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

The original version of this blog is HERE. Dissecting Leftism is HERE. The Blogroll. My Home Page. My alternative Wikipedia. My Recipes. Email me (John Ray) here. For a list of blog backups see here or here. See here or here for the archives of this site

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?


28 September, 2018

A small hiatus

I last went on vacation in the year 2004 so I have begun to feel that I should get out more.  So I have decided to take two or three short breaks in the months ahead.  I will therefore be getting on a train later today for a 7 hour trip to see my gorgeous sister.  To have a great sister but rarely see her is crazy.  And the trip will be on a very modern fast train so the travel alone should be interesting.  I will be away for only a few days and will be unlikely to do any blogging while I am away.  I will however be taking a computer with me so if there is a big drama happening I might put up something.


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is feeling cynical about the upheavals at the ABC

Conservative party bludgeoned by Leftist government for allowing anti-Muslim speech

The lies and misrepresentations of the Leftist press are incredible.  The senator sad that the "final solution" to Muslim problems was democracy, not gas ovens.  It was a pro-democracy speech, not a pro-Nazi speech

Queensland's corruption watchdog has ruled Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and three opposition MPs have no case to answer over the removal of resources from Katter's Australia Party.

Ms Palaszczuk stripped the party of extra parliamentary staff after state KAP MPs refused to denounce federal Senator Fraser Anning for using the Nazi-associated phrase "final solution" during his first parliamentary speech.

In response, KAP Qld leader Robbie Katter referred the premier to the Crime and Corruption Commission claiming she had broken the law by using the extra resources as leverage in urging the KAP to renounce the senator's speech.

He also referred Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington, Deputy Opposition Leader Tim Mander and LNP member for Warrego Ann Leahy after they called for the premier to withdraw the funding.

The CCC found the LNP MPs had no case to answer, and said the premier may have technically breached the law by threatening to remove the extra funding if the KAP MPs didn't renounce the speech.

"The premier's answer allegedly contained an implied threat to withdraw KAP staffing resources with the intent to influence KAP parliamentary members in their vote," the watchdog said in a statement.

However it also found the relevant section of the criminal code wasn't meant to apply to statements made in parliament.

"The CCC acknowledges that the government of the day has authority to determine appropriate resourcing for ministerial and other office holders."

"The CCC is of the view that parliament is the appropriate entity to decide the propriety of its own proceedings"

The anti-corruption body recommended setting up an independent body to decide resource allocation to parties.

The resources were initially allocated to the KAP during the last term of government when Labor relied on its two votes in the minority government at the time.


Victoria’s nonsensical renewable energy experiment

One of the benefits of a federation is that each state can learn from the mistakes of others. When it comes to electricity, the disastrous experiment of South Australia, with its uncontrolled promotion of renewable energy, should be a salutary lesson for all the others.

South Australia has close to the highest electricity prices in the world and a system that is so fragile it is constantly being propped up — think coal-fired electricity from Victoria and specifically purchased diesel generators. It’s an example of what not to do. But this is not how the Victorian government sees the world as it embarks on an even riskier scheme of promoting subsidised renewable ­energy in that state. Virtue-signalling to attract wavering, inner-city voters trumps concern for keeping a lid on electricity prices and maintaining the stability of the grid.

Deeply unimpressive Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio has announced the results of a reverse auction for ­investments in large-scale renewable energy. The government’s legislated target is for at least 40 per cent of electricity to come from renewable energy by 2025. The auctions aimed to ­deliver 650 megawatts (nameplate cap­acity) of new projects. In the end, projects for 928MWs were accept­ed.

But let’s be clear: reverse auc­tions involve huge subsidies to the promoters of these projects, guaranteeing cashflow at high megawatt per hour prices. By contrast, the (federal) renewable ­energy target is a less secure source of subsidy, particularly as total investment is nearing the 2020 final target and the value of the underlying certificates, the large-scale generation certificates, will fall sharply in the early 2020s.

Now, the renewable energy sector will claim wind and solar deliver cheaper electricity than new fossil fuel power plants, although this claim doesn’t take into account the associated costs of firming intermittent renewable energy. This claim is worth interrogating because, notwith­stand­ing a fall in the cost of the solar panels, there is not much in the physical construction of these projects that supports the assertion.

The real answer lies in the subsidised cost of capital that renewable energy projects underwritten by governments are able to secure. In effect, these projects can access debt finance at the long-run government bond rate. (Note that Victoria has a AAA credit rating.) Were new coal-fired plants able to access debt at this concessional rate, their cost per megawatt hour on a firmed basis would be much lower again. But because these plants need to accept direct merchant risk, their cost of capital could easily be 300 basis points above the government bond rate, assuming they can even secure debt finance in this country.

The fundamental problem of the renewable energy policy in Victoria is the refusal to learn from the problems of the South Australian experiment. These include:

The failure to impose any firming obligations on the renewable energy projects to ensure 24/7 supply of electricity.

The failure to take into ­account the extra expenses associated with investment in transmission and distribution needed to connect these often far-flung projects to the grid.

The failure to take into ­account the destruction of the economics of existing generators — in Victoria’s case, the brown coal-fired generators in the Latrobe Valley — and the effects of the early retirement of these assets.

If any Victorian voter is foolish enough to think state taxpayers or electricity consumers are getting a good deal out of these reverse auctions, they need to think again. While these costs are not directly sheeted home to the renewable energy providers — they should be — they are real and will cause economic and social damage down the track.

Consider the firming costs that are necessarily part and parcel of renewable energy. Wind farms produce at most 30 per cent of their capacity, mainly in spring and autumn. Solar farms produce slightly less than 20 per cent, with peak output at 1pm — a time of relatively low demand.

When it comes to firming and using the figures from the current Snowy operation, the cost for solar is about $40 per megawatt hour. In the case of wind, however, a firming cost cannot even be nominated ­because of the inherent unreliability of wind patterns.

So when the Victorian government quotes figures of between $53/MWh and $57/MWh for the successful renewable energy projects in the recent reverse auction, we need to add a minimum of $40/MWh for firming. This makes these projects very expensive.

In terms of the poles and wires issue, there are considerable weaknesses in the way in which the regulation and pricing systems ­operate. Effectively, a renewable energy project can be located anywhere and, as long as the regulator agrees, the cost of connecting the project to the grid is borne by all customers without any cost imposition on the operator.

Note that regulated assets are priced at a fixed margin over the cost of capital, so the transmission/distribution companies do not ­really care who bears the cost.

Let’s also be clear about another thing: the abrupt closure of the Hazelwood power station in 2016 was a disaster for the state and the consequences still reverberate. At the time, Labor Premier Daniel Andrews made the ludicrous claim that retail prices would rise by less than 4 per cent in 2017. The actual rise was four times higher.

There are also some important short-term issues for Victoria, ­including the forecast shortfall of generating capacity of close to 400MW during the coming summer. The Australian Energy Market Operator says a combin­ation of demand management — paying customers to power down — and extra diesel generation will be sufficient to see the state through those very warm days. But it will be a close call.

The Victorian case — and let’s not forget Queensland’s equally bizarre promotion of renewable energy projects, again many in far-flung places — should provide the backdrop to some much needed changes to the operation of the National Electricity Market. The rapid penetration of large and small-scale renewable energy ­demands some new rules to ensure the stability and reliability of the grid as well as deliver lower prices.

These changes must involve the imposition of more obligations on renewable energy providers who have been afforded too many favours. There are three main changes that are required: day ahead pricing; scheduled generation by requiring firmed cap­acity; and developer charges on generators for the cost of extra transmission and distribution.

There is no doubt these changes will be resisted by the ­renewable energy sector. But without them, the stability and reli­ability of the grid will be imperilled. It was one thing for a small state such as South Australia to lose its head and overinvest in renewable energy; it is another thing altogether for several states to do so.

The AEMO is clear we need to extend the lives of our thermal plants for as long as possible but the actions of foolhardy governments promoting renewable energy to secure inner-city votes threaten this outcome. At the very least, consumers in those states should bear the full costs of their governments’ foolish policies.

The hope is that federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor can deal with some of these issues before it is too late.


North Sydney to ban smokers from lighting up on the street – becoming the country's first smoke-free district

North Sydney is set to ban smokers from lighting up in the street, becoming the first Council in the country to create a smoke-free district.

Mayor Jilly Gibson made the recommendation to North Sydney Council who unanimously voted for the ban this week.

'We're not going to hand out fines. It's going to work by goodwill,' Cr Gibson told the Sydney Morning Herald.

'No one should be forced to inhale passive smoke, but also for schoolchildren, they should not have to see people standing around smoking. The less they see, the less they are influenced,' she said.

The ban would include all streets, plazas, parks, and outdoor restaurant and café seating.

Regarding electronic cigarettes, the Mayor said she thinks they would fall into the same category although 'we haven't really thought about it yet.'

Cr Gibson said that the North Sydney CBD could become smoke free by early next year if community consultations are completed on schedule by Christmas.

Dominique Bergel-Grant, president of the North Sydney Chamber of Commerce, said the organisation welcomed the move to ban smoking in an area that sees an influx of 46,000 workers during the week.

In June 2016, Sydney Council permanently banned smoking in Martin Place following a 12 month trial and in September the same year added Pitt Street Mall as a smoke free zone.

The Federal Government increased the price of cigarettes in this year's budget, with each pack now costing almost $40.

The 12.5 per cent tobacco excise hike signals the government has no intention of going easy on smokers' wallets in a country that is already the most expensive place  to buy cigarettes in the world.


Company profits, lower welfare spending drive strong budget

Company profits, surging employment and a reduction in welfare payments have driven the federal budget to its smallest deficit in 10 years, putting a surplus in sight as the Morrison government heads to the polls next year.

The headline figures, which drove the deficit down to $10.1 billion in the final budget outcome for 2017-18, were driven by spending restraint under former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and lower than expected welfare payments to the aged, unemployed and the disabled.

They were also pushed along by an accounting change that helped the Coalition add $11 billion to its deficit reduction trajectory by comparing gains with the previous year's budget, rather than the most recent May budget.

The Coalition's headline figure claimed that the deficit has "improved" by $19.3 billion, but without the accounting change the figure would have only been $8.1 billion.

The single biggest saving was the lower than expected numbers of participants entering the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Increasing the aged pension to 67 also saved $900 million in payments, while there was $4 billion in lower than expected spending on people with disabilities.

The lower welfare payments, coupled with a $6.8 billion boost in company tax receipts and an immigration-driven employment boom, effectively delivered Tuesday's result.

But the outcome also contains a warning that the strong company tax revenues may be only temporary. While company tax receipts were $6.8 billion higher than predicted in 2017, they were $930 million lower than the May budget pencilled in.

Up to 350,000 new jobs in 2017-18 effectively added $2.4 billion to income tax takings, while some of that increase was also down to taxpayers being slowly pushed into higher tax brackets despite anaemic wage growth.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the numbers showed the Coalition's economic plan was working, as the government moves to put a platform fiscal responsibility at the heart of its re-election pitch.

In the past month, ratings agency S&P has removed Australia's negative watch rating and the national accounts showed the strongest economic growth since the global financial crisis - the last time Australia recorded a surplus.

"Since coming to office we've kept spending real growth down to 1.9 per cent which is the lowest of any government in 50 years," Mr Frydenberg said. "But we cannot be complacent."

The Coalition has now effectively abandoned a self-imposed budget rule which compelled ministers to make spending announcements by finding savings in other areas.

That rule meant "shifts in receipts and payments due to changes in the economy will be banked as an improvement to the budget bottom line if this impact is positive."

With a wafer-thin surplus now timetabled for 2019-20, Mr Frydenberg has promised a "stronger economy" will now pay for new spending announcements, including the $4.4 billion in extra school funding pledged last week.

Labor, which has proposed up to $200 billion in budget saving measures, accused the government of abandoning its core principle.

"Simply saying the ‘economy’ or ‘growth’ will pay for new spending or tax cut plans is no plan for a sustainable budget repair strategy," said shadow treasurer Chris Bowen.


Australian Catholic University moves up in rankings

Australian Catholic University (ACU) has been ranked in the top 500 of universities worldwide, in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2018, announced on Wednesday 26 September.

This is the third consecutive year ACU has risen in the rankings, indicative of its improving research strengths.

The University climbed from joint 30 position last year to rank 25 out of 35 Australian institutions.

The THE World University Rankings is an annual league table of the top universities in the world. It assesses universities under the criteria of teaching, research, citations, industry income, and international outlook.

ACU’s strong performance included improved scores for research and citations, with ACU positioned in the top 400 for research and top 500 for citations worldwide.

ACU Provost Professor Pauline Nugent said the results were a welcome acknowledgement of the commitment the University had made to priority areas in health, education and theology and philosophy.

 “It is very encouraging to see that our steady growth and a determination to focus on areas that are fundamental to our mission and core values are having an impact.”

“The University has set out to achieve excellent outcomes, by investing in quality research and programs that will deliver genuinely valuable results for others,” she said.

ACU is increasingly making its mark internationally, with other notable rankings such as:

Positioned 501-600 in Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU)

A top 100 Asia Pacific (APAC) university, recognised as a leader in higher education in the region (Times Higher Education Asia-Pacific University Rankings 2018)

Recognised as one of the world’s top young universities, included in the top 50 of Generation Y and ranked 101-150 globally (Times Higher Education Young Universities Rankings 2018)

Ranked in the top 100 for a number of subjects:

sport science (26 ARWU)

nursing (41 ARWU)

education (51-75 ARWU)

theology, divinity and religious studies (top 100 QS Subject Rankings)

These results follow closely behind the University’s strong performance in the most recent Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) assessment – with 94 per cent of all ACU research judged to be at or above world standards, and ACU placed equal first in Australia in five Fields of Research.

ACU is a public, not-for-profit university funded by the Australian Government. It is open to students and staff of all beliefs. Its research institutes and faculties focus on the priority research areas of education, health, and theology and philosophy.

Media release from

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, 2018

Terror school: Why returning jihadis could soon be teaching your children under a radical new plan to fight ISIS - as authorities admit the threat is 'as high as ever'

Australian jihadis could soon be teaching the country's youth under new plans unveiled by one of Australia's leading counter-terrorism strategists.

Former NSW Police deputy commissioner and UN investigator, Nick Kaldas, said the government should consider employing some of the 400 Australians who are in hiding overseas after fleeing to fight for Islamic State.

The radical new thinking, which Mr Kaldas said comes at a time when the terrorist threat is 'as high as ever', means they could be 'deployed' as mentors to dissuade young people who were considering turning to extremism.

While admitting the concept was controversial, he said it offered a better alternative than prosecuting those who had gone to fight under ISIS' black flag. He said: 'It may be useful to consider using them as an example and have them talk to those who may follow their path. 'To say "it's not that good, it's not what you think it is, it is a horrible thing to do,"' he told The Daily Telegraph.

'I know that would be controversial but I think there could be some uses in having people who have done it come back repentant - and share those mistakes with others.' 

Mr Kaldas' proposal comes after five Australian jihadists who had travelled to the Middle East to join the Islamic State were stripped of their citizenship last month.

Included in those five was Neil Prakash - a senior ISIS figure behind bars in Turkey on terror charges.

One other Australian, Khaled Sharrouf, is believed to have been stripped of his citizenship after joining Islamic State.

The former police deputy chief was in talks with then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in 2017 about running his own ministry to combat terrorism.

The ministry, which would be similar to the UK's Home Office or the US' Homeland Security, would co-ordinate Australia's authorities in countering the terror threat.

Mr Kaldas also said the implementation of intelligence sharing between public and private law enforcement sectors could help Australian authorities fight terrorism better.

He added it was imperative that high-profile landmarks like the Sydney Opera House were in constant communication with police over possible threats - rather than being kept in the dark.

Around 230 Australians have joined the Islamic State, of which 90 have been killed in combat.


Proud to be a racist: 'Final solution' senator claims immigrants come from 'broken s***holes' and Islam 'is on a mission to take over Australia'

Some realism at last

A rogue senator who called for a 'final solution' to Muslim immigration has now declared he doesn't care if he is called a racist.

Katter's Australian Party lawmaker Fraser Anning released a video declaring all non-European migrants moving to Australia were from 'broken down s***holes'.

'We're finding that more and more people are apologising for being white but it was the whites who built these nations,' he said.

The Queensland senator said people from poor countries wanted to move to Australia 'because we have what they don't have'.

'We don't need to turn our countries into those same broken down s***holes that they come from. Otherwise we'll just become one of them,' he said.

On Tuesday, Senator Anning tweeted a meme equating Muslims with failed states in the Middle East and Africa to argue why they should be banned from Australia.

'If being a racist means I don't want my country turned into a pile of rocks and goat s*** ruled by a barbaric cult, then I'm a racist,' he said on Facebook and Twitter.  

Senator Anning told Daily Mail Australia he was specifically referring to Muslims in the social media post. 'Make no mistake Islam is on a mission to take over the Western world and implement sharia law,' he said today.

'Islam is an ideology of hate. Look at the appalling conditions and the treatment of women in countries like Somalia, Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian Authorities, Iran and Afghanistan.'

Senator Anning said that like other Western nations, Australia's immigration intake was undermining a society with European institutions.

The 2016 Census shows that 49 per cent of Australians were either born overseas or had at least one parent born overseas.

'Look at the fundamental changes that are occurring in countries with indiscriminate immigration policies,' he said. 'We cannot avoid the subject for fear of being called racist.

'The question all Australians need to ask themselves is do they want to see the nation changed and not for the better?'

The 68-year-old Brisbane-based senator, who defected from One Nation in January after being sworn in as a federal member of Parliament, was condemned by both sides of politics in August after using a Nazi Germany phrase to demand an end to Muslim immigration. 'The final solution to the immigration problem is, of course, a popular vote,' he said in his maiden speech.

Treasurer and deputy Liberal leader Josh Frydenberg, who is Jewish, and Labor frontbencher Ed Husic, a Muslim, joined together as friends from across the political divide to condemn Senator Anning.

His speech was even condemned by One Nation leader Pauline Hanson, who maintains Australia is in danger of being 'swamped by Asians' and is also an Islam critic.

Senator Anning had also told Parliament Australian society was better before the formal dismantling of the White Australia policy in 1973 ended a bias in favour of European migrants.

His latest social media post has divided Twitter, with one woman questioning how it was racist to criticise Islam, who make up 2.6 per cent of the Australian population. 'Religion has nothing to do with race,' she said.

A supporter of Senator Anning said white people were being silenced. 'Racism is white people thinking or feeling about race the way that people of other races remain free to feel and think about it,' he said.


Property expert hits back at Labor’s controversial negative gearing policy

ONE of Australia’s most outspoken property experts has issued a dire warning for Labor, insisting the party could “destroy the property market”.

Last week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison told the ALP’s vow to limit negative gearing to newly built homes would actually “invite a housing market crash”.

The policy is at the core of the Labor’s housing proposals — and negative gearing policy is expected to be one of the major issues at the heart of the next federal election.

Now, property investor and author Bushy Martin has weighed into the divisive debate, claiming Labor’s plan could end up decimating our already ailing housing market.

“This is an economic disaster in the making and is the only real current threat that has the potential to destroy the property market and slash the value of everyone’s homes,” he told

“Given that over 50 per cent of the average Australian’s wealth is in their home, this will kill the long-term financial future of most hardworking Aussies.

“The naivety of Labor … is staggering in its ignorance — this is more surprising given that former Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating made the same mistake in removing negative gearing back in the ’80s only to overturn and reinstate it 18 months later when property values fell and rents started rising rapidly. It appears the only thing we learn from history is that we don’t learn from history.”

Mr Martin said the policy would have serious consequences for the majority of Australians.

“I implore the Labor Party to stop pursuing ill-conceived kneejerk policies aimed at satisfying the squeaky wheel few that will have unforeseen impacts on the many,” he said.

“The Labor Party needs to stop dancing to the tune of the politically correct vocal minority and get out and actually talk to a broad cross-section of the industry which will quickly educate them on the myopic madness of their proposed tax changes which will be equivalent to a tax revolution.

“If the Labor Party pursues this kamikaze path, property values will plunge and trigger the economic ‘recession we did not have to have’.”

But the ALP has hit back at Mr Martin’s claims, with Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen slamming the investor for promoting a “doom and gloom” scenario.

“Mr Martin appears unaware that Labor announced this policy in 2016 and the doom and gloom scenario he is predicted has been widely rejected, including by the Treasury,” he said in a statement provided to “Every existing investment is grandfathered under Labor’s carefully designed policy and negative gearing will continue to be allowed for new properties, encouraging new supply.

“Mr Martin may choose to describe young people struggling with an unaffordable housing market as ‘the squeaky wheel few’ but we don’t.”

Mr Bowen said Labor’s plan was all about fairness. “I understand Mr Martin wants (to) continue to be subsidised by the most generous tax concession for investment in the world, but Labor’s grandfathered policy will put first homebuyers and investors on a more level playing field and is fair for all,” he said.

In recent weeks, the Opposition’s promise to limit negative gearing and halve the 50 per cent capital gains tax discount has ignited fierce debate among leading property experts and everyday Aussies alike.

According to the recently released 2018 Property Investment Professionals of Australia (PIPA) Property Investor Sentiment Survey, despite the current housing downturn, more than 77 per cent of respondents think now is a good time to invest in property, with 52 per cent looking to purchase a property in the next six to 12 months.

However, 48 per cent say changes to investor lending policies have impacted their ability to secure finance for an investment property, with potential changes to negative gearing and capital gains tax policies also a growing concern.


How China is driving Australia and Trump into each other's arms

On Malcolm Turnbull's last weekend as prime minister he picked up the phone and called the White House. In the inner sanctum, his government had just made a threshold decision on the hyper-connected, fifth-generation mobile telecommunications future that's to enable the so-called "internet of things".

Before he announced it to the world, Turnbull wanted to tell Donald Trump. Specifically, he told Trump that Australia had decided that the risk of allowing Chinese companies to supply any of the gear for the forthcoming multi-billion dollar 5G network was too great.

As the government would announce a few days later, on Turnbull's last full day as prime minister, Chinese firms would be banned outright. It was, in effect, a profound statement of mistrust in Beijing's intent.

Trump was pleased. Even impressed: "You're ahead of us on this," the President said during the unpublicised call, according to informed sources. The Australian leader was well aware. He'd been urging the US for months to get active on the matter. He raised it with Trump in a meeting in Washington in February, for instance.

Now Australia had taken a decisive step, becoming the first country in the world to ban Chinese suppliers from its 5G network and incurring the customary angry bluster and threats from Beijing as a result. Turnbull evidently hoped that, by taking the lead, Australia would prompt the US and others to follow. It seems likely that it will.

Four weeks after that phone call, the admiral in charge of the US Indo-Pacific Command stood on the deck of a US navy guided missile destroyer in Pearl Harbour, Hawaii. Admiral Phil Davidson is responsible for US military operations across a little over half the earth's surface.

"I will be totally transparent with you," Davidson told assembled sailors and guests. "China is moving around the region with an open pocket book greasing the region with money like no other adversary we have ever faced."

This is strong stuff. He welcomed Australia's co-operation. And he embraced the term that Australia's ambassador to the US, Joe Hockey, has been promoting ever since he arrived in the post two and a half years ago. The US, said Davidson, classifies the countries it works with into three tiers - friends, partners and allies.

"And then there's mates," said the Admiral, adding a fourth category. "The highest form of relationship you can have."

Standing with him and the crew of the American destroyer was the crew of the HMAS Hobart, the first of Australia's three new guided missile destroyers. The Hobart was docked alongside its US counterpart. Both carry the sophisticated American-made Aegis combat system, a statement in itself.

Trump himself, who has adopted the Australian ambassador as a golfing partner, speaks of America's Aussie "mates" and "mateship". And while the President has decided to cancel his attendance at the two big annual summits in Asia in November, and the side-trip he had planned to Australia as well, the Vice-President is to make the trip instead.

Mike Pence is set to visit Cairns, a token of American commitment to the alliance. The theme will be the shared priority of a "free and open Indo-Pacific". This is unsubtle code for "preventing Chinese takeover of international waters and airspace".

Although the visit has not yet been announced, it's understood to be a one-day affair. One quirk is that, on the current scheduling, the US Vice-President will come to Australia but not meet the Prime Minister. Scott Morrison is to be in Darwin meeting the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe.

What do these various developments have in common? Shared fear of China's intentions is holding the alliance together. If anything, it is strengthening the relationship.

In the absence of the China risk, Australia would be inclined to recoil from Trump's America. The President is personally unpopular with the Australian public and politically distasteful to all but a right-most fringe in Australian politics.

Some of his key policies hurt Australia's interests. Australia favours free trade. Trump does not. Australia is committed to the Paris carbon accord. Trump is opposed. Australia supports the Iranian nuclear deal. Trump is pulling it apart.

But the threat from the authoritarian party-state in Beijing is so pervasive that Australia and the US are drawn to co-operate more closely in spite of their policy differences.

The cover story in the American journal Foreign Affairs is about China's plan for cyber dominance. It's titled: "World World Web."

The man who was conducting that war for America until four months ago is retired admiral Mike Rogers; he was the chief signals spy as head of the US National Security Agency and concurrently the chief cyber warrior as head of US Cyber Command.

Rogers tells me that when he started in those two posts four years ago, "We considered the Russians to be our peers in cyber. With China, initially, that wasn't my judgment. But look at the growth in their expertise. You are seeing China increase their capability and their level of investment. We have to develop responses predicated on the assumption that this is not going to go away."

And this is a priority that Australia shares. When Xi Jinping said that China aims to become a "cyber superpower" he wasn't thinking about how to improve shoppers' retail experience. China seeks to dominate. That's the shared concern that moved Turnbull to call Trump, the new relevance of an old alliance.


How immigration accounts for almost TWO-THIRDS of Australia's population growth

It's Sydney but except for the blonde hair it could be Tokyo

Sydney has become so overcrowded because of high immigration families are packing up and leaving for Melbourne, Brisbane and the Gold Coast to afford a house, official figures reveal.

Australia's biggest city is continuing to house the bulk of new arrivals from overseas, with net immigration accounting for almost two-thirds of national population growth.

Sydney is becoming so crowded families are moving en masse to Melbourne and south-east Queensland to escape the ridiculously high house prices, new figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show.

In the year to March, 20,500 moved out of New South Wales as the immigration-fuelled population in Australia's most crowded state surged by 113,100.

During the same time frame, 15,100 people moved to Victoria while another 24,000 moved to Queensland.

Social researcher Mark McCrindle said many people had moved from Sydney, where median house prices are still at $1 million, to Melbourne, which also has more than 5 million people, to get cheaper housing.

'If we look at the people leaving Sydney, it's not that they're quitting cities, they're just quitting this city, they're moving to other cities, Melbourne among them' he told Daily Mail Australia today.

'Sydney's become a victim of its own success. 'The ongoing urban sprawl, congestion, the commute times, has got Sydney to the point where people are looking for other alternatives.

'Melbourne has as strong an economy as Sydney and lots of jobs to boot, it's got the lifestyle but it's got housing affordability 20 per cent better than that of Sydney.'

The exodus of people from Sydney to Melbourne drove a surge in Victoria's population growth pace to 2.2 per cent, the highest in Australia.

Other alternatives to Sydney include the Gold Coast for retirees and Brisbane for mortgaged families looking to escape a 'long commute from western Sydney'.

At the turn of the 21st century, Australia's birth rate accounted for more than half of Australia's population growth pace. That began to change in 2002 after the Howard government pushed Australia's net annual immigration pace above 100,000.

It has been above 200,000 since 2012 and stood at 236,800 in the year to March, accounting for 62 per cent of national population growth.

During that time the natural increase of 143,900, subjecting deaths from births, accounted for 38 per cent of Australia's population growth.

Australia's population grew by 1.6 per cent, or 380,700 people, to be among the fastest expanding in the developed world, before reaching the 25 million milestone in August.

'Compared to our comparable countries it's still a very high growth rate,' Mr McCrindle said. 'That's largely through the very high migration rate. 'While it's become the norm, historically it hasn't been.'

The population growth pace in developed world is 0.7 per cent, as measured by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.


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, 2018

Feminism according to Daisy Cousens

America has many great conservative women.  I particularly like Kellyanne Conway and Monica Crowley.  But Australia produces talented conservatives too.  Claire Lehman, creator and editor of Quillette has come to international attention in recent times. And Daisy Cousens is very prominent these days in Australia.  She appears on all sorts of shows vigorously promoting conservative views. 

Her great asset is that she uses irreverent humor to punch holes in Leftist nonsense.  And the fact that she is very pretty and ultra feminine does undoubtedly help. After the video I reproduce an abridged version of a story about her.

For Daisy Cousens, there is more than one reason to celebrate the ascendancy of Donald Trump – or "Uncle Donny", as she refers to the US president.

First and foremost, it is good to wake up in the morning and know that a man of his calibre is in the Oval Office. The bonus? Knowing lefties worldwide are still sobbing into their pillows. "Hilarious," is her summing-up of the situation.

Cousens, 28, is a right-wing political pundit, frequently invited to air her opinions in print and on television talk-shows.

Besides being forthright, she is "smart, hard-working, and extremely well-educated" – at least, that is how she described herself in an article she published online late last year. In the same piece, she attributed her professional success in part to her sparkling personality and attractive appearance.

"Funny and conventionally pretty is a winning combination," she pointed out, "and although looks and charisma won't help me do the task, they assist immeasurably in gaining me the opportunity."

On a warm afternoon, I visit Cousens on Sydney's North Shore, where she lives with her parents and two younger sisters in a pleasant house surrounded by towering gums.

She comes to the door wearing a fulllength dress with a fitted bodice. Her skin is pale, her hair dark, her smile coquettish: she reminds me of Vivien Leigh playing Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind. We take cups of tea to an outside table and I ask how she got into punditry. "I've always been conservative," she says. And confident, obviously. Also – she doesn't mind admitting it – contrarian. "I kinda like arguing with people. I like to talk."

She laughs when I mention that I saw her make a determined effort to speak over the top of host Tony Jones on ABC TV's Q&A earlier this year.

"I was just really annoyed," she says. "I'm like, 'No, let me talk, dammit!' It was very funny." On ABC's The Drum, Cousens was even more assertive. "No-no-no-no-no-no-no," she told a fellow guest who tried to get a word in edgeways. "Don't interrupt me." Both performances drew a big response online. "I didn't read any of it," she says. "But my friends were like, 'Er, Daisy, people are calling you a Nazi.'"

There's nothing like the presence of a Trump supporter to spice up on-air debate.

While I am working on this story, Cousens accepts requests to appear on Sky News' The Bolt Report, Paul Murray Live and Jones & Co, Channel Ten's The Project, as well as Q&A and The Drum. No one could accuse her of shrinking from the spotlight, but even she is surprised by how much screen-time she's getting. "They keep calling me," she says.

I think nowadays, being conservative, it's kind of like the new rebellion.

Daisy Cousens' parents are actors. (Her father, Peter Cousens, is also a producer and director whose film credits include Freedom, starring Cuba Gooding jnr.) "I think they're a bit more centrist than I am," says Daisy, as we sit drinking tea in their sun-dappled garden. She herself dreamed of becoming a musical-theatre star, and spent the best part of a year trying to conquer Broadway. She says she had $10 in her pocket when she returned from New York. What's nice, from her perspective, is that she has ended up in the spotlight any way – even if she finds herself playing to tougher crowds than she encountered in her song-and-dance days. "They booed me!" she says of a section of the Q&A audience. A small pause. "I was really pleased."

CONTROVERSY IS, of course, the pundit's stock-intrade. When Cousens says things like, "I called myself a feminist before I started, you know, thinking," you get the impression she is hoping for a sharp collective intake of breath. She tells me that she and fellow members of the cohort she calls the "millennial Right" aim to be "very, very outrageous … We like to shock people".

In the Trump era, conservatism has lost its fuddy-duddy image, she says. "I think nowadays, being conservative, it's kind of like the new rebellion."

Cousens, who likes that Trump is "very anti-politicalcorrectness", was just 15 the first time she gave us the benefit of her assessment of a US president. It was 2003, a few months after the invasion of Iraq, and US president George W. Bush was visiting Canberra. Cousens, in the national capital on a school excursion,was one of 40 students selected to sit in on his address to federal parliament ("You had to be the worst kind of teacher's pet to get picked for that," she admits).

Interviewed for the next day's newspapers, she said Bush had convinced her that starting the war was the right thing to do: "When he talked about Saddam's torture chambers, I thought, 'Oh my God, this man is trying to defend all of us.' "

Looking back, she is impressed by the chutzpah she showed when the press pack approached. "They said, 'Do any of you girls have anything to say about the speech?' And everyone was quiet except me. I just kept talking and talking." She beams. "Nothing has changed."

After Cousens accepted that her future was not on the stage, she obtained a master's degree in creative writing and began contributing articles to an online women's magazine, SheSaid. She also started writing about tennis, a sport she has always adored. Then she knocked out a piece called "Islam and Sexual Slavery", which the conservative journal Quadrant published in November 2015 under the pseudonym Victoria Kincaid (because it was so "controversial", she says). This was her break. She landed a job as an editorial assistant at [conservative magazine] Quadrant, later joining The Spectator Australia's stable of columnists.

Cousens' political pieces invariably excoriate the Left. "I wait to write things until I'm in a terrible mood," she says. "It's usually 2am and I have a block of chocolate and I'm irrationally annoyed because Rafael Nadal, who's my favourite tennis player, has lost in the early rounds." Her objective when she composes a column is "to make people think, and to make them laugh, and to punch a hole in something that hasn't had a hole punched in it before".

Factual accuracy isn't necessarily a top priority. "The single mother, popping out children at 16 for government benefits, is hailed as a 'working-class hero'," she writes. (Really? By whom?)

In spoken commentary, too, Cousens can seem to have an airy disregard for detail: she has claimed, for instance, that Trump's Democrat rival for the presidency, Hillary Clinton, "sort of like robbed Haiti of all this stuff after the earthquake".

Sometimes, Cousens' main aim looks suspiciously like self-promotion. In a widely derided Spectator article last month about the late cartoonist Bill Leak, she wrote that he referred to her as "beautiful Daisy" and ended their only face-to-face meeting by predicting: "You'll go far, my girl."

"I'm happy to have a political discussion with people who disagree with me, because that's interesting and I don't take it personally," Cousens says. "But the psychology of the Left is different. They get very, very emotionally attached to what they believe."

At my first meeting with Cousens, she says becoming a political provocateur has lost her about a dozen friends. "It's a shame," she says, sounding not particularly despondent. And yes, she gets plenty of online abuse from strangers, but she doesn't allow that to upset her: "It's an occupational hazard."


Bettina Arndt names to shame Sydney University’s ‘free-speech bullies’

After being targeted by demonstrators at Sydney University, journalist Bettina Arndt has hit back with tactics that could force the protest leaders to give her a written apology and undertake anti-bullying training.

Arndt has lodged a formal complaint with vice-chancellor Michael Spence accusing five named students of breaching the university’s code of conduct by trying to prevent her giving a talk questioning the existence of a rape crisis on campus.

Attorney-General Christian Porter yesterday backed calls for universities to do more to protect free speech and said they were supposed to be the epicentres of free speech.

“It is a bit of a Pyrrhic victory if you have to ask governments to come in and maintain free speech at universities,” Mr Porter said. “This buck stops firstly with the universities themselves.

“Some universities do better than others so why can’t they all lift themselves to the optimal standard of enhancing free, open and civil public debate on campus,” he said.

Dr Spence defended Sydney’s University’s approach to free speech, saying a variety of views was regularly expressed. “The picture that sometimes appears in the flyers of the culture warriors — of our university as a camp of indoctrination in which free speech is inhibited — is simply unrecognisable to those who work and study here,” he writes in today’s opinion page.

“On any given day, on almost any issue, there is a diversity of views presented on campus, in the classroom, in student groups, and by organisations to whom the university provides a platform.”

If Arndt succeeds in showing student demonstrators engaged in bullying and intimidation to prevent her talk, penalties under Sydney University rules include an oral or written apology, anti-bullying training and a “management plan” that would need her agreement.

In an email to Dr Spence, Arndt wrote on Friday that she could supply witness statements and a video of the September 11 incident in which police were called when demonstrators tried to prevent her from speaking at an event organised by the student Liberal Club.

The video shows key people “encouraging protesters to block the entrance to the venue and harassing, abusing and physically intimidating students trying to attend the lecture”, she wrote.

“I am calling for action to be taken to enforce the university’s bullying policy. “I ask the university to take action against the students who demonstrated and encouraged abusive behaviour towards me and towards Liberal Club members and my audience.”

This comes soon after a similar incident at La Trobe University and a warning from former High Court chief justice Robert French that universities faced the risk of legislative intervention unless they provided a robust defence of free speech on campus.

Arndt called on Dr Spence to initiate complaint proceedings under clause 4 of the university’s code of conduct, which says students must not unreasonably impede access to lecture theatres and must not become involved in harassment or bullying.

If her complaint is upheld, clause 17 of the university’s policy on bullying, harassment and the prevention of discrimination says breaches of the policy may result in action that includes an apology and a management plan containing agreed actions by the parties.

In a separate email with Liberal Club president Jack O’Brien, Arndt asked Dr Spence to refund the $475.20 that the Liberal Club had been required to pay for security. “The security officers ended up calling in the riot squad because they were unable to protect us nor hold back the violent, abusive protesters,” they wrote.

Education Minister Dan Tehan has suggested to university vice-chancellors that campus activists should be required to pay for security but in today’s opinion page Dr Spence argues against that proposal.

Arndt told The Australian the Liberal Club had paid for security services that the university was unable to provide.


No decent campus curtails the free exchange of ideas

In an address reported yesterday, former High Court chief justice Robert French hints the attempt to shut down politically inconvenient speech on campus may meet a challenge invoking the Constitution’s implied freedom of communication. Free-spirited law students, take note.

Unfortunately, universities have pandered to the intolerant Left, enabling a politically correct orthodoxy in which competing views are pathologised as “hate speech” akin to bodily harm. Designated victim groups are accorded “safe spaces” to shelter from the injurious thought of oppressor groups.

Life is too messy and interesting to be reduced to such a crude ideology. Its narrow formula for “diversity” leaves little room for individual integrity or political dissent.

Psychologist Bettina Arndt has launched a university tour to critique claims of a rape crisis on campus. La Trobe University at first denied permission for the event, then relented. Rowdy protesters rebuffed Ms Arndt’s attempt at dialogue, seeking nothing less than to silence her.

At the University of Sydney, student organisers were told they would have to pay for extra security, which proved ineffective against disruption.

By accepting the equation between speech and harm, and imposing security costs on student organisations, universities risk giving violent activists an effective veto over speakers who challenge the PC orthodoxy.

So far, despite the difficulties, the Arndt tour has gone ahead, but the US practice of “no platforming” shows the trajectory. At the heart of Ms Arndt’s argument is the interpretation and validity of surveys of sexual assault. If she is right, university leaders have been complicit in the creation of an unnecessary climate of fear and gender suspicion on campus.

This is precisely the kind of issue where intellectual honesty requires students to be exposed to competing arguments so they can make up their own minds.

Mr French puts it well: “The scholar of the university expects vigorous debate about his or her ideas and that colleagues and students can be pushed to re-examine their own. The creation of better citizens is a by-product of educating students. That is to say, people who can take their place in public civic discourse, help to form public values and public policy, and to choose the officials who manage public affairs. This is not just about creating future leaders but responsible contributors to civic life.”

SOURCE (editorials)

Morrison’s changes of pace take game to Labor

Scott Morrison is proving to be a fast-moving target, with dramatic changes of political pace and topic giving him a fighting chance even as Bill Shorten and Labor continue to exploit the division and incalculable damage of a leadership change.

It is becoming clearer by the day that the new regime is more adept at political tactics, able to address multiple issues — large and small — while being resolute and consistent in response to Labor’s attacks.

The Prime Minister proved yesterday he can switch from vaudeville to serious policy decisions and political problem-solving while not taking his eyes off Labor. After grabbing the initiative last weekend by announcing an aged care royal commission. Morrison moved seamlessly into confronting the serious consumer issue of strawberry contamination before reinforcing his concern for drought-affected farmers by announcing help on hay trucks.

Labor had to agree with the new strawberry sabotage laws and couldn’t complain about the straw supplies for farmers.

But not content with winning the dreaded 24-hour news cycle, Morrison unveiled a $4.2 billion solution to the non-government-school funding debacle that had dogged Malcolm Turnbull and his unnecessarily abrasive education minister, Simon Birmingham.

For more than a year, the Turnbull-Birmingham Gonski funding model and gratuitous insults to Catholic educators, combined with higher fees for parents at non-government schools, had caused alarm within the Coalition and allowed the Opposition Leader to exploit Catholic discontent at the ballot box.

After a month in the job, Morrison and the new minister, Dan Tehan, solved the crisis by acting on the funding review recommendations, accepting the review’s findings that the concerns of systemic Catholic schools were justified and didn’t suggest Catholic schools were “taking 30 pieces of silver” by dealing with Labor.

Regardless of whether Turnbull or Morrison was PM, this policy and political solution couldn’t have been reached with Birmingham in place.

Morrison, behaving in the mould of Robert Menzies and John Howard, moved to reclaim the Coalition’s traditional strength on funding for non-government schools and was able to take something positive out of the leadership change.

After so long and successfully cultivating the “Catholic vote”, Labor was forced back on to its mantra of “state schools first”.

