Friday, July 31, 2015
A Leftist martyr is born
Attempts to stop people booing aggressive part-Aboriginal football player Adam Goodes have backfired. An attempt was made to suppress the booing by branding it as "racist". That caused great offence among the many who simply thought Goodes was a bad sportsman. The outcome was a wave of statements in reply about Goodes being offensive --e.g. here.
That has now got to Goodes and he appears to have departed football. After being accused of being racists, the fans would undoubtedly erupt into a storm of booing if ever Goodes stepped onto the field again. His position really is untenable.
Goodes seems to me to be less than half Aboriginal in terms of ancestry but, if he were a tribal Aborigine, a wave of disapproval would certainly weigh heavily upon him. Tribal Aborigines can be, and still are, "sung" to death. The singing consists of the men of the tribe sitting down together and chanting disapproval of the person for hours on end. The target of such chanting will simply die. So it is probable that Goodes is feeling very distressed by the turn of events.
The Left however will see Goodes as a victim and see his eclipse as proof that all Australians are racists. He will be celebrated in song and dance for decades as a Leftist hero. There will undoubtedly be Horst Wessel songs about him. That he might have deserved his eclipse and that he might be to blame for his own downfall will not be considered
As it has been revealed AFL star Adam Goodes has been granted indefinite leave over the controversy involving 'racist' fans who boo him, the mother of the girl he first called out has demanded an apology and said he should 'man up and take' the abuse.
The woman, identified only as Joanne, said the abuse Goodes receives from fans on a weekly basis stems from how he treated her daughter - who racially abused the player in 2013 when she called him an 'ape'.
'If he hadn't have done it he wouldn't be having the problems he'd be having now,' according to the Sydney Morning Herald. 'He probably should apologise because maybe he should have picked his target a little bit better.
'I don't think Julia was treated fairly at all. It was the way he carried on on the ground that made them do what they did. If he hadn't have carried on like a pork chop it wouldn't have mattered.'
The woman also accused Goodes of being too sensitive when it comes to abuse he receives, and said he needs to 'man up and just take it if he wants to play the game'.
The comments come after Sydney announced Goodes would miss at least this Saturday's game with the Adelaide Crows, in a statement released on Wednesday evening.
Swans CEO Andrew Ireland said the decision to grant the premiership champion a leave of absence from the club was made due to the damage the scandal is doing to his mental well-being.
'Adam is sick and tired of this behaviour. It has been happening for too long and it has taken its toll,' Mr Ireland said. 'As a club we are working with Adam and those close to him and supporting him through what is a really difficult time. 'We will give Adam all the time he needs. We will keep supporting him and he will return to the Club whenever he is ready.'
The announcement comes after the debate over fans heckling of the Indigenous star was reignited last weekend following a tribute paid to the star during Sydney's clash with West Coast.
After kicking a goal, Lewis Jetta - another of Sydney's Indigenous players - performed a tribal dance, which he later dedicated to his friend and mentor. The dance included a spear-throwing action, which was directed by Jetta at fans who had booed Goodes throughout the match. Goodes performed a similar dance during a game in June during the AFL's Indigenous round.
On Tuesday, the Swans slammed fans who boo Goodes as 'racist'. 'Should anyone choose to deride Adam through booing, then they are part of something that is inherently racist and totally unacceptable,' Mr Ireland said. 'The people involved in this behaviour can justify it any way they like. Our Club calls it racism.
'Adam is sick of it. He is tired and drained by it. It is something that has weighed down on him for some time. 'He is frustrated that he is constantly the face of such negativity.'
The club's statement came amid reports Goodes was on the verge of walking away from the sport entirely as a result of the abuse he has endured.
The AFL Players Association released a statement on Tuesday, calling for an immediate end to the attacks on Goodes.
We believe that Adam has been vilified for calling out racism, for expressing his views on Aboriginal issues, and for celebrating and promoting his proud cultural background. This is not something for which Adam should be vilified – it is something for which he should be celebrated.'
The race row around Goodes dates back to May 2013, when he pointed out a person in the crowd during a game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground for calling him an ape. The supporter was removed from the ground.
The person who made the comment turned out to be a 13-year-old girl, who Goodes later spoke with to discuss how her comments hurt him because of his Aboriginal background.
Critics of Goodes said he called out a minor who was too immature to take responsibility for the comments, and suggest fans boo him because they dislike his on-field behaviour and not because of his race.
Goodes has played 365 games for Sydney since debuting in 1999, and has twice won the Brownlow Medal - the award given to the league's best player. He was also named Australian of the Year in 2014. [So was the crooked Tim Flannery]
Student guild angered as University of Western Australia axes three arts majors
The University is trying to ease out "Studies" courses, which are notoriously lightweight and propagandistic
The University of Western Australia has been criticised by its student guild over the proposed dismantling of three arts majors.
UWA plans to abolish its Gender Studies, European Studies and Medieval & Early Modern Studies majors from next year.
The university will instead teach the subjects as units within broader, more popular majors, such as English and History, in an effort to increase the number of students enrolled in those courses.
But the change has angered the UWA Student Guild Council, with a petition so far amassing 300 signatures against the proposals.
The guild's Emma Boogaerdt said two of the subjects had previously been abolished before being re-introduced.
"Students are feeling that they are continually unfairly targeting these majors," Ms Boogaerdt said. "Students are going to be less likely to take them up because they're not sure if they're going to be continued.
"Having majors that are brought back and cut is a really unsustainable way to run a faculty, and a really unsustainable way to keep the constant student cohort going."
Ms Boogaerdt said cutting Gender Studies as a major in its own right also sent the wrong message to students. "It sends the message that learning about the history of women's oppression is not valued, it shows they think it's a niche issue and the university doesn't think it deserves its own place," she said.
In a statement, a spokesman for UWA said it remained committed to teaching the three subjects, and it was planning the changes because only a relatively small number of students enrolled to study the existing degrees.
The spokesman said students had been consulted throughout the process, and those currently studying the subjects would be able to complete their majors as planned. UWA said there would not be any staffing changes as a result of the process.
The guild is expected to raise the issue with the UWA Academic Council next week.
Ms Boogaedt said she was open to a compromise. "I think an acceptable medium would be if the university said, 'all right, so far we haven't had adequate student consultation on this issue, let's take it off the chopping block for the moment and take it back to the drawing board'."
Bias against rich people
Brighton is a wealthy Melbourne suburb
I LIVE in Brighton. I’ve grown up in Brighton my whole life and I went to a private school. There, I’ve said it, loud and proud. Have you already summed me up? Let me start by saying this, I’m not the “typical Brighton girl”.
Yes I like nice things — who doesn’t? But I’ve had to work for every single one of those “Brighton” items — whether it was my car, a handbag, or a new coat for work.
Why is it though, when people ask where I’m from, I become awkward and end up lying? “Oh, do you know Bayside? Yeah, I live around there kinda, um, Sandringham, Black Rock way.”
I found, going through university and now in full-time work, Victorians can be quick to judge.
First impressions are everything and society likes to make up its mind in about five seconds.
When I was at university, in the first class of each semester the teacher would make us go around the class and introduce ourselves.
First year uni, I was a novice. I didn’t understand society’s quick judgment. “Hi, my name is Cassie, I’m studying journalism and I live in Brighton.”
I remember the initial reaction of one of my tutors: “Oh we’ve got a Briiiighton girl in the class!”
I didn’t know what he meant. Should I be offended? Embarrassed?
By third year, I knew how to avoid the unpleasant looks and reactions. I didn’t want people to treat me differently, or think I had it easier than them. So I lied. “Hi, my name is Cassie, I’m studying journalism and I live around the St Kilda area.”
But what my fellow students, teachers and society didn’t sum up in the five seconds of the first impression was how my family got to be where they are. How we came to live in Brighton.
When my grandfather was 14 he fled Greece for a better life. He came here alone.
When he arrived in Australia, he taught himself English, working 70 hours a week in a family cafe in Richmond until he eventually married and took over the cafe when his uncle died.
My mother’s parents had a fruit shop in Black Rock. My mum, and her two sisters, lived in the back of the shop until her parents could afford a house.
My grandparents on both sides struggled. They struggled to send my parents to school, to put food on the table, to give them a life they deserved. But they did it.
My mother and father are dreamers. They have huge, crazy, unimaginable goals but they work hard to achieve these goals — which is how they’ve raised me and my younger brother.
I live where I do because of their sheer hard work, their sacrifice for us. Why do people judge that?
My parents have taught us, if we want something in our life — whether that’s a career, a holiday or a home — it’s not impossible, nothing is impossible. It just comes down to pure hard work.
It hurts when people want to stereotype us and jump to conclusions, ridiculing us for striving to be successful.
I’m not saying everyone who lives in Brighton is like my family, but Bayside is made up of 100,000 different people, each with their own histories and dreams for the future.
Society should not be so quick to judge.
Merger and acquisitions boom largely bypassing Australia, thankfully
There have been a lot of losses associated with mergers and acquisitions in the past
Bankers and lawyers around the world may be on the cusp of the seventh merger and acquisitions boom, but activity in Australia so far this year has fallen short of bumper levels, according to King & Wood Mallesons.
In a briefing to clients and employees, KWM partner David Friedlander said conditions globally in 2015 were similar to previous cycles of frenetic M&A activity, experienced six times in living memory. Those included the technology boom, the heady days of 2006-07 and prior to the sharemarket crash in 1987.
"What we have now is the start of a possible seventh," he said of mega-deals and activity levels globally. "This year, it has been sheer bravery and fear that if you don't run hard someone will come at you."
According to Dealogic, announced global M&A amounted to $US2.28 trillion ($3.09 trillion) in the first six months of 2015, the second highest half-year volume on record behind the same period in 2007. There were 31 transactions of more than $US10 billion ($13.5b) announced, underscoring the trend for large consolidation plays spanning industries including healthcare and pharmaceuticals, health insurance, energy and gas, and technology and communications.
