Friday, January 18, 2019


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is very sad about the mess that is England today

Once again the BoM is calling a normal Australian summer a "heatwave", probably to encourage belief in global warming

And the newspapers like it as it gives them an excuse to put up big pictures of attractive women at the beach in brief bikinis. Cropped example below:

The temperatures are indeed very hot in some places -- places where it normally gets very hot.  For some paradoxical reason to do with air currents, Southern Australia is always the hottest at the height of summer, despite being further from the equator.  And so it is this year.

But it is certainly no global effect.  If it were it would be unusually hot where I live in sub-tropical S.E. Queensland.  It is not. The normal mid-afternoon summer temperature where I  live is 34C but the temperatures for the last few days have been a touch below that -- at 33C or 33.5C.  Global Warmists eat your heart out

Australia's scorching summer will continue on Thursday following a day of extreme heatwave conditions which saw a child taken to hospital with heatstroke.

On Wednesday ambulance officers were called to Cabramatta West Public School, in Sydney's southwest, where three children were suffering symptoms of heatstroke.

All children were told to wear hats and stay in the shade but despite teachers' best efforts one child was taken to Liverpool Hospital in a stable condition. 

Much of NSW roasted on Wednesday with the mercury hitting the 40s by midday in some areas. 

The majority of the state is forecast to exceed 41C until Friday which hasn't been experienced since the the 1940s, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

There will be some relief this weekend as temperatures take a slight dip, but this won't last for long and the mercury is predicted to start rising again by Monday.

Perth will be the first to experience soaring temperatures before the heatwave gradually makes its way back across the southeast.

Wagga Wagga, in NSW, could reach temperatures of 44C for the next two days while Ivanhoe, in the state's far west, is expected to surpass 48C.

Whitecliff in the northwest, has recorded the highest temperature so far with 48.2C just before 3.30pm, and temperatures are set to stay above 40C there until the end of next week.

By midday on Wednesday, the mercury had soared beyond 45C across much of NSW's central west and at 3pm Wilcannia, Mulurulu, Ivanhoe and Hay topped 47C.

Temperatures in NSW are set to stay above 40C for most of next week, bar the potential for some cloud cover on Sunday.

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Diana Eadie said 'severe to extreme heatwave temperatures are expected to persist across most of the country.'

'Temperatures are expected to climb into the low to high 40s — that's eight to 12 degrees above average,' she said.

'We've already seen some January maximum temperature records fall and we're likely to see many more before this event is over.

'The humidity and 'feels like' temperature will make for really oppressive conditions.'

The heat is expected to persist through the days and nights for the rest of the week, according to Weatherzone's Ben Domensino.


Part-Aboriginal journalist says Australia Day reminds her that her sisters and mother are 'more likely to get raped' than are white Australians

She is perfectly right.  They are more likely to get raped BY OTHER ABORIGINES.  The incidence of crimes against women in Aboriginal communities is colossal.  Most domestic violence in Australia traces to Aboriginal communities

The woman is just a Leftist grievance-monger.  She has so little Aboriginal ancestry that no-one would take her for one.  She has no Aboriginal features at all

The network's new entertainment reporter weighed in on the debate surrounding the divisive public holiday while appearing on the Today show on Thursday, starting a fiery conversation by saying Australia is 'the best country in the world, no doubt'. 

'But I can't separate the 26th of January from the fact that my brothers are more likely to go to jail than school, or that my little sisters and my mum are more likely to be beaten and raped than anyone else's sisters or mum,' she said.

'And that started from that day. For me it's a difficult day and I don't want to celebrate it. Any other day of the year I will tie an Australian flag around my neck and run through the streets with anyone else.'

Ms Boney's comments were challenged by Today sports presenter Tony Jones, who asked: 'But why should any other day be different to the January 26?'

'Because that's the day that it changed for us. That's sort of the beginning of what some people would say is the end. That's the turning point,' Ms Boney replied.

'I don't want to tell anyone what they should be doing. [But] my view is move it to the day of federation - chuck on another public holiday, or just celebrate it on another day. But I think a day that suits more people is probably going to be more uniting.' 

Today co-host Georgie Gardner then pointed to Indigenous communities living without electricity and running water, in 'horrific third world conditions'.

Mr Jones responded: 'I don't doubt that whatsoever. But I'm sorry, we do see white Australians in similar situations - we do see kids going to school with lunch - without a school uniform.' 

Ms Boney, 31, interjected and argued that 'statistics tell us our lives are harder.'  

'That's not me making it up or saying feel sorry for me, because I don't want anyone to feel sorry to me. What I'm talking to are the statistics,' she said.

'That's what I said to you about my brother's being more likely to go to jail - our lives being harder. For it to be a ''us and them'' thing, I think that's why we are talking about it changing.'

Deborah Knight applauded the panel for having a 'grown up conversation' about the issue, before Ms Gardner thanked Ms Boney for her insight.

The discussion sparked a fierce debate among viewers, with many suggesting changing the date wouldn't improve the lives of Indigenous Australians.

'Seriously stupid by you today,' former Liberal MP Dennis Jensen wrote to Ms Boney in a since deleted tweet. 'Seriously, neither schools nor gaols existed prior settlement. And as for violence and rape only starting with settlement... speak to anthropologists about Indigenous violence pre-settlement, it was endemic.' 

Another viewer said: 'I don't see that changing the date will have any affect on aboriginal men going to jail or aboriginal women being raped. 'These are terrible acts and I wish things were different but they are not connected to January 26.'

Another asked: 'How will changing the date help her brothers and sisters?'

Others praised Ms Boney and suggested Australia was 'comfortably racist'. 'Brooke Boney smashing it as usual on a hard to talk about topic. Best thing to happen to the Today show,' one noted.

'Brooke just made more sense than anyone else I’ve heard talk about this issue. Maybe I could be persuaded to change my view,' another said.


Tony Abbott slammed by experts, labelled ‘embarrassing’ and lacking a ‘basic grasp’ of economics

There is NOTHING wrong with what Tony said.  British "Remainers" are just misconstruing and enlarging what he said.  He was making the simple point that you don't have to have a political "deal" with some country to have healthy trade relations with it.  He was saying no more than that.  It was a tweet, after all, not an economic treatise

After sharing his two cents about the worsening Brexit crisis, former Prime Minister Tony Abbott was promptly lashed by experts in Britain for lacking a “basic grasp of economics”.

The House of Commons yesterday overwhelmingly rejected Theresa May’s plan for a withdrawal from the European Union, and today narrowly survived a no-confidence vote.

Britain now faces the likelihood of leaving the EU without a deal in place — something Mr Abbott doesn’t seem to think is a bad thing. He took to Twitter yesterday just moments after the British prime minister’s government’s defeat in parliament, to offer his view.

Mr Abbott wrote: “What’s wrong with no deal? Australia does $100 billion a year in trade with the EU without a deal.”

It didn’t go down well with our UK cousins, with experts slamming his “embarrassing” contribution to the debate. Jonathan Portes, a professor of economics at King’s College in London, shot back almost immediately.

“Australia’s trade with the EU is worth about 7.5% of Australian GDP,” his tweet read. “UK’s trade with the rest of EU is worth more than 30% of UK GDP. Anyone with a basic grasp of economics (not @TonyAbbottMHR it seems) should spot the problem”.

A stream of replies to Mr Portes rebuke also pointed out that Australia is in the process of securing a free-trade agreement with the European Union.

In a second comment, Mr Portes said: “As others have pointed out, there are multiple reasons why @tonyabbottmhr is talking nonsense. My tweet focused only on the most obvious.”

International trade expert Dmitry Grozoubinski also slammed Mr Abbott in a direct reply, pleading with him to “stop”. “Australia’s exports to the EU are dominated by raw commodities and agricultural products for which it enjoys country specific quotas the UK won’t get,” Mr Grozoubinski wrote. “You are embarrassing. Stop.”

Mr Grozoubinski knows Australia’s former PM well, having worked as a World Trade Organisation negotiator on behalf of his government.

Andy Bruce, an economics writer for the wire service Reuters, didn’t mince his words either.

“Gaffe-prone former Aussie PM, deposed by own party, once described by Council on Foreign Relations as most incompetent leader of any industrialised democracy: listen to this guy!”

Mr Abbott’s post on the social networking site yesterday included a plug for an article he wrote for right-wing UK publication The Spectator late last year. It was reprinted this week in a free magazine distributed across the country by a pub chain.

In it, he urged the British people to embrace a no deal exit in order to allow them to set their “own rules” when it comes to trade.

Mr Abbott also heavily criticised Ms May — something that prompted accusations he was colluding with her apparent leadership rival Boris Johnson.

The piece was seized upon by conservative commentators and politicians, who viewed his advice as worthy. Mr Abbott is a member of a pro-Brexit advisory panel called The Institute for Free Trade.

Also sharing her thoughts in Britain recently about the state of the withdrawal from the EU was Mr Abbott’s former chief of staff, Peta Credlin.

Ms Credlin, a host on Sky News, was interviewed by Talk Radio and shared her advice, which largely mirrored Mr Abbott’s.

“You should plan for a no-deal Brexit,” she said. “You should square your shoulders, Britain. Put something on the table and walk away.

“Bugger Europe, they need you far more than you need them … a bit of bulldog spirit there. I want to see Britain look and sound the way it used to look and sound.”


Gillette ad: Newtown firemen forced to douse signs of being proud men

A Sydney fire station has been forced to apologise for a sign defending their masculinity, after social media users accused it of pushing “personal and political agendas”.

The inner-city Newtown Fire Station posted a public sign outside its base that read “House fires are toxic, our masculinity isn’t” in response to Gillette’s ad calling out toxic masculinity.

