Friday, August 18, 2017



Recycled sewerage water will be used to irrigate agriculture and horticulture on the Adelaide Plains

S.A. is a dry State so this has intuitive appeal.  And recycled sewerage water has been used for cropping in Israel with great success. 

But I am suspicious about no mention of a cost/benefit study.  There are all sorts of areas in Australia suitable for irrigated crops -- dare I mention the Ord? -- but few of them are economically feasible, partly due to transport and marketing costs but also due to the chronic wordwide glut of agricultural products. 

But this development will be in close proximity to a major market for its product so it may work at some level.  Recovery of the capital costs or much return to capital are  most unlikely, however. Neither eventuated at the Ord. Governments are dumb investors.  But water is something of a sacred icon in "the dry continent"



AN irrigation project that could create up to 3700 jobs in northern Adelaide will go ahead after the Federal Government promised to contribute $46 million towards building costs.

Despite facing a political crisis after it was revealed he held New Zealand citizenship, Agriculture and Water Resources Minister Barnaby Joyce has agreed to spend $45.6 million from the National Water Infrastructure Development on the irrigation scheme.

The project will pump recycled water from the Bolivar sewage treatment works to the Adelaide Plains for use in irrigated agriculture and horticulture.

Mr Joyce and Assistant Water Minister Anne Ruston will on Thursday announce the Federal Government’s financial support for the scheme.

"We’re investing in the infrastructure of tomorrow so we can expand our production to meet global food demand that is set to rise by 75 per cent between 2007 and 2050," the Deputy Prime Minister said.

"This project will be key to developing greater market access for South Australian producers to Hong Kong, Malaysia, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia and Singapore. [That didn't work for the Ord and Adelaide is even farther away from those markets than is the Ord]

"This project is a great example of the kind of infrastructure we are delivering across the country.”

Senator Ruston said the irrigation scheme would help unlock the potential of undeveloped land.

"Having already delivered funding of $2.5 million for the feasibility study, I am pleased the Government is continuing our support into the construction stage of this valuable project," she said.

Senator Ruston said access to additional water would create new opportunities for farmers to capture the potential of higher-value crops.

Groundwater in the region is currently over-allocated.

The State Government has already promised $110 million towards the irrigation scheme and had been seeking a federal contribution.

The project is designed to create new job opportunities in the northern Adelaide region after the Holden factory closes in October.

Waste water from the Bolivar plant is currently pumped out to sea. The irrigation project will help SA Water to meet its obligation to reduce nitrogen discharges into the ocean.

The irrigation scheme is expected to operational by early 2019 and will initially deliver 12 gigalitres of water each year. It could eventually be expanded to deliver up to 20 gigalitres per year.

A new water treatment plant, a pump station, bore field and 50km of pipes will supply a new irrigation area.

Irrigated agriculture is worth more than $1.8 billion South Australia’s agricultural production. Vegetables are the most valuable irrigated agricultural commodity in SA and were worth $446 million in 2014-15.

The Federal Government is spending $2.5 billion water infrastructure through loans and grant programs.

SOURCE





Police coverup of attack on Christians

Three days before Christmas, a van packed with gas bottles detonated outside the HQ of the Australian Christian Lobby.
The very next day, after conducting an interview that lasted about 7 minutes with a man suffering from massive burns, the ACT Police made this statement:

"Police spoke briefly with the man before he continued with treatment. Police were able to establish the man’s actions were not politically, religiously or ideologically motivated"

But see the front pages today of The Australian:

"The man accused of driving a burning van laden with gas bottles into the Australian Christian Lobby headquarters was a gay activist who disliked the group because of its "position on sexuality” and had searched online how to make plastic explosives and a pressure-cooker bomb.

Court documents tendered to the ACT Magistrates Court yesterday reveal Jaden Duong had also run searches about gay marriage in other countries and, a month before the alleged attack at 10.45pm on December 21 last year, had searched for the "Australian Christian Lobby”…

…Police allege 36-year-old Mr Duong had stepped up internet searching from July last year for terms including "how to make ammonium nitrate”, "pressure- cooker bomb”, "C4”, "how to buy a gun in Australia”, "gas leak explosion” and "how much gas to cause explosion”…

…His hospital records allegedly showed Mr Duong had attempted suicide previously, had chosen to target the ACL spontaneously and had "quit his job to plan this suicide attempt”.

"He is ‘not a huge fan’ of the ACL, or religion in general, due to their beliefs and position on sexuality,” the records from Sydney’s Concord Hospital state…

…According to documents tendered in court, soon after the explosion, police asked Mr Duong why he had picked the location.
"Because I dislike the Australian Christian Lobby,” he allegedly replied. Asked why, he allegedly said: "Because religions are failed.”…"

One could reasonably form the opinion that the ACT police have  engaged in a political cover up. There needs to be an immediate investigation into its handling of this incident.

And it needs to answer why the ACT police were so quick to rule out any political, religious or ideological motivation when the evidence it had received directly pointed to the opposite conclusion.

SOURCE






Pauline Hanson wears burqa to parliament in bid to ban them



Australian anti-immigrant senator Pauline Hanson wore a burqa to parliament on Thursday as part of her campaign to ban the all-enveloping garment worn by some Muslim women, drawing a quick rebuke from the government and Muslims.

Hanson sat in her seat in the assembly for about 20 minutes covered by the black burqa before removing it to call for them to be banned in public for national security reasons.

"I'm quite happy to remove this because this is not what should belong in this parliament," Hanson, who leads the far-right One Nation party, told the Senate.

"If a person who wears a balaclava or a helmet in to a bank or any other building, or even on the floor of the court, they must be removed. Why is it not the same case for someone who is covering up their face and cannot be identified?"

Hanson, who first rose to prominence in the 1990s because of her strident opposition to immigration from Asia and to asylum seekers, has in recent years campaigned against Islamic clothing and the building of mosques.

Her party has four senators, which gives it influence in parliament when closely contested legislation is being voted on.

Attorney-General George Brandis rebuked Hanson.

"I am not going to pretend to ignore the stunt that you have tried to pull today by arriving in the chamber dressed in a burqa," he said, drawing applause from members of the Senate.

"We all know that you are not adherent of the Islamic faith. I would caution and counsel you with respect to be very, very careful of the offense you may do to the religious sensibilities of other Australians."

SOURCE






Business backs Coalition’s higher education reforms

Business is backing the Turnbull government’s higher education reforms, describing them as modest and a chance to take stock to assess whether Australia’s uncapped demand-driven university system is delivering the best outcomes for students and industry.

Universities are running a fierce campaign against the Coalition’s reforms, arguing they represent the most significant over­haul in the sector for two decades and will result in a "double hit” on students paying more for a lower quality education, staff cuts and jeopardise Australia’s $22 billion a year education export industry.

But the government disputes this, countering the overhaul is necessary because taxpayer funding to universities has been a "river of gold” and the demand-driven system needs to be put on a sustainable footing for future generations.

Jenny Lambert, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s director of employment, education and training, said the business group was supportive of the package because it offered a chance to put "a little bit of brake on the system”, make some modest changes and send further signals about universities being efficient and effective.

The tertiary overhaul — which introduces a 2.5 per cent efficiency dividend on universities next year and in 2019, ties about $500 million a year in university funding to performance improvements and requires graduates to begin paying back their HELP debt at 1 per cent when their income reaches $42,000 — was the largest savings measure in the budget handed down in May. The reforms are worth $2.7bn across five years but are stalled in the parliament.

"We don’t know that those who have been pushed to attend university — who may not have previously done so — do they find their medium to long-term outcomes have justified that decision or have they been disappointed or let down by the system?" Ms Lambert said.

"If the medium-term evidence shows us that they (universities) have been more efficient, they have been more effective, and student outcomes start to go up in this uncapped demand-driven system, then we can say ‘well, we’ve got the settings about right and we need to make sure the universities can afford to deliver the quality of education that everyone expects.’ ”

Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the higher education reforms were essential and not onerous.

"We’re confronted with around $50bn of student debt with a quarter not expected to be repaid, taxpayer funding for universities having increased at twice the rate of the economy and per student revenue increases of 15 per cent while costs have only grown by 9.5 per cent,” he said.

"Universities will still see 23 per cent growth in taxpayer funding, all we’re asking is for them to operate within a more sustainable rate of growth. That’s not a cut but it will make higher education more sustainable into the future.”

SOURCE

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




17 August, 2017

ZEG

In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG mocks intolerance at Google.





Engagement rings -- in Britain and Australia

There is an article here which comments on an English woman who was disappointed that her high-earning fiance gave her an engagement ring that he paid only £1,300 ($2600.00) for.

