Monday, August 20, 2018

Absurd oil supply treaty

A cutback in oil imports would almost certainly stem from shipping difficulties of some sort so we need the oil to be already in Australia, not half a world way in Nederland

Australia is facing new questions about whether it is taking the issue of oil security seriously, as the Federal Government moves to bolster lagging reserves by making a treaty with the Netherlands.

It has been six years since Australia last met its global obligations to maintain sufficient oil reserves to last 90 days, a benchmark set by the International Energy Agency (IEA) in 1974.

Oil stocks currently sit at between 51 and 52 days, and a wave of oil refinery closures in recent years has been blamed for the decline.

One option being considered is new treaties with countries as far afield as the Netherlands, so Australia can draw from other oil stocks in the event of an emergency.

Shane Gaddes from the Department of Environment and Energy told a parliamentary hearing on Monday that 3 million barrels could be quarantined in the Netherlands through the use of a ticketing system.

"Australia has been non-compliant since March 2012, and Australia's non-compliance has been driven by falling domestic crude oil production, along with rising product demands and imports," Mr Gaddes told the inquiry.

"The Australian Government intends to purchase up to 400 metric kilotons of oil stock tickets in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 financial years."

But upon questioning, Mr Gaddes told the hearing such a deal would only add an extra 3.8 days of oil reserves.

Former Air Force deputy chief John Blackburn said he was not convinced the Government had taken the oil security issue seriously.

"It's taken us six years to do something, and this treaty gives us three-and-a-half days of oil supply — how long's it going to take you to fix the rest of the shortfall?" Mr Blackburn said.

"It's part of our obligations to start to address the shortfall in our membership requirements, but the domestic security of fuel in this country is a separate issue that has not been analysed properly."

RMIT research fellow Dr Anthony Richardson said a "she'll be right attitude" has left Australia in a precarious situation.

He said it was unlikely a treaty with the Netherlands would help in the event of a crisis.

"Most of our oil passes through Indonesia," he said. "That's not anyway a criticism of Indonesia but if things happen, that oil is in the Netherlands, we'll need it in Australia.

"That's almost a fake supply, it's lovely to have that but if we're not having tankers turn up, the oil in the Netherlands is not going to help us — it's a long way from Australia."

He said Australia should dramatically ramp up its storage capacity. "We've got the land capacity, if you're going to pay for storage in another country, why not pay for that storage here in Australia by the oil companies?" Mr Hughes said.


Company tax has had its day

It kills jobs

The company income tax rate is to be cut to 25% in 2022. You read that correctly — but it’s not happening in Australia. It is happening (of all places) in France — one of the most heavily taxed nations on earth and one whose politics we have come to think of as always being several degrees to the left of ours.

So if France can cut its company tax to 25% and Australia can’t, it makes one wonder what is going on here.

In fact, it’s not only France. There is a worldwide trend towards lower corporate income tax. The shift was in place even before the US federal rate was cut to 21% earlier this year, but that change has given the trend a new and massive push.

As the tax on internationally mobile capital goes down, Australia as a destination for global capital — far from being unable to afford a cut in its company tax rate — cannot afford not to.

The fact we have a dividend imputation system does not change that reality. Nor does the nauseating repetition of slogans pitting funding for schools and hospitals against tax cuts for banks.

The question is whether we wake up to the need for lower company tax now, based on conjecture, or wait for the consequences of not cutting company tax to become ever more apparent.

The consequence would be a continuation of the weakness in business investment we are already seeing. Investment is the lifeblood of growth in productivity, the economy, employment and real wages.  Growth can continue for a while without it — but not forever.

Company tax has become a political football; with the focus no longer on the economic case for a cut, but on the game of scoring points for the next federal election.

Right now the most likely outcome is that we are stuck indefinitely with a cumbersome, inefficient two-tier company tax rate; premised on the mistaken belief that the economic benefits of a lower rate depend on the size of the company.

Sooner or later — whether it happens under the current government or a future one — an across-the-board cut will be seen as an economic necessity.


Is it too late to save our universities?

WHEN university teaching assistant Lindsay Shepherd showed her students a clip of a TV debate about the use of gender-neutral pronouns, she was accused of “epistemic violence”.

An LGBT centre official claimed her activities led to a surge in assaults on transgender people. When asked to prove the allegations, he said he didn’t have to “perform his trauma”.

A professor in Ms Shepherd’s own department wrote an opinion piece for the local paper saying the campus “had become unsafe”.  “Is freedom of speech more important than the safety and wellbeing of our society?” he asked.

Ms Shepherd, a graduate student at Canada’s Wilfrid Laurier University, made international headlines late last year after she released an audio recording of her interrogation by university officials over the tutorial lesson.

She was told her decision to air the clip featuring University of Toronto psychology professor Jordan Peterson debating Bill C-16 — a law making it illegal to refuse to refer to transgender people by their preferred pronouns — had created a “toxic climate” and an “unsafe learning environment”.

She was accused of violating the university’s gendered and sexual violence policy for transphobia, the Ontario Human Rights Code, and even Bill C-16 itself simply by presenting criticism of the bill.

“Most shockingly, I was told that by playing that clip neutrally and not denouncing Peterson’s views, this was akin to neutrally playing a speech by Hitler. So it was my neutrality that was the problem,” the 23-year-old told a gathering at the [Australian] Centre for Independent Studies on Thursday night.

Ms Shepherd, who has since launched a $3.6 million lawsuit against the university over the “inquisition”, was speaking alongside Quillette magazine founder Claire Lehmann and sociologist Dr Tiffany Jenkins at an event titled “The Snowflake Epidemic”.

Conservatives have held up her case as a emblematic of a radical left-wing takeover of universities, where safe spaces, “micro-aggressions”, trigger warnings and censorship of ideological opponents are now commonplace.

For many, the universities are a lost cause after decades of postmodernism — which holds that there is no objective truth — eating away at the intellectual foundations of most disciplines.

Melbourne University now teaches a course in “whiteness studies”, pushing concepts like “white privilege”, “white fragility” and “toxic whiteness”.

In 2013, two whiteness studies “scholars of colour” published a peer-reviewed paper exploring their lack of empathy for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings and the Sandy Hook massacre — because the victims were white.

“Why does this matter? Students who get inculcated into this ideology graduate and enter the professions, enter the media and enter corporations,” said Ms Lehmann, whose online magazine bills itself as a “platform for free thought”.

Quillette founder Claire Lehmann, an Australian psychologist.

The panel warned that it only took a small number of aggressive activists to force the majority to acquiesce. “The radicals are definitely a minority,” Ms Shepherd said.

“The thing is, the vast majority of students on campus are totally disengaged. They don’t do their readings, they barely come to class, they don’t care about anything, they just want to pass with the lowest grade they can get, so they don’t care what happens. That’s why the minority is so powerful.”

Ms Lehmann said the noisy minority had power. “You can see the impact in Australia through the corporate world with all of this virtue signalling on diversity and inclusion and implicit bias training,” she said.

“Implicit bias training doesn’t have any solid scientific evidence backing it up. These ideas have impact. They waste money. They waste people’s time.”

Ms Shepherd said the only way to fight the activists was to get a “critical mass of people who will speak out, but when you look at my situation it’s not very inspiring for other students”.

“Other students were publishing op-eds saying I put hate speech in my classroom, I’m a transphobe, I committed gendered violence,” she said.

Dr Jenkins said the “bottom up” censorship that came as a result of identity politics already “seeped into our everyday lives”. “The interesting thing about it is it doesn’t announce itself in the way censorship used to,” she said.

“How we deal with each other, second guessing, seeing each other through the prism of difference. It encourages people to see each other as harmful.”

She said educators had a responsibility to the younger generation and she “would not necessarily encourage people to go to university anymore”.

“They’re not going to learn, they’re not going to be challenged,” she said. “I genuinely think we need to set up different universities and encourage people to take the ideals of the old academy out.”

Ms Lehmann agreed that the universities were lost. “A lot of us are trying to build intellectual spaces online,” she said.

“We try to have serious, thoughtful, complex discussions on difficult topics. There is quite a robust community of us who are scattered all over the world but we come together to talk about things you would have ordinarily talked about in a university tutorial setting but we can’t anymore so we talk about it online.

“We have to carry on the spirit of learning and the values of western civilisation, and the love of learning and books. That’s all we can really do is keep that flame burning. Universities are an institution, but institutions die.”



National Party supports coal power

The Nationals have urged the federal government to support new coal-fired power plants and lift the ban on nuclear energy.

The party's federal council in Canberra on Saturday passed a motion calling on the government to back building high-energy, low-emissions power stations to provide reliable and affordable power.

A separate proposal from the Young Nationals urging federal and state governments to abolish rules stopping nuclear power plants being built and uranium mining also succeeded.

The call for new coal-fired power station comes as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull fights internal divisions over energy policy.

Resources Minister Matt Canavan reinforced the case for coal, as conservative backbenchers agitate for its use to drive down power bills.

"I don't want to live in a nation where we just export our energy to the rest of the world to help their development, jobs and pensioners," he told the Nationals council.