In a Facebook post apologising for the sign, Newtown Fire Station said: “Masculinity comes in different forms. Different for everyone. We are constantly redefining what it means to be a man. We strive to be proud men.

“To achieve this, we try and spread the message about helping others. This may be achieved in many ways. Being inclusive, standing up for minorities or those less fortunate, we stand against bullying and unfair labels.

“The sign was for those concerned there is way too much toxic out there. To show there are groups that fight it … Every man needs to be in touch with their feminine side, every woman needs to be in touch with their masculine side.”

While some social media users were dismayed with the sign, others were more upset about the fire station being forced to take it down.

“Why did you give in, Newtown Fire Station? You should’ve kept it up! The ones who complained about your signs are the very kind of folk who laughed at those who complained at that dumb Gillette ad. Pushing your agenda? Er, so Gillette isn’t? Pfft!” one commenter said in response to the fire station’s apology.


 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, January 17, 2019

Australian psychologists are down on "Traditional Masculinity" too

The most substantial piece of evidence from Australia for the criticisms is the "Man Box" study mentioned below.  It is a colourfully presented "report", not a refereed academic journal article.  And that shows.  It is not as bad as some such reports in that some care was taken with the sampling and conventional statistical significance was observed but it is basically crap.  Let me say in detail why:

For a start, no factor analysis of the questions asked is offered.  So is there in fact such a thing as a "man box"?  We do not know.  A strong first eigenvector would have reassured us but we are not told of one.  I once did a survey of allegedly female attitudes (The BSRI) which found the attitudes concerned not to be characteristic of Australian females.  They were not sex-polarized at all. So are we sure that the man box attitudes are in fact characteristic of Australian male attitudes?  We cannot assume it. Were there similar attitudes among women?

And including the man box questions within a larger survey was not done.  Doing so might have revealed that the questions had a larger identity.  For instance, many of the questions seem to me to be rather like assertiveness questions, and assertiveness is usually praised.  There certainly should have been some attempt to distinguish the "bad" man box questions from assertiveness.   Could some man box attitudes be good?

And the selection of man box attitudes was also tendentious.  Traditional male attitudes do for instance include courtesy towards women.  To this day I hold car doors open for women but that is only a trivial thing.  There is also a strong traditional male inhibition against hitting women, for instance.  Feminists are much concerned about domestic violence so should they encourage traditional male attitudes of courtesy and restraint towards women?  Nothing like that was examined in the survey, funnily enough.

And what about the traditional male attitude that self-sacrifice is noble?  What about the times when men have sacrificed themselves to save women -- in an emergency situation such as a sinking ship?  Is that noble or foolish?  Sane women would hope it is noble but there is no mention of such nobility in the man box.  The whole conception of the man box is thoroughly bigoted from the get-go.

But the most deplorable omission in the research is a complete failure to apply any demographic controls.  They apparently had demographic data but did not use it to segment their sample.  One does wonder why.  Were the results of such segmentation too embarrassing?  Were man box attitudes almost exclusively working class for instance?  From my own extensive background in survey research, I suspect it.  I always looked at demographic correlates of the attitudes I examined and social class variables were often significant.

And one social class variable that they would have avoided studying at all costs is the dreaded IQ.  Yet IQ is powerfully correlated with an amazing array of other variables.  In this case it could even explain some male/female differences. Why, for instance, do men on average die earlier than women?  The research below says it is because of their bad male attitudes but there is another explanation. Male IQ is more variable than female IQ.  There are more brilliant males but also more spectacularly dumb males.  And, for various reasons, IQ is significantly correlated with health.  So it is likely that most of the males who die young were simply dumb.  They did more silly and dangerous things, for instance.

All in all the report is just a piece of feminist propaganda designed to fool the general public.  I am guessing that they had no expectation that it might come under the scrutiny of an experienced survey researcher

Traditional masculinity has been labelled “harmful” in a major move by a health body, linked with high rates of suicide and violence.

The American Psychological Association released a report last week, citing more than 40 years of research on the issue of “masculine ideology” — a step praised by Australian experts.

“Traditional masculinity ideology has been shown to limit males’ psychological development, constrain their behaviour, result in gender role strain and gender role conflict and negatively influence mental health and physical health,” it said.

Increasingly referred to as “toxic masculinity”, traditional ideals surrounding manhood are usually toughness, aggression, a suppression of emotion, dominance and stoicism.

Queensland University of Technology sociologist Michael Flood said some of the ways boys are raised can have “significant costs” for the community.

Across the country today, an estimated six men will take their own lives — three times the number of women to die by suicide.

“There’s growing recognition that norms of masculinity in many ways are limiting for men themselves,” Dr Flood told

“Going along with traditional masculine beliefs increases the risk of suicide — there have been studies to indicate that. If you think being a man means not asking for help or not showing pain, being a John Wayne character and going it alone, you can’t cope when things are hard.”

Traditional masculinity has a place in a number of scenarios, Dr Flood said, where a number of those qualities can be very useful. “Being tough and stoic are exactly the qualities you need if you’re fighting a fire or something like that, but once it’s over, you need other qualities,” he said.

“Some of those men (without) are poorer at some of the qualities that many people recognise are important in contemporary relationships — communication, emotional expression.”

There’s growing recognition in the fields of men’s mental health, education and the prevention of violence against women and children that “the norms of masculinity” can be harmful.

“Unless we tackle this, we’ll continue to see large numbers of men turning up in hospitals, being assaulted, committing suicide, and suffering in silence and so on,” Dr Flood said.

Criticisms from some segments of the community that the discussion about toxic masculinity is an attack on men are unfounded, he said.

“We need to distinguish between men and masculinity. The attack on the narrow messaging is not an attack on men. This is driven by a concern for men.”

Dr Flood was involved in the groundbreaking Man Box study last year, which found that young Australian men who oversubscribe to traditional notion of masculinity had poorer health and wellbeing outcomes.

“We also found that many of them have poorer relationships with others and were more likely to be involved in violence,” he said.

Of those surveyed — a cohort of 1000 men aged 18 to 30 — 69 per cent felt society expected them to act strong and 56 per cent felt being a man meant never saying no to sex.

Another 36 per cent agreed that society pressures them to shun friendships with gay men and 38 per cent thought boys shouldn’t learn how to cook and clean.


Australia Day SHOULD be on January 26: Nearly 80 per cent of voters are against changing the date because of Aboriginal sensitivities

Leftist agitators are trying to destroy a patriotic holiday but the people are not having it

An overwhelming majority of Australians continue to reject calls for the country's national day to be moved from January 26, according to new polls.

Polling commissioned by the Institute of Public Affairs, a conservative think-tank, showed just 10 per cent of 1,000 people surveyed want to change the date of Australia Day.

Young Australians were even less welcoming to the idea of moving the date from January 26, which many indigenous Australians view as Invasion Day.   

'Only eight per cent of young people between the ages of 18 and 24 say Australia Day should not be celebrated on 26 January,' the IPA's Dr Bella d'Abrera said.

'[It] proves that despite the media and political left narrative, young people are not drawn to the divisive argument of opposing our national day.'

A separate poll of 1,659 people, conducted by conservative lobby group Advance Australia, found 78 per cent of those surveyed were proud to celebrate Australia Day on January 26.

'The results are in - January 26 is not a day for division and protest, but rather a day for all Australians to celebrate,' the group's National Director, Gerard Benedet, said.

Ten days out from Australia Day, the Greens have offered to host citizenship ceremonies on behalf of local councils who refuse to hold events on January 26 out of respect for indigenous people.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison plans to force councils to hold ceremonies on Australia Day and enforce a strict dress code at official events in an attempt to preserve the date.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has declared he will never move the date of Australia Day if he becomes prime minister. Mr Shorten also said he had no desire to be the 'fashion police' telling people what they could wear at citizenship ceremonies.

'I just think we've got to leave the politics alone, catch up with our family and friends, and on Australia Day my wish is for all Australians to realise what a great country we live in,' he told the Nine Network on Wednesday.

The opposition leader refused to buy into the Greens' idea on citizenship ceremonies. 'Some days I'd like to put the Greens with Tony Abbott and a few of the right-wing in the Liberal Party in the same room, tell them to sort it out, and the rest of us can just get on and cook a snag on the barbie,' Mr Shorten said.

'What happens in Australian politics is sometimes the extremes - because they say radical things - grab a headline.  'I'm not going to get distracted by that - the Greens can say or do what they want - Labor is not going to go down that path.

'We're not going to have big political debates about the day of Australia Day.'

Health Minister Greg Hunt is confident the vast majority of people support Australia Day. 'It celebrates what we are as a contemporary nation and this game that's played out every year is simply a diversion and self-serving,' Mr Hunt said.  'Australia Day is about celebrating a nation that is a multi-ethnic success, with all of the challenges of any country.'

Many indigenous people find it offensive the date their ancestors lost their sovereignty to British colonialists is celebrated with a public holiday.


We’ll do citizenship ceremonies: Greens try to stymie PM

The Greens are attempting to short-circuit Scott Morrison’s protection of Australia Day citizenship celebrations by exploiting what they claim is a legal loophole that would enable their MPs to conduct ceremonies on behalf of protesting councils.

Greens leader Richard Di ­Natale has leapt on advice from the parliamentary library that ­federal MPs can conduct citizenship ceremonies “at any time or place of their choosing” and without the approval of the immigration minister and the Department of Home Affairs.

Senator Di Natale said the Greens’ lower house member, Adam Bandt, and the party’s nine senators would perform citi­zenship ­ceremonies in councils that were banned from holding them under the new regulations.

The Prime Minister announced at the weekend that all 537 councils would be forced to hold citizenship ceremonies on Australia Day or their right to confer citizenship would be revoked.

