Friday, December 02, 2016

Reversing Warmist spin

The latest article from shifty Peter Hannam, environmental writer of the Sydney Boring Herald has great but unintended humour potential. He has some boring statistics to convey but by biased language has made them seem to suggest global warming.  Let me use different language to describe the same stats.  I will suggest cooling:

"A long run of overcast days in Sydney has finally come to an end.  Sydney is at last back to where we were in 1990 but will it last?

Last month's temperature had three Novembers warmer than it in the past

"It's been persistently cool, particularly in the West," Acacia Pepler, a climatologist at the bureau, said.

The month had 18 days above 25 degrees, at last breaking a long run of cool days -- going back to 1894

The past six months have also been a standout for Sydney. A relatively wet winter - with rainfall about 250 millimetres above average - switched to sharply drier conditions, with rain tallies sinking 100 mm below average.  But there were similar conditions in 1885"

Contrast the above with what appears below.  Note that I have unspun only the statistics Hannam has chosen to mention.  They were undoubtedly the one best suited to his cause.  If they can be shown to suggest cooling, one wonders what all the unmentioned statistics show. 

Deception is the name of the game for Warmists.  Honest reporting is in general alien to them.  It has to be.  They cannot accept the plain truth of the climate record, which just shows normal ups and downs with no significant trend

Sydney has just capped its sunniest November since 1990, with the relatively warm and dry conditions set to extend well into the start of summer.

Last month was the city's equal-fourth warmest November for maximum temperatures in records going back to 1858, with average temperatures reaching 26.1 degrees, the Bureau of Meteorology said in its latest report. Sydney Airport had an average of 9.5 hours of sunshine during the month.

"It's been persistently warm, particularly in the east," Acacia Pepler, a climatologist at the bureau, said.

The month had 18 days above 25 degrees, the most since 1894 , and its coldest day was a mild 22.7 degrees. All previous Novembers had at least one day below 21 degrees in the city.

The lack of cool days extended across spring, with just six days failing the reach 20 degrees. That's the fewest on record and roughly one-fifth of the average of 31 such days, the bureau said.

The past six months have also been a standout for Sydney. A relatively wet winter - with rainfall about 250 millimetres above average - switched to sharply drier conditions, with rain tallies sinking 100 mm below average.

That's the biggest turn in the weather for the city in 53 years, and the third-most on record with 1885 the other rival year, Brett Dutschke, senior meteorologist with Weatherzone, said.

"Since the start of October, it's been drying out" in coast regions, Mr Dutschke said, adding the western parts of the state had more recent rains and will take longer to cure.


Conservative radio host David Oldfield says Aborigines  'should just be Australians'

It is he who is the non-racist.  Most racial discrimination comes from the Left these days

Former One Nation politician David Oldfield says Aboriginal culture should have 'died out with the Stone Age'.

Oldfield, from Sydney, made the comments on SBS' First Contact program, which deals with race relations issues in Australia by taking well-known white people to experience Aboriginal life.

'Is there something celebratory they lived in the Stone Age longer than anybody else? I can't see it,' Oldfield said.

'It's not actually good for Aborigines to remain Aborigines. They should be Australians. And you just naturally let it die out. I mean frankly it should have died out. Like the Stone Age died out.

Oldfield has been slammed on social media for his comments.

In the first episode of First Contact, aired on Tuesday night the group it centres on - including singer-songwriter Natalie Imbruglia, television personality Ian 'Dicko' Dickson, former Miss Universe Renae Ayris, comedian Tom Ballard, and actor Nicki Wendt - were invited to join a family in a traditional fishing ceremony.

Oldfield refused to participate and during a conversation, Timmy 'Djawa' Burarrwanga told Oldfield: 'You know this country is so racist.' 

Burarrwanga had taken OIdfield's behaviour as a lack of respect for his culture.

'David can I ask you one question? Are you not actually accepting the oldest culture in this country? You're not accepting this. I need to know what's bothering you,' Burarrwanga said.

'I accept this dominant world. I accept your law - your system. And you know, this country is so racist. In the constitution it's so racist. We're not actually in the constitution. It doesn't recognise Aboriginal people,' an exasperated Burarrwanga replied.

Oldfield was not backing down though, and believed that the constitution didn't recognise any group of people or mention any races. [Which is true.  Australia actually had a successful referendum in 1967 to REMOVE mention of race from the constitution]

Comedian Ballard then got involved, making it clear to Oldfield that stating that the omission of Aboriginal people from the the constitution in the first place was 'in itself a racist act'.

However Ballard wasn't about to back down and argued that it was 'an all-encompassing document' for all Australian people whatever their background.

'I'm pretty sure they had white people in mind, David,' Ballard laughed.

When asked by Burarrwanga if he accepted that Aboriginal people were the first people of this country, Oldfield agreed but he stopped short of saying he respected that.

But as things became tense he went as far as saying that if Burarrwanga was unhappy with his presence there he would 'happily leave his land'. 


Is going to uni a waste of everyone’s time and money?

AUSTRALIANS are more qualified than ever. A record number of Australians now have a bachelor’s degree, masters or PhD. But a dangerous idea is out: Degrees might be a big fat waste of time and money.

Thirty years ago you didn’t need a degree to be a journalist, for example. Now? Most job ads demand a degree and plenty of the people applying have taken a masters degree, so they look even more qualified than the competition.

The same “degree inflation” applies in a huge range of fields.


The idea is this: you don’t actually learn much at university. Under this idea, university is a way of showing off that you’re good. It’s like the peacock’s tail — not useful in itself, just a big signal that you’re hot stuff.

Is university just signalling? If it is, it would explain why it doesn’t seem to matter that you forget a lot of what you learned — and perhaps why employers of graduates are always complaining their recruits don’t have any valuable skills

If the signalling theory is right, we would, as a society, be better off making people spend less time in uni. But the reality is the opposite — we are sending more and more people to uni.
More people are graduating with degrees, but do they really need them?

More people are graduating with degrees, but do they really need them?Source:Supplied


As people work harder and harder for qualifications, a backlash is brewing.

Some very powerful businesses have stopped requiring a degree. Professional services firm EY is one. In the UK it no longer looks at academic qualifications in its entry criteria.

Google is also expanding its ranks of the degree-less, according to its head of hiring. Those firms think they can get good value from people without degrees.

US entrepreneur Peter Thiel is famous for questioning the benefit of higher education. He pays scholarships of $100,000 — called Thiel Fellowhips — to brilliant young people in return for dropping out of uni and becoming entrepreneurs instead.


Now, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go to university. Even if it is a waste of time in some ways, most jobs still require a degree. Going to uni is still very much worthwhile for most people.

The data is very clear — people with a Bachelor’s degree will earn $2.9 million over their lifetime compared to $2.07 million for people who finished year 12 without going to uni.

This can’t be used as proof that uni makes you more productive though.

If university is just signalling these people would have been just as useful in the workplace if they hadn’t gone to uni. (And maybe even more useful, because they’d have extra experience instead of a qualification.)

It also implies that plenty of people who didn’t go to uni would do even better at those jobs than the people with degrees. After all, going to university is still mostly for wealthier people, despite the way the HECS scheme has made access way more widely available. (People who are born to rich and well-educated parents are the ones who tend to end up at uni.)


But the problem remains this. We don’t know for sure if this big idea is right. Do people really learn at uni or not? I asked the man who invented the HECS/HELP system, Professor Bruce Chapman, what the evidence had to say.

“We just don’t know,” Chapman said. He has trawled through hundreds of studies to try to figure out if university is mostly learning or mostly just signalling. “We don’t have a good measure for it.”

Some degrees are more practical than others, Chapman said, for example, dentistry: “Would you want an accountant pulling out your teeth?”

Philosophy degrees, he said, are different. They may be more of a way of showing that you are able to think clearly and obey the rules and requirements of a university environment for three years.

Ultimately, Chapman reckons uni is most likely to be a mix of learning and signalling. “If I had to guess, I’d say 50:50.”

Other experts, like Professor John Quiggin of the University of Queensland, disagree, saying the proof is out there and university mostly builds skills.

Debate will continue on whether or not sending more and more Australians to university is a good investment. But one thing most experts agree on is that a very different kind of education is a guaranteed winner. The advantages of early childhood education are enormous, and can last for a lifetime.

One American study found the return on early childhood interventions is $10 for every $1 invested. And the benefits go to everyone, not just the people who are lucky enough to go to uni.

So, maybe, as a society we should worry more about whether Australians go to kindergarten, rather than whether they go to uni.


ABC and SBS to pay price for Senate ABCC victory

The ABC and SBS will be forced to hold special Q&A-style board meetings with members of the public after Liberal Democrat ­senator David Leyonhjelm horse-traded with the government over its key industrial relations bill to re-establish the construction ­industry watchdog.

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield last night confirmed the government had agreed to a policy that would “provide opportunities for greater community engagement” with the public broadcasters as part of a deal that will see Senator Leyonhjelm vote for the re-establishment of the Australian Building and Construction Commission.

Under the policy, at least half of the ABC’s and SBS’s board meetings each year will be followed by “open community board forums”, with at least two to be held in regional areas, in a bid to make the government-owned broadcasters more “representative” and their processes more transparent. “These open community board forums will give the public greater opportunity to provide feedback directly to the boards responsible for running the ABC and SBS, and for the boards to engage directly with their audience,” Senator Fifield told The Australian.

“We expect the broadcasters will implement this policy as part of their broader approach to community engagement.”

The public broadcasters last night defended the amount of time they spent receiving community feedback.

“The ABC ­already engages with the community and its audiences through regular public events, forums and media appearances both in major cities and rural and regional Australia,” an ABC spokesman said.

But Senator Leyonhjelm said he received feedback “all the time” that the ABC — and to a lesser ­extent SBS — was unrepresentative, declaring the policy change would help alter a perception that those who run the broadcasters “live inside the goat cheese ­curtain”.

“There is a different point of view to be heard outside those areas and it would be good for the ABC’s diversity and its ability to reflect what taxpayers or shareholders are saying if the boards ­actually went out and listened to them,” he said.

“ABC CEO Michelle Guthrie herself has warned … of the perils of political parties failing to ­engage with disenfranchised voters. The same principle applies to the ABC and SBS.”

The ABC and SBS held six board meetings in the 2015-16 ­financial year.

The initiative, part of a series of side deals to secure passage of the ABCC legislation through the Senate, comes as the ABC’s news coverage is under fire from a range of high-profile Australians, including former prime ministers Paul Keating and Tony Abbott.

The government has no power to direct the ABC and SBS on programming but controls their funding and appoints board members.

SBS had not received a formal letter from the government alerting it to the plan. If necessary, the government can issue SBS a written direction to compel it to hold the community forums. That process can be replicated with legislation in the case of the ABC.

SBS said it was “committed” to engaging with the many diverse cultures and communities and fostering “vital connections and understanding” between the organisation and those who contributed to “social cohesion” and a multicultural Australia.

Senator Leyonhjelm said he wanted the ABC and SBS board sessions for the public as part of the price for his vote for the ABCC. He said he and the government came up with a list of possible “liberty offsets” or “freedom” changes.


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, December 01, 2016

When does physical discipline of a child become unlawful abuse?

This highlights something I have long said.  Some, perhaps most, children are tractable enough to diverted from undesirable behaviour without spanking.  But others are so unruly that no control of their behaviour can be achieved without corporal punishment.  All men are not equal nor are all kids equal, difficult to understand though that seems to be for Leftists.

In the case below, a man used very violent behaviour in an attempt to control extremely violent behaviour by two out of five kids in his household.  What else was he to do?  Shut the kids out on the street?  He was in fact being responsible in trying to teach them restraint.

The judge apparently saw that, pointing out that the behaviour was illegal but  taking a very mild view of the matter.  He ruled that the father could have access to his own untroubled son but cut off access to the violent children, who are now in state care anyway. Rather a Solomon-like verdict, I think

The question arose in the case of a father who had beaten his two eldest children with a cricket bat, but who argued he should still be allowed to see his six-year-old son.

The boy lives with his mother, who opposed her estranged husband having any contact with their boy.

Both she and the father had previously smacked the boy, the Family Court in Newcastle heard. But the mother claimed he was at risk of physical abuse if left with the father, because of the way the man punished his older sons from a previous relationship.

Under the NSW Crimes Act, the defence of lawful correction permits a parent, or someone acting with their authority, to punish a child with physical force. But the force must be reasonable in light of the child's age, health and maturity, as well as their alleged misbehaviour. Force applied to any part of the child's head or neck, or elsewhere on their body in a way likely to cause harm "for more than a short period", is not considered reasonable.

The court heard that from around the time they were aged aged six or seven, the father hit his two eldest sons with a cricket bat and once left them with bruises and welts after beating them with a broken broom handle. In what judge Stewart Austin called a description of "cruel brutality", a sibling recalled hearing the boys beg for mercy and scream with pain, saw the bat used with such force it broke and saw welts on the boys' bottoms.

The boys are now in their early teens and in state care. The three other children in the household had not been abused by the father.

In determining the case, Justice Austin said it was necessary "to differentiate between physical 'discipline' and physical 'abuse'".

"Despite modern society's changing opinion about the morality of corporal punishment of children, the law of NSW still envisages the legitimate administration of physical discipline by an adult to a child, subject to certain constraints," he said. "It is only when the discipline transcends those constraints that it becomes abusive and ceases to be lawful correction."

Justice Austin described the two older boys as "very troubled children", throwing objects, damaging property and "using weapons like knives, broken glass, hammers and loaded spear guns to threaten people".

But the fact that their behaviour "presented an extraordinarily difficult parenting challenge was not an excuse for the severity of their treatment", he said. Their punishment amounted to abuse and "criminal assaults".

However, the judge granted the father unsupervised visits with his six-year-old son, ruling it was in the child's best interests.

The father was not "so unfit as a parent that he is utterly incapable of safely caring for the child for short stints", Justice Austin said. He noted that the father had undergone parenting courses and the little boy was unlikely to be as challenging as his older stepbrothers.


African migrants at heart of daycare scandals

Another triumph of multiculturalism

Family daycare operators and teachers from non-English-speaking backgrounds are being targeted by state authorities in a bid to crack down on abuse and bending of rules that have cost taxpayers more than $1 billion in two years and put children at risk.

Senior departmental staff and Queensland Education Minister Kate Jones have confirmed a trend in rorting and noncompliance among ethnic communities, which has resulted in scarce investigative resources being focused on new services and migrant groups. Analysis of state government enforcement action in the past six months reveals family day care services slapped with conditions, suspended or cancelled were almost exclusively run by migrants from Africa, most from Somalia or Sudan.

Sudanese migrant Aluel Mawiir provided false and misleading information and failed to meet service conditions for her Victorian business, Dombai Family Daycare.

In one West Australian case, Sudanese woman Anyieth Makuei had her approval to run her Zebra Family Day cancelled on May 19 because she provided fake documents to the regulator regarding the first aid and asthma training of her staff. Weeks later Ms Makuei lost her ability to be a supervisor in the same industry because, according to the state, she “persuaded family daycare educators to produce false documents and provide false information at the interview” with the state government.

In Victoria, Milky Way Family Day Care, which lists its directors as Ethiopian-born Jale Tujuba and Adnan Yusuf, was put on notice by the Victorian government for providing false and misleading information, not meeting service conditions and failing to run required educational programs.

Family daycare providers fall under the National Quality Framework, introduced by the previous Labor federal government in 2012, and attract federal government child care subsidies.

Queensland’s Acacia Ridge service Maka Family Day Care Scheme has been suspended until Christmas Eve because “there was an immediate risk to the safety, health or wellbeing of children being educated and cared for”.

Family daycare services have grown 61 per cent in the past two years, compared with just 7 per cent for ­centre-based childcare operators.

The hike in activity, which has been higher than 300 per cent in some regions, has placed pressure on state governments, which are responsible for making sure the businesses meet stringent rules and regulations under the quality framework.

Ms Jones said Queensland was now rejecting 60 per cent of new applications. “Queensland has put in place the toughest regulation process in the country for family daycare approved providers,” she told The Australian.

“In addition (to approval rejections) there are strict conditions on approvals and ongoing monitoring and compliance checks.”

Of the 15 most recent compliance crackdowns across the nation, all but one of the services are owned and operated by African directors, with six from Sudan and another six from Somalia.

The Australian revealed the case of Sudanese migrant Ruben Majok Aleer Aguer who received $1.6 million in federal funds over just 16 months to run a network of family daycare educators which authorities could not confirm were officially employed by him.

Nor, during at least 17 inspections, did any of the ACT department staff confirm a single child was ever in care.

Sharing of regulatory responsibility between Canberra and the states means the federal government only investigates fraud offences when it ­suspects money has gone missing. The largest proven case of family daycare fraud ended last week when Albury-based 29-year-old Melissa Jade Higgins was found guilty of stealing more than $3m from the federal government.

Victoria has moved to take the heat out of the market by increasing inspections and investigations.

The family daycare sector in Victoria represents 10 per cent of the total childcare pool but ­accounts for almost 80 per cent of enforcement actions taken by the state. Services have grown by 341 and 339 per cent respectively in Melbourne’s highly multicultural western and northern suburbs.


Australian students are worse at maths and science than children in KAZAKHSTAN

Thanks to "modern" (Leftist) ideas in the classroom

Australian students are worse at maths and science than students in countries such as Kazakhstan, Bulgaria and Serbia.

The latest results from the four-yearly Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), shows Australian students have gone backwards as other countries have improved.

The study looked at how well Year 4 and Year 8 students have mastered maths and science lessons, asking questions like how many legs an insect has, which animals lay eggs and what the angles in a triangle add up to.

The Australian Council for Educational Research, which reports on the study, said it should be a wake-up call.