It got a lot of comments from readers, with not a few of them telling the man he has had a lucky escape and that he should dump her forthwith.  That is certainly my view.

A lot of Australian women went online to say that their ring had cost very little and they liked it that way.  They said the love they had between them and their partner was the thing that mattered. And that is hard to argue with.

The man in the matter has not yet been heard from so I thought I might mention some of the reasons he might have had.  For a small sum, I bought my lady in one of my four marriages a secondhand zirconia that would have been worth thousands had it been a real diamond.  And the lady was happy with that.  Without using special equipment you cannot tell a zirconia from a diamond so she was happy with the social appearance of the ring.  She had an evasive answer ready if anyone asked her directly what it was.  And it is in general crude and boastful to proclaim the cost of a ring anyway.  So unless you are tasteless, it is pointless to buy an expensive ring.

But what about the value of the ring as an investment?  The huge point about that is that what you get on resale will be only a fraction of what it cost.  It is just about the worst imagineable investment.  So wise advice would be to buy a pretty ring with semi-precious stones that you can happily show around -- and use the rest of your left-over cash on a real investment -- or just throw a bigger party.

A young couple I know bought a pretty secondhand ring for $500 -- because both wanted to save all they could to buy their own home.  I wonder that everyone does not do that.






Dangerous air pollution from coal-fired power stations  in Australia?

I am interested in the following claim made below:  "People who live within 50km of coal-fired power stations face a risk of premature death as much as three to four times that of people living further away."

I have read the large and glossy report from which that statistic is allegedly taken but can find no mention of it there.  It must be a very fleeting mention if it is there at all. There was certainly nothing like the formal research report that one would expect to underlie such a claim:  No details of sampling or control for demographic statistics, no table of results etc.

With all Green/Left writing the thing to identify is what they do NOT say.  They regularly just leave out information that would damage their case.  As it happens I have some research background in this field so I know what they have left out.  They did not do an attitude study.  They did not try to find out how bothered people were by the alleged pollution.  They put up a few anecdotes about that but anecdotes prove nothing. You can always find people dissatisfied with anything if you look hard for them.

My survey of the effect of living near a coal mine showed that people did NOT have elevated environmental concerns as a result of that proximity.  And my study was an orthodox and fully described one.  So there is no doubt in existence a degree of pollution associated with Australia's coal mines but it is at a level that is only a minor irritant to those affected by it.  My study was of coal mines in 1980 but, as the report below mentions, the power stations at the time were generally located just about on top of the mines

The report is a beat up. Just more Greenie deception. It was put out by Environmental Justice Australia so I had no real expectation that it would be a work of objective science.  It is just propaganda



AUSTRALIA is trailing behind places like China when it comes to pollution standards and those living near coal-fired power stations are three times more likely to die a premature death, according to a new report.

Environmental Justice Australia (EJA) found Australian power stations are allowed to emit far more pollution than those in the US, China and parts of the European Union, and they are not being regulated well enough to protect human health or the environment.

The toxins produced by coal-fired power stations can have a deadly impact on those living nearby. People who live within 50km are about three to four times more likely to die a premature death as those living further away.

The report looked at four pollutants that are extremely harmful to health and have been linked to asthma, respiratory problems, stroke, angina, heart attack and cancer.

It found coal-fired power stations emitted more than 30 toxic substances and are the biggest sources of fine particles PM2.5, sulfur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen.

"The mercury limits for some NSW power stations are 666 times higher than the US limits. This is unacceptable,” the report said.

"In almost all cases the emissions limits applied to Australian power stations are significantly less stringent than the standards in the European Union, United States and China.”

What controls that are in place are also not well monitored and rarely enforced.

The EJA has made eight recommendations including that the Federal Government commission an independent assessment of health impacts, develop national emission standards, ask for better monitoring and commit to not building, financing or approving any new coal-fired power stations.

When it comes to air pollution, the report suggested "ultra-supercritical” or "high efficiency low emission” (HELE) power stations were not very effective at reducing pollution.

"The best improvement ultra-supercritical technology can offer over subcritical is about a 14 per cent reduction in pollution emissions,” the report said.

NSW Central Coast resident Gary Blaschke OAM said a lot of the downside of living close to coal-fired power stations had been swept under the carpet.

"If pollution was purple, people would be up in arms. Because we often can’t see it — whether it’s in the air on in the ground — many people don’t even think about it.”

THE INVISIBLE KILLER

The report Toxic and terminal: How the regulation of coal-fired power stations fails Australian communities mainly looks at four pollutants. They are coarse particles called PM10, fine particles known as PM2.5, sulfur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen.

In particular PM2.5 has been linked directly to health risks including asthma, bronchitis, acute and chronic respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath and painful breathing, and premature deaths.

It’s been estimated that PM2.5 exposure has led to 1590 premature deaths each year in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.

These particles can travel long distances so Sydney residents may feel the impacts of pollution produced by Hunter Valley power stations, but local communities are the most at risk.

People who live within 50km of coal-fired power stations face a risk of premature death as much as three to four times that of people living further away.

It’s been estimated that 18 people living near the now-closed Hazelwood power station in Victoria died premature death due to air pollution in one year.

"The annual health costs of coal-fired power stations across Australia has been estimated at about $2.6 billion a year,” the report said.

"These costs are not factored into wholesale electricity prices or licence fees, and are therefore borne by the community rather than affecting the profits of the power station owners.”

SOURCE





Greens should just shut up and listen

They think they know it all but they don't know what is right for Aborigines.  They are part of the problem, not part of the solution.  Article below by Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, an Alice Springs councillor and a research associate at the Centre for Independent Studies

When elders from the communities of Kununurra, Wyndham and Ceduna travelled to Canberra last week with a video revealing the appalling violence on their streets, they delivered a strong message. Those streets are war zones of drug and alcohol-fuelled assaults and child abuse — and they want it to stop.

The video, supported by West Australian mining businessman Andrew Forrest, proves the desperate need for the cashless debit card system that quarantines 80 per cent of welfare recipients’ payments to limit access to alcohol, drugs and gambling.

These elders are crying out for the lives of the children being assaulted and abused. In one of these communities, 187 children are victims of sexual abuse with 36 men facing 300 charges, and a further 124 are suspects.

I know all too well the deep frustrations these Australian citizens feel as they are desperate to save their people from the crisis being played out day after day in their communities. They have long fought for our political leaders to recognise the need to take the tough — sometimes unpopular but necessary — steps to make meaningful change that will save the lives of Aboriginal children, women and men.

So why do large numbers of our media and our political leaders (including some indigenous ones) fail to respond to such clear evidence of assault, child abuse and violence at the hands of our own people but are prepared to call for a royal commission when the perpetrator is a white person in uniform or when institutionalised racism is perceived to be at play?

A television report on the horrendous treatment of juvenile inmates at Darwin’s Don Dale Youth Detention Centre swiftly sparked a royal commission. Yet footage of an Aboriginal man stomping on an Aboriginal woman and various other vicious acts — which in my view are far more shocking than that of the Don Dale footage — draws criticism by the Greens that the video was simply propaganda for the cashless welfare card. This is not propaganda; it is proof.

We hear regularly that we should be listening to Aboriginal people on the ground to understand the complexities of the problems and to encourage us to find solutions for our horrific circumstances. Well, here is a video created by Aboriginal leaders in conjunction with the wider community, including the police and a mayor, pleading for the implementation of a practical measure to help curb the purchase of alcohol and drugs so the lives of the most marginalised Australians may be improved. No, it is not a magic bullet, but it is a start towards improving the lives of Australian citizens in crisis.

Forrest has been criticised for telling the world that he has been approached by minors willing to sell sex. A 14-year-old I know who roams Alice Springs streets at night regularly witnesses children selling themselves to "old” Aboriginal men for alcohol and cigarettes. We pass such information on to the police, who already know it is happening, yet the authorities responsible for these children tells us they have seen no evidence of it. Just as there was a conspiracy of silence to deny the reality of frontier violence, now there seems to be a conspiracy of silence on the left to deny what is happening openly in our streets.

The evidence of deep crisis has never been so blatant. This trauma is inflicted on our people by substance abuse and violence fuelled by a taxpayer-funded disposable income. However, if a rich white man throws his support behind a group of frustrated and desperate indigenous leaders living with this trauma their plea simply is dismissed as perverse by the politically correct without offering any effective alternative solutions.

The Greens call Forrest paternalistic, yet WA Greens senator Rachel Siewert has the audacity to tell indigenous people how we should think, what our problems are and what we should be doing about it. Siewert and her party chose not to meet the elders who came all the way to Canberra from their remote communities to communicate the real problems.

