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, 2018

The terrifying moment a cyclist is rammed by a furious motorist

The driver immediately points to a place behind both of them -- suggesting that the cyclist had previously done something offensive to provoke the attack.  Just a rude gesture can infuriate some people.  The court judgment would have been based on all the facts, not just a video, and would presumably be appropriate. Provocation is a defence.

Cyclists can be very arrogant and irritating -- drunk on testerone at times.  I wouldn't do it myself but I would like to see more of them knocked off their bikes.  It may be what is needed to restore civility and consideration of others to some of them

SHOCKING dashcam footage has been released of the moment a Victorian man rammed his 4WD into a cyclist before getting out of his car to scream at him.

The clip was posted to YouTube on Saturday but was actually taken during an incident that occurred in November last year.

According to the YouTube user, “the owner of the video only decided to post it” over the weekend.

The video, titled “A cowards attack on a vulnerable road user”, shows a man pedalling in the cyclist lane, beside a 4WD on a suburban street in broad daylight.

About 10-seconds into the clip, the 4WD swerves deliberately to the left, hitting the innocent cyclist and sending him flying off his bike and on to the pavement.

Seemingly in shock, the cyclist stands up, checks his pockets and starts feeling his shoulder for injuries.

But by this time, the motorist has already pulled over and is stalking over to the cyclist, yelling and jabbing his finger towards him.

Barely able to contain his rage, the motorist picks up the cyclist’s bike and throws it into the bushes as the cyclist stands and watches helplessly.

The clip was accompanied by a caption condemning the motorist’s actions. “There is nothing that can justify this type of driving, even though it is nearly a year old, it is still a shocking insight (into) those that road rage,” the caption read.

“There is no reason, no law … that could possibly justify the actions of this driver.”

It is understood that the driver was charged by police with Reckless Driving Causing Injury and fined $1000.

The clip has been seen more than 10,600 times, with people furious that the motorist got off with such a lenient penalty.

“Driver should have been jailed for assault with a deadly weapon. Never to have a license again on release,” Geoff Semon wrote.

Another user, named Stewart, wrote that charge did not suit the attack. “If instead he had been charged with assault (and assault with a deadly weapon) then the punishment could have been much greater,” Stewart said.

“Given that this occurred late last year, it is overwhelmingly likely (that) Mr Road Rage is back behind the wheel already”.


William Shakespeare is slammed as a racist who helped spread 'white supremacy' on Q&A

Sheer ignorance. Has she ever studied a Shakespeare play?

English playwright William Shakespeare has been described as a 'whitesplainer' and a product of 'white supremacy' on the ABC's Q&A program.

Audience member Katriona Robertson started the discussion by asking how The Bard, often described as the greatest English language writer of all time, could be relevant in the 21st century.

'What kind of influence can a 454-year-old dead white guy have on Australia's varied cultural landscape without whitesplaining things?' she said.

Indigenous actress Nakkiah Lui, 27, answered by suggesting there was a racist element to Shakespeare's writing. 'I'd like to be able to call Shakespeare 'white classics',' she said. 'We identify that the canon in which we draw so much of our culture is actually racialised.'

Lui, who has previously featured in an ABC indigenous comedy skit describing white people as 'c***s', disputed Q&A host Tony Jones's suggestion that Shakespeare's writing on the human condition was 'beyond race'.

'I don't think bringing up race is a bad thing. Let's talk about race when it comes to whiteness as well,' she said.

'One of the reasons Shakespeare is so prolific is because he was a white guy.

'Because white supremacy is something that has been very prevalent around the world. Part of that is bringing in culture and Shakespeare's part of that.'

The theatre-special panel show in Sydney was discussing how Shakespeare had written about a black general in Othello.

Elements of the arts community use the term 'cultural appropriation' to disparage the idea of Europeans writing about ethnic minorities.

Lui, a co-writer of the ABC series Black Comedy, suggested telling the modern stories of racial minorities.

'I would like to see the way that we all still continue to embrace Shakespeare is to start to embrace the stories of people who aren't Shakespeare: the people who are young, who are people of colour, gender,' she said.

'People who don't necessarily fit the role or who don't come from the culture Shakespeare came from.'

Shakespeare died at age 52 in 1616, 172 years before the British First Fleet sailed into Sydney Harbour.

The bard who penned masterpieces Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing and the Merchant of Venice died 150 years before the Industrial Revolution began, leading to Great Britain embarking on imperial expansion.


Trad 'mock outrage' over 'racist' comment

Queensland treasurer Jackie Trad has been accused of "mock outrage" after calling on the opposition's deputy leader to resign for his "racist" comparison of her to Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's former propaganda chief.

Tim Mander likened Ms Trad, who is of Lebanese background, to "Comical Ali" while slamming her economic credentials at state parliament on Tuesday.

Comical Ali was the nickname of Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf, the spokesman for the Hussein regime during the 2003 Iraq War who frequently claimed Iraq was winning as coalition forces won battles.

Ms Trad said Mr Mander's comments were "deeply alarming and personally offensive".

"There are so many other references Tim Mander could have chosen to make his point but he chose a racially-based reference in relation to my background," Ms Trad said.

She called on Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington to sack Mr Mander if he didn't stand down.

Ms Frecklington cancelled a scheduled press conference and a statement was issued on behalf of Mr Mander, saying he didn't believe Ms Trad's concern was genuine.

"Labor's mock outrage today at my statement about their economic incompetence shows how out of touch Annastacia Palaszczuk's government really is," he said.

It is not the first time Ms Trad has been the target of racially based slurs from the LNP.

Member for Oodgeroo Mark Robinson called her "Jihad Jackie" on social media earlier this year.

Mermaid Waters MP Ray Stevens also called Ms Trad "Jihad Jackie" a number of times while the LNP were in office between 2012 and 2015.


Foreign threats to free speech at Australian universities

The growing concern about academic freedom and free speech on university campuses typically relates to illiberal student activists shutting down debate. But there is potentially a more subtle threat to free speech in higher education coming from foreign governments, especially China.

At a CIS breakfast on Monday, NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes outlined his concerns regarding Australian universities being too reliant on international students — to a point that undermines academic independence.

“When academics who criticise certain countries are hauled before senior diplomats to explain themselves, or when universities self-censor by using teaching materials that conform with foreign government propaganda so as to not upset international student cohorts, we have a duty as educators to speak out”, he said.

This may be controversial in some timid quarters but it shouldn’t be. To be clear, no one is suggesting that having large numbers of international students in Australia is a bad thing. Education is Australia’s third-largest export, and international students are an essential part of our higher education sector and university culture.

But given recent cases where academic independence appears to have been undermined on topics regarding Chinese politics, we should be vigilant.

Of course, some people will argue this problem at universities is imagined or exaggerated. Is there any concrete evidence of widespread political interference from China in Australian higher education? Surely, the more fee-paying international students studying here, the better for our economy? And shouldn’t we be far more concerned about attempts by local university student activists to restrict free speech?

Even if we concede the sceptics may have a point, one thing is certain: this is an issue worth debating. We can’t be afraid of identifying potential overseas threats to our universities’ independence out of fear of upsetting foreign governments.

Kudos to Minister Stokes for kick-starting the debate.


Institute of Public Affairs blasts Australian goverment's  'un-Liberal' energy policies

IPA’s John Roskam says government should ‘stop all subsidies to coal, wind and anything else’

The Institute of Public Affairs has blasted the Morrison government’s “big stick” in energy policy – a threat to break up energy companies in a bid to lower prices – accusing it of breaching Liberal values and endangering investment.

The IPA executive director, John Roskam, told Guardian Australia that “heavy-handed intervention” was “positively un-Liberal” and would open the door for Labor to campaign on policies bashing big businesses – which are “simply responding to the policy settings the government itself has created” to make a profit.

Roskam also warned against any form of subsidy for electricity generation including renewables subsidies, underwriting new power generation and indemnifying coal power against a possible future carbon price.

The intervention from the influential rightwing thinktank exposes divisions in the conservative side of politics on energy policy. Some, including MP Craig Kelly and former prime minister Tony Abbott, have called for an end to renewable subsidies and withdrawal from the Paris agreement, in line with demands from the IPA.

The Morrison government has indicated it wants to preserve popular solar subsidies and to stay in Paris while it pushes ahead with competition measures to lower price in the absence of a policy to reduce emissions by 2030.

Roskam said breaking up energy companies “continues the trend of targeting particular industries” as the Coalition did with the bank tax in the 2017 budget and would “further confuse Australians” about what it stands for.

“The idea that the government would determine the shape and size of the industry in this way cuts across every principle of the Liberal party,” he said. “If you want a guarantee that nobody will ever invest in Australia again, this is how you do it.”

The Coalition has promised policies to encourage new generation – including providing a floor price, contracts for difference and government loans – and has not ruled out using those measures to support new coal-fired power stations.

The energy minister, Angus Taylor, has said the government should address investors’ concerns about “political risks”, in a sign it could also indemnify coal power against future emissions reduction policies such as a carbon price. Taylor has also said there is “no plan” to change the small-scale renewable energy scheme.

Roskam said the government should “stop all subsidies to coal, wind and anything else” because “picking winners should be an anathema to the Liberal party”.

Although the IPA wants to see more coal power, Roskam said the government should “reduce the regulatory barriers to them being funded”, not keep the barriers and overcome them with subsidies.

He said he had “some sympathy” for the idea the government should “compensate coal for the disadvantage they have been put under” by support for renewables, but warned that indemnifying coal against political risk would be a “further distortion” in the market.

Roskam said the Liberal Party is “hopelessly conflicted on climate change” and “riven down the middle”. He warned the party can not appeal both to “rich people virtue-signalling because they can afford to” in the blue-ribbon seat of Wentworth who want emissions reduction, and voters who want lower power prices in Longman in Queensland, both sites of recent byelection defeats.

“Wentworth is not Australia,” Roskam said, echoing conservative commentators who have played down the byelection defeat.

The sentiment is not shared by moderate Liberal MPs who privately note the Liberals hold many seats with a base of supporters with high incomes and progressive social attitudes including Brisbane, Goldstein, Higgins, Kooyong, Warringah, Mackellar and North Sydney.

Roskam suggested the Liberal party should present a “sharp difference” with Labor by exiting the Paris agreement. “You can’t out virtue-signal the Labor party,” he said.

Despite the suggestion emissions and price reductions are incompatible, renewables are forecast to lower prices while coal subsidies would increase energy costs.

On Friday Scott Morrison told ABC’s AM that “all the information before us” is that Australia will meet its emissions reduction target of 26% by 2030, particularly due to “increased investment in renewables which is happening as a result of common sense and technology”.

The claim is contradicted by environment department figures showing emissions are rising and advice from the Energy Security Board that Australia will fall short under a business-as-usual scenario.

Morrison said the government needs to prioritise “making sure we’ve got reliable power”.


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, 2018

Hottest October day (28th) in 120 years: Queensland swelters as mercury tops 40C for the TENTH day in a row - and it's not over yet

One day is newsworthy? This is just nitpicking.  I have been enjoying springtime in Brisbane for a total of 40 years and the current season seems no different from any other.  We always get some warm days and some cool days and a temperture of 32 degrees C is no outlier for Brisbane.  34C is in fact about the usual summer afternoon temperature in Brisbane

At the time of writing in the afternoon of Monday 29th, it is in fact rather cool in Brisbane for the time of the year. I actually had to put a shirt on.  My thermometer says 22C.  We have just had rather a lot of rain too. It's been raining off and on for the last two days in fact.  No drought in Brisbane!

Monstrous heatwave, my foot

Australia's north is continuing to endure a monstrous heatwave, with no relief in sight.

Central Queensland registered 40C temperatures for the tenth consecutive day on Sunday, but the area will see extreme heat until Thursday. 

The soaring temperatures shattered October records that had been in place for the region for more than 120 years, with one regional town topping out at nearly 44C.

'In Brisbane we'll probably see a few showers develop late this evening, it will be pretty cloudy as well,' Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Chris Joseph told the Courier Mail.

'It will probably be a better chance for showers tomorrow and pretty cool as well.'

The stormy skies in the state capital will come after it too basked in sunshine on Friday and Saturday. Crowds gathered to escape the heat at Streets Beach in the the city's South Bank Parklands as they sweated through temperatures of 32C on Friday.

Australia's major cities also had a dry Sunday, with Hobart the only capital to register any rainfall at all.

'Some locations have had two to three times October's rainfall in a week, but others haven't seen any significant falls. Overall, the cropping season is looking like one of the 10 driest on record,' climatologist Felicity Gamble told Daily Mail Australia.

The record-breaking dry spell could be a sign of things to come.

The Bureau of Meterology has predicted higher than average temperatures throughout the summer months for nearly the entire country.

The heatwave brings with it particularly grim conditions for the country's farmers, who have been suffering through a major drought.


School bullying costing taxpayers millions in pay-outs to students and teachers who have suffered psychological injury and 'severe psychiatric disorders'

An inevitable result of the Leftist destruction of school discipline

Bullying in schools is costing taxpayers millions of dollars as both students and teachers seek compensation for psychological problems. Claims and out-of-court settlements surrounding bullying and harassment cost the NSW state government more than $7 million between 2014 and 2017. In many cases, the payouts were funded by taxpayers.

NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes conceded bullying has become one of the most challenging issues in primary and high schools.

Another growing concern is the issue not being addressed at home.  'Family structures are changing and becoming looser and in some cases weaker,' Mr Stokes said. 'We need to equip kids to help each other reject bullying because we can't rely on families as much as we have done in the past.'

According to figures from the Freedom of Information laws, compensation payments to 20 students and three teachers averaged more than $300,000 each.

'The consequences of bullying are lifelong and devastating, and also have huge impacts on the health of our society and the productivity of our economy,' Stokes said.

'Bullying has always been a problem but we've never quite understood how much damage it causes and once we have better ways of addressing it, we can build a happier and more confident society.'

Bullying cost the state government $4 million in payouts in 2014, $1.194m in 2015, $984,886 in 2016 and $860,257 last year.

Since axing 'Safe Schools'— a controversial anti-bullying program implemented in 2010, Stokes has been searching for a better remedy to tackle the social issue.

A new anti-bullying video starring kindergarten kids will be launched at an Australian-first anti-bullying strategy conference on Monday.

The conference will hear from leading figures in bullying, aggression and school adjustment from Australia, Canada and Finland. They will also travel to regional areas in Ballina, Dubbo, and Wagga Wagga for additional feedback on the issue.


'A very, very pleasant island': Tony Abbott claims Nauru is a 'tropical paradise' - as he urges Scott Morrison NOT to remove asylum seekers being held there

Tony Abbott has called Nauru a 'very, very pleasant island' as he urged prime minister Scott Morrison to not relax his government's asylum seeker policies to allow detainees on the island to leave.

His comments come after a Sunday Telegraph poll showed nearly 80 per cent of Australians want children and their families off the Pacific detention centre.

Mr Morrison's government is facing increasing pressure to accept a deal that will see migrants resettled in New Zealand.

Up to 50 children are still on the island and the government has been slowly removing those who need urgent medical attention. 

'Nauru is no hellhole by any means. I’ve been there. If you like living the tropics, it’s a very, very pleasant island,' Mr Abbott told 2GB's Ray Hadley.

He said moving the 'boat people' would be a bad move on policy.  'The people on Nauru and Manus now are nearly all would-be economic migrants. 'And if we give them what they want, we get more of them. That is to say the boats will start up again.'

Despite overwhelming references in the media to poor conditions on the island, Mr Abbot ventured as far to say the children are 'very well looked after.'

'Health services on Nauru for boat people are more extensive than the services a lot of regional towns get in Australia,' he said.

Labor has increased calls to amend legislation that stops those held in the offshore detention centres from coming to Australia. 

Mr Abbott made a call to arms and told the Liberal party to stand strong on its position. 'No government is absolutely perfect ... but the Morrison Government is an infinitely better bet than the Shorten Labor Party, which will be the most left-wing government in our history if we get it.'    


Climate policy is a wrecking ball claiming PM’s careers

IT’S the uncontrollable wrecking ball of Australian politics which so far has smashed the careers of four prime ministers.

And now it could be swinging Scott Morrison’s way, just as it had towards Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard from Labor, and his Liberal colleagues Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull.

This demolition beast is climate change policy and the inability of politicians to present coherent schemes of their own or to resist misrepresenting those of rivals.

To dodge the ball of policy destruction Prime Minister Morrison is attempting to please everyone.

He wants a system which will lower emissions, encourage coal-fired power stations, force private power companies to divest assets, promote new generating technologies, and cut household electricity bills.

It’s a political strategy more than a global warming response, constructed to appease the array of cemented positions on energy policy within the Liberal Party rather than the wishes of consumers, including business.

It has a touch of former prime minister Tony Abbott’s unsuccessful Direct Action scheme and a taste of former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull’s National Energy Guarantee.

And one of its objectives is to blame the power industry, not government, for everything from electricity reliability, price, and technologies.

Scott Morrison is pushing around power companies, threatening them with his “big stick”, in a way he shrank from doing with banks when he was treasurer.

It’s a way of saying, “It’s not our fault you don’t like your electricity bills.”

Which is the gist of Mr Morrison’s comments on the Seven Network on Friday: “That is why we have to put more pressure on the big energy companies so they are doing the right thing by their customers and we are going to back that up with the laws which will give effect to that.

“As I said, we will take the big stick to the energy companies.”

And the timing is right for this blame shifting as the use of cheaper renewables is starting to lower prices.

The Morrison government will be delighted to take the credit. But it underlines the complexity of the power game here.

Australia alone of developed nations has this preoccupation with climate change as a political battleground.

In Australia we can’t even settle on what is at stake.

Is it what Kevin Rudd called the great moral challenge — which portrayed it as something which can’t be measured by a temperature gauge alone — or is it about using more coal?

The climate change debate here can take many identities as political leaders shuffle around priorities to suit their already-existing positions.

So at one moment it’s not about addressing a changing climate, it’s about the unreliability of renewable energy, or about lowering electricity prices, or about supporting coal resources, or about not being told what to do by the United Nations.

There have been times of confusion as to what was being addressed.

What has been clear is that the task is hugely difficult for two reasons Kevin Rudd recently underlined.

One is the daunting task of convincing a current generation to make sacrifices for a future one.

And because of the technical complexity of the climate change responses, which understandably baffle most people. That’s one reason why the Prime Minister uses the clunky term “fair dinkum power” instead of “dispatchable power”.

Desperation has driven some political leaders to absurd proposals. Remember Julia Gillard’s 2010 “citizens’ assembly”? It was in effect a surrender to the issue and a flick pass to populist opinion.

Stubborn refusal to accept there was a problem at all has clogged policy development. Tony Abbott once declared the science of climate change was “crap” and has only toughened his opinion since then.

And disgraceful political game playing has made it harder for voters to sift the facts from blatant dishonesty.

Barnaby Joyce set the pace by claiming Labor policies would send the price of the Sunday roast to $100. It was of course rubbish.

It’s that political legacy Scott Morrison is attempting to defy, and the real test is whether he can do so and still produce a viable policy.


Sydney Anglicans ban valorization of homosexuals

The Sydney Anglican clergy are just about the last of the real Anglicans.  Most of the rest are just dressup queens

The Sydney Anglican Diocese has provoked controversy by proposing a policy to ensure that all church property is used in ways consistent with Anglican church teaching.

The proposal vetoed activities such as same-sex marriage receptions, meditative yoga, and indigenous smoking ceremonies, and was intended to extend to some 900 church properties. Parts of the policy — those concerned with smoking ceremonies — were withdrawn following protests from indigenous leaders and school principals. But many were still angry at what the church had proposed.

Religious doctrines often seem bizarre to those who do not belong to the faith community. It can be hard, for example, to see what problem believers have with yoga or hosting wedding receptions.

The Sydney Anglican policy emerged from specific Christian beliefs about salvation, the human person, human sexuality, and freedom. To those who share these beliefs, the policy might well make sense. To those who don’t, the whole exercise can — and did — seem bizarre, and simply another example of the irrelevance of religion to mainstream everyday Australian life.

After a fortnight when religious schools have been accused of wanting to expel gay students and church landlords accused of wanting to do the same to gay tenants, religious freedom is still a hot topic. And the reason is that one of the features of being a citizen in an open and free society is having to figure out how to live with those whose worldviews and beliefs are far removed from our own.

Even if we think they are wrong and that their practices are offensive, we must be sure to allow religious people and communities the freedom to interpret the world and the universe as they see fit. And we must also afford them the freedom to order their affairs — including their property use — in ways that align with those beliefs, as long as they do nothing illegal or harmful to others.

Of course, if we don’t like it — and often there is a lot not to like — we are free to criticise it because we live in a society that tolerates freedom of speech and the frank exchange of opinions. But criticising a church for attempting to implement a policy that could have a substantial impact on non-church people is one thing; it is quite another to tell it how to deal with its own property.


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, 2018

Dutton's department challenges federal court's authority to order Nauru transfers

This is a small local version of a big problem in the USA.:  Does the judiciary have the right to tell the administration what to do?  Or should they stick to saying whether some existing action is legal or illegal? Clearly, they do not have any authority to run the administration but for various reasons  American politicians have not challenged the "Ultra vires" meddling of the courts -- so it is heartening to see the Australian government taking it on

 A child refugee is transferred off Nauru. The rate of medical transfer orders has ratcheted up as the health crisis worsens
The Australian government is challenging the legality of the federal court hearing applications for urgent medical transfers of refugees and asylum seekers held on Nauru.

The move comes amid a rush of transfers, and appears in contrast to claims made by Australian Border Force to those detainees that the delays are due to the Nauruan government.

Should the federal court action be successful it has the potential to void some previous orders, forcing those cases to refile in the high court.

The rate of medical transfer orders has ratcheted up as the health crisis worsens, criticism of the policy strengthens, and the Nauruans appear to have stopped attempting to block departures.

The home affairs department raised the jurisdictional challenge in a case involving a child detainee, her mother and two siblings, Fairfax Media reported.

The family have already been transferred to Australia. But lawyers for Peter Dutton’s department have continued to argue that under section 494AB of the Migration Act, the federal court cannot hear legal proceedings against the commonwealth relating to a “transitory person”. It is believed to be the first time the government has made this argument in about 50 cases relating to the transfer of people from Nauru.

On Thursday two federal court judges ordered both parties to submit their arguments in coming days for a yet-to-be scheduled expedited hearing, expected next week. The child, an 11-year-old Iranian girl, is being represented by the law firm Robinson Gill and the Human Rights Law Centre.

“This has come out of the blue, and there’s a risk it could make it much harder for desperately unwell children to get the urgent, lifesaving medical care they need,” said Daniel Webb, director of legal advocacy at the HRLC.

The challenge appears at odds with the government’s messages to detainees laying the blame for transfer delays with Nauruan authorities. Guardian Australia is aware of ABF writing or verbally suggesting to people or their lawyers that the department had approved their medical transfer but Nauru was holding up cases.

One correspondence said the government of Nauru had to approve all transfers through its overseas medical referral committee, which examined medical evidence and recommendations for treatment outside the country.

The letter claimed that it had “become apparent that the government of Nauru will no necessarily act on the recommendations of the OMR committee. Rather it will exercise a residual discretion which is being referred to as ‘uplift approval’. This discretion is being exercised by the Nauruan Secretary of Multicultural affairs personally.”

The secretary is Barina Waqa, daughter of President Baron Waqa. She was also identified as the bureaucrat who blocked the court-ordered transfer of a detainee last month.

The letter said the Australian government had a presence on Nauru in the ABF, and it was through that which the government “can attempt to achieve your clients’ transfers to Australia”.

ABF was there at the pleasure of the Nauruan government, however, which had “made it clear” it was expected to respect the OMR and uplift approval process.

It said the department would take all reasonable steps to arrange a transfer but ultimately this depended on the Nauruan government.

In many cases, doctors have recommended medical transfers for months or even years. The first known case of Nauru officials blocking transfers was in early September, and Guardian Australia understands that the practice appears to have stopped.

Australia’s government has shifted messaging in recent weeks, responding to criticism of its intransigence to calls for a mass evacuation with the claim that it has brought dozens of children off the island for medical care.

While many of the transfers have been through ABF and the OMR process, or in immediately agreeing to a legal application before it gets to the hearing stages, others have required the intervention of a federal court judge.

“Time and time again we are seeing the government force children at risk of dying to go to court at all hours of the night to get emergency, lifesaving medical care,” Webb said. “We’re talking about 52 kids who have been detained for over five years. They need an urgent, humane resolution, not more political games.”

A spokeswoman for the Department of Home Affairs told Guardian Australia the department had been “obliged to raise the matter once it became aware of the jurisdictional issue”.

The challenge had not impacted any medical transfer cases, she said, and all would be dealt with in the usual way until the matter was resolved.


The annual war on Christmas by spoilsports has begun. Pressure from another Melbourne council forces closure of popular Christmas lights display that has raised thousands for charity over 18 years

Another Christmas lights display in a Melbourne suburb has been cancelled due to pressure from an unhelpful local council.

Despite raising thousands of dollars for charity since 1999, the lights display in St Helena will not be staged this year.    

It comes just weeks after the popular Xmas lights display in Narre Warren was also cancelled by council due to astronomical costs associated with traffic issues.

Frustrated organisers of the Allumba Drive event in St Helena, a suburb in north-east Melbourne, say relentless pressure from Banyule City Council over the past few years resulted in the outcome, leaving the local community seething.

On the event's Facebook page, it is described as one of Melbourne's 'biggest and brightest' light displays which has been running for just under two decades.

The event draws huge crowds each December and has collected almost $20,000 for the Make A Wish Foundation.

An organiser of the light display in St Helena explained why the difficult decision was taken.

'Putting up the Christmas lights is the easy part – dealing with the council and compliance is the difficult part and we just don't have the time or the money to do it any longer,' he told 3AW.

'On the back of the lack of co-operation from Banyule City Council, we decided we would not submit an application for the Christmas period of 2018.

'We are tired of the drama the (light) display causes and our decision to not go ahead this year is final.'

The organiser did encourage people to continue to donate to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which grants wishes to children diagnosed with critical illnesses.


No end in sight to electricity consumers paying for poor policy

We were staying in a Queensland country town a few weeks ago. I got talking to the owner of the local bakery. He was looking at his latest ­financial statement that the ­accountant had sent through. And there it was in black and white. His annual power bill last financial year was $114,000. It had been a tad over $30,000 two years before.

He employs 30 people, some on a part-time basis. Business seemed to be brisk but it’s hard to put up the price of pies and buns too much without demand dropping.

It’s easy to concentrate on the impact of rising electricity prices on households. And let’s be clear on that score. In real terms, the ­average retail price of electricity over the 10 years ending in 2017-18 rose by 51 per cent and the average retail bill rose by 35 per cent (people have used less electricity, in part because of the higher prices).

But for many small and med­ium-sized businesses, the increase in their electricity bills has been higher again. Many are exposed to the full variations in wholesale ­prices, which have risen from less than $40 a megawatt hour to more than $100/MWh before settling around the $70 to $80/MWh mark. This threatens the viability of a number of businesses.

It’s hardly surprising the federal government has decided to focus on getting electricity bills down. Let’s be clear about reduced emissions and the commitment the government has made to the Paris climate agreement — the target in respect of electricity will be met by the early 2020s. Every participant in the industry ­acknowledges this.

It’s one of the reasons why the emissions reduction target that was part and parcel of the now ­defunct national energy guarantee was superfluous. Note also there was considerable manipulation going on of the precise details of this target to suit the activist ambitions of those promoting the NEG. The only part of the NEG now worth saving relates to the ­reliability obligation, which is ­likely to become binding much sooner than generally expected.

For those who complain about a decade of energy policy paralysis, the truth is there has been a constant and active government policy position over that time. Renewable energy sources have been massively promoted, favoured and subsidised.

The renewable energy target, which remains in force until 2030, has spun off subsidies to renewable energy generators to the tune of about $80/MWh (the value has been higher in the past) through large-scale generation certificates. The value of these LGCs is expected to drop but not for several years.

In addition, there have been the interventions of reverse auctions run by state governments and the ACT that provide guaranteed cash flow for renewable energy projects. There are also the rules in the National Energy Market that give preferential dispatch to renewable energy generators. And there are the mountains of subsidies available through bodies such as the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

Estimates put the value of the subsidies paid to the renewable ­energy sector at between $2 billion and $3bn a year, paid by consumers and taxpayers. That’s not policy paralysis; that’s policy promotion of a particular sector. If we ignore the decimation of the business models of dispatchable power generators and the much higher electricity prices we have had to pay, arguably the policy has worked. It is estimated that $2bn was invested last year in renewable energy generation — a record amount. And this year the boom has been even bigger.

The Clean Energy Regulator has released information that 34 renewable energy power stations with a combined capacity of 667MW were accredited last month, which was the largest single month of solar and wind ­capacity since April 2001. Nearly 2800MW has been accredited so far this year, compared with the previous annual record set last year of 1088MW.

The CER also notes about 1600MW of rooftop solar will be installed this year — the six panels every minute scenario mentioned by Audrey Zibelman of the Australian Energy Market Operator — which is up 44 per cent on last year. There are now more than three million small-scale installations. Note there are also about 40,000 commercial solar systems.

Now, if renewable energy could provide reliable electricity at ­affordable prices, these trends would be great. But even on the most optimistic estimates of the boosters of renewable energy, wind can produce at most 50 per cent of the time and solar at 30 per cent. This produces a very large shortfall that has to be covered by firming capacity. Batteries and pumped hydro don’t come close to filling the gap and are unlikely to do so for many years.

And here’s another thing that needs to be considered when ­observing the boom in renewable energy investment: 10 coal-fired power stations with a total ­capacity of more than 5000MW have left the grid since 2012. None of these stations has been replaced.

What is beginning to emerge is a crisis affecting the grid that makes up the National Electricity Market, which covers South Australia, Victoria, NSW, Queensland, Tasmania and the ACT. This is being recognised by AEMO, which worries about the reliability of the grid in general and the possible shortfall of power in South Australia and Victoria at certain times during the coming summer.

The NEM electricity grid has always been long and skinny. It is now longer and skinnier, with far too much unreliable renewable energy and far too little firming ­capacity. This is the principal reason why federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor is so focused on getting more firming capacity into the system to back up the runaway ­investment in renewable energy.

It is also why he has decided to take a resolute line with the large “gentailers” — think AGL, Origin and Energy Australia — whose ­behaviour has contributed to the growing fragility of the system as well as to rising prices. The companies are quite capable of manipulating the market while promising to invest in firming ­capacity but never quite following through with their plans.

Of course, in a normal competitive market government should always refrain from intervening to force down prices. But the electricity market is not a normal market. Apart from the fact electricity is an essential service, the high ­degree of market concentration almost certainly means prices are higher than they should be. The egregious behaviour of the retail divisions of the gentailers, by dudding loyal customers in particular, indicates they cannot be trusted. Just ignore their howls of complaints about the downsides of regulation. By setting a reference price for standing offers, this will force down prices more generally, and the companies know it.

By bringing more dispatchable power into the system as quickly as possible — another focus of Taylor — wholesale prices will hopefully fall, bringing further price relief for customers. The truth is the gentailers have been feasting on high wholesale prices. Surely no one will complain if the government offers the same cost of capital to new dispatchable power plants that is available to ­intermittent ­renewable energy plants?

With all this new renewable ­energy coming into the market, there is a real question mark over the commercial viability of some of the projects. When the wind is blowing and the sun is shining, wholesale prices can be driven to low levels. Clearly, the backers of these projects are basically betting on the election of a Labor government to impose a higher emissions reduction target and a reinstituted RET. In this scenario, we would expect electricity prices to resume their upward trajectory.

The NEM is in disarray, but let’s not kid ourselves that this is because of policy paralysis. This is because of incredibly poor policy where the consequences in terms of price and reliability were completely foreseeable. The challenge for the federal government is how to pull us back from this abyss.


From a safe distance we’ll watch Tasmania’s gender folly fail

When it comes to Tasmania’s plan to become the first state to erase a baby’s gender from a birth certificate, please doff your cap to our federalist forefathers. They deserve more credit than we often give them. The federal system set down in our Constitution means one state can conduct a social experiment while the rest of the country looks on and learns.

The federal structure has the other added bonus of offering a shorter distance between the rulers and the ruled, at least on matters reserved to the states. That won’t save a state from foolish politicians, but as a matter of democratic will we cannot fault the gender-bender politics of Tasmania’s parliament. If most voters cannot agree on who should govern their state, instead opting for a motley crew of politicians more interested in social experiments than economic policy, well then, that’s democracy.

People get the politicians they deserve. And in Tasmania, the Liberal Hodgman government relies on the casting vote of a Speaker elected to the position with Greens and Labor support. The original bill is sensibly aimed at ending the need for transgender people to divorce before they can change their gender on official documents. The Greens and Labor then went further, pushing for amendments to remove gender from birth certificates, with Speaker Sue Hickey’s support.

If the bill passes, watch that other magnificent part of democracy: blowback from voters when politicians overstep the mark. And people in mainland states have the luxury of watching this social experiment unfold and the chance to harness sensible arguments so we do not follow Tasmania’s folly.

Where do you start when it comes to talking about sex and gender? I tried delving into the academic world for some clues. That was a mistake. I discovered a morass of ivory tower posturing, confusion and weird new words meant to uncover some old and apparently persistent evil. Calls to erase sex and gender as a way to topple the white/cis/hetero/patriarchal supremacy and normativity sound better suited to a horror movie than reasoned argument.

I bumped into feminists who think that transgender people who alter their gender reinforce sexist gender roles. And others who say that transgender people challenge oppressive gender norms. I found some academics who think that if you were a man, you experienced male privilege, so it is impossible for you to be a real woman. I found mind-numbing academic references to phallocractic technology and “the transsexually constructed lesbian-feminist”.

I discovered intra-feminist conflicts between women, including lesbians who feel threatened by trans activism. And I was struck by the many, many accusations of transphobia by those who brook no disagreement with their activism and their agenda.

After that entanglement with feminist theories and trans activism, I was still interested in trying to work through Tasmania’s dalliance with sex and gender politics. So, I headed closer to the ground. I read hundreds of comments from readers of this newspaper that followed the report that Tasmania may expunge gender from birth certificates. Most of the readers expressed tolerance, respect for human dignity, thoughtful ideas, a real distaste for discrimination and a great deal of common sense.

Their sentiments exposed a glaring chasm with the unintelligible tosh and intolerance common to many academics. So allow me to mention what Edmund Burke night call the gritty wisdom of unlettered men and women.

One reader, Pamela, said this is another step to take away identity — and notice it is by those people who routinely sup at the table of identity politics. She said she struggled to understand people who wish to dominate others. “If some wish to omit gender of their child (from a birth certificate), OK, but others should be allowed to do what they wish.” Many many readers echoed Pamela’s belief in freedom of choice for parents of newborns.

Many recognised the difference between sex as a biological reality and gender as a social identity that for some will differ from their chromosomal mix. One writer suggested that we keep sex on birth certificates but discard gender. That was echoed by Sandra, who suggested we “send ‘gender’ back to the grammarians and the ‘gender studies’ departments in the ivory towers”.

Gizelle saw the bright side to expunging gender from birth certificates: “this could be the end of the virtue-signalling for female quotas”. Dream on. More likely the same people who want gender banned are likely “the same people, in a different forum, calling for gender-related targets for business and politicians as well”, said another reader.

Here we go again, said Howard. “A vocal minority not satisfied with their win on same-sex marriage.” Barbara agreed, asking: why must we strip the majority of people of an important part of their identity to accommodate the agenda of a tiny minority? They both have a point.

The plan by the Greens and Labor to erase gender from birth certificate is part of a broader plan to erase gender identity altogether, or at least make it mighty difficult to include mention of gender if you are just a woman or a man.

The proposed amendments will prohibit the registrar of births, deaths and marriages from including information about the gender of a child, unless required by a court or an applicable federal law. A person over 16 may record their gender by statutory declaration. A child under 16 years of age would need a declaration by at least one parent and the child’s own express wish, with a magistrate deciding any disputes.

The public reasons from LGBTI activists for these changes do not match their private agenda. What LGBTI advocate Rodney Croome fails to explain is how it is discriminatory to offer parents a choice to record the sex of their newborn on a birth certificate.

Banning gender on a birth certificate does not encourage tolerance and inclusion, but stripping people of their gender at birth cements a social experiment aimed at encouraging gender fluidity.

Tasmanian Greens leader Cassy O’Connor said the current laws require that transgender people undergo invasive reproductive surgery if they want to change their birth certificate to reflect their identity.

If that is the case, have a debate about that rather than using a legal sledgehammer to remove gender from all birth certificates.

Transgender activist Martine Delaney says removing gender from birth certificates won’t harm anyone.

How can she know that? If a man is able to pass himself off as woman using a genderless birth certificate to gain entry to women’s spaces, or ends up in a women’s prison, how can Delaney know there are no risks to women’s safety?

In the debate over sex, gender and the law, women’s groups are increasingly arguing for caution and consideration of all groups, not just a transgender minority.

Delaney’s intervention is a neat reminder of her illiberal approach to open debate about same-sex marriage when she raced off to Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Commissioner because she was offended by a pamphlet from the Catholic Church that set out its teaching on marriage.

Expect the same intolerance with more confected claims of hurt feelings, hate speech and transphobia. That is the experience from Britain where far-reaching changes allow for self-identification, possibly with no time periods or medical advice needed. If John wakes up one morning and decides he is Jane, he can self-identify as a woman for legal purposes before the sun sets. None of this is to mock the vast majority of transgender people who endure excruciating mental and physical anguish about their sex and their gender. But to suggest there are no dangers in a radical social shift is like believing in pixies.

To shut down those who wish to raise questions, now a routine tactic among some trans activists in Britain, is worse than ignorance. It is intolerance. Writing in The Spectator earlier this year, Judith Green from Woman’s Place UK outlined physical threats, social media harassment and hate-based vilification aimed at her group and any venue where they meet to discuss the consequences of new gender laws on women, children and society as a whole.

Last week, the Speaker of Tasmania’s lower house, who will decide whether gender is erased from birth certificates in that state, said the world is changing. Hickey said we need to be open to considering things that might discriminate or harm someone. It works both ways. As one reader of this newspaper wrote last week in response, “in the not too distant future I can imagine a world where it will be almost impossible to get through a day without offending someone, or some group”.

Note again the contrast between the live-and-let-live sentiments of many readers of this newspaper and the freedom-loathing agendas of academics, bureaucracies and politicians.

Language police in Victoria ­expect public servants to use gender-neutral pronouns. Language police in the ACT Labor caucus want to remove all references to Mr, Miss, Mrs or Ms in parliament. In some Australian primary and secondary schools, social media activists funded by Facebook are instructing students that gender identity exists on a ­spectrum.

And now social engineers in Tasmania want to erase gender altogether from birth certificates: no choice, no freedom to differ, just one-size-fits-all genderless babies.

These days, the political divide is less about Right and Left and more about those who believe in greater freedom and those who don’t. History reminds us that human dignity rests on people having more, not less, freedom.


