Friday, August 17, 2018


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG likes Bob ("Lebanese") Katter.  See my comments of 16th below

Sydney rock oysters getting smaller as oceans become more acidic due to climate change

EVERYTHING is caused by climate change!  The study behind the article below does not yet appear to be online. None of my usual search techniques located it anyway.  So I am a bit handicapped in commenting on it. 

I would for instance like to know details of the survey technique they used to arrive at their conclusion that Sydney oysters are shrinking.  Without representative sampling no generalizations are possible.  My bet is that they did not do comprehensive and representative sampling.

But in the absence of that information, we can still detect some dubious conclusions.  If there has been a decline, how do we know it is due to global warming?  We do not know.  There could be many other causes of the effect.  The most obvious alternative cause would be disease.  Oysters are prone to all sorts of disease stressors: QX disease, POMS disease and many more.  And given the frequency of such attacks there are probably some as yet undetected diseases at work.

Oyster farmers believe that acidic runoff from the land adversely affect oysters.  Susan Fitzer says that has recently been reduced but again I would like details of that assertion and the surveys on which it is based.

And sewage runoff is known to affect oysters.  And there seems little doubt that the breakneck expansion of the Sydney population is putting a lot more sewage into the ocean. (Yes. Sydney does do that).  Could that adversely affect oysters?

And the alleged acidity is in fact reduced alkalinity. Does any level of alkalinity affect oysters?  I can't see why it should.

And the "acidity" is said to be a result of increased global warming.  But, according to the satellites,  global temperatures have been  falling for the last couple of years. 

Furthermore the entire prediction that acidity will increase in the oceans is deliberately dishonest. If, as Warmists predict, the world will warm, that will make the oceans warmer too. And as water warms it OUTGASES CO2, as every drinker of coca cola can observe. Those bubbles in your coke are outgassed bubbles of CO2, outgassed as the drink warms. And less CO2 means less carbonic acid. So a warming ocean will become more ALKALINE.

The Warmists try to have it both ways, saying the oceans will be both warmer and more acidic.  But that flies in the face of basic and easily demonstrable physics.  But they are only pretend scientists so I guess that is OK

And we read here that  ancient planktonic foraminifer shells were still going strong at CO2 levels 5 times higher than today. That sounds like a good augury for oyster shells.

So I think we can say with some confidence that the causal chain suggested by Susan Fitzer is rubbish on a number of counts

The famous Sydney rock oyster is shrinking as oceans become more acidic, new research has found.

In news that will rock seafood lovers, a study released overnight by academics in the UK found oysters in New South Wales have become smaller and fewer in number because of coastal acidification.

It’s part of what researchers fear is a worldwide trend driven by climate change and coastal runoff.

Headed by University of Stirling academic Susan Fitzer, the study looked at oyster leases at Wallis Lake and Port Stephens, both on the NSW coast north of Sydney.

They make up the two largest Sydney rock oyster production areas in NSW.

The study found the oysters’ diminishing size and falling population is due to acidification from land and sea sources, part of a global trend.

“Sydney rock oysters are becoming smaller and their population is decreasing as a result of coastal acidification,” Fitzer said.

“The first thing consumers will notice is smaller oysters, mussels and other molluscs on their plates, but if ocean acidification and coastal acidification are exacerbated by future climate change and sea level rise, this could have a huge impact on commercial aquaculture and populations around the world.”

The risk to oyster populations around the globe from soil runoff has long been recognised.

In 2014 oyster farmers in Port Stephens released an industry-driven environmental management policy which recognised that damage to oyster leases from the drainage from acid-sulphate soils was both “likely” to occur and “severe” in consequence.

But Fitzer’s research argues that run-off is not caused by agricultural activity and is rather the consequence of the impacts of climate change.

“A lot of work has been done near to Australia’s oyster fisheries to mitigate the impact of sulphate soils causing acidification, and there has been a marked decline in levels,” she said.

“The run-off from sulfate soils aren’t produced by agricultural activity, they occur as a natural result of climate change-driven increases in rainfall and sea-level rise.

“But the trend persists and small changes in pH are having a huge impact on these molluscs.”

Increased acidification affects oyster growth by limiting the amount of carbonate in the water.

“Acidic water is damaging oysters’ ability to grow their shells. We see lots of disorder in the calcite layers, because there isn’t enough carbonate in the water for the oysters to draw on for optimal shell formation and growth,” Fitzer said.

“This is the first time that the Sydney rock oysters’ shell crystallography has been studied, and we now know disruption to this process could have a significant impact on Australian aquaculture,” she said.

Fitzer’s research was published in the Journal of Ecology and Environment.


Australia is the worst-equipped nation for electric cars and we lag a decade behind the world

Good for Australia.  Electric cars are nice but they cost a bomb

HALF of Australians want to buy an electric car in the next few years, but experts have warned we’re not remotely ready to accommodate them on our roads.

Analysis released today by the UK firm GoCompare has found we are the worst-equipped country for electric vehicles, performing poorly across several key measures.

Of the 30 member nations of the International Energy Agency, Australia has the highest ratio of cars per charging points at 15.42 and one of the lowest total number of public charging stations, with just 476 nationwide.

“Additionally, there are a shocking 14.3 petrol stations to each publicly accessible electric car charging point,” the report said.

Behyad Jafari, chief executive of the Electric Vehicle Council, isn’t surprised and said Australia is almost a decade behind the rest of the world.

“While everybody else has access to a broad range of charging infrastructure, different priced models of electric vehicles and a lot of investment supporting the industry, Australia isn’t getting any of those benefits,” Mr Jafari said.

He said embracing electric cars could lead to improved public health, better energy security and increased economic activity.

Aside from some “outliers” like Norway, where electric cars account for 20 per cent of new sales each year, the global average is about two per cent at the moment. “In Australia, it’s just 0.2 per cent,” Mr Jafari said.

Labor’s Ed Husic, Shadow Minister for the Digital Economy, said we are “woefully unprepared” for the electric car revolution.

“There is an urgent need for Australia to have an internationally consistent policy road map to integrate these technologies — they are not as far in the future as some think,” Mr Husic said.


Coral reef corruption

There are some people who should never do interviews. At the head of that list is the managing director of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, Anna Marsden.

One of the interviews she did this week gave train wrecks a bad name. This is a woman who has never heard of the phrase “stop digging”. This week she was brandishing her shovel and seemed utterly determined to bury the $444 million grant the foundation received from the Turnbull government.

The opposition just couldn’t believe its luck as she poured fuel on a fire already burning out of the government’s control.

In her defence, all I can say is that the decision to grant the foundation this massive sum, which Marsden famously declared was like “winning Lotto”, stinks to high heaven and no one is capable of justifying it.

Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg has waffled and struggled to explain how it came about. He is a competent minister whom I fear is covering for the real culprit in all of this — the Prime Minister himself.

Then again, how could you ever justify showering this foundation with such largesse when it didn’t even request it? This was money that simply fell out of the sky and into its grateful lap. Depending upon whom you believe, the foundation employed between eight and 12 people at the time of the grant announcement. Given there could be up to 1000 requests for grants, just how would it be expected to manage the task?

The answer would have to be to hire more people, which begs the question — how much of each dollar given reaches the reef and how much is spent on administration? You would be entitled to believe that this sort of question could be readily answered by the government simply checking its due diligence. Surely you would think that there would have been considerable resources applied to checking on the small charity to which you were considering granting a huge sum like $444m.

If you thought that, again you would be disappointed. Again, from the horse’s mouth, so to speak, Marsden tells us that neither she nor anyone else at the foundation was contacted during any due-diligence investigation.

You just can’t give taxpayers’ funds away in such a cavalier fashion. If the commonwealth auditor-general is reviewing this farce, then he needs to look no further than the pathetic attempt at the due diligence.

Marsden’s attempts to put us at ease with the process are falling on many a deaf ear. Her claim that the “chairman’s panel and our corporate partners have no role in selecting projects” rings hollow.

It must be a very odd set-up if the board is unable to oversee the process of granting money. It must have the power to overrule the process if it finds any aspect of it unsatisfactory. It is not hard to understand how nervous the foundation is about the power of its board. Names such as BHP and Rio Tinto will frighten any friends of the reef given the many attempts over the years to mine this wonder of the world.

To think Malcolm Turnbull wants to hold a parliamentary inquiry into alleged bullying in a backbencher’s office but sees no need for anything like that when he presides over one of the biggest scandals in our history of maladministration says so much about our Prime Minister.


The number of homeowners hits the highest in six years

First-home buyers are returning to the housing market in the greatest number since late 2012 thanks to state duty exemptions in Australia's biggest states.

The proportion of real estate newbies rose to 18.1 per cent in June, the highest level in almost six years, as apartments near the city became more affordable.

For less than $500,000, savvy buyers wanting somewhere to live within 10km of the city centre, can snap up a unit at Earlwood in Sydney or St Kilda in bayside Melbourne.

Real estate data group Core Logic research analyst Cameron Kusher said stamp duty exemptions in New South Wales and Victoria were driving the resurgence in first-home buyer activity in Sydney and Melbourne.

'It's really driven the volume of first home buyers nationally much higher,' he told Daily Mail Australia.

