Thursday, June 29, 2017



Breakthrough WA Study Shines A Light On Global Water Contamination

The article below is very long-winded in a typical Leftist style but the essence of it is in the opening paragraphs that I have excerpted below.

I believe the article does address a real problem.  The only surprising thing is its discovery that bore water is a last resort for drinking purposes.  It often has metallic and other unpleasant tastes that should warn that its use for human consumption is risky.

Depending on the contamination it can be purified at some cost but that is rare.  People, black and white,  just take their chances, usually. So it is not surprising that the W.A. government has not funded purification for Aborigines.  Government has many calls on its funds.

Asking the government to go into a large number of black settlements with purification machinery is a big ask when it is always possible for the inhabitants to move into areas where reticulated river water is available. The W.A. government encourages that. 

But the Aborigines resist that.  They have a religious attachment to their traditional locations.  So in a sense they have made their choices about what they are exposed to and have to bear the consequences.  Is it fair for them to ask those who pay taxes (they rarely do themselves) to prop up their religious beliefs? As former Prime Minister Tony Abbott declared in March 2015, “what we can’t do is endlessly subsidize lifestyle choices.”



When deep-well bore water arrived in Australian bush communities people thought the big thirst was over. Jeff McMullen reports that a decade long study shows unsafe water is now cutting lives short.

If a baby is fed unsafe water contaminated with chemical nitrates, the child turns blue.

The striking colouring occurs particularly around the eyes and mouth. Blue Baby Syndrome is the decrease of the oxygen carrying capacity of the haemoglobin. It is potentially fatal.

And yet, in scores of communities across Australia many people are still not aware of the growing evidence that nitrates – found naturally in the environment and compounded by mining – are a crucial factor in a devastating epidemic of chronic illness, particularly renal problems afflicting children and adults.

“I never dreamed that our water has such high levels of nitrate contamination,” says Dr Christine Jeffries-Stokes, paediatrician to the Goldfields region in Western Australia.

“Water flows from the Pilbara all the way south to the Great Australian Bight. The critical threat is the nitrates, combined with uranium and arsenic, to create a perfect storm.”

It is this discovery – that not only is there an immediate threat of nitrate poisoning from high levels in the water but also a long-term danger caused by prolonged exposure – that will bring Dr Jeffries-Stokes and her medical team from the Western Desert Kidney Project face to face with the WA Government this week, to present their findings and lobby the government to finally take action.

Co-Chief Investigator of the decade long research project, Annette Stokes says “people are very, very sick”.

“Some already had diabetes and did not know it. Others are progressing to end state renal illness without ever being aware of this water poison.”

“Previously unexplained levels of chronic illness, especially kidney disease afflicting black and white people in remote regions, can now be understood,” adds Dr Jeffries-Stokes. “Governments must take action urgently and it is no good talking about closing hundreds of remote communities and towns. This affects so many people Governments must clean up the water.”

One of Australia’s most respected epidemiologists, Professor Fiona Stanley, has added her voice to the call for urgent action.

“This is a really important public health and human rights issue, particularly for the Aboriginal populations of the eastern Goldfields. The neglect that we have shown these populations over the years is being added to by our reluctance to clean up the water supply,” Professor Stanley says.

More HERE 





Pauline Hanson's 'halal' victory: One Nation succeeds in passing new regulations to control Islamic certification in Australia

Pauline Hanson has won a political victory with her Senate colleagues backing her campaign for Muslim-friendly halal-certified foods to be more clearly labelled.

Many meats and popular supermarket products including Vegemite, Cadbury chocolates and Kellogg's breakfast cereals are halal certified, which means consumers are funding Islamic schools and mosques.

The One Nation leader's call for more transparency on Muslim-friendly foods comes 18 months after a Senate inquiry called for food manufacturers to more clearly label third-party certification.

Senator Hanson said it was about time the Senate inquiry's recommendations, published in December 2015, were put into practice. 'Australians are waiting for this to be implemented,' she told parliament.

Australian Conservatives leader Cory Bernardi, who initiated the 2015 inquiry into halal foods, said the meat industry needed certainty.  'They're looking for certainty in the meat industry, it's about time that they reported on it,' he said.

'It's far too long and so I think Senator Hanson's quite right to bring it to the attention of the chamber.'

Senator Bernardi also hit out at Labor for distancing itself from Senator Hanson's halal-labelling campaign when Labor's Sam Dastyari had chaired the inquiry into it. 'It's all good and well for the Labor Party to distance themselves from the report now but it was endorsed by their chairman,' he said. 

Greens leader Richard Di Natale tried to make the debate about Senator Hanson's recent comments saying autistic children should be in separate schools.

'Senator Hanson and Senator Bernardi should worry less about the eating habits of other Australians and more about the needs of our children in schools,' he said.

Senator Nick Xenophon was more measured, arguing that while he supported the halal industry, he was in favour of clearer labelling.

Pauline Hanson's motion was last week passed on a show of voices in the Senate. It means Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's cabinet will have to examine ways of improving existing halal certification regulations.

The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils halal certifies Vegemite and funds Islamic schools, including the Malek Fahd Islamic School in Sydney's west which has recently lost $19 million in federal funding.

Adelaide Muslim Shia Imam Shaikh Mohammad Tawhidi is opposed to halal certified foods being sold in Australia's major supermarkets, arguing they should be sold in specialty Muslim shops instead.

Halal is an Arabic word meaning something is permissible in Islam.

Processed food that is halal certified doesn't contain or pork or alcohol derivatives while meat with this clearance has been slaughtered in accordance with Islamic tradition.

Food producers pay a fee to third-party halal certifiers, which include Islamic groups and mosques.

SOURCE





An energy consultant says "Green" South Australians will soon pay the most in the world for electricity

An energy market consultant says South Australian homes will soon be paying the highest electricity prices in the world.

Energy market consultant Bruce Mountain says SA will overtake Denmark on Saturday when electricity retailers hit most households with an average rise of about 18 per cent.

"My estimate is that the representative household in South Australia is paying a price that is a little bit higher than the representative household in Denmark or elsewhere and Denmark has known to be the highest," Mr Mountain told ABC radio on Wednesday.

SOURCE






Woolly thinking won’t help with education

Some weeks more than others, the woolly thinking that leads to poor policy is blindingly obvious. Education policy development is beleaguered by smart and influential people with misguided ideas.

Example 1: The Mitchell Institute released a report finding one in four young people leave school without a qualification, and one in eight is not engaged in further education or work at age 24. They estimate the latter group has $18.8 billion less income over their lifetimes and accumulate $50.5 billion in social costs for each cohort of 24-year-olds.

The report does not offer any suggestions about what might be done to reduce this problem, and that’s absolutely fine. There’s no shame in pointing out a problem without positing the solution. Unfortunately, in launching the report, Victoria University Vice- Chancellor Peter Dawkins ignored this precept, making a colossal leap with the suggestion that schools should spend more time helping students develop life skills rather than placing an ‘excessive’ focus on literacy and numeracy.

NAPLAN test results in 2016 revealed one in four students in Year 9 barely meet the very low national minimum literacy and numeracy standards. Results from the 2015 international PISA tests of 15-year-olds are also damning ― 39 per cent of students were below the national proficient standard in reading and 45 per cent below the national proficient standard in mathematical literacy.

Assuming these figures are accurate, it is no mystery why so many young people ditch school as soon as they can, and then struggle to find stable work.

I am all for giving young people ‘life skills’, but it is difficult to think of any skills more useful for education, employment, and good health than reading, writing, and a good grasp of arithmetic. This is true irrespective of the type of work – even ‘unskilled’ jobs require a functional level of literacy. Just getting a driving license is very difficult if you can’t read; try getting a blue-collar job without one.

Example 2: The latest UNICEF report card put Australia at the bottom of the class for the quality of school education. To my knowledge, I have never been accused of being a Pollyanna about Australian education, and the above statistics bear out my stance. But the UNICEF assessment is dubious at best. The UNICEF index of ‘quality’ is based on a combination of student achievement in the PISA tests and preschool participation rates. On this index, Mexico places equal third in the world with South Korea even though its PISA results are below the OECD average!

Nonetheless, in this case ― yet again ― the prescription to treat Australia’s educational malaise is pure quackery. UNICEF Australia director of policy and advocacy Amy Lamoin says we should look to Scandinavian countries where “There’s a lot of experimentation and discovery in their learning, and shorter school days with more focus on extra-curricular activities.”

While it’s difficult to be certain from one quote, Ms Lamoin seems to be endorsing the discovery or inquiry-based approach to classroom pedagogy. This is the precise opposite of what the evidence from PISA and other research tells us lead to better outcomes for students – that is, rigorous, rich curricula and purposeful, explicit teaching.

