Friday, September 21, 2018

What your suburb says about you - and your children's chance of having a successful future: Maps show the divide between Australia's rich and poor

This is as it must be.  There are of course exceptions but most people will choose to live in as good a suburb as they can afford. So suburbs will be reasonably homogeneous in the incomes of their inhabitants -- with the poorest living in the least attractive suburbs.  And economically unsuccessful parents will tend to have economically unsuccessful children. It's not the suburb that makes your poor.  Its the poor who have to choose less attractive suburbs

Australia ranks at number 12 of the most expensive countries to live – but new data has revealed the shocking divide between the country's rich and poor suburbs.

Experts have released a report examining the most advantaged and disadvantaged areas across the nation - and how the suburb where you grow up can significantly impact on your success in later life.

The Children's Geographies report by Senior Research Fellow at the UNSW Jennifer Skattebol and Flinders Associate Professor Gerry Redmond has found that poverty across generations is a major issue in Australia, according to

'A significant number of young Australians who grow up in poverty find it difficult to engage with formal education; they leave school early or cannot navigate from education to the world of work,' the report states. Because the poor tend to have lower IQs

The authors said their research found that children from poorer suburbs have less access to recreational, sporting, and academic facilities, and experience social exclusion across neighbourhood facilities and social networks.

They claim that youths from affluent suburbs are less likely to participate in activities they perceive would be attended by disadvantaged children and, conversely, disadvantaged youths avoided using facilities in affluent suburbs, concerned they would be worse-off if a conflict arose.

A research program titled Dropping Off the Edge identifies advantaged and disadvantaged areas across the country.

In New South Wales, the areas in the north and west of the state were generally more disadvantaged, while regions along the coast and near the southern border fared much better.

Disadvantaged areas included Inverell in the north, and Bourke, Wilcannia, and Broken Hill in the far west.  The more affluent areas were around Sydney, Canberra, and Albury.

In Sydney itself, the north shore and eastern suburbs fared well, but suburbs in western Sydney including Blacktown, Cabramatta and Liverpool are considered disadvantaged.

In Victoria, around Melbourne and parts of the northeast and southwest of the state fared well, but Lakes Entrance in the east, and Red Cliffs in the far north were identified as disadvantaged.

In Melbourne city, areas around Hurstbridge in the north and Flinders in the south were considered affluent

In Melbourne, areas around Hurstbridge in the north and Flinders in the south were considered affluent, while areas around Yarra Junction, Cranbourne, and Sunshine were considered poorer.

In southeast Queensland, areas around Noosa, Moreton Bay, Brisbane, and the Gold Coast were the most advantaged.

Areas to the west such as Beaudesert, Ipswich, and Esk were classified as disadvantaged. The Sunshine Coast fared well, with Maroochydore one of the most advantaged areas.


Catholic and Independent schools get $4.6 billion extra funding as Federal election looms

This is something that Turnbull should have done.  Getting the Catholic church offside was a major blunder.  The extensive non-government education sector depends heavily on Federal funds

The Morrison government has removed one of the "barnacles" holding the coalition back, by injecting $4.57 billion of new money into the Catholic and Independent schools sector - ridding itself of an angry voter backlash. But already public school-teacher unions are threatening to retaliate.

The Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Education Minister Dan Tehan outlined a package of three funding measures to be rolled out between now and 2029.

The biggest of these is $3.2 billion over 10 years to be spent on Catholic and independent schools that are identified as needing the most help.

The money will be spent using a formula based on personal income tax records, so that schools with the lowest income families will get the most help. This replaces a system which relied on census data and which parents said was unrepresentative.

A further $1.2 billion will be put into a new Choice and Affordability Fund to provide extra support for non-government schools in drought-affected areas and schools that need help to improve performance and to deliver choice in some communities. Of this about $718 million will go to Catholic schools.

And $170.8 million will be spent in 2019 to top up school budgets until the new arrangements can be put into place by 2020 at the latest.

Catholic Schools in Victoria threatened to use parents' votes against the government at the next election unless they got extra money.

Catholic, independent schools approve

The National Catholic Education Commission said it fully supports Thursday's announcement.

"Hundreds of primary schools would have been forced to double or triple their fees because of the previous model's very narrow interpretation of 'need'," said acting executive director of the National Catholic Education Commission​, Ray Collins.

"We commend the new education minister Dan Tehan for recognising that the previous model had jeopardised the future of low-fee, low-expenditure schools in areas where they've served families for generations."

"Fundamental to our support of this package is the Minister's agreement to review the new arrangements to ensure they continue to support the government's policy objectives, including parent choice."

The non-Catholic independent schools said the arrangement created a "fair and reasonable" resolution of current funding issues. The Independent Schools Council of Australia said as part of the deal the government had promised to review the new funding arrangements in 2027.

The new $4.57 billion comes in addition to the $19 billion extra money promised by the government under the Gonski 2.0 funding reforms announced last year.


Bill Shorten promises $400 million to top up women's superannuation to help close 'retirement gender gap'

the ALP have no trouble thinking of things to spend money on.  Paying for it is another matter however

Women on maternity leave or juggling several low-paid jobs would be paid superannuation under a $400 million Labor plan to close the retirement gender gap.

Opposition Deputy Leader Tanya Plibersek unveiled the policy on Wednesday, saying too many Australian women retire in poverty.

Women retire on average with $113,000 less in their super than men, a gulf of 40 per cent. 'This policy's a real cracker for women,' Ms Plibersek told AAP.

Labor would also pay superannuation on parental, dad and partner leave.

The party is also looking to phase out the $450 minimum monthly threshold for eligibility for the superannuation guarantee, helping people in part-time and casual work.

Ms Plibersek said more and more people - particularly women - were working various low-paid jobs to make ends meet. 'So many more people are working two or three or four casual part time jobs,' she said.

'We think you should get your superannuation on those smaller pay packets as well.'


Scott Morrison rejects AMA plea to bring children from Nauru to Australia

The AMA is a fairly Leftist organization.  There is an open offer for all refugees to return to either their native country or their country of first refuge -- which is usually Muslim Pakistan or Indonesia.  But those countries are too poor for them.  They don't have to stay on Nauru.  Let the refugees take their children to Pakistan for treatment

Scott Morrison has rebuffed a plea from the Australian Medical Association to change policy on Nauru, and bring families and children to Australia, saying he will not “put at risk any element of Australia’s border protection policy”.

The prime minister told reporters on Thursday the government was already in the process of “getting families off Nauru” and had pursued a refugee resettlement deal with the United States to achieve that end.

But he said he had no intention of softening Australia’s border protection policy, because Labor had adjusted the deterrence regime after the election of Kevin Rudd “thinking it would have no effect, then 1,200 people died”. “So I’m not going to do that,” he said.

Morrison’s rebuff follows a strong intervention from the AMA president, Tony Bartone. Bartone wrote to the prime minister to seek the removal of families from a situation he characterised as an “humanitarian emergency requiring urgent intervention”.

Bartone told Morrison he made the decision to write because of “a recent groundswell of concern and agitation across the AMA membership and the medical profession about conditions on Nauru, and the escalation in reports of catastrophic mental and physical health conditions being experienced by the asylum seekers, especially children”.


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, September 20, 2018

White do-gooder sees pervasive racism towards Aborigines

I don't know why I occasionally put up rejoinders to Leftist screeches.  I guess I feel that a full picture of the matters concerned has to be available.  And Leftist writing usually leaves out such an enormous amount of the full story that I really feel annoyed at such deception.

The woman writing below, Caitlin Prince, apparently works in some sort of welfare role among Aborigines and appears to do so largely as a result of her political convictions.  And a big part of those convictions is that Australians generally are racist.  But what evidence does she muster for that conviction?  Just three anecdotes.  But you can prove anything by anecdotes.  I could report far more anecdotes that prove Australians generally to be racially tolerant.  So she falls at the first hurdle in her rant.

So her claim that "defensive anger" is the common response to  accounts of the deplorable situation of Aborigines is also just another anecdote.  That she is a racist is however clear. She criticizes "white men of Anglo-Celtic or European background."  Why does she have to bring their race into it?  Why can she not outline the words and deeds of particular people in her criticisms?  Instead she resorts to lazy generalizations with no detectible substance in them.

Another of her broad brush strokes is to say that "mostly racism is unconscious  and internalised".  How does she know?  Does she have a mind-reading machine?  She does not. Instead she relies on her deductions about the motives behind various words and deeds that she has observed. There is a very long history in psychology of failed attempts to read minds but she is not humbled by that.  She knows better.

One of her observations, however, is probably right.  She says that the poor state of Aborigines evokes feelings of powerlessness in whites.  She does not however confront a major reason why.  Successive Australian governments, State and Federal, Left and Right have all set in train big efforts to improve the situation of Aborigines -- but nothing works. If anything, the situation of Aborigines has gone downhill since the era of the missionaries.  People of all sorts have racked their brains to come up with solutions but none have succeeded.  People feel powerless in the face of Aboriginal degradation because they really ARE powerless.

She says that the problem for Aborigines is "the thick walls of indifference, denial, and defensive anger that characterises so much of our country’s response to our First Nations".  If that were so, how come that so many government programs have over a long period been tried in an attempt to help Aborigines?

So the sad state of Aborigines is NOT the result of racism.  It is something in Aboriginals themselves.  And that something is not too mysterious.  They have over many thousands of years adapted brilliantly to a hunter-gatherer life -- but that life is no more.

