Thursday, July 28, 2016

ABC ‘sorry’ for airing Q&A Israel-ISIS tweet

The ABC has been forced to apologise and admit an error after ­allowing an “inflammatory’’ tweet likening Israel to Islamic terrorists to appear on live TV during its Q&A program.

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield raised concerns with the broadcaster on Monday after the tweet aired.

An ABC spokeswoman blamed “moderator error” for ­allowing the tweet by Twitter user supercatsimon to air prominently. “Any young radicals who join ISIS or Israel should not be allowed into Australia,” it read.

The tweet was labelled “totally inappropriate” and “wildly inaccurate’’ by Jewish community leaders, who called for a review of the show’s moderation process.

“An audience tweet was broadcast on Q&A which implied false equivalence between ‘radicals joining ISIS’ and Israel,” an ABC spokeswoman said. “It was a moderator error. Q&A apologises for any offence and removed the tweet from future broadcasts.”

It is not the first time the broadcaster has had to apologise for the actions of Q&A. Last year, former ABC managing director Mark Scott apologised to Tony Abbott via text message after a tweet from an account called “AbbottLovesAnal” was aired.

Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council’s executive director Colin Rubenstein last night said several tweets on Monday night displayed “raw bias” and the moderators should be reviewed.

“It seems to be a certain pattern, an element of bias,” he said. “It’s totally inappropriate and unfair ... Of the thousands of questions they must get, how does that one get chosen? It’s wildly inaccurate and inflammatory.

“The core issue is the selection criteria they use,” he said. “Something’s going on, and someone needs to have a look at it.”

Last week Senator Fifield demanded the ABC explain how Muslim man Khaled Elomar, who had denigrated two female politicians online, was allowed to ask Pauline Hanson a question.


Turnbull at risk of being a do-nothing government

With an extremely slim majority in the lower house and a large crossbench in the Senate, there is a very real prospect that the Turnbull Coalition Team — to borrow from Malcolm Turnbull’s presidential campaign logo — will be a do-nothing government.

In one sense, I have no problem with do-nothing governments.

At least they don’t bother to propose slews of legislation that impose additional costs on weary taxpayers and create even more burdensome regulation for put-upon businesses.

It always struck me as extraordinary that the Gillard minority government would brag about the hundreds of pieces of legislation that it managed to cajole crossbenchers in the lower house to pass and that were then waved through by Greens, in partnership with Labor, in the Senate.

Anthony Albanese — shall we call him Albo? — was always banging on about the hundreds of bills that were passed during the period of the Gillard minority government as if the total number of new acts is the principal KPI (key performance indicator, in business-speak) of an elected government. One newspaper even attempted to calculate the “productiveness” of the Gillard government by adding up the number of pieces of legislation that received royal assent during her term in office and to compare this number with the achievements of other prime ministers.

Let’s face it, several of those acts of the Gillard government are causing us all sorts of headaches now because they were badly conceived, hastily drafted and locked the taxpayer into uncontrolled, higher expenditure.

Take the legislation setting up the National Disability Insurance Scheme. There are several flaws in this act, particularly in relation to the governance of the scheme.

Another example is the legislation that set up the so-called Gonski funding of schools. The legislation was rushed — by that stage Julia Gillard had former prime minister Kevin Rudd breathing down her neck — and as a result there are some substantial defects in that act.

Gillard ended up negotiating separate deals with most of the states that have quite distinctive elements — so much for a national and consistent needs-based funding arrangement.

A do-nothing government can have its advantages. But the problem for the Turnbull government — I really can’t come at the Turnbull Coalition Team, I’m afraid — is that there are numerous policy debacles that need to be fixed, and many of them can be sorted only by changing the legislation.

Of course, pointing this out doesn’t go to what the government hopes to achieve, apart from further alienating the party base by pushing through the superannuation changes and wasting a large amount of taxpayer money on overpriced submarines in the name of saving a few votes in South Australia but calling it exciting industry development. Maybe I missed something in the six-week election campaign.

Although dealing with the messes created by one’s predecessors is not an obvious recipe for re-election, someone still has to do it. Consider the problems in higher education and vocational education. In the hands of the owners and managers of untrustworthy institutions — and I am not exempting universities here — hellbent on getting their hands on government funds via easy-to-access student loans, the fiscal cost to the taxpayer has exploded.

Without any change to the various versions of the Higher Education Loan Program, it is estimated that in 10 years the annual cash cost to the budget of HELP will be more than $11 billion; presently it is under $2bn. Of a total loan book that will be more than $300bn within the decade, it is estimated that more than one-fifth essentially will be bad debts and will need to be written off.

Having sorted out these problems, the government needs to act quickly to establish a coherent energy policy providing secure and affordable electricity to industry and households. In one sense, we are lucky to have the South Australian experience before our eyes — it tells us what to avoid.

We need to find means of crimping overdevelopment of highly subsidised renewable energy, something that is difficult to do given the operation of the defective mandatory renewable energy target.

Then there is industrial relations, a topic the Prime Minister studiously avoided during the election campaign, notwithstanding the fact the failure to re-establish the Australian Building and Construction Commission was the trigger for the double dissolution.

On the basis of the numbers in the two houses, it would seem highly unlikely that the government would seek a joint sitting to secure passage of the ABCC bill (and the registered organisations bill dealing with trade union governance). My advice would be to negotiate directly with Senate crossbenchers. It just may be that with a tweak or two, these bills can pass the Senate in the normal way.

As for “doing something” about the agreement covering the Country Fire Authority in Victoria and the bid by the United Firefighters Union to control the volunteer firefighters, good luck with that.

By the time parliament sits again and the Prime Minister and Michaelia Cash, the Employment Minister (note that she is not really the employment minister, she is the anti-employment minister; the better title would be workplace relations minister) have dreamt up some unworkable solution, the agreement will have been certified. At this point, there is little the federal government can do to have the agreement terminated.

The only hope was to deal with this matter much earlier, before the caretaker period, on the grounds that the agreement covered volunteers, which was not allowed under the act; that the agreement violated anti-discrimination laws; or that there had been inadequate consultation.

But the time to act was then, not now. The problems with the agreement have been known for a long time, dating back to last year. But passivity is the hallmark of this government’s approach to industrial relations.

Just check out the government’s failure to make a submission to the penalty rates case, even though it has been common past practice for governments to make detailed submissions to important cases before the Fair Work Commission.

So a do-nothing government in a legislative sense can have its upside, but a government that doesn’t seek to remedy glaring policy defects is a real problem for the country.


Denial of speech is one step towards totalitarianism


What exactly did they slip in the water at the ABC that prompted Sam Dastyari to release his inner Muslim? One moment he was reprimanding a fellow Q&A panellist about the politics of hate and the next was baring his soul.

“Somewhere in Tehran there’s a document that sits that says beside my name the word ‘Muslim’,” the senator revealed.

Pauline Hanson seemed genuinely surprised. “Are you a Muslim? Really?”

“Yeah,” replied the senator, “and I have never hidden away.”

It was hardly the shahada, the declaration that: “There is no god but God and Mohammed is his messenger.” As an atheist, Dastyari would struggle to embrace the first pillar of Islam, never mind all five.

“And are you a practising Muslim?” Hanson continued.

“No, no, no,” Dastyari replied. “I think you’re trying to make a joke of what is a serious …

“No, I’m surprised,” replied Hanson. “I didn’t know that about you.”

Dastyari’s revelation was not so much a declaration of faith as a statement of political identity, an expression of solidarity with the members an oppressed minority, many of whom happened to be in the Q&A audience that evening. Dastyari, unlike Hanson, feels their pain.

Hanson’s second coming has caught the political establishment by surprise. The first lesson from the election, for those prepared to absorb it, is that the world looks quite different when viewed from Caboolture than from Carlton. The second lesson is that the political and media classes are strangers in their own country.

News that One Nation secured 226,000 first-preference votes in Queensland came as a rude awakening to The Sydney Morning Herald’s Alan Stokes.

“Find that embarrassing? Shocking? A bit weird even?” he wrote. “Not as weird as this: the Greens attracted just 168,000 Senate votes in Queensland.”

Stokes’s surprise at the shape of the universe beyond his immediate orbit is not uncommon. You don’t have to delve far into Facebook to discover Britons who know no one who voted for Brexit or Americans who say they’ve never met a Donald Trump supporter. Yet even by the standards of the histrionic Left, the reaction to Hanson’s election to the Senate has been extraordinary.

Outside the ABC’s inelegant but fashionably located inner-city headquarters before her appearance on Q&A, a bunch of random Hanson-phobic Islamophiles vented their disgust at the excessive use of free speech by people with whom they disagree.

Less than 12 hours earlier, Nine Network presenter Sonia Kruger’s refreshingly honest response to the threat of radical Islam provoked an effusion of invective on social media.

It was as if Twitter were hosting the national vulgarity championships. Who could compose the most impolite message using 35 four-letter words or fewer?

While some saw it as an outbreak of the culture war, the ferocity of the response to Kruger and Hanson suggests something far less trivial. The intelligentsia’s divorce from Middle Australia is now absolute and it is fighting for the sole custody of truth.

The determination to deny their opponents a platform, the merciless attacks on character, the insistence that their enemies not only apologise but do so grovellingly like some shaven-headed dissident at a show trial suggest the Left, once again, is flirting with totalitarianism.

For the twittering vigilantes, who police what can and cannot be said on mainstream media, Kruger’s call for a ban on Islamic migrants — live and uncensored on breakfast television — represented a serious breach of security.