'If that impost is no longer there, the borrowing power of a first-home buyer is increased.'

The national average mortgage for first-timers stood at $350,000 in June, which meant buyers with a 20 per cent deposit of $87,500 were buying properties for $437,500.

At that price, it is possible to buy an inner-city apartment in Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra or Hobart.

In New South Wales, however, the average first-home buyer loan was $393,400, which meant they were buying a $491,750 property with a deposit of $98,350.


Australians racist?  Even welfare-dependent Third-world immigrants say they are well-accepted

A new study from Australian researchers shows that refugees and new immigrants integrate well in Australia – especially in regional areas.

Contrary to recent comments from the multicultural affairs minister, Alan Tudge, that migrants who reside together “largely communicate in their mother tongue [and] are slower integrating”, the research found that refugees were welcomed by their new communities, found it “easy” to get along, and felt a strong sense of belonging to their new homes.

Researchers surveyed 214 refugees – 155 adults and 59 children – from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, who all had been recently settled in Queensland across Brisbane, Logan and Toowoomba.

81% of those in regional Toowoomba said they found it “very easy” or “easy” to make friends in Australia. 62% of refugees in Brisbane and Logan said the same, for an average of 68% across Queensland.

82% of refugee children said they felt they belonged to the local community – either “always”, “most of the time” or “often”. Only 18% said they belonged “occasionally” or not at all. Half of all refugees surveyed said it was “very easy” or “easy” to talk to their new neighbours.

The study’s co-author, Professor Jock Collins from the University of Technology Sydney, said this refuted the idea that migrants formed linguistic bubbles.

Only 6% of the new arrivals said they spoke no English. 47% said they spoke it “not very well”, 38% spoke English “well” and 9% spoke it “very well”.

“In our experience the people we are talking to are really, really keen to learn English,” he said.

Measures of belonging were generally higher in Toowomba, which the researchers said was due to a proactive and welcoming community, and worse in Logan, which has a higher index of social disadvantage.

“We avoid the term ‘integrate into’, because integration is a two-way process,” said co-author Professor Carol Reid from Western Sydney University. “It requires the local community support. Where there is strong support, you find there are no problems.

“With the whole issue of English language learning, in the 1980s we had more funding around multicultural policy, and people could learn English on the job. The tension between employment and English could be resolved by that.”

The study found the unemployment rate was high among the new arrivals – with only 18% in paid employment – but Collins said that would change with time.

“We know that a lot of the refugees we talk to are putting off looking for a job until their English is better. We will be talking to them next year and expect to see an increase in the employment rate.

“For the engineers and architects and pharmacists, the professions have severe gatekeepers for their profession that they have to hurdle. For a lot of the others, it’s a bit of a Catch-22, they won’t get a job without Australian experience.

“There needs to be a way where these refugees can get work experience, and a recognition of prior learning. A lot of them are very confident, they are excellent at their skills.”

Collins said that the results of their survey showed that Australia had great potential to take more refugees.

“Most people don’t know that in 2017 Australia took in more than double the number of refugees than it usually takes. The sky didn’t fall in – in fact it worked quite well.

“Regional and rural Australia has an appetite for more migrants and refugees. It proves to us that the bush is not redneck, it is supportive of diverse communities.”

Across Queensland, 60% of refugees in Toowoomba said it was easy to talk to their neighbours, compared with 46% in Brisbane and 27% in Logan.

100% of refugees said they felt safe living in Toowoomba, and 85% across Queensland (and a majority in every city) said they believed they had found a neighbourhood that was a good place to bring up children.

Even with its comparatively poorer score, 76% of the refugees in Logan said they always, most of the time, or often, belonged.


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

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Bob Katter accuses a journalist of being racist for saying his granddad is Lebanese - as he defends his anti-Muslim Senator

Katter's grandfather was from the Lebanese Maronite (Christian) community but Bob is heavily focused on assimilation and the fact that his grandfather assimilated readily to Australian society (most Maronites do) meant that to Katter his grandfather was Australian.  Katter in other words has a cultural definition of who is Australian and was angered by the racist definition used by a journalist

Bob Katter has slammed a journalist who suggested his grandfather was Lebanese - describing it as a 'racist comment'.

Mr Katter defended his party's senator Fraser Anning's maiden speech in which he used the Nazi term 'final solution' while proposing a plebiscite on immigation, saying the address was 'magnificent'.

Mr Katter also said a reporter who referred to his grandfather as Lebanese was 'racist'.

'No, he's not. He's an Australian. I resent, strongly, you describing him as Lebanese. That is a racist comment and you should take it back and should be ashamed of yourself for saying it in public,' he said. '

Mr Katter's grandfather Carl was born in Bcharre, Lebanon, in 1982.

Reacting to Mr Anning's speech, Mr Katter said it was 'solid gold'.

'You don't have to be Albert Einstein to see that we, as a race of people, we Australians, are being buried by a mass migration program to line the pockets of the rich and powerful.

'The (Labor Party), and more particularly, the (Liberals) are bringing 630,000 people from overseas, from countries with no democracy, no rule of law, no... egalitarian traditions, no Judaeo-Christian, 630,000 a year and they don't go home.

'We do not want people coming in from the Middle East or North Africa unless they're the persecuted minorities. Why aren't you bringing in the Sikhs? Why aren't you bringing in the Christians? Why aren't you bringing in the Jews?'

Mr Katter said Mr Anning wasn't aware of the connotations of the term 'final solution'.  Addressing outrage over his use of the term, Mr Anning said it was taken out of context by the 'thought police'.

Mr Anning said on Wednesday morning he simply wanted the Australian people to be able to decide what kind of immigrants the country accepts.

He later compared Muslim migrants to poisoned jelly beans and stood by his call for Islamic immigration to be halted altogether.

'All I'm calling for is a plebiscite and a vote for the Australian people to see who they want to come into the country,' the Queensland senator told the Today show.

In his maiden speech Mr Anning said 'the final solution to the immigration problem is of course a popular vote'.

The term 'final solution' was used by the Nazis as part of their plan to murder the entire Jewish population of Europe which resulted in mass genocide.

Mr Anning denied making a deliberate reference to Nazi Germany, but refused to apologise for his choice of words.

'If people want to take it out of context that's entirely up to them. It was never meant to denigrate the Jewish community,' he said.

Mr Anning also stood by his claims the majority of Muslim immigrants do not work [Only 18% have jobs] and are on welfare and over-represented in criminal activity.

When asked why he had singled out Muslim immigrants in the speech, Mr Anning said it was because 'they mean us harm'.

Mr Anning said he agreed the vast majority of Muslim were hardworking and law-abiding, but claimed a small minority 'want to kill us'.

'I don't want those people in this country. I think the vast majority of Australians agree with me. No-one wants to put it to a vote,' Mr Anning said.

Speaking on talkback radio later on Wednesday morning, Mr Anning likened accepting Muslim immigrants to poisonous jelly beans.

'If you can tell me which ones [Muslims] are not going to cause us harm then fine, that'd be great,' he told Alan Jones on 2GB.

'Unfortunately if you have a jar of jellybeans and three of them are poison you're not going to try any of them.'

The speech to parliament was widely condemned by politicians from both major parties, and the Greens.

After his speech was attacked by Mr Di Natale and senior Labor frontbenchers Tony Burke and Chris Bowen, Mr Anning released a statement dismissing their criticism.

'Some in the media and left wing politicians are simply afraid of the Australian people having a say on who comes here,' Mr Anning said.

'As I called for a plebiscite on the immigration mix, this baseless and ridiculous criticism is simply an effort to play the man and not the ball.

Mr Anning said it was ironic that he was being criticised by politicians from Labor and the Greens who had voted against his pro-Israel proposals in the past.

'[They] are the same people who refused to support my efforts to stop Australia funding the Palestinian Authority who finance terrorist attacks against innocent Israeli women and children,' he said.

His proposed plebiscite would allow people to decide whether they want wholesale non-English speaking immigrants from the third world, he said.

Mr Anning said Australia was entitled to insist migrants were predominantly of 'European Christian composition'.

He also called for the government to ban all welfare payments to migrants in the first five years of living in Australia, labelling many asylum seekers as 'welfare seekers'.

'Ethno-cultural diversity - which is known to undermine social cohesion - has been allowed to rise to dangerous levels in many suburbs,' Mr Anning said.

'In direct response, self-segregation, including white flight from poorer inner-urban areas, has become the norm.'

Opposition leader Bill Shorten responded to the speech by saying he will move a motion praising the dismantling of the White Australia policy.

Mr Shorten's motion will recognise bipartisan support for the former Holt government's moves to end the policy, and the resulting national and international benefits to the country.



WA uni refuses to ban  realistic endocrinologist

A US pediatric professor, who says the transgender movement is based on ideology rather than science, will speak at the University of Western Australia despite pressure to ban him.

A student petition with more than 6000 signatures is protesting the appearance on Friday of pediatric endocrinologist Quentin Van Meter, who is on a national tour sponsored by The Australian Family Association.

Dr Van Meter has said that using puberty blockers for children with gender dysphoria was akin to child abuse.