So what is her solution to the undoubted problems of Aborigines?  It is pathetic.  It is a "national conversation".  She is completely oblivious of all the conversations that have gone before.  She lives only in the present, as Leftists usually do.

As it happens, the lady in my life spent many years among Aborigines providing them with real professional services -- medical services  -- paid for by one of those "racist" Australian governments. She tells me something that the angry sourpuss below gives no hint of.  She tells me that she LIKES Aborigines.  And having seen much of what has been done to and for Aborigines by well-intentioned governments, she is firm in her view that no outside help will do much for Aborigines.  She believes that any solution for their plight must arise from among Aborigines themselves.  I think she is right.

Last week, a nine-year-old refused to stand for the national anthem to protest its lack of recognition of First Nations, and the country erupted in anger. High profile, fully grown adults publicly called her a brat and threatened to “kick her up the backside”.

In the same week, Mark Knight’s cartoon of Serena Williams was criticised internationally as racist, and Australian media doubled down to defend it. “Welcome to PC world” the Herald Sun published on its front page, while Knight accused the world of “going crazy” and suspended his Twitter account.

Meanwhile, two Aboriginal teenagers died in Perth running away from police, and communities pushed again for government action on the high rates of Aboriginal deaths in custody. Yeah — how dare people suggest Australia is racist!

I can’t imagine how it felt to be Aboriginal during this (not atypical) week. Although I don’t have to imagine — Celeste Liddle (@Utopiana), the Aboriginal writer and activist, tweeted:

"We’re constantly stuck trying to remind white people of the humanity of Aboriginal people – particularly Aboriginal women and children. It’s tiring, devastating and as we continually end up back in the same place, clearly not working. Sort your shit out, Australia"

— Celeste Liddle (@Utopiana) September 17, 2018

Emotions run high when it comes to the topic of racism and First Nations people. The fact that a nine-year-old can elicit such a venomous rebuke from senators and media personalities is testament to that. In my experience though, it isn’t only alt-right conservatives who have strong emotions about this topic. In the past eight years that I’ve worked in remote Aboriginal communities, every non-Aboriginal person I’ve worked with has experienced a strong reaction to the interface of Australia’s race relations.

Defensive anger is a common reaction to having your worldview challenged. Researcher Megan Boler believes it’s an attempt to protect not only one’s beliefs but one’s “precarious sense of identity”; a defence of one’s investment in the values of the dominant culture.

The problem with growing up within the dominant culture is that it’s easy to be oblivious to anything outside of it. As Tim Soutphommasane, the outgoing Race Discrimination Commissioner, recently pointed out in The Griffith Review, Australia’s media and political structures are still dominated by white men of Anglo-Celtic or European background. While in reality, Australia is far more culturally diverse, the positions that shape both the nation’s policies and stories we tell about it, are still dominated by Anglo-Australians.

When voices from outside the dominant culture do reach us, their perspectives are unexpected, drawn from life experience beyond our shared frames of reference. Their criticism can feel like it’s come out of the blue.

Knight said his cartoon wasn’t about race. Perhaps he was naive to the history of caricature that represented black people as infantile sambos. His intention may not have been racist. As white people, we often mistakenly believe that racism requires a conscious belief that black people are less human than us, but mostly racism is unconscious  and internalised.

It’s all the more bewildering to be accused of racism when it isn’t your intention, such as a health professional who wants to help, discovering they’ve unknowingly offended their Aboriginal client; or a well-intentioned teacher, who had no idea teaching only in English to a community with a different first language, might cause harm. Or perhaps a cartoonist, who prided himself on insightful social commentary, but had his blind spots pointed out.

Frequently, we react defensively and insist our actions aren’t racist when we’d be better served by realising we didn’t know it was racist  and listening to people of colour to understand why, without minimising or denying their concerns.

Anger is not the only emotional response I see in non-Aboriginal people when confronted with our country’s racism. Some people respond with grief and sadness, others with guilt and shame. Nearly always, there are feelings of helplessness that easily flick over into dissociation, numbness and denial. Megan Boler writes that denial “feeds on our lack of awareness of how powerlessness functions, effects, feeds on, and drains our sense of agency and power as active creators of self and world-representations. By powerlessness I mean a state that is usually silent and mutates into guilt and denial that gnaws at us….”

Our country struggles with meaningful recognition of our First Nations, in part due to these feelings of powerlessness and being overwhelmed. We are divided, black from white, by the privilege of being able to drift off into denial. Aboriginal people remain pressed up against the painful consequences of racism with the daily deaths, incarceration, and illness of their family members. Non-Aboriginal Australians on the other hand, bump along, failing to grapple with the overwhelming task of reckoning with our genocidal history and its ongoing legacy.

People of colour refer to “white fragility”, and while I think the term is fair (if the suffering could be weighed, there would be no competition), unless we respond wisely to emotions triggered by discussions of racism, we’re not going to progress the national conversation. Emerging from denial is like thawing from ice; it comes with the pins and needles of moving out of a long-held, contracted position. It’s painful, and people react emotionally.

I’ve worked for eight years now in remote health. I often feel paralysed, at a loss as to how to break through the thick walls of indifference, denial, and defensive anger that characterises so much of our country’s response to our First Nations.

How can I, as one voice, possibly affect it? I want to run away, to not face it. And right there, in the choice to not confront racism, is white privilege.

The moment I choose to do nothing, the moment I stop wrestling with my emotions and slip instead into denial and avoidance, I act out the privilege that has and continues to cause so much harm to our First Nations.

To do nothing is to be complicit.

What a painful thing to have to face.


What Shakespeare and the Greats can teach a self-centred world

Professor Panayiotis Kanelos, President of St. John’s College Annapolis, will address the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation on the value of a liberal education in the contemporary world.

“Many people think Shakespeare and the great writers, artists, composers and thinkers of Western civilisation are no longer relevant in the modern world.  They are wrong,” says Professor Kanelos.

“Modernity encourages us to fashion ourselves and a liberal education – understanding the great works of Western civilisation - helps us to understand what sort of selves we ought to fashion.  Shakespeare, for example, still has so much to teach us,” Professor Kanelos said.

“The “liberal” arts have always had at their centre the cultivation of freedom.  Yet as conceptions of freedom have shifted over time, so too has the shape of liberal education,” Professor Kanelos said.  

“In our hyper-individualized world, the role of liberal education has shifted from liberating human beings to teaching us how to cultivate our liberty responsibly,” Professor Kanelos continued.  “So, a liberal education helps students build lives of meaning and purpose and helps society by helping individuals find common ground,” Professor Kanelos said. 

Chief Executive of the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation Professor Simon Haines said, “Professor Kanelos has a rich understanding of the value of a liberal arts education and St John’s College, Annapolis, is one the leading liberal arts colleges in the world.” 

Professor Kanelos has a distinguished background as an educator and is also an ardent Shakespeare scholar, who has authored and edited numerous books, articles and essays on Shakespeare.  He has a Ph.D. from the Committee on Social Thought at University of Chicago, an M.A. in Political Philosophy and Literature from the University Professors Program at Boston University, and a B.A. in English from Northwestern University.

St. John’s College, Annapolis, is one of the oldest colleges in the United States, tracing its origins to King William’s School, a preparatory school founded in 1696, and receiving a collegiate charter from the state of Maryland in 1784.  It has run a Great Books curriculum, based on the Western canon, since 1937.

The Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation was created with an endowment from the late Paul Ramsay AO, founder of Ramsay Health Care, to promote a deeper appreciation of Western civilisation through the creation of university degrees, Ramsay Scholarships, summer schools and public lectures.

Media release via email


‘Inviting a crash’: PM issues ominous warning as he defends government’s housing policies

PRIME Minister Scott Morrison has warned a popular idea to help Australians buy their own homes could actually “invite a housing market crash”.

A vow to limit negative gearing to newly built homes is the centrepiece of Labor’s housing proposals. It also wants to halve the 50 per cent capital gains tax discount.

Bill Shorten claims the current government’s policies give investors an unfair advantage over first home buyers, and overwhelmingly benefit people with high incomes.

But in an exclusive interview with, Mr Morrison issued an ominous warning about the Opposition’s alternatives.

“The risk is this,” the Prime Minister said. “If you now take the sledgehammer of negative gearing and capital gains tax changes — if you abolish negative gearing as we know it — then you’re inviting a housing market crash. And that’s good for nobody.”

Mr Morrison defended the government’s policies, saying they had helped property prices fall in a controlled way. “We’ve seen house prices come back to a soft landing, and that’s not me saying that, that’s ratings agencies, it’s the Reserve Bank,” he said.

“Everyone has recognised that one of the biggest economic risks that the country faced was a housing market crash. That’s what the ratings agencies were concerned about, that’s what the banks were concerned about, that’s what economists all around the country were concerned about. That’s what, as treasurer, I was very concerned about. So we needed to bring the housing market into a soft landing.”

House prices in Australia’s five capital cities have fallen an average of 3.5 per cent in the past 12 months, with the sharpest drops in Sydney and Melbourne.

That’s a welcome trajectory for many Australians who felt they were being priced out of the market after almost a decade of consistent and demoralising rises.

Mr Morrison pointed to data showing first home buyers were finally enjoying something of a resurgence. Midway through this year, they accounted for 18 per cent of new loans.

“We’ve got first home buyers now back up as a percentage of new loans to its best level in about five, six years. And a number of things have contributed to that,” he argued.