Worse still, it became clear that Kruger was not alone; the suggestion seemed tempting to an unacceptably large number of her viewers as they absorbed the horrors of the Bastille Day attack in Nice.

If radical Islam presents a threat unimagined by the genteel architects of Australian multiculturalism — and it clearly does — we must select our migrants carefully. Yet most Australians understand the difference between selection and discrimination

To borrow the words of Martin Luther King, migration in Australia is decided not by the colour of the applicant’s skin but the content of their character, and it is on character that eligibility must be judged.

One does not have to think Kruger is right to recognise that those who want to silence her are desperately and dangerously wrong. And that a dark cloud of ­illiberalism hangs heavy over civic society that must be resisted at all costs.

The road to totalitarianism begins with a love of humanity and a contempt for humans. The pathology of 20th-century totalitarianism is well known, starting with the suspension of freedom of speech and the rule of law — temporarily, it is claimed — to fight an existential threat to an idealised vision of the nation.

There is one important detail about the early fascists that the Left intelligentsia have been inclined to overlook: the early fascists were metropolitan sophisticates rather like today’s intelligentsia — artists, writers, academics and dreamers convinced of their own superior wisdom.

The resemblance between totalitarianism and modern-day political correctness is hardly surprising. As Tony Judt wrote in his expansive volume on the history of Europe from 1945, a monopoly of authority requires a monopoly of knowledge, the assurance that the official “truth” on any given topic would not be challenged or, if it were, that the challenge should be suppressed with exemplary force.

Kruger’s dissident voice was countered last week with such vehemence because she challenged the conventional wisdom on immigration and breached the narrow parameters of what is and what is not permissible for discussion on morning television.

It is no coincidence that the intelligentsia, which champions political correctness today, once championed the Soviet Union where the state sought to control not just what people said but what they thought.

It aspired to set the limits not only on Dimitri Shostakovich performances but also his compositions. Stalin, if he could, would have cracked down on Shostakovich not just for the music he conducted but the music going on in his head.


Selling farm policy

Michael Potter 

A Productivity Commission draft report has found that Australian farm businesses are subject to a "vast and complex array of regulations". The report won't be pleasant reading for any of the major political parties: it criticises bans on genetically modified crops and foreign shipping, which are generally supported by the ALP. But there are also criticisms of policies supported by the Coalition; such as effects test in competition law, tighter restrictions on foreign investment, and several monopoly marketing regulations.

The Coalition will need contortions to deal with the report's finding that the tightening of foreign investment rules for farms is not warranted. While foreign investment is usually reviewed for businesses worth over $252m, the Coalition has mandated that review is required for farm land and businesses worth more than $15m.

The PC skewers the main arguments for this stricter rule, confirming yet again that foreign ownership of farm land won't endanger Australia's food security or sovereign control and won't cut employment opportunities for locals. The PC also argues existing land use rules apply equally to foreign owners as local owners, so the argument that foreign owners will 'misuse' land is a furphy, and many farm businesses were started as a result of foreign investment.

So the benefits of tighter regulation are minimal; and the PC unsurprisingly confirms that costs of tighter foreign investment rules may be substantial, although precise costs are difficult to estimate.

But these criticisms of the Coalition's foreign investment policy should provide no joy to the ALP, as they (along with the Greens and others on the Left) have been extraordinarily critical of foreign investors in the debate over company tax. If the ALP argues investment in farm land is to be promoted, why not promote investment in all industries through a company tax reduction?

We can only hope politicians actually study the arguments in the PC report and don't take the easy way of arguing the report is brilliant where it helps their position and woeful when it opposes their preferred view of the world.


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

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Should we feel sorry for a violent habitual criminal?

Clearly, the justice system has done nothing to protect us from him so I think that the rational thing to do is to hang him and thus rid society of the menace and cost that he imposes on the rest of us.  But that is not the way, these days.

The next best option would be to detain him in prison indefinitely.  He should certainly not be let out. He will reoffend if he is.  The third strategy would be to condition him into better behaviour.  It is a lot of work but could have at least some success. 

A rough outline of the therapy:

What you do is to deprive him of food for 48 hours to make him keen to co-operate.  Then do it again every time he behaves badly.  He will soon get the message.  Give him only 1,000 calories in any 24 hours.  That will keep him alive but will also keep him keen to co-operate. He will learn rapidly. If he does not he could be deprived of food for a week, thus making him too weak to be a problem and much more likely to co-operate. Thereafter require positive deeds from him for his food.  And so on.

HE WAS a football-loving teenager who ended up committing a 24-hour crime spree while high on ice, and now shocking photographs of him restrained and wearing a “spit hood” in juvenile detention have gone around the world.

For Dylan Voller, the Alice Springs teenager whose mistreatment in a Northern Territory juvenile facility will now become part of a royal commission into indigenous youth custody, the trauma is not over.

A Northern Territory youth worker who knows and has cared for Voller in the past said the teen, who is now 19, “has been in and out of trouble, needs to get serious counselling and it needs to be funded by the government”.

“It’s no easy journey for Dylan,” the youth worker said. “If a boy commits a crime, I’m not saying they don’t have to face the music, but where’s the duty of care? They need a place where they can be safe.”

Dylan’s sister Kira said that her brother “deserves his life back” and had “lost everything". Ms Voller said her brother had “lost hope”.

“The last time I went to visit him there was no smile, there was no emotion, there was nothing, I couldn’t give him anything to be positive about and that really broke me,” Ms Voller said.

“I want him to know he’s still a person and people still love him and he still has hope for a life.

Four Corners reported that on two occasions after he was found in his cell crying, guards grabbed Dylan Voller around the neck, stripped him naked and held him down. Picture: ABCSource:ABC

“He’s been in and out of jail from the age of 11, 10,” Kira told ABC radio. “That’s half of his whole life.”

Just four years ago, Dylan Voller was photographed calmly sitting on the grass with his friend Leighton at a Saturday rugby grand final match in Alice Springs.

But the young teenager had a troubled past.

The youth worker told that the then 14-year-old had “underlying trauma” and had been in trouble with the NT Police as a juvenile.

A youth justice advocacy project worker had reported that Voller had suffered “anger issues” and had a “propensity to spit”.

Then on February 7, 2014, Voller got drunk and “high on ice” and with two other young men went on a 24-hour crime spree, attacking two men and a police officer.

It was during his incarceration following being found guilty for this series of incidents that Voller was placed in restraints and the spit hood in the now infamous Don Dale Youth Detention Centre in Darwin.

ABC-TV’s Four Corners showed images of Voller hooded and strapped into a mechanical restraint chair for almost two hours in March 2015, when he was serving a total of two years and three months’ minimum sentence.

The report on Voller and other boys’ disturbing detention has seen the first scalp claimed.

Northern Territory Chief Minister Adam Giles this afternoon announced he had removed John Elferink as Corrections Minister, installing himself in the role.

Voller’s spree began in Alice Spring’s iconic Todd Street, where he and the two other young men tried to rob a man walking to work.

A court later heard that Voller, then a slightly built teen, ran bare-chested at the man, yelling “you fat white racist dog. You yelled at us”.

The three teens took the man’s wallet, knocked him to the pavement and kicked him in the ribs.

Still high on drugs the following day, the boys ambushed Luke McIntyre near a store where the 17-year-old was trying to buy cigarettes.

Voller struck him with a mop handle, punched him in the face and stole his wallet. McIntyre was bashed unconscious, then his three assailants fled in a Holden Commodore.

Voller was behind the wheel and tried to run down a “terrified” Constable Gerard Reardon who had ordered the trio to stop.

On August 13, 2014, Northern Territory Supreme Court Justice Peter Barr sentenced Voller to a maximum of three years and eight months for attempted robbery, aggravated robbery and recklessly endangering serious harm.

Voller, who was already in custody, had a 20 month non-parole period to serve. Justice Barr noted that the 16-year-old had a very troubled past, dating back to when he was an 11-year-old and had committed more than 50 offences, including crimes of violence, over five years.

Placed in custody in the Don Dale centre, Voller was regarded as a “notorious” juvenile prisoner.

The ABC reported that he was subjected to a “catalogue ... of abuse” in detention centres in Darwin and Alice Springs over the last five years.

Four Corners reported that on two occasions after he was found in his cell crying, guards grabbed Dylan Voller around the neck, stripped him naked and held him down.

CCTV footage obtained by the ABC show prison officers tear gassing male juvenile prisoners following a “riot” at Don Dale centre in August 2014.

Voller’s sister Kira said she held the guards responsible for her brothers’ behaviour, and she wanted to see the law permitting the use of mechanical restraints overturned.

“What I’d really like to see is ... for them to take accountability for the fact that they damaged him a lot more than helped,” she said.

“These people are already full-grown adults and made the decision to harm that child while they were working,” she said. “The government gave them that responsibility, to care for these kids, and instead they abused that role.”

A Northern Territory youth worker told that an alternative safe centre for juvenile offenders had been all but abandoned during successive NT governments due to pressure from child protection workers.

“I’ve seen kids who have been stabbed or contracted sexually transmitted diseases in custody,” he said. “They need protection, not abuse.”


Pauline Hanson says Malcolm Turnbull 'very gracious' during face-to-face meeting

Pauline Hanson has posted a video on Facebook recording her first face-to-face meeting with Malcolm Turnbull since the election, telling supporters the prime minister was “very gracious” and opened with congratulations on her election victory, “which I appreciated”.

