Thursday, May 25, 2017

Dud public servants paid to go away: audit report

The above picture of a brown-skinned person with an African hairstyle accompanied the lead to the article below on the front page of the SMH. It was apparently intended to illustrate a dud employee. Reverberations to come?

Dud public servants are being given taxpayer-funded golden handshakes or generous early retirements because departments do not want to deal properly with under-performers, a new government audit has found.

A long-anticipated Australian National Audit Office report on so-called "performance management" processes for public servants found between 14 and 30 per cent of employees in some of Canberra's biggest government departments believed their bosses dealt effectively with under-performing colleagues, with significant areas of improvement identified.

A long-standing frustration for many public servants, the audit considered performance management processes in a range of departments and agencies, including the Australian Tax Office, the departments of the Attorney-General, Veterans' Affairs, Social Services, Industry, Innovation and Science, Agriculture, IP Australia and Canberra's National Film and Sound Archive.

Social Services had the highest number of staff found to be "less than effective" between 2012-13 and 205-16, with 338 employees or 3.06 per cent for the period. Among that group 19.2 per cent had been rated less than effective more than once.

The Attorney-General's department had 176 staff identified for performance management in the period, 2.73 per cent of its total workforce. Veterans' Affairs had 149 staff in the category, of which 10 per cent had been rated less than effective more than once.

Agriculture and Water Resources had 173 staff found to be under-performing, or 0.92 per cent of its workforce, of which 18.5 per cent were repeat poor performers. The Tax Office had 408 staff in the category, or 0.67 per cent of its workforce, with 7.6 per cent rated ineffective more than once.

The report said performance gaps could be difficult to identify for some of the types of work commonly done within the public service, including in areas of policy development and research. It said some staff took sick leave during performance management processes.

"It is not uncommon for employees undergoing under-performance processes to access certified sick leave as either an avoidance technique or because undergoing the procedure itself can exacerbate underlying medical conditions (particularly mental health conditions) or create stress-related conditions," the report said.

"From the manager's and agency's perspective this results in a drawn-out, complex process with difficult judgements to be made about how to best to progress the case."

Dealing with dud public servants isn't a new challenge for government.

A 1920 royal commission report held by the National Archives found "manifestly incompetent" bureaucrats who had been hanging around for years were next to impossible to dislodge from their jobs, labelling them "decent duffers".

The report, tabled in Parliament this week, warned some public servants identified for performance management took advantage of official processes, "including making allegations of bullying and harassment against their manager".

"Under-performance is generally not effectively dealt with in performance management processes, including during the probation period in most agencies, and structured under-performance processes have been infrequently used."

Senior managers had often avoided addressing staff under-performance because of a lack of incentives, support and their own capability.

Despite being common across the public service, the report said probation periods were generally not used "to robustly test the suitability of newly appointed employees", other than at the ATO and the Film and Sound Archive.

The report said the causes of under-performance included personal problems, physical and mental health issues, misconduct including minor absenteeism or behavioural issues, ineffective training and recruitment processes that fail to identify candidates with the capabilities for the job.

"Most agencies could streamline their underperformance procedures to remove repetition and prescription while still ensuring procedural fairness, although provisions in three agencies' enterprise agreements restrict flexibility in this regard.

"In addition, some agency procedures contain requirements that are in excess of those required by legislation or regulation for senior executive service or non-ongoing employees. Not all agencies have transparent procedures for their senior executive service employees, and probation procedures could be improved in all eight agencies," the report said.

Former employment minister Eric Abetz said slack public servants were wasting taxpayer funds and departmental bosses needed to take action.

"Taxpayers expect the public service to be lean, efficient and focused on delivery – not to allow for professional slackers who have turned underperformance into a victimhood industry at huge expense to the taxpayer," the Liberal senator said.

"Instead of this 'job for life' mentality that exists in many APS agencies, the public service should be refocused to become outcomes based and see underperformers managed more effectively – including a preparedness to let staff go."


A shocking government hospital

Night nurses at a Lismore hospital where a NSW mother died of shocking neglect regularly drugged patients, falsified observation checks, played computer games or slept to pass the time on their shifts, a former nurse at the facility has explosively claimed.

The whistle-blower, who did not want to give her real name for fear of retribution, told the horrific treatment in Lismore Base Hospital's Adult Mental Health Unit that resulted in Miriam Merten's death on June 3, 2014 was far from an isolated incident during her time working there due to corner cutting and inappropriate practices among some nurses.

Northern NSW Local Health District has confirmed to that four inpatients died at the facility between 2005 and 2013.

Ms Merten, who was drugged and stripped naked, died eight days after being admitted as an inpatient to the AMHU in mid-2014, court documents revealed.

A coroner's report, dated September 2016, found she died from "traumatic and hypoxic brain injury caused by numerous falls and the self-beatings of her head ... not done with the intention to taking her own life".

Ms Merten died as a result of "about 24" falls she had while locked alone in a seclusion room, according to documents published in the occupational division of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal. The seclusion room, which is three by four metres in dimension, held no furniture except for a mattress on the floor.

Her tragic passing is now the centre of disciplinary proceedings brought by the Health Care Complaints Commission against Christine Borthistle, a former senior nurse at AMHU who was rostered on the nights of the first and second of June. The public release of the court documents and CCTV of Ms Merten's final fatal fall from inside AMHU have also sparked two government-backed reviews.

"(Miriam) used to bang her head from migraines", the former sister said, who told she had spent years caring for Ms Merten at AMHU.

Court documents revealed Ms Merten was admitted to AMHU 58 times between 1990 until mid-2014.

"Miriam was never violent. She was just delirious,” the former night nurse said. “I loved her dearly. All she ever wanted was a cup of tea. I was horrified (by her death). I don't think she should have died. It could have been prevented if she had been given a little bit of compassion instead of being manhandled."

The whistleblower quit her almost decade-long post with AMHU in disgust well before Ms Merten's death – so is unable to comment on whether practices have changed in recent years.

She said she left after being "burnt out fighting the system" when her countless complaints about patient neglect and work protocol abuses fell on deaf ears.

She said she worked with nurse Borthistle and was told about the night Ms Merten died.

"Obviously (Borthistle) had a shocking night. She was a good nurse but she had no experience," the whistleblower said, explaining that Borthistle had 40-years experience but no professional training dealing with mental health patients.

The whistleblower confirmed Borthistle died just days before the findings of the tribunal's disciplinary proceedings.

On April 12, the tribunal banned Borthistle from, but not limited to, providing services as an assistant in nursing and mental health services.

The whistleblower said the fears Ms Merten's family expressed that her tragic death was not an isolated incident are “sadly true”. She remembers at least 30 to 40 patients who were drugged, stripped naked and locked for hours in the seclusion cell like Ms Merten.

"If we couldn't get them (patients) to sleep and they were screaming like hell you'd chuck them in the single room; in the cell," she said.

"I was told don't go in there to do hourly checks because, 'You might wake them up'. The priority was to mop up the shit and forget about your patient."

The nurse, who had 38 years of psychiatric nursing experience, described AMHU as being "a jail" and said patients would be left for days in the clothes they arrived in or stripped naked if no hospital clothes were available.

"(The hospital) provided PJs but there was always a shortage of PJs and the girls had to have doctor's gowns. They'd walk around in Hepatitis C clothes until the nurses did the washing for them," she said.

She said she was aware of some patients who were "locked up" for almost three years and witnessed four patients die in AMHU – two deaths and two suicides. She added that at least one of the deaths occurred while the patient was in the seclusion cell.

"I've seen patients in the cell for two weeks and they were bad. That was the only way we could contain them. We've found broken teeth. Not false teeth, but real teeth," she said.

As well as locking up patients, the whistle-blower said it was common practice for nurses, particular those rostered on the night shift, to lie about completing rounds to check on patients and rely on the "nurses upper hand" – topping up their medication.

She said some nurses would sit behind the Perspex-screened room of the nurses' station - which was the size of a double bed - and just "tick, tick, tick" the five hour rounds as completed on the paper in front of them. Asked how she knew this, she admitted: "I did it too."

She said night duty staff get "the best shifts" as there is no management around and so got away with anything. She said it was common place for night shift nurses to "tranquilise" patients to get them to sleep long enough to be awoken just as the morning nurses arrived.

She said, sadly such doping seemed necessary as some patients were extremely violent and staffing levels would mean you couldn't check on patients if there weren't two nurses awake at the same time. However, she said it wouldn't work on every patient.

"Miriam was a case where you couldn't. She had a tolerance, she'd walk through it," she said.

As well as failing to check on patients, some night nurses would ignore patients who stood before them banging on the Perspex glass. These nurses were known as "office sitters" among other staff.

"Night nurses just used to sit on their bum … and play computer games. It was like (they were) playing poker machines," she said.

One NSW mother, who spoke to on the condition of anonymity, said she had witnessed firsthand the cruelty and abuse of the AMHU nurses when her son was admitted as a patient 18 months ago.

She claims her son received nearly "non-existent care" during his month-long stint at AMHU and the abuse from nurse staff was so concerning she has made two formal complaints to the Lismore Base Hospital. She is yet to receive a response past the hospital's initial automated email.

"He was in there about three-and-a-half weeks a month. He had no support whatsoever," she said.

"His girlfriend came to visit and he was treated deplorably and made fun of by staff. He was abused whilst she was there."

She claims one time during a visit with her son she tried to initiate a conversation with one of the registered nurses over concerns she had that they were planning to release him too soon. She claims she was abruptly rebutted by the nurse who claimed AMHU "is not a motel".

"The behaviour is so bad that sometimes you're speechless," she said.

"They are more interested in being on social media or on eBay than they are in the patients anyway shape or form. They don't even care from a human perspective. They just treat the patients with contempt and laughter."

She also claimed one of her sons was left with a broken mobile phone after he threatened to show a photo he'd taken of a nurse on eBay during a shift to the hospital CEO. She says her son's phone was confiscated by staff and returned smashed.