“One of the things I did as treasurer was to introduce the First Home Super Savers scheme, which we need to continue to let people know about.

“I think it’s a pretty simple and constructive scheme which means that people can save for their deposit faster, simply by making the same sacrifice they’re already doing today.”

The scheme lets Australians save for a home deposit using their superannuation account, which means they pay less tax.

“You can save, with exactly the same salary sacrifice, 30 per cent faster than you could before,” the Prime Minister said.

Mr Morrison also highlighted the government’s work with the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) to crack down on interest-only mortgages, which made up about 40 per cent of all new home loans at their peak last year.

“When you get people who can just keep borrowing more and more and more and do it on an interest-only basis, they can bid up the price, and that was fuelling the exacerbation of the problem,” he said.

But despite those improvements, buying a house in one of Australia’s biggest cities is still a daunting prospect. recently released data on the average annual income needed to buy a house or unit in each city without mortgage stress — a term for when 30 per cent or more of your pre-tax income goes towards loan repayments. The required income was $162,000 in Sydney and $132,000 in Melbourne. Those figures are well above the average Australian’s salary.

“That’s an extremely big amount of money. And in Sydney, a 20 per cent deposit plus stamp duty is a whopping $240,000. It’s impossible to collect in a short space of time,” research director Sally Tindall told

There is also the added pressure of interest rates. In the past few weeks Westpac, the Commonwealth Bank and ANZ all pushed up their variable rates, though NAB decided not to join them.

“Look, you don’t want to see that occur. That’s the banks that decide to do that, but the NAB decided not to, so good for NAB. Go and change your loan to NAB, that would be my view,” Mr Morrison said.

“It’s for the RBA to decide what’s happening with the cash rates, but you know, their forward prognosis has been very stable now for some period of time. So I think there will be a lot of pressure on the banks not to move their rates.”

The Prime Minister said his government supported allowing new banks into the market to challenge the Big Four. “More products. Increasing pressure. Make the market work, make sure people get the best deal,” he said.

Mr Morrison said he sympathised with the plight of first home buyers struggling to get into the market.

“I remember the first place I bought with (wife) Jenny, it was 53 square metres, it was not very big. It was very, very small. But that was what we could afford, and that’s how we made our start. And it’s always a big challenge for anyone to buy their first home,” he said.

Should Australians consider following that example, and lowering their own expectations for a first home? Mr Morrison told us he didn’t want to “lecture” anyone.

“I’m for Australians setting their own expectations. I’m all for aspiration. I’m all for them having a big view of their future, and for us to be able to help them try to achieve that wherever they can,” he said. “I’m not one who likes to lecture people about what their aspirations should be. I’m all for an aspirational Australia.”



Wage growth is FASTER than cost of living – despite the price of electricity skyrocketing and fuel prices hitting a four-year high

Australian wages are growing at a faster pace than costs of living despite double-digit increases in electricity and petrol prices, an economics professor says.

Pay rises failed to outpace inflation in the year to June, with both measures increasing by 2.1 per cent.

Electricity bills rose by an annual 10.4 per cent and petrol prices jumped by 16.3 per cent, recently hitting a four-year high, the Australian Bureau of Statistics's consumer price index showed.

But Melbourne Institute Professor Mark Wooden said that since 2001, overall wage growth had outstripped increased living costs.

Not all popular items went up in price, with vegetables 8.7 per cent cheaper over the year as clothing costs fell 3 per cent.

While wages have been flat, it has also occurred against a backdrop of weak inflation, which is on the low side of the Reserve Bank of Australia's two to three per cent target band.

Prof Wooden pointed out that with almost a quarter of award-wage earners receiving a 3.5 per cent pay increase from the Fair Work Commission, well in excess of inflation, many workers were better off.

This followed a 3.3 per cent minimum wage increase in July 2017.

'The lowest paid workers should be doing better,' he told Daily Mail Australia. 'The people at the bottom, the bottom 10 per cent, they are relatively no worse off to the people in the middle.

'The last three or four years, there has been no increase in wage inequality.'

The academic fellow with the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research calculated that during the past decade, which has included the mining boom and the global financial crisis, wages have risen by 31 per cent, compared with 22 per cent for inflation.

The gap between the two was used to argue that real wage increases, adjusted for inflation, had delivered increases in living standards.


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, September 19, 2018

Riot squad called in to protect me and my audience at Sydney University

Bettina Arndt

My Fake Rape Crisis Campus Tour went off with a huge bang.  We’ve made the most wonderful video showing you exactly what happened.

Huge thanks to Scott for the many hours he spent filming it all and pulling it together and to Irene for her film work and endless research.

Latest news from my campus tour

For those of you who haven’t heard the news, the La Trobe talk was pretty difficult with noisy protesters doing their best to drown out my talk. But Sydney University demonstrators took things to a different level. The security guards were overwhelmed by the unruly protesters who blocked the corridor leading to the venue preventing most of the audience from attending the event. Our students were threatened, physically jostled, some even flung against walls by the aggressive crowd prior to the riot squad being called in by security to control the protesters before my talk could go ahead.  

Action against Sydney University 

I am preparing a detailed letter for Sydney Vice Chancellor Michael Spence, to be counter-signed by the Liberal Club students, asking for the return of the nearly $500 security fee that the Liberal Club students had been forced to pay (with help from my crowd-funder I have attached the invoice.

We will also be providing the university with detailed witness statements from many students who tried to attend the event plus information about the key organisers of the protest. We will be asking the university to enforce their code of conduct which precludes students interfering with other students’ access to lectures, university facilities and so on. And we will be seeking action against the protest organisers who publicly stated their intention of preventing me speaking on campus.  We are investigating whether any action can be taken using the university’s bullying and harassment policies.

Boycott Sydney University’s Corporate Partners?

It would be great if someone could mount a campaign to boycott the corporations who are partners for Sydney University. I hope someone can step up and take this job on. Surely some of these corporations can be shamed into pulling funds from the university due to their flagrant disregard for free speech?

Not a single ABC programme has mentioned this story about a riot squad to be called in to Sydney University, although it has received huge publicity on Sky News, 2GB, and at News Ltd?  Not a word in Fairfax media, naturally.

Next stop  - University of Queensland

What’s really great is we have student groups in universities across Australia keen to sponsor my talks. The next one is at the University of Queensland, Brisbane. Thurs, September 27. 4 PM. University of Qld, Steele Building. Details of room coming soon.

PS Yes, I know that as the video goes on I become progressively more hoarse and ever more haggard.  But I thought it was a bit rich that one of the protesters, Lily Campbell, described me  on her Facebook page as “reptilian scum”! Now who would like to help me take a case to the Human Rights Commission charging ageist discrimination over that one?

More information.

The key issues are the failure of the universities to protect free speech on campus. These failures include:

Charging prohibitive security fees to conservative student groups presenting talks on topics leftist or feminist students find challenging. This policy simply encourages more protests from the left given that their own events rarely run into similar problems due to the fact that their opponents rarely seek to close down discussion.

In the case of La Trobe, initially making a decision to simply ban me from speaking because they claimed that my talk questioning the rape culture on campus failed to “align with the values of the university.”

Both universities have codes of conduct which require students not to interfere with other students learning or access to university facilities etc. Why are the universities failing to enforce their codes when they are so ready to apply such policies in other circumstances.

Why are they failing to take action against students who encourage others to violently protest and prevent people from speaking on campus? 

Via email

Australia: Greens MP cops onslaught of online abuse after supporting proposed fishing ban

It seems to me that authoritarians who try to interfere with other people's lives should expect retribution for that.  Trying to stop people from going fishing is incredibly authoritarian

A Greens MP is currently being bullied online after he showed support for the governments controversial 'lock outs'.

Justin Field's Facebook page has been flooded with cruel abuse, memes and even death threats since the New South Wales MP backed the proposal.

'You're a f***ing germ piece of s***…we will destroy you at the next election you f***ing germ…die you bastard,' one user said on Facebook. 'Prepare to get your legs broken Justin,' wrote another.

Mr Field, a Greens MP in the NSW upper house, has also been called a 'grub' and a 'maggot', with one user going as far as saying they hoped he was 'taken out of the equation'.

Mr Field's wife has also been targeted, with users demanding she make him respond to their vile comments. 

The backlash began after Mr Field's vocally supported the governments plan to ban recreational fishing in 25 cities along the coast in a bid to help fish stocks recover.

Mr Field responded to the online hate in interview with The Sydney Morning Herald, acknowledging that although he expected debate and a 'certain rough and tumble in politics', people have gone too far.

He claimed that the raised platform of key figures in talk-back radio and print media have deliberately misinformed the public about the proposal.

'I think some politicians, fishing personalities and the media have been spreading deliberate misinformation to drum up fear and anger over the proposal and that has played a role in the level of hate being expressed about the plan,' Mr Field wrote.

Since the onslaught of comments, the NSW government has back flipped on the plan, just weeks after announcing the proposal.

Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair said on Monday they will be not going ahead with the fishing bans, calling the original proposal 'absolutely unacceptable'.

'The Government has now rewarded this appalling behaviour by effectively walking away from a Sydney Marine Park proposal,' Mr Field said on Facebook following the announcement.


Students with record-low High School leaving scores will soon be teaching Australian kids: Secret report reveals bottom-of-the-class pupils are being encouraged to be TEACHERS

Students with the lowest scores at high school are being encouraged to take up jobs as teachers.