Of course, Morrison can’t escape or resist the parliamentary baiting from the Opposition Leader over the leadership change and his self-described “muppet show”. Once again, Morrison was asked why Turnbull wasn’t still PM and suffered the sideshow of Labor MPs with Muppet characters.

The new Liberal leader can’t explain his presence without dumping on the previous Liberal leader, so instead he embraces the pain and dysfunction of leadership challenge and attempts to turn the odium of “Canberra politics” back on to Shorten with claims he’s only interested in “playing games”.

Morrison’s staunch defence of Peter Dutton — now that Labor has stalled on the visa intervention allegations after damaging the Home Affairs Minister politically — was another sign the PM was going to be steadfast and not about to abandon any colleagues.


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, 2018

Bad news for Bill Shorten: Scott Morrison becomes most popular PM in years as support for Labor leader plunges in latest Newspoll

Support for Labor leader Bill Shorten has plunged in the latest Newspoll, with Scott Morrison extending his lead as the preferred prime minister.

Voters have continued to warm to Mr Morrison a month after he seized the nation's top job following the Liberal Party's brutal leadership spill.

Mr Morrison's latest approval rating is the best result for a prime minister since February 2016.

He increased his lead as the preferred prime minister to 13 points over Mr Shorten - 45 to 32 per cent.

Mr Shorten's approval fell five points while Mr Morrison's rose three points compared to the previous Newspoll.

The prime minister also came out in front on the question of which leader voters considered more authentic.

In a bad sign for Mr Shorten, 21 per cent of Labor voters also chose Mr Morrison.

But while Mr Morrison is more favoured by voters, his party is not. The Coalition lost its 41st Newspoll in a row - but there are signs of a revival in its fortunes.

Their primary vote rose two points to 36 per cent just weeks after the leadership spill. Labor's primary vote dropped three points to 39 per cent but on a two-party preferred basis, it continues to lead the coalition 54 to 46.

The poll of 1675 voters was conducted nationally for The Australian.


With Turnbull gone, it’s no longer a walkover for Shorten

Suddenly, Bill Shorten and Labor have a fight on their hands.

The ALP still is clearly favoured to move from opposition to government in the next few months, but Scott Morrison’s actions as Prime Minister are presenting difficulties for Labor and giving new hope to Liberals.

Labor was convinced it had Malcolm Turnbull’s measure and had filled its war chest with weapons based on the assumption that Peter Dutton was the likeliest alternative leader.

Morrison as a compromise leader has made it more difficult for Labor, and it’s taking time for the Opposition Leader to adjust his tactics and strategy.

Time is of the essence for both Morrison and Shorten — the Liberal leader has little time to turn around a deeply damaged and divided Coalition government, while Labor can’t afford to give Morrison any leeway and lose an “unlosable” election.

Morrison is aware of the need to show tangible proof of an improved standing in the next couple of Newspoll surveys and survive the Wentworth by-election on October 20 if he is to have any hope of winning the general election. So he is moving quickly to differentiate himself personally and politically from Turnbull.

Making quick decisions and presenting them in terms ordinary voters can appreciate and understand has become a hallmark of Morrison’s brief leadership. In the past week he has taken the initiative and called an aged-care royal commission, introduced emergency new sabotage laws to counter strawberry contamination, lifted restrictions on hay trucks delivering feed to drought-affected cattle, sought a report from the Liberal Party on parliamentary gender imbalance and, most significantly, settled the “war” with the Catholic school system — a big cause for disenchantment with Turnbull.

The settlement of the non-government school funding issue was a demonstration of Morrison’s commitment to longstanding Liberal principles — in the Menzies and Howard mould — as well as his political acumen.

He locked Labor into supporting the aged-care royal commission and the emergency food tampering laws, and neutralised Shorten’s highly successful campaign to politically enlist the Catholic education system. With his down-to-earth language and image, Morrison is earning respect from critics and working furiously to heal Liberal divisions.

The attention to language and detail includes the new reference to “our government”, a term all Liberal MPs are being encouraged to use. In the catastrophic circumstances Morrison inherited, he is doing better than expected and a lift in Coalition support is likely.

Labor’s tactics in the first month of the Morrison leadership have evolved as Shorten has adjusted to facing a new opponent. Understandably, Labor’s priority has been to exploit the extensive damage done to a government when yet another first-term prime minister is removed.

It has demanded an explanation for Turnbull’s removal; used divisive interventions from the likes of Turnbull and his former deputy Julie Bishop; continued to pursue Home Affairs Minister Dutton over his exercise of ministerial discretion on visas; promoted its superior record on female parliamentary representation; unveiled more policies; highlighted Labor’s unity and stability; and attacked Morrison’s record as treasurer.

This wealth of issues conceals two traps Labor must avoid: hubris, in considering victory to be inevitable; and overplaying the Liberal divisions to a point of turning them into a game that reflects poorly on Shorten.

There were a few ins­tances this week that suggested complacency — which so far Shorten has been careful to avoid — inexorably is creeping into Labor thinking. Announcing a double-plus policy for Labor of improving superannuation for women on lower incomes, which underlined Labor’s strength on women’s ­issues and highlighted Morrison’s unpopular superannuation chan­ges in the 2016 budget, Shorten referred to what Labor would do when “we get into government”. An assumption of victory is poison in the electorate, which never wants to be taken for granted.

The second sign of hubris was trivialising the prime ministerial changes, with two Labor MPs cuddling Muppet figures — including Fozzie Bear amid cries of “Waka! Waka!” — being ejected from parliament. Morrison used the juvenile display to once again embrace his use of Muppet imagery to apologise to the public for the Liberal leadership chaos and accused Labor of “playing Canberra games”.

Oppositions can get away with a few stunts that governments can’t, but there is always a danger of taking them too far — such as the cardboard cutout of Kevin Rudd in question time — and the ALP needs to ratchet back its stuffed-toy onslaught or risk a backlash against all politicians.

Understandably, every parliamentary sitting day Shorten and his colleagues have asked at least once why Turnbull is still no longer prime minister. From dire experience Labor knows this is a question the public wants answered, and it is one the new leader cannot honestly answer.

Labor has linked this with internal Liberal bickering over bullying, amid encouragement from Turnbull and Bishop to pursue Dutton and keep open the prospect of forcing the minister to the backbench or out of parliament and bringing down the Morrison government.

In the end, the Labor and Greens’ move for a no-confidence motion in Dutton over his intervention on visas failed to budge Dutton or Morrison but perpetuated the sense of parliamentary instability and the precariousness of a minority government.

Shorten believes time will be Morrison’s biggest problem and would dearly love to force an early election or a defeat on the parliamentary floor for the Prime Minister, no matter what the issue. At the same time, Shorten describes significant differences within Labor over trade and tariffs as “debate”, which shouldn’t be “confused with disagreement and disunity”.

“Let’s not confuse debate and difference of opinion with disun­ity. I mean, I’m on to my third prime minister in my five-year stint … That’s disunity,” Shorten said this week, comfortable in his own leadership as Morrison desperately tried to muffle internal criticism.

Shorten and opposition Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen also worked to positively extend and defend Labor’s policy offerings while trying to negate Morrison’s record as treasurer.

Labor’s extension of commonwealth-funded superannuation payments for people on commonwealth paid parental leave did not come at a huge cost — $400 million across the four-year budget estimates — but has appeal for low-paid women and older women, and addresses the issue of the growing number of older women facing homelessness. “It is absolutely unconscionable that today in Australia the fast-growing group of people moving into homelessness are single, older women,” Shorten ­declared.

Bowen also linked Labor’s proposed negative gearing changes to addressing housing affordability and derided Morrison’s claims this would “torpedo” the housing market.

“It was only a couple of years ago he was arguing within his party to rein in the ‘excesses’ in negative gearing, only to be rolled by his cabinet,” Bowen said.

Labor’s campaign against the “Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison” government is about maximising disunity and destabilisation within the Coalition, pressing for an early election, offering a united, disciplined alternative, proffering policy, agreeing with good ideas such as the aged-care royal commission or steps to combat food contamination, and describing the new Prime Minister as the architect of all the unpopular decisions of the old prime minister.

Shorten is not letting up — but Morrison is not going to allow the policy hiatus that crippled Turnbull’s momentum when he replaced Tony Abbott.


Coalition to examine Labor's pay gap plan

A Labor plan to force companies to publicly disclose how much they pay women compared to men will be closely examined by the coalition.

The sentiment comes as a leading business group has expressed concerns the proposal could heap extra regulations on Australian companies.

Minister for Women Kelly O'Dwyer says the policy is an "interesting idea" but she isn't sure it would be effective and believes it may cause division.

"We think it's best though to unite people rather than divide them and we have to be very conscious of the regulatory burden that would be imposed on businesses," she told ABC radio on Monday.

The opposition on Sunday announced the election commitment to make Australian companies with more than 1000 employees disclose their gender pay gaps. Similar public reporting is underway in Belgium and the United Kingdom.

Ms O'Dwyer said it was "early days" in terms of overseas data, but the government would closely examine the results.

The gender pay gap has hit a record low of 14.5 per cent under the coalition, according to reporting by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, the minister said. "It's still too high but it's certainly lower than it was and we need to look at practical measures for how we can get it lower," she said.

Ms O'Dwyer will be delivering the first economic security statement for women in coming months, which will address practical measures that can address the issue.

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive James Pearson said more employers than ever are taking action on the gender pay gap, though there remains work to do. But businesses will be closely looking at Labor's plan, he said, with ACCI concerned Labor's plans could be burdensome. "Employers already have substantial reporting obligations in this area, so we need to think carefully about whether or not we should add further regulation," he said.

A Shorten Labor government would also change the Fair Work Act to prohibit pay secrecy clauses, which prevent employees from discussing their salaries.

Mr Pearson said there were reasons why pay may be kept confidential, including employers' wishes. "We would be wary about moves to remove that confidentiality because it does risk people being put under pressure to reveal their pay when they may not want to for very good reasons," he said.


Leyonhjelm wins on income-based school funding

Liberal Democrats Senator David Leyonhjelm has welcomed the Government’s decision to fund non-government schools based on the income of parents, rather than the average wealth of the parents’ neighbours.

“For several years I have been outlining to education ministers how funding for private schools can and should be based on the income of parents rather than the average wealth of the parents’ neighbours.  I have also outlined how taxpayer privacy can be maintained.

“I am delighted that the Government has finally worked it out.

“Income-based funding improves the degree to which school funding is needs-based.  The schools educating poor kids will get more than schools educating rich kids.

“The fact that the additional funding favours non-government schools over government schools also enhances needs-based funding.

“Currently a non-government school whose students are poorer and more disadvantaged than a government school receives only 80 per cent of the funding of the government school.  Any move that whittles away at this baseless bias against non-government schools is great.

“The Government should go further and completely eliminate this rule. A non?government school whose students are poorer and more disadvantaged than a government school should never receive less taxpayer-funding just because it is a non-government school.

“The Government should also start funding government schools based on the income of parents, and rich parents who send their children to government schools need to be charged meaningful school fees.

“This is fair, and would achieve more education bang for the taxpayer buck.

“The Government is moving towards the Liberal Democrats’ policy of schooling vouchers that are sector-blind, means?tested and needs-based.  It should go all the way.”

Media release

Australia caught between the two behemoths, China and the USA

Tensions between the two behemoths of the global economy show no signs of abating and could well escalate alarmingly in coming months. Though any negotiation involving Donald Trump is inherently unpredictable, no one should expect a cease fire any time soon.

And the increasing hostilities could gravely damage the ­global trade system that has underpinned Australian prosperity, according to federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, who warns that the dispute “has the potential to undermine the consensus on trade which has been so valuable to ­Australia”.

“For 20 years we’ve had co-­operation on the multilateral trade agenda and the World Trade Organisation has been the key forum for negotiation and enforcement. This has been of great benefit to Australia. Now we are seeing retaliation and tariff barriers being imposed outside of the WTO.”

This week the US President imposed a 10 per cent tariff on $US200 billion ($274bn) worth of Chinese exports to the US, which rate is set to rise to 25 per cent by the end of the year. In retaliation the Chinese imposed tariffs on $US60bn worth of US exports to China. Trump has threatened a further round of tariffs on China’s remaining exports to the US.

In 2017 the US sold $US130bn worth of goods to China whereas Beijing sold nearly four times that much — $US505bn — to the US, leaving a staggering bilateral US trade deficit with China of $US375bn. As a result, Beijing has far less room to retaliate with tariffs against US tariffs, although it could use regulatory means to hit US companies operating in China.

Jack Ma, founder of the Chinese tech conglomerate, Alibaba, says the dispute could last 20 years and sees no short-term solution.

In imposing the tariffs, Trump cited not only the trade deficit but also accusations of intellectual property theft and coercion that the US has long levelled at China.

The EU’s trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom says she agrees with some of the US complaints but not with the method of retaliation. “The message is that ultimately tariffs lead to less jobs because they lead to higher costs”

Frydenberg says the Australian government must work at “ensuring, as far as we can, that our trade partners stay committed to a rules-based system”. He says that in relation to China the US has “concerns around intellectual property, the role of state-owned enterprises and the trade deficit”.

Although he would offer the same advice to any country, his response to the Trump administration’s moves is encapsulated in the following: “The message is that ultimately tariffs lead to less jobs because they lead to higher costs.”

However, the Treasurer also has a message that applies particularly to China: “It doesn’t matter what the country is, there needs to be a genuine respect for intellectual property and, ultimately, a failure to protect IP is counter-productive because it’s a disincentive to future investment. From Australia’s point of view, we want to see all sides adhere to intellectual property rules. China is becoming more aware of the fact that if they don’t have good IP protection, that could impinge on foreign investment.”

Naturally, Frydenberg will not be drawn on whether he accepts the proposition that Beijing routinely steals other countries’ IP. However, every relevant Western agency and every senior Western official privately acknowledges this to be the case. Only the Americans are strong enough to say it publicly.

Woodward cites an official US study that concluded Beijing had stolen more than $US600bn worth of US intellectual property.

Woodward writes: “The Chinese broke every rule. They stole everything, from tech companies’ trade secrets to pirated software, film and music, and counterfeited luxury goods and pharmaceuticals. They bought parts of companies and stole the technology.

“They stole intellectual property from American companies that had been required to move their technology to China to operate there. Cohn considered the Chinese dirty rotten scoundrels.”

Frydenberg’s assessment is that the US-China trade dispute has so far not had serious effects on the performance of the global economy, but that this could well change.

The total additional tariffs imposed so far, the Treasurer says, have been confined to about 2 per cent of world trade, “so there has been little or no macro-economic effect so far”.

“Australia has avoided direct fallout by avoiding (US) steel ­tariffs.”

However, in a rejection of some of the hysterical anti-Trump rhetoric of recent days, he also expresses complete confidence in the US economy under Trump.

“The American economy remains a global powerhouse and a force for good globally, and of great benefit to Australia,” he says.

Frydenberg adds that even after the imposition of the new Trump tariffs, the US economy remains the most open, most free and most free-trading big economy in the world.

This is a critical reality check on the sometimes hysterical Australian debate about Trump.

At a World Economic Forum meeting in China this week, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang defended the global trading system and condemned unilateral attempts to change it. He and other Chinese leaders have said that the world faces a choice between globalisation and unilateralism.

Without mentioning the US by name, Chinese leaders have presented themselves as free traders and the US as protectionist.

But as Frydenberg incontrovertibly points out, the US remains a vastly more free-trade economy than China.

Not only that, given the record of Chinese violations of intellectual property rights, the stated desire of the government in Beijing to achieve greater rates of self-sufficiency in key domestic markets, and the highly restrictive rules surrounding foreign investment in China, it is Beijing far more than Washington that has put the global trading system under strain.

But Australia has a stake in both economic relationships and risks being caught up not just in a trade dispute between our key ­security partner and an economic partner, but also in fact between our two closest economic partners.

But the US is also by a vast distance the biggest foreign investor in Australia

The Treasurer, who next month will attend his first G20 ­finance ministers’ meeting, will, like most senior global figures, seek to keep the situation as calm as possible.

He remains positive overall about the prospects for global economic growth but identifies escalating trade tensions as one of four potential impediments to global growth.

The other three are slowing Chinese economic growth, the potential for inflation and higher interest rates in the US, and “jitters” in emerging markets.

All these factors are also potentially risky for Australia.

The global economy in 2017 recorded its fastest growth since 2011, but the OECD in its economic outlook published on Thursday suggests that growth would come back a bit, and nominates trade tensions as one of the downside risks for the global economy.

Frydenberg says there were three factors that saved Australia in the GFC.

“The first was the pristine balance sheet that John Howard and Peter Costello left for the nation. There was money in the bank when the GFC came along.

“The second was that China’s demand for our exports continued to be strong throughout that ­period.

“And the third was that we had a stable financial system. Our banks were not exposed to low document loans, like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were in the US. Our financial system today is stronger than ever before.”


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, 2018

Australia set to run on 100% renewable energy within 15 years

How the Green/Left can blind themselves to the obvious is a wonder. Do they seriously think that any population would settle for an electricity supply that only worked when the sun shone and the wind blew?  Yet that is what we would have with 100% renewable energy.  "Renewables" will always need to be backed to 100% of demand by conventional generators

Australia is set to reach its target of 100% renewable energy by the early 2030’s, provided current uptake of renewable energy options in the residential and commercial sectors remains strong.

The Australian renewables energy industry will install more than 10 gigawatts of new solar and wind power before the end of 2019 and if that rate is maintained, Australia would reach 50% of its renewables target in 2025.

The reduction target, set under the famed Paris Agreement into global climate change, forms part of a commitment made by Australia in 2015 to cut carbon emissions nationwide by up to 28% of 2005 levels by the year 2030.

It represents reductions of around 52% in emissions per capita and around 65% in the emissions intensity of the economy between 2005 and 2030.

Homeowners and industry have embraced the renewables challenge so well that it now seems possible the nation will reach the equivalent of 100% renewables for its electricity supply well before then.

A report by the Energy Exchange Institute at Australian National University, says merely keeping up the current rate of renewable energy deployment – roughly divided between solar photovoltaics (PVs), wind farms and rooftop solar PVs – would meet the country’s entire emissions reduction task for the whole economy by 2025.
New global energy capacity additions 2015 2017 solar wind
Net new global generation capacity additions in 2015 and 2017.

That doesn’t take into account recent announcements at State level to make solar a more attractive option to consumers.


University free speech charters must be more than mere words

Federal education minister Dan Tehan has proposed that Australian universities be required to adopt new codes to protect freedom of thought and expression.

This is in response to the growing campus activism against free expression; typified by last week’s disgraceful scenes at Sydney University, when left-wing students violently tried to stop social commentator Bettina Arndt from making a speech questioning the idea of a ‘rape culture’ at universities.

Tehan’s proposal would be a timely initiative to help our universities avoid the kind of full-blown free speech crisis occurring in universities in North America.

But to prove effective and uphold the principles of rational inquiry and civil debate that all universities should stand for, university freedom codes or charters cannot be toothless tigers—all platitudes and no action.

Universities that don’t defend freedom of thought and expression should have some of their $17 billion in public funding cut by the federal government, as is starting to happen in other countries.

We simply cannot rely on universities to defend free speech when the anti-free speech culture in contemporary universities is so deeply mired in political correctness and identity politics.

At Sydney university, more than 100 academics have opposed working with the Ramsay Foundation to teach students about the history of Western civilisation because this would supposedly violate the university’s commitment to “diversity and inclusion.”

This is the same rationale offered at American universities to justify ‘no platforming’ certain speakers.

So-called controversial thinkers and writers are denied the right to speak on campus because they are accused of allegedly promoting racist, patriarchial or homo- or trans-phobic ideas claimed as ‘offensive’ or ‘hurtful’ to some students.

The dire implications of this for free speech prompted the University of Chicago to conduct a special inquiry into freedom thought and expression in 2015.

The resultant Stone Committee Report—which Tehan’s university freedom charters should take a leaf from—rightly argued that concerns about students being exposed to ideas they disagree with or deem offensive should never justify shutting down free and open inquiry, because universities should guarantee “the broadest possible latitude to speak, write, listen, challenge, and learn.”

Tehan should also look closely at the new approach to defending free speech on campus in the Canadian province of Ontario, which requires universities to develop free speech policies as a condition of taxpayer-funding.

More importantly, the Ontario government’s commitment to promoting free speech on campus not only has teeth, but also practical bite: universities that do not develop, implement, and comply with free speech policies will face funding cuts.

It might be pitiful to think that universities need to sign up to a freedom charter—let alone be threatened with financial penalties—to defend freedom of thought and expression. And this is not to advocate that government uses public funds to censor universities.  Instead it is about universities fulfilling their traditional obligations as institutions of intellectual freedom.

But if we are going to address the anti-free speech culture on campuses, the government—on behalf of all citizens and all taxpayers—needs to hold universities to account to protect the free speech of all.


Liberals in bid to reverse collapse in support from older voters

Scott Morrison has moved to ­reverse a collapse in support for the Coalition among senior Australians with his decision to call a royal commission into the aged-care sector in addition to jettisoning Abbott-era plans to raise the pension age to 70.

Coalition sources say internal polling and focus group research confirms a weakness in support among seniors — a voter group that was generously rewarded under the Howard government and which became its strongest bulwark of support.

The Coalition has always held a dominant share of the vote among senior Australians, while Labor has consistently led among younger voters. However, the ­Coalition’s margin among older voters has narrowed significantly over the past five years.

Newspoll does not separately identify the over-65 age group, but among the over-50s, primary support for the Coalition peaked at 54 per cent under the Gillard government, when the impact of the carbon tax was being felt, having held at just under 50 per cent under the Howard government.

Support for the Coalition among this age group dropped to 44 per cent after the Abbott government’s “tough medicine” 2014-15 budget. It now languishes at ­between 40 and 43 per cent.

Malcolm Turnbull moved to shore up support in this age group last month when he announced the retention of the pensioners ­energy supplement, worth about $366 a year to single pensioners. Morrison’s decision to probe the aged-care sector and keep the ­retirement age at 67 has intensified those efforts.

Liberal backbencher Ann Sudmalis, who last week announced she would leave parliament at the next election in response to ­alleged bullying at a local level, highlights the government’s vulnerability to a backlash among older voters.

The census shows 34 per cent of voters in her electorate of Gilmore, which covers a stretch of the NSW south coast including Batemans Bay and Nowra, are aged 65 years or over, far in excess of the 23 per cent national average. Department of Social Services data shows that almost a quarter of Gilmore voters receive the Age Pension. Once a safe Coalition seat, Sudmalis now holds it by just 0.7 per cent. Labor analysts have the seat chalked into their column.

The senior vote is increasingly important. Since the 2013 election, the number of people on the electoral roll has increased by 10 per cent but the number of voters aged over 65 years has risen by 17 per cent. Senior voters represent about 23 per cent of the electorate, while policies directly affecting them also influence the votes of people in their 50s who are planning for retirement.

The Abbott government’s first budget, in 2014, came as a tremendous shock to older Australians. In pursuit of the senior Australians’ vote, the Howard government had legislated generous indexation, setting the Age Pension at 25 per cent of male total average weekly earnings. Wages almost always rise faster than consumer prices, and men’s wages rise faster, and are set higher, than women’s. The Rudd government raised the benchmark to 28 per cent.

However, the Abbott budget ordered an immediate shift to indexation based on the consumer price index, which abandoned any relationship with earnings.

ANU economist Peter Whiteford estimated that over the time scale of the government’s intergenerational reports, the value of the pension would drop to just 16 per cent of male earnings.

To make matters worse, the Abbott budget proposed raising the pension age from the 67 years to 70 years.

With 2.5 million recipients of the Age Pension, or about 15 per cent of the electorate (and the measure affecting a further 1.5 million people on disability and other pension payments), the Coalition government was taking electoral pain for very little gain. Although the change would make a huge difference in the long term, the measure was only saving $450 million over the budget period.

As social services minister from late 2014, Morrison took on the task of devising an alternative saving to the indexation cut, which had no chance of winning support in the Senate. His cleverly crafted response retained the long-established pension indexation, but ­adjusted the rate at which a part pension would be withdrawn under the assets test.

There would be an increase in the pension for those with low assets and a cut for those with high assets, apart from the family home.

The Department of Social Services calculated that 170,000 people would get more, while 320,000 would get less. Figures given to an estimates hearings this year suggest the initial impact hit 50,000 more people than expected.

Chief executive of the Council of the Aged Ian Yates said the first Abbott budget and the asset test changes cost the government political support. “There was a significant slippage of the older primary vote at that time,” he says.

Newspoll ratings among the 50-plus age group rose sharply following the ouster of Abbott by Malcolm Turnbull in 2015. They again topped 50 per cent. But Morrison, who was appointed treasurer following the leadership coup, made the reform of superannuation an early priority. The aim of superannuation was to reduce the 80 per cent of the aged population dependent on the pension rather than wealth creation, he said. “It is not an estate planning tool. It is to help people have a pool of retirement savings that they can draw down to live on,” he said.

His superannuation reforms were deeply unpopular with the Liberal Party base, imposing limits on the amount of non-concessional contributions and placing a $1.6 million cap on what could be transferred into a tax-free retirement-phase fund. Although share investors are typically strong ­Coalition supporters, analysis by Australian National University professor Ian McAllister found that in the 2016 election, the holders of self-managed superannuation funds were no more likely to vote for the Coalition than for Labor. “Controversial changes in Liberal policy effectively neutralised the electoral advantages that the party would otherwise have enjoyed on the issue,” he wrote.

Funding changes affecting the 65,000 aged-care residents add to the picture of a government seeking savings from a section of the population unable to lift their incomes to compensate. The reality is that the 2016-17 budget, saving $1.2bn, echoed similar moves under the Gillard government.

COTA’s Yates emphasises that Morrison has been responsive to the needs of senior Australians. This year’s budget included a package of measures to help older Australians remain in the workforce — an unusual social policy initiative for a treasurer.

Yet McAllister believes the damage has been done and Morrison’s efforts to cauterise the loss of votes will be ineffective. He suspects many of the Coalition votes among seniors have gone to One Nation, particularly in Queensland. “It has gone on for too long and people are not listening.’’

The Coalition is hoping Labor's plan to stop cash refunds of dividend imputation credits will help it turn the tide. Labor is untroubled. Its officials note the Coalition campaigned hard on the dividend imputation policy in the Longman by-election. But on Bribie ­Island in the electorate, where voters aged over 65 years represent 48 per cent of voters, booths showed an 11 per cent swing from the Coalition and a 4 per cent gain by Labor.


Scott Morrison’s marketing campaign targets the pain points

We have an election coming. And this time it’s different — our sitting prime minister is a marketing man.

A simple campaign strategy is emerging. Stripped down, this strategy is systematically to go through all the pain points of the Coalition out there in voter land and remove them. This is more than barnacle scraping because these pain points are not just slowing down the good ship ­Coalition — the ship is taking on water after a bloody mutiny.

However, once you remove the pain points, you take the oxygen from Labor on policy criticism. And once you do all of that, what this election comes down to is a battle between two personalities, Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten. And we know what the polls say about that.

If this sounds crude, look at what the Morrison government has been addressing.

First, the drought, a particular pain point for the Nationals, whose support Morrison desperately needs after the bitter personal spat between Barnaby Joyce and Malcolm Turnbull.

Next, ditching the hugely ­unpopular big company tax cuts, an albatross weighing heavier as each day of royal commission scrutiny passes. Enter Scott “Cry Me a River” Morrison, the man who put the levy on the banks.

Third, electricity prices, perhaps the single-most critical pain point to address in a campaign. Enter Angus “Down Down” Taylor, the new energy minister who now only has two targets: price and reliability. Emissions are not a pain point.

Then there is the royal commission into financial services in itself, which the Coalition fought off for so long: clearly in hindsight the wrong call. When he responds to Kenneth Hayne’s interim report next Friday, ­expect the PM to deliver at least as much theatre as counsel Rowena Orr has manufactured.

Fifth, the PM ups the stakes by announcing a new royal commission into the elderly and nursing homes, nipping in the bud the growing anguish of baby boomers and their parents, and getting in ahead of Labor. The government has also ditched its zombie measure of raising the retirement age. That’s not a bad pitch to boomers, particularly if you toss in a robust scare campaign against Labor on franking credits and negative gearing.

At number six, Morrison has now quelled the Catholic school funding issue, worth every cent in campaign terms.

There will be other pragmatic decisions to come, many pitched at delivering greater fairness­ ­between haves and have nots. Certainly, Cassandra Goldie at ACOSS is seizing the day: her joint call with Deloitte’s Chris Richardson for a $75 a week rise in Newstart is a strong candidate for a policy change that received no love in the May budget. But these are different times.

If Team Morrison can rid ­itself of the key electoral pain points, then the Morrison-Shorten face-off may be troubling for Labor. Turnbull versus Shorten opened up all manner of class-warfare opportunities that no longer are in play with the boy from the Shire.

A brilliant display of Team Morrison’s marketing deftness was the strawberry scandal, a genuine crisis for growers and a disturbing new threat of economic terrorism. The timing of the announcement by the PM and Attorney-General Chris­tian Porter to come down hard on these terrorist “grubs” with 15-year jail terms completely overwhelmed Labor’s new policy around getting rid of the gender gap through super contributions during maternity leave.

Now you’d think that at a time when the Morrison government is under fire for bullying, women are jumping overboard and the PM’s own directive for a woman in Wentworth went ignored, Labor’s announcement would have cut deep, but no. On his way to question time on Wednesday, Morrison did a walking, talking flawless piece to camera on strawberries worthy of any media professional, now sitting on the PM’s Twitter.


ABC’s undergraduate-style bias goes off the charter

Imagine if you had been stranded on an island for the past few years with nothing to watch, listen to or read from but Australia’s public broadcaster.

You would be under the false apprehension that our navy tortured asylum-seekers who were then raped on Nauru. You would think the people-smuggling trade was impossible to stop and that if boats were turned back there would be a conflict with Indonesia. You would think climate change was the greatest threat to the country, region and the world, and that it was already making our lives worse; on the bright side you would have faith that a carbon tax, emissions trading scheme or national energy guarantee would put an end to droughts, floods and bushfires while saving the Great Barrier Reef. You might be under the impression that our dams were dry and $12 billion of desalination plants were supplying us with water.

For a moment, you would have believed that the Donald Trump “nightmare” ended on the day he lost the election. But now you would be confused as to how he fired up conflicts on the Korean peninsula and in Iran without any hostilities eventuating.

There is a good chance you would be unaware of the US’s economic recovery but you would know the ins and outs of every crackpot allegation about Russian interference in American politics. Julia Gillard and Hillary Clinton would rank among your pantheon of political winners and role models. Profit and revenue would be interchangeable business terms and you might not comprehend that businesses must recoup losses before paying tax.

The Liberal Party coup that toppled Tony Abbott would stand as an example of a sorely needed and democratically orthodox leadership switch while the felling of Malcolm Turnbull would rank with The Dismissal as a repudiation of all that was acceptable in political affairs. While you would recognise Abbott as the “most destructive” politician of our time, you would see Turnbull as a victim who was knifed for no apparent reason. Still, that confusion would have ended this week when you heard that the real reason we changed prime ministers was because a couple of media moguls decided they wanted to — all you need the ABC to tell you next is why they did it, and how.

This update falls a long way short of an exhaustive list of the public broadcaster’s litany of errors and unrepented deceptions. To be fair, all journalists and media organisations make their mistakes. It is the unrelenting and undisclosed ideological bent of the ABC’s errors that is so infuriating. The lack of intellectual integrity is less than we might demand of ­undergraduates.

The transgressions are so regular that to consume ABC news and current affairs is to enter an ­alternative reality of facts and expectations. Take the 7.30 interview this week with West Australian businesswoman Catherine Marriott, who had levelled allegations of sexual harassment against former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce. Leigh Sales declined to press her for any details about her claim. Allowed — nay, encouraged — to smear Joyce’s reputation without even a hint of what allegedly transpired, Marriott was not interrogated about why she did nothing for almost 1½ years before lodging a complaint with the Nationals in February this year, when Joyce was at the eye of a political storm over his personal life.

There was no scrutiny, no natural justice, no accountability — just a free opportunity to claim victim status and attack someone else’s reputation. Issues around the reporting of alleged sexual transgressions and how we treat alleged victims are difficult and sensitive, to be sure, but common decency and fairness demand that public allegations need to be sufficiently detailed to allow rebuttal, provide context and be tested.

An ABC News Twitter account this week circulated a picture of a delegation of six men and two women at Parliament House with the comment: “A ­visiting Saudi Arabian delegation has a higher proportion of women than the Coalition.” Really, the Coalition falls behind the Saudis on women’s rights? What an ­insult, not just to the Coalition, but to the women who suffer in that country. The ABC later deleted the tweet.

On Radio National’s Big Ideas this week, Paul Barclay spoke with US journalist David Neiwert, ­author of Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump. “I think he’s frankly too stupid to be an ideologue,” Neiwert said of Trump. And so it went.

Barclay invoked Germany in the 1930s and talked about white extremist terrorism as the greatest threat in the US at a time we are “obsessed by Islamic terrorism”. According to Neiwert, “fake news and alternative facts” were all part of a plan to create “chaos” to “introduce fear” so that “fear induces this authoritarian response”. He said there was a “crisis for democracy”, overlooking the fact Trump was elected democratically.

This taxpayer-funded media world sure is a topsy-turvy one, full of conspiracies, evil far-right groups, climate threats, misogynist conservatives and governments talking up terrorism to increase their power and authority. It is what you might hear at a meeting of university activists, a GetUp sub-branch or perhaps a Greens protest. Thousands of adults on dozens of television, radio and online platforms propagate this stuff at our expense, 24/7.

Still, the story this week about Rupert Murdoch and Kerry Stokes dictating the prime ministership of this country takes the cake. It was laughable when it led ABC TV news bulletins on Tuesday night, extraordinary when it was presented prominently online and humiliating that the reports came not from some eager kid but from the ABC’s political editor, Andrew Probyn.

Apart from the teenage silliness of pretending that Murdoch and Stokes could just phone a few underlings to create a false media dynamic and force serious journalists to conjure up stories and commentary that then swung the votes of more than 40 MPs to change the leadership of the Liberal Party, Probyn had obvious facts wrong. In these pages during the week I detailed how his claim that this newspaper had been “unabashed in its advocacy for an end to the Turnbull prime ministership” was not only wrong but the opposite to what transpired.

Across three years of the Turnbull prime ministership and about 936 editorial columns, Probyn will not find a single editorial calling for this outcome.

Nothing else in Probyn’s piece rang true either, detailing as it did third-hand accounts of alleged conversations that only could have taken place after the leadership trauma was already playing out, and ­ignoring all the events that led to that denouement.

This was the sort of conspiracy theory that belongs on Twitter or intheGreen Left Weekly. It is not the sort of reporting that can be taken seriously or should be promoted to grown-ups. Naive, jaundiced and implausible, it also was wrong. To lead major bulletins with this was to seriously mislead the public and plunge the ABC’s reputation to new lows.

But it soon got worse. Stokes denied the communications, comments and interventions attributed to him. Probyn’s piece served only to demonstrate how the ABC’s reaction to Turnbull’s demise has started to mirror the reaction of liberal media in the US to the election of Trump: indignant denial triggering irrational and misleading reportage.

The worry is that this goes much deeper than one ill-advised and poorly edited piece by Probyn. It is the latest in a series of ideologically convenient false reports. Intriguingly, it acted as an irresistible lure, drawing praise and endorsement from other journalists and demonstrating how their political bent distorts their journalistic scepticism. Radio National host Hugh Riminton declared it was “good, detailed reporting” and another RN voice, Paul Bongiorno, retweeted the story, claiming it shed “more light on dark places”.

MediaWatch host Paul Barry retweeted the story with this recommendation: “Read this and weep. Australia’s media moguls plotting who should be PM. Important story from ABC News and Andrew Probyn.” Even ABC News director Gaven Morris pushed the story around, noting that Probyn had “worked for these two guys” and that his version of events was “worth a read”.

Interviewing senator Eric Abetz on Melbourne ABC radio, Jon Faine said, “We’ve got Scott Morrison as Prime Minister ­because Rupert Murdoch and Kerry Stokes decided.”

Oh dear. The Left loves conspiracy theories. Gore Vidal said he wasn’t so much a conspiracy theorist as a conspiracy analyst. The ABC ought to be wary of conspiracies lest its wishful thinking reveals too much about a corporate view of the world that, according to its charter, should not exist.


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

23 September, 2018

Pro-coal Coalition MPs schedule private dinner to discuss 'Australia's energy future'

We know that there is no consistency on the Left but this is a lulu. A policy from the conservative side of politics that they failed to suport when conservative PM Turnbull proposed it -- the "NEG" -- is now set to be Leftist policy.  It's far from an ideal policy but at least it should keep the lights on.  It shows that Turnbull was a better policy-maker than many give him credit for. He was only slightly right of centre but getting things done while leading a very precarious government required something like that

The pro-coal Monash Forum is attempting to convene a private dinner when federal parliament resumes in mid-October with Trevor St Baker, part-owner of the Vales Point coal generator and founder of the business electricity retailer ERM Power.

With the energy minister, Angus Taylor, working up options for cabinet to lower power prices and boost generation capacity by expanding existing plants, upgrading ageing legacy generators and pursuing new investments, the Coalition’s pro-coal ginger group has scheduled dinner with St Baker in Parliament House on 16 October.

According to an invitation circulated among members of the Monash Forum, seen by Guardian Australia, Coalition MPs will meet for dinner and discussion on “Australia’s energy future”.
Coalition won't replace renewables target after it winds down in 2020

St Baker has previously signalled interest in pursuing a replacement for the Hazelwood power station if the federal government settles on a favourable energy policy, and members of the Monash Forum want the businessman to update them about his investment plans.

Planning for the soiree comes as industry associations and energy associations met in Canberra on Thursday with the shadow climate change minister, Mark Butler, and the Labor leader, Bill Shorten, and urged them to persist with the national energy guarantee.

Malcolm Turnbull, as one of his last acts in the top job, dumped the policy after an internal, conservative-led insurgency. The new prime minister, Scott Morrison, and his cabinet have now taken a formal decision to dump the emissions reduction component of the Neg.

Before the policy was junked, the Turnbull government and the then energy minister, Josh Frydenberg, spent months lining up stakeholders to support the policy, which was designed by the Energy Security Board.

Business groups and energy associations are dismayed by the abandonment of the policy because they fear there is now no clear investment signal to guide investment in generation assets with 30 and 40-year operating lives. The groups sent a clear message to Labor that the current mess needed to be resolved.

Shorten and Butler – who are yet to make a final decision on whether to keep or junk the Neg – convened a meeting in parliament on Thursday with AiGroup, the Business Council of Australia, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Energy Users Association of Australia, the Australian Energy Council, the Clean Energy Council and the Smart Energy Council.

According to people present at the meeting, the groups made the case that Labor should persist with the Neg rather than junking it and pursuing a brand new policy for the electricity sector.

In his opening remarks to the meeting, Butler said Labor had heeded the message from industry players that reaching a bipartisan consensus was important, so Labor had attempted to be constructive when the Turnbull government brought forward various policy options, culminating in the Neg.
Steep emissions reductions targets won't drive up power bills, modelling shows

Butler said there was always going to be a difference between Labor and the Coalition on the level of ambition of emissions reduction but he said “getting the rules agreed upon would have been a monumental step forward in resolving the energy crisis and set us up for the investment and jobs that we need over coming years that will start to clean up our energy sector and bring power prices down”.

He told the groups Labor understood there was strong buy-in from stakeholders for the Neg, and Labor wanted “to make sure that good thinking is not entirely lost”.

“We want to make sure the energy policy we put forward at the next election is the most compelling policy that we can possibly come up with from business and household points of view, and we need your help with that,” Butler said.

While Labor is yet to make a final decision, Shorten gave a strong hint at the start of the week that the opposition would keep the Neg as part of a suite of climate policies for the next election. “We are prepared to use that as part of our framework going forward,” he said on Sunday.


Kerryn Phelps backflips to preference Liberals over Labor in Wentworth byelection

This is massive good news for Morrison.  As Australia's most prominent homosexual, Kerryn Phelps will wrap up the big queer vote in the electorate -- which would otherwise have gone to Labor

The independent candidate Dr Kerryn Phelps has backflipped and is now urging supporters to preference the Liberal party ahead of Labor as the battle heats up in Malcolm Turnbull’s former seat of Wentworth.

Phelps, the former head of the Australian Medical Association, said on Friday she would issue how-to-vote cards advising supporters to preference the Liberal candidate Dave Sharma ahead of Labor’s Tim Murray.

At her campaign launch on Sunday, Phelps had urged voters to put the Liberal party last but had not announced any formal preference deals.

“It’s really important you send that message that they know that Canberra needs to be a voice for the people,” she said on Sunday.
Kerryn Phelps: a liberal alternative or the voice of Wentworth voters' fury?

Phelp’s unexpected change of heart on preferences came as reporters were waiting in Double Bay for a news conference with the prime minister, Scott Morrison, and Sharma.

While the Liberal candidate chatted with the owner and patrons at a cafe where the news conference was due to take place, Morrison did not turn up and Phelps arrived instead.

It’s unclear why the media event was cancelled after the unexpected arrival of Phelps, who operates a GP surgery 400 metres away.

She told the media she now believed it was important to hand out a how-to-vote card given the number of candidates running. Labor’s Murray and the independent investment manager Licia Heath are among 11 people who have announced their candidacy.

Phelps said she was a “true independent” and rejected claims of connections with the Labor party, after it was revealed her campaign was being coordinated by the former Labor strategist Darrin Barnett.

The Liberal party has never lost the seat of Wentworth, which goes to the polls on 20 October.


Corrupt Egyptian woman finally cornered

An obvious psychopath who floated on a sea of lies.  Why did it take 10 years to catch her? Was it because she is a Muslim and must not be doubted?

The New South Wales corruption watchdog has recommended former Australian of the Year state finalist Eman Sharobeem be prosecuted for misconduct in public office for rorting almost $800,000 from charities.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption on Wednesday made 24 serious corrupt conduct findings against Ms Sharobeem following a lengthy inquiry held last year.

The commission heard that the purchases were made between 2007 and 2016 and billed to the now-defunct Immigrant Women's Health Service while Ms Sharobeem was CEO of the organisation.      
The Independent Commission Against Corruption found that

'The commission finds that between 2007 and early 2016 Ms Sharobeem improperly exercised her official functions while service manager or chief executive of the Immigrant Women's Health Service and the person in day-to-day charge of the Non-English Speaking Housing Women's Scheme,' the commission said in a statement.

ICAC found Ms Sharobeem transferred more than $440,000 of IWHS funds to her own bank account and used IWHS funds for various other personal purchases and expenses including $30,000 in payments to Sydney Water and the State Debt Recovery Office and $18,000 towards the purchase of a Mercedes for her husband.

She also spent $13,500 on jewellery and used company funds to pay for botox, the commission found.

Ms Sharobeem further arranged for the IWHS to pay $60,000 for work on her Fairfield property; submitted $140,000 in invoices that falsely claimed she and her sons worked as facilitators; and transferred $3000 from the NESH bank account to her own to reimburse herself for payments she made for her son's liposuction.

'I want to die, I've been framed, I want to die,' Ms Sharobeem said at the beginning of the inquiry when claiming her colleagues had set her up.

At another time she said: 'I wouldn't take the organisation's money and pay for a Mercedes. I'm not stupid.'

On the final day of the hearings, she insisted: 'My work is known, my work is shown. You cannot take this away from me until the grave.'

The ICAC on Wednesday said 'consideration should be given to obtaining the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions with respect to the prosecution of Ms Sharobeem for various offences' including misconduct in public office, fraud, obtaining benefit by deception, publishing a false statement, using a false document and giving false or misleading evidence.

The commission also made 12 corruption prevention recommendations to the two NSW government agencies that substantially funded the IWHS and the NESH.


It’s official: Australia spends more than enough on schools

The education debate at the next federal election is shaping up to be about the magnitude of future school funding increases: the Coalition want a big increase, Labor want an even bigger increase, and neither provide any evidence that it’s necessary.

But the latest data highlights the futility of more school spending. The annual OECD Education at a Glance report was released last week, and in breaking news that should shock no one, Australia spends much more on schooling than the OECD average and several top-performing countries.

So… our falling education results on international tests can’t be attributed to not spending enough taxpayer money.

Australia spends a higher dollar amount per student in both primary and secondary than the OECD average, and some top-performing countries like Japan and Finland. Furthermore, Australia spends 3.8% of GDP on school education, higher than the OECD average of 3.5%. And 13.5% of total Australian government expenditure is on education, compared to the OECD average of 11.1%, despite absurd claims to the contrary.

The OECD figures are from 2015, which means they do not take into account the larger recent ‘Gonski funding’ increases in Australia. So they likely understate how much Australia spends compared to the rest of the world. Of course, we can still argue about how school funding can be better distributed or if some schools are underfunded. But our total spending amount is enough.

Another interesting finding of the OECD report is regarding equity of education outcomes by student socioeconomic status, with Australia being at or slightly above the OECD average for equity. This is consistent with previous research findings and undermines the ubiquitous claim that the non-government school sector causes ‘social segregation’. Australia has a relatively high proportion of students attending non-government schools, about 34%, more than double the OECD average of around 16%. And yet this hasn’t led to more student inequality (even if we accept that equity of student academic performance should be the key metric, which is arguable).

Australia can do better. But more spending and blaming non-government schools isn’t the solution.


You protest, you pay: Education Minister's bid to bolster free speech at universities

Students and activists who protest at campus events would have to pay for their own security under a plan being pressed upon Australia's major universities by federal Education Minister Dan Tehan.

Mr Tehan put the idea to Group of Eight vice-chancellors on Thursday night as they met to discuss a string of incidents that the Morrison government believe show free speech under threat.

That included a speech by controversial author Bettina Arndt to the Sydney University Liberal Club, which was charged for security. The event was targeted by left-wing students opposed to Arndt's view that there is no such thing as a "rape crisis" on Australian university campuses.

Last month the University of Western Australia cancelled a talk by American transgender sceptic Quentin Van Meter, saying the organisers had been unable to provide the risk paperwork in time.

"We've seen some examples where groups have tried to prevent forums taking place, and I think what we have to ensure is that where that is happening, there is an ability - especially on our university campuses - for those events to go ahead," Mr Tehan told Fairfax Media on Friday.

"We want to make sure that there are procedures and structures in place that mean events can occur ... and not be put in jeopardy because of increased security costs.

"It might well be those people who seek to disrupt [who] might have to end up bearing some of the responsibility of the financial cost. It should not be based solely on those who want to run events [having to pay]."

Mr Tehan acknowledged the Sydney University event ultimately went ahead as planned, but said the problem was becoming more frequent and should be dealt with right away. But the vice-chancellors told Mr Tehan they already have measures to protect free speech on campus.

"They said they have policies in place, they’ve agreed to provide me with those policies," Mr Tehan told Fairfax Media.

Sydney University vice-chancellor Michael Spence was unable to attend the meeting with Mr Tehan. But in a statement, a university spokeswoman said: "We'd be interested to hear any suggestions the minister has in practice for charging a crowd of protesters, only some of whom may be members of the university."

The Sydney University Liberal Club was charged $475 for security for the event. But it never had to foot the bill - it was paid by Victorian Liberal Party president Michael Kroger, who cut a cheque for $5000 to cover all the event's costs.

Asked how to enforce a "you protest, you pay" policy, SULC president Jack O'Brien said one could "identify key protesters and the key organisations that ran the protest", and send them the bill. "We want to see a bit of action on this," Mr O'Brien said on Friday. "It's a bit disgraceful."


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, 2018

What your suburb says about you - and your children's chance of having a successful future: Maps show the divide between Australia's rich and poor

This is as it must be.  There are of course exceptions but most people will choose to live in as good a suburb as they can afford. So suburbs will be reasonably homogeneous in the incomes of their inhabitants -- with the poorest living in the least attractive suburbs.  And economically unsuccessful parents will tend to have economically unsuccessful children. It's not the suburb that makes your poor.  Its the poor who have to choose less attractive suburbs

Australia ranks at number 12 of the most expensive countries to live – but new data has revealed the shocking divide between the country's rich and poor suburbs.

Experts have released a report examining the most advantaged and disadvantaged areas across the nation - and how the suburb where you grow up can significantly impact on your success in later life.

The Children's Geographies report by Senior Research Fellow at the UNSW Jennifer Skattebol and Flinders Associate Professor Gerry Redmond has found that poverty across generations is a major issue in Australia, according to

'A significant number of young Australians who grow up in poverty find it difficult to engage with formal education; they leave school early or cannot navigate from education to the world of work,' the report states. Because the poor tend to have lower IQs

The authors said their research found that children from poorer suburbs have less access to recreational, sporting, and academic facilities, and experience social exclusion across neighbourhood facilities and social networks.

They claim that youths from affluent suburbs are less likely to participate in activities they perceive would be attended by disadvantaged children and, conversely, disadvantaged youths avoided using facilities in affluent suburbs, concerned they would be worse-off if a conflict arose.

A research program titled Dropping Off the Edge identifies advantaged and disadvantaged areas across the country.

In New South Wales, the areas in the north and west of the state were generally more disadvantaged, while regions along the coast and near the southern border fared much better.

Disadvantaged areas included Inverell in the north, and Bourke, Wilcannia, and Broken Hill in the far west.  The more affluent areas were around Sydney, Canberra, and Albury.

In Sydney itself, the north shore and eastern suburbs fared well, but suburbs in western Sydney including Blacktown, Cabramatta and Liverpool are considered disadvantaged.

In Victoria, around Melbourne and parts of the northeast and southwest of the state fared well, but Lakes Entrance in the east, and Red Cliffs in the far north were identified as disadvantaged.

In Melbourne city, areas around Hurstbridge in the north and Flinders in the south were considered affluent

In Melbourne, areas around Hurstbridge in the north and Flinders in the south were considered affluent, while areas around Yarra Junction, Cranbourne, and Sunshine were considered poorer.

In southeast Queensland, areas around Noosa, Moreton Bay, Brisbane, and the Gold Coast were the most advantaged.

Areas to the west such as Beaudesert, Ipswich, and Esk were classified as disadvantaged. The Sunshine Coast fared well, with Maroochydore one of the most advantaged areas.


Catholic and Independent schools get $4.6 billion extra funding as Federal election looms

This is something that Turnbull should have done.  Getting the Catholic church offside was a major blunder.  The extensive non-government education sector depends heavily on Federal funds

The Morrison government has removed one of the "barnacles" holding the coalition back, by injecting $4.57 billion of new money into the Catholic and Independent schools sector - ridding itself of an angry voter backlash. But already public school-teacher unions are threatening to retaliate.

The Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Education Minister Dan Tehan outlined a package of three funding measures to be rolled out between now and 2029.

The biggest of these is $3.2 billion over 10 years to be spent on Catholic and independent schools that are identified as needing the most help.

The money will be spent using a formula based on personal income tax records, so that schools with the lowest income families will get the most help. This replaces a system which relied on census data and which parents said was unrepresentative.

A further $1.2 billion will be put into a new Choice and Affordability Fund to provide extra support for non-government schools in drought-affected areas and schools that need help to improve performance and to deliver choice in some communities. Of this about $718 million will go to Catholic schools.

And $170.8 million will be spent in 2019 to top up school budgets until the new arrangements can be put into place by 2020 at the latest.

Catholic Schools in Victoria threatened to use parents' votes against the government at the next election unless they got extra money.

Catholic, independent schools approve

The National Catholic Education Commission said it fully supports Thursday's announcement.

"Hundreds of primary schools would have been forced to double or triple their fees because of the previous model's very narrow interpretation of 'need'," said acting executive director of the National Catholic Education Commission?, Ray Collins.

"We commend the new education minister Dan Tehan for recognising that the previous model had jeopardised the future of low-fee, low-expenditure schools in areas where they've served families for generations."

"Fundamental to our support of this package is the Minister's agreement to review the new arrangements to ensure they continue to support the government's policy objectives, including parent choice."

The non-Catholic independent schools said the arrangement created a "fair and reasonable" resolution of current funding issues. The Independent Schools Council of Australia said as part of the deal the government had promised to review the new funding arrangements in 2027.

The new $4.57 billion comes in addition to the $19 billion extra money promised by the government under the Gonski 2.0 funding reforms announced last year.


Bill Shorten promises $400 million to top up women's superannuation to help close 'retirement gender gap'

the ALP have no trouble thinking of things to spend money on.  Paying for it is another matter however

Women on maternity leave or juggling several low-paid jobs would be paid superannuation under a $400 million Labor plan to close the retirement gender gap.

Opposition Deputy Leader Tanya Plibersek unveiled the policy on Wednesday, saying too many Australian women retire in poverty.

Women retire on average with $113,000 less in their super than men, a gulf of 40 per cent. 'This policy's a real cracker for women,' Ms Plibersek told AAP.

Labor would also pay superannuation on parental, dad and partner leave.

The party is also looking to phase out the $450 minimum monthly threshold for eligibility for the superannuation guarantee, helping people in part-time and casual work.

Ms Plibersek said more and more people - particularly women - were working various low-paid jobs to make ends meet. 'So many more people are working two or three or four casual part time jobs,' she said.

'We think you should get your superannuation on those smaller pay packets as well.'


Scott Morrison rejects AMA plea to bring children from Nauru to Australia

The AMA is a fairly Leftist organization.  There is an open offer for all refugees to return to either their native country or their country of first refuge -- which is usually Muslim Pakistan or Indonesia.  But those countries are too poor for them.  They don't have to stay on Nauru.  Let the refugees take their children to Pakistan for treatment

Scott Morrison has rebuffed a plea from the Australian Medical Association to change policy on Nauru, and bring families and children to Australia, saying he will not “put at risk any element of Australia’s border protection policy”.

The prime minister told reporters on Thursday the government was already in the process of “getting families off Nauru” and had pursued a refugee resettlement deal with the United States to achieve that end.

But he said he had no intention of softening Australia’s border protection policy, because Labor had adjusted the deterrence regime after the election of Kevin Rudd “thinking it would have no effect, then 1,200 people died”. “So I’m not going to do that,” he said.

Morrison’s rebuff follows a strong intervention from the AMA president, Tony Bartone. Bartone wrote to the prime minister to seek the removal of families from a situation he characterised as an “humanitarian emergency requiring urgent intervention”.

Bartone told Morrison he made the decision to write because of “a recent groundswell of concern and agitation across the AMA membership and the medical profession about conditions on Nauru, and the escalation in reports of catastrophic mental and physical health conditions being experienced by the asylum seekers, especially children”.


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, 2018

White do-gooder sees pervasive racism towards Aborigines

I don't know why I occasionally put up rejoinders to Leftist screeches.  I guess I feel that a full picture of the matters concerned has to be available.  And Leftist writing usually leaves out such an enormous amount of the full story that I really feel annoyed at such deception.

The woman writing below, Caitlin Prince, apparently works in some sort of welfare role among Aborigines and appears to do so largely as a result of her political convictions.  And a big part of those convictions is that Australians generally are racist.  But what evidence does she muster for that conviction?  Just three anecdotes.  But you can prove anything by anecdotes.  I could report far more anecdotes that prove Australians generally to be racially tolerant.  So she falls at the first hurdle in her rant.

So her claim that "defensive anger" is the common response to  accounts of the deplorable situation of Aborigines is also just another anecdote.  That she is a racist is however clear. She criticizes "white men of Anglo-Celtic or European background."  Why does she have to bring their race into it?  Why can she not outline the words and deeds of particular people in her criticisms?  Instead she resorts to lazy generalizations with no detectible substance in them.

Another of her broad brush strokes is to say that "mostly racism is unconscious  and internalised".  How does she know?  Does she have a mind-reading machine?  She does not. Instead she relies on her deductions about the motives behind various words and deeds that she has observed. There is a very long history in psychology of failed attempts to read minds but she is not humbled by that.  She knows better.

One of her observations, however, is probably right.  She says that the poor state of Aborigines evokes feelings of powerlessness in whites.  She does not however confront a major reason why.  Successive Australian governments, State and Federal, Left and Right have all set in train big efforts to improve the situation of Aborigines -- but nothing works. If anything, the situation of Aborigines has gone downhill since the era of the missionaries.  People of all sorts have racked their brains to come up with solutions but none have succeeded.  People feel powerless in the face of Aboriginal degradation because they really ARE powerless.

She says that the problem for Aborigines is "the thick walls of indifference, denial, and defensive anger that characterises so much of our country’s response to our First Nations".  If that were so, how come that so many government programs have over a long period been tried in an attempt to help Aborigines?

So the sad state of Aborigines is NOT the result of racism.  It is something in Aboriginals themselves.  And that something is not too mysterious.  They have over many thousands of years adapted brilliantly to a hunter-gatherer life -- but that life is no more.

So what is her solution to the undoubted problems of Aborigines?  It is pathetic.  It is a "national conversation".  She is completely oblivious of all the conversations that have gone before.  She lives only in the present, as Leftists usually do.

As it happens, the lady in my life spent many years among Aborigines providing them with real professional services -- medical services  -- paid for by one of those "racist" Australian governments. She tells me something that the angry sourpuss below gives no hint of.  She tells me that she LIKES Aborigines.  And having seen much of what has been done to and for Aborigines by well-intentioned governments, she is firm in her view that no outside help will do much for Aborigines.  She believes that any solution for their plight must arise from among Aborigines themselves.  I think she is right.

Last week, a nine-year-old refused to stand for the national anthem to protest its lack of recognition of First Nations, and the country erupted in anger. High profile, fully grown adults publicly called her a brat and threatened to “kick her up the backside”.

In the same week, Mark Knight’s cartoon of Serena Williams was criticised internationally as racist, and Australian media doubled down to defend it. “Welcome to PC world” the Herald Sun published on its front page, while Knight accused the world of “going crazy” and suspended his Twitter account.

Meanwhile, two Aboriginal teenagers died in Perth running away from police, and communities pushed again for government action on the high rates of Aboriginal deaths in custody. Yeah — how dare people suggest Australia is racist!

I can’t imagine how it felt to be Aboriginal during this (not atypical) week. Although I don’t have to imagine — Celeste Liddle (@Utopiana), the Aboriginal writer and activist, tweeted:

"We’re constantly stuck trying to remind white people of the humanity of Aboriginal people – particularly Aboriginal women and children. It’s tiring, devastating and as we continually end up back in the same place, clearly not working. Sort your shit out, Australia"

— Celeste Liddle (@Utopiana) September 17, 2018

Emotions run high when it comes to the topic of racism and First Nations people. The fact that a nine-year-old can elicit such a venomous rebuke from senators and media personalities is testament to that. In my experience though, it isn’t only alt-right conservatives who have strong emotions about this topic. In the past eight years that I’ve worked in remote Aboriginal communities, every non-Aboriginal person I’ve worked with has experienced a strong reaction to the interface of Australia’s race relations.

Defensive anger is a common reaction to having your worldview challenged. Researcher Megan Boler believes it’s an attempt to protect not only one’s beliefs but one’s “precarious sense of identity”; a defence of one’s investment in the values of the dominant culture.

The problem with growing up within the dominant culture is that it’s easy to be oblivious to anything outside of it. As Tim Soutphommasane, the outgoing Race Discrimination Commissioner, recently pointed out in The Griffith Review, Australia’s media and political structures are still dominated by white men of Anglo-Celtic or European background. While in reality, Australia is far more culturally diverse, the positions that shape both the nation’s policies and stories we tell about it, are still dominated by Anglo-Australians.

When voices from outside the dominant culture do reach us, their perspectives are unexpected, drawn from life experience beyond our shared frames of reference. Their criticism can feel like it’s come out of the blue.

Knight said his cartoon wasn’t about race. Perhaps he was naive to the history of caricature that represented black people as infantile sambos. His intention may not have been racist. As white people, we often mistakenly believe that racism requires a conscious belief that black people are less human than us, but mostly racism is unconscious  and internalised.

It’s all the more bewildering to be accused of racism when it isn’t your intention, such as a health professional who wants to help, discovering they’ve unknowingly offended their Aboriginal client; or a well-intentioned teacher, who had no idea teaching only in English to a community with a different first language, might cause harm. Or perhaps a cartoonist, who prided himself on insightful social commentary, but had his blind spots pointed out.

Frequently, we react defensively and insist our actions aren’t racist when we’d be better served by realising we didn’t know it was racist  and listening to people of colour to understand why, without minimising or denying their concerns.

Anger is not the only emotional response I see in non-Aboriginal people when confronted with our country’s racism. Some people respond with grief and sadness, others with guilt and shame. Nearly always, there are feelings of helplessness that easily flick over into dissociation, numbness and denial. Megan Boler writes that denial “feeds on our lack of awareness of how powerlessness functions, effects, feeds on, and drains our sense of agency and power as active creators of self and world-representations. By powerlessness I mean a state that is usually silent and mutates into guilt and denial that gnaws at us….”

Our country struggles with meaningful recognition of our First Nations, in part due to these feelings of powerlessness and being overwhelmed. We are divided, black from white, by the privilege of being able to drift off into denial. Aboriginal people remain pressed up against the painful consequences of racism with the daily deaths, incarceration, and illness of their family members. Non-Aboriginal Australians on the other hand, bump along, failing to grapple with the overwhelming task of reckoning with our genocidal history and its ongoing legacy.

People of colour refer to “white fragility”, and while I think the term is fair (if the suffering could be weighed, there would be no competition), unless we respond wisely to emotions triggered by discussions of racism, we’re not going to progress the national conversation. Emerging from denial is like thawing from ice; it comes with the pins and needles of moving out of a long-held, contracted position. It’s painful, and people react emotionally.

I’ve worked for eight years now in remote health. I often feel paralysed, at a loss as to how to break through the thick walls of indifference, denial, and defensive anger that characterises so much of our country’s response to our First Nations.

How can I, as one voice, possibly affect it? I want to run away, to not face it. And right there, in the choice to not confront racism, is white privilege.

The moment I choose to do nothing, the moment I stop wrestling with my emotions and slip instead into denial and avoidance, I act out the privilege that has and continues to cause so much harm to our First Nations.

To do nothing is to be complicit.

What a painful thing to have to face.


What Shakespeare and the Greats can teach a self-centred world

Professor Panayiotis Kanelos, President of St. John’s College Annapolis, will address the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation on the value of a liberal education in the contemporary world.

“Many people think Shakespeare and the great writers, artists, composers and thinkers of Western civilisation are no longer relevant in the modern world.  They are wrong,” says Professor Kanelos.

“Modernity encourages us to fashion ourselves and a liberal education – understanding the great works of Western civilisation - helps us to understand what sort of selves we ought to fashion.  Shakespeare, for example, still has so much to teach us,” Professor Kanelos said.

“The “liberal” arts have always had at their centre the cultivation of freedom.  Yet as conceptions of freedom have shifted over time, so too has the shape of liberal education,” Professor Kanelos said.  

“In our hyper-individualized world, the role of liberal education has shifted from liberating human beings to teaching us how to cultivate our liberty responsibly,” Professor Kanelos continued.  “So, a liberal education helps students build lives of meaning and purpose and helps society by helping individuals find common ground,” Professor Kanelos said. 

Chief Executive of the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation Professor Simon Haines said, “Professor Kanelos has a rich understanding of the value of a liberal arts education and St John’s College, Annapolis, is one the leading liberal arts colleges in the world.” 

Professor Kanelos has a distinguished background as an educator and is also an ardent Shakespeare scholar, who has authored and edited numerous books, articles and essays on Shakespeare.  He has a Ph.D. from the Committee on Social Thought at University of Chicago, an M.A. in Political Philosophy and Literature from the University Professors Program at Boston University, and a B.A. in English from Northwestern University.

St. John’s College, Annapolis, is one of the oldest colleges in the United States, tracing its origins to King William’s School, a preparatory school founded in 1696, and receiving a collegiate charter from the state of Maryland in 1784.  It has run a Great Books curriculum, based on the Western canon, since 1937.

The Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation was created with an endowment from the late Paul Ramsay AO, founder of Ramsay Health Care, to promote a deeper appreciation of Western civilisation through the creation of university degrees, Ramsay Scholarships, summer schools and public lectures.

Media release via email


‘Inviting a crash’: PM issues ominous warning as he defends government’s housing policies

PRIME Minister Scott Morrison has warned a popular idea to help Australians buy their own homes could actually “invite a housing market crash”.

A vow to limit negative gearing to newly built homes is the centrepiece of Labor’s housing proposals. It also wants to halve the 50 per cent capital gains tax discount.

Bill Shorten claims the current government’s policies give investors an unfair advantage over first home buyers, and overwhelmingly benefit people with high incomes.

But in an exclusive interview with, Mr Morrison issued an ominous warning about the Opposition’s alternatives.

“The risk is this,” the Prime Minister said. “If you now take the sledgehammer of negative gearing and capital gains tax changes — if you abolish negative gearing as we know it — then you’re inviting a housing market crash. And that’s good for nobody.”

Mr Morrison defended the government’s policies, saying they had helped property prices fall in a controlled way. “We’ve seen house prices come back to a soft landing, and that’s not me saying that, that’s ratings agencies, it’s the Reserve Bank,” he said.

“Everyone has recognised that one of the biggest economic risks that the country faced was a housing market crash. That’s what the ratings agencies were concerned about, that’s what the banks were concerned about, that’s what economists all around the country were concerned about. That’s what, as treasurer, I was very concerned about. So we needed to bring the housing market into a soft landing.”

House prices in Australia’s five capital cities have fallen an average of 3.5 per cent in the past 12 months, with the sharpest drops in Sydney and Melbourne.

That’s a welcome trajectory for many Australians who felt they were being priced out of the market after almost a decade of consistent and demoralising rises.

Mr Morrison pointed to data showing first home buyers were finally enjoying something of a resurgence. Midway through this year, they accounted for 18 per cent of new loans.

“We’ve got first home buyers now back up as a percentage of new loans to its best level in about five, six years. And a number of things have contributed to that,” he argued.

“One of the things I did as treasurer was to introduce the First Home Super Savers scheme, which we need to continue to let people know about.

“I think it’s a pretty simple and constructive scheme which means that people can save for their deposit faster, simply by making the same sacrifice they’re already doing today.”

The scheme lets Australians save for a home deposit using their superannuation account, which means they pay less tax.

“You can save, with exactly the same salary sacrifice, 30 per cent faster than you could before,” the Prime Minister said.

Mr Morrison also highlighted the government’s work with the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) to crack down on interest-only mortgages, which made up about 40 per cent of all new home loans at their peak last year.

“When you get people who can just keep borrowing more and more and more and do it on an interest-only basis, they can bid up the price, and that was fuelling the exacerbation of the problem,” he said.

But despite those improvements, buying a house in one of Australia’s biggest cities is still a daunting prospect. recently released data on the average annual income needed to buy a house or unit in each city without mortgage stress — a term for when 30 per cent or more of your pre-tax income goes towards loan repayments. The required income was $162,000 in Sydney and $132,000 in Melbourne. Those figures are well above the average Australian’s salary.

“That’s an extremely big amount of money. And in Sydney, a 20 per cent deposit plus stamp duty is a whopping $240,000. It’s impossible to collect in a short space of time,” research director Sally Tindall told

There is also the added pressure of interest rates. In the past few weeks Westpac, the Commonwealth Bank and ANZ all pushed up their variable rates, though NAB decided not to join them.

“Look, you don’t want to see that occur. That’s the banks that decide to do that, but the NAB decided not to, so good for NAB. Go and change your loan to NAB, that would be my view,” Mr Morrison said.

“It’s for the RBA to decide what’s happening with the cash rates, but you know, their forward prognosis has been very stable now for some period of time. So I think there will be a lot of pressure on the banks not to move their rates.”

The Prime Minister said his government supported allowing new banks into the market to challenge the Big Four. “More products. Increasing pressure. Make the market work, make sure people get the best deal,” he said.

Mr Morrison said he sympathised with the plight of first home buyers struggling to get into the market.

“I remember the first place I bought with (wife) Jenny, it was 53 square metres, it was not very big. It was very, very small. But that was what we could afford, and that’s how we made our start. And it’s always a big challenge for anyone to buy their first home,” he said.

Should Australians consider following that example, and lowering their own expectations for a first home? Mr Morrison told us he didn’t want to “lecture” anyone.

“I’m for Australians setting their own expectations. I’m all for aspiration. I’m all for them having a big view of their future, and for us to be able to help them try to achieve that wherever they can,” he said. “I’m not one who likes to lecture people about what their aspirations should be. I’m all for an aspirational Australia.”



Wage growth is FASTER than cost of living – despite the price of electricity skyrocketing and fuel prices hitting a four-year high

Australian wages are growing at a faster pace than costs of living despite double-digit increases in electricity and petrol prices, an economics professor says.

Pay rises failed to outpace inflation in the year to June, with both measures increasing by 2.1 per cent.

Electricity bills rose by an annual 10.4 per cent and petrol prices jumped by 16.3 per cent, recently hitting a four-year high, the Australian Bureau of Statistics's consumer price index showed.

But Melbourne Institute Professor Mark Wooden said that since 2001, overall wage growth had outstripped increased living costs.

Not all popular items went up in price, with vegetables 8.7 per cent cheaper over the year as clothing costs fell 3 per cent.

While wages have been flat, it has also occurred against a backdrop of weak inflation, which is on the low side of the Reserve Bank of Australia's two to three per cent target band.

Prof Wooden pointed out that with almost a quarter of award-wage earners receiving a 3.5 per cent pay increase from the Fair Work Commission, well in excess of inflation, many workers were better off.

This followed a 3.3 per cent minimum wage increase in July 2017.

'The lowest paid workers should be doing better,' he told Daily Mail Australia. 'The people at the bottom, the bottom 10 per cent, they are relatively no worse off to the people in the middle.

'The last three or four years, there has been no increase in wage inequality.'

The academic fellow with the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research calculated that during the past decade, which has included the mining boom and the global financial crisis, wages have risen by 31 per cent, compared with 22 per cent for inflation.

The gap between the two was used to argue that real wage increases, adjusted for inflation, had delivered increases in living standards.


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, 2018

Riot squad called in to protect me and my audience at Sydney University

Bettina Arndt

My Fake Rape Crisis Campus Tour went off with a huge bang.  We’ve made the most wonderful video showing you exactly what happened.

Huge thanks to Scott for the many hours he spent filming it all and pulling it together and to Irene for her film work and endless research.

Latest news from my campus tour

For those of you who haven’t heard the news, the La Trobe talk was pretty difficult with noisy protesters doing their best to drown out my talk. But Sydney University demonstrators took things to a different level. The security guards were overwhelmed by the unruly protesters who blocked the corridor leading to the venue preventing most of the audience from attending the event. Our students were threatened, physically jostled, some even flung against walls by the aggressive crowd prior to the riot squad being called in by security to control the protesters before my talk could go ahead.  

Action against Sydney University 

I am preparing a detailed letter for Sydney Vice Chancellor Michael Spence, to be counter-signed by the Liberal Club students, asking for the return of the nearly $500 security fee that the Liberal Club students had been forced to pay (with help from my crowd-funder I have attached the invoice.

We will also be providing the university with detailed witness statements from many students who tried to attend the event plus information about the key organisers of the protest. We will be asking the university to enforce their code of conduct which precludes students interfering with other students’ access to lectures, university facilities and so on. And we will be seeking action against the protest organisers who publicly stated their intention of preventing me speaking on campus.  We are investigating whether any action can be taken using the university’s bullying and harassment policies.

Boycott Sydney University’s Corporate Partners?

It would be great if someone could mount a campaign to boycott the corporations who are partners for Sydney University. I hope someone can step up and take this job on. Surely some of these corporations can be shamed into pulling funds from the university due to their flagrant disregard for free speech?

Not a single ABC programme has mentioned this story about a riot squad to be called in to Sydney University, although it has received huge publicity on Sky News, 2GB, and at News Ltd?  Not a word in Fairfax media, naturally.

Next stop  - University of Queensland

What’s really great is we have student groups in universities across Australia keen to sponsor my talks. The next one is at the University of Queensland, Brisbane. Thurs, September 27. 4 PM. University of Qld, Steele Building. Details of room coming soon.

PS Yes, I know that as the video goes on I become progressively more hoarse and ever more haggard.  But I thought it was a bit rich that one of the protesters, Lily Campbell, described me  on her Facebook page as “reptilian scum”! Now who would like to help me take a case to the Human Rights Commission charging ageist discrimination over that one?

More information.

The key issues are the failure of the universities to protect free speech on campus. These failures include:

Charging prohibitive security fees to conservative student groups presenting talks on topics leftist or feminist students find challenging. This policy simply encourages more protests from the left given that their own events rarely run into similar problems due to the fact that their opponents rarely seek to close down discussion.

In the case of La Trobe, initially making a decision to simply ban me from speaking because they claimed that my talk questioning the rape culture on campus failed to “align with the values of the university.”

Both universities have codes of conduct which require students not to interfere with other students learning or access to university facilities etc. Why are the universities failing to enforce their codes when they are so ready to apply such policies in other circumstances.

Why are they failing to take action against students who encourage others to violently protest and prevent people from speaking on campus? 

Via email

Australia: Greens MP cops onslaught of online abuse after supporting proposed fishing ban

It seems to me that authoritarians who try to interfere with other people's lives should expect retribution for that.  Trying to stop people from going fishing is incredibly authoritarian

A Greens MP is currently being bullied online after he showed support for the governments controversial 'lock outs'.

Justin Field's Facebook page has been flooded with cruel abuse, memes and even death threats since the New South Wales MP backed the proposal.

'You're a f***ing germ piece of s***…we will destroy you at the next election you f***ing germ…die you bastard,' one user said on Facebook. 'Prepare to get your legs broken Justin,' wrote another.

Mr Field, a Greens MP in the NSW upper house, has also been called a 'grub' and a 'maggot', with one user going as far as saying they hoped he was 'taken out of the equation'.

Mr Field's wife has also been targeted, with users demanding she make him respond to their vile comments. 

The backlash began after Mr Field's vocally supported the governments plan to ban recreational fishing in 25 cities along the coast in a bid to help fish stocks recover.

Mr Field responded to the online hate in interview with The Sydney Morning Herald, acknowledging that although he expected debate and a 'certain rough and tumble in politics', people have gone too far.

He claimed that the raised platform of key figures in talk-back radio and print media have deliberately misinformed the public about the proposal.

'I think some politicians, fishing personalities and the media have been spreading deliberate misinformation to drum up fear and anger over the proposal and that has played a role in the level of hate being expressed about the plan,' Mr Field wrote.

Since the onslaught of comments, the NSW government has back flipped on the plan, just weeks after announcing the proposal.

Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair said on Monday they will be not going ahead with the fishing bans, calling the original proposal 'absolutely unacceptable'.

'The Government has now rewarded this appalling behaviour by effectively walking away from a Sydney Marine Park proposal,' Mr Field said on Facebook following the announcement.


Students with record-low High School leaving scores will soon be teaching Australian kids: Secret report reveals bottom-of-the-class pupils are being encouraged to be TEACHERS

Students with the lowest scores at high school are being encouraged to take up jobs as teachers.

Some students with zero scores in university admission tests are being offered places in teaching degrees, according to a secret report.

The figures show that in NSW and the ACT there were 28 offers made to students who scored between zero and 19 in the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank, the criteria for undergraduate university programs in all states except Queensland.

The figures were revealed by retired professor John Mack, who released the figures to the ABC despite the University of Sydney requesting the secret report be destroyed.

Professor Mack said it was not in the interest of the universities to reveal the information. 'What it shows is that overall the general quality of applicants has gone down,' he said.

'In some cases it was worrying that offers were being made to some students that I would have thought would have had exceptional difficulty coping with first-year university.'

The University of Sydney said it was 'very disappointed' with the release of the report.

'We are currently considering whether the release of this report now constitutes a breach of our policies and processes and will take appropriate action if it does,' the university said in a statement to Daily Mail Australia.

'At the time the report was written, we communicated with the researchers involved, UAC and the NSW Vice-Chancellors’ Committee to ensure research produced by our academics meets both UAC’s protocols for data use and ethics requirements, as well as our own policy requirements, before being made public.'

University of Sydney lecturer Rachel Wilson - who co-wrote the report with Professor Mack - said there were 'disturbing indicators' showing declining performance at high schools.

'There are very clear trends, I would say disturbingly steep trends, in the admission of lower-attaining students to initial teacher education,' she said. 'And if the system doesn't rise up and address this issue we are going to be in a downward spiral from here on in.'


Some irritating cases of lunatic political correctness in Australia

Have you heard the latest? Some council, somewhere in Australia, is removing the wire fencing around council playgrounds just in case children playing there feel trapped and encaged! I would guess it would have only been a few years ago they insisted on putting up the self-same fences to keep vandals and other undesirables out! I really don’t know why I get so wound up about stories like this, after all it is just another case of lunatic political correctness that we have to put up with these days, but it does get me a little mad myself.

Another recent politically correct move is the drive to delete sexual references completely from university campuses, so any notices, posters, letters or signs can’t refer to ‘him’ or ‘her’, ‘he’ or ‘she’, etc. They apparently will only be able to use the words ‘them’ or ‘they’ or other suchlike non-sexual pronouns. The people insisting on this are supposed to be our most intelligent, clever, forward-thinking young individuals, the people who are going to lead us into our bright new future. God help us is all I can say!

Worse still, this silliness is taking root and growing everywhere, from its early start in feminism, when, amongst other things, a woman I knew at that time, insisted I should not call her ‘luv’ (you’ll notice the spelling, that’s important), because it was sexist. I tried to point out to her that the word, spelled as I’ve indicated, had nothing to do with sexual relationships nor did it indicate that I had fallen for her, in which case I might have used the spelling ‘love’ instead. It was, I tried to say, merely a friendly form of address to someone you might not know the name of or who was familiar to you and was (usually), a woman. It carried precisely the same sexual meaning as the term I use to speak to a bloke — ‘mate’! This doesn’t mean I want to have sex with him or give him my children, it was, and still is merely a friendly term of communication. You’d hardly find a person in England, male or female, who doesn’t use the term ‘luv’, but this politically correct lady was deeply offended. As I have said, it’s a great pity she and the other people like her, can’t grow up and find something more useful to occupy their minds.

I agree there are some rules created by these people that do have some worth, like cycle helmets and car seat belts, but the good ideas seem to be in a tiny minority when compared to the irritating and silly ones that bear little contact to reality. Like the student who, a recently demanded that any reference to men should be removed from the English language — she thought the words containing ‘man’ or ‘men’ was offensive to all women, wherever it was used and for whatever purpose, which naturally made me wonder what she would do with such words as ‘human’, ‘menstrual’, ‘manager’, ‘hymen’, or ‘manufacture’, to name but a very tiny proportion of words containing those three offensive letters!

The trouble, and the worry, as far as I am concerned, is why and how did these people get into a position where they can impose all this stupidity on us? There was a time, not so long ago, when Aussies (is that offensive to these people?), of either sex were bright, reliant, strong and cheerful; they were capable of handling almost any situation of their own and they never griped about it — in fact the Aussie personality was the envy of the world. For instance, English soldiers used to gulp at some of the things Australian soldiers were quite happy to say to their superior officers, should it be called for, but now there is a breed of ‘namby-pamby’ young people coming along, who couldn’t change a light bulb, let alone repair a car engine or help a cow give birth to a calf, but that are very quick to complain if things aren’t laid on for them, exactly as they require!

I’m afraid space does not permit me the luxury of delving deeper into this very interesting, if irritating subject, but thank goodness there are still youngsters in this country who do know the score and can look after themselves and others less fortunate than themselves — I pray nothing will happen to destroy that very necessary breed of individual!


The majority can be wrong but swayed by a true leader

Graham Richardson

Since I began as a Labor Party organiser in 1971, my mantra has been that "the mob will always work you out". The mob worked out how weak both Julia Gillard and Malcolm Turnbull were and eventually consistently bad polls pressured party colleagues to dump them. Gillard was saddled with minority government; Turnbull a one-seat majority.

Bob Hawke believed Australians almost always got it right in an election. These days the revolving door to the prime minister’s office rotates so often Australians have lost faith in major parties.

In 1971, conventional wisdom was that the electorate split roughly 45 per cent Labor, 45 per cent Coalition, with about 10 per cent swinging voters. Fifty years later the major parties are on about 35 per cent each — those prepared to vote "other" have skyrocketed to 30 per cent and this is increasing.

When the punters embrace extremes, it does not always end well. Look at Brexit. There has been almost no progress in negotiations with the EU, which is demanding massive sums for Britain to exit.

While Nigel Farage’s speeches make money around the world as he delivers his brand of militant stupidity, former British foreign secretary Boris Johnson is doing his best to bring down the May ­government.

Popular does not mean correct. If you want a real statesman, look for the person who declares the electorate wrong on an issue and goes out to sell an alternative policy. John Howard convinced Australia to accept a GST — quite a hurdle for anyone to jump. In a democracy, the majority should always win but the option is there for politicians with courage to challenge voters and turn them around. Opposition to the war in Vietnam and South African apartheid were very much minority views until Gough Whitlam and Jim Cairns entered the fray.

In Britain, when the hapless, hopeless May called an unnecessary election she caused such a popular uprising that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn could almost have become prime minister. This is where the popular mood can get it so wrong. Corbyn is an absolute disgrace. Why anyone would vote for a candidate who believes in the socialisation of industry is beyond me completely. His anti-Semitism riles me too. Racism is like a plague. It is catching and those on the fringes of society who feel left out and alienated too often take this evil to their hearts and minds.

France was not spared either. Disillusion with the Gaullists and the Socialists led a novice politician to the presidency. Emmanuel Macron rocketed in the polls and has fallen at an incredible pace. Having no real experience in politics is not the right background to run a country. Macron seems to have managed to get every interest group offside. As in Britain, the French are sick and tired of years of cuts in public spending and general restraint. I took a dislike to Macron when he visited Australia and gave us a lecture about keeping to the Paris Agreement. Given that France’s carbon emissions rose last year, he struck me as a hypocrite.

If concerns about immigration were the main driver of Brexit, it is little wonder that the long rule of Germany’s Angela Merkel almost came to a sticky end. After the last election she took months to cobble together a coalition of those reluctant to be too close to the woman who told millions of refugees they were welcome in her neck of the woods. The popular mood took an instant swing against her. She hasn’t lasted as long as she has without considerable skill in the darker arts. Despite widespread demonstrations, Merkel remains defiant. Much to the chagrin of her enemies, she still has her hand on the tiller.

It was in the US that the real revolution of the dispossessed and the disgruntled took place. With Hillary Clinton on the nose and campaigning poorly, Donald Trump defied the unanimous predictions of the fourth estate and pulled off a remarkable victory. Huge crowds chanted then and still scream out for Trump to "build the wall".

