Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Multiculturalism in Australia, success or failure?

David Forde, below, seems to think there has been some sort of success of multiculturalism in Australia.  Maybe there has been, though he offers no proof of it.  But the big success with immigrants to Australia has in fact been with assimilation.  People from all over the world have come to Australia and fitted in well with the mores of the host society.  And by and large, their children are indistiguishable from other Australians.  Not much multiculturalism there!

The ARE multiculturalists here but do we call African crime and Muslim hostility a success?  I can't see it.  It's true that not all Africans commit crimes and not all Muslims wage jihad against us but the crimes and the jihad clearly come from the alien culture of the offenders.  Not many Presbyterians wage Jihad and not many Han Chinese do breaking and entering.  The culture clearly makes a difference.  The assimilated Han are no problem but who would say that of the Africans?

David Forde's big problem is that he has swallolwed the Leftist hokum that all men are equal. To him the Han and the Africans are all the same.  If only Africans WERE as civilized as the Han!  But he is quite incapable of discussing such differences. He relies totally on overgeneralizations.  He inhabits a world of mental fog.

As we read below, Forde thinks that if all are treated and made to feel equal within the rule of law, that will create "a sense of belonging and strengthening social cohesion".  So how come it hasn't?  There's certainly no "sense of belonging and social cohesion" among members of the South Sudanese Apex gang members who are terrorising parts of Melbourne these days.  But they have all been treated equally before the law.

If we look at the detail that Forde cannot see, we have to conclude that assimilation is the answer to social cohesion, not multiculturalism

RECENTLY there has been a resurgence in negativity regarding multiculturalism.

As I see it, we have two choices. We can speak up in support of inclusion where all are treated and made to feel equal within the rule of law, thereby creating a sense of belonging and strengthening social cohesion.

Or, we don’t speak up and treat multiculturalism as a concept to be avoided or scapegoated. Thereby letting the negative control the narrative while creating a sense of exclusion, where people are more readily labelled and some are considered more Australian than others. As a result, we encourage division as people retreat into various ethnic groupings and put up the barriers as they seek a sense of belonging and acceptance from within.

It also creates an environment where the more vulnerable are left open to exploitation.

Yes, there are people who don’t want to, or don’t feel comfortable associating with people outside their own given identity – this is normal and applies to people of all backgrounds.

The important thing is that it’s not about everyone agreeing or being the same, that’s simply impossible, it’s about acceptance and a fair go where everyone is treated equally. Surely everyone is entitled to that.

There are too many Australians, including many born here, who feel excluded from society and continually have to justify their “Australianness”.

Every one of us is different, but as individuals we share more in common than we realise. One of those commonalities is that everyone, except our First Peoples, is of migrant stock; it’s just that some are more recent than others.

Currently more than 28 per cent of Australia’s population was born overseas. Australia is a multicultural success story.

So scapegoating the very substance that has delivered today’s Australia is not the answer. In fact it is completely counter-productive, not least for economic reasons around trade and tourism.

I have been very fortunate to call Australia home for the past 24 years and live in one of the most culturally diverse suburbs in Queensland. I have neighbours who originate from all parts of the globe. Despite this diversity – or because of it – we have a tremendous sense of community, not least when the community, be they from the local service clubs, mosques, churches, temples or just everyday community members, rally together to assist those in need.

Creating fear of the “other” or the unknown is very easy. But rather than rejecting or scapegoating Australia’s multicultural success story, we should embrace it; there are simply too many benefits.

Go out and meet your fellow Australians, engage and replace (politically motivated) fear of the unknown with curiosity.

This leads to one simple question. What sort of Australia do we want, a weak and divided Australia or a strong and inclusive Australia?

I know what I want and what is in Australia’s long-term interests.


Slow and steady on climate: Joyce

The Turnbull government will ensure the next phase of its climate policy meets Australia's obligations under the Paris deal but isn't "messianic", Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce says.

The government will review its full suite of climate policies in 2017, as the emissions reduction fund exhausts its $2.55 billion budget and the coalition looks to other methods to cut carbon pollution.

Environmental groups have concerns the review will provide a smokescreen to drop climate action and respond to sceptics within the government and on the Senate crossbench who see it as a waste of taxpayers' money.

Mr Joyce told reporters in Brisbane on Monday the government would ensure it met its Paris target - to reduce emissions by 26-28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 - which builds on its 2020 target of reducing emissions by five per cent below 2000 levels.

"We believe in our obligations as signed off by an international treaty in Paris and we'll make sure we meet them," Mr Joyce said.

"We are on target to meet them at the moment and we are doing it at a vastly more affordable way than the Labor party ever was."

But he said the government would not achieve the target "by changing the whole world, like the ACT, to 100 per cent renewables - what a load of crock".

"We are not going be a messianic figure out there by ourselves," he said.

Labor leader Bill Shorten said he would like the review to be conducted in a bipartisan way.

"(But) we're not going to get bipartisanship while Malcolm Turnbull has lost his spine on climate change," Mr Shorten told reporters in Perth.

"He did have it once, no questioning that, but now he's so keen to keep his job he'll swap climate change policy for climate scepticism ... he won't take any real action in terms of the fundamental issues including standing up for renewable energy."

Mr Turnbull's deal with the Rudd Labor government on a carbon pollution reduction scheme ended with his own party dumping him in favour of Tony Abbott.


Self-righteous prick David Morrison

Miranda Devine

It’s not too late to say sorry, David Morrison. Many are still waiting to hear a few simple words

The visit to Townsville of former army chief David Morrison last week ended in humiliation when a savvy local reporter rocked him with a question about the Jedi Council sex scandal that launched his career as a gender maven at the expense of innocent officers.

“What a ridiculous assertion,” Morrison thundered at Townsville Bulletin reporter Kieran Rooney. “I’m surprised actually and disappointed you would take this opportunity, when I am here in a civilian capacity engaging with the business community in Townsville around diversity, to try and dredge up a matter that is years old.”

The outburst prompted the Bulletin to slap Morrison on its front page under the mocking headline: “Return of the Jedi”.

Townsville is a garrison town where Morrison is widely detested because of the egregious injustice done to one of their own, the former commanding officer of the Joint Logistics Unit North Queensland, Lt Col Karel Dubsky, sacked by Morrison for not reading emails containing sexist material cc’d to him.

That’s right: NOT reading. Not even opening.

Morrison’s logic was that Dubsky, as commanding officer, should have been across the entire contents of his inbox.

The reality was that, having made the thundering “standard you walk past” YouTube speech in 2013 which catapulted him onto the global stage as a feminist hero, Morrison had to justify his claim of systemic sexism in the Australian Defence Force.

The most senior scapegoat was the blameless Dubsky.

On June 13, 2013, two months after his YouTube speech, Morrison called a press conference to announce that a group of 17 Army officers were allegedly, “in production and distribution of highly inappropriate material demeaning women across both the Defence computer systems and the public internet.”
Former commanding officer of the Joint Logistics Unit North Queensland, Lt Col Karel Dubsky, was sacked by Morrison for not reading emails containing sexist material. (Pic: Supplied)

The group came to be known as the “Jedi Council”. Dubsky was not one of them.

Asked the highest rank of the men involved, Morrison replied: “There is one lieutenant-colonel who is part of this group”.

He didn’t name Dubsky but everyone in the Army knew who he was.

“There were not many Lieutenant Colonels in Townsville subjected to an Australian Defence Force Investigative Service office raid on June 5, 2013,” Dubsky recalled later.

“Then my name and image were released in the media. Despite knowing I had done nothing wrong, (Morrison) made no effort to protect my name… He embarrassed (me) on national TV.”

Army investigators trawled through every email Dubsky had sent or received and all they found were two private emails to two male friends, containing no images but with the words “DD boobs” and “shag”, which Dubsky admits was “inappropriate language” but hardly a hanging offence.

“Morrison tried hard to pin the Jedi Council on me but when he couldn’t, he sacked me from command because ‘I failed to remain aware of issues that affect me, my unit and Army’.

“... everyone thought I was part of Jedi Council. I was just dead man walking.”

Dubsky didn’t just lose his command, and an upcoming prestigious posting to the United States. He lost his reputation and his identity.

In October, 2013, he was officially cleared, in a letter from then Defence Force Chief David Hurley, saying “I accept... that you were not a part of the activities of a group styled ‘the Jedi Council’’.

Hurley also made the decision, against Morrison’s recommendation, not to terminate his service.

But by then Dubsky was a broken man. The father of two succumbed to PTSD, triggered by events in Afghanistan, was discharged from the Army medically unfit and has been in and out of psych wards ever since.

His pain culminated in a suicide attempt on Australia Day this year, while at home watching his TV in disbelief as the leader he felt had betrayed him was honoured as Australian of the Year.

So when Army people complain that Morrison has done nothing for veterans, there is a special sting in their accusations.

Vietnam veteran Tony Dell, founder of Stand Tall 4 PTS, a charity for post-traumatic stress sufferers, says: “It was an absolute travesty he was made AOTY. I travel around the country and talk to a lot of veterans and a lot of people in Defence and no one says a kind word about him.”

Veterans still fume about Morrison’s comment to the ABC last year that: “I don’t think that there’s a military solution to anything.” And they can’t forgive his attack on the Anzac legend as too male and “Anglo-Saxon”.

Dell says when he asked Morrison last year to appear at a PTSD forum to be held in Brisbane six months later: “Without a moment’s hesitation he said ‘I’ll be too busy’.”

Of course, by September Morrison had retired from the army, become chairman of the Diversity Council and embarked on a lucrative career as gender warrior.

As he nears the end of his AOTY post, in which his much ridiculed attempt to ban the word “guys” was the highlight, there is mounting pressure for an apology to Dubsky.

All Dubsky wants is official recognition of what the private letter from Hurley states, that he was not part of the Jedi Council.

“It galls me that Morrison does not understand that if you publicly accuse someone of something and then find out they’re innocent that you should then correct the record publicly.”

Just a few words would mean so much.


David Morrison’s Australian of the Year award brings many complaints

Political correctness has got him a long way -- but few fans among the people

It was meant to be a widely ­applauded and unifying gong: the awarding of Australian of the Year to former chief of army Lieutenant General David Morrison.

He became a contender after achieving social-media celebrity status for a 2013 speech, about unacceptable sexism by servicemen, written for him by transgender senior military officer Catherine McGregor. She was rewarded with Queenslander of the Year shortly before Defence chiefs confidentially paid $25,000 in compensation in January to an army major who was criticised and mocked by Ms McGregor on ­social media.

But for bureaucrats in the ­Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the choice of Morrison kept them busy with written explanations to placate disgruntled voters, a troubled senator — Queensland’s James McGrath, Assistant Minister to the PM, who questioned Ms McGregor’s award — and Liberal supporters expressing annoyance and bewilderment.

Documents released to The Australian by Malcolm Turnbull’s department after a Freedom of ­Information request show that a senior public servant replied to everyone in terms which carefully distanced the Prime Minister from any part in the selections by the National Australia Day ­Council.

A common theme of the letters and emails sent to the Prime Minister was that the selection was wrong, divisive and brought discredit to the awards. None of the missives were positive about the choice of Mr Morrison, whose first major speech in his new role promoted his view that Australia should be a republic. He has subsequently lobbied Australians to cease using the word “guys” to ­address men and women in the workplace, arguing the term is sexist and insensitive to females.

One of the documents released under FOI shows council chairman Ben Roberts-Smith — Australia’s most highly decorated soldier as the recipient of the Victoria Cross and Medal for Gallantry — wrote to Mr Turnbull in February and acknowledged the public backlash.

“You will be aware David’s ­selection has generated some healthy debate which isn’t unusual for someone who wants to challenge conventional thinking,” Mr Roberts-Smith wrote to Mr Turnbull.

However, Mr Roberts-Smith, also general manager of Queensland’s Seven TV network, did not believe the controversy was unique.

“This has happened many times in the history of the awards and I believe it simply reflects the significance of the program and that everyone seems to have an opinion on who should take the honour,’’ he added. He undertook to “factor into our annual review of the program” the public debate.

But senior sources said the 2016 awards had eclipsed earlier years for public and media protests. Senator McGrath, whose ministerial portfolio gives him ­direct responsibility for the ­National Australia Day Council, wanted to know how Ms McGregor became Queenslander of the Year — and an automatic finalist as Australian of the Year — when she had not lived in the state for about 30 years.

Ken Wyatt, the Liberal Party’s federal member for the West Australian seat of Hasluck, passed on to Mr Turnbull’s staff negative feedback from unhappy constituents, including one who wrote “to express my disgust at the appointment of the latest Australian of the Year”.

The National Australia Day Council was asked by Senator ­McGrath a series of questions ­including who prepared the shortlist in the Queensland Premier’s Department, who chaired and sat on the selection panel, and what guidelines had to be met for someone to win the state award?

The council’s then chief executive Jeremy Lasek told Senator ­McGrath: “After Catherine had progressed through the process, the NADC contacted Catherine to check that she was comfortable being considered for the award in Queensland, even though she had not lived there for some time. Catherine said she always identified as a proud Queenslander.”

Queenslander of the Year Catherine McGregor. Picture: Gary Ramage
Queenslander of the Year Catherine McGregor. Picture: Gary Ramage
Ms McGregor, who earlier this year criticised the choice of her former boss, Mr Morrison, as a “weak and conventional” choice for Australian of the Year, has felt pointedly ignored by the Queensland government for the past 12 months. She has been given no official ­duties by the office of Premier ­Annastacia Palaszczuk or any of her ministers, a senior source revealed yesterday. Her visits to Queensland for public events have been privately funded and organised by her and others.

Mr Lasek advised the Prime Minister’s department on February 1 that Senator McGrath “just called me direct in mobile. He says there is some concern in his home state about the Qld AOTY not having lived in the state for many years and how Cate McGregor came to be AOTY there”.

Most of the correspondence to explain the decisions was managed by Peter Arnaudo, assistant secretary at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, who repeatedly and prominently stressed that while Mr Turnbull presented the award, “he is not ­involved in the selection process”.

Mr Arnaudo and his staff workshopped internal explanations to send to citizens who criticised Mr Morrison for allegedly grandstanding and publicly shaming and ousting a small number of military men: the so-called “Jedi Council” who had exchanged emails about sex with women. Affected officers said the disciplinary and public action taken was overkill which destroyed careers and led to the attempted suicide of a respected ­officer who had done nothing wrong.

Typical of the tone in letters sent to Mr Turnbull was this: “I am aware that there is a small well-paid bureaucracy that beavers away to produce the recommendation to government. But in the end it is the government that makes the choice and must take the flack for an exceedingly poor choice.”

Another described the awards as a laughing stock and rebuked Mr Morrison for having sworn ­allegiance to the Commonwealth but now saying “he didn’t believe in that and wants a republic”.

One wrote: “The choice of David Morrison was a bad call by all involved. Mr Morrison took less than 24 hours to create an ­irreparable split in the Australian public with unnecessary utterings about both a republic and the Muslim issue.”

Another urged: “Dear Malcolm, please show some courage and heart and ask this man to stand down.”

One wrote: “Dear Mr Turnbull, I ask that the decision to award Mr David Morrison the title of Australian of the Year is reviewed. There is too much of a cloud over him which denigrates the role …’’

Mr Turnbull was told: “His duty would be to bring Australians together. Instead, he is causing division with his dictatorial spruiking about a republic.”


Tasmanian Governor Kate Warner utters good-sounding but stupid overgeneralizations

Senator Hanson said Governor Kate Warner should consider stepping aside after she challenged her views on Muslim immigration at rally in Hobart on Saturday.

Professor Warner addressed the Walk Together rally in Hobart and questioned Senator Hanson's position that Australia was being swamped by Muslims and that there should be a ban on Muslim immigration.

Professor Warner used the speech to ask Australians to challenge those ideals. "She [Pauline Hanson] declared that Australia was being swamped by Muslims and ... reiterated a call for a ban on Muslim immigration," she said.

"I think we must call out racism and stand up to intolerance and, as Governor of Tasmania, I'm very proud to stand up and say welcome to Australia to all asylum seekers and immigrants, no matter what colour or creed. "I think it's so important for Australians who oppose her views to stand up and be counted."

In a statement, Senator Hanson described Professor Warner's comments as naive. "Governor Warner's comments misrepresent my position and the seriousness of the situation facing Australia with regard to Islamic immigration," the statement said. "Like much of Australia's political class, the Governor is naive about Islam."

Senator Hanson called on Governor Warner to consider stepping aside. She accused the Governor of "moralistic posturing" and breaking a tradition of staying out of political debate. "She has broken with tradition by using her symbolic position to enter into political debate," Senator Hanson said.

Government House in Hobart said the Governor would not be commenting further. But in a statement, Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman said he had taken the matter up with the Governor.

"The Premier has spoken to Her Excellency the Governor about the matter," the statement said. "It wouldn't be appropriate to publicly disclose the details of that conversation. Her Excellency the Governor retains the Premier's full support."

Senior Tasmanian Liberal senator Eric Abetz said he respected the Governor but questioned her actions. "With respect, it is not the role of the Governor to involve herself in controversial issues of the day because at the end of the day the role of the Governor amongst many others is to be the arbiter in the event of a political dispute that the Parliament cannot resolve," he said.


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

Monday, October 24, 2016

Hunt for the radical centre: confronting welfare dependency

Noel Pearson is the leading Aboriginal intellectual and he is unusually realistic below.  He recognizes the bad effects of welfare dependency, for instance. But in the end his solution to Aboriginal problems is despairing.  He in effect says that only a great new Messiah could solve them. His pessimism is  understandable.  Of all the things that have been tried by many  governments for many years, nothing works. 

And that nothing works is a clear case of the basic scientific truth that if your theories are wrong, you won't get the results you expect. Pearson simply pooh-poohs without evidence the plain truth that Aborigines are genetically different.  They have evolved over 40,000 years or more to cope with an environment vastly different from the modern world.  They are fish out of water. Only a willingness to deal with what Aborigines are actually like will have any prospect of success

But to deal with what Aborigines are actually like would imperil the insane Leftist faith that all men are equal.  So the status quo will continue

My subject is the legacy of the great American public intellectual and politician Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the author of one of the most famous briefings in the history of public policy. As an aide in president Lyndon Johnson’s labour department, Moynihan’s 1965 paper The Negro Family: The Case for National Action argued that the US government was underestimating the damage done to black families by "three centuries of sometimes unimaginable mistreatment" and the "racist virus in the American blood stream" that would continue to plague blacks in the future. He wrote:

"That the Negro American has survived at all is extraordinary — a lesser people might simply have died out, as indeed others have … But it may not be supposed that the Negro American community has not paid a fearful price for the incredible mistreatment to which it has been subjected over the past three centuries.

"The Negro family, battered and harassed by discrimination, injustice, and uprooting, is in the deepest trouble … While many young Negroes are moving ahead to unprecedented levels of achievement, many more are falling further and further behind."

Fifty years later, we live in the wake of Moynihan’s electrifying thesis on African-American prospects in the wake of civil rights. The discourse reverberated here in Australia.

Moynihan’s was an attempt to identify the radical centre in thinking about the legacy of slavery and racism and its effects on African-Americans, and what it would mean for the hopes and dreams they held after the catharsis of civil rights. These 50 years saw a tum­ultuous dialectic play out: between those captured by Moynihan’s striking call to arms and those alarmed by its analysis. This discourse began immediately with a vehement campaign by liberal social reformers and leftist activists to oppose the adoption of Moynihan’s thinking by the US federal government.

The first riposte to The Negro Family came from Harvard academic William Ryan, taking aim at Moynihan’s identification of the black family as the ground zero of black poverty and social crisis, later published in book form in 1971, Blaming the Victim. I re-read Moynihan and Ryan in preparation for this oration, as well as a bracing retrospective by Ta-Nehisi Coates in Between the World and Me. Coates is the leading black intellectual of the Black Lives Matter movement and his book is a searing analysis of the ongoing American dilemma.

Last year on its 50th anniver­sary, The Atlantic republished The Negro Family and Coates’s article "The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration". It is astounding to reflect that in the entire leftist argument that any attempt to attribute responsibility or personal agency to individuals in respect of social problems has its genesis in Ryan’s accusation that one may be "blaming the victim". It became the most powerful nostrum of leftist objection to social analyses on personal behavioural terms and any policy responses predicated on such analyses. In my reading of Ryan, however, I cannot gainsay much of its insight and perception. Unlike the leftist discourse that he spawned in subsequent decades, Ryan’s original critique cuts to the quick and warrants reflection.

I won’t rehearse the terms of that original disputation, except to say Ryan objected to the so-called "tangled pathology" within African-American families as a misattribution of their predicament. While Moynihan’s denunciation of the ongoing horrific effects of racism against black Americans was unequivocal, Ryan cogently argues slavery was not the immediate cause of the problems manifesting in black families: poverty was their cause. Similar problems were manifesting with other peoples around the world in like circumstances.

I find Ryan’s critique sobering in long retrospect because he reminds us of the danger of conveniently pathologising specific aspects of black life, particularly family life in the ghettos, without turning our eyes to the economic and structural circumstances in which these families live and the deprivations they not only suffered in the distant past but continued to endure. Social policy responses in the modern era have been confined to addressing segments of egregious disparity without looking at the broader circumstances that gave rise to those problems and which, more importantly, drive these problems into the future.

The chief accusation against Moynihan is the Negro family’s causal role in poverty. This is, I think, unfair. The better way to understand Moynihan’s argument is that the Negro family was the victim and became the transmitter of poverty. Once entrenched in poverty with all its effects on black family life, the family then becomes the means by which poverty is transmitted to future generations.

When I reflect on the history of this discourse over half a century, I wonder how much better it would have been if the insights of these two great intellectuals had somehow been reconciled, each correcting and balancing the other rather than repudiating the other. Instead, they became polar opposites in an unresolved discourse that organised a liberal progressive tribe on the one side, and a conservative tribe on the other.

Charles Murray’s 1984 book Losing Ground, which laid out the modern articulation of welfare reform, is the legatee of Moynihan’s Negro Family.

However, the very alarm harboured by Ryan that the political and intellectual Right would pathologise and blame African-Americans for their own predicament was realised when Murray and Richard Herrnstein subsequently published The Bell Curve, spuriously arguing that black Americans were innately intellectually inferior to whites. The problems of poverty and social inequality had their source in the innate character and genetics of black people, and the old assumptions about black racial inferiority found its new sociological cloak in The Bell Curve.

Attempts to build policy in the radical centre found their apotheosis in president Bill Clinton’s enactment of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act in 1996, aiming, in Clinton’s invocation of Moynihan’s original words, "to end welfare as we know it". It sought to reconcile the behavioural dimension of welfare dependency and the structural opportunity of employment. These reforms were supported by the now New York senator Moynihan, to the dismay of the welfare rights lobby.

There is great debate about the success of the PRWORA reforms, but it is clear this reconciliation was dependent on the availability of work. The deal worked during the Clinton administration when jobs were available but could not be sustained in the economic downturn. You can mandate personal responsibility but not employment opportunity.

My interest is the radical centre. This is the place where those in search of a better society might best hunt. It is the sweet spot representing the right combination of conservative, social and liberal ideas and insights. Rather than the weak, "lowest common denominator" compromise between left and right, the radical centre is the highest, noblest compromise. It brings together high ideals with hard realism. It is high-minded pragmatism informed by intense dialogue and negotiation.

Clinton, Tony Blair and other social democratic leaders around the world were the chief proponents of radical centre politics, however its invention began in Australia with the Hawke-Keating government in 1983. Paul Keating was its greatest exponent. My own view is the difference between Keating as the champion of the radical centre — seeking to produce social good underpinned by economic reform — and John Howard, is that Howard was the great manager of the centre, whereas the exceptional character of Keating’s leadership was to drive the radical centre: to pursue reform and not just management.

The politics of the radical centre have declined in the past decade and a half and we have retreated to that old tepid partisanship, plying for the promiscuous affections of swinging voters. The terms of public political debates are largely between the 15 per cent of the far right against the 15 per cent of the far left, with the middle just sagging.

As perspicacious as Ryan is in Blaming the Victim, in retrospect his thesis informed a half-century’s worth of leftists encouraging the poor to see themselves as victims. This was not his intention but it was his effect. His riposte to Moynihan was a nostrum that became an ideology that became a mindset, and legions of leftist social workers and academics compounded the idea that the victimised were indeed victims and entitled to a sense of victimhood.

I have long argued against the horrific results of this legacy. Inculcating a sense of victimhood in the victimised is for me to remove power from the victims. In a sense, the Right’s relative heartlessness was preferable: better to object to the Right’s hypocrisy than to succumb to the Left sanctifying victimhood. The frog falling in the fire can at least jump, whereas the frog in the freezer hibernates peacefully to his death.

In 1999, I published my thesis Our Right to Take Responsibility. My conviction was in the difference between poverty and passivity. Poverty in the Third World as I had witnessed in Vietnam was of a different character to the passivity in my home community.

My thesis was based on the idea that we needed to assume responsibility as a power — as a power to take control over our lives and to have the kind of self-determination that successful citizens, communities and peoples need, expect and are entitled to in a liberal and social democratic society. Like Moynihan, however, my thesis aroused objections from the Australian Left, indigenous and non-indigenous. A similar discourse that engulfed the Moynihan report played out in a provincial echo here in Australia.

I want to go through the main contentions in this discourse that have eluded common ground. First, in relation to social disadvantage and poverty, the issue of explaining the ultimate origin of these problems going back to the colonial past, to the legacy of racism and exclusion, versus more proximate explanations such as indigenous communities leaving the cattle industry and joining the welfare rolls, and the rise of substance abuse epidemics, is the subject of great convulsion. My argument has been that, though historical wrongs have ongoing impacts, many problems now manifest in our communities are of recent origin. They concern the rise of substance abuse epidemics and welfare dependency in recent decades.

Another debate centres on causation. What drives poverty — is it the structural circumstance of disadvantaged peoples, or is it the behaviour of the peoples themselves that explain the cause of these problems?

Yet another dimension is the effect of racism. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have experienced and continue to experience appalling racism in Australian society. But in responding to that racism, should we inculcate a sense of victimhood in the victimised, or should we resist racism while ensuring it does not become our burden? We should never inculcate a sense of victimhood, otherwise we let the racists win.

And finally, the whole question about agency: should we focus on personal agency or structural reform? The Left says structural reform and the Right says personal agency. Like Clinton and Obama, I say both/and. Because at the end of the day, it is personal agency that will drive structural reform. We can’t just sit back and hope structural reform will somehow happen, and absolve us of the necessity of agency. This is the passive leftist dream of social justice. Social justice in truth can be secured only when two by two, clutching our children to our breasts, we climb the stairs of social progress in pursuit of better lives for our families, animated by the engine of our own liberal self-interest, while supported by the social underpinnings of that staircase built by the distribution of opportunity.

We need strong, healthy, educated children to emerge in distressed communities while working for the structural reforms for the progress of our communities. The stronger our children are, the better they will be able to fight for structural reform.

In 2015, eight regional communities across indigenous Australia developed and provided the federal government with an agenda for empowered communities, which grapples with the structural dimensions of indigenous empowerment.

This blueprint sought to answer the call for empowerment made in the 1990 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. Twenty-five years after the royal commission the number of indigenous people in prison doubled. Australia’s indigenous imprisonment rate is the highest in the world: 27 per cent of our prisoners come from 3 per cent of the population. No statistic speaks more profoundly to the structural nature of our predicament than this one. If there is not a structural, indeed, constitutional basis for 3 per cent of any society filling 27 per cent of its jails, then we would have to subscribe to a theory of innate criminality on the part of those peoples. The most notorious figures concerning the indigenous plight in this country make plain this is not a problem of criminology or socio-economic development — this is a problem of disempowerment derived from that people’s status in the nation.

We proposed a comprehensive policy program for consideration by the federal, state and territory governments. Essentially, the challenge of creating a level playing field between the elephant of government and the mouse of indigenous Australia is to find the right fulcrum between the two, to create a relationship of negotiation and mutual responsibility and respect, rather than a top-down relationship of mendicancy and control.

The other structural agenda that is imperative, in my view, is the constitutional recognition of indigenous Australians. This, too, is about empowerment and responsibility. Australia’s first nations must be empowered with a voice in relation to the laws and policies affecting our people.

Finally, the country needs to embrace the indigenous heritage of Australia in a way that celebrates it as the heritage of the entire nation, and which provides assurance to our first nations that the extraordinary languages and cultures of this land may endure long on this continent, as they have done for more than 50,000 years.

Empowerment. Recognition. Cultural embrace. These are the structural agendas of indigenous policy to which we must employ the shoulders of the nation. But achieving them must be the mutual responsibility of indigenous Australians and non-indigenous Australians alike. We all recognise the problems and yearn for solutions. The question is: will the nation’s leaders take up this challenge? Are we willing to work together to make the paradigmatic shifts that are needed? Is anybody willing to lead?

As a nation, we must have the courage to change the way we do business in indigenous affairs.

I put these views forward from the unfortunate conclusion that there is little that is promising in what has been done and is being done under the banner of "welfare reform" in Australia. Fiddling around with entitlement design and conditions is not by itself going to reform welfare. They will be components of a comprehensive agenda, but they are not sufficient to constitute real reform.

Indeed, we have probably worsened things with the move to outsourcing human service delivery to the private sector. While this outsourcing may be said to be more efficient, the truth is that we have now created and entrenched industries whose sole rationale is the existence of social problems. Beyond the employment and training services industries, we now have private sector industries in all manner of social need and misery, the dead end of which is child protection. The profit motive now exists in the space that separates lost children from their mothers’ bosoms. These vampire industries have completely colonised indigenous communities, and constitute the Australian welfare state’s main response to poverty and the problems that arose from welfare dependency.

Now that rentals flow in these industries there is no incentive for players to work to resolve the social problems that is their market. Rather, the imperative now is simply to manage and, indeed, sustain them. The purveyors of these quasi-markets of outsourced government service delivery now hold the commanding heights, and resist reform.

My belief has always been that we need to pursue reform on both fronts: at the behavioural and structural levels. I do not resile from mutual responsibility and conditional welfare. By themselves they will not solve our problems but there is no escaping the fact disadvantage over time becomes dysfunction, that poverty over time becomes passivity.

The struggle for structural reform is not easy. Even where we have developed concrete agendas for empowerment, the country’s political leaders do not know how to respond. If I have learned anything these past 15 years it is that reforms to secure the radical centre on poverty and disadvantage require national leaders to lead them. You need the equivalent of Keating to lead real social reform, as the flip side of economic reform. The radical centre cannot be secured by activists and provocateurs from the outside, and neither by minor ministers. Only a Johnson or Keating can have the dexterity and authority to do what needs to be done.


Gillian Triggs is just another Leftist liar

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield has criticised the President of the Human Rights Commission Gillian Triggs for misleading a Senate inquiry, saying that it is "extremely important" that government officers be "honest and transparent".

Senator Fifield said that Professor Triggs may be recalled before the Senate to explain her "misleading" comments to an estimates hearing, where she wrongly accused journalists at The Saturday Paper of publishing inaccurate comments.

Professor Triggs was forced to correct the parliamentary record after it emerged the newspaper had kept a recording of its interview with the Professor.

"It is extremely important that statutory officer holders, when they are before committees of the parliament, weigh very carefully every word that they use," Senator Fifield told Sky News Australian Agenda this morning.

"Obviously those officers should conduct themselves in an upfront, honest and transparent way, but it is particularly so when they are giving evidence to a Senate committee.

"People should mean what they say, and say what they mean and they should be upfront and honest in their presentations to committees of the Australian Parliament."

When asked if Professor Triggs maintained the confidence of the Turnbull cabinet, Senator Fifield said it was up to Attorney General George Brandis to make that judgment.

Manager of Government Business Christopher Pyne said he was sorry that Professor Triggs had allowed herself to "get dragged into politics in Australia."

He said the Human Rights Commission and her position as President of the AHRC should be above politics, and said she had made "substantial errors of judgement" by commenting on the political process and commenting on politicians.

"The interview in which she roundly criticised one political party, which was then reported and then she said it was taken out of context, it was a mistake on her part. I feel disappointed that the position of Human Rights Commissioner has been politicised in this way," he said.

"Whether the government has confidence in her or not is a matter for the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General.

He said that people would be disappointed that Professor Triggs had a high-profile political role, rather than an administrative one, "standing up for the human rights of Australians".


NSW police officers under investigation over claims of aggression and cover-ups

A culture of aggressive policing, cover-up and intimidation is infecting some police local area commands and driving officers to break their oath of duty.

The claims have been made by former NSW police officers, and come as one local area command on the border of the NSW and the ACT is plunged into crisis.

Intensive investigations are underway into the actions of officers at the Monaro Local Command at Queanbeyan in NSW's south, after former police officer Lucie Litchfield claimed she was pressured to lie in court and ultimately forced to resign her position due to relentless bullying.

Queanbeyan police are also under the spotlight after an officer drew his weapon and pointed it at the face of a driver who attempted to evade a random breath test.

In both cases, police professional standards officers are investigating.

A year after her resignation from the NSW Police Force, Ms Litchfield is calling for greater attention on what she says is a toxic culture that centres around protecting mates.

"There is still a significant lack of respect for women in policing," Ms Litchfield said.

"I believe that police are becoming a little bit more heavy-handed and getting away with it.

"I can quite openly say that I saw several incidents which were more excessive than they needed to be, which senior officers were also aware of and it never got reported and was never dealt with."

Ms Litchfield was a senior constable in the NSW Police force and was based at Queanbeyan when she was called to a roadside stop that turned violent, and would ultimately end her career.

On the evening December 21, 2013, she responded, with two male officers, to a urgent call that a green Holden Commodore had escaped the scene of a violent home invasion.

The three police officers pulled over a green Commodore in a suburban street in West Queanbeyan, but they had the wrong car.

When one of the male officers asked the occupants of the vehicle if they had any weapons, a passenger in the back seat, Ricky Caton, produced a plastic toy dinosaur, and declared: "No, but I've got a dinosaur … roaaaar!"

Mr Caton was then allegedly forcibly pulled out of the car along with the other passengers.

In a statement of claim filed with the NSW District Court, Mr Caton alleges he was forcibly pulled from the vehicle, kicked in the legs, his face shoved into the ground and handcuffed.

A second passenger, Adam Antram, who is also suing police, says that he was shoulder-charged by one of the male officers despite the fact he was complying with all police requests.

Mr Antram was allegedly thrown into a retaining wall where he hit his head and lost consciousness.

Ms Litchfield supports Mr Antram's version of events. But in statements filed in court, the two police officers involved provided a different version.

Constable Patrick Hicks, the officer alleged to have shoulder-charged Mr Antram, said he was forced to "check-drill" Mr Antram, who was charging at the other male officer, Senior Constable Todd Finnigan, as he handcuffed Mr Caton.

Both Mr Caton and Mr Antram were charged with assaulting police and resisting arrest. Charges were withdrawn after Ms Litchfield's evidence — described as "cogent and compelling" by Kiama Magistrate Mark Douglass — cast doubt on the bona fides of the prosecution.

Magistrate Douglass found the prosecution should never have been brought.

Mr Caton and Mr Antram are suing the police for assault and malicious prosecution. NSW Police are relying on Officers Hicks and Finnigan's original versions as presented in court in their defence.

"The amount of force that was used against these civilians I believed right from the start was completely unnecessary. It was just totally unprofessional," Ms Litchfield said. "I would still love to be doing the job that I loved and that I woke up every day enjoying.

"But I was very isolated right from the beginning [of this case]. Then after I gave evidence it just intensified.

"There were documents which were printed out and placed on my desk which were basically intimating that I needed security because my life was in danger.

The ABC understands the NSW Office of Public Prosecutions is currently considering whether there is sufficient evidence to charge Constable Hicks and Senior Constable Finnigan — who has been promoted to detective — with perjury, assault and perverting the course of justice. The two officers deny any wrongdoing.

Another case

Concern over aggressive policing at Queanbeyan intensified again recently when vision emerged of an officer pulling a gun on a motorist who was pursued for a random breath test.

A magistrate expressed shock during the prosecution for the man, who was charged with mid-range drink-driving, when the vision was broadcast in court.

Adrian McKenna, the motorist's lawyer, said he had filed a formal complaint with police and his client would be providing a statement to investigators who were probing the actions of the officer, Senior Constable Steven Hilhorst.

"In my view the police officer's actions were appalling," Mr McKenna said. "His conduct was completely unnecessary for the situation he was facing. It was excessive use of force, unnecessary and completely unacceptable.

"To the extent that this kind of conduct is indicative of a broader problem with aggression or lack of accountability in the Monaro local area command, then some serious questions need to be asked about that culture."

Former NSW detective Deborah Locke, a key witness at the Wood Royal Commission into corruption in the NSW Police Force 20 years ago, said she believes a "cowboy culture" is returning to some local area commands.

"I'm hearing of pockets of the boy's club, the bullying, the blue code of 'don't speak out, cover up, be a sheep, don't say anything' because if you do, you'll be squashed and anyone who supports you," she said. "I've had people contact me that are being bullied and harassed and pushed out.

"It's a club, it's a family. It's a job with a badge and a gun and a force of blue and they are tight-knit. But if you speak out about one of your own, there'll be repercussions to make an example to everyone."

The commander of the Monaro Local Area Command, Superintendent Rod Smith, declined the ABC's request for an interview.

The NSW Police Force issued a statement in response to detailed questions from the ABC. "Any complaints of bullying and harassment are investigated and, if found to be sustained, will result in the consideration of serious management action," the statement said.

"The specific matters are currently subject to investigations and inquiries are continuing. "At this stage, it is inappropriate to comment further."


Adani coalmine: Overseas money funding Green opposition

The leader of a foreign-funded, highly orchestrated group of Australian activists working to stop the $16 billion Adani coalmine in Queensland has confirmed links with the Hillary Clinton 2016 Presidential campaign and warned a Clinton administration will "embarrass" the Turnbull Government over coal.

John Hepburn, the executive director of The Sunrise Project, confirmed today the revelations of the foreign-funded campaign against the Adani project by influencing indigenous land owners and environmental legal challenges exposed in briefings to Hillary Clinton’s campaign director.

Mr Hepburn said the revelations via WikiLeaks in The Australian about the previously secret US funding and links with John Podesta, the Clination campaign chairman and former counsellor to Barack Obama, was a warning for the Turnbull government.

"That a major US philanthropist has been emailing the senior adviser to the likely next US President, about the expansion of coal mining in Australia, highlights a major diplomatic risk for the Turnbull government," Mr Hepburn said in a statement responding to the revelations.

Mr Hepburn said the risk was "that a Clinton administration will hold a mirror to Australia’s climate inaction and pursuit of new coal reserves".

"It is no surprise that the ongoing expansion of coal mining in Australia is on the radar of Clinton’s most senior adviser. While the world is ratifying the Paris Climate agreement in record time, Australia is becoming a global embarrassment for being the first developed country to go backwards on climate policy and fast-tracking the approval of new coal mines," Mr Hepburn said.

"With the UN Climate Conference in Marrakesh only weeks away, this leak adds to the wider pattern of international concern over Australia’s failure to meet our international obligations and dogged commitment to give special treatment to the coal industry while the rest of the world rapidly shifts to clean energy," he said.

"Of course we and other environmental groups are fighting tooth and nail to stop the Adani project," Mr Hepburn said.

Another group identified as part of the US-funded campaign against coal mining in Australia, GetUp!, confirmed the global campaign and said the Adani mine "had too much power of the major parties" in Australia.

The Sunrise Project, the lead environmental group in the campaign to stop coalmining in Australia, is funded from the multimillion-dollar US Sandler Foundation and boasts in its secret briefings passed on to Mr Podesta that it is trying to hide its funding sources from the Australian parliament.

The previously secret briefings, released by WikiLeaks as part of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails, say Sunrise tailored its advice to indigenous communities in northern Queensland, and that the "whole Galilee Basin fossil fuel industrial complex is in its death throes".

As part of a chain of emails being forwarded from Australia to progressive US foundations funding environmental challenges to industry worldwide, it is also disclosed that an associated group, Human Rights Watch, offered to help the environmental lobby keep its tax-­exempt charity status because "the mining companies seem to own the Liberals (in Australia) and they play very dirty".

Human Rights Watch chief executive Ken Roth, who ­attacked the Coalition’s offshore refugee processing on Nauru before the election in July, also discloses that his group received "charitable status by special parliamentary bill" in the "waning days of the Labor government".

The Adani mine development, which it is claimed will create 10,000 jobs in construction in Queensland and cheap electric power to tens of millions of poor Indians, has been delayed for at least seven years by various legal challenges, including against a rail line to the coast and the development of a port at Abbot Point.

In a celebratory email to the Sandler Foundation in August last year after a decision against the Adani mine, Sunrise Project director John Hepburn, a former Greenpeace activist and one of the authors of the strategy to block coalmining in Australia, thanks the foundation for support. "Without your support none of this would have happened," he said.

He added he was going to buy a "few bottles of bubbly" for a celebration with "our colleagues at GetUp!!!!, Greenpeace, 350.org, Australian Youth Climate Coalition, Mackay Conservation Group, Market Forces and the brilliant and tireless Sunrise team".

Mr Hepburn’s email to the foundation mocked the coal industry for the claim "there is some kind of foreign-funded and tightly orchestrated conspiracy to systemically destroy the Australian coal industry". "I seriously don’t know where they get these wacky ideas from!" he said. "Shudder to think that environmentalists would use environmental laws to protect the environment!"

Adani Australia chief executive Jeyakumar Janakaraj yesterday told The Weekend Australian the leaked emails were "evidence that these are broader well-funded activist campaigns as part of a wider anti-coal campaign that is being financially backed and influenced a long way from workers in Australia and those suffering energy poverty in India".

"The leaks show, however, that the anti-coal campaign is not about the merits of the approval process at all; it’s about activists motivated to stop jobs and investment," he said.

In a note on the August briefing the Sandler Foundation sent to Mr Podesta, who has not denied the accuracy of the WikiLeaks material, it is written that "our high tolerance for risk on this project (opposing Adani) is paying off!"

Mr Podesta was counsellor to Barack Obama when the US President outraged the Queensland and then Abbott governments on his visit to Brisbane in 2014 for the G20 summit and talked about the danger to the Great Barrier Reef — a key argument used by the groups against Adani.

The email also discloses that the Sunrise Project helped the Environmental Defenders Office — which has mounted various challenges against coal companies — find "private donor funding".

When he was prime minister Tony Abbott said the campaign against the Adani mine was sabotaging thousands of Australian jobs and denying affordable power to millions in India. In August this year federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan welcomed the latest Federal Court decision in Adani’s favour and called on green groups to stop "grandstanding".


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, October 23, 2016

Time to fix visa laws, cut Australia’s permanent migrant intake

The government’s unjustified satisfaction with our immigration policy settings was on display last month when Scott Morrison delivered yet another headland speech.

The theme this time was the importance of foreign investment, trade and immigration to Australia’s economic prosperity. In fact, the grouping of these matters is not self-evident — after all, the free flow of goods, services and capital can act as a substitute for the flow of people.

High levels of immigration are obviously associated with a bigger economy. But the assessment of the economic benefits of immigration must be made in per capita terms and it is here that the estimated economic gains are in fact very small and are highly dependent on the model used.

The Productivity Commission thinks gross domestic product could be 7 per cent higher in 45 years because of our immigration program.

But let’s be clear, this is a tiny gain across a very long period. Moreover, no account is taken of the impact of immigration on congestion, environmental pressures or housing affordability.

Notwithstanding the government’s overt contentment with the immigration program, there are some serious faults in the selection procedures as well as the conditions attached to the various visa categories. There is also is a distinct possibility that the annual (permanent) immigration program is too high and has been for some time. The annual intake of permanent migrants, excluding humanitarian entrants, is 190,000. To think that immigration is responsible for at least one-half of our annual population growth surely would surprise many people — 10 or 20 per cent perhaps, but more than 50 per cent?

The Treasurer was very keen to emphasise the dominance of the skilled visa category (about two- thirds of the permanent intake) as a strength of our immigration policies. But there are serious questions about the reliability of the list of occupations deemed to be in short supply and that qualify migrants for points under the skilled visa entry.

It also should be noted that it is only the primary applicant whose skills are assessed. Secondary applicants (and children) are almost always less skilled than the primary applicant and they fare less well in the Australian labour market compared with their partners.

A more recent phenomenon has been the high percentage of temporary migrants — mainly university students and 457 visa holders — who become permanent residents through the skilled visa program. A fair proportion of these migrants then bring in secondary applicants from their original countries, even those who may never have visited Australia.

The reality is that the setting of the permanent migrant intake numbers is partly driven to suit the higher education sector. Selling courses and the potential for permanent residence in Australia is a much more attractive package than selling courses alone.

Also look at the botch that the government has made in respect of the working holiday maker visa program and the rate of taxation that should apply to these valuable workers — just ask the farmers desperate for help to pick crops.

It was a complete brain snap to think the government could impose a 32.5 per cent tax rate from the get-go on these working holiday maker visa holders and that there would be no supply response or attempts to avoid it altogether — via cash payments, for instance.

And what was the logic of imposing a 15 per cent withholding tax on temporary migrants entering under a similar program, the seasonal agricultural workers scheme, on the basis that these migrants are taxpayers in other countries and not apply the same thinking to working holiday makers? The government hopes that it has solved the working holiday maker problem by imposing a 19 per cent tax and — wait for it — a 95 per cent tax on the superannuation payments made on their behalf. Morrison is surely having a lend of us if he thinks this is good policy.

Make employers pay 9.5 per cent of wages as superannuation for their working holiday maker workers and have the government confiscate virtually all of it because superannuation is designed for the retirement of Australian workers, according to Morrison.

The ­obvious solution is to liberate employers from making the superannuation contribution in the first place.

But this sort of distorted thinking is what happens when the Treasurer declares that the government needs the money. Read it here: repairing the budget can never be achieved through defective policies such as the compromised working holiday maker tax arrangements.

And when he says young people won’t be attracted to Canada or New Zealand because they can earn more here — because of our high regulated wages — what he is really saying is that he is more than happy to impose high costs on employers that typically rely on working holiday maker visa holders. There’s no free lunch here, Treasurer: employers and consumers lose out, in particular.

Mind you, the small amount of additional money that will be raised through the higher taxation of working holiday makers will be dwarfed by the additional costs of the temporary parent visa that is being contemplated by the government as a blatant exercise in vote buying in certain electorates.

The Productivity Commission has already belled the cat on the astronomical cost of the contributory parent visa. For a sum just under $50,000 each, the parents of migrants are able to enter the country and, after a period, are fully entitled to every benefit available to those born in Australia, including the Age Pension.

The real cost to the Australian taxpayer is between $335,000 and $420,000 per visa holder. In net present value terms, this amounts to between $2.6 billion and $3.2bn for every annual intake of migrant parents. If Morrison were really serious about budget repair, he would be doing something about this scheme.

But there’s more. For some migrant groups, the cost and conditions attached to this parent visa category don’t suit them. So the government is proposing to introduce a five-year parent visa category, outdoing Labor’s election campaign pledge to introduce a three-year visa category.

In theory, those entering under this new visa category will be required to have private health insurance but, as is the case with international students, this requirement is impossible to police. (International students lob up at emergency departments of public hospitals and are not denied treatment even if they can’t or won’t pay. There is also no integrity in relation to the use of Medicare cards.)

And does anyone honestly think the government will insist on 80-year-old granny being deported when her five-year visa period expires?

There is no point talking about the importance of families and free babysitting for these migrant groups. These are private benefits that shouldn’t be subsidised by the taxpayer. And let’s face it, many Australian families don’t live close to grandparents.