The Greens reaction is nothing more than the racism of low expectations and egocentric virtue-signalling of those toeing the line of an ideology that is further compounding the crisis. If the video shocked you, good. It should; and what should follow is an appropriate response that recognises the human right of Aboriginal women, children and men to live in safety, free of drug and alcohol-driven violence and sexual abuse. Sacrificing whole generations to violence and abuse does not help the fight against racism. It reinforces it.

SOURCE






Same-sex marriage: Church warns of ‘same-sex coercion’ for schools

The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney has launched an attack on the push to legalise same-sex marriage, warning that a failure to protect religious freedoms will ­expose many Australians and faith-based institutions to the risk of "harassment and coercion”.

Archbishop Anthony Fisher has warned that religious schools, hospitals, charities and welfare agencies could be jeopardised by a Yes vote for same-sex marriage in the government’s postal ballot.

Firing an opening shot in the church’s campaign, the archbishop has laid down battlelines for the No case by linking the ­redefinition of marriage to broader community concerns about ­issues such as the contentious Safe Schools program.

The push to broaden the debate is supported by some ­Coalition MPs, including Tony Abbott and Nationals senator Matt Canavan, who have issued statements about a march of political correctness and the preservation of marriage as an institution for the bringing up of children.

"It’s a pity that there is no settled position on the protections that should be available if same-sex marriage goes through,” Mr Abbott told The Australian. "The advocates of change should ­always be required to make their case.”

The attack by Archbishop Fisher pitches the Catholic Church in a heated battle against Labor and key backers of the Yes campaign, who say there is no need for same-sex marriage to be accompanied by stronger religious protections for faith-based institutions.

In a statement to The Australian, Archbishop Fisher said the exercise of "free religion” would be curtailed and religious protections canvassed so far had applied only to ministers of religion and civil celebrants, a group representing only a "tiny proportion” of believers.

"What protections will be ­offered to people who work for church-run institutions such as schools, hospitals and universities?” he said. "Will teachers be free to teach church teaching on marriage or will they be forced to teach a more politically correct curriculum?

"Will employers of such church agencies be free to choose staff in sympathy with their church’s teachings? Will Catholic welfare agencies be required to provide marriage preparation or marriage counselling for same-sex couples on pain of being dragged before anti-discrimin­ation tribunals?”

Archbishop Fisher also rejected arguments the legalisation of same-sex marriage would not have broader consequences. "Many people believe that redefining marriage won’t affect them,” he said. "Respectfully, I would say they need to take another look — it will affect every Australian.

"In other parts of the world that have legalised same-sex marriage, those who believe in traditional marriage have been harassed or coerced into complying with the new view of marriage. It would be extremely naive to think that won’t happen here.

"Things will only get worse if ­marriage is redefined without ade­quate protections being first put in place.” He challenged political leaders to explain whether a vote for same-sex marriage would ­result in the entrenchment of the Safe Schools program — an anti-bullying scheme that familiarises students with transgender concepts — and prevent parents from objecting to its content.

"Will children in government schools be subjected to propaganda in favour of same-sex marriage and gender fluidity such as the infamous Safe Schools program?” he said. "Will parents be free to take their children out of such classes? Will church schools be expected to toe the line also?”

The refusal of the Senate to pass legislation to hold a compulsory plebiscite forced Malcolm Turnbull to hold the $122 million voluntary postal ballot to be overseen by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the legality of which is being tested in the High Court.

Bill Shorten, while opposed to the ballot on the grounds it could expose gay and lesbian couples to hate speech, has committed to the Yes campaign and told parliament "We cannot sit on the sidelines”.

The ballot will be conducted from September 12 to November 7, with the Yes campaign urging younger voters to enrol before the cut-off deadline of August 24. A result will be determined by Nov­ember 15.

Labor yesterday slammed the attempt to broaden the battlefront over same-sex marriage, with ­opposition legal affairs spokesman Mark Dreyfus rejecting arguments the change would impinge on personal and religious ­freedoms.

"The No campaign know the only way they can win this fight is to make it about topics other than marriage equality,” he said.

"This is about giving LGBTI couples equality before the law. Nothing more, nothing less. ­Religious freedom is not under threat … Any suggestion it is, is nothing but a scare campaign.” Liberal City of Sydney councillor and Mr Abbott’s sister, Christine Forster, also downplayed risks same-sex marriage posed to religious freedom, saying Australia was a fair-minded and egalitarian country. She told Sky News that if she and her partner Virginia ­Edwards wanted to be married by a Catholic priest, he would be entitled to refuse under the proposals being considered by parliament.

But when pressed further, she added: "If same-sex marriage is legalised … then people have to ­accept that it is in law, how our country works.”

Senator Canavan challenged same-sex marriage advocates to bring forward legislation ahead of the postal ballot to reveal how religious freedoms would be treated in any shake-up. "Those advocating change need to show how they are going to protect religious freedoms,” he said. "I’ve never seen proposals to protect the freedoms of Catholic schools and Catholic hospitals or other religious institutions beyond those involved in weddings ­ceremonies.”

A report by a parliamentary committee on the government’s draft same-sex marriage bill found in February that "evidence supports the need for current protections for religious freedom to be enhanced”. Archbishop Fisher’s comments came after The Australian revealed last week the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Glenn Davies, wrote to Mr Turnbull ­requesting that any proposed bill on same-sex marriage be released before voting begins.

SOURCE

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




Thursday, August 17, 2017



ZEG

In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG mocks intolerance at Google.





Engagement rings -- in Britain and Australia

There is an article here which comments on an English woman who was disappointed that her high-earning fiance gave her an engagement ring that he paid only £1,300 ($2600.00) for.

It got a lot of comments from readers, with not a few of them telling the man he has had a lucky escape and that he should dump her forthwith.  That is certainly my view.

A lot of Australian women went online to say that their ring had cost very little and they liked it that way.  They said the love they had between them and their partner was the thing that mattered. And that is hard to argue with.

The man in the matter has not yet been heard from so I thought I might mention some of the reasons he might have had.  For a small sum, I bought my lady in one of my four marriages a secondhand zirconia that would have been worth thousands had it been a real diamond.  And the lady was happy with that.  Without using special equipment you cannot tell a zirconia from a diamond so she was happy with the social appearance of the ring.  She had an evasive answer ready if anyone asked her directly what it was.  And it is in general crude and boastful to proclaim the cost of a ring anyway.  So unless you are tasteless, it is pointless to buy an expensive ring.

But what about the value of the ring as an investment?  The huge point about that is that what you get on resale will be only a fraction of what it cost.  It is just about the worst imagineable investment.  So wise advice would be to buy a pretty ring with semi-precious stones that you can happily show around -- and use the rest of your left-over cash on a real investment -- or just throw a bigger party.

A young couple I know bought a pretty secondhand ring for $500 -- because both wanted to save all they could to buy their own home.  I wonder that everyone does not do that.






Dangerous air pollution from coal-fired power stations  in Australia?

I am interested in the following claim made below:  "People who live within 50km of coal-fired power stations face a risk of premature death as much as three to four times that of people living further away."

I have read the large and glossy report from which that statistic is allegedly taken but can find no mention of it there.  It must be a very fleeting mention if it is there at all. There was certainly nothing like the formal research report that one would expect to underlie such a claim:  No details of sampling or control for demographic statistics, no table of results etc.

With all Green/Left writing the thing to identify is what they do NOT say.  They regularly just leave out information that would damage their case.  As it happens I have some research background in this field so I know what they have left out.  They did not do an attitude study.  They did not try to find out how bothered people were by the alleged pollution.  They put up a few anecdotes about that but anecdotes prove nothing. You can always find people dissatisfied with anything if you look hard for them.

My survey of the effect of living near a coal mine showed that people did NOT have elevated environmental concerns as a result of that proximity.  And my study was an orthodox and fully described one.  So there is no doubt in existence a degree of pollution associated with Australia's coal mines but it is at a level that is only a minor irritant to those affected by it.  My study was of coal mines in 1980 but, as the report below mentions, the power stations at the time were generally located just about on top of the mines

The report is a beat up. Just more Greenie deception. It was put out by Environmental Justice Australia so I had no real expectation that it would be a work of objective science.  It is just propaganda



AUSTRALIA is trailing behind places like China when it comes to pollution standards and those living near coal-fired power stations are three times more likely to die a premature death, according to a new report.

Environmental Justice Australia (EJA) found Australian power stations are allowed to emit far more pollution than those in the US, China and parts of the European Union, and they are not being regulated well enough to protect human health or the environment.

The toxins produced by coal-fired power stations can have a deadly impact on those living nearby. People who live within 50km are about three to four times more likely to die a premature death as those living further away.

The report looked at four pollutants that are extremely harmful to health and have been linked to asthma, respiratory problems, stroke, angina, heart attack and cancer.

It found coal-fired power stations emitted more than 30 toxic substances and are the biggest sources of fine particles PM2.5, sulfur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen.

“The mercury limits for some NSW power stations are 666 times higher than the US limits. This is unacceptable,” the report said.

“In almost all cases the emissions limits applied to Australian power stations are significantly less stringent than the standards in the European Union, United States and China.”

What controls that are in place are also not well monitored and rarely enforced.

The EJA has made eight recommendations including that the Federal Government commission an independent assessment of health impacts, develop national emission standards, ask for better monitoring and commit to not building, financing or approving any new coal-fired power stations.

When it comes to air pollution, the report suggested “ultra-supercritical” or “high efficiency low emission” (HELE) power stations were not very effective at reducing pollution.

“The best improvement ultra-supercritical technology can offer over subcritical is about a 14 per cent reduction in pollution emissions,” the report said.

NSW Central Coast resident Gary Blaschke OAM said a lot of the downside of living close to coal-fired power stations had been swept under the carpet.

“If pollution was purple, people would be up in arms. Because we often can’t see it — whether it’s in the air on in the ground — many people don’t even think about it.”

THE INVISIBLE KILLER

The report Toxic and terminal: How the regulation of coal-fired power stations fails Australian communities mainly looks at four pollutants. They are coarse particles called PM10, fine particles known as PM2.5, sulfur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen.

In particular PM2.5 has been linked directly to health risks including asthma, bronchitis, acute and chronic respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath and painful breathing, and premature deaths.

It’s been estimated that PM2.5 exposure has led to 1590 premature deaths each year in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.

These particles can travel long distances so Sydney residents may feel the impacts of pollution produced by Hunter Valley power stations, but local communities are the most at risk.

People who live within 50km of coal-fired power stations face a risk of premature death as much as three to four times that of people living further away.

It’s been estimated that 18 people living near the now-closed Hazelwood power station in Victoria died premature death due to air pollution in one year.

“The annual health costs of coal-fired power stations across Australia has been estimated at about $2.6 billion a year,” the report said.

“These costs are not factored into wholesale electricity prices or licence fees, and are therefore borne by the community rather than affecting the profits of the power station owners.”

SOURCE

UPDATE:

I received the following email from a reader:

I am a follower of your blog.  I saw that you picked up on the outrageous false claims made recently by Environmental Justice Australia.

You may be interested in the results of the Upper Hunter Valley Fine Particulate Matter Characterisation Study undertaken in 2012/2013 by the EPA and CSIRO.

The EPA found (much to their disappointment) the following things:

1.       The dominant source of fine particulate pollution in Muswellbrook is household wood heaters.  Other significant sources are sea salt and biomass smoke.

2.       There is no detectable sulphate particulate pollution from the power stations

3.       There is no detectable unique fingerprint for coal dust in the Upper Hunter Valley.

Indeed, the PM2.5 levels for the Upper Hunter are not too much different from those found in Antarctica (annual average of 4.3ug/m3) when adjusted for factors like wood smoke and biomass burning. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25167815)





Greens should just shut up and listen

They think they know it all but they don't know what is right for Aborigines.  They are part of the problem, not part of the solution.  Article below by Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, an Alice Springs councillor and a research associate at the Centre for Independent Studies

When elders from the communities of Kununurra, Wyndham and Ceduna travelled to Canberra last week with a video revealing the appalling violence on their streets, they delivered a strong message. Those streets are war zones of drug and alcohol-fuelled assaults and child abuse — and they want it to stop.

The video, supported by West Australian mining businessman Andrew Forrest, proves the desperate need for the cashless debit card system that quarantines 80 per cent of welfare recipients’ payments to limit access to alcohol, drugs and gambling.

These elders are crying out for the lives of the children being assaulted and abused. In one of these communities, 187 children are victims of sexual abuse with 36 men facing 300 charges, and a further 124 are suspects.

I know all too well the deep frustrations these Australian citizens feel as they are desperate to save their people from the crisis being played out day after day in their communities. They have long fought for our political leaders to recognise the need to take the tough — sometimes unpopular but necessary — steps to make meaningful change that will save the lives of Aboriginal children, women and men.

So why do large numbers of our media and our political leaders (including some indigenous ones) fail to respond to such clear evidence of assault, child abuse and violence at the hands of our own people but are prepared to call for a royal commission when the perpetrator is a white person in uniform or when institutionalised racism is perceived to be at play?

A television report on the horrendous treatment of juvenile inmates at Darwin’s Don Dale Youth Detention Centre swiftly sparked a royal commission. Yet footage of an Aboriginal man stomping on an Aboriginal woman and various other vicious acts — which in my view are far more shocking than that of the Don Dale footage — draws criticism by the Greens that the video was simply propaganda for the cashless welfare card. This is not propaganda; it is proof.

We hear regularly that we should be listening to Aboriginal people on the ground to understand the complexities of the problems and to encourage us to find solutions for our horrific circumstances. Well, here is a video created by Aboriginal leaders in conjunction with the wider community, including the police and a mayor, pleading for the implementation of a practical measure to help curb the purchase of alcohol and drugs so the lives of the most marginalised Australians may be improved. No, it is not a magic bullet, but it is a start towards improving the lives of Australian citizens in crisis.

Forrest has been criticised for telling the world that he has been approached by minors willing to sell sex. A 14-year-old I know who roams Alice Springs streets at night regularly witnesses children selling themselves to “old” Aboriginal men for alcohol and cigarettes. We pass such information on to the police, who already know it is happening, yet the authorities responsible for these children tells us they have seen no evidence of it. Just as there was a conspiracy of silence to deny the reality of frontier violence, now there seems to be a conspiracy of silence on the left to deny what is happening openly in our streets.

The evidence of deep crisis has never been so blatant. This trauma is inflicted on our people by substance abuse and violence fuelled by a taxpayer-funded disposable income. However, if a rich white man throws his support behind a group of frustrated and desperate indigenous leaders living with this trauma their plea simply is dismissed as perverse by the politically correct without offering any effective alternative solutions.

The Greens call Forrest paternalistic, yet WA Greens senator Rachel Siewert has the audacity to tell indigenous people how we should think, what our problems are and what we should be doing about it. Siewert and her party chose not to meet the elders who came all the way to Canberra from their remote communities to communicate the real problems.

The Greens reaction is nothing more than the racism of low expectations and egocentric virtue-signalling of those toeing the line of an ideology that is further compounding the crisis. If the video shocked you, good. It should; and what should follow is an appropriate response that recognises the human right of Aboriginal women, children and men to live in safety, free of drug and alcohol-driven violence and sexual abuse. Sacrificing whole generations to violence and abuse does not help the fight against racism. It reinforces it.

SOURCE






Same-sex marriage: Church warns of ‘same-sex coercion’ for schools

The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney has launched an attack on the push to legalise same-sex marriage, warning that a failure to protect religious freedoms will ­expose many Australians and faith-based institutions to the risk of “harassment and coercion”.

Archbishop Anthony Fisher has warned that religious schools, hospitals, charities and welfare agencies could be jeopardised by a Yes vote for same-sex marriage in the government’s postal ballot.

Firing an opening shot in the church’s campaign, the archbishop has laid down battlelines for the No case by linking the ­redefinition of marriage to broader community concerns about ­issues such as the contentious Safe Schools program.

The push to broaden the debate is supported by some ­Coalition MPs, including Tony Abbott and Nationals senator Matt Canavan, who have issued statements about a march of political correctness and the preservation of marriage as an institution for the bringing up of children.

“It’s a pity that there is no settled position on the protections that should be available if same-sex marriage goes through,” Mr Abbott told The Australian. “The advocates of change should ­always be required to make their case.”

The attack by Archbishop Fisher pitches the Catholic Church in a heated battle against Labor and key backers of the Yes campaign, who say there is no need for same-sex marriage to be accompanied by stronger religious protections for faith-based institutions.

In a statement to The Australian, Archbishop Fisher said the exercise of “free religion” would be curtailed and religious protections canvassed so far had applied only to ministers of religion and civil celebrants, a group representing only a “tiny proportion” of believers.

“What protections will be ­offered to people who work for church-run institutions such as schools, hospitals and universities?” he said. “Will teachers be free to teach church teaching on marriage or will they be forced to teach a more politically correct curriculum?

“Will employers of such church agencies be free to choose staff in sympathy with their church’s teachings? Will Catholic welfare agencies be required to provide marriage preparation or marriage counselling for same-sex couples on pain of being dragged before anti-discrimin­ation tribunals?”

Archbishop Fisher also rejected arguments the legalisation of same-sex marriage would not have broader consequences. “Many people believe that redefining marriage won’t affect them,” he said. “Respectfully, I would say they need to take another look — it will affect every Australian.

“In other parts of the world that have legalised same-sex marriage, those who believe in traditional marriage have been harassed or coerced into complying with the new view of marriage. It would be extremely naive to think that won’t happen here.

“Things will only get worse if ­marriage is redefined without ade­quate protections being first put in place.” He challenged political leaders to explain whether a vote for same-sex marriage would ­result in the entrenchment of the Safe Schools program — an anti-bullying scheme that familiarises students with transgender concepts — and prevent parents from objecting to its content.

“Will children in government schools be subjected to propaganda in favour of same-sex marriage and gender fluidity such as the infamous Safe Schools program?” he said. “Will parents be free to take their children out of such classes? Will church schools be expected to toe the line also?”

The refusal of the Senate to pass legislation to hold a compulsory plebiscite forced Malcolm Turnbull to hold the $122 million voluntary postal ballot to be overseen by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the legality of which is being tested in the High Court.

Bill Shorten, while opposed to the ballot on the grounds it could expose gay and lesbian couples to hate speech, has committed to the Yes campaign and told parliament “We cannot sit on the sidelines”.

The ballot will be conducted from September 12 to November 7, with the Yes campaign urging younger voters to enrol before the cut-off deadline of August 24. A result will be determined by Nov­ember 15.

Labor yesterday slammed the attempt to broaden the battlefront over same-sex marriage, with ­opposition legal affairs spokesman Mark Dreyfus rejecting arguments the change would impinge on personal and religious ­freedoms.

“The No campaign know the only way they can win this fight is to make it about topics other than marriage equality,” he said.

“This is about giving LGBTI couples equality before the law. Nothing more, nothing less. ­Religious freedom is not under threat … Any suggestion it is, is nothing but a scare campaign.” Liberal City of Sydney councillor and Mr Abbott’s sister, Christine Forster, also downplayed risks same-sex marriage posed to religious freedom, saying Australia was a fair-minded and egalitarian country. She told Sky News that if she and her partner Virginia ­Edwards wanted to be married by a Catholic priest, he would be entitled to refuse under the proposals being considered by parliament.

But when pressed further, she added: “If same-sex marriage is legalised … then people have to ­accept that it is in law, how our country works.”

Senator Canavan challenged same-sex marriage advocates to bring forward legislation ahead of the postal ballot to reveal how religious freedoms would be treated in any shake-up. “Those advocating change need to show how they are going to protect religious freedoms,” he said. “I’ve never seen proposals to protect the freedoms of Catholic schools and Catholic hospitals or other religious institutions beyond those involved in weddings ­ceremonies.”

A report by a parliamentary committee on the government’s draft same-sex marriage bill found in February that “evidence supports the need for current protections for religious freedom to be enhanced”. Archbishop Fisher’s comments came after The Australian revealed last week the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Glenn Davies, wrote to Mr Turnbull ­requesting that any proposed bill on same-sex marriage be released before voting begins.

SOURCE

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





Wednesday, August 16, 2017



ZEG

In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is not impressed by Sam Dastyari, Australia's own Iranian member of parliament

Dastyari is a former General Secretary of the New South Wales branch of the Australian Labor Party.  Stalin was a general secretary too -- of the CPSU.  Beware General Secretaries.





An amusing Press release from the South Australian government below

They really believe in doubling down on failure. Solar thermal is a great idea -- except everywhere that it has been tried.  Ivanpah in Califiornia sometimes uses more energy than it produces and it absolutely vacuums up money. And Spain's Abengoa project is effectively bankrupt.  How much more can the long-suffering taxpayers of South Australia stand?  They will eventually have to walk away from this white elephant


South Australia’s Weatherill Labor Government today awarded a contract for a new solar thermal power station in Port Augusta, where the state’s last coal-fired power station was shut last year.  The contract is the final piece of the puzzle needed to build a world-leading clean energy generator that will provide desperately needed jobs.

‘Jay Weatherill has today proven his Government to be the unequivocal international leader for clean energy generation and for a just transition for workers and communities affected by climate action,’ said Australian Services Union – SA + NT Branch (ASU) Secretary Joseph Scales.

The ASU has backed the long community campaign to build a solar thermal power station in Pt Augusta.

‘Workers at the coal-fired power station in Port Augusta paid the heaviest price for climate change.  Alinta Energy were corporate vandals, leaving Port Augusta when the markets said there was no more money to be made from coal.  Today’s announcement by the Labor Government makes Port Augusta a centre of clean energy generation in South Australia and a leader in renewable energy internationally,’ said Mr Scales.

The project will see around 700 jobs created during construction and 50 ongoing jobs at the power station.

‘This is a very proud day for the Port Augusta community.  It’s a magnificent victory for community action by locals, workers, their unions and the environmental sector,’ said Mr Scales.

The Australian Services Union was the largest Union at the Alinta operated Augusta Power Stations and has thousands of members in the energy sector around the country.

Via email




   

Council poised to drop Aust Day ceremonies

A Melbourne council is under pressure from the federal government to drop its bid to become the first in the country to stop holding citizenship ceremonies on January 26 as part of a push to find a new date for Australia Day.

Yarra City councillors are due to vote on Tuesday night on a series of measures that would see the council stop referring to January 26 as Australia Day from 2018 and end its tradition of holding citizenship ceremonies on that date.

Mayor Amanda Stone says if the councillors approve the plans, Yarra City would be the first council in Australia to abandon holding citizenship ceremonies on Australia Day.

The move has outraged Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Alex Hawke, who has fired off a letter to councils across the country warning they could be banned from hosting any more citizenship ceremonies if they stop holding them on Australia Day.

"Local councils are now on notice that if they politicise Australian citizenship, the government will see it as a breach of the (Australian Citizenship Ceremonies) code and take the appropriate action," he said.

But Ms Stone said she can't find any requirement in the code for councils to hold citizenship ceremonies on Australia Day.

"The code actually says you shouldn't use a ceremony to promote a political agenda or a religious agenda or commercial agenda," she told AAP.

"We wouldn't be intending to do that. We are simply considering changing when we hold our first citizenship ceremony of the year."

Yarra City usually holds citizenship ceremonies every two months.

Ms Stone said if the one on Australia Day was scratched, it could be moved to February or another date such as Australian Citizenship Day on September 17.

She said councillors would take into consideration the ministers' warning before tonight's vote.

"There are a number of options we need to consider and we need to balance the advice from the federal government and what we think is in the best interests of the community," Ms Stone said.

"We don't want to put any members of the community, particularly the Aboriginal community, in the firing line."

Huge protests by indigenous Australians and their supporters were held on Australia Day this year amid growing calls to find a new date for Australia Day.

However, the government does not support the push for change.

A report prepared for Yarra City councillors said consultations with its local Aboriginal community revealed most regard January 26 as a "painful and alienating day" because it marks the arrival of the First Fleet from England.

The report said locals supported the council, which takes in the suburbs of Richmond, Fitzroy and Collingwood, moving citizenship ceremonies from January 26 and holding an event acknowledging the culture and history of Aboriginal people instead.

The council meeting is due to take place from 6pm Tuesday.

SOURCE






Prepare for the hate if you vote to protect traditional marriage

BE warned. If you mention you are going to vote “No” in the homosexual marriage plebiscite you will most likely be branded a bigot.  “Society” will turn on you. You may even be ostracised in your workplace, nursing home or footy club.

So much for freedom of speech.

What same-sex marriage proponents like Bill Shorten and Malcolm Turnbull neglect to tell you is this:

Redefining marriage is redefining parenthood. Homosexual marriage supporters wrongly say that traditional parenting doesn’t matter anymore and that it is OK to bring a child up without a father or without a mother. Same-sex marriage is a misguided concept. And it is not simply a symbolic gesture as the left-wing columnists rush to tell you. It will have far-reaching consequences for children. Here I stress that opponents of same-sex marriage shouldn’t become bigots either.

We all know the intolerances and the gay bashing culture that was commonplace in Australia right up until the 70s. Now homosexual couples are accepted and have full legal rights.  They already have equality and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Former PMs Tony Abbott and John Howard have urged Australians to vote “No”. Abbott was plain-speaking:

“I say to you, if you don’t like same-sex marriage, vote no. If you’re worried about religious freedom and freedom of speech, vote no, and if you don’t like political correctness, vote no because voting no will help to stop political correctness in its tracks,” he said.

