Friday, July 01, 2016

Once again: Lies as a Leftist campaign tool

Doctor with 'no political allegiance' on anti-Liberal election TV ad is revealed to be a left-wing activist with 40 years of campaigning behind him

A doctor claiming to have no political allegiance who appears in a television advertisement urging voters to 'put the Liberals last' has been a left-wing activist for 40 years.

Dr Robert Marr from the Drummoyne Medical Centre in Sydney's inner-west features in the ACTU commissioned advertisement campaigning against changes to Medicare.  

'I'm not in any political party, but I have been a family GP for over 40 years and I've seen how important Medicare is right since its introduction,' Dr Marr says.

'But with the Turnbull government's health cuts deepening, it's getting harder to care for my patients.'

Dr Marr warns that a re-elected Liberal government will cut health care funding and force GPs to scrap bulk-billing and charge patients more. 

'I'm worried that some people won't come to the doctor any more because they simply won't be able to afford it.

'But we can make a difference. When you vote on July 2nd, save Medicare and please, put the Liberals last.' 

Although Dr Marr said he wasn't part of any political party, he has a 40-year history of left-wing campaigning, including lobbying against the Coalition at the 1993 federal election, according to News Corp.

He also appeared with Bill Shorten in May promoting Labor's health policies.

Dr Marr was unavailable for comment, but an ACTU spokesman told Daily Mail Australia that the GP was not simply 'a left-wing doctor' and he 'speaks up about issues that he cares about'. Dr Marr has also lobbied against previous Labor governments' proposed changes to Medicare, the spokesman said.


Australian Christian Lobby’s Lyle Shelton explains anti-gay-marriage lobby is concerned about children

THE religious opposition to same-sex marriage has expressed its real concerns over same-sex marriage — and they want you to think of the children.

Managing director of the Australian Christian Lobby told this morning that concerns over the fate of Australia’s future children is at the core of its opposition to allowing same-sex marriage pass through parliament.

“The baby who is taken from the breast of her mother doesn’t have a voice in this debate, the child who doesn’t get to know their father doesn’t have a voice,” Mr Shelton explained to

“There’s no inequality for gay people in Australia, there is none.

“But this issue of marriage is important because the law is not just something that is a big stick to beat us all over the head, it actually has an educative effect.

“Research clearly shows the quickest pathway to poverty for a child is for their biological mum and dad to break up, that's just a fact.”

In a Facebook Live debate on, Mr Shelton went head-to-head with Tiernan Brady, political director of the ‘yes campaign’ in Ireland, representing Australian Marriage Equality.

Mr Shelton explained his concerns on same-sex marriage created “an inequality for a baby not to know the love of their mother or father” and claimed women who were “willing to hire their body” to surrogacy had become an “ethically dubious process”.

“I can’t see how you can have marriage equality for two men without their ability to pay money to acquire a child from a woman whose willing to hire her body. “These are ethically dubious processes which have to flow as a consequence of redefining marriage.

“We’ve done a lot of work in Australia about the rights of donor conceived children to be allowed to know who their fathers are. Anonymous sperm donation is something which many women who wish to have families require because they don’t want a third person in their family, but the biological reality is a kid needs a mum and a dad, gender actually does matter to a child, and the diversity of gender matters to a child.”

Mr Brady accused Mr Shelton of causing a “deliberate misdirection” towards the argument, claiming “it’s about making sure all families are cherished equally”.

“Families come in all shapes and sizes, people in Australia know that. Our challenge at the moment is lesbians and gay people are not allowed to get married and have the same status and dignity for their relationship.

“Some people will have children, some people won’t have children. There will be lesbian and gay people raising children — as they are currently — the day after a vote no matter what the result.

“Denying them access to civil marriage doesn’t change the fact that they can be parents and they will continue to be parents. What it does do is ensure those families don’t have the same protection and dignity in law.”

Yet in a surprise twist, Mr Shelton expressed two men or two women “can love a baby and be good parents” and even in some cases they could “produce better outcomes” but questioned “is it ethical for a child to be denied the love and nurture of their mother or father? I don't think so, and we need to think seriously about this change because it affects more than just a loving couple.”

“If you redefine marriage you are by consequence redefining parenting, unless you’re going to have a form of marriage that doesn’t have children that says, ‘no we respect the right of children to have a mum and a dad so we’re just going to allow two people to have a form of marriage’. “That wouldn't infringe on the rights of a child, but I don’t believe that’s what the same-sex lobby is talking about.

“They want full equality and they want the consequences of that equality.”

When questioned over his views of heterosexual couples using surrogacy, Mr Shelton expressed his opposition, describing his views of anonymous sperm donation as “unethical”. “We’ve been consistent in that approach. Public policy should always put the rights of the child first, that should be our starting point.

“All of us have desires and things that we would like to have in life, but if those desires, those adult desires, trump the rights of a child then I think we have to ask ourselves are we really a civil society if we’re prepared to override the needs of a child for the rights of an adult.”

This morning, the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the key to marriage was commitment, and if a same-sex couple has that for each other it won’t have any impact on heterosexual marriages.  “The threat to marriage is obviously a lack of commitment, cruelty, desertion,” he told the National Press Club in Canberra.

“If same-sex couples were able to describe or formalise their relationship as a marriage, we have no doubt that would not undermine ... our marriage.”

Mr Turnbull and his wife of 36 years, Lucy, will be voting yes in a national vote on same-sex marriage if his government is reinstalled on Saturday.

“We welcome couples making a strong commitment and we are very pleased to support that being described from a legal point of view, as a marriage,” he said.

The prime minister has promised to hold a plebiscite on the issue, convinced if the nation votes in favour a same-sex marriage bill will sail through the parliament.

But Labor says the nonbinding vote is a waste of money and could lead to hate campaigns aimed at same-sex couples and their children


Shorten and Leftist hate-speech

Shorten has suddenly backflipped on the attitudes described below.  He may have realized that treating a large part of the population as evil is not a good way to win votes

After the Orlando terror attack, many claimed the gunman committed an "act of hate". Homophobia -- a supposed mental illness behind anti-gay hate crimes -- explains everything, they say.

Now Shorten has seen a chance to renew opposition to the same-sex marriage plebiscite promised by Malcolm Turnbull. A plebiscite will be a huge waste of money, says Shorten. It will also be a tax-payer funded platform for homophobia. Disagree with that, and you must be a hater.

Shorten is obsessed with hate and falls back on it as the only possible reason for why people might disagree with his progressive agenda. But hate doesn't clarify what's at stake -- it only obscures it. Hate has its roots in strong emotions and abnormal mental states. Terrorism has its roots in politics.

Shorten and the Progressive Left view same-sex marriage through the emotional lens of hatred because they can't imagine any rational objection to it. Self-satisfied with their own tolerance of others, they are unable to understand why others -- such as conservative Muslims -- shouldn't tolerate them.

Viewed like that, Orlando can only be explained by a mental disorder -- in this case, homophobia. It cannot have been a political act. Mental illness trumps politics.

By persisting with the falsehood that a plebiscite will be a tax-payer funded exercise in hatred, Shorten shows himself to be out of touch. Beyond the inner circle of the bien pensants, many Australians are perfectly accepting of homosexuality but want to retain the traditional meaning of marriage. They resent their opposition to gay marriage -- whether for political, social or religious reasons -- being dismissed as a mental illness.

This attack on the good nature of Australians might backfire on Shorten when voters go to the ballot box. Far from dismissing his opponents as mentally ill, Shorten needs to trust Australians to act responsibly when it comes to redefining marriage.

By threatening to remove the decision from the people, Shorten shows how little respect he has for the voters whose support he now desperately needs.

The Orlando Wave may yet turn out to be a reef break.


Greenie scare fails

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef named the best place in the world to visit.  Throughout the bleaching scare, tourism operators have never had any difficulty taking people to unspoiled areas of the reef

IN a much-needed boost for the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest living organism has been voted the best place in the world to visit by an influential US travel site.

US News and World Report’s World’s Best Places to Visit for 2016-17 ranked the Reef No.1 ahead of Paris and Bora Bora in French Polynesia.  Sydney also made the list — at 13th.

The site described the Reef as “holding a spot on every travellers’ bucket list”.

“The Great Barrier Reef is a treasure trove of once-in-a-lifetime experiences,” said the description.  “Whether you’re gazing at marine life through a scuba mask, letting the tropical breeze unfurl your sail, or in a plane gliding high above it all, the possibilities for exploration are nearly limitless.”

It comes after a series of sinister reports about the Reef’s future following a major coral bleaching event found to have affected extensive areas.

Tourism and Events Queensland CEO Leanne Coddington said the Reef’s first placing on the list, was a vote of confidence in its worldwide tourism appeal.

“The Great Barrier Reef is a living treasure and a major tourism drawcard for visitors to Queensland,” Ms Coddington said. “It is an unrivalled experience that tens of thousands of people are enjoying every day.”

Other destinations to make the top ten included Florence in Italy; Tokyo, Japan; the archealogocial capital of the Americas — Cusco in Peru; London, Rome, New York and Maui.

Cape Town in South Africa and Barcelona in Spain finished ahead of Sydney, the only other Australian location on the list.

“Expert opinions, user votes and current trends” were used to compile this list.

Last year London was No.1, Bora Bora No.2 and Barcelona third — while Sydney was placed fifth.

Ms Coddington said this year’s result reaffirmed just how important the Reef was to Australia’s tourism economy.  “It’s ours to protect and share,” she said.  “Experiences like the Great Barrier Reef help inspire visitors to experience Queensland, the best address on earth.”


Refugees: We don't want to come to Australia

Several refugees and asylum seekers detained on Nauru say they no longer want to come to Australia after becoming disillusioned by the government's treatment of them as they spend years waiting for their claims to be processed.

One father, who spoke of the frustration at telling his family they would be moving somewhere better for three years, said he no longer wanted to go to Australia.  'Three years (ago) I liked, but now, never,' he told the Nine Network.

An Iranian man, named as Mustapha, has opened a restaurant called Bondi Beach, but that is now the last place he wants to see.  He said he can't return to Iran and wanted to move to another country like Canada or New Zealand.

Two other men living on the island expressed similar sentiments.   'Don't like Australia, another country OK,' one told Nine's A Current Affair on Monday.  'My government very bad and coming to Australia, government Australia very, very too much bad.'

A young refugee who gave his name as Masoud has spent three years of his mid-20s on Nauru.  The now 27-year-old said Australia doesn't believe in human rights when it comes to foreigners.  'Because of racists, I know this,' he said.

'Liberal Party is racist. I feel Malcolm (Turnbull) is maybe a bit better than Tony Abbott but Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison, most of them, I know if they could they put us in the ocean really easily.'

A Pakistani man who's been on Nauru for three years said there was 'no humanity on the island' and that locals were robbing those housed in the camps. 'Nauru's not a living country. Small island, it's nothing island,' he said.

The asylum seekers and refugees also stage daily protests, placing themselves behind security fences in compounds from which they are allowed to come and go as they please.

Despite complaints from the asylum seekers and refugees, the Nauruan government says they are safe and well treated. 'They're very much well looked after and they're welcome here,' President Baron Waqa said.

His justice minister, David Adeang, told Nine the asylum seekers and refugees had it better than the locals.  'They don't pay for utilities, their water and their electricity is for free, they don't have to pay for rent, their houses are new and we give them employment,' he said. 'It's not much to complain about.'


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

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Shorten does a complete backflip on homosexual marriage issue

Bill Shorten told religious leaders and Christian voters in the final days of the 2013 election campaign that he was "completely relaxed about having some form of plebiscite" on same-sex marriage.

In video footage ­obtained by The Australian, the ­Opposition Leader outlined a position that is in stark contrast to his claims ­yesterday that a plebiscite would be a taxpayer-funded platform to give a "green light" to ­homophobia and hate.

Mr Shorten told the Australian Christian Lobby forum in his electorate that he preferred "the Australian people make their view known" to the 150 MPs in federal parliament. "Personally speaking, I’m completely relaxed about having some form of plebiscite," he said. "I’d be wary of trying to use a referendum and a constitutional mechanism to start tampering with the Marriage Act.

"But in terms of a plebiscite — I would rather the people of Aust­ralia could make their view clear on this than leaving this issue to 150 people."

He told the Christian forum, which was webcast, he supported same-sex marriage and did not support a referendum but he did not think parliament would act.

Mr Shorten said "gay marriage" was not the reason he ran for parliament and that "I would rather that I didn’t have to address the question". He said he preferred a vote in parliament but he could not see it voting for change for a long time. "I believe that you should allow the parliament, if that’s what has to happen, to make a determination on this question," he said.

He then explained that he was relaxed about a plebiscite.

Mr Shorten, the then education minister in the Rudd government, made his comments in his Melbourne seat of Maribyrnong at the Essendon Baptist church in the final week of the 2013 election campaign. Last night he told The Australian he had changed his mind on a same-sex marriage plebiscite since the last election.

In recent days, as he faces increasing pressure on economic plans and budget costings, Mr Shorten has turned opposition to the Coalition plan for a plebiscite on same-sex marriage into a key priority along with his Medicare scare campaign.

Mr Shorten used his final election address to the National Press Club yesterday to pledge Labor’s first act would be to introduce a same-sex marriage bill into parliament and accused Malcolm Turnbull of settling for a "second-best option" of a plebiscite because of a "grubby deal with the right wing of the Liberal Party". He repeated his attack that the proposal for a same-sex marriage plebiscite would be a "taxpayer-funded ­platform for homophobia" and ­refused to say if Labor in opposition would pass the proposal through the Senate.

He also used the plebiscite commitment — made by Tony Abbott as prime minister and adopted by Mr Turnbull — to accuse Mr Turnbull of weakness and allowing a "green light" for homophobia and hate. "Why on earth can’t the Liberal Party just let their politicians do their day job rather than (spending) $160 million (on a plebiscite) to make up for Mr Turnbull’s deal to become the leader of the Liberal Party," he said. "Mr Turnbull knows that he’s come up with the second-best ­option. He knows if he had his way, if he was genuinely leading the Liberal Party, if he was actually the man in charge rather than simply the guy who is the front for the Liberal Party, then he would go for a vote in parliament."

Mr Shorten said last night he had changed his mind because of the experience overseas, particularly in Ireland, where "hateful" campaigns had been run.

"Over the last few years, I’ve seen harmful advertising campaigns run off the back of plebiscites and referendums overseas — I can’t ignore that," he said.

"The Irish experience convinced me that a plebiscite is the wrong way to go over here. The debate has moved on since 2013 — there’s no doubt whatsoever Australians now overwhelmingly support marriage equality, we don’t need a plebiscite to tell us that. As leader, I’ve learned how significant this issue is for so many Australians. Malcolm Turnbull thinks so too, he’s said as much. It’s just he’s not prepared to do anything about it," he said.

At the ALP national conference last year the left wing of the Labor Party agreed to change the policy on offshore processing of asylum-seekers and consider boat turnbacks in return for right-wing support for same-sex marriage.

Mr Shorten pledged yesterday: "The first piece of legislation I introduce into the 45th parliament will be a bill to amend the Marriage Act. I promise Australians that if and when we’re elected, within the first 100 days we will legislate for marriage equality, it will be a conscience vote and it will happen. No $160m plebiscite, no hurtful, hateful government-sponsored advertising campaign for us."

Mr Shorten said there would be "civil war" in the Liberal Party over the plebiscite if the Coalition were re-elected and Mr Turnbull could not convince his cabinet ministers to abide by the plebiscite decision. Scott Morrison, who is opposed to same-sex marriage said he supported a plebiscite and would accept the national result.


Thuggery from members of Victoria's extremist firemen's union

THREE firefighters have ­allegedly threatened to tear down a sign supporting the CFA and calling for voters to "Put Labor Last" in an intimidating move just days out from the federal election.

The officers, wearing station uniform, barged into a poultry business in Dandenong on Monday and the owner says they demanded the business remove the sign.

The owner, who speaks little English, was left frightened and directed the fireys to a nearby garage, saying its owner had organised the sign.

Security footage obtained by the Herald Sun shows the trio enter the workshop at 2.47pm where they confront the owner, allegedly demanding to know how he votes and reminding him "who puts your fires out".

The owner said he had helped secure the space for the 2m x 4m sign but that it wasn’t his sign to remove.

"It was pretty clear what they wanted," the businessman, who did not want to be named, said. "They said, ‘you take it down or we will’."

When he tried to take a photograph of one of the firefighters on his phone, he said the man tried to snatch it.

"I couldn’t believe it. They came in all nice and sweet but that quickly changed," he said. "It just came out of the blue."


Greens self-serving Trots: ex-PM Keating

Keating is right about that. The Greens are full of ex-Trotskyites

Former prime minister Paul Keating has used a Labor rally to turn his caustic wit on the Greens Party, labelling it "a bunch of opportunists and Trots" splitting the progressive vote.

In his first public address of the 2016 election campaign, Mr Keating told the Sydney crowd the Greens were reducing Labor's ability to form government.

"They're a protest party, not a party of government, but their game is to nobble the party of government that can actually make changes," Mr Keating said.

"You can't be a government when you've got a bunch tearing away at you, trying to pinch a seat here and there, all to make themselves look important."

Mr Keating addressed the rally in aid of fellow Labor stalwart Anthony Albanese, who is under pressure in his inner-western Sydney seat of Grayndler.

The seat has come under sustained Greens attack after AEC redistributions cut the traditional working-class stronghold of Marrickville, as well as Mr Albanese's home and office, from the electorate.

He is facing Greens candidate Jim Casey, a former firefighter and Fire Brigade Employees' Union secretary.

Mr Albanese, who labelled Mr Keating "Australia's greatest treasurer", said the Greens were taking the public funding from every NSW seat solely to attack him.

"They're outspending us two to one in this seat. There's billboards everywhere," Mr Albanese said.

Mr Keating castigated the Greens for positioning themselves as the true Australian progressive party, saying it was Labor who introduced legislation to protect the Daintree, Jervis Bay and Antarctica.

The Greens had also failed the environment by blocking Labor's emissions trading scheme (ETS) in 2009.

"They purloined the name Greens. We're more green than they are," he said. "Ratting on Rudd with the ETS scheme and walking away from the Malaysia Solution, things that required a bit of courage ... they could've been the Yellows."

Turning to the economy, Mr Keating said leaving the economic lifting to central banks through monetary policy had become increasingly ineffective.

He said the onus now fell on governments to intervene with infrastructure spending and public service provision.

"Governments have tucked themselves away and let central banks lower interest rates in the hope, like lighting a match, if you strike it enough there might be a flame," Mr Keating said.

"The market system which I participated in as treasurer, where we opened the economy up, we basically reduced the size of government to let all these forces go.

"We're now at a point in economic history in Australia and around the world where that system is going nowhere."

Mr Keating's appearance comes just a day after criticising the government's proposed company tax cuts in a letter to the Australian Financial Review.


Andrew Bolt's book triggers staff. Bookshops now safe spaces, it seems

Disappointing, but not at all surprising, that some Australian bookshops are making Andrew Bolt's new book hard to find for customers. The purported reason is that it offends some of the poor snowflakes working there. I'm sure that's true in a lot of cases. There are many students and young 'uns employed in these shops, after all. They have grown up being fed PC BS, and accept it as gospel. They see Bolta as the quintessence of eeevil.

But I think it might also be partially a top down directive. Booksellers often have cozy relationships with the big international publishers after all. And Worth Fighting For is published by Wilkinson Publishing. They've been around a while but they seem to be a local outfit. Maybe there's a desire to not be seen as rocking the boat by pushing an independent's product?

The reason I say this is that the traditional offline book business is being eaten alive by Amazon and other online booksellers. So the big publishing houses are feeling very anxious and threatened. Also, Bolt himself cites the case of global warming skeptic Ian Plimer, who had all kinds of retail related trouble with his books. As well as being politically incorrect, they were published by Connor Court, another small, independent outfit.

But in the end I think it's probably the ideological aspect that has most to do with this stealth campaign to sabotage Bolta's sales. And it's certainly not a new phenomenon. Way back in the nineties I remember hearing about a Paul Sheehan book called Among the Barbarians. It caused controversy at the time, and for many of the same reasons Bolt does now. I didn't have any trouble finding it in the St Kilda bookstore I bought it from. But I will always remember the disgusted reaction from the guy behind the counter!

So typical of sneering hipsters. But so silly! I mean, it's a business. They're shooting themselves in the foot by acting like this.


Greenies determined to hamstring Northern development

The opportunities for viable development in Australia's "empty North" are few but Greenies still want to block them all.  They will find some frog or insect that would be inconvenienced by development projects and thus stop everything

Ahead of the election, the major parties have released different visions for developing northern Australia. The Coalition has committed to dam projects across Queensland; Labor has pledged to support the tourism industry.

These pledges build on the Coalition’s A$5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, a fund to support large projects, starting on July 1.

The Coalition has pledged A$20 million to support 14 new or existing dams across Queensland should the government be returned to power, as part of a A$2.5 billion plan for dams across northern Australia.

Labor, meanwhile, will redirect A$1 billion from the fund towards tourism, including eco-tourism, indigenous tourism ventures and transport infrastructure (airports, trains, and ports).

It is well recognised that the development of northern Australia will depend on harnessing the north’s abundant water resources. However, it’s also well recognised that the ongoing use of water resources to support industry and agriculture hinges on the health and sustainability of those water resources.

Northern Australia is home to diverse ecosystems, which support a range of ecosystem services and cultural values, and these must be adequately considered in the planning stages.
Sustainability comes second

The white paper for northern Australia focuses almost solely on driving growth and development. Current water resource management policy in Australia, however, emphasises integrated water resource planning and sustainable water use that protects key ecosystem functions.

Our concern is that the commitment to sustainability embedded in the National Water Initiative (NWI), as well as Queensland’s water policies, may become secondary in the rush to "fast track" these water infrastructure projects.

Lessons from the past show that the long-term success of large water infrastructure projects requires due process, including time for consultation, environmental assessments and investigation of alternative solutions.
What is on the table?

The Coalition proposes providing funds to investigate the feasibility of a range of projects, including upgrading existing dams and investigating new dams. The majority of these appear to be focused on increasing the reliability of water supplies in regional urban centres. Few target improved agricultural productivity.

These commitments add to the already proposed feasibility study (A$10 million) of the Ord irrigation scheme in the Northern Territory and the construction of the Nullinga Dam in Queensland. And the A$15 million northern Australia water resources assessment being undertaken by CSIRO, which is focused on the Fitzroy river basin in Western Australia, the Darwin river basins in Northern Territory and the Mitchell river basin in Queensland.

Rethinking dams

New water infrastructure in the north should be part of an integrated investment program to limit overall environmental impacts. Focusing on new dams applies 19th-century thinking to a 21st-century problem, and we have three major concerns about the rush to build dams in northern Australia.

First, the process to establish infrastructure priorities for federal investment is unclear. For instance, it’s uncertain how the projects are connected to Queensland’s State Infrastructure Plan.

Investment in new water infrastructure across northern Australia needs to be part of a long-term water resource plan. This requires clearly articulated objectives for the development of northern Australia, along with assessment criteria that relate to economic, social and environmental outcomes, such as those used in the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

Second, the federal government emphasises on-stream dams. Dams built across the main river in this way have many well-recognised problems, including:

*    lack of environmental flows (insufficient water at the appropriate frequency and duration to support ecosystems)

*    flow inversion (higher flows may occur in the dry season than in the wet, when the bulk of rainfall occurs)

*    barriers to fish movement and loss of connectivity to wetlands

*    water quality and temperature impacts (unless there is a multi-level off-take).

As a minimum, new dams should be built away from major waterways (such as on small, tributary streams) and designed to minimise environmental impacts. This requires planning in the early stages, as such alternatives are extremely difficult to retrofit to an existing system.

Finally, the federal government proposals make no mention of climate change impacts. Irrigation and intensive manufacturing industries demand highly reliable water supplies.

While high-value use of water should be encouraged, new industries need to be able to adapt for the increased frequency of low flows; as well as increased intensity of flood events. Government investment needs to build resilience as well as high-value use.

Detailed planning, not press releases

In place of the rather ad hoc approach to improvements in water infrastructure, such as the projects announced by the federal government in advance of the election, we need a more holistic and considered approach.

The A$20 million investment for 14 feasibility studies and business cases in Queensland represents a relatively small amount of money for each project, and runs the risk of having them undertaken in isolation. The feasibility studies should be part of the entirety of the government’s plan for A$2.5 billion in new dams for northern Australia.

Water resource planning is too important and too expensive to cut corners on planning. Investment proposals for Queensland need to be integrated with water resource planning across the state, and across northern Australia, and with appropriate consideration of climate change impacts.

Fast tracking dams without considering ecosystem impacts, future variability in water supplies, and resilience in local communities merely sets the scene for future problems that will likely demand another round of intervention and reform.


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, June 29, 2016


An interesting email below from a fellow Queenslander


After eight years of my investigating, speaking out publicly, and holding members of parliament accountable, Pauline Hanson invited me to join her on the Queensland senate ticket for the federal election on 2 July.

After doing my due diligence with people who’ve known her for 20 years and after a 12 hour chat with Pauline I’m proud to be standing with her

She is not as the media and political opponents have portrayed. Pauline is intelligent, quick, honest, courageous and persistent. We are passionate about bringing back our country.

What we stand for in nine sentences:

Economics and Tax policy:

Affordable Energy and Climate Change policy:


If you’re a Queenslander please vote for us. If you have Queensland friends or family please forward this email.

How to Vote card Queensland senate:

How to vote cards for all states and seats with Pauline’s candidates:

Please help us to speak out on the floor of parliament and to restore integrity to parliament.

Regards and thanks,

Malcolm Roberts

Global cooling hits Sydney

Sydneysiders felt the chill on Monday as temperatures plummeted to their coolest in two decades as New South Wales experiences the most powerful cold front in three years.

The maximum temperature reached was just 11.7 degrees but remained mostly in the single digit range all day.

The cold temperatures make it the coolest day for any month in 20 years, said Brett Dutschke, senior meteorologist with Weatherzone.

He told the Sydney Morning Herald that temperatures have averaged just 10.4 degrees over the past three days, the coldest June period in six years.

An overnight low of eight degrees was met with rain in Sydney on Monday morning with a top of just 13 degrees expected throughout the day.

Peter Zmijewski, a senior forecaster with the Bureau of Meteorology said: 'The temperature is a bit colder than it normally is at this time of year.'

'There's a lot of cloud moving through the east coast. We do expect rainfall to continue throughout Monday,' he told Daily mail Australia.

After experiencing the coldest morning of the year on Sunday there will be no let up for Sydneysiders during the week, with damp and chilly weather forecast for the early part of the seven day period.

Over the weekend, temperatures dropped to just above five degrees in the CBD on Sunday and although Monday will not be as chilly, rain is forecast to set in.


Brexit could make it easier for Australians to live and work in the UK

AUSTRALIA’S high commissioner to the UK says Brexit could provide an opportunity to renegotiate visa arrangements and make it easier for Australians to live and work in Britain.

Alexander Downer has been a vocal critic of restrictions introduced on working visas for Australians who travel to and live in the UK, describing its policies as “discriminatory”.

But while Europeans scramble to get their hands on British passports and uncertainty reigns, the Australian diplomat is taking a positive approach to the impending split, pledging to try to negotiate a better deal for Aussies moving to the mother country.

Speaking on ABC radio on Tuesday morning, Mr Downer said, as a representative of the Australian government in the UK, his job was to seek opportunities amid the Brexit fallout.

And while the implications of the eurozone breakup for Australia remain to be seen, he pledged to seize on the transition as an opportunity to address restrictions on working visas.

“We’ve been critical of the arrangements that have been put in place,” he said.

“There are all sorts of restrictions on Australians right now and whether there’ll be opportunities to change that when the new arrangements come into place, we simply don’t know. But we should try in any case, and that’s what we’ll do.”

The number of Australians working in the UK has declined by 40 per cent since 2008, and while Mr Downer concedes the shift can partly be attributed to economic forces, there are also restrictions in place preventing Australians from becoming employed that the British government has refused to budge on.

In 2011, the UK cut off entry routes for Australian skilled workers and capped employer-sponsored visas at just 20,000 places a year. The British government cited requirements by the European Union to prioritise workers within the zone.

In April this year, further restrictions were introduced including a minimum income requirement.

The number of Australians obtaining work visas from the UK Home Office has halved in the past decade, and now sits at less than 15,000.

The Australian government’s protest to the visa crackdown, led by Mr Downer, resulted in an extraordinary, while ultimately futile, debate at Westminster earlier this year.

Mr Downer has continued his call for changes to the Tier 2 visa system to ensure Australians don’t have to travel home in order to change jobs and make it easier for them to gain employment in the UK in the first place.

The former foreign minister has previously told it was “too hypothetical” to tell whether Australians would have greater visa access under a Brexit scenario where EU migrants could be limited, but has spoken with optimism on the topic since the historical ballot closed.

University of Adelaide UK politics expert Clement Macintyre told the referendum result left room for negotiations that couldn’t have happened before.

“The opposition to high levels of immigration in the UK that lay at the centre of some of the Brexit campaigning was making it harder for Australians in some respects to land visas and secure work arrangement because there was increasing pressure for the government to crack down across the board,” he said.

The UK economy used to rely on European workers to fill many skilled and unskilled jobs.

Prof Macintyre said it was now likely those jobs would be open to people from other parts of the world, particularly Commonwealth countries.

“Under the old prospect, what we were confident about was that as long as the UK was part of the EU there was unlikely to be any change for the visa requirements for Australians in the UK,” he said.

“This vote at least opens the door to negotiation that could lead to outcomes that are favourable for Australian people who want to spend some time in and live and work in the UK.”

He said while it was too early to speculate on Britain’s negotiations out of the EU or its leadership, the possibility of a government led by Boris Johnson was good news for Australians.

The former London mayor and prime ministerial hopeful, who is tipped to take over the top job after David Cameron’s Brexit-induced departure in October, has previously advocated for a “free mobility labour zone” between Commonwealth countries.

“He is on the record as talking about wanting warmer relations with Australia, and while we don’t know that Johnson will be prime minister, and we’ve got no idea on what terms of negotiations the exit will happen, what is true is that if the UK wants access to the single market, it’s going to have to accept some freedom of movement,” Prof Macintyre said.

In 2015 Johnson proposed an Australia-UK agreement to allow greater movement of skilled people between both countries.

“He believes that Commonwealth citizens should be given more freedom to contribute to London’s economy, culture and communities, particularly given the strong cultural connections between our countries,” a spokeswoman for the then-mayor told

“As a start, the mayor has proposed an agreement between Australia and the United Kingdom that allows greater movement of skilled people between both countries in order to address skills shortages. This could be extended further to other Commonwealth countries, if successful.”

With the shock outcome only five days old, uncertainty remains the key word in discussion of all things Brexit.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull yesterday revealed Australia and New Zealand could work together on joint free trade and visa agreements to steer the region through the shock waves of Britain’s exit.

“If my government is re-elected on Saturday, (NZ Prime Minister) John Key and I will meet shortly thereafter with our officials and set up a co-operative framework in which Australia and New Zealand will work together to ensure that we maximise any opportunities that arise out of these changes, but also ensure above all that the interests of Australians and New Zealanders and Australian and New Zealand businesses are protected,” he said.


Triggs, HRC accused of ‘shameful conduct’ in 18c students case

She's an evil Leftist old bag

Human Rights Commission staff and president Gillian Triggs were accused in a racial hatred case yesterday of “stooping” to a ­regrettable low in a desperate ­attempt to “avoid scrutiny of their shameful conduct” against university students.

In an escalating row between the students, indigenous staff member Cindy Prior, who ejected them from their Queensland University of Technology’s “culturally safe” computer lab ­because they were white, and the commission, the human rights body is coming under unprecedented scrutiny.

Disclosures of the commission’s internal workings in dozens of pages of documents, obtained under Freedom of Information and showing the handling of Ms Prior’s Racial Discrimination Act complaint against the students, were cited by Brisbane barrister Tony Morris QC in a scathing legal attack launched yesterday.

Professor Triggs last week urged independent barrister Angus Stewart SC to stop investigations into the complaints by students Calum Thwaites, Jackson Powell and Alex Wood that their human rights had been ­“flagrantly” breached by the ­commission.

Professor Triggs in a 30-page legal rebuttal described the formal complaints of the students, who allege that the human rights body has botched the case, as “purely speculative”, “lacking in substance” and ­“misconceived”.

The students are accused of ­racial hatred for writing Facebook posts which caused offence to Ms Prior after she had turned them away from the computer lab in the Oodgeroo Unit in May 2013. Ms Prior went on stress leave and is seeking more than $250,000 damages after not working for almost all of the past three years.

Mr Morris, in a damning reply yesterday, revealed that Mr Thwaites had recently abandoned his study to become a schoolteacher because he was concerned the taint on his reputation from being accused of racial hatred under the controversial section 18c would make him unemployable. The lawyer described a ­“besetting irony” in Professor Triggs’s reasons for seeking to terminate the students’ complaints that their human rights were breached, given the commission had permitted to advance to the Federal Circuit what he described as the “hopeless” case of Ms Prior.

Mr Morris said it was wrong and unjust that an “utterly unmeritorious complaint” by Ms Prior had attracted from the Human Rights Commission “greater forbearance and leniency than the grave and serious complaints by the (students)”. The students were “not permitted to enjoy the same substantive rights as those which the Human Rights Commission now insists should be applied in its favour”.

He said the commission had “applied more time, effort and ­resources — all paid for by the taxpayer — in scrutinising and criticising the present complaints (by the students), all in the space of less than two months, than it ­applied to the Prior complaint in the period of roughly 15 months”.

“The nature of the allegations made by Ms Prior, even if those ­allegations were ultimately to be dismissed, had the capacity to inflict long-term and devastating ­injury to the reputations of seven young tertiary students, and the very real potential to jeopardise their future employment prospects,” Mr Morris said.

The three students still in the case have refused to pay Ms Prior any of the money her lawyers were demanding, while four ­others who were named in her original litigation made private settlements.

Mr Powell is being sued ­because after being told by Ms Prior to leave the computer lab he posted on Facebook “I wonder where the white supremacist computer lab is”. Mr Wood is being sued because he wrote: “Just got kicked out of the unsigned ­indigenous computer room. QUT stopping segregation with segregation.” Mr Thwaites has insisted since 2013 that he was a victim of identity theft with a false Facebook account in his name and the post: “ITT niggers.’’

Professor Triggs and the commission are now accused of fearing “a risk of embarrassment” that they will be found to have breached the students’ human rights.


Sydney Muslim charged over alleged kidnap and rape of schoolgirl

A man arrested after a police pursuit in the beachside Sydney suburb of Bondi has been charged over two alleged sexual assaults, including the kidnapping and rape of a schoolgirl.

Mustafa Kayirici, 26, was arrested yesterday after a wild chase that began when he allegedly attempted to evade police investigating the assaults.

Police allege a 22-year-old woman was allegedly sexually assaulted and robbed by a man armed with a gun at a CBD motel on June 19.

Meanwhile, a 13-year-old girl was allegedly kidnapped in Parramatta on Friday morning and later sexually assaulted at various locations around Sydney. Her attacker was allegedly armed with a knife.

Appearing in court today via video link with his blackened eyes swollen shut after yesterday's arrest, Mr Kayirici denied assaulting the women.

"They're making me out to be some pedophile, some rapist, a predator," he told the magistrate.

"I did not know this person was 13.  She lied about her age and everything was consensual.

"I have it all on tape.  Cameras don't lie."

Mr Kayirici faces a string of charges, including sexual assault, indecent assault, detaining for advantage, kidnapping, acts of indecency, police pursuit, and resisting an officer.

He didn't use a lawyer in court today, instead choosing to represent himself.

Police prosecutors pleaded with the magistrate not to give Mr Kayirici bail, calling his alleged crimes "unthinkable" and "extreme".

The magistrate moved swiftly to deny bail, saying it would place female members of the community in "extreme danger".

Police searching for Mr Kayirici attempted to stop his silver Ford sedan on Bondi Road just after 11.30am yesterday.

When he allegedly failed to stop for officers, a pursuit was initiated. His Ford travelled through a park before crashing into parked cars on Old South Head Road.

The car finally came to a halt on the footpath behind a bus stop.

Witnesses described the violent clash between the driver and police.

"It was just 'get out, get out, get out, get on the floor'," James Dimovski, who was driving nearby when the crash happened, said.

"I don't think he wanted to get out so they pulled him out and just bashed him, basically bashed him."


Tuesday, June 28, 2016


Below is an ALP leaflet I got in my letterbox today.  Yet Mr. Turnbull has repeatedly and emphatically said that he is NOT going to privatise Medicare.  What are we to think of a political party that can find only lies to promote itself with?  It is certainly reminiscent of another famous socialist:  Dr. Goebbels -- and his dictum that if you tell a big enough lie often enough, people will believe it.  The leaflet was authorized by Evan Moorhead, the current Secretary of the Australian Labor Party in Queensland.

The man who lost the "unlosable" election still thinks we should listen to him about Brexit

Scary talk from Hewson.  When will it sink in that NOTHING will change for at least a year or maybe two?  Exit negotiations have not even begun yet.  And there is no threat to free trade.  The EU needs the British market.  Germany exports 800,000 cars to Britain each year.  Are they going to give that up?

BRITAIN’S shock decision to leave the European Union is a “king hit” that is bad news for Australia, a former Liberal leader has said.

While Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull tries to delicately play down the oncoming effects of the split while calling for calm, commentators are ignoring his pleas and digging into both sides of politics over their handling of the fallout.

Speaking on ABC radio, former Liberal leader John Hewson criticised both leaders for failing to acknowledge the full consequences of a Brexit for Australians. “This is a king hit (to the economy), and it’s a king hit also in political terms,” he said. “This is all bad news for Australia, and the challenge is not being recognised by either side of politics.”

Mr Hewson said neither the government nor opposition had conceded how a global economic shake up brought on by the Brexit would hit Australia, and said they were each leaning on “optimistic” budget forecasts.

“It’s global uncertainty. Global growth rates have been consistently downgraded by the IMF and the World Bank each time they make announcements. I think we’ll see more of that,” he said.  “World trade I think fell about 14 per cent last year. I mean this is all bad news for Australia.

“I think those budget forecasts on which they’re both relying are very optimistic. They were optimistic to start with, I think more optimistic now we’ve had Brexit.”

Former Labor trade minister Craig Emerson also weighed in on the effects Australia would feel, telling ABC radio the economic effects would be more than brief market fluctuations.

“I don’t think it’s going to be one of these matters that’s a little bump in the stock market for the next couple of days and then it’ll be all over,” he said.

“It’s in the interest of the UK to exit as smoothly as possible but it’s not necessarily in the interest of the EU that it does exit as smoothly as possible because the EU will want to demonstrate this is a difficult and painful process in order to reduce the likelihood of other countries exiting.”

Treasurer Scott Morrison this morning called for cool heads as Australian markets prepared for a second day of fallout from the Brexit decision. “What has happened in the UK is a simple reminder of the uncertainty that’s out there,” he told the Seven Network on Monday.

Brexit wasn’t the only issue creating headwinds in the global economy, Mr Morrison said, citing changes in China, the deflation and currency concerns in Japan and the political situation in the US.

“At this time of uncertainty, you’ve got to focus on the things that you can control,” he said. “You can’t control the things that are out there well beyond us but what you can control is how much you spend, how much you tax.”

While each calling for calm, both Mr Turnbull and Bill Shorten have used uncertainty in the wake of the Brexit result to sway voters their way ahead of Saturday’s election.

The Prime Minister is promising economic stability while the opposition leader seeks to paint a picture of political instability within the government, saying the Brexit vote and following turmoil had arisen from “weak leadership and a divided government”.


Britain’s exit from European Union flags big changes across the globe

Rita Panahi

WATCHING the unhinged and unrestrained hysteria of the Left has been a delightful side benefit of the Brexit poll.

While the conservatives who campaigned for Great Britain to remain in the European Union have largely accepted the result with a measure of grace, elements of the Left have reacted with a level of hyperbole that is remarkable even by their shrill standards.

There are even demands for a new poll from the Brexit losers who seem to think democracy is only a valid exercise if their side wins. But a referendum is not a game of rock, paper, scissors that can be extended to a best of three if you don’t like the result.

The EU referendum showed that voters won’t be swayed by slurs, sneers and scaremongering. The tactic of characterising Leave voters as a pack of unthinking xenophobes backfired spectacularly.

Voters could smell the desperation and dishonesty of the Remainers. Indeed, the result showed that the shameful strategy of vilifying the majority of Brits who voted to leave the irreparably broken EU drove many undecided voters into the Leave camp, which was trailing by 20 points at the start of the campaign.

Locally, the reaction has been just as demented, as members of the media led by overpaid and under-worked ABC troglodytes prophesy global doom and calamity and condemn Brits as ignorant racists.

It’s quite extraordinary that the same people who are desperate for Australia to break away from Britain to become a republic are aghast that Brits want to break away from Belgium and reaffirm their sovereignty.

Of course, immigration was a key Brexit issue — Europe’s porous borders have seen significant change in many parts of England flooded with illegal immigrants — but it was far from the only issue.

Member of the European Parliament Daniel Hannan applauded the British for reacting with “calm, common sense and courage” when threatened with Armageddon.

“Virtually every week, a letter would appear in one of the broadsheets signed by a collection of hoary-headed grandees: industrialists one week, green activists the next, actors the next,” he wrote.

“The message was always the same: ‘Little people! We’re terribly important, and we’re ordering you to vote Remain!’ It wasn’t Project Fear so much as Project Sneer.

“Yes, Leavers are patriotic. Yes, we believe in Britain. But we’re not anti-Europe. We just want to be able to run our own affairs.”

If the reaction of the Australian Left to the EU referendum is any guide, then we should brace ourselves for toys flying out of cots after Saturday’s federal poll.

But what is more interesting than the Brexit result in isolation is the global trend of voters rejecting the establishment.

The winds of political change are blowing a gale from the UK to the US, to places like the Philippines and even right here in Australia.

If a figure like Donald Trump can launch a serious challenge for the US presidency, then you know voters have grown weary of the status quo and will look far and wide for an alternative — any alternative.

Trump clinched the Republican presidential nomination despite a brutal campaign both from mainstream media outlets and the spooked GOP establishment desperate to purge this outsider from conservative ranks.

The attacks against Trump are often thinly veiled abuse of his supporters, who are portrayed as dimwitted hillbillies instead of ordinary Americans who feel deeply disenchanted with a political system they see as corrupted by powerful interest groups and lobbyists.

Those horror-struck by the US billionaire’s antics should have a look at what’s transpired in the Philippines in recent months, where president-elect Rodrigo Duterte makes Trump look like a safe-as-houses choirboy.

The rejection of the condescending ruling class is an international phenomenon, and Australia is not immune.

Yesterday you could almost hear the collective yawn across the country as the Coalition officially launched its campaign and Labor held a second campaign launch.

The electorate is disengaged, and one wonders what the voter turnout would be on Saturday if compulsory voting didn’t force citizens to take part in the democratic process.

Take a deeper look at the polls and it’s evident that there is a heightened level of disillusionment with the major parties, including the Greens.

According to a Newspoll conducted earlier this month, a record number of voters plan to support a micro-party or an independent.

Close to one in six voters plan to cast their ballot for a candidate who does not represent Labor, Coalition, or Greens parties.

Meanwhile we have the astonishing situation of the Regressive Left, both here and overseas, railing against a new enemy: democracy.

These folks, who have made an art form of treating the masses with barely concealed disdain, seriously argue that referendums and plebiscites are undesirable, that ordinary voters can’t be trusted to debate and determine issues such as same-sex marriage.

Brexit showed just how out of touch much of the political and media class are from the public they are supposed to serve.


Improve education, but don't fund more waste
Jennifer Buckingham

Recent arguments in favour of a large increase in school funding have cited the 'Gonski' report and OECD research showing a long-term economic return on investment in education. However, close scrutiny reveals that they do not provide strong justification in the current Australian context.

The Gonski report found that funding for schools was complex and inefficient. It recommended a complete overhaul of school funding that required a new agreement between the federal, state and territory governments. The increase in federal funding that is attributed to the 'Gonski model' was not inherent in the Gonski committee's recommendations -- a point confirmed by David Gonski himself.

The implications of international research on education spending and economic growth are also far from straightforward. The largest pay-offs from increased education spending are in developing countries where increased spending is from a low base and often means providing decent primary school education where none existed previously. This is a very different prospect to increasing spending where funding and provision are already high.

A big assumption in imputing economic returns to education spending is that higher spending will lead to better quality of education and hence better outcomes. This is by no means guaranteed. Economists surveyed in the latest Economic Society of Australia poll made this case repeatedly. While a majority of the economists surveyed agreed that education spending is on balance more likely to have a long term dividend than a company tax cut, neither policy was given an unequivocal endorsement in terms of future benefits.

While there are undoubtedly some schools around Australia that are under-resourced, it would be a mistake to conclude that this is purely a function of the size of the government's education budget rather than the way it is managed. Large amounts of education funding sometimes never reach schools and even more is spent on policies and programs that don't work. There may be a case for increased school funding as a rock solid investment in the future, but it can't be made while there is so much waste in the system at present.


Tougher laws to be introduced for masked 'cowards' following violent Melbourne protests

Masked "cowards" who commit violence in public places will face tougher penalties after a series of violent protests between rival groups in Melbourne.

Splinter groups of masked people dressed in black have caused trouble at recent rallies, although police generally managed to keep the anti-Islam and anti-racism groups apart at the latest protest on Sunday.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the government will introduce new public order laws and penalties around affray and riotous behaviour to deal with people wearing masks.

"There will be additional penalties, additional specific offences and an aggravating factor, which means you'll get more time where you belong, behind bars, if you turn up and act violently with a mask on," Mr Andrews said.

"We are not having a situation where people turn our streets into some sort of battleground."

An anti racism and fascism protester is arrested for starting a fire after they burnt the Australian flag. © AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy An anti racism and fascism protester is arrested for starting a fire after they burnt the Australian flag. Police were generally pleased with the behaviour of 120 True Blue Crew and 200 rival Campaign Against Racism and Fascism protesters at Sunday's rally, which was marred by flags being set alight and scuffles involving a splinter group.

But there was no repeat of the violent clashes between the opposing groups at a Coburg rally in late May.

Yesterday Mr Andrews warned future offenders will "feel the full force of the law".

"If you commit a violent act and you are wearing a mask, then you will receive a significantly higher penalty because of the cowardly nature of wearing that mask," he said.

"You will feel the full force of the law because hardworking Victorians and their government are sick and tired of having to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, indeed millions of dollars, to deal with this sort of riotous behaviour."

Opposition attorney-general John Pesutto said police no longer have the powers they need to de-escalate volatile situations because the Labor government had dramatically weakened the coalition's tough move-on laws.


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, June 27, 2016

Gun regulation:  Is Australia a model that the USA should adopt?

In the wake of the recent shootings at Orlando and elsewhere, many Leftist commentators have pointed to the strict gun controls introduced by Australia in 1996 and have noted that Australia has had NO mass shootings since the laws were enacted.  They assert that this is powerful evidence for the enactment of such laws in America. But is it true?  Did Australia's strict laws reduce gun deaths?

Before I answer that, I think I might point out that there are important demographic differences between the U.S. and Australian populations.  In particular, the minorities are different.  Australia has negligible Africans but large numbers of Han Chinese.  And those two groups differ greatly in propensity to crime generally and homicide in particular.  The Chinese are as pacific as Africans are violent.  I don't think I have ever heard of a Han Chinese breaking into someone's house, whereas that happens daily in the USA.  So Australians have a much smaller need for guns as self-defense.  I love the Han.

But one part of the Leftist claim is true.  There have indeed been no mass shootings since 1996 in Australia. But such shootings were rare anyway and gun crimes were already on the way down in Australia so how do we allow for that?  Below is an article from a major medical journal that has done all the statistics. Its conclusions have been widely reported but almost always misreported.  So I produce the actual journal abstract below.

As you can see, they found that the decline in gun deaths had speeded up but not to a statistically significant degree.  More interestingly, the rate for all crimes had declined even more than the decline in gun deaths.  So all we can say is that Australia has been getting steadily safer for a long time now.  There is no evidence that guns have anything to do with it.  The journal article:

Association Between Gun Law Reforms and Intentional Firearm Deaths in Australia, 1979-2013

Simon Chapman et al.



Rapid-fire weapons are often used by perpetrators in mass shooting incidents. In 1996 Australia introduced major gun law reforms that included a ban on semiautomatic rifles and pump-action shotguns and rifles and also initiated a program for buyback of firearms.


To determine whether enactment of the 1996 gun laws and buyback program were followed by changes in the incidence of mass firearm homicides and total firearm deaths.


Observational study using Australian government statistics on deaths caused by firearms (1979-2013) and news reports of mass shootings in Australia (1979–May 2016). Changes in intentional firearm death rates were analyzed with negative binomial regression, and data on firearm-related mass killings were compared.


Implementation of major national gun law reforms.

Main Outcomes and Measures

Changes in mass fatal shooting incidents (defined as ≥5 victims, not including the perpetrator) and in trends of rates of total firearm deaths, firearm homicides and suicides, and total homicides and suicides per 100 000 population.


From 1979-1996 (before gun law reforms), 13 fatal mass shootings occurred in Australia, whereas from 1997 through May 2016 (after gun law reforms), no fatal mass shootings occurred. There was also significant change in the preexisting downward trends for rates of total firearm deaths prior to vs after gun law reform. From 1979-1996, the mean rate of total firearm deaths was 3.6 (95% CI, 3.3-3.9) per 100 000 population (average decline of 3% per year; annual trend, 0.970; 95% CI, 0.963-0.976), whereas from 1997-2013 (after gun law reforms), the mean rate of total firearm deaths was 1.2 (95% CI, 1.0-1.4) per 100 000 population (average decline of 4.9% per year; annual trend, 0.951; 95% CI, 0.940-0.962), with a ratio of trends in annual death rates of 0.981 (95% CI, 0.968-0.993). There was a statistically significant acceleration in the preexisting downward trend for firearm suicide (ratio of trends, 0.981; 95% CI, 0.970-0.993), but this was not statistically significant for firearm homicide (ratio of trends, 0.975; 95% CI, 0.949-1.001). From 1979-1996, the mean annual rate of total nonfirearm suicide and homicide deaths was 10.6 (95% CI, 10.0-11.2) per 100 000 population (average increase of 2.1% per year; annual trend, 1.021; 95% CI, 1.016-1.026), whereas from 1997-2013, the mean annual rate was 11.8 (95% CI, 11.3-12.3) per 100 000 (average decline of 1.4% per year; annual trend, 0.986; 95% CI, 0.980-0.993), with a ratio of trends of 0.966 (95% CI, 0.958-0.973). There was no evidence of substitution of other lethal methods for suicides or homicides.

Conclusions and Relevance

Following enactment of gun law reforms in Australia in 1996, there were no mass firearm killings through May 2016. There was a more rapid decline in firearm deaths between 1997 and 2013 compared with before 1997 but also a decline in total nonfirearm suicide and homicide deaths of a greater magnitude. Because of this, it is not possible to determine whether the change in firearm deaths can be attributed to the gun law reforms.

JAMA. Published online June 22, 2016. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.8752

Grant-hungry scientists stage a tantrum about the Barrier Reef while on their holiday in Hawaii

Many causes of bleaching alleged but not a word about El Nino, the most probable cause.  These guys are just con-men.  Document probably written by a small but powerful clique only

As the largest international gathering of coral reef experts comes to a close, scientists have sent a letter to Australian officials calling for action to save the world's reefs, which are being rapidly damaged.

The letter was sent on Saturday to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull imploring the government to do more to conserve the nation's reefs and curb fossil fuel consumption.

The letter, signed by past and present presidents of the International Society for Reef Studies on behalf of the 2000 attendees of the International Coral Reef Symposium that was held in Honolulu this week, urged the Australian government to prioritise its Great Barrier Reef.

"This year has seen the worst mass bleaching in history, threatening many coral reefs around the world including the whole of the northern Great Barrier Reef, the biggest and best-known of all reefs," the letter said.

"The damage to this Australian icon has already been devastating. In addition to damage from greenhouse gases, port dredging and shipping of fossil fuels across the Great Barrier Reef contravene Australia's responsibilities for stewardship of the Reef under the World Heritage Convention."

Scientists are not known for their political activism, said James Cook University professor Terry Hughes, but they felt this crisis warranted such action.

A call to action from three Pacific island nations whose reefs are in the crosshairs of the largest and longest-lasting coral bleaching event in recorded history was presented on Friday at the conclusion of the symposium in Honolulu.

The heads of state from Palau, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands attended the conference and will provide a plan to help save their ailing coral reefs.

The call to action, signed by the three presidents, asked for better collaboration between the scientific community and local governments, saying there needs to be more funding and a strengthened commitment to protecting the reefs.

In response to the letter, the scientific community at the conference said they would work with national leaders of Micronesia, the Palau, the Marshall Islands, and the world "to curb the continued loss of coral reefs."

Bleaching is a process where corals, stressed by hot ocean waters and other environmental changes, lose their colour as the symbiotic algae that lives within them is released. Severe or concurrent years of bleaching can kill coral reefs, as has been documented over the past two years in oceans around the world. Scientists expect a third year of bleaching to last through the end of 2016.

In the northern third of the Great Barrier Reef, close to half of the corals have died in the past three months, said Hughes, who focuses his research there.

But the panel of scientists emphasised the progress they have made over the past 30 years and stressed that good research and management programs for coral reefs are available. The scientists said they just need the proper funding and political will to enact them.


Some rare realism about prospects of Far Northern agricultural development

Developing the "empty North" has long been a dream.  But there are good reasons why it is mostly empty -- as the Ord River scheme showed.  A story here shows that investors are rightly skeptical of projects there

An expert says opportunities to expand agricultural production in northern Australia have been dramatically overstated.

"It's a very fierce climate, ask any farmer if they'd like to go farm somewhere with a guaranteed drought every year?'" said Charles Darwin University Professor Andrew Campbell.

"Evaporation is markedly greater than rainfall and has water scarcity, and there are many novel pests and diseases, inputs costs are much higher, labour is more difficult to attract, infrastructure is much poorer and supply chains are much more vulnerable."

Speaking at the Australian Academy of Technological Science and Engineering (ATSE) conference, he said food production is only likely to increase by around 5 per cent in northern Australia.

He highlighted as a rare exception, the mango industry outside Darwin. Built by Vietnamese immigrants with links to the market traders in Sydney and Melbourne, which has become a $100 million industry.

Indigenous wild rices on the flood plains have genetic diversity that could be cross bred with mainstream rices, to improve resilience in a changing climate.

Investment banker David Williams of Kidder Williams told the conference he was highly critical of big scale failures in the Ord Irrigation scheme, with its long history of crops destroyed by pests and a vicious climate.


Federal election 2016: PM must tell voters home truths about Shorten

Grace Collier

No one should be shocked by Bill Shorten’s Medicare scare election scam. There is a reason this present crop of Labor types is so at ease telling bald-faced lies to camera. Like Shorten, most of them are former union officials and, as such, are expert in the art of devious, malicious deception.

These guys have run hundreds of enterprise bargaining agreement campaigns, which are mini election campaigns in the workplace. Union officials regularly have relied on far-fetched lie-telling to force frightened workers, like herded cattle, through the right gate.

Though an EBA campaign occurs within a single workplace, and an election occurs across the national landscape, in both processes a political contest between labour and capital occurs, and that contest leads up to one defining moment: a democratic vote for all.

Both sides vie for the hearts and minds of the voters, and put material out to state their case. In the end the voters are often overwhelmed, bewildered. They cannot read everything, so instead they take a leap of faith. Voters cast their vote to the side they like most and trust them to tell them how to vote. Then they hope for the best.

The way unions win EBA campaigns is by telling terrifying lies to the workers about the conditions and entitlements they will lose if they vote yes to the EBA. If management hasn’t anticipated the lies, it is not positioned to counter as it should. It doesn’t prepare the workers beforehand for the lies that will be told and doesn’t strike back hard afterwards with direct communication, even ridicule, setting out the truth.

Instead, management reacts with shock and outrage-induced paralysis sets in. On display is the processing of its personal emotional response to the lies (how could they say this stuff, it’s an outrage!), which workers are not interested in. Leadership falls by the wayside. Campaign momentum and control is lost.

In the same way an EBA provides the means for unions to control a workplace, a federal election provides a chance for unions to control our government. Our present election is not a referendum on keeping Medicare; it is a referendum on whether we want the unions running Australia.

Shorten is the union rep, screaming about how we are all going to lose our entitlements. Is manipulation of vulnerable people via the use of scary nonsense an unethical thing to do? Labor cares not; it is a tried-and-true EBA tactic. Anyway, the end justifies the means.

Malcolm Turnbull is the manager, caught up in his own indignation. Has Turnbull ever been in an EBA campaign? Not likely. He must be reeling at the effrontery and wondering how low this union bloke is prepared to go. While Turnbull is busy denying the lies about himself, he is not pointing out the facts about his opponent.

If the community had the truth about Shorten put before it, very few would vote the way he asks. For Turnbull, shattering trust in Shorten would be an easy task, especially among the traditional Labor base. Labor’s brand is that it cares about the low-paid workers and puts people first, yet the party couldn’t have chosen a leader more unfitting, more ridiculously inappropriate, to promote it.

Shorten’s history can be found on the transcript from the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption. Past case studies include Chiquita, Cleanevent and more. Under Shorten’s rule, his union boomed, inflated by false membership numbers gained by dirty deals done dirt cheap. How much wage theft occurred, how much did the lowest paid miss out on? Perhaps half a billion.

Shorten derided penalty rates as fanciful in the real world, a gold standard, when justifying a dodgy deal done behind the backs of workers to trade their wages away. These words, his exact quotes, should be used in a brutal advertising campaign.

Today, Shorten’s campaign runs partly on dirty money. Dodgy deals, done behind the backs of workers at Coles, Woolworths and more, have been funnelled through a union into Labor. There are probably 500,000 workers missing out on penalty rates, unlawfully, right now. Turnbull could stand up and condemn this and demand Shorten renounce it.

When the 7-Eleven wage rip-offs came to light, Shorten used the case to announce a policy to increase penalties on employers. But his proposed reform exempts small business, meaning 7-Eleven franchisees wouldn’t be caught in Labor’s so-called plan to catch them. Turnbull could point this out and pose a question along the lines of: Is this a genuine error, just staggering stupidity or has yet another dodgy deal, somewhere, with someone been done?

Shorten calls Turnbull a rich man’s Tony Abbott. Turnbull should call Shorten a celebrity union official to the rich and the best friend a corrupt business could have. Turnbull should say all of the above and more.

For as long as he doesn’t, of the two men, who do you think the voters will see as stronger, hungrier, more determined: Shorten, who has the guts to tell outrageous lies about Turnbull; or Turnbull, who hasn’t the guts to tell simple truths about Shorten?


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, June 26, 2016

Great Barrier Reef: Qld Government's cattle station purchase 'makes agriculture sector scapegoat'

Let's be clear:  This is NOT agricultural runoff being discussed.  It is pastoral runoff.  A cattle station and an arable farm are not the same.  There are virtually no arable farms in the Northern half of Cape York peninsula and yet that is where coral bleaching is greatest -- providing an excellent natural experiment that proves Greenie claims about agricultural runoff to be false.

Pastoral runoff may however be a different thing.  The property discussed below does appear to have been badly managed, if managed at all.  Producing anything in such a remote area must encounter a lot of high costs so cutting costs on management might be expected.  In the circumstances, the steps being taken by the Queensland government are well-advised.

There is however no reason why one property must be taken as proving a generality.  For all we know, there may be no other pastoral properties in the far North that are producing massive runoff.  No-one has made that case -- Greenie hand-waving aside

The agricultural sector says it is being unfairly targeted by the Queensland Government after it purchased a cattle station to reduce sediment flowing into the Great Barrier Reef.

Queensland Environment Minister Steven Miles announced on Wednesday the Government had bought Springvale Station in the state's north for $7 million.

Mr Miles said the reason for the purchase was to stem the hundreds of thousands of tonnes of sediment pollution flowing from the property into the Great Barrier Reef each year.

Generations of cattle grazing has caused massive gullies, etched deep into Springvale Station's 56,000 hectares.

These gullies carry 500,000 tonnes of sediment per year into the Normanby catchment, explained Australian Rivers Institute's Dr Andrew Brooks.

"The Normanby catchment represents about 50 per cent of the total run off to the northern part of the Great Barrier Reef," Dr Brooks told PM.

Because of this Dr Brooks supported the Queensland Government's purchase, as well as plans to rehabilitate the land and prevent further sediment from damaging the reef.

"The relationship between sediment run off and impact on coral has been well established," he said.

"What we know is that these volumes of sediment coming from this property, just to put it in perspective, that's 50,000 tipper trucks worth of sediment. "These gullies don't just deliver sediment. They also deliver nutrients. So per unit area these gullies are contributing twice the level of nutrients as a cane paddock in the wet tropics."

Mr Miles said smoothing out the gullies and replanting grass will begin as soon as possible but it is too early to tell how long the whole remediation process will take.

In the meantime, former station owners have until late next year to remove the several thousand head of cattle from the land.

While a loud chorus has praised the Queensland Government's purchase as a major step forward in remediation of the Great Barrier Reef, the agricultural sector has some reservations about the $7 million sale.

Reef Alliance chair Ruth Wade said the Queensland Government needed to ensure other industries near the reef also pull their weight. "There are areas like mines, ports, tourism, a number of areas where there are impacts of varying points," Ms Wade said.  "The obvious and easy one is the impact agriculture has in terms of sediment run off.

"We're working very hard through a number of schemes funded by Federal and State Governments to improve water quality and minimise impacts of agriculture."

But Mr Miles insisted that while all industries have a role to play in reef protection, the Government was targeting agriculture for the right reasons. "We know that a clear driver of problems for the reef is run off pollution and a great deal is cause by agricultural land," he said.

"If we can substantially reduce the amount of sediment run off from just this one property we can move ourselves forward toward the targets we have set for the entire catchment and that's a huge opportunity."

Agforce Queensland general president Graham Mosley is concerned the Government will not follow through on proper land management of the station.  "It's a challenge. There's services associated with servicing that property ... ongoing maintenance," Mr Mosley said.

"What is the long-term plan here for acquisition of land in Queensland? Government needs to be clear of the path its embarking on when spending taxpayer money.

Mr Miles concedes the land management details have not yet been determined, while not ruling out a partnership with graziers. "In terms of the ongoing wider management, beyond the rivers and gullies and streams, that's where we're interested in working with partners to determine the best way to manage it going forward," he said.

"The idea is those areas which are currently grazed could well continue to be so under some kind of partnership arrangement, while those areas that are pristine could be protected as National Park, or nature refuges, while we get about the important work of repairing the riparian zones."


Volunteer firies vow to back PM

Darcy Zaina always wanted to be a volunteer firefighter. "I just reckon it's fun and I like being there for other people," the teenager told AAP on Thursday.

But the increasingly bitter battle between Victorian volunteer and career firefighters is taking its toll on her family.

Now her dad Jon is having second thoughts about letting his daughter work under changed union conditions. "I don't think I would encourage her to take it on because it's unfair," he said.

Mr Zaina was once a Labor voter but now he's changed his mind, and the Victorian volunteer firefighter believes about half a million votes in the state could go to the coalition in the politically-charged stoush.

"There would not be a volunteer I imagine that would not vote for Liberal now - I guarantee it."

Mr Zaina said the entire state was in uproar, with CFA members set to rally for the coalition in the election.

Thousands of voters are abandoning Labor in favour of the coalition over the CFA-unions dispute, volunteer firefighters such as Alex Batty have revealed. That was the message he relayed to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull during a meeting with the local CFA branch in the Liberal-held marginal seat of Corangamite on Thursday.

Mr Turnbull ramped up his language in the dispute, warning volunteers they were in the firing line of unions.

The government had won the fight against the road safety tribunal but unions wouldn't stop there. "You're next in their targets," he told the gathering.

Mr Turnbull said he normally would not make a political speech to volunteer groups such as the CFA, but there was a clear choice at the July 2 election against militant unionism.

He used the visit to reaffirm the coalition's pledge to amend the Fair Work Act to ensure volunteers have the freedom to carry out their duties.


Australian university students are being given 'trigger warnings' in class

At the start of lessons, lectures or subjects, academics are issuing warnings about sensitive or graphic content, giving students the opportunity to opt out if they feel confronted or uncomfortable.

University of Melbourne's Dr Lauren Rosewarne, a lecturer on gender and sexuality, told The Age she has been using trigger warnings in classes for the past 13 years of her career.

'It's like television ... you have a warning for everything from drug use to supernatural things, as a way to tell the audience that [they] may be disturbed by one of any number of topics,' she said.

'These students have grown up participating in politics through Tumblr and Instagram, and I feel that expressing ideas through sound bites and policing of other language, which is rampant online, has suddenly been translated into the classroom,' Dr Rosewarne added.

According to the Herald Sun, Melbourne's LaTrobe University Student Union has made it compulsory to provide warnings before talking about 57 separate potentially discomforting issues.

Those warning issues include 'gore', 'chewing', 'slimy things' and 'food' - on the basis they may 'negatively alter (the) wellbeing' of students.

Opponents of trigger warnings in universities complain the warnings limit educational growth and stop students from being challenged by new ideas.

Matthew Lesh, a research fellow at The Institute of Public Affairs, said he was worried Australian academics were feeling pressured to juggle the job of psychologist and educator.

'Universities should be about exposing people to as many ideas as possible, even if they are challenging,' he told The Age.


Daniel Andrews government fights flare-ups on many fire fronts

The dead weight of political recklessness is suffocating Daniel ­Andrews. The tall, stooped, ­slightly bookish Labor leader is just 19 months into his premiership of Victoria but he runs a state government crippled by its failure to consult and an addiction to a rust belt ­industrial-political framework that killed the previous Cain and Kirner Labor governments.

While outwardly the government’s problems are defined by its enterprise bargaining war with the state’s 60,000 volunteer fire­fighters, Labor’s challenges are in fact structural and have to do with a failure to communicate a ­broader economic narrative.

Such is the disconnect with the electorate that there is a deep concern among senior ministers that the Premier has killed the government or faces an unimaginable two-year battle to win back voter trust after scorching the firefighting volunteers lauded as heroes for helping to save hundreds of lives during the 2009 Black Saturday fire disaster.

Andrews’s leadership is not under imminent threat (only a handful of dissidents rally against him) but his medium-term challenges verge on the profound.

“If it’s like this in a year, then he is dead,’’ one senior figure tells The Australian.

To the firefighters dispute add these controversies: a wasted $1.1 billion of taxpayer funds after Andrews nixed the inherited ­Coalition East West Link road project, a social agenda fabled left-wing South Australian premier Don Dunstan would laud, plus the bungled delivery of suburban rail and regional trains. A storm of discontent is brewing.

Those who seek to define the Andrews government by a single dispute miss a more complex story of an administration as radical in its way as the Kennett Liberal government was in the 1990s, and certainly in a bigger rush to leave its mark than any Victorian Labor government since John Cain came to power in 1982.

While its narrative focuses on its social agenda, the Andrews government is engineering a large anti-congestion strategy that will lead, across time, to tens of billions of dollars of public transport and road infrastructure projects under­pinned by the strongest budget surpluses of any government. This includes $17bn worth of urban rail, including an $11bn underground rail network through the centre of Melbourne.

The Andrews government is not on its knees because it is lazy; it learned from the Coalition Baillieu government that the price of inaction is one term in office.

Rather, its problems seem to stem from the way Andrews has failed to transition to the premiership, despite his long-term ministerial positions under Steve Bracks and John Brumby.

Andrews, 46 next month, was considered one of the safest pair of hands Victorian Labor had produced in 20 years; today Bracks is said to be bewildered by the way Andrews is performing.

Andrews grew up in regional Victoria in a farm setting, yet he often seems to govern for the inner city and Trades Hall. Life in Wangaratta, in the state’s northeast, consisted of a Marist Brothers’ education, golf, helping to raise cattle and playing with his younger sister Cynthia.

Andrews is a creature of the Victorian Left who has done little beyond politics. When he left ­Monash University he worked as an adviser to Left powerbroker and federal MP Alan Griffin and was later elevated to ALP headquarters as an organiser and then assistant state secretary between 1999 and 2002.

Andrews is still considered factionally active, though he denies this. He does not have overt connections to a particular union but is sympathetic to Left-affiliated ­organisations such as the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union.

Outwardly cautious while health minister between 2008 and 2010, Andrews built a reputation under Brumby as a deeply serious young man trusted to deliver. Which he did. A core success of the Bracks and Brumby governments was that they kept the unions at bay and, when it came to social ­issues, trod carefully. Reformers, including attorney-general Rob Hulls, flew under the radar, keeping a lid on controversy by subversive rather than overt reform. The main social change — ­decriminalisation of abortion — became a cross-party cheek-slapping debate the night the reforms passed the parliament.

Contrast this with Andrews. His Facebook page is a hyper-­progressive echo chamber where the state’s dear leader is lauded by admiring commenters on issues such as medical marijuana, the Safe Schools sex education program and renewable energy, in a feel-good stream of consciousness discourse interspersed with pop culture references ranging from The Simpsons to The Lord of the Rings.

But with the exception of the promotion of transport projects, there is little to no economic narrative that drives the discussion. It is a savvy exercise in narrow casting, stepping around mainstream media gatekeepers in a way that appeals to young and inner urban voters who may drift into the arms of the Greens.

But even some within Labor are wondering if the tail has begun to wag the dog when it comes to the social agenda dominating government utterances in parliament and media conferences over the bread-and-butter business of state government ­service delivery.

“It’s not that the social agenda is bad, it’s that it is taking the available airspace from things that ­really matter to people such as jobs, infrastructure and education,’’ one senior Labor source says.

“That’s OK when you are doing well, but the moment you hit a crisis you have no stored credit in the bank.

“People might say, ‘This is bad, but they have got the runs on the board on the important stuff and I am willing to forgive a few mistakes.’ But if all you have is the social agenda — which often they don’t make the decisions about such as gay marriage or immigration — the politics of symbolism begins to take over.”

The source says even the more conservative ministers in the cabinet could live with the government’s social agenda (and support the good work the government has done on family violence) but “everyone” shakes their head that the government’s economic story is not told.

In some respects, the Andrews government has a good story to tell. There is an acceptance that the $6bn level crossings replacement program is a rare mix of good policy and politics. (Melbourne has a historical burden of hundreds of rail crossings intersecting busy roads, leading to considerable congestion and delays on the road and rail networks.)

The government is making good on its vow to build the Melbourne Metro rail tunnel and has partnered with toll road operator Transurban to deliver a second river crossing through the Western Distributor road project to ease congestion in the nation’s fastest growing suburbs.

And business is backing ­Andrews for continuing Victoria’s international engagement and drawing the state closer to China.

But these positives are negated by the $1.1bn cost of junking the East West Link. And a failure to properly engage Victorians about leasing the $6bn Port of Melbourne led to the opposition forcing a humiliating backdown on the government to secure opposition support for the privatisation. This episode is a symptom of a toxic ­relationship between the parties, which has led to parliament ­becoming dysfunctional in recent sessions. There is a visceral dislike between Andrews and Liberal leader Matthew Guy that sets the tone in the chamber.

But it is the Country Fire Authority dispute that has done more than anything to dent Andrews’s standing. The seeds for the disaster were sown when Andrews made the ill-fated decision in April to sideline emergency services minister Jane Garrett and meet directly with the United Firefighters Union’s ultra-militant leader Peter Marshall. Those who know Marshall say he’s someone who prefers a fight to a feed, and brawling was exactly what he was doing with Garrett.

At the 2014 state election, Marshall, along with his Ambulance Employees Association colleagues, had helped deliver Andrews government by refusing to negotiate with the Coalition government and then turning out members in droves to campaign for the ALP. But after a few sessions over the negotiating table with Marshall, Garrett was in no frame of mind to honour any perceived IOUs to the UFU and she bunkered down with the CFA and its volunteers in opposing the union’s push for control over the volunteer organisation.

In many ways, she was on the side of the angels. But once the row ended up in the Fair Work Commission, the UFU had a stroke of luck when conciliation was ­handed to former Australian Manufacturing Workers Union official Julius Roe. Roe staunchly defends his ­independence but the opposition accuses him of siding with the union by delivering recommendations that resembled the union’s claims with a bit of token verbiage around consultation.

It rapidly became apparent that Garrett would not back the proposed deal in cabinet. Earlier this month, Andrews returned from a trip to the US to his government in crisis. He sat down to negotiate with Garrett in what amounted to a game of chicken. Neither was prepared to give way and in the end the emergency services minister was given her marching ­orders. Since then ­Andrews has swept aside all remaining obstacles to ramming it through, installing his deputy James Merlino as Emergency Services Minister, firing the CFA board and jettisoning the ­organisation’s chief executive, ­Lucinda Nolan, a respected former senior policewoman.

Now the deal is on the verge of going through. But there’s no hiding the fact that the deal has enraged many of the CFA’s 60,000 volunteers, concerned about increasing union influence and the drop in response times the extra career firefighters will deliver in the urban fringe and regions.

The government’s sales job, sloppy as it is, may quell some anger in time for the 2018 election, but the damage to Andrews’s personal standing will be harder to ­repair. Back in the 2014 campaign ads he was styled as Everyday Dan, a mild-mannered family man lending a ready ear to ordinary Victorians’ woes. Of course, in truth Andrews has a ruthless streak — all successful politicians do — and it has been on display throughout the dispute.

The opposition accuses the Premier of bullying Garrett and Nolan out of their jobs. ­Andrews has talked a big game on bullying through his support for the Safe Schools program. But in the weeks before the dispute blew up, he surrendered the high moral ground when he was caught making a fat gibe in parliament directed at a Liberal MP.

The story itself was a one-day blip, curtailed by Andrews’s prompt apology. But the opposition is using it to ­develop a narrative around a “bullying” Premier drunk on his own power. Both parties know how effective this narrative can be — last time it was used it marked the end of Jeff Kennett’s reign. Andrews is no Kennett. But those who have been around Spring Street for a long time will know there are many similarities. Kennett was difficult to categorise and so is ­Andrews. One from the Right, one from the Left. But Kennett arrived in 1992 with ­unprecedented goodwill while Andrews was an accidental premier who profited from Coalition ­incompetence.

To suggest Andrews is on his own, however, is wrong. The broad Left faction has reaffirmed its support for him and one senior ALP figure points to Bill Shorten as a key factor in Andrews forcing the CFA dispute to a head. The story goes that Shorten, directly or indirectly, demanded that the UFU dispute be resolved before the federal election. This would explain why Andrews ­entered the debate carrying a chainsaw and wearing heavy-duty boots.

“Dan was happy for the dispute to run and run and run. It was Shorten who forced the issue,’’ an ALP source says. “The truth is he was doing Bill’s work and then Garrett blew us up. She completely overreacted and that’s why we are where we are.”

This version of events makes some sense. It would explain why a (generally) capable operator like Andrews entered the fray. Yet it is impossible to believe that Shorten would have sanctioned the way Andrews has done it, going to war with the people who helped save the state on Black Saturday.

This strategy bewildered some of the Premier’s strongest sup­porters. Andrews will be lucky to survive the fallout. The seats of Brunswick and Richmond in Melbourne’s inner north and east are under siege from the Greens and gains are hard to make given the rare clean sweep of the four bayside “sandbelt” seats in 2014.

ALP hardheads insist, however, that demographic changes will help Labor’s second-term chances, along with the natural “sophomore surge” that benefits many first-time MPs.

But never forget that Andrews is a groundbreaker. No premier has ever so recklessly picked a brawl with 60,000 firefighting volunteers to back a union mate and expect to win an election. On that political fire front, Andrews is a standout.


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