Activity levels in the US are leading the charge while the Asia Pacific region has seen a rise in the proportion of global volumes it accounts for and Europe a decline in its share.
Large local deals this year have included offshore-based tilts for companies including Toll Holdings and Asciano, and the marriage of Federation Centres and fellow retail landlord Novion Property Group.
"For Australia it's actually been a disappointing market for M&A," Mr Friedlander said, noting that even so large infrastructure deals would likely keep the total deal values at reasonable levels.
Thursday, July 30, 2015
TPP: Australia on the verge of joining huge new Pacific trade deal
Trade deals always have downsides as well as upsides so it is childish to want it to be all-win. The only question is whether the upsides are preponderant. They should be but we are unlikely to be sure immediately
Australia is on the cusp of joining a huge new United States-led trade deal which will "set the rules" for doing business in the region at the expense of China.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership, involving twelve Pacific-Rim nations, could be sealed in coming days, after talks that had drifted for five years narrowly escaped death in the US Congress.
"It could be done this week," said Trade Minister Andrew Robb last night, as he prepared to depart for what he hopes will be one final round of talks in Maui, Hawaii.
"There's no guarantees but the whole mood has shifted", he said, referring to a last-minute US Congress decision to give the White House autonomous negotiating powers.
"We're close enough, we're down to the really difficult ones – like sugar."
Aside from Australia's long-suffering sugar farmers, who have missed out in previous trade deals, Mr Robb said divisions remain over a US proposal to extend intellectual property protections for "biologics", which would increase the price of medicines.
Mr Robb said beef farmers were set to be winners alongside a range of professional services firms.
But the recent surge of negotiating momentum owes at least as much to geopolitics as it does to economics.
A range of nations that might once have bristled at American muscle-flexing are now encouraging it – as they hedge against China's growing propensity to throw its weight around.
Fairfax can reveal that the twelve prospective members have agreed to rules that would make it harder for the kind of state-owned enterprises which dominate China's outward investment profile.
"One rule is that governments can't give SOEs benefits that allow them to undercut the market," said one source close to negotiations, saying that SOEs would be penalised if they received discount loans when investing in TPP nations.
"Also, SOEs are not allowed to discriminate against other TPP parties in the way they sell and buy their products – it's an extension of government procurement rules," said the source.
Tellingly, it is understood that negotiations for this novel SOE chapter have been led by Australia, despite its reliance on Chinese trade, and endorsed by Vietnam, despite its own reliance on state-owned firms.
In another global first, the TPP will include enforceable anti-corruption provisions which will also have an outsized impact on Chinese firms.
They will mirror the OECD's anti-corruption guidelines and the UN Convention against corruptions, except that they will link to dispute resolution provisions.
And the single biggest winner out of this agreement is likely to be China's arch-rival, Japan.
The TPP will increase Japan's GDP by between 2 and 4 percent over a decade, according to estimates by economists at the International Monetary Fund.
Manuel Panagiotopoulos, from Australian and Japanese Economic Intelligence, said the TPP will provide Prime Minister Shinzo Abe with the impetus for much-needed domestic international reforms while laying a foundation for regional integration and security.
"What a lot of economists don't get is that geo-politics is more important than trade flows," he said.
"If the security foundation doesn't work then trade flows will dry up in an instant."
While China anxieties have loomed in the background of these negotiations, the economic giant could still join the group after the rules have been set.
"Both we and China should want to see China in the TPP – and sooner rather than later," said trade consultant Andrew Stoler, formerly deputy director-general of the World Trade Organisation.
Earlier, when Mr Obama was wrestling with Congress, he told the Wall Street Journal: "If we don't write the rules, China will write the rules out in that region."
And US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter went further: "Passing TPP is as important to me as another aircraft carrier."
The twelve negotiating parties are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam and the United States.
'Scientific Method' Australian Government style
Written by John Elliston AM, FAusIMM(CP)
Since 1936 the ‘scientific method’ has been recognised by Australian law (Subsection 73B(1) of the ITAA 1936) as: - ‘Systematic investigative and experimental activities that involve testing a hypothesis (new idea) by deductive formulation of its consequences. aussie scientific method
These deductions must be rigorously tested by repeatable experimentation and logical conclusions drawn from the results of the experiments. The hypothesis must be based on principles of physical, chemical, mathematical, or biological sciences’ (this would include the Second Law of Thermodynamics).
In 1972 Australian universities abandoned the procedure that had been used for award of their highest degrees in science to that time. DSc candidates were required to submit a doctoral thesis embodying an original research finding (details of a tested hypothesis). This was “peer reviewed” by two or more external scientists selected by the university as most appropriately qualified.
It was recognised that a candidate who had tested an original hypothesis may be equally or better able to interpret the results than an external reviewer. Candidates were therefore entitled to a “right of reply” to the written report or comments of the universities’ reviewers. In reply they could produce references or call on reviewers of their own selection.
University authorities were able to fairly assess the candidate’s new research finding and determine if it merited the award of their highest degree. This procedure raised standards in all scientific disciplines to which it applied but by 1974 it was abandoned by all Australian universities as too tedious and time consuming to cope with the rapidly increasing number of candidates aspiring to higher degrees.
With continuing rates of increase since 1970’s, Australian universities now resemble production-line ‘higher degree factories’! They quite rightly require higher degree candidates to meet very high standards but they are uniform standards requiring each candidate to conform to the limitations of the knowledge of his or her degree supervisor. corrupted scientific method
Significant new discoveries cannot conform to what is currently “generally accepted”. All publicly funded research in Australia tends to digress, at least to some extent, from the scientific method toward the extreme case depicted in the American cartoon (pictured right). Competitive research proposals are written to get research grants rather than to advance our knowledge by resolution of long-standing problems.
Geological researchers spend more time looking at computer screens than looking at rocks and mineral deposits!
Shorten: A leader on a leash
LABOR has two leaders: Bill Shorten and Tanya Plibersek.
From the applause Plibersek received from her gay marriage rally cry yesterday at the ALP conference in Melbourne, it is the deputy in name only who clearly has the numbers.
Any victories Shorten can claim to have achieved over the weekend — such as narrowly fending off a binding gay marriage bill and securing boat turn backs on asylum seekers — were pyrrhic victories at best.
His senior left-wing shadow ministers have sent a clear message to him: “We have the numbers, and you know it.”
Shorten now leads a party furiously divided over key election issues, and one that has shown a willingness to abandon longevity and substance for short-term expediency.
Not since former NSW premier Morris Iemma was rolled at a state conference on power privatisation, and perhaps Calwell and Whitlam in the 1960s on US foreign policy, has an ALP conference been so hostile to a leader.
But it shouldn’t surprise. The structural problems that began in NSW in 2007 have manifested in the Left finally flexing its new-found muscle at a national ALP conference.
Shorten may have secured the numbers to allow him the luxury of adopting turnbacks, but it came with a very expensive price tag.
His own faction was rolled on the Israel/Palestine issue, he lost the numbers for a conscience vote on gay marriage, and he has been forced to adopt a renewable energy target that would elevate Australians’ electricity bills to among the highest in the world.
To top it off, the conference voted to censure Martin Ferguson, one of the party’s last remaining voices of sanity.
The optics for Shorten are now clear. The Left is in control of the Labor Party, and if he doesn’t dance to the beat of their drum, he is gone. It doesn’t get much uglier than this.
Labor returns to Kevin Rudd’s 2007 campaign
BlLL Shorten says he has learnt from Labor’s mistakes but that certainly hasn’t stopped him repeating them.
If anything, he has been channelling the same grandiose policy ideas outlined by Kevin Rudd in the 2007 campaign.
The old themes of stop-the-boats and turnbacks, a ramped-up scare campaign about global warming, a promise of new carbon taxes and expensive investments in unreliable renewable energy, even a totally ineffectual 50 per cent emissions reduction by 2030, mirroring Rudd’s promise of a 60 per cent cut by 2050, have all made a comeback.
Recycling is clearly the Labor way, even though the nation is still deeply in debt and borrowing billions to pay for the failed policies of the last Labor government.
With an election looming within the next 12 months, Shorten is pitching his spiel to Greens and the Left and not to average Australians or even traditional Labor Party members.
While Labor’s true believers may have given his speech pro forma applause on Friday there was a distinct lack of spontaneity and enthusiasm.
They had heard it all before. Labor MPs present appeared disengaged, Shorten’s closest supporters looked concerned. As always, the biggest disconnect was between his rhetoric and any cost considerations.
Trying to gloss over the fury within the party over his eleventh-hour backflip on boat turnbacks, Shorten avoided any mention of what he and his supporters euphemistically describe as a policy “option” by introducing shadow immigration spokesman Richard Marles and noting that he will deliver policies that are “safe and humane”.
That opacity covers a lot of water and will be seized upon by people smugglers waiting offshore to resume their lethal trade.
It puts back into play what former Indonesian President Bambang Yudhoyono once called the Australian “sugar on the table”.
The Labor Left has demanded a doubling of the current refugee intake of 13,750 places as a quid pro quo for its support for the turnback policy, an increase on Labor’s promise of a 20,000 per year humanitarian intake it took to the last election of 20,000 per year.
There are obvious implications arising from such a promised increase as doubling the refugee intake would cost something in the region of an extra $2.7 billion over the forward estimates, not including the longer term costs such as welfare dependency, which is a growing transgenerational problem in some communities which have failed to integrate into the general population. For the same amount of money the current social services grants program could be more than tripled.
There is also the issue of the very real anger that such an increase of new arrivals would create in the migrant community where many have been awaiting the arrival of relatives through regular channels for years and are justifiably concerned that their relations would once again lose their places in the migration queue.
