Monday, May 01, 2017






Another stupid Greenie prophecy:  "The Reef will never be the same again"

This is just straight Greenie propaganda, with no regard to all the facts.  The GBR has had some bleaching events lately but it is nothing compared to Bikini Atoll, which had a thermonuclear device exploded above it.  And Bikini coral is thriving again.  If coral on Bikini can survive that, why should not the GBR survive infinitely lesser stressors?

And attributing the isolated bleaching to global warming is just assertion.  They offer no evidence for it.  The best evidence is that it is due to sea-level changes, not ocean warming.

It does seem that the 2015/2016 summer bleaching was repeated in summer this year (2016/2017).  Since water levels change only slowly, that is to be expected. 

And note that while they are busily attributing the bleaching to global warming -- they give not a single number for either the global water temperature or the North Queensland water temperature. 

So let me supply some numbers: NASA/GISS Tell us that the global December 2016 temperature (mid-summer) was .77, which was DOWN on December 2015 (1.10)and even slightly down on 2014 (.79).  So in the period at issue, there was NO global warming.  So the guys below are lying through their teeth.  They say that the bleaching was caused by global warming but there WAS no global warming in the period concerned.

And they also don't give numbers for sea levels in the area.  They are zealously hiding the real cause of the bleaching



THE biggest jewel in Australia’s tourism crown will never look the same again — and to fix it, Australia needs a worldwide hand.

Made up of 3000 individual reef systems, the Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest living organism. It is home to 300 species of coral and a vast array of fish, molluscs, starfish and other marine life.

The Reef also supports a $6 billion tourism industry that provides employment for 69,000 people — all of which is in strife if environmental degradation causes significant, widespread harm.

Already back-to-back coral bleaching episodes have taken their toll, wiping out nearly 600km of coral mostly in the far north.

Caused by rising ocean temperatures that kill food-generating algal organisms inside the coral, no one can say with any confidence that bleaching will not become an annual event.

Even more worrying, scientific data suggests a further two-degree increase in ocean temperatures would wipe-out most of the hard corals.

The man in charge of the Reef Recovery program at the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Dr Mark Read, concedes it will never look the same again.

Although some corals will build up a resilience to warmer temperatures, a number of species are facing extinction.

“I think it’s going to end being a real mosaic,” said Dr Read.

“Some parts of the Reef are going to look more classic — hard coral-dominated — that we’re familiar with while other parts will be less dominated by hard coral and more dominated by soft coral and algae.”

While natural habitats are destined to change over time, Dr Read says in the Reef’s case, mankind has contributed to the “current accelerated period of heating” causing coral bleaching.

“We are talking about a global phenomenon,” Dr Read said.

“(Coral bleaching) is happening all around the world where you have hard coral. The Great Barrier Reef has been hit particularly hard, so it’s front of mind.”

Among the strategies being used by his team to aid in the Reef’s recovery, are ensuring activities in the area do not adversely impact the delicate marine environment; tackling the insidious Crown of Thorns starfish; improving water quality and reducing the volume of debris that finds its way into the massive water park.

Together those initiatives will make a difference but Dr Read admits they won’t prevent more episodes of coral bleaching.

“In terms of dealing with the warming per se, that is something that needs to be tackled at that global level,” he said.

“What we do, and what we can do is reduce as many of the direct pressures on the Reef to enhance its capacity to bounce back.”

Those who make a living from the Reef are watching the situation with some trepidation.

Despite chalking up their best tourism season since 1997 in 2016, long-term operators know the back-to-back coral bleaching events that have received global coverage will eventually take their toll.

SOURCE





Which genius gave this Islam idiot a soapbox?

Piers Akerman

AS idiots come, they don’t get much bigger than the silly Muslim woman Yassmin Abdel-Magied, but as stupid as she so obviously is, those who have fallen over themselves to promote multiculturalism across the private and public sector are of far greater ­concern.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who hosted Abdel-Magied and the hate-preacher Sheik Shady Al-Suleiman, along with media hog Waleed Aly and his wife Susan ­Carland, last year at Kirribili last year must take note.

Abdel-Magied had already distinguished herself earlier this year when her principal backers at the ABC put her on a Q&A panel enabling her to proclaim to great hilarity that Islam was “the most feminist religion”.

She was always bound to utter greater inanities and she didn’t fail with her ­ridiculous (and extremely ­offensive) Facebook remarks about Anzac Day last Tuesday.

She’s so deficient in judgment that she didn’t even ­realise her remarks might have been disgustingly offensive until someone else explained the matter to her.

“It was brought to my attention that my last post was ­disrespectful, and for that I ­unreservedly apologise,” she later wrote.

The ABC displayed similarly absurd thinking when its media manager Sally Jackson released a statement standing by its part-time presenter and noting that Abdel-Magied’s post was “subsequently retracted, apologised for and ­deleted”.

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield is responsible for spending taxpayers’ money on the ABC and should do more than be merely critical of the fool but whether or not she is dismissed from her part-time job as an ABC presenter is ­ultimately up to the new CEO, Michelle Guthrie, and the new chairman of the ABC board, Justin Milne. It is they who now wear the asses’ ears and it is their gross lack of judgment that Australians should be ­protesting about.

The young hijab-wearing Sudanese-Egyptian-Australian Muslim is a non-entity ­despite her relentless self-promotion and would not have come to notice had it not been for the oafs within the Australian government who are ­determined to push the failed concept of multiculturalism despite the overwhelming weight of empirical evidence which shows that all cultures are not equal and that the ­fanatical adherents of Islam, some of whom Abdel-Magied has sought advice from, do not support Australia or Australian values.

Yet it was the geniuses within the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade who plucked this halfwit from obscurity and paid for her to visit Islamic nations across the Middle East and in North Africa to ­promote her book on her experiences as a Muslim hijab-wearing woman in Australia.

Throughout the three-week jaunt, Australian taxpayers were picking up her cheque as she was duchessed and waited upon by DFAT officers.

The Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is now said to be pondering whether Abdel-Magied has a future on the Council for Australian-Arab Relations, one of the little perks run by DFAT. But the real question is why was she ever chosen to do anything by anyone of any ­intelligence in government (OK, the oxymoron trigger warning should have come ­before that last thought).

Of course, she is, as Senator Eric Abetz noted, “unfit and (she) lacked the judgment” for the DFAT role but that means the judgment and fitness of the individuals who initially selected her is what must be questioned and dealt with.

It is just over a year since the Australian navy’s hijab-wearing Muslim adviser ­Captain Mona Shindy exposed her ineptitude through a ­Twitter account described as the ­“Official Royal Australian Navy Islamic Advisor Twitter account”, to publish political views in tweets critical of Tony Abbott during and after his prime ministership.

Again, who were the numbskulls responsible for creating the position Shindy held and the account she operated?

Were they the same senior naval officers responsible for the two Canberra-class landing helicopter dock ships HMAS Canberra and HMAS Adelaide which can be seen lashed to the wharves in ­Woolloomooloo this past month and more, unable to go to sea because of “propulsion problems”?

The most land lubberly of observers might well have thought that the prime function of the navy was to ensure that its ships, even those worth some $3 billion, could go to sea and that “propulsion” might be key to that ability but apparently not so.

Neither the naval brains trust nor the Defence Minister Marise Payne can tell the taxpayers what their mechanical problems are but they can tell us how inclusive and multicultural the immovable fleet is.

Given that the navy embarrassingly bought two rust buckets from the US navy in the early ’90s — commissioned them as HMAS Manoora and HMAS Kanimbla — and sold them for scrap in 2013 after getting about 10 real years of service out of them, the lesson is that the Defence Department is hopeless at negotiating a deal and more concerned with politically ­correct appearances than ­operating efficiently.

Too much weight has been given to the ridiculous identity politics of political correctness at the expense of real policies delivering real gains for the ­nation, whether it’s at the ABC, within the navy, or across ­private sector boards.

Don’t deny nonentities their right to freedom of speech but at least deprive them of having a hand in the public pocket while they’re on their silly soap boxes.

SOURCE






Turnbull’s ministry catches the flak as PM botches gas

Richo is an old ALP numbers man so it is interesting to see him in favour of coal below

The capacity of our Prime Minister to turn triumph into tragedy is on display far too often. It is hard to imagine how putting downward pressure on gas prices could be turned into a negative but Malcolm Turnbull is the champion of the political cock-up. Increasingly, the average punter has become aware that our liquefied gas is overwhelmingly for export and can be bought far more cheaply overseas than it can at home. People are aware that energy prices are rising at a phenomenal rate and can’t understand how the gas industry is able to flog its stuff to foreigners when gas supply is so short at home.