"Transgender is actually a delusional disorder," he said. "It's a state of mind with no biologic basis for it that can be found."

Dr Van Meter is president of the American College of Paediatricians, which is known for its opposition to marriage equality, gender reassignment and abortion.

A UWA spokesperson said in a statement on Wednesday that while the university did not endorse the opinions of its speakers, cancelling the event would "create an undesirable precedent for the exclusion of objectionable views" from the university.

"The views which have been expressed by the speakers in the past, particularly with respect to transgender people, are at odds with the university's values of respect for human dignity and diversity," they said.

"That respect, in relation to LGBTIQA+ people generally, has been evidenced by the Rainbow Flag, which has flown for some months at the front of the UWA campus."


Token battery being installed to back up wind power

This is just a stunt for propaganda purposes.  If the wind stops blowing the battery will be capable of filling in only for a matter of minutes

Wind power producer Infigen Energy will add battery storage to its Lake Bonney wind farm in South Australia to better be able to respond to industrial customers wanting renewable energy but without risks around intermittent supply.

The $38 million project, including $10 million in state and federal funding, will see a 25 megawatt, 52 megawatt-hour Tesla Powerpack battery installed adjacent to the 278.5 MW wind farm in the state's south-east near Mount Gambier.

It follows the landmark 100 MWh Tesla battery, the world's largest lithium battery, installed at the Hornsdale project in SA last year after a bet between billionaire Elon Musk and Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes.

Infigen last year ramped up its efforts to seal electricity sales contracts directly with commercial and industrial (C&I) customers, signing up Adelaide Brighton for supply from Lake Bonney.

Chief executive Ross Rolfe said the battery investment would enable Infigen to expand that side of the business, as well as providing other benefits in cutting costs for frequency control services and for grid stability in the system more broadly.

"We have already contracted a proportion of our Lake Bonney output into the C&I customer market in South Australia and this enables us to contract more of that capacity and manage the intermittency of production risk associated with that," Mr Rolfe said in an interview.

Stabilising the grid

He said that after deciding in 2016 to diversify its products, Infigen had examined alternative options to firm up intermittent wind generation, including pumped hydro storage and accessing fast-start gas generation. It decided that a battery was the best option, at least for South Australia, which is heavily dependent on renewables supply.

Ivor Frischknecht, chief executive of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, which is providing $5 million for the project, said battery storage is becoming a key component of transitioning to a renewables-based energy system. ARENA is also helping fund a battery soon to be brought online in Dalrymple, South Australia, and two grid-scale systems under construction in western Victoria.

"It is clear that grid scale batteries have an important role in stabilising the grid," Dr Frischknecht said.

South Australian energy minister Dan van holst Pellekaan said Infigen's battery project is "welcome news to businesses in the state as it will increase the competitiveness of electricity prices for customers with high energy demand".

Mr Rolfe noted that the project wouldn't have been economic without the $10 million of taxpayer funding.

"The price of batteries still needs to decline, in our view, further before it's possible to look at batteries without some form of support," he said.

"No doubt in due course it will get there, we just don't know when that will be."

Construction is due to start next month on the storage project, which Infigen said would allow it to "firm" at least an additional 18 MW of power.


Few costs to the success of Australia's universities

I don't like to rain on anybody's parade but Australia's advantage is partly geographical.  Australia is in roughly the same time zone as China and only a short jet flight away (around  $500 one way).  So Chinese can readily flit between the two countries and do so without jetlag

The Australian university system is highly unusual globally in two key areas: the large size of most universities, and the high proportion of international students, particularly from China, now attending them.

The massive growth in international education means it has become Australia's third largest export after iron ore and coal – as Malcolm Turnbull happily acknowledged in a recent speech at the University of NSW.

It's also translates into a not-so-quiet revolution on Australian campuses.

Several of the Group of Eight universities have international enrolments running at well over 30 per cent. In NSW, the percentage of international students at all universities is currently above 37 per cent, in Queensland it is 34 per cent.

The biggest growth, not surprisingly, has been in the Chinese student market, with 125,000 Chinese students at Australian universities as of last May and growing at about 15 per cent a year.

One result is that Australia is on track this year to jump Britain into second place, only behind the US, in the sheer number of international students in its universities. That's even though Britain's population is 65 million rather than 25 million.

On Go8 figures, for example, 38 per cent of the 141,000 students starting at Go8 universities in 2016 were international students. That average figure can only have increased since and is clearly much higher in faculties like management and commerce, engineering and information technology where international students are heavily concentrated.

University vice-chancellors certainly love to promote the academic, cultural and economic value of Australia's approach.

A virtuous circle

Ian Jacobs, vice-chancellor of the University of NSW and also chairman of the Go8 universities, will promote its success in a speech at the National Press Club on Tuesday.

This is part of a push by these older research-heavy universities to persuade the government and the bureaucracy that taxpayer money spent on them should not be seen as a budget cost ever vulnerable to cuts. Instead, they want to persuade Canberra to see it as a vital investment generating a very high return.

According to Jacobs, the growth in the international student market helps that, creating a virtuous circle. He sees the growth as an unalloyed good for Australia in general and for Australian students – generating opportunities and advantages that are far more extensive than the purely financial.

Yet for many domestic students and their lecturers, the price of such success seems to also be increasingly obvious – and accelerating given the universities' business model.

These complaints are largely anecdotal but they are persistent and extremely common across a modern generation of students. Just ask one of them.

One problem is the low level of interaction between most domestic and international students, particularly when international students are in a majority of a course. That's compounded by the large size of lectures and tutorials that limit any sense of individualised attention.

Other frequent complaints involve the insidious pressure on lecturers to reduce quality standards in order to pass international students to ensure the money keeps flowing.

Things could be better

Many domestic students also argue they are required carry more of the load on joint projects in order to compensate for the poor English skills of many international students.

Professor Jacobs concedes there may be "pockets" where things could be better, including the level of cross cultural interaction. He still insists Go8 standards in terms of enrolments, marking and English qualifications remain extremely high and that interaction is definitely increasing to everyone's mutual benefit

Australia, he says, is developing a tremendous reputation for providing "high quality education at scale in a very efficient way" with huge flow on benefits and potential to do even more.

To back this up, Jacobs will cite a new study commissioned by the Go8 on the broader economic benefits produced by Australia's top universities, including the massive dollar value of their research.

According to this study by London Economics, the Go8's total operational costs of just over $12 billion in 2016 were dwarfed by the $66 billion contribution to the Australian economy. That includes the long-term impact of their research activity but also the direct and indirect impact on jobs, wages and increased economic growth to support students, especially the accelerating number of international students.

By this yardstick, the study argues that every three international students at a Go8university generate $1 million in economic impact each year.

Big money

For universities, the huge direct financial hit still comes from the much higher charges for international students over their domestic students. For international students starting at Go8 universities in 2016, the net tuition fee income alone was estimated to be over $3 billion.

According to the study, this fee income supports 43,000 jobs throughout the economy plus more than 29,000 due to the additional spending of international students.

But the large tuition fees from international students also allow universities to cross-subsidise their research work which pushes them up the global university rankings. That in turn means they then attract yet more international students.

According to the latest ABS statistics for 2016, the Go8 invested $6.4 billion in research and development of which just over half was in the form of cross-subsidy from general university funds – those not explicitly tied to supporting research.

That balance will be ever more reliant on international tuition income and numbers to bulk up. Can there be – should there be – a limit? Not according to the Go8.

Although Jacobs says the percentage of Chinese students may diminish in a decade or so as China becomes self-sufficient at education, he sees a wave of students from India, then Africa and Latin America sustaining growth for decades to come.


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

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

QUEENSLAND crossbench senator Fraser Anning has laid out a radical immigration agenda, calling for a “final solution” plebiscite on which migrants come to Australia

QUEENSLAND crossbench senator Fraser Anning has laid out a radical immigration agenda, calling for a “final solution” plebiscite on which migrants come to Australia.

The Katter’s Australia Party upper house MP called for an end to Muslim immigration and a program that favours “European Christian” values. In his maiden speech to Parliament today, he claimed a majority of Australian Muslims live on welfare and do not work.

“While all Muslims are not terrorists, certainly all terrorists these days are Muslims,” Senator Anning said.

“So why would anyone want to bring more of them here?” He called for the government to ban all welfare payments to migrants in the first five years of living in Australia, labelling many asylum seekers as “welfare seekers”.

Labor frontbencher Chris Bowen said the use of the term ‘final solution”, which has been historically associated with the Nazi plan in World War II for killing millions of Jews, was “utterly unacceptable”.

“You don’t use that term. That is an unacceptable use of the term,” he told ABC Radio on Tuesday.

“It has connotations and meanings to history which it are deeply offensive to right-thinking people, not only in Australia but across the world.” Senator Anning also said Australia was entitled to insist migrants were predominantly of the “historic European Christian composition”. “Ethno-cultural diversity - which is known to undermine social cohesion - has been allowed to rise to dangerous levels in many suburbs,” the Queensland senator said.

“In direct response, self-segregation, including white flight from poorer inner- urban areas, has become the norm.” Senator Anning called for a cultural counter-revolution to restore traditional values and redefine national identity.