There is also real anxiety about the ability to absorb any increase in refugees into the workforce when the current numbers of unemployed are expected to increase with the final phasing out of car manufacturing.
Traditional Labor Party voters will stand to lose the most under an expanded refugee resettlement program unless Shorten and Marles believe that the refugees will largely comprise doctors, engineers, plumbers and electricians.
The same Labor voters will also be stung the most by higher power prices should Labor get elected and institute the Shorten-Rudd energy policy.
Shorten’s grand vision for energy relies on nonsensical claims that renewable energy helps generate lower prices, creates jobs and investment and pays for itself.
If any of this was so, the world’s coal mines would all be closed and there would be no need for further debate.
The truth is all forms of renewable energy are more expensive than traditional coal power and the jobs and the investment aren’t sustainable without heavy subsidies.
Renewables only pay for themselves with a hefty dollop of taxpayers’ funding.
Shorten sees the sunshine that falls on Australia as a great natural advantage, and doubtless it is, but it is worth more as a tourist magnet than as a power generator.
Far greater natural advantages are the cheap and accessible coal and natural gas reserves Labor wants to lock up to the disadvantage of the nation and the power hungry millions in other nations, particularly the Third World countries which actually seem to enjoy as much sunlight as we do but don’t appear to hold it in the same high regard as the Greens and Shorten.
In May, 2007, Rudd laid out the blueprint for his energy policy and carbon tax, stressing the urgency of his idea by saying “an effective emissions trading scheme must recognise the need to act now ... as soon as possible to minimise the costs of inaction because economic modelling clearly shows that early action is far less costly than delayed action”.
The reality was that inaction would have been a lot less expensive and less lethal than Rudd’s energy and border protection policy proved to be then and will be again if Labor should win the next election.
A politicized public school
A poster mocking Obama would never even have been thought of
A POSTER erected on the streets of a small Victorian goldfields town has sparked a war of words about democracy, censorship and public art. The poster was plastered on hoardings opposite the public library in Castlemaine, not far from Bendigo, in March. The artwork was commissioned by the local council.
It features a black and white photograph of Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the words “Australia Needs an Abbott Proof Fence”.
It was put there by art students from Castlemaine Secondary College who had been studying the film Rabbit Proof Fence, the Bendigo Advertiser reports. The students expected it to create some discussion, but never expected it to lead to calls for teachers to be dismissed.
“Education needs to be apolitical,” Mark Jackaman wrote on a petition labelling the artwork “disgusting” and demanding a formal apology. “Shame on your teacher and your school!” Kat Molnar wrote.
“It’s a disgraceful act and any teacher that has allowed this should be dismissed immediately. This is the leader of our country,” David Hawkins wrote.
“Schools are not for POLITICS ... Teachers need to keep their own views to themselves. It’s no wonder that we have hordes of young people leave school still not knowing proper history and correct spelling. Shame,” Shirley Cameron wrote.
Joshua Thom used the phrase "leftist scum” to drive home his opposition.
But the school has been quick to defend its students and its reputation. Principal Mary McPherson told news.com.au she was shocked and surprised by the level of vocal opposition. She said the school encouraged students to think critically.
“We want our students to have opinions and be critical thinkers and to understand about the world. We want students to be prepared to make a difference. We don’t want them to come out compliant, but to challenge and question.”
Ms McPherson said the Abbott Proof Fence poster will not be coming down any time soon.
“In a democratic society, it’s important to question the (government’s) policies,” she said. “It’s part of our school culture. It’s about having your opinions and listening to other opinions.”
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Adam Goodes isn’t booed for the colour of his skin. He is booed for acting like a pillock
The controversy over part-Aboriginal footballer Adam Goodes continues. The crowds boo him a lot and the powers that be are trying to stop that. It has just been handed down from on high that such booing is "racist".
What the wise-heads are ignoring is that Goodes is aggressive, confrontational and a whiner. He has done a lot to make himself unpopular. He recently did some sort of Aboriginal war dance on the football field, complete with an imaginary spear thrown in the direction of the opposing fans -- Not exactly the "mature discussion about the state of race relations in this country" that his Leftist supporters have called for.
The latest episode in the uproar is here. It seems that he just has to run onto the field now to get booed. He has made himself an oppositional figure.
MIRANDA DEVINE (below) summed Goodes up pretty well a month ago. I am not sure why she uses British slang but "pillock" translates roughly into American slang as "jerk". Old-fashioned Australians might say "galah".
I’m sorry, but people are not booing Adam Goodes because he’s Aboriginal. They’re booing him because he acts like a pillock from time to time. And if Sydney Swans CEO Andrew Ireland is genuinely interested in race relations then he shouldn’t cry “racist” with no evidence.
It’s obvious to any footy-lover that the fans boo Goodes because:
1. It’s become a thing;
2. He deliberately taunts opposition fans;
3. He is accused of staging for free kicks, in contravention of the rules of fair play
4. No one has forgotten how he singled out a 13 year old girl in the Collingwood crowd and sicced security onto her after she called him an “ape”;
5. He was rewarded for outing this powerless little girl with the honour of Australian of the Year which he then turned into a grievance pulpit to bag Australia as a racist nation.
Unlike most sports gurus in this town, I loved Goodes’ indigenous war dance last month as the Swans beat Carlton. For one thing, it’s about time we beat the Kiwis and their haka at their own game.
For another, he just did it so well. Bravo, I say. He stole the show.
But he also served it up to the opposition fans, deliberately riling them up. That’s what he does.
So when he gets booed, it’s just the crowd’s natural response to his invitation. It’s a tough game that Goodes started and only he can finish.
But for sports administrators and sanctimonious journalists to denounce the crowds as somehow anti-Aboriginal is the real racism. It’s that sort of patronising victim-pandering that holds Aboriginals down.
If Adam Goodes wants to be a pillock, good for him. He will be booed like any other pillock, no matter what the colour of their skin.
Vietnamese asylum seekers sent home after Australian Navy detention
A group of 46 Vietnamese asylum seekers who almost made it to Australia by boat have been flown home, arriving on Sunday afternoon, according to a Vietnamese community group in Australia.
"The locals told me they saw them taken one by one into the police station for questioning," Trung Doan, secretary of Voice Australia said. "They had lost weight, they looked gaunt and very sad."
Mr Doan said he had been told the group, which included men, women and two babies, was interviewed on an Australian Navy ship and then taken to an on-land airstrip, flown to Ho Chi Minh City and transferred overland to Binh Thuan Province — the starting point for their journey by boat to Australia.
Forty-three of the asylum seekers were released by local police, but two men and one woman were driven in a police vehicle to a provincial detention centre, according to Mr Doan.
The asylum seeker boat was spotted off Dampier in Western Australia at first light on July 20.
Since then, the Prime Minister, the Immigration Minister and the Immigration Department have refused to provide information, saying they do not comment on operational matters.
Mr Doan said he was told when the asylum seekers were interviewed by Australian authorities at sea, they were assured that they should feel at ease, because what they said would not be given to Vietnamese authorities. But according to relatives, the information was then passed on, he said.
"That is contrary to the promise that the Australian authorities gave to these people when the interview started," Mr Doan said.
The asylum seekers were mainly fishermen who had pooled their money to buy a boat and spent around three weeks at sea before being intercepted, according to Mr Doan.
FactCheck: is 50% of all income tax in Australia paid by 10% of the working population?
Ben Phillips, Principal Research Fellow, National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM) at University of Canberra, finds that is pretty close
According to the 2015-16 Federal Budget, Australians paid around A$176 billion in personal income taxation in the 2014-15 financial year (Table 5 of Budget Paper 1). The Treasurer, Joe Hockey, claims that around 50% of this taxation is paid by the top 10% of the working age population as ranked by their income.
NATSEM’s STINMOD model of the Australian tax and transfer system can be used to evaluate the accuracy of such a claim.
STINMOD, which stands for Static Incomes Model, is NATSEM’s model of taxation and government benefits. It simulates the taxation and government benefits system and allows us to evaluate current and alternative policies and how they would affect different family types on various income levels.
STINMOD is based on ABS survey data (Survey of Income and Housing) which provides a statistically reliable and representative snapshot of household and personal incomes and demographics.
Since the survey is a few years old, NATSEM adjusts the population in accordance with population and economic changes since the survey.
STINMOD is not publicly available, but as a NATSEM researcher, I was able to use the model to check Hockey’s claim against the evidence. STINMOD is benchmarked to taxable incomes data from the latest Australian Tax Office taxation statistics on the distribution of tax payments by income.
When I restricted the STINMOD base population to the working age population only (aged 18 to 65) and rank these people by their taxable income, I found that the top 10% (those with taxable incomes beyond $102,000 per annum) do pay around 52% of all personal income taxation.
Different measures, similar result
Since high income earners usually have greater scope for minimising tax through deductions, such as negative gearing, we can use an alternative income measure called “total income from all sources” to rank personal incomes. On this ranking, the share of personal income taxation paid by the top 10% drops to 50.5%.
Australia’s personal income taxation system is strongly progressive, with higher income earners paying both a higher marginal tax rate and average tax rate compared to lower income earners. According to STINMOD, the 90th percentile of working age taxable income is $102,000 per year, while the median taxable income is $39,000 per year. The average tax rate of the 90th percentile is 26.7% while that of the median tax payer is less than half that at 12.3%.
Christian lobby groups claim ‘radical sexual experimentation’ is being promoted in schools
IT WAS devised to stop bullying and create wider acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) students but Christian lobby groups claim all it does is promote “radical sexual experimentation”.
Since Safe Schools Coalition Australia (SSCA) was launched, more than 360 Australian schools have signed up to the program, which provides training and resources for teachers and staff to build a more inclusive and safe environment within their schools.
Some of those resources are available to students, such as the “OMG I’m Queer” information pack, which lobby groups claim is not only inappropriate but corrupts young minds.