The meeting, which was not telegraphed by the prime minister’s office – unlike some previous meetings with key crossbenchers since the election – took place in Sydney on Monday at Turnbull’s behest, according to the One Nation leader.

In her Facebook video, Hanson says she “did most of the talking”.

In late May, Turnbull declared Hanson was not a welcome presence on the Australian political scene. “Remember she was chucked out of the Liberal party,” the prime minister said.

Hanson says in her video she could have confronted Turnbull directly about the rebuff, but chose not to. “You’re probably wondering, did I say to him, ‘you’re the man who said I wasn’t welcome there’. The answer is no,” she said.

The One Nation leader said the prime minister had appeared “very interested in my opinion” and had offered her the services of his ministers in the new parliament.

Hanson said she had raised issues relating to north Queensland during their conversation, such as the motor sport precinct, dredging in the port of Cairns, her party’s youth apprenticeship policy and her desire to make changes to the family court.

“I feel he’s prepared to listen to me,” she said.

Hanson told supporters on Facebook she believed One Nation would have four Senators in the 45th parliament once the election results were finally declared.

In the thread under the video an argument broke out among One Nation supporters about whether Hanson should be dealing constructively with the prime minister or not.

Hanson, or a Hanson operative, intervened in the thread to say: “Without a clear communication line between my office and the prime minister ... we achieve nothing. It’s very important that we work together to achieve what’s best for this country.
“I also mentioned to the prime minister that I will only back legislation that is good for the people. Help me make sure that any legislation put before the Senate is right for the people. If it’s not, we won’t support it.”

The Coalition has also been attempting to walk a line between validating Hanson’s electoral mandate and rejecting her extreme views on race, immigration and Islam.

On the weekend, the government’s Senate leader, George Brandis, noted half a million Australians voted for One Nation. “She’s now a member of the Senate. The way to deal with these people is to explain why they are wrong,” Brandis told the ABC.

“To pretend that Pauline Hanson is not part of the national conversation ... is ludicrous.”


Malcolm Turnbull to bring in new laws allowing indefinite jail for high-risk terrorists

Malcolm Turnbull will introduce new national laws that would allow jailed terrorists who still pose a risk when their prison terms expire to be held indefinitely as his first order of business when Parliament resumes at the end of August.

Mr Turnbull spoke with state and territory leaders on Sunday to inform them of his plans which he said needed to be dealt with urgently in the context of recent attacks in Orlando and Nice.

Australian anti-terror authorities are constantly updating their understanding of terrorism says Attorney-General George Brandis. Vision ABC News 24.

The new laws, which were first agreed to in April, would effectively treat high-risk terrorists the same as paedophiles and extreme violent offenders who, in certain cases, can already be held as a purely preventative measure after serving jail time.

Any extended detention period would be supervised by the courts, but legal groups have previously expressed "serious concern" about the new laws.

The laws are meant to address key concerns of police and security agencies about convicted terrorists from the post-September 11 era who are due to be released in coming years.

"This is a significant public safety and security issue and our governments must do all we can to protect the community from individuals posing a high risk of re-offending and/or those in need of continued rehabilitation," Mr Turnbull wrote in a letter sent to state and territory leaders.

"The guiding principles of a post-sentence preventative detention scheme would be that it cover high-risk terrorist offenders and contain appropriate procedural protections and safeguards."

Mr Turnbull has asked the Attorney-General, George Brandis, to meet with his state and territory counterparts this week in order to swiftly finalise the legislation in time for the return of Parliament.

The move follows Mr Turnbull's directive to Australia's counter-terrorism tzar last week to explore whether potential "lone wolf" terrorists can be better identified by closer agency co-operation and information-sharing on extremism, criminality and mental illness.

The national counter-terrorism coordinator, Greg Moriarty, will examine the trend whereby people who were apparently disturbed to begin with have seized on Islamist extremism shortly prior to carrying out atrocities.

Mr Moriarty said social cohesion with Muslim communities remained central to tackling terrorism. Australia needed an approach that would keep the country "both secure and united, not just for tomorrow or next year, but for decades and possibly generations".

State and territory leaders agreed to the new detention laws in April but the intervening election campaign and caretaker period resulted in a three-month pause in acting on them.

At the time, concerns were raised by members of the legal community.

University of NSW law professor George Williams said that post-sentence detention could be justified in cases of risk to the public, but needed to be strictly targeted and used only as a last resort.

"This is an extraordinary measure to take and can only be justified in the most exceptional cases," Professor Williams said in April.

"The person should be held only as long as they were shown to pose a risk, and the thresholds for risk should be set at a high level. We have to make sure there isn't just a vague risk to the community but a present, real danger."

The Law Council of Australia also said the plan was a "serious concern".

Fiona McLeod, president elect of the Law Council of Australia, said in April that the involvement of a judge was "a protection" but emphasised that if the judge was working on the basis of information given by government agencies "there needs to be a mechanism for the review of that as soon as possible".

Separately, the NSW government is going ahead with plans to extend to up to 14 days the length of time a terrorism suspect can be held before they are charged. Other states and territories have agreed to look at those laws with a view to adopting them, save for the ACT, which is "reserving its position".

The change to the NSW Terrorist (Police Powers) Act allows for the arrest, detention and questioning of a person if there are "reasonable grounds for suspecting that the person has committed, or is involved in planning, a terrorist act".

A suspect could be held for four days, extended to 14 days with the approval of a judge.


Turnbull Government embarks on radical welfare overhaul

The Turnbull government will embark on a radical welfare experiment during the current parliament that aims to use the power of big data to cut the number of people on welfare through targeted interventions in their lives.

Social Services Minister Christian Porter says that while the initiative should bring long-term savings, his immediate task is to get a raft of legislative changes – including budget measures – through the Parliament. He plans to begin talking to Labor and the Senate crossbench about the proposals this week.

To help the ease the passage of some of these measures, the government will be promoting many of its more recent budget cuts to the Senate cross bench– unlike the hangover of the 2014 so-called Zombie cuts – as savings that will be specifically earmarked to go into a national savings account to fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Cutting access to compensation for the carbon tax to new welfare recipients – a $1.4 billion measure from the May budget – is the biggest potential deposit into that account, Mr Porter says.

However, Mr Porter says that implementing the so-called "investment approach" to welfare will be the "single most important thing" that he does during the new parliamentary term.

"This will radically change the way any sensible government approaches welfare policy", Mr Porter told The Australian Financial Review.

The investment approach to welfare is heavily based on work done by the Key government in New Zealand and was also a recommendation of the review of Australia's welfare system – the McClure Review – which was handed down in 2015.

It essentially argues the case for front-loaded investment in people, particularly the young, identified as at risk of falling in to, or staying in the welfare system and providing highly targeted interventions to stop that happening.

The 2015 budget provided $34 million to develop the new system and fund longitudinal surveys to provide the data to support the approach.

These longitudinal surveys have been looking back into the history of social welfare recipients over decades in search of patterns and data that predict what will happen to them over the course of their lives.

An actuarial study by PwC is due with Mr Porter in the next couple of months but he says the preliminary data is promising.

"Most governments have looked at spending growth as a budgetary problem," he says.

"It has been looked at globally." That is, it has been looked at in terms of the overall design of a program rather than how it may play out in the varied lives of its recipients.

However new information systems change that, he says.

"We can do the equivalent of keyhole surgery – drill down to groups of 500, 1500, or 15,000 people, identify the risks that get them into the welfare system and tailor policies to divert them away or if they have become dependent, get them out of the system."

For example, he says, new systems can track over a long period what happens to people receiving student assistance. The government will be able to see how many people stay on the benefit and for how long, and how many transition in to work or other benefits.

For example, he says, the system could allow the government to look at what happens to 16-22 year olds in Newcastle versus those living in Geelong and, based on that data, apply very specific outcomes for the two groups.

"It moves the social welfare debate away from being seen as an economic cost to being a moral issue," he says.

The investment approach has been used in New Zealand for five years, with the government claiming major improvements in welfare outcomes – getting people out of the welfare system – and in budgetary cost projections in the longer term.

Actuarial reports in NZ show particularly good outcomes for single parents and young people, largely from active case management  of part-time work obligations for single parents with school-aged children.

But the approach is not without its critics both here and in New Zealand and many of these cite potentially "perverse" effects from the approach, including the NZ Productivity Commission.

The Australian Council of Social Service has expressed its concern that this approach is biased towards investment in young people and could lead to less assistance for older unemployed people .

The new levels of data – about different cohorts across the country – will be able to openly accessed, meaning non-government organisations, think tanks and other groups will be able to look in detail at what is happening across the country.

Non-government agencies will then able to bid for some of the funds in the $96 million "Try, Test and Learn" Fund announced in the May budget to develop and run programs designed to help keep people at risk of long-term dependency from being trapped in the system.

Mr Porter says the government is also keen to implement the central recommendations of the McClure report which were to radically overhaul and simplify the multitude of welfare payments and supplements.

However, these will require the legislative support of the Senate and are likely to have to await the resolution of existing budget stand offs on the welfare budget.


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

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Far Leftist "Crikey" is enjoying the Sonia Kruger controversy

See below. They perversely see it as a condemnation of Australia generally.  Taking only SOME refugees is "racist", you see. In case it's not clear, Australia's prioritizing of persecuted Christians for the refugee intake is what has got the writer all burned up and gripped with the fires of prophecy.  The writer is Shakira Hussein, if that tells you anything.  An obvious Presbyterian?

Much of the response to Andrew Bolt and Sonia Kruger’s call to halt Muslim immigration has rested on the assumption that such calls are just hate speech for the sake of hate speech rather than a realistic policy proposal. But Australia’s immigration policy has been discriminating against Muslims since the 2014 announcement of the special refugee intake in response to the crisis in Syria and Iraq during the last throes of the Abbott prime ministership.

And the grounds for the discriminatory framework for the special refugee intake were remarkably similar to those stated by Kruger for a blanket ban on Muslim migration: to accommodate the Australian public’s fear of Muslim men.

At the time, the announcement of the special refugee intake felt like a victory for people power, coming as it did in response to the candlelit vigils for drowned Syrian toddler Alan Kurdi. And after all, no one could argue that the “persecuted minorities” who are the favoured candidates under this policy are not in need of asylum.

It also helped that Tony Abbott — with his fear-mongering talk of death cults and demands for Muslims to “do more” to prove that Islam is a religion of peace — was replaced soon afterwards by the more “reasonable” Malcolm Turnbull, who was one of the Coalition MPs to have called for Christian refugees to be prioritised but who also set about repairing the government’s damaged relationship with Australia’s Muslim communities.

The process of damage repair, of course, culminated in the iftar at Kirribilli House to which Andrew Bolt took such entertainingly deranged exception as the election results came through. Turnbull’s “reasonable” approach to The Muslim Issue has put pressure on Muslims to be “reasonable” in return, so that Waleed Aly chose to “tease” Turnbull about the NBN rather than publicly raising more fraught issues like the internment of asylum-seekers on Manus Island and Nauru and the introduction of ever-more stringent anti-terrorism legislation. A guest at a dinner party must keep their personal opinions within certain boundaries, after all.

TV host Sonia Kruger Kruger’s fear-driven, fear-mongering against Muslims has jeopardised her relationship with sponsors like Porsche and Swisse, who have no desire to lose their Muslim customers. She also triggered a debate about how best to respond to the rise in racist hate speech, with a plethora of tweets and op-eds dissenting from Waleed Aly’s call for her, and others like her, to be forgiven.

Kruger’s hate speech has expanded the boundaries of what can be said in what used to be called polite company (Andrew Bolt having long been unfit for such company). In resisting the dangers that this raises, we must not lose sight of the way in which the shift that she calls for is already underway. Kruger may well have to return her Porsche, but we cannot afford to regard this as anything more than a temporary respite.

The prioritising of persecuted minorities in the special refugee intake provides us a foretaste of how a Muslims Need Not Apply migration policy might come about — not overnight in the form of a blanket ban, but incrementally, step by step in order to allay the reasonable fears of reasonable Australians and under the watch of a reasonable Prime Minister like Malcolm Turnbull or whoever his (probably) reasonable successor might turn out to be. And at the end of this fearful week, it is difficult not to speculate on what other measures that now belong to fringe platforms like The Australian’s letters to the editor might come to seem reasonable.

Campaigns against the internment camps on Manus and Nauru have often rested on the assumptions that these represent an abhorrence for which history will judge those responsible in the not-too-distant future. We should perhaps begin to contemplate that they may, in fact, provide us with a glimpse of the future and that just as off-shore detention was introduced on reasonable humanitarian grounds in order to prevent drownings at sea and prevent the profiteering of people smugglers, a “reasonable” government might decide that internment of its own citizens is a necessary and reasonable security measure.

It is reasonable to be unforgiving when such spectres are so easily and reasonably conjured.

Tolerance of extremism will provoke backlash

by Chris Kenny

The corrosive impact of Islamist extremism is evident to most of us but our political and community leaders are only making things worse by ignoring this insidious challenge.

Violence and intolerance preached and perpetrated by extremists creates fear, mistrust and division. That is its intention. We can’t pretend it away.

Speeches at Sydney’s Lakemba Mosque to celebrate the end of the holy month of Ramadan yesterday showed how we are fumbling the problem. The president of the Lebanese Muslim Association, Samier Dandan, spoke aggressively about Australian Muslims being victims of “Islamophobia” and unspecified government policies.

“The continued rise of Islamophobic discourse in the public, in addition to a number of divisive and toxic policy decisions have only exacerbated negative sentiment towards the Australian Muslim community,” he said. “We have been left in a vulnerable position.”

Dandan lashed at media for being more interested in “attendees to an iftar” rather than “hate preachers” in the political debate. He was clearly downplaying the homophobic views of Sheik Shady Al-Suleiman (who attended Malcolm Turnbull’s Kirribilli House fast-breaking dinner) compared to the rantings of the likes of Pauline Hanson.

We shouldn’t need to pick and choose our intolerance — Hanson and Al-Suleiman can both be called out.

Worryingly, Dandan’s speech reeked of Muslim victimhood and neglected to criticise the Islamist extremism at the heart of any tensions. You can’t plausibly blame Hanson for domestic terror plots or more than 100 Australians joining the Islamic State slaughter while as many (according to ASIO) support them from home.

This is not to make excuses for an anti-Muslim backlash. To prevent such responses gaining momentum, people need to know Muslim community leaders and government authorities can discuss real problems frankly.

Dandan talked about the “spread of hatred” from mainstream society and that — presumably in relation to security agencies — “their surveillance will not add to our safety.”

This is irresponsible. Our police and security forces protect Australian lives, Muslim and non-Muslim.

NSW Premier Mike Baird didn’t raise challenges of extremism in his speech either. He spoke of a visit to “Palestine” and declared young people there wanted peace — thereby appealing to a crucial Islamist grievance and ignoring unpalatable facts.

This approach from politicians in this space is typical — tough issues are skirted around. Baird said: “Where we see intolerance we must respond with tolerance.” He could not be more wrong — our political leaders should be clear that the one thing we do not tolerate is intolerance.

This is why fractious voices such as Hanson’s are on the rise; mainstream political leaders are unwilling to even discuss the real issues surrounding Islamist ­extremism.


A man accused of raping a Korean woman in broad daylight is granted bail at the Caboolture Magistrate's Court

A FATHER released on bail by a magistrate on Saturday despite being charged with a shocking random daytime rape is just the latest in a long string of accused sex offenders to be set loose.

Police will allege the 23-year-old man stalked a Korean woman, 20, from a Morayfield shopping centre on Friday ­before attacking her in broad daylight about 11.30am.

Witnesses heard her screams and rushed to her aid, pulling her alleged attacker away ­before chasing and detaining him until police arrived. Prosecutors yesterday opposed bail but a Caboolture magistrate ordered the man’s release after being told he was needed at home to look after his kids while his wife worked.

Sexual assault worker Amanda Dearden said she had “grave concerns” about the accused attacker’s release.

“It’s incredibly concerning that that risk to the community hasn’t been acknowledged by the court,” she told The Sunday Mail.

Ms Dearden, who until Friday worked with the Zig Zag Young Women’s Resource Centre, said strict bail conditions were not monitored enough to be effective.

“Without tracking devices it’s hard to keep track of where they’re actually following their bail conditions in the community,” she said.

Before the Caboolture Magistrates Court, defence lawyer Jason Todman argued the man’s family would be under considerable financial pressure if he was kept in custody. The man was temporarily unemployed and would need to stay at home with the kids while his wife worked.

Magistrate Louisa Pink noted he had no prior criminal convictions and scientific evidence was yet to be revealed.

“The strengths of the evidence in this case relates certainly to an assault. But at this time, the evidence of the allegation of rape — the scientific evidence is still pending,” she said. “Despite that, I don’t think it could be described as a weak Crown case.”

The man was ordered not to leave his home, except to report to Caboolture police station or attend court. He must also call police when he leaves and returns to his address.

Ms Pink banned him from contacting witnesses or the victim, who yesterday undertook a sexual assault investigation kit at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.

The man is scheduled to reappear on September 19.


People must be prevented from discussing homosexual marriage, apparently

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has urged the Federal Government to abandon plans for a public poll on same-sex marriage.

Mr Andrews has written to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull urging him not to hold a plebiscite on legalising marriage for same-sex couples.

In the letter, Mr Andrews argued the plebiscite would legitimise hateful debate about LGBTIQ issues. He said there was no public poll before the Marriage Act was changed to specify that marriage was a union between a man and a woman. "In 2004 the law was changed to be fundamentally unequal, to be discriminatory, to be unfair, without a national plebiscite," Mr Andrews said.

He said the $160 million plebiscite would be wasteful. "But the cost is not best measured in numbers," Mr Andrews said. "The cost is best measured in the pain, the anguish, the sense of inequality, the sense of not being treated fairly.  "This will be a harmful, spiteful debate — it will give legitimacy to hurtful views, views that are essentially bigoted."

The Premier said he did not want to speculate about what would happen if the plebiscite occurred, and returned a vote against legalising same-sex marriage. But he would not say whether Victoria would go its own way in introducing marriage equality laws.

"I haven't ruled that out," Mr Andrews said. "We have a proud history in this state of changing the law and trying to be the progressive capital of our nation and that's not going to change."

Last month, Mr Turnbull said he was confident Australians had the maturity to have a respectful discussion about the issue.


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

Monday, July 25, 2016

Conflict of interests over wind and solar power

Changing to "renewables" without conventional backup is a recipe for disaster -- and it's happening in South Australia right now.  The Green/Left S.A. government just ignored the risks and forced its coal-fired stations to close down. And South Australians are now paying the price of that.  The response of the S.A. energy minister?  Blaming other states for not sending enough of their backup power to S.A.  Blaming everyone but yourself childish but common

With electricity prices spiralling as South Australia struggles to digest a world-breaking build of wind farms without firm power backup, federal Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg is facing a challenge that defines the conflict and mixed signals of his new super portfolio.

