Monday, February 19, 2018



Political bias: leftist DFAT holds our foreign policy hostage

Mark Higgie

Bureaucracies are shaped as much by the political views of those who staff them as their commitment to implementing government policies. Having observed our diplomats from the prime minister's office as an adviser to Tony Abbott and on five diplo­matic postings, I have no doubt that their views of the world, advice and decision-making in the main reflect — to a greater extent than other parts of the federal government machinery — the politically correct pieties that also dominate the ABC, the Fairfax press, our universities and, increasingly, our schools.

To any Canberra insider, espec­ially those in Coalition circles, the fact most of our diplomats are leftish is a given. But the foreign service's political bias matters and is a real issue for Liberal-National governments — obviously not so much for Labor. If the bias isn't corrected by close government management, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's bureau­cracy and operations (cost: $5.1 billion this financial year including overseas aid) will go their own way and capture ministers and even prime ministers along the way.

The spirit of Gough Whitlam continues to hover over DFAT's RG Casey Building in Canberra. Most of our diplomats dream of an Australia less aligned with the US and have an often unqualified enthusiasm for the UN. They prefer Greens/Labor approaches to climate change to those of the ­Coalition. They're deeply uneasy with recent Coalition border protection policies and like the 1970s version of multiculturalism that “celebrates diversity” without much concern for common values and integration. They want us unshackled, as they see it, from our symbolic linkages with Britain.

A few examples of DFAT's thriving leftist bias and the tendency among many of its staff to make judgments out of step with mainstream Australian attitudes:

* Yassmin Abdel-Magied has become notorious for her contemptuous attitude towards Australia, highly controversial views of Islam (“the most feminist ­religion”) and preparedness to seek advice from the extremist ­organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir — banned in many countries because of its defence of Islamist terrorism, one of its spokesmen having ­described Australian troops in ­Afghanistan as “fair game” whom Muslims had an obligation to ­attack.

Nevertheless, Abdel-­Magied was appointed in 2015 to DFAT's Council for Australian-Arab Relations and the following year, after she said on the ABC's The Drum that sharia law was “about mercy” and “kindness”, DFAT funded and promoted her travels around the Middle East, representing Australia.

* This case of DFAT's desperation to prove itself hip to Islam wasn't an exception. Its Twitter account for some years has extended greetings to Muslims on the occasion of Ramadan and last year the usual message was supplemented by an additional message from the DFAT secretary. But no equivalent courtesies were tweeted last year to the world's Jews — or indeed to the world's Christians.

* DFAT also recently created a Twitter storm by enthusing about the Muslim “modest fashion market” of hijabs and burkinis — apparently oblivious to the fact the pressures and in some cases requirement to wear such garments are deeply controversial in many Muslim communities, as highlighted by recent anti-hijab protests in Iran. There was much social media incredulity that DFAT could imply that women who don't wear such garments are somehow immodest and what this says about an organisation that is supposed to represent Australia to the world and to champion the rights of women and girls.

* Most Australians would be aghast that about $44 million of their taxes will be paid this financial year for aid projects in the Palestinian territories, while the Palestinian Authority managed to find $US347m last year for payments to convicted terrorists and their families under its “martyr payments policy”, thus encouraging terrorism. The US House of Representatives in December unanimously passed the Taylor Force Act, which would link continued US aid to the Palestinian Authority ceasing such payments. But the Australian government, advised by DFAT, continues to resist any such linkage.

* In June last year the EU funded an EU-Australia Leadership Forum in Sydney, with round tables discussing various matters of mutual interest, organised in co-operation with DFAT. One of the round tables was focused on migration issues, an opportunity for European participants to learn more about Australia's success in stopping the people-smugglers' trade while maintaining a generous refugee intake — an achievement in which Europeans have been increasingly interested since their catastrophic and continuing migration crisis. But the round table was chaired by then Human Rights Commission president Gillian Triggs, one of the most strident critics of the government's border protection policies.

* In Brussels I discovered widespread awareness that a DFAT ­officer at the mission was moonlighting openly as the president of a political lobby group, using social media to make charges of racism and homophobia against prominent European political figures, including the leader of an EU and NATO member-state with which Australia enjoys cordial relations.

* Another DFAT official at the mission used Twitter to call for Rupert Murdoch to “become a hermit”, to describe the government as “utterly backward” on gay marriage — but Julia Gillard as “a personal hero” and “a strong female progressive” — and to barrack for a Labour win in the 2015 British election.

* At a US embassy reception arranged on November 9, 2016, to watch the results of the presidential election, a DFAT officer present wept openly once it became clear Donald Trump had won.

The problem with our foreign affairs bureaucracy isn't just the consistent political correctness and suspicion of the Coalition. Much effort is devoted to activity often marginal to Australia's international interests. Much fretting goes into how to achieve increased staffing diversity in DFAT, including through “diversity networks” and “champions” — even though the days when it was dominated by Anglo heterosexual men are long gone. No one wants discrimination against minorities, but most taxpayers would see DFAT's participation in last year's Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras as an activity remote from the protection of our international interests.

Agonised introspection chews up much effort more broadly, with the regular generation of often impenetrable managerialese: for ­example, with its “capability improvement program” — not to be confused with its “capability action plan” — DFAT is on a “capability development journey”, ever on the lookout for “capability champions” (to supplement the “diversity champions”).

The effort put into this gibberish, which now includes “unconscious bias” training for managers, requires much expensive staff time. The appalling lapse by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet in losing hundreds of cabinet documents raises the question of whether these fashionable corporate obsessions distract attention from important priorities, such as ensuring national security and maintaining the confidence of our allies in sharing their secrets with us.

Even more effort goes into DFAT's favourite activity, campaigning for more influence in the UN. If this didn't require such effort, money and distortion to our foreign policy, it might not matter. But, as with Labor's campaign for the UN Security Council, that's rarely the case. In that instance, in pursuit of votes, hundreds of millions of dollars of extra aid money were pumped into Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa, and we softened our traditionally strong support for Israel.

To avoid a repeat performance, Abbott resisted DFAT pressure to launch a campaign for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council. That partly reflected its particularly dubious nature — its members include Saudi Arabia, Cuba and China. But after Abbott lost the leadership, DFAT quickly got the green light. As The Australian's Greg Sheridan observed, this signalled that the Turnbull administration was going to be a bit more cuddly and progressive interna­tionally. It chewed up huge am­ounts of effort as we hawked our credentials to be admitted into the company of some of the world's worst human rights violators.

With its managerial and UN preoccupations, DFAT has long neglected some of the basics of what we should expect of a foreign service. Foreign language skills, one of the keys to understanding other countries, aren't taken all that seriously. Unlike most diplomatic services, foreign language ability isn't compulsory for recruits. Several officers in Brussels, after years in the city, hadn't bothered to learn enough French to be able to order a cup of coffee.

The writing skills of recruits are generally poor considering the competitive selection process. Many struggle to string together a coherent paragraph, let alone reports that may find their way towards the top of a minister's or prime minister's in-tray.

An especially insidious manifestation of DFAT's right-on tendencies is the widespread instinct to shun political forces its officials disapprove of, be it members of Trump's team during the US presidential campaign or Brexiteers ahead of the British referendum on EU membership.

On networking skills, many DFAT staff are painfully shy and passive about developing contacts. More useful than unconscious bias courses for DFAT staff would be training on developing networks, writing well, and developing conversation skills.

A curiosity is that as skills once considered core for our diplomats have declined, accommodation of dietary preferences has seen explosive growth. Colleagues at Meat & Livestock Australia have encountered vegetarianism so often among DFAT staff at their promotional events that they would occasionally ask in semi-jest if it was a selection criterion. One of our young diplomats once, when told that fish was to be served at an embassy function, demanded evidence that it had been sustainably sourced.

Our foreign affairs bureaucracy can be sloppy when it comes to what should be basics such as how we define our key area of strategic interest — where precision is important. The recent foreign policy white paper confirmed this as the “Indo-Pacific”, defined as the eastern Indian Ocean to the Pacific — so excluding the western parts of South Asia, Pakistan and Afghanistan. But at another point in the document, the authors treat the whole of South Asia as part of the Indo-Pacific.

Another basic is that DFAT should be prudent with taxpayers' money. In 2012 it famously paid $388,000 to send 23 officials to a climate change summit in Rio de Janeiro; four years later it paid $192,000 to send a similar number to Paris to find ways to save costs. There was further extravagance last year when our 113 heads of mission were recalled home for discussions at a cost of $1.17m. As reported by The Australian, Alexander Downer, when foreign minister, rejected proposals for such meetings as a waste of money and time. Nothing about last year's meeting suggested this assessment needed revision.

The 2015 review of DFAT led by Brendan Nelson recommended extending postings to four years, which would have saved millions of dollars. But after union objections, DFAT dropped the idea. To her credit, Julie Bishop, on becoming Foreign Minister, banned first-class travel in DFAT, prompting probably the most bitter objections from its leadership to any decision of the current government.

But probably DFAT's worst failing is its lack of alertness to opportunities to advance the national interest. Why, for example did it not persuade Kevin Rudd or Gillard to pursue a free-trade agreement with the EU?

The EU is the world's second largest economy but its protectionism heavily restricts Australian exports in key areas such as beef and lamb. During Labor's last term in office, the US, Canada and Japan launched talks on securing free trade agreements with the EU. The Canadians in 2012 estimated that an FTA with the EU would result in a $C12bn increase in Canada's gross domestic product and 80,000 new jobs. Such analysis should have prompted Australia also to bang on doors in Brussels to start FTA talks. Why did that have to await the Abbott government?

SOURCE






Good for graduates, bad for society. Why university is a waste

Never have I been more excited than on my first day at university.

Orientation week, which is about to begin throughout the nation, opened a door to an entire world of courses, clubs, concerts, films, friends and beautiful facilities in which to have endless fun and be treated like an adult without ever having to act like one.

Ditching the idea of science, my original first choice, I chose drama, because I fancied myself as a producer of radio plays, politics, because I was obsessed with it, and economics because there was so much about it in the papers, and it was really, really, interesting; all the more so because no-one seemed to know the answers.

At university I was allowed to grow up slowly and learn stuff I wanted to learn, for its own sake. Never, for a second, until the final few months did I think about whether it would get me a job.

I don't know what's changed in more recent years, perhaps the economy, but it doesn't seem to be like that these days. Students often work part-time, they choose courses on the basis of job prospects and they limit the time they spend on campus.