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

28 October, 2018

Australia's economic 'lucky streak' jeopardised by political infighting, reliance on China, report warns

This is a repeat of Donald Horne's old jaundiced claim that Australia does well only because it is a "lucky" country. 

But it's not luck and never has been.  The Australian continent is resource-rich but so is the African continent.  Need I say more on that? Australia is very similar to the USA in its economic and cultural arrangements so gets prosperity by its own doing, just as the USA does. 

Past Prime Ministers, Hawke, Keating and Howard all instituted economically rational policies which have been very beneficial to prosperity and the present conservative government even seems to have reined in the debt splurge inflicted on Australia over six years from 2007 to 2013 by the Rudd/Gillard Leftist government

As to the threats enumerated above, political infighting among the conservatives has been deplorable but nonetheless has seen economically constructive policies adopted throughout.

And the idea that problems with China will be anything more than superficial is absurd.  What end would it serve for them to restrict the major inflows of coal, iron, copper, wool and dairy products that they presently get from Australia? 

Australian mines and miners are very efficient and Australia is located only a short shipping distance from the major Chinese ports so they can buy from Australia very cheaply, often cheaper than they can buy from Chinese sources

Australia has an "enviable economic record" but its "lucky streak" could come to an end due to domestic infighting and an over-reliance on Chinese trade, according to a report published today.

Political infighting and a revolving door of PMs has become a cause for concern

The report, written by The Economist's Asia editor Edward McBride, says Australia has one of the "world's top economies" based on its steady economic growth and relative resilience during two financial crises.

It adds that no other wealthy country has had comparative economic growth when looking at the stable increase of wages in contrast to widespread global wage stagnation.

McBride attributes this to reforms made 30 years ago by former prime ministers Bob Hawke and Paul Keating — who floated the Australian dollar and deregulated the financial sectors — as well as the more recent diversification of the economy at the end of the resource boom.

Speaking to the ABC, McBride said Australia's 27 years without a recession and affordable health care and pensions were some of the key reasons for Australia's position.

However, the report says Australia's reliance on Chinese trade, as well as domestic infighting, has the potential to destabilise policies which have underpinned the country's economic success.

A Beijing boycott would shake Australian livelihoods
China is Australia's largest bilateral trading partner with imports and exports worth some $183 billion last year, according to the Australian Trade and Investment Commission.

The second biggest trading partner is now Japan at $71 billion after it took over the United States last year.

But China is Australia's largest buyer of iron ore, copper, wool and wine, and it also provides 16 per cent of Australia's tourists.

In his report, McBride says a potential economic boycott by Beijing could have a significant impact on Australia.

"Should Chinese tourists disappear, or Chinese drinkers stop slurping Australian wine, many Australians would lose their livelihood," he writes.

A boycott situation would not be beyond the realms of possibility as similar events have happened in the past. Last year Beijing orchestrated a boycott against South Korea due to Seoul's decision to allow the installation of an American anti-missile system.

However, Hans Hendrischke, a professor of Chinese business at the University of Sydney, said the trade relationship was reciprocal.

"The problem with this scenario is that any unilateral reduction of trade links between China and Australia would cause immediate economic harm for no as of yet evident political benefit," he said, adding both sides provide goods and services the other does not have.

Minister for Trade Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham told the ABC Australia would continue to support the multilateral trading system, and it was "opening new doors" for Australian businesses through trade deals with Indonesia, Hong Kong, and the European Union.

"We have strong trade and investment ties with China, the United States, and many other countries," he said in a statement.

"I continue to urge all parties to respect the long established rules of international trade and to avoid action that could ultimately damage their economies and those of other nations."

Domestic politics 'a cause for concern'

In another key finding, the report says while the Australian economy "is without equal in the rich world … its [domestic] politics are a cause for concern".

But the infighting within Australian political parties has impacted businesses to the point of being a cause for concern not only for the economy, but also for diplomatic relations.

The report says Australia's recent fast turnover of prime ministers has created feelings of disillusionment towards future policies.

"That is especially alarming because the trend of rising incomes which marks Australia out from the rest of the rich world is running out of steam, and the consensus around policies that underpinned it, such as openness to immigration, is eroding," the report says.

If politicians do not sort themselves out, the report adds, Australia risks becoming as troubled as everywhere else.

"I'm surprised by how few Australians seem to realise how much their country stands out, not just in terms of how long it has gone without a recession, but also in terms of income growth, immigration and economic reform," McBride said.

"It's an amazing record, and one that is important not to jeopardise."


'Knuckle-dragging philistines': Labor targets Liberals for blocking arts grants

So we have a Leftist party wanting to transfer taxpayers' money to middle-class ivory-tower types.  That leaves the conservatives as defenders of the workers' money.  Something wrong there?

My own first degree was an Arts degree but I think the argument in favour of Humanities involvement is greatly over-egged.  I am not sure that any arts and humanities courses should be publicly funded.  There is very little evidence that they do any good.  All we get are high flown assertions to that effect

I myself greatly enjoyed my studies of Homer, Thucydides, Chaucer, Tennyson, Wordsworth, Hopkins, Goethe, Wittgenstein, Schubert, Bach and Beethoven etc. and still do -- but I can't see that I needed to go to university to acquire that familiarity

Labor has accused former education minister Simon Birmingham of pandering to “knuckle-dragging rightwing philistines” by blocking 11 Australian Research Council grants in the humanities totalling $4m.

Senate estimates hearings on Thursday revealed that Birmingham blocked $1.4m of discovery grants for topics including a history of men’s dress from 1870-1970, “beauty and ugliness as persuasive tools in changing China’s gender norms” and “post orientalist arts in the Strait of Gibraltar”.

Birmingham, now trade minister, also blocked $1m of early career awards announced in November 2017 including a $330,000 grant for research into legal secularism in Australia and $336,000 for a project titled “Soviet cinema in Hollywood before the blacklist”.

Two further grants announced in June 2018 were also blocked: “The music of nature and the nature of music” ($765,000) and “writing the struggle for Sioux and US modernity” ($926,372).

The grant projects were proposed by researchers at universities including the Australian Catholic University, the Australian National University as well as Sydney, Melbourne, New South Wales and Monash universities. All grants were independently approved by the ARC.

Labor’s innovation spokesman, Kim Carr, accused Birmingham of judging research on its title and targeting the humanities because no research in other disciplines such as science were blocked.  "He’s pandering to rightwing extremism in an attempt to peddle ignorance,” Carr told Guardian Australia. “There is no case for this blatant political interference to appease the most reactionary elements of the Liberal and National party and the shock-jocks.

“These are grants in arts, culture, music and history which somehow or other in his mind are not acceptable … what is his research expertise to justify interventions of that type?”

Carr said that when the former education minister Brendan Nelson vetoed humanities grants in 2004-05 there was “outcry from the Australian research community”.

When in government Labor instituted a protocol that blocking research required a special declaration so the decision was public, which Carr said the Coalition had rescinded.

Birmingham responded on Twitter: “I‘m pretty sure most Australian taxpayers preferred their funding to be used for research other than spending $223,000 on projects like ‘Post orientalist arts of the Strait of Gibraltar

In a statement the Australian Academy of the Humanities expressed “shock and anger” that the minister intervened and called for the $4m of funding to be restored.

The academy president, Joy Damousi, said Australia’s research funding system “is highly respected around the world for its rigour and integrity”. “Political interference of this kind undermines confidence and trust in that system,” Damousi said.  “The rigour of that system and the competition for funding means that only exceptional applications make it through the process.

“A panel of experts have judged these projects to be outstanding, yet that decision has apparently been rejected out of hand by the former minister.”


Australia: King coal surges 60pc as ministers agree to work on reliable power

Coal has emerged as the nation’s most valuable resource commodity — increasing in value by almost 60 per cent over the past five years — as states and territories agree to a December timeline for a deal to make electricity supply more reliable.

Following a meeting with his state and territory counterparts yesterday, federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor said progress had been made on a key element of the now-scrapped national energy guarantee, the “reliability obligation”. The obligation, to be implemented by mid-2019, would help to shore up stability of the ­energy system by requiring retailers to contract ahead to guarantee supply during forecast shortfalls.

State and territory energy ministers used the Council of Australian Governments’ Energy Council meeting in Sydney to agree to consider a draft bill in ­December establishing the new obligation amid concern about the security of supply over summer. “The reliability obligation is absolutely crucial,” Mr Taylor said. “We know this summer we’re facing some real challenges.”

Australian Energy Market Operator chief executive Audrey Zibelman briefed the ministers on preparations to buttress the security of supply in the national electricity market over the Christmas holiday period. AEMO warns of the need for “additional measures” to guarantee greater reliability.

Its warning coincided with the release of a new data series from the Australian Bureau of Statistics yesterday showing that coal mined in Australia in 2017-18 was valued at $65.6 billion, up from $41.4bn in 2013. “This is the first time that statistics for output (by commodity) and intermediate use of inputs have been published for the mining industry,” the ABS said.

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the data showed the mining industry added 8.8 per cent of the value of the Australian economy in the past financial year compared with 4.7 per cent in 1994-95.

“In 1994-95, Australian coal production was worth $8.8bn, compared with an incredible $65.6bn in June this year,” he said.

Gas production also increased dramatically over the past five years, rising from $22bn in 2013 to $46.5bn in 2018. In 1994-95, gas production was worth $2.6bn.

Resources Minister Matt Canavan seized on the results, saying it was “another reminder that Australia’s mining industry remains crucial to our nation’s wealth”.

“Fossil fuel exports from ­Australia are helping our economy maintain positive growth and get the budget back into surplus,” he said. “Just in the past two years, coal and gas exports have surged by $50bn — that’s equal to our ­entire exports of agriculture.”

The growth coincides with a debate over a new government plan to shortlist a “pipeline” of ­potential baseload power generation projects, including new clean coal stations, by early next year. The projects would be eligible for government assistance under a scheme being designed. Mr Taylor has signalled the government could potentially indemnify a new coal project against the risk of a ­future carbon price.

A government plan to establish a “default market offer” against which energy retailers would set their prices was also discussed at the Energy Council meeting. The ministers agreed on the “need to develop a reference point/comparison rate against which all ­offers could be measured”, for consideration in December.


Challenging the Campus Rape Narrative in Australia

written by Bettina Arndt

What do senior university administrators chat about when they attend overseas conferences with others of their kind? Surely when vice-chancellors hobnob with American college presidents the conversation must sometimes stray to their troubles—particularly the costly business of managing the so-called “campus rape crisis.”

So how come these smart leaders from the Australian higher education sector haven’t twigged to the dangers ahead? Ripples from the fallout of the campus rape frenzy on American college campuses have travelled across the world. Back in the 1990s, there were campus protests with furious young women brandishing placards claiming one in four students are raped. The alarmist 2015 propaganda movie The Hunting Ground was screened across the country, showing serial rapists preying on college women. By 2011, the activists had achieved their main goal, with Obama requiring all publicly-funded universities to set up tribunals for determining sexual assault cases.

So American universities got into the criminal investigation business, with lower standards of proof greatly increasing the chances of conviction in date rape cases. Such cases remain a stumbling block in the highly successful and much needed feminist push for justice for rape victims. Rape allegations are now treated far more seriously, convictions are more common and attract far higher penalties. According to the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics, in my own state of New South Wales, numbers of sexual assault convictions have almost doubled since 1995, and over 50 percent of such convictions receive prison sentences compared to about 10 percent of other crimes.1

But in he-said, she-said cases, often involving intoxicated youngsters, juries are notoriously reluctant to send young men to jail, particularly when they don’t know who to believe. The American college tribunal system lowered the bar, requiring lower standards of proof, with the accused not protected by lawyers, often denied full access to allegations, and lacking other legal rights available under criminal law. It’s led to a steady stream of young men (and occasionally women) being suspended from college, their lives derailed by this “victim-centred justice.”

That’s proved a mighty costly exercise for the American university system, particularly with a number of these accused young men and their families winning legal cases and receiving substantial payouts from colleges that failed to protect due process rights. Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against universities alleging such violations. In most cases, judges have ruled in favor of the accused student and there has been increasing public disquiet about the unfairness of these kangaroo courts. In a 2016 ruling against Brandeis University, a US district court judge wrote:

If a college student is to be marked for life as a sexual predator, it is reasonable to require that he be provided a fair opportunity to defend himself and an impartial arbiter to make that decision. Put simply, a fair determination of the facts requires a fair process, not tilted to favour a particular outcome, and a fair and neutral fact-finder, not predisposed to reach a particular conclusion.

All of this has played out publicly on the world stage. Yet, despite all the warnings, Australian universities are cheerfully bounding down the same road. What is quite astonishing is that here they are doing in the face of solid evidence that the campus rape crisis simply doesn’t exist.

In August 2017, the Australian Human Rights Commission released the results of a million-dollar survey into sexual assault and harassment on university campuses, following years of lobbying by local activists. Designed to provide proof of the rape crisis, it proved to be a total fizzer. Only 0.8 percent per year of the 30,000 surveyed reported any sexual assault, even using the broadest possible definition including “tricked into sex against your will” and sexual contact with a stranger on the bus or train trip to university. In response, the activists immediately shifted ground, issuing alarmist warnings about high levels of sexual violence which was actually low grade harassment, including staring, sexual jokes or comments.

The results were in, but I was the only journalist writing in mainstream media that day to celebrate our safe campuses. My news story included data from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics showing campuses are about 100 times safer than the rest of the community for young women.2

Across the country, vice-chancellors kowtowed to the feminist activists with endless displays of virtue-signalling, promising to tackle the sexual violence with 24-hour help lines, sexual assault and harassment units, and sexual consent courses. I wrote to all our major universities posing a series of questions about why our cash-strapped universities are choosing to lie about the safety of our campuses, and risking scaring off Asian families from sending their daughters to study in this country. The result was endless weasel words from University media units—not one acknowledged that the whole thing is a farce.

The emperor has no clothes. This was the image that inspired me. Our pompous vice-chancellors parading before us, totally naked, whilst the entire university sector, including eminent social scientists, cowered in silence, denying the solid research evidence of safe campuses. That is what led me to embark on a campus tour, seeking out student groups to invite me onto campuses where I could discuss the illusory rape crisis and the related push for university involvement in adjudicating sexual assault. My background as one of Australia’s first sex therapists with a long history of writing about gender issues made this process easier.

The results have been pretty much as expected. My first talk, scheduled for August at La Trobe University in Melbourne, was suddenly cancelled when university administrators claimed it didn’t align with the values of the University. Following media pressure, the university backed down—but only after a conversation with one of the administrators who suggested they may need to offer counselling to students attending the talk. The event went ahead, despite protest demonstrations and a very noisy crowd of protesters bashing on the doors to the venue, shouting into megaphones and doing their best to drown out our discussion.

At Sydney University, the protests were far more alarming. Here, the University insisted on charging the student club hosting the event a security fee of nearly $500 for guards who had no authority to remove the aggressive mob of abusive protesters who blocked the corridor leading to the venue, preventing my audience from accessing the room and roughing up anyone who tried to get through. The escalating violence and abuse led the guards to call in the riot squad, who removed the protesters, allowing the event to proceed.

I’ve asked the university to take action against named key protesters for breaches to the University’s code of conduct and bullying/harassment regulations. An investigation is currently underway. Yet it seems unlikely that the University will act. Last year, the University’s own workplace disputes consultants recommended the key organiser of my protest should receive a suspension for misconduct because she had subjected an anti-abortion group on campus to all manner of abuse, including exposing her breasts to them. Yet still the University failed to follow through. Charges were dropped, without any explanation.

We are taking further action following up on the vice-chancellor’s decision not to fully refund the security fee. (Some was returned due to an administrative error leading to overcharging.) Vice-chancellor Michael Spence declared the guards had fulfilled their protocols, despite the riot squad being required for the talk to proceed. Sydney University has long been allowing a heckler’s veto to flourish on campus, whereby conservative student groups are charged prohibitively high security fees to protect them from violent radical protesters.

The whole fracas has proved quite a tipping point for community frustration over the failure of universities to protect free speech. All manner of eminent people spoke out, including former High Court chief justice Robert French, who warned that universities were risking their reputations by restricting speech on campus. They should “maintain a robust culture of open speech and discussion even though it may involve people hearing views that they find offensive or hurtful,” he suggested. The newly appointed Federal Education Minister has been raising the issue with vice-chancellors, Senators are grilling bureaucrats in parliamentary committees, and there’s been much public discussion about the need for our universities to sign up to a Chicago charter.

The free speech debate is encouraging but it’s not my main game—which is exposing the false campus rape narrative and the related push towards university-based justice for sex crimes. It is proving mighty difficult to break the stranglehold of the activists silencing my attempts to call attention to this dangerous trend. Just this week, the student group hosting my next talk told me we couldn’t mention a “rape” crisis in a poster because it might trigger rape victims during their current exams.

Meanwhile, Australian universities are already caving to pressure to get involved in sexual abuse investigations. Last year, I spent eight months helping a PhD student at Adelaide University ward off a university committee which was investigating a sexual assault allegation from another student. I found a criminal barrister set to give him pro bono advice, and eventually the university dropped the charges but only after a long and stressful battle. That committee had the power to withhold the young man’s PhD unless he cooperated.

Across Australia, universities are introducing regulations to support such investigations, whereby the lower standard of “balance of probabilities” will be used to decide sexual assault matters. At UTS in Sydney, the committee investigating sexual assault includes students amongst its members.

How is it possible that all this is happening just when the Trump administration has announced changes to the tribunal system to wind back victim-centred justice and protect due process rights for the accused? Earlier this year, over 150 American criminal lawyers, law professors and scholars signed an open letter denouncing the victim-centred investigative practises which flourished under the Obama system:

By their very name, their ideology, and the methods they foster, ‘believe the victim’ concepts presume the guilt of an accused. This is the antithesis of the most rudimentary notions of justice. In directing investigators to corroborate allegations, ignore reporting inconsistencies, and undermine defenses, the ‘believe the victim’ movement threatens to subvert constitutionally-rooted due process protections.

Last year, a series of UK rape cases collapsed following revelations of deliberate withholding of key evidence by prosecutors and police, part of the same victim-centred justice. In the ensuring scandal which followed, the former Director of Public Prosecutions stepped down and it was decided that key rape and serious sexual assault cases should be reviewed. The Metropolitan Police have now announced that they are ditching their previous practice of “believing all victims.”

The evidence is there for all to see. Our Australian universities are on a hiding to nothing by surrendering to the bullying tactics of a small group of feminist activists and agreeing to get involved in the criminal justice business. The sensible majority need to speak up and give them the courage to withstand this dangerous nonsense.


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, 2018

The Morrison government gets realistic on the drivers of electricity costs and is told about "The hoax" Australians have been sold on electricity

A comprehensive investigation of the drivers of electricity costs reveals that Greenie costs are not the only driver pushing costs upward.  Electricity firms are also making a motza. So PM Morrison takes modest measures to rein in those profits.  So the Left praise him for that?  Leftists don't like big business. 

But, no, Morrison is "hypocritical" for doing that.  He said that enironmental costs were a big driver of costs so he should stick to that only apparently. He is not allowed to look at more than one cost driver at a time, apparently.  He'll get no logic or reason from Leftists, just hate. I suppose in the simplistic Leftist mind, things CAN have only one cause

WHEN the Abbott Government first romped to victory in 2013 on its promise to axe the carbon tax, it was to address one key issue — the rising cost of electricity.

Addressing climate change was costing too much, Australia’s future prime minister Tony Abbott argued, and was impacting people’s power bills.

Five years later and despite dumping the so-called tax, people’s power bills have still skyrocketed but it’s not for the reason they think.

As ABC finance analyst Alan Kohler highlighted in a series of graphs, electricity prices have jumped by 55 per cent since 2007.

The reason? While climate change policies have played a part, they were not the biggest factor and an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) report released in July gave an interesting insight into why prices had risen.

Mainly it’s because of network costs (which added 4 cents per kilowatt hour), the cost of wholesale electricity (2.8 cents), environmental costs (1.6 cents), retail margin (1.4 cents) and retail costs (0.8 cents).

Most of these terms mean nothing to average consumers. To simplify it, the climate change impact can be attributed partly to the lack of a good policy, which means there has not been an “orderly” transition to cleaner energy sources.

Big coal-fired power stations like Northern and Hazelwood have closed without much notice, making it difficult for the market to find alternatives. The closures have also driven up wholesale prices partly because there is less supply and competition. Gas prices also jumped up after the resource started being exported and this has also contributed to higher prices in Australia.

Meanwhile, there’s little incentive for companies to invest in new sources of electricity when the closures mean they can instead charge more for the energy they are already generating.

The ACCC also found “network costs” had driven up prices the most. In particular, in NSW, Queensland and Tasmania, there has been over-investment in networks, the so-called “poles and wires”.

But one of these figures have escaped much of the scrutiny applied to the others: retail margins.

For those not familiar with the jargon — this is the profit that electricity companies make. And this has grown by 1.4 per cent.

As Mr Kohler noted, selling electricity has become so profitable in Australia, retail margins are now the highest in the world.

The government focus has now turned to cracking down on retailers for confusing customers, price gouging and unfair late payment fees.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced measures to bring down prices, including that it ask the Australian Energy Regulator to put in place a “price safety net”, which is essentially an electricity price cap, something Australia used to have and then got rid of in 2007.

While the crackdown on retailers is in line with ACCC findings, some have noticed the government’s approach now appears to fly in the face of its previous scaremongering.

The new Morrison Government is trying to break the link between carbon emissions reduction and rising power prices, saying it will “comfortably” meet Australia’s Paris agreement targets while at the same time lowering prices.

It’s something that 7.30 host Leigh Sales questioned Energy Minister Angus Taylor about last night and the lack of response was telling.

“This government suggests that emissions reduction, carbon emissions reduction, and power prices are not linked,” Sales said. “If that is true, then you are admitting that your entire anti-carbon tax platform was a hoax because your opposition to it was based on it driving up power prices?”

One of the first things Mr Morrison did when he took over the prime ministership was get rid of the proposed National Energy Guarantee (NEG), which was aimed at reducing electricity prices, providing more stability in the system but also legislating an emissions reduction of 26 per cent over the next 10 years.

Now it looks like Australia won’t have a climate policy and may have to rely on the government topping up the Emissions Reduction Fund, which Mr Abbott introduced to pay businesses, community organisations, local councils or others to reduce their carbon emissions.

The Morrison Government has also left the door open to support new coal-fired power stations and may even protect these investments against the future climate change action.

Mr Taylor told The Guardian the government would look at absorbing the risks for companies, which had found it hard to get finance because they were unable to predict future carbon action, particularly because Australia has not been able to agree to a bipartisan policy.

Asked whether he acknowledged that would expose taxpayers to risk, Taylor said: “We’ll look at the risks and we’ll seek to minimise the risks to the commonwealth”.


Vice co-founder and leader of 'new right' men's group Proud Boys to bring his 'western chauvinist' views Down Under

I have been watching McInnes since even before he grew a beard.  He is primarily a talented comedian but he turns his comedic gift on Leftist pomposity and stupidity.  And they give him a wealth of material for that

The founder of far-right conservative men's activist group 'Proud Boys' is set to tour Australia next month.

Comedian and co-founder of VICE magazine turned right wing commentator Gavin McInnes, 48, will tour the nation from November 2 to 11.

Mr McInnes, who describes himself as a 'western chauvinist libertarian' has been labelled by critics as sexist, racist and as a white supremacist.

He is the latest far-righter to be promoted by pornographer Damien Costas and will travel to Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide for speaking events.    

Mr Costas was responsible for the tours of US right-winger Milo Yiannopoulos last year and former UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage earlier this year.

According to the promoters, Mr McInnes is 'known for his raucous and irreverent take on the world and controversial, no-holds-barred opinions'.

The 48-year-old shot to fame in the early nineties as a co-founder of VICE, but after leaving the magazine, he became more well-known for his political commentary.

He frequently appeared on Fox News and TheBlaze - an American conservative news network - and is a former contributor to Canadian right-wing channel Rebel Media.

'Funny as he is controversial, he's famous for his use of humour and satire to lampoon the excesses of political correctness,' the promoter's website states.

Mr McInnes has referred to himself as a 'western chauvinist' and started the men's club 'Proud Boys' who swear their allegiance to this cause, reported.

According to their website, The Proud Boys' values centre on minimal government, maximum freedom, anti-political correctness, anti-drug war, closed borders, ant-racial guilt, anti-racism, pro-free speech, and pro-gun rights to name a few. 

The Proud Boys' passionate views have even seen some of its members get caught up in street violent brawls with left-wing Antifa activists, reported.

In August, Mr McInnes and his club were banned from Twitter for being 'violent extremists' ahead of the 'Unite the Right' neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville in the US.

While McInnes has denied support of the rally and its organiser Jason Kessler, he previously said Mr Kessler was thrown out of the Proud Boys for his 'racist views'.

Mr Costas said any allegations that Mr Mcinnes was a 'white supremacist' were 'nonsense', previously reported.

'These people are not white supremacists, they're western supremacists, they believe in the great values that built the western world,' Mr Costas said.

'Free speech is the cornerstone of western civilisation.'

Mr Costas said words such as 'Nazi' and 'fascist' were often misappropriated and reappropriated by some members of the public to shut down debate.

He said while it's far easier to shut down debate than argue it out, free speech is a minority group's 'greatest ally' against oppression.

'Handing over free speech to the state to determine what's offensive and what's not, or to the left in general, is the biggest slippery slope we could ever hope to go down,' Mr Costas said.

Mr Costas is currently dealing with the financial fallout from his previous tours with Sydney publicist Max Markson, The Australian Reported. 


University will offer paid leave for transgender staff undergoing reassignment surgery

How is it part of an educational role tosupport mental illness?  Gender dysphoria is a mental illness if ever there was one.  And those who "transition" are rarely happy.  There is a high suicide rate among them. 

I doubt that this policy will be good for the reputation of the university.  Among normal people it could well become known as "the poofter university".  But only in private, of course. There is no free speech in what words you use in public for homosexuals

Aussies at a major university will get paid while undergoing gender reassignment surgery in an Australian first initiative.

The staff of Deakin University will be given just as many days of paid leave to change their gender as they would if their partner has a baby.

Aspiring to be the leading LGBTIQ+ inclusive educator and employer, Deakin is allowing the leave to be used at the staff members discretion.

Deakin University adopts the best practices for diversity and inclusion strategies for LGBTIQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer plus) students and staff.

The 4,700 employees of the Victorian university will learn of the new entitlements on Tuesday.

Chief operating officer Kean Selway told the Geelong Advertiser: 'Under Deakin's existing leave provisions, all staff experiencing exceptionally difficult personal circumstances can, with the support of management, apply for 'special leave' directly to the Vice-Chancellor.'

Deakin launched its LGBTIQ+ 2017-2020 Plan in 2017 and has already started rolling out initiatives to support the inclusion and well being of it's LGBTIQ+ community members.

'The paid leave is backed by a new gender transition policy which provides security and clarity around the process for Deakin staff who are undergoing a gender transition,' Mr Selway said.

'Fostering a genuinely inclusive environment affords all our staff and students a sense of belonging and an equal chance of success whether it be through study or work.'

According to the institute's gender transition procedure, effective from October 19 2018, Deakin will also offer students wishing to undergo sex transition surgery a gender transition plan.

Transitioning students will be given communication assistance, alternative assessment arrangements, longer library loan periods and off-campus library services.


Tasmania on verge of removing gender from birth certificates

Tasmania is set to become the first state to remove the sex of a child from birth certificates, in a major win for transgender people that has been attacked by critics as “abolishing gender”.

A vote is expected in Tasmania’s lower house next month, as amendments to a bill ending the need for trans people to divorce before they can change their gender on official documents.

While the bill’s central aim has tripartite support, the Liberal government, Christian groups and feminists fear it has been “hijacked” by the transgender lobby via a series of Labor and Greens amendments.

The Hodgman government relies on the casting vote of Liberal Speaker Sue Hickey, who was elected to the position with Greens and Labor support and votes as an independent.

Labor and the Greens both plan amendments to remove gender from birth certificates, while also backing changes to remove the need for trans people to have sex change surgery before switching gender on official documents.

Ms Hickey, a Liberal moderate, said as a matter of policy she did not declare her voting intentions until debate concluded.

She said she was broadly supportive of measures to end discrimination against trans people. “I’ll be listening to every word possible,’’ Ms Hickey said.

“I do think the world is changing and we need to be open to considering things that might discriminate or harm somebody. I’m very open.”

Transgender activist Martine Delaney said removing gender from birth certificates would be a significant win that would harm no one. “It would be the first in this country, although not the first in the world, and an excellent statement by Tasmania to say ‘We have the need to do this and we will not wait for other states to lead’,” Ms Delaney said.

“It is not doing away with gender. That information would still be recorded by the registrar and medical records in the hospital. It just simply wouldn’t be displayed on the birth certificate.”

She said removing sex from birth certificates would negate the need for transgender people to “out themselves” every time they applied for work or sought to prove their identity.

The Australian Christian Lobby said the reforms essentially abolished gender, further “homogenised humanity” and “greatly diminished” the significance of birth certificates.

ACL state director Mark Brown said the changes threatened to destroy the sanctity of women’s “safe places”, from refuges to sports teams. “If you are ­legally a transgender woman, even if you have a penis you can go wherever you want in terms of women’s safe spaces,” he said.

This concern is shared by feminist group Women Speak Tasmania. “If you have birth certificates issued with no sex marker on them, how then are ­female-only services and spaces — like girls’ schools, or the girl guides, women’s domestic violence shelters — able to maintain the female-only integrity of their service?” spokeswoman Bronwyn Williams said.

“It puts female-only organisations and services at risk of breaching anti-discrimination law if they say ‘No, you can’t become a member’.”

Greens leader Cassy O’Connor, whose child, born as a girl called Mara Lees, is now a 20-year-old man, Jasper, said the changes would end discrimin­ation and make a real difference to lives.

“The flow-on effects of being able to have your birth certificate either gender neutral or changed to your correct gender are profoundly life-changing,” Ms O’Connor said.

“At the moment in Tasmania, if Jasper wants to have his birth certificate changed he will need to have a hysterectomy, and that is cruel and unnecessary.”


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, 2018

Church preacher, 39, raped and impregnated a 20-year-old woman in a Sydney park after meeting her on a bus, leaving her suicidal and needing an abortion

The preacher.  Not your average Australian pastor

A woman who was impregnated by a church preacher after he raped her in a park has been consumed with suicidal thoughts since the horrific incident.

Lensard Tambanemoto, 39, was a student, father and an active member of a church who took part in 'preaching' when he raped a young woman in a Western Sydney park after they studied together at a library.

The victim revealed in an impact statement, which was read out in court on her behalf, that she still suffers from flashbacks and debilitating anxiety from the 2014 incident, The Daily Telegraph reported.

She had suicidal thoughts in the lead-up to the trial, the court was told during the sentencing hearing on Tuesday. 

Those thoughts still consume her, according to the statement.

'I self-harmed, engaged in extremely reckless behaviour and constantly thought of committing suicide. I still do.

She was just 20 when she was waiting at Bankstown train station and Tambanemoto started a conversation with her.

They talked through Facebook Messenger for four days before they decided to meet at a library.

As they walked home they stopped at a park, where she was raped.

Crown Prosecutor Tarik Abdulhak said the victim said no many times.

The victim fell pregnant from the rape and decided to have an abortion, which she felt guilty over.

'The pain of having an abortion has affected me tremendously, I still get very depressed on the anniversary of the abortion and on Mother's Day because I developed a strong bond with the child despite going through with the abortion,' she said.

In August Tambanemoto was found guilty by a jury of sexual intercourse without consent and indecent assault following a trial at Downing Centre District Court.

He will be sentenced next month and faces up to 14 years behind bars.


ACTU wants a return to the dark days of mass union militancy

Today we are being given a glimpse of the bleak industrial relations landscape future in Australia were there to be a change of government next year.

Thousands of construction and other workers will have walked off work sites, in many cases ordered to leave their work sites, to take part in a protest designed to overturn the laws that govern Australia’s workplaces.

What do they want? They want there to be no rules. No regulator. And no check on their power.

The ACTU wants a return to the dark days of mass union militancy, it wants workplace division and disruption, it wants the ability to flagrantly break any industrial laws it doesn’t like, and it demands union officials be given the power to subject businesses up and down the country to their every demand, regardless of the capacity of those businesses to accede to those demands.

If past behaviour is any indication, unions will have been pressuring employees over recent days to engage in industrial action in conjunction with the protests – for appropriate “high viz” media exposure.

For example, CFMMEU organisers will be pulling employees off building sites. Costs to productivity – to the community as a whole – have been estimated to run into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Militant unions will be bullying employers to approve absences and employees to ask for them – saying that a failure to agree to release employees from work will have consequences for their business. We all know what this means.

Union bullies will usually say, release the delegates or we will take out the whole workforce and you will lose production for the day. Which would you prefer?

The protest day will also be dressed up as trade union training leave or leave to attend trade union activities.

But it is not trade union activities – it is political protesting, for which unions want employers to pay. And they will be joined by the usual suspects from the Greens, the Socialist Alliance and other fringe groups to pad the numbers.

But Australians do not want the rules being thrown out and anarchy being brought in.

It is indeed fortunate that most Australians have no memory of industrial strife of the last century when nationwide or rolling strikes would shut down our ports, trams, trains and airlines, and our power generators.

Industrial action before the modern era of reform was 44 times higher than today in a much smaller population.

This is because successive federal governments – both Labor and Liberal – have made a series of important reforms to our industrial relations system that have seen Australia move towards more co-operative, productive and fair workplaces.

For example Laurie Brereton and Paul Keating deserve credit for their legacies, achieved with bipartisan support from the Coalition, that ended economy wide arbitration in favour of enterprise bargaining. Reforms introduced by John Howard and Peter Reith on the Liberal side of politics, including freedom of association, simplification of awards and effective remedies against industrial action, were not supported by Labor at the time, but were thankfully retained by subsequent Labor governments.

The massive drop in strike activity in Australia has been of enormous benefit to the lives of working Australians and the Australian economy.

Australians don’t like it when their childcare centres, schools and hospitals are disrupted. They don’t like losing pay for no apparent reason. And they don’t like it that the cost of construction is 30 per cent higher than it should be.

To put the illogicality of this campaign into context, the ACTU wants to put a wrecking ball through the Fair Work Act – a framework that was introduced only a few years ago by Julia Gillard.

As Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations I acknowledge some of the work done by my recent predecessors; I don’t agree with everything obviously.

But the past few decades of industrial policy have been marked by one common denominator – a shared belief that the industrial landscape should be directed towards an economy that supports co-operation, good, well-paid jobs and safe workplaces.

This is now at risk with the ACTU’s Sally McManus’ pitch to Bill Shorten that the rules need to be thrown out. To date it seems Mr Shorten has given every indication he will give in to those demands.

In June, ACTU Secretary Sally McManus told media a minimum wage rise will not lift workers out of poverty. Sally’s Law – which is that there should be no law, will become Bill’s Law.

A modernising industrial relations system has been a major contributing factor to Australia’s long trajectory of economic prosperity and strong jobs growth, particularly over the past few years.

But the ACTU, which has seen its membership wither on the vine over the same period, now wants to overturn all that, putting at risk jobs and damaging thousands of small and medium sized businesses.

First they turn our peaceful streets into battlegrounds – but next it will be our harmonious workplaces.

By all means make a case for reform – but don’t rip up the rules because you cannot make a logical case for lawbreaking. Don’t try to remain relevant by causing division and disruption.  And don’t risk employees’ welfare further by inciting breaches of the law.


Must not cut down trees in NSW

A state Nationals MP has lodged a private member's bill to extinguish one of NSW's largest national parks, a move that opponents say signals an "open season" on the state's natural heritage.

Austin Evans, the member for Murray, is demanding the 41,000-hectare Murray Valley National Park revert to a state forest to allow timber harvesters back in.

Mr Evans, an engineer by training, campaigned for the degazetting of the eight-year-old park during his narrow byelection win over the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers candidate a year ago.

How the Liberals-dominated Berejiklian government responds could reveal how much it is prepared to cede sway over environmental issues to its junior coalition partner to bolster support in rural areas ahead of the March state election.

A national park has not been reversed in NSW before, and such a move would likely rile environmentalists who had fought for three decades to win support for the region's conservation.

"My expectation is [the government] will be supportive of it," Mr Evans told Fairfax Media.

"I think they are having discussions at the moment," he said, adding he hoped for a second recording of his bill by the year's end.

A spokesman for environment minister Gabrielle Upton declined to say which way the government was leaning.

"This is a private members bill," he said. "The NSW government will respond to it in due course."

Mr Evans said his community felt short-changed following the park's creation, saying compensation offered to buy out timber workers was "less than the timber industry earned in a single year".

Promises of a boost in tourism had also been "an absolute furphy", with visitor numbers to the region dropping, he said.

But Labor, the Greens and environmental scientists who helped make the case for the park, warned of an "open season" on conservation if the government bowed to Mr Evans' demands


Coalition could indemnify new coal projects against potential carbon price

The energy minister, Angus Taylor, has signalled the Australian government could indemnify new power generation projects against the future risk of a carbon price, and says it could also support the retrofitting of existing coal plants.

In an interview with Guardian Australia, the man dubbed the “minister for getting power prices down” by the prime minister, Scott Morrison, has also committed to keeping current subsidies for households and businesses to install renewable energy technology like solar panels until 2030, and insists Australia’s electricity sector will reduce emissions by 26% on 2005 levels in “the early 2020s”.

Taylor on Tuesday outlined a range of measures the government wants to implement to help lower power prices, including cajoling retailers into offering customers out-of-cycle price cuts so consumers could experience hip-pocket relief by January, ahead of the next election.

He also foreshadowed policy interventions to boost investment in new “reliable” power generation, including providing a floor price, contracts for difference, cap and floor contracts and government loans.

Morrison held out the prospect of government support for new coal-fired power stations “where they meet all the requirements” of the yet-to-be finalised mechanisms to boost investment in new electricity generation.

One of the key problems preventing private investment in new coal-fired power generation is proponents have struggled to get finance because they are unable to predict future carbon risk, particularly given Australia’s decade-long partisan standoff over emissions reduction policies.

Taylor told Guardian Australia the government would look to remove the risks stopping investment in new power generation. “I’m saying we will look at whatever risks that can’t be managed by the companies that need to be managed to get investment.

“What we are saying is the risks that government needs to absorb to get investment in reliable generation, we will look at absorbing. We need the investment.”

Asked whether he acknowledged that would expose taxpayers to risk, Taylor said: “We’ll look at the risks and we’ll seek to minimise the risks to the commonwealth.”

The concept of the government underwriting new investments in power generation in order to boost competition in the market was originally recommended by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission but with tightly defined criteria. The government is pursuing the ACCC’s general principle, but writing its own rules.

The ACCC was focused on encouraging new market participants, but the energy minister said the government could back the retrofitting of existing power plants to extend their operating life.