The challenge was delivered on a windswept blustery paddock about 200km west of Melbourne where Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced state approval for the $65 million, 96-turbine Dundonnell wind farm.

What the Premier did not tell reporters was that the 300 megawatt project, claimed to be the state’s biggest, had yet to receive federal government approval under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

If Frydenberg does not give EPBC approval for Dundonnell he can expect a fiery backlash and accusations of turning his back on renewables and new economy jobs.

If he does give EPBC approval Frydenberg will be accused of grand-scale environmental vandalism against the Victorian brolga, which is listed as threatened and nests at the proposed wind farm site.

The New Zealand wind farm developer, Trustpower, claims to have accommodated the brolga in its layout plans. But the planning process for Dundonnell has been long and tortured with accusations of hidden records and dodgy environmental investigations.

The complaints have not come from peak environment groups but local bird enthusiasts because — rather than endangered fauna — organised environmental activists such as Friends of the Earth have preferred to concentrate on the need for renewable energy and a long-running campaign to make permanent the existing moratorium on coal-seam gas exploration in the state.

In the great circle of energy and environmental politics it is all connected.

For Frydenberg, the gas ban is as significant as the brolgas and the windmills.

And it has all been supercharged by the parlous state of South Australia’s electricity network and what it may portend for the rest of the nation, under pressure to roll out of renewable power.

Frydenberg is clearly aware of the scale of the challenge. He argued for amalgamation of energy and environment portfolio responsibilities and he knows Australia must respond to a fundamentally changing energy world.

In an address to the Brookings Institution in the US earlier this year, Frydenberg said “technology will be the swing factor to achieving the world’s climate goals”.

“Home batteries, carbon capture and storage, high-efficiency, low-emissions coal-fired plants, large-scale solar, are all likely to feature going forward,” he said.

But, politically, Frydenberg’s task is to avoid becoming known as the minister for sky-high electricity prices.

Events in South Australia — where wholesale power prices have spiked, household electricity costs are the highest in the nation and industry is threatening to quit— provide a good opportunity for a reality check.

Wholesale prices are usually below $100 per megawatt hour but in South Australia they have repeatedly spiked past $10,000 and sometimes touching the $14,000 limit.

There are many reasons advanced for the unstable electricity situation in South Australia.

These include high demand for electricity and gas during a cold snap, restricted competition, limited interconnector capacity to the national grid and the high costs of transporting gas. The gas squeeze has been exacerbated by fierce objections to coal-seam gas exploration in NSW and Victoria as the giant liquefied natural gas export projects in Queensland suck vast quantities of what used to be domestic supplies.

Clean Energy Council network specialist Tom Butler says the reasons for South Australia’s high power prices compared with the rest of the country remain the same as they were before a single wind turbine or solar panel was installed.

A briefing paper released by the Australian Conservation Foundation says renewable energy wrongly is being blamed.

“In fact the problem is not a failure of renewable energy; it is a failure of the national electricity market,” the ACF says. This may be true. But it is disingenuous to suggest renewable energy is not having a leading impact.

The Australian Energy Market Operator conducted a survey of why wholesale prices spiked during the same period last year.

An analysis of the findings by Frontier Economics says the common denominator was a low level of wind generation at the time.

“As has been long predicted, increasing penetration of wind, and its inherent intermittency, appears to be primarily responsible for the (price spike) events,” the Frontier Economics report says.

“While the events have coincided with relatively high demand conditions in South Australia and some minor restrictions on imports of electricity from Victoria, low wind production levels are the key common feature of every event.

“The market response at such times has been to offer higher-priced capacity to the market, leading to high prices, just as the National Electricity Market was designed to do under conditions of scarcity.”

The Frontier report says the level of wind and solar penetration in South Australia presents a fascinating natural experiment in the impact of intermittent generation on wholesale prices.

“Unfortunately, this test is anything but academic and the people of South Australia are increasingly likely to bear increased electricity costs as wind makes up a greater proportion of South Australian generation,” Frontier says.

“While policymakers may be tempted to act to force thermal and/or wind to behave uneconomically, the likely outcome means South Australian consumers will bear more costs.”

Fast forward 12 months and the same weather conditions have produced the same outcomes in the wholesale market, with higher prices to consumers starting to flow through as well.

In the meantime, Alinta Energy has been forced to close its two coal-fired power stations in South Australia early because their business model has been wrecked by the introduction of low-cost, subsidised wind generation into the wholesale market.

Renewable energy champions have always argued the so-called merit order effect, in which abundant cheap renewable energy suppresses the wholesale market, is a positive for consumers. But the evidence is that there are limits.

South Australia is being watched closely by traditional energy companies and renewable energy specialists worldwide as a test case for what happens when high levels of intermittent energy, such as wind and solar, are introduced into a system that is not fully covered by other sources of readily available power.

Elsewhere, such as Denmark, where there is a high percentage of wind power in a national market there is also access to sufficient baseload power from hydro, nuclear or coal from neighbouring countries available to cover the fluctuations.

In South Australia the backup from the Victorian interconnection is 23 per cent.

Modelling by Deloitte Access Economics suggests that by 2019 the interconnector will be importing all the Victorian electricity it can handle into South Australia for almost 23 hours a day. It does not leave much margin for error if things go wrong.

“The last few weeks in South Australia have been a perfect storm but it shows that we have to be very careful how we design markets and policies to decarbonise,’’ Australian Energy Council policy specialist Kieran Donoghue says.

This is the real challenge for Frydenberg in his new portfolio.

The ACF wants a national plan to manage the transition to clean energy. It says this plan should “deal with intermittent generation and energy security, appropriate interconnections, careful placement of renewable facilities to maximise flexibility, an orderly closure of coal-fired power plants and detailed strategies to help affected communities with the transition”.

“The benefits of renewable energy are numerous, but without national leadership and a national plan to transition our energy sector we are certain to see a rocky transition with more price fluctuations,” the ACF says.

Powerful South Australian senator Nick Xenophon has said he will support a Senate inquiry to examine the mix of renewable energy in Australia.

Australian energy ministers are due to meet soon to consider exact­ly these issues. But no one has yet put forward a credible plan of how this should be done or what the cost would be.

At best, there will be a Band-Aid solution to the immediate problems in South Australia.

Industry specialists say the Council of Australian Governments certainly will look at options for additional intercon­nectors to deepen ties between states in the national electricity market.

The cheapest option will be to expand the connection to Victoria, but that is unlikely to give South Australia the sort of diversity of supply it is seeking.

It is further complicated by Victoria’s own plans to lift renewables — through projects such as Dundonnell — and the desire of environment groups nationally that Victoria’s big baseload brown coal generators, which underpin the system, be forcibly retired as soon as possible.

Another option would be to connect to NSW or Tasmania.

The cost of a new interconnector is high, with estimates of up to $3.75 billion for a connection between NSW and South Australia. Experience shows costs can blow out by almost double.

Meanwhile, rapid advances in technology, particularly in battery storage and grid management, make it uncertain whether expensive interconnectors are the right solution for the long term.

South Australian Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis wants the ability to ship his state’s wind power to other states, something coal-fired generators in NSW and Queensland would resist.

The challenge is to stop what is happening in South Australia from occurring elsewhere as the amount of intermittent power is expanded nationally to meet the state-based and federal renewable energy targets.

Already, existing generators are arguing for greater payment for the ancillary services they provide to keep the electricity network stable.

Payments for standby reserve power and voltage regulation that cannot be provided by wind and solar would lessen the dependence of baseload plants on the spot electricity market.

But is this not a Band-Aid solution rather than long-term vision?

Central planning can be a slippery slope.

“It is important to be clearer that this transition is not costless,” Donoghue says.

“Instead of thinking that the wind and sun are free, it would be better to give a more realistic understanding of what the costs will be.”

The more governments mandate things such as the amount of renewable energy in the market, the likelier they are to find themselves having to also support remaining dispatchable generators.

“If they (governments) want to direct the transition they are going to be on the hook for all the infrastructure as well,” Donoghue says.

And under the pathways put forward by the ALP and Greens they are also going to be on the hook for the heavy social transition costs as well.

It remains uncertain what pathway Frydenberg intends to take.

In his Brookings Institution address in February, Frydenberg said it was clear the global energy supply dynamic was moving to lower emission energy sources.

He said country comparisons showed that lowering emissions from the energy sector could not be one-dimensional because countries were starting from different positions and faced different challenges.

“One such challenge will be the need to question traditional energy supply” and “such a discussion is currently taking place in South Australia”, he said.

He was talking about the South Australian royal commission into nuclear energy, which he said had “revived the discussion about the role nuclear power could play in a low carbon economy”.

“Given South Australia has 78 per cent of Australia’s uranium reserves and the stable geology to store high-level waste, this debate is shifting community attitudes and has some way to run,” he said.

The Environment and Energy Minister has a substantial challenge ahead.


Terrified residents of Melbourne neighbourhood who have lived there for decades reveal young African members of Apex gang have left them too frightened to leave their homes

The Africans concerned were rescued from refugee camps in Africa by Australia.  Their behaviour is a despicable way to say "thank you".  But it does bear out Richard Lynn's comment of pervasive psychopathy among Africans

Residents in the street where a 12-year-old girl who was threatened with death during a violent carjacking linked to the Apex gang say they are terrified to leave their homes.