Under the section “Doing It”, activist Alice Chesworth talks about sex and includes this description.
“It may come as a surprise, but there is no strict definition for virginity, especially if you’re queer,” she writes. “Penis-in-vagina sex is not the only sex, and certainly not the ultimate sex. If you ask me, virginity is whatever you think it is.”
In another section, Scott, 17, who is bisexual, writes about the first time he realised he was attracted to men and how his dad reacted when he was caught cuddling his friend in his room: “Scott, you like boys and girls, I like Asian women. Neither of us can help that, it’s just who we are.”
Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) spokeswoman Wendy Francis said while she agreed that bullying of children who were struggling with their sexual identity was wrong, she did not think teaching children about “queer sex” and “cross-dressing” was right.
“Our society is already over-sexualised without extreme sexual material and gender theory being promoted in schools,” she said. “Children have the right to their innocence. The political ideology carried by this program denies children this right.”
She claims schools that have signed up to this program teach students that it is OK to “change gender, for boys to wear girls’ school uniforms and that they should be allowed into girls’ toilets”.
“Girls’ toilets should always be a safe place for them and should be off limits to a boy who might be transitioning into a girl,” Ms Francis said. “No one should be bullied at school, including children grappling with same-sex attraction or gender confusion. But promoting radical sexual and gender theories to children without parental consent is not the role of the federal or state governments.”
ACL and Family Voice Australia have called for Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne to withdraw $8 million in funding that was allocated to SSCA to administer the program throughout Australia.
The groups claim that instead of stopping homophobia, the SSCA program teaches students that heterosexuality is not the norm, and encouraged them to explore sexual and gender diversity.
They also say the program material includes graphic descriptions and tips for gay and lesbian sex.
The recent push comes after former National Party senator Bill O’Chee penned an opinion piece for Fairfax Media this week claiming children were at risk from online predators as a result of the SSCA program.
In his column, he says young people are encouraged to sign up to Minus 18, a website for young LGBTI Australians.
The site provides information on support networks, activities and interests for the LGBTI youth. It also acts as a social networking and dating site, which Mr O’Chee claims exposes them to sexual predators.
He claims that, despite Minus 18 having a rule that users over the age of 25 are not permitted to use forums “without direct permission from Minus 18”, when he inspected the site he found a number of users who were older.
“Minus 18 does not enforce its own rules,” he wrote. “When this was put to Tim Christadoulou, the relationships manager at Minus 18, he stated that ‘rather than actively refuse registrations for certain age groups, we respond to individual profiles and users on a case-by-case basis’.
“Minus 18 management was unable to answer how many users were refused registration in the past 12 months. That is particularly disturbing given some of the profiles from men aged 30 and over who seem to have an interest in underage users.”
A SSCA spokeswoman said research shows that 75 per cent of LGBTI youth experienced homophobic or transphobic abuse and discrimination and that 80 per cent of that abuse will happen in school.
“Safe Schools Coalition Australia uses a whole-of-school approach to support schools across the country to challenge bullying and discrimination,” she said. “Our approach draws on research and evidence on how we can best promote a focus on safety and the protection of young people in schools while at the same time promoting inclusion and acceptance.
“Research shows that students at safe and supportive schools have better educational outcomes and are less likely to have poor mental health.”
Since the program was launched last year, the organisation has trained more than 7500 school staff members and next week it is set to host the National Safe Schools Symposium, which will discuss the outcome of the program so far.
Germany, France, UK may bid for frigate contract for Australia
A fierce international competition to build a $20 billion frigate fleet is expected after the Abbott government dumped a tainted "low risk" option ahead of the release of next month's defence white paper.
The plan, which was detailed by former Defence Minister David Johnston in May, last year would have utilised the hull of the troubled, 6500-tonne air warfare destroyer which is currently being built in Adelaide as the basis for the new fleet.
The destroyer hull would simply have been fitted with lower capacity radar, armaments and combat systems than those aboard the destroyer and a follow-on build would have preserved jobs.
Defence argued at the time that using the destroyer hull would be less risky given three destroyers are already being built for the Navy and build shortcomings should be overcome by the early 2020s when frigates are due for replacement.
However, the $8 billion destroyer project has been plagued by cost overruns and delays and the destroyer hull is considered too noisy for a submarine-hunting role.
The dumping of the option opens the way for a competition and a field of ready contenders with the project to build a fleet of up to nine frigates to be included in next month's white paper.
It is also understood there were concerns Australia could have been vulnerable to the build-up of regional submarine fleets without an effective frigate fleet.
"It was a sensible decision given the destroyer hull was not really suited to the submarine hunting role of a purpose-built frigate," Australian Strategic Policy analyst Dr Andrew Davies said.
"It was supposed to be a low-risk option but it was also more about preserving jobs than the Navy getting the warship it needs," he said.
Dr Davies has suggested splitting the fleet between destroyers and frigates and smaller corvettes to perform all the roles short of war that Navy warships are now expected to perform.
The UK is the latest country to show interest in supplying the Royal Australian Navy with a purpose-built frigate even before the project details have been released.
The first of the 6400-tonne Type 26 frigates which is being developed for the Royal Navy is to be delivered from 2022 – a timeframe which suits the Royal Australian Navy with the current Anzac fleet expected to be phased out by the mid 2020s.
The BAE Systems warship has been designed with international export orders in mind.
German-based TKMS may offer its Meko 600 escort frigate or larger F125 for the project.
TKMS Australia chairman Dr John White told The Australian Financial Review the firm could offer several warship designs to the Royal Australian Navy.
Dr White said he also believed the ships could be built in Australian shipyards.
Dr White was involved with Tenix (now BAE) and the successful build of eight Anzac class frigates for the Australian Navy in the late 80's and early 90's.
"TKMS has a range of designs it is building for German and other foreign navies and could offer a warship which meets the requirements of the Royal Australian Navy," Dr White said.
"We showed with the Anzac project that you can successfully build ships in Australia and there is no reason why such a model could not be reprised," Dr White said.
French bidder DCNS may also put up its 6500-tonne FREMM European multi-role frigate.
DCNS Australia chief executive Sean Costello said earlier this week that the firm was interested in bidding for the frigate project and was involved in designing building and maintaining all the French Navy's warships and exporting designs around the globe.
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
The high cost of Australia’s housing "obsession"
It's an "obsession" that people want a house to live in?
The stockbroker below is an economic moron. Negative gearing is normal accounting. It means that the cost of earning income is deducted before you are taxed on that income. Any other system would be hugely destructive, It would mean taxing people on money that they do not have. There is no "subsidy" involved, just normal cost accounting.
And we read below: "“If someone borrows money to buy residential property, it doesn’t create any jobs,” he said." How does he think residential property gets built? By fairies? The housing industry is in fact a major employer.
The guy is a vivid testimony to the sad state of modern education. He might make a good hewer of wood and drawer of water but he is a disgrace to his present occupation. A very low-wattage brain indeed
AUSTRALIA spends 20 times more money on subsidising negatively geared property than funding start-up businesses and this could cost us jobs and our economic future, one senior financial analyst says.
Ivor Ries, a Morgan’s stockbroking firm analyst, said one of the greatest weaknesses in the Australian economy was the lack of investment in infrastructure and early stage businesses.
“We are miles behind places like the US in financing young, growth businesses. We’re pathetic really compared with the US,” he told the ABC this week.
He said about $250 million was available in venture capital for young entrepreneurs each year. This was about 20 times less than what taxpayers spent subsidising investment properties, which do not create jobs.
“We currently give $4 billion a year to investors via the tax system to subsidise people buying negatively geared rental accommodation,” he told news.com.au.
Mr Ries said Australia was basically a country that subsidised nonproductive capital. “If someone borrows money to buy residential property, it doesn’t create any jobs,” he said.
“We’re giving already well-off people subsidies to buy more property, whereas the country in total spends $250 million a year on venture capital. There’s something wrong with that balance.”
It also meant that Australia was basically “exporting jobs”.
“It just means there will be less jobs here in the longer term. We’re just exporting jobs at the moment,” he said.
The money spent on venture capital was even less than the $1 billion Australians spent buying luxury sports utility vehicles (SUVs) every year. A high proportion of these vehicles will be used as private cars but written off as a business asset, which the taxpayer pays for.
“The reality of life in Australia today is we subsidise people buying high-end SUVs but we don’t give as much to venture capital,” Mr Ries said.
Mr Ries said the tax system should be tilted back towards things that actually created wealth and jobs. He saw at least two businesses a week that had developed some fantastic technology but could not get funding.
“I’ll give them a list of 25 venture capital funds in Australia and I will say to them, ‘Don’t expect to get any money out of them because they are fully committed’ and I think any small business that’s got great new technology, or a great new business idea in Australia at the moment is probably getting that advice from multiple sources around the country,” he told the ABC.
“We just don’t have the capacity to fund these businesses at the moment.”
If Australians did start investing in venture capital at the same rate the US did, spending would jump from $250 million to $4.9 billion a year.
The risk of not doing this could condemn the country to low employment growth and a sticky unemployment rate, which is hovering about 6 per cent.
He said more tax concessions should be made available. “I think the government needs to make it much more attractive to invest in these things which, by their nature, are much more risky,” he told news.com.au. “Nine out of 10 of them will fail but the one that succeeds will often be hugely successful.”
Those who live in glass houses...
Bronny's helicopter had a lot of precedents -- as "New Matilda" points out below. Why the hate for the Labor Party? The Matildas hate everybody. It's what they do. They are so far Left that they hate the ALP nearly as much as the Liberals
Angry with Bronwyn Bishop over her diddling of her travel expenses? Fair enough. But save some of that outrage for the other side.
If you’re waiting for the Abbott Government to ‘do the right thing’ and remove parliamentary speaker Bronwyn Bishop for trying to fleece Australian taxpayers $5,000 for a chartered helicopter flight to a party fundraiser, don’t hold your breath.
