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?


30 September, 2016

The whole State of South Australia blacked out during storm

This was expected.  The storm just pushed S.A. over the edge it was balanced on.  Their triumphant boast that they now rely on "green" power only had to lead to power loss. Green power only works under very favourable circumstances.  That the storm knocked down a few poles in one area should not have taken the whole State down.  Wind turbines have to be switched off during high winds so that was the most likely cause of the problem.  And once they were down, the lowered voltage would have hit hard the interconnector to Victoria and tripped it off

A "CATASTROPHIC" superstorm that left an entire state without power is far from over with warnings the worst of the wild weather is yet to come.

As the nation’s leaders stuggle to work out how South Australia was left in total blackout — causing travel chaos, hospital terror and reported looting of homes — forecasters say more is on the way.

The once-in-50-year storm is expected to move east through the south coast of Australia in the next 24 hours, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

Expect havoc across the country as the storm unleashes again, with flood warnings in place for five states as well as for the ACT.

It has already hit parts of Victoria and will move into NSW and Tasmania today. BoM senior meteorologist Craig Burke said a weather event of this size and intensity was unusual, especially when it affected so many locations.

"It’s extremely rare to see a low of this much pressure and intensity," he said. "It’s fair to say it’s going to get extremely nasty again."

The extreme weather saw gale-force winds, heavy rain and thunderstorms lash South Australia and parts of Victoria last night.

As the "worst storm in decades" struck the country with force, South Australia was plunged into darkness and triple-0 was down in isolated parts of the state.

SA Premier Jay Weatherill insisted it was not South Australia’s reliance on renewable energy that led to the blackout, as some have suggested.

"This was a weather event, this was not a renewable energy event," he said, saying the whole electricity network was forced to shut down after a "catastrophic weather event" damaged infrastructure near Port Augusta at 3.48pm yesterday.

The Premier said powerful wind gusts and thunderstorms smashed 22 electricity transmission stations in the area, and the toppled towers were followed by a lightning strike, which triggered a shutdown for safety reasons.

"This is a catastrophic natural event which has destroyed our infrastructure," he said in a press conference this afternoon. "These are events the Director of the Bureau of Meteorology has never seen in his whole career.

"There is no infrastructure that can be developed that can protected you against catastrophic events that take out three pieces of infrastructure.

He praised the rapid response of the Australian Energy Market Operator, SA Power and emergency services, as well as the "community spirit" among South Australians.

"This is certainly a system that was designed to get the system back up as quickly as possible. In a few hours we were beginning to restore power and now the lion’s share of the system has been restored."

Ninety per cent of the power has been restored in the 38 hours after the blackout, with 75,000 still without power this morning.

Mr Weatherill warned about 40,000 households could be without power for the next two days. Large industrial users are among the last waiting to begin operating again.

"It’s not simply a storm, it’s an unprecedented weather event, the likes of which the bureau has not seen here," he added. "There are things we have to reflect upon, but our present advice is this was an event which could not have been predicted, it was an extreme event."

He said there would be a three-pronged inquiry into what went wrong, but said the priority now was to deal with people still suffering, particularly in the north of the state.

On reports of looting, he said: "There’s some isolated incidents the police commission might want to concern themselves with. If that’s happened, it’s disgusting.

"An isolated incident is disgusting and regrettable but I done think it reflects the overwhelming evidence of community spirit."


Hospitals came under serious pressure as they switched to back-up power generators to assist people on life support. Handheld battery packs and hand-operated respirators were used as 17 patients had to be moved.

People using life-support devices at home headed to hospitals for extra power, with the wards focusing solely on those in life-threatening situations.

By 7pm (local time) yesterday power had started to be restored to some suburbs, mostly in the metropolitan area’s eastern districts.

Adelaide Hills and northern suburbs were among the worst affected.

Hail, winds and wild weather made travel impossible with traffic lights out of action and trams and trains cancelled.

The BoM has warned that gale-force winds of up to 120km/h and plenty more rain is expected across the state today.


Malcolm Turnbull criticises state governments for 'unrealistic' emissions targets over energy security

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has criticised the state Labor governments, saying they have prioritised lower emissions over energy security, following a state-wide blackout in South Australia yesterday.

South Australia's entire power supply was cut off when wild weather toppled dozens of transmission towers and tripped the interconnector with Victoria.

Mr Turnbull said measures targeting lower emissions had to be consistent with energy security.

He told reporters in Tasmania this morning that intermittent renewable energy sources posed a "real threat" for energy security. "Energy security should always be the key priority ... whether it is hydro, wind, solar, coal or gas," he said.

"A number of the state Labor Governments have over the years set priorities and renewable targets that are extremely aggressive, extremely unrealistic, and have paid little or no attention to energy security."

South Australian Labor Senator Penny Wong has criticised the Turnbull Government, accusing the Prime Minister of politicising the event.  "We're all waiting for Malcolm Turnbull to behave like a Prime Minister and like a leader," she told the ABC.

"To have not just the Prime Minister, but others jumping in to play a bit of politics with this about their own views around renewable energy is disappointing."

Senator Wong also criticised fellow South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon, who yesterday said "heads have to roll" over the power outage.  "We all know Nick loves publicity, but yesterday he crossed the line," she said.

"He crossed the line jumping on television to have a crack, to talk about hospitals shutting down was irresponsible, it was alarmist and frankly it was tacky."

Mr Turnbull said he had spoken with Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg about negotiating with his state counterparts to move towards a national renewables target instead of "political gamesmanship" between states.

Mr Frydenberg also addressed media at a separate event, saying that he hoped to meet with his state counterparts in coming days.

He said the weather led to the "cascading effect" which caused the power outage, but also raised concerns over the security and stability of renewable energy, which accounts for more than 40 per cent of South Australia's power.

"That type of renewable energy is intermittent, meaning when the wind is not blowing and the sun is not shining, power is not being generated," he said.

"This creates issues for the stability of the system because of the level of frequency that is generated and these are issues that COAG are currently looking at."

Experts have dismissed suggestions a reliance on renewable energy was to blame for the outage, following comments from Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, who says the black out in South Australia should prompt questions about the state's reliance on renewable energy.

Mr Joyce told the ABC that "the question has to be asked, is the over-reliance on renewable energy exacerbating their problems and capacity to have a secure power supply".

Greens MP Adam Bandt said his party will move for an inquiry into the effects of global warming on infrastructure, particularly energy infrastructure.

Senator Xenophon also wants an independent inquiry into the power outage.


Tasmania's empty dams problem

Should they stop using for power what water is left so that water levels can build up?  Tasmania ran down its water reserves during the Gillard years -- in response to perverse Greenie incentives. Then the rain stopped coming

Hydro Tasmania has baulked at a suggestion from its biggest customers that a year's worth of power should be stored in the state's dams.

In a submission to the Energy Security Taskforce, the Minerals and Energy Council said Hydro should increase its water storages to ensure a 12-month safety net.

The taskforce was established to investigate the best way to ensure energy security after an unprecedented energy crisis earlier this year caused by record low Hydro dam levels and a broken Bass Strait undersea power cable.

Hydro Tasmania's chief executive Steve Davy said cost would be an issue in relation to the storages called for.

"It sounds like an expensive measure and I would caution against measures that would make the costs of supplying that very expensive to Tasmanians," he said.

It is unclear exactly what level of water would be required for a 12-month safety net.

Energy analyst Marc White said more modelling would be required.

"This is a question of what insurance premium are we prepared to pay for what levels of system security, and I think there's more work to be done on the modelling," he said.

To boost dam levels in the coming months the costly Tamar Valley Power station will be fired up in October.

Mr Davy said Hydro was taking a conservative approach.

"The management and board of Hydro are aware of the lessons that we need to learn and are making the changes in terms of our risk management that are required," he said.

Hydro said rainfall levels would determine how long the Tamar Valley Power Station operated for.


Australia 'should go in to bat for China'

This may be the first and last time I agree with a U.N. official but I think the lady below is right.  I have previously argued that China now has a perfectly legal right to the islands it has built in the East China sea: The right of first settlement

Australia is well placed to make the case to Washington to try to reform international organisations to accommodate China's rise, according to a senior EU advisor.

Nathalie Tocci, a special advisor to the European Union's High Representative, says as Europe is doing some soul searching about giving up some of its own power, other countries need to do the same.

"Unless we start doing that we may end up in a situation where other organisations pop up," Dr Tocci told AAP on Wednesday.

China needed to be told the world understood it was growing and needed more space, within rules and limits.

"It's also about telling Americans, you've got to make that space, otherwise they are going to take it and it's not going to be pretty," she said.

The China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, set up in opposition to the US-based International Monetary Fund and World Bank, was the "first warning signal", she said.

Other bodies such as the World Trade Organisation and even parts of the UN could also need reform.

"In order to ensure that multilateralism survives into the future, we have to transform it," Dr Tocci said.

She urged Australia to take a leadership role because it understands China's rise is inevitable.

"I think, given Australia's relationship with the United States, it has a huge role to play in making the case," Dr Tocci said.

On the prospects of an EU and Australian free trade deal, Dr Tocci, who helped draft the new global strategy on foreign and security policy after Britain voted to leave the bloc, said politicians needed to start laying the ground work early in order to win over a hostile public.

"These are not easy times. What we are seeing is a backlash against globalisation," she said.

"A lot of explaining needs to be done about why these agreements are actually good." She predicts the deal could be finalised by 2018.


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 September, 2016

Support for recognition of Indigenous Australians in the constitution has dropped below 60%, according to an Essential poll released today

And it will drop further the more it is politicized.  Bipartisan consensus is needed to get something like this through.  Aborigines are already recognized by the Australian consitution.  The 1967 referendum did that.  They are now just Australians.  Anything else would be racist.  And we can rely on Pauline to tell us all that.  With her opposed, a referendum would not have a snowflake's chance.  She speaks for huge numbers of Australians on ethnic issues

The poll of 1,006 respondents found 58% said they would vote yes in a referendum to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Australian constitution.

The figure is a large decline on a poll commissioned by Recognise in 2015 which found 85% in favour of constitutional recognition but only a small decline on a JWS Research poll in July which found 60% in favour of recognition and 59% in favour of a treaty.

The poll also found 61% of respondents disapprove of the government’s proposal to allow a single company to own all three of a newspaper, TV network and radio station in a single market.

It found 18% approve of the abolition of the two-out-of-three rule, 22% don’t know, and the majority of those that disapproved of the policy did so strongly.

The Essential poll found Labor leading the Coalition 52% to 48%, echoing a Newspoll released on Tuesday that had the same 52-48 result, albeit with a slightly higher Coalition primary vote of 39%.

It found continuing high support for voluntary euthanasia, at 68%, consistent with Essential polls as far back as 2010.

The campaign for constitutional recognition is entering a fragile period. Although recognition enjoys majority support, the referendum council has not approved a particular proposal to be voted on at a referendum.

Labor has said it would consider a treaty with Aboriginal Australians in addition to constitutional recognition, a proposal which led the government to accuse it of putting at risk "meaningful but modest" change in the form of constitutional recognition.

Asked to rate a series of issues on their importance, 75% of respondents to the poll said reaching a global agreement on climate change was important, compared with 62% for a banking and finance royal commission and 59% for a treaty with Indigenous Australians.

Issues which a majority did not consider important included a plebiscite on same-sex marriage (36%) and a referendum on a republic (34%).

The Labor financial services spokeswoman, Katy Gallagher, said the poll showed the government was "out of touch" on a bank royal commission because even 59% of Coalition voters were in favour, according to the poll.


Queensland 'comfortable' with damning prison report

Queensland's Corrections Minister Bill Byrne is "comfortable" with the service in prisons despite an ombudsman's report showing pregnant inmates sleep on the floor due to overcrowding.

The Brisbane Women's Correctional Centre was on Tuesday named as the state's most overcrowded prison in a report by ombudsman Phil Clarke.

Mr Clarke said there had been a significant increase in assaults, self-harm and suicide attempts at the facility.

"In my view, QCS (Queensland Corrective Services) has failed to provide adequate living conditions for prisoners at BWCC," he wrote.

As a way of managing the problems, the department "continues to make extensive use of doubling-up prisoners" in cells designed for one person, Mr Clarke said.

As a consequence, pregnant prisoners were required to sleep on mattresses on the floor. However, QCS on Tuesday said pregnant inmates weren't compelled to share a cell and were always allocated a built bed.

Mr Byrne said the problems in the report were well known.  "We are well-attuned to the issues that come from overcapacity," he said.

"I'm very confident about the level of safety and security that applies to principle staff and also prisoners under normal, day to day circumstances."

"I'm comfortable with the level of service provided to Queensland prisoners, whether they're pregnant or not," he said.

Mr Byrne said the report "somewhat disregarded" much of the background material that impacts on why women were incarcerated in the first place, including drug use, mental health problems and histories of abuse.

He announced the Palaszczuk government would spend $1 million on a new female prisoner re-integration program, expected to be operational by next month.

Mr Byrne said the program was not something that had been "crafted in the short term" and criticised the former Liberal National Party government for cutting reintegration services.

He said Queensland could not simply build its way out of the overcrowding issue because even if a new facility was ordered no new cells would open for three years.

However, shadow attorney-general Ian Walker said the government had to act quickly and slammed Mr Byrne for dismissing the overcrowding as a comfort issue.

"We at the LNP don't expect prisoners to be housed in the Taj Mahal," he said.

"But we do expect that they will be in proper and decent conditions because if they're not it leads to considerable discipline measures in our jails ... it puts our hard-working prisoner officers at risk."

Mr Walker also said Labor had trashed the LNP's proposal to convert the Southern Queensland Correctional Centre at Gatton into a women's prison, which would have helped address the overcrowding problem.


Liberals trigger storm over private school funding

Education Minister Simon Birmingham’s concession that some of the nation’s wealthiest private schools are "over-funded" and could lose money has ignited a fresh front in the decades-old ­political firestorm over education spending.

As Labor recycled John Howard’s 2004 attack on Mark Latham’s discarded schools funding policy to accuse the Coalition of crafting a "secret hit list", Senator Birmingham hit back by saying Bill Shorten was now trying to frighten families and children with a "schools-scare" campaign.

UPDATE: Treasurer Scott Morrison has accused Bill Shorten of playing "cynical bogeyman politics" over threatened funding cuts to wealthy private schools.

Independent Schools Council of Australia executive director ­Colette Colman warned that ­private schools were not an easy target, saying "pitting school sectors against each other is not helpful, as there are over-funded schools in every sector".

Independent schools received significantly less funding than government schools, with the ­majority coming from parents, she said. "This after-tax private contribution saves the Australian taxpayer more than $4.3 billion every year," she added.

Ross Fox from the National Catholic Education Commission also weighed in, saying "springing funding cuts on schools or systems is far from fair and does nothing for funding certainty".

"The priority must be to move all systems and all schools closer to being funded according to their need rather than moving funding between schools in aid of other policy objectives," he said.

The Australian has examined the latest national literacy and numeracy test results to compare schools across the nation as part of exclusive Your School special analysis.

Launched this Saturday in The Weekend Australian, Your School reveals the school that spends the most on its students nationwide is the Walgett Community College in the remote NSW township, where 99 per cent of the students are indigenous.

Walgett spends $44,692 per student, with $43,501 coming from the federal and state government to support the school’s extra needs. By comparison, elite Sydney Grammar spends $40,982 per student, with $3617 coming from public funding.

NSW contends that Senator Birmingham’s plans to rip-up the Gonski school funding agreements and replace it with a new model in 2018 will herald a return to the "bad old days" of constant bickering, hand rich private schools with swimming pools more money at the expense of struggling public schools, and fuel the "sectarian debate" over education spending.

The Coalition is arguing that 27 separate Gonski deals with the states, territories and different education sectors produced a patchwork of inequitable arrangements that left students in some states worse off than students in others.

Senator Birmingham wants to level the playing field, but his comments on the ABC’s Q&A program on Monday night, agreeing that some private schools were "over-funded" and could lose money, has inflamed tensions and has the ­potential to alienate Coalition voters. Asked if some wealthy private schools would be worse off, Senator Birmingham said: "That ­depends on whether we can actually reach some accord with the states and territories and ultimately with the Senate, to get a fairer funding model in place."

He said it was possible they could lose money because under the current Gonski arrangements there were "some schools that are notionally over-funded" and it would "take more than 100 years to come into alignment with the current funding model".

Opposition education spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek demanded Senator Birmingham detail which schools would be in line for funding cuts.

"If he thinks that some schools are over-funded, the obvious question is, ‘which ones?’ Does he have a secret hit list?" Ms Plibersek said.

In 2004, Mr Latham’s ill-fated schools policy included a "hit list" to slash government funding from 67 schools including the King’s School and Trinity Grammar in NSW and Geelong Grammar and Caulfield Grammar in Victoria.

Critics slammed the policy as class warfare.

Negotiating the Gonski agreements, Julia Gillard sought to avoid the Latham trap of creating losers by promising that no school would be worse off under the reforms. Her detractors argue this meant true needs-based funding irrespective of education sector or location was never introduced.

Senator Birmingham told the ABC he had been careful never to make the promise that no school would be worse off, and also indicated he was open to creating an independent body to oversee needs-based school funding if the states and territories were on board.

He last night hit back at Labor’s suggestion of a "hit list", saying the Opposition was "trying to prop up yet another desperate scare campaign to distract attention away from the inequity they built into their 27 different schools funding deals".

"Bill Shorten has gone from scaring older Australians and the sick with ‘Mediscare’ to trying to frighten families and children with ‘schools-scare’. Labor has stooped to a new low," he said.

Unlike many of his colleagues, Senator Birmingham was educated at his local government school, Adelaide’s Gawler High but he is a strong supporter of a parent’s right to choose the non-government sector.

The Grattan Institute’s school education program director Peter Goss said Senator Birmingham "is to be absolutely commended for calling out the fact that some schools are over-funded relative to their need. That means we are spending dollars and extra dollars each year in places that don’t need it, and that is preventing us from spending it in places that do need it". "This must change," he said. "This is about the principles of needs-based funding — arguments about hit lists of private schools are purely self-serving."

"This has been a no-go area for far too long. It is fantastic that Minister Birmingham is showing signs of taking it on."


ALP’s anti-plebiscite drive reflects audacity of hate

Jennifer Oriel

There is something rather dangerous about the gay marriage debate — and it is not homosexuality or marriage.

It is the view widely held by our political Left that ­liberal democratic precepts can be overridden whenever they interfere with politically correct ideology.

Not content merely to deny the democratic mandate of millions who endorsed the same-sex marriage plebiscite by voting the Coalition into power, Labor is sowing civil hatred as social order.

The abysmal and divisive new ethos of Labor is the audacity of hate.

I think it would be fair to surmise that the opposition’s legal affairs spokesman Mark Dreyfus doesn’t suffer from an excess of modesty.

But even so, his idea that the government should "win over" Labor by compromising on the plebiscite bill is remarkably arrogant. The government has an election mandate to hold a plebiscite on same-sex marriage. Labor’s ­denial of it constitutes a repudiation of the will of the people.

Having lost its election campaign to deny people a vote on marriage reform, Labor has swung into attack.

It is reframing the plebiscite ­debate by exploiting fear and manipulating emotion. In one short week, Labor has succeeded in re­framing the founding principles of liberal democracy as manifestations of hatred — all in the name of love, of course.

In Labor’s grand lexicon of doublespeak, public reason, active citizenship, and the human rights to free thought and speech, freedom of association and religion are mistranslated into forms of ­hatred. And the citizen who seeks active participation in democracy by advocating for the same-sex marriage plebiscite is, by extension, hatred personified.

Increasingly it is the case that whenever a question of social reform arises, the political Left reverts to the audacity of hate to coerce people into conformity. Its default position is to mob and vilify dissenters.

It acts as though Australia were a country under democratic socialism rather than liberal democracy.

Like revolutionary socialism, the democratic model holds socialism as the only end of democracy, but its tenets are introduced using the state and associ­ated institutions rather than militant revolution.

During the past week, the socialist Left position on gay marriage has been promulgated by Labor, the Greens and the state media institutions that consistently follow the Left party line: SBS and the ABC.

In news and on current affairs programs, the ABC has so aggressively campaigned for the socialist Left’s anti-plebiscite position, it appeared there was no alternative. And that is perfectly consistent with the one-party-rule ethos of democratic socialism.

But it just happens to run counter to the Australian people’s will — namely, the democratic mandate for a plebiscite endorsed at the federal election.

Whenever a pro-plebiscite voice is raised, the Left howls it down in a chorus of contempt. Predictably, Christians and conservatives are the principal victims of the Left’s pre-emptive moral infallibility.

For example, when it looked as though Stephen O’Doherty, chief executive of Christian Schools Australia, was winning the plebiscite debate on ABC’s The Drum, host Julia Baird interrupted to promulgate an anti-plebiscite line in unison with the other panellists.

Tony Jones, the host of ABC’s Q&A, so routinely interrupts politically incorrect panellists that the online forum Catallaxy Files holds bids for "interruption lotto" before each show.

The tendency of the political Left to contort democracy whenever it conflicts with politically correct ideology is evident also in its main counter-argument to the plebiscite, which actually constitutes a rationale for it.

Anti-plebiscite politicians and commentators believe they can relieve Australia of the people’s will by appeal to representative democracy.

Yet the zenith of representative democracy — the popular democratic election under a system of universal suffrage — yielded a yes vote for the plebiscite as a central feature of the Coalition’s election platform.

In recent years the appeal to representative democracy has been fashioned into a rhetorical tool of convenience to justify everything from policy reversals to unseating prime ministers. It is the default defence of those who seek a ready rationale for acting against the will of the people expressed in federal elections.

And it seems that appeals to representative democracy strip­ped of both genuine representation and democracy are especially popular among the members of left-leaning factions in both major parties.

Such appeals were used to unseat Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd and Liberal prime minister Tony Abbott.

However, hollow appeals to representative democracy threaten its future by subordinating the people’s will to party politics and replacing election mandates with polls.

They are the source of the growing democratic deficit — the vast gulf between the people and the elites — producing political instability across the West.

The government has a mandate to pass the bill for a plebiscite on same-sex marriage. The mandate was provided by millions of Australians who voted for the Coalition in the July election.

Labor would have liked to win the election with its opposing campaign to legislate for same-sex marriage in parliament. But it did not win. Having lost the popular vote, Labor seeks to subvert democracy by blocking the plebiscite.

The worrying implication is that the Left may actually loathe the people and mistrust democracy as much as its anti-plebiscite propaganda suggests.


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 September, 2016

Q&A: Penny Wong takes another swipe at Pauline Hanson

As a long-term Leftist apparatchik and a lesbian of East Asian extraction, she was never going to do anything else. And as usual, Amanda Vanstone spoke the most sense. Amanda is an overweight lady so does not get a lot of respect but what she says is very balanced. She is a lawyer by background

Pauline Hanson may not have featured on the Q&A panel on Monday night, but the controversial Queensland senator's name was bound to pop up at some stage.

Labor leader in the Senate Penny Wong has previously accused Senator Hanson of peddling prejudice and fear, and she doubled down on that statement when questioned by an audience member.

The panel at Her Majesty's Theatre in Adelaide also featured South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill, Minister for Education Simon Birmingham and former Liberal senator Amanda Vanstone.

Senator Wong, as she so often does in her Q&A appearances, produced the biggest reaction from the audience on the night.

Asked how she could argue Senator Hanson peddles prejudice and fear when she was elected by the people of Australia to represent their views, Senator Wong responded with, "because I look at what she says".

"Yes, she is elected, you know, she has her seat in the Senate. And she's entitled to speak, but those of us who have very different views are also entitled to speak.

Mr Birmingham said the figures quoted in the Essential poll stating that 49 per cent of Australians agreed with Senator Hanson's views surprised, while Mr Weatherill said the general public was receiving shaky information about Muslim immigration.

"I was surprised but not shocked," Mr Weatherill said. "The popular discourse is equated, has equated the Muslim faith with terrorism. So we see probably people being confused about those two ideas."  [Rubbish!  the Muslim faith has been equated with terrorism by the deeds of Muslims.  When they shout "Allah Akhbar" while doing their foul deeds, you can be sure they are not Presbyterians]

Ms Vanstone said the political elite should be wary of dismissing Senator Hanson's supporters as ignorant.

"My view is to why Donald Trump, inexplicably is doing so well in the US, is typified by Hillary [Clinton]'s comment, 'the basket of deplorables'.

"If we can't have a civil debate, you have views with which I don't agree, without saying you are from a basket of deplorables, those people that think things I don't think, well, up you Jack, I'm sick of you, treating me as if I'm an ignoramus.

"I've got a vote, I've got these views and I think it's come about from a lack of respect from the political elites for people with a different view."


Pauline is the people's politician

A new survey has revealed that 60 per cent of Australians would not want a member of their family to marry a Muslim.

The research, which is part of an ongoing Deakin University study into attitudes towards Islam, also found more than one third of people thought Muslims should be more closely scrutinised at airports.

This comes just a week after a similar poll revealed half of all Australians would support a complete ban on Muslim immigration.

In the Deakin survey, a quarter of respondents said they would be comfortable if all anti-terror efforts focused solely on Muslims.

It showed that Australians have significantly more negative views towards Muslims, and while 60 per cent would be concerned if a Muslim married into their family, 33 per cent would be similarly unhappy over a Jewish fiancé.

Just 8.1 per cent of people would be upset if a relative was marrying a Christian.

The ongoing survey also revealed that when given the option, respondents did not disagree with Islamaphobic statements such as 'practicing Muslims pose a threat to Australian society'.

Co-author of the paper Dr Matteo Vergani, who is a Research Fellow at Deakin's Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, said education was the key to combating these attitudes towards Islam.

'We found that across the board – among conservative or progressive individuals, people of different age, education and country of birth – there was an association between someone's level of knowledge about Islam and their prejudice against Muslims.

'In the wake of the recent Essential poll which showed that 49 per cent of Australians support a ban on Muslim immigration, this result is particularly heartening and important because it suggests that education and knowledge of Islam is key to overcoming Islamophobia and building a more cohesive society.'

The research comes a week after it was revealed almost half of all Australians support One Nation leader Pauline Hanson's policy of ban Muslim immigration.

Polling conducted by Essential Research found 49 per cent of Australians surveyed supported a ban on Muslim immigration to Australia, with 40 per cent opposed to the idea.

The results surprisingly revealed more than one third of Greens voters (34 per cent) support the proposed ban, while 60 per cent of Liberal voters and 40 per cent of Labor voters agreed.

A perceived terrorist threat was the second greatest reason given (27 per cent) by those who support the ban, behind fears Muslim people 'do not integrate into Australian society' (41 per cent).


Backpacker tax: Federal Government backs down on plan

The Federal Government has responded to backbench and industry pressure and dumped the budget plan to impose a 32.5 per cent tax on backpacker workers.

Under a compromise deal, working holidaymakers will be taxed at 19 per cent from their first dollar earned instead.

Treasurer Scott Morrison announced the deal after it was signed off by Cabinet today, saying the backbench committee pushing for the changes was also satisfied.

"As one said, they were a pig in mud when it came to the changes that I'm about to announce now," Mr Morrison told reporters in Canberra.

The move comes within weeks of the Government's backtrack on superannuation, again following intense backbench pressure.

Queensland Coalition backbencher George Christensen was one of the main protagonists in pushing for both policy changes, but is not claiming total responsibility.

"I'm one of many, we all have a say, I'm having my say all the time, and other people are having their say too."

"This is not something that I'm going to go out saying that I scored a win on, it was a collective win."

Opposition leader Bill Shorten said Mr Christensen’s influence was broader than he was letting on.

"We've just seen this latest backflip from the government on this backpacker tax, there's no doubt that George Christensen and the right wing of that party are spelling out the song that Mr Turnbull has to sing," Mr Shorten said.


Road to tyranny is paved with Leftie assumptions

Maurice Newman

When your news and views come from a tightly controlled, left-wing media echo chamber, it may come as a bit of a shock to learn that in the July election almost 600,000 voters gave their first preference to Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party. You may also be surprised to know that still deluded conservatives remain disenchanted with the media’s favourite Liberal, Malcolm Turnbull, for his epic fail as Prime Minister, especially when compared with the increasingly respected leader he deposed.

Perhaps when media outlets saturate us with "appropriate" thoughts and "acceptable" speech, and nonconformists are banished from television, radio and print, it’s easy to miss what is happening on the uneducated side of the tracks. After all, members of the better educated and morally superior political class use a compliant media to shelter us from the dangerous, racist, homophobic, Islamophobic, sexist, welfare-reforming, climate-change denying bigots who inhabit the outer suburbs and countryside — the people whom Hillary Clinton calls "the deplorables".

They must be vilified without debate, lest too many of us waver on the virtues of bigger governments, central planning, more bloated bureaucracies, higher taxes, unaffordable welfare, a "carbon-free" economy, more regulations, open borders, gender-free and values-free schools and same-sex marriage; the sort of agenda that finds favour at the UN.

Yet history is solid with evidence that this agenda will never deliver the promised human dignity, prosperity and liberty. Only free and open societies with small governments can do that.

Gradually, the masses are realising something is wrong. Their wealth and income growth is stagnating and their living standards are threatened. They see their taxes wasted on expensive, ill-conceived social programs. They live with migrants who refuse to integrate. They resent having government in their lives on everything from home renovations to recreational fishing, from penalty rates to free speech.

Thomas Jefferson’s warning that "the natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground" is now a stark reality.

The terms "people’s representative" and "public servant" have become a parody. In today’s world we are the servants and, if it suits, we are brushed aside with callous indifference. Like the Labor government’s disregard for the enormous emotional and financial hurt suffered when, overnight, it shut down live cattle exports on the strength of a television show.

Or like the NSW parliament passing laws banning greyhound racing in the state. There was no remorse for the ruined lives of thousands of innocent people, many of whom won’t recover. Talk of compensation is a travesty.

Or like the victims neighbouring Williamtown and Oakey air force bases, made ill from toxic contamination of groundwater. Around the world it’s known chemical agents used in airport fire drills cause cancer, neurological disease and reproductive disorders, yet the Australian Department of Defence simply denies responsibility. The powerless are hopelessly trapped between health risks and valueless properties.

Similar disdain is shown for those living near coal-seam gas fields and wind turbines. The authorities know of the health and financial impacts but defend operators by bending rules and ignoring guidelines.

If governments believe the ends justify the means, people don’t matter.

When Ernst & Young research finds one in eight Australians can’t meet their electricity bills, rather than show compassion for the poor and the elderly, governments push ruthlessly ahead with inefficient and expensive renewable energy projects.

This newspaper’s former editor-in-chief Chris Mitchell reveals in his book, Making Headlines, how Kevin Rudd, when prime minister, brazenly attempted to use state power to investigate "the relationship between my paper and him". Rudd’s successor, Julia Gillard, wanted to establish a media watchdog to effectively gag journalists.

None of this is fantasy and it explains why people are losing confidence in the democratic system. Australians feel increasingly marginalised and unrepresented. They are tired of spin and being lied to. They know that data is often withheld or manipulated.

As they struggle to make ends meet, they watch helplessly as the established political class shamelessly abuses its many privileges. It appears its sole purpose in life is to rule, not to govern. This adds weight to the insightful contention by the Business Council of Australia’s Jennifer Westacott that Australia is in desperate need of a national purpose.

It’s no wonder, to paraphrase American author Don Fredrick, that a growing number of Australians no longer want a tune-up at the same old garage. They want a new engine installed by experts — and they are increasingly of the view that the current crop of state and federal mechanics lacks the skills and experience to do the job.

One Nation may not be the answer, but its garage does offer a new engine.

This is Australia’s version of the Trump phenomenon. Like Donald Trump, Hanson is a non-establishment political disrupter. However, unlike Trump, who may soon occupy the White House, Hanson won’t inhabit the Lodge.

This leaves Australia’s establishment and the central planners very much in control. It means we will remain firmly on our current bigger-government path, finan­ced by higher taxes and creative accounting.

Nobel laureate economist FA Hayek observes in his book The Road to Serfdom: "The more planners improvise, the greater the disturbance to normal business. Everyone suffers. People feel rightly that ‘planners’ can’t get things done."

But he argues that, ironically, in a crisis the risk is that rather than wind back the role of government, people automatically turn to someone strong who demands obedience and uses coercion to achieve objectives.

Australia is now on that road to tyranny and, with another global recession in prospect and nearly 50 per cent of voters already dependent on government, the incentive is to vote for more government, not less.

The left-wing media echo-chamber will be an enthusiastic cheerleader.


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

27 September, 2016

The real lesson from South Australia’s electricity ‘crisis’: we need better climate policy

The guy below is certainly right about that  but he waffles a lot and is very timid about saying exactly what policy is needed.  He knows perfectly well what is needed if big spikes in power prices are to be avoided:  Backup generators fired by coal (cheapest) or natural gas (dearest). And only government subsidies will keep them available.  Once you distort the market by subsidizing one source of power, you have to subsidize the rest of the market too.  Otherwise your backup generators will go out of business, which is what happened in South Australia

Australia’s energy markets got a big shock in July this year, when wholesale electricity prices spiked in South Australia, alarming the state government and major industrial customers. Commentators rushed to find the immediate culprits. But the real issues lie elsewhere.

As shown by the Grattan Institute’s latest report the market worked. Having soared, prices fell back to more manageable levels. The lights stayed on.

Yet South Australia’s power shock exposed a looming problem in Australia’s electricity system – not high prices or the threat of blackouts, but an emerging conflict between Australia’s climate change policies and the demands of our energy market.
A perfect storm

On the evening of July 7, the wind wasn’t blowing, the sun wasn’t shining, and the electricity connector that supplies power from Victoria was down for maintenance. This meant gas set the wholesale price, and gas is expensive these days, especially during a cold winter. At 7.30pm wholesale spot prices soared close to A$9,000 per megawatt hour. For the whole month they averaged A$230 a megawatt hour. They were closer to A$65 in the rest of the country.

Australia has committed to a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2030. Despite this well known and significant target, the national debate on climate change has been so toxic and so destructive that almost no policy remains to reduce emissions from the power sector in line with that target.

By 2014 the much maligned renewable energy target (RET), a Howard government industry policy to support renewable energy, remained as the only policy with any real impact on the sector’s emissions.

Wind power has been the winning technology from the RET, and South Australia has been the winning state. Wind now supplies 40% of electricity in South Australia due to highly favourable local conditions. Because wind has no fuel costs it suppressed wholesale prices in the state and forced the shutdown of all coal plants and the mothballing of some gas plants. But wind is intermittent – it generates power only when it is blowing, and the night of July 7 it barely was.

A report by the Australian Energy Market Operator noted that the market did deliver on reliability and security of supply in July. It reviewed the behaviour of market participants and concluded there were "no departures from normal market rules and procedures".

The events of July do not expose an immediate crisis, but they have exposed the potential consequences of a disconnection between climate change policy and energy markets. If it is not addressed, the goals of reliable, affordable and sustainable energy may not be achieved.
The bigger problem

Climate change policy should work with and not outside the electricity market. With a fixed generation target of 33,000 gigawatt hours of renewable electricity by 2020 and a market for renewable energy credits outside the wholesale spot market under the RET, the conditions for problems were established some time ago.

The specific issues that arose from the design of the RET would have been far less problematic if one of the attempts over the last ten years to implement a national climate policy had been successful. A rising carbon price would have steadily changed the relative competitiveness of high and low emissions electricity sources and the RET would have quietly faded.

The first lesson for governments is that we need to establish a credible, scalable and predictable national climate change policy to have a chance of achieving emissions reduction targets without compromising power reliability or security of supply. A national emissions trading scheme would be best, but pragmatism and urgency mean we need to consider second best.

While such an outcome is the first priority, it will not provide all the answers. The rapid introduction of a very large proportion of new intermittent electricity supply creates problems that were not foreseen when traditional generation from coal and gas supplied the bulk of Australia’s power needs.

All of the wind farms in one state could be offline at the same time – a far less likely event with traditional generation. The problem can be solved by investment in storage and in flexible responses such as gas and other fast-start generators. Commercial deals with consumers paid to reduce demand could also contribute.

Lower average prices combined with infrequent big price spikes are not an obvious way to encourage long-term investors. The market may find solutions with new forms of contracts for flexibility or the market operator could introduce new structures or regulations to complement the existing wholesale spot market.

Much uncertainty exists, no easy fixes are in sight and the consequences of failure are high. Getting it right will provide clear signals for new investment or for withdrawal of coal plants as flagged by speculation over the future of the Hazelwood power station in Victoria.

Josh Frydenberg, as the new minister for the environment and energy, and his fellow ministers on the COAG Energy Council would be unwise to waste a near crisis.


Science Confirms The Australian Diet Is A Disaster (?)

Wot a lotta ...  The conclusion depends entirely on assumptions about what is healthy.  And since lots of those assumptions have recently been tipped on their ear, it is pretty clear that nobody knows what is healthy or not. So the question asked below is indeterminant.  We don't know how healthy the Australian diet is.  But since we are one of the world's most long lived population groups, we are probably pretty good

Despite a seemingly increased awareness about healthy eating, Australia’s largest ever diet survey has confirmed that the vast majority of our eating habits are getting worse.

The 2016 CSIRO Healthy Diet Score report, released today, canvassed the dietary habits of more than 86,500 adults across the country over a 12 month period. An early snapshot of the survey results released in August 2015 awarded the nation’s diet a score of 61 on a 100-point scale.

With almost 47,000 additional surveys completed since then that figure now stands at just 59 out of 100, confirming that Australian diets are worse than first thought.