That it hasn’t happened — because property laws in Texas make it almost impossible for the federal government to build on private land, and the terrain is problematic, and it was a monumentally stupid idea — hardly matters. That Trump is caught lying every week makes no difference to the outsiders who feel he’s listening. That he could say of John McCain "He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured" is the measure of a miserable spirit. Yes, the stockmarket is up and millions of new jobs have been created but Trump must lose the trade war eventually and some of his followers will ­finally realise that the rust-bucket industries aren’t returning. The midterms will tell the story.

Australia is seeing a mini-­revolt. The vote for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation has come almost entirely from the Liberal-National parties, whose vote in the short term will suffer further declines. Hanson has tapped into Australians who feel left behind in an economy where for five years there have been no wage rises and where the workforce is being ­casualised so fast that many Australians will leap on any alternative voice. Hanson knows the problems but has no ­solutions or just half-baked ones.

No matter where you are in the world, false gods beckon. Major parties everywhere need to take notice and must at least be seen to listen. Otherwise they will be buried by a Macron type or, as with Trump and the Republican Party, be faced with a hostile takeover.

Whether you vote Liberal or Labor, next time around remember that there is no place like home.


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, 2018

House prices in Sydney and Melbourne could 'fall by 40 per cent' - posing a huge risk to Australians living beyond their means with massive mortgages

This is utter rubbish. Even at the height of the 2008 financial crisis, Australian house prices declined only a little and they soon bounced back. And a big change would elicit corrective Federal monetary policy anyway. 

And there is a complete lack of logic in the warning to existing mortgagors.  If they can or cannot already afford their payments, how is a price crash of the asset going to make them more or less able to afford them?

Australians who are enjoying lifestyles beyond their means could soon find themselves in the red as housing prices plummet by 'as much as 40 per cent', according to a leading market analyst.

The drop will see housing prices in Sydney and Melbourne decrease as banks tighten lending restrictions and end low-interest loans.

In the past 10 years, many first-time buyers were able to snap up their dream homes with the help of generous mortgage loans from banks.

Now, bright-eyed investors who purchased properties outside of their financial means have helped trigger the housing market plunge. 

Leading property analyst Louis Christopher told 60 Minutes Sydney and Melbourne were both long overdue for a drastic 'correction' in house prices.

'On our numbers, Sydney was effectively over 40 per cent overvalued and Melbourne was overvalued by the same amount,' Mr Christopher said.

Taking to social media after the program aired, Mr Christopher said the risks faced by Sydney and Melbourne were 'not as present in our other cities'.

'Of course a  scenario where those two cities are having a major correction would be damaging for the greater economy,' he added.

Data scientist Martin North agreed, saying he believed Australia was facing a 'debt bomb' similar to the United States in 2006 before its market crashed, sparking the global financial crisis.

'We are uniquely exposed, because as a society and as a government and as a regulatory system - we're all banking on the home price engine to just (keep) giving and giving - but it's not going to,' Mr North said.

'We've got a debt bomb, we've got a debt crisis, and at some point it's going to explode in our face.'

There are now concerns housing prices in Sydney and Melbourne could plummet to almost half their former asking price, with optimistic analysts predicting a fall of at least 10 per cent to 15 per cent. 

Some homeowners have been advised to 'get out while they can' and not sit on their property. 'The ones that can't afford to sit should effectively sell - get out while you can,' leading liquidator, Jamieson Louttit said. 'I think the banks are going to cover their own a*se.'


Australian Liberal Party has been taken over by climate denialists, says Labor party leader

If only it were true.  There is a great deal of skepticism among Federal conservatives but it has not yet become formal policy

Bill Shorten has confirmed Labor is prepared to adopt the government’s junked national energy guarantee if it wins power, as he declared the Liberal Party had been taken over by “climate denialists”.

The Opposition Leader said the framework of the NEG could be used by a future Labor government to create a policy that would lower carbon emissions.

“The government did some work on this national energy guarantee and we are prepared to use that as part of our framework going forward. That’s not our final position, I hasten to add, and we’ll have consultation and discussion with my colleagues,” Mr Shorten told the ABC.

“I think that people are sick and tired of the climate change wars. The climate denialists for all intents and purposes, like Tony Abbott, have taken over the Liberal Party. They didn’t want the clean energy target. They didn’t want an emissions trading scheme.

“The real issue here is that we’ve now got a climate denialist party in power, and the only policy they can do now they’ve rejected the national energy guarantee is one that will drive up power prices and do nothing to encourage more renewables.

“So I’m hoping to work with the sensible part of the Liberal Party, with industry, with environmentalists, and we’ll come up with a framework which will look a lot like, I hope, parts of the national energy guarantee and, of course, we want to see lower prices and more renewables.”

“It just led to a loss of jobs, higher prices and greater unreliability and a lack of investment,” he said.

Mr Shorten failed to endorse his energy spokesman, Mark Butler, who said he did not support the Adani coal mine.

“I think that that is essentially Mark’s judgment, that he doesn’t think it is going to happen and he doesn’t support it. I think that a lot of people feel that way. Our policy is that we won’t put a single taxpayer dollar into the project. There’s a lot of scepticism if the project is ever going to happen,” he said.


Australian University graduates increasingly accepting jobs which require only a year 12 education

University graduates are increasingly accepting jobs which require only a year 12 education, with graduates in law, IT and engineering less likely to use their qualifications.

As detailed in the Herald Sun, a Grattan Institute report found graduates in the fields of science and commerce particularly are failing to gain work that makes use of their degrees.

Andrew Norton, Higher Education Program Director at the Grattan Institute, told Ross and John there are a number of reasons why this has started occurring.

“We increase the number of university students, then we had two downturns, global financial crisis, the end of the mining boom, and that meant the number of jobs declined for a while,” Andrew said.

“People have to be aware of the risks of certain courses, commerce and science, that are easy to get into, some of those people should probably just do something else instead.

“A lot of people do a degree, they don’t get a job that matches that degree but it does give them substantial insurance to having no job at all, so it’s not a complete waste of time.”

“Just a fantastic description of a university degree,” Ross said. “Quote, ‘Not a complete waste of time’.”


Nigel Farage attacks political correctness, the ABC and the Left generally in rousing Sydney speech

British politician Nigel Farage has told a convivial Sydney audience they are living in the “most exciting political time” in decades, no matter how much the Left refute it.

Speaking at Doltone House, in the inner-city Sydney suburb of Pyrmont on Thursday night, Mr Farage told the audience of 1200 that Brexit had marked the beginning of a global political revolution.

“We are living through the most exciting political times we have seen in decades,” Mr Farage said. “It doesn’t matter how much protesters scream, it doesn’t alter how much negativity we get from the state-sponsored peasants. Are you here, ABC?”

The co-founder and former leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), who was a driving force behind Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, told the audience: “We are now living through a global political revolution, and we the people will bring down the Establishment.”

The controversial politician, who is in Sydney as part of a week-long speaking tour of Australia and New Zealand, was met by an energetic round of applause at several points during his speech. Many in the audience gave the British MP a standing ovation as he took his position on centre stage.

Throughout his talk Mr Farage discussed issues such as Brexit, populism, immigration and political correctness.

“I’m not going to bow down to political correctness or be told I can’t do this or can’t do that,” Mr Farage said. “We need politicians to reflect the same values and, you know what, the same flaws we have too.”

Mr Farage also lamented the leadership of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, and said in comparison many modern leaders were “as dull as dishwater” and “so politically correct they’re too scared to say what they think.”

At one point Mr Farage joked that despite “current political turmoil across Europe”, “things were arguably even worse” in Australia.

He warned that if the Liberal Party, which recently ousted Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister in favour of Scott Morrison, didn’t “sort itself out” Australia would experience “real, radical change too”.

He later said he was struck by the disconnect between Canberra’s politicians and the Australian people, and hoped Brexit would give Britain the chance to reconnect with their “real friend,” Australia.

He said despite being unpopular with many British politicians “riding the gravy train”, YouTube had cemented his support base. He said he shared US President Donald Trump’s view that Twitter was the future.

Some members of the audience called “lock her up” in reference to Hillary Clinton when Mr Farage discussed a Mississippi speech he gave in favour of Mr Trump prior to the 2016 US presidential election.

“I’m the only human in the world who was involved in the campaign for Brexit and in the election of Donald Trump,” Mr Farage said. “I’m pretty proud of that.”

Mr Farage said he became disillusioned with British prime ministers after Margaret Thatcher’s leadership.

“I thought the hell with open door immigration, the hell with being ashamed of being patriotic, I’m going to stand up and fight them, that’s how I got involved with politics,” Mr Farage said to cheers from the audience.

There was a large police presence outside the venue but unlike events in Perth and Auckland, the Sydney show didn’t draw any protesters.

During a question and answer session run by tour promoter and publisher of porno mag Penthouse, Damien Costas, Mr Farage nursed a glass of red wine in his hand as he criticised the “baying mobs” for obstructing his event.

“They want to shut down free speech,” Mr Farage said. “They’re not just undemocratic they’re anti-democratic and it’s a monstrous thing to see in a free society. It’s wrong, wrong, wrong.”

“In Perth they were blaming me for all that has gone wrong with the aborigines, what the hell has that got to do with me?”

When asked by a man wearing a red “Make America Great Again” cap what kind of future ethnically British people could expect in England due to an influx of non-white migrants, Mr Farage said it wasn’t a case of “Black v White.”

He said that while immigration in Britain had blown out of control, only “a few cultural groups” and terrorists were trying to destroy the British way of life.

He said many immigrants had successfully integrated into British society and adopted British values. “It’s not about people’s skin colour it’s about who they are how they feel,” Mr Farage 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

17 September, 2018

Bid to strip rort doctors’ cars, houses

Doctors suspected of rorting Medicare could lose their luxury houses and cars, under a dramatic escalation of compliance efforts tipped to raise tens of millions of dollars a year for the federal government.

The Department of Health has asked the Australian Federal Police whether the Proceeds of Crime Act — commonly used to restrain the assets of drug dealers, money launderers and fraudsters — could help it to deal with errant doctors.

The department has often struggled to recoup more than 30 per cent of the Medicare ­rebates it could prove were misused but was recently given new powers, including the ability to act against doctors who refused to co-operate.

Utilising the Proceeds of Crime Act would be likely to ­reverse the onus of proof, and ­require the doctor to argue they did not deserve to have their ­assets restrained or seized to repay Medicare rebates.

A department spokeswoman confirmed the AFP had been asked for advice on how assets could be confiscated and sold to clear debts. The Proceeds of Crime Act has been used for a range of assets including real ­estate and commercial property, share portfolios, luxury cars, jewellery, motorcycles, light planes, jetskis, yachts and motor boats, artwork and other collectibles.

“The Department of Health has recently begun working with AFP to help identify matters where POCA could be well utilised,” the department spokeswoman said.

It was unclear whether the act could be used only against the holder of a Medicare provider number or also against their ­employer. The AFP did not respond to requests for comment.

In 2016-17, the department recorded up to $29 million worth of debts against doctors and other healthcare providers but recouped only about $13m of that. At the time, Medicare was paying out $22 billion in benefits, and health officials suggested Australia was below the international benchmark of 1 per cent of expenditure raised as debts and recovered.

The Professional Services Review, a peer-review agency that acts on referrals from Medicare, often deals with doctors administratively, negotiating agreements where individuals voluntarily pay back some money. It can refer suspected fraud to police, where a conviction could lead to civil ­action to recover government funds, however such action is rare.

In 2016-17, the largest repayment negotiated by the PSR was $1.1m, however last financial year a consultant sleep and respiratory physician agreed to repay $2m, a nuclear medicine specialist $1.1m, an ophthalmologist $750,000 and another sleep and respiratory physician $730,000.

The nature of current arrangements means the published Medicare debts are only a fraction of the amount the department suspects to have been misused.

In the 2017-18 budget, amid ­efforts to make health spending more sustainable, the government announced plans to ramp up compliance efforts and recoup an additional $103.8m over four years. New legislation came into effect in July, including tougher record-keeping requirements and the power to order the provision of documents.

More than 87,000 people are on the immigration watchlist because they left debts to the commonwealth, including for health services they obtained while in Australia despite not being eligible for Medicare. The list would also be likely to include overseas-trained doctors who left the country with unresolved Medicare issues.


Private education spending in Australia soars ahead of other countries

Because Australian families send 40% of their teenagers to private schools

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development released on Tuesday night its annual education at a glance report, a major compendium of statistics measuring the state of education across the world.

The report found Australia is among the highest contributors to education spending in the world, at about 6% of gross domestic product.

But it found the proportion of public money spent on primary, high school and vocational education decreased significantly between 2005 and 2015.

By 2015 the share of private sources of non-tertiary education made up 19% of overall spending, the most of any advanced economy and double the OECD average of 8%.

At the same time, the government’s share of total expenditure on non-tertiary education declined from 73% to 66%. The report also found that in Australia, expenditure on non-tertiary education as a share of GDP decreased by 10% over the five year period between 2010 and 2015.

In Australia, private schools are funded through a mixture of parent fees, donations and per-student contributions from states and the Commonwealth.

Correna Haythorpe, the head of the Australian Education Union, said the report showed the “cost burden” of education funding was being shifted away from the government.

“This OECD report shows public expenditure on education in Australia is already well below the OECD average of 11% of public expenditure, and falling rapidly,” she said.

“The report shows that government policies have led to a significant shift over time in how education is funded. That shifts the cost burden from the government to the community.”

According to the report, global eduction funding has suffered as a result of the global financial crisis.

While public funding to education globally started to increase in 2010, it did so at a slower pace than GDP. Across OECD countries, total average expenditure on education at all levels decreased by 4.1% as a percentage of GDP.

“The effects of the global economic crisis that began in 2008 are currently reflected in the adjustments of public budgets and, therefore, in the expenditure on educational institutions across all levels of education,” the report stated.

In the university sector, private funding before public transfers – money given to the private sector through tuition or student subsidies, for example – accounts for 37% of all expenditure. Only the UK has a higher proportion of private university funding.

After public transfers, private expenditure accounts for 62% of the expenditure on tertiary education compared to the OECD average of 31%.

The AEU said it was concerned about findings on teacher workload.

The report found that in 2017 the net teaching time for Australian primary teachers per year was 865 hours, compared to the OECD average of 778 hours. Upper secondary teachers taught 797 hours, it found, compared to the OECD average of 655.

“Australian teachers are teaching larger classes and working significantly more hours than the OECD average, which is a clear indication of resource shortages,” Haythorpe said.

“When schools can provide extra staff, they can address larger classes and provide extra support for students who need it.”

The report also found gender differences in the labour market remained “significant” in Australia.

In the last decade, tertiary attainment of 25-34 year-olds in Australia had “increased significantly”, reaching 52% in 2017.

That increase has been especially pronounced among women. Between 2007 and 2017, the share of 25-34 year-old women with tertiary education increased from 46% to 59%, above the OECD average of 50%. In 2016, half of the new entrants to doctoral programs were women.

In the same period the share of tertiary attainment among young men increased from 35% to 45%.


Aged care has 'not kept pace': Providers welcome inquiry

Australia's biggest aged care companies are calling on the royal commission into the $20 billion sector to provide clarity on how businesses and service providers can keep pace with burgeoning demand as the population ages.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the inquiry into the sector following a string of horrific revelations of elderly abuse and neglect that have shattered public faith in the system.

Chief executive of ASX-listed Estia Health, Norah Barlow, has welcomed the royal commission, noting the "enormous responsibility" on providers to care for the elderly. Skyrocketing complaints about the sector, and critical care failures in 2017 at now-closed state-government run nursing home Oakden, fuelled the calls for a probe into the sector.

Last month a former employee at Estia, which has 68 facilities across Australia, was given a 17-month prison sentence with six months non-parole after assaulting a resident in Sydney's Epping in 2017.

At the time, Ms Barlow said there should be a national register to "identify people who should not be working in aged care" including where they worked, for how long, whether they were dismissed and the circumstances of the dismissal.

A spokesman for mutual company Australian Unity, which provides aged care and other services nationally, said the company "welcomes measures that help improve access to, and quality of, care across this sector" in particular any focus on addressing a "looming shortfall in aged care workers".

The Productivity Commission estimates 1 million workers will be needed by 2050 to service the 3.5 million Australians expected to need aged care help. Currently, about 1.3 million Australians access aged care services annually, with 240,000 people in residential care.

Aged care industry group Leading Age Services Australia chief executive Sean Rooney said in a statement the industry was "absolutely committed to working to eliminate the risk of failures and to continuously improve standards of care, to ensure that the aged care system meets the
changing needs and expectations of older Australians".

“We have repeatedly told government that the aged care system settings have not kept pace with the increase in demand for care and services, driven by the growing numbers of older Australians in our communities," Mr Rooney said.

Non-profit companies, private-equity owned Allity, and major listed companies like Regis Aged Care, a 1990s-founded company that had a $1.1 billion sharemarket debut in 2014, and Japara Healthcare, are expected to be among those scrutinised.

Archer Capital-owned Allity chief executive David Armstrong was unwilling to comment on Sunday, saying the company was still gathering its thoughts after the announcement.

Retirement villages are expected to be excluded under the terms of the royal commission, as they fall under state and territory jurisdiction, which includes companies such as Aveo Group, Lendlease and Stockland. Retirement villages often include the provision of aged care services by third-parties, and it is likely this will be included in the probe.

A joint Fairfax Media and Four Corners investigation in 2017 found Aveo engaged in practices like churning residents, fee gouging, and misleading marketing promises, such as safety and emergency services.

The Property Council of Australia recently launched an advertising campaign promoting the benefits of retirement village living, funded by Retirement Living Council members.

A spokesman for the property lobby group said there was a "significant difference" between these services, with retirement village residents living independently compared to those requiring full-time care and assistance, and welcomed the inquiry.

Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott told Sky News a decision needed to be made about whether the sector was sustainable and "fit for purpose" as the population ages.

"We have to decide whether the system is workable ... And then we've got these quality and safety issues," Ms Westacott said, pointing to issues with an overlap of responsibilities between the Commonwealth and state governments.

Aged Care Guild chief executive Matthew Richter said hte guild "hope that it stimulates action and contributes to a shift in Australian political and social ethos toward ageing".


Wind farm report a blow to future of the industry

A class-action lawsuit is being planned against a local council, the Victorian government and a wind farm operator after an independent review accepted resident complaints that noise from a Gippsland wind farm was causing them harm.

A council-ordered report on the Bald Hills wind farm found there was a nuisance under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act.

This was despite the wind farm being compliant with state planning laws. Investigators said they could hear wind turbines in some residents’ homes and accepted they could sometimes be heard over the television and that residents were suffering sleep deprivation and other symptoms.

The report is a milestone on a years-long journey for residents at Bald Hills involving botched investigations, doctored reports, court interventions and heavy-handed planning decisions.

The finding could have dramatic implications for the ongoing development of the wind industry, which claims its turbines do not disturb residents.

Affected resident Don Fairbrother said the situation should never have got to this point. “There was a lot of concern about the suitability of the site and the height of the turbines was increased without community consultation,” he said. “The project has had a troubled history and we are finally being listened to.

“Our concerns about sleep dep­ri­vation have finally been recognised as a health and welfare issue.”

Noise logs by Mr Fairbrother document “whining, roaring noise” causing sleep deprivation and headaches.

The independent monitor, James C. Smith and Associates, was engaged in March by the South Gippsland Shire Council lawyers to investigate. The report said Mr Fairbrother appeared to have “frequent sleep interruptions from a noise described as ‘grumbling noise and a sensation’ and frequent associated headaches”.

In conclusion, the report said there had been a consistency in complaints. “Without exception, there are allegations that the wind farm noise is audible inside their individual homes and, as a result, there is sleep disruption during the nightly and early morning hours,” the report said.

One first-hand experience where wind farm noise intruded on conversation during a site visit was seen as “detrimental to the personal comfort and enjoyment of the residential environment”.

“After consideration of the completed noise logs by individual complainants and subsequent discussions with some of these individuals, it appears there is nuisance caused by wind farm noise, in that the noise is audible frequently within individual residences and this noise is adversely impacting on the personal comfort and wellbeing of individuals,” the report said.

The report is significant because the wind farm had been approved as compliant under state noise regulations and was being operated in a low-noise mode when investi­gations were under way.

The residents’ lawyer, Demenika Tannock, said she was meeting affected residents to consider their options. “A QC has been briefed and a junior counsel briefed with a possible class action against the shire, the operator, the minister and the state Environment Department,” Ms Tannock said.

A case is currently before the Supreme Court.

The Bald Hills wind farm was developed by Mitsui and Co and sold to Australian-based Infrastructure Capital Group in February last year. South Gippsland Council said it would be seeking comments on the report from both the wind farm operator and the complainants over the next few weeks.

Council chief executive Tim Tamlin said: “Without in any way suggesting that council is avoiding its responsibility, I would like to point out that this finding demonstrates the apparent disconnect between the Planning and Environment Act and the Public Health and Wellbeing Act,” he said. “I would suggest this is something the Victorian government needs to resolve.”


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

16 September, 2018

Only the 'best and brightest': Government cracks down on poorly skilled migrants and dole bludgers amid plan to axe more visas

Poorly skilled migrants will struggle to receive immigration visas amid the government's plan to crackdown on dole bludgers.  Only the 'best and brightest' immigrants will be welcomed into Australia, according to the Saturday Telegraph. Scraping through the 99 different types of visas, those that attract welfare-dependent migrants could face the firing line.

The government has already made steps to weed out poorly skilled migrants by axing the 457 visa in April 2017. The decision almost halved the number of foreign workers and raised the average salary.

Foreign workers were paid an average of $110,000 in the past financial year - an increase of $15,000 - while almost half the amount of skills visas were approved. Almost 70,000 skills visas were approved at the height of the 457 visa program.

Less than 35,000 were approved in the past financial year.


ABC groupthink distorts debate we need to have

It hasn’t been a good week for ­racist, climate-change denying, bullying misogynists. We don’t have a lot of good days, but thanks to Serena Williams, Scott Morrison, Julie Bishop and Mark Knight we have just been through the ­seventh circle of hell for speaking our minds.

The vile labels are absurd, but this is the sort of silly abuse people now expect for ventilating sensible opinions, such as daring to suggest Knight’s cartoon of Williams’s US Open tantrum was an amusing caricature, proposing that female MPs publicly smearing a loosely defined group of politicians as bullies ought to offer some specifics or arguing that electricity price cuts are more important to Australians than emissions reductions. Airing main­stream, right-of-centre views out of step with the green-left zeitgeist of social media and the public broadcasters triggers outrage rather than arguments.

Many slurs are anonymous but the conversation has become so debased that some people forget themselves and normal standards even under their own name.

A bloke by the name of Harley Stumm, who apparently runs a theatre company in Sydney, took to Twitter to wish me a “slow and painful death” because I argued the “racist” cartoon controversy was more about “activist social media outrage” than real issues.

Still, feral behaviour on social media is neither here nor there in the overall scheme of things. What should concern us is how this often reflects the default position in mainstream media — especially the public broadcasters but also much of the press gallery and left-of-centre publications — dangerously distorting national debate. The lack of diversity of thought would be worrisome enough but the way the groupthink coagulates around extreme and irrational views is frightening.

If we can accept that these hardline views are valid — that it is plausible to argue Knight’s cartoon was racist, emissions reductions are more important than power costs or that male Coalition MPs are bullies — then any rational assessment must also concede that the opposite points of view are also legitimate.

Actually, the facts and all indications of mainstream opinion strongly favour these counter views. I don’t want to rehash the arguments here but suffice it to say Knight’s body of work shows his cartoon was no more than a caricature aimed at highlighting poor sportsmanship; rising emissions globally mean our cuts do not improve the environment; and if sexist bullying were endemic in the Liberal Party, people such as Bishop would have raised it years ago.

Still, the point I want to make is not who is right but that clearly different views exist; there is a wide range of valid opinions on these issues aired daily across the nation. Yet the perspectives you get from much of the political media are stuck in those green-left views that drive and thrive on social media outrage. Given we pay for public broadcasters and they are required under law to provide objective and pluralistic coverage, let us concentrate on the ABC. Aunty has 4092 people on the payroll and 67 per cent, or 2763, of them are content makers; half of those in news.

Its annual report says: “Diversity is one of the ABC’s key strategic drivers.” So 2.5 per cent of its staff are indigenous and 51 per cent are women. Terrific. But what about diversity of ideas, perspectives, ideologies or opinions? How can it be that when there is such robust debate about incendiary allegations of racism in a cartoon, a scan of views from ABC journalists and hosts provides only one take?

Immediately endorsing the racist charge, Radio National host Jonathan Green tweeted that Knight was a “good man” who should apologise but later said he regretted the “good man” reference. “I compare it to anti-Semitic cartoons that are equally no longer tolerated,” tweeted fellow RN presenter Patricia Karvelas, turning the volume to 11. “The imagery is denigrating.” ABC News Breakfast host Virginia Trioli tweeted in response to the Herald Sun’s defiant front page reprinting the full gamut of Knight’s hilarious caricatures. This was “one of the greatest examples of the Straw Man Fallacy” Trioli had seen.

Extreme and wrong-headed as these views may be, they are worthy of debate. But why are they all the same? How can it be that an issue that divides opinion across the nation finds only one reaction in the corridors of the national broadcaster? Did no one at Ultimo or Southbank think the cartoon was funny or that the hyperventilated response smacked of bigotry by seeing racism where there was none or opportunistically looking to make an example of someone?

The Liberal bullying claims were taken up with a gusto and lack of scepticism by ABC TV’s leading reporters, Laura Tingle and Andrew Probyn. What they lacked in specifics they have made up for in video re-enactments.

Can a counter view be found at the ABC, some who might contend that these were typically blunt exchanges in the heat of a leadership battle and that there could be an element of political payback in the allegations? Not from RN commentator Paul Bongiorno, who has dubbed the Coalition “misogynistic”, or from The Drum host Julia Baird, who has “written a PhD on media sexism” and said “Liberal women are, finally, and spectacularly, rebelling”. Nor would it come from chief economics correspondent Emma Alberici, who tweeted in favour of female quotas, making the common but fallacious argument that the Coalition already has cabinet quotas for Nationals.

Again, all this is fodder for spirited and intelligent debate, but why do ABC voices all turn one way like so many school fish?

Climate change is the bellwether because it involves avoiding the facts. Whether you are a climate catastrophist or a hardened sceptic, the reality is that we know global carbon emissions are still growing substantially; their expansion alone dwarfs Australia’s total emissions, let alone whatever we cut. Logically, then, the disruption of our energy system in favour of renewables and the consequences we have seen on price and reliability demand serious policy debate. Yet despite a fascination for the broad topic, the ABC never recognises this reality.

It pretends daily that any mechanism to reduce emissions is correct; it has backed an emissions trading scheme, carbon tax, renewable energy target, national energy guarantee and emissions intensity plan. It often suggests our emissions reductions will save the Great Barrier Reef and reduce droughts and bushfires. This is absurd. What we do will have no discernible impact, especially when global emissions keep rising.

There was no sense of this reality when Leigh Sales interviewed the Prime Minister this week and asked why climate change wasn’t a “top policy priority”. It took a school student guest on Q&A to inject some logic. “The thing is that the two major emitters of carbon emissions is the USA and China, and as we are speaking right now, China is building coal-fired plants across the world and the US has just pulled out of the Paris Agreement,” said Joanne Tran, perhaps surprising many ABC viewers.

The ABC has been so committed to some version of emissions reduction policy that it is rewriting political history. Malcolm Turnbull’s NEG was the catalyst for leadership upheaval and climate and energy policy is still so divisive that the government promises to focus only on prices while deifying the Paris targets. There are obvious reasons the government wants to avoid debating what has torn it apart but journalists and commentators are supposed to ignore these wounds and pick at the scabs.

Instead, ABC audiences are being told the leadership change was about nothing. Tingle dismissed it as putting “lipstick on a pig” and suggested to the Nationals’ Darren Chester that “there is no real change in policy here, is there?” Surely even ABC journalists are on to this sophistry. Turnbull was forced to surrender his NEG policy the day before the spill, losing much authority, and now Morrison has dumped the policy altogether. It is disingenuous for ABC analysts to champion climate and energy policy, suggest it should be a top priority, then pretend nothing has changed when it is scrapped.

There should be plurality rather than corporate views across journalists, platforms and programs at the ABC. That groupthink forms around such jaun­diced and ideological views is a worry. Similar groupthink exists on border protection, same-sex marriage, Donald Trump, Brexit, indigenous recognition and other issues. All are worthy areas for public debate. The ABC should be able to look at issues from different perspectives without hollering for the Institute of Public Affairs.

With so much to discuss it is a pity that a wide range of opinions and endless relevant facts are often reduced to binary choices in a polarised, digital media world — and everyone at the ABC chooses the same side.

Please alert me to exceptions that may prove the rule.


Students set for shift to ‘radical’ 21st century curriculum

Australian students are set to be taught fashionable but contentious 21st-century skills, ranging from critical and creative thinking through to “mindfulness”, “gratitude” and “resilience”, with moves under way for a radical redesign of the national curriculum.

The Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority has started a review of the curriculum that is understood to draw heavily on the recent Gonski review, an OECD future of education project and the work of a US-based “futurist” who has been contracted to help “modernise” the mathematics curriculum.

The push has attracted criticism from ACARA’s recently retired chairman, Steven Schwartz.

“The 21st-century skills movement is the latest in a long line of educational fads,” Professor Schwartz said. “In each case, early enthusiasm gave way to disillusion. The problem is always the same: children cannot learn to be critical thinkers until they have actually learned something to think about.”

ACARA chief executive Robert Randall alluded to the review during a University of NSW lecture last month. He revealed the next iteration of the curriculum would be out within two years.

It is understood work is centred on two objectives: bringing 21st-century skills — referred to as general capabilities in the curriculum but also known as “soft skills” and “generic competencies” — to the fore of what is taught in classrooms; and incorporating equally contentious learning progressions that have been linked to a proposal to replace student achievement, including A-E grades, with “gain” as a measure of a student’s success.

Both were endorsed by businessman David Gonski in his ­recent review into educational ­excellence

Former ACARA director of curriculum Fiona Mueller, who resigned late last year after two years in the role, exposed the ­review in a recent online opinion article. She lamented the “fixation on 21st-century competencies” and “lack of broadminded, transparent and objective leadership on the part of local decision makers”.

Approached by The Weekend Australian, Dr Mueller said she was concerned that work under way amounted to a redesign of the curriculum by stealth. “You might call (it) a rather stealthy shift in approach, and the implications for students, teachers and other stakeholders are absolutely enormous,” she said. “What they are talking about is actually another radical shift in teaching and learning.”

Despite ACARA’s frequent ­assurances that any changes to the two-year-old curriculum would be “refinements”, it recently commissioned the US-based Centre for Curriculum Redesign, headed by self-­described education thought leader and futurist Charles Fadel, to work on a new maths curriculum.

It was referred to on ACARA’s website in July under the obscure heading “Australian Curriculum: Mathematics recognised as global leader”.

More detail was available on the CCR’s own website. A July 24 media release reveals the project would lead to the ­creation of a “world-class ­mathematics ­curriculum” that paid ­explicit attention to “21st century competencies” that addressed the “learning needs of students for life and work in the 21st century”.

Mr Randall was quoted as saying that the project would be used to “inform any future refinement to the Australian curriculum in mathematics and to help guide improvement to ACARA’s overall curriculum design and development process”.

Hailed by many as a panacea to declining educational results — both locally and when compared with international counterparts — the general capabilities received a big tick in the Gonski report, which described them as “critical to equipping ­students with the skills necessary to successfully live and work in a changing world and are increasingly sought after by employers”.

Positioned in the national curriculum with eight core learning areas, such as English, maths, science and history, there are seven general capabilities: literacy, numeracy, ICT capability, critical and creative thinking, personal and social capability, intercultural understanding and ethical understanding.

The degree to which teachers embed them in their subject teaching is not known.

Australian Catholic University research fellow Kevin Donnelly, a former secondary school principal who conducted the government’s 2014 review of the curriculum, said the push to elevate the role of skills and capabilities in education was a worldwide trend, driven by “globalist groupthink” about “changing times” and preparing students “for jobs that have not yet been created, for technologies that have not yet been invented, to solve problems that have not yet been anticipated”.

It is also a major theme of the OECD’s Education 2030 position paper, The Future of Education and Skills, in which ACARA was heavily involved. The report, ­released this year, features a long list of “constructs” of competencies currently under review that could find their way into the curriculum, such as adaptability, compassion, equity, global mindset, gratitude, hope, integrity, motivation, justice, mindfulness, resilience, respect, purposefulness and trust.

“Such competencies represent a content-free approach to the curriculum that is guaranteed to further lower standards and ensure that Australian students continue to underperform and leave schools morally and culturally bereft,” Dr Donnelly said.

Centre for Independent Studies senior research fellow Jennifer Buckingham also questioned the push, describing it as “well-intentioned but misguided”. “Of course it is important for young people to be able to collaborate, communicate and think critically and creatively, but there is absolutely nothing new about that,” Dr Buckingham said.

“What is new is the idea that these things can be taught by schools as a set of generic skills or capabilities disconnected from disciplinary knowledge. Good evidence suggest that this is a fool’s errand.”

A spokesman for ACARA confirmed that the organisation was engaged in work designed to inform the next generation of the national curriculum, but any ­action would require the endorsement of all education ministers.

The spokesman said that the recommendation in the Gonski report relating to the development of learning progressions built on ACARA’s recent work in producing literacy and numeracy learning progressions, which “help teachers locate the literacy and numeracy development of their students and identify what development should follow”.

The spokesman said the CCR contract, to design a new maths curriculum, was worth $215,000.


Chris Bowen steps up on ATO small business tax abuse

Australians from every corner of our land should thank the ALP’s shadow minister for small business Christopher Eyles Guy Bowen.

He has become the first major party politician to recognise that Australia’s biggest employment generators -small business and entrepreneurs - need a proper tax appeal process.

As it is, the Australian Taxation Office’s widespread abuse of small business gets worse every day. The ATO’s latest stunt is to try to wipe out husband and wife partnerships in trades like plumbing, electricians etc.

I’ve quoted Bowen’s full name in recognition of this achievement and the fact that he has added small business to his role as shadow treasurer; a move long overdue.

More than two years ago in The Australian (along with Self Employed Australia) I first alerted the community to the small business abuses being conducted by the ATO and the fact that there was no appeal process. I am so grateful that I am longer alone and have been joined by The ALP and Bowen, the judiciary, the Inspector General of Taxation, the small business ombudsman, the ABC, and the Fairfax press. I can’t think of any issue that has united such a wide sector of the community.

It’s totally ironic that the Coalition, which desperately needs the support of small business in next year’s election, has sat on its hands and done nothing to curb the ATO’s blatant abuse of small business. Offering tax cuts becomes a joke.

As shadow treasurer, Bowen realises that unless the abuse is stopped, it will affect confidence in the total taxation system. The ATO has the capacity to investigate only a relatively small portion of tax payments. The ATO abuses will inevitably, in time, cause loss of confidence in the system (perhaps when the ALP is in office), which will devastate government revenue. The ALP has announced that if it wins the next election it will establish appeal process against ATO determinations by establishing a second ATO Commissioner and office for appeals, reporting to the Commissioner of Taxation.

It’s a proposal that was canvassed before the ATO abuses got out of hand. Had it been introduced, say, two years ago, it might have been sufficient. But I believe the bad, anti-small business culture in the ATO is now so deep that the ALP remedy will work only for a short time.

Let me illustrate with a real life example. If you want to stop abuses in banks, power companies or the churches, it is useless to establish an appeal process that reports to the chief executive the organisation that is committing the abuses.

Even if the CEO is not part of the abuses, in time the abusers will get control of the appeal processes. And yet that’s exactly what the ALP is proposing. I am sad that, having isolated the problem, Chris Bowen has not understood that no person could be CEO of an abusing organisation and CEO of the appeal process.

Nevertheless, Bowen deserves full marks for recognising the looming crisis.

The ALP opinion polling has shown that although small business is the Coalition’s natural support base, through gross ineptness it has allowed the ATO to abuse that base, enabling the ALP to now take the initiative and gain points.

But the Coalition is lucky that the ALP has not quite got it right, so it still has an opportunity.

Unfortunately, in government, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is not the small business minister. Michaelia Cash is new to the small business portfolio, although she is in the inner cabinet and her experience in handling the CFMEU will be invaluable in tackling the ATO.

So if Labor hasn’t got it right, and the Coalition is yet to act, what’s the solution?

The first element of the solution is to have a totally independent small business appeal body where there are no lawyers. The best organisation to embrace that task is the Inspector-General of Taxation.

A totally separate small business appeal body is absolutely not negotiable. Unless the ALP or the Coalition is prepared to do that, then it’s better to do nothing and wait until the overall revenue is hit forcing the government of the day to take proper action to restore confidence.

A second mechanism is to make taxation prosecution part of the attorney general’s department, as it is in all other government jurisdictions. That would be a wonderful thing for the nation, but it’s a big step to take.

The Coalition government has stuck its head in the sand for the last two years. That said, I believe that former financial services minster Kelly O’Dwyer was very close to appointing the Inspector-General of Taxation as an independent appeal body. Then came the leadership spill. Somewhere in the morass is a Treasury report on what to do about the abuses.

Back in May 2016 - yes 2016 - I wrote this commentary in the lead up the July 2016 election:

"It’s now time for one or both of our major political parties to tackle the biggest single hidden issue in the election campaign — the way the tax office is treating the small- and medium-sized business community.

Large corporations have the resources to take the tax office to court so tax officials know they must follow the law or end up in court. The issues in this area usually involve the application of the law to complex transactions.

But small enterprises simply do not have the resources to fight court cases, so the tax office is able to set its own rules and those rules can be different to what the law says.

In the same article, I said:

"The Inspector-General needs to be given wider powers and more staff or a new body should be set up".

At that time I did not understand the depth of the issue, but I could smell that there was a cultural problem in the ATO. And from day one, I have emphasised that I am not defending tax avoiders, but rather those who have honestly tried to comply but have been caught in the ATO anti-small business culture against where there is no appeal because it costs too much.

It’s been a long journey and I thank my readers for their patience but finally the politicians are going to take notice. Thank you, Chris Bowen.


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, 2018

Race-conscious schoolkid refuses to stand for Australian national anthem

She has obviously absorbed the Leftist political attitudes of her academic parents.  Seeing us all just as Australians is beyond her. Why?  Because seeing us all just as Australians is exactly the opposite of what Leftists do. As part of their program of destroying our "unjust" society, they do their best to divide people against one-another.

It's undoubted that there are many ways in which Aborigines are not "equal" to other Australians but what do you do about that? The kid probably hasn't heard that all Australian governments, Left and Right, State and Federal, have done just about everything conceivable to help them but nothing works.  Only the missionaries did any good for them but the Leftist hate of rival religions precludes any repetition of that.

This event is of no broad importance but it took my attention because I too in my High School years made a similar refusal. No anthem was sung at Cairns State high in 1961. Kids were told to salute the flag. I refused. I was very religious at the time and considered that my only loyalty was to the Kingdom of Heaven.  I was not penalized in any way but got to have a good chat with Principal Crosswell.  The kid below was also eventually allowed to go her own way. We are lucky in Australia that we do have such freedoms even for kids, even if the freedoms are used in pursuit of dubious causes

Teachers at a Brisbane primary school have disciplined a nine-year-old girl for refusing to stand for the national anthem during assembly. Primary school student Harper Nielsen was given a lunch time detention on Friday for peacefully protesting against the song she said is "wrong".

"When it says 'we are young' it completely disregards the Indigenous Australians who were here before us for over 50,000 years," she said. "When it was originally written, Advance Australia Fair meant advance the white people of Australia."

Harper told ABC Brisbane she felt annoyed the school was punishing her for expressing her beliefs. "I felt like they were trying to take my power away and that made me feel a bit upset because everything that I fight for is for equality and for equal power for everyone," Harper said.

The Year 4 student said the decision to take a stand was made "mostly" by herself but the subject had been discussed with her parents.

Her father Mark Nielsen, who is an Associate Professor at the School of Psychology at the University of Queensland, said he completely supported his daughter and her views.

"She's shown incredible bravery in wanting to stick to what she believes in and make a stance for something she believes right and I couldn't be more proud of her for wanting to do this," he said.

Associate Professor Nielsen said despite meeting with the school to discuss the issues, they claimed the school rules would not allow his daughter to continue to protest. "They have said that she has to stand or she has to leave the assembly area," he said.

Associate Professor Nielsen said forcing his daughter to go against her stance "doesn't fit" what she was trying to achieve.

"One of the things she was really hoping to do with this is to raise awareness and get people thinking about institutionalised racism and how that looks and how that might feel to people who these kinds of things affect," he said.

In response to criticism of his daughter's actions, Associate Professor Nielsen said it was important to give everyone the opportunity to stand up for things they believed in. "This is not just someone wanting to do whatever the heck they want — this is just a very specific isolated incident for which there are sound, thoughtful reasons behind that, that have to do with human rights," he said. "This is not someone just saying they don't want to go to math class."

Harper's mother, Yvette Miller, is an Associate Professor in Public Health at Queensland University of Technology.

Brisbane Aboriginal community elder Sam Watson said Harper's parents should be congratulated.

"They've obviously raised a very bright and vivacious young woman and this one is going to grow up and do big things in her life," Mr Watson said.

Talkback callers on ABC Radio Brisbane had mixed opinions, with some calling it "flat-out disrespect", while others said freedom of expression should be encouraged in children.

