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?


29 September, 2017

Is subjecting people to speech free speech?

One would think not -- quite the contrary -- but the Left have always used free speech as a justification of anything they say.  In line with that, a plan to subject football fans to pro-homosexual propaganda is being defended as free speech. 

The pro-homosexual song concerned has been very widely aired so has not in any way been restricted speech but should people who dislike the sentiments of the song be forced to listen to it?  In their usual authoritarian way, the Left are answering "Yes" to that. They are having the song sung at half-time during a football match in spite of the fact that many fans there will find it objectionable. 

Mere good manners would usually ensure that an objectionable song is not sung on such an occasion but Leftist propaganda is far more important than bad manners, of course.  Interesting though that political correctness is often claimed to be just good manners and refraining from offending people.  More evidence of Leftist hypocrisy

Former prime minister Tony Abbott has backed a call from same-sex marriage opponents to ban American rapper Macklemore from performing his pro-gay song Same Love at the NRL grand final.

Former player Tony Wall, who played first grade briefly in the mid 1990s, is petitioning NRL boss Todd Greenberg to halt the half-time performance and "take a neutral position on the question of same-sex marriage".

The Coalition for Marriage, the official "no" campaign vehicle, seized on the petition on Wednesday, demanding the NRL ban the song despite making "freedom of speech" one of its central campaign tenets.

Spokesman David Goodwin said the grand final was "not a PC lecture theatre" and it was "bizarre that the NRL would choose to use its half-time entertainment to push a message which it knows millions of Australians disagree with".

Mr Abbott backed that call, tweeting: "Footy fans shouldn't be subjected to a politicised grand final. Sport is sport!"

But the NRL stood firm on Wednesday, with Mr Greenberg telling 2GB radio the LGBTI anthem was just one of four songs Macklemore was scheduled to perform, and reiterating the code's support for same-sex marriage.

"He's playing four of his biggest hits, one of those will include that song and we're very comfortable with that," Mr Greenberg said.

He conceded the song could be seen as a political act but said "we're an inclusive game" and "it would be a little hypocritical for us to have inclusiveness as one of our values and not actually deliver on it".

The song Same Love, which reached No.1 in Australia in 2013, is critical of homophobia in rap music and includes the lyric: "No freedom 'til we're equal, damn right I support it."

Mr Wall said he and his family, and other NRL fans who did not support same-sex marriage, would feel uncomfortable watching the grand final if the song were to be performed. The petition had gathered 2100 online signatures as of Wednesday evening.

The NRL formally announced its support for same-sex marriage just over two weeks ago, saying the league had a duty to back up its policy of inclusion with action.

The AFL has also encountered blowback for its long-standing support for marriage equality, with commentators and some Coalition MPs upset over a decision to temporarily replace the logo outside its Melbourne headquarters with a "yes" sign.

Both codes have resisted attempts to shut down their advocacy, arguing they are entitled to a point of view but respect those who disagree.

The Coalition for Marriage and supporters have made "freedom of speech" a central tenet of its campaign, claiming free speech wold be under threat if same-sex marriage were to be legalised.

"Freedom of speech is a central issue in this campaign," the Coalition for Marriage said last week following the Abbott headbutt.

"It is absolutely crucial that people are able to speak up and participate in a national conversation about marriage in a respectful and peaceful manner."

In a 2GB interview on Wednesday, Mr Abbott continued his campaign for a "no" vote, saying it was "the best way of stopping political correctness in his tracks".

"We have seen political correctness run riot on a whole host of issues, but this is the first time that the Australian public have been asked to cast their verdict on all of these developments," he said.


Priest SPAT at in the street in the latest violence linked to gay marriage supporters

A priest claims he was spat at and called a ‘f**king no voter’ while walking in the street just because he was wearing his collar. Father Morgan Batt said he was walking along Queen Street Mall in Brisbane on Wednesday when he was stopped.

He took to Facebook to express his disappointment at the treatment he received. ‘I was stopped – spat at – and called a ‘f***king no voter,’ he wrote.

‘Smile and move on was all I could do. Let’s pray for healing. Australia this really not us.’

The priest’s claims come as a mass weekend text telling millions of people to vote ‘yes’ reportedly turned people off, and increasingly confrontational appears to drive some non-aligned voters towards either a no vote or even apathy.

Polls still indicate a majority of Australians will vote 'yes' on the gay marriage postal survey. 

While there have been disappointing incidents on both sides, some have called the behaviour of 'yes' activists violent, elitist, snobbish and off-putting.

'I had always intended to vote yes but the more liberals use these tactics the more inclined I am to vote no,' said one online commenter.

'I am not engaged in this debate, I have had other priorities in my life - we all have something we are fighting for - but after seeing the low tactics of the 'yes' campaigners I'm considering voting, and it will be no,' said another.

Their sentiments were echoed across social media, with people declaring they have had enough of the violence, the threats and the abuse, calling the behaviour 'feral'.

'Yes voters aren’t helping their cause are they? It's really sad that a few disgusting individuals might end up ruining this opportunity for the LGBT community' wrote a Facebook user.

The most recent Newspoll shows 57 per cent of Australians support redefining the Marriage Act, down from 63 per cent in August.

Following the headbutt assault on Mr Abbott by a 'Yes' badge-wearing anarchist DJ in Hobart, activists held up banners saying 'Headbutt homophobes'.


One in five Australians believe global warming is a hoax

Essential Research has surveyed about 1000 Australians on various beliefs to reveal some eyebrow-raising results.

It found 21 per cent believed global warming was a hoax perpetrated by scientists - with 9 per cent strongly believing in the statement and 12 per cent somewhat believing. Another 11 per cent were not sure.

One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts has been among those to doubt climate change science, with a senior NASA official last year rejecting his claims the agency had falsified data to exaggerate warming in the Arctic.

And in June, after being asked by Senator Roberts whether it was important for scientists to keep an open mind, chief scientist Alan Finkel agreed: "But not so open that your brain leaks out."

Griffith University Climate Change Response Program director Brendan Mackey said climate change was an established scientific fact backed up by hard data.

"We have a really solid scientific basis for knowing and understanding the way the climate is changing rapidly," Professor Mackey said. [Like what?]

"I find it interesting as a scientist when people say they don't believe in science because science is not a matter of faith - religion is a matter of faith.

"It's really a matter of having a scientific understanding or explanation in relation to the cause and effect."

Professor Mackey said many people had never been taught about climate change science so found it difficult to understand.

And he said it was not something you could look out the window and see or experience, such as using an iPhone.

"The technology [for smartphones] comes from scientific understanding about quantum mechanics," he said.

"There's hardly anyone who understands about quantum mechanics but the iPhone works and they're happy their phone works and they're not worried about the reason why.

"People don't say 'I don't believe in gravity' because they can feel the effect of it.

"Climate change is a more abstract concept so part of it is people don't have that direct personal experience of climate change."


Now you can't say 'MUM' at work: Politically correct activists warn employers referring to 'sexist' gender roles could offend staff

Politically-correct activists are charging workplaces $1,800 an hour to teach employees about apparently harmful and sexist words - like 'mum'.

Former army chief David Morrison appears in a Diversity Council of Australia video where he confronts a memo next to dirty dishes in a work kitchen with a younger, female colleague.

'Clean up after yourself. Your mum doesn't work here,' it says.

With a stern expression, the retired lieutenant-general and 2016 Australian of the Year pulls out a highlighter and adds the word 'dad' to the poster.

The Diversity Council of Australia, which Mr Morrison chairs, charges workplaces $3,600 for two-hour sessions on 'inclusive leadership'.

Former Labor leader Mark Latham slammed the whole idea of workplaces paying to be lectured on politically-correct language. 'That's so pathetic it's laughable,' he said on his weekly Mark Latham's Outsiders program on Wednesday.

'Imagine being a corporation with so much money you can afford thousands of dollars to send your staff to learn about dirty coffee cups and a sign, "It's all wrong, it's all terrible, it's the end of the world".

'Your biggest corporate challenge is, "Your mum doesn't work here" and you've got to change it to, "Mum and dad".'

The Diversity Council of Australia declined to address Mr Latham's attack on its Words At Work program, launched last year.

But it referred Daily Mail Australia to its June 2016 media release which said 'non-inclusive language contributes to and continues stereotyping'. 'Non-inclusive language harms people who witness it as well as the intended targets,' it 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

28 September, 2017

Academic says people who are against legalising gay marriage are 'not intelligent enough to take part in meaningful debate' (?)

But he says so on the basis of a survey question that did NOT mention gay marriage! A fuller report of the research is here.  It is in general carefully done but I am surprised that the results are reported as a trend.  That would normally be used for a time series. The more usual presentation would be in the form of a correlation coefficient. When correlations between beliefs and IQ are examined on other occasions, the correlation is found to be very weak.  That may have been the case on this occasion but has been covered up by the unusual analysis.

Concern must also be expressed that attitude was measured by just one very general question.  Psychologists normally use multi-item scales precisely because answers to a single question can be very misleading. And in that connection one must note that the question did NOT refer to marriage. It was just a general rights question.

That is of particular concern when we note that the answers to the question were from two years ago, long before the marriage debate became as well-defined as it is now. The same question might well be differently understood now.

The author has clearly overgeneralized from his finding. Insofar as the finding means anything, I see it as just another iteration of the general finding that high IQ people have a weak tendency to be more Leftist. They think they know it all and so do Leftists. It also means that more intelligent kids are better at picking up and absorbing the lessons drummed into them by our Left-dominated educational system.

An academic has suggested opponents of gay marriage are less intelligent.

Dr Francisco Perales, a senior research fellow with the University of Queensland's Institute for Social Science Research, argues those opposed to redefining marriage struggled with processing complex ideas.

Citing comprehensive demographic data, he said those planning to vote 'No' in the same-sex marriage postal vote were unlikely to be persuaded by the facts.

'This may shed some light on why those who stand against equal rights may not be persuaded by evidence-based arguments in the ongoing same-sex marriage debate,' he said in an opinion piece for the ABC on Tuesday.

'This applies, for instance, to the scientifically unsupported claim that children are worse off in same-sex households.'

The Brisbane-based academic, who specialises in 'gender and sexual identity', said opponents of changing the Marriage Act lacked the cognitive ability to process complex ideas, discern facts from speculation and critically engage with new or diverse viewpoints.

'Specifically, there is a strong and statistically significant association between higher cognitive ability and a greater likelihood to support equal rights between same- and different-sex couples,' Dr Perales said.

He added older people and those from non-English speaking backgrounds were more likely to oppose gay marriage.

'Some population groups — older people and those from non-English-speaking backgrounds, for example — may be more opposed to equal rights and also perform worse in cognitive ability tests,' he said.

'For the former group, this may be due to cognitive decline, and for the latter it may be due to English not being their first language.'

He argued the 'No' case were relying on arguments unrelated to same-sex marriage, such as religious freedom or gender theory in schools, to persuade socially conservative voters.

'These results may thus shed some light over why some on the 'No' side may be failing to offer or accept evidence-based arguments, or why they keep relying on philosophically, historically or empirically flawed ones,' Dr Perales said.

With former Liberal prime ministers John Howard and Tony Abbott, along with socially conservative politicians like Bob Katter, leading the 'No' case, Dr Perales didn't suggest all opponents of gay marriage were less intellectual.

'The findings do not mean that all who intend to vote 'no' in the marriage ballot have a low level of cognitive ability,' he said. 'Nor do they mean that all those who intend to vote 'yes' have a high level.'

However, he concluded opponents of gay marriage were more likely to be less intelligent, citing data from the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia annual surveys of  17,000 people.

'People who stand against equal rights for same-sex couples are less likely to have cognitive resources that are important to participating in meaningful debate,' he said.

His intervention into the gay marriage conversation comes as voters return ballots from the Australian Bureau of Statistics as part of the $122 million voluntary postal vote on redefining the Marriage Act.

Opinion polls, including Newspoll, show the 'Yes' having majority public support.


Batshit crazy: Two female Australian University lecturers BAN maths students from using the word 'marriage' as it might cause offence

Lecturers at a leading university have been telling students not to use the word 'marriage', as it might cause offence.

Associate professor Catherine Greenhill and Dr Diana Combe from the University of New South Wales were referring to Hall's marriage theorem, which dates back to 1935.

According to Sean Lynch, a 21-year-old honours student, his lecturer told students to leave 'marriage' out of the name of the theorem in an assignment.

'The reason why was because the canonical example has homophobic implications, at least in [Catherine Greenhill's] eyes,' Mr Lynch told Sky News.

Another student has come forward to confirm similar demands were made by Dr Combe in the past.

His thesis - which contained an example of male female matchmaking similar to Hall's - was returned and marked as 'offensive', The Daily Telegraph reported.

Mr Lynch, who founded UNSW student group Free Thinkers, said he was shocked when students were told the word marriage was offensive in a lecture.

'I've heard much about these issues in the humanities and to see it come into this discipline, which I pursued because of its objectivity, is amazing,' he said.

English mathematician Philip Hall proved the theory in 1935, and it uses the example of monogamous heterosexual couples in matchmaking with variable sets.

Senior lecturer and UNSW academic advisor Dr Thomas Britz called the actions of the staff members involved 'too forceful and inappropriate'.

Dr Britz said he would speak to the staff involved, but called on students to be respectful of their peers.

Mr Lynch claims gay marriage was not mentioned during the lectures in question, but believes the divisive issue is behind the lecturers' actions.


'In other faiths we call it paedophilia': Peta Credlin slams 'feminist warriors' for failing to stand up for Muslim girls forced into arranged marriages

Media commentator Peta Credlin has slammed feminists for failing to speak up about a Muslim man in his mid-thirties marrying a 14-year-old girl.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott's chief-of-staff is outraged at the political left's silence on child brides, less than a week after a refugee was sentenced to one year in jail for taking part in the Melbourne mosque wedding last year.

'In other faiths we call it paedophilia but not when it comes to Islam,'  she told Sky News on Tuesday night.

'Their failure to speak up for these girls is because the left's silence on the crimes of Islam trumps any voice for the victim.'

Ms Credlin's impassioned critique of left-wing feminists comes six days after Rohingya refugee Mohammad Shakir, 35, was formally jailed for one year for marrying the 14-year-old girl at the Noble Park mosque, in south-east Melbourne, on September 29, 2016.

'We shouldn't even call it child brides. These young girls are being raped by much older men under the cover of a religious ceremony against Australian law and against Australian values,' she said.

Shakir had pleaded guilty to going through with the ceremony and tearfully told the County Court of Victoria he thought he was 'rescuing' the child bride.

The criminal, who will be returned to immigration detention after his sentence, was the first man to appear before an Australian court prosecuted with marrying a child, an offence that carries a maximum penalty of five years.

Ms Credlin said it appeared the feminists, the political left and Muslim groups were more obsessed with 'so-called Islamophobia' than speaking up for child brides.

'They don't like it and they won't admit it,' she said.

'Quiet too are the many Islamic organisations that are quick to attack so-called Islamophobia but are silent non the rights of young, Muslim girls.'

Former Muslim imam Ibrahim Omerdic was spared jail last month after being found guilty of unlawfully solemnising the marriage.  He was sentenced to two months' prison, but immediately placed on a two-year recognisance release order, meaning he won't serve time in jail.

Omerdic was an imam of the Bosnian Islamic Society and Noble Park Mosque but was later sacked and had his celebrant licence revoked after his arrest last year.


No campaign’s unlikely secret weapon: A young lawyer with a human rights background

IN THE past few weeks, a new star has emerged to add a touch of glamour to the No campaign’s battle to prevent the legalisation of same-sex marriage.

Karina Okotel is a 37-year-old Australian lawyer who has volunteered for charities in Thailand and Africa and made a documentary about refugees and child soldiers. She lives with her Ugandan husband and three children in Melbourne and her parents were Sri Lankan immigrants. She’s not a person you’d immediately expect to be fronting a campaign to stop gay and lesbian Australians from having the right to marry.

But Ms Okotel is not only those things. She has been a member of the Liberal party since 2010 and vice president since June. She is a devout Christian, meeting husband David while working on farms for Baptist World Aid. She is in fact more conservative than many in her party, with Malcolm Turnbull, Liberal president Nick Greiner and her local Liberal MP Tim Wilson all in favour of same-sex marriage.

Ms Okotel decided to come out of maternity leave — her youngest daughter is just 10 weeks old — to throw her weight behind the Coalition for Marriage. And her star has been rising ever since.

“Members felt they were being ignored,” she told “We had passed motions of traditional marriage, especially in Victoria.”

On September 1, she wrote an emotive opinion piece for The Australian about “our freedoms” — of speech and religion. She debated the issue on ABC Radio national with Liberal gay rights supporter Christine Forster, who confronted her on how changes to civil marriage law — on divorce, for example — previously took place without affecting religious schools.

But it was after Ms Okotel gave a dramatic speech opposing same-sex marriage at the National Press Club two weeks ago that she really started gaining attention, with Fairfax Media dubbing her “the ‘bleeding heart’ lawyer who opposes same-sex marriage” and Crikey noting that, “Unlike Lyle Shelton, she has come seemingly from nowhere to become one of the faces of the No campaign”.

And unlike the white, male Australian Christian Lobby chief, she may have a bigger impact in hammering home the “OK to vote no” slogan across the community.

The mother of three used her Press Club speech to read out shocking examples of online abuse towards No supporters.

When she speaks to, she is eager to share stories of racist and sexist abuse she has endured, as well as listing the examples we know. “I’ve received a lot of support and encouragement but now I’ve got trolls,” she says. “There are a lot of derogatory comments, the c-word, telling me to go home, a lot of sexual comments ... It’s quite strange.

“I was campaigning even out on the streets, holding signs and someone said, ‘Yes to marriage equality, no to immigrants.’”

Ms Okotel was with two fellow campaigners of Chinese and African descent. “We thought that was very strange,” she repeats.

She sprinkles her conversation with references to the importance of “caring” and “compassion” in her life. “I hope I am a person who is compassionate, I try to be someone who is caring and that’s really important to me,” she says. “[The No campaign is] not a campaign that’s uncaring or unkind, it is caring about the impact of future generations, religious freedoms, kids and freedom.”

The young lawyer, who has worked at a soup kitchen and pro-bono health centre in Victoria, is perfect for the benign image the No campaign wants to project, although her arguments are nothing new.

She focuses closely on freedom of speech, potential effects on education and the effects on children of same-sex parents who will never know a biological parent — despite the fact that gay couples can already have children.

“What I understand from the Left’s view is that marriage is all about love,” she says. “That’s a red herring. It was never just about that. “In Sri Lanka, you see arranged marriages, they work. Marriage has always been about family and a stable environment for kids.”

Her goal is simple — to be calm and measured while painting ‘Yes’ advocates as rabid and aggressive. It’s a tactic that has been proving increasingly successful for the Coalition for Marriage following weak support in the polls for its viewpoint.

Ms Okotel appears to be just the character the No campaign needs, with the determination to match.

Last year, she wrote an article describing herself as a lawyer who had worked in family violence calling for more regulation of advertising, because “all advertisements visible to children in public should demonstrate respect for women and not sexual objectification.”

The Victoria Legal Aid employee is firmly behind the Government’s hard line immigration policies — speaking passionately about deaths at the hands of people smugglers.

She has dire predictions for what will happen if the ‘Yes’ campaign succeeds, but if it happens, she won’t be going anywhere. After a running as a Victorian Senate candidate last year, she may be ready to aim high once more.


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, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is unimpressed by Bill Shorten's trip to Korea

Same-sex marriage supporter's racist rant

A SAME-sex marriage supporter has been captured on video in an expletive-ridden rant against a “Vote No” campaigner in Sydney.

The clip, which has now gone viral on Facebook after it amassed more than 53,000 views, shows a young man pointing his finger yelling, “It’s people like you in the country, are what are bringing this f**king country down.”

It comes after a group of “No” campaigners were handing out ‘It’s OK to vote No’ pamphlets at Chatswood on Sydney’s North Shore.

Shocked bystanders watched as the man said, “You’ve come here, we’ve accepted you into this country.”

When a woman hit back saying “we’ve accepted you into this country too” the man fired up saying “I’m Australian — my parents are Australian. I’m not being racist! I’ve got Aboriginal family. I’m not being racist at all.”

“You’re just being a f**king d***head by voting ‘No’. F*** you. F*** you. Respect people’s rights you gronk,” he yelled as he walked off.

A social media user uploaded the footage to the public on Facebook with the caption, “Your weekly dose of tolerance.”

“This man approached one of our team members and started yelling,” he wrote online.


Snowflake bikies?

THE Hells Angels claim their feelings have been hurt, and they are “distressed” by their fearsome bikie logo appearing on hipster T-shirts and have called in the lawyers.

It is the seventh time the Browns Plains-based Hells Angels Motorcycle Corporation (Australia) — declared a criminal organisation by the Queensland Government in 2013 — has sued a retailer or manufacturer since 2008.

Six cases were launched in the past year by the club’s corporate entity, which is wholly owned by Brisbane president Mark Nelms.

On September 29 the gang sued a Melbourne company that sells T-shirts online emblazoned with their trademarked “death head” logo, or the phrase “Hells Angels”.

In its statement of claim lodged in the Federal Court in Brisbane, the Hells Angels claim three T-shirts and one poster they purchased from Redbubble last year are in breach of their intellectual property.

They point to a $31 T-shirt with the Hells Angels crest on it, a “Hells Angels Maths Club” T-shirt and a “Hells Angels Movie” T-shirt, and a poster of a bikie wearing his colours sitting with a young girl.

“Redbubble’s conduct has allowed non-members of the Club to wear indicia reserved for the members, thereby causing anger, hurt feelings and personal distress,” the club claims.


Opinion: Tony Abbott in firing line because his ideas pack a punch

IT SEEMS everybody’s trying to knock out Tony Abbott these days. Whether being headbutted in Hobart by some thug, or flayed alive (yet again) by some lefty journalist, it seems every day is Open Season on Abbott Day. Yet Abbott soldiers on. The lip may be swollen, the ego may be bruised, but the battler in Abbott refuses to be knocked down.

It’s hard to know who fears Abbott the most. Is it the bunch of miserable “bed-wetters”, those Liberal MPs who were so keen to tear Abbott down and replace him with Malcolm Turnbull on the laughable promise of a massive improvement in the opinion polls? Or is it the hardheads of the Labor Party, who know through bitter experience that if Abbott were let loose on them their ghastly fantasy of a Bill Shorten prime ministership would be cactus? Clearly, somebody out there is terrified of Abbott.

The luvvies in the Liberal party (yes, sadly there are plenty of them) would have you believe that Abbott is a human wrecking ball hellbent on laying waste to the Turnbull Government. Yet if this analysis was correct, which it isn’t, by their own logic these individuals must recognise that the smartest tactic would be to redirect this potent weapon of mass destruction where it is most needed – at obliterating Labor. Put Abbott in charge of energy policy, or give him his old job back.

Labor has been riding high in the polls for more than a year now, to the extent that Turnbull is rapidly approaching the loud ping of “30 Newspolls in a row” which he himself set as the moment his time is up. Clearly, it would be beyond hypocritical for Turnbull to attempt to remain leader past that point. “Post-30”, a Turnbull government would have zero credibility, and the landslide that would sweep Labor into power at the next election would wipe out a generation of talented Liberals and Nationals. Worse, the policies that a large-majority Shorten government would foist upon us would hurtle our country towards being an economic socialist basket case riddled with the madness of identity politics, political correctness on steroids and sinister class and race divisions.

But Tony Abbott is not the thing or person that is damaging the Liberal Party and the prime ministership of Malcolm Turnbull. It is the Government’s own stubborn refusal to change direction on climate change policies. Rather than being destructive, all Abbott has done is offer policy suggestions for how the Libs can beat Labor.

The Hazelwood coal-fired power station is a classic example. When this critical part of Victoria’s power generation was being shut down, Abbott urged Turnbull to intervene to keep it open. But Turnbull sided with the energy vandals. Now, six months later, Turnbull is belatedly saying about NSW’s Liddell station exactly what Abbott said about Hazelwood.

My guess is that what Abbott has been saying for months about freezing subsidies to renewables and scrapping or lowering our targets will be ideas that Turnbull is forced to adopt.

This is because of the so-called “culture wars”. One critical battle of the culture wars is very real and is being fought in every ordinary household and business premises across the nation – every time an electricity bill lands in a letterbox. You either believe Australia can solve climate change (which is impossible) or you believe Australians should have cheap, reliable energy. That’s it. Pick a side. If you want to pretend you are tackling climate change, vote Labor. If you want cheaper energy bills vote… oh, hang on! Turns out Turnbull’s and the bed-wetters’ obsession with climate change is almost as bad as Labor’s. Oops.

Soon it will dawn on Turnbull he must scrap his commitment to green ideology and fight for blue-collar jobs, families and values if he is to save himself.

Only by making a dramatic gesture can Turnbull prove to the public that he intends to fight Labor on climate change, rather than copy them. Ironically, the most effective way Turnbull could knock Abbott out of the ring is by stealing all his ideas.


Fake news on Newtown Liberals

Swallowing the bait from Sam Dastyari, the media has latched onto a photo of the Newtown/Sydney Young Liberals hosting Tony Abbott this week.

The critics are up in arms about the apparent lack of women in the photo, mocking the branch with statements like ‘the ladies sat outside, of course’; declaring the Liberals can’t attract women and predictably calling for quotas.

This is awkward because I organised the event. I am a woman. The senior branch executive who signed in the guests was a woman. The official photographer for the evening, another fellow Party member, was a woman. And you can take it from us, there were many other Big-L Liberal women in attendance on Tuesday.

This story is fake news. Those running it have not looked beneath the surface because it fits the narrative that women cannot possibly support the Liberal Party.

Wrong. Now I’ve set the record straight, it would be insincere to continue running these criticisms. Frankly, it takes away from the hard work of the women who made the event happen.

We joined the Liberal Party because we believe in freedom for the individual, opportunity for those who seek it and a democracy we can take pride in. Newtown/Sydney Young Liberals see more socialists than most would care to, and this exposure invigorates us to advocate for our ideas.

Talk of quotas is nonsense. If we wanted to embrace identity politics, we’d join the Labor party. We refuse to jump on the bandwagon of hating white males.

In the end, it’s ideas that make people join a cause. Women join for the same reasons as men do; for the ideas. To think anything else is needed is patronising. Expect to see many more Liberal Party events organised by both the women and men of Newtown/Sydney Young Liberals. For the record, Tony Abbott is welcome back anytime.


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, 2017

Police officer allegedly ‘hit teen in face’ while bodycam was switched off

A cop switching off a body camera during a confrontation is prima facie evidence of conscious ill intent.  One hopes that this is treated as a matter of great gravity.  The testimony of the officers concerned should be disregarded as corrupt

Queensland’s corruption watchdog has reportedly been asked to investigate an alleged case of police brutality after claims a Brisbane senior sergeant punched an intoxicated teenager in the face while his body camera was turned off.

A senior constable had been questioning a 19-year-old boy about a brawl at a Brisbane railway station in May last year when the sergeant allegedly appeared and confronted him, The Courier-Mail reports.

Bodycam footage obtained by the newspaper shows the officer swearing at the teen before he allegedly deactivates his body camera.

“What are you looking at me for? What’s your problem?” a voice can be heard asking.

“Why are you looking at me?” another voice responds.

“Because you’re a f----- idiot, that’s why I’m looking at you,” the first voice answers.

Officers claim that within the minutes of the constable’s body camera being turned off, the boy threatened to bite the sergeant and was then hit by the sergeant.

The teen had been arrested after his involvement in a brawl with a group of men at Boondall train station on May 4 last year.

The Courier-Mail reports a complaint has since been lodged with the Crime and Corruption Commission Queensland by barrister Allistair MacAdam.

A police spokesman told the newspaper the matter was with the corruption watchdog and “it would be inappropriate to comment further”.


Honest cop to run at upcoming Qld election

The former Gold Coast officer, who was ordered to stand trial this month over claims he leaked footage of police beating a handcuffed man in the basement of a station in 2012, made the announcement on Facebook on Saturday.

He will contest the seat of Southport, which is currently held by LNP incumbent Rob Molhoek.

Flori said he had decided to run after other people suggested he should make a career change and venture into politics. "I've had some lengthy thoughts about it, I've discussed it with my family," he said on the social media video. "We've come to the conclusion today that it's probably an option that I'd like to take up."

Flori said the support he had received over the past five years had given him the courage to venture into politics. "As my past has shown I don't always follow the crowd, I don't follow or don't need to follow any particular party line or party policy," he said.

"I thought independent was the best way for me to try and approach this so that I can not only receive your thoughts...I can vote with my own conscience and how I feel the public need to be represented, honestly and with some sort of integrity."

Flori said he had some "basic platforms" but he wanted to hear from people in the electorate about the issues they were most concerned about.

Flori is facing misconduct charges over the alleged 2012 leak.
If found guilty at trial he could face jail time.


Free weddings for all same-sex couples but not vfor normals

Come again? I thought this was about equality??

The sky-high cost of a wedding could be slashed for all gay couples wanting to marry in Sydney's inner west if the newly elected mayor gets his way.

Fresh from taking charge of the newly formed council, Labor's Darcy Byrne will soon move to see same-sex couples married in its halls and community centres free of charge should such unions be legalised as a result of the postal survey.

"We have one of the largest and proudest LGBTQI communities in Australia and the inner west must lead the national charge for civil rights," Cr Byrne said.

"I will ask that our newly elected councillors formally endorse a recommendation that we make our facilities available for same-sex marriage celebrations, and that we actively invite and welcome couples wanting to use our halls."

Cr Byrne, previously mayor of Leichhardt, seized the mayoralty of the 15-member Inner West Council this week under a power-sharing deal with two Liberals and an independent.

Labor's five councillors were happy to see a Liberal become deputy mayor and lock the Greens, who hold five seats as well, out of any leadership positions.

The council was formed following a 16-month period of administration after the merger of Marrickville, Leichhardt and Ashfield councils in May 2016.

"On the day that this country finally accepts that love is love, I want couples to know that the inner west will welcome them with open arms if they want to celebrate their marriage in our public facilities," Cr Byrne said this week.

The free venue policy would be in place for 100 days after the successful passage of same-sex marriage legislation through the Parliament.

The average cost of Australian weddings could be as much as $36,000 or even double that, with venue hire accounting for a sizeable chunk of the budget.

The council takes in one of the most left-wing areas of the country and support for same-sex marriage in the inner west is likely to be extremely high.

Nationally, the public debate over same-sex marriage has turned ugly in recent days, with former prime minister Tony Abbott being headbutted in Tasmania, although the alleged assailant said it had "nothing to do" with same-sex marriage.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull labelled the incident "disgraceful" and "un-Australian" and urged calm and restraint.


Andrew Hastie: Army man, Christian conservative and a rising star of the Liberal Party

Hastie — now a rising star of the Liberal Party and a conservative pin-up boy at the centre of an ideological firestorm over same-sex marriage — is recalling the brutal selection course he endured to gain entry into the Special Air Service Regiment, the Australian Army’s toughest fighting force. The SAS course, held in the remote West Australian bush in the middle of winter, is regarded as the most physically and psychologically challenging of its kind in the world. If you survive it, you can survive just about anything.

Hastie went on to become an SAS ground force commander, fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan and conducting anti-terrorism operations in the Middle East. The seeds of his ambition to serve were planted as a boy when his grandfather, Flight Lieutenant Norman Hastie, showed him the bullet wounds he received while rescuing two downed Australian airmen in the Pacific during World War II. Yet by 2015, at the age of 32, Hastie had had enough of the military. “I realised the limitations of nation-building at gunpoint,” he says of his experiences in Afghanistan, where he survived several roadside bombings. “I remember thinking, ‘This is crazy.’ I had real doubts about how much we could actually achieve there.”

During those long deployments, something else had taken hold in the soldier’s mind: a greater appreciation of the conditions that led to the flourishing of Australian society and a desire to help preserve his own country’s institutions and cultural heritage. Hastie, who joined the Liberal Party in 2013, had long harboured ambitions for a political career and held little fear of the vicissitudes. “I’ve often said that warrior politics are much fiercer than federal politics,” he says.

When Don Randall, the long-serving Liberal MP for the federal seat of Canning, died suddenly in July 2015, Hastie grasped his opportunity. He resigned from the Perth-based SAS, giving up his protected identity status, and won preselection — with the backing of West Australian Liberal powerbroker Mathias Cormann — for the poll in Canning, a largely working-class electorate south of Perth. Yet this was no ordinary by-election. In Canberra, it was seen as the contest that would decide the fate of Tony Abbott, who was under mounting threat of a leadership spill from Malcolm Turnbull.

Sniffing blood, the national media swarmed into Canning to get a glimpse of the hitherto unknown Hastie. And it became ­obvious that the Liberals had unearthed a unique candidate. Here was the conservative politician from central casting: a churchgoing, squeaky-clean ex-soldier who spoke about protecting Australian values and Western liberal democratic traditions. He also had a fearlessness uncommon in a political newbie.

Hastie didn’t impress everyone, of course. Where some saw a man of conviction, others typecast him as a Bible-bashing young fogey with antiquated views on topics such as homosexuality. He was ripe for ridicule on social media, where he was also depicted as a warmonger or a brainless beefcake. “The first tweet I ever looked at about myself said, ‘Gee, Hastie looks as dumb as batshit’,” he smiles. He did, however, prove he had substance, quoting chunks of Edmund Burke and ­William Shakespeare to journalists, some of whom were taken aback at the thought that a military man might also be a deep thinker.

He looked good on television, too, quickly earning the sobriquet “Tasty Hastie” and being nominated for the Crikey website’s 2015 sexiest politician of the year. “It’s like a committee of gay men were asked to design a parody of a straight man — muscled, wavy hair, nice eyes, dimpled smile, family man, army uniform, son of a preacher man,” wrote one reader in endorsing Hastie for the title. “Is it wrong that the Christian fundie thing just makes him even hotter to me?”

This curiosity about Hastie only intensified after Fairfax newspapers ran front-page stories during the ­by-election campaign about a soldier under his tactical command in Afghanistan who’d cut the hands off dead Taliban soldiers in the heat of battle in order that they might later be identified through biometric screening. The headline in The Sydney Morning Herald read: “Star Abbott recruit probed for chopping off hands of dead Taliban”. Hastie, who remains vexed that he was accused of being a “war criminal”, had been cleared of any wrong­doing and was elsewhere on the battlefield when the incident took place in 2013. The soldier who cut off the hands was cleared this month after a two-year investigation by the Australian Federal Police.

Speaking for the first time in detail about the incident, Hastie says his initial reaction to seeing the severed hands was to focus on the need to quickly return to base, given the fading light at the time and low fuel loads on the helicopters. “When I saw the hands, my intuition kicked in,” he says. “I thought, ‘That doesn’t seem right’. But the blokes told me that they had been trained to do it. I put it to one side and focused on the task of extraction. Once I got on the helicopter, a whole series of questions flooded my mind on the flight back and that’s when I decided to investigate further upon return. That led to me reporting the incident up the chain.”

The Fairfax story wasn’t the end of what Hastie regarded as unfair media treatment during the campaign. At a press conference a few days later he was grilled over revelations that his father, a Presbyterian pastor, was a Creationist who had dismissed evolutionary theory in his writings. When one reporter asked Hastie if he believed God made the world in six days, he could no longer contain himself: “You’re not hearing me, mate,” he responded, his eyes flashing. “People are sick of this crap. ­People are sick of trying to drag petty issues into public policy discussions.”

Two years later, Hastie remains touchy on the subject. He claims he has been depicted in the media as a “religious nut job” and he’d rather not discuss theology at length. “I don’t want to shy away from it, but in an era of identity politics and cultural Marxism people are looking for every reason to delegitimise someone. So every view I hold henceforth will be seen through the prism of, ‘Oh, he’s just whacking us with a Bible’.”


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, 2017


There appears to be heaps of it at the moment.  Below is just a sampling of the reports of it

'Mind your own business!' Voters outraged as their weekend is interrupted by pro-gay marriage campaigners going door-to-door urging them to vote 'yes' in plebiscite

Australians have been left annoyed and outraged as doorknockers encouraging people to 'Vote Yes' descended on homes this weekend.

The nationwide campaign saw voters taking to social media to express their frustration at the 'bullying' tactics, instead asking them to 'mind your own business'.

It came as mobile phones across Australia were bombarded with unsolicited text messages on Saturday from Marriage Equality.

Alex Greenwich from the Equality Campaign said that 'thousands of Australians' had volunteered for the door-knock 'because they want everyone to have the same dignity and respect.'

'The campaign is using every resource available to make sure fairness and equality are achieved for all Australians,' he said.

'The campaign has a responsibility to encourage every Australian to post their survey and we have done this through door knocking, media, advertising, social media and SMS messaging.'

But many people took to Twitter and Facebook to express their anger at the weekend disturbance.

'I cannot believe that there were people knocking on doors today... our answer to them was mind your own business,' one person wrote.

Another added: 'Why is there a door knock campaign for the 'yes' vote on the weekend? Let people make up their own mind in peace. This won't end well.'

However, others said they received an 'overwhelmingly positive response' from the homes they visited.

'Doorknocking to check people had their postal survey today was wonderful. So many people were very supportive, saying yes they'd voted and they'd voted yes,' one campaigner wrote.

Another person added: 'Met some lovely 'yes' voters while doorknocking for #marriageequality today.'

The door-to-door campaign came as thousands of people across the country were sent a message asking them to 'vote YES for a fairer Australia'. 

The move sparked outrage from people online, with many flocking to social media to express their concern about how the campaign had got their numbers.

A spokesperson for Australian Marriage Equality said the messages were sent out to random computer-generated numbers, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

The messages were sent by 'YesEquality' and stated the survey forms had arrived and that people could 'help make history'.

But those who received the message did not take kindly to the campaign's effort, with Facebook and Twitter users stating they felt 'violated'.

'Excuse me but did anyone else get a 'vote yes for marriage equality' text message? How did they get my phone number? I feel violated,' one person wrote.

Another labelled the message 'spam,' while many users called it an 'invasion of privacy'.

'Not sure how the got my mobile number to test me with a message to vote yes. Not sure if I'm cool with that...' one wrote.

Another angered person added: 'Wish the YES campaigners would back off!'

While one woman said: 'Just received a text message from the vote yes campaign... how dare they force their opinions on me.' 'I didn't give them my number or my permission to contact me. More bullying from the LGBTQI community,' she added.


'Is the yes campaign trying to turn people off?': Radio host Kate Langbroek is left FURIOUS after being 'spammed' a text message from a same-sex marriage group

Radio star Kate Langbroek is not happy about receiving a text message promoting same-sex marriage.

The KIIS FM star was one of the many Australians who received an SMS message from YesEquality on Saturday, reminding her that her postal form had arrived.

Taking to Instagram, she wrote: 'Spammed. Is the 'yes' campaign trying to put people off?' Kate added the hashtag 'delete my number.'

The full text read: 'The Marriage Equality Survey forms have arrived! Help make history and vote YES for a fairer Australia.'

The messages, which are believed to have been sent randomly, have been described by critics as 'harassment' and 'unsolicited.'


Gay marriage supporters hide their faces, chant slogans and wave ‘transphobia kills’ signs as they interrupt a rally against changing Australia’s wedding laws

Supporters of same-sex marriage have been met with a heavy police presence after they interrupted a rally against changing Australia’s wedding laws.

Police attended the ‘straight lives matter’ rally at Green Park in Darlinghurst, Sydney on Saturday after it threatened to spill out of control.

Counter-protestors turned up carrying signs saying 'Nazis GTFO [get the f**k out] of Darlinghurst' and  'transphobia kills'.


Coalition for Marriage's Melbourne launch is gatecrashed by two female protesters who storm the stage and KISS – before being dragged away by security

Coalition for Marriage's Melbourne launch was interrupted by two female protesters who shared a kiss in front of shocked onlookers before being removed by security.

The two women who have yet to be identified ran up to the podium before campaigner and 'parental rights advocate' Cella White was due to speak and embraced passionately.

Security rushed forward and grabbed one of the women's coats before pulling them both off the stage and out of the building.

In the images released from the rally the women appear to have spoken into the microphone in front of the crowd of no-voters before deciding to kiss.

Melbourne campaigner Cella White - accused of falsely claiming her son was told he could wear a dress to Frankston High School - spoke at the CFM event on Saturday night about the abuse she has received since appearing in the group's anti-gay marriage ad.

The sultry kiss wasn't the only disruption that night though with protesters storming the hall with a sign that said 'burn churches not queers.'

Audience members were seen taking pictures of the duo dressed in disguised sunglasses before security was again asked to escort them from the premises.

Australian Christian Lobby chief Lyle Shelton and Keith Mills, the leader of Ireland's unsuccessful No campaign, also addressed the Coalition for Marriage in Melbourne today.

CFM has this week been holding meetings across Australia to convince voters to reject a change to the legal definition of marriage.

Both sides of the marriage debate ramped up their campaigning on Saturday with rallies, door-knockings and text message among the mediums used.

Thousands rallied through Brisbane for the annual pride festival while 'yes' campaigners doorknocked tens of thousands of homes across the nation.

Meanwhile, a smattering of same-sex marriage opponents gathered in Sydney's gay heartland while preparations were made for the Coalition for Marriage's Victorian launch.

Alex Greenwich, who is a NSW MP, urged supporters of the Yes campaign to focus on the task at hand.

'It is so important for the marriage equality campaign that we do not get distracted by the people who are always trying to throw red herrings,' he told AAP.

He said he was heartened by the feedback from same-sex marriage supporters involved in the door-knocking campaign and said there was strong support 'across all demographics, all ages'.


Really dangerous climate change — The next ice age

Prudent Australian farmers take into account past climate events and provide for the risk of potential droughts and floods. No such past climate events have been taken into account with climate models based on theory and assumptions to predict the future. Unfortunately the predictions of  temperature from all the climate models have a record of exceeding the measured temperatures by a large margin for the last twenty years.

Model failures demonstrate the underlying theory and assumptions used are not supported by the results. This conclusion is further supported by evidence that the planet has continued to warm, with interruptions to the trend, independent of CO2 levels since the last Ice Age. For example the planet cooled from 1940 to 1976 while CO2 levels continued to rise. The absence of dangerous global warming is also relevant when past levels of CO2 were at least four times the present level.

The direct effect of higher CO2 levels as shown in the graph illustrates the diminishing global warming impact as CO2 levels increase. Climate models magnify this diminishing effect with a multiplier that results in increasing global warming.

We are at present at the 400 mark

The failure of models to predict future climate however does not support the multiplier assumption.

The dangerous global warming threat from using fossil fuels is therefore not supported either by climate models or evidence from past global climate experience.

As William Kininmonth, former Head of the National Climate Centre of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology has observed, regard for earlier climate events is required to understand the future. It is clear from past Ice Ages that the next Ice Age should be the most serious climate event for humanity. During the Ice Age 22,000 years ago there was extensive permanent ice cover up to two kilometers thick. Sea levels fell 126 metres and there was mass extinction of species.

Nor has there been an appreciation that in the past carbon and energy stored in fossil fuels was CO2 and energy from the sun absorbed by various plant forms before conversion into fossil fuels.

There was no dangerous global warming prior to this period.

Accordingly the same CO2 when released from burning fossil fuels cannot be the cause of dangerous global warming as it did not do so in the first place.

Indeed the return of CO2, a plant food, to the atmosphere will benefit the planet with improved plant and forest growth. A benefit which satellites have already detected.

Nevertheless accepting the outcome of failed climate models has brought about policies which have made Australian power unreliable and moved costs from near the lowest to near the highest in the world despite subsidies of more than $3 billion per annum.

Families are struggling to meet their rising electricity bills. Jobs are threatened with industry in difficulty due to the increased cost of electricity.

There is an urgent need to bring power costs down. To do so Australia must follow other countries that are planning and installing 1200 clean high efficiency coal fired plants.

Australian industry will face competition in the domestic and export markets from companies having the significant advantage of low cost and reliable base power from these new plants.


Top unis admit some  China influence

The peak body representing Australia’s elite universities has for the first time acknowledged there have been “isolated” instances of Chinese government interference on campuses but warned mishandling the issue risks the country’s third-largest export market.

In an interview with The Weekend Australian, Group of Eight chief executive Vicki Thomson said the response to China’s influence within universities must be countered in a “measured way” to prevent a backlash and protect the inter­national education sector.

Unprecedented growth in international student enrolments, largely driven by the influx of approximately 170,000 Chinese nationals, resulted in a $22 billion boost to the Australian economy in the 2016-17 financial year — an 18.5 per cent increase on the year before.

In four prominent cases this year, academic staff at Australian universities have been targeted in Chinese social media campaigns after complaints from Chinese international students about ­“offensive” teaching material.

In the case at the University of Sydney, the institution issued an apology on behalf of the lecturer for using a map which did not show the Chinese interpretation of their territory.

In cases at the University of Newcastle and Monash Univer­sity, Chinese consulate education counsellors became involved, sparking debate about academic freedom. The Chinese government also supervises students in Australia through Chinese student and scholars associations ­inside universities.

Prominent think tank China Matters this week called on the Group of Eight and the federal Education Department to set new standards to resist pressure from Chinese government officials to change academic content.

The report also said some ­students were “encouraged to ­engage in intelligence-gathering” and report on their fellow students and teachers.

In June, Australian National University associate professor Sally Sargeson said she believed there were embassy “stooges” ­recording and reporting on what other Chinese citizen students said in classes, stifling freedom of expression.

In her role as chief executive, Ms Thomson represents the University of Melbourne, the Australian National University, the University of Sydney, the University of Queensland, the Univer­sity of Western Australia, the University of Adelaide, Monash University and UNSW Sydney. She said while she had not seen “a rapid increase in consulate intervention”, there were cases of questionable behaviour and breaches of conduct.

“Clearly it’s happening at ANU because you’ve got that ­example,” she said. “But anec­dotally we’ve got intelligence that that might be happening to some degree. We don’t want ... domestic or international students in an environment where they can be ­unduly influencing their particular cohort. (But) is it happening in a broad, widespread way? There’s no evidence of that.”

Ms Thomson, who reports to the Group of Eight board, which includes the vice-chancellors from the elite universities, said: “A measured approach needs to be taken rather than thinking that every Chinese student on campus is a spy. You have got to be really careful of the backlash that can create because the fact is we have a lot of Chinese students in Australia and we value them.”

But Ms Thomson conceded the case reported by The Australian at the University of Sydney was “concerning”. “We’re not going to gild the lily and say that’s not a concern,” she said.

Phil Honeywood, head of the International Education Association, said “turning off the tap” would put Australia’s economy at risk. “It would be a major hit to our market,” Mr Honeywood said.

Ms Thomson agreed and said there was a huge reliance by universities on these students for income. “There is a much broader issue and that is we have a very heavy reliance on a particular cohort of students, and that is Chinese students, and that can shift the balance, and that might not be appropriate for them or for us,” Ms Thomson said.

Ms Thomson, who also sits on the Australia-China Council board, said it remained critical to work through a “clash of different cultures” in response to improved international ratings at Chinese universities.

“We’ve got a highly competitive environment where Chinese students are increasingly choosing to study in China because they have such fantastic universities so there is a financial risk factor there for Australia’s universities,” she said.

Craig Whitsed, a senior lecturer at Curtin University’s School of Education, said: “(There are) interesting implications for a sector so dependent on international student revenue for continued viability long term.”

Mr Honeywood said the reputation of Australian universities would be at risk if institutions caved in to demands by Chinese students or diplomats about the content of courses.

“One of the attraction for international students to come and study in Australia is our academic freedom and democratic values, which we are very proud of, and clearly Australia needs to stand up to those values against any foreign interference,” Mr Honeywood said.

Despite calls for a new set of procedures to deal with these challenges from think-tank China Matters, Ms Thomson said the report assumed there was a major problem that was not being dealt with. She said there were already standards in place, and universities were defending academic freedom.


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

24 September, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is contemptuous of the  individual with strawberry-coloured hair and facial piercings who asssaulted  Tony Abbott in Tasmania -- as his way of promoting homosexual marriage, apparently

When you have got no answers, abuse your opponent

The Left do a lot of that and it would be amusing if it were not so frequent and so frequently relied on.  We see a classic example of it below -- from the ever-whining "Guardian".  In response to criticism of the BoM using actual temperature measurements, the BoM representative addresses the facts and figures not at all. He mentions not a single temperature measurement.  There is no reasoned debate over temperatures at all.  He just whines how nasty the critics are to the BoM.  The BoM have no facts and figures with which to answer.  The critics have shown their crookedness like it is

Misleading attacks on Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology by climate deniers in the Australian are “debilitating” to the agency and limiting its ability to predict risks and protect the community, the former head of the bureau has told the Guardian.

Rob Vertessy, who retired as director of the BoM in April 2016, said climate deniers’ attempts to confuse the public about the science of climate change were dangerous, in an interview for the Guardian’s Planet Oz blog.

“I was exposed to a lot of it and it took up a lot of my time that’s for sure,” Vertessy said. “I feel for my successor and the team at the bureau having to constantly devote energy to this. It’s really quite debilitating.”

Vertessy was succeeded by Andrew Johnson, who has since had to deal with a barrage of criticism led by the rightwing thinktank the Institute for Public Affairs and expressed mostly in the pages of the Australian newspaper.

Earlier this week, the former Abbott government adviser Maurice Newman accused the bureau of “fabricating temperature records” and said it represented a “smoking gun that threatens the integrity of global temperature records”.

Vertessy said these sorts of attacks were dangerous.

“From my perspective, people like this running interference on the national weather agency are unproductive and it’s actually dangerous,” he said. “Every minute a BoM executive spends on this nonsense is a minute lost to managing risk and protecting the community and it is a real problem.

“As the costs of climate change accumulate in the years ahead, I can see that leaders of this climate change denial movement will really be seen as culpable.”

He said the government had done a “pretty good job” of supporting the bureau and independent experts. But he said politicians’ jobs had been made difficult by the Australian.

“It will just continue and it will limit the ability of the government to focus on more important matters – not just climate ones but all the works of government. It’s distracting for politicians to have to deal with this chatter.”


Another violently intolerant  believer in tolerance

Former prime minister Tony Abbott says he was shocked when a man wearing a "Vote Yes" badge assaulted him after requesting a handshake in a "sign of trust and peace".

He said the man approached him on a Hobart street last night, asked to shake his hand and then headbutted him before running away swearing and saying Mr Abbott deserved to be hit.

"It's a shock to have a fellow Australian seeking to shake your hand turn a handshake into an assault," Mr Abbott told reporters in Hobart this morning.

"Normally a handshake is a sign of trust and peace, it's a sign of two people wanting to deal openly and courteously with each other."

Mr Abbott said his injuries were minor and included a slightly swollen lip.

The attack occurred around 4.30pm, before Mr Abbott attended a Young Liberals cocktail party on Thursday evening.

Mr Abbott said it was "more than a little disturbing that some supporters of same-sex marriage behave this way".

"There is no doubt that there has been some ugliness as part of this debate but I regret to say that nearly all of it seems to be coming from one side and that is the people who tell us that love is love," he said.

Tasmanian police said they had spoken to several witnesses to the incident that occurred on the footpath in Morrison St opposite Custom's House Hotel, and urged the alleged attacker to come forward.

The alleged attacker is described as being approximately 40 years old, of medium build, with spiky sandy, strawberry-coloured hair and facial piercings.

Tasmanian senator Eric Abetz — an outspoken critic of the same-sex marriage push — told ABC News Breakfast the incident highlighted "yet again another example of the ugliness of the Yes campaign".

"Their slogan of 'love is love' is unfortunately shown in practice to be intolerance, not wanting people to be able to have their point of view," he said.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten also condemned the incident and said he rang Mr Abbott to convey his concern.


Free market basics need to be re-learnt

Robert Carling

The twentieth century taught us enough about the limits to government intervention that the Australian energy market debacle — a failure of intervention, not of markets — could not happen. But it did, and it is just the latest and most egregious example of a growing anti-free markets theme in government policy.

The federal government is prepared to slap controls on gas exports. It is trying to strong-arm AGL into keeping the Liddell power station operating against commercial criteria. In the sphere of banking, it has imposed new regulations (the Banking Executive Accountability Regime) limiting banks’ freedom in hiring and remuneration. These extraordinarily intrusive regulations — announced in the federal budget — would have received much more attention had it not been for the accompanying bank tax, which grabbed all the headlines. These are but a few examples of a broad trend back to the interventionism of the past. And this is coming from a government that claims to champion free enterprise and deregulation.

It does seem that the lessons of the twentieth century have been forgotten and that the defenders of free markets have to go all the way back to basics. The economic problem is scarcity of resources (factors of production such as labour and capital) relative to peoples’ wants, and free markets are the best system known to achieve an allocation of resources that comes closest to constrained maximisation of peoples’ well-being.

That is not to say markets are perfect. Market failure exists and it might justify government intervention. But there is also government failure, such as when governments intervene even in the absence of market failure, or when there is market failure but intervention makes the situation worse.

Governments are too eager to intervene. They needs to choose their interventions more judiciously and design them more carefully.


Why we need the Phonics Check

Jennifer Buckingham

The 'Simple View of Reading' conceptualises reading as having two key components -- word identification and language comprehension. Children need to know how to decipher the words on the page, and have a store of vocabulary, factual and conceptual knowledge to give the words meaning. A deficit in either one of these areas means that reading is difficult or impossible.

Pretty much all educators acknowledge that phonics is an essential element in learning to read and write. Phonics is both a body of knowledge and a skill: children need know which letters represent which sounds and vice versa -- and they need to be able to use that knowledge to read and spell.

All children can and should know how to use phonics to decode words. Unfortunately there is good reason to believe many children are not acquiring this fundamental knowledge and skill, thus hampering their ability to become proficient readers.

It was for this reason that the advisory panel I chaired recommended a Phonics Check for Year 1 students -- a simple, five minute, teacher-delivered assessment based on the Phonics Screening Check used in all primary schools in England since 2012. The Phonics Check would identify children who are struggling with decoding at this critical stage in learning to read, and provide schools and systems with immediate detailed data about strengths and weaknesses in phonics instruction that would allow them to respond accordingly.

Objections to the Phonics Check came in thick and fast when the advisory panel's report was released earlier this week, but many were misinformed about the nature of the assessment and the rationale underpinning it.

The loudest protestations against it have been that teachers are already assessing phonics and that 'another test' is unnecessary. However the panel found that -- while all state and territory government schools and all non-government schools are conducting literacy assessments to varying extents -- none of the systemic assessments had a strong phonics component. The phonics assessment items were either too few or were poorly designed. In some cases items listed as 'phonics' were measuring a different skill: phonemic awareness. The best assessment was in the Northern Territory, which is making significant in-roads in phonics.

It is now up to the state and territory education ministers to carefully consider the recommendations of the panel, without being unduly influenced by the teachers unions and a few professional associations that seem to be very worried about what a Phonics Check might reveal. If we can put politics aside and get phonics right in the early years, we may finally see a reduction in the number of children struggling with reading.


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, 2017

Are DAMS the solution to "renewable" power?  You've got to be joking!  Dams are the original hate-object of the Greens

Notice that the word "dam" is not mentioned below.  They talk of pumped hydro without saying what the water will be pumped into.  Quite hilarious!  A pumped hydro scheme in fact requires TWO dams.  Is there no limit to deceptive journalism from the Green/Left?

Australia has more than 22,000 sites around the country that could be suitable for pumped hydro storage, according to a study by the Australian National University.

The report, details of which were obtained by Fairfax Media ahead of a public release on Thursday, extends work published last month. That partial study found 5000 suitable sites in Queensland and Tasmania.

The additional data shows that NSW has the most prospective locations in the country, with about 8500 identified by the ANU team led by Professor Andrew Blakers. Victoria had about 4400 sites, placing it second among the states.

Australia would only require a tiny fraction of these sites - for about 450 gigawatt-hours worth of storage - to underpin a 100 per cent renewable electricity system, Professor Blakers said in a statement.

"Fast tracking the development of a few of the best sites by 2022 could balance the grid when Liddell and other coal power stations close," he said, referring to the 1680-megawatt coal-fired power plant the federal government is trying to strong-arm AGL Energy to keep open five years beyond the 2022 scheduled close.

"We found so many good potential sites that only the best 0.1 per cent will be needed," he said. "We can afford to be choosy."

Interest in pumped hydro has increased in the wake of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's much-publicised twin visits to the Snowy Hydro scheme since March.

The ANU study, though, highlights the possibility of many alternative, smaller projects that could be completed sooner than the Snowy upgrade. Such ventures may also be less challenging than drilling many kilometres of tunnels under the Snowy region.

"Instead of propping up dirty old coal-fired power stations like Liddell, Malcolm Turnbull should be investing in energy storage now," Adam Bandt, Greens spokesman for climate change and energy, said.

"Snowy 2.0 is years away, but there are plenty of sites for smaller, flexible dispatchable pumped hydro that could be up and running in a couple of years if [he and energy minister] Josh Frydenberg showed some real leadership," Mr Bandt said.

Of the other states to be revealed in the new report, Western Australia has about 3800 prospective pumped hydro locations, and the Northern Territory 1500. Queensland has about 1770 and Tasmania 2050 and South Australia 185.

Fairfax Media sought comment from Mr Frydenberg's office, which declined to release the ANU report.

A spokesman pointed to comments made by the PM earlier this month, saying that keeping Liddell open for another five years would give time for Snowy 2.0 - with its proposed 2000 MW capacity - to come on line.

Making 100 per cent possible

With pumped storage, water is kept in an upper reservoir and run through a turbine at a lower altitude to provide electricity during periods when supplies are otherwise low. The water can later be pumped uphill from a lower reservoir when electricity supplies are in surplus.

Typically, the height difference between upper and lower reservoirs measured for the prospective sites was at least 300 metres.

"All the potential sites we have found are outside national parks and urban areas, and like all hydro power can go from zero to full power very quickly," Professor Blakers said in August when the initial study results were released.

That partial research, funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, identified pumped storage sites with capacity ranging from 0.9 to 100 gigawatt-hours – or as much as 1000 times being proposed for a giant battery being built for South Australia by Tesla.

At the time Professor Blakers said batteries also had the disadvantage of lifetime use of eight to 15 years at current technology, compared with 50 years for hydro plants.

Pumped hydro is one of the possible technology solutions to firming up renewable energy for when the sun is not shining or the wind blowing.

The Finkel Review identified the need to provide back-up capacity as one of the potential road blocks hindering much greater penetration of clean energy as a share of national electricity supplies.

The extended atlas of sites will build on the partial study of the states to reinforce the view that Australia could shift to 100 per cent renewable if enough pumped storage is made available.

 "About 3600 hectares of reservoir is required to support a 100 per cent renewable energy grid for Australia, which is five parts per million of Australia's land mass," Matthew Stocks from the ANU Research School of Engineering said in August. "Annual water requirements would be less than one per cent of annual extraction from the Murray River."


'I'm against same-sex marriage and I'm gay': Angry clash at university as teenager voting 'No' is shouted down and accused of 'internalised homophobia'

This is the moment a young, gay man opposed to same-sex marriage was viciously heckled at a university campus rally.

Wilson Gavin, 19, was shouted down as he fronted a 'No' case rally at the University of Queensland in Brisbane this week on the gay marriage postal vote.

'I support what marriage really is and I'm gay,' he said, standing on a retaining wall next to supporters holding placards with the words, 'You can say no.'

'I'm against same-sex marriage. You will see the effects it will have on the family, on schools, on politics, on churches.  'These people hate us. They call us Nazis, bigots and homophobes.  'Where's the real hatred here? Where's the real hatred coming from in this debate?'

The confrontation escalated when Mr Gavin said: 'You can't call me a homophobe.'  'The entire way they're going about their debate is shouting us down. They are trying to shut us down,' he said.

A young man heckled: 'How do you spell internalised homophobia?'

Internalised homophobia is a term often applied to homosexual men who make anti-gay comments so people think they are straight.

Mr Gavin continued by saying that gay marriage legalisation will pave the way for the contentious Safe Schools gender-theory program being rolled out in every school.  'They want to introduce radical gender theory,' he said.

At this point, the heckling became nasty with one man shouting at him, 'You have a mental problem.'

Seconds later, the male heckler who had earlier interrupted returned serve by suggesting Mr Wilson was sexually attracted to a conservative, former Liberal prime minister who is campaigning against gay marriage.  'Does Tony Abbott turn you on?,' he said.

In an interview played on the Mark Latham's Outsiders program after that rally, Mr Gavin said 'Yes' campaigners were particularly nasty to gay people opposed to changing the Marriage Act. 'They hate me because I'm a conservative and they hate me more because I'm a gay conservative,' he said. 'I'm not a homophobe. I love gay men. You can't call me a homophobe just because I'm opposed to same-sex marriage.'

Mr Gavin's interview also forms the basis of a 'No' case television ad.

Angry scenes have erupted at university campuses as the Australian Bureau of Statistics mails out same-sex marriage postal votes to households, with citizens given until November 7 to return them.

A rally this week at the University of Sydney, urging students to vote 'no' in the same-sex marriage survey, turned violent after hundreds of 'yes' campaigners launched a counter-protest.

The ugly scenes unfolded after a stall was set up by the university's Catholic society, with some holding signs which read: 'It's OK to vote ''no''.'

But the dozen or so 'no' campaigners were quickly outnumbered as a large crowd gathered and began shouting pro-gay marriage slogans into a megaphone, and smearing homemade hummus.


Liberal MP called 'one of Hitler's children' after posting a photo saying it's OK to vote 'no' in same-sex marriage ballot

Half-Asian politician racially abused

A conservative Liberal Party MP has been called 'one of Hitler's children' and subjected to vile abuse online after declaring his intention to vote against same sex marriage.

Ian Goodenough, a politician from Perth, posted a photo to Facebook on Tuesday after placing his survey into a postal box ahead of the marriage equality vote.

'As a supporter of traditional marriage I posted my "No" vote in Joondalup today,' he captioned the photo, reminding his constituents to vote before the deadline.

But the 42-year-old was berated with countless insulting comments labelling him a 'd***head', 'w***er' and 'backwards homophobic idiot'.

The politician, who has been outspoken about his stance on same-sex marriage in the past, was even insulted about his ethnicity and physical appearance.

'You are a deplorable human being. If laws based on the same ignorance were in play in 1984, you wouldn't even be able to vote,' wrote one woman.

'Then it's OK to surmise you are a backwards homophobic idiot,' added another.

One angered social media user used the racially-charged insult 'chink' in his criticism of Mr Goodenough's opinion, while another made fun of the shape of his eyebrows.

The post attracted over a thousand comments and almost two-and-a-half thousand likes in just one day, dividing opinion within his electoral division of Moore.

Mr Goodenough appeared on the ABC earlier this month to explain his position on the upcoming postal vote. 'I believe in retaining the current definition of marriage, because I believe it involves the commitment between a man and a woman for the purposes of raising a family.'

'Children are best adjusted having a male parent and a female parent; a mother and a father.'  'It gives a balance, there are attributes which either gender bring that will help their development to the various roles within contemporary society.'


Public fury after Big W removes the word CHRISTMAS from its replica Christmas trees

Discount department store Big W has removed the word 'Christmas' from boxes and signage in the lead-up to the holiday season.

The decision to remove references to the Christmas tradition from product lines in their Australian stores has baffled and infuriated shoppers.

Big W's Facebook page has been inundated with posts accusing the store of bowing to political correctness and 'banning Christmas'.

'You are joking,' wrote one disgruntled consumer. 'Banning the word Christmas. Hang your head in shame.'

Fabian Iuele, owner of Christmas Tree Farm, called the move 'disappointing' and said the store was ignoring both history and tradition, The Herald Sun reported.

'That's really sad. It ignores the religious element and history of the holiday which is still important to people,' he said.

'We get people from other religions purchasing our trees regularly but they always know that they're called Christmas trees like everybody else does.'

Renamed trees include the Black Forest [Christmas] Tree, White [Christmas] Tree, Emerald [Christmas] Tree and Mayfair [Christmas] Tree.

Cameron Harrison, a Big W Highpoint customer, said the store was overreacting and using the word Christmas is not a problem.  'Christmas did have a religious meaning but we are not a religious country. I think it’s more of a tradition these days,' he said.

Facebook has filled up with furious customers claiming they will be shopping elsewhere for Christmas.

'Big mistake Big W, how many people decorate their houses with trees just for the sake of it? It is Christmas CHRISTMAS CHRISTMAS stop the ridiculous wording on your CHRISTMAS trees,' wrote one irate shopper.

'I will be shopping elsewhere from now on! One completely offended (former) customer.'

'If you don't want to acknowledge Christmas, don't sell it! Lost this customer. Plenty of other places to spend my money,' wrote another.

The Big W website still has trees listed under their original names, and spokeswoman told The Herald Sun the chain was proud of its line of trees this year.


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, 2017

"I’m Not As Okay With Being Gay As I Thought I Was"

Below is an excerpt from a homosexual who reports that he has on many occasions experienced disapproval for being homosexual. I believe him. He had become rather inured to that but has now been shaken by the debate over homosexuality that the same-sex marriage plebiscite has aroused.  The many public comments about same sex marriage being wrong have upset his self-confidence and repose.

But who is to blame for that?  It is the frenetic demand for sexual licence from the Left.  They never shut up about homosexuals and they have kept up the pressure for legal recognition of homosexual marriage for years now.

Conservatives could see the case for giving homosexual couples  legal rights similar to heterosexual couples and in most places enacted civil partnership laws to achieve that.  That should really have been the end of the argument.  Nothing tangible is achieved by going any further. 

The Left were however not satisfied with compromise.  They go for total victory.  It is their intransigence that led to the plebiscite.  They alone are responsible for it.  So they alone should be blamed for the pain caused to the writer below

The ironical thing is that Leftists often warned that moves to allow homosexual marriage would ignite a debate that could upset homosexuals -- but they still went on with their campaign anyhow.  Rather than drop their campaign because it might harm those they were allegedly "helping", they just kept up the pressure.  So that is yet another demonstration that beneath the ostensible Leftist desire to "help" lies a hunger to hurt

For many people of my generation, the same-sex marriage postal survey is our first taste of active state-sanctioned discrimination. We’re dealing with this whilst still coming to terms with our identities, and what it means to be queer.

“If any of you boys came home and told me you were gay, I’d probably disown you,” says Mum casually as we are watching the Sydney Mardi Gras on TV, her brow furrowed in mild disgust.

I am 13 and think I might be gay; her words are like a bomb going off, the ringing in my ears drowning out the TV.

“We love you, no matter what. And who knows? Maybe it’s just a phase.” My grandfather embraced me after I told him I was gay.

“What?” Mum’s eyes widened and her hands jerked the steering wheel of the car, sending us swerving. “I’m never going to have grandchildren…” she later cried.

“Faggot!” someone screamed from a passing car. I pretended I didn’t hear, but thought about it for weeks after. Sometimes I still think about it.

“Since when did you start sounding so gay?” my best friend laughed, having not seen me for a few months.

“I don’t like him – he’s a poof,” quipped my brother about a boy he doesn’t like at school. “What’s wrong with being a poof?” I quipped back.

“Marriage should be between a man and woman! Being gay is unnatural!” reads a comment on an online article. I clicked on the woman’s name, and discover she lives in my hometown.

She’s Facebook friends with members of my family.

I had probably been with Mum down the main street as they smiled at each other in passing.

“You can never be too careful,” said a boy I dated once, after he snatched his hand from mine as we were walking down the street.

“I’m not as okay with being gay as I thought I was,” admitted the boy I like, my shoulder wet with his tears.

He’s been out for less than a year. His mother, for religious reasons, is voting “no” in the marriage survey.

He loves her, and I have no doubt that she loves him. It’s complicated.

Above are a just a few of the words said to me over the course of my life. They hold a prominent place in my history in that ambiguous way certain words said at certain times do.


'I don't think I should have been fired just because I have an opinion'

The woman who was fired over an 'it's OK to vote no' post regarding same-sex marriage has broken her silence, calling her dismissal 'unfair'.

Madeline, who has not revealed her surname, told triple J's Hack that while she believes 'everyone should have equality' she could not vote yes based on her religious views.

The 18-year-old was let go from Canberra businesswoman Madlin Sims' children's party business this month, after her profile photo was updated with a Coalition for Marriage filter.

Ms Sims messaged Madeline after being made aware of the post, writing that the profile photo 'really bothered me'.

She took to Facebook on Sunday to announce she had sacked the contractor, saying she had a responsibility to protect the vulnerable people they work with.

'Voting no is homophobic. Advertising your homophobia is hate speech. As a business owner I can't have somebody who publicly represents my business posting hate speech online,' Ms Sims wrote.

Defending her decision to vote no on Triple J, Madeline said she was a Christian with gay friends and family, but that her religion played a strong part in her choice.

'I have been raised a Christian my whole life and in the bible God clearly states that a man and a man, and a woman and a woman, are not to be together,' she said.

'I love everyone, I'm not a hateful person at all and I do believe everyone should have equality, but to vote yes to me is something I can't do.'

Speaking on The Bolt Report Tuesday, she added that she did not believe her job should be taken away over her opinion. 'This is a democracy and we were given the options and asked as Australians to vote yes or no and it is my opinion to vote no,' she said. 'I don't  think that my job should be taken away from me just because I have an opinion that someone disagrees with. I don't think I should have been fired.'

Madeline told The Australian she was following her Christian upbringing and that she had not discriminated against anyone.

'When it comes to tolerance, I find that people who are religious, we have to tolerate everything and anything thrown at us,' she said. 'But other people don't have to tolerate Christians.'


Abbott threatens to cross floor on energy

Tony Abbott has warned he'll vote against the coalition government if it tries to legislate a clean energy target, with up to six backbenchers tipped to follow him. "He has let the government know his position. He won't vote for a clean energy target," a government source told The Australian on Wednesday.

In an opinion piece, Mr Abbott argues the recommendation by the chief scientist for such a target should be dropped.

"It would be unconscionable for a government that was elected promising to scrap the carbon tax and to end Labor's climate change obsessions to go down this path," he writes.

Mr Abbott claims it is bordering on absurd for a country with the world's largest readily available reserves of coal, gas and uranium it should have some of the world's highest power prices.   "But that's what happens when policy is driven by wishful thinking and green religion."

On Tuesday, Mr Abbott told 2GB the Turnbull government could send a strong signal to AGL by dumping all subsidies for renewable energy and encouraging coal-fired power.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull wants to keep the company's NSW Hunter Valley power station Liddell open beyond its planned 2022 closure.


AGL may turn to gas, as power units fail

AGL may consider converting its Liddell power station to gas as its coal-fired generation units fail in future years.

The potential of the re-purposing of the existing plant was highlighted during a media site visit on Tuesday to a plant that has become a focal point for the increasing toxic energy policy debate.

AGL chief economist Tim Nelson said "repowering'' was an option for the site, due to its access to transmission services, adding that this could include gas or biomass.

Kate Coates, AGL Macquarie general manager, also said the best option for Liddell was to consider how to repurpose the site.

The AGL board had previously said it would consider installing gas-fired turbines to replace coal at the plant and, in its recent power generation infrastructure rehabilitation document, the company did outline plans for potentially repowering Liddell.

It cited the example of using coal to gas as an example of how it might change the nature of power generation at the site.

Ms Coates said the cost of converting to gas would be high but could not say if it would be greater than the cost of rehabilitation.

She added that a number of similar projects had been carried out in Britain.

During the tour, AGL Macquarie head of operations Kevin Taylor outlined the importance of the site's existing transmission infrastructure as one reason that repurposing or repowering was a strong potential option.

Energy industry pundits are split on the likely future of Liddell beyond 2022. Most believe the company is unlikely to relent to the government's request to extend the operation beyond its closure, but many are forecasting a shift to repurposing the site.

"A gas installation at Liddell is a real alternative," an unnamed energy industry insider told Fairfax Media. "These conversions have happened in a few places around the world. We've seen it happen before with the Tallawarra Power Station."

Tallawarra operated as a coal-fired plant from 1961 to 1989 in Shellharbour, in NSW.  A new gas-fired plant was rebuilt on the site to ensure energy reliability to the region.

The move came as Opposition leader Bill Shorten slammed the government's position on Liddell and gas. "The energy crisis we're facing right now is bigger than one power plant – it's a national problem that demands a national solution," Mr Shorten said.

He called on Turnbull to "pull the trigger" on gas export control, and to improve the Australian Energy Market Organisation's gas pricing information, as recommended under the Finkel Review.

Doing so will help ensure more Australian gas, above and beyond Santos' dedicated 30 petajoules, stays in Australia both to solve the growing energy crisis, and improve market conditions for Australian manufacturers looking to secure long-term energy contracts. "What on earth are they waiting for?" Mr Shorten said.

"They have had the power in their hands for months now and has done nothing.  We need Australian gas for Australian jobs - and the Turnbull government is letting it go overseas."

AGL operates the 50 megawatt Hunter Valley gas-fired power station and the Newcastle Gas Storage Facility (NGSF), about 120 kilometres south-east of Liddell. Tallawarra is capable of processing up to 66,5000 tonnes of LNG a year. AGL also operates the Torrens facility, the largest gas-fired power station in Australia.

The energy insider said, if Liddell became gas powered, it would mean AGL would retain control of the entire chain, which could also create a headache for regulators.

"They'll produce the gas, send it to themselves, then generate power for the end consumer," he said. "Only week ago – after meeting with Andy Vesey – the Commonwealth Government announced it had directed the AER to 'make sure electricity generators are playing by the rules'.

"If there is a suspicion that AGL is currently gaming the system, then having it gain control of another part of the supply chain, such as the gas supply to a large, AGL-owned gas-fired plant at Liddell, would seem to invite more opportunities for price manipulation."

This was dismissed by the ACCC, which did not believe AGL closing its upstream and downstream supply for power generation and retail would be anti-competitive under the Competition and Consumer Act.

AGL has previously tried to expand its gas operations in the regions surrounding Liddell through its coal seam gas assets in Gloucester, as well as in Camden, south of Sydney. But the group announced a decision to halt all coal seam gas exploration and production in the face of sustained political and community opposition.

Gas has been targeted by the government as a potential resource to bridge the expected shortfall in energy supply.

The Turnbull government has already arranged deals with oil and gas companies such as Santos to divert up to 30 petajoules of LNG next year to ensure the reliability of supply.

During the visit, half of the station's four units were offline and the two remaining units were running at a reduced capacity.

One unit was offline for maintenance while the other was out of service due to an unknown failure.

An AGL spokesman said the two functioning units were only providing power to the nearby Tomago smelter, which usually accounted for a large percentage of energy generated at the site.

"The demand of Tomago on the system is essentially the sum of our output today," the spokesman told Fairfax Media.

It is understood the smelter alone accounts for more than 10 per cent of NSW's entire energy demand.


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, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is profoundly skeptical of "gender fluidity".  The delusions of a few are now to be accepted as normal?


Three current articles below

Gay student heckled after declaring his support for ‘No’ campaign.  Skywriters harassed

And they call conservatives haters!

A GAY man campaigning against same-sex marriage has claimed there are thousands of homosexual Australians like him whose views are being “drowned out” by the “yes” campaign.

The Queensland university student is seen proclaiming his views to a heckling crowd in a video shared online by former prime minister Tony Abbott.

“We’re here today because we support marriage as it has always been, between one man and one woman,” the man says at the demonstrated at the University of Queensland. “I am here, specifically, because I’m gay and I am standing up against them.

“They want to drown us out. They want to drown me out. They want to speak for me. They want to speak for me because I’m gay and I am standing up against them.”

The man goes on to claim there ae “thousands” of gay Australians who are against same-sex marriage, and says they are being vilified for their views.

“There are thousands of gay people in this country who are against same-sex marriage, who see the effects that it will have on the family, on schools, on politics, on churches,” he says.

Referring to supporters of changes to Australian marriage laws, he says: “These people hate us. They call us Nazis, bigots, homophobes. Where is the real hatred?”

Sharing the video with his followers, Mr Abbott, who has become a leading voice in the campaign against marriage reform, inferred the clip was a “case in point” that supporters of same-sex marriage were “responsible for bullying and hate speech”.

The former Liberal leader shared a second clip from the event in which it could be seen same-sex marriage campaigners had attempted to take over the demonstration, chanting “yes” over the top of the man’s words.

The demonstration, held on Monday, comes as the electoral watchdog has received complaints about the “Vote No” skywriting over Sydney on the weekend not being properly authorised.


The words “vote no” appeared four times over the city on Sunday morning, a day after the Coalition for Marriage launched its campaign against same-sex marriage.

A grassroots campaigner against same-sex marriage crowd-funded more than $2500 on GoFundMe to pay the pilot to write the message in the sky. One woman donated $1000 to the cause.

The anonymous author of the GoFundMe page declared it was “time for traditional Australian’s (sic) to take a stand”. “It’s time we all sent a clear message that we will not put up with our way of life been (sic) deconstructed any further,” the page said.

The author later announced the money had been frozen by the website “until we give our names and locations”.

The page was inundated with messages of condemnation. “I feel sorry for all of you,” one woman wrote.

“What an awful way to live your lives. I can’t imagine being so hateful.” Organisers said they were “keen to stay fairly anonymous” and defended their actions.

According to the Daily Mail, flight tracking information confirms a Cessna owned by Skywriting Australia left the message in the sky. The company’s charges start from $3990. Social media users began to circulate the company’s contact information and posted the abusive messages they’d sent.

One message called the business owner an “a***hole” while another post said it was “probably the end of your business”.

One text message to the business owner read “usually fighting hate with hate isn’t my style, but you really are a sh** human. You’re definitely the biggest piece of sh** in Australia today. Probably tomorrow too. Hope you’re proud of yourself. Don’t be surprised by the hate coming for you. Titt for tatt, it’s only fair, right? You stupid, ignorant, remorseless, pathetic, old, LOSER”.

Another read “I hope the weather gets hotter this week. It might help to warm your cold black heart #loveislove”.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who is encouraging a “yes” vote, told reporters people were entitled to express their views.

“If you want people to respect your point of view you’ve got to be prepared to respect theirs,” Mr Turnbull said.


Leftist hate leads to a firing

A Canberra businesswoman says she 'fired' a contractor who posted to social media that 'it's okay to vote no' to same sex marriage.

Madlin Sims, who runs a party entertainment company, posted a blunt message to Facebook this week announcing she had a staff member go.

'Today I fired a staff member who made it public knowledge that they feel "it's okay to vote no"',' Ms Sims wrote.  'Advertising your desire to vote no for SSM is, in my eyes, hate speech. Voting no is homophobic. Advertising your homophobia is hate speech. 'As a business owner I can't have somebody who represents my business posting hate speech online.'

Speaking to Daily Mail Australia, Ms Sims explained the contractor had been representing her business by often posting photos of parties she worked at. 

The small businesswoman said she didn't want the woman's views associated with her company. 'It's all quite public she worked for the business... That's not something I want to be affiliated with,' she said.

She compared it with employing a staff member who posted racist material online. Ms Sims added she had gay friends, staff members and clients. 'It's just like if I had a racist person working for me especially someone who's so vocal with their beliefs.'

In the post, Ms Sims urged her friends to vote 'yes' in the upcoming same sex marriage survey and listed three justifications for her staffing decision. 

'1. It's bad for business.

2. I don't like s*** morals.

3. I don't want homophobes working for me, especially in an environment with children.'

The 'yes' and 'no' campaigns are currently canvassing the country for votes

The apparent sacking is likely to spark the ire of the No campaign, which has made concerns about freedom of expression a major plank of its argument. 

But Yes campaign representatives have said it's 'misleading' to suggest same sex marriage would affect freedom of speech. 


Same sex marriage supporters hostile towards billboard

Even a church is not allowed to preach Christian teachings, apparently

A BILLBOARD outside a Brisbane church has sparked outrage ahead of the same-sex marriage vote.

The Bellbowrie Community Church posted the sign: “God designed marriage between a man & a woman”.
The sign that caused outrage at a Bellbowrie church.

It was condemned on social media, and critics took to the church’s Facebook page to object.

“Hopefully there are churches in the area that cater to ALL Christians and not just the ones who fit in the narrow minded view of this “Church of God”. I’m sure Christ would be very disappointed in your view of Christianity,” one post said.

Others started taking to the church’s review section and posting one-star reviews.

“A closed-minded group which overtly discriminates against members of our valued community and their (very reasonable) quest for marriage equality,” one woman wrote.

Cartoons of same sex couples and sailors waving rainbow flags were posted in the comments under unrelated posts by the church.

All the reviews and comments about the issue later disappeared.

A spokeswoman for the group 4070 Says Yes said the message on the church sign was not representative of the majority of residents.

“Our community has implored the church to remove the offensive sign, making phone calls, writing letters, emails and meeting with officials to point out the damage and distress it is causing,” she said.

“The church, self-appointed spokesperson of our community, has instead increasingly closed down avenues for feedback.”

But Pastor John Gill said it was not a message of hate, and simply presented God’s view.

“There are two sides to this debate so it was no surprise that some do not agree with the sign. But what did surprise me was the degree of malice expressed by some, which could only be described as hate speech,” he said.

Pastor Gill said freedom of speech was important to Australians.

“This means gay people are entitled to speak their minds, and anybody who does not agree with their views should still respect them and not abuse them for expressing their opinions,” he said.

“In a free country, Christians also have this right. They do not expect everyone will agree, but should they not expect the same freedom to speak and be given the same respect that they give to others?”

Pastor Gill said the Facebook activity had been “difficult” for many in the church. “And as a result, many now realise that it is no longer easy to hold and express a Christian viewpoint in Australia,” he said.

He said he had answered every negative email and extended an invitation to everyone who contacted him to meet in person.

“There have also been a few occasions where a protester with a signboard has protested on the street outside the church,” Pastor Gill said.

“The beauty of a free country is that they are welcome to do this and we don’t begrudge it. It can be hot out there, so we have tried to give any protester some bottled water when somebody has been at the church.”

“There are however some in the community who are supportive of the sign and have thanked me for our stand, but are afraid to say anything on Facebook for fear of being abused,” he said.  “But apart from Facebook, I have had more supportive emails, phone calls and visits than I have had negative ones.”

Pastor Gill said his congregation is free to vote in the plebiscite however they choose.  “As a pastor, it is not my place to tell people how to vote,” he said.

“Many of us have friends and family who are gay, and it is absurd to think we hate them. We love them very much. It is possible to hold different views, yet still love people. So this does not need to be a source of division throughout Australia. We can differ, yet still respect and care for each other and let the voting determine the issue.”


Australia's fraudulent Bureau of Meteorology

Enough is enough. The Bureau of Meteorology yet again stands charged with fabricating temperature records.

This time, thanks to the diligence of scientist Jennifer Marohasy, the bureau has been caught red-handed regulating temperatures to keep them above a predetermined minimum — at least for two NSW automatic weather stations, one located in Goulburn, the other at Thredbo.

The BOM initially admitted it had set an arbitrary limit of minus 10C for the Goulburn station, but then changed the story to the equipment being “not fit for purpose” — because it got too cold — even though the same instruments are used in the Antarctic. The actual temperature measured was a record July low for Goulburn, at minus 10.4C, so why, if the equipment was faulty, didn’t the bureau leave a blank instead of rounding up to minus 10C?

Allowing the bureau to defend itself, Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg called for an internal review.

In 77 pages, it acknowledged that, indeed, Goulburn and Thredbo were governed and, minimum limits were set. This was blamed on a filter being installed into these weather stations 15 and 10 years ago respectively. No limits were imposed on maximum temperatures. Yet implicitly, we are asked to believe that the historical temperature record has not been compromised.

Before filters were installed, Goulburn recorded minus 10.9C in August 1994 and, in that cold winter, Thredbo went down to minus 13.6C and nearby Charlotte Pass to minus 23C on June 29, a record low for Australia. Charlotte Pass weather station was decommissioned in March 2015.

Ironically, the bureau’s newest location, near White Cliffs in NSW, home to some of the nation’s hottest temperatures, last August recorded minus 62.5C, due to a “hardware fault”.

A BOM-friendly technical forum, part of former minister Greg Hunt’s plan to buy time and “kill off” a proposed Abbott government probe, has foreshadowed “the need for a major revision of the dataset”.

Predictably, though, it did not address specific claims by Marohasy and others, and seems satisfied the bureau’s dataset is well maintained. Really? This may fool ministers, but for a sceptical public, time has run out.

British author and journalist Christopher Booker says: “When future generations look back on the global warming scare of the past 30 years, nothing will shock them more than the extent to which the official temperature records — on which the entire (global warming) panic ultimately rested — were systematically ‘adjusted’ to show the Earth as having warmed much more than the actual data justified.” He says this practice has been observed by experts around the world and “raises an ever larger question mark over the entire official surface temperature record”.

He is joined by John Theon, retired chief of NASA’s Climate Processes Research Program and responsible for all weather and climate research, who testified before congress that “some scientists have manipulated the observed data to justify their model results. In doing so, they neither explain what they have modified in the observations, nor explain how they did it.”

Take the article NASA published in 1999 showing 1934 was the US’s warmest year. Across the ensuing decade, by cooling the past and warming the present, 1998 jumped five places to become the warmest. Whistleblower John Bates, recently retired principal scientist at US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, described how his agency manipulated data to manufacture a non-existent increase in global temperatures.

Why should Australia be any different? We remember the Climategate emails from despairing programmer Ian Harris: “Getting seriously fed up with the state of the Australian data, so many new stations have been introduced, so many false references”.

Science writer and blogger Joanne Nova has raised scandal after scandal concerning the BOM’s record-keeping.

She refers to historic data being destroyed, and the influence of adjustments on Australia’s warming trend. She reports private auditors advising the bureau of almost a “thousand days where minimum temperatures were higher than the maxes”.

Taxpayers outlaying $1 million a day for reliable temperature data deserve better than this.

When Australia’s bureau transitioned from mercury thermometers to electronic sensors more than 20 years ago, to ensure readings from these devices were comparable with the old thermometers and complied with World Meteorological Organisation guidelines, parallel studies were undertaken at multiple sites.

A key conclusion was that readings from the new electronic sensors needed to be averaged over one to 10 minutes. However, rather than implement practices consistent with their finding, the bureau records one-second extremes (or noise), which can be announced as new record highs.

Inherent inconsistency aside, this calls into question whether Australian data is WMO compliant. Marohasy discovered this as part of her investigation and believes it is more damning than even the imposition of minimum limits, as it affects the recording of temperatures from all 695 automatic stations.

Marohasy is a respected scientist, known for her forensic work. While attempts will be made to dismiss her evidence as an arcane academic skirmish over recording methodology, it is a smoking gun that threatens the integrity of global temperature records.

It affects every Australian. It strikes at the heart of renewable energy policies. Globally, trillions of taxpayer dollars are at stake.

The government has a duty to inform the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, should it have sufficient grounds, that the bureau is not complying with WMO guidelines. Sooner or later, closed eyes must open.

Now, with Marohasy’s evidence adding to the credible findings of other experts, there can be no confidence in any future official assurances. Further delay of a proper independent audit, which includes dissidents, can be interpreted only as a cover-up. One way or another, the truth will out.


Students to undergo literacy and numeracy tests from YEAR ONE as part of new national assessment plan

There have always been assessments of one sort or another done in all years so I see no problem with them being nationally co-ordinated

A new national assessment will see students in the first grade undergo literacy and numeracy tests so they don't 'fall between the cracks.'

At present the NAPLAN system tests children from years three, seven and nine on their reading, writing and mathematics skills but there isn't a national standard for students younger than those year groups.

Minister for Education Simon Birmingham explained that Australia's results in primary and secondary academics had declined and was hoping a new system could prevent errors learned in the earlier years from carrying forward, the Herald Sun reports.

At the moment the idea of a nationwide check hasn't been developed but there are reports it could be integrated into the syllabus by 2019.

A panel of researchers and experts advised the Minister that a 'light check' on school students that age could help bolster results in the long term.

'By identifying exactly where students are at in their development early at school, educators can intervene to give extra support to those who need it to stop them slipping behind the pack.'

Instead of being a test conducted in anxiety-inducing school halls the year one 'check' would be far more relaxed and be administered by teachers known to the students.

An online system would then tally up the child's score and release the information to the principal and parents alike.

Mr Birmingham said he would hold discussions with state and territory leaders and education authorities over a trial and implementation roll out.


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, 2017

We've turned our unis into aimless, money-grubbing exploiters of students (?)

As an economist, Ross Gittins often has substantial things to say.  But as a Leftist he is also a compulsive moaner.  So the points he makes below are cogent but most of them are disputable.

The one area wherein I agree wholeheartedly with him is his condemnation of relaxed assessment standards for overseas fee-paying students.  This practice is, I think, still a minority one but will surely be a big negative eventually when our universities send home to Asia students whose knowledge and skills don't match what is on the pieces of paper we give them.  It devalues our degrees.

Gittins may also have half a point in saying that Lecturers are poorly paid.  In my day we were paid well above average and there does seem to be some slippage from that.  But with salaries closing in on $100,000 pa it's still a long way from  poverty.  Many junior software engineers get about that and they are undoubtedly bright sparks.

And Gittins again has half a point in saying that tenure is now harder to get.  I was appointed with tenure, a rare thing nowadays. But there has to be a balance.  Tenure protects divergent thinking but it also promotes laziness. Once you can't be fired, why work?  I suspect that the delayed granting of tenure that we now see is not a bad balance.  It ensures that for at least a large part of one's academic life we do some work.

But his other points are contentious.  Recorded Lectures are bad?  I would think they are wholly good.  They relieve students of the pressure to take notes, though they can still take notes if they want or need to.  There was only one course I did in my undergraduate days in which I took notes.  Otherwise I concentrated on listening instead. And I am sure I learnt far more that way.  My grades certainly did not suffer from it.

"Overcrowded" lecture halls?  I don't know what he is talking about.  A lecture hall is not a high school classroom.  In my academic career I often fronted up to a lecture in an auditorium with 1,000 or more students in front of me.  And I was able to allow students to interrupt with questions.  So I would think it was a poor lecturer who couldn't handle that.

He says that universities put too much pressure on academics to do research.  I would say that they do too little.  There are now whole tertiary institutions which devalue research.  And many lecturers in all institutions do little of it. But it is only by doing research that you get a real hold on knowledge in your selected field.  You cannot be at the cutting edge without doing your own research.  Otherwise you are just reading the conclusions of others.

But in the end, Gittins's big beef is that the present system of running our universities amounts to a sort of "privatization", which is of course anathema to Leftists.  I think he should throw off those ideological blinkers and look at what is actually happening.  He looks at that so far only "through a glass darkly"

Of the many stuff-ups during the now-finished era of economic reform, one of the worst is the unending backdoor privatisation of Australia's universities, which began under the Hawke-Keating government and continues in the Senate as we speak.

This is not so much "neoliberalism" as a folly of the smaller-government brigade, since the ultimate goal for the past 30 years has been no more profound than to push university funding off the federal budget.

The first of the budget-relieving measures was the least objectionable: introducing the Higher Education Contribution Scheme, requiring students – who gain significant private benefits from their degrees – to bear just some of the cost of those degrees, under a deferred loan-repayment scheme carefully designed to ensure it did nothing to deter students from poor families.

Likewise, allowing unis to admit suitably qualified overseas students provided they paid full freight was unobjectionable in principle.

The Howard government's scheme allowing less qualified local students to be admitted provided they paid a premium was "problematic", as the academics say, and soon abandoned.

The problem is that continuing cuts in government grants to unis have kept a protracted squeeze on uni finances, prompting vice-chancellors to become obsessed with money-raising.

They pressure teaching staff to go easy on fee-paying overseas students who don't reach accepted standards of learning, form unhealthy relationships with business interests, and accept "soft power" grants from foreign governments and their nationals without asking awkward questions.

They pressure academics not so much to do more research as to win more research funding from the government. Interesting to compare the hours spent preparing grant applications with the hours actually doing research.

To motivate the researchers, those who bring in the big bucks are rewarded by being allowed to pay casuals to do their teaching for them. (This after the vice-chancellors have argued straight-faced what a crime it would be for students to be taught by someone who wasn't at the forefront of their sub-sub research speciality.)

The unis' second greatest crime is the appalling way they treat those of their brightest students foolish enough to aspire to an academic career. Those who aren't part-timers are kept on serial short-term contracts, leaving them open to exploitation by ambitious professors.

However much the unis save by making themselves case studies in precarious employment, it's surely not worth it. If they're not driving away the most able of their future star performers it's a tribute to the "treat 'em mean to keep 'em keen" school of management.

But the greatest crime of our funding-obsessed unis is the way they've descended to short-changing their students, so as to cross-subsidise their research. At first they did this mainly by herding students into overcrowded lecture theatres and tutorials.

An oddball minority of academics takes a pride in lecturing well.

Lately they're exploiting new technology to achieve the introverted academic's greatest dream: minimal "face time" with those annoying pimply students who keep asking questions.

PowerPoint is just about compulsory. Lectures are recorded and put on the website – or, failing that, those barely comprehensible "presentation" slides – together with other material sufficient to discourage many students – most of whom have part-time jobs – from bothering to attend lectures. Good thinking.

To be fair, an oddball minority of academics takes a pride in lecturing well. They get a lot of love back from their students, but little respect or gratitude from their peers. Vice-chancellors make a great show of awarding them tin medals, but it counts zilch towards their next promotion.

The one great exception to the 30-year quest to drive uni funding off the budget was Julia Gillard's ill-considered introduction of "demand-driven" funding of undergraduate places, part of a crazy plan to get almost all school-leavers going on to uni, when many would be better served going to TAFE.

The uni money-grubbers slashed their entrance standards, thinking of every excuse to let older people in, admitting as many students as possible so as to exploit the feds' fiscal loophole.

The result's been a marked lowering of the quality of uni degrees, and unis being quite unconscionable in their willingness to offer occupational degrees to far more people than could conceivably be employed in those occupations.

I suspect those vice-chancellors who've suggested that winding back the demand-determined system would be preferable to the proposed across-the-board cuts (and all those to follow) are right.

The consequent saving should be used to reduce the funding pressure on the unis, but only in return for measures to force them back to doing what the nation's taxpayers rightly believe is their first and immutable responsibility: providing the brighter of the rising generation with a decent education.


Town of the damned: the Australian town with ‘staggering’ child sex abuse rate

Aboriginal men very commonly abuse their women and children but it seems to have got really out of hand in this community.  Only a much increased police presence would seem to offer any hope of control

ONE tiny town is in the grip of a paedophile epidemic which in a population of 1400 has seen 184 sexually abused. Warning: Confronting.

ROEBOURNE, Western Australia, is in the grip of a paedophile epidemic that has seen such a high incidence that child sex abuse is “normal”.

Police have charged 36 men with more than 300 offences against 184 children from Roeburne and surrounding communities.

West Australian Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan has described the rate of alleged child sex offending in Roebourne as “staggering” and the problem as “a cancer”.

The former gold rush town, which has a greater population of around 1400, lies in the Pilbara region 1500km north of Perth.  The Pilbara, with vast mining resources and sparsely populated Aboriginal towns, covers 500,000 square kilometres stretching from the Indian Ocean to Central Australia.

Roebourne, where the streets are lined with brick and stone colonial buildings, has dwindled since its 19th century boom as the largest settlement between Darwin and Perth.

It has now been singled out as a festering mess of intergenerational child sexual abuse where kids are more likely to be raped than almost anywhere else on earth.

“It’s a war zone out there and the victims are little kids,” Mr O’Callaghan told the ABC in a recent news report following the multiple arrests of local men under ­Operation Fledermaus.

In a nine-month operation across areas including Roebourne and the neighbouring city of Karratha, police identified almost three times as many suspects as the number arrested.

The scale of the abuse uncovered was the worst WA Police had ever seen and the communities were in an “almost unrecoverable crisis”, Mr O’Callaghan claimed.

Earlier this month, The Australian reported that child sex abuse in Roebourne was so “normal” that even jailing known paedophiles was not enough to end it.

That was the opinion of West Australian Child Protection Minister Simone McGurk who visited Roebourne following the ­Operation Fledermaus arrests. “Yes, you would have to say that, through the sorts of numbers we are starting to see,” she told West Australian Bureau Chief, Paige Taylor. “It’s intergenerational. Many of these perpetrators were victims themselves.”

Alcohol, drugs and violence afflict the Roebourne and surrounding communities whose population is more than half indigenous.

In September last year, police made a public announcement to residents encouraging them to report child abuse.

Several Aboriginal women, young people and children came forward and in the same month, police charged three Roebourne men with child sex offences against girls aged between 13 and 16.

A 45-year-old man was charged with indecent dealing with a child over 13 and under 16 years, offering a prohibited drug and possession of drug paraphernalia.

A 52-year-old man was charged with two counts of sexual penetration of a child over 13 and under 16 years and one count of indecent dealing with a child over 13 and under 16 years.

A 39-year-old man has been charged with indecent dealing with a child over 13 and under 16 years.

Minister McGurk said “child protection workers, specialist police officers and other dedicated resources [were] on the ground giving support to the families and the community”.

“I’d like to acknowledge the strength of the children, the families … who have the courage to come forward,” she said.  “Actually coming forward is a first step in systemic change.”

Commissioner O’Callaghan, however, identified another factor in the community, which is 80 per cent on welfare. In an article he wrote for The West Australian, Mr O’Callaghan said child sex offenders were spending welfare money on drugs and alcohol to lure children.

“A further pattern emerging is that offending activity seems to increase when offenders receive substantial amounts of money and spend it on a combination of alcohol, drugs, gambling and sex.

“Knowing that welfare payments contribute to increases in many types of offending, particularly alcohol and drug-related offending, is hardly rocket science.

“Linking such payments to an increase in sexual abuse of children, however, is a much newer phenomenon.”

Communities in WA and South Australia were trialling a cashless debit card for welfare recipients, which cannot be used for alcohol, gambling or illicit substances.

Seven years ago, a WA government report painted a bleak picture of the life of Aboriginals in Roebourne.

The Roebourne Report said alcohol abuse, child neglect, violence and crime were occurring at an alarming rate.

Annual alcohol consumption in Roebourne Shire was 26.8 litres per person, three times the state average.

Cannabis use was rife among young people.

On fortnightly welfare pay days, gambling soared and children were left to their own devices. Unsupervised children roamed the streets at night and house break-ins were viewed “as the rite-of-passage for many Roebourne youth”.

A high proportion of Roebourne children considered vulnerable in terms of their physical, social and emotional development.

According to Roebourne local, Violet Sampson alcohol abuse has turned the town’s grandmothers into safe house operators.

Ms Sampson told that she began looking after her grandchildren when their parents were out drinking. “I have three kids here,” she said. “When their parents split up and went off drinking, the kids came to me.

“When they need a good sleep, without overcrowding and a feed, I take them. “And they can go to school in the morning.

“It’s what grandmothers do here in Roebourne, Karratha. Aboriginal families we look after the kids.”


'If you don't know, vote no': Gay, conservative professor joins the push to oppose same-sex marriage

Flinty was a good-looking guy in his early years so I always suspected that he had a good time with the ladies. It seems I was wrong

Professor David Flint, who is openly gay but discreet about his personal life, quoted another gay conservative, Sydney broadcaster Alan Jones, to argue why voters should vote 'no' in the federal government's postal vote survey.

'As Alan Jones said in 1999, if you don't know, vote no,' the 79-year-old academic told Sky News Australia.

'We just don't know what's going to happen.'

Jones, a perennial top-rating broadcaster on radio 2GB, is actually in favour of gay marriage but shares former Liberal prime minister John Howard's concerns about religious freedom.

'I'll be voting 'Yes' for same sex marriage. But John Howard is right. We must protect parental & religious freedoms and freedom of speech,' Jones tweeted last week.

The phrase 'if you don't know, vote no' was used by opponents of Australia becoming a republic during the November 1999 referendum on whether to cut ties with the Queen.

That phrase actually belonged to future prime minister and Howard government minister Tony Abbott, who was the leader of the 'No' case 18 years ago as an ardent constitutional monarchist.

Mr Abbott is now a leading 'No' case campaigner, despite having a lesbian sister, Christine Forster, who supports gay marriage.

Professor Flint, who is also a monarchist, has joined gay couple Ben Rogers and Mark Poidevin in publicly speaking out against gay marriage.

The men from Wollongong, south of Sydney, fell in love 15 years but don't want to tie the knot. Mr Poidevin, a practising Catholic, opposes gay marriage on the grounds it could be a slippery slope that leads to polygamy.

'If we make one exception for one community - that being the same-sex couples - where does it stop?,' he told the ABC's 7.30 program earlier this month.

'Do we then see other cultures being allowed to have multiple marriages?  'Do we allow, see the age of consent being lowered for another group of minorities? 'That is my concern of where it would lead.'

Mr Poidevin hasn't always opposed the idea of same-sex marriage, having popped the question to his partner five years ago.

Professor Flint, a former head of the Press Council and the Australian Broadcasting Authority, is a former Labor Party member turned conservative with close ties to John Howard, who is spearheading the 'No' campaign.

Gay former High Court justice Michael Kirby is a monarchist who supports gay marriage and will be voting 'Yes'.

The Coalition for Marriage launched its 'Vote No' campaign at Sydney's Darling Harbour on Saturday night.

Ballots are being sent to Australian households and are due back by November 7.


AGL gets more from Greenie subsidies than it get from burning coal

No wonder it wants to shut down its coal generators -- thus leaving Australia with insufficient base-load power

Australians are on track to pay more than $500 million to AGL to fund its flagship solar generators, as the energy giant prepares to shut down its Liddell coal power station, a move that has prompted warnings of a power shortfall that could lead to blackouts and price hikes.

The company has already ­secured $230m in direct grants and is forecast to gain far more under the renewable energy ­target, deepening the political divide on energy policy as the federal government considers cutting ­future aid to make coal more competitive.

The scale of the subsidy is now a key question in the government’s debate on whether to ­embrace a clean energy target, as opponents of the idea challenge AGL and others to prove that wind and solar schemes can work without taxpayer handouts.

Malcolm Turnbull and his cabinet ministers are yet to decide on whether to adopt a clean ­energy target but are unwilling to continue the heavy subsidy, ­putting a priority on more reliable power supplies, including coal and gas.

The two AGL solar farms in western NSW generate a combined 359,000 megawatt hours of electricity, just 4 per cent of the ­capacity of Liddell, but have ­secured more long-term investment than the coal power station under laws that continue the ­renewable subsidy until 2030.

Investors are warning the ­government against a halt to the taxpayer assistance for renewables, arguing this would lead to an investment freeze that would ­intensify the energy shortages in the decade ahead.

Former resources minister Matt Canavan said the subsidy going to AGL from taxpayers and electricity consumers contrasted with claims that renewables would be more efficient than coal regardless of government assistance.

“AGL keeps telling everybody that renewables no longer need a subsidy — well, if that’s the case, why do we need a clean energy target?” Senator Canavan said.

The Australian understands the government is aiming to encourage more investment in reliable power with a “capacity pricing” structure that could favour coal and gas and meet Mr Turnbull’s stated aim of improving the ability to “dispatch” power at short ­notice.

Even so, AGL is seeking to shut Liddell in 2022, rejecting a ­government push to keep it open a further five years, and is planning to replace it with renewable power and “peaking” gas that can fire up when electricity supply is low.

AGL chief financial officer Brett Redman told The Australian the subsidies for the solar farms would shrink in the decade ahead as the value of renewable energy certificates declined.

Mr Redman also sent a clear warning that the government’s looming decision on a clean ­energy target would not change the company’s assessment that a new coal-fired power station was not viable.

“The economics are now somewhat overwhelming — the world of electricity generation is heading down the renewables path,” Mr Redman said.

“Even without the impact of carbon-emissions policies, we would absolutely be heading down the path of building more renewables. Coal-fired power will not be built in that world.”

The AGL solar projects at ­Nyngan and Broken Hill received $166.7m in direct grants from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and another $64.9m from the NSW government, as well as qualifying for credits under the renewable energy target.

The Australian estimates the Nyngan project receives more than $18m a year for its 233,000 megawatt hours given an $80 price for renewable energy ­certificates, while the Broken Hill project receives about $10m a year for its 126,000 megawatt hours.

While taxpayers funded the initial grants, households pay for the renewable certificates because the cost is passed on to them in their electricity bills.

TFS Green analyst Marco Stella wrote in RenewEconomy on September 4 that the spot price for these certificates rose above $85 in late August.

AGL stands to receive $589m from the original grants and consumer subsidies for the two solar projects over the period to 2030 if the price holds at $80 until 2020 and then falls to $60 for the ­subsequent decade, an outlook described as conservative by two sources familiar with the market. This falls to about $480m if the renewable certificates fall to $30 in the next decade. It drops to $375m in the unlikely event the certificates fall to zero from 2021.

AGL sold the two projects to its Powering Australian Renewables Fund last November, making no cash profit in the sale. It owns 20 per cent of the fund while 80 per cent is held by Queensland Investment Corporation for clients including the Future Fund.

Mr Redman said the two projects were built in response to government calls for early investors to demonstrate large-scale solar and when the cost of the technology was much higher than it is today.

He said “we’d build a wind farm in every backyard” if the spot price of certificates stayed at today’s levels, but added this was unrealistic and the values were likely to fall in the early 2020s as they had in the past.

The government is weighing up whether to embrace a “reliability energy target” or a “strategic reserve” to offer financial rewards to AGL and others to build gas power, given the industry belief that major new coal power stations will not be viable.

This will get a higher priority than new schemes to subsidise renewables.

However, the rewards to AGL and others for their existing solar or wind projects cannot be altered because the Senate is highly unlikely to allow a change to the renewable energy target rules that apply until 2020 and continue payments until 2030.

The government has decided it has nothing to gain from ­starting a fight over the RET that it cannot win, leading it to keep the rules as they were agreed by Tony Abbott as prime minister in 2015.


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

18 September, 2017

Dumping green folly will secure energy future, reboot economy

In the blink of an eye we are confronted by a national energy pricing and supply crisis. This is the cost of virtue signalling — that propensity for those on the political left, including moderates in the Liberal Party, to advocate policies aimed more at demonstrating their moral superiority than delivering practical results.

This nation’s most pressing economic challenge, it is also the most volatile political dilemma that threatens to derail Malcolm Turnbull’s career for a second time. (It cost him the Liberal leadership in 2009.) Climate and energy are set to define the next decade of ­national affairs just as they have plagued us since 2007.

To comprehend the politics we need a helicopter view; to examine first principles and the true aims of the policies. Far too much of the debate is predicated on gestures rather than results.

We are an energy-rich nation. Last year we exported 388 million tonnes of coal (valued at $35 billion) to supply affordable and ­reliable energy to countries such as Japan, China, South Korea and India. Our liquefied natural gas exports are doubling from 30 million tonnes a couple of years ago to almost 80 million tonnes (valued at $42bn) by 2019.

Australia also remains one of the largest exporters of uranium (nuclear energy is the ­silver bullet if we ever get serious about emissions) and, after a price and volume slump, trade will ­rebound to values of more than $1.2bn during the next few years.

While we happily export our energy advantage, we have deliberately sacrificed it at home. Households are paying some of the highest electricity prices in the world and manufacturing industries have been closing or downscaling because of cost pressures created in part by rapidly rising power prices. Energy bills are also creating commercial hardship for struggling retailers as well as hospitality and other sectors.

The largest single factor in the power crisis is the renewable ­energy target demanding 23 per cent of electricity be supplied by renewables, which are subsidised by consumers. When the renew­ables (mainly wind turbines) supply power they can do so at zero cost, thereby undercutting the viability of baseload generators and hastening their demise. The trouble is renewable ­energy can’t supply all our needs at any time and, crucially, is intermittent and unreliable. So we still need all of the baseload and peaking generation.

Under this formula we must ­either be caught short of supply or need to almost double our investment in energy so every megawatt of renewable energy is backed up by storage or thermal generation.

And just when we need more rapid-response gas generation to back up wind energy we have a gas supply/price issue courtesy of long-term export contracts and state restrictions on exploration and exploitation. What a mess.

What we don’t ever hear our major party politicians ask is why we are doing this to ourselves. We might also expect this would be a line of inquiry for media in fearless pursuit of their audiences’ interests. But no; incurious acceptance of the imperative for emissions ­reductions is universal in the public broadcasters and love media.

News Corp papers and Sky News are the only mainstream media likely to offer a plurality of views. Journalists who sail with this zeitgeist will justify their position by pointing to the political consensus on the emissions reductions targets set in Paris. But public and media debate should not be about accommodating convenient bipartisan compromise; it should be about reality and the public ­interest.

If the justification for our self-imposed energy crisis is saving the planet, then any reference to the facts will expose the futility. Australia’s carbon emissions make up about 1.4 per cent of global emissions and we are looking to reduce them by 26 to 28 per cent by 2030. Simultaneously, emissions are rising elsewhere by quantities that dwarf our total emissions, let alone our inconsequential reductions.

As this newspaper reported this week, China has 299 coal-fired power stations under construction and India 132. Indonesia, Japan, Vietnam, South Korea, The Philippines, South Africa and other nations also are expanding coal-fired generation so that an extra 621 plants are under way. Yet we disrupt our economy, surrender a natural economic advantage, shed jobs and reduce our standard of living to phase out a handful of plants.

On the first principle of whether our efforts do any environmental good — no matter the urgency or otherwise of climate action — the answer is our efforts are pointless. So we are then left with the diplomatic commitment to Paris that both major parties support.

Astonishingly, less than a day after Donald Trump won the US election promising to abandon Paris, Malcolm Turnbull announced Australia’s ratification. The Prime Minister thumbed his nose at the obvious opportunity to hold out, see if the US withdrew (as it has) and perhaps forestall our own commitment.

The accord is dramatically weakened without the world’s largest economy, especially given other powerhouses such as China and India will continue to increase their emissions. (Ironically, perhaps no country is making a greater contribution to emissions red­uct­ions than the US through its innovation in areas such as fracking and battery technology.)

The Paris Agreement is not binding, so we don’t need to meet our targets anyway. Yet the political-media class seems viscerally locked onto them.

Turnbull talks about the energy “trilemma” of affordability, reliability and emissions reductions. But even the Finkel review noted these objectives are at odds with each other.

Chief Scientist Alan Finkel tried to prescribe “policies that simultaneously provide a high level of energy security and reliability, universal access to affordable ­energy services, and reduced emissions. This is easier said than done. There is a tension between these three objectives.”

Neither Turnbull nor Finkel or Labor are willing to compromise on the third leg of the trilemma. Their starting point is emissions reductions; and they accept that reliability and affordability can be compromised to meet the target.

Finkel says: “The uncertain and changing direction of emissions reduction policy for the electricity sector has compromised the ­investment environment in the NEM.” But his solution — and that of the Coalition and Labor so far — is to try to formulate a settled, preferably bipartisan, emissions reductions scheme.

So the aim is to provide investment certainty even if it locks in higher electricity prices. The obvious alternative of relegating emissions reduction aims in favour of cheap, reliable power is simply not considered, even though we know it would have no discernible ­impact on the global environment. (We can always run other carbon abatement and energy efficiency schemes if we feel the need.)

The only pragmatic argument against scrapping the emissions reduction imperative is that it, too, may fail to break the investment strike because potential investors will still fear a future carbon pricing scheme. The political temptation is to lock in expensive and debilitating long-term policy solely to deliver the certitude of bipartisanship. This is the ­antithesis of seeking bipartisanship in the national interest.

All the federal government has succeeded in doing so far is taking ownership of the energy mess from the states. The Coalition will not admit that the RET — which it has backed, along with Labor, out of political convenience — is the heart of the problem.

On present settings the government is doomed to fail at the next election and then we will see a Labor government lock in permanently higher energy costs through a carbon pricing scheme. Perhaps the only salvation for the Coalition — and the economy — would be to call time on this green folly in the interests of protecting consumers, boosting jobs and rebooting a competitive advantage.