"We have an image of being fit and healthy, but with a collective diet score of 59/100 that image could be very different unless we act now," CSIRO Research Director and co-author of the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet, Professor Manny Noakes said.

According to the 2016 Healthy Diet Score, 80 per cent of respondents received an individual score below 70, which is a benchmark figure.

"If we can raise our collective score by just over 10 points, we help Australia mitigate against the growing rates of obesity and lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and a third of all cancers," Professor Noakes said. "All people need to do is halve the bad and double the good. In other words, halve the amount of discretionary food you eat and double your vegetable intake."

People across Australia, in all occupations and age groups were invited to participate in the online survey between May 2015 and June 2016. CSIRO researchers have used this information to create a detailed picture of the country’s eating habits. The closest we get to meeting Australian Dietary Guidelines is the fruit food group where 49 per cent of respondents meet the recommended intake.

That means one in two of us still have room to improve. But of greater concern is dietary performance in regard to discretionary, or junk foods. Just 1 per cent of Australians are abstaining from junk food, while more than one third admitted to eating more than the recommended maximum allowance.

"We find that there is often a tendency to under-report on certain types of food, so in all likelihood that figure is even higher," Professor Noakes said.

The report showed that women have better nutritional levels than men (60 v 56/100). Construction workers were among those with the poorest diets, while public servants, real estate agents and health industry workers reported some of the healthiest eating patterns.

The 2016 CSIRO Healthy Diet Score also tracked food avoidance in diets for the first time, and found that approximately one in three Australian adults are avoiding one or more foods such as gluten, dairy or meat.

To get involved CSIRO is asking people to undertake The Healthy Diet Score — a free online assessment which evaluates diet quality and identifies individual areas of improvement, as well as providing a personal diet score out of 100.

"It is never too late to eat better and increase your score, and the nation’s," Professor Noakes said. "We encourage people to also take the test regularly to ensure they are improving their eating behaviour and overall health and wellbeing."

The Healthy Diet Score was developed by CSIRO and is designed to assess compliance with the 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines and Australian Guide to Healthy Eating. It asks about frequency and quantity of consumption of fruits, vegetables, grains, meat and alternatives, dairy, "junk" foods and drinks. It also addresses the quality of core foods (frequency of wholegrain and reduced fat dairy) and variety within core food groups.


The Left have only themselves to blame for driving people into Pauline Hanson’s arms

Half of Australia supports Pauline Hanson’s call to end Muslim migration, according to a poll released last week.

But according to leftist activists and Muslim stirrers like Mariam Veiszadeh this is somehow simultaneously a shock and confirmation of their slur that half the population are bigots and Islamophobes.

Race discrimination commissioner Tim Soutphommasane blamed Pauline Hanson, and the media which he thinks should censor the elected Senator, hardly a recipe for harmony.

He and his fellow posturing "anti-racists" never seem to put two and two together. They won’t admit that it’s their unreasonable demands, insults, endless grievances and crying wolf that drives people into the arms of right-wing groups.

This poll is their handiwork. Hanson has only capitalised on the disquiet they have helped create.

They never understand that the experiment they championed in which Labor dismantled hard-won border controls, unleashing an exponential flood of unauthorised boat arrivals — most of them Muslims from Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and Iraq — threatened the very multicultural harmony they pretend is their sole preserve.

They never understand that it doesn’t help their cause to deny the obvious problems of Islamist terrorism and failed Muslim integration.

"People often say that our democracy is robust enough to withstand overt hate speech being spouted by some, but these results indicate otherwise," said Veiszadeh.

But nothing in the poll results indicates "hate", or any ill will towards the many fine Australian Muslims who flourish here.

What it does express is a distrust of a political class, which pretended that the Lindt Café siege was a mere "brush" with terrorism that had nothing to do with Islam. Or that the attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando by a fanatical follower of Islamic State was just about homophobia and guns. Or that the terrorist murder of Curtis Cheng in Parramatta had nothing to do with Islam. Or that pressure cooker bombs in New York last week were not terrorism — until a radicalised Muslim was arrested. Surprise, surprise.

Since 2001, every innocent, sociable activity we engage in is tinged with fear, going to a footy match, getting on a plane, taking your child to a Jewish preschool or waving him off to Europe on a gap year.

We live in defiance of fear, but that does not mean we are not aware of the cause — irrational ancient grievances of an alien ideology which is embraced by some of our own fellow citizens.

That’s the reality reflected in last week’s Essential poll, in which the main reasons people cited for wanting a ban was a belief that Muslim migrants do not integrate into society (41 per cent), are a terrorist threat, (27 per cent) and do not share our values (22 per cent).

Demonising those who hold such views and pretending that it’s all Hanson’s fault just drives more people into the arms of anti-migration groups and reinforces their fears.

When hostages in the Lindt Café were still suffering the terror of being held at gunpoint, Veiszadeh, refugee lawyer Julian Burnside and friends were helping whip up hysteria about a hypothetical anti-Muslim backlash with the obscene "illridewithyou" hashtag on Twitter.

The daughter of Afghan refugees, who has benefited from the safety and generosity of Australia, Veiszadeh has made a career out of magnifying conflict and disunity in her adopted country.

She disrespects the triumph of Australia’s history. We are the most harmonious immigrant country in the world and the most generous per capita when it comes to resettling refugees.

Almost one third of Australians were born overseas. How does that gel with a racist, inward-looking xenophobic country?

As Malcolm Turnbull told President Obama’s refugee summit in New York last week, it was only the tough border protection measures of the Howard and Abbott governments, that allowed us to increase our refugee intake, to remove children from detention, close 17 detention centres and prevent asylum seekers drowning.

"If you can’t control your borders, public reaction is going to be very, very adverse; it gives rise to all sorts of anti-refugee, anti-­foreigner, in many cases anti-Muslim sentiment; it destabilises countries," Mr Turnbull said.

Even Angela Merkel belatedly gets the message. The German Chancellor who opened the floodgates last year to more than one million "migrants" — mainly young men from North Africa and the Middle East — with all the predictable social problems that ensued, has now admitted it was a mistake.

But it took two election victories of the most far-right parties in Germany since Hitler’s day for her to wake up. Her moral vanity has unleashed the genies of bigotry and racism.

Let last week’s poll be a warning to our own self-appointed moral betters: you get what you wish for.



Ms Veiszadeh was so disgusted by the Essential poll that she decided to conduct her own online poll on Left-leaning Twitter.

Sadly, the result wasn't what she expected. After more than 46,000 votes a whopping 74% of respondents said they'd support a ban on Muslim migration. Awkward.

Police face struggle to jail returning jihadis

Dozens of returning Islamic State terrorists will never see the inside of a courtroom, with the country’s top counter-terrorism cop, the Australian Federal Police’s Mike Phelan, acknowledging that the difficulties in obtaining evidence overseas will force police to use other methods to control suspect­ed jihadists.

With the Islamic State’s self-styled caliphate in Iraq and Syria inching towards collapse, Mr ­Phelan has warned that Australia is facing a new wave in the terror threat, one that could see dozens of returning foreign fighters back in their communities.

Mr Phelan, the AFP’s deputy commissioner for national security, said he had officers — working in what were dubbed returning terrorist suspects teams — whose sole job it was to put together criminal briefs on foreign fighters.

But he acknowledged that difficulties in obtaining evidence meant not all would face justice.

"The AFP’s preferred option when anybody comes back that’s been fighting in theatre or supporting terrorist organisations in the Middle East is to prosecute them," Mr Phelan said.

"But the practical realities of that are, though, we may not be in a position to prosecute everybody that comes home due to the lack of admissible evidence that we can use in Australian courts."

ASIO estimates that about 110 Australians are engaged in the fighting in Syria in some way.

While Australian authorities have access to often highly accur­ate intelligence on where those Australians are and what they are doing — thanks largely to the web of international intelligence-­sharing arrangements spawned by the Syrian crisis — only a fraction of that information can be used by police in court. The AFP also has no remit or ability to operate in the war-torn areas of Iraq and Syria.

But the main ­obstacle is the highly sensitive ­nature of the intelligence, much of which has been supplied by partner agencies, such as the CIA or the British secret services, which place strict conditions on its use.

For instance, no secret service would allow its intelligence to be tendered as part of a criminal prosecution if there were the slightest chance it could be discussed in open court.

Mr Phelan said the "vast majority" of Australians in Syria were fighting with Islamic State, ­although some were fighting with al-Qa’ida’s official affiliate in the Syrian conflict, Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham, formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra. A small number are fighting with anti-Islamist groups such as the Kurds.

Mr Phelan hinted at the wide gap between what police know and what they can prove, and the difficulties that posed.

"We may very well know or strongly believe, based on intellig­ence, where somewhere has been, what they’ve been doing and who they’ve been with," he said.

"But that does not necessarily mean I can use that information here in a court of law in Australia."

Last week The Australian reported that authorities were also preparing for the potential return of dozens of Australian children who have been caught up in the Syrian conflict. A handful — such as the children of notorious ­Sydney terrorist Khaled Sharrouf — were taken into Syria by jihadist parents.

Many more were born there to Australian fighters or Australian women, which would entitle them to Australian citizenship. State and federal authorities have begun war-gaming how to handle the needs of these, as well as any risk they may pose to the community.

So far only about 40 Australians have returned from the fighting in Syria, almost all in the early stages of the war before the ­ascendance of Islamic State and the Islamification of the Syrian ­opposition movement.

A handful of Australian jihadists have made overtures about ­returning, mainly through third parties, usually lawyers. Mr ­Phelan predicted there would be more: "It is a genuine concern as the caliphate starts to fold and the ISIL loses territory. We would be naive to think some Australians wouldn’t try to come home."

In recent months, Islamic State (also known as ISIL and ISIS) has lost half its territory in Iraq and 20 per cent in Syria, prompting analysts to predict the caliphate’s demise is nigh, possibly within a year.

Mr Phelan said any returning foreign fighter would be subject to a risk assessment. If the evidence wasn’t there to prosecute them, the AFP would be forced to rely on other methods. Control orders are granted by courts and can be sought only by the AFP. To date, despite the proliferation in extremist violence that has accompanied the rise of ISIS, only five control orders have been granted.

In the past, police have priv­ately complained that the evident­iary requirements are so high that obtaining them has not been practical. Amendments to the control order regime, now being considered by the Senate, would allow police to use classified intelligence to get a control order, which would effectively lower the bar.

"If we can’t arrest and charge somebody when they arrive at an airport ... then the other options that are available to us are control orders," Mr Phelan said.

"And with those control orders we can place some pretty heavy ­restrictions on people in terms of monitoring where they go, who they can speak to, what ­access they can have to communications etc."


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 September, 2016

Why are so many people fighting to protect Sydney eyesore?

Locating the building in a premium area was a wasteful act to start with.  As welfare housing it generated only a fraction of the income it could have generated if it had been used for high-end accommodation.  But it gave good views to a few privileged poor people and the Left liked that. Rationality is however now catching up.  The money made by selling the building will fund much more public housing than before

The arty-farty arguments for retaining an ugly building are amusing.  They say it adds to "the social mix".  So what?  Why is that a good thing? It is probably a bad thing. Having lots of poor people in a given area tends to elevate the crime rate in that area.  But you are not allowed to mention that, of course.  Assumptions are all the Left need -- not those pesky facts.  They don't even bother to argue for their assumptions.  They just "know" the truth

IS IT ugly and deserving of a wrecking ball? Or iconic and in need of protection?  It depends who you ask.

But for now, Sydney’s Sirius building — which has been used for public housing since it was built more than 30 years ago — appears to be living out its final days next to the iconic Harbour Bridge, in The Rocks.

The Cumberland Street apartment block is under threat from NSW Government plans for redevelopment, with most tenants having already moved out.

Hundreds of protesters have opposed the plans to replace the 1979 building with apartments boasting million-dollar views and price tags to match.

But their calls to save the building have so far fallen on deaf ears, with a heritage listing bid for the harbourside building ultimately rejected by the government.

The building is arguably the worst eyesore on one of the world’s most spectacular harbours. So why are so many people fighting to protect it?

Sydney’s Lord Mayor and NSW opposition members joined hundreds of protesters in a march from Circular Quay over the weekend, demanding one of the city’s most controversial buildings be saved from demolition.

Hundreds of protesters marched from Alfred Street, around the Quay, meeting at the base of the brutalist building on Saturday morning.

The vocal crowd, flanked by police officers, were addressed by several opponents of the building’s slated demolition, including Lord Mayor Clover Moore and opposition planning minister Michael Daley.

"If the government applies this policy to other inner city areas, it will destroy the social mix — the very soul of city — and we will fight that all the way," Ms Moore said from the back of a truck in front of the building.

"This housing is needed just as much now, or even more, because the majority of social housing residents in Millers Point have already been dispersed."

The mixed-bag of protesters included unionists, architects and social housing advocates.

The CFMEU granted a Green Ban over the building earlier this week, in an attempt to stall demolition plans.

Michael Daley warned the Baird government any attempt to tear down the building would be met by fierce opposition. "We’re here to say to Mike Baird, if you try and cheat the people of Sydney out of the Sirius building, when you come down here with your developer and your banker mates, we’ll be waiting," Mr Daley said.

Architects Olivia Savio-Matev and Hugo Raggett said the Sirius building held more than just architectural importance in Sydney.   "We’re here to support and save the heritage architecture of Sydney, but also to support the residents who are being evicted.

"I think the government’s stance on this building is purely a money grab."

Leading the charge to save the building of brutalist architecture is the National Trust’s advocacy director Graham Quint. "They’re dramatic and they’re meant to make a statement," Mr Quint told  "I don’t know whether ‘beautiful’ would be the word, but not everything’s meant to be beautiful."

The Sirius building had a unique history, said Mr Quint, built specifically for housing commission tenants turfed out of harbourside suburbs when the area was being redeveloped in the 1960s.

Far from blocking views of the harbour it actually "steps down" to reveal a wide sweep of Sydney, said Mr Quint. Any replacement could be even bigger.


Obstructive black man finally moved on

The internet is divided over a controversial video of a black man with a 'stop racism' sign being pepper sprayed by police on a busy street in Melbourne.

The video, which was uploaded online on Friday, shows footage of a black man being surrounded by three police officers as he stands in the street.

The man can be seen holding a sign which reads 'stop racism' near the Flinders St Station, a busy thoroughfare in Melbourne.

It is unclear why he is being arrested, but the police officers are eager to restrain him. The man resists attempts to move him, and an officer eventually pulls out a can of spray and directs it into the man's eyes.

Police then grasp the man's arms and lead him off the street. The man can be seen grimacing.

Onlookers appeared surprised by the arrest.  'Oh my god, they pepper sprayed him,' a woman can be heard saying in the video. 'Can they even do that?' A man can then be heard saying 'are you kidding me you hero' as the police officers walk past.

But not everyone agreed the police officers' force was too strong, with one woman claiming they were 'just doing their job'.

The man can be seen with tears streaming from his eyes as he's marched off the street, past the camera.

When the video was posted to Reddit yesterday, social media users were quick to jump in with their opinions, and the debate was split.

While some defended the man, others took the police' side, claiming they'd seen the same man often standing in the middle of the road holding up traffic.

'He has been there on many occasions and has held up the trams and essential service vehicles,' one user said. 'He has been warned about standing in the middle of the road and this time it appears as if he was moved on.'

But another user who claimed he'd seen the man a few times, said he never saw him causing any problems for traffic or pedestrians.

The bickering between Reddit users continued, with some even questioning the man's motives.

'Who is he accusing exactly of racism? What does he want done about it? What is the end point where he will be happy?' they said.

'(Melbourne is) the most multicultural city in the world, if he fails to see that, and disrespects that, then it is not our job to wear his manufactured guilt.'


Social Justice is a Racket

Despite his alleged financial savvy and alleged conservatism, Malcolm Turnbull has finally managed to fully outflank the Greens in a frivolous and economically wasteful gesture of virtue signalling.

Turnbull is just the latest sucker falling over themselves to pay a snake oil seller $187,550 for a three month contract to carry out an audit to find out whether our Prime Minister’s office has an unconscious bias against women.

Now let’s just say that feminist guru Deborah May does 38 hour weeks over the 12 week period, which I seriously doubt. But even if she does, her hourly rate will be a whopping $411.29 per hour (I’m being facetious of course… it’s Canberra. No way she’s putting in 38 hours a week). Now Malcolm… I don’t know if I’m missing something or not completely up to speed on third wave feminism, but if your office feels obliged to pay a "feminist guru" the equivalent of $411.29 an hour to ascertain whether your office has an unconscious bias against women, IT PROBABLY DOESN’T HAVE AN UNCONSCIOUS BIAS AGAINST WOMEN!

Of all places to conduct such an audit, the ACT public service surely seems to be the most redundant. It’s a little like charging PETA $187,550 to audit whether they have any inclination toward systemic animal cruelty.

Deborah May has quite a racket going on. She’s managed to trump many in the climate alarmist industry in terms of sheer profit for hysteria, and that’s saying something. She’s been awarded a bunch of federal contracts over the past 6 years totalling just over $2 million, which proves in and of itself that the patriarchy isn’t quite as oppressive as she indicates in her sales pitch.

She’s reasonably sure something is amiss. Only 66% of employees in Turnbull’s office are women. That’s less than half in Cultural Marxist newsspeak. Outrageous. If I were a betting man, I’d guess that Deborah May is going to find some systemic sexism in that office, even if she has to bring in mattress girl.

The line between identity politics and good old-fashioned satire is well and truly blurred in 2016. The regressive left are just so lacking in self-awareness that they’ve turned absurdity as an industry into an art form. Merely going about day to day activities in their natural state produces comic manna as a byproduct.

They say that war is a racket, but I’d argue that social justice issues are an even bigger racket. Whenever the Regressive Left get their ire up about something, you can bet there’s a lot of money to be potentially made. There’s no doubt that George W. Bush made a tidy profit from the Iraq war. His personal net worth is $20 million. But this is dwarfed by the Clintons’ net worth of $80 million accumulated from activism, or Al Gore’s personal net worth of $200 million from the war on climate change. Who’d bother bombing the s— out of a country for their oil when intimidating companies and government departments with politically correct teamster tactics is so much more lucrative?


Liberal director calls for debate after Medi-scare hit party support

THE man who ran the election campaign which nearly cost the Liberals government today emotionally condemned Labor’s "cold blooded lie" on Medicare privatisation.  Federal Liberal director Tony Nutt called for a public debate on the boundaries of negative campaigning and the use of scare tactics.

Not all his condemnation was driven by politics. There also was distress close to home.

Mr Nutt said the election result was a "near run thing" which saw the Government lose 14 seats and put that down to the so-called Medi-scare, campaigning by trade unions and third-party groups such as GetUp and redistributions in NSW and WA.

He acknowledged "some difficult and complex public policy issues" in February and April. This was when Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull conducted a messy debate over the future of the GST and randomly raised the potential for state income taxes.

He said there had been "a cacophony of demands and high expectations" but had no criticism of Mr Turnbull.

But Mr Nutt focused in detail on the bogus text messages falsely said to have been sent by the public health insurer but actually from ALP linked groups on election day. They claimed: "Time is running out to Save Medicare."

He said the messages and other campaign claims had upset elderly voters including those in their 80s. It is understood Mr Nutt’s mother was among those upset and this was the source of his passion on the matter.

"Are we really saying taking an absolute lie, a cold blooded lie, and shoving it down the throat of vulnerable people in their 70s and 80s who are scared to death that their Medicare might be pulled back is acceptable?" he said at the National Press Club in Canberra.

"Is there no standard, is there no tactic unacceptable? "I call upon the Labor Party to pledge that at least in this tactic on this topic they won’t do it again."

Mr Nutt said the Liberals had not returned fire with negative tactics because their research had found voters wanted a positive vision and were sick and tired of "the distraction of political aggression".

"(Labor Leader) Bill Shorten and Labor focused their campaign message on the extreme negatives and this delivered them the their second-lowest primary vote," he said in a speech.

"While their negativity had an effect on the Liberal primary Party vote, those votes didn’t always flow to Labor. Instead Labor’s negative campaign helped drive a high minor/independent vote."


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 September, 2016

Why we should lock more people up, and it’s not what you think

The writer below says "We put people in the clink more and more" and "crime is falling".  He attempts no inferences from that.  Could one be the the consequence of the other?  He is similarly insouciant in attributing the good results in Norway  to Norwegian lenience.  That there might be even better results from a less lenient system seems not to have occurred to him.  He can't get beyond his Leftist assumptions

I’VE always thought jail is mostly a bad idea: It takes young people and puts them in constant contact with society’s very worst. They eventually emerge with no skills but a tight-knit network of former criminals.

Under my theory, jail is mostly unhelpful for the people that are in there — we only send people to jail because it is hopefully scary enough to deter people from committing crime.

Australia has a jail addiction though. We put people in the clink more and more.

There are lots of explanations why this might be, including the fact we use private prisons even more than America. (And America is reconsidering whether private prisons are a good idea.)

In 2014, The Catholic Prison Ministry said: "Handing the administration of punishment over to corporations will lead to conflict between the social interests of citizens as stakeholders and financial interests of corporations to maximise profits for shareholders."

And I thought they were probably right, because crime is falling:

It’s not just murders. Break-ins, robbery and motor vehicle theft all went down in the last five years. Sexual assault and theft rose.

(Taking the really long view, violent crime is at record lows: "Violent deaths of all kinds have declined, from around 500 per 100,000 people per year in pre-state societies to around 50 in the Middle Ages, to around six to eight today worldwide, and fewer than one in most of Europe." Steven Pinker told the Scientific American in 2011.)

You can see why I was cold on prison. And experts agreed. "Putting more people in prison diverts resources from vital social infrastructure and cost effective initiatives which have been shown to successfully address the underlying causes of crime," these experts said.

But some new research from Norway is making me weigh up my view. It finds prison is good, and it does so in a very clever way.

There is an obvious problem researching whether prison works. Ex-prisoners tend to commit a lot of crime. Did prison made them like that? Or were they always like that?

The clever thing this research does is comparing groups of prisoners who are otherwise the same, except for the judge they get. Some got a judge who puts away prisoners more than half the time, some got a judge that gives two out of three offenders community service or similar.

This means we can look at how much crime the two groups commit later, and the only likely difference between them is the influence of a prison environment.

This research finds jail is great. The prisoners who go to jail end up getting 10 fewer criminal charges. (The result is not due to simply being unable to commit crime in jail — the reduction starts from when the person is released, over an equivalent period of time.)

The ones that went to jail also have much better employment outcomes — they are more likely to find work.

There is an important point to make. Jail seems to really work for some kinds of people. It strongly improves the chances for people who were not employed. Jail didn’t prove to be either positive or negative for people who previously had jobs. The reason is probably that jail adds a lot of structure and training to their lives.

"Imprisonment causes a 34 percentage point increase in participation in job training programs for the previously non-employed, and within five years, their employment rate increases by 40 percentage points," according to academics Manudeep Bhuller, Gordon B. Dahl, Katrine V. Loken and Magne Mogstad in their paper,Incarceration, Recidivism and Employment.

It’s worth pointing out this research happened in Norway, where jail can be pretty different (even "luxurious,") and most prison sentences are under a year.

"In Scandinavian countries like Norway, the prison system focuses on rehabilitation, preparing inmates for life on the outside. This is done in part by investing in education and training programs, but also through extensive use of "open prisons" in which prisoners are housed in low-security surroundings and allowed frequent visits to families while electronically monitored. In comparison, in many other countries, rehabilitation has taken a back seat in favour of prison policies emphasising punishment and incapacitation."

It seems like jail can be pretty useful for some people — so long as you design it to be useful. Unfortunately, Australia’s prisons are more like America’s than Norway’s.

We could make our prisons like Norway’s. But first we need to decide if we can stomach being "nice" to prisoners in order to actually stop them from committing more crime later. I’d support that. But I suspect for a lot of people, that’s not going to be acceptable — for them, punishment is what matters most.


Judge calls for ‘clarity’ in Aboriginal determinations

A federal judge has described as "vexed" the process for determining Aboriginality -- and he sure is right about that.  I have a niece whose skin is as white as snow but she is Aboriginal under Australian law

A federal judge has raised concerns about the process for determining Aboriginality in rejecting a racial discrimination claim by a NSW cultural educator after she had her certificate of Aboriginality taken away.

Elizabeth Taylor lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Commission in 2013, alleging she had been racially discriminated against by an Aboriginal group.

The complaint followed a ­decision by elders from the ­Yamanda Aboriginal Association, on the NSW southern highlands near Wollongong, to take away certificates of Aborig­inality they had issued Ms ­Taylor and her family in May 2010.

In the Federal Circuit Court, she sought more than $150,000 compensation for lost income, pain and suffering caused by the decision.

Judge Rolf Driver yesterday found no proof that Ms Taylor had been discriminated against, noting evidence she did not identify as Aboriginal until the day she received her certificate, but he said the "vexed process" of establishing Aborigi­nality needed to be more transparent.

"Some clarity is needed regarding who represents people within the Aboriginal community and how decisions are made," Judge Driver said. "The process should be made more transparent to ensure the decision-making is properly focused and not influenced by personality."

In June 2012, while still holding a certificate of Aboriginality, Ms Taylor and her father registered the Families Sharing Culture Aboriginal Corporation, a group describing itself as an educational corporation teaching Aboriginal culture to schoolchildren in the Southern Highlands that has received thousands in government funding.

After a dispute between Ms Taylor and a senior member of the association, her certificate was taken away.

Judge Driver accepted a certificate could be rescinded, but said that had happened in her case because of the falling out.


Father Frank Brennan is calling on Labor to support a same-sex marriage plebiscite

Brennan is a notoriously Leftist priest

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is expected to tell Labor MPs to block the legislation in the Senate, but Father Brennan said Labor should ensure the issue is dealt within the next few months.

He said he thinks same-sex marriage in Australia is inevitable.

"The risk for the Labor Party in opposing a plebiscite will be that instead of the matter being resolved by February, it will drag on in the public mind for the next year or two and then we won't know until after the next election whether there is indeed to be a plebiscite," Father Brennan said.

"And then it will take some time before the Parliament actually votes.

"So the real question is: is it better to get this over and done with now, with certainty, by February; or is it better to put it on the long finger, in the hope of the Labor Party causing maximum embarrassment and political agitation for Malcolm Turnbull?"

Federal Cabinet has signed off on plans to hold the same-sex marriage plebiscite on February 11 next year earlier in the month, and to allocate public funding for both the "yes" and "no" campaigns.

The question to be put to voters will be: "Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?"

Labor and the Greens have voiced concerns about the cost of the plebiscite, as well as the prospect of a potentially divisive public debate on the issue.

The Greens are opposed to a plebiscite, and Mr Shorten has said it was the "second-best option" to a direct vote in Parliament.

Despite hinting that he will tell Labor MPs to block the legislation in the past, he has not ruled it out completely, leaving the door open to compromise.

Attorney-General George Brandis and his Labor counterpart Mark Dreyfus will meet on Monday to discuss the bill.

The Prime Minister will need nine of the 11 crossbenchers in the Senate to pass legislation for the plebiscite, if the move is opposed by Labor and the Greens.


Productivity Commission identifies six government services that could benefit from privatisation

SOCIAL housing, some hospital services and public dental care are among six priority areas that could benefit from privatisation, the Productivity Commission has found.

The commission released a preliminary findings report today that identified six areas it believes could benefit from being privatised.

They include:

 *  social housing;

 *  services at public hospitals;

 *  specialist palliative care;

 *  public dental services;

 *  services in remote indigenous communities; and

 *  family and community services.

"Reform in the areas we have identified has the potential to improve the lives of users and the welfare of the whole community," Productivity Commissioner Stephen King said.

But the Labor Party has been angered by the new report, warning it could lead to higher prices and fewer services.

The commission suggests there’s room for improvement in the management of social housing services, highlighting concerns such as long waiting lists, poorly maintained properties and a lack of information to judge providers’ performance.

A majority of properties were run by government entities but there was a large number of providers, including some profit-making, which could do the job, it said.

Giving people greater choice could also give them more options for a roof over their heads.

On hospitals, the commission said it would welcome evidence on whether governments could use routine renegotiations with providers to consider alternatives to public healthcare.

That’s because most public hospitals didn’t have a formal selection process and providers rarely changed, it said.

The commission added while allowing private operators to run public hospitals was rare — because of a series of failed attempts in previous years — this wouldn’t be much of a problem today because of better checks and balances.

And greater user choice over public hospitals could help disadvantaged people.

States and territories could consider replacing senior management in government operated hospitals who don’t perform well.

"This would not require switching to a non-government provider," it said.
Some hospital services could benefit from privatisation says a new report.

Some hospital services could benefit from privatisation says a new report.Source:News Corp Australia

On public dental services, the commission said they could be made more contestable if bids were allowed from private operators.

"More competition and choice could involve using delivery mechanisms that allow users to choose between competing private dental practices."

Labor leader Bill Shorten, who said the opposition would fully study the report, said Australians had seen such moves before.

"Here we go again," he told reporters in Melbourne on Thursday. "Why is it that the government uses code words in this report that the public get less service and pay more money."


Greenie blindness

Yesterday I raised the issue of the Greens staging a pre-planned walkout during Pauline Hanson’s first speech last week.  The Greens came seriously unstuck. What was obvious to everyone is that the Greens just hate the idea of anyone saying anything to contradict their own twisted view of the world.  And why is it that the Greens are so keen to defend Moslems from even gentle criticism?

The Greens are hostile to our Christian civilisation, and they instinctively ally themselves with anyone else who is hostile to Christian civilisation.

Following yesterday’s editorial I received a flood of favourable comment, so here is some more on the same subject.

Pauline Hanson’s Senate speech was bold and courageous in the face of the bland faces of opposition parties who have no stomach for the difficult truths Australia faces in the future. Pauline represents the silent majority who are reluctant to speak out because of our anti-free-speech laws.  Many fear retribution from the very people Australia welcomed as citizens and various Muslims openly stating they have no respect for our laws or society and advocating the introduction of sharia law.

It is a sad state of affairs when in the twenty first century human beings have to deal with archaic beliefs supported by embittered people including even deranged individuals with no regard for human life. Australian governments have been asleep at the wheel when it comes to immigration from the third world. One of the main drawcards to Australia is the ridiculous welfare support given to these people. Once in the system they can manipulate and maneuver with many never working in their lifetime getting huge government payments to support their multiple spouses and numerous children. And then they tell us they don’t like us!

As for the Greens, these self-righteous pompous individuals lack the basic common senses to realise their country and their lifestyles are in danger of being hijacked. Open your eyes and ears, read the news occasionally and consider the innocent Australians whose lives have been destroyed by criminals that openly support sharia law and other Islamic militants who exploit Australia’s gullibility. How strange it is that some people still vote for a political party which supports such activity.

Australia is a wonderful country with many beautiful aspects and it should be kept that way. Australians don’t want to live in a lawless society divided by violence and aggression so let’s support the sensible politicians, like Senator Pauline Hanson, The Member for Melbourne Ports Michael Danby MP, Senator Corey Bernardi, Senator Brian Burston, Senator Jacquie Lambie, Senator Bob Day AO and the Federal Member for Dawson in Queensland, George Christensen MP.  All of these proudly uphold and support the Australian way of life instead of condoning subversion.

Save Australia before it’s too late!


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 September, 2016

National anthem nonsense comes to Australia

Imported from America. Allegiance cannot and should not be forced but the motivation behind this disrespect is deeply twisted.  American blacks live far better in America than they do anywhere else. American blacks should be thanking America for that, not insulting America.  Let the complaining blacks go back to Africa and see how they like it.  It is true that blacks run foul of the police a lot in America but that is an outcome of the high black rate of violent crime.

Australian blacks also have lots of complaints, despite long standing great efforts by all Australian governments to improve their lot.  Everything has been tried.  Their problems are their own, nobody else's

THE NRL has been dragged into the national anthem protest storm with rugby league greats calling on players not to stand during the national anthem at this year’s NRL grand final.

Indigenous greats of the game have called on indigenous players from the Sharks, Cowboys, Storm and Raiders to stage a protest when Advance Australia Fair is performed before kick-off at the NRL decider to be held at ANZ Stadium on October 2.

It comes after San Francisco 49ers star Colin Kaepernick knelt during the American national anthem in a silent form of protest against oppression of black and other minority communities in the United States.

Rugby League Week has reported NRL greats Larry Corowa and Joe Williams have publicly called on players to "send a powerful message to white Australia".


Fury at controversial cartoonist Bill Leak's latest drawing depicting gay marriage campaigners as NAZIS

They've been acting like it lately, with their successful attempt to shut down a Christian meeting.  As the old saying goes:  "If the cap fits, wear it"

An Australian cartoonist has stirred up more controversy after he compared LGBTIQ activists to Nazis.

The drawing by veteran cartoonist Bill Leak appeared in The Australian and showed a group of men dressed in the uniforms of the Nazi SS, in LGBTIQ colours and carrying bats with the words 'WAFFEN-SSM' beneath them.

His latest cartoon was branded homophobic on social media and comes ahead of a possible national referendum on same sex marriage next year.

The Waffen-SS were an armed wing of Hitler's SS, who were responsible for running both the extermination and concentration camps in Nazi Germany, with the 'SSM' in the cartoon instead standing for 'same-sex marriage'.

Comedian Ben McLeay was just one person who was angered by the cartoon, the SBS reports.

'Bill Leak might be the dumbest man alive but he's not an idiot, he knows full well what the Waffen were responsible for, and yet he chose to go ahead with it,' McLeay said.

'It must be infuriating for these people, clutching on tightly to bigotry like it's the door at the end of the Titanic.'



Four current articles below

Another one of those multiculturalists Australia is so lucky to have

Mustafa, who 'kidnapped schoolgirl, 13, at knifepoint and raped her before leading police on a high-speed chase sexually assaulted three other women'

A man accused of kidnapping and raping a 13-year-old girl at knifepoint is facing new sexual assault allegations on three other women. Mustafa Kayirici, 26, was arrested in Sydney's Bondi on June 25 after ploughing into a parked car before crashing into a bus stop during a high-speed chase with police.

He was charged over the alleged kidnapping, sexual assault and robbery of a woman and a teenager in two separate incidents in June.

On Wednesday Kayirici has been charged with a string of fresh offences, including the aggravated sexual assault and robbery of three other women.

Following further inquiries, strike force detectives identified three alleged incidents that were reported to have occurred in May.

He was arrested was arrested at a correctional facility in Sydney on Tuesday.

The charges include six counts of aggravated sexual assault, three counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and two counts of obtain for advantage.

He was also charged with carriage service to threaten, robbery armed with offensive weapon, assault with intent to rob, aggravated break, enter, steal and commit serious indictable offence; and break, enter, steal and commit serious indictable offence.

Police alleged the incidents involved a 26-year-old woman on May 7, a 37-year-old woman on May 20 and another 37-year-old woman on May 30.

He was refused bail to appear at Central Local Court on Wednesday.


Video of Muslim aggression censored

THE man who filmed an altercation between a Muslim university student and a man wearing a Pauline Hanson T-shirt has been revealed as the leader of a far-right group.

The furious encounter occurred on Curtin University’s campus in Perth when a woman in a headscarf confronted the man with the T-shirt featuring the One Nation leader. "You have no right to be on this campus, you’re not welcome here," she shouts.

The man in the Hanson top responds: "I have an appointment here, I’m a former student. I have as much right to be here as you or anyone else."

Yahoo 7 revealed the man who filmed the encounter was Dennis Huts, the leader of the Perth wing of the far-right group United Patriots Front (UPF).

On Thursday morning, Huts took to the Facebook page of the UPF, which has been involved with Reclaim Australia rallies, claiming to be the person filming.

"Yesterday I had an appointment on the university campus (and) I was attacked by a Muslim woman and her Marxist friends," he says in the video.

"They’re regulars at Reclaim (Australia) rallies. They recognised me that’s what set them off. They don’t like it, so I was attacked. I did nothing wrong, I wasn’t the aggressor."

He said he had been banned from Facebook for 30 days and his original video was removed.

"It staggers me they would do that given the stuff they allow to be on there, it seems like such as double standard," the man claimed calling for people to rally at Facebook offices.

It is not clear what happened prior to the altercation between the pair on the university campus.

In the video, the man in the Hanson top says he has an appointment at the university and is a former student. "I have as much right to be here as you or anyone else," he says.

The woman responds: "Why are you wearing a Pauline Hanson shirt? What, do you want to punch me in the face?"

He replies: "Because I support her. I don’t have to answer to you."

Turning to other students, she points at the man and shouts. "He’s a fascist; he has no right to be here; all he wants to do is demonise us. "Muslims have had enough get off this campus you are not welcome here."

Another student then gets involved. "I’ve seen you on this campus harassing women, harassing Muslims," she says. "F**k off."

The man then replies: "I’m an ex-student I have a complete degree and I have a right to here in relation to my degree. F**k you."


Multiculturalists attack sex workers

Canberra police are hunting a group of men thought to have gang-raped and robbed at least six sex workers.

ACT Policing's Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Team has been investigating reports of violent sexual assaults and robberies since last month under Operation Sparren.  They're aware of six incidents involving the same offenders.

Police say the men, who operate in groups of two or three, make an individual appointment with a female sex worker through an online ad. The man then lets in one or more others.

Women have been aggressively sexually assaulted, sometimes at knifepoint. Some have also been robbed at knifepoint.

Detective Sergeant David Crowe said there may be other victims who have yet to come forward and report sexual assault or robbery incidents. "Police recognise the emotional hardship and courage involved in coming forward if you are a victim of a sexual assault," he said in a statement.