If I had my way, I would recommend the full university experience to everyone, but I'd be wrong.

Financially, there's an advantage, one I didn't know much about at the time.

Over their lifetimes university graduates earn 40 to 75 per cent more than workers who go to work straight from school. One estimate puts the lifetime earnings of male graduates at $2.3 million compared to $1.7 million for those who go straight to work. The earnings of female graduates are put at $1.8 million compared to $1.4 million.

You might have noticed those figures say nothing about whether or not university education is the cause of those extra earnings. Those people might have done well anyway. It is my unfortunate duty to tell you most would not have. University education brings about extra earnings, rather than being merely associated with them. An ingenious Australian study of identical twins (“by definition, the same innate ability and family background”) found that it's the twin that does the extra study that gets the extra earnings.

Research conducted by Dr Andrew Leigh, now a member of parliament, found that each extra year of education beyond Year 10 added an extra 10 per cent to lifetime earnings.

But it didn't answer the more important question: what is it about those extra years that makes the students so much more valuable? If you think the answer is "learning more stuff" you'll have to answer to Bryan Caplan.

A university professor himself, he has just published a book titled The Case Against Education. Its implications are enormous. He is in no doubt that graduates earn more, and that graduation is the reason. But he thinks it has little to do with what they learnt.

Consider two students who had each learnt as much. One had a family tragedy and couldn't sit the final exam, the other could. US statistics show that the one who got the final piece of paper earns roughly 10 per cent more than other people for each extra year of education, whereas the one who learnt the stuff but missed out on the certificate gets only 4.2 per cent more.

Or ask someone whether they would have rather have learnt stuff without getting a degree or got a degree without learning stuff.

And what could they possibly have learnt at university that would be of use to an employer anyway? Calculus? Literature? Most jobs don't even require algebra, and literature doesn't help people write, which is what's required in jobs. There are exceptions: economics might be one, engineering another. But most courses teach things that aren't useful for employers.

So why do employers pay so much for people who've done them, or at least have got the certificates to show they once did them?

Caplan reckons it's profiling, a bit like racial profiling, where police use the way someone looks as a rule of thumb to work out whether they are likely to commit a crime, or the profiling by insurance companies who use postcodes to tell them what to charge. It mightn't be fair, but it's quick.

Seen that way, university is a sorting tool for employers, one they don't pay for. It helps them identify characteristics that will be needed on the job but have nothing to do with what was learnt. One is intelligence. You need a certain amount to get enough marks to pass, whatever the subject. Another is conscientiousness. You need to apply yourself. And the third is conformity. Sane free-thinkers realise quickly there's not a lot of point to what they are learning and drop out. Degrees certify IQ, the ability to knuckle down and a worker who won't make trouble.

So they are great for employers and great for graduates, albeit at the cost of enormous wasted resources. Employers could get the same outcomes if the courses lasted for two years instead of four, or even one. Or if they administered tests themselves.

If Caplan's right, we should be pushing politicians for less education rather than more, especially as the ageing of the population makes workers more scarce. My own company, Fairfax, is doing just that. It has taken on several truly excellent journalists precisely for the reason that they left university rather than see it through. They wanted to do the job rather than study it.

University isn't for everyone, but life is. And it's even better than university.

SOURCE





Construction Set To Surge To Decade High

Activity in the commercial construction sector is set to have the best year in more than a decade.

“With forecast growth of more than 14.5 per cent (equal to $5.3 billion) commercial building activity will be strong enough on its own to drag the whole industry back into positive territory for the first time in four years," Matthew Pollock, Master Builders Australia's National Manager Economics said.

The latest Building & Construction Industry Forecasts produced by Master Builders Australia show that total commercial construction activity is expected to contribute $42 billion to the economy in 2017-18.  

“With a small moderation expected in the value of residential construction work and another year of consolidation in the engineering sector, the timing of this surge in commercial construction couldn't be better," Matthew Pollock said.

“Better yet, new commercial construction projects will provide job opportunities for workers who may be finishing up on major high density residential projects over the next 12 months or so," he said.

“New retail related construction is expected to rise to $6.9 billion in 2017-18, led by the recent introduction of some big international retailers, including Amazon which recently built a large distribution centre in Melbourne's Dandenong South and plans by Aldi to open another 30 stores across the country in the next 12 months," Matthew Pollock said.

“Asia continues to be a strong source of tourist visitor numbers, particularly from Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and China. Asian investment is following the tourists with $4 billion committed to the construction of new pipeline of resorts and hotels with Queensland's resort sectors forecast to do particularly well," he said.

“Looking a little further down the track, the Government's investment in major transport infrastructure is ramping up and will support a boom in transport related construction over the next 5 years. There are currently more than $170 billion in transports projects in the pipeline, with activity expected to peak in 2019-20. This work will provide jobs for years and also provide much need productivity enhancing infrastructure. Master Builders has called for a greater focus on infrastructure investment to support businesses, but also to boost new housing supply and help with housing affordability," Matthew Pollock said.

“On the residential building front, the last three years saw unprecedented growth in new housing construction. We have built more than 200,000 new dwellings per year – a feat unmatched in our history," he said.

“Despite the forecast showing a moderation in new dwelling construction, we expect new commencements in 2017-18 to top 195,000 and average around 185,000 thereafter. To keep pace with population growth we will need to build at least 185,000 new dwellings each year for the next five years," Matthew Pollock said.

Media release






Renewable subsidies and the destruction of Australian energy competitiveness

Alan Moran

Yesterday I was the token rationalist speaker at the Australasian Agricultural and Resources Economics Society’s “The Future of Australian Energy Symposium”.

Two other speakers were Tony Wood (from the ALP’s think tank Grattan Institute recently rewarded for the damage his advice has done with an AO) and Danny Price from Frontier Economics (also an ALP consultant).

In so far as their advice has been followed, these two prominent characters have been instrumental in forging the taxing policies on fossil fuel generators that have destroyed our energy market. They now acknowledge the market is broken, it being impossible to shrug off the line ball reliability and doubling soon-to-be trebling of prices

But the politicians’ favoured consultants’ solution is one further attempt to get the interventionary policies right. Like the fans of socialism, they say its failure is because it has never been done properly!

The other speakers were operationally oriented – largely consultants – who proffered ways that the renewable target, now sanctified by the Paris Agreement few recognise as dead and buried, could be operationalised.

We have seen the wholesale price for electricity rise from under $40 per MWh with very little trend up until 2012, and was still $40 in 2015, to its present level of around $90 per MWh

​Wind has risen from nothing in the early part of the century to a share of over 10 per cent today. All of that wind is dependent on subsidies currently around $85 per MWh. In addition, there is the roof top solar (subsidised at $40 per MWh plus advantageous export tariffs). ​

Due to its abundant coal supplies, Australia had perhaps the cheapest electricity in the world ten years ago. As a result of the renewable subsidies it is now among the most expensive. Aside from increased direct costs to households, this has immense adverse consequences for the competitiveness of Australian industries and hence the nation’s living standards.

We can reverse direction and perhaps the demonstration effect of the US will provide the catalyst.

More HERE 

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, February 18, 2018



Gun Confiscation in Australia:  A model for the USA?  

The writer below is correct in saying that differences between Australia and the USA mean that what works in Australia would not work in the USA.  He ignores the elephant in the room, however.  America has many blacks who frequently mount assaults of various kinds on whites.  So whites need guns to defend themselves.  Australia has for a long time had almost no Africans so has had much less personally endangering crime.

The situation has however just changed.  Australia has recently taken in a population of Africans as "refugees".  And in one Australian city -- Melbourne -- they have become numerous enough to form gangs of criminal black youth.  These gangs frequently break into people's homes even while the family is home and even use crowbars to defeat security doors.  That is immensely disturbing to the people victimized and leaves them feeling helpless and very insecure.

The response so far is to demand that the police stop the raids but the police clearly have got not a clue what to do about it.  Talk has been the only response so far.  Once the impotence of the police has been widely accepted, Australians too will be demanding guns to protect themelves


In the wake of last October's mass murder by a sociopath in Las Vegas, comes tragic news of another mass murder on a school campus in Florida.

The contrast between the response of two presidents is revealing, one focusing on culture and the other focussing on guns. Despite all the Democrat rhetoric about “gun control," as is the case with their faux rhetoric about immigration, when Barack Obama took office in 2009, Democrats had full legislative control of the 111th Congress. In the Senate there were 57 Democrats and two Independents who caucused with Democrats. In the House there were 257 Democrats and 178 Republicans.

Democrats could have enacted every gun control measure they wanted between 2009 and 2011 – but didn't. Why?

Regarding the most recent tragedy, predictably Democrats and their MSM propagandists have re-warmed their latest batch of lies about the murder of children in order to peddle their political agenda.

The BIG lie this week, in order to bolster the Left's calls for “gun control," is that there have already been “18 school shootings" this year. Even The Washington Post has called foul on that claim, noting it's “a horrifying statistic. And it is wrong." Indeed, it is wrong, but most of the Demo/MSM colluders don't allow facts to impede their political agendas.

However, this is an indisputable fact. There are three things the Leftmedia's saturation coverage always communicates to future mass murder assailants: 1. We will make sure you are famous by devoting all our air time, 24/7, to you! 2. As targets go, a school is best because that will get you the most attention, and nobody will shoot back! 3. Use an AR-15 – they are the most popular gun for the job and we can call it an “assault weapon"!

There are many media myths about gun control being propagated by the Left this week, and by extension, all their lemmings who regurgitate those “facts."

Most prevalent myths in social media forums are calls echoing the MSM's solution: Enact the Australian gun confiscation model. By way of addressing this claim, allow me to repost here a debate with my friend Neville, who is a deeply entrenched liberal from the UK now living in the US, and who has taken it upon himself to reform our nation. Here is an abridged summary of that debate…

Neville:

The time is now to talk about Gun Control! The maiming and death of these children is so pointless, unnecessary and PREVENTABLE. Get rid of the guns. No mass shootings in Australia for over 20 years and counting after a government gun ban.

MA:

The tragic murders in Florida were, indeed, senseless — as are the emotive “solutions" that, predictably, follow such tragic events. I share your grief for these victims and their families, but not your prescription to resolve the culture of violence.

As for your solution … as I am sure you are aware, the culture in Australia has not been conducive to violence in decades. In fact, at one time the culture in America was not conducive to violence either. Not long ago, there were plenty of guns on high school campuses, but no mass shootings.