He said anyone persuaded to advocate the “false claim” there was an infinite number of genders had surrendered their political soul.

“To describe the so-called safe schools and gender fluidity garbage being peddled in schools as cultural Marxism is not a throwaway line, but a literal truth,” Senator Anning said.

The 68-year-old outlined plans to boost agriculture through re-establishing rural state banks and re-establishment of marketing of farm goods through grower co-operatives.

Other issues he noted were countering the growing threat of China, slashing government spending, building coal-fired power plants and taking back culture from left-wing extremists.

Senator Anning said Joh Bjelke-Petersen’s reign as Queensland premier was the state’s “golden age”.


All steam ahead on energy after Malcolm Turnbull's NEG win

Australian Center-Right government claim they can deliver cheaper elecrity, renewable energy and reliable energy all at once

At last some good news for Malcolm Turnbull. He sure needs it.

So an ebullient Prime Minister and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg are delighted to have seen off the vehement attacks by Tony Abbott & Friends on the national energy guarantee. The Coalition party room debate was hardly a polite affair but the small if noisy minority opposed proved to be no more than that.

Even if much of the support was of the "yes, but ..." variety, as Abbott described it in a terse statement, it was more than enough to get through.

It's still far too early, however, to celebrate Turnbull's declaration of the need to "bring an end to the years of ideology and idiocy".

His ostensible target was Bill Shorten and Federal Labor with the Prime Minister putting public pressure on the Opposition to support the bill. Helpfully, that would also remove the government's need to simultaneously get the backing of all Coalition MPs in the House – which looks unlikely – and the permanently fractious cross bench in the Senate.

Despite the bluster from the Opposition leader about "a Frankenstein's monster of a policy" and the inevitable proposed amendments to increase the emissions reductions target, Labor is expected to finally vote for the government's version.

Labor knows it could always up the 26 per cent target on 2005 levels itself if it wins government. As well as bipartisan support providing greater investment certainty for the industry, the structure of the guarantee also provides a conveniently flexible policy for any new government that would inherit the same problems of permanently higher electricity prices.

There's no quick fix to that issue, of course. That's despite Labor's firm promise that its commitment to more renewable energy will miraculously produce lower prices and the Coalition's equally dubious premise the national energy guarantee will also automatically deliver this.

Yet the power market is so complicated that most voters will really just follow their prejudices while politicians on all sides try to exaggerate the benefits or, alternatively, the disastrous impact of particular policies on prices.

This translates into Abbott's jibe about "merchant banker gobbledygook" versus the magical thinking coming from much of the environmental movement and Labor.

Much simpler for voters to comprehend is the Opposition's ability to mock continued displays of Coalition division to foment public scepticism about what the Turnbull government really stands for.

"While Mr Turnbull goes around attacking Mr Abbott, Mr Turnbull is, in fact, giving in to a lot of Mr Abbott's values when it comes to climate change and energy," Shorten insists.

Hardly. Tony Abbott could hardly have been more passionately vocal about the insanity of the Coalition supporting the guarantee, for example. Yet Turnbull promotes it as the best way to finally resolve a "broken" national electricity market.

"Now is the time to provide the certainty and the investment climate that is going to see more generation and lower prices," according to the Prime Minister.

Actually, the greater political problem for the Coalition is that voters might actually believe this and expect lower power bills in the immediate future, even ahead of the next election. When that doesn't happen, they will be looking for someone to blame. Labor will be pointing the way. Step up the Coalition government, owners of the national energy guarantee.

Selling that as a solution that will work if given time is certainly possible for the Coalition. But the impact will be modest at best. Buyer beware the words: "downwards pressure on prices". The real answer is: "higher otherwise."

It is also a much tougher sell when Labor can just quote so many Coalition opponents deriding even the notion that the guarantee can have any impact whatever on reducing prices.

That's also why the Victorian government would be mad to block its establishment ahead of its own state election in November. Not when it can just keep blaming Coalition policy for not delivering on higher levels of renewables without have to take any of the blame for its own failings, particularly its refusal to allow any onshore gas exploration or development.

Yet the Andrews government seems to be so afraid of losing a few inner city seats to the Greens that nothing can be guaranteed about its willingness to trade off that risk against a national policy backed by almost the entire power industry and business groups.

The meeting of the Council of Australian Governments last week agreed to hold a phone hook-up of state energy ministers Tuesday evening after the policy had gone through the Coalition party room. But Victoria, along with the Labor government in Queensland, are still demanding a delay of several more weeks before they finally have to commit to the policy.

Over that period, Labor will try to embarrass the Coalition and bolster its own supporters by suggesting the price of Turnbull and Frydenberg getting internal agreement will be to use taxpayer funds to build new coal-fired power stations.

The Coalition will keep insisting any policy or support is "technology agnostic". Luckily, it now has the key recommendation from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to back this, suggesting the government can effectively become the buyer of last resort for longer term contracts for electricity in order to encourage private sector financing.

The Business Council of Australia makes the obvious point. Households and businesses will pay the price if political leaders continue to play politics.

"It's up to Victoria and Queensland, along with the other states and territories, to stop playing political games with people's power bills," it noted. That may be the ultimate in magical thinking.


NSW Muslim MP Shaoquett Moselmane blocks Jew from Labor event

The first Muslim MP in the NSW parliament has sparked a row overnight, refusing entry to a respected Jewish leader to a Labor Party multicultural launch.

Upper House MP Shaoquett Moselmane refused entry to Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Vic Alhadeff at the launch of the Labor Union Multicultural Action Committee launch last night saying, according to Mr Alhadeff, that he was not a Labor Party member before offering him a baklava on the way out. The baklava was declined.

Mr Alhadeff had had an invitation to the Sussex Street event by Labor General secretary Kaila Murnain and Unions NSW chief Mark Morey.

But his invitation only came after Mr Alhadeff had questioned why Mr Moselmane had not invited him in the first place.

“While I appreciated the goodwill in receiving an invitation from Kaila Murnain and Mark Morey, it is unfortunate that Mr Moselmane would defy his party leadership and deny entry to a leader of the Jewish community,” Mr Alhadeff said.

“Given that the invitation which Mr Moselmane sent to others specifically said he hoped this new organisation would become a conduit between the multicultural community and Labor and the union movement, it made no sense to exclude the CEO of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies when we represent the Jewish community and are an active component of multicultural NSW.”

NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley said he has apologised to Mr Alhadeff for what occurred.

“He did receive a written invitation to the meeting,” Mr Foley said. “Unfortunately Mr Moselmane says there was a miscommunication. NSW Labor maintains healthy and constructive relations with Vic and other leaders of the state’s Jewish community, and that will continue.”

Labor deputy upper house leader Walt Secord condemned Mr Moselmane. “Vic Alhadeff had an official personal invitation from the NSW Labor General Secretary and was welcome to attend,’’ Mr Secord said.

“It was stupid, malicious and vindictive to refuse him entry into a multicultural event. “The actions do not reflect the views of NSW Labor.”

Mr Moselmane confirmed he had told Mr Alhadeff that only Labor Party members were present and said after that Mr Alhadeff had left. “He came into last night’s event, it was not a function … it was a meeting of the Labor Party action committee. “He was offered some refreshments and he left. “He came in with the impression it was a multicultural … committee meeting.”

Mr Moselmane sparked outrage in 2013 when he gave a speech in parliament comparing resistance to the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon with that against Nazi Germany.


Facebook deletes posts quoting former Prime Minister John Howard

FACEBOOK is being accused of “censoring” John Howard after the social network deleted a post from an account quoting the former Prime Minister.

The Australian Family Association posted a Daily Telegraph story to its Facebook page on August 8 and provided no comment other than quotes from Mr Howard in which he condemned the Australian Defence Force’s push to ban words such as “him” and “her”.

AFA Director Damian Wyld told Miranda Live that they “boosted” the post with Facebook’s approval, but an hour later it had disappeared from the site.

“It just spontaneously vanished,” Mr Wyld said.

“Facebook suggesting it’s impartial is something that needs to be revised and re-visited”.

“There’s also the question of how their algorithms work, whether they have the ability to sit down and look at every single post that a user puts up.”

Australian Family Association Director Damian Wyld.
Mr Wyld told Miranda Live host Miranda Devine he believes the social media network monitors “key phrases and trigger words” in order to disable posts.

He said the AFA hasn’t been able to reach Facebook and find out why the post was red-flagged. “We sent them a please explain and nearly a week later we’ve heard nothing from them.”


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

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Fresh blood: Australia is still lucky, thanks to our young migrants

Ross Gittins is perfectly right in what he says below but he ignores two elephants.  The first issue he ignores is the RATE of immigration and its effect on our infrastructure.  Immigration driven population growth is outrunning our capacity to provide the infrastructure needed for a civilized existence.  We spend longer and longer unproductive time in our cars due to ever worsening traffic jams and already stretched public hospitals become overstretched.  And overstretched hospitals mean diagnostic mistakes and longer and longer waits for service.  Those things matter.