Asked how retrofitting an existing plant was bringing new generation into the market, he said: “It’s new generation if it would otherwise be gone, that’s the point.

“What we want is additional investment, new investment, that would mean we get capacity we wouldn’t otherwise have.”

Business is extremely wary of the government’s plans to impose price regulation in the energy sector, and about oft-repeated public threats by the government to wield a “big stick” – introducing divestiture powers to break up power companies engaging in price-gouging.

The chief executive of the Business Council of Australia, Jennifer Westacott, warned on Tuesday that “ad hoc intervention in the energy market, such as underwriting generation investment or forced divestment, is sending a signal to the world that investing in Australia comes with considerable risks”.

“In the long term this will only result in less investment in energy generation, less reliable energy and ultimately higher prices,” the BCA chief said.

Taylor told Guardian Australia he was confident the government had the power to legislate to force divestiture, and a toughening of regulatory options was required because of poor market conduct.

Asked whether he expected legal challenges from power companies in the event the government ever used the divestiture power, he said: “I can’t predict what people are going to do.”

Asked what trigger the government planned to use to break up badly behaving power companies, Taylor said it was a lack of competition and deliberate withdrawal of supply.

“The issue is, have we got enough capacity and supply in the market to meet customers’ needs and are companies in the sector thwarting that, are they deliberately taking anti-competitive action to withdraw supply from the market to drive up prices?”

Stakeholders in the energy market are also enormously frustrated with the Coalition’s chopping and changing on energy policy, which culminated in the ditching of the national energy guarantee’s 26% emissions reduction target.

Taylor insists the electricity sector will hit 26% well before 2030. Asked why the government ditched a target it was going to easily exceed, the minister said: “Labor want a higher target. We are not going to facilitate that in any shape or form.

“We are not going to load the gun for Labor to have a much higher target.”

Energy ministers will meet this Friday for the first time since the Morrison government grounded part of the Neg. Taylor wants to sound out his counterparts on whether they will agree to roll out new price regulations in the electricity market, or whether Canberra will force the change by overriding them.

The Victorian energy minister, Lily D’Ambrosio, has warned she has no intention of agreeing to anything on Friday, given the state is days away from entering caretaker mode ahead of the state election.


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, 2018

Prince Harry's Invictus games

I thought it might be of interest to note where the prince got the name for those games -- which are of course for military personnel who have been disabled in some way during their service. He got his title from a famous Victorian poem, as below:

Invictus ("undefeated")

by William Ernest Henley 1875

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.

Wikipedia: When Henley was 16 years old, one of his legs required amputation due to complications arising from tuberculosis. In the early 1870s, after seeking treatment for problems with his other leg at Margate, he was told that it would require a similar procedure.

In August 1873 he chose instead to travel to Edinburgh to enlist the services of the distinguished English surgeon Joseph Lister, who was able to save Henley's remaining leg after multiple surgical interventions on the foot.

While recovering in the infirmary, he was moved to write the verses that became "Invictus". A memorable evocation of Victorian stoicism—the "stiff upper lip" of self-discipline and fortitude in adversity, which popular culture rendered into a British character trait—"Invictus" remains a cultural touchstone.

Note phrases that have passed into the language:

"My head is bloody, but unbowed"

"I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul"

Prince Harry is a keen former member of the British armed services and gained a strong identification with service personnel during his deployment in Afghanistan.  So he feels for those who have been disabled.  And sport is a big part of the military life so it was  an inspiration to provide a games organization for them.  Many of the participants have said how helpful to them psychologically the games were.

Uncertainty about side-stepping warrants and detention must be resolved under encryption bill

I mostly disagree with the Law Council but I think they are right on this issue.  There must be better ways of catching crooks than destroying everybody's privacy rights -- JR   
The Australian Government’s encryption access bill raises serious questions about the ability of law enforcement and intelligence agencies to access encrypted private information without a warrant, as well as the power to detain individuals in certain circumstances.

Law Council of Australia President-elect, Arthur Moses SC, told a Parliamentary Committee today that while there was significant value in allowing law enforcement and national security agencies faster access to encrypted information, the proposed Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018 needed considerable amendment.

“The Bill will authorise the exercise of intrusive covert powers with the potential to significantly limit an individual’s right to privacy, freedom of expression, and liberty,” Mr Moses said.

“It would allow law enforcement agencies and ASIO to make ‘technical assistance requests’ or ‘voluntary assistance requests’ on designated communications providers.

“Under these requests a provider may be asked to undertake certain acts or things, including telecommunications interception, for which authorities would otherwise require a warrant.

“It is our strong concern that these requests could side-step the need for a warrant.

“Where law enforcement or intelligence agencies would otherwise require judicial or Administrative Appeals Tribunal, or Ministerial authorisation or approval, they should not be able to make a voluntary assistance request or a technical assistance request.

“It is hard to imagine an internet provider refusing a written ‘request’ from law enforcement.”

Among other concerns raised by Mr Moses were proposed new powers that would allow law enforcement or ASIO to effectively detain individuals if they were required to provide compulsory assistance.

“If a person is required to attend a place to provide information or assistance this may arguably amount to detention of that person, particularly as they may be arrested on suspicion of an offence if they attempt to leave,” Mr Moses said.

“Appropriate safeguards need to be in place for detention. Detained people should be allowed to contact a lawyer or family member, for example.

“There should also be prescribed maximum periods for giving assistance, requiring an explanation of legal rights and responsibilities, and the availability of interpreters where required.”

Mr Moses also alerted the committee to other concerns, including that for computer access warrants, agencies may obtain telecommunications interception on the basis of lower thresholds than those that currently apply. They may also have an ability to use force against persons or things to engage in telecommunications interception.

Media release.

Vic students tested on literacy, numeracy

Every high school student in Victoria will be tested against new literacy and numeracy standards, in the biggest shake up of VCE in decades.

The new standards will be reported as part of VCE or VCAL results from 2021, the Labor state government announced on Monday in a bid to ensure school leavers meet minimum literacy and numeracy standards.

"This is a change that has been called for by employers for some time, and with this additional support we will give every student the opportunity to be job ready," Education Minister James Merlino said.

The Liberal-Nationals opposition doesn't support the new testing system.

"It's a bit late. If kids have got a problem with numeracy and literacy they need to be identified very early," Opposition Leader Matthew Guy said, instead pointing to the need for phonics checks earlier in school years.


Faith in science is undermined by peer-review failings

Science has been in the news ­lately. As part of the release of the latest UN Inter­govern­mental Panel on Climate Change report, the boast was made that the contents were based on the work of 91 of the top scientists and more than 6000 scientific references.

This carries on the tradition outlined by the chairman of the IPCC from 2002 to 2015, Rajendra Pachauri: “We carry out an assessment of climate change based on peer-reviewed literature, so everything that we look at and take into account in our assessments has to carry the credibility of peer-­reviewed publications, we don’t settle for anything less than that.”

The trouble for the IPCC — and for many other outlets that carry scientific findings — is that a crisis in science has been brewing for some time. Known as the replication or reproducibility crisis, the fundamental problem is that the results of many peer-reviewed ­papers and reports have not been confirmed when the experiments have been repeated or the data ­reanalysed. Eminent medical scientist John Ioannidis belled the cat as early as 2005 in a much cited technical paper, Why Most Published Research Findings are False.

He concluded that “there is ­increasing concern that most current published research findings are false … For many current scientific fields, claimed research findings may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias.” He further noted research findings were less likely to be true when “more teams are involved in a scientific field in chase of statistical significance”.

There is a variety of reasons for the failure of studies to be repli­cated. At one end of the spectrum is fraud and misconduct, while at the other end is manipulation and cherry-picking of data. Researchers have strong incentives to ­establish significant results while discarding inconvenient data and failed hypotheses. Authors often deliberately make it difficult for other researchers to re-do experiments or check findings.

Additionally, many referees, who are the gatekeepers in the peer review process, do a lousy job by simply reading papers and ­approving them if they agree with their findings. Peer review generally doesn’t involve re-running ­experiments, for instance.

One editor of an academic journal was so troubled by the issue of non-reproducibility that he decided to send out already published papers to new reviewers for their assessments. Apart from the fact a reasonable proportion of reviewers didn’t even recognise that the papers had ­already been published, several of the papers were actually rejected by the new reviewers. So much for the infallibility of peer review.

A serious effort was made in 2015 to replicate the findings of 100 experiments reported in three major psychology journals. Ninety-seven per cent of the original studies had reported significant results but only 36 per cent of the repli­cated studies could confirm these effects. This is a damning outcome.

More recently, a research project tried to reproduce 21 ­social ­science experiments published ­between 2010 and 2015 in the prestigious journals Science and ­Nature. Thirteen replication studies were successful, while eight others could find no effects at all.

The editors of Nature recently conducted a survey of nearly 1600 researchers. It was noted that 70 per cent of researchers had ­failed to ­reproduce other scientists’ experiments. Ninety per cent of respondents felt reproducibility in science was a significant or slight crisis. Only 3 per cent thought it wasn’t a crisis at all.

Whether economics should be regarded as a science is debatable, but a recent edition of the prominent Economic Journal ­included a reassessment of the ­results from several of its published papers. The conclusion drawn was that most of the underlying analyses were statistically underpowered, meaning no reliance could be placed on the conclusions. For the other studies that had enough power, there was a distinct tendency for the size of ­effects to be overstated.

A replication audit of 67 economics papers published in 13 prestigious journals was conducted by the US Federal Reserve and the Department of Treasury. Less than half the studies could be replicated, even with the help of the ­authors. “We assert that eco­nomics research is usually not ­replicable,” concluded the authors.

If all this sounds alarming to the layperson, it should. After all, the results of many of these peer-reviewed studies have had practical effects, warning people to alter their diets or lifestyles as well as influencing public policy initiatives.

At this stage, the disciplines most under a cloud are social ­psychology, neuroscience, chemistry, medicine (including cancer ­biology) and economics. No doubt the list will continue to grow as more replication studies are ­under­taken, although this is often difficult as such studies are generally not government funded.

One of the main elements of this crisis as identified by Ioannidis is the tendency of ­researchers to dredge data to get the most sig­nificant results. (Nobel prize-winning economist Ronald Coase famously quipped: “If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything.”) To this we can add the downplaying of any deficiencies in the underlying data.

In this context, it is interesting to note the findings of John McLean, an Australian who has been awarded a PhD for his audit of the HadCRUT4 data set on global temperatures used by the IPCC. There are a large number of anomalies in the data set. For ­instance, two stations tracking temperatures recorded monthly average figures above 80C. Another two stations in the Carib­bean recorded averages of 0C. A station in Romania recorded minus 45C and there is data sourced from ships that are located 80km inland.

More worrying is the use by the IPCC of a small number of global temperature recordings from the 1860s and 1870s — coverage was about one-eighth of the world at that time — as the measure of pre-industrial temperature levels. The accuracy of this assumption is highly questionable.

When the British Met Office was asked to respond to these criticisms, the answer was along the lines that there was an awareness of these weaknesses but they were few in number and the Met ­Office continuously was working to improve the data set, and this would be available to the IPCC when it next produced a report. On the face of it, this looks like a very unsatisfactory response, particularly given what we know about the crisis in science more generally.

What does the replication crisis mean for the credibility of science? Should we trust science to reliably inform public policy decision-making? Or should we conclude the scientific world is basically a club of self-serving, like-minded individuals who do not welcome dissenting views and are sloppy to boot? Should we just forget about scientific research and go with our instincts?

In my view, the preferred middle course is along the following lines. All research findings should be treated cautiously. Journals and research outlets should sign up to an open and transparent code of conduct, and published authors should be made to release all the details of underlying experiments, the data sets and computer codes. Studies that find no effects should be considered for publication.

Research funding bodies should allocate a portion of their funding to replication studies. An urgent priority in Australia is for the replication of several contentious studies about the Great Barrier Reef in which the overseas authors have never been prepared to hand over the data or the codes.

There is no doubt science has an important role to play in our ­society and economy. But as University of California computational biologist Michael Eisen warns us: “We need to get away from the notion, proven wrong on a daily basis, that peer review of any kind at any journal means that the work of science is correct.” The leadership of the IPCC should take note.


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, 2018


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is very contemptuous of Malcolm Turnbull. 

Turnbull is the second allegedly conservative Prime Minister of Australia named Malcolm who turned out to be more Left than Right. Conservatives still remember "Trousers" Fraser with anger.

'A change was needed': Principal at exclusive $17,000-a-year Christian school BANS girls from wearing skirts or dresses - replacing them with shorts and pants

Incredible feminist rubbish. Girls behave differently from boys because they ARE different, not because of the clothes they wear.  As a general rule, boys are naturally more active and outdoorsy

A $17,000-a-year Melbourne private school has decided to ban young girls from wearing skirts or dresses. Teachers at the exclusive school claim the change will lead girls to participate more in school life.

The move by Lowther Hall Anglican Grammar School came after they conducted an 18-month audit and found the uniform its female pupils were asked to wear was not 'fit for purpose'.

It is believed to be the first policy of its kind in Victoria.

The traditional school uniform for girls will be replaced with pants for pupils in kindergarten, prep and year one. 

A choice including shorts, jumpers, shirts and dresses will be available for girls from year two and upwards, according to The Herald Sun.

Principal Elisabeth Rhodes said: 'We know research that points to the fact young girls are not as active as their male counterparts and we looked at things that might inhibit them.'

'We wanted to encourage them if they wanted to hang upside down on the monkey bars or run around outside. 'A change was needed.'

The new pants have been custom-designed for girls, according to Ms Rhodes, and a year-round wardrobe has been designed for pupils to reflect the school's contemporary values.

Lowther Hall's policy change comes after Victoria implemented new laws last year mandating all state schools to give girls the choice of wearing either pants or shorts.

Private schools were exempted from the rules, however, and school councils are still responsible for deciding dress codes.

The laws were partly inspired by six-year-old Catholic school student Asha Cariss - who won the right to wear trousers at school in 2016 after her mother launched an online petition.


Bureaucracy (1)

Safety concerns have forced a famous restaurant tram off the tracks, leaving owners of the iconic restaurant furious and hundreds of customers with cancelled bookings.

Colonial Tramcar Restaurants ground to a halt after Yarra Trams suspended the famous restaurant from its usual route circling Melbourne's inner city.

A recent inspection found the structural elements of the three trams badly weathered.

It concluded the trams - built in 1947, 1948 and 1950 - posed a safety risk in the case of a collision.

'While we appreciate that this decision is disappointing for the restaurant tram, patrons and employees, we cannot allow trams on the network that do not meet safety standards,' a Yarra Trams spokeswoman told the Herald Sun.

Customers have been offered an immediate refund, the option to hold their booking for a later date, or to eat in a stationary car on the tracks near the Southbank depot.

Belinda Arlove had planned months ahead to eat at the restaurant for an annual catch up with friends she's known for 57 years. She said that's not going to happen anymore.

'There's no way I'm going to sit in a stationary tram in a depot instead,' she said. 

Colonial Tramcar Restaurant CEO Paul O'Brien said in a statement the award-winning restaurant was seeking an urgent intervention from the Victorian Government. 'We reject suggestions from Yarra Trams that our iconic rolling restaurants are not safe,' he said in the statement. 'Yarra Trams has inspected our trams weekly since 2010 and up until two weeks had given us the all clear to run.

'How we can go [sic] from safe one week to unsafe the next? It is perplexing to say the least.'

O'Brien said safety had been at the front of the restaurant operation's mind since it started 35 years ago without one single serious incident. 'We are calling on Minister [for Public Transport Jacinta] Allan to urgently intervene and set a deadline which will actually be possible to meet so we can convert our trams to the department's new standards and save the jobs of more than 60 Victorians and an iconic Melbourne tourism attraction.'

A government spokesperson said that they were advised Yarra Trams began safety discussions two years ago.

'The Minister does not have the power to overrule a safety decision, however has asked Public Transport Victoria to ensure the works that need to be carried out are prioritised within our current schedule of city circle tram upgrades,' the spokesperson said.


Bureaucracy (2)

LOCALS are calling "bullsh*t" over a council decision which has led to residents voluntarily cancelling a popular Christmas lights display in southeast Melbourne.

Homeowners at Hugo Court, Narre Warren, made the announcement on Facebook that they were pulling the plug on the annual display.

It followed a decision by Casey Council to declare the light show an "event", meaning residents would need to supply insurance and traffic management.

Residents said the costs for traffic management would be close to $23,000 alone, but stressed the financial burden was not the only reason the event would not go on this year.

"I have some sad news. Due to the huge support we have had the last few years with thousands of people coming to check out our Christmas Court we now have now got too big," organisers wrote.

"Due to the number of visitors we are getting we are now classed as an event and to run an event we must supply traffic management and public liability insurance which is in the tens of thousands of dollars.

"For us to pay these costs it is no longer fun so unfortunately Hugo Court Christmas Lights is no longer. There will be no lights this year at all.

"I do need to make it clear though that it is not just a monetary reason for the lights not being on this year. To organise everything that we now have to do as an event is very time-consuming; we would have to basically form a committee, creating an official group to be able to apply for the insurance and to handle the money side of things.

"We are all extremely busy and just don't have the time to organise all of the requirements."

They said the lights display had become a burden for neighbours in surrounding streets, too.

"They have to put up with not being able to get into their properties, noise, rubbish, people parking on their lawns, even people urinating on their front lawns.

"We all love the lights and the Christmas spirit but it has just got too big for us to handle."

Supporters had offered to help pay the costs, but residents refused to allow donations.

Social media users were clearly disappointed. Sharyn King wrote on the group's Facebook page that the pressure from council to force residents to pay was "absolutely bullshit".

"Every home is able to celebrate Xmas if they so want. If there are loads of people looking at your homes why is that expense yours?"

In a statement, Casey Council said the residents of Hugo Court had "made the decision not to conduct their much-loved annual Christmas lights display this year.

"Sadly it appears it has become a victim of its own success, following concerns around traffic management and anti-social behaviour over the past few years, including from Victoria Police."


A nasty man Australia's lucky to be rid of

A sore loser and a weak character

So much for Malcolm Turnbull’s maxim that former prime ministers were “best out of parliament, not in it”.

Turnbull’s abrupt exit was starting to look like the ultimate revenge of an aggrieved former leader. He had not only resigned as prime minister but quit his seat and disappeared to New York. Once there, he claimed to be a ­private citizen, getting on with his life, but meanwhile indulged ­remotely in the sort of sniping and destabilising for which he had ­attacked Tony Abbott and others.

Despite an early tweet, ­Turnbull could not be persuaded to come out with active support for Dave Sharma, the Liberal candidate standing in his place, when the Liberals needed it most.

A series of opinion polls indicated independent Kerryn Phelps was on track for a historic win that could bring the government to a premature end, but Turnbull had no intention of helping out.

Nor did he intend coming home before Wentworth voters went to the polls — instead taking a roundabout route home with a stopover in Singapore to visit his son Alex, whose persistent social media messages to voters had an unequivocal ring: “Don’t vote for the Liberal Party in the Wentworth by-election.”

With the by-election over, Turnbull flew into Sydney from Singapore this morning, avoiding the media at the airport.

Morrison yesterday confirmed that repeated approaches were made for Turnbull’s support during the campaign to hold his former seat but were turned down.

“Quite a number of us asked for that support, not necessarily in the form of a letter,” he said. “There are many other ways in which people can choose to ­express their support.”

Even a plea from the replacement candidate for help left Turnbull unmoved. A key sticking point, apparently, was the ousted prime minister’s demand that any endorsement also rake over the uncomfortable reasons behind his own removal.

“There were even approaches made by Dave himself,” the Prime Minister said. “What impact they would have had, ultimately, is for others to judge.”

Michelle Landry, the Liberal National Party MP from Queensland, voiced her upset with Turnbull yesterday for failing to back Sharma in Wentworth. “He hasn’t supported Dave Sharma. He just left the parliament and I think that is wrong,” she told SBS.

Holding one of the most marginal seats in the country, Landry recalled how Turnbull had called her after the 2016 election to offer congratulations: “Michelle, you’ve saved the nation.”

Turnbull had proved anything but a saviour, the MP for Capricornia said, “so I’m pretty annoyed”.

Nick Greiner, the former NSW Liberal premier who is now the party’s federal president, seemed equally perplexed yesterday at Turnbull’s “precious” behaviour.

“I understand his pain, anger, bitterness, whatever the emotions are — it’s a natural human response,” Greiner said. “On the other hand, whether it possibly would have made a huge difference, I don’t know, but he could have tweeted something, in my judgment. There are understandable emotions behind him becoming precious, but he could have sent out a tweet that said ‘Sharma is the best candidate and you should vote for him’.”

Tweeting from far-away New York on political matters during the Wentworth by-election campaign was apparently easy for Turnbull. Ten days after he jetted off to New York in early September, he made an unsolicited personal intervention in the furore of whether Peter Dutton was eligible to remain in parliament under section 44 of the Constitution because of his financial interest in two Brisbane childcare centres that had received $5.6 million in taxpayer-funded rebates.

“The point I have made to @ScottMorrisonMP and other colleagues is that given the uncertainty around Peter Dutton’s eligibility, acknowledged by the Solicitor-General, he should be referred to the High Court, as Barn­aby was, to clarify the matter,” Turnbull tweeted.

The tweet was most unhelpful for Morrison, who was trying to put the best opposite spin possible on the Solicitor-General’s advice saying Dutton was “not incapable” of sitting in parliament.

Morrison swung into gear, urging Turnbull to stop undermining his government. It wasn’t the first time that damaging claims and leaks about Morrison’s new team had surfaced.

Morrison’s office tried to hose down Turnbull, urging his supporters to tell the disgruntled former PM that he should desist.

Barnaby Joyce was direct. He accused Turnbull of campaigning to “remove us as the government” — and agreed it amounted to “wrecking and sniping”.

“What is the purpose behind an individual deciding that their goal now in life is to bring down the government which they weren’t just a member of — they were the leader of?” Joyce said on Sydney’s 2GB radio. “People say: ‘What is wrong with Malcolm Turnbull?’ I think we’re starting to find out.”

Asked if he believed Turnbull was seeking revenge, Joyce said: “If it looks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, you’ve got a pretty good chance of saying it’s a duck.”

Turnbull retreated into silence at the $3.2 million apartment he owns with wife Lucy on New York’s upper west side, but not for long. His party critics say he must have known comments he made a fortnight later to a young leaders’ forum would leak. Turnbull declared he was not driven by hatred but nonetheless seized on the “crazy” Liberal leadership crisis, and hit out at his predecessors.

“When you stop being prime minister, that’s it,” Turnbull said. “There is no way I’d be hanging around like embittered Kevin Rudd or Tony Abbott. Seriously, these people are like, sort of miserable, miserable ghosts.”

The gibe predictably stirred up Rudd and Abbott, but also turned the political heat on Morrison once again, in the midst of the Wentworth by-election campaign.

If there was any doubt about Turnbull’s keen interest in the Wentworth campaign, and suggestions he was interfering behind the scenes, his “like” last week of a Kerryn Phelps campaign worker’s tweet confirmed it.

The tweet had said: “Back handing out policy info and how-to-vote cards for Kerryn Phelps at Waverly Oval pre-polling station. No longer wondering ‘Where’s Malcolm?’ Just hoping for a strong independent win on Saturday.”

Was this Turnbull’s hope too? He did not expressly say. While he did remove the “like” soon after, there was still no late endorsement for the Liberals’ Sharma.

Then there was the social media intervention of Alex Turnbull, who lives in Singapore, where he runs his own hedge fund company. He posted many tweets and several online videos of himself throughout the campaign, first advocating a vote for Labor candidate Tim Murray and later appearing to switch to Phelps as she became the favourite. He was adamant his father’s party should not win.

As the by-election date neared, Morrison said he disagreed with Alex Turnbull and claimed on ABC radio, without evidence, that “His father Malcolm Turnbull is heavily supporting Dave Sharma, the only Liberal candidate running for Wentworth”.

Alex Turnbull also put out a remarkable list of those he rated the Liberal Party’s top five “crazy” MPs, headed by Abbott, whom he called a “singularly destructive human being”.

He said Dutton at No 2 was “obviously another one”, Angus Taylor at No 3 was a “champion of fossil fuels and determined opponent of renewables,” while Kevin Andrews and Eric Abetz tied in fourth place as “hard-right faction leaders”.

Like his father in New York, he used the word “crazy” to describe the Liberals involved in Turnbull Sr’s downfall.

Alex denied he was acting as a “proxy”, telling the ABC he was absolutely not doing his father’s dirty work. “He’s a private citizen, I’m a private citizen, we can both do as we please,” he said.

He said he was advocating a vote against his father’s party because of its inaction on climate change, and no longer felt obliged to stay silent after his father’s exit from politics.

Greiner says the intervention of Turnbull’s son in the Wentworth by-election was “unusual” but he recalled his own daughter commenting on his own departure from politics in stormy times. “Young master Turnbull can do whatever he likes. That’s a matter for him,” Greiner said.

In the last week of the by-­election campaign, Morrison and Sharma made a final plea to Turnbull to record a “robocall” that could be sent out to the voters of Wentworth in an effort to tip the scales the Liberals’ way. Turnbull refused.

Morrison then decided to ask John Howard to fulfil the role. Howard not only agreed to record a robocall, he spent a day on the hustings.

Howard is believed to think Turnbull could have avoided the mess in Wentworth by remaining on the backbench until the general election. One party insider put it this way: “Howard believes he owes the Liberal Party. Apparently Turnbull doesn’t take the same ­approach.”


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, 2018

Uluru climber fights to keep the famous rock open and claims traditional owners guided visitors to the top in the past

It should be open and accessible to all Australians. Locking it up on the grounds of Aboriginal superstition is a form of racism.  It prioritizes a racially defined religion.

It's my belief that there is no spirit realm.  Why is my religion not of any force in the matter?  It's a widely held belief.  Australia is a very secular country and most Australians would believe that your ancestors are as dead as

And while an Aboriginal group are politely referred to as "traditional owners", the legal reality is that the rock is crown land, in effect owned by all Australians

Ayers rock

Right to Climb Ayers Rock blogger Marc Hendrickx has filed a Human Rights Commission complaint alleging racial discrimination.  'I deeply respect the past Aboriginal owners but I think the decision to close the climb has been handled badly,' he told The Australian.

Concerns for the conservation of Uluru partly drove the decision to close it to climbers in October next year. It was argued that tours to the summit of Uluru not only had a detrimental effect on the environment but also disrespected the traditional owners, the Anangu people.

Opponents to the closure claim crucial data was lacking at the time of the decision, and local Aboriginal people, in fact, once guided visitors to the top.

Mr Hendrickx drew up archival images and reports to back up this claim. A 1940s film showed two Aboriginal men Tiger Tjalkalyirri and Mitjenkeri Mick guiding heading a tour to the summit.

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park board of management chairman Sammy Wilson disputed Mr Hendrickx's claims and urged people to look beneath the surface. He also slammed tourism authorities and a nearby resort for turning Uluru into a moneymaker.

'We are teaching our kids not to climb,' Mr Wilson said. He added it was 'a spiritual place' and noted 'can I climb your temple?'

At the moment, a sign is planted at the base of the rock: it urges visitors to not climb the feature, though many ignore it.

Mr Hendrickx visited Uluru with his daughters in July and said the view at the top was 'stunning'.

On top of closing down the rock, it is also believed five plaques at the rock's base, the chain and a historic cairn at the summit have also been ordered to be removed.

Opponents say it would destroy the very same cultural heritage that authorities are sworn to protect. 'I ­believe that closing the climb and removing those monuments will breach the lease agreement,' Mr Hendrickx said.

A Parks Australia spokeswoman denied any plans to 'destroy the summit monument, chain and memorial plaques.'

The spokeswoman added Parks Australia does not agree with the 'assertion that the director of National Parks has breached the lease agreement with the Anangu traditional owners.' 


Python attacks Far North baby boy

The Far North is where I come from so I was rather moved by this.  I am so pleased that the little boy is OK.  Australia's pythons are beautiful creatures but they are wild animals and need to be treated with great respect -- JR

A mother in the Far North found her son in the jaws of a 4.2m python in a horrible ordeal that ended only when the boy's grandfather stabbed the snake to death.

Experts believe that if Amanda Rutland had not intervened, the python would have eaten her 22-month-old son, Naish.

Mother-on-Two Mrs. Rutland believes that the python that captured her son Naish Dobson on the veranda of their Julatten home last week has stalked the child for several weeks before he decides to strike.

Naish had played on the porch of her family home around 2 pm with her three-year-old sister, Evie-Blue, just out of her mother's sight.

When Mrs. Rutland put her head behind the corner to check the couple, she noticed a strange look on her daughter's face.

"I was talking to my mother and looking at them," he said.

"Because it is a pole home, and it was right behind a pole, I could not see (Naish).

"(My daughter) started to reverse and I was looking really weird, and I just thought it 'uh-oh – something is wrong." "So I ran around the corner, and there it was: the snake was wrapped around his arm and was approaching him."

The python had three spirals of its large body wrapped around the child and had bitten his right arm.

Ms. Rutland said she tried to take the snake away from her son, but failed to move her huge body, which was started to narrow, so she called her father Ron Rutland. "I screamed for my father and he came out running," he said. "He was screaming for a knife.

"My father had to stab (the python) along the spine. "He started letting go, then I grabbed my son, and he started wrapping my father – so he had to kill him."

The family played triple 0 and a team of ambulances rushed into the property to treat Naish.

A spokesperson for the Queensland ambulance service confirmed that the child was taken to the Mossman hospital by paramedics and then to the Cairns hospital for the treatment of snake bites and some bruises.

Ms. Rutland believed that the python, which had died from the wounds, had been hanging from the rainforest for about 18 months, having dinner on mice and rats near the house.

"It was enormous, honestly. "When I went to get it, I could not put my hand around the circumference – and that was just a piece that was wrapped around Naish. "If I was not there, no doubt my son would have gone away. "It would have been just like a wallaby, for sure."

Python scrubs are the largest snake species in Australia, with reports of them growing up to 8 m in length. The ambush predators are known to eat large prey such as wallabies and occasionally domestic animals. It is the second time in a little over a week that the species has attacked a person in the far north, with a snake-catcher almost strangled by a python in Mission Beach.


Climate policy not changing: treasurer

Climate change has been touted as an important contribution to the Liberals' loss in Wentworth but Josh Frydenberg says the coalition won't shift its policy.

Not even being on track for a minority government will force the coalition into a shift in thinking on climate change, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has confirmed.

Independent Kerryn Phelps is headed for victory in the Wentworth by-election after a historic swing of more than 20 per cent against the Liberal Party.

The expected result will see the coalition with 75 seats in the House of Representatives - one short of a majority - with Labor holding 69.

The Australia Institute's exit polling shows climate change and replacing coal with renewable energy was the biggest issue motivating voters in Wentworth.

The research shows 77 per cent of voters said it influenced their vote, with one-third stating it was the most important issue when heading to the polling booth on Saturday.

While Mr Frydenberg conceded climate change was important to the people of Wentworth, he believed other issues were at play.

He said the predicted defeat for candidate Dave Sharma was more about the Liberal Party's ditching of former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, who had been the local member since 2004.

"The message from the voters of Wentworth is you've been punished for the events of recent weeks with the leadership," Mr Frydenberg told Sky News on Sunday.

Mr Frydenberg went on to tell reporters on Sunday the government was on track to meet emissions targets. "What we will not do is increase people's power bills as a result of these policies," Mr Frydenberg said.

"That is very different to Bill Shorten. He has a 50 per cent renewable energy target and a 45 per cent emissions reduction target. That spells higher power bills for Australians."

Dr Phelps said the public was tired of the government's "self-interest" and important issues must be kept on the agenda. "They want to start to see some movement on action on climate change," Dr Phelps said.

Senior Labor MP Tony Burke said former prime minister Tony Abbott was still in charge of the coalition's policies. "The hard-right agenda has made this government incapable of dealing with issues like climate change and people have had enough of it," Mr Burke told ABC TV on Sunday.

Centre Alliance's Rebekha Sharkie said the message from the public on climate change was clear. "A couple of critical issues in the Wentworth by-election and people raise with me every day in Mayo is ensuring we have climate change action in the parliament," Ms Sharkie told ABC TV on Sunday.


Religious schools must retain hiring rights

In the hasty and overheated reaction to the leaked recommendations of the Ruddock review, pressure is building to remove the rights of religious schools to discriminate against teachers, not just students, on the grounds of questions of sexual orientation, gender identity or relationship status.

This pressure needs to be resisted.

Teachers and children are not the same. There is no justification for a continued right for a religious school to discriminate against a student. But there is a kind of religious school where certain aspects of a teacher’s life and relationships are significant enough to be justified grounds for discrimination.

Admittedly, some religious schools sit loosely to their religious affiliation. Other than for the chaplain, there is a low expectation for the staff to live that closely to the obligation of the relevant religion. For these schools the sexual orientation, gender identity or relationship status of their teachers is pretty irrelevant.

For others it is different. Those schools, and more importantly the parents who send their children to such schools, seek to have their students educated in an intentional religious community. And so the personal life of the teachers and other staff members play an important part in providing models and mentors for the students in growing in their religion. Such schools and parents need teachers to walk the walk — not simply talk the talk — about the religion of the school.

To remove this right to discrimination in the selection of staff, as some are rashly proposing, would be removing the right of the school to function as a religious school. Further, it would be in effect the state removing the liberty of parents to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions, which is contrary to our international obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Article 18.4.


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

21 October, 2018

What makes a "good" school?

Before answering the question above, one has to define what a good school is.  And that's surprisingly easy.  The basic definition is that the pupils do well in the annual state-wide exams.  Many people, however, will poo-pooh that definition, and say that things like cultural awareness, personal development and social responsibility are the defining qualities.  But, as it happens, all those things tend to covary. 

A school with good exam results will tend also to facilitate more exposure to the arts and offer many options for activities that are not strictly academic, such as good sporting facilities being available, with  sport being seen as character building.  Charitable work will also usually be encouraged.  So it is clear why people speak as if there were schools which are simply "good" across the board.  There really are such schools.

But how do you arrive at that?  Having good teachers and fine buildings can help to a degree, as can extensive parental involvement.  But how do you arrange that? Do good teachers and fine buildings just drop out of the sky?  What is the starting point that brings all those things together?  It is something that really runs across the grain for Leftists, with their comical belief that all men are equal:  It is good students that make a good school. 

If the students are orderly and attentive they will get good exam results and most teachers would like to teach there -- so the school will have its pick of the best available teachers.  And the best teachers will be best at treating the students as individuals and encouraging them in their own particular interests and abilities. So the school will be a safe and rewarding place for all.

So the next question is:  How do you get good students for a school?  How do you find orderly and attentive students who reward the efforts made by teachers to develop them in various ways?

In the end there is only one way to arrange that.  You have to have selective admissions.  But selective admissions are seen as obnoxious by many.  All men are equal, don't you know?  So we need a system that delivers selective admissions without appearing to do so.

There is such a system:  You find a locality where the good students tend to congregate naturally and locate your school there. So where do you find such a locality?  Easy.  You find the localities where the rich live. 

There will of course be exceptions but much research has shown that the rich tend to be brighter.  Life has selected them for above average intelligence, and intelligence is mainly genetically transmitted, so their kids will be brighter too. And, again as all the research shows, an amazing range of advantageous characteristics tend to be associated with high IQ.  Your "good" students will almost all be students of above average IQ.  So a good "non-selective" school will in most cases be a school located in a high income suburb.

And that brings us to the article below in which the writer has got the cart totally before the horse. It says that having a good school in an area will make the suburb an expensive one.  It says, for instance, that the Sydney suburb of Woollahra has a good school and that has pushed up the price of real estate there. But Woollahra has been an expensive suburb for many years.  I once lived there so I have a good awareness of that. The big terrace house I once lived in is now worth millions. 

And most of the people who live there are beyond the childbearing and childrearing years.  Why?  Because it is mostly only they who can afford to live there.  But if they are living post-children lives, schools are not the reason they live there are they?  In fact there are many reasons people live in leafy Woollahra in Sydney's Eastern suburbs.  I could list them but just ask a real estate agent in the area.

There is of course such a thing as a virtuous circle.  Once a suburb has got a good school, that school will add to the attractiveness of the area and those who have more money will try to move there -- pushing up the price even further than it otherwise would be.  So the story below is not totally wrong.  It is just superficial. 

And it has to be.  When Leftists are asked what makes a good school, they are pretty stumped and tend to mutter vaguely about "privilege".  That is dangerous ground however as many of them send their own kids to such schools. So are they "privileged" too?  They usually don't want to think that so silence is the best option for them

For those who know a bit about the British scene, the video below shows the very upper class Jacob Rees-Mogg embarrassing a privileged Leftist over the highly selective school to which he sent his son, something that was not generally known

So if you are a Leftist, you have to pretend that good schools somehow magically drop out of thin air without any reference to what made them good.  And when you note that such schools tend to be located in expensive areas you have to pretend that it is only the "goodness" of the school that has bid up the price of living in that area.  The article below was published in a very Left-leaning paper

Photographer Jason Busch rarely has to worry about his five-year-old son being late for school. Living right opposite Woollahra Public School, in the eastern suburbs, he has only to glance at the clock and then it’s a 30-second walk.

“We’d heard how good the school was, so that’s a real advantage of living here,” says Busch, who has a daughter, three, who will also attend the school. “As well as being so convenient, getting involved with the school is a great way of becoming part of the community.”

The chance to live in the catchment area of a well-regarded school is a major driver of price in the property market and likely to become more so as private school fees rise, says Domain Group analyst Nicola Powell.

“We know that well-performing public schools certainly have an effect on an area’s price growth,” Dr Powell says. “Private school fees have increased quite significantly, so, if people are priced out of those, they’ll look for good public schools.

“We also tend to find that residents of those areas will stay in those homes for longer, which limits supply and puts even more upward pressure on prices.”

It’s difficult to pinpoint by how much prices may be inflated by the presence of a good school, but anecdotally experts say it can be as much as 5 or 10 per cent.

Real Estate Institute of NSW president Leanne Pilkington believes a school’s strong reputation can precede it. “It can create extra competition in the market, especially if there’s not a lot of property coming up in the area. It can add to the value quite considerably.”

Competition is now so fierce to enrol in some popular public schools that principals ask parents to sign statutory declarations about their living arrangements to make sure their children are eligible to attend. Even leases on investment properties have to be long-term, and false declarations can be punishable by fines of up to $22,000.

Ray White Double Bay agent Di Wilson, who’s selling Busch’s two-bedroom apartment on Edgecliff Road as he and his family look to upsize, believes the prospect of a home so close to an excellent eastern suburbs school will be attractive for a young family.

The garden residence is on the north corner of a 1890 Victorian manor converted into apartments. It has retained its original charm after a contemporary renovation.

“It has all the convenience of an apartment, but it feels much more like a house,” says Wilson, who leads it to a November 8 auction with a price guide of $1.45 million. She says the manor’s apartments were once inhabited by artists and writers.