"We need to use some of that here and we don't think it's a sin to do so."


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

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Fake Rape Crisis Campus Tour

An email from Bettina Arndt [] below

Before I tell you about this week’s video, I just wanted to bring you up to date with the fracas over my La Trobe talk. You may have heard that the university eventually caved in and the event is now happening on September 6. I will post full details on my Facebook page soon – perhaps some  Melbourne people would like to come along. I’m hoping I’ll see La Trobe staff as well. It is shocking that academics have been silenced on this issue.

La Trobe has agreed to cover the costs of security but we will have to see whether things get out of control. There was a demonstration against me this week. A rather pathetic little group but when the details of the event are published they might be able to pull together a bigger crowd of protestors. I’m also speaking at Sydney University on September 11 – that one promises to be even more lively, given the feral activists on that campus.

I have students from other cities keen to have me speak so I have now started a crowd-funder to help the student groups with costs of venue hire plus my travel costs and extra security if necessary. Here’s the link:

Please do what you can to support this. I feel it is one small step towards forcing universities to confront the free speech issues on our campuses

Dr Quentin Van Meter

Now to this week’s video. I recently watched an excellent YouTube video showing a talk by Quentin Van Meter, an American paediatric endocrinologist. Dr Van Meter is a clinical associate professor at both Emory and Morehouse Schools of Medicine and he trained at Johns Hopkins, which did much of the early work on transgender. Dr Van Meter’s talk was very brave and extremely worrying, exposing how academic medicine has caved in to the trans lobby and is allowing ideology to take priority over proper care of children. Trans medicine is now replete with lies, fraud and unethical, dangerous medical practices, as Van Meter explained. 

I’ve long been concerned about all this and immediately tried to find out more about Van Meter, only to discover he was visiting here this week, as the guest of the National Civic Council. You may have read today that the University of Western Australia has just caved in to protests and cancelled his Perth talk. Here we go again!

We managed to arrange to video his Sydney talk earlier this week and I was privileged to chair his Q&A. I know this is a long video but try to listen to it all. And help me circulate it. I think you will find it really shocking.

(Voice in introduction is Bettina)

Assaults on teachers are on the rise – but an expert claims it's the students' parents who are to blame

Violence in schools is becoming more frequent and intense, yet some believe that the students' parents are to blame.

A record number of teachers in New South Wales schools have lodged compensation claims regarding violence inflicted by students. NSW is believed to be the worst state in the country when it comes to violence in schools, and the numbers only seem to be getting worse.

Last year saw figures more than double from 17 violence-related claims lodged in 2016, to 41 in 2017, The Saturday Telegraph reported.

There has already been 15 assaults lodged so far this year, with expectations for more to come.

Australian Catholic University Associate Professor Philip Riley said that the children may be repeating behaviour they are enduring at home from violent parents.

'Kids are seeing parents modelling this sort of behaviour. We have a much more ingrained problem with violence in this country than we're caring to admit,' he said.

Professor Riley said that the violence is becoming more and more intense, and unfortunately more frequent. 'It is everything; biting, scratching, kicking, throwing things,' he said.

While many believe NSW is the worst state when it comes to violence, just last month it was revealed that staff at Queensland schools submitted 359 claims of physical violence between June 2017 and June 2018.

This number is higher than the previous year by 55 claims, and includes incidents of students punching teachers, throwing chairs or tackling them to the ground.

A spokesman from the NSW Department of Education said that they are trying to combat the issue by modifying violent student's behaviour.

The spokesman also said that they're implementing strategies to support teachers and education employees that are affected by workplace injuries. 'The programs implemented under the strategy have focused on injury prevention … support and recovery at work for staff,' they said.


Turnbull rolls over on climate nonsense

We are doing OK without a free trade agreement with the EU so lacking one is unlikely to be noticed. And it's very unlikely that the EU will tie trade to emissions reduction since they themselves are not meeting emission goals

Malcolm Turnbull's backflip on plans to legislate the Paris emissions reduction target could cost Australia billions.

Faced with the prospect of ten rebel MPs crossing the floor to vote against his National Energy Guarantee and a possible leadership challenge from Peter Dutton, Mr Turnbull capitulated in an attempt to secure his own political future.

But the move could spell the end of a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between Australia and the European Union.

Wine and designer goods from Europe would no longer fall in price, and the current five per cent vehicle tariff and luxury car tax would remain.

Australia's pursuit of a free trade agreement between the two 'like-minded' partners was made on June 18 in response to a successful 2017 when the EU was Australia's largest source of foreign investment.

The agreement is intended to open up the market for any Australian purveyor or business person.