And the second elephant is the assumption that all immigrants are the same.  For their own strange purposes, Leftists pretend that all men are equal when that is not remotely true.  Fortunately, most of our immigrants come from Britain, India and China -- people who are no problem to anyone.  But there are two minorities that create big problems:  Muslims and Africans, who are both heavily welfare dependent and hence do little or none of the useful things Gittins extols. 

And it is amazing the amount of problems such small groups can cause -- through Jihad and violent crime.  It is those groups who are making many Australians critical of immigration generally. There are options to send problem migrants back to whence they came but such options are rarely used.  A minimum approach to the problems they cause would be to accept no more migrants from those sources

Reserve Bank governor Dr  Philip Lowe thinks Australia’s strong population growth in recent years is a wonderful thing, and he sings its praises in a speech this week.

I’m not sure he’s right. Like most economists and business people, Lowe is a lot more conscious of the economic benefits of population growth than the economic costs. As for the social and environmental costs, they’re for someone else to worry about.

But whatever your views, you’ll be heaps better informed after you’ve seen what he says about our changing “population dynamics” and absorbed his tutorial on demography.

Over the past decade, our population has grown at an average rate of about 1.6 per cent a year. This is faster than in previous decades. It’s also faster than every advanced economy bar Singapore.

Most other rich countries – including the US and Britain – grew by well under 1 per cent a year over the period. The populations of Italy, Russia and Germany were stagnant, and fell in Japan and Greece. China’s annual growth averaged only 0.5 per cent.

What’s driving our growth is increased immigration, of course. Over recent times, net overseas migration has added about 1 per cent a year to the population, with “natural increase” (births minus deaths) adding only about 0.7 per cent.

Our rate of natural increase is pretty steady. It perked up a bit a decade ago, but quickly resumed its slow decline, as more couples have smaller families and some have none.

Net migration, by contrast, goes through a lot of peaks and troughs – which, not by chance, correlate well with the ups and downs of the business cycle.

We think of the government controlling immigration with a big lever (making it “exogenous” or coming from outside the system, as economists say, pinching the word from medicos) but many demographers see immigration as “endogenous” or determined within the system.

This has become truer as permanent migration becomes dominated by workers with skills we need, rather than by family reunion, and there’s more temporary migration by overseas students and skilled workers brought in by employers to fill a temporary shortage.

The resources boom showed temporary skilled migration was great at helping us control (wage-driven) inflation, one of Lowe’s primary concerns as boss of the central bank.

But I worry our young people are paying the price for this greater macro-economic flexibility. We’re schooling our employers not to bother training plenty of apprentices ready for the next shortage because it’s easier to wait until the shortage emerges and then pull in a tradesperson or three from overseas.

Sorry, back to Lowe’s speech. He notes that growth in the number of people here on temporary visas adds to the size of our population. For instance, there are now more than half a million overseas students studying in Australia.

Here’s a stat you probably didn’t know: about a sixth of foreign students are permitted to stay and work here after finishing their studies. This boosts our population. Always a man to look on the bright side, Lowe reminds us it also boosts the nation’s “human capital”.

Plus, he’s too polite to say, it does so free of charge. It’s a neat trick: we charge foreign parents in developing countries full freight to educate their children, then allow the best of 'em to stay on.

But wait, there’s more: we also benefit from our stronger overseas connections when foreign students return home, Lowe says.

Now for his big reveal. Particularly because of our emphasis on skilled workers and students (as opposed to bringing out nonna and nonno), the median age of new migrants is between 20 and 25, more than 10 years younger than the median age of the rest of us.

At the time of Treasury’s first intergenerational report in 2002, our present median age of 37 was expected to rise rapidly to more than 45 by 2040. But after the past decade of increased immigration of young people, the latest estimate is that the median age will be only about 40 by then.

“This is a big change in a relatively short period of time, and reminds us that demographic trends are not set in stone,” Lowe says.

This means that, on the question of population ageing, and looking at the latest projections over the next quarter of a century, we compare well with other advanced economies, he says.

First, our median age of 37 makes Australia one of the youngest countries. We are ageing more slowly than most of the others, meaning we’re projected to stay relatively young. This is better than earlier projections suggesting we’d move to the middle of the pack.

Second, we have a higher fertility rate than most rich countries. Australians tend to have larger families than those in many other countries. (Note, not large, but larger than the others.)

Third, our average life expectancy is at the higher end of the range, and is expected to keep rising.

Fourth, our old-age dependency ratio – people 65 and older, compared to people of working age, 15 to 64 – is rising, but less quickly than in most other countries.

And our relative youth and higher fertility rate means our dependency ratio is expect to stay lower than other countries’ for the next 25 years or so. Only then is it projected to rise rapidly.

The first intergenerational report expected that the disproportionate bulge of baby boomers reaching normal retirement age would lead to a steady decline in the rate at which people are participating in the labour force.

It hasn’t happened. The reverse, in fact – for fascinating reasons I’ll save for another day.

To economists, this slower rate of population ageing – that is, slower rise in the old-age dependency ratio – is great news. It means the economy’s growth in coming years won’t slow as much as they were expecting (see point above about the participation rate).

It also means ageing will put less pressure on future federal and state budgets. But let me give you a tip: there are so many other pressures we probably won’t notice its absence.


Religion in decline in Australian schools

Australian school students are becoming more likely to identify with “no religion” even in religious schools, including a 68 per cent increase in Catholic schools.

The trend, which mirrors changes in the wider population, has led the peak independent schools body to warn religious schools to rethink their marketing.

Across all schools, 37 per cent of students identify with "no religion", according to an analysis of 2016 census data by the Independent Schools Council of Australia. That's up from 30 per cent in 2011.

At government schools, 45 per cent of students profess to no religion or did not specify a religion in the 2016 census, up from 38 per cent in 2011 and the highest proportion ever recorded.
The number of students describing themselves as having no religion increased 68.2 per cent at Catholic schools.

About 31 per cent of students at independent schools are categorised as having no religion, up from 24 per cent in 2011, and 14 per cent of students at Catholic schools did not have a religion, up from 10 per cent in 2011.

The change reflects a drift to secularism in the wider population. About 30 per cent of people reported “no religion” in the 2016 census, up from 22 per cent five years earlier. The trend is most marked with the younger population, with 39 per cent of those aged 18 to 34 reporting no religion.

Just over one in two Australians of any age identified as Christian, with Catholicism and Anglicanism the two biggest denominations.

"Schools may need to think about the implications of the slow but steady rise of secularism, and the ways this may affect their approach to religious education and how they market their schools," the Independent Schools Council of Australia states in its analysis.

Matt Beard, a fellow at the Ethics Centre, said the rise in non-religious students wouldn't necessarily affect the approach schools take to education.

“If you found out students aren't reading literature, you wouldn't stop teaching novels," Dr Beard said. "But it may provide a catalyst for having a discussion around whether religious education is a critical analysis of faiths and their place in society or teaching the tenets of particular religions."

Social researcher Rebecca Huntley said the Baby Boomers kickstarted the rise in no religion, but also a changed relationship with the church even for those who identify with a religion.

"Children get their religious direction and affiliation from their parents and with each generation since the Baby Boomers we've seen not just a decline in people identifying on census documents as belonging to a particular religion but also a decline in behaviour associated with religion," Dr Huntley said.

"You might put that you're Catholic on the census form but that does not necessarily mean that you go to church every Sunday and do the other things the church might tell you to do."

Dr Huntley added that, anecdotally, she'd observed parents "suddenly declaring for a religion and doing things like baptizing their child to give them more school choice".

The number of students describing themselves as having no religion increased 68 per cent at Catholic schools, 48 per cent at independent schools and 41 per cent at government schools.

The next biggest increase was in students who said they were Christian, with a 59 per cent increase in Catholic schools, a 15 per cent rise in private schools and a 27 per cent rise in government schools.

Students professing to Islam also grew by 19 per cent in Catholic schools, 41 per cent at independent schools and 36 per cent at government schools.

Greg Whitby, executive director of the Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta, which oversees 80 schools, said the diocese "recognises things are changing" and caters to students with different levels of understanding in faith-based lessons.

"Though Catholic students have enrolment priority, we welcome other community members who wish to join our caring learning communities," Mr Whitby said.

Julie Townsend, headmistress at St Catherine's School Waverley, a private Anglican girls' school, said most of her students did not have a strong religious affiliation and attended the school mainly for its educational facilities, but also benefited from its Christian underpinnings.

"The families who send girls to St Catherine's may not be religious in the home but they're looking to the school to teach them about Christianity and its values of compassion and kindness," Dr Townsend said.


Labour Party turned a blind eye to a would-be queen in its ranks

The immediate reaction at senior ALP levels to Emma Husar agreeing not to recontest her seat at the next election is a huge, collective sigh of relief.

No such public admission is likely, from Bill Shorten down, but Husar had become such a political headache that a quick resolution was needed. The alternative if she had dug her heels in was a continuing stream of damaging allegations about how she treated staff in her electorate office, with more former employees going public with stories of woe.

There were other serious allegations, too — not yet fully fleshed out or investigated — that Husar could have misused her travel entitlements, and campaign funds running to some thousands of dollars could have found their way into a personal bank account.

These are not the message-distracting issues Shorten and his team wanted festering for months in the lead-up to an election that Labor has good prospects of winning.

There were other reasons for wanting the issue of Husar’s alleged staff bullying, and possibly erratic behaviour, to go away. Headline stories were niggling Shorten, day by day, about what he or his office might have known about problems in Husar’s office, and when they knew about them.

Further, if they did know more, why was more decisive action not taken earlier to remedy the situation?

Shorten says he knew nothing of specific allegations until July 18. Maybe so. His critics would say he lives in a cocoon of deniability that includes not just the Husar case but others.

After all, the signs were surely apparent: a first-time backbencher allotted a maximum of four electorate staff churns through a record 22 staff in two years, and nobody at a senior level does anything until perhaps too late?

Lobbying by former staff and their supporters eventually forced an internal party inquiry, not leadership from the top.

The Husar saga is a sad one in many ways. When she was picked as a candidate for a key western Sydney seat, where was the initial party vetting that could have discovered more about her experience and suitability? When problems were first brought to the attention of senior party officials in March last year about the MP’s altercations with staffer Blake Mooney, he was abruptly moved and a troubleshooter, Cameron Sinclair, was briefly inserted in the office to sort things out.

Meanwhile, she was living the dream for a novice politician, befriending Shorten’s wife and becoming part of Shorten’s office clique. No wonder staffers thought their complaints would not be heard when it seemed their boss had a Shorten office fan club.


Paris Agreement To Cost Australia $52 Billion

“Following the emissions reduction requirements of the Paris Climate Agreement will impose significant and irreparable economic damage without delivering an environmental dividend,” said Daniel Wild, Research Fellow at the free market think tank the Institute of Public Affairs.

Today the IPA released a research report Why Australia must exit the Paris Climate Agreement. The report estimates that the Paris Climate Agreement emissions targets will impose a $52 billion economic cost, over 2018-2030. This equates to $8,566 per family.

“The immutable law of energy policy is this: lower emissions mean higher prices.”

“Each family in Australia will be at least $8,566 worse off under the Paris Climate Agreement, on average. This is at a time when wages are stagnating and the cost of living is rising.”

“$52 billion could purchase 22 new hospitals or pay for 20 years’ worth of the Gonski 2.0 education funding.”

“For families, $8,566 could be used to pay off credit card debt, pay the school fees for a few years, or pay four years’ worth of electricity bills.”

The report finds the Agreement which Australia signed is much different to how it is currently operating. The United States has exited the Agreement. China is unconstrained by the Agreement. And none of the European Union nations are on track to meet their targets.

“The time to exit the Agreement is now. The government must put lower prices and improved reliability ahead of emissions reductions.”

The report finds that the cost of the Paris Agreement more than twice cancels out the benefits of the government’s tax relief, put forward in the 2018-19 Budget.

“The National Energy Guarantee and the Paris Agreement will lead to higher electricity prices. This will damage business investment, jobs growth, and wages growth, and put upward pressure on everyday goods and services,” said Mr Wild.


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

Monday, August 13, 2018

Douglas Murray heads to Australia

DOUGLAS Murray thinks Europe is committing suicide.

He declares as much in the opening line of his latest book, in which he laments that the leaders of western Europe are allowing the cultural flame of the continent to be extinguished through mass migration, in particular from the Muslim world.

The controversial assertion underpins the book, The Strange Death Of Europe: Immigration, Identity And Islam, but he sees nothing particularly controversial about the claim.

“It was the result of a long time in which I was travelling for many years across Europe, travelling to many countries where people were fleeing form to go to Europe in the height of the migration crisis in 2015,” he told

“I thought someone needs to describe why it was happening, and chart the consequences.”

Murray, who is the associate editor of the Spectator and founder of the right-leaning Centre for Social Cohesion think tank, is highly critical of the far left side of politics for denying or diminishing the problems that come with a sudden large increases in immigration, when those migrants come from different, distinct and strong cultures.

“In one year alone, Germany and Sweden for instance took between two and three per cent addition of their entire population, so this is one of the most significant movements into Europe ever,” the British commentator said of the height of the migrant crisis a few years ago.

For western Europe, he identifies Muslim immigration as the most destructive force and a problem for the social cohesion of the West.

From his perspective, Islamic migrants — a portion of whom have particularly strict religious beliefs — are clashing with a Europe that is tired from history, guilt-ridden, increasingly faithless and overrun with the notion of political correctness.

If allowed to continue, Murray asserts, the result will ultimately be the Islamisation of the continent and the end of European cultural civilisation.

One of the people Murray often cites in his book is German historian and philosopher of Syrian origin Bassam Tibi who in the past has made similar warnings on this topic.

In an interview more than a decade ago he told German magazine Der Spiegel: “Muslims stand by their religion entirely. It is a sort of religious absolutism. While Europeans have stopped defending the values of their civilisation. They confuse tolerance with relativism.”

Murray’s book has been called “brilliant” by The Sunday Times; “compelling, fearless and truth-telling” by the Evening Standard and labelled as “gentrified xenophobia” by The Guardian.

The diversity of opinion surrounding it shouldn’t come as a surprise. In a way, the ensuing debate is what outspoken thinkers like Douglas Murray traffic in.

He has been touring the UK on a speaking tour with neuroscientist and author Sam Harris and the most famous psychologist in the world right now, Jordan Peterson.

Murray argues it is important that we deal honestly with the ramifications of mass migration in the modern world.

It’s undeniable the issue has played a role in major political events like the Brexit vote, the election of Donald Trump and the rise of the far right in the German parliament.

“There’s a worldwide concern about this and I think that concern is understandable and at least should be attempted to be understood,” he said.

But it’s also true that since the height of the migrant crisis in 2015, countries like Germany and Sweden who loosened their immigration laws have since reversed course. At the time, the International Organisation for Migration said more than a million migrants and refugees reached Europe in 2015, with a monthly peak of more than 221,000 in October.

Murray says his book is about finding a solution to migration that is “liberal, humane and sustainable” but is also cautious about blindly embracing the pursuit of multiculturalism, which many Western governments are quick to celebrate.

“If by multiculturalism you mean multiracial, pluralist society then I have no problem with that, and indeed think there are obvious advantages from it, in some circumstance and to some degree,” he said.

“But multiculturalism in recent decades has become something else. It’s become, among other things government policy to push the idea that there is no such things as a core common culture in a country. We are simply convening bodies in which the world can come and celebrate whoever they are in our countries. I think this is a hugely problematic idea.”

Controversial immigration polices are something Australians know well. Despite the criticism Australia’s offshore detention system receives from the likes of the UN and human rights organisations, Murray thinks we’ve got it right.

“I think Australia has done the right thing. The situation in Australia is not that dissimilar to that of Europe but Australia decided to act in a very different way.

“The Australian Government have seen that if you allow illegal migration to occur, if you decided there is no difference between legal and illegal immigration then you’re giving up the law, and that’s a heck of a thing to give up.”

When he appears in front of Australian audiences, it will be much more than immigration on the table.

His recent touring with Sam Harris and Jordan Peterson was labelled “the Woodstock of Debate” and Murray is looking forward to engaging with Australian audiences on a range of topics.

Most of all, he has been buoyed by the growing appetite among the public, particularly the younger generation, to engage on big ideas and difficult topics.

“The thing that is most satisfying, and I really do mean this, is that the engagement of audiences with serious ideas is something that almost nobody predicted, but it’s one of the most positive news stories of our time.”



Who will teach the teachers when the teachers are dummies?

ASPIRING teachers in Victoria are being accepted into university teaching courses despite shocking academic ­results of their own.

One student with an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) of just 17.9 out of a possible 99.95 secured a place in an initial teaching course.

Aspiring teachers in Victoria are being accepted into university teaching courses despite shocking academic ­results of their own.
The rank is almost 50 points below a minimum benchmark the state government set to raise teaching standards.

The worrying data, ­obtained by the Sunday Herald Sun, last night prompted Victorian Education Minister James Merlino to order an ­immediate investigation. “I will not stand for universities who are attempting to undercut or bypass our reforms and minimum ATAR standards,” he said.

He warned universities that didn’t comply could lose ­accreditation to teach future educators.

Federal Education and Training Minister Simon Birmingham has written to Mr Merlino, calling on him to ­explain why Victoria is the worst-performing state in the country.

Tertiary admission centre figures released through Senate Estimates reveal Victoria University admitted students with the lowest scores in Australia to an Initial Teaching Education course, with ATARs of only 17.9, 19.8 and 21.3.

The university this year introduced a Bachelor of Education Studies degree to circumvent new rules.

Students who enrol in the degree, which has no minimum standard, can then transfer to the Bachelor of Education in their second year.

Victoria University’s Tim Newhouse said the students enrolled with the lowest ATARs in Australia “are not going into teaching”.

He instead insisted they were doing a “Diploma of Education Studies or Bachelor of Education Studies, which can lead to many ­careers”.

Mr Newhouse said these could include “mentoring and tutoring, community programs, public and welfare services, after-school care and teacher aide positions”.

However, the Victoria University website states that its ­Diploma of Education Studies program will help students “achieve your dream of becoming a teacher … this education course prepares you to enter the second year of a teaching degree”.

