Thursday, October 02, 2014

My goodness, what a fuss!

Peter Hartcher, the Sydney Morning Herald political and international editor, is in a pet below because Tony Abbott is not prepared to put a blanket ban on wearing the burka.  Hartcher says that banning the burka is standing up for the freedom of women -- but not the freedom of women to wear what they like apparently.  Abbott is clearly the one standing for freedom.  The amusing thing is that burka bans are usually promoted by the Right -- while the Left oppose such bans. So is the SMH now to the right of Abbott?  That would be a turn up. But it appears to be so.  Hartcher could well get a rap over the knuckles from his bosses over this.  Hartcher as an Islamophobe -- that has an certain ring to it!

Does Australia stand for the freedom of women? Or for their oppression? As the country confronts the barbarians of the so-called Islamic State, the answer from the national leader should be strong and clear.

The Prime Minister had an ideal opportunity to demonstrate leadership today with a powerful affirmation of the freedom of women.

But, asked whether he thought that women should be banned from wearing burqas, Tony Abbott hedged. He missed the opportunity.

He reverted to the same position he held as head of the opposition, a tribal leader and not a national one.

"I have said before that I find it a fairly confronting form of attire," Abbott told a press conference today.  "Frankly, I wish it was not worn."

When he first used this formula, the world had not heard of IS. It did not know that these barbarians were committed to the indiscriminate butchery of anyone who disagreed with them.

The world did not know that they were about to take over a swath of territory twice the size of Switzerland.

And the world did not know that they operated what the former Egyptian minister for families, Moushira Khattab, has called a "master plan to degrade and demean women".

The savages of IS have imposed on women mass rape, mass sexual slavery, genital mutilation, and a market in Mosul where women are sold for 100,000 Iraqi dinars, or about $90, each.

The barbarians are the worst kind of oppressors. Australia is going to war to defeat them. An Australian prime minister should be a forceful champion of freedom, including the freedom of women in Australia to wear what they choose, whether burqa or bikini.

Abbott did go on to make a statement of principle in favour of freedom: "But we are a free country, we are a free society and it is not the business of government to tell people what they should and shouldn't wear."

Unfortunately, he then hedged again: "It is a little different, obviously, in a situation where peoples' identity is important. My understanding is that in courts, for instance, people may be required to show their face. In certain buildings, people may be required to show their face and I think that is perfectly appropriate."

Why say this? Because he wanted to show sympathy for the two members of his government's backbench, Cory Bernadi and George Christensen, who are campaigning for a burqa ban in Parliament House.

Even though all visitors go through metal detectors. Even though members of the public have never, in the history of the building, been required to have their identities checked. Even though motor registries in western Sydney have perfectly acceptable procedures to check the faces of covered women where necessary, without fuss or offence.

The two backbenchers argue that a ban on burqas is necessary for security purposes. So if they are so concerned about security, where are all their other proposals for better security? They have none.

They are not interested in security. They are only interested in fanning prejudice.

Abbott has implicitly endorsed their dirty, divisive dogwhistle politics to appease them. Instead of winking at their intolerance, a real leader would have shut them down in a moment of crisis.

He would have done well to heed the words of his own Attorney-General, George Brandis, who told the National Press Club on Wednesday that, in the face of a rising risk of terrorism, "there could be no greater error than for Australians to demonise our fellow Islamic citizens".

Australia's social cohesion is at risk. The Prime Minister's responsibility is not to play with it but to protect it.


New national security laws pave way for 'police state', says Andrew Wilkie

Any laws mandating secrecy are of concern but Wilkie needs to go for a walkie over this one.  The law is quite narrowly drafted and it would be unreasonable to allow journalists to sabotage anti-terrorist operations

Former intelligence whistleblower turned federal MP Andrew Wilkie has accused the federal government of exploiting fears about terrorism to rush through new national security laws that push Australia towards a "police state".

The government's first tranche of national security changes passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday with the support of the Labor opposition, although one Labor backbencher broke ranks to speak out against the laws.

Tasmanian independent Mr Wilkie, Victorian independent Cathy McGowan and Greens MP Adam Bandt all voted against the laws, which passed on the voices.

The laws include jail terms of up to 10 years for journalists who disclose details of ASIO "special intelligence operations" and provide immunity from criminal prosecution for intelligence officers who commit a crime in the course of their duties.

Under the laws, ASIO officers will also be able to access, modify, disrupt or alter an unlimited number of computers on a computer network with a single warrant, which many have feared could allow the entire internet to be monitored, as it is a "network of networks".

ASIO can apply for the computer warrants to be issued and they can only be authorised by the Attorney-General, who is currently George Brandis QC.

Mr Wilkie said he was especially concerned the laws would encourage ASIO officers to use force without the "inconvenience" of including trained Australian Federal Police officers in their operations.

"At some point in the future we'll have spies kicking in doors and using force with no police alongside them and that is another step towards a police state," he said.

"Why is the government – with the opposition's support – wanting to overreach like this?

"I can only assume the government is wanting to capitalise on and exploit the current security environment. I can only assume that the security agencies are delighted they have been invited to fill in a blank cheque.

"It is clearly overreach by the security services who have basically been invited to write an open cheque. And the government, which wants to beat its chest and look tough on national security, said, 'We'll sign that'.

"And the opposition, which is desperate to look just as tough on national security, said, 'We'll countersign that cheque too'."

Mr Wilkie said the new penalties for journalists and whistleblowers who disclose details of "special intelligence operations" (SIOs) amounted to the government "bullying" the media into more compliant reporting.

"This is clamping down on free speech; this is clamping down on oversight of what the security agencies are up to," he said.

"This is absolutely disgraceful," Mr Wilkie said, who was a former whistlerblower who warned Australia not to go to the Iraq war as there was no evidence of weapons of mass destruction.

Labor backbencher and member for Fremantle, Melissa Parke, also spoke out against the bill, breaking ranks with her colleagues.

"I do not support a number of key elements in this bill, and I am aware there are further even more controversial bills coming before the Parliament in the near future," she said.

"There has not been convincing evidence of inadequacies in the existing legal framework that warrant the broad extensions of powers we see here," she added.

"I am particularly concerned that this bill entrenches and amplifies the lack of protection for whistleblowers regarding intelligence information and penalises with up to 10 years jail the legitimate actions of journalists and others doing their jobs in holding the government to account in the public interest."

Greens deputy leader Adam Bandt raised concerns that the media would not be able to report on innocent bystanders killed under bungled SIOs.

"If these laws pass, our security agencies could inadvertently kill an innocent bystander and journalists would not be able to report on it," Mr Bandt said.

He also raised concerns about journalists being put behind bars for up to ten years for revealing the existence of an SIOs.

"People could go to jail under this! People could go to jail under this legislation," Bant yelled.

Justice Minister Michael Keenan said the government made "no apologies" for trying to protect the secrecy of covert intelligence operations.

"This is not, as has been wrongly suggested, about preventing the release of information that might simply embarrass the government of the day or expose it to criticism," he said.

"This is about providing a necessary and proportionate limitation on the communication of information that relates to the core business of intelligence agencies. And I need hardly add that unauthorised disclosures of intelligence-related information, particularly on the scale that is now possible in the online environment, can have devastating consequences for a country's international relationships, a country's intelligence capabilities and very importantly for the lives and safety of intelligence personnel."

Shadow attorney-general Mark Dryfus said the new laws were justified and carefully-targeted, but the government had not explained them well to the community.

"I must say that in the case of the SIO scheme the government has not explained itself well," he said. "It has allowed some misunderstandings of what this legislation enables to gain currency."

Mr Drefus said Labor had demanded amendments so that only journalists who knowingly disclose details about secret counter-terrorism and counter-surveillance operations would face persecution.

"The community should be reassured of the limited scope of the offence provisions," he said.

"Labor would not and will not ever support laws which prevent journalists who report on security and related matters from doing their jobs."

"No-one can inadvertently breach this provision. But where journalists are aware of the possibility of endangering ASIO officers we expect them to act responsibly.

"These laws will not criminalise the good-faith activities of journalists."

Crossbencher Ms McGowan said, "It is not a time to rush through legislation. This is a time for considered approach, this is a time when we should be our best selves as the Prime Minister reminds us."


Must not mention the sex life of politicians?

An interview with former prime minister Julia Gillard on Channel Ten's The Project has caused a backlash on social media.

Twitter has lit up with angry comments over an interview segment that featured former Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Channel Ten's The Project.

On Monday night, Gillard appeared on the show to speak about her new memoir, My Story, which details her time in the office as Australia's first female Prime Minister and the sexism she encountered.

After a brief introduction to Gillard's political legacy, the interview kicked off with birthday wishes from panelists Rove McManus and Carrie Bickmore, with the latter asking, "What has Tim [Mathieson] got you for your birthday, Juilia?”

When Gillard responded that she and Mathieson will be celebrating after she returns from her book tour on the weekend, McManus joked, "Is that a euphemism? Will he have a 'birthday suit'? Is that what you're suggesting?"

Despite visible discomfort at the inappropriate comment, the former PM responded good-humouredly, saying, “No, that was just a straight-up answer.”