The council's Sue Thomson said the long tail on results was of particular concern.

Between a quarter and a third of Australian students are still not meeting the proficient standard.

'In terms of children in classrooms, that's probably seven or eight students in your average 25-student classroom,' Dr Thomson told AAP.

'That is a big worry and it's not something that's changed over the last 20 years.'

But Dr Thomson says the results only reveal the problem, not solutions.

It could be that Australia has not set its sights high enough, with the 'proficient' standards here set just above the TIMSS intermediate level.

'Since TIMSS 2011 we haven't really put in much that would lift performance at those lower benchmarks so nothing really has happened,' Dr Thomson said.

She highlighted the huge role socio-economic background - measured by the number of books at home - played in a student's success.

If just the results from the richest students were used, they would be among the top eight countries in the world, whereas those from poorer families are within the bottom quarter.

'I'm not necessarily going to relate it to funding, however we're back at the table insofar as school funding goes and we're still finding that disadvantaged students from disadvantaged schools are those who are not achieving well in these sort of tests,' Dr Thomson said.

'They're the ones we need to be targeting to try and improve their achievement.'

Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the fascination of some with how much money was being spent in schools came at the detriment of examining its distribution and what would actually boost results.

He will use the maths and science results as a key part of his mid-December discussions with state counterparts about a new funding agreement.

But Labor said it was disingenuous to use the TIMSS results to say Gonski funding hadn't made any difference because students were tested in 2014, when less than 10 per cent of the total money had gone to schools.

'(The results) show governments must act immediately to break the link between poor performance and disadvantage,' Labor's education spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek said.

'Both Liberal and Labor state governments know the positive difference extra needs based funding is making in their schools - that's why they have put politics aside to campaign together against Malcolm Turnbull's cuts.'


A big win for Australia

Malcolm Turnbull has hailed Senate approval of the government's plan to restore the building industry watchdog as a vital reform that will benefit every Australian family.

At the same time the prime minister took a swipe at Labor, accusing the opposition of being nothing more than apologists for the militancy of the construction union.

"This is a great day for Australian families - this is not union busting, this is economy boosting," Mr Turnbull told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

"It is backing the rule of law, it is backing Australians to get ahead."

Employment Minister Michaelia Cash, who guided the legislation through the Senate, said the government was restoring law and order to the construction sector.

"Under Labor, with their mates in the CFMEU, this was an industry that was marred by bullying, intimidation and thuggery," she said.

Labor fought passage of the legislation all the way through the parliament, Senator Cash said.

"They continue to put their heads in the sand and deny, despite royal commissions, despite Federal Court judgements, that there is something wrong with the building construction industry," she said.

Mr Turnbull rejected suggestions the concessions the government made to secure passage of the bill meant he was a "hollow man, horse trader".

"We feel pretty good about it, I have to tell you," he said, conceding the negotiations with cross benchers had been "a slog".

"We have always said this is a parliament where we will set out to ensure it works."

Senator Cash dismissed criticism the amendments to the original legislation meant the ABCC was a watchdog without a bite.

"This is all about cultural change within the building and construction sector," she said.


NSW: Ethanol mandates costing motorists $85m

Why do Greenies want ethanol in motor fuel?  It just combusts to give off small amounts of CO2 the way other fuels do.  It makes no sense
MOTORISTS in NSW are spending up to $85 million more on petrol due to the state government’s push to force service stations to sell ethanol-laced fuel, according to the competition watchdog.

In its latest petrol market report, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says the NSW Government’s ethanol mandate has led to less choice and higher costs for Sydney motorists.

Introduced in 2007, the ethanol mandate requires service stations to sell at least 6 per cent ethanol as a proportion of their sales. E10 fuel is a mixture of 10 per cent ethanol and 90 per cent petrol.

Earlier this year, the Baird government ramped up its ethanol push by introducing harsh new penalties of more than $500,000 for service stations that do not stock E10 fuel. Manildra Group, the monopoly provider of ethanol fuel in NSW, is a major donor to state and federal branches of the Liberals, Nationals and Labor.

Former NSW Upper House whip Peter Phelps, who quit in March out of protest against the ethanol fuel laws, told the ABC earlier this year that it was “literally the worst piece of legislation NSW has introduced”.

According to the ACCC, the reduced availability of regular unleaded petrol (RULP) has led to higher sales of premium unleaded petrol (PULP) and E10. In 2014-15, PULP made up 54 per cent of total petrol sales while E10 made up 36 per cent. Nationwide excluding NSW, PULP sales were 23 per cent and E10 just 4 per cent.

The ACCC calculates that as a result of the ethanol mandate, Sydney motorists have spent between $75-$85 million extra on PULP, which averaged 11.5 cents per litre more expensive for 95 octane and 18.5 cents per litre for 98 octane than RULP in 2015-16.

“While the use of E10 may be better for the environment, the ethanol mandate has reduced consumer choice and cost Sydney motorists up to $85 million,” said ACCC chairman Rod Sims. “It has also boosted Sydney retailer’s profits due to the higher margins on premium fuel.”

Mark McKenzie, chief executive of the petrol retailer peak body ACAPMA, said government interference in motorists’ choice of fuel was unwanted and created “perverse economic effects”.

“Simply put, people are making a choice as to what product they put in their car and really are thumbing their nose at the government,” he said. “We’re talking about a mandate that’s been around for seven years. People have tried E10 and have fled from it.

“The issue here is the arrogance of the Baird government. They think they can make policy to suit themselves and their mates, when there is a broader community they’re supposed to be serving.

“Our view is the choice of fuel is that of the motorist and the government has no place interfering in a core product.”

NRMA spokesman Peter Khoury said while it was true people were buying more premium fuel, there had been a lot of “misinformation” about E10 and it was “demonstrably not true” that it was bad for engines.

“The majors are advertising premium fuels quite heavily. People can buy regular fuel or E10 but they’re buying 98 octane and paying upwards of 30 cents per litre more for no real benefit,” he said.

“About three-quarters of the NSW fleet can run on E10. The remaining that can’t are either cars built before 1986 or they are high-performance vehicles that are mostly imported. The manufacturer will specify if a vehicle must run on premium fuel.”

Mr Khoury also disagreed with the ACCC’s finding that regular fuel was harder to find. “There is plenty of regular out there,” he said. “When we quote petrol prices we’re talking regular, not E10. People are buying it all over the place.”

Queensland is set to become the second state to introduce an ethanol mandate from January. Queensland Biofuels Minister Mark Bailey told The Australian many NSW motorists “wrongly assumed” their car could not use E10 because the NSW government did not roll out a consumer education campaign.

“Our ethanol mandate from January is set at a level that will ensure fuel retailers continue to offer a broad range of fuel grades,” Mr Bailey said.

NSW Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Victor Dominello said the ethanol mandate had been a bipartisan policy since 2007.

“The government made changes to the legislation earlier in the year that will boost competition in the marketplace and provide consumers with greater choice,” Mr Dominello said.

“The reforms ensure the mandate is focused on the bigger petrol station operators while providing appropriate exemptions for smaller operators.

“Consumers are encouraged to use the government’s FuelCheck website which empowers them to find the cheapest fuel by publishing petrol prices in real-time for every service station across NSW.”


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, November 30, 2016

Another shriek about bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef

This is just a repetition of a story that has been going on for a year or more.  Previous claims of this nature have been shown to be highly exaggereated so a repetition of the claims from the same people as before has no credibility. 

I was born and bred in an area close to the reef and have been hearing cries of alarm about the reef for 50 years.  But somehow the reef still seems to be there.  It has always had episodes of retreat but coral is highly resilient and bounces back quite rapidly.

One thing we can be sure of is that the problems were not caused by anthropogenic global warming.  Why?  Because that theory says that warming is caused by increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere.  But the latest readings show NO increase in CO2 during 2015 and 2016

There WAS warming up until recently but that was caused by the El Nino weather cycle, not CO2. Once again we had the chronic Warmist problem that CO2 levels and temperatures do not correlate.  Below is a picture of the El Nino effect on global temperatures.  You see it peaked late last year and has been falling ever since.  So if warmth was the cause of the reef problems, the reef should soon start to recover

Two-thirds of the corals in the northern part of the Great Barrier Reef have died in the reef’s worst-ever bleaching event, according to our latest underwater surveys.

On some reefs in the north, nearly all the corals have died. However the impact of bleaching eases as we move south, and reefs in the central and southern regions (around Cairns and Townsville and southwards) were much less affected, and are now recovering.

In 2015 and 2016, the hottest years on record, we have witnessed at first hand the threat posed by human-caused climate change to the world’s coral reefs.

Heat stress from record high summer temperatures damages the microscopic algae (zooxanthellae) that live in the tissues of corals, turning them white.

After they bleach, these stressed corals either slowly regain their zooxanthellae and colour as temperatures cool off, or else they die.