Federation University Australia, also in Victoria, accepted the second-lowest ATARs in the nation, including 22.1, 23.6 and 24.3, followed by NSW’s University of Wollongong with a 25.7 ATAR.

A spokeswoman for RMIT — which had the fourth-lowest entry scores in Australia — said admissions “with an ATAR that is lower than the recommended level” were based on complex issues that could include student finances or health problems.

“Admissions under these circumstances are undertaken to ensure that otherwise talented and hardworking students, who faced serious adversity during their final years of school, are not disadvantaged,” she said.

Mr Merlino said while universities had always been able to take special consideration into account for all courses, “it isn’t good enough that some universities are looking for ways around the rules purely to boost their numbers to make money”.

A minimum standard of 65 was this year introduced, rising to 70 next year.

Australian Education Union Victorian branch president Meredith Peace said: “We have to raise the standard. We don’t support these backdoor entry programs, which allow people to come in without a suitable academic level.”

Opposition spokesman Tim Smith said Mr Merlino had been “caught out lying over the lack of education standards”. “This minister needs to spend less time on smearing political opponents and more time on his real job of giving children a good education,” he said.

The Turnbull Government will introduce a website within weeks where universities must publish admission information, prerequisites and ATAR scores of previous students as part of new transparency reforms.

Mr Birmingham said: to achieve the best student outcomes “we need the highest calibre teachers in the classroom”. “With more admissions transparency, we’re ensuring unis are held to account for the students they enrol,” Mr Birmingham said.


Australian jihadists will NEVER be allowed back into the country: Five ISIS terrorists in Iraq and Syria have their citizenship stripped

Five Australian jihadists who travelled to the Middle East to join the Islamic State have been stripped of their citizenship.

The three male and two female terrorists will never set foot in Australia again after the government move to stop them returning to carry out attacks on home soil.

A top-secret process carried out with ASIO proved the five are loyal only to ISIS, and pose a risk of radicalising vulnerable youths or plotting new terror attacks.

The five include some who fought for the Islamic State directly, and other who provided support for the extremist group, The Daily Telegraph reported.

The identities of the terrorists have not been confirmed, and they were among about 100 Australians who remain in the region after joining terror groups in Iraq and Syria.

They include Neil Prakash, the senior ISIS figure behind bars in Turkey on terror charges, and Adelaide doctor Tareq Kamleh.

The only other Australian to be stripped of their citizenship for joining Islamic State is believed to be notorious terrorist Khaled Sharrouf, who was killed in Iraq.

Sharrouf was photographed holding up severed heads alongside friend and fellow ISIS recruit, former Sydney boxing champion Mohammed Elomar, and Sharrouf posted a picture of his son doing the same.

A total of 230 Australians have joined the Islamic State, and about 90 have been killed in combat.

They join 54 Australians convicted of terror offences, and 39 more are before the courts after being charged.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said earlier this year he was concerned the law allowing citizenship to be stripped was not being applied properly.

'We know there are dual citizens among Australians fighting with terrorists in the Middle East and yet officials have so far confirmed that only one has lost their citizenship under the operation of the law,' Mr Dutton said in February.

'I don't want people coming back into our country that have been off fighting in the name of ISIS.

'I don't want people coming back having been battle hardened, skilled now in the art of bomb making and terrorist activities walking the streets of our capital cities. I want those people kept as far away from our shores as possible.'


Who knows how the Victorian government’s Orwellian social experiment will end?

“We’re destroying words — scores of them, hundreds of them, every day. We’re cutting the language down to the bone … “Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.” -- Orwell


My son is studying George Orwell and we chatted about Nineteen Eighty-Four over breakfast this week. If he chooses to look, this book is jumping to life all around him. Books are cleansed of words that must not be said. Books by Enid Blyton, mind you. And Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn,too.

Speaking at university has become dangerous if you don’t repeat ortho­dox thinking. Comics have given up playing to snowflake student audiences. Words such as sexual assault and sexual harassment are being defined down to include the telling of a bad joke. At his school, boys were told not to use the word moist because it could offend girls. The cleansing of language and ideas has become disturbingly quotidian.

And this week’s live-streaming of Nineteen Eighty-Four comes to us from Australia’s biggest social laboratory where the Andrews Labor government has a tighter grip on thought crimes than on it does on marauding South Sudan­ese gangs.

On Thursday, Victorian Minister for Transport (and censorship) Jacinta Allan banned Sky News from television screens at Metro Trains stations because one host conducted one interview with far-right ratbag Blair Cottrell last Sunday. Sky News apologised and leading Sky names such as David Speers rightly condemned giving a platform to a moron who likes Hitler.

But the Labor government banned an entire news organisation so that train commuters “can see something they may be a bit more comfortable with”, to quote Allan, who maybe hasn’t spent much time perusing her portfolio platforms. The Cottrell interview was not part of the Sky News feed that plays at train station screens.

Allan has snookered herself with her hysterical over-reaction. The Transport Minister can’t switch platform TVs to an ABC news feed or the Seven Network or Ten because all of them have aired or tried to air Cottrell. Perhaps a 24-hour stream of E! News and Kimmy K will keep commuters “comfortable”. When the state decides to censor for comfortable ideas, we have reached a deeper level of trouble for our liberty.

Victoria’s Nineteen Eighty-Four moment a week earlier involved the state’s Department of Health and Human Services telling public servants what pronouns to use, with the first Wednesday of each month set aside as “They Day”.

A video for public servants made by public servants features enforcement officer Naomi Shimoda and others talking about the need for inclusive gender-neutral pronouns. It allows people to “self-define” and to “make space so their pronouns are legitimate and respected.”

Some will say that people should be able to choose whatever pronoun they want and that it is only polite that others respect that choice. Others will say “blah, blah, blah” and wave the kerfuffle away as just another episode of nutty political correctness by busybody social activists. The sceptics know to be beware of the blah, blah, blah because the battle over gender-neutral pronouns in other countries is a hint of where we may be headed. Not for nothing, the self-appointed pronoun police behind the “They Day” video included an enforcement officer. Silly-sounding nonsense has a habit of attracting enforcers, be they vigilante-style citizens or bureaucrats and legislators, who tell us what we are allowed to say, read, watch, even laugh at. And inevitably, what we are allowed to think. It is the death of liberty by a thousand cuts.

Language police in the ACT Labor caucus want to do away with references to Mr, Miss, Mrs or Ms in the ACT parliament. No more Madam Speaker. And it is Member Smith instead of Mr Smith. The Bolsheviks wanted to do away with gender too, so why not just call him Comrade Smith, source some bleak-coloured Bolshevik uniforms and declare victory?

Labor’s proposals are not about respecting diversity. This is an agenda to force the same grey and genderless linguistic uniform on everyone. Cleansing gender from pronouns is about killing difference. Being polite is one thing; but political correctness moved beyond civility long ago, if that was ever the aim. When the cleansing of language is backed by directives, regulations or laws, it compels us to speak in one particular way. By stopping us from speaking freely, the aim is to stop us thinking freely. And that is antithetical to freedom in a liberal society.

An obscure Canadian psychologist became a cultural rock star because he explained, in a calm and reasoned manner, why he would not be forced to use speech prescribed by the state. Nor would he stop using words proscribed by the state. Less than two years ago, Jordan Peterson took a stand against Canada’s proposed Bill C-16, which effectively compels the use of gender-neutral pronouns by adding legal protection to “gender identity” and “gender expression”.

Peterson was on to something long before the rest of us. Within six months of the bill becoming law, Lindsay Shepherd, a teaching assistant at Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario, was called into a university administrator’s office and condemned by professors for showing a clip that was “threatening” and “transphobic”. Her professorial accusers said it created a “toxic climate” for students and was the equivalent of “neutrally playing a speech by Hitler”. She was accused of breaching C-16 laws.

Shepherd’s crime was to show her students — during a tutorial on how language affects society — a televised debate between two people with different views about gender and pronouns. One of the speakers was Peterson.

We know the details because a teary Shepherd recorded the meeting, which could be slotted seamlessly into chapter 5 of Nineteen Eighty-Four just before Winston discusses with Syme, a specialist in Newspeak, how the dictionary of approved language is progressing. C-16 has weaponised gender-neutral pronouns in the hands of human rights bureaucrats and complainants, and that is a chilling threat to freedom.

Ten years ago, the Alberta Human Rights Commission investigated a complaint brought against Ezra Levant for publishing the Danish cartoons of the prophet Mohammed. The complaint was dropped, but not before a bur­eaucrat questioned Levant about his intention in publishing the cartoons. The interrogation reminded Levant of Hannah Arendt’s “banality of evil”.

“No six-foot brown shirt here, no police cell at midnight,” he wrote. “Just Shirlene McGovern, an amiable enough bureaucrat, casually asking me about my political thoughts, on behalf of the government of Alberta. And she’ll write up a report about it, and recommend that the government do this or that to me … I had half-expected a combative, missionary-style interrogator. I found, instead, a limp clerk who was just punching the clock … In a way, that’s more terrifying.”