Two of the men are described as Middle Eastern or Indian in appearance. A third is described as African in appearance.


Half of all Australians AGREE with Pauline Hanson's call to ban all Muslim immigration

Almost half of all Australians support One Nation leader Pauline Hanson's policy of ban Muslim immigration over fears Islamic people 'do not integrate into Australian culture'.

Polling conducted by Essential Research found 49 per cent of Australians surveyed supported a ban on Muslim immigration to Australia, with 40 per cent opposed to the idea.

The results surprisingly revealed more than one third of Greens voters (34 per cent) support the proposed ban, while 60 per cent of Liberal voters and 40 per cent of Labor voters agreed.

A perceived terrorist threat was the second greatest reason given (27 per cent) by those who support the ban, behind fears Muslim people 'do not integrate into Australian society' (41 per cent).

22 per cent of those who supported a ban said Muslim people 'do not share our values', while just four per cent said Australia is a Christian country.

The poll of 1,000 people across Australia was conducted twice because of the 'surprising' results.

Peter Lewis, Executive Director of the research company, said he had concerns the results showed it was a 'rogue poll' because he did not believe the poll would be so decisive.

'We thought it would be more than the actual Hanson vote, but the actual level of support surprised me,' Mr Lewis said in a statement.

'I was worried it was what we call a 'rogue poll' - although the weekly 2PP [two party preferred] looked fine.

'So we repeated [the poll] and got the exact same result,' Mr Lewis said.

The results come just a week after One Nation's Pauline Hanson told the Senate in her maiden speech: 'Australia is in danger of being swamped by Muslims.'

'If you are not prepared to obey our laws, respect our culture and our way of life, then I suggest you go back where you came from,' she said.

'If it will be any help, I will take you to the airport and wave you goodbye with sincere best wishes.'

She said the 'culture and ideology' of Islam is 'incompatible to our own'.

Greens senators staged a walk-out mid-way through Ms Hanson's speech.

Political commentator Osman Faruqi said Muslim people had been demonised in the media for the past 15 years without the space to respond, and the 'racist' results should not come as a surprise.

Labor's Tim Watts said on Twitter there was a 'need for political leadership to challenge and unpack this simplistic, political snake oil'.

He pointed out Australia's regional ally Indonesia has the world's largest Muslim population.

'Imagine if Hanson's xenophobia caused us to cut ourselves off from China in the 90s? Now she wants to make the same mistake with Indonesia?' he said on Wednesday morning.

The news comes as race discrimination commissioner Tim Soutphommasane criticised Ms Hanson for stoking the flames of racial hatred as an 'initiation rite' for new waves of migrants.

He is due to speak at Australian National University on Wednesday.

'Some would say that just as the Irish, Italians, Greeks and Asians copped ugliness, so too will Muslims. That immigrants must show grit and forbearance, become part of the mainstream, and then be free to have a go at the next lot who arrive,' Mr Soutphommasane's speech notes say, according to Guardian Australia.

'While we may never eradicate racism and bigotry, it isn't good enough to say its targets must grin and bear it, or that there's nothing we can do. Doing so amounts to normalising racism, to suggesting that it should be tolerated.'


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 September, 2016

Free speech destructive to Left’s stifling orthodoxies

Perhaps it was the delirium of pneumonia that allowed Hillary Clinton to speak so freely, putting half of Donald Trump’s supporters in what she called the "basket of deplorables". Like the in vino veritas that sets in after a few drinks, Clinton’s honesty was refreshing.

They are "racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic — you name it", said Clinton of the Deplorables. In one fell swoop the unplugged Democratic presidential candidate lifted the lid on the neo-fascist Left.

Clinton’s moment of ill-discipline reduced the fraud of so-called progressive politics to a simple illiberal equation: if you disagree with me on race matters, you are a racist. If you disagree with me over lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex politics, you are a homophobe. Disagree with my position on Islam, you are an ­Islamophobe. If you disagree with me on immigration, you are a xenophobe. Rather than engaging in debate, too many on the Left would rather portray disagreement on totemic issues as grounds for a mental disorder with the sole aim of shutting down any challenge to leftist orthodoxy.

The same politics of deriding deplorables is endemic in Australia, especially in the same-sex marriage debate. The Greens and LGBTI activists claim that allowing Australians to decide whether marriage should be redefined would fuel harmful hate speech from same-sex marriage opponents. Worse, the leaders of Australia’s alternative government succumbed to the lowest of low-rent politics. A plebiscite would lead to suicides, Bill Shorten said. Deputy leader Tanya Plibersek used a young boy named Eddie, the son of a same-sex couple, for political purposes. The aim is clear: shut down debate about same-sex marriage. Agree or shut up is the staple of neo-fascists. Never mind that we are debating an institution, not the sexuality of individuals.

Malcolm Turnbull exposed Labor’s thought police during question time last Wednesday. "Was Julia Gillard a homophobe when she opposed same-sex marriage? Was Penny Wong a homophobe when she opposed same-sex marriage? Of course not. The reality is, if people who opposed same-sex marriage then are not homophobes, then they are not homophobes now. The Labor Party has to stop preaching this hatred," the Prime Minister said.

Alas, same-sex marriage activists chose hatred last Friday when they learnt that Christian groups planned to meet at the Mercure Sydney Airport hotel to prepare for the no campaign. The threats of violence, feral social media posts, including "are your children safe at Mercure" and nasty phone calls to staff showed the disdain for debate among same-sex marriage activists. Hotel management cancelled the event to protect staff. Did left-wingers in favour of same-sex marriage condemn the hate-filled campaign from their own side? No.

Whatever you may say about rigid Christian doctrinal teaching, the churches understand they operate in a liberal democracy where the marketplace of ideas will necessarily challenge their beliefs. Not so the gay-marriage zealots whose fanaticism seeks to suppress open debate and reason.

The critical question is why have so many on the Left taken this illiberal path? Whereas radical leftists in the 1960s were at the vanguard of libertarianism, challenging oppressive customs and canons, too many are now enforcers of their own stifling orthodoxies. The end of liberalism for many on the Left started more than 40 years ago when, by embracing identity politics, they untethered human rights from classical notions of freedom. Sex, sexuality, race and other forms of personal identification trumped Enlightenment freedoms and the very notion of universal, libertarian rights.

Soon enough, identity politics fuelled victimhood claims in a confected marketplace of outrage with feelings now the measurement of human rights. The right not to be offended, not to have one’s feelings hurt, marked the downward spiral of the liberal Left. Instead, a paternalistic Left set ­itself up as the arbiter of rights and freedoms based on repressive ­adherence to its feelings-based moral code rather than the universal rights of mankind.

There are few more defining moments in the Left’s long, illiberal demise than its response when Muslim fundamentalists slapped a fatwa on Salman Rushdie for writing The Satanic Verses, demanding his death, burning his novel and marching in London to suppress words.

By choosing silence at this pivotal moment, left-wing elites sided with Muslim fundamentalists who understood that free speech threatened their grip on power.

Now it’s the same with the Western Left. They understand that free speech is the enemy of their illiberal, stifling orthodoxies. It explains why so many on the Left refuse to countenance any change to section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, even while three students from the Queensland University of Technology are dragged through a three-year legal rigmarole of racial discrimination claims for posting innocuous comments on Facebook. The silence from most on the Left attests to the neo-fascist transformation of their politics. To speak up would expose the illiberal project that the Left has undertaken for four decades.

Those who call out the Left’s dangerous regression deserve kudos. British writer Nick Cohen marched against Margaret Thatcher and denounced New Labour’s embrace of corporate capitalism. Cohen tendered his resignation from the Left a year ago: "Slowly, too slowly, I am ashamed to say, I began to notice that left-wing politics had turned rancid."

In Australia, Guy Rundle recently lamented the Left’s enthusiasm for the ever-encroaching state and how the aim of anti-discrimination laws "is to make the censor ‘go inside’, so that you ultimately second-guess your own impulse to challenge, to express, to be outrageous or genuinely on the edge".

At the weekend, former minister in the Hawke and Keating governments Peter Baldwin traced the sad demise of the Left from a rational movement committed to equality of people, regardless of race, gender and class, to one of moral depravity where so-called progressive intellectuals denounce Ayaan Hirsi Ali as an "Enlightenment fundamentalist". Hirsi Ali was born a Muslim, was subjected to female genital mutilation and escaped an arranged marriage. Shouldn’t we pay tribute to a woman who choses Western freedoms over Islamic restraints?

We need more people like Baldwin who are honest about the Left’s conversion into loathers of freedom. Half-hearted analyses don’t cut it. When former NSW Labor premier Bob Carr scolded members of the Left for intolerance in the free speech debate, he refused to acknowledge that section 18C cements intolerance in our polity. It’s like saying you support democratic nations but not the sole beacon of democracy in the Middle East, Israel. It makes no sense.

Equally absurd, the Greens can walk out on Pauline Hanson but to denounce a duly elected senator as having no place in a democracy is more offensive than anything Hanson says. It is the antithesis of democracy. We’ve tiptoed around calling out the neo-fascist mindset of many on the Left for too long. What is more deplorably neo-fascist: the clumsy words of the often ill-informed Hanson who believes in free speech or the slippery sorts on the illiberal Left who cannot stomach open debate?


Plan for backpacker job to dole recipients

Farmers struggling to find backpacker fruit pickers should be able to hire Australians who are on the dole.

That's the solution being proposed by crossbench senator Nick Xenophon - and all he needs is the government to relax rules on welfare recipients.

Farmers are worried backpackers needed for seasonal picking are being driven away by new 32.5 per cent tax imposed from the first dollar they earn.

The impasse on the tax - which the government says will be resolved soon - has already hurt some family businesses worried their produce will be left rotting on the ground.

A novel solution to a possible backpacker shortage has been presented to the federal government. Under the plan, they would get an extra $300 if they have to travel more than 100km, while job service providers would also get a bonus if they successfully placed jobseekers.

Treasurer Scott Morrison says the real problem with the welfare system is some people reject such jobs.

"The reason we need to get backpackers into these jobs in these places is because there are unemployed Australians living in these areas who won't take these jobs," he told Ray Hadley on 2GB radio on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Acting Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce says a resolution on the tax - which has been delayed until January - will come in just over a month.

He's spoken to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who is in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, about the issue.

"We're going to do this diligently and bring this to a conclusion," he told reporters in Rockhampton.


Turnbull government pitches welfare overhaul

The Turnbull government is preparing to outline a fresh attempt to break the cycle of welfare dependency by targeting key groups including young carers and young parents.

Social Services Minister Christian Porter will tell the National Press Club on Tuesday there is "nothing morally superior or progressive" about handing out more money if it only serves to entrench the cycle of social security dependence.

But the government's first move will be to create a $96 million honey pot - the Try, Test and Learn Fund - to trial experimental initiatives aimed at getting key groups off the public books and into employment.

"Anyone who can see these human stories playing out on the ground can come to us with an idea," Mr Porter told ABC radio on Tuesday. "We will fund those solutions and measure them".

Off the back of a PricewaterhouseCoopers report commissioned by his predecessor Scott Morrison, Mr Porter pointed to young carers and young parents as two groups for whom welfare spending appeared to be failing.

According to the government, the report will show that among the nation's 11,200 young carers aged 15-24, the average person will spend 43 years on welfare and cost the taxpayer $500,000 each. The total lifetime bill for the group would be $5.2 billion.

Similarly, Australia's 4370 young parents (aged under 18) will spend an average of 45 years on welfare at a total cost of $2.4 billion. "This is a terrible failure and it needs to change," Mr Porter said.

Mr Porter will release the PwC report on Tuesday, but the government has been busy laying the groundwork. In an extended interview with News Corp at the weekend, Mr Porter warned the welfare system was "not making life any better" for many Australians, and that "too often it seems to make life worse over the long run".

While the Turnbull government's approach has been compared to reforms made in New Zealand, the minister said he was not pursuing short-term savings, and any financial benefits to the taxpayer would be "in the very long run".

But he noted the social security budget was growing at a rate of about six per cent and all portfolios needed to play a part in returning the budget to surplus.

"We are trying to move people out of the system," Mr Porter said on Tuesday. "To that extent we are using employment as a proxy for the better life."

He resisted criticism that welfare recipients often moved into poor quality, part-time and low-paid jobs with little opportunity for advancement.

"These types of jobs are far better than 40-odd years inside the welfare system," he said. The benefits of work were effectively "being taken away" from young people who became glued to the system, Mr Porter said, and they would never experience "that structure, that self-reliance, that dignity and purpose" of employment.


Treasurer Scott Morrison vows to look into NEET duo’s welfare status

THE two NEETs from Mount Druitt who would prefer to spend their days ‘chilling at Maccas" but knocked back jobs with the food giant could soon find the need for work more urgent.

The Daily Telegraph revealed last week that NEETs, Ashleigh, 21, and Amy, 17, from Mt Druitt, would rather spend their days "chilling at maccas" and taking their old Holden Barina on "off-road tracks" than look for a job.

Ashleigh told The Daily Telegraph she would "never get a job". "I don’t want to work my whole life and just die ... I want more than that," she said from the car park of the Mt ­Druitt Centrelink office.

"I would tell you it’s hard to get a job but to be honest I don’t even try. Centerlink pays my rent and that’s all I need."
The pair told The Daily Telegraph they would rather drive off-road or hang out at Maccas. Picture: Justin Lloyd

Her friend Amy was recently kicked out of her trade college and has been unable to hold down a job. "They pay you nothing so why would I rock up," she said.

Treasurer Scott Morrison told broadcaster Ray Hadley today that he would look into the status of their welfare benefits with Social Services Minister Christian Porter.

Hadley told the minister: "It’s simply a matter of going out there and saying: ‘here they are, they’ve identified themselves, it’s our belief they never wish to work — good, they’re entitled not to work, but get them off whatever Centrelink payment they’re on tomorrow’ because I guarantee today those same two girls are still drawing money on the public purse."

The Treasurer said: "Leave it with me. I’ll have a chat with Christian."

Mr Morrison said he was optimistic of winning crossbenchers’ support for a law forcing the unemployed to wait four weeks before accessing dole payments.

"There’s a whole range of exemptions that protect very vulnerable people, but for those who are ready and able to work, we’re saying there should be a mandatory waiting time before you can go on the dole," he said.

"What we found in New Zealand is when these waiting periods were put in time then people went and got jobs."

Mr Morrison’s declaration comes as Mr Porter, who will release the report at the National Press Club in Canberra on Tuesday, is set to call for a revolution in the way social security is paid.
Federal Minister for Social Services Christian Porter is set to call for a revolution in the way social security is paid.

Federal Minister for Social Services Christian Porter is set to call for a revolution in the way social security is paid.Source:AAP

Jenny Macklin, the opposition social services spokeswoman, acknowledged there were "some positive reports" out of New Zealand but said the government needed to "invest" in the unemployed to get them into work.


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

21 September, 2016

Foreign buyers forced to sell properties

There's not a lot of sense to this.  A Chinese buyer can't pick up an Australian farm and take it back to China.  So what is the problem?  One effect it will have is to depress  prices in the class of real estate affected.  That is good if you are a buyer but bad if you are a seller.  "You takes your pick", I guess

Treasurer Scott Morrison has forced the sale of another 16 residential properties held by foreign investors worth $14 million because they were in breach of the law.

The properties were purchased in Victoria, NSW, Queensland and Western Australia with prices ranging from $200,000 to $2 million, and involved individuals from the UK, Malaysia, China and Canada.

"The foreign investors either purchased established residential property without Foreign Investment Review Board approval, or had approval but their circumstances changed, meaning they were breaking the rules," Mr Morrison said in a statement on Monday.

Since taking office in 2013, the coalition government has forced foreign nationals to divest a total of 46 properties worth almost $93 million.

The government had to ensure foreign investment provided benefits to all Australians in line with law and not contrary to the national interest, the treasurer said.

Since the government introduced a new penalty regime late in 2015, 179 notices have been issued to people who have failed to obtain FIRB approval before buying a property.

Illegal real estate purchases by foreign citizens attract criminal penalties of up to $135,000 or three years' imprisonment, or both for individuals; and up to $675,000 for companies.

The new rules also allow capital gains made on illegal investments to be forfeited.

In addition to divestments, a number of investors voluntarily sold their properties while the Australian Taxation Office was examining their case.

"There are at least 25 examples of foreign investors self-divesting in this way showing a change in behaviour towards more compliance with the rules and a strengthening of the program overall," Mr Morrison said.



The authoritarian Left is stifling democracy with threats, tantrums on plebiscite

Not much different from Hitler's Brownshirts

In the gay marriage debate, the Labor Party and Greens want to ­silence public reason to impose their will on citizens.

They believe the state should rule the citizen, not the reverse. They regard the will of the people as a threat to their power. Thus, they seek to deny the Australian people the opportunity to engage in public reason on the question that forms the foundation of a healthy society: what is the meaning of marriage and family?

The proposed plebiscite is an opportunity for the Australian people to revitalise democracy by engaging in a process of public reason as we consider the meaning of marriage and family in the 21st century. It is a positive opportunity to learn from each other and challenge ourselves as we exercise reason, logic, free thought and speech to question the most fundamental social institution of society.

Gay and bisexual people should not be held captive in the centre of the marriage debate because it does not begin with the question of homosexuality. It begins with defining marriage and family and the role of the state and church authority in relation to each.

A part of the reason that the marriage debate is so angry is that the Green-Left is hostile to the exercise of public reason. Like children who throw tantrums because they lack verbal fluency, Green-Left politicians must learn to use their words. It is possible that they do not know how to discuss the question of gay marriage because they are uneducated in the philosophy of marriage, family and society. An intelligent person would take that ignorance as an opportunity to learn.

But the Green-Left’s ignorance is equalled only by its arrogance. Its activists learn only to confirm their worldview. In the classroom of the Green-Left, the citizen learns what to think, not how to think. The mind is stunted, vital questions wither on the branch, the world contracts, the citizen is hollowed out and over time, democracy begins to die. In the classroom of the Green-Left, the lights go out on enlightenment.

We renew our faith in enlightenment and human reason by affirming that democracy begins with the citizen, not the state. It is built by each generation anew on the foundations that preserve its perpetuity: the secular separation of state from church authority, universal law, political liberty, formal equality, freedom of speech and public reason.

The degradation of the foundations of democracy by the 21st century Left has no parallel in Western history. The hard Left attacks democracy using rhetorical and political tools born of a profoundly anti-democratic impulse. They seek to quash a free people’s vote on the meaning of marriage ­— the plebiscite endorsed in the federal election ­— by enforcing rule from above.

They replace public reason with emotionalism, objectivity with bigotry, freedom of speech with the mobbing of those who dissent from the Left party line.

Liberal MP Tim Wilson supports the plebiscite because he believes in free speech and democracy. Last week on Twitter, he was subjected to abhorrent abuse by Left activists who took their cue from Labor leader Bill Shorten and Greens leader Richard di Natale to accuse plebiscite advocates of hypothetically killing children. They smeared Wilson as a "disgrace to humanity" and a threat to gay youth.

But consider who poses the real threat — the politician who puts Australians’ right to free speech and democracy before his personal yearning for gay marriage, or Left activists who respond with tweets like: "F..k you hard". The ­violent bigotry of the anti-democratic Left emerged once more when gay marriage activists forced the censorship of a group hoping to discuss the proposed plebiscite in relation to Christian ideas about marriage. Not content with targeting gay politicians who dissent from the Left party line, activists allegedly threatened violence against hotel staff for agreeing to host the small Christian group meeting. As reported by David Crowe in The Weekend Australian, the Accor Hotels group was so concerned about the threatening calls by gay marriage activists that it cancelled the function. The silencing of Christians by Left activists represents a gross violation of the human rights to freedom of thought and speech, freedom of movement and assembly.

The Left was once a constructive force for public reason powered by free thought and speech, objective scholarly inquiry, logic and the art of rhetoric. But in the 21st century, the Left has become what it once fought; a stifling orthodoxy of irrational establishment conformists who dominate by means of oppression and rule from above without reason.

It is the embodiment of a negation. It negates freedom. It negates universal law. It negates the scientific method by replacing reason with subjective emotion and political correctness in scholarly inquiry, public debate and jurisprudence. It negates secularism by denying the separation of powers between state and church authority, seeking instead the expansion of state power over the church.

And in the most self-annihilating doctrine of the modern Left, its members have negated formal equality by erecting a regime of codified minority supremacy. Having dispensed with liberalism and formal equality, the Left is now turning on democracy. The marriage debate has exposed the fundamentally anti-democratic constitution of the Green-Left.

Public reason is the marrow of democracy. The process of political deliberation and debate infuse democracy with meaning by encouraging the free flow of ideas towards resolution in informed choice by the majority. The majority of Australians have chosen a plebiscite to resolve the question of marriage reform.

In ancient Greece, the birth of democracy by public reason was held in contrast to politics by divination. The idea that the citizen should create and re-create the state by actively engaging in public reason is the constitution of progressive democracy. Rule from above by appeal to divination — religious or ideological — marks the end of democracy as an enlightenment project.

The proposed marriage plebiscite is the idea of democracy made manifest. Let the people speak — and be heard.


Brandis: Coalition can negotiate with Labor on same-sex marriage plebiscite

The attorney general, George Brandis, has confirmed that the government is prepared to negotiate with Labor to win its support to set up the plebiscite on same-sex marriage plebiscite.

Speaking on Sky News on Sunday, Brandis defended the government’s proposed architecture for the 11 February poll – including $15m of public funding for yes and no case advertising – but said the government was prepared to compromise.

Brandis also conceded the plebiscite was "constitutionally unorthodox" and there could be "outliers" on the yes and no case that did not engage in civil debate.

Bill Shorten is expected to recommend the Labor caucus block the plebiscite when it meets in three weeks, leaving little time for the government to win opposition support.

Malcolm Turnbull flagged on Friday that the government was willing to negotiate on the plebiscite.

Brandis said: "The theme of this parliament has to be compromise, we have to deal with the parliament that the people gave us."

Asked about negotiation on the plebiscite, the attorney general said: "Just as we have seen successful outcomes to the omnibus savings bill in the week, then of course we prepared to talk to the opposition."

Brandis said he was "not prepared to flag any particular things" to win Labor support.

Penny Wong, Labor leader in the Senate, said on Sunday that the opposition had "serious concerns about a plebiscite" which had "only been worsened by the way in which the prime minister has dealt with this".

"I think it’s pretty self-evident which way the Labor party is going to go in the parliament."

She said Turnbull had opposed public funding but had been rolled by the right wing of his party.

Asked about possible compromise, Wong said: "There is a good compromise available to him. Have a free vote."

Some of Labor’s objections could be mitigated by scrapping public funding for the campaigns, setting clearer rules on advertising and making the plebiscite self-executing, ushering in marriage equality automatically if the yes vote won.

But Labor has set out many other objections including its effect on vulnerable LGBTI people, that it treats LGBTI rights differently to other issues decided by parliament, and the bad precedent the departure from the normal process of representative democracy sets.

Brandis said that "mainstream" LGBTI rights advocates didn’t want the plebiscite, but were "prepared to deal with it" since it is "the only feasible outcome for marriage equality in the near future".

He said most LGBTI people, and the Australian people, were not prepared to wait for years for same-sex marriage.

On Thursday LGBTI organisations, including Australian Marriage Equality and Australians For Equality, attacked the government’s proposed plebiscite. Their objections included that the government has not specified amendments to the Marriage Act, that $15m of public funding is "unacceptable" and there would be an "uneven playing field" because religious organisations have tax deductible status.

The government will propose new protections for "conscientious objectors" to same-sex marriage which marriage equality advocates fear could allow civil celebrants, registrars and even bakers and florists to refuse to serve same-sex weddings.

Asked about Dean Smith’s plan to vote against plebiscite because it was "constitutionally unorthodox", Brandis conceded that the Coalition senator’s objection was correct.

The attorney general claimed that was not part of Labor’s objection and said a plebiscite was appropriate because same-sex marriage was a social question not a political one.

"It’s not something the political class have any greater wisdom about than any other person in the community ... they have an equal right to be a decision-maker."

Brandis said he thought a clear majority would support allowing same-sex couples to marry but that shouldn’t be taken for granted and was not a "done deal".

"This is an argument that still needs to be made in the plebiscite campaign."

Brandis defended the $15m of public funding, by noting referendum campaigns usually feature funding for both sides of the argument.

The plebiscite-enabling legislation has raised concerns third-party groups will be free to run advertisements without any restraint on the nature or truth of their messages.

The attorney general said he was "very confident" the tone of the advertising approved by the yes and no case committees would be civil and truthful.

"There will be third parties – I can’t exclude the possibility that on both the pro and anti change sides there might be outliers.

"We’re seeing this now – where does this fiction come from that we’re not having a debate now?"


Feast Festival boss suspended ‘for being too straight’

We are seeing a lot of bigotry from Queers these days

Adelaide’s Feast Festival, which celebrates South Australia’s LGBTQI community, has suspended its general manager in what insiders claim is an attack on her sexuality.

The festival’s 10-member board met on Friday to oust Cassandra Liebeknecht, who is straight, over allegations of unprofessional conduct.

Four directors resigned in protest after the meeting which suspended Ms Liebeknecht on full pay, pending an investigation.

Festival insiders said the allegations were frivolous and the board had ambushed Ms Liebeknecht after listening to "squeaky wheels" within the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex community who did not want a straight woman leading a queer organisation.

The move leaves the 20-year-old festival in doubt six weeks ahead of its opening, planned to be headlined by pop diva Dannii Minogue, and one month after Feast announced a permanent "queer arts and cultural hub" in Adelaide.

Ms Liebeknecht said the allegations against her are false and she will consider making a complaint about discrimination.

"I’ve sought legal advice. There’s been enough slander against me. I’m very concerned in regards to any further slander," she said. "I’m concerned about my future and my family and what this might do to me."

Ms Liebeknecht said a small cohort had been opposed to her leading the festival since she started the job in 2014 and she had been a target of social media ­attacks.

"There’s a lot of stuff on Facebook. In regards to discrimination, being the general manager of Feast ... it has not been easy," she said.

"I’ve been spat on, I’ve had people scare me, I’ve had people contact me at work anonymously, saying ‘I know where your children go to school’," she said.

"There was also a gentleman who continues to this day to slander me for my sexuality. It just gets vicious."

The festival received more than $200,000 in South Australian government funding this year. Feast Festival chairman Joshua Rayner said the board was not in a position to comment about internal investigations but confirmed he had accepted the resignations of four directors.


Coal still in demand

Miner New Hope Group expects a recent lift in coal prices will be sustained and boost its earnings in the current financial year.

Weak global oil and gas prices contributed to a $53.7 million loss for 2015/16 for the Queensland-based company, more than double the $21.8 million loss in the prior year, although costs from a new mine acquisition were also a big driver.

New Hope lost $22.6 million to sliding coal and oil prices and in foreign exchange impacts during the 12 months to July 31, but managing director Shane Stephan says better times are ahead after the Chinese government restricted thermal coal supplies - a move that has driven prices up 40 per cent since the start of July.

"Last year, around 50 per cent of the Australian thermal coal industry was not making cash," Mr Stephan told AAP.

"Most importantly, over 90 per cent of the Chinese domestic thermal coal industry was not making cash. That is simply not sustainable."

He said he expected the better coal prices to hold steady.

"We can't see the Chinese government going backwards from the action they have taken in order to constrain supply," he said.

Japan Taiwan and South Korea were also driving demand for thermal coal, he said, with future opportunities expected in the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

New Hope recorded earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of $81.3 million in 2015/16, down from $132.8 million a year earlier.

In the 12 months to July 31, New Hope's profit before extraordinary items was $5.03 million, down from $51.7 million in 2014/15.

Revenue was up 5.1 per cent at $531.5 million but New Hope's bottom line was hit by $52.1 million in acquisition costs, including costs related to its purchase of a 40 per cent stake in the Bengallla coal mine in NSW.

Mr Stephan said the company was benefiting from firmer prices in the current financial year and from its "well-timed" Bengalla acquisition.

The benchmark Newcastle spot price for coal was $US51 a tonne in March when the Bengalla transaction was completed, he said, and was now $US70 a tonne.

During the five months of New Hope's ownership, Bengalla production contributed 1.5 million tonnes to coal sales and earnings of $21.3 million.

Fat Prophets analyst David Lennox said the group's operational result was solid.

"The balance sheet is reasonable with an operating cash surplus of $61 million which is a good result given the sector has been under considerable price pressure," he said.


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

20 September, 2016

'We don't to be swamped by Muslims': Anti-Islam protesters gather outside Sydney home of 'ISIS-inspired terror attacker'

Man atacked by mad Muslim badly hurt

Anti-Muslim protesters have gathered outside the home of Ihsas Khan, the alleged stabbing terror attack perpetrator.

The alleged ISIS-inspired attack Khan is charged with carrying out in Minto, south-west Sydney, has left grandfather and cabinet maker Wayne Greenhalgh, 57, with permanent damage to his hands and other injuries.

A small group of 'vocal' protesters carried Australian flags and placards proclaiming 'Stop the Invasion' and 'Islamic refugees not welcome' during the gathering on Saturday, a week on from the attack.

According to 7 News, they had gathered calling for a ban on all Muslim immigration.

One member of the group, who appeared to be Nick Folkes from the far right group Party for Freedom, said: 'We don't to be swamped by Muslims and that's what's happening at the moment'.

But one resident from the neighbourhood said: 'They're doing exactly what he [Khan] did for three days before he went off'.

And Mr Greenhalgh, who is set to appear on A Current Affair, has urged people to not hate Muslims.

According to witnesses, Khan's behaviour leading up to the attack on Mr Greenhalgh had becoming increasingly erratic.

He's reported to have been a 'religious fanatic' and was allegedly heard shouting 'Allah Akbar' and other Arabic words during the stabbing, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

Khan also had schizophrenia, it was reported.

Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn said: 'We know that this person has strong extremist beliefs inspired by ISIS'.

Before the attack, he would also allegedly preach in the street, wearing white robes and shouting verses from the Koran, according to reports. 

He has been charged with committing a terrorist act and attempted murder.

Mr Greenhalgh was recovering well mentally, but was phyisically 'messed up', A Current Affair host Tracy Grimshaw said on Monday.

He couldn't use his hands and had received two puncture wounds to his torso - one which penetrated his lung - and a large gash to his right arm during the attack.

A doctor believed his two little fingers on his right hand would be 'ultimately useless to him', Ms Grimshaw said.

'He's a cabinet maker... he needs every cent that he earns to survive - to keep the family going.'

His left hand was 'useless' to him because all the skin was stripped off his middle finger and he thought his left hand could 'come good',  but not his right, she said.


Gender theory taught in Australian schools is a matter of faith’, says family law expert

A leading family law and child-protection expert has criticised the teaching of radical gender theory in classrooms across the country, likening the "odd and unscientific" beliefs promoted by groups such as the Safe Schools Coalition to those espoused by Scientology.

Sydney University law profes­sor Patrick Parkinson has called for an extensive overhaul of the Safe Schools program, having taken issue with its ­promotion of "exaggerated statistics" on the prevalence of transgender and intersex conditions in the community to support its creators’ "belief that gender is fluid and can even be chosen".

In a research paper to be published today, Professor Parkinson notes that gender ideology, which lies at the heart of Safe Schools, has become a widespread belief system, particularly in Western countries.

With its origins in university philosophy departments rather than science, it has no place in the primary or secondary school curriculum, which is required to be evidence-based, he argues.

"There would be an uproar if the beliefs of Scientologists ... were being taught in state schools through state-funded programs," he says, referring to the controversial religion.

"Yet the belief system that what gender you are is a matter for you to determine without ­reference to your physical and ­reproductive attribu­tes might not be dissimilar."

Professor Parkinson’s damn­ing review comes as the NSW Education Department investig­ates the inclusion of gender ­theory in its own official curriculum, including its mandatory sex education program for Years 11 and 12.

Last week state Education Minister Adrian Piccoli asked his departmental secretary, former ABC boss Mark Scott, to look into whether there was a scient­ific basis for claims made through­out the Crossroads program that gender was "a social construct", neither fixed nor ­binary.

A spokesman for the Education Department said Mr Scott would report back to the minister’s office "as soon as possible".

Professor Parkinson’s report, The Controversy over the Safe Schools Program — Finding the Sensible Centre, which is available via the Social Science ­Research Network, has added further weight to concerns about the program.

While originally touted as a program designed to stamp out homophobia in the schoolyard, it has divided parents, politicians, religious groups and even the LGBTI community.

Prominent transgender advocate Catherine McGregor faced a backlash when she recently spoke out against Safe Schools, claiming that it would not have helped her as a young person grappling with gender ­issues. Professor Parkinson is also concerned that its teachings may harm some young people.

The former member of the NSW Child Protection Council, who has advised government and other organisations on ­matters related to child safety, says a school-wide program that normalises transitioning from one gender to another creates a risk that some children will ­become confused unnecessarily.

"Gender dysphoria in childhood and adolescence is far too complex to be addressed by pop psychology or internet-based self-help materials," he says.

"While a program of this kind may offer benefits for some young people, there is reason to be concerned that it may cause harm to other young people who experience same-sex attraction or gender confusion.

"This is not good enough for an educational resource."

Professor Parkinson believes it is unlikely that concerns raised by the community will go away.

He says politicians who have supported it based on its origins as an anti-bullying program would likely face a backlash from their constituencies unless the program was reviewed and significantly reformed.

More than 500 schools across the country have signed up to be Safe Schools members, and the program has attracted federal and state funds.


Drayton South coalmine in Hunter Valley recommended for approval

The controversial Drayton South open-cut coal mine planned for the Hunter Valley has been given the green light by the NSW department of planning, taking the battle between the region’s prestigious horse studs and mining giant Anglo American to an independent commission.

Despite being rejected three times in the past by the NSW Planning Assessment Commission, the planning and environment department said it believes the coal mining and thoroughbred stud industries can "operate as neighbours without major impact on either industry."

"Based on new independent reports, new evidence … the department has concluded that, with appropriate management and mitigation measures, the two industries can continue to operate in proximity," a spokesperson for the Department said.

The Coolmore and Darley stud properties are across a road from the proposed mine site, and have previously said that if approved, the project could force them to move.

In a detailed report released today, the department recommended the project for approval, subject to 23 measures to manage dust, noise, blasting and water.

Strict air quality controls, noise criteria and water management performance measures would mean the mine would have minimal impact on the surrounding properties.

Anglo American commissioned a report by Dr Greg Houston, who concluded the thoroughbred industry would still exist even in the unlikely event Coolmore and Darley chose to leave the Upper Hunter.

An independent peer-review of Dr Houston’s report, commissioned by the department and written by the Australian National University’s Professor Jeff Bennett, broadly supported the findings. "I am in agreement with the major conclusions drawn by (Dr Houston’s) Report," Professor Bennett wrote.

He also said "the Stud’s operational potential will not be compromised by the Drayton South operation."

The Upper Hunter thoroughbred industry contributes an estimated $5 billion a year to the economy, and ranks alongside Kentucky in the US and Newmarket in Britain as a high-quality breeding area.


Queensland restaurant British Colonial Co accused of ‘gross racism’

British colonial life did have a style of its own and it is that style which is being reflected.  It is about domestic style, not conquest or oppression.  But again we have here the characteristic Leftist attempt to abolish the past

A BRISBANE restaurant has been accused of "gross racism" on social media for promoting itself as celebrating the British Empire’s "push into the developing cultures of the world".

British Colonial Co, located in Hawthorne, opened in late June but attracted criticism today over a description on its website, which read: "Inspired by the stylish days of the empirical push into the developing cultures of the world, with the promise of adventure and modern refinement in a safari setting".

As of Monday afternoon, that tagline had been changed to: "A refined and modern dining experience with the adventure of east meets west in a plantation style, club setting".

The restaurant serves dishes such as hickory smoked quail with tarragon polenta and African-influenced eggplant spinach sauce, and a lamb burger with goats curd, grilled eggplant, hummus, baby spinach and carrot jam.

In a July Facebook post, the restaurant explained some of the inspiration behind its interior design styling.

"‘The sun never sets on the British Empire’ is the oft-repeated quotation used when trying to explain British colonial style," the post read.

"In a nutshell, the style is a result of English citizens travelling the world during the empire’s heyday, bringing with them typically heavy wooden furnishings and adapting to hot local climates with lighter local fare.

"These travellers also brought back exotic pieces from the Caribbean, India, the Far East and Africa as a way to show off how far they’d travelled. They tried to travel relatively light; campaign furniture (light, foldable and portable) also became a part of the look.

"The results can mean a wild mix of light bamboo or cane furniture, heavier pieces, plaids mixed with animal prints, dark floors next to white walls and paisleys mixed with chintzes."
British Colonial Co in Hawthorne. Picture: Chris McCormack

The British Empire colonised many developing countries including Australia, India, large parts of Africa and Asia, often pushing out and killing local indigenous communities.


Shunning free speech reform is the real 'fool's errand'

Restrictions on free speech imposed by section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 look set to remain in place as the government turns its back on reform.

But this refusal to address widely held concerns about diminished freedom of speech is actually a symptom of the complacency of the entire political class.

George Brandis has ruled out repeal as a "fool's errand". And the Prime Minister says that union misconduct, budget repair, and marriage equality are more pressing issues for the government.

The real fool's errand is the government's attempt to pass off repeal of a bad law restricting free speech as a trivial distraction.