It would be a risky gambit contested by the rent-seekers in the energy sector. But it would be a fight for the national interest. The question is whether Turnbull, who has always claimed to be as green as Labor, can find it within himself to make the case.


Israel Folau says vote no, David Pocock says vote yes — but does anyone care?

ISRAEL Folau isn’t known for making political statements. His Twitter feed is usually full of snaps of his training sessions for the NSW Waratahs, endorsements for brands he spruiks and posts about his deep religious faith.

All that changed at 2.16pm on Wednesday when Folau became one of the most prominent people so far to say ‘no’ to same-sex marriage.

Folau’s forthrightness move came as a surprise to some. His Wallabies team are supporting marriage equality. Also, it was only a few years ago that Folau was on the front cover of lesbian and gay community publication, the Star Observer, publicising the Bingham Cup, a global rugby competition fought between gay and inclusive rugby teams.

But, Folau insisted, his no vote was also no judgment. “I love and respect all people for who they are,” he wrote.

His position puts him at odds with not just the Australian Rugby Union but just about every major sporting code in Australia, all of which have increasingly pinned their colours to the rainbow mast, publicly cracking down on homophobia.

This weekend in Melbourne, teams from both sides of the Ditch have competed in the annual Purchas Cup, the “Bledisloe Cup” of gay rugby.

Players competing have told they are worried Folau’s no stance could hold “sway” with some fans who are on the marriage fence.

Away from the battles on the pitch, can a sports star win the battle for the hearts and minds of sports fans when it comes to same-sex marriage?

Israel Folau was previously a cover star of LGBTI magazine the Star Observer supporting a gay rugby tournament.

Israel Folau was previously a cover star of LGBTI magazine the Star Observer supporting a gay rugby tournament.Source:Supplied
And what effect does a sports great saying ‘no’ while a code says ‘yes’ have on a punter?

Monash University’s Dr Kerry O’Brien has studied extensively how sport influences behaviour, such as drinking. He agrees sport can have a big impact on supporters in “transmitting values, attitudes and norms”.

Of course, some feel codes should keep out of the debate entirely. Like AFL legend and Footy Show panellist Sam Newman.
He told Mark Latham on his Outsiders online show that he was unhappy at seeing rainbow flags fluttering at the SCG.

“People go to the football to get away from political agendas. That’s their outlet and I honestly don’t know why they (the AFL) do it.” People had the right to be whoever they like,” Newman said, but he would banish all “agendas” from stadiums bar breast cancer appeals.


Thought crime fears motivate same-sex marriage opponents at 'no' campaign launch

Leading "no" campaigners, including Turnbull government MPs, say they fear it will become illegal to oppose same-sex marriage in word or even thought, if gay marriage is legalised.

The extraordinary claims, made at the campaign launch for the Coalition for Marriage on Saturday night, went as far as expressing fear that thought crime would be punished by law.

Cory Bernardi drives 'No' campaign

The South Australian senator claims that the anti same-sex marriage campaign is on the 'right side of legal and moral history'.

Matthew Canavan, a member of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's cabinet until he resigned over his dual citizenship, told the 1500-strong Sydney audience: "The 'yes' side want to make it illegal to just express a different view about marriage, that is their agenda."

On the sidelines, he told Fairfax Media he feared "a strong push to effectively eradicate the view that marriage should be between a man and a woman, to make it illegal".

Asked if his concerns about freedom extended as far as thought-crime, replied: "Yeah, well it is. The anti-discrimination [laws], particularly the state-based ones, are very wide ranging in application."

Senator Canavan was backed by Turnbull government minister Concetta Fierravanti-Wells and Australian Conservatives leader Cory Bernardi, who said these were valid concerns of same-sex marriage opponents.

"If the state redefines marriage, it also redefines how you can speak, think, advocate and believe about marriage," Senator Bernardi said. "That is the very real consequence of what is to come if we lose this battle."

Several speakers at the $15-a-head event cited the case of Tasmanian Archbishop Julian Porteous being hauled before the state's anti-discrimination commission over a booklet opposing same-sex marriage - a case in which the church prevailed.

Speakers also portrayed the "no" side as the victim of a concerted campaign by elites, the media and big business. There were boos from the audience for Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore, who is backing the "yes" side with ratepayers' money.

Coalition for Marriage spokeswoman Sophie York described the "yes" side as "carefully orchestrated, cashed-up and ruthless".

To rapturous applause, she suggested a "no" vote in Australia could be the start of a global "push back" against same-sex marriage, which has been legalised in more than 20 countries.

Outside, 60-year-old Doreen Kirchner from Pennant Hills said she feared moral decline if marriage were to be expanded to include gay couples.

"I think if same-sex marriage gets in it'll be a slippery slope downhill morally. And I want to protect my children and my grandchildren and my great-grandchildren," she told Fairfax Media.

"I don't have a problem with gays per se, I don't have a problem with them having a civil union. But the Marriage Act is for a man and a woman."


Universities going smoke-free

Earlier in the week, the University of Queensland announced it hoped to become a smoke-free educator by mid-2018 and early indications suggest the majority of students support the announcement, however an outraged group of students have created an opposing campaign and begun posting contested messages online.

One of the leaders of the UQ DARTS Facebook page, which advocates against the smoke-free plan, is Kurt Tucker - former president of the university's Liberal National Club. Since the announcement on Tuesday, the page has posted that the decision would see smoking banned in residential colleges and described the decision as "enforcing a complete ban", which is misleading according to the university.

UQ announced it intended to become smoke-free from July 1, 2018, and that the decision "aligns with UQ’s responsibility and desire to provide healthy and vibrant campuses, and reflects evolving societal norms". The university has started education campaigns to encourage staff and students to reduce or quit smoking and UQ's efforts would continue to ramp-up as the July deadline approached.

Since a Parliamentary Committee Inquiry last year, the Queensland government has been working with all tertiary education providers to reduce the use of tobacco on campuses. The Queensland University of Technology and Australian Catholic University are already smoke-free, while the University of the Sunshine Coast has announced it aims to become smoke-free by the start of 2018.

UQ Occupational Health and Safety director Jim Carmichael said the announcement would see the implementation of a strategy based around "informing and educating".

He added that university officers would not confiscate cigarettes and take disciplinary action if they saw students smoking on campus, but rather question whether they realise the risks, ask them to move off campus and discuss whether they have any intention of quitting. However, Mr Carmichael said firmer discussions and potential disciplinary action would be used against repeat offenders, but he hoped it would not come to that.

Mr Carmichael said initial surveys of students saw the "vast majority" of respondents say the decision was a great idea. This was supported by a poll in the Facebook group UQ StalkerSpace, which acts as a "platform for discourse about University of Queensland campus life" according to the description. The poll asked whether group members supported UQ going smoke-free in 2018, and the results, as of Saturday afternoon, showed a clear victory for the 'Yes' option, which had received almost five times the number of votes the 'No' option had.

On the flipside, UQ DARTS spokesman Sam Jackson described the university's decision as a "complete ban" which he labelled as "disappointing" and "a real shame", claiming students had not been given a sufficient consultation period.

The Facebook page also claimed that the university's decision "means nearly 3000 students will be unable to smoke in their own homes" because the policy will incorporate the residential colleges on campus.

"Whilst we do not deny there are no negative effects of smoking, it is not the Vice-Chancellor's role to erode personal freedom and responsibility," Mr Jackson said.

Security concerns were also raised by Mr Jackson. He said if students were asked to leave the security of the campus grounds to smoke at night, they risked being attacked.

However, Mr Carmichael emphasised that a "hard-line approach" would not be used and the university would "encourage students not to smoke, rather than put themselves at risk". He also added that the university's decision could not directly affect the residential colleges, because they were independently managed. The individual college masters could decide whether they wanted to follow the university's decision.


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

17 September, 2017

Mate, it’s time to drop the Murphy name

Talk of Lionel Murphy’s “little mate” featured prominently in yesterday’s revelations about the late High Court judge, and not just about his friend Morgan Ryan. Someone’s little penchant clearly led him astray. A weakness for Asian prostitutes and orgies? A very silent partnership in a brothel with organised crime figure Abe ‘Mr Sin’ Saffron? A Swiss bank account? Presumably High Court judges were so poorly paid back then that a cash-strapped Murphy, also a recipient of a ministerial pension, had to moonlight.

It appears though that the second job was a lucrative one. In September 1985, in between Murphy’s two trials for attempting to pervert the course of justice, The National Times reported on the judge’s property holdings. They comprised “a building in the heart of Fyshwick, Canberra” (Australia’s porn capital), a house in Forrest, ACT (Canberra’s most expensive suburb), six units in Queanbeyan NSW, and a “harbour-front house in Sydney.” In addition he shared “173 hectares on the Yass River with some business associates.”

Nonetheless the Hawke government later made an ex gratia payment of $420,000 (around $1.1m today) for Murphy’s legal costs. After all, apart from his impressive property portfolio, and whatever was stashed in the alleged Swiss bank account, his Honour clearly was short of a quid.

It seems incredible in the wake of the additional allegations that the Hawke government did not initially oppose Murphy’s return to the bench following his acquittal. “The allegations against Justice Murphy”, said government frontbencher Gareth Evans in April 1986, “have been dealt with comprehensively, fairly and finally by the criminal courts.”

It was a much less forgiving Gareth Evans who, as Opposition Attorney-General in 1980, urged the Fraser government to pursue conflict of interest allegations against Sir Garfield Barwick, then High Court chief justice and former attorney-general in the Menzies government. “The standards we require of our judiciary are higher than might be reasonable to require of anyone else,” said Evans. A standard far beyond the absence of a criminal conviction, perhaps? To quote then Age journalist Claude Forell “To be innocent of criminal conduct is a necessary but not sufficient test of ethical and moral fitness to be a justice of the High Court of Australia.”

At the time of Murphy’s acquittal, the Stewart Royal Commission, which was investigating the so-called Age Tapes, had provided the Hawke government with a secret volume. Among those revelations were details of intercepted phone conversations between Murphy and Ryan. The royal commission had put seven matters to Murphy, but he refused to respond.

As reported yesterday, the subsequent commission of inquiry into whether Murphy’s behaviour amounted to ‘misbehaviour’ as per section 72 of the Constitution, considered the judge had a case to answer in respect to 15 allegations. They included offering an inducement to a police officer in return for providing information concerning a prosecution; perjuring himself at his first trial; illegally receiving copies of the diaries of NSW Chief Magistrate Clarrie Briese (one of the main witnesses in his prosecution); being knowingly concerned in an attempt to blackmail a NSW Liberal MP; using his political connections to get favourable treatment for Saffron and his business associates; and pressuring then NSW District Court chief judge James Staunton to arrange an early trial for his friend Ryan, who was to be tried on a charge of conspiracy.

The behaviour alleged was said to have occurred in the period 1979-1986, when Murphy sat on the bench. There is no Australian precedent for this level of malfeasance by a judge, let alone one of the High Court. In the absence of these allegations remaining unresolved, then High Court chief justice Sir Harry Gibbs was right to (unsuccessfully) oppose Murphy’s resuming his position on the bench.

Already the Murphy apologists are rallying. “When you look at the breadth of the allegations, how absurd they are,” said the sympathetic biographer of Murphy and Gough Whitlam, Jenny Hocking, yesterday, “It’s a pity they’re getting the circulation that they are.” How ironic that Hocking, a professor of Australian studies, would oppose the release of publicly-held material in respect to her subject. This is the same Hocking who insists that the National Archives release private correspondence between former Governor-General Sir John Kerr and the Queen.

Let’s examine one of those allegations in light of the material’s release, that being the so-called Greek Conspiracy case involving alleged mass social security fraud (as it turned out few of those charged were convicted). The Commonwealth Police chief inspector in charge of that matter, Don Thomas, and his superior, assistant commissioner John Davies, met in 1979 with Murphy and Morgan Ryan for lunch at a Kings Cross restaurant.

Thomas stated that Murphy’s High Court associate had contacted him to arrange the meeting. He was not aware that Ryan would be attending and said later he felt uncomfortable about it. “I’ve invited an old friend to come to lunch”, said Murphy when introducing them. Murphy was in charge of the seating arrangements, and sat next to Thomas.

During lunch, Murphy told Thomas that the criticism of the handling of the Greek Conspiracy case was “political”. “We need to get into power in Victoria and we need the Greek vote,” he rationalised. Thomas declined Murphy’s invitation for him to arrange a meeting between himself and a Labor MP. Murphy allegedly said to Thomas “We’ll soon be in power again. We need to know what is going on. We need somebody in the Australian Federal Police — somebody at the top. If you are willing to do that we can arrange for you to be an Assistant Commissioner when it is formed. We have friends on both sides.” Thomas told Murphy he was not interested.

Even if one does not accept that Murphy said this, what legitimate motive would a High Court judge have to lunch with a mere chief inspector of police? And why was Ryan present?

In 1981, Ryan himself would be charged with forgery and later conspiracy in respect to an immigration scam. He was convicted of conspiracy in 1983, but later successfully appealed the decision. In 1987 the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions discontinued the charge.

According to intercepted phone conversations Murphy agreed to make inquiries about the two AFP officers investigating Ryan, James Lewington and Robert Jones. In the transcripts, Ryan later asked “Have you been able to find out about those two fellows who are doing the investigation; are they approachable?” Murphy reportedly replied “The answer was definitely no; they were both very straight.” Does Hocking really believe the allegations against Murphy are still “absurd” in light of this damning revelation?

In the leftist institutions of academia and the legal profession, Murphy is still revered. “I am greatly relieved to hear that the Lionel Murphy Library in this building still bears the name of that creative Attorney-General,” said former High Court judge Michael Kirby in a speech at the Attorney-General’s Department in February 2011. The National Portrait Gallery features a painting of him, along with a lengthy inscription which makes nary a mention of Murphy’s shenanigans.

It is time for the administrators of these legal scholarships, foundations, and libraries to quietly disassociate themselves from Murphy’s name. If they are after a replacement name, how about Briese or Paul Flannery, former judge of the NSW District Court? Both suffered, Briese terribly, as a result of blowing the whistle on Murphy when he attempted to improperly influence them to obtain a favourable outcome for Ryan. That is the price they paid for being a jurist who puts his integrity above doing favours for mates, be they little or big ones.


Do private education dollars count?
Despite new international education data showing Australia spends more on education compared to the OECD average, some media managed to report the opposite -- that we spend less.

How was this mathematical magic achieved? By sleight of hand that makes one category of funding vanish before the audience's eyes. And it requires no rabbits and hats ... just the blithe assumption that: Australia = Australian government.

Of course -- and as you would expect -- if we take into account both public and private money, Australia spends significantly more than the OECD average at all levels of education. This is because, in part, Australia has a relatively high proportion of students attending non-government schools compared to most other countries.

Common sense dictates that if people are spending more of their own money on education, the government should spend less, all else being equal. It's an incredibly strange mentality to think a private dollar is somehow worth less than a public dollar.

In regards to school education, Australian school spending was 3.8% of GDP, higher than the OECD average of 3.6%. Furthermore, public spending on schooling as a percentage of total government expenditure in Australia was 9.4%, much higher than the OECD average of 8.1%. Australia's spending in terms of money per student is also higher.

Based on this data, there is no justification for claims of widespread underfunding in Australia's school system.

In addition, this confirms there is no clear link between school funding and student outcomes at a national level. For example, Japan outperformed Australia on all recent international literacy and numeracy tests but spent much less money.
The comparable data released by the OECD is for 2014 and is always several years delayed, so the figures do not take into account all the large increases in 'Gonski funding' which only began in 2014 and increased at a faster rate in subsequent years. If anything, the numbers likely understate Australia's current level of school spending relative to the rest of the world.

This is a further indication the 'Gonski 2.0' school funding increases are exorbitant, and the government should reduce the excessive funding growth in future years. 


New hospital is a Taj Mahal

This week saw the opening of Australia's most expensive building -- the new Royal Adelaide Hospital. The Royal Adelaide saga has had its share of  political controversy, dissension, threatened walk outs, peace agreements and court appearances.

However, the gigantic $2.4 billion in capital cost is just the start of the impost on taxpayers. The final bill be will north of 10 billion dollars over thirty years. The SA government is on the hook for one million a day till 2046 -- and this will only cover the initial building, ongoing maintenance and provision of non-clinical services in accordance with the private public agreement struck by the state government.

But according to the myths that rule the health debate, this must mean South Australians finally have some good economic news. While the cost of everything else in the state is increasing, led by the highest electricity prices in the nation, the people of South Australia can rest easy in the knowledge they will continue to receive state-of-the-art health care for 'free'.

This, of course, is equivalent to the South Australian state treasurer's voodoo economics claim that the state budget has a surplus 'net operating balance' for 2017-2018.

The even bigger irony is the warnings by health bureaucrats about a 'honey pot effect' -- hordes of patients with minor aliments piling through the front doors.

With 800 beds -- of which all inpatient beds are single rooms -- 40 operating theatres, state of the art technology and "relaxing and healing spaces"  who can blame the punters for seeking the bounty that politicians have promised.

The further irony is that the Royal Adelaide has an emissions reduction target of 50% compared to other hospitals.

If only the boffins had thought of a health policy offset instead of pouring even more money into bricks and mortar hospital infrastructure, before this Taj Mahal of a health project was ever conceived.

The better strategy for the health of the people of South Australia -- and the health of their wallets -- would have been for the South Australian government to have listened to the decades of research showing that health care dollars are far better spent preventing people from going to hospital than building new ones. Another tragic example of how great research and ideas fall on deaf ears when hands are in the money pot.


Israel Folau Is Hardly A Homophobe

The latest public figure to fall afoul of the militant elements in the yes campaign in the same sex marriage plebiscite is Australian Rugby Union star Israel Folau. He put out a respectful tweet stating that he loved and respected people for who they were but would not support gay marriage.

Of course the usual leftist trolls which infest twitter replied to his tweet to accuse him of being a horrible person and treating gay people as inferior.

There were also those who attacked his Christian faith which is the basis for his belief that marriage is between a man and a woman.

But if the yes side thought it was a good idea to label somebody like Israel Folau a homophobe then their abuse is seriously mislaid.

Just because somebody opposes same sex marriage doesn’t make them homophobe and Israel Folau has actively campaigned against homophobia in his sport of rugby union.

In 2014 he was an ambassador for the Bingham Cup which is an international gay Rugby union tournament that was being held in Australia that year. A spokesperson for the Bingham Cup said at the time “Israel is a strong advocate for ending all forms of discrimination in sport”.

He was also happy to appear on the cover of Australian gay magazine the Star Observer to promote the tournament.To their credit the Star Observer acknowledged Folau’s previous activism when reporting his recent tweet, but not before a snide remark at him at th end of the article

When during a game between the ACT Brumbies and the NSW Waratahs Brumbies player Jacques Potgieter was alleged to have used homophobic slurs, in the aftermath Folau said there was no place for homophobia in rugby.

If Folau is a homophobe which is itself a loaded term designed to demonise people then there are a lot of people who have no problem socialising or working with gay people who would also be considered homophobes.

So even though Folau has gone out of his way and used his profile to help gay people feel included in Rugby, because he has a traditional view of marriage that all counts for nothing and he appears to be on par with a gay basher.

Of course you don’t need to imagine if this is the type of abuse an ally like Folau receives what is dished out to others who questions other areas of the LGBT agenda. It has been on display this whole plebiscite campaign. All of this over the top abuse of people during this plebiscite is turning s few people who would be allies in the opposite direction.

Of course Israel Folau is an easy target for these people, it is much harder for these activists to take real homophobes such as Islamic State. Yes campaigners should just respectfully disagree with Folau’s view but still view him as an ally. The people who have directed this abuse at him need to think past their simplistic wooden view of this debate.

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, 2017

In Praise of New Zealand

As we all know, New Zealanders hate Australians -- just as Canadians hate Americans and Scots hate the English.  Big brother is rarely popular.  But I forgive them.  They can't help it. So I am going to perhaps make them feel a little better.

For a small population, they have done remarkably well in business.  Take wines.  Australia has long had a lot of success in selling wines to the world.  The Poms buy twice as much Australian wine as French. So the idea that anybody could sell much wine to us is improbable. Yet the Kiwis have done it.  Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region is now a big seller in Australia.  The one I sometimes buy is under the "Giesen" label.

And New Zealand chocolate?  Not Belgian, not Swiss?  Yes.  For a long time Whittakers of NZ used to export small bars of milk chocolate filled with nuts to us.  Then they managed to get a big order from Australia's biggest supermarket:  Woolworths.  Now they have on offer everywhere a great range of all sorts of choolate.

And New Zealand cheese?  Australia has many dairies that make cheese but more or less forever New Zealand has been selling us a cheese called Epicure.  It was what you bought if you wanted a strong-tasting cheese.  Then a few years back they started selling us "Mainland" cheese in a number of varieties.

But here's the latest.  Australia is a big market for pre-sliced cheese.  And the odd thing is that sliced cheese is the only cheddar cheese that you can buy.  Presumably cheddar slices more easily.  The "national" Australian cheese is "Tasty".  From the look of the supermarket shelves "Tasty" is what 80% of Australians buy.  Lots of dairies make it.  It is basically a cheese that is made as sharp in taste as possible without becoming crumbly.  It is a compromise cheese and, true to their British heritage, Australians like to compromise.  It's less hassle than the alternative.

So when I was looking yesterday for a pack of sliced cheese I saw a newcomer there, a brand called "Hillview" that was cheaper than any other.  Being born frugal, I bought it.  When I got home I tried it and found it to be perfectly good so I wondered why it was so cheap.  So I studied the pack.  And there in small letters was, "Made in New Zealand". They have now invaded our big market for sliced cheese!  They will do well.

UPDATE: My trip to the supermarket this morning yielded a big surprise.  Hillview has really invaded the market. Today there was a big new display of Tasty cheese by them.  They have obviously stitched up a good deal with Woolworths and are here to stay.

Hidden Costs Are Driving Up Cost Of Living And House Prices
New economic modelling shows hidden costs are driving increases in cost of living, surging house prices and mortgage stress

Hidden costs and regulatory creep are driving up house prices and the cost of living according to a new report commissioned by Master Builders Australia.

“Surging house prices are stretching household budgets and placing more families under mortgage stress,” Denita Wawn, CEO of Master Builders Australia said today.

A new independent economic study by Cadence Economics and commissioned by Master Builders confirms that hidden land costs and red tape are major factors in rising house prices and increased cost of living.

“It means that new home buyers are actually paying more for land than they are spending on building their new home,” she said.

“The same constraints have prevented the supply of new homes keeping up with demand over the past decade,” Denita Wawn said.

“Previous analysis by Master Builders has shown that increased infrastructure investment outlined in the Federal Budget could result in an additional 93,000 new homes by 2021, which would go a long way to closing the gap with the Government’s estimated housing shortfall of 100,000 dwellings,” she said.

“Now this new report shows that removing regulatory constraints at the state and territory level will be essential to unlocking this new supply,” Denita Wawn said.

Importantly, the report highlights that these problems exist in all states and territories despite the different market conditions that prevail in each jurisdiction and the benefits to these communities if the recommendations are implemented. In particular, the report supports the Governments intentions to place conditions on housing related funding to the State/Territory Governments, and backs calls to set benchmarks in terms of additional housing supply – specifically for affordable housing. 

“Master Builders is calling for reforms to unlock the supply of more new homes. We want action to be taken now to preserve home ownership as a mainstay of Australian life,” Denita Wawn said.

Media release

CFMEU NSW faces fines of more than $2.4m for Barangaroo strikes

The national construction union faces unprecedented fines of more than $2.4 million for unlawful industrial action on Sydney's Barangaroo building site.

CFMEU NSW boss Brian Parker has been issued an individual fine of $45,400 and his colleague Robert Kera, who the court heard had described Australian Building and Construction Commission inspectors as "f---ing dogs", was handed a $41,250 penalty.

Mr Parker and Mr Kera are also among officials referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions for possible criminal prosecution for allegedly giving false evidence. The judgement noted evidence that Mr Parker's failure to recollect was likely to be an unwillingness to be fully frank.

The union was also ordered to pay for prominent advertising in two Sydney major newspapers to make its members and the public aware of their actions and fines.

The union's national office was fined $1.32 million and its NSW branch $956,250. Fines for other individual officials ranged upwards of $3000.

The Federal Court has found the union officials coerced workers into unlawful strikes on July 24 and 25 in 2014 that saw about 1000 construction workers walk off the job at the $6 billion Barangaroo project.

During the height of the dispute, union officials were reported calling Lendlease employees "dogs", "lower than a paedophile grub" and latte-sipping "soft c---s".

Federal Minister for Employment Michaelia Cash said the lawless industrial strikes at one of the largest construction sites in the southern hemisphere involving 1,000 workers had demonstrated the militant union's disregard for the law. "Recidivist, militant CFMEU officials continue to believe the law does not apply to them," Senator Cash said.

"Enough is enough – Bill Shorten must immediately and unreservedly cut ties with what has become Australia's most notorious union."

In his judgement, Federal Court judge Geoffrey Flick said the CFMEU was a "recidivist" offender and had "long demonstrated by its conduct that it pays but little regard to compliance with the law and indeed has repeatedly sought to place itself above the law". "It is difficult, if not impossible, to envisage any worse conduct than that pursued by the CFMEU," Justice Flick said.

"The CFMEU assumes a prominent role in the industrial affairs of this country and has consistently exhibited a contempt for compliance with the law," he said

"It is difficult to perceive how such conduct can be regarded as in the best interests of the bulk of its member and the workers it supposedly represents. Such conduct may promote the CFMEU as a "militant" union. But the constraints imposed by the law apply to all – including the CFMEU."

Senator Cash said there are more than 90 CFMEU representatives before the courts for more than 1,300 suspected contraventions.

A spokesman for Lendlease declined to comment. A spokeswoman for the CFMEU said it is studying the decision.


Nationals reject George Christensen's bid to ban the burqa - but only just

George Christensen's motion to adopt a policy of banning the burqa was defeated 55-51. The Nationals have rejected renegade MP George Christensen's motion to ban the burqa - but only by a few votes.

Mr Christensen says he will continue to push for the Turnbull government to adopt the policy of banning the face covering from government buildings and public spaces despite his own party's decision.

The urgent motion came to a vote at the Nationals federal conference on Sunday and was defeated 55 to 51.

Mr Christensen said the ban was needed for security reasons but also noted the party was "bleeding to the right" on such issues. The motion comes just weeks after One Nation leader Pauline Hanson caused a firestorm by wearing a burqa to Senate question time as part of her bid to ban it.

"Sadly my push to ban facial coverings in public places where it assists with security and safety just fell short of being passed as policy of the Nationals," Mr Christen said shortly after the vote.

"The federal conference of The Nationals voted 55-51 against the measure with several delegates in favour not being able to be present for the vote. As my local electorate and the LNP's Dawson branch strongly support a ban on facial coverings, I will continue to push for this to be government policy."

Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce voted against the motion, despite disliking the burqa, citing Australia's trade with countries such as Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. "In the agriculture sector, we do a lot of business with Islamic countries. I get along with them, they get along with me, and I just want to make sure that relationship continues on," he said before the vote.

"Have a discussion about security, have a discussion about issues, but just make sure you don't wander off into the realm of  discussing another person's religion. What people believe and how they talk to their God is their business."

Liberal cabinet minister Josh Frydenberg welcomed the Nationals decision, saying the government would not adopt a ban. "We need to be tolerant of all faiths. That being said, for me it is a confronting piece of clothing," he told Sky News.

Mr Joyce's deputy, Fiona Nash, also voted against Mr Christensen's motion. However, sidelined cabinet minister Matt Canavan and junior minister David Gillespie both supported the motion.

The Nationals on Saturday voted to remove all subsidies for renewable energy providers over a five-year period and to freeze them at their current level for the next year.


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, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG says Turnbull and Shorty are two peas in a pod

Deception on freedom of religion key to SSM Yes case

Bible Christianity is a threat to the legitimacy of homosexual behaviour so most homosexuals are hugely hostile towards it.  And the pinkshirt element are very angry and aggressive people. They want tolerance for themselves but will show no tolerance to Christians. 

Once they get homosexual marriage accepted, their campaign against the churches will be stepped up. Anti-discrimination laws, for instance, will be used to attack those who disagree with homosexual marriage. Ultimately there will be no freedom of religion for Bible-believers or Muslims.  A No vote is needed to stop the pinkshirts in their tracks

With the Yes case positioned to win the postal plebiscite, it is more important than ever the misleading and false claims of its advocates — that there is no religious issue at stake — be confronted and the ramifications put on the table.

These claims are made by senior Coalition and Labor politicians. Indeed, it seems they think rejection of the religious argument is fundamental to the success of their campaign. This is alarming because it implies the Yes case depends on persuading the public of a false proposition.

The government and parliament, despite years of emotional debate, declined to address the wider religious freedom question. The political class engaged instead in a great pretence: that the only such issue concerned the wedding ceremony and protections in the Marriage Act for clergy and celebrants, an extremely narrow view of religious freedom.

Given legalisation of same-sex marriage means the laws of the state and laws of most religions will be brought into direct conflict over society’s most essential institution, the one certainty is ongoing legal and political trench warfare over the balance between acceptance of the same-sex marriage norm and the scope for freedom of belief and religion.

There is a litany of examples from the overseas experience. Fatuous remarks that “the world hasn’t come to an end” in countries that have legislated same-sex marriage are just that — and designed to deceive.

Having refused to confront the issue the advocates of the Yes case now get agitated and self-righteous when it has become an issue in the plebiscite. This was inevitable. While some aspects of the No case are obnoxious, its warnings about religious freedoms risks are entirely valid. What matters is that the many highly intelligent political champions of the Yes case are trapped: they are selling a shoddy intellectual bill of goods and many of them know it.

The first point is that religious freedom guarantees in this country are inadequate. This was agreed and documented in February’s Senate select committee report. Unlike many Western nations, Australia has no statutory expression of a stand-alone right to religious freedom. There are far greater legal protections in relation to sexual orientation than in relation to religious belief.

This is an anomaly given that under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights freedom of religion is an inviolable right. The risk now is our parliament undermining Australia’s commitment to the ICCPR.

Evidence presented to the Senate committee shows that statutory protection of religious belief is weak both in federal law and a number of states. It mainly exists as “exemptions” from anti-discrimination law. The Anglican Diocese of Sydney made the obvious point to the committee that this failed to treat freedom of belief and religion as a fundamental human right. Marriage Alliance said: “We submit that religious freedom is a fundamental human right (and) that framing a debate in terms of exemptions misunderstands this fact.”

There was strong support in submissions for parliament to legislate to enshrine religious guarantees as a protected attribute in federal anti-discrimination law. This is the pivotal point. The committee unanimously agreed there was a “need to enhance current protections for religious freedom”. The Human Rights Law Centre said: “Religious freedom should be protected in law. Indeed, we are on record in a number of inquiries supporting the addition of religious belief to protections under federal anti-discrimination law.”

Committee chairman Liberal David Fawcett warned that “if Australia is to remain a plural, tolerant society where different views are valued and legal” then such action on religious freedom is essential. What was the reaction of the Turnbull government and Labor to the Senate report?

It varied between disregard and contempt. The reason is apparent — politics. Labor has abandoned any interest in addressing the inadequacy of religious protection laws with its embrace of the LGBTI cause. As for the Coalition, the story is the weakness of its conservative caucus. The deeper point is the churches are vulnerable and the politicians know it.

The lamentable situation was summarised by the University of Sydney’s Patrick Parkinson: “There have been numerous bills introduced into parliament to enact same-sex marriage over the last few years and what has been common to most of them has been a minimalist protection for freedom of conscience.”

The second core conclusion is that this battle over rights will continue after same-sex marriage is legislated. In Denmark the Lutheran Church has had its rights restricted. The Swedish PM has said priests should no more be allowed to refuse to marry same-sex couples than medical professionals should be exempt from abortion procedures. The Speaker of the British House of Commons says “proper equal marriage” won’t happen until the churches are compelled to obey by law. Australian Greens formally say they want the religious exemptions in anti-discrimination law to be wound back. Many in the ALP left have the same view.

We are being put on notice. You would have to be politically blind to deny the reality (an option many politicians have deliberately chosen). The post-same-sex marriage battle is already under way. This is because while many people genuinely see same-sex marriage as an issue of non-discrimination, this was never its essence. It is an ideological cause seeking fundamental changes in Western society, laws and norms. It will continue apace after the law is changed.

Marriage equality is an ideology and ideologies, by nature, do not settle for compromise victories. As Benjamin Law says in Quarterly Essay: Moral Panic 101: “It might be stating the obvious but same-sex marriage is far from the final frontier in the battle against homophobia.” The struggle will continue — in schools and in institutions. Law says the two biggest LGBTI issues are Safe Schools and same-sex marriage.

He says Safe Schools is “supposed to discomfort people” by up-ending how we see gender and sexuality. He talks about exploding accepted norms with queer theory, inviting “people to reconsider why anyone should be obliged to identify as female or male at all”. The aim is to introduce Safe Schools across the country and make it compulsory.

The pretence by Yes case politicians that the plebiscite has no consequences for the Safe Schools program treats us like fools. Legislation of same-sex marriage will tilt the scales decisively in this struggle between sexual rights and religious freedom. This legal and cultural change will influence decision-makers everywhere — public servants, corporates, media and educational institutions.

The churches will remain a prime target and the fact their protections are weak makes them highly vulnerable once the assault gains momentum.

The Yes case bases its campaign on human rights but misses the exquisite irony that you cannot cherry-pick human rights and keep your integrity. As Parkinson said, consistency of principle means those who justify their campaign on human rights need to give proper consideration to how rights can be balanced.

That hasn’t happened in Australia, not even remotely. Every sign is Australia will legalise same-sex marriage devoid of any serious attention to religious freedom issues and, as a result, religious protections will be exposed and sacrificed.

The politicians are doing this because they think they can get away with it. They are entitled to that judgment. What they are not entitled to is a gross deception. The assurances they give on religious protection are worthless — their inaction proves that. People, regardless of how it affects their vote, need to know the reality.


Free speech in Australia under heavy threat over homosexuality

 Free speech is under siege. Everywhere we look, there’s a new attack on the rights and liberties of Australian citizens. In the same-sex marriage postal vote, gay-left militants are showing their true colours.

For them, “marriage equality” is not about love and tolerance.  It’s part of a spiteful obsession to get their own way in life, wiping out contrary points of view.  Instead of debating the issue, freely and openly, their preferred tactic is authoritarianism: vilifying, bullying and boycotting anyone who disagrees with them.

If a doctor like Pansy Lai says she believes in traditional man-woman marriage, they try to have her thrown out of the medical profession. If two parliamentarians have a civil debate about the Marriage Act, hosted by a beer manufacturer like Coopers, the militant tendency tries to close down the company. If parents organise a meeting at their local church to discuss the education of their children and Safe Schools program, as they did in Brisbane last Thursday night, gay-left protesters try to block them from entering the building.

Is this a forerunner to the type of division and intimidation that will dominate Australian politics if the Yes vote succeeds?

A nation where anyone who chooses not to worship at the altar of homosexuality and gender fluidity will be run out of town?

I fear for the Christian cake-makers and tailors who chose not to be involved in gay and transgender marriage ceremonies. In the United States, with the passage of “marriage equality”, these small businesspeople have been attacked and demonised — fighting all the way to the Supreme Court to defend their rights.

The only way to stop a similar reign of terror in Australia is to vote down the postal ballot.

The Turnbull government is not proposing to legislate to protect the religious freedoms of these people.

The only practical freedom for Christians and conservatives is the freedom of gay marriage never coming into law.

If gay-left militancy and legal inconsistency weren’t bad enough, last month there was a third strike against free speech in Australia.

The High Court refused to hear Major Bernard Gaynor’s appeal against his unfair dismissal from the Australian Army.

In June 2013, Gaynor received a notice from the Chief of the Defence Force David Hurley, confirming his sacking on the grounds of “intolerance of homosexuals, transgender persons and women” that were “contrary to (Defence’s) policies and cultural change program”.

As a political activist, in his private time, Gaynor had made a series of contentious statements — most notably, that he would not allow gays to teach his children at school. This is not something with which I agree, but so what. They are Gaynor’s children, not mine or anyone else’s.

As a father he has the right to decide what’s best for his family. Having outlined his views publicly, they should have been seen as an exercise in parental belief and free speech.

Hurley acknowledged that Gaynor “was not on duty, in uniform or performing any service for the Army at the time of the comments”.

He also said Gaynor had “interacted with male and female Defence members in a cordial and respectful manner in the workplace”. Gaynor was a decorated war hero, having served in Iraq. He hadn’t done anything other than articulate political opinions consistent with his Christian faith and parental responsibilities.

Yet he was out on his ear.

After two years of court action and huge personal expense, the High Court ended Gaynor’s matter by not even hearing it.

It’s like the old line about homosexuality: I don’t care what they do, as long as they don’t make it compulsory.

In today’s ADF, it is compulsory, even in one’s private life, to gushingly support same-sex and transgender relationships. How is this relevant to national security? It’s another politically correct distraction from the core responsibilities of government.

Australia urgently needs a Free Speech Act. Twenty years ago, in the Lange case, the High Court declared that Australians enjoyed the “implied rights” of freedom of political speech. As our constitution is based on a vigorous parliamentary democracy, we need to be able to debate issues without censorship or punishment.