The Great Barrier Reef bleached severely for the first time in 1998, then in 2002, and now again in 2016. This year’s event was more extreme than the two previous mass bleachings.
Surveying the damage

We undertook extensive underwater surveys at the peak of bleaching in March and April, and again at the same sites in October and November. In the northern third of the Great Barrier Reef, we recorded an average (median) loss of 67% of coral cover on a large sample of 60 reefs.

The dieback of corals due to bleaching in just 8-9 months is the largest loss ever recorded for the Great Barrier Reef.

To put these losses in context, over the 27 years from 1985 to 2012, scientists from the Australian Institute of Marine Science measured the gradual loss of 51% of corals on the central and southern regions of the Great Barrier Reef.

They reported no change over this extended period in the amount of corals in the remote, northern region. Unfortunately, most of the losses in 2016 have occurred in this northern, most pristine part of the Great Barrier Reef.

The bleaching, and subsequent loss of corals, is very patchy. Our map shows clearly that coral death varies enormously from north to south along the 2,300km length of the Reef.

The southern third of the Reef did not experience severe heat stress in February and March. Consequently, only minor bleaching occurred, and we found no significant mortality in the south since then.

In the central section of the Reef, we measured widespread but moderate bleaching, which was comparably severe to the 1998 and 2002 events. On average, only 6% of coral cover was lost in the central region in 2016.

The remaining corals have now regained their vibrant colour. Many central reefs are in good condition, and they continue to recover from Severe Tropical Cyclones Hamish (in 2009) and Yasi (2011).

In the eastern Torres Strait and outermost ribbon reefs in the northernmost part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, we found a large swathe of reefs that escaped the most severe bleaching and mortality, compared to elsewhere in the north. Nonetheless, 26% of the shallow-water corals died.

We suspect that these reefs were partially protected from heat stress by strong currents and upwelling of cooler water across the edge of the continental shelf that slopes steeply into the Coral Sea.

For visitors, these surveys show there are still many reefs throughout the Marine Park that have abundant living coral, particularly in popular tourism locations in the central and southern regions, such as the Whitsundays and Cairns.


The northern third of the Great Barrier Reef, extending 700km from Port Douglas to Papua New Guinea, experienced the most severe bleaching and subsequent loss of corals.

On 25% of the worst affected reefs (the top quartile), losses of corals ranged from 83-99%. When mortality is this high, it affects even tougher species that normally survive bleaching.

However, even in this region, there are some silver linings. Bleaching and mortality decline with depth, and some sites and reefs had much better than average survival. A few corals are still bleached or mottled, particularly in the north, but the vast majority of survivors have regained their colour.

What will happen next?

The reef science and management community will continue to gather data on the bleaching event as it slowly unfolds. The initial stage focused on mapping the footprint of the event, and now we are analysing how many bleached corals died or recovered over the past 8-9 months.

Over the coming months and for the next year or two we expect to see longer-term impacts on northern corals, including higher levels of disease, slower growth rates and lower rates of reproduction. The process of recovery in the north – the replacement of dead corals by new ones – will be slow, at least 10-15 years, as long as local conditions such as water quality remain conducive to recovery.

As global temperatures continue to climb, time will tell how much recovery in the north is possible before a fourth mass bleaching event occurs.


'It's not good enough': Pauline Hanson says there is no definition of 'Aboriginal' people - and claims anyone can give themselves the label if they marry an Indigenous Australian

Pauline Hanson has said there is no definition of an Aboriginal person while calling for changes to race-hate laws.

The One National leader told Andrew Bolt on Sky News on Monday she believes there is no definition, and has been asking for one for years.

'If you marry an Aboriginal you can be classified (as one), or if the community or the elders accept you into that community you can be defined as an Aboriginal,' she said.

'That's not good enough because then if you make a comment about it, well what are you? Are you an Aboriginal or non-Aboriginal?'

'I think that people need to toughen up a bit, we've all become so precious.

'We've stopped freedom of speech - to have a say to have an opinion and I remember when I was a kid sticks and stones may break your bones and that was the old saying.'

Senator Hanson made the remarks while defending calls for changes to the Racial Discrimination Act.

The firebrand senator says she had previously raised issues about 'equality' over the years about the definition of 'Aboriginal'.

'I think the whole lot needs to be opened up on this, a big debate on this.'

She believes people have become increasingly precious but it should be up to the public to judge controversial comments, including from her or indigenous leader Noel Pearson.


W.A. Police will be able to ram dangerous drivers off the road using the PIT manoeuvre if Labor is elected

DANGEROUS drivers who lead police on wild high-speed chases should be rammed off the road before they can hurt innocent people, Opposition Leader Mark McGowan claims.

Mr McGowan said that if Labor was elected in March, his Government would support a trial of the what is known as the "PIT manoeuvre" on WA roads to enable police to end chases quickly before they got out of the hand.

The manoeuvre is used widely in America, Canada and Britain where police use their vehicles to force fleeing cars into an uncontrolled spin.

But the manoeuvre is controversial, often resulting in serious injury or death to the fleeing driver.

The WA Police Union has been pushing for the PIT to be used in WA, but the idea does not have the support of the Police hierarchy.

Mr McGowan said strict controls would be introduced around when and where the PIT could be used, but he believed the prospect of causing injury to a dangerous driver was a preferable outcome to an innocent family losing their lives.

"I have seen some of those chases on the television and all you want is that car to get off the road before they kill someone," Mr McGowan said.

"I think extreme cases deserve extreme action and the people putting the public at risk like that... deserve everything they get."


'See you in court': Student rejects Labor MP Terri Butler's apology and vows to continue lawsuit

A stoush between a Queensland law student and Labor frontbencher Terri Butler over claims of a "racist smear" is bound for court after he bluntly rejected her apology as a "sham" and vowed to press ahead with a $150,000 defamation lawsuit.

Ms Butler announced at the weekend she had apologised to 25-year-old Calum Thwaites after repeating on national television allegations levelled against him in a case brought under controversial section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act.

Mr Thwaites was one of three Queensland University of Technology students accused of causing offence in a series of Facebook posts about an Indigenous-only computer lab. Mr Thwaites vehemently denied he used the phrase "ITT niggers" and the case against all three men was thrown out of the Federal Circuit Court this month.

On Q&A, Ms Butler implied the allegations had never been tested and said of Mr Thwaites' denials: "He would say that, wouldn't he?" Mr Thwaites elected to sue for damages of up to $150,000, claiming he had been traduced as a racist, bigot and perjurer.

In her letter of apology, sent on Sunday, Ms Butler wrote: "There should be no suggestion that you were responsible for the Facebook post [or] that you are racist, or bigoted. I offer you my unreserved apology for enabling those meanings to be conveyed."

But in a reply released by his lawyer Tony Morris on Monday, Mr Thwaites outright rejected Ms Butler's apology, telling her that to accept it would turn him into her "unpaid publicist". "You will not be surprised to learn that I have no intention of doing so," he wrote.

Mr Thwaites told Ms Butler that her subsequent comments - including suggesting to Fairfax Media that his lawsuit was "hypocritical" - meant that "your so-called 'apology' cannot be regarded as an 'apology' at all".

He also rejected her invitation to discuss the matter further by phone or in-person, saying he would see her in court. "I am sure that we will have an opportunity to meet at the trial of the defamation action," he said.

Mr Thwaites signed off the letter: "P.S. Happy 39th birthday."

Ms Butler - Labor's spokeswoman on equality and universities - has hired law firm Maurice Blackburn, where she was formerly a principal before entering politics in 2014, and is due to file her defence by December 23.

In his letter to Ms Butler, Mr Thwaites outed himself as a former Labor supporter, saying he had "until now" believed the ALP to be "the good guys" of politics. Since effectively becoming a pin-up boy for reform to section 18c, he had been embraced by Coalition figures including the "unreformed right-wing warhorse" Eric Abetz, he wrote.

Ms Butler said the letters spoke for themselves and had no further comment.


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, November 29, 2016

Feminist lack of reality-contact again

Clementine Ford has often appeared in the columns of the Sydney Boring Herald giving aggressively feminist opinions.  Her aggression and anger is normal among Leftists but her feminism adds an additional mental health problem to her profile. She  constantly denies that men and women are different -- except when women are superior, of course. 

But, in denying such a large slice of reality as male/female differences she is, I would argue, a low-level schizophrenic.  Denial of reality is the hallmark of schizophrenia.  There are probably as many sorts of feminism as there are feminists but I would argue that the more extreme ones have a form of mental illness which is dangerous to vulnerable women who listen to them and take them seriously.  It may be worth mentioning that feminist icon Kate Millett was in and out of mental hospitals for much of her life.

And Clemmie has just added more evidence of her poor reality contact.  As Tim Blair notes, with links to her Twitter account: "According to Godwin’s Law record-breaker Clementine Ford, Donald Trump is “installing people who pledge support to Nazism.” Also according to Clem, Trump “just made a neo-Nazi his chief strategist”, and Trump “is giving jobs to neo-Nazis".

