by investments made in the expectation that a RECs revenue stream would be available only until 2020,” the paper said.

Despite the warnings the Labor government gave existing renewable energy generators access to the “windfall profits” beyond 2020 and locked in huge subsidies for a decade longer than contracted.


Productivity Commission report highlights tensions between university research and teaching

An old issue that grinds on

THE obsession with research at universities is helping to create an oversupply of graduates in certain areas and potentially bad outcomes for students and taxpayers.

That’s according to a Productivity Commission report, Shifting the Dial, released Tuesday which set out a broad agenda for reform spanning health, schools, universities, transport and energy.

It noted that universities were being encouraged to churn out students in “high-margin courses”, which are cheap to teach but have high fees, so they can funnel more money into research.

This risks creating an oversupply of graduates, wastes both students and taxpayers money, and could ultimately affect Australia’s productivity and economic growth.

“Many university staff are more interested in, and rewarded for, conducting research,” the report said.

This is due partly due to its importance of research in international rankings as well as the culture in universities that gives prestige to research and sees teaching-focused positions as a “low-pay, low-progression and low-value career pathway”.

“Teaching therefore plays second fiddle to research, with consequences for student satisfaction, teaching quality and graduate outcomes,” the report noted.

The commission found that student fees that should be used for teaching, were instead being directed towards research and this was undermining student outcomes and teaching quality.

About 80 per cent of teaching-only staff at universities in 2015 were working as casual employees, and many teachers were part-time workers who were themselves students.

“It seems likely that a system where a significant share of the teaching is provided by junior staff with limited long-term teaching interest will not generate the best educational outcomes for students,” the report said.

It noted that the use of money for teaching to cross-subsidise research was also creating an oversupply of certain graduates and there was evidence this was already happening.

One study found nearly 45 per cent of recent law graduates who were employed were actually working in clerical, sales and service occupations.

On the flip side, universities may also be discouraged from providing more student places for “low-margin” or loss-making areas that can create an undersupply of graduates in essential professions including dentistry, veterinary science, health sciences and engineering.

While the commission has not made any recommendations because it acknowledged the complexity of the system and did not want to create unintended adverse outcomes, it did suggest options that should be considered.

It said one solution could be to change government funding so that it more closely reflected expected teaching costs, and the public and private benefits.

“For example, disciplines with a high degree of personal benefits and limited positive spillovers (such as a degree in finance) could require students to pay most (or even all) of the cost of tuition,” the report said.

However, it said this would need to be offset by other changes to how research was funded.

It has also supported the Federal Government’s plans to introduce a form of performance-contingent funding from 2019, which would make 7.5 per cent of funding contingent on the university’s teaching performance.

The exact design of this plan is still being developed but the commission said this was a “step in the right direction, although there are a range of challenges with making this approach fair and effective”.

The commission was also sceptical about the benefits of the Turnbull Government’s plan to lower the income threshold that students need to start paying off their HELP debts.

Instead it believes outstanding HELP debts could be collected from deceased estates from those aged over 60 years and potentially only from estates worth over a certain amount.

This would also allow HELP debts to be recovered from the increasing number of students aged 65 years or over, who are accessing these loans but are less likely to pay them off.

Other suggestions from the commission include relaxing restrictions on the use of the term “university” so that institutions don’t have to do both teaching and research to qualify.

The commission believes this could be dropped to encourage some institutions to focus on teaching.

It said universities should also assess students carefully to ensure they start the right course and are more likely to finish it.

The commission found there was a link between how high a student’s Australia Tertiary Admission Rank was and whether they were likely to drop out of uni before finishing their degree.

Students with an ATAR above 95 had an annual attrition rate of less than 5 per cent in 2014 but this jumped to about 20 per cent for those whose score was between 50 and 59.

Similarly nearly 40 per cent of those with an ATAR between 50 and 59 had left uni without a degree after nine years, while just 4 per cent of students with an ATAR above 95 had done so.

However, the commission noted the ATAR score was just one reason why students quit and others include the student’s motivation levels, financial security and personal or health-related factors.

Group of Eight, which represents Australia’s leading research intensive universities that account for two-thirds of all research funding to universities, is supportive of the commission’s findings.

“The Productivity Commission rightly questions how we do our job, how we use our funding and our focus,” Go8 chief executive Vicki Thomson told “We would expect no less.

“It has therefore been particularly pleasing to concentrate on the substance of the report and find that the Commission is in agreement with the Go8’s consistent advocacy push for an end to the current dysfunctional and distorted funding model for research, and to our call for an independent review of how the sector is financially structured, and on our outcomes.”



Doctors warn of dangerous rise in use of 'nangs'

A girl in her 20s struggles to walk. She has nerve damage to her spinal cord and may never recover

What is a 'nang'? A "nang" is the street name given to a small canister of nitrous oxide, or laughing gas. It is available over the counter, and has various uses including in medicine and hospitality. 

However, selling it for non-medical human consumption is illegal in NSW. It can cause brain damage, memory loss, a weakened immune system and incontinence

The cause? Bingeing on "nangs" — small canisters of nitrous oxide gas designed for whipping cream, but being misused as a recreational drug.

The female student was inhaling 360 nangs a week. Her future is bleak.

Partygoers buy nangs (also known as nozzies, bulbs and whippets) to inhale the nitrous oxide inside the canister. It is a 20-second high.

In a medical setting, nitrous oxide is useful. Dentists use it as an anaesthetic and it is administered to women in labour.

But doctors warn recreational use carries serious risks. "Very recently I had a 20-year-old patient whose brain appeared to have the same level of damage as an alcoholic who had been drinking for 40 years," toxicologist Dr Andrew Dawson told 7.30.

Dr Dawson, who is Director of the Poisons Information Centre at The Children's Hospital at Westmead, said the number of cases had risen alarmingly. "We have had a doubling of the number of calls from hospitals about significantly affected people from nitrous oxide exposure," he said. "Those effects are severe nerve injury, or sometimes brain injury.

"There has been a real spike over the last two years."

Although deaths are rare, Dr Dawson said they were "certainly" reported within Australia.

"Those deaths can relate to anything from the exploding of the small cylinders, to people becoming hypoxic — that is, short of oxygen, from overuse," Dr Dawson said.

Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, has been around for hundreds of years.

It has been used to get high for just about as long, beginning with the British upper class "laughing gas parties" in the 1700s.

Now it is back with a vengeance.

According to the Global Drug Survey, nitrous oxide is the seventh-most popular drug in the world.

In Australia, canisters are sold in packs of 10 for $10 in corner stores, or in bulk online, with multiple sellers advertising 24/7 weekend delivery.

The situation has prompted doctors, including Dr Dawson, to call for the supply of nitrous oxide to be limited, and a public health education campaign to warn about the risks.

"Kids are intelligent," Dr Dawson said. "It is an issue about actually getting that message across in an appropriate manner.


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, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is reflecting on the legacy of Kevin Rudd.  He is not impressed.

So much for free speech! Right-wing anti-feminist Milo Yiannopoulous BANNED by the Western Australian government ahead of nationwide tour

Controversial far-right commentator Milo Yiannopoulos has been banned from appearing at government owned venues in Western Australia.

Ahead of Yiannopoulos's Australian tour, WA premier Mark McGowan said he was not welcome in the state. 'I don't think he's welcome in WA… so we will make sure that all government venues are not available to him,' Mr McGowan told 9 News on Monday.

The 'anti-feminist' and 'outrage troll' will begin his Australian tour in November.

The so-called 'internet supervillain' shot to fame after he was banned from Twitter when he was blamed for a campaign of abuse directed at Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones.

He has likened feminism to cancer, Islam to AIDS and he was sacked as Tech Editor at Breitbart News after audio surfaced of him appearing to condone sexual relationships between teenage boys and older men.

'Anyone who defends pedophiles and associates with Nazis, I don't think is a rational person, we shouldn't have them delivering lectures and performances to West Australians,' Mr McGowan said.

A petition demanding Minister for Immigration Peter Dutton deny Yiannopoulos a visa has attracted just over 1,000 signatures as of Monday.

A counter-petition, set up by political commentator Mark Latham, has been signed well over 11,000 times.

Daily Mail Australia understands that his visa will not be cancelled and his tour will go ahead.

'Aren't they sweet? The best they could do was marshal 900 people to sign that petition,' Yiannopoulos said.

'There was about 10,000 who signed the counter-petition to let me in. 'I just find it sweet, adorable and charming when people get so upset about a gay man having the wrong opinions and telling the wrong jokes.'

Yiannopolous will bring his Troll Academy Tour to Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and the Gold Coast from December 1.

'The response had been absolutely amazing. We've just announced a second show in Sydney - the first one sold out in a couple of weeks,' he said.

'And then my book comes out in Australia in November. So it's going to be a whole Christmas of Milo Down Under.'


High costs revealed in new NBN data

MALCOLM Turnbull has opened up on the NBN’s biggest downfalls, blaming Labor for billions of dollars wasted during the troubled rollout.

In a candid press conference, the Prime Minister said Australia should have learned from New Zealand’s example when setting up the NBN and that it was a “mistake” to go about it the way they did.

“Setting up a new government company to do it was a big mistake,” he told reporters in Canberra.

“If you want to look at a country that did this exercise better, it’s New Zealand, and what they did there was ensure the incumbent telco, the Telstra equivalent, split network operations from retail operations and that network company became, in effect, the NBN.

“The virtue of that was you had a business that knew what it was doing, that was up and running and had 100 years of experience getting on with the job and the Kiwis have done this at much less cost.”

“So the way Labor set it up was hugely expensive ... I’ve said this many times, it’s a fact of life that we can’t recover,” he said.

“So having been left in a bad place by Labor, what we are doing is ensuring we deliver it as quickly and cost effectively as possible but I have to say to you, again — one complaint is one complaint too many.”

His comments came as the man responsible for the national rollout blamed a “land grab” by internet retailers for the one-in-four Australians unhappy with the speed of their fast broadband connection.

NBN Co chief executive Bill Morrow says because retailers are aggressively competing for market share, they’re unable to charge consumers what he believes they should to pay to provide increased bandwidth.

As a result, some households and businesses are unable to access the high speeds they expect or led to believe to expect by retailers.

The number one NBN consumer issue with was broadband speeds between 7pm and 11pm — which Mr Morrow dubs the “Netflix hours”.

Consumers were led to believe they could access broadband speeds of between 12-25 megabits a second for the same price they were paying for a pre-NBN service (5 megabits a second).

About 85 per cent of premises were signing up to speeds of 25 megabits or less, and market studies showed of those, three out four were “quite satisfied” with what they were paying and the service they’re getting, Mr Morrow said. “The reality is ... about one-in-four people are unhappy with the way their service is being produced.”

Mr Morrow said what consumers were paying retailers and the money retailers were paying NBN Co was not enough to even to recover the $49 billion cost of rolling out the network.

“If the (retail service providers) RSPs cannot get the consumers to pay more, then we have a problem.” But it was too early to say whether that meant additional taxpayer support. Mr Turnbull admitted the NBN’s return of three per cent was not enough for it to be deemed a government asset or make it a commercial return for the stock market.

On another front, Mr Morrow believes his company may struggle to compete with mobile networks.

Low-cost city connections were subsidising the more difficult-to-wire homes, but margins would be squeezed if city customers turn to ultra-fast mobile networks for their internet connections.

“We are kind of fighting the competitive fight with one hand tied behind our back,” Mr Morrow said.


Labor’s energy policy to deliver $200 bill shock

Labor’s policy of a 50 per cent ­renewable energy target by 2030 would require the closure of 75 per cent of existing coal-fired power in Australia and add almost $200 a year to the average household ­energy bill, according to analysis of modelling commissioned by the Climate Change Authority.

In the first indication of the cost of Labor’s stated energy policy, ­including a 45 per cent emissions reduction target, the modelling ­reveals that to achieve such a goal, 17,000 megawatts of coal-fired power would have to be taken out of the National Electricity Market.

This would correspond to 75 per cent of the existing coal-fired generation, or 10 coal-fired power stations of equivalent size to ­Hazelwood, reducing the current 16 coal-fired power stations in the market to only one or two.

The data analysis drawn from modelling provided to the Climate Change Authority for its 2016 Policy Options for Australia’s Electricity Supply Sector — Special Review Research Report, contained in a government briefing note provided to The Australian, also reveals that it would increase energy bills by $1921 over 10 years from 2020 to 2030.

The modelling was based on an emissions intensity scheme that sought to achieve a 52 per cent renewable energy target by 2030 — the closest model to Labor’s stated policy of a 50 per cent RET. Labor has previously signalled that an emissions intensity scheme was its preferred option to achieve that.

The annual rise in annual electricity bills to realise its policy, ­according to data contained in spreadsheets attached to the report, would start at about $100 a year in 2020 and peak at $285 a year in 2027. A further data sheet contained in the modelling appendices, under chapter three of the report relating to an EIS, shows that this would also entail taking an extra 17,000 megawatts of black and brown coal-fired generation out of the market by 2030. This would be on top of the 1600MW taken out with the closure of Hazelwood in Victoria.

Bill Shorten has refused to release modelling of the opposition’s energy policy, claiming more details on the 45 per cent emissions reduction target would be ­released before the next election.

The CCA modelling will strengthen the Turnbull government’s case for its national ­energy guarantee — and its promise of a $115 annual saving for households — which the opposition has continued to ridicule as being a saving of only 50c a day.


Labor would rather service misery than solve it

Malcolm Turnbull and his mates are cuddling up to One Nation and attacking poor people, thundered senator Doug Cameron.

“They are shovelling $65 billion out to the big end of town and screwing ordinary working families in this country,” he told the Senate last week, indignation rising like steam

Not for the first time, it was hard to reconcile the senator’s hyperbolic rhetoric with the prudent and pragmatic legislation under debate.

Christian Porter’s welfare reform bill will make welfare simpler to claim, cheaper to administer and harder to rort. It simplifies a welfare system so complicated no one fully understands it, not the bureaucrats charged with administering it, the minister or, one presumes, the good senator ­himself.

It also insists that recipients ­adhere to obligations, such as staying off the funny fags, for example, or other psychoactive substances that would render them useless or dangerous employees.

Labor, blinded by sentimentality, reckons it is unreasonable to make junkies accountable for the illegal substances they consume, inhale or inject. We must listen to the experts, they tell us; drugs are not something one chooses to take or from which one can choose to abstain. They are, says Labor’s Sharon Claydon, “complex public health problems, and they require a public health policy response”.

Drug addiction is “a medical issue that needs to be tackled properly in a medical way”, agreed her colleague Amanda Rishworth.

Framing drug-taking as a disease over which the user — sorry, victim — has no control is an intellectual delusion common among progressives. Drug takers can’t be blamed; their condition is biologically, neurologically, genetically and environmentally determined. Like the punks in West Side Story seeking Officer Krupke’s forbearance, they are sociologically sick and psychologically disturbed.

Gee, Officer Krupke, we’re very upset;
We never had the love that every child oughta get.
We ain’t no delinquents,
We’re misunderstood.
Deep down inside us there is good!

Dole junkies have been added to the growing list of victims by progressive MPs who are forever on the lookout for new outlets for their compassion.

Drug use cannot be stopped “by punishing those who are caught up in this illness”, Anne Aly informed the house. It was a job, she said, for “the treatment sector”.

It is a measure of the growth in the availability of state-funded assistance for the drug-addled that we can talk of “the treatment sector” with a straight face. This quasi-medical, quasi-sociological, quasi-psychological industry barely existed a quarter of a century ago. Today it turns over hundreds of millions a year of our money.

The treatment sector, as one would expect, is opposed to drug tests and anything else that encourages drug users to kick their habit. Its business model requires customers to remain hopeless and helpless. Let’s not confuse these poor people by suggesting they could do something to help themselves. Fighting drug addiction is a job for the experts.

The treatment sector’s track record is woeful, of course. The proportion of Australians who admit to using psychoactive substances — about 15 per cent — is the same as it was a decade ago. The social impact of drug use has grown with the spread of methamphetamines.

Please don’t suggest that drug treatment strategy is failing, however. It is simply underfunded. More money is needed to relieve pressure on an already overstretched system, to make mollycoddling more widely available, introduce frontline victim ser­vices, and so it goes. We’ve heard it all before.

The success of some of the more diligent charities in relieving the distress of some addicts by providing food, accommodation and counselling should not lead us to imagine the problem is being solved.

The pathologisation of misfortune is widespread in the caring industry.

It leads to a philosophy, practice and business strategy focused on servicing misery rather than ending it. It delivers short-term comfort at the expense of long-term resilience, dignity and empowerment.

The susceptibility of successive governments to fall for the welfare industry’s spin has increased the country’s welfare budget by billions of dollars.

Too much of it has been channelled into servicing misery rather than ending it through rehabilitation and empowerment. A welfare habit, like a drug habit, is much harder to crack once we succumb to the argument that biology, genetics or society is to blame for personal misfortune.

The poor have been casually re-categorised as the vulnerable. Vulnerability, unlike poverty, is never self-created; it is never the result of making poor choices and cannot be corrected by making good ones; vulnerability is simply visited upon you.

Compassion for the vulnerable has played havoc with public finances. In 2007 when John Howard left office the state and federal welfare bill was equivalent to 29.3 per cent of tax collected; under the Rudd and Gillard governments it increased to 35 per cent, even before the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The Coalition’s ability to reduce the growth in welfare spending with little if any help from welfare professionals is nothing short of remarkable. Jobseeker support payments increased by 10.3 per cent in real terms between 2007-8 and 2013-14. The growth has been slowed to 1.3 per cent. Income support for carers increased by 10.9 per cent under Labor; the growth has been slowed by the Coalition to 3.9 per cent.

Most impressive of all is the reduction in the number of people on the Disability Support Pension, a welfare payment given to people assumed to be incapable of work. The number of DSP recipients has fallen by almost 10 per cent from 830,000 in June 2014 to 758,900 in June this year.

DSP payments increased by 6.9 per cent a year in real terms under Labor; under the Coalition they have been falling by an average of 2.3 per cent a year.

The soft-headed notion of compassion has become so embedded in civic conversation that the Turnbull government is nervous about trumpeting these achievements, fearing it may be accused of stealing from the poor.

The truth is the unconditional commitment to welfare under Labor robbed recipients of a resource much more important than money.

By outsourcing responsibility for their future to the treatment sector, it robs them of dignity and the power to control their lives for better or worse.


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, 2017

Electric hybrid car emits four times more CO? than advertised, real-world testing shows

A purportedly eco-friendly hybrid electric car emits four times more greenhouse gas than manufacturers claim, according to a report backed by Australia's motoring heavyweights that opens up a new front in the nation's energy policy tussle.

The report by the Australian Automobile Association, members of which include the NRMA and RACV and RACQ, says real-world testing reveals some new cars are using up to 59 per cent more fuel than advertised. Almost six in 10 exceeded the regulated limit for one or more pollutant in cold-start tests.

The AAA says consumers are being "increasingly ripped off", forking out for vehicle technology that cuts emissions in the laboratory, but not on the road.

It says the findings cast doubt on whether more stringent vehicle emissions laws – a move being considered by the Turnbull government – would reduce pollution and lower fuel use.

But environment groups accused the association of spreading "misinformation" and seeking to derail attempts to make Australian cars less polluting.

The AAA report, conducted following the Volkswagen emissions testing scandal, tested 30 popular Australian passenger and light commercial vehicles on Melbourne roads. It did not name makes or models.

Emissions and fuel use were tested under real driving conditions, with Australian fuel types, and urban, rural and freeway settings.

The report found that, on average, real-world fuel consumption was 23 per cent higher than laboratory results, including one diesel vehicle that used 59 per cent more fuel than lab tests indicated.

One fully charged plug-in hybrid electric car consumed 166 per cent more fuel than official figures suggest – or 337 per cent more when tested from a low charge. It also emitted four times more carbon dioxide than advertised.

Of 12 diesel vehicles tested, 11 exceeded the laboratory limit for nitrogen oxides emissions. Overall, 18 vehicles, or almost 60 per cent, failed to achieve the regulated emissions limit for one or more pollutant in cold-start tests.

The report concluded that vehicles with the highest emission standards had the largest discrepancy between lab and on-road fuel use results, and urged regulators to be "cautious" when implementing new vehicle emissions laws.

AAA chief executive Michael Bradley said Australia's motoring clubs want appropriate pollution reduction but "real world testing is clearly required if either consumers or the environment are to benefit".

The government has proposed reducing new car emissions to 105 grams of CO? per kilometre by 2025 – a change Mr Bradley has previously said was "extreme" and would make vehicles more expensive.

ClimateWorks Australia project manager Claire Painter said the government must include light-vehicle CO? emissions in its upcoming climate policy review if Australia is to meet its obligations under the Paris climate deal. The proposed new standard could save the average motorist $519 a year in fuel costs, she said.

Ms Painter accused the AAA of seeking to delay the introduction of new standards while the emissions testing regime was improved – adding this was unnecessary because while discrepancies existed between lab and on-road test methods, "the absolute emissions saved is roughly the same for both tests".

Australian Conservation Foundation chief executive Kelly O'Shanassy urged the government "not to be put off by misinformation and to adopt strong pollution standards".

A spokesman for consumer group Choice, Tom Godfrey, said the test results showed consumers could not trust the fuel efficiency claims made by car manufacturers and "real world testing is clearly needed to ensure consumers are getting what they're paying for".

Mr Godfrey rejected suggestions this should mean the delay of more stringent emissions standards, saying "the government can walk and chew gum".

A spokeswoman for Urban Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher said a ministerial forum on vehicle emissions could assess the merits of real world testing.


NBN needs protection if it is to make a profit: CEO Bill Morrow

A white elephant imposed on us by Kevin Rudd and the Labor party

The national broadband network is losing money with each typical connection it makes and believes that unless it is protected from competition due to data delivered by ultrafast mobile broadband it will never make a profit.

The company's concerns have been detailed by chief executive Bill Morrow in an exclusive interview ahead of a Four Corners report on Monday that it fears will suggest "the whole thing is a mess".

As the national broadband network is rolled out, we investigate some of the wholesale services it's going to provide.
"We collect about $43 per month from retail service providers for each home they sell into," Mr Morrow said. "In order to recover costs we need $52."

"We, NBN and the board, are betting that future applications are going to bring more value into homes, that they are going to need more bandwidth or more data and that the retail service providers will pay us more."

"It's a bet we've taken. If it doesn't come together, we've got a problem."

Asked whether NBN could withstand competition from data delivered by new ultrafast 5G networks that didn't need connections to houses, Mr Morrow said: "Forget about 5G for a moment, even the antenna technology using 4G is a viable alternative to NBN where the towers are already up."

"Think about the NBN business model. The only reason we are able to get connections into those 2 million difficult-to-wire homes that are cost prohibitive is because we are taking margin from low-cost city areas. As soon as competitors eat into these margins through enhanced antenna technology, we've got a problem."

Fixed-line competitors to the NBN will soon have to pay a levy beginning at $7.09 a month to help subsidise delivery to hard-to-connect customers.

"The problem is the levy excludes wireless, even where people never take the modem outside of the house," Mr Morrow said. "It's a threat that wasn't envisaged by this government or the last when the business plans were put together."

Conceding that a levy on mobile broadband would be unpopular, Mr Morrow said: "Things are going to have to happen. The government has two options: to regulate to protect this model, or to realise that the NBN won't have the finances it thought and might require some off-budget monies to go in to make it happen."

At the moment the NBN is required to make a profit, repaying government loans and returning the government's investment through dividends.

"I think government moves are going to be inevitable," Mr Morrow said. "It all depends on how serious this competitive threat is, but being an old wireless guy I can guarantee you I would have had my team seriously looking at this."

In April, internet service provider TPG spent $1.3 billion on wireless spectrum in what was widely interpreted to be a move into mobile data. Telstra, Optus and Vodafone already have substantial mobile data networks.

Asked how much subsidy the NBN would need if it wasn't protected from competition, Mr Morrow said it was too early to predict how much mobile competition would eat into its margins.

Asked whether NBN would ever make the profit required of it even with protection from competition, Mr Morrow said he wouldn't speculate.

"It's too early. I've been around the telco industry for 40 years and things have ebbed and flowed quite a bit. Companies have crashed and burned and later emerged as super-valuable – it's too premature to think about."


Teachers and doctors face shake-up in Scott Morrison's productivity revolution

Teachers and doctors will be the key targets of a five-year blueprint for a productivity revolution to be unveiled by Treasurer Scott Morrison on Tuesday.

The 1000-page report is the first in a series commissioned by the Treasurer to complement the five-yearly intergenerational reports.

Mr Morrison told a business audience last month that rather than providing a wish list of measures arranged in no particular order, the Productivity Commission had identified "a new direction for an inclusive agenda", one that would require buy-in from the states as well as the Commonwealth.

Entitled Shifting the Dial, the review is understood to conclude that the next big gains in productivity will come, not from making people work harder, but from rearranging the delivery of health and education.

In health alone, the gains could exceed $100 billion over the next few decades. Importantly, the report finds these could be delivered by rearranging the way health dollars are spent rather than spending more.

Government figures who have seen the report say it concludes that poor health represents one of the biggest brakes on Australia's labour supply, with men in poor health 63 percentage points less likely to be part of the workforce than men in excellent health.

Although Australia has one of the highest life expectancies, the 10 years spent in ill-health is one of the longest periods in the developed world.

Men with nervous or emotional conditions earn 35 per cent less than average, while men in chronic pain earn 15 per cent less.

The report is understood to recommend that low-value health procedures be defunded and that health professionals be paid on the basis of results rather than the number of services provided. Regularly published data would enable consumers to better choose between health systems and health providers.

On education, schools would be encouraged to hire teachers with real-world knowledge of topics such as mathematics, trained with only short teaching courses. Teachers without specialist knowledge of fields such as maths would receive special training.

The programs would be delivered in partnership with willing states rather than through the Council of Australian Governments, whose resolutions require the approval of all state governments.

Other recommendations are believed to cover the efficiency of cities and opening access to government and private data, including giving consumers ownership of their own data.

Mr Morrison is likely to stress that although the recommendations are specific, they can't be implemented without the support of the states, several of whom face elections in 2018. The need for consultation and ownership by the states means that many of the recommendations are unlikely to be implemented until well after the federal election due in late 2018 or 2019.


Food, water, power to be cut at Manus Island centre as refugees forced to depart

Authorities are attempting to ward off a potentially violent crisis as the Manus Island detention centre closes, warning refugees their food, water and power will be cut on October 31.

Hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers under Australia's care have refused to leave the centre, whose closure has loomed since the Papua New Guinea Supreme Court ruled the men's ongoing detention illegal.

Alternative accommodation has been offered in the nearby town of Lorengau, but refugees fear clashes with local Manusians, and have largely refused to move.

Notices written in Persian given to some asylum seekers on Thursday - and translated by Fairfax Media - declare all services including food, sanitation and water will cease after October 31.

"All PNG government and Australian personnel will leave the regional processing centre. This site will be used by the PNG defence force," the notices state. "If you decide to stay, you should know services will be terminated."

Certified refugees can go to one of two alternative locations in Lorengau, or transfer to Nauru, and await the outcome of their applications for resettlement in the United States.

Asylum seekers not assessed to be refugees have been told they can go to a location called Hillside Haus but should make arrangements to leave PNG and go home.

Advocates fear an outbreak of violence as the October 31 closure deadline approaches, given rising tensions between refugees and Manusians, and the Good Friday clash between refugees and PNG soldiers.

Behrouz Boochani, an Iranian refugee and journalist on Manus, said he and other asylum seekers were "very worried about the future and extremely scared by this situation".

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton was not available on Friday and a spokeswoman referred questions to authorities in PNG. Mr Dutton had earlier told Sky News more refugees would soon be accepted by the US.

Asked about the issue in Parliament on Monday, cabinet minister Michaelia Cash – who represents Mr Dutton in the Senate – affirmed the centre would close on October 31 and "anybody will be removed by lawful means".

The Australian government's contractors, including International Health and Medical Services, will leave the island on that date, although the Guardian reported late on Friday that IHMS would remain on the island under contract of the PNG government.


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, 2017

National electricity guarantee an exercise in politics

There’s a simple way to bring down energy prices, but the Coalition’s policy isn’t it

The National Electricity Guarantee announced this week is an exercise in political economy. If you simply were interested in ensuring cheap, reliable electricity on ­demand, the NEG would not figure among the policy options.

But the challenges of the government are many, including paying heed to the ill-judged commitment to the Paris climate agreement and the need to get states on board. An endorsement from Labor also would be helpful in providing confidence for investors, in the renewable and synchronous energy space.

Of course, the NEG still sticks in my craw. After all, when did central planning ever work? Has Malcolm Turnbull decided those experts in Gosplan, the Soviet Union’s state planning committee, and five-year plans were actually incredibly clever and we should be ­importing their ideas?

To be fair, electricity may be a special case. It is an essential service and there was always planning at the state level in years gone by, although it was undertaken chiefly by engineers rather than by people who think they know something about economics and business with nary any attention paid to the physics of the system.

You may say the only worthwhile part of the NEG is the ­reliability component — the requirement that retailers offset their purchase of intermittent ­energy with solid synchronous sources. By all means, purchase wind power, but the retailers will need to make sure there is available backup to deal with its intermittent nature.

Mind you, it’s important that this requirement is not fiddled by the retailers, which always would be a temptation. The detail will be particularly important.

So why bother with the emissions reduction part? Why would we not rely on market forces to achieve this outcome by believing the renewable energy sector that it will be able to out-compete all other sources of electricity generation? The answer is twofold. First, we should not necessarily believe the claims of the renewable energy sector. There is a high fudge factor in the assertion, including the failure to account for additional costs of transmission and distribution; the uncertain lifetime of some of the installations; and their actual load factors (the energy delivered as a percentage of their nominal capacity).