Commenters on Twitter, however, weren't as forgiving, immediately calling out the disrespectful nature of the joke:


ABC must present both sides of the debate on terrorism

by Gerard Henderson

THE Attorney-General’s assessment of the present danger is correct. Last Wednesday, George Brandis told the Senate that Australia faced a more immediate security threat than it did during the Cold War.

In the late 1940s and during the 50s, some members of the Communist Party of Australia planned to kill their fellow citizens if and when the CPA came to power. But Australian communists were not into murder or acts of terrorism in the lead-up to their anticipated victory, which they expected would take place as a result of rampant revolutionary fervour.

Currently, Western nations face a two-tiered threat. There is an attack by foreigners, of the kind that took place in New York and Washington on September 11, 2001. And then there is the
lone-wolf attack by a citizen or resident, of the kind that took place in Times Square in 2010 and Boston last year.

So far there has been no foreign-based attack on Australians in Australia. However, in the Operation Pendennis exercise in 2005, security agencies and federal and state police thwarted planned attacks on high-profile targets. On Tuesday, Melbourne-based teenage Numan Haider arrived at the Endeavour Hills police station with the intention of murdering two  police. He was shot dead at the scene.

Evidence has emerged that Haider was tracking the movements of senior politicians, including Tony Abbott. It made sense that, even before Haider’s attempted murders, security at Parliament House had been increased. It may be necessary to increase security at some or all police stations.

It would be irresponsible for Australians, politicians, ­
law-enforcement officials and more besides to ignore the warning of Islamic State. Spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani Ash-Shami last weekend called on supporters to “kill an American or European infidel, especially the spiteful and cursed French, or an Australian or a Canadian or any other disbeliever”. Not long after, Haider arrived at the Endeavour Hills police station carrying two knives and an Islamic State flag.

In the climate of genuine security threat, it is reasonable to expect the taxpayer-funded public broadcaster would act responsibly. This, at the very least, requires a proper balance in the ABC’s presentation of security issues. So far, Mark Scott, the ABC’s managing director and editor-in-chief, has failed to exercise proper editorial control over his employees.

Take Monday’s Q & A, for example. It was a travesty in so far as fair and balanced coverage is concerned. Originally, the focus of the program was to be infrastructure. However, after the police raids in Sydney and Brisbane on September 18, the topic was changed to “Be alert but not alarmed”.

Fair enough. But not for long. For this crucial program, Q & A put together a panel that was grossly unbalanced. Justice Minister Michael Keenan was the political conservative on the panel. The social democratic Mark Dreyfus, Labor’s shadow attorney-general, also got a guernsey. No problem so far.

But the rest of the panel was loaded up with critics of the security approach taken by Abbott and Bill Shorten at home and abroad. Namely, Greens senator Scott Ludlam, university researcher Anne-Azza Aly and writer Randa Abdel-Fattah.

Keenan, with some help from Dreyfus, maintained that the police raids were a response to a genuine security threat. But the rest of the panel, cheered on by a large section of the audience and not discouraged by presenter Tony Jones, was having none of this. Ludlam suggested the raids were an “amazing coincidence” in view of the planned changes to national security legislation.

Paul Barry presented the Media Watch program before Q & A went to air. Barry cited with approval a comment in The Guardian Online by Richard Ackland (a former Media Watch presenter) that the media had become “willing pawns in the politics of terror drama”. To Ackland, the raids were but a splash of “commando bombast”.

On September 19, in the wake of the Sydney and Brisbane raids, Lateline ran a “Friday Forum” segment on national security. There was scant debate as defence commentator Allan Behm essentially agreed with human rights barrister Greg Barns.

There was a near common view the raids had been exaggerated by the police (Barns) and overegged by the media (Behm). No view supporting the need for such raids was heard.

It was much the same on Radio National’s Late Night Live last Monday. Phillip Adams, columnist with The Australian, was in the presenter’s chair with academic lawyers Patrick Emerton and Kiernan Hardy as guests. Adams essentially agreed with the two that the proposed amendments to the security legislation were too tough.

Emerton alleged that in 2007 ASIO officers had committed “serious crimes” of “kidnapping and false imprisonment”. He implied that the Abbott government was intent on making kidnapping “lawful when ASIO does it”. In fact, no ASIO officer was ever charged with, let alone found guilty of, kidnapping and false imprisonment in 2007. But neither Adams nor Kiernan clarified Emerton’s hyperbolic comment.

Every now and then, the ABC engages an employee in the commercial media to become a regular commentator on the public broadcaster. Channel 10’s left-of-centre Paul Bongiorno appears on RN and Radio 702 in Sydney. On 702 last Thursday, he declared the Abbott government “certainly is panicking the community” on security. No other view was heard.

The ABC remains a Conservative Free Zone, without a conservative in any prominent presenter, producer or editorial position. In his role as editor-in-chief, it is up to Scott to ensure a diversity of views is heard during a time of national emergency.

If he fails to do so, it is the responsibility of the ABC board to ensure that the ABC managing director does what he is paid to do. It’s called governance.


Wednesday, October 01, 2014

The nightmare of returning to Sri Lanka?

This report below is just Leftist disinformation.  Any Sri Lankan Tamil who REALLY wanted refuge just has to take a short boat ride across the Palk strait to Tamil Nadu in India. How odd that the proximity of the Tamil "eelam" (homeland) is not mentioned below!  Australia is about a thousand times more distant than Tamil Nadu so how odd it is that they chose to sail to Australia!

The Abbott government has all but claimed victory in stopping asylum seeker boats.

Offshore processing and turning around boats at sea have been important elements in achieving this goal.

Also important has been its efforts at returning asylum seekers, especially Sri Lankans.

In October 2012, the Labor government introduced a new "enhanced screening" process in order to return Sri Lankans arriving by boat within days.

Since then, more than 1300 people have been returned to Sri Lanka under this process – after just a cursory assessment of their claims.

Scores more have been returned "voluntarily" from the offshore processing system and from Australia, often with the assistance of the International Organisation for Migration.

And  4500 others have been intercepted by the Sri Lankan navy, with which Australia has close ties, while attempting to come to Australia.

Last month, I travelled to Sri Lanka and spoke to people who had been returned from Australia.

One woman, who says she had political problems in Sri Lanka, said the Sri Lankan military raped her before she eventually boarded a boat and fled.

On her second attempt to escape, Australian border officials intercepted her vessel.

After days at sea, as she was kept on an Australian vessel, she was subjected to "enhanced screening," consisting of a 30-minute satellite phone interview, through an interpreter, with an immigration department decision-maker back on the mainland.

With three or four of her fellow passengers, in the same area who she was unsure she could trust, she said that there was no privacy for her to tell her full story.

On the basis of this brief interview, Australian officials determined that it was safe to send her back.

When I met her in a secret location, after an elaborate process involving a lawyer, a "safe" driver, and various phone calls in which I was instructed to go from one place to the next to get further directions, she was terrified of being picked up again by Sri Lankan authorities.

She was living out of a suitcase and moving from house to house.

She has since told me that she has fled her homeland for a second time.

Another man I spoke to, as part of research on those sent back to Sri Lanka, told me  he had been subjected to brutal torture after Australian officials rejected his refugee application and he was returned.

After months of monitoring by Sri Lankan security forces, he was abducted and taken to a secret location.  He says that for more than two months, he was tortured, including having his fingernails torn out and being hung upside down and beaten.

He was accused of being associated with the defeated Tamil Tigers.

Later, he says he was picked up again and taken to the notorious fourth floor of the Criminal Investigations Department in Colombo.

This time, he says his wrists and ankles were tied behind his back and he was hung from a pole between two chairs.

These stories may seem paranoid or unbelievably brutal, but they are consistent with credible international research.

Earlier this year, human rights lawyer Yasmin Sooka wrote a study called, An Unfinished War: Torture and Sexual Violence in Sri Lanka 2009-2014.

Ms Sooka was a commissioner on South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  She was also one the UN Secretary-General's Panel of Experts advising him on Sri Lanka.

Ms Sooka's report found that even now, years after the end of the civil war, people accused of being associated with the Tigers are being abducted by men in "white vans" and then tortured, including branding with hot rods.  Men and women are sexually abused and raped, including by multiple perpetrators.

Ms Sooka told me that this is planned and systematic and goes to the "highest level" of government.

Sri Lanka is a country that is rebuilding after decades of civil war.  Tourists are flocking there is increasing numbers.

Not everyone who comes to Australia from Sri Lanka is in need of international protection.

But the presumption behind Australia's quick return of Sri Lankan asylum seekers after just a cursory assessment of their claims – namely that it is not only administratively and politically convenient, but that it is safe to do so – is not well founded.

So as the government and its supporters congratulate themselves on stopping the boats, including for humanitarian reasons, we need to ask again, "at what cost?"


Farmer rejects wind turbines - and $30,000 carrot

Marilyn Garry has rejected wind farm proponent Epuron's offer of $30,000 a year for hosting three turbines and other infrastructure on her family's grazing property near Binalong.

Wind farm hosts generally welcome an opportunity to host turbines because the cash flow counters drought and volatility in agriculture.

Epuron proposes a $700 million wind farm with more than 130 turbines on the peaks of Coppabella hills and Marilba hills. The two ranges sit on either side of Mrs Garry's property "Mylora".

Mrs Garry's husband John died in April. She said while he considered hosting wind farm infrastructure following a meeting six years ago between Epuron and surrounding farmers, he eventually rejected them, too.

"They are just hideous. They will make sheep and cattle sterile," Mrs Garry said. "The government is paying subsidies, if they don't pay, if they pull the rug, the turbines will be left here to rust.

"We have an airstrip on our property. Our son flies down twice a year from Toowoomba with his wife and children. Everyone around here uses the airstrip for spreading aerial super, they pay $1 a tonne. It is also used for fire fighting," Mrs Garry said.

She said turbines and powerlines would prevent aircraft from using the landing strip.

Mrs Garry has written to NSW Planning saying despite her rejection of Epuron's turbines, they were still shown on maps, along with infrastructure.

Neighbour Mary Ann Robinson said NSW Planning had been led to believe Mrs Garry was to be a host, which meant Epuron was not required to do as many impact assessments.

Epuron says it will not discuss agreements it has with individual landholders.

Construction manager Andrew Wilson said even when a wind farm project had planning approval, infrastructure could not be built on any land without the consent and agreement of the landowner.

"Wind farms are not like other resource projects such as coal-seam gas as it can only proceed with the consent of the landowners and also involves the establishment and annual contribution to a community enhancement fund," Mr Wilson said.

Epuron lodged a development application in 2009 and says the project has been on public exhibition twice, in 2009 and a preferred project report in 2012.

NSW Planning is now preparing an assessment report, which should be released soon, Mr Wilson said.

"The benefits of renewable energy and wind farms in particular are well established, not just for the landowners who lease part of their land to the wind farm company, but also for the surrounding community," Mr Wilson said.

Epuron told the Renewable Energy Target review panel in June it had spent $470 million and, with certainty over the RET, would invest several billion dollars more in renewables.


Muslim Fast Food Worker Screams and Threatens Customer Who Wanted Bacon

A customer at a KFC restaurant received vicious insults and threats from a Muslim employee, when the patron asked for bacon on their sandwich.

In accordance with Islamic law, the KFC restaurant in Sydney, Australia, does not serve bacon, as the restaurant is “halal-friendly.”

The violent outburst was recorded by the customer, and in the video, one employee can be heard saying, “We don’t have bacon,” before the other begins yelling.  “Don’t record me bit**! Don’t f—ing record me!”

The disgruntled Muslim KFC employee continues to rant and yell, smacking the cash register display over before another worker grabs him in an attempt to calm him down. As he is led around the corner, he continues:  “I’m gonna f—ing break your head bro!!!!”

The employee was suspended after the screaming incident.

How long before restaurants in America start pulling bacon from their menu in an attempt to appease Muslims?


False conflation of classical liberalism

 The phrase neo-Liberal gets thrown around a lot, most recently as a prefix to 'Abbott government' or '2014 Budget'.

It's one of many conflated terms which are impoverishing the debate about economic and social reform. For example, recently in a major online publication it was claimed that 'these days, most right-wingers in Australia identify themselves not as conservatives but as "classical liberals".' In my experience, few people identify themselves as classical liberals and fewer still understand what it means.

Classical liberalism is certainly not a synonym for conservative. In his essay 'Why I am not a Conservative' Friedrich Hayek made plain the differences. Conservatism reflects a cautious attitude to change and a Burkean recognition of the value of institutions which have served humankind over time as proven repositories and safeguards of wisdom-the family, the rule of law, parliament and universities and for some people the church.

 Hayek pointed out that both conservative and progressive as descriptors define only a position relative to the status quo. Neither provides a positive, principles-based agenda for addressing social or economic challenges. Classical liberalism, by contrast, is not defined in relation to the extremes of current debate or the relative positions of other philosophies. It is defined from first principles as a commitment to individual liberty, the rule of law and limited state intrusion into private life, commercial relationships and very importantly civil society.

These founding principles of classical liberalism are rooted in the Magna Carta, the agreement between King John and his barons which proclaimed that freedom is secured under the rule of law and that no person is above the law. The Great Charter led to parliamentary democracy, the American Bill of Rights and eventually following Federation to our own constitution. One of only four surviving originals of the 1297 Inspeximus issue is on display in Australia's Parliament House. Clauses in the Magna Carta defend the freedom of the Church from whence we inherit our freedom of religion; another confirms the 'liberties and customs' of communities along with early forms of a right to privacy.

Calling for an online Bill of Rights, 'father of the Internet' Tim Berners-Lee has said it must be a Magna Carta for the Internet. Such is the power of this almost 800 year old proclamation of liberty. It is a constant reminder that classical liberalism is not a tactical response to temporary political challenges but an enduring framework for all social, economic and political challenges.

Commentators need to get the definitions right. Conflating conservatism, statism or worse blatant electoral politics with a principled philosophy of liberty almost 800 years old fails not only to recognise the real nature of liberalism but its true promise for another 800 years to come.


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Climate alarmists are overlooking scientific facts

Some letters to the editor below that appeared in "The Australian" on 27th

ALARMISTS such as Fred Cehak and Chris Roylance (Letters, 26/9) criticise acclaimed scientists such as Dan Wood and Steven Koonin for their sceptical views, yet continue to peddle the fiction that the “science is settled” in the climate debate.

Those aboard the ship stuck in Antarctic ice early this year believed their own shoddy science that said the poles were melting. Today, the Antarctic ice sheet is at an all-time record high, and Arctic ice is now refreezing as normal.

The junk models used by the alarmists to frighten the world are in a state of disarray as more than 50 excuses are circulating trying to explain, unsuccessfully, the 17-year halt to global warming, even with rising carbon dioxide emissions.

Despite its shortcomings, even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has declared there is no relationship between emissions and hurricanes, Atlantic storms, drought and wildfires, and any other catastrophe served up as fact by the alarmists, whose arguments are always based on appeals to authority rather than the tenets of true science as embraced by sceptics.

G. M. Derrick, Sherwood, Qld

THE informative and balanced article by Steven Koonin (“A degree of uncertainty”, 23/9) brings me to the following conclusion. Much of the vast sums of taxpayers’ money being spent on researching and controlling man-made climate change should be directed to researching the magnitude and causes of natural climate change.

We would all then be in a better position to determine how significant is man-made climate change in comparison to natural climate change, and develop appropriate policy.

Charles Stanger, Manuka, ACT

FRED Cehak criticises those who doubt the accuracy of climate models and says the majority of scientists support the views of the IPCC. Yet doesn’t the IPCC’s fifth assessment report state that the rate of warming over the past 15 years, a 20th of a degree per decade, is smaller than the trend since 1951, an eighth of a degree per decade? This despite an unabated increase in the alleged driver, atmospheric carbon dioxide. Surely that’s justification for critical review of some of the more alarming predictions.

And we never see any criticism from Cehak or others of the failed predictions by Tim Flannery that Sydney and Brisbane’s dams would now be dry never to fill again, or of the equally ludicrous suggestion by Greens leader Christine Milne that repeal of the Renewable Energy Target would lead to only a billion people being left alive by 2100.

Peter Troy, Kingston, Tas


That ABC show is Questionable & Adversarial

A DANGEROUS parallel universe now exists alongside the reality of what the Police Commissioner calls the “clear and present threat” of homegrown Islamic terrorism.

This sham reality has been constructed by the “progressive” Left-leaning establishment of academics, politicians, journalists, media organisations and activists who have inexplicably joined forces with­ Islamic ideologues to downplay the threat, undermine our security and accuse those trying to keep us safe of Islamophobia and fearmongering.

In their eyes, the terror raids last week were suspiciously timed to ­distract from the Abbott government’s troubles and somehow to justify sending troops to the Middle East to help Iraq confront the Islamic State.

In politicising a security issue, they are wilfully deaf, dumb and blind to the assessments of those who actually are privy to the intelligence which led to last week’s terror raids.

“Let me tell you that matter that we dealt with last week was well past being a thought bubble,” NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione tells me.

“There was a clear and present threat that was very soon to be ­delivered. We know in Queensland only the week before, again, a matter of days before it was to be delivered.

“… It’s such a difficult call that the experts in the counterterrorism command area have to make.

“It’s a matter of waiting to get as much evidence as possible but ­ensuring that nothing happens. And we will always err on the side of going a little bit early because … if that ­attack that was planned last week had been successful. this ­nation’s history would have changed forever.”

That’s the reality which the tinfoil hat crowd deny, on the basis of zero evidence.

They ignore Monday’s order by Islamic State extremists to their supporters to kill Australians in whatever way they can.

For a view into the belly of this tinfoil beast, go no further than Monday night’s Q & A on ABC-TV. It distilled every delusion and pernicious idea about Muslim victimhood into one hour of dangerous insanity.

Western imperialism is to blame. Israel is to blame. “Team Australia” is to blame.

Two belligerent Muslim women controlled the conversation: sociologist and Islamophobia specialist Randa Abdel-Fattah and Anne Azza Aly, a social science research fellow at Curtin University, who was billed by the ABC as a “terrorism expert”.

Fattah claimed the terror raids were like an NCIS episode, “whipping people up into a frenzy of hysteria of war fever”.

“(They) reinforced this wider narrative of Muslims as criminals,” she said.