“For me, arriving in Sydney, it felt like a real community here,” says Busch. “And it still does.”

It’s a similar story for catchments in the inner west, advises Chris Parsons, of McGrath Leichhardt. He says that most buyers ask about zonings for schools such as Leichhardt Public and Orange Grove in Lilyfield. “As well as adding to the price, those schools make all the difference between homes selling or not selling.”

In Baulkham Hills, the high-achieving Matthew Pearce Public is another lure for home-buyers.

“It’s a crucial consideration for a lot of parents,” says Declan Morris, of Manor Real Estate. “We receive a lot of inquiries … and, if they’re not in the right catchment, people often decide to look elsewhere.”


Real Christians: Sydney Anglicans set to ban gay weddings and pro-LGBTI advocacy on church property

The Sydney Anglican diocese is set to ban same-sex weddings from any Anglican church or building, and prohibit its properties from being used to promote homosexuality or "transgender ideology".

Critics within the church say the far-reaching policy could stop pastors and teachers from speaking in favour of marriage equality, and stifle student-led LGBTI support groups at Anglican schools.

Documents obtained by Fairfax Media also reveal the church sees the current debate about its right to fire gay teachers as a "key threat" to its ability to foster a Christian ethos at its schools.

The 51st Synod of the Sydney diocese will next week debate the introduction of a property policy to ensure church-owned buildings are used only for "acts or practices which conform to the doctrines, tenets and beliefs of the diocese".

The policy specifies it would be inappropriate to use church-owned property for "advocacy for transgender ideology (e.g gender-fluidity)" and "advocacy for expressions of human sexuality contrary to our doctrine of marriage".

It also bans local Anglican boards from allowing property - such as school halls - to host same-sex marriages or receptions associated with same-sex weddings.

Joel Hollier, a gay Anglican and former pastor who co-chairs the LGBTI group Equal Voices, said the proposed crackdown was a "silencing act" designed to quell dissenting voices.

"The message is potently clear - no priest or pastor has the right to speak in favour of marriage equality," he said.

"Nor are they able to speak freely to the reality of parishioners experiencing gender dysphoria. Churches that suggest otherwise will face the consequences."

Under Archbishop Glenn Davies, the conservative Sydney diocese of the Anglican church was one of the key forces opposed to same-sex marriage, donating $1 million to the "No" campaign last year.

Bishop of South Sydney Michael Stead, the senior clergyman who authored the proposal, told Fairfax Media that the use of church property had "always been governed by various regulations" and the new policy merely sought to consolidate those into a single document.

"The new policy doesn’t represent a change in our position and I wouldn’t expect it to have an effect on any activities currently occurring on church trust property," he said.

"Because the federal government has changed its definition of marriage, the policy makes clear the church’s doctrine of marriage has not changed and that property use scenarios relate only to man/woman marriage."

By contrast, the Uniting Church in Australia recently started conducting same-sex marriages.

Bishop Stead's report noted "man-woman marriage" was not explicitly defined as a tenet of the Sydney Anglican church, and it would be "prudent" to do so in order to harness the power granted to the church through exemptions to NSW anti-discrimination laws.

"A key threat to maintaining the Christian ethos of our Anglican institutions is in relation to the
employment of Christian staff," he noted.

Philip Ruddock's review of religious freedom, which is currently being considered by cabinet, urges new laws to "make it clear" religious schools are not required to provide their facilities for any marriage providing the refusal conforms to the tenets of their religion.

Mr Ruddock also recommends schools retain their right to hire and fire teachers on the basis of their sexuality, provided they have a written policy on the matter. However, the leaked Ruddock review has prompted Labor - and some Liberals - to propose removing that right altogether.

The government intends to remove religious schools' right to discriminate against gay students next week, and has shared the legislation with the Labor Opposition.

Steff Fenton, another co-chair of Equal Voices, described the Anglican proposal as a "grab for privilege" by the church's leaders, who were out of step with the majority of Anglicans.

"Worldwide we can see the movement of the Anglican communion is toward the full inclusion of LGBTI people," she said.

The senior bishops "have so much power and seem to speak for a lot of people, without the data to back up how many people are behind that ‘majority’," Ms Fenton said.


There’s a reason Melbourne feels so crowded — it’s the most densely populated area in Australia

DID you brave the Showbag Pavilion at the Royal Melbourne Show this year?

If you did, chances are you felt a bit like I did: claustrophobic, annoyed, searching for the exit, uncomfortable with being that close to strangers, disappointed the Arnott’s showbag had sold out.

There were far too many people in an area that was far too small to handle them all.

The more I think about that feeling, the more I realise I’ve felt it often recently: at the MCG on Anzac Day, on the train into work most mornings, walking through Federation Square or Melbourne Central or along Southbank.

My personal space is constantly invaded and I don’t like it. But I’m resigned to the fact that it’s part of the deal in Melbourne, a CBD that just today became the nation’s most densely populated area. At least, officially.

Demographers from CoreLogic revealed on Friday that Melbourne is more densely populated than anywhere else in the country, supported by a boom in the construction of high-rise apartments.

There are now more than 19,000 people per square kilometre, up from 16,900 two years ago. And it’s going to keep climbing.

“The trend that Melbourne will further densify is definitely true as there will be more skyscrapers coming online and that means there will be more population,” The Demographics Group’s Simon Kuestenmacher told The Australian.

Outside the Melbourne CBD, Carlton, South Yarra, Fitzroy and Collingwood make up Victoria’s top five.

The rest of country’s top 20 most densely populated areas are all in Sydney. Potts Point ranks number two nationally, with more than 16,000 residents per square kilometre.

Last month, we reported that Melbourne’s population was growing faster than any other major Australian city.

Melbourne grew by 2.7 per cent last year, compared to Sydney (1.8 per cent), Perth (1 per cent) and Adelaide (0.7 per cent).

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed Victoria’s actual population grew by 137,000 people between 2017 and 2018, more than one-third of Australia’s entire growth.
If you like your personal space, peak hour trains might not be your go. Picture: Mike Keating

If you like your personal space, peak hour trains might not be your go. Picture: Mike KeatingSource:News Corp Australia

NSW added more than 113,000 people and Queensland added 83,000 people but, interestingly, the sunshine state also welcomed the most interstate migrants.

According to the ABS, Australia’s population grew by 380,700 people last year. Australia topped 25 million people at 11pm on August 7, and is adding a new resident every minute and 23 seconds.

Our annual population growth sits at 1.6 per cent, slightly higher than a global growth of 1.2 per cent and the highest of the G12 nations.

This means we’ll probably stand at 26 million in another three years from now, and if growth remains at this rate, there should be 40 million of us by mid-century.

Greater Melbourne is expected to be home to 8 million people by 2050. I’ll probably give the Melbourne Show a miss that year.


Arrest as disabled duped of $400,000

A 34-year-old Victorian man has been charged with stealing more than $400,000 from about 200 disabled people in the first arrest of its kind under the landmark National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The alleged fraud spree, which was revealed by The Australian in August, took place in just two months from July and authorities allege the man used the money to buy a BMW 7-Series limousine, a Toyota Hi-Lux and designer clothing and jewellery.

This week a joint team from the newly established NDIS fraud taskforce — which includes members of the Australian Federal Police, the National Disability Insurance Agency and the Department of Human Services — executed a search warrant in the Melbourne suburb of Parkville.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said the introduction of the taskforce “was a strong and unequivocal warning to those who may try to commit serious fraud against the NDIS”.

Social Services Minister Paul Fletcher said the commonwealth “will come down hard on anyone who thinks they can defraud the NDIS or other welfare agencies”.

“The NDIA is ensuring that participants affected by this alleged fraud will have their funds reinstated in their plans,” Mr Fletcher said.

But the investigation took time and many participants were unable to spend the taxpayer money they had been allocated on crucial support services once their accounts had been raided.

Authorities did not release the man’s name but The Australian understands he is linked to cases previously reported by this newspaper.

Amounts as large as $12,000 were siphoned from individual participants by a company with which they had never signed an agreement.

A major security flaw in the online portal that allowed NDIS participants and providers to pay and be paid from their support packages was also exposed by The Australian and it is believed this allowed criminals to effectively guess a participant plan number to gain access to the system.

No other identifying details were required for access. The loophole was closed the same evening The Australian submitted questions to the NDIA about the issue.

The portal now requires three pieces of sensitive information to conduct a search and bring up a plan: the NDIS number, the participant’s last name and date of birth.

Minister for Human Services Michael Keenan said stealing from taxpayers was “not a victimless crime”.

“Fraud robs the Australian community of much-needed funds that should be spent on essential services we all rely on,” he said.

“The staff from my department involved in the taskforce are experts in fraud detection and prevention and I commend them for the work they’ve done to bring about this arrest.”

There are now about 200,000 participants in the NDIS and last year almost $7 billion in funding was committed as part of the scheme. That figure will rise to 475,000 participants by 2020 with an annual cost of at least $22bn.


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, 2018


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG thinks it is OK to be white

Abortion legalized in Queensland on a "Free" vote

A free vote is where no whips are issued. Ever since the Heatherbrae case in NSW many years ago, abortion has in fact been de facto legalized in Queensland, subject to the approval of a doctor.  So this was not a big step

IT TOOK just 50 people to change forever the lives of hundreds of thousands of Australian women, when Queensland MPs voted to scrap laws making abortion illegal on Wednesday night.

Queensland women will now be able to choose to have an abortion without risking criminal prosecution.

The laws passed in state parliament will allow women to request an abortion up to 22 weeks gestation and also beyond, if the medical practitioner performing the termination has consulted with a second medical practitioner and both agree the abortion should be performed.

The changes also establish safe zones around clinics and medical facilities offering the procedure to stop staff and patients being harassed by anti-abortion activists.

The laws took two full days to debate, with dozens of MPs wanting to speak to the bill and were eventually passed with 50 MPs voting for and 41 against.

But the most shocking thing about the vote is gender divide between the “yes” and “no” votes.

Only six female MPs voted against the bill, with the other 35 no votes belonging to men

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the changes will ensure women can access safe and legal terminations without fear or stigma.

“This is a historic day for Queensland. The Palaszczuk Government is proud to deliver on our election commitment to modernise and clarify the laws around termination of pregnancy,” Ms Palaszczuk said on Wednesday night, “because I believe, and I have always believed, a woman should be able to talk to her doctor about her own health and her own body without it being a crime.”

Opposition MPs Steve Minnikin, Jann Stuckey and former opposition leader Tim Nicholls voting in favour of the changes.

Now The Greens and women’s rights activists are putting pressure on the NSW Government to follow the example of Queensland and decriminalise abortion.

Abortion is still illegal in NSW, unless a woman has approval from a doctor that due to medical, financial, social or mental reasons she is unable to keep the child.

“NSW is now the last state in Australia where abortion is still technically a crime and it is past time that this outdated and offensive section is removed from the Crimes Act in NSW,” NSW Greens MP Cate Faehrmann said.

“Queensland’s historic reform was just passed with support from members in the ALP, LNP, Greens and an independent.


'Some people feel excluded': PC brigade insist the word 'guys' is sexist towards women – and suggest a ridiculous word to replace it

This is a rather odd story to come out of Australia.  Like the British we normally use "bloke" instead of "guy" -- and bloke refers only to men.  In addressing a group of people we would normally use just "people".  But TV has of course also made the American usage familiar

There have been calls for the word 'guys' to be banned from use in workplaces as it is sexist towards women. Critics of the word say it positions men as the 'default' and excludes women.

Linguist John Hajek from the University of Melbourne said the term should no longer be used, in order to stop offending women in the workplace - and suggests using 'hey all', 'everybody' or 'people'.

Diversity Council Australia chief executive Lisa Annese said some women feel excluded by the word 'guys'.

'The word ''guys'' can be used to mean both men and women - but not for everybody,' she told the ABC.

Ms Annese recommended using the word 'team' instead of 'guys' as it is more inclusive. '''Team'' is a completely inclusive term, and also it's not so formal that it sounds ridiculous,' she said.

'In the workplace, you cannot reasonably predict the impact that your words have on other people. If you're a leader and you're addressing a whole group of people, isn't it better to use a more accurate term?'

The word 'guys' was first used as a reference to Guy Fawkes but was then used to mean 'men' in the United States in the 1800s.

'In a business environment, you don't want to upset anyone (or) get a proportion of your workforce offside,' Mr Hajek said.


Howard launches late bid to rescue Liberals in Wentworth with letter

John Howard will intervene in the Wentworth by-­election campaign today in a last-ditch attempt to win over “grumpy ­Liberal voters”, warning that a ­significant protest vote could ­inflict “enormous damage” on the Morrison government.

The former prime minister said he was “genuinely concerned” the blue-ribbon federation seat could be lost at Saturday’s crucial by-election in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

Mr Howard, who will campaign with Liberal candidate Dave Sharma in the streets and shops of Wentworth today, has appealed to Liberal voters not to register a protest vote that could pitch the Coalition into minority government and put Bill Shorten “dangerously close to power”.

Australia’s second-longest-serving prime minister said it was his “considered view” there was “a real risk of the government losing the seat”, which was abandoned by former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull following the ­August leadership spill.

“This could do enormous damage to the Coalition government and I am genuinely concerned about the risk of a Liberal loss,” Mr Howard told The Australian.

Scott Morrison yesterday warned that defeat for Mr Sharma, a former Australian ambassador to Israel, would be a threat to “stability and certainty”.

Senior Liberals are being told polling shows independent candidate Kerryn Phelps is ahead of Labor on primary votes and running second to Mr Sharma.


Teachers honoured by Prime Minister for teaching science
2018 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science were awarded last night.

Two of the 2018 recipients are science teachers—one primary and one secondary. They are:

*       Mr Brett Crawford has transformed science teaching at Warrigal Road State School in Brisbane. All the school’s 50-plus teachers now actively teach science in their classes: Mr Brett Crawford, Warrigal Road State School, Brisbane, $50,000 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools

*       Many of Cessnock’s students don’t believe that the new jobs are for them. Dr Scott Sleap is opening their eyes and showing them that they can participate in the new economy: Dr Scott Sleap, Cessnock High School, $50,000 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools.

Full profiles, photos, and broadcast quality video are available at

Brett Crawford—A school where everyone teaches science

Mr Brett Crawford has transformed science teaching at Warrigal Road State School in Brisbane. All the school’s 50-plus teachers now actively teach science in their classes.

Warrigal Road is a large primary school in Brisbane with more than 1,300 students. The students are from 54 cultures, English is a second language for 60 per cent of them, and there’s also a cohort of hearing-impaired children.

The local high schools have recognised that Warrigal Road students come to them curious about the world and ready for secondary science. Test results back that up, showing the school’s science performance is well above national averages.

Brett is the lead science teacher at the school. He believes that science teaching in primary schools is easy.

Primary school students are curious about the world. You can engage them with simple, inexpensive experiments.

But Brett also knows that many primary school teachers are anxious about teaching science.

So, at Warrigal Road he led a program in which he spent two days every week mentoring his fellow teachers.

The results speak for themselves and other schools are now picking up his ideas and programs.

For creating an environment in which every teacher is engaged in science, Brett Crawford receives the $50,000 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools. Brett is the lead science teacher at Warrigal Road State School in Brisbane.

Scott Sleap—Opening young eyes to careers in science, technology, engineering and maths

Cessnock in New South Wales was traditionally a mining town, but today’s high-value jobs in the Hunter Valley are in agriculture, tourism and increasingly in aerospace. Williamtown is already a maintenance base for Australia’s F/A-18 fighters. Soon it will be a maintenance hub for the Joint Strike Fighter in the Asia-Pacific.

Many of Cessnock’s students don’t believe that the new jobs are for them. Dr Scott Sleap is opening their eyes and showing them that they can participate in the new economy.

He’s done that by creating the Cessnock Academy of STEM Excellence, a partnership between Cessnock High School, its feeder primary schools, and local industry.

Students struggling with numeracy are catching up with the help of robotics. A team of Aboriginal girls are making and racing model F1 cars, mentored by Boeing engineers. And the number of students signing up for STEM subjects is growing. NSW Education is now rolling out similar programs in other regional centres.

Dr Scott Sleap receives the $50,000 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Teaching in Secondary Schools. Scott is Deputy Principal, STEM, for the Cessnock Learning Community.

Media release

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, 2018

Global warming will make beer much more expensive, scientists forecast

This is nonsense on stilts. The authors ignore both agricultural economics and plant biology.

Economics: There is no way there will be a barley shortage.  Grain crops tend to glut, not shortage. A small price rise would produce a flood of it.

Plant biology: A warmer climate would produce MORE rain overall, not less, which is good for ALL plants. And higher CO2 levels would also make ALL plants more vigorous and able to thrive even in low rainfall areas.  The area growing barley could EXPAND under global warming. 

And it is a temperate climate crop originating in the Middle East so if some areas did become too hot for it, a small move poleward should restore it to congenial conditions. And there would be much more arable land in the North under warming -- in Northern Canada and Southern Siberia, for instance.

Don't expect much science from scientists these days

IF YOU weren’t already worried about the effects of global warming, this should definitely do it.

Scientists have looked at the impact climate change will have on barley — a vital crop for beer making — and come up with a grim prediction: a global beer shortage.

While Australia hit “peak beer” in 1974-75, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, we still rank about 23rd in the world when it comes to beer consumption per capita.

So this is a very concerning forecast indeed.

The study was carried out by a small team of researchers in the US, the UK and China and published this week in the journal Nature Plants.

Scientists behind the study suggest that by the end of the century, increased drought and heat could hurt barley crops enough to cause a genuine shortage for beer makers, driving up the cost of a schooner.

“Beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage in the world by volume consumed, and yields of its main ingredient, barley, decline sharply in periods of extreme drought and heat,” researchers wrote.

“Although the frequency and severity of drought and heat extremes increase substantially in range of future climate scenarios by five Earth System Models, the vulnerability of beer supply to such extremes has never been assessed.”

So they set out to look at such a scenario under a range of different climate models.

Worldwide barley is used for all sorts of purposes, mostly feeding livestock. Less than 20 per cent of the world’s barley is made into beer. But in the United States, Brazil and China, at least two-thirds of the barley goes into six-packs, drafts, kegs, cans and bottles.

In Australia, barley has been losing ground to rival crops due, in part, to climate conditions and slowing overseas demand.

Barley is also one of the most heat-sensitive crops, making it particularly vulnerable to global warming and the extreme events brought on by climate change.

“We find that these extreme events may cause substantial decreases in barley yields worldwide,” researchers said.

In their estimation, losses of barley yield could easily be as much as 17 per cent. That means beer prices on average would double, even adjusting for inflation. In countries like Ireland, where cost of a brew is already high, prices could triple.

Study co-author Steve Davis of the University of California, Irvine, said the beer research was partly done to drive home the not-that-palatable message that climate change is messing with all sorts of aspects of our daily lives.

They knew, people like me would write about it and people like you would read about it.

The findings come a week after a dire United Nations report described consequences of dangerous levels of climate change including worsening food and water shortages, heatwaves, sea level rise, and disease.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s early response to the report was to promise that Australia would be not be spending money on climate change conferences and “all that nonsense”.


Scott Morrison prepared to accept New Zealand refugee offer 'if lifetime ban law passed'

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is inclined to take up New Zealand's long-standing offer to accept 150 refugees from Nauru and Manus Island on the condition the Parliament passes a stalled bill that would ban any of those people ever coming to Australia.

It marks a turning point in Australia's opposition to New Zealand's offer, with the government having previously said the proposal could only be considered once the United States resettlement deal had been completed.

And it comes as both major parties face increasing internal pressure to get people off Manus Island and Nauru, with MPs telling their leaders the situation is now critical and the public's sentiment is changing.

The so-called "lifetime visa ban" would prevent anyone who was sent to Nauru or Manus Island after 19 July 2013 from ever receiving a visa to come to Australia, including a business or tourist visa.

The government argues the rules are necessary to stop refugees settling in Australia after going to New Zealand, thus providing a pathway for asylum seekers to end up here after coming by boat.

In response to growing concerns of his own Liberal colleagues - including MPs Craig Laundy, Russell Broadbent and Julia Banks - Mr Morrison repeatedly noted the bill to close the "back door" from New Zealand into Australia had languished on the notice paper since 2016.

Labor, the Greens and a slew of crossbenchers had vowed to oppose the bill in the Senate, meaning it was sure to fail and was never put to a vote.

Fairfax Media understands the government will put the bill to a vote this week if there is sufficient support for it to pass, and is likely to accept New Zealand's long-standing offer once it is law.

However, the opposition vowed it was not for turning, even in light of Mr Morrison's offer. A Labor spokeswoman confirmed the party still opposed the legislation, and said the government should deal directly with New Zealand if it wanted to place conditions on any resettlement offer.

Opposition immigration spokesman Shayne Neumann said it was "ridiculous" genuine refugees who are resettled in third countries would be banned from entering Australia as tourists in 30 years.

Dr O'Connor from Médecins Sans Frontières says refugee children have presented with depression and anxiety, with children as young as nine attempting suicide. Many children are also suffering traumatic withdrawal syndrome, unable to eat

"The Liberals' lifetime ban legislation has nothing to do with third country resettlement options because the US deal is already under way," he told Fairfax Media on Tuesday.

"If Malcolm Turnbull was able to negotiate conditions for the US deal to proceed, why is Scott Morrison incapable of negotiating similar conditions for the NZ deal?"

Labor on Tuesday said it would introduce legislation aimed at ensuring sick refugee children at the regional processing centre in Nauru were brought to Australia for medical purposes if necessary.

Mr Morrison's new offer will place enormous pressure on the Senate to acquiesce to the lifetime visa ban. If Labor and the Greens vote against it, it could still pass with the support of the crossbench.

The Centre Alliance party, which controls two crossbench votes, said it remained opposed to the bill as it currently stood, but was willing to negotiate.

"A blanket ban on entry to Australia is really cruelty for cruelty’s sake. We certainly will not be supporting a bill along these lines," Centre Alliance senator Stirling Griff told Fairfax Media. "If they want to sit down and talk to us they can sit down and talk to us."

Independent senators Derryn Hinch and Tim Storer, whose votes are also critical, said they had not been approached by the government for talks about the bill. Senator Storer was not in Parliament when it was discussed in 2016, but a spokesman indicated he was unlikely to support it.

A One Nation spokesman indicated the party was inclined to support the bill, noting both major parties had promised people on Manus Island and Nauru would never come to Australia.

As of last week, 418 people had resettled in the US from both Manus Island and Nauru, under the deal struck by former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and former US president Barack Obama.


Sydney Uni still opposed to Western civilization 

A Ramsay Centre-funded course at Sydney University would be badged 'Western tradition' rather than 'Western civilisation' in a bid to assuage concerns held by some academics about the proposed partnership.

The country's oldest university has offered staff worried about the Ramsay course a number of concessions in an updated memorandum of understanding it will put to the centre, including stripping Ramsay representatives of voting rights on academic and scholarship committees.

A Bachelor of Western Tradition would also have to comply with a university-wide plan to emphasise skills such as "cultural competence", or "the ability to engage ethically, respectfully and successfully in inter-cultural settings". The Herald understands the MOU was distributed to university staff and received by the Ramsay Centre on Tuesday night.

The Ramsay Centre board, which includes former Coalition prime ministers John Howard and Tony Abbott, would need to accept the MOU before a deal progresses. If it agrees, Sydney University will draw up a curriculum that would have to be approved by its academic board.

The Ramsay Centre is offering millions to fund courses on the great books of the West at several universities. Universities, including Sydney, already cover similar content, but this proposal has inflamed the culture wars because opponents see it as cultural imperialism. Its supporters believe the resistance shows political correctness is taking over campuses.

The Ramsay Centre said it would need to time to consider the updated MOU before commenting.

Sydney University vice-chancellor Michael Spence sparked furious debate when he began talks with Ramsay earlier this year after the Australian National University pulled out. Queensland University has also expressed interest.

The ANU said Ramsay's demands would have curtailed its academic freedom. The centre denies these claims. Using "Western civilisation" to describe the course was a sticking point in ANU negotiations, with Ramsay rejecting the Canberra-based university's proposal to call it Western studies.

In an attempt to set clear boundaries around academic autonomy early in the negotiations, senior Sydney University staff drew up an MOU. The first draft gave Ramsay standard donor voting rights for an academic appointment and scholarship committees, but specified that teaching and content be controlled by the university.

But when the university surveyed staff's views on the MOU, reactions were mixed. A third of the 500 respondents were ideologically opposed to involvement with Ramsay, believing it would be a course in European supremicism, according to an email sent to staff on Tuesday night.

A third supported the course, and the remaining third supported the principles of the MOU but worried about how it would work in practice. "Following consultation, the draft MOU has been significantly revised," the email said.

Under the changes, Ramsay will be required to agree to the term tradition rather than civilisation; waive its voting rights on the committees; and comply with the graduate qualities program that begins in 2021.

The university has also amended the clause about a Ramsay review after four years, saying any review would need to be done by academics jointly chosen by the university and Ramsay. The university would also have control over the marketing of the course.

Staff opposed to the centre are planning a public meeting on October 29.


'It's a white supremacist song!' Aboriginal boxer calls for Australia's national anthem to be scrapped

He's always been a loose cannon.  Not a profound thinker.  At the time the song was adopted as the national anthem it was carefullly revised to eliminate anything politically controversial

He blasted the Australian national anthem as 'racist' last year and vowed to boycott the song before his fight with Danny Green.

And Anthony Mundine renewed calls for the national anthem to be scrapped during an interview with Hit 105's Stav, Abby and Matt on Tuesday.

The 43-year-old described Advance Australia Fair as 'a white supremacist song' and voiced his support for the creation of a new anthem which would 'bring people together'.

Anthony claimed the song 'was compiled in the late 1700s' and was a 'theme song for the White Australia Policy from 1901 until 1970 something'.

The song was actually composed in 1878, and did not become the country's official national anthem until 1984.

When the radio hosts asked whether Anthony wanted to update the song to make it more inclusive, he responded: 'Nah, change it man. We need a whole new song'.

The sportsman said he wasn't 'trying to bring people apart' and wanted to be more inclusive.  'I'm not against anybody, I have white mates, black… I don't care what you are. I'll treat you how your character is and your heart is.'

He stated: 'In order for us to move forward as a country, as a nation, as a people, we need to get this straight'.

It's not the first time the boxer has condemned the national anthem. Last year, he said the song is unjust to Indigenous Australians.

'I am a man that stands against wrong and I think that is a big wrong in our country. And I can't stand for something that I don't believe in,' he said at a press conference in January, 2017, prior to his match against Danny Green.

The reality star is no stranger to controversy.

During his time on I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! earlier this year he stated: 'If you're going to be gay, do it behind closed doors'.

Anthony who converted to Islam in the 1990s, cited his faith and his Aboriginal heritage as reasons for making the comments.

'If we were to live in a society, just like in Aboriginal culture, (where) homosexuality is forbidden and you do it and the consequences are capital punishment or death, you think, 'are you going to do it?' Or think twice about doing it?' he said on the show.    

But in a July interview with The Daily Telegraph he said he was changing his tune and trying to be more considerate.

'I honestly don't care if anyone's gay. I'm not judge and jury. That's for the creator. Whether I believe it's right or wrong, I have to accept it. It's law,' he said.

'I've got gay friends. I've got gay family members. I have a cousin, she's gay. I was hurt that she was hurt. I want to uplift and inspire people, not hurt anyone.

'I was trying to say what happened in our culture back in the day. It comes out that I want gays to be killed. Of course I don't wish that on anyone. In Islam taking one human life is like taking the whole of humanity.'


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, 2018

Former Liberal leader John Hewson (The man who lost an "unlosable" election) urges voters to dump Coalition over climate inaction

Hewson is an embittered man and has drifted Left since he lost. One also wonders whether he is still Chairman of "Port Augusta Graphite Energy" which wants millions in government grants to build a solar thermal plant in SA?  Follow the money? Hewson in fact earns his living by promoting global warming schemes and policies  

Former Liberal leader John Hewson has urged voters to turn on the Liberals in the up-coming Wentworth by-election over climate change, saying it may serve as a wake up call.

Dr John Hewson, who led the Liberal party from 1990 to 1994, said most Australians were disgusted the government had failed to show leadership on climate change.

"It's irresponsible, it's grossly irresponsible - we have politicians playing short-term political games for short-term political gains when they should be delivering a decisive climate action plan," he told SBS News. "It's a national disgrace."

The former Liberal MP for Wentworth stressed he was not endorsing or advocating for any particular candidate but said a political party without a policy on tackling climate change had lost the mandate to form a government. "You lose the right to govern if you do not listen to the electorate on these issues," he said. "This is why the electorate is pissed off."

Independent Kerryn Phelps looks poised to take out Malcolm Turnbull's former seat, based on the latest polling - resulting in a minority federal parliament.


Scott Morrison is considering moving Australia’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has indicated he could move Australia's embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv - mimicking US President Donald Trump's decision that led to riots and bloodshed.

Mr Morrison is expected to make an announcement on Tuesday as part of a foreign policy statement on Israel, in Canberra.

The prime minister has also credited the Liberal Party's Wentworth by-election candidate Dave Sharma, a former Australian ambassador to Israel, with raising the issue. 'He's arguing it can be done consistent with Australia's long-running position ... he's actually changing the way in which the issue is conceived,' Mr Morrison told Fairfax Media.

Wentworth, the former Sydney blue-ribbon electorate of Malcolm Turnbull, has a large Jewish community and voters will go to the polls this weekend.

If Australia does proceed, it will be following the US which earlier this year moved its embassy, effectively recognising the holy city of Jerusalem as the 'true' capital of Israel.

Mr Trump opened the new US embassy in the city in May. On the same day Israeli forces shot dead 58 Palestinians protesting the move.

Jerusalem is also a holy city for the largely Muslim population of the Palestinian territories, and they feared that recognition of the city as a Jewish capital would imperil shared access to the many religious sites.

It would also be a departure from the position taken by former prime minister Mr Turnbull and former foreign minister Julie Bishop.

Labor, meanwhile, has attacked Mr Morrison's 'desperation' for signalling the move. Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong said the prime minister was playing 'dangerous and deceitful' word games. 'Foreign policy, and Australia's national interest are far too important to be played with in this fashion,' Senator Wong said. 'The people of Wentworth, and all Australians, deserve a leader who puts the national interest ahead of his self-interest, and governs in the best long term interest of the nation.'

Labor is concerned the approach could undermine the prospect of a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine.

So far only the US and its ally Guatemala have moved their embassies to Jerusalem.


A mother

Most mothers would do the same.  Mothers are wonderful people

A young mother who battered by hail to protect her baby girl from an intense storm is being considered for a bravery award.

Fiona Simpson, 23, saved the life of her daughter by turning her back on giant hailstones to shield her four-month-old baby from the storm on Thursday.

After wild weather blew out their car's windshield and back window, the quick-thinking Queensland mum jumped into the backseat of her car and protected her baby girl.

She was left covered in welts, cuts and bruises after the tennis ball-sized hail pelted her body, the ABC reported.

'It was so scary but there was no time to be afraid … It just all happened so fast.

'I jumped over the back seat, over her car seat, holding my body over hers,' she said.

Since the storm on Thursday, Mrs Simpson has been praised nationally for her sheer bravery.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk commended the young mother and described her story as 'extraordinary' in a press conference on Sunday. 'We will be recommending her for a bravery award,' Ms Palaszczuk said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison also commended Mrs Simpson on her selflessness. 'I certainly think she is one of the bravest people I have read of lately,' Mr Morrison said.


'Balancing' act: Australia's new race commissioner is not inclined to commentary or advocacy

Chin Leong Tan, Australia's new race discrimination commissioner, sees his role very differently to predecessor Tim Soutphommasane. For one thing, he is not inclined to commentary or advocacy. Instead, he approaches issues with a clinical dispassion befitting his background as a commercial and property lawyer. One of his favourite words is "balance".

Take the most controversial debate in race politics last year: the bid to repeal or dilute section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, which makes it unlawful to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person on the basis of race.

"It’s not for me to comment on legislation that’s been there for 40-odd years," says Mr Tan, who takes up his new position on Monday.

"Law is a living creature. If there’s the community sense that it’s time to perhaps look at some changes … my role is really to then arbitrate, and not to push for a view."

When pushed, he praises section 18C as "a reflection of Australian values and views that we have". But it is not clear if he believes those values should endure regardless of the prevailing sentiments in Canberra.

"I defend the existing section 18C for what it is ... it’s there as a law and I comply with the law," Mr Tan says.

It's a similar story when it comes to African gang violence in Victoria. The debate has elicited claims of race-baiting and dog-whistling ahead of a state election - particularly directed at Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, who claimed Melburnians were afraid to go out to restaurants at night.

"He has a view and he expressed it. People had opposing views. That’s largely the debate that’s going on out there," Mr Tan says.

"It’s not my role to canvass an opinion about what politicians say from time to time, unless it becomes a public issue of a dimension that requires my involvement within the confines the Act."

The clash with Dr Soutphommasane's approach, particularly during his final months, could hardly be more stark. In his final speech, the former commissioner warned "race politics is back", and singled out Malcolm Turnbull, Mr Dutton, Tony Abbott, Andrew Bolt and others for criticism.

Dr Soutphommasane is a former Labor staffer and was appointed to the role by Labor in the dying days of the second Rudd government. Mr Tan unsuccessfully sought Liberal Party preselection in an on-again, off-again relationship with the party - he said he resigned his membership about a month ago after resuming it last year.

Attorney-General Christian Porter praised Mr Tan as "a well-known and recognised leader in the multicultural community" who would "represent all Australians".

In a clear departure from his predecessor, Mr Tan said there were limits to the power of "calling out" racism - even for the race discrimination commissioner.

"Calling out racism is very important, but I want to be very careful that we put things in context - because I do share a view that that can be overplayed sometimes," he said.

"It's important to remember the race discrimination [commissioner] role is not meant to divide, it’s meant to enhance communities and strengthen them."

Mr Tan was born in Malaysia to Chinese parents, and migrated to Melbourne in the 1980s. After leaving commercial law in 2011, he headed the Victorian Multicultural Commission, and since 2015 he has been director of multicultural engagement at Swinburne University of Technology.

His new $350,000-a-year job sits within the Australian Human Rights Commission, which has been the focus of political argy-bargy since the Coalition's spectacular falling out with former president Gillian Triggs over asylum seekers. Some conservatives argued for the race discrimination role to be scrapped or renamed, but the government opted to do neither.


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, 2018

Man acquitted of murdering his wife claims police ignored evidence

The W.A. cops are a rough lot so this is all highly believable. Bashing Aborigines is their chief skill.  The Rayney affair is a huge scandal.  All the police involved should be dismissed

A man who was wrongly accused of killing his wife is calling for 'the injustice to end' and for investigators to find her killer.

Barrister Lloyd Rayney was awarded more than $2.6 million in damages against the Western Australian government last year in one of the state's largest defamation payouts.

The payout came after he was publicly named by police as the prime and only suspect in the death of his wife Corryn Rayney in August 2007.

Evidence has since come to light places two violent sexual predators within just blocks of the Rayney's home at the time of the murder.

Corryn Rayney, 44, went to a boot-scooting class on August 7, 2007 and never returned home. Her body was found days later in a sandy grave in Perth's King's Park.

In an interview with 60Minutes, Mr Rayney said there were holes in the investigation.  'It's now been 11 years, it's 11 long years, and someone has literally gotten away with murder,' he said. 'Nothing gets better until her killer is prosecuted.'

Convicted rapist Ivan Eades lived in the same suburb as the Rayneys and a cigarette butt covered in his DNA was found by police outside their house on the day Corryn disappeared.

Eades' cousin, violent paedophile Allon Mitchell Lacco,  lived in an apartment near the Bentley Community Centre, where Ms Rayney was last seen alive.

On the day that Ms Rayney disappeared, phone records show that Lacco had allegedly used the phonebooth near the home.

When Lacco was pulled over by police the day after Ms Rayney's body was found, police found sand in the boot of his car, as well as a knife.

A year later investigators tracked Lacco in Sydney, where they found a diary page for August 2007, the month Ms Rayney was killed, with map of Kings Park and the floor plan of the supreme court - where Ms Rayney was a registrar.

Lacco was interviewed by police but detectives did not take the investigation any further.

A resident of an apartment block near Kings Park also reportedly heard a loud scream from the park on the night Ms Rayney disappeared. Police reportedly discounted the claim.

Police based their case on Mr Rayney on the idea that his wife had been killed in their family home and driven in her body in her car to the park.

But their daughter was home at the time he supposedly killed her and their other daughter was expected home at any time. 

Mr Rayney said the case made no sense but the public had formed the opinion that he was guilty based on a police press conference where he was named the main suspect.

Mr Rayney says his life was changed forever from that day, saying his reputation will never survive the trial by media that he faced.

'(The police) did it for maximum humiliation, to cause me maximum embarrassment,' Rayney told 60 Minutes.

After the announcement Mr Rayney had his house egged, had sanitary waste tipped over him at a bar and was publicly vilified.

Three years after the press conference Mr Rayney was charged with murder, and two years after that he was acquitted.

Mr Rayney was awarded more than $2.6million in defamation damages. The damages include nearly $1.8 million in loss of income and $846,000 in damage to his reputation and distress.

He won an appeal and had charges of phonetapping thrown out of court.

His lawyer Martin Bennett said police did not follow the leads they had and had caused irreparable damage to Mr Rayney's reputation.

'This damage will continue for the rest of his career. It hasn't been expunged. All that occurs is people…adjust their view to ''he must be very clever to get away with it''.'

Mr Rayney broke down in tears as he spoke about the moment he had to tell his daughters that their mum had been killed.

'We just put our arms around each other, I tried to comfort them but how do you comfort two girls who have lost their mum?'

Police have not confirmed whether they are investigating Allon Lacco or Ivan Eades in relation to the murder.

Locco is currently behind bars, waiting to be sentenced for unrelated charges, including assault.  Eades' whereabouts in unknown.


Despite political difficulties, the coalition government has delivered a strong Australian economy

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics today tabled the report of its Review of the Reserve Bank of Australia Annual Report 2017 (Second Report). The report provides a summary of issues raised at the public hearing with the Reserve Bank in Canberra on 17 August 2018.

The Chair of the committee, Mr Tim Wilson MP, said ‘the Governor’s testimony highlighted the strength of Australia’s economy. The RBA expects GDP growth to average around 3¼ per cent by the end of 2018 through to the end of 2019.’

‘Australia’s strong GDP growth is being supported by a pick-up in non-mining investment, strong commodity prices, growth in investment in energy projects and public sector infrastructure, low interest rates and the tax cuts already in place for small and medium businesses.’ Mr Wilson said.

Mr Wilson commented ‘Australia’s labour market has continued to strengthen with the labour force participation rate close to its historical high. Strong, continued growth in employment is expected to further reduce spare capacity in labour markets and generate a gradual increase in wages and inflation.’