The second issue relates to what may be termed carbon uncertainty. In the absence of the government having a specific ­intervention to drive down emissions from the electricity sector, businesses will factor in a shadow price of carbon.

The expectation is a Labor government, with its pledge to double our Paris commitment and to have 50 per cent renewables by 2030, inevitably will introduce a form of carbon pricing, notwithstanding that such action has been political poison in the past. (Note that, in any case, the renewable energy target is a form of carbon pricing, at present sitting at about $80 a megawatt tonne.)

Banks and financiers also will be including carbon risk in their calculations, in turn affecting their willingness to provide finance for new electricity projects. Long-living coal-fired plants, even ultracritical ones with low-emissions intensity, will struggle to get up unless the funders can see a clear path into the future in terms of the handling of emissions reductions.

(A new high-efficiency, low-emissions coal-fired plant also will likely require gov­ernment guarantees, but that’s fine. It’s what the renewable energy sector is being given by state governments with their expensive reverse auctions funded by taxpayers.)

One of the upsides of the emissions reduction component of the NEG is that the price impact of high penetrations of renewable energy in particular states — for example, South Australia — will be sheeted home directly to consumers. Vote for a government that promotes high renewable ­energy penetration and pay the price. Not only is this fair but it is sending an efficient price signal in terms of the consequences of particular government policy stances.

That retailers will be able to meet the emissions reduction obligations by purchasing local or international carbon credits (rather than sourcing high-cost renewable energy) is probably the best economic feature of the NEG. With the price of international carbon credits so low at the ­moment — a few euros per tonne of carbon dioxide — this will be the way to go for many retailers. The option of buying credits should cap the cost of domestic abatement via the purchase of renewable energy.

Don’t forget climate change is a global issue and it doesn’t matter the source or location of the emissions reduction. Note also the government’s own Climate Change Authority has recommended this action as part of least-cost policy.

To be sure, there are some important issues raised by the parallel operation of a reliability obligation and the requirement to meet emissions standards on the part of retailers. Arguably, the gentailers — companies that operate in both the generation and retail space (think AGL, Origin, Energy­Australia) — will have a serious competitive advantage under the NEG, particularly in terms of ­accessing hedged contracts.

The worst case scenario would be the withdrawal from the market of some retailers, reducing the limited competition in this space. The option of forcing the gentailers to break up should be considered by the government.

Is the NEG just a form of carbon price in disguise? Is it really true that there will be no further subsidies for renewable energy?

For anyone who understands economics, whenever a constraint is imposed on an activity, an ­explicit or implicit price emerges. As noted, the RET throws off a carbon price of $80 a tonne of CO2, which is excessive by any standard. And recall that Labor’s carbon price started off at a tad over $23 a tonne. The way to judge the NEG is to ask the question: is the cost of abatement under the NEG lower than the adoption of the Finkel clean energy target? The ­answer is a clear yes. But this doesn’t mean there will be no further subsidisation of ­renewable energy. That’s what the emissions reduction guarantee does. It’s just that the degree of subsidisation will be considerably less than it is now, which again is a good outcome.

So should we believe that electricity bills will be $115 a year lower under the NEG? The short answer is that there can be no definitive prediction of this outcome. The Finkel proposition that bills would be lower by $90 a year clearly was manipulated and had no credibility. The $115-a-year figure is more simply derived: it is just the price response you would expect from getting more supply, particularly of reliable energy. The one missing piece of the jigsaw that the government should consider is the scope to change the bidding rules under the National Electricity Market. Under the ­existing arrangement, the highest bidder sets the price, which is paid to all the intra-marginal suppliers. The aim is to create an incentive to invest.

But it is clear the arrangement has failed to spur investment in reliable electricity while the RET has overwhelmingly driven investment in renewable energy.

The alternative is simply to pay all the bidders needed to meet market demand the actual price they bid. If this were to happen, then there would be significant scope for wholesale prices to fall.

To be sure, the renewable energy sector would complain. And the regulator would need to watch for strategic bidding. But this simple rule change offers the government the best chance to do something quickly rather than wait until after 2020. If I were them, I would be giving this option serious consideration.


Australia's big gas miners agree on supply for 2018

The country's biggest gas companies have agreed to "put Australians first" and boost domestic supply next year to help avoid a potential energy crisis.

But the prime minister warns that residents in Victoria and NSW will keep paying more for their power if their states don't free up their own gas resources.

Santos, Origin Energy and Shell on Wednesday committed to offering enough gas to the local market to cover an expected shortfall in 2018, following a meeting with Malcolm Turnbull and senior ministers in Sydney.

They will meet again next week to nut out the details of the agreement and an intended similar guarantee for 2019.

It means the federal government won't have to follow through on its threat to restrict exports, although it remains an option.

"They have stated that they will offer, as a first priority, domestic customers any uncontracted gas in the future," Mr Turnbull told reporters.

He says if the deal is honoured and there is not a shortfall of gas then there won't be a need for export controls - something that he doesn't "relish". "We want to see more exports, but Australians have to come first," Mr Turnbull said.

Two reports this week warned of a shortage of gas in 2018 of up to 107 petajoules - about three times larger than previously forecast.

Despite the deal, Mr Turnbull continued his push for Victoria and NSW to unlock their onshore gas resources.

Queensland produces most of the gas for the east coast, meaning those in the southern states have to bear the extra cost of transport.

"The failure of Victoria and NSW to get their onshore gas resources developed means residents of NSW and Victoria and businesses in those states are going to continue to pay more for gas than they otherwise would," he said.

It accounts for about 11 per cent of the gas bill for a typical Melbourne household, and about five per cent for the average Sydney household.


How to get the most out of school reform

Blaise Joseph

The focus of education policy must shift from 'more money' to instead investing in cost-effective, evidence-based practices. This is the purpose of the government's 'Gonski 2.0' review, but what does the evidence suggest schools should be investing in?
Give teachers fewer classes and more time outside the classroom.

Australian teachers typically spend an hour more teaching each day compared to the high-achieving countries. This means teachers have less time to plan, refine, and review their lessons, which have significant effects on teaching quality.

Early literacy and numeracy. Intervention to help underachieving students is most effective in early primary years. Teachers' education degrees do not equip them with the language knowledge necessary to effectively teach reading, and phonics instruction is not consistently taught well. Therefore, primary school teachers would be helped by attending professional development to improve reading instruction.

Classroom management training for teachers. Australia has high levels of classroom misbehaviour compared to the top-performing countries. Teacher education degrees do not consistently provide evidence-based practices to prepare teachers to handle misbehaviour. Teachers would benefit from attending professional development to learn and foster evidence-based classroom management techniques.

These investments would not have to cost the taxpayer more. For example, professional development in reading instruction and managing the classroom could be prioritised over less important training, and giving teachers fewer classes could be offset by increasing class sizes.

While theoretically smaller classes should facilitate better teaching, many recent studies indicate reducing class sizes has limited -- and inconsistent -- positive effects. Australia's class sizes are much smaller than several top-performing countries.

Technology is another common school investment not supported by evidence. Australian schools use technology significantly more than most of the OECD, but this hasn't stopped the decline in our literacy and numeracy results.

We must bring evidence back to the forefront of school spending; otherwise, the extra $23.5 billion of Gonski 2.0 funding will fail to improve student outcomes, letting down both students and taxpayers.


Aboriginal problems poorly addressed by governments

Indigenous service structures slowing progress

Charles Jacobs

A new QLD Productivity Commission report echoes CIS findings that a convoluted labyrinth of programs is creating a disconnect between service design and delivery for hundreds of remote Indigenous communities. This divide means that many services are failing to effect any actual change for those they are meant to help.

The problem lies with the structure of remote program design and delivery. In many cases there is a systemic dysfunction with the way service providers interact with Indigenous people. Programs aren't designed for the recipient, but for the provider.

For example, the  Community Development Programme (CDP) -- which sees Indigenous job seekers in remote areas undertake 'work-like' activities in order to receive income support payments -- is riddled with issues.

At face value, getting welfare recipients to be more proactive seems like a good idea. However, the running of the program is subcontracted to private providers, who both deliver and regulate the delivery of the service. Most of the providers are for-profit, and there can be a conflict of interest between sustaining their operations and achieving genuine outcomes for participants.

CDP providers receive per person payments from the government, and in many cases it makes more financial sense to keep someone on their books than to get them into actual employment.
Such structural flaws are present in countless areas of Indigenous service delivery, and reflect the significant detachment of many providers from the outcomes they are meant to achieve.

The QLD Productivity Commission recommends that to resolve this issue, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities need to become more 'ambitious' about improving outcomes for themselves.

One of the ways a number of Indigenous communities are doing this is through the establishment of business enterprises. An example from this week saw an Indigenous company awarded a $4.4 million contract for road development in Cape York. A proportion of the profits of these commercial activities are being used to fund social programs in communities, reducing the reliance on government funding.

Government has repeatedly shown it is incapable of providing services and programs to communities effectively. If there is to be real change on the ground, communities must be empowered to become actively engaged in the design and delivery process.


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

22 October, 2017

Great Barrier Reef recovering from coral bleaching

The Greenie panic was for nothing, as usual.  Julian Tomlinson didn't go to journalism school so he tells it like it is below -- supported by extensive video evidence

NEWS of the Great Barrier Reef’s demise have indeed appeared to be premature – as predicted. Cairns-based environmental science body, Tropical Water Quality Hub, released exciting news this month in an email titled: Signs of recovery on bleached coral reefs.

This is no surprise to reef operators, climate change sceptics and scientists who urged everyone not to believe the hype about the Reef’s certain doom.

The TWQH said researchers from the Australian Institute of Marine Science went back to 14 reefs between Townsville and Cairns they surveyed at the height of this year’s bleaching event and saw “significant” recovery. “The majority of coral colonies on the inshore reefs have regained their colour and some even appear to have developing eggs in their tissues,” said project lead Dr Line Bay.

This evidence is directly in line with the views of James Cook University’s Professor Peter Ridd who said this year that corals were experts at adapting to changing environments and that they would recover – as they had done in the past.

But still, Prof Ridd was dismissed by reef doom merchants and has even been threatened with disciplinary action by JCU because of his contrary views. One hopes the university will now apologise unreservedly to Prof Ridd for its treatment of him.  All he did was urge his colleagues to not take such an absolute and alarmist view of Reef health.

Hinchinbrook MP, Andrew Cripps, believes Ridd’s treatment was so bad that he raised it in state parliament this month and suggested JCU’s administrative procedures should be reviewed. “I have been offered some explanations for the actions taken by JCU against Peter Ridd, but they were most unsatisfactory to the point of being feeble,” said Mr Cripps.

Marine biologist Walter Starck has spent a lifetime studying marine ecosystems and made the same observations as Ridd in a Quadrant magazine article he wrote last year.

Starck is considered by naysayers as a scientific fringe dweller but anyone who challenges the alarmists is always going to be ridiculed and have their credibility questioned.

While the TWQH researchers say it’s still early days, news of coral recovery is fantastic for our tourism operators.

Cairns reef dive company, Spirit of Freedom, has also given activists reason to stand down. Just last month, the company released a video of Ribbon Reefs, Lizard Island and Osprey Reef.  Shot by Stuart Ireland of Calypso Reef Imagery, it reveals a truly spectacular undersea paradise.

Tourists also appear on the video saying they can’t believe how beautiful the Reef is after what they’d been told about its imminent demise.

Check it out for yourself at

I can’t wait for Midnight Oil to come back to spread the good news and for my Facebook feed to be cluttered with ecstatic posts from The Greens and GetUp!

Somehow, I think I’ll be waiting a long time. They’ll still say we must stop human-caused carbon emissions to ensure the recovery continues.

But environmental scientist Bjorn Lomborg has backed opponents of attempts to force us all to toe the man-made global warming line.

In The Australian this week he wrote that if every country honoured its emissions promises, 60 gigatonnes of carbon would be stopped from entering the atmosphere… whereas 6000 gigatonnes needs to be stopped to keep temperature rises below 2C.

Again, all the pain of high power prices and being lectured to and attacked by fanatics is for nought.

Another recent study has backed critics of laboratory tests claiming ocean acidification caused by CO2 emissions is a coral killer. The critics say the lab tests expose corals to increased CO2 too quickly for the organisms to adapt, therefore exaggerating the results.

Now, in the Nature Communications journal, researchers say they have shown this is the case, and that coral in the wild is able to adapt to changes in ocean composition when they happen gradually.

With all this evidence, we should all – especially politicians and the media – be taking the reef alarmists with a grain of salt and reject claims that we’re all environmental vandals.


Coalition MPs edgy over ‘cap’ on carbon

"Targets" are placed on retailers -- but the targets could be watered down

Malcolm Turnbull’s new energy policy is fuelling anxiety among government MPs, who are liken­ing it to a “cap and trade” carbon scheme and demanding that emissions reductions be delayed as long as possible to minimise costs.

The Prime Minister yesterday rejected Labor claims that his National Energy Guarantee resurrected a carbon tax by stealth, through the establishment of a set level of emissions that retailers would be required to meet each year.

One of the regulators who proposed the scheme, Australian Energy Market Commission chairman John Pierce, said it would be “very hard” to argue there was a carbon price in the policy. “There isn’t one,” he said.

Labor used question time to needle the government over the policy, arguing that the overhaul would force energy retailers to begin trading in “carbon abatement obligations” — effectively establishing an implicit carbon price. Concerned Coalition MPs questioned whether the scheme was too similar to a “cap and trade” or “cap and contract” system because retailers would be required to enter new power-purchasing contracts to shake up their energy mix if they exceeded the emissions cap.

Liberal National Party backbencher George Christensen, who is calling on the government to “kick start” a new coal-fired power station in Queens­land, told The Australian he believed it was similar to a cap-and-trade scheme. “And if anyone thinks that anyone’s being fooled simply because it’s not called a cap-and-trade scheme or not called a clean energy target or an emissions trading scheme or something like that, they are kidding themselves,” Mr Christensen said.

The proposed National Energy Guarantee puts an obligation on electricity retailers to buy power at a set level of emissions intensity each year, to meet a 2030 reduction target — set by government — for the power generation sector. It also forces retailers to meet a percentage of demand from reliable power generation.

Craig Kelly, chairman of the Coalition’s backbench energy committee, said the policy was effectively a cap-and-contract scheme, and his support was conditional on the cost of the emission cuts being largely deferred until closer to 2030.

“It’s essential the trajectory of the reduction in the emission intensity of the electricity sector is done in a hockey-stick shape, where the majority of the heavy lifting or major reductions are backloaded towards the end of the next decade,” Mr Kelly said. “That way it will ensure that it is done at least cost and potentially no additional cost subject to the technological improvements in low carbon-emission technology.”

Mr Turnbull said yesterday the Energy Security Board would be able to advise on the “least-cost path” or trajectory for achieving the emissions reductions to 2030.

“There’s plainly the opportunity to back-end more of that as costs come down,” he said. “Retailers have many options — they can invest in generation themselves or enter into contracts with other companies. They’ll manage this as part of the electricity generation they already buy and sell. They will not be creating a certificate or another trading system.”

Mr Turnbull used question time to argue that retailers would continue to trade in electricity to meet their new obligations under the revamped policy, saying Labor failed to “understand the way the energy market works”. “It is not trading of permits; there are no certificates,” he said. “It is trading of physical energy which ... happens all the time.”

Mr Pierce said the policy should not be considered a carbon price. “What we’re pricing is reliability and what we’re pricing is the ability to dispatch,” he told the National Press Club. “You can’t really separate it out and say ‘this is a carbon price’ — we’re not pricing carbon.”

Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott argued that it was wrong to compare the NEG to an ETS, saying the new policy “used the same architecture” and market mechanisms already in place.

“There’s no new mechanism, there are no new certificates. It’s not the same thing,” Ms Westacott said.

Grattan Institute energy program director Tony Wood said “of course there is no explicit carbon price” in the new scheme. “My expectation is that derivative markets will inevitably emerge over time leading to implicit carbon pricing,” he said.

Labor’s assistant energy spokesman Pat Conroy said he believed the government’s policy was an emissions intensity scheme that assigned an “economic value” to emissions reductions, which he argued was a “price on carbon”.


Maximum $306,000 penalty imposed on ‘recidivist’ CFMEU

Thug union has no trouble paying fines.  They get a lot of "donations" from employers

A federal judge has branded the CFMEU “the most recidivist corporate offender in Australian history”, imposing maximum pen­alties of $306,000 over a heated clash between a former senior official and managers on a Brisbane building site.

Describing the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union’s history of law-breaking as “astounding”, Federal Circuit Court judge Salvatore Vasta said he would have imposed higher penalties on the union if the law allowed.

“This court has been asked to ensure that the industrial relations regime as created by parliament is observed and complied with,’’ the judge said. “The parliament has given the court only one weapon to ensure such compliance, and that is the ability to impose pecuniary penalties.”

He said that while this weapon had generally been of great value against employers, “this cannot be said of the CFMEU’’.

“The deterrent aspect of the pecuniary penalty system is not having the desired effect,’’ he said. “The CFMEU has not changed its attitude in any meaningful way. The court can only impose the maximum penalty in an attempt to fulfil its duty and deter the CFMEU from acting in the nefarious way in which it does.

“If the community at large are not satisfied with the actions of the court to ensure compliance with the Fair Work Act, then the next step is a matter for the parliament.”

In May, Judge Vasta imposed the maximum possible $10,200 penalty on former Queensland CFMEU president David Hanna for breaching right-of-entry laws on a construction site at Fortitude Valley in 2015.

Mr Hanna admitted that when he was asked for his right-of-entry permit he raised his middle finger and said he didn’t need one.

When a site manager attempted to record the incident, Mr Hanna said: “Take that phone away or I’ll f..king bury it down your throat.” He squirted water at the manager which struck him in the face, shirt and mobile phone. When another manager asked Mr Hanna, “what are you doing here, you are here illegally, why didn’t you go through the right channels?” he replied: “I can do what I like.”

Mr Hanna resigned from the union in 2015 after an investigation found he obtained thousands of dollars from employers to pay for the IVF treatment of a union organiser and his partner.

Following evidence before the trade union royal commission, he and two former executives from construction giant Mirvac were charged with secret commission offences over the building of the unionist’s luxury home in 2013.

Judge Vasta noted submissions from the Australian Building and Construction Com­mission that the courts have sanctioned the CFMEU 120 times over the past 10 years for breaches of industrial law. The union had not tried to improve its behaviour. “It is no understatement to describe the CFMEU as the most recidivist corporate offender in Australian history,’’ he said.


VC hero Ben Roberts-Smith: I did nothing wrong in Afghanistan

Australia’s most decorated soldier, Ben Roberts-Smith, has  described a new Defence-facilitated history of special forces in ­Afghanistan that questions his battlefield role in the killing of a young Afghan as inaccurate, un-Australian and damaging to the legacy of a hero killed in action.

The book, No Front Line by celebrated journalist Chris Masters, revisits an incident in the perilous Chora Valley in 2006, during which then lance corporal Roberts-Smith and Sergeant Matthew Locke — a Medal for Gallantry ­recipient killed in action in 2007 — “neutralised” a young Afghan male who threatened to compromise their small and clandestine SAS patrol’s concealment.

Masters highlights contradictory accounts given by Mr Roberts-Smith years later about the killing, which occurred near an SAS observation post on a mountain overlooking Chora on June 2.

He cites an interview given to the Australian War Memorial in 2011 in which Mr Roberts-Smith described the incident as involving two men who walked up to within 30m of their position.

The Victoria Cross recipient, in the interview, said a decision had been made to eliminate the pair and he and Locke “hunted them down and got rid of them”.

Masters points to a subsequent interview with The Australian, also five years after the incident, in which Mr Roberts-Smith referred to a single enemy. The patrol ­report compiled immediately after the incident mentions a ­single ­individual, according to Masters.

Mr Roberts-Smith explained the inconsistency in correspondence to AWM director Brendan Nelson as stating he had confused the incident due to the fact he had done numerous tours of Afghanistan and it was five years after the fact. Dr Nelson, a former defence minister, said this week he had not read the book but expressed concern about it not being in the ­national interest in tearing down Australian heroes.

He also said the Defence ­Department had questions to ­answer over what previously ­secret material was provided for the book.

Mr Roberts-Smith has blamed the contradictory battlefield ­accounts in the book as being the recollections of a “bitter” former SAS member. He also raised concerns that Defence, which organised and screened the writing of the book, may have passed classified documents to Masters to ­assist the book.

“People are going to think and say what they like (about me),” Mr Roberts-Smith told The Weekend Australian.

“In regards to what the book means to other people, though, I’m a little bit disappointed. Particularly in a passage around myself and Matthew Locke in 2006, (Masters) is really affecting the legacy of an Australian hero killed in action … His son is in the army now. That’s not fair. He hasn’t spoken to anybody else who was in the patrol except for one guy who has obviously given a different version of events.”

“The person who has given their depiction of 2006 had nothing to do with me,” Mr Roberts-Smith said. “He was disciplined by the patrol commander and Matt Locke, and removed from our patrol, subsequently retested, and then removed from the SAS. And that was the person who is now making claims about what happened 11 years ago and I think that really says it all. There’s an agenda there against Matt Locke and, for whatever reason, because I’ve got the profile, it’s better to throw my name into the mix because you know it’s going to be a headline and that’s essentially why I’m being dragged into it. You can only go off the reporting at the time. It is critical to remember that, 11 years later, no two people will ever see the battle the same way. You just don’t.”


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, 2017

Greens have the mind of a flea

Comment on opposition to a planned big new coal mine (Adani)

The Coalition has begun to restore a modicum of rationality to the electricity market in Australia. There is more to do. They must assault the green mindset.

Greens are shallow, short-term and anti-democratic, precisely the opposite of the ideals they claim to champion: deep, long-term thinking with liberal democratic souls and pure of heart.

Instead, Greens are shallow because they spend their lives campaigning on the basis of crises that never eventuate. Overpopulation, mass starvation, ruination by agricultural chemicals, mass extinction of species, ecosystem collapse and resource depletion never happen. The world refuses to succumb to the calamity du jour.

But Greens need a calamity to thrive. When one calamity fails to materialise, they invent another. The latest is the alleged threat to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef from the Adani Carmichael coalmine. The reef is an icon, the mine its bete noire.

A Morgan Poll suggests that most Australians do not think the Adani (Carmichael) mine should proceed. I have my doubts about the veracity of the result, especially as another ­Morgan poll of “issues of concern” showed that climate change was mentioned by ­8 per cent of Australians, about the voting strength of the Greens.

Why, when climate change is such a low priority, should Adani be such a target? The Adani polling result is a shocking indictment of the wilful misrepresentation of evidence in the Adani case. Australian Greens leader Richard Di Natale says he is prepared to stand in front of bulldozers and be arrested to stop it. Green activists allegedly are trying to recruit pro­fessional moles to infiltrate jobs in the construction of the mine.

Di Natale believes that “losing” the Great Barrier Reef would cost 70,000 jobs. How will the reef be lost? Greens conflate an alleged physical threat to the reef with a broader climate threat. Coal has been hauled across the reef for generations without harm. There is no physical threat to the reef from shipping Adani coal across it.

The Morgan poll on Adani reflects a deliberate conflation of direct and indirect harm. There is no direct physical threat and the indirect threat is a fast fading theory. Even “the brightest man in Australia”, Chief Scientist Alan Finkel, would know that if Australia were uninhabited there would be no change to the potential threat to the reef from burning coal.

Recall Bjorn Lomborg’s observation of the Paris Accord, achieving the 1.5C global warming target “would require nothing less than the entire planet abandoning the use of every single fossil fuel in less than four years”.

Adani, as with so many other proponents for resource extraction in Australia, has complied with environmental legislation. Green activists assisted both major political parties to write such legislation. From the 1970s environmental impact statements have grown into extraordinarily complex studies, in the Adani case costing tens of millions of dollars and years to compile. And, after all the hurdles have been cleared, still green activists are unhappy. Democracy is ignored.

Instead, greens threaten to trash the law. Di Natale boasts: “You will see a campaign every bit as big as the campaign that stopped the damming of the Franklin.” The Franklin is a lovely river, most of it would have survived a dam, and Tasmania could have been energy self-sufficient with it. Instead, when drought hits Tasmania, the state must rely on coal generation from Victoria for electricity. Green Tasmania is bludging off the mainland.

Hydro is a renewable source of energy. Or at least it was until greens discovered wild rivers. And greens stopped nuclear power, the cleanest source of power. The trouble with greens is their thinking is so short-term.

The time has come to slap a writ on campaigners who set out to destroy others’ livelihoods. The time has come to confront, disrupt and punish environmental campaigners who break the law, ignore parliament and harm legitimate business and workers.

Civil disobedience has an honourable place in the world. It has helped to change attitudes and laws that ended slavery, secured the rights of women, and blacks, and gays. But it is an abuse of the noble tradition to suggest that civil disobedience is justified to prevent a theoretical harm at a far-distant time. Stopping an unrelated activity, a coalmine in Australia, at significant immediate cost to Australians and Indians will not stop climate change.

Activists are damaging Australia. It is about time politicians grew a backbone and confronted these latter-day Luddites.


Less than a quarter of refugees have found jobs

A snapshot of refugees resettling in Australia shows almost a quarter have found employment after two-and-a-half years but many have skills that are going to waste.

The Australian Institute of Family Studies has tracked 2400 refugees across the country, excluding the ACT, in an ongoing study.

A new report released on Thursday found 23 per cent had now found work, up from six per cent in the first six months.

It was easier for men to get a job compared to women, with 36 per cent of men employed compared to eight per cent of female refugees.

Many refugees have experienced trauma, and have spent time in camps and detention centres with interrupted education.

Institute director Anne Hollonds said those with higher levels of education and English skills fared better.

However, most were working in relatively unskilled occupations like labouring despite having been in more skilled work in their home countries, she said.

"Australia.. had forced them to skid down the employment ladder into low-skill jobs," researcher John De Maio said, adding better-targeted programs were needed.

Refugees' English language skills were also on the increase, with 37 per cent who did not understand the language upon arrival dropping to 11 per cent within the study period.


Australia Day: Victorian council ignores call to dump citizenship ceremonies

A COUNCIL under pressure to scrap Australia Day for “Survival Day” has ignored the push and the decision is being called a “slap in the face”

A COUNCIL has quashed a recommendation to immediately dump all January 26 Australia Day celebrations.

The Whittlesea Reconciliation Group, which wants the council to consider acknowledging January 26 as Survival Day while also ceasing citizenship ceremonies, made the recommendation in a joint letter tabled at the October 10 council meeting.

However, councillors resolved to note the joint letter with no further action to be taken, in effect quashing the recommendations.

WRG Co-Chair Andrew Morrison said he was “shocked” by the decision, claiming he received assurances from Mayor Ricky Kirkham and Cr Norm Kelly the recommendations would be given due diligence.

He also said Cr Kirkham had made a personal commitment to request a council officer report.

“What ensued on the night has left many within the group and the wider Aboriginal community shocked,” Mr Morrison said. “Whittlesea Council has historically listened to the voices of WRG and I am bitterly disappointed.

“The Mayor gave his word, to the group and to the local community, that sadly it seems he had no intention of going through with.”

Cr Mary Lalios, who is also president of the Municipal Association of Victoria, said the council didn’t have enough time to consider the joint letter as it needed to have a position for the MAV State Council meeting this Friday.

Cr Lalios instead opted to vote for a motion put forward by Frankston Council for the State Council meeting, which calls on the Federal and State Governments to reaffirm January 26 as the official National Day of Australia.

“I support the Federal Government in leading the debate as to an appropriate National day for all Australians,” Cr Lalios said.

“The Aboriginal community itself is divided on this issue — even within our own municipality there are varying views among Aboriginal people about January 26.”

However, Cr Lalios could not rule out the matter coming back to council in the future.

“It’s important that the conversation continues with all the community, not just the WRG.”

“It’s important that all residents are involved in such a debate, not just a few, because there are ramifications for the whole community, including a potential loss of citizenship ceremonies which is very important to our multicultural community.

“I support the continuation of established celebrations January 26 while the community decides if they wish to debate the issue.”


Are Chinese buyers driving up Australia's housing prices?

They're just a scapegoat.  It is the high level of immigration that is the problem

It's a common perception that Chinese buyers are descending upon Australia and driving up housing prices to unaffordable levels.

However, Chinese buyers had almost no impact on property prices, according to research by business consultancy Cross Border Management (CBM) and BIS Oxford Economics.

The study found that Chinese buyers accounted for less than 2 per cent of all Australian real estate transactions, and contributed less than 1 per cent ($122 out of $12,800) to the average quarterly housing price increase.

Their slightly more mundane conclusion is that the factors behind the nation's high property prices are record-low interest rates and strong population growth.

Chinese investment in Australia rose from $6.2 billion (in 2007) to $87.2 billion (in 2016), CBM stated in its report. That is a fourteen-fold increase in 10 years.

Although this is a rapid increase, the amount of Chinese investment is rather low, compared to the total amount invested by the United States.

America's total investment in Australia was at an already-high $433 billion in 2006. In the last 10 years, the US investment doubled to $861 billion, which is certainly slower than China's fourteen-fold boom in the same period. But when comparing the total value of investments in 2016, the US figure is 10 times higher than China's ($87.2 billion).

"While the growth in Chinese investment has been significant, it pales in comparison to investment flows from other countries," said CBM's managing director CT Johnson.

After the US, the next biggest Australian investors were the UK, Belgium, Hong Kong and Singapore, then China.

"Chinese capital flows into Australia have been almost negligible, accounting for just 2.7 per cent of inbound investment," he said.

"Where East Asians used to account for only 1 in 18 Australians, now they are 1 out of every 12," said Mr Johnson.

He also said the "East Asian" category included people from Japan, Korea, Vietnam and Malaysia, who are mistakenly identified as Chinese (which is a common experience).