Fortunately, this week we also have an example of responsive policy making from the South Australian government. After a number of reading researchers expressed detailed concerns to the Department of Education and Child Development about the design of their trial of the UK Phonics Screening Check – namely, arguing that it should involve students in Year 1 rather than just Reception ― Education Minister Susan Close announced a review of the trial design and implementation. That’s the good news this week. One out of three isn’t bad.

SOURCE

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



Wednesday, June 28, 2017



Muslim population in Australia soars to 600,000 as religion becomes the nation's second-biggest - a 77% jump in the past DECADE, according to Census

The latest census figures reveal the Muslim population in Australia has soared to more than 604,000 people, overtaking Buddhism as the most popular non-Christian religion.

The number of Muslims living in the country has almost doubled from 341,000 in the the 2006 census.

The surge in the number of Muslims comes as the Census revealed an additional 2.2 million people registered as having no religion – surpassing Catholicism as the country’s most popular religious affiliation.

Data from the 2016 census, released on Tuesday, shows 30 per cent of Australians identified as having no religion, compared with 22 per cent in the 2011 census and almost 19 per cent in 2006.

Out of Australia’s population of 23.4 million people, 7,040,700 people identify as having no religion.

Catholics make up just over 22 per cent – or 5.2 million people – followed by 3.8 million Christians – or 16.3 per cent.

Residents aged between 18 and 34 years were more likely to affiliate with no religion than to Christianity, the Census revealed.

One the other hand, about 70 percent of people over the age of 65 reported themselves and Christians.

From 2006 to 2016, the proportion of people reporting a religion other than Christianity in the Census increased from 5.6 per cent to 8.2 percent, the census shows.

 Hinduism sits in third place at 1.9 per cent of Australia's population. Hinduism and Islam have been the top two fastest growing non-Christian religions in the country during the past decade. Hinduism grew from .7 per cent of the population to 1.9 per cent in 2016 – securing the third spot for the most popular non-Christian religion

Dropping from 2.5 per cent to 2.4 per cent, Buddhism fell to the second spot as Islam rose to the top with 2.6 per cent of the population.

Sikhism is listed as the fourth most popular non-Christian religion with .5 per cent, followed by Judaism at .4 per cent.

Meanwhile, the number of Australians speaking only English at home dropped from almost 77 per cent in 2011 to almost 73 per cent in 2016.

SOURCE






Meet overweight and extreme feminist, Clementine Ford

She has admitted to bouts of mental illness.  She does however have a baby son -- and boy babies have a way of civilizing feminists -- simply by being themselves

Controversial feminist Clementine Ford has encouraged on a fan to 'kill men' in a handwritten note inside a copy of her latest book.

The Melbourne-based author and Fairfax columnist has regularly spoken about being the target of graphic abuse, trolling and death threats from men on social media.

But a picture shows that when signing one copy of her latest book, 'Fight Like a Girl', Ms Ford wrote to a fan: 'Have you killed any men today? And if not, why not?'

Ms Ford, 35, released her non-fiction 'manifesto' centred around her feminist views and experiences in September 2016.

In it, the mother-of-one urges 'all women and young girls - to take the emptiness and numbness they feel about being a girl in this world and turn it into rage and power'.

Previously, Ms Ford has complained about trolling and 'hate' she receives on social media and through online forums.

In one case in 2015, a man called her a 'sl**' and was sacked by his Sydney-based employer.

Ms Ford has an army of close to 300,000 fans across social media.

It comes after publisher Allen and Unwin announced on Monday it had acquired the rights to her second book.

'Boys Will Be Boys', a book Ms Ford claims will be a 'love letter to her son', is due to be released in 2018.

But within just hours of the announcement, a petition calling for the 'man hating' piece not to be published was set up on Change.org.

The petition has received 300 signatures in less than 24 hours. Ms Ford hit out at its organisers on Twitter saying: 'Oh no, they will probably take my contract away now.'

SOURCE





South Yarra Primary School parents call for new classrooms, tougher school zone restrictions

There are so many problematic government schools that parents are desperate to get their kids into a good one

South Yarra Primary School parents say the school is bursting at the seams, with some families faking where they live and renting properties in the zone.

The parents say the number of new enrolments almost exceeds the school’s capacity to cope, and are worried that class sizes will blow out.

Mr Merlino urged parents stop lying their way into popular areas.  “This isn’t great for the parents, it’s not great for the children,” the Deputy Premier told 3AW. “Parents should work by the rules and if you are designated in a school zone you are entitled to go to that school.

“Local kids deserve to go to their local school and they should have the first opportunity to do so.”

South Yarra Primary School council president Jason Le Busque said South Yarra Primary’s high National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) test results made it a popular choice for parents.

This meant some families who lived outside the school zone would rent properties in the zone just so that their child was eligible to enrol.

“We do have some evidence that there has been some families who have rented one bedroom flats and they’re a family of three kids and two adults. They’re certainly not living there,” he said.

School council parents are pushing for the zone to be made smaller as a result, and they want the Department of Education to commit to capital works that would see new classrooms built.

They also want families to sign a statutory declaration stating that they intend to live in the zone for the duration of their child’s enrolment, and will notify the school if they move out.

Parent Emily Keon-Cohen said new modular classrooms opened at the school earlier this year were already at capacity, and there were plans to use the library and multipurpose room as classrooms next year. “We may be the only school in the state without a library and a multipurpose room,” she said.

The Leader understands that South Yarra Primary School Principal Neven Paleka is working with the Department of Education to address rising enrolments, but the paper was unable to speak with him.

Education Department spokesman Alex Munro said the department installed a three-storey relocatable classroom at the school earlier this year.

The Government was also building two new primary schools in Melbourne’s inner-south to meet the community’s needs, and information provided by the department said South Yarra Primary’s zone was currently under review.

“South Yarra Primary School’s enrolment pressure is regularly discussed with the school,” Mr Munro said.

Real Estate Institute of Victoria data released mid-last year revealed the median house price for homes within the South Yarra Primary School zone was $244,500 higher than those outside it.

SOURCE





One lonely molecule…

Ian Plimer

The 24 million people in Australia generate 1.5 per cent of annual global human-induced CO2 emissions. USA emits 14 times and China emits 26 times more CO2 than Australia. Australia has 0.33 per cent of the global population.

Our high standard of living, a landmass of 7,692,024 square kilometres with a sparse inland population and greenhouse gas-emitting livestock combined with the transport of livestock, food and mined products, long distances to cities and ports and the export of ores, coal, metals and food for 80 million people result in high per capita CO2 emissions. Australia’s exports of coal, iron ore and gas contributes to increasing the standard of living, longevity and health of billions of people in Asia.

If Australia emits 1.5 per cent of global annual CO2 emissions, 3 per cent of the total annual global emissions are anthropogenic and the atmosphere contains 400 parts per million by volume of CO2, then one molecule in 6.6 million molecules in the atmosphere is CO2 emitted from humans in Australia. This molecule has an atmospheric life of about 7 years before it is removed from the atmosphere by natural sequestration into life and limey sediments.

Australia has far greater economic priorities than to change a whole economy, increase energy costs, decrease employment and decrease international competiveness because of one poor lonely molecule of plant food in 6.6 million other atmospheric molecules. It is a very long bow to argue that this one molecule of plant food in 6.6 million other atmospheric molecules derived from Australia has any measurable effect whatsoever on global climate. Furthermore, it has yet to be shown that human emissions of CO2 drive global warming, so why even bother with a Renewables Energy Target?


Australia exports a significant global share of refined aluminium, zinc, lead, copper and gold and hence takes a per capita emissions hit for countries that import and use Australia’s metals, because smelting and refining in Australia result in CO2 emissions. Neither smelting nor refining of the metals for other countries could take place without burning fossil fuels. For example, a steel mill uses coal to reduce iron oxide into iron metal and the carbon in coal is oxidised to CO2. A modern economy cannot rely on sea breezes and sunbeams to generate base load electricity for industry and a decarbonised economy would be a deindustrialised economy.

Annual Australian per capita CO2 emissions are in the order of 20 tonnes per person. There are 30 hectares of forest and 74 hectares of grassland for every Australian and each hectare annually sequesters about 1 tonne of CO2 by photosynthesis. CO2 is plant food. On the continental Australian landmass, Australians are removing by natural sequestration more than three times the amount of CO2 they emit. Crops remove even more CO2 from the atmosphere. Australia’s net contribution to atmospheric CO2 is negative and this is confirmed by the net CO2 flux estimates from the IBUKI satellite CO2 data set.

Australia’s continental shelf is 2,500,000 square kilometres in area. Carbon dioxide dissolves in ocean water and the cooler the water, the more CO2 dissolves in water. Living organisms extract dissolved CO2 and calcium from seawater to build corals and shells. This natural marine sequestration locks away even more Australian emissions of CO2 and adds to the negative contribution of atmospheric CO2 made by Australia.