Civil societies tolerate what they cannot afford to punish -- one reason why we don't have silly rules prohibiting the 'burkini' on Aussie beaches -- and punish what they can't afford to tolerate.

Since we want to punish free speech, we can't be willing to tolerate it. Loss of our appetite for free speech will mean that soon enough every other dish we turn to will taste of ash.

Politicians are convinced all that protects us from anarchy, disorder and decay are restrictions on free speech that can be -- and are -- used to stifle any discussion deemed offensive or provocative.

But what the political class -- buoyed by some in the media -- considers inappropriate seldom matches what ordinary people gathered in the pub watching the footy might think.

This is the discrepancy that has opened up between political and popular points of view and is symptomatic of a deeper crisis in our political culture.

Our politicians are trapped in a bubble of group solipsism where their own self-enforcing points of view are the only ones that count. So the heavy yoke of 18C continues to press across our shoulders.

Retaining restrictions on free speech will mean citizens are denied opportunities freely to express differences of opinions amongst themselves. This tears at the fabric of civil society.

We must depend upon a small band of 18C senate reformers to succeed so that the rest of us may be freed from subservience to speech that is not free but patrolled relentlessly in the name of equality.


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 September, 2016

An Australian Mona Lisa?

The picture above is of course of Nikki Gogan being told by the man she loves, that he loves another. 

I very rarely watch TV and I certainly did not watch the show from which the above photo came, but it popped up so often in my news feed in recent days that I began to take notice of it.  And something that seems striking about it is that that photo is far more beautiful than any other photo of her.  She is undoubtedly a very attractive woman but in that photo there is an enigmatic beauty about her that is akin to that of the Mona Lisa.

We normally find a smiling face most attractive yet that is essentially an immobile face.  It is not a sad face or a relaxed face.  To me it is a face in waiting:  Hoping for the best but prepared for the worst.  That is probably a rather unusual state to be in so is that why it makes such a strong impression?  That it has made a strong impression is shown by the number of times people have put it up.  I am clearly not alone in finding it a fascinating face.

Another grab of the photo here.  There is also a video of the episode here, which shows her as very gracious even in disappointment.  He missed out on a quality lady there -- as most of Australia seems to think.

Housing Affordability: Increasing Housing Supply Still The Most Effective Solution    
Comment on McKell Institute's Choosing Opportunity, A Blueprint For A Fairer Australia:

"The McKell Institute’s Choosing Opportunity, A Policy Blueprint For A Fairer Australia report is a welcome articulation of the methodology and underlying assumptions that seeks to provide justification for Labor’s proposed changes to negative gearing and capital gains tax," Wilhelm Harnisch, CEO of Master Builders Australia said.

"The report's modelling does not explain how the current negative gearing provisions are the cause of the housing affordability problem, nor does it therefore provide an evidence-based reason why it is a solution to fixing it," he said.

"In fact, while calling for changes to negative gearing the report at the same time recognises that this would have little impact on housing affordability. More importantly the report recognises the importance of housing supply in moderating house price increases," Wilhelm Harnisch said.

"Part of the modelling wrongly assumes a constant increase in new housing supply of 10 per cent per annum when, in fact, supply is highly variable which has caused house prices to escalate. This has nothing do with negative gearing," he said.

"Master Builders has long been concerned about housing affordability and continues to call on all governments to tackle the structural impediments as the only sustainable solution to improving housing affordability for home owners, renters and other disadvantaged groups in the community," Wilhelm Harnisch said.

"Tackling the structural barriers to increasing the housing supply will also grow the economy, create more jobs and increase our standard of living," he said.

"The report fails to demonstrate that negative gearing is the fundamental cause of rising house prices. Therefore tinkering with negative gearing cannot be at the core of a public policy response to Australia’s housing affordability challenge," Wilhelm Harnisch said.

Press release

Corporate Social Responsibility skin-deep?

'Corporate Social Responsibility' (CSR) is becoming a prominent part of the business of business.

CSR refers to how leading companies seek to burnish their corporate reputations by endorsing social and political issues including gender equality, gay marriage, and ethnic diversity.

Indigenous affairs makes an interesting case study of how deep the commitment to genuine social responsibility actually is -- does CSR often amount to backing invariably fashionable causes while ducking the really hard issues?

Many major companies have implemented affirmative action policies to boost the number of Indigenous employees on staff.

Hiring a 'diverse' workforce will be of some benefit to the burgeoning Indigenous middle class -- who the statistics nevertheless show are generally doing as well in health, housing, employment, education, and other social outcomes as non-Indigenous peers -- including the increasing numbers of people who have only recently discovered their ancestry and identified as Indigenous.

But how much Indigenous disadvantage will these well-intentioned staffing practices really overcome?

Consider the fact that 6% of Indigenous children (approximately 15,000 children) have had to be removed from their families due to abuse and neglect, and currently live in state care. This figure is even more shocking given that only 100,000 or so of the 670,000 Indigenous Australians live in the rural and remote communities with the worst social problems.

I believe, based on the findings of my research, that we will never 'close the gap' unless more Indigenous children are rescued from squalor and are adopted (on a non-discriminatory basis) by either an Indigenous or non-Indigenous family.

Indigenous adoption is, of course, a taboo subject in the wake of the apology for the Stolen Generations. Therefore, speaking out on the subject of Indigenous child welfare entails not only advocating for otherwise advocate-less children, but also involves copping flak for supporting ill-deservedly unpopular issues and causes. In my opinion, this kind of unfashionable advocacy is thus an act of profound social responsibility.

But I wonder if corporate Australia would agree, and would wish to run the reputational risk of associating their brands with as important but contentious an issue as Indigenous adoption?

If these doubts are fair, then a fair judge might conclude that the corporate commitment to social responsibility is somewhat skin-deep.


Cut company tax like we did tariffs
The Australian Treasury has stated that company tax is similar to a tax on imports of foreign capital. They argue Australia has benefited from tariff cuts and we will similarly benefit from cuts to the 'tariff' on imported capital. The reforms to common-variety tariffs have made cars, clothing and electronics cheaper, improving our standard of living, and have reduced a hefty tax on business inputs. The benefits have been shown in numerous studies.

But Australia is still lumped with the one remaining sizable tariff on foreign investment - through company tax. And unsurprisingly, there are numerous studies showing the benefits of cutting this tax. Treasury has found that the tax cut will lead to an improvement in GDP of around 1%, and a gain to national income of about 0.7%.

Some argue this isn't much, but it is in fact quite substantial, as Treasury has argued: the gain to GDP is only slightly less than the benefit from all the major telecommunications, ports and rail reforms in the 1990s, which lifted GDP by about 1.25%.

The tariff debate didn't hinge on whether tariff cuts were budget neutral: and we should apply the same logic to company tax cuts. And tariff reform wasn't cancelled because government funds needed to be spent in other areas such as education. Again the same logic should apply to company tax.

We didn't see many people argue against tariff cuts because they caused windfall gains to foreigners, and that approach should guide the debate on company tax. The tariff cut debate instead focused on which businesses and workers gained and lost, and this could apply to company tax: fortunately for workers, research finds that they gain the greatest benefit from a tax cut, a point acknowledged by the ALP's Chris Bowen and Andrew Leigh.

So let's remember the lessons from economic history and reduce the burden of company tax 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

18 September, 2016

Poofter leadership offer their version of civil debate

"Poofter" is a contemptuous Australian word for a male homosexual.  I use it here advisedly.  I don't have the slightest interest in where homosexuals stick their dicks.  I would rather not know, in fact.  But I do object to coercion and threats of violence coming from them.  That draws my contempt. Their contempt for free speech and democracy makes them different from Hitler and Stalin only in detail. 

Not all homosexuals are thugs.  I know some decent ones.  But the decent ones should be vigorously dissociating themselves from the slime described below and demanding police prosecution of them.   And where are Tricky Gillian's 18c speech police?  If ever there was a breach of hate speech laws the one below is certainly it

The Accor Hotels group confirmed late yesterday that a function had been abandoned after a social media storm triggered phone calls that "rattled" employees and left the company concerned about the safety of staff and guests.

A ferocious campaign against Christian groups planning to meet on same-sex marriage has forced them to cancel the event at a major hotel next week, amid claims of physical threats from marriage-equality advocates.

The Accor Hotels group confirmed late yesterday that the function had been abandoned after a social media storm triggered phone calls that "rattled" employees and left the company concerned about the safety of staff and guests.

In the first test of the "civil" debate promised for a plebiscite on gay marriage, advocates for the "yes" case were being blamed last night for the kind of "hate speech" that Bill Shorten and others have claimed would come from the "no" case.

A spokeswoman for the Mercure Sydney Airport Hotel said the campaign by marriage-equality advocates had forced the company to close the hotel’s Facebook page, sparked phone calls that disturbed hotel staff and escalated the problem to the company’s headquarters. "We’ve conducted an objective review regarding the safety and security of our hotel guests and staff," she said. "Following this review the event will no longer take place next week."

The four Christian groups booked the hotel conference room for Tuesday to prepare for a "no" campaign in the potential plebiscite, even though Labor and the Greens appear certain to block the "people’s vote" legislation in the Senate. About 100 people were expected to attend from the Sydney Anglicans, Sydney Catholics, the Marriage ­Alliance and the Australian Christian Lobby.

Gay news website Same­ alerted readers to the event. Activist ­Pauline Pantsdown urged followers to stop the "dangerous, predatory" ACL. "Are children safe at Mercure and Accor hotels?" one post said. One follower declared it ­"utterly horrifying" that Accor would host the Christian groups while another accused the hotel of supporting the "hateful, ­deceitful and extreme" ACL.

The campaign dismayed some marriage-equality supporters. "I’m becoming a little uneasy about this kind of thing," said one. "Will fundamentalist Christians and others start ­pressuring venues hosting ­marriage-equality functions to cancel them?"

Accor confirmed the campaign led to a number of "negative" calls to the hotel but would not confirm claims these calls included death threats. The spokeswoman would not say whether the police had been notified.

The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher, warned that it was beneath Australians to treat supporters of traditional marriage as proponents of ­bigotry. The Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Glenn Davies, warned of the danger to free speech from the threats that shut down the meeting.

A joint statement from the conveners said the hotel staff ­received "threats of violence" after the details of the private event were published on the ­internet. "We have chosen to reconsider our arrangements for the event next week due to our concern for the safety of the hotel staff, and our commitment to a reasonable and respectful debate," ACL managing director Lyle Shelton said.

The Weekend Australian sought comment from Australian Marriage Equality yesterday but the group was not aware of the storm over the event.

Marriage-equality advocates hailed the cancellation of the meeting late yesterday. Pantsdown accused ACL of "playing victim" and justified the campaign against the Christian groups "due to danger they pose" to LGBTI children and families.

The bill to hold the February 11 plebiscite was introduced into parliament this week but appears headed for defeat in the Senate, with the Coalition insisting on a "people’s vote" and Bill Shorten wanting Labor to vote against it.


Richo backs the homosexual marriage plebiscite

GRAHAM RICHARDSON was always a political realist so maybe his party should listen to him on this

In The Australian yesterday, Niki Savva observed the new Malcolm Turnbull. She noted his near ­insistence on consultation over virtually every cabinet decision. His focus on maintaining party unity received worthy mention as well. There can be no doubt Savva is right. The Prime Minister has surprised me in the way he has rigidly stuck to his promise on consultation. It was not always so.

Of course any focus on consultation and unity can be ­inter­preted by the media or the opposition as weakness. They will claim that on an issue such as the plebiscite he caved in to the social conservatives by agreeing to a proposal including $15 million to publicise the yes and no ­vote.

These social conservatives, mind you, have played a blinder. They have convinced the cabinet to approve a proposal ­utterly doomed from its inception. It has absolutely no chance of passing the Senate and that refusal could well pave the way for a delay of several years in any change to the laws on same-sex marriage.

Bill Shorten and many others who support same-sex marriage seem terrified by the prospect of a real public debate on this issue. While I worry that Australians cannot be trusted by many of our pollies to conduct a civil discussion on a contentious issue, I can imagine young gay people being given a hard time by some. Young heterosexuals are never ­attacked, insulted or physically harmed ­because of their sexuality, so we don’t have to worry too much about that side of the ­argument.

If this parliament is to last a full term, and that seems highly ­unlikely to me, there must be lots of co-operation between the government and the opposition. The deal between Scott Morrison and Chris Bowen to ­ensure $6 billion worth of budget cuts can get through the Senate is an encouraging sign, but that cannot be the end of it. I am concerned about the almost maniacal clinging to the idea that the only way to settle this issue should be a free parliamentary vote. Labor, the Greens and many from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community are wedded to this idea that only the parliament can be trusted and somehow the great unwashed out there must remain mere spectators.

Those who push this line should remember what happened when the parliament voted on ­assisted suicide. The churches did a brilliant lobbying job headed up by a young Tony Burke and an idea undoubtedly supported by most Australians never had a chance. To deny this opportunity to take part in a plebiscite is to set back any chance of ever ­relieving doctors of decisions to turn up the morphine and allow the suffering to end. These decisions, strictly speaking, are illegal but it is hard to find anyone critical of doctors in this respect.

The Liberal social conservatives to whom I referred earlier ­regard the way this doomed proposal is heading as progress. The broad Left, if there is one these days, seems adamant that those whom they regard as enemies should have a victory here. ­Be­cause we have no real experience of plebiscites, we don’t know for certain what to expect, but polls and anecdotal evidence point to a victory for those advoca­ting change. I just wish this were put to the test. Surely Australians are mature enough to get through the exercise without too much drama.

The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras has an attendance of up to a half-million people. It has become a popular part of Sydney’s culture. If the Greens and the huge majority of Labor MPs and senators who want change continue on their present course, they may well be a roadblock to reform ­rather than a catalyst.


Regressive Left puts bigotry and militant Islam on a pedestal

By Peter Baldwin, formerly a prominent politician in the Australian Labor party

What does it mean, these days, when someone says their politics are "left-wing" or "progressive"?

This has always been debatable, but in recent times these terms have taken on meanings that earlier generations of leftists would scarcely recognise. Ideas that used to be thought cons­titutive of left-wing thinking have been turned on their head.

To see what I am getting at, ponder the following thought experiment. Try to imagine how a moderate leftist in the social-democratic tradition (my own position) or a liberal in the American sense might react on awakening today from suspended animation after a half-century.

Say they had just listened to Martin Luther King’s great civil rights speech of 1963 in which he yearned for the day when his children would be judged by the content of their character, not the colour of their skin. Back then, King’s sentiments were seen around the world as the quintessence of liberal progressivism.

Suppose further that the cryogenic experiment were conducted on one of the campuses of the University of California, Los Angeles. Imagine that the subject of our experiment is a member of staff and, needing to be brought up to speed on university policies, is sent on a course on how to avoid "micro­aggressions", words or phrases that are deemed subtly racist. Such training recently was made mandatory at the behest of University of California president Janet Napolitano.

Our Rip Van Winkle would be amazed to learn that the dreaded microaggressions included statements such as "When I look at you, I don’t see colour", or "There is only one race, the human race". Such sentiments are not even to be uttered, let alone debated, in what would seem to our reawakened liberal like some Bizarro World ­alternative reality.

So what has happened? In a nutshell, there has been a comprehensive rejection by progressive academe of the intellectual inheritance from the Enlightenment, the "revolution of the mind" that transformed Europe and North America in the 17th and 18th centuries. The Enlightenment stressed argumentative rationality and the scientific method. It ­favoured open debate of contentious issues, including the ability to freely critique religious doctrines. It is a universalist vision in which people are seen as members of a common humanity, each pos­sessing rationality and agency, and not just creatures of the particular cultural or religious milieu into which they are born.

Distinguished historian of the Enlightenment Jonathan Israel identifies a subcurrent that he termed the Radical Enlightenment that added a strong commitment to equality of people irrespective of race, gender or class to the intellectual freedoms demanded by the mainstream Enlightenment. Until recently, leftist intellectuals across the board happily would trace their lineage back to this movement. Even advocates of communist totalitarianism honoured Enlightenment principles by claiming that their "scientific socialism" provided the fullest realisation of Enlightenment ideals.

Today the "Enlightenment project", as they now style it, is typically disparaged by intellectuals of a progressive bent. The ideal of human universality is discarded in favour of the politics of culture and identity; the value of reasoned ­debate questioned as argument is seen as just a mask for the exercise of power; the quest for objective truth is replaced by an emphasis on narratives and stories; and the right to strongly critique religion abrogated, albeit selectively.

In his book The Seduction of Unreason, American political philosopher Richard Wolin gives a comprehensive intellectual genealogy of this development. He notes "one of the peculiarities of our times is that Counter-Enlightenment arguments, once the exclusive prerogative of the political Right, have attained a new lease on life among representatives of the cultural Left … As a prominent advocate of postmodern political theory contends, one need only outfit the Counter-Enlightenment standpoint with a new ‘articulation’ to make it serviceable for the ends of the postmodern Left".

Welcome to the leftist Counter-Enlightenment. In Britain and the US some critics have coined the term "regressive leftism" for this movement. There are two aspects to the regressive Left ideology. The substantive content of the ideology is identity politics, the view that people should be seen in their essence not as members of a common humanity but as bound to a particular identity group.

There is an article in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy written by a sympathetic academic that expresses it thus: "… it is qua women, qua blacks, qua lesbians that groups demand recognition. The demand is not for inclusion within the fold of ‘universal humankind’ on the basis of shared human attributes; nor is it for respect ‘in spite of’ one’s differences. Rather, what is demanded is respect for oneself as different."

Note that when members of a particular identity group demand respect for "oneself as different" they are not talking about respecting each person’s individuality and agency. On the contrary, they insist that people accept being defined by their identity and that they stick to the accepted script, the particular narrative of victimhood, that pertains to their group.

Members of each victim group are urged to claim ownership of — indeed, to be extremely proprietorial about — all aspects of their culture, including ephemera such as clothing and cuisine. We must all stick to our own cultural reservation. To violate this tenet is to commit the high crime of "cultural appropriation".

American writer Lionel Shriver delivered a brilliant critique of this mentality and its deadening effect on fiction writing at the Brisbane Writers Festival last weekend, to the horror of organisers, who immediately disavowed her remarks.

And woe betide anyone who breaches this cardinal rule, as dissenters from within Islamic culture such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali have found. At best, they can expect condescension from bien pensant progressive intellectuals, some of whom denounced Hirsi Ali as an "Enlightenment fundamentalist".

They will be pilloried in progressive media and will face attempts to bar them from speaking on campuses and elsewhere, as when Hirsi Ali was barred from speaking recently at Brandeis University in the US at the behest of a coalition of "progressive" student groups. Then there are the death threats from Islamist extremists intent on punishing the crime of apostasy. The Council of Ex-Muslims on Britain released a report this year detailing how extremist preachers have been given free rein to speak on British campuses while its own leader, Maryam Namazie, a leftist from an Iranian background, has been subjected to sustained efforts — including death threats — to stop her speaking.

These activities consistently have been backed by campus student organisations including, incredibly, feminist and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups.

The de facto alliance that has developed between the Left and militant Islam, the most reactionary force in the world today, is the strangest and most disconcerting political development in my lifetime. If identity politics is the substantive part of this mutant ideology, the compliance and enforcement arm is the system of thought control we nowadays term political correctness.

According to the PC mindset, someone who openly or even privately challenges core tenets of identity politics is not just wrong but morally depraved. Such a person is not to be engaged with argumentatively, but must be vilified, censored and, where possible, pursued legally using instruments such as the iniquitous section 18C of our Racial Discrimination Act and equivalents in other countries.

Given their head, "progressive" politicians will introduce even more restrictive laws. Former British ­Labour leader Ed Miliband pledged before the last British election to make Islamophobia, which he never bothered to define, an aggravated criminal offence.

Regressive Left activists often claim to be fighting against "fascism" or "the extreme Right". Ironically, they are the ones who, time and again, resort to classic 1930s fascist tactics such as wrecking the meetings of their opponents and in some cases harassing or attacking attendees.

I experienced this last year while attending a meeting at the University of Sydney that was being addressed by a speaker known to be defensive of Israel, a position now verboten on cam­puses around the world.

The meeting was disrupted by a chanting mob led by a young woman with a megaphone, the leaders making clear afterwards that they were there not to challenge or debate but to silence.

Some local academics actually defended this behaviour on the ground there was "no inherent right to free speech" if it contravened the progressive world view. There are even calls at Ivy League colleges in the US for the right to "free speech" to be supplanted by the insistence on "socially just speech". Incredibly, the young woman leading the protest shouted her outrage that a speaker from the virulently anti-Semitic Hizb ut-Tahrir organisation had previously been blocked from speaking at the university.

This sort of coddling of extreme anti-Semitism, thinly masked as anti-Zionism, is one of the most revolting aspects of the regressive Left. American professor of queer theory Judith Butler, described as a "postmodern colossus" and a leading figure in the global boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel, has in­sisted that Hamas and Hezbollah be seen as part of the "global progressive Left". Both these groups have expressed the aspiration to exterminate all Jews; in Hamas’s case it is in its founding charter. Butler received some criticism over this, but her stellar standing in the progressive academic pan­theon was undiminished.

And it is not just academics. British Labour leader Jeremy ­Corbyn spoke warmly of his "friends" in Hamas and Hezbollah.

So it is pretty clear what the regressive Left is against. But what is it for, exactly? Its members would answer that they are fighting for "social justice". Actually, it would be more accurate to say they are for social justice activism. Earlier incarnations of leftist ideology all had some conception of the "good society" they were working for, even if sometimes a terribly flawed one as with the communists.

Go to the websites of radical Left groups bearing names such as Socialist Alternative and you will see that there is no alternative. They do not even attempt to posit one. They are essentially nihilists who stand for nothing. Activism is a goal in itself, not some desired societal end state.

The supreme recent exemplar of social justice activism is the Black Lives Matter movement in the US. This movement is spawning imitators around the world including Australia, according to a recent ABC report.

Academic practitioners of the field known as critical race theory sprang into action to lend theoretical support. The tenor of some of this stuff would have stunned our Rip Van Winkle. There is an article on the website of the Harvard Law faculty that calls for "race-based mobilisations", language that would not have been out of place in 30s Germany.

For the social justice activists, two kinds of questions are strictly off limits. First, narratives of victimhood must not be challenged, no matter how compelling the contrary evidence.

Hence, the shooting of a young black man in Ferguson, Missouri, was a straight-out case of murder, the victim shot with his hands raised. This version of events has been completely debunked since. But no matter, the critical race brigade sticks to this narrative in its "scholarly" articles, including one by a prominent academic at the Western Sydney University that referred to Ferguson matter-of-factly as a "racist murder" well after the facts were established.

This is not mere sloppiness. Reading this stuff, you quickly ­realise that for this kind of "scholarship" facts, evidence and the truth are strictly irrelevant.

Which brings me to the second type of unaskable question. Does the activism actually do any good? Has Black Lives Matter actually improved the lives of people trapped in impoverished inner-city ghettos? All the evidence indicates the contrary. Homicide rates in inner-urban areas have risen sharply since BLM started, reversing a decades-long declining trend. FBI director James Comey has linked this to the abandoning of proactive policing by cops fearful of vilification and prosecution.

Have the prospects for Palestinians to lead a decent life been enhanced by the international BDS campaign that urges them to stick to their rejectionist guns, thereby precluding a settlement with Israel and condemning future generations to repeated conflict?

Have young girls in Muslim communities benefited from the sentiments expressed by feminists such as Germaine Greer, who condemned efforts to outlaw female genital mutilation as "an attack on cultural identity"?

In Britain, hospitals are reporting an average 15 cases of this each day, yet there have been no successful prosecutions despite the practice being illegal since 1984. Where are the feminists on this and on forced marriages? Nowhere, it seems, with a handful of honourable exceptions. It seems that for the regressive Left there is a hierarchy of correctness in which cultural respect is trumps.

The kind of moral catastrophe this can induce is shockingly displayed by events in the northern English town of Rotherham. Across 16 years, 1400 girls, most from dysfunctional white families, were subjected to sexual abuse of organised gangs of sexual predators of Pakistani Muslim background. As two subsequent official reports disclosed, all arms of government that should have protected the girls — the police, social ser­vices, schools, the Labour-controlled local council — were paralysed by a dread of being labelled racist or Islamophobic.

I think of regressive leftism as a mind virus, a paralytic disease that is severely inhibiting the ability of Western societies to properly debate some of the most important issues they face. It is suffused with civilisational self-loathing — severely condemnatory of "white" post-Enlightenment Western societies yet prepared to overlook or apologise for the most egregious defects in other kinds of society.

To see what can result from this paralysis, look at Europe as it grapples with the consequences of its leaders’ decision to effectively dissolve its external borders with North Africa and the Middle East.

Consider the enormity of the transformation Europe is undergoing and imagine how it will look in several decades if this continues. Yet Europe’s elites seem incapable of conducting an honest debate about the implications of this, since this would involve asking some tough questions about whether Islam, with its undoubted violent and supremacist aspects, is ultimately compatible with liberal societies. Some of Europe’s leaders actually seem to have become reconciled to the prospect of large parts of Europe becoming Islamised. After all, what could be worse than the existing civilisation that is nothing but a sorry litany of racism, colonialism and oppression? And the biggest losers from this will be the self-styled progressives. What prospect for gay rights under the new dispensation?

This fecklessness and intellectual paralysis would be far less serious if it were confined to the Left proper, but it is not, as exemplified by Angela Merkel’s extraordinarily naive actions in the past year. The impulse to censor and anathematise anyone who challenges the prevailing zeitgeist can be found in parties regarded as centrist or even right-wing. This has created space for the emergence of new political forces throughout the Western world including Australia, with a surge in support for Pauline Hanson at the recent elections.

I believe the time has come for a fundamental rethinking of the lines of political division. At this his­torical juncture decent leftists must drop the masochistic obsession with denigrating post-Enlightenment Western civilisation and join with liberals, conservatives and others in a concerted effort to defend it against the unprecedented threats it now faces.


Sydney council BANS traditional racist practice

A local council has come under fire for refusing to acknowledge Aboriginal people as the traditional owners of the land, because it's 'divisive' and too politically correct.

The Hills Shire Council, which covers much of Sydney's western suburbs, has refused to adopt the practice of performing an 'acknowledgement of country' at its meetings, despite being specifically asked to do so by local elders.

Councillors were asked by the Darug people to update the code for their regular meetings to include the basic acknowledgement.

However the proposal was rejected on Tuesday night by a majority of councillors despite it being common place at most other councils, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Seven Liberal councillors on the 11 member council rejected the motion to introduce a simple sentence saying that 'Council acknowledges that this meeting is being held on the traditional lands of the Darug people'.

Defending their decision, councillor Mike Thomas said he had been 'troubled' by the proposal. 'I'm unconvinced by the argument for it. I'm told it's inclusive but to say it's inclusive is to say they're being left out at the moment,' Cr Thomas told Daily Mail Australia. 'When it's the opposite were talking about one culture based on race – that troubles me.

'We don't tolerate divisions on race, religion or gender. 'We're a very intelligent council. Three of the councillors have doctorates, most have a graduate or post-graduate degree - we're all very intelligent people, at least on the Liberal side.'

Cr Thomas said the council's decision had the 'overwhelming support of the community'. 

However Darug elder Ros Fogg said both she and the Darug people had been 'very disappointed' by the decision. 'This is a really big issue of recognition,' Ms Fogg said. 'If we can't recognise there are still Darug people living on Darug country, that's a shame.'

The New South Wales state government says an 'Acknowledgement of Country ceremony should be undertaken' as a minimum.

Huge cost of electricity self-sufficiency

WHILE some people are contemplating investing $13,500 for a Tesla Powerwall, one man has decided to go all in and create the largest residential battery storage system in Australia. Gold Coast local Clayton Lyndon recently invested $80,000 to have six residential Tesla Powerwalls installed, essentially making a mini battery power station in his home.

"I had Natural Solar look at my energy usage and they told me it was very high and I would need six Tesla Powerwalls to offset the amount we were consuming," he told  "I knew it was going to be a large investment, but I also knew it would make financial sense in the long run."

When operating at full efficiency, Mr Lyndon’s installation could produce 36,355 kWh each year, while also reducing carbon emissions and offset coal fired power by 34,173.7kg annually.

"At the moment we have been producing around 674 kWh of energy and using about 428 kWh of electricity at home and exporting the rest back into the grid," he said. "I expect over time I will no longer be paying an electricity bill and will pick up more money selling the excess back to the wholesale grid."

When asked how it felt to have the first mini power station in Australia, Mr Lyndon has mixed emotions. "It’s a little embarrassing our household power consumption is so high, although I do feel positive the financial risk will pan out and it’s nice to be doing our part for the environment.

"I would recommend people to make the switch, I already have some of my mates considering after checking out my monitoring system."

Natural Solar managing director Chris Williams said the installation signified an evolution of the industry.  "Multiple batteries are becoming more common with people from high energy consuming households," he said.  "In the case of this installation, the household now has storage for 99 per cent of their consumption."

Mr Williams said he expected Mr Lyndon will break even in four to five years based on full consumption.



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 September, 2016

Don't marginalise Pauline Hanson again, John Howard warns

Former prime minister John Howard has warned it would be wrong to repeat the mistake of 20 years ago and try to marginalise Pauline Hanson and her supporters.

Senator Hanson caused a stir last night with her first speech declaring Australia is in danger of being swamped with Muslims - 20 years after making the same warning about Asians.

Mr Howard told ABC TV, Senator Hanson was entitled to be treated in a respectful fashion by the rest of parliament.

"In relation to Pauline Hanson, the mistake that was made 20 years ago of trying to demonise her and demonise her supporters should not be repeated," Mr Howard said.

John Howard says Pauline Hanson is entitled to be treated in a respectful fashion. He argued that people who voted for Senator Hanson were not racists or bigots and did not vote for her because of their views on immigration.

"They voted for her because they're unhappy with the mainstream political parties," Mr Howard said.

"A form of disillusionment or protest vote, yes."

It reflected poorly on the Greens that they walked out early, he said.


Migrants bringing parents to Australia should wear cost, Productivity Commission says

Pauline's influence?

Migrants who bring their parents to Australia should be responsible for their living costs as part of an overhaul to family reunion visas, a Productivity Commission report has recommended.

The report found family reunion visas need to be restricted for parents of migrants, with the average older age and shorter time in the workforce costing the health and welfare system billions of dollars.

Under the recommended changes, a temporary visa for parents would allow them to stay for a longer period of time as long as the sponsoring child met the necessary health and income costs during their stay.

The report also said criteria for non-contributory parent visas should be narrowed to cases where there were "strong compassionate grounds".

Migration Council Australia chief executive Carla Wilshire welcomed the report, and said it was comprehensive and well balanced. "I think it makes some excellent points about recalibrating what some of the economic advantages are of migration," she said.

But Ms Wilshire said she had concerns about the commission's recommended changes to the migrant parents visa system. "I think we need to be careful and do a comprehensive community consultation," she said.

"For a lot of migrant families, separation from parents is a particularly difficult part."

The chairman of the Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils of Australia, Joseph Caputo noted the system governing migrant parents' visas was already highly regulated.  "We are disappointed they are recommending tightening up the already very strict regulations in place for bringing parents into the country," he said.

Mr Caputo also highlighted the indirect benefits that parents brought to their migrant children upon arrival. "Many grandparents provide much needed childcare for their working children," he said.

"They can also contribute in other ways, including helping the family settle in Australia without the worry of an elderly parent alone overseas."


Malcolm Turnbull dumps super changes that would have forced wealthy Australians to pay more tax on contributions over $500,000

The Turnbull government has bowed to internal party pressure and altered a significant measure in its plan to overhaul superannuation tax breaks.

The planned $500,000 lifetime non-concessional cap on fund balances, backdated to 2007, has been dumped.

The controversial measure, which sparked an angry backlash from sections of the Liberal party in the run-up to the federal election, will be replaced by annual cap of $100,000.

Those aged under 65 will still be able to 'bring forward' three years' worth of non-concessional contributions but those with super balances of more than $1.6 million won't.

The new package will also keep a work test in place for those aged 65 to 74, saving the budget $180 million, and defers starting catch-up concessional contributions by one year until July 2018.

It is believed the changes will come at a cost of $400 million to the budget.

The measures were about ensuring superannuation tax concessions were not being used as a tax-incentivised estate planning vehicle, Treasurer Scott Morrison told reporters in Canberra on Thursday

'It also ensures that Australians are supported to maximise their retirement balances in the pension phase of superannuation where they access tax-free earnings,' he said.

'These measures make the superannuation system even fairer, even more flexible and even more sustainable.'

Mr Morrison said he had spoken to shadow treasurer Chris Bowen and offered a detailed briefing, but expressed confidence the package would now clear parliament.

'These measures remove any remaining impediment or barrier for the government's budget superannuation package to now receive bipartisan support in this parliament,' Mr Morrison said.

The legislation, backed by cabinet and the coalition party room, would be introduced by the end of the year.

Financial Services Minister Kelly O'Dwyer said the government would like to be able to do more for older workers in the future, when the budget allowed.

'We need this package to wash its face ... we need to have that discipline and we have demonstrated that discipline by making some difficult choices,' she said.

She said 96 per cent of Australians would be better off or unaffected by the changes.

One of the coalition backbenchers critical of the initial plans, George Christensen, says the changes go even further than he had hoped.

The Nationals MP had proposed doubling the lifetime contribution cap to $1 million but said the new plan to do away with it altogether was 'one step better'.

'This really does seal the deal and as such, I can say I am 100 per cent supportive of the new superannuation reforms that we will take to parliament and I will no longer be crossing the floor, ' he told reporters in Canberra.

This comes as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is preparing to head to New York for talks on the economy and refugees. 

In a series of interviews to mark the anniversary of his becoming prime minister, Mr Turnbull spruiked Australia's 3.3 per cent economic growth rate and was positive about delivering on his election promises.


Identity politics and populism

 Jeremy Sammut

An online newspaper marked the first sitting of the federal parliament by encouraging readers to enter some basic personal information into a search engine.

The results told you how well you were represented in parliament -- based on the number of MPs and senators who reflected your age, gender, sexual preferences, education, ethnic and religious details.

This is an insight into what passes for democracy in the age of identity politics: only those with 'lived experience' are seen as able to legitimately represent the best interests of identity group x, y, or z.

This was also the theme of some of the coverage of some maiden speeches. The gist was that finally minority groups were better represented in parliament due to the identities of some of the new parliamentarians.

This isn't a bad thing, of course. Minorities standing for parliament and getting elected on their merits is a great victory for and measure of the depth of community tolerance and acceptance.

But at a time when Establishment politics is facing a crisis of legitimacy in many western countries, I'm not sure that the political/media class focusing on identity politics is particularly helpful. I suspect it helps widen the gulf between elites and the masses.

The subtext behind the obsession with 'respect' for difference is that ordinary people are bigoted and need to be lectured to by their 'betters' and  have 'diversity' rammed down their throat for their own good.

The default cultural attitude of many 'insiders' encourages 'outsiders' to turn away and vote for the kind of populists who love to take cheap -- if often unerringly accurate -- pot-shots at 'out of touch' politicians.


Muslim is appealing for answers after accounts for his charity MATW Project were shut down

No great mystery here.  Money from Muslim charities has been siphoned off in support of terrorism in the past and the CBA doesn't want to be accused of facilitating that

THE founder of a Muslim charity, Ali Banat, said he was given just 30 days to remove his funds from each of his three charity and personal accounts with no justification provided by the bank.

"In my opinion the Commonwealth Bank have decided to close all our accounts because this is a Muslim charity working for the Muslim community," Mr Banat said.

Muslims Around The World works to provide aid to Muslim communities across Africa and was established late in 2015 after the former Greenacre business man was diagnosed with cancer.

"I’ve had millions go through the bank with my previous business but as soon as I start a charity called Muslims Around The World my accounts get stopped and my EFTPOS machines are taken away from me," Mr Banat said. "All I want is a reason."

The local Muslim community has been quick to support the charity, and now, its fight against the banking giant.

Merrylands resident and close friend of Mr Banat, Shai Jacobz Zreika said the prejudice against the charity was disgusting.

"How could they be so heartless as to close accounts for no reason," he said.

Mr Zreika said he questioned the bank’s ability to target an account holder based on religion.

"We don’t want banks to have a theory in their head, to share it in the world and make it come true," he said.

"We will be taking legal action — if I have to take it to the highest court in Australia I will."

Correspondence from the bank offers little insight for the charity, who is now flagged as a risk in future banking relations.

A statement received by Mr Banat reads, "the Bank recognises the closure of your account(s) may cause you inconvenience. Accordingly, the Bank gives you 30 days notice ... You will not be able to open any new accounts with the Bank".

The charity has taken to social media to share their message across the globe.

A video posted by Mr Banat asking for answers has clocked up over 5,000 shares since it was posted on August 30.

"I am a fully registered organisation and do not support terrorism," Mr Banat wrote.

"We house innocent African children and widows. I have tried to call the bank and get an explanation however no explanation can be provided simply ‘commercial decision to cease banking relationship’"

More than $300,000 was raised for the charity’s project to provide animals to families for sacrifice in the Muslim celebration of Eid.

Their work extends to Burkina Faso, Togo, Ghana and Benin and Mr Banat hopes to fund development of entire villages across poverty-stricken areas in Africa.

Changes to bank accounts is problematic for the charity who says it could stand in the way of donations.

"Changing a bank causes a lot of confusion and stops money from coming in," he said, "People are frightened to donate in case they lose their money."

The Commonwealth Bank refused to comment on the individual customer and issued the following statement.

"Commonwealth Bank consistently serves each customer on a case-by-case basis. There are instances where Commonwealth Bank will need to make a decision to end our relationship with a customer and this is always done after very careful consideration and in line with our account terms and conditions."

Mr Banat started the charity in late 2015 after he was diagnosed with stage four cancer and given just seven months to live.

He says the diagnosis is a gift from Allah and will continue his work to create a legacy and lasting change for less fortunate communities.

To date, he estimates the charity has distributed more than $2.1 million in aid projects.

The MATW has a charitable fundraising license registered since January 7 2016.


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 September, 2016

Senator Malcolm Roberts:  Maiden speech to the Australian Senate:
A speech giving a strong summary of climate skepticism. He represents a minor conservative party that is very critical of immigration.  The Greens walked out, much to his satisfaction, but most of the mainstream conservatives would have listened with interest.  Roberts has been studying the climate hoax for many years so is very familiar with his subject

    My qualifications include an honours engineering degree - covering atmospheric gases including carbon dioxide - from the University of Queensland. Also, an MBA from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, famous for rigorous statistical analysis.

    In the real world I obtained statutory qualifications covering atmospheric gases with rigorous responsibilities for hundreds of people’s lives.

    My studies reinforced the importance of relying on empirical facts – hard data and physical observations – needed to prove cause and effect. My area of studies focused on earth sciences and geology.

    Australians should be able to rely on the information from Australian government bodies and institutions, but we can’t.

    I have used FOI requests, correspondence and reports from the heads of CSIRO, Bureau of Meteorology, UN, and universities to show there is no data proving human use of hydrocarbon fuels effects climate.

    We use Australia’s resources - that is gas, coal, oil — to produce energy. These resources contain hydrogen and carbon that produce water and carbon dioxide. Both are essential for life on earth. Yet the core climate claim is that carbon dioxide from human activity will catastrophically warm our planet.

    Like Socrates I love asking questions to get to the truth.

    So I ask the question; over the last 130 years what was the longest single temperature trend? Is not the inconvenient truth this .... that from the 1930’s to the 70’s during the period of the greatest industrialisation in human history when our carbon dioxide output increased greatly, atmospheric temperatures cooled for forty years straight?

    Another inconvenient fact; temperatures statistically have not been warming since 1995. Records show there have been warmer periods in Australia’s history then the current decade.

    Temperatures are now cooler than 130 years ago. This is the reverse of what we’re blatantly told by the Bureau of Metrology that has manipulated cooling trends into false warming trends.

    Mr President here are more undeniable facts proven by data; firstly, changes in the carbon dioxide level are a result of changes in temperature, not a cause. That’s the reverse of what we’re told. Second, we do not and cannot affect the level of carbon dioxide in air. Reverse of what we’re told. We cannot and do not affect global climate. Third, warming is beneficial – after all science classifies past warmer periods as climate optimums. Again, the reverse of what we’re told.

    It’s basic. The sun warms earth’s surface. The surface by contact warms the moving circulating atmosphere.  *  That means the atmosphere cools the surface.  *  How can anything that cools the surface warm it? It can’t.  *  That’s why their computer models are wrong. The UN’s claim is absurd.

    Instead of science, activists invoke morality, imply natural weather events are unusual, appeal to authority, use name calling-ridicule-and emotion, avoid discussing facts, and rely on pictures of cute smiling dolphins. These are not evidence of human effect on climate.

    If it is clear that climate change is a scam, and also our prosperity relies on the human endeavours of industry and production, then why is it that in this great parliament there are extremist advocates of an agenda to de-industrialise our nation? Let me make it clear, I will stand firm against any political organisation whose primary aim is to destroy our prosperity and future.

More HERE 

Pauline Hanson says Australia is in danger of being ‘swamped by Muslims’ in Senate speech

Pauline Hanson’s maiden speech in the Senate was every bit the anti-Islam diatribe many expected.

The One Nation senator for Queensland referred to her infamous maiden speech in the House of Representatives 20 years ago in which she said Australia was in danger of being swamped by Asians, saying now it was Islam that represented the biggest threat to the Australian way of life.

"In my first speech I said we were in danger of being swamped by Asians," she said. "Now we are in danger of being swamped by Muslims who bear a culture and ideology incompatible with our own."

She took aim at Family Law, as she did in her first maiden speech, and claimed women make "frivolous claims" and that unless there were changes "we will continue to see murders out of sheer frustration".

She began by saying "I’m back, but not alone". She warned globalisation, free trade and ethnic diversity have "seen the countries decline". She called for a ban on burkas, Muslim immigration and Australian companies paying for Halal certification.

Senator Hanson also called for existing Islamic schools to be monitored of what they teach "until the present crisis is over".

She went on to call for a halt on all immigration as well. "The only stimulation happening is welfare handouts many going to immigrants unable to get a job," she said.  "I call for a halt to further immigration and look out for the aged, sick and helpless first."

Mothers on welfare also came under Senator Hanson’s sights.  She said a mother should receive payments for their first child, but not after that. "If they have more there will be no increase to the welfare payment get a job and start taking responsibility for your own actions," she said.


Turnbull banks a win in a year of living dangerously

We have now seen the yin and yang of the Turnbull government’s future; the possibilities and the susceptibilities that will shape its existence and determine its success. By striking a compromise deal on the so-called omnibus bill of budget savings, Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison have taken a significant step forward in demonstrating their ability to manage the budget and the parliament. But by allowing the announcement to be made by Bill Shorten and Chris Bowen they again were left flat-footed by an opposition determined to dictate terms and play the hunger games of federal politics with an appetite that is never sated.

The Prime Minister and his Treasurer can pocket $6.3 billion in savings that will sail through parliament with support from Labor, rendering the Greens and crossbench senators impotent. This is the sort of major party co-operation on fiscal repair this newspaper has been advocating because it is vital for the national interest and places economic power in the hands of politicians who are accountable rather than with fringe groups and single-issue activists. So the Coalition and Labor deserve credit for this outcome. But we are not dewy-eyed about future prospects. The fiscal repair task is at least tenfold larger than these measures deliver and we don’t expect the bipartisan resolve to extend much further, much as we may hope.

By getting out early, the opposition created the optics of authority and claimed much of the credit. This was agile work and, no doubt, annoying for the Coalition. But they will tolerate it because in financial and political terms the win is really theirs. Labor previously had backed all the proposed savings measures, so it is symptomatic of the present climate that any negotiation was necessary.

To halve cuts to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, Labor proposed dropping the reintroduction of baby bonuses for non-working parents. It agreed to withhold clean energy supplements from new recipients of Family Tax Benefits and the Seniors Health Card. There are suggestions the Coalition and Labor could come to an agreement on superannuation tax concessions — a contentious area of saving that, as we said yesterday, could hurt future budgets if incentives for self-funded retirees were reduced.

With $85bn more in spending than revenue forecast across the next four years, the agreed savings are only a start on the fiscal repair task. Still, if Mr Turnbull can do deals with Labor on super and perhaps company tax cuts for smaller businesses, he will have started to notch up some of the achievements he has struggled to list for today’s first anniversary.

Then he needs to pass his election trigger bills to re-establish the Australian Building and Construction Commission and lift accountability for union executives. These could pass parliament, or might not.

Labor shows every sign of blocking the gay marriage plebiscite — presumably because Mr Shorten sees the reform as a lower priority than trying to foment internal divisions within the Coalition — and is pushing further revenue grabs on real estate and capital gains rather than supporting more cuts.

Labor’s dealing now may have been to inoculate itself from criticism over the obstructionism to come. "This mob have got no mandate," spat Labor senator Doug Cameron on the ABC’s Q&A this week, "this mob have got absolutely no mandate." So, for some, the election mattered little. Mr Turnbull will need to compromise when he can, force the issue at other times and, above all else, learn to advocate much more energetically and effectively than he has done so far.


Far North Queenslanders becoming fed up with crocodile protection

There's hundreds of thousands of them.  What about people protection?

The carcass of a four-metre saltwater crocodile has been found in the Mulgrave River south of Cairns, and authorities are concerned it was killed deliberately to keep it away from nearby swimming holes.

The bloated crocodile's jaw was stuck open with a stick when it was discovered on the bank of the river at Deeral, just south of Cairns.

It was found about 20 kilometres downstream from river swimming holes at Aloomba and Green Patch, a distance easily covered by an animal of that size.

Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) northern wildlife manager Michael Joyce said officers were told about the dead crocodile on Sunday but had not yet found the animal. "We haven't seen the animal ourselves, I have no idea how it died," he said.

The death comes after a three-metre crocodile was photographed by a council worker at the swimming hole in May.

Cairns Regional Council northern beaches councillor Brett Olds said crocodile numbers had become out of control in the region and he was concerned people were taking matters into their own hands.

"It's really dangerous — big fines if these guys get caught," he said.  "We want these crocodiles in local swimming holes caught and moved to crocodile farms where they can live their days out fat and happy."

It is a sentiment that echoed by far northern Surf Lifesaving manager Col Sparkes.

He said several large crocodiles had taken up home on the beaches of Cairns, including a four-metre croc at Kewarra Beach. "These are our tourist beaches that the far north relies so heavily on," he said.

Mr Sparkes said it might be time to consider culling crocs. "I've been very reluctant to use that word but I think we've got to look at possibly a cull. Or let's get fair dinkum and catch these ones and get them out of the system."

Several large crocodiles recently caught. But Mr Joyce said there was no evidence there had been an increase or decrease in crocodile numbers.

EHP has recently caught several large crocodiles in the region, including a 4.2-metre crocodile trapped at the Dicksons Inlet in the tourist town of Port Douglas.

It was caught in one of several traps deployed across the region including at Kurrimine Beach, north of Cairns, and the Cairns suburb of Lake Placid.

But Mr Joyce said some traps had been tampered with. "Both have been closed by somebody," he said.

"Any interference is illegal and really dangerous and if anyone sees anyone tampering with a crocodile trap I'd ask them to call the crocodile hotline straight away."

The maximum penalty for anyone convicted of killing a crocodile is $24,750.


The Leftist hunger to find racism everywhere

Now you have to be trained to see it!

ANTI-racism "training" being used by schools, universities and other organisations has been labelled patronising and divisive.

Say No to Racism workshops are being rolled out to encourage people to take "safe and constructive" action against racism.

The training involves putting participants in realistic situations "with the opportunity to experience and overcome the barriers to intervention" while learning the "tools and language" needed for safe intervention.

Workshop facilitators promise that after training is completed participants will be able "to understand the individual and ambiguous nature of everyday and casual forms of racism".

"(They will) recognise the potential of bystander action in creating anti-racist social norms," they said.

Devised by the City of Darebin, the Say No to Racism project was initially funded by a $50,000 grant from the Federal Government’s Diversity and Social Cohesion program.

The council was given the taxpayer dollars "to address the lack of response by the general public to racist incidents".

Workshops were due to be held this month at places including Monash University and Bendigo Senior Secondary College.

A Monash staff member, who requested anonymity, was concerned with the assumption that racism existed in every "nook and cranny" and that people had to be trained to see it.

"The great contradiction is that if we are such a racist and intolerant society why are we such a popular destination for people from all over the world," the staff member said.

Swinburne adjunct professor of sociology Katherine Betts said an overemphasis on other people’s backgrounds through such training could inhibit normal interaction.

"It could discourage making friends with people from different ethnic backgrounds," she 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

14 September, 2016

Debating homosexual marriage is "hate speech" (?)

The usual intolerance of dissent that characterizes the Left below.  They just KNOW all the right answers and everyone else should shut up. Stalin thought the same.

The writer is commenting on a proposal to have a popular vote on whether homosexual marriage should be allowed in Australia.  The Left are showing how antidemocratic they are by opposing the idea.  The people are not fit to make decisions affecting their own lives, apparently

Here's a question that, on the face of it, seems refreshingly simple to answer: should public money be used to promote hate speech?

And at first glance the answer would appear to be "no, obviously". But when you think about it a little bit more deeply, the answer becomes: "Seriously? Still no, for all sorts of legal and moral reasons. Why are you even asking this? Do you need a hug and some quiet time?"

However, it's the question which the Coalition party room is going to be inexplicably struggling with this week as it decides whether or not the $160 million plebiscite on whether or not to legalise same sex marriage should be even more expensive by using even more public money to fund publicity campaigns for the Yes and the No cases.

The problem that the No case, and by extension the federal government, have with funding such a campaign is that it would encourage activity which is arguably illegal.

In 2013 the Sex Discrimination Amendment (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status) Bill 2013 was passed, meaning that it is illegal to discriminate "on the basis of sex, marital or relationship status, pregnancy or potential pregnancy, breastfeeding, family responsibilities, sexual orientation, gender identity, and intersex status."

This little problem, incidentally, is why there was a push to suspend our anti-discrimination laws for the duration of the plebiscite - an option which was immediately ruled out by Attorney-General George Brandis in February, who pointed out that "There are very obvious practical problems with that, among them... that most anti-discrimination laws in this country are laws of the states, not the Commonwealth."

The fact that a No campaign would appear to be arguing for something which is prima facie illegal is just one more problem for those seeking to prevent same sex marriage being recognised in Australia, along with the enduring problem that there's no sane reason to deny Australian citizens equal rights because of their sexuality, and the fact that those most strongly advocating the No case are not exactly the most charming, persuasive and charismatic people the country has to offer.

Speaking of which, dumped minister Kevin Andrews was predictably one of the first to start complaining that Malcolm Turnbull had supposedly promised sweet, sweet cash to advocates of the No camp, including the Australian Christian Lobby - which the PM denies, since he'd have been insane to do so.

Andrews, however, reckons otherwise. "The Prime Minister's statements were clear that there would be a quantum of public funding for a yes and no campaign similar to a referendum," he said, with trademark elan. And then the usual chorus of conservative sabre-rattlers joined in.

South Australian Senator Cory Bernardi is worried that the poor, struggling anti-gay institutions will be overwhelmed by "money-wealthy individuals overseas" for some reason, while Senate-leader-turned-backbencher Eric Abetz was in typically florid form, insisting that "with a change as fundamental as changing society's basic foundational institution, there is an imperative that the arguments be able to be put. That requires funding."

And sure, many have accurately pointed out that the last time the Marriage Act was changed - in 2004, to explicitly exclude same sex couples - it didn't require a massive public vote or any imperative that the arguments for and against were able to be put to the electorate, but was passed by a parliamentary vote like all other legislation.

But let's take Abetz and his fun-lovin' bunch of pals at their word and think back to a time where there was a change to society's supposed basic foundational institution. Like, for example, the passage of the Family Law Act in 1975, which enshrined no-fault divorce.

Was there a public campaign to determine whether or not ending a marriage - the very thing which Ezza claims is the basicest, foundationalest institution for society - needed to endure a mighty campaign of arguments in favour of and in opposition? Here's a clue: no, there wasn't.

And legalising divorce is a pretty decent comparison, since all it did was take a situation that already existed - married people breaking up - and made the process less complicated, less damaging, less stigmatised, and far more equitable.

Similarly, marriage equality just recognises reality. Gay couples already exist. Gay families already exist. Legalising marriage just makes everything more straightforward. It's also a step forward for human joy, which is a pretty great reason in itself.

And, like same sex marriage, there are people who vehemently hate divorce and think that those that seek it deserve to be punished - and we, as a society, are perfectly happy to ignore those cranks because they're just being provocatively ridiculous. We really should be able to do the same with opponents of marriage equality, yet here we are.

To be fair, though, this was the entire point of the plebiscite when then-PM Tony Abbott announced it was the government's new policy: to be difficult, unpopular and divisive and to cynically transform what should really have been a simple process into a symbolic conservative battle for the supposed soul of the nation.

And by that standard, everything's going exactly to plan.


Pauline Hanson gets some new supporters

'We're called racist just because we want to discuss our safety': Residents reveal their fears after 'terror attack' by a frenzied Muslim knifeman

Residents of a normally quiet suburban street have revealed their fears after an alleged terror attack resulted in one neighbour being repeatedly stabbed and another arrested.

The shocking, violent and unexpected attack, allegedly inspired by ISIS has left those who live in Minto, south-west Sydney, rattled, fearing for their safety and concerned trying to discuss terrorism will result in them being labelled 'racists'.

On Saturday afternoon, grandfather Wayne Greenhalgh, 59, was walking his dog when he was attacked by a knifeman, allegedly Ihsas Khan, 22, who severed his fingers, slit throat, punctured his lung and caused deep lacerations.

Brave neighbours came to Mr Greenhalgh's aid and held off the attacker while he hid in a hairdressing salon on Ohlfsen Road until police arrived, shown in footage obtained by A Current Affair.

Khan was alleged yelling 'Allah Akbar' and inspired by ISIS, and has since been charged with committing a terrorist act and attempted murder.

But the residents say it's too close to home and feel like their privacy has been violated.

Mr Brooks said Australia had to find a way to deal with terror attacks.

'We need to start having a conversation instead of everybody being shut down as soon as they start to speak on the subject, called some sort of racist just because we want to discuss our safety.'

Mrs Brooks said: 'If it comes to somewhere like Minto, where are we safe? Where to you go?  'A little salon in Minto with a man that was just going for his daily walk.

'I still can't make sense of it. It's closer to home than I ever imagine. It can happen anywhere anytime to anyone

People had seen people going in and out of Khan's house in the weeks leading up to the attack - weeks during which the accused's behaviour had become increasingly erratic and bizarre.

Mr Houghten said: 'they were dressed in their Islamic wear. What do you say? He considered calling police and discussed it with neighbours, but they thought the fact they were all aware was enough.

Asked if he wished he'd told police earlier, he said: 'I wish I had, course I do'.

Khan was known to police and had previously been charged with two counts of larceny and two counts of maliciously damaging property after cutting up Australian flags with scissors in 2013, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

At the time, he told police he 'hated' the country for its participation in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

He's believed to have schizophrenia and the larceny charges were dropped on mental health grounds provided he take psychiatric medication and attend medical appointments.

Police allege Khan chose to attack Mr Greenhalgh because he 'embodied Australian culture'.


Leftist economist Ross Gittins gives Turnbull's Super tax reforms a seal of approval

The reforms will only hit the very rich

Everyone wants to know what achievements Malcolm Turnbull can point to after his first year as Prime Minister. Well, I can think of something: his reform of the tax breaks on superannuation – provided he gets it through without major watering down.

Why is it such a big deal? Because it ticks so many boxes. Because it makes the taxation of super much less unfair.

Note, I didn't say much fairer. It will still be an arrangement that gives the least incentive to save to those who find saving hardest, and the greatest to those whose income so far exceeds their immediate needs that they'd save a lot of it anyway.

A report by John Daley and others at the Grattan Institute, A Better Super System: Assessing the 2016 tax reforms, independently confirms the government's claim that the changes will adversely affect only about the top 4 per cent of people in super schemes.

That still leaves a lot of well-off people – including the top 4 per cent – doing very nicely out of super.

Remember this when Turnbull's backbenchers embarrass their leader and add to their government's signs of disarray by pressing for the changes, announced in this year's budget, to be watered down.

Whose interests did you say the Liberal Party represents? Why exactly does it claim ordinary middle-income voters can trust the party to look after their interests?

But back to the reform's many attractions. It would cut back one of the major loopholes that make tax paying optional for the well-placed but compulsory for everyone else; that allow very high income-earners to end up paying a lot less tax than they're supposed to.

A lot of the savings from reducing concessions to the high fliers (who, you should know, include me) would be used to improve the bad deal given to low income-earners and to make other changes but, even so, would produce a net saving to the budget of $770 million in 2019-20.

This saving would get a lot bigger over time.

So the super reforms would contribute significantly to reducing the government's deficits and debt, but do so in a way that spread the burden more fairly between rich and poor than the Coalition's previous emphasis on cutting welfare benefits.

A lot of well-off people have been using super tax concessions to ensure they leave as much of their wealth as possible to their children – a practice lawyers refer to euphemistically as "estate planning".

Wanting to pass your wealth on to your children is a human motivation as old as time. The question is whether it should be subsidised by other taxpayers.

If it is, rest assured it's a great way to have ever-widening disparity between rich and poor. In the meantime, it adds to (recurrent) deficits and debt.

The rationale for Turnbull's changes is the decision that superannuation's sole purpose is to provide income in retirement to substitute for, or to supplement, the age pension.

They fall well short of eliminating the use of super tax concessions to boost inheritance, but they make a good start.

This is the goal of the three main measures Turnbull wants. Reducing the cap on before-tax contributions to $25,000 a year will save almost $1 billion in 2019-20.

Capping at $1.6 million per person the amount that can be held in a retirement account paying no tax on the annual earnings. Any excess balance will have its earnings taxed at the absolutely onerous rate of 15 per cent – less dividend imputation credits. This will save $750 million a year.

Introducing a $500,000 per person lifetime cap on after-tax contributions, counting contributions since 2007, will save $250 million a year.

If those caps strike you as low, you're just showing how well-off you are. The huge majority of people will never have anything like those amounts.

They're set at levels sufficient to allow a comfortable retirement even for those anxious to maintain a high standard of living. Anything more and you're in estate planning territory – or you just want every tax break you can get because you're greedy.

The claim that starting to count contributions towards the $500,000 cap in 2007 (the time from which good records became available) makes it "retrospective" is mistaken.

The measure is prospective in that it applies to income earned after the day it was announced, not before.

Where contributions in excess of the cap have been made already, they won't be affected by the measure.

Any tax change is likely to affect the future tax consequences of actions taken in the pass. That doesn't make it retrospective.

To say "I had planned to do things in the future to reduce my tax which now won't be effective" is not to say the changes are retrospective.

Sometimes politicians announce changes well before they take effect, to allow people to "get set". But it's common for them to make tax changes that take effect from the day of announcement, precisely to stop people getting set. That doesn't make the change retrospective, either.

As Daley says, "the proposed changes to super tax are built on principle, supported by the electorate, and largely supported by all three main political parties. "If common ground can't be found in this situation, then our system of government is irredeemably flawed."


Sweeping Medicare changes to curb rorts

The taskforce reviewing the $21 billion Medicare Benefits Schedule is finalising the most sweeping changes in more than a decade to crack down on rebate rorts and protect patients, including restricting GPs ordering powerful scans for back pain and reducing the ­number of colonoscopies and sleep tests.

The MBS Review Taskforce has called for feedback on a series of landmark recommendations from specialist clinical committees established to examine areas as diverse as diagnostic imaging and maternity care.

The new proposals include a requirement for mandatory health testing for pregnant women and new mothers, restrictions on GPs ordering expensive service such as low back scans, and a strict limit on surgeons ­ordering multiple MBS items for a single service.

But perhaps the most significant changes foreshadowed by the taskforce come from its 11-member MBS principles and rules committee, headed by former Royal Australasian College of Surgeons president Michael Grigg and including various ­specialists and a consumer representative.

The committee, tasked with safeguarding Medicare rebates and improving compliance, has called for medical professionals to be required to pass a test on their knowledge of MBS rules and billing requirements before gaining their Medicare provider numbers.

"Many providers have limited awareness of the rules and proc­edures involved in billing for MBS services, and may adopt questionable practices on the advice of colleagues," the committee warns.

The committee has also seized on the problem of Medicare being billed for up to 18 MBS items for a single service, with flow-on costs to patients.

It recommends a three-item limit, which would ­almost certainly trigger separate examinations of the cost of ­providing a service.

While most services attract three or fewer MBS item number claims, surgical specialties in ­particular bill more frequently: 39 per cent of cardiothoracic surgery benefits, amounting to ­almost $10 million in 2014-15, ­involved four or more MBS items; as did 36 per cent of neurosurgery benefits ($15m), 26 per cent of urogynaecology ($402,019), 17 per cent of ear, nose and throat cases ($17m) and 13 per cent of plastic and reconstructive surgery ($9m).

"This practice is not transparent, (is) potentially unfair and ­appears to be a misuse of the ­intention behind the multiple ­operation rule, although it is ­partly a symptom of the out-of-date nature of many items and their descriptors," the committee found.

It also concluded that — contrary to the argument that ­patients gained from a higher total of Medicare benefits being claimed — their out-of-pocket expenses were usually higher. It cautioned that "gaming of the MBS for any purpose, even the ostensible benefit of patients, is inappropriate".

While the review was commissioned after the failure of the GP co-payment policy, there is no ­indication of the scale of potential savings to government. The recom­mendations are yet to be ­costed.

Health Minister Sussan Ley, however, continues to talk of making Medicare sustainable and the head of her department, Martin Bowles, told the taskforce it needed to help government "bend the cost curve".

More patients are seeing more doctors, more often, and getting more referrals. Between 2004-05 and 2014-15, MBS benefits per capita rose from $492 to $843.

The Australian revealed last week that the taskforce’s interim report, delivered to government in January but not released publicly, showed health professionals nominated largely routine or ­administrative consultations as the most "low-value patient care".

With medical professions questioning the value of seeing patients in person for repeat ­referrals or prescriptions and signing time-off-work certificates, the review was told other staff could play that role and communication with patients could be by email or text messages.

But the renewed focus on prim­ary care sparked an un­expected social media campaign against government cuts to ­general practice and perceived devaluing of the profession.

Ms Ley apparently felt compelled to respond on Twitter, where, over the weekend, she said health practitioners had nomin­ated the low-value tasks to the ­review, not the government.

When the interim report was released, including data on Medicare expenditure growth, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners said it "vastly overstates the waste and in­efficiency in general practice" and was being used to fuel a government campaign against GPs.

The committee also sought to maintain the role of GPs as gatekeepers of the system, although recommending changes to time periods and criteria for referrals to specialists, ostensibly to reduce the opportunities for specialists to charge higher fees.

The committee also found fault with clinicians claiming for a consultation when also claiming for a procedure, despite little talking being done.

Taskforce head Bruce Robinson, the former dean of the Sydney Medical School, said health practitioners and consumers were invited to comment on the proposals. He hopes to make recom­mendations to the government by the end of the year.

"What we hope — what all the people who are taking part in this hope — is that by being more sensible about how healthcare dollars are spent we are able to spend them on services that are better value for patients and on more patients who need them," he said.

Ms Ley previously promised to consider lifting the contentious freeze on Medicare rebate indexation if sufficient savings could be identified by the review and elsewhere, but no time frame was set.


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

13 September, 2016

A self-inflating stunt by a white black man

Aborigines are black.  Does the guy below look black to you?  He is a white man but under Australia's crazy rules he is allowed to call himself Aboriginal or indigenous if he has any trace of Aboriginal ancestry that he knows about.

So he did something no black Aborigine would do.  Aborigines are quiet, shy, camplaisant people most of the time.  Publically insulting two old ladies over their private conversation would not remotely be on their agenda.  But this guy did it -- enabling him to portray himself as a battler against racism -- and he got the applause that often flows from that. 

But, as I see it, the whole thing was just an ego boost for himself.  He is basically one of that sad band of insecure people who create so much nuisance:  An attention seeker.  He or someone with him deliberately photographed and circulated the docket given to the ladies.  How is that NOT publicity hunger?

And we have no assurance that the ladies were in any way racist.  The only quotation from them given is the word "assimilation".  But assimilation into white society does occur and is usually beneficial.

Respect for his intellectual acuity is not aided by his use of English.  He says that the conversation he criticized was "less than distasteful ".  So it was tasteful?  Very confused

AN INDIGENOUS man has come up with the perfect response to racism.

Perth man Jarred Wall was having lunch with a friend in Fremantle when he heard two elderly ladies talking about Aboriginal people.

"The conversation was less than distasteful with words like assimilation being thrown around willy nilly," he wrote in a Facebook post. "I could have unleashed a tirade of abuse but that wouldn’t have helped."

Instead, he decided to buy them a pot of tea — leaving a handwritten note on the receipt that said: "Enjoy the tea! Compliments of the 2 Aboriginals sitting next to you on table 26."

"Maybe these ladies will be a little wiser and think before they speak," he wrote in the post, adding the hashtags #blacklivesmatter and #englishbreakfasttea.

"Hopefully there won’t be a next time!"
Mr Wall and his friend were having lunch when they overheard two ladies making racist remarks.

Mr Wall and his friend were having lunch when they overheard two ladies making racist remarks.Source:Facebook

The post was shared on Facebook, attracting more than 13,000 reactions, 1500 shares and 1200 comments, the overwhelming majority of which have been positive.

"Being kind often does help. It sometimes shames people into looking at their behaviour. It makes them feel guilty for being d*ckheads," one user wrote.

"If I was there I would have given you a standing ovation with lots of clapping and cheering," wrote another. "Hope the ladies have learned some serious lessons from this incident because in this time and age there is no room at all for these kind of remarks."

His mother, Trish Hill Wall, wrote: "I’m so proud my son that you rose above the hurtful rants of others. Kindness goes a long way, and you all walked away after with your heads held high."


Climate Cargo Cult Circles the Pacific

By Viv Forbes

The World Economic Forum in 2015 had a prophetic vision that unless the world mends its wicked ways "global warming will become catastrophic and irreversible".

In July 2016 the U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, claimed that global warming was as dangerous to the world as Islamic terrorism.

At the recent G20 summit in China, the world leader of the Global Warming Religion, Ban Ki-moon, canonised two new cardinals -- Cardinal Obama (who seeks political sainthood in his afterlife), and Cardinal Xi Jinping (who seeks to crucify western industry on the climate cross). Both signed the Paris Pledge.

Then at the ASEAN Economic Forum, ordained Minister Turnbull of Australia joined worshippers to pray for a saviour from Global Warming.

Global warming to hit Asia hardest -- "Hundreds of millions of people are likely to lose their homes as flooding, famine and rising sea levels sweep the region."

Finally, at the Pacific Island Forum in Vanuatu last week, the Global Warming service commenced with a rousing rendition of the hymn "Repent and Pay, or the Seas will Devour Us".

As a sign of his devotion, Australia’s Global Warming Minister Turnbull dropped a cool $80M into the Global Warming Collection Plate. Islanders who truly believe will now receive total donations of A$300M from the pious Australian government.

John Kerry was right -- this new Global Warming religion is spreading faster than radical Islam. It is the new Cargo Cult.


Turnbull Government to boost powers of child care ‘compliance cops’

The Turnbull Government will this week introduce a raft of new compliance measures to crackdown on child care service fraud and abuses.

Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said the Turnbull Government will this week introduce strengthened compliance and integrity measures in a "win-win" to protect both children and taxpayers.

Minister Birmingham said the Turnbull Government would bring forward powers for the compulsory reporting of specified action, including police action, against staff members as well as ensuring subsidy claims are not being made for care provided by parents, siblings or in the case of Family Day Care in a child's home or that is solely transport.

"This is a win-win for families and taxpayers," Minister Birmingham said.

"This tough stance is necessary as families rightly expect that not only do child care staff have rigorous checks and balances but that their taxpayer dollars are directed to those operators doing the right thing and delivering high quality, flexible and affordable child care to families, not to ‘shonky’ providers offering sub-standard or illusionary services.

"If a staff member or operator is charged or convicted of a serious crime then the Government should know and Australian families would expect us to come down very hard on any service that protects that individual and suspend or cancel any payments they are receiving should there be any concerns regarding the protection of children and of scarce taxpayer dollars.

"This week we will explicitly spell out that Family Day Care must not be provided in a child's home, a residence where their parent is present or even in the back of the car. Additional measures will stipulate that taxpayer dollars will also not be paid to Family Day Care or In Home Care being provided by children's parents, by one of their siblings or if there is no proof of a family being charged a commercial rate.

"These new measures will ensure there are much tighter controls on who cares for our children – it is not good enough that existing rules have been able to be ‘worked around’ and these measures will put a stop to it in the interests of child safety and the protection of taxpayers."

Minister Birmingham said these new integrity measures would save $27 million a year and comes on the back of new figures that show in the past financial year the Turnbull Government’s compliance crackdown had prevented $421 million – or more than $8 million a week – being paid to dodgy child care providers.

"The Turnbull Government has taken strong and decisive action against these shonks, including correcting a child swapping loophole that allowed family day care service educators to receive a child care payment for their own children while claiming to be looking after other peoples’ children," Minister Birmingham said.

"Acting on these integrity measures, our compliance cops have ensured that $421 million did not go out the door to subsidise child swapping practices, to people claiming to care for their neighbour's children, while their neighbour claims to care for their child. Our new measures, saving a further $27 million, are a logical extension to the protections we put in place last year.

"We want to ensure every taxpayer dollar spent on child care supports families to genuinely balance their work obligations and children to access early learning, rather than being rorted by those more interested in lining their own pockets.

"Our priority is to provide assistance that helps families and that is why the Turnbull Government’s child care reforms include more than $3 billion in additional funding to give nearly one million families more affordable, accessible and fairer child care.  We have introduced legislation to implement these reforms, which will come into place as soon as possible following support for the savings measures needed to pay for them."

Minister Birmingham said he had written to state and territory Ministers urging them to do more to ensure child care centres are compliant and these latest measures add another "check and balance" to protect Australian families and taxpayers.

"Perpetrators of fraud are on notice: you will be caught and there are severe consequences, including the possibility of jail time," Minister Birmingham said.

Minister Birmingham said these compliance measures were in addition to unprecedented compliance powers included in the Turnbull Government's child care package currently before the parliament.

Press release

Classic bureaucratic buck-passing

A FRUSTRATED Sydney family has been battling bureaucracy to take action to remove a car that has been parked across its driveway for seven days.

Despite calling police and the Inner West Council to complain, the Holden Astra has prevented the Gulabovski family from driving into their property on Sutherland St, St Peters, since last Thursday night.

While police officers and council rangers visited Katrina Gulabovski’s home, she told the Inner West Courier they could not agree who had responsibility for getting the silver soft top out of the way.

"The police and council were buck passing this issue while all we wanted was to get the car out of the way," she said. "I spoke to the police from Newtown and they said it was the council’s job to get the car moved.  Then I rang the council and they said they couldn't move it, it was a police responsibility. "Six days later and the car is still here. "It’s ridiculous and frustrating.

"I’m a single mum with three kids and an elderly mother who needs regular medical visits."

An exasperated Ms Gulabovski said her household has three cars — she has two adult children — that have been unable to get into their own driveway. "We’ve all had to find spots on the street for the past week, and they’re not easy to find. "We were worried about getting parking fines because most of the streets around here have a two-hour limit.

"There should be a streamlined process between the police and the council so that the car is moved straight away, not seven days later."

Ms Gulabovski suggests the car’s owner might have parked in Sutherland St and then caught a taxi to Sydney Airport, which is only a few minutes away by road. "People catching planes park around here all the time to save money on parking at the airport."

Newtown Police duty officer Andrew Garner conformed Ms Gulabovski called police and that officers immediately notified the council.  Inspector Garner said police also issued a parking fine and attempted to contact the vehicle’s owner. The fine for parking across a driveway, unless the car is dropping off or picking up passengers, is $108.

"As soon as police were notified we contacted the council so it could make arrangements to move the car," Inspector Garner said.

But is was not until Tuesday, September 7, before council officers stuck a notice on the car’s windscreen, advising its owner that it would tow the vehicle away and would bill the owner for the job.

Under the NSW Impounding Act a vehicle may be impounded immediately, without having to notify its owner, if the vehicle is in a public place and it is causing an obstruction to traffic.

At 7.30am on Wednesday a tow truck driver contracted by council arrived to move the car. But the vehicle could not be moved because it had a flat tyre. As of Wednesday afternoon, Ms Gulabovski was still waiting on another tow truck to arrive.

When asked to clarify which organisation had responsibility for moving the car, the council did not improve Ms Gulabovski’s understanding of the situation. "Responsibility depends on the individual circumstances," a council spokeswoman told The Inner West Courier. "Both police and council do have certain responsibilities in a situation like this under the Roads Act. "It is partly dependent on whether the car is ‘abandoned’ or not."


The vehicle has now been removed

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 September, 2016

Are any of us safe from being attacked by Muslim madmen?

You can be just walking along the street minding your own business and be targeted. Crazy that the police said he was "shouting words".  Why so coy about reporting "Allahu Akhbar"?

A SYDNEY man charged with committing a terrorist act and attempted murder after allegedly stabbing an unknown man on the street and then trying to knife a police officer was motivated by terror group ISIS.

The Joint Counter Terrorism Team - made up of investigators from the NSW and Australian Federal Police - charged Ihsas Khan, 22, this morning after the attack on Wayne Greenhalgh, 59.

"This is the new face of terrorism, this is the new face of what we deal with," Deputy Police Commissioner Cath Burn said at a press conference this morning.

She said police will be alleging Khan was inspired by ISIS, just one week after the terror group called on lone wolves to attack Australians.

"We know that this person has strong extremist beliefs inspired by ISIS. What made him actually act yesterday, we don’t know," she said.

Ms Burns said that Khan "may well have" committed the act to lure police to attack them.

She said it was planned and Khan was shouting words at the scene that led bystanders to believe he was committing a terrorism attack.

"We will be alleging this was an act that was inspired ISIS," she said.

"It was a deliberate act yesterday it resulted in a person receiving extremely serious injuries.

"As we understand of what happened yesterday, there was some degree of planning and preparation to something just before the incident happened.

"We know that this person has strong extremist beliefs inspired by ISIS ... But what made him act yesterday we don’t know.

"It was deliberate, it was violent, his behaviour could have turned worse as well."

She said Khan was not on the terrorism watch list but he was known to police for his "odd" behaviour.

"The 22 year old is somebody who is known to police. He has previously been before the court on a property related charge," she said.

"He has had a couple of interactions with local police where you might say his behaviour was odd or unusual.