However, in a video posted on Facebook, Senator Pauline Hanson rejected the nine-year-old's views, saying "here we have a kid being brainwashed".

"I tell you what — I'd give her a kick up the backside," Senator Hanson said. "We're talking about a child who has no idea about history — what we should do and what we need to do to pull everyone together, regardless of their cultural background — we are all Australians. "This is divisive and I don't know what the other kids around her are thinking, but where is it coming from?

"This kid is headed down the wrong path, and I blame the parents for it for encouraging this — no, take her out of the school."

In a statement, a spokesperson for Queensland's Department of Education said it had met with the student and family involved to discuss the issue.  "The school has been respectful of the student's wishes and has provided other alternatives to singing the national anthem," the spokesperson said.


Open letter to Marise Payne: Will Australia let James Ricketson unjustly spend 6 years in Cambodian prison?

I am putting up this letter because I deplore corrupt "justice" but I actually have no sympathy for Mr Ricketson.  Anybody who goes to a Third World country and makes vigorous  criticisms of the government is asking for trouble. He must have had delusions of invincibility. A better drafted prosecution alleging sedition would probably have succeeded anyway

Dear Foreign Minister,

Human Rights Watch writes to urge you to press the Cambodian Government to quash the conviction and immediately release imprisoned Australian journalist and filmmaker James Ricketson.

We ask you to publicly denounce his trial and six-year sentence for what it is: farcical legal proceedings on bogus espionage charges.

The muted response thus far by the Australian Government to Ricketson's conviction follows what had been more than a year of wholly ineffectual "quiet diplomacy" pursued by previous Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.

Australia's "quietly, softly" approach to human rights diplomacy in South-East Asia seems to have made it easier for Cambodia's Government to ignore "soft messages" from Australia and confidently jail an Australian citizen without a credible basis for 14 months without fear of repercussions.

During the seven-day criminal trial that ended on August 31, no evidence was produced that demonstrated Ricketson had committed espionage.

Australia has yet to condemn a prosecution widely seen as a politically motivated attempt by the Cambodian Government of Prime Minister Hun Sen to silence independent journalists in the country ahead of the discredited election on July 29.

On June 3, 2017, police arrested Ricketson in Phnom Penh without informing him of the reasons for his arrest. He was held at the immigration police headquarters without charge for four nights, beyond the legal period of 72 hours.

On June 9, an investigating judge charged him with espionage and sent him to pre-trial detention.

A day before his arrest, Ricketson had flown a drone without a permit over an opposition rally in the capital. However, the case quickly surpassed any legal violation from the use of a drone.

Ricketson had long been vocal about corruption and poverty in Cambodia, and the Cambodian Government's involvement.

He also had produced several documentaries about the main political opposition party, the Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP), and was in contact with its leadership.

On November 16, 2017, the Supreme Court arbitrarily dissolved the CNRP, effectively turning the upcoming election into a one-party contest.

That court judgment mentioned Ricketson as one of the key players in fomenting a so-called "colour revolution," which the Government had alleged without credible evidence was led by the CNRP, supported by civil society, and financially assisted by foreign governments.

Under Cambodian criminal law, espionage is defined as the collection by a foreigner of information that undermines the national defence. The crime requires the suspect to have obtained such information with the intent to share it with another country.

The court never made such a finding, prompting Ricketson to ask during the proceedings: "Please, tell me, which county was I spying for?"

The prosecution's entire case rested on three pieces of evidence from Ricketson's emails that demonstrated no crime, let alone espionage: a letter to then-prime minister Malcolm Turnbull critical of the Cambodian Government, an email to former Cambodian opposition leader Sam Rainsy regarding an arrest warrant and another containing detail of Hun Sen's personal bodyguard unit, and a dozen photographs of riot police at an opposition protest in Freedom Park in Phnom Penh.

Given the Government's control over the courts in Cambodia, particularly in political cases, a conviction was a foregone conclusion.

Hours after the verdict, Australia's new Prime Minister Scott Morrison told the media that it was best "to deal with these things calmly, directly and in a way that best assists the citizen," but said nothing about the charges or the conduct of the proceedings.

That day, you "acknowledged" the conviction, and stated that, "Ricketson is subject to legal proceedings under Cambodian law and must now consider his response to the court's decision using the avenues open to him under Cambodian law".

You added, "the [Australian] Government continues to provide full consular assistance" and "will consider what further appropriate support we can provide during that time".

This weak response sends a message to the Cambodian Government that Australia does not intend to support its citizen against an outrageous prosecution before a politicised legal system in violation of his basic rights.

We urge you to strongly, publicly and persistently condemn Ricketson's trial and imprisonment and seek his immediate release.

The horrendous conditions inside Cambodia's prisons makes it critical that Australia's consular officials ensure that Ricketson has adequate food and medical care for however long he is incarcerated.

And you should make clear that Australia-Cambodia relations cannot be "business as usual" so long as he is unjustly imprisoned.

More broadly, Australia's failure to press the Cambodian Government on this case sends a message to abusive governments everywhere that Australian citizens can be used for political purposes without repercussion.

This ultimately puts all Australians abroad at risk. If there was a clear case for Australia to send a contrary message – one of support for its citizens abroad -- the James Ricketson case is it.


Sri Lankan asylum seekers forcibly deported from Australia despite torture risk

That any of these removals were improper is simply a Leftist allegation so is probably fake news.  After the dreadful attacks on it by the Tamil Tigers, the Sri Lankan government has restored civil calm and is under no pressure towards unjust actions.  If however any of those returned to it were Tamil Tigers, I think they have richly earned any retribution that they suffer

At least a dozen Sri Lankan asylum seekers have been forcibly deported back to Sri Lanka, having been put on a specially chartered jet that left Perth at 2am on Tuesday.

Some of the men deported had been in detention for more than six years in Australia, while others still had challenges before Australian courts pending. The majority were Tamil, but at least one was Sinhalese.

Guardian Australia has been provided with details of some of those returned but has chosen not to name them out of concern for their safety. Several had reported to Australian authorities they had previously been abducted and tortured by security forces in Sri Lanka.

The asylum seekers were transported from detention centres across Australia and taken to Perth, from where they were flown out on a charter flight run by Skytraders. The flight left at 1.57am.

The group landed in Colombo on Tuesday but has not made contact with family or legal representatives. Returned asylum seekers are, without previous exception, interviewed, arrested and charged by Sri Lanka police on arrival.

Human rights groups and legal advocates have serious concerns over the safety of returned asylum seekers.

The United Nations rapporteur on countering terrorism wrote in a report in July that Sri Lanka’s progress towards peace had “virtually ground to a halt”, and that he heard evidence of “very brutal and cruel methods of torture, including beatings with sticks, the use of stress positions, asphyxiation using plastic bags drenched in kerosene, pulling out of fingernails”.

With airlines under pressure globally over their role in forced deportations, the Australian government is increasingly using charter flights to deport asylum seekers it has judged not to meet its protection obligations.

The Department of Home Affairs recently awarded Skytraders a three-year $63m tender, to begin in December, providing “a dedicated airframe to meet operational demands for the movement of high-risk persons and departmental staff between on-shore and offshore locations”.

The tender, to follow on from an existing $144m contract, stresses the “variable, discreet and confidential nature of ABF’s operations” and says the department needs to take “long-range, multisector flights with limited notice”.

The issue of corporate cooperation in forced removals came to renewed international attention last month when Swedish student Elin Ersson refused to sit down on a plane at Gothenburg airport, protesting that an Afghan man was being deported “to hell”. She succeeded, and the man was removed from the plane.

Similar protests have been staged in Australia, resulting, in some cases, in criminal charges laid against protesters.

In June in the UK, Virgin Atlantic said it would no longer assist the Home Office in deporting people classed as illegal immigrants, after growing unease over the wrongful removal of members of the Windrush generation to Caribbean countries, despite their status as British citizens.

In Australia both Qantas and Virgin are under pressure over their participation in forced removals and internal movement of asylum seekers and others in immigration detention.  Both airlines have said they comply with Australian law and are advised by the Australian government on forcible removals and transportations.

Brynn O’Brien from the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) said Australian airlines were taking a struthioid [ostrich-like] attitude towards potential breaches of international human rights law.

The Australian government does not comment on the specific cases but has consistently defended its removal processes, saying it adheres strictly to international law. “Australia does not remove people to Sri Lanka who engage Australia’s non-refoulement [dangerous repatriation] obligations,” a spokesperson said. “Australia takes its non-refoulement obligations seriously.”


No basis to bias science

I have been pointing to the invalidity of the IAT for years

News that the Australian Taxation Office has been running unconscious bias training (UBT) courses raises the question: why are taxpayers footing the bill for a potentially flawed psychological test?

The course uses the Harvard Implicit Association Test (IAT), which employs image and word association to determine the level of ‘unconscious bias’ an individual has towards those of a different race, sex, and so on. My colleague Dr Jeremy Sammut highlighted the socially destructive nature of this test, but the origins themselves are equally disturbing.

The IAT was introduced into the scientific literature in 1998 by researchers Anthony Greenwald, Debbie McGhee and Jordan Schwartz. However, not only does the test suffer a replicability problem — meaning that some of the results have not been successfully replicated — a number of psychologists have come out and challenged its efficacy.

A 2009 report by psychology professor Hart Blanton demonstrates the evidence between IAT scores and real world behaviour is virtually non-existent. A Kirwan Institute Study on implicit bias found such tests can be damaging because the range of responses are limited. And a paper published by Gregory Mitchell and Philip Tetlock argue the claims made by proponents of the IAT are exaggerated, and the test fails to consider alternative factors that could influence an individual’s responses.

After the IAT was introduced in 1998, many private companies such as McDonalds and Google started teaching their employees about unconscious bias. But now, in the era of diversity bureaucracy, the adoption of pseudo-scientific programs that place feelings over facts has sadly also become the new norm for taxpayer funded institutions.

The Australian Public Service Commission dedicates a page to ‘unconscious bias.’ The Queensland Government claims the IAT can be used to bring awareness to organisational and individual biases. And many more government agencies now cite ‘unconscious bias’ in their diversity programs.

The idea that a government agency would want to test the unconscious thoughts of its employees and try to change them, is disturbing enough. But when a test is this flawed, it is also an egregious waste of taxpayer money.


Politician slams egotistical feminist

I had a previous comment on this on 7th

A politician has shared an airline experience of his own in response to an academic who complained about being called 'miss' by a flight attendant.

Peter Phelps, a Liberal Party member of the New South Wales Legislative Council since 2011, targeted Philosophy PhD Siobhan O'Dwyer in a Wednesday Twitter post.

'Oh my God, Qantas I just got "Welcome abroad, Mister Phelps" despite my boarding ticket clearly stating that it is "Doctor Phelps",' Dr Phelps, who has a PhD in Australian History, wrote.

'So I just said "Thank you" .. because I'm not a massive academic feminist prat whose time is spent looking for patriarchal insults where there are none.'

Dr Phelps followed up the post with an additional comment that the experience 'destroys her ex post facto justification that "it would never happen to a man".'

Dr O'Dwyer sparked controversy with a viral tweet last week in which she slammed Qantas for not calling her 'doctor' during her flight.

The lecturer then accused the airline of 'everyday sexism' and complained she was deluged with hate mail for her Twitter post about the incident.


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, 2018

Controversial columnist Bettina Arndt met by protesters at La Trobe University event

Bettina Arndt has confronted protesting socialist students as she starts her controversial university tour about campus rape.

The sex therapist and columnist gave her first of a series of lectures on why she believes there is not a “rape crisis” at Australian universities at La Trobe University today, but not everyone wanted to listen.

All through Ms Arndt’s lecture, protesters aligned with the Victorian Socialists banged on the doors of the Eastern Lecture Theatre and chanted “Bettina Arndt, go to hell. Go take Milo (Yianipoulos) there as well.”

But before she spoke, the sex therapist approached the students at their uni square stand and tried to talk to them. The socialist students just kept chanting.

“Why don’t they come and listen to me speak? And engage in a conversation around this issue,” she said, “What are they afraid of?”

The lecture comes a week after La Trobe University reversed their ban on the student Liberal Club inviting Ms Arndt to speak on campus.

Ms Arndt’s lectures use cases of US rape allegations, and data from both the NSW bureau of Crime Statistics and the Australian Human Rights Commission, to make the case that there is not a growing prevalence of rape and sexual assault against female university students.

The sex therapist has said she wants to tackle the unfair treatment of male students who are falsely accused of sex crimes on campus. But her critics accuse her of victim blaming.

Ms Arndt said she spoke to the socialist speakers, despite their aggressiveness, because she wanted to invite them to the lecture.  “I went over there to ask them to come and listen and ask me questions,” she said, “they proceeded to scream in my ear from a foot away.”

Ms Arndt faced sceptical audience members inside too.

But she and her audience of supporters and critics battled on while the protesters banged on the doors and chanting “F*ck off, f*ck off, Bettina,” to the tune of Queen’s We Will Rock You, and “When women’s rights are under attack, what do we do? We fight back.”

Socialist student leader Elliot Downes said before the protest they did not want to shut Ms Arndt down. “I think she represents a real far-right kind of sexism … which drags society back to the 1950s,” they said. “We’re not here to shut her down. We’re here to show there are opposition to those views.”

But the socialist student added they had no interest in taking on Ms Arndt in debate. “I think our protest is the dialogue I want with her. I think she has enough capacity to share her ideas,” they said.

The university had originally let Ms Arndt speak if the Liberal Club paid for costs. But both Ms Arndt and Liberal Club president James Plozzo told The Australian yesterday that the university will now pay for security.


Feminist Brownshirts doing their best to silence those they disagree with

This is a short video of what happened at Bettina's talk above.  Disturbing in its mass intolerance and aggression, not to mention its sheer ignorance.  It's very reminiscent of Hitler's Brownshirts

Police called to Sydney University after protesters riot against talk by Bettina Arndt

Riot police were called to a university as protesters pushed and shoved students attending a talk by a sex therapist.

Almost 40 students were blocking the corridors of Sydney University as they protested the talk of sex therapist Bettina Arndt.

Ms Arndt said the protesters were 'roughing up' people who were trying to enter her lecture and described it as 'appalling behaviour' as police arrived about 6pm to ease the situation.

She apologised to the attendees for having to call the police to handle the situation over the rights of the students to free speech and debating of various topics.

The self-described social commentator was offering a lecture on the topic of, 'Is there a rape crisis on campuses’ at the city campus on Tuesday.

Footage uploaded to social media shows several students shouting and chanting against Ms Arndt's attendance and lecture at the university.

According to the uni's student paper, Honi Soit, Ms Arndt was saying that women should be held more accountable for sexual assault crimes.

She also said that universities should not be interfering with any allegations which are put forward, stating the 'risks of being raped on campus are very low.'

In addition, the student paper writes that Ms Arndt claimed universities are '100 times safer' for women than 'Indigenous communities and rough neighbourhoods.'

She also warned against NSW changing sexual consent laws following the rape trial involving Luke Lazarus, Daily Telegraph reported. The former private schoolboy had been accused of raping an 18-year-old virgin in a Kings Cross alley behind his father's Soho nightclub about 4am on May 12, 2013.

Mr Lazarus, now 26, admitted he and Saxon Mullins had anal sex in the alley, and that the woman was down on all fours. The pair had gone outside Soho into Hourigan Lane within three minutes of meeting on the dance floor.

He was initially found guilty of rape in 2015, but after 11 months in prison, he was granted a retrial and subsequently acquitted.

Ms Arndt said it was 'not surprising' the case fuelled so much outrage and is used as a means to change the state's sexual consent laws. 'It doesn't mean we should go down this road of tilting the rules to really disadvantage men who are falsely accused.'

She continued to advise the young men to not take the risk and always seek the 'enthusiastic yes' when looking to perform any sexual activity.


Ramsay was never about producing conservatives


The defeat of the Ramsay proposal at the Australian National University, and the evident hostility towards it at the University of Sydney, has exposed a disconcerting feature of the academic world view: anti-Western animus. You expect to find this sort of thing in Ramallah, not Camperdown.

Last Monday I spoke to a humanities academic of some repute at Sydney who offered a succinct summary of the Let’s-Reject-the-West indictment. “There is a strong view,” he said, “that the Western project is somehow fraudulent.”

But there’s an important point often obscured by the anti-Western hoo-ha. The critique of Western civilisation is itself the subject of scholarly critique. And it’s not — unlike, say, Roger Kimball’s 1990 polemic Tenured Radicals — a critique from the grumpy Right.

The work of Harvard historian Robert Darnton, an expert in 18th-century French history and author of books such as The Forbidden Bestsellers of Pre-Revolutionary France, is a good place to start.

Darnton argues that critics of the European Enlightenment don’t so much construct a straw man as an outsized haystack. “The inflated Enlightenment can be identified with all modernity, with nearly everything subsumed under the name of Western civilisation, and so it can be made responsible for nearly everything that causes discontent, especially in the camps of the postmodernists and anti-Westernisers,” he writes.

Against the assertion that the Enlightenment’s claim to universalism served as cover for Western hegemony, he points out that a prototypical man of the Enlightenment such a James Cook “showed much respect for native custom, far more than the conquistadors of the 16th century and the imperialists of the 19th”.

There’s no denying Thomas Jefferson’s support for slavery, and Darnton doesn’t bother. He says, on the other hand, that the more “typical” view of the French Enlightenment philosophes was anti-racist. He notes the writings of Guillaume Thomas Raynal, whose work contributed to the abolition of slavery.

Then there is the chapter in Voltaire’s Candide where the eponymous hero encounters a negro slave put to work on a sugar plantation. The slave’s hand has been hacked off by his Dutch master because he caught a finger in the grindstone and his leg has been amputated because he tried to escape. “That’s the price of your eating your sugar in Europe,” the slave remarks.

In a defence of the Enlightenment from the charge of “cultural imperialism”, Darnton argues that the period “opened the way to the anthropological understanding of others. It was deeply dialogical and provided an antidote to its own tendency to dogmatise. Witness (Denis) Diderot’s Supplement au Voyage de Bougainville and all his dialogues.” Darnton’s strategy is to oppose absolutist assertions of an ideological nature with convincing details from specific texts.

This seems to be the point of the course — an intensive, text-based curriculum — Sydney is trying to develop out of the Ramsay proposal. There’s no such thing as an unmediated access to texts but there is certainly a more text-intens­ive style of teaching that Ramsay and its supporters have in mind.

Jacques Derrida’s hugely influential attack on “Western metaphysics” is another instance of grandiose theoretical posturing vulnerable to criticism from authentic scholarship.

Derrida developed his theories out of a reading of Plato, specifically the dialogue in Phaedrus that begins at 274b, where Socrates suggests that writing is inferior to speech — in part because it can never answer back or elaborate. This sets up a stance within Western philosophy, Derrida argues, whereby speech is privileged over writing, with systematic consequences.

But here’s the thing: scholars who know their Plato, and this dialogue in particular, rarely buy Derrida’s interpretation.

Plato is playful and illusive, he makes use of myth and internal drama, and he is profoundly committed to the preservation of philosophical dialogue in a highly literary form of writing. He has several preoccupations but he doesn’t seek to establish, unlike Derrida, anything like a systematic theory of representation (writing/speech). Plato, in short, was no Platonist. As British classicist Stephen Halliwell puts it: “Whether Plato had a doctrine of anything at all, or at any rate gave direct expression to doctrine in his written works, remains debatable.”

Tug on the thread of Plato’s Phaedrus and the Derridean critique of Western philosophy — and with it untold dissertations, journal articles, and academic careers — begins to unravel.

If students had the opportunity to study at close quarters Plato’s Phaedrus and Voltaire’s Candide and Diderot’s Supplement — the latter contains one of the most powerful condemnations of Western colonialism ever committed to writing — they might not be sed­uced so easily by the anti-Western indictment. Seen in this context, the Ramsay centre’s more conservative pedagogy may be no bad thing. The French maintain a conservative curriculum and in progressive American universities such as Columbia a conservative liberal arts curriculum still anchors the humanities.

A conservative pedagogy needn’t — and isn’t designed to — produce conservatives. Neither is it an inoculation against radicalism. But it may help to make intellectual life in the humanities and social sciences more robust, more supple and more pluralistic.


Men needn’t make way for worthy women to succeed

Janet Albrechtsen

Serena Williams, an otherwise ­superb tennis player, was the epitome of the bad loser at the US Open. She blamed her loss not on her own lacklustre performance or the brilliance of her young ­opponent but on the sexism of a male umpire. He penalised Wil­liams because her coach sent her coaching signals, which is cheating, because Williams trashed her racquet and because she called him a thief and a liar. But in Ser­ena’s World she was confronting sexism and standing up for women’s rights. Give us a break.

Genuine sexism happened on Monday afternoon when frontrunner Andrew Bragg, a very good candidate for Liberal preselection in Wentworth, pulled out of the race because he thinks a woman should be appointed. “My withdrawal can pave the way,” he said.

How condescending if Bragg thinks the only way a woman can win preselection is for a qualified man to step aside.

More likely Bragg has been leaned on with promises of a quid pro quo somewhere else. And the leaning has likely come from women. Who says that women aren’t every bit as capable of bullying? There are leaks, too, of polls showing that only a woman will win the seat for the Liberals. What, any random woman? Does qualification matter any more?

Bragg’s exit marks the formal dumbing down of the Liberal Par­ty, where merit has been set aside in favour of having the right set of chromosomes. If a woman, maybe Katherine O’Regan, wins the preselection race, she will know she got there because a man pulled out. That is sexism of the highest order and no-win for feminism.

Bragg said he made the decision because he was shocked by Julia Banks’s allegations of bullying. Some of us are more shocked by the lack of curiosity about ­recent claims of bullying by Banks and other Liberal women. After all, Serena’s Weird World of Sexism is replicated well beyond the ­tennis court.

Bad losers have a habit of finding excuses. Invariably they turn to sexism. And why not? They can rely on large swathes of the media bowing in obedience to what fast becomes gender gospel. No questions asked, no context sought, just immediate and inces­sant condemnation of men.

Yes, bullying is unacceptable. No workplace should condone bullying, intimidation and harassment. For example, a tennis ­umpire should not be bullied, threatened with no more work for doing his job. And if the ABC spent even a fraction of the time it has devoted to bullying in Parliament House to bullying on construction sites, it might discover a few hard truths. Hang on to your hat if you find nuance confronting, but not all workplaces are equal.

Working in a library is different to playing tennis in a grand slam final. Working in parliament is different to working on a construction site. Norms of behaviour differ. That does not make bullying and harassment acceptable; it simply points to the real world where some workplaces suit more robust people.

Instead, a weird level of docility has struck sections of the press gallery and the ABC when it comes to bullying claims by women such as Banks, Julie Bishop and Lucy ­Gichuhi. Usually inquisitive female journalists at the ABC have put aside their normal levels of scepticism, failing basic political analysis that might, for example, check context or raise the possibility of ulterior motives. It is politics, after all, and things are rarely as they seem.

In that vein, it’s worth noting that Banks and Bishop hitched their career trajectories to Turnbull, and when his train was derailed their careers suffered a setback. Gichuhi’s career as senator has stalled too because the rookie hasn’t turned out to be the star recruit that many hoped. She has been tainted by comments on Kenyan television that her salary of $200,000 is “not a lot of money” and missing “house girls”. Her “coding error” that led to tax­payers coughing up $2139 for two family members to travel from Darwin to Adelaide for a birthday party didn’t help either. Gichuhi repaid the money and hasn’t mentioned house girls again. But, ­unsurprisingly, she has been dropped to a losing Senate spot.

Curious people are entitled to ask whether the timing of bullying allegations is just an odd coincidence given the political careers of some of these women have been paused or are on the slide. If bullying is so rife, especially during times of high jinks, claims about bullying would carry more weight if made by women on the rise. Bishop was a tremendous foreign minister for six years and a high-profile deputy for 11. Why didn’t she use her leader­ship position to give added oomph to claims of bullying?

Nor should it be a crime to point out that politics doesn’t suit everyone. Given that sections of Banks’s maiden speech sound like extracts from an A+ assignment for a women’s studies degree, maybe, with Turnbull gone and more conservative Liberal values reinstated under Scott Morrison, Canberra doesn’t suit her. It’s worth considering.

But that’s the problem with some feminists; they demand subservience when it concerns them. And plenty in the media deliver it on a platter rather than exercising even cursory intellectual curiosity. Despite speaking about the bullying claims just about every morning since they were made, Radio National’s Fran Kelly still hasn’t addressed basic questions or put the claims in context. It’s the same at night with ABC 7.30’s Leigh Sales. Her interview with Kelly O’Dwyer last week was a hoot — a fleeting question on the CFMEU, a union that routinely breaks the law and ­intimidates people, the rest ­devoted to allegations of bullying Liberal men.

O’Dwyer, the new Industrial Relations Minister, didn’t mind, of course. Preferring her other role as Minister for Women, O’Dwyer obliged with her own lengthy commentary about ­unsubstan­tiated bullying by ­unnamed men in Canberra rather than proven ­intimidation by named CFMEU officials.

It’s worth asking whether women and a meek media are bringing the same flaws inherent in the #MeToo movement to Canberra. Perhaps even worse ones if Gichuhi uses parliamentary privilege to name people she claims have bullied and intimidated her. Where is the procedural fairness?

The #MeToo movement has made procedural unfairness the new norm. Believing women should not mean turning off our critical faculties or dislodging the rule of law and the presumption of innocence. Women, just like men, can lie or get caught up in a look-at-me-too storm. They can fudge definitions of sexual harassment and bullying and make unfounded claims for ulterior motives.

They also can be bullies. Like Williams, those who leaned on Bragg to step aside might tell themselves they were doing it for women. Bollocks. They are hurting us, treating us as so second-rate that we can’t win without special favours.


Traffic realities in Australia

We see the insanity of putting ever more cars on our croads -- which our immigration policies do

Adam Rosewarne, a 26-year-old finance systems analyst, has perhaps Australia’s worst car commute. The biggest problem? How unpredictable it is.

Adam can spend anywhere from 50 minutes to 1 hour and 40 minutes in the car, according to Google estimates of a month of his commutes.

His trip, slicing Sydney in two from Grays Point in the south to Macquarie Park in the north-west, highlights how bad commutes can be when their duration is hard to predict. “If there’s an accident or breakdown it can blow my one-way commute for up to two hours.”

Adam likes his job, but its location has proven problematic. The route to work takes in both the peak hour traffic coming into Sydney, as well as the commuters travelling out from inner Sydney to Macquarie Park.

Although his employer gives him flexibility about his arrival time, he still catches some of the morning peak.

“Yeah it drives me crazy sometimes, it happens in cycles. “You’re OK with it for a bit, unhappy with it, upset with it … it can be a slow burn.”

Adam is one of almost 2,000 Australians who volunteered their car commute as the country’s worst when the ABC put the call out earlier this year.

The ABC ran them through the Google Maps API each work day for a month across April and May to find out how long that day’s trip would take, factoring in the traffic detected in real time.

This is what Adam’s trips look like.

 An infographic shows average durations of one trip ranges from 50 minutes to 1 hour 40 minutes, with 70 minutes the mean.
The following 12 commutes are about as painful as Adam’s. Each is unpredictable, with an average duration of at least an hour.

They highlight long, far, and slow commutes taken by Australians in order to get to work. And they underline the symptoms of a transport system feeling the squeeze of Australia’s bulging cities.

All these long commutes have adverse health impacts on drivers. Adjunct Professor Trevor Shilton, the Heart Foundation’s spokesperson for physical activity, said there was a causal link between how people get to work and one’s body-mass index — a key measure of obesity.

He said people who take public transport get an average of 41 minutes of incidental exercise during their commute, versus eight minutes for those people who travel by car.

Adam has caught public transport in the past, but the additional time it took made him stick with the car. Driving is also more attractive to him because he’s been given some leeway by his bosses about when he can arrive.  It turns out that is vital for making his trip bearable.

A study from Melbourne University published last year linked people in situations like Adam’s — those commuting for more than six hours per week — to negative mental health outcomes.

Report author Allison Milner described the direct effect of long commutes on mental health as only “small”. However, her research discovered those without control over how or when they did their work were particularly impacted. “We would argue that a lack of ability to exercise control over work activities goes hand in hand with longer commute times,” she said. “These people are less likely to be able to pick what time they travel and may have less ability to negotiate working from home.”

Unpredictable commutes like Adam’s create stress and can be difficult to plan around, and the sheer duration of others has pained policymakers — and drivers — for years.

‘Marchetti’s constant’ is the phenomenon, named after Italian physicist Cesare Marchetti, that shows people typically aren’t prepared to travel more than 30 minutes to get to work.

In 2013, Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers studied phone records and found that Marchetti’s constant applied to people living in places as diverse as the Ivory Coast, Boston and Portugal.

This 30-minute travel budget has been used by planners to design cities, and it gained prominence in Australia when former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull promoted the idea of “30-minute cities” ahead of the 2016 election.

But it also highlights the transport tension building in Australia’s suburbs. The average weekly commuting time for full-time workers in Australia’s largest cities increased by almost 20 per cent from 2002 to 2011. In Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, the average time spent getting to work is at or above 30 minutes per day. Put simply, many of Australia’s commuters are at their limits.

Congestion is caused primarily by population growth, according to Terry Lee-Williams, a strategic transport adviser for Arup. “Where congestion increases to the point that the road network has very limited spare capacity it becomes brittle, so that any otherwise small incident generates significant disruption,” he said.

“To make traffic flow better we need a roughly 5 to 7 per cent decrease in peak traffic hours. “That is incredibly hard to achieve, as the existing public transport services are under incredible strain, and squeezing more in is difficult.”

It might seem logical that more and wider roads would alleviate congestion, but longer-term effects are more complicated, according to Mr Lee-Williams.

“Building more roads to major destinations does not lead to reduced congestion,” he said. “The repressed demand to drive is satisfied, the road fills up and you are back to square one minus several billion dollars.”


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, 2018

Counsellor came unstuck for daring to share Arndt article

Even when they went under the name of "The Marriage Guidance Council of Australia", RAWA were clearly under feminist influence.  As a social psychologist, it was axiomatic to me that anger in a relationship was always destructive and detrimental to a resolution of difficulties, but RAWA held that it was fine for a women to be angry.  She was entitled to it.  They appear to have swung even further Left since then.  Men should avoid them like the plague.  They are heavily biased in favour of women so are more likely to inflame the situation than improve it.  They are NOT a neutral arbiter

A domestic violence case manager and men’s counsellor who says he was forced to resign after being confronted by his employer for sharing an article by Bettina Arndt has lost an unfair dismissal claim.

Robert Tiller was employed by Relationships Australia Western Australia for eight years and was a member of a separate organisation, Men’s Focus Group, which met to discuss the challenges of working in social services.

Mr Tiller said as a men’s counsellor, he had been “privy to countless tragic stories (from men) of emotional and physical abuse from their partners, including parental alienation from their children, strategic violence restraining orders and what they’ve seen as the loss of their lives and livelihoods resulting from Family Court decisions”.

Members of the Men’s Focus Group debated and circulated research and articles, including a column by Ms Arndt published in The Australian in 2016.

After a member of the group sent documents shared by the men to RAWA, its executive ­director, Susan Visser, expressed concern that Mr Tiller was using his work email to circulate views inconsistent with the organisation’s philosophy. Ms Visser told the Fair Work Commission that Mr Tiller appeared to be endorsing the view that domestic violence was gender-neutral and did not arise from a gender power ­imbalance, a position contrary to RAWA’s philosophy.

RAWA chief executive Terri Reilly said the view that domestic violence was not gender-based was “not only wrong but dangerous”, and “at its highest these views propose that domestic violence is a conspiracy promoted by feminists”.

Ms Reilly and Ms Visser met for 90 minutes with Mr Tiller in March this year and Ms Reilly told him the emails were a problem.

Mr Tiller said she said that because he had shared Ms Arndt’s article from his work email, he was aligning RAWA with Ms Arndt’s conclusions on domestic violence. He said the article was sent in the context of the group’s ongoing discussions and was not meant as a political statement.

“Mr Tiller says at one point he observed Ms Reilly move to the edge of her seat. In a sharp tone, she said ‘Bettina Arndt is right-wing’ and challenged her credibility as a journalist,’’ commis­sion­er Bruce Williams said in his decision.

“Mr Tiller says he replied that the article had been printed in The Australian newspaper, to which Ms Reilly rolled her eyes.

“Mr Tiller said that Ms Arndt was a clinical psychologist and that her article had referenced a number of academic studies. He added that some of her findings matched his observations as a ­couples’ counsellor where the male partner can often experience different forms of abuse and violence from his female partner.

“Ms Reilly restated that RAWA’s domestic violence policy was clear that ‘violence is gendered’ and Ms Arndt’s article ­directly opposes RAWA’s position that violence is primarily experienced by women.”

Mr Tiller said Ms Reilly told him that in order to preserve his professional reputation, he would be allowed to resign instead of having a dismissal on his record.

Ms Reilly rejected his ­account, telling the commission that when she confronted him over the views in the emails, he replied “but it’s what I think” and they were mainstream. She denied saying Ms Arndt was right-wing. She said when she asked him “Where do we go from here”, he replied “I guess I will resign”.

Her version was essentially supported by Ms Visser.

While Mr Williams found all three witnesses to be credible, he accepted the evidence of Ms Reilly and Ms Visser that Mr Tiller volunteered that he would resign.

Mr Williams was highly critical of how the meeting was handled, however.


Comments by Bettina Arndt on the Rob Tiller unfair dismissal case

The Commissioner ultimately rejected Mr Tiller's unfair dismissal claim because he found that Rob resigned rather than being fired. Commissioner Williams said that if Relationships Australia (RAWA) had dismissed Rob, that dismissal would have been unfair, and he gave a list of reasons for that conclusion.  It’s unusual for a Commissioner to make comments of that kind in circumstances in which he found that there was no dismissal, and that may be an indication of Commissioner Williams’ concerns about RAWA’s behaviour.

He was very critical of the way RAWA had handled the matter, stating that the CEO’s intense 90-minute meeting confronting Rob over the allegations was "highly prejudicial" and "gave every appearance of having prejudged the matter".

The Commissioner discussed RAWA's domestic violence policy "historically framed by a feminist analysis of gendered power relations," saying that applying that philosophy to the cases where women engaged in violence against men, or between same-sex couples, was uncertain and "problematic.”

He went on to point out that, while Rob was obliged to abide by RAWA’s policy, it was "not entirely satisfactory given the internal inconsistencies and deficiencies".

"Whatever views and beliefs Mr Tiller did hold I find there is no evidence he had not been carrying out his duties in accordance with RAWA's policies."

He found management was influenced by Rob's Facebook posts which they found personally offensive.  The Commissioner said that "Whilst individuals will react differently to attempts at humour, judged objectively these Facebook posts and cartoons were innocuous,".

We are all very disappointed with the news but pleased that the media coverage is highlighting RAWA’s feminist domestic policies and the dismal failure of the organisation nationwide to properly support men.

But many thanks to all the people who supported Rob’s crowd-funder which has raised over $11,500. 

The financial support has enabled Rob to regroup and work on establishing a full-time private practise. We are delighted that he’s now pretty busy with many new Perth clients and also skype and telephone counselling with people all over Australia.

And he’s about to run a workshop on The Impossible Business of Keeping Women Happy: Don’t dare live with them but can’t live without them? How to navigate the treacherous world of finding the right partner, keeping her happy and hanging on to your house.

Via email


Pacific trade pact set to pass Federal parliament

Surprising for the opposition to do anything but oppose. I guess that they supported it because Trump opposed it.  They are that shallow

Labor will support a massive Pacific trade deal involving 11 countries after a long debate among MPs in the party room.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership now looks set to pass the Senate with bipartisan support, after the government could not secure crossbench votes.

Opposition trade spokesman Jason Clare told Labor party MPs on Tuesday they should support the deal, which the government says will deliver $15.6 billion a year in economic benefits.

About 23 Labor MPs spoke on the TPP, with a slight majority of them opposed to it.

Mr Clare said the deal would give Australia improved access to 13 per cent of the global economy, and improved environmental and labour standards.

He also said after Donald Trump's withdrawal from the TPP it made strategic sense for Australia to draw closer to the region.

Opponents of the bill said there were issues with recognition of foreign qualifications, protections for local workers and investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions.

But Mr Clare argued there was only one new ISDS provision - with Canada - and that could be dealt with if Labor wins government.

One MP moved an amendment saying the TPP was not in line with Labor party policies, but it was defeated, and then MPs voted to support the bill.

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young said Labor had thrown workers under the bus.

"Labor has betrayed Australian workers, and our sovereignty, by paving the way to locking our nation to the dangerous TPP," Senator Hanson-Young said.

"This is a trade agreement that gives corporations the power to sue governments for raising wages, protecting the environment or reducing the cost of life-saving medication."

Business groups have urged Labor to support the deal, but some unions have opposed it


Live sheep export phase-out hits roadblock

A push to end live sheep exports has been shelved in federal parliament after coalition MPs opposed to the trade refused to vote to ban it.

Legislation to phase out live sheep exports within five years and end the trade to the Middle East during the northern summer passed the Senate on Monday morning.

But Labor's push to have the bill debated in the House of Representatives was headed off in the afternoon with the government prevailing 72-70.

Liberal MPs Sarah Henderson and Sussan Ley both oppose the trade but their recent elevation to the frontbench forced them to vote with the government.

The newly-promoted pair are hopeful a soon-to-be released review into the Agriculture Department will keep the issue in the spotlight

"Labor's actions today were a disingenuous attempt to disrupt parliament masquerading behind the cause of animal welfare," they said in a statement.

"Our personal conviction on this issue remains and we will continue to advocate for a change in coalition policy and for a phase out of this awful trade."

Liberal backbencher Jason Wood, who has previously spoken in favour of phasing out the trade, also voted against debating the bill.

Labor's agriculture spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon accused Ms Ley and Ms Henderson of abandoning their convictions. Ms Ley was behind a private member's bill mirrored by the Senate legislation.

"Today Sussan Ley and Sarah Henderson took their 30 pieces of silver and voted against their own proposition to phase out the live sheep export trade," Mr Fitzgibbon told AAP.

"It's obvious their passionate speeches in support of their own bill were full of hollow and insincere words."

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said Australia had a responsibility to stay in the trade, attacking Labor for "crab-walking" towards banning cattle exports. "They are coming to an industry near you," Mr Littleproud told Sky News.

Earlier, crossbench senator David Leyonhjelm, who used to work as a vet and agribusiness consultant, said animal welfare advocates were racist for wanting to end the trade to the Middle East.

"The people who buy our sheep are brown and those who don't want to sell them our sheep look down on them," he told parliament.  "Just imagine if these brown people tried to stop us eating ham at Christmas by refusing to sell us pigs."

The Greens, and independents Derryn Hinch and Tim Storer, were behind the Senate bill.


Pauline Hanson comments on the banning attempt

The Greens and Labor parties have shown utter contempt for Australian producers and families by shutting down debate on a bill to ban the live sheep export trade and then forcing it through the Senate.

“All Australians are appalled by the deaths and treatment of some sheep being transported overseas, none more than sheep farmers themselves, but we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater,” Senator Hanson said.

“Live exports bring in billions of dollars a year to our economy. Yet the Greens and Labor have not given proper consideration to those farmers, communities and the workers who rely on the income derived from the live sheep export industry.”

“Clean up the way sheep are exported by all means. Fine those who break the law or strip them of their exporting licence if they are found to be doing the wrong thing. But we have to take a measured approach.”

“Did we learn nothing from the impact of shutting down the live cattle export industry?”

“Does the Labor party not understand that farming communities across Australia are still reeling from the damage done by their party when they banned live cattle exports?”

“This is just another case of the Greens seeking to tear an industry down without offering any solutions to the Australians whose lives will be utterly ruined by their slash and burn policies.”

“The total lack of empathy shown by the Greens and Labor towards Australian farming communities is sickening. With so many Australian farmers being forced off the land and suicides at epidemic levels, they need to learn that it is not just people’s livelihoods that are at stake, it is their lives.”


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, 2018

Dozens of African youths trash Melbourne Airbnb before brawling in corridor of 37-floor apartment block and violently 'ransacking two units'

When are the Victoria police going to crack down on these animals?

A group of African youths trashed an Airbnb during a rampage in which two other apartments in the complex were ransacked and a violent brawl broke out, leaked police reports show.

Neo 200 is a residential building in Melbourne's inner city, and tenants were shocked to be awoken on Sunday morning to the commotion.

Dozens of partygoers fought in the corridors of the building, the Herald Sun reported. It is understood the same youths may be connected to two aggravated robberies in the same apartment building.

Police attended the 37-floor tower at 7am in response to noise complaints and accusations of violence.

While the party had dispersed by the time police arrived, they found the apartment that had been hired out in a shambles, with personal items strewn across corridors and much of the interiors destroyed.

Investigators will use CCTV from the building to identify the offenders.

An unnamed resident told the publication 'a fire alarm was pulled and police were called.' 

'I heard police and saw a bunch of young guys running on the other side of the street,' the resident said.

The incident is just the latest in a series of major infractions at Airbnbs across the state.


Five arrested at Nigel Farage Melbourne protest

FIVE people have been arrested during a protest outside a Melbourne CBD hotel against conservative UK politician Nigel Farage’s speaking tour.

About 200 demonstrators gathered outside the Sofitel on Collins St on Friday night, where the former leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party gave his last Australian tour speech.