Then, after being the font of all wisdom for 50 minutes, Fattah said it was too complex to explain why Iraq asked for Australia’s help to stop Islamic State beheading, crucifying and raping its citizens.

“I’m not an expert because I’m too busy battling Islamophobia,” she said.

Aly, meanwhile, described terrorism as “theatre”.

Fellow panellist and Greens MP Scott Ludlam agreed the timing of the raids was an “amazing coincidence” and the terror threat was a beat-up hatched by “tabloid papers” which are “hurling fear” at people.

“Divisiveness” and fear is what terrorism is all about, he said, that “corroding and undermining of the underpinnings of society”.

Silly you if you thought terrorism was about chopping off heads and blowing up people.

Mark Dreyfus, Julia Gillard’s former attorney general, accused the government of “overstating” the ­jihadist threat,

Justice Minister Michael Keenan did a valiant job rebutting the nonsense but he was outnumbered five to one, and his most effective opponent was the host.

Tony Jones cut across Keenan, ­allowed guests to badger and interrupt him, and at one stage made the most extraordinary intervention. He interrupted Keenan to quiz a Muslim woman in the audience whom he imagined had claimed that “ASIO” had threatened to behead her, rape her corpse and slit her children’s throats.

Who would believe such a thing?

It turned out the woman’s claims were about “right-wing Nazis” on ­social media.

Even the audience laughed at Jones then.

The ABC could have brought in any number of sensible Muslims who understand the terrorist threat. It could have brought in Christian ­Assyrians or Afghan refugees or ­actual terrorism experts.

Instead the taxpayer-funded broadcaster chose deliberately to sow community disharmony, to smear Australians as racists and bigots, and to feed the sense of misplaced grievance and victimhood that justifies radicalism.

But the reality remains that we have a serious terrorist problem and the people charged with keeping us safe must not be distracted by ­spurious claims of Islamophobia and legal threats.

Were police not supposed to question three men at the football who were pointed out to them by ­spectators because the men might hire lawyer Adam Houda and threaten civil action?

Were they supposed to ignore two carloads of bearded Muslim men stopped near the Lucas Height ­nuclear reactor?

This isn’t a game. It’s not politics. It’s about saving lives.

“There are tough times ahead,” Scipione says.

“We can never become complacent. Just because something’s been thwarted … doesn’t mean the threat has gone away. In fact every day … that you don’t read about it is one day closer to the day when the ­attack will happen.

“They’re out there and they’re plotting.”

That’s the truth.


The halal racket

A South Australian company is paying one of many competing Islamic Halal Certification “services” (AFIC) an undisclosed monthly fee for its seal of approval. But Scholle Industries Pty Ltd, based in Elizabeth, is a manufacturer of plastic packaging (plastic is derived from oil) and has apparently been able to assure Muslim fraudsters that all oil wells are facing Mecca.

Farcical Halal certification is being exposed as nothing more than an extortion racket adding to the cost of almost every type of purchase and governments are failing to act to protect Australians from this Islamic curse on our retail trade for fear of an Islamic electoral backlash.

    Coercion, and threats by the Islamic “certifiers” to economically cripple Australian manufacturers and processors who refuse to pay up are being ignored by authorities.

Since the scam has been exposed, Aussie shoppers are refusing to buy product with the Halal certified label and the little Arab motifs are disappearing from shelf products everywhere like pork pies at a Passover, but the payments and the threats remain.

Halal certification headquarters are based in Saudi Arabia with Indonesia (MUI) administering the Asian arm and many various competing Australian “certifiers” operating both nationally and in most States.

Total income from the world-wide scam is a reported $1.2 trillion, with Australia contributing a mere billion or so while our Defence Force wonders where the hell the House of Saud gets the money to pay the Islamic State.

It was reported here earlier this year that one major Aussie meat processor, who refused to be identified, claimed he had been told to pay $27,000 a month for halal certification or risk being banned from exporting.

Mr Stephen Kelly, an executive of the Japanese-owned Nippon Meat Packers in Queensland, said last year that MUI had already banned his abattoirs from selling meat to Indonesia because he had procured his “certification” from one of MUI’s Australian opposition certifiers, AHFS.

Meanwhile the Heart Foundation’s “tick of approval” is proving another fraudulent impost on embattled Aussies with “ticks” being thrown to pizzas, deep-fried chips and pies, if the right amount of money is paid of course.

MacDonald’s has forked out millions over the past eight years to have the Heart Foundation's “tick” of approval on their junk food.

The Heart Foundation is a (cough, cough) non-profit organisation but their “advisers”, “consultants” and executives drive very nice cars, live in very nice houses and take extended, very expensive and all exes paid overseas trips to study other "ticksters".

If this government was able to get rid of the carbon tax, Halal, Kosher and the “tick” taxes should be a piece of piss.


A balancing act-home schooling regulation

Most parents never progress beyond day-dreaming about home schooling, but it is becoming increasingly mainstream-everyone seems to know at least one home schooling family and most admire their choice.

Statistics for NSW confirm this perception. The number of children registered for home schooling has increased by 64% in five years, from 1,945 in 2009 to 3,194 in 2013. However, these figures underestimate the true size of the home schooling population. According to estimates by the Home Education Association, there could be as many as 12,000 unregistered, home schooled children in NSW.

Whether you see this as a problem depends on where you sit on the parental rights spectrum. At one end is the idea that parents know what is best for their children and should be free to make decisions about their children's education without government interference. At the other end is the notion that since children have a right to a decent education, governments have an obligation to ensure this occurs, and this takes precedence over parental rights. 

Submissions to the parliamentary inquiry into home schooling in NSW cover the full range of views. Many home schooling families and their advocate organisations argue that the registration requirements in NSW are too onerous, and deter families from registering. They argue that home education (their preferred term) is unique and should not be regulated like a school. The NSW Teachers Federation, on the other hand, strongly favours strict regulation, taking the position that public schools provide the best education and that any exception must be justified.

The requirements of home school families are stricter in NSW than in other states: adherence to the NSW syllabus is mandatory and student progress is monitored by home school inspectors (or 'Authorised Persons'). The extent to which this is enforced is debatable; anecdotal reports from home school families claim it is heavy handed, but according to the NSW Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards (BOSTES), less than half of one percent of registrations are refused or revoked due to failure to meet requirements.

Currently, home schooling families are doing all the work in their relationship with the state and getting little in return, receiving no educational or financial support. Nevertheless, home schooling is increasingly being seen as a viable option. If this trend continues, government policy will have to strike the right balance and adapt to challenges of providing parents with the flexibility they want and giving children the protection they need.


Monday, September 29, 2014

Tough new terror laws clear the Senate

Australian spies will soon get stronger powers to help fight against terrorism.

The government's first tranche of tougher anti-terrorism laws, which beef up the domestic spy agency's powers, passed the Senate on Thursday with bipartisan support.

Anyone who identifies an ASIO agent could also face a decade in prison under the new laws, a tenfold increase in the existing maximum penalty.

Attorney-General George Brandis said in a "newly dangerous age" it was vital that those protecting Australia were equipped with the powers and capabilities they needed.

The bill will now be sent to the House of Representatives, where passage is all but guaranteed.

The legislation addresses a number of recommendations of a bipartisan joint parliamentary inquiry into Australia's national security laws.  It allows ASIO to access third party computers and apply one warrant to multiple devices.

After concerns were raised by Labor and Liberal Democratic Senator David Leyonhjelm, the government agreed to amend the legislation to specifically rule out ASIO using torture.  "ASIO cannot, does not and has never engaged in torture," Senator Brandis said.

The Palmer United Party was successful in amending the law so anyone who exposes an undercover ASIO operative could face up to 10 years behind bars instead of one.

The Australian Greens voted against the bill, slamming the new measures as extreme and a "relentless expansion of powers" of the surveillance state.

Senator Leyonhjelm and Independent Senator Nick Xenophon - who moved a number of unsuccessful amendments - also opposed the legislation.

The legal changes come amid growing concern over Islamic State (IS) extremists in the Middle East and terror threats at home. IS has ordered followers to directly target civilian Australians.

In less than a week, police in two states launched the biggest terror raids in Australia's history, and shot dead a known terror suspect after he stabbed two officers in Melbourne.

A second suite of anti-terror laws targeting foreign fighters was introduced on Wednesday and will be debated next month.  These changes have opposition support and would make it a criminal office to travel to a terrorist hot-spot without a reasonable excuse.  The government is aware of about 60 Australians fighting in Syria and Iraq.

A third bill enabling the collection of metadata will be introduced later this year.


The wolf isn’t at the door, it’s in the house

THANKS to the publicly funded ethnic lobby and its supporters at the ABC, SBS and Fairfax, Australians were denied the opportunity to examine and possibly root out the evil of Islamo-fascism when it first came to public attention during the so-called Cronulla riots of December 2005.

Then, when convoys of young Lebanese-Australian publicly demonstrated their hatred for Western culture, terrorising whole suburbs as they smashed windows, vandalised cars and shouted abuse at men and women dressed in regular street clothing, the public was advised: Move along, nothing to see here.

But there was plenty to see. Just as there had been when some Australian Muslims cheered the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, and failed to condemn the Bali bombings. What was on show was undeniable evidence that within the Muslim community there were many, not just a handful, who were supporters of terrorism.

But the handful of commentators who dared point out the obvious were warned off with threats from various taxpayer-funded organisations and nanny state apparatchiks that publicising the blatant unvarnished facts about Cronulla might whip up unnecessary fear and create division in the community. Instead of highlighting the self-evident antagonism of many young men in the Muslim communities in Sydney and Melbourne, particularly, to the society in which they or in many cases, their parents, had sought and received sanctuary from attacks from other Muslim groups in their former homelands, the publicly funded media portrayed the violent bullies as victims.

They weren’t seeking to assimilate into Australian society, they wanted to be separate. They didn’t want their sisters to be free to mingle with non-Muslims socially, they didn’t approve of Western fashions, they hated the West. The bien pensants who would not admit that young Lebanese-Australians had been responsible for the Cronulla riots, the weak-kneed self-interested Labor politicians who didn’t want the police to investigate the convoy which had set out from Punchbowl Park to terrorise and vandalise, must now confront the consequences of their stupid politically correct approach to a criminal enterprise.

The weakness shown by the authorities then has undoubtedly encouraged a generation to arrogantly believe in their own supremacy now. Whenever challenged, they and their lawyers would play the victimhood card.

Whether it was the increase in fanatical suicide bombings, the 9/11 attacks, or even the gang rapes carried out by young men who self-identified as Muslims even as they were committing the most heinous crimes, the kumbaya crowd has always insisted the perpetrators were the real victims.

Just as the Islamic Council of Victoria has refused to condemn 18-year-old Abdul Numan Haider, who was shot and killed at Endeavour Hills Police Station in Melbourne on Tuesday after he arrived for an interview with two knives and savagely wounded an Australian Federal Police officer and a Victorian policeman before he was shot dead. Political leaders have been too quick to say Islam is not the problem.

But elements of Islam are clearly part of the problem, as anyone familiar with the Koran must be aware.

Constant appeasement of the vocal radicals is not the answer, be it with the censorship of free speech by S18C of the Racial Discrimination Act or through biased programming like the ABC’s Q & A show.

Having failed to address the issue of Islamo-fascism when it started to emerge within the Australian Muslim community, politicians are still reluctant to confront reality. There is a division in Australian society between those who refuse to assimilate and those who welcome the freedoms offered by our pluralistic society.

It is little wonder young men, in particular, feel angry and frustrated when told they cannot enjoy the company of girls dressed in stylish clothing, or enjoy the company of workmates without guiltily wondering whether they have broken some religious edict.

That they are easily swayed by the dramatic propaganda spewed out by Islamic State is of real concern and indicates the values being taught in their schools and within their homes are not compatible with those held by Western societies.

While the majority of Muslims may not bear ill-will toward the West, it is clear there are radicals holding influential positions within religious schools and mosques who do.

Australian citizenship is to be cherished and respected. Most citizenship ceremonies extol the values that attract migrants to our country — the obligations that go with citizenship deserve equal emphasis.


Leftist voter fraud comes to Australia

It's a huge issue in the USA but has been rare in Australia

Allegedly false voter enrolments in a key seat in last year's federal election contributed to the defeat of the Liberal Party's Sophie Mirabella, it's been reported.

Independent Cathy McGowan's 439-vote winning margin in the Victorian rural seat of Indi came after a number of her younger backers allegedly engaged in electoral fraud, News Corp Australia reports.

It says they switched voter enrolments to Indi in the weeks before the September 7 election, despite living and working in other seats, including Melbourne.

More than 20 dodgy enrolments of McGowan backers are at the centre of a probe by the Australian Electoral Commission's new integrity unit.

The Indi enrolment addresses are contradicted by home addresses in other seats, job and study locations, previous enrolment data, and profiles and output on social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, News Corp reports.

Ms McGowan won Indi with 44,741 votes to Ms Mirabella's 44,302.

Ms McGowan told News Corp that if there was any wrongdoing, it would be on a small scale.

"Numbers of young people made their own decisions about what they would do. I would be very surprised if there were 200 who did that."


The truth about fact checkers

The ABC's Fact Check website was launched in August last year on a mission to determine 'the accuracy of claims by politicians, public figures, advocacy groups and institutions engaged in the public debate.' But when it comes to the most important policy questions it is not necessarily the facts that are in question but their interpretation.

This has been demonstrated by the federal government's recent move to delay increases in the Superannuation Guarantee (SG) rate.

The SG rate freeze means the percentage of gross wages that must be put into super will remain at 9.5% rather than being increased to 12% by 2019-20. The Prime Minister has asserted that no-one would be worse off as this money would be put back into take-home pay, a claim that Fact Check determined to be 'Incorrect'. This is an oversimplification.

The most literal interpretation of what the PM said-that every single worker will receive an increase in take-home pay equal to the proposed SG rate increases-may not be universally true. However, the economics of how the SG rate freeze will impact take-home pay are extremely complex. For most workers, the claim that 'money that would otherwise be squirrelled away in superannuation funds will instead be in the pockets of the workers of Australia' is right.

On the topic of the SG rate freeze it is not the government that is misleading the public, it is the super funds.
The super funds' estimates of the cost to workers of the SG rate freeze ignore any increase in take-home pay that would result. Their claim that voluntary super contributions do not receive the same concessional tax treatment as the compulsory contributions mandated by the SG rate is also not true.

Workers are free to make voluntary super contributions, before tax, above the SG rate. These are taxed at the same concessional 15% tax rate provided that total (before tax) contributions do not exceed $30,000 a year (for those under 50). This is known as "salary sacrifice".

While Fact Check has exposed some of the most egregious examples of misinformation with an appeal to official statistics, on this occasion it has inadvertently perpetuated the super fund's tax myth.

This is not to suggest political bias on the part of the ABC. In this instance the subject matter is complex and the outcomes uncertain. What this underlines is that Fact Check best serves the public when it sticks to claims made by those who have quite clearly sought to mislead and scrutinises claims that can be verified by a direct appeal to the facts.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Muslim anger and global warming

The inability of Muslims to see any wrongdoing by their fellow Muslims seems to be common worldwide.  And we have now seen a prime example of it in Australia. A report of it below.  After a young Afghan Muslim, Numan Haider, was shot by police, the sentiment among his community seems to be that he had done no wrong.  He had simply made a "mistake" and police should not have shot him.  That the police shot him while he was stabbing them with a knife and inflicting serious injuries doesn't matter, apparently. "Infidel" police should let themselves be stabbed by Muslims seems to be the idea.  Decent people would be embarrassed that one of their number had behaved so badly but brains rotted by Islam are apparently incapable of that.

The rage is so irrational that it reminds me of a couple of other things.  In 1980 or thereabouts in Australia a Yugoslav hoodlum named Kresimir Dragosevic died in a hail of police bullets.  Mrs Dragosevic, his mother, thought it was most unfair that the police shot her dear little Kresimir.  The fact that Kresimir was shooting at the police at the time did not seem to matter.

So, clearly, for many people, reason flies out the window when their own personal interests are threatened or damaged.  Which brings me to global warming.  Warmists have the wonderful feelgood belief that they are "saving the planet" and that is far too rewarding to let facts get in the way of such a belief.  They will even let themselves be lectured by an emptyheaded High School dropout like Leonardo di Caprio on the subject if it helps to bolster their feelings of righteousness and mission.  No wonder there is so much poverty and so much suffering in the world when rationality can so easily be overwhelmed by personal emotional needs.

ANGER boiled over outside a mosque as the body of the shot teen was prepared for burial.

A man threw rocks at media waiting at the Doveton mosque after earlier being seen at Numan Haider’s family home.

The teen terror suspect’s family spoke of their devastation.

Others grieving the loss of Haider lashed out at police for shooting him.

Religious leaders told the Herald Sun Haider was expected to be buried as soon as today, after a Muslim service.

A friend who visited the family’s Endeavour Hills home said they were overwhelmed by grief. “They are very, very upset and devastated,” the family friend said.

“No one knows what happened. It’s a big shock to their family, and they can’t believe what has happened.

“This family is bright. They are well educated and have good connection to the Afghan families.”

There were angry scenes when a member of the Afghan community, on leaving the house, blamed police.

“They should not have shot him — he was 18,” the woman screamed. “If you (the police) can’t protect yourself, how are you going to protect the nation? Did you make mistakes when you were 18?  “If someone makes a mistake, you can’t shoot him.”

Conservative sheik Mohammad Jamal Omran visited the home to offer his condolences, and said he was saddened by the tragedy.

“We spoke about their sadness and we spoke about their loss.  “They cried on my shoulder, but still they need a long time to recover,” he said.

“There (is) trouble around us in the world. We don’t have to bring the trouble home.

“When I look at my right, I see the sorrow of the two police families.

“And I look at my left, and see this family losing a young man of theirs, of ours, and of Australia altogether.”


The 1915 Battle of Broken Hill – Another gift to Australia from Islam

Muslims were as murderous then as now but the response to them was more robust in 1915

Muslims like to claim that Islam is a religion of peace, a religion of science and a religion of human rights but in reality Islam’s major contribution to humanity has been terrorism. For close to 1,400 years Islam has struck fear into the hearts of the unbeliever, becoming synonymous with terrorism.