"He was not connected with any known terrorism group or any known persons of interest.

"There may have been some behaviours in the past that might have been concerning behaviours.. This is the reality of what we have to face.

"There are going to be people who may have concerning behaviour but you can’t watch everybody all the time.

"There was concerning information about his behaviour but not somebody who we would say is front and centre in our work at the moment."

She said that although the Khan did not know the man he attacked, he did "form a view of him" for some reason.

"From what we know these two people aren’t known to each other," she said.

"But for whatever reason, the 22 year old has formed some view about the victim.

"This has resulted in this particular person being the subject of the attack.

"I think although not known to each other, he did form some view about this person."

She praised members of the community who saw what happened and acted quickly.

Ms Burns said that police had seized a large knife and other items after carrying out search warrants.

"A large knife was found at the location yesterday. Our investigators have conducted a number of search warrants. They have taken material to be further examined," she said.

The victim of the attack was critical last night, when he underwent surgery for his stab wounds, however his condition has improved slightly this morning, she said.

"From what I understand the victim is a local man. The important thing at the moment is thinking about him," she said.

She said there was no further threat to the community.


Australia pays heavy cost for its policies of protecting sharks

Another week, another three shark attacks on recreational ocean lovers.

One was fatal: West Australian kitesurfer David Jewell, 50, died after being bitten in New Caledonia, 1500km across the Coral Sea from the Gold Coast, on Tuesday.

Another attack — the previous day, at ­Injidup, near Yallingup, Western Australia — will be ­remembered for the sheer luck of the surfer ­involved. Fraser Penman, 22, was thrown off his surfboard by a shark that attacked from beneath. The force of the ­impact, which ­almost broke his surfboard in two, suggests the shark had a lethal ­intention.

Surfer Mick Corbett, who was sitting only metres away, said Penman landed on the back of the shark, which he estimated to be 5m long. The attack continued. "The guy is going up and down, he’s screaming, his brother is screaming," Corbett recalled. "I thought he was actually getting properly eaten … I kept thinking, this is f..ked."

Australia spends millions of dollars researching the movements and behaviour of sharks but no researcher has yet shown even the slightest curiosity in why some shark attacks go on for minutes and others end with the beast moving on, which is what happened in this instance. There is no doubt, though, that Penman owes a lot to his surfboard taking the ­initial hit. Had the shark ­attacked one of his limbs instead, Penman would now be permanently maimed, physically and psychologically, or dead — another statistic in a toll to which we become increasingly ­accustomed.

Yesterday, Penman’s attack had still not been recorded at the Australian Shark Attack File’s website, even under its seemingly benign "uninjured" column. Such indifference to maintaining the file, which is funded by taxpayers and should be the most reliable guide to the present safety or otherwise of our nation’s beaches, reflects the wider nonchalance of the shark research community ­towards the safety of people.

Almost everywhere one looks — the CSIRO, universities and the various departments of primary industries or fishing — one sees a higher priority given to sharks than surfers, divers or swimmers. This misanthropism springs from the common perception that humans are a blight on our planet and that a few casualties from interactions with nature are an acceptable price in the quest to save the Earth from ­rapacious humans. Such a deliberate lack of ­humanity is usually assoc­iated only with religious ­delusions or witchcraft. But, then, you "believe" in "saving" the environment or you don’t.

The longer this goes on, the more absurd our behaviour. In this respect, Reunion Island provides a worrying sign of where Australia is heading. ­Reunion introduced a marine park on the west side of the island in 2007 and implemented a ban on shark fishing. Since 2011, the effect of these policies has ­become apparent.

The island has had 19 attacks in six years, seven of them fatal, from a population of 850,000. Most surfers on the ­island have known not just one but several friends who have been killed or badly injured. Most parents in the tight surfing community have ­attended the funeral of several friends’ children, if not their own.

And it was on Reunion where this week’s third attack occurred. This one encapsulates how neurotic the debate about sharks has become. A bodyboarder named Laurent Chardard arrived at Boucan Canot beach last Saturday to see, apart from large and good-quality surf, red flags on the sand.

Boucan has a 700m net around it, built last year. It is one of two netted beaches, the only places where it is considered safe to surf on an island that until recently was on every surfer’s bucket list of dream destinations. However, ­that morning inspectors had noticed a 2m hole in the net and erected the flags — not warning of a shark, just the potential of one.

Fifteen surfers paddled out anyway. Chardard was one of them. He was attacked by a bull shark and lost his right arm and leg. "Just let me die — I don’t want to live like this," he told the brave fellow surfers who came to his rescue. (Since waking up in hospital, Chardard has developed a wonderfully admirable optimism and is "ready to live again" with prosthetic limbs, one of his friends told me.) Like the luckier Penman, Chardard is only 22 years old.

The day after the attack, the owner of the Petit Boucan, one of five restaurants on the beach, went on radio to complain he’d had almost no customers since the attack and that Chardard should be charged with a criminal offence. He also floated the idea of suing Chardard for damages. In Australia it’s common to blame the victim of a shark attack but threatening to sue one takes this antagonism to a new level.

The restaurateur has since apologised — a smart move considering his clientele consists mostly of surfers, who angrily proposed a prolonged boycott. However, the restaurateur’s grievance is understandable. He has a business to run and bills to pay. His restaurant is at one of the few ­places on the island where it was presumably safe to swim or surf. Now that beach has been stigmatised.

Arriving at this negative outcome has not been cheap for Reunion. The net at Boucan cost about $1.5 million to build (but was still damaged by one of the first large swells to hit it), and about half that a year to maintain. The island’s tourism industry has been cut dramatically. And, of course, Chardard and his family and friends have paid a heavy price.

All this for … a fish. Why can’t we treat sharks like other fish, or cattle, or rats? Why are they ­exempt from our usual attitude towards animals? Why do we go to such pains to ensure these fish thrive at the cost of young lives?

The usual response to these questions is that sharks are an "apex predator" and that tampering with them has a "cascading" effect that would lead to the "collapse" of the marine environment.

But a landmark report published by the West Australian ­Department of Fisheries this year, the result of one of the most comprehensive studies into shark movement, disputes this. The report, bearing the catchy title of Evaluation of ­Passive Acoustic Telemetry ­Approaches for Monitoring Shark Hazards Off the Coast of Western Australia, says the movement of great whites is "highly variable" and "not consis­tent". So a beach visited by a great white one day might not see ­another for a week, or a year, or a decade. Whether the shark ­returns or not, the environment adapts, just as Charles Darwin explained it would more than 150 years ago.

Besides, the marine environment is less predictable than ­researchers lead us to believe. One would expect, for example, that the protection of great whites in South Australia would keep the population of fur seals (also protected) under control, but it hasn’t. Instead, fur seals are reaching plague proportions and are devastating the state’s fishing industry.

These outcomes are not quite as tragically counter-productive as those on Reunion but we are getting close. As part of its highly publicised $16m plan to protect surfers on the state’s north coast, the NSW government included the construction of a net, similar to the one at Boucan, at North Wall, Ballina. Local surfers told the government the plan was ludicrous and the net would be in ­pieces on the beach after the first big swell. The government persevered anyway, abandoning the idea after three attempts.

Five days after that plan was dropped, the government ­released to The Daily Telegraph details of an exciting new plan to keep sharks away from people: dropping Shark Shields, which emit electric pulses that make sharks uncomfortable, on them from drones. If this sounds like another ridiculously complex, time-consuming, expensive and ineffective idea, it’s because it is.

Meanwhile, the nation’s coastline is dotted with fishing ports in which hi-tech boats capable of profitably reducing the number of lethal sharks in our waters lay idle, or are used to catch fish that pose no threat to us.

It’s going to be a long summer.


Finnish Education Fantasies
Steven Schwartz

As a call to action, "Let's imitate Finland" is unlikely to stir many hearts. Yet, for some critics of Australian schooling, it's a rallying cry. To them, Finland is an educational nirvana with high paid teachers delivering excellent outcomes despite short school hours, an aversion to homework, the absence of external assessments and no annoying school league tables.

If Australia would only ditch NAPLAN (our external assessment program), erase the My School website (which contains information about school performance), shorten the school day and forget about homework (and pay teachers more, of course), we could become an educational powerhouse -- just like Finland.

Ironically, the reason that critics choose Finland as a model is because it performs well on external standardised tests. Specifically, Finland scored highly on tests conducted by the OECD's international Program for International Student Assessment, widely known as  PISA.

As Jennifer Buckingham notes, Finland is an unlikely model for Australia. Its entire population is not much larger than Sydney's. It has little cultural or racial diversity, few disadvantaged schools and a widely shared social consensus about what children should learn and how they should be taught. In other words, Finland is very different from Australia. In addition, its PISA status is slipping. In 2012 (the latest scores available), Finland did not make it into the top 10.

Today's top PISA performers are all Asian -- Shanghai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Macau, and Japan. Like Finland, these places are culturally homogenous, but this is where the similarity ends. In most other ways, their educational cultures are the opposite of Finland's. They have long school days, lots of homework, rigorous national assessments, public accountability and plenty of competition among schools.

Predictably, educators are now urging us to emulate Asia.  This is no more sensible than imitating Finland. We can learn from other places, but we cannot just impose their ways on our much more diverse population. Our students deserve an educational system designed specifically for Australian students, schools, and culture.


Golliwogs at the Royal Adelaide Show

Golliwogs are basically an American issue only.  We had no slavery, no Jim Crow and no black minstrels in Australia. Until recently, we didn't even have any Africans.  So they should not be an issue in Australia

THE Royal Show is a delightful festival of anachronisms. There’s wood chopping, sheep shearing, displays of needlecraft, crochet and patchwork quilts.

There’s thread spinning and bread baking and jam making, and the hard-working women of the CWA serve up the best scones in town at a price that even seems unchanged since the 1970s. It’s all brilliant fun.

But there’s one old-fashioned relic I was utterly shocked to discover proudly on display at the Show this week, instead of being consigned to the rubbish bin of history where it belongs: the golliwog.

With their frizzy hair, googly eyes and clownish lips, golliwogs are a grotesque, racist caricature of black people. Modelled on the African-American minstrels of the 19th and early 20th centuries, they are a caricature of a caricature. They are "blackface" embodied in a children’s toy.

They have no place in Australia’s modern, multicultural society.

And there they were at the Royal Show, four of them, proudly displayed in a glass cabinet among the handmade crochet and lace. All three prize-winning entries wore red jackets, bow ties and stripey pants, just like blackface minstrels. How quaint. How appallingly racist. How offensive and upsetting this display must be for indigenous visitors, for our many African-Australian residents.

I wondered if perhaps the golliwogs were the creation of some guerrilla arts activism group, a sort of ironic statement on racism in the 21st century. But no, there’s an official category in the Royal Show’s "Open arts and crafts" prize section, listed under "teddy bears and friends: Class 264 - golly (Traditional children’s soft toy)".

See, we don’t call them "golliwogs" anymore, we call them "golly" dolls, and say they’re "traditional", which apparently makes them OK.

The Royal Show isn’t the only offender here. Last week I saw golliwogs for sale in a Norwood newsagency, this time labelled as "rag dolls". Handy for all those needing to buy racist memorabilia with their X-Lotto tickets and craft supplies.

Defenders of "golly" dolls say they are innocent relics of a bygone era and shouldn’t be seen as racist, which is a bit like saying the swastika should no longer be seen as offensive because it’s more than 70 years old. It’s an utterly ignorant stance. We know golliwogs are racist.

The last thing I want the gloriously old-fashioned Royal Show to do is get with the times, but it should at least ditch the golliwogs.


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 September, 2016

The Marmot thinks more money would fix Aboriginal health

Is that you, Sir Michael?

The Marmot has been peddling nonsense for a long time.  He has the typical Leftist's lack of imagination:  Government spending fixes everything.  That more money given to blacks would mostly  lead them to piss it up against a wall, he does not confront. 

We see here that he knows that low IQs are strongly associated with poorer health  -- but no mention of that below, of course.

He says that treating black children better would fix their problems.  So how are you going to do that?  How are you to get them to attend school?  Send the police after them every day?  But wouldn't that be too "authoritarian"?  Perhaps take them away from their families and give them to whites to bring up?  Hasn't he heard of the "stolen generation"?  The Marmot is just a blow-in Pommy Leftist who hasn't got a blind clue about Aborigines.  No wonder the ABC has treated him as an honoured guest

If Australia wants to close the gap between the health of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, the traditional approach of treating disease will not do it, epidemiologist Sir Michael Marmot says.

Indigenous life expectancy is 10 years lower than that of the general population. Rates of diabetes are more than three times higher.

An Aboriginal Australian is 19 times more likely to die of acute rheumatic fever or chronic rheumatic heart disease.

The rate of suicide for Indigenous boys aged 15 to 19 is four times higher than for their non-Indigenous counterparts; among girls, the rate is six times higher.

In 2016, the prime minister's Closing the Gap update found that while there had been improvement in some areas, other targets are unlikely to be met.

"In my view, the reason why Aboriginal Australians have worse health than the non-Indigenous population is because of inequality," Sir Michael, president of the World Medical Association and director of the Institute of Health Equity, says in his second ABC Boyer Lecture.

He argues the best way to deal with that inequality is investment in early childhood development.

"What happens to children in the early years has a profound effect on their life chances and hence their health as adults," he said.

"A poor start in life, of course, affects everything that happens subsequently, the kind of job you do, the amount of money you earn and these, in their turn will affect health.

"More adverse conditions in early childhood, fewer educational opportunities, fewer opportunities for good and meaningful work, low income, worse environments, and high rates of smoking, poor diet, alcohol and drugs.

"People are not responsible for the social forces on their life. Get the social conditions right, ensure optimal early child development, and then, of course, people can be expected to take responsibility for their own health."

Sir Michael's research in the UK suggests that good child development is less common among the socio-economically disadvantaged.

However, he points to Hackney in East London as an example of how it need not be so.

There, investment in teachers and pre-school services closed the performance gap between children who were eligible for school lunches — a marker of disadvantage — and those who were not.

On a larger scale, Sir Michael pointed to the correlation between taxation and social welfare policies and child poverty in the United States and Australia.

Before taxes and transfers, 25 per cent of US children are classed as being in poverty — defined as having a family income that is less than 50 per cent of the median — while in Australia the figure is 28 per cent of children.

But after tax and transfer payments, poverty drops to 11 per cent in Australia. In the US it remains as high as 25 per cent.

This has led Sir Michael to an inescapably political conclusion: if Australia is serious about the health and wellbeing of its citizens, it must get serious about inequality.

"Social injustice is killing on a grand scale," he said.

"The social injustice of condemning some children to a poor start in life should not be tolerated."


A Thank-you from an African "refugee" that Australia kindly took in: Murders lovely lady

This murder happened in the same part of the world that I come from and affects people of the sort that I grew up with.  I know the places concerned, even such obscure ones as Feluga, where her parents live.  This matter has therefore given me much grief.  I would burn the offender to death if I could.  I know the sort of farming family she comes from.  Lovely people.  To think that such a treasure as her is lost at the hands of a scum "refugee" is hard to bear.  Africans tend to be very pushy towards women and get aggressive when rejected

A man has been given a life sentence in jail for raping and murdering a woman in far North Queensland in April 2014.

Musa Brandon Ngwira, 33, pleaded not guilty to rape, murder and interfering with a corpse.

He was sentenced to life in prison in the Cairns Supreme Court on Friday, reported Perth Now.

Ms La Spina was found by a friend naked in a shower with a cord around her neck in a Bingil Bay Road townhouse about 5pm on April 19, 2014, with the water still running, reported the Cairns Post.

The court heard Ngwira was working as a tour guide in Mission Beach and Ms La Spina, 26, was working as a photographer for a local white water rafting company.

The night before the incident, the pair had been partying with friends at a local hostel.

Friends reportedly said Ms La Spina rejected Ngwira's advances, before they went with a group of others to Ms La Spina's friend's house later that night.

Ms La Spina slept in an empty room upstairs, while Ngwira slept on a downstairs couch.

Ms La Spina had 52 injuries to her body and Ngwira's DNA was found on her, on her clothes and on a pillowcase in the room she had slept in.

A search of his laptop also uncovered that he had Google searched the penalty for killing a person in Australia. 


Queensland University of Technology to divest ­itself of shares in coal, oil and gas

Des Houghton is getting a bit too excited below.  Divestment might slightly decrease the share prices concerned but it will do nothing else.  It just typical Leftist tokenism

WITH nearly 50,000 students on two splendid campuses, the Queensland University of Technology is run by astute academics in diverse fields such as engineering, law, teaching and the creative ­industries.

This makes it even harder for me to understand how one of our most respected tertiary institutions has allowed itself to be snared in two nasty ­controversies.

Last week the university announced it would divest ­itself of shares in coal, oil and gas companies following a ­review of investments "relative to climate risk".

The resources stocks are in a $300 million QUT endowment fund managed by the Queensland Investment ­Corporation.

I don’t know what gives the taxpayer-funded QUT the right to make unilateral ­decisions that damage the economy.

The university is hypocritically mugging the very industries that provide jobs for some of its graduates. It is turning its back on the very companies delivering billions in royalties to keep our universities afloat.

Worse, the university has kowtowed to a green-Left American anti-coal pressure group that has claimed credit for the decision.

QUT graduates who got "real world" jobs in the ­resources sector should feel embarrassed with the divestment declaration.

Resources companies provided one in every $5 to the Queensland economy, one in six jobs and paid $2.1 billion in royalties to Queensland last year alone.

Nearly 6000 resources industry employees live in Brisbane which is the headquarters of many firms.

These companies have every right to refuse to ­employ any QUT graduates until the ridiculous decision is reversed.

Where will the university’s green activism end?

Queensland Resources Council chief Michael Roche points out the absurdities: "Presumably no QUT buildings in the future will be made from steel to avoid having to use ­coking coal which is an essential ingredient in making steel.

"Nor will students or staff be able to catch public transport or ride bicycles which are also made from resources commodities."

Bicycles made from hemp seem like a safe option for the new "real world" at QUT.

Roche added: "I also ­assume the science labs at QUT have come up with a way of performing experiments without using Bunsen gas burners."

QUT staff must now be banned from using petrol or diesel in their cars.

Each day I drive past the QUT’s Kelvin Grove campus and in recent years have watched a building boom supported by the very steel, gas, glass and cement QUT now seeks to run from.

A new carpark under construction off Herston Rd seems to have more steel in it than the Story Bridge.


New amazing discovery:  Warming is GOOD for coral

I have been pointing that out for years

Coral reefs on the Great Barrier Reef grow better in the summer and in northern areas, a major ocean chemistry monitoring project has found.

The Future Reef 2.0 project is helping to identify which parts of the reef are most vulnerable to ocean acidification change and has just been extended for another three years.

CSIRO scientists have been running an advanced sensor system from a Rio Tinto vessel as part of the research, which also involves the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

CSIRO ocean carbon research scientist Dr Bronte Tilbrook said the research has found ocean chemistry remains positive for coral growth.

Dr Tilbrook said it had also found there were strong seasonal changes, with the best coral growing conditions in summer.

Conditions were also better in the outer regions of the reef and there was more coral growth in the northern parts, he said.

Specifically, the project has been examining how the entire reef is responding to ocean acidification, bleaching and cyclones.

"The data is going to help us understand how the reef is growing and how it's responding to certain stresses," he told AAP.

"We need to get the big picture and that's the thing the ship is allowing us to do."


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 September, 2016

Transgender advocate fired for "Safe Schools" criticism

Everyone must think in lockstep on the Left

Prominent transgender advocate Catherine McGregor has been sacked from a high-profile role with human rights group Kaleidoscope Australia for speaking out against the controversial Safe Schools program.

Ms McGregor has revealed that she was removed as a patron of Kaleidoscope, a not-for-profit group that promotes the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people, because of her views on the program.

Kaleidoscope, whose inaugural patron was former High Court judge ­Michael Kirby, is a staunch supporter of Safe Schools. Although designed to prevent ­homophobic bullying in schools, the program has proved divisive because of the sexualised nature of some resources and its promotion of the contested idea that gender and sexuality are fluid.

While Ms McGregor is not the only member of the LGBTI community to speak out against Safe Schools — federal Liberal MP Tim Wilson has also aired concerns, as has Victorian health advocate Rob Mitchell — she has faced a significant backlash.

Writing for Sydney’s The Daily Telegraph in May, Ms McGregor argued the program had been compromised by radical left-wing politics and was not the most effective way of supporting transgender children. She claimed the program might lead transgender youth down a "blind alley".

The article prompted Margot Fink, a spokeswoman for the youth network ­Minus18 and a contributor to the Safe School’s curriculum, to ­accuse her of throwing Safe Schools "under the bus" to ­appear "more acceptable or ­appealing to hard-line ­conser­vatives".

Ms McGregor, who was the world’s highest-ranking transgender military official and an Australian of the Year nominee, told The Australian she was disappointed by the reaction to her comments. It had cost her at least one speaking engagement. A Melbourne charity advised that it no longer wanted her to appear at an LGBTI event because it feared a hostile reaction.

Ms McGregor said she made no apologies for her views but she had decided to step aside from her ­remaining roles with LGBTI ­organisations, including The Pinnacle Foundation and Canberra’s SpringOUT Pride Festival.

She also has withdrawn from next year’s prestigious Joan Kirner Social Justice Oration, previously delivered by Waleed Aly and former prime minister Julia Gillard.

"I’ve always been very happy to support various causes within the LGBTI community because I truly believe that, as a transgender woman who has been able to achieve a lot in my career in the military and as a writer and broadcaster, that I can contribute a lot," Ms McGregor said.

"But it’s quite obvious that my views are more conservative than sections of the LGBTI community are happy to accept. I’ve really just had enough."

Kaleidoscope president Paula Gerber said Ms McGregor was ­invited to become a patron late last year, but the board had reconsidered the appointment after ­becoming aware of her comments on Safe Schools. "While she was free to hold those views, there was an incompatibility with Kaleidoscope’s own public support of the Safe Schools program, which we happen to believe is among the world’s best," Professor Gerber said. "Cate was surprised by our ­decision ... but she seemed to ­accept it with good grace."

Denis Moriarty, organiser of the Joan Kirner Social Justice Oration, said he was saddened by Ms McGregor’s withdrawal. "As a gay person myself and a massive supporter of Safe Schools, I still think we should be proud to ­debate and listen to all sides," he said. "Catherine is entitled to her views and sadly the politics of personalities has got in the way."


Close shave with Human Rights Commission for ‘men-only’ barber store

Feminists exclude men all the time but men must not exclude women.  Note how the barbers defend themselves with feminist-type  language about "sensitive to the insecurities men feel" etc.

FEMINISTS have declared war on hipsters.  A male-only barber shop in trendy inner Sydney has come under fire on social media for its strict "no women allowed" policy.

But customers of Hawleywood’s in Newtown, which also has three stores in California, have leapt to the chain’s defence, urging it to not be "bullied by the mob".

The latest flare-up came after musician Kelly Jeanious posted about her friend’s experience visiting the Hawleywood salon on the weekend, Yahoo reported.

"A guy came in for a cut," she wrote. "He was told his girlfriend could not wait ‘cause it is a men’s only space. Then the guy proceeded to talk about the inequalities of men for the next half an hour and how unfair Fernwood gym is."

Lindsay McDowens posted a picture of a map of the globe to the store’s Facebook page, writing: "Here’s a picture of a safe male space. Grow up you crybaby scaredy-cats."

And in January, Mahlah Grey wrote: "Am I able to come in if I need to purchase a gift voucher or product? Or will my vagina/breasts/level of oestrogen freak you out?

"What if I’m transgender? If I’m a female undergoing hormone treatment and growing facial hair do I qualify to enter your establishment? Or if I was a transgender female with fake titties but still had a working c*** would that give me the right to sit in your chair?

"What if my husband wanted an appointment but had our two young daughters with him. Would he need to leave them outside? Just want to make sure as I would hate to breach your man’s club etiquette. "Have you heard of equal rights? Or the Sex Discrimination Act of 1984?"

Amber Lee complained that her friend was turned away because she was female. "Her hair is always done at a barber shop because she gets it shaved and styled like a typical man’s haircut," she wrote.

"When we asked how her hair was any different to a man’s hair, one of the barbers rudely suggested she contact the Human Rights Commission if she didn’t like their policy and smirked at us as we left. The whole experience felt like barely concealed misogyny and was gross to see in Newtown of all places." understands a sex discrimination complaint against the store was made to the Human Rights Commission, but was dismissed. Hawleywood’s declined to comment when contacted on Wednesday.

But in a lengthy response posted to Facebook in January, Hawleywood’s defended its policy. "We pride ourselves in an impeccable cut, shave and male grooming in a secure, understanding setting sensitive to the insecurities men feel during these procedures," the store wrote.

"We cater to men who posses [sic] insecurities with [their] grooming, they feel uncomfortable receiving these services in a grooming environment that is targeted towards women, especially during the uncomfortable and sometimes awkward process of removing excess overgrown nasal hair, ear hair, eyebrows and during the process of hair cuts that cater specifically to the concealment of baldness, an issue most men [are] sensitive and embarrassed about.

"They prefer the sanctitude of an understanding and empathetic male environment that lacks judgment during these procedures.

"We also cater to a large homosexual community in Newtown, and assist a number of regular transsexual/transgender clientele that are in the process of transition from female to male genders with inherit insecurities regarding gender, craving advice from men on how to groom themselves during this transition that Hawleywood’s is more than happy and honoured to provide."

The store said in a statement that if the policy were to change, "we will no longer be able to provide this sanctitude and privacy for men who feel uncomfortable getting these procedures done in front of women".

Male-only barber shops are no different to businesses that exclude men for the "personal comfort, confidence and privacy" or female clientele, including Fernwood and Curves, the statement said.

"We don’t vilify or discriminate against homosexuals, over 50 per cent of our customer base is of homosexual orientation," it said.

"There are a number of barber shops within a 50 metre radius offering hair cuts and razor shaves that do cater to women."

Many on Facebook have defended the store. "Good for you on the no women policy," wrote Carolyn Palmer. "Stick to your guns and don’t be bullied by the mob. Plenty of women only places around and they don’t get bloody hounded."

Amanda Houghton added: "Good on you. As a woman I have no problem with this, we as women have salons, gyms, beauty salons, parking, doctors and a range of other things that are women only.

"You have no reason to justify your actions of men-only, I don’t see others justifying women-only anything."


Dead to History

As Marc Antony put it, 'the good is oft interrèd with their bones' and so it is at Melbourne University, where a gaggle of clamorous sooks and attention-seekers is demanding the name of a long-dead medico be erased from the institution he helped to build

A movement to censor our history is forming at Australian universities. Students and academics are campaigning for buildings and lecture halls to be renamed because of their association with ‘offensive’ historical figures. They no longer feel comfortable confronting, or even acknowledging, the past— instead, they want to expunge it altogether. Their first target is the renaming of the Richard Berry building at the University of Melbourne.

Richard Berry revolutionised the teaching of anatomy in Melbourne. He wrote the standard anatomy textbook used by students for some twenty-five years. As dean of medicine he advocated for the placement of a hospital near campus that could work closely with the university, a dream that became a reality after his departure. Berry’s contributions to teaching, as well as an administrator, were so outstanding that when a new anatomy building opened, which he designed, it was only natural to name the building after him.

Sadly, despite his capabilities, Berry, along with John Maynard Keynes, George Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells, and Winston Churchill, advocated for the patently racist and discredited eugenics movement of the early 20th century. Eugenicists sought to promote certain genetic traits, and discourage others, by manipulating sexual reproduction. This supposedly scientific theory was used by the Nazis to justify their atrocities.

He also advocated for sterilisation of Aboriginals, people with a disability, and other groups he viewed as inferior. Student union president Tyson Holloway-Clarke says the existence of a building named after him is ‘confronting and alienating situation for Indigenous students.’

The move to wipe Berry’s name from the building he designed follows in the footsteps of similar campaigns on British and American campuses. Oxford University students unsuccessfully advocated for the destruction of a Cecil Rhodes. However, their campaign failed to appreciate Rhodes’ positive legacy. The Rhodes Scholarship has provided extraordinary educational opportunities to thousands from the developing and developed world, people who would otherwise never have had the opportunity to attend such a prestigious institution. It has helped train the leaders of countless countries, including our own prime ministers Malcolm Turnbull, Tony Abbott and Bob Hawke.

Yes, Rhodes’ legacy, just like Berry’s, is deeply flawed. It is vital, however, that we acknowledge both the virtuous and vile in our history. Our past is neither good nor evil, rather, it reflects the varying shades of grey that make up the complexities of human character. It reflects our constant drive towards progress and developing a more compassionate society. It is vital we remember and attempt to fully understand the complexity, not seek to censor our past.

We must be careful to not project modern ideas, which simply did not exist at the time, onto history. The speed of human progress has led to an extraordinarily rapid change in cultural understandings, political values and scientific theories. The essence of historic analysis is gaining a full understanding of these changes, and the world in which historic figures lived. The alternate, applying today’s values to the past, makes it almost impossible to find any respectable historical figures for admiration or study.

It would require Labor to rename their think-tank, the Evatt Foundation, because Doc Evatt brandished a letter in Parliament from Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov falsely claiming there was no Soviet spying in Australia—a letter written by the same individual who signed the Soviet-Nazi Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. Liberals would have to stop celebrating Robert Menzies because, in the height of the Cold War, he advocated for the illiberal policy of banning a political party, the Communist Party of Australia. Americans would have to abandon their constitution and bill of rights because two-thirds of the founding fathers owned slaves.

If we actually want to understand, not simply abandon, the past we must comprehend the world in which these people functioned, the threats that motivated them, and the cultural values of their time. We must understand that Evatt was motivated by a theory, albeit false, of conspiracy between the government and the security establishment to discredit Labor. We must understand that Menzies believed, based on the stated aims of Australian communists, that there was a serious clandestine threat to our democracy. And we must understand that the American founders lived in a time when slave ownership was common across the world. We can, and should, criticise their views and actions, but it is ahistorical to apply today’s values to figures living in a different time.

Censoring the past also hinders the educational mission of universities. These statues, buildings, and lecture halls provide an important opportunity to confront our history. Renaming buildings allows past injustices to be forgotten, to be wiped off the public memory. Leaving them in place is a good reminder and educational opportunity. Rather than rename the Richard Berry building, making him float away into the abyss of history book footnotes buried in the basement of a campus library, it would be appropriate to place a prominent plaque near the entrance of the building explaining both his contributions and abhorrent views. This would allow students to understand the fact that this person did exist, and what he actually did. It also prevents the university from taking the relatively easy step of wiping out a dark part of their history.

Ironically, the University of Melbourne has previously hosted a disability support services unit in the Richard Berry building. Some have claimed that this placement is insulting. However, the opposite is in fact true. The best way to show just how wrong Berry’s ideas were, and to display how far we have come as a society, is to act in the completely opposite manner. It is to celebrate that students from all backgrounds roam freely in the corridors of the Richard Berry building. This allows us to not forget the complexities of our past, and delivers a far more nuanced understanding of what is right and wrong.


Happy 25th birthday to Australia's economic growth

Australia has now notched up 100 quarters without a recession, nearly breaking the Netherlands' record for longest expansion at 103.

Australia's economy grew by 3.3 per cent over the year to June, matching economist forecasts and putting GDP growth slightly above average levels.

"We've got an Australian economy that's growing at the fastest rate in four years, that's a truly remarkable situation," CommSec's chief economist Craig James said.

But, even with an optimistic result, analysts warn Australia's economy is not bullet proof, and there is still potential for Australia to enter recession as it transitions from the mining boom.

The national unemployment rate currently sits at 5.7 per cent. Western Australia's jobless rate is at 6.3 per cent, while South Australia is even worse, at 6.4 per cent.

"Some people are doing better, some people are doing worse but in aggregate, basically the economy is in very, very good shape," Mr James said.

"The job market has softened in some states like Western Australia, but from very low levels of unemployment in relative terms."

A large portion of Australia's population have not lived through a recession and Mr James warned that may give the impression Australia was bullet proof.

"Recessions are just those times that you just don't want to see. It's where unemployment can go from 5 per cent to 10 per cent, in the space of a couple of quarters, people lose their jobs and businesses fail," Mr James said.

Government building investment gave GDP a huge push, adding 0.7 percentage points to GDP. That is a concern for concern for Bill Mitchell, professor of economics at the University of Newcastle, who is wary the only thing keeping the economy afloat is public spending.

"The private investment is in a state of collapse, our external sector, our export sector is basically went backwards this quarter, and the only thing that kept growth above zero was the public sector," Professor Mitchell said.

While the country weathered the Global Financial Crisis relatively unscathed, Professor Mitchell warned household consumption had dropped again.

"It's still growing but it's slowing down because households carry on massive debt loads and will not drive growth to the levels that we saw prior to the Global Financial Crisis," Professor Mitchell said.

"Households are basically, if they want to drive consumption growth, going to expand their credit, and it's at such high levels that I think we're seeing now an unwillingness, of households to do that."

It has been 25 years since the last recession, which ended in June 1991. The new challenge going forward would be for incoming Reserve Bank Governer Phillip Lowe to keep up performance levels into the future.

"We've got a very well balanced economy and if any credit has to go it has to go to the Reserve Bank for ensuring that our economy has managed to chalk up 25 consecutive years of economic growth," Mr James 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

8 September, 2016

Teachers are still whining about Federal funding of private schools

This has been going on since the days of Bob Menzies! Over 50 years ago

For many decades the Federal Government has been the primary government funder of non-government schools in Australia, while states and territories fund 85 per cent of government schools.

This is a long established fact and for the Australian Education Union to express surprise or alarm at this ongoing trend is disingenuous at best.

The AEU claims "new analysis showing [the Turnbull Government] funding plan would see 62 per cent of extra funding go to private schools". This so-called new analysis is based on assumptions from negotiations that have not even commenced yet and a funding plan that will finalised by early next year.

Official government analysis of the current Gonski agreement – which is exactly as agreed by the previous Labor Government – from 2014 to 2017 showed the Commonwealth Government had committed 63 per cent of its funds to the non-government sector over the ‘Gonski’ years – more than that predicted in today’s report.

Politically motivated reports, like the AEU’s contribution today, provide nothing more than a distraction from the real conversation that we need to be having about how record Federal Government funding for schools is spent to ensure we are investing in evidence-based reforms that drive improved outcomes for Australian students.

The most recent NAPLAN results showed literacy and numeracy results had plateaued since 2013 while over the same period there had been a 23.7 per cent funding increase for students in both the non-government and government sectors, but even those facts haven’t changed some people’s misguided focus.

Labor and the AEU ought to stop being just one trick ponies claiming more funding fixes every problem in education.

The Turnbull Government has committed to working with states and territories and the non-government sector to establish a new funding deal post-2017 that is tied to evidence-based initiatives and will see funding distribution informed by need.

The Turnbull Government is determined to develop a new, simpler distribution model to replace the 27 different funding models that we inherited under Labor's so-called national approach, in which special deals distort real need.

Turnbull Government school funding will grow from already-record levels but will be tied to a range of evidence-based initiatives to support students by focusing on outcomes in literacy, numeracy and STEM subjects, helping lift teaching quality and better preparing our children for life after school.

Our new model will ensure funding is distributed according to need. Total school funding across Australia will grow from $16 billion in 2016 to $20.1 billion in 2020 and we will be working to ensure that funding is increased each year so that schools currently delivering valuable programs can continue to do so.

Federal Government press release

Race Commissioner has blatantly prejudged Bill Leak over cartoon

The Race Discrimination ­Commissioner has just made it ­extremely dangerous for his ­organisation to discharge all of its statutory duties.

Tim Soutphommasane has ­encouraged people to lodge complaints with the commission about Bill Leak’s cartoon last week depicting an Aboriginal ­policeman returning a delinquent Aboriginal youth to his equally delinquent Aboriginal father.

The problem is that the commissioner has prejudged those complaints: Leak, according to Soutphommasane’s public statements, is guilty and people should feel free to complain.

Those complaints will all go to Soutphommasane’s organisation, where every official knows that one of those at the top has already made up his mind.

That means any attempt by the commission to deal with complaints about Leak’s cartoon is now vulnerable to challenge for a perception of bias.

Leak, like everyone else in this country, has a right to procedural fairness. Decision-makers who knowingly infringe that right might also be vulnerable to accus­ations of malice.

In free societies, the right to a fair hearing before an arm of the state is fundamental — a fact that has long been recognised in Australian administrative law.

Soutphommasane’s prejudgment of Leak’s cartoons was not a mere slip-up. It was blatant, which can be seen from a report on the affair that was published last week by Fairfax Media.

He was quoted as saying: "Our society shouldn’t endorse racial stereotyping of Aboriginal ­Australians or any other racial or ethnic group."

He said "a significant number" of people would agree the cartoon was a racial stereotype of Aborig­inal Australians and he urged anyone who was offended by it to lodge a complaint under the ­Racial Discrimination Act.

In case anyone missed that ­article, Soutphommasane took to Twitter to ensure that his 15,091 followers had a link to the story outlining his views.

The tweet containing that link said this: "Our society shouldn’t endorse racial stereotyping of ­Aboriginal Australians — or, for that matter, any other group".

Thanks to Soutphommasane’s efforts in drumming up complaints, it is now a fair bet that Leak will be asked to turn up at a closed-door "mediation" with someone who has been influenced by Soutphommasane.

The fact that his boss, Gillian Triggs, has not intervened to discipline him or limit the impact of his prejudgment of the cartoons will be viewed by many as an ­implicit endorsement of what he had to say. That will not be lost on all those whose careers at the commission can be influenced by Triggs and Soutphommasane.