‘While growth in average wages has been relatively low, we have turned the corner on wages growth. The wage price index increased by 0.6 per cent in the June quarter, which is the fastest quarterly increase since March 2014.’ Mr Wilson added.
For information about the inquiry visit the committee’s webpage at:

Media release from Committee Chair Mr Tim Wilson MP

Business tax cuts fast-track designed to damage Bill Shorten

The trap for Bill Shorten has been set. In fast-tracking company tax cuts for businesses with a turnover of up to $50 million, Scott Morrison has hit the former union boss where it hurts.

Shorten tied himself in knots this year cooking up Labor’s company tax policy on the run. Morrison has finally turned the tables on Labor after months of pain trying to push through Malcolm Turnbull’s company tax cuts for larger companies — including the big banks.

The test for Shorten is clear. Will he support accelerated company tax cuts for more than three million small businesses or continue Labor’s anti-business crusade? Aided and abetted by the trade union movement, Shorten has crafted policies that hurt small business. Cracking down on discretionary trusts, lobbying to restore penalty rates and opposing further tax cuts for companies has created a narrative that a Shorten government will be no friend of Australian businesses.

While that may consolidate his union base, it distances him from hardworking mum and dad small business owners trying to put food on the table, pay the bills and keep their employees in jobs.

Shorten can’t bank on winning the election off the back of negative sentiment from voters seeking to punish the Coalition.

Labor’s big taxing agenda — worth almost $160 billion over a decade and headlined by clamps on negative gearing and dividend imputation — has targeted the so-called “wealthy” and self-funded retirees.

As the policy war between Shorten and Morrison heats up ahead of Christmas, Shorten will use his war chest to claw back votes from the very same taxpayers he targeted in Labor’s cash grabs.

With the major parties positioning themselves before entering the election zone, Labor’s policy to subsidise preschool for kids aged three and four represented a shift away from Shorten’s class war rhetoric, and signalled a move to win over young families and middle Australia. Both sides face internal pressures, with Morrison confronting the reality of slipping into minority government, with the Coalition bracing itself for a potentially devastating loss in the Wentworth by-election.

But as Shorten, ahead in the polls but behind Morrison in personal approval ratings, moves to present himself as a viable alternative prime minister, he will need to ignore distractions and concentrate on executing clear messaging in key policy areas. Beholden by the unions and left-faction powerbrokers on the hot-button issues of coal, trade and company tax cuts, Shorten is under pressure to avoid the curse of complacency.

Australians aren’t mugs. It’s time for Shorten to stop dividing voters into groups, and begin mapping out his vision for the nation.


Renewable investment boom tipped to slow

One of the world's biggest lenders to green electricity projects says rapid growth in Australia's renewable energy investment is likely to slow, as banks become more cautious about the financial impact of electricity grid congestion.

After a record $10 billion poured into renewable projects last year, Japan's Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) Bank, a global banking giant and a major lender to renewable energy in Australia, said it was becoming harder for green energy projects to get finance.

Geoff Daley, the bank's head of Australian structured finance, said one reason for this was because the sheer number of renewable projects built in some areas meant the grid lacked the necessary capacity.

This happens because wind farms or solar farms are often located in parts of the power grid that have not previously had large amounts of generation, such as far north Queensland.

One result of congestion, if the grid is not augmented, is that energy generated may not be able to reach the customers.

"There's greater uncertainty at the moment around that issue and that will mean the lenders are more cautious," Mr Daley said.

Earlier this year, a number of renewable projects also suffered big cuts in their revenue because of changes to ratios used by the regulator in an attempt to apportion how electricity is lost as it flows through the distribution network.

Mr Daley said some generators were likely to make less revenue than projected, which was causing banks to be more cautious in their lending decisions.

"What that means for projects now is that it's much, much harder to get finance unless there's a strong contract," he said.

MUFG Bank was the world's largest arranger of renewable energy finance in 2017, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Industry figures show 2017 was a record-breaking year for renewable energy investment in Australia, with more than $10 billion in projects reaching financial close. But Mr Daley said there would be a "slowdown in the speed of investment".

The director of energy finance studies at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, Tim Buckley, said some slowdown in renewable investment was inevitable, but it was likely to be a "pause." There had been "massive solar boom,"  he said, but little planning around where the projects would be located.

"There's no over-arching plan. If you don't have an over-arching plan, renewables will swamp parts of the grid," Mr Buckley said.

"The willingness of the investment community to invest in renewables in Australia is going to wind back, because we need to take a pause. We've had five years of energy policy chaos which means the grid isn't yet prepared to accommodate ever more renewables."

The government's energy policy was thrown into disarray with the change of prime minister in August. The government has dumped the National Energy Guarantee which aimed to address the problems of high  power prices, carbon emissions and grid reliability.

National Australia Bank's global head of energy, Andrew Smith, acknowledged the bank was monitoring issues raised by grid congestion closely, but he said this was not unique to Australia. "It's certainly an area of focus for banks," he said.

Mr Smith said the issue had not dented the availability of finance for renewable projects. "Certainly now there's significant demand for banks to participate in these projects," he said.

Speaking at the AFR National Energy Summit, AGL interim chief executive Brett Redman said renewable energy investors are concerned about the country’s changing policy landscape and the falling investment costs of renewable generation.

“If I talk about offshore investors, they get very worried over the stability of long-term targets,” Mr Redman told Fairfax Media

Mr Redman said the "biggest issue" for investing in renewables was that costs of developing projects were coming down rapidly.

“So the wind farms we built 10 years ago now look really expensive compared to what it would cost you to build wind now; the solar we built three to four years ago looks really expensive now.


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, 2018

Is this what the world has come to? Australian Government group pushes to ban the term 'pregnant women' and replace it with 'pregnant people'

A progressive organisation that is calling for Australians to be more inclusive by adopting non-gender specific terms has been slammed on social media.

The Equality Institute, a Melbourne-based 'feminist' organisation, is renowned for improving gender equality but their tweet about pregnancy on Tuesday caused a huge backlash.

In the tweet, the global research and creative agency suggested people should use the term pregnant 'pregnant people' instead of 'pregnant women'.

'People of all genders can fall pregnant, because people of all genders can have the reproductive organs to do so,' the tweet stated. 'Consider all people - including trans & non-binary folk - & ensure that your language is inclusive of everyone.'

The Equality Institute has previously been commissioned by the Victorian Government to do research and analysis on domestic violence, and has partnered up with various government agencies and non-profit companies.

Despite their attempts to be more inclusive, the tweet garnered plenty of negativity on social media with many people sharing their comments online.

'Wrong. Only women, one of only two genders, can become pregnant. My reference is science. Science doesn’t care about your feelings,' one person wrote.

'That's not how it works. It sounds like it may be time your mom & dad had the "Talk" with you,' another person said.

A third person added: 'After being a labor and delivery nurse for 25 years.....I’m pretty sure my wife would disagree with your opinion.'

Another organisation seeking to incite social change that has ruffled a few feathers with one of its tweets is the Wellcome Collection, a British museum and library.

The museum recently sent out a tweet promoting an event on October 6 using the word 'womxn' which led to a Twitter backlash from hundreds of women.

In the tweet, the organisation promoted a series of activities, discussions and workshops for 'womxn' to challenge existing archives of women in history.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison commented on the two proposed changes, when he spoke to 3AW's Neil Mitchell.

When the radio host asked the PM how he felt about political correctness in relation the term 'pregnant women' and 'womxn', he replied by saying: 'Well that's ridiculous'.

'I mean honestly, seriously... people should just honestly get over themselves.

'I mean we want gender equality, we don't want people discriminated on the basis of their sexuality. And we want all of that, but we don't have to carry on,' the PM said.


'They're back again': Dozens of African youths are targeted by police just days after 100 teenagers wreaked havoc on the same street - as Tony Abbott blames  'pussy footing' around gang crime

Terrified residents have been forced to lock themselves in their own homes as police rounded up a swarm of youths wreaking havoc on their street.

For the second time in as many weeks, police were called to Banjo Paterson Park in Melbourne's south-eastern suburb of Lynbrook on Saturday night to usher dozens of rampaging youths, predominantly African-Australians, onto trains.

As locals hid, former Prime Minister Tony Abbott was vocal in his criticism of Victoria Police's leniency, saying youths will continue to treat authorities with contempt unless arrests are made.

Police were called to the park on Saturday evening at around 7:30pm after reports of chanting and public intoxication.

One female resident told the Herald Sun she was expecting a fight to break out at any minute.

The youths were reportedly approached by police with their batons drawn and ushered to Lynbrook Railway Station, about a ten-minute walk away.

One man was seen being put in the back of a police van.

Frightened locals watched through their windows as the scene was returned to tranquility about four hours later.

One resident saying they had 'never had this issue here before'.

But fewer than two weeks ago, on October 3, police were called to the exact same park after a report of African youth gang violence.

On that night, at least 25 riot squad officers were seen near the railway station and the reserve where the youths were loitering.

They were called on reports of violence and assault, but later said no arrests were made and no victims had come forward.

'Looks the same group of people that were here a couple of weeks ago are back again,' one local wrote on Facebook Saturday night, leading to concerns for re-offenders.

Mr Abbott has led the criticism of Victoria Police, accusing them of 'pussy footing' around youth and gang crime in Melbourne.

'The problem is that there seems to be a few hundred youngsters in outer metropolitan Melbourne who treat the police with contempt,' Mr Abbott said.

Legislation was introduced earlier in the year, which restricts youths with no prior convictions from associating with known gang members.


Chief Scientist Alan Finkel has said he does not necessarily agree with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report’s call to phase out coal power by 2050

He also said the government will need a whole of economy emissions reduction strategy in order to meet the set target of reducing emissions to 26 to 28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030.

The IPCC report was written by over 90 scientists and said global emissions of greenhouse gas pollution must reach zero by about 2050 in order to stop global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The scientists recommended that the use of coal for electricity generation would have to drop to between 0 and 2 per cent of current usage.

Dr Finkel said instead the focus should purely be on emissions, as if carbon capture and storage is possible coal power will not produce emissions.

“I actually don’t agree on two basics. I’m not sure the report specifically says that. It says that we need to look at things like coal fired power with carbon capture and storage associated with it,” Dr Finkel told Sky News. “But the main reason for my statement is I feel we’ve got to focus on outcomes. The outcome is atmospheric emissions.”

“We should us whatever underlying technology are suitable for that.” “People paint themselves into an anti-coal corner or a pro-coal corner but the only question of relevance is to look at the atmospheric emissions.”

 Dr Finkel said Australia should be looking to natural gas as a transition fuel. “In the Finkel review we devote a whole chapter and a lot of discussion to the importance of natural gas as a transition fuel. If we use natural gas for the next 20-30 years a lot of it will make it so much easier to use more wind and solar.”

“But we deny ourselves natural gas it makes it more difficult to use wind and solar, so the pursuit of perfection gets in the way of the very good.”

Pressed on his argument that Australia could become the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied hydrogen gas — which was combustible and therefore equivalent to natural gas — Dr Finkel said it was because we have “fabulous resources” here.

The Coalition has struggled with energy policy and has effectively abandoned the emissions reduction component of the national energy guarantee, which was the government’s policy.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said the country will be able to meet its Paris climate agreement targets of reducing emissions by 26 to 28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030 “in a canter”.

Dr Finkel said the government would need a whole new emissions reduction policy in order for that to happen.

“If you go back to the Finkel review where 49 out of the 50 recommendations were accepted, if all of that is done then I think there is a good chance,” he said.

“So one of the recommendations which was accepted by the government was that by the end of 2020 the government should develop a whole of economy emissions reduction strategy. So if you count that as part of the policy development then I think we can.”

Dr Finkel said small modular reactors might reinvigorate the debate about nuclear power in the future.

He also restated his interest in hydrogen as an alternative energy source - which can be produced with hardly any emissions.


Freedom Charters may be needed to Protect Free Speech on University Campuses

The most concerning aspect of the current debate about free speech in Australian universities has been the complacent attitudes of Australian higher education leaders.

During Bettina Arndt’s recent speech at Sydney University on ‘rape culture’, riot police had to be called onto the campus to allow the event to proceed, after security guards were overwhelmed by demonstrators blocking audience members from attending the venue.

However, according to Sydney Vice-Chancellor, Michael Spence, the demonstration allegedly showed that “free speech is alive and well” in universities; the student demonstrators were supposedly exercising their legitimate right to protest and engage in counter-free speech.

In reality, the violent scenes of verbal and physical abuse witnessed were an example of the ‘no platforming’ phenomena prevalent in North America, which has seen numerous so-called controversial speakers banned and prevented from speaking on university and college campuses because their views are deemed ‘offensive’ or ‘hurtful’ to some students.

But according to Vicki Thomson, the Chief executive of the Group of Eight peak lobby ground representing Australia’s leading universities, there is no need for universities to take action on free speech on campus because she “couldn’t remember a particularly violent protest [on university campuses] in the past 10 years.”

Thomson was responding to the suggestion by Federal Education Minister, Dan Tehan, that Australian universities adopt the charter — the Statement on Principles of Free Expression — introduced by the University of Chicago in 2014 and subsequently adopted by 45 other American universities.

But if university administrators like Spence and Thomson are unwilling to even acknowledge free speech problems, it is difficult to trust them to self-regulate free speech solutions.

These attitudes suggest that stronger government regulation may be needed to actively spur universities to properly protect freedom of thought and expression on Australian campuses.

My new report, "University Freedom Charters: How best to protect free speech on Australian campuses", therefore proposes a new regulatory framework — based on the polices announced in the Canadian province of Ontario — which would hold universities accountable for implementing and complying with free speech policies, or have them risk financial penalties.

Tying funding to actively protecting free speech on campus would focus the minds of university administrators on free speech problems — especially the minds, once funding was directly at stake, of administrators who claim there is no problem and mistake legitimate protest with disruptive conduct interfering with the free speech of others.

As I told The Australian  this week, universities should consider the report a “shot across the bows.”

If university administrators don’t like the idea of government regulation, the power to forestall this is in their hands. They should take Minister Tehan’s advice, and put in place robust free speech policies to ensure universities remain true universities committed to free and open inquiry.


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

14 October, 2018

Australia has never been more divided on social and political issues. Are we becoming the US?

Hmmm...  I am not sure that all that much has changed.  Any change would be only a matter of degree.

During the Australian federal election of 1966 (in the Vietnam war era) I myself led the disruption of the Queensland campaign launch speech in Brisbane by Labor leader Arthur Calwell.  I did so however because I had attended the Brisbane meeting of Prime Minister Harold Holt a week or so earlier and observed it being extensively disrupted by Leftist students whom I mostly knew.  So aggressive attempts to shut up the other side of politics are not new. I was there.

And the way conservatives tend to be silenced in the public sphere is not new either.  I once wrote a book reflecting on that called "Conservatism as heresy" -- and that was in 1974.  The predominance of Leftist talk in the media and elsewhere does not however always translate into electoral victory.  Harold Holt won his election in a landslide.  And the "deplorables" of America elected Donald Trump resoundingly and gave his party control of Congress as well.

I think a lot depends on the issues of the day. Some issues will produce more heat than others. The Holt/Calwell confrontation came at a time when a conservative Australian government was sending conscripts to the Vietnam  war, a very savage war that had no obvious relevance to Australia.  Most university students were of conscription age so ran the real risk of being shot at for no reason that made much sense to them. So what looked like (but wasn't) the whole body of the nation's university students turned out in big demonstrations against the war.  The issue of the day concerned them personally.

But I do think Leftist aggression in Australia has ratcheted up in the last few years. Even minor figures like sex counseller Bettina Arndt draw out the storm troopers doing their best to shut her up. So something similar to the American scene does seem to be happening in Australia, though we have seen nothing like the hysteria of the Kavanaugh confirmation.

So what burning issue can be at work in both the USA and Australia?  To ask the question is to see the answer:  Immigration.  It was the immigration issue that ushered Tony Abbott into office in Australia and it was the immigration issue that ushered Trump into office in America. 

In Australia, public support for stopping the flow of illegal immigration hovered around 66% so both major parties supported a halt -- and Australia has now done what seems to elude Britain and the USA:  It has stopped the practice of people arriving without prior government permission.

But even though the flow of illegals has stopped there remains a big issue with large legal inflows of Third world migrants, mostly as refugees.

The political divisions in Australia are not however on simple party lines.  In America, Trump is determined to build his wall and the Left will do anything to oppose that.  But in Australia the elites of both parties think they display their virtue by accepting large numbers of mostly fake refugees. 

But African and Muslim refugees have been doing their level best to wear out their welcome by repeated attacks on existing inhabitants of Australia -- so there is now a clear groundswell of support for a big cut to the refugee program.  Prime Minister Morrison just has to promise that to be asssured of re-election.  He is however a strong Christian so may not see his way clear to do that.

And Australia's far-Left party, misleadingly known as the Green party, has taken up the cudgels to promote even bigger refugee intakes.  So although the refugee issue in Australia is not as clearly politically polarized as it is in America, it is definitely bubbling along strongly just beneath the surface.  And it does promote passionate debate.

And it would be clear to the far Left that change of some kind must come soon so they are warming up for the fray, accusing immigration critics of racism in their usual way. They are just as pro-immigration as the American Left and are facing a Trumpian slap in the face in the not too distant future.  And they are spoiling for a fight

It's notable that the elite commentators below all speak in airy generalities with no reference to actual current political issues.  They don't even mention immigration.  And they certainly don't identify who is behind the upheavals of rage.  That just about all the disturbances and protests are coming from the Left they are clearly afraid to mention.

And something else they don't broach is how widespread the political divisions are.  To listen to them you would think Australians were split down the middle on important political issues.  They are not.  There is widespread agreement on immigration control, for instance.  All the upheavals going on are in fact the work of a small Leftist minority.  Most Australians retain their usual laid-back attitudes.  So it would be a mistake to take much notice of a small noisy minority grabbing every opportunity to promote themselves.  Australians are indeed divided but it is not a 50/50 divide -- more like a 90/10 divide, with almost all the shrillness coming from the 10%

So I have given a political explanation of what is going on in Australian politics whereas the commentators below retreat into vague psychological and sociological theories. And seeing that I have a doctorate in psychology and taught sociology at a major Australian university (Uni NSW) for many years, I am in an excellent position to point out that all that they say is mere speculation.  They were not game to get down to tintacks

FACEBOOK melts down after a telecommunications company changes its profile picture in support of same-sex marriage.

A speaking tour by a far-right figure from America sparks violent clashes between opposing groups, who far outnumber those who’ve bought tickets.

After a television appearance, a politician receives a specific and violent threat about her daughter, allegedly made by a policeman.

And a radio shock jock’s fiery interview with the boss of a public building leads to boycotts, protests and a week or fierce debate online and in the media.

Has Australia ever been more divided than it is now?

“I don’t think it has — it’s absolutely staggering,” Andrew Charlton said. Dr Charlton, an economist, author and former senior adviser to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, said the tone of discourse lately was troubling. A constant simmering anger and increasing polarisation in the community isn’t just unpleasant — it could have a damaging, long-term impact on democracy, Dr Charlton believes.

“The warning lights on the dashboard of our democracy are blinking red. It’s very hard to constructively govern in an electorate that is so divided,” he said.

In the United States, there is a chasm between Americans socially and politically, which has created a powder keg across the country.

There is a concern that Australia is going down a similar path.  “It’s not yet on the same scale of the United States but it’s heading in the same direction,” Dr Charlton said.

“It remains to be seen whether we’re on the same curve or whether we’re on a different trajectory. I fear we’re on the same curve as the US but a bit behind.”


Since 1996, the Australian Electoral Study has analysed voting trends and ideological positions among voters.

Over two decades, it shows political polarisation has increased significantly and the moderate middle — people who consider themselves either left or right of centre — has evaporated.

And the data indicates that the widening polarisation between the two major parties, Labor and the Liberals, kicked off between the 2001 and 2004 federal elections.

“There’s been a very significant rise of the minor party vote in Australia, which some might call a protest vote but I think is more a sign of disillusionment with the major parties,” Dr Charlton said.

“That minor party vote is higher than it has been in many, many decades. The combined major party vote at the last election in the House of Representatives was at its lowest point in decades.”

A range of measures show that faith in politics among many Australians has slumped to dangerous lows. In addition, people are switching off from messages out of Canberra in growing frustration.

Jill Sheppard from Australian National University’s School of Politics and International Relations said Aussies had never cared intensely about politics. “But the change we’ve seen is that they care less than ever,” Dr Sheppard said.

“Fewer Australians think about and talk about politics, which is a bad sign. There’s a real stalemate in terms of voters being angry, parties not caring and no one really knowing what to do. It’s not sustainable indefinitely.”

As people lose faith in major parties, they look for an alternative that looks and feels different to fill the void, Dr Charlton said.

Many of those alternative figures take a more emotive approach to selling their policy messages, which can fuel division — especially on contentious issues from climate change to migration.

Advertising and marketing expert Arvind Hickman wrote that fringe politics was often wrongly dismissed by the mainstream, but it was “savvy” at marketing their brand and views. Whether via the internet or breakfast television appearances, figures such as Pauline Hanson had been able to widely distribute their messages.

“It’s almost an ‘Aussie lite’ version of the sort of media attention that Donald Trump attracted,” Mr Hickman wrote in a feature for AdNews.

The potential to inflame divisions in the wider community grows as people turn away from the centre and towards the fringes — left or right.

Dr Charlton said political polarisation such as this typically occurred when economies suffered and inequality was growing.  “Australia has had 26 years of uninterrupted growth and is one of the wealthiest countries in the world,” he said. “By global standards, inequality is relatively low. Things aren’t perfect but the reason for our division is not economics — it’s much deeper than that.”

What is the cause of our worsening division?


Fear has long been an effective tool in political campaigning.   Whether during times of war, domestic terrorism or financial market uncertainty, parties have made use of unease countless times throughout history.

And it works. Whether here or in the US and United Kingdom, there has rarely been a change of government when a country has troops on foreign soil.

The difference now is that fear is being more effectively used by fringe parties, commentator Warwick McFayden wrote in an analysis piece for Fairfax Media earlier this year.

“Throw fear into a person’s mind and it takes root and spreads until it sublimates reason,” Mr McFayden said. “It clouds judgment. It can direct a person’s behaviour towards an outcome that promises the removal of that fear.”

Carol Johnson, a professor of politics at the University of Adelaide, said fear and anger had made it increasingly hard to have a rational and reasoned debate about issues.

“Politicians do have genuine, heartfelt, ideological differences over what is best for society,” Ms Johnson said.

“However, politicians can also encourage fear and discriminatory attitudes for party-political purposes without sufficient concern for the impact on broader Australian society or vulnerable minorities.

“At its best, adversarial party politics fosters crucial debates and expands the democratic choice for voters. At its worst, it mobilises prejudice and undermines the possibility of parties working together for the common good.”

Dr Sheppard believes those with megaphones are the main culprits for many recent outbreaks of fury.

“When we noticed a downward turn in the civility of discourse in Australia, it tends to be because certain voices are amplified, like when we talk for a week about Alan Jones and the Opera House,” she said.


The rapid rise of social media platforms has given people the ability to curate an information experience by choosing who to follow or friend.

“We’re not quite sure what platforms like Facebook and Twitter are having on discourse and political engagement generally, but I think it promotes a perception that things are getting worse,” Dr Sheppard said.

“Inside that social media bubble, there’s a sense that society is becoming crueller and less civil and we start looking for signs of that.”

Despite the volume and intensity of fury that social media is often associated with, Dr Sheppard isn’t convinced it reflects the “real world”.

“When you step outside, I think you’d tend to find that most people are going on with things as they always have,” she said.

“Too many of us get stuck in our capital city experiences, surrounded by like-minded people, in (digital) communities that we choose, and we get what’s called confirmation bias.

“Everyone feels the same way as us and they’re angry like us … when you get out into most parts of the country, you’ll find people have other and much bigger worries.”

The concern is that those in the “bubble” are isolated from opposing views and new or different ideas, she said.

That can have a real impact on the civility of discourse.

Observers of Australia’s so-called “culture wars” have noted a tendency for people, regardless of which side they take, to be increasingly uncompromising.

It’s a view that Dr Charlton shares — and he thinks the disperse media landscape is to blame. “We all used to sit down and watch the same six o’clock news at night, wake up in the morning and read the same newspapers or get our information from the same radio bulletins. It was a great centric little force,” he said.

“It didn’t mean everyone agreed with each other but we all kind of had the same set of facts from which to form an opinion or viewpoint. “Now, people can now live in their own little Facebook and Twitter bubbles.”

Broader social changes, including the “postcode divide” and cost of living pressures, coupled with a more narrow community involvement by many, has also contributed to dwindling harmony, he said.


The mood in Australia when it comes to politics and politicians has become increasingly negative over the past decade.

“For a lot of Australians, and I can’t really disagree with them, the choices on offer are pretty unpalatable and it makes the idea of participating in democracy pretty disappointing,” Dr Sheppard said.

“Politicians have lost our trust and voters are starting to wonder that if their best choice at an election is what’s currently on offer, there might not be much point.

“People have stopped caring and that’s turning into anger directed towards the system.”

A revolving door of PMs — the last one to serve a full term was John Howard in 2007 — has had a profound impact.

“The leadership churn is unprecedented,” Dr Charlton said.  “The average tenure of an Australian prime minister, up until the final day of John Howard, was eight years. Since then, it’s been 22 months.”

Following the 2013 election, Professor Barry Jones from the University of Melbourne — who also served as a minister in the Hawke Government, said politics needed to be redefined.

“Political life in Canberra has become toxic,” he wrote. “With a breakdown in personal relationships, recourse to personal attacks, wild exaggeration and the endless repeating of slogans, the practice of debating with ideas and sentences with verbs having been abandoned.”

As a result, the importance of politics had been diminished among the public and attempts to engage the electorate was confined to the narrow window of an election campaign, he said.

However, Dr Charlton believes putting all of the blame on politicians for the decline in the “quality of debate and discourse” isn’t entirely fair. “I think we should look in the mirror,” he said.

“Politicians respond to the electorate. A lot of the partisanship we’re seeing in Canberra is a reflection of a growing partisanship in the electorate.”

Even the most virtuous politicians want to win — the goal of politics is to remain in office and, in the case of the government, in power. “I don’t think you can blame the increasing partisanship and division on politicians — they’re responding to an electoral opportunity.”


We are witnessing a “worrying” polarisation of the electorate that shows no imminent signs of slowing down, Dr Charlton says.

Many of those disillusioned with the major parties hold out hope for a saviour — the kinds of figures from times past that had a lasting legacy, he said.

“A lot of Australians think the problem is the current crop of politicians and all we need is another Hawke or whoever to come in, fix all our problems and make politics OK again,” he said.

“I just don’t think that’s the dynamic. I think there’s a problem in the electorate and, until we find ways as a community to reduce the sense of anger and polarisation, I don’t see anything changing in Canberra.

“That is a deeply depressing thought.”


The end of the dole bludger: Centrelink scroungers will have their welfare FROZEN if they refuse to take fruit picking jobs

Welfare recipients who turn down work available on Australian farms without a valid reason could have their Centrelink funds frozen for up to a month. The development comes as struggling rural farmers begin preparations for another crucial harvest season.

The federal government are making no apologies for their new employment focus, pledging to increase penalties if dole bludgers dodge potential work opportunities remotely.

'Our government has heard from farmers across the country about how tough it is right now to find workers, particularly at the height of harvest season for some crops,'' Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

'We want to highlight exactly where the jobs are and make sure job-seekers know where to look.

'Tackling the labour shortage also ­ensures job-seekers on taxpayer support have no excuse to ­refuse (work) opportunities.'

If the required amount of workers cannot be recruited to work on the farms, visitors on a holiday visa are likely to fill the roles. 'We cannot allow the fruit to rot,' Mr Morrison told the Daily Telegraph.

'We will back our farmers and make arrangements through our Pacific Island worker and migration program to get the job done.'

The harvest season is rapidly approaching for farmers, starting in Leeton next month.

Young's stone fruit season commences in January, with pears, grapes and prunes available to be picked and bagged across regional NSW from February.


Islamic extremism in our primary schools: Two students under ten years old revealed to have threatened to BEHEAD teachers

Diversity and inclusion at work

Two students younger than 10 have threatened to behead teaches in two frightening instances believed to be inspired by Islamist militant movements.

The two incidents were reported earlier this year and were believed to involve non-Muslim students attending public schools in New South Wales.

They follow reports 10 boys at an inner west Sydney primary school had been deemed 'at risk' of becoming radicalised, according to Daily Telegraph.  

Students as young as nine had reportedly started to show signs of extreme radicalisation, and some as young as five were also being monitored.

Up to 19 schools in Sydney's western and southwestern suburbs have reportedly been identified as potential targets for radical recruiters seeking vulnerable victims.

Sources inside the education field revealed the behaviour of children who had visited war zones in the Middle East were among those being closely watched.

Last year a female teacher claimed she was tormented by students aged between 10 and 13 who wore ISIS shirts to class and circled around her while reciting the Koran.

'I had students coming into class flying flags from overseas, be it the Syrian flag and possibly the ISIS flag. It looked to me like the ISIS flag,' she told the Mark Latham Outsiders program.

A former teacher said she chose to leave her job at a public school after primary school students said they would kill her family.    

'Some students would act out beheadings with their fingers across their necks,' she told the Daily Telegraph.

Earlier this year a jury was told a 12-year-old boy attended a Sydney protest holding a sign saying 'Behead all those who insult the prophet'.

He was one of two boys who pleaded not guilty to doing an act or acts between October 6 and October 12 in 2016 in Sydney in preparation for a terrorist act.


There's no such thing as a happy Greenie

Bob Brown is Australia's best known Greenie.  Bob doesn't know the meaning of compromise or moderation when it comes to his causes.  One suspects that he has a genuinely paranoid belief in global warming

Today’s IPCC report is mealy mouthed and dangerous because it fails to tackle the world’s political delinquents like Australia, Bob Brown said today.

“Governments like Australia’s Morrison government will feel relieved that this stodgy panel of scientific conservatives has flagged that there may be more time than previously thought to take the drastic action required to turn around global heating. It is a mistake to give politicians subservient to the fossil fuel industry the message that things aren’t as bad as was thought, especially as the real impacts of global heating - coral death, cyclonic storms, bushfires, droughts, glacial melting, super-heated cities - is so obviously getting worse.”

As NATURE reports today: In the meantime, the newer and larger carbon budget could send the wrong message to policymakers, says Oliver Geden, a social scientist and visiting fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, Germany. He fears that the IPCC report undersells the difficulty of achieving the 1.5 °C goal. “It’s always five minutes to midnight, and that is highly problematic,” he says. “Policymakers get used to it, and they think there’s always a way out.”

“The global heating emergency is upon us and the IPCC is sending the wrong signal to assuage political fire. In the lifetimes of our children the blame for the massive cost of this failure, in terms of dollars and security, will be sheeted home not just to the fossil fuel industry but to powerful groups like the IPCC who hedged their bets,” Brown said.

Media release from Jenny Weber [] of the Bob Brown organization

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, 2018

An atheist manifesto

I put up here a great deal in support of Christians and Christian causes but since I am myself an extreme atheist in the manner of analytical philosophers like Rudolf Carnap, it seems only reasonable that I present an atheist POV occasionally.  None of the difficulties for theism presented below will disdturb committed Christians but they deserve to be presented.

It always amuses me that both Christians and atheists consider one another to be totally unreasonable.  They both have a point. Atheists consider it unreasonanble to believe in an undetectable object and Christians believe it unreasonable to believe the vast complexity around us happened by chance.  Partly for that reason I never argue for or against belief in God, Thor, Zeus or whoever he is

I do however believe in the Devil.  I think Islam is ample proof of his influence

The fact reported below that Australian young people are much more religious than their elders is certainly an interesting finding.  I suspect it reflects the uncertainties of the modern world -- where the Left have done a pretty good job of throwing all values into question.  The existence of God is much better argued for than most traditional beliefs are so young people cling on to the only firm anchor they can find.  And they find in Christianity a rich system of thinking and values that guides them well through life and its challenges.

I myself am profoundly grateful for my fundamentalist youth.  It was much more helpful to me than believing in the absurd Leftist gospel that "There is no such thing as Right and Wrong".  How can they expect anyone to draw philosophical nourishment from such an etiolated body of thought?

I am still mostly guided in my life by Christian principles.  They work for me.  I even "take a little wine for my stomach's sake" from time to time (1 Timothy 5:23)

The promise of an afterlife – to meet departed family and friends – appeals to many, but especially younger Australians. Are private religious schools playing a part? And why do they dismiss the evidence of physics, asks Brian Morris.

Against all odds, it seems the concept of going to heaven holds far greater significance for the young than for those who are closer – numerically – to death! We need to confront ‘the D word’ itself, but let’s first get a handle on why the idea of paradise has gripped contemporary youth – more so than pensioners.

A national Essential poll shows 40% of all Australians believe in heaven. But the crucial figure is that a staggering 51% of those aged 18-34 hold such a belief! This compares to just 29% of the public who are over 55 years old. The young are almost twice as fixated with an afterlife than those closer to pension age! Why is that?

Is it insecurity or religiosity? One suggestion points to the fact that 40% of secondary students now attend private religious schools – a rate far higher than all other Western nations. There has been an exponential growth in government funding for private Catholic and Anglican schools since the 1960s – from a base of almost zero.

Others suggest that a similar rise in Special Religious Instruction (SRI) and chaplains in public schools has led to the Christianisation of education across the nation. These government-funded programs are run by evangelical Christian organisations in each state – with Catholic and Anglican private schools proselytising their own religions. And do millennials then stay at home too long, with a childhood faith, instead of getting out into the real world?

Since colonisation, Christianity instilled belief in an afterlife. It’s reflected on a daily basis in mainstream media, in film and on television – and in our obsession with sport. No game passes without players pointing skyward when scoring a goal, or honouring a deceased team or family member with hands reaching towards heaven.

But the biggest problem is that we don’t talk about death!

Society needs to get over this end-of-life taboo – to discuss and challenge the sugar-coated religious myth that claims we will all meet up with our loved ones (and pets) when we die and go to heaven. Before confronting the concrete scientific evidence (below) – and how we can better handle the emotional aspects of death – just dwell on this thought for one moment.

Isn’t paradise already just a little crowded? Think about who those you would meet – not only the entire cohort of your departed relatives, your friends and ancestors – but all the people you have detested; and those who gave you so much grief during your lifetime.

Then there’s the rest – every human who died! Research shows that, by 2050, an estimated 113 billion people will have lived and died on planet Earth; so heaven is already a seething mass of ‘souls’. For eternity!

The average punter has great difficulty conceptualising ‘eternity’. Most can’t even grasp the fact of our universe being 13.8 billion years old – or Earth a mere 4.5 billion. The concept is starkly illustrated in a fascinating book, A History of the World in 10 1/2 chapters. While fictional, it focuses the mind on a serious problem with infinity.

Chapter 10 sees our hero arrive in heaven, choosing to spend all his time eating luxurious food, having endless sex, and playing golf. After several thousand years he’s sick of food and sex, and on each heavenly golf course he hits holes-in-one on every par 3. He pleads to be released from this endless “perfect existence” and asks if others finally yearn to be free; to actually “die”. With a short pause for effect, the answer was plain. “Everyone!”

Books on near-death experiences, and visits to heaven, are legion. A recent best seller was Proof of Heaven by Dr Eben Alexander – a neurosurgeon, no less. Alexander sold more than 2 million copies before his claims were debunked. Among those who contested his story was Professor Sean Carroll, a particle physicist and high-profile science communicator. Carroll said there could only be two possibilities for Alexander’s spiritual encounter:

(1) Either some ill-defined metaphysical substance, not subject to the known laws of physics, interacted with the atoms of his brain in ways that have eluded every controlled experiment ever performed in the history of science; or

(2) People hallucinate when they are nearly dead.

Professor Carroll’s detailed explanation of Physics and Immortality spells out precisely why an immaterial ‘soul’ does not exist.

Carroll worked with the team that discovered the Higgs Boson at Geneva’s Large Hadron Collider. He could not be more explicit;

“If there are other waves, particles or forces sufficient to externally influence the brain, then we would know about them … Within Quantum Field Theory, there can’t be a new collection of ‘spirit particles’ and ‘spirit forces’ that interact with our regular atoms, because we would have detected them in existing experiments… You would have to demonstrate evidence of a completely new realm of reality, obeying very different rules than everything we know about physics.”

The 3 links above are needed to fully understand why there is no ‘soul’. But science does not devalue the need for compassion and empathy in the face of raw emotions that come with our personal experiences of death. It is necessary to face up to reality – but there are alternatives to religion in coping with end of life crises.

Discussing death openly and honestly – and publicly through the media – is a first step in helping to ease the extreme distress that many suffer with their own fear of death.

The ‘Golden Age of Athens’ pre-dates Christianity by four centuries – it led to a crucial period of new philosophical thought about life and death, about government and democracy, and how ordinary people could live a more fulfilled and contented life.

The philosophical principles of stoicism remain popular today. It’s based on three central themes. ‘Perception’, how we choose to view events; ‘Action’, how we deal with events we can control (and those we can’t); and then there’s ‘Will’ – training ourselves to deal honestly and ethically with events in our own lives. Following the full regime of stoicism may seem daunting; but after filtering the basic principles it becomes somewhat easier to apply.

The stoic approach to dealing with death – of family, friends, or oneself – is particularly relevant. Initially, it may appear morbid to periodically remind ourselves of one’s mortality. But if we consider this approach to death deeply enough, we soon come to realise the benefits of a greatly improved mental state.

The stark alternative for most people is to ignore the inevitable, and to be completely consumed by grief when family or friends die unexpectedly. Religion holds its privileged status based on fear – fear of not believing in God, fear of the unknown, and especially the fear of death. It’s a cruel deception that society needs to overcome.

By sugar-coating mortality with the myth of everlasting heaven, religion simply deprives us all of the ways and means to better cope with the end of life. While stoicism may not be the complete solution for all, it is clear that the basic principles of ‘philosophical ethics’ – honesty, reason, compassion, and love – would be a far better alternative than teaching schoolchildren obedience to God and religious ritual.

Future generations would avoid the trap of today’s millennials who continue to shun science and instead cling to religious concepts of an afterlife.

A ‘soul’ that miraculously ascends to heaven, only to re-unite with 113 billion other souls – for the whole of eternity! Just like our golfing hero, that sounds more like purgatory!


Labor mulls backing Morrison's business tax cuts

Labor is considering supporting the Morrison government's plan to fast track tax cuts for small and medium-sized businesses, boosting hopes legislation could pass parliament next week.

Under the plan, companies with annual turnovers of less than $50 million will have their tax rate cut to 26 per cent in 2020/21, then 25 per cent the following year.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is confident of winning support for the plan, which would bring forward the cuts by five years at a cost of $3.2 billion.

"I'm going to legislate it next week, because small and family businesses deserve to have the support of this plan," he told the Seven Network on Thursday.

Labor leader Bill Shorten isn't ruling out supporting the proposal. "We will keep an open mind on this question as we examine the numbers, but the other criteria we have is that our first priority is to properly fund our schools, to properly fund our hospitals," he told reporters in Brisbane.