“Scott Morrison is playing a predictable political game, trying to punish councils for reflecting the will of their constituents and standing up for justice for First ­Nations peoples but the Greens won’t let him,” Senator Di Natale said. “We’re promising today that any council which is stripped of its ability to hold citizenship ceremonies because it refuses to hold them on January 26th can count on a Greens senator or MP in their state to conduct those ceremonies in their place.

“The movement to change the date is an important step along the road to treaty, sovereignty and justice for our First Nations peoples and we hope Labor will join us on that journey.”

A Department of Home Affairs spokesman said last night any ­individual or organisation who ­politicised a citizenship ceremony could have their right to conduct one revoked by Immigration Minister David Coleman. “Citizenship ceremonies are non-commercial, apolitical, bipartisan and secular,” he said.

“They must not be used as ­forums for political, partisan or ­religious expression or for the distribution of material which could be perceived to be of a commercial, political or religious nature.

“Ceremonies conducted by a member of parliament must be carried out in accordance with the requirements of the Australian Citizenship Ceremonies Code and with the approval of the Department of Home Affairs.”

Advice from the parliamentary library, obtained by The Australian, said citizenship regulations gave power to all federal MPs to conduct citizenship ceremonies without approval from the minister or department.

“However, in practice, assistance from the department will be required — notably, in providing a list of citizenship applicants who are eligible to take the pledge,” the advice said. “The limiting factor in a senator being able to conduct a ceremony may therefore be the ability of the department to provide this information in a timely fashion.

“There is nothing in the citizenship legislation or regulations stating that senators and members must seek authorisation from the minister or department to preside over a citizenship ceremony.”

More than 100 councils did not conduct ceremonies on Australia Day last year, according to the Morrison government and the peak body for councils.

The Coalition government has banned the Victorian councils of Darebin and Yarra from holding citizenship ceremonies because they refused to do so on January 26.

Citizenship ceremonies can also be undertaken by the ­governor-general, ambassadors, high commissioners, state governors, all members of the ACT parliament and the lord mayor of a city.

Australian Local Government Association president David O’Loughlin said councils were “disappointed” and “confused” by the government’s directive.

He said it was “a gross slur” for Mr Morrison to claim some councils were “sneaky” by holding citizenship ceremonies on the evening of January 25 rather than on the 26th.

“They have all had good reasons for many years to not do it on the public holiday … There is no conspiracy, they are simply making sure they are addressing their communities needs in a prudent manner,” Mr O’Loughlin said.

“They are scratching their heads wondering why the federal government announces the Australian of the Year the day before Australia Day. I would have thought Australian of the Year has a direct relevance to Australia Day — it is only one day and one title.

“And yet citizenship ceremonies happen in some councils every month.”

Mr O’Loughlin, Mayor of the Adelaide council of Prospect, said the announcement was made with “zero consultation” with local government.

“We live in a democracy. If a local community wants their council to advocate for something to change, that community would expect its council to do it. If not, they would vote for another mob next time,” he said. “Democracy and free speech are two of the vital parts of Australian society which we celebrate on Australia Day.”

The Weekend Australian revealed Greens MPs would attend “Invasion Day” rallies before Australia Day to raise pressure on Bill Shorten to support changing the date. The Opposition Leader has vowed to keep Australia Day on January 26 if he becomes prime minister. A GetUp spokesman said the group would also support “Invasion Day” rallies.


Dividends paid early to beat ALP franking changes

The guardians of some of the ­nation’s trillions of dollars in ­equities investments are adjusting their strategies in ­anticipation of a Shorten government, with the $360 million ­Mirrabooka fund yesterday paying a special dividend to shareholders six months early, ahead of Labor’s planned changes to franking credits.

Australia’s biggest companies, including industrial, mining and popular blue-chip stocks such as the four major banks and Telstra, sit on an estimated $45 billion in franking credits that could be ­released to shareholders before a future ALP government rips up the nation’s dividend imputation system.

Mirrabooka, a conservative stockmarket investor based in Melbourne, announced it would pay its traditional end-of-year special dividend now rather than after July 1 to safeguard its ­investors in the face of growing uncertainty around the use of franking credits for retirees and pensioners.

It is believed to be the first public company to reshape its dividend policy ahead of this year’s federal election, which the latest polls suggest Labor will win.

Last year, Bill Shorten unveiled his franking credits policy to claw back nearly $60bn over 10 years by abolishing cash refunds for excess dividend imputation credits.

The early dividend payment comes after a US investment bank predicted the valuation of shares in Australia’s biggest banks could be slashed by as much as 13 per cent if the ALP policy was implemented and cash refunds were ripped from investors.

JPMorgan equity strategist Jason Steed said yesterday there was an increasing likelihood that companies with large franking credit balances would look to accelerate special dividends and off-market buybacks. JPMorgan believes other stocks most likely to take measures to realise franking credits in the near term are Caltex, Harvey Norman, Metcash, Rio Tinto and Woolworths.

Issuing its interim results yesterday to kick off the reporting season for 2019, Mirrabooka chief executive Mark Freeman said because of the uncertainty created by Labor’s dividend imputation policy, the fund believed it should pay special dividends now rather than wait to July when a Shorten government might change the rules.

“The feedback so far is if they (ALP) change the policy, then it will take effect from July 1 this year so if they get that through as policy, then from July 1 you will no longer get a refund cheque — and so if you put out the special dividend this financial year, people will still be able to have that as part of their return and potentially ­(receive) a refundable credit,’’ Mr Freeman said.

He said Mirabooka thought Labor’s policy was “very grossly unfair for investors and trying to shift the playing field in favour of managed funds over self-­managed superannuation”.

“We are feeling the potential pain of people if this rule comes in, and so let’s try to help them out now,’’ Mr Freeman said.

A spokesman for the opposition’s Treasury spokesman, Chris Bowen, declined to comment when asked about the Mirrabooka decision.

Federal Liberal MP Tim Wilson, who chairs the house economic committee’s inquiry into removing franking credits, said Mirrabooka’s decision did not come as a surprise.

“In the economics committee hearings, we’ve heard witness after witness saying they’re ­already restructuring their ­investment strategy so they won’t be hit by Shorten’s retirement tax,” Mr Wilson said.

“Some of the most disturbing evidence we have heard has come from financial advisers admitting they can help their clients around Shorten’s retirement tax, but those without financial advice or literacy won’t know they’re being slugged till it is too late.”

Mr Steed said any negative effects of the policy were most likely to be felt by the higher yielding sectors with franking, such as the banks and Telstra.

“You would certainly be minded as a board to consider whether or not using those franking credits in advance of a potential legislative change would be advantageous to your shareholders or to certain cohorts within your shareholder base,’’ Mr Steed said. “There are many companies that have access to franking that would arguably be … considering similar action.’’

Investment bank Citi warned in a report to its clients last week that potential changes to dividend imputation and the removal of cash refunds from investors was likely to have a significant impact on bank shareholders.

“We estimate that 10-20 per cent of shareholders receive cash refunds from bank dividends,” Citi said.

“Additionally, the value of franking credits continue to make up (about) 28 per cent of our major bank valuations, with any changes to dividend imputation policy likely to impact major bank (and other stocks more broadly) valuations as a consequence. “Depending on the changes implemented, this could impact major bank valuations by up to 13 per cent.”


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

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Soaring house prices and overcrowded cities: It’s official – Australians don’t want any more immigrants

Australian support for immigrants has plummeted amid soaring house prices and overcrowded cities.

Just 30.4 per cent of Australians now believe the country needs more people, according to a poll by the Australian National University (ANU).

This was compared to 69.6 per cent who felt Australia did not need more people, a dramatic increase since a similar poll was done in 2010.

According to a report on the figures most Australians were supportive of cultural diversity but did not want population growth to come at the expense of the environment.

'Crowding and housing affordability have become key issues,' the report stated.

Both the Liberal and Labor parties are developing their own stance and policies on immigration, but the new findings suggest only three in every 10 people who participated believe Australia has room for more people.

Questions asked were similar to those asked in the 2010 survey in an attempt to keep results as even as possible.

The 2010 survey found 45 per cent of participants were supportive of population growth.

Male support has now fallen to 38.4 per cent, while female support is even lower at 28.2 per cent.

‘The Australian population is now a little over 25 million… Do you think Australia needs more people?,' was one question participants were asked to answer.  

Australia's population growth is the largest it has experienced since colonisation. 

In 1981 the Australian population was around 14.9 million people. By June 2018 it had reached 25.0 million, with the last five million of that growth occurring since December 2004.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is expected to lower his intake of immigrants from 2019-2020 from 190,000 to 160,000. This will be confirmed when the April budget is released.

Mr Morrison's decision - should he go ahead with it - reflects the ANU findings, in which the least supportive of increased immigration was coalition voters.

Greens were found to be the most supportive, though support was still below 50 per cent.


Teachers won't be allowed to take classes if they fail English and maths exams

Teachers will soon have to pass a literacy and numeracy test to prove they can read, write and solve maths problems before they're allowed in the classroom.

All aspiring teachers in Australia will have to take the formal exam from next year and must pass it within three attempts.

In Victoria, about five per cent of working teachers failed or were yet to sit the test, but were allowed to remain in the classroom provided they passed within two years.

But the state government announced this week that from this month, all aspiring teachers who don't pass the test won't be registered.


Ports and mine targeted by fat cat unionists

Wharfies earning up to $150,000 a year for working 33 hours a week will launch industrial action at Hutchison Ports Australia this week, condemning the loss-­making stevedore’s bid to cut their pay and conditions as the “most severe attack on waterfront conditions in a generation”.

The industrial action at Hutchison, which fears the union bans could escalate into strikes disrupting operations at inter­national container terminals in Sydney and Brisbane, came as Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union members at a NSW coalmine voted yesterday to extend a seven-day strike by a further week.

Employers last night expressed concern at the industrial action by different divisions of the CFMEU, with Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive James Pearson ­insisting strikes should be a last resort.

“The sight of Australia’s mega-union, the CFMEU, flexing its industrial muscle to hold up ports and shut down mines is a sharp ­reminder of why we need workplace laws that encourage co-­operation, not conflict in the workplace,’’ Mr Pearson said.

“Big unions are putting pressure on the Labor Party to make big changes to workplace rules to give themselves even more power. That’s a sobering prospect with an election just around the corner.”

Hutchison said wharfies at its Port Botany international container terminal in Sydney earned on average $150,000 a year with superannuation and Port of Brisbane workers received $130,000 annually for an average working week of 30 to 33 hours.

Employees get 11 weeks off a year — five weeks’ annual leave and an extra rostered week off every eight weeks, up to 13 days’ sick leave, and 12 per cent ­superannuation.

The company is seeking to slash pay rates by 10 per cent followed by a 12-month wage freeze; reduce the superannuation contribution to 9.5 per cent; and cut sick leave, redundancy and long service entitlements.

Maritime union assistant nat­ional secretary Warren Smith said workers would start imposing a range of work bans from Thursday, including bans on overtime and higher duties. The Maritime Union of Australia became part of the CFMEU last year.

“Our members refuse to sit back and watch as four decades of hard-won conditions are stripped away by a greedy multinational whose only concern is maximising its own profits,’’ he said.

“We will not accept an agreement that rips us off and reduces our standard of living, and the MUA is committed to using every industrial and legal tool at our disposal in our fight to protect con­ditions and safety standards on the waterfront.

“The actions of Hutchison Ports highlight exactly why the Australian union movement has launched the Change the Rules campaign, to challenge the ­actions of big corporations who are increasingly using the broken workplace laws to attack the conditions of working people.”

Hutchison is trying to delay the action, and will seek orders from the Fair Work Commission ­tomorrow to require the union to give five days’ notice before it can take the industrial action.

MUA members work on average 30 to 33 hours a week across a year, an arrangement agreed to by the company in exchange for greater automation. Hutchison wants workers to be able to work 35-42 hours a week.

“HPA continues to negotiate in good faith with the union, but the company’s position remains that it needs a more flexible workforce to improve its economic position and keep people employed,” a company spokesman said.

The productivity impact on the company’s operations will not be known until the bans starts, but Hutchison will look at ­diverting work to other stevedores if necessary.

Talks between the company and union officials are scheduled this week and Mr Smith said the workers did not intend to escalate bans into strikes before the ­resumption of talks

The stoush came as the CFMEU said workers at the Wollongong Coal-owned Wongawilli Colliery had decided to stay out for a further week after starting a seven-day strike this morning.

The union members are seeking to pressure labour-hire firm CAS Mine Services to bring the pay of its fully casualised workforce into line with union members in nearby mines.

CFMEU mining and energy southwestern district vice-president Bob Timbs said the anger of workers on the picket outside the colliery was directed at Wollongong Coal owner Jindal Steel and Power. He said the India-based company was profiting from Australian resources while hiding from their responsibility to Australian workers. “These workers are not casuals and should be treated as the ­permanent employees they are,’’ he said.

“Wongawilli mine is a classic labour-hire rip-off. Across mining and the broader workforce, ­employers outsource workers to labour-hire companies to drive down wages and conditions.”

Mr Timbs said Wongawilli miners worked in some of the most difficult underground coalmining conditions in the region.

“They are not asking for anything extravagant — they simply want conditions that are basically in line with the region,’’ he said.

Union member Marty Childs, who was on the picket, said the workers deserved “fairer pay”.

“We should be on par with the industry,’’ he said. “I am sick of casual contractors being paid less than a permanent worker.”

CAS, which the union accused of unlawfully employing its entire 100-strong workforce as casuals, said last week it would “go broke” if it had to fund a 10 per cent pay-rise claim that it said would wipe out its operating margins.

The strike is the latest flashpoint in the battle between employers and unions in the wake of last year’s precedent-setting court ruling on casuals, with labour-hire firms hit with union claims and class actions over their allegedly unlawful use of casuals in the ­mining industry.


An incredibly crooked cop

How did she think she could get away with taking people's homes?  People tend to be strongly attached to their homes.  She's got to be a mental case

A Victorian Police officer, who the state's anti-corruption watchdog alleges used her police connections to attempt to take possession of six properties, has appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court.

Court documents allege she went to one council office in her police uniform to get details of a property's owner
Rosa Catherine Rossi, from the Geelong suburb of Corio, has been charged with 20 separate offences by the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC).

They include deceptively and dishonestly trying to gain property, fraudulently claiming welfare payments, stealing, accessing the police database for her own gain, and falsifying documents.

Documents from the court allege she tried to claim ownership of three rural properties in the Western District as well as three suburban Melbourne properties in Chadstone, Malvern East and Brooklyn.

At Willaura, south of Ararat, she is alleged to have targeted the owners of three homes, changing the locks on the properties and submitting false change-of-address documents to the Ararat Rural City Council.

Ms Rossi is also charged with providing false documents in order to secure a loan with the Commonwealth Bank for a property in the town.

Deceased estate claim

At Malvern East, IBAC alleges Ms Rossi told a locksmith the property was a deceased estate in order to convince them to change the locks.

Court documents allege she went to the police station in Footscray and looked up the name and contact details of the owner of that property on the internal LEAP database.

She also lodged a false change-of-address form to the Stonnington City Council, according to the charge sheets.

For the Brooklyn property, court documents claim she went to Hobson's Bay City Council in her police uniform to get details of the property's owner and also submitted a false change-of-address notice.

IBAC investigators also allege she:

set up a fake not-for-profit organisation called Sweet Georgia Pty Ltd;

falsely claimed rental assistance from Centrelink;

falsified statutory declarations about who she was and where she lived.

Ms Rossi will return to court in March


 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, January 15, 2019

Ecofascism in South Australia

Free plastic waste is almost entirely a 3rd world problem but it gives Greenies erections to blame it on us

South Australians may soon be banned from using a range of single-use plastics as the government considers a major crackdown.

Plastic items such as straws, cutlery, shopping bags and coffee cups are on the chopping block after the state’s Environment Minister, David Speirs, released two discussion papers on the issue yesterday.

One deals with the possible single-use plastic ban and the other is a review of the state’s container deposit scheme reviewing what sort of containers should be included and whether the refund amount should be revised.

Mr Speirs said it was important to keep the impact of single-use plastics at the forefront of conversation so South Australia could continue to be the national leader in recycling.

“I am keen to keep South Australia at the forefront of these areas, and to maintain this position while also increasing economic activity,” Mr Speirs said.

“Plastic is a valuable material, integral to modern life. But when littered, it ruins our environment’s pristine image, and harms marine and terrestrial life.”

There is a growing global trend towards doing away with plastics and Mr Speirs said it was important for South Australia to keep up.

The European Union announced its intention on October to ban a range of plastic items.

“We can take more immediate local action on items that are designed and intended for disposal after only a single use, are prone to being littered, are unlikely to be recycled and for which more sustainable alternatives are available,” Mr Speirs said.

Mr Speirs’ paper, entitled “Turning the tide on single-use plastic products”, suggests a ban on these products be implemented the same way single-use plastic bags were banned at check-outs across the state in 2009.

Switching from lightweight shopping bags to reusable ones has resulted in 400 million bags being removed from circulation in South Australia, according to the paper.

The paper seeks views from the community and business on what they consider are the problems associated with plastic products, alternatives and if there is a need for government intervention.

Environmental groups, including Conservation SA, have welcomed the government’s move.

“Despite this, the recent State of the Environment Report shows that per capita waste in SA still increased by over 40 per cent over the last five years,” chief executive Craig Wilkins said.  “It’s time for stronger action.”


Solar Failed in grid crisis

    The operator of Australia’s electricity grid has raised the prospect of household rooftop solar panels being retrofitted to ensure they meet compliance standards after some units failed to adequately respond to a major interconnector outage last year, which isolated two states from the power system.

    An official investigation found thousands of rooftop solar units did not comply with Australian standards after a lightning strike caused the Queensland and South Australian interconnectors to trip simultaneously on August 25, forcing electricity to be cut to big industrial users and retail customers in NSW and Victoria.

    A range of supply sources including solar, wind and coal generators either crashed or were unable to assist in boosting supply to either of the two states, renewing concerns over the challenges of integrating a surge of cheap but intermittent renewable energy supply within the national grid to complement existing baseload generation

    The Australian Energy Market Operator detailed how 15 per cent of sampled solar systems installed before October 2016 dropped out during the emergency event. Of those installed after that date, nearly a third in South Australia and 15 per cent in Queensland failed to meet the Australian standard for reducing excess frequency


Unions go to war over labour hire practices

Unions will use a seven-day strike next week to intensify pressure on the Coalition and business over the “exploitation” of labour-hire workers, declaring public unrest at employer conduct will be a “vote-shifter” at the federal ­election.

The Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union yesterday revealed workers at the Wollongong Coal-owned Wongawilli Colliery would strike for a week in a bid to pressure labour-hire firm CAS Mine Services to bring the pay of its workers into line with union members in nearby mines.

CAS, which the union ­accused of unlawfully employing its entire 100-strong workforce as casuals, said it would “go broke” if it had to fund a 10 per cent pay-rise claim that it said would wipe out its ­current operating margins.

The strike is the latest flashpoint in the battle between employers and unions in the wake of last year’s precedent-setting court ruling on casuals, with labour-hire firms hit with union claims and class actions over their allegedly unlawful use of casuals in the ­mining industry.

Jobs and Industrial Relations Minister Kelly O’Dwyer said last night the government believed ­industrial action should be taken only as a last resort, and encouraged the CFMEU and CAS to ­return to the bargaining table.

A Federal Court full court ruled last year that casual truck driver Paul Skene was not a casual because of the regular and continuous nature of his work on a fixed roster and he was entitled to receive accrued annual leave pay.

CFMEU national president Tony Maher said employer ­exploitation of labour hire and casual employment arrangements was a “real sleeper for the election because so many people in the ­labour market had been ­adversely affected by this particular business model where, by stealth, permanent well-paid jobs are converted into poorly paid itinerant jobs”.

“It affects a lot of people … in a lot of electorates,’’ he told The Australian.

“The downside for conser­vatives of fly-in, fly-out is that you get people cranky in electorates outside of mining regions.

“There would be a lot of people in Brisbane upset about this; there would be a lot of people in Perth upset about this, so it is, I think, a real sleeper and it’s a vote-shifter, I’m pretty sure.”

The striking workers are paid hundreds of dollars a week less than permanent workers at nearby mines.

From next month, CAS will employ them on 12-month ­contracts but they will lose their casual loadings.

Under the industry award, the use of casual employees is not ­allowed except through an enterprise agreement but CAS did not employ the workers through an agreement, exposing the company to back-pay claims.

Mr Maher said the workers were the “poorest paid in the ­district”.

“The company was not very smart,’’ he said. “The award doesn’t provide for casuals. They are up for a lot of back pay, I would have thought.”

Bill Shorten has promised that labour-hire workers would be paid the same as another worker doing the same job in the same workplace if Labor won the election, expected in May.

In a bid to allay business concerns about the policy, Labor has promised to give employers an extended period, possibly 12 to 18 months, to comply with new ­labour-hire laws.

ACTU president Michele O’Neil accused the Morrison government of aiding “unscrupulous” employers to use ­labour-hire arrangements and casualisation to drive down the wages of workers.

“When a company can make 100 per cent of its workforce ­labour hire, casual or short-term contract, and use these arrangements to cut their pay well below permanent workers in the same region and industry, it’s clear that the rules are broken,’’ she said.

Ms O’Dwyer said “labour hire is a legitimate and useful way for employers to access a flexible workforce and is used across the entire economy covering skilled and unskilled work”.

“Labour-hire employers, like any other form of employer, have an obligation to comply with all their obligations under the law and provide workers with all of their legal entitlements,’’ her spokesman said.

“Labour hire as a proportion of the total workforce has remained stable at around 2 per cent over the last decade.”

CAS business manager Jesse Yvanoff said the labour-hire workers were paid $34 an hour compared with permanent workers at nearby mines who were paid $42 an hour.

The labour-hire employees also received a lower weekly ­attendance payment.

But he said the company rates were similar to comparable ­labour-hire firms.

Mr Yvanoff said for the company to meet the union claim, it would have to receive a commitment from Wollongong Coal to increase the rates.

He said Wollongong Coal, which did not respond to ­requests for comment yesterday, had declined to provide ­additional money.

“If we were to meet their ­demands, as I tell them, we would go broke’’ Mr Yvanoff told The Australian.

“That is nearly double our margins. There’s no way we could afford to do that as a ­company.”

He said converting the workers to fixed full-time employment would see them lose their casual loadings but the shift was the “only proportionate ­response”.

“The CFMEU is using whatever leverage it can to make us change our position,’’ Mr Yvanoff said. “But from the company’s point of view, that’s the only offer we can make to remain a viable business.’’

He said the strike, which was allowed under the Fair Work Act, would have a significant impact on the company’s operation.


Inside Australia's hottest town where temperatures have exceeded 40C every day for almost a month

Unmentioned below is that Marble Bar has very low humidity.   It is dry heat.  So evaporative coolers, including human skin, are very effective.  Canadians know about the temperature effect of wind chill. Australians know about humidity

A remote Australian town has endured almost a month of sweltering heat with temperatures above 40C but locals say they would not have it any other way.

Marble Bar in north-western Western Australia is known for being the hottest town in the nation, but as of Saturday, it has had 23 days of consecutive highs above 40C.

Despite temperatures so hot you could fry an egg on a rock, the townsfolk say they are still living the dream and wouldn't live anywhere else, reported.

Bureau of Meteorology spokesperson Neil Bennett said the weather is normal for the town in the Pilbara region but the recent temperatures have been something else.

In December, Marble Bar recorded a temperature of 49.3C, which was the hottest it has ever been in the town - but even so, locals seemingly are not fazed by the heat.

local Iron Clad hotel operator, Cheryl Manurung, said the only time she notices the heat is when travelling tourists pass through the town and comment on it.

'The cold weather scares me, it just gets too cool. I'm totally happy with it here,' Ms Manurung said.

She said while the record-breaking day in December was particularly hot, the hotel doesn't yet have air-con, but rather its patrons opt for a few fans and a cold beer.

'You can't come to the hottest place in Australia and sit in airconditioning. You can have a cold beer instead,' Ms Manurung said.

Marble Bar Holiday Park operator Lang Coppin said while the spot is popular for caravaners and retirees, as temperatures soar, they avoid the area completely. 

Mr Bennett said while there's a degree of complacency about the superheated weather by townsfolk, when temperatures start hitting 45C it can be dangerous.

He said while other regions of Australia have recorded higher temperatures, it is Marble Bar's sustained heat that make it so interesting to weather watchers.

One of the reasons for the towns constantly high temperatures is partly to do with the ground and rocks, which basically heat up during the day, he said.

The town's remote location also lies north of the subtropical ridge, a belt of high pressure systems that stretches across Australia.

Winds that travel above the ridge, roughly south east to north west, deliver air to the town that has been slowly baked in the deserts of Central Australia.

From time to time, an upper level trough may return the warm air back down to south east Australia which can lead to soaring temperatures in St Kilda and Glenelg.

'Next week Adelaide is going to get very hot due to heat from Pilbara. It's our gift to the nation,' Mr Bennett said.


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

Monday, January 14, 2019

States and territories to bake in heatwave

This is excitement over nothing.  It's a normal Summer, not a heatwave. And temperatures in Brisbane where I live have been cooler than normal this January.  My heat-dependent Crepe Myrtles have not yet begun to blossom. A normal mid-afternooon Summer temperature here is 34C.  It is only 32C today.  Random air currents push the heat around from place to place in Australia, that is all.  Even the BoM seems to have given up saying it is caused by global warming

A possible cyclone is forecast on Australia's west coast while heatwave conditions are expected to bake much of the rest of the country throughout the week.

Every state and territory will bake through a heatwave on Monday with meteorologists saying soaring temperatures will last for days in some parts.

The Bureau of Meteorology said hot days were expected in January but multiple days in a row of temperatures above 40 degrees were unusual.

"Particularly northern South Australia, they're looking at maybe five days in a row above 45 and normally they might only get five or 10 a year," meteorologist Dean Narramore told AAP on Sunday.

Low intensity heatwave conditions have been forecast across parts of central Western Australia to southern parts of the Northern Territory, southwestern Queensland and across NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia on Monday.

Some regions won't be affected at all while more severe and extreme heat conditions are expected across each state, moving into east and northeastern NSW and southern Queensland by mid to late week.

It comes off the back of heatwave conditions over the Christmas and New Year period, with inland areas being hit hardest.

Holidaymakers and those getting back to work in Melbourne can expect to see a few days in the mid to high 30s, while a sea breeze will shield Sydney city.

But that relief won't stretch to the city's western suburbs, where Mr Narramore said residents in Penrith and Richmond would swelter through four or five days above 40 degrees.

A tropical low may lurk off the Western Australian coast, creating stormy weather on Sunday and into Monday, but will then move further off the coast, he added.

"That could become a cyclone but it's not going to come anywhere near the coast," he said.


Fury as councils ban 'politically incorrect' Australia Day celebrations because they are 'offensive to Aboriginals'.  (Australia day commemorates the landing of the first white settlers in Australia)

Very selective respect.  What about my heritage?  This disrespects my heritage as a 5th generation Australian.  Members of my family were here in the days of the Sydney penal colony.  My ancestors helped build this country up to what it is today and I honour them. They and those like them brought civilization to a vast and generally inhospitable land. I will of course be celebrating Australia Day -- in the great Australian tradition of a family BBQ -- JR

Councils across the country are axing Australia Day celebrations, to the fury of some residents, while some Greens MPs will attend 'Invasion Day' rallies instead.

Byron Bay in New South Wales, Fremantle in Western Australia and Victoria's Darebin, Yarra and Moreland councils are among the first to cancel official events on January 26.

The changes have been made out of respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who see Australia Day as a time of mourning. 

The national public holiday recognises the date in 1788 when the First Fleet arrived and British sovereignty was declared on the land that would become Australia.

Recently however, many have questioned if the historic date of the celebration should be changed.

Inner-city Melbourne's Yarra City Council last year became the first in the country to stop holding citizenship ceremonies on January 26.

Similarly, the City of Fremantle has held its Australia Day celebrations the day after the rest of the country for the past three years.   

City of Darebin Mayor Susan Rennie in Melbourne's north told SBS News her council 'will not be marking January 26 by holding any events' for the second year in a row.

The Byron Shire Council will hold celebrations on the evening on January 25 with citizenship ceremonies held the following day.

While the changes have been lauded by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, they have sparked backlash in other facets of the community.

Online, Perth residents expressed fury and confusion at the councils' desertion from January 26-based celebrations.

'It's all noise being made by loud greens voters and socialists. I can't imagine ever being so fragile I need to use atrocities of yesteryear as a red herring for me to project my insecurities onto happy Australians,' wrote one man.