Her inaction, coupled with his prejudgment, means that the ­commission has probably left it too late to remove the perception that it is incapable of fairly dealing with any complaint about the ­cartoon.

Here’s what needs to happen. Thanks to Soutphommasane, there will be complaints to the commission about the cartoon. Somebody will need to deal with them. In another case where the commission has been accused of breaching human rights, it brought in an independent silk to avoid the obvious conflict of interest. Thanks to the Race Discrim­in­ation Commissioner, it needs to do the same thing now.

That will be a ridiculously ­expensive waste of taxpayers’ money but the alternative is for the commission to blunder on, hoping that Leak will allow his rights, as well as his reputation, to be traduced.

If the Human Rights Commission has a future, it needs to start conducting itself with the self-discipline and professionalism expected of other statutory officers.


Press Council settles Bill Leak cartoon complaints with The Australian

The Australian Press Council has declined to rule on hundreds of complaints over a Bill Leak cartoon arguing "satire and cartooning" should be afforded great latitude "in a free and vigorous press".

In a statement today, the council’s chairman Professor David Weisbrot, said it had received over 700 complaints about Leak’s cartoon published on August 4.

Leak’s illustration, which followed a Four Corners program on the treatment of children in the Northern Territory’s Don Dale Correctional Centre, provoked strong reactions in the community and on social media with many labelling it "racist" and others saying it spoke to the issue of Indigenous responsibility.

"Balancing all of these considerations, and after consulting with key complainants, the Press Council considers that the best outcome in the public interest is to promote free speech and the contest of ideas through the publication of two major op-ed pieces in The Australian, providing Indigenous perspectives on the cartoon and shedding light on the underlying issues," Professor Weisbrot said.

"With the agreement by The Australian to publish these items prominently, we believe that the complaints have been effectively resolved through an appropriate remedy, and no further action will be taken by the Press Council.

"We thank all of the complainants for their interest in maintaining media standards, and the editors of The Australian for their cooperative and constructive approach in this matter.’'

Professor Weisbrot said the Press Council understood and actively championed "the notion that freedom of speech and freedom of the press are the essential underpinnings of a liberal democracy, ensuring that citizens are able to hold powerful individuals and interests accountable, and to promote the contest of ideas that best enables sound policymaking, good government and a strong and open society".

"In light of the powerful public interest in a free and vigorous press, great deference is given to expressions of political opinion," he said.

"Longstanding tradition dictates that satire and cartooning should be afforded even greater latitude, which is why the "Je suis Charlie" campaign, which started after a terrorist attack in Paris killed a number of journalists and cartoonists, resonated so powerfully around the world."

On the day the cartoon was published Paul Whittaker, The Australian’s editor-in-chief, said: "The Australian is proud of its long-standing and detailed contribution to our national debate over the crucial issues in Indigenous affairs.

"Bill Leak’s confronting and insightful cartoons force people to examine the core issues in a way that sometimes reporting and analysis can fail to do."


Administration staff and senior managers forced to leave their desks and drive ambulances amid crippling paramedic shortages

Isn't government efficiency wonderful?

Administration staff and a senior manager were forced to leave their desks to drive ambulances to emergency calls in Sydney when no paramedics were available this week.

Ambulance NSW became overwhelmed by a surge in demand in Western Sydney on Monday, and when no one else was available, had to to send office staff to triple-0 calls.

'People who manage the ambulance logistics are called in, these are people that don't work in ambulances, they work in offices and they were called in to do emergency work,' said Australian Paramedics Association president Steve Pearce.

He told Daily Mail Australia this was becoming a regular occurrence and has called for more paramedics in Western Sydney.

'This is an issue where Ambulance NSW regularly relies on off-duty ambos as a normal way of doing business. It's clear we don't have enough paramedics.

'These people are at home on their days off and on this occasion they were not available to come in,' he said.

Staff were so stretched on Monday that Ambulance executive director of service delivery David Dutton, who ­reports to the service's CEO had to drive a patient to Blacktown hospital.

There was a spike in emergency calls on Monday that were 'not attributed to hospital delays' an Ambulance NSW spokesperson told The Daily Telegraph.

The spokesperson said Blacktown Hospital had five ambulances that took over 30 minutes to offload.

Mr Pearce's comments are in line with figures released by the Bureau of Health Information which show hospitals in Western Sydney have the longest emergency department wait times in the state.

At Neapean Hospital over half of all emergency patients were left waiting four hours or longer between April and June. Blacktown and Campbelltown Hospital also had longer than average wait times, The Daily Telegraph 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

7 September, 2016

Increased spending in education is failing to lift student results, a new report has found

A familiar story.  The U.S. and U.K. experience is the same.  What is needed is a return to the time when kids DID learn a lot from their education: Strict discipline, chalk and talk methods and teaching phonics.  It worked in the past; It can work again.  Only Leftist theories stand in the way of it

DESPITE substantial increases in education funding, student performance at Australia’s schools has stagnated or worsened, a new report has found.

A draft inquiry by the Productivity Commission into the nation’s education sector released today said reforms including performance benchmarking had failed to achieve "the desired gains in education outcomes".

And recommends overhauling Australia’s privacy laws to allow for better sharing of student data between states and territories.

The report, commissioned by Treasurer Scott Morrison, also found student performance had "stalled or, in some cases, declined" and recommended focusing on teacher quality to improve results.
There has been a recommendation to overhaul Australia’s privacy laws to allow for better sharing of student data between states and territories. Picture: Supplied.

There has been a recommendation to overhaul Australia’s privacy laws to allow for better sharing of student data between states and territories. Picture: Supplied.Source:ThinkStock

"Research has found that only a small share (typically about 20 per cent) of variation in individual student outcomes is explained by differences between schools," it said.

"The majority (about 80 per cent) is explained by differences between students within schools.

"Furthermore, there is a substantial body of evidence suggesting that teachers have the greatest impact on student performance outside of students’ own characteristics, and that directing attention to higher quality teaching can have large positive effects on outcomes across the board.

"All of this suggests that looking within the classroom, particularly at teaching practices, can be more effective at providing insights into how to improve education outcomes across schools and students."

As well as calling for an "Education Agreement" between the Federal Government and states and territories to ensure good governance over data collection, the Commission also recommends changing Australia’s privacy laws.

It claims schools were being overly burdened by data collection.

"Differences in federal and jurisdictional privacy acts, as well as education Acts impose excessive limits on the ability of education data custodians to release data that contains personal information," the report said.

"These differences can prohibit entire data collections from being accessed or prohibit disclosure of component cohorts of the same dataset.

The report said the Turnbull Government should amend the Privacy Act to "extend the arrangements relating to the collection, use or disclosure of personal information without consent in the area of health and medical research to cover public interest research more generally."

"Greater uniformity of privacy laws would go some way toward reducing the regulatory complexity that contributes to the risk averse behaviour of data custodians."

The report also partially backed the introduction of student ID numbers, claiming there had been "limited progress towards this goal" since it was identified by the Government in 2009.

And called for the funding of a new longitudinal study of Australian children.


'Rational' Australian reforms could benefit US politics, says US ambassador John Berry

The outgoing US ambassador to Australia, John Berry, says Australians are the "most rational people in the world" and he would like to take compulsory voting and short election campaigns back to the United States.

Mr Berry is due to finish his three-year stint as ambassador in about a month and named three political conventions from Australia that he felt would make the US a better place.

"First is your limited time for an election season," he told ABC News Breakfast.  "I think all Americans [would be] standing and cheering if you were to say eight weeks as opposed to two-and-a-half years."

He said the second item on his wish list was a mandatory voting system in the US.  "It pushes your politics to the centre," he said.  "Our primary system, it allows ... either end to control too much of the debate and they're a minority of our country.

"Finally, I think, another thing that you do that again is very rational, is you create an independent commission to draw your parliamentary district boundaries, or our congressional boundaries. "Ours are drawn totally by political determination."

Mr Berry said if those three reforms were adopted in the US it would benefit their democracy.

The US is currently in the middle of a long and at times bizarre presidential election campaign fought between Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and the Republican's Donald Trump.

Asked if he had anything to tell Australians who might be watching the race with a mixture of fascination and horror, Berry said it was important to stay calm.

"Many things are said in the course of a debate and things dramatically change when whoever wins this very competitive race puts their hand on that Bible on January 20 and takes the oath of office," he said.

"There is a lot that changes in that five minutes of history and whoever takes that oath I believe will do a good job for the world and a good job for our country."
'Same-sex marriage plebiscite a matter for Australians'

Mr Berry is the first openly-gay US ambassador to Australia and married his partner of 17 years, Curtis Yee, in a civil ceremony in Washington in 2013.

He said the issue of same-sex marriage and whether to have a plebiscite on the matter was something for Australians to decide, but he was thankful the US courts had made a ruling in his home country.

"Each country has to wrestle with that in their own way," he said. "I'm very grateful in the United States that the Supreme Court resolved it for us.  "In the United States the notion that somehow we could put our rights to a vote would be anathema.

"In fact, our founding fathers when they wrote the Federalist Papers specifically said an unpopular minority's rights will always be abused by the majority and therefore you have courts that are to intervene to protect the rights of that minority."

Mr Berry said he had faced no discrimination in his time in Australia and both he and his husband had received warmed receptions "from every person, whether it was Prime Minister Abbott, Prime Minister Turnbull, on down".


Benjamin Netanyahu to be first Israel PM to visit Australia after Julie Bishop invitation

Benjamin Netanyahu will become the first sitting Israeli prime minister to make an official visit to Australia in 2017, after accepting an invitation from Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.

Ms Bishop is wrapping up a three day visit to Israel and the Palestinian Territories on Monday, after meeting with Israel's President Reuven Rivlin and visiting Israel's Holocaust museum, Yad Vashem.

As part of the visit Ms Bishop discussed Australia and Israel's bilateral relationship, the ongoing Middle East peace process and Australian development assistance to the Palestinian Territories.

Ms Bishop told Mr Netanyahu, leader of the country's right-wing Likud party, that Australia and Israel enjoy a deep friendship, recognising the contribution Australia's Jewish community make to the nation.

"I want to take this opportunity to reaffirm our absolute enduring commitment to the state of Israel and our friendship, and invite you to come to Australia," Ms Bishop said.

"We're thinking there's a little window of opportunity early next year maybe?"

Mr Netanyahu thanked Ms Bishop for ongoing co-operation between the two countries.

Dates for the visit are expected to be finalised in coming months. It comes after a planned July 2014 trip by Mr Netanyahu was cancelled at the last minute.

"Your friendship is terrific – Australia, the government's, and yours personally and we appreciate our friends," Mr Netanyahu said.

The Jerusalem Post reported Mr Rivlin "apologised profusely" to Ms Bishop after he cancelled a scheduled state visit to Australia in March this year for a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. Mr Rivlin told Ms Bishop he would be happy to visit Australia in the future.

During a visit to the Palestinian Territories, Ms Bishop was expected to meet with Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and Economy Minister Abeer Odeh.

She also met with Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman to discuss international security and the war against the Islamic State group.

Ms Bishop also discussed the closed trial of World Vision employee Mohammed al-Halabi, who was charged over allegations he defrauded the charity to assist the militant group Hamas.

World Vision International president Kevin Jenkins and Australian chief executive Tim Costello have raised questions about the amount of money involved in the case. Ms Bishop said the case was "deeply concerning".


Ned Ludd lives on

Ned Ludd destroyed weaving machines in the early stages of the industrial revolution.  The old order always resists the new

Queensland cabbies are grieving as they prepare to rally on the first day of legal ride-sharing in the state, a taxi boss says.

Taxi drivers will gather at parliament house on Monday to show their disappointment at companies like Uber being allowed to operate legally under the state government's new regulatory framework.

Yellow Cabs Queensland general manager Bill Parker said drivers were concerned their business had been handed to "an American organisation that doesn't believe it should be paying tax".

"It's their business, their goodwill," he told AAP.

"They created the business and they're just reminding this state government that they've handled this matter extremely inefficiently."

The Palaszczuk government last month announced its intention to legalise ride-sharing with a $100 million transition package, including a hardship fund and compensation for existing cab licences.

Mr Parker said protests may continue because drivers felt as though the new framework hadn't created a level playing field. "I think they're suffering from grief," he said.

Mr Parker sad the public should be concerned that safety measures in place for the Queensland taxi industry were non-existent for its ride-sharing counterparts. Among them was a 24-hour system to check a driver's criminal history, he said.

The state's transport act was also operating "wholly and solely" to protect the interests of a taxi passenger, he said, and the industry had created systems to adhere to the legislation.

"Our business model is based upon service delivery, not on money," he said. [JOKE]

Taxis also offered the most reliable wheelchair-accessible public transport option, he added.

But drivers also remain angry about the uneven financial playing field, which involved proper insurance, a disparity in registration costs and the collection of GST.

"Uber got everything they wanted without even turning up and the cab industry has to suffer as a result," Mr Parker said. "I see a lot of people who are suffering greatly at the hands of this decision - some very sad stories."


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 September, 2016

Rebel Chinese movement promotes ‘Australian values’

Australians were long accustomed to immigrants fitting in well with us.  But that was when most of our immigrants came from the very similar cultures of Britain and Northern Europe. Only minor changes of expectations rendered such people completely compatible with traditional Australian practices. 

More recent immigrant flows, however, have presented greater challenges of adjustment and we now know that people can come here and want to live here and yet have no respect for the foundation population of this society or their ways.  And that ingratitude and disrespect can have serious behavioural consequences on occasions. 

So it is heartening to read below of a group who have encountered a large cultural transition and arrived at a real appreciation of the wisdom and kindness of their generous hosts

A new "pro-Australia" movement, and a leader, have emerged out of controversies swirling around Australia’s Chinese community of almost a million people.

The new Embracing Australian Values Alliance is in most ways the antithesis of the Australian Council for the Promotion of Peaceful Reunification of China that has emerged as the common denominator between major ­Chinese donors to politicians and parties in Australia.

John Hu, founder of the ­alliance, which is being registered officially, said that recently publicised donors to Australian parties and politicians appeared to have two main aims.

"One is for personal gain. But often they show a communist way of thinking, that if for ­instance as a real estate developer you donate to the top person, whatever you want to do in Australia will be fine," Mr Hu said.  "It doesn’t work that way … If, for instance, they bribe a mayor, she or he only has one vote in a meeting.  "They don’t understand how democracy works."

The second thrust of donations, he said, was "to please ­people back in their old country. So they may donate on behalf of the Chinese government to influence Australian politics, to penetrate and control positions, for example, on the South China Sea — and some of the money may actually be coming from China. In China, business and government work extremely closely".

Some donate, he believed, "to get favours when they do business in China. A lot depend on wealth brought from China, or on their Chinese businesses to generate income to spend in ­Australia".

Mr Hu believes — from his ­experience on the Parramatta City Council "watching how they conduct business" — that many Chinese real estate developers are not making money in Australia.

The events that provoked members of the Chinese community to set up the new alliance were the concerts planned to celebrate Mao Zedong in Sydney and Melbourne town halls, in the days around the 40th anniversary of Mao’s death on Friday. They succeeded in forcing the cancellation of the concerts, as organisers and city councils feared the fallout from the conflict they were arousing.

Supporters are now meeting in Sydney to decide on the next steps for the alliance, which has attracted followers in Melbourne as well.  There was strong agreement, Mr Hu said, that the cause required both long-term and broad-based efforts.

"The Chinese community is divided by their political opinions and many other matters but we believe if you live here, you should agree to the values of Australia — and if you don’t like this country’s values, and think ­constantly of another place as your country, then go back there," he said.

The values the alliance ­espouses are based on the government’s Australian value state­ment for immigrants. Mr Hu summarised them as freedom, democracy, equality and ­tolerance.

He stressed the ­alliance had no ­allegiance to any political party.


Another mad Muslim

Sevdet Besim sentenced to 10 years' prison over planned Anzac Day terror attack

A Melbourne teenager who planned an Anzac Day terrorist attack has been sentenced to 10 years in prison at the Victorian Supreme Court.

Sevdet Ramadan Besim, 19, had planned to run down and behead a police officer at an Anzac Day march in 2015.

Besim pleaded guilty to doing an act in preparation, or planning for, a terrorist attack — an offence which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

He will be eligible for parole in seven-and-a-half years.

Besim, from Hallam in Melbourne's south-east, had discussed his plans with a British teenager, who is now serving a five-year jail term after pleading guilty to inciting the Anzac Day terrorist plot.

The court previously heard that Besim and the UK teen also discussed painting a kangaroo in Islamic State symbols, packing its pouch with explosives and letting it loose in the city.

The teen was a friend of Numan Haider, who was shot dead by counter-terrorism officers after he attacked them with a knife in Endeavour Hills Police Station in 2014.


Blinded by beauty: Good-looking pupils get better marks at university and school because teachers are biased towards attractiveness

Students could be failing classes because markers are penalising them for their race or looks, new research suggests.

Academics claimed grading bias among markets in all levels of education could give students with 'unfavourable characteristics' up to five per cent less.

These include being unattractive, belonging to a certain ethnic group or gender, being labelled with a learning disability, or poor past results (a 'halo effect').

Teachers may also give higher marks to better-looking students, those of the same race, or those they know to be hardworking or 'gifted'.

In a study published in the Australian Journal of Education, University of New England associate professors John Malouff and Einar Thorsteinsson conducted a meta analysis of 20 studies on grading biases involving 1,935 markers.

They found the biases were consistent across the studies and resulted in students with supposed negative traits receiving four to five fewer marks - which could be the difference between passing and failing.

The researchers said the studies did not explain why the bias happened, but hypothesised that they would affect a marker's expectations.

'When the grading has subjective elements involving opinions as to quality based on characteristics external to the assessment piece, these expectancies may colour the work of the student enough to affect assigned scores,' they wrote.

Grading bias was largely irrelevant in objective studies like maths, or in exams with multiple choice questions.

Dr Malouff said teachers did not wanted to be biased and it was likely to be unconscious.  'They would swear in a court of law that they did it fairly but they just would not know,' he told The Age.

University of New England associate professors John Malouff (L) and Einar Thorsteinsson (R) conducted a meta analysis of 20 studies on grading biases involving 1,935 markers

He started studying grading bias when he found it difficult to mark a the essay of a friendly and hardworking student whose life story of suffering and abuse he was aware of. 'It was very hard for me to put all that aside – that she was such a pleasant hardworking person bringing herself up,' he said.

The researchers suggested blind marking could help minimise grading bias, as they noted was done at University of Melbourne and La Trobe University.

This was where students' work was kept anonymous and ideally marked by someone from another class.


The problem with superannuation reform

Simon Cowan

Both parties took substantial superannuation reform packages to the last election. Unfortunately both packages had the same failing: they focused primarily on how to generate more revenue, not how to make superannuation work better.

Superannuation is a poor savings vehicle. At a fixed percentage of income regardless of age or wealth, it doesn't reflect how people would choose to save. It disadvantages those with broken work patterns or variable income, who might wish to save more in some years and less in others. It forces people to save for retirement when they might be better off buying a home.

Worse still, it compels low income earners to save money they would otherwise consume, effectively forcing government to make up this lost income with billions of dollars of additional income support. A family of four with a single income earner on $75,000 has $7,125 deducted from their income in superannuation contributions but receives more than $7,500 in family tax benefits alone.

However superannuation savings are mandated by government and taxed substantially more generously than other forms of savings. This preference cannot be put down simply to the efficient taxation of savings, particularly when other forms of savings are taxed much more heavily.

Nor can it be about creating a safety net against old age poverty or alleviating retirement savings myopia: the age pension already fulfils those needs. Yet superannuation is singled out for special treatment.

The only rationale for taxpayers to incur such a substantial cost for superannuation that makes sense is if it reduces government pension expenditure. Yet superannuation will not substantially reduce the cost of the pension (2009 estimates suggest only a 6% cost reduction when the superannuation system is mature) nor will it make many more people independent of government in retirement.

Before government looks at how to take more money out of the system in revenue, or forces people to put more money in through higher compulsory contributions, it needs to look at how to make the system work better. Neither the reforms proposed by Labor or Liberal will cut the rising cost of the age pension.


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

5 September, 2016

Water wars?

The story below is yet another "resources running out" story and as silly as most.  There are two obvious replies to the scare:  One in Australia and one in Israel.

Australia is an unusually dry country on the whole, though there are some areas where it is very wet indeed.  The Southeast of the continent relies heavily on our great Southern rivers, with irrigation from them producing excellent crops.  But if everybody were allowed to take all they want from them, people in the Southern reaches of the rivers would be left high and dry. 

So the right to take water from the rivers has simply been made tradeable.  You buy water from them so only those who can make good money from the water will want to buy.  So the people who can use the water best are the one who do get to use it and there is as a result plenty of water available for productive uses.

Israel also has strategies that have solved their water problems.  Israel is in an area that has been very dry in recent years but in fact has plenty of water.  How come?  There are two main factors: A high rate of recycling "grey" water for irrigation purposes and desalination.  Israel is a world leader in desalination technology and now produces large flows of desalinated water at a very moderate cost.

A combination of the Australian and Israeli approaches should relieve any country of water problems as long as they decide to spend their money intelligently instead of blowing one-another up over religious disagreements

WE ALL think we know why wars are fought. Whether it’s the devastation in Syria, armed skirmishes in Africa or Russia’s expansionist leanings, armed conflicts are usually seen as falling into one of very few categories; capturing territory, a political ideology attempting to dominate another or, simply, for a country to get its hands on oilfields.

But, according to one theory, whatever the stated reason for most wars, they actually come down to one reason. Or rather, one resource, which is all around us.

And with stores of this resource dwindling in some parts of the world, things could be about to get a lot worse with a potential future flashpoint being between two of the world’s nuclear armed superpowers — India and China.

Alok Jha, a British journalist with a background in physics, will speak at this weekend’s Festival of Dangerous Ideas at the Sydney Opera House about the role water has played in a multitude of conflicts including both the Arab Spring and the civil war that has engulfed Syria.

"The Roman empire and the Persian empire would go to war for access to water and would live or die by that," Mr Jha tells "That doesn’t happen as blatantly anymore, it’s much more subtle."

Part of the problem, he argues in his new book The Water Book, is we’ve managed to hide water from view and have forgotten its importance.


"What we’ve done in modern society is make water invisible. Apart from when it’s falling from the sky or we’re having showers you don’t really think about it."

Yet, every major city — from Sydney on the harbour to Brisbane on the river — exists either on or close to a river or a coastline. A map of the world’s population centres, says Mr Jha, is actually a map of freshwater sources.

"Any civilisation marks its domination and power through control of water.

Ninety seven per cent of the earth’s water is in the oceans and salty and so unusable unless treated through energy sucking desalination plants.

"Of the remaining three per cent, two per cent is in the ice caps and one per cent is freshwater, most of which most sits underground in ice or permafrost and a vanishingly small percentage is the stuff all of life uses," explains Mr Jha.

So successful have we been at harnessing the power of water that cities and even entire nations have sprung from the desert soil, be that Las Vegas in the US or Dubai and Saudi Arabia in the Middle East. Each one far outstripping the water supply naturally occurring in the area.

But climate change, the inefficient use of water, and access to the oceans could stretch our ability to squeeze more H20 out of the supplies we have and could spark violence across borders.
Alik Jha argues the world is taking the risk of conflicts over water for granted.

Alik Jha argues the world is taking the risk of conflicts over water for granted.Source:Supplied


Conflicts concerning strategic bodies of water are nothing new. Indeed, a series of skirmishes in the 1960s between Israel, Syria and Lebanon about freshwater allocations from the Jordan Valley was called the ‘water war’.

But Mr Jha argues that far more conflicts have water at their core.

"There are conflicts and skirmishes all the time and they are often not described as a water war, sometimes people might fight over a bit of land or it may manifest as a trade dispute but underlying all of that is access to water.

"In the Middle East there are constant battles over (water) but it’s at a very low level and sometimes internal (to the country)," he says.

"The Arab Spring was exacerbated by failed crops. Syria, right now, is largely political and it’s about dictatorships and war but it’s exacerbated because of water shortages."

The spark for the genocide in Sudan’s Darfur region, which saw two million deaths and the country divided in two, is credited as the populated and parched north of the country looking to get its hands on water from the lush but culturally distinct south.
Rebel Sudanese Justice and Equality Movement fighters in the Darfur region of Sudan. The were needed in the 2000s when the country split in two. Picture: Scott Nelson/Getty Images

Rebel Sudanese Justice and Equality Movement fighters in the Darfur region of Sudan. The were needed in the 2000s when the country split in two. Picture: Scott Nelson/Getty ImagesSource:Supplied


"If you do not have access to water, it’s not just hard to have a shower in the morning, you can’t do anything, you can’t grow crops, you have no clothes, nothing works," he says.

If climate change continues, as scientists predict, there will be even less water in the Middle East, sub Saharan Africa, the southern US, the Mediterranean and, he says, Australia. And as the water moves, so will the people.

"If everything in a country dries up the people will look across international boundaries for jobs, food, for home. Richer countries will have to work out how to absorb these people.

Reasons for migration might seem diverse now, from looking for a better life to escaping conflict, "but in 20 years, if you look back you’ll see it was a water-led migration," says Mr Jha.

Conversely, massive global disruption could also occur because of too much water. Rising sea levels could swamp major world centres, like New York, London and Tokyo.


'Lemon' cars needs their own laws, legal groups say

New cars with multiple faults should certainly be returnable for refund

Legal groups are calling for Australia to introduce what is known as "lemon laws" to cover faulty products, including new and used cars.

In submissions to a review of Australian Consumer Law made public this week, groups such as Legal Aid NSW, West Justice, and the Consumer Credit Legal Service all called for the laws.

Countries like the United States and the United Kingdom already have lemon laws which cover the sale of new cars.

They typically set limits to the number of faults a new car can have, the number of unsuccessful attempts to fix a problem, and the number of days a new car can be off the road for repairs.

West Justice, which primarily gives legal assistance to new migrants, said the purchase of a "lemon" car could be highly detrimental for people living in outer suburban areas.

The organisation's Denis Nelthorpe said lemon laws were needed to cover new and second-hand cars.  "The common problem we see is that a consumer will buy a vehicle based on an assurance from a caryard that it is mechanically sound and that it's in good condition, only to find that it has all sorts of problems," he said. "The cost of repairing the vehicle is disproportionate to the sale price.

"In the end it's not very hard for a car yard to sell a poor quality vehicle to an unsuspecting consumer."

In the US, most states have some form of a lemon law to protect car buyers when they have purchased a vehicle that is defective beyond repair.  These laws mostly apply to new cars, but in some states they also cover used cars.

Zac Gillam from the Consumer Action Law Centre (CALC) said Australia should follow Singapore's model, and make broader changes to consumer law.

"They reverse the onus of proof, so if a consumer buys a good and within six months of the purchase of that good it's defective, they could return that good to the retailer and the presumption is that the good was defective," he told the ABC.

"It is up to the retailer to show the good is not defective when it was sold. "In the Australian system and most systems, the onus lies on the consumer to show that the good was defective."

CALC has also used its submission to argue for a tribunal to be set up to deal specifically with disputes about vehicles.

"That's because it's such a specialised area, and it's really difficult for generalist tribunals who don't have expertise in motor vehicles, to effectively adjudicate those disputes," Zac Gillam said.

"They have a system like that in New Zealand, and we believe we should adopt that in conjunction with the broader Singaporean idea of consumer guarantees."

In their submissions, the Australian Automotive Dealer Association and the Motor Traders Association of Australia (MTAA) dismissed the calls for lemon laws in Australia.

Both organisations said lemon laws should not be introduced because current laws already provided significant consumer protections.


Apartment oversupply to cause price falls

I have been saying this for around a year so it is good to see someone else twigging

A "correction" in the apartment market could see sharp falls in all Australian home prices and a nationwide recession, a gloomy bank analyst report on the housing market warns.

The report by analysts CLSA paints a "base case" scenario which says Australia's housing cycle has "peaked," with household debt now extending the country's property bubble.

An oversupply of apartments and the taxation of foreign buyers will restrict growth in house prices in Sydney and Melbourne, says HSBC economist.

The shift by big banks to tighten lending standards is likely to cause a "correction" and "crisis" in cheap apartments which will spread, leading to defaults among smaller developers and a sharp contraction in construction, CLSA says.

The "worst case" scenario foresees "dwelling prices falling sharply in all areas, eventually leading to a recession," the report's authors, a respected former banking analyst Brian Johnson, and his colleagues Andrew Johnston, David Murphy, Sholto Maconochie, Chris Kightley and Ed Henning say.

"Issues of affordability and household debt are overextending Australia's real estate bubble, which is being held aloft by foreign capital," they say.

"Our base case has the crisis starting with cheap apartments and later spreading to other flats in close proximity."

The authors put a "sell" recommendation on stocks of companies most likely to be affected by the crunch, including the country's biggest bank CBA and listed property giant Lendlease. Another property player Mirvac would also be impacted, they said.

Mr Johnson and co. said they believe a correction in the housing market will start with settlement problems among apartment buyers, where purchasers who stumped up a 10 per cent deposit simply walk away leaving developers to recoup the money or resell the unit.

Under the "base case" scenario the contagion from falling apartment prices has a "muted" impact on single-family homes and is not enough to push the economy into recession.

The risk of the "worst case" happening, which predicts sharp price falls and a recession, is increased because Australian household's are holding debt that is at 122 per cent of GDP and house prices are 12 times price to income ratios, the authors say.

Another report released Friday by banking giant UBS also highlights the impact foreign money is having on the housing market.

While lending by Australia's big banks for apartments has ground to a halt, many developments are nonetheless going ahead with funding from offshore banks, UBS notes.

It says over the last twelve months residential approvals have hit a record 235,000, with 73,000 of those for apartment buildings four-or-more storeys high.

There are now 525 residential construction cranes towering over Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, mainly for high-rise apartments, the bank said.

"We see the rapid increase in housing supply as a significant risk for the banks," UBS stated.

Australia's house prices rose 7 per cent over the year to August, according to CoreLogic data. They were bolstered by strong growth of 9.1 and 9.4 per cent respectively in Melbourne and Sydney.


IVF Success Rate In Australia Is Improving But Not Guaranteed 

I don't like this refusal to implant more than one embryo.  When my son was conceived they implanted two embryos.  What if they had implanted only the other one?

The live birth rate per IVF cycle has increased from 18.1 percent in 2011 to 19.8 percent in 2014

For many couples, IVF is their only chance at having a baby, but that chance is less than one in five per embryo.

But it's getting better. The live birth rate per IVF cycle has increased from 18.1 percent in 2011 to 19.8 percent in 2014, according to a report by the University of NSW's National Perinatal Epidemiology and Statistics Unit.

The study also demonstrated how sharply success rates dropped off with age.

For women aged 30 to 34 using their own eggs, the birth rate per cycle was 26 percent or 28.6 percent depending on whether eggs were fresh or frozen while for women over 44, it was less than 1 percent to 6.6 percent.

Fertility Society of Australia vice president Luk Rombauts said the nation's slowly increasing success rate was occurring despite the fact that IVF clinics no longer implant multiple embryos unless there was a medical reason.

"Multiple births are by far the greatest health risk to mothers and babies from IVF, and multiple embryo transfer clearly increases this risk," Rombauts said.

    Why has the IVF success rate improved?

    The use of frozen embryos have been shown to be more successful than fresh, with new rapid freezing techniques to optimise the time of transfer.

    Embryos are now often cultured for five to six days before they are transferred.

    Embryo selection techniques have become more advanced.

"The Australian and New Zealand region has one of the lowest rates of multiple deliveries from IVF treatment in the world, and also maintains consistently high success rates.

"This has been achieved voluntarily through the commitment by IVF specialists and patients to provide the safest treatment possible."

Multiple embryos are rarely implanted becasue it poses a danger to the mother.

The rate of multiple deliveries in Australia dropped by a third over the last five years, from 7.9 percent in 2010 to 4.9 percent in 2014. This compares to 27 percent in the United States and 16 percent in the United Kingdom.


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 September, 2016

Parents furious after Catholic school teacher reads out sections of the KORAN before class prayers - but principal insists it was just an 'academic exercise'

Parents have been left fuming after discovering a history and geography teacher has been reading excerpts of the Koran to their children at a Catholic boy's high school.

Jesse Pittard, who teaches both subjects at Christian Brothers' High School, in Lewisham in Sydney's inner-west, has come under fire from parents for reading out sections of the Koran to his year seven students at the start of the day during home room and before classes.

Parents and students told Daily Mail Australia Mr Pittard began reading excerpts to students at the beginning of the semester in July and claimed he has since read 'more than half' the Koran to them.

Parents are particularly angry they were not told about the Koran readings and questioned why the Muslim holy book needed to be read outside of religion classes.

One mother said her son revealed during a conversation that Mr Pittard was reading the Koran to him before his geography class.

'We don't send our kids to an Islamic school to listen to the Koran and it's not a religion lesson, it's a geography lesson, so how does that relate to geography?' she said.

Mr Pittard has chosen not to comment on the matter. 

The school's principal, Brother Paul Conn, confirmed Mr Pittard had read passages from the Koran before several year seven classes, and said he had received three emails and one phone call from concerned parents asking for him to investigate the matter.

But he denied the readings had been going since the beginning of the school semester and had only happened 'for a couple of days' and were 'supposed to be an academic exercise'.

'Unfortunately, due to the timing of the exercise being with the normal beginning of [Catholic] lesson prayer, some confusion did exist,' he said.

Mr Conn has since spoken to concerned parents. He said further discussion of the Koran in class has stopped.

'I ... clarified to all concerned that as a Catholic school, we are one hundred percent committed to our Catholic faith, and that our strategic plan and Religious Education Program has the Catholic faith as its core,' he said.

'Being a culturally diverse school, we are open to informed and balanced discussion on all faiths, but our commitment in terms of faith education is to the Catholic Faith.

'I spoke to the teacher concerned, who is a Christian, and he now understands that all beginning of lesson prayer at CBHS Lewisham is Catholic.

'He never intended to do anything differently, but his timing did cause some confusion. No further discussion on the Koran will be happening as no further need exists.'

The all-boys school caters for students from year five to 12 and prides itself 'in keeping with its rich faith-filled past' and only does Catholic prayers in their religion classes.

One of Mr Pittard's students said the teacher had read the English version of the Koran before geography class. 'We don't even listen, because it's so long,' the year seven student said.

'We only do [Catholic] prayers in religion classes, but for one geography lesson we were waiting for about seven to ten minutes while he was reading the Koran.'  'He gives us a demerit if any of us tell him not to read it ... He has read more than half the Koran,' another student said.

However, the principal denied any student had received demerit points for asking to not listen to the Koran.

'One of the parents who contacted me was concerned about the issuing of a demerit. It was clarified that this was definitely not for anything to do with the reading of the Koran but for a completely separate classroom behaviour issue.


'Nightlife is still alive and well': do critics have it wrong on Sydney's lockout laws?

The loudest voices are not aways right

Critics say the laws mandating last entry to venues at 1.30am and last drinks at 3am in Kings Cross and the CBD have had a chilling effect on the city’s nightlife, forcing businesses to shut down without targeting the root cause of alcohol-fuelled violence.

Opposition to the reforms gained momentum earlier this year when a lengthy opinion piece by technology entrepreneur Matt Barrie, accusing Mike Baird’s Coalition government of a pattern of nanny-state regulation, was widely shared.

"Sydney, once the best city in the world, has become an international joke thanks to the NSW Liberal government. No wonder everyone’s apparently moving to Melbourne," Barrie said.

But supporters of the laws point to reductions in crime and hospital admissions as evidence of their effectiveness. Residents of affected areas such as Kings Cross say the restrictions have restored safety and civility to their neighbourhoods – and they deny the problem has been shifted elsewhere.

Have the lockout laws led to a decrease in alcohol-fuelled violence? A variety of sources point to an unequivocal "yes". The question is, by how much? Reports and analysis released by the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (Bocsar) in April 2015 and February this year show a decline in assaults in areas covered by the lockout laws. The most recent figures show a 40% decline in assaults in Kings Cross and a 20% decline in the Sydney CBD "entertainment precinct".

A report released on Monday by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (Fare) that took into account figures from Bocsar and other sources put the figures much higher. It found that non-domestic assaults during the lockout period had reduced by 70.2% in Kings Cross and 30.7% in the CBD on weekend nights, and by 75.5% in Kings Cross and 41.5% in the CBD after last drinks were called at 3am.

The Last Drinks Coalition of NSW doctors, police, nurses and paramedics says emergency service workers have noticed the difference since the lockout laws were introduced. Recent Bocsar statistics show a 59.2% decrease in assault rates in Kings Cross between 6pm and 1.30am and a 93.9% decrease between 3am and 6am.

"Those are staggering statistics and proof that the suite of measures are working," said Scott Weber, coalition spokesman and president of the Police Association of NSW.

A key argument against the lockout laws is their impact on Sydney’s nightlife, often referred to as "once vibrant". The lord mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore, said they took a "sledgehammer" to the problems of the late-night economy without solving them. Several thousand protesters, mostly young people, attended a rally organised by lobby group Keep Sydney Open in February.

One reported impact has been the closures of high-profile bars, clubs and music venues. Analysis by Apra Amcos and the Live Music Office in February found a 40% drop in live performance revenue at Apra- and Amcos-licensed venues within the CBD lockout area and a 19% decrease in attendance figures at licensed nightclubs and dance venues.