Adding to the perception that Chinese buyers are flooding the Australian property market is the high concentration of Chinese residents in certain neighbourhoods.

For instance, almost every fourth person speaks Mandarin in the Melbourne neighbourhood of Clayton, while that figure is higher in the Sydney suburb of Burwood — every 1 in 3.

The CBM study also found there was no correlation between the number of Mandarin speakers and the annual rise in property prices (across 79 neighbourhoods with the highest proportion of Mandarin speakers).

Land squeeze a problem

"The other major factor in housing price growth is population relative to available land," Mr Johnson said, particularly as most Australians live around the coast, hemmed by geographical features like oceans and mountains.

He believes this makes it challenging to develop new land in response to population growth (up 18 per cent since 2006).

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

19 October, 2017

Aboriginal poet fails to impress students

Though there's not much Abo in her.  Abos are black

Authors and poets have leapt to the defence of an award-winning Indigenous writer after she was allegedly abused online by year 12 students.

Ellen van Neerven also received messages asking her to explain her poem Mango from the book Comfort Food after students sitting the HSC English exam on Monday were asked to analyse the work.

The opening question in the exam asked students to "explain how the poet conveys the delight of discovery".

However, some students were less than delighted with the question, creating memes on social media inspired by the poem.

Other students expressed frustration and contempt for Ms van Neerven, whose first book, Heat and Light won a number of accolades including a NSW Premiers' Literary Award.

A post on the HSC Discussion Group Facebook page, purporting to be a message sent to the writer asking her to explain the poem: "In all honesty there wasn't much to analyse cos (sic) it reads like a 4 year wrote it."

Other comments descended to racist and vulgar abuse, prompting authors to criticise the actions of HSC students.

Evelyn Araluen, a poet and PhD candidate at the University of Sydney, said students had invaded Ms van Neerven's privacy and sent abusive messages: "It's not cute, it's harassment."

Author Omar Sakr called on the NSW Department of Education to investigate the online abuse directed at Ms van Neerven.

"[A]sking a poet to analyse their poem for you demonstrates a staggering lack of imagination and critical ability to engage with literature," Mr Sakr wrote in a separate post on social media.

Others criticised the NSW Education Standards Authority, which administers the HSC, for what they said was a poorly framed question.

David de Carvalho, the chief executive of NESA, condemned the treatment of Ms van Neerven. "I am appalled by the abuse of the author," he said. "This is a completely inappropriate response and I hope those involved see fit to apologise to Ms van Neerven."



PM Malcolm Turnbull blasts State Premiers, ABC journalist over National Energy Guarantee

MALCOLM Turnbull is urging State Premiers to listen to the “smartest people in the room” and not play politics on the federal government’s new energy plan.

A fired up Prime Minister today responded to the Premiers of Queensland, Victoria and South Australia who have already slammed the federal government’s new National Energy Guarantee.

Mr Turnbull said Australians were “fed up” with parties playing politics as their electricity bills soared.

He made the remarks today after a fiery clash with an ABC journalist on breakfast radio where he once again dodged questions on whether the strategy would slash power bills $115 a year.

“My message for the Labor premiers is put the politics aside for a moment, or put it aside for quite a while in fact,” Mr Turnbull told reporters in Canberra.

“Let’s focus on Australian families, let’s focus on delivering a genuinely bipartisan energy policy that will be enduring, that’s based on engineering and economics, and that will deliver affordable power, reliable power and meet our international commitments.”

Mr Turnbull refused to speculate on what would happen if the states blocked the NEG at the next Council of Australian Governments.

“I am confident that common sense will prevail,” he said.

“Australians are fed up with all of the political partisanship, that’s why we went to the Energy Security Board and we asked them to consider how we ensure we achieve this affordable, reliable and responsible outcome.”

The Prime Minister had earlier clashed with ABC journalist Sabra Lane on her AM program when asked whether he could guarantee prices would come down based on the modelling of the Energy Security Board.

In the heated interview, Mr Turnbull accused Lane of disrespecting the “distinguished Australians” on the ESB when she questioned the price cuts and why the experts were being touted as the saviours of Australia’s energy market when they had overseen the last decade of “disastrous policy”.

She claimed their bodies — the Australian Energy Market Commission, the Australian Energy Regulator, and the Australian Energy Market Operator — had overseen over-investment in poles and wires that had driven power bills up and the failure of the national energy grid to be fit for purpose today.

“I think we owe them the respect that their credibility and expertise deserves,” Mr Turnbull said.

“You can go through the history of it but you will find much of the over-investment was done at the instigation of state governments that gold plated their networks and then overcharged for them,” he said.

“There were mistakes made in the past but ... I can’t say how disappointed I am that rather than talking about the substance of the policy I’m sitting here with you on AM and you are attacking the credibility of the people ...”

“I’m not,” Lane said. “I’m sceptical. I’m a journalist and I am sceptical and these bodies have failed Australia to date and suddenly they are now the saviours to this.”

She asked: “What is plan B if the states do not support this?”

“Why don’t you ask ...” Mr Turnbull started to say, before Ms Lane interjected: “The mic is open and it is yours. You talk to the states.”

“This is the message, the states and the Commonwealth around the COAG table set up the Energy Security Board,” Mr Turnbull said.

“We all agreed to put the smartest people on the board and to take their advice. “COAG has sought their advice, so did we. “We have received the advice and we are following it. The same advice will go to COAG.

“Are the Labor states going to say, ‘We established the Energy Security Board, we put the smartest people on the board, now we will ignore their advice?’ I don’t think that is defensible.”

Meanwhile, Labor Senator Sam Dastyari questioned the suggested savings for households under the NEG.

In a stunt outside Parliament this morning, Senator Dastyari said a cheeseburger or a McDonalds soft serve ice cream were about all households could afford for the 50c to $2 savings per week they were likely to get from their power bills going down from 2020.

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg also revealed this morning he had called former Prime Minister Tony Abbott about the policy before a party room meeting yesterday.

Mr Frydenberg told Sky News he explained the policy and asked Mr Abbott to keep an open mind.

The NEG, announced yesterday, includes a reliability guarantee that aims to deliver the right level of dispatchable power — from sources such as coal, gas, pumped hydro and batteries — needed in each state.

The level will be set by the Australian Energy Market Commission and Australian Energy Market Operator, and penalties for retailers missing the guarantee have yet to be determined.

Energy retailers such as AGL, Origin and Energy Australia would also face deregistration from the market if they failed to meet a new emissions guarantee.

The mechanism would force the energy companies to source a portion of their supply at a set emissions level.

If they persistently failed to meet their obligations — which would be set by the federal government and enforced by the Australian Energy Regulator — they would be deregistered.


Voters want courage, not Turnbull’s tentative approach to energy

When Malcolm Turnbull announced his new cabinet in September 2015, he declared his was a “21st-century government and a ministry for the future”. He said: “We have to remember we have a great example of good cabinet government, John Howard’s government … I am absolutely determined that we have a proper consultative ­cabinet system.”

He signed off that press conference assuring us that this was an exciting time to be an Australian, surely more an insight into the newly minted and very excited Prime Minister than into how voters felt after five prime ministerial changes in eight years.

In any case, not many are excited now. Turnbull’s recipe for returning Australia to a Howard model, by making decisions “in a collaborative manner”, was a good start. But it’s like throwing a cup of flour in a bowl without the necessary binding ingredients. For two years now, and reflected in 21 downward trending Newspolls, Turnbull’s formula for good government is missing two critical ingredients: conviction and courage.

The current mess of energy policy is a prime example of why Turnbull’s recipe for government has fallen flat since he became Prime Minister.

This week’s announcement — energy retailers must buy a minimum amount of baseload power from coal, gas or hydro for every megawatt of renewable energy — was preceded by endless delay and vacillation over the biggest policy and political no-brainer in the country. The Prime Minister called for a review by Chief Scientist Alan Finkel that was always going to support rent-seekers in the renewable energy business rather than look after people who pay for those subsidies through higher electricity bills.

Then the Prime Minister departed from any belief in free markets by threatening to control gas exports. In question time on Monday, Turnbull lauded his government’s “character and commit­ment” to bring energy heads to Canberra last month, demanding they deliver discounts to their customers. Except that these discounts are illusory; they will be swallowed by new price rises.

Last week, the Turnbull government came up with a real policy stinker, promising financial incentives, including free seats in an air-conditioned cinema, if people turn off their home airconditioners in the blazing heat of an Australian summer. The poor, especially the old and poor, will be the ones to turn off their airconditioners, hardly a policy win for the country.

You can consult all you like, but without conviction and the courage to implement real reform it’s simply not the Howard model. If Turnbull had equal doses of conviction and courage, he would have settled long ago on what he now claims to understand as the bleeding obvious: abolishing the renewable energy target, no new clean energy target and no more subsidies for renewables after 2020. In fact, none of this required much courage, unlike floating the dollar or introducing a GST.

Showing early and determined leadership, rather than being dragged to it yesterday, could have been an early and exquisite confluence of good policy and even better politics, given that voters are fed up with rising energy prices and the government sits on a primary vote of 36 per cent, down six percentage points from the election last year when it scraped in with a one-seat majority. Instead, Turnbull’s endless vacillation means voters may still wonder: what does he really believe in?

Turnbull’s scaredy-cat approach to energy policy infiltrated cabinet ranks, too. A chorus of cabinet ministers, from Scott Morrison to Barnaby Joyce, has preached to voters that we must meet our “obligations” under the Paris Agreement, the same agreement that is driving up energy ­prices while doing nothing to genuinely reduce emissions.

It’s tempting, then, to lay part of the blame for the Turnbull government’s woes at the feet of his cabinet. Where is today’s Peter Costello, the treasurer committed to genuine fiscal prudence by cutting spending? Or Peter Reith, the warrior who took on the waterfront unions and oversaw labour market reform? Or Alexander Downer, who as a former leader and foreign minister was an equally determined champion of the economic reforms overseen by Howard’s government?

Where’s a Tim Fischer or John Anderson, who as Nationals provided the political backbone to those same reforms, which were not always popular in the bush?

Howard’s cabinet included other determined reformers: Ian McLachlan, John Fahey and then Nick Minchin as respective ­finance ministers; Philip Ruddock, John Moore, Jocelyn Newman and Amanda Vanstone, who in cabinet were all committed to the same economic vision for the country. Sure, there were quibbles at the edges but, together with Robert Hill’s leadership in the Senate, Howard united his team with equal doses of consultation, conviction and courage.

On the 25th anniversary of his first election victory, Bob Hawke said he had “the best cabinet in the history of federation”. Ol’ Silver would say that, but it’s also true that plenty in Hawke’s cabinet had serious political and policy clout, from treasurer Paul Keating to John Button in industry, Peter Walsh in the finance portfolio and others. These cabinet ministers oversaw tangible economic reforms for the good of the nation.

As Paul Kelly has remarked, “the public wanted change — but it was not protesting in the streets for a floating dollar, free trade and low inflation. The intellectual momentum for the 1980s reforms were elite-driven.” In other words, genuine reform would not have happened except for the policy and political leadership that Hawke and later Howard brought to the cabinet table.

That’s why comparing the Howard and Hawke cabinets with Turnbull’s cabinet is not entirely fair. A strong prime minister makes it easier for cabinet ministers to shine, revealing their policy and political strengths. There are good, potentially great, ministers in Turnbull’s cabinet and outer ministry. Christian Porter and Alan Tudge are doing great work in the welfare space largely, perhaps, because Turnbull doesn’t appear to have a strong interest in the area. Peter Dutton is a strong Immigration Minister because even Turnbull knows not to mess with border protection policies that have stopped deaths at sea.

Elsewhere, it’s a different story. Mathias Cormann could be a very effective Finance Minister but he’s hampered by Turnbull’s lack of conviction so he’s forced to sell one levy after another as fiscal prudence. Same with Michaela Cash, the Minister for Employment. When, time and again, Turnbull refused to make the case for reform of penalty rates as a job-­creating policy, instead blaming Fair Work Australia for the recommended cuts, Cash was left with little support at the head the cabinet table. And Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg may well be champing at the bit to deliver a sensible energy policy that serves the national interest. But when the leader lacks policy conviction and political courage, what’s a cabinet minister to do?

In fact, two years and 21 dismal Newspolls later, it’s hard to discern what Turnbull brings to the leadership of the Coalition government. That’s why more dissatisfied voters support those wildlings in the Senate. The Prime Minister is not the great communicator he thinks he is: his press conferences are waffle and smiles rather than political clout and conviction. ­Decisive? Determined? Politically savvy? None of the above. Turnbull’s poor interpretation of the Howard model is missing so many ingredients, this latest energy policy may not be the saviour for the blancmange Prime Minister.


Most migrants from Asia

India has been revealed as the Australia's biggest source of skilled and family migrants, as new figures reveal the nation accepted fewer migrants this financial year.

Around 6,400 fewer permanent skilled and family visas were granted in 2016-17 compared to the previous year from a total of 183,600 visas.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said the figures were in line with the government’s strategy of “ensuring that migration levels are consistent with Australia’s genuine labour market needs”.

Just over 20 per cent of migrants came from India, with about 38,854 visas granted - down from 40,145 in 2015–16.

Meanwhile, China accounted for 15.4 per cent of migrants, with 9.3 per cent coming from the United Kingdom.

Southern Asia; India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh and others, now accounts for 30 per cent of the migrant program. This is slightly lower compared with the previous year.

The number of Chinese Asian migrants – from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau and Mongolia – rose from 16.9 per cent to 17.1 per cent.

Most of the visas were granted to skilled migrants, with a substantial number of those sponsored by employers. Employer-sponsored visas accounted for 39 per cent of the skilled migrants stream.

Families sponsoring loved ones accounted for 30 per cent of the total number of migrants, most being applications for partners.


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, 2017

Government to omit clean energy target from energy policy

They are just focusing on keeping the lights on

GOVERNMENT figures insist its new energy policy will meet Australia’s Paris agreement emissions target while saving households more than $90 a year.

Coalition MPs will be briefed on the scheme at a meeting in Canberra today following cabinet’s decision to reject a clean energy target as recommended by Chief Scientist Alan Finkel.

Instead, it has backed an idea from the new independent Energy Security Board. The head of the coalition’s backbench energy committee, Craig Kelly, was briefed on the new approach after Monday night’s meeting, welcoming the focus on dispatchable switch on/switch-off power.

“The problem with solar and wind, as wonderful technologies as they are, when there is no wind you get no electricity generation and as soon as the sun sets you also get zero electricity generation as well,” he told ABC radio this morning. “So as good as technologies as they are, you’ve got to have them backed up in some way and that’s either got to be a coal-fired power station, a gas generator or some form of battery.”

He defended the idea to ditch the clean energy target, as recommended by Dr Finkel. “The Finkel report contained 50 recommendations. If we’ve recommended 49 that’s a 98 per cent strike rate,” he said.

However supporters of the clean energy target — recommended by the country’s chief scientist as a way to reduce the future cost of energy — slammed the move to disregard the idea.

It is understood economic modelling of the alternative to the clean energy target — expected to be called the National Energy Guarantee — delivered price cuts deeper than under Dr Finkel’s mechanism.

The annual benefit from the CET came in at $90 a year for households, while large industrial users were expected to pay about 20 per cent less a year. At the same time, the modelling showed the new mechanism would enable Australia to achieve its commitment of a 26-28 per cent reduction in 2005 emissions by 2030.

Blackouts would be minimised with power generators and storage providers, such as hydro and batteries, covered by a new “generator reliability obligation”, as recommended by Dr Finkel.

Adequate dispatchable power would be required in all regions of Australia to ensure consumer demand is met, with the obligation being met using a variety of technologies.

Power prices have risen in real terms by 63 per cent during the past decade.

Labor leader Bill Shorten says Malcolm Turnbull was endorsing a clean energy target only four months ago. “Why on earth did we ask the chief scientist of Australia to give us a report,” he told reporters in Canberra.


Australian researchers show virtual puzzles can teach kids to solve real-world problems

Young children can apply puzzle solving skills learnt from touchscreen tablets to real-world scenarios

Findings contradict most previous research and suggest different screen learning media could have different effects on skill transfer

Swinburne researchers have shown that children can apply the skills they learn on a tablet to the real world.

The research shows that when four to six-year-olds learn how to solve a puzzle using a tablet, they then apply this learning to the same puzzle in the physical world.

The findings contradict most previous research and suggest that the real world skill learned by a child from a device depends on the actual game played.

"These results demonstrate that 'screen time' is not a useful umbrella phrase, as what children can obtain from different types of screen media will vary, and numerous factors can impact their learning outcomes," says Swinburne researcher Dr Joanne Tarasuik.

In a previous study, Dr Tarasuik and colleagues found that children in Australia could learn how to solve a puzzle on a touchscreen device, and successfully transfer these skills to completing the same puzzle in the physical world.

As this finding was contradictory to most previous research, the team repeated the study with new children with different languages and cultures to confirm it. In the replication study, recently published in Frontiers in Psychology, the Australian team collaborated with researchers in Croatia to repeat their original study.

The study used the 'Tower of Hanoi' puzzle, which involves moving discs between pegs so that they line up in order on a different peg, using the smallest possible number of moves.

The children practised the puzzle on a touchscreen app, or with a physical version using wooden pegs and discs. The researchers measured how many moves they took to complete it, and how long they spent doing it.

Some of the children practised the puzzle several times on the tablet before trying it on the wooden version. This allowed the researchers to see if the kids' virtual practice could improve their skills in the physical world.

The children all needed a similar number of moves to complete the wooden puzzle, regardless of whether they had practised using the virtual puzzle, the physical puzzle, or a combination of the two. From the first to final attempt at the puzzle, all the children also improved their speed.

"We successfully replicated our previous findings that four to six-year-old children can apply knowledge of this puzzle from practice using a touchscreen device, to the physical version of the puzzle," says Dr Tarasuik.

“We would like these results to guide future research into how and what children of different developmental stages can learn via touchscreen technology, and then apply in the physical world."

Media release from Swinburne University of Technology

Senate urged to reject mandatory sentences in bills

I don't have much respect for the Law Council but they are right on this -- JR

The Law Council of Australia is urging Senators to reject new mandatory minimum sentences included in bills to be debated this week, due to the very real risk of unintended consequences with potentially life-shattering outcomes.

The bills, targeting sex crimes against children and firearms trafficking, are intended to better protect the Australian community from the dangers of such grievous conduct.

Law Council of Australia President, Fiona McLeod SC, said that while these aims were laudable, mandatory sentencing has been shown to have no effect on crime rates, while undermining the independence of the judiciary and creating unjust and unintended consequences.

“Sex crimes and gun trafficking are all patently serious offences and it is absolutely appropriate that harsh maximum sentences are available to our courts,” Ms McLeod said.

“But mandatory sentencing is always likely to trigger unintended consequences that are at odds with the intention of the laws and fundamental principles of justice.

“The idea of a standardised mandatory sentence may be appealing on a theoretical level, but in practice, mandatory sentences can see people doing life-shattering stints in prison for actions that might have significant mitigating circumstances.

“For example, a 15 and 17-year-old might be sharing sexual images with each other in a consensual relationship, yet the day the older partner turns 18, under this legislation that 18-year-old would be looking at an automatic five-year sentence,” Ms McLeod said.

“Teenage years can often be marked by rash decisions and regrettable mistakes. A blunt instrument like a mandatory minimum sentence will not take this into account.”

In the case of the firearms bill, Ms McLeod pointed to other potential unintended consequences.

“Former Victoria Police Chief Commissioner, Simon Overland, inadvertently carried a magazine containing live rounds of ammunition on a flight from Melbourne to Canberra in 2010. Prior to travelling, Mr Overland had removed a firearm from his bag, but forgot to take out the magazine. Under the proposed laws he could be facing a mandatory five-year jail term,” Ms McLeod said.

“Judicial discretion is a core principle of our justice system for a very good reason.

“When you take away the ability of a judge to take into account the seriousness of the offence, the degree of culpability of the offender, their personal circumstances or the explanation for offending, you generate disproportionate and, often, unconscionable outcomes.

“Furthermore, there is no evidence that mandatory sentencing is effective at driving down crime, but ample evidence of its long-term criminogenic effect. The US and other jurisdictions are winding back mandatory sentencing regimes because they don’t work.

“Mandatory sentences actually make it harder to prosecute criminals, by removing the incentive for anyone to plead guilty or to provide information to the police. There is every incentive to fight on and appeal against convictions,” Ms McLeod said.

Media release from the Law Council

Tradies – powerhouses for the future

When it comes to careers for school leavers, tradies get a bad rap

But just why is it that four in five Australian parents (79%) 1. want their kids to go to uni after leaving school, rather than do an apprenticeship? To those already enjoying the apprenticeship lifestyle, it’s a no-brainer.

At a time when Australia is desperate for more skilled workers, school leavers are going to university based on the idea that this is the only way to a secure future.

But more times than not, they would be better suited to doing something they’re truly interested in, earning while they learn, and with little or no debt at the end of their training.

“We’re unnecessarily setting up a generation with unrealistic job expectations and large student debts,” says Colin Fitzpatrick, CEO of the Timber and Building Materials Association (TABMA) and TABMA Apprentices and Trainees.

“There are thousands of great and rewarding jobs out there that don’t require a degree, with well-paying, upwardly mobile careers.

“And given the rising cost of formal education, a traineeship is a far more cost effective training option.”

Most Vocational Education & Training (VET) students get priceless industry experience in a genuine work environment, while earning, making it easier for them to find relevant employment at the end of their studies.

TABMA Apprentices and Trainees employs apprentices and trainees in hundreds of vocations and specialises in placing them within the timber, construction, forestry, furnishing and manufacturing industries across Australia.

These are industries based on the ultimate renewable resource: timber; sophisticated industries at the cutting-edge of innovation, with sustainable forest management programs, advanced robotic precision manufacturing, biomaterials, engineered/cross-laminated timbers and more, all with exciting job prospects.

And when it comes to employability, money and earning potential, a trade option also often comes out on top.

Of 2014’s apprentice and trainee graduates, 84.1 per cent were employed after completion2. By comparison, just 68.8 per cent of university graduates from the same year looking for full-time work found it within four months3. And the median full-time income for a (VET) graduate is often substantially more than that of a uni graduate4.

Jake Wiggins is an apprentice with McKay Timbers, in Tassie. Jake went straight on to do his Certificate III in Sawmilling and Processing through TABMA Apprentices and Trainees after finishing Year 12 in 2015, and not only enjoyed learning about different types of timber, but also being paid to learn!

“I would recommend a timber traineeship to anyone who is interested in gaining a qualification while working full-time in a hands-on role,” says Jake. “I’ve learned skills for life.”

Choosing VET does not mean you will be stuck in one place either. "Training for a trade equips you for jobs all over the world,” Colin says.

The VET sector currently provides training courses for 9 out of 10 occupations predicted to have the greatest growth of new jobs over the next five years5. It is definitely equipping Aussies with the skills employers need.

The top trades experiencing skills shortages in Australia in 2017 6 are:

• Bricklayer
• Stonemason
• Painters
• Glaziers
• Fibrous plasterer
• Solid plasterer
• Roof, wall and floor tilers
• Cabinetmaker
• Air-conditioning and refrigeration mechanic
• Baker
• Pastry cook
• Butcher
• Arborist
• Hairdresser
• Automotive electrician
• Motor mechanics
• Sheetmetal trades worker
• Panelbeater
• Vehicle painter
• Locksmith

Media release by TABMA via Colin Fitzpatrick,

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, 2017

'Climate change isn't because of humans!': Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young accuses Pauline Hanson of living in 'La La Land' as the pair clash on Sunrise

Pauline Hanson has clashed with a Greens senator after rubbishing climate change and claiming everyday Australians can't afford clean energy.

The One Nation leader told South Australian MP Sarah Hanson-Young she was very 'skeptical' about the link between pollution and climate change. 'I'm very skeptical of this (climate change) because the science isn't there, and that's been proven,' Ms Hanson said on Sunrise.

'Climate is changing, but it's not from humans Sarah – get this through your head.'

Ms Hanson-Young hit back in disbelief, accusing Ms Hanson of living in 'La La Land.' 'Thank goodness most Australian's disagree with you. Are you really lining up with the tin-foil hat brigade Pauline?,' she asked.

Interrupting the heated discussion, host David Koch pointed out the government's Chief Scientist Alan Finkel believed in climate change.

But Ms Hanson said everyday Australians were sick of paying enormous power bills, stressing her party would not support the Coalition's proposed clean energy target.

'People can't afford it, it's putting so much pressure on families and businesses,' she said. 'How can a fish and chip shop afford $14,000 a quarter in electricity? How can these pubs in outback Longreach afford $20,000 electricity a quarter? Wake up.

'We can't do it at the moment, I won't see any more people lose their jobs and I won't see any more businesses shut down because of this.'

Taking to social media after the interview, Ms Hanson-Young posted a link to the debate and wrote: 'On Sunrise this morning Pauline Hanson tells me get it through your head Sarah climate change 'isn't because of humans' #OneNationFail.'

Cabinet on Monday is expected to discuss the government's new energy policy, including whether to adopt a version of the clean energy target recommended by Mr Finkel. The coalition party room could examine the proposal on Tuesday.

It follows a new report from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which highlights huge increases in power bills over the past decade. The report says power is putting unacceptable pressure on Australian households and businesses.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims cautioned the clean energy target was designed to cut emissions, but it was hard to say whether it would also bring down prices.

It was important to understand the trade-offs between the various objectives if the nation was to have an effective energy policy.


Church sprayed with vile graffiti telling people to 'bash bigots' and 'crucify No voters' - even though it ISN'T urging parishioners to vote against gay marriage

A church has been tagged with vile 'bash bigots' graffiti - even though it isn't telling parishioners how to vote on gay marriage.

Drew Mellor, the head pastor of Glen Waverley Anglican Church in Melbourne's south-east, discovered the spray can attack early on Sunday morning. He was particularly upset with a tags which had threats of violence via the phrases, 'Vote Yes, bash bigots' and 'crucify No voters'.

'That's very unsettling for some of our older members of our church this morning,' Dr Mellor told Daily Mail Australia on Sunday. 'Some asked, 'Does that mean we're going to be bashed?'.

Dr Mellor also took exception to a cross and a Nazi swastika being sprayed on either side of an equals sign.

'To see Christians in that light, that somehow we hold a view that if people don't agree with us then we're going to do something to diminish them, that's not what people of the Gospel think,' he said. 'It conveys a message that as a Christian church we are intolerant.'

Dr Mellor said he was 'saddened' to have found the graffiti at 6.30 on Sunday morning, adding he repudiated any suggestion Christians are 'bigots' who sought to harm those with different views.

The Glen Waverley church isn't telling people how to vote on gay marriage, with Dr Mellor releasing a statement in September, which said recognising gay relationships was 'the respectful thing to do' for those inclined to vote 'Yes' to redefining marriage.

While Dr Mellor is opposed to gay marriage for Biblical reasons, he said his parish welcomed gay members. 'We certainly have ministry with, long connections with people that would align themselves with personally with the gay community,' he said.

'We wouldn't conduct a marriage service for a gay couple ... nor would we exclude anyone if they happen to be a gay couple in a marriage relationship.'

The Coalition for Marriage, which is leading the 'No' case against gay marriage as part of the $122 million postal vote survey, said the graffiti attack highlighted the intolerance of 'Yes' campaigners.

'One thing that this process has revealed is that, despite the rhetoric, 'Yes' campaigners do not actually believe in a tolerant society, where people are allowed to 'live and let live',' spokeswoman Monica Doumit told Daily Mail Australia.  'Rather, they will target those who disagree for abuse, for boycott, or for some other type of punishment.'

However, Dr Mellor said he would forgive the vandals adding the graffiti attack was not a reflection on all 'Yes' voters. 'I don't believe that's where the majority of those who are advocating equality in marriage would be coming from,' he said.

This graffiti attack comes two weeks after a Mormon church, west of Sydney, was defaced with 'Vote Yes' graffiti even though it hadn't even told its parishioners how to vote in the gay marriage postal survey. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at Leura, in the Blue Mountains, was sprayed with red and black tags.


Inquiring about the elephant in the classroom

It is easy to understand why people find the idea of inquiry learning so appealing. It’s a lovely notion that children can and will learn important concepts and knowledge simply by being given an opportunity to discover them for themselves.

This is allegedly the education of the future — a future in which children need only to learn how to find what they need at the time they need it.

But is it true that children learn best by inquiry? You would think so if you listened to Andreas Schleicher, the Director of the OECD Education Directorate, which runs the Program for International Assessment (PISA).  Professor Schleicher was in Australia recently, giving interviews and speaking at events and forums. Disappointingly, he did not mention the pedagogical elephant in the room — that OECD reports show that inquiry learning is strongly negatively associated with PISA scores.

A deeper analysis of the PISA scores by McKinsey and Co found that the ideal balance is for almost all lessons to be teacher-directed with a small number of inquiry-based lessons. This fits well with the cognitive science-informed framework in which novice learners need more highly structured, explicit teaching, with a gradual shift to independent inquiry as they consolidate their knowledge and develop expertise.

The PISA data is supported by numerous other studies showing that explicit, teacher-directed instruction is more effective than inquiry learning.

Strangely, however, the more evidence stacks up against inquiry learning, the more it seems to take on a mythical status of being unassailably superior.

This week the long line of heavy weights endorsing inquiry learning included the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers, and a German maths professor who happily acknowledged that her version of inquiry learning is not based on cutting edge research but on a centuries-old theory that was refined in the 1920s and popularised in the 1960s.

Inquiry learning can be useful when administered in the right doses at the right time in the learning process. It is not a miracle cure for a new age.


What's the connection between Immigrants and Aborigines?

Sunrise presenter Andrew O'Keefe has slammed a Sydney council's plan to hold citizenship ceremonies during an indigenous celebration week instead of Australia Day.