Yet in Gaynor’s case the High Court ignored this principle. If it won’t defend its own precedents for free speech, Parliament must legislate instead.


‘Grow a spine’

The pinkshirts say that there should be no debate on homosexual marriage because it will upset their delicate little egos to have their practices questioned in public.  It is a very poor excuse for trying to suppress free speech

Nationals senator Matt Canavan says people offended by the same-sex marriage debate need to “grow a spine” and stop being “delicate little flowers” amid warnings the campaign was having an impact on the mental health of gay people.

Mr Canavan said this morning the debate had not been “that bad” in response to a statement by the National Mental Health Commission which issued concern about the impact the campaign could have on gay people.

“Can’t we just all grow a spine and grow up? The debate hasn’t been that bad, indeed if there is any complaints to be had it’s from those who advocate Yes, some of the vile tweets and statements we have heard from Yes campaigners,” Mr Canavan said.

“But I can ignore that, let’s stop being delicate little flowers and have a proper debate.

“This is an institution that has stood the test of time for thousands of years, it is an institution that remains a union between a man and a woman in a majority of countries, all countries really in our region and that is going to be maintained for years.”

Mr Canavan said it was hypocrisy for Yes campaigners to call No advocates bigots, given they would not go to Indonesia and do the same.

“Say we do change the law here in Australia and apparently if you do hold a different view and hold a traditional view of marriage you are a bigot, how do we go to Indonesia and talk to them in reasonable way?

“These people say if you hold a different view you are a bigot, Indonesia is not going to change.”


‘Marketing con’ fears as Elon Musk’s SA battery costs remain secret

A contract between US tech billionaire Elon Musk and the South Australian government for the world’s largest lithium-ion battery hides the cost and key details, fuelling claims the deal is a “marketing con”.

The contract says the grid-­connected battery facility is to be commissioned and operational by December 1.

“The facility will provide ser­vices to maintain power system security, integrity and stability for the South Australian electricity network, prevent certain load shedding events, provide supply during critical peak periods and participate in ancillary services and wholesale electricity markets,” the contract says.

The contract value is “not disclosed” and the contract is “not disclosed in full as it contains confidential business information”.

Mr Musk’s company Tesla won a public tender in July from about 90 other bidders. It will build a 100-megawatt battery to store energy from French renewable company Neoen’s Hornsdale Wind Farm near Jamestown, 230km north of Adelaide.

Mr Musk won the contract after promising to build the giant battery in 100 days or it would be free. Although the contract start date is listed as July 6, the “100 days or it’s free” pledge starts only once a grid interconnection agreement has been signed.

The opposition said it was outrageous the state government could disclose what it paid Origin for gas, Caltex for fuel and Qantas for air travel, but could not say how much it was paying a foreign billionaire for a battery.

“With every passing day Labor’s secret deal sounds more like a marketing con than a genuine plan to deal with South Australia’s electricity problems,” Liberal deputy leader Vickie Chapman said. “Jay Weatherill needs to be honest with the people of South Australia about how much public money he is handing over to a foreign billionaire.

“The last time the government was being this secretive about a contract it was the Gillman land deal. That ended up being investigated by the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption.”

It is understood specific financial and technical details of the contract have been kept commercial-in-confidence at the request of Neoen and Tesla. The cost is estimated at about $50 million.

Tesla will not comment, but will make a “milestone” announcement at the site on September 29.

Sources said Neoen, Tesla and the government were negotiating with the Australian Energy Market Operator and private transmission company ElectraNet for approval of the connection agreement as soon as possible.

Construction has started at the site and the batteries are being shipped to South Australia.

A government spokesman said the project would stabilise the wind-reliant grid and add competition to reduce prices.

“Instead of criticising aspects of the plan that AEMO says will improve grid security, (Opposition Leader) Steven Marshall should announce his own energy policies, rather than keep them ­secret,” the spokesman said.

On Tuesday, a fleet of generators that arrived in South Australia from Europe at the weekend were awaiting installation at two sites as part of the Weatherill government’s plan to prevent blackouts this summer ahead of the March state election.

The state government further delayed its Energy Security Target to January 1, 2020, after criticism from companies including Tesla. The target requires retailers to source 36 per cent of the state’s electricity needs from gas gener­ators and other synchronous power sources.


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

13 September, 2017

Does poverty cause suicide?

That it does is the implicit message below.  And it is true that the poor suicide more.  But is the poverty the cause of the suicide?  In the case of the person highlighted below it would seem to be an hereditary depressive illness.  Many close relatives to him had suicided too.

From my reading of the literature, social isolation and loss of important relationships are the main cause of suicide. We need connectedness with others. So how do we explain the correlation with poverty?

I think we need to see poverty not as a cause but as an effect.  many things can lay you low financially, including mental illnesses such as schizophrenia.  And there is also extravagance, monetary incontinence. If you repeatedly blow all your money soon after you get it, you are going to be long-term poor. And extravagance in turn can reflect deficient impulse control, which is again a mental weakness. 

And a major correlate of poverty is IQ.  Some people just cannot cope with modern work requirements.  Jobs have become more complex as time has gone by.  Digging ditches manually was so simple anyone could do it but few jobs are that simple anymore. So the low IQ person is more likely to be unemployed, often for long periods.  And unemployment is depressing in a host of ways.  And it is ultimately a depressive state of mind that leads on to suicide.

So a more measured and detailed look at people at risk of suicide is what is needed for prevention purposes. Just blaming poverty is irresponsibly simplistic and unlikely to help.  The most officialdom is ever likely to provide is anti-psychotic and anxiolytic medication.  The churches will be the major source of social and emotional support. Neither governments nor Leftist organizations have any track-record in that function.

I was standing inside a tacky “instant cash loan” place in main street, Dandenong, I had just applied for a $200 loan.

“Sorry love we can’t help you today,” the Eastern European lady at the loan shop I’ll call CASH NOW EXCITING WOW said.

I was broke and living on a friend’s couch. I went to three other “instant cash loan” places who said no to giving me a loan that day. Plus I’d been into Centrelink and asked for a cash advance — I got rejected for that too.

I also had a bad back and was losing my battle with the insurance company. I’d just borrowed money from a friend earlier that day — she needed it by the next morning for her daughter’s school excursion. CASH NOW EXCITING WOW’s final rejection meant I realised I couldn’t repay her by that night like I promised.

Twelve months earlier I had a well-paying, high-status job; I’d been on TV, the radio, I wrote for magazines — everyone took my call when I was a journalist — most people wanted to be my friend.

After CASH NOW’s rejection I felt disconnected, life seemed pointless; broken beyond repair. I walked for hours plotting ways to die. I eventually followed one street all the way to Dandenong Hospital’s emergency room and told them I wanted to kill myself.

It wasn’t the first time I’d been suicidal. But it was the first time that financial despair had driven me to it.

And the experience turned out to be illuminating in more ways than one — years later, I would start reading and find what is rarely talked about: The link between being on a lower-income and suicide.

Not that long ago terms like “affluenza” and “cashed-up bogans” were freely thrown around. Yes we know that “money doesn’t make you happy”, but being dirt poor can drive you to despair — male suicide in Australia was at the highest in the 1930s Great Depression.

Many studies show the link between unemployment and suicide: unemployed men suicide about 4.62 times the rate of employed men in Australia according the latest research by the University of Melbourne.

The latest available ABS figures show Australia’s annual suicide rate is 12 per 100,000 — the highest in 10 years. We know men are more at risk, so too LGBTI people and the indigenous. But since 2002, ABS data hasn’t recorded occupation or income (currently it looks only at age, race, gender) of those who have taken their own life — when it did it showed the unemployed, tradies and labourers were the ones most likely to suicide.

Contemporary figures showing the link between income, class and suicide proved hard to find. But the suicide rate for trades people is 21 per 100,000 and for labourers it’s an astonishing 34 per 100,000 (nearly triple the national average).

Compare that to the suicide rates of male managers of 7 suicides per 100,000, and middle-class professionals of 13 per 100,000.

There are a few aberrations including veterinarians and those working in the medical profession, who have high suicide rates, but otherwise the trend appears relatively clear.

“The main drivers of suicide are disconnection, and a loss of hope and purpose,” Alan Woodward Director of Lifeline Australia told

“We know financial struggles and personal indebtedness is a factor that can lead people to feel suicidal ... if you are unemployed there is a strong chance your social network will reduce and you may experience some loss of a sense of contributing to the community.”

“Some occupations have some features, less control of the nature of their work, less fulfilment, job satisfaction, possibility to exposure to unsafe areas.

And of course — most of those jobs are male-dominated. “Traditional masculine behaviour and attitudes have been found to relate to reduced and delayed help-seeking for mental health problems,” he said.

When I reflect back on the day my financial crisis led to suicidal ideation, I do think about the lack of meaning in my life right then. I had tried to do everything right: I had been studying law, I’d spent most of my life climbing the socio-economic ladder just as my parents had lifted themselves out of their parents’ poverty. There I was — begging for money.

My Dad is on a disability support pension after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder 10 years ago. He has attempted suicide a few times. His Dad had schizophrenia and suicided. My Dad’s brother also took his own life, so did my cousin.

Back at Dandenong hospital the day I was completely broke and suicidal, I ended up speaking with a great psychiatric nurse, who gave me a very good counselling session, an antipsychotic and a bed for the night.

While it didn’t solve my problem, it did help me deal with these issues with a clearer head the next day.

And while mental health is clearly not just all about the individual, I did need to get my head together initially to work out how to solve my problem.

I’m extremely grateful for the help and cherish the fact I have gone to live another seven fulfilling years.


Racist homosexual supporters

The fight for marriage equality is important. But there’s no room in it for racism, writes Anisha Gautam

Growing up in Australia with a hyphenated migrant identity is a unique experience, and yet it would be fair to say that most migrant Australians, particular those with visible differences, will at some point in their lives face at least two, very common racist sentiments. The first one is the ubiquitous question “Where do you come from?” as though, despite our multicultural make up, it is impossible to believe that a person with brown skin, say, might just “be” from Australia.

The second is a statement, that old chestnut: “Go back to where you come from.”

As a somewhat outspoken advocate for minority rights, I cannot count the number of times I have had that sentiment hurled at me with the utmost contempt and hatred. It is a sentiment that is most often expressed when a migrant Australian is deemed to be insufficiently ‘grateful’ to the nation as, for example, when a migrant Australian dares to criticise an unjust government policy.

It is also expressed when a migrant Australian simply dares to express an opinion that the xenophobic right simply doesn’t agree with.

I was very disappointed, however, when I recently found the same sentiment being expressed by advocates of same-sex marriage under an article about the ‘No’ campaigner Dr Pansy Lai. “If she doesn’t like our modern secular society with western values of equality,” one commentator write, “maybe she should leave.” Another commentator suggested that perhaps Dr Lai “would be more comfortable practicing back in China where SSM is illegal”.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely do not agree with Dr Lai. Her opinions on same-sex marriage are, as far as I’m concerned, wrong, and her contribution to the ‘No’ campaign ad was both absurd and harmful. Dr Lai’s organization – the Australian Chinese for Families Association – is also doing the nation a great disservice in advocating against the Safe Schools Program, which aims to protect the most vulnerable of the nation’s children. Moreover, if true, it is abhorrent that the organisation advocates the dangerous and discredited conversation therapy as a “cure” for same-sex attraction.

As far as I am concerned, Dr Lai, in coming forward as a public advocate against same-sex marriage has left herself open to many things. She is currently facing, I would argue rightly, the contempt and scorn of those of us fighting to legalize same-sex marriage as a matter of human rights and human dignity.

What she should not face, however, no matter how abhorrent her opinions, are calls to “go back to where you come from.” Because when you say it to her, you say it to me, and to every other migrant who considers himself or herself Australian. Because when you tell one migrant Australian that they are not welcome in the country because their opinion is unacceptable, you tell every one of us that our welcome, too, is contingent in saying and doing the ‘right’ thing, whatever the issue may be. Because it is racist.

If you think my argument is unfair, take a moment to read the comments under articles on Cella White, the white woman in the same video for the No campaign who claimed that her son’s school encouraged him to wear a dress. Not once will you see any calls for her to leave the country because while her argument is called out as absurd and her stance bigoted, being white, her “Australianness,” her right to continue to live in Australia, is never called into question.

The fact is, migrant Australians are not all the same. We do not think in the same way, we do not vote for the same parties. Some of us are progressives and willing to fight for a more just world, and others are willing to fight to keep the status quo. As sad as it makes me to say it, just as I have the right to be progressive, so Dr Lai has the right to be bigoted. When we accept others into our national fabric, we need to do so wholeheartedly, accepting that they are Australian unconditionally, for good or for bad.

Most of us have been put in a situation we did not want, having to participate in what is essentially a national survey on whether or not our LGBTIQ allies should have the same rights that the rest of us have had for centuries.

This campaign has been exactly what the government promised it would not be: hateful, cruel and divisive. It is important that we continue to fight the misinformation published by the ‘No’ campaign but we must do without compromising our ideals as agents of social progress.

Resorting to racism is not a strategy we should engage, if we want to win the bigger war against all injustice.


‘No’ mums hit back against bullying after ad against same-sex marriage airs and say they have been demonised for their views

I doubt there is any opposing opinion to same sex marriage that the Left will not say is hateful.

THE mothers featured in the “No” campaign ad against same-sex marriage say they have been “demonised” for defending their rights.

Heidi McIvor, who is a pastor at City Builders Church in Sale, Victoria appeared in the TV ad for Coalition for Marriage, which aired on Tuesday. “Kids in year seven are being asked to role play being in a same-sex relationship,” Ms McIvor says in the ad.

Ms McIvor’s comment has sparked a backlash, with Ms McIvor and her husband Julian McIvor also falsely accused of being behind a newspaper ad that appeared in The Gippsland Times and entitled “What is Marriage?”

The ad includes the line that: “When the wife’s egg is fertilised by the husband’s sperm in the marital act of love, a flash of light occurs and a baby is conceived. Nine months later, ‘their’ baby is born. It is not ‘hers’ and it is not ‘his’. They have created new life together.”

One Facebook user of the couple said: “Let’s burn there (sic) church”.

It later emerged the couple did not place the ad and Ms McIvor has condemned the reaction to her television appearance.

“I am perplexed that the response to this ad hasn’t been to verify our claims or research what is happening to education and parents’ rights overseas,” she said in a statement to

“Instead it has been to delve into the personal and work lives of the women on this ad and use it to discredit us, demonising mothers for defending their rights.”

Another mother that appears in the ad, Dr Pansy Lai, has been identified as a paediatrician based in Sydney’s North Shore.

She’s emerged as the founder of the group Australian Chinese for Families Association that was originally created to oppose the Safe Schools initiative, but has evolved to campaign against same-sex marriage as well.

In the TV ad Dr Lai says: “when same-sex marriage passes as law overseas, this type of program become (sic) widespread and compulsory”.

After her appearance it emerged she has promoted conversion therapy and there have been calls for her to be investigated by the Australian Medical Association and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.

But Dr Lai hit back at the claims, telling “I don’t “promote” gender conversion therapy. If people wish to do it they can, but I do not promote it to anyone”.

Details of Dr Lai’s workplace address have been published and she was sent a message that she should bring extra security to work.

In relation to the backlash, Dr Lai said: “I find it sad that everyday mums are being attacked for raising genuine concerns about the implications of redefining marriage”.

A Coalition for Marriage spokeswoman said the treatment the mums had received had become characteristic of the response of same-sex marriage advocates, “which is to bully, intimidate and even threaten anyone who disagrees into silence”.

“The only way to protect freedom of speech for everyone is to vote ‘no.’”

Another Coalition for Marriage spokeswoman Sophie York also released a message to ‘No’ supporters that said the Yes campaign had been “aggressively vilifying us” and trying to make them out as “bullies” and “bad guys” for opposing same-sex marriage.

“They sure screamed when our ad hit the air, and are still trying to knock our campaign as ‘rubbish’,” she said of the ad that aired on Tuesday.

“Yet it is THEIR campaign that was caught creating fake news. It is THEIR campaign that has been exposed for falsifying facts. And it is THEIR campaign for a ‘Yes’ vote that threatens to destroy our entire Aussie way of life.”

But it’s not just the ‘No’ campaign copping criticism. A parody ad that aired on The Project and which skewers the ‘No’ ad, has also faced a backlash.

The video, which has been viewed more than 400,000 times drew a mixed reaction, with some applauding its humour and others calling it biased.

There have also been offensive flyers sent to homes in the Sydney suburb of Hurstville that said legalising gay marriage would allow rapists to pose as “transsexual women” in order to enter female toilets.


Lucky Melbourne again

A gang of 'African' youths have stormed a Melbourne Coles, leaving shoppers terrified.

Mother-of-three was Alicia Fulcher was shopping with her young children at the Spring Hill shopping centre Coles on Saturday afternoon when the gang crashed through.

'All of a sudden this large crowd of basically teenagers just started crashing their way through the registers with arms full of stock,' Ms Fulcher told 3AW Radio. 'I was terrified.'

Ms Fulcher told the program there were about 20-25 young people involved in the looting. 'Some of them looked as young as 11-12 years old,' she said.

'They were all African… They are obviously here from Africa and everybody is getting angry about it. 'They seem to be sticking together… and taking over I think.'

Ms Fulcher said the young people had no fear of being caught and even stopped to compare what they had stolen only metres from the store.

Victoria Police are investigating the incident. In a statement police said: 'They went through and grabbed a range of items, leaving the store soon after without making any attempts to pay.  'It is believed confectionary, chips and soft drinks were stolen.

'The teenagers are perceived to be of African appearance and a number of them were wearing hooded jumpers and backpacks.'


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, 2017

It is impossible for homosexuals to form a true marriage

They can at best impersonate a real marriage

In Australia we are currently having a nation-wide postal survey on Australian marriage law in order to determine whether the definition of marriage should be changed to include homosexual relationships.

There is currently a lot of talk about same sex marriage being marriage equality. But is it?  It will in fact always remain fundamentally different

As I see it, by nature, a man and woman are different not equal.  Equality does not enter into it. And that difference brings a diversity of capacities to the marriage -- a diversity that a homosexual union cannot usually have.  No doubt there are, for instance, some homosexual men who are good with children but homosexual men in general cannot give the near-guarantee of being good with children that a heterosexual woman can give.  The diversity of the parties in a normal marriage gives the marriage as a whole a nearly double range of strengths and possibilities.  What one partner cannot do the other might, making the partnership as a whole more versatile.  Division of labour will be much more effecrtive.

And it is presumably specialization and division of labour that have caused men and women to evolve differently in the first place.  A partnership that has far fewer possibilities for division of labour is flying in the face of evolution and can rarely if at all be as strong and effective.

Men and women are necessary to each other, and only in that sense are they equal to each other.  A half plus the other half equals the whole. But a half plus the same half merely equals the same half.

A man and a woman are two halves that make a whole. A man and woman together become one, make life, become part of the ongoing flow of nature. A man and a man, and a woman and a woman, cannot do that without the assistance of the other sex, so their marriage is not equal to the marriage of a man and woman.

But it is no business of the government to ask what anybody does with their private bits.  It is only when the Left asks government to describe something as what it is not that an issue arises.  But in the great spirit of Anglo-Saxon compromise,  there would seem to be no objection to issuing homosexual couples with a certificate naming them and headed: "Homosexual marriage certificate".  That would make clear that the marriage is a special case and not a true marriage -- JR


Leftist diversity warriors are the real racists

What does it matter if someone is white, old or male?  Are they the best person for the job is the only objective consideration.  Bring race into it is racist. The Left are race-obsessed

MAYORS and councillors could have salaries and allowances increased or slashed depending on their training and qualifications as part of changes being considered by WA Labor to shake up local government.

The idea comes as the State Government looks for ways to bring greater diversity to local government, with a report showing councils are dominated by “white, elderly males”.

The Government is also set to look again at the culture of gifts and “contributions” showered upon councillors, often from property developers and big business.

Local Government Minister David Templeman said councils needed to find new ways of attracting women, younger people and individuals of varied ethnicities to serve if they were to be truly representative of their communities.

He pointed to a study by researchers at the University of WA which found just 33 per cent of people elected to WA councils were women and 60 per cent of councillors were aged over 55.

“This census confirms that the white elderly male, or what some refer to as the ‘male, pale and stale’ stereotype prevails within the real world,” the UWA study concluded.

The report suggests councillors be required to undertake a minimum number of accredited training courses so they were aware of their duties and responsibilities.

"Minimum training is important,” Mr Templeman said.“You could link that of course to remuneration ... you don’t get your top level maximum amount unless you have done your minimum requirement.”

As part of long-promised changes, the Government wants powers to sack councillors. Currently, it can only remove an entire council for poor performance.

Mr Templeman also confirmed Labor was looking again at gifts for councillors and how they were reported by shires and cities.

Last week, the State Administrative Tribunal ruled Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi should be banned from office for 18 months after she failed to properly disclose gifts and travel. The Court of Appeal has placed that ban on hold until a challenge is heard, but Ms Scaffidi has agreed not to perform any official duties in that time.

This year, the Corruption and Crime Commission warned that councils were plagued by corruption and mismanagement, and the body had fielded 700 allegations of misconduct in councils over the past two years.

In NSW, political parties are banned from taking donations from property developers. The WA Opposition has also promised to ban property developers from becoming local councillors should it win office.


ANTI same-sex marriage MPs have hit out at a tweet by equality advocate Benjamin Law, claiming his joke amounted to “online bullying”.

COALITION MPs have hit out at a “vile” tweet by gay rights advocate Benjamin Law, claiming his joke criticising anti same-sex marriage campaigners amounted to “online bullying”.

The comedian and TV star posted a tweet 11 days ago that read: “Sometimes find myself wondering if I’d hate-f*** all the anti-gay MPs in parliament if it meant they got the homophobia out of their system.”

It generated almost 300 likes and many replies, including one that reads, “Start with (Andrew) Hastie,” the Liberal and Christian MP for Canning in Western Australia.

Mr Law then tweeted: “[sighs heavily, unzips pants].”

Former army officer Mr Hastie yesterday told The Australian: “Noting my skills acquired in my previous ­career, I’d like to see him try.”

The MP also claimed no one who was against same-sex marriage would get away with such a joke. “If anyone on the No campaign jokingly suggested using sex as a weapon against Yes campaigners, there’d be immediate calls for their resignation and marginalisation. Instead this guy gets a 20,000-word platform from Quarterly Essay.”

Mr Law told the newspaper: “Sure, the member for Canning has decent cheekbones, but he’s a little too clean-cut for my tastes.

“It’s cute Andrew Hastie would presume to think I’m talking about him. However, it’s also telling — and worrying — that the member for Canning sees the phrase ‘anti-gay MP’ and immediately ­assumes I’m referring to him. If Andrew Hastie has specific reservations about the contents of my Quarterly Essay on Safe Schools, I’d welcome his thoughts over email or beers.”

Mr Law’s essay, published today, calls for the Safe Schools program to be implemented in every school, and criticises the $122 million postal survey on same-sex marriage for accommodating “those who think same-sex romantic partnerships are inferior to heterosexual ones”.

Another reply to Mr Hastie’s tweet read: “Shotgun Bernardi *eyes off George Christiansen’s (sic) whip*.”

Mr Christensen also waded into the discussion, attacking Mr Law’s tweet as “vile filth”.

He added: “It’s ironic that most supporters of Safe Schools say they support it because it’s anti-bullying and yet they engage in some of the worst online bullying you’d ever ­encounter.”


Labor hedges on coal-fired power station

Bill Shorten says Labor won't rule out supporting extending the life of a NSW coal-fired power station, despite comparing it to a 50-year-old car.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg will meet with executives from AGL - owner of the Liddell power station in the Hunter Valley - in Canberra on Monday to discuss keeping the plant open beyond its scheduled 2022 shutdown.

A new report says eastern states risk blackouts if 1000 megawatts can't be found to fill the gap in electricity demand as old coal-fired power is shut down.

Labor says the government needs to think beyond a plan for Liddell and quickly adopt a clean energy target, as recommended by Chief Scientist Alan Finkel, to give investors long-term certainty.

"With the Liddell power station, it's 50 years old. What car do (people) drive that is 50 years old?" Mr Shorten told reporters in Melbourne on Friday.

"If something can be done, which is commercial, Labor is not going to immediately rule that out.

"But ... I hope (Mr Turnbull's) got a little bit more than just that plan."

Mr Turnbull said keeping Liddell open for up to five years was an obvious solution, but not the only one.

"That's one option, there will no doubt be others," he told reporters in Samoa, where he was attending the Pacific Islands Forum.

NSW power station operator Delta Electricity had indicated interest in Liddell, and the prime minister imagined other energy companies would also examine it.

Labor climate spokesman Mark Butler said he did not accept the premise there would be a shortfall in electricity generation.

"We don't have a problem with old plants closing, the problem is that we don't have a plan to replace them and I know that if we put a clean energy target in place ... we would see substantial investment flow," he said.

The Australian Greens oppose lengthening Liddell's life, and are instead calling for the orderly retirement of coal-fired power stations.

The Greens say supply issues can be addressed by boosting dispatchable renewable power, improving storage such as batteries and better managing demand.

Treasurer Scott Morrison said it was important to keep Liddell and other coal-fired power stations open.

"(Mr Shorten) needs to be straight with particularly the many, many Labor Party supporters who have relied on the Labor Party up there in the Hunter Valley for their jobs and they're walking away from them," he told reporters in Sydney.

"They've put up the white flag on coal-fired power in the Hunter Valley and they're selling them out."


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, 2017

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull cops social media backlash over photo of him holding granddaughter and beer at the footy

Proof that conservatives can't win.  What should have been a pleasant, normal scene was ripped apart by Leftist criticism.  When I told my son about the photo and then told him of the adverse reaction, he roared with disgust

IT seemed innocent enough ... a photo of the Prime Minister holding his baby granddaughter while watching the footy.

But Malcolm Turnbull’s latest Facebook post has prompted a huge backlash online.

The PM has been branded "irresponsible" for the photo, which showed him holding his granddaughter Alice, with a beer in his other hand at the AFL final between the Swans and Bombers at the SCG yesterday.

He captioned the image "multi-tasking".

But Facebook users were not impressed, calling the PM out for being an "irresponsible" child minder and using the opportunity to criticise him over the upcoming gay marriage plebiscite.

One Facebook user commented: "Wasting 150 million dollars and watching the footy at the same time. #multi-tasking".

Another wrote: "Does anyone see anything irresponsible with an adult hold(ing) a baby and juggling a beer? And when was drinking while holding a child OK?"

The backlash continued: "I find it disgusting to see people breathing grog all over baby’s but sadly I’m not surprised by Malcolm doing it."

Turnbull’s Facebook post, which has attracted more than 7000 "likes", was inundated with more than 600 comments -- and counting.

While many slammed the PM, others defended the photo, saying there was nothing wrong with it.

One of Turnbull’s followers wrote, "To me it’s a nice pic of an Aussie Dad at the footy with his grandchild", while another said "good on him for being natural".


Turnbull calls for NT government to scrap moratorium on hydraulic fracturing

The Prime Minister has called on the Northern Territory Government to scrap its moratorium on hydraulic fracturing.

Malcolm Turnbull was in Darwin this morning to address the annual conference for the Country Liberals party.

During his 25-minute speech Mr Turnbull linked the ban to stopping the north being developed. "My message to Michael Gunner is pull the trigger," Mr Turnbull said.  "Get on with it. Get on with it."

"The jobs, the investment, the opportunities that come with opening up 180 years of gas that you're sitting on is endless."

NT Labor were elected in a landslide last year on a promise to impose a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing until an independent scientific inquiry was carried out.

That is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year, at which point the Government will decide whether to allow fracking or ban it entirely.

It's estimated there's more than 200 trillion cubic feet of gas resources in six onshore basin in the NT, which would potentially provide enough gas to power Australia for more than 200 years.

Mr Turnbull also blamed Bill Shorten and Federal Labor for Australia's energy crisis. "It's has been created by Labor left ideology and incompetence.. Blackout Bill, fair dinkum, as my old dad would have said, he is so hopeless he could not find his backside with both hands."


Medical regulator, police raid anti-vax GP

I would hang the b*stard myself.  He literally is a baby killer.  The only thing that can protect the newborn from dread illnesses like whooping cough is herd immunity -- and anti-vaxxers destroy that

The medical regulator  has raided the clinic of an anti-vax Melbourne GP, seizing computers and patients' files.

Dr John Piesse, who is temporarily suspended while being investigated for helping parents side-step the "no jab, no play" laws, said the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency raided the Nerida James Natural Healing Centre in Mitcham on Friday morning.

"I have been informed that the offices were raided," Dr Piesse said. "They took computers used for appointments, accounting and diagnostics. None of those computers have patients' records on them. A lot of manual files with patients' records were taken, he said.

A spokeswoman for the medical regulator confirmed the raid occurred, but would not give any details.

"In the course of our work AHPRA staff attended a premises yesterday," she said. "Because this was part of an ongoing investigation we cannot comment further."

A Victoria Police spokeswoman said police accompanied the medical regulator to the practice.

Dr Piesse, who wasn't at the clinic at the time, said patients had to be turned away as the raid continued all day.

"I am horrified, but on the other hand I understand AHPRA has been doing some really horrible things against doctors who are not mainstream and who practise differently," he said.

"The department [should) have a reasonable discussion with me, [instead], they start a trial by media and issue all these nasty allegations against me, and then ... plan a politically motivated attack on me for the simple reason that I support parents who have very good reason for not wanting to vaccinate."

Last week, Dr Piesse agreed to temporarily stop practising as a doctor after being advised his medical registration could be suspended after medical authorities launched an investigation into his registration.

The GP has previously been reprimanded by the regulator.  In August, Dr Piesse and his colleague, naturopath Nerida James, attended a screening of the controversial anti-vaccination film Vaxxed in Hawthorn, where he told participants there were ways in which parents could get vaccination exemptions and he knew of other doctors who were providing them.

Under "no jab, no play" legislation introduced in 2016, childcare services and kindergartens must first obtain evidence that a child is fully immunised for their age, or on a catch-up vaccination program, or is unable to be fully immunised for medical reasons, before enrolling them.

Many parents involved in the anti-vaccination movement fear a link between the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine and autism. Such a link was first suggested in 1998 by UK researcher Andrew Wakefield. His research, which was based on only 12 children, has since been disproved and retracted.

Victoria's Health Department first raised concerns with the regulator over Dr Piesse after he wrote to the Health Minister in August 2016 to apply for exemptions.

Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy said she was deeply concerned Dr Piesse had continued to practice after years of disregard for community safety. "His arrogant boasts against vaccination are frustrating and irresponsible," Ms Hennessy said.

"It is completely irresponsible for people – particularly clinicians who are entrusted with the health of our community – to ignore the science and encourage parents not to immunise their children."

Ms Hennessy said practitioners who "peddle lies and misinformation about immunisation" put the health and safety of children at great risk. "They must be stopped and punished appropriately," she said.

"AHPRA's current undertaking and investigation onto Dr Piesse's registration is a step in the right direction."

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has warned that any registered doctors who  advocate against vaccination will "have the full force of the authorities come down on them".

"There will be no sympathy, none at all, from the government if the authorities take the strongest possible decisions."


A gay comic given to Year 7 English students to study has caused a stir

A GRAPHIC novel featuring two princesses who fall in love with each other has been given to Year 7 students at a public high school as part of an English lesson.

The hard-cover comic Princess Princess Ever After has been described in a review as an example of a “romantic fairy tale for children featuring LGBTQIA characters”.

A father of one of the students said he thought the theme was inappropriate for 12-year-olds.

He has a gay sibling and he plans to vote Yes in the postal survey that starts next week on whether the law should be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry.

“I know the world’s changing but I just think it’s inappropriate for Year 7s,” the parent said. “I’m not homophobic. I just think at that age they’re dealing with enough. . . they don’t need to be reading stuff about gay relationships. “I think kids need to be kids for a little while.”

The comic was presented to students at Kalamunda Senior High School as an example of a “fractured fairy-tale” before they were asked to create their own graphic novel. The graphic novel features two princesses who fall in love with each other .

An Education Department spokeswoman said: “The comic was one of a number of examples used by a teacher in an English class to illustrate visual storytelling.”

Conservative Liberal senator Eric Abetz, a key figure in the campaign against same-sex marriage, said the comic was an example of parental rights being diminished.

“For schools to be giving this kind of material to 12 and 13-year-old children is completely inappropriate,” he said. “At such a young age these kinds of graphic novels should be left up to individual parents to determine the appropriateness, not teachers. The normalisation of these kinds of materials in classrooms without parental consent is just another reason to vote No in the marriage survey.”

Curtin University associate professor of human sexuality Sam Winter said schools should normalise same-sex relationships because they were a normal aspect of society.

“I don’t know of any research to show that teaching young adolescents that two people of the same sex can fall in love is in any way going to damage or corrupt them or even confuse them,” he said.

Katie O’Neill, the New Zealand artist who created the comic, said she believed it was essential to provide LGBT representation in children’s media.

“It’s easy for them to feel invisible or abnormal until much later in life, when they finally get to connect with media that offers a positive portrayal of who they truly are,” she said.

“And for kids who aren’t under the LGBT spectrum, books with LGBT characters help inspire compassion and understanding towards those who are different from themselves.”


Coldest night in 45 years for parts of Australia

Global cooling!

IF you thought winter was over, you might want to think again because spring isn’t quite ready to officially take over just yet.

Temperatures across NSW plummeted yesterday with residents in the inland town of Goulburn shivering through the coldest September night in 45 years, with a chilly -5C recorded.

The good news is the cold snap isn’t hanging around for too much longer.

Sky News weather meteorologist Tristan Meyer told the cold snap was the result of a high pressure system.

“This high pressure system will also lead to predominantly sunny skies and a warm day over the southeast,” he said.

The cool overnight temperatures was a significant drop for Goulburn with the average minimum for this time of year being 4.6C.

There’s also good news for Tasmanians though who were bombarded with snow last week.

It looks like the icy conditions have eased off and are being replaced with more springlike temperatures.

However there are still some strong wind warnings in place for the South West Coast and Central West Coast of Tasmania for the beginning of the week.

Temperatures dropped to -6C in parts of the state during the cold snap but the freezing weather eventually subsided with Hobart reaching a maximum on 15C today.

While southeastern Australia is shivering, it’s a different case entirely for the northern part of Australia.

The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a fire weather warning for Darwin and Adelaide River as that high pressure system slowly moves eastwards causing hot and dry winds to sweep across parts of the Northern Territory.


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

10 September, 2017

What’s changed in Britain since same-sex marriage?

Lessons for Australia

Four years ago, amid much uncertainty, 400 British members of parliament voted to redefine marriage in the United Kingdom.

Then prime minister David Cameron announced that, despite having made no mention of the issue in his party’s pre-election manifesto, it would be MP’s who decided the fate of marriage.

Now, it’s Australia’s turn to choose. There’s one key difference. Unlike in Britain, it will be the people who decide.

Everyone agrees, whether they admit it or not. This is a decision of enormous significance. Therefore, it seems sensible to analyse the consequences of the potential change, within nations in which redefinition has previously been carried out.

In the United Kingdom, it has become abundantly clear that redefinition has affected many people, across many spheres. At first glance, these spheres appeared distinct from marriage redefinition. However, subsequent changes, have proved that they are entirely intertwined.

Gender: Current Conservative Prime Minister, Theresa May, has revealed proposals to abolish the need for any medical consultation before gender reassignment. Simply filling out an official form will be sufficient. A ‘Ministry of Equalities’ press release, explicitly announced, that the proposals were designed to: ‘build on the progress’ of same-sex marriage. Guardian journalist Roz Kaveney boasted that changing your gender is now: ‘Almost as simple as changing your name by statutory declaration’.

Manifestations of the ‘British gender revolution’ are not difficult to find. Transport for London, have prohibited the use of the ‘heteronormative’ words, such as ladies and gentlemen. Meanwhile, universities across the nation are threatening to ‘mark down’ students, who continue to use the words ‘he’ and ‘she’. Instead, ‘gender neutral pronouns’ such as ‘ze’, must be uniformly applied.

Such gender-theory radicalism has delighted Stonewall, the UK’s largest LGBT lobby. Their Orwellian tagline: ‘Acceptance without exception’, can be seen plastered on posters and adverts. Politicians, attempt to ‘out-radical’ one another, in the race to be an original champion, in the next emancipatory front of ‘Trans-rights’.

Freedom of religion: Much was made in the UK, about supposed exemptions, designed to ensure that believers would always be allowed to stay true to their convictions. Four years later, the very same people who made ‘heartfelt promises’, now work tirelessly to undermine them.

Equalities minister Justine Greening, has insisted that churches must be made to: ‘Keep up with modern attitudes’. Likewise, the Speaker of the House of Commons, a position supposedly defined by its political neutrality, had this to say: I feel we’ll only have proper equal marriage when you can bloody well get married in a church if you want to do so, without having to fight the church for the equality that should be your right’.

It became clear, during this year’s general election, just how militant the LGBT lobby have become, following marriage redefinition. The primary target was Tim Farron, leader of England’s third largest political party, the Liberal Democrats. High-profile journalists had heard that Farron was a practising Christian. In every single interview thereafter, they demanded to know. Did he personally believe homosexual sex to be a sin? He practically begged the commentariat, to allow him to keep his personal faith and legislative convictions separate. For decades, he pointed out, he had out vocally and legislatively supported the LGBT Lobby. Likewise, he had long backed same-sex marriage, voting for it enthusiastically. This simply was no longer enough.

Shortly after the election campaign, Farron resigned. He stated that it was now impossible, for a believing Christian to hold a prominent position in British politics.

In a heartbreaking development and in spite of Britain’s ‘foster crisis’, aspiring foster parents who identify as religious, face interrogation. Those who are deemed unlikely to ‘celebrate’ homosexuality, have had their dreams of parenthood scuppered. This month, Britain’s High Court, ruled that a Pentecostal couple were ineligible parents. While the court recognised their successful and loving record of adoption, they decreed that above all else: ‘The equality provisions concerning sexual orientation should take precedence’. How has Great Britain become so twisted? Practicing Jews, Muslims, Christians and Sikhs, who want to stay true to their religious teachings, can no longer adopt children.

Freedom of speech: In the lead-up to the Parliamentary vote, we witnessed almost incomprehensible bullying. David Burrows MP, a mild-mannered supporter of the ‘Coalition for Marriage’, had excrement thrown at his house. His children received death threats and their school address was published online. Similarly, ‘Conservative’ broadcaster Iain Dale promised to, ‘publicly out’ gay MP’s, who did not vote for redefinition.

Many hardworking Brits have lost their jobs. Consider Adrian Smith, sacked by a Manchester Housing Trust, for suggesting that the state: ‘shouldn’t impose its rules on places of faith and conscience’. Or Richard Page, fired for gross misconduct after articulating, that children might enjoy better outcomes, were they to be adopted by heterosexual couples.

Simultaneously, contrary to ‘steadfast’ government assurances, small businesses have been consistently targeted. Courts in Northern Ireland ruled that the Asher’s Family bakery had acted unlawfully. What crime committed by this tiny business? Politely declining to decorate a cake with a political message in support of same-sex marriage. The courts maintained that business owners must be compelled to promote the LGBT cause, irrespective of personal convictions.

Even the National Trust, a British institution with over 4.2 million members, has decided to join the bullying LGBT crusade. A message went out. Each of the Trust’s 62,000 volunteers, would be required to wear a compulsory same-sex rainbow badge. Those who said they’d rather not were told they would be ‘moved out of sight’until they were prepared to publicly demonstrate inclusive tolerance.

In retrospect, the silent majority in Britain remained silent for too long. Reflecting on redefinition, Ben Harris-Quinney, Chairman of the Bow Group think tank pondered that:‘Same-sex marriage was promoted in the UK, as an issue of supposed tolerance and equality. What we have seen, is the most unequal and intolerant outcomes of any political issue in recent history’.

Children: Across the UK, ‘sex education’ has been transformed and disfigured. TV programmes, aimed at children as young as three, promote ‘gender fluidity’, as an enabler of thoughtfulness and individuality.

At the same time, Ministers have denied worried parents the right to withdraw their children from primary school classes. Meanwhile, ‘outside educators’ teach children about sex positions, ‘satisfying’ pornography consumption and how to masturbate. Concerns regarding STI’s and Promiscuity, are derided as ‘old-fashioned’.

Independent religious schools are under intense scrutiny. Dame Louise Casey, a senior government advisor, recently insisted that it is now: ‘Not Ok for Catholic schools to be homophobic and anti-gay marriage’.

Ofsted, the body responsible for school-assessment, has been wildly politicised. In 2013, Prior to the redefinition of marriage, Ofsted visited Vishnitz Jewish Girls School. They passed the school with flying colours. In fact, they went out of their way to highlight the committed and attentive approach to student welfare and development.

Four years later, Ofsted returned. This time, they failed the school on one issue alone. While again, noting that students were ‘confident in thinking for themselves‘, their report, pointed to the inadequate promotion of homosexuality and gender reassignment. As such, it was failing to ensure: ‘a full understanding of fundamental British values’. It is one of an initial seven faith schools that face closure.

I mentioned that I was writing this article to a good friend in the Conservative Party, back at home. He expressed his genuine concern. Had I not considered the consequences? Did I not realise that what I said in Australia could be found when I returned to the UK? ‘LGBT progress is an unstoppable tide’. He assured me, that it was ok for me to ‘privately’ believe that marriage was between one man and one woman. He even privately agreed, that the stuff being taught in primary schools was too much.

But to say it out loud? To actually have it in print? It would blight my career and my personal relationships.

Good God. How much more important the institution of marriage and freedom of thought, religion and speech. How much more important the future of our children, than any naïve career ambitions I might harbour.

I urge every Aussie to examine the evidence, analysis the results and be clear about what you’re voting for. If it was solely marriage, it would be worth preserving. It’s infinitely more.


Support for same-sex marriage falling and 'no' vote rising, advocate polling shows

Support for same-sex marriage has crashed ahead of the Turnbull government's postal survey, and only two-thirds of voters are inclined to take part, according to the latest polling from same-sex marriage advocates.

At the start of a two-month campaign, the confidential research provided to Fairfax Media shows support for a "no" vote has risen, as has the number of people who say they don't know how they will vote.
Polls given to Fairfax Media show support for same-sex marriage has crashed ahead of the government's postal survey.

And alarmingly for "yes" campaigners, turnout could be very low, with just 65 per cent of voters rating themselves as very likely to participate – falling to 58 per cent among those aged 18 to 34.

It prompted a concerned campaign veteran to declare: "There is every chance we can slip behind and lose this."

The research was conducted for the Equality Campaign by Newgate Research pollster Jim Reed between August 28 and September 6, with a sample size of 800 and a 3.5 per cent margin of error.

It showed that 58.4 per cent of those surveyed said they would back a "yes" vote, down six percentage points from two weeks earlier, while support for a "no" vote rose two percentage points to 31.4 per cent. The "unsure" vote rose three percentage points to 10.2 per cent.

The tracking polling, which was conducted before the High Court case verdict was handed down, was released to serve as a wake up call to "yes" campaigners who believe victory is assured. Senior figures from the campaign would not speak on the record about the results.

Campaigners point to the 1999 republic campaign, the Brexit vote and the election of US president Donald Trump as evidence "nothing can be taken for granted".

The "no" campaign has successfully portrayed itself as the underdog in the postal survey, based on years of research showing a majority of Australians support same-sex marriage.

Opponents of change will be buoyed by the significant uptick in voters declaring themselves undecided, a sign that attempts to broaden the debate into areas such as the Safe Schools program may be working.

The intensity of the debate has already forced LGBTI organisations to dig deeper. Switchboard Victoria manager Jo Ball said her support service had taken 30 per cent more calls since the survey was first announced, and recruited 16 additional volunteer counsellors, with more coming.

An angry clash between "yes" and "no" supporters outside a Brisbane church on Thursday night, which saw one arrest and one minor injury, prompted government leaders to again call for respectful debate.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said there would always be "isolated cases" of unpleasantness and warned: "You cannot expect your side of the argument to be respected unless you respect the other side of the argument and the people who put it."

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, who is responsible for the postal survey, said it was disappointing that people "take things to extremes" in any political debate.

The major parties will work over the weekend on a bill to ensure normal election safeguards apply to the marriage campaign, including the requirement for material to bear an authorisation.

Labor has pitched for the rules to go further and ban "vile" content, but Senator Cormann appeared to rule that out on Friday, saying: "You don't want to put inappropriate limits on the freedom of political expression."

He was largely backed by the Australian Human Rights Commission, whose representative Ed Santow said people had to take personal responsibility for their conduct in the campaign.

"The law has an important role to play here, but it can only go so far," he told the ABC. He said the government should consider rules limiting speech with "very serious harmful effects", such as incitements to violence.


Intolerance of opposition is no way to support same-sex marriage

The High Court of Australia’s ­decision on Thursday afternoon to throw out legal challenges to the postal survey on same-sex marriage drew palpable sighs of relief from the Turnbull government.

Immediately after the decision, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, who is also acting minister of state responsible for the poll, asked both sides to act with courtesy and respect. Well said.

While rules for the poll will be drawn up this weekend, both Yes and No camps could start by being less shouty, less winner-takes-all, less take-no-prisoners.

Gay marriage crusaders in particular, might want to rethink their conduct over the next two months as 16 million Australians are asked to fill out and return their ballots by November 7.

A good way to check their tactics so far is to ­imagine if the tables were turned. Warning: the following scenarios jar the mind, and for good reason.

Imagine that in March this year Coopers Brewery cancelled the ­release of a “Keeping it Light” video featuring a respectful conversation about marriage between two federal MPs when defenders of traditional marriage kicked off a #BoycottCoopers campaign. The Guardian reported the backlash from traditional marriage defenders was “swift and brutal”, with hundreds of social media posts ­accusing the brewery of promoting same-sex marriage, and a dozen hotels deciding not to sell Coopers beer. Coopers promptly capitulated, issuing a grovelling apology to supporters of traditional marriage.

In the same month, suppose that traditional marriage activists targeted the managing partner of IBM because he believes in same-sex marriage, defending their ­intimidation tactics by claiming that the managing director’s private views are entirely incompatible with IBM’s stated support for traditional marriage. Imagine, too, that defenders of traditional marriage also harassed a senior executive at PricewaterhouseCoopers and an academic at Macquarie University because of their links to same-sex marriage lobby groups.

Now try running the ruler over some of Australia’s biggest businesses who joined the crusade to defend traditional marriage by asking their employees and all Australians to wear a specially ­designed “acceptance ring” to signal acceptance of the status quo around marriage. An employee of one of the big four banks told The Daily Telegraph that being “constantly bombarded” with traditional marriage propaganda put him in a position of having to jus­tify his support for same-sex marriage. The employee lamented the “sad state of affairs in a country where freedom of thought was once a prized right”. The boss of a traditional marriage lobby group said “it is wonderful to have so many businesses” defending traditional marriage.

Try to then picture traditional marriage activists calling for a sports arena named many years ago in honour of a former Olympic champion to be renamed because the Olympian expressed support for same-sex marriage. When ­invited on Channel 10’s The Project, the sporting hero was roundly mocked and spoken over by those on the panel who weren’t interested in listening to someone who supports same-sex marriage. They simply wanted to proselytise in favour of traditional marriage.

Turning the tables, imagine that in September 2015 a Tas­manian defender of traditional marriage lodged a complaint with Equal Opportunity Tasmania over a booklet that set out the reasons why same-sex marriage should be legalised. Suppose, too, that in May this year the outgoing anti-discrimination commissioner revealed why she thought there was a case to answer: the booklet — distributed only to same-sex marriage supporters — offended and humiliated those who support traditional marriage.

If switching the two sides hasn’t sparked outrage yet, imagine that in the busy month of May for defenders of traditional marriage, the Australian Medical Association called on parliament to recommit to marriage as the union between one man and one woman, dressing up its support as a health issue. “There are ongoing, damaging effects of having a prolonged, divisive, public debate,” it said in its position statement, leading AMA president Michael Gannon to write to Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten urging a bipartisan approach on traditional marriage.

Sticking with this, consider that the NSW Law Society also endorsed traditional marriage in a joint press release with the Bar ­Association and the NSW branch of the AMA.

Lawyers with different views complained that members were not consulted and the press release gave the misleading impression that traditional marriage is favoured by all 29,000 solicitors in NSW. The president of the Law Society scoffed at the complaints, noting that the society regularly makes decisions on a range of important legal issues.

Now try to imagine months, nay years, of campaigning by the taxpayer-funded broadcaster — across radio, television and online — to defend traditional marriage. So much airtime devoted to supporters of traditional marriage that viewers have started to wonder whether ABC employees are paid to be activists rather than impartial journalists. When an ABC host interviewed the head of a same-sex marriage group a few weeks back, the journalist asked what right did a same-sex marriage supporter have to cheer a heterosexual athlete?

And when the nat­ional broadcaster interviewed on prime time TV a couple who will vote Yes to gay marriage, it was so out of kilter with its normal programming, it made headlines across Australia’s media outlets.

Substitute the two sides to the same-sex marriage issue one more time when traditional marriage activists last week launched an ­online campaign against a doctor who appeared in a TV ­advertisement supporting same-sex marriage. The online platform powered by GetUp! demanding that the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency and the AMA review her registration quickly attracted 6000 signatories from those defending traditional marriage. When news of the bullying was reported in the media, GetUp! pulled the petition and claimed it bore no responsibility for the intimidation directed at “Dr Yes” for appearing in a same-sex marriage advertisement.

Is your head spinning from the intolerance and the intimidation? Ready to condemn the personal attacks and the mob mentality of activists who have undermined the freedom to hold a different view? If switching the sides around is not enough to cause strategic thinkers on the Yes side of same-sex marriage to rethink the present campaign, they’re looking at an own-goal defeat, not just in the coming vote but beyond. A more sensible, tolerant and respectful campaign by same-sex marriage crusaders would understand that same-sex marriage should be founded on the broadest possible base of community acceptance.

It’s no surprise that those with strong views on both sides have settled into their respective trenches, shouting over one another and refusing to budge. But there is a world of difference between those who have been critiquing same-sex marriage, even succumbing to ill-conceived claims, and those who call for people with different views to be sacked, ­deregistered or hung, drawn and shamed in the public square or at least on national TV. There is no moral equivalence between the bullying and disagreement, even shouty disagreements.

And the silence on the Yes side about the bullying has ­become a shaky moral alibi for the bullies to continue to browbeat people with a different view.

On Thursday afternoon following the High Court’s decision, Labor’s most prominent Yes campaigner, Penny Wong, condemned “the nasty arguments” by some on the No side. Draped in a rainbow flag, Greens leader Richard Di Natale pointed to the need for stronger laws to stop misleading statements made during the campaign.

In the absence of greater moral clarity from same-sex marriage supporters denouncing intimidation used by their side, many more Australians will vote No as a protest against a campaign premised on tolerance that has practised repeated intolerance.

Try switching the sides around beyond the same-sex marriage ­debate. How would you respond to five university students being dragged through the courts and the byzantine bureaucracy of the Australian Human Rights Commission because an employee at the university was offended by the suggestion segregated classrooms for indigenous students make sense. What would the response be if the AHRC touted for complaints against a cartoonist who drew a cartoon that suited your chosen politics?

Turning the tables on intolerance unsettles the mind, which is no bad thing. It could encourage a greater level of consciousness, rather than the lazy reflexive ­responses we fall back on when we’re not being intellectually ­rigorous.


'Base-load investment scheme' could keep coal alive, but Liddell power station has 'mammoth problems'

Support is hardening in the federal Coalition for coal-fired power to have a medium-term role in Australia's electricity market, with some MPs suggesting a "base-load investment scheme" to upgrade and extend the life of coal plants and operate alongside a future Clean Energy Target.

But the Liddell power station at the centre of the political fight over energy is operating at below half its rated capacity, and would present "mammoth problems" for any company seeking to extend its life, according to a former senior Macquarie Generation engineer.

The retired senior engineer, who worked at the neighbouring coal-fired Bayswater plant and had frequent discussions with his counterparts at Liddell, said Liddell was known "to have massive problems".

"It's just never been a good plant," the man, speaking on condition of anonymity, said. "It's never been reliable."

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is due to meet AGL chief executive Andy Vesey on Monday to discuss the company's plans to close its Liddell power plant in 2022. The Australian Market Energy Operator said earlier this week Victoria and South Australia could face electricity supply shortfalls as early as this summer, while NSW could endure a similar squeeze after Liddell shuts.

The federal government has not ruled out taking a partial stake in the Liddell plant as a last resort to maintain the plant, but believes it is likely a private sector buyer, such as Delta Electricity, will be found to keep it operating.

Fairfax Media spoke to six Coalition MPs who identify as conservatives or who are from The Nationals on Thursday, and all confirmed that a "grand bargain" was needed to ensure the medium-term future of coal plants for Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg to secure support for a Clean Energy Target.

"It's obvious what needs to happen. We need to find a solution. We all want a solution. We will likely do some clean energy but also upgrade base-load [coal] infrastructure," one said.

Mr Frydenberg may also face a push to water down the Clean Energy Target proposed by Chief Scientist Alan Finkel.

He would not comment on whether he had had discussions about a "base-load investment scheme" when contacted by Fairfax Media, but said the AEMO report "has reset the debate about energy policy".

The engineer familiar with Liddell said the plant routinely had at least one of its four units out of operation, and that half of the rated 2000-megawatt capacity was suddenly unavailable on February 10 – the first day of a record NSW heatwave – due to leaks in boiler tubes. That poor performance was despite its turbines being replaced about a decade ago.

On three occasions, the plant's equipment had oil supply failures that led to turbines grinding to a halt in about 10 minutes, compared with 40 minutes under normal conditions; "basically wrecking" the machinery.

Dylan McConnell, a researcher at Melbourne University's Climate & Energy College, said Liddell operated at just 39.6 per cent capacity in August.

That level was about half the capacity utilised of Victoria's aging Hazelwood power plant in the final year before its closure in March.


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, 2017

An interesting media release

Despite all the ideologically-motivated effort that Left-leaning teachers and others put into getting girls into science, it is notable that the only entrant worth mentioning in the recent science competition were both of immigrant origin -- a Chinese and a Gujurati (North Indian).

I have noted on various occasions that different evolutionary pressures in different societies could well foster a different distribution of mental abilities in those countries.  The way Chinese and Indians dominate High School exam results in Australia certainly supports the view that Caucasians, Chinese and Indians are intellectually distinct populations and should be studied separately.  What is true of one may not be true of all.

 The current findings are certainly well in line with that view.  They certainly do not encourage the view that Caucasian girls have scientific potential on par with their brothers

Teen girl bags gold medal in International Science Olympiads

Science Olympiad girls sweep eight medals including one gold and break Australia’s record at the International Physics Olympiad

YiJie Neo, a Year 12 student from John Monash Science School in Melbourne, has won a gold medal in the International Earth Science Olympiad in France, bringing the Australian team medal haul to 17 at the UNESCO-sanctioned 2017 International Science Olympiads. 

YiJie competed against more than 100 students from 29 countries, and finished in the top 10 per cent of Earth Science students in the world. The competition involved two theory exams and four practical tests covering the topics of atmosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere and astronomy.

Another Australian team member, Nishka Tapaswi, a Year 12 student from Hornsby Girls’ High School, set a new record by being the first girl to bring home a silver medal from the International Physics Olympiad, which was held this year in Indonesia. She competed against 400 students from 86 countries and was Australia’s sole silver medallist in the tough Physics competition.       

YiJie and Nishka were two of the eight girls and nine boys who made the teams to represent Australia at the 2017 International Science Olympiads in Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science and Physics.

“This is an outstanding achievement for Australia. We are delighted that our female Science Olympians raised the bar in a field that has too few female representatives,” says Ruth Carr, Executive Director of Australian Science Innovations.

“Our impressive medal haul this year is testament to our Science Olympians’ hard work and the program’s ability to not only nurture Australia’s top science students’ passion and talent for science, but also to break down gender stereotypes in science-related fields,” says Carr.

The students spent a year in exams and intensive training before competing on the international stage. They outperformed 5,015 other students from more than 300 schools in the qualifying exams, making a shortlist of 93 to attend a two-week summer school at the Australian National University in preparation for the International Science Olympiad competitions.

The Australian Science Olympiad program is run by Australian Science Innovations and is funded through the Australian Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda, with support from the Australian National University.

Via email

Sydney Muslim sheikh says Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi is 'worse than ISIS'

Burmese Buddhists definitely don't like Bengali Muslims and are basically trying to expel them from their country.  But who does like Muslims?  Most Muslim countries won't take Muslim refugees.  It is only foolishly tolerant Western countries who take them.  In the case of the Rohingyas even the government of their ancestral country, Bangladesh, doesn't want them. Muslims are great at fighting with one-another so you can understand why Bangladesh does not want them.  In this case, however, Turkey seems willing to take some of them so let us leave them to Turkey.  They are definitely not our problem

A Sydney Muslim sheikh has suggested a female Nobel Peace Prize winner is a bigger terrorist than ISIS. Aung San Suu Kyi spent almost two decades under house arrest before becoming Myanmar's de facto leader last year.

However, Islamist groups worldwide are campaigning against the former political prisoner and democracy campaigner as ethnic Rohingyas, who are mainly Muslim, flee Myanmar for neighbouring Bangladesh.

Almost 125,000 of these stateless people have fled via northern Myanmar since the military began a brutal crackdown on Rohinya militants almost two weeks ago.

Sydney Muslim sheikh Bilal Dannoun has described the violence against the Rohingyas as a bigger atrocity than ISIS.

'The massacres of ISIS are far less than that of the Myanmars towards the Muslims,' he told his 626,000 Facebook followers.

The 43-year-old Islamic lecturer and marriage celebrant even suggested Australia should be more concerned about Myanmar, also known as Burma, than Islamic State.

'Should not governments campaigning against these terrorists be greater than the campaigns against ISIS?' he asked.

The Australian Defence Force has launched airstrikes on Syria and northern Iraq since 2014 when US-led forces started taking on ISIS.

When it comes to Myanmar, Australia began to relax trade restrictions with the south-east Asian nation in 2013 as the military junta took steps to improve its poor human rights record.

However, Ms Suu Kyi has become defensive when asked about state-sponsored violence against the Rohingyas.

She told Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday she knew what it was like to be under house arrest for almost two decades, after her National League for Democracy won a landslide election victory in 1990. 'We know very well, more than most, what it means to be ­deprived of human rights and democratic protection,' she said.

'So we make sure that all the people in our country are entitled to protection of their rights as well as the right to, and not just political, but social and humanitarian defence.'

However, she continues to deny the stateless Rohingyas citizenship in Myanmar.


Dick Smith ‘bloody angry’ over ABC segment

DICK Smith is furious over a Wednesday night segment on the ABC’s The Drum which the outspoken entrepreneur claims was “full of lies”.

Mr Smith, who this week announced he would launch attack ads against the national broadcaster for “treasonous” bias in the debate over Australia’s population growth, said he was “unbelievably angry” after watching the segment.

The episode featured host Julia Baird, Choice chief executive Alan Kirkland, marketing strategist Toby Ralph, Institute of Public Affairs author Georgina Downer and Fairfax journalist Mark Kenny. “It was just full of lies,” Mr Smith said.

Last month, Mr Smith launched a $1 million advertising campaign calling for Australia’s annual migration intake to be scaled back from 200,000 to the long-term average of 70,000, in order to stabilise the population under 30 million.

Mr Smith took issue with being characterised on The Drum as “anti-immigration”, with panellists describing his anti-ABC advertising campaign as a “stunt”, and with claims that he would donate $2 million to One Nation.

“All they have to do is give me one phone call,” he said. “Nobody says to them, ‘Have a look at the ad first, look at his Fair Go Manifesto.’ They come on with lie after lie. I’ve never had an anti-immigration ad, the ad was about perpetual growth. I have always been unbelievably pro-immigration — it’s why our country is so fantastic — but at 70,000 per year, the long-term average.”

He reiterated that the anti-ABC ads were not a stunt. “It was part of my continuing campaign that you need to have a discussion on population,” he said. “I’m going down there at 4.30pm and going to ask to be on the show.

“They probably won’t let me on because they have to hand-pick all of these people who basically just spruik growth for some reason. There is obviously some direction at the ABC that anyone who doubts growth must be racist.”

And he described the suggestion that he would donate $2 million to One Nation as a “distortion”. “No one has ever said to me, ‘Would you give money to Pauline Hanson?’,” he said.

“My plan is to run an advertising campaign in marginal seats to support whoever has a population policy, and I’m utterly convinced by [the next election] I will have one of the major parties with a population policy.”

During the episode, panellists suggested Mr Smith’s anti-ABC attack had forced the broadcaster to discuss his positions. “Maybe one of the reasons the ABC and indeed all the other media outlets have not covered this to date is because it’s not a really well founded argument,” Mr Kirkland said.

“If you look at migration, predominantly people who arrive here are better educated than the rest of us, their kids do better at school, they’re generally of workforce age ... which delays the impact of an ageing population.

“So we’re getting a lot out of migration at the moment. It’s geared towards delivering what employers need, and that’s what fuels the economy. It’s been one of the most consistent forces driving economic growth in Australia decade upon decade.”

Mr Kirkland said the real issue was infrastructure had not kept pace with immigration. “Cutting immigration won’t do it, we just need to plan better for the impacts of immigration on demand for services,” he said.

In a statement, an ABC spokeswoman said panellists were “invited on to talk about a variety of topics, their opinions are their own and we don’t control what they say”. “The panellists last night ... expressed a range of views on Dick Smith and all topics, and Mr Smith’s campaign on population was fully covered,” she said.

“It was a graphic from the Nine Network that used the term ‘anti-immigration’. The discussion around Mr Smith donating money to One Nation was based on Mr Smith’s comments, which have been widely reported. The ABC did not distort Mr Smith’s comments.”

It came as Mr Smith announced he had joined a political party for the first time in his life — but categorically ruled out running for office. “There is no chance I’m running,” he said.

Sustainable Australia, which shares Mr Smith’s views on cutting the migration intake, is hoping the high-profile support will get it over the 750-member line needed by next month to register a NSW state party in time for the March 2019 elections.

Party president and founder William Bourke, who pulled in 6.5 per cent of the vote when he ran for Joe Hockey’s North Sydney seat at the 2015 by-election, said Sustainable Australia was on a “massive recruitment drive”.

Sustainable Australia currently has more than 1000 members federally and about 375 in NSW. “We’re really confident of making the 750, especially with Dick Smith,” he said. “It’s free to join at the moment, and memberships have already started rolling in the door this morning.”

Mr Bourke, who believes the party can land multiple candidates into the NSW upper house, said Mr Smith had been a “friend of the party for several years”.

“We’ll be doing everything we can to convince Dick to run, but there’s a whole lot of water to go under the bridge,” he said. “We’ve got a whole range of high-profile candidates and many people that are approaching us now that Dick’s formally on board.”

While immigration is a federal issue, Mr Bourke said there were a number of ways state governments could “push back”. “States do have significant input into the immigration issue,” he said.

“State governments make agreements with the Immigration Department to set up international migration programs, so states can withdraw from those agreements. They can put pressure on the federal government to say, ‘This is overloading our cities, suburbs and towns, overdevelopment is a problem and our environment is suffering.’”

Mr Bourke said while property development was an important industry, it was “dominating our economy and it shouldn’t be”. “We need to diversify the economy and invest excessive capital that’s currently going into property into our factories, farms and small businesses,” he said.

“The sooner you move away from an unsustainable property Ponzi the easier it will be to transition to a sustainable and prosperous economy.”


Mother claims schools are wrong to teaching students about sex and masturbation

A VICTORIAN mother has claimed schools were wrong for teaching students about sex and masturbation.

Marijke Rancie made an explosive video last month about how the Safe Schools program is trying to “erase gender” and reappeared on Mark Latham’s Outsiders program this week fuming about students using plasticine vaginas in a class about masturbation.

The woman known online as ‘Political Posting Mummy’ told the former Labor leader that her son — who is in year 7 — came home upset after the lesson.

“They were given things like plasticine and pipe cleaners and obviously I thought, ‘this is health class’,” she said. “Are we talking reproductive system? What are we doing here?

“It was very clear it was made as a sexual organ. So he had to sculpt it, as he knew it, and then he was redirected to make a clitoris and the labia.  “Really? Thirteen years old and he said to me, ‘Mum, it was really creepy’.”

Audio was played on the Outsiders program from the sex education class.  “It’s very easy for boys. There’s a penis and I touch it,” a female adult is heard saying.  “For girls it’s a little bit different. Do girls masturbate? Yes.”

A Victorian Department of Education and Training spokesman said there was a lot of misinformation being presented to the community about this topic.

“Sex education has been taught in Victorian government schools for decades,” he said. “School-based sexuality education is one of the learning and teaching responsibilities a school undertakes to equip its students for a healthy life.

“Sexuality education is delivered in an age-appropriate manner in line with students’ ages, abilities and emotional development, taking into consideration the needs and context of the school community.

“In the primary years, sexuality education focuses on understanding our bodies, how they grow and change, age appropriate information on how babies are conceived, pregnancy and puberty, as well as help seeking.

“In the secondary years, sexuality education has more of a focus on puberty, safe sex and minimising risk, contraception, healthy relationships and help seeking.

“The Department of Education and Training provides evidence-based teaching and learning resources for teachers to use as they see fit to support delivery of comprehensive sexuality education.”

But Ms Rancie — a member of the Australian Liberal Party and Australian Christian Lobby — has slammed the Safe Schools program.

In a video posted online last month, Ms Rancie claimed children were exposed to dildos in the classroom and they were being taught how to masturbate with household items. “I kid you not, the rumours about this program are 100 per cent true — the program sexualises children,” Ms Rancie claimed in her online rant.

“Safe Schools is teaching your children anal sex and anal sex positions. It’s teaching them STIs like it’s no big deal. The concept is hyper, hyper-sexual. I’m not OK with that. This is grooming.”

Ms Rancie has attended anti-Safe Schools forums alongside Cella White, the woman who made headlines for appearing in an anti same-sex marriage ad.

She claimed her son’s school, Frankston High School, told him he could wear a dress and use female toilets. She was also outraged her child was told to refer to a transgender person by their requested pronoun.

“What is the benefit to my son? He’s got a learning disability, he’s struggling with his times tables, he doesn’t need to deal with this,” she told the Herald Sun last year.

At the time Frankston High School principal John Albiston said the school accepted all students and people regardless of cultural origin, disabilities and gender.

“Joining the Safe Schools Coalition is about informing staff and learning how these young people can be supported — we are not encouraging boys to wear dresses or do anything different to what they’ve always done,” he said.

According to Fairfax Media, a number of others have joined Ms Rancie and Ms White on the frontline to fight the Safe Schools program.

Former councillor Christine Stow who ran a Safe Schools “information session”, former Liberal candidate Moira Deeming and Liberal member Vikki Fitzgerald have teamed up against Safe Schools. Other mothers Paige Yap and Rosemary Wheeler are also involved.

Earlier this year Ms Fitzgerald passed out a leaflet in Education Minister James Merlino’s electorate on behalf of the Parents Speaking Out Group.

Fairfax Media reports a number of the woman also voiced support for federal MP Michael Sukkar, a conservative who has spoken at an anti-Safe Schools forum for the Chinese community.

A flyer advertising the forum made false claims the Safe Schools program encouraged school students to act like homosexuals and bisexuals “so that they will conform to new age ideas of gender”.

The Victorian education department has been contacted for comment.


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

7 September, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is mocking Bill Shorten

Dick Smith to campaign against ABC bias on immigration

If nothing else, housing prices tell us that Australia's population is rising too fast

Dick Smith is launching an advertising campaign against ABC TV news and current affairs, which he says has warped the debate he has tried to spur over Australian population growth.

He claims both Labor and Liberal politicians have told him they agree that Australia needs to cut its immigration intake to avoid future social and environmental fracturing, but they say they cannot say so publicly because the ABC will label them racist.

"Endless growth and endless greed will mean more and more poorer people," the entrepreneur says as he launches an ad campaign to curb population growth. Vision courtesy Nine Network.

"This is warping our democratic process, it is basically treasonous," the businessman and publisher told Fairfax Media.

He claims ABC television's news and current affairs has deliberately ignored his campaign over the issue. In recent weeks Mr Smith has spent $1 million in advertising promoting his campaign to have Australia adopt a policy that would slash immigration numbers to around 70,000 - around the levels of the Hawke and Keating era - in order to see population level off at around 30,000,000.

A spokesman for the ABC said, "The claims by Mr Smith concerning ABC News are untrue and not supported by any evidence. The ABC has no position on the issue of population growth, has no ban on reporting on this subject, and has issued no decrees or any other type of instruction to staff about reporting on this issue.

"The ABC has frequently reported on Mr Smith's views, including in long-form interviews, news stories and a documentary."

As part of his efforts to draw attention to what he views as the dangers of overpopulation, Mr Smith has also announced he will donate $2 million to marginal seat candidates in the next election who can demonstrate that they have a policy to limit Australia's long-term population growth.

So far, he says, the only candidates likely to qualify for his funding are from One Nation.
But he says he expects Labor and Liberal will develop population policies - which he says are overwhelmingly popular.

"If they don't, I'll keep getting One Nation candidates elected," he said.

Mr Smith rejects any suggestion the campaign is racist, pointing out that he supports increasing Australia's refugee intake, and would not vote for One Nation himself because he disagrees with policies that reject climate science and would ban Muslim immigration.

He said he was running the campaign to "take away the ABC's credibility" on the issue, and that he expected to spend money from donations on print media advertising that alleged bias on ABC TV.

Quoting the author Mark O'Connor, who wrote a book about Australia's population and accused the ABC of refusing to cover the issue, Mr Smith asked if there was "institutional bias" or a "few well-placed bigots" preventing coverage of the potential impact of high-growth population policy.

Asked to clarify this he said, "I'm not the expert, I'm just a car radio installer." Mr O'Connor did not respond to a call for comment.

Mr Smith said he was opposed not only to high population growth policies, but also those which encouraged unchecked economic growth and attendant unchecked demands on energy and resources.

He is also calling for an increase in taxes on Australia's wealthiest 1 per cent.


PM throws weight behind coal power

Malcolm Turnbull has sought advice on how to extend the life of a number of coal-fired power stations which are scheduled to close over coming decades.

The advice, to be compiled by the Australian Energy Market Operator, comes amid confusion over the future of the Liddell power station in NSW. Owner AGL told the stock market on Wednesday it would close the Hunter Valley plant in 2022, reaffirming a decision announced in April 2015.

"AGL will continue to engage with governments, regulators and other stakeholders to deliver appropriate outcomes but notes that the company has made no commitment to sell the Liddell power station nor to extend its life beyond 2022," the company said.

However, the prime minister said AGL had told him it was prepared to "discuss the sale of the power station to a responsible party".

Mr Turnbull said the government had been advised that after 2022, when the Liddell plant was scheduled to close, there would be a 1000MW gap in baseload, dispatchable power generation. The Snowy Hydro 2.0 project would not be available in time to fill the gap.

"What are now doing is ensuring that we put in place all of the options that we can examine to make sure that that 1000 megawatt gap in dispatchable power is not realised," Mr Turnbull told reporters in Canberra.

It was too early to speculate whether AGL, which would meet with the government next week, would be offered financial incentives to keep the Liddell plant running. Mr Turnbull said keeping Liddell open was one option, but "no doubt there are others".

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said another part of the solution lay in a "strategic reserve" of electricity which was estimated to cost $50 million a year to stave offload shedding.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce earlier said AGL was open to selling the plant in order to provide electricity to NSW residents and businesses until 2027.

Labor frontbencher Joel Fitzgibbon, whose seat is in the NSW Hunter Valley, accused Mr Turnbull of offering false hope.  "Liddell is almost 50-years-old; no-one would be happier than me as the local member to think that we could extend the life of Liddell but it's not going to happen," he said.

Nationals senator and former resources minister Matt Canavan predicts people would be lining up to buy the station.


AGL cops shock criticism from Government over plans to close a major power station

"Green" policy has caused so many coal-fired power stations to close that the government is now desperate to keep an old worn-out generator going.  Blackouts will happen otherwise.  Reviving the LaTrobe generators would be a better bet

GIANT electricity generator AGL today is under extraordinary pressure to cave in to Government pleas for an old Hunter Valley power station to be kept open.

It is being told its corporate plans could add to electricity bills and reduce the reliability of power supplies in coming years.

Angry senators have made their views clear: Former Resources Minister Matt Canavan called AGL hypocritical and cross bencher David Leyonhjelm declared he was taking his account away from the company as a protest.

“AGL should be operating with a modicum of the national interest in mind, not just trying to maximise their profits,” said Senator Canavan.

The sharpest blow came from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull who pointedly noted the big profits electricity generators such as AGL have been making.

“I make no observation other than to say that the principal beneficiaries of the recent — well, the only beneficiaries, frankly — of the recent increases in electricity prices have been the electricity companies,” Mr Turnbull told reporters in Canberra.

He accompanied this with the comment on AGL: “The responsibilities are different, OK? Our responsibility is to the Australian people.”

And Mr Turnbull renewed his endorsement of coal power saying he would welcome construction of a high-efficiency, low-emission plant.

At issue is the fate of the Liddell power station in the Hunter Valley of NSW which is 45 years old and which AGL wants to close by 2022. It announced the closure plans in 2015.

But the Government has abruptly called for the coal-fired facility to be kept open for another five years at least because of projected energy shortfalls over the coming two summers which would be worsened by its closure.

Liddell produces around 1000 megawatts of power which is the shortfall in the national energy market anticipated in a dramatic report to the Government this week by the manager of the electricity network, the Australian Energy Marketing Operator.

“A strategic reserve of around 1000 megawatts of flexible dispatchable energy resources is required to maintain supply reliability in South Australia and Victoria over next summer,” said AEMO in the report.

And the longer-term prospects for blackouts are also dim, certainly in the coming four years.

AEMO said: “New mechanisms to deliver these reserves must be identified and in place in time for 2018-19.”

Mr Turnbull was embarrassed yesterday when he told Parliament he was talking with AGL to keep Liddell running — only to be contradicted by the company’s chief executive Andy Vesey.

Mr Vesey tweeted: “We’re getting out of coal. We committed to the closure of the Liddell power station in 2022, the end of its operating life.”

And he followed this with: “Keeping old coal plants open won’t deliver the reliable, affordable energy our customers need.”

The Prime Minister last night toned down the aim of the talks with Mr Vesey.