"So many times I complained and I asked questions and they don't want you to ask questions. It just boggles my mind, it really does. It makes me sick to the stomach," she said.

"Even in a jail if you needed immediate first aid, you'd get that I'm sure."

Chief Executive of Northern NSW Health District Wayne Jones told that data showed four inpatient deaths had occurred in the Lismore Mental Health Unit between 2005 and 2013.

"Unfortunately, Mental Health units can experience incidences of patient death, either through medical emergencies or self-harm," Mr Jones said.

"Any unexpected patient death is investigated through internal review and referred to the NSW Coroner.

"The use of seclusion for patients in Mental Health facilities in NSW is always a last resort and only used where clinically necessary.

"The seclusion rate for patients at Lismore in 2016 was on average 8.1 episodes per 1,000 bed days."

Mr Jones said Mental Health Services at Lismore Base Hospital had more than halved the patient seclusion rate in the last five years.

"The treatment Ms Merten received was unacceptable. The Northern NSW Local Health District took immediate steps following this tragic incident," Mr Jones said.

"The LHD also reinforced that staff at the Lismore Adult Mental Health Unit must adhere to NSW Health protocols on the use of seclusion and treatment of patients.

"The Northern NSW LHD welcomes the mental health review announced today and we will be working with the independent expert panel during its investigation."


New maps show the risk of sea level rises to Australian cities

Another Greenie prophecy that will fail like all others before it

SAY sayonara to Sydney airport, farewell to Fremantle and bye to Byron Bay.

A series of maps has graphically illustrated how Australia could be affected by climate change and rising sea levels. And it looks like many of our major towns and cities could be getting a lot soggier.

Hobart Airport would be underwater, Melbourne’s Southbank submerged and the WACA in Perth would be inundated.

Famous sea side resorts like Byron Bay, Port Douglas, Noosa and the Gold Coast are in danger of seeing the sea get a whole lot closer for comfort.

A climate expert has said rising sea levels globally could displace “tens of millions of people”.

The new maps come from Costal Risk Australia run by Western Australia business management consultants NGIS. The data is fished from the US’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOAA to show which areas will be at risk from a “business as usual” scenario of a 2 metre sea-level rise by 2100.

Just by putting in your suburb name into the Coastal Risk Australia, you can see if you area is at risk of flooding.

Website co-creator Nathan Eaton said that with more than 80 per cent of Australians living near the coast, it was critical for people to appreciate what rising sea levels in the decades to come could mean for their communities.

However, in some areas its likely even a 2 metre sea rise will be surpassed. Climate scientists have pointed to parts of northern and Western Australia where rises could be higher.

The Torres Strait Islands have experienced regular king tides, an area which rarely got any of the monster tides in the past.

Professor John Church from the University of NSW’S Climate Change Research Centre said flooding to the measure forecast would cause catastrophic problems for many Australians.

“With business as usual emissions, the questions are when, rather than if, we will cross a 2 metre sea level rise,” he told Fairfax. “This scenario would result in major catastrophes and displace many tens of millions of people around the world.”

One of the worst affected areas would be Cairns with vast tracts of the city’s CBD and suburbs at risk from rising sea levels.

But Cairns Mayor Bob Manning said he wasn’t going to lose any sleep over the maps. He said claims Cairns could be under the ocean by the end of the century were “outlandish”.

“I’m someone who takes environmental issues very seriously,” he told the Cairns Post. “But if we’re going to run around every day because some group comes up with some wild or outlandish or extreme prognosis — and we don’t have any verification on it — then we’ll just spend the next so many years going crazy.”

He said the decisions made by the council were based on the “best scientific evidence we’ve got” and that the city worked with the Local Government Association of Queensland’s sea-level adaptation unit.

Earlier this month, climate scientists at the University of Melbourne warned an agreement reached in Paris to hold global average temperatures rise to under 2C above pre industrial levels would inevitably fail.

Last week, US researchers said sea levels driven by global warming were on track to dramatically boost the frequency of coastal flooding worldwide by mid-century, especially in tropical regions.

A 10 -20cm jump in the global ocean watermark by 2050 — a conservative forecast — would double flood risk in high-latitude regions, they reported in the journal Scientific Reports.

Major centres such as Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles, along with the European Atlantic coast, would be highly exposed, they found.

But it would only take half as big a jump in ocean levels to double the number of serious flooding incidents in the tropics, including along highly populated river deltas in Asia and Africa.

Even at the low end of this sea rise spectrum, Mumbai, Kochi and Abidjan and many other cities would be significantly affected.

“We are 95 per cent confident that an added 5 — 10 centimetres will more than double the frequency of flooding in the tropics,” lead author Sean Vitousek, a climate scientist at the University of Illinois at Chicago, told AFP.


Woof! Peer review in action

MOVE aside quokkas and black swans, Perth is now home to the world’s smartest dog, at least on paper.

Local “academic” Dr Olivia Doll — also known as Staffordshire terrier Ollie — sits on the editorial boards of seven international medical journals and has just been asked to review a research paper on the management of tumours.

Her impressive curriculum vitae lists her current role as senior lecturer at the Subiaco College of Veterinary Science and past associate of the Shenton Park Institute for Canine Refuge Studies — which is code for her earlier life in the dog refuge.

Ollie’s owner, veteran public health expert Mike Daube, decided to test how carefully some journals scrutinised their editorial reviewers, by inventing Dr Doll and making up her credentials.

The five-year-old pooch has managed to dupe a range of publications specialising in drug abuse, psychiatry and respiratory medicine into appointing her to their editorial boards.

Dr Doll has even been fast-tracked to the position of associate editor of the Global Journal of Addiction and Rehabilitation Medicine.

Several journals have published on their websites a supplied photo of Dr Doll, which is actually of a bespectacled Kylie Minogue.

Professor Daube said none of them smelt a rat, despite Dr Doll’s listed research interests in “the benefits of abdominal massage for medium-sized canines” and “the role of domestic canines in promoting optimal mental health in ageing males”.

Today Ollie is being featured in a more reputable publication, the Medical Journal of Australia’s Insight magazine, which is looking at the surge in journals which charge desperate would-be researchers up to $3000 to get their studies published.

“While this started as something lighthearted, I think it is important to expose shams of this kind which prey on the gullible, especially young or naive academics and those from developing countries,” Professor Daube said.

He said the authors would be gutted to know their papers were being reviewed by a dog, who often needed to be offered a treat before she dragged herself in front of the laptop. “It gives all researchers paws for thought,” Professor Daube said.

Dr Doll refused to comment unless she was taken for walkies.


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

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Advance Australia Fair reworked to be more inclusive to Aboriginal people

"Young" and "Free" are bad words?  And if everybody has to be recognized, where is the Vietnamese version, the Maori version, The Fijian version, the Sikh version etc?  And don't forget the Ulster Scots.  I am  descended from one of those.  And what about the convicts?

A version of Australia's anthem that recognizes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders can be sung as a patriotic song at certain events, the government agreed this week.

The Australian government granted permission on Tuesday for the altered version of 'Advance Australia Fair' to be used, but not as an official anthem, according to 7News.

The more inclusive version introduces a third verse with references to Aboriginal culture, Uluru and 'respecting the country.'

It also alters the line 'For we are young and free' from the first verse to read 'In peace and harmony.'

Recognition in Anthem Project have pushed for the new patriotic song, written by Victorian Supreme Court Judge Peter Vickery, according to 7News.

The national anthem fails to recognize all Australians and many Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders find some of the lyrics upsetting, Judge Vickery said.

'Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people find the words 'For we are young and free' hurtful and offensive, and find it difficult, if not impossible, to stand or sing the Anthem with these words,' the Recognition in Anthem Project website read.

'A simple solution is presented for consideration. The strength of our proposal is that it retains all of the proclaimed words and music (with one change to Verse 1), while adding a new Verse 3 which acknowledges our First Peoples and their occupation of Australia for more than 50,000 years. Otherwise the words and music of the National Anthem stay the same.'

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told 7News the new version will be played at certain events but it has not been revealed which ones.


African Apex gangs in terrifying four-day Melbourne home invasion spree

Melbourne residents have been left terrified with a massive crime wave spreading across the city's west as police reveal there have been four home invasions in just one week.

A Hillside mother-of-three remains sedated in hospital after she was tied up with a phone cord and bashed by two intruders who stole her car on Wednesday at 11am.

On Thursday at 7pm, eight men armed with metal poles broke into a home in Melton South while the family were watching television.

One day later, a Rockbank couple tricked a gang of seven suspected Apex members by giving them the wrong keys to one of their cars and a Brookfield family were left terrified when five burglars crept to steal mobile phones as they slept.

On Tuesday, Assistant Commissioner Stephen Fontana said home invasions were a 'difficult type of offending' to police and described the perpetrators as 'hardcore individuals'.

'What we find is we have some hardcore individuals that seem to attract other young people and they could come from all parts of Melbourne or Victoria,' he told the Today Show.

Assistant Commissioner Fontana advised residents to give up their car or property to violent home invaders to avoid being injured.

'Let them take it. These are really cowardly young people that are breaking in and best to avoid any confrontation with them,' he said.

Marisa Bonacci, 55, was home alone when she was tied up and attacked in a horrific daylight home intrusion on Wednesday.

She is sedated in hospital and suffered a suspected broken nose and significant bruising to her head and body.

The offenders stole her Volkswagen, which was found burnt out in Melton later that day.

On Thursday, Riccardi Accaputo, 31, and his aunt were horrified after eight men broke into their Melton South home while they were watching television at 7pm.

The men ransacked the home with metal poles and stole computers, jewellery and Mr Accaputo's white Ford.

'I was just watching TV, trying to relax, and before I knew it they've burst through the back corridor,' he told 7 News.

Mr Accaputo's aunt, 68, protected her nephew, who is on crutches and has a neck brace after being injured in an unrelated car crash.

Just four days later, a couple managed to trick a gang of African youths after they broke into their Rockbank home at 3am on Monday.

The pair gave the intruders a set of car keys to the wrong car and the group fled the scene on foot.