Using the thinking of the IPCC, UN and activist green groups, Australia should be very generously financially rewarded with money from populous, desert and landlocked countries for removing from the atmosphere its own emitted CO2 and the CO2 emissions from many other nations. By this method, wealthy Australia can take money from poor countries. This is, of course, normal for the green industry. For example, the subsidising of wind and solar power takes money from the poor and passes it on to companies making a fortune from the government’s RET.

Satellite measurements show that there has been a greening of the planet over the last few decades, thanks to a slight increase in traces of plant food in the atmosphere. Without CO2, there would be no plants and without plants, there would be no animals. Geology shows that atmospheric CO2 has not driven global warming since planet Earth formed. Why should it now? Dangerous global warming did not occur in the past when the atmospheric CO2 content was hundreds of times higher than now. Each of the major ice ages was initiated at a time when there was more CO2 in the atmosphere than now.

The planet has not warmed for two decades despite a massive increase in CO2 emissions during the industrialisation of Asia. Computer models predicted a steady temperature increase over this time and over 30 million weather balloons have not detected a modelled hot spot over the equator. All models have failed and are not in accord with measurements.

Australia has thousands of years of energy as coal, gas, oil and uranium and is one of the world’s biggest exporters of energy. Yet it has unreliable and very expensive energy. We have wasted billions on unreliable ‘renewable’ electricity resulting in energy poverty on the assumption that human emissions of CO2 drive global warming. It has never been shown that human emission of CO2 drives global warming and the Australian contribution of one lonely molecule in 6.6 million is not worth expenditure of a single penny. President Trump did not fall for one of the biggest cons in the history of time. Australia needs leadership rather than marching down the RET path to international uncompetiveness. If subsidies paid by consumers for unreliable inefficient electricity were abandoned, the markets would quickly reaffirm that energy from fossil fuels is the cheapest and most reliable source of electricity for an industrialised economy.

SOURCE

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


Tuesday, June 27, 2017



Pauline Hanson's popularity soars to 16% as Malcolm Turnbull’s support slumps – with Labor leading the Coalition in EVERY state

It looks like the conservative vote is holding steady but is increasingly going to minor conservative parties rather than the coalition.  Given Australia's systems of preferential voting and proportional representation, that is more a strength than a weakness. 

The party switches are presumably due to the perceived inertness of PM Turnbull, which is somewhat unfair -- as he has had quite a lot of success in getting his legislation through a difficult Senate.  His apparent lack of enthusiasm for any conservatyive cause is however a big strike against him.  Voters in all parties like to see enthusiasm in their leaders.  He has no real "message"



Pauline Hanson's popularity is increasing as voters turn away from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in every state of Australia.

The Queensland senator's One Nation party has 16 per cent support in her home state, the latest Newspoll shows.

Across Australia, the Turnbull Government continued to trail Labor 47 per cent to 53 per cent after preferences, which means it would lose an election held now, with the Coalition's primary vote support dropping six percentage points since last year's election.

The backlash against the prime minister was most pronounced in Queensland and South Australia with his Coalition government also behind Labor in every state, the poll published in The Australian found.

Mr Turnbull has already lost 14 Newspolls in a row and the latest analysis of poll averages, from April to June 2017, is more bad news for the prime minister, who lives in Sydney's ritzy eastern suburbs.

South Australian voters have turned against the government more than in any other state over the past six months, putting Labor ahead 56 to 44 per cent in two-party terms.

This is the state where Holden is winding up local car manufacturing later this year.

The Coalition has also lost 10 percentage points in Queensland since last year's July election to drive its primary vote down to 33 per cent, as One Nation wins over 16 per cent of state voters.

Labor's primary vote support in Western Australia has surged almost 10 percentage points since last year's election to 42 per cent while the Coalition's support has fallen by nine percentage points to 40 per cent.

However, the Turnbull Government has lifted its primary vote in Victoria by three percentage points over the past three months, where African Apex gangs are hitting the popularity of the state Labor government.

After preferences, though, the Coalition still trails Labor 47 per cent to 53 per cent in Victoria.

The survey of 6843 voters from April to June shows Labor leading the Coalition by 53 per cent to 47 per cent in two-party terms at a national level, marking a 2.6 per cent swing against the government since it was narrowly re-elected last year with a one-seat majority.

Nationwide, both Labor and the Liberal-National Coalition have a primary vote of 36 per cent, but the ALP would be likely to win an election with preferences from the Greens who have nine per cent support, compared with 11 per cent for One Nation.

The Coalition's primary vote support has fallen by six percentage points since last year's election.

Mr Turnbull was regarded as the better prime minister with 44 per cent support compared with 32 per cent for Labor leader Bill Shorten.

SOURCE






Cory Bernardi strikes again, luring another MP to his Australian Conservatives

Cory Bernardi is poised to announce a Victorian MP is joining his Australian Conservatives party just days after applying to register the party in Victoria ahead of next year's state election.

Fairfax Media understands the South Australian senator will on Monday reveal the Victorian upper house MP Dr Rachel Carling-Jenkins will defect to the Australian Conservatives. And further defections in Victoria and possibly NSW are anticipated, according to party insiders.

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

Fairfax Media can reveal Senator Bernardi's party has broken the 10,000 mark for memberships nationally. By contrast, the Victorian division of the Liberal Party is understood to have about 13,000 members and the NSW  division about 10,500. Support has fallen since the 2015 leadership change from Tony Abbott to Malcolm Turnbull, but senior sources have scotched internal party claims made by disaffected members that the number in NSW has slipped below 10,000.

Dr Carling-Jenkins represents the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) and her defection will spell the end of the troubled party's representation across the country. It also follows the federal Coalition's successful passage last week of a schools funding formula, which short-changes Catholic schools by up to $3 billion. The DLP's last federal representative John Madigan also defected to set up his own John Madigan's Manufacturing and Farming Party. It flopped when he was booted out of the Senate in the double dissolution election last year and he has since joined the Australian Country Party.

Senator Bernardi and Dr Carling-Jenkins were put in contact by a mutual friend about two months ago. Dr Carling-Jenkins wanted to join the Australian Conservatives because she believed conservatives needed to unite nationally to effectively prosecute their causes. She spent two decades working in the welfare sector and held a PhD in social sciences.

In her first speech to the Victorian Parliament in 2015, she described herself as a social justice campaigner, committed to raising awareness about gender selection abortions, cracking down on the sex-industry, and rights and care for the disabled and elderly. She will become the Australian Conservatives first female MP.

Ms Carling-Jenkins' defection is the second major coup for Senator Bernardi, who dismayed colleagues with his own defection in February when he said he was creating his own conservative movement, in part to keep his former Liberal Party accountable to its founding principles, including lower taxes and lower government spending.

His critics, including the Victorian Liberal Party state president Michael Kroger and former premier Jeff Kennett, derided his breakaway movement and predicted it would flop but it has already exceeded 10,000 members and will now have acquired three sitting MPs.

In April, Senator Bernardi announced his party was absorbing Family First and gained the South Australian upper house members Robert Brokenshire and Dennis Hood. Senator Bernardi has gone on to register the party in Victoria and NSW. He recently held a lunch with several high-profile NSW Liberals whose attempts to democratise the party's internal processes were being continually frustrated. The gathering, involving close allies of former prime minister Tony Abbott, is considered a threat to the NSW division of the Liberal party amid fears members will defect if the moderates' grip on the state party continues.

Sources said more defections of sitting MPs were likely, but they would not reveal the identities of any considering leaving

SOURCE






Willunga High School lockdown after student fight; police called to control foul-mouthed teens

The school has a substantial Aboriginal population

PRIMARY students visiting Willunga High had to be put into lockdown as police were called to control foul-mouthed teens roaming the campus after a lunchtime fight.

A Year 9 boy needed medical treatment for facial injuries after brawling with a Year 11 boy on Wednesday.

A group of boys ranging from Years 9 to 11, hyped up by the fight, then roamed the campus being “verbally revolting” to staff and refusing to come inside.

Police were called and in some cases drove the students home if parents were not available.

Principal Anthony van Ruiten said the whole school was put into a lockdown called an “invacuation”, including a visiting class of Year 7s from Aldinga Beach B-7 School, to ensure more students “didn’t join in”.

“We had a group of students who were walking around the school that were agitated and had heightened emotions,” he said.

“They were being verbally revolting to teachers. Staff were trying to get them into a place they could de-escalate and calm down, so they could get them back into the classroom.”

But Mr van Ruiten said it was difficult for staff because they are not allowed to touch students, so could not force them to follow instructions.

“The police were called because they have powers that we haven’t and they can de-escalate that sort of situation very quickly. The students view them quite differently (and) tone their behaviour down. Unfortunately kids don’t automatically have respect for teachers these days.”

Mr van Ruiten said rumours of a student wielding a knife were false. He said the injured boy had received medical treatment for minor injuries, but was unsure whether his mother had taken him to hospital.

The two boys in the fight, and the “four or five others” who caused the trouble afterwards, had been disciplined with “quite severe” penalties including suspensions and “longer term exclusions”.