The chief strategist she is presumably referring to is Steve Bannon, a retired U.S. Navy sailor and merchant banker who is a very forceful conservative.  And the American Left and media (but I repeat myself) are in something of a frenzy to discredit him. But they really have nothing to go on except for the scorn he heaps on them. There is an attempt here to use his own words to discredit him but it gets nowhere. It simply reveals that he thinks much the same as Trump and the Trumpians.  Just proving that about him is horror enough to the Left, of course,  but to anyone else what he says is just a newly legitimated expression of opinion. As did Reagan, Trump has bumped the Overton window rightwards and Bannon is now in that window.

But to the Left, everyone who opposes them and their ideas is a "racist" -- and that accusation is constantly flung at Bannon, spiced up a little by the related accusation that he is antisemitic.  But where is the evidence for that?  Once again, there is none, aside from one accusation from an embittered ex-wife.  Read here just one of many refutations of the "racist" claim from people who know him personally, noting, for instance, that Bannon’s longtime personal assistant is an African American woman, and he has extended family members who are Jewish". 

And Bannon has also been an forceful advocate for Israel. As a Jewish American news site put it:  "He headed arguably the most pro-Israel media organization in the world, and oversaw an operation that went out of its way to expose and attack antisemitism at every turn".

That is the man Clemmie calls a Nazi. 

I have not seen her byline on the SMH recently.  Has she become too unbalanced even for the SMH management?  She may have had something of a breakdown.  She embarrassed herself a couple of weeks ago by accusing someone else of a slur that he did not utter but which she did!  Maybe we have heard the last of her in the mainstream media.

Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett calls Fremantle 'disloyal' for axing Australia Day celebrations

West Australian Premier Colin Barnett says he is "extremely disappointed" by the City of Fremantle's decision to axe its Australia Day celebrations.

Fremantle has abandoned its Australia Day festivities in favour of what it describes as a culturally inclusive alternative celebration two days later.

The council voted in January to can its Australia Day fireworks display and replace it with a new event, called One Day.

It said it wanted to celebrate being Australian in a way that included all Australians, and believed moving away from the January 26 date was more in line with Fremantle's values.

Mr Barnett has made it clear he does not support the move.  "I am extremely disappointed in the Mayor and the City of Fremantle for doing that," he said.  "It's disloyal to our country, it's disloyal to our state, and I think it's disloyal to the community of Fremantle.

"There are people from all over the world who live in Fremantle and we come together as one people, one country on Australia Day — no one should undermine that.

"Everyone understands the history and the debate about Australia Day but Australia Day is our national day, most Aboriginal groups accept it and history is put to one side.

"Australia Day is now a day for all Australians — whatever their background, wherever they were born — and I think any group that tries to detract from that does a disservice to our country and to our people, all of our people."

The City of Fremantle has previously said the move has the support of Aboriginal people in the Fremantle area and denies the council is trying to be politically correct.


Pressure grows on David Morrison to be removed as Australian of the Year

Karel Dubsky, the officer wrongly accused of being involved in the Jedi council sex scandal by former Army chief David Morrison, has come out of the shadows to demand his tormentor’s removal as Australian of the Year.

He has authorised Senator Jacqui Lambie to move a motion in the Senate tomorrow to have Morrison replaced with “a person worthy of the title”. Lambie will say Morrison “allowed Lt-Col Dubsky and others to be wrongly accused of being a members of a group of sex offenders and/or demeaning of women …

“General Morrison’s behaviour caused exceptional and undue harm to retired Lt-Col Dubsky, his family, and other innocent members of the ADF — and demonstrated behaviour that was the opposite required of the Australian of the Year.”

Strengthening Dubsky’s arm is a leaked police report which suggests Morrison was aware of the “Jedi Council” pornography scandal for 10 months before he made the thundering YouTube speech in June, 2013, that brought him worldwide acclaim and a lucrative career as a “diversity” champion.

Dubsky has a private letter from the Army affirming he was never a member of the “Jedi Council”.  “But by not correcting the public record my name remains smeared,” he says.

He met Defence Minister Marise Payne in Canberra two weeks ago to plead for a public exoneration. But last week he received a formal letter from Defence saying the case was closed and no apology would occur.

To this day, Morrison refuses to comment, or apologise, to the man whose life he ruined.


Former Australian of the Year winners slam the awards and say they have been 'hijacked by activists'

Former winners of Australian of the Year honours have slammed the nominations for 2017, claiming the awards have been 'hijacked' by political activists.

Among the diverse list of nominees this year are 'social innovators', 'healthy living advocates' and a mining magnate described as an 'anti-slavery advocate'.

It's a list that Catherine McGregor, a 2016 Australian of the Year finalist, says proves the current system is 'broken' and is why she 'regrets' ever being a part of the awards, The Australian reports.

The transgender former Army officer was last year named Queensland's Australian of the Year and believes the system needs to be revamped. 'I think it has been hijacked by activists,' she said. 'It is unrepresentative of middle Australia and I regret profoundl­y ever being involved with it.'

Among those nominated for the major honour in 2017 is Andrew 'Twiggy' Forrest. While he's most well known around the world for his AUD$5 billion worth, stemming from his Western Australia mining empire, that's not why he's been put up for the award.

Instead, it's his work as a 'philanthropist and anti-slavery advocate' that led to his nomination.

Equally controversial was the selection of Victorian representative Paris Aristotle. Mr Aristotle, an 'anti-torture and refugee rehabilitation advisor', was given the honour despite massive support for Motor Neurone Disease (MND) sufferer Neale Daniher.

A former AFL player and coach turned tireless MND champion, Daniher received a groundswell of support in Victoria for his work to raise awareness for the disease.

However despite his bravery in the face of the disease that is killing him he was overlooked by Victorian judges.

In recent years the award has been handed to scientists, lawyers, sports stars, musicians, educators and people from all walks of life.

However 1994 Australian of the Year Ian Kiernan - the founder of Clean Up Australia Day - is among many who believe those doing their jobs shouldn't be nominated.

'I believe you shouldn’t get the award for just doing your job — you’ve got to go further, doing something significant for your country,' Mr Kiernan 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, November 28, 2016

Pauline Hanson slips into wetsuit for reef trip -- and finds that all is well with the reef

Most of the media have been amusing about this.  They say that she has embarrassed herself by not going to the "right" part of the reef.  But that claim is itself a message that only part of the reef is affected by bleaching.  We can perhaps be thankful to them for getting that message out to a wider audience. 

There are many possible causes of bleaching but the  loons of the Green/Left are sure it is caused by global warming.  And that might pass muster when we note that the bleaching has occurred in the most Northerly (and hence warmer) one-third of the reef.  Problem:  Coral LIKES warmth, which is why the Northern part of the reef normally has the greatest biological diversity.  Normally, the further North you go (i.e. the warmer you get), the greater the diversity.  So the cause of the bleaching is unknown. 

As a fallback position, the Greenies say that the bleaching is caused by agricultural runoff.  Problem: The Northern part of the reef runs along an area of the Cape York Peninsula where there is virtually NO agriculture.  The soils there are too poor for it to be economically feasible.  So no runoff.  "Facts be damned" seems to be the Greenie motto

Pauline Hanson has slipped into a wetsuit and made a splash on the Great Barrier Reef to show the world the natural wonder is worth visiting amid claims it is dying.

The senator, who once cooked fish for a living, went swimming off Great Keppel Island today and expressed concerns about reports on the reef's health.

Ms Hanson says agenda-driven groups are telling "untruths" about the state of the reef that are harming the tourism industry and businesses.  "When we have these agendas that are actually destroying our tourism industry and businesses ... we need to ask the questions and we want answers," she said. "The Greens have no concern about people and jobs that we need here in Queensland, and the escalating costs that we are feeling from the effects of this."

One Nation senators Malcolm Roberts, who has long argued the case that global warming doesn't stack up, and Brian Burston were also on the reef trip.

Mr Roberts said people had stopped coming to the reef because they were being told it was dead and that Australia should not be reporting on its health to the UN agency UNESCO.

Conservationists are concerned climate change is putting severe stress on the reef, which experienced a massive coral bleaching event this year, and some have declared it's dying at an unprecedented rate.

They say Ms Hanson and her senators visited the wrong part of the reef as the southern sections had been least affected by the worst bleaching event in the icon's history.

The World Wildlife Fund said One Nation should have visited Lizard Island where bleaching, caused by high water temperatures, has killed much of the coral.


Federal Government rules out negative gearing changes despite calls from NSW

The Federal Government has ruled out any changes to negative gearing despite calls from the New South Wales Liberal Government to ease housing affordability.

New South Wales Planning Minister Rob Stokes has broken ranks with his federal colleagues, accusing them of falling prey to "a Canberra culture that promotes opposition over consensus".

His comments have been welcomed by the Federal Labor Party but dismissed by senior Government ministers, who warned any changes could have negative impacts.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said land supply was the key influence on housing affordability, rather than negative gearing tax exemptions.

"What we are working to do — and we are working with the state governments now to do — is to zone for more density, more affordable housing," he told 3AW Radio.

"The critical thing to do is to build more dwellings."