Businesses turning over up to $50 million had their tax cut from 30 to 27.5 per cent last year.

The government had initially planned to implement further rounds of tax cuts in 2024/25 and 2025/26, but now wants to fast-track the plan.

Mr Morrison believes key crossbench senators who rejected the coalition's plans to slash tax for big businesses in August will back the step. "Why would the Senate want to stand in the way of tax cuts for small, and medium-sized businesses? They voted for them before and they voted for them for the right reasons," he told the Nine Network.

The prime minister said the change won't affect the government's plan to return the budget to balance by 2019/20, followed by a more hefty the surplus the following year.

Mr Morrison is using the tax cut plan to highlight a policy difference with Labor ahead of the next election.  "It's a pretty clear contrast," he told ABC Radio.  "Labor's five point plan is tax, tax, tax, tax and tax."

The government claims the tax relief will benefit more than three million small and medium-sized businesses.

Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen is worried about the total cost to the budget. "They are so desperate to throw cash at issues, whether it be small business tax cuts or other issues for their political purposes that they have thrown out their own budget rules," he said.

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive James Pearson said the move would be a major boost for small businesses.


Builders Welcome Fast Tracking of Small business Tax Relief

More than 370,000 building businesses will benefit from the Government’s decision to fast track tax relief for SMEs.

“This is great news for builders, including the many who are sole traders, and the economy,” Denita Wawn, CEO of Master Builders Australia said.

 “We have more small businesses in building and construction than any other sector of the economy and this is a heartland issue for Master Builders. We have been very direct in calling for greater tax relief for these businesses and the Government’s move is absolutely the right thing,” she said.

“Bringing forward small business tax relief for SME builders will motivate them to invest more in their businesses including plant and equipment and training, engage more tradies and train more apprentices,” Denita Wawn said.

“SME tax relief is a no-brainer which will be strongly supported by small builders and tradies around the country. We call on everyone in the Parliament to back the legislation when it’s introduced,” Denita Wawn said.

Media release

Morrison returns serve on energy 'anarchy'

Claims Australia's energy policy has descended into anarchy are rubbish, Prime Minister Scott Morrison says.

Scott Morrison has dismissed a stinging critique of Australia's energy policy, saying claims of "anarchy" by the architect of the government's dumped plan are rubbish.

Energy Security Board chair Kerry Schott on Wednesday mourned the death of the National Energy Guarantee, which was abandoned when Malcolm Turnbull was knifed as prime minister.

But the current prime minister gave the short shrift to her policy grief, bluntly rejecting the idea the government had lost its way on energy.

"I don't agree with that at all. I think that's rubbish," Mr Morrison told 3AW on Thursday.

Dr Schott told a conference she was still going through the stages of grief over the government's one-time signature energy plan, but was yet to leave anger.

"I characterise the general state of affairs right now as anarchy," she said.

Mr Morrison insists the government is still pursuing a reliability guarantee with state and territory governments, a feature of the NEG.

"What is necessary is that we need to get more reliability into the national energy market which covers the east coast of Australia," he said.

He dismissed suggestions there was uncertainty about the government's emission reduction commitments.

"Everybody knows what they are and we're meeting them."


South Australian Education Department Told Primary School Not To Celebrate Christmas

This would have been under the previous Labor government.  The new conservative government has other ideas

An Australian primary school was told by its education department not to celebrate Christmas for the benefit of non-Christian students.

Dr Darryl Cross revealed details of a conversation he had with a teacher at the concerned school:

    “What they said was for me somewhat astounding,” Dr Cross said on Tuesday. “They weren’t looking forward to this term because they weren’t allowed to sing Christmas carols or get into the spirit of Christmas... because there were certain children in the class who weren’t of the Christian faith… therefore they weren’t allowed to celebrate Christmas at all through the school because it was regarded as a pagan festival…”

    “From what I can work out it was a departmental directive. I understood from the conversation that it didn’t come just from the school, that it was in fact a departmental directive…

    “We seem to be giving away the very nature of our culture, the very root of our society by not celebrating our traditional roots in this way. I think that’s a blight on our society…

    “I think we’re losing our culture, we’re losing our valuable traditions, and I think that’s a serious blight on our whole community and where it’s headed.”

Leon Byner said he knew the name of the school but would not reveal it out of consideration for the report’s source.

A statement regarding the claims from SA Education Minister John Gardner read:

    “I’ve always argued that it should be a decision for local school communities how they celebrate Christmas, but to remove all ambiguity our proposed Education Bill, which is currently in the parliament, explicitly states that Christmas can be celebrated, Christmas carols sung etc.

    “I believe Labor will support that aspect of the bill which means it will become part of the new Education Act.”


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, 2018

More about the Sydney University Troublemakers

Bettina Arndt

Fascinating developments regarding the action I have taken against key organisers of the Sydney University protest who tried to stop me speaking on about the fake rape crisis last month. Here’s my new video:

Please help me circulate it. And don’t forget to like it and subscribe.

This one is mainly about Maddy Ward who proudly takes ownership of the event, along with fellow activist Jessica Syed.

The two of them have quite a history. We were amazed to discover that last year the University of Sydney investigated Maddy Ward for her role in a protest against an anti-abortion group which had a stall on campus. She abused and harassed them and showed them her tits! See the photo below of Ward and Syed, taken on the day.

Work Dynamic, the firm which investigates such matters for the University, suggested Ward be given a semester’s suspension for misconduct. Ward claimed in a Buzzfeed article that the investigation was so stressful it triggered her depression and she failed a semester of her studies as a result. Yet the University failed to act prompting a NSW Labor MP Greg Donnelly to speak about the delay in parliament. (Contrary to Ward’s claims, Donnelly did not orchestrate the Christian lobby against her.)

The outcome was extraordinary. The University dropped the charges against Ward and has refused to release details of  their decision even to the anti-abortion complainants who took action against Ward. The University claimed the matter was  confidential.      

The anti-abortion incident is only one example of endless troublemaking by Ward.  Maddy Ward and Jessica Syed, another of the women I named in my complaint, were in strife earlier this year for endorsing violence against Israeli soldiers in the form of a "martyred" female suicide bomber on the front page of the student magazine.

Here’s a quote from the article:

"Women’s officers Madeline Ward and Jessica Syed, who produced the al-Tahir cover, defended their actions in an online Honi Soi article. “We were aware that Hamida al-Taher car-bombed an Israeli military encampment … (but) her actions occurred in the context of the Israeli invasion and occupation of Lebanon, i.e.: a war,” they wrote. “We believe in and support the right for people to resist occupation and oppression”

It will be interesting to see whether Sydney University continues to protect these young women who are clearly responsible for so many breaches to university regulations. We now have submitted five long videos providing evidence of the key protesters in action. There’s a particularly interesting sequence in this new video showing Ward encouraging the crowd to harass an older man who was trying to make his way through the protesters to reach my talk and then resisting being removed by the riot squad.

It's been exciting to see how many prominent people have spoken out in the last few weeks about the need for universities to protect free speech on campuses, including the Education Minister, the Attorney General, a number of Senators, a Chancellor and former Vice-Chancellor. The Australian has published two editorials and numerous media commentators have weighed in, using my case to argue that universities are failing to promote proper intellectual debate and challenging ideas.

Sydney University has refused to refund the security fee – Vice Chancellor Michael Spence claimed the security guards “acted within the protocols required of them.” How is it possible that the universities security guards are not required to ensure unruly students don’t breach universities regulations. We are following up this issue. 

Yet the university has commenced their investigation into my complaint and  have asked for a list of witnesses for their lawyers to interview. They say the whole process may take months, given that the university then presents my named group of key protesters with a notice of allegation and they are then given time to respond.

I’ve recently postponed talks in UWA and ANU. It proved too difficult to make these events happen in a hurry, with universities naturally putting students hosting my talks through a long form-filling process regarding security and so on. We are making big plans for my campus tour next year, giving plenty of time for the universities to provide venues. I have the impression that a number of universities are now keen to step up and use my talks as proof of their new credentials in supporting free speech. Now that’s quite a breakthrough.

But I still need student groups across Australia willing to host events. The Liberal Club students at La Trobe and Sydney really put themselves on the map by being brave enough to be the first to host my events and are receiving great kudos as a result. Please help me find other courageous souls to push this process along.

It’s marvellous that my campus tour has prompted such a lively discussion about free speech on campus but I still have a long way to go to persuade universities to be braver about the fake rape crisis.

By email from Bettina []

Minister backs science on weedkiller use

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has backed the government's pesticide regulator over concerns the world's most popular weedkiller is unsafe.

The Cancer Council wants an independent review into glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, after it was linked to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

But Mr Littleproud said the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority had determined the chemical was safe.

"The science of the independent regulator says this chemical is safe if you follow the instructions," the minister told Sky News on Tuesday.

"I just say to everybody use some common sense, follow the instructions and you'll be OK."

Debate over glyphosate was reignited in August after a Californian jury ordered agribusiness giant Monsanto pay $US289 million ($A399 million) in damages to a former groundskeeper dying of cancer.

Mr Littleproud said that case and others aired by the ABC's Four Corners on Monday highlighted excessive exposure.

"Home gardeners shouldn't get too worried about this, You're not going to get exposed to levels so long as you follow the instructions," he said.

The minister said farmers were using the chemical in a sensible way, adding agriculture had come a long way in how pesticides were used.

"I just say to everyone calm down ... and have faith that we have the best science in the world," Mr Littleproud said.

APVMA's review came after a 2015 report by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a World Health Organisation body, found glyphosate was "probably carcinogenic to humans".

Labor seized on the concerns, demanding a Senate inquiry into the independence and decision-making of the pesticides agency.

"This issue is too important to the agricultural community, to Australia's farmers, and to consumers to be left unresolved," opposition agriculture spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon said on Tuesday.

Labor also wants to investigate the impact of moving the regulator from Canberra to Armidale in northern NSW.

"There is no doubt the government's decision to relocate the APVMA has impacted on its operations," Mr Fitzgibbon said.

But Mr Littleproud accused the opposition of playing politics, saying the agency's most recent assessment was conducted before the relocation started.

National Farmers' Federation president Fiona Simson said the scientific evidence overwhelmingly proved the chemical was safe.

"There is simply no alternative that is as safe and as effective as glyphosate, for these purposes," Ms Simson said.


Right-wing firebrand Milo Yiannopoulos announces ANOTHER tour of Australia – and says it’s bad news for Waleed Aly, Clementine Ford and Yassmin Abdel-Magied

Right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos is ready to unleash on Australian public figures in his second tour Down Under.

The outspoken firebrand, who is infamous for criticising feminism, political correctness and Islam, will be joining forces with US conservative speaker Ann Coulter next month.

The outspoken duo have vowed to cause uproar, claiming the tour will guest star Julia Gillard, Malcolm Turnbull, Clementine Ford, Waleed Aly, Yassmin Abdel Magied and Jacinta Ardern, 'although they don't know it yet'.

The outspoken duo Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter are coming down under to speak against feminism, political correctness and the religion of Islam

Mr Yiannopoulos said his second tour was to 'save glorious Australians' from 'bonkers feminists of the American culture wars and the wacky social justice warriors who want to hand Western civilization over to Muslims and race-baiters'. 

The controversial star sparked violent protests at his sold out shows last year across Australia

During his Sydney show, Mr Yiannopoulos attracted 100 protesters who chanted 'F*** off Nazi' in violent scenes that led to seven arrests. Inside the venue, an audience member threw a shoe at him during his speech.

It is not clear whether Mr Yiannopoulos plans to pay back the bill he was ordered to pay by Victoria Police to cover the costs of manning the protests outside his talk in Melbourne.

Last year, Clementine Ford declined Mr Yiannopoulos' invitation to debate on controversial issues and said, 'I would never legitimise Milo's existence or Nazi links by appearing anywhere with him'.

Mr Yiannopoulos has labelled her 'vindictive, spiteful' and 'particularly unintelligent'.

He also said he watched The Project through 'gritted teeth', and found Waleed Aly to be an 'intellectual lightweight' and 'insubstantial'.  He has also labelled the panelist on Network Ten as a 'coward' for avoiding to interview him on live TV.

In an appearance on the Bolt Report, Mr Yiannopoulos announced his new book coming out called 'Australia, You're My Only Hope,' which he described as a last-ditch effort to save Australians from 'the cancers of public life'.

Ann Coulter, an American conservative commentator, has written a succession of high-selling books on U.S. politics and culture.

Ms Coulter is a regular guest on Fox News programs and has made provocative appearances on liberal shows such as Real Time and The View, where she commonly raises the hackles of hosts and audiences.

The tour is advertised as 'an evening of hysterical, irreverent comedy and incisive political commentary with two undisputed queens of American conservatism'.

General admission to the Milo and Anne: Live tour begins at $89 and go up to $499 for VIP Tickets.

The price for a VIP Cruise ticket has been set at $999, which includes a 1.5h private mingle with Ann & Milo in a private yacht cruise, food platter and drinks, photo with the speakers, and signed merchandise. 


PM plays down changing gay student laws

A long-awaited review into religious freedoms in Australia does not recommend any changes to the basis on which faith-based schools can reject students or teachers, the attorney-general has confirmed.

Some states - but not all - already allow schools to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or relationship status.

Commonwealth laws also contain some provisions to permit faith-based schools to exercise this discretion.

A Fairfax Media report suggested a religious freedoms review recommended the right be enshrined in the federal Sex Discrimination Act to ensure a consistent national approach.

The review's panel, chaired by former Liberal minister Phillip Ruddock, said it accepted the right of schools to select or preference students who uphold their religious convictions.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison played down the proposal on Wednesday, saying such exemptions to anti-discrimination laws already exist.

"We're not proposing to change that law to take away that existing arrangement," he told reporters on the NSW Central Coast.

Attorney-General Christian Porter later clarified that no changes to the current arrangement, created by Labor in 2013, are proposed in the report. "The Ruddock report does not recommend any changes to this regime," Mr Porter said.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said he can't believe the prime minister hasn't ruled out the "silly" idea completely. "The fact is every child is entitled to human dignity. We shouldn't even be having this debate," Mr Shorten told reporters in Melbourne, demanding the government release the report.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said Labor's concerns about discrimination against children were jumping the gun, insisting the government would "get the balance right" and leave existing laws untouched.

But Special Minister of State Alex Hawke strongly supports the proposal, saying it is up to individual Christian schools to negotiate their handling of gay students. "I don't think it's controversial in Australia that people expect religious schools to teach the practice of their faith and their religion," he told Sky News.

Fellow Liberal MP Tim Wilson said he wouldn't be supporting any new laws that would broaden grounds for discrimination, and does not think the coalition would either.

The Ruddock review was commissioned after the 2017 national same-sex marriage vote and handed to the government several months ago, but is yet to be released.

Gay rights activists have slammed the proposal as a shameful assault on equality. Alex Greenwich, who co-chaired the national campaign in support of same-sex marriage, is demanding the federal government rule it out.

The panel reportedly did not accept that businesses should be allowed to refuse services on religious grounds, such as denying a gay couple a wedding cake.

The review also found civil celebrants should not be entitled to refuse to conduct same-sex weddings if they became celebrants after it was was legalised, Fairfax Media reported.


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

10 October, 2018

He’s reading a financial paper; she’s reading a fashion magazine: Why women are angry about Sofitel hotel ad

A correspodent writes:  "Women are complaining that the woman in the ad is reading a fashion magazine. They somehow interpret that as the ad saying that most women read fashion magazines.

But most women who read magazines do read fashion magazines. Look at any woman's magazine pile. Even the complaining women recognise that the magazine she is reading is a fashion magazine. I doubt many man would know it is a fashion magazine. I certainly didn't. So they demonstrate that their own argument is wrong.

That is what I term an innate falsity. Like when Lefties say there is no truth, and expect that silly statement to be accepted as truth.

They are also demonstrating the collective mindedness of women, especially feminist women. They are not individually minded, which is frequently shown by the fact that they collectively feel insults and perceived insults that directed to one of them.

The white male is not like that. He is individualistic. We do not feel insults directed to another white male. Even when all white men are insulted collectively -- which they often are -- individual white males do not feel it. White males tend to be each their own individual more than women are. We can each think for ourselves.

Feminists, though, are herd minded. They all think the same. That is one reason why they cannot be equal with us men.

AT FIRST glance this photo looks innocent enough — a young couple relaxing in a hotel bed, both reading over breakfast in their fluffy white robes.

He’s reading a copy of the Australian Financial Review newspaper and she’s flicking through a Chanel coffee table book.

Laid out on the bed in front of them are a selection of breakfast items. There are pastries and pancakes for him, a healthy fruit platter for her.

Many female readers of Fairfax’s Good Weekend magazine spotted the ad in Saturday’s Sydney Morning Herald newspaper on the weekend and slammed its suggestion that women only read light, frivolous material about fashion.

“Yes, newsflash for @SofitelBrisbane — some women are in fact more interested in whether stocks and shares are going up and down than whether hemlines are,” one woman wrote on Twitter.

“Ah yes, those hotel mornings when you wake up, put your hair in a nice chignon and read a coffee-table book about Chanel,” joked one woman. Replied another: “Jesus, is that a Chanel coffee table book? This is … so disheartening.”

“No no, don’t be silly, you are a woman, you only read fashion books and cookbooks,” another said.

One woman commented, “I’m surprised she’s not in skimpy underwear while he’s holding a handful of spanners”, while another said, “Funnily enough I actually prefer reading @FinancialReview in the morning.”

A spokesman for the Sofitel Brisbane apologised for the ad and said it has now been pulled from any future publications.

“There was no intention of portraying a stereotype but we recognise it and apologise for any offence that it has caused,” the spokesman said. “The creative has since been pulled from any future communications activity.”


What I want from men to help end gender wars

Angela Mollard (below) is a generally sensible lady not given to feminist extremes but she has been sucked in by some feminist claims.  What she is not loading is that men CANNOT end the gender wars -- because we are not waging them. The war is a one-sided thing being waged on men by feminists.  So only they can end it. 

But they will not.  They seem to need to trace all evils to men and show nil awareness that men can have problems too.  Men are not a monolithic blob. They are infinitely different so treating them as all the same is just bigotry and huge ignorance.  It is as stupid as racism. Some men will treat women well and some will treat women badly.  And most will be somewhere in between

Now that women are a majority of university graduates, it is clear that systematic discrimination against women is at an end.  All that is left are human relationships in their infinite variety

DEAR men,

I’m tired.

I suspect you’re tired. Indeed, we’re all tired of the insidious gender warfare that’s spilt into every sphere of society leaving festering pools of anger, uncertainty and resentment. It’s a year this week since The New York Times published sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein, provoking a global reckoning and the emergence of the #MeToo campaign. Ergo it seems as good a time as any to reflect — not simply on what happens in the hallowed halls of Hollywood — but in our living rooms, bedrooms and workplaces.

The Brett Kavanaugh hearing has catapulted the movement from the silver screen to the Supreme Court but I’m less interested in one man’s alleged mistreatment of women in his ascent to power than I am in the everyday interactions and ideologies that guide who we are and how we relate.

Genuine, lasting societal change will be brought about less by grandstanding and more thorough understanding and so let’s try this: here’s what I want from and for men.
The Brett Kavanaugh hearings have once again highlighted the MeToo movement, but it’s how everyday men and women interact that’s important. Picture: AP

Foremost, I want the toxicity to end. Change and progress are painful but we don’t need to be so polarised. When the New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spoke at the UN the line widely reported was her insistence #MeToo becomes #WeToo. But she said something a minute later that was arguably a more powerful call to arms. In trying to achieve peace, prosperity and fairness, New Zealand was pursuing one concept, she explained. “It is simple and it is this. Kindness.” Imagine what we might achieve if kindness — from both women and men — underpinned the way we operated in the world.

Critically, I want men involved in their children’s lives. Whether in intact or reconfigured families, men should be pivotal. The model of the workaholic dad is rightly dying and while many men need to create fuller identities beyond their job title, women need to stop seeing men as walking wallets who are singularly responsible for financially supporting the family. For every man who rather enjoys upholding the patriarchy as if it was a set of dumbbells representing status and money, I’d venture there’s three or four who’d happily hand over half the weight to a willing partner. We all have much to gain from a creative redrawing of our work and domestic spheres. Work offers purpose and a pay packet, home delivers connection. Sharing the responsibility of both is not only more equitable, it extends both partners’ capabilities and understanding of each other. As for women who deny their former husband access to their children simply because they are hurt or angry, shame on you. It happens too often and it’s a cruelty that benefits no one.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spoke during the General Debate of the 73rd session of the General Assembly at the United Nations in New York last month. Picture: AFP

Further, I want the powerful men and women at the top of our corporations and institutions to drive transformation. Leadership is not just managing people and making money, it’s leaving a legacy. For too long the decisions have been made by men in suits largely supported by a housewife at home. Yet when men like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Reddit’s Alexis Ohanian take paternity leave and encourage their employees to do likewise, they effect profound change. People at the top will change conditions at the bottom so that all can benefit from pay parity, flexible workplaces and healthy superannuation balances.

Equally, I want ordinary men to stop claiming women are mad. Emotions are simply another operating system and when combined with a firm grasp of facts bring a fuller and more nuanced comprehension to every realm of life. Too often women are dismissed as menstrual or menopausal. It’s more than 25 years since Anita Hill was smeared as “a little bit nutty and a little bit slutty” but still such debasing presumptions persist. In return, women need to drop the “all men are bastards” schtick and the blasé view that it’s no big deal if a few innocent men are unfairly convicted or besmirched in the march for equality. We also need to stamp out the growing notion that women are inherently more “good” than men. All those years as Stepford wives didn’t turn us into saintly creatures waiting nobly in line until we’re passed the baton to do a better job. Most of us are as equally defective as the next bloke. Which means we’re equally as capable.

As for domestic violence, it is not just causing death and injury to women but a horrendous stain on the male gender. Good men are appalled but they need to do more. In her next book, the feminist author Caitlin Moran is including an invitation to men to join the fight. As she says there’s a huge void where good men feel it’s all a bit “icky” and that feminists don’t want them involved. Men need to ask themselves, “Okay, if not me, who?”

Finally, men and women have to rediscover what we like about each other. We need to cherish our differences and champion progress and approach all of it with humour, joy and a sense of expectation. Equality is not like landing on the moon. We won’t raise a flag when we’ve arrived. But along the way we’ll, all of us, feel in our bones, when we’re getting it right.


IPCC push to dump coal-fired power not for us, says Morrison

Scott Morrison has rejected a rapid global phase-out of coal-fired power and declared his government will not be bound by a landmark climate study, amid concern its blueprint for curbing temperature rises would see the “lights go out on the east coast of Australia”.

A special report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has championed a quick end to coal-fired power across the world and found that unprecedented changes in all aspects of society were needed to meet the lower Paris Agreement target limiting warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

The Morrison government yesterday welcomed the report but stood by coal-fired power generation and defended Australia’s record in meeting its international emissions ­reduction targets.

“If we take coal out of our ­energy system, the lights will go out on the east coast of Australia — it’s as simple as that,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said.

The IPCC special report said rising temperatures were already affecting the weather in some ­places and there would be a big difference in the impacts on all ­aspects of the natural world from a 2C increase, compared with a 1.5C rise. Warm-water coral reefs would be more than 99 per cent gone with a rise of 2C, but some might survive at 1.5C.

The special report is set to ­become a central focus of a campaign to encourage countries to increase their ambition under the Paris Agreement, starting in ­Poland in December. At present, Paris Agreement pledges would lead to global temperature ­increases of more than 3C.

The Australian government said the report justified the controversial decision to spend $444 million protecting the Great Barrier Reef.

Environment Minister Melissa Price said the IPCC report was designed to inform policy makers but was not “policy ­prescriptive”.

The Prime Minister ­defended Australia remaining a signatory to the Paris Agreement, arguing it would not have any impact on electricity prices. But he said Australia would not be held to any of the IPCC ­report conclusions.

“We are not held to any of them at all, and nor are we bound to go and tip money into that big climate fund,” Mr Morrison told 2GB radio.

Bill Shorten said there was a need to ensure a greater proportion of renewable energy sources in Australia’s energy mix.

“But we are not saying that there won’t be fossil fuel as part of our energy mix going forward,” the Opposition Leader said.

According to the IPCC report, to meet a target of 1.5C warming compared with the 1851-1900 average, global net human carbon ­dioxide emissions would need to fall about 45 per cent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching net zero around 2050.

Renewables are projected to supply 70 to 85 per cent of electricity in 2050, under the 1.5C target. Nuclear and fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage (CCS) were modelled to increase in most 1.5C pathways. The use of CCS would allow the electricity generation share of gas to be about 8 per cent of global electricity in 2050.

“The use of coal shows a steep reduction in all pathways and would be reduced to close to zero per cent of electricity (in 2050),” the report said.

CSIRO research scientist Pep Canadell, executive director of the Global Carbon Project, said the special report was probably the last reminder that there were no insoluble biophysical or technical impediments to meet the lowest temperature targets in the Paris Agreement.

But Dr Canadell said it would require the “almost immediate ­establishment of a global carbon market, carbon pricing across all sectors of the economy, massive energy efficiency gains, significant consumer changes in diets, actions to reduce peak global population, and the immediate and growing deployment of options for the ­direct removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, including the pervasive need for carbon capture and storage in most cases”.

There would be drastic changes in land use, including reforestation and planting crops for energy to suck carbon dioxide from the ­atmosphere and burying emissions when they were burnt.

A shift in diet towards less meat was described in the summary for policymakers as the need for “healthy consumption patterns”, “responsible consumption” and “sustainable diets”.

The provision of billions of dollars in finance to help developing nations would be crucial.

The IPCC said limiting global warming to 1.5C compared with 2C could “go hand-in-hand with ensuring a more sustainable and equitable society”.

The advantages of meeting a 1.5C target rather than 2C were ­detailed in the report. Global sea level rises would be 10cm lower by 2100, the report said.

The likelihood of the Arctic Ocean being free of sea ice in ­summer would be once a century compared with at least once a ­decade. An IPCC official said that while limiting warming to 1.5C was possible within the laws of chemistry and physics, doing so would ­require unprecedented changes.

Global CCS Institute chief executive Brad Page said the ­report had reinforced the point that a 1.5C increase could not be reached without deployment of all clean technologies, and carbon capture was most definitively one.

“CCS must remain at the forefront of national, regional and international policy discussions and, as the IPCC said today, governments must act on this evidence,” Mr Page said.

Australian Conservation Foundation chief executive Kelly O’Shanassy said: “The report makes clear that we need to get better at investing in storing carbon in the natural world and deploying technologies that can remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Our governments and industry should urgently investigate how they can better do this with the right incentives.”


High Court to examine the rights of pro-life activists to be present outside abortion clinics

If the killers didn't have guilty consciences scrutiny would not bother them

Abortion clinic staff fear going back to the “dark ages” as anti-abortionists challenge in the High Court the Victorian and Tasmanian laws that banished religious protesters from outside their workplaces

Kathleen Clubb, a mother of thirteen who was the first person to be convicted under those laws, is asking the High Court to consider if the legislation infringes on political free speech.

For decades, self-described "sidewalk counsellors" were a fixture outside centres across the state, until they were finally exiled in 2016 with the introduction of “safe access zone” laws that obliged protesters to stay at least 150 metres away.

After Ms Clubb was arrested by police in 2016 when she was caught approaching a couple outside the East Melbourne Fertility Control Clinic, she reportedly said: “I don’t intend to leave. I believe I have the right to offer my help to women.”

Ms Clubb is challenging her conviction and $5000 fine in a case that will be heard on Tuesday by the full bench of the High Court. They will also consider the case of another anti-abortionist, John Graham Preston, who breached similar Tasmania laws.

The case has alarmed staff at abortion clinics, who say they used to be too afraid of the protesters to leave their office without a security guard.

“I shudder to think what it would be like if we returned to the dark ages and women were forced to walk the gauntlet simply to see their doctor,” said senior associate Katie Robertson from Maurice Blackburn, which is representing the Fertility Control Clinic pro-bono.

Susie Allanson worked at the East Melbourne clinic as a clinical psychologist for more than 25 years and often feared she would be hurt by one of the anti-abortionists, who would arrive by 7.45am each morning.

She was working at the clinic in 2001 when a radical recluse came to the centre armed with a modified high-powered rifle and other weapons, ready to massacre dozens of patients and staff. He murdered security guard Steven Rogers, before being disarmed by the boyfriend of a pregnant woman.

Dr Allanson said the safe access zones had been an overnight success. “Instantly, women were no longer being harassed and intimidated on the public footpath.”

This week’s case is likely to centre on the issue of whether preventing protesters approaching women within the safe zone is a breach of the implied freedom of political communication.

Ms Clubb and her legal team were contacted for comment and declined.

In her submission to the High Court, she argued that abortion was inherently political and that political communication about abortions was most effective at the place at which abortions are provided, where they can reach clinic users and their medical staff.

“Australian history is replete with examples of political communication which were effective because they were conducted in a place where the issue was present and viscerally felt,” it said.

The 1998 Australian waterfront dispute, Eureka Stockade and the Freedom Ride of 1965 are listed examples.

In an interview with NewsCorp in June, Ms Clubb denied distressing women with graphic images of abortions on signs, saying that she only prays and distributes pamphlets.

She said at the time she was fighting for the right to speak on her beliefs, even though they were unpopular. “But the point is, if parliament can ban this kind of protest, what other kind of protests can they ban?” she told NewsCorp. “I am fighting for all Australians.”

But Ms Clubb faces a formidable opposition, with the case attracting not only the attention of the Victorian Attorney-General Martin Pakula, but governments across the nation, who have made submissions through lawyers in defence of the Victorian and Tasmanian laws.

The Attorney-General will argue that if there is any impact on the implied freedom of political communication, it is insubstantial.

“While it may be accepted that some individuals might be engaging in political communication, in other cases the aim is to deter women from having an abortion, often through imposing guilt and shame,” the submission said.


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

9 October, 2018

Kimberley Kitching is trying to cater for Labor’s conservative voters

Ms Kitching seems to have a strange idea of what constitutes “Judeo-Christian” values.  She claims to adhere to them but voted for homosexual marriage, despite homosexuality being repeatedly condemned in both the Old and the New Testaments. And how does "Thou shalt not covet" jibe with socialism?  No Leftist obeys that Commandment. She is right that many Labor voters have some conservative values but whether she can impress them with empty talk remains to be seen

Labor senator Kimberley Kitching — a close ally and friend of Bill Shorten — is moving to create a bipartisan parliamentary group that will defend “Judeo-Christian” and “Western-liberal democratic” values as she launches her credentials as a new style of social conservative within the Labor Party.

The Victorian, who was controversially hand-picked by the Opposition Leader to replace Stephen Conroy in the Senate, said she considered it part of her job to fight “smug elitism” and would seek to ensure the views of “inner-city elites” did not prevail over the “quiet wisdom of working people”.

“I think that sometimes Labor insiders tend to be more small-l liberal in their views than the ­people who vote for us,” Senator Kitching told The Australian.

She said the rise of the Greens had been good for the party as it helped create a “Corbyn-proof fence” that had protected Labor from the “more extreme and out of touch” parts of the Left. She also spoke against identity politics and virtue-signalling, saying it was intellectually “lazy” and had a negative impact on public debate.

Despite being a practising Catholic, Senator Kitching’s pitch as a Labor conservative is more cultural than religious and represents a shift from the traditional grouping of “LabCons” who have been guided by their faith in ­opposing same-sex marriage, abortion and euthanasia.

In interviews with The Australian, four LabCons — Don Farrell, Jacinta Collins, Helen Polley and Chris Ketter — denied claims their socially conservative views were maligned in the party as it became increasingly progressive.

The MPs — who voted No last year to same-sex marriage — said Labor needed to be a broad church to ensure it appealed to conser­vative working-class voters.

Senator Kitching — who voted Yes to same-sex marriage but is opposed to euthanasia — said “Judeo-Christian, Western-liberal democracy” was the “very best way” for people to “organise themselves” and its principles should be more staunchly defended.

She will attempt to launch a Defence of Democratic Institutions Parliamentary Friendship Group, inviting MPs from across the aisle as well as business leaders and academics.

Avoiding the politically loaded term “Western values”, Senator Kitching said the group would champion “liberal-democratic ­values”, discuss policy ideas and help shape the political agenda.

“The fact is we must remain vigilant in order to protect and safeguard our Judeo-Christian, Western-liberal democracy from both external and internal threats,” she said.

Senator Kitching — who has defended her record at the Health Services Union despite being ­accused of misconduct by the trade union royal commission — said she preferred the term “moderate” to social conservative, a sentiment shared by Senator Collins and Senator Ketter.

Senator Farrell, Labor’s Senate deputy leader and a leading figure in the conservative shoppies faction, said many working-class Labor voters had traditional values.

He said his Catholic views drove him towards the Labor Party because of the church’s teachings on social justice. “On the one hand you can be a social conservative but also support the concept of social justice,” he said, adding that he did not believe the party would eventually junk its conservative links.

Senator Collins said her views were accepted by her parliamentary colleagues, despite a Labor MP telling The Australian the LabCons were a “dying” force within the party and their views were increasingly marginalised.

“I have never felt lonely,” Senator Collins said. “I’m a collectivist. I don’t relate at all to the Liberal (Party) traditions of individualism, so I have found Labor fits much more neatly with my approach to achieving the common good.”


A State government codifies ‘white privilege’ slur for its bureaucrats

Government departments in South Australia have been criticised for seemingly forcing ­bureaucrats to acknowledge “white privilege” in Aboriginal cultural awareness training.

Conservative crossbench senator Cory Bernardi told The Australian that public servants had contacted his office in fear of losing their jobs after refusing to participate in the training, which required them to acknowledge their “white privilege”.

“I’ve had public servants contacting my office, fearful for their jobs because in good conscience they cannot undergo this man­datory indoctrination,” Senator Bernardi said yesterday.

“They are being discriminated against because political correctness and bureaucracy have run out of control under the noses of the major parties.”

National debate over the use of the term “white privilege” erupted in January when it was revealed that new codes of conduct for nurses and midwives referenced “a decolonising model of ­practice based on dialogue, communication, power sharing and negotiation, and the acknowledgment of white privilege”.

The codes do not require ­nurses or midwives to declare or apologise for white privilege.

Two SA Health documents for “cultural” and “workplace” learning advise staff “there is an un­deniable relationship between the continuing impact of colonisation and racism on the current health status of Aboriginal people”.

“Aboriginal people have been negatively impacted by inequitable government policies and the consequential ongoing racism and discrimination,” the documents say, noting that the ­material will “improve the ­cultural competence of the SA Health workforce through a ­better understanding of the impact of colonisation on Aboriginal health outcomes”.

A “learning outcomes” section requires staff to define white ­privilege and the effect of white privilege on Aboriginal health.

Staff are required to “challenge and respond to ‘racist’ behaviour and racial stereotypes” and “recognise the impact of white privilege on access to ­services”.

The “learning frameworks” also require staff to explain cultural self-awareness and identify their own cultural values and practices, identify examples of “white privilege” and analyse how “white privilege” impacts on Aboriginal people’s experience of health care services.

Premier Steven Marshall, who formed the first Liberal government in South Australia in 16 years in March, also has responsibility for the state’s Aboriginal ­Affairs portfolio.

Mr Marshall’s own department “actively encourages public sector employees to participate in Aboriginal cultural awareness training”, according to its website.

The South Australian Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources has an online “reconciliation action plan” that states: “We seek to be able to better recognise the influence colonisation and white privilege has on the department’s internal and external interactions with Aboriginal people, their nations and communities.”

Mr Marshall insisted that cultural awareness training was not compulsory. “Cultural awareness training is an option made available to public sector employees,” he said.

“The use of the term ‘white privilege’ … (is) not a term that I would personally use.”

Senator Bernardi said: “This politically correct nonsense is offensive, if not racist, towards many Australians.”


Schoolgirl, 6, pulled out of school after cruel bullies punch her in the face, pull her hair and expose themselves to her - as teachers say they can't do anything to stop them

The Left-influenced breakdown in school discipline again

A family has taken the drastic step of pulling their six-year-old girl out of school, amid claims she was relentlessly bullied for months.

Gold Coast youngster Summah Hillhouse says she is too scared to go to school after she was repeatedly punched in the face, called names and had her hair pulled.

Summah says she told teachers what was happening but nothing was done.

'She said 'Summah it is not called bullying, she doesn't do it to you every single day.'  It made me feel sad,' the little girl told A Current Affair.

Her grandmother Kim Den Hertog described the situation as 'absolutely ridiculous.' You can't send a six-year-old to school when she is frightened. It's like then we become the abusers,' she said. 'We are meant to send our children to school to learn and to be protected, but they're not being protected.'

Her family also claims two older boys flashed their private parts at Summah and a friend in the school playground last month.

The recent bullying has given Shaye Hillhouse no other choice but to try and find her youngest daughter another school before term four starts in the coming weeks.

'The teachers don’t seem to be able to do anything about it. It’s so frustrating,' she told The Gold Coast Bulletin last month.

'We had a meeting with a deputy principal, who was very good to us, and she promised there would be consequences for the offender but it’s too late. I've been to Southport police but I was told there is nothing they can do because a child under the age of 11 cannot be criminally responsible for his or her behaviour.'

A Queensland Department of Education spokeswoman told Daily Mail Australia it cannot comment on individual cases for student privacy reasons. 'Bullying is not tolerated in Queensland state schools. Any situation that threatens the safety and wellbeing of students is treated extremely seriously, and dealt with as a matter of urgent priority,' the spokeswoman said in a statement.

'All Queensland state schools are committed to providing a safe, respectful and disciplined learning environment for students and staff. 'All schools have a Responsible Behaviour Plan which sets out very clear standards and expectations for all students. [Translation:  Bullsh*t]

'The school involved continues to work closely with the students and their families to address their concerns.'

Meanwhile, Summah had this message for bullies. 'I would say stop bullying somebody because that's not nice,' she said.


Does inequality matter?

This week we hosted an interesting discussion on inequality.

CIS Senior Fellow Robert Carling argued inequality is actually an integral part of a market economy, because the incentive of massive wealth drives and rewards innovation and risk taking. He noted that “if you accept that markets are the best way to organise economic activity … then you must accept some degree of inequality”.

Importantly, he raised the often ignored trade-off between equity and economic efficiency; and the fact that people mistakenly believe increasing taxes and redistributing income is essentially costless. This is not the case.

Another interesting point of view that both Melinda Cilento from CEDA and Jonathan Coppel from the Productivity Commission shared, was that the perception of inequality was also different from reality. When asked, people feel they are worse off and that the benefits of growth are only accruing to the rich.

Yet inequality in Australia has not increased substantially in recent years — in fact it may have decreased. Further, wages have increased across the spectrum in Australia.

In some ways, this is a case where Australia has imported arguments from the US and the UK assuming that they apply here. It’s also related to an increasing focus on, and anger towards, the rich.