The Greens and Labor-dominated Inner West Council wants to move citizenship ceremonies from January 26 to the first Sunday in July.

However O'Keefe, who One Nation leader Pauline Hanson accuses of being too left-wing, is skeptical of holding citizenship ceremonies during NAIDOC Week.

'If you don’t feel an attachment to the British realm, because of your background, why've you got to feel an attachment to being Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander?,' he asked on Sunday.

Sydney ABC radio presenter Richard Glover was also skeptical of moving citizenship ceremonies to appease Aboriginal people upset at commemorating the arrival of the British First Fleet in 1788.

'I do want to argue back a little bit,' he said. 'Maybe we need to have a different tone about Australia Day but it’s still the day that everything changed.

'You can say it's the beginning of both European colonisation but also the beginning of Aboriginal survival.'

Glover said it was a 'wrong step' to move citizenship ceremonies to that week in July, commemorating National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee Week, arguing Aboriginal dispossession could be acknowledged on Australia Day.

Inner West Council is considering moving citizenship ceremonies from January 26 after the Greens failed to get support for an indigenous advisory committee to examine whether the local government should withdraw from Australia Day, The Sunday Telegraph reports.

Inner West Council could join three Melbourne councils and Fremantle in dumping Australia Day celebrations.


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, 2017

High energy costs slash small business investment
The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman has expressed dismay that politicians continue to argue over energy policy while small businesses suffer.

Ombudsman Kate Carnell said the latest East & Partners SME survey* of 1280 businesses showed 70 per cent would reduce investment in capital expenditure because of higher energy prices.

The survey shows that:

39.5 per cent of SMEs would scale back in the short term (long-term capex unchanged);

20.8 per cent would scale back in the long term (short-term capex unchanged); and

9.9 per cent would scale back capital expenditure in the short and long term.

Ms Carnell said that despite evidence of spiralling energy costs and reduced business confidence, politicians had not provided investment certainty.

In particular, she criticised State Governments for failing to agree with a national approach.

“The ACCC has revealed the impact of gas exploration bans on supply and distribution in Victoria and New South Wales, but these governments continue to shift the blame elsewhere,” she said.

“The Labor states talk about going alone on a clean energy target, which is putting politics ahead of the national interest.

“Meanwhile, businesses in South Australia may have to use dirty diesel generators to keep the lights on over summer.

“The Finkel Report provided a roadmap to repair the long-term damage of failed policies.

“All parties and all governments should endorse the report, remove bans on gas exploration and adopt a bipartisan approach to provide investment certainty.

“The danger with continued political bickering is that businesses will go to the wall, jobs will move offshore and be lost and consumers will feel even greater pain.”

* The energy question was asked as part of the East & Partners SME Transaction Banking survey, which examines and forecasts demand for transaction banking product lines and service offerings within Australia’s Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) segment (A$1-20 million turnover per annum).

Media release from Michael Gorey

ABC’s hubris laid bare in response to Michael Danby’s criticism


As the great Yugoslav dissident and democratic socialist Milovan Djilas once remarked: “In politics more than anything else, the beginning of everything lies in moral indignation.”

Michael Danby, the federal Labor member for Melbourne Ports, has been feeling some moral indignation about the ABC’s coverage of Israel.

He has been the Labor member for Melbourne Ports since 1998. Before that he was a union official and for a time worked for Jewish community organisations.

Danby is Jewish. His father was born in a part of Germany that later became a part of Poland. Danby’s grandfather, though he had served in the German army, was, along with his wife and many members of his family, slaughtered at Auschwitz.

Melbourne Ports is one of the two federal seats with the highest proportion of Jewish voters. Danby is not a single-issue politician but is a strong supporter of Israel who believes the ABC does not report the nation fairly.

Frankly, no one could seriously contest that proposition.

Danby is a passionate man, sometimes impetuous. He almost never gets invited on to any ABC program and the Melbourne-based Fairfax media never prints his opeds but merely attacks him from the left, as do the fellow travelling websites such as Crikey and The Guardian Australia.

So occasionally he buys ads to make his point. He has even used his electorate communications allowance for this, after checking with the relevant agencies that this was kosher, so to speak.

He has bought advertisements to campaign for public transport in his electorate, for more federal infrastructure spending, for same-sex marriage, and sometimes for issues relating to Israel and, on a couple of occasions, Iran.

A former chairman of the parliamentary joint standing committee on foreign affairs, he is an old-style social democratic internationalist with a passionate concern for human rights, free trade unions and the like.

Danby took two ads in The Australian Jewish News over a couple of weeks to complain about the treatment of Israel by the ABC’s Sophie McNeill.

The ABC’s Media Watch summarised one ad. It said: “The nub of Danby’s complaint is that two recent stories by McNeill received very different coverage. The eviction of a Palestinian family last month after a court returned their home to Jewish ownership scored a two-minute feature on the midday news.

“But the stabbing to death of three members of a Jewish family in July did not receive such personal treatment and was reported only in the context of a surge of violence in which four Palestinians were also killed. They did not get feature treatment either. So, is that bias? Or part of a pattern?”

It is honest of Media Watch to pose the question that way. Let me answer it: Yes, it is a pattern, and yes, it is bias.

The ABC is consistently biased against Israel in a similar way to the BBC and for similar reasons. The overwhelming majority of ABC reporters and general broadcast commentators share a fairly narrow spectrum of world view, ranging from the middle left of Labor to the green left.

This is why the ABC finds it so difficult to come to grips with, or even understand, the complaints this kind of bias generates.

Within their world view these ABC broadcasters mostly behave professionally, and in the field often with heroic distinction. But in that world view, as has been well established in countless books and studies, Israel represents, entirely falsely in my view, Western colonialism, militarism and racism.

This gives reporters and producers an instinct never to represent Israel sympathetically. Jewish Israeli civilians (even victims of terrorism) are almost never portrayed sympathetically on the ABC, unless they are abusing their government or society. Then they are moral heroes.

To humanise an innocent Jewish Israeli grandfather or child brutally murdered in their home by a terrorist seems somehow or other to be supportive of Israel, so it is rarely done.

Danby in his ads was responding to this profound emotional truth. The ABC’s response to Danby’s criticisms is dismaying. It exhibits bullying, hubris and unchecked power.

But first a word on McNeill. It is the case that she had a record, before her appointment as a correspondent, of pro-Palestinian activism. It is entirely legitimate for critics of her journalism to point to that history. It’s also entirely legitimate to criticise journalists. This may shock you, dear reader, but there have been occasions when I myself have been criticised, even indeed on the ABC, meaning the criticism came from taxpayers’ money.

ABC broadcasters sometimes darkly refer to “dossiers” that have been compiled on McNeill, as though this involved nefarious access to ASIO files. What they mean by dossiers is articles and footage that McNeill herself has produced. In other words, judging a journalist by their output.

Quelle horreur — surely only the Elders of Zion could plot such fiendish stratagems!

The ABC issued a kind of papal document beatifying McNeill and condemning Danby’s criticism as “highly inappropriate”. McNeill herself issued a bizarre statement demanding Danby be censored. She said: “If using taxpayer dollars to print false claims about a journalist is allowed within parliamentary guidelines, then clearly they need to change.”

Just take a step back and look at the larger picture. Danby, who almost never appears on the ABC, has paid for critical but not remotely abusive ads, the basic accuracy of which is attested by the ABC’s Media Watch, in small-circulation newspapers that might reach 20,000 readers. In response he is attacked, mocked, vilified and condemned in many ABC news programs and by numerous ABC commentators to a cumulative audience in the hundreds of thousands if not millions.

Surely even in the ABC someone must see this is a kind of parody of free speech.

It’s more like the Chinese Communist Party discovering an enemy of the state preaching in a home church and simultaneously denouncing him in People’s Daily, Global Times and the Xinhua News Agency (irony alert, that sentence consciously involves exaggeration, don’t pretend to take it literally).

The ABC did the same thing a couple of years ago when a Jewish old folks’ home withdrew an invitation to the actress Miriam Margolyes to read from an anti-Israel play. All over the country the ABC beat this story to death as a crime against free speech.

Naturally the nursing home didn’t want to debate Margolyes, so she was given uncritical interviews, with no attempt to provide a balancing voice, to a cumulative audience in the hundreds of thousands to berate Israel and defame the Jewish community.

Oi vey!

The implication is always that Jewish criticism of the ABC over Israel is somehow sinister. Two questions: what penalty has any ABC producer or broadcaster ever paid for this criticism? Answer: none. Therefore it is really not too sinister. And is not even the ABC aware of the true, astonishing weirdness of a body that gets more than $1 billion of taxpayers’ money each year trying not to answer criticism but to declare it “inappropriate”?

A more sophisticated broadcaster would have interviewed Danby at length about his criticisms, even if the interview was robust or Danby’s views were answered by somebody else.

The worst part of this saga is that Bill Shorten gave in to ABC pressure and admonished his colleague.

Full disclosure: I have known Danby for more than 40 years, and admired him all that time. He is exactly the kind of person we need in parliament — passionate, fiercely independent, brave as a lion, taken up with human rights concerns in China, Tibet, North Korea, Darfur — a genuine internationalist of which there are almost none in Canberra.

In taking on the colossus of the ABC, Danby spoke truth to power. Good on him.


Radicalised Muslim students will be BANNED from classrooms

Radicalised and violent students could soon be banned from the classroom in a major overhaul of school safety laws.

Legislation is expected to be introduced into the New South Wales parliament this week which will force students who pose a 'significant risk' to enrol in distance education.

Under current laws, principals are unable to take action against any pupil who commits a crime away from school grounds and outside school hours.

A student at a Sydney high school who was recently stopped from flying to Syria where he planned to fight for ISIS was allowed to continue attending classes because his actions weren't related to the school, The Daily Telegraph reported. 

The proposed changes will see principals given the power to ban violent or radicalised pupils from attending class - whether the student's criminal behaviour took place in or outside school.

NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes said the major shake-up is designed to bring the three-decade-old Education Act in line with modern-day threats.

'These are common sense changes to the Education Act that bring us into line with other jurisdictions,' Mr Stokes said, according to the paper.

'It's a sensible solution to dealing with modern-day problems that were not anticipated when the Education Act was drafted almost 30 years ago.

'The measures in this Bill are being put in place to uphold the public's ­expectation that schools remain safe, secure and collegial environments for both students and staff.'

The announcement has been met with a mixed reaction on social media, with many suggesting the proposed changes are well overdue. 'It's about time,' one wrote, while another said: '30 years too late'.

Others argued the proposal will only serve to further alienate students prone to radicalisation. 


Woman saves the day by picking up a shark out of a pool: "The most Australian thing I have ever seen"

Port Jackson sharks are not dangerous

A REAL estate agent has found a new home for a shark after she wrangled the slippery customer out of a rock pool.

Melissa Hatheier has become a social media sensation after witnesses caught her Monday morning encounter with a Port Jackson in Cronulla, in Sydney’s south, on camera.

“I got home from the gym, and my gorgeous mum who swims every morning down here in the rock pool rang and said this there is a shark in the pool,” she told Channel 9’s Today show.

“And I said, OK don’t worry, I will come down. So I came down, there was a bit of a crew down here, and had a look and he was a little Port Jackson and was doing laps of the pool and I said, you know I’m going to go in and check him out.

“I jumped in and I thought, ‘I reckon I can probably get him out.’ And Mum, god love her, called 000 so the police came down as well.

“And they didn’t know what to do. So I said, I think I can just grab him. So I herded him into the shallows and then I just sort of got on my knees. With his fins, I picked him up and helped him back.

“He was getting stressed because he was bumping into the rocks and I was thinking I just need to put him back where he is meant to be.”

And, it is not the first time Ms Hatheier has been up close and personal with nature.

“I was surfing out here about six months ago with Tyler from up the road and there was a massive hump back and its baby,” she said. “We paddled out and went up close to that and we got a drone shot of that.”

Yesterday’s heroics also have a touching family story to explain the inspiration.

“You know what, I lost my beautiful dad nearly a year ago, to cancer,” she said. “The last thing he said is, ‘Please look after Mum. So we are looking after Mum. I made sure the pool was safe and she can swim.”

The video, filmed by Ms Hatheier’s daughter Shannon, shows the brave real estate agent throwing the shark into the ocean, to rapturous applause by those watching.

The footage was uploaded to Facebook where it’s been viewed more than nine thousand times.

“Our in house Shark Wrangler Melissa Hatheier wrestling a shark out of Oak Park Rock Pool yesterday morning! Nice work Mel! #nextlevel #classicMel” the post accompanying the video reads.

Hundreds reacted to the video, with one poster saying: “I would have walked on water to get out of the pool. You’re a brave woman.”

Another said: “This is hands down the most Australian thing I have ever seen. Holy mackerel.”

“My worst fear has come true!!!! A shark in the oak park pool! On another note, this chick is a dead set legend,” said another commenter.


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

15 October, 2017

Surf Life Saving Queensland boss says swimmers not safe from crocodile attack

A warning now amplified by the apparent death of an elderly lady at Port Douglas -- apparently the result of a croc attack.

Since crocodiles were made protected under Greenie influence, their numbers have spiralled, with at least 100,000 of them in Australian waters now.  So there is no sense in continuing protection across the board.  I would argue that they be de-protected South of Daintree.  That would still leave them a large safe habitat.  Once an area had been cleared, some crocs would move South into it but that would simply make good targets for sporting shooters.  The core population would continue to thrive and human users of the waters would be safe from them

And what is this nonsense about relocating them?  Relocating them to zoos does stop them but relocating them to other areas and releasing them is a crock (Pun admitted).  They just swim back to their old stamping ground.  One croc that was relocated to the Western side of Cape York peninsula swam back all the way around Cape York to his old habitat well South on the East coast -- a journey of perhaps 1,000 km

A SURF Life Saving boss is warning swimmers they should no longer feel safe in some of our most popular waterways — as crocodile numbers keep rising.

A SURF Life Saving Queensland boss says swimmers can no longer feel safe in the state’s waterways due to the increased threat of crocodile attack.

SLSQ chief operating officer George Hill yesterday told a public hearing into Katter’s Australia Party’s proposed Safer Waterways Bill there was a growing risk to both Surf Life Saving staff and the general public at Queensland beaches.

“We have seen a growing trend and a higher risk to our community,” he said.  “The reality is that there’s tourists sunbaking and there’s crocodiles (basking) less than 30m apart.  “It’s a risk that has the potential to have a catastrophic result for the community.”

The revelation comes after The Courier-Mail this week revealed crocodile sightings in the state have increased by more than 38 per cent in the past two years.

Mr Hill said while the service did not support killing crocodiles, it did want to see them removed from popular swimming areas.

“Both those levels (life guards and life savers) have identified a trend of seeing larger crocodiles in what we call public space, waterways where people can frequent. And when I say larger crocodiles, over the past five years the trend has certainly grown to see 3m to 4m crocodiles.

“(This) is in public spaces such as Port Douglas Beach, Four Mile Beach, there was one there last week that we closed the beach for, Palm Cove, Trinity Beach, Forest Beach in Ingham, Townsville’s Strand.”

Mr Hill said members were becoming hesitant to patrol waterways north of Townsville and that he was particularly concerned for the safety of SLSQ staff manning stinger nets in north Queensland.

“Unfortunately crocodiles can enter those (nets) and ... we have situations where every morning in summer our lifesavers and lifeguards will drag those nets for stingers.

“But they’re going in knowing there may or may not be a crocodile in there.”

Mr Hill said he supported changes to the state’s crocodile management plan if it meant safer waterways for swimmers.

“We need to protect our environment but certainly we need to protect the public and our users and future surf life savers and people that frequent our waters,” he said.

“While we don’t want to see the crocs harmed in any way, we certainly do support the removal of any crocodile that’s in a public space that could be a risk to anyone in the community whether it’s a bite or a fatal attack.”

The proposed KAP Bill would introduce a number of new measures including controlled crocodile culls and egg harvesting.

A spokesman for Australia Zoo also spoke at the hearing and slammed the Bill saying it was poorly researched and would not make waterways any safer.

“This legislation will be disastrous for humans and for crocodiles,” he said. “The environmental research has been basic and sketchy.”


Three generations of the same family will soon be living under the same roof because of Sydney's 'out-of-control' population growth

And what is driving that growth?  Out of control immigration

Thanks to the out-of-control population growth Sydney, it has been predicted that multi-generational living will soon become the norm.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the majority of families will be living with three generations under one roof by 2031.

NSW Planning Minister Anthony Roberts said that multi-generation living is 'the way of the future' as the population of NSW is expected to increase by 30 per cent in the next 20 years.

A new analysis constructed by state government demographers indicates that the population increase is largely due to people living longer.

The average male life expectancy is now 80, as opposed to the 1950s when men were only expected to live until the age of 67.

Mr Roberts explained that there will be a 67 per cent increase in the 65+ age group thanks to people's healthy and active lifestyles.

'While that is a testament to our healthcare certainly shapes the next 20 years and defines what services we will need,' he said.

The current trend is for young people to live in apartments closer to the city centre while older people are living in the suburbs, mostly in free-standing homes.

This trend points to a gap in the housing market - a lack of low-rise, medium-sized homes that allow dual occupancy, according to the demographic analysis.

Mr Roberts terms this gap the 'Missing Middle' and highlights the importance of diversifying housing in the next two decades. 

'Well-designed, medium density is how we will accommodate multiple generations living under one roof,' he said.

Meanwhile, Greater Sydney Commission chief executive Sarah Hill said that Sydneysiders need reassurance that the 'right infrastructure' was being put in place to handle population growth.

Ms Hill also said that along with increased population density comes more jobs and more houses - but also more difficult questions.

'[Questions like] where do you want your children or grandchildren to live? Do you want them nearby for when you are old and need support? Where do you want them to find good jobs?' she said.

It is expected that by 2036, NSW will have an extra 2.2 million people, and the Department of Planning expects 180,000 new houses to be built in Sydney in the next five years.

Suburbs slated to receive the most new homes are Haymarket, Mascot, Zetland and Roseberry.


The Federal governments brilliant way to avoid blackouts this summer

They want people to switch off

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) today jointly announced 10 pilot projects have been awarded funding under the demand response initiative to manage electricity supply during extreme peaks.

In total, the $35.7 million initiative will deliver 200 megawatts (MW) of capacity by 2020, with at least 143 MW to be available for this upcoming summer.

Over three years, the pilot projects will be trialled in Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales to free up temporary supply during extreme weather - such as prolonged summer heatwaves - and unplanned outages.

On behalf of the Australian Government, ARENA has committed $28.6 million in total to fund set-up and operational costs for the projects, with $7.2 million to be matched by the NSW Government for NSW-based projects.

Successful funding recipients include energy retailers, an energy distributor, a demand response aggregator, a smart thermostat developer and a South Australian metal foundry.

Demand response involves paying an incentive for energy users to reduce their power consumption, switch to backup generation or dispatch their energy storage for short periods when electricity reserves reach critically low levels.

From Texas to Taiwan, demand response is commonly used overseas to avoid unplanned or involuntary outages, ease electricity price spikes and provide grid support services. In other countries, up to 15 per cent of peak demand is met with demand response.

The pilot projects will engage large scale industrial and commercial businesses - such as cold storage facilities, manufacturing plants and commercial buildings. Tens of thousands of households are also expected to voluntarily sign up to participate in exchange for incentives.

In the coming months, the pilot projects will be engaging customers and installing hardware to remotely monitor and control their energy usage. Household hardware will have optional user overrides.

This program, which was launched in May and run as a competitive round, is the flagship initiative of ARENA and AEMO’s collaboration to test proof of concept projects to support grid security and stability.

AEMO Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Audrey Zibelman said the projects would undergo testing by AEMO in November and would be up and running by December 2017.

“These demand response projects will help manage spikes in peak demand in a cost effective way using our existing electricity infrastructure and clever new technology.

“It is clear that demand response has untapped potential to manage demand during extreme peaks in Australia, just as it does in other countries,” Ms Zibelman said.

“We’re hopeful this will create the proof of concept for a new market mechanism that will ultimately be to the benefit of Australian consumers,” she said.  

ARENA Chief Executive Ivor Frischknecht said the funding round had well exceeded the 160 MW initially hoped for, and cost less than expected.

“Through this initiative, we’ve been able to build a virtual power plant the size of two of Tesla’s giant 100 MW batteries in a matter of months for a fraction of the cost of building new supply.

“We are also trialling an innovative range of technologies and behaviour change programs from voltage control to intelligent thermostats to app notifications,” Mr Frischknecht said.

“Demand response will not only ease the strain on the electricity grid and prevent blackouts. These projects will also put money back into the pockets of Australian businesses and households, helping to reduce their energy costs and emissions,” he said.

For further information, visit or

Media release

Plastic recycling Pow-Wow

A heavyweight occasion

Plasticity Forum Attracts International Speakers For Discussion On Transforming Plastic Waste Into A Valuable Resource

On Tuesday 31 October, the 9th global Plasticity Forum will be held at the Maritime Museum in Sydney’s Darling Harbour. World-renowned experts across education, research, renewable energy and retail sectors including entrepreneurs, financiers, plastics recovery experts and brand owners will discuss the big ideas on innovation, sustainability and business successes driving new plastics circular economies.     

The only global conference focused solely on plastic sustainability, a key area of discussion will be Australasia’s recycling efforts, which are under threat from China’s new “National Sword” policy that is disrupting the region’s plastic scrap marketplace. Rather than focusing on the doom, this changed circumstance offers opportunities for existing and new businesses across a range of industries.

Internationally renowned speakers taking part in the ‘TedTalk-style’ forum include Dr Steve Wong, founder and MD of Fukutomi Company Limited and a top player in the international plastic scrap market; Nev Hyman, founder and chairman of Nev House which provides innovative and affordable housing solutions using recycled materials; Stuart Clark, CEO of Foy Group, an Australian company with patented technology to convert end-of-life, non-recyclable waste plastics to road-ready fuel.

Other presenters include Phill White, Co-founder of Circular Economy and creator of Blockcycle, a world first blockchain platform with partner Coca-Cola; Rob Dvorak, Plant Manager of Visy rPlastics one of the leading recycling facilities which recycles PET and HDPE  bottles back to food grade pellets; and Dr Karen Raubenheimer, Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security, who is currently assessing the effectiveness of relevant international, regional and sub-regional governance strategies and approaches.

Media release for Plasticity Sydney from Sophie Olorenshaw.
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, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG has some choice words about the global warming scam

Fat and neurotic feminist needs a dash of Pauline wisdom

Overweight and chronically angry feminist Clementine Ford had a disabling neurotic crisis recently but seems to have learned nothing from it.  The Pauline wisdom she needs is in Acts 26:14, where Jesus advised Paul not to kick against the pricks -- i.e. not to resist the inevitable.

The inevitable is inborn male/female differences.  In our evolutionary past we have evolved to be sexual specialists. At it simplest men did the hunting and women looked after the babies. And evolution is slow to change. We are still born with those old cavemen specialisms.  That is who we are and how we instinctively feel

That all that specialization has become of little importance to survival in the last half century will have had no impact on our genetic propensities whatever. We will still be most comfortable in traditional roles. But Clem believes that such roles are now WRONG and resists them

And that can only result in discomfort and dissatisfaction for all concerned. Expectations will continuously be at odds with natural inclinations. Human beings are very flexible so some degree of accommodation to modern reality is possible but all flexibility has its limits

And Clemmie is one of those who kick against the pricks of her inborn feminine instincts.  She describes a lot of that below.  And it is obviously stressful for her.  No wonder she had a serious anxiety breakdown recently. 

And against all probability, it appears that she has a partner, probably male. He must be a Trojan.  So her hormones are in good order even if her mind is troubled.  And the account she gives of her life with him makes it clear that therein lies another source of stress.

She would be a much happier lady if she went right along with her female instincts instead of obeying her feminist ideology.  But is it ideology?  She has an impeccably conservative father so she would not have got it from him. So she probably just is chronically angry, in the typical Leftist style. There appears to be no cure for that. 

I recently spent the afternoon in a park with a friend and our kids. It was a lusciously sunny and warm day, the first in a long time after such a cold winter. It was the kind of day that you want to prolong, so we decided to do exactly that and headed back to her house to drink wine and watch the sun set.

While the kids set about destroying the house on arrival, I asked my friend if I could use her bathroom. "Sure," she replied. "Just give me a second to make sure it looks okay."

I waited while she dashed in to make sure there were no suspicious marks in the bowl (or on the seat) or a forgotten flush. She came out a minute later and gave me the all-clear.

I knew this was what she was doing, because it's exactly what I do when guests ask to use my bathroom. I also apologise automatically for the general mess of the house, for any dishes that might be left dirty in the sink or food crumbs strewn across the counter. I do all that despite the fact that not only do I not care about the state of any of my friends' houses, I also loathe the gendered expectation that these are things women should care about, along with making sure everyone in the house has healthy food to eat and the kids' clothes are neatly ironed and stain-free.

Like many women – and feminist women in particular – I'm interested in what perpetuates this sense of obligation even in households populated by people who are arguably aware of the existence of these pressures and the essential inequality of them. Why do we feel that a dirty toilet will reflect badly on us alone, and not also on the people we live with (particularly if those other people happen to be men, whether partners or housemates)? I suspect there is a residual fear of being perceived as filthy ourselves or inattentive to the filth of those men, whose domestic harmony we're expected to take responsibility for.

Still, I'm far from the first woman to write about the gendered division of labour. By now, only the most obstinate and wilfully ignorant of people are in denial of the fact that women perform the bulk of the world's unpaid labour, even in the countries these same people love to believe are matriarchal dictatorships. Just recently, Gemma Hartley wrote about women's emotional labour in the domestic sphere for Harper's Bazaar. In reflecting on the example she and her husband were setting for their children (one girl and two boys), Hartley wrote: "I find myself worrying about how the mental load bore [sic] almost exclusively by women translates into a deep gender inequality that is hard to shake on the personal level. It is difficult to model an egalitarian household for my children when it is clear that I am the household manager, tasked with delegating any and all household responsibilities, or taking on the full load myself. I can feel my sons and daughter watching our dynamic all the time, gleaning the roles for themselves as they grow older."

Hartley is just one of many women in heterosexual partnerships who feels obliged to "manage" not just the workload of the home she shares with at least one other adult, but also the way her home is perceived by other people. I'm speaking generally here (and before I go further, let it be known that I acknowledge there are always outliers to every situation, which means of course there are house-proud men out there), but I've rarely, if ever, encountered the same level of domestic embarrassment in my male friends in hetero partnerships as I have in my female ones. They don't give the toilet a quick once over to check for rogue floaters, nor do they offer apology for presiding over a living room that actually looks lived-in.

And it isn't just that men who partner with women suddenly give up on doing the domestic workload they performed rigidly before. Let's just say that of all the men I slept with in my 20s, not a single one of them ever apologised for the fact that they were clearly sleeping on sheets that had never been washed and definitely smelled like it. Meanwhile, the majority of western women are conditioned to apologise to potential paramours for egregious crimes like having unshaven legs. (And if you don't think that's true, think of the Swedish model who recently posted a photograph of herself with hairy legs and received a slew of rape threats.)

Emily Shire nails it here when she writes that women are judged more for having messy houses and unkempt children than men are. In fact, I would wager the average person wouldn't even think to implicate husbands and fathers in either of these things, because the cultural stereotypes around both still hinges on a woman's worth or lack thereof.

So what's the solution?

In my own home, having open lines of communication has been hugely rewarding. My partner and I have ongoing conversations about how we can model equality to our son, from having set weekdays in which we both act as primary parent to making sure he sees both of us doing things like vacuuming, washing clothes and cleaning the kitchen. We each do our own laundry and often cook or organise our own dinner, both of which stop these jobs from being naturally assumed to be my responsibility. I'm not afraid to have endless discussions about our domestic dynamic, even though I find it boring and frustrating most of the time. Because this seems to be largely why women in hetero partnerships just throw their hands up and conform to gendered domestic expectations – it's too tiring and dull to keep having the same conversations over and over, so we just end up giving up and doing it. 

I'm not saying we should stop doing the toilet once-over when guests arrive. But start questioning your partners if you notice they never do it. And for goodness sake, stop washing men's clothes for them.


Is 62 per cent turnout enough to carry the same-sex marriage vote?

I would argue that the amount of bullying, coercion and vote faking from the "Yes" side invalidates the result

AS THE closing date for the same-sex marriage postal survey nears, thoughts are turning to the final result and what percentage needs to be achieved for it to be accepted.

More than 16 million survey forms have been posted to eligible Australians and an estimated 10 million survey forms had been returned as at Friday, October 6.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the turnout represents 62.5 per cent of Australians.

But is this enough? It’s hard to tell.

ABC election analyst Antony Green told that turnout for the Brexit vote in the UK was 72.2 per cent and just 51.9 per cent voted to leave.

“No one has questioned that result even though it was relatively close,” Mr Green said.

He said the Brexit vote was a good comparison because it was a yes/no vote and people were also voting for a principle, not a piece of legislation.

“No one knew what Brexit actually meant and they still don’t,” he said.

In comparison the Irish referendum to approve same-sex marriage was also carried with 60.52 per cent turnout and 62.07 of the vote.

Mr Green said he expected the turnout for Australia’s postal survey to be similar to the Brexit vote, judging from the numbers that had already returned their surveys.

He said how much of a turnout was required to make the vote “legitimate” depended on how people measured these things.

However, he was confident Yes was likely to win. “Yes is still 20 per cent ahead (according to recent polls), no turnout (figure) is going to turn that into a No vote,” he said.

While polls ahead of Brexit were wrong, Mr Green said they were only off by about 2 to 3 per cent — although in that case it was enough to turn the result. “They weren’t wrong by 15 per cent,” he said.

But one expert is unsure that achieving a good turnout and a “simple majority” will be enough to silence critics in Australia.

It is not compulsory to vote in the postal survey which means people not happy with the result could still argue it doesn’t represent all of Australia’s views.