“He says AGL wants to get out of coal, but he has said that he is prepared to sell to a responsible party and that’s what we’re talking about,” Mr Turnbull told reporters.

But today AGL issued a statement saying it had made no commitment to sell the plant, and that it had revealed the closure plans two years ago to “avoid the volatility” created by the sudden exit of a major power station.

The company said it recognised the concerns about energy security.

But it noted “that the company has made no commitment to sell the Liddell power station nor to extend its life beyond 2022”.

It is unlikely there would be a ready buyer of the power station, given the costs involved in updating it — it is already near the end of its functional life — on top of paying AGL.

Mr Turnbull today declined to discuss with reporters whether the Government would help finance the expenses of a new buyer.

“We are getting way ahead of ourselves here. We will have further discussions with AGL about it,” he said, referring to talks with Mr Vesey next Monday.

But the Prime Minister said it was cheaper to adapt an existing facility than build a new one, but he also supported establishment of a new coal-fired power station.

“A new one will, firstly, take a long time to build and, of course, have to wear all of the capital costs of its construction,” said Mr Turnbull.

“I would welcome an advanced high-efficiency, low-emission coal-fired power station built in Australia. I think with a big coal exporter, it would be great, just from a marketing point of view if nothing else.”


The ABC’s deal with Al Jazeera compromises the credibility of the national broadcaster

The Al Jazeera network is owned by Qatar’s ruling family. Qatar harbours Taliban leaders and reportedly supports other Islamist interests that Australian troops are fighting in the region.

David Kirkpatrick wrote in The New York Times: “Qatar has for many years helped support a spectrum of Islamist groups around the region by providing safe haven, diplomatic mediation, financial aid and, in certain instances, weapons.” The Egyptian media reports that: “Qatar is using groups such as the Taliban, Islamic State … for its own protection.”

Since 2001, Australia has fought its longest war to liberate Afghanistan from the Taliban. By May this year, 42 Australian personnel had died. The US Department of Defence reports that 2216 American lives have been lost in the struggle to free Afghanistan from jihadism. Among them 1833 were killed in action. And the Taliban hasn’t stopped killing our allies. This month, US troops were killed by a Taliban suicide bomber attacking a convoy. Islamic State has emerged in the country also. When Western forces retreat, jihadis strike. The US and Australia have sent additional troops to consolidate democratic nation-building efforts in Afghanistan, taking the number of our personnel to 300.

We might expect Australia’s publicly-funded media to ride with us in the war on international jihad. Yet the ABC’s Al Jazeera coverage of the Western war on terror often seems to align with Qatari foreign policy. It promotes porous Western borders and mass migration from Islamist states to the West while casting our military action to prevent Islamist incursion in a negative light. It frequently plays down the risk that the movement for international jihad poses to the free world. Israel is commonly demonised while some of the Islamic world’s worst violators of human rights are liberated from sustained scrutiny.

Qatar’s relationship to the Taliban is highly problematic. In 2013, the Taliban Afghanistan Political Office was opened in Doha. Qatar’s assistant foreign minister cut the ribbon at the official opening ceremony of what has become known as the Taliban embassy. Obama administration officials supported its establishment. Under a subsequent prisoner swap deal between the US and Qatar, the administration freed five Taliban leaders from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for a US soldier being held by the Taliban, Bowe Bergdahl. He was feted by Democrats despite allegations that he might have deserted his post in Afghanistan before being taken by the Taliban. Bergdahl will stand trial in October for desertion and misbehaviour before the enemy.

Republican senator John McCain described the “Taliban five” freed by the Obama administration as “the hardest of the hard core. These are the highest high-risk people.” Notably, the UAE rejected the administration’s proposal to take the Taliban five because the Taliban would not agree to three conditions stipulated by the US. In a letter to The New York Times, UAE ambassador to Washington Yousef Al Otaiba listed the conditions as, “the Taliban must denounce al-Qa’ida and its founder, Osama bin Laden … recognise the Afghan constitution … renounce violence and lay down their weapons”. Qatar reportedly accepted the jihadis without requiring the Taliban to observe any of the conditions.

The relationship between Qatar and the Taliban raises the question of credibility and bias in regard to the Al Jazeera network. Last month, Jewish leaders raised specific concerns in News Corp papers about the ABC’s coverage of Israeli affairs. Executive director of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council Colin Rubenstein wrote in this paper: “Qatar’s ruling family, the owner of Al Jazeera, is one of the main supporters of Hamas — a terror group committed to Israel’s destruction.”

In June, Lateline host Emma Alberici interviewed Iranian academic Mohammad Marandi after jihadis attacked the Iranian parliament. Despite Islamic State taking responsibility for the attacks, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard shifted the blame to Saudi Arabia and Donald Trump. Half-way through the interview, Marandi hadn’t mentioned Trump. Alberici prompted him twice. After her second prompt (where she called Trump’s condolences to Iran “provocative”), Marandi unleashed a tirade against the West. He said: “The United States is the country that created this whole mess. They helped create the extremists in Afghanistan with the Saudis. 9/11 was blowback … the whole region is collapsing and this is largely due to American policies … if there’s one country in the world that’s responsible for … the export of terrorism across the world, it is the United States. It chooses Israel which is an apartheid regime.” Alberici didn’t correct him.

It is unclear why the government is not addressing potential political bias produced by Al Jazeera’s partnership with the ABC. Perhaps the matter is complicated by the government’s reluctance to list the Taliban as a proscribed terrorist organisation. It is clearly dishonourable to make Australians pay for the distribution of news financed by a state that backs our military enemies. Under conditions of war, such material might be called propaganda.

What are we to call it?


Weekend penalty rates of Bunnings, KFC and Coles Liquor workers slashed

THE weekend penalty rates of thousands of low-paid Queensland workers employed by four corporate giants have been slashed under deals struck by the Australian Workers’ Union.

The dud agreements, which were struck by Queensland AWU state secretary Ben Swan and expire this year, have left weekend workers hundreds of dollars worse off each year and bear similarities to deals struck by Bill Shorten when he was head of the AWU.

In some cases, workers banking on Sunday penalty rates had more than one-third stripped from their hourly rate, making them almost $8 an hour worse off.

But in a move described as a “higher level of hypocrisy”, Mr Swan has authorised a union campaign to attack Malcolm Turnbull for cutting penalty rates.

The poster says, “Tell Malcolm Turnbull why penalty rates matter”.

The Courier-Mail can reveal the deals struck with Masters (now defunct), Coles Liquor Group, KFC and Bunnings gave weekday workers a marginal pay rise but it came at the expense of weekend workers, who are less likely to be members of a union.

The agreements affected up to 14,000 workers but it is unclear how many people were worse off and how many were better off because it depended on their roster.

The Masters agreement cut the Sunday hourly rate by more than $5 an hour — from $38.88 to $33.27. The Coles agreement cut the Sunday rate by $7.09, KFC by $7.97, and Bunnings by $1.55.

Labor insiders say unions are willing to sacrifice the rates of casual weekend workers because they are less likely to join a union.

Employment Minister Michaelia Cash accused Labor and the unions of trading away workers’ rights when it suited them.

“The campaign by unions and the Labor Party on penalty rates has now reached a higher level of hypocrisy,” Senator Cash said.

“Despite aggressively condemning a decision by the Fair Work Commission to reduce award penalty rates, Bill Shorten and now Ben Swan have each negotiated and signed deals that cut penalty rates for thousands of workers.

“While they pretend to be outraged at penalty rates decisions by the Fair Work Commission, they seem to believe that cutting penalty rates is fine if it is done by a union, and that union is also a generous donor to Labor.”


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, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is defending Pansy Lai, one of the opponents of homosexual "marriage".

Australia's own academic moonbat

There are some loonies in Australian academe but Tim Anderson takes the cake. Years ago he was a member of Ananda Marga, an Indian organization that espouses a sort of Hindu communism and which is known for violence.  Margis have never got on well with the Indian government and when the Indian Prime Minister came to Australia, they resolved to bomb him, but he escaped.  Tim Anderson was convicted of planting the bomb but was later acquitted for lack of evidence.

More recently he went to Damascus  to praise the brutal Bashir Assad.  Now he is sucking up to North Koeara.

Why does he do it?  He can't expect anybody much to be persuaded by his antics so I suspect that he just wants to appear an idealist and a bold individualist to impressionable young female university students.  That probably works for him

A CONTROVERSIAL Sydney University lecturer who backed Syria’s murderous al-Assad regime has travelled to Pyongyang and pledged “solidarity” with the North Korean dictatorship against “aggression” from the West.

Amid increasing threats by despot Kim Jong-un, Sydney University international politics lecturer Tim Anderson organised a “learning and solidarity visit” to the regime’s capital.

Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the one-week trip was an “embarrassment” to “academia”.

“It’s one thing to foster debate at university but you cross the line when you back an evil dictatorship that murders its citizens and is posing an increasing threat to global security,” he told The Daily Telegraph.

Mr Anderson with journalist Eva Karene Bartlett (right) and Young, their translator.
“Mr Anderson has shown time and time again his extreme views should not be given a platform to shape the minds of students.”

Yet the university is refusing to take action against Dr Anderson, who is paid up to $130,000 to teach international politics. because “staff can spend their leave however they wish”. In April, Dr Anderson alleged the US had “covertly financed and armed ALL the terrorist groups in Syria”, blaming the West for a sarin gas attack which killed 87 ­people.

One of Mr Anderson’s North Korea happy snaps, with Ms Bartlett holding up the North Korean flag.
Dr Anderson visited the Korean Demilitarized Zone during his late August North Korea trip, and said it was the US which “refuses a peace treaty”.

With “independent” journalist Eva Bartlett and a North Korean tour guide called “Young”, Dr Anderson also visited Kumsusan Palace in Pyongyang, where North Korean founder Kim Il-sung and his son Kim Jong-il are buried. Dr Anderson called them “two historic leaders”.

Dr Anderson, who did not respond to a request for comment, also visited schools and hospitals, criticising United Nations sanctions.

On September 1, he tweeted a picture of Ms Bartlett holding up a North Korean flag in the country with the following words: “SolIdarity with the independent #Korean people in the face of renewed US aggression. #DPRK.” Ms Bartlett is a regular contributor to the Kremlin-funded Russia Today, often described as a Russian government propaganda outlet, including by the British media regulator.

Praising Dr Anderson, Ms Bartlett posted on Facebook that she had visited “amazing infrastructure, free housing and medical care, impressive agriculture and green energy”.


The marriage equality movement and the new intolerance

Many important issues now can't be debated openly without inspiring immediate hysteria. Same-sex marriage is one of them. Anyone who tries to defend traditional marriage – or even highlights the risks that the campaign poses to religious freedom – is instantly treated with shock and distaste.  

Note the paradox. The marriage-equality movement has succeeded in changing public opinion across the Western world by championing love and acceptance. Polls show Australians have become more tolerant of the LGBTI community, so much so that support for same-sex marriage is now a majority view. And yet many activists have become intolerant of people who might subscribe to religious or more traditional positions.

The principal of Frankston High School says a mother's comments in a TV commercial promoting a "no vote" to same-sex marriage is false.
Thus, Australian company board members who defend traditional marriage have had to endure a hysterical witch hunt at the hands of a social media mob.

A Catholic archbishop of Hobart was regarded as engaging in hate speech because he voiced the church's scepticism about same-sex marriage.

In the US, a chief executive was run out of business after it turned out he had donated money to a state referendum opposing gay marriage.

Tennis legend Margaret Court, a devout Christian, said she would not fly Qantas because of the company's barracking for same-sex marriage. She was immediately given the pariah treatment.

It is nothing short of outrageous that these people should have been subjected to such vitriol because of their opinions. Yet they are just some of the many people who have become the target of the Twitter crowd.

What is really disturbing is that these campaigns are justified in the name of "tolerance" and "diversity". The activists are supposed to oppose bigotry, yet they impose a new stifling orthodoxy of their own. It is as if gay marriage is made a taboo subject – unless you hold the approved point of view. Who is really being intolerant here?

Our civil society should be vibrant enough to tolerate all people of whatever sexual or religious instincts. But the same-sex marriage lobby will lose the goodwill of many voters if it keeps turning its agenda into a political orthodoxy from which there can be no dissent.

Why the panic? Attitudes are shifting rapidly. As recently as 2013, Julia Gillard and Hillary Clinton opposed gay marriage. Even Penny Wong was to the right of Dick Cheney! Like many westerners, they have changed their minds.

So the case for altering the definition of marriage has gathered steam. But a political debate over the subject is precisely what many of its supporters do not want. They instead want to impose a national solution via either the judiciary or the Parliament, even though the Turnbull government went to the last election on a pledge to resolve the matter via a plebiscite.

Whatever one's views, the democratic process – the plebiscite or, if the High Court approves, the postal vote – is a good thing. Both sides play by the same rules and can accept the people's verdict as legitimate. And as support grows for a legally sanctioned union between people of the same sex, the politics will follow. Isn't that how democracy works? Or are socio-cultural changes more durable when they are imposed from the top?

Alas, anyone who dares to express views outside the mainstream is regarded as a fanatic, who has to be subjected to absurd scrutiny.

We saw a telling example of this when ABC News presenter Joe O'Brien asked the Australian Christian Lobby's Lyle Shelton whether he could in good faith support gay athletes in sporting endeavours. The contorted logic here is that if you oppose gay marriage you must be a homophobe.

Yet Shelton's sin is to hold views that held sway for millennia, views shared by virtually all priests, bishops, imams, rabbis and other religious leaders.

John Stuart Mill would be aghast. In On Liberty, the great 19th-century British liberal warned: "Unmeasured vituperation, employed on the side of the prevailing opinion really does deter people from expressing contrary opinion, and from listening to those who express them."

This is a matter of grave concern that goes to the heart of contemporary public discourse in Australia. The new intolerance should appal all genuine liberals.


Mother claims she was 'lunchbox SHAMED' by a teacher for giving her son, 5, chocolate milk

This is absurd.  Milk is the perfect food.  Adding flavour to get kids to drink it is therefore sensible

A mother-of-four has slammed her son's primary school teacher after learning he was forbidden from drinking his 'unhealthy' chocolate milk during recess.

Constance Hall, a prolific Australian mummy blogger, claims a teacher 'lunchbox shamed' her and told her five-year-old son Arlo he had to wait until lunchtime to consume his dairy snack.

'He said, 'Oh I wish you didn't get me the choc milk, the teachers don't let me have it. They make me have it at lunchtime because they don't think it's healthy enough for recess

'So I said to the teacher, really? The options are that or juice and because he can’t have any bread or anything substantial I give him the milk to line his tummy a bit because he’s probably hungry.'

According to Constance, her frustration reached breaking point when she realised her son had been forced to wait until lunchtime to have his chocolate milk every day for three months.

The 33-year-old blogger, who lives with her fiance Denim Cooke, has four children of her own and step-parents her partner's two sons.

Speaking about the 'awkward' nutritional lecture from her son's teacher, Constance said she felt as if she had sent her child to school with the 'worst breakfast ever'.

'There are people like me who work full time and have six children that just sort of need things to go smoothly,' she said on the air.

'There's other mothers who can't even afford to do lunch orders and then for them to get shamed about what they're giving their kid for recess, I just don't like it. I don't like the whole thing. It feels icky to me.'

As an often 'frazzled' mother, Constance says she might have reacted badly to the shaming if she was not a 'confident' woman.

She also warned other mothers with less time, money or freedom may not be able to handle the humiliation of being told how to appropriately feed their children.

'When I was at my lowest and I couldn't even afford to do lunch orders and I had twin babies, newborn babies, I was living on my own, and I couldn't even get to the supermarket,' Constance said.

'Imagine if someone turned around and said to me, 'Yeah your son's not allowed to have choc milk at recess because it's not healthy enough.' I would have burst into tears and gone straight to my psychologist and hyperventilated the whole way there.'

But despite her anger, Constance admits she stopped herself from angrily emailing the school's principal about the awkward ordeal, worrying it might have been 'petty'.

'Power to the people! Let them drink milk!' the mother-turned-radio-host added.


Bill shock looms unless more coal-fired generators come online

Australians are at risk from a dangerous shortfall in baseload power that could drive up household electricity bills, according to a new report to the Turnbull government that comes as more voters turn away from paying higher prices for renewable energy.

The government has been warned of a looming gap in the national electricity supply as coal-fired power stations shut down, highlighting the need for urgent decisions to build new generators that operate around the clock.

The findings, delivered to Malcolm Turnbull and key ministers yesterday, come as consumers ring the alarm on the hit to their budgets from the upheaval in the energy market, with 49 per cent declaring they will not pay a cent more for renewable power.

A special Newspoll, conducted exclusively for The Australian, ­reveals an increase in the number of voters who refuse to pay a premium for renewable energy, with the number rising from 45 per cent in February. Although 25 per cent of voters say they are willing to pay an ­additional $100 a year for renewable energy, this has ­fallen from 28 per cent in a similar survey last October.

The government is shifting its focus to the reliability of new ­energy generators, as well as the push for a clean energy target, amid a fundamental Coalition divide over whether to offer more incentives to wind and solar farms. The new advice from the Australian Energy Market Operator to Energy Minister Josh ­Frydenberg emphasises the need to fix the shortage of baseload power by using coal or gas generators alongside more renewable generators.

The Australian was told the ­report warns of a shortfall that will worsen over the next decade as old coal-fired power stations are closed and the east coast grid loses huge amounts of “dispatch­able” electricity that has been supplied for decades regardless of weather conditions or the time of day.

The government is determined to fix the “dispatchability” issue as well as the “clean energy” demands that come with its stated commitment to meet internat­ional targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Driving the agenda is advice to government on the planned closure of the Liddell power station in NSW in 2022 and Vales Point in NSW in 2028. Those closures would take 3200 megawatt hours out of the east coast grid, double the capacity lost when Victoria’s Hazelwood power station shut down in April.

You can download the graphic here

The advice to the government from several reports, including modelling prepared for the ­energy review by Chief Scientist Alan Finkel, shows the next wave of dispatchable power can come from coal as well as a combination of sources including renewables.

Some of the findings counter a push from Coalition MPs for a mammoth investment in a new coal-fired power station in Queensland, using more efficient “ultra supercritical” technology being rolled out in Asia.

A new coal-power station would take seven to eight years to build and could face fierce competition from wind and solar by the time it starts generating, given the steady fall in the cost of ­producing renewable energy. The ­expansion of an existing coal-fired power station is seen as a more ­viable option to add baseload power as quickly as possible.

Liberal National Party MP David Littleproud is calling for the expansion of the Kogan Creek power station in his Queensland electorate of Maranoa, a supercritical generator that is linked to a nearby coal mine and could be ramped up from its existing ­capacity of 700 megawatt hours.

The government is also alive to the potential of new solar farms, given advice that a new facility with a capacity of 800 megawatt hours could be rolled out in less than a year. The latest solar photovoltaic panels can produce 50 per cent more electricity at the same cost as earlier technology, while being combined with battery storage to guarantee reliability.

The government believes the Snowy Hydro scheme expansion can increase its capacity by 50 per cent to 3500 megawatt hours or more, turning a huge amount of solar or other renewable power into baseload electricity to be switched on as needed. While this could take up to six years, the project would add capacity quicker than a new coal-power station.

The Coalition partyroom meets today with MPs at odds over whether to endorse a clean energy target and whether to set a target that could include coal. Backbenchers said yesterday they were reluctant to start a debate on the issue until Mr Frydenberg had considered the AEMO report.

Mr Frydenberg said the report would show that there would have to be “sufficient dispatchability” in the network and that coal was a way to achieve this. “The cheapest form of existing power generation comes from existing coal,” he told Sky News. “It’s also a stable, reliable form of dispatchable power. So if we can keep our coal-fired power stations going for longer then that can provide a good outcome for Australian consumers. We recognise that we need coal in our system and we will ensure that that continues to be the case.”


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, 2017

Homosexual thuggery again

How's that for equal rights? Woman doctor who appeared in 'no' ad for gay marriage vote subjected to a campaign to have her STRIPPED of her medical licence

Gay marriage supporters want a doctor who appeared in an ad for the no campaign stripped of her medical licence.

A petition calling on the Australian Medical Association to 'review the registration' of Pansy Lai gathered more than 6,000 signatures in just two days.

The Chinese-born paediatrician was one of three mothers who spoke against legalising same-sex marriage in the upcoming postal vote.

The Sydney doctor claimed in the Coalition for Marriage ad that classes about gay relationships were compulsory in countries where same-sex marriage was legal.

She was speaking of the controversial Safe Schools program, of which she is a vocal opponent since speaking out last year.

The petition, on a site run by left-wing activist group GetUp!, claimed Dr Lai 'willfully spread misinformation and non-scientific evidence in order to promote the discrimination of LGBTIQ people in Australia'.

The outright attack on Dr Lai's livelihood raised concerns among other no vote supporters that other doctors could be targeted if they voiced their beliefs.

The petition alleged she broke her Hippocratic Oath and Declaration of Geneva by speaking out against gay marriage and campaigning for the no vote.

It accused her of violating a clause vowing to not allow a patient's sexual orientation, among other attributes, to affect her medical duty.

'It is clear that Dr Pansy Lai has misused her privileged position as a medical practitioner in the harmful and hateful 'no' campaign,' it said.

She 'directly caused harm' to the LGBTIQ community by appearing in the ad, the petition claimed, and accused her of not supporting her young patients.

Dr Lai did not identify herself as a doctor in the Coalition for Marriage ad, or give her name, and was only identified by the media after the video aired.

The petition said young people who identify as LGBTIQ were 10 times more likely to die by suicide, and had an 80 per cent chance of being bullied at school.

It said Dr Lai, as a paediatrician, had professional obligation to support young people who identify as LGBTIQ and appearing in the ad ran counter to this.

The petition on the GetUp!-hosted site CommunityRun was started by Melbourne IT professional and self-identified 'anarcho-socialist' Lev Lafayette.

The 49-year-old on Sunday shared a photo of himself on Facebook with Parliament House in the background.

The caption read: 'Don't tell anyone but there's an anarchist in the Federal parliament house!'

Many comments left by those who signed the petition slammed Dr Lai, who is not an AMA member, for appearing in the ad and agreed she should be deregistered.

'Homophobia and bigotry have no place in our society, and especially not with a medical professional who is working with vulnerable young people,' one wrote.

'It is overly obvious that this DOCTOR is Biased against LGBT persons In her Bias .. She clearly would be discriminant towards any patients who identify as LGBT or are having difficulty with their sexual orientation apart from Heterosexual,' another wrote.

'Her participation in this campaign is a betrayal of her oath & the young people she is supposed to help,' a third insisted.

Other signatories slammed her alleged support for gay conversion therapies, claims Dr Lai denied last week.

Monica Doumit, spokeswoman for Coalition for Marriage, said: 'In seeking to ruin the career of a doctor who dares disagree with its agenda, the same-sex marriage lobby has shown, yet again, that it has no interest in freedom of speech.  '

'The petition against Dr Lai is a threat not only to her, but to any others who might try to voice their opinion. The message is loud and clear: agree on same-sex marriage or else.

'We know that if the law on marriage changes, these activists will feel more empowered to target those who dare disagree.

'We've already seen Canadian lawyers denied professional registration because of their views on marriage, and a UK student kicked out of university because his belief that marriage is between a man and a woman was deemed incompatible with undertaking a social work degree.

'The only way to protect freedom of speech is to vote "no".'


They don't want much

Sounds like they want to make childcare totally unaffordable.  It's bad enough already

Parents left in the lurch as thousands of childcare workers STRIKE in a bid to get their pay increased by 35 per cent

Parents will be left in the lurch next week when thousands of childcare workers walk off the job in strike.

Parents will be forced to arrange alternate care for their kids or leave work in order to pick their children up when childcare workers go on strike at 3.20pm on Thursday.

Childcare union United Voice hoped the industrial action would force the government to consider a 35 per cent increase for workers.

The union said the government needed to support the industry by increasing subsidies to parents.

About 10,000 families will be affected by the strike action on Thursday.

The union said childcare worker pay rates were not in line with the increased training and qualification requirements of the job.

A Bachelor of Early Childhood Education takes four years and costs an average of $30,000.

An average childcare worker's annual salary sits between $37,000 and $55,000.

Randwick Occasional Care for Kids director Sandra Bell told The Daily Telegraph she was embarrassed to pay her staff the award wage.

'Educating kids for eight hours a day as well as tending to their eating, sleeping and nappy needs is very demanding work and $21 an hour is ridiculous,' she said.

While Ms Bell claimed the pay was too low, she said she could not increase it because parents were already pushed to their limits.

'We've already got some parents who cut back one day a week because they can't afford it,' Ms Bell said.

Parents receive an annual rebate of $7,613 per child.

Costs of childcare have risen at five times the rate of inflation over the course of a year, according to a national study by Goodstart this year.

The cost of childcare has become too expensive for the average family, with 82 per cent of parents surveyed saying they would work more if childcare costs were lower.

More than 60 per cent of parents surveyed said childcare was too expensive for their family to afford.

The majority of people sending their daughter or son to childcare was between $90 and $119 a day.

'It is disappointing, yet unsurprising that the union is seeking to inconvenience working Australians through industrial action,' he told The Daily Telegraph.

'The people who will be hurt most by this action are working women who simply cannot afford the extra pressure and inconvenience that the union is trying to inflict on them.'

The spokesman said childcare worker salary was in the hands of the national workplace relations tribunal, childcare centres and not the government.

Childcare union United Voice assistant national secretary Helen Gibbons said the government was shifting the blame.

'The government could solve this tomorrow if they wanted to,' she told the publication.  

United Voice union assistant national secretary Helen Gibbons said the sectors' low wages stemmed from the profession being seen as women's work, and that they did for the love of it alone.

'Prime minister, love does not pay the bills, it does not pay your mortgage or your energy bills,' she said.

She said an application for a 35 per cent increase was with the Fair Work Commission.

Ms Gibbons said about 180 workers left the industry each week as they could no longer afford to work in the profession.

It's the sector's second walk-off this year, after action in March failed to influence the federal budget. 'Educators are not going to give up,' Ms Gibbons said.


Sometimes you can't win

Bowing down to political correctness backfired

SHOPPERS are outraged over a Woolworths mud cake that hit shelves on Father’s Day with icing that read “Special Person’s Day”.

The photograph of the cake was uploaded to the Woolworths Facebook page by a Queensland father on Sunday. It was quickly reshared by dozens of others who called the supermarket giant out on failing to recognise Aussie dads.

One man commented: “This is a disgrace and total disrespect to all fathers in Australia today ... How dare you Woolworths?”

Another wrote: “Please keep Father’s Day to celebrate Dads, and don’t disappoint Australia with your political “special person” cakes.”

One woman said the cake was a “slap in the face to all the wonderful dads”. “If you want to support a “Special Persons Day”, do it on any other day! So disappointed that you would make this divisive political statement,” she added.

However, others said they disagreed with the backlash against “Special Person’s Day”, saying not all Australians had fathers in their lives.

“There may be other people in their life that may have to take that role on. I truly celebrate that you have created a cake saying “Special person’s Day” because for every family that does not have a mother or father around and someone else to fill that massive role, they are 100% a very special person. Well done Woolies!” A woman wrote.

Another congratulated Woolworths on “taking into consideration other people’s circumstances”.

“My son doesn’t have his father around a very sad day for him in fact but you turned it into a positive by providing a cake acknowledging a special person so he gave that to his uncle to say thank you for being a special part of his life, all round a happy day instead of a sad one,” the woman said.

A Woolworths spokesman responded to customers over Facebook, saying the contentious photograph had been cropped out not to show other cakes that contained “Happy Father’s Day” messages.

“We’re currently looking into this display with our store teams. We want to reassure you that we’re helping all customers across Australia celebrate Father’s Day as seen from our store displays, products and recipe ideas. Cropped out of this image are a range of decorative cakes that have different messages on them, including ‘Dad’ and ‘Happy Father’s Day’. Thanks again for sharing.”


Landmark enterprise agreement decision gives universities power over teaching unions

Aspiring students, many with their mums and dads in tow, had travelled from as far away as Dubbo to the University of Sydney Open Day to make some big decisions about the future.

But when they arrived last weekend, they found that many of the lecturers they were relying on for advice had abandoned information booths to join picket lines in protest against the latest university pay offer.

The withdrawal of labour on the biggest day of the university calendar, which attracts more than 30,000 visitors, was part of the traditional argy-bargy of enterprise bargaining.

But the tone of that bargaining shifted dramatically across universities around the country this week after Murdoch University in West Australia gave up on routine industrial tactics of negotiation and bargaining. It took the "nuclear" option.

It applied for – and won – the right to terminate the university's enterprise agreement with staff. It was a landmark decision for a public institution, and the Fair Work Commission's judgement has shocked university staff around the country. It is also expected to fuel greater militancy on the part of unions and employers.

Until now, the hardline industrial tactic had been reserved as a last resort within the private sector by businesses including transport company Aurizon, power company AGL and mining companies Peabody Energy and Griffin Coal.

The WA decision has strengthened the bargaining power of university management overnight, something federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham was quick to promote.

He is urging university leaders to follow Murdoch University's example to modernise work practices and save money while his government cuts their teaching budgets by 4.9 per cent in 2018 and 2019.

The WA decision has opened the way for up to 30 universities across the country to remove union control on management decisions, fixed-term contracts and staff discipline rules.

Birmingham thinks there is scope to lower rates of funding growth for universities based on their ability to absorb costs through more modern and efficient staffing structures. But while he is pushing for open slather, Labor wants new laws to restrict employers from terminating enterprise agreements so easily.

If an enterprise agreement is terminated, workers fall back onto award wages which are often much lower and conditions, won over many years of collective bargaining, can be lost. And Labor and the unions are worried about an increasing number of enterprise agreements which have been terminated in the last two years.

"It can put employees and unions in the position of having to start again and mount arguments for previously hard-fought improvements to their pay and conditions," Labor's workplace spokesman Brendan O'Connor says.


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, 2017

Bernard Salt warns Australia lacks entrepreneurial spirit

Australians are not entrepreneurial and lack long-term vision, according to author and social commentator Bernard Salt.

"The confronting fact is we are not entrepreneurial, we are not enterprising, we don't demonstrate initiative," he told the Family Business Australia conference in Hamilton Island on Thursday. "We need to embrace and admire people who can create businesses."

Salt calculates the top 10 businesses in America today by market capitalisation are Apple, Google, Microsoft, Berkshire Hathaway, Amazon, Facebook, Exxon Mobil, JPMorgan Chase, Johnson & Johnson and Wells Fargo.

"Half of the 10 biggest businesses in America today were formed in a single generation," says Salt. "Here is entrepreneurship writ large."

He calculates the top 10 businesses in Australia today by market capitalisation are BHP Billiton, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac Banking, ANZ, National Australia Bank, Telstra, CSL, Wesfarmers, Woolworths and Macquarie Group.

With the exception of Macquarie, the youngest business in the Australian top 10 is Woolworths formed in 1924. 

"By comparison the Australians look flat-footed, you have to say," Salt says. "You could make the case that 100 years ago we handed out franchises. Here's four banks, here's a telco, here's two retailers and here's a mining company and we ain't moved on."

Salt says while Australia is the third richest country on earth this is not the result of entrepreneurship rather it is due to Australia's natural resources and the scale of the population compared to the size of the continent.

"I would say we have benefited from complacent prosperity," he says. "We are rich enough. There is no fire in our belly. We have cultivated an expectation of prosperity and security. It lulls us into a false sense of security."

"Will there be global disruption from an Amazon or something else coming out of Silicon Valley and sidelining Australian businesses?," he says. "We need to develop a culture of entrepreneurship. The Australian response to business success is 'How did you get to be so rich?'. It is that culture, what we call the tall poppy syndrome that you could argue is a loveable characteristic of the Australian people or I could also make the case it is a fundamental flaw."

It is that culture, what we call the tall poppy syndrome that you could argue is a loveable characteristic of the Australian people or I could also make the case it is a fundamental flaw.

"It is really, really hard to start a business to generate sales to employ people to pay tax and to be a good corporate citizen," he says. "It is hard to do that. We need to shift the way in which the heartland thinks. Instead of 'How did you get to be so rich?' it's 'I admire that quality'. That's the shift."

Salt says this is not an issue for the government. 

"Typically the Australian response is 'What's the government going to do about it?'," he says. "I say, 'What are you going to do about it?'. When you say what is the government going to do about it you abrogate responsibility to someone else. When you say 'What are you going to do?' that means you expect 24 million people to say I admire people who have the guts, the fortitude, the insight, the determination to create a business."

Salt says Australians need to change their mindsets to support and value entrepreneurs and businesses.

"At the core of it is our attitude to entrepreneurship and family business is at the pointy end of that can do attitude," he says.


Australian Christians join Bernardi’s Australian Conservatives

Cory Bernardi’s Australian Conservatives are extending their hold across the country’s conservative political base with more than 500 members of Victoria’s Australian Christians party expected to join them this week.

The Australian Christians Victorian branch will disband on Friday, with the lion’s share of members indicating to director Jeff Reaney that they will join the Australian Conservatives.

About half of Victoria’s Australian Christians’ members participated in a vote earlier this month to disband the branch, following a consensus that Senate voting reforms passed ahead of last year’s federal election had made it near impossible to secure office.

Senator Bernardi had dismissed suggestions of an amalgamation between the two parties, saying instead that he welcomed the new members for the growing Australian Conservatives.

“We’ve merely said we’ll welcome their members into our (fold),” he said.

The move comes less than two months after conservative Victorian upper house member Rachel Carling-Jenkins defected to the Australian Conservatives from the Democratic Labor Party.


Union deals cut Sunday penalties

More than 410,000 workers are covered by union pay deals with big employers that contain zero or below-award Sunday penalty rates in return for higher base pay, according to new analysis that has re­ignited political brawling over workplace relations.

The Department of Employment found unions had 55 agreements with large companies in the fast-food, retail, hospitality and pharmacy sectors that remove­d or cut Sunday penalty rates but paid an above-award rate for ordinary hours worked.

In addition to deals at McDonald’s, Woolworths, Coles, Pizza Hut and KFC, the department said Bunnings, Big W, David Jones, Dan Murphy’s, The Reject Shop, Prouds, IKEA and Priceline were among employers that had deals with the shop assistant­s union paying below-award Sunday penalties.

United Voice also has agreements with the InterContinental hotels in Sydney and Adelaide, the Langham in Melbourne, the Sheraton Mirage on the Gold Coast and three Park Royal hotels­ that do not pay Sunday penalty rates to workers.

Employment Minister Michaelia Cash seized on the analysis to criticise Labor’s attacks on the Fair Work Commission’s decis­ion to cut penalty rates, despite the department acknowledging that each agreement contained higher hourly base rates and that its analysis did not assess hourly rates paid on other days of the week. She said employees who predominantly worked weekends would be “worse off” under many of the deals between the big companies and unions.

“Bill Shorten and the Labor Party pretend to be outraged when the Fair Work Commission adjusts award penalty rates for small business, but have nothing to say about big business paying lower rates under their agreements with unions,’’ Sen­ator Cash said.

“The Labor Party’s silence on these deals can only be explained by the fact they received millions of dollars in donations from the same unions who negotiate these agreements.”

The Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association is one of the Labor Party’s biggest donors, contributing more than $1 million in 2015-16. United Voice gave about $714,000 over the same period.

The opposition’s workplace relations spokesman, Brendan O’Connor, said the agreements were certified by the Fair Work Commission as satisfying the Fair Work Act’s better-off-overall test (BOOT).

“The Department of Employment has itself conceded that the analysis does not ‘compare other terms or conditions in the agreement against the relevant modern award’,’’ Mr O’Connor said.

“Further, the department states that ‘each agreement ­listed that negotiated a lower ­Sunday penalty rate than the relevant award pays a higher hourly rate for ordinary time (base rate of pay) than the award rate’.

“The decision to cut penalty rates, which the Turnbull government supports, is just an unfair straight-up cut to wages — not traded for a better base rate of pay, not negotiated for improved ­conditions.”

ACTU secretary Sally Mc­Manus said Senator Cash’s claims were “politically motivated and based on misleading analysis”.

“This submission is based on a threadbare and deceptive analysis of these agreements,’’ Ms Mc­Manus said. “It ignores the benefits in the EBAs of higher hourly rates, above-award conditions and a range of protections for the impacted workers, all voted up by the workers.”

She said the Fair Work Commission’s penalty rate cuts would see workers’ take-home pay unilaterally cut: “This con job is a polit­ical attempt to point the finger at unions and distract attention from the Turnbull govern­ment’s failed economic theories, where wages are falling and ­inequality is rising.’’

Senator Cash said: “The evidence clearly shows that employees who predominantly work weekends will be worse off under a number of large union agreements than they would be working the same hours under the award. Any higher rates that might apply for weekday work will make no difference.

“The ACTU seems to have no problem with these workers being worse off, simply because a union was involved in the deal.”

As part of its submission to the Senate inquiry into penalty rates, the department analysed 108 agreements, finding that 70 deals covering 431,437 employees had a below-award hourly rate for hours worked on a Sunday. Fifteen­ of the 70 were non-union deals covering almost 18,000 employee­s, including workers at Grill’d, Vodafone, Estee Lauder, the Super Retail Group and RACV Club and ­Resorts.

University of Adelaide law professor Andrew Stewart said it was “hard to draw any firm conclusions­ from this data, because­ in any given agreement there might be sufficient benefits to offset the drop in Sunday rates for the most affected employees”.