Philosophically, the Liberals, like any good conservative party, are opposed to interfering with markets. The free market ideology has held sway for what seems like forever. Even over the last 12 months, ministers such as Josh Frydenberg and Matthew Canavan have dismissed the notion of export controls on the gas industry. It is sometimes difficult for his ministry to keep up with the Prime Ministerial style. Whether bastardry was involved or not, Scott Morrison has had the ground taken from under him several times by Malcolm Turnbull and now the rest of the ministry is learning that it, too, is liable to run foul of a boss thrashing around trying to do something to regain his credibility let alone his ratings.

When a suitably attired and helmeted Prime Minister made his announcement on the export controls on gas, he must have known that suggesting the wholesale price of gas could be halved by this government intervention would mean the mob would assume that the price to them would reduce by a similar margin. Most Australians, and that definitely includes my good self, have no real idea on how gas is priced, let alone what the cost of liquefication might be. As soon as they hear anything that sounds like a 50 per cent reduction, then the automatic interpretation and expectation of price reductions become very, very real.

Josh Frydenberg was forced to go out, a la Sean Spicer, and explain that the government was not in a position to guarantee whether a decrease in the gas price would occur at all, let alone see the price come down by half. What made it so damaging was that the government’s inquisitor on this was not a Labor politician or a high-flying economist, it turned out to be a Melbourne pensioner name Greta who rang the open line on Neil Mitchell’s program on 3AW. Like so many pensioners, she was concerned about whether she could afford to turn the heating on this winter. This was a woman who stood up and was not denied her opportunity.

Sadly, in the current era, cost alone is not the only reason Greta and millions of others might be denied heating this winter. Electricity supplies don’t look nearly as reliable as they have for the last few decades. The government will undoubtedly be judged on that supply and yet, apart from some supportive statements about the need for Australia to continue to rely on coal-fired power for a few decades yet, nothing concrete has been done to make Adani happen or to bring about the construction of new coal-fired plants. As old plants close, we seem to be delaying too much the decision on how to replace them.

Our weak-kneed, cowardly big banks are shying away from financing anything to do with coal. The Turnbull government must find a way to make Adani happen.

Inevitably, this will require government guarantees. If it is good enough to intervene in the gas market, then coal is a natural to be next on the list.

SOURCE






Rich Baby Boomers clinging to their superannuation ripoff

We are entering an era likely to be defined by an intergenerational standoff. Baby boomers are retiring en masse, with the political power that comes from a demographic bubble. The remaining generations who are of working age face increasing pressures courtesy of an expanding gov­ernment remit, which of course needs to be paid for through ­higher taxes.

Australians are living longer than ever, and the generation retiring now is the largest ­cohort in history. The financial costs of an ageing population are significant, even if living longer is a problem we all hope to confront.

There are more baby boomers than any other generation alive, despite their age, which gives them enormous political power — delivered to an activist generation who knows how to use it.

The battleground in focus is superannuation, and ­within the Victorian division of the Liberal Party it became open warfare this week when cabinet minister Kelly O’Dwyer was attacked ­repeatedly for having the temerity to reform superannuation — reforms, incidentally, that after the election last year (and admittedly after a little tinkering to get the settings right) were applauded by the partyroom. Those who claim dissatisfaction with the changes overstate their case.

We need to be clear when outlining just how insignificant the changes to super have been for most Australians. Ignorance is driving much of the fear in this ­debate.

While baby boomers are, as already mentioned, retiring en masse, most will continue to pay absolutely no tax on earnings in their superannuation accounts. That is the political reality. When I say most, we are talking about upward of nine of out 10 retirees living off their superannuation savings, and that’s before considering all those other over-60s living off the pension.

A small number of retirees will be required to pay a very small share of tax, courtesy of the ­reforms the government ushered through soon after the election last year.

The changes have left a rhetorically loud (if numerically small) grouping of elites very ­unhappy. They believe that years of earning huge salaries, and presumably often minimising their taxes when doing so, have earned them the right to pay no taxes whatsoever in retirement — notwithstanding the costs an ageing society im­poses on the rest of us in policy areas such as health.

Let’s put what they are collectively moaning about into context. How dare O’Dwyer support ­reforms that would see a 15 per cent tax on superannuation invest­ment earnings beyond the earnings on the first $3.2 million invested by couples (half that for individuals). That, according to O’Dwyer’s critics, is an unacceptable reform. I say it continues to be an unbelievably low rate of tax.

Assuming low investment ­returns of 5 per cent a year, $3.2m invested would return at least $160,000 each year. No tax is paid on that by retirees, not before the changes the government made and not after them. All that happens now (which did not happen before) is that 15 per cent tax is paid on any additional earnings. The principal ($3.2m or greater) is not taxed, which is important to be aware of.

So if you have super earnings of $200,000 each year, you now pay the whopping tax total of $6000.

Compare that with every generation X, Y or Z person paying marginal tax rates on their ­income earnings.

And if they are able to save money each year ­towards a home or investment loan, consider what they pay in tax on the earnings from those savings. Such taxes are levied at the marginal income tax rate their earnings fall into.

For example, if you earn $180,000 a year, you have just hit the top marginal tax rate (close to 50c in the dollar when levies are factored in).

If you manage to save $20,000 towards a home deposit, and invest it in a savings account earning you 5 per cent interest, you make $1000 after one year to help top up your deposit.

But ­because your interest earned is taxed at the top marginal rate, you effectively lose $500 of that $1000 interest earned — money that can go into government coffers to help fund the ageing of the population.

It doesn’t seem very fair, does it, when the baby boomer earning $200,000 on their super every year is paying only $6000?

Unbelievably, however, this debate isn’t about whether those baby boomers should pay more tax. Neither major party is suggesting that. The debate is about whether O’Dwyer should be challenged in her electorate of Higgins because she had the temerity to impose any taxes at all on superannuation earners.

This is how broken our political debate has become, and it’s also a sign of how powerful the baby boomer generation is politically. Not that the superannuation changes should exercise the minds of most baby boomers ­because, as already mentioned, the overwhelming majority of them simply are not affected by the government’s new taxes.

Critics of O’Dwyer are out of touch and driven by financial self-interest, yet they are scaring retirees unaffected by the minimal super tax changes into thinking the government is stealing from them — harming the financial ­viability of their retirement.

In irony of all ironies, there are polemic advocates from generations X, Y and Z who do the bidding of elite cohorts among the baby boomers, misunderstanding the changes or happy to attack political enemies such as O’Dwyer when they should know better as policy analysts. It’s so lowbrow.

As an addendum to the far more important policy ramifications of this whole debate canvassed above, I was criticised during the week by Peta Credlin (a colleague on Sky News) for not giving her the opportunity to comment within a comment piece I wrote for this paper. The piece criticised her for fuelling the story that O’Dwyer might be challenged for preselection.

I took the view, as a chair of journalism at a Go8 university, and aware of this newspaper’s editorial guidelines, that seeking comment for a comment piece isn’t necessary (news flash: it’s required for news stories, not comment pieces).

Peta and I can agree to disagree on the matter, but I do note that the following day she wrote her own comment piece on super, taking aim at O’Dwyer. So why wasn’t O’Dwyer given the opportunity to comment for that piece? Not that offering her such an opportunity is required, of course.

SOURCE

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, April 30, 2017






A government-sponsored bank won't help social housing

Just over 400,000 Australian households live in social housing, comprised mainly of public and community housing. Tenants pay on average $9,444 per year below market rents: the main reason for the lengthy queue to get into social housing - at least 10 years wait for most of Sydney.

My latest research report, Reforming Social Housing: financing and tenant autonomy, states many other issues face the sector including poor maintenance, mediocre tenant satisfaction, and many dwellings inappropriate for tenant needs. The sector is arguably financially unsustainable; gives tenants almost no choice over accommodation; and is beset with substantial inequities and poor incentives.

These problems won't be fixed by the latest proposal for a government-backed bond aggregator - effectively a government bank for social housing. An aggregator without government sponsorship could be worthwhile, but government backing brings with it many problems; particularly discouraging necessary reform of the sector.

Any government backing for the aggregator is only worthwhile if the benefit is fully passed on to housing providers. So why not give the benefit directly to social housing instead of using a costly and non-transparent intermediary? And if government-backed lending is good for social housing, why not do it for schools, hospitals, roads, and infrastructure more broadly?