Political scientist Sarah Maddison of the University of Melbourne said it would require leadership from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to legitimise the vote.

“I think there is very little question the Yes vote will be in the majority but the size of the majority is going to count in terms of the silencing the conservatives,” she said.

“I think this has been one of the problems with the survey from the outset: there has been no clear guidance from the government about what could constitute a legitimate response.”

Even if the turnout reached 70 per cent as Mr Green predicts, Prof Maddison was sceptical a simple 51 per cent majority would decide the issue.

“It is very hard to imagine (prominent No voter) Lyle Shelton accepting graciously that he and his colleagues in the No camp are in the minority,” she said.

“No campaigners and radical conservatives will keep pushing to have their reactionary position maintained in policy decisions.”

Prof Maddison wasn’t sure what percentage the Yes vote would have to reach in order to silence critics, and said she would be “picking a number out of the air”.

“Certainly 51 per cent won’t do it. I don’t think anyone involved in the campaign for marriage equality thinks that a simple majority will end the matter.

“Maybe it’s 60 per cent, maybe it’s 70 per cent, I don’t know. We’ve lacked clear leadership from the Prime Minister on that question,” she said.

In past statements, Mr Turnbull has said he believes the result would be respected in parliament.

“If the postal vote is carried, the legalisation of same-sex marriage will sail through the Parliament, believe me,” he told 2DayFM.

But Prof Maddison said it would still require leadership.  “This has to be the end of the matter but this has to come from our political leaders,” she said.

She urged people who had not yet voted not to be complacent. “We need as many Australians as possible (to vote) to have as much validity as possible to make sure this question is answered once and for all.”


Time for climate scientists to produce evidence that carbon dioxide emissions affect climate

By Rowan Dean, a prominent Australian advertising man and an energetic conservative commentator much seen in TV discussions

IT’S time for so-called climate scientists to either cough up one single, solitary shred of genuine scientific evidence that proves that the climate is being changed by mankind’s carbon dioxide emissions, or ‘fess up and admit that the whole thing is a gigantic hoax.

That’s the bottom line.

Asked at the beginning of this year for one of those “predictions for 2017”, I claimed that this would be the year the Australian public wakes up and realises they are being hoodwinked by the whole climate change/renewables scam.

Data that “climate experts” fail to provide is that Earth has frequently warmed up, cooled down, and warmed up again.
I told Paul Murray’s lively late night TV show on Sky News that 2017 would be the year the climate con comes to an end. So how is my prediction going?

Well, so far this year two extraordinary books have come out, and one insightful film, that support my argument that the public is indeed waking up to the tricks of the climate change/renewables fraud.

Climate Change: The Facts 2017, a series of essays published by the Institute of Public Affairs, not only debunks the entire scare campaign about the Great Barrier Reef, but in a piece of superb investigative work Dr Jennifer Marohasy exposes the Bureau of Meteorology’s embarrassing manipulation of temperature data.

The book has sold out three print runs and gained serious attention overseas. Then came the surprise hit film Climate Hustle by sceptic Marc Morano, which was, ironically, more popular than the scaremongering Al Gore film it challenged.

And this week a new book is coming out by Australia’s Ian Plimer, one of our greatest geologists.

Called Climate Change Delusion and the Great Electricity Rip-off it’s a must-read for anyone who still believes they’re saving the planet by paying through the nose for electricity.

Because you’re not. The planet is doing just fine with or without your financial impoverishment, and whatever changes may or may not be occurring to our planet’s climate, it almost certainly has nothing to do with your gas bill.

As Plimer points out, Australia is blessed with an abundance of the cheapest and cleanest energy on the planet, yet we are paying the highest electricity prices on earth.

Put simply, that doesn’t add up. And when something smells fishy, it’s because it is.

Australian taxpayers are being ripped off by deluded luvvies (Turnbull is one of the worst) pandering to the voracious leeches of the renewables industry and their greedy investors gorging on a bloated smorgasbord of your cash which they siphon up via subsidies, targets and bills.

Yet, as Plimer points out, it’s all in vain. With rigorous scientific and geological data, Plimer provides evidence that the climate “experts” fail to provide. He shows that Earth has frequently warmed up, cooled down, and warmed up again, but this process has never had anything to do with CO2.

Indeed, the geological evidence is that Earth’s coldest periods often had far higher atmospheric CO2 levels than we do now. What’s more, the mild warming we may currently be experiencing (we are, geologically speaking, still in an Ice Age and moving slowly out of it) has always been associated in human history with increased health, wealth, fertility and prosperity.

Mankind’s most successful times have been in periods such as the Roman era or medieval warming when the Earth was warmer than it is now.

Indeed, we are currently seeing flora around the globe getting greener and more fertile as CO2 levels increase.

Meanwhile, desperately trying to reinvigorate the whole tiresome climate change alarmist nonsense, this year we got Al Gore’s latest horror flick-cum-ad for his own renewables investments An Inconvenient Sequel (what an unoriginal title).

Showing suitably terrifying footage of storms, floods and hurricanes, the film was a box-office flop that received lacklustre reviews at best. Oh, and the other day an ANU “climate scientist” made the hysterical (and unprovable) claim that Sydney and Melbourne “could” roast in 50 degree summers by the end of the century.

That’s it. And still no proof that man-made carbon dioxide emissions are warming the planet. Still no proof that a warmer planet can be avoided, or would actually be a bad thing. Still no proof that removing civilisation’s reliance on coal is even remotely feasible. Still no proof that even if we did do all the things climate fanatics want us to do and destroy our economies and lifestyles, it would make the slightest difference to global temperatures. And still no proof that we even need to.

The biggest con of all is that Australian voters are denied any political leadership courageous enough to call out this scaremongering for what it is, cancel all our subsidies, targets and the Paris Agreement, which only enrich renewables carpetbaggers, and return us to a land blessed with cheap, abundant energy.


Why is Satyajit Das so angry about Australia’s economic growth?

As Australia closes in on the world record for recession-free economic growth, expect a few contrarian pieces attacking us. “26 Recession-Free Years Hide a Darker Picture for Australia” was one Bloomberg piece this week.

But in an early bid to dominate the field, our own Satyajit Das has let rip with a cracking piece about how we’re basically a bunch of lazy racist frauds. In a piece in the Financial Review today with the sinister title “Australia’s luck is running out”, Das — a former banker turned author and commentator, manages to combine that staple of Fairfax, the property bubble/We’re All Rooned piece with a broader critique of the Australian economy. Das says we rely too much on mining, we have a huge property bubble, too much debt, we pay ourselves too much and our productivity growth is too low, we depend too much on foreign capital.

Rather than pointing out evidence about wages growth, productivity and our superannuation pool that contradicts Das’ economic critique, or noting the strange job snobbery that regards mining and construction as an inferior source of growth, it’s more exciting to move onto his moral critique. Australia, you see, are a bunch of racists and busybodies.

“the widespread view that it is a European Christian nation, complicate its trading relationship to Asia… Australian criticism of regional governments over human rights and capital punishment is seen as interference in domestic affairs… Australia’s “Whites Only” immigration policy ended only in the early 1970s.”

You can just see Chinese steel manufacturers rubbing their chins. “Hmmm… this Australian iron ore — it’s from a European Christian nation that only ended a racist immigration policy fifty years ago. I don’t think we can use it.” It’s also amusing that Das wants to have it both ways — he argues Australia’s (for him, inconvenient) economic growth of recent years has been heavily reliant on immigration. But we’re also racists and xenophobes at the same time.

Why would Das be so angry about Australia’s growth? It wouldn’t have something to do with the fact that our economy, along with the rest of the world, has stubbornly refused to follow his predictions, would it? After all, Das is, in the words of one economic commentator in 2015, “one of the gloomiest financial commentators I know… [who] has succeeded at taking his economic pessimism to a new level.” Das, to be found opining at the ABC, or in various online outlets, has regularly warned of another financial crisis that will lead to a depression worse than the 1930s, of falling international growth, of “another great recession”.  It must be infuriating for Das that the global economy has been picking up momentum all year and the Australian economy, too, is accelerating and delivering very strong jobs growth.

It’s OK, Satyajit — keep on with the perma-bear act, you’re bound to be right one of these years.


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, 2017

Up to 46 university students are vying for the one graduate job

Raife Watson, the CEO of Adzuna - a job search engine - told Lifestyle Overnight there were 'a lot of jobs out there, but not a lot of jobs for graduates'.

Mr Watson said Sydney was a great place for a graduate to find a job, as a lot of companies started up in the capital city, and a lot of infrastructure projects underway.

But for the best chances of finding a graduate job, Mr Watson said the Northern Territory was the place to go.

South Australia was the worst place to find a graduate position according to the company's research, with 46 graduates competing for each job on average.

NSW has odds of 20 to one, but the Northern Territory has only an average of ten people applying for each job.

Mr Watson said that unsurprisingly, the top end often struggled to attract graduates, meaning the jobs were more plentiful.

'Go somewhere where your skills are really needed for a couple of years and develop those skills,' he advised new graduates.

Nationally, the average was 22 new graduates for each relevant position.

Mr Watson said universities had 'a lot to answer for' in terms of course admission far outweighing job availability.

'Universities are now profit making machines, and a lot of them are offering huge amounts of students these courses that there are no jobs for,' he said.

'You come out of uni with a $40,000 debt and no hope of finding a job in your chosen profession.'

Mr Watson told the Sydney Morning Herald new graduates were now often taking up jobs completely unrelated to their expensive qualifications in order to pay the bills.

'You end up behind a bar, or in some other job that's unrelated to what you studied. You see a lot of law graduates going into sales or call centres,' he said.

And while Adzuna's research showed there were about 90 law graduates for every graduate law position, there were only nine graduates with engineering degrees for each related position.

Mr Watson said there needed to be a bigger push from the government to ensure fields that need skilled workers have enough people, and students aren't left out of pocket and out of a job.

'We need to think about what's really needed in education, the courses that we really need in the country,' he said. 'Why aren't we pushing more people into STEM [science, technology, engineering and maths] degrees?'


Penalty rates slashed as Federal Court backs Fair Work Commission decision

THE Federal Court has backed the Fair Work Commission’s decision to slash Sunday penalty rates for hospitality, retail and fast-food workers.

Unions representing hospitality and retail workers challenged the commission’s decision in June slash penalty rates for workers in the fast food, hospitality, retail and pharmacy sectors, starting on July 1.

But the court found no jurisdictional error in the commission’s February decision to cut Sunday and public holiday penalty rates for full-time and part- time workers.

Malcolm Turnbull believes the Federal Court’s backing of a decision to slash Sunday penalty rates confirms the work of the independent umpire.

“These are the same unions that have been trading away their members’ penalty rates for years, but nonetheless they took it to the Federal Court and the decision of Fair Work Australia was upheld,” he told reporters in Sydney. “So that is the independent umpire doing its work and its work being confirmed by the court.”

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said he was disappointed in the Federal Court’s decision.

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry urged unions to accept the umpire’s decision.

“Now that the Federal Court has made its decision, employers should be able to get on with implementing these changes, and start offering longer opening hours and more shifts on Sundays,” chief executive James Pearson said. The chamber estimates the commission’s decision will affect about 220,000 workers in retail, pharmacy, hospitality and fast food.

“We are talking about limited changes - for example, from double-time to time- and-three-quarters for Sunday work,” Mr Pearson said.


Scale back Paris emissions commitment: Banks, Hilmer

Two of Australia’s most respected economic reformers have urged the government to scale back its commitment to the Paris emissions-reduction agreement and revive a market-based mechanism to curb greenhouse gases, suggesting the renewable energy target is damaging the country’s competitiveness.

Lamenting at least a decade of reform paralysis, Keating government adviser Fred Hilmer and Gary Banks, the inaugural Productivity Commission chairman, said they had all but given up on rational reform in the energy market. They were now left to hope that blackouts in Sydney and Melbourne this summer inject sense into what they saw as an increasingly dishonest policy debate.

Professor Banks sympathised with Australians who were “bemused” about rising power bills amid claims of a low-cost, renewable-energy future

“The notion that there’s a trade-off, that we can’t have it all, that there’s no free lunch, that’s not been made clear to the public,” Professor Banks said. “In fact when you look at it, we’ve ruled out all the least-cost ways of transitioning to a low-emission economy … we’ve ruled out nuclear and essentially ruled out gas too.

“I had a feeling under the last Labor government that there were tentative moves in the nuclear ­direction but then we had Fukushima, and that was it.”

Australia is the only G20 country with a legislative prohibition on nuclear energy.

Professor Hilmer, whose report for the Keating government unleashed a wave of pro-competition reforms in the 1990s, including helping to form the national electricity market, said blackouts this summer “would be great” to refocus the energy debate.

He and Professor Banks are both frustrated with state bans on gas ­exploration. “I can’t believe the problems (with fracking) are all that real; otherwise the US would be committing suicide,” Professor Hilmer said.

He suggested claims about the capacity of new batteries to store renewable energy had been exaggerated. “We need a blackout in South Australia when the new battery is going,” he said. “You can look at the sun shining and say renewable energy is cheap but it doesn’t solve storage. These huge batteries — half an hour’s power for Adelaide, or not even.”

In an allusion to South African billionaire Elon Musk’s plan to build the world’s largest battery in South Australia, Professor Hilmer said: “To say you have cheap power ‘most of the time’ is a ­disaster.”

Professor Banks, now a professorial fellow at the Melbourne Institute after 15 years leading the Productivity Commission, said Australia was getting ahead of other countries, notably the US, in pursuing low-emissions targets, to its economic detriment.

“We have to go back to start to look at whether we’ve signed up to something that for our economy is too tough,” Professor Banks said. “Not only are we choosing to transition to low emissions at a high cost, which is the RET or RET Mark II, we’re doing it over a compressed timeframe.”

In June the Turnbull government reaffirmed Australia’s commitment along with more than 100 countries to reduce emissions by at least 26 per cent by 2030 from 2005 levels.

Brendan Lyon, head of Infrastructure Partnerships Australia, which hosted the discussion with The Australian this week, said: “Paris is the hair shirt and we’ve popped on a straitjacket too.”

The comments will increase pressure on the Turnbull government, which has appeared divided on energy policy since the wake of blackouts in South Australia last year, to reject chief scientist Alan Finkel’s recommendation in June to introduce a clean energy target that would mandate a rising share of low-emissions energy provision after 2020.

Professor Hilmer and Professor Banks said the quality of analysis and modelling of energy policy, including in the Finkel review, had not been transparent, rigorous or comprehensive enough. “We’ve been cursed with multiple objectives,” Professor Hilmer said.

Professor Banks suggested the Productivity Commission should and could have made “a much bigger contribution” to the development of energy policy.

On Monday Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg hinted the government might not replace the Renewable Energy Target, which will require 33 terawatts of renewable energy generation by 2020, arguing wind and solar power were increas    ingly viable without support. The prospect of further blackouts when AGL’s Liddell coal-fired power station in NSW closes in 2020 has increased attention on national energy policy.

Professor Banks said Australia had ­ignored a 1991 report — the first of its kind for a developed country — by the Productivity Commission’s forerunner, the Industry Commission, which had laid out the best way to wean the economy off fossil fuels. “It was clear: it had to be an economy-wide (approach), not fixated on particular greenhouse gases, and use market instruments to ensure least cost abatement occurs,” he said. “Here we are 25 or 26 year later and we haven’t done any of those things.”

Professor Hilmer, who was a vice-chancellor of the University of NSW and Fairfax chief executive, questioned whether a government would be “brave enough to (tell voters): actually let’s stop and start again because we’re hurting this country by making it high cost”. Reform was easier in the 1990s, he said.

“We had a ‘burning platform’, now there’s complacency,” he said. “Second, we had bipartisanship; now we don’t even use the word. Third, we had strong leadership by prime ministers.”

The Turnbull government has struggled to implement the successor to Professor Hilmer’s 1993 ­National Competition Policy: Ian Harper’s competition review, released in 2015 under Tony Abbott.


Threats from union thugs at Queensland mine

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has rejected demands to ban political donations from the CFMEU, after members of the union were caught on tape allegedly using expletive-filled and threatening language.

The minority Labor government’s links to the union movement – in particular the CFMEU – dominated the ongoing sitting of Queensland’s hung parliament today, with the Opposition calling for a ban on CFMEU donations.

The Courier-Mail today published a video appearing to show CFMEU protesters at Glencore’s Oaky North mine yelling threats on the picket line, including one that read: “Crash your car into a tree on your way home”.

Opposition industrial relations spokesman Jarrod Bleijie tabled part of a letter from Glencore to federal Coalition MP Michelle Landry, outlining extracts from security reports prepared for Glencore detailing alleged verbal abuse by CFMEU members and officials.

The epithets include: “I’ll f***ing rape your kids c**t,” “I’ll rip out your spine,” “I’ll attack you with a crowbar,” “You’ll find him in the box watching videos of kids,” “ya f***ing dog”.

Ms Palaszczuk today described the allegations as “unacceptable”. However, when asked by Deputy Opposition leader Deb Frecklington in parliament if she would ban the CFMEU from donating, Ms Palaszczuk said, “the answer is no”.

The Premier is pushing for a similar ban on donations from property developers at state and local government levels, after a recommendation from the Crime and Corruption Commission.

The CCC did not recommend such a ban on union donations.

“The CCC’s view is that until such time as unions and other types of donors demonstrate the same risk of actual or perceived corruption in Queensland local government as property developers, a more encompassing ban is not appropriate,” the watchdog’s Operation Belcarra report said last week.

The Courier-Mail today published a video appearing to show CFMEU protesters at Glencore’s Oaky North mine yelling threats on the picket line, including one that read: “Crash your car into a tree on your way home”. The report also alleges protesters threatened to rape children, although that is not included in the footage.

Opposition leader Tim Nicholls said the report was “appalling and disgusting” and Ms Palaszczuk should refuse to take donations from unions, as she pushes to ban donations from property developers.

“We believe the threat of unions is equal to, if not greater, than any other group that makes donations to political parties,” Mr Nicholls said.

He said the CFMEU had influence over the Labor government and were “law-breakers who are becoming law-makers.”

Mr Nicholls would not say whether the LNP would back a proposed ban of developer donations. “The legislation should include the union movement,” Mr Nicholls said.

Ms Palaszczuk today described the CFMEU’s behaviour as unacceptable.  “It is not acceptable for anyone to use threatening behaviour, and I don’t care whether that person is from the business community, a member of the public, or a member from the union movement,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“I would expect everyone to comply with the law of Queensland, and the law is everyone is equal before the law.”

The Premier would not comment on the timing of the proposed legislation to ban developer donations.

“I will be having some consultations this week with stakeholders, and those consultations will begin today on the banning of developer donations,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“What the people of Queensland have seen is my government acting very swiftly … on accountability and integrity issues.”

“There is a very clear link between developer donations and the prospect of alleged corruption, there is a proven link, therefore we have an obligation to act on those reforms.”

The CFMEU issued a statement to say the union had issued guidelines to those protesting on the picket line and did not condone offensive behaviour.

Stephen Smyth, the CFMEU’s district president for mining and energy, said allegations of abuse should be taken to the police not the media.

“Almost 200 Australian families have been hung out to dry by the mine’s foreign owners as the miners - many of them primary breadwinners - enter day 100 of the dispute,” Mr Smyth said.

The CFMEU said the reports were being used as a “distraction” to the ongoing industrial dispute, in which the union claims Glencore refused to return to the negotiating table with local workers.

The union said today was day 100 on the picket line.

The Crime and Corruption Commission’s Operation Belcarra report last week recommended property developer donations to local government be banned, but did not make the same call in relation to unions.

Ms Palaszczuk has promised to widen a ban to the state level as well, and is currently having legislation drafted.


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, 2017

Ahead Of Tony Abbott’S Global Warming Policy Foundation Lecture, Australian Government Ditches Green Energy Target

The Turnbull Government has prevented a backbench revolt by moving to ditch the Clean Energy Target proposed by Chief Scientist Alan Finkel.

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg has given the strongest indication yet the Federal Government would not adopt the policy, saying a freefall in the cost of renewables meant there was no point in more subsidies.

Instead the Government is considering another kind of target, which would mandate a certain amount of dispatchable generation – power that can be dispatched on request – within the grid.

Dawson MP George Christensen said he would have crossed the floor to vote against the CET. “I think that the Energy Minister’s comments regarding the lack of a need for subsidies for renewables are an astute observation,” Mr Christensen said.

“I declared my hand (opposing the CET) long ago, I was against it. There were a lot of backbench members who were expressing privately what I was saying publicly.”

Nationals senator Matt Canavan said more supply of baseload power was now needed. “We now need more power in the market and our job would be made so much easier if Labor dropped its opposition to new coal-producing technologies,” Mr Canavan said.

It is understood the Government will not proceed with a target as recommended by Dr Finkel, which would have required a certain amount of power come from clean energy and likely included subsidies for renewables through the issue of certificates.


Tony Abbott tells climate sceptics forum global warming may be good and climate science is ‘crap’

TONY Abbott has told a climate sceptics’ forum in London that global warming may actually be a good thing, while doubling down on his view that climate science is “absolute crap”.

The former prime minister likened climate scientists to the “thought police” in his address to the Global Warming Policy Foundation on Monday night and said that a “gradual lift in global temperatures” may be beneficial.

Meanwhile, it became clear yesterday that Malcolm Turnbull would likely cave to internal backbench pressure on energy reform and reject a recommendation from the Chief Scientist to introduce a Clean Energy Target.

In his speech, Mr Abbott said there was growing evidence data sets had been slanted to fit the theory of “dangerous” man-made global warming. And while that did not make the warnings about global warming false, “it should produce much caution about basing drastic action upon it”, he said.

He then raised the possibility that global warming might be beneficial if higher concentrations of carbon dioxide were “greening the planet and helping to lift agricultural yields”.

“In most countries, far more people die in cold snaps than in heatwaves, so a gradual lift in global temperatures, especially if it’s accompanied by more prosperity and more capacity to adapt to change, might even be beneficial.”

Mr Abbott doubled down on his 2009 pronouncement that climate science was “absolute crap” and likened the current policy position to primitive people killing goats to “appease the volcano gods”.

Australia’s stance on limiting greenhouse gas emissions through supporting renewable technology was only hurting its industry and would have little impact unless other major emitters followed suit, Mr Abbott claimed.

“We’re more sophisticated now but are still sacrificing our industries and our living standards to the ­climate gods to little more effect,” he said.

“So far, climate change policy has generated new taxes, new subsidies and new restrictions in rich countries, and new demands for more aid from poor countries.

“But for the really big emitters, China and India, it’s a First World problem. “Between them, they’re building or planning more than 800 new coal-fired power stations — often using Australian coal.

“Should Australia close down its steel industry; watch passively while its aluminium industry moves offshore; export coal but not use it?  “Of course not, but these are the inevitable consequences of continuing current policies.

“That’s the reality no one has wanted to face for a long time: that we couldn’t reduce emissions without also hurting the economy; that’s the inconvenient truth that can now no longer be avoided.

“The only rational choice is to put Australian jobs and Australia’s standard of living first; to get emissions down but only as far as we can without putting prices up.

“After two decades’ experience of the very modest reality of climate change but the increasingly dire consequences of the policy to deal with it, anything else would be a dereliction of duty and a political death wish.”

Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen accused Mr Abbott of stopping any sensible policy progress on climate change.

“It’s 2017 and we have a former prime minister overseas denying the science of climate change,” he told ABC radio.

“He can say what he likes, he’s calling the shots on the policy of Australia. He is an effective handbrake on the elected prime minister.”

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg told an energy summit on Monday the government was considering its new policy against a backdrop of the rapidly falling cost of renewables and storage, greater efficiencies being found in thermal generation and the need for sufficient dispatchable power.

In 2013, former prime minister John Howard told the annual lecture an international agreement on emissions would never be reached and Mr Abbott’s own election victory was in part a backlash to “overzealous action” on global warming.


The Australian sharemarket is actually doing quite nicely

Some commentators claim that Australia's stock market is somehow broken while the rest of the world is surging ahead on sunlit plains extended.

Two graphs from the Reserve Bank will suffice to destroy the latter headline. The first shows the ASX basically travelling in line with the global index. Yes, the American market is clearly outperforming us and the rest of the world. I'll come back to that.

The second graph shows what the  story ignored – we're much richer from dividends than the world average, let along the dividend-shy Americans.

Add the extra couple of hundred points in dividend yields, never mind franking credits, and the ASX is very comfortably beating the rest of the world.

Our love of dividends is why the simple All Ordinaries Index, or S&P ASX 200, doesn't tell the true story about the Australian market. For that, you have to go to the accumulation version, the index that adds the value of dividends – although it still ignores the benefits of franking credits.

Go to the S&P 200 Accumulation Index and you'll see our market is actually running around a record high.

The trick the knockers use to compare our market is to ignore our dividends and compare the previous boom-time peak with the present. Do that with the Accumulation index on a first-of-the-month basis and we've gone from 42,623.8 on October 1, 2007 to 56,137.99 ten years later – a rise of 32 per cent.

Not exactly the "going backwards" of the give-me-your-money-to-invest-overseas mob, is it?

But that's also misleading. The peak of the last cycle was an unnatural time, a bit of a nonsense the way such peaks are. It would be an extremely rare individual who only invested everything at that peak.

More likely for any investor with half a brain is that they steadily add money as the market rises and falls. Let's take, say, a 12-year range to factor in that bit of irrational exuberance as well as the subsequent GFC panic. On October 1, 2005, a dozen years ago, the Accumulation index was on 25,942.8. It's risen by 116 per cent.

Not so shabby, is it?

The bigger thing though is that the Australian market doesn't have to be all things to all investors. Yes, it is overweight banks and miners – but the US is overweight a handful of big tech stocks.

It is the reasonable thing for investors to diversify their holdings across asset types and geographies. That's what we do.

There is no need to talk down the Australian market in the process.



Golliwog dolls still for sale at sweet shop

A BRISBANE lolly shop has come under fire after announcing they’re still selling Golliwog dolls despite complaints that they are racist and offensive.

Aboriginal man Ben Wilson, from the Jagera people, said he noticed the dolls on display at Candy Time at Westfield Carindale when visiting family in the area last week and was offended they were for sale.

He complained to the store attendant and Candy Time’s head office. “I was absolutely appalled to see these dolls on display,” he said.

“These dolls do not only offend Aboriginal people such as myself, but a number of different races from all over the globe.”

Candy Time owner Tanya Jones said the dolls, made by Australian company Elka, were faithful to the traditional doll.  “People buy them because they love them,” Mrs Jones said. “They think they are beautiful and why can’t they be beautiful?”

“A lot of people get misinformed about the dolls’ heritage and I think it is sad that people in society have turned something that is loving to something that has this stigma ... to something hateful.

“As a company, we stand by the sentiment that these dolls originated from love and people adore them for how beautiful they are.

“We have the occasional person who comes in and says they are about black slavery or American slavery and that’s not true. That has nothing to do with this doll.”

Mrs Jones said the store had carried the dolls for the past two years and were popular children’s gifts.


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, 2017

'We don't have that luxury': Victoria's left-wing premier says Australia's political leaders should stop debating civil liberties following Melbourne terrorist attack and foiled death plots

Victoria's left-wing Labor premier has declared Australia's political leaders should stop debating civil liberties following a series of foiled Islamic terror plots in Melbourne.

Daniel Andrews made the call, after a National Security Summit in Canberra last week agreed to give national intelligence agencies the power to access driver's licences.

The premier, who hails from Victoria's Socialist Left faction, said civil liberties were a boutique issue following a series of foiled terror plots and a June terrorist attack in Melbourne.

'There is not the luxury of effective political leaders to have an esoteric debate,' he told the ABC's Insiders program on Sunday.

'That debate may be important but it is not something we, as leaders of this country can use as an excuse not to act.'

Mr Andrews singled out the terrorist attack in bayside Brighton in June and a 2015 plot to behead a police officer on Anzac Day as reasons why police needed more resources.

'Each of those plots and the ultimate tragedy of Brighton, they chip away too,' he said.

'They chip away at our safety, our sense of security and when you are confronted with clear evidence we have a probable threat level, a probable threat level.'

Last week, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, state premiers and territory chief ministers unanimously agreed to give the Australian Federal Police and national intelligence agencies more power to access drivers' licence photographs to help them prevent terrorist attacks.

This was part of the Council of Australian Government's first National Security Summit at Parliament House in Canberra where new security fences are being installed. 

Mr Andrews has made the strongest call to crack down on civil liberties following the June terrorist attack at Brighton, in bayside Melbourne, where 29-year-old Somali-born gunman Yacqub Khayre shot dead a reception at a serviced apartment during a siege.

In September last year,  Sevdet Besim, 19, was sentenced to 10 years in jail for planning to behead a police officer on Anzac Day in 2015, after declaring allegiance to Islamic State.

Meanwhile,  Dimitrious 'Jimmy' Gargasoulas, 26, has been charged with six counts of murder for allegedly driving his neighbour's 1990s Holden Commodore into crowds in Melbourne's busy Bourke Street Mall in January.  Three-month-old Zachary Bryant was among those killed.


When making a sandwich is a crime against feminism

Miranda Devine reports on some horrible feminists who clearly don't love their husbands and can't imagine doing so.  They must be in some sort of trading relationship only

WHEN young Sydney mother Maddie asked her closed Facebook group of 26,186 mothers for some tasty alternatives to sandwiches for her husband’s lunches, she wasn’t expecting the backlash.

“I would love to hear what other mums make their hubbies for lunch and snacks throughout the work day,” she posted on Tuesday. “We are getting over sandwiches.”

You would think she’d asked for a hemlock recipe, judging by the torrent of scolding which erupted.

She was nothing but a “slave” and a “1950s housewife”.

She was “weird” and no one in their right mind or a “pink fit” would do something so demeaning as make their husband lunch. Let alone snacks.

“Your husband is a grown up and you’re not his mother”, wrote one member of the North Shore Mums Facebook group.

“My husband can make his own damn lunch.”

“I make my husband the same thing he makes me. Nothing!!”

“Stuff that, hubby is a grown man. I already do his laundry and keep his children alive.”

“Our advice is to stop making his lunches.”

“My role is childcare during working hours and that’s it.”

“He’s lucky if I decide to make dinner some nights”.

“I was married for twenty years and my favourite packed lunch for my husband was called a Get it Yourself with a side order of I’m not your mother.”

“Nope, I didn’t sign up for that at the altar. But in the spirit of being helpful… pickled onion stuffed in mandarins.”

Leader of the attack pack was Polly Dunning, daughter of professional feminist Jane Caro, and mother of a toddler about whom she infamously wrote last year, recounting her horror at finding out she was pregnant with a boy: “I felt sick at the thought of something male growing inside me.”
Polly Dunning was not impressed when a woman requested ideas of things to pack her husband for lunch. (Pic: News Corp)

Dunning told Maddie: “You should pack him nothing for lunch. And you didn’t really ask for advice, you asked what other ‘mums’ pack their ‘hubbies’ (which, to me, is slightly weird phrasing, but whatever).”

Game on.

Amid the cute pics of babies and birthday cakes, a toxic wave of man-hating feminism is seeping into the world of mothers online.

Where unhappy wives used to confine their bitching about husbands to a handful of girlfriends at Mosman cafes, a new generation of women is oversharing with vast networks of strangers.

On Wednesday, Maddie, 22, switched off comments, but not before page administrators deleted the nastiest.

“I’m actually so devastated about some of these comments,” wrote Maddie.

She and her husband are saving up to buy their first home and, “he works in an extremely physically demanding job, he does housework, he cooks dinner every second night... He gets up in the middle of the night with our Bub. He is a champion.

“The least I can do is make him a bloody sandwich. I love my man, he deserves to eat lunch and we can’t afford to eat out.”

Dunning responded a few hours later: “We are not, any of us, just mums. Mum is one of the many roles we have as women and a role that certainly does not include doing anything for our partners because we’re not his (or her) mother. Just struck me as weird to put making a husband’s lunch with the role of Mum.”
Why can’t it just be considered nice that a woman wants to make her partner a meal?

How did making a sandwich become a crime against women? Thankfully, for everything bad about social media there is an antidote, and an army of mums sprang to Maddie’s defence.

“Is it really a massive issue if Maddie wants to make her husband lunch?!?”

“Wow, so much hostility here... Surely nice actions like these get reciprocated in happy marriages.”

“Good on you! My husband is a builder, and his job is so physical, and he is so hands on at home! It’s the least I can do.”

“I never know why these posts always turn into a husband bashing.”

“I think it’s pretty crappy to assume someone is a slave or 1950s housewife for making lunch. Feminism is about choice.”

“All I can say is some women really must resent their husbands by their responses. Looking after your partner is the way to a happy marriage.”

“I’m so confused by the negativity on this post. I love making my hubby lunch… He does so much for us as a family and for my girls I see nothing wrong with wanting to look after your husband!!”

“If I can help in some small part to make his day easier, I will. His hours are ridiculous and if me doing this means he gets to hang out with our son more I am all for it!”

“He does so much for me and the kids. Making two sandwiches a day doesn’t put us in the dark ages.”

“Marriage is a partnership. If only more think like that there will be a lot less divorces in this world.”

This is the truth Baby Boomer feminists refuse to admit.

Consideration and give and take is the secret to a happy marriage, not treating the father of your children like an agent of the enemy patriarchy.

It’s time to end the war of the sexes, even if it means making the odd sandwich.


Communications Minister hits back at ABC chair Michelle Guthrie’s speech

Reactions to plans to make the ABC more transparent range from “hysterical” to “slightly unhinged”, according to Communications Min­ister Mitch Fifield in a riposte to ABC managing director ­Mich­elle ­Guthrie’s defence of the broadcaster.

“Rather than being pilloried, crossbench colleagues deserve credit for engaging constructively with the government on media ­reform, listening to the arguments and negotiating in good faith,” Mr Fifield said two days after Ms ­Guthrie gave a speech claiming the government media reforms furthered a “political vendetta”.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson also responded to Ms ­Guthrie’s speech, saying taxpayers had a right to know how much the ABC paid its presenters.

“Ms Guthrie has been drinking the ABC Kool-Aid for too long,” Senator Hanson told The Australian, adding that scrutiny was needed to prevent taxpayer dollars from being “squandered on dud talent”. “Some of the television and radio personalities wouldn’t cut it in the real world of media and would likely end up throwing pots in Nimbin without the ABC providing a safe haven for their ­pathetic talent.”

Ten chief executive Paul ­Anderson, another Guthrie target, said her comments “should be taken with a grain of salt” given the ABC enjoyed “a guaranteed $1 billion in annual funding” and did not “have to concern itself with making one cent in revenue”.

During a speech to the ABC Friends group on Friday, Ms ­Guthrie alluded to a Four Corners investigation into One Nation as motivating the push for transparency, saying legislation “by one party uncomfortable with being scrutinised” was not good policymaking.

In an opinion piece in The Australian today, Mr Fifield defends the need to make public the salaries of the broadcaster’s highest-paid staff. The decision to reveal the salaries of ABC stars earning more than $200,000 — part of a deal the government struck with One ­Nation to push the reforms through the Senate — was ­inspired by similar action taken by the BBC. Mr Fifield says the move is consistent with the public disclosure of salaries paid to MPs, judges and senior civil servants.

Ms Guthrie took aim at her commercial rivals, saying children should not be denied the right to watch Peppa Pig on an iPad ­because local media companies were “finding life tough”.

She said there was “ no pressing need” to change the ABC charter, “no matter how much commercial chief executives and their compliant media outlets argue otherwise”, while assertions the ABC abuses the charter were hurled at the broadcaster by executives “who are simply looking for scapegoats for their own woes in a disrupted landscape”, she said.

But Mr Anderson said no one was suggesting that Peppa Pig be ­removed from iView. “We do think there is a genuine conversation to be had around where the national broadcasters fit into the new media landscape, particularly in areas that are already well served by commercial media,” Mr Anderson said. “Unfortunately the ­national broadcasters don’t seem willing to even contemplate that discussion, preferring instead to characterise legitimate questions as whingeing.”

Mr Fifield defends the need to enshrine the obligation to serve rural and regional Australia in the ABC charter, despite Ms Guthrie saying it would add to red tape. And he stood by the proposal to add the words “fair” and “balanced” alongside requirements to be “accurate” and “impartial”.

Ms Hanson said the ABC’s ­objection to their inclusion in the charter proved the public broadcaster had lost its way and needed to be “put back on track by regulation”.


Unfair tax office a dangerous threat to innovation

When Malcolm Turnbull goes to Brisbane and talks about one of his favourite topics, innovation, he should be prepared for a slow hand clap.

One of Brisbane’s most innovative projects, backed by the Queensland government, Arthur Sinodinos’s research grant incentives and financially supported by ordinary but influential Queenslanders, has been deliberately, savagely and falsely destroyed by the ATO. The entrepreneur has been forced to sell her house to pay the debts. We know she did nothing wrong because the Australian Taxation Office, after long delays, sent her an abject and complete written apology for their actions. And of course as we know these sorts of actions are rife in the power corrupted Australian Taxation Office.

But when she sought damages from the ATO for their actions in financially destroying Queensland innovation and a Queensland female entrepreneur, they set up one of their notorious kangaroo courts where people in or linked to the ATO are the appeal judges. Not surprisingly, the kangaroo court told her to “cop it sweet” and awarded her a token $30,000 damages for the dastardly acts of their colleagues.

But the good people of Brisbane have decided to fight and do the right thing by the nation to stop this deliberate and unfair action by the ATO to prevent Australian innovation. Until the Prime Minister fixes the problem — and it’s not hard to do — all Australians, not just Queenslanders, should slow hand clap him when he talks innovation.

Earlier this year I first exposed the incredible dangers honest Australians were facing when they accepted export incentives from the AusIndustry research grants supervised by the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Arthur Sinodinos. I urged Sinodinos to put a warning sign on the promotion of the government research incentives because the ATO might at any time move to bankrupt those honestly and properly using these grants. Sinodinos did not do it and now we have a new example of the hazards with more to come.

The Helen Petaia story is therefore important for the Prime Minister and Arthur Sinodinos and his people, as well as for all Australians. The good news is that while significant sections of the ATO are power corrupted there are still honest and reputable people in the organisation and they shine.

Back in 2007 the idea of putting chips on cards to help in emergency medical situations, monitoring children including treating sports injuries was new.

Helen Petaia believed she had a breakthrough. After funding the early stages herself Helen Petaia needed extra help and a group of influential Queenslanders contributed $600,000 to what was a second company, which took over the work of the first. The Queensland Rugby League embraced the use of the cards and the AFL also began discussions. The Queensland government had earlier chipped in. None if this would have been possible but for the AusIndustry research grants in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Helen was meticulous in making sure her claims were in accordance with the act. There was great excitement and everything was put in place in late 2012 for the Toro group to raise $3 million to take the venture to the next stage. It was now called “Safe Family Cards Australia”.

Then in December 2012 Helen Petaia was told she would be tax audited. This of course delayed the $3 million capital raising. But in February 2013 Richard Brown became her case officer. He was an honest ATO official and told her to go ahead because nothing was wrong. But then there was absolute silence. Richard Brown seemed to vaporise. Later Helen Petaia was advised the audit was still going so she could not raise the capital. Funds were running low and soon it would be time to sell the family home.

Then late in 2013 came the bombshell. An ATO official phoned the secretary of the company in which the Queenslanders were invested and alleged fraud and recklessness in both the first and second companies. Understandably, at that point the Queensland investors believed that Helen Petaia had defrauded them. And then came the ATO stunt of going back four years with penalties and interest. They claimed $400,000. The project was over. But if there was “fraud and recklessness”, it was in the ATO not Helen Petaia and she kept fighting. Finally an honest ATO official, Daryl Richardson, wrote this letter of apology.

“As a consequence of a number of procedural errors during the audit this claim was adjusted without a full examination of source documents supporting the claim. A recent review of the audit has confirmed the majority of the claim for the Research and Development concession was correct.

“As I stated during the 20 November 2014 telephone call, the audit result should not be taken to be an indication of incompetence or dishonesty on your part. In contrast, the results of the review confirm the legitimacy of making the claim for the Research and Development concession.

“I apologise for the stress the audit result has caused you.”

Then it went to the kangaroo court which awarded the token $30,000 in damages.

The Queensland investors now knew that the fraudsters were the ATO not their Queensland entrepreneur. They funded the giant global accounting firm Deloitte to asses the damages. Here I give tremendous praise to Deloitte because they acted in the national interest even though they obviously do work for the ATO. The Petaia investigation was kept totally separate.

Deloitte said the damages to the venture were between $13 million and $40 million. The Queenslanders have lodged writs to try and recover that money.

All Australians will have to hope they win — although it’s up to the courts. I would like any damages the court does award to be paid by the power corrupted tax officials. But that will not happen.

If Malcolm Turnbull and Arthur Sinodinos want to fix the problem they first need an independent body or system — not a kangaroo court — to assess small business claims in a low cost way. However I fear the power corruption in the ATO is so deep that further action may now be required. The two ministers involved and the taxation commissioner are like the three wise monkeys who “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”.


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, 2017

Why fuel efficient cars might do less for the environment than you'd think

Most people who buy a Prius also have a SUV

Opinion polls tell us Australians are worried about climate change and they think cars are part of the problem.

A recent Ipsos survey found voters rate motor vehicle emissions among the top four "specific activities" that cause climate change.

But that hasn't prompted us to cut back on the number of cars we own, even though light vehicles contribute about 10 per cent of Australia's total greenhouse gas emissions.

The Bureau of Statistics' annual count of registered vehicles shows the number of passenger cars for every 1000 Australians has risen from 567 to 581 over the past five years.

The 2016 national census, released in July, tells a similar story. The number of vehicles per household had crept up from 1.7 to 1.8 since the previous census five years earlier. It showed the share of households with no car shrank in that period (from 8.6 per cent to 7.5 per cent) while the proportion with three vehicles or more increased (from 16.5 per cent to 18.1 per cent). The overall share of two-car families also edged higher.

The good news, of course, is that cars are becoming more fuel efficient making their greenhouse gas emissions lower. A recent federal government report said all classes of light vehicles in Australia have become more efficient over the last 10 years. Plus there's a growing range of low emission hybrid and electric car models to choose from.

But a new investigation into the choices households make about car purchases raises questions about how much difference the trend for better fuel efficiency will make in reducing emissions.

A team of economists used car registration records in California to track the types of vehicles motorists purchased over time. They discovered that a typical two car household that buys a fuel-efficient vehicle is very likely to buy a bigger, more powerful second car to compensate.

Practical considerations are likely to underpin this pattern. For example, a family might use a small, highly efficient car for most day-to-day tasks, but use the bigger petrol guzzler more for weekend activities, road trips, camping and other purposes where more space and power may be useful.

This type of consumer behaviour – called "attribute substitution" by economists –happens with many purchases. A cafe goer, for instance, might opt for a skim latte rather than full cream to compensate for eating a donut. Or a household with a large television in the lounge room might choose smaller screens elsewhere in the home.

The tendency for motorists with a fuel-efficient car to buy a bigger second car has a significant impact on household fuel consumption.

The economists estimate this attribute substitution in vehicle purchases, combined with the changes in driving behaviour that result, may reduce up to 60 per cent of the expected future savings from increased fuel economy in two-car households.

It's a reminder that relatively straightforward climate change policies to improve efficiency, such as tougher fuel economy standards, could have unintended consequences.

"These results highlight the challenges in design or evaluation of any policy intending to alter consumer choices over a portfolio of goods," concludes the paper called "Attribute Substitution in Household Vehicle Portfolios" published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.


Energy prices top risk for Australian business, says global survey

Energy price shocks are the number one concern of Australian business, according to a global survey.

The World Economic Forum Global Risks 2018 report, published by Zurich Insurance Group and Marsh and McLennan companies, surveyed more than 12,400 executives from 136 countries, and put energy pricing as the leading concern for businesses operating in Australia within the next 10 years.

Australia was the only country to rank energy price as its major concern, and the only other nation apart from Canada to include adapting to climate change within its top five risks.

This is a massive jump for energy pricing's risk rating; last year it was fifth on the list for Australian businesses.

About a third of commercial and industrial companies that have been affected by spiralling energy prices had considered either reducing production or shutting down because of energy pressures, the  Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said.

"Many medium-sized food and non-food manufacturers have seen prices increases by 20 per cent recently or 100 per cent over last five years," ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.

While energy prices took pole position for Australian business, it was closely followed by asset bubbles, cyber attacks, high unemployment, critical infrastructure shortfalls and climate change.

Globally, unemployment was ranked first, followed by fiscal crises, failure of national governance and energy prices at fourth.

"Energy pricing's leap to pole position reflects how pressing an issue securing our energy supply has become for Australian businesses," said Costa Zakis, Pacific head of Marsh Risk Consulting.

"While energy price shocks add to the cost pressures and challenges profitability for all businesses, in sectors like manufacturing, the prospect of energy shortages pose a serious threat to their ability to operate," he said.

This was supported by Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox, who said the gas agreement between major eastern seaboard energy companies and the federal government had given manufacturers breathing room, but was not a long-term fix.

"The agreement should help avoid the looming supply crunch we've feared – for now," Mr Willox said.

Energy pricing's leap to pole position reflects how pressing an issue securing our energy supply has become for Australian businesses.

Costa Zakis, Pacific head of Marsh Risk Consulting
"[The government's] ongoing vigilance will remain necessary to guarantee supply and put downward pressure on prices for all energy users."

The World Economic Forum's full global risk survey will be released in January 2018.


Nick Xenophon's dubious move back to State politics

Right now, Nick Xenophon is planning to spend his federal account balance in a "do-or-die" re-investment in his home state's political scene, wellspring of his electoral success.

The leader of the Nick Xenophon Team and SA-Best is turning his attention to Adelaide electorate of Hartley.

All the polls, and the last few elections, suggest he will prevail, it is just a question of how well. The first challenge is to win a lower house seat for himself (Liberal-held Hartley), and he hopes, for several others running under his SA Best banner.

The major parties have already been rocked by this bold, and typically left-field move. But it is the state Liberal Party which on the face of it, has the most to lose. On Saturday, Xenophon's team announced half a dozen candidates, and tellingly, five of the six are based in Liberal held seats.

Federally, the switch-out by Xenophon has significant implications. It is noteworthy that the four South Australia based MPs (3 x Senate 1 x Reps) sent to Canberra in 2016 were elected under the name, Nick Xenophon Team, but his state push is called SA Best.

Word is, he wants to broaden its mandate once elected to the state parliament, but also wants to make the party about something more than himself, if only to give himself an out at some point.

Nonetheless, in Canberra the NXT brand will continue to trade even after Xenophon leaves and his casual vacancy is filled by a nomination of the party's choosing (subject to the High Court case on dual citizenship starting this week). Go figure.

This is where the X-man's manoeuvring may be too cute, too clever by half. Xenophon has flagged continued involvement in delicate Canberra-level negotiations over legislation.

Really? This is unrealistic. Eponymous parties are invariably shortlived and unstable anyway - think Pauline Hanson's One Nation, or the shortlived Palmer United Party.

Palmer, you'll recall, struggled to exercise authority over his three senators, simply because he was sitting in another chamber - the House of Representatives.

Xenophon is 10 times the political professional that Palmer ever was.

Even so, maintaining legitimacy and directive influence over three senators remotely, when you're not even in Canberra, let alone in parliament, seems implausible.

That's the other thing about political capital. It fades. Fast.


Israel Folau standing firm in his opposition to gay marriage, says backlash has not affected him

Wallabies star Israel Folau is unbowed by criticism of his opposition to gay marriage, saying he will “stand firm” on his views despite a public backlash.

Folau spoke for the first time after tweeting his intention to vote No and setting off a national firestorm last month.

In Argentina for the Wallabies clash against the Pumas tomorrow, Folau said the criticism had not affected him.

“I’m going to stand firm on what I’ve already said,” the Daily Telegraph quoted Folau as saying.

“That’s what I believe. I guess it doesn’t change anything for me and my mindset is still first-hand with what’s going on here with the Wallabies.

“It hasn’t really had an effect on me at all, so I stand firm on what I believe in and what I said.”

A devout Christian, Folau broke ranks with Wallabies teammates and the ARU by voicing his opposition three weeks ago.


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

8 October, 2017

'Divisive and unrealistic': Anti-racism ad from Human Rights Commission showing white businessman shutting African woman out of lift sparks outrage online

This is just race hate: Hate of white people by Leftists in the HRC. Much to the frustration of the Left, Australia is a very laid  back place and people are treated by the way they behave themselves without regard to race. Different races go about their lives every day without any racial friction.  In my entire life I have seen nothing like the nonsense described below.  But I do EVERY DAY see large numbers of interactions between people of different races that are perfectly civil

A new anti-racism campaign launched by the Human Rights Commission has sparked outrage online. One of the 30 second videos, titled 'Elevator - Racism. It stops with me', has been heavily criticised, with people calling it 'divisive and unrealistic'.

Conservative radio and television broadcaster Paul Murray posted a link to the video on his Facebook page.

Murray's caption read: 'Not a sketch, not a joke. THIS is what HRC thinks 'White Men' do in lifts. What rubbish!

The video shows a white businessman in a suit politely letting a white woman enter a lift in an office building before him.

Then he spots a woman of African background running for the same lift, but instead of giving her the same treatment he tries to stop her from entering.

The horrified white woman steps out of the lift, and both of them stare at the businessman in disgust as the words 'Racism. It stops with me' appear.

Social media users were scathing in their responses to the video.  'I am angry that tax dollars have been wasted on such puerile, infantile rubbish,' wrote one person.

'In over 25 years in the workforce working with people of many ethnicities I rarely see anything like this. In fact I feel the HRC discriminate against white males.'

'Maybe she works in his office and every day she steals his yoghurt from the fridge that he specifically writes his name on, so he didn't want to hold the lift for her? Now he looks like the bad guy!' wrote another.

Others wrote they have never experienced being in a situation like the one portrayed in the ad.

'I'm dark skinned and this has NEVER EVER happened to me in my 45 years. The divisiveness from this mob is truly breathtaking,' said a female commenter.

'As a brown skinned female who is 52 years old, I have never experienced any form of racism in my life,' said another.

'It's like the progressives need to invent problems because they can't find any real ones.

The Human Rights Commission said the videos 'depict casual racism in the workplace and the provision of goods and services'.

Australia's Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane said the videos, called Community Service Announcements, will be broadcast on national TV.

'Racism frequently occurs at work and while people are doing everyday things such as catching a bus, riding a train, or flagging a taxi,' Dr Soutphommasane said.

'This might come as a surprise to Australians who tend to think that racism is a thing of the past. But independent research and the experiences of many people tells us otherwise.

'We'd like to get people thinking about what they can do to help put a stop to racism.

'We hope these CSAs help create a culture where people are able to identify racism and have the confidence to respond appropriately and safely,' he said.

The elevator video, along with a similar one showing a racist taxi driver, will be shown on free-to-air television over the next two months.

The HRC said a woman of African background was chosen because independent research has found 'people with an African background frequently experience racism at work or while using public services such as transport'.


Thousands turn out across Australia to protest against Carmichael coal mine after controversial $16 billion project was given the green light

This is a long-planned Greenie activity.  The problems they are protesting about are imaginary.  It is just a way of getting publicity for themselves.  There is nothing spontaneous or grass-roots about it

Thousands of people gathered across Australia to protest a coal mine in North Queensland on Saturday.

Protesters in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and the Gold Coast rallied against Indian company Adani's plans for the mine in the Galilee Basin.

The protests were part of Stop Adani group's 'big day of protest', with 45 rallies across the nation.

The $16 billion coal mine was given the green light earlier this year, with pre-planning construction set to begin next month.

Organisers believe around 1500 people attended a protest on Bondi Beach, using their bodies to spell out '#StopAdani' on the sand.

Protesters in Melbourne's Princes Park followed suit, with many also running through 'Stop Adani' flags wearing 'Team Reef' shirts.

A further 2,000 protesters packed the Melbourne park carrying placards which read 'Protect our Future'.

The rallies also featured protesters wearing over-sized masks of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Adani founder Gautam Adani.

Nine hundred people are believed to have taken part in a Newtown rally, while protesters took to the lawns of Parliament House in Canberra with large banners against the coal mine.

CEO of, a group that opposes new coal, oil and gas projects, Blair Palese, said both governments were not listening to the public.

'While the Queensland and Federal governments remain staunch supporters of this dirty mine, new polling shows the Australian community is angry that $1 billion of public money could be handed to Adani for a mine which will wreck the climate and the Reef,' he told The Sydney Morning Herald.

'Voters are clear. They believe the Queensland government should stick to its promise and block the $1 billion loan to billionaire Adani for his private rail line.'

A ReachTEL poll, released on Saturday by the Stop Adani movement, shows 56 per cent of Australians oppose the coal project.

The construction of the mine, if it is given a green light, will be the largest in Australia.

Opponents to the mine believe it will damage the already ravaged Great Barrier Reef and bring environmental harm to the area.

Both State and Federal governments have defended the proposed mine, which promises to bring much-needed jobs back to far North Queensland.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said while the mine will help many families seeking employment, Adani will be held to 'the toughest environmental conditions'.

'You only have to travel to regional Queensland to understand what this project means to thousands of families out there that will be employed through this project,' she said.

'At the end of the day we have the toughest environmental conditions attached to that mine.'


Now we have slower internet than KENYA: Australian broadband speeds are worse than African and former Soviet nations

And all because of Kevin Rudd, Australias's former Leftist Prime Minister. Fibre broadband was the only idea he had so he launched a hugely expensive white elephant despite many warnings of problems with it.  It is his baby.  Australia already had two perfectly good cable networks which cost the taxpayer nothing and had long ago been paid for

Australian broadband speeds are slower than Africa and former Soviet nations, research has found.  The country's internet speed is behind Kenya, and former Soviet nations including Latvia and Lithuania.

The news comes after it was revealed the NBN network cost taxpayers a whopping $49 billion since it was rolled out eight years ago, Bloomberg reports.

Australia's average speed was recorded at 10.01 mbps, seven megabits behind the USA which was ranked at 13th with 17.2mbps, the Akamai State of the Internet report found.

According to Bloomberg, thousands of customers who switched to the network have complained about the slow download speeds.

Telecommunication ombudsman received a total of 7,512 of complaints from June to December last year, which was double than the same corresponding period in 2015.

However, the network has defended the increase in complaints adding that it was because the number of people using the service had risen.

Retailers have also joined the bandwagon and complained that they were slapped with higher fees when subscribing to the network.

A Sydney-based telecommunication expert Paul Budde told Bloomberg: 'We are really an example of how not to do it.' 'We have ended up with the worst possible solution.'

A NBN spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia: 'The citing of Kenya underlines how misleading the Akamai rankings can be, Kenya has fixed broadband penetration to only around 10 percent of its population - principally served with FTTP (fiber to the premises).

'We are providing broadband to 100 percent of the Australian population.

'This means that a small number of people get very high speeds whilst others get nothing at all and yet their overall ranking is higher as only the small number of high speed lines get measured,' the spokesperson said.


Media release: "Jobs announcement smoke and mirrors, Great Barrier Reef is what matters"

Imogen Zethoven has been a Greenie stirrer almost forever so can be relied on to tell only one side of the story.  She does a lot of that below with her remarks on reef bleaching etc.  A real zinger is "Coal kills coral".  I'd like to see evidence of that

QUEENSLANDERS are being urged not lose sight of what really matters: protecting our Great Barrier Reef and all those who rely on it, in the wake of another public promise by giant coal corporation Adani.

According to media reports, Adani plans to announce an intention to set up fly-in fly-out worker hubs in Townsville and Rockhampton despite not yet having secured finance for its destructive and controversial Carmichael mine.

Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) Fight For Our Reef Campaign Director Imogen Zethoven said the priority of the state and federal governments should be on protecting our Great Barrier Reef and the 64,000 workers who depend on its health, not propping up a billion-dollar international company intent on damaging it further.

“We are experiencing record temperatures, year upon year. We’ve witnessed mass coral bleachings, both this year and last. Coal kills coral – it’s as simple as that. If this mega-mine goes ahead it will produce billions of tonnes of pollution, which will only worsen what is already a critical situation for our iconic Reef.

“It’s not too late to protect our beautiful Reef, but we must give up the fantasy that we can keep mining and burning coal with no consequences.”

Ms Zethoven said switching to renewable energy and storage would deliver clean, cheap and reliable power while creating long, term sustainable jobs for the regions.

“North Queensland is already at the heart of Australia’s renewables boom – this is the future of our great state, not coal. Australians want and deserve local jobs that are long-term, secure, and which don’t cost the earth.”

The Great Barrier Reef generates $6 billion each year and sustains 64,000 jobs.


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, 2017

Baby crocs face climate change crunch

As far as I can see, Craig Franklin is an attention-seeking crook.  A study by him is reported below.  No reference is given to the underlying research report so it would appear to be unpublished.  It should  be unpublishable in the light of his previous work, which contradicts his conclusions below.

In his 2015 article "Diving in a warming world: the thermal sensitivity and plasticity of diving performance in juvenile estuarine crocodiles"
, we read: "Maximal dive performances, however, were found to be thermally insensitive across the temperature range of 28–35°C".  Come again?  28–35°C is the temperature range he studied below  and the central claim of the article is that crocs can't stay underwater for long if the water is hot

And in his 2013 article we need only to note the heading:  "Hatchling crocodiles maintain a plateau of thermal independence for activity, but at what cost?"

He certainly owes the public an explanation if not a retraction.  Why did it need a psychologist to call this Warmist galoot out?

And, anyway, there must be at least 100,000 crocs in Australian  waters. No-one would miss them if there were fewer of them

Climate change could make a meal of baby crocs, with warmer water slashing the amount of time they can hide underwater to avoid being eaten.

Juvenile crocs rely on so-called fright-dives to escape their natural predators including birds of prey, large fish, freshwater turtles, and larger crocs.

But a new study shows that in warmer water - an inevitable result of climate change - their defensive dives are shortened by half.

University of Queensland researcher Craig Franklin says that could threaten survival rates as the climate continues to warm.

His study exposed baby crocs to current river temperatures of about 28 degrees, and also to temperatures of about 34 degrees, expected by the end of the century.

He worked out that as crocs get warmer, they consume oxygen faster as their metabolism increases.

That halves the length of time they can spend hiding underwater, forcing them to surface more quickly to take another breath.

Crocs conditioned to existing temperatures could stay submerged for 18.5 minutes, and over an hour if they felt particularly harassed.

But those used to the warmer water could only stay under for nine minutes, and a maximum of 28 minutes if they felt very threatened.

Crocs conditioned to the warmer water were unable to lower their metabolism, burning through oxygen faster and forcing them to the surface.

"(We) are concerned that crocodile youngsters will become more vulnerable to predators as they are likely to have to surface more frequently if the temperature continues rising," Prof Franklin and his research associate Essie Rodgers warn.

The study involved saltwater crocs, a species that already has a very high juvenile mortality rate.

Young hatchlings are often eaten, even with their longer defensive dives, and very few make it to adulthood.

Saltwater crocs were widely hunted across northern Australia until the 1960s. Since the 1970s they've been protected, and numbers have recovered but the species is still listed as vulnerable in Queensland.


Yes activist caught jostling No protesters

A Greens activist who launched legal action against the No campaign for linking her image to ­“violent political extremism” jostled with protesters and tried to shut down a rally against the Safe Schools program.