'So your saying I can celebrate in city then again in Freo. How is that a bad thing?' joked another in reference to Fremantle's January 26 celebrations.

The comments come as it was revealed by The Australian that Greens MPs will attend 'Invasion Day' rallies around the country on January 26.

The move is part of a bid to pose political pressure toward Bill Shorten and the Labor Party to change their sway of support for Australia Day.

Greens' Indigenous affairs spokeswoman, Rachel Siewert told the publication that Mr Shorten's opposition to support changing the date was out of step with the majority of Australians.

'He says 'yeah we know a lot of Aboriginal people aren't happy with it', but he still thinks we should be celebrating on that day. He is trying to have it both ways,' she said.


A NSW police arrest of doubtful legality and excessive force

The man had legal precedent to say he was entitled to use FVCK etc on a sign.  He should appeal the verdict and sue the cops

Sydney sandwich board activist Danny Lim has been arrested and fined for offensive behaviour.

Three police officers arrested the 74-year-old at Exchange Place in Barangaroo about 9.20am on Friday. It’s unclear what the offensive behaviour involved.

Video of the arrest shows an officer holding a sandwich board sign that reads: “SMILE CVN’T! WHY CVN’T?”

In August 2018 Lim successfully had a 2015 conviction and $500 fine for offensive conduct overturned over a sandwich board that mocked the then-prime minister Tony Abbott with a rewriting of the word “can’t”.

District court Judge Andrew Scotting said it was unlikely the sign would offend the average Australian.

Witnesses to Friday’s arrest criticised police for the manner in which Lim was arrested. “I saw police officers use a completely unnecessary and unacceptable amount of force to arrest Danny for wearing a humorous sign,” Christina Halm posted on Facebook.

“There was a crowd of at least 30 who had stopped in their tracks once we realised what was happening, clearly all shocked, gasping and crying at what we were seeing.”

Niki Anstiss said Lim was trying to make people smile. “This is disgusting,” she wrote. “I saw 3 police officers brutally rip his sign from his back and arrest him while he was screaming for them to not take his sign. He did nothing wrong.”

New South Wales police declined to comment when asked about the physicality of Friday’s arrest.


Australia's canceled Israel embassy in Jerusalem defers to Muslim concerns in Asia

But the PM's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital appears to stand

When Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison decided to shelve a plan to relocate his country's embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, he was concerned about the country's relationship with its Asian neighbors, rather than with the Palestinians.

The confusion has highlighted the policy-making difficulties for a country growing more reliant on Asia.

"Fundamentally, it is the right of every country to determine its national capital," Morrison told reporters in Sydney on Dec. 15.

"West Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. And we look forward to moving our embassy to West Jerusalem when practical, in support of, and after final status of determination," Morrison told reporters in Sydney. He said Australia will recognize West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel but he also denied his government will relocate the embassy immediately.

A political source in Canberra said, "Morrison meant that Australia would not relocate its embassy in Israel for the time being."

The city of Jerusalem is sacred to a number of religions, including Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Many analysts said Australia's decision to recognize West Jerusalem as Israel's capital without relocating its embassy is in effect no more than a political message. But it immediately made a ripple as Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad criticized it the next day, saying countries had "no right" to do so, Reuters reported.

Plans to recognize West Jerusalem as Israel's capital and relocate the Australian embassy were announced by Morrison four days before a by-election in the House of Representatives in October. At stake in the poll was whether the ruling conservative coalition of the Liberal Party and National Party could retain its majority.

The announcement, following the relocation of the U.S. embassy to West Jerusalem earlier in the year, was widely seen as an attempt to attract support from Jewish voters, who account for more than 10% of the constituency's population.

But the strategy proved to be a major mistake as the coalition lost the seat and has left Australia nothing but friction with the Palestinian people, countries in the Middle East and Asian neighbors such as Indonesia.

Shortly after taking office in August, Morrison visited Indonesia and agreed with President Joko Widodo to promptly conclude a comprehensive economic partnership agreement between the two countries.

Promoting Asia-oriented policies, Australia sees the CEPA as a trump card to boost its access to the growing market of Indonesia. Australia hoped to sign the CEPA in November, but the embassy relocation issue has led to a delay in sealing the accord.

There are some 1.6 billion Muslims around the world, more than half of whom reside in Asia. The Middle East has a much smaller number. Indonesia, where Muslims account for more than 90% of the population, is the biggest Muslim country in the world.

So it was a natural course of events that Australia's plan to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to West Jerusalem has provoked a strong backlash from Indonesia and other Muslim countries such as Malaysia.


 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, January 13, 2019

Envy-driven Leftist moron ignores reality

He thinks it is "unfair" that most new home building is in outer suburbs.  It is nothing to do with fairness.  The fact is that outer suburbs are where the land is affordable. 

Expecting new developments in prestige suburbs would be stymied by the huge cost of land there.  If prestige suburbs were forced to host more developments, it would take away money that could have allowed many more homes to be built elsewhere.  The proposal will REDUCE housing availability.

Leftists are unbelievable sometimes. They certainly don't stand for the best interests of the workers.  Hurting the rich is their real aim

NSW Labor leader Michael Daley will tear up the city's housing supply targets if elected, arguing western Sydney has been hit with "rampant" development while affluent areas have been spared.

The Opposition Leader says he would direct the Greater Sydney Commission to go back to the drawing board and revise the city's "unfair" housing supply targets if he becomes premier.

Mr Daley said the Coalition's so-called priority precincts "deliberately" disadvantaged western Sydney and favoured blue-ribbon suburbs, with "lenient development limits".

"The current housing supply targets have seen councils in Sydney’s west smothered by development while councils in the Premier’s backyard have not been allocated their fair share," Mr Daley said.

Mr Daley said the commission's district plans show Hunters Hill is expected to take only 150 new dwellings over five years, while Blacktown’s target is 13,950 and Parramatta’s target is 21,650.

He said the trend could be seen across other councils, including targets of 300 dwellings for Mosman and Woollahra and 1250 dwellings in Willoughby.

This compares to 13,250 dwellings in Canterbury-Bankstown and 11,800 in Camden, Mr Daley said.

The commission, headed by former Sydney lord mayor Lucy Turnbull, developed five district plans designed to ensure councils find a way to provide almost 200,000 more dwellings by 2021.

But Mr Daley said the targets meant some areas could be rezoned for density increases without any "obligation or commitment" to provide essential education, health or transport infrastructure.

"Sydney is growing and will continue to grow but we need to manage that growth well to make sure Sydney remains a great place to live," Mr Daley said.

“It’s not fair to exempt some areas from taking on their fair share while allowing other communities to get clobbered. Labor will put people and communities back at the heart of the planning system and scrap the Liberals’ planned precincts.”

Overdevelopment and population growth will be key state election issues in March.

The Finance Minister and Member for Ryde, Victor Dominello, is demanding targets for new housing in his electorate to be slashed as part of his campaign against development.

Mr Dominello has already helped secure a two-year freeze on new rezoning applications for residential housing in Ryde – the only council area in which such a freeze applies.

The Premier Gladys Berejiklian is also insisting the state needs to take a "breather" from rapid population growth.

A ReachTel poll for the Herald late last year found two-thirds of Sydneysiders felt that migration to the city should be restricted and 50 per cent opposed more development in Sydney.

Ms Berejiklian wants NSW's net migration levels halved to 45,000 people per year - the average intake a decade ago - after they peaked at over 100,000 per year in 2017.

She has said that "for far too long NSW has been burdened with ballooning population growth" without being properly consulted by the federal government on targets.

"NSW has the biggest infrastructure pipeline in the nation but we are still playing catch-up," Ms Berejiklian said late last year.


End Violence Against Everyone

An email from Bettina Arndt, who points out that men as well as women are often targets of domestic violence -- which makes her a target of feminist rage, in their usual irrational way

I’m launching a campaign to urge the government to take an evidence-based approach to family violence. To Stop Violence Against Everybody, not just women. To respect everyone, not just women.

Amazingly, this follows a request from key people in the Federal Government for evidence regarding the most effective approaches to tackling this important social issue.

The big news is feminist’s huge cash cow is facing a set-back. When I was speaking in Parliament House late last year, I learnt that the 100 million-dollar domestic funding package introduced four years ago by Malcolm Turnbull is about to run out. Naturally feminists are in a lather lobbying the government for the funding to continue.

Government ministers and bureaucrats usually only ever hear from one side – namely from the huge domestic violence industry which is using the last of their funding to bully politicians into submission.

But now we have a chance to tell the truth about this issue. To speak out against the feminist dogma suggesting all domestic violence is due to gender inequality and lack of respect for women. To talk about the male victims of violence, children growing up cowering from violent mothers. To have people from the coalface, members of the police force, social and community workers tell their experiences regarding the complex two-way violence they witness in most violent homes. Finally, someone is listening.

I’ve made a new video to launch the campaign, exposing the constant stream of male-bashing propaganda which is being inflicted on us by the femocrats.

It starts with the latest offering from OurWatch, a government body working to end violence against women, which is urging young men to intervene when men voice opinions they claim trigger domestic violence.

There’s an OurWatch video featuring young people chatting in a restaurant. Someone announces her company is hiring a new CEO, a woman. The male villain pipes up: “There’s no way a woman can run such a large company. Women are too emotional to lead.”

It’s a controversial comment, an opinion many people would challenge. But is it now forbidden to even voice such thoughts?

That’s what OurWatch is suggesting. Their website sports a list of items claimed promote disrespect towards women. These include: “thinking or saying women can’t do all the same jobs as men.” According to OurWatch, we are not even allowed to think that women can’t do the same jobs as men.