Treasurer Scott Morrison said the Government needed to consider how negative gearing would impact the entire nation and not Sydney alone.

"What might help in Pittwater may not help in Tasmania. In fact, it could actually have a negative impact because there is no one, single housing market," he said.

The Treasurer said he understood Mr Stokes was focused on Sydney, but he would focus on a comprehensive approach to housing affordability.

"There is no one issue that addresses this and anyone who pretends that really hasn't got across the full set of issues, and I think it is important we walk together," Mr Morrison said.

"Let's not forget that the overwhelming majority — some eight out of 10 people who buy investment properties — are not millionaires or wealthy property investors."

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann rejected Mr Stokes' call and said state governments were responsible for housing supply, not the Federal Government.

"The Commonwealth is always very keen to work with them but the suggestion that somehow increasing the taxes and making rental affordability less affordable is the right way to go … we completely reject," he told Sky News.

Labor backs 'recognition of reality' Labor's Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen welcomed the New South Wales Government's "recognition of reality" and called on the Treasurer to follow its lead.

He called on the Federal Government to "swallow its pride" and accept that negative gearing reforms were necessary to give young Australians hope, to repair the budget and to address housing affordability.

"First home buyers rates are at record lows, investor rates are at record highs," he said. "Right around Australia, young people are looking at the great Australian dream and seeing it slip through their fingers."

Mr Bowen said voters understood the time for negative gearing reforms was "well and truly here". "Today should be the last day that [the Federal Government] continues to refuse to listen to sensible contributions on negative gearing reform, including from their own party."

Focus on equality

In a speech to the Committee for Economic Development, Mr Stokes called on the Federal Government to focus on equality of opportunity for all homebuyers.

He said the NSW Government was willing to have a discussion about tax reform earlier this year and said he was disappointed by the Federal Government's policy position.

"Disappointingly our leadership on this issue fell victim to the Canberra culture that promotes opposition over consensus," he said.

"It's a major concern to me as Planning Minister of the most populous state, but also as a dad to three young children, of increasing reports that without parental support the dream of home ownership is becoming harder and harder to obtain.

"Surely the focus of the tax system should be directed towards the type of housing we need. Why should you get a tax deduction on the ownership of a multi-million-dollar holiday home that does nothing to improve supply where it's needed?"


University of Sydney beats Oxford, Cambridge in new global rankings

The University of Sydney produces graduates that are more employable than those from Cambridge, Oxford and Columbia, according to a new global rankings measure.

The QS Graduate Employability Rankings assessed 300 universities worldwide against five criteria: employer reputation, alumni outcomes, partnerships with employers, employer/student connections and graduate employment rates.

It surveyed 37,000 employers and mapped the careers of 21,000 individuals worldwide to determine the rankings.

On this basis the University of Sydney placed fourth worldwide, after Stanford and MIT in the US, and Tsinghua University in China.

The University of Melbourne ranked joint eleventh, while ANU and Monash University made the top 50 globally. UNSW does not appear in the list because it chose to opt out.

The success of Australia's universities in the global employability rankings is based in large part on their industry partnership programs, Ben Sowter, head of research at QS said.

"The 2017 instalment of this ranking illustrates that universities with a heavy STEM focus are generally among the most successful in nurturing student employability," he said.

"This ranking indicates that efforts made by Australian universities to establish themselves as industry-friendly knowledge hubs are paying dividends for their students."

QS or Quacquarelli Symonds ran the employability rankings for the first time as a pilot last year. Universities are permitted to opt-out, unlike in other rankings systems.

Tracey McNicol from ANU's Planning and Performance Management division said "for a university to perform well in this ranking they need to not only engage widely with employers but ensure that graduates leave their institutions with the skills and attributes that are relevant to the needs of employers."

The news will be a boost for the University of Sydney which sits behind the University of Melbourne and the Australian National University in the general rankings such as the Times Higher Ed and the Academic Ranking of World Universities.

Similarly, in the QS global rankings this year, Sydney ranked the 46th best university in the world, behind Melbourne (42nd) and ANU (22nd).

The University of Sydney's Vice-Chancellor Dr Michael Spence said it was committed to providing students with opportunities they need to thrive in the workforce.

"Equipping students with the knowledge, skills, values and purpose to serve society at every level and to lead the way in improving people's lives has been our mission since the University was founded in 1850," he said.


Privately-funded (better measured, more accountable) social services

Jeremy Sammut

National Adoption Awareness Week has redrawn attention to the appallingly few adoptions in Australia -- despite the appallingly high number of children in foster care that will never go home safely.

The opponents of adoption continue to claim the real problem with the child protection system is that not enough is done to help parents to stop kids entering care.

They falsely claim that adoption advocates (such as me) believe that early intervention services are a "waste of time" (see this review of my book).

This is nonsense, of course.  The problem is that child protection services bend over backwards to support parents to the point that children suffer prolonged abuse and neglect; hence there are many thousands of damaged children in care with maltreatment-related 'high needs' -- development, emotional, and other problems.

The critics also ignore the lack of evidence to support the 'family preservation' policies they endorse.

Take the 2015 Victorian Auditor General's report that found there was no way of knowing whether increased government spending on family support services  was "effectively meeting the needs of vulnerable groups ... because there are significant limitations in the service performance data and a lack of outcomes monitoring at the system level."

This is a sector-wide problem identified by my (sadly departing) colleague Trisha Jha in her excellent recent report detailing the lack of robust evaluations of early childhood interventions.

But change is slowly occurring in the social services sector, driven by privately-financed funding initiatives. The Benevolent Society's privately-financed Social Benefit Bond is used to fund the Resilient Families programs, which has had some early success in reducing the number of children entering care.

The success appears to be underpinned by a robust, independent evaluation mechanism. This includes the virtually unprecedented use of a matched intervention-group and control-group to generate a gold-standard measure of effectiveness.

Rewarding programs based on their demonstrated outcomes makes providers accountable; it encourages innovation and discovery of what actually works -- a virtuous circle.

We still need thousands more adoptions each year because there simply are some families that can never be fixed whose children will need rescuing.

But better measured, more accountable social services would also help ensure the child protection system protects children properly.


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, November 27, 2016

Post-truth was out there, but the electorate ignored it

Did the near-universal opposition to Trump convince people to vote for him? CHRIS KENNY reflects

Donald Trump, say the progressive media commentators, has been elevated on the back of post-truth politics. They couldn’t be more right, or more wrong.

The liberal media, smug about its own world view, sees Trump’s victory as evidence voters ignored the truth it presented. Silly voters; the media is never wrong.

It believes voters fell for Trump’s post-truth over the media’s truth. The self-delusion is staggering.

On our shores, the Guardian Australia’s Katharine Murphy put it this way: “We’ve been drifting, in increments, in the direction of post-truth, but the election of Trump is a headfirst pitch over the cliff. A person with manifest disdain for facts and evidence now occupies the White House because half the country didn’t care.”

As Murphy would have it, the media “did its job” trying to expose a “manifestly unqualified and potentially dangerous” candidate. Murphy discounted the “post-truth partisan hackery of Fox News” because she says it isn’t journalism.

The point that set Fox’s coverage apart from the media Murphy defends is that it got the story right, portraying Trump as a plausible contender. Fox also was, as ever, upfront about its own right-of-centre perspective. Viewers can take it or leave it, but there is no pretence.

The overwhelming majority of left-of-centre journalists and media organisations portray themselves as objective, “independent” or centrist. In doing so, they take their audiences for fools and break the nexus of trust at the first hurdle. Truth, and its absence, is a powerful factor in current discourse. No political group or individual is blameless but the progressive media doesn’t care to examine its own deceptions.

Perhaps the dishonesty of the PC brigade helps to drive voters to people such as Trump, Pauline Hanson and the Brexiteers, despite misgivings. When you are be­ing corralled in a certain direction by a jaundiced and sanctimonious political/media class consensus, why not rebel against it?

Remember, I say this as someone who opposed Trump and argued US voters would be unwise to abstain because they needed to pinch their noses and vote for Hillary Clinton to stop him.

By calling out the cosy establishment of politicians, media and lobbyists, and raising real grievances they ruled off-limits, he was a compelling figure.

There is much more to be analysed about Trump’s win — particularly economic factors and swing state campaigning — but this post-truth aspect is fascinating because we see loud echoes of it in our own politics.

The political/media class, exemplified by our taxpayer-funded media but strongly reflected in most political coverage, skews the news and opinion it produces on major issues. This underestimates the intelligence of the public, who surely resent being patronised.

Journalists and left-of-centre politicians (including Coalition moderates) can get caught up in self-referential circles, affirming their version of reality. Voters crash the party at elections or, if the politicians are lucky, by voicing their concerns beforehand.

Julia Gillard’s misogyny speech, carbon tax and live cattle export ban were illustrative examples, as was the NSW Baird government’s recent greyhound rac­ing ban — they were cheered by the Left and media but recognised as madness by the public.