Jill Moran, who ran for the Greens at last year’s ACT elections, shouted “shame” and “Safe Schools saves lives” as she attempted to disrupt the Jericho rally on August 12, organised by the Christian Democratic Party in Canberra.

Footage of the rally, captured by Christian protesters and the Ten Network, shows gay rights activists shouting down opponents of Safe Schools.

Ms Moran, a Canberra-based public servant, said footage showing her lunging forward with her leg as someone tried to take away her rainbow flag was not directed at any particular individual.

“I was not lunging at him directly, which is why I turned my back,” she told The Australian. “It’s unfortunate that he tried to steal my flag, and then did successfully steal my flag, which was returned to me by the police.”

Footage of the rally can be seen in the video below.

Ms Moran’s image, and those of other protesters at the event, was used in a September 16 media statement issued by the Coalition for Marriage ahead of its formal campaign launch, but she was not identified by name.

The image showed her carrying a rainbow flag and wearing a white shirt next to a statement saying: “Tonight a test for the extremists of the ‘Yes’ campaign.”

Slater & Gordon — which on Wednesday confirmed it was a “corporate supporter of the Australian Marriage Equality organisation” — has taken on Ms Moran’s case on a pro bono basis after she argued the use of her image without her consent was defamatory.

“We’ve issued a concerns notice requesting Jill’s photo be removed and an apology and correction issued. Defamation legislation sets out a 28-day response period for such requests,” lawyer Phil Johnston said.

The No campaign is still considering its response.

The Australian has been told it is the first and only defamation case brought against the Coalition for Marriage since the $122 million postal survey was announced.

Ms Moran told The Australian: “I don’t have a problem with the photograph itself. What I have a problem with is the photo’s association with the words ‘extremist’, ‘violent’ and ‘bullying’ — and characterising me that way.

“As a public servant, I’m expected to follow the APS code of conduct and ideas that I’m extremist or violent could have ramifications for my ... future employment in the public service.”

Ms Moran confirmed to The Australian she had deleted a tweet posted on the day of the rally in which she joked about “smashing” heterosexual primacy.

“Beauty tips for when the plebiscite makes you break out in stress pimples: 1. Notice 2. Shrug 3. Go back to smashing the heteropatriachy,” the tweet said.

Ms Moran said she deleted the tweet because she was receiving unwanted push-back from “internet trolls”. “I would say that only an act of violence would justify calling me violent,” she said.

The Coalition for Marriage issued a statement on Wednesday denying that “anyone has been defamed”. “An image of Yes activists deliberately and brazenly disrupting a peaceful anti-Safe Schools event in Canberra was shared with our media release,” the statement said. “There are many photos and videos publicly available that confirm what happened that day.”


W.A.: Marion Council moves against making changes to its Australia Day celebrations

A PUSH to lobby the Federal Government to change the date of Australia Day has been scuttled by Marion councillors.

Cr Bruce Hull’s move, which if supported also would have also seen Marion abandon citizenship ceremonies on January 26, was not supported by any of the other 10 councillors in the chamber at a meeting on Wednesday night.

Cr Hull told the meeting January 26 was the wrong day to celebrate Australia Day, because it marked the British invasion of Aboriginal land. “Others say we should leave this to the Federal Government but they don’t celebrate Australia Day functions – we do,” he said.

He has previously said he was taking a stand on the issue because Australia Day was a “day of sorrow” for many in the community.

Cr Hull’s move followed a June National General Assembly of Local Government, at which councils voted to consider efforts to lobby the Government to change the date of Australia Day.

But Mayor Kris Hanna told the meeting “the fact that the Australian Local Government Association has taken it up ... just discredits them in the eyes of the community”.

He said the debate over Australia Day was a federal political issue. “Local councils should be focused on improving the lives of their local communities rather than on national politics,” Mr Hanna said.

He said Marion Council’s citizenship ceremony and citizen of the year awards will go ahead as planned on January 26.

The council had received 114 emails and letters from locals wanting to have their say on Cr Hull’s idea, with 105 of those were against the move.

Exeter man Robert Miller, an Aboriginal elder, told the meeting the tradition of celebrating Australia Day as a nation was quite recent.

“The Day of Mourning is only three years younger than Australia Day as we know it,” he said. He suggested the anniversary of the abolition of the White Australia Policy would be a better day to mark Australia Day.

Assistant Immigration Minister Alex Hawke recently wrote to Marion, saying citizenship ceremonies should not be used “as a forum to protest the practice of celebrating Australia Day on January 26”.

He threatened to strip the council of its authority to conduct ceremonies, if it did choose to stage a protest.

All states and territories have marked January 26 as Australia Day since 1935, but it has only been consistently celebrated as a public holiday since 1994.

Marion was the first in Adelaide to vote on the issue, after Yarra and Darebin councils in Victoria in August voted to scrap their Australia Day ceremonies.


Victorian Leftists Fund Gay Gaming App

Australia’s most regressive leader Daniel Andrews’ never ceases to amaze with the social engineering programs and projects he funds, meanwhile leaving the actual business of running the state far behind. But this time he may have outdone himself yesterday announcing that his government would be funding an absurd LGBT project.

Andrews eagerly announcing that his government would be commissioning the creation of gaming app which will have the player in the role of an LGBT person facing perceived homophobia. Think of it as a mobile version of his government’s Safe Schools program, it already has young students role playing being in same sex relationships, now Andrews wants young people to role play being gay on their smartphones.

The gaming app will be developed in partnership with Victoria University and the Victorian AIDS Council, which despite its name that gives the impression it is about sexual health is just another LGBT lobby group. Their homepage immediately asks people to support marriage equality and the focus of its activities is clearly geared towards the LGBT agenda.

The way this gaming app is funded is that the Andrews Government has a Combatting Homophobia initiative. It is a joint program through the state governments arts funding program Creative Victoria and the Department of Premier and Cabinet’s Equality Branch. This elaborate funding approach gives you an idea of the layers of bureaucracy in place to fund such an obscene project.

This app should be viewed as insult to the intelligence of Victorians that their government views them apparently as so hateful and bigoted to gay people that they need a government funded gaming app to counter their ingrained homophobia. Most ordinary people when learning about the existence of such app will most likely laugh at its absurdity, that is until they find out they paid for it.

This gaming app will apparently be released in late 2018 which interestingly enough is just in time for the Victorian State Election. Hopefully its release will be a reminder to voters that for the past 4 years they have had a Premier who is more interested in virtue signalling on social justice issues, at the taxpayers’ expense of course, rather than delivering infrastructure for Victoria or controlling Melbourne’s crime wave.

Let’s also hope that Victoria soon has a government which will end this gravy train of funding for vanity projects, indulgences in identity politics and social justice madness. This will have the double effect of saving Victorians some money and getting government’s focus back where it should be.


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, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG comments on the Las Vegas shootings

'Really awful': 50-degree days possible for Sydney, Melbourne, as warming worsens

Possible?  So is Armageddon and the conversion of the Jews.  Below are just prophecies based on models that have never got a prophecy right yet.  One wonders why they continue to bother

Sydney and Melbourne can expect summer days when the mercury climbs to 50 degrees within a couple of decades if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, new research has found.

The study, led by Sophie Lewis at the Australian National University, analysed new models being prepared for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to examine the difference between a 1.5- and 2-degree warming limit compared with pre-industrial times.

At the upper end of the range – which would amount to a 1.1-degree rise from current global warming levels – NSW's record extremes would increase 3.8 degrees compared with existing records. Those in Victoria would rise by 2.3 degrees, the simulations showed.

For Sydney and Melbourne, populations could swelter in 50-degree weather even if the 2-degree global warming limit agreed in the 2015 Paris accord were achieved, according to the research co-authored by Andrew King from Melbourne University and published Wednesday in Geophysical Research Letters.

"If we warm average temperatures, we shift the whole distribution of temperatures, and we see a really large percentage increase in the extremes," Dr Lewis told Fairfax Media.

"What seems like a small increase in average temperatures, say 1 degree, can lead to a two- or three-fold acceleration in the severity of the extremes."

Under a high carbon emissions scenario, 50-degree days could arrive "as early as the 2040s", Dr Lewis said, adding that even with a concerted reduction in pollution, those temperatures could be reached by about 2060.


Farmer bombarded with vile and graphic abuse after posting photo of herself with same-sex marriage ballot

A farmer who opposes gay marriage has been bombarded with abusive Facebook messages and death threats for posting an image of herself with a postal vote ballot.

Kirralie Smith, from northern New South Wales, was advised to stand in front of a train by one abusive man who also wished she would get AIDS, the disease which has killed millions of gay men since the 1980s.

Ms Smith said the abuse made her feel 'violated' and the content - including graphic hardcore pornography - is beyond anything she could have imagined.

'I did expect some haters to respond but I was unprepared for the barrage of hate, vulgar messages and threats I received,' she told Daily Mail Australia.

'I notice that lesbians such as Christine Forster posed for such photos with her partner. Did they cop the same level of vitriol and hatred for doing so?'

The level of vitriol has left Ms Smith questioning why she should be forced to deal with such hateful responses to a simple photograph.

'Do I just have to suck this up? Are people really entitled to behave in such a manner when all I did was post a legal and acceptable option when participating in this postal survey?' she said.

I am not breaking any laws. I am upholding a current law. I am using my democratic right to exercise my choice. Why should I be subject to such horrid remarks and images for doing so?'

In addition to the hateful messages, insults and death threats, some social media users even sent offensive images.

One such image is from a hardcore pornographic film and depicts two men involved in a sex act.

'You're a piece of s***,' 'I really hope you get hit by a bus,' 'You need a bullet,' and 'I wish nothing but bad for you and your family,' are some of the other messages.

Ms Smith was told to 'Eat a d***,' called a 'homophobic b****,' a 'nasty nasty cow,' a 'f***wit,' and told to 'Rot in hell.'

The avalanche of abuse comes after weeks of accusations from the 'no' campaign that a fringe element of the 'yes' side are shutting down debate with abuse and violence.

Last week a priest was spat at while walking down the street in Brisbane and called 'a f***ing no voter'.

After former prime minister Tony Abbott was headbutted by an anarchist DJ wearing a Yes badge, activists started using 'Headbutt homophobes' banners at rallies.

Dr Francisco Perales at the University of Queensland suggested opponents of same-sex marriage are less intelligent.

Lecturers Catherine Greenhill and Diana Combe at the University of New South Wales have told maths students not to use the word marriage.

A 'yes' voter was caught on film in Chatswood in Sydney's north racially abusing 'no' campaigners.

Students at the University of Sydney clashed when a 'no' campaign rally turned violent after 'yes' campaign counter-protesters turned up.

Just days later a gay man was viciously heckled at a similar rally at the University of Queensland and accused of 'internalised homophobia'.

A Coalition for Marriage event was disrupted by protesters who stormed the venue and blocked the stage with a banner saying 'Burn churches not queers'.

Vandals attacked a church in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, spray-painting it with 'Vote Yes' slogans.

Gay anarchists took over the former headquarters of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and scrawled hateful anti-police slurs on the walls.

'Sometimes find myself wondering if I'd hate-f**k all the anti-gay MPs in parliament if it meant they got the homophobia out of their system,' wrote openly-gay comedian and Safe Schools author Benjamin Law to his 77,000 Twitter followers.

A Canberra woman was fired for saying 'It's okay to vote no' on Facebook, with her boss Madlin Sims calling it 'homophobic hate speech'.

Dr Pansy Lai - who appeared in the first Coalition of Marriage advertisement - was targeted by a petition seeking to have her stripped of her medical licence.

The most recent Sky News ReachTel poll of 5,000 people found 64 per cent have voted 'yes', 15.5 per cent have voted 'no' and 21 per cent are yet to vote.


Same-sex marriage vote: Chris Hayes seeks safeguards for religious freedoms

Labor MP Chris Hayes has spoken out to defend those who fear same-sex marriage could curb ­religious freedoms, arguing that the issue of protection must be ­addressed to ensure “laws do not violate one’s genuinely held ­beliefs and conscience”.

Mr Hayes, the chief opposition whip, said he “appreciated” ­arguments that enacting same-sex marriage could “impact on ­religious freedoms, teaching of doctrine, and the functioning of faith-based organisations such as schools, aged-care and welfare agencies.”

“These are legitimate concerns and matters I believe have to be addressed,” he said. “It is not just the issue of same-sex marriage that may impinge on religious freedom. Therefore, I believe steps should be taken to protect ­religious liberty.”

Mr Hayes’ statement — which endorses concerns raised by John Howard — was provided to The Australian as an update from ­Australian Bureau of Statistics ­indicated nearly 60 per cent of ­eligible Australians had already voted in Malcolm Turnbull’s $122 million postal poll.

The first of a series of weekly estimates confirmed that as of Friday, September 29, the ABS had received 9.2 million survey forms, or 57.5 per cent of those mailed out — although many more Aus­tralians would have since posted their ballots.

Mathias Cormann, the government minister responsible for the survey, said the update showed people were “enthusiastically embracing the opportunity to have their say on whether the law should be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry.”

“By any measure, 57.5 per cent five weeks out from the deadline for survey forms to be returned is very credible,” he said. “I am very confident that the ultimate outcome of the survey will have great authority.”

Mr Hayes’s statement confirmed his ongoing opposition to same-sex marriage and followed the public comments of Tasmanian Labor senator Helen Polley — another No voter — who claimed she had been urged by senior ALP figures to pretend to support a change to the Marriage Act against her conscience.

“I have been accused of not having an open mind on this matter and some have said I am just doing the bidding of the church.

“I am not sure how you can have an open mind when it comes to the matter of personal beliefs,” Mr Hayes said.

“I have always felt it is better for children growing up with the love and support of a mother and father.”

Mr Hayes, a Catholic, said he understood the love same-sex couples had for their children and would “never cast aspersions on them, their families, or belittle the love they share”. While he has not campaigned for the No case, Mr Hayes said if the result were in favour of change, he would “not act to frustrate or delay the passage of legislation to give effect to the community’s decision.”

Activist group GetUp! yesterday said most ­people were voting Yes in the survey, pointing to a ReachTel poll of almost 5000 Australians that shows that 64 per cent of those ­surveyed had voted for change.

Executive director of the Equality Campaign Tiernan Brady said the ABS update was “really good in terms of turnout” and a million more forms were in the post on their way to the ABS.

Spokesman for the Coalition for Marriage Lyle Shelton said: “The high turnout demonstrates that the Australian public understand the gravity of the decision before us, and that they know it has consequences for everyone.”


Even if you think it’s all a load of bull, you have a farmer to thank for our unique language

RECENTLY I wrote of a time when Australia rode on the sheep’s back. And now, in the midst of the Melbourne Show, it’s timely to look at how much of our language rides on agriculture’s back.

You’d be surprised how many of our everyday sayings have their origins on the farm — and how often we use them.

Gone bananas, pecking order and bee’s knees are terms with a direct link to the farm.

’Til the cows come home, final straw and feeling clucky are on high rotation, with little thought to their agricultural heritage.

There’s a bull in a china shop, get on your goat, cool as a cucumber and cream of the crop. We all know exactly what each means and all came from the paddock. We hear on the grapevine not to put all our eggs in one basket and, that old chestnut, ensure all our ducks are in a row.

We feel penned in, piggyback on others and we reap what we sow — particularly if you sow your wild oats. We hit the hay, go for a roll in the hay (see wild oats), search for a needle in a haystack and make hay while the sun shines.

We fly cattle class, conduct a straw poll and invariably don’t play for sheep stations, which is lucky because it’s rarely a level playing field.

Some words and terms fit nicely into particular scenarios. Finance, for instance, has plenty to work with. Investors feel bullish when the stock market is on a bull run. Conversely, they feel sheepish if they get fleeced by the market.

Farm words and footy are like peas in a pod.

The players run down the race on to the field (or, in the 1990s, Pagan’s Paddock) wearing a guernsey a jersey or, once upon a time, a woolly jumper.

The Gold Coast Suns are rarely within a bull’s roar of the other team, often lambs to the slaughter because their forwards couldn’t hit a barn door. (Or as a mate said the other day: “They couldn’t get a kick in a cowshed.”)

Joel Selwood is known to butter up the umpires and milk free kicks, while we all assumed Patrick Dangerfield was a sacred cow and the apple of the umpire’s eye until he was rubbed out for a dangerous tackle. At least it wasn’t a chicken-wing.

The Tigers hope to rule the roost tomorrow to bring home the bacon, having upset the Adelaide apple cart.

Meanwhile, Buckley kept his job because he “ain’t got the cattle”, so wasn’t to blame, and Fev is still running around like a headless chook for country and suburban clubs. Mad Monday sees players carrying on like a pork chop, while there’s been a lot of players known to have a kangaroo loose in the top paddock.

And it spreads beyond footy.

We have a pig in a poke, red rag to a bull, apple of my eye and going against the grain.

Say cheese, have an apple a day to keep the doctor away and, in a nutshell, you’re either a bad egg or a good egg. Eventually we will be put out to pasture and before long there will be a visit from the grim reaper when we kick the bucket (the popular view is that the bucket in this expression is a yoke that harnessed pigs before they were slaughtered).

Finally, you could think this column is a cock-and-bull story, is corny and that you are pig-sick of it.

But even if you think it’s all a load of bull, you have a farmer to thank for our unique language.


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, 2017

Bureaucratic resistance to development of the Ord

For years, nobody has been able to make the Ord work so when a Chinese company thinks it can you would think that nothing would be too much trouble.  Think again

Five years ago, when little-known Chinese property developer Shanghai Zhongfu won the sought-after right to lease and double the area of farmland in the remote Ord irrigation area, it was seen as a bold move by the West Australian government.

The Chinese company’s $700 million winning bid, beating others with cattle, cotton and ­sandalwood tree aspirations, was to clear 14,000ha of dry scrub country on the broad Ord River plains to turn into rippling fields of irrigated sugar cane, much of it funded by the Australian taxpayer.

Next would follow a futuristic $400m sugar-based ethanol processing plant at Kununurra, hundreds of jobs and an upgraded and rejuvenated port at nearby Wyndham from where the biofuel would be shipped back to a renewable ­energy-hungry China.

It’s a dream that has not exactly come to pass.

Today just 3000ha of rough cattle country has been transformed by Shanghai Zhongfu, trading locally as Kimberley Agricultural Investment, into beautiful loamy fields, at a cost to the Chinese investor of more than $100m. The crops are not wall-to-wall sugar but a patchwork quilt of chia, quinoa, corn, chickpeas, sorghum and mungbeans.

There is no big factory employing dozens of locals. Just a modest $5m grain-cleaning plant is on the drawing board.

Instead of smooth progress, there is deep-seated bickering between the Chinese company and the WA government over lease documents, clearing approvals, land titles and the terms of the original 50-year deal.

There is disquiet, too, that KAI last year spent another $100m buying the adjacent vast Carlton Hill cattle station and seems hellbent on accelerating its cropping plans there before investing more time and money on its leased Ord stage two land.

Yet in the small town of ­Kununurra, the Chinese newcomer is regarded as a welcomed and wonderful addition to its agricultural scene and the wider local community of 5000 people.

Its arrival is seen as adding much-needed scale to the farming district and its money has provided 55 direct jobs, poured thousands of dollars into the coffers of local ­contractors, stimulated an innovative joint venture investment into new crop research trials and sponsored dozens of community events.

KAI also has bought the biggest resort hotel in town, the Kununurra Country Club, and established its own farm machinery dealership and servicing business because specialist mechanics and machinery parts for the big cropping and land clearing equipment it owns were so hard to find.

KAI plans to build a $40m cotton processing gin and a distillery to turn local Ord sorghum into a new brand of China’s favourite baijiu white spirit, the most widely consumed alcoholic drink in the world.

True to its word, there has been no influx of Chinese employees or workers, other than the company’s much loved local resident chief executive, Jianzhong Yin.

Managing director Jim Engelke is a long-time Kununurra local and one of the town’s most ­admired leaders.

Carefully watching all the twists and turns of Shanghai Zhongfu’s progress in the Ord valley is the Australian government and its Chinese counterpart, and many large agribusiness ­investors and companies in both nations.

The economic success of the relatively small farming patch of the Ord irrigation scheme — and therefore KAI — is seen as essential to the opening up and public funding of more dams, irrigation projects and wider agricultural development across Australia’s underdeveloped north, already identified as a federal government priority.

More directly, the decision to allow the Chinese company to play such a crucial role in the development of Kununurra and the Ord valley’s farming future — which won public support at the time because the land was leased, not sold, by the WA government — has been heralded as a model for further large-scale foreign involvement in Australian agriculture, especially where foreign entities are the beneficiaries of Australian taxpayer-funded infrastructure.

East Kimberley Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Jill Williams believes on both ­levels KAI has worked miracles in the Ord valley, often against the odds.

She believes the Chinese business, headed by self-made billionaire Pui Ngai Wu, has achieved and invested much more than any other Australian company bidding for the Ord stage two expansion tender back in 2012 would have by this time.

“We are so lucky to have a company like KAI that has the ­capacity, the dollars and the vision to achieve what they have in the Ord already and what they still plan to do; it has made a huge difference up here,” says Williams.

“You would think (the state and federal government) would be jumping through hoops down there to clear the way and help investors like KAI get on with what they are doing — developing, expanding, value-adding and providing jobs — yet they are being stymied by processes, delays and bureaucracy at every turn.”

It is clear WA’s Labor government is not as convinced as Wil­liams that the Chinese in the Ord experiment entered into by its Liberal predecessor in 2012 is working ideally yet.

Shanghai Zhongfu got a “very good deal”, according to WA ­Agriculture and Regional Development Minister Alannah Mac­Tiernan.

Paying a peppercorn rent, rumoured to be $1 a year, 100 per cent Chinese-owned KAI was offered a 50-year land lease on the Ord stage two expansion land, which was already supplied with irrigation channels, water, roads and negotiated native title exemption courtesy of $315m of WA taxpayer funds and $195m from the federal government.

It was a deal not without criticism at the time.

MacTiernan’s Labor colleague Paul Papalia, then opposition agricultural spokesman, questioned why public dollars were funding a Chinese company’s bottom line, when KAI had no agricultural experience.

Palia said the plan had always been for at least half the new Ord cropping area to be offered to small mum-and-dad Australian farmers and asked why that intent had been abandoned.

Last week, The Australian revealed that the WA government has never handed over the tenure and title documents to the leased Ord stage two farming land, despite KAI having spent $150m developing and farming its first tranche of new cropping pad­docks.

Engelke says without land title documents, no other investor would have even started converting cattle blocks into fertile cropping paddocks, let alone kept on pouring money into the project.

“Everyone knows we need tenure — no sane person could argue otherwise — and so this sort of ­bizarre behaviour doesn’t instil confidence in investors like Mr Wu or for our bankers,” he says.

“It also shows why the development of Australia’s north is so slow — inching forward at such a glacial pace — because while there is no shortage of people interested in trying to make it happen, it really is confined to wealthy individuals like Twiggy Forrest, Gina Rinehart or Mr Wu who have a passion for it because no one else would be prepared to take the risk.”

Williams remains incredulous that something as basic as land title has been withheld from KAI after five years of total commitment to the Kununurra town and the Ord community.

“They are Australia’s biggest squatters, all because of small-minded bureaucrats,” says Wil­liams. “People down south (Perth) and in the east (Canberra) don’t understand this country, the seasons, and the dynamic up here; yes, we need some regulation but it has to be timely, transparent and with deadlines so people can decide in advance if they can work with, or it is all too hard.”

But MacTiernan decries KAI for failing to tell the whole story. She says the land tenure documents have been withheld because the Chinese company has proved nigh on impossible to work with, demanding concessions and a relaxation of its agreed Ord development conditions at every turn.

She believes focus has been lost since KAI bought Carlton Hill Station and is moving fast to clear and develop 10,000ha to 15,000ha of river flats there, under its plans for cotton growing and cattle fattening.

“We have been very encouraging of KAI and it is very pleasing to see their investment in, and acceptance by, the (Ord valley) community,” says MacTiernan. .

“But in 2012 they entered into a development agreement that came with a whole range of conditions and requirements that have now been frequently watered down and options added in recognition of their role and commitment; but now it is time they focused and go into this (original) development agreement signed.”

MacTiernan says what crop is grown in the Ord by KAI — whether it is sugar, chia, sorghum or cotton — does not matter and is not the cause of contention.

Instead, she says, it has been the Chinese company’s continual pressure to scrap company ­guarantees, reduce bond commitments and convert some government leasehold land to KAI freehold and to extend the 50-year lease to an automatic rollover in 2062 that has strained the relationship.

But Jianzhong believes differently. He blames anti-Chinese sentiment. “The politicians say they are supportive but in the bureaucracy they seem to hold the old ideology (that is anti-Chinese) and so while they are polite, all the approvals are very slow or nothing happens,” Jianzhong says.

“We have invested so much money and developed so much land but there is still suspicion about what we are doing; I see (the delays) as a sign that we are welcome in Kununurra; we are not welcomed by wider Australia; and we are not yet treated the same as Australian farmers.”

The impasse infuriates Agribusiness Australia chief executive Tim Burrow, who fears the same problems will beset or discourage other potential foreign investors in northern Australia when the Ord’s emergence as a productive and profitable food bowl — with the help of Chinese investment — should be a shining light for Australian agriculture.

“I don’t understand what it is that makes people think that agribusiness operations are fair game,” Burrow says. “No other sector of the economy would put up with this level of impost. Governments cannot continue to oppress the most vital, ­vibrant and innovative sector of the economy with this yoke of having to comply with unnecessary pettifogging rules, regulations, red tape and bureaucratic inefficiencies.”


'Male and female' and 'penis and vagina' banned from being used in schools so transgender children feel more comfortable

What a lot of confused nondsense

Gender terms like 'male' and 'female' could be stripped from Australian classrooms as a way to make transgender children more comfortable.

In a move to make classrooms more gender neutral, body parts could be described by their function rather than their traditional names, according to The Australian.

Terms including 'penis and vagina' could be swapped for 'sperm and eggs' and 'erectile tissue' could be used to describe the penis and clitoris if schools were to begin teaching sex education classes with a focus on gender neutrality.

A report discussing sex education policies in New Zealand in the Journal of Sex Education has discussed how LGBQTI could influence sex education.

The report by Damien Riggs and Clare Bartholomaeus of Flinders University in South Australia calls for gender neutrality that looks further than a 'male with a penis and female with a vagina'.

It comes a month after two NSW catholic high school students, who identify as males, won the battle to wear boys' uniforms despite being born female.

The Trinity Catholic College allowed the students to use unisex toilets and change their names on the school roll.

The college is also reportedly considering a 'gender neutral uniform' for the entire school.

As an associate professor in social work, Mr Riggs told the publication gender neutralising sex education could be difficult to understand but it opened up the discussion between parents and children without them getting 'tripped up with the language'.

Mr Riggs said neutralising classrooms would reduce unwanted pregnancies and reduce children 'being coerced into having sex they didn't want to have, including transgender kids'.


Despite Greenie prophecies of doom, the Great Barrier Reef is bouncing back from its recent stresses

Researchers have observed signs of new life in some of the worst affected areas of coral bleaching of Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

The corals of the Great Barrier Reef have undergone two successive bleaching events, in 2016 and earlier this year, raising experts' concerns about the capacity for reefs to survive under global-warming induced events.

But after a coral reef survey in September, researchers found tiny sacs of white eggs in bleached coral reefs, raising new hope for the reefs after the recent bleaching events, which affected close to two thirds of the Great Barrier Reef.

The tiny coral eggs were found in coral reefs between Townsville and Cairns, by researchers with the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS).

Dr Neal Cantin and project leader Dr Line Bay, who are part of the coral bleaching response team, were surprised to discover early signs of new life.

Dr Cantin says they'd returned to assess the mortality and survivorship from the central sector of the Great Barrier Reef.

'We travelled to 14 reefs between Townsville and Cairns, including Fitzroy Island where we saw surviving coral producing eggs, which was not expected at all,' Dr Cantin said.

'Previous studies have shown a two to three year delay in reproduction after severe bleaching but at most of the reefs we are finding colonies of Acropora (branching hard coral) colonies with early signs of egg development in shallow waters, 3m to 6m deep.'

Dr Bay said that the researchers took samples from six different coral species across inshore and offshore environments to help them understand how water quality may also affect bleaching susceptibility and recovery.

While the researchers still have to analyze the data, the reaf bserved significant recovery, particularly on the inshore reefs.

'The majority of coral colonies on the inshore reefs have regained their color and the growth of some colonies was so good they had overgrown our original research tags,' Dr Bay said.

However, the news was not all good. 'Some of the more sensitive corals are now rare even in areas where they had been abundant in March,' Dr Bay said.

Dr Cantin says that fertilization of the tiny eggs happens during the annual spawning event, which is due on the full moon of December 5, and the AIMS research team will test whether the eggs are able to be fertilized. "There is concern the eggs may not be able to successfully fertilize and develop into coral larvae,' Dr Cantin said. 'The eggs are now white, and just before the spawning event they should turn pink when they are preparing for the spawning.'

Dr Cantin says each coral could produce eight to 12 eggs per polyp in colonies of thousands of connected polyps.


Tony Abbott accuses Gosford priest of Peter Dutton ‘sly smear’

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has accused outspoken Anglican priest Rod Bower of “smearing’’ Immigration Minister Peter Dutton after he posted “Dutton is a sodomite” on social media.

Father Bower said the definition of sodomy was not about homosexuality. “The sin of Sodom is greatly misunderstood by those who usually choose to do so, it has nothing to do with homosexuality, it is all about hospitality, or more to the point lack there of, and particularly about the condition of the heart that leads to inhospitable behaviour,” Fr Bower said in a Facebook post last week.

Mr Abbott said. it was a “sly smear by the sounds of it”.  He said it was surprising that “someone who wants us to love one another would be putting out that sort of message”.