Since the Saudi funded World Trade Centre terrorist attack on September 11, 2001 there has been over 22,000 Muslim terror attacks worldwide. In 2013 alone, over 16,000 people lost their lives to Islamic terror attacks.

The most recent Muslim terror attacks occurred in the Russian city of Volgograd on the 29th and 30th of December 2013, when two cowardly Muslim Chechen terrorists blew up a bus and detonated explosives at the central train station killing 34 innocent Russians. Many children also died in the attacks.

One hundred years ago, on the 1st January 1915, a ‘picnic train’ left Broken Hill Sulphide Street station at 10am, carrying over 1,200 Broken Hill residents to Silverton for new year day celebrations.

The train carriages were normally used for carting iron ore but once a year were thoroughly washed out and fitted with temporary bench seats to transport passengers to Silverton for a new year’s picnic. Unknown to the vulnerable passengers was the bloodbath that was about to unfold.

Many of the train’s passengers noticed a Turkish flag was fluttering in the dry wind, just a few kilometres outside of town. As the train approached, unknown to the train’s passengers were two Muslim Jihadists lying in a trench. As the train drew closer, the two Muslims fired close to 30 shots at the train carriages murdering two teenagers and wounding six people.

The locals were in total shock and couldn’t understand why these two foreigners had opened fire on innocent civilians. The Police wasted no time in pursuing the two Muslim men as they attempted to escape. The Muslims came across and murdered Alfred Millard who had tried to hide in his hut.

The bloodthirsty pair continued to run but was sighted by Police who fired shots in the air in order to force them to surrender. Instead the pair returned fire at the Police and seriously wounded Constable Robert Mills.

The homicidal pair made their final stand at the top of hill where they found good protection behind boulders. The Police had the pair surrounded and ordered them to surrender but the Muslims would not. The gun battle raged on for nearly one and a half hours resulting in the death of the assailants.

The local constabulary identified the dead Muslims as Gool Mohamed, an ice cream seller and Mullah Abdullah, an Iman and halal butcher who was well known to smoke copious amounts of hash. Gool and Mullah were both Pashtun Muslim migrants from Afghanistan with a lust for Jihad against the kuffar (non-believer).

The former camel drivers attack on local civilians was pre-meditated. The Police investigation found out that the two Muslims had used Gool’s ice cream cart to transport their rifles, the flag and ammunition to the place previously selected by them for the attack. Notes were also found, left by the Muslim perpetrators stating they had become martyrs for Islam defending the Ottoman caliphate and their faith.

Today the people of Australia remember this unfortunate event, the first terrorist attack on Australia soil carried out by Muslim maniacs blinded by a savage and brutal political ideology.

It is an important time to commemorate the Australian victims; Alma Cowie, William Shaw and Alfred Millard who were murdered by crazed Jihadists carrying out the will of their mentor and soothsayer Moahmmad in the name of Allah.

The Battle of Broken Hill is a warning to the people of Australia of what Muslim immigration will bring to our nation. It is time to protect the Australian people from future terror attacks by halting all Muslim immigration and repatriating those who occupy our gaols and abuse our generous welfare.


Grim life awaits would-be illegal imigrants in Cambodia

Arrangements have now beem made to give "refuge" in Cambodia  to many illegals held on Manus Is. and Christmas Is.

A coalition of 21 organisations working to promote human rights in Cambodia on Friday described the plan as a cynical attempt to place refugees who had already suffered persecution in their home countries and harsh detention in Australia into further hardship in Cambodia.

Amnesty International called the plan a new low in Australia's inhumane treatment of asylum seekers. The plan is also opposed by the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR, which only has a small office in Cambodia and was excluded from negotiations that led to Immigration Minister Scott Morrison signing the agreement in Phnom Penh on Friday.

"Think about the refugees … they cannot speak Khmer. There are no jobs for them. They will have no land. They will not understand the culture," Sou Sotheavy says, adding that if they are given special treatment that will be unfair to impoverished Cambodians, and could cause trouble in communities.

Mr Morrison says the refugees who attempted to reach Australia by boat are "quite innovative and entrepreneurial and I think there would be opportunities for people with those sorts of skills and enthusiasms" in Cambodia.

He says "support will be tailored to the needs of those as part of a package of measures that will go to their resettlement, which is designed to make them self-reliant as quickly as possible".

Many countries, including Australia, have people like Srey Kuoch in dire need of help but no-one has to look far in Cambodia to see chronic disadvantage in the country still recovering from years of civil war and a genocide where an estimated 1.7 million people died from starvation, execution and disease.

Families are living in Phnom Penh slums under tarpaulins. Others scavenge on rubbish dumps. Vulnerable children beg before tourists on Phnom Penh's riverside.

In rural areas most of the people live a hand-to-mouth existence and while the country has made economic progress, it still struggles to provide adequate services in areas such as health and education.

Cambodia is ruled by a regime considered among the world's most corrupt despite receiving hundreds of millions in foreign aid, including an additional $40 million from Australia over the next four years in return for the country taking refugees.

Cambodia's government, ruled by strongman Hun Sen, has a long history of playing politics with refugees and using them as bargaining chips in bilateral relations with countries such as Vietnam and China.

The most prominent case was in December 2009 when Cambodia forcibly returned 20 UN-recognised Uighur refugees to China and then a few days later collected a huge aid package from Beijing.

Sixty refugees already in the country want to leave and would be destitute if they were not receiving support from organisations such as the Jesuit Refuge Service.

Cambodian officials have made clear that any refugees who arrive will be forbidden from engaging in politics connected to the country from which they fled, a violation of refugees' civil and political rights.

Cambodia has not taken steps to deal with what rights advocates say is the serious discrimination and deprivation of rights of ethnic Vietnamese, some of whom have lived in Cambodia for generations yet are still stateless without access to basic government services.

"The Hun Sen government severely restricts the rights and freedom of expression, assembly and association and state security forces routinely commit killings, torture and other abuses with impunity," Human Rights Watch says. "Those living on the margins – including refugees and asylum seekers lacking employment, Khmer language skills and social network – are at particular risk," the New York-based organisation says.

"For instance, Human Rights Watch has documented the arbitrary arrest, detention and mistreatment of undesirables housed in squalid detention centres run by the Social Welfare Ministry, where beatings, torture and rapes by guards go unpunished."

Defending the decision of his government, Mr Morrison says Cambodian poverty has fallen from more than 50 per cent to around 20 per cent. "I mean this is a country that is trying to get on its feet; this is a country that is making great progress," he says.

Mr Morrison noted that Cambodia's population has doubled from the dark years of the Khmer Rouge period.

He said that rather than keep the country isolated, the rest of the world should give them a chance to do positive things such as co-operating with Australia on the resettlement plan.  "We say we should give them a go," he said.


Warmist rage directed at Australia

Good to see that Australia's abolition of the carbon tax (etc.) has been widely noted

The United Nations has an awkward habit of using celebrities to give voice to its key concerns, at once amplifying its messages and somehow diminishing their significance.

At this week's General Assembly the key concern was global warming and the celebrity mouthpiece was Leonardo DiCaprio.

As though aware of the awkwardness of his position, in his address to the General Assembly, DiCaprio sought to buttress his call for drastic and immediate action to reduce carbon emissions with a voice harder to challenge than his own.

"The Chief of the US Navy's Pacific Command, Admiral Samuel Locklear, recently said that climate change is our single greatest security threat," said DiCaprio. "My friends, this body – perhaps more than any other gathering in human history – now faces that difficult task. You can make history, or be vilified by it."

The speech was well given and well received, but it turned out that his prediction was not entirely correct. Australia did not have to wait for history, it was vilified for its stance on climate change on the spot.

On Sunday the Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, told members of the Major Economies Forum at a side meeting that Australia intended to stick with its low target of 5 per cent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

This, she said, was an ambitious target, and she noted that Australia was responsible for producing only 1.5 per cent of the world's greenhouse gasses.

"I'm disappointed but not surprised with Australia," Pa Ousman Jarju, Gambia's Climate Change Minister who represents the 54 least developed nations at UN climate talks, told the Responding to Climate Change analysis website later. "What the Foreign Minister said was as good as not coming. It's nothing… as good as not attending."

Indeed Tony Abbott did not attend Tuesday's meeting, though many attendees detected a reference to Australia – among a handful of other notable recalcitrants – in Barack Obama's keynote speech.

"We can only succeed in combating climate change if we are joined in this effort by every nation – developed and developing alike. Nobody gets a pass," he said.

"The emerging economies that have experienced some of the most dynamic growth in recent years have also emitted rising levels of carbon pollution.

"It is those emerging economies that are likely to produce more and more carbon emissions in the years to come.  So nobody can stand on the sidelines on this issue.  We have to set aside the old divides.  We have to raise our collective ambition, each of us doing what we can to confront this global challenge."

Obama appeared to be addressing not only Australia and Canada, the developed nations dependent on mineral exports, as well as China and India, the developing nations whose carbon footprint is expanding rapidly and which have asserted their right to economic expansion before carbon reduction.

As with Mr Abbott, China's Xi Jinping did not attend and Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, sent Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar. China now emits more greenhouse gases than the US and EU combined and India is the third-largest emitter.

But it was Australia and to an extent Canada that were subject to most of the opprobrium, in part because they have already enjoyed the economic benefits of carbon emissions, in part because China is perceived to be on the brink of significant action.

One of the successes of Tuesday's meeting was China's announcement for the first time ever that it would set an emissions target, aiming to reduce its emissions of carbon per unit of GDP by 45 per cent by 2020, compared with levels in 2005.

"As a responsible major country, a major developing country, China will make even greater effort to address climate change," Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli said.

"All countries need to follow the path of green and low carbon development that suits their national conditions, [and] set forth post-2020 actions in light of actual circumstances."

An adviser who attended a meeting of small island states that excoriated Australia's inaction on climate said the group now viewed China's commitments optimistically.

The reaction to Australia's presence could not have been more different. Tony de Brum, the Foreign Minister of the Marshall Islands, told Fairfax that small islands states were frustrated and baffled by Australia's stance, especially as they had regarded the nation as a "big brother down south" and advocated for its seat on the United Nations Security Council.

Asked if "betrayal" was too strong a word, he paused and said, "Now it is, maybe not soon."

On Tuesday the Pulitzer Prize-winning climate change news website Inside Climate News published a story about the "Canada-Australia axis of carbon". It suggested that not only were the two nations not willing to pull their weight, but that they were seeking to derail the binding agreement on emissions reductions at next year's talks in Paris that many view as the world's last best hope to prevent catastrophic climate change.

"Neither the prime ministers of Canada nor Australia will speak at the summit, and the subordinates they have sent will not be offering the kind of "bold" new steps that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is seeking on the way to a treaty in Paris late next year," it reported.

"Instead, these two governments, with their energy-rich domains sprawling across opposite ends of the earth, will present strikingly similar defences against what much of the rest of the world is offering. And their stance is earning them opprobrium among advocates of strong and immediate action."

The online magazine Slate published a story headlined, "The Saudi Arabia of the Pacific, How Australia became the dirtiest polluter in the developed world."

It charted Australian climate politics since the last election – noting for an international audience Australia's history as a leader in solar technology, the creation and then scrapping of a carbon trading scheme, the promotion of climate change sceptics to key advisory roles, the attacks on the solar industry, the scrapping of the mining tax, the failed bid to expand logging in Tasmanian wilderness.

"Let's hope that the rapacious policies of the current government represent only a temporary bout of insanity," Slate concluded. "If the Australian people cannot recover some of their earlier regard for their environment they may find in time that their great land is no longer merely apathetic toward their residence there but openly hostile."

Whether or not the UN summit was a success is open to debate. Its organisers kept its goals vague enough so as to avoid failure, declaring its intention was to build momentum towards next year's critical talks in Paris, when it is hoped a binding international resolution will be hammered out.

China's announcement was welcomed, as was the declaration by pension funds, insurers and asset management firms controlling $2 trillion worth of funds that they wanted avenues for climate friendly investments. More than a 1000 business and investors backed a World Bank campaign for emissions taxes and trading schemes like the one Australia just abandoned. Leaders reaffirmed a goal to limit climate change to 2 degrees.

More than $US2.3 billion ($2.6 billion) of a called-for $US10 billion was pledged for a Green Climate Fund to help developing nations get access to clean technologies. Organisers of Sunday's march in support of action were thrilled at a turnout of between 300,000 and 400,000.

Whether it was enough to spur real action will not be known until December next year.


Friday, September 26, 2014

Signals of jihad in Australia have been building for years

The knifing of two police officers by 18-year-old Numan Haider at Endeavour Hills Police Station in Melbourne on Tuesday night is not a new threshold of Muslim violence in Australia. What is new is Haider's support for Islamic State and his desire to behead people and video the slaughtered bodies draped in the black flag of Islamic State.

Such is the new fashion among some radical young Muslims that Haider took a large knife and a black IS flag when he drove to the police station.

The warning signs have grown more ominous for a long time. On November 1, 1998, Lakemba police station in Sydney was peppered with gunfire in a drive-by shooting. Sixteen shots were fired from four different weapons by men in a stolen car. Those charged included several Lebanese-Australians including Michael Kanaan, Wassim El-Assaad and Saleh Mahmoud Jamal.

Kanaan, a Maronite Catholic, would later be convicted of three murders, among multiple other violent crimes. In a bizarre footnote to his bloody career, the former magistrate, Pat O'Shane, infamously discharged Kanaan from standing trial over shooting a police officer, describing the decision by two officers to pull over his car, then return gun fire, as "stupid, reckless and foolhardy". She said their conduct had "indicated police harassment of youth".

Saleh Jamal, a former drug dealer, fled Australia to Lebanon on a stolen passport in 2004. In Lebanon, he was jailed for weapons charges. Before being extradited back to Australia, he told a reporter he had wanted to undertake a terror attack in Sydney in the name of Islam.

Wassim El-Assaad, like Jamal and many Muslims who enter the criminal milieu here and overseas, gravitated to Islamic fundamentalism. He belongs to a group of Muslims serving long-term sentences who espoused jihad. Police have named El-Assaad (convicted murderer), Bassam Hamzy (convicted murderer), Rabeeh Mawas (convicted murderer) and Emad Sleiman (convicted murderer), among others, of espousing sympathy for jihad.

Muslims are over-represented in Goulburn's super max prison and were prominent in an outbreak of violence last Sunday when prisoners reacted to a clamp-down of security. The cry of "Allah Akbah", the rallying call of jihadists, was reportedly shouted by a number of inmates as they threatened guards.

Since the shootings at Lakemba police station there have been numerous terror plots, terror convictions and acts of social intimidation by Muslims in Australia, undercutting the widely preferred mantra of victimology of Muslims in Australia.

On Wednesday, Fairfax Media ran an opinion piece by a Muslim woman who wrote: "I still feel the scars of the Cronulla riots, where the flag of my beloved country was used as a symbol of pure hatred, of thuggery and racism."

This is ironic given that most of the hatred, thuggery and racism at Cronulla in December, 2005, came from Muslims. The demonstration and fracas at Cronulla beach, on December 11, was sparked by hundreds of incidents of harassment and violence by young Lebanese-Australian men, mainly directed at young women in bikinis or short skirts. I conducted dozens of interviews after the event and they can be summed up by a teacher at Cronulla High School:

"I have felt afraid for the safety of my family for the last 10 years [from] gangs of men of Middle Eastern appearance who have taunted, bullied or assaulted groups or individuals. My daughter has been taunted consistently when she goes to the beach… Women in swimming costumes… are often intimidated or taunted with 'sluts' and 'filth' and told they are 'asking for it'."

On December 12, on the night after the fracas, dozens of cars congregated at Punchbowl Park in south-west Sydney. Most of the men had armed themselves with a variety of weapons. Some left messages written on the street: "AUSSI TO DIE". "INTIFADA". "IT'S WAR". "WE FEAR NO OZY DOGS".

Two convoys of cars then headed off to the eastern beaches. For the next several hours an estimated 200 men, predominantly Lebanese Muslims, engaged in a show of force, smashing hundreds of cars and windows, stabbing or bashing several people and threatening women with rape.

Rape was a key issue. In the years leading up to the Cronulla explosion, dozens of young Muslim men had participated in a series of gang rapes in Sydney which terrorised young non-Muslim women. This fuelled the build-up of tensions, which the police at Cronulla had preferred not to confront, lest they be accused of racism.

Six weeks ago, at the height of the latest Gaza-Israel conflict, another convoy of cars drove through south-west Sydney. This time, some occupants brandished the black flag of Islamic State. I saw the images posted on YouTube (later removed) and heard this chant from demonstrators: "Jew and Christian will not stand. You can never stop Islam."



For God’s sake make sure you include this in any comment you make: “This crime has nothing to do with Islam and nothing to do with religion.” It seems this memo went out to every politician, public servant and copper in the country. But it has backfired. You can fool some of the people some of the time but none of the people this time.

Okay, so we mustn’t upset the nice Islamic community because we need their help to tell us where the mad nutters are, but unfortunately there seems to be mad nutters everywhere and, if you really believe their mums and dads will dob them in, then you’ve got your hand on it.

A normal kid born in Australia would never think of bombing the MCG or cutting someone’s head off, so where exactly does this kid learn all this violent anti-Australian stuff?

I can think of only two possible places; either in the home or in the mosque.

A normal Aussie school has a sane Head Teacher and a few insane pupils. A normal Aussie mosque has an insane Head Teacher and a few sane pupils... and some of those sane pupils will turn feral.

At home, in any good Islamic family, a kid must pray five times a day, read the cover off the Koran and recite a hadith of Sharia law hanging from a magnet on the fridge.

He will get as angry as hell when he can’t eat for a month during Ramadan and can only go out with sheilas he can’t shag (and probably wouldn’t want to if he could see them) so by the time he’s 18 and breaking out in pimples, a bevy of 72 virgins is sounding pretty bloody good.

Right now the kid has a permanent woody and is understandably besotted with these virgins and desperate to get his hands on just one of them... and that’s where the trouble starts.

Before you know it he’s borrowed his mate’s vest and bought a ticket to Syria.

But his dear old mum refuses to let him go, so he gets on his computer and learns how to make bombs out of stuff in the laundry cupboard.