The bottom line is this: self-praise for our immigration program by the government is no recommendation. The number of planned permanent immigrants is too high and has been for some time — it should be scaled back immediately to closer to 100,000 a year. The list of occupations in short supply also needs to be reviewed, again with some serious scaling back required.

The tawdry compromise on the taxation of working holiday makers also should be reconsidered and the absurd expropriation by the government of the superannuation contributions made on behalf of this group should be scrapped immediately.

And as for the proposed temporary parent visa category, just don’t do it. We can’t afford it, it will cause resentment and it’s just bad policy.


Sport and Recreation Centres: NSW government explores privatisation

The state government has held confidential talks with commercial operators and organisations that have Christian mission statements, as part of a controversial outsourcing proposal for Sport and Recreation Centres used for thousands of school camps every year.

Leaked documents show government-appointed consultants have held "market sounding" discussions with eight organisations, including NGOs, the multinational PGL group and organisations linked to the Christian Community Churches of Australia and the Crusader Union of Australia.

Labor has questioned the suitability of Christian groups to deliver services at the camps, which are used by 70,000 students each year, many from public schools.

The Crusader Union's website says it has "proclaimed the gospel to school students since 1930". The group did not return a request for comment by deadline.

Opposition Sports spokeswoman Lynda Voltz said the government had resisted requests to release the documents under freedom of information laws.

"It is not surprising that the Baird government has kept this report secret," Ms Voltz said. "It is hard to argue [these] are suitable organisations to run camps delivered to NSW public schools."

But the state government said the discussions were no indication the organisations had been deemed suitable to deliver services at the camp. The government said it was only seeking initial market information on how to improve the camps.

"Market testing is under way to investigate how services at Sport and Recreation centres can be improved for school, sporting and community groups," said Sports Minister Stuart Ayres. "Sport and Recreation centres are available to all community members in NSW and will continue to be so."

The government has previously confirmed it is considering changing the operators for eight of the 11 camps across the state.

But Mr Ayres ruled out selling the camps and said investigations would be complete by year's end, after which time the government would consult camp users.

Another organisation to have signed a non-disclosure agreement before entering talks with the government, Lutanda, aims to "introduce the Jesus of the Bible".

But a spokesman said the organisation ran a mix of camps, including those where schools used the organisation's facilities but ran their own programs.

Under a leasing plan prepared by the consultants, the government would hand over control for more than half of the camps' operations.

But the plans would have the state government jointly develop a camp's programs with the government; any provider would have sole responsibility for delivering programs.

Ms Voltz also queried whether the state government had approached organisations with large volunteer networks to keep down labour costs, which account for nearly two-thirds of the camps' costs.

The camps now run at a net cost of about $2.6 million a year. The consultants' report finds attendance is uneven and utilisation of the camps averages 50 per cent.

Ms Voltz said that the camps' net loss represented only about $15 for each student using the camps.


David Leyonhjelm once said he would be happy to 'let police bleed to death'

The senator who sparked a furious debate on gun ownership this week once said he would be happy to let police "lie on the side of the road and bleed to death".

Video has emerged of Liberal-Democrat senator David Leyonhjelm speaking at a rally outside Queensland's Parliament in late 2013, where he complained about new laws potentially denying affiliates of outlaw motorcycle gangs their gun licences.

Senator Leyonhjelm was introduced to the rally as a senator-elect who had resigned from the Liberal Party "in disgust" over the Howard-era gun laws. 

"The police and the public, at least the motorcycle riding public, are on a collision course and they wonder why no one comes to their aid when they are in trouble," he said at the rally.

"For myself, I am never going to help someone who thinks it's OK to pull me up, search me and threaten me with jail if I don't answer their questions, merely because I ride my motorcycle in company with a couple of other people.

"If that's what they think, they can lie on the side of the road and bleed to death."

The rally crowd, which had been enthusiastically cheering the speech, laughed nervously in response to the comment.

On Friday, a spokesman for the senator said he was a "libertarian who wishes no ill will on anyone, with the possible exception of authoritarians who would treat law abiding people like criminals".

"He is fed up by governments all over Australia that tell people who are doing no harm to others how to live their lives," the spokesman said.

Comment has been sought from the Queensland police union.

Senator Leyonhjelm ignited a civil war within the Liberal Party this week when he announced the government had been prepared to horse trade on gun laws to get its industrial relations legislation through the Senate.

He produced an email from August 2015 which outlined a deal between the senator and Justice Minister Michael Keenan and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton to end an import ban on the powerful Adler shotgun.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott denied any knowledge of a deal and tweeted his concerns, before doubling down in an interview with the ABC.

Mr Turnbull was forced to publicly contradict Mr Abbott's claims in Parliament and said he was "satisfied that the Minister for Justice acted in the full knowledge of the Prime Minister's Office at that time"

Last year, the Police Association of New South Wales called for Senator Leyonhjelm to be sacked from a law enforcement committee after he criticised police for their treatment of A-League fans at a Western Sydney Wanderers game.

"There is a saying amongst them that all cops are bastards," the senator said in November last year.

"The cops have earned that label, they have to un-earn it.

"The police are not our masters. They are our servants and I think they should remember that."


Light railroaded

Well aren't we glad that we figured that out.  Canberrans have decisively voted for a light rail! This is a prominent interpretation of last weekend's ACT election result. But the better lesson is that governments can easily ignore facts and bamboozle the electorate to support useless projects. Because the projects are infrastructure. And infrastructure is good.

Never mind that the project cost  has already blown out, and may blow out more (as all infrastructure projects do). Never mind that the total cost, relative to the size of the ACT economy, is estimated to be 6 to 12 times larger than the NBN. Never mind that there were alternatives with a much greater benefit-cost ratio, such as improved bus infrastructure, according to the ACT Government's own analysis. The government's decision to ignore the greater benefit of buses has been criticised at length by the Productivity Commission. But trams are more exciting than buses... don't we understand?

Never mind that the need for more public transport is not clear, given  many Canberra bus routes are currently oversupplied. Never mind the environmental degradation caused by the construction of the supposedly environmentally friendly project. It is apparently okay for Greens-inspired projects to cut down more than 860 trees even if they are being replaced -- but good luck mounting the same argument with your local council. And a busway arguably has lower not higher greenhouse emissions than the light rail.

Never mind that the proponents argue the project will create heaps of jobs, while ignoring the people who leave other jobs to work on the rail project. Never mind the benefits being heavily dependent on dubious assumptions about non-transport benefits such as economies of scale and increased tax revenue, assumptions that have also been questioned by the ACT Auditor-General.

Don't worry about all these issues. The ability to do a snow job on the electorate has helped win an election again.

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

Friday, October 21, 2016

NOTE:  My normal posting time has come, only to find me  under the influence of both health and cable problems.  The cable problems seem by now to have been banished but too late for me to read much. There is a fair chance that I might be back in normal action by this time tomorrow.

My health problem is a post operative infection in the wound site -- most probably golden staph.  I am on 300 mg of clindamycin 6 hourly so that should help. I can control the pain with di-gesic pretty well but I have to be cautious about sepsis so my next recourse may have to be a vancomycin drip.

Either the infection or the remedies seem to be making me very drowsy so I sleep for long periods, which is probably a good thing on the whole.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Australia's human rights record condemned by a "rapporteur" from the world's most corrupt organization

U.N. "rapporteurs" (travelling critics) also regularly single out Britain for criticism on human rights grounds.  But if Britain is deficient, so is most of the world.  Mr rapporteur is totally superficial in his report below.  He thinks it is bad that old bag Gillian Triggs was asked to resign but does not mention her egregiously biased behavior that led to that request. 

Note that she was asked to resign, not made to resign.  Most other places she wouldn't have been given the option.  Mr rapporteur doesn't mention that, of course.

But he is a theologian by background so logical twists and turns can be expected of him, I guess.  He has no discernible social science background at all.  But he is a Frenchman who teaches German so maybe that is something.  It would be amusing to see what he says about Germany.  Free speech is dead in "das vierte Reich"

Australia lacks adequate protections for human rights defenders and has created "an atmosphere of fear, censorship and retaliation" among activists, according to a United Nations special rapporteur.

Michel Forst, who released an end-of-mission statement on Tuesday after a fortnight in Australia, said he was "astonished" by numerous measures heaping "enormous pressure" on public servants, whistleblowers and ordinary citizens.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has rejected Amnesty International’s claims that the treatment of refugees on Nauru amounts to deliberate and systematic torture. Vision courtesy ABC News 24.

Increased secrecy provisions, especially with regard to immigration and national security, were hampering the ability of journalists and human rights defenders to hold public institutions to account, he said.

The new metadata retention regime, which enjoyed bipartisan support, had "serious implications" for journalists and media outlets, Mr Forst said. He also heard evidence that freedom of information requests were being delayed and frustrated.

Mr Forst also condemned the secrecy requirements of the Australian Border Force Act, elements of which he said contravened human rights principles, including freedom of expression, and called for the laws to be reviewed.

The special rapporteur reserved particular opprobrium for ministers' attacks on Australian Human Rights commissioner Gillian Triggs, who last year resisted enormous pressure from the Abbott government to resign over alleged political bias in a report on children's detention.

"I was astounded to observe what has become frequent public vilification of rights defenders by senior government officials, in a seeming attempt to discredit, intimidate and discourage them from their legitimate work," he said. He called for an inquiry into the treatment of Professor Triggs.

Mr Forst condemned "anti-protest legislation" in Tasmania, NSW and before the West Australian Parliament targeted at environmental activists, which he said would contravene Australia's international obligations.