I loved this letter in the paper from Stephen J. Fyson from Belmont in NSW: “The same-sex marriage debate is not about equality, it is about redefinition. It is like a triangle saying it has the right to be called a square because they are both geometrical shapes. But that does not make sense, because certain basic properties are different.

“The same applies for the use of the word marriage. Same-sex couples already have equality under the law, but equality does not mean sameness.

“The solution would be for this type of committed relationship to have a different word that gives equivalency, but not sameness. That would protect traditional marriage while giving same-sex couples a word they could use with clarity, and not with the pretence of being the same as something that is different in its basic property.

“To pretend a thing is the same as another thing with different properties is the basis of political correctness. Political correctness takes away freedom from one group while changing the clear meaning of something.”

If you buy have not made up your mind, I suggest you do so quickly.

The postal ballot is due to begin within weeks with the Australian Bureau of Statistics hoping to mail ballot papers to voters in September.

The votes are due back in early November, before a result is declared a few weeks later.

The postal ballot is a fallback option for the Coalition, after its compulsory plebiscite was again blocked in the Senate by Labor, the Greens and members of the crossbench.

SOURCE





Turnbull bid to block super union

The Turnbull government will move next week to block the creation of a CFMEU-MUA “super union” through legislation to be introduced to parliament that would force the Fair Work Commission to apply a public-interest test for any mergers.

A delegation of 30 mining, oil and gas chief executives met senior cabinet ministers in Canberra on Wednesday night and urged ­action from the government to block what they described as a Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union “takeover” that would cause industrial chaos across the supply chain and drive investors away at “the speed of light”.

The Australian understands that a bill to amend the Fair Work (Registered Organisations Act) and apply a public-interest test for union mergers will be introduced next Wednesday.

The government is seeking to impose a new test for amalga­mations of unions that requires the Fair Work Commission to consider the unions’ record of lawlessness and whether the merger served the public interest. It would also seek to make it easier to deregister unions that continually breached workplace rules.

The CFMEU has described the public-interest test as “ridiculous”.

The Turnbull government, however, believes that the laws, if passed by the Senate, would have the effect of blocking the CFMEU-MUA amalgamation that, it claims, would create a super union of 120,000 members in workforces across the construction and mining sectors, as well as on the waterfront.

As the government sharpened its assault on union thuggery, ­the Coalition unleashed an extra­ordinary attack against Bill Shorten in parliament yesterday. Malcolm Turnbull said the Opposition Leader could have been jailed if proposed laws allowing courts to ban union officials for multiple breaches of civil law had operated when Mr Shorten was at the Australian Workers Union.

The Fair Work Commission is still considering the “super union” merger, which would include the smaller Textile Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia. A decision is likely this year.

The Turnbull government will need to win the support of Senate crossbenchers, including Nick Xenophon. The South Australian senator has been the subject of sustained attacks from the CFMEU, which has pledged to target his NXT party before the next election.

Employment Minister Michaelia Cash said the union merger posed a “major threat to Australia’s productivity and economic prosperity”. Last week, Senator Cash said the CFMEU had ­already been hit with $10 million in fines from prosecutions brought against it. “The fact that two of the most militant unions in Australia are proposing to merge is extremely concerning,” she told The Aus­tralian. “The entrenched culture of bullying and intimidation tactics of the CFMEU and MUA have no place in Australian workplaces. At present, there are 93 CFMEU officials before the courts on ­charges of breaching workplace laws. The union recently surpassed a dubious milestone of having ­accumulated $10m in fines.

“At present, there is no requirement for union mergers to be in members’ interests, the interests of the affected industries, or the ­nation’s overall economic interest.

“The government is committed to putting workers and the Australian economy first.”

Australian Mines and Metals Association chief executive Steve Knott said the proposed merger was “alarming”, considering the influence the unions already held over the Labor Party.

“This will drive investors away from this country faster than the speed of light and dry up any pipeline of future investment,” he said.

“The track record of the CFMEU is a national disgrace and that won’t be missed in boardrooms around the globe. If the merger described by the sector as a takeover was to go ahead, investors could put their money somewhere else other than Australia.”

The two unions have argued that the union movement was under threat and the merger would help bolster their financial and legal resources. An official application for the merger was lodged in June following a memorandum of understanding between the unions signed late last year.

MUA national secretary Paddy Crumlin has previously described the merger as a need to build a new union to counter “a lot of adversarial stuff out there, a lot of anti-unionism, there is a political ideology in this country that’s pervasive and ­actively offensive against trade union rights”.

Yesterday, Mr Crumlin told The Australian: “If Michaelia Cash wants to talk about a public-­interest test, it is very much in the public interest to have strong, ­independent trade unions to stand up to egregious ­examples of wage slavery, corporate greed and tax evasion by multinational corporations.”

SOURCE

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







Tuesday, August 15, 2017




Rights clash looms in same-sex debate

While the flawed postal vote plebiscite has provoked furious rival responses, the pivotal problem is just emerging — the failure in any draft bill by Coalition or Labor MPs to fully protect religious freedoms once same-sex marriage is legislated.

This is set to become an explosive issue within the Coalition parties. The alarm has been sounded and if, as expected, the plebiscite returns a “yes” vote, it will be triggered. This will become a serious problem for Malcolm Turnbull and Attorney-General George Brandis.

Tony Abbott, a number of other prominent Liberals and church leaders will direct much of their campaign against same-sex marriage on to the failure of the parliament to confront the religious freedom issue and exploit public doubts on this front.

Beyond the campaign lies the great dilemma. The proposition is lethal — that it would constitute a historical betrayal of the values of the Coalition parties if they “backed” a bill post-plebiscite on same-sex marriage that exposed individuals and institutions to retaliation for their beliefs because the government failed to strengthen Australia’s woefully inadequate laws on religious freedom and protection.

Abbott said if people had fears for their freedom, their right to express the traditional view of marriage without retaliation, they should vote “no”. In tactical terms, this shifts the issue from same-sex marriage, which has majority support, to the trade-off of rights ­involved: winning same-sex marriage at the sacrifice of freedom of conscience, belief and religion.

The evidence strongly backs Abbott’s claims. Indeed, it is overwhelming as documented in submissions to and in the February 2017 report of the Senate select committee on the draft bill released by Brandis. The further truth is the political class is split on these protections, with the prospect that passage of same-sex marriage will have a second and far more important consequence — an assault on religious freedoms made possible by inadequate laws that will see a major shift in Australian society.

Since the postal plebiscite was announced, comments by Abbott, ACT Liberal senator Zed Seselja, Liberal backbencher Andrew Hastie, the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney Glenn Davies and the Moderator General of the Presbyterian Church of Australia, John P Wilson, signal they want to enshrine religious freedom as a core issue in the vote. It is likely this will become a universal position of the Christian churches. It would be remarkable if it did not.

Nobody should be surprised by these events. It highlights the essential weakness of the same-sex marriage case, a point obvious for years. Despite the insistence of politicians, religious freedom has not been properly addressed and many inadequate bills testify to this. The draft bill released by Brandis, the subject of the February 2017 report by the Senate ­select committee, was not authorised by the cabinet or the partyroom. It has no standing. Yet this bill was assumed to be the model to inform the original plebiscite had it been approved.

Alarm about this bill and other bills including that proposed by senator Dean Smith, despite the broader guarantees surrounding the same-sex marriage ceremony Brandis and Smith drafted, is obvious from the submissions made to the Senate committee.

Its chairman, South Australian Liberal David Fawcett, tells ­Inquirer: “My concern is that if we don’t get this right, if this issue is just put into the too-hard basket, then we will be left with inadequate state anti-discrimination laws and there will be action taken against individuals because there is inadequate protection for ­religious freedom.”

In his foreword to the report Fawcett says: “If Australia is to remain a plural, tolerant society where different views are valued and legal, legislators much recognise that this change will require careful, simultaneous consideration of a wide range of specialist areas of law as opposed to the common perception that it ­involves just a few words in one act of parliament.”

The Turnbull government has ignored the spirit or letter of this advice. Hastie identified this flaw when he said to this paper during the week: “Will people, churches, schools, charitable organisations and businesses be protected if they hold to the common view of marriage?” The Senate committee report shows they will not. This issue goes far beyond the ceremony itself to wider society.

Saying the Smith bill is defective, Hastie says it “only offered protections to individuals involved in the conduct of weddings” and, as a result, “failed to grasp the far-reaching significance of redefining marriage”.

This is the core point. It is the challenge the Coalition will abandon only at the price of betraying the principles basic to its life since the inception of these parties. Will Turnbull before the next election face the prospect of believers in traditional marriage being penalised or intimidated because his government refused to provide legal protections? If so, how will conservative voters react?