Greater access to the EU market would enable Australian farmers to avoid EU tariff quotas on beef, sheep meat, sugar, cheese and rice.

On Friday Mr Turnbull put the deal at risk by dropping the government's plans to legislate the 26 per cent Paris emissions reduction target.

The prime minister instead proposed setting emissions targets by regulation, The Australian reported.

The plan will formally go to Cabinet on Monday night and will be discussed by the coalition party room on Tuesday.

Advice from the competition regulator that power prices would not increase as a result of the commitment will also be required.

The backflip comes after a group of right-wing MPs - led by Tony Abbott - told Mr Turnbull they would vote against his energy policy.

The heart of the policy was the controversial target to cut emissions by 26 per cent by 2030. The Liberal and Nationals MPs who are against NEG and appear willing to cross the floor include Mr Abbott, Andrew Gee, Andrew Hastie, Barnaby Joyce, Craig Kelly, Kevin Andrews, George Christensen as well as Keith Pitt.

Since then the group have urged Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton to mount a leadership challenge following his 38th consecutive Newspoll loss to Bill Shorten's Labor Party.

While Mr Turnbull has the support of Simon Birmingham and Christopher Pyne, Mr Dutton is backed by Barnaby Joyce and Tony Abbott.

Mr Dutton confirmed on Friday he is considering all his options, including resigning his ministry and leading a mass exodus of Coalition MPs across the floor, Nine News reported.

Another Minister told Nine News: 'If the only way this thing gets up is with Labor's support then there is no way it will fly'.

'There are only two good outcomes here - either the energy policy is dead and we can go to the election fighting Labor on it, or Malcolm goes,' an unnamed MP told The Daily Telegraph.


‘People want to feel safe’: Nigel Farage warns of ‘disconnect’ in Australian immigration debate

THE man dubbed “Mr Brexit” will meet with “senior Australian political figures” next month as he warns of a similar upheaval Down Under if mainstream politicians don’t address concerns over immigration.

Nigel Farage said while Australia may not have the same “cause célèbre for fundamental change in direction” as Brexit, the record low primary vote for the major parties and rise of minor parties showed the populist revolution sweeping the western world was “already affecting your country”.

The former leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party and Member of the European Parliament played a major role in the 2016 vote to leave the European Union and is a close friend of US President Donald Trump.

Speaking hours after Sudanese migrant Salih Khater allegedly drove a Ford Fiesta into cyclists and pedestrians on Westminster Bridge outside London’s Houses of Parliament in a suspected terrorist attack, Mr Farage said people “want to feel safer”.

“What we do know is there are nearly 700 active investigations into potential terrorist groups (in the UK),” he said. “Europe has got a problem. The truth of it is you wouldn’t want to start from here.”

He said through European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s policy in 2015 of “saying anyone that wants to come can come”, Europe had “imported an awful lot of people who wish that civilisation harm”.

“We’re in a very tough place,” he said. “Where do we go from here? Well number one is a massively increased security bill, a change in many ways to how we live. Look at London, we’ve now built walls on our bridges to protect people walking over them.”

But he said it was important to engage with the broader Muslim community. “There are some people who want to sort of go to war with the entire religion of Islam, and I’ve always argued strongly against that,” he said.

“I’m all for us defending our way of life, the only warning I give is that if we appear to be embarking on a religious war, that would be a mistake.”

Former UK Foreign Secretary and leadership hopeful Boris Johnson sparked controversy last week by saying Muslim women wearing the full face veil looked like “bank robbers” and “letter boxes”.

Mr Farage, who defended the comments, said it was encouraging that “a lot of Muslim scholars and commentators have now put their heads up and said, this is not in Koranic law, it’s not doing us any good”.

He said Australia had been “slightly insulated by geography” from the global political shift reflected in the election of Mr Trump and the rise of populist governments like Italy’s Five Star-Northern League coalition.

“But you’re still very much part of the western world,” he said.

“Your political class are tempted by the new global order, just as the Americans, British and the Europeans have been. I think the message really is number one, understand what’s happened.

“Understand that Brexit, Trump and (Italian deputy leader Matteo) Salvini are not one-off flashes in the pan, they’re actually part of a big, fundamental societal change that is taking place, and understand that those changes could happen in Australia, too.

“The internet has given people terrific empowerment to make change if they feel the established order is not representing them. So I would say to Australia, don’t think this can’t happen to you, because it can.”

Mr Farage said it was about whether people felt the political class in the capital cities were representing their “thoughts, hopes and aspirations”.