Some parents complained on Facebook that they were not notified of the incidents until late in the afternoon. The school replied: “We certainly realise we need to review our communication processes and will ensure this does not happen again.”

Mr van Ruiten said the behaviour of “five kids out of a thousand” should not taint the whole school.

The Education Department said: “Any form of school violence is unacceptable and the school will work with the students involved and their families to reinforce this, in line with its behaviour management policy.”

Police have been contacted for comment. Aldinga Beach B-7 School declined to respond.

SOURCE





Rising power bills force Australian families to switch to candles, cold water: welfare expert

Power bills are such a struggle for some Queenslanders, they are using candles to light up their homes.

Queensland Council of Social Service chief executive officer Mark Henley said cost of living was one of the biggest pressures facing families.  "It is about keeping the lights on," Mr Henley said.

"Some are using candles at night to cut back on electricity costs, turning off hot water systems or turning them down because they think it will save costs - that's not the life that we want for people."

Mr Henley said 64 per cent of Australian householders were in financial stress.  "We need to make sure that we really address all of the cost-of-living pressures that are out there and see these prices being driven down but also making sure that there is a better safety net in place," he said.

QCOSS held a Cost of Living Showcase in Brisbane on Tuesday morning, with Energy Minister Mark Bailey addressing the conference.

When asked if cost of living would be the number one issue for the coming state election, Mr Bailey said it was a substantial issue in the community.

The government is increasing the electricity rebate, which is available to health care card holders, asylum seekers, pensioners, veterans and Queensland seniors card holders, from $330 to $340. [Big deal!]

Mr Henley said $330 provided an "enormous amount of relief" for people on small incomes, but he said different ways of working out concessions based on the size of a household would be more appropriate.

A program called Switched on Communities is being run with energy company AGL, QCOSS and the state government, with $500,000 from AGL going to nine community organisations to support disadvantaged people to make sure they get the best deals with retailers and access to concessions.

"We've seen, through this program, people reduce their energy consumption, some of them by over $1000, sometimes because they're actually starting in debt and reducing those figures, but some of them they're talking about saving hundreds of dollars now," Mr Henley said.

Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls said not enough was being done to reduce power prices.

"Despite all their smoke and mirrors, Queenslanders will still see power bills going up," Mr Nicholls said.

SOURCE

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



Monday, June 26, 2017






ZEG

In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is trying to figure out how the Greens will cope with the anti-terror bollards springing up in Sydney and elsewhere





Greens report Lee Rhiannon over education deal

Rhiannon is a nasty old Trot (revolutionary communist) from way back so is a cuckoo in the nest of the Greens.  What she was opposing was that school funding be "needs-based", something Leftists would normally support.  So it was just anti-government bloody-mindedness behind the opposition from the Green/Left



GREENS senator Lee Rhiannon has hit back after a letter signed by her colleagues complaining about her behaviour was made public.

All members of the Greens federal parliamentary party, including leader Richard Di Natale, have reportedly signed a formal complaint against NSW senator Lee Rhiannon.

Fairfax Media says the nine have sent the letter to the Greens national council, accusing Senator Rhiannon of attempting to derail them over the Gonski schools funding negotiations after she distributed a leaflet against the deal.

The material was dropped in letterboxes in Sydney’s inner-west this week as the Turnbull government finalised its negotiations on the overhaul of school funding.

“We were astounded that Senator Rhiannon was engaged with its production and distribution without informing (the) Party Room at a time when we were under enormous pressure from all sides as we considered our position on the (school funding) bill,” Fairfax quoted the letter as saying.

The senators said the material clearly had the potential to damage negotiations about securing “billions of dollars of additional funding for underfunded public schools”.

A spokesman for Senator Di Natale told AAP the party room would meet “shortly” to discuss the matter. “We’re extremely disappointed that the letter was made public,” he said.

The leaflet, a copy of which was posted on Twitter, urged residents to call senators and demand they “take a stand for public education”.

Senator Rhiannon hit back on Sunday, insisting at all times her actions on education have been faithful to Greens policy and process.

“My work did not impact on the Greens negotiations with the government,” she said in a statement. “It was the Turnbull government’s decision to do a deal with the crossbench senators that killed off negotiations with the Greens. I had no role in that.”

The leaflets she authorised were a “good initiative” of Greens local groups and highlighted the negative impact the Turnbull government’s plan would have on their public schools, she said.

“I was proud to stand with branches of the Australian Education Union, particularly as the Turnbull school funding plan favoured private schools.”

A spokesman for Senator Di Natale told AAP on Saturday the party was extremely disappointed that the letter was made public.

It broke down “proposed funding cuts” to local public schools and stated that the party remained committed to the full, original Gonski plan.

The government threw an extra $5 billion into the plan to win over the crossbench, taking the package to $23.5 billion over the next decade.

Labor and the Greens voted against the package, but the government secured the 10 crucial crossbench votes needed to get its funding shake-up over the line.

The Gonski 2.0 package will ensure underfunded schools reach funding targets in six years instead of 10 — an amendment Labor and the Greens supported on Thursday night.

SOURCE




School funding package passes Senate, as Coalition takes big win

He's very low-key but Turnbull does get a lot through a very difficult Senate

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said attention must now turn to improving student outcomes after his Government's landmark $23.5 billion funding package passed the Senate.

After a marathon debate extending into the early hours of this morning, the Gonski 2.0 plan passed with the support of Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party, the Nick Xenophon Team and crossbench Senators Derryn Hinch, Jacqui Lambie and Lucy Gichuhi 34 votes to 31.

While the Coalition was quietly confident it had the numbers, it had been on tenterhooks waiting for the final vote.

Mr Turnbull said this morning that the vote was "an outstanding result for Australian schools, students and parents".

Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the deal would deliver about $2,300 per student to schools in the next few years.

"That's really critical because it flows fastest into the schools who need it most, delivering fairer funding for all Australians according to the Gonski needs-based principles," he said.

Labor, the unions and the Catholic education sector spent much of yesterday trying furiously to sway Senator Lambie's vote but she made it clear to the chamber that she "strongly supported the legislation and would not be persuaded otherwise".

Lower House MPs were recalled to approve the amended bill and those on the Coalition side clapped, cheered and whistled as Cabinet Minister Christopher Pyne hailed the passage of "the most significant reform to school education in Australia's history".

How 'Gonski 2.0' will affect schools

The Government's proposed needs-based system will benefit some schools more than others.

The changes will replace the 27 separate school funding deals with different states and sectors, with a nationally consistent, needs-based funding model.

In a bid to win over the crossbench, Senator Birmingham agreed to spend an extra $5 billion, on top of the additional $18.6 already announced, rolling out the funding over six years instead of 10.

This morning, Mr Turnbull acknowledged his Government would need to find an extra $1.5 billion to pay for that concession over the forward estimates.

The Government also agreed to set up an independent body to monitor the way the money was spent.

While Labor remained firmly opposed to the plan, the Greens had been on the verge of supporting it and heavily influenced the compromises Senator Birmingham eventually made.

But once the Coalition secured the 10 crossbench votes it needed, the Greens announced they would oppose the package, citing "special" transitional arrangements put in place for Catholic schools.

With their votes no longer critical to determining the fate of the bill, intense internal pressures were instantly relieved.

The party was in fact on the verge of splitting, with the NSW Greens heaping pressure on Senator Lee Rhiannon to vote against the Bill even though the party's leader Richard Di Natale and Sarah Hanson-Young wanted to back it.

School funding wars continue

In settling on the needs-based funding model, the biggest loser was the Catholic school system, which says it will be billions of dollars worse off.

Public schools catering to special needs will also be winners in the new education deal. For Giant Steps and 26 other independent special schools like it, raw numbers tell the story.

The National Catholic Education Commission believes there has been a breach of faith by the Government because it claims it was not properly consulted about the changes.

It has vowed to campaign against the Coalition all the way to the next election and, in a foretaste of that, it launched a robo-call campaign in four marginal Liberal seats in Victoria.

But the win is important for the Coalition on a number of fronts, not least because it shows it can govern with the fractious Senate that it had a hand in delivering with the 2016 double dissolution election.

The Government will argue its education plan is both good policy and good politics; delivering funding to the schools that need it most, while helping to settle education as an issue.

Labor has promised to continue campaigning on education and will have strong allies in the Catholic Education Commission and Australian Education Union.

But the Coalition is hoping their arguments may lose some of their bite once the money begins to flow to state schools.

SOURCE





The Leftist obsession with group identity

They categorize people relentlessly and mercilesly, apparently because dealing with individuals constructively is too hard for them

Clementine Ford, a columnist at Fairfax newspapers, proudly reminded a live television audience this week that she had called News Corp columnist Miranda Devine a c.... It was a trademark shock moment from her; all heat, no light.