“Fair enough he obviously has pretty left wing political views. He’s entitled, even as a clergymen, to have left-wing political views, but you’d think a spirit of charity would pervade all he does certainly things that he does in a considered way should have a spirit of charity that seems to be missing,” Mr Abbott said.

Reverend Bradly Billings, the assistant archbishop at the Anglican diocese of Melbourne, replied to Fr Bower’s post and said it had “no place” on a church notice board.

“How does this advance the gospel and the standing of the Anglican Church in the community? What will passers-by think? Without the accompanying exegesis of a complex passage in Genesis on this page, the sign will look and sound like a very personal slur on a government minister.”

“As much as your audience here will applaud it, what will be read as an ad hominem attack, and language like this about person however strong our disagreement with that person may be, have no place on a church notice board,” Reverend Billings said.

Fr Bower then defended the sign and said it was only posted for social media, and was not displayed on his church in Gosford’s sign. “This particular sign was posted only for social media where there is the accompanying commentary and is not on the roadside sign.”

“I recognise that we come from very different theological standpoints, but thank god for the breadth and depth of Anglicanism that can accommodate us both.”


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, 2017

Couple sue SBS for defamation after broadcaster described their Colonial-themed restaurant as 'offensive' and profiteering from the Empire's 'bloody history'

Pure Leftist hate leading to clear defamation

The former owners of a British Empire-themed restaurant are suing SBS over a report calling their eatery 'offensive' and implying they were racist.

Mark and Angela Kennedy, whose British Colonial Co in Brisbane closed in January, filed a claim in the Southport District Court seeking aggravated damages.

The couple alleged the segment by SBS Viceland last September, which said the restaurant 'celebrated bad taste', caused them hurt, embarrassment and loss.

They alleged it implied they 'supported the bloody history of colonisation' and 'have sought financial gain at the expense of the suffering of others', according to the Gold Coast Bulletin.

British Colonial Co opened in June 2016, marketed as: 'Inspired by the stylish days of the empirical push into the developing cultures of the world, with the promise of adventure and modern refinement in a safari setting'.

It was later changed to: 'A refined and modern dining experience with the adventure of east meets west in a plantation style, club setting.'

The SBS report followed several days of social media backlash accusing it of 'gross racism' among other things, that was reported by other media outlets.

'The restaurant glorifies a colonial past as something beautiful, luxurious, exotic, when in fact colonisation was none of those things,' it said.

'If you ask any indigenous person what colonisation is they will say death, disease and genocide?'

The Kennedy's alleged the report implied they 'supported the bloody history of colonisation' and 'have sought financial gain at the expense of the suffering of others'.

They claimed it conveyed imputations they were racist, support racism, were bigots, bad people, unconscionable, culturally insensitive, stupid, ignorant, disreputable, disingenuous, and trivialised suffering.

The couple's claim also referenced two follow-up SBS online articles reporting on the backlash, and an opinion piece describing it as 'very much deserved'.

'Do I think the owners are racist monsters? No. Is it widely culturally insensitive and, additionally extremely strange? Yep, that one,' they claim it said.

They claimed the piece also accused them of 'having food and decor inspired by the bloody occupation of other cultures by the British Empire'.

Another article said: 'Trivialising suffering for frivolous reasons like making money or having a laugh is a fairly awful thing to do.'

A fourth alleged defamatory publication was posting it on the SBS Comedy Facebook page.

The Kennedys claimed SBS' reporting opened them to 'public ridicule, hatred and contempt', and gravely injured their character and reputation.

They demand aggravated damages because the reports were 'extravagant and sensational', and want a judge-only trial.

SBS has not yet lodged a defence. Daily Mail Australia attempted to contact the broadcaster for comment.


'Just pretend to back Yes': What a Labor senator was told when she told her boss that she didn't believe in same-sex marriage

Leftist trust in lies again

A Labor senator has revealed she was urged to 'pretend to back' the yes campaign so as to align with her party's stance.

Tasmanian MP Helen Polley, who chose to vote no in the $122 million same-sex marriage survey, said senior staff members told her to change her public position, according to The Australian.

While she would not name the people responsible, Senator Polley said she was told her view could cost Labor votes in the next election.

'I’ve been told that I could be responsible for losing the next federal election,' she said.

Senator Polley, who was voting a a 'conscience vote' based on her Christian belief, said she had received pressure from friends, colleagues and Labor MPs. 'I’ve had all sorts of propositions put to me... But I have to be true to the people who elected me,' she said.

The Labor MP also added that she agreed with her party's stance that a postal plebiscite should not have occurred and that it was fraught with problems.

It comes as Opposition Leader Bill Shorten attended a rally in support of the 'yes' vote in Melbourne on Sunday, urging supporters not to be disheartened.


Must not say that men and women are different

Australia: Pidapipo Gelateria has deleted an Instagram post launching gendered ice-cream flavours after coming under fire on social media. The cult gelateria, which has stores in Carlton and Windsor, is owned by Lisa Valmorbida whose family also owns 130 year old grocery store King & Godfree in Carlton.

Pidapipo launched the gendered flavours in a collaboration with online fashion retailers Net-a-Porter and Mr Porter.

"Here are two gelato popsicles we've created. One for men and one for women. For men? Salted caramel with milk chocolate & malt crumb. For women? Strawberry rose with white choc & raspberry dust. Even better together."

The post was deleted after attracting negative comments on social media including "so tone deaf" and "OF COURSE the women get a pink fruity one. I'm shocked the men's isn't rum or some s---".

Melbourne University School of Social and Political Sciences lecturer, Dr Lauren Rosewarne, says the gendering of ice-cream is unnecessary. "[But], it's perfectly in line with a long history of the gendering of bizarre products like pens and razors which have been gendered purely for marketing reasons," she says. "In the context of cuisine, the rise of 'dude food' is probably the best example of this."

Rosewarne also questions the flavours chosen. "The linking of sweet and floral flavours to women and salty and dark flavours to men is harmless but is also reliant on old-fashioned stereotypes that really don't have a place in the world of ice-cream," she says. "The marketing strategy thus comes across as a little old hat, rather than modern or savvy."?

A spokesperson for Pidapipo told Fairfax Media the gelateria was engaged to design gelato that represented the Net-a-Porter and Mr Porter brands for a spring fashion event.

"We removed an Instagram post about the event because it was creating confusion as to the intent of the creative collaboration," the spokesperson said. "We love creating delicious gelato to be enjoyed by everyone and if the collaboration gave the wrong impression we are sorry."


South Australian dairy farmers are exploring becoming independent of state's high-cost "green" power grid

SURGING power prices are pushing South Australian dairy farmers such as James and Robyn Mann to go off-grid. The Manns’ electricity costs have more than doubled in five years, from about $200,000 per annum to $500,000. “It is a pain in the backside,” Mr Mann said.

Due to the high prices, the family will this summer switch to diesel power to run their 116-stand rotary dairy and 14 irrigation centre pivots at Wye in the lower south east of South Australia.

And, as a longer-term measure, they are investigating the economics of installing an on-farm energy solar-diesel-­battery energy generator entirely independent of the mains power grid.

The Manns are among Australia’s top 10 dairy producers, in terms of volume, milking up to 2300 cows and producing 19-21 million litres annually.

Their move comes as South Australia’s dairy lobby has calculated the state’s dairy farmers paid about 40 per cent more for power than their Victorian neighbours last season. And it was the peak times that hurt the most.

Mr Mann said during the past summer’s irrigation times, electricity costs “suddenly became 20 per cent of your milk cheque for some months and that just doesn’t work”. “We have to be mindful about when power becomes expensive, so we’re investigating options to become less reliant on the grid,” he said.

“Its embryonic, but information we have is saying we could get a payback within five years of (setting up a system on-farm) not connected to the grid, a combination of solar, diesel and batteries. “We’ll work out which way we want to go in the next few months; I don’t know yet if we’ll do it.”

Regardless of the outcome of these investigations, Mr Mann said he was planning on switching to diesel to run his dairy and irrigation pivots this summer.

His dairy has had a diesel back-up system, which has been used intermittently as the reliability of the mains power has fallen in the past five years.

The cost of running diesel-powered irrigation pivots, compared with mains electricity powered pivots, were “line ball” last year, Mr Mann said. “Power has just gone up again so I suspect this year diesel will be cheaper,” he said.

“It doesn’t look like there will be much relief on power prices coming and that is likely to get worse.”

South Australian Dairyfarmers Association chief executive Andrew Curtis said comparing SA dairy farmers’ electricity prices to those in Victoria’s Dairy Farm Monitor report last season showed SA dairy farmers paid about 40 per cent more per kilogram of milk solids.

He suspected this could rise to 45 per cent more this season, as all power prices were increasing and SA has the “highest prices in the world”.

Mr Curtis said irrigation had traditionally been the largest user of power on SA dairy farms with more farmers now turning to diesel generators as the cost was comparable for modern efficient generators and they could rely on them.

In the past year he said there had been up to 40 dairy farmers who had lost power four-to-six times, with the power out long enough to affect at least one milking, he said.

The cost of power to a dairy farm business is creeping up, with many farmers reporting a doubling in costs in the past year, Mr Curtis said.

He said SA did not have the base-load power generation of other states and this was predominantly due to a mix of power sources, with more than half of its power coming from renewable sources.


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

2 October, 2017

Australian Federal Police launches a new recruitment drive – but only WOMEN can apply

What a howl there would be if the advertisement were "men only".  Why must people be hired on the basis of what they have between their legs?

Men wishing to join the Australian Federal Police need not apply - for the next few months at least. The AFP's Acting Commissioner Leanne Close is hoping 1,000 women apply to become federal police officers during the next recruitment round.

But she argued the exclusion of men, as part of the force's first-ever women's-only recruitment round, was not sexist with women making up just 22 per cent of sworn AFP officers.

'What we are not doing is recruiting enough women to reach the targets that we want by 2021 … so we are actively marketing out there to really target those women who would be keen for a great, challenging and really diverse career,' she told a graduation ceremony attended by the ABC.

The AFP wants female representation to jump to 35 per cent by 2021 and is working to employ 600 more women during the next four years.

The women's-only recruitment round, from now until Christmas, will relate to entry-level positions.

The AFP told the ABC women made up just one-third of its staff and a quarter of senior leaders.

The gender-biased recruitment policy was announced on Thursday the AFP's latest graduation round, of which more than half were women.

Australia has only had one female police commissioner, with Christine Nixon leading Victoria's police force from 2001 to 2009. The senior police commander came under fire in 2010 when a royal commission into the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires found out she was having dinner during a disaster that killed 173 people.


Victoria, NSW to be penalised for outlawing fracking under Grants Commission plan

States that fail to permit coal seam gas mining would be penalised under a fresh proposal from the Grants Commission to change the method of distributing goods and services tax revenue.

The adjustment would hurt Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory, each of whom has complete or partial bans on coal seam gas exploration or development or has a moratorium on fracking.

The gas crisis has been averted, but state governments in NSW and Victoria are to blame for forcing their residents to pay more, says Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

The proposal, in a position paper prepared for the commission's review of the principles behind the GST distribution, is to treat royalties from coal seam gas in the same way as taxes on gambling. It would apply from 2020.

States that choose not to allow poker machines and collect poker machine revenue are regarded as having voluntarily forgone income and not compensated for earning less than the states that do.

The commission wants to consider whether "similar considerations arise in certain potential mineral and energy developments".

"In these circumstances, the commission could take the view that all states that have coal seam gas have the opportunity to exploit it and whether they do or not solely reflects policy choice," the position paper says.

The change would also apply to uranium. The commission says until now it hasn't needed to consider the question because neither coal seam gas nor uranium royalties have been big enough "to result in a material assessment".

Victoria imposed a moratorium on coal seam gas exploration in 2012. NSW banned all activity within 2 kilometres of residential areas in 2013. The Victorian decision was taken by the Coalition government of Ted Baillieu. The NSW decision was taken by the Coalition government of Barry O'Farrell.

The Baird government in NSW temporarily froze new exploration in 2015 while implementing a report designed to ensure the safety of coal seam gas mining by the NSW chief scientist Mary O'Kane.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull attacked Victoria's position on Thursday, saying the only obstacle to getting Victorian gas out of the ground was the Labor government.

"The idea that Victorians are going to have to pay the cost of shipping gas from the Middle East or from Louisiana or from north-west Australia because they have a government that is not prepared to access the gas resources in Victoria is extraordinary," he said.  "It is a shocking indictment of Daniel Andrews and his government. There is plenty of gas in Victoria, onshore gas in Victoria."

Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas ridiculed the Grants Commission position paper on Friday, saying Victoria would not be "held to ransom or bullied by an inept government that blames everyone else but itself for its own incompetence". "If Scott Morrison wants to know how to grow an economy and manage debt he should follow Victoria's lead."

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet? said unlike other states, NSW did not have a ban on coal seam gas. "We believe states should make the most of what they have. When it comes to GST distribution, NSW is sick of subsidising inefficient and non-reforming states," he said.

A proposal by Santos to mine coal seam gas in the Pilliga Forest on the North West Plains is before the NSW Planning Assessment Commission.

The Andrews government said this week that it is "proud" of its permanent ban on fracking in Victoria, which became law in March.

The ban is supported by the Coalition, but the political agreement does not extend to the Andrews government's moratorium on conventional onshore exploration. The moratorium is due to expire in June 2020. In the lead-up, the government has asked scientist Amanda Caples to inquire into the "risks, benefits and impacts of onshore conventional gas".


Rugby league bans gay pride flags, 'yes' and 'no' signs from the grand final

NRL and AFL policies

The NRL has scrapped political messages being displayed in the crowd at the game’s showcase event, with rainbow flags and ‘yes’ or ‘no’ signs being barred from the grand final.

Sunday night’s clash between the favoured Melbourne Storm and the underdog North Queensland Cowboys at ANZ Stadium in Sydney will be free of any messages related to the ongoing same-sex marriage postal survey.

Anything which may ‘upset other patrons’ will not be allowed in the stadium, according to the Daily Telegraph.

The official policy from ANZ Stadium says any unauthorised political images or logos will cause punters to be refused entry into the venue.

Security will be making compulsory bag checks at the stadium.

Meanwhile sport and politics continue to mix, as an ad supporting the marriage status quo will run during Sunday night’s game despite being banned from being broadcast during the AFL grand final.

The advertisement was not run during Richmond’s victory over Adelaide on Saturday as it was too rude, according to Sky News.

The ad features abusive messages the Coalition for Marriage says it has received since the plebiscite began. The statements include comments such as ‘I genuinely hope someone kicks your teeth in’, ‘homophobic maggots’ and ‘homophobic bigot’.

It was banned because of the earlier ball-up time of the AFL grand final, while the NRL decider is scheduled to kick off at 8.30pm.

The ad is allowed to go to air after 7.30pm.


What's happened to the University?

Jeremy Sammut

Many people are likely to have had a lightbulb moment that made them realise our universities are in trouble.

Over the past year, I have commented in many media stories about a range of social engineering initiatives across everything from early childhood education to corporate Australia pushing the 'diversity agenda' in matters of race, gender and sexuality.

What has struck me is that the ideological agendas being promoted aim to shape, set and enforce the boundaries of acceptable -- as opposed to offensive racist, patriarchial or homo- or trans-phobic thought and speech.

This has brought home to me the extent to which the precepts of postmodernism -- which were taking hold in universities when I was an undergraduate -- have entered mainstream society.
The postmodernism revolves around the idea that language used by the dominant culture or discourse creates social reality and oppresses certain victim groups. It follows that marginalised groups are liberated by restricting or regulating freedom of thought and speech around a range of issues that are simply no longer up for debate and discussion and dissent.

Yet debate discussion and dissent are the foundations of the freedom of enquiry that universities should stand for as bastions of intellectual freedom -- but not in the post-modern academy.

According to Sydney University's latest 'Unlearn' marketing campaign, students will not be pursuing enlightenment while studying for their degrees, but de-construction by being "taught how to unlearn...and, challenge the established, demolish social norms and build new ones in their place."

The 'Unlearning' university promises not an education in how the world really works based on reason, logic, and rational analysis; it promises an indoctrination in how academic ideologues with a one-trick agenda demand it should work.


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, 2017

Child institutional abuse probe’s approach under fire

Under influence from an unscientific nut

The $500 million royal commission into institutional child abuse is promoting “ethically dubious” and potentially harmful ideas about the counselling of sexual abuse victims and the reliability of their testimony, senior experts in the field have warned.

Several leading national and international researchers say the long-running inquiry has adopted a misguided victim-advocacy role and published misleading, inaccurate research that could potentially undermine the $4 billion redress scheme for abuse victims.

Richard Bryant, director of the Westmead Trauma Stress Clinic, said the royal commission ­appeared to be advocating counselling practices that were potentially dangerous and contradicted guidelines endorsed by the ­National Health and Medical ­Research Council.

His concerns were echoed by several experts in psychology, including emeritus professor Don Thomson, chairman of the ethical guidelines committee of the Australian Psychological Society, and Elizabeth Loftus of the University of California Irvine, an internationally renowned memory researcher who described some of the ideas endorsed by the commission as “brain babble”.

Harlene Hayne, vice-chancellor of the University of Otago in New Zealand, said one of the commission’s recent reports contained “a level of error that would probably cause you to fail an undergraduate memory course”.

The criticisms centre on two royal commission reports, one on the proposed compensation scheme, the other examining the effects of childhood trauma on memory.

The compensation report draws extensively on the advice of Cathy Kezelman, president of the victim-advocacy organisation the Blue Knot Foundation and co-author of a 120-page counselling guide that advocates “trauma-­informed care”, an approach the royal commission adopted. Its central idea is that counsellors focus on their clients’ underlying trauma rather than their presenting symptoms.

Dr Kezelman is a former GP who underwent psychotherapy in her 40s and developed multiple personalities while recovering “repressed memories” of being raped and tortured as a child by her father and a pedophile cult led by her grandmother.

She cites her nine years of psycho­therapy as an example of trauma-informed care, and has forged a close relationship with the royal commission, which praised the clinical expertise of her organisation in its report and suggested trauma-informed care could play a valuable role in the compensation scheme.

In today’s Weekend Australian Magazine, Dr Kezelman’s brother, Claude Imhoff, an emergency physician, refutes his sister’s story of pedophilia, saying he lodged a formal complaint against her psychologist in 2012, arguing that her treatment triggered “false memories” of abuse and caused immeasurable harm to her and his family.

The issue of whether people can entirely forget incidents of childhood abuse and then recover repressed memories of them years later has split the psychotherapy professions in recent decades, with many experts arguing there is no empirical evidence to support a phenomenon. Professor Bryant said the trauma-informed approach advocated by Dr Kezelman directly contradict best-practice guidelines endorsed by the NHMRC, which encourage counsellors to focus on treating symptoms.

He said her counselling guidelines advocate ethically dubious and potentially dangerous therapy techniques such as helping clients retrieve “implicit memories” that are hidden from consciousness, a technique that caused a rash of false and bizarre reports of child abuse in the 1980s and 90s.

“Does the royal commission really want to advocate policies that are contrary to the NHMRC?” he asked. “If funds are going to be made available for people who have been damaged, I think it would be ethically irresponsible, and would further compound the damage to the victims, if the system promoted or even ­allowed psychological services that are not evidence-based.”

Professor Loftus described aspects of the guidelines as “brain babble”, saying if they were widely adopted, “I foresee a world of hurt in Australia’s future”.

Dr Kezelman defended the guidelines, saying they had been endorsed by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of ­Psychiatrists and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. The chairman of the RANZCP’s faculty of psychotherapy, Michael Daubney, said current counselling methods often did not meet the complex needs of people who had suffered extensive interpersonal abuse in childhood, a gap that trauma-­informed care could fill.

The royal commission report stipulates it is not advocating any particular counselling model for the compensation scheme, but recommended Dr Kezelman’s organisation be involved in ­accrediting counsellors for the scheme: she now sits on the advisory panel devising it.

The inquiry’s chairman, judge Peter McClellan, has described her as an “old friend” of the commission and appeared with her at conferences and media events, including one scheduled for today when Dr Kezelman will introduce the judge’s speech to a psychotherapy conference in Sydney.

The other royal commission report to have attracted strong criticism is a 185-page review of the effects of childhood abuse on memory, which states among its findings that young children are not highly suggestible and do not appear to be more susceptible to misinformation than adults.

Professor Thomson said these assertions are contradicted by decades of research, a view supported by Professor Hayne and Deirdre Brown, from Victoria University of Wellington, two leading child psychology researchers.

Professor Hayne described the report as sloppy, inaccurate and potentially harmful to the cause of abuse victims. She was concerned a government inquiry was promoting such an erroneous, falsely optimistic view of children’s reliability, potentially undermining years of study into their vulnerabilities as witnesses. “Maybe they misguidedly have the view that this is an advocacy exercise,” she said. “I can see how this report could be misused and would lead to greater harm to children, if it leads to the belief they don’t have special needs as witnesses.”

The lead author of the report, Jane Goodman-Delahunty of Charles Sturt University, said she was aware some researchers contested its findings but these reflected robust recent research showing children were not as suggestible as earlier studies had reported. She said one aim of the report was to highlight ways to ­address the high incidence of ­“potentially wrongful acquittals” in child sex abuse cases, although it acknowledges the import­ance of careful, non-­suggestive questioning of children.

In a prepared statement, the royal commission said it had commissioned a large number of research reports, and the report co-authored by Professor Goodman-Delahunty reflected the views of the authors and not necessarily the views of the commission itself.


Another reason to abolish 18C. Consider this vexatious complaint’s threat to free speech

When the legal affairs editor of this paper, Chris Merritt, sent a carefully worded reply on March 9 to an email he had received two days earlier, that should have been the end of a matter involving what can fairly be described as a mild-mannered response to abusive hate mail.

Instead, the relevant series of emails is about to become the latest chapter in the story of Australia’s notorious anti-free-speech law, section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.

Attempting to single out any one element of this case for special treatment is a difficult task, but it is a laughable indictment of this dreadful law that Merritt, Janet Albrechtsen and Hedley Thomas (to whom some of the original emails were sent) are defendants in this case, rather than plaintiffs.

The reason this is so perplexing is that it was the original recipients who were vilified on grounds of “race, colour, or national or ethnic origin”, not the sender.

And yet the plaintiff is Sokhom Prins — the author of emails referring to writers at The Australian as members of a “WHITE RACIST POSSE”.

Ms Prins.  She is a Cambodian who survived the Pol Pot horror and who now lives in Australia.  She describes Australia on her Twitter account as a "great country, pity about the people".  Racist?

I have always thought the use of capital letters really lends an air of credibility to the written word. It is very effective use of language by Prins.

In a rare display of sensible judgment, the Australian Human Rights Commission dismissed the complaint when it first came across the desk of the bureaucrats whose job it is to decide whether feelings have been sufficiently hurt to usher the complaint through a convoluted series of supervised discussions between the complainant and the alleged offender.

In the letter to Prins explaining the commission’s reasons for dismissing the complaint, officer Jodie Ball stated: “The information you have provided to the commission is confusing and not easy to understand … The commission has spent considerable time trying to make sense of your correspondence.”

That is a lawyerly way of explaining that the Prins document was more of a rant than a carefully considered, quasi-legal statement of complaint.

Despite having been dismissed at the first hurdle, the complaint has now been advanced by Prins to the Federal Circuit Court.

Of course, if you are unable to express your complaint in clear enough language that others can understand, it is pretty unlikely that your claim will be successful. So Prins’s demands for the removal of the offending column (Merritt’s email response to Prins was published in this paper) and $1.6 million in damages are more than likely to be rebuffed by the court.

But the dismissal of this complaint should not be seen as validation of section 18C.

Even if the matter is withdrawn by Prins tomorrow, there have still been significant costs incurred by the defendants.

The time and energy already expended on this case will never be recovered.

And the money spent engaging lawyers is unlikely to be recouped, even if the court makes a costs order against a complainant.

Many of those who are in favour of the state dictating the limits of public discussion via the operation of section 18C will no doubt point to the marginal amendments that were made to the administration of the law earlier this year.

One of those changes was a new requirement that if a case had previously been dismissed by the Human Rights Commission for being “trivial, vexatious, frivolous, misconceived, or lacking in substance”, it could only advance to the Federal Circuit Court with leave of the court.

But Prins filed her complaint before those changes came into ­effect. Some will therefore argue that the new regime will not allow for a vexatious complaint to drag on as this one has.

But that relies on the Human Rights Commission dismissing cases such as this for being vexatious. And while it might seem obvious to the casual observer that complaints of this kind meet that requirement, this is not common practice for the AHRC. That a case may be dismissed for a reason other than being vexatious would not be ­unusual.

Fifty of 55 complaints under the Racial Discrimination Act in 2015-16 were dismissed because there was “no reasonable prospect of conciliation”. Just three dismissals in the last year fell under the vexatious category, with another two complaints dismissed for other reasons.

The upshot is that the procedural amendments made by parliament will knock out only a tiny proportion of complaints, without providing sufficient protection for free speech.

This latest example bolsters the argument for the repeal of section 18C.

Newspapers, journalists, columnists and students at university will not be free to express themselves until this dangerous law is removed in its entirety from the commonwealth’s statute books.


Mum infuriated by absurd letter home from preschool

LET’S just say this preschool has some unrealistic expectations about three-year-old children. They didn’t go down well.  One suspects that the authors of the letter are not themselves parents

A mum has shared a baffling newsletter sent home from her child’s preschool with US based parenting site Scary Mommy, Kidspot reports.

Why so baffling? Well, it appears that the staff of the preschool have some pretty unrealistic expectations of a group of three and four-year-olds.

“We made it through a really tough first month with tears, attitudes, unwillingness, not listening, not obeying the rules and especially, too much talking and not enough sitting in seats when asked to,” the October 2017 newsletter of this particular establishment reads.

“We work on this every day at school, but we need help from home, too. We realise kids don’t want to sit and would rather talk and play when they want to; but that’s not how school works.

“Preschool is preparation to go on to ‘big’ school and these things are important there, too. We simply can’t say that our kids don’t like colouring and sitting still because Kindergarten and first grade have a lot of colouring. Please, work five or 10 minutes each day with your child on this and you’ll see improvement. We have seen improvement with several kids already.

“We realise it’s a fast-paced world and parents work, but the adults in the house have to be in charge and help the kids to understand this. Please, talk to your child about the importance of sharing, not fighting, keeping their hands to themselves, and learning to get along with each other. Remind them that once we pick up the toys that we don’t get them back out again, because we are done playing and going on to learning fun things.”


We checked what’s expected behaviour of a preschooler over at Raising Children - an expert parenting advice site supported by the Australian Government and the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne — and it’s fair to say, mums have good reason to find this newsletter infuriating.

As children settle into a new environment at a preschool, some tears and separation anxiety is very normal behaviour. Many children at age three are still having tantrums and a good preschool will have effective management strategies to help children communicate their feelings in a more positive way.

Preschoolers have short attention spans — around 30 minutes — so sitting still and listening for long periods of time is simply not a realistic expectation for a group of three and four-year olds.

Children at this age are still learning to follow instructions. They’re easily distractable. It is very normal to have to remind children of rules and expectations several times. After all, that’s how they learn.

Not to mention that unstructured play is shown again and again to be essential to early childhood development.


Angela Hanscom, an paediatric occupational therapist and expert on the important of play for young children, has written repeatedly about the dangers of an ever-increasing push to structured settings in preschool environments in the US. (It’s worth pointing out that in Australia, play-based education is at the heart of most early childhood curricula.)

“It is through active free play outdoors where children start to build many of the foundational life skills they need in order to be successful for years to come,” she writes in the Washington Post.

“In fact, it is before the age of seven years — ages traditionally known as ‘pre-academic’ — when children desperately need to have a multitude of whole-body sensory experiences on a daily basis in order to develop strong bodies and minds.”

She goes on to explain how dangerous it is to kerb children’s free play.

“If children are not given enough natural movement and play experiences, they start their academic careers with a disadvantage. They are more likely to be clumsy, have difficulty paying attention, trouble controlling their emotions, utilise poor problem-solving methods, and demonstrate difficulties with social interactions.”

All of that makes you wonder, just exactly what is this preschool trying to achieve?


Making a point? Activists wearing giant blow up hands emblazoned with Australian flags storm Melbourne council meeting demanding they don't ban Australia Day

Far right protesters dressed in bright blue Lycra waving inflatable Australia flag hands stormed a Melbourne council meeting over Australia Day date changes.

A handful of people draped in Australian flags waving anti-Nazi signs were protesting against Moreland Council's decision to change the date of Australia Day celebrations.

Moreland City Council voted to scrap Australia Day celebrations almost two weeks ago, making them the third Melbourne council to make the controversial move.

The council meeting was interrupted Wednesday evening and a video posted to Facebook shows one man in the gallery being forced to cover his ears because of the noise.

Sombrero wearing protesters carried slogans plastered on black signs including 'no Nazi councils' and 'stop division'.

Protest organiser Neil Erikson posted a video to Facebook saying they 'hit' the council meeting. 'We just burst in there, they closed down their whole meeting,' Mr Erikson said.

The video received more than 8000 views in the three hours it was online and many people commented in support of the protesters.

Greens Councillor Natalie Abboud shared that she was 'so proud' of the council and gallery who experienced the protest Wednesday evening and thanked them for their 'bravery and patience'.

'Men in Lycra won't stop us from hearing community submissions to the Draft Local Law tonight,' Ms Abboud wrote on Facebook.

'I hope I never have to see a professor with his hands over his ears again.'

However, Mr Erikson is no novice when it comes to storming council meetings in protest.

Mr Erikson stormed Yarra City Council's meetings in protest of them changing Australia Day earlier in September

The 32-year-old interrupted a Yarra City Council meeting early September, just hours after he was found guilty for his role in staging a mock beheading to protest a Bendigo mosque.

The group of protesters were also opposing Yarra City Council's decision to ban Australia Day.


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