O Canada! How it has made a mockery of being “The True North, strong and free”. A free society is curtailed by stealth when out-of-sight bur­eaucrats investigate the free expression of words, ideas and cartoons. And freedom lost is not easily reinstated. An Australian law compelling us to use certain pronouns may not be far off because we have followed Canada before. We pick­ed up Canada’s gift to the world, multiculturalism.

And just as the Canadian Human Rights Commission has gone awry, accused by founder Alan Borovoy for falling into disrepute, our own Australian Human Rights Commission has wrecked its reputation, too. When was the last time the AHRC focused on core human rights such as free speech or property rights? Instead, it is a bloated bureaucracy whose enforcers protect hurt feelings, not human rights.

And dob-in-a-dissident was sanctioned when Race Commissar — oops, Commissioner — Tim Soutphommasane touted for business when The Australian’s Bill Leak drew a cartoon that threw into sharp relief the complex issues of individual responsibility and the dismal plight of indigenous children. Yet Soutphommasane had nothing to say about a dance performance in Melbourne this year where white people were told to wait in the lobby while the performance began inside the theatre. His departure is a blessing for anyone committed to genuine human rights.

The AHRC’s wretched handling of complaints against three Queensland University of Technology students who posted on Facebook about the absurdity of racial segregation only confirmed its role as an anti-human rights bureaucracy. The career epitaph of former commission boss Gillian Triggs should read: “Sadly you can say what you like around the kitchen table at home.”

Examples abound of bureaucracies that have run amok when armed with social engineering laws that were once seen as innocuous nonsense. Applauding the recent decision of the US to pull out of the UN Human Rights Council, Liberal MP Julian Leeser has pointed out that this council is not some harmless bureaucracy.

Delivering the 2018 B’nai B’rith Human Rights Address, Leeser said that human rights had often been hijacked and “in the (UN) Human Rights Council we see a blatant attempt by those who oppose liberal democratic ideals to commandeer the apparatus of human rights so that they might hide and obstruct its abuses”.

“We read Orwell as a warning; they read Orwell as a textbook,” he said. The young MP then took aim at the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights, established by Kevin Rudd’s Labor government. Leeser, who has served on the committee for two years, called for its abolition on the grounds that it is not really a committee of the parliament.

“It is a bureaucracy that has appropriated the name of the parliament. The committee is about bureaucrats judging parliament, rather than the parliament judging human rights.” And just about every report attacks the government’s legislative agenda “in the form of rehashed talking points from left-wing and social justice groups that have no connection to ‘real’ human rights”.

In 1994, before he became prime minister, John Howard warned about the rise of cultural McCarthyism in this country. Talk about mission creep. Who could have foreseen their reach and influence? Short of securing legislative wins, social engineers under­stand that getting, holding and extending their power through unelected bureaucracies is critical to the pursuit of creating public-free zones where real power vests, far away from prying democratic processes.

No one knows how the current batch of social experiments will end. But history shows that something that sounds harmless, like a friendly video about gender-neutral pronouns put out by bureaucrats, can end up curtailing our liberty.


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

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Australia is deplorably racist. It was founded on a racist document and hasn’t improved (?)

The writer below, Jack Latimore, is a "Goori", descended from an Aboriginal tribe in Victoria, apparently.  His rant below offers only three isolated incidents in support of his assertion that Australians are racist. Such thin "evidence" is entirely unable to support any generalizations. I can give you many other anecdotes which suggest an opposite conclusion.  You need general data -- such as survey results -- to support generalizations.   It is sad that a Goori man has shown himself to be so intellectually incompetent

The recent surge in racism is not an anomaly. For many white, liberal-minded Australians, recent media commentary over the appearance of a notorious white nationalist on the Sky News channel was the first indication that our society remains deeply stricken by racism. And for many of them, the subsequent banning of said individual and the news channel’s “icing” of the particular program on which he appeared is a sufficient practical and symbolic rejection of racism. For others, the concern is that it is too little too late. The neo-Nazi is out of the bag. By banning him from ever appearing on its channel again, Sky News has centred – or normalised – its regular hard-right editorials. It doesn’t matter a jot if this was an intended or inadvertent consequence.

But this incident is only a tile in the much larger colonial project that continues to impact the lives of not just First Nations peoples, but the majority of people of colour in Australia. It’s a racial ideology that’s seemingly in perpetual motion in this country, which has been present since at least federation and arguably further back, with the arrival of “enlightened” Europeans roughly 250 years ago. The recent surge in racism merely stems from this blight, and in terms of timespan, it goes well beyond what occurred at Sky News last Sunday night.

In the past fortnight alone, concerted attacks by Australian racists on media figures such as Osman Faruqi and Benjamin Law have caught my attention. In Faruqi’s case, the racialised and disproportionate abuse he received for supporting the banning of plastic bags from supermarkets has threatened to silence his activity on Twitter. Meanwhile, the racial abuse directed at Law involved a thinly-veiled death threat for suggesting Virgin Australia cease broadcasting Sky News in their lounges.

On Wednesday, to bring attention to the toxicity of the abuse being directed towards outspoken people of colour, I tweeted a screenshot of an email from “whitepride” titled “fuck you abo dogs” that was sent to the administrators of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders online platform, IndigenousX. Other established and emerging First Nations writers and commentators have informed me they have also experienced an upsurge of similar abuse in recent weeks. It should surprise nobody that the racists feel emboldened.

If this kind of racial vilification reflects the current social environment, how is it possible for Aboriginal people to feel optimistic about a “reconciled” future in Australia? Particularly when the kinds of attitudes that consider us “dirty black dogs” are so valued by embattled Australian politicians every time a dicey election rolls around.


Two images from Queensland, courtesy of The Australian traditionalist

Above is where I come from. Conservative views like mine are common there -- among the people who were born there.  That hat is called a Pith Helmet.  I had one when I was a kid

We have just had the 50th anniversary of the beginning of Joh Bjelke- Petersen's leadership in Queensland, having been sworn in as Premier on the 8th of August, 1968. Sir Joh was a champion for tradition. May his legacy last forever.  I was a member of his National Party during his tenure as Premier -- JR

Now global warming misses Melbourne

Our wimpy Prime minister recently declared that the drought -- mainly affecting outback NSW -- was caused by Global Warming.  Shortly after that declaration Western Australia got huge rainfall.  Now Melbourne has been swamped too.  Australia is  a big place so "Global" effects that miss out both Western and Southern Australia are not very global are they?  PM Turnbull needs to grow a pair and stop trying to pander to Greenie absurdities

WILD weather has lashed Melbourne this afternoon with hail and heavy rain falling across the city.

Hail pelted suburbs including Yarraville, Kingsville, Footscray and Montrose this afternoon as temperatures plummeted to just 7C in the city.

It was a dramatic drop from the “spring-like” conditions yesterday, with temperatures reaching 20C.

Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Richard Carlyon said earlier today it had been “the wettest” since June 17. “The cold front moved through Melbourne and delivered up to 10mm of rain,” he said. “Almost two months ago we saw 16mm.”

Heavy snow has begun falling at Victoria’s alpine resorts with 20cm expected over the weekend.

Snow lovers shivered through a chilly morning, with the mercury languishing in the negatives. The apparent temperature at Mt Buller was -11.2C at 10.30am.

Mt Hotham Alpine Resort general manager Belinda Trembath said the mountain would a snow base of about 180cm by the end of the day.

“We’re very fortunate here in the mountains that we are getting some fantastic snow events, it seems to be successive week after week, consistent snow falls and certainly fantastic conditions for skiers and boarders,” she said.

“It started snow about 8.30am and we’re expecting up to 20cm today.”


Students graduating with some of the most sought-after degrees will have the WORST chances of landing the right job as they lack practical skills

They should go into IT.  They should have the ability for that.  And IT workers are in high demand

Once heralded as the passports to a secure and well-paid career, science, technology and maths degrees now have some of Australia's lowest employment rates according to a university head.

The warning for STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) graduates came from Vicki Thomson - chief executive of the Group of Eight universities association.

Ms Thomson's words are backed by industry leaders who say too many graduates are ignorant of the job market or do not have practical experience.

Around 20 per cent of Australia's near two million domestic students who graduated between 2007 and 2016 were in STEM disciplines - according to the Daily Telegraph.

But maths and science graduates are finding jobs at a rate 10 per cent lower than the average post-graduation, according to the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI),

The Go8 chief executive has also called for greater recognition of vocational education.

Group of Eight head Vicki Thomson has called for greater recognition of non-university training courses and warned STEM graduates their degree is no passport to a certain career

In an address to the Graduate Employment Outcomes and Industry Partnership Forum in Sydney, Ms Thompson said Australia would be a 'poorer nation' if it did not give the entire tertiary system the value it deserves.

She said: 'We could not live healthily, safely or successfully without plumbers, electricians, fire safety inspectors - all of which is delivered through VET.'

Ninety-two per cent of trade course graduates found a job straight away, according to a recent report.

Pearson educational consultants published an article last year calling for more government investment in STEAM, with the added 'A' referring to Art. 

Meanwhile, Business Chamber CEO Stephen Cartwright said even highly qualified candidates from STEM degrees were struggling to get hired. He said: 'No qualification by itself these days is a passport to a job.'


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