In 2013, the Gillard government’s Attorney General Mark Dreyfus drew up legislation which ensured that government departments which provide services directly to the parliament are no longer subject to the Freedom of Information Act. That obviously includes the Department of the House of Representatives, which processes the travel claims of politicians.
In other words, if politicians diddle their ‘entitlements’, you - the taxpayer – are not entitled to access the documents that prove it.
The legislation was a response to a scoop from Fairfax Media in June 2013. After the Sunshine Coast Daily was refused an FOI application*, The Herald decided to test the FOI legislation, and found a loophole. It got its hands on the spending of former speaker Peter Slipper’s office.
Traditionally, parliamentary services had always been exempt from FOI, but a change in laws in 1999 left a hole. The Herald tried to tear it open, but had their FOI application rejected. They appealed to the Information Commissioner, Professor John McMillan, who presides over all things FOI.
McMillan ruled in Fairfax’s favour, and hence we found out this juicy nugget: “Mr Slipper's new coat and tails cost taxpayers $1,248, while his total travel bill in his first six months as speaker was more than $18,000. He had also spent more than $8500 on catering.”
In hindsight, Slipper was quite the miser compared to his eventual successor – Bishop’s tally for 2014 was $389,139.25 in travel expenses alone, and just over $800,000 to run her office.
In any case, Labor - and the Coalition, despite their hatred of Slipper - were having none of it. Dreyfus hastily prepared a piece of legislation – one page in length - which closed the loophole.
You might remember Dreyfus from such parliamentary scandals as ‘I billed the Australian taxpayers $466 for two nights accommodation in Perisher for a family ski holiday’.
His bill was rushed through parliament with the support of the Coalition, despite the fact a review on the issue, commissioned by the previous Attorney General, Nicola Roxon, had yet to deliver its final report.
Notably, that report - and the parliamentary departments themselves - recommended against a blanket FOI exemption. They got one anyway.
At the time, Labor’s Anthony Albanese was quoted in the Herald article defending the indecent haste with which the legislation was pushed through. He described it as "an interim measure" before the review's completion. No prizes for guessing whether the exemptions remain in place today.
And of course, you may remember Albanese from such expenses scandals as ‘I charged taxpayers to get to a couple of NRL games’. ‘And then I charged taxpayers to go to the AFL grand final. And the Australian tennis Open.’
That was roughly around the time when it emerged that Tony Abbott had charged taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars to attend a host of sporting events, along with more than $9,000 for travel he claimed while on a private book tour. Plus all the travel claims he made when he was ‘volunteering’ in remote Aboriginal communities.
It was also around the time when it emerged Abbott and others had charged taxpayers to attend private weddings, including those of ousted Liberal MP Sophie Mirabella and, believe it or not, Peter Slipper.
Also quoted in the Fairfax story was Bronwyn Bishop who defended the closing of the loophole by complaining that a parliamentary librarian had been placed in a "very difficult position" after the Information Commissioner’s ruling that the service was subject to FOI.
Now here’s the rub.
Unlike Slipper, who was prosecuted – unsuccessfully in the end – for trying to steal less than $1,000 in cab fares to tour wineries just outside of Canberra, Bishop does not have to stare down the Australian Federal Police.
Instead, her matter is being investigated by the Department of Finance, led by bureaucrat Jane Halton, who you might remember from such scandals as John Howard’s ‘Children Overboard’ affair’.
As for the Information Commissioner, who ruled that Fairfax’s FOI application on Slipper’s expenses was valid, you won’t remember him in a few years.
Professor McMillan’s position was abolished by the Abbott Government last year, in their very first budget.
Banning political donations will run foul of free speech protections in the constitution
Unfortunately the simple solution to the potentially corrupting influence of political donations - banning them altogether - is not as simple as it seems.
The inquiry into political donations laws in NSW headed by Kerry Schott found that only Tunisia has adopted a total ban and that virtually all Western democracies allowed fundraising from the private sector.
For a start, a total ban would likely drive donations underground and shunt political campaigning into third party identities, giving rise to the new problem of establishing whether the groups were independent or linked to political parties.
Second, most Western democracies regard financial support for political ideals as part of the democratic right.
A total ban would almost certainly fall foul of the implied right of freedom of political communication in the Australian constitution.
Even partial bans have run foul. Bob Hawke's attempt in 1992 to ban television advertising in an effort to curtail the burgeoning costs of campaigning, was knocked on the head by the High Court. So was former NSW premier Barry O'Farrell's attempt to ban donations from unions and corporate donors.
The latest freedom of speech challenge is coming from former Newcastle mayor and property developer Jeff McCloy, who is challenging NSW's ban on developer donations. The ICAC heard allegations that McCloy had paid $30,000 in secret donations to local Liberal MPs in breach of NSW laws which ban certain classes of people, including property developers from making political donations. The ICAC report and the High Court decision are still pending.
The thinking behind NSW's approach of banning certain classes of donors is that the profits of developers, the alcohol industry and the gaming industry are directly affected by state decisions and so the risk of corruption is much higher.
ALP conference 2015: Bill Shorten’s wins comes at a cost
Bill Shorten has strengthened his leadership by winning vital policy fights at Labor’s national conference, using the support of key unions to fight off vigorous challenges that would have damaged his authority.
The Opposition Leader got his way in debates to endorse boat turnbacks, allow a free vote on same-sex marriage and take a cautious approach to party reform in outcomes where the Labor Left splintered on crucial decisions.
But Labor’s internal tensions were laid bare in disputes over support for Mr Shorten on key questions, fuelling talk that Tanya Plibersek and Anthony Albanese were positioning themselves as potential leaders.
The jostling for personal position cast a cloud over Labor’s attempts to use the conference to assure voters that it could be trusted to form government at the next election and could manage border protection once in power.
The Opposition Leader’s victories also came with promises that will require generous budget spending, including programs to help workers who could lose their jobs under his risky new target for renewable energy.
A deal on tougher border protection policies, including turning back boats where safe to do so, came with a pledge to spend $450 million over the next four years on the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
Mr Shorten relied heavily on key unions on the Left of the ALP to prevail in the conference debates, including the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union. The CFMEU added its voice to support for Mr Shorten in Left faction meetings on boat turnbacks, reinforcing his authority.
While that debate was not linked directly to others, the union movement is expecting Mr Shorten and shadow ministers to campaign hard against a free-trade deal with China in order to extract changes that toughen the safeguards against easier visas for skilled migrant workers. Unions fighting the China trade deal include the CFMEU, the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, the Maritime Union of Australia and the Electrical Trades Union.
The Opposition Leader declared last night that the conference proved to voters that Labor was serious about taking social and economic reform to the next election.
“In every chapter of our platform we have offered views and propositions for change for a brighter future,” Mr Shorten told the closing session. “We will leave here with the fundamental challenge of the next election established. We believe that hope can triumph over fear, that optimism defeats pessimism.”
Mr Shorten named health, education, jobs and renewable energy as key areas where Labor had updated its policy platform with new propositions that would secure support among voters.
While small changes were made yesterday to democratise the party, union leaders helped to dilute the reforms to retain their power in the party’s peak councils, an outcome seen as a win for Mr Shorten and a defeat for the Left.
Mr Shorten also got his way on a softer line on the recognition of Palestine, despite attempts by the Left to dictate policies that would hamstring the leader. But his decision to embrace an emissions trading scheme triggered a dispute yesterday over whether the impost could be labelled a “tax” — a question that helped bring down the last Labor government.
The personal tensions now shape Labor’s preparations for the next election amid calculations over whether the Left has the numbers to seize the leadership one day.
A vote on same-sex marriage late yesterday turned into a test of authority for both Mr Shorten and Ms Plibersek. All sides conceded that the Left had a majority to enforce the deputy leader’s call for a binding vote for all MPs to support same-sex marriage despite their personal views.
But with some members of the Left at odds with the deputy leader’s position, including Mr Albanese and Victorian powerbroker Kim Carr, the faction agreed to a retreat that helped Mr Shorten.
The result was an amendment that approved conscience votes on gay marriage for the next two terms of parliament, by which time most expect the matter to be settled in federal parliament.
All parties sought to portray the compromise as a win for their side, highlighting the underlying contest for leadership status.
The conference infighting included attacks on Ms Plibersek for playing a “double game” in the debate over boat turnbacks in a way that could diminish her influence within the Left. While she did not oppose the turnback policy in shadow cabinet and argued for it in meetings of the Left, she gave her vote to a proxy who cast it against Mr Shorten’s position.
The Opposition Leader’s allies also took aim at Mr Albanese for openly voting against the tougher line on boat turnbacks, even though he did not challenge the policy when shadow cabinet agreed on the tougher line.
The Australian was told that only one frontbencher, Penny Wong, expressed reservations about supporting boat turnbacks when the stance was decided in shadow cabinet. Senator Wong’s vote at the party conference was also given to a proxy who cast it against Mr Shorten’s position.
Caucus members described the positioning within the Left as a quest to succeed Mr Shorten, with several arguing that Ms Plibersek had lost ground as a result of her handling of the passionate differences over asylum-seekers.
Mr Albanese gained acclaim within the Left for taking his stand against turnbacks, raising suggestions that he could one day capitalise on the growing power of the Left to take the leadership.
How Starbucks thrive on an Australian invention
STARBUCKS said its quarterly profit jumped 22 per cent as pricier drinks like flat whites and food helped lift sales at its U.S. cafes.
The Seattle-based coffee chain said sales rose 8 per cent in its flagship Americas unit. In the U.S., which makes up the majority of the unit, the company has been pushing up sales with price hikes and offerings like S’more frappuccinos and flat white espresso drinks that cost a little more.