Governments should instead pursue other reforms. Funding to state governments for public housing should be replaced by funding direct to tenants, while the remaining funding should strongly encourage other state reforms.

These reforms include allowing new social housing tenants to choose accommodation; differentiating rent by dwelling quality; ensuring policies treat public and community housing similarly; and transferring public housing to the community sector.

States should also have incentives to remove restrictive planning laws that cause housing unaffordability and increased social housing costs.

Such reforms offer more value than a government-sponsored bond aggregator, by giving tenants much more autonomy over their lives, making the sector more efficient and responsive to tenant needs, and doing much more for social housing affordability.

SOURCE




Penalties make hospitals accountable

Sooner or later the medical profession is going to have to realise that health funders are serious about no longer simply paying for medical `inputs' but are serious about paying for `outputs' - quality outcomes for patients.

Aided and abetted by an increasingly health literate population, with smart watches and mobile internet, both consumers and funders want to know more about the care being provided. And why shouldn't they?

The government's proposal to penalise hospitals for preventable mistakes which cause death or serious harm - i.e. `sentinel events' such as operating on the wrong person, a newborn being sent home with the wrong family, patient suicide and fatal medication errors - will launch on July 1 of this year.

Public hospitals will not receive funding for any episodes of care that contain a sentinel event, potentially saving taxpayers millions of dollars.

The real objective, of course, is to improve safety and quality across Australia's public hospitals - which still fail to meet benchmarks and demonstrate significant clinical variance.

State health departments maintain that half the sentinel events to attract a penalty are "not preventable" and the list should be narrowed. Nevertheless, it is anticipated the policy will be extended to include other hospital-acquired complications; a step the AMA is hoping to delay until 2020.

Other critics argue the new regime will encourage hospitals to hide mistakes: so much for open-disclosure and patient-centred care, not to mention the integrity of health professionals.

More alarmingly, some commentators have suggested that sentinel events (even if they are acknowledged) don't reflect hospital quality. The argument that financial penalties are unlikely to significantly improve "the bottom line" on health spending misses the point about greater demands for the transparency of health outcomes.

A good way to improve outcomes - and one that has been successful in other sectors of the economy - is consumer feedback. Penalising hospitals for medical errors is just a different, and very valuable, kind of feedback. And one that holds hospitals accountable for the care they provide.

SOURCE





Why Tasmanian Taxpayers Should Not Fund MONA

The Australian Christian Lobby has condemned the latest horrific and debauched `art' spectacle proposed by Hermann Nitsch at Tasmania's MONA attraction and has called on Premier Will Hodgman to withdraw taxpayer support of it.

"Like so much of MONA's `art', this production is an affront to civil and decent society. It is a debased occultist ritual clothed in the guise of art," ACL Tasmanian director Mark Brown said.

The 150.Action `blood ritual' is scheduled to take place at Macquaire Point, Hobart in June.

"MONA has yet again pushed the boundaries too far and our political leaders must show courage, as Federal MP Andrew WIlkie and Hobart Lord Mayor Sue Hickey have done, by standing up to such depravity," Mr Brown said.

"I applaud Lord Mayor Hickey and Mr Wilkie for their clear and uncompromising opposition to the event," Mr Brown said.

"As the Lord Mayor pointed out, many religious people would especially find this imagery highly offensive.

"Drinking blood, mock crucifixions, naked bodies oozing blood out of their genitalia and frenzied "disciples" cavorting in blood, semen and guts while church bells chime in the background - who in their right mind would think this is acceptable in a modern civil society?

"If MONA want to put on shows like this, they should do so without State Government partnership and taxpayers' money."

Mr Brown said it was disappointing to hear Mr Hodgman say that the State Government was partnering with Mona because "it brings extraordinary economic returns for our state".

"Most Tasmanians would agree that just because something may support the economy it doesn't mean it should happen," Mr Brown said.

"As Tourism Minister and Premier, is this really how Mr Hodgman would want our beautiful state to be known and remembered by tourists?"

More than 12,000 people have signed a petition opposing the show.

"Taxpayer funding of this type of event reflects poorly on our community's core values and our image of what it means to be human," Mr Brown said.

SOURCE




Vic to get justice overhaul, more cops

Violent criminals will be subject to the same post-sentence monitoring and as sex offenders and some will even remain locked up, in Victoria's $308 million justice overhaul.

Those deemed by a court as unsuitable for release into the community at the end of a prison sentence will be sent to a 10-bed facility to be built within the existing prison system.

Others will be subject to electronic monitoring, curfews, no-go zones and strict reporting requirements, it was announced on Thursday.

The Sex Offender Response Unit, made up of police, intelligence analysts and corrections staff, will manage the expanded scheme and a new authority will be created to oversee unit.

It will all be a part of $308 million package to implement the recommendations of the Harper Review.

The review was prompted by the murder of 17-year-old Masa Vukotic at the hands of Sean Price, who was in the community on a supervision order in 2015.

Law and order was the major theme of the government's pre-budget announcements on Thursday.

Premier Daniel Andrews and Police Minister Lisa Neville also announced where some of the first 300 new frontline officers will be walking their new beats.

More than 100 new officers will go to west to Wyndham, Maribyrnong, Melton and Brimbank; 89 are headed north to Hume, Moonee Valley and Moreland; 50 are going to the southeast; 45 to Whittlesea and 10 to Geelong.

The new recruits are a part of a $2 billion announcement made last year, with the funds set aside in next week's budget.

SOURCE
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, April 28, 2017



"I was born in Australia and I don’t want to assimilate"  -- but integration and assimilation are not the same thing.



Koraly Dimitriadis does make an important point below but it may not be the one she has in mind. For a start, she is clearly reflecting the views of her Greek parents. Greek immigrants of yesteryear typically saw Australians as a low lot with no morals or standards. They fitted in very well to Australian society with the fish-shops, greengrocers and milk bars that they set up (among other things) but were very strong on maintaining their cultural separateness. "Separateness" in Afrikaans is "apartheid". So they were clearly racists in a loose application of that term and Ms Dimitriadis clearly has a similar view of "old" (Anglo-Celtic) Australians.

Amusingly, as time has gone by, the lack of "standards" that older Greeks deplored in Australia has turned up in Greece also. So young Greeks who return to Greece to absorb their heritage tend to find that modern Greece is much more like Australia than it is like the Greece of their parents' description. I believe that even "hooking up" has arrived in Athens, which would be anathema to older Greeks.

But the underlying fact that Ms Dimitriadis seems not to realize is that integration and assimilation are not the same thing. Australia has absorbed vast numbers of immigrants from Europe and Asia with only minor frictions. The migrants concerned often did not assimilate in that they retained much of their own culture and customs but they integrated into Australian society by working for their living and not making waves. They rarely did break and enters and they don't go around shooting and bombing people in the name of Allah. So no-one was bothered by them and very little was required of them if they wanted to become citizens.

So the recently proposed citizenship test is not remotely aimed at Greeks, East Asians or Hindu Indians. Almost nobody is concerned about them gaining citizenship. There is nothing to be concerned about. What the tests are aimed at is the two groups of recent arrivals that I mentioned: Africans and Muslims. It is they whom the government wants to crack down on. But in an era of political correctness, they do not feel able to be frank about their aims. If they made the citizenship test applicable to Africans and Muslims only, there would be a huge uproar about "racism" from the Left. So a test designed to restrict Africans and Muslims has to be made applicable to all immigrants.

And, reasonably, some people, such as Ms Dimitriadis, feel the test is not and should not be applicable to her or her relatives. Ms Dimitriadis is undoubtedly a good citizen of Australia and deserves no special scrutiny of herself or her culture. So what she has highlighted is the difficulty that political correctness imposes. It causes her and her relatives to be treated like some very obnoxious groups are treated. It removes an important opportunity to make reasonable distinctions.

Just a small aside in conclusion: At the end of her article, she says:

"I’ll be proud to call myself Australian, to follow Australian values, when I see some values I’d like to follow, until then, I’ll stick to being myself"

She might more frankly have said, "I’ll stick to being a Greek Australian". And there is no reason why she should not do that. Greek Australians have made great contributions to Australia. The only difficulty is that political correctness would have made that statement racist



ASSISTANT Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Alex Hawke said something on the ABC’s Q&A this week that did not sit well with me.

When asked about recent swift changes to obtaining Australian citizenship, he responded:  “… if you want to become Australian you have to assimilate and integrate into Australian society.”

I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I was born in Australia and I am not interested in assimilating.