“But I think it’s clear enough now from the available evidence that there are a number of agreements in this sector that should not have been approved by the FWC under the current BOOT,’’ Professor Stewart said.

“And this is not because there’s been any change in the appli­cation of the BOOT — there hasn’t — but rather because the FWC seems not to have subjected employer­ and SDA claims about the sufficiency of offsetting benefits to the scrutiny they deserved.”

United Voice national secret­ary Jo-anne Schofield said the penalty rates reductions handed down by the commission were a “pay cut with no other benefit to workers”. “There is an important distinction to make here … that arrangements such as those listed by the Department of Employ­ment are only in place when they have been negotiated by and voted on by the workers themselves and result in other benefits to the workforce,’’ she said.

“All agreements listed were approved by the commission. In many instances there are checks and balances within the agreements, such as limits on the number of Sundays, or internal audit process where employees can ask for a review against the award.”

SDA national secretary Gerard Dwyer said the key factors to consider when comparing awards with enterprise agreements were the weekly take-home pay and the package of conditions that workers received as a result of their agreement.

“A full assessment of the ­benefits that enterprise bargaining entail must include full consideration­ of the practice of rolling up penalty rates into higher­ base rates and superior working conditions, which has delivered strong above-award weekly wages for retail workers,’’ he said. “The rolling up of penalty rates has delivered retail workers weekly wages rates significantly higher than the award.”


'Illegally dumped rubbish': Council removes oBikes blocking Melbourne footpaths

oBikes have been described by Melburnians as clutter, litter, a nuisance and even "visual pollution".

Now the City of Melbourne has officially declared them as such, removing bikes it considers illegally dumped  less than three months after the bike sharing service began swamping the city's streets.

Several pictures emerged on Friday of the infamous yellow bikes wrapped in City of Melbourne tape declaring them "illegally dumped rubbish under investigation".

A City of Melbourne spokeswoman confirmed the council had begun removing some hazardous bikes blocking footpaths.

"We have made it clear to oBike that we need to protect the amenity and safety of the city while balancing the ongoing need to encourage cycling," she said.

"As part of these discussions we have informed oBikes that too much clutter can cause a hazard and that in these instances we will remove the hazard to maintain public access and amenity."

The Singaporean bike share company has been blasted by many Melburnians who describe the bikes as clutter and a tripping hazard. Concerns have also been raised about oBike crowding bike parking.

Melbourne lord mayor Robert Doyle last month told small business operators he was at "the end of his tether", according to a CBD News report.

"We entered these discussions with them in good faith," Cr Doyle said. "They've made promises, including the provision of data and that has not been forthcoming."

"As recently as yesterday, there was real, I would say, anger amongst councillors that they haven't tried to do the right thing."

In an interview with Fairfax Media, Cr Doyle described them as "clutter that must be fixed" and signalled he would ban the dockless share bikes if the problem could not be fixed.

Pictures of the bikes dumped in the Yarra River, in trees, next to tram lines and – as spotted on Friday – on a barge in the middle of Albert Park Lake, have become popular internet fodder.

Councils in Amsterdam and London have banned oBikes in recent weeks, claiming they are a public nuisance.

Wandsworth Council last month confiscated more than 130 bikes and told the company it needed a "drastic re-think" after a flood of complaints, the Evening Standard reported.

Amsterdam city council has also temporarily banned the bikes.

oBike launched in Melbourne in June and trumpeted itself as a high-tech rival to the city's RACV blue bikes thanks to their dockless feature which means they can be parked anywhere.

oBike Australia head of marketing Chethan Rangaswamy acknowledged the company had struggled with "civic awareness" about bike sharing.

"We are actively liaising with local councils to have a sustainable solution to current problems," he said.

oBike says it has an operational team which collects dumped and misplaced bikes.


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

3 September, 2017

Father's Day ad deemed 'too political' for TV

We must not show men, fathers, and normal heterosexual marriages in a positive or beneficial light. Such displays must be banned. But pro homosexuality messages are all over the place. The more we get of these attacks on normal life in the name of helping deviants, the more people will get angry at the deviants concerned.  It cannot end well

A NOT-FOR-PROFIT group behind a heartwarming Father’s Day ad pulled from TV for being too “political” in the lead-up to the same-sex marriage postal vote has taken its website and social media pages down for “security reasons”.

FreeTV Australia, the industry group which represents the commercial free-to-air networks, earlier this week informed Dads4Kids that its annual Father’s Day ad, this year featuring a father singing his daughter a lullaby, would not be broadcast as it “likely contained political matter”.

According to The Weekend Australian, which first reported the story, FreeTV’s lawyers told the group that the ad had been “brought to our attention by the networks as potentially containing political matter”, with legal advice recommending the ad be changed to include a political “authorisation tag”.

FreeTV’s lawyers also referred the group to guidelines issued by the Advertising Standards Bureau “in light of the same-sex marriage plebiscite”, defining political advertising as “comment upon a matter which is currently the subject of extensive political debate”.

Dads4Kids told The Weekend Australian it had inadequate resources to recut the commercial to include the “authorisation tag”.

In a statement posted online, the group said every year for the last 15 years the majority of free-to-air TV networks had “graciously run these ads for free as a Community Service Announcement up until now”.

“These television commercials are simply a gentle encouragement to Australian dads, and an affirmation that they are an important figure in the lives of their children,” spokesman Ben Pratt said.

“The adverts have been enthusiastically accepted and many TV stations play them all year long as a community service. They are always released in the lead up to Father’s Day. Unfortunately what is a simple Father’s Day message has now become a ‘political’ statement.

“It is extraordinary that this is where we have come to as a country; we can no longer celebrate Father­’s Day without being forced to look at it through the lens of the same-sex marriage debate. It’s a tragedy that a political motive is now implied in any mention of fatherhood. Not everything is about same-sex marriage.”

The website for the Fatherhood Foundation has been taken offline, as has the Dads4Kids Facebook page. Mr Pratt said the group had “taken the preventative step of restricting access to our website and social media channels in order to protect ourselves and our families from the expected response to our situation”.

“We expect that in speaking up about this that we and those connected to us will be attacked and intimidated, and subject to the same vilification in both mainstream and social media that has been meted out to those who have stuck their head above the parapet on same-sex marriage, despite this not being the purpose of our adverts,” he said.

“To be clear, it was and is not our intention to enter this debate at this time through these advertisements. And what, you might ask, is in these ‘political’ adverts? They feature a father singing a lullaby to his baby. It is that simple.”

Despite the ad’s lack of political content, gay news website Pink News has accused Dads4Kids of “years of aggressive lobbying against LGBT rights”, saying it had “taken its website offline in an apparent bid to conceal itself from scrutiny”.

The move sparked criticism from the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ camps, with former Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Liberal MP Tim Wilson both slamming the determination.

“This Father’s Day ad has been stopped from airing on TV because it’s too ‘political’,” Liberal MP Michael Sukkar wrote on Facebook. “It’s a scary world where the role of a father can be outlawed. What next?”

Nationals MP George Christensen said the ad had “fallen victim to the suppression of free speech that goes along with changing the definition of marriage”.

“So will it be too political to say the word father if same sex marriage is made legal? Will the terms husband and wife be done away with and replaced with the bland politically correct term partner?”

On Saturday, FreeTV hit back, claiming reports that it had “blocked or banned” the ad were incorrect. “The advertiser was requested, but declined, to add an identification tag to the commercial to comply with Schedule 2 of the Broadcasting Services Act,” the statement said.

“The Broadcasting Services Act requires broadcasters to ensure [that] commercials that contain ‘political matter’ identify the body responsible for the commercial, including the speakers in the commercial.

“Political matter is defined as ‘any matter that appears to comment on, encourage participation in or attempt to influence a certain outcome within a political process’.

“Recent decisions of the [Australian Communications and Media Authority] require broadcasters to consider the content of websites referred to in the commercial when deciding whether a commercial contains political matter.”


Rise of antifa movement points to activist left’s moral decay

An aggressive Leftist comedian tells us much about the hate-filled Left generally

Janet Albrechtsen

As a kid it was hard not to have a girl crush on Samantha, the blonde and sassy star of Bewitched who could so effortlessly confound her crabby neighbour Gladys Kravitz.

Then, last week, along came another blonde and cheeky Samantha who rocked it on television. The Seven Network’s Samantha Armytage interviewed American comedian Kathy Griffin, notorious for her image earlier this year holding up a fake severed head resembling Donald Trump.

Morning TV could have been an easy gig for Griffin to promote her upcoming Australian tour where she apparently explains why she’s no longer sorry for her behead-a-president schtick. Except that Sunrise’s Samantha effortlessly exposed a cranky, con­fused and unamusing comedian.

When Armytage asked Griffin whether she crossed a line with her attempt to mimic Islamic State terrorists, a peeved Griffin said: “You’re full of crap. Stop this. Stop acting like my little picture is more important than talking about the actual atrocities that the President of the United States is committing.”

Griffin then suggested she meet Armytage in an alley: “I got your number. You’re like a white Trump voter in America. I got your thing.” Responding to Army­tage’s questions with threats of violence cloaked as clumsy jokes, the comedian at least served one useful purpose as the poster girl for those on the left who have a messed-up relationship with words and violence.

The following night Griffin got her easy ride on Ten’s The Project, with no challenge to her daft and unamusing claim that America has an “insane, possibly Nazi, I’m going with Naziesque President in the White House”. Here again, Griffin is the useful idiot for those on the left who have redefined Nazi to mean anyone you don’t agree with, whether to justify jokey violent threats if comedy is your thing or carrying out real violence if you’re a street activist.

Writing in the latest edition of The Atlantic, Peter Beinart traces the rise of the violent left in recent months starting with this year’s Portland Rose Festival in Oregon. A fixture since 1907, the April festival was cancelled because a group called the Direct Action Alliance warned that “fascists plan to march through the streets”. In fact, the marchers were Republicans from Multnomah County. Beinart mentions an anonymous email sent to organisers warning that, in response to marching Trump supporters and those who promote “hateful rhetoric”, “we will have two hundred or more people rush into the parade … and drag and push there (sic) people out”. Portland police said they lacked resources to keep people safe from the protesters.

The Portland activists have ties to the deceptively named “antifa” movement, an Orwellian group that pretends to be anti-fascist but uses a plainly fascist code of violence. There is an obvious demand and supply problem here: there simply aren’t enough Nazis today to meet their demand so they invent new categories of Nazi to mean anyone they disagree with.

If you’re not a real Nazi, being Nazi-esque is enough to justify a vile photo of Griffin holding the severed head of a democratically elected president or real violence increasingly used by those on the left.

In February, antifa protesters violently disrupted a planned speech by former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos at the University of California, Berkeley.

In March, more violent antifa members caused Charles Murray, a conservative political scientist to flee an address at Middlebury College in Vermont. Caught in the violent melee of protesters, many in masks, left-liberal professor Allison Stanger (there to debate Murray) was injured and ended up in a neck brace. “I feared for my life,” Stanger wrote in The New York Times days later.

A free-speech rally in Boston two weeks ago by libertarians intending to protest against campus speech codes was forced to wrap up early after a mob of club-wielding antifa protesters confronted them. Wearing masks, they threw rocks and urine-filled bottles at police.

Last weekend, antifa-led violence erupted again at UC Berkeley. Police Chief Andrew Green­wood said officers were instructed not to actively confront the weapon-laden anarchists.

Here is the new normal, says Bret Weinstein, a left-liberal academic at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, forced off campus in May because campus security could not guarantee his safety against violent left-wing protesters.

Berkeley’s “unapologetic progressive” mayor Jesse Arreguin called for antifa to be classified as a street gang. But it’s complicated being a progressive; the mayor of the town, home to the 1960s free-speech movement, also wants the university to cancel the Free Speech Week event planned by conservative groups for September. A win for the Orwellian fascists parading as anti-fascists.

Last week, University of Sydney student newspaper Honi Soit invited two views to the question “Should we punch Nazis?”. Kishor Napier-Raman said yes, arguing that when the far right advocates genocide “we must be prepared to fight fire with fire”. The fourth year student, whose university education seems woefully inadequate, failed to provide any evidence that the far right advocates genocide. The student seems to have been taught that it’s enough just to assert genocidal intent to rationalise violence against the far right.

The opposing view was put by Noa Zulman, whose “no” case ended with this: “Punching a Nazi is good; hanging one by the gallows is better.” Harking back to the Nuremberg trials and the 1945 public execution of Nazi war criminals, the student, a self-described “activist” and “history & philosophy nerd” also failed to provide any evidence of genocidal plans on the far right. Who among Sydney University’s most senior administrators have denounced these calls for violence in Honi Soit?

Like Griffin’s sick joke, none of this is amusing. While left and right may debate whether words that merely offend should be censored in a free society, we are in trouble when both sides cannot agree to draw the line at words that incite violence and at violence against people because they have different views. And given the moral depravity of Nazis murdering millions of Jews, and the historical evils of fascism, it’s wicked to redefine these labels to excuse violence against people with whom you disagree.

Alas, distorting words is essential to the left’s use of force, and violence is mounting precisely because of an industry premised on using feelings to censor words and views. Claiming that words should be censored because they offend has become so commonplace that it no longer carries the ideological punch it once did. It’s a small leap, then, to redefine words as a form of violence to justify actual violence by fascists masquerading as anti-fascists.

You don’t need to say anything to be labelled a fascist, either. Be­ing a policeman or attending a Trump rally is enough. An article at It’s Going Down, a website link­ed with antifa, described phy­sical attacks on people leaving a Trump rally in San Jose, California, last year as “righteous beatings”.

Responsible media outlets ought to draw the line right here. Yet the Huffington Post recently published pieces that called for violence or deliberately blurred the line of violent disruption.

“A Violent Response to Trump is as Logical as Any” was the Huff Post headline to a piece by Jesse Benn in June demanding that “violent resistance matters”. Queer activist Michelangelo Signorile wrote in Huff Post in May, “from here on, no elected official —?certainly those in the GOP defending and supporting Trump … — should be able to sit down for a nice, quiet lunch or dinner in a Washington, DC, eatery or even in their own homes”.

Signorile says he doesn’t advocate violence but that’s hardly convincing when you call for Republicans to be publicly hounded when they eat at a restaurant.

Left-wing media outlets in Australia are deplorably quiet about violence by activists on the left. Fairfax and the ABC repeatedly condemned Pauline Hanson for offending Muslims by wearing a burka in the Senate.

The same media outlets cannot muster the same outrage about violence and intimidation by same-sex marriage activists against the Australian Christian Lobby. ACL’s Canberra headquarters have been firebombed, staff have been threatened and white powder was recently stuffed in an envelope addressed to the ACL. Yet when interviewing ACL’s Lyle Shelton last week, the ABC’s Joe O’Brien was worked up about whether someone who believed in the traditional definition of marriage was entitled to cheer a gay athlete at the Olympics. Clamouring to expose hypocrisy from an opponent of same-sex marriage, O’Brien displayed his own, in spades.

Beinart makes the point that how the rest of the activist left responds to the rise of left-wing violence will define its moral character in the Trump age.

So far the signs point to deepening moral decay on the left unless more decide to call out violence, whether it’s by fascists hiding behind ski goggles orcomedians hiding behind sick jokes.

This week Armytage tweeted this after interviewing Griffin: “I just don’t find beheadings to be particularly funny. And I think I have a fairly decent sense of humour.” Slam-dunk, Sam.


The Village School in Croydon North sparks controversy with Donald Trump parody production

A PRIMARY school has come under fire for a politically-charged play that converts a theatre classic into a production about US president Donald Trump, a wall and taco-making immigrants.

The play — a take on Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado — has sparked complaints to the Village School in Croydon North.

The Herald Sun understands parents have pulled their children from the production and the school altogether.

Principal Tanya Heine rewrote the opera classic to include a malevolent King Trumpet whose “attitude’s queer and quaint, his edicts will make you faint”.

It includes Elsewhegians, who wear ponchos and sombreros, work all day for little pay and sing about stimulating the economy by selling tacos.

They plot to blow up a wall that separates their country from the land of Trump Dee Doo.

The script, seen by the Herald Sun, also references America’s gun crime, a security guard named Agent Orange and characters Abbot Me-Too and Trumble-Dum.

A Poor Patrol roams the streets and threatens Elsewhegians that “if you don’t (work faster) I’ll use my blaster”.

One concerned parent said the whole-school play was completely inappropriate for children as young as five.

“It has crossed a few lines but the principal is not backing down,” the parent said.

“There’s even been talk of painting the Trump Dee Dooians — the Americans — in orange face paint.

“If we were doing Obama characters we wouldn’t do black face.”

The play ends with the bomb plot thwarted and the Trump Dee Dooians won over with taco diplomacy.

“For the tacos are very yum yum, our anger we’ll bury and all will be merry,” they sing.

Ms Heine said she altered the original play because it was no longer politically correct and risked offending Japanese culture.

She claimed no “real cultures” were represented in the production.

“Our play this year is a lighthearted adaptation of Gilbert and Sullivan, which includes contemporary references that are not in any way political,” she said.

“Anyone who sees the play will agree.

“The play is not about Donald Trump, it is about the Mikado and I have just named the characters so they have a contemporary reference.”

But Dr Kevin Donnelly, from the Australian Catholic University, said the play appeared unsuitable for primary school.

“Young children don’t have the intellectual ability to follow these arguments and debates,” he said.

“I wouldn’t be dealing with controversial political issues where there are differing opinions in primary school.

“The danger is that, unless its done in a balance and fair way, it comes across as biased and ideological.”


The roaring 'silence'

The notion of a “Great Australian Silence” about Australian history and the treatment of Indigenous people might have been accurate when anthropologist W.E.H. Stanner coined the phrase in the 1960s. But in no way does it ring true with regards to current attitudes to Indigenous issues and awareness of the realities of our history. However, this hasn’t stopped ABC Indigenous editor Stan Grant from seizing on the American debate about removing Civil War statues to call for an end to what he claims is our own “great silence” about the inaccuracies in our understanding of Indigenous history. In an analysis published on the ABC News website, ‘America tears down its racist history, we ignore ours’, Grant argued that what Stanner described as “the cult of forgetting practiced on a national scale” persists today as “we find it all too easy to avoid” the racist legacies of Australia’s past.

You cannot write seriously about a silence when it is rare for a public gathering nowadays not to feature a ritual Welcome to Country acknowledgement of the traditional owners of these lands. The decision by a second Melbourne council to opt out of Australia Day also clearly shows there is no silence or avoidance of the subject. Melbourne’s inner north Darebin Council has followed the City of Yarra Council  in voting to move its citizenship ceremonies to a different more ‘“inclusive” date, because “January 26 is indelibly tied to dispossession and subsequent oppression of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.” The growing support among both indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians for the push to ‘change the date’ of Australia Day shows that Australians are indeed “grappling” with our history, and are anything but apathetic and oblivious to the tragedies of the history of ‘invasion’.

Nevertheless, Grant argues that we remain blind to our history because of supposed fictions such as the inscription on the Captain Cook statue in Sydney’s Hyde Park that credits Cook for discovering Australia. But as Keith Windschuttle has correctly pointed out, this example of so-called historical ‘inaccuracies’ is wrong on the facts. Australia’s existence as a continent was not known until the arrival of Europeans possessing the technological ability to map it. This is not the racist mythology of a ‘white’ nation: it is a cartographical and historical reality.

But this latest outbreak of in the history wars is about bigger issues than debating who did and didn’t discover Australia. There has been a long running campaign by Indigenous activists to use the nation’s history to claim the high moral ground in contemporary policy debates about indigenous disadvantage.  Grant’s 2015 book, Talking to My Country claimed that Indigenous Australians still suffer from gross under-privilege and appalling gaps in social outcomes because we have yet to address historic wrongs.

According to Grant, Australians, are yet to honestly confront the racist realities of dispossession and oppression from the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788 that robbed indigenous Australians of their traditional lands and smashed their traditional culture. Yet the book’s statement that non-Indigenous “Australians know so little about what has happened here” and tell themselves a different story about its darkest parts, is impossible to accept, given the broad community support for the High Court’s Native Title decisions, the Reconciliation movement, and, in recent times, for constitutional Recognition.

Not only have the truths of our history long been owned up to, but so also have earnest and extended efforts been undertaken to account for the historical record. Since at least the 1970s, the major thrust of indigenous policy has been focused on righting the historic wrongs of imperial dispossession and colonial oppression. First by granting Land Rights to Aboriginal peoples, and second through the policy of Aboriginal Self-Determination, which was specifically intended to allow Aborigines to return to live traditional lives and practice traditional culture ‘on country’.

Grant’s take on the nation’s history not only gets the recent history of Indigenous affairs wrong; his claim that the unaddressed racist legacies of our history remain the root cause of indigenous disadvantage is also terribly flawed and misguided. In reality, the real causes of the worst Indigenous deprivation in modern Australia are the long-running and well-meaning, but ultimately failed efforts that have been made to address the legacies of racism, imperialism and colonialism. The well-known and shameful social problems and dysfunction that blights remote ‘homeland’ Indigenous communities are a product of the ‘separatist’ policies of self-determination. They are not a product of the nation doing too little to address history’s sins, as Grant claims, but a product of the nation having tried and failed — disastrously — to make amends for history.

It is ironic that Grant is drawing attention to the ultimate ‘symbolic’ issue in indigenous affairs – the future of statues honouring explorers, governors and settlers – at a time when the Western Australian coroner is conducting an inquiry into the suicides of 13 young Aboriginal people (including five children aged between 10 and 13) in remote towns and communities in the Kimberley. If it stopped abused and neglected Aboriginal kids from killing themselves, I would tear down every statue of Captain Cook in the country. But this wouldn’t make any difference. The intractable disadvantage, dysfunction and despair in Indigenous communities like the Kimberley is not a product of Australia’s history of colonialism, but of the ‘anti-colonial’ Indigenous policies that have prevailed for past 40 years.

If we want to ponder the silences in our history, and promote a national debate about the inaccuracies in our history, we should start here. We should foster greater historical understanding of how the Indigenous policies designed with the best of intentions to make up for our history have ultimately made life worse for those Indigenous Australians who suffer appalling living conditions and tragically short, brutal, and nasty lives in rural and remote regions.


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, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG has a comment on that amazing bat, Gillian Triggs

School kids to rethink Captain Cook claims

This is an attack on a straw man.  Kids have always been told that Cook discovered the EAST COAST of Australia.  He mapped it

Primary school students are being encouraged to “suggest another, more accurate description of Captain­ Cook’’ after weighing up whether the British explorer was the “discoverer of Australia’’.

Year 4 students are asked to consider the implications of the word “discoverer’’ in relation to the presence of Aboriginal people in Australia before the arrival of Europeans and consider other ­explorers who reached Australia before James Cook, such as Willem Janszoon, Dirk Hartog, William Dampier and Abel Tasman.

The teaching resource, developed by the State Library of NSW, is designed to introduce children to the concepts of contested history and multiple interpretations of history. It also asks whether they consider as accurate a 1934 inscription on a plaque recognising the parish of Cooks River. It describes Cook as the “discoverer of Australia’’.

“If the information is not accur­ate, why was it written on the plaque in 1934? Suggest another, more accurate description of Captain­ Cook,’’ it says.

A NSW Education Standards Authority spokesman said teachers and schools could choose to use the resource or other resources in class. “The appropriateness of any resources is a matter for ­individual schools and teachers to determine,’’ the spokesman said.

Asked to comment on whether he believed Cook discovered ­Australia or whether it was an ­inaccurate description, NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes said: “Of course Captain Cook did not discover Australia.

“There were people living in Australia for thousands­ of years before Cook first visited.

“As far as we know. the first ­Englishman to visit Australia was William Dampier.

“Captain Cook was an incredible explorer and naval officer. He was the first ­Englishman in recorde­d history to visit Australia’s east coast. I learned all this in a NSW public school.’’

The chief executive of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, Robert Randall, said the national curric­ulum, “which offers a balanced view of historical events, was endorse­d by every education minister­ across Australia”.

“The curriculum provides stud­ents with the opportunity to ­explore a great variety of topics, including stories of the First Fleet, the reasons for the journey, the people who travelled to Australia, and their experiences upon ­arrival,” he said. “In the same area of the curriculum, students can learn about Australia’s first peoples and their experiences before, during and after the arrival of Europeans. This is the right balance.

“It is important to remember that the Australian curriculum does not specify how content must be taught.

“Schools and teachers have the flexibility to make decisions about how they teach the curriculum. They are the best-placed to do so in their classrooms.’’


Anti same-sex marriage campaign airs: ‘School told my son he could wear a dress’

THE first television advertisement for a ‘say no to same-sex marriage’ campaign has aired on Australian television.

The advertisement from the Coalition for Marriage — the key organisation behind the ‘No’ campaign — features Australian mothers who speak out as part of a series aimed at highlighting what they claim are issues that could arise from the proposed legislation.

Cella White, the first Australian woman who appears in the advertisement, tells viewers that her son’s school told him “he could wear a dress next year if he felt like it”. A second woman then stares down the barrel of the camera and claims that “when same-sex marriage passes as law overseas this type of program become (sic) widespread and compulsory”.

The comments are followed by a black screen with text: “In countries with gay marriage, parents have lost their rights to choose”, it reads.

A third woman expresses concern that “kids in Year 7 are being asked to role play being (in) a same-sex relationship”.

The advertisement ends with the caption: “We have a choice. You can say no.”

It prompted a mixed reaction on social media with some users calling it an outrage and others expressing their support.

Australian Labor Party and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten told Fairfax Media the ad was “offensive and hurtful to LGBTI Australians and their families”.

“This is exactly what was predicted when Malcolm Turnbull decided to waste $122 million on a postal survey. He gave the green light to this rubbish,” Mr Shorten said.

Equality Campaign executive director Tiernan Brady told the “ad is disgraceful in its dishonesty”.

“The people behind this ad know that the Australian people are for allowing all Australians the right to marry so they want to desperately pretend this simple straightforward question is about something else,” Mr Brady said.

“As they try to divide Australians will continue to campaign to unite all Australians.”

Coalition for Marriage spokeswoman Sophie York said in a statement that “radical LGBTIQ sex and gender education programs” had started to become mandatory for primary schools in Canada and the UK.

“Every day across the country, on social media, in coffee shops, in mothers’ groups and at barbecues, hundreds of thousands of parents are speaking to each other about the impacts of radical LGBTIQ sex and gender education programs,” Ms York said.

“Millions of Australians are now concerned about the consequences of changing the Marriage Act.

“Australian parents have a right to know how a change in the marriage law will affect what their kids are taught at school. The education departments won’t tell them. Those lobbying for change won’t tell them.”

The advertisement will run on all of the main commercial networks and pay-TV stations and is also supported by the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL).

“Changing the marriage law will have consequences for what is taught in our kids classrooms,” the ACL wrote in an online post.

“Changing the marriage law to allow same-sex couples to marry will mean taking gender our of our laws.

“If same-sex marriage becomes law, parents will not have a leg to stand on if they don’t want their kids taught radical sex education, and gender ideologies.”

Earlier, the head of Australia’s Anglican Church said he won’t be advising its members on how to vote in the same-sex marriage postal survey, but will himself be voting no.

Archbishop Philip Freier has written an open letter urging all Anglicans to “exercise their democratic right” and engage in the debate in a sensitive way.

“Anglicans, like other Australians, have a wide range of opinions on same-sex marriage, supporting or opposing it for a variety of reasons in accordance with their conscience and their understanding of the principles and issues,” he wrote.

“I do not presume to advise others how they should vote, though I myself intend to vote no.” Although the survey was not binding the parliament would find it hard to ignore the will of a majority of Australians, Archbishop Freier said.

Meanwhile, polling commissioned by same-sex marriage advocates found two-thirds of Catholic Australians say they’ll vote yes — broadly in line with polling for the wider community. The proportions were similar for Australians from other religions, the Newgate Research poll found.

Meanwhile, a group of conservative Australians who support same-sex marriage has launched a campaign to convince voters to say ‘yes’ in the upcoming postal survey. The campaign features quotes from Liberal and Nationals party elders — including federal cabinet ministers Christopher Pyne and Kelly O’Dwyer, Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman, and former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett — as well as voters and party members.

“There is a very strong case for same-sex marriage within the liberal and conservative traditions embodied by the Liberal party,” spokesman Luke Barnes said.

That was reflected in support among party members and politicians as well as growing support within the Nationals.


Cory Bernardi warns Liberal Party in danger as it neglects conservative base

Cory Bernardi has warned that the Liberal Party is on the way to oblivion unless it listens to its supporter base. Senator Bernardi, who in February defected from government benches to set up a rival conservative movement, issued the blunt assessment of the party’s fortunes at a Sydney fundraiser tonight.

He was addressing a function held by the Roseville branch of the Liberal Party, with the title “Is the party over?”.

“If the party’s not over, it’s well on its way,” he said.

Senator Bernardi said it was “about time” politicians levelled with the voting public.

The “Evening with Cory Bernardi­” was an ­initiative of the Northern Sydney Conservative Forum, which invited former Labor leader Mark Latham to a fundraiser at the same venue in February.

It was organised by Libera­l branch president George Szabo and his committee, but was “rebrande­d” as the Northern Sydney Conservative Forum.

After being introduced by Mr Szabo, Senator Bernardi said of his host: “It seems we have a new agent provocateur.

“I thought I was the bad boy of the Liberal Party.”

Opening up about his objective as head of a new movement, Senator Bernardi said: “We’re positioning ourselves as a safe space for conservatives.”

He said the aim was not to oust the coalition government, but to merely remind it not to take conservatives for granted.
Senator Cory Bernardi is addressing the Roseville Liberals
Senator Cory Bernardi is addressing the Roseville Liberals

Senator Bernardi also took at aim at “career politicians”.

“Politics has become a vehicle (for people) to pursue their own ambitions,” he said. “Rather than the ambitions of the country.”

The Roseville Liberal Party branch promoted the evening with Senat­or Bernardi as a chance to listen to “the ultimate outsider” on “just where the political landscape is heading at the moment”.

Earlier this year, Mr Abbott’s former­ chief of staff and now Sky News presenter Peta Credlin spoke to a packed Roseville branch event about why Liberals should shun “identity politics”.


Lawyers demand apology over endorsement of gay marriage

The dean of law at Sydney’s Notre Dame University and a coalition of barristers and academics have joined the revolt over the endorsement of same-sex marriage by the legal profession’s peak associations in NSW.

Professor Michael Quinlan, who heads the university’s law school in Sydney, is the most senior of 11 legal academics and lawyers who have issued a joint statement denouncing the NSW Law Society and the state’s Bar ­Association for endorsing same-sex marriage “laws” before draft legislation has been made public and without consulting members.

Their statement calls for both organisations to apologise and ­immediately withdraw the ­endorsement.

It contained errors of law and had left the misleading impression that all lawyers in NSW support gay marriage, the statement says.

“Had there been consultation with members, and had the members supported the issuance of such a document, improvements in the language and content could have been made to ensure the joint release accurately states the law,” their statement says.

The Law Society is under growing pressure for endorsing gay marriage in a joint press release with the Bar Association and the NSW branch of the Australian Medical Association.

Sydney solicitor Robin Speed, who is president of the Rule of Law Institute, has given Law Society president Pauline Wright until 4pm next Friday to dissociate the ­organisation from the joint press release or face the prospect of legal action.

Mr Speed believes the Law ­Society has given the false and misleading impression that gay marriage is favoured by all 29,000 solicitors in NSW.

An organisation of Catholic lawyers, the St Thomas More ­Society, says solicitors have complained of being intimidated at their workplaces for publicly criticising the endorsement of same-sex marriage by the professional associations and law firms.

The statement by Professor Quinlan and the other signatories says the three professional bodies made an error when their joint press release suggested the definition of marriage in Australia may be discriminatory under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

“This is simply not correct,” the statement says.

“Some may believe that the joint release, given its authors, is a correct statement of the law but it is not, as the Senate committee ­report which looked into this question found.

“The claims made in the joint press release suggest a version of the international jurisprudence on same-sex marriage that is difficult to justify on any view of the current law.

“There is simply no international covenant that confers a right to same-sex marriage.’’

Professor Quinlan and the other signatories issued the statement in their personal capacities under the auspices of the Wilberforce Foundation, an organisation devoted to protecting common law values, rights and freedoms.

“Before making a statement on such an issue, the Law Society or NSW and the Bar Association of NSW ought to have consulted with their members or, at least the statement ought to indicate that bit has been prepared without consultation with members,” their statement says.

The Law Society’s Ms Wright said the society regularly makes resolutions through its council on a range of important legal policy issues.

“I recognise there will be divergent and strong views within the profession on any of these matters,” Ms Wright said. “But the overwhelming majority of responses received from the profession following the release of the joint statement have been supportive.

“We welcome the contribution of the Wilberforce Foundation to this important issue just as we ­always welcome and consider open debate on all policy matters.’’

The Bar Association has earlier stated its policy on gay marriage has been in place for several years.

The signatories to the Wilberforce Foundation’s statement ­include Notre Dame associate dean of law in Sydney Keith Thompson, Sydney barrister ­Michael McAuley, Adelaide barrister Christopher Brohier, Neil Foster of Newcastle University’s law school, Brisbane barrister Simon Fisher and Perth academic Augusto Zimmermann from the West Australian Law Reform Commission.


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


Postings from Brisbane, Australia by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party.

Most academics are lockstep Leftists so readers do sometimes doubt that I have the qualifications mentioned above. Photocopies of my academic and military certificates are however all viewable here

For overseas readers: The "ALP" is the Australian Labor Party -- Australia's major Leftist party. The "Liberal" party is Australia's major conservative political party.

In most Australian States there are two conservative political parties, the city-based Liberal party and the rural-based National party. But in Queensland those two parties are amalgamated as the LNP.

Again for overseas readers: Like the USA, Germany and India, Australia has State governments as well as the Federal government. So it may be useful to know the usual abbreviations for the Australian States: QLD (Queensland), NSW (New South Wales), WA (Western Australia), VIC (Victoria), TAS (Tasmania), SA (South Australia).

For American readers: A "pensioner" is a retired person living on Social Security

"Digger" is an honorific term for an Australian soldier

Another lesson in Australian: When an Australian calls someone a "big-noter", he is saying that the person is a chronic and rather pathetic seeker of admiration -- as in someone who often pulls out "big notes" (e.g. $100.00 bills) to pay for things, thus endeavouring to create the impression that he is rich. The term describes the mentality rather than the actual behavior with money and it aptly describes many Leftists. When they purport to show "compassion" by advocating things that cost themselves nothing (e.g. advocating more taxes on "the rich" to help "the poor"), an Australian might say that the Leftist is "big-noting himself". There is an example of the usage here. The term conveys contempt. There is a wise description of Australians generally here

Another bit of Australian: Any bad writing or messy anything was once often described as being "like a pakapoo ticket". In origin this phrase refers to a ticket written with Chinese characters - and thus inscrutably confusing to Western eyes. These tickets were part of a Chinese gambling game called "pakapoo".

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

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

Would you believe that there once was a politician whose nickname was "Honest"?

"Honest" Frank Nicklin M.M. was a war hero, a banana farmer and later the conservative Premier of my home State of Queensland in the '60s. He was even popular with the bureaucracy and gave the State a remarkably tranquil 10 years during his time in office. Sad that there are so few like him.

A great Australian wit exemplified

An Australian Mona Lisa (Nikki Gogan)

Bureaucracy: "One of the constant laments of doctors and nurses working with NSW Health is the incredible and increasing bureaucracy," she said. "It is completely obstructive to providing a service."

Revered Labour Party leader Gough Whitlam was a very erudite man so he cannot have been unaware of the similarities of his famous phrase “the Party, the platform, the people” with an earlier slogan: "Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuehrer". It's basically the same slogan in reverse order.

Australia's original inhabitants were a race of pygmies, some of whom survived into modern times in the mountainous regions of the Atherton tableland in far North Queensland. See also here. Below is a picture of one of them taken in 2007, when she was 105 years old and 3'7" tall

Julia Gillard, a failed feminist flop. She was given the job of Prime Minister of Australia but her feminist preaching was so unpopular that she was booted out of the job by her own Leftist party. Her signature "achievements" were the carbon tax and the mining tax, both of which were repealed by the next government.

The "White Australia Policy: "The Immigration Restriction Act was not about white supremacy, racism, or the belief that whites were higher up the evolutionary tree than the coloured races. Rather, it was designed to STOP the racist exploitation of non-whites (all of whom would have been illiterate peasants practicing religions and cultures anathema to progressive democracy) being conscripted into a life of semi-slavery in a coolie-worked plantation economy for the benefit of the absolute monarchs, hereditary aristocracy and the super-wealthy companies and share-holders of the northern hemisphere.

A great little kid

In November 2007, a four-year-old boy was found playing in a croc-infested Territory creek after sneaking off pig hunting alone with four dogs and a puppy. The toddler was found five-and-a-half hours after he set off from his parents' house playing in a creek with the puppy. Amazingly, Daniel Woditj also swam two creeks known to be inhabited by crocs during his adventurous romp. Mr Knight said that after walking for several kilometres, Daniel came to a creek and swam across it. Four of his dogs "bailed up" at the creek but the youngster continued on undaunted with his puppy to a second creek. Mr Knight said Daniel swam the second croc-infested creek and walked on for several more kilometres. "Captain is a hard bushman and Daniel is following in his footsteps. They breed them tough out bush."

A great Australian: His eminence George Pell. Pictured in devout company before his elevation to Rome


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