Yes, Neville, there have been no mass shootings in Australia since the gun ban was enacted, but there were few before then.

In fact, there are few murders in Australia, period. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 1996, before enactment of the gun ban, Australia had had 311 murders, 98 by assailants with guns (including the 35 people killed in one mass shooting that prompted the confiscation). In the latest year of record, there were 227 people murdered, 32 by assailants using guns.

I should note here that the population of Australia is only 7% that of the United States, but when adjusting for population size, the number of murders in Australia are still only 20% of the US annual total, of which about 70% were assailant using firearms. But note that, after Australia confiscated all guns, assailants are still using guns to murder people… I guess only law-abiding citizens turned in their guns.

Of course, crime in the U.S. has actually declined more than in Australia over the last two decades. Concurrently, gun ownership in America has increased significantly while homicides by assailants with guns have also declined.

Apparently, more guns, less crime.

So what accounts for the difference in murder rates?

Australia is not plagued with urban poverty plantations created by five decades of failed Democrat social policies, and the resulting epidemic of violent crime. For the record, the top urban crime centers have the most restrictive firearm regulations in the nation. Using Demo-logic, shouldn't these “gun-free zones" be the safest places in America?

As for the “gun problem," if you are NOT a gang-banger or associated with drug trafficking (and Neville, I think you are clear on both counts), the probability of your being murdered in the U.S. falls in line with the probability of your being murdered in your beloved native UK homeland — where most types of guns have been banned for years.

Notably, however, American children are at much greater risk of being killed by a drunk driver than an assailant with a gun. Thus, while I know you favor the finer labels of liquid libation and use it responsibly, by your logic, the government should confiscate it because there are far more deaths associated with alcohol use than firearms — in fact, in many cases assailants using a firearm are alcohol impaired…

As for your sentiments about guns, I would be pleased to provide you with some “Gun-Free Household" stickers so you can broadcast the fact that your home is the best neighborhood option for uncontested intrusion!

SOURCE






Court says 'no' to Pell lawyers push to view accusers' medical records

This sets up a challenge to any verdict against Pell.  Why would they so undermine their own enquiry?  Obviously, at least some of the witneseses have an unsafe background

George Pell's legal defence team has been denied access to the medical records of the people who have made allegations of sexual offences against him.

Magistrate Belinda Wallington on Wednesday said she had to weigh up the whether there was any legal value in letting the defence lawyers look through the accusers' medical records and what harm that might do to the complainants.

"I am not persuaded the applications will have a substantial probative value," Ms Wallington ruled in Melbourne Magistrates Court.

Cardinal Pell, 76, faces charges of historical sexual offences involving multiple complainants. Details of the charges are yet to be revealed.

The court heard on Wednesday one charge related to a key complainant would likely be withdrawn.

The cardinal, who was not in court on Wednesday, has repeatedly denied the alleged offending.

His lawyers last week applied for access to the medical records of the people who have made allegations, ahead of the four-week hearing that will determine whether the cardinal stands trial. That hearing is due to start on March 5.

Prosecutor Mark Gibson, SC, last week told the court the complainants objected to the request for their medical records, as they wanted their privacy maintained. Mr Gibson described the defence request as "a fishing expedition".

Cardinal Pell's lawyers have requested medical records relating to one complainant from Justice Health, which provides medical services for Victorian prisoners.

But prosecutor Fran Dalziel on Wednesday said that, given the magistrate's ruling, medical records shouldn't be sought via another route.

Ms Wallington said she would rule on the Justice Health medical records at a later date.

The defence lawyers have also sought legal documents from Victoria Police, law firms, victims' advocacy group Broken Rites, the ABC and journalist Louise Milligan, whose book Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of George Pell was published before the cardinal was charged.

Melbourne University Press withdrew Ms Milligan's book from Victorian shops when Cardinal Pell was charged last year.

Defence counsel Ruth Shann said on Wednesday the reliability and credibility of one of the accusers would be tested during the committal hearing, given that man had a "domino effect" on other people contacting police.

Cardinal Pell has taken leave from his position as Vatican treasurer to be in Australia to fight the charges.

His case will return to court for another administrative hearing next week.

SOURCE






Channel Seven commentator and former world champion Jacqui Cooper is blasted for 'racist' comments about Chinese skiers

Seven's Olympic coverage has attracted further criticism after a commentator was accused of being 'racist' for saying 'all Chinese competitors look the same'.

Former Australian Olympian Jacqui Cooper was commentating the first stages of the women's aerials at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics on Thursday evening when she was speaking about the Chinese skiiers.

'Very Chinese,' Cooper said of Yan Ting's first jump. 'They all look the same, they're very hard to tell who's who.'

Cooper's comments were immediately slammed on social media, with many stunned by what they had heard.

'Did Jacqui Cooper really just say that all the Chinese athletes look the same? #7Olympics' one shocked viewer asked.

'Jacqui Cooper with the casual racism whilst commentating on #7Olympics,' another person tweeted.

Channel Seven issued a statement through their social media accounts on Thursday night explaining Cooper was specifically discussing the Chinese style of aerials and not their physical appearance.

'During tonight's cover of the women's aerials, commentator Jacqui Cooper a former Olympian and World Champion - noted than an aerial manouevre was in a technical and style sense, very Chinese,' Seven said.

'Meaning that the whole of the Chinese aerial team are trained in the same way - and the manouevre referenced was a classic technically perfect, trademark of that team's style.

'At no time was the commentary racist, intended to be racist or offensive.'

SOURCE






Barnaby defended

HOURS after Malcolm Turnbull announced his now aptly-nicknamed “bonk ban", the Q&A panel has slammed the Prime Minister's decision, calling it a “gross overreach".

Thursday night's Q&A - a special episode for the #MeToo movement - stepped carefully when it came to discussing the global campaign.

But when Barnaby Joyce's sex life came up, specifically how it inspired Mr Turnbull to ban sexual relationships between ministers and staffers, the panel didn't hold back.

Josh Bornstein, a prominent workplace lawyer who has dealt with a number of sexual harassment cases, called it a “panicked response" and said it “detracts from the Me Too movement".

Mr Joyce's relationship with his former staffer Vikki Campion — albeit an affair and the one that ruined his 24-year marriage — is and was consensual.

“My view might be totally out of line but it's that consensual relationships are perfectly OK at work. I don't have a difficulty — despite some of the issues with Barnaby Joyce — he's had a consensual relationship with a 33-year-old woman who is perfectly able to decide," Mr Bornstein said.

“The bonk ban is a gross overreach," he added.

Mr Bornstein's sentiment was supported by Janet Albrechtsen, a columnist for The Australian.

Ms Albrechtsen has been particularly outspoken about the #MeToo movement over the past few months, expressing concerns it is promoting a social media mob mentality.

In regards to Mr Turnbull's decision to ban sex amongst those working in Parliament, Ms Albrechtsen said Australia was getting on a “very fast train" and “we don't quite know where it's going to go".

The decision to ban sex in the workplace is a difficult rule to enforce as, all the panellists agreed, a large number of people meet their partners in the workplace.

Earlier Thursday, the ABC expressed its disappointment over Charles Waterstreet's decision to withdraw from Thursday night's Q&A panel.

Mr Waterstreet, a controversial Sydney barrister who has been accused of sexual harassment and inappropriate comments, withdrew from the #MeToo edition late on Wednesday night.

The high-profile barrister has always denied the allegations, but made the decision after he was contacted by the NSW Bar Association's President Arthur Moses.

Mr Moses wrote to Mr Waterstreet informing him “it was his firm view that it was neither appropriate or prudent for him to appear on Q&A to discuss issues concerning the #MeToo anti-sexual harassment movement."

Despite withdrawing from the panel, Mr Waterstreet wasn't spared from Thursday night's discussion.

When introducing fellow lawyer Mr Bornstein, the panel's host Virginia Trioli said, “Josh, I'll start with you — our only male panellist tonight — which wasn't our intention, but that's what we've ended up with."

Ms Albrechtsen however, defended Mr Waterstreet, saying he was the sort of person who needed to be a part of the #MeToo conversation when asked about alienating men.

“Charles Waterstreet would not have come under pressure, for example, from the Bar Association to come on, because these kind of voices are the ones that need to be part of the conversation," she said.

“When we start excluding voices — as happened here tonight with Charles Waterstreet — I think that's really sad," she added.

SOURCE

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, February 16, 2018






Defence call for public support from ‘allies’ of LGBTI soldiers

POLITICALLY correct defence chiefs have told members of the Australian military to signal they are an “ally” of the LGBTI community by putting a rainbow flag next to their name in the national ADF staff directory.

The latest attempt at “inclusion” comes after the Human Rights Commissioner fired a salvo at defence chiefs saying there were still “pockets of resistance” to “embracing diversity” within defence.

But Army veterans warned the rainbow flag attempt at inclusion could backfire by excluding many members of the military who chose not to be a Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Intersex (LBGTI) ally.

Defence’s “Diversity and Inclusion Adviser” Thomas Hoffman wrote to members of the military about the “sweet new function” which allowed people to show they are an “LGBTI ally” by putting the rainbow flag next to their name on the Defence Corporate Directory.

“The broad principal (sic) with workplace allies is that they are visible, supportive people who can act as a POC (point of contact) should someone have an issue in the workplace,” he wrote last month.

“We are not putting strict rules in place on who is or isn’t an ally because we don’t want to stifle the fantastic, positive and uplifting conversations you know you’ll be having amongst colleagues and peers,” he said.

Australian Peacekeeper and Peacemaker Veterans Association NSW President Bruce Relph said: “This is nuts. Sexuality has no place in the military.

He said there were concerns that not conforming to the rainbow tag could affect opportunities for promotion. “Something like this should not be allowed to affect someone’s career path,” he said.

Former Army officer and Australian Conservatives member Bernie Gaynor said that by not signing up, those members of the defence force “will be publicly outed” and their career affected.

“Defence members who refuse to sign up are likely to face difficulties obtaining promotions, especially to the higher ranks.”

The move comes after Human Rights Commissioner Edward Santow told the Military Pride Ball last year that “pockets of resistance remain in the ADF”.

“Embracing diversity will not only allow the ADF more effectively to meet the challenges of modern warfare, but will also allow it to live up to the expectations of the communities they defend,” he said.

Mr Gaynor said: “It is extremely concerning that this program has been launched following the Human Rights Commissioner’s declaration that there are ‘pockets of resistance’ to homosexuality within Defence.

“We are facing a ‘rainbow jihad’ inside Defence. This policy is not about acceptance. It is about pressuring all Defence members to celebrate homosexuality.”

SOURCE

Non-compliance will most likely be perceived as a lack of tolerance and be discriminated against because of that.  So anyone declining to join the rainbow flag mission could themselves become victims of intolerance. 

Were I still in the forces, I would ask for an Australian flag against my name







High Court Rules Union Officials Can Be Held Personally Liable For Breaking Workplace Laws    
         
Union officials will held more accountable for their behaviour on building sites following a decision by the High Court that they can be penalised for their individual conduct.

“The High Court’s ruling signals that union officials are not above the law. It means that unions will not be able to indemnify their officials by paying court fines on their behalf. Officials will now face the consequences if they break the law, just like everyone else in the community,” Denita Wawn, CEO of Master Builders Australia said.

The High Court ruled on an ABCC challenge to a full Federal Court decision setting aside Justice Mortimer's ban on the CFMEU paying Victorian branch organiser Joe Myles' $18,000 penalty for unlawful conduct in 2013.

In Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union [2018] HCA 3 (14 February 2018), the High Court found that Courts may impose personal fines against Union Officials for their misconduct and breaches of the Fair Work Act, on top of fines to Unions. The decision affirms the Courts can force union officials to pay fines personally – rather than have the union pay them on their behalf.

In their reasoning, the High Court found that the Federal Court was not able to impose an order for ‘non-indemnification’ against penalties. However, they ordered that a proper construction of the penalty provisions of the Fair Work Act did allow the Courts to make a personal payment order against Union Officials.

The matter has now been referred back to the Federal Court for re-consideration of penalties in line with the new interpretation.

"We can only hope that this decision will mean that union officials will think twice before breaking the law,” Denita Wawn said.

Media release






'We're approaching our limits - if we haven't already exceeded them': Controversial new senator Jim Molan says Australia can't take any more migrants in maiden speech

Controversial new senator Jim Molan has used his first speech in parliament to call for stricter immigration controls.

The right-wing former major-general was savaged by Greens MPs for sharing anti-Muslim videos on Twitter soon after taking his seat on the Liberal Party benches last Monday.

Today he spoke for the first time to say legal immigration was 'excessive' and putting a strain on Australian cities.

'Control of our borders and immigration are important to me, as they are to most Australians,' he told the chamber.

'We now effectively control our borders in a way that few now trust the opposition to do.

'However, I am concerned that the level of legal migration, now that we control our borders, is in excess of the capacity for our cities to absorb, both culturally or in terms of infrastructure.

'We are approaching limits on this, if we have not already exceeded them. I don't have the answer, but I certainly have the concern.'

Senator Molan also defended Operation Sovereign Borders, a policy he helped Tony Abbott introduce to stop illegal immigrants arriving in boats, by saying it had 'saved lives.'

He went on to praise the armed forces by saying they 'represent everything good about Australia' and said he wanted Australia to be more self-reliant in defence.

'I have no expectation that governments immediately spend one more dollar on defence, but for years I have advocated that we must be more open about the strategic risks that are being taken in the name of the Australian people,' he told parliament.

The NSW Liberal then insisted he was not a member of a faction in the senate but said he 'proudly stood' by prominent conservatives John Howard, Tony Abbott, Scott Morrison, Peter Dutton, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells and Stuart Robert.

The speech came after Molan refused to accept Greens MP Adam Bandt's apology for describing him as a 'war criminal' and a 'complete coward' on national television.

Senator Molan - who has a decorated 40-year military career - threatened to hit Mr Bandt with a lawsuit if he did not retract his statements and make an apology.

Mr Bandt suggested in a TV interview on Wednesday the father of sports presenter Erin Molan may have committed war crimes during the battle for Fallujah.

Senator Molan gathered his legal artillery after the Greens MP said he would 'probably be up for prosecution' if an independent inquiry was launched into his actions in the Iraq War.

The Liberal senator said he would pursue legal action if he wasn't given an appropriate apology. 'I would invite Mr Bandt to offer me a public apology,' Mr Molan told The Australian on Wednesday. 'If he publicly apologised to me for the statements that he made, then that would end the problem.'

Speaking to Sky News earlier in the week, Mr Bandt condemned Mr Molan for sharing videos by far-right UK group Britain First on Facebook.

The retired major-general and now NSW Liberal senator shared the videos in March last year which purport to show Muslim violence in Europe.

Senator Molan has since described the Britain First group as 'scum' but has not apologised for sharing the videos.

Senator Molan told parliament on Monday he was not racist or anti-Islam and had shared the videos because he was against violence and anti-social behaviour.

Mr Bandt said Senator Molan was 'a coward' for refusing to apologise.

'When you share white supremacist videos and then you justify it by saying 'Oh, I'm doing it to stimulate debate', and that is the line that came out of his office, you are a coward, you are a complete coward,' he said.

'If there was a proper inquiry, in an independent inquiry into the war in Iraq in Australia, like there has been in other countries, I think you would find Jim Molan would probably be up for prosecution rather than praise for his role in the atrocities in Fallujah.'

The Fallujah campaign was heavily criticised for its indifference to civilians.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale earlier accused Mr Molan of committing war crimes.

He made the comment in Parliament on Monday night, and was therefore protected from defamation by parliamentary privilege.

His colleague Mr Bandt made his comments about the war veteran outside parliament and is therefore not protected from defamation.

SOURCE






An end to separate men's and women's sport? Government MP makes radical suggestion for 'desegregated' competitions during heated debate about females in war

This should set the cat among the pigeons

A Turnbull Government MP has suggested men and women should compete against each other on the sporting field.

Perth-based Liberal senator Linda Reynolds made the radical call during a Twitter debate about women serving on the frontline of war.

In a social media battle with former Australian Christian Lobby boss Lyle Shelton, the 52-year-old backbencher suggested sporting codes allow women to compete against men - like the Australian Defence Force does when it comes to recruitment.

'So why don’t we take the lead from the ADF and desegregate women in sport, so men and women compete equally on talent, not by gender?,' she said.

Mr Shelton, who plans to run as an Australian Conservatives candidate at the next federal election, is opposed to the idea of female soldiers fighting in battle.

'If the AFL and the NRL are allowed to recognise the physical differences between men & women, why can’t the Army?,' he said.

Senator Reynolds, who spent 28 years in the Australian Army Reserve before becoming a brigadier, had described Mr Shelton's views as '1950s'.

'Your flippancy does great disservice to the thousands women who have, and continue, to serve our nation with great distinction side by side with their equally capable male counterparts,' she said.

She pointed out the Women's Royal Australian Army Corp was disbanded in 1985 when women were fully integrated into the Army.

The Australian government took another 26 years to allow females to join combat regiments.

Her proposal on mixed-gender sports could see the likes of Women's One Day International cricket star Ellyse Perry play on the same Test team as Steve Smith.

Australian women's soccer star Sam Kerr could be playing on the same side as Socceroos goal-scoring legend Tim Cahill.

However almost all sports have seperate competitions for male and female athletes, because of the difference in physical traits such as speed and strength.

Senator Reynold's call to gender desegregate sport comes as the AFL allows transgender footballer Hannah Mouncey to play in women's state and territory league matches.

SOURCE

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




Thursday, February 15, 2018



Kids incarcerated in Australia have 'alarming' levels of neurodevelopmental impairment

This is worse than political correctness.  It is straight out political deception.  The word "Aboriginal" is not mentioned below but most of the kids concerned will be Aboriginal.  Fetal alcohol syndrome is, for instance, common among Aborigines.

So what can you do about it?  Take the Aboriginal children out of their dangerous home environments and give them to whites to bring up?  Then you would have another "stolen generation" and we have been through that ad nauseam before.  Any other ideas?  I know of no realistic ones. 

The do gooders below say that "care plans can be put in place."  That could conceivably help a little whilst the kids are in detention but they will never be detained for long -- and do you have any idea of how much notice an Aboriginal family would take of a "care plan"?

While Aboriginals commit every dietary sin imaginable  -- including the drinking of metho (methlyated alcohol) -- both they and their children will always have bad health



An alarming world-first study into the cognitive abilities of young people in detention in Australia has found evidence of severe neurodevelopmental impairment in almost every child assessed.

Researchers from the Telethon Kids Institute assessed 99 children aged 10 to 17 incarcerated at the Banksia Hill Detention Centre in Western Australia. The findings uncovered an unprecedented prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and severe neurodevelopmental impairment.

Most of the impairment had been left undiagnosed despite multiple contacts with government agencies and sentencing in court, leading the experts to call for improvements in the way health, education, justice, child protection and other systems took care of young people who presented with school difficulties, mental health issues or behavioural problems.

The study, led by Professor Carol Bower and Clinical Associate Professor Raewyn Mutch, will be published in the British Medical Journal Open on Wednesday. It found WA had the highest known prevalence of FASD in a custodial setting in the world.

"Of the 99 young people who completed full assessments we found 36 of them – more than one in three – had FASD," Professor Bower said.  "Of this 36, only two had been previously diagnosed."

They also found 89 per cent of sentenced youth had at least one severe neurodevelopmental impairment, whether they had FASD or not. Two thirds had at least three domains of severe impairment, while 23 per cent had five or more domains impaired. These domains included executive function, not being able to relate cause and effect, memory, attention and cognition problems.

A quarter were found to have an intellectual disability, with an IQ of 70 or less.

"These findings, which document an unprecedented prevalence of FASD and severe neurodevelopmental impairment, highlight the vulnerability of young people within the justice system and their significant need for improved diagnosis to identify their strengths and difficulties, and to guide and improve their rehabilitation," Professor Bower said.

"We recommend that young people be fully assessed on entry into the juvenile justice system and preferably much, much sooner, at their first encounter with the law or before, so their vulnerabilities are recognised, and specific and appropriate interventions and care plans can be put in place."

SOURCE






Australia is missing the Closing the Gap employment target by decades

Of course it is.  Nobody really expects the gap to close.  The plan is just window dressing.  Australian Aborigines have one of the lowest average IQs ever recorded.  Nothing in the world would bring such people up to white standards

Australia is missing its target to halve the unemployment gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia by several decades, according to the latest Closing the Gap report.

The report also highlights many other problems with current Closing the Gap targets. For instance, the unemployment target misses other aspects of economic life, such as income. The targets need to be rethought so that they address economic well-being and more closely guide strategy and policies on the ground.