Assimilate and integrate into what? Australian society? Isn’t Australia a multicultural society made up of different people, cultures and faiths? Maybe what the government actually means is Anglo Saxon Christian Australian society.

“Australian values” and fluency in the English language will be some of the revamps to the new citizenship testing. Anglo Saxon English migrants will do just fine then. Migrants where English isn’t their first language will be at a disadvantage.

Just off the back of the Senate rejecting the proposed changes to Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act and racist Australians crying out “freedom of speech”, in conjunction with the recent skilled migration visa changes, it seems our government this year has adopted Pauline Hanson-style discrimination politics.

While the list of questions for the test has yet to be finalised, whether or not it is appropriate to hit your wife is an example being thrown around. Apart from the ludicrous idea that someone applying for citizenship would tick “yes”, wouldn’t appropriate police checks be done when applying for permanent residency and citizenship?

“Membership of the Australian family is a privilege and should be afforded to those who support our values, respect our laws and want to work hard by integrating and contributing to an even better Australia,” Mr Turnbull said.

Since when is knowing fluent English proof you’re a true blue Aussie? Isn’t the language of Australia the hundreds of indigenous languages? Lucky Section 18C is still intact and the words “insult”, “offend” and “humiliate” were not replaced with “harass” because I am terribly offended right now.

Many members of my extended and immediate family who migrated to Australia in the 70s don’t know fluent English and they are prouder Aussies than I am and I was born here. From the day their ship docked, they have worked hard creating flourishing businesses, they have purchased their own home, educated their children to university level, and contributed not only to the economy but to the face of Australia’s multicultural society. It seems when it comes to appreciating different cultures, Anglo’s are good at appreciating the cuisine, not so much the customs and language.

See, this is why I don’t sing the Australian national anthem. Why would I want to pledge my allegiance to a racist country? The only Australia I am interested in is multicultural Australia. Not racist Australia, not Anglo Australia, but multicultural Australia. But all this government has shown me is they are interested in fuelling segregation. Just from the changes to the skilled migration visas and citizenship changes, racist Australians are getting validated by our government.

I can just hear it already: “Stop stealing our jobs, learn English or go back to where you came from, and give us our freedom of speech to offend you out in public rather than discretely behind closed doors.”

If the government really wants to keep jobs for Australians, maybe they could start by banning big companies from outsourcing their call centres to third world countries.

The government needs to realise that the words “assimilate” and “integrate” can be highly offensive to people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Because assimilate means integrate into the dominant power and that dominant power is Anglo.

The entire parliament of Australia needs a lesson in multiculturalism, in unifying communities rather than tearing them apart. I’ll be proud to call myself Australian, to follow Australian values, when I see some values I’d like to follow, until then, I’ll stick to being myself.

SOURCE





Queensland police 'soliciting' victims to withdraw complaints in bid to cut crime rate, report finds

Police are "soliciting" victims to withdraw complaints in an effort to keep a lid on rising crime rates, Queensland's auditor-general has found.

The auditor's report says pressure from the police hierarchy to cut crime rates has left the Queensland Police Service (QPS) "open to claims of manipulation".

The ABC revealed in January that two police crime managers on the Gold Coast had raised concerns legitimate crime reports were being labelled "unfounded" to keep offences off the books.

Their allegations were passed onto the Queensland auditor-general after their superiors failed to act on their complaints.

In a report about criminal justice data tabled in Parliament, the Audit Office said police crime statistics were "questionable at best and unreliable at worst, and should be treated with caution".

The report focused on the Gold Coast police district, finding officers there used various methods to try to get victims to withdraw their complaints.

The methods included "soliciting victims to withdraw complaints" and sending victims letters requiring them to respond within seven days.

If they failed to respond, police would "presume" they wanted the complaint withdrawn.

The complaints related to offences including assault, burglary, stealing and wilful damage.

"Our analysis of statewide crime statistics indicates that the inappropriate practices and attitudes identified on the Gold Coast regarding changes to crime data are unlikely to be isolated to that district," the report stated.

Queensland Police Minister Mark Ryan told the ABC inappropriate police conduct would be investigated. "I would say to anyone who feels like they've been inappropriately contacted by police to let us know. There is a complaints process," he said. "We expect the highest standards, the very highest standards from our Queensland police.

"If there are shortcomings in those behaviours in respect of any aspect of their role, then those shortcomings will be investigated and we will hold those officers to the highest standards."

The latest QPS crime figures reveal the rates of assault, fraud, robbery and unlawful entry on the Gold Coast in 2016 rose from the year before.

Police detective turned criminologist Terry Goldsworthy believes the concerns raised by the auditor-general should be referred to the state's Crime and Corruption Commission.

"It's not just the fact it's sloppy bookkeeping. What's seen here suggests there's been deliberate manipulation. In other words, a process has been undertaken to mislead," he said.

SOURCE





   
WA man wrongly convicted after DNA error

A DNA profiling mistake that led to an innocent man being convicted has been referred to WA's Corruption and Crime Commission a year following the discovery of the error.

The man was charged in 2004 over a home invasion and despite protesting his innocence, agreed to plead guilty because his lawyer told him he risked jail time if he lost a trial on the back of strong DNA evidence.

The Department of Health's forensic testing service, PathWest, had incorrectly matched him to DNA belonging to another man with the same name.

Health Minister Roger Cook and Attorney-General John Quigley say it is understood the error was not identified until April 2016, when PathWest notified police.

But the Director of Public Prosecutions was told only last week.

Mr Cook has requested the public sector commissioner conduct an immediate inquiry into PathWest's operations and Mr Quigley has referred the matter to the Corruption and Crime Commission.

"This is a very serious matter," Mr Cook said on Thursday.

"The North Metropolitan Health Service is also undertaking its own audit to determine whether any other errors of this nature could have occurred."

Mr Quigley said the man who the DNA belonged to had an extensive criminal record and went on to commit other crimes.

He wants the home invasion case reopened and said the wrongly convicted man wanted to clear his name.

Mr Cook said he spoke with the man on Wednesday and offered him an apology on behalf of the state.

SOURCE






Lisa Oldfield has joined a chorus of voices lambasting Yassmin Abdel-Magied for her highly political Anzac Day post



The Real Housewives of Sydney star added her two cents to the debate that has swept the nation since Abdel-Magied posted a comment to Facebook on Tuesday.

The Muslim author and activist caused a national stir when she suggested Australians should spare a thought for those on Manus Island and in Syria instead of Anzacs.

In the post, the 26-year-old author and activist wrote: "Lest We Forget (Manus.Nauru. Syria. Palestine)".

She apologised for comments in a follow up post after the original one was deleted. "It was brought to my attention that my last post was disrespectful, and for that, I apologise unreservedly," she wrote.

During a panel discussion on Sky News overnight, Ms Oldfield appeared to sympathise with Abdel-Magied before ultimately unleashing on her. "At the end of the day I don't like what she said, I was offended by what she said," Ms Oldfield, the wife of former One Nation co-founder David Oldfield, said.

"But I still support her right to freedom of speech and my right to say Lest We Forget Yassmin that you are brown, you are Muslim and you are a girl and that's the only reason you have a job at the ABC."

Ms Oldfield is not the first to vent their anger at the situation, with Broadcaster Alan Jones describing Abdel-Magied as "un-Australian".

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has also joined in the tirade, demanding Abdel-Magied be sacked. "After a very special day yesterday I am disgusted to actually hear about Yassmin Abdel-Magied's comments on social media," Ms Hanson said in a Facebook video.

"I just think she has no understanding, she has no idea, yet the federal government's paying her to travel the world to promote her book and she's been on the Australian 100-year commemoration to represent the youth, she wouldn't have a clue.”

In the days since Abdel-Magied's post, a number of petitions have popped up online calling for the presenter to be fired. One petition has more than 20,000 supporters.

Meanwhile, outspoken feminist author Clementine Ford has thrown her support behind the young presenter by starting an online petition defending the presenter against "d---heads".

"Yassmin Abdel-Magied is a deadset legend. She puts herself on the line and cops a lot of crap from racist bigots and Strayan dickheads," she said. "Yassmin does not deserve this hatred. Yes, this is a meaningless petition - but so is the one circulating demanding the ABC fire her."

The ABC has backed Abdel-Magied saying it would not take any action against the "part-time presenter". "Her views and opinions in that capacity are her own and do not represent those of the ABC," the broadcaster said in a statement.

Abdel-Magied is not shy of controversy; in February this year she engaged in a screaming row with Senator Jacqui Lambie on Q&A.

During the verbal stoush Abdel-Magied said Islam was a feminist religion and also appeared to condone Sharia Law.

Abdel-Magied also has alleged links to anti-gay and anti-women group Hizb ut-Tahrir, who she made contact with in the wake of her on-air fight with Ms Lambie. The Australian claims Abdel-Magied made contact with the group for advice on how she could have presented her argument on the panel show.

Last month, Abdel-Magied arbitrated a show on SBS called ‘The Truth About Racism’ which featured an African, Asian, Aboriginal, Muslim and a white Australian male with far right views – Nick Folkes.

But the show was quickly denounced by Mr Folkes who told The Australian he was “stitched up” and the show was really about proving the white guy to be a racist.
Like the ABC, the SBS stood by Abdel-Magied, saying Mr Folkes was given ample time to air his opinions.

SOURCE

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, April 27, 2017



Property Council urges more urban land, low-deposit loans in housing affordability plan

Nobody can repeal the law of supply and demand so what the rising prices clearly reveal is that supply is not keeping up with demand. And that is so.  With Australia taking in a couple of hundred thousand immigrants in every year, something like a couple of hundred thousand new houses need to be built.  Because of the slowness of local councils to release more building land, that is not happening.  Councils are the choke point.  But how anybody can squeeze their balls remains to be seen


The lobby group representing property developers has unveiled a "10-point plan" to boost housing affordability in Australia's major cities, urging an increase in the availability of urban land, a system of low-deposit home loans and incentives for older home owners to downsize.

The Property Council, which has been a high-profile opponent of Labor's proposals to curb negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions, has released its plan two weeks out from the government's budget, which will outline a suite of housing affordability measures.

Released on Wednesday, their plan reiterates the council's opposition to negative gearing reform, and calls for an increase in housing "supply, diversity and choice" through a strategy that increases the amount of land for new homes supported by infrastructure in capital cities.

It wants charges and "red tape" to be reduced to make it cheaper for property developers to build, incentives for states to reform competition policy, risk-assessed low-deposit loans for owner-occupiers, the creation of "built to rent" housing, and the phasing out of stamp duty.

The low-deposit loan scheme would be based on Western Australia's Keystart program, which has been accessed by 85,000 people and results in fewer defaults than the market average, according to the Property Council.

The council also suggests boosting the supply of fit-for-purpose retirement living, and protecting some surplus cash from the pension-assets test.

Winding back stamp duty, the group said, would make the tax system more efficient and increase economic growth.

Average dwelling prices were 6.9 times average wages in 2016, up from 4.3 times average wages 15 years ago. In 2001, it took 85.9 per cent of the average household income to pay for a home deposit. This rose to 138.9 per cent in 2016.

"For 20 years we have had a logjam of costly regulation, poor planning decisions and excessive taxation across all levels of government. This has driven up construction costs, impeded supply, and resulted in the dramatic increase in house prices in our major cities," Property Council chief executive Ken Morrison said.

"Our plan seeks to support housing construction, broaden housing choice, reduce unnecessary construction costs, incentivises the states to undertake planning reform, induce institutional investment in new rental stock, and help first home buyers bridge the deposit gap."

The report outlines lagging supply, strong population growth, monetary policy, strong employment levels, low inflation, low interest rates and increased competition in the mortgage market as drivers of house prices.

Mr Morrison said negative gearing underpins the rental market and warned the government to "tread carefully otherwise it runs the risk of undermining the flow of jobs and investment throughout the economy".

SOURCE






Vic Police have 'lost the plot': Glare

Former police commissioner Kel Glare says he's prepared to be labelled "mongrel of the month" by saying Victoria Police has "lost the plot" when it comes to crime prevention.

Mr Glare says the "crime tsunami" hitting Victoria wouldn't have happened under his watch.

"When it comes down to it, we need a radical change from what we are seeing now," he told reporters in Melbourne.

"Victoria Police has withdrawn most or if not all of their crime preventative measures."

The Community Advocacy Alliance, which Mr Glare heads, released its Plan 100 for law and order in the Victoria on Wednesday with the backing of opposition leader Matthew Guy.

It focuses on crime prevention through programs for youth and making the victim the centre of the justice system.

Mr Glare was the state's chief commissioner from 1987 to 1992.

SOURCE






ABC presenter savaged for 'disrespecting Anzacs'

ABC presenter Yassmin Abdel-Magied has been savaged on social media after suggesting Australians should spare a thought for those on Manus Island and in Syria instead of the Anzacs.

The host of the ABC 24's Australia Wide program fell afoul of Facebook users today when she posted "Lest We Forget (Manus.Nauru. Syria. Palestine)".

She was forced to delete the post after receiving a barrage of comments from irate social users. "It was brought to my attention that my last post was disrespectful, and for that, I apologise unreservedly," she wrote in a follow up post.

While the 26-year-old author may have hoped her apology would be taken for what it was, Abdel-Magied found herself the target of venomous, racist abuse.  "You disgusting piece of low life. Disrespecting our country's veterans. You aren't Australian. Go to hell," one incensed Facebook user wrote.  "Too late now you best leave you are hated in this country, your ISIS brothers will take really good care of you," another wrote.

While another wrote: "You are utter filth. I hope you get sacked for your disgraceful ignorance and insolence. Pig!"

Ms Abdel-Magied is not shy of controversy; in February this year she was engaged in a screaming row with Senator Jacqui Lambie on Q&A. The verbal stoush was triggered by a debate on US President Donald Trump's proposed Muslim ban.

SOURCE






Family First takeover: Cory Bernardi looks for more mergers after 'great day for conservatives'

Breakaway senator Cory Bernardi says he will pursue mergers with other conservative parties and seek more defections from the Liberal Party after Family First folded its operations into his nascent Australian Conservatives party.

Family First, a socially and economically conservative party launched in 2001, will no longer exist from Wednesday and its two South Australian MPs will switch to serve under the Australian Conservatives banner.

With Senator Bernardi set to gain thousands of members, finances and two state MPs, how will the new conservative marriage between him and Family First impact the federal political landscape?

The merger will give Senator Bernardi access to Family First's party infrastructure - including mailing lists - but will not boost his party's representation in the Senate.

While welcoming the merger, Family First senator-elect Lucy Gichuhi said she planned to serve as an independent rather than join forces with Senator Bernardi.

Senator-elect Lucy Gichuhi with former Family First senator Bob Day during last year's election campaign.
Senator-elect Lucy Gichuhi with former Family First senator Bob Day during last year's election campaign. Photo: Facebook

"While I respect the decision of Family First to join with Australian Conservatives, given the circumstances and the time frames, I have not been able to determine if joining this new entity is the best way for me to serve the people of South Australia," Ms Gichuhi said in a statement.

"It is on that basis that I have decided to serve as an independent senator for the time being."

Ms Gichuhi will be sworn into the Senate next month after the High Court decided Family First senator Bob Day's election was invalid because he had an indirect pecuniary interest with the Commonwealth.

Mr Day, who has bankrolled Family First in recent years, gave a curt "no comment" when asked by Fairfax Media on Wednesday whether he supported the merger.

Speaking at a press conference in Adelaide, Senator Bernardi said: "I hope it's not the last amalgamation. "I welcome minor parties, I welcome former colleagues [and] existing colleagues, who want to be part of a team that really, genuinely wants to make politics different."

Senator Bernardi said the two parties were a "natural fit" and the merger would strengthen the conservative movement across Australia. He wished Ms Gichuhi well with her career.

South Australian Family First leader Dennis Hood said it was a "great day for Family First and we believe it is a great day for those on the conservative side of politics in Australia". "Finally, those on the conservative side of politics will have a united conservative voice in which to support and park their vote," he said. "We are excited about the prospect that holds."

Mr Hood said all of Family First's state branches and its federal executives agreed to join forces with the Australian Conservatives. "This is a unanimous decision," he said. "There has been no dissension within the Family First party at all."

SOURCE

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, April 26, 2017



Immigrants advance Australian economy, but what happens if we 'close the door?'

The discussion below has some reasonable points but it comes from the Left-leaning ABC so commits the usual Leftist error of treating all immigrants as the same.  There has long been a broad consensus that Australia should prioritize immigrants with useful skills and that implies that all immigrants are NOT the same.  So the Left are being deliberately obtuse about this.  The truth is that immigrants from both ends of the Eurasian continent  -- Europe and East Asia -- have indeed assimilated well and made a great contribution to the development of Australia.  But that is NOT so of immigrants from the Middle East and other Muslim lands.  So to apply the lessons from past immigration to the inflow we are getting those days is totally invalid and deceptive.  Muslim and African immigrants are largely parasitic and are not even grateful for their reception.