So here we have an organisation using domestic violence as an excuse to indulge in social engineering, encouraging us to denounce anyone who challenges feminist dogma. And spending vast amounts of our money in the process. OurWatch receives over 6 million a year in government grants and spends 1.3 million annually on such dubious advertising campaigns.

OurWatch is only one of many government-funded bodies which has been happily living off Malcolm Turnbull’s funding, promoting his favoured myth that domestic violence is all about respect for women. 

My video includes some of the evidence showing causes of domestic violence are far more complex, such as the famous Partner Abuse State of Knowledge project, (PASK), which reviewed over 1700 scientific papers and concluded a large range of factors contribute to domestic violence, including mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, poverty, conflicted relationships, being exposed to abuse or violence as a child. Most family violence was found to be two-way, involving female as well as male perpetrators.

Gender inequality is simply not a relevant factor in domestic violence in egalitarian countries like Australia. The underlying basis of the massive government expenditure on domestic violence is totally misguided.

So, now’s the time for all of you to step up and help me get these messages through to our government. I’m asking people to sign a petition urging the government to take an evidence-based approach, tackling proven causes like alcohol-related violence instead of simply promoting more feminist dogma.

Via email []

The number of graduates in full-time jobs edges higher

The proportion of Australians who landed full-time jobs within a few months of graduating university in 2017 was slightly higher than the year before, but remains significantly lower than a decade ago.

A new government-funded survey has found 72.9 per cent of graduates in 2017 found full-time work within four months, compared to 71.8 per cent the year before.

The 2018 Graduate Outcomes Survey puts the gradually improving result reflects down to broader strengthening of the jobs market.

But the figure is still down from the 85.2 per cent of 2008 graduates who found full-time work within four months.

"Since the global financial crisis, graduates have taken longer to gain a foothold in the labour market," the report released on Friday states.

Ultimately 92 per cent of 2017 graduates were in some kind of employment, with 37.9 per cent working part-time, slightly down on 37.3 per cent the previous year.

The median salary for undergraduates in full-time employment is $61,000, up from $60,000 the year before.

Education Minister Dan Tehan says the results reflect the government's sound economic management, with newly-created jobs meaning more opportunities for graduates.

The figures are also "great news" for about 260,000 prospective university students set to receive offers to study on Friday, he said.

"In this country, if you have a go, you get a go," he said. "Those Australians making the commitment to improve themselves and improve their job prospects through higher education should be congratulated."

Maintaining a trend in last year's survey, 2017 graduates from regional or remote areas were more likely to secure full-time work within months than those from cities.

Their full-time employment rate was 76.7 per cent, compared with 71.8 per cent for metropolitan graduates.

Women graduates continues to earn less than men in their first year, with a median gap of $3000 or 4.8 per cent.

The gap had narrowed to $1100 last year, but had been $3600 for those who graduated in 2015.


Paris Agreement to shrink economy, says US’s Brookings Institution

Australia’s economy will be among the worst affected by the Paris climate change agreement, enduring slower growth, fewer jobs and a “notable” 6 per cent slump in the exchange rate, ­according to a new analysis of the global accord.

The report by the Washington-based Brookings Institut­ion also finds the treaty will fail to cut carbon emissions on 2015 levels or put the world on a path to keeping global temperature rises to 2C or less.

The co-ordinated push to save the planet from climate change will shrink the economy by about 2 per cent and sap household wealth by 0.5 per cent by 2030, even if Australia chooses to back out of the agreement, the report found.

“Because Australia relies heavily on fossil fuels for its own use and as a source of export revenue, it experiences a large fall in investment, a significant capital outflow, and the largest depreciation of the real exchange rate,” the ­report said.

“For Australia, the Paris Agreement still has a significant impact on GDP even when Australia does not participate. These losses occur because Australia’s exports of fossil fuels are still subject to the CO2 tax in other ­regions, and the revenue is ­collected outside ­Australia.”

The report estimated employment would fall 1 per cent — or 127,000 jobs based on present ­levels — by 2020, with some offsetting gains later as workers shifted to the renewable energy sector.

The analysis, which ignored the impact of climate change ­itself, found only Australia and OPEC nations came out behind overall because the benefits of less pollution, less traffic and lower mortality under the Paris Agreement did not offset the damage to economic growth, arising largely as a result of the implicit global tax on energy exports.

The Morrison government, which opted to remain in the Paris accord against the wishes of hardline conservatives, leapt on the ­report to attack Labor over its promised 45 per cent emissions cut. “Our economy is growing stronger than any G7 nation besides the US, while emissions per person are at their lowest levels in 28 years,” Acting Environment Minister Simon Birmingham said.

“The choice at the next election is between our responsible balancing of environmental and economic considerations or Labor’s reckless doubling of emissions targets, which will smash our economy and drive electricity prices even higher.”

Labor said its plan to ramp up emissions cuts was “calibrated to represent Australia’s fair share of emissions ­reductions to keep ­global warming to below 2C ”.

Opposition climate change spokesman Mark Butler said it was no surprise that current commitments by Paris signatories would fail to keep temperature rises below 2C.

“That is why the Paris Agreement includes a ratchet mechanism to increase ambition, and it is why the Morrison government are lying to Australians when they insist their already inadequate 26 per cent emissions-reduction target is sufficient and doesn’t need to be increased,” he said.

Warwick McKibbin, an ANU economics professor and one of the report’s authors, said ­Australia could not avoid ­economic pain by pulling out of the agreement.

“If we stay in, we’re better off because if we pull out, we’ll still be getting most of the economic damage — other countries won’t be buying our ­resources so much — but miss out on the benefits of curbing carbon emissions such as less pollution,” Professor McKibbin told The Australian.

“You don’t have to believe in climate change at all to support staying in Paris. That said, if you just cared about jobs or real wages but didn’t care about climate or pollution, you’d stay out.”

According to the report, Australia’s promised carbon emissions cuts equate to a 35 per cent reduction on forecast 2030 levels, compared with the US’s 25 per cent, China’s 27 per cent, Russia’s 20 per cent and Japan’s 42 per cent.

The research compared the promises to reduce carbon emissions of eight nations or groups of nations, and the costs and benefits to each if all fulfilled their undertaking using a carbon tax, which economists say is the most efficient way to curb emissions.

“Emissions are still not declining in absolute terms, let alone following a path consistent with a 2C stabilisation,” the research found, suggesting the goal of the Paris Agreement, signed in 2015, would not be reached even if all 197 participating countries lived up to their ­promises.

The Minerals Council of Australia said the report confirmed the “significant negative impact” of lowering carbon emissions, but reiterated its support for the accord.

MCA chief executive Tania Constable said using a mix of technologies and abatement methods was crucial to minimising the economic impact of emissions cuts in the treaty, and called for the removal of the ban on ­nuclear power under the Environment Protection and Bio­diversity Conservation Act. “This would be a costless way to allow zero emission dispatchable power sources available 24/7 into Australia’s energy mix,” she said.

The paper assumed a gov­ernment-introduced $5-a-tonne carbon tax from 2020 — which neither the Coalition nor Labor has foreshadowed — to cut ­Australia’s carbon emissions by a promised 26-28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030.

In June 2017, Don­ald Trump withdrew the US from the agreement in a move many Australian conservatives, including Tony Abbott, wanted to ­emulate. But abandoning the treaty would make almost no difference to outcomes for Australia, assuming other signatories still fulfilled their promises, the study found.

Professor McKibbin said a Chinese withdrawal, however, would have a big positive effect on economic outcomes for Australia: “They’d still buy our fossil fuels but we wouldn’t lose the ­environmental ‘co-benefits’ of lower carbon emissions at home.”

The research found that ­“almost half of the reduction in global emissions comes from China’s participation”.

Liberal backbencher Craig Kelly, who has consistently called for Australia to pull out of the Paris Agreement, said the report confirmed “Paris is not pain-free … There is a lot pain in cutting emissions by 26 per cent: in lower wages and lower GDP growth, and a lower exchange rate that makes all imported goods more expensive. The pain of a 45 per cent cut would be enormous.”


 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, January 11, 2019

Australian Warmists spin like a top

How do you spin a COOLING temperature?  You call it the third warmest!  Both statements are true but their implications differ greatly, though neither foretells the future. Below is the graph put out by Australia's great temple of Warmism, the BoM -- well-known "fiddlers" of temperature data

It shows a roughly one degree temperature increase since about 1960.  Australia is not the world, however, so a more informative graph is the global satellite record, the only truly global measure of temperature

The satellites show about a 0.2 degree rise on average since 1999.  That is one fifth of one degree Celsius. One fifth of one degree -- that tiny amount is enough to keep Warmists tumescent. But you may understand that skeptics vary between saying it is trivial to saying it is not significant at all.

But that's not all of the bad news for warmism.  The satellite graph shows clearly that the temperature has been DECLINING since 2016.  Are we entering a period of global cooling?  Could be.  The truth however is that nobody knows.  Temperatures on earth have been warmer and have been cooler.  Anything is possible.

Temperatures have risen in fits and starts over the last century or so but nobody knows why and nobody can tell whether or for how long that will continue.  The one certainty is that temperatures do not remotely track CO2 levels.  From 1945 to 1975 global temperatures stayed flat on average while CO2 levels rose sharply.  That is a total contradiction of Warmist theory

2018 was Australia’s third hottest year on record. You’re not imagining it, it really is hot out there. And, no, it’s not just summer as usual. The last 12 months have been abnormally hot.

If you thought it was hotter than usual last year, you weren’t wrong. Climate experts have confirmed it was Australia’s third-warmest year on record, with every state and territory recording above average temperatures in 2018.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology’s (BOM) annual climate statement, the nation’s average temperature last year was 1.14C above the average for 1961-1990, making 2018 slightly warmer than 2017.