This week Immigration Minister Peter Dutton spoke harsh truths about the Islamic extremists who have emerged from our Lebanese Muslim community, and the reaction from the green-Left and progressive media was classically post-truth.

The message Bill Shorten accused Dutton of promulgating was the polar opposite of what the minister enunciated. Dutton said the majority of Lebanese Muslims who have “done the right thing by this country” should not be “defined by those people who have done the wrong thing” but the Opposition Leader accused him of the “wholesale labelling of entire communities for the actions of a tiny minority”.

Shorten’s critique was fallacious but most media did not pin him. Before long the Guardian Australia was calling Dutton’s comments “incendiary” and Fairfax Media was running “Dutton race row” headlines and calls for his resignation.

As for the well-established facts about Lebanese Muslims arrested in terror operations and broader, extensively analysed problems of welfare dependency, crime and poor integration, the more outraged the media outlets, the less interested they were in such matters. Greens senator Nick McKim captured the zeitgeist. “Undoubtedly the advice he’s got is accurate but just because something is fact doesn’t mean that it’s reasonable or productive to talk about it,” he told Sky News.

Do these politicians and journalists presume the public (to use Jack Nicholson’s famous line) can’t handle the truth?

Or do they think the public will join a delusional parlour game of political theatre when serious issues of security, immigration and cohesion are at play? Some partisans will, of course, but the crucial, sensible centre is more interested in reality.

This is the real post-truth environment: mainstream voters seeing through the spin and jaundice of an overwhelmingly green-Left political/media class. Just as they have long been sceptical of arguments from big business because of its obvious self-interest, voters discern a politically correct agenda from the establishment, including the media.

Climate change is an area where these pontificators treat the public like mugs. Anyone with a pulse knows the scientific consensus about carbon dioxide emissions and temperature models; the complexity comes in whether actual events match the models, whether remedial action is worthwhile and comparing the range of possible responses and their likely costs and benefits.

Yet the political/media class pretends Australian action — be it a wind farm or a carbon price — equates to an environmental benefit. Does it think the public is not aware we contribute only 1.3 per cent of global emissions?

When the political/media class continually censors such realities, or eliminates them from discussions, to maintain a simplistic and binary discussion, does it think mainstream voters will never discover that China and India continue to massively increase global emissions?

Do the politicians and journalists presume all members of the public want to join their campaign of climate gestures or do they think we are too silly to comprehend that we are being made to pay higher electricity prices to produce a net environmental dividend of next to zero?

These are the same journalists, activists and politicians who went quiet on border protection when it was in chaos under Labor. ABC news bulletins often neglected to report boat arrivals, the Australian Human Rights Commission sec­retly delayed an inquiry into children in detention and journalists re­peated Labor’s mantra that “push factors” were to blame and boats simply could not be turned back.

After the Coalition turned back boats, stopped the people-smuggling and started emptying and closing the detention centres, the AHRC finally began its detention inquiry and the media went back to shrill reports of boat arrivals and claims of mistreatment from asylum-seekers. Instructively, only after the change of government did the ABC construct a web page to log the arrival of every boat; clearly intended to log the Coalition’s failure, it quickly became redundant.

The media/political class can easily convince itself of its ‘‘truthiness” version of reality, and it can have it reinforced constantly by “independent” and social media, but it can’t fool the public. That is the real message of the post-truth age. And the public has the ultimate say through the ballot box. The more they are preached at, especially with incorrect assertions or incomplete arguments, the more they are likely to rebel.

In this respect, Murphy may have been on the money when, in her piece about the media’s efforts to expose Trump, she said: “Our efforts to make things better could be making things worse.”


All power to energy security: Australia could learn from Trump

When US president-elect Donald Trump listed his six top priorities for executive action this week on “day one” of becoming the most powerful man in the world, naturally most attention was grabbed by his very first decision: withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.

Yet in global terms, and in Australia’s interest, his second priority was just as important.

This was Trump’s pledge to “cancel job-killing restrictions on the production of American ­energy including shale energy and clean coal, creating many millions of high-paying jobs”.

Energy security was placed above national security.

The jobs of coalminers, the use of low-cost shale deposits for ­energy and the creation of manufacturing jobs were placed ahead of national security, and the withdrawal from the Obama administration’s commitment to the Paris agreement on climate change didn’t even rate a mention.

There is global agitation about the pragmatism of protecting jobs through energy security, providing energy at a low enough price so people can afford to use it and producing energy when ­people need it, as well as an ­imperative to lower carbon emissions. The hidden cost of “intermittency” — the hallmark of wind and solar production — and the danger of blackouts are being recognised.

Australia is fortunate in that, historically, it has had low-cost ­energy, enormous natural res­ources, a pristine environment and the benefit of seeing how policy parameters such as the European emissions trading system and subsidised ­renewable energy programs work in practice.

Trump’s priorities and actions on energy are vital to Australia’s own energy future, economic growth, job creation and climate change actions as precipitous political decisions around the world are distorting energy markets, pushing up costs for ­industry, driving jobs across borders, exporting manufacturing ­opportunities and perversely ­affecting markets and carbon emissions.

There is also a political neces­sity to continue to get public support for climate change initiatives, although Trump has demonstrated there can be a white-hot anger about ideological climate change policies that don’t recognise the hurt to workers.

In recent weeks in Australia the closure of the Victorian Hazelwood coal-fired power station has been announced with the loss of 750 jobs in the Latrobe Valley, in part because of French government climate change policy; ­export coal prices have soared; coalmines have reopened; and AGL, one of the biggest domestic gas suppliers, has set aside $17 million for a feasibility study for Australia, the biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas, to import lower-cost LNG from suppliers in the Middle East.

As well, South Australia experi­enced catastrophic power blackouts, Victoria became a net electricity importer, with the ­potential for dire shortages or blackouts at times of extreme ­demand, and the Victorian Labor government introduced a bill this week to extend its existing moratorium on conventional onshore gas exploration to 2020.

The Greens, environmental ­activists and the ALP are simultaneously building a public campaign for the transition from coal and gas to a mainly renew­able ­energy future that is putting cutting carbon emissions ahead of ­energy and job security.

It is a challenge for all sides of politics in form and substance.

According to Industry, Innovation and Science Minister Greg Hunt, the Victorian government’s decision to continue to ban onshore natural gas exploration is the final act in laying the foundation for a “manufacturing crisis” with a looming shortfall in natural gas supply ­because Australia is locked into long-term LNG exports, and Victoria and NSW are banning or ­effectively banning gas exploration and production.

“It is absolutely clear there is no shortage of gas resources in the ground but there is a shortage of gas supply to homes and industry,” Hunt tells ­Inquirer. “We have to be honest that the effective closure of new supplies will risk jobs, will risk prices and will risk economic activity.

“The sad part, over and above that, is that potentially we choose higher emissions sources of ­energy for electricity.”

Whereas Australia is aiming to reform its energy market, upgrade its electricity interchange, boost renewable energy, keep coal and gas as integral parts of energy generation and job creation for decades to come, and meet its international agreements to cut carbon emissions by 26 per cent to 28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030, Trump is happy to shed global ­obligations to provide cheap power for the US economy.

He campaigned successfully on creating American jobs and specifically on returning the manufacturing and mining jobs lost in states such as Pennsylvania, which he snatched from Hillary Clinton, sensing the blue-collar fear and reality of job losses because of climate change policies closing mines and raising costs to support renewable energy.

As for Australia, seen as one of the world’s great carbon demons because of its coal production, it does not have the option of dumping carbon polices as Trump ­intends to do, but neither should Australian governments, state and federal, adopt distorting policies that push costs to domestic and ­industry users to levels that are punitive, unsustainable and a threat to a cohesive energy supply and security.

Without commenting on any US administration’s domestic policy, Hunt makes the point: “American manufacturing in ­recent years has become more competitive in significant measure because they have had access to lower-cost gas; it actually brought gas on board. As a matter of economics, if there is more natural gas available in the US, then their manufacturing will be even more competitive.”

In the past 10 years in the US, electricity generation from gas has risen from 18.7 per cent to 32.5 per cent while coal has fallen from 49.5 per cent to 33 per cent. Coal and natural gas are now almost equal as the producers of American electricity. During the same period, renew­able electricity energy has grown from 8.8 per cent to 13.8 per cent and nuclear has ­remained steady at 19.4 per cent.

The real lesson for Australia in the US experience of the role of gas, coal and renewables in this energy-climate change mix is not the increased potential economic threat from Trump’s low-cost powered US industrial base but from Europe.

Although Trump’s first priority involved ensuring the US created American jobs by producing steel and “making cars”, the threat to Australia’s coal exports — which even Bill Shorten admits must go on for decades — is the framing of public opinion and policy development that puts energy security at risk.

Ideologically driven energy ­decisions in Europe taken years ago provide the example of how Australia should not proceed: ­unrealistic renewable energy targets, unsustainable renewable ­energy subsidies, rising electricity prices, precipitously doing away with fossil fuels, politically driven decisions to close nuclear power plants, the export of jobs and, ironically, the start of the failure of carbon emission reduction policies.