He also accused the Abbott-Turnbull government of targeting advocates involved in environmental, immigration and land rights causes through the "drastic defunding" of groups, such as the National Congress of Australia's First Peoples.

"Other contractors, such as Save the Children, have been subjected to raids and egregious allegations of misconduct, removed from operations and had their personal and professional reputations targeted by politicians and media," Mr Forst concluded.

Mr Forst will present his final report to the Turnbull government and the UN Human Rights Council. Australia is seeking a seat on that council and the scathing report may have implications for the bid, although Mr Forst would not personally comment on that prospect.

A spokesman for Attorney-General George Brandis said the government welcomed the opportunity to engage with the special rapporteur but considered Mr Forst had "not presented a balanced view of the situation of human rights defenders in Australia".

The Turnbull government "will consider the special rapporteur's recommendations in the same way as it considers recommendations from all United Nations mechanisms", the spokesman said.

Australia has come under a barrage of criticism from international human rights observers, mainly over the offshore processing of asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru. On Monday, Amnesty International went so far as to accuse the Australian government of deliberate torture.


Nauru rejects ABC report

The government of Nauru has labelled the ABC "an embarrassment to journalism" following a Four Corners report on the island's regional processing system, accusing the broadcaster of racism, political activism and insulting residents.

The Nauruan government asserted Australia was in fact the more violent nation and said the ABC should instead campaign for "no refugees to be allowed into such a violent society as Australia".

The Four Corners program was informed by a major Amnesty International report, released last night, that claimed Australia's regional processing regime on Nauru amounted to the intentional torture of refugees.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull strongly denied the accusation today. "I reject that claim totally. It is absolutely false. The Australian government's commitment is compassionate and it's strong," he told ABC radio.

In its statement, the Republic of Nauru's "media and public information" unit claimed the children who appeared in the program were "coached" and the interview process "stage-managed". Despite this, "viewers could clearly see that the refugees featured were well dressed, well-groomed and healthy", the statement said.

No children were in detention on Nauru, the government said. This is technically true because the processing facility is designated as an "open centre" and asylum seekers are free to move around the 21 square kilometre island. The government said children generally lived with their families in safe accommodation close to shops, and that Nauru was less violent than Australia.

"There are fights in Australian schools on a daily basis and there is crime in Australia. The Australian news shows acts of crime each night that are far more violent that anything Nauru has experienced," the statement said.

"So on this basis, Four Corners should be campaigning for no refugees to be allowed into such a violent society as Australia. Clearly they would not advocate this because it would – in context – be incorrect, yet they are willing to falsely portray Nauru as an unsafe nation, which it is not."

The program also used footage of a now-defunct hospital and failed to mention the "new $27 million state-of-the-art medical facility to which refugees have unrestricted and free access" or the newly-constructed school, the Nauruan government said.

"Last night's Four Corners program on the ABC was yet another example of the ABC's biased political propaganda and lies, and was an insult to the people of Nauru," the statement said. "This report was an embarrassment to journalism. From start to finish it was denigrating, racist, false and pure political activism."

In a statement, the ABC said it stands by the Four Corners report and rejects Nauru's claims. "It was an important story of obvious public interest," the statement said. The ABC also noted interviews with children were conducted remotely because Nauru "routinely refuses journalists access to report on offshore processing".

Nauru regularly accuses its critics of following a political agenda and doing the bidding of advocates. It routinely refuses access to the regional processing centre and denies journalists visas to Nauru, but in a note penned in August, President Baron Waqa said media outlets should not be surprised.

"After their dishonest campaign against us, they expect us to open our arms and allow them to visit and create more trouble within our borders!" he wrote.

One of the main arguments of the Amnesty International report was that Australia, rather than Nauru, was primarily responsible for the conditions inside the regional processing centre and the systemic problems in health, education and justice faced by asylum seekers and refugees on the island.

Mr Turnbull acknowledged there were sad stories on Nauru but indicated the government would not be dissuaded from its harsh policies to deter boat people. "There are 1200 people … from whom we can never hear because they drowned at sea [under Labor's policy settings]," he told ABC radio.

Under questioning at a Senate estimates hearing last night, Department of Immigration and Border Protection secretary Michael Pezzullo also denied Amnesty International's allegations.

"I refute categorically, both on behalf of my own department, and by way of explaining government policy in this regard, that it's not the Australian government's position, more the position of this department, that we flout any laws, international or otherwise," he said.

"As to the notion, inference or implication that we use torture as some sort of instrument of state policy, I personally find it to be offensive but, in any event, what I find to be offensive is not relevant. It's objectively in our view not true."


Australia seen grabbing uninterrupted GDP growth record

Australia is forecast to enjoy at least another two years of solid economic growth, extending a quarter of a century without recession and dodging the deflation that dogs so many of its rich world peers. The latest Reuters poll found analysts expect Australia’s A$1.6 trillion ($1.2 trillion) of gross domestic product (GDP) to expand by 2.9 percent this year, unchanged from the July poll.

Growth was seen at 2.8 percent next year and 2.9 percent in 2018, a result that would see Australia capture the Netherlands’ crown for the longest run without a recession. Surging export volumes, record low interest rates and an historic boom in home building have already underpinned growth of 3.3 percent in the year to June.

A recent revival in the value of commodity exports also promises to boost company profits, national income and tax receipts in coming months. Surging prices for coal alone could eradicate the country’s trade deficit and add 2 percentage points to nominal GDP. The worst also seems to be over for a long slump in mining investment, which subtracted a huge 1.6 percentage points from GDP growth in the year to June.

Policymakers at the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) believe three quarters of the mining downturn has now passed and its drag on growth will greatly diminish for here on.

“The Australian economy’s output performance, in aggregate, has been resilient in what remains a challenging environment,” said Westpac senior economist Andrew Hanlan. He is tipping economic growth of 3 percent for both 2016 and 2017.

“That said, downside risks persist. World growth is sluggish, and global financial sector vulnerabilities remain.”

At home, jobs growth has turned sluggish and heavily weighted to part time work, restraining wage growth and adding to downward pressure on inflation. Indeed, underlying inflation slowed to a record low of 1.5 percent in the year to June and looks likely to have remained very subdued in the third quarter.

Analysts forecast consumer price inflation would run at just 1.2 percent for 2016 as whole, well under the RBA’s target of 2 to 3 percent. Yet they also expected it to pick up to 2.1 percent next year and 2.4 percent for 2018, a welcome outcome that would eliminate the need for more rate cuts.



APOLOGY: I have undergone surgery and experienced a prolonged cable service outage within the last 24 hours so I am putting up less than I usually would -- JR


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

How the housing boom is remaking Australia’s social class structure

This is quite a sober article but it does fall into the mould of a Green/Left scare story:  "We'll all be rooned, said Hanrahan".  It's fault lies in its confidence that accurate prophecies are possible.  In particular, it relies on straight-line extrapolation: The really dumb belief that all trends will continue unchanged.  It does not allow for Taleb's "Black Swan" events. And just such an event is now happening.  So it is sad that the erudite academic below has not allowed for it.  He has  seen it but has not understood it.

I refer to the huge inflow of Chinese money that is behind the orgasm of apartment building which has now been going on in the big cities for a year or more. Huge apartment buildings are springing up like mushrooms all over the place.  There must be a dozen within 5 minutes' drive of where I live in Brisbane. The process has already brought new accommodation to glut proportions in Melbourne.

And the law of supply and demand tells us what must happen.  A prediction based on the law of supply and demand is as certain as a prediction based on straight-line extrapolation is not.  As the supply of apartments races ahead of the normal demand, the prices will fall and the demand will expand to take up the supply.  We are in other words looking at a major fall in the price of housing in roughly a year's time.  The apartment glut will even hit house prices as the demand for accommodation is somewhat fungible.  Some people who might have been in the market for a house will be diverted by the good value of a cheap apartment.

So the predictions below were out of date the moment they were written

The relentless housing boom in Australia’s cities, especially Melbourne and Sydney, is often framed as an intergenerational conflict in which younger generations are being priced out of the market by baby boomers. However, sociological theories of social class suggest parents’ wealth and social status will eventually be passed onto their children anyway.

So, by focusing on intergenerational inequalities that will eventually be reversed, we are framing the housing affordability question the wrong way. At the same time, the impact of the housing boom is so deep that some long-established ideas about social class may be no longer relevant.

The housing boom has blurred existing boundaries between upper, middle and lower classes that applied to the baby boomers and previous generations. New social class boundaries and formations are being produced.

This does not mean younger generations, as a collective, are disadvantaged compared to their parents. Rather, these younger generations will be subdivided differently and more unequally.

The renting class

In the industrial city, the term “working class” was defined by the experiences of low-income workers in manufacturing jobs. Yet in a post-industrial Australian city it makes more sense to talk about the “renting class”.

Not all renters are poor, and not all poor households are private renters. However, the correlation between the two is significant and strengthening. The proportion of private renters in the total population is slowly but surely increasing – from 20.3% in 1981 to 23.4% in 2011.

Simultaneously, public housing – once a symbol of the working class – is undergoing a dramatic demise.

Largely abandoned by the state to fend for itself, with weak regulation for security of tenure or rent control, the renting class faces the unrelenting burden of ever-rising rents. The average renter paid 19% of their income on rent in 1981. In 2011, this proportion increased to 26.9%.

And, in 2014, around 40% of low-income private renters were in housing affordability stress, paying more than one-third of their income on housing.

With hardly enough “after-housing” disposable income to meet basic living standards, savings for retirement is almost impossible for the low-income renter. And with little or no wealth to assist their children to buy a home, the renter’s social class status is likely to be passed from one generation to the next.

The home-owner class

More than just a status symbol, home ownership has become increasingly central to the way most Australians accumulate wealth. About half of the home-owner’s wealth is held in their own home. Each housing boom enriches them further through tax-free capital gain on their homes.

The housing boom also creates work in the construction industry, which is the third-largest employer in Australia with more than one million workers. These are no longer working-class occupations, with most skilled jobs paying average weekly earnings of close to A$1,500. So, it is arguably the home-owner class that benefits most from each construction boom.

One consequence of the housing boom is that a growing cohort of moderate-income households is now priced out of home ownership. Had they been born a generation earlier, they would have probably been able to afford a house. Now it is beyond their reach.

Over the years, as their rents rise and their wealth stagnates, the gap between the renter and a home owner will become unbridgeable. Their experience of retirement will be worlds apart.

One lifeline for this cohort is the prospect of inheriting some of the housing wealth of their baby boomer parents. But when this will happen is highly uncertain.
The housing elite

The housing elite is rewarded by the housing boom well beyond the capital gain on their own homes. Much of the massive wealth of Australia’s elite is generated through the housing market – through investment, construction and financing of housing.

Harry Triguboff, Australia’s third-richest person, earned his fortune in the apartment development business. So did the three youngest entrants into the 2016 BRW Rich List. Their entry marks the rising importance of housing in the making of Australia’s super-rich.

The top 20% of the wealthiest Australians hold most of their wealth in their home and in other investment properties. They also hold significant wealth in the sharemarket, which is commanded by big banks whose portfolios are heavily dominated by housing loans. Each housing boom significantly adds to their wealth.

Social class, however, is more than just financial wealth. The wealthiest Australians secure their social class position by living in exclusive suburbs where they are able to associate with the right people and live an elite lifestyle. The astronomical prices of houses in some of these suburbs ensure their hermetically exclusive nature.

Breaking the loop

None of these social class categories is natural or universal. These categories will not apply in some European countries, for example, that have very different housing systems.

The deepening fusion between Australia’s housing system and its social class system creates a dangerous cycle. The further house prices grow, the more important housing becomes as a determinant of social class. And when social class is increasingly defined by housing, people are willing to bid even higher to enter home ownership or the housing elite.

Unless we break this cycle, Australia will continue in its path of becoming a more polarised society, with a weakened renting class, an impenetrable elite, and a shrunken home-owner class between them.


Climate change gloom lessons for kids

Students are being led to believe that global warming will destroy sunsets.  The course materials are clearly far-Left  rather than scientific

DOOMSDAY climate change lessons are being taught to children as young as eight who are concluding that human activity threatens to destroy beautiful sunsets and ­waterways.

Six schools in the state’s north are trialling a “world first” curriculum that is expected to be adopted across the state, if successful.

The NSW Education Department-approved trial is being run by Southern Cross University’s Lismore campus and proposes to give students from Year 3 to Year 8 “political agency” and allow them to be “experts in their own lives”.

Running in tandem with the curriculum is a challenge project in which students form their own response to climate change and how they can personally prevent mass extinctions of animals, plants and their habitats.

Some children have concluded that humans have “succeeded in destroying much of the physical world”.

One student researcher in northern NSW said: “It is selfish and horrible how humans are causing animal and plant species to die.”

Another said: “We must band together to reverse the effects of climate change.”

Organiser and Southern Cross University education lecturer David Rousell said schools in Bexhill, Mullumbimby and Alstonville had taken on the interdisciplinary model, which could be taught in English, creative arts, science and history classes.

“This challenge is about bringing schools together to embark on projects that have a public outcome and can create real change,” he said.

“Kids are doing amazing work where they take a photo which represents some aspect of climate change and they write about it. Some students take photos of beautiful things such as sunsets or waterways and then write about how it could be lost or destroyed because of climate change.”

An Education Department spokesman referred Telegraph inquiries on the new curriculum to the Board of Studies Teaching and Educational Standards, which said the program was being trialled but was not formally endorsed.

Last week more than 300 students came together in a Climate Change Challenge at the uni’s Lismore campus. One student said: “We were not placed on this Earth to make an acquisitive and ideal life that supports the human race only.”


Tensions flare over 'Q&A' advice

Grace is certainly a no-nonsense lady

Tensions flared on Monday night's Q&A when industrial relations expert Grace Collier said the unemployed could solve their problems by starting their own businesses.

On a night when industrial relations was a key focus of the program, Ms Collier's remarks sparked several on the panel into life and surprised many in the Melbourne studio audience.

The panel was discussing the future of manufacturing — namely whether governments should subsidise certain industries to keep them afloat and save jobs.

But Ms Collier, a News Corp columnist, said governments did not owe workers any favours.

"Nobody has an entitlement to a job. Society doesn't owe you a job. The Government can't get you a job. The Government shouldn't have to get you a job. There's no such thing as Government money. There's your money and my money," she said.

"Everybody has something that they're good at … You work out what you're good at and you try and make a career out of that."

When Greens Leader Richard Di Natale pointed out there were less jobs than people in Australia, Ms Collier fired back.

"People can start their own businesses," she said, leading to several people in the audience to start heckling.

"It's terrible, isn't it? Wouldn't it be awful to have to start your own business because someone else has to give you a job?" Ms Collier said.

"Why don't you start a business and hire some people? Go on. I dare you." "I'm busy at the moment," Mr Di Natale replied.

Australian Council of Trade Unions president Ged Kearney interjected, saying "nobody has any money in their pockets to spend in that business".

"We are losing our manufacturing industry and there's been absolutely no plan from this Government to try to reinvigorate manufacturing, to find where we can have a competitive edge in the global economy," she said.

Labor MP Tim Watts said the Coalition Federal Government had "nothing" for manufacturing industry workers.

However John Roskham, the executive director of right-wing think tank Institute of Public Affairs, said it was "desperately unfair" for the Government to have to subsidise each job in the car industry to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars.

Economist Judith Sloan disagreed with the whole panel, saying the Australian labour market had been strong for some time.

Has Trump killed the conservative movement?

Meanwhile, Donald Trump's lewd comments led the panel to consider what Australians would need to do to prevent a similar character taking the nation's top job.

Mr Watts labelled the Republican candidate's emergence as the death knell of the conservative movement.

"He's been able to enter the scene in the US because conservative ideology has imploded," Mr Watts said.

"There was a time when conservatives believed in things. What's happened in the US is they've invited people who have subverted these conventions, trashed these institutions into the mainstream."

Mr Di Natale said people were "fed up with establishment politics", leading them to turn to extreme candidates.

"What you're seeing, in my view, is people like Trump and One Nation and others who are scapegoating individuals, who are looking to foreigners and easy targets to blame for what are very complex social problems," he said.

But Mr Roskham said Mr Trump did not represent true conservatism because of his stance on importation tariffs.

"Trump would not have been my candidate or the candidate of a lot of conservatives of a lot of liberals and libertarians … If I was in America I would not know how to vote," he said. Ms Collier was more optimistic about the future, saying she didn't care who the US elected, provided Australia wasn't negatively impacted.

"Don't lose sleep over the stupid things Trump said, because there's going to be another one tomorrow. Don't worry about it," she said.


One Nation soars post-election, Newspoll shows

Support for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party has risen fourfold across the nation since the election and almost doubled to 10 per cent in Queensland, Newspoll shows.

Newspoll surveys taken exclusively for The Australian since the July 2 election reveal support in the House of Representatives for One Nation has climbed to 6 per cent, up from 1.3 per cent on polling day.

One Nation appears to have made its gains over the past four months from other minor parties and independents, as well as ­taking a slice of support from the Turnbull government.

By contrast, support for the other non-major party force at the election, the Nick Xenophon Team, has remained largely ­unchanged at about 2 per cent ­nationally and 21 per cent in its home state of South Australia.

One Nation’s primary vote has jumped to 10 per cent in Queensland, up from 5.5 per cent at the election, where it ran 12 lower-house candidates. The party vote there is also higher than its Senate election vote of 9.2 per cent, which delivered seats for Senator Hanson and Malcolm Roberts.

In NSW, One Nation’s support is 6 per cent, from only 0.6 per cent achieved by its three candidates and, again, is higher than the 4.1 per cent Senate vote that elect­ed Brian Burston.

Similarly, One Nation is polling at 6 per cent in Western Australia, where it did not run any lower-house candidates but where Rodney Culleton won a spot in the Senate with a vote of 4 per cent.

In South Australia, One Nation is polling at 4 per cent and in Victoria at 3 per cent, both slightly higher than in the Senate election. The party did not run lower-house candidates in those states in July.

Senator Hanson and her colleagues hold the balance in the Senate because the government cannot pass legislation opposed by Labor and the Greens without One Nation’s support.

Since the election Senator Hanson has courted controversy, including saying in her first speech that Australia was in danger of being swamped by Muslims.

Last week the government gave Senator Hanson one of its seats, held by the Nationals, on an important parliamentary committee inquiring into the National Broadband Network after she lost a ballot among senators. Communica­tions Minister Mitch Fifield said the government was keen to allow crossbenchers to participate.

Tomorrow Senator Hanson is making a three-day “fact-finding mission” to Norfolk Island, skipping most of this week’s Senate ­estimates hearings.

Newspoll shows voters have continued to move away from the major parties since the election, when 23.2 per cent of people did not vote for the Coalition or Labor — the highest percentage since 1934.

The latest Newspoll shows support for the Greens, minor parties and independents has climbed to 25 per cent, with the Greens ­unchanged since the election at 10 per cent, One Nation’s rise to 6 per cent, NXT at 2 per cent and other parties and independents down from 10 to 7 per cent.

The Coalition’s primary vote of 39 per cent is down three percentage points since the election, while Labor is up 1.3 points to 36 per cent. Based on preference flows from the election, Labor holds a two-party-preferred lead of 52 per cent over the Coalition’s 48 per cent.


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