“What the change in the Australian voting pattern is suggesting is that there are people in Australia feeling the same thing too,” he said. “The mainstream can of course stop the rise of smaller parties, if they’re more in tune and more connected with ordinary folks.”

The Brexit vote “would not have happened without the immigration issue” and there was a “very similar disconnect” between the political class and the public in Australia on the topic, he said.

Successive polls have revealed a growing unease with Australia’s record high immigration intake. A survey last year by the Australian Population Research Institute found 74 per cent of voters said the country does not need more people.

A Newspoll earlier this year revealed 56 per cent of voters believe the existing immigration cap of 190,000 a year is too high, and an Essential Media poll found 64 per cent believe the level of immigration over the past 10 years has been too high.

In 2016-17, net overseas migration to the country came in at 262,500 people, 27.3 per cent higher than the previous year. Australia’s population surged past the 25 million milestone at 11:01pm on August 7, sparking fresh calls to ease the strain on Sydney and Melbourne.

“I find it fascinating that even in a country like yours, which many of us up here hold in high regard because its points-based system and all the rest of it, that even there it’s this disconnect,” he said.

“You’ve had your terrorist attacks, you’ve had your problems that have occurred down there. People want to feel safer, they want to feel that the people coming into the country are going to pretty much absorb themselves within the existing culture.”

He partly blamed the media for the growing discontent.

“People’s faith in the mainstream media is collapsing — take CNN, since their non-stop, 18-month battle to get rid of President Trump, their ratings have fallen off a cliff,” he said.

“People are voting with their feet when it comes to newspapers, radio and TV, and I think there is this perception that big business, big media, big politics, they’re all in it together.”

Asked whether he had an opinion on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Mr Farage said he didn’t “want to get drawn into individuals within Australian politics”.

“All I would say is that I was very disappointed during the referendum that so many Australian political figures seemed to argue that the UK should stay part of the European Union when clearly the freeing of the UK from the EU should be a very good thing for Australian and UK relations,” he said.

In the lead-up to the June 23, 2016 referendum, both Mr Turnbull and opposition leader Bill Shorten said they would prefer the UK to stay part of the EU. After the Brexit vote, Mr Turnbull “consoled” outgoing UK leader David Cameron.

Former PM Tony Abbott bucked the conservative trend and supported the Remain side, but after the poll appeared to backflip, telling a London audience he was “quietly thrilled that the British people have resolved to claim back their country”.

“I found it extraordinary how all the global politicians, Australia included, got behind this, ‘Let’s keep the EU, let’s keep the global order’,” Mr Farage said.

“But it’s happened, and whilst Mrs May is not doing the job very well, the prospects for our two nations with Brexit are much better than they’ve been for decades.”

It’s generally thought the chances of a free-trade deal between Australia and the UK after March 29, 2019 would be better under a so-called “hard Brexit” as opposed to a “soft Brexit”, in which the UK effectively remains a member of the EU in all but name.

“An independent UK is able to choose its own friends,” Mr Farage said.

“We’re able to strike our own trade deals, we’re able to form our own relationships. I think for many of us who are big Commonwealth supporters, which I very much am, the last few decades have been very frustrating.

“We’ve watched the UK getting ever closer to the European political project to the detriment of our global relationships. I’m optimistic, I think we can do trade deals together, there can be a new kind of renaissance, if you like, of the English-speaking peoples of the world.”

Mr Farage would not reveal which politicians he planned to meet on his tour of Australia next month, where he will speak at a series of events billed as an “entertaining evening with Nigel Farage”. He said we wanted to meet fisherman Rex Hunt and cricketer Dennis Lillee.

“They’re my great Australian heroes,” he said.

“All I can say at this stage is there are some quite senior Australian political figures that I will be meeting on my trip, but I can’t disclose those names right at the moment,” he said.

“But clearly there are figures in Australian politics I do look up to from previous times. I thought John Howard was a remarkable man who I’ve had the privilege to meet, but in terms of current day-to-day politics I want to be slightly careful.”


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, August 17, 2018


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Coral reef corruption

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The number of homeowners hits the highest in six years

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Thursday, August 16, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



WA uni refuses to ban  realistic endocrinologist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Token battery being installed to back up wind power

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stabilising the grid

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Few costs to the success of Australia's universities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A virtuous circle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Things could be better

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

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

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

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

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

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

Big money

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


NSW Muslim MP Shaoquett Moselmane blocks Jew from Labor event

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Facebook deletes posts quoting former Prime Minister John Howard

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

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

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

“It just spontaneously vanished,” Mr Wyld said.

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

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

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

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


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

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Religion in decline in Australian schools

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Paris Agreement To Cost Australia $52 Billion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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