Her original term actually was “f..king c...” and it was just one of a string of obscenities she has hurled in public debate before being in­vited, again, to join an ABC debate. Ford has slighted Iranian-born commentator Rita Panahi with a racist barb: “No matter how hard she tries, she’ll never be a white man.” None of this seems to disqualify her as yet another spokeswoman for the left.

Our public debate is becoming increasingly coarsened and superficial and, as I argued last week, this is partly because digital splintering of media is shrinking the shared public square. What few are prepared to point out, perhaps for fear of sounding plaintive, is that the poor standards and green-left jaundice of the media/political class are also largely to blame.

Abuse, vulgarity and ad hominem attacks have become standard weapons of the so-called progressives. Such transgressions are not unheard of from the right, of course, especially the hard right, but in mainstream political debate, the aggression comes primarily from the left.

This tendency also leaves many on the left with a blind spot for transgressions against conservatives. ABC radio host Jonathan Green tweeted this week that “there may well be a moment (soon?) when the hate and anger licensed by social media and fanned by politics will play out in physical reality”. Staggeringly, he shared this thought days after conservative commentator Andrew Bolt was attacked by leftist activists on a city footpath. Just a week earlier, near Washington, DC, a gunman who hated Donald Trump asked whether the politicians he was watching train for a charity baseball match were Republicans before he opened fire on them. We can only presume these examples of “hate and anger” that did “play out in a physical reality” escaped Green’s attention because they didn’t fit the narrative he had in mind.

Since Trump’s victory sent the left into a funk we have seen pop star Madonna cheered for proclaiming she thought about blowing up the White House, comedian Kathy Griffin pose Khaled Sharrouf-like with Trump’s decapitated head, theatre­goers in New York treated to Trump being stabbed to death in lieu of Julius Caesar and actor Johnny Depp applauded for joking about assassinating the President. We can only imagine the reaction of the media/political class if such monstrous contributions to public debate had targeted Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.

Back on our shores, CFMEU Victoria boss John Setka, told a rally his union would track down government officials charged with enforcing workplace laws and harass them so that they “will not be able to show their faces anywhere” and “their kids will be ashamed” of them. He has attracted less condemnation from the commentariat than Tony Abbott did for not noticing some cranky pensioners with a “ditch the witch” placard a few years ago.

And they wonder about the “shy Tory” factor. This is the tendency of conservative voters not to declare their allegiance or inclination in surveys or public forums, thereby leaving pollsters and pundits exposed when elections show higher than expected conservative votes. We saw the latest example just this week when, in a by-election seen as a referendum on Trump’s presidency, Republican candidate Karen Handel delivered a victory that disrupted the accepted media narrative of Trump’s premature demise.

Anybody who tries to argue publicly for, say, tough border protection or cuts in government spending knows these are not easy rows to hoe, no matter their merits or broad support.

People arguing so-called progressive cases tend to be aggressive and personal. To disagree with them, apparently, is to cede moral authority. Why risk abuse for defending the integrity of our immigration system when you can just nod your head and deal with it in the privacy of the polling booth?

Most people tend to go with the flow, accept the generally left media narrative and take the path of least resistance, at least publicly. Pointing out the futile self-harm of our emissions reduction targets or saying Clinton was the appalling candidate that gave Trump his chance will ruin the dinner party consensus and have people switching to less divisive topics such as State of Origin deciders.

The flip side of this socialised conservative timidity is that it shelters the left from robust debate. Whether they are at a barbecue or on ABC’s Q&A, they are surrounded by affirmation.

Unpractised as they are in civil debate and basking as they do in their moral superiority, they seem to feel entitled to attack the character of anyone who disagrees with them. And surrounded by agreeable peers, they are seldom pulled up for their ad hominem indulgences. Imagine, for instance, if Bolt or Sky News’s Paul Murray denounced a feminist commentator as a c... — they certainly wouldn’t be inundated with requests to appear on the ABC.

It is this double standard, this sheltering from personal responsibility and public accountability that helps to cheapen and degrade public debate. There should not be different rules depending on what side you are on.

When activist Yassmin Abdel-Magied spoke at the Australian National Univer­sity this week, rather than engage in debate about her political posturing over Anzac Day she assumed victim status and blamed media and political organisations. “Those sorts of power, those institutions of power are geared against people like me,” she said, “because they see votes in it and because fear is so much easier to sell.”

It was a lazy effort, as it was when she suggested our parliamentary democracy “doesn’t represent anyone” yet rejected the idea she should give it a go. “You know how to get to office,” Abdel-Magied said. “I have to go to preselection, which works really well, and I have to go through all these other systems which for women and for people of colour are actually biased.” What a cop-out.

Also this week, Australian Press Council chairman David Weisbrot resigned because he couldn’t stomach the controversy over appointing a GetUp! campaigner as a member. Rather than fix the mistake (GetUp! is an activist group that is the antithesis of what journalism aspires to be) Weisbrot exited the stage. Is it real­ly that hard to stand up to self-serving arguments from the left?

Ford’s crassness, Abdel-Magied’s laziness, Green’s myopia and Weisbrot’s cowardice should not cut it in public debate. But when are they corrected or contested except in a column such as this, pricking their bubble from another universe? Too much of the debate is caught up in identity. Ford and Abdel-Magied promote themselves almost entirely on who or what they are rather than on the power of any ideas or arguments they may proffer. Green is one of a breed of middle-aged white men who win plaudits from the green left for their sense of shame or self-loathing. “Our political leaders must surely have some sense of this country’s deep, and growing, incapacity to service its sense of self,” writes Green. We don’t know exactly what he means but we know it is supposed to be bad.

So debate is characterised by echo chambers on the left and right, diminishing quality of conversation in the mainstream clearance houses, moral superiority feeding personal aggression from the left and a resort to profanity over plain speaking. We are in an age where people are retreating from those things that connect us and create a sense of community; fewer join churches or other community groups, increasingly we shun mainstream media, and the memberships of major political parties are in decline.

The growing tendency is to target a foe by virtue of their presumed identity — male or female, gay or straight, black or while, Muslim or Christian, left or right — and give them both barrels. We need to do better.

SOURCE






Nice work for a Greenie

QUESTION: Where can you get a job where you only have to turn up to the office one day a week and don’t have to produce any tangible work?

Answer: The Greens.

That is the extraordinary claim at the heart of a court case where a top former Greens officer is suing the progressive pro-worker party for sacking her and withholding her entitlements after she raised concerns about another senior official who didn’t appear to do anything.

Apparently, according to a sensational legal claim obtained by news.com.au, not doing anything in the Greens can get you a promotion and a shot at parliament.

In a statement of claim filed in the NSW Supreme Court, former NSW Greens executive officer Carole Medcalf says she was hired in 2014 to “professionalise” the party’s management and “introduce policies of corporate governance”.

However she says her position became untenable after she raised concerns about Planning and Environmental Law Officer James Ryan, who was later promoted to campaign coordinator.

Ms Medcalf claims she was terminated so that Mr Ryan and NSW Greens co-convenor Hall Greenland could spend the party’s taxpayer-funded election monies without proper scrutiny – something the party denies.

She said both her and the Greens agreed that she would leave with a termination payment of over $90,000 only to have the party later accuse her of “serious misconduct” and withhold the payment. She is now suing the party for wrongful dismissal as well as aggravated damages to express the court’s “disgust”.
Former Greens executive officer Carole Medcalf is suing the party for wrongful dismissal.

Former Greens executive officer Carole Medcalf is suing the party for wrongful dismissal.Source:News Limited

In a statement of claim tendered to the NSW Supreme Court — largely disputed by the Greens — Ms Medcalf said Mr Ryan worked only three days a week, including two days from home.

He was supposed to produce monthly performance reports on what he actually did, but did not produce any, the claim alleges. Nor did he produce any “reports, memoranda, notes or other documents” to demonstrate any of his work.

However the Greens deny that Mr Ryan’s work was inadequate or that he failed to properly report to Ms Medcalf.

Comment has been sought from Mr Ryan.

In late 2015 Mr Ryan was promoted to “Campaign Coordinator” for NSW ahead of the 2016 federal election, at which the Greens Senate vote in NSW went slightly backwards and where they failed to win any lower house seats.

In her statement of claim, Ms Medcalf says Mr Ryan “failed to properly manage his role and the activities of those beneath him … adequately, or at all” and would tell staff he had delegated other tasks and functions “when he had not done so”.

And when he was made campaign coordinator, Ms Medcalf had deemed it unnecessary to fill his previous position because Mr Ryan had not actually done anything in it.

SOURCE

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




Sunday, June 25, 2017



ZEG

In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is horrified at Canada's now speech crime laws





Bar gets raised for terror sentencing
   
The Victorian judiciary condemned as "contempt of court" criticism by politicians of their light sentencing for Jihadis. From the report below it looks like they now have contempt for their own past sentencing practices! One for the politicians, I think


The sentencing landscape for terrorism offences across the country has been transformed after Victoria’s top judges yesterday signalled a tough new direction more in line with NSW by ­imposing longer sentences on two would-be jihadis.

The significant shift was heralded in two Court of Appeal judgments delivered yesterday that overturned and condemned initial prison terms given to the two men last year as being out of step with community expectations.

Eminent legal figures said the judgments showed a clear shift in emphasis towards protecting the community through tougher sentencing ahead of considering ­offenders’ personal circumstances, including rehabilitation prospects.

Chief Justice Marilyn Warren, with judges Mark Weinberg and Stephen Kaye, found the original sentences for Sevdet Besim and a teenager known as MHK were manifestly inadequate and increased them both by four years.

In separate terror plots, Besim had planned to publicly behead a police officer on Anzac Day while MHK was building a pressure-cooker bomb in his bedroom with plans to explode it at a Mother’s Day event.

The decisions will significantly realign the sentencing guidelines for terror sentences in Vic­toria, which are closely examined by judges in other states, and comes amid plans for a review of the country’s counter-terrorism laws in the wake of the Brighton attack this month.

Highlighting the shift, the judges yesterday noted the revised sentences for Besim and MHK were harsher than those imposed on Abdul Nacer Benbrika’s conspirators in 2009 for plotting terrorist attacks with mass casualties including at the MCG and Melbourne’s Crown cas­ino. “Those sentences may have been regarded as within range at that time,” the judges said. “However, having regard to the scourge of modern terrorism, and the development of more ­recent sentencing principles in this area, they seem to us to have been unduly lenient. No such sentences would have been imposed today.”

Victorian Attorney-General Martin Pakula welcomed the judgments, declaring a tougher regime appeared to be in place.

Former NSW prosecutor John Anderson, now an associate professor at the University of Newcastle law school, said the Victorian judgments showed a change in direction in favour of community protection. “We are moving towards probably a much tougher approach to terrorism sentencing,” he said. “It looks to me like from these judgments there has been a shift maybe that’s been influenced by what’s going on more broadly in the world.”

Former NSW Supreme Court judge Anthony Whealy QC said community protection had not been overlooked in Victoria but rather “not sufficiently emphasised” compared with NSW. “I think in the past Victorian sentences have tended to emphasise the hope of rehabilitation for people involved in terrorism ­offences,” Mr Whealy said.

MHK was initially sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment with a five-year non-parole period after he began building the pressure-cooker bomb in his bedroom with instructions from an al-Qa’ida propaganda magazine. The 19-year-old has been resentenced to serve 11 years, with an eight-year, three-month non-parole period. Besim, 20, had received a 10-year sentence, with a 7½-year non-parole period for the Anzac Day plot. He has been resentenced to 14 years in prison, with a non-parole period of 10½ years.

“The sentence did not accord with community expectations, and did not meet the requirements set out by various intermediate ­appellate courts throughout this country as to the principles that govern sentencing for terrorism offences,” the judges said in Besim’s case. “The aggravating factors present in this case, including the fact that a police officer was targeted for beheading, that the killing was to take place publicly, and on Anzac Day, and the respondent’s willingness to kill other innocent civilians if at all possible, made this an extremely serious ­example of a terrorist offence. The principles of general deterrence and protection of the community must be given substantial, if not primary, weight.”

The court’s decisions came after hearings this month in which Chief Justice Warren and her ­colleagues noted a sentencing ­disparity between NSW and Victoria on terrorism offences, describing it as a problem that needed to be resolved. An ABC report of the hearings contained comments by the judges that prompted federal ministers Greg Hunt, Michael Sukkar and Alan Tudge to accuse the bench of ­“endorsing and embracing” shorter sentences for terror offences as part of “ideological experiments’’.

Those comments and others attacking the judges as “hard-left activists’’ who were “divorced from reality’’, reported in The Australian, have since been withdrawn by the ministers, who yesterday sent an unreserved apology to the court. Lawyers acting on behalf of The Australian have also apologised for publication of the article.

A full transcript of the appeal hearings, released this week, shows the judges were acutely aware of the sentencing disparity and concerned by it.

“We’re dealing here with commonwealth legislation, commonwealth ­offending, and we are dealing with behaviour in which there is a national interest,” Chief Justice Warren said at the time, highlighting the need for consistency between states.

Justice Weinberg said a terrorist act in NSW could attract a sentence of 20 to 25 years but under 10 years in Victoria. “We have an ­apparent and obvious disparity, it seems to me, in the way that we’ve approached these cases,” he said. “There is a problem.”

SOURCE






Great white shark debate: Lifting protection hinges on scientific population finding

The Liberal Party federal council has unanimously moved to lift protection of great white sharks if the CSIRO’s forthcoming population study finds the species is no longer endangered.

The council is the party’s highest forum for debating policy. More than 100 delegates, including MPs, voted for the motion, proposed by Anthony Spagnolo, WA Liberal Party vice-president.

The motion said the “federal government should remove the white shark as a vulnerable and threatened species from the EPBC Act should the finding of the CSIRO study prove that the species is no longer endangered.”

Speaking from the council meeting in Sydney, WA senator Linda Reynolds told The Australian the vote “reinforces that there are other opinions than those held by environmentalists”.

“It starkly illustrates the divide between the far left and mainstream Australia, who think human life always comes first,” Senator Reynolds said.

She said that relying on the CSIRO was “unequivocally the right course of action”.

“We want to base any future measures on scientific evidence, not emotional rhetoric.”

Last week, former Liberal prime minister Tony Abbott told The Australian that lifting protection and restarting commercial shark fishing would “ensure that we have a stronger economy and a safer society”.

“They’ve been protected now for 20 odd years. Every fisherman knows the numbers are exploding. They are not an endangered species.”

Federal Environment minister Josh Frydenberg this month said he expected the CSIRO population study to be delivered this year.

South Australian Liberal MP Nicolle Flint said it was time to start protecting Australians.

“We must protect our swimmers and surfers and hard-working Australians like abalone divers from being attacked or killed by sharks,” she said.

“In an era when rates of obesity and Type 2 Diabetes are at an all-time high, we should be encouraging more, not less, people to be active. This means keeping them safe from shark attacks along our coastline.

“I strongly support the Liberal Party’s Federal Council Motion today moved by the WA Division. We need evidence-based decision making and management of great white shark populations.”

SOURCE





'Teachers are emailing us saying Pauline Hanson is RIGHT'

Sunrise host David Koch has questioned the education minister about how children with disabilities will receive the attention needed in mainstream schools following Pauline Hanson's controversial comments.

Pauline Hanson refused to back down on Thursday following her comments in parliament that children with autism are putting a strain on classrooms in schools and Koch put the dividing question to Education Minister Simon Birmingham.

The host claimed even though Pauline Hanson's comments seemed confronting, teachers have emailed the network claiming they do struggle to seamlessly include children with disabilities into the classrooms due to a lack of funding.

'Whenever Pauline says anything it's like using a sledgehammer and we all react against her because we all want inclusion in our schools,' Sunrise host Koch said on Friday morning.

'But a lot of teachers emailed us and said Pauline is right, because we don't have the funding and we don't have the teachers aids to be able to integrate kids with disabilities into the classroom. We want more funding.'

While disagreeing with the way the One Nation leader expressed her opinion, Mr Birmingham does accept there needs to be more support in mainstream classrooms.

'Well I don't agree with the way Pauline put her comments at all, but I do accept there is a need for additional support for schools, teachers and classrooms to be able to support all students with disabilities, including the number of students with autism,' the education minister said.

'What Pauline did last night to her credit and a number of minor parties, with the Turnbull Government's leadership, was back fairer funding arrangements for students with disability.'

The education minister said thanks to One Nation and other parties backing Gonski 2.0, it will provide funding to schools to help students with disabilities - especially children with higher needs - while still remaining in the school environment.

Walled Aly, The Project Host on channel 10, said the One Nation leader missed the mark and that funding for teacher's aids would go a long way to helping autistic children thrive in the classroom.

On Thursday, Federal Labor MP and proud mother Emma Husar fervently demanded One Nation leader Pauline Hanson apologise to children with autism.

The mother-of-three, with a son with autism, claimed Hanson's comments were 'ill-informed' and she owed parents of Australia an apology.

SOURCE






'Move to an Arab dictatorship': Angry immigrant senator calls for Muslim activist Yassmin Abdel-Magied to LEAVE Australia

A Liberal senator is so incensed with  controversial Muslim youth activist Yassmin Abdel-Magied that he wants her to move to an Arab dictatorship where child brides and female genital mutilation are common.

The 26-year-old Sudanese-born former ABC presenter has this week declared that Australia's system of parliamentary democracy 'does not represent anyone' because it's biased against women and racial minorities.

Tasmanian Liberal Senator Eric Abetz, who is also a migrant, is so outraged by her remarks he had suggested she move to an Arab dictatorship.