There has been a violent carjacking every day for the past six days in Melbourne's suburbs.

The 12-year-old girl is now afraid of sleeping in her own bed and her family, who wish to remain anonymous, told Daily Mail Australia the attack terrified them.

She was ripped from her car and threatened with death as her family pulled up to the George Street home in St Albans, in Melbourne's north-west.

The shocking incident has left neighbours so frightened that one couple, who have lived in the street for 40 years, will not leave the house at night.  'I am a man and I am too scared to go for walks in my own street,' the man said.

'It is scary to even sleep - I am keeping a metal bar beside my bed in case they come inside.'

Another neighbour said the area has become 'so scary' in the last year with groups of young teenage boys hanging out in the nearby park drinking. 'They drink and do drugs and are so loud,' she said.  'It makes you not want to live here anymore.'

A young African man who grew up alongside some of the boys in the gang is trying to become a good role model for his community and direct the men away from crime.

Nelly Yoa, 26, does not want the boys to become career criminals and also fears that their actions are having a huge negative effect on the whole African community.

'Now I get pulled over by police when they see me because they think I am driving a stolen car,' Mr Yoa told Daily Mail Australia.

The 26-year-old plays soccer professionally and hopes to start for Melbourne City this year so he can be a better role model.

He recently went to a youth conference held by Victoria's police commissioner only to be pulled over metres down the road.

'When I left the conference I only drive about 500 metres before the police pulled me over,' Mr Yoa said. 'They had to check if the car was stolen and if it just hadn't been reported yet.

'I can understand why they have to do this and I know that there is a lot of fear and they are just doing their job but some people might not and might get angry.'

Mr Yoa is currently working with children in juvenile detention who are connected with the gang and hopes they change what they are doing before they become career criminals.

'Part of the problem is these kids know they can't get in much trouble and will get a slap on the wrist because they are under 18,' he said.  'But it is when they keep going when they turn 18 and get a criminal record and go to jail.  'They come out of being locked up even angrier than they were before and re-offend.'

While the Apex members are a minority numbers-wise in Melbourne - and all come from minority backgrounds - their presence is creating a lot of fear.

Frightened residents across the city - especially in satellite suburbs like St Albans are buying weapons to defend themselves - and patrolling the streets at night in the hope it will keep their families safe.

One man told Daily Mail Australia he had armed his wife and children with bats and hammers, and 'taught his eldest son to defend the family if he wasn't home'.

'The two younger kids know to hide in the cupboard and my 13-year-old has his own little bat,' the man said.  'I taught him not to hit people in the head with it but he knows where it is if he does need to use it.'


HSC: Changes to English, maths scaling, greater focus on Indigenous Australia

There is a vast amount of important things to learn about world history -- so why waste time studying Aboriginal history?  They are of no importance to anyone but themselves

The Board of Studies is overhauling the curriculum for Higher School Certificate (HSC) students in NSW, placing a greater focus on Australia and Aboriginal leaders in history, and significantly changing maths and English courses.

President of the Board of Studies Tom Alegounarias said in English courses, the recent tradition of comparing classic texts to modern adaptations will be dropped to allow for a return to a single-text focus.

"We never abandoned the canon but what we did have was frames through which students could study a text, so 'journeys' or 'belongings' were overarching concepts that would be used to create a reference point for kids to help them engage with a text," he said.

"That's seen to be a bit limiting now."

Mr Alegounarias said from now on, he wanted students to have the freedom to focus on "what makes a quality text".

"That may vary from book to book; if it's the subtlety and wit of Jane Austen, then that should be the focus," he said.

In history, there would be a greater emphasis on Australia including Indigenous leaders such as Eddie Mabo and Charles Perkins.

"Those are options for case studies at the beginning of Year 11 where we're introducing to students how to study history," Mr Alegounarias said.

"They're not the central focus of the changes; the central focus is that World War II becomes a core mandatory unit for all."

Maths scaling system to change

The board's president said the scaling system would change for maths students.

"We're creating what we call a common scale, that is we're ensuring that each level of course is on a hierarchy of difficulty and by the time you get to extension two these are really brilliant students," Mr Alegounarias said.

"We're giving them the opportunity to stretch themselves further - it's becoming slightly more complex."

State Opposition spokesman Jihad Dib said he did not think the changes were as significant as they sounded.

"This is what contemporary society would expect - the evolution of the HSC to meet the modern needs of society," he said.

But he questioned the thinking behind dropping the comparative approach in Year 12 English, one that for many years has seen thousands of students study Jane Austen's Emma alongside the 1995 film Clueless.

"In English, I don't think it's such a problem to be able to study the difference between time and place and to compare and contrast," he said.

The former high school principal is also wary of changes to scaling for maths students.

"We have to be careful so we don't set kids up to fail and ask them to choose subjects that they think will get them a better HSC mark regardless of whether they're capable in that subject or not," Mr Dib said.

Earlier this week, the State Government announced that from 2020, students would not be able to get their HSC without first meeting minimum standards of literacy and numeracy.


Dole payments: MP George Christensen wants dole payments cut after six months

DOLE recipients would have their payments cut after six months under a proposal to help offset the cost of keeping more generous superannuation tax concessions for the well off.

LNP MP George Christensen will submit the plan to the Nationals partyroom and raise it directly with Social Services Minister Christian Porter.

Mr Christensen, a strong opponent to the Turnbull Government’s $6 billion superannuation reforms, said the Government could reverse some of the changes by taking an axe to the welfare system. The cost of Newstart — the dole — has reached almost $9 billion a year.

Speaking exclusively to The Sunday Mail, Mr Christensen said people on Newstart and those under the age of 45 years should be given six months to find a job — and if they failed they would be on their own.

Regional areas in Queensland have stubbornly high youth unemployment rates despite local farmers and business requiring backpackers or overseas workers to fill vacancies.

“We squibbed it last time,’’ Mr Christensen said, referring to the first Abbott government budget that tried to force the unemployed to wait six months before getting payments.

“Maybe if they know their dole will run out in six months they’ll go and get a job.”

Asked what the unintended consequences could be, Mr Christensen said he didn’t know, but “you can’t just throw your hands up in the air and say I don’t know what to do”.

He said he was annoyed by the dramatically-high cost of unemployment benefits at a time when farmers had complained a backpacker tax would devastate their businesses. The Government announced in its 2015/16 Budget that it would set a flat tax rate of 32.5 per cent on backpacker earnings.

“We need to take welfare and unemployment benefits,’’ Mr Christensen said.

“We’ve got farmers up our ribs about the backpacker tax. Every single farmer says ‘it will kill us’ because we won’t have any labour.”

He said business owners have told him some unemployed people tried to get sacked after a short period so they could go back on welfare.


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

Sunday, July 24, 2016

More naming nonsense

John Batman was the founder of what we now know as the city of Melbourne -- and a Melbourne park is named after him.  It's a very modest tribute to an important pioneer but some whites  claiming to be Aborigines want to change it to something just about nobody would recognize. They want to dishonour John Batman preciselty because he was the founder of Melbourne. 

It's all part of the Leftist need to wipe out all knowledge of history.  Like Pol Pot they want the present to be a year zero so that people have no past to learn from.  A knowledge of the past is of course very destructive to Leftist claims

To attain their aims on this occasion, they are exploiting the kindness of the average Australian to claim that the name Batman is offensive to Aborigines.  Because of that kindness the name change will probably go through. The current matter is all very trivial in the great scheme of things but at some point attempts  to erase history must be resisted.  The past matters.  It is an important tutor.

"Wurundjeri Tribe Land Council spokesman" Ron Jones is as white as I am

THE renaming of Batman Park is moving ahead, with the establishment of a naming committee and the proposal of three possible Wurundjeri replacement names.

Darebin Council last week unanimously voted to establish a Batman Park Renaming Committee to explore the dumping the use of John Batman’s name for its association with indigenous dispossession.

The explorer convinced indigenous elders to sign a treaty trading more than 200,000ha of ancestral land for blankets, flour and other goods in 1835.

Councillor Trent McCarthy said the push to rename the park in the spirit of reconciliation was “a terrific way forward”.

“It is a really powerful conversation, and quite an emotional conversation to be a part of,” Cr McCarthy said.

Councillor Julie Williams said it was important for the council to work with the Wurundjeri Tribe Land Council to find a more suitable name for the park.

“I think it’s really important that our Wurundjeri people have a voice,” Cr Williams said.

At the first of four public meetings held to discuss the name change, three Wurunjderi replacement names were suggested.

The names include two former Wurundjeri leaders present at the signing of Batman’s treaty, Be Be Jern and Billibellary, along with the last girl born on the Coranderrk Aboriginal Reserve in Healesville, Gumbri.

Darebin Council and the Wurundjeri Tribe Land Council last month renewed the campaign for the electorate of Batman and Batman Park to be renamed.

Land council spokesman Ron Jones last month said using Batman’s name in the area where the treaty was signed was a slap in the face to the indigenous community.

In an online Leader poll of almost 2000 readers, just 20 per cent agreed that the name Batman should be dropped.

There will be three more community discussions regarding the name changes.


Queensland weather: Brisbane's enjoys hottest July day for 70 years

We have indeed had quite a few days of summery warmth.  I have been getting around the house in just undershorts.  And my poor Mulberry tree out the front has been completely tricked.  It is deciduous but has just started to put out its summer foliage:   Months too soon.  And earlier this year we had a summer that was so cool my Crepe Myrtles failed to blossom. The whole thing is a good reminder of the power of natural variability

Queensland has more than made up for rudely thrusting extra days of winter upon her unsuspecting citizens.