In the past two years Germany’s renowned world leader status on renewable energy has started to be tarnished as political decisions to subsidise renewables and to close nuclear power plants, coalmines and coal-fired power plants have ­resulted in price rises and ­environmental anomalies.

Rising costs for industry’s power have forced companies to relocate, the government has told renewable energy producers they have to manage without subsidies, coal-fired power stations are being commissioned, brown coal — lignite — mines are being opened and brown “dirty” coal is still a large part of baseload electricity generation.

Paradoxically, as Germany tries to become nuclear free, it is buying nuclear-generated electricity from France and the French are importing cheap lignite-powered electricity from Germany. This makes a mockery of carbon emission and nuclear energy ­reductions.

France introduced a carbon tax on coal-fired electricity and cut subsidies to coal — in part affecting the Latrobe Valley — as a climate change policy, but higher costs forced the government to cancel the tax within a few months.

As Europe heads into winter, there are predictions of greater ­demand from Britain and The Netherlands from electricity suppliers, and some of that will be coming from Germany’s “dirty ­secret” of lignite. Germany is being attacked by industry for higher prices creating job losses and by environmentalists for dropping its specific carbon emission reduction targets for 2050.

Australia has the opportunity to bring a sober, pragmatic but ­environmentally responsible ener­gy security to bear in the ­national interest, but at the ­moment the approach is fractured, ideologically driven and not receiving the priority Trump is prepared to give energy security.


Trump’s Aussie mates: Latham, Dean and Cameron launch new show

Mark Latham, Ross Cameron and Rowan Dean, or “Trump’s Aussie Mates”, have teamed up for a new panel show on Sky News called Outsiders. It is an answer to the ABC’s Insiders program, the embodiment of an out-of-touch, inner-city Leftist class, according to the trio.

Former Labor Party leader, Latham, former Howard government frontbencher, Cameron, and editor of The Spectator magazine, Rowan Dean, hosted a US election-day function called Trump’s Aussie Mates on ­November 9 in Sydney. High on Donald Trump’s unexpected victory, the three men joined Sky’s Paul Murray Live that night to discuss and celebrate what had just transpired.

“All three of us over the past 12 months were both supportive of Donald Trump and, more importantly, recognised he would win and kept repeating this despite this meaning the opprobrium of every other media commentator basically,” Dean told The Australian. “I was told I was reprehensible as a human being for even countenancing a Donald Trump victory on Lateline.”

Days after the Paul Murray appearance, an agreement was in place for a new show featuring the trio to air on Sunday mornings at 10am, immediately after Barrie Cassidy’s Insiders on the ABC, with the program to debut on ­December 4.

“It could be close to a record for the fastest conception of a TV network news program,” Cameron said. “It required two conversations and one email and it took less than 24 hours.”

Latham, known for his Trump-like disdain for political correctness, the establishment and bleeding-heart Lefties, claims ­credit for the idea.

He said Cassidy’s predictions of a Hillary Clinton landslide victory galvanised his belief there was room in the market for a show that gave voice to Australia’s own silent majority.

“It’s like the ‘Opposite day’ ­episode of Seinfeld,” Latham said. “If you do the opposite of Barrie Cassidy you’ll get it right.”

Latham predicts the program will enjoy unprecedented access to the White House during the Trump presidency.

“When we want to call team Trump, we just called him direct. We don’t need the Shark,” he said in reference to a News Corp report that Australian golfer Greg Norman had put Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in touch with the president-elect.

One objective for the program is to gain access to a Human Rights Commission conciliation conference, run by president Gillian Triggs, for a complaint lodged under the controversial section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, Cameron said.

“Our modest goal is to be the highest-rating show on Sky in three weeks,” he said.

Latham said he was proud there was “absolutely no balance whatsoever” on the panel. “There’s no gender balance. We’re all white. We don’t believe in things like gender balance,” he said.

The hosts declined to divulge their thoughts on Turnbull’s handling of the Trump victory thus far. “You’ll have to watch the show,” they said.

So how do they think the Trump presidency will pan out?

Cameron: “Brilliantly. Two terms.”

Dean: “It will be a proper presidency.”

Latham: “We want Trump to abuse the media and for them to abuse him back and we want more lectures from actors … then a Trump landslide in 2020.”


School Indoctrination Just Keeps Getting Worse

First it was the Safe Schools program to indoctrinate our children into the LGBT agenda, then it was Respectful Relationships to teach our children about feminism and male privilege. Now we have a new school program to complete the trifecta of identity and victim politics with the Building Belonging program to enforce racial and cultural diversity. The program has been created by the embattled Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) and is aimed at pre-schoolers.

The justification for such a program according to the National Children’s Commissioner Megan Mitchell is apparently early childhood educators have been asked by students about the racial background of another student and half of those questions implied something negative about that race. Rather than an educator just answering these questions and putting it down to the curious nature of children which all parents understand. The AHRC concludes that these questions are asked because children are being racists, probably egged on by their parents. Therefore it requires a government mandated anti-racism program.

This is despite the fact that there are hundreds of multiracial suburbs and schools in our major cities such as Sydney and Melbourne and almost every white child these days has a friend from other race. But determined to paint a negative view of Australia and our children the left have created this program to stop the next generation of racists.

The content of this program includes lessons such as be aware of the difference in appearances of people, not to judge people because of their appearance and to respect diversity and how to respect people’s differences. It would appear from these lessons that the creators are intending to create a sense of difference between students where one might not exist in the first place. Young children might not have really thought about the fact that other students are of different races or cultures, but this program implants the idea of difference in their minds.

Then there is the toolkit for educators and parents, for educators it asks them to teach students to spot alleged racial prejudice and even teaches them to know when their parents are being racist. It also asks them to teach students about the benefits of cultural diversity and learning about other cultures. For parents it encourages them and their children to experience the culture of other races by going to their events and cultural festivals. The creators of the program have also created a list of frequently asked racist questions that children might ask. There is even song which students must sing about the different racial colours in Australia.

The message that these toolkits communicate send is specifically that white students and parents must embrace and experience other cultures as they are perpetuating a racist society. I never knew that multiculturalism must be compulsory, as long as I’m not believing some races are inferior to others it’s none of these educators business what cultural activities I take my child too.

This program is likely to have the opposite effect to what it is intended. The children of today already go to school with children from many different cultures and races therefore it is only natural for them to want to get along and have a good time. But this program has the effect of dividing students into different races and cultures and creating a barrier to student interaction where there shouldn’t be one. By telling mainly white students that the students of colour are radically different people from and you need to be careful when interacting with them could have the effect of creating resentment.

This program is just another facet of the left’s enforcement of identity politics, dividing people into victim groups and creating the concept of privileged classes of people. We are living in arguably the most tolerant times in human history where it is as easy as ever (in the western world at least) to be who you want to be without fear of persecution.

But of course to left everything is racist, sexist, homophobic or bigoted which therefore justifies them trying to remake society in their cultural Marxist image. This is why they have introduced all these programs into schools so they can get children while they are young and indoctrinate them into their worldviews therefore shaping the future direction of society.

Parents need to take a stand and say we will not put up with this, we will not let our children become footsoliders in this culture war you are trying to create. We are not living in some evil white privileged, patriarchal, heteronominative society that justifies you filling our children’s minds with such divisive, confusing and potentially damaging ideas. We know what is best for our children and will not let you use them for your destructive plans to destroy our current society.


Criminologist Paul Wilson jailed over ‘brazen’ child sexual abuse

I can't say I am surprised.  He was always an odd one.  He was a real pretty boy in his younger days and he became quite the narcissist.  He had big pictures of himself in the company of prominent people plastered up all over the walls of his office in the Michie building at UQ

A Queensland criminologist has been jailed for brazen and persistent sexual abuse of a young girl in the 1970s.

Paul Wilson, 75, first assaulted the victim when she was eight at his Brisbane home in Indooroopilly and only stopped when she moved away from the area. Some of the abuse was carried out while other children and an adult were in the house.

Judge Julie Dick sentenced Wilson to 18 months imprisonment suspended after six months. Dick said the offending was persistent, brazen and involved the corruption of a child “of tender years”.

“This was a child, somebody else’s child in the neighbourhood who was visiting,” she said. “You, being an older man, had some authority and power over her. She has suffered this over a long number of years and the trial itself was traumatic for her.”

She accepted the defendant had led an “admirable life” but added: “No one knows what happens behind closed doors.”

Wilson was convicted after a retrial at Brisbane supreme court of four counts of indecent treatment of a child between 1973 and 1976.

Prosecutor Phil McCarthy described him as brazen and manipulative, and said he had used his position of standing in the community to corrupt the young girl. The abuse continues to have a significant effect on the victim, who was “very young and sexually naive” at the time, he said.

Defence barrister Peter Davis, QC, said Wilson, awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for his contribution to education, had lived a “full, successful, busy and conventional life” as a university professor. He has suffered a “very public fall from grace”, he added.


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