'Yassmin Abdel-Magied’s attacks on our democracy, calling it a 'neo-liberalist capitalist project' and effectively backing Arab dictatorships where forced marriages, female genital mutilation and sexuality-based executions are legal are reprehensible,' the former Abbott government minister told his Facebook followers.

'If Ms Abdel-Magied thinks our system of government is so bad perhaps she should stop being a drain on the taxpayer and move to one of these Arab dictatorships that are so welcoming of women.'

Egypt and Yemen are the only Arab nations on the World Health Organisation list of 30 mainly Muslim nations where female genital mutilation is practised.

Ms Abdel-Magied, who is on the taxpayer-funded Council for Australian Arab Relations, has the backing of Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, putting her at odds with her Liberal colleague Senator Abetz, who was born in Germany.

The founder of Youth Without Borders also went on a 11-day tour of the Middle East to promote her book last year, costing taxpayers $11,000, but she failed to raised the issue of female genital mutilation in her native Sudan.

But despite receiving many platforms to air her views, she rubbished a suggestion from former Labor foreign minister Gareth Evans that she could run for parliament if she wanted to change things.

'Look at the photo of the House of Representatives. It does not represent anyone,' she told the Future Shapers conference at Canberra's Australian National University on Wednesday night.

'It doesn't represent me and it doesn't represent the people that I know.'

She added that Australia's political parties were biased against women and racial minorities.

This is despite the fact federal parliament has a black, Kenyan-born senator, a Muslim woman, a Muslim man, three indigenous women, two Aboriginal men, a senator who fled Iran as a boy and a prominent Malaysian-born lesbian.

Her remarks were also made on the same night that South Australian independent senator Lucy Gichuhi delivered her maiden speech to parliament as the nation's first black African federal member.

'Do you know how to get to office? I have to go to preselection, which works really well, and I have to go through these other systems which for women and people of colour are actually biased,' Ms Abdel-Magied said.

Mr Evans, who was a Hawke government cabinet minister in 1991 when Ms Abdel-Magied was born, said people like her needed to be involved in parliamentary politics to effect change.

'Yassmin, I am making an unequivocal plea for engagement in traditional politics, parliamentary politics as well as all the other social dimension politics you're talking about,' he said.

'Because unless you do, you abdicate the field to the Brexiteers.

'You opt out and you just play the GetUp! game or the social media game and don't do the serious parliamentary game as well, you're missing a very important vehicle for actually getting decent policy.'

Ms Abdel-Magied's Australia Wide program on ABC News 24 was axed in May.

The decision came after the national broadcaster had rejected calls for her to be sacked for a controversial Anzac Day tweet which said: 'Lest. We. Forget. (Manus, Naura, Syria, Palestine)'.

In February, she sparked outrage as a guest on the ABC's Q&A program for suggesting Islam is the 'most feminist' religion.

She also clashed with independent senator Jacqui Lambie by suggesting Sharia law to her was praying five times a day as a Muslim.

SOURCE




Citizen test overreaction

Any sovereign state can decide who it will admit as citizens. The Turnbull government now wants to beef up the test permanent residents must take if they want to become Australian citizens.

The proposed test for which permanent residents will need to take time to prepare is set to include questions about Aussie values as well as English skills.

Some say this will make it harder for some people to become citizens, and that by ‘excluding’ them the Australian government is guilty of xenophobia. But that is an overreaction.

In our discussion on Monday night’s Q&A, panellists took different views about the importance of English proficiency with some emphasising the importance of English for integration.

Our open, multicultural society is proof of Australia’s success in integrating people from many cultural and ethnic backgrounds over a long period of time.

We enjoy great cultural diversity in our country and have always resisted any attempt to enforce cultural integration requiring people to forego their heritage.

But social integration is something quite different. Common mores and principles, such as a commitment to the rule of law and the liberty of the individual, underpin our society.

We are also bound together by a common language which enables people from very different cultural and ethnic backgrounds to communicate with one another.

You don’t need to have the linguistic proficiency in English of a Les Murray or a Clive James to be able to take part in Australian society, but you do need some degree of proficiency.

A common language allows for integration in a common society, and helps to overcome the danger of social isolation that can result from not being able to communicate with other Australians.

Social stability depends on us having a sense that we belong together. English is part of the common bond that unites Australians from all walks of life into a country of which we can be proud.

SOURCE

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



Friday, June 23, 2017







Labor MP claims it's UNFAIR for new immigrants to have to learn English as opposition looks set to reject stringent language test plan

I am inclined to agree. Learning a new language to native standard in adulthood is impossible for most people

A senior Labor politician has slammed federal government plans to make migrants sit a more stringent English language test if they want to become Australian citizens.

Linda Burney, a senior Opposition frontbencher from the Left faction, suggested stricter exams would be unfair on refugees or people fleeing persecution.

Her invention on the ABC's Q&A program came ahead of a Labor caucus meeting on Tuesday morning, which looks set to reject Immigration Minister Peter Dutton's proposal.

The MP from Sydney said it was unfair to require prospective citizens to pass university-level English when vocation training group Australia Education, Training and Employment Services only taught English to high school level.

'This test, we believe, is requiring people to have level six or university English,' Ms Burney said on Monday night.

'Now, is that really fair for people who are escaping terrible situations to be able to only get citizenship if they have level six when AMES only teaches to level four?’

U.K.-born author and academic Rachel Botsman slammed the idea of testing potential citizens on Depression-era cricketing legend Donald Bradman. 'Knowing Donald Bradman's batting average is not actually a useful thing,' she told the panel.

Ms  Botsman also revealed she was studying in preparation to sit the test this week and was shocked by some of the questions.

Ms Botsman said she was surprised to discover questions about cricketers and even Australian cakes in the practice test.  'Knowing what an esky or lamington or who Donald Bradman is, I don't think they should be in the booklet. 'I do think certain things need to be changed.'

Ms Botsman also voiced concern about the English proficiency test. 'What it is saying is that you have to speak English to respect society and live in Australia,' she said.

'I came from a family of immigrants and I don't think they could speak the language when they fled, and they still made a positive contribution to society.'

Victorian Liberal Senator James Paterson, who also appeared on the show, defended 'a tough English language requirement'. 'If you are seeking to become a citizen, which will be after at least four years as a permanent resident, you should be able to speak English,' he said.

'And it's important to be able to communicate with your neighbours and colleagues and co-workers and friends in order to integrate successfully in society.

'It's not just good for the society but it's good for you as an individual as well.

Senator Paterson also argued the test should screen for values.  'Always as a country we've screened migrants for their skills and other things but one thing we haven't screened is values and I think that is an important part of coming here and wanting to be a citizen,' he said.

He said a values test would focus on issues like domestic violence. The Victorian senator said domestic violence was 'completely unacceptable' and it was non-negotiable that Australian citizens understood that.

'I don't think it's xenophobic to expect and require new migrants to abide by that,' he said.

'Respect freedom of speech or freedom of religion or equality before the law.

'These are principles we week to uphold and maintain in Australia and we'll find that much more easy to do if all the new migrants seeking to become citizens share those values.'

Peter Kurti, a research fellow from the conservative Centre for Independent Studies think tank asked: 'Who determines what the values are?'

'I have no idea who has decided what the values are for us as Australians, but that would be an interesting question to ask,' he said.

'Is it up to the First Peoples?'

Ms Burney, the first indigenous woman to elected to the House of Representatives, said: 'I don't know if any Aboriginal people, First People, have been consulted in terms of what those values are'.

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The REAL cost of dole bludgers: How the long-term unemployed are costing taxpayers a staggering $222,000 EACH

The average taxpayer would need to work for 14 years to pay the $220,00 welfare bill racked up by a single long-term dole bludger.

Over 100,000 welfare recipients are taking hardworking Australians for a ride, failing to turn up to job interviews and reaping the benefits of generous dole schemes.

The latest figures were released by Social Services Minister Christian Porter ahead of introducing a suite of changes to the welfare system to parliament on Thursday.

The widespread changes to the welfare system will include a two-year program to drug test 5000 new recipients of Newstart or Youth allowances in three locations.

'If you are part of that group of 100,00 people who persistently don't turn up to job interviews, you stay on welfare for much longer,' Mr Porter told The Daily Telegraph.

'An average person on an average wage is going to work for a great number of years to support someone in the welfare system who isn't doing the right thing.'

The new legislation will target 'non-compliant' welfare recipients - people who consistently fail to show up for job interviews or welfare appointments.

'Too many people are not meeting the requirements attached to their welfare, such as attending appointments, and most suffer no penalty,' Mr Porter said.

'This not only puts a burden on taxpayers who face a higher long-term cost to meet these people's welfare bill, but does nothing to help them achieve self-reliance by securing work.' 

The Turnbull government insists its proposed trial to drug test people on welfare is not about stripping payments off vulnerable Australians.