The unemployment rate for Indigenous Australians is going down. But 2016 Census data show that it will take until 2031 to halve the gap, and until about 2051 to close the gap entirely. Even New South Wales, which leads Australia on this measure, won’t meet the target until about 2026.

One reason why some states are doing better in tackling the unemployment gap is that different opportunities are available for urban and rural Australians. In 2014/15, only 5% of the NSW Indigenous population lived in remote areas. This compares to 21% nationally, 79% in the Northern Territory and 19% in Queensland.

Under the Indigenous Procurement Policy, 3% of all federal procurement contracts go to Indigenous businesses. This is a big part of the federal government’s plan to achieve the employment target.

However, while there may be some success stories, a recent report also warned that “the policy’s target measurement system greatly exaggerates its success”.

SOURCE





Plan to use Illawarra steel for defence vehicles to shore up manufacturing jobs

Australian steel is tipped to play a key role in the country's fledgling defence exports industry, with a deal being signed in the Illawarra region of NSW.

German defence technology firm Rheinmetall will team up with Bluescope Steel, which operates the Port Kembla steel works, to create a new military vehicle.



The armoured vehicles will be developed at a new "centre of excellence" west of Brisbane and if successful, will be sourced from 100 per cent Australian steel.

The first shipping of 15 tonnes of steel is bound for Germany for testing.

Rheinmetall director of strategy Tim Pickford said if successful, Bluescope would be the only supplier in the Southern Hemisphere to meet the "stringent" standards.

"There are only two companies in the world that we go to for high-hardness armour," Mr Pickford said.

"We've continued to be nothing but impressed with the capability here in the Illawarra region, it's a world beater.

    "One of the problems is that because manufacturing's kind of a dirty word at the moment, we don't believe in ourselves, but I think the Australian steel team will put this place back on the map."

Plans for a global military vehicle export hub

Mr Pickford said the plan was to supply the vehicles to the Australian Defence Force and for export.

"Europe is big for us, but let's not forget South East Asia and what's going on down here, and the requirement for renewal of military capabilities for this region," he said.

"What we see Australia representing is a hub for export to not only this region but globally as well."

The Port Kembla steel works has seen a significant turnaround since it was facing potential closure in 2015, and the new deal was being hailed as a long-term boost.

Bluescope Steel spokesman Troy Gent said it would help shore up local manufacturing jobs.

"We've been on a long road to make ourselves cost competitive," Mr Gent said.

"We've taken huge costs out of the mill, and doing what we've done over the last three or four years has enabled us to compete in a space like this."

SOURCE





New council bird ban could ruffle some Brisbane feathers

Greyhounds in. Peacocks out

Laws surrounding owning an animal in Brisbane are set to change for the first time in 14 years, including prohibiting ownership of an unusual pet and the abolition of a law many consider outdated.

Brisbane City Council has two different pieces of legislation surrounding animals that date back to 2003, but a new law, which consolidates the two, has been proposed.

While many basic laws remained unchanged there were several differences under the proposed law, including adding an animal to the list of prohibited animals. Under the new law, it would be illegal to keep peacocks and peahens in a residential area.
Currently, up to 20 peacocks can be kept on a property more than 800 square metres and up to six on premises under 800 square metres.

A council spokesman said it had been proposed to prohibit keeping peafowl after several complaints were made in the past financial year. “Council has received 11 noise complaints about peafowl, which can be excessive during mating season,” he said.
It was unclear if existing peafowl owners would have to surrender their pet if the proposed law was adopted.

Under the current law, roosters are also banned in residential areas along with some dog breeds considered to be dangerous, but this is set to remain unchanged under the new law. The proposed law would also impact owners of an increasingly popular dog breed.

The Animals Subordinate Local Law 2003 states greyhounds are to be muzzled and under the control of a person over 16 years when in public. Under the newly proposed law, there is no specific legislation about keeping greyhounds.

Greyhound rescue group Friends of the Hounds secretary Kim Meteyard said while owners knew the muzzling law existed, many chose not to enforce it because it was outdated.  “I rang city council a number of times and it depended on who you got ... they would say if they are not a racing hound it wasn’t a law and someone else would say they did [need to be muzzled],” she said. “It’s an old rule, I’m glad they’ve ditched it. Greyhounds are just like any other dog, they are like any other pet.”

Council lifestyle and community services chairman Matthew Bourke said the proposed laws would make it easier for residents to be responsible pet owners by reducing red tape and simplifying the animal permit system. "A lot has changed over the past 14 years, including a change in state government legislation, Brisbane population and density, and the new Animals Local Law 2017 is designed to better respond to community expectations,” he said.

The council's new Animals Local Law 2017 would replace and consolidate the existing Animals Local Law 2003 and the Animals Subordinate Local Law 2003. The new law is open for public consultation until February 22.

SOURCE

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, February 14, 2018



More Muslim morality

The garbage just 'wanted some attention'. Muslim ego at work again

In a disturbing incident a doctor was grabbed from behind and choked by a patient at a hospital in Perth.

Mohamed Arab was sentenced in court this week following the attack last November at the Royal Perth Hospital.

Arab was given a suspended prison sentence in the hearing before magistrates despite begging for the maximum sentence - a seven year prison term.

The 21-year-old, who has psychological problems according to his lawyer, was a regular visitor at the city hospital emergency room.

Shocking CCTV footage was played to the court showing the moment Arab grabbed the doctor from behind in an unprovoked attack and puts him in a strong chokehold.

His grip around the doctor's throat was so strong that it partially crushed the doctor's windpipe and affected the his voice, Perth Now reported.

The tape then goes on to show a host of doctors, nurses and security staff rush to free the doctor - who is now back at work - from Arab's clutches.

The court heard he later said he felt he was getting the treatment he needed but just 'wanted some attention'.

East Metropolitan Health Service chief executive Liz McLeod said: 'I was absolutely appalled, bewildered and distressed that we can have incidents like that in our hospital against our staff, who come to work to care for the sick and the vulnerable. 'It was beyond my comprehension,' she told Perth Now.

Arab was given an eight-month prison sentence suspended for 16 months and told to agree to medical treatment necessary for him.

SOURCE






Peter Dutton says the ‘scourge’ of Islamic State terrorism in Australia is here to stay

A politician who acknowledges reality!

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton says the 'scourge' of Islamic State will be with Australia for a long time, after another alleged terror attack in Melbourne.

Momena Shoma, 24, is accused of stabbing a 56-year-old man in the neck and shoulder at his Mill Park home while he was asleep with his five-year-old daughter on Friday.

'Last week there was a terrible incident that took place in Melbourne. Sadly it's not the first terrorist-related incident to take place in Melbourne,' Mr Dutton told parliament on Monday.  

'We need to recognise this scourge is with us, and with us for a long period of time.'

Mr Dutton praised Victoria's anti-terror police and ASIO for preventing more attacks: 'There's a lot of work that goes on around the clock that Australians aren't aware of.'

Shoma, the Bangladeshi national who allegedly attacked the 56-year-old father at his Callistemon Rise home in Mill Park on Friday afternoon has been charged with engaging in a terrorist act.

The victim was taken to the Royal Melbourne Hospital where he underwent surgery on Saturday for non-life threatening injuries. His man's five-year-old daughter was also present during the stabbing, but was thankfully not injured. 

Neighbours told Herald Sun the victim was a 'nice family man' and was a 'nice guy'.

Another neighbour said the man called them for help, where they found him lying in the garage in a pool of blood, saying the amount of blood was 'shocking'.

The woman was arrested at the scene and taken to hospital with a hand injury.

'She's only been in Australia for a week, they took her in because they felt sorry for her,' another neighbour said.  Police also allege the woman was 'inspired by the doctrines of ISIS'.

The victim was left in a stable condition after undergoing surgery. Shoma was remanded in custody to return to court on May 2.

SOURCE





Labor considers company tax reform in big turnaround

Trump's big cut to company tax is of course the elephant that has suddenly turned up in the room

Labor would consider introducing company tax reform if it wins the next election - but only if it can get the budget back into surplus - in a sign it is changing its stance on the contentious issue.

Labor has spent the past year arguing big business did not deserve a cut and campaigning strongly against the Turnbull government's proposed tax cuts for all companies to 25 per cent, but Tuesday marked the first time the party said it would consider business tax reform.

Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen said his focus remained returning the budget to balance in an effort to place Labor as sensible economic managers, traditionally a Coalition strong suit, as it prepares to move to an election footing.

"When the budget has returned to surplus then you can look at further tax reform of both personal and company tax, but you have to be able to afford it, you have to pay for it," Mr Bowen told ABC Radio.

Labor has previously flagged it would consider income tax cuts when the budget returns to surplus but maintained its staunch opposition to company tax cuts for businesses turning over up to $50 million a year.

"My objection to the company tax cut is that it is unaffordable in the current environment," said Mr Bowen, who said he had no philosophical opposition to affordable company tax cuts in his 2013 book Hearts and Minds.

Treasurer Scott Morrison's mid-year budget update showed the deficit had dropped to $33.2 billion, with a small budget surplus not pencilled in until 2020-21.

Under the Turnbull government's plan the cut from the current corporate tax rate of 30 per cent is designed to be phased in over 10-years, with the majority of cuts coming after 2021.

That means only firms turning over less than $100 million a year would have taxes cut to 27.5 per cent before the predicted surplus. The reduction to 25 per cent for all companies, including those with more than $1 billion in turnover would be introduced by 2027.

Mr Morrison has been out selling the government's proposed company tax cut in an effort to convince a sceptical public and a Senate that appears implacably opposed.

He has previously warned businesses would flee Australia while Australians were sitting on the beach after the company tax cuts were passed by the Trump administration in the US.

But the Coalition has also begun shifting its rhetoric on the unpopular tax cuts by seeking to appeal to the concerns of workers starved of wage rises.

"We know that it doesn’t make any sense that if you want businesses to be in a position to pay wages that are higher than today, you don’t insist on them paying higher taxes to the government," Mr Morrison said on Tuesday.

"The Labor Party is standing between a wage rise for workers and this plan."

It is understood the government is also looking at personal tax cuts worth between $500 to $1000 per year for middle income earners this year, but only if it does not risk the planned return to surplus.

SOURCE






Australia takes the most refugees since start of humanitarian program

But the Left still want more

More than 24,000 humanitarian arrivals settled in past financial year, including special intake of Syrian and Iraqi refugees

Australia accepted more refugees to its shores last year than any year since it began a dedicated humanitarian migration program.

New statistics from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection – now part of the home affairs portfolio – revealed 24,162 humanitarian arrivals settled in Australia last financial year. That figure includes Australia’s annual humanitarian program, and refugees arriving as part of the special intake of Syrian and Iraqi refugees.

The previous highest intake, according to figures from the parliamentary library, was under the government of Malcolm Fraser, when 22,545 refugees arrived in 1980-81.

The method by which humanitarian entrants to Australia are counted by government has changed over decades.

But figures show that, outside of a significant spike in the early 1980s, a steady trend upwards from the low tens of thousands each year. There were also spikes in the mid-1990s, and under the Gillard government in 2012.

But 2016-17 was the highest year on record. The intake of 24,162 was part of a far-larger and broader migration program. Last financial year, there were 225,941 permanent additions to the Australian population.

About 92,000 of those people were already in the country, and were moving from temporary visas, like student visas, to permanent visas;and 133,000 were new people arriving in to live.

Measuring historical migration flows is an imperfect science, as methods of arrivals and categorisations have changed over the years.

In the wake of the massive displacement caused by the second world war, there were sustained movements of millions of people across the globe.

Between 1947 and 1975, an estimated 297,000 refugees came to Australia, the majority of whom were assisted by the government.

The Refugees Convention which legally defines a refugee, was written 1951. Australia became a party to the treaty in 1954. In 1977 the Fraser government established a formal humanitarian stream to Australia’s migration program.

But the mass movement of people across the globe is now at record numbers. The UN refugee agency says there are 65.6 million people displaced around the world, internally in their own country and externally. Of those 22.5 million are refugees, outside their country of origin.

Some 84% of the world’s refugees are hosted by developing countries, the majority in nations adjacent to the places refugees have fled from. Turkey is hosting more than 2.7 million refugees, while Lebanon and Pakistan have more than one million living inside their borders.

Third-country resettlement, the type of which brings refugees to Australia, accounts for only a tiny fraction of the world’s refugee population. Fewer than 1% of the world’s refugees are resettled in any year.

SOURCE

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, February 13, 2018



Australian churches and their institutions are generally legally free to hire and fire on religious grounds regardless of anti-discrimination law

The article below by Brian Morris deplores that.  It is said to be based on a Religious Freedom Review submission by NSW barrister, Dean Stretton.  Something has got lost along the way, however, as the article is founded on a belief that is wrong at law. He says "the constitution was framed on secular principles, with the foundational concept of separation between Church and State."

That is utter rubbish.  The separation of church and State is not even in the American constitution, though it has been read into the anti-establishment clause of the 1st amendment.  But nothing like that exists in the Australian case because our head of State, the Queen, is also head of the Church of England.  In her person, the Queen embodies both the church and the State. Try to split that up! So the claim that Australia should be wholly secular is without legal foundation.  It is just the preference  of the writer

And in the end it all comes down to politics.  The churches believe that their mission requires certain freedoms from restrictions and they have the political heft to ensure that they get those freedoms from the politicians.  Enough people believe in freedom of religion to ensure that the politicians go along with it. 

Australians are for the greatest part happily secular but they are not dogmatic about it.  They are happy for AustrAlia to be only partly secular.  "One size fits all" is a great Leftist prescription in the simple-minded tradition of Procrustes but not everybody is trapped in that rigid mindset.  They can allow exceptions to even a generally good rule where circumstances seem to warrant it.



Quite remarkably, a public majority will be unaware of the likely impact of Prime Minister Turnbull’s decision to empower the Religious Freedom Review. Few will grasp its social implications. Some may recall the PM appointing Philip Ruddock to head an ‘expert panel’ to take public submissions on ‘religious freedom’ — and to identify freedoms believed “lost” when same-sex marriage was legalised.

On 31st March, Ruddock will recommend to parliament measures to restore those “lost” freedoms.

For most, this rather solemn-sounding review will be seen simply as one more political committee — with Ruddock sifting through a few submissions to appease Christians, Muslims, and other faiths who continue to feel aggrieved about gay marriage.

But fundamentalists of all faiths see this as a rare opportunity to win new concessions. One has only to view the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) website, with its 15-point rallying cry for devout Christians to swamp the Review with submissions.

Indisputably, religion asserts its current raft of freedoms through exclusive exemptions from Australian law. They are privileges not accessible to the 78 per cent of citizens who believe the constitution was framed on secular principles, with the foundational concept of separation between Church and State.

Under federal law, protection of ‘religious freedom’ and legal exemptions include: the Fair Work Act; Migration Act; Age Discrimination Act; Sex Discrimination Act; Evidence Act; and Section 116 of the Constitution. And religions pay no tax under the Charities Act and Tax Act — based on the sole criterion of “Advancing Religion.” International and State laws double this list of entitlements to all faiths!

Here’s the problem. Religion is now, collectively, one of the largest employers in the nation. Private religious schools currently enrol close to 40 per cent of all children — that alone is a huge workforce. Include, too, all the private hospitals, aged care facilities, employment agencies, charities, shelters, and a raft of commercial enterprises, and the total number of religious employees is staggering.

Church institutions are already free to “hire and fire” on the basis of sex, sexual orientation and marital status. Without question, submissions to the Ruddock Review will call for further entitlements to discriminate in employment in favour of the faithful — the Australian Christian Lobby website makes that clear. The truth is that most of the duties performed are not religious in nature — they are secular.

Ironically, these religious institutions will argue vigorously that it should be illegal to discriminate against them — because of their religious beliefs — but in the same breath insist they should be given further employment entitlements to discriminate against people who do not share those beliefs!

Certainly, it is fair to say many roles within private religious enterprises require training suitable to their ‘mission’. Those engaged in overt religious practice, in pastoral care, theological positions, and for advocacy, will need to meet church criteria. But for the majority of ‘secular’ positions, employment opportunities should not be barred to those who do not meet their strict standards of biblical faith.

It would be wrong for the Religious Freedom Review to extend faith-based exemptions for secular positions in education, health or social services. In fact, exemptions should be wound back for all ‘public services’ run by religious organisations.

These exemptions are not a matter of genuine religious freedom, because there is no religious law or doctrine that requires its followers to run education, health or social service facilities! Our constitution rejects a ‘religious test’ for public office; why not also for secular roles in ‘publicly funded’ religious enterprises?

If religious adherents cannot follow laws that apply to all other citizens — and without privileged legal exemptions — they should consider withdrawing from those activities and focus solely on their beliefs and religious worship. One clear example is private religious schools which are free to discriminate against secular employees, while the institutions are publicly funded to the tune of $12.8b.

Religious exemptions undermine our secular constitution; they weaken the basic rule of law that must apply to all people; and they deny the non-religious the right to their own beliefs. Why do we give exclusive entitlements to people of faith when all religion is purely a matter choice? Believers are not compelled to believe — particularly when “doubt” is uppermost in the minds of many. Every religion cannot, by pure logic, be equally true. It raises questions for people of faith to contemplate.

Special entitlements, based on arbitrary faith, are necessarily problematic. Such privileges should be equal to all — or to none. However, there seems little doubt the Ruddock Review will make a number of recommendations to parliament, to rectify the perception of “lost” freedoms.

We can only trust parliament does not acquiesce to further religious entitlements. Indeed, the process needs to be reversed — specifically for non-theological positions in faith-based institutions funded by taxpayers. The level of religious privilege and authority is already inappropriately high — in a nation that claims to be a secular democracy.

SOURCE






Commonwealth Games minister DENIES volunteers have been banned from saying 'g'day' and forced to say Aboriginal greeting 'jingeri'

I have seen a lot of Aborigines in my day and I have never heard one say "jingeri'.  Aborigines usually just speak broad Australian.  This is just some fiction dreamed up as a form of political correctness

The Commonwealth Games minister has denied volunteers have been banned from saying 'g'day' at the event.

LNP MP John-Paul Langbroek claims Commonwealth Games volunteers have been asked not to say the phrase but instead use the indigenous greeting 'jingeri'. 'It's not a word that most Gold Coasters or Queenslanders know,' he told 9 News.

'It's not going to show the true Gold Coast and the true Queensland to the 70 nations of the Commonwealth.'

He believes political correctness could ruin the Commonwealth Games.

But Games Minister Kate Jones insists the local indigenous greeting is optional for volunteers.

'You can say 'g'day', you can say 'hello' and you can say 'jingeri',' she said. 'It's complete and utter bulldust that you can't say 'g'day' at the Commonwealth Games.'

A games spokesperson said 'jingeri' is a suggestion in the volunteer manual, and it does not state it has to be used.

Over 15,000 volunteers are currently in training for the Commonwealth Games which starts April 4.

SOURCE






Shuffling Seats: The Politicians Who Put ‘Person Over Party’… And Democracy

Winning a seat in the Senate for a political party, then dumping that political party and either going it solo or joining another party, undermines our parliamentary system, writes Ross Hamilton.

It used to be said that it was harder to get out of the Australian cricket team than it was to get in there. While that may no longer be the case for our cricketers, it is clearly is with our politicians.

Once an individual gets their backside on a red or green leather seat in Parliament House, they generally get to stay there no matter what. They then get to pick and choose who they will represent, with the result of elections simply ignored. This makes a complete farce of our electoral process and it must change. But it won’t.

An individual seeks election for a specific political party unless they are an independent from the outset. The Senate results from the 2016 election clearly demonstrate that the majority of Australians vote above the line for party, not the individual.

Voters have every right to expect to continue to be represented by the party that won those positions. But once someone gets into the Senate or House of Representatives, the electorate no longer matters.

When Cory Bernadi quit the Liberal Party, he no longer had the backing of the proportion of the SA vote won by the Liberals. Only approximately 2,000 South Australians had voted for him as an individual. Yet he retained his Senate seat despite not having enough votes to win so much as a part-time position as a Parliamentary shoeshine boy.

Lucy Gichuhi stood for election as Senator in 2016, representing the Family First party in South Australia but was unsuccessful. But after Bob Day lost his senate position on constitutional grounds, Gichuhi was the next cab off the rank on the list of Family First candidates after countback, becoming Senator Gichuhi by default.

Except several weeks later the Family First party no longer even existed as Day had merged it with Bernardi’s Australian Conservatives.

So where did that leave the South Australians who voted for the Family First party that no longer existed? What gave Gichuhi the right to then be an Independent Senator when only obtaining 152 votes of her own?

Despite never elected as a Liberal or National, Gichuhi now gets to join the ranks of LNP Senators, becoming an unelected part of the ruling conglomerate. And the outrage of LNP Members and Senators over Bernadi remaining in the Senate after quitting his party, was strangely absent when it was to their advantage to permit Gichuhi to similarly ignore the electorate.

Matters are even more ludicrous when you look at the One Nation situation. Malcolm Roberts also owed his Senate seat entirely to the party’s vote – only 77 people voted for him as an individual. But after the High Court gave Roberts his marching orders, the next eligible person on the One Nation list was Fraser Anning, who only received 19 votes.

Yet the moment Anning appeared in the Senate, he announced he had quit One Nation. So now we have someone holding a seat in the Senate with a grand total of 0.0001% of the required quota. In other words, he failed to obtain 99.999% of the quota but still has a Senate seat.

Whether you love or hate One Nation, and I despise them, it cannot be denied that they legitimately won three Senate positions in Queensland. Yet that electoral result was tossed out with last weekend’s fish and chip wrappers. But One Nation also benefitted by just such ship jumping when Steve Dickson quit the LNP to join ON and give them a parliamentary seat in Queensland that was never won at the ballot box.

We never seem to be far from political hypocrisy.

The Australian Electoral Commission considered this overall situation after Meg Lees quit the Australian Democrats in 2002 to continue as an unelected Independent. But the AEC position eventually was to recommend doing nothing, suggesting that trying to control these matters by legislation is too difficult. What rubbish.

Legislation is needed to make the position very clear – if you decide to quit your party or change parties, then you lose your seat with by-elections required for the House of Representatives and the next eligible name taken from the electoral list for the Senate. If a political party suddenly disappears then the same process should replace all Members and Senators of that party. This also needs to be enacted at both Federal and State-Territory levels.

Members and Senators cannot continue to decide who or what they want to be part of, after an election. And it will only be through such remedial action that elections can have any hope of regaining any integrity and honesty. As matters currently stand, elections are becoming increasingly meaningless.

Unfortunately, the reality is that no political party in Australia would support any such change. Why? Because, as just proven by the hypocrisy of the Gichuhi matter, the major parties have too much to gain by ignoring the electorate.

SOURCE






The rise and fall of Ben Ean Moselle and what it says about change in Australia

I remember Ben Ean well.  As I was mainly a red drinker at the time I never drank much of it however.  I mainly drink Tyrrells Verdelho these days



Do you remember Lindeman's Ben Ean Moselle? This slim-bottled, white table wine was quaffed in great quantities in the 1970s.

It played a leading role in democratising wine drinking in Australia as tastes began to diversify from an almost exclusively beer-drinking nation.

As we discuss in the Journal of Australian Studies, Ben Ean's fortunes were aligned with tremendous social flux between the 1960s and 1980s.

According to industry luminary Philip Laffer, Ben Ean was invented by accident in 1956. It boomed in the '70s but began to decline in popularity in the mid-1980s as fine wine became more desirable.

In 2009, the company that owned the Lindeman's brand stopped making the wine.

In the 1970s, Ben Ean was the first wine to be advertised on TV.

A breezy, comforting egalitarianism prevailed in the ad, which featured the Little River Band: "Who wants to journey on a gigantic yacht? … Who wants to be a millionaire? I don't".

This attitude changed in the advertising of the 1980s, as Ben Ean became the "wine that dreams are made of", associated with a mood of aspirational fantasy.

In the 1950s, Australia had little wine-drinking culture to speak of.  Professional men were the main consumers of quality Australian table wines (those with alcohol levels below 25 per cent).

Some others drank "plonk" (less expensive Australian fortified wines, containing one third brandy).

The public face of drinking was a white, working-class, beer-swilling man in a pub's front bar.

In 1965, Merle Thornton and Rosalie Bogner heroically chained themselves to the front bar of Brisbane's Regatta Hotel to protest against this sex-segregation.

While licensing reforms and the postwar relaxation of social mores began to break down the gender divide between the blokes' front bar and the backroom ladies lounge, women mainly chose to enjoy new drinking freedoms at home, at parties, with other women in new city eateries at Friday lunch and in activist meetings.

This subverted a long-held British tradition of wine as elitist and male.

Women's new habits were encouraged by the easy drinking style of Ben Ean — a wine lighter in alcohol than spirits or fortified wines, semi-sweet and unchanging from year to year. Lindeman's promoted Ben Ean to women as "just right", for any occasion.

Although Anglo Australian men often ascribe new wine-drinking habits to the postwar migration of European men from wine countries, Anglo Australian women were key consumers of wine initially — this was at first a gendered change.

Anglo Australian men, coming to realise that wine was neither un-Australian nor unmanly, soon embraced wine at home, parties, and restaurants.

Rapid industrialisation in the 1970s and the rise of the middle-class, attracted more men to wine as a white-collar drink.

Different types of fine-wine culture came to signify opposing sides of Australian politics.

Red wine was seen as conservative, white wine was for social progressives — the "chardonnay socialists" who conservatives accused of selling out their working-class origins with university education and professional incomes.

Success meant displays of wealth. Cheap and cheerful Ben Ean seemed unsophisticated for those who wanted to stand out from the crowd.

But while the brand managers of Ben Ean read the national mood in 1983 accurately, their aspirational, fantasy ad campaign ultimately failed. Many consumers — particularly men new to wine — were more interested in products that expressed social status.

They preferred wines that were less sweet and labelled for provenance: vintage year, vineyard origins and grape varieties (such as Riesling, Chardonnay, Shiraz).

Yet easy-drinking white wines never really went away.

As Tim Minchin expresses in his Christmas song, White Wine in the Sun, the wine-drinking habits spurred by Ben Ean became synonymous, for many, with home and family.

SOURCE

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, February 12, 2018



Townsville is NOT dry because of global warming

Townsville is always pretty dry because of where it is.  Why was Townsville founded?  It has a negligible natural harbour, can't grow much, has no natural resources and only service industries.

Townsville was founded for one reason and one reason only.  There is immediately behind it a gap in the Great Dividing Range and the gap is close to the coast.  There are some small hills around the place -- who can miss the pink granite monolith of Castle hill? -- but nothing like the behemoths of the great Dividing Range elsewhere, like Mt. Bartle Frere and Bellenden Ker.

So Townsville was an ideal place to run bullock teams and later a railway from the coast through to some pretty good country inland, including the Charters Towers goldfields and the rich silver, lead and zinc mines of Mt Isa. Both trains and bullock teams are very bad at handling mountains but by starting out at Townsville, severe gradients could be avoided (maxing at 2%).

But the Great Dividing Range is the reason why the East coast strip of Queensland is generally so wet.  When trade winds blow inland from the Pacific, they are heavily laden with moisture from ocean evaporation.  They hit the mountains of the Great Divide and drop the moisture as rain.  So a couple of hours drive to the North of Townsville are two of the highest mountains in the State -- Bartle Frere and Bellenden Ker.  And guess what lies in their foothills?  The town of Innisfail, one of the wettest places in the world.

So Townsville's reason for existence, a break in the Great Divide there is also the main reason why it is dry.  You can't have your cake and eat it too.  So the guff below is total nonsense. There's NO "invisible barrier that stops rain".  It's the lack of a barrier that stops rain.  Townsville will always be dry.  It would not exist otherwise. 

Townsville pipes in water from Mt Spec and Lake Paluma. And the Ross river has a dam on it which  also supplies some water. So, with irrigation, Townville does grow crops and life is comfortable, even without much rain.



TOWNSVILLE could go from being the driest city in North Queensland to the wettest place in the state due to a quirk of global warming, a leading professor says.

Professor Ray Wills spoke to the Bulletin after a recent article which stated geography in Townsville could be to blame for the notorious “dome” — an invisible barrier that stops rain — and instead blames climate change.

Prof Wills is a commentator and adviser on sustainability and technology and responded to comments made by Thomas Hinterdorfer, a forecaster from weather group Higgins Storm Chasing.

Mr Hinterdorfer said the geography of Mount Stuart and other smaller surrounding hills were forming a barrier against rain.

Prof Wills noted Townsville had historically experienced wet periods and argued climate change was the real driver of the long dry period and failed wet seasons.

“Mount Stuart hasn’t changed in height, however the climate has and it is changing as a result of global warming,” he said.

Prof Wills said the phenomenon was linked to atmospheric circulation, temperature and rainfall.

He said Townsville temperatures were up and rainfall was down, especially in summer.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s 2017 Annual Climate Survey showed Townsville was the driest of the coastal cities in North Queensland last year and had 30 per cent less rain than the long-term average.

Townsville received just 791mm in 2017, against the long-term average of 1128mm. It is the fifth consecutive year of below-average rainfall in Townsville. The city’s residents also endured a year of hotter-than-average temperatures. But it might not stay dry for long.

Prof Wills said climate change was moving the “climate belt” — areas with distinct climates — south.  “What Townsville could well be experiencing is what would have been a dry area further north that is being pushed southward,” he said.

With places such as Tully to the north of Townsville — where average annual rainfall is more than 4000mm — that could mean a wet future for Townsville.

“That’s a possible scenario,” Prof Wills said, but it could take decades. He also said mountains surrounding Townsville complicated forecasts, as did oceanic currents and atmospheric circulation.

Prof Wills said although some areas could benefit from climate change, overall it should be treated as a concerning phenomenon.

SOURCE





Father, 56 was stabbed in his sleep 'by a burqa-clad ISIS-inspired student', 24, while his daughter, 5, watched in horror

Is there no limit to Muslim ingratitude?  That foul religion clearly wipes out much of the decent impulses in its adherents

The [Tamil] father allegedly stabbed by a burqa-wearing woman inspired by Islamic State has been revealed as a dedicated family man who opened his doors to international students.  

Bangladeshi Momena Shoma, 24, was one student who took advantage of Roger Singaravelu's generosity, staying with the nurse at his Callistemon Rise home in Mill Park, northeast Melbourne.

She then allegedly turned on the 56-year-old about 4.25pm Friday and stabbed him in his neck as he slept, while his five-year-old daughter watched on.

Nearby residents described Mr Singaravelu as a 'nice guy' from a caring family who would share food with their neighbours.

'They are an absolutely beautiful family, they are very kind,' neighbour Aga told the Herald Sun.

'They always bring us around food, they're very kind.'

Another neighbour James told the publication Mr Singaravelu's partner is 'distraught' after recently opening their home to Shoma. He added: 'He's a nice family man, he's a nice guy, it's so strange.'  