Far-right provocateur Neil Erikson was bundled away by police and Andrew Nolch, the man charged with defacing comedian Eurydice Dixon’s memorial, was in attendance.

Protesters tried to block guests from entering the event. Police had to form a human barrier around the guests and guide them through the crowd of protesters.

Five people were arrested, one for criminal damage, another for riotous behaviour and a third for covering their face and assaulting police, while two others were arrested for unrelated outstanding matters, police said.

Victoria Police previously billed tour organisers for right-wing activists Milos Yiannopoulos and Lauren Southern for security at their Melbourne events, at a cost of $50,000 and $68,000 respectively.

Its decision to charge for security came as news to the Farage event organiser Damien Costas. “I’ve had no discussions with VicPol regarding payment for police presence regarding Mr Farage’s speaking event in Melbourne,” he told The Australian.

“It’s an international disgrace if the police in Victoria charge for protection of a member of the European Parliament … I’m not expecting a bill.”

Protesters surrounded Mr Costas as he came out to address the media, and chanted “Muslims are welcome / Racists are not” and “Come on, Nigel, You can’t hide / Come show us your Nazi side.”

The ABC reports a 68-year-old woman was pushed to the ground by police, injuring her wrist in the fall. She expressed her concerns with what she believes to be a growing trend of far-right speakers coming to Australia.

“First we had Milo, then Lauren Southern and Stephen Molineux and now Nigel Farage,” she said. “We can’t allow these people to ruin our multicultural city. We are here to tell them they are not welcome.”


AUSTRALIAN experts have called for a blanket ban on mobile phones in primary schools after France outlawed the devices

As a safety measure they shold be usable as soon as school is out

EDUCATIONAL experts have called for a blanket ban on mobile phones in Australian primary schools to ensure children are no longer distracted, socially isolated, or bullied using the technology.

The call comes as the French Government banned all students under the age of 15 from using smartphones during school hours, and just months after one state launched an inquiry into whether Australia should follow its lead.

Currently, individual schools are allowed to set their own mobile phone guidelines in all Australian states, even though research has shown struggling students get better marks once smartphones are removed from schools.

About 89 per cent of Aussie students admit to using the devices in class.

Extend After School Care chief executive Darren Stevenson backed France’s ban on mobile phone use for young students, saying the devices were an unnecessary distraction for students and encouraged anti-social behaviour. “Mobile phones do not have a place in the school classroom,” he said.

“By and large, mobile phones should be banned from primary schools. Really, they should only be used as a telephone device, when necessary, so a young person can contact a parent or a caregiver. They’re not an effective learning tool.”

Mr Stevenson said he regularly witnessed young students isolate themselves from others to look at their phones and, without guidance or restrictions, the devices could see them fail to develop real-world social skills.

“The mobile phone is a device that can significantly influence the behaviour of a young person, so when they have opportunities to build relationships or work in a team, it takes that opportunity away from them,” he said.

“As adults and professional educators, allowing that is not responsible. That borders on issues around duty of care for young people.”

It’s a proposal backed by incoming University of New South Wales education professor Dr Pasi Sahlberg, who said a “clear ban” on smartphones in primary schools “would be the easiest for everyone,” though he also recommended educating students to regulate their use of technology.

“I have heard hundreds of stories from teachers here and abroad how having your smartphone in your pocket and sensing the incoming messages vibrating (distracts) students’ attention from learning,” he said.

“Many teachers are upset that they have to serve as police officers, hunting down misusers and those who violate in-school or classroom-based rules.”

Calls for Australian guidelines came after the French Government banned all students under 15 from using mobile phones during school hours, preventing children from using the devices between classes.

French Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said the move was designed to limit distractions and cyber bullying, as well as encouraging children to socialise.

“These days the children don’t play at break time anymore,” he said. “They are just all in front of their smartphones and from an educational point of view that’s a problem.”

A study from youth advisory group Year13 found 89 per cent of Australian students had used their mobile phones in the classroom regardless of their school’s policy, and a report from the British Centre of Economic Performance found banning mobile phone in school improved students’ performance by more than six per cent.

“Banning mobile phones improves outcomes for the low-achieving students the most and has no significant impact on high achievers,” the authors concluded.

The NSW state government has also launched a study into the effect of banning mobile phones from schools, releasing terms of reference for the inquiry late last week.

The investigation, led by child psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, will consider phone bans in France and Albania, as well as the technology’s links to cyber bullying and sexting, with recommendations expected by the end of the year.

But Western Sydney University technology and learning researcher Dr Joanne Orlando said an outright ban on smartphones would not eliminate bullying behaviour and could have a chilling effect on students, particularly in high schools.

“When I talk to teenagers about these sort of bans, they normally saying something like ‘well, that just means I have to use my phone in a less obvious way’,” she said. “It can lead to children being more secretive in their phone use and that means adults and teachers might not be made aware when things go wrong.”

Dr Orlando said students of all ages should be taught about the safe use of technology, including smartphones, and “extensive research” was required before national guidelines could be set.


Australia's IVF rates revealed: one in every 25 births an IVF baby

IVF success rates are climbing, with one in four embryo transfers resulting in a live birth, the latest IVF data from Australia and New Zealand shows.

More than 13,500 IVF babies were born in Australia in 2016/2017, the highest number ever recorded across the two countries, according to a new report released Sunday.

One in 25 Australian babies are now born via IVF, one in every classroom, said Professor Michael Chapman, President of the Fertility Society of Australia, which funded the report.

The success rate of IVF was greatly dependent on the age of the mother, confirmed the data compiled by UNSW’s National Perinatal Epidemiology and Statistics Unit (NPESU).

It also showed IVF mothers and babies having elevated rates of complications, including miscarriage, caesarean and premature births, though complication rates have decreased.

The rate of live deliveries per embryo transfer rose from 22.5 per cent in 2012 to 26.2 per cent in 2016.

The number of IVF treatment cycles rose by 4.3 per cent since 2015, with 81,062 cycles reported across Australian and New Zealand clinics in 2016. The report did not include individuals who travelled overseas for IVF.

Just under 18 per cent of all initiated IVF cycles resulted in a live birth.

The age of women undergoing IVF is creeping up, with patients aged over 40 now accounting for one in four IVF cycles. Their success rate had also crept up to 13 per cent.

For the first time, there were more frozen embryo transfers than fresh cycles, with almost 60 per cent of IVF babies born via frozen embryo transfers in 2016.

For women in their 20s, the live delivery rate per embryo transfer cycle was 36.9 per cent for fresh cycles and 33.3 per cent for frozen cycles using their own eggs.

For women aged 40 to 44, the chance of a live delivery per embryo transfer cycle was 9.5 per cent and 18.6 per cent for fresh and frozen cycles respectively.

For women aged over 44, the live delivery rate was markedly low using their own fresh eggs: 1.3 per cent (six babies from 463 embryo transfer cycles).

For frozen embryo cycles among women 44 and over, the live delivery rate was 11.8 per cent (42 babies from 355 embryo transfer cycles).

More than half of births after embryo transfer cycles were caesarean sections. This was likely driven by IVF mothers being on average five years older than other mothers, as well as the anxieties of mothers and obstetricians because these births are considered high risk, Professor Chapman said.

"Science" was to thank for the rise in success rates and drop in complications, Professor Chapman said. "We're getting better at it," he said. "When I started 35 years ago IVF was an experiment. Today it is a standard medical treatment."

The UNSW report also found pre-implanatation genetic testing for embryos increased by 200 per cent since 2012.

"These results confirm Australia's place as a leading provider of safe IVF, with multiple pregnancy rates amongst the lowest in the world," Professor Chapman 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

10 September, 2018

Gladys Berejiklian apologises as NSW Liberals face Wagga Wagga byelection wipeout

This has no direct effect on the federal situation

The New South Wales premier, Gladys Berejiklian, has apologised to voters after a disastrous showing in the Wagga Wagga byelection looked set to see the seat slip out of the Liberal party’s grip for the first time in 60 years.

The party is almost certain to lose the previously ultra-safe seat in the Riverina region as the messy leadership spill in Canberra cost the sitting state government dear in Saturday’s poll.

“It’s likely that we’ll get the highest primary vote, but, of course, not enough to hold the seat,” Berejiklian said on Sunday. “It’s the most likely outcome is that independent Joe McGirr will win the seat.”

She apologised to voters for the byelection forced by the resignation of the disgraced MP Daryl Maguire.

“I want the people of Wagga to know that my government will work hard across NSW, but especially in that region, to win back the trust that we have clearly lost.

Acknowledging the impact of the ructions in Canberra that replaced Malcolm Turnbull with Scott Morrison, she said: “The overwhelming message I was getting is that people were sick of politicians fighting amongst themselves and sick of the perception that politicians were in it for themselves and not the community.

“And the circumstances which forced the previous member to resign, plus what happened at a different level of government, exacerbated those feelings that people had.”

Results so far show a projected swing of about 29% against the state’s Coalition government, with McGirr most likely to take the seat ahead of Labor.

Speaking to supporters in his Wagga backyard on Saturday night, McGirr said he was feeling “quietly optimistic” but didn’t expect a result until Sunday.


Coalition MPs admit gender equality issue but reject setting quotas

Coalition MPs are shying away from quotas to boost female representation in their federal party while leaving the door open to get there by other means.

The Liberal backbencher Trent Zimmerman argues the Coalition needs more structures, mentoring and training to get more women into politics.

“Whilst I don’t support quotas, it is worthwhile for the party to be setting targets so we can measure our success,” he told the ABC on Saturday. “And that becomes a performance measure, a KPI [key performance indicator] against which we can be judged.”

He said targets aimed at locking in a set proportion of male and female MPs, whereas quotas gave a “leg up” to female candidates during preselection.

Only one in five federal MPs within the Coalition are female, compared with nearly half within opposition ranks.

“I don’t think we’ll be at the right place until we have parity,” government frontbencher Greg Hunt told Nine News. “That’s 50%, plus or minus 5% in either direction over time because these things will ebb and flow.”

The Nationals MP and government minister Darren Chester acknowledged his party needed to encourage more women to take part in politics.

“I am not a big fan of quotas but I feel we have to be more actively seeking to recruit women to seats that are safer,” he told the ABC. “I think parliament is better when there is more diversity, and there is a challenge on our side to make that happen.”

But quotas were the answer for Labor MP Linda Burney, who said he had been a beneficiary of such a policy.

“One of the reasons that the Labor party is almost at 50% is exactly because of affirmative action policies,” she said. “Something deliberate like quotas or affirmative action is the answer, in my view, to bringing some equity about in terms of numbers.”

Last week, the Morrison government frontbencher Sussan Ley said the Liberal party needed to consider adopting quotas to boost female representation in parliament because “if you look at our party, the picture tells its own story”.

Ley told the ABC on Thursday night the Liberal party needed to do more to recruit women and ensure they were able to be preselected for safe seats.

She said she had not, historically, been a fan of quotas, “but I must say recently I’ve wondered whether we should consider them”.


Paris climate deal doesn't stop us building new coal plants, Canavan says

Australia does not need to quit the Paris climate agreement because our commitments are non-binding, and new coal plants can continue to be constructed, according to the resources minister, Matt Canavan.

Canavan told Sydney broadcaster Alan Jones on Friday he had never been to Paris, and was “happy to leave the Champs-Élysées for others”, but people needed to be clear the treaty Tony Abbott committed Australia to in 2015 “doesn’t actually bind us to anything in particular”.

Abbott said in 2015, when he announced Australia would be signing up, that the government was making a “definite commitment” to a 26% reduction in emissions by 2030 and “with the circumstances that we think will apply ... we can go up to 28%”.

But Canavan said on Friday the Paris commitment was a three-page document that allowed Australia flexibility to build new coal plants. The resources minister said rather than focusing on the situation in 2030, “what I want to focus on is solving the crisis we have in energy today”.

“We have to build power stations. There’s nothing in the [Paris] agreement that would stop us building power stations, including coal-fired power stations,” Canavan said.

“We need new ones”.

Canavan said Queensland was “propping up” New South Wales with the newest coal fleet in the country.

Jones prefaced his interview with Canavan with a long condemnation of the new foreign minister, Marise Payne, and the decision to sign on to a communique at the Pacific Islands Forum this week nominating climate change as the single greatest security threat to the Pacific.

The communique said all countries must meet their commitments under the Paris climate agreement.

Jones declared the prime minister, Scott Morrison, needed to “recall Marise Payne and replace her”. He said the Morrison government would have no hope of winning the next federal election if it wanted to “persist with the global warming rubbish and the Paris agreement”.

“Do you want to win an election or don’t you?” Jones said to Canavan on Friday morning.

Canavan dead-batted. “Of course I want to win the election, Alan. But, more importantly, what I want to do is have good policies for Australia and make our country strong”.

The Queensland Nationals have been campaigning for months for government backing for new coal plants.

In his first major speech in the energy portfolio, the new minister, Angus Taylor, signalled he wanted to encourage new investment extending the life of existing coal and gas plants, and upgrading ageing facilities.

Taylor said the government was intent on boosting supply, and that meant expanding existing plants, upgrading ageing “legacy” generators, as well as pursuing new “greenfield” projects.

Taylor is currently working up options for cabinet.

A recent forecast by the Australian Energy Market Operator predicted 30% of Australia’s coal generators will approach the end of their technical life over the next two decades, and it said it was important to avoid premature departures if the looming transition in the national energy market is to be orderly.

But it was also clear that the most economical replacement for the ageing coal fleet was not new coal, but “a portfolio of utility-scale renewable generation, storage, distributed energy resources, flexible thermal capacity, and transmission”.

Aemo concluded that mix of generation could produce 90 terawatt hours of energy per annum, “more than offsetting the energy lost from retiring coal-fired generation”.


A recipe for trouble: Girl Guides to let 'boys who identify as female' join and share bedrooms, bathrooms

After being female only for more than a hundred years Girl Guides is allowing boys who identify as girls to join the ranks.

Anyone who is transitioning or identifies as a girl is now allowed to join - and there are already three girls who previously identified as boys already in the guides.

Those who are biologically female but identify as male are not allowed to join Girl Guides.

Girl Guides Victoria CEO Amanda Kelly told the Herald Sun: 'It's not a big deal, it's more of an explanation of what we already do.'

Girl Guides is for females between five and 17, which means that those who as 'non-binary/neutral/gender fluid' because it is an 'explicitly female organisation', the publication reported.

While only three young women in Victoria have disclosed Ms Kelly believes there are more in the organisation who are.

She said in one case the girl had not disclosed and they had helped her do that.

Another has been happy and open to talk about her transition.

The policy stated: 'An individual is to be considered the final authority on their own gender identity. The only way to know if a person is a transgender person is if the person discloses this to you.

'It is not appropriate to judge who is and who is not a girl, nor is it appropriate to approach a person to ask if they are transitioning.'

The new policy guidelines mean that any child is able to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity.

In the event that a parent is concerned about this the Girl Guides Victoria has set strict guidelines.

'This is often raised in conversations about denying transgender people access to bathrooms and is recognised as a form of discrimination. Advise the parent that you expect all girls to behave in respectful and appropriate ways,' they state.

Those involved in a unit will also participate in the same activities, including sleeping in the same area.

Kristen Hilton, Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner, said she welcomed the new policies.


Prime minister says Neg will not be going any further but Australia still committed to meeting emissions targets

Australia remains committed to meeting its Paris emissions targets even as it moves to dump its national energy policy, Scott Morrison’s government says.

The prime minister will propose ditching the national energy guarantee in a party room meeting when parliament resumes next week, also ruling out enshrining Australia’s Paris agreement commitments in law.

“The government remains committed to meeting its Paris targets,” a spokesperson from the prime minister’s office said on Saturday. “Our commitment stands but we won’t be legislating it.”

Earlier, Morrison confirmed to the Weekend Australian that the energy policy formed by his predecessor, Malcolm Turnbull, would be axed.

“The Neg is dead, long live reliability guarantee, long live default prices, long live backing new power generation,” Morrison said. “Largely, we are in that position already anyway, so it’s not a major shift. But we just need to put to rest any suggestion that this legislation is going ahead.”

Speaking to the ABC, the Liberal MP Trent Zimmerman conceded he was sorry to see the Neg go but said that all its energy reliability guarantees would remain.

“The first thing to say is we’re not tearing up the Paris targets,” he said, following internal division within the Coalition over whether to legislate them or not. “But our commitment to fulfil them remains.”

Even with the dumping of the Neg, Zimmerman said the government still had a strong energy policy focused on driving down prices. This included giving new powers to the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission to sanction and divest energy companies not playing fair. It also included an investment guarantee to support dispatchable power.

But the Labor MP Linda Burney criticised Australia’s new energy minister, Angus Taylor, for playing down the importance of the Paris agreement.

“I’m astounded that the government would walk away from trying to land a national energy policy,” Burney told the ABC. “If the government says they’re moving to lowering power prices, forgetting renewables, forgetting the national energy guarantee, I think it is really fraught.”

Morrison’s comments on the Neg are a continuation of the Coalition’s position at the end of Malcolm Turnbull’s time as leader of the Liberal party.

Late last month the then prime minister announced the Neg – the policy his government had argued for months was necessary to create investment certainty in Australia’s energy sector – had been shelved indefinitely because he could not proceed with it in the face of opposition from within his own party.

The move triggered anger among business groups that had lined up publicly for months to support the Neg.

Earlier this week Morrison was insisting Australia would meet its Paris climate commitments “in a canter”, which contradicted advice from the Energy Security Board that said business as usual would mean the electricity sector would “fall short of the emissions reduction target of 26% below 2005 levels”.

A summary of modelling undertaken by the ESB and released only a month ago said if no policy was put in place in the electricity sector, emissions would fall initially, then flatten out and rise towards the end of the decade to 2030 as forecast demand increased, then dip again in 2029-30.

The ESB said if the national energy guarantee wasn’t implemented, the national electricity market would “fall short of the emissions reduction target of 26% below 2005 levels”.


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

9 September, 2018

Inside "66 Records", the music label that saw its launch end in a brutal Collingwood street brawl

Why on earth have we allowed these hostile and aggressive people into our country?

IT’S barely a year old but 66 Records, the Melbourne-based rap label whose launch ended in a bloody street brawl involving more than 100 people, is already making waves in the Victorian capital.

In a press conference yesterday afternoon, Acting Deputy Commissioner Bob Hill said the record label had been on the radar of Victoria Police for some time.

“Record 66 is a concept group we’ve been well and truly aware of and we’ve been monitoring,” Mr Hill said.

“I do understand that they had a premises where they had a rental agreement with someone and because of our police attention, the attention we were applying to them, the person that owned the premises rescinded the rental agreement. “That just gives you some appreciation of the fact that we are monitoring these groups and these people.”

The artists signed to 66 Records often refer to police and crimes in their songs.

A song called Make It Out, by Axon, QRF Nelly and King Ace, has been viewed more than 15,000 times on YouTube and features a group of men walking through graffitied streets of Melbourne.

“In the hood yeah we got our own politics cause white folks don’t know we’re on some gutter s**t and the ops (slang for cops, those in the legal system) don’t know we are some other s**t, frame our brothers ain’t that some bulls**t,” they rap.

“My n***ers try to get the paper but they end up on the news. Prosecutors trying to get a n***er f**ked up but I still run the money up.”

In another video, a group of three youths freestyle rap to the camera.

“Real n***ers in my squad, no fakes. Rule number one, never talk to the Js (slang for law enforcement).

“If we go to war, we releasing the ace, them bitch n***ers talking all over the state.

“Like hold up, one piggy, two piggy, big bad wolf. I’m a menace to society, wanna smoke that kush (high quality marijuana).

“Middle finger to the feds, kill them all if I could.”

A number of artists who performed at the 66 Records launch on Saturday night have previously recorded “drill” rap songs.

The drill rap genre has been linked to a number of stabbings and gang violence across London.

In August, rapper Siddique Kamara was stabbed to death in London, less than six months after he had been cleared of murder himself.

After his trial, Mr Kamara linked the music genre and violence. “The crime that’s happening right music does influence it. You’ve got to put your hands up and say drill music does influence it,” he said.

But added, “Knife crime and gun crime has been going on way before drill music … 10 years, 20 years, people were still getting cheffed up (attacked with knives)”.

In an invitation to the event, 66 Records warned people coming to the launch to be on their best behaviour.

“There will be hired security so trouble makers be aware, we all looking to have a good time,” the event invite read.

A day before the launch, the event’s organiser known as J-Nelly also warned revellers on Facebook that, “violence will not be tolerated”.

“A moment of anger isn’t worth a lifetime of bad labeling (sic),” he wrote in all capitals.

J-Nelly said organisers had also met with "federal detectives, who are very concerned with the energy, which they have related to the latest sparks of new reports degrading the African community”.

Police have pledged to speak to every one of the 200 people that attended the 66 Records launch in an attempt to figure out how things turned so violent.

In a statement sent to, J-Nelly said fighting was “instigated” by attendees not associated with the label.

Dozens of people were involved in the brawl. An 18-year-old man is still in hospital with severe leg injuries after a car pinned him against another vehicle and a further six people were also hospitalised from the all-in street brawl.


Australia backing out of climate committments

The Leftist article below says the world is horrified.  The reality is that only a few Greenie ideologues are even noticing

Well, that didn’t take long. Little more than a week after the elevation of Scott Morrison to the prime minister’s office, Australia has returned to the bad old ways that were a feature of Tony Abbott’s engagement on climate change, and John Howard’s involvement with Kyoto.

In separate arena this week, Australia has been accused of attempting to water down the language of the Pacific Islands Forum declaration on climate change. And in Bangkok it has sided with the Trump administration and Japan in attempting to weaken climate finance obligations in a move that has horrified some observers.

Australia is coming under increasing scrutiny since Malcolm Turnbull announced the country was dumping the emissions obligation proposed for the National Energy Guarantee, and was then dumped by the party’s climate denying conservative wing anyway.

Morrison has shown no interest in climate change, and has instructed new energy minister Angus Taylor to focus only on “bringing down prices” and ensuring the country retains as much “fair dinkum” coal in the system as it can.

Even environment minister Melissa Price, a former mining company lawyer who is supposed to be responsible for emissions, is talking up the idea of having new coal-fired generators.

The international community is looking on in horror, and so are the main business lobby groups in Australia, such as the Business Council of Australia – who have campaigned vigorosuly for a decade to minimise Australia’s contribution to climate action, but understand the considerable reputational, trade and business consequences of choosing to do nothing.

Morrison has so far resisted calls from the party’s far right to follow Trump out of the Paris climate treaty, but in crucial and complex climate talks in Bangkok this week, sided with the US and Japan in a dramatic attempt to weaken climate finance obligations.

The Bangkok talks were called to give negotiators extra time to put together the so-called “rule-book,” which will provide the fine details of the Paris agreement, particularly as countries gear up to increase their climate targets to try and drag the collective efforts closer to the target of limiting global warming to “well below” 2°C, and possibly 1.5°C.

But little progress has been made in Bangkok, forcing the UNFCCC, which runs the climate talks, to call for the annual talks scheduled this year in Poland to begin a day earlier, in the hope that visiting heads of state have something to work with when they turn up.

One of the biggest road-blocks has been erected by Australia, the US and Japan, who put in a joint submission that seeks to water down climate finance guidelines, and casts doubt that this week’s Bangkok negotiations will deliver the clear climate rules UN leaders have been calling for.

Climate campaigners say the proposed text on article 9.7 of the Paris accord, which refers to accounting and is meant to establish rules about how developed countries report what finance they provide to developing countries, serves to muddy the rules rather than clarify them.

The campaigners say that the proposal would allow countries to report whatever items they like – including commercial loans ? as climate finance, in contrast to demands of clear financial and technical packages to help them developing countries cope with future extreme weather-related events.

“(This) does not create any meaningful rules on how climate finance is accounted for, and instead it essentially says ‘countries should report what they want,’” Brandon Wu, director of policy and campaigns for ActionAid USA, told Devex.

“This would completely let rich countries off the hook and deprive developing countries of real money for real action,” Wu said. Other campaigners said this meant climate finance could just be re-badged existing aid.”

Indeed, some are accusing Australia and other western countries of “disgracefully” and “sheepishly” hiding behind Trump’s announced exit from Paris to further their own agenda

They note that the Paris treaty was made weaker for the rich countries than the Kyoto Protocol, because of the politics in the US, and the efforts of most negotiators to bend over backwards to accommodate the US demands, only to find the US withdrawing.

“They should have acted as a firewall to stop the virus of the US approach from infecting the climate negotiations, but instead they have allowed US interests to once again paralyse progress,” writes by Mohamed Adow from Christian Aid International.

“Putting developing countries further in debt might be Donald Trump’s idea of what climate finance should look like, but it is not the real money for real action that’s needed to solve the climate crisis.

“Other wealthy countries must stop Trump in further weakening the Paris Agreement and instead honour their commitments by delivering a rulebook that is fit for protecting people and planet, not polluter’s profits.”

Don’t expect the Coalition government in Australia to pay much heed to that.

These problems are being felt acutely in the Pacific, where island nations are furious with Australia’s stance on climate, its attachment to coal, and its refusal to act on its declarations that “it takes climate change seriously.”

The current Coalition government still has no policy in place to try and reach what is regarded as a very low interim target of a 26-28 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030. So while it has signed a declaration recognising that climate change is the biggest security threat to the Pacific, it has no plans to do anything about it.

A new report by ClimateWorks  says Australia is well off track, but it actually has the opportunity to meet the target through some low cost abatement. Much of this comes in the energy sector, but the Coalition is now talking about building new “fair dinkum” coal-fired generators, and making threats against companies that dare contemplate closing older, dirty, and increasingly unreliable and expensive power plants.

Numerous reports this week have pointed to the potential economic consequences of failing to act on climate change – at a global level, a national level, and even a state level. A new report suggested that – despite all the claims – coal was not the cheapest option because even existing plans would soon be more expensive to run than new renewables and storage facilities.

In Nauru, at the Pacific Forum, Australia was accused of seeking to water down the language of the declaration and issuing qualifications to part of the Pacific Islands Forum communique over the Paris climate agreement.

The Guardian quoted the prime minister of Tuvalu, Enele Sopoaga, saying that the name of the country seeking qualifications “[started] with capital A”. Australia is the only country in the PIF beginning with A.

It quoted Vanuatu’s minister for foreign affairs Ralph Regenvanu saying: “I was there, and can confirm this is true. And unfortunate.”

Bill Hare, managing director of Climate Analytics and a lead author on the IPCC fourth assessment report, told Guardian Australia that Pacific leaders were growing increasingly disenchanted with Australia’s refusal to commit to cutting carbon emissions.

“The leaders are not fools, and they are increasingly confronted by the problems of climate change, in all its different dimensions,” Hare said. “The problem for Australia is it doesn’t have credibility on climate. Australia is an important player for many of the Pacific Island countries, well-respected and well-liked by the populations and the political leaders, but on climate change there is a chasm opening up.

He said the real test for Australia would be in its actions to address its own emissions, and in helping the Pacific with adaptation.

“The actions will not match the gravity of the declaration or the gravity of the need. There is a credibility gap: Australia is not acting on reducing its own emissions. All the leaders know that whenever the prime minister or energy minister says Australia will meet its Paris targets ‘in a canter’, that that it is wrong, it is factually incorrect – it is bullshit.”


Are school leavers prepared for university?

About one in four Australian university students drop out and don’t complete their degree. One of the questions this raises is: are schools adequately preparing students for higher education?

This question was tackled by a panel I was on at the Australian Financial Review Higher Education Summit (Kevin Rudd’s notorious ‘2020 Summit’ may have given summits a bad name, but this one was actually serious and worthwhile).

I was joined on the panel by Emeritus Professor John Halsey and school principal Joanne Wastle. We agreed that in many cases schools do a great job of preparing students for university, but it’s inconsistent across the country. Professor Halsey emphasised the struggle for students from rural areas, while Ms Wastle highlighted the importance of having qualified secondary teachers in maths and science. And we all agreed that more technology by itself isn’t the answer.

Ultimately, if students leave school without proficiency in literacy and numeracy, university will always be very difficult.

University certainly isn’t the best option for everyone, and one common concern at the Summit was the growing pressure on high-school students to go to university even if they don’t have the necessary academic ability or motivation. However, ensuring students leave school with a sound and well-rounded knowledge of all the core disciplines, at least gives them a viable option of going to university.

For example, school students without adequate maths and reading ability will find science in Years 7-10 much more difficult, which significantly affects motivation and ability to continue with science subjects in Years 11 and 12. This may then obstruct them from enrolling in science or engineering degrees, even if they would like to.

Developing core literacy and numeracy skills in the early years of school, is necessary for students to have good university prospects. And what happens in the classroom 10 or even 12 years before students leave school can affect their higher education prospects.


7000 Days In Just 3 Months Lost To Construction Union Strikes
Strikes in the construction sector accounted for more than half the working days lost in the entire economy in the June quarter according to data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

“In just three months more than 7000 days were lost to strikes in our industry,” Denita Wawn, CEO of Master Builders Australia said.

“This shows the building union’s continuing contempt for the community and their refusal to obey the law like everyone else. It shows why the Morrison Government should continue to pursue a legislative agenda targeted to changing the culture in the construction industry,” she said.

“The surging commercial and civil construction sectors are playing a major role in the improving national economic outlook and the community simply cannot afford more than 7000 days in just three months to be lost to building union strikes,” Denita Wawn said.

“It’s clear from these latest figures that the ABCC is doing its job in holding the CFMMEU to account but, as Federal Court judges have said in a raft of recent decisions, the CFMMEU simply ignores the verdicts of the courts and continues to reoffend,” she said.

“This is why the powers of the ABCC must be preserved into the future so that its work to change the industrial culture of the industry can continue and why Master Builders calls on the Morrison Government to continue to protect small business people, sub-contractors and tradies from union bullying on construction sites,” Denita Wawn said. 

Via email

Australia: the welfare state

Does the nature of a democracy change when an increasing majority of its voters receive net benefits from, or are employed by, government — while a diminishing minority shoulders the net tax burden?

Australia is in the process of finding out.

Recently released ABS figures show that in 2015-16, nearly half of Australian households received more in broadly-defined benefits from government, than they paid in direct and indirect taxes. When the number of public sector employees is added, close to a majority of voters benefit more from government than they contribute.

The figures are surprising, not because some households benefit from the tax/transfer system, but because so many do. If the population of households is divided into quintiles (slices of 20% each) from lowest to highest income, not only the first and second quintiles are net beneficiaries, but also the third (middle) quintile.

In Voting for a Living: A shift in Australian politics from selling policies to buying votes?, released this week, Terrence O’Brien and I explore the implications of this trend. The paper outlines that having such a large group of government beneficiaries exerts pressure for policy making to preserve existing benefits and create new benefits; while largely restricting new taxes to higher income households.

The emergence of such a large population segment that in a sense ‘votes for a living’, could help explain much of what has gone awry with Australian public policy in recent years. Specifically, it could help explain government decisions such as the abandoning of the proposed pension age increase from 67 to 70, announced earlier this week.

This decision also illustrates a general point made in the paper — that it is not just voter behaviour that’s affected by increasing net benefits. Political parties will also curry favour with this group of voters and become more interested in buying votes than selling good policies.


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, 2018


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is not impressed by the prospect of a Julie Bishop Prime Ministership

7 September, 2018

Sunrise's 'stolen generation' shame: Authorities rule Sam Armytage's show DID breach broadcasting rules with controversial segment about Aboriginal adoption

Channel 7 simply told the well attested truth. But sometimes truth hurts

Network Seven will appeal the television watchdog's decision on Sunrise's 'stolen generation' segment, after it was found to be in serious breach of broadcasting codes and regulations. 

The Australian Media and Communications Authority (ACMA) released findings on Tuesday stating the segment on the adoption of Indigenous children 'provoked serious contempt on the basis of race'.  

They also referred to inaccuracies in the panel, led by Sunrise host Sam Armytage, who was joined by Prue MacSween and Ben Davis.

In the 'hot topics' segment, Ms Armytage claimed at-risk Aboriginal children who were subjected to rape, assault or neglect were only being placed with family members of other Indigenous families.

The entire segment was deemed to contain 'strong negative generalisations about Indigenous people as a group,' in which MacSween called for a second stolen generation.

'Just like the first Stolen Generation where a lot of children were taken because it was for their well-being, we need to do it again,' she said in the segment. 

The ACMA findings were based on how an everyday citizen would interpret the segment.

Network Seven defended Armytage and the segment as a whole, claiming they were referencing a misleading headline from the Courier Mail. However, the ACMA findings say due diligence to verify the accuracy of the reporting was not performed.

Craig McPherson, Seven's director of news, said the network would challenge the findings.  

'We are extremely disappointed the ACMA has seen fit to cast a label on a segment that covered an important matter of public interest, child abuse, sparked by comments attributed to a government minister and widely circulated in the press on the morning of the broadcast.

'The irony is that the very issue the commentators were critical of, that is political correctness preventing meaningful discussion and action, has come to bear with this finding.

'The finding seeks to rule out issues and topics for discussion segments, as determined by ACMA. Its decision is a form of censorship; a direct assault on the workings of an independent media and the thousands of issue-based segments covered every year by Sunrise, other like programs, newspapers and talkback radio.'

ACMA Chairperson Nerida O'Loughlin said in a statement the topic of conversation was not the issue, rather the way the conversation was handled and framed. 

'Broadcasters can, of course, discuss matters of public interest, including extremely sensitive topics such as child abuse in indigenous communities. However, such matters should be discussed with care, with editorial framing to ensure compliance with the Code.

'The ACMA considers that the high threshold for this breach finding was met, given the strong negative generalisations about indigenous people as a group,' Ms O'Loughlin said.

The threshold has been met on a handful of previous occasions, including when 2GB's Alan Jones made scathing comments after the Cronulla Riots, and when A Current Affair's 'All Asian Mall' segment implied Asian shopkeepers were 'taking over' a shopping centre in Sydney. 


Income growth well spread: Treasury secretary Philip Gaetjens

Treasury secretary Philip Gaetjens has taken aim at the “populist political response” on the issue of inequality, citing data that shows gains from income growth have been shared evenly over the past 20 years.

In his first public address since taking up the job last month, Mr Gaetjens told a conference in Perth today that Australia’s progressive income tax and targeted welfare system also played a major role in reducing inequality.

Mr Gaetjens, a former chief of staff to Scott Morrison as treasurer, cited a Productivity Commission report released last month that found economic growth had been shared widely across all ­income groups.

The report contradicted claims by Labor of “accelerating inequality” and an economic system that was “entrenching unfairness”.

“Populist political response to rising inequality has been a common theme of recent economic analysis and commentary both here and overseas,” Mr Gaetjens said.

Despite the good news on inequality, Mr Gaetjens said a small group of Australians remained in persistent economic disadvantage, including people with disabilities, single-parent families, the un­employed and many indigenous Australians.

“These Australians face a complex set of challenges that limit their potential to seize economic opportunities or develop skills,” he told the University of Western Australia Public Policy Institute.

“It is important to continue to search for innovative policy ­approaches to ensure all people can share in the wellbeing and growth that has benefited the overwhelming majority.”

Mr Gaetjens said when measured by disposable income, inequality in Australia was close to the OECD average.

“It rose slightly over the 30-year period, but not as fast as ­others in the OECD, and decreased since the global financial crisis,” he said.

“Australia’s progressive income tax and targeted transfer system play a significant role in reducing Australia’s inequality — the Gini measure for disposable income is around 30 per cent lower than private income.”

Mr Gaetjens said uncertainty over global trade policy remained high after the US, China and other countries raised tariffs on a number of products including steel.

“Although there may be more trade actions to come, so far Australia’s exports have not been targeted,” he said. “As a middle-ranking, trade-exposed, capital-importing nation, it is not only the global economy that matters to our domestic economy but also the rules of engagement.

“We will continue strong advocacy for the multilateral trading system and will continue to pursue new trade opportunities, as the weekend’s agreement with Indonesia shows.”

Mr Gaetjens said the outlook for the WA economy was brighter due to a pick-up in the mining ­industry. “WA continues to experience the impact of shifts away from mining investment and towards resource exports, although the drag from falling mining investment appears to be almost complete,” he said.

Business and consumer confidence in WA have both lifted from the very low levels seen in 2015. “Recent feedback from leaders in WA’s mining construction and contracting industries revealed signs of increasing economic ­activity and confidence.

“In the Pilbara. we heard and saw evidence of increasing confidence and mining investment. Participants report skill shortages in some technical mining roles.”


Labor MP lobbied government for a visa for Islamic hate preacher who wants gays to be executed

Labor frontbencher Tony Burke lobbied for a controversial Islamic hate preacher who advocates the execution of homosexuals to be granted a business visa.

The former immigration minister and member for Watson in Sydney's south-west sent a letter to the Australian embassy in Jordan on behalf of Mohammed Rateb Abdalah Ali al-Nabulsi on July 21 last year.

The Voice of Islam radio station had invited Mr Nabulsi to Australia for a series of public engagements and sought the help of Mr Burke to secure his visa.  Mr Nabulsi was denied entry to Australia despite the opposition frontbencher's efforts, The Australian confirmed.

Mr Burke's office allegedly called Immigration to find out the status of the Syrian's visa prior to writing to the embassy.

Australian intelligence officials have declared Mr Nabulsi a hate preacher, as his views on women would be 'abhorrent' to many Australians.

Despite this, he had been granted visas to enter the country in 2004, 2006, 2012 and 2013, before being red-flagged in 2017.

The Islamic scholar has called for the execution of homosexuals and the subjugation of women, whom he labels the 'devil's temptation'.  

In a television broadcast on MEMRI-TV in 2011, Mr Nabulsi said: 'Homosexuality involves a filthy place, and does not generate offsprings.' 'Homosexuality leads to the destruction of the ­­­homo­sexual. That is why, brothers, homosexuality carries the death penalty,' he said.

'There are thousands of notions around the world, according to which a homosexual is a normal person, with homosexual genes.

'Therefore, the British health secretary says: 'I'm a homosexual.' He said it just like that, in a press conference. It's frightening... We are extremely lucky in our countries.'

The revelations come as Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton weathers a scandal over his ministerial decisions to overturn Border Authority decisions to deny entry to Australia to two European au pairs.

Mr Burke told The Australian that he asked Mr Dutton whether there were any specific issues he should be aware of, but Mr Dutton didn't respond.

'It is outrageous and appalling that there were character concerns about this specific individual and he never bothered to let me know, even though I had specifically asked,' Mr Burke said. 'Mr Dutton needs to answer the question as to why he kept character concerns secret from an MP who was seeking that exact ­information.'

The Senate legal affairs committee will on Wednesday begin its inquiry into whether Mr Dutton misused his ministerial powers by intervening in cases.


University of Sydney climbs 15 places in latest Shanghai rankings

Any place within the top 100 out of thousands of universities is a distinction.  USyd once awarded me a rather large document

The University of Sydney has ranked 68th in the world and 3rd in Australia in the 2018 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), its best result since the ARWU rankings began in 2003.
Jumping 15 places since last year’s rank of 83, Vice-Chancellor and Principal Dr Michael Spence said the result reflected the University’s 160-year history as a home of academic excellence.

“As Australia’s oldest university we have a long history of excellence,” said Dr Spence. “But this does not mean we rest on our laurels.

“We are investing at an unprecedented level in supporting academics to conduct truly outstanding research that will have an impact on many lives around the world. This includes investing in whole-of-university research facilities and collaborating with some of the world’s best academics at institutions such as Harvard.”

Dr Spence also pointed to the University’s 10 multidisciplinary initiatives as thriving hubs for scholarship, conducting research on some of the most pressing issues of our time, from obesity, cancer and antimicrobial resistance to improving policy.

The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) is released annually by the Shanghai Ranking Consultancy. It considers more than 1500 universities worldwide, providing specific rankings for the top 100 universities.

Among the heavily weighted criteria considered in the ARWU rankings are research output, highly cited researchers and prestigious academic awards, such as Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals.

Harvard University tops the 2018 ARWU rankings for the 16th year, followed by Stanford, Cambridge, MIT and the University of California (Berkeley).


Australian feral camel population estimated to be at 1.2 million and growing fast

AN INVASIVE species is spreading across Australia at an alarming rate and baffled Aussies are running into them for the first time ever.

MORE than 1.2 million feral camels are raising havoc across Australia and they’re spreading further afield every day.

It may be a while before they’re clocked strolling along Circular Quay, but eyewitness reports from baffled farmers confirm they have been spotted unusually far south — in the southeast coastal district of Western Australia.

It is understood the nomadic desert beasts are migrating away from dry conditions in the Nullarbor and Goldfields in a desperate attempt to find food and water.

According to the latest Australia State of Environment Report (ASER), camels were introduced to Australia around 1840 and by 2008, an estimated 1 million camels were roaming the central arid lands of Western Australia, the Northern Territory, South Australia and Queensland.

Despite culling efforts between 2009 and 2013, which resulted in the deaths of 160,000 camels in Central Australia using ground-based and aerial culling techniques, the population has now swelled to around 1.2 million.

That’s according to the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions, which predicts the feral population is growing by 8 per cent each year.

Confused farmers have now spotted groups of camels strolling up on to their Western Australia properties for the first time ever.

One of those, Brett South, who spotted a group of eight on his farm in Beaumont, about 130km northeast of the coastal town of Esperance, said he was "blown away" when they suddenly appeared.

However, he wasn’t pleasantly surprised. "They wreck all your waterholes, they have no respect for your boundary fences and your gates," he told the ABC. "The number of pests we have up here, we don’t need to add camels to the list."

It’s a common sentiment between farmers who have been unfortunate enough to bump into the humped travellers in WA — which is now home to the largest herd of feral camels in the world.

According to the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, the state is now home to 45 per cent of the nation’s camels.

And, they’re not just trashing farms. The non-native mammals are also causing headaches for a number of other reasons. According to the ASER, the "major impacts" of this burgeoning camel population includes damage to native vegetation and wetlands, increased competition with native animals for food, shelter and water resources, and damage to infrastructure and road hazards.

The last federally-funded control program was the $19 million Australian Federal Camel Management Project. It supported the development of a commercial feral camel industry and contributed to a reduction of the feral camel population to around 300,000 by 2013.

A report commissioned by the Northern Territory and South Australian governments in 2016 found the harvest of wild camels could become a major industry which would be "both profitable and viable for a few years".

After this point, the report recommended the way to ensure profitability would be to boost camel farming businesses, as well as diversify meat production to include culled horses and donkeys.

"There must be a transition to farmed camels to maintain the supply of camels to market and stay profitable," the report read. "This is because there will be a vacuum effect created through the repeated removal of wild camels from current hotspot areas."

Camel meat, however, is rarely eaten in Australia, despite pushes from certain restaurants to experiment with its rich flavour. Last year, Max Mason, owner of the Henry Austin restaurant in Adelaide, announced he would be serving up true blue Aussie camel and encouraged foodies to get on-board. He said the meat "is everything you want in a steak".

"We char it on an open fire and serve it off the bone, with heirloom carrots, ice plant and macadamia cream," he said. "And we are also trialling a camel tartare, which is an even better way of getting the true camel flavour."

However, efforts to curb the growing population have been thwarted because the invasive species are able to breed in the massive swathes of unmanaged Crown land and the 800,000-hectare Dundas Nature Reserve in WA, according to the main organisation carrying out control programs on camel populations.

"This problem will just get worse and worse with weeds, camels, dogs and whatever other pests build up in the unmanaged Crown land, until there are control programs funded to deal with the problem where it lies," Goldfields Nullarbor Rangelands Biosecurity Association’s chief executive Ross Wood told ABC.


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, 2018

Real Blackfellas Don’t Complain

Leftists seem to be dimly aware that the name "Aboriginal" is not actually an Aboriginal name (It's Latin) so put on a big turn about using old tribal names (Murri, Boori, Boong etc.).  There are hundrdds of such names so the practice does nothing for clarity or anything else.  And Aborigines don't in fact use such names very much anymore.  They ordinarily refer to one another in  English -- as "blackfellas".  So you can see that the writer below is unusual in being really in touch with Aborigines

On 26 January 1788 when the First Fleet ships unloaded their 1200 convicts, Royal Marine guards and officials, not a shot was fired.

As they looked around what’s now Circular Quay they saw nothing other than bush. Not a single building, planted field, domesticated plant or animal – nothing at all. It was the same across the continent. It was "terra nullius" – a vacant land.

There was no Aboriginal Army to defeat in battle. There was nothing to claim as the spoils of victory.

There was just wild bush. The few Aborigines who came out to have a look at these strange people were completely illiterate and innumerate and those on the south side of the harbour spoke a language completely unintelligible to those on the north side of the harbour and they’d been constantly at war with each other for as long as anyone can remember. There was no "invasion".

Captain Phillip was instructed by the government in London to treat the natives "with amity and kindness" and he did. No Aborigines were shot; no platoon of Marines fixed their bayonets or loaded their muskets or took a shot at anyone who emerged from the bush to see what was going on. Instead they offered them gifts and friendship.

Most people now "identified" as "indigenous" – like myself and my children and grandchildren have European – mostly British – ancestry to a greater or lesser extent.

I recently had a DNA test done that shows I’m 48% Irish, 20% English, 30% Scandinavian, 1% Spanish and 1% Aboriginal. The absurdity is that, in this time of identity politics, I am an "Aborigine" by virtue of the fact that one of my Irish ancestors married an Aboriginal woman 6 generation ago.

There is no reason to change Australia Day. It was the day "Australia" came into being and had it not been for those British coming ashore on 26 January 1788, I wouldn’t exist and neither would Mr Mundine. The name "Mundine" is as English as a cold pork pie or fish-n-chips wrapped in newspaper.

It’s time for all indigenous people take a spoonful of cement, harden up and to get over what happened 229 years ago and stop playing the victim.

If it were not for the Australian, American and New Zealand soldiers, sailors and airmen defending Australia from the swarming Japanese in 1942, there would be no Aborigines living in Australia today. The black power mob should be holding street rallies to thank ordinary Aussies for keeping them alive today in more ways than one. We owe them nothing!


4000 public servant jobs to be axed in South Australian budget

Cost-cutting conservatives

The first Liberal budget in South Australia in 17 years will today ­include $170 million to help cut public sector numbers by more than 4000, along with a $515m ­injection for school student learning improvements.

Treasurer Rob Lucas, who ­delivered the Liberals’ last budget in 2001 before four consecutive Labor terms, will forecast a “modest” surplus for 2018-19, but well above the slim $12m surplus former Labor treasurer Tom Koutsantonis predicted in the mid-year budget review in December.

Mr Lucas yesterday said $715m in savings would have to be achieved over the forward estimates to “deliver on our promise to have balanced budgets”.

Despite being outspoken in ­opposition about the need to cut the public sector, Mr Lucas is not taking the extreme approach of former Queensland premier Campbell Newman, who cut 14,000 government workers six years ago.

Mr Lucas said job cuts would not hit “frontline services”, and the greatest burden would be on departments that did not have doctors, teachers, nurses, police and child protection workers.

Labor’s mid-year budget update estimated the number of full-time-equivalent public-sector workers would fall by 2047 through to 2021. Mr Lucas will ­announce an increased reduction target of 2286 by 2022.

The number of full-time-equivalent positions will be forecast to fall by 4013 over the same period once transfers to non-government organisations under an NDIS transition scheme is completed. “We will be providing $170m in the first year, centrally funded to agencies, to help pay for ­targeted separation packages in terms of actually achieving them,” Mr Lucas said.

The previous Labor government spent almost $449m on separation packages between 2010 and last year yet public servant numbers rose more than 3500.

The 2014-15 budget outlined public service job cuts in the order of 4000 full-time equivalents after a similar promise was made in 2010, which also failed to materialise. Public-sector full-time-equivalent positions increased from 79,505 at June 2010 to 85,461 this year.

Labour force figures from January showed South Australia had the nation’s largest public sector per capita at 15.9 per cent of the state’s full-time workforce against a national average of 12.6 per cent.

Mr Lucas vowed the new Liberal government would “actually deliver” reduced numbers of public servants. The $170m would be allocated for only 2018-19 and then departments would have to fund their own separation packages.

“If you actually achieve what you say you will then the payback is very quick,” he said.

Mr Lucas said today’s budget would cut waste along with some of the former Labor government’s priorities, projects and programs to fund Liberal initiatives.

But there will be an extra $551m for learning in schools by 2021-22, bringing total spending to $3.76bn.

“There is going to be a massive increase in spending in schools,” Mr Lucas said. “If we are going to be nationally and internationally competitive, we are going to have start turning around our ­NAPLAN ­results and boost programs within classrooms.”

Infrastructure spending will also be a key part of the budget and include commitments to a range of road, rail and public transport projects, boosted by ­almost $500m of federal government assistance.

Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas said the government had “more money than ever ­before” thanks to an extra $270m in GST revenue. Mr Lucas said this would pay for election promises but not a $700m savings hole left by the previous government.


Scott Morrison scraps Government plans to raise pension age to 70

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has dumped the plan to raise the pension age to 70, announcing the decision on breakfast television even before Cabinet has formally agreed to it.

It was one of the issues on which Labor had repeatedly attacked the Government, especially highlighting the impact for people with physically difficult jobs.

Former treasurer Joe Hockey announced the plan to lift the pension age from 67 to 70 in his controversial 2014 budget in a bid to help fund the cost of the ageing population.

The Senate has refused to ever agree to legislation to formalise the change, but until today the Government had stuck to the policy.

Mr Morrison told Channel Nine he did not think the measure was needed anymore. "It is one of the things I will be changing pretty quickly," Mr Morrison told Channel Nine this morning after facing a question on it from a viewer about why he thought it was a good idea to have everybody working until they are 70. He said he had been contemplating the change for some time.

But the Opposition has labelled it panic and a sign of desperation.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said overturning the previous policy it was a "pragmatic, sensible move".

"I think if you are a tradie, or a brickie or a shearer in rural and regional Australia you don't want some suit in Canberra telling you you are going to have to work until you're 70," Mr McCormack told Sky.

"It's hard, back-breaking work what a lot of our people do and I think being told that they are going to have to work until 70 I think was probably a step too far."

It is the first major policy backdown Mr Morrison has made since becoming PM.

"I was going to say this next week, but I may as well say it here, I have already consulted my colleagues on that and next week Cabinet will be ratifying a decision to reverse taking the retirement age to 70," he said.

It will remain at 67, which is what Labor increased it to. "The pension age going to 70, gone," Mr Morrison said.

Liberal Democrats senator David Leyonhjelm slammed the decision and argued the age pension age should be gradually lifted. He said "with increasing health and life expectancy, thousands of older Australians are set to spend many years on welfare despite still being able to work and pay their own way".

Senator Leyonhjelm said the move was a sign the Government does not take budget repair seriously. "This is not how the grandparents of Australia should be looking after their grandchildren," he said.

Deloitte Access Economics economist Chris Richardson called it a policy mistake to reverse the increase in the pension age. "I would put it down very much to politics," Mr Richardson said, noting that the new PM was trying to get rid of an unpopular policy in the face of bad opinion polls. "It is a mistake and it does overturn a courageous decision.

"With politics as populist as it is at the moment and with a government behind in the polls it is entirely understandable that the Government is going to dump things that are unpopular. "But just because something is unpopular doesn't mean it wasn't the right call in the first place."

Jobs not pensions says Council on the Ageing

The Council on the ageing welcomed the move, saying there is no point raising the pension age further because people who want to work longer are often locked out of even being considered for jobs because of age discrimination.

COTA Chief Executive Ian Yates said the Government should instead focus on lifting the workforce participation rate for people over 55 and supporting people who want to work into their 70s.

He said that would contribute more to the budget than raising the pension age further could ever save, "and it will result in better retirement incomes for many retirees, again saving the budget".

The pension age has already started going up from 65.

The plan to lift the pension age in the 2014 budget was based on a recommendation of the National Commission of Audit, which said it should be linked to rising life expectancy.

"Not only are people now experiencing longer retirements, but changes in the nature of work and improvements to medical technology have meant that many (though not necessarily all) people are also experiencing healthier and more active retirements," the report said.


PRIME Minister Scott Morrison says there is no need for “gender whisperers” in schools as news emerges of teachers being taught to spot potential transgender students­

Experts claim the move has contributed to a 236 per cent surge in the number of kids wanting to change sex in the past three years.

The training has been conducted by gender identity experts in public and private primary and secondary schools under the guise of professional standards development.

It involves teachers learning to identify key phrases such as “I feel different”, “I’m androgynous” and “I’m born with two spirits”, indicating transgender leanings in students­ as young as five.

Mr Morrison tweeted this morning that we do not need ‘gender whisperers’ in our schools. Let kids be kids.

A 236 per cent surge in the number of kids wanting to change their gender has partly been attributed to new teacher training.

Exclusive figures obtained by The Daily Telegraph show already this year hospitals have referred 74 kids aged 6-16 to gender dysphoria clinics geared to help children and adolescents transition.

In 2015, the number was 22 and in 2013 there were just two.

The figures have sparked a heated debate among health experts, with the huge increase denounced as a “tragic” and “dangerous” fad” fuelled by gender support experts in schools and celebrity trans cases. Gender counsellor ­Dr Elizabeth Riley, who has advised 40 private, public and Catholic schools in the past three years, said it was important to educate teachers given 1 per cent of students were transgender.

“I only go into schools I’m invited into. I teach the school how to deal with these children with special needs and to treat them like any other child,” she said.

“Trans children are in every school, they’ve been around since the 1800s … If a school has 1000 students, 10 of them will be trans, whether they go on to transition or not. It’s important we support them so they get the right advice­ early so they are not bullied or go into hiding.”

Western Sydney University Professor of Paediatrics John Whitehall said gender identity support experts in schools were creating more problems and more confused children. “They’re part of the problem as they mess with the kids by giving them a platform to believe they have a genuine problem,” Prof Whitehall said.

“It’s a sad, tragic and very dangerous fad, especially when medical treatment can involve hormones that interfere with the brain as well as the body, and progress to irreversible­ surgery and loss of fertility.”

He said mental illness such as ADHD and depression were often associated with gender dysphoria and should be treated first while the child was allowed to mature.

Sydney-based Gender Centre says it has provided transgender training to schools including Hamilton Public, Winmalee High, Menai High, Stanhope Gardens­ ­Catholic School and Toronto High. It attributes the rise in younger children transitioning to better educated parents­ spotting the signs early. “It’s not necessarily an explosion, it’s that people now identify earlier and parents­ are more open to what for years was a taboo subject,” spokeswoman Eloise Brook said.

Sydney Children’s Hospital Randwick, The Children’s Hospital Westmead and John Hunter Children’s Hospital­ report increases in children believing they are the wrong sex or diagnosed with gender dysphoria.

Children are assessed­ and, as early as six, can undergo stage one gender affirmation sessions including swapping names and clothes. Stage two of treatment, from age 11, can involve the use of puberty blocking drugs. Stage three is irreversible cross-sex hormone treatment and surgery — of which the youngest patients­ have been 15.

Professor Whitehall said children should not even be allowed to undergo stage one treatment before age 18.

Under Education Department guidelines, schools operate their own professional development budgets. A spokesman said Dr Riley was not an employee of the department.

“Students who need support for whatever reason will receive it in NSW public schools,” he said.


Labor’s energy bill shock

Electricity bills will soar and gas and coal-fired power stations will close if the share of wind and solar generation increases dramat­ically, engineers have warned after analysing the nation’s ­energy supply.

The analysis casts doubt on Labor’s claim that a 50 per cent renewable energy target — the centrepiece of the opposition’s climate change policy — would reduce electricity prices.

It found bills were likely to soar 84 per cent, or about $1400 a year, for the typical household, if wind and solar power supplied 55 per cent of the national electricity market.

The analysis by a group of veteran engineers — written and funded by five mechanical, chemical, electrical and nuclear engineers, with decades of experience in the power industry — was sent to premiers, federal cabinet ministers and shadow cabinet late last month.

It contrasted the costs of supplying electricity in the national electricity market under different mixes of generation. This included the Australian Energy Market Operator forecast for the year 2040 of 65 per cent renewable energy including hydro, as well as five other scenarios, including replacing coal-fired or gas generation with nuclear power.

The AEMO scenario, the closest to Labor’s policy, would lead to retail electricity prices rising by 84 per cent to 39c per kilowatt-hour — adding $1374 to the average household’s 2017 electricity bill based on the competition regulator’s June report into the electricity market.

Robert Barr, an electrical engineer and academic at University of Wollongong, said “in practical terms what would happen is the coal and open-cycle gas stations would go broke long before we reached this situation”.

Co-author Barry Murphy, former managing director and chairman of Caltex Australia, said the scenarios with high levels of renewable energy could force coal-fired power stations to be turned on and off at irregular intervals, or spin their turbines uselessly, “which isn’t economic so they would shut down”.

Labor in government would ensure at least 50 per cent of the nation’s electricity was sourced from renewable energy by 2030.

The new figures emerged as Scott Morrison moved to shift the emphasis of Coalition energy policy away from reducing emissions to cutting prices and shoring up reliability. In Cairns yesterday, the Prime Minister criticised NSW and Victorian governments for restricting gas exploration.

“We have to be prepared to use all the resources we have available to get electricity prices down,” he said. “They’re achieving that in Texas while at the same time reducing their dependency, because of the abundance of gas reserves there, on other ­fossil fuels.”

Mr Morrison noted that electricity prices were a third lower in the US state than in Queensland.

The analysis takes aim at “technology agnosticism” that ­ignores the “complexities of power system engineering”.

“Looking at the total cost of particular forms of energy in isolation is sensible only if you’re going to rely on that form of energy alone, but for the electricity market, it’s the total system costs that matters,” Mr Murphy said.

The study recommends ceasing subsidies for renewable energy and ending the national ban on nuclear energy. “The fact is technology matters, and poor and poorly informed choices on the NEM can lead to expensive mistakes that could bedevil our prosperity,” it found.

The AEMO scenario of 65 per cent renewable energy by 2040 would reduce emissions at a cost of $365 a tonne of carbon dioxide, the study estimated. Replacing coal-fired power generation with nuclear power would reduce emissions by a far greater amount at an abatement cost of $27.50 a tonne. The Gillard government’s ill-fated carbon tax envisaged a tax of $29 a tonne.

“Even if you allow for the reductions in the cost of batteries, etc, it doesn’t make much difference to the total cost because of the extra transmission costs,” Dr Barr said. “If we put a whole lot of wind farms into the system, we need to spend a lot of money on the transmission network for power that is intermittent.”

The AEMO forecast would require more than a 40-fold increase in the solar capacity and around a tripling of the number of wind turbines. “That’s a total of 62,000MW of unreliable, intermittent, weather-dependent generating capacity, with a lot situated a long way from points of high consumption,” Mr Murphy said.

In his first speech as Energy Minister last week, Angus Taylor all but dropped the national energy guarantee, the Turnbull government’s proposal that included promises to meet emissions reductions agreed to in the Paris agreement.

The new analysis calls for a bipartisan agreement to end the ban on nuclear energy — despite ongoing uranium exports — that has prevailed since 1998.

“Countries like Germany can experiment with high levels of renewables because they can always import nuclear power from France or Czech Republic when there isn’t enough wind or solar energy, but we’re on our own,” Mr Murphy said.

The authors said much of the existing analysis rested on arbitrary assumptions that the cost of renewable energy would fall in the future rather than “actual costs and actual use”.

“Speculating about future costs 22 years hence is futile: where will gas prices go, or recent developments might reduce nuclear costs, who knows for sure,” Mr Murphy said.

“The South Koreans would jump at the opportunity to help us with building nuclear power stations.”

Dr Barr said: “I don’t think politicians realise how much damage is being done to industry.”


Sydney University ‘puts price on free speech’

The Sydney University Liberal Club says vice-chancellor ­Michael Spence has “put a price block” on free speech after he refused to foot the bill for security at an event featuring controversial conservative Bettina Arndt.


As universities face dealing with protesters intent on shutting down speaking events, the club faces a bill of almost $500 to cover security for the event next week.

Ms Arndt, a prominent sex therapist and author, is on a ­national tour. Her talk, “Is there a rape crisis on campus?”, seeks to debunk claims universities are a hotbed of sexual assault.

Club president Jack O’Brien wrote to Dr Spence on August 24, asking for the university to waive security costs for the public event as a sign of support for controversial discussions on campus. He cited La Trobe University’s decision to cover security costs for Ms Arndt to address its Liberal Club in support of free speech.

Dr Spence declined, saying the Liberal Club would be treated the same as every other club that had to pay for security.

Yesterday, Mr O’Brien ­accused Dr Spence of hypocrisy for outwardly welcoming free speech but lumping students stoking debate with the costs of security to deal with protesters.

“It’s just hypocritical for Dr Spence to talk about the importance of free speech yet be so willing to put a price block on conservative students having events,” he said. “He’s being held hostage by the politically correct, and it’s as if he’s happy to financially shut us down.”

The club also faces a $150 room booking charge, and will charge $5 entrance. Mr O’Brien said the event would go ahead.

A spokeswoman for Dr Spence said the club’s treatment was consistent with all other clubs and societies on campus when there was a protest threat.

“We recognise that one of the fundamental roles of the university is to be a place where ideas can be freely discussed, including those that some may view as controversial,” she said.

“As such, the Sydney University Liberal Club has been approved to host a talk by Bettina Arndt next week ­addressing campus culture.”


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, 2018

Retired Anglican Bishop says devout Christian Scott Morrison’s views go AGAINST the Bible

In good Anglican style, Dr Browning is a very secular Bishop. His doctoral thesis was on global warming and he despises the many Bible condemnations of homosexuality (Jude 1:7; 1 Timothy 1:8-11; Mark 10:6-9; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 1 Corinthians 7:2; Leviticus 18:32; Leviticus 20:13; Genesis 19:4-8). So it ill behooves him to criticise the Biblical beliefs of Scott Morrison

And his account of scripture is very incomplete. He objects to the offshore detention of illegal immigrants on the basis (apparently) of the injunction to the ancient Israelites in Deuteronomy 10:19, "Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt"

But the NT version of that clearly refers to spiritual differences. 1 Peter 2:11 says: "Dear friends, I urge you as strangers and exiles to abstain from sinful desires that wage war against the soul". It is now the Christians themselves who are strangers to the world around them and they are urged to separate themseves from it. So separating ourselves from law-breaking migrants is entirely scriptural.

And it is Morrison, not the Bishop, who is obedient to the Bible when it comes to his practice of sending his children to a Christian school so they will not be subjected to pro-homosexual propaganda.  Something that is "an abomination to the Lord" is fine and dandy with the fake bishop

A former bishop has claimed Scott Morrison's beliefs are against the Bible, with the statement coming just after devout Christian Prime Minister revealed he sends his children to private school to avoid the 'values of others'.

Mr Morrison said he sends his daughters, aged nine and 11, to an independent Baptist school rather than the local public school to avoid sexual education classes requiring children to role-play bisexual teenagers with multiple partners.

Dr George Browning, a former bishop of the Anglican Church of Australia, said Christians have a right to be concerned that Mr Morrison will 'behave in a way that is out of step with true biblical values' due to his views on asylum seekers, climate change and social welfare.

Dr Browning said Mr Morrison's maiden speech to parliament in 2008 in which he quoted Bishop Desmond Tutu while detailing the values he derived from his faith were not reflected in his actions as a politician.

'Given these are clues to the values that Mr Morrison holds dear, we have the right to be somewhat surprised by the stand, or lack of it, that he has taken on several issues, the first and most obvious being refugees and asylum seekers,' he wrote in a column for The Melbourne Anglican.

'On the matter of "strangers and aliens" the Bible is unequivocally clear - we are to welcome and embrace them.

'It is a matter of national shame that we have mistreated so terribly those who have come to our shores. Those still incarcerated on Manus and Nauru are prisoners of a political ideology that has very little to do with the ongoing security of Australian borders.'

Dr Browning said Mr Morrison's views on climate change showed he did not 'stand up for truth'. 'That the Australian government has abjectly failed to produce a policy to address this truth is quite shocking,' he said.

'Thirdly, in using the quote from Desmond Tutu, Mr Morrison nails his colours to the mast of a preferential bias towards the poor and needy. This of course is the bias of Jesus himself.

'Is this bias demonstrated in successive budgets over which Mr Morrison has had the responsibility of shaping? It is hard to see it.'

Australians have a right to feel the values Mr Morrison 'espoused as a Christian' are 'being ignored', Dr Browning aruged.

Mr Morrison told 2GB on Monday that he did not want the 'values of others being imposed on my children in my school'.

'I don't think that should be happening in a public school or a private school. It's not happening in the school I send my kids to, and that's one of the reasons I send them there.'

Mr Morrison said his objection to elements of the controversial Safe Schools program was why he wants to protect the religious freedoms of private schools.

The activities in question are part of the Building Respectful Relationships program, written by Deakin University associate professor Debbie Ollis, which is mapped to the curriculum in Victoria.

One exercise titled 'Different perspectives on sexual intimacy' requires students to use character cards to do 20-minute role-plays.

Mr Morrison went on to tell Mr Jones he backed federal funding for public education, which is run by the states and territories.

'[But] how about we just have state schools that focus on things like learning maths and science,' he added.

Mr Morrison is a devout Christian and attends the Hillsong Pentecostal mega church.


Golliwogs again

When I was a little kid, I had a golly and I thought it was great.  I think all kids should be allowed one

THE Royal Adelaide Show has been forced to remove three award-winning golliwog dolls from a display of handicrafts following a racism outcry on social media.

The three dolls, which are a caricature of black people stemming back to the 19th and early 20th century, won first, second and third place in the handicrafts division but have since been removed from display.

The Facebook group Deadly Yarning from South Australian Aboriginal communities posted images of the dolls at midday on Sunday.

“When you go to the 2018 Royal Adelaide Show Royal Adelaide Show only to see #RacistDolls being awarded 1st, 2nd and 3rd places in the Judging,” the post read.

Dozens of people responded to the post including the official Royal Adelaide Show account, which said “no offence was intended”.

“There are variety of traditional dolls entered in the handicrafts competition including Parisian dolls, Japanese dolls and African dolls, however the dolls above have been removed from the display.”


Comment from an Australian social worker correspondent:  "More golliwog nonsense from lefties telling blacks what they should be offended at.

How can golliwogs be racist when many blacks like golliwogs. Several weeks ago I visited an Aboriginal woman who told me she loved her golly. And I have been in other Aboriginal homes with golliwogs sitting happily on shelves.

Lefties are the true racists, because lefties try so hard to make blacks feel offended. Lefties try to cause offence by proxy. They tell blacks to be offended by conservatives and by western traditions, while pretending they are on the side of blacks, so it is the lefties causing the offence for the blacks, and the smarter lefties know it. They are manipulators.

And they do the same with Muslims; orchestrating offence wherever they can, while making out it is others doing the offending".

Indonesian businesses want Australian education

Australia's geographical proximity to Asia and its use of English have made it a strong attractant to Asian parents seeking a Western education for their children.  There is a huge population of Chinese and Indian students in Australia already and now Indonesia wants in

Indonesian businesses are crying out for Australian universities to get involved in skilling up its huge workforce.

Indonesian business leaders are desperate to get Australian universities in to dramatically lift the number of workers in higher education.

They praised the decision to conclude a free trade deal between the two countries, with plans to get it signed before Christmas.

Indonesia has a work force of about 132 million people, but half of them only have a primary school education, and just 13 per cent have a university qualification.

"We want to open up for education, and also the focus on training. We need it very badly," Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chair Rosan Roeslani told reporters in Jakarta on Saturday. "This is I think the key element for our agreement."

Business leader Shinta Kamdani said the deal was more of a partnership, and it wasn't all about trade liberalisation.  "Services is a big part of this agreement, it's not just about trading goods," Ms Kamdani said. "The fact we can skill exchange, vocational training, I think that's a big thing for Indonesia."

The agreement will free up Indonesia's university sector for Australian investors, allowing up to 67 per cent foreign ownership. Foreign investors are currently barred from majority ownership in an Indonesian university.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Friday signed a memorandum of understanding committing the countries to signing the deal this year.

Australia and Indonesia are two of the world's 20 largest economies and close neighbours, but neither are in each other's top 10 trading partners.

"This is one of the earliest bilateral (deals) that we're doing," Ms Kamdani said. "So our government is still trying to work it out. I have to say this is a big achievement for our government."

Both leaders urged Australian businesses to look at how they can get involved in Indonesia's surging economy. "I think this is the best time to come in and invest in Indonesia, because we are simplifying a lot of policy and regulation," Mr Roeslani said.

"We want to encourage more players, not just the same that are the existing ones, but new players," Ms Kamdani said.


Queensland in court fight with domestic violence victim whose details were leaked by a policeman

The vicious Queensland police again

The Queensland government is fighting a domestic violence victim in court, in an attempt to avoid paying up to $100,000 in compensation for having to relocate her family after her personal details were leaked by a police officer.

The woman, who has been referred to in previous media reports as Julie*, told Guardian Australia she felt "intimidated" by the government’s attempts to brief a senior counsel in the supposedly "accessible" and "inexpensive" Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Julie was forced to go into hiding after a senior constable, Neil Punchard, accessed her address from the police QPRIME database and sent it to her violent former husband, who has been convicted of domestic violence and faces another charge of breaching a domestic violence order.

Punchard then sent text messages to Julie’s former husband joking about the matter.

"Just tell her you know where she lives and leave it at that. Lol. She will flip," Punchard wrote in one message that was later sent to the Crime and Corruption Commission.

Punchard was disciplined but not charged with a criminal offence and remains a serving police officer. Julie told the tribunal she remained fearful knowing he still had access to her details.

"An officer gave the details of where I was living, gave them to his mate, using the police database as if it was a Yellow Pages," Julie said during a QCAT hearing in June. "Now, this officer, Neil Punchard, is still in a job. He still has access to the police computer. And I have had to move ... [and] cross my fingers like this and hope he doesn’t do it again.

"I’m already intimidated. I come here today because there is an officer with a gun and a grudge and access to my private details. The damage is done."

Julie launched a breach of privacy claim and is seeking compensation for having to relocate her family after her details were leaked. The matter is being heard by QCAT after she lodged a complaint with the Queensland office of the information commissioner. The maximum payout she can receive is $100,000 and she estimates the ordeal has cost her "much more than that".

The police service is represented in the proceedings by the government legal service, Crown Law Queensland. The lawyers are instructed by the Queensland Government Insurance Fund.

Julie is self-represented in QCAT. She says she wanted to mediate the matter and negotiate a settlement. Instead, the government applied to the tribunal to brief a senior counsel.

During the June hearing, a government solicitor could not give the tribunal a guarantee they would not ultimately pursue Julie for legal costs.

"I’m here trying to recoup the costs that I’ve had to bear after having to relocate and the extra security for my family after the gross breach to my privacy," Julie told QCAT. "I am the victim. Yet, I understand today that the public purse is funding [the defence of] the state and the police union will be funding [the defence of] the officer, no doubt, that disclosed my private details to a violent perpetrator.

"Now, how would it make sense for me to wear the costs of having to brief or bringing in a senior counsel in order to recoup the expense that has been incurred by me so far? I absolutely see this as absurd. The crown has said that this matter is complex. What is complex about this?

"I’m supposed to wear the expense of senior counsel if I want a level playing field. I wish for this to be fair. This goes against everything that QCAT says it is."

The police defence to Julie’s claim is broadly that the state should not be held responsible for the actions of rogue individuals.

Guardian Australia approached the premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, with questions about whether this position was an abrogation of the government’s responsibilities in managing and protecting the sensitive personal data of citizens.

Palaszczuk, who is a public advocate for domestic violence victims, was also asked why her government had not sought to support Julie, or to negotiate a settlement with her.

The premier’s office responded with a one-line statement.

"It would be inappropriate to comment on a matter currently before QCAT, just as it would be inappropriate for the premier to intervene or become involved in tribunal proceedings in any way."

Julie has also attempted unsuccessfully through right to information to obtain a copy of her QPRIME file, which would include details about how and when her personal data had been accessed, and by which officers.

Police have refused to hand over the file. She has made a similar application to QCAT but has not yet been granted access.

Police said in a statement the service "has substantial information holdings and takes information privacy very seriously".

Police said that, as of last month, 11 officers had been charged for improperly accessing the system. Eight officers had been stood down from official duties for conducting unauthorised checks of QPRIME and five suspended.

The statement did not respond to specific questions posed by the Guardian, which which included why Punchard had not been charged, and why Julie had been unable to access her police data file. In other cases, people who applied for their files have been granted access.

"[Police] cannot comment further on access to specific information on this system for privacy reasons."

The matter is ongoing.


Trusts an issue if Labor wins

Investors planning for the prospect of a change of government have no doubt considered the ALP’s plans for shares and property, but a crucial issue that has flown under the radar is the ­planned changes to trusts.

The increase in popularity of family trusts or discretionary trusts has placed this wealth management tool at the centre of many family businesses.

According to the most recent Australian Taxation Office research, there is now more than $590 billion of assets sitting in discretionary trusts, nearly double the amount a decade ago. In fact, it is estimated that more than one million small businesses in Australia use trusts.

On July 30 last year Bill Shorten announced, as part of the ALP’s tax reform plan, proposed changes for discretionary trusts if it wins government. The ALP’s proposal stops short of taxing trusts as companies. Instead, it suggests the introduction of a minimum 30 per cent tax on trust distributions to beneficiaries aged over 18 and would apply from July, 2019 — immediately after the election.

The ALP proposal is not to tax the trust — the income tax liability falls upon the individual beneficiaries of the trust in the form of supplementary personal income tax.

At present a trustee must lodge a tax return each year reporting the net income or loss: trusts are treated as "pass through vehicles" for tax purposes, so tax only applies when the income is in the hands of beneficiaries.

Income distributions from trusts are generally taxed at the individual income tax rate of the beneficiary. Trusts (unlike companies) can also pass through the benefit of the capital gains tax discount, making trusts attractive vehicles for tax purposes. For people receiving trust money who do not work — or are on low incomes — the change of rules will almost certainly mean a lift in tax costs.

In common with many advisers, I believe discretionary trusts are a legitimate and positive structure adopted by many in small business, individuals and families to help support effective planning.

Trusts provide flexibility in allowing small businesses to manage cash flow with additional benefits in asset protection as well as succession planning and estate planning. In the case of taxing discretionary trusts, I contend those that will be affected will be those that can least afford it.

The ALP has acknowledged that individuals and businesses use trusts for a range of legitimate reasons, but it has also claimed that "in some cases, trusts are used solely for tax minimisation". This seems an extraordinary claim.

The policy has excluded both charitable trusts and farm trusts. In the case of farm trusts, KPMG argues in an August 2017 paper that this decision will raise "difficult questions of ‘equity’ from the perspective of tax policy design".

Other trusts that are excluded from this policy are special disability trusts, deceased estates and fixed trusts.

It’s also worth noting some other relevant KPMG points:

* Without strong anti-avoidance provisions to accompany the change, the policy will incentivise taxpayers to "re-characterise" discretionary trust distributions into another type of income in the hands of a beneficiary (such as interest/employment income or private company dividends).

* To the extent that the ALP policy is targeted at "income splitting", it should be noted that a range of statutory provisions, anti-avoidance laws, and tax office rulings already address this issue comprehensively.

With the uncertainty in Canberra it is looking likely that we may soon have a new government via an early federal election.

The government has demonstrated its inability to articulate to voters that a change of government will mean a significant change — that means an increase in taxation. The ALP has flagged negative impacts in signalling likely policy changes in the areas of capital gains tax, negative gearing and personal taxation. Indeed, if you are in the top marginal taxation bracket, there will also be detrimental changes in family trusts and franking credits.

In April, I wrote about the implications for retirees resulting from the ALP’s plans to scrap cash rebates for franked dividends.

For those investors with self-managed super fund in retirement phase, franking credits represent a valuable part of their income strategy. Yet this stream would be affected were the ALP to win government and its franking credits plan become a reality.

Already we are witnessing a spike in demand for clarity among the many obtaining financial advice on how the mooted changes might play out.

My view is that the proposed changes discriminate against those in retirement: they are clearly targeted at those with an SMSF, those in retirement, and those that are not members of an industry-based fund. In the case of the franking credit rebate abolition, 96 per cent of the individuals affected have taxable income of less than $87,000.

The ALP’s proposed policies are going to hurt small business and will have broad ramifications across wealth management.


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, 2018

Weekend bulletin from Bettina Arndt

Bettina attacks feminist male-bashing with facts

The big news is Sydney University seems to be trying to stop my September 11 campus talk from happening.

It’s now over 10 days since the university’s Liberal Club students applied for a venue for me to speak at an event scheduled for Tuesday evening, September 11, and the administration claims to be still processing the request.

This is clearly a stalling tactic, hoping the whole problem will just disappear if they refuse to provide somewhere for the event. I have written a letter to the Vice Chancellor, Michael Spence, asking him to make sure the event happens. We also have that letter up on my Facebook page which might be easier to circulate.

As for the other news about the campus tour, the La Trobe event all set for 11am Thurs Sept 6 at Eastern Lecture Theatre, 3. (ELT-3). Do come along and support me. The university is arranging some solid security.

There’s been predictable coverage on social media sites like buzzfeed and, a feminist site. I think it is excellent that these sites are discussing my views. Hopefully these articles will reach many people who have never been exposed to the truth about this issue.  

But the great news is many other university groups are now inviting me to speak, including Liberal Clubs from the University of Queensland, Murdoch and Canberra and we have raised nearly $2000 in a crowd-funder to help students to fund costs of the events, including my travel.

Email from Tina (

Radical priest misrepresents God

Rod Bower ignores the Bible messages about homosexuality (Jude 1:7; 1 Timothy 1:8-11; Mark 10:6-9; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 1 Corinthians 7:2; Leviticus 18:32; Leviticus 20:13; Genesis 19:4-8).  He probably means well but according to the Bible he is leading men into perdition.  He is just a "social justice" warrior in a clerical collar

RADICAL Aussie Priest Rod Bower is far from your average man of the cloth.

His liberal views on gay rights, asylum seekers, Islam and treatment of indigenous Australians have seen him accused my some believers as a traitor to their idea of Christian values.

And, we’re not just talking about a few nasty comments from his tens of thousands of followers on social media.

Some of these extremists regularly send death threats and they have even invaded his church on NSW’s Central Coast to terrorise him and his worshippers on two occasions.

Ahead of the launch of his autobiographical book, Outspoken — which will be released this month — he told about his anger over the double-standards of so-called Christian politicians like Scott Morrison and how Christianity in Australia has been hijacked by right-wing extremists.

Fr Bower’s life-changing moment came when he randomly made a last-minute decision to go to church when he was hungover on Christmas Day in 1984.

And, his life was transformed once again almost 20 years later when he created a sign outside his Gosford church, which would make the world sit up and take notice.

The story behind Fr Bower’s infamous “some ppl are gay” sign began on July 23, 2013 when he got a phone call from a woman whose brother was dying.

“She asked me if I could administer the last rites at his home,” he wrote in his new book. “At the agreed time I duly presented myself at the door in order to administer the sacrament.

“The man was unconscious, lying in a hospital-type bed in the living room of his well-appointed apartment.”

Mr Bower met the dying man’s sister, and when he received some awkward answers to questions about the man’s love life — he guessed what was going on.

“The assumption was that the church — and therefore, the family had figured, me as the church’s representative — was unable to accept a same-sex union as valid,” he wrote.

“I was deeply disturbed by this and incredibly troubled as I drove back to the church. The adrenaline was surging through me for a long time afterwards.”

He wanted to show the world he was supportive of LGBTI people. He turned to the sign outside his church and used the power of social media to spread his message.

He called that moment, when he was being asked awkward questions by a dying man’s family, the “straw that broke the camels back”. He was filled with rage.

But now he had a platform to express this rage and he used it to champion three major issues: marriage equality, asylum seekers and climate change.


Victoria Police criticised for 'no arrest' policy following violent brawl

Victoria Police top brass are reeling from deepening criticism that their no-arrest policy is failing to tame teen gangs following a violent street brawl that involved more than 200 ­African-Australian and Pacific ­Islander youths and ended in a terrifying car ­attack.

An 18-year-old man was in hospital in a critical condition last night with leg injuries after being hit by a car at the end of a huge fight that broke out at a ­record label launch early yesterday morning.

Five other youths were hospitalised with injuries suffered during a fight in the street.

The latest public brawl involving African-Australian youths comes three weeks after riot police and helicopters were called to control a clash between warring teens in the outer-northwestern suburb of Taylors Hill.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called for a tougher approach to policing in Victoria following the latest violent brawl.

Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton established an African-Australian Community Taskforce in January to deal with youth crime. Since then, there have been several out-of-control parties and violent robberies.

In July, 19-year-old South Sudan­ese woman Laa Chol was stabbed to death after an altercation at an Airbnb party.

Former Victoria Police chief commissioner Kel Glare said the latest event was evidence the police strategy to tame the teens was not working and a new ­approach was needed, including on-the-spot ­arrests.

“I am losing hope this will be solved under the current leadership of Victoria Police,” he said. “If you don’t make arrests on the spot, these kids will just continue to act the way they do … these black African kids are easily identifiable but the police are so risk-averse.”

He said some measures required to make on-the-spot ­arrests during public outbursts of violence could be confronting for the public but were necessary.

“The community needs to know it will take some rough work to make those arrests,” he said.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton echoed Mr Glare’s comments, saying a new approach was necessary because the state Labor government had “lost control”.

“Daniel Andrews has lost control of law and order in Victoria,” he said. “The longer the Premier refuses to act, the more people will be at risk of serious injury.

“It is a disgrace and innocent people are victims to these thugs while Mr Andrews refuses to act.”

Officers were called to Smith Street in inner-suburban Collingwood soon after 2.45am yesterday after reports of a fight between ­African-Australian and Pacific Islander youths leaving the “66 Records Label Launch” at the ­Gasometer Hotel.

The pub’s management declined to comment yesterday.

The teens reportedly ran riot down Smith Street, jumping on cars and brawling as they went, ­before congregating on nearby Mater Street.

Soon after police arrived, a car drove at speed into a group of youths on the side of the street, pinning the 18-year-old against another car and seriously injuring his leg.

Victoria Police is yet to make any arrests but says it anticipates some will be made in coming days.

Mr Glare, chief commissioner from 1987 to 1992, said he did not want police to attack teens but force ultimately would have to be used despite protests from some in the community.

“Most people don’t want to be arrested, and I’m simply saying there will be some physical activity involved. Police shouldn’t go out of their way but appropriate force should be used.

“Of course there is an element of society which will cry from the rooftops about police brutality and all that nonsense. “The vast silent majority will accept that police need to use the force necessary.”

Former NSW police assistant commissioner Clive Small said a review of Victoria’s strategy on dealing with African-Australian youths was needed after multiple violent incidents. “When there are an increasing number of these ­violent events, I always think it’s best to do a proper review of what police are doing and what needs to change,” he said. “These events just seem to be happening in increasing ­numbers.”