But the Fare analysis, informed by that same report and other sources, found the average decline in foot traffic in Kings Cross was only 19.4% between 5pm and 4am on Friday and Saturday nights – and that pedestrian traffic in the evenings before the lockout, from 5pm to 1am, had not changed significantly between 2012 and 2015.

It indicated that rates of business closures as a result of the lockout appear to have been greatly exaggerated, finding that only four fewer businesses were trading between 5pm and 4am on Friday and Saturday nights in Kings Cross in 2015, compared with 2012. The number of pubs, bars and clubs trading during this time fell by just three from 2012 to 2015.

As for property values, both mixed use and residential property values in affected areas had increased between 2014 and 2015, though commercial property values in the Potts Point area declined by 20%.

Residents of Kings Cross, Darlinghurst and Woolloomooloo say the lockout laws have been highly effective in restoring "safety, diversity and amenity" to their neighbourhoods. Jo Holder, coordinator of the Darlinghurst Residents’ Action Group (Drag), said their communities had been "overrun every weekend by crowds of binge drinkers".

"They literally ransacked our neighbourhood and left with little or no regard for the residents who had to endure their noise and businesses," she says. "The lockout and last drinks legislation brought welcome respite for residents and many small businesses."

The Fare report found a reduction of about 75% in antisocial behaviour of all degrees of severity – from physical fights and verbal abuse to loud music, vomiting and vandalism – in Kings Cross between 2012 and 2015.

Helen Crossing, the convenor of the 2011 Residents’ Association (2011 is the postcode for Potts Point), said the area had experienced a "renaissance" under the new restrictions, which had better balanced the needs of night-time trading businesses and those that were open during the day.

"Contrary to what many opponents of lockout laws believe, nightlife is still alive and well," she said.

A survey conducted by the organisation this year found that more than 70 businesses had opened in Kings Cross since the laws were imposed in early 2014.

A recent ReachTEL poll of 1,600 voters commissioned by Fairfax Media found that support for the lockout laws was widespread, with nearly 60% of NSW voters in favour of extending them to the rest of the state. Support for retaining the 1.30am closing time and 3am last drinks was highest within young voters aged between 18 and 34.


Howard cites Trump as a response to bad policy

John Howard has pointed to the lessons of Donald Trump’s rise in the United States to argue buttressing the middle class is fundamental to enduring success in politics, and preserving the stability and harmony of societies.

In an interview ahead of the broadcast of a new series he has produced with the ABC about Robert Menzies, Howard told Guardian Australia it was during the Menzies period that the "great Australian middle class" emerged, and preserving a robust middle class was the "cement" holding societies together.

"That’s the greatest strength that Australia has – we have more, proportionately, in the middle," Howard said on Wednesday. "This is one of America’s problems and one of the explanations of the Trump phenomenon."

"I think there is truth in the argument that [Trump] is appealing to people who have suffered," he said. "Their incomes have fallen, many of them have lost their jobs, the statistics tell a vivid story – people are just worse off now, in the middle."

The former prime minister declined to be drawn on contemporary politics, replying "next question" when asked what Malcolm Turnbull could learn from the person who had founded the modern Liberal party.

But he made general observations when asked about the lessons contemporary politics could draw from the Menzies prime ministership.

Howard noted the bedrock of the Menzies’ success, and his own, was an ongoing dialogue with the middle class. "Very much so. It, more than anything else, holds the country together," he said.

"It reinforces the notion of fairness and egalitarianism. It stands to reason that if you have a large middle class then the nation is more cohesive and people aren’t conscious of gaps."

"We still have people who need to be looked after, we have people who are poor and people who are in need of government assistance and we have some people who are very well off.

"My philosophy is I don’t mind people having a lot of money provided they get it honestly and they pay their tax. I have absolutely no objection. I believe in capitalism.

"But the issue is the great bulk of the people in the middle. The stronger and larger the middle class is, the more stable the country is. History is on the side of that argument. You only have to examine the history of Europe in Australia to understand that.

"[Buttressing the middle class] has been very much part of the national cement and it’s very important to keep it. You keep it through a range of policy approaches on a whole raft of policy issues, and obviously fundamental is a stable economy.

"A stable economy is produced by a range of policies according to the circumstances of the day, but I don’t want to get into that. It’s not the purpose of the interview."
Former PM Howard takes on Trump © AAP Former PM Howard takes on Trump

Howard also nominated consistency and strong cabinet processes as lessons that could be drawn in the modern political era from the success of Menzies, who was prime minister for more than 18 years.

Howard said successful prime ministers understood Australian politics was "a combination of the desirable and the achievable. You are successful if you can achieve the optimum blend of those two things."

Howard said you need both ideology and pragmatism. "You need both. You’ve got to believe in things, and one of his great strengths was he did believe in things and people were in no doubt as to where he stood or where he would jump on issues, but he was also a pragmatist with great political skills."

He noted Menzies was not a presidential figure but an "orthodox cabinet prime minister" who was very attentive to the views of his backbench. He also understood the "cardinal importance" of a united Coalition.

"That is something that has always been a key element of our success. He understood it, Fraser understood it, I understood it and of course Abbott and Turnbull have practised that as well."

In the series that airs on the ABC on September 18 and 25, Howard interviews the former Labor prime minister Bob Hawke about the Menzies period. "The Labor left critique of Menzies is they were wasted years."

Howard said both his book on Menzies, and the television series, were an effort to refute that suggestion.

Howard addresses the major events of the Menzies period and backs the decision to commit Australia to the Vietnam war.

Howard said halting the advance of communism through east Asia was an aspiration he would have "probably" subscribed to in the 1960s.

He reasoned you can only ever answer whether something was the right decision or the wrong decision by "putting yourself in the shoes of the decision maker at the time".

"Obviously decisions are taken and then subsequent events might cast a different light on the decision," Howard said on Wednesday.

"What I say in the program is if I had been in Menzies’ shoes in the 1960s I would have taken the same decision as he did. And why? He quite rightly judged that involvement in Vietnam was important in relation to the alliance with the US and the maintenance of American interest in our part of the world then.

"In the 1960s that was seen as an even higher priority than it is now. I regarded the context of that decision – and context is everything – as justifying the decision he took."


Marijuana will be LEGALISED in Australia for medical purposes from November

Medicinal marijuana will be legalised across Australia from November this year, under a formal decision reached by the Therapeutic Goods Administration this week.

But the news does not mean just anyone will be able to get their hands on the leafy green bud – at least not legally.

The drug will be legalised for medicinal use only, and will be strictly controlled, as the federal government works to create a national regulator.

As reported on The Canberra Times, the final decision came after the federal parliament lent bipartisan support to change the Narcotic Drugs Act to allow marijuana to be grown and produced in Australia for medicinal purposes.

The move to legalise the drug was also fuelled by clinical trials which claimed the drug could significantly change the lives of people who suffered from chronic pain.

The trials reported the drug could help treat spasticity, and reduce nausea in patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Medical cannabis campaigner Lucy Haslam told Fairfax Media the move to legalise the drug was a step in the right direction.

Ms Haslam, has spearheaded the movement since she witnessed the dramatic relief her son Dan gained from using the drug.

She said it was an ‘essential step in the process’, but accepted this was just the beginning of a long road ahead.

The retired nurse said it could still be some time before the drug was fully and easily accessible to patients, and claimed they were stuck in a ‘holding pattern’ while the system was set up.

She said the industry was ‘so bound up in red tape’ to the point where it might be too difficult and too expensive to access altogether.

‘My fear is that the industry will become so expensive that patients won’t be able to access a legal supply at an affordable price,’ she said.

The medicinal cannabis campaigner said there was also a long way to go before the stigma surrounding medicinal marijuana was broken down.

‘There’s also a lot of work to do on educating people and doctors, some of who remain a bit uncomfortable about prescribing medicinal cannabis to patients,’ she said.

While the legalisation could bring about big changes for medicinal cannabis users, the drug will remain illegal for recreational users.

But similar products for therapeutic use will be listed on the Shedule 8 list for restricted drugs including morphine, as long as the drugs are prescribed by a doctor.


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 September, 2016

150 submissions about sexual assault or harassment at Australian universities

With lots of juicy young people thrown together what else would you expect?  The real surprise is that there are only 150 claims out of a million or more students.  And what do the do-gooders want to do about it?  Have every male student tracked 24/7?  It's a complete absurdity.  You can't outlaw human nature.  Talk about campus rape is a huge fashion in the Anglosphere these days but evidence that it is unusual for the age group always seems to be missing

150 "deeply disturbing" submissions about sexual assault or harassment at Australian universities have already been received by the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), one week after launching its landmark survey into sexism on campus.

For the first time, the AHRC are surveying samples of students from Australia’s 39 universities, and have also invited all students to anonymously share their experiences of sexual assault or harassment in an online submission.

President of the Australian Human Rights Commission Gillian Triggs told Hack that she’s already shocked by the submissions that are trickling in.

"The survey launched only 5 or 6 days ago, and we’re already getting unprecedented submissions from the public, from students.

"We’ve had about 150 submissions, and they are deeply disturbing.  They range from the internet harassment kinds of stalking, to profoundly serious matters, which are criminal."

Gillian Triggs said some of the respondents reported being dragged out of a car and raped; being sexually assaulted; experiencing inappropriate sexual movements; or having their clothes taken off them at a party.

"It’s almost as if the dam is bursting, people want to talk about this."

Gillian Triggs told Hack she believes people feel more comfortable talking about assault and harassment in a confidential survey.

"I think when you have that kind of opportunity, you do get a very high number of people saying, ‘this is my opportunity to talk about something’.

"These recent submissions are often prefaced by the remark, ‘I didn’t report this, but’."

Gillian Triggs says there’s huge extremes in the nature of students’ submissions so far, and it’s too early to see if there’s any trends emerging. But she hopes that the survey will be able to show if the amount and nature of sexual harassment on campus is different to the general population.

"We all know that every week in the media there’s another story [about sexual harassment] from a university college, or a university pretty much happening all over Australia.

"One of the things we’d like to know is whether the incidence of these sexual harassments from minor matters to very serious rapes, whether this is any different from the rest of the community. We don’t know the answer to that."

Over the past few months, Hack has reported on several stories about sexual assault and harassment of university students.


Kalgoorlie: Black elders call it racism when a black kid is killed while stealing

No awareness shown that the whole thing originated in black crime

Community leaders have called for calm after a violent riot sparked by the death of a 14-year-old Indigenous boy in WA, but have also voiced concerns about racism they fear sparked the incident.

Elijah Doughty, who was killed after he was allegedly struck by the driver of a ute while riding a motorcycle in Kalgoorlie, was remembered at an emotional candle-lit vigil attended by hundreds of community members last night.

The motorcycle was allegedly stolen, and according to Western Australian police was linked to the driver of the utility.

Violent scenes erupted on Tuesday outside the town's courthouse after the accused was charged with manslaughter, with many voicing frustration that the charge was not more serious.

A dozen police officers were injured as people threw rocks and bottles, and five police cars and a local business were damaged. Several people were arrested and charged.

But after the violence waned, two senior members of the community highlighted vicious race-based comments on Kalgoorlie community social media pages, and say they contributed to the atmosphere of tension in the town.

Bruce Smith said the death and subsequent riot had affected not just the community of Kalgoorlie, but Indigenous people across the country.

Elijah Doughty has been remembered as a great footballer. © Facebook via ABC News Elijah Doughty has been remembered as a great footballer. He called on the police to tackle an undercurrent of racism he said had boiled over onto social media, where Aboriginal people were being threatened with rape and violence.

"Those are the ones that are going to continue brewing those attitudes we don't want to see, and it's all coming out on social media, on Facebook.

"Our Indigenous people living in Kalgoorlie and Boulder, they will continue living [here].

"They have been living here for a long, long time, and they are part of this community, whether other people like it or not, non-Aboriginal people like it or not.

"They've got to learn that these people are going to live, and their descendents are going to live, and the justice system that's going to serve them should be put right so that the future generation of our youths in this town, Goldfields and Boulder, are being protected."

He said there was a feeling of frustration about the justice system and the comparative leniency of the charge against Elijah's alleged killer, which may have sparked the riot.

"I think what we need to see is, 'where is the justice'," he said.

"What are they going to do about it? The justice system, is it working for all Australians?"

Elder Aubrey Lynch, whose grandson was close to Elijah, said he was disappointed to see the violence on the streets of Kalgoorlie, and that it was ruining the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.

"We don't like violence anywhere in any case, because violence causes more trouble.

"Here we are trying to build that relationship, and this kind of thing is going to happen, it's going to separate us all."

Acting Kalgoorlie Mayor Allan Pendal described the riot as the worst violence he had seen in the town in three decades.

He said it would be naive to suggest there was not a simmering tension between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in the town, but no-one, including the police, expected such a turn of events.

"I think they [the police] were caught off-guard," he said.

"From here we've got to, from the city's point of view, meet with their leadership people, community leaders and police and try to address the issues that are there.

Elijah's grandfather said he hoped some lesson could be learnt from the boy's death.

"I just think, well, if anything can come out of it good, it'd be for the community to wake up to themselves and realise, to keep their kids home, not let them roam the streets and the wider community to help the Aboriginal people work together and live together, live side by side instead of having this hatred," he said.

Community comes together to remember lost child

A large number of children and families gathered peacefully last night at a makeshift shrine where Elijah died, lighting candles and festooning the area with flowers and coloured lights.

A local supermarket donated food.

There has been an outpouring of grief on social media for the child, with many sharing his photo and messages of support for his family.

"Rest easy dude, devastating news, thoughts are with ya pop and brothers and family," Rory Kelly wrote.

Elijah's grandfather Albert Doughty said his grandson was a talented footballer.

"He was a good sportsman. He's played for Kalgoorlie City Football Club since he was 11. They got in the grand final. But he won't be there," he said.


Vocational education is the 'weakling' of Australia's education system

A new report warns that vocational education is the "weakling" of Australian education, under threat from student exploitation, falling enrolments at government-funded providers, poor regulation and uncertainty about its future.

The federal and state governments should do a comprehensive national review of vocational education and training (VET) says the report, VET: Securing Skills for Growth, from the Committee for Economic Development of Australia.

The review should include looking at how vocational education can better integrate with higher education, the report said.

It said that governments needed to act because the "national partnership" agreement through which the federal government gives funding to states for vocational education ends in the middle of next year.

Last year the number of vocational education students funded by government fell by 12 per cent compared to 2014.

The report blames a "regulatory oversight" and "poor decision-making" for the VET FEE-HELP student loan scandal which has damaged the reputation of private vocational providers, even though only a relatively small number of them are to blame for exploiting students and government funding.

Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham will soon announce reforms to VET FEE-HELP – a loan scheme similar to HECS – which allowed dodgy education providers to be paid up front for courses which were delivered badly, even if students never finished them.

The report said it was important that the government's changes didn't restrict competition in vocational education.

It urged a "risk-based" approach to regulation, with more information available to students so they could make informed decisions.

The report said that even though about 4 million students a year are in the vocational system, its importance is not generally recognised

"Despite the size of the sector, there does not appear to be much recognition of the contribution of VET in skilling Australia through its strong industry links and its record in providing job-ready graduates," it says.

"Worse still, there is an implicit assumption in the policy landscape that it is primarily the role of higher education to meet Australia's skills needs."

It said that many jobs which are expected to survive the growth in automation – such as childcare, fitness training and occupational therapy – are taught in vocational colleges.

But the report also urged that vocational education should go beyond narrow competency-based training and give students a broader range of skills – such as creativity, social intelligence, patience, critical thinking and resilience – which equip them for the jobs of the future.

Meanwhile the peak body for private vocational education, the Australian Council for Private Education and Training, has responded to the VET FEE-HELP scandal by setting up an industry accreditation system for private colleges.

ACPET chief executive Rod Camm said that colleges would be independently reviewed against ACPET's Code of Ethics as well as other standards for marketing and recruitment, enrolment and orientation, participation and progression, student support and teaching quality. Those which passed would receive the ACPET Quality Endorsement.

"Only those providers who can demonstrate consistent delivery of high quality service, support and outcomes will become ACPET Quality Endorsed," Mr Camm said.


Freo mayor signals support for traders to run Australia Day fireworks

Australia Day fireworks could return to Fremantle after the city's mayor indicated he did not oppose a plan by local businesses to put on their own display.
Video Freemantle ditches Australia day fireworks, outrage ensues

Restaurateur Henry Liascos, of Cicerello’s, Char Char Bull Restaurant and Bathers Beach House, has applied to the City of Fremantle for permission to hold a pared-back fireworks display on January 26 in the wake of a council decision to dump it for something more culturally sensitive.

Mayor Brad Pettitt told ABC radio this morning the proposal would need to be assessed by staff but he did not see why it should not be approved.

"They will need approval for setting up the fireworks themselves," he said. "I don’t think there’s any basis not to give it, to be honest. Obviously the staff will look at that but I just don’t see why not.

"We’ve never said that people shouldn’t do fireworks on Australia Day or that they should be banned. Our view was that there was a better, more inclusive way of actually acknowledging the complexities of a day that’s got different feelings for different people and we thought we could do a more inclusive, better event than just setting off fireworks."

The business revolt came as Federal Labor MP for Fremantle and former deputy mayor Josh Wilson distanced himself from the council’s decision to cancel the fireworks, saying he thought they would be back.

"I respect Fremantle council’s role in making these decisions, but I’ve always thought that Freo’s approach to Australia Day delivered the right mix of civic celebration and reflection on our history, including the primacy of our indigenous heritage," he said.

Fremantle councillors voted last week to replace the fireworks with a yet-to-be-determined weekend celebration.
Ciccerellos owner Henry Liascos and Char Char Bull managing director Brenden Jones. Picture: Michael Wilson

Mr Liascos, who lodged his application yesterday, said Cicerello’s had sponsored the early days of the fireworks and traders wanted to see them continue.

"It’s a family friendly event," he said. "Everyone enjoyed it last time. We want to see it continue. It’s not about money, it’s about the fact that there were a lot of people here, they had a great time and it’s an event celebrating Australia Day."

Mr Liascos said the Fishing Boat Harbour Traders Group, which includes Kailis Fish Market Cafe and Little Creatures, and others would fund the proposed event. It is understood no formal commitment has been made by group members.

To keep costs down the event would probably be 15 minutes rather than 30 and held on land rather than on a barge.

Fremantle council’s decision to end the fireworks display stemmed mostly from concerns about what a day celebrating the arrival of the First Fleet represented for Aboriginals.

It was criticised by the head of the Australia Day Council WA Robert Isaacs, the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce and shadow minister for Aboriginal affairs Ben Wyatt.


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 September, 2016

Australia's 'ticking fiscal time bomb' is untenable

This cannot be stressed enough

Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison said the word "debt" 30 times in his speech last week discussing the economic and fiscal outlook for Australia.

It was a dire warning on the future for the nation, the budget, and Australia’s fiscal future if the current settings are left as is.

That focus would be welcomed by Annette Beacher, TD Securities head of Asia-Pacific research, who wrote in a note on Tuesday that "Australia’s fiscal position is becoming increasingly untenable, even if current debt and deficit metrics remain low by global standards".

She said that even though offshore investors usually utter "disbelief that any country with such low metrics could be at risk of losing its AAA rating" the trouble is there is a clear trend deterioration in these metrics over recent years.

That, and the dangerous reality that "the government is borrowing record amounts to consume, not invest [is] a ticking fiscal time bomb".

Such is the way this new parliament is shaping up. Even as it just begins Beacher says the Australian government is likely to borrow at least "$A100b per year bond program for the next three years (at least) as reformist fiscal policy is stonewalled by populist politicians".

Beacher says something must be done because the Australian government has little to no control over nominal GDP growth and national income which are heavily influenced by Australia’s terms of trade, themselves influenced by global forces.

The correlation between terms of trade and nominal GDP growth over the last twenty years is 91% she says. That renders any notion of the RBA targeting nominal GDP instead of inflation "misguided", Beacher says.

But the real concern along with "persistent fiscal deficits is the structural break in government expenditure as a share of GDP" because the "Abbott-Hockey Liberal National government gave up on expenditure restraint (circle in chart above) and spending has been consistent with past recessions ever since".

"How would this play out if a recession actually occurred?" Beacher asked.

This is a problem for Morrison who almost exclusively among his colleagues has continually tried to articulate a cogent reason, including strategies, for reining in Australia’s enduring fiscal issues.

But Beacher says:

    The now one-seat majority of the LNP government in the Lower House, combined with an assorted array of ‘personalities’ in the Upper House (Senate) guarantees that passing any meaningful savings measures will be difficult. Whilst trimming expenditure is a priority for the government, the populist Senate is far more likely to reject savings measures, ruling them out as ‘unfair’.

It all means the federal treasurer warning that Australia’s debt position could blow out to a trillion dollars does not ring as hollow as such a headline grabbing statement sounds at first pass.


Anti-Semitism of the progressive churches

Hal G.P. Colebatch

One of the nastiest perversions of Christianity in the world today – the attempted demonisation and isolation of Israel –has been carried out by, among other bodies religious, a German Protestant Church, under, naturally, the World Council of Churches.

One would think a German church, of all things, would hesitate before sticking a toe in the filthy pool of anti-Semitism. Anyway, its Australian equivalents are some way but not all that far behind.

The WCC and liberation theology in general, Catholic and Protestant, have been singing a bit smaller since the fall of the Soviet Union, but are still with us, with hatred of Israel replacing their previous leit-motif of anti-anti-Communism, while their attitude to the almost daily Islamic atrocities remains conciliatory,

Australian academic Bill Rubinstein, writing in last October’s Quadrant, pointed out that attacks on Israel and ‘Christian Zionism’ (ie pro-Israel evangelical churches) have become the No. 1 cause of progressive churches in much of the Western worlds, in some cases trumping even homosexual marriage.

Rubinstein comments ‘the Presbyterian Church of the USA is simply obsessed with its deep hostility to Israel. Not towards, say, Saudi Arabia, where no Christian may set foot.’ In North Africa Boko Haram and other Islamic groups murder Christians wholesale – the Christian death-toll may be in six figures for the last few years -without a word of reproof from liberal clerics. The WCC’s silence is as loud now as was its silence during the Cold War regarding the Soviet Gulag.

The same double standards prevail in the equivalent Australian churches, particularly sections of the Uniting Church which attack Israel ceaselessly, but say virtually nothing about the murderous intolerance of the Islamic countries and societies or Islamc terrorism in the West.

The Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum (PIEF) of the WCC invited member churches and civil society organisations to join together in 2014 for a week of anti-Israel advocacy and action. PIEF supports the virulently anti-Semitic BDS movement, aimed at marginalising and de-legitimising the State of Israel, and ignores the atrocities committed by Palestinians against Israelis. Isis likewise does not seem to appear on the progressive Christian radar, despite crucifying Christian girl captives who refuse to convert.

Either spontaneously or in obedience to the diktats of the WCC, the Uniting Church in Australia has placed a ‘prayer for peace’ online which, while trying at first to give an impression of even-handedness, contains the unprayerful words: ‘In July, 2011, the Uniting Church in Australia Assembly Standing Committee resolved, on behalf of the Assembly, to join the boycott of products produced in the illegal Israeli Settlements within the Palestinian Territory of the West Bank.’

The WCC helped publish a book Christians and Muslims: The Dialogue Activities of the World Council of Churches and their Theological Foundation which demands the West ‘abandon its pro-Israeli attitude.’ The latest clerical anti-Israel campaign turns upon allegations that it is stealing ‘Palestinians" water. To a student of religious history it may bear some resemblance to the medieval anti-Semitic libel of Jews poisoning water.

On Ash Wednesday, the WCC and its subsidiaries launched a campaign, ‘Seven Weeks for Water’ at a (German) Lutheran Church in Jerusalem, with anti-Israel activists in attendance, including someone called the Co-Coordinator of the Ecumenical Water Network (an absence of a sense of the ridiculous in its titles is one of liberation theology’s distinguishing characteristics). Israeli sources say there is a ‘water crisis’ in Arab areas but that this is due to backward agricultural methods, wastage, and failure to provide adequate infrastructure. This was also the impression I received when visiting. Israel leads the world in dry-land farming techniques.

There is also the question of how far the Palestinian Arabs’ own leaders are responsible for keeping their own people as ‘victims’ for international propaganda.

Something called the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace (PJP – how quickly one gets lost in the jungle of acronyms!), was launched in 2013 by the WCC Assembly.The Ecumenical Water Network (EWN), in 2008. The WCC’s press center advertised its Seven Weeks for Water campaign as a ‘pilgrimage of water justice in the Middle East, with specific reference to Palestine.’

Meanwhile, a woman Member of the Palestine Legislative Council, Abu Bakr, has been sheltering within the council building in Ramallah since President Abbas ordered her arrest. Her crime? Blowing the whistle on the financial corruption of a cabinet minister closely associated with the President. She claims that the minister has been privately selling water to Palestinians and has illegally taken more than $200,000 from the Palestinian budget. There has not, of course, been one word about this from the WCC.

The WCC, associated ecumenical movements, and the web of organisations and relationships between them defy an organisational chart, or accountability, unlike government corporations which are, in Western countries, subject to parliamentary or other scrutiny, or private corporations which must publish balance-sheets and be accountable.

The PJP and the EWN are closely interlinked. The intent of launching the Seven Weeks for Water campaign was made plain by General Secretary of the WCC, Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, in his Jerusalem church sermon: ‘As the WCC’s Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace is focused on issues of the Middle East, particularly in this year, we hope your stories and struggle for justice and peace will become the stories and struggle for the churches around the world. May this Lenten season help us to reflect on these issues more deeply. May the Seven Weeks for Water during this Lent help us to highlight the water crisis in Palestine …’

Mr Dinesh Suna, the Coordinator of the EWN wrote on his Facebook page: ‘The IRG meeting of the WCC’s PJP started today at Bethlehem. To set the tone of the discussion we went to listen to stories of struggle to end occupation of Palestine by Israel’ (‘Struggle’? Suicide bombings, perhaps? Knifings of women and children?). ‘It was quite a touching moment for us to hear these stories…’

Any doubt whose side the WCC and the progressive churches are on now? While the progressive churches are losing membership hand-over-fist, in Australia, America and Europe, the demographically young, and very often pro-Israel, evangelical churches, are flourishing. The formation of the Australia-Israel Association in WA in 2014, held at an evangelical church, drew an overflow crowd.  [Real Christians love Israel]


Australian conservatives trying to rein in Green spending

And the pips are squeaking

Australia's clean energy research efforts are heading for "the valley of death" if Parliament passes the Coalitions's omnibus package of cuts, according to leaders in the sector

Hundreds of researchers around Australia, including dozens at both the Australian National University and the University of NSW, will be faced with the dole queue if cuts to Australia'?s renewable energy research agency are passed by the Parliament, according to one of the sector's pioneers.

Scott Morrison and Malcolm Turnbull will have a tough time in Parliament getting its savings bill through with opposition from all sides.

Deep cuts to the funding of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, contained in the Turnbull government's omnibus "?budget repair" bill before the Parliament this week, is an "existential threat" to clean energy innovation in Australia, Professor Andrew Blakers says.

Professor Blakers of the ANU is a world leader in renewables research and he says many of his colleagues nationwide will lose their jobs if the government gets its bill through Parliament and advances that would deliver major economic benefits to the country would be lost.

The ANU and the University of NSW are world leaders in solar energy research with PERC solar cells, now the commercial standard globally with more than $9 billion in sales, invented by Professor Blakers and his colleague Martin Green at the NSW institution.

ARENA was established in 2012 by the Gillard government and abolished by the Abbott government in 2014.

The agency received a stay of execution in March 2016 but Coalition policy now wants to strip $1.3 billion of funding from ARENA and merge its funding role with the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, which expects to see a financial return on money it invests in research.

The Clean Energy Council has published a briefing paper that likens de-funding ARENA to "plunging into the clean energy valley of death".

ARENA chief executive Ivor Frischknecht? told Fairfax that existing commitments would be met even if Parliament agreed to back the Coalition's cuts.

"The proposed reduction in ARENA's uncommitted funding will not affect existing commitments," Mr Frischknecht said.

"Projects currently receiving ARENA funding will continue to receive funding and ARENA will continue to oversee ongoing contract management and knowledge sharing outcomes for these projects."

The office of Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg did not respond before deadline on Tuesday to a request for comment and Labor says it has not arrived at a position on the ARENA cuts.

Professor Blakers said the decision, if passed, may mean the end of Australia'??s clean energy research effort and said both sides of politics would shoulder the blame.

"??There is an existential threat to renewable energy research, innovation and education in Australia," Professor Blakers said.  "??If ARENA is dismantled, then many people would lose their jobs including dozens at ANU. "?In the longer term, Australia's leadership in solar energy would vanish.

"After the fiasco involving CSIRO climate scientists, we now have a potential fiasco in mitigation of climate change."

The research leader called on the Labor Party not to just "wave through" the proposed cuts. "?It appears that the ALP might wave through a change to the ARENA Act, which would allow the end of ARENA granting," Professor Blakers said.

"??For 30 years there has been a renewable energy funding agency in one form or another in Australia. "??This has led to phenomenal success in generation of technology and education. "The worldwide silicon solar cell industry owes its existence in large measure to Australians who were supported by grants from government renewable energy agencies.  "Billions of dollars of benefits have accrued to Australia."


Prison treatment of unruly black youth criticized

The prison officers were clearly just trying to shock him into co-operativeness

SHOCKING footage from ­inside Brisbane Correctional Centre shows a 17-year-old being confronted by seven ­officers and put in restraints including a spit mask — a ­practice Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath said was not used in Queensland.

On remand for offences including break and enters and robbery, the teenager was placed in a barren cell because the adult prison’s "boys yard" was already overcrowded.

He appears in the footage — obtained exclusively by The Courier-Mail — to be yelling before prison officers enter his cell, but does not become violent or resist and there is no suggestion he spat.

The prison officers put him in handcuffs attached to a body belt to restrict his movement, placed the spit mask over his head and left him alone in the cell for an hour.

CCTV footage of the teenager being placed in a spit mask.
Prison reports suggest the Aboriginal teen, Jarrod Clayton, was restrained because he pressed the emergency intercom without reason and was warned about the same thing the previous day.

He had earlier sworn at officers and kicked his cell door.

His treatment was the subject of a complaint of excessive force that was eventually dismissed on the basis of insufficient evidence.

After a similar incident in a Northern Territory youth detention centre was made public, Ms D’Ath said the treatment of the offender was appalling and "spit hoods ... are not used in Queensland".

In any other state Clayton would have been in a juvenile detention centre, with Queensland alone in the country in treating 17-year-olds as adults in the criminal justice system.

The Prisoners’ Legal Service uncovered the February 2013 video during an investigation into the teenager’s treatment during the term of the former Newman government.

Director Peter Lyons said the actions were "extreme and degrading".  "This is a classic example of what happens when you place a 17-year-old in the environment of an adult prison," he said.

The face mask, body belt and handcuffs "cannot be seen as being reasonably necessary" to stop him pressing the intercom button, he said.

"The use of multiple restraints and abandonment of the juvenile while restrained and hooded amounted, in our opinion, to punishment unlawfully administered by the corrective services officers."

Barrister and Youth Advocacy Centre chairman ­Damien Atkinson said the video "looks horribly routine, as if they have done it many times before".

"What you can see is prison officers don’t have a lot of skills for dealing with young people, and the time we have them in custody is being ­wasted," he said.

Mr Atkinson has lobbied successive governments to bring Queensland in line with other states and treat 17-year-olds as juveniles.

"The State Government says we don’t put Queensland children in spit hoods. But here’s a child and here’s a spit hood. Everyone in the Queensland public treat 17-year-olds as children and they belong in the youth justice system."

Clayton had never before been in detention including juvenile detention.

He had been arrested for break and enters, and armed robbery and car thefts and was using the drug "ice" at the time of his crimes.

Before being transferred to the prison he had spent 16 days in the watch-house so was not drug-affected on his arrival.

Prison reports show officers regarded him as highly disruptive and repeatedly took disciplinary action against him in the month before resorting to the spit mask.

"Prisoner Clayton has no respect or regard for other prisoners or staff," reads one incident report from January 2013.

Another report from two days before the mask incident says he was "showing increasing signs of aggression".


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

HOME (Index page)

Postings from Brisbane, Australia by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party.

Most academics are lockstep Leftists so readers do sometimes doubt that I have the qualifications mentioned above. Photocopies of my academic and military certificates are however all viewable here

For overseas readers: The "ALP" is the Australian Labor Party -- Australia's major Leftist party. The "Liberal" party is Australia's major conservative political party.

In most Australian States there are two conservative political parties, the city-based Liberal party and the rural-based National party. But in Queensland those two parties are amalgamated as the LNP.

Again for overseas readers: Like the USA, Germany and India, Australia has State governments as well as the Federal government. So it may be useful to know the usual abbreviations for the Australian States: QLD (Queensland), NSW (New South Wales), WA (Western Australia), VIC (Victoria), TAS (Tasmania), SA (South Australia).

For American readers: A "pensioner" is a retired person living on Social Security

"Digger" is an honorific term for an Australian soldier

Another lesson in Australian: When an Australian calls someone a "big-noter", he is saying that the person is a chronic and rather pathetic seeker of admiration -- as in someone who often pulls out "big notes" (e.g. $100.00 bills) to pay for things, thus endeavouring to create the impression that he is rich. The term describes the mentality rather than the actual behavior with money and it aptly describes many Leftists. When they purport to show "compassion" by advocating things that cost themselves nothing (e.g. advocating more taxes on "the rich" to help "the poor"), an Australian might say that the Leftist is "big-noting himself". There is an example of the usage here. The term conveys contempt. There is a wise description of Australians generally here

Another bit of Australian: Any bad writing or messy anything was once often described as being "like a pakapoo ticket". In origin this phrase refers to a ticket written with Chinese characters - and thus inscrutably confusing to Western eyes. These tickets were part of a Chinese gambling game called "pakapoo".

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

My son Joe

On all my blogs, I express my view of what is important primarily by the readings that I select for posting. I do however on occasions add personal comments in italicized form at the beginning of an article.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age.

I imagine that the the RD is still sending mailouts to my 1950s address!

I am an army man. Although my service in the Australian army was chiefly noted for its un-notability, I DID join voluntarily in the Vietnam era, I DID reach the rank of Sergeant, and I DID volunteer for a posting in Vietnam. So I think I may be forgiven for saying something that most army men think but which most don't say because they think it is too obvious: The profession of arms is the noblest profession of all because it is the only profession where you offer to lay down your life in performing your duties. Our men fought so that people could say and think what they like but I myself always treat military men with great respect -- respect which in my view is simply their due.

The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody. And I have NO investments in oil companies or mining companies

Although I have been an atheist for all my adult life, I have no hesitation in saying that the single book which has influenced me most is the New Testament. And my Scripture blog will show that I know whereof I speak.

The Rt. Rev. Phil Case (Moderator of the Presbyterian church in Queensland) is a Pharisee, a hypocrite, an abomination and a "whited sepulchre".

English-born Australian novellist, Patrick White was a great favourite in literary circles. He even won a Nobel prize. But I and many others I have spoken to find his novels very turgid and boring. Despite my interest in history, I could only get through about a third of his historical novel Voss before I gave up. So why has he been so popular in literary circles? Easy. He was a miserable old Leftist coot, and, incidentally, a homosexual. And literary people are mostly Leftists with similar levels of anger and alienation from mainstream society. They enjoy his jaundiced outlook, his dissatisfaction, rage and anger.

A delightful story about a great Australian conservative

A great Australian wit exemplified

Bureaucracy: "One of the constant laments of doctors and nurses working with NSW Health is the incredible and increasing bureaucracy," she said. "It is completely obstructive to providing a service."

Revered Labour Party leader Gough Whitlam was a very erudite man so he cannot have been unaware of the similarities of his famous phrase “the Party, the platform, the people” with an earlier slogan: "Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuehrer". It's basically the same slogan in reverse order.

Australia's original inhabitants were a race of pygmies, some of whom survived into modern times in the mountainous regions of the Atherton tableland in far North Queensland. See also here. Below is a picture of one of them taken in 2007, when she was 105 years old and 3'7" tall

Julia Gillard, a failed feminist flop. She was given the job of Prime Minister of Australia but her feminist preaching was so unpopular that she was booted out of the job by her own Leftist party. Her signature "achievements" were the carbon tax and the mining tax, both of which were repealed by the next government.

The "White Australia Policy: "The Immigration Restriction Act was not about white supremacy, racism, or the belief that whites were higher up the evolutionary tree than the coloured races. Rather, it was designed to STOP the racist exploitation of non-whites (all of whom would have been illiterate peasants practicing religions and cultures anathema to progressive democracy) being conscripted into a life of semi-slavery in a coolie-worked plantation economy for the benefit of the absolute monarchs, hereditary aristocracy and the super-wealthy companies and share-holders of the northern hemisphere.

A great little kid

In November 2007, a four-year-old boy was found playing in a croc-infested Territory creek after sneaking off pig hunting alone with four dogs and a puppy. The toddler was found five-and-a-half hours after he set off from his parents' house playing in a creek with the puppy. Amazingly, Daniel Woditj also swam two creeks known to be inhabited by crocs during his adventurous romp. Mr Knight said that after walking for several kilometres, Daniel came to a creek and swam across it. Four of his dogs "bailed up" at the creek but the youngster continued on undaunted with his puppy to a second creek. Mr Knight said Daniel swam the second croc-infested creek and walked on for several more kilometres. "Captain is a hard bushman and Daniel is following in his footsteps. They breed them tough out bush."


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