Pointing out that the top 1% (or the top 1% of the top 1%) are doing really well and pretending that is the same as broad inequality is an effective way of stoking resentment.

It’s telling that the measures to combat inequality are largely on the revenue side. Focusing on how rich people are, rather than poverty, allows progressives to advocate for massive tax increases and more regulation on the productive sectors of the economy.

These are exactly the kind of things that will hammer economic growth, which — as Carling noted — may harm the disadvantaged more than the redistribution helps them. Tax increases on the rich are perennially popular, but they will not lead to greater prosperity

One big lesson to be drawn from the populist revolt that put Trump in the White House is that people don’t want more redistribution, they want more opportunities. Many in the working class are rejecting the perennial solution of the left (more money and fewer obligations) in favour of the opposite: re-establishing what they believe is the broken link between work and success.


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, 2018

Dating show contestant gets rejected TWICE due to 'no dating Asians' policy – despite the girls being the same ethnicity as him

This is common and reasonable. The Australian population is about 5% Han Chinese so intermarriage is easily possible.  And if I see an Asian young woman on the arm of a man, the man is almost invariably Caucasian. With a bit of luck the woman's children with a Caucasian man will be able to pass as Caucasian.  As one instance of such a mix see below a picture of a recent "Miss Australia" winner, Francesca Hung.  She is half Chinese but that is not at all obvious

And "not standing out" is a very common wish for many people.  It tends to be safer

Caucasian men also tend to have a height advantage.  Sadly for shorties, most women prefer a tall man

A dating show contestant has been rejected by two women of the same ethnicity as him who cited a 'no dating Asians' policy.

When George Silvino, from Sydney, walked on stage for the dating show Take Me Out, two women of Asian descent instantly decided they were not interested him.

Host Joel Creasey asked the women why they weren't interested in the man to which the first woman replied: 'I kind of have a "no dating Asians" policy.'

Dating show contestant Gianna said she didn't want to date George Silvino because she has a 'not dating Asians' policy

In the show men try to impress a panel of thirty women in the hope of landing a date. If the women are interested in the men they leave their light on, if they aren't interested they switch their light off.

Mr Creasey then asked the second woman why she switched her light off for Mr Silvino. 'I'm sorry, I have a no dating Asian policy as well,' she said. 'I don't want to get mistaken for brother and sister, it could get awkward. 'Because I'm Asian I'm allowed to say that.'

After the show aired last week people had a mixed reaction to the women's dating policy.

'Attractive women: he's hot. Unattractive self-hating Asian women: he's ugly because he looks like my brother,' one person commented on the YouTube video.

'I don't get why almost all the Asians weren't open to him? I'm Asian but I think that guy is pretty good looking and I like his confidence, I'd give him a fair chance at least,' another person said.

But not everyone was upset by the women's choices. 'I have a no dating Asians policy too what's so wrong? ' one person said.

'Actually I don't see the problem. I'm Asian myself, and I like white girls more, but that doesn't mean I hate yellow girls,' another person said.

'Preference is not necessarily racist ..... and yeah, I've heard black white etc. Saying they wouldn't date their own race,' a person said.

Mr Silvino posted a response to the show on his YouTube channel said he did not think there was any malice behind the women's comments.

'Were these comments racist? Yes they absolutely f***ing were,' he said. 'In that context on a game-show there was no bad intentions. It's probably safe to say those comments were not said in a spiteful or hateful sense towards myself or other Asian men.'

However, later in the video he said based on comments he had seen on social media, it seemed like it was all too common that Asian women had these opinions of Asian men.

'Yes, of course these types of Asian b****** do exist. They think they're too good for Asian guys. They discriminate solely based on race.' 


Teachers’ union stance wrong on reading

I have been a member of teachers’ unions since I began teaching 30 years ago. The role of unions is to protect the pay and conditions of their members. However, as a practicing teacher, I am becoming increasingly concerned with their present stance on the teaching of reading that seems to undermine the very thing they claim to protect — teacher workload — as well as doing a disservice to the children they educate.

The NSW Teachers Federation commissioned a paper titled “Exploding some of the myths about learning to read” by Professor Robyn Ewing, who participated in the recent phonics debate. Professor Ewing will be given a further platform to present the ideas in her paper at a Federation-endorsed professional development session in October.

Professor Ewing’s report misrepresents the case for effective phonics instruction — including the adoption of a straw man argument that a systematic and explicit approach teaching phonics precludes other aspects of literacy such as vocabulary development. Professor Pam Snow has summarised the shortcomings of Ewing’s report by stating, “Nothing was exploded in Professor Ewing’s union commissioned paper. Rather, a number of tired though conveniently protean myths have simply been perpetuated; unhelpfully and uncritically so.”

In contrast, Professor Snow’s research documents the consequences of failure to develop essential literacy skills, and she draws our attention to the overly high rates of illiteracy amongst incarcerated youth who disengaged from society and the education system, as evidenced in the 2015 Young People in Custody Report.

As a learning and support teacher I see students every day who have difficulty with reading and spelling. Engaging these students in the classroom becomes increasingly difficult as students become older and the gap becomes wider. This adds to teacher workload and stress through having to manage disruptions and robs all students of valuable instructional time.

The gap need not become wider if teachers engage with the findings of reading research and trials. The South Australian phonics check trial showed that the check was not stressful for students and teachers and school leaders were overwhelmingly positive about it. More teachers are beginning to understand the importance of this check and the Queensland Catholic Education Commission will now trial the check in 2019.

Many teachers were surprised that the Phonics Check detected a deficiency in students’ decoding abilities that was not evident in the more cumbersome and time-consuming ‘running records’ mandated by many education departments throughout Australia.

Teacher unions should be arguing for teaching strategies that reflect a strong evidence base, and for assessment tools such as the Phonics Check that reduce teacher workload.


Bill Shorten downplays class war

Bill Shorten’s political pivot has begun. Having spent the past five years engaged in class-war economics, the Labor leader has made his first pitch to middle Australia. This reflects a significant tactical shift underpinned by a fundamental political reality.

Labor is worried about Scott Morrison. Shorten plans to deliver five key policy speeches between now and Christmas. These will set the policy and values framework of a Shorten government.

In other words, Shorten intends to start articulating what he is going to do with the $160 billion in taxes he plans to raise over the next decade.

Who will be the beneficiaries of this tax raid on the well-off and ­almost well-off?

Class envy is crude politics. And while it clearly works, it has its ­limitations. It fails to speak to aspiration.

Shorten knows he must start steering Labor back to a more electable centrist model to counter the potential rise of Morrison.

He now believes he has the authority to do that. It is notable that he has chosen early education as his first pillar. It is an inter­generational issue.

Parents vote for their children and grandparents vote for both. It has universal appeal.

Shorten has pitched it as an education reform and a cost-of-living measure with long-term productivity dividends.

The government was right to attack the spending and the tax burden to pay for it, rather than the policy itself.

Labor’s tax policy represents the most radical redistribution of wealth proposed by the ALP in more than 50 years. It is a naked ideological manifesto that will have as many unknown social impacts as it will economic.

This is the big policy gamble that Shorten believes will win him government — a notion of aspiration that relies on the benevolence of the state.

In deciding to push the button on a major policy rollout over the next two months, the Opposition Leader has also taken the ultimate political gamble.

Some of Shorten’s senior colleagues have cautioned him against it and urged him to wait.

The polls continue to point to a thumping Labor victory. And Morrison is still dealing with the aftermath of the leadership spill that delivered him the prime ­ministership.

The argument that an opposition shouldn’t get in the way of a good government meltdown is a valid one.

But Shorten is shrewd enough to recognise an equally shrewd rival, who is already preferred as prime minister.

Morrison offers a cure for the policy crisis of the Turnbull regime and the promise of a restoration of sound political management.

He will not be shy of spending either.

Shorten believes his best shot at addressing his poor personal ­approval ratings and shifting gear from negativity, pessimism and envy to a positive campaign footing is to start spending the party’s war chest before Morrison starts to gain ­momentum.

Getting out early and announcing key policy so far out from an election may be unorthodox for an opposition, but it was exactly this strategy that almost won Shorten the 2016 election.


'The impact will be huge': Experts warn power prices are set to skyrocket over summer

Ordinary people will be paying heavily for the Greenie-motivated closures of big coal-fired generators such as Hazelwood. Losing 1,600 MW from Hazelwood alone leaves a big gap that can only be filled by expensive gas generators

Experts have warned electricity prices will skyrocket over summer, claiming 'the impact will be huge' on domestic households.

The average annual bill for Australian households is $1500, but Victoria and South Australia were closer to $2000 - a 63 per cent jump for all states in the past decade. 

According to a report released by the ACCC, gas prices will go up another 40 per cent. 

The cost is predicted to peak at around $15 a gigajoule over the warmer months and won't go lower than $10.70, the Australian reported. 

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) released a report this week which detailed the expected power prices.

Australian Power Project chief executive Nathan Vass said the prices will be four times higher than the historical prices which rested at $3.

Referencing the report, Mr Vass warned 'the impact on electricity prices will be huge'.

The chief executive explained for every $1 rise in gas prices, the wholesale price of electricity will go up to $11 per megawatt-hour.

'So if gas jumps to $15/GJ you could see the average wholesale price hit $140/MWh,' he told the publication.

'The closure of cheap and ­reliable coal-fired generators and the shift to gas-peaking plants has left South Australia more vulnerable to gas price shocks than any other state.' 

In 2015/16 the average annual Australian electricity stood at $1,524, with network costs making up 48 per cent of the bill, followed by wholesale costs (22 per cent), environmental costs (7 per cent), retail costs (16 per cent) and retail margins (8 per cent).


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

7 October, 2018

Leftism is largely inborn.  Is bureaucracy too?

All the twin studies how strong heritability for Left/Right political orientation.  Leftists are born dissatisfied and conservatives are born contented.  And Leftists love bureaucracy.  They can hardly get enough of it.  As V.I. Lenin remarked: "Account must be taken of every single article, every pound of grain, because what socialism implies above all is keeping account of everything".  So is there also an inherited bureaucratic instinct?  Something I encountered recently inclined me towards that belief.

A little background:  I have a pinup on my bedroom wall.  It is a picture of the Queen.  No doubt many would say that I must be a poor thing to have the Queen as my pinup but it is a large and beautifully done portrait so I think it could be called a pinup.

And I am an unapologetic monarchist.  I believe that a constitutional monarchy is the best form of government,  Americans have to wait 4 years before they can get rid of an unpopular  President but, in a monarchy on Westminster lines, parliament can boot out at will any Prime Minister who has lost popularity --which the Australian parliament has done rather a lot of in recent years. So it suits my views that I have a picture of Her Majesty and Prince Philip on my wall.

But I have acquired that picture only recently.  There is an Australian tradition that Federal politicians can give out free pictures of Her Majesty to their constituents.  So I wrote to my local Federal MP, Terri Butler, member for Griffith, and requested one.  She represents the Labor Party so I was slightly surprised that she wrote back to me and agreed.  I had to pick the picture up from her electorate office but that was not far away from me so off I went.

When I arrived and rang the bell a large sandy-hired young man appeared. When I made my request he said; "We haven't received any correspondence about this".  I said, "I wrote to Parliament house".  He said "Did you get a letter from Terri Butler about this?"  I said I had.  "Have you got it with you" -- "No". "Where is it?" -- "At home".  And he went on generally in a rather circular way about having authorization to give me the picture.  I inherit a rather short temper from my father however so I very soon started to shout and bang on the counter.  That dislodged him and he gave me the picture.

As the  pictures are freely given out, there was absolutely need for any bureaucracy but this employee of the Labor party dreamed some up anyway.  He appears to have a bureaucratic temperament.  I suspect it was inherited -- JR

Bill Shorten proposes new plan to tackle immigration policy with Scott Morrison

Bill is desperate.  He is trying to get the Liberal party to rescue him from his own Left-wing.  They want to open the illegal immigrant floodgates again but he knows that he would lose the election if he stood on that policy.  So he wants to kick the can into the long grass of an "enquiry", a classic political dodge

BILL Shorten wants to tackle Australia’s population issues in a joint-party plan tackling the country’s growth.

The Labor leader has written a letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison asking that he consider creating a population taskforce that would outline recommendations both parties could accept.

That taskforce would look at temporary work visas, infrastructure development, service delivery such as health and education and settlement policy.

In his letter seen by The Weekend Australian, Mr Shorten has placed population growth among the great policy challenges facing the nation.

He indicated he could support a new settlement policy that would redistribute people away from the congested capitals of Sydney and Melbourne.

Mr Morrison is yet to comment on the letter but is in Tasmania today.

The Coalition is expected to deliver a major policy on the issue before the end of the year.

Australia’s population passed 25 million in July, two decades earlier than was forecast.

“Population policy runs the risk of being politicised by those seeking to divide Australia, and (who) see political opportunity in polarising opinion in the community,” Mr Shorten wrote in the letter.

“The best way to ensure enduring policy settings is for a bipartisan approach — one that sets overarching principles to guide policy development, regardless of the party in government.

“This would give the community and business comfort that the national interest is driving government policy.

“I am therefore asking you to join Labor in the establishment of an independent and expert population taskforce that would provide recommendations that both parties could accept and use to underpin population policy development.”

Under Mr Shorten’s plan, the taskforce could be established under Treasury with six members agreed upon by the government and opposition.

Both parties would then need to agree to a set of recommendations.

In his letter to Mr Morrison, Mr Shorten wrote: “As you would be aware, there is no single policy lever — a multifaceted approach is needed that ensures we maintain our standard of living.

“More important is a consistent approach that will last well beyond the political cycle and that requires the support of both major political parties.”

In August it was revealed the Morrison Government was considering a plan that would require new migrants to settle outside of Sydney and Melbourne for up to five years.

Between 2006 and 2016, the majority of arrivals have settled in Sydney or Melbourne, at 27.6 per cent and 26.3 per cent of total arrivals respectively.

By comparison, only 3.2 per cent moved to regional NSW, and 1.9 per cent to regional Victoria.

But last month Mr Morrison took aim at Australia’s obsession with population growth, saying it is a “fairly irrelevant statistic” and immigration policy is far more nuanced than many of us realise.

He said temporary migration and natural population growth, caused by the people who already live here having children, were far more significant factors than immigration.

“I’ve never bought this idea that the permanent immigration intake is the thing fuelling population growth. Because it’s not borne out in the actual maths,” Mr Morrison said in an exclusive interview with

“When it comes to population growth at the moment, there are 10 extra people that have got on the bus. Just over four of them are temporary migrants. Just under four of them were born here, a natural increase. And only two of them are permanent migrants.”


'The one last remaining bastion of free speech': Milo Yiannopoulos praises Australia for being a liberal country - but warns it may not be for much longer

Right-wing commentator and controversial political figure Milo Yiannopoulos has cited Australia as the last remaining bastion of free speech.

The comments came as Mr Yiannopoulos was promoting his upcoming book in an interview with Sky News on Friday, aptly named 'Australia, You're My Only Hope'.

Mr Yiannopoulos outlined what he perceives to be the 'cancers' affecting Australian society; namely feminism and political correctness.

During the interview, he urged Australians to stand up to these 'cancers' of public life which he claimed have already 'utterly ruined' the public square in Europe and America.

'Australia is the one last remaining bastion of free speech where people can actually crack a joke and not get fired,' Yiannopoulos stated.

The British alt-righter claimed his new book is a 'last ditch attempt' to urge the Australian public to stand up to what he perceives to be the 'toxins' of left-wing society.

Yiannopoulos has announced a tour of seven shows down under at the end of November, in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.

His tour will take place despite owing a reported $50,000 to the Victorian government for unpaid police expenses.

He will be joined by US right-winger Ann Coulter. The pair have promoted their tour as 'saving Australia from a full-frontal assault by politically-correct left-wing loonies.'


University chiefs unite to defend free speech

Good if it happens

University of Western Sydney chancellor Peter Shergold has warned that attacks on free speech are a relatively recent development.

Leading university heads have warned of the urgent need to take a stand against encroaching threats to free speech across Australia’s tertiary institutions, including US-inspired boycotts of speakers and classroom “trigger warnings” about details that might upset students — with one high-profile chancellor dis­avowing the notion that campuses should be “safe spaces”.

University of Western Sydney chancellor Peter Shergold has warned that attacks on free speech are a relatively recent development in Australia and university governing bodies should be prepared to make tough decisions to defend the integrity of their institutions.

Speaking to The Australian following a robust panel discussion on the topic at the University Chancellors Council annual conference in Adelaide yesterday, Dr Shergold said his personal view was that universities should default to a position of enabling “as much freedom as possible — not to constrain, not to control”.

“Universities need safe spaces for students, be they LGBTI or Muslim … where they can go and talk to each other,” said Dr Shergold, the council’s chairman. “But university campuses cannot be safe spaces in terms of ideas.  “People should be challenged by ideas, see a diversity of ideas. That’s the heart of the institutional ethos of a university.”

Dr Shergold’s comments — which come amid mounting concerns that universities are increasingly becoming closed intellectual shops, prone to groupthink and the censoring of diverse ideas — were echoed by Australian ­National University chancellor ­Gareth Evans.

While Mr Evans has recently been forced to defend the univer­sity’s decision to withdraw from plans for a new degree in Western civilisation — which was to have been funded by the John Howard-chaired Ramsay Centre — he too slammed the emerging phenomenon of staff and students seeking to shut down debate under the premise that people should not be exposed to ideas with which they disagreed.

“We are hearing about ‘no-platforming’ — disinviting or shouting down visiting speakers espousing various heresies; about the need for ‘trigger warnings’ — alerting students to potentially upsetting racially, politically or ­gender-sensitive themes,” Mr Evans said.

“Most disconcerting of all, the need for ‘safe spaces’, where students can be completely insulated from anything that may assault their sense of what is moral and appropriate.”

Institute of Public Affairs research fellow Matthew Lesh cited recent publicised threats to free speech such as opposition to the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation, which ANU staff and students accused of pushing a “racist” and “radically conservative agenda”, as well as the violent protest over psychologist Bettina Arndt’s appearance at the University of Sydney. These were just “the tip of the iceberg”, Mr Lesh said.

He told the conference that the proliferation of social justice policies around cultural inclusion, global citizenship and sustainability were to blame for restraining free speech. “I speak to academics and students at your institutions ­almost every day … (they) tell me about a worrying culture of censorship,” he said.

“Australia’s universities are lacking in viewpoint diversity — a range of perspectives challenging each other in the pursuit of reason, truth and progress. This leads to groupthink, self-censorship, and sometimes active shouting down.”

He said universities had a choice between either encouraging free inquiry or treading a social justice path and seeking to “change the world” — but choosing the latter would “not only undermine academic scholarship and student learning, it could be seriously damaging to the reputation and viability of the institutions”.

Mr Evans said it wasn’t only universities that were at risk, referring to the decision by the Brisbane Writers Festival this year to disinvite former NSW premier Bob Carr and feminist Germaine Greer as “absurd to the point of indefensibility”.

Joking that he was perhaps an “unreconstructed child of the 1960s”, the former Labor senator and foreign affairs minister said principles of “timeless significance” were at stake and university administrators and governing bodies “simply must take a stand”.

“Lines have to be drawn, and administrators’ spines stiffened, against manifestly un­conscionable demands for protection against ideas and arguments claimed to be offensive,” Mr Evans said. “Keeping alive the great tradition of our universities — untrammelled autonomy and untrammelled freedom of speech — is a cause to which university chancellors … should be prepared to go to the barricades.”

Concern about the impacts of growing campus activism has been on the political radar for some months.

Education Minister Dan Tehan recently proposed to the Group of Eight universities that measures to protect freedom of thought and expression should be considered, such as requiring student activists who sought to disrupt an event to pay for additional security costs. He expressed concerns that in the case of Sydney University, event organisers were being levied with the bill.

Steven Schwartz, a former vice-chancellor at three universities in Australia and Britain, said: “Today’s university students will grow up to be tomorrow’s lawyers, politicians, and judges. For the sake of our democracy, we cannot allow a generation of graduates to grow up believing that there are issues that are too dangerous to discuss.

“Expanding the meaning of words such as ‘violence’, ‘aggression’ and ‘traumatic’ to describe speech provides universities with a spurious excuse for censorship.”

Professor Schwartz said if universities failed to defend free speech, governments might intervene: “I am sure they will not like the result.”


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, 2018


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG thinks that the Russians are coming

5 October, 2018

Infrastructure as a legacy

Leftists are notoriously interested only in the distribution of goods and services. They virtually ignore the process of producing goods and services.  They seem to think that goods and services drop down upon us like manna from heaven.  It is precisely that insouciance that makes socialist countries poor.  They just don't know how to arrange wealth creation efficiently so hamper it rather than fostering it.

And they seem to think the same about infrastructure such as roads, hospitals and schools  They give no thought to how those things come to be so and are very poor at providing them.  People who need the latest medical procedures don't go to Russia.  They go to the USA.

I think however that it is highly relevant to think about the origins of our infrastructure.  It didn't get there by accident and its distribution is not random.  Some countries have better infrastructure than others. So who provided that infrastructure and who owns it? 

A very large part of our infrastructure was put there by our ancestors.  They built the roads and buildings which we use today.  And the ownership varies.  Some is in private hands and some in government hands. But in an important sense it is a legacy to all of us today bequeathed to us by our ancestors.  Some of it is best in private and and some is regarded as best in government hands but we all benefit from it enormously.  Our entire modern life depends heavily on what we have collectively inherited from the past.  We didn't build the road we drive on or the hospitals and schools that we use.  We come into the world with most of what we use already laid out for us by our ancestors

Not all that we use will be inherited of course. But it will be the development of an inheritance. It might be a new road we drive on and a new school we attend.  But the building of that road and that school will have depended on all sorts of things from the past -- tools, techniques, machinery and the product of blast furnaces -- that have steadily evolved first in the hands of our ancestors and then in our hands.

So it seems to me that the physical facilities of our country that we use are just as much a legacy as is money left to us in a relative's will.  They were not produced by accident but were the product of work and ingenuity -- and we ourselves continue to build on those foundations.  We too enable the provision of infrastructure -- mainly through our taxes in the modern world but sometimes directly

I for instance have had a considerable presence in the real estate industry. I often took on semi-derelict buildings and organized their renovation.  Since I live in a capitalist country I did it entirely for my own private profit and did indeed earn significant income from my activities.  I have long ago sold the properties concerned and have money in the bank instead.  But the important point is that the properties I took on are now upgraded and will  be in that upgraded state when I die. I took existing things from the past and built on them to make them into better things.  That will be a legacy I leave when I die.  I will have left the infrastructure better than I found it and others will benefit from that.

I am aware that what I have just been saying sounds very much  like Obama's famous claim, "You didn't build that", so I think I had better do a little bit of differentiation.  He was of course right in pointing out that all we do depends in many ways on the work, past and present, that others do or have done. But what significance he saw in that is a bit mysterious. The most I can make of it was that he thought businesses should be thankful to the government and be humbled by its wise provisions.  By contrast, I would argue that the government is just another tool we have set up for achieving desired results. And I would argue that it is largely our ancestors we should thank for the infrastructure we daily rely on.

But what about immigrants?  Do they have any right to what is in fact our legacy?  They have not inherited anything  from our country or brought much, if anything, to it.  I think it is clear that they do to an extent steal our legacy. 

That is particularly clear in the case of Australia.  Recent governments have allowed a large "refugee" influx and that does harm us.  Our roads are now more congested, our public hospitals can barely cope and our schools are overcrowded and short of good teachers.  Such is the demand for teachers created by the active wombs of refugees that teacher standards have had to be lowered to near oblivion. Students with almost any High School pass are being accepted into teachers' colleges.  And on top of that we have to feed the "refugees".  Only a minority find employment and become self supporting.

But for various reasons good and bad our governments keep letting the refugees in and in so doing dilute that assets we all have to work with. With not a care in the world our governments have given away a significant part of our inheritance.  I think it should stop.  I don't think our government should give away what is the right of those of us who were born here.

So what do I propose?  A just policy would be to allow into our country only those who have paid for the privilege.  Citizenship could be bought.  And the proceeds would go to the construction of new infrastructure that would cope with the expanded population.

That's not going to happen, of course, but greater selectivity of some sort would certainly be fairer than the present system.  The less our inherited assets are handed to others the better.  I personally would be selective by allowing in only outsiders who are similar to the majority population  -- essentially other people of European origin.  They at least had ancestors who worked hard and effectively to improve their given environment so could help continue our work of ongoing development -- JR

Dozens of cyclists take up a whole lane as they slow down drivers trying to get by - but can you see what's REALLY infuriating motorists?

In my opinion, someone needs to drive at high speed right through a group of them so they all get the idea that it is best not to be obstructive.  Not much else seems to work

Dozens of cyclists have been caught fueling their war with motorists by disobeying road rules.

An image shared to Facebook shows numerous cyclists dominate the left lane of traffic, despite there being an empty designated bicycle lane next to the road in Perth.

The move by the cyclists left vehicles backed up in the right lane as drivers wait to overtake the riders.

The picture was posted to the Perth - Have A Whinge Facebook page where frustrated social media users reacted to the incident.

'Yell at them! Hit the horn! Don't stand for that s**t !' one person commented.

'Don't even get me started ! This really p***es me off,' commented another.

Others were quick to connect the incident to the long-standing battle between cyclists and motorists about who owns the road.  

'And they wonder why drivers have issues with them... How does the 1 mtr rule work when they are riding like that....' one social media user wrote

'They do it just to p*** off the motorist, because they know there's nothing you can do about it!!!' another person commented.

While most social media users were disapproving of the cyclists, one woman argued the bicycle path was not always the safest option.

'Cyclists are also car and truck drivers. We pay our licence fees. The cycle path is not safe because cars/trucks often drive over it,' one woman argued. 'The safest place to be is smack in the middle of the road. Get used to it. What's the damn hurry.'

A Ford Australia ‘Road Safety Survey’ released in September revealed that almost half (49 per cent) of the 2,000 participants did not feel confident driving along cyclists.

One in five participants (18 per cent) admitted they experienced road rage or were actively aggressive towards towards cyclists, highlighting significant tensions between the road users. 


Campaign to replace Labour Day with an Aboriginal celebration - after Scott Morrison called for new Indigenous Day

A Liberal Party powerbroker is leading a campaign to replace Labour Day with a new public holiday celebrating indigenous achievements [Which ones?]

A week after Prime Minister Scott Morrison proposed a new Indigenous Day to settle the debate about Australia Day, New South Wales minister David Elliott has suggested replacing state Labour Day with a new 'Corroboree Day'.

Mr Elliott, a leader of the Liberal Party's centre-right faction which was instrumental in making Mr Morrison PM in August, said his public holiday idea was 'about celebrating success and achievement for indigenous Australians who in the past have had to face adversity'.

'Instead of focusing on the negative over indigenous affairs over the last 200 years, it would be a day we'd focus on the positives,' he told Sydney radio 2GB broadcaster Steve Price on Monday.

Mr Elliott, who holds the Veterans Affairs and Corrections portfolios, insisted his proposal was 'about trying to bring people together' and claimed Labour Day on October 1 had lost relevance.  'I don't think there's anything on today at all which says to the Australian community this is a day for commemoration,' he said.

Price shot back, asking why Mr Elliott and the Prime Minister were seeking to 'divide the country rather than join it?'.

The minister suggested remembering greats from tennis to indigenous leaders who interacted with the first British settlers during the late 18th century. 'We would focus on the Evonne Goolagongs and the Bennelongs and the Pemulwuys,' he said.

The 2GB presenter was unconvinced, with Price pointing out Australia already had Sorry Day and NAIDOC (National Aboriginal and Islanders Day Observance Committee) Week, which aren't public holidays. 'But David, we're all Australians. We don't need more than one day,' he said.

Mr Morrison last week suggested creating a new day to celebrate 60,000 years of Australia's indigenous heritage as a way of keeping Australia Day on January 26, the day in 1788 when the British First Fleet arrived in Sydney Cove.

Left-wing activists, indigenous rights protesters and local councils in Melbourne and Byron Bay in northern New South Wales are campaigning to change the date of Australia Day.

With only nine per cent of private sector workers belonging to a trade union in Australia, Mr Elliott said Labour Day was less relevant than it was in previous generations, when people like his grandfather went on picnics to commemorate the eight-hour working day.

He clashed with Price's suggestion that not everyone who took a day off during Easter and Christmas were necessarily Christians.  'That's ridiculous,' Mr Elliott said.

The conservative minister also pointed out that indigenous first and second World War veterans were denied the right to drink in a pub with their army comrades.

Labour Day is held on the first Monday of October in NSW, the Australian Capital Territory and South Australia.


A shower of cold facts may counter coal phobia

Better to understand just what climate alarmists and anti-coal activists are demanding, a closer look at Australia’s economic reliance on coal is useful.

Apart from the contention that renewable energy is necessary to lower carbon-dioxide emissions, climate alarmists often speak of the boost to the economy that renewable energy will bring. According to the Clean Energy Council, the number of jobs from 39 renewable energy projects under construction or being completed this year is 4,400.

These projects have begun as a result of the billions of dollars of taxpayer money being appropriated by government to subsidise renewable energy. Conversely, the Minerals Council of Australia claims that 51,500 direct jobs and 120,000 indirect jobs are created through the coal industry. In 2017, this led to $57 billion of export revenue (a new record), $6 billion in wages and $5 billion in royalties.

Coal still provides 75 per cent of the energy generated in the national electricity market. No other large-scale source of base-load energy is as low cost. After iron ore, coal generated the largest export revenue, eclipsing agriculture, manufacturing, other services, base metals and gold. The total value of coal exports has nearly tripled in the last decade.

Despite renewable-energy spruikers claiming that Japan is getting out of coal, Japan remains our biggest export market for thermal coal (coal burnt in coal-fired power stations), earning Australia nearly $8.5 billion in 2016–17. South Korea, China and Taiwan are the next largest buyers of Australian thermal coal.

When it comes to metallurgical coal (used to make steel), India, China and Japan are our biggest export markets.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) forecast shows coal consumption in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries declining in the period till 2040, while in non-OECD countries coal consumption will increase, with projected coal-fired electricity generation being four times greater than in OECD countries in 2040.

Affluent nations’ governments would close down a low-cost, reliable form of electricity generation because of climate alarmism while at the same time exporting coal to developing nations so they can literally power ahead in building their economies.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement won’t “make any difference” to electricity prices and that Australia’s national security would be compromised by doing so because climate change is a concern of Pacific nations. This is false.

The federal renewable energy target (RET) of 23.5 per cent renewable-energy generation by 2020 aims to comply with the Paris Agreement of a 26–28 per cent reduction in carbon-dioxide emissions by 2030. That has resulted in the $3.6 billion of taxpayer subsidies this year that have been funnelled into creating otherwise unviable renewable energy projects. And electricity consumers are still paying higher power bills.

Abandon the Paris Agreement and the RET trying to achieve it and you remove the legislative compulsion for electricity retailers to purchase costly renewable-energy certificates, which will bring down power prices and allow low-cost base-load power to flourish once again.

A Bill Shorten ALP government would legislate a 50 per cent RET by 2030, which would see power prices skyrocket and reliability in the electricity grid plummet. Industry and business would shut down or go offshore in search of lower costs of doing business.

The ALP is pursuing an energy policy that prioritises emissions targets without any regard to affordability and reliability. In the process, it has abandoned any semblance of protecting workers’ livelihoods and economic security.

The only political parties in Australia that seem to be advocating for the most low-cost form of energy (coal) are minor parties such as Labour DLP, One Nation and Australian Conservatives. This is one of the reasons that the major parties are haemorrhaging votes to these minor parties.

Coal is the lifeblood of Australia’s economy. It saved us from disaster during the global financial crisis and is largely responsible for saving us from ongoing levels of calamitous government debt. If governments capitulate to anti-coal campaigners and climate alarmists, Australia’s economy will be irrevocably destroyed.


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, 2018

September was the second driest month in more than 100 YEARS – and Summer is set to be even worse

Notice the dog that didn't bark?  For once there is no tie to global warming given.  But EVERYTHING is due to global warming!  How come this bout of difficult weather is not attributed to global warming?  I have repeatedly noted that with Leftists, what the leave out is as significant as what they say -- and this is an example of it

What they are not facing up to is that drought is a sign of COOLING!  If the weather really had been hot, more water would have evaporated off the oceans and come down as rain, giving FLOODS, if anything.  It has not not happened.  Their cockeyed theory doesn't fit the present observed facts.  The globe is NOT warming.  A big drought shows that

Drought-stricken farmers are expected to get a much-needed break from September's record dry spell over the next few weeks.

But Aussies shouldn't breath a sigh of relief too soon - weather experts believe that the dip in temperature won't last long.

Bureau of Meteorology expert Tom Hough warned that the months leading up to summer will see above-average heat and summer is set to be a scorcher.

Above-average temperatures will grace the country in the months leading up to summer, Mr Hough said.

Temperatures will soar above the norm for the month of October across the country, with the exception of far-east and north Queensland and northeast NSW.

Sydney's average temperatures for October usually sit between 24-27 degrees.

November temperatures will also be above average with the exception of Western Australia's southeast coast. 

Similarly December will see scorching temperatures above the norm in most of the country.   

However there is no need to crack out the sunscreen just yet. Temperatures are expected to cool towards the end of the week and much-needed rain will sweep the country.

A BOM expert told Daily Mail Australia that rain will be widespread across the southern half of the nation over the next two weeks.

At least 25-50mm of rain is expected to fall in Sydney alone, following the country's record dry September. An average of just 5.2mm of rainfall was recorded last month. 


What's this all about?

It's the cover for the latest issue of News Weekly a broadly conservative Australian news magazine. It should be available at your local Newsagents. It's been around for 50 years now.  You can find the story behind the cover here.  You can subscribe here. Artwork above by Zeg.

Pauline Hanson demands massive pay cut for the ABC's next managing director after the sacking of $890k-a-year Michelle Guthrie – and says her successor must be paid less than the PM

Pauline Hanson is demanding the next ABC managing director be given a massive 45 per cent pay cut so Michelle Guthrie's successor is paid considerably less than the Prime Minister.

The One Nation leader has suggested the head of the national broadcaster be paid the same as any other senior executive public servant, a week after Ms Guthrie was sacked from her $891,000-a-year post.

Senator Hanson nominated the principal executive office band E salary, starting at $488,310, as an appropriate remuneration for an ABC managing director, in her opinion piece published in The Australian.

Were this salary cut to be implemented, the ABC managing director would be paid less than Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who is on a $538,000-a-year package.

Making her case, Senator Hanson said it was wrong that the ABC paid its most senior executive more than the BBC's director-general Tony Hall, who is on $810,000.

'Like many Australians, I don't understand how we can pay the managing director of the ABC more than the director-general of the BBC when the head of the BBC must manage licence fees and the sale of programs to fund a significantly larger and more complex organisation than our own national broadcaster,' she said.

Senator Hanson also suggested the ABC's seven remaining board members be replaced with directors who take seriously accusations of left-wing bias at the organisation, which received $1.1 billion for the 2018/19 financial year in the May federal budget.

'The next task is to find board members committed to culling producers and presenters who cannot separate their own left-leaning political opinions from accurate and impartial news and information,' she said.

David Anderson, the ABC's former head of television, took over as acting managing director on September 24 following the sacking of Michelle Guthrie, halfway through her five-year appointment.

In a week of turmoil, Justin Milne resigned as chairman three days later, after it was alleged he had sought the sackings of chief economics correspondent Emma Alberici and political editor Andrew Probyn to appease former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.

One Nation has two senators and shares the balance of power in the Senate with 17 other cross-bench lawmakers who aren't from the major parties.


Five ways universities can advance free expression

If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear, George Orwell wrote in Animal Farm.

At a 1943 symposium, Univer­sity of Sydney professor of philosophy John Anderson spoke out against religion in the school curriculum. “Religious doctrines are a direct attack and assault on a child’s common sense,” he said. “If a child is forced to swallow doctrines of a religious nature, it will undermine his understanding of things in general.”

The learned members of the NSW Legislative Assembly condemned Anderson’s comments for undermining “the principles of the Constitution of the Christian state”. Not one member of the assembly spoke in Anderson’s support. The Legislative Council (parliament’s other house) passed its own motion asking the governing body of Sydney University to “define the limits” universities should place on the discussion of controversial matters. The world still awaits its response.

Anderson was unrepentant. His call for campus speakers to be “as blasphemous, obscene and seditious as they like” was strongly supported by students, sympathetic colleagues and a few univer­sity leaders.

Fast-forward to the present. The right to speak on campus remains as contentious as ever but the protagonists have reversed roles. Politicians now lament campus censorship while students — and even academics — are becoming increasingly intolerant. Convinced of their own fragility, today’s students believe exposure to challenging ideas can be harmful, even traumatic. Students demand to be “protected” from controversial speakers.

A poll of 3000 students in the US conducted by the Knight Foundation last year found 37 per cent believed it was acceptable to shout down speakers and 10 per cent thought using violence against speakers was sometimes acceptable. The Brookings Institution reports even larger numbers: 50 per cent of university students consider it acceptable to disrupt speakers by shouting, and 19 per cent condone the use of violence to silence those whose views they find objectionable.

One victim of student intolerance is sex therapist and columnist Bettina Arndt. Her heresy is to disagree with the conclusions of a report produced by the Australian Human Rights Commission, which claimed that 21 per cent of Australian university students were “sexually harassed” in a university setting.

Arndt pointed out that the commission’s definition of harassment included unwanted compliments, leering, staring and bad jokes. The number of respondents who reported being assaulted was 1.6 per cent (and some of those incidents took place on public transport, not at the university). The incidence of sexual assault on campus is lower than the rate of sexual assault in the general ­community.

Students at Melbourne’s La Trobe University invited Arndt to speak. At first, university administrators refused permission, claiming Arndt’s views did not “align with the values of the university and its campaign … against sexual violence on campus”. It seems that La Trobe has an “official position” on sexual assault. As a consequence, the university would rather have students, and the public, believe its campus was unsafe than let Arndt speak.

La Trobe relented when Arndt took her story to the press, but no one heard her speak. Protesters sil­enced her by shouting her down.

Her next talk, at Sydney University, simil­arly was shouted down and required mobilising police to protect her and the audience from aggressive protesters.

In the 1940s, Anderson urged his students to fight hard for free speech “without restrictions”. Today’s student activists are intent on achieving the exact opposite.

Expressing alarm at the censorious environment on our campuses, Human Rights Commis­sioner Ed Santow is encouraging universities to develop codes of conduct that protect robust debate.

Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan agrees, expressing support for the University of Chicago statement on principles of free expression, which commits universities to unfettered “debate and deliberation” even when “the ideas put forth are thought by some or even by most members of the university community to be offen­sive, unwise, immoral or wrongheaded”. The statement also forbids anyone from interfering with the freedom of others to “express views they reject or even loathe”. (That is, no shouting down speakers.) The Chicago statement has been adopted by dozens of American universities, but none in Australia.