And the claim that hostility to Muslims is our fault and not theirs rests not only on a refusal to look at Muslim behaviour but also rests on an accusation that Australians have always been hostile to immigrants.  That is nonsense. 

The example that always comes to my mind concerns the government of NSW a few years back.  Under the Iemma administration an Italian Premier was assisted in government by a Greek finance minister and several other Italians. NSW was run by what some would once have called "wogs" with hardly any consciousness of that.  All the politicians concerned were born in Australia of immigrant parents and were freely elected by the people of NSW to run Australia's most populous State.  Where did the racism go in that?

There will always be racists in every community but to point to a few isolated examples of it does not establish a generalization.  My example of what millions of NSW people did with their vote does, however, tell you much more about the attitudes of Australians in general



For a nation built mostly on newly-arrived immigrants, it's an issue guaranteed to inflame heated and at times vicious debate.

Outright distrust and opposition to anything "foreign" was part of our social fabric until 70 years ago, and at one stage was enshrined in our political system via The White Australia policy.

Then, the post war immigration boom saw waves of European refugees flee their war-torn homelands in search of a better life.

Those new arrivals changed Australia forever, overwhelmingly for the better, as did the influx of Asian immigrants fleeing conflict in the 1970s.

But despite the proclamations from our leaders that we are a tolerant mob who embrace cultural diversity, the deep-seated distrust among established Australians never really evaporated, as evidenced by the animosity towards new arrivals from the Middle East.

So inflamed are passions, it is nigh on impossible to have a sensible debate over levels of immigration whether it be in regards to the continent's environmental sensitivities or on the impact on the economy.

Those who raise legitimate concerns often are accused of racism.

That's understandable given environmental protection and the economy have become convenient smokescreens for those who harbour deep prejudices.

From around 90,000 at the turn of the century, our annual intake of immigrants has risen to more than 200,000 a year.

That's put a rocket under our population growth rate, which has surged to 1.8 per cent over the past 15 years, way above the OECD average of 0.7 per cent.

From a humanitarian perspective, it's allowed us to strut the world stage from the vantage of the high moral ground.

However, from an economic viewpoint, it's delivered our leaders a convenient buffer with which to hide a multitude of fiscal sins and allowed them to shirk making tough decisions.

How immigration boosts GDP

There's a fairly simple relationship between immigration and economic growth. The more people you have, the bigger your economy. More people buy more goods and services.

There's nothing inherently wrong with boosting your growth through immigration.

But the crime committed by Australian governments of all persuasions in the past 20 years is that, while they've been happy to accept the kudos for economic growth, they've been totally unwilling to spend the necessary cash to ensure the economy can cope with such a dramatic influx of new arrivals.

In essence, they've cooked the books.

As a result, many of our major cities are choking. Our infrastructure is obsolete. Utilities are struggling. That, in turn, has adversely affected our productivity and led to further distortions in how our wealth is distributed.

The laughable illusion of our economic miracle — the nation that fuels and feeds the world — is highlighted by looking just one small step beyond the raw GDP data.

If you simply divide our economic growth performance by the number of Australians, our growth doesn't look anywhere near as flash.

On an annualised basis, our per capita GDP growth has never been much above 2 per cent since the last recession 25 years ago, and that was for just a few years around the new millennium.

Most of the time it's been around 1.5 per cent and more recently 1 per cent. That's tepid at best.

That's the reason why, in recent years, it often has felt like a recession. In fact, during 2009, the economy was in reverse when measured in per capita growth terms.

Once you spread the extra wealth around all those extra people, we've been barely marking time. So much for the boom.

More people, less pay, same old infrastructure

Most new arrivals head to where they can find work. That's meant most immigrants have headed towards the biggest cities, Sydney and Melbourne.

Since around 2003, Melbourne's population has swelled by almost 1 million, with Sydney not far behind.

All those extra people have to live somewhere and that puts pressure on housing.

Despite the common misconception peddled by shock jocks that new immigrants flock here for social security benefits, most in fact are desperate for work. That puts pressure on wages.

It is little surprise then that in the past decade, housing prices, particularly in the major centres have soared while wages growth now is the slowest since the last recession.

It's never a simple, linear argument. Immigrants are amazingly adept at starting their own businesses, thereby creating employment.

And record low interest rates combined with tax incentives that have transformed housing into a preferred investment vehicle have been the primary drivers in inflating the east coast housing bubble.

But there's no denying the failure of successive governments to develop infrastructure that would have facilitated new housing, thereby helping alleviate the dangerous east coast property bubble, and maintained productivity.

Immigration crackdown — Where now for growth?

In the past week, there has been a clear shift in Federal Government thinking. The scaling back of 457 visas — which undoubtedly have been rorted — and the tougher approach to citizenship appear to herald a new approach to immigration.

Once again though, the motivation appears to be more on pandering to electoral and party room prejudice than being sourced in sound economics or environmental grounds.

Political posturing aside, it would appear Canberra unwittingly has exposed itself to a far greater problem.

Without the immigration sugar hit, what will drive the Australian economy into the future?

Most of our economic growth forecasts have been based on population growth of around 400,000 a year; almost a new city.

With the mines now running at peak capacity, resource prices in decline and the east coast housing boom on its final doomed run, a pull back on immigration — the secret weapon in our economic miracle — will leave our leaders with nowhere to hide.

To further complicate matters, if productivity is to be lifted, a major infrastructure spend is required; the money that should have been spent all along to cope with the immigration intake.

Perhaps they will be forced to confront serious fiscal issues if they truly want to bring the budget deficit back under control instead of simply relying on endless numbers of new arrivals to inflate the economy and the tax base.

Maybe they will get serious about a resources rent tax, rather than idly standing by and watching the nation's riches hauled off for little return.

Tax cuts for foreign corporations may take a back seat to enforcing the law on company tax. And they might even question whether we can afford the enormous tax breaks on superannuation and property investment for the wealthy.

Maybe. But it will probably take a recession to do it.

SOURCE





A French lesson for Australia

The comparisons made by Robert Gottliebsen below are a little strained but I see some truth in them

Now for a different twist on the French Presidential election.

In a strange way, many of the problems facing France are incredibly similar to those facing Australia. On the economic front (aside from refugees and terror) in the looming Presidential run off, France is being given two very different solutions to its version of the problems. Down the track we will face similar choices, so let’s compare our two nations.

Both of us find that our employment creating industries suffer from a high currency. France has 10 per cent unemployment. We are at 6 per cent, mainly thanks to our building industry and housing boom. If this sector falters, we will find ourselves in an unemployment situation that’s not much different from France.

The French currency is high because it uses the euro rather than the franc, and the euro is boosted by the inclusion of Germany.

Our currency is high because of our iron ore and LNG exports, which are commodities produced by industries that are not big labour employers and, in the case of LNG, it is damaging the economics of our energy-reliant labour-employing industries.

Both of us have labour laws that restrict employment and are not consistent with the currency. The French situation is far worse than Australia but, as so often happens in France, the French have found ways to mitigate the problem.

They try to restrict the size of their businesses to less than 50 people (and sometimes even lower) to avoid the worst of the labour laws and that creates entrepreneurialism.

Here in Australia we mitigated the shift allowance and penalty rate part of our labour problem by large corporate deals with the unions which covered a huge portion of the workforce, and another big slab was covered by the use of the cash economy.

Although our official penalty rates were high, in reality relatively few paid them. Fair Work Australia tried to bring the official penalty rates closer to what people were actually being paid but were ambushed by Opposition leader Bill Shorten and the Prime Minister did not know how to bring the debate back to reality.

As a result, a large number of large and small enterprises, particularly large retailers and small cafes, may end up increasing their weekend/public holiday shift allowances to the official rate which will make the problem a great deal worse. We are heading in the French direction.

Both our countries have a serious Muslim terror problem although the French one much is worse than ours.

Both countries have horrific debt, although ours comes via the banking system rather than the government.

Both countries are becoming sick of the existing political parties that have not been able to grasp the state and national problems.

The French have a presidential system which has enabled them to easily dump both traditional parties in the latest election in favour of people outside the traditional political arena — exactly what the Americans have done when confronted with their version of the same problem.

If the next French president is Emmanuel Macron, then he is promising to reduce unemployment from ten to seven per cent by changing the labour laws. He will slash the public service to reduce the deficit. I wish him luck. The unions in France are ferocious.

The other candidate Marine Le Pen is planning to take the French out of the euro, which means the labour problem will be solved via the currency. If Macron wins and he fails to change the labour laws and/or his measures do not reduce unemployment, then there will be no alternative for France but to leave the euro and adopt a version of the Marine Le Pen solution.

The French are being given a real choice as to which solution they pick.

In Australia, an effective leader has not yet emerged from the left or right in the conventional parties. If a leader willing to tackle the issues does not emerge from one of the conventional parties, then voters may well go elsewhere as France has done.

SOURCE






Fairy tale revisionism

Disrespect for children's traditional fairy stories will always grate on those of us who grew up with them and enjoyed them but there is a defence of that disrespect below that does have something in it.  It is an attempt to attack sentiment with logic, however, so will not do much to shift attitudes. That there are important life lessons embedded in the stories will however always be their strongest defence.  For children they a way of learning important lessons about reality in an enjoyable way

This year, the Respectful Relationships curriculum was rolled out in Victorian schools. As part of it, children are taught to think critically about traditional fairy tales by looking at the gender roles they contain.

But not everyone likes the idea. When we asked our readers to give their thoughts, many felt that fairy tales should be left alone:

    "They are cliched romantic tales for children, meant to be taken as fantasy."

    "If we start mucking around and changing stories to make them politically correct we will destroy the joy of reading."

    "PC gone mad. How bout the Government concentrate on real things, not damn fairy tales."

    "Give us a break. They are beautiful fairy tales. Let kids be kids and have their childhood memories."

What exactly does the Respectful Relationships curriculum teach?

The curriculum was devised to address gender-based violence.   According to the teaching materials, gender norms "influence beliefs about how girls and boys should act, speak, dress and express themselves", and are often "reinforced through popular television shows and story books".

    "Analyses of popular books have found that central characters are more likely to be male, female characters are more often in nurturing roles, and occupations are gender stereotyped," the teaching materials state.

To get primary school children thinking about this, the program gets them to look at traditional fairy tales and identify their "gendered messages".

Students are asked to take on the role of a "fairy tale detective" and consider, for instance, what would happen if the characters swapped roles — "if the girl had the sword and the boy waited for her to rescue him".

They are then asked to look at more modern fairy tales to see how they compare.

If you're curious, the teaching resources are all available online.

Here are just a few sexist tropes as identified by Dr Lauren Rosewarne, a social studies expert at the University of Melbourne:

    women being saved by men

    women's value being attached to how beautiful they are

    old women being witches

"Fairytales have long been in the crosshairs of feminists who have considered the presentations to reiterate antiquated stereotypes," Dr Rosewarne said.

Is this teaching program an example of political correctness?

Dr Rosewarne doesn't think so. "I see this as being about a culture that has become savvy about identifying where stifling gender roles come from and how they get reinforced by our culture," she said.     "It's about thinking critically about material we too often dismiss as 'just entertainment' or 'just children's stories'."

Dr Matthew Beard, from the Ethics Centre, says there's a difference between sanitising texts and critically looking at them. "If children are being told, 'This story is bad, stop enjoying it,' then that's a problem, there's a genuine reason why parents would be concerned," he said.

But he says simply thinking critically about a story doesn't stop you from enjoying it.  "We can revel in the excitement of a prince that's fighting a dragon but also think, 'Hmm, I wonder why it had to be a man?'," he said. "I don't think criticism or reflection is the enemy of entertainment."

Are we breaking with tradition?

Dr Rosewarne says no, because what we think of as "traditional" fairy tales are actually recent inventions anyway.  "The fairy tales so common in storybooks and cartoons are actually already heavily sanitised versions of the stories original circulated by the Grimm brothers," she said.

Dr Beard also notes that the nastier aspects of fairy tales have already been washed out.   "The little mermaid in the Hans Christian Andersen version kills herself at the end because she doesn't actually find true love," he said.

A couple years ago, we took a closer look at the surprisingly dark and gruesome stories behind Disney's fairy tales.

Aren't fairy tales supposed to be all about teaching values in the first place?  Dr Beard says they are, and that looking at gender stereotypes adds another dimension to this. "Fairy stories have always been about teaching moral lessons, that's the entire purpose of these morality tales," he said.

"They're meant to teach about courage, they're meant to teach about humility, or patience."

Dr Rosewarne says fairy tales and folk stories should adapt over time to reflect changes in our culture.  "Holding tight to some notion of 'tradition' isn't about authenticity but rather about rigid adherence to conservative values that have, historically, limited women," she said.

She points to Frozen and Tangled as examples of modern fairy tales that challenged gender stereotypes and were still popular with children.

SOURCE






Q&A: Citizenship, visa changes dominate program forcing Alex Hawke to defend policies

Changes to Australia's 457 visas and citizenship tests dominated Q&A on Monday night, with Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Alex Hawke spending most of the program defending the Government's policies.

Last week Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the Government would abolish the 457 visa, replacing it with two new visas, and introduce sweeping changes to the nation's citizenship laws, including a tougher citizenship test.

On Q&A immigration lawyer Sarah Thapa challenged Mr Hawke to justify what she said was a "sudden" decision to scrap hundreds of occupations allowed under current visas.

"Many of these occupations are relied upon by my clients in the [information and communication technology], medical research and renewable energy sector," she said.

But Mr Hawke said the overhaul had faced "extensive public reviews" and was about "Australians getting access to the Australian labour market first".

"When you look at the kinds of occupations that are there, when you look at the requirements that are there, too many Australians are being overlooked for jobs and too many Australians in those fields that have been mentioned right there haven't been offered those jobs, whether they are new graduates out of our universities or if they are people older in life that get redundant and are replaced," he said.

He said would have been unwise to announce the changes ahead of time because it could have led to a rush on positions from foreign job seekers.

Questions over racism, Islamophobia

Audience member David Butt opened his question with a line from the film, The Big Short:

"I have a feeling in a few years people are going to be doing what they always do when the economy tanks — they will be blaming immigrants and poor people." He asked if last week's announcements were the Government's first step in pointing the finger of blame at immigrants.

But Mr Hawke rejected the suggestion. "It is not about any ethnicity or any immigrant," he said.  "These are temporary visas. These have never been about permanent visas. This is a temporary skill shortage program.

"There are pathways to permanent residency that have been attached to it [to recognise that] when people come and work for substantial periods of time they should be able to have a pathway to permanent residency, but the changes that I am making are non-discriminatory across the board."

Labor spokesman for business Tony Burke, who was also on the panel, said he was yet to see the detail of the changes but he questioned their motivation and highlighted what he said was a focus on immigrants.

He also questioned how citizenship test changes could improve Australia's national security.

"How on Earth can it be we are making a decision about whether or not somebody should be in Australia as a citizen when the only people we are talking about have already decided to be permanent resident?" he said.

"Of course it is not about national security."

"It [the overhaul] might still be sensible and there might still be aspects that are sensible, but the rhetoric claiming somehow people who are permanent residents and they've had their security checks and we have decided that are fine to live here but if we make them citizens and they are suddenly dangerous, it is absurd."

Migrants 'work hard to grow'

Debate continued with fellow panellists Senator Derryn Hinch and author and prominent feminist Germaine Greer before Zimbabwean activist and social entrepreneur Chido Govera was asked for her outsider's view.

She admitted she found it surprising Australia was having what appeared to be an insular debate in an increasingly global world.

Ms Govera said she also feared the changes were motivated by xenophobia.

"It feels like it is all geared to isolate a certain group of people from coming to Australia and that if they come, there was a mention they come to work in rural Australia and they should not be in the city.

"So they come from other countries and then we keep them in a small spot where they cannot grow. They stay in the rural areas and they cannot come into the city.

"That is a bit difficult to digest for me, knowing that this is maybe part of my people who are being spoken about in this way, when they work very hard to be in a space where they can also grow, but there is no chance for that. "Rules that are made like this are a little bit difficult because, again, it will lead us to the whole cycle of blaming, so it is blaming the immigrants, blaming the poor people.

SOURCE

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, April 25, 2017



Police misbehaviour in Australia

Most times that I see them, I put up here reports of police misbehaviour.  As well as posting them here, I have a separate site that records reports about police only.  I have recently brought it up to date and the overwhelming feeling I got from it was shock about how frequent such behaviors are.  For anybody with concerns about the police, it could be a useful resource





Holocaust denial materials prompt concerns after distribution at Australian universities

Posters questioning the historical accuracy of the Holocaust have sparked concerns among students at the Australian National University (ANU) and at least two other universities where they were distributed.