Flat whites are an Australian invention that were introduced to American Starbucks menus at the beginning of the year
Starbucks chief financial officer Scott Maw said in a phone interview that people are even “trading up” to newer, pricier breakfast sandwiches, such as one served on a croissant bun. Maw noted that more people are getting food with their orders as well.
Customer visits are increasing too, boosted by the company’s mobile app. The app, which incorporates its loyalty program, encourages people to return by rewarding them with “stars,” which can be used toward free drinks and food.
Monday, July 27, 2015
Does Australia lock up too many blacks?
The wail below is written by a lawyer, not a social scientist -- and shows no knowledge of the people concerned at all. All he knows is how to look up simple statistics. When he finds that they look bad what does he do? Does he ask why? There's no sign of it. He just seems to to assume that we are all somehow at fault. That makes him a good Leftist but also what Australians call a drongo -- very stupid.
So as someone who has written quite a lot in the academic journals on race-relations, sociology and criminology, let me point out what is really going on.
Before the arrival of the white man, Aborigines were well adapted to a stone-age life. They had been adapting to it for around 50,000 years so the adaptation was extreme. Their visuo-spatial abilities were (and are) simply wonderful. Such adaptations helped them to capture and eat furry animals. But adaptations favourable to stone-age life are not at all suited to modern Western society. People originally from the Eurasian continent evolved very differently. The much larger population there produced innovation -- and that gave us the modern world.
So how are Aborigines disadvantaged in Australia today? The mother and father of their handicaps is low IQ. They are the race with the world's second lowest measured IQ (South African bushmen are the lowest). They survived by sharpening their perceptual abilities, not their reasoning abilities -- and basically are therefore very bad at dealing with anything new and complex.
I have known many of them and admire good qualities in them. They are for instance very polite, unaggressive and tend to have a good sense of humour. But some of their qualities are good yet also their undoing. In particular, they have evolved as a sharing culture. When some hunter succeeded in bringing down a big animal, it was shared around in the assurance that other such fortunate kills by others would also be shared around. There was no refrigeration so no other system made sense. You COULD not keep your kill to yourself.
So, like other native peoples (e.g. the Maori) the concept of private property is just not there in them. If you want something it seems simply right and just to take it, regardless of a property claim that someone else might have on it. I have seen it happen.
An Aborigine in fact just CANNOT keep substantial assets to himself. He must share any windfall, even if that windfall is in fact the proceeds of his own hard work. So you can see how strongly our concept of theft clashes with Aboriginal instincts.
Then there is the alcohol problem. We have had perhaps 60,000 years to learn how to handle our booze. And even then we sometimes do a rather bad job of it. But Aborigines never had alcohol until the white man came. So their use of alcohol is often catastrophic and lies behind perhaps the majority of their arrests.
I could say much more but the sad truth is, I think, clear: Aborigines are just not adapted to the world in which they now find themselves -- so are constantly breaking its rules. All that we CAN do is to enforces the rules. If we exempted Aborigines we would produce huge uproar and disruption. As it is, some judges DO punish Aboriginal infractions more lightly -- but that DOES produce big criticism. Physical abuse of women and children -- sometimes extreme abuse of women and children -- is a big sub-set of Aboriginal crime. Do we WANT to condone that?
With pitifully simplistic thinking, the drongo below says that better education is needed for Aborigines. Does he have any idea how hard and how unsuccessfully many governments have tried to get Aboriginal children into school? And how is education going to change attributes built up over thousands of generations anyway?
Everything that could be tried to make Aboriginal behaviour more adaptive has been tried and has failed -- from paternalism to giving them maximum autonomy. You won't undo millennia of evolution just by wishing it. The only thing that has ever had much success is when the missionaries ran Aboriginal settlements. Aborigines are a very spiritual people so religion does influence them. But bringing the missionaries back would be impossible. So Aborigines will continue to violate our rules and will continue to be treated like other breakers of the rules -- often by imprisonment
They are locked up often because they often do wrong things. There is no other reason
The US might be the home of mass incarceration – and it is, with 5 per cent of the world's people, it has a quarter of the world's inmates – but America has nothing on Australia in its enthusiasm for disproportionately locking up black people.
Indigenous Australians are imprisoned at a rate 13 times that of other Australians, according to figures collated by the Productivity Commission. That's not 13 per cent higher, or twice as high, but 13 times the rate, 1300 per cent of the rate for the rest of the population. At any one time, over 2 per cent of the Indigenous population is locked up, which doesn't remotely compare with the figure for the rest of us.
The effect of that proportion of people out of one group over time is almost unfathomable, the disruption to the prisoners' lives, their futures, their families.
It's not as if this is a new problem, but it's a rapidly deteriorating one. In 2000, the Indigenous imprisonment rate was merely 8 times as high. Those where the golden days.
So not only do we jail Indigenous people at a far higher rate than even the US imprisons black men, we're speeding things up, putting a greater proportion away. We're increasing this most self-defeating of gaps.
A particular point of Australian difference is our ability to do it harsher for children. For young people, who are meant to be locked up only as an absolute last resort, Indigenous children are jailed at a rate 24 times that of other children.
When Obama turns his attention to a justice system that seems anything but colour blind, the world listens. When Mick Gooda, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commissioner, late last year proved Aboriginal incarceration to be every bit the catastrophe he labelled it, Australia scarcely rolled its eyes. Most didn't even notice.
His figures put the difference in rates at 15 times, and found the reoffending rate for children in detention – 58 per cent within 10 years – was higher than the proportion of children who stayed at school until year 12. "We do better at keeping Aboriginal people in prison than in school," Mr Gooda told the ABC.
If most of us continue to ignore this catastrophe, as the country seems determined to do, we will deepen this social disaster. Every year it gets worse, or merely stays the same, or only marginally improves, is another year squandering the potential of an enormous fraction of the Indigenous population and wasting hundreds of millions across the country on unnecessary incarceration.
The Productivity Commission called out four major factors contributing to this shameful reality – education, drugs, child neglect and employment. We need to fix all of them, but surely education is the low-hanging fruit.
Cutting education reforms, like the short-lived Gonski package, is one way to perpetuate the catastrophe. The absence of opportunity leads, for far too many, to the absence of anything but a life hurt by crime – as both victim and perpetrator.
Students in public schools twice as likely to be bullied as private school pupils
Parents are choosing private schooling for many reasons.
Sending your child to a public high school doubles their risk of being bullied, compared to private school students, and girls are more likely to be victims, one of Australia's most comprehensive surveys has revealed.
The Household, Income and Labour Dynamics Australia (HILDA) survey commissioned by the Federal Department of Social Services interviewed more than 13,000 people each year from 2001 to 2012.
On Wednesday, the researchers from the University of Melbourne revealed growing disparity between the prospects of male and female students, those with university qualifications and those without, as well the reasons why up to 14 per cent of Australian parents continue to choose private education over public schools across the country.
The report's authors found that 22 per cent of parents of high school students at public schools believed their children were bullied while at school, compared to 11 per cent at independent schools and 15 per cent at Catholic schools.
Girls were more often affected by bullying across the nation's public schools, according to the report's authors, bucking the trend for girls' generally higher educational outcomes.
"Parents and guardians on average report worse educational outcomes and prospects for boys, the notable exception being the experience of bullying [girls] in high school," wrote University of Melbourne professor Roger Wilkins.
Parents of children at independent schools reported higher satisfaction with education at primary and high school levels, with 68 per cent believing their child would go on to study at university compared to 49 per cent at public schools.
The CEO of Independent Schools Victoria, Michelle Green, said the survey didn't only address academic results.
"They appreciate independent schools' emphasis on pastoral care, personal development, teaching quality, and discipline and safety which helps lift results, it also helps reduce bullying and other behavioural issues," she said.
A spokesman for the NSW Department of Education said it had zero tolerance for bullying and had developed an Anti-Bullying Plan developed in consultation with the school community.
The report also revealed that while many high school students aspire to attend sandstone universities such as the University of Sydney or the University of Melbourne, graduates of those universities stand to earn up to 10 per cent less than the graduates of technical universities such as RMIT or UTS.
CFMEU official charged with blackmail
CONSTRUCTION union organiser and former NRL player John Lomax is the second person to face blackmail charges in connection with the Canberra hearings of the royal commission into union corruption.
ACT police said the 49-year-old was arrested on Friday morning "in relation to the Canberra hearings" of the royal commission.
The CFMEU organiser was charged with one count of blackmail and granted watch-house bail.
He had been expected to give evidence before the royal commission next week, but it's unclear whether that will go ahead.
Lomax is a former Canberra Raiders prop who also played short stints with North Queensland and Melbourne. He represented New Zealand in 15 Tests, including a Rugby League World Cup in the mid-1990s.
He is the third person to have been arrested by the police task force attached to the royal commission, and the second to be arrested in relation to the hearings in Canberra.
Former CFMEU organiser Halafihi "Fihi" Kivalu was arrested last week and has pleaded not guilty to two charges of blackmail.
The royal commission on Friday heard construction company director John Domitrovic was allegedly pressured into writing $30,000 worth of cheques addressed to Kivalu's wife. Mr Domitrovic said Kivalu visited his Queanbeyan work site in 2011 demanding $60,000 in cash but he instead offered him $30,000 in cheques. He said Kivalu asked that the cheques be made out to his wife with the full amount to be paid by Christmas. Copies of the cheques by All Kiwi Constructions made out to Halaevalu Maureen Kivalu were received into evidence.
The hearing was also presented with Mrs Kivalu's bank statements, which showed $30,000 worth of deposits, corresponding with the dates on the cheques.
Mr Domitrovic said he wasn't surprised by the demand, having heard of similar cases in the industry. But he was surprised Kivalu accepted cheques, given they could be traced. "(I was) somewhat surprised that Fihi agreed to take a cheque to his wife, that surprised me the most."