The irony is that Smith agrees religious protections are inadequate and should be addressed. He tells Inquirer: “I think there is legitimacy to a broad discussion of religious freedom in Australia.”

But Smith doesn’t want this to interfere with his bill or the passing of same-sex marriage. He wants this as a separate discussion.

Brandis makes no secret of the approach he took as A-G. His focus was on the same-sex marriage bill itself and he was ambitious in pushing the boundaries against much LGBTI sentiment to ensure that marriage celebrants as well as ministers of religion can refuse to solemnise marriages. Smith also pushed the boundaries with these provisions.

But this ignores the real problem, which far transcends protections around weddings as such. The current law leaves wide open many avenues of intimidation against individuals, schools, charities, businesses, adoption agencies and civic ­organisations. This includes consumer boycotts promoted by ­social media and even commercial boycotts against other commercial entities.

The Senate committee after reviewing the landscape said: “Overall the evidence supports the need for current protections for religious freedom to be enhanced. This would most appropriately be achieved through the inclusion of ‘religious belief’ in federal anti-discrimination law.”

Incredibly, this was the view of the whole committee. Many bodies supported this recommendation in their submissions. Human Rights commissioner Ed Santow said: “You could have a stand-alone statute that specifically dealt with freedom of religion or you could expand the Racial Discrimination Act.” Even the Australian Human Rights Commission agrees there should be a specific protection in federal law protecting religious belief.

Yet nothing has been done. Of course, this is a big project. The Turnbull government should have tied such measures to the same-sex marriage issue from the start, an omission it will regret. Because it is proposing to legislate same-sex marriage before Christmas if the plebiscite is passed, the signal is that the government intends to do nothing, or give an extremely low priority to any further religious protection concerns.

Equally significant, there is no plan within the government if the plebiscite is carried for the cabinet or partyroom to consider any planned private member’s bill that would be the subject of a free vote. Inquirer has been told there would be informal “consultations” over such a bill. That’s all. How satisfactory is this?

It raises a core issue: will the cabinet and partyroom tolerate a situation where their government paves the way for such a historic social change simultaneous with a manifest failure to properly provide for protections in relation to conscience, belief and religion? What would this reveal about the values of the Liberal Party in 2017 or its sense of blind panic about getting same-sex marriage off the political agenda?

University of Sydney law professor Patrick Parkinson welcomes the protections for ministers of religion and for marriage celebrants but says this is far from sufficient. “In certain sections of the community, there is now deep hatred expressed for people of faith,” he says.

“Provisions are required to protect people from discrimination on account of whatever views they may hold about marriage, whether they are opposed to same-sex marriage or in favour of it.”

He says it must be made lawful for any person or entity to express an opinion that accords with a religious or conscientious belief about marriage. He advocates laws to protect people or entities in relation to employment, contracting, academic, trade or professional qualification, accommo­dation, education and adminis­tration of commonwealth laws and programs.

Institute for Civil Society executive director Mark Sneddon summarises his views based on his submission to the Senate committee: “I am extremely concerned about the lack of legal protection across this country in terms of freedom of conscience, belief and religion for people who support traditional marriage.

“These protections are far less than those for people who support same-sex marriage. Yet it is those who support traditional marriage who are more susceptible to ­actions … from government bodies and commercial ­organisations.

“Where persons hold the traditional view of marriage not on grounds of religious belief, they have no protection under federal, state and territory anti-discrimination laws or the Fair Work Act. If they hold the traditional view of marriage on the grounds of ­religious belief they have no protection under federal anti-discrimination law, no protection under NSW or South Australian anti-discrimination laws and some protection under the anti-discrimination laws of the other states or territories but only for individuals and not organisations.”

The Senate committee was provided with examples of prejudicial treatment of people and institutions because they support traditional marriage. Provided by the Institute for Civil Society, it is a long and startling list.

There was the closure of all Catholic adoption agencies in England and Wales or the transfer of their operations to secular entities because their charitable status was removed due to their position and practices on same-sex marriage.

There was the intimidation of Trinity Western University in British Columbia, a Canadian Christian university, in which the province’s teachers board refused accreditation to its graduates on grounds they might discriminate against LGBTI students, a decision reversed by the Supreme Court of Canada after years of litigation.

But when Trinity Western applied to open a law school, Canadian legal institutions including the Canadian Bar Association and a number of provincial law societies voted not to accredit its graduates because they had signed a required university covenant to abstain from sex unless it was between a husband and wife.

The attitude of large corporates is a major concern. Last year ­numerous US companies threatened to boycott the state of Georgia after legislation was tabled seeking to expand religious freedom exceptions in relation to same-sex marriage. The companies included Disney, Intel, Coca-Cola and Unilever. Disney said: “We will plan to take our business elsewhere should any legislation allowing discriminatory practices be signed into state law.”

Given the support Australian companies have offered same-sex marriage, any idea they would not pursue this cause against religious freedom seems forlorn. Indeed, it is hard to find any statement of meaningful support for religious freedom and belief from a senior Australian corporate executive on this issue, a telling omission.

At home there was huge pressure for the sacking by IBM of Mark Allaby and by Macquarie University of Steven Chavura unless they resigned from other bodies perceived to oppose same-sex marriage. A boycott was imposed by hotels against Coopers Brewing because it sponsored the Bible Society, which ran a video not against same-sex marriage but one that put both sides of the debate.

In the US, Chick-fil-A, a sandwich franchise, was subject to consumer boycotts and government and commercial retaliation when a senior executive supported traditional marriage. Brendan Eich, co-founder of Mozilla Corporation, known for its browser Firefox, triggered a consumer boycott because he had supported an anti-gay marriage position. He was forced to step down.

In Sydney the Mercure Hotel, which was hosting an event of various Christian groups to form a strategy against same-sex marriage, was threatened with violent protests such that staff safety could not be guaranteed. It had to cancel the event, an example of how easily the technique of intimidation can deliver. The most celebrated domestic case is the decision by Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Commissioner that the Catholic Archbishop of Hobart, Julian Porteous, had a case to answer for distributing a book in schools defending traditional marriage.

The evidence and examples rebuff the lazy response from politicians that this is not a serious issue. Referring to the overseas examples, Sneddon says: “I cannot see why these more extreme actions taken … in North America would not also be taken here.”

The Senate committee report corrects a near universal misconception repeated in this debate: that same-sex marriage is an established human right. This was disposed of in many submissions notably by Mark Fowler, from Neumann & Turnour lawyers.

In international law, the right to marry is contained in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This provision does not extend to same-sex marriage, an issue tested in the ruling Joslin v New Zealand. This position has been affirmed by the ­European Court of Human Rights in its rulings that there is no such right to same-sex marriage.

Such a right is typically claimed in polemical debate but its legal ­viability does not hold up. The Senate committee accepts this view, saying “under current human rights instruments and juris­prudence there have been no decisions to date that oblige Australia to legislate for same-sex marriage”. By contrast — and ironically — freedom of religion is one of the few non-derogable rights in the ICCPR.

Parkinson says: “While the case in international human rights law for saying that same-sex marriage is a human right is very weak, the case for protecting religious freedom, and in particular freedom of conscience, is quite overwhelming. There have been numerous bills introduced in parliament to enact same-sex marriage over the last few years and what has been common to most of them has been a minimalist protection for freedom of conscience.”

The plebiscite idea originated with Peter Dutton. Its implementation via the Bureau of Statistics came from Brandis. But it will occur only with the approval of the High Court and nobody can second-guess that outcome. Smith is right when he says his bill has more protections than anything likely to come from a Labor government. But this cannot gainsay the gaping hole left in this pivotal area of our national life and values.

For years the typical response from politicians to the religious freedom issue has been patronising and dismissive, buttressed by the claim that religious ministers would be protected. Any notion that will suffice is ludicrous.

The resistance falls into three categories: those who care only about achieving same-sex marriage; those who think protection around the ceremony is the only issue that matters; and those, like the champions of progressive ideology, who see this social change as an integral step in driving religion from the public square.

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Same-sex advocates caught out

It really is no wonder so many ­people who consume mainstream media are sceptical about ­journalism.

The press conference held by Malcolm Turnbull and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann in the Blue Room at Parliament House in Canberra last Tuesday on the Coalition’s plans for a same-sex marriage postal plebiscite was the worst kind of media pack performance.

It was a rowdy groupthink rounding on the PM by gallery ­reporters who displayed shared moral outrage at the idea of the voters having a say on one of the most fundamental issues in any society: marriage and the raising of children.