On Friday students found flyers and posters at the ANU campus that give support to the views of controversial British writer David Irving, who has questioned the overwhelming body of evidence supporting the existence of the Holocaust.

The materials point to a website that includes questions about whether gas chambers existed at concentration camps.

ANU Students Association president James Connolly said the posters made reference to the new movie Denial, which dramatized a court case involving Mr Irving.

"There were a series of flyers and posters that had been found around the gym ... that challenged the historical authenticity of the Holocaust," Mr Connolly said.

"The impetus for the posters had come from a new film called Denial — the subject of the film was about Holocaust denial.

"It was challenging whether that film had resolved the matter of whether the Holocaust had actually happened."

Mr Connolly said it was not clear who distributed the flyers, but they were similar to ones that appeared on campus last year.

University 'appalled' by flyers

Mr Connolly said the materials were taken down immediately. "I was aware that it had happened in Victorian Universities," he said. "Holocaust denial is hate speech — it's usually peddling an agenda of anti-Semitism and it really has no place in an environment which values tolerance and inclusion."

A statement from the university also condemned the materials. "The University is appalled by the distribution of derogatory material on campus," it said. "The Vice-Chancellor has made it clear that the distribution of derogatory and inappropriate material is completely unacceptable. "ANU Security removed the fliers, and is reviewing CCTV footage to identify the perpetrators."

Melbourne University confirmed similar flyers were also distributed on its campus two weeks ago. A small number of flyers were also found in a carpark at Monash University. Police were notified of both incidents in Victoria.

SOURCE






Bob Katter 'doesn't want Muslims coming to Australia'

Queensland MP Bob Katter has been accused of racism after he was filmed admitting he opposed Muslim immigration to Australia.

The video, filmed in a New South Wales pub, shows a man quizzing the leader of Bob Katter’s Australia Party on his stance towards Muslims. “You don’t like much, do you really?” the man asks.

“We’re nice to you white blokes, I think we are,” Mr Katter replies.

The man then demands to know whether the Federal Member for Kennedy is “in bed with One Nation”.

“I don’t want any Muslims coming here,” Mr Katter says, before backtracking. “I shouldn’t say that.”

“You don’t want any of them coming here at all – do you, Bob Katter?” the man taunts.

Mr Katter then walks away.

Mr Katter today responded to the video taking aim at the media storm. "There is something wrong in the media when you can address this issue formally and intelligently in the Parliament with reason and you get absolutely nothing; and some loud mouth Bludgerigar  puts a video out and we get nation-wide publicity.  I’ll be writing Pauncho a letter of thanks," he said.

"We will say again, and again, bring in the tormented, not the tormentors.

"As I’ve said on the public record many times, it is imperative the people from the Middle East and North Africa are barred from entering Australia. The time is long overdue to stop people from terrorist regions coming to Australia," Mr Katter said.

"Why we say the Middle East and North Africa, the case cannot be made against Albania, Indonesia or Malaysia – they are not terrorist countries, even though they are Muslim countries.

"The exception of course are the persecuted minorities... We must, and please god will always, welcome them."

The politician is the grandson of a Lebanese migrant widely known for his socially conservative views.

In August last year, Mr Katter told Sky News the “time has come” to stop immigration from the Middle East and North Africa, citing terrorism fears and alleged migrant reliance on welfare.

In 2011, Mr Katter also dismissed same-sex marriage as something that deserved "to be laughed at and ridiculed".

SOURCE






Australia Institute examines Pauline Hanson's One Nation's performance in WA

Although it was widely written off as an embarrassing failure, One Nation's campaign in the Western Australia election was a considerable victory in which the party positioned itself to seize long-term balance of power in the federal senate, according to a new analysis.

In the March state election, One Nation secured three upper house seats, but failed to secure any in the lower house, as had been widely expected. The final days of the campaign were derailed by the resignation of some of its candidates and a disastrous interview in which Ms Hanson question the safety of vaccinations.

Many commentators suggested that it was the high tide mark for One Nation's electoral surge over recent years.

But a research paper to be published by the progressive think tank The Australia Institute finds that One Nation's result has been broadly misunderstood and the party underestimated.

In the election, One Nation candidates received 65,192 of a total of 1,321,640 valid first preference votes cast in Legislative Assembly districts, or 4.86 per cent. This was the figure focused on by most analysts after the election.

But in the paper, entitled One Nation in Western Australia: Epic fail or huge win?, Philip Dorling writes that many commentators failed to note that One Nation had run candidates in just 35 of the state's 59 lower house seats. In the seats it contested, the party won 8.47 per cent of first preference votes and in 10 electorates it won more than 10 per cent. This is the figure analysts should have emphasised, says Dorling.

The perception that the party lost ground in the election is a result of its failure to manage expectations, he told Fairfax Media.

Dorling notes that, when this 8.47 per cent figure is compared with One Nation's result in the 2016 federal election, the party has effectively doubled its vote in just seven months.

"Doubling of support and the election of three new parliamentary representatives (compared with zero representation previously) can hardly be described as a 'disaster' or an 'epic fail'."

If One Nation maintains support at this level, Dorling argues, it will be in a position to take a Senate seat in WA in the next federal election, when its current WA senator will face the polls again.

"Irrespective of One Nation's performance in other states, this would ensure a One Nation presence of at least two senators in the Senate after 2019. (Senator Hanson was elected in 2016 to a full six-year term until June 30, 2022.) In the event that One Nation's support increases in other states, notably in Queensland and NSW but also elsewhere, the party could anticipate Senate representation of five and possibly six or seven senators between 2019 and 2025."

The WA victory has other national ramifications for One Nation, Dorling notes. "One Nation now has a stronger political machine in Western Australia. The party is registered with an office that has supported a statewide political campaign. Having polled above 4 per cent in all of the upper and lower house seats it contested, the party and its candidates are eligible to claim up to approximately $320,000 in public funding to reimburse campaign expenses," he writes.

"One Nation now has four parliamentary offices in Western Australia (one senator's office and three legislative councillors' offices) with staff, administrative resources and travel entitlements. As a consequence, One Nation in Western Australia will be much better placed to campaign in the next federal election."

Dorling expects the party to perform well during its next electoral test, which will be in its home state of Queensland.

He believes that, far from being a disaster, the WA poll may prove to be a "harbinger to the party's long-term presence on the national political stage with consequent impacts on public policy across the board".

SOURCE





Budget to have another go at dole bludgers

The Turnbull government is going back to basics with its May 9 budget and having another crack at dole bludgers.

After weeks of speculation over what the budget might bring to ease housing affordability pressures, Malcolm Turnbull has attempted to tone down expectations despite a red-hot property market in Sydney and Melbourne.

A new poll has found voters agreeing with the prime minister about housing affordability, saying while it's an important issue it isn't necessarily a top priority.

The government will crack down on people who claim welfare but won't participate in work-for-the-dole schemes, closing a loophole that allows payments to continue despite people refusing interviews or placements.

Employment Minster Michaelia Cash says there is a cohort of people in Australia that actively says no to suitable work

"I think all taxpayers would rightly expect that those who can work should work and our welfare system should be there as a genuine safety net, not as something that people can choose to fund their lifestyle," she told reporters in Brisbane on Monday.

Labor frontbencher Katy Gallagher is a "bit suspicious" when a coalition government attempts to demonise and attack those who rely on welfare.

"We support rigour around people being responsible for the money they receive and actually having to play by the rules. There is no problem with that," she told reporters in Canberra.

But Labor wants to make sure the government isn't being "harsh and unfair" by attacking those who are most vulnerable.

However, Senator Gallagher welcomed a backflip by the government that will enable Australia's most vulnerable people access to legal services under new funding arrangements.

The government will provide $39 million for community legal centres and $16.7 million for indigenous legal services in the budget.

"We're actually announcing this in advance of the budget because we want to send a very clear signal about where the government's priorities lie," Attorney-General George Brandis told reporters in Brisbane.

The coalition has come under sustained fire from Labor, minor parties and community groups for not guaranteeing ongoing funding to the legal services, with previous commitments set to end on July 1.

Senator Gallagher said it was a humiliating about face by Senator Brandis.

"Just eight weeks out from these cuts taking effect, for those who have campaigned against the cuts, the victory is theirs today," she said.

A new survey found a majority (57 per cent) of voters regard Medicare and hospitals as their top priority.

The polling, by JWS Research for the Australian Financial Review, found stimulating economic growth and employment came second on 48 per cent, followed by welfare and social issues on 46 per cent and then housing affordability and funding for education and schools, both on 41 per cent.

SOURCE

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