Echoing Orwell, former High Court chief justice Robert French said this week that “offensive or hurtful” speech was the price we paid for liberty. He says universities erode their public standing and perhaps even face legislative intervention if they fail to defend free speech. French’s prediction is not just hypothetical. The US states of Arizona and North Carolina already have legislated speech codes for their universities and so has the University of Wisconsin board of regents.

Australian universities would avoid the erosion of their public standing and advance liberty by adopting five rules.

* Affirm the value of free speech.

* Forbid administrators from disinviting speakers.

* Discipline students or staff who try to silence speakers.

* Remain institutionally neutral on matters of public policy.

* Levy security charges on all speakers, not just those on one side of an issue.

It is fitting to end where we began. After being condemned by parliament, Anderson addressed students. His words are worth repeating: “There is no absolute right of free speech. It exists only so far as people are prepared to maintain it and fight for it.”

Universities owe it to the public to join the fray.


Hospitals target relatives of the sick -- raking in $45MILLION a year in parking fees

Public hospital patients tend to be poor so their relatives probably are too.  Ripping off the poor: Way to go!

The government is calling for hospitals to offer parking discounts after it was revealed they rake in millions of dollars each year.

Top hospitals in Melbourne are raking in up to $45.5million combined per year in parking fees.

The Alfred, St Vincent's and the Royal Melbourne have increased the price of parking by 25 per cent over three years, the Herald Sun reported.

Another hospital, Austin Health, said they take in $8.6million profit from parking.

They recorded a revenue of $11.5 million last year and spent $2.9 million on costs.

The government have asked hospitals across the nation to at least offer discounts for frequent visitors. 

A spokesman for Health Minister Jill Hennessy said they forced hospitals to publish their parking rates in a push for cheaper fares.

'We know that going to the hospital can be extremely distressing and the last thing we want is for patients and their family and friends forced to pay exorbitant carparking fees,' the spokesman told the publication.

In Victoria alone, several hospitals were found to be paying off long-term loans owed to the government with the car park revenue. 

Last month, Lady Cilento Children's Hospital came under fire for rising their parking prices. From October 2, prices at the Queensland hospital will sky-rocket from $30 to $35 for a full day of parking.

The cost of parking for two to three hours will also rise one dollar to $24.

In a letter to the families and visitors of frequent hospital patients, the hospital detailed the price increase and offered financial support for those eligible. 'Families experiencing financial hardship may be eligible for parking assistance, such as concessional parking or free public transport.

'We have a policy in place for concessional parking at a rate of $12 per day for parents, carers and families, where there is evident financial or social need.'    

In 2017,  The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne raked in $10.3 million in car park revenue. The 2018 review won't be released until November.


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, 2018

The Tilt Train has been nobbled

The Tilt Train doesn't tilt any more. That's one of the most glaring proofs of how the super cautious bureaucrats at Queensland Rail have totally misused one of the few trains  that they could have been proud of.  It is one of the few bits of "modern" (it is 20 years old) technology that could have given passengers a  modern journey time. 

It chugs along at a speed averaging about 80 kmh versus the 160 kmh it is routinely capable of. It goes a little  faster than the old "Sunlander" but the "Sunlander" was REALLY slow.  You could have walked faster at some points on it.

Do the sums yourself:  The Tilt Train does the 615 km from Brisbane to Rockhampton in 7.5 hours -- which averages out at 82 kmh -- or 51 mph in the old money. Highway traffic goes faster than that. Allowing half an hour for stops still brings the average speed up to only 87 kmh

And that slow speed is why the train doesn't tilt any more.  The whole point of Tilting technology is so it can go faster.  The train does not have to slow down so much as it goes around curves.  It leans into curves the way a motorbike would.  But the Tilt Train goes so slowly around curves that it has no need to tilt. It handles  curves in the track the same way the old "Sunlander" did -- by slowing to a crawl.

On my recent trip from Brisbane to Rockhampton, there were a few spots when the train showed something of what it can do and that was rather exciting but they never lasted for long.

Perhaps the most extraordinary example of excess bureaucratic caution was the way the train slowed to a crawl for an urban  level crossing.  With red lights flashing and a boom gate down, Queensland motorists can still cross rail tracks at will.  In most of the world you risk your life by ignoring crossing warnings but not so in urban Queensland.  The train goes so slowly that the driver could probably stop in time rather than run into you. The bureaucrats  ensure that NOTHING will generate negative publicity for their train.

On my trip the train even came to a full stop for 15 minutes to deal with an ill passenger.  I have no idea how that helped.  I suspect regulations again.

So why are Queenslanders in the grip of bureaucrats who completely misuse their best asset?  I suspect it goes back to the time when the Tilt Train did tilt.  But it can only tilt so far.  And in 2004 BOTH drivers were too busy noshing to slow the train down when it entered a curve.  So they sent the train through a curve at twice the recommended speed.  It of course crashed. 

So what was clearly needed were computerized speed limiters.  Queensland Rail in fact did install such a system but to be super cautious they just slowed the whole train down forever.  A very bureaucratic and unintelligent response.  They can now enjoy their coffee breaks without a care in the world.

I must however give credit where it is due.  The food aboard is remarkably good for railway food. Their chef clearly knows what he is doing. The hot food came around hot and the cold food around came cold.  And the prices are very reasonable, though the portions are rather small. And the food carts come around with great frequency, perhaps to take the minds of passengers off the painful progress of their train.  I am guessing that the food supply is the only thing outsourced to private enterprise. What might upset international visitors, however, is that they only take cash.  Remember that stuff?  Credit cards are not accepted.


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is appalled over the treatment of judge Kavanaugh

Tas priests to be forced to report abuse

The Tasmanian government will make it mandatory for religious leaders to report child sex abuse, including when it's revealed during confession.

What idiocy.  The church has long outlasted such attempts.  Priests obey a higher law. Are they really going to put parish priests in prison?

Religious leaders in Tasmania will be forced to report child sexual abuse, including when it's revealed during confession.

Draft legislation, released by the state government on Tuesday, aims to break the seal of confession that has allowed Catholic priests an exemption from reporting allegations of abuse.

"It is important that all members of the community take responsibility for heinous crimes committed in the past ... and to make sure these serious crimes never happen again," Attorney-General Elise Archer said.

The proposed changes are in line with recommendations from the Royal Commission Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse.

Religious ministers who don't report child abuse could be jailed for life, Ms Archer said.

The law would broaden the Children, Young Persons and their Families Act to include religious ministers as mandatory reporters.

It would also exclude the sacrament of confession's privilege as a defence for not reporting abuse.

South Australia has passed laws requiring priests to report child abuse, while Victoria's Labor government has pledged to the same if re-elected in November.


Shorten defies Left on national security and Home Affairs

Bill Shorten will stare down a push from Labor Left colleagues and key unions wanting to dismantle the Department of Home Affairs and will go to the election with a commitment to keep the national security super-agency intact.

The Australian understands the Labor leader will resist calls from within his ranks to break up the department created last year under the Turnbull government in a major move to shore up his national security credentials.

While no official policy has been taken to his frontbench, the Opposition Leader has privately canvassed the issue and is understood to be insisting Labor in government would not break up the department, as has been called for within sections of the party’s Left.

This would ensure that under a Labor government, immigration and border protection functions, as well as ASIO, would remain under the administrative umbrella of the intelligence and sec­urity super-agency, along with the Australian Federal Police and multiple smaller policing and sec­urity agencies or divisions.

The Shorten move will potentially close off a key line of attack from the government, which has used Labor’s political vulnerability on asylum-seeker policy to portray the opposition as “soft” on borders and national security.

A senior Labor source close to Mr Shorten confirmed there was “no appetite” to change the newly created national security apparatus or structures and acknowledged the potential for disruption to intelligence and ­security if the structures were changed again.

“Continuity on national security is paramount for us, and for the country,” the source said.

A draft ALP nat­ional conference platform circulated in April, ahead of the postponed conference now due to be held in December, contained a binding policy for Labor in government to “review” the Department of Home Affairs. This is believed to have been watered down from a Left-sponsored ­motion calling for the dismantling of the department, which not only oversees nat­ional security agencies, criminal justice, transport security, cyber security and Customs, but also immigration and border protection management, including the handling of asylum-seekers.

It is also consistent with the government’s policy of a departmental review to gauge its ­success. Scott Morrison, on becoming Prime Minister, made changes to the ministerial structure of the Home Affairs portfolio, reinstating a stand-alone immigration ministry and transferring this function from Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton to Immigration Minister David Coleman.

The only difference under consideration and backed by Labor’s Right would be to elevate the ­immigration minister to cabinet.

The decision by Mr Shorten to maintain Labor’s bipartisan position on national security is likely to trigger protest from some members of his caucus and unions affected by the creation of the ­department last year.

The Labor source said there was an overwhelming view in caucus that the national security architecture, and Labor’s bipartisan approach, should remain ­unchanged.

“Why would we change it if it’s working?” the source said.

In a Newspoll conducted for The Australian in December, Mr Shorten trailed Malcolm Turnbull on the question of which leader was more capable of handling national security 25 to 53 per cent, and asylum-seekers arriving in Australia 28 to 52 per cent.

Opposition legal affairs spokesman Mark Dreyfus is said to have privately argued that ASIO’s operational functions should be returned to the ­Attorney-General’s Department, which still has legal oversight of the premier spy agency, including the issuing of warrants.

The opposition’s immigration spokesman, Shayne Neumann, is also believed to be pushing for the removal of immigration from the functions of the super-­department, which would incur a sig­nificant cost in unravelling newly integrated intelligence units, IT systems and personnel.

This could be done by an administrative change under a new prime minister, but any move to transfer operational oversight of ASIO would require legislation.

Mr Dreyfus has raised concerns about the Home Affairs ­Department concentrating too much power in a single minister.

The Transport Workers Union and the former Maritime Union of Australia, now absorbed into the Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union, are believed to have been applying pressure to Labor MPs to support a break-up of the ­department.

The unions were opposed to the Office of Transport Security being taken from the Department of Transport and absorbed into Home Affairs as the Aviation and Maritime Security Division.

The Australian understands the unions were concerned not only about the impact on the workforce from biometric scanning equipment but the changes in issuing of identity cards for workers. Some agencies were sceptical about the creation of the department, which was ­announced after a working group led by Mr Turnbull, Mr Dutton and former attorney-­general ­George Brandis.

One critical move was to shift ASIO’s operational oversight from the Attorney-General’s ­Department to the new agency.

It is understood Mr Turnbull ­described the old model as a relic of the past and said that the modern threat environment required a security minister to connect what ASIO did with the other intelligence and security agencies.

Oversight and accountability was maintained, with the ­attorney-general retaining legal oversight and power over the issuing of ASIO warrants, with the home affairs minister having operational oversight.


Pauline Hanson demands a ‘please explain’ on Paris Agreement

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has called on Scott Morrison to withdraw Australia from the Paris Agreement on climate change or “please explain” why the government would not pull out.

Conservative Coalition MPs led by Tony Abbott, who signed Australia up to the deal when he was prime minister, and Craig Kelly, chair of the government’s backbench energy committee, have been pushing for an exit from the agreement but the Prime Minister has refused to bow to pressure.

Under the agreement, Australia has pledged to reduce emissions to 26-28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030.

“Often people will speak of the voluntary or supposedly non-binding nature of this deal,” Senator Hanson writes in a letter to Mr Morrison.

“Personally, I am not familiar with too many non-binding agreements that come with international debt collectors and a $400 million dollar price tag, a price tag that only looks set to grow. I don’t recall any government telling the Australian people that signing the Paris Climate Agreement would eventually lead to organisations like the Global Climate Fund acting like standover men, knocking at our door, telling us to pay up, or else.”

Senator Hanson was referring to the Green Climate Fund, which was a critical part of the Paris Agreement and received $200m from Australia between 2015 and 2018.

Josh Frydenberg confirmed to The Weekend Australian the government would not increase its commitment to the fund.

Mr Morrison has argued the Paris Agreement will not “change electricity prices one jot” but withdrawing from it could jeopardise key relationships with neighbouring countries in the Pacific and undermine Australia’s national security.

“This is the number one issue of our Pacific neighbours, our strategic partners, our strategic security partners,” he told Sky News last month.

“There are a lot of influences in the southwest Pacific and I’m not going to compromise Australia’s national security by walking away from a commitment that was made a number of years ago to that target. It’s been there for the last four years or three years, just over three years.”

Senator Hanson wrote: “I am writing today to ask you explicitly, please withdraw Australia from the United Nations Paris Climate Agreement. I am also asking you to commit to ending the large contributions of Australian taxpayers’ money to international organisations like Global Climate Fund.

“If you cannot agree to support One Nation in these endeavours then I and many other concerned Australians, would appreciate it if you could please explain why.”

Emissions for the year to March 2018 increased 1.3 per cent, driven largely by LNG production for export, according to the latest national greenhouse gas inventory.

They were 1.9 per cent below emissions in 2000 and 11.2 per cent below emissions in 2005.

Mr Morrison has insisted Australia will reach its target under the Paris Agreement “in a canter”.


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, 2018

Queensland pushes for new laws that would force homeowners to allow tenants to keep animals

So who is going to pay for the carpet you have to throw out when tenants have ruined it by their pets pissing and shitting on it?  The government? As a former landlord I can vouch that it is not uncommonwith for pet owners to leave their accommodation in a  stinking and unfixable state. And tenants are generally poor so you can't sue them.  There are of course good and bad tenants but a big lot of them are low lifes.  Landlords should be given medals for accommodating them

Every homeowner in one Australian state could be forced to allow tenants to have pets in an overhaul of renting laws.

Landlords in Queensland would still need to give consent to their tenants owning a pet under a state review called Open Doors to Renting Reform, but could only refuse in certain circumstances.

The review, which was announced by the state government on Sunday, would come after legislation in Victoria passed in September giving renters the same right.
to have pets in an overhaul of renting laws (stock image)

Housing minister Mick de Brenni said the new laws, which will also allow tenants in the state to hang photos on the wall freely, could 'make renting fairer for everybody'.

'Pets are part of our families,' the minister said according to ABC News. 'In other jurisdictions across the country, they have established a regime where we can make easier arrangements on having a pet.'

RSPCA Queensland announced last year that people moving home was one of the top three reasons why pets were turned into them. Over the past two years, the RSPCA said 15 per cent of the dogs and cats surrendered nationally were given to them because owners could not take their pets to their new home.

A consultation of renters, estate agents and homeowners will launch this week to begin the review process - described as long overdue by Deputy Premier Jackie Trad.

Tenants will receive an e-mail on Sunday asking how they think renting could be improved in the state, with submissions open until November 30.

She told reporters South Brisbane alone had seen a 123 per cent rise in the number of rental properties on the market and the appropriate laws in the state needed to be modernised.

State Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the proposed tenancy law review would replace legislation which had not been changed in 40 years.


Australia refuses to be the fall guy for the "crisis" at the global climate fund

Australia will freeze its level of funding for a Green Climate Fund that stalled after giving millions of dollars to replace cooking stoves in Bangladesh and sponsoring “gender responsive” drinking water projects in Ethiopia.

The GCF was a critical part of the Paris Agreement but was suffering a “crisis of confidence” and unable to function.

The US has already pulled $US2 billion ($2.7bn) of its promised $US3bn contribution but Australia is under pressure to contribute hundreds of millions of dollars more. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said Australia had given the fund $200 million between 2015 and 2018. And it would “consider possible further contributions” through the course of “replenishment negotiations”.

But Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said yesterday: “Australia will not be increasing our commitment.”

A paper issued by the World Resources Institute this week said Australia should be the sixth biggest contributor to the fund based on its economy, past greenhouse gas emissions and current emissions per capita. This would amount to about $400m in second-round funding.

Environment groups have said “replenishment” funding would be “a critical indicator to developing countries about whether developed countries are serious about holding up their part of the Paris Agreement bargain”. But former GCF board member Jacob Waslander has written a scathing critique of the fund’s operation. “Rather than a dynamic global centre for climate finance, the GCF board has been mired by ineffective decision-making in an atmosphere of distrust,” Mr Waslander said. “After five years of operation, the GCF — the world’s biggest multilateral climate fund — faces a crisis of confidence … Representative from developed and developing countries, the private sector and non-governmental organisations are deeply concerned about the effectiveness and efficiency of the fund’s governance, and particularly about how its board functions.”

The last board meeting ended in stalemate with the resignation of Australian chief executive Howard Bamsley. Mr Waslander said a key problem was the board worked on the basis of unanimity, so any board member could block any decision for any reason. As a result, funding for new projects had effectively stopped.

The GCF had so far approved 76 projects worth $US3.7bn ($5bn) to help developing countries in their low-emission development. About half of the money was in loans and half in grants, much of it dedicated to promoting renewable energy. Most projects were in Africa and Asia Pacific.


The controversial traffic law that doesn't even work: Road rule that forces drivers to slam on the brakes while passing emergency vehicles is causing MORE crashes

Drivers across the country are reporting more near misses than ever before, with motorists pointing the finger at one controversial road rule.

South Australian drivers are forced to slam on the brakes and get their cars below 25 kilometres per hour any time they pass an emergency vehicle with its lights on.

Motorists also need to give way to any person on foot near a parked emergency vehicle flashing its lights, according to the rule.

Failure to do so could result in a fine of $448 and three demerit points.

In theory, the rule reduces the risk of a driver hitting a paramedic or police officer, whose attention would be on a scene at the side of the road.

But drivers say that screeching to a halt is increasing the likelihood of a rear-end collision.

Latest South Australian police figures show 42 reports of near misses or collisions when motorists are forced to brake hard since the laws were introduced in late-2014. One-third of the complaints actually resulted in a collision, or the driver being forced to jerk out of the way. In some instances, they say they completely lost control of their vehicle.

Before the law was implemented, only one complaint was ever made.

South Australia's Emergency Services Minister Corey Wingard is calling for reform in the state's law, resulting in consistency across the country.

Similar laws have been put in place in every other state, though their speed limits drop to 40km/h instead of 25km/h when passing an active emergency services vehicle.

'Potentially, going to 40km/h across the board could be a smoother understanding for the public and community, so we'll have a look at whether that's do-able,' Mr Wingard says. He says he hopes to raise the issue in Cabinet, before pursuing possible legal changes to State Parliament


Brother of Muslim accused of Christmas Day terror plot to blow up Melbourne 'believed Australians who refuse to comply with Sharia law should be executed or deported’

I know who should be executed or deported.  With their hate-filled religion, Muslims are just bad news

A man whose home was raided over an alleged terror plot in Melbourne two years ago believes people who don't sign a contract to live peacefully with Muslims should leave Australia or be executed.

Ibrahim Abbas is giving evidence against his younger brother Hamza Abbas, 23, cousin Abdullah Chaarani, 27, and friend Ahmed Mohamed, 25, who are on trial in the Supreme Court, accused of conspiring to prepare an attack in Melbourne's CBD on Christmas Day 2016.

Mr Abbas was arrested on December 22 that year over the plot, which prosecutors allege targeted Federation Square, St Paul's Cathedral and Flinders Street Station.

In a police interview played to jurors on Monday, Mr Abbas said 20 police came to his home and arrested him. He was quizzed about his support for Islamic State, the caliphate and Sharia Law, which he believed should be implemented in Australia for all Muslims and non-Muslims.

'They would have to sign a contract to live with, amongst Muslims in peace,' he said. 'Whoever does not sign the contract either leaves the country or is executed.'

Mr Abbas developed his views listening to scholars like Anwar al-Awlaki, an alleged IS recruiter.

He also watched 'major release' Islamic State videos designed to update watchers on recent events, attacks and show beheadings.

But he gave up social media and watching political videos around the time his home was previously raided.

'After I got raided I just felt like me being on social media is of no benefit to myself and my views,' he said, noting he had been banned from Facebook five times for posting pictures of Islamic State.

He did continue to use encrypted messaging app Telegram under username ShiaSlayer, but stopped about six months before his 2016 arrest.

Mr Abbas told police he was aware of instructional bomb making videos, and Mohamed had directed him to one about a month earlier.

'He knows that I'm, ah, a fan or I follow IS and - or I agree with their ideology, so he thought that it'd be nice to tell me,' he said.

The video gave instruction on using hydrogen peroxide to make explosives, a product Mr Abbas previously testified he had gone with some of the accused to buy at a chemist.

Mr Abbas also told police a visit to Federation Square with his brother, Chaarani and Mohamed was to get ice cream and walk around.

Last week, he told the court it was then that he suggested the men 'just picture a terrorist attack over here.'  The trial is continuing.


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, 2018

Australian Politicians again show “Real Genius”

Viv Forbes

Back in the chaotic dying days of the Whitlam-Cairns-Connor government, Canberra was buzzing with Rex Connor’s grand plans for nationalisation of the mining industry, a national energy grid and gas pipelines linking the NW Shelf to the capital cities, all to be funded by massive foreign loans arranged by a mysterious Pakistani named Khemlani. Malcolm Frazer staged a parliamentary revolt. The economy slumped.

A British observer at that time was asked who was the greater Prime Minister - Harold Wilson or Gough Whitlam. He replied:

“Any fool can bugger up Britain but it takes real genius to bugger up Australia.”

Australian politicians are again showing real genius.

Now, we have incredible tri-partisan plans to cover the continent with a spider-web of transmission lines connecting wind/solar “farms” sending piddling amounts of intermittent power to distant consumers and to expensive battery and hydro backups - all funded by electricity consumers, tax-assisted speculators and foreign debt.

We are the world’s biggest coal exporter but have not built a big coal-fired power station for 11 years. We have massive deposits of uranium but 100% of this energy is either exported, or sterilised by the Giant Rainbow Serpent, or blocked by the Green-anti’s.

Australia suffers recurrent droughts but has not built a major water supply dam for about 40 years, and the average age of our hydro-electric plants is 48 years. And when the floods do come, desperate farmers watch as years of rain water rush past to irrigate distant oceans.

Once, Australia was a world leader in exploration and drilling – it is now a world leader in legalism, red tape and environmental obstructionism.

Once, Canberra and the states encouraged oil and gas exploration with geological mapping and research - now they restrict land and sea access and limit exports.

Once, Australia was a world leader in refining metals and petroleum - now our expensive unreliable electricity and green tape are driving these industries and their jobs overseas.

Once, Australia’s CSIRO was respected for research that supported industry and for doing useful things like controlling rabbits and prickly pear and developing better crops and pastures. Now CSIRO panders to global warming hysteria and promotes the fairy story that carbon taxes and emissions targets can change the world’s climate.

Once, young Australians excelled in maths, science and engineering. Now, they are brain-washed in gender studies, green energy non-science and environmental activism.

Once, Australians were proud of our history, our ancestors and our achievements - now we are supposed to feel guilty and apologise.

Once, Australia had a big coastal fleet carrying passengers and goods and catching fish. Now our roads are clogged with cars and freight and we import seafood.

Once, the opening of a railway or the discovery of oil, coal, nickel or uranium made headlines. Today’s Aussies harass explorers and developers, and queue at the release of the latest IPad.

As Australia’s first people discovered, if today’s Australians lack the will or the knowledge to use our great natural resources, more energetic people will take them off us.


Why I refused to judge the Horne prize over a restrictive rule change

David Marr

I woke up on Saturday morning to strange news in the Australian. The rules of the Horne prize – named after Donald and run by the Saturday Paper – had been changed. I’ve judged the prize a couple of times and was due to again in 2018. But not after what I saw on Saturday.

It’s a good prize: $15,000 for a 3,000-word essay on who we are and how we live in this country. It’s the brainchild of the Saturday Paper’s whizz kid editor, Erik Jensen, and it’s been doing its job well: bringing stories to light, honouring old hands in the writing trade and turning up new talent.

But, without warning the judges, Jensen decided to radically narrow the rules and issued a list of what the Horne prize was “not seeking or accepting” this year: “Essays by non-Indigenous writers about the experiences of First Nations Australians. Essays about the LGBTQI community written by people without direct experience of this community. Any other writing that purports to represent the experiences of those in any minority community of which the writer is not a member.”

I messaged Jensen at once: “I’ve been a big critic of such restrictions. Men can write about women, gays about straights, blacks about whites. You judge, as always, by quality. That’s likely to be higher when there’s direct experience. But you can’t disqualify for lack of it. And if we’re not going to accept whites writing about Indigenous experience, how can we have whites judging Indigenous writing?”

I could have made that list a lot longer: how could I write about political parties, the Catholic church, criminal syndicates or the high court? I’ve been writing about them for decades but never been a member of any of them.

We spoke. I made it clear I wouldn’t be a judge on those terms.

On Saturday Jensen emailed all the judges – me, the novelist Anna Funder, the Indigenous academic Marcia Langton and a representative of the sponsor Aesop – apologising for springing this on us and explaining: “The guidelines attempted to reduce the number of essays we received that offered chauvinistic or condescending accounts of particular groups of Australians, especially First Australians.”

I’ve judged a few prizes in my time. Someone has to do a first triage. You can’t stop writers offering rubbish. Culling is a chore that has to be done.

Langton told me: “I don’t think you should completely rubbish Erik’s attempt to get rid of the rubbish.” She views the new guidelines as: “Probably a mistake because it’s not the done thing. I’ve got a lot of sympathy for what he’s trying to achieve but it crosses the line on censorship and free speech.”

Funder has also declined to judge the prize under the new guidelines which, she told the Australian, would disqualify a lot of her own work: “I can’t really be judging a prize where my qualifications for doing so are ruled out of bounds.”

The new rules are being ditched. Jensen is working on a plan to extend entries for another month and award the $15,000 as it has been in the past: for best writing.


Tear down ABC’s silos of groupthink

Whoever replaces Michelle Guthrie as ABC managing director and editor-in-chief should be capable of acting, and should be willing to act, in both roles. Without this, the ABC will remain — as it has been for decades — an organisation essentially run by staff collectives.

The essential problem with the taxpayer-funded public broadcaster is that nobody runs it, unlike successful commercial media companies. One-time ABC chairman James Spigelman, a consistent defender of the ABC, acknowledged this reality when interviewed by Fran Kelly on ABC Radio National’s RN Breakfast last Wednesday.

Spigelman told Kelly: “The trouble with the ABC is about a quarter of the staff think that they can run the show better than anyone. It’s a very special organisation, the ABC. And it’s got a lot of different units within it — some would say silos — and they look after their own sphere, and it’s very hard to make significant changes.”

Some say silos, others say staff collectives, others still say soviets. But it’s the same problem. The various parts of the ABC run themselves; they decide what programs to make, which staff to hire and so on. And the managing director fails to resolve this by acting as an editor-in-chief, which they are entitled and paid to do.

Shortly after Mark Scott was appointed managing director and editor-in-chief in May 2006, he invited himself to address the Sydney Institute. The offer was warmly accepted, especially since this was to be his first major public speech in this role. During his talk on October 16, 2006, Scott acknowledged that “some of the ABC’s harshest public critics … love the ABC”. However, he conceded that the critics had “a sense that the organisation has issues with balance and fairness, particularly through its news and current affairs content”.

Rather than condemn the critics, Scott recognised that the ABC had been “too defensive in the face of such criticism” and he declared that it needed “to address the criticism carefully and comprehensively”. He made clear that he would act in his dual roles as managing director and editor-in-chief. This proved to be a broken promise. Within a short time, Scott dropped the commitment to act as editor-in-chief. During his decade at the ABC, Scott gave numerous interviews to his employees where he dismissed the ABC’s considered critics and maintained that there was no lack of political balance at the organisation.

When Scott left the ABC in April 2016, it was a conservative-free zone. The ABC did not have one conservative presenter, producer or editor for any of its prominent television, radio or online outlets. This is what Guthrie inherited when she became managing director, and this remained the situation when she was dismissed on Monday.

The tendency of the ABC to be defensive — which Scott conceded in 2006 — remains extant today. In recent times leading ABC presenters such as Julia Baird, Ellen Fanning, Richard Glover and Leigh Sales have denied the ABC is a conservative-free zone. But they have not been able to name one conservative in any prominent news and current affairs role.

Former Fairfax Media journalist and editor Tom Burton is not a conservative. Writing in public sector news website The Mandarin on Tuesday, he recounted how former ABC managing directors Geoffrey Whitehead and Jonathan Shier had been “mercilessly torn down” (in 1986 and 2001 respectively) “with the powerful Newscaff (news and current affairs) division of the ABC leading the charge”.

Burton added that, to this day, it was this “journo group that drives much of the culture of the national media group that is the ABC”. In other words, journalists — not management — run the ABC. And the like-minded appoint similar like-minded to key news and current affairs positions.

As Burton puts it, “previous ABC MD and former Fairfax editor Mark Scott came from this (journo) world and understood its brother and sisterhood”. Which helps explain why Scott soon dropped his intention to act as ABC editor-in-chief in addition to his role as managing director. It was all too hard.

Guthrie did not have the background to act as editor-in-chief. Moreover, as with Shier, she came to the job after many years working outside Australia. In short, Guthrie did not know — or even know of — most of the journo groups that set the organisation’s culture.

Spigelman was appointed by the Gillard Labor government as ABC chairman following his disappointment at not being made High Court chief justice. He was not a very active chairman.

Justin Milne gave his first interview as ABC chairman to The Australian’s Darren Davidson in March last year. Milne is from that subset of the business community that does not exhibit much political or historical knowledge. Milne told Davidson: “I don’t come to the job thinking I need to fix the perceived bias in the ABC because I don’t know that there really is bias.”

Milne ran the familiar Friends of the ABC line that the public broadcaster was criticised by both Labor and Coalition governments. He had in mind the criticism of the ABC by Labor prime ministers Bob Hawke and Paul Keating along with Coalition prime ministers John Howard and Tony Abbott. What Milne overlooked was that all four had a similar complaint: namely they were criticised by the ABC from the Left.

For a while Malcolm Turnbull received favourable coverage by the ABC. However, after the 2016 election he became increasingly critical of the errors and unprofessionalism of some ABC presenters, producers and editors. Initially his attitude was that journalists as a group were on the Left and the public broadcaster reflected this reality. But his criticism of the ABC increased the longer he remained in office.

Guthrie essentially was appointed by Spigelman and Milne was appointed by Turnbull. Now both positions are vacant. This provides a rare opportunity for the board, under its new chairman, to appoint a managing director who has the knowledge and the courage to act as editor-in-chief and knock down the journo silos in the taxpayer-funded conservative-free-zone.


Another angry and ungracious Leftist

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has found herself in a bitter online feud with a Labor MP after sending the woman a handwritten letter as a kind gesture. 

Ms Berejiklian sent the letter to Jenny Aitchison, the member for Maitland, after learning the mother-of-two had both of her breasts removed and reconstructed in July after learning she had a cancer gene. 'I was so sorry to learn of your serious health issue…I hope you are recovering well and our thoughts are with you and your family during this time,' the letter read.

But Ms Aitchison took issue with the message, firing back a scathing letter of her own critiquing the government's approach to health and use of state funds.

Her lengthy response was then uploaded in full on Facebook, accusing Ms Berejiklian of 'wasting billions of dollars on stadiums'.

In her response, Ms Aitchison thanked Ms Berejiklian for her letter but accused Ms Berejiklian of prioritising stadiums over women's health.

'?I want @GladysB to know first hand what it's like to be a woman in regional NSW struggling with cancer or other 'serious health issues'...Fix our health system...stop wasting billions of dollars on stadiums!' she wrote in a Facebook post.

'When I was diagnosed with the BRCA2 gene, I had a risk reducing bilateral saplingo oopherectomy and hysterectomy to reduce my breast cancer risk by half and to reduce ovarian cancer risk by 97%,' the letter read. 'Free MRIs once a year, interspersed with annual mammograms and ultrasounds (or when a lump seem to show) delayed my breast cancer.'

She was also unable to take the preventable medication due to menopause.

'I couldn't find a surgeon in the Hunter who could do my surgery and had to wait six months for a private specialist in Sydney,' the Member for Maitland wrote.

'After surgery I had complications where I spent 52 hours in St Vincent's Public Hospital emergency department without being fed for 18 hours. The staff were amazing and overworked but there were no beds in either private or public wards.'

She then went on to explain why she was detailing all this information to the Premier, stressing she knew 'first hand what it's like to be a woman in regional New South Wales struggling with cancer and other 'serious health issues'.'

'I didn't want ask for or want special treatment because I'm a member of Parliament. 'I want you to fix our health system. Fund more screening for all women and education campaigns, and stop wasting billions of dollars on stadiums!'


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

Postings from Brisbane, Australia by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party.

Most academics are lockstep Leftists so readers do sometimes doubt that I have the qualifications mentioned above. Photocopies of my academic and military certificates are however all viewable here

For overseas readers: The "ALP" is the Australian Labor Party -- Australia's major Leftist party. The "Liberal" party is Australia's major conservative political party.

In most Australian States there are two conservative political parties, the city-based Liberal party and the rural-based National party. But in Queensland those two parties are amalgamated as the LNP.

Again for overseas readers: Like the USA, Germany and India, Australia has State governments as well as the Federal government. So it may be useful to know the usual abbreviations for the Australian States: QLD (Queensland), NSW (New South Wales), WA (Western Australia), VIC (Victoria), TAS (Tasmania), SA (South Australia).

For American readers: A "pensioner" is a retired person living on Social Security

"Digger" is an honorific term for an Australian soldier

Another lesson in Australian: When an Australian calls someone a "big-noter", he is saying that the person is a chronic and rather pathetic seeker of admiration -- as in someone who often pulls out "big notes" (e.g. $100.00 bills) to pay for things, thus endeavouring to create the impression that he is rich. The term describes the mentality rather than the actual behavior with money and it aptly describes many Leftists. When they purport to show "compassion" by advocating things that cost themselves nothing (e.g. advocating more taxes on "the rich" to help "the poor"), an Australian might say that the Leftist is "big-noting himself". There is an example of the usage here. The term conveys contempt. There is a wise description of Australians generally here

Another bit of Australian: Any bad writing or messy anything was once often described as being "like a pakapoo ticket". In origin this phrase refers to a ticket written with Chinese characters - and thus inscrutably confusing to Western eyes. These tickets were part of a Chinese gambling game called "pakapoo".

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

On all my blogs, I express my view of what is important primarily by the readings that I select for posting. I do however on occasions add personal comments in italicized form at the beginning of an article.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age.

I imagine that the the RD is still sending mailouts to my 1950s address!

I am an army man. Although my service in the Australian army was chiefly noted for its un-notability, I DID join voluntarily in the Vietnam era, I DID reach the rank of Sergeant, and I DID volunteer for a posting in Vietnam. So I think I may be forgiven for saying something that most army men think but which most don't say because they think it is too obvious: The profession of arms is the noblest profession of all because it is the only profession where you offer to lay down your life in performing your duties. Our men fought so that people could say and think what they like but I myself always treat military men with great respect -- respect which in my view is simply their due.

The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody. And I have NO investments in oil companies or mining companies

Although I have been an atheist for all my adult life, I have no hesitation in saying that the single book which has influenced me most is the New Testament. And my Scripture blog will show that I know whereof I speak.

The Rt. Rev. Phil Case (Moderator of the Presbyterian church in Queensland) is a Pharisee, a hypocrite, an abomination and a "whited sepulchre".

English-born Australian novellist, Patrick White was a great favourite in literary circles. He even won a Nobel prize. But I and many others I have spoken to find his novels very turgid and boring. Despite my interest in history, I could only get through about a third of his historical novel Voss before I gave up. So why has he been so popular in literary circles? Easy. He was a miserable old Leftist coot, and, incidentally, a homosexual. And literary people are mostly Leftists with similar levels of anger and alienation from mainstream society. They enjoy his jaundiced outlook, his dissatisfaction, rage and anger.

A delightful story about a great Australian conservative

Would you believe that there once was a politician whose nickname was "Honest"?

"Honest" Frank Nicklin M.M. was a war hero, a banana farmer and later the conservative Premier of my home State of Queensland in the '60s. He was even popular with the bureaucracy and gave the State a remarkably tranquil 10 years during his time in office. Sad that there are so few like him.

A great Australian wit exemplified

An Australian Mona Lisa (Nikki Gogan)

Bureaucracy: "One of the constant laments of doctors and nurses working with NSW Health is the incredible and increasing bureaucracy," she said. "It is completely obstructive to providing a service."

Revered Labour Party leader Gough Whitlam was a very erudite man so he cannot have been unaware of the similarities of his famous phrase “the Party, the platform, the people” with an earlier slogan: "Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuehrer". It's basically the same slogan in reverse order.

Australia's original inhabitants were a race of pygmies, some of whom survived into modern times in the mountainous regions of the Atherton tableland in far North Queensland. See also here. Below is a picture of one of them taken in 2007, when she was 105 years old and 3'7" tall

Julia Gillard, a failed feminist flop. She was given the job of Prime Minister of Australia but her feminist preaching was so unpopular that she was booted out of the job by her own Leftist party. Her signature "achievements" were the carbon tax and the mining tax, both of which were repealed by the next government.

The "White Australia Policy: "The Immigration Restriction Act was not about white supremacy, racism, or the belief that whites were higher up the evolutionary tree than the coloured races. Rather, it was designed to STOP the racist exploitation of non-whites (all of whom would have been illiterate peasants practicing religions and cultures anathema to progressive democracy) being conscripted into a life of semi-slavery in a coolie-worked plantation economy for the benefit of the absolute monarchs, hereditary aristocracy and the super-wealthy companies and share-holders of the northern hemisphere.

A great little kid

In November 2007, a four-year-old boy was found playing in a croc-infested Territory creek after sneaking off pig hunting alone with four dogs and a puppy. The toddler was found five-and-a-half hours after he set off from his parents' house playing in a creek with the puppy. Amazingly, Daniel Woditj also swam two creeks known to be inhabited by crocs during his adventurous romp. Mr Knight said that after walking for several kilometres, Daniel came to a creek and swam across it. Four of his dogs "bailed up" at the creek but the youngster continued on undaunted with his puppy to a second creek. Mr Knight said Daniel swam the second croc-infested creek and walked on for several more kilometres. "Captain is a hard bushman and Daniel is following in his footsteps. They breed them tough out bush."

A great Australian: His eminence George Pell. Pictured in devout company before his elevation to Rome


Alternative (Monthly) archives for this blog


"Tongue Tied"
"Dissecting Leftism"
"Australian Politics"
"Education Watch International"
"Political Correctness Watch"
"Greenie Watch"
Western Heart


"Marx & Engels in their own words"
"A scripture blog"
"Some memoirs"
To be continued ....
Coral Reef Compendium
IQ Compendium
Queensland Police
Australian Police News
Paralipomena (3)
Of Interest
Dagmar Schellenberger
My alternative Wikipedia


"Food & Health Skeptic"
"Eye on Britain"
"Immigration Watch International".
"Leftists as Elitists"
Socialized Medicine
QANTAS -- A dying octopus
BRIAN LEITER (Ladderman)
Obama Watch
Obama Watch (2)
Dissecting Leftism -- Large font site
Michael Darby
Paralipomena (2)
AGL -- A bumbling monster
Telstra/Bigpond follies
Optus bungling
Bank of Queensland blues

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