And of course the gallery gave the government no credit for sticking to a plebiscite promise it took to the election just over 12 months ago.

No such confected outrage against Labor, the Greens and the Senate crossbench for an anti-democratic, elitist blocking of a popular vote.

So what to make of the media coverage, the moral posturing of Labor leaders who as recently as the Gillard prime ministership ­opposed any change to the Marriage Act and the hysterical claims by advocates that any plebiscite will unleash a wave of anti-gay ­hatred? How about: “You must all be joking and isn’t this all just ­political grandstanding?”

Penny Wong, Labor’s leader in the Senate, spoke emotionally on Wednesday about her love for her children and complained that the Australian Christian Lobby had compared the plight of children of gay couples to the Stolen Generation. But Wong herself spoke against gay marriage as recently as 2010 when she said religious and cultural issues would keep ­marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

People can change their minds of course but if it has taken until 2017 for a gay woman with a long-term partner and children who is a national leader in progressive ­politics to get to her present ­position, why the opprobrium for people who still share her former ­concerns?

While I would vote for a change on the basis that I support economic and personal freedom and the limiting of big government intervention in people’s lives, I agree with all those who say it is not a first-order issue. And I question advocates who spruik polls citing 60-70 per cent support for reform, but reject polls showing 46 per cent want a plebiscite on the issue compared with 39 per cent who want parliament to decide. If advocates are confident of community support, why not test it now?

There was a clue on The Drum last Tuesday when Sydney’s Fairfield councillor Dai Le, a supporter of SSM and a critic of the plebiscite, said she was worried many migrant groups in her area would baulk at the issue if given a vote. Yes, that’s the nature of democracy Dai.

And the truth is, many recent migrant groups from Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu backgrounds will be among the most passionate opponents of SSM. When will our ABC give spokespeople from those religions airtime to tell Australians what their communities really think instead of alway criticising the Christian churches?

To be fair to progressive journalists, at least some from Fairfax Media have been honest about the political expediency of Labor on the issue and have belled the cat on Shorten’s venal desire to cause political problems for the PM within the Coalition at the expense of the marriage equality issue he supports. Both Mark Kenny and Peter Hartcher pointed to Shorten’s blatant hypocrisy

The ABC has been relentless and one-sided on the issue. By Thursday lunchtime ABC News editorial policy manager Mark Maley had emailed staff warning them of the need to be impartial on the issue.

Emma Alberici on Lateline has been among the worst. On Monday night she started an interview with Cormann with a self-regarding tale about the 15-year-old friend of her daughter who had just come out as gay and been kicked out of home.

As if people’s rights to a democratic vote should be curtailed to protect a daughter’s friend’s feelings. What if the 15-year old wanted to be a priest and was distressed by the ABC’s attitude to the Catholic Church? Does anyone think Alberici would consider reining in the ABC’s war on the church?

The Drum seems to find it difficult not to talk about SSM every day or to get guests who have ­anything positive to say about the government’s decision to keep its election promise. That was until The Australian Financial Review’s Aaron Patrick stood his ground on the program last Tuesday.

But what to make of the drivel from fellow panellist Emma Dawson, of the left wing Per Capita research lobby, who demanded to know why people were calling “marriage equality” “same-sex marriage”? Well that would be to avoid the language spin of the ­advocates who invented the ­marriage equality line. The ABC’s Maley wrote in his email to staff that reporters should start using the entirely accurate term: same-sex marriage.

A range of ABC programs trotted out former High Court judge Michael Kirby about why he would not be participating in the postal vote after 50 years of ­abusive comments for his gay relationship with former Rose Bay newsagent Johan Van Vloten.

Now Kirby, who lived in a magnificent Sydney Harbour waterfront home he sold for $12 million six years ago and rose to the highest court in the land after a glittering legal career, does not strike me as any kind of victim. A graduate of Fort Street High School, society has been very kind to Kirby.

Sure terrible things were done in the past to gay men and women but I see little evidence Kirby, or indeed Wong, are victims of any sort. If they really want to change the law surely it was always ­morally incumbent upon them to participate in the postal plebiscite and campaign for reform, and that is the position they — and most of Twitter — reached after Labor’s backflip.

While not wanting to sign up to the whole mawkish tone of modern offence culture, what about the feelings of people in “de facto” relationships, heterosexual and homosexual? Isn’t all this privileging of “marriage” an implied criticism of the “loving families” and children raised in such relationships?

Of course some people will say silly and offensive things, as former senator Bronwyn Bishop did on Paul Murray Live on Tuesday night when she talked about polygamy and people having sex with animals. But so what? Lots of silly things are said in all debates.

As the Prime Minister said on Tuesday, are we really suggesting that from now on our country can never again hold a referendum on a subject that might generate offensive comments? As someone who grew up during the Vietnam War protest era this seems to me a very soft attitude to democratic debate.

And how to understand SSM advocates rounding on profoundly progressive SSM supporter Mia Freedman for posting a photo of her wedding ring in support of the right of gay people to the same vow?

Just like the social media abuse hurled at Australian Christian Lobby leader Lyle Shelton every day for years, it gives the lie to the notion that the victims of bad manners in this debate will be the families of gay couples.

As usual the social media left will outdo the rest of society in rudeness, and no doubt play into the hands of former PM and SSM opponent Tony Abbott, who could have some success framing the postal plebiscite as a referendum on political correctness and bullying of the left.

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Businessman Dick Smith spends $1million on 'chilling' new anti-immigration ad warning Australia is doomed

Businessman Dick Smith is pressuring politicians to slash the number of immigrants accepted into Australia in a $1 million 'disturbing' ad campaign threatening violence and poverty.

The television advertisement, which will air on Tuesday, is based on the 1980s Grim Reaper AIDS campaign and will feature original actor John Stanton.

Using a pitchfork as an ominous symbol for a violent revolution, Mr Smith warns that 'endless growth will destroy Australia as we know it today.'

'Our growth-addicted economic system will see our children living in a world of eleven billion people, consuming and polluting more than our finite planet can withstand,' the millionaire entrepreneur claims in the Dick Smith Fair Go campaign ad.

'It's a path to either more and more inequality, or famine, disaster, war and collapse. Are we that stupid?'

Mr Smith appeals for politicians to cut the annual number of immigrants in half and offers to invest $2 million into marginal seats in the next election for the political party that drafts a population plan.

The outspoken One Nation supporter is also calling to close the gap between Australia's wealthiest people and the poor.

'Australia's wealthiest 1 percent own more than the bottom 70 percent, that's 17 million Aussies,' he said.

Mr Smith said that as a member of that top tier, he knows the group can 'certainly afford to pay more tax,' according to The Daily Telegraph.

A few of his own office staff members have called the ad 'disturbing,' Mr Smith said.

'It is so disturbing people in my office said they did not want their children to see it, but it is what we see on the news every night,' he said, according to the publication.

Mr Smith and radio host Alan Jones will launch the ad campaign at an event in Sydney on Tuesday morning.

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Climate of infighting in Greens

Rhiannon is an old Trot from way back and is just using the Greens to further her personal agenda.  She wants to push the Greens even further Left than they already are -- towards Communism

Former Greens leader Bob Brown has accused NSW senator Lee Rhiannon of being a "team wrecker" and urged her to retire, as the party struggles with internal problems.

The ABC's Four Corners program on Monday night features interviews with key players in the Greens, including Dr Brown who says he "looks forward" to the end of Senator's Rhiannon's "reign" in The Greens NSW.

"I've had to take Lee aside when I was party leader and tell her that she was damaging the party through her actions," he says in the program.

Senator Rhiannon was temporarily suspended from voting in the Australian Greens party room in June after insisting she was bound by Greens NSW in opposing a deal with the government on the Gonski 2.0 schools funding package.

In a statement on Monday the senator insisted she was a team player and respected the party's decisions.  "It is disappointing that a senior Greens figure such as Bob Brown should ignite tensions with public attacks," she said.

Senator Rhiannon said Dr Brown had trouble accepting some of the candidates preselected by Greens NSW and its structure, which was not dominated by MPs.  "Our stance on party structure earnt the ire of Bob Brown and he periodically comes out and attacks me. The attacks are not only hurtful, they damage the Australian Greens," she said.

The Greens have since allowed Senator Rhiannon back in the party room.

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young, who did not take part in the ABC program, said there were "obviously tensions about the processes we use". "We've been up-front about that. The party room is trying to work through a lot of that," she told Sky News.

Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese said he found Dr Brown's criticism "surprising", but correct.  "He's quite right in calling out people who've gone into his party but who aren't really loyal to that party," Mr Albanese told reporters in Canberra.

The Greens were secretive and harboured many former members of "far-left political parties".

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