“When we look across all of Australia in 2018, we can see that every single state and territory had above average day and night-time temperatures,” the Bureau’s senior climatologist Lynette Bettio said in a statement on Thursday.

Only 2005 and 2013 were warmer.

Nine of the 10 warmest years on record in Australia have occurred since 2005. Dr Bettio said the only part of the country to buck the trend for above average temperatures was Western Australia’s Kimberley Region, which had cooler than average nights for the year.

The BOM also said rainfall totals in Australia in 2018 were the lowest since 2005.

The total was 11 per cent below the 1961-1990 average, but many areas experienced significantly lower average rainfalls, the bureau found. Dr Bettio said large areas of southeast Australia had rainfall totals in the lowest 10 per cent on record.

New South Wales had its sixth-driest year on record while the Murray-Darling Basin had its seventh driest.

However, some parts of northern Australia and southeast Western Australia received above-average rainfall totals.

The Bureau’s statement follows a run of exceptionally high temperatures around the nation late last month, along with a prolonged heatwave in Queensland in late November and early December.

Globally, 2018 was the fourth-warmest year on record, according to the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service assessment, released on Tuesday. The last four years have seen the highest average temperatures globally since records began in the 19th century.


One Nation candidate Mark Latham complains Sydney has turned into an 'unliveable' metropolis overflowing with immigrants and apartment towers

Biffo is right.  Living in Sydney gets more crowded and frustrating year by year and that will continue as long as we have a big immigrant-driven population rise.  All those immigrants have got to fit in somewhere and they will crowd others out while doing so

One Nation candidate Mark Latham has slammed the NSW Berejiklian government for turning Sydney into an 'unliveable' metropolis overflowing with immigrants.

The former federal Labor leader made the remarks during a visit to Sydney's outer west this week, which kicked off his campaign for the New South Wales election on March 23, The Australian reported.

He was attending a meet-and-greet at Oran Park shopping centre when he compared Sydney's proposed second airport to the poorly developed tram network.

The outer west location is to be the site for the purpose-built airport, with a projected population of 15 million, but Mr Latham doubted its overall success.

He said the Berejiklian government's vision of a 'high-tech Disneyland' for the second airport was another casualty in the state government's disastrous 'lack of planning'.

'If you can't build a couple of tram tracks on the main street in the CBD, you haven't got much hope of accommodating new ­cities on the outskirts of Sydney the size of Adelaide,' Mr Latham said.

The former Labor leader also commented on how the Berejiklian government is struggling and has failed to manage the city's migrant 'population explosion'.

He said there had been an over development of skyscrapers and apartment towers across the city, opposed to focusing on basic community services such as hospitals. The increase in residential properties and developments throughout Sydney has transformed the city into something 'unrecognisable', he said.   

Mr Latham said Sydney is absorbing 100,000 new migrants every year, but One Nation's policy to reduce the intake by two thirds would ease the burden. 'It just turns Sydney into something unliveable and dysfunctional,' he said.

Mr Latham said the over development of apartment towers and skyscrapers also resembled a huge construction site and felt totally 'alien' to most Sydneysiders.

The One Nation candidate also said he was also more than comfortable after having switched parties and working with his former nemesis Pauline Hanson.

Polling results from last year showed the percentage of NSW voters who support One Nation sits at about eight per cent. 


Time for Australia to stop calling itself a 'middle power'

Now a major power?  We are the only nation with a continent to itself so that does enable a few things

We are regularly told by our foreign policy decision-makers that we're a middle power in the international system, but that we "punch above our weight".

Indeed, there's a unity ticket here: both major political parties use the middle power descriptor, not wishing to suggest that we're a major power or wanting Australia to be seen as some sort of hero with an inflated opinion of our own importance in global affairs. At the same time, the middle power moniker invokes a quiet pride in our citizens and greater support for our decision-makers.

But as countries jockey much more for international influence, a just-released audit of geopolitical capability has found Australia is one of the 10 most powerful nations in the world with a strong case for us to replace Russia and restore the G7 to the G8.

The Henry Jackson Society in the UK looked at 33 indicators and 1240 pieces of data to assess the geopolitical capability of the Group of 20 nations, plus Nigeria. The United States headed the rankings with the United Kingdom ahead of China, France and Germany. Japan was in sixth position followed by Canada and Australia. That put us just ahead of India and Russia. The study found that we're more politically powerful than Russia because we are a "hemispheric power" capable of projecting ourselves and defending our own interests within the southern hemisphere.

James Rogers, the study's chief analyst, noted that our burgeoning economy (we've completed 27 consecutive years of annual economic growth) and a strengthened military have helped secure our position as a major world player. He suggests that Australia has profited from our links to the Anglosphere and that further investment in the Five-Eyes intelligence sharing arrangement could help us rise even higher. Rogers points out that on cultural power– our ability to attract others to our cause, our narrative to shape and influence global discourse or ideas and ideology – we're ranked fourth in the world. Last year Australia was ranked 10th globally on the Soft Power study index by Portland Communications.

Breadth of influence

The Henry Jackson Society study's main finding is surely right: Australia is more than a middle power in international affairs. There are very few countries that can lay claim to having the depth and breadth of influence as Australia.

We're a top-tier player in the southern hemisphere, and in the South Pacific (a quarter of the Earth's surface) we're a superpower. We're a major player in the Indian Ocean (we have the largest area of maritime jurisdiction in the Indian Ocean region) and in south-east Asia.

When Australia's claim in Antarctica is included, Australia becomes the country with the largest jurisdictional claim in the world. Our undisputed claim covers around 27.2 million square kilometres, of which about half is over sea. We're 13th largest economy (in GDP terms, thus the 13th largest contributor to the United Nations), the 11th wealthiest nation (GDP per capita, current US dollars) and 51 (out of 214) in population. We've got the 12th largest defence budget and 10th largest defence expenditure as a percentage of GDP in the OECD. One of the major factors driving Australia up the geopolitical capability index is our $200 billion defence investment program over the next decade.

Crucial role

Australia is the number-one global exporter of iron ore, coal and unwrought lead and the second largest exporter of aluminium ores. We're the second largest exporter of beef, the third largest exporter of sugar and the largest global exporter of wool.

We're the 13th largest aid donor. In a world where economics and strategic issues rule, values and soft power still have a crucial role to play in international relations, especially for a country like Australia. The influence our aid program buys us in particular places and at particular times is very much under-rated.

Australia is a pivotal country. Pivotal powers are those countries that by virtue of their strategic location, size of population, economic potential, policy preferences and political weighting are destined to shape the contours of geopolitics in key regions of the world as well as constitute important nodes of global economic growth.

The Henry Jackson Society' s overall finding is spot on: we're one of the few countries in the world that's well positioned internationally by successfully bringing together our economic, diplomatic, military and cultural capabilities.

The trick will be to continue to work to ensure our significance is widely appreciated by leveraging those capabilities to remain an influential nation, and not just in the Indo-Pacific.


Coalition under fire as Australia’s onshore fuel stockpiles reach worrying lows

The federal government is under fire over fears Australia’s low fuel stockpiles could leave the nation dangerously exposed.

Experts have criticised the Coalition for failing to publish an urgent review of Australia’s liquid fuel reserves, with the nation failing to hold the recommended amount.

International Energy Agency mandates that countries hold at least 90 days’ supply of liquid fuel reserves.

But according to the latest Department of Energy figures, Australia sits well below this, with 22 days’ worth of petrol, 17 days of diesel and 27 days of total petroleum products.

Australia depends largely on the Middle East for its transport fuel imports, but recent instability in the region — as well as tensions in the South China Sea and on the Korean peninsula — could threaten our fuel future, The Australian reports.

Coalition senator and retired major-general Jim Molan told the newspaper that rising geopolitical tensions mean a review of Australia’s liquid reserves is more important than ever.

“With increased uncertainty in the Middle East from where much of our oil and refined fuel comes, and the growing uncertainty in our own region due to great power tensions and the unpredictability of the US as a stab­ilising force, a review of Australia’s liquid fuel reserves is even more crucial now to Australia’s national security,” he said.

“It’s disappointing and potentially dangerous that the review has been delayed, given that the bureaucracy also has to complete an overall energy review in 2019.”

Experts have echoed these claims. Dr Paul Barnes, head of Risk and Resilience Program at Australian Strategic Policy Institute, told he’s concerned by the lack of information regarding a federal government review into domestic fuel security.

“The fact that the review results are delayed is a concern … we have been teetering on the edge for some time,” he said.

“One issue today that is a concern for all Australians is that just because we haven’t had a problem with fuel security in the past, it doesn’t mean we will never have one in the future - it doesn’t make logical sense.

“We need to do our full due diligence, not just regarding fuel reserves but the broader issue of supply chains.”

Dr Barnes said Australia was at the end of the supply chain which meant we were vulnerable to geopolitical disturbances that could affect supply, such as tension in the South China Sea and on the Korean peninsula.

“The Australian people are not stupid and they can see through the illogical argument that we can predict the future just because we’ve never had a problem in the past.

“The world is changing, and where we get many of our imports from are from locations close to geopolitical distress.

“We need to get clear direction from the government in the form of a completed review that needs to be published and discussed.”

Last May, then-Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg ordered an urgent review of Australia’s liquid fuel reserves, after the country dipped below 50 days.

Mr Molan warned that Australia was one of the few places in the world without a government-mandated strategic reserve of fuel, and that if conflict broke out in our region and current stockpiles of petrol, diesel and aviation fuel ran dry, the military would effectively be grounded.

“I can’t imagine that armoured vehicles in the forces in the near future are going to work off renewables or off electricity or off whatever,” he told last year.

A spokesperson for the Department of the Environment and Energy said: “The Government is continuing to engage stakeholders and expects to release the review in early 2019.”


 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