On Saturday, the Sunshine State absolutely lived up to its name and offered the warmest July day in 70 years in Brisbane, matching the previously held record from 1946 when the temperature reached a balmy 29.1 degrees.

It was the peak of a run of unseasonably warm days as a trough passed through southern Queensland dragging warm air down from the north and returning the weather to that we would expect in summer and came on the back of some unseasonably cold weather.

It was warm throughout the south-east with warm July records being smashed all over the place.

The Sunshine Coast bore the brunt of the hot day, reaching 31.4 degrees, beating its previous record of 27.7.  On the Gold Coast it got to 29.6, beating its previous record of 26.9. Archerfield, Brisbane Airport and Gold Coast Seaway observation stations all recorded record-breaking temperatures for July.

But before you book a week off to make the most of the warm spell, the Bureau of Meteorology has sad news... things return to "winter" temperatures from Sunday with the mercury tipped to drop to average conditions.

Bureau forecaster Adam Blazak said a change in the wind would bring a change in the temperature. "We will have more of a slight southerly wind direction change with the winds coming slightly more from the south," he said.

"So we won't be getting the hot air being dragged down from the north and that will see temperatures getting back to around average for this time of the year.

"(On Sunday) we are going for 22 and it will stay around that number roughly for most of the week."

The good news is the days will be clear and sunny, so we can all be thankful we are spending winter in Queensland and not somewhere dreadful like Sydney, where a top of 16 is expected on Sunday, or Melbourne where they can only manage a measly 12.


Schools in crisis as student numbers explode

The inevitable result of high levels of immigration

The Education Department's key formula for predicting student growth has been slammed as wildly inaccurate, with several schools already doubling their projected demand for 2031.

Nearly half of inner-city schools assessed by the department have already surpassed their projected demand this year, a Fairfax Media analysis has found.

The Lord Mayor of Melbourne, academics and parents who have been forced out of the city in pursuit of public schools, have criticised the department for lax planning in the wake of exploding student numbers.

Demand for 38 schools was forecast in a series of school planning reviews for the municipality of Banyule, the suburbs of Preston and Docklands, and their surrounding areas. These documents have served as a blueprint for the provision of new schools.

The student boom has proven so great that 10 schools have already surpassed their projected demand for 2031, some by hundreds of students.

These projections relate to the number of state school students within a school's catchment area, but do not take into account that a large number of students travel to attend a school outside their zone.

Michelle Styles, spokeswoman for lobby group City Schools 4 City Kids, has accused the department of underestimating enrolments in a bid to hose down pressure for new schools.

She said forecasting growth based on the number of students within a zone was unrealistic, and only served to shadow booming demand.

"Of course it is not only the the immediate local families that are going to attend those schools," she said.

"Parents often travel in towards the city to drop their children off at schools ... for example, a new school in Ferrars Street in South Melbourne is not only going to serve Ferrars Street, it will serve demands from anywhere, including families travelling from outside of the city."

The City of Melbourne is facing the most severe schools shortage among inner-city municipalities, and is set to experience a 62.9 per cent increase in school-aged children in the next decade – or almost 7500 extra students.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said Docklands urgently needed a state school, and cautioned the department against relying on the private school sector to accommodate growth.

"Haileybury College opened a large campus in King Street …. what does that tell us about what they see regarding population projections in the inner-city?"

Grattan Institute's Peter Goss said the department's key data set should project growth across a broad region rather than single school zones.

"Looking at each school in isolation or each school zone in isolation is flawed ... the overall picture of growth is the right way to look at it."

Department spokesman Steve Tolley said the organisation's preferred forecasting model "minimises the fluctuations" in enrolments resulting from school choice.

However, he said the department also takes multiple factors into consideration when planning new schools, including how many students outside of the zone may wish to enrol.

Docklands parents Neeti and Alok Chouraria are moving to Williams Landing, near Laverton, due to the absence of a local government school. They are one of seven local families they know who have abandoned the Docklands for this reason.

The couple work in the Docklands and have enjoyed sending their three-year-old child to a child care centre nearby.

"There is space for hundreds of thousands of apartments but for some reason, we can't find the space for a school. It's really very sad ... we both loved living in the city."


Immigration Minister Peter Dutton defends Sonia Kruger's right to speak her mind on Muslim immigration

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has defended TV presenter Sonia Kruger's right to speak her mind, even on immigration. 

Mr Dutton weighed in on the Muslim immigration debate sparked by Ms Kruger earlier this week.

He told 2GB Radio's Ray Hadley on Thursday that while he didn't agree with Ms Kruger's views, he defended her democratic right to express her opinions.

'We can't have 'thought police' out there from the left or the right saying this is OK but we censor this element,' Mr Dutton said.

'Now I don't agree with Sonia Kruger, I don't think we should stop the migration program, I think that would be a bad outcome, but I defend her right to speak her mind,' he said.

'We can disagree with her, as we do with people on the left and the right, but I think we need to recognise the vast majority of people and more religions that come to this country seem to do so in a safe way and in a way that they can contribute.

'And we should celebrate that,'

'We should respect the fact that people have certain views, we don't have to agree with them but that's the great strength of Australia.'

During a panel discussion on Channel Nine's the Today Show on Monday, Sonia Kruger argued there is a correlation between the number of Muslims in a country and the number of terrorist attacks.

She called for Australia to stop Muslim immigration because she wanted to 'feel safe'.

'Personally, I would like to see it stop now for Australia because I want to feel safe as all of our citizens do when we go out to celebrate Australia Day,' Ms Kruger said.

The television host said she had 'a lot of very good friends' who were Muslims and peace-loving, beautiful people. 'But there are fanatics,' she added.

The remarks sparked a social media storm but in response Ms Kruger said 'it was vital to discuss these issues without automatically being labelled racist'.

She told the panel Japan has a population of 174 million people and 100,000 Muslims and the country never suffers terrorist attacks.

In his talk on 2GB Radio on Thursday, Mr Dutton said we have to allow people freedom of speech as one of the things that terrorists want in the western world is for us to give up elements of our democracy.

'They don't want young girls to be taught in schools, they don't want people to enjoy the same religious freedom that we do in our country, and one of the great things about our country is that we welcome people from that four corners of the earth.

'And that is what has made us a great country and if people are coming here to do harm, well I don't care what religion or what part of the world they're from - my job is to stop them from coming here and doing harm to other Australians

'I think that one of the things terrorists would like to see is people being stopped from speaking their mind or not able to express their point of view.'

Mr Dutton said people of any faith are welcome in Australia but if they are coming to Australia to do harm, or if they are a second or third generation Australian aiming to do harm, then they will face the law like anybody else.  


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

Friday, July 22, 2016

Is there an Australian race?

Maybe that is not as absurd as it seems.  Leftists seem to regard Muslims as a race so why not? Any criticism of Muslims is routinely denounced as "racist".  So I clearly have the angels on my side in arguing for a flexible definition of race.

And the fact of the matter is that Australians do talk as if they are a race.  It's probably politically incorrect by now but for many decades Australians have spoken among themselves as in the following example.  "She is herself Chinese but she is married to an Australian" -- where both persons concerned were born in Australia -- so it was obviously race that was being referred to.

So a person of Northern European or British ancestry who was born in Australia is an Australian.  Australians are a definable ethnic group.  So "Australian" can be either a nationality or a race. In the example above both persons would have been readily acknowledged as Australian citizens but only one was an Australian.

And note that NOBODY in Australia refers to themselves  or anybody else as "a person of Northern European or British ancestry born in Australia".  It would be far too cumbersome.  People so identified  are simply Australians.

So is the usage just a piece of shorthand for a longer descriptor or is there more to it than that?  There clearly is more.  Australians have quite a strong national consciousness.  They see themselves as quite distinct from even closely related groups such as the British or Americans.  When they are thinking of "a person of Northern European or British ancestry born in Australia", they are also thinking of personal characteristics.  "A person of Northern European or British ancestry born in Australia" is expected to be "fair dinkum", no Dobbo and someone who does not "bung on an act", for instance.

Those three examples are much-loved pieces of Australian slang and, like most slang are not entirely translatable into standard English.  But an approximate translation would be: "A genuine person, a person who does not incriminate others to the authorities and a person who is not pretentious.  I say a bit more about that slang and its origins elsewhere.

So, yes.  There IS an Australian race.  And there are other races that are similarly defined.  Mexicans, for instance have had it instilled into them that they are one race:  The famous "La raza".  The reality of Mexico is a whitish elite who run everything and a large, poor mass of people with brown skin. But  we mustn't knock "La raza", must we?

The English rarely refer to themselves as a race but they do to an extent tend to see themselves that way.  The regional divisions in England are severe.  People who live South of Watford see people from North of Watford as an odd and rather uncouth lot.  Watford is the last outpost of civilization when travelling North. But no matter where you live in relation to Watford Junction, you are still English.  And being English has certain expectations attached to it -- enormous expectations, in fact.  The expectations are well laid out in what is probably the funniest book I have ever read: "Watching the English: the hidden rules of English behaviour" by Kate Fox.  Australians have some of the same rules, as one would expect.

In fact, Australian-ness is better defined than English-ness.  Australia may be the only country without significant regional divisions.  A person who lives in Brisbane lives thousands of miles away from a person who lives in Perth but any difference between inhabitants of those two cities is very hard to detect.  That great giveaway, accent, has only the tiniest differences in  the two populations. 

One has only to think of Northern Italian attitudes to "meriodinali", of Bavarian suspicion of "Prussians" and, of course, enmity between Eastern and Western Ukrainians to see that divisions between national populations are the norm.  The USA even had a civil war over  it.

There is none of that it Australia.  So by international standards, the case for Australians being a race is unusually strong.  And they are a race that has an entire continent to themselves!  Nice!

So being an Australian is NOT "inclusive" except in the sense of nationality.  For that reason some younger people do avoid the usage.

I think they are mistaken, however.  Everybody does not have to be included in everything.  Because there are some lepers does that mean that we all have to get leprosy? Australians are just another ethnic group -- and we all allow that those exist. Nobody minds referring to Jews as Jews yet, with their many internal schisms (Ashkenazim, Sephardim, Mizrachim etc) Jews have a rather lesser claim on an ethic identity than the very homogeneous "Australian" population has.  And we even have our own commandments!

Business angry as S.A. wind turbines suck more power than they generate

Wind turbines in South Australia were using more power than they generated during the state’s electricity crisis, which has prompted major businesses to threaten shutdowns and smaller firms to consider moving interstate.

The sapping of power by the turbines during calm weather on July 7 at the height of the ­crisis, which has caused a price surge, shows just how unreliable and ­intermittent wind power is for a state with a renewable ­energy mix of more than 40 per cent. Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox ­yesterday said the rise in prices, ­already the highest in the country, had disrupted industry and served as a warning for the rest of the ­­­­nat­ion. “That is a serious blow to energy users across SA and has disrupted supply chains upon which thousands of jobs depend,” he said.

“The real risk is if this volatility becomes the norm across the ­National Electricity Market.

“In June, electricity cost South Australia $133 per megawatt hour on average — already a high price. But since July 1, electricity prices have spiked above $10,000 per MWh at times.”

Mr Willox echoed warnings of the South Australian government on the weekend, saying “We will see similar episodes again, and not just in SA”, and backing calls for major reform of the NEM.

“Changes in the pattern of ­energy demand and the ongoing build-up of wind and solar make life increasingly difficult for ‘baseload’ electricity generators across the country,” he said.

The power crisis comes amid growing pressure from independent senator Nick Xenophon to invest hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars into struggling South Australian businesses to save jobs, and as the Turnbull government attempts to establish a hi-tech ­submarine manufacturing industry in the state.

An analysis of data from the Australian Energy Market Operator, responsible for the administration and operation of the wholesale NEM, shows the turbines’ down time on July 7 coincided with NEM prices for South Australia reaching almost $14,000 per MWh

NEM prices in other markets have been as low as $40 per MWh with the AI Group estimating this month’s power surge in South Australian electricity prices had cost $155 million.

While all wind farms in South Australia were producing about 5780MW between 6am and 7am, by 1pm the energy generation was in deficit as the turbines consumed more power than they created. By mid-afternoon, energy generation by all wind farms was minus-50MW.

The situation forced several major companies, including BHP Billiton and Arrium, to warn the state government of possible shutdowns because of higher energy prices, forcing Treasurer and ­Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis to intervene by asking a private operator of a mothballed gas-fired plant in Adelaide for a temporary power spike.

BHP, which employs about 3000 people at its Olympic Dam mine in the state’s far north, said its operations in South Australia were under a cloud.  “The security and reliability of power have been a significant ­concern for BHP Billiton and the sustainability of Olympic Dam,” the miner’s head of corporate ­affairs, Simon Corrigan, said.

Opposition energy spokesman Dan van Holst Pellekaan said the snapshot of wind power operations in the state showed the Labor government’s energy policies had created an oversupply of cheap wind energy at times but that forced it to import from interstate when prices shot up.  “This wouldn’t be a problem if we still had a reasonable amount of base load generation but we don’t,” he said.

Mr Koutsantonis yesterday said improved interconnection for a “truly national electricity ­market” would drive prices down immediately. Federal Energy Minster Josh Frydenberg declined to be interviewed yesterday, but said he would convene a Council of Australian Governments meeting as soon as possible.

Not everyone is unhappy — farmer Peter Ebsary hosts four turbines from the Snowtown wind farm in South Australia’s mid north. The wind farm, owned by TrustPower, is the state’s largest.

“We get a financial return and don’t have to do anything ... we just sit back and collect the money as long as the wind blows,” he said.


School bans clapping and allows students ‘silent cheers’ or air punching but only when teachers agree

WTF is silent cheering?

CLAPPING has been banned at a Sydney primary school which has introduced “silent cheering”, “pulling excited faces” and “punching the air” to respect students who are “sensitive to noise”.

The school now only allows its pupils “to conduct a silent cheer” when prompted by teachers and says the practice “reduces fidgeting”.

Elanora Heights Public School, which is on Sydney’s northern beaches, announced its new “silent cheer” policy in its latest school newsletter.

The latest example of a political correctness outbreak in Australian schools, which have banned hugging, singing Christmas carols, celebrating Australia Day and singing the word “black” in the nursery rhyme “baa baa black sheep”.

The ban on clapping at Elanora Heights Primary School emerged on the same day that an exclusive girls school banned teachers from calling “ladies” or “women” in favour of “gender-neutral” terms.

In its July 18 newsletter, the Elanora school has published an item under the headline “Did you know” that “our school has adopted silent cheers at assembly’s” (sic).

“If you’ve been to a school assembly recently, you may have noticed our students doing silent cheers,” the item reads.

“Instead of clapping, the students are free to punch the air, pull excited faces and wriggle about on the spot.

“The practice has been adopted to respect members of our school community who are sensitive to noise.

“When you attend an assembly, teachers will prompt the audience to conduct a silent cheer if it is needed.

“Teachers have also found the silent cheers to be a great way to expend children’s energy and reduce fidgeting.”

The ban follows a direction at exclusive Cheltenham Girls High School in northwest Sydney for teachers to avoid discrimination and support LGBTI students by avoiding the words “girls”, “ladies” or “women”.

Elanora Heights Public School’s ban on clapping in favour of silent cheering comes after several schools have banned hugging.

In April, hugging was banned at a Geelong primary school and children were told to find other ways to show affection.

St Patricks Primary School principal John Grant said “nothing in particular” had caused hugging to be replaced by high fiving or “a knuckle handshake”.

“But in this current day and age we are really conscious about protecting kids and teaching them from a young age that you have to be cautious,” Mr Grant said.

He said he had spoken to teachers about his decision to ban hugging and then the teachers had spoken to classes, instructing the children on different methods of showing affection. He had not sent any correspondence home to parents but said there would now be a letter going home on Monday.

“There’s a range of methods including a high five or a particular knuckle handshake where they clunk knuckles as a simple way of saying ‘well done’,” Mr Grant said. “There are also verbal affirmations and acknowledgments.”

Children at the school have been enthusiastic huggers, he said, with hugs given out to teachers and other children.

“We have a lot of kids who walk up and hug each other and we’re trying to encourage all of us to respect personal space,” Mr Grant said. “It really comes back to not everyone is comfortable in being hugged.”


Wicked vans with offensive slogans banned under proposed legislation

The Palaszczuk government has found a way to get Wicked camper vans' offensive slogans off Queensland roads - unless the company cleans up its act.

After first indicating a review into the state's anti-discrimination act could potentially tackle the problem - a review the Queensland Law Reform Commission never began - the government then looked to the recommendations of a parliamentary committee inquiry carried out under the Newman government.
The Palaszczuk Government has found a way to get Wicked camper vans' offensive slogans off Queensland roads- unless the ...
The Palaszczuk Government has found a way to get Wicked camper vans' offensive slogans off Queensland roads- unless the company cleans up its act. Photo: MARION VAN DIJK

That inquiry recommended the Australian Association of National Advertisers be given statutory authority to force compliance, if companies were found to have breached codes or standards.

But Yvette D'Ath has found an even stronger solution. The Attorney-General will introduce legislation which will see commercial registration holders "who fail to comply with determinations by the Advertising Standards Bureau" face having the registration of those vehicles cancelled.

"I understand clearly the level of community concern about the vulgar, crass and offensive slogans that have been displayed on some commercial vehicles in Queensland and other parts of Australia," Ms D'Ath said.

"They have been subject to frequent complaints to the Advertising Standards Board.

"When the ASB has deemed those slogans to be offensive, the typical response from the holders of those commercial vehicle registrations has been deafening silence.

"Now if they refuse to remove the offensive slogans, their vehicles will be off the road."

Working in conjunction with the Department of Transport and the ASB, Ms D'Ath said the solution allowed the advertising watchdog to maintain its power, but gave any adverse finding teeth.

"The owners of these vehicles are in business, and some may see the offence and outrage they cause as a form of free publicity," she said, in answer to why she refused to name the notorious company, which has been banned from some caravan parks, as well as the focus of national petitions," she said.

"Now they have a strong financial incentive to comply with the ASB, because I they don't, their vehicles will be unregistered, off the road, and unable to generate revenue.  Should they attempt to relocate their business interstate, I would encourage other jurisdictions to consider similar laws so that these offensive slogans cannot continue to be displayed.

"This is a solution that imposes minimal additional regulatory burden."

The government hopes to have the legislation in front of the parliament by the end of the year, but said she hoped the owners "of these commercial vehicle registrations" would "see the writing on the wall and get this offensive writing off their vehicles."

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