He said he paid the money to avoid getting on the wrong side of the union. "It's a purely business decision for economic reasons," Mr Domitrovic said. "They could have put a lot of pressure on me on the job."
The commission has heard allegations the union pressured businesses in Canberra to sign its EBA, threatening they wouldn't get work if they didn't and using safety checks as an excuse to disrupt their work sites.
The union's lawyer John Agius on Friday rejected the claims, saying safety on construction sites in the ACT was "appalling" and the CFMEU had been a driving force to improve it.
The hearing continues on Monday.
Police seeing Muslim extremism in kids ‘as young as 14’
POLICE have revealed that teenage extremists are becoming common, after allegations surfaced that a 17-year-old has been preaching extremists views at a Sydney high school.
Counter-terrorism police are investigating allegations that the boy has been preaching extremist Islam in the playground of Epping Boys High School, in Sydney’s northwest.
“We are conducting an investigation into an allegation that a young man is attempting to influence students in his school to adopt his extremist views,” NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Murdoch told The Australian.
It’s understood the investigation was prompted after police received information the boy of Afghan heritage was delivering religious sermons to other pupils.
Sources told The Australian that the boy is an “acolyte” of Milad bin Ahmad-Shah al-Ahmadzai, an alleged Sydney jihadist in jail awaiting trial on a string of charges, including the near-fatal shooting of a man outside a gay club and a ram-raid in shopping centre.
Police believe the student in question has twice tried to travel to Syria, but he was stopped at the airport each time.
Speaking to reporters this afternoon, Assistant Commissioner Murdoch said police were receiving more and more reports of teenage extremism, both in boys and girls.
“We are seeing this in children as young as 14 years old,” he said.
He said parents should be on the lookout for changes in their children’s behaviour.
“I think if parents know their children and they’ve invested enough in their upbringing, they know when they need to be concerned,” he said.
“The bottom line is if they become concerned about the changing behaviour of their young children and teenagers, they need to put their hand up and flag that there’s been a changed in behaviour.”
Assistant Commissioner Murdoch said police were taking the allegations very seriously and that officers were in constant communication with schools to ensure students and staff were safe.
Epping Boys High principal Tim O’Brien posted to the school’s website that student safety was “our absolute highest priority at all times”.
“I would like to reassure the whole Epping Boys High School community that the school continues to be in close liaison with the Department of Education and a range of law enforcement agencies to uphold our exemplary levels of student safety and student wellbeing.
“School counsellors are available for all boys, if required, today or in the future.
“All normal lessons and activities are proceeding today according to timetable.”
Meanwhile, NSW Premier Mike Baird has expressed his concern about “increasing radicalisation of young people”.
“The issue reported this morning is highly disturbing and I have asked for an urgent briefing from both the Department of Education and NSW Police,” he told The Australian.
Labor supports gay adoption rights
LABOR has promised to give gay, transgender and intersex parents the same rights as heterosexual couples to access IVF, adopt children and enter surrogacy arrangements.
FORMER federal senator Louise Pratt, whose partner is a transgender man, moved two successful motions to commit a federal Labor government to seeking national agreement on these matters.
The party will also seek to make sure gay, transgender and intersex couples get equal recognition in any inter-country adoption agreements Australia is part of.
Sunday, July 26, 2015
In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is amazed that the Labor part conference has completely ignored the financial situation.
Facebook REFUSES to shut down 'racist' 'Humans of Sunnybank' group which mimics Asian accents and labels the Brisbane community 'dog meat eaters'
Ethnic self-segregation is a common thing and the Brisbane suburbs of Sunnybank and Sunnybank Hills seem to have been adopted by East Asians, mainly Han Chinese. And the Asian presence really is amazing at times. I remember standing in a queue outside a popular Japanese restaurant there with my son -- and noting that my son and I were the only exception in a sea of black hair around us. We were taller than most of them so we could see that sea.
I was actually pleased by that. Asians are a lot more peaceful and patient than we Anglo-Australians are. My son and I in fact were not patient. We decided not to wait and went to another less popular restaurant instead.
And there is no doubt that the food in the area is great value. My son and I often go to a Japanese fast-food joint there called "Mos burgers".
Because they tend to be exemplary citizens by any standard, there is in general very little hostility to Asians in Australia these days. There are a lot of them and they fit in seamlessly. Just this morning on an outing I saw a Chinese lady rush up to an old-Australian lady and give her a big hug. They were obviously old friends. And I know of no physical attacks on Asians aside from what emanates from our small African sub-population.
The sort of negative comment about Asians that you get from old-Australians is mild criticism and the site objected to below is in that mould. It is clearly jocular. With their history of persecution elsewhere, it is understandable that the site makes overseas Chinese nervous but all it is likely to lead to is laughs
Far-Leftists like The Matildas of course believe that all Australians (except them?) are deeply racist. It's an article of faith for them. But they are just projecting. They see their own hate-filled personalities in everybody else. It's called, "Judging others by yourself" and is a well-worn fallacy. Every single article on "New Matilda" is full of rage so the hate is there in plain sight
An advocacy group have called on Facebook to take down a ‘xenophobic’ page that they believe perpetuates ‘incorrect stereotypes’ about the Asian community in a Brisbane suburb.
The group Global Asians for Action and Social Change (GAASC) have slammed the ‘Humans of Sunnybank’ page for posting ‘harmful and offensive’ images that ‘insult the English language abilities’ of Asian migrants and ‘falsely’ portray the community as dog meat eaters.
The page, which has amassed 16,000 followers, is loosely based on the popular blog Humans of New York and has published more than 60 images, accompanied by captions that 'crudely mimic' an Asian accent.
GAASC said this is a clear attempt to ‘create an atmosphere of xenophobia’.
‘Unlike the ground breaking Humans of New York which showed faces which build New York as a cosmopolitan destination and shares enriching human interest stories, Humans of Sunnybank instead insults and offends by using various incorrect and offensive stereotypes regarding Asian people, and posts it in a fashion that promotes continued racism,’ GAASC said in a statement.
According to GAASC, Sunnybank is home to almost 3,000 residents of Asian heritage, making up approximately 35 per cent of the region's population.
The page, which predominantly use stock images of Asian people, claims to use 'genuine first-hand interviews' to paint a picture of the culturally diverse suburb- 'one story at a time'.
Others play on the stereotype that Asian people are bad drivers
One posts uses a stock image of seven Asian men squatting in a circle, a common practice in Vietnam.
The caption reads: ‘Wei, Brother Chow, I see you shaking.. You going to give up so easiry? Do the squat is wery important! We no skip the leg day in Sunnybank. Even the white boy can do better than you!’
Another used a stock image of an elderly man who appears to be driving a car.
The caption reads: ‘Before I come Australia, I no learn to use car. So I have 8 try for pass driving test. But my wife even worse, one day she do a 15-point turn to get out from garage. That’s why she only allow to drive Toyota Camry. She go to Market Square a lot, please be careful, don’t crash her.’
Erin Chew, a founder of GAASC, reported the page to Facebook administrators for ‘promoting hate speech’, however it was found the page did not violate Facebook’s community standards.
The posts are written in broken English which Erin Chew said encourages racist stereotyping
Ms Chew said Facebook needs to have a ‘deeper evaluation of its community standards’ if they want to become a ‘more responsible and conscientious global citizen.'
She said the social media giant should understand the difference between allowing free speech and allowing a group to use its platform to racially vilify another.
'I understand about freedom of speech and expression, and I believe in that, but at the same time there has to be a limit when it starts to offend a race or community,' Ms Chew told Daily Mail Australia. 'You can have artistic expression but this is just in poor taste.'
A spokesperson from Queensland's Anti-Discrimination Commission told Daily Mail Australia that some of the material that features on the 'Humans of Sunnybank' Facebook group would be considered vilification under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991.
'The Act states that a person must not, by a public act, incite hatred towards, serious contempt for, or severe ridicule of, a person or group of persons on the ground of the race, religion, sexuality or gender identity of the person or members of the group.'
She said anyone who believes they have been subjected to 'unlawful vilification' can lodge a formal complaint to the Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland.
'They would need to provide the identity of the person who they allege has vilified them, rather than just naming the Facebook page. This can sometimes be difficult.'
She said the only other alternative is to continue lobbying Facebook to have the page shut down.
GAASC have started a change.org petition demanding Facebook to remove the page from its site.
Ms Chew said she plans to lodge a formal complaint with Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland and the Australian Human Rights Commission on Friday.
Daily Mail Australia contacted Facebook and the administrators of 'Humans of Sunnybank' however neither were available for comment at the time of publication.
ALP conference 2015: big on promises, short on financial reality
Labor under Bill Shorten seeks to win the next election by re-fighting the climate change issue with a renewable energy spearhead, pledging a fairer nation and using progressive identity politics — yet its fatal flaw is economic policy.
It is an extraordinary situation. Labor intends to recontest the battles of the Rudd-Gillard era, asylum-seeker boats being the likely exception.
Rather than reform itself because of the Rudd-Gillard experience, Labor has decided it was essentially right. It will ask the Australian public to think again and this time vote down Tony Abbott.
The ALP will prioritise climate change action via higher prices, operate in lock-step with the trade unions, flirt with quasi-protectionist economics, downplay market-based reforms and champion a litany of progressive causes: female equality, same-sex marriage, indigenous recognition and the republic.
At a time when Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens warns that Australian growth is falling to permanently lower levels — the implication being that stalled economic reform has diminished living standards — Labor offers phony words and hollow policy.
It is locked into the old politics and mistakes, playing to its loyalists and institutional interests.
Shorten is a weak leader trying to look strong. He is conspicuously devoid of policy strength. The lesson of Shorten’s leadership, illustrated by his speech yesterday, is the limits of leadership. Nearly everything he does is about adaptation to Labor power realities, ideological orthodoxies, trade unions and polling. He is driven to defy party sentiment on asylum-seeker boats for only one reason: the current policy is a veto on election victory.