Some students with zero scores in university admission tests are being offered places in teaching degrees, according to a secret report.

The figures show that in NSW and the ACT there were 28 offers made to students who scored between zero and 19 in the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank, the criteria for undergraduate university programs in all states except Queensland.

The figures were revealed by retired professor John Mack, who released the figures to the ABC despite the University of Sydney requesting the secret report be destroyed.

Professor Mack said it was not in the interest of the universities to reveal the information. 'What it shows is that overall the general quality of applicants has gone down,' he said.

'In some cases it was worrying that offers were being made to some students that I would have thought would have had exceptional difficulty coping with first-year university.'

The University of Sydney said it was 'very disappointed' with the release of the report.

'We are currently considering whether the release of this report now constitutes a breach of our policies and processes and will take appropriate action if it does,' the university said in a statement to Daily Mail Australia.

'At the time the report was written, we communicated with the researchers involved, UAC and the NSW Vice-Chancellors’ Committee to ensure research produced by our academics meets both UAC’s protocols for data use and ethics requirements, as well as our own policy requirements, before being made public.'

University of Sydney lecturer Rachel Wilson - who co-wrote the report with Professor Mack - said there were 'disturbing indicators' showing declining performance at high schools.

'There are very clear trends, I would say disturbingly steep trends, in the admission of lower-attaining students to initial teacher education,' she said. 'And if the system doesn't rise up and address this issue we are going to be in a downward spiral from here on in.'


Some irritating cases of lunatic political correctness in Australia

Have you heard the latest? Some council, somewhere in Australia, is removing the wire fencing around council playgrounds just in case children playing there feel trapped and encaged! I would guess it would have only been a few years ago they insisted on putting up the self-same fences to keep vandals and other undesirables out! I really don’t know why I get so wound up about stories like this, after all it is just another case of lunatic political correctness that we have to put up with these days, but it does get me a little mad myself.

Another recent politically correct move is the drive to delete sexual references completely from university campuses, so any notices, posters, letters or signs can’t refer to ‘him’ or ‘her’, ‘he’ or ‘she’, etc. They apparently will only be able to use the words ‘them’ or ‘they’ or other suchlike non-sexual pronouns. The people insisting on this are supposed to be our most intelligent, clever, forward-thinking young individuals, the people who are going to lead us into our bright new future. God help us is all I can say!

Worse still, this silliness is taking root and growing everywhere, from its early start in feminism, when, amongst other things, a woman I knew at that time, insisted I should not call her ‘luv’ (you’ll notice the spelling, that’s important), because it was sexist. I tried to point out to her that the word, spelled as I’ve indicated, had nothing to do with sexual relationships nor did it indicate that I had fallen for her, in which case I might have used the spelling ‘love’ instead. It was, I tried to say, merely a friendly form of address to someone you might not know the name of or who was familiar to you and was (usually), a woman. It carried precisely the same sexual meaning as the term I use to speak to a bloke — ‘mate’! This doesn’t mean I want to have sex with him or give him my children, it was, and still is merely a friendly term of communication. You’d hardly find a person in England, male or female, who doesn’t use the term ‘luv’, but this politically correct lady was deeply offended. As I have said, it’s a great pity she and the other people like her, can’t grow up and find something more useful to occupy their minds.

I agree there are some rules created by these people that do have some worth, like cycle helmets and car seat belts, but the good ideas seem to be in a tiny minority when compared to the irritating and silly ones that bear little contact to reality. Like the student who, a recently demanded that any reference to men should be removed from the English language — she thought the words containing ‘man’ or ‘men’ was offensive to all women, wherever it was used and for whatever purpose, which naturally made me wonder what she would do with such words as ‘human’, ‘menstrual’, ‘manager’, ‘hymen’, or ‘manufacture’, to name but a very tiny proportion of words containing those three offensive letters!

The trouble, and the worry, as far as I am concerned, is why and how did these people get into a position where they can impose all this stupidity on us? There was a time, not so long ago, when Aussies (is that offensive to these people?), of either sex were bright, reliant, strong and cheerful; they were capable of handling almost any situation of their own and they never griped about it — in fact the Aussie personality was the envy of the world. For instance, English soldiers used to gulp at some of the things Australian soldiers were quite happy to say to their superior officers, should it be called for, but now there is a breed of ‘namby-pamby’ young people coming along, who couldn’t change a light bulb, let alone repair a car engine or help a cow give birth to a calf, but that are very quick to complain if things aren’t laid on for them, exactly as they require!

I’m afraid space does not permit me the luxury of delving deeper into this very interesting, if irritating subject, but thank goodness there are still youngsters in this country who do know the score and can look after themselves and others less fortunate than themselves — I pray nothing will happen to destroy that very necessary breed of individual!


The majority can be wrong but swayed by a true leader

Graham Richardson

Since I began as a Labor Party organiser in 1971, my mantra has been that "the mob will always work you out". The mob worked out how weak both Julia Gillard and Malcolm Turnbull were and eventually consistently bad polls pressured party colleagues to dump them. Gillard was saddled with minority government; Turnbull a one-seat majority.

Bob Hawke believed Australians almost always got it right in an election. These days the revolving door to the prime minister’s office rotates so often Australians have lost faith in major parties.

In 1971, conventional wisdom was that the electorate split roughly 45 per cent Labor, 45 per cent Coalition, with about 10 per cent swinging voters. Fifty years later the major parties are on about 35 per cent each — those prepared to vote "other" have skyrocketed to 30 per cent and this is increasing.

When the punters embrace extremes, it does not always end well. Look at Brexit. There has been almost no progress in negotiations with the EU, which is demanding massive sums for Britain to exit.

While Nigel Farage’s speeches make money around the world as he delivers his brand of militant stupidity, former British foreign secretary Boris Johnson is doing his best to bring down the May ­government.

Popular does not mean correct. If you want a real statesman, look for the person who declares the electorate wrong on an issue and goes out to sell an alternative policy. John Howard convinced Australia to accept a GST — quite a hurdle for anyone to jump. In a democracy, the majority should always win but the option is there for politicians with courage to challenge voters and turn them around. Opposition to the war in Vietnam and South African apartheid were very much minority views until Gough Whitlam and Jim Cairns entered the fray.

In Britain, when the hapless, hopeless May called an unnecessary election she caused such a popular uprising that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn could almost have become prime minister. This is where the popular mood can get it so wrong. Corbyn is an absolute disgrace. Why anyone would vote for a candidate who believes in the socialisation of industry is beyond me completely. His anti-Semitism riles me too. Racism is like a plague. It is catching and those on the fringes of society who feel left out and alienated too often take this evil to their hearts and minds.

France was not spared either. Disillusion with the Gaullists and the Socialists led a novice politician to the presidency. Emmanuel Macron rocketed in the polls and has fallen at an incredible pace. Having no real experience in politics is not the right background to run a country. Macron seems to have managed to get every interest group offside. As in Britain, the French are sick and tired of years of cuts in public spending and general restraint. I took a dislike to Macron when he visited Australia and gave us a lecture about keeping to the Paris Agreement. Given that France’s carbon emissions rose last year, he struck me as a hypocrite.

If concerns about immigration were the main driver of Brexit, it is little wonder that the long rule of Germany’s Angela Merkel almost came to a sticky end. After the last election she took months to cobble together a coalition of those reluctant to be too close to the woman who told millions of refugees they were welcome in her neck of the woods. The popular mood took an instant swing against her. She hasn’t lasted as long as she has without considerable skill in the darker arts. Despite widespread demonstrations, Merkel remains defiant. Much to the chagrin of her enemies, she still has her hand on the tiller.

It was in the US that the real revolution of the dispossessed and the disgruntled took place. With Hillary Clinton on the nose and campaigning poorly, Donald Trump defied the unanimous predictions of the fourth estate and pulled off a remarkable victory. Huge crowds chanted then and still scream out for Trump to "build the wall".

That it hasn’t happened — because property laws in Texas make it almost impossible for the federal government to build on private land, and the terrain is problematic, and it was a monumentally stupid idea — hardly matters. That Trump is caught lying every week makes no difference to the outsiders who feel he’s listening. That he could say of John McCain "He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured" is the measure of a miserable spirit. Yes, the stockmarket is up and millions of new jobs have been created but Trump must lose the trade war eventually and some of his followers will ­finally realise that the rust-bucket industries aren’t returning. The midterms will tell the story.

Australia is seeing a mini-­revolt. The vote for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation has come almost entirely from the Liberal-National parties, whose vote in the short term will suffer further declines. Hanson has tapped into Australians who feel left behind in an economy where for five years there have been no wage rises and where the workforce is being ­casualised so fast that many Australians will leap on any alternative voice. Hanson knows the problems but has no ­solutions or just half-baked ones.

No matter where you are in the world, false gods beckon. Major parties everywhere need to take notice and must at least be seen to listen. Otherwise they will be buried by a Macron type or, as with Trump and the Republican Party, be faced with a hostile takeover.

Whether you vote Liberal or Labor, next time around remember that there is no place like home.


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, September 18, 2018

House prices in Sydney and Melbourne could 'fall by 40 per cent' - posing a huge risk to Australians living beyond their means with massive mortgages

This is utter rubbish. Even at the height of the 2008 financial crisis, Australian house prices declined only a little and they soon bounced back. And a big change would elicit corrective Federal monetary policy anyway. 

And there is a complete lack of logic in the warning to existing mortgagors.  If they can or cannot already afford their payments, how is a price crash of the asset going to make them more or less able to afford them?

Australians who are enjoying lifestyles beyond their means could soon find themselves in the red as housing prices plummet by 'as much as 40 per cent', according to a leading market analyst.

The drop will see housing prices in Sydney and Melbourne decrease as banks tighten lending restrictions and end low-interest loans.

In the past 10 years, many first-time buyers were able to snap up their dream homes with the help of generous mortgage loans from banks.

Now, bright-eyed investors who purchased properties outside of their financial means have helped trigger the housing market plunge. 

Leading property analyst Louis Christopher told 60 Minutes Sydney and Melbourne were both long overdue for a drastic 'correction' in house prices.

'On our numbers, Sydney was effectively over 40 per cent overvalued and Melbourne was overvalued by the same amount,' Mr Christopher said.

Taking to social media after the program aired, Mr Christopher said the risks faced by Sydney and Melbourne were 'not as present in our other cities'.

'Of course a  scenario where those two cities are having a major correction would be damaging for the greater economy,' he added.

Data scientist Martin North agreed, saying he believed Australia was facing a 'debt bomb' similar to the United States in 2006 before its market crashed, sparking the global financial crisis.

'We are uniquely exposed, because as a society and as a government and as a regulatory system - we're all banking on the home price engine to just (keep) giving and giving - but it's not going to,' Mr North said.

'We've got a debt bomb, we've got a debt crisis, and at some point it's going to explode in our face.'

There are now concerns housing prices in Sydney and Melbourne could plummet to almost half their former asking price, with optimistic analysts predicting a fall of at least 10 per cent to 15 per cent. 

Some homeowners have been advised to 'get out while they can' and not sit on their property. 'The ones that can't afford to sit should effectively sell - get out while you can,' leading liquidator, Jamieson Louttit said. 'I think the banks are going to cover their own a*se.'


Ruling Australian conservative party has been taken over by climate denialists, says Labor party leader

If only it were true.  There is a great deal of skepticism among Federal conservatives but it has not yet become formal policy

Bill Shorten has confirmed Labor is prepared to adopt the government’s junked national energy guarantee if it wins power, as he declared the Liberal Party had been taken over by “climate denialists”.

The Opposition Leader said the framework of the NEG could be used by a future Labor government to create a policy that would lower carbon emissions.

“The government did some work on this national energy guarantee and we are prepared to use that as part of our framework going forward. That’s not our final position, I hasten to add, and we’ll have consultation and discussion with my colleagues,” Mr Shorten told the ABC.

“I think that people are sick and tired of the climate change wars. The climate denialists for all intents and purposes, like Tony Abbott, have taken over the Liberal Party. They didn’t want the clean energy target. They didn’t want an emissions trading scheme.

“The real issue here is that we’ve now got a climate denialist party in power, and the only policy they can do now they’ve rejected the national energy guarantee is one that will drive up power prices and do nothing to encourage more renewables.

“So I’m hoping to work with the sensible part of the Liberal Party, with industry, with environmentalists, and we’ll come up with a framework which will look a lot like, I hope, parts of the national energy guarantee and, of course, we want to see lower prices and more renewables.”

“It just led to a loss of jobs, higher prices and greater unreliability and a lack of investment,” he said.

Mr Shorten failed to endorse his energy spokesman, Mark Butler, who said he did not support the Adani coal mine.

“I think that that is essentially Mark’s judgment, that he doesn’t think it is going to happen and he doesn’t support it. I think that a lot of people feel that way. Our policy is that we won’t put a single taxpayer dollar into the project. There’s a lot of scepticism if the project is ever going to happen,” he said.


Australian University graduates increasingly accepting jobs which require only a year 12 education

University graduates are increasingly accepting jobs which require only a year 12 education, with graduates in law, IT and engineering less likely to use their qualifications.

As detailed in the Herald Sun, a Grattan Institute report found graduates in the fields of science and commerce particularly are failing to gain work that makes use of their degrees.

Andrew Norton, Higher Education Program Director at the Grattan Institute, told Ross and John there are a number of reasons why this has started occurring.

“We increase the number of university students, then we had two downturns, global financial crisis, the end of the mining boom, and that meant the number of jobs declined for a while,” Andrew said.

“People have to be aware of the risks of certain courses, commerce and science, that are easy to get into, some of those people should probably just do something else instead.

“A lot of people do a degree, they don’t get a job that matches that degree but it does give them substantial insurance to having no job at all, so it’s not a complete waste of time.”

“Just a fantastic description of a university degree,” Ross said. “Quote, ‘Not a complete waste of time’.”


Nigel Farage attacks political correctness, the ABC and Left in rousing Sydney speech

British politician Nigel Farage has told a convivial Sydney audience they are living in the “most exciting political time” in decades, no matter how much the Left refute it.

Speaking at Doltone House, in the inner-city Sydney suburb of Pyrmont on Thursday night, Mr Farage told the audience of 1200 that Brexit had marked the beginning of a global political revolution.

“We are living through the most exciting political times we have seen in decades,” Mr Farage said. “It doesn’t matter how much protesters scream, it doesn’t alter how much negativity we get from the state-sponsored peasants. Are you here, ABC?”

The co-founder and former leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), who was a driving force behind Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, told the audience: “We are now living through a global political revolution, and we the people will bring down the Establishment.”

The controversial politician, who is in Sydney as part of a week-long speaking tour of Australia and New Zealand, was met by an energetic round of applause at several points during his speech. Many in the audience gave the British MP a standing ovation as he took his position on centre stage.

Throughout his talk Mr Farage discussed issues such as Brexit, populism, immigration and political correctness.

“I’m not going to bow down to political correctness or be told I can’t do this or can’t do that,” Mr Farage said. “We need politicians to reflect the same values and, you know what, the same flaws we have too.”

Mr Farage also lamented the leadership of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, and said in comparison many modern leaders were “as dull as dishwater” and “so politically correct they’re too scared to say what they think.”

At one point Mr Farage joked that despite “current political turmoil across Europe”, “things were arguably even worse” in Australia.

He warned that if the Liberal Party, which recently ousted Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister in favour of Scott Morrison, didn’t “sort itself out” Australia would experience “real, radical change too”.

He later said he was struck by the disconnect between Canberra’s politicians and the Australian people, and hoped Brexit would give Britain the chance to reconnect with their “real friend,” Australia.

He said despite being unpopular with many British politicians “riding the gravy train”, YouTube had cemented his support base. He said he shared US President Donald Trump’s view that Twitter was the future.

Some members of the audience called “lock her up” in reference to Hillary Clinton when Mr Farage discussed a Mississippi speech he gave in favour of Mr Trump prior to the 2016 US presidential election.

“I’m the only human in the world who was involved in the campaign for Brexit and in the election of Donald Trump,” Mr Farage said. “I’m pretty proud of that.”

Mr Farage said he became disillusioned with British prime ministers after Margaret Thatcher’s leadership.

“I thought the hell with open door immigration, the hell with being ashamed of being patriotic, I’m going to stand up and fight them, that’s how I got involved with politics,” Mr Farage said to cheers from the audience.

There was a large police presence outside the venue but unlike events in Perth and Auckland, the Sydney show didn’t draw any protesters.

During a question and answer session run by tour promoter and publisher of porno mag Penthouse, Damien Costas, Mr Farage nursed a glass of red wine in his hand as he criticised the “baying mobs” for obstructing his event.

“They want to shut down free speech,” Mr Farage said. “They’re not just undemocratic they’re anti-democratic and it’s a monstrous thing to see in a free society. It’s wrong, wrong, wrong.”

“In Perth they were blaming me for all that has gone wrong with the aborigines, what the hell has that got to do with me?”

When asked by a man wearing a red “Make America Great Again” cap what kind of future ethnically British people could expect in England due to an influx of non-white migrants, Mr Farage said it wasn’t a case of “Black v White.”

He said that while immigration in Britain had blown out of control, only “a few cultural groups” and terrorists were trying to destroy the British way of life.

He said many immigrants had successfully integrated into British society and adopted British values. “It’s not about people’s skin colour it’s about who they are how they feel,” Mr Farage 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, September 17, 2018

Bid to strip rort doctors’ cars, houses

Doctors suspected of rorting Medicare could lose their luxury houses and cars, under a dramatic escalation of compliance efforts tipped to raise tens of millions of dollars a year for the federal government.

The Department of Health has asked the Australian Federal Police whether the Proceeds of Crime Act — commonly used to restrain the assets of drug dealers, money launderers and fraudsters — could help it to deal with errant doctors.

The department has often struggled to recoup more than 30 per cent of the Medicare ­rebates it could prove were misused but was recently given new powers, including the ability to act against doctors who refused to co-operate.

Utilising the Proceeds of Crime Act would be likely to ­reverse the onus of proof, and ­require the doctor to argue they did not deserve to have their ­assets restrained or seized to repay Medicare rebates.

A department spokeswoman confirmed the AFP had been asked for advice on how assets could be confiscated and sold to clear debts. The Proceeds of Crime Act has been used for a range of assets including real ­estate and commercial property, share portfolios, luxury cars, jewellery, motorcycles, light planes, jetskis, yachts and motor boats, artwork and other collectibles.

“The Department of Health has recently begun working with AFP to help identify matters where POCA could be well utilised,” the department spokeswoman said.

It was unclear whether the act could be used only against the holder of a Medicare provider number or also against their ­employer. The AFP did not respond to requests for comment.

In 2016-17, the department recorded up to $29 million worth of debts against doctors and other healthcare providers but recouped only about $13m of that. At the time, Medicare was paying out $22 billion in benefits, and health officials suggested Australia was below the international benchmark of 1 per cent of expenditure raised as debts and recovered.

The Professional Services Review, a peer-review agency that acts on referrals from Medicare, often deals with doctors administratively, negotiating agreements where individuals voluntarily pay back some money. It can refer suspected fraud to police, where a conviction could lead to civil ­action to recover government funds, however such action is rare.

In 2016-17, the largest repayment negotiated by the PSR was $1.1m, however last financial year a consultant sleep and respiratory physician agreed to repay $2m, a nuclear medicine specialist $1.1m, an ophthalmologist $750,000 and another sleep and respiratory physician $730,000.

The nature of current arrangements means the published Medicare debts are only a fraction of the amount the department suspects to have been misused.

In the 2017-18 budget, amid ­efforts to make health spending more sustainable, the government announced plans to ramp up compliance efforts and recoup an additional $103.8m over four years. New legislation came into effect in July, including tougher record-keeping requirements and the power to order the provision of documents.

More than 87,000 people are on the immigration watchlist because they left debts to the commonwealth, including for health services they obtained while in Australia despite not being eligible for Medicare. The list would also be likely to include overseas-trained doctors who left the country with unresolved Medicare issues.


Private education spending in Australia soars ahead of other countries

Because Australian families send 40% of their teenagers to private schools

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development released on Tuesday night its annual education at a glance report, a major compendium of statistics measuring the state of education across the world.

The report found Australia is among the highest contributors to education spending in the world, at about 6% of gross domestic product.

But it found the proportion of public money spent on primary, high school and vocational education decreased significantly between 2005 and 2015.

By 2015 the share of private sources of non-tertiary education made up 19% of overall spending, the most of any advanced economy and double the OECD average of 8%.

At the same time, the government’s share of total expenditure on non-tertiary education declined from 73% to 66%. The report also found that in Australia, expenditure on non-tertiary education as a share of GDP decreased by 10% over the five year period between 2010 and 2015.

In Australia, private schools are funded through a mixture of parent fees, donations and per-student contributions from states and the Commonwealth.

Correna Haythorpe, the head of the Australian Education Union, said the report showed the “cost burden” of education funding was being shifted away from the government.

“This OECD report shows public expenditure on education in Australia is already well below the OECD average of 11% of public expenditure, and falling rapidly,” she said.

“The report shows that government policies have led to a significant shift over time in how education is funded. That shifts the cost burden from the government to the community.”

According to the report, global eduction funding has suffered as a result of the global financial crisis.

While public funding to education globally started to increase in 2010, it did so at a slower pace than GDP. Across OECD countries, total average expenditure on education at all levels decreased by 4.1% as a percentage of GDP.

“The effects of the global economic crisis that began in 2008 are currently reflected in the adjustments of public budgets and, therefore, in the expenditure on educational institutions across all levels of education,” the report stated.

In the university sector, private funding before public transfers – money given to the private sector through tuition or student subsidies, for example – accounts for 37% of all expenditure. Only the UK has a higher proportion of private university funding.

After public transfers, private expenditure accounts for 62% of the expenditure on tertiary education compared to the OECD average of 31%.

The AEU said it was concerned about findings on teacher workload.

The report found that in 2017 the net teaching time for Australian primary teachers per year was 865 hours, compared to the OECD average of 778 hours. Upper secondary teachers taught 797 hours, it found, compared to the OECD average of 655.

“Australian teachers are teaching larger classes and working significantly more hours than the OECD average, which is a clear indication of resource shortages,” Haythorpe said.

“When schools can provide extra staff, they can address larger classes and provide extra support for students who need it.”

The report also found gender differences in the labour market remained “significant” in Australia.

In the last decade, tertiary attainment of 25-34 year-olds in Australia had “increased significantly”, reaching 52% in 2017.

That increase has been especially pronounced among women. Between 2007 and 2017, the share of 25-34 year-old women with tertiary education increased from 46% to 59%, above the OECD average of 50%. In 2016, half of the new entrants to doctoral programs were women.

In the same period the share of tertiary attainment among young men increased from 35% to 45%.


Aged care has 'not kept pace': Providers welcome inquiry

Australia's biggest aged care companies are calling on the royal commission into the $20 billion sector to provide clarity on how businesses and service providers can keep pace with burgeoning demand as the population ages.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the inquiry into the sector following a string of horrific revelations of elderly abuse and neglect that have shattered public faith in the system.

Chief executive of ASX-listed Estia Health, Norah Barlow, has welcomed the royal commission, noting the "enormous responsibility" on providers to care for the elderly. Skyrocketing complaints about the sector, and critical care failures in 2017 at now-closed state-government run nursing home Oakden, fuelled the calls for a probe into the sector.

Last month a former employee at Estia, which has 68 facilities across Australia, was given a 17-month prison sentence with six months non-parole after assaulting a resident in Sydney's Epping in 2017.

At the time, Ms Barlow said there should be a national register to "identify people who should not be working in aged care" including where they worked, for how long, whether they were dismissed and the circumstances of the dismissal.

A spokesman for mutual company Australian Unity, which provides aged care and other services nationally, said the company "welcomes measures that help improve access to, and quality of, care across this sector" in particular any focus on addressing a "looming shortfall in aged care workers".

The Productivity Commission estimates 1 million workers will be needed by 2050 to service the 3.5 million Australians expected to need aged care help. Currently, about 1.3 million Australians access aged care services annually, with 240,000 people in residential care.

Aged care industry group Leading Age Services Australia chief executive Sean Rooney said in a statement the industry was "absolutely committed to working to eliminate the risk of failures and to continuously improve standards of care, to ensure that the aged care system meets the
changing needs and expectations of older Australians".

“We have repeatedly told government that the aged care system settings have not kept pace with the increase in demand for care and services, driven by the growing numbers of older Australians in our communities," Mr Rooney said.

Non-profit companies, private-equity owned Allity, and major listed companies like Regis Aged Care, a 1990s-founded company that had a $1.1 billion sharemarket debut in 2014, and Japara Healthcare, are expected to be among those scrutinised.

Archer Capital-owned Allity chief executive David Armstrong was unwilling to comment on Sunday, saying the company was still gathering its thoughts after the announcement.

Retirement villages are expected to be excluded under the terms of the royal commission, as they fall under state and territory jurisdiction, which includes companies such as Aveo Group, Lendlease and Stockland. Retirement villages often include the provision of aged care services by third-parties, and it is likely this will be included in the probe.

A joint Fairfax Media and Four Corners investigation in 2017 found Aveo engaged in practices like churning residents, fee gouging, and misleading marketing promises, such as safety and emergency services.

The Property Council of Australia recently launched an advertising campaign promoting the benefits of retirement village living, funded by Retirement Living Council members.

A spokesman for the property lobby group said there was a "significant difference" between these services, with retirement village residents living independently compared to those requiring full-time care and assistance, and welcomed the inquiry.

Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott told Sky News a decision needed to be made about whether the sector was sustainable and "fit for purpose" as the population ages.

"We have to decide whether the system is workable ... And then we've got these quality and safety issues," Ms Westacott said, pointing to issues with an overlap of responsibilities between the Commonwealth and state governments.

Aged Care Guild chief executive Matthew Richter said hte guild "hope that it stimulates action and contributes to a shift in Australian political and social ethos toward ageing".


Wind farm report a blow to future of the industry

A class-action lawsuit is being planned against a local council, the Victorian government and a wind farm operator after an independent review accepted resident complaints that noise from a Gippsland wind farm was causing them harm.

A council-ordered report on the Bald Hills wind farm found there was a nuisance under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act.

This was despite the wind farm being compliant with state planning laws. Investigators said they could hear wind turbines in some residents’ homes and accepted they could sometimes be heard over the television and that residents were suffering sleep deprivation and other symptoms.

The report is a milestone on a years-long journey for residents at Bald Hills involving botched investigations, doctored reports, court interventions and heavy-handed planning decisions.

The finding could have dramatic implications for the ongoing development of the wind industry, which claims its turbines do not disturb residents.

Affected resident Don Fairbrother said the situation should never have got to this point. “There was a lot of concern about the suitability of the site and the height of the turbines was increased without community consultation,” he said. “The project has had a troubled history and we are finally being listened to.

“Our concerns about sleep dep­ri­vation have finally been recognised as a health and welfare issue.”

Noise logs by Mr Fairbrother document “whining, roaring noise” causing sleep deprivation and headaches.

The independent monitor, James C. Smith and Associates, was engaged in March by the South Gippsland Shire Council lawyers to investigate. The report said Mr Fairbrother appeared to have “frequent sleep interruptions from a noise described as ‘grumbling noise and a sensation’ and frequent associated headaches”.

In conclusion, the report said there had been a consistency in complaints. “Without exception, there are allegations that the wind farm noise is audible inside their individual homes and, as a result, there is sleep disruption during the nightly and early morning hours,” the report said.

One first-hand experience where wind farm noise intruded on conversation during a site visit was seen as “detrimental to the personal comfort and enjoyment of the residential environment”.