Residents who watched as the brawl unfold outside their homes said police were “completely outnumbered” and unable to control the crowd after the car ploughed into pedestrians.

Collingwood resident Josh Whelan detailed horrifying scenes just outside his new apartment, saying the car involved in the ­attack deliberately accelerated before it ploughed into the brawling teens.

“The car came at a very steady pace before it sped up and aimed at the group that were bashing each other … it was unbelievable,” he said. “I wasn’t so scared … I was up here, but I was scared for the people in the street.”

Neighbours in the street reported seeing a car speeding towards the crowd, where it hit a young man and pinned him against ­another car.

Other reports detail gang members being physically ­aggressive to residents who came out of their homes to help the injured after their heard the loud smash.

Mr Whelan said he was shocked to hear police had still not made any arrests after the brawl. “I think the police do a good job but I couldn’t understand that there’s been no arrests,” he said.  “If there’s no arrests, what if they just keep doing stuff like this?”

Another male Collingwood resident speaking to The Australian said he saw a group of about 60 to 70 youths of African appearance starting to brawl outside his window at 2.30 in the morning, and that police were “completely outnumbered” and “unable to control the crowd”.

North West Regional Commander Tim Hansen said persons of interest had left the scene very quickly but they had identified the driver of the car and were planning to talk to him. Mr Hansen said he expected to make an arrest in the next 24 hours.

Victorian Police Minister Lisa Neville rejected suggestions that police needed to change their strategy, and said there was evidence its current strategy, as well as new officers boosting numbers in the force, were contributing to a fall in the rate of violent crime.

Victoria chief executive Wayne Gatt said the event demonstrated that police did not have the numbers they needed to be a visible presence in trouble spots around the city.

He also defended police who prioritise dispersing crowds over making arrests, reasoning that each arrest takes two officers away from the frontline and could leave the rest of the team exposed ­during a large flare-up.

But he agreed with a suggestion that a lack of arrests would “100 per cent, absolutely” embolden troublemakers to act out again.

“We’re coming from behind the eight-ball,” Mr Gatt told 3AW.  “Years ago, we would have had police walking in and out of ­licensed venues every Friday and Saturday night, checking on patrons, looking for trouble spots (but) we simply don’t have the same numbers anchored to police ­stations.”


Breeding Green Elephants in Australia

by Viv Forbes

Canberra breeds many white elephants, but now they are breeding a gigantic new breed of pachyderm in Australia’s Snowy Mountains – a Green Elephant. Grandly named “Snowy 2.0 Hydro-Electric”, it has the compulsory green skin, but it is just another big white elephant under a thick layer of green paint.

Snowy 2.0 plans a hugely expensive complex of dams, tunnels, pumps, pipes, generators, roads and powerlines. Water will be pumped up-hill using grid power in times of low demand, and then released when needed to recover some of that energy. To call it “hydro-electric” is a fraud – it will not store one extra litre of water and will be a net consumer of electric power. It is a giant electric storage battery to be recharged using grid power.

This is just the next episode in an expensive and impossible green dream to run Australian cities and industries, plus a growing electric vehicle fleet, on intermittent wind and solar energy and without coal, gas, oil or nuclear fuels.

Surely we can learn from the unfolding disaster of a similar German Grand Plan.  See  here

The first stage of Australia’s green dream was to demonise coal and nuclear power, set onerous green energy and CO2 emissions targets, subsidise and mandate the use of intermittent energy from wind and solar, and give electric cars financial and other privileges. All of this costs Australian electricity users and tax payers at least $5 billion per year. This destructive force-feeding of solar and wind power is well advanced.

Solar energy peaks around mid-day, falls to zero from dusk to dawn and is much reduced by clouds, dust and smoke. Over a year it may produce about 16% of name-plate capacity. Thus a solar-battery system would need installed solar capacity of six times the demand. These solar “farms” are very land-hungry per unit of usable energy, often sterilising large areas of agricultural land.

Wind energy is much more erratic - it can produce about 35% of peak capacity but often produces peak power during the night when there is low demand. It may produce zero power for several days. A sudden high wind can send wind power surging onto the grid, and it falls to zero as the wind dies. Wind power driving a wind-battery system would need installed wind capacity of triple the expected demand, but even that may not cope with a long windless spell. There can be days with zero production from either wind or solar, and neither can increase output to meet demand which often peaks around dinner time and breakfast time when green power is scarce. Wind “farms” are a blight on the landscape and are often built in scenic areas where farming and forestry are prohibited.

The price of electricity fluctuates wildly as these floods and droughts of intermittent green energy surge into the grid. This creates instability, increases the chance of blackouts and destroys the viability of reliable coal-fired generators which are unable to ramp up fast enough to profit from soaring power prices during green energy droughts and are forced to keep running while accepting close-to-zero prices during the green deluges. To speed up this destruction of reliable energy, politicians are still using subsidies and targets to encourage more green energy to be dumped randomly onto the grid.

For a short very clear video on the cost and reliability problems caused by wind power in Minnesota see here

Warren Buffett puts it bluntly: “We get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms.  That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.”

The solution to green energy disruption is simple. Do not allow any new spasmodic generators like wind and solar to connect direct to the grid. They must construct or contract for battery or other backup to moderate their fluctuations and increase reliability and predictability. Existing wind-solar farms already connected to the grid should lose all subsidies and be paid what their second class product is worth at the time it floods onto the grid.

Backing up and taming green energy is simple in principle – it can be done using lithium batteries like the Musk monster in South Australia, or giant pumped-hydro schemes like Snowy 2.0. Or conventional reliable generators like hydro, gas, oil, coal or nuclear can be operated intermittently to fill green energy gaps.

Other ways to store and release energy would also work in principle – hydrogen generation, molten salt, compressed air or giant flywheels – all look smart when sketched on the doodle pads of green politicians and then modelled on academic computers. But they become progressively more complicated and expensive as they progress to engineering design, costing, construction, operation and maintenance. Reality will reappear when the bills start hitting consumers and tax payers, but by then it is too late to recover all those wasted resources.

To make things worse for consumers and industry, widely scattered green energy installations usually need new roads for construction and maintenance and new transmission lines to transport their unreliable product to where it can be used (some 30 new transmission lines are currently planned in Australia alone to connect green energy facilities, and more will be needed.) Those who profit from this green infrastructure get guaranteed returns based on capital, maintenance and operating costs, not on the value of its contribution to consumers, and as usual consumers and taxpayers pay the bills.

Industry and households are now waking up to the costs and blackout risks facing them as more coal-fired generators are forced to close as evermore intermittent generators de-stabilise the grid and cause wild price swings. But politicians have yet another plan to paper over the growing supply problems from un-reliables as they try to meet the self-imposed emissions targets.

Recently the Turnbull Federal Government committed over $7 billion in studies and purchase price to buy the existing Hydro-electric complex in the Snowy Mountains from state governments. This valuable project conserves water which is used for irrigation and electricity generation. However they plan to burden this useful profitable project with another green dream - a Giant Battery.

Snowy 2.0 will consume electricity mainly from distant generators in the Hunter and Latrobe Valleys to pump water from lower dams to upper dams, and then recover part of this energy by releasing the stored water back downhill to drive turbines. The electricity recovered will be sent mainly to the big but distant demand centres of Sydney and Melbourne thus incurring more transmission losses. All of these unavoidable losses mean that Snowy 2.0 will only recover about 60% of the energy it takes from the grid. (This low recovery is one reason that existing pumped hydro facilities like Tumut 3 in the Snowy and Wivenhoe in Queensland are seldom used).

The system also imprisons Snowy water which could be used to generate new power and then flow into Snowy irrigation schemes. This Canberra-bred green elephant aims to profit from fluctuating wind-solar supply and prices, but it will make things worse for electricity consumers in the long run by helping to destroy low-cost, reliable base-load energy from coal.

Electricity supply will then become a lottery – every time the wind drops, the panels are shaded and the Giant Battery is flat, the lights will go out. South Australia has shown us how easy this is.

If there is also a long drought affecting hydro-electric supply in the Snowy and Tasmania, base load electricity supply will rely on a few geriatric coal generators. If a major transmission line is then damaged or fails, we will all need all the diesels in our sheds. Tasmania has provided a lesson for us all - they had a hydro drought and then a broken transmission cable and were forced to hurriedly purchase 200MW of diesel engines at a cost of $64M to keep their lights on.

In the coming brave new electric world, compulsory smart meters will decide which suburbs, homes, heaters, coolers, pumps, dairies, draglines or factories are switched off when power supply fails to meet demand.

Snowy 2.0 will be the biggest and most expensive storage battery in Australia with some 2,700 times the capacity of South Australia’s lithium Green Elephant. It will probably require upgrading of the transmissions lines to the big demand centres of Sydney and Melbourne and to the remaining real power stations which will supply most of the electricity to run its pumps.

All of this is supposedly being constructed to help Australia meet its costly but self-imposed emissions target. However there will probably be an increase in emissions if this Green Elephant is created. The project will require a huge amount of concrete, steel, copper, diesel and electricity to manufacture, transport and install the pipes, pumps, generators, roads and transmission lines and to bore 27 km of new tunnels. Pumping all that water up-hill regularly and repairing and maintaining the system in the coldest place in Australia will not be cheap in dollars, energy or emissions. Careful accounting of all long term effects will probably show no emissions savings whatsoever.

Snowy 2.0 is being constructed to moderate the fluctuations in green energy production and to kill coal power faster. It will do this. But will not be able to guarantee electricity supply with any certainty – if we have a week of windless cloudy weather, and there is not enough coal or gas power, the demand for electricity will quickly drain the Snowy 2.0 reservoirs. Then where does the power come from to pump the Snowy water back up the hill and keep the lights on? SA’s giant lithium battery may keep Adelaide powered for a few minutes, but what about Townsville, Toowoomba and Tamworth?

However, if politicians are determined to build Snowy 2-0, it could be put to much better use than pumping water uphill to run down again. Our electricity would be more secure and cheaper if we ceased all force-feeding of wind-solar un-reliables, used coal, gas or nuclear power running continuously at capacity to supply the stable “base load” of electricity demand, and used schemes like Snowy 2.0 to cover peak load fluctuations above this base load. This would create a stable grid providing reliable low-cost power (so it has little chance of happening with green gremlins in charge of energy.)


Journalist Shane Dowling has been jailed in NSW for exposing paedophile judges and judicial bribery

Australian journalist Shane Dowling has been jailed for publishing articles exposing paedophile judges and judges taking bribes. The exact charge against Mr Dowling is contempt of court because he repeated in court on the 3rd of February 2017 part of an article he had published and also for publishing an article about the contempt proceedings in breach of suppression orders.

Chief Justice Tom Bathurst has been trying to jail Shane Dowling since he sent an email to all the judges of the Supreme Court of NSW and wrote an article in September 2016 titled "Paedophile priest gets 3 months jail for raping 3 boys by NSW Supreme Court’s Justice Hoeben".  In the email, which was also published in the article, Chief Justice Tom Bathurst was named as a known paedophile and 17 other judicial officers were named as known paedophiles or suspected paedophiles and allegations of judicial bribery were also raised.

Chief Justice Tom Bathurst had the NSW Police raid Mr Dowling’s unit in June 2017 and charge him for sending the email. The charge was withdrawn by the Commonwealth Director of Prosecutions on the 28th March 2018 as it was a blatantly malicious charge.

Mr Dowling raised a number of precedents in his last article which support why he shouldn’t have been found guilty as he was only exercising his right to free speech and political communication. Click here to read the last article: Journalist Shane Dowling to be sentenced to possible jail for criticizing a judge and Registrar Christopher Bradford

There are many articles on this website outlining what happened including the malicious police charge that was eventually withdrawn.


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, 2018

Chefs should stick to chefing.  This galoot knows nothing about his subject.  We will NOT run short of food

The world population is NOT growing so he falls at the first hurdle.  The population of the Western world is SHRINKING.  Africa has a lot of babies that it cannot feed so they choose to limit their population by starvation.  But that is their way and has no impact on us.

And our chef knows nothing about agricultural economics.  Most agricultural crops are in GLUT and likly to stay that way. And there is no shortage of land for farming expansion if food does become less available.  See here for instance

And meat in the diet has become steadily more available over the years and that should continue.  A lot of cattle are fed in feedlots already and it would be pretty simple to expand that.  Using surplus crops for feed would enable that

The days of sitting down and tucking in to a giant steak are on the way out, MasterChef judge Matt Preston says.

Mr Preston believes the plates of the future will be mainly plant-based, with small amounts of protein, mostly plankton and insects.

His comments come as a large chunk of Australia is in drought, including all of New South Wales

It has led to a national discussion on what food will be eaten in the future and where it will come from.

Mr Preston shared his thoughts at an Ikea Democratic Design Days Future Food forum in Sydney on Wednesday, where he was part of a panel of speakers.

'Seafood, plants - they're really the future. I think the days of eating a giant steak are on the way out,' he said.

Mr Preston said there was already an international restaurant which had put a plankton risotto dish on the menu and it is 'delicious, absolutely delicious'.

'Plankton, insects, they're the protein source we should be using because they thrive here,' he said.

'We're starting to see a big move towards a plant-based cuisine, that's right around the world.'

He said meat will still feature on household menus, albeit on a small scale.  Instead of eating 500g of meat, people will start to have more smaller, better quality portions, about 100g. 'Eating less meat but better is something we're moving towards,' he said.  

Mr Preston acknowledged it will still be some time before insects become a common meal in Australian homes but it should eventually happen.   

'I think insects provide a solution but we have to accept the solution that they provide, that's probably the way,' he later told Daily Mail Australia.


Christians are turning to home-schooling amid a massive rise in religious bullying – with some kids targeted for opposing same-sex marriage

Families with deeply religious values are resorting to home schooling their children more frequently, as schools report an increase in religious bullying.

Disgruntled parents cited incidents in which their children were taunted and targeted for opposing same-sex marriage.

New figures reveal the number of pupils being educated by their parents has soared 50 per cent in just four years to 4,479, The Saturday Telegraph reported.

A shift in school values, showing a more general hostility toward Christian and Islamic ideals and beliefs are allegedly at the root of the problem, according to Accelerate Christian Home Schooling co-ordinator Stuart Chapman.

'In our celebration of a diversity, Christians are now the ones who are the target of bullying and in the minority,' he said.

'[Parents are] feeling their children are being targeted because they believe in the traditional family.'

He said in one case students who opposed same sex marriage were forced to stand at the back of their classrooms.

After the vote in favour of same-sex marriage, Mr Chapman and the families of students who are suffering fear the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction, resulting in a need to pull children from school to avoid nasty attacks.

With religious schooling considered a luxury some families can't afford, home schooling as a more convenient and price-conscious option may also have contributed to the 50 per cent rise.

A spokesperson from the New South Wales Department of Education said a parent's decision should be respected when it comes to home schooling children. 

Geoff Brailey, a McCrindle Social Researcher, said the challenges the religion as a whole is currently facing is a multifaceted concern. 'I think there is a lot of challenges the Christian religion has faced, ranging from the royal commission through to some responses from the same-sex marriage plebiscite.' 


How Scientific Groupthink Has Slogged The Climate ‘Debate’

Comment from Australia

Groupthink among climate scientists — ‘the science is settled’ brigade — has constrained public debate, which was to be expected. You see, believers are predominantly devoted to promoting ‘solutions’ and that, rather than open-minded inquiry, which is the warmists’ objective.

Someone among my group of “climate change is real” mates sent me and others a series of those heat-stripe charts from dark blue (cold) to dark red (hot) for various places and showing that it had grown hotter over the past 100 to 200 years or so.

The earliest was from central England and dated from 1772. Climate Lab Book is the source for these charts if you want to look them up.

One wag responded that these charts made it easier for people who couldn’t read graphs. Uneducated Deplorables presumably.

I can read graphs despite my membership of the Deplorables. As can most, if not all, of those skeptical of the alarmist hypothesis.

I responded in a reasoned and diplomatic way that those who thought the charts showed anything of interest or significance were halfwits.

Or, I may have said that they had only half a brain. I’d had a glass or two of wine at the time. But leaving this particular way of expressing myself aside, what is my point?

My point is that we are in an interglacial period (thankfully) and, to boot, we are coming off a Maunder Minimum (low-sunspot activity) dated around 1645 to 1715.

This is otherwise referred to as the Little Ice Age. Thus, there is no dispute that the Earth has gradually — though not evenly — warmed since then. To point this out as though it were profound is profoundly irritating to those with a full quota of wits.

I thought it might be instructive to employ what in the business world is called facilitation.

You break an issue down; and then, by approaching it from the least- to the most-contentious parts, you try to forge a consensus among people in a room.

A consensus is infeasible when comes to climate. But a process of breaking down the climate change hypothesis into parts might put the debate on a more intelligent footing and, perhaps, deter people from broadcasting banal heat charts.

It’s a simplified breakdown. I want a degree of license on that matter. Only the first three of the six parts listed below would find unanimity among true believers and skeptics.

The Earth has warmed since the industrial revolution.

The warming since circa 1975 (based on land, sea and, since 1979, on satellites) has been at a considerably faster pace on average than in the period from 1850 to 1975. (Only since 1850 has there been a land and sea global temperature series (HADCRUT) based on thermometer readings.)

CO2 in the atmosphere has increased from around 280ppm pre-industrialization to around 400ppm now.

The increase in CO2 is mainly due to industrial emissions
The more rapid increase in temperature since 1975 is predominantly due to increased CO2 emissions.

Further increases in the concentration of atmospheric CO2 risks runaway warming accompanied by more violent and frequent adverse weather events and by flooding sea-level rise.

You might ask why this breakdown is useful. Only in making the debate more intelligible is my claim. Let the debate begin at number four above. Put the first three away into the consensus bank.

When it comes number four, some scientists among skeptics would agree. Others might differ. One skeptic colorfully described mankind’s emissions as a “fart in the wind.”

In other words, he thought natural processes primarily accounted for the rise in CO2. I have no idea.

When it comes to number five there is a theory. CO2 is a mild greenhouse gas but it encourages other effects. Principally, the creation of water vapor, I understand, which has a multiplying warming effect.

Some scientists among skeptics suggest that negative feedback effects (e.g. cloud cover reflecting back the Sun’s rays) will mitigate warming.

Some suggest that CO2 is a sideshow and that other natural forces are at work. See, for example, Kininmonth in QOL 27 August. I have no idea.

When it comes to number six a combination of statistical models and speculation underscore the predictions. Here I have a tentative view.

Models are very bad at mirroring dynamic complex natural systems. They’re best taken with a grain of salt. But, on the whole, as you can see, I don’t think I am in any position to judge the science.

Ditto for all, all, of us outside of the scientific fraternity. At the same time, all of us are in a position to judge the process. The process has been appalling in my view.

Groupthink among climate scientists (the ‘the science is settled’ brigade) has constrained public debate. The use of the term “denier” says it all.

Carrots in the form of research grants and sticks in the form of shunnings and sackings have silenced academic skeptics.

Corporate carpetbaggers, who know squat about the science, have sleazed into the picture grabbing billions of taxpayer dollars to install costly and intermittent power sources.

Virtue-signaling politicians, equally ignorant, have jumped onto the bandwagon. It is a dream come true for the greens who would like to deindustrialize the planet.

And, to top it off, once you let the UN make the running, despite all evidence to the contrary, the North Pole has no summer ice left, imaginary hockey stick temperature graphs appear, and Pacific islands begin sinking under swelling seas.

Finding the truth now about the science is impossible in our lifetimes. Too much-vested interest in the current paradigm stymies genuine inquiry.

There was a possibility of some sort of forced and awkward consensus being forged on reducing CO2 emissions by using ‘clean’ coal, gas, nuclear and, yes, some solar.

But that opportunity, too, is lost. Among believers, the problem and the means of combatting it have become conflated.

My observation is that believers are predominantly “solutioneers” (Roger James, Return to Reason). The means have become the objective.

Deploying windmills and solar panels is now the principal objective. Reducing CO2 emissions has become of secondary importance. Thus, power has become much costlier and more unreliable.

And emissions? Onwards and upwards. But heck, look at those ugly soaring wind turbines and feel good about yourself.

The only answer left is in partisan politics. We need politicians and governments to arise to crash through the current paradigm. Trump is having a go. Morrison? Don’t hold your breath.

I see, as I write, that new Energy Minister Angus Taylor has forsworn his fidelity to ‘the science’. Mind you, what he says he will do about it gives a glimmer of hope. Fingers crossed.


Seven injured after ‘wild’ inner Melbourne brawl involving up to 200 blacks

POLICE say they are horrified by the behaviour of up to 200 individuals after a wild brawl inside a live music venue in Melbourne spilled out onto the street.

Sixeven people were injured after a car accelerated towards the crowd at top speed during the brawl in Collingwood.

“He was going at a blistering pace and he was f***ing aiming for people straight at them,” one witness told the Herald Sun.

“Everyone was screaming. I didn’t see the moment of impact but it was clear he had just one agenda to annihilate people.”

One 18-year-old man was pinned against a parked car and taken to hospital as a result, sustaining a serious leg injury.

Commander Tim Hansen from Victoria Police said the incident began inside the Gasometer Hotel and despite police being “aware of the event” and tasking resources to patrol the area, they arrived shortly after the main incident occurred and missed the major affray.

One man was hit by the car and blood and debris were scattered along the street.

“Police were called and attended shortly after … we deployed resources in search of both offenders and witnesses,” Commander Hansen said.

“Some key persons who we’re keen to speak with left the incident prior to police arrival or upon police arrival. We conducted a search of the immediate vicinity but were unable to locate any of those persons at that time due to the complexity of the environment in which we were operating in.”

The fight broke out inside the Gasometer as a large crowd of up to 200 people left the venue early Sunday morning at approximately 2.45am.

A large number of patrons then moved out onto nearby streets where fighting continued. As a result of the affray, six other men, aged between 18-21, sustained various ranges of injuries and were taken to hospital.

“It’s an affray (and) from where I’m standing, horrific behaviour,” Commander Hansen said.

ABC News reporter Yvette Gray said “neighbours say they saw dozens of young people fighting each other and jumping on cars”.

Collingwood is known as one of Melbourne’s most “hipster” neighbourhoods and is a hub for Melbourne’s music scene, with venues hosting regular punk and indie gigs.

The car struck a pedestrian, leaving the man with serious leg injuries, while five others have injuries that were described as non-life threatening. All were taken to hospital.

Police are investigating how the vehicle crashed into parked cars and hit the man.

One person, deemed a witness, is assisting police with inquiries, however from his evidence it is anticipated an arrest will occur shortly.

“It was certainly a chaotic scene when police arrived last night and there were people we certainly endeavoured to apprehend,” Commander Hansen said.

It is unclear what triggered the violence, but police believe there was some “angst” inside the music venue where an industry launch was taking place at the time.

“From there it spilled out into the street. We’re working through and trying to understand the cause of the incident.

The main offender who was the driver of the car is still on the run. “He was going at a blistering pace and he was f***ing aiming for people straight at them,” a neighbour told the Herald Sun.

“Everyone was screaming. I didn’t see the moment of impact but it was clear he had just one agenda, to annihilate people.”

Three vehicles are damaged, including the one the alleged offender used and two parked vehicles.

Police believe there may be other people who are key persons of interest.

Authorities are not confident the car attack was a deliberate act.  [Are you kidding??] “There is nothing to suggest there is any thing sinister in regard to a terror attack, there’s no link to something far more sinister. “When we get an opportunity to speak to a suspect we will put allegations to him or her.

“As I understand it was patrons versus patrons from a fight that initiated inside the premises,” Commander Hansen said.

“As I’m advised we became aware of this event yesterday afternoon. We had our operational response unit and those units were tasked to have a patrol presence around the hotel.

“We were concerned because history shows us that a demographic of the crowd we’re talking about, primarily Pacific Islanders and African Australians, we were advised because of that, because it’s an event in the CBD or immediate surrounds, it’s not uncommon for us to keep an eye on certain locations.”

The demographic of those involved in the fight were a mix of the two communities, police said.

The vehicle had not been reported as stolen and authorities have spoken with the owner.

Blood could be seen splattered across a parked car while debris from the incident was left scattered across the road.

Witness Josh Whelan told the ABC the scene was chaotic, saying he saw the car “hurtling” towards the scene at high speed. “It was screaming and smashing, it was riot noise,” he said.


Political stupidity about Northern Australia

This is an old, old story and proves that politicians never learn.  To see what is wrong with it, learn from the Ord.  The basic problem is that there is a worldwide glut of agricultural products. The problem is not growing the stuff but selling it.  And the costs of production and transportation are high in remote areas, which makes profitable sales from there impossible

A CSIRO blueprint to transform Northern Australia into the "next great food bowl" would create 15,000 jobs and generate $5.3 billion annually.

Northern Australia could become a multi-billion food producing region under a CSIRO plan which the federal government is determined to bring to life.

The research has identified 370,000 hectares suitable for agricultural crops in the north, making a significant addition to the two million hectares across the country on which crops currently stand.

The CSIRO estimates agricultural development on the land would create 15,000 jobs and generate $5.3 billion annually.

Northern Australia Minister Matt Canavan says the study, released on Thursday, backed a federal government push to make the region the nation's next great food bowl.

"We now need to pick that up and do the hard yards to take what is a vision, a concept, into a real-world project," Senator Canavan told reporters.

The land identified for crops is spread across three catchment areas in Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

Aside from boosting agricultural exports, the new crops could help farmers in the regions during droughts, Senator Canavan said.

"Wouldn't it be great right now, to have a grain-producing area, a cotton seed-producing area, in far north Queensland to help and assist our farmers in central and northern Queensland?" he said.

The federal government will work with the states and territory to fund the infrastructure needed to support the irrigation, with Senator Canavan stressing the project would be a "generational effort".

"That will take years, but let's just stick at it and do our job for the people of northern Australia."

The report also identified 710,000 hectares of coastal land for aquaculture.

The government is bracing for opposition to the plan from people based in major cities with a "building nothing anywhere" philosophy, Senator Canavan said, but will urge them to listen to the science.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said the development could also be an opportunity to create jobs for some in indigenous communities.

"Our indigenous people have a deep understanding of the land and the water and this fits well with sustainable agriculture," he said in a statement.

Labor spokesman Jim Chalmers said it is more important than ever that Australia create an agricultural export industry in the north.

But he said people in the region are tired of hypothetical ideas and want to see action.

"People are sick of the talk, they're sick of the reports. They've been hearing this kind of stuff since Tony Abbott in 2013," he told Sky News.

Mr Chalmers said Labor is ready to make investments in the region should it win the next election, including a regional jobs plan.


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


2 September, 2018

How did Britain acquire legal ownership of the Australian continent? Public land in Australia is to this day "Crown land"

"Black armband" historian Henry Reynolds is once again trying to make Australians guilty about their past.  His contention below is that the British "stole" the land from the Aborigines.  That is a popular view on the Left and among Aborigines themselves. In support of that view Reynolds sees the present ownership of Australia as being legally defective.  It seems to be his view that a transfer of ownership of the land from Aborigines to the settlers can only legitimately be done by means of a treaty between the two parties.

But that is nonsense on stilts.  Throughout history, changes in ownership of territory have come about through armed conquest -- and Australia was no different.  There was in fact little organized resistance from the Aborigines and the white men had guns.  The British by and large took what land they wanted and shot anybody who attacked them.  That does not sit well with the modern-day Left but it is what has happened throughout history. 

It even happened at the hands of Leftists not so long ago.  The seizure of Cuba by American "Progressives" such as Theodore Roosevelt did not happen as a result of a treaty with the Cubans.  It occurred as a result of a succesful war on the Spanish defenders of Cuba. And the concept of the Spanish conquistadores gaining ownership of Western hemisphere territory via a treaty with the natives is a huge laugh. 

And Reynolds has clearly not taken account of the "Trail of Tears" in his account of American expansion -- which was done at the behest of Andrew Jackson, founder of the Democratic party.  Jackson's policies have been criticized both at the time and subsequently but his territorial dispositions remain pretty much as he left them

And if we were to unwind past conquests, the result would be absurd.  We would have to send the English back to where they came from in the South Baltic 1500 years ago and give Britannia back to the Welsh, Cornish and other Celtic groups who were there first.

Reynolds tries to strengthen his case by an emotional appeal.  He speaks of the "horrors" that the British settlers inflicted on the Aborigines.  And that is his schtick.  He has been trying for years to make what was a generally peaceful settlement into a sort of holocaust. 

But Keith Windschuttle has gone back to the early documents and shown that Reynolds exaggerates to an epic extent.  But Reynolds is not letting go of his claims.  He evidently NEEDS them to be true.  And being now aged 80, his deceptions are  his life's work.  In his angry Leftist way, he hates his own society and wants to hurt it.  He is an old fool. The acquisition of sovereignty over Australia by the British crown is a done deed and going back in history to question it on shallow legal grounds is simply anachronistic

Throughout the 18th century the American colonial governments negotiated treaties with Native Americans, and this practice was carried on by the American republic after independence from Britain. In Canada, treaty-making continued until the early 20th century and has resumed in recent years. The underlying assumption was that indigenous peoples were landowners and also held a form of sovereignty.

The British decision to depart from this path in the settlement of New South Wales had disastrous consequences for the Australians, and predetermined much of the violence that characterised the outward spread of settlement for more than a century. The British imperial government carries a heavy burden of responsibility for the horrors that unfolded.

It may have been the result of the mistake of making fundamental and portentous decisions before the First Fleet had even set sail. But ignorance does not lighten the burden of responsibility. Clearly no convicts were ever excused by claiming their theft had all been a mistake and that they thought the stolen property in question belonged to no one.

More troubling is that it took Australian courts until the 1992 Mabo decision to provide some limited remediation, but not reparation, for one of the greatest land grabs in modern history.

The incurable flaw

There were people at the time who were troubled by the way the annexation had taken place. When Governor King was preparing to hand power over to his chosen successor William Bligh he provided him with notes to help with his orientation including the observation about the Aborigines and that he had "ever considered them the real proprietors of the soil."

At much the same time in Britain the great political philosopher Jeremy Bentham wrote a pamphlet criticising the legal arrangements that had been made for the settlement of New South Wales. Among many points he made was the observation that there had been no negotiation with the Aborigines and no treaty had been signed with them. This created problems which would be enduring. "The flaw", he declared, would be "an incurable one."

Similar concerns about the conduct of the settlers, the fate of the Aboriginal people and the linked problems of property and sovereignty continued to be expressed across the generations by men and women who responded to the "whispering in their hearts" (a whispering first raised by Sydney barrister Richard Windeyer in 1842). They are part of the most enduring political debate in our history. They are still with us as Bentham predicted more than 200 years ago.

The problem is that there is no clear explanation in Australian legal theory to show how sovereignty passed from the first nations to the British crown. On this matter international law has been clear since the 18th century. Sovereignty can be lost and acquired either by conquest or by cession, that is, by the negotiation of a treaty. This was clearly understood by Bentham.

So what can be done? Ideally we should have a decision from the High Court. They could revisit the Mabo judgement and consider the question of sovereignty as Eddie Mabo himself wanted it settled. The case would be simpler than one which considered the actions of the British Imperial government. Murray Island was annexed by the Queensland colonial administration in 1879.

And if the High Court argues that it is unable to decide on such a question, the way forward may be an appeal to the International Court of Justice for an opinion on the matter. That would clear the way for treaty making in Australia itself which would finally provide a cure for Bentham’s flaw.

More HERE 

The last of the group of Vietnamese boat people detained near the Daintree River to be sent home

The Vietnamese men, women and children who bypassed Border Force operations to make landfall in far north Queensland could be flown home on a charter flight as early as tomorrow, The Australian has learnt.

Australian Border Force staff, guards from government contractor Serco and interpreters yesterday arrived on Christmas Island, with 15 of the 17 suspected asylum-seekers also on the ­island, having arrived on a government charter plane from Cairns.

It was unclear last night if any of the group had claimed asylum or if they had been "screened out", a term used to describe asylum-seekers deemed not in need of protection.

However, a charter jet to remove an unknown number of the group has been booked and is scheduled to leave Christmas ­Island tomorrow afternoon, suggesting Australia may have ­already reached agreement with Vietnam for the return of anyone found not to have a genuine asylum claim.

Australia has previously reached agreement with Hanoi for the swift return of Vietnamese nationals found in Australian waters. In April 2015, HMAS Choules delivered up to 50 Vietnamese asylum-seekers to the port of Vung Tau, south of Ho Chi Minh City.

A spokesman for Home ­Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said standard processing would be carried out to determine the most appropriate steps. "Under Australia’s strict border protection policies, no one who travels to Australia illegally by boat is permitted to enter or remain in Australia," the spokesman said.

The group fled into rainforest after their boat grounded near the mouth of the Daintree River, about 120km north of Cairns, on Sunday. Most were captured by Monday.

The remaining two people from the vessel were reportedly caught yesterday morning after being spotted by a ferry operator on the Daintree. The Australian has been told two men, thought to be the captain and a crewman from the boat, were on their way to Christmas Island last night.

Questions remain about how the group’s fishing boat was able to breach border security precautions and make it to the Australian mainland. Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has called for a full briefing from Mr Dutton.

The Labor Premier also questioned whether there was any link between Mr Dutton’s role in the leadership crisis and Border Force’s failure to intercept the boat.

On Monday, Mr Dutton ­acknowledged there had been a surveillance failure. "Clearly there’s been a failing when surveillance has not worked as it should in identifying this vessel or allowing this vessel to get as close to the coast as it has," he said. "But it’s a reminder that the people-smugglers have not gone out of business."

In June 2016, the federal government confirmed that a Vietnamese boat carrying 21 asylum-seekers had been intercepted and turned back to Vietnam.

And in 2015, the navy was involved in intercepting a boat carrying 46 asylum-seekers from Vietnam.

Christmas Island has in ­recent years been used mostly to hold former prisoners who are being deported on character grounds. The island’s three detention facilities routinely held more than 2000 asylum-seekers during the last Labor government, but more ­recently have been close to empty.


Why you can’t afford childcare

Childcare is becoming less affordable in Australia, despite billions of dollars in public subsidies — and it is largely due to increasingly stringent regulation.

The regulation of childcare under the National Quality Framework has had a significant impact on fees and affordability for parents, while the alleged benefits are contestable and not based on firm evidence.

In particular, minimum staff-to-child ratios and qualification rules have required childcare centres to employ more staff with higher qualifications — which add to their labour costs.  These costs, in turn, are being passed on to parents in the form of higher fees.

Childcare fees have been growing well above inflation in recent years, while parents’ out-of-pocket costs have increased by nearly 50% in real terms since 2011 — despite little change in the hours of childcare used.

However, rising fees and out-of-pocket costs should not surprise anybody.

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) estimated that the staff ratios and qualification rules would add over $1.2 billion to the costs of providing long day care — the most common type of childcare — over 10 years. It also predicted these costs would be passed on to parents.

Based on these estimates, fees for long day care were 11% higher in 2017 than they otherwise would have been, due to staff ratios and qualification rules.

This reflects a bizarre inconsistency in childcare policy. Using one hand, governments are trying to reduce childcare costs with subsidies. With the other hand, governments are driving up the costs of childcare through regulation.

And the cost of childcare subsidies to the federal Budget is expected to be $8 billion this year and reach $9.5 billion within four years. When combined with continued growth in childcare fees, this is not sustainable in the long-term.

Federal and state governments should examine the case for reducing or simplifying the staffing and qualification requirements under the National Quality Framework.

If Australians want affordable childcare, a more flexible approach to regulation is clearly needed.

Eugenie Joseph is the author of the research report, Why childcare is not affordable, published this week.


Key issues at heart of political divide

While it is impossible to separate the political events not only of last week but of the last 10 years from the personalities involved, it is a mistake to ignore what these events also suggest about the bigger political picture.

The two most important books on contemporary politics and political disruption in the early 21st century have already ready been written.

These are Charles Murray’s Coming Apart and David Goodheart’s The Road to Somewhere.

Both books discuss, in the US and UK respectively, the growing divide in world-views, aspirations, values and attitudes toward key issues between what is variously termed the elites — or the metropolitan sophisticates or sometimes the political class — and ordinary suburban voters.

The Australian version of these books — examining what we might call the Wentworth versus the Warringah view of the world — is yet to be written. But let me give a potted preliminary version based on the issues at the heart of the political divide in Australia: energy and immigration.

The political class treats these issues in abstract status terms: what will the international community – i.e. my elite peers in a handful of western nations – think about Australia/ME, if emissions aren’t cut and the immigration program isn’t large.

This is not the way that ordinary people feel about these issues. For them, the issue is whether they can affordably heat or cool their homes — and whether the lights stay on. It’s about whether they can find and afford a home, and about how difficult it is to start a family without the security of home ownership. It’s about how long and crowded the journey is to work — and about the family time that is lost on the commute.

The key issues for these people are very ordinary ones, but they are also the issues that are crucial to both the meaning and purpose of life: work, home, and family. And whether we like it or not, the perception and reality is that on these key issues, government policy actions and failures are making life harder — harder by distorting the social equation between effort and reward, not only in monetary terms, but in terms of the ultimate quality of life.

And when the response by the political class to these legitimate issues amounts to saying "Just shut your eyes, and think of headline GDP growth" is it any wonder that we get political disruption, and support for populist alternatives that empathise with the grievances, but have no real answers.

Many commentators also a render popular concerns about issues such as immigration, and the political dynamics they inspire, in abstract terms as a nativist backlash, as reactionary, or as a revolt by the so-called unrepresentative conservative base.

The problem with this kind of tin-eared, pejorative analysis is that it ignores both the ordinariness — and the crucial importance — of what is behind the present political discontents in countries like Australia, the US and the UK.

And those commentators that prefer to shoot the messengers who speak about these issues — rather than deal with the substance of the issues — not only do a disservice to their fellow citizen, but they are also helping to fuel the disruption and polarisation they otherwise lament.


The storm in the inequality teacup

The idea that economic inequality is a problem — and an increasing one — demanding public policy remedies has taken root in Australian political and policy debates. But there is a sense in which these debates have leapfrogged the relevant facts.

The Productivity Commission has done a great service by applying its analytical skills to an elucidation of these facts. Among the Commission’s findings are that:

Income inequality has increased slightly since the late 1980s, but the extent of the increase is contested, and since the global financial crisis the trend indicates a slight decline.

Australia’s inequality is close to the OECD country average and if there has been any increase it has been at a slower pace than in most other developed countries.

Regardless of inequality, the benefits of income growth have been fairly evenly shared across all income deciles.

The tax/transfer system has a powerful equalising effect on household incomes.

Wealth is much less evenly distributed than income and consumption — and wealth inequality increased up to 2010 — but is more evenly distributed in Australia than in most other developed countries.

Australia stands out for its high degree of household income and wealth mobility. Thus, income inequality based on multi-year averages is lower than that based on annual income.

All up, the facts do not support the salience of inequality in Australia’s contemporary political debate.

So why has inequality taken hold as a political issue? The Commission does not venture onto this ground, but I would suggest three reasons:

Inequality is a hot issue in certain major countries (particularly the US) and has been transplanted here — not least by touring rock-star economists such as Piketty and Stiglitz — notwithstanding the different context.

Those on the left and centre-left have chosen to highlight inequality for political advantage because it fits neatly into the contemporary narrative of victimhood politics.

Inequality has become a lightning rod for all manner of peoples’ economic grievances (stagnant real wages, low housing affordability, etc) whether or not they are germane to inequality per se.

Debate is one thing; actual policy is another. The danger is that a misguided emphasis on correcting inequality will lead to policies that damage economic well-being across the board. As the outgoing Commission chairman said, "Inequality is not a sound basis for the determination of public policy


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


Alternative (Monthly) archives for this blog


"Tongue Tied"
"Dissecting Leftism"
"Australian Politics"
"Education Watch International"
"Political Correctness Watch"
"Greenie Watch"
Western Heart


"Marx & Engels in their own words"
"A scripture blog"
"Some memoirs"
To be continued ....
Coral Reef Compendium
IQ Compendium
Queensland Police
Australian Police News
Paralipomena (3)
Of Interest
Dagmar Schellenberger
My alternative Wikipedia


"Food & Health Skeptic"
"Eye on Britain"
"Immigration Watch International".
"Leftists as Elitists"
Socialized Medicine
QANTAS -- A dying octopus
BRIAN LEITER (Ladderman)
Obama Watch
Obama Watch (2)
Dissecting Leftism -- Large font site
Michael Darby
Paralipomena (2)
AGL -- A bumbling monster
Telstra/Bigpond follies
Optus bungling
Bank of Queensland blues

There are also two blogspot blogs which record what I think are my main recent articles here and here. Similar content can be more conveniently accessed via my subject-indexed list of short articles here or here (I rarely write long articles these days)

Alt archives
Longer Academic Papers
Johnray links
Academic home page
Academic Backup Page
General Backup
General Backup 2

Selected reading



Rightism defined
Leftist Churches
Leftist Racism
Fascism is Leftist
Hitler a socialist
What are Leftists
Psychology of Left
Status Quo?
Leftism is authoritarian
James on Leftism
Irbe on Leftism
Beltt on Leftism

Van Hiel
Pyszczynski et al.

Main academic menu
Menu of recent writings
basic home page
Pictorial Home Page
Selected pictures from blogs (Backup here)
Another picture page (Rarely updated)

Note: If the link to one of my articles is not working, the article concerned can generally be viewed by prefixing to the filename the following:

OR: (After 2015)