These tactics overall should deliver Labor a formidable election campaign. It will be competitive. But Shorten’s latest ploy, the 50 per cent renewables electricity target by 2030, reveals all the problems.
This is plain irresponsible policy. It means Labor has no interest in the most cost-effective method of tackling emissions across the next 15 years.
It has no interest in trying to combat climate change consistent with a competitive growth economy. Labor can duck and weave but it cannot escape financial reality: the cost of renewables remains vastly more expensive than fossil fuels.
Anyone with half a political brain sees through this ploy. Because Shorten knows he must fight on climate change and because he knows pricing carbon risks another “carbon tax” scare, he wants to redefine the contest to “who loves renewables the most”.
Abbott’s ineptitude invites such easy exploitation.
The upshot is that Shorten has shifted much of Labor’s policy response on to the single most ineffective and high-cost mechanism.
He will punish Australian households and businesses with high costs in the interests of his own political convenience and vote-buying. It is the essence of trashing the public interest for party political gain.
At least when Abbott was being irresponsible he merely promised to abolish a tax.
In his speech yesterday, Shorten’s election vision was “more solar panels on Australian rooftops” and more farmers “putting wind turbines on their land”.
It sounds like a joke from a satire program. Sadly, it’s not. The party faithful, evidently, think this is terrific. It is the latest example of how far Labor has sunk.
Shorten pretends he’s being bold. In fact, he’s being weak. Expect that the carbon pricing commitment via an emissions trading scheme will be downgraded. Instead of Labor relying on carbon pricing with the renewable energy target becoming less necessary, Labor seems to be moving in the opposite direction. This is Shorten Labor: 100 per cent political expediency and defective policy.
He pretends this will create investor confidence. What nonsense. Investors will know that renewable energy policy is a volatile political war. The proof is the fact the Coalition and Labor cut a compromise a few weeks ago for a 23 per cent RET and Labor has turned that upside down.
In a re-run of history, the climate change lobby, vested interests and much of the political media will applaud Shorten — meanwhile, the Australian public, concerned about climate change but sceptical of costs, will be far harder to persuade than Labor believes. At this point, Labor has no details, no modelling, no analysis. Its self-obsession is revealing.
A fight over renewables is exactly the wrong fight Australia now needs for good policy. It is being staged solely for politics. The need is to reduce the overall carbon footprint by the most cost-efficient method (obviously including renewables) but both sides now have highly dubious policies.
If the Abbott government has the brain and skill to publish a credible study of the massive income transfer this policy involves from the Australian public to the renewable sector then it will destroy the policy.
Is Labor actually pledged to the 50 per cent target? Who knows? Shorten called it an “aim”. This implies it is qualified, but qualified according to what conditions? Is such a policy feasible? What are its economic consequences? What are the costs? What business and industry groups did Labor consult about such a long-run distortion of financial resources?
None of these questions is answered. It is folly for Shorten to conceal the holes in his 50 per cent pledge with phony “bring it on” bravado. Labor has had 20 months since the last election to prepare a structured policy and, to this point, it has failed to produce any such model.
As for Abbott, his mistake has been monumental: his scepticism towards renewables has been projected as prejudice rather than founded in rational policy.
Indeed, his inability to explain himself on renewables has been a free kick to Labor. But Shorten, in turn, has now tried to make too much of the political opportunity Abbott has given him.
Just as carbon policy was pivotal in ruining the economic standing of the Gillard government, so Shorten embraces the same risks. The combined signals Labor sends on economic policy are damaging and point to policy regression.
There was no mention in Shorten’s speech of the core reality — that Australia faces a growth slowdown, that living standards growth is being reduced, that the budget faces a challenge on both the tax and spending side, and that new measures are needed to improve productivity.
Is reality too unpalatable for the Labor Party? More to the point, is the platform agenda and party ethos singularly out of touch with the challenges that would face a new ALP government?
Shorten says higher taxes are a sign of Abbott’s failure. Pardon? Labor tax policies so far involve tightening superannuation concessions at the top end, a new tax on multinationals with the ALP premiers, as their preferred choice, backing a hefty increase in the personal income tax burden via the Medicare levy to fund future health costs.
It is true Shorten pledges to cut tax for small business but Labor’s overall thrust is unmistakable: its strong preference, facing a budget deficit and pressure on core services, is for the adjustment to be made via taxation rises.
Shorten says Labor believes in free trade and new markets. Pardon? The ALP conference endorsed yesterday a strong union-driven campaign against the Australia-China free trade agreement on the grounds that it will see Aussie jobs lost to the new Chinese workers coming into this country.
Michael O’Connor, from the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union, said the FTA “smashes our labour market”.
Opposition trade spokeswoman Penny Wong is now pledged to improve the agreement, a high-risk exercise.
There is no sign the government will seek changes. Labor needs to be careful of these tactics, preserve its flexibility and avoid being trapped in a situation where it has condemned the agreement but cannot change it.
Shorten’s speech signalled his symbolic priorities. His first pledge was to indigenous recognition in the Constitution. His second declaration was to trade union fidelity. Shorten sang from the Julia Gillard songbook.
After a week that saw many iconic ALP figures call for fundamental reform of the Labor-union relationship, Shorten lauded the unions, mocked the royal commission into union governance and, by implication, repudiated the calls for internal reform.
In truth, Shorten’s position is becoming more dependent on the trade unions, a repeat of Gillard’s situation, and anyone who thinks this won’t have policy consequences is a fool.
Shorten depicted his policy on renewables as creating the “jobs of the future” and claimed that it meant “cutting power bills for consumers”.
This claim arises because the electricity generation market is currently oversupplied and more renewables will add to supply and reduce prices. That is true.
It avoids, however, the bigger reality that the higher cost of renewables compared with fossil fuels means a higher cost structure that consumers will have to meet.
Labor has switched priorities — it has moved from using price to decarbonise the economy to a massive prioritising of renewables without proper regard for costs involved and the consequences for households and business.
This runs against the real interests of workers, families and capital. It will extract, over time, a fearful toll on Labor.
Meanwhile, try not to be deafened by the guaranteed applause.
Another thug union doesn't want Chinese competition
ETU joining the CMFEU. Similar union agitation birthed the White Australia policy in 1901. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose
More than a thousand union and community members will protest against the China Australia Free Trade Agreement tomorrow morning at a rally outside the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, ahead of the opening of the ALP National Conference.
Electrical Trades Union national secretary Allen Hicks, who will speak at the rally alongside academics, and representatives of GetUp, the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network, and the Australian Council of Trade Unions, said opposing negative elements of this agreement did not make unions anti-trade.
“The China Australia Free Trade Agreement removes the mandatory skills testing that currently ensures overseas workers in high-risk trades are able to perform their tasks to Australian safety standards,” Mr Hicks said.
“It also removes the requirement for labour market testing, meaning employers will no longer need to advertise jobs in Australia before they advertise them in China.
“Many of these workers, who are entirely dependent on their employer for their residence in Australia, will be at risk of exploitation, with bosses demanding they cut corners on safety, work inhumane hours, or sign contracts that are illegal under Australian law.
“The Immigration Department’s own figures show that less than seven percent of the businesses that use the 457 visa scheme are monitored, but even among that small number a third have been found to be breaching their obligations.
“Perhaps most worryingly, the ChAFTA deal removes the ability of future Australian Governments to legislate in the interests of the public, providing foreign companies with the right to sue if new laws impact on their profits.”
Australians have had a gutful of refugees so this will b e a big vote-loser
Labor leader Bill Shorten is reportedly expected to reach out to the left of his divided party today by promising to double Australia's refugee intake.
Mr Shorten recently pledged to adopt the Coalition policy on "turning back the boats" of asylum seekers.
The move has angered some factions within his party, and his olive branch at the ALP conference in Melbourne is reportedly an attempt to mend the rift.
The new pledge is likely to cost Australians $450 million, News Corp has reported.
The conference is also expected to debate same-sex marriage with some delegates seeking a binding vote on Labor MPs before a cross-party bill being presented to the parliament next month.
Lunchtime rallies are planned involving refugee advocates and same-sex marriage supporters.
Also on the sidelines, Australian of the Year Rosie Batty will lead a panel discussion on preventing family violence.
Muslim critic Kim Vuga on ABC TV
Vuga hosts a Facebook page called "Stop The Boat People" and in promos for the SBS show she declares "Australia is under attack. We already have the terrorists here. We are already living amongst the enemy."
Asked by panel co-host Natarsha Belling if she would say she was a racist, she said she was not. "I believe that we actually need to change the term and the definition." Vuga also said she believed in equality.
The Project ran big promotions for Vuga's appearance tantalising viewers with the possibility that she could be "the most racist woman in Australia".
In one teaser co-host and Fairfax writer Waleed Aly said: "Staunchly anti-refugee and anti-Muslim. I can't wait." Yet, Aly didn't ask Vuga anything, letting Meshel Laurie, Natarsha Belling and Lehmo handle the interview.
She was asked whether she believed Australia was "under attack from refugees", and she said "we are under attack by terrorists ... let in by Labor." She brought up Martin Place gunman Man Monis, saying that he "definitely didn't have any mental health problems. He had over 14,000 followers and a lot of them were in Australia." This led to a confusing exchange about Muslim-Australians and mental health problems with Laurie.
Talking about what she got out of Go Back From Where You Came From — 25 days with five other participants exploring the refugee experience — Vuga said it strengthened her existing convictions.
Vuga said she felt guilty when she left Kurdish fighters in Syria behind. "I believe we need to have more boots on the ground over there." And that's when Waleed Aly finally got his say: "Kim, thank you very much for joining us tonight."
Vuga lives in Townsville and describes herself as a freelance journalist.