“After consideration of the completed noise logs by individual complainants and subsequent discussions with some of these individuals, it appears there is nuisance caused by wind farm noise, in that the noise is audible frequently within individual residences and this noise is adversely impacting on the personal comfort and wellbeing of individuals,” the report said.

The report is significant because the wind farm had been approved as compliant under state noise regulations and was being operated in a low-noise mode when investi­gations were under way.

The residents’ lawyer, Demenika Tannock, said she was meeting affected residents to consider their options. “A QC has been briefed and a junior counsel briefed with a possible class action against the shire, the operator, the minister and the state Environment Department,” Ms Tannock said.

A case is currently before the Supreme Court.

The Bald Hills wind farm was developed by Mitsui and Co and sold to Australian-based Infrastructure Capital Group in February last year. South Gippsland Council said it would be seeking comments on the report from both the wind farm operator and the complainants over the next few weeks.

Council chief executive Tim Tamlin said: “Without in any way suggesting that council is avoiding its responsibility, I would like to point out that this finding demonstrates the apparent disconnect between the Planning and Environment Act and the Public Health and Wellbeing Act,” he said. “I would suggest this is something the Victorian government needs to resolve.”


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, September 16, 2018

Only the 'best and brightest': Government cracks down on poorly skilled migrants and dole bludgers amid plan to axe more visas

Poorly skilled migrants will struggle to receive immigration visas amid the government's plan to crackdown on dole bludgers.  Only the 'best and brightest' immigrants will be welcomed into Australia, according to the Saturday Telegraph. Scraping through the 99 different types of visas, those that attract welfare-dependent migrants could face the firing line.

The government has already made steps to weed out poorly skilled migrants by axing the 457 visa in April 2017. The decision almost halved the number of foreign workers and raised the average salary.

Foreign workers were paid an average of $110,000 in the past financial year - an increase of $15,000 - while almost half the amount of skills visas were approved. Almost 70,000 skills visas were approved at the height of the 457 visa program.

Less than 35,000 were approved in the past financial year.


ABC groupthink distorts debate we need to have

It hasn’t been a good week for ­racist, climate-change denying, bullying misogynists. We don’t have a lot of good days, but thanks to Serena Williams, Scott Morrison, Julie Bishop and Mark Knight we have just been through the ­seventh circle of hell for speaking our minds.

The vile labels are absurd, but this is the sort of silly abuse people now expect for ventilating sensible opinions, such as daring to suggest Knight’s cartoon of Williams’s US Open tantrum was an amusing caricature, proposing that female MPs publicly smearing a loosely defined group of politicians as bullies ought to offer some specifics or arguing that electricity price cuts are more important to Australians than emissions reductions. Airing main­stream, right-of-centre views out of step with the green-left zeitgeist of social media and the public broadcasters triggers outrage rather than arguments.

Many slurs are anonymous but the conversation has become so debased that some people forget themselves and normal standards even under their own name.

A bloke by the name of Harley Stumm, who apparently runs a theatre company in Sydney, took to Twitter to wish me a “slow and painful death” because I argued the “racist” cartoon controversy was more about “activist social media outrage” than real issues.

Still, feral behaviour on social media is neither here nor there in the overall scheme of things. What should concern us is how this often reflects the default position in mainstream media — especially the public broadcasters but also much of the press gallery and left-of-centre publications — dangerously distorting national debate. The lack of diversity of thought would be worrisome enough but the way the groupthink coagulates around extreme and irrational views is frightening.

If we can accept that these hardline views are valid — that it is plausible to argue Knight’s cartoon was racist, emissions reductions are more important than power costs or that male Coalition MPs are bullies — then any rational assessment must also concede that the opposite points of view are also legitimate.

Actually, the facts and all indications of mainstream opinion strongly favour these counter views. I don’t want to rehash the arguments here but suffice it to say Knight’s body of work shows his cartoon was no more than a caricature aimed at highlighting poor sportsmanship; rising emissions globally mean our cuts do not improve the environment; and if sexist bullying were endemic in the Liberal Party, people such as Bishop would have raised it years ago.

Still, the point I want to make is not who is right but that clearly different views exist; there is a wide range of valid opinions on these issues aired daily across the nation. Yet the perspectives you get from much of the political media are stuck in those green-left views that drive and thrive on social media outrage. Given we pay for public broadcasters and they are required under law to provide objective and pluralistic coverage, let us concentrate on the ABC. Aunty has 4092 people on the payroll and 67 per cent, or 2763, of them are content makers; half of those in news.

Its annual report says: “Diversity is one of the ABC’s key strategic drivers.” So 2.5 per cent of its staff are indigenous and 51 per cent are women. Terrific. But what about diversity of ideas, perspectives, ideologies or opinions? How can it be that when there is such robust debate about incendiary allegations of racism in a cartoon, a scan of views from ABC journalists and hosts provides only one take?

Immediately endorsing the racist charge, Radio National host Jonathan Green tweeted that Knight was a “good man” who should apologise but later said he regretted the “good man” reference. “I compare it to anti-Semitic cartoons that are equally no longer tolerated,” tweeted fellow RN presenter Patricia Karvelas, turning the volume to 11. “The imagery is denigrating.” ABC News Breakfast host Virginia Trioli tweeted in response to the Herald Sun’s defiant front page reprinting the full gamut of Knight’s hilarious caricatures. This was “one of the greatest examples of the Straw Man Fallacy” Trioli had seen.

Extreme and wrong-headed as these views may be, they are worthy of debate. But why are they all the same? How can it be that an issue that divides opinion across the nation finds only one reaction in the corridors of the national broadcaster? Did no one at Ultimo or Southbank think the cartoon was funny or that the hyperventilated response smacked of bigotry by seeing racism where there was none or opportunistically looking to make an example of someone?

The Liberal bullying claims were taken up with a gusto and lack of scepticism by ABC TV’s leading reporters, Laura Tingle and Andrew Probyn. What they lacked in specifics they have made up for in video re-enactments.

Can a counter view be found at the ABC, some who might contend that these were typically blunt exchanges in the heat of a leadership battle and that there could be an element of political payback in the allegations? Not from RN commentator Paul Bongiorno, who has dubbed the Coalition “misogynistic”, or from The Drum host Julia Baird, who has “written a PhD on media sexism” and said “Liberal women are, finally, and spectacularly, rebelling”. Nor would it come from chief economics correspondent Emma Alberici, who tweeted in favour of female quotas, making the common but fallacious argument that the Coalition already has cabinet quotas for Nationals.

Again, all this is fodder for spirited and intelligent debate, but why do ABC voices all turn one way like so many school fish?

Climate change is the bellwether because it involves avoiding the facts. Whether you are a climate catastrophist or a hardened sceptic, the reality is that we know global carbon emissions are still growing substantially; their expansion alone dwarfs Australia’s total emissions, let alone whatever we cut. Logically, then, the disruption of our energy system in favour of renewables and the consequences we have seen on price and reliability demand serious policy debate. Yet despite a fascination for the broad topic, the ABC never recognises this reality.

It pretends daily that any mechanism to reduce emissions is correct; it has backed an emissions trading scheme, carbon tax, renewable energy target, national energy guarantee and emissions intensity plan. It often suggests our emissions reductions will save the Great Barrier Reef and reduce droughts and bushfires. This is absurd. What we do will have no discernible impact, especially when global emissions keep rising.

There was no sense of this reality when Leigh Sales interviewed the Prime Minister this week and asked why climate change wasn’t a “top policy priority”. It took a school student guest on Q&A to inject some logic. “The thing is that the two major emitters of carbon emissions is the USA and China, and as we are speaking right now, China is building coal-fired plants across the world and the US has just pulled out of the Paris Agreement,” said Joanne Tran, perhaps surprising many ABC viewers.

The ABC has been so committed to some version of emissions reduction policy that it is rewriting political history. Malcolm Turnbull’s NEG was the catalyst for leadership upheaval and climate and energy policy is still so divisive that the government promises to focus only on prices while deifying the Paris targets. There are obvious reasons the government wants to avoid debating what has torn it apart but journalists and commentators are supposed to ignore these wounds and pick at the scabs.

Instead, ABC audiences are being told the leadership change was about nothing. Tingle dismissed it as putting “lipstick on a pig” and suggested to the Nationals’ Darren Chester that “there is no real change in policy here, is there?” Surely even ABC journalists are on to this sophistry. Turnbull was forced to surrender his NEG policy the day before the spill, losing much authority, and now Morrison has dumped the policy altogether. It is disingenuous for ABC analysts to champion climate and energy policy, suggest it should be a top priority, then pretend nothing has changed when it is scrapped.

There should be plurality rather than corporate views across journalists, platforms and programs at the ABC. That groupthink forms around such jaun­diced and ideological views is a worry. Similar groupthink exists on border protection, same-sex marriage, Donald Trump, Brexit, indigenous recognition and other issues. All are worthy areas for public debate. The ABC should be able to look at issues from different perspectives without hollering for the Institute of Public Affairs.

With so much to discuss it is a pity that a wide range of opinions and endless relevant facts are often reduced to binary choices in a polarised, digital media world — and everyone at the ABC chooses the same side.

Please alert me to exceptions that may prove the rule.


Students set for shift to ‘radical’ 21st century curriculum

Australian students are set to be taught fashionable but contentious 21st-century skills, ranging from critical and creative thinking through to “mindfulness”, “gratitude” and “resilience”, with moves under way for a radical redesign of the national curriculum.

The Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority has started a review of the curriculum that is understood to draw heavily on the recent Gonski review, an OECD future of education project and the work of a US-based “futurist” who has been contracted to help “modernise” the mathematics curriculum.

The push has attracted criticism from ACARA’s recently retired chairman, Steven Schwartz.

“The 21st-century skills movement is the latest in a long line of educational fads,” Professor Schwartz said. “In each case, early enthusiasm gave way to disillusion. The problem is always the same: children cannot learn to be critical thinkers until they have actually learned something to think about.”

ACARA chief executive Robert Randall alluded to the review during a University of NSW lecture last month. He revealed the next iteration of the curriculum would be out within two years.

It is understood work is centred on two objectives: bringing 21st-century skills — referred to as general capabilities in the curriculum but also known as “soft skills” and “generic competencies” — to the fore of what is taught in classrooms; and incorporating equally contentious learning progressions that have been linked to a proposal to replace student achievement, including A-E grades, with “gain” as a measure of a student’s success.

Both were endorsed by businessman David Gonski in his ­recent review into educational ­excellence

Former ACARA director of curriculum Fiona Mueller, who resigned late last year after two years in the role, exposed the ­review in a recent online opinion article. She lamented the “fixation on 21st-century competencies” and “lack of broadminded, transparent and objective leadership on the part of local decision makers”.

Approached by The Weekend Australian, Dr Mueller said she was concerned that work under way amounted to a redesign of the curriculum by stealth. “You might call (it) a rather stealthy shift in approach, and the implications for students, teachers and other stakeholders are absolutely enormous,” she said. “What they are talking about is actually another radical shift in teaching and learning.”

Despite ACARA’s frequent ­assurances that any changes to the two-year-old curriculum would be “refinements”, it recently commissioned the US-based Centre for Curriculum Redesign, headed by self-­described education thought leader and futurist Charles Fadel, to work on a new maths curriculum.

It was referred to on ACARA’s website in July under the obscure heading “Australian Curriculum: Mathematics recognised as global leader”.

More detail was available on the CCR’s own website. A July 24 media release reveals the project would lead to the ­creation of a “world-class ­mathematics ­curriculum” that paid ­explicit attention to “21st century competencies” that addressed the “learning needs of students for life and work in the 21st century”.

Mr Randall was quoted as saying that the project would be used to “inform any future refinement to the Australian curriculum in mathematics and to help guide improvement to ACARA’s overall curriculum design and development process”.

Hailed by many as a panacea to declining educational results — both locally and when compared with international counterparts — the general capabilities received a big tick in the Gonski report, which described them as “critical to equipping ­students with the skills necessary to successfully live and work in a changing world and are increasingly sought after by employers”.

Positioned in the national curriculum with eight core learning areas, such as English, maths, science and history, there are seven general capabilities: literacy, numeracy, ICT capability, critical and creative thinking, personal and social capability, intercultural understanding and ethical understanding.

The degree to which teachers embed them in their subject teaching is not known.

Australian Catholic University research fellow Kevin Donnelly, a former secondary school principal who conducted the government’s 2014 review of the curriculum, said the push to elevate the role of skills and capabilities in education was a worldwide trend, driven by “globalist groupthink” about “changing times” and preparing students “for jobs that have not yet been created, for technologies that have not yet been invented, to solve problems that have not yet been anticipated”.

It is also a major theme of the OECD’s Education 2030 position paper, The Future of Education and Skills, in which ACARA was heavily involved. The report, ­released this year, features a long list of “constructs” of competencies currently under review that could find their way into the curriculum, such as adaptability, compassion, equity, global mindset, gratitude, hope, integrity, motivation, justice, mindfulness, resilience, respect, purposefulness and trust.

“Such competencies represent a content-free approach to the curriculum that is guaranteed to further lower standards and ensure that Australian students continue to underperform and leave schools morally and culturally bereft,” Dr Donnelly said.

Centre for Independent Studies senior research fellow Jennifer Buckingham also questioned the push, describing it as “well-intentioned but misguided”. “Of course it is important for young people to be able to collaborate, communicate and think critically and creatively, but there is absolutely nothing new about that,” Dr Buckingham said.

“What is new is the idea that these things can be taught by schools as a set of generic skills or capabilities disconnected from disciplinary knowledge. Good evidence suggest that this is a fool’s errand.”

A spokesman for ACARA confirmed that the organisation was engaged in work designed to inform the next generation of the national curriculum, but any ­action would require the endorsement of all education ministers.

The spokesman said that the recommendation in the Gonski report relating to the development of learning progressions built on ACARA’s recent work in producing literacy and numeracy learning progressions, which “help teachers locate the literacy and numeracy development of their students and identify what development should follow”.

The spokesman said the CCR contract, to design a new maths curriculum, was worth $215,000.


Chris Bowen steps up on ATO small business tax abuse

Australians from every corner of our land should thank the ALP’s shadow minister for small business Christopher Eyles Guy Bowen.

He has become the first major party politician to recognise that Australia’s biggest employment generators -small business and entrepreneurs - need a proper tax appeal process.

As it is, the Australian Taxation Office’s widespread abuse of small business gets worse every day. The ATO’s latest stunt is to try to wipe out husband and wife partnerships in trades like plumbing, electricians etc.

I’ve quoted Bowen’s full name in recognition of this achievement and the fact that he has added small business to his role as shadow treasurer; a move long overdue.

More than two years ago in The Australian (along with Self Employed Australia) I first alerted the community to the small business abuses being conducted by the ATO and the fact that there was no appeal process. I am so grateful that I am longer alone and have been joined by The ALP and Bowen, the judiciary, the Inspector General of Taxation, the small business ombudsman, the ABC, and the Fairfax press. I can’t think of any issue that has united such a wide sector of the community.

It’s totally ironic that the Coalition, which desperately needs the support of small business in next year’s election, has sat on its hands and done nothing to curb the ATO’s blatant abuse of small business. Offering tax cuts becomes a joke.

As shadow treasurer, Bowen realises that unless the abuse is stopped, it will affect confidence in the total taxation system. The ATO has the capacity to investigate only a relatively small portion of tax payments. The ATO abuses will inevitably, in time, cause loss of confidence in the system (perhaps when the ALP is in office), which will devastate government revenue. The ALP has announced that if it wins the next election it will establish appeal process against ATO determinations by establishing a second ATO Commissioner and office for appeals, reporting to the Commissioner of Taxation.

It’s a proposal that was canvassed before the ATO abuses got out of hand. Had it been introduced, say, two years ago, it might have been sufficient. But I believe the bad, anti-small business culture in the ATO is now so deep that the ALP remedy will work only for a short time.

Let me illustrate with a real life example. If you want to stop abuses in banks, power companies or the churches, it is useless to establish an appeal process that reports to the chief executive the organisation that is committing the abuses.

Even if the CEO is not part of the abuses, in time the abusers will get control of the appeal processes. And yet that’s exactly what the ALP is proposing. I am sad that, having isolated the problem, Chris Bowen has not understood that no person could be CEO of an abusing organisation and CEO of the appeal process.

Nevertheless, Bowen deserves full marks for recognising the looming crisis.

The ALP opinion polling has shown that although small business is the Coalition’s natural support base, through gross ineptness it has allowed the ATO to abuse that base, enabling the ALP to now take the initiative and gain points.

But the Coalition is lucky that the ALP has not quite got it right, so it still has an opportunity.

Unfortunately, in government, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is not the small business minister. Michaelia Cash is new to the small business portfolio, although she is in the inner cabinet and her experience in handling the CFMEU will be invaluable in tackling the ATO.

So if Labor hasn’t got it right, and the Coalition is yet to act, what’s the solution?

The first element of the solution is to have a totally independent small business appeal body where there are no lawyers. The best organisation to embrace that task is the Inspector-General of Taxation.

A totally separate small business appeal body is absolutely not negotiable. Unless the ALP or the Coalition is prepared to do that, then it’s better to do nothing and wait until the overall revenue is hit forcing the government of the day to take proper action to restore confidence.

A second mechanism is to make taxation prosecution part of the attorney general’s department, as it is in all other government jurisdictions. That would be a wonderful thing for the nation, but it’s a big step to take.

The Coalition government has stuck its head in the sand for the last two years. That said, I believe that former financial services minster Kelly O’Dwyer was very close to appointing the Inspector-General of Taxation as an independent appeal body. Then came the leadership spill. Somewhere in the morass is a Treasury report on what to do about the abuses.

Back in May 2016 - yes 2016 - I wrote this commentary in the lead up the July 2016 election:

"It’s now time for one or both of our major political parties to tackle the biggest single hidden issue in the election campaign — the way the tax office is treating the small- and medium-sized business community.

Large corporations have the resources to take the tax office to court so tax officials know they must follow the law or end up in court. The issues in this area usually involve the application of the law to complex transactions.

But small enterprises simply do not have the resources to fight court cases, so the tax office is able to set its own rules and those rules can be different to what the law says.

In the same article, I said:

"The Inspector-General needs to be given wider powers and more staff or a new body should be set up".

At that time I did not understand the depth of the issue, but I could smell that there was a cultural problem in the ATO. And from day one, I have emphasised that I am not defending tax avoiders, but rather those who have honestly tried to comply but have been caught in the ATO anti-small business culture against where there is no appeal because it costs too much.

It’s been a long journey and I thank my readers for their patience but finally the politicians are going to take notice. Thank you, Chris Bowen.


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