The couple's daughter Jade Ribeiro said her stepdad suffered a cut to his cheek and eyebrow in the violent home intrusion and her 12-year-old brother has 'not stopped crying'.

'We're all shaken. How else can you be after you've had eight Sudanese men break into you, rough you up, beat up my step dad?' she told 7 News.

On the same day, Farrukh Naeem, his wife Sanna and their two young sons were left terrified after five masked intruders broke into their Brookfield home at 1am on Monday.

They stole the family's brand new Audi A5 after threatening the family with wooden stakes.

Police found the Audi several kilometres away, but have no yet located the thieves.


Australia's peak Muslim body accused of stripping $45 MILLION in taxpayer funding from top Islamic school - as federal government cuts its funding

Australia's peak Muslim body is accused of stripping $45 million in taxpayer funding from Sydney's largest Islamic school.

Malek Fahd Islamic School is in a bitter legal battle with the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils - accusing the body of charging inflated rent, payments for services that were never provided and taking out interest-free loans and over two decades.

It comes as the school continues to fight for $19 million in annual federal funding, which was cut by the government last year after the school's extensive ties to the AFIC were revealed.

According to court documents obtained by The Australian, the school alleges AFIC took $45.14m from its accounts in 'gratuitous' withdrawals since 2000.

Lawyers for the school in Greenacre, in Sydney's southwest, last week accused the AFIC of using it as a 'milking cow that never runs dry' to finance other projects.

The school's rent skyrocketed from up to $67,500 in its first decade to $900,000 in just one year - a staggering increase of more than 13 times.

Court documents allege the huge rent increase coincided with demands for a loan valued at over $1 million to secure a $7.1 million property at Condell Park. 'The loan was not documented, the loan was unsecured ... AFIC breached the fiduciary obligations it owed to MFIS,' the school claims.

According to court documents, the Condell Park property was sold three years later in 2003 with a profit of over $3 million, but no action was allegedly taken to reduce the rent, repay the loans or account for the huge financial gain made by the AFIC.

But Keysar Trad, a former president of AFIC, told The Australian the school's claims were 'grossly inflated'.

AFIC has staunchly defended its transactions over the years, saying it did not breach any of its alleged duties to Malek Fahd.

'The relevant transactions were appropriate in their terms, and well suited to the particular and novel interests and practical realities facing the parties at the time,' AFIC's statement of claim says.


Outrage over plans for an Islamic hub featuring a mosque, childcare centre, shops and apartments exclusive for Muslims

A masterplan for an exclusive Muslim enclave in Brisbane featuring a mosque and apartments has sparked community outrage.

The Australian International Islamic College has lodged plans to add a mosque, 120 residential apartments, childcare and retail space within its existing site at Durack, in the city's southern outskirts.

Residents opposed to the plan for a Muslim community have lodged a petition with Brisbane City Council, arguing it's incompatible with the area's multicultural values.

'The apparent exclusivity of the proposed development to a religious group will offer hardly any benefit to the community it is situated in as a whole and is inconsistent with the multicultural community that already exists in the suburb,' the petition, cited by the South-West News, stated.

Labor councillor Steve Griffiths said he was opposed to the development proposal for 724 Blunder Road, however he stressed this was on planning and not religious grounds.

'The impact on other local residents’ amenity appears well beyond that expected of its use as community facilities - educational purposes,' he said in a submission obtained by Quest Newspapers.

The plans, seen by Daily Mail Australia, include a proposal for a two-storey mosque covering 1,970 square metres.

It would include a three-storey aged care and residential building, 3,000 square metres of retail space and 120 residential apartments, on top of new classrooms and a childcare centre for 2,000 students.

The existing site is already home to the college, which caters for students from kindergarten to year 12.

It is near Inala, which is home to a large Vietnamese community, and the Wacol prison, which both fall with Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's Inala electorate.


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

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Wikipedia calls for Fair Use provision for content as Australian copyright debate drags on

GOOGLE, Wikipedia and VCRs could never have been invented in Australia, but a simple change in copyright law could change that

Critics of Australia’s copyright laws often point to the high profile case of Australian band Men at Work being sued for their hit song Down Under. Picture: Michael Ochs

ONE of the world’s most popular websites has weighed in on the debate over Australia’s strict, and what many see as outdated, copyright laws.

Wikipedia has launched a campaign targeting Australians to push for the government to introduce a “fair use” provision like in the US which permits the reuse of content, as long as it’s deemed to be fair and doesn’t hurt the market of the original content. Proponents say it will help Australia unlock creativity and innovation.

Wikipedia which displays logos and information on an array of topics owes its existence to such a provision because if it was hosted in Australia, it wouldn’t technically be legal.

In fact a number of the online services we enjoy including Google could not have started in Australia because the cataloguing of the internet is not expressly permitted and it’s very possible rights holders could have sued it out of existence.

Even the advent of VCRs which let people record shows on TV could have been nixed by rights holders had they originated in Australia.

But in the US a “fair use” provision enshrined in the country’s copyright law allows companies to use copyrighted material to do things deemed to be in the public interest.

Wikipedia — the 7th most visited website in Australia — launched a campaign today to push for Australia to follow suit and adopt more flexible laws around the copying and reuse of content.

If you visit Wikipedia in the next few weeks, you will see a banner displayed at the top of the page with the message: “Wikipedia editors and readers benefit from FAIR USE. But Australia does not. Yet. #FairCopyrightOz”

It’s been an area of debate for nearly two decades.

Australia currently has strict laws around the reuse of copyrighted material. Instead of a “fair use” allowance, Australia has a “fair dealing” provision which only allows limited defences for the reuse of copyrighted material including research and study, criticism and review, parody and satire, and news reporting.

A number of past reviews have called for the easing of certain provisions, the latest of which is a review by the government’s Productivity Commission which released a draft report in April last year.

As the Wikipedia campaign points out, “six government reports since 1998 have recommended Australia adopt Fair Use.”

Currently the government is considering its response to the latest recommendations.

The Copyright Agency, which collects payments on behalf of authors, is fighting hard against the introduction of Fair Use saying it will harm the ability of artists to make a living and receive proper compensation for the use of their work.

“This is not just unfair, it is a threat to jobs of young Australians and means the next generation of Australian filmmakers, songwriters, artists and authors will not be able to make a living,” the agency’s chief executive Adam Suckling said.

But critics often point to the case of popular Australian band Men at Work being sued for their iconic hit Down Under in 2010. The band were sued by plaintiffs who claimed the flute riff played by Greg Ham in the song was taken from iconic children’s song Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree, written by Melbourne teacher Marion Sinclair for a Girl Guides jamboree in 1934.

Men at Work band members were ordered to pay five per cent of their royalties from the song to the plaintiffs.

Professor Nicolas Suzor from the law department of Queensland University of Technology believes a fair use doctrine in Australian copyright law would help facilitate creativity and drive innovative projects.

“Overall there’s something really strange going on here, because in other countries, particularly in the US we see that fair use is actually a vital part of the creative process” he told back in December.

“Creatives are scared,” he said. “In the transition to the digital economy people have had to change business models and people are really worried about copyright infringement and something really strange has happened; we’ve started to confuse fair use with pirates,” he said.

Jessica Coates of the Australian Digital Alliance — which represents librarians and is also partnering with Wikipedia on the latest campaign — told Fairfax on Monday that introducing a fair use provision would future-proof the law so it didn’t need to be updated with every new wave of digital technology.

“It took until 2006 to legalise taping a TV show on a video cassette recorder in Australia, by which time most VCRs were already mothballed,” she said. “We need copyright law that focuses not on specific technologies but on what is fair.”


Childless couples 'on track to be Australia's most common family type'

A society dominated by childless couples could become Australia's reality, with data analysis suggesting they will become the most common family type by 2023.

One sociologist says the trend is already happening, and future government policy will determine whether the traditional family model continues to exist.

For many millennials, like 23-year-old Karim Eldib, changing financial and social realities are important factors in the choice to have kids.

"[A lot of people] get the point where they say 'yep, going to have a child', and they don't think about all the things that come with having children," Mr Eldib said.

"I'm in a relationship and there has been talk of that but it's not something that we're seriously considering — it's something we'd like to consider after we've done all the things we want to do."

Is being a mum worth it?

"Nobody warned me" are words that resonate with many new mums. And, as some women share with the ABC, that's especially true when you're depressed, wetting yourself at every sneeze and feeling inadequate against idealistic images of motherhood on Instagram

His view is shared by other couples delaying their decision to extend their families, a trend which paired with Australia's ageing population means the nuclear family is in decline.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates between 2023 and 2029, there will be more people in a relationship living without children than families with kids.

Jackie Mahony and Trina Gilchrist, who are raising two-year-old Angus together, said the decision to have a child took a lot of thought.

    "For us I think it's very much about should we just have the one child? One is easy for us," Ms Mahoney said.

"We've been in a really long-term relationship — 13 years coming on and Angus was certainly a part of that relationship and conversation," said Ms Gilchrist.
Future policy will impact family choices

University of Melbourne sociologist Leah Ruppanner said while the trend of not having children varies between countries, it is already happening in Australia.

"[The trend is most evident in] a lot of countries like South Korea and Japan, where their populations are shrinking because they are not having enough babies," Dr Ruppanner said.

"One of the things is governments need populations to grow because it means you have people paying taxes, people looking after the older generation, and people supporting the economy."

Bronwyn Harman of Edith Cowan University, who studies social responses to childless couples, said the public has become more accepting of non-traditional families.

"In the past, we had the traditional family of mum, dad and the kids — mum stayed at home, dad was the bread-winner. We know that's not true now," Dr Harman said.

She expects the 2016 Census data, which has not been fully released yet, will show an increase in households without children.


Moroccan Soup Bar owner Hana Assifiri only hires Muslim women

This would appear to be contrary to Australian anti-discrimination law

THE owner of a Melbourne soup bar has described her policy of only hiring Muslim women as “positive discrimination”.

Moroccan Soup Bar owner Hana Assifiri, a self-described “Muslim feminist” who successfully campaigned to prevent human rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali from visiting Australia in April, was featured on the ABC’s religious affairs program Compass on Saturday.

The program described Moroccan Soup Bar as a “restaurant with a difference”, and Ms Assifiri as “on a mission to combat rising Islamophobia”.

In the documentary, she tells customers about “fear mongering”. “If I was to believe what I saw about Muslims on telly, I would be fearing Muslims as well,” she said.

Ms Assifiri runs regular “Speed Date a Muslim” sessions at her Fitzroy restaurant, where customers are encouraged to come and ask Muslim women any questions they like about Islam — “nothing is off the table”.

She explained that her hiring policy was a way of empowering Muslim women. “It’s positive discrimination,” she said. “You need to establish an environment that you know speaks to and engages and is relevant to Muslim women.

“There’s not a day that a woman walks through the door where she needs a job and I don’t give her a job, even though I don’t need workers. I believe in empowerment rather than charity, not only through monetary employment but being in an environment which is validating.”

Staff at the restaurant are allowed to drop everything to pray, even during busy service. “They say, ‘I’m going to pray’, they go pray, halfway through a shift, halfway through a meal, halfway through the chaos,” Ms Assifiri said.

“Some women will pray five times a day, some will accumulate them all until they go home, some need to pray at the time prayer’s called, some don’t pray. It’s not imposed, it’s at their discretion. It is what it is.”

Ms Assifiri highlighted examples of alleged Islamophobia. “Every night I will come in and go, ‘Now girls, what happened today?’, and somebody will tell me they were filling up petrol and they were accosted by a bunch of people and their hijab was pulled off,” she said.

“Customers would say to me things like, ‘Why [has] that woman got that thing on her head?’, and I go, ‘It’s a symbol of her faith’, and the guy then said, ‘The only thing it’s symbolic of is beheadings and honour killings’, and I went, ‘Woah, good thing you’re here to eat, mate.’”

Waitress Layalle El Najib told the program the Moroccan Soup Bar was “full-on”. “Even though you might not need a resume to get in, you still need to be strong minded, strong willed to work here,” she said.

“As long as you’re respectful to one another, I don’t care if you’ve got long hair, black hair, blonde, black, white, work is work.”

According to the Human Rights Commission, discrimination in employment on the basis of religion “occurs when someone does not experience equality of opportunity in employment because of their religion”.

“Example: An employer refuses to offer an employee a role serving customers because she wears a hijab,” the HRC website reads.

Human Rights Commissioner Edward Santow said federal anti-discrimination legislation “does not prohibit discrimination based on religion unless it is connected to a person’s ethnicity”.

“Religious freedom is protected under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” he said. “This means everyone has the right to freedom of religion and everyone has the right to worship according to their religious belief, subject only to laws that are necessary to protect public safety, order, health or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.

“Australia also has obligations under the International Labour Organisation Convention to ensure employers do not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, religion, political opinion or social origin.”


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

Monday, May 22, 2017

Push to change names linked to Australia's past

There were different standards in the past but the achievements of our ancestors were great and are rightly honoured.  And who is to say that our current behaviour standards are in any sense "right"?  In future it may be that the history destroyers are the ones seen as ignorant

Wealthy grazier John Batman is remembered as one of the "founding fathers" of Melbourne. He famously declared the site of the modern day city to be "the place for a village," suggesting it be called "Batmania".

He also signed a so-called "treaty" with Aboriginal elders in 1835, believed to be the only such agreement of its kind in Australia. In exchange for items like knives, flour and blankets, Batman's treaty gave him access to around 60,000 acres of land.

But the treaty was soon annulled, with colonial powers saying Batman did not have the authority to make it.

"Rename Batman" organiser Emily De Rango said Batman essentially duped Aboriginal people into an unfair trade they didn't understand.

She said there were also historical records of Batman as a bounty hunter of Aboriginal people in Tasmania. "Batman was one of the people to found Melbourne as a colonial city, which makes him important in a way," Ms De Rango told SBS World News. "But he's also somebody who was responsible for the murder of, and dispossession of Indigenous peoples."

Batman's name is a constant presence in Melbourne, with an electorate, streets, parks and other landmarks named after him.

But that might be about to change. One local council, Darebin, is changing the name of Batman Park in the northern suburb of Northcote and they want the Batman electorate to be renamed as well. "This is just one small step in the broader reconciliation journey that all levels of government need to get on board with," Darebin Mayor Kim Le Cerf said.

And Batman isn't the only colonialist to come under fire.  Victorian MP Russell Broadbent has been leading a push to change the name of his McMillan electorate in Gippsland. The electorate honours the memory of Scottish settler Angus McMillan.

But McMillan had also been labelled "the Butcher of Gippsland" and blamed for the massacre of dozens of Aboriginal people in the 1830s.

Mr Broadbent wrote to the Australian Electoral Commission asking for the name to be changed when a redistribution takes place early next year.

Former New South Wales Governor Lachlan Macquarie's legacy is also being questioned. Author and Journalist Paul Daley said Governor Macquarie's name is everywhere in Sydney, but while historians have been kind to Macquarie, the man left a dark legacy.

He said Governor Macquarie had been accused of giving the order for his soldiers to kill 14 men, women and children at Appin, on the outskirts of Sydney. "He was actually responsible for ordering the massacre in 1816 in Appin," Mr Daley told SBS News.  "After which he also ordered the theft of children to be taken to his native children's home in Parramatta."

Ms De Rango said while changing a name was a symbolic gesture, it could have real outcomes. "As a non-Indigenous Australian I think that it is really important that we genuinely recognise the full scope of our history," she said.  "Symbols matter. What we name something says a lot about what we value."

But some residents of the Batman electorate disagree. An online poll for a local paper last year found just 20 per cent of readers supported the name change, and some residents who spoke to SBS News said renaming places was a low priority. "I don't think it matters to everyday Australians," Batman resident Terry Martin told SBS News. "It's just a name, you know."

Darebin Council has worked with Wurundjeri people to find an appropriate replacement name for Batman Park.

The preferred name, Gumbri, comes from the last Aboriginal girl to be born at the Corranderk mission in Healesville, an hour out of Melbourne. She later lived in the Batman electorate.

Gumbri's grandson, Wurundjeri elder Colin Hunter Junior, said his grandmother would have been "chuffed". "I think that she would be quite proud of the honour," Mr Hunter told SBS News. "She would have been in this park many a time."

Mr Hunter said renaming the park, and the electorate, was an important step for healing. "Until you can accept the truth and acknowledge the past, how can you move forward in reconciliation?" he said. "You can't."


Daniel Andrews gender agenda and mythmaking

By now, I’m sure you would’ve heard the news that the Victorian Andrews government is backing a brand new “feminist collective” strategy under the assumed guise of tackling domestic violence through a $21 million tax-payer funded school program called Respectful Relationships. Whether you like it or not, your kids will be made to feel bad about themselves for being white and male and lectured on how “white, male privilege” and “hegemonic masculinity” are the roots of domestic violence. It’s bad enough that us adults are already exposed to a constant drumbeat of feministic, anti-male hysteria on a daily basis, but our kids? This is beyond outrageous.

Fightback, the “feminist guide” has the approval of the state government and is part of this “domestic violence awareness program” that is already implemented in 120 schools across the state, and is designed to counter “everyday sexism” by brainwashing secondary school children about “negative attitudes towards gender equality that contribute to high rates of sexism and discrimination and ultimately … violence against women”.

The disturbing material also asks teachers to lecture kids on the concept of “privilege” – an idea that some groups have advantages over others just because of their birth identity (chiefly due to their parents’ hard work and moral choices).

The controversial program has long been a subject of criticism for foolishly simplifying the issue of family violence, putting the blame mostly on men and their apparent “privilege”.

“Being born white in Australia, you have advantages,” the guide claims. “By being born male, you have advantages … that you may not approve of or think you are entitled to, but that you gain anyway because of your status as male.”

And just so you know, I am not a white male. However, on more than one occasion on the Twitterverse, I have wrongly been called “entitled” and a “privileged white male.” (Hey feminists did you just assume my race and skin colour? I thought that’s racist!)

But when you think about it, the concept of “white privilege” is an elaborate invention of the “progressive” liberal collective – especially third wave feminists – to silence freedom of speech by discrediting white males for simply being what they were created to be. Instead of teaching respect for men and women equally, regressive programs like Respectful Relationships would prefer that the concept of “toxic while masculinity” is drummed into young minds.

It might surprise you to know that the theory of white privilege (if you can call it a legitimate theory, that is) started out being solely about men and their perceived privilege. It had nothing to do with the struggles of non-whites due to their lack of privilege. Peggy McIntosh, a feminist who is touted as the inventor of the white-skin privilege concept in the late 1980s, came up with the term “unacknowledged male privilege,” or the seemingly unearned advantages men have in society by virtue of being born male. She believed there was also a “white privilege” analogous to male privilege, and so the terminology of white privilege was born. McIntosh manufactured a crisis about males to prove they garnered favour over females but then expanded the concept to include white males and later evolved the concept to include all whites as the root of all apparently unearned privilege.

It is commonly (and wrongly) believed that women are the typical victims/ survivors of domestic violence and that most perpetrators are men. But the fact of the matter is both men and women are victims of violence and abuse. This is an issue that affects both genders, young and old. It is also a fact, according to the Royal Commission, that 25 per cent of domestic violence victims are men. Men also die earlier than women and young men have greater rates of youth suicide and self-harm. I guess somehow that’s white male privilege. No?

What about the apparent gender pay gap? Well, to put it plainly, it’s a complete hoax. Industries statistically dominated by men tend to attract better pay than those traditionally dominated by women. And then there is the choice women make, willingly, to trade career heights for job flexibility, shorter hours, maternity leave and more time to raise children, which a lot of mothers would agree is a priceless privilege. Raising healthy, secure children is tremendously productive to our society.

Christina Hoff-Sommers, “the factual feminist” has a good question: “If, for the same work, women only make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes, why don’t businesses hire only women?”

That number is calculated in a way that doesn’t take into account several factors that contribute to wage. In fact, a feminist organisation’s own research found that the wage gap is 6.6 cents when factoring in these choices that men and women make. These are choices such as college major, specialities, hours worked, and location. The keyword here is choice (I thought you progressives love that word?).

And when it comes to education, women are the privileged sex. Girls outperform and outstay boys in school and, as a result, they go on to university in ever-greater numbers. According to 2013 statistics from the federal Education Department, the number of female students in higher education jumped by 33.5 per cent between 2002 and 2012, compared with a 22 per cent rise for males. In 2002, of the 151,550 Australian students who graduated from university, 56 per cent were women. By 2012, graduation numbers had increased to nearly 195,000, of whom 60 per cent were female, a ratio likely to be higher again this year.

Thus, the concept of “white male privilege” is nothing less than a complete myth. It is thanks to this regressive kind of thinking that in today’s brave new world, boys can no longer be boys and are instead forced to break traditional stereotypes by putting on makeup and playing with Barbie dolls. It is no wonder why problems such as effeminisation (the stripping away of all facets of manhood), homosexuality, acquired gender dysphoria and transgender-ism are rife among our youth.

The million dollar question is why are Victorian schools teaching our children this type of hogwash? The answer? The cultural Marxists backing these regressive programs such as “Respectful Relationships” have an agenda to create a genderless society and end any celebration of the unique qualities of each gender. Their ignorance of science, biology and, therefore, the truth will only create more depression in our youth, not less.


The boats will be back under Bill Shorten, no matter his denials

Peta Credlin

MOST of us have seen it first hand; the family barbecue or out for dinner, and the two political topics that divide the group are boats and budgets, or to put it more specifically, how the government manages Australia’s immigration program and how they manage our money.  

Other issues might come and go but as far as a political barometer is concerned, this double-headed test is still the best. If you’re prepared to risk a split in the friendship or even the family, give it a go. To be fair, Malcolm Turnbull’s recent Labor-lite budget might skew things a bit but as long as Peter Dutton’s in charge, the Coalition’s immigration policies won’t lurch to the left any time soon.

When it comes to immigration, you can’t trust Labor.

As he continues to lift in the polls, Bill Shorten’s going to start promising us he won’t restart the boats, but being soft on immigration is in Labor’s DNA. Go back to John Howard’s time and you’ll find that Labor opposed almost every sensible measure to curtail illegal arrivals.

Kevin from Queensland got in and thought he could get away with dismantling the Coalition’s tough border protection policies to win friends in inner-city latte land but the people-smugglers had other ideas. Almost immediately their trade started up again and as I watched them from opposition, Labor was utterly powerless to stop it. The Rudd-Gillard-Rudd record of chaos must not be forgotten: 800 boats, 50,000 illegal arrivals, 17 new detention centres, 8000 children in detention and 1200 deaths at sea (that we know about).

“That was then, this is now,” Bill Shorten will say. Don’t be fooled.

Some of you might look at Chris Bowen and see a man trying hard to be a credible shadow treasurer but I see the man whose record as immigration minister should disqualify him from any future office. Under Julia Gillard, 398 boats and 24,447 people arrived on Mr Bowen’s watch; the worst record of any immigration minister in Australian history. Hapless, reckless and completely inept; is it any wonder people are worried what he would do to the economy if this was his previous ministerial effort?

In recent days we’ve seen the example of six Iranians who came by boat under Labor, granted asylum to stay because they claimed their lives would be in danger if forced to return yet return they did, for a holiday. When Peter Dutton cancelled their visas and tried to deport them for lying about their so-called refugee status, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal overturned his decision and allowed them to stay.

Sadly, this isn’t an isolated case with the AAT overturning 39 per cent of the minister’s decisions on visas and deportations over the past year. As a result of the chaos left by former ministers like Chris Bowen (and his successors, Brendan O’Connor and Tony Burke, both also on Shorten’s frontbench), the Coalition is spending tens of millions of (borrowed) dollars fighting ridiculous court cases like this despite being up to our eyeballs in debt.

But it isn’t just the debt, it is the principle too.

We’re a generous nation and one of only 27 in the world that’s actually resettles refugees (yes that’s right over 160 other countries refuse) however it’s clear we’re being taken for a ride. Those really needing our help, waiting patiently in a camp often for a decade or more, are displaced by economic migrants with cash and a good story who lie their way through the system, until they’re caught by people like Dutton, and even then the system gives them a second chance. Sadly, there’s no second chance for the child in the camp, the persecuted Christian or the gay man thrown off a building by Islamic State.

On this issue, like so many, the hypocrisy of the Left is breathtaking. Australia cannot take all the world’s refugees but we do our bit and we do it better than almost any country in the world. But this tripe that anyone who wants to come here can just turn up and we should have to take them beggars belief. This mindset is one of the reasons Europe is such a basket-case.

Because we grant refugees almost immediate access to Australia’s taxpayer-funded school system, Medicare and Centrelink, governments must regulate the quantum of our immigration intake so we can keep paying for the services that most of us (sadly) take for granted. In the end — like everything — its all got to be paid for or we won’t be able to afford it in the future.

Under Malcolm Turnbull, the Coalition’s economic policies may have slipped to the left, but while Peter Dutton remains the same won’t happen to its immigration policy.

To date, Labor’s immigration failures have cost the taxpayer just shy of $14 billion dollars ($13.7b to be exact) and there’s a legacy caseload of over 30,000 people that Mr Dutton’s still sorting through. While Labor says ‘elect us, it won’t happen again’, let’s take a look at the facts.

At last year’s election, over 40 Labor MPs and candidates were on the record at one time or another opposing the Coalition’s policies to stop the boats. Right now, Labor are blocking legislation designed to prevent an illegal maritime arrival sent to a regional processing centre from getting to Australia. Bill Shorten tells us he has the same border protection policies as the government, but his troops won’t vote for them in the parliament. Surely this just shows that while Mr Shorten leads Labor, it’s the far Left who are actually in charge?

The uncomfortable truth is that to have a fair immigration system we have to be tough. There’s no shortage of people around the world who want a better economic outcome and while we can all understand that; aspiration alone isn’t what defines a genuine refugee. A ‘well-founded fear of persecution’ is the test and those who lie, who holiday back in their old homeland, or rort the system, displace those in real need of a place.

Malcolm Turnbull never had his heart in this issue last time as Liberal leader (or indeed when in Abbott’s cabinet) but we should all be grateful Peter Dutton does. And while Bill Shorten might say the right thing now, we know his people have other ideas should they get elected. This issue is important. As someone who worked for the prime minister who stopped the boats last time, if the boats start up again, under any government, stopping them a third time will be nigh on impossible.


Peter Dutton declares 'game is up' for 'fake refugees' living in Australia

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has given 7,500 asylum seekers living in Australia until October to lodge an application for protection, or face deportation, declaring the "game is up" for "fake refugees".

Mr Dutton said the asylum seekers had all arrived by boat under the previous Labor government, most without identity documents, and had so far either failed or refused to present their case for asylum with the Immigration Department.

"They need to provide the information, they need to answer the questions and then they can be determined to be a refugee or not."

The asylum seekers have now been given until October 1 to lodge an application for processing or they will be cut off from Government payments, subject to removal from Australia, and banned from re-entering the country.

According to Mr Dutton, the group is costing taxpayers about $250 million each year in income support alone and the deadline would ensure the Government is "not providing financial support to people who have no right to be in Australia".

South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon said the new policy would have public support, and appeal to the Coalition's support base, but urged the Government to take a "calm, methodical and fair" approach.

"I only hope that the Government puts as much effort into dealing with job seekers as it does with asylum seekers," Senator Xenophon said on Insiders.

Of the 50,000 asylum seekers who arrived by boat between 2008 and 2013, 43,000 have now been processed — which means they have either been granted a visa or had their claims rejected — or are currently having their claims assessed.

However, there are 7,500 asylum seekers "outside the process" and that is the group now subject to the October 1 deadline.

Asylum seeker statistics

-50,000 Illegal Maritime Arrivals arrived in Australia between 2008 and 2013

-Labor processed 20,000 of these people

-It stopped processing IMAs in August 2012 leaving 30,500 people yet to be processed — this is known as the Legacy Caseload

-23,000 of the Legacy Caseload have applied for Temporary Protection Visas or Save Haven Visas

-Of those 6,500 have been granted a TPV or SHEV 3,000 have already been found not to be refugees and must leave Australia

-13,000 are having their claims assessed

-Around 7,500 remain outside the process and have not presented their case for protection


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

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Obsolete health advice in NSW schools

This is a good lesson in the folly of relying on governments.  The "health" advice below is based on minimizing the intake of dietary fat and salt.  That was of course conventional wisdom for many years. 

Over the decades however, the research did not support that and current  medical advice is that fat is actually GOOD for you and that it is sugar that should be minimized.  There is however a lot of research indicating no harm from sugar. And the advice on salt is that it is only a deficiency of it that kills you. 

So governments should get out of the health advice business.  Their current advice is just an obeisance to fads.  It is actually contrary to the best current scientific advice.  It is nothing more than a parade of ignorance

SCHOOLS have been told to stop using butter in the latest NSW government crackdown on the food sold at ­canteens.

Banning or severely restricting fairy bread, Vegemite, schnitzels, pies and cream is also part of a dreary new regimen for kids.

“We can’t teach good ­nutrition in the classroom and then sell rubbish in the playground,” Education Minister Rob Stokes said.

Under a blanket regimen starting next year, public schools are being told they must not buy hundreds and thousands, butter, cream, salt, Nutella, icing and chocolate chips.

The war on fat has also spread to Vegemite, which may now only be used in “small amounts, lightly spread”.

Fattier foods such as schnitzels, bacon, hot chips, pies and other foods must make up no more than one-quarter of canteen menus — and they must be healthier versions.

New Education Department advice says these ingredients “should not be used in your school canteen”.

The department has prepared a list of meals it would prefer kids have, including hummus, rice paper rolls, a “veg-o-rama burger” and a bean and corn salad. It wants canteen menus to contain at least 75 per cent healthy food, and water should be the kids’ “main drink”.

“The nanny state is getting ridiculous — governments are interfering too much in our lives,” Liberal MP Peter Phelps told The Saturday Telegraph.


African man jailed for abandoning girlfriend in desert

A BLIND, hearing-impaired woman overdue for medical treatment was abandoned in the desert south of Alice Springs without food or water in a “particularly callous” crime committed by her boyfriend, the Supreme Court has heard.

Kenneth Mututa, then 53, was jailed for two years and six months after pleading guilty to failing to provide the woman, 36, with the necessities of life, as well as two aggravated assaults committed before in the hours before the woman was abandoned.

Justice Trevor Riley said Mututa’s “heartless conduct” in November 2015 could easily have killed his girlfriend.

“Your conduct in leaving her there alone and completely vulnerable was particularly callous,” he said.

Mututa’s attacks on the woman began when he punched the woman in the face, cutting her lip and loosening her tooth, and continued with an indecent assault in a remote stretch of bushland south of Alice Springs.

Mututa then abandoned his victim, who suffers from end-stage renal failure and who was due for a dialysis appointment. A passing train woke the woman around late on the day she had been abandoned.

The woman, “lost, helpless and completely vulnerable” wandered towards the tracks, thinking they would lead her into town, but inadvertently turned south and began walking further into the outback.

A second passing train stopped to help the woman after nearly hitting her.

“It was mere good fortune that she was not killed or badly injured at that time,” Justice Riley said. “Had the train not arrived, and the operators been so observant, she could easily have perished while walking south rather than north.”

In a victim impact statement, the woman said she was “very scared when she was left alone” and no longer trusts people other than her family members.

Justice Riley said Mututa “must have known how helpless she would be in those circumstances”.

Mututa, who has served 14 months behind bars since police tracked him down in South Australia’s far north, will be eligible for parole in two months.


Catholics declare war on the Libs over school funding

The Catholic education system will campaign against the Turnbull government’s school funding arrangements.

The Catholic education system has declared war on the Turnbull government with plans for a ­nationwide mining tax-style campaign against the Gonski 2 education reforms, which it claims will rip funds from the most in-need primary schools and force closures.

The Weekend Australian has confirmed that members of the National Catholic Education Commission voted on Wednesday night to approve a campaign that would involve a grassroots, social and main-media blitz across the country.

It is believed Catholic officials have also approached several Liberal Party research companies and pollsters, including Crosby Textor, as part of a bid process for the focus group and campaign research that would guide the campaign against the government.

It is understood the campaign would also focus on marginal Liberal seats, with parent forums to be held across nearly every diocese in the country.

An NCEC source confirmed that the campaign would be the largest ever undertaken by the sector, claiming that the integrity of the entire Catholic school system was under threat.

“The National Catholic Education Commission was resolute,” the source said. “It will be a long and sustained campaign and based on ‘Who do you trust more: the school, the principal or the government?’ This will be an informed campaign to let parents know the impact of the government’s policy on their schools.”

With independent schools, including the most elite in the country, now admitting that they came out “better off” under the government’s deal, the Catholic schools are claiming they want the playing field to be levelled.

The independent school lobby has hit back with a sectarian attack on the Catholic school sector, accusing it of going “beyond ­robust advocacy”.

Colleagues of Simon Birmingham said the Education Minister was working on a solution but it was not clear what that would be.

The government is unlikely to countenance taking money back from the independent sector.

The alternative would be to find up to $700 million in the second half of the 10-year Gonski 2 deal, well beyond the current budget forward estimate parameters, to redress the issues claimed by the Catholic sector.

The government has privately argued that the issue was being conflated by Victoria and ACT Catholic educators. However, The Weekend Australian has confirmed that every diocese and state represented on the Catholic education commission voted in favour of the campaign.

The Catholic sector yesterday repeated its warning that the school funding shake-up would force the financial burden on to working parents, and those sending their children to low to ­medium fee Catholic parish schools could be looking at fee hikes of about $5000 next year.

Parents currently pay $2397 a child at the Father John Therry Catholic Primary School in the Sydney inner-west suburb of Balmain but exclusive modelling today reveals parents would need to find an extra $6082 a student next year. The shortfall is because the federal government’s reforms estimate the expected private income per child at the school in 2018 should be $8762.

The escalation in hostilities between the sector and the government coincides with the end of a budget-period truce agreed to by angry conservative Liberal MPs who claim they intend to resume internal pressure on Senator Birmingham to reach a compromise with the Catholic schools.

Several MPs said several marginal seats could be severely impacted, including Dunkley, Corangamite, Chisholm and ­Latrobe in Victoria and the Sydney seats of Banks and Reid. A number of Queensland seats were also vulnerable as was the ACT, where the Liberals hold a Senate seat.

A significant bloc of MPs took a view prior to the budget that they needed to allow the government to focus on core business but made it clear to Senator Birmingham that he had to consult and find an ­arrangement with the Catholic sector. “He has failed to do that,” said one senior Liberal MP.

Senator Birmingham’s office said the minister did not hold any meeting with the Catholic sector yesterday.

Claims by Senator Birmingham that the Catholic sector had in the past received “a special deal” because it operated as a school system appear to have been undermined. Lutheran schools also operate as a system, as can any private school sector that applies as is provisioned for under legislation.

The Catholic Education Commission’s new research, obtained by The Weekend Australian, examined 72 Catholic systemic schools nationwide, finding 31 would need to raise fees by between $3000 and $4000 a child next year and anothe­r 21 schools would be hit with hikes of between $4000 and $5000.

Parents at these parish schools, which are part of state-based Catholic education systems, currently pay an average of about $2000 a student in fees.

At Galilee Regional Catholic Primary School in South Melbourne, parents contribute about $1651 a child but next year the CECV data argues that the government is factoring in private income of about $6698 so fees could be expected to rise by more than double, or $4366 a student.

Fees at St Bernadette’s Primary School in western Sydney’s Castle Hill are also expected to double from $1944 to $4506 next year.

Bill Shorten has continued to push the cause of Catholic schools, visiting St Brigid’s in the marginal Tasmanian electorate of Braddon yesterday. It was the Opposition Leader’s seventh visit to a Catholic school in the past fortnight since the government’s Gonski changes were announced.

He accused Malcolm Turnbull and his team of launching “an ­unconscionable attack into the Catholic systemic system’’.

“When will Mr Turnbull rea­l­ise, in his out-of-touch universe … that people who choose to send their kids to a local parish school should not be presumed to be wealthy,’’ he said.

Mr Shorten said private schools at the very top end didn’t need much more money but disagreed with the proposition that parents who chose to send their kids to a Catholic parish school “shouldn’t get some investment back for the taxes they pay — I don’t buy that’’.


A government avoiding all the hard issues

Cory Bernardi

We have a diverse crossbench, a government transitioning from Conservative to Social Democratic, an opposition devoid of any integrity, colourful characters and a multitude of controversial matters facing the country. It’s the latter that is actually getting quite repetitive.

The significant issues facing the country are the same as they were a year ago which are the same ones from three years ago, which are the same ones from five years ago…and so on. The issues we need to confront are pretty straightforward. Too few taxpayers are paying too much in tax and too many are paying nothing.

Governments of all political colours are spending beyond their means and accruing debts they will demand that others repay. Our migration system isn’t working to our advantage and bureaucrats are empowering abuse of the system.

There are only a couple of public voices left who are brave enough to champion the lower tax, limited government agenda. Everyone else seems to have abandoned all hope of getting our political system and public finances back on an even keel. For the true believers it’s never been a more challenging time to be a conservative beacon in an ocean of socialism.

I said on Sky News last night that the great socialist experiment of decades past was going to come to an unhappy end. Debts (social and financial) will have to be repaid in one way, shape or form. Unbridled welfare is unsustainable from a financial and human interest perspective. The deconstruction of societal norms is already having profound negative consequences - for our children and our families - which are evident for anyone who chooses to see them.

Perhaps one of the most alarming things I have read recently, but one that captures the new zeitgeist so clearly, was presented by ‘our’ ABC. It was posited that children who have a bedtime story read to them by a parent have an ‘unfair’ advantage over those children who don’t. Now I happen to agree with the benefits of reading to children, but rather than use this as a means to suggest stronger families are vital to children’s development, the ABC chose a different path. Instead, they suggested that bedtime stories should be restricted, even proffering the views of an ‘expert’ who posited the very concept of family should cease.

“If the family is this source of unfairness in society, then it looks plausible to think that if we abolished the family there would be a more level playing field” the ABC’s chosen philosopher stated.

It is alarming that such an attitude barely raises an eyebrow on our public broadcaster or amongst many of our political leaders.
Yet it is emblematic of everything else we are facing. The inconvenient truths are that societal norms have evolved through multi-generational experience about what is best for society and the greatest number are being turned on their head by misty-eyed idealogues intent on re-purposing the established order in their experimental image. They are empowered by emasculated politics where too few stand for very much at all.

That has to change. We simply cannot continue down the path of least resistance because it only leads to a prison of misery and pain. Sure the journey to the cells might be relatively easy but, after that, there are few means of escape.

It’s not too late to turn around and pursue a better way but it will take a strength of character that is lacking in most of our political options available today.

Via email

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

Friday, May 19, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is having a laugh at the frauds in the Taxation office

Western Australia’s catastrophic forest collapse

A thoroughly lazy article below. It does seem to be true that West Australian forests are retreating but the galoots below have no idea why and don't try to find out.  They just chant the tired old mantra of global warming.  But global warming COULD NOT be the cause.  As any number of studies show (e.g. here) increased CO2 in the atmosphere has a GREENING effect, not a browning effect.  The writers below, George Matusick, Giles Hardy and Katinka Ruthrof, are all academics specializing in forest studies so they are quite simply a disgrace to their professions.  It's just a bit of opportunistic Warmist propaganda below. 

Even aside from its building block effects, elevated CO2 reduces transpiration time for plants and makes them less needful of water; Warming oceans give off more water vapor which comes down as rain.  So both CO2 rises and its allegedly associated temperature rises are good for plants.  They certainly don't dry anything out.  So what they say below flies in the face of all the facts.  They are just grant-hungry crooks

Recent, unprecedented, climate-driven forest collapses in Western Australia show us that ecosystem change can be sudden, dramatic and catastrophic. These collapses are a clear signal that we must develop new strategies to mitigate or prevent the future effects of climate change in Australian woodlands and forests. But society’s view of forests is ever-changing: are we willing to understand ecosystems and adapt to changing conditions?

The south west of Western Australia has experienced a long-term climate shift since the early 1970s, resulting in dryer and hotter than average conditions. This shifted baseline, or average, has also led to more frequent extreme events. In 2010, the region experienced the driest and second hottest year on record.

These climate changes have resulted in significant decreases in stream-flow and groundwater levels. For example, formerly permanent streams now stop flowing for considerable periods. Groundwater levels have fallen up to 11 meters in some forested areas, with larger decreases in populated areas. Clearly, soil water reserves have dried out substantially and will likely continue to do so; we are now starting to see the implications of this. Although most of the West Australian society, particularly those in urban environments, may be well-buffered from these changes, ecosystems are not.

The climatic changes occurring in the south west of Western Australia are contributing to deteriorating woodland and forest health. In the past 20 years, insect infestations and fungal diseases have plagued many iconic tree species, including tuart, wandoo, flooded gum, marri, and WA peppermint, increasing their mortality rates. Many of these disorders are likely triggered or incited by changing climate conditions.

In extreme climate conditions, woodland and forest health suffers most. For instance, during the record dry and hot period in 2010 and 2011, large patches of trees throughout the region suddenly collapsed, with little recovery in some areas. Along the coastal plain surrounding Perth, some areas of Banksia woodland suffered losses as high as 70-80%, while over 500 ha of tuart woodland collapsed and over 15,000 ha of exotic pine plantations (~70% north of Perth) were destroyed. In the northern jarrah forest, over 16,000 ha of forest suddenly collapsed, with mortality rates 10.5 times greater than normal.

In several ecosystems, species have died out and not been replaced, permanently shifting vegetation structure and ecosystem function. Some believe that species and ecosystems will transition slowly in response to climate change. But following the extreme conditions experienced in 2010-11, we now know the transition in many West Australian woodlands and forests will likely occur in sudden, catastrophic, step changes. Many species may not have time to adapt.

These often sudden and dramatic shifts in vegetation health, structure and function have profound consequences on associated flora and fauna, including many critically endangered species. The Mediterranean type-ecosystems of the south west were recently named among the top 10 ecosystems most vulnerable to climate-induced tipping points and degradation by a panel of 26 leading Australian ecologists. The region is one of 35 global biodiversity hotspots, harbouring approximately 1500 plant species, most of which aren’t found anywhere else.


Former Labor party leader slams Sydney council for putting screens around a public pool for Muslim women to swim in private

Media personality Mark Latham says putting up curtains at a Sydney public swimming pool to cater for Muslim women is a step towards putting drapes around section of Bondi Beach - as an Islamic sheikh likened it to imposing sharia law in Australia's suburbs.

The council-run Auburn Ruth Everuss Aquatic Centre in the city's west has installed a retractable curtain around one of its three pools so women can swim privately during two set time slots on Wednesdays, infuriating many residents who said it was like 'segregation'.

The organiser of the swim group, Yusra Metwally, said the idea behind the sessions was to 'accommodate people who wouldn't otherwise swim at a beach, or swim in a swimming pool because they don't feel comfortable'.

However Mr Latham, a former federal Labor leader, said it set an awful precedent and undermined Australia's egalitarian values about people from all different backgrounds mixing together.

'Where does it end? What's the next step? Down at Bondi Beach, we're going to have some curtained-off area, or something, it's just ridiculous,' he told Daily Mail Australia on Wednesday.

While Mr Latham supported the right of Muslim women to swim in a burkini, he said councils were bowing to left-wing demands to protect minority groups instead of encouraging individuals to come to terms with their modesty issues.

'It's not going to be very helpful for Islamic integration into the broader Australian community,' he said. 'Enclaves are a disaster for Australian multiculturalism. It becomes monocultural.'

There are even critics within the Muslim community, with Adelaide Shia imam Sheikh Mohammad Tawhidi likening the swimming pool policy to sharia law.

'It is part of sharia law that a strange man must not see the body of another woman, therefore they are installing the curtains,' he told Daily Mail Australia.

Sheikh Tawhidi said religious Muslims should build 'Muslim-only swimming pools for themselves' rather than have their laws imposed on non-Muslims.

'Ruth Everuss Aquatic Centre is not an Islamic swimming pool, therefore they should not be accepting of such an idea in the first place,' he said. 'The Muslim community can afford a private swimming pool for themselves that observes their sharia laws.'

Some locals have slammed the idea as 'segregation,' saying the women are receiving 'special treatment'.

'These communities should be encouraged to integrate and uphold the values of equality and respect not division and segregation paid for by taxes and council rates,' one woman wrote.

Anthony McIntosh, manager of the centre's operator Belgravia Leisure, said the covering for the swimming pool's glass walls was intended to make Muslim women more comfortable with aquatic activities.

Behind the curtain, Muslim women who wear a hijab would be able to swim in whatever attire they feel comfortable instead of a modesty suit or burkini.

Ms Metwally said other swimmers would not be affected as the other pools would be open to everyone during the session times.

'We had a record number of people drown at the end of last year which matches up with the road fatalities,' she said.

'So if we can have more women who are water-safe, that's surely a good thing.'

Cumberland Council general manager Malcolm Ryan told Daily Mail Australia female lifeguards are present during the women's only swim sessions. 'Council has a responsibility to cater for the needs of its community,' he said.

'The curtains, which are retractable and can be used or not used at any time, ensure we have provided a space that is accessible to and inclusive for all'.

The pool is also used for children's swimming classes and use by the elderly, people with a disability and patients having hydrotherapy or physiotherapy, who may prefer additional privacy during their use of the pool.

It is not only used by Muslim women and can be used by any women.
Cumberland Council General Manager, Malcolm Ryan, told Daily Mail

Cumberland Council General Manager, Malcolm Ryan, told Daily Mail Australia female lifeguards are present during the Women's Only swim sessions

Ms Metwally said although she is an avid swimmer, she 'didn't like swimming in a burkini and for a long time.' 'I remember when I was younger I was told by a lifeguard that my clothes weren't appropriate for the pool — you feel like you are being policed and that you stand out.

'Some women are worried that what they wear in the pool can expose them to questions, comments or stares.'


Must not laugh at blackface concerns

An Australian ice-cream store says it has taken disciplinary action against a staff member after the brand came under fire on social media for a post that made reference to blackface.

Mumbrella reports N2 Extreme Gelato made a post on both Instagram and Facebook on Friday, advertising a new flavour of ice-cream containing charcoal. The photo shows the ice-cream held in someone’s hand, which is smeared with charcoal.

The caption accompanying the post reads: “Is it still considered blackface if it’s just on your hand???”.

“Anyway it’s just split [sic] carbon so calm yo tits with our HONEY CHARCOAL VANILLA gelato!” the caption concludes.

It wasn’t long before customers took to the comments sections to slam the brand over its “inappropriate” caption and post, labelling it both racist and sexist.

“Wow @n2australia you should probably have a sit down with whoever is in charge of your social media and give them lesson on how not to trivialise racism,” wrote one commenter on Instagram.

“This is a heinous caption. It’s offensive and trivialises a serious issue. Take it down,” wrote another.



Four current reports below

Why should everyone else pay for your expensive university degree?

Australian students have the immense privilege of being able to attend a world-class university regardless of their bank balance, or family background.

And that will continue under the government’s recently announced plans to make students foot more of the bill for their degree, and to start paying it back sooner.

The beauty of Australia’s higher education contribution scheme, or ‘HECS’ as it’s widely known, is that students are only expected to repay less than half the full cost of their studies after they land a job that earns them a comfortable living. By the time former students are earning the government’s newly revised threshold of $42,000 a year for compulsory HECS repayments, they will be taking home a healthy $700 a week after tax and super contributions.

That is a far cry from packaged noodles, tinned spaghetti and instant coffee.

And once students do start work, the dividends are enormous. University graduates can expect to earn well over $1 million more throughout their working life than those without a degree. They also enjoy around half the average unemployment rate, as well as having the opportunity to spend valuable years plying their trade in their chosen field.

That kind of pay-off makes the government’s proposed fee increase of no more than $3600 a year look like chump change. Anyone who claims an increase of this order will stop school leavers from pursuing their dream career can join me for a bicycle ride to the moon. Indeed, whatever way you slice it, taking out a HECS loan to attend university stands to be the best investment you’re ever likely to make.

It’s fashionable to romanticise the Whitlam government’s introduction of free tertiary education as a shining example of the truly egalitarian society Australia ought to be.
A student in the quadrangle of the University of Sydney. Holders of degrees will significantly out-earn other workers, so asking them to pay more is fair and reasonable. (Pic: AAP/Paul Miller)

But where is the fairness in asking the majority of Australians — three quarters of whom don’t have a university qualification — to subsidise the debt of tomorrow’s professional class who are likely to earn more over their lives than they will?

With an eye-watering national debt of $550 billion and an annual deficit of $37 billion, there is no painless or politically simple way of bringing our country’s finances back to a sustainable footing. Faced with the challenges of an ageing population, chronic infrastructure backlog and inexorably rising health costs to name a bare few, hard-headed choices in our national interest are sorely needed.

If we want to take care of those who are sick, without work or who can’t otherwise go it alone, it makes sense to share the burden with those who can. By that standard, paring back the funds used to pave the way for doctors, lawyers, scientists and engineers without raising the entry barriers for future students is a perfectly equitable place to start.

None of this is to say there aren’t scores of students buckling under the cost of living independently while studying 40 hours a week. But if we actually want to help students doing it tough, there are far better things we could do than paying off a debt they will only encounter once they’re taking home an easily liveable wage.

But as famously said by Paul Keating, the Treasurer who abolished free university and introduced the HECS system, "a free higher education system is one paid for by the taxes of all, the majority of whom haven’t had the privilege of a university education. Ask yourself if you think that is a fair thing."

On that score, Education Minister Simon Birmingham’s announced shake up of university funding is exactly the kind of fair and forward-thinking policy the Coalition government should be championing.


Enrolments at Sydney Catholic high schools drop for the first time in 20 years

Mainly due to the high costs of living in Sydney, particularly for accommodation

Enrolments in NSW Catholic high schools have dropped for the first time in almost 20 years and are down overall in Catholic schools for the first time since 2008 as struggling families are forced into overcrowded public schools.

The latest enrolment figures show there are 219,862 students in the state's systemic Catholic schools, down 179 from last year, according to the minutes of the NSW Catholic Education Commission's March meeting.

Schools in the Maitland diocese had the largest enrolment increase, with 392 extra students this year, while the largest decline was in the Parramatta diocese, with saw a drop of 353 students.

At the same, the latest enrolment figures from the NSW Department of Education show that some public schools within the area covered by the Parramatta diocese have ballooned by about 20 per cent in just four years.

"This is the first year since 2008 in which total enrolments have declined from the previous year [and] this is the first year since 1999 in which secondary enrolments have declined," the minutes say.

Maitland-Newcastle and Wollongong dioceses had enrolment growth in both their primary and high schools, the minutes say.

"Sydney and Lismore also grew overall but declined in the secondary and primary sectors respectively."

The executive director of Catholic education in Parramatta, Greg Whitby, said there were substantial financial pressure on families in western Sydney.

"House prices and rental costs, as well as general cost of living increases, are putting many families in a situation where they don't feel that they can afford even the modest cost of systemic Catholic schools fees," Mr Whitby said.

But Mr Whitby said some parents were also "hesitant" about the "strong school transformation agenda" in Parramatta.

"For some communities, this student-centred, inquiry-based learning model is very different from what they know or are used to. For the schools that have embraced this contemporary approach to learning and schools, they are doing outstandingly well," Mr Whitby said.

"Others are more hesitant or are still in the early stages of change. We believe this is reflected in enrolment numbers."

In the Sydney diocese, primary school enrolments increased by more than 100 students but there was a "slight decline" of less than 50 students from their secondary schools, according to a spokeswoman.

"Preliminary research shows that some families, particularly in the southwest regions of Sydney, are already struggling to make ends meet especially due to the mortgage stress of the Sydney housing market," the spokeswoman said.

"Only 35 per cent of families in our south-west Sydney schools can comfortably afford a Catholic education, while 15 per cent find it a real struggle."

The spokeswoman said the Catholic systemic schools had always maintained to keep school fees "affordable to the bare minimum required to deliver a quality education".

The fees for years 7 to 8 are about $1600 per year, increasing to about $1700 per year for years 9 and 10 and $2200 per year for years 11 to 12, according the the Sydney Catholic Schools website.

"The reality however, with the current uncertainty in Commonwealth's announced 10-year funding school model means, Sydney Catholic Schools could face fee increase potentially forcing some families to seek enrolments in the already overcrowded state education sector," the spokeswoman said.


Proposed changes to Australia Education Act do not go far enough

The majority of Australian school students are considered ‘disadvantaged'

The government’s proposed amendments to the Australia Education Act introduced to the Parliament today include welcome changes to school funding but do not go far enough, Centre for Independent Studies education policy analyst Blaise Joseph said.

“The proposed changes — important updates of school funding data, a better way of allocating funding for students with disabilities, sensible transition arrangements for schools with funding changes over the next 10 years, and indexation based on actual costs – ignore the crucial issues,” Mr Joseph said.

“The changes do not address the fundamental underlying problems with the school funding model: that the benchmark is set unreasonably high and is not based on any evidence.”

“The SRS base amount is to be calculated using the latest data, which is welcome as it is currently based on data from as far back as 2008. However, the legislation does not include any provision for further updates any time the next 10 years, so in 2027 schools will be funded based on data which is over 10 years old. This is a significant oversight which should be rectified,” he said.

“The government’s proposal to have three different levels of support for students with disabilities depending on need — instead of just one level for all students with disabilities — is a sensible move, as not all student with disabilities have the same needs.

“However the proposed changes to loadings do not address the fundamental problems with the SRS.

“It is inexcusable that the other loadings haven’t been substantially altered, as they represent a significant proportion of the cost of the SRS, are not based on any evidence whatsoever, and do not represent genuine needs-based funding.

“In particular, the loading for low SES still applies to the lowest 50% of all students.”

“This means the criteria for ‘disadvantage’ remains unreasonably broad such that the majority of Australian school students are considered ‘disadvantaged’ and receive extra funding. As a result, the cost of the SRS is unjustifiably high,” Mr Joseph said.


Jobs without degrees: Is university becoming outdated?

THE Government’s decision to increase university fees is not the only reason Australians should reconsider enrolling.

Many experts and employers believe degrees are outdated, with the world of work is changing faster than universities can keep up.

Degree costs are set to grow 7.5 per cent by 2021 and students will have to start paying back loans as soon as they earn $42,000 a year, meanwhile shorter, less expensive study options – such as free online courses and vocational qualifications – are increasingly considered on par or even preferable, depending on the field of work.

Dr Amantha Imber, founder of training and consulting firm Inventium, says she does not look for university degrees when hiring for operational, administrative or support roles.

“In this day and age there is a wealth of learning experiences online and many of those are free or cost effective, like under $1000, and what you can learn is often actually a lot better than what you learn in a university degree,” she says.

“What is important to us in any job applicant is a thirst for learning.

“(Universities) generally are big conservative organisations and they are not moving fast enough to keep up with how the world is changing around them.”

GradStats data finds 68.8 per cent of 2015 bachelor degree graduates available for full-time work found it within four months of completing their studies.

This is up from 68.1 per cent for 2014 graduates but down from 71.3 per cent for 2013 graduates.

Although some occupations still require university for licensing purposes – such as lawyers, teachers, doctors and engineers – Imber says there is a trend of employers thinking outside the box when it comes to education.

“There are definitely larger organisations no longer treating (degrees) as a mandatory requirement,” she says.

“They are probably still in the minority but there is definitely a change happening.”

In July, PwC will welcome its first cohort of school leavers under the Government’s Higher Apprenticeships pilot program.

The Year 12 graduates will join PwC’s consulting and assurance teams in Sydney and Melbourne and be trained on the job, earning a Diploma of Business along the way.

Latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show more than a quarter of school leavers choose the workforce over post-school studies straight after graduation.

Of the 237,400 Australians who finished Year 12 in 2015, 69,200 were working and not studying in May, 2016.

Michelle Moloney, director of nanny matching service Mini Majer, did not go to university and has zero regrets.

She started her career path with a Diploma of Hospitality Operations and Event Management, and a three-month stint in catering but soon decided to move into the corporate world.

She became a receptionist at a recruitment firm before working her way up to a consultant position then eventually managing and purchasing Mini Majer.

“I didn’t need any degrees or anything like that,” she says.

“(Recruitment) is one of those things you can only learn on the job.

“In high school I was very competitive and always wanted to get ahead but I never thought a degree would get me ahead.

“My mum grew up in a village in a convent and didn’t have the luxury of finishing high school so I get that drive from my mum.”

Lisa Solomons, director of 360 PR, also took an alternative path to success. She went straight into full-time work with Telstra then, after a year, enrolled in a Diploma of Marketing, specialising in Sports Marketing.

“At the time I was cheerleading for the Roosters and decided I would prefer to be in the office rather than on the field,” she says.

“I ended up working in the marketing department for a Sydney nightclub (then) a 12-month reception role came up at a public relations company and I quickly realised that this was where I was meant to be.”

Solomons studied part time at night to complete a Diploma of Public Relations and now runs her own company.

“(If you don’t got to university), you need to be proactive and say ‘yes’ to create the path you want. Have a bank of mentors and look beyond people within your chosen industry,” she says.

“I didn’t want to go to university just because that was the thing you do.”


A majority of Australian school students are considered ‘disadvantaged’!

The government’s proposed amendments to the Australia Education Act introduced to the Parliament today include welcome changes to school funding but do not go far enough, Centre for Independent Studies education policy analyst Blaise Joseph said.

“The proposed changes — important updates of school funding data, a better way of allocating funding for students with disabilities, sensible transition arrangements for schools with funding changes over the next 10 years, and indexation based on actual costs – ignore the crucial issues,” Mr Joseph said.

“The changes do not address the fundamental underlying problems with the school funding model: that the benchmark is set unreasonably high and is not based on any evidence.”

“The SRS base amount is to be calculated using the latest data, which is welcome as it is currently based on data from as far back as 2008. However, the legislation does not include any provision for further updates any time the next 10 years, so in 2027 schools will be funded based on data which is over 10 years old. This is a significant oversight which should be rectified,” he said.

“The government’s proposal to have three different levels of support for students with disabilities depending on need — instead of just one level for all students with disabilities — is a sensible move, as not all student with disabilities have the same needs.

“However the proposed changes to loadings do not address the fundamental problems with the SRS.

“It is inexcusable that the other loadings haven’t been substantially altered, as they represent a significant proportion of the cost of the SRS, are not based on any evidence whatsoever, and do not represent genuine needs-based funding.

“In particular, the loading for low SES still applies to the lowest 50% of all students.”

“This means the criteria for ‘disadvantage’ remains unreasonably broad such that the majority of Australian school students are considered ‘disadvantaged’ and receive extra funding. As a result, the cost of the SRS is unjustifiably high,” Mr Joseph said.


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