Neighbour Safia said Mr Singaravelu called them to his home for help, where they found him lying in the garage in a pool of blood. 'Roger called us and just said "run, run, run I've been stabbed",' Safia said.

Mr Singaravelu was taken to the Royal Melbourne Hospital where he underwent surgery on Saturday for non-life threatening injuries.

Meanwhile Shoma was charged with allegedly engaging in an Islamic State inspired terrorist act

The woman was arrested at the scene and taken to hospital with a hand injury. 

'She's only been in Australia for a week, they took her in because they felt sorry for her,' another neighbour said.

She had travelled to Melbourne on February 1 on a student visa and was renting a room at the property while studying at La Trobe University.

Detectives at the scene allege the woman - dressed in a black burka - used a knife to attack the father as his daughter watched on.

How and why the young Bangladeshi woman became radicalised will remain the subject of investigation, police said.

Police also allege the woman was 'inspired by the doctrines of ISIS'.

Mr Singaravelu regularly opened his home to international students and was providing accommodation for the 24-year-old woman.

He remains in hospital in a 'serious but stable' condition, police said.

The horrified family of Mr Singaravelu have spoken out after the alleged stabbing. 'At this time our focus is on our the welfare of our family and his recovery. We would like to offer our thanks to our family, friendly neighbours and emergency services for their support and kindness,' they said in a statement.

'This is a very upsetting time and we ask that our privacy is respected to allow time to heal.'

The Victorian JCTT, which is made up of resources from the Australian Federal Police, ASIO and Victoria Police, has charged her with one count of engaging in a terrorist act under the Commonwealth Crimes Act Section 101.1.

Ian McCartney, AFP acting Deputy Commissioner, National Security, confirmed the incident was linked to Islamic State.

'We will allege this was a stand-alone, Islamic State inspired attack, designed to cause harm to our community,' acting Deputy Commissioner McCartney said.

'We deplore any attempt to intimidate our community. The AFP will continue to work together with Victoria Police to ensure the safety of the community and to protect our way of life in Australia.'

The woman has been remanded in custody and did not apply for bail when she faced Melbourne Magistrates' Court on Saturday.

The magistrate heard Shoma - who faced court in a blue jumper with her hair tied back - injured her left hand during the alleged attack, 9 News reported.  She is expected back in court on May 2. 

Investigators will be executing search warrants at the Mill Park home and another home in Bundoora, north Melbourne, where the woman had previously stayed. There is no suggestion that anyone in the Bundoora residence was involved in the incident in any way.

Police are not looking for anyone else in relation to the investigation which they believe was an isolated incident.

'This is an isolated incident and the community can be assured that Victoria Police is doing everything we can to keep the community safe,' Acting Deputy Commissioner Ross Guenther said.

'The community can expect to see an increased police presence at a number of events today and at major events in the coming weeks. 'We urge people to report any suspicious activity to triple zero (000), Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or the National Security Hotline on 1800 123 400.'

Since 12 September 2014, when the national terrorism threat level was raised, police have charged 85 people – including this woman – as a result of 36 counter terrorism-related operations around Australia.

SOURCE






The Greens imperil our economy, alliances and world standing

One of the consequences of the creeping advance of political correctness that constrains debate in academia, bureaucracy, politics and the media is that the extreme left is normalised. In the polite society of the political/media class, overt condemnation is reserved for the hard right while even the most anarchic or obscene contributions from the green left are tolerated, apparently because their intentions might be pure.

How else to explain why the hateful and inane intercessions of the Greens are tolerated and amplified in national affairs, often without vigorous challenge from journalists or other left-of-centre politicians? Radical views from the far left are now everyday fare on social media, while public broadcasters and even News Corp’s Sky News provide it with a platform despite its stubbornly niche voter support. This skews debate and helps drag our political class further to the left.

The Greens long ago expanded their remit from protecting forests and rivers to a broader and more extreme mission. More than three decades after blocking the Franklin River dam, the Greens behave with radical internationalist fervour as their activism undermines our institutions, undercuts our economy, sabotages our borders, divides our society and opposes our alliances.

In recent weeks, Greens leader Richard Di Natale has trolled the nation by demonising Australia Day. “It’s a day that represents an act of dispossession, an act of theft,” he said. “It’s a day that represents the beginning of an ongoing genocide, the slaughter of so many Aboriginal people.”

And these are the words of someone whose freedom, upbringing, education, prosperity and career have been bestowed as a consequence of the settlement that began on January 26, 1788.

This week another Greens MP, Adam Bandt, attacked the nation’s newest senator, Jim Molan, who led Australian and US forces in battles against insurgents and Islamist extremists in Iraq. Bandt and others took exception to some videos Molan had shared on social media not because of the content but because of the organisation that had originally posted them.

“When you share white supremacists’ videos and justify it by saying ‘I’m doing it to stimulate debate’, you’re a coward. You’re a complete coward,” Bandt told Sky News. “I tell you what … if there was a proper inquiry into the war in Iraq in Australia … I think you’d find Jim Molan would probably be up for prosecution rather than praise.” (Threatened with defamation, Bandt first issued a graceless apology, then a more substantial one yesterday.)

Bandt’s response to the war on terror, as he tells it, was to write a PhD exploring the interplay between Marxism, globalisation, workplace relations and the rule of law. Molan’s was to risk his life in the service of his nation, defending people in Iraq who wanted freedom and democracy.

Yet the Greens decried Molan as the coward.

These are more than attacks on our national day or a military hero: they point to a broader agenda where the Greens tilt at the fundamental strengths of our nation. Our borders, for instance, are the foundation of our sovereignty but the Greens have long promoted open borders and for a few years under Labor we saw a living experiment of their ideal. Despite 800 boats arriving with more than 50,000 asylum-seekers, giving us the trauma of detention centres filled in every state and at least 1200 people dying in attempts to join the rush, the Greens still argue for this approach.

With many Labor MPs sympathetic, leftist media activism ongoing and Greens votes needed in the Senate, a future Shorten government would be drawn to softer border policies like a Greens senator to a student rally. This would be disastrous for our regional diplomacy, finances and, most importantly, immigration system. The high level of public support for immigration and our multi-ethnic society is founded on an orderly system. We mess with that, as we have seen, at our peril. Not to mention the unfairness to refugees legitimately trying to get access to our humanitarian program who don’t have money to pay criminal people-smugglers.

On the economy, the Greens campaign against our second largest export industry, coal. Never mind how we would replace more than $50 billion in exports, $5bn in royalties or 75 per cent of our national electricity generation: there is the issue of replacing 51,000 jobs, so many families that do not seem to matter to the Greens.

Even if you accept the Greens want to scrap our coal industry in order to reduce global carbon emissions (it wouldn’t because China and India would buy their coal elsewhere) we still have to reconcile their opposition to nuclear power, yet another energy source we have in abundance and export to the world but which the Greens oppose.

When they inveigled themselves into a rainbow coalition with Julia Gillard’s Labor, the Greens forced the introduction of a carbon tax that Gillard had ruled out. This not only destroyed her government but consigned climate policy to another decade of dysfunction. When you recall it was the Greens who conspired with the Coalition to twice vote down Kevin Rudd’s emissions trading scheme, you can see this party of so-called environmentalists has vandalised climate policy.

The Greens support a range of positions most voters find abhorrent, such as legalising drugs, increasing taxes and ending the US alliance. “As long as taking drugs is illegal, governments can and do create environments in which people are at greater risk when they choose to use drugs,” Di Natale told his party’s conference last year. On coal he said: “We Greens and our movement are the only thing that will keep the coal from Adani’s mine in the ground.” And on the alliance, he referred to activists speaking out “against wars fought overseas in support of American imperialism”.

This is the sort of dreamworld posturing we might hear from student activists, dishevelled academics or UN bureaucrats. Six years ago, then Greens leader Bob Brown opened a speech by welcoming his “fellow Earthians”. The Greens espouse a John Lennon-style imagine-there’s-no-countries idealism that has no currency in the real world.

If people spouted this sort of stuff at barbecues or front bars beyond their university years, friends would either say they are bonkers or find an excuse to leave. The Greens are a fringe group, the loony left that attracted only 8.7 per cent of the national Senate vote last year. Yet their contributions are often provided at length, and largely unchallenged, on the public broadcasters and the Sky News daytime political coverage.

Sure, they have crucial Senate votes and are part of the political equation. But their wacky views should be challenged, exposed and derided at least as much, and probably more than, the fringe parties of the right.

Labor is chasing the Greens to the left: repeating the Occupy Wall Street inequality mantra, adopting an anti-corruption commission and toughening criticism of Adani. And, encouraged by social media and 24/7 political/media class broadcasting, the political debate is shifting with it.

In the short term, this is good news for Malcolm Turnbull as Labor runs the risk of frightening centrist voters away. But in the long term our major parties need to find a way to coalesce around mainstream values again. The Greens’ vision for Australia needs to be marginalised because it would undermine our economy, borders, alliances and character, rendering us unrecognisable and unsustainable.

Turnbull could demonstrate he understands all this by running a candidate in Batman and preferencing the Greens last.

SOURCE






KFC is hit with a storm of complaints after releasing an  advert about a child drawing a picture of their parents 'naked wrestling'

Very strange.  I guess they are relying on the adage that there is no such thing as bad publicity

A controversial KFC ad featuring two parents 'naked wrestling' has prompted an investigation by the advertising watchdog.



KFC Australia's summer ad campaign sparked 30 complaints over its sexual content being inappropriate for children.

It featured a child's drawing of a mum and dad wrestling nude held up by a teacher and presented to them at a consultation evening.

Among the complaints about the wrestling ad were adults concerned that children would be subjected to material in the ad which was overly sexual and suggestive.

Bosses have been forced to defend the ad as they await the final outcome of an investigation by the Advertising Standards Bureau

KFC said the series was attempting to represent real-life moments that the public could relate to.

The fast food chain's chief marketing officer Angela Richards said: 'KFC has strict review and approval processes in place to ensure all creative work adhere to relevant codes and standards.

'In this case the Advertising Standards Bureau has decided that the advertisement and associated posts in question do not breach the AANA's (Australian Association of National Advertisers) code of ethics'.

The ASB states the relevant section of the Australian Association of National Advertisers relates to 'sex, sexuality and nudity with sensitivity to the relevant audience'.

The final report from the ASB board is due to published in the next week

SOURCE

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