'This trial is not about penalising job seekers with drug abuse issues, it is about finding new and better ways of identifying these job seekers and ensuring they are referred to the support and treatment they need,' Mr Porter told parliament on Thursday.

It was part of a range of measures announced in the May budget.

The reforms would make the system simpler, more sustainable and focused on supporting people to move from welfare into work, Mr Porter said.

Central to that is a new single JobSeeker payment, to be introduced in 2020, replacing or consolidating seven different payments.

'The bill demonstrates that the government is completely committed to improving the integrity of the welfare system and ensuring that recipients receive the necessary support incentives to address barriers to employment, to look for work and take a suitable job when it's available,' he sai

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Bill Shorten must show the sort of leadership Bob Hawke did

Bill Shorten must show leadership on the CFMEU or else thuggery will become an acceptable part of Australian politics.

The latest demonstration of intimidation by the union — via its Victorian boss John Setka — is the final straw for a union which appears to act as a law unto itself.

Mr Shorten’s response to Setka’s threats was appallingly weak — “that’s not the way to advance your cause.”

Why doesn’t Mr Shorten refuse to take the union’s money? Surely that would show strength of character and leadership.

After all, Labor’s greatest living former Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, showed such leadership in the 1980s when he deregistered the Builders’ Labourers Federation.

The BLF had been acting and speaking exactly the same way that the CFMEU are now.

It’s one thing for Mr Shorten to condemn the latest outburst — sort of — but surely the real test of what you think of someone is whether you are prepared to take their money.

Such a bold move by Mr Shorten would win him enormous goodwill among the Australian public.

John Setka has clearly crossed the line of acceptable political discourse when he threatened to reveal the home addresses of inspectors from the Australian Building and Construction Commission.

The “we know where you live” threat is one normally used by organised criminals and outlaw motorcycle gangs.

Let’s understand exactly what he was saying — he is making clear that the inspectors from a government body established by the national Parliament should not feel safe in their own homes.

“Let me give a dire warning to the ABCC inspectors: be careful what you do,” he told a rally in Melbourne. “They have got to lead these secret little lives because they are ashamed of what they do. You know what we’re going to do? We’re going to expose them all.

“We will lobby their neighbourhoods. We will tell them who lives in that house. What he does for a living, or she. “We will go to their local football club. We will go to the local shopping centre.”

Setka then crossed a second line — by bring children into the debate. There’s generally a consensus in Australian political discourse — usually observed also by the media — that children are off limits when it comes to what their parents do. But not for John Setka.

“They will not be able to show their faces anywhere. Their kids will be ashamed of who their parents re when we expose all these ABCC inspectors.”

Setka confirmed yet again the intimidation mentality of the CFMEU.

Labor giants such as Bob Hawke — himself, like Shorten, a creature of the union movement — can see the cancer that is the CFMEU.

As Mr Hawke told this paper last year, in reference to the CFMEU: “The unions need to clean up their act and get their house in order. “It is just appalling. I mean, I wouldn’t tolerate it. You know what I did with the Builders’ Labourers Federation — I would throw them out.”

By “throwing them out”, Hawke had the effect of ensuring that unions which took BLF members had to adhere to a higher standard of governance.

It had a positive impact as unions realised that Hawke — a former chief of the ACTU — was no pushover.

My sense is that unions at the moment regard Shorten as a pushover.

Hawke took action against one of his own constituency because the BLF were acting and speaking like thugs. The CFMEU are the “new BLF.”

The bottom line of all this is quite simple: unless Shorten acts, the expected victory by Labor at the next election will be underwritten in part by the CFMEU.

Which poses the question: should there be a Shorten government, exactly what will the CFMEU want in return for their money?

There should be no doubt: under a Shorten Government John Setka would be a man of even greater power than he is now. Is that what this country wants?

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The growth of bullshit jobs

The resources boom may have petered out but Australia is still riding another — the decades-long expansion of well-paid jobs whose value is hard to pin down.

London School of Economics anthropologist David Graeber shot to fame in 2013 by drawing ­attention to what he called this "bullshit jobs" phenomenon in rich countries. "Huge swathes of people in Europe and North America spend their entire working lives performing tasks they ­secretly believe do not really need to be performed. The moral and spiritual damage that comes from this situation is profound," Graeber wrote.

The growth is equally acute in Australia, as a recent deep dive into the Australian Bureau of ­Statistics’ quarterly employment data reveals.

The collapse of repetitive manufacturing jobs has paved the way for service jobs that ­improve our quality of life. Massage and beauty therapists, aged and disabled carers, fitness ­instructors and "personal care consultants" are among the 19 fastest growing jobs in Australia since 1987 — those whose share of the Australian workforce has more than ­tripled.

But Graeber’s "bullshit" jobs figure prominently, too, underpinning much of the celebrated growth of "professional services and management". Take the 23,000-strong army of "policy ­analysts", for ­instance; their share has almost quintupled since 1987 despite ­debatable progress on ­actual policy. "Nurse managers" and "nurse educators" have grown about four times as fast as the number of nurses in that period. "Advertising and marketing professionals", whose output Nobel laureate Simon Kuznets in the 1930s quaintly thought should be ­excluded from gross domestic product, have grown 252 per cent.

Like obscenity, these jobs are hard to define but you know them when you see them. The spending of other people’s money is a necessary, but not a sufficient, condition. For a start, they often pay extraordinarily well. Human rights commissioners and National Australia Bank’s head of "thought leadership and insights (corporate and institutional banking)" are archetypical examples.

More general clues include: would anyone realise or care if the occupation went on strike? Practitioners in these jobs can never take industrial action. Imagine the consequences if the nation’s 49,000 "human resource managers" (their share of the workforce has jumped 260 per cent since 1987) declared a wildcat strike. Or if the other 64,000 "human ­resource professionals" (up 191 per cent) decided to work to rule.

"Say what you like about nurses, garbage collectors or mechanics, it’s obvious that were they to vanish in a puff of smoke, the ­results would be immediate and catastrophic," Graeber wrote.

Are the words strategy, innovation, engagement, development in the job title? Is the occupation called a "role" or a job? How many meetings are required? More ­abstractly, these dodgy jobs tend to thrive where the people ultimately paying for them are least able to influence the people doing the spending, which tends to be in large organisations such as governments, their agencies and in large oligopolistic public companies.

In government, think the federal departments of innovation, environment, health and education. In the private sector, think financial services, where compulsory superannuation and a raft of direct and indirect subsidies have induced a level of bloat unthinkable even a generation ago.

In fact, last week’s national ­accounts showed the financial ­services sector crept up to 9 per cent of GDP in March, the highest share ever (double its share in the 1970s), and by far the largest of the 19 sectors the Australian Bureau of Statistics tracks (more than retail and wholesale trade combined). Given almost $1 in every $10 spent now goes to banking, it’s no surprise that ­financial brokers, dealers and ­investment managers are among the fastest growing occupations since the 80s, more than tripling their shares of the workforce. In an earlier, more discriminating era, it might have been thought odd, even problematic, that the part of the economy meant to be an intermediary had grown so huge.

Poor old "arts and recreation", one of the sectors that might ­actually provide some satisfaction, has managed to increase its share by only 0.1 percentage points of GDP since the 70s ­increasing to 0.8.

"We have seen the ballooning not even so much of the ‘service’ sector as of the administrative sector, up to and including the creation of whole new industries like financial services or telemarketing, or the unprecedented expansion of sectors like corporate law, academic and health administration, human resources, and public relations," Graeber wrote.

Indeed, despite remarkable ­advances in technology that should curtail administrative costs, health information managers’ and records managers’ shares of the workforce have surged 350 per cent since 1987. The ­nation’s management consultants, now almost 60,000 strong, have seen their share almost triple while musicians’, florists’ and journalists’ have dwindled. Real estate agents, solicitors and economists have roughly doubled their shares as high school teachers’ have fallen about 30 per cent.

"I’m not sure I’ve ever met a corporate lawyer who didn’t think their job was bullshit," Graeber said.

Perhaps we should be grateful for such jobs. With them, the unemployment rate is about 6 per cent. Imagine if government and big business were run efficiently, in the interests of shareholders and taxpayers rather than managers and politicians.

But the phenomenon can be insidious too, making a mockery of the idea of work, and eroding confidence in the link between pay and people’s perceived economic contribution. People without these flimsy jobs are still the ­majority, and they vote.

Princeton philosopher Harry Frankfurt called bullshit the ­sali­ent characteristic of our age in his 2005 critique. "Everyone knows this … (but) we have no clear understanding of what bullshit is, why there is so much of it, or what functions it serves," he ­bemoaned. Journalists, for one, are swimming against an increasingly powerful tide: the ratio of public relations and corporate affairs professionals to journalists has soared to about 12, by my calculations.

Whatever its value, the bullshit boom hasn’t yet peaked. The share of the economy subsidised and regulated looks set to expand, which only will weaken further the competitive forces that once would have eroded such economic flab.

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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