    He then figures out how to set the bomb off with his phone and buys one of those toy drones with a remote control.

Now he decides to sit in Punt Road and rehearse flying the thing into the MCG at half time. But he only manages to knock over one behind post and cause a ringing sound in Tom Jones’ ears... and he is still not more than one pubic hair closer to those virgins.

“Bugger this”, he thinks, “I gotta cut some bastard copper's head off, that should do it!”

So he borrows his mate’s knife and a black flag with white Arabic words on it and drives into Endeavour Hills cop shop wielding the knife and yelling, “Allahu Akbar! I’m gunna kill you lot and f***in’ Tony Abbott too!”

Well, now the kid’s getting somewhere... there are two cops covered in blood trying to keep their heads on and the kid’s begging to be shot, so they shoot him! Ripper! He’s as dead as a dodo, with a smile on his face and listening to these Muslim elders going off their heads about police brutality.

Islamic preacher, Sheikh Ustadh Mohammed Junaid Thorne said, “Unfortunately, our young brother went alone to meet with these ‘ambiguous’ policemen, the violators of his privacy”.

He complained, “What we are sure of is that he was murdered in cold blood right in front of a police station, in front of a place that is supposed to be providing security and comfort to our youth.”

Shiekh Thorne extended his prayers and deep condolences to the family of the kid without mention of the two coppers (one was rushed to hospital with knife wounds to the throat and chest) and both were lucky to escape with their lives.

The idiot Sheik continued, “This boy was not a casualty of an armed heist, nor was his death the result of some drug deal that went wrong, rather he was killed by the same people who are supposed to be protecting this country.”

On went the idiot Sheik, “We still ask and wonder why deadly force was immediately used against a teenager who was provoked in the first place and forced into such a situation.

“I address the Australian community, the Muslims and non Muslims, when I say that the Government will try its best to frame this young kid as a ‘terrorist’.

“They will use all their efforts and resources to brand him a threat to the community, but we must not forget that he was nothing but an average teenager who once again fell victim to police brutality and murder.”

    WTF? Don’t these galahs really believe in this 72 virgins stuff after all? They should be happy for him.

Unlike the media and the Muslim elders, this dead kid reckons he’s really glad his first tilt at terrorism had something to do with Islam ‘cos right now he’s as happy as a pig in shit!


Harper Review Flags Need For Affordable Housing Reform

The need for national competition policy reforms that target housing affordability has been highlighted by the Harper Competition Policy Review’s Draft Report.

“Released yesterday, the draft report correctly identified the link between less affordable housing and inefficient planning and zoning processes,” Wilhelm Harnisch CEO of Master Builders Australia said. 

“However the Harper Review’s draft recommendations need further review to be effective in reforming local government reform planning and zoning processes. This is important given the impact of local council red and green tape on the community’s access to affordable housing,” Wilhelm Harnisch said.

“Inefficiency at the local level is a major obstacle to affordable home ownership because it unnecessarily drives up the cost of construction and chokes the supply of new housing,” he said.

“Reforms that increase housing stock would more effectively target housing affordability pressures than abolishing negative gearing,”

“Tackling the nation’s massive housing undersupply will ensure access to affordable homeownership, provide adequate social housing and allow the housing industry to do its job and drive increased investment in non-mining sectors of the economy,” Wilhelm Harnisch said.

“Master Builders response to the Harper Review’s Draft Report will reinforce the building and construction industry’s need for bold competition policy reforms that target solutions for these major issues and call on the Government to consult with business to ensure that reforms are actively pursued and implemented,” Wilhelm Harnisch said.



Three current articles below

Climate-related disasters cost the world half a trillion dollars, warns Oxfam on eve of UN Climate Summit

A wild and completely unsubstantiated claim.  There has in any case been no global warming in the period concerned.  And there have also been fewer weather extremes in the period

On the eve of the UN Climate Summit, Oxfam has released research showing that since global leaders last met in Copenhagen to discuss climate change five years ago, climate-related disasters have cost the world almost half a trillion dollars.

Oxfam Australia climate change policy advisor Simon Bradshaw said that given tens of thousands of Australians took to the streets over the weekend, Oxfam was disappointed the Prime Minister was not attending the summit in New York, and urged the Australian Government to start living up to its international responsibilities on climate change.

“While others forge ahead with ambitious plans, Australia is continuing down a path of irresponsibility and recklessness,” Dr Bradshaw said.

“Oxfam’s research shows that over the five years since the Copenhagen summit, more than 650 million people have been affected by climate-related disasters and more than 112,000 lives have been lost.

“Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s expected no-show at the landmark summit is yet another affront to our neighbours in the Pacific who, despite their limited resources, are working determinedly to confront the climate challenge.”

The 120 or so world leaders expected in New York – the largest group that has ever come together to discuss climate change - include the heads of most of Australia’s major trading partners and the leaders of almost all Pacific island countries.

“As an international development agency working in countries throughout the region, we know that even the poorest countries – those with the least responsibility for the climate crisis - are no longer waiting for rich countries like Australia to get their houses in order,” Dr Bradshaw said.

“From Timor Leste to Vanuatu, communities are working with whatever means they have. They are leapfrogging the dirty technologies of the past and drawing on their strengths to build the sustainable, resilient economies of the future.”

He said Australia must have an ambitious long-term plan to cut its own emissions, increase support to developing countries, and play a constructive role towards a strong global climate agreement.

“A decision by a rich country like Australia to roll back its climate policies and flout its international obligations is a decision to place an even greater burden onto poor communities in developing countries, who are already being hit first and hardest by climate change,” he said.

Oxfam also said that in pushing to expand its fossil fuel sector, Australia was not only increasing its contribution to dangerous climate change but risked being left behind in the global transition to renewable energy.

“For now, Australia appears willing to ignore pleas from the international community, remain wilfully ignorant to the situation of its Pacific neighbours, and work against its own long-term national interest,” Dr Bradshaw said.  “Australians have sent the strongest possible signal this weekend that they expect better.”
For interviews, please contact Laurelle Keough on +61 425 701 801


ABC science guy denies the science that even the IPCC now accepts

Even the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change admitted in its latest report that global warming had paused for some 15 years.

Read for yourself the section in the report with the headline that says it all: "Climate Models and the Hiatus in Global-Mean Surface Warming of the Past 15 Years"

So it says something about the ABC that its science presenters still deny what even the IPCC admits. Who are the true deniers of science now?

Well, here is Karl S. Kruszelnicki, who has form for denying what doesn’t suit his astonishing climate alarmism:

In the USA, the Wall Street Journal wrote, “temperatures have been flat for 15 years - nobody can properly explain it.”

Another newspaper from the same stable, the UK Daily Mail wrote “global warming ‘pause’ may last 20 more years, and Arctic sea ice has already started to recover”. Both of these statements are very reassuring, but unfortunately, very very wrong.

With regard to this ‘pause’, there are two major claims made by those who deny the science of climate change.

The first one is that the climate is actually cooling - not warming. This is incorrect.

The second claim is that after some previous warming, the global climate is now constant, and neither warming nor cooling. In other words, that the climate is in a kind of holding pattern, or haitus. This is also incorrect… The climate is still heating up.

You can read Dr Karl’s long and curious justification for refusing to believe in the warming pause, or you can simply check this graphic and decide for yourself whether Dr Karl should really be presenting science for the ABC:


Nationals MP George Christensen calls Green activists 'terrorists'

Nationals MP George Christensen is fighting activists whom he calls "gutless green grubs" opposed to the expansion of the Abbot Point coal terminal in his electorate. In his speech to Parliament, the outspoken MP said "the greatest terrorism threat in North Queensland, I'm sad to say, comes from the extreme green movement".

Mr Christensen says groups oppose the expansion and associated jobs out of ideology and not to save the Great Barrier Reef, because they are still campaigning against the proposal, even though an onshore dumping proposal has been found.

"The eco-terrorists butchered the international tourism market for our greatest tourism attraction, not for the reef but for political ideology," he said.

Mr Christensen said the green groups had threatened to lie in front of trains in cardboard boxes and referred Fairfax Media to the radical Alpha Generation's "Over our Dead Bodies" campaign.

The Over Our Dead Bodies homepage vows to "trash the Aurizon brand, by telling the world Aurizon are actively enabling an environmental catastrophe". Aurizon is the freight company that transports coal. Ben Pennings from the group confirmed that activists had "talked about stopping trains" but said "we're not going to be putting people in harm's way".

In a statement issued after his speech, Mr Christensen referred to the "gutless green germ" activists as "terrorists" five times.

He did not retreat from his comments when contacted by Fairfax Media on Thursday and said the activists might not like coal mining, but had no right to try to shut down a legitimate business.  "It's not illegal to mine or export coal," he said.

 Mr Feeney slammed Mr Christensen's "infantile rhetoric", particularly in light of Tuesday's stabbing of two police officers during an encounter in which an 18-year-old "terror suspect" was shot dead.

"There are two police officers still in hospital and this government MP thinks it's OK to throw the word 'terrorism' around as part of a cheap political stunt," Mr Feeney told Fairfax Media. "This is an incredibly insensitive and stupid thing to say, especially given the horrific attack we saw less than 48 hours ago.