Thursday, September 20, 2007

Global warming attracts the dumb and the devious

IT'S a toss-up as to who's making a bigger fool of themselves over climate change: our politicians or our Miss Earth contestants, Andrew Bolt writes

At least the girls in the Miss Earth beauty pageant can afford to look stupid, since they aren't in charge of anything important, like the vanishing water supplies of our cities. They've just wanted to preach green messages in a bikini and tiara, as they fought last week for the titles of Miss Earth Australia, Best in Swimsuit and Best Environmental Speech. So, we could smile to read contestant Snezana declare that "Salinisation (sic) of land is one of the major environemtal (sic) crises facing Australia", and Kirra warn that "the biggest problem in our enviroment (sic) today is our lack of water". At worst we'd have wondered how badly we teach English as Angelique demanded help for an "environmnet" in danger, and Natalia wept for an "enviornment (sic) that sustains us".

How cute, these earnest bikini babes, so keen to save something they cannot even spell. But how scary, too, that many of these contestants want to save this thing they cannot spell from a threat they cannot understand. You see, someone - a few of the girls dobbed in Al Gore - has filled their pretty heads with such wild fears of global warming that poor Amanda now wails that "the human race will eventually become extinct".

Scared silly, like so many children now, by professional panic merchants, it seems there's nothing these girls won't now blame on global warming; even tsunamis caused by earthquakes. Christine, for instance, says she's been worried about global warming "from when the tsunami happened in Thailand back in December 2004". "Hey! Me too," squeals Georgina. "Aside from an increase in natural disasters such as the fateful tsunami of 2004 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, smaller changes to weather patterns are slowly being recognised."

Of course, we mustn't blame the girls for believing something so stupid when even Great Guru Gore has falsely suggested global warming caused Hurricane Katrina, the melting snows of Kilimanjaro, the drying of Lake Chad, the immigration of Pacific islanders and whatever else he dreams up when flying here to tell us to cut the kind of emissions he just blew out the back of his jet.

And I ask again: Who really is making a bigger fool of themselves over global warming; these harmless beauty contestants or our politicians, now watching our dams drain dry? The girls may think global warming causes earthquakes, but our politicians just as stupidly claim it's causing our cities to run out of water. Here is New South Wales Premier Morris Iemma last Friday, explaining why Sydney is getting permanent water restrictions: "The changes brought by climate change are going to change the way we use water." Victoria's politicians have used the same line. Here is our since departed Minister for No Water, John Thwaites, excusing water restrictions that are killing our playing fields and gardens: "So all the evidence points to a significant involvement of global warming in the present drought."

How handy, that global warming bogyman. Blame global warming for Melbourne's dams now being 7 per cent lower now than they were even last year, when things got grim. Blame global warming for the Brumby Government having to reassure us last week that Melbourne won't run out of drinking water this year, at least. Gosh, don't blame the Government instead for having such a green phobia about a new dam that we may run out of water the year after. What deceitful men. Or stupid.

For a start, no scientist can tell if any drought yet has been caused by the slight global warming of 0.7 degrees thought to have occurred last century. Let's not forget we've had many droughts before in our "land of droughts and flooding rains". Indeed, the driest five years in NSW in the past century were from 1940 to 1944, and Victoria's past five years have been no drier than what we suffered then, too. Bureau of Meteorology figures suggest we may just be returning to the drier weather of the first 45 years of last century.

In NSW, the average annual rainfall back then was just 475mm. Then came years of plenty, averaging 567mm, but since 1996 the annual rainfall has fallen back to an average of 511mm - still well up on the usual rainfall of the post-war years. So what drought? Victoria's weather has followed much the same pattern: Dry years until 1945, followed by years of good rain until a decade ago, when the dry returned. Our average annual rainfall from 1996 has been 571mm, much less than the post-war average until then of 671mm, but not much less than the pre-war average of 603mm.

Droughts come and droughts go, and it's impossible to see the influence of any man-made global warming. So why should this make you furious with our politicians? Because the history of this continent's weather should have told them to prepare for dry years of the kind we've had so often before. Because it should have told them they were mad to waste dam water on environmental flows for rivers that had survived years far drier than these. And because by blaming global warming instead of themselves, they make sweet girls like Miss Earth's Krystle shake on their stilettos, sure that "the ultimate end of existence of Earth and man is global warming". Fear not, Krystle, stupidity will kill us more surely than global warming.


Leftist racism on the march among the Australian Left

LIKE most of you, I'm indigenous. I was born here and have nowhere else to go, Andrew Bolt writes

This is my home, and where my heart is. If I'm not indigenous to Australia, I'm indigenous to nowhere. So you might think I'd cheer at Labor's promise last week to ratify - should it win government - the United Nations' new Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Except, of course, we know Labor is infected with the New Racism, and still plays off one tribe against another.

In the case of we indigenous Australians, Labor now wants to ratify a bizarre document that doesn't just stop at saying some indigenous people are more indigenous than others. It also says the most indigenous of us - people born here, like me, but with some Aboriginal ancestry - can be excused the laws and obligations that apply to the rest of us. And get extra rights all of their own.

Here's proof that Kevin Rudd's new Labor isn't so new, after all, exploiting the ethnic differences which divide us rather than celebrating what unites. Incidentally, for more proof, see star Labor candidate Maxine McKew, now fighting Prime Minister John Howard for his seat of Bennelong. She's just promised to recognise the "Armenian genocide", hoping to thrill Bennelong's 4000 ethnic Armenians. The nation's many Turks, however, will be enraged, rightly arguing that the death of hundreds of thousands of Armenians in the wars, famines and inter-ethnic slaughter of the Ottoman Empire's last years was a tragedy, but no state-ordered genocide. McKew's promise can bring only strife, but harvesting votes by preaching old divisions rather than a new unity is an old Labor ploy.

And so we see again with this UN Declaration on indigenous rights. The wretched thing is actually the work of the UN's discredited Human Rights Council, which includes representatives from such beacons of humans rights as Saudi Arabia, China, Cuba, Egypt, Pakistan and Russia. Already you'll have figured this is a document full of empty sentiments that even its authors don't believe or most certainly will never implement. That helps to explain why the four countries that refused to ratify it last week are ones that take their word more seriously: Australia, Canada, the United States and New Zealand, each of which objects that this declaration puts ethnic laws above national ones. But Labor's spokesman for indigenous affairs, Jenny Macklin, can't wait to sign, promising "a federal Labor Government would endorse Australia becoming a signatory".

So what is in this UN declaration, that Macklin later stressed was "non-binding", that Labor wants to sign us up to? Read closely, because it's actually a blueprint for an Aboriginal nation within Australia, with rights to its own schools, own government, own treaties and own laws, even if as barbaric as payback: "Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right to belong to an indigenous community or nation . . . "(States must give) due recognition to indigenous peoples' laws . . . "Indigenous peoples have the right to establish and control their education systems . . . "States shall consult and co-operate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions . . . "Indigenous peoples . . . have the right to maintain and develop contacts, relations and co-operation, including activities for spiritual, cultural, political, economic and social purposes with . . . other peoples across borders . . . "Indigenous peoples have the right to determine the responsibilities of individuals to their communities." That last one is oppressive. It says tribal strongmen can tell Aborigines who want to join the mainstream to stick with the tribe instead.

Macklin is now insisting she won't let tribal law overrule the general law. But why sign a protocol that implies the very opposite? That supports an Aboriginal nation within Australia? That supports separate rights and separate development for Aborigines, instead of urging them to seek a future with the rest of us? What divisive and racist foolishness. Already we can assume Labor in office will kill the federal intervention in the Northern Territory launched by this Government to save Aboriginal communities now drowning in booze, violence, truancy and unemployment.

It isn't right, a Macklin will say after the election, that "we" trample on Aborigines' rights to their own ways. And once again the weak will pay for this Noble Savage myth that Labor still worships: this insistence that Aborigines be a race apart. They'll be like the boy of this news story last week: "A magistrate seeking to preserve an Aboriginal toddler's cultural identity ignored warnings from child protection workers and put him into the care of his violent uncle, who four weeks later tortured and bashed the boy almost to death . . ." Preserve the tribe! Never mind the individual. And pit one race against another. Pit one group of indigenous people against the rest who were born here, and want brothers, not rivals.


Australian education pattern different

Leftist State governments fail to teach the basics

AUSTRALIAN school students spend half the time learning reading, writing, maths and science that their counterparts in other industrialised nations do. Australian curriculums devote the least amount of time of the 30 leading industrialised nations to teaching core subjects for 9- to 11-year-olds and for 12- to 14-year-olds, says the OECD report on education released last night. Education at a Glance 2007 says Australia is the only member of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development to decrease public investment in tertiary education, by 4 per cent, compared with an average 49 per cent increase in the 29 other nations.

While public spending on education at all levels is below the OECD average, the level of private spending at the school and university level is among the highest.

The report also notes the lack of financial incentive for experienced teachers, with 31 per cent of wage rises in the past decade going to beginners and only 3per cent to those with more than 15 years on the job. Education Minister Julie Bishop and Opposition education spokesman Stephen Smith said the core subjects of reading, writing, maths and science were vital and the OECD results reflected why it was necessary to introduce a rigorous national curriculum in such subjects. Ms Bishop said the report echoed recent concerns made by the Australian Primary School Principals Association that the curriculum was too cluttered and that core skills were suffering as a result. Mr Smith said the core subjects were at the heart of a quality education and fundamental to other learning.

But association president Leonie Trimper disputed the figures, saying Australian primary schools spent about 30 per cent of the week on reading and writing and 20 per cent on maths. The OECD reports that the intended instruction time for the compulsory curriculum in Australia is 13 per cent in reading, writing and literature for primary school students compared with 23 per cent in the OECD, and 9 per cent for 12- to 14-year-olds, compared with 15 per cent. Maths accounts for 9 per cent of instruction time in primary schools compared with the OECD average of 16 per cent, and 9 per cent in high schools, compared with the average of 13 per cent. Primary school science accounts for 2 per cent and a foreign language 1 per cent of teaching time compared with the averages of 8 per cent and 7 per cent respectively.

The report notes that Australia has a much lower proportion, 41 per cent compared with the OECD average of 92 per cent, of compulsory core curriculum, or the minimum required time devoted to core subjects common to all students. The majority of the compulsory Australian curriculum is flexible, allowing schools or students to choose where to spend the rest of their time. "This indicator captures intended instruction time ... it does not show the actual number of hours of instruction received by students," the report says. "It nevertheless provides an indication of how much formal instruction time is considered necessary in order for students to achieve the desired educational goals."

In assessing education funding, the report says that based on 2005 figures, public funding of all levels of education in Australia is 4.3 per cent of GDP, compared with an OECD average of 5 per cent while private spending is 1.6 per cent of GDP, more than double the OECD average of 0.7 per cent, and the third-highest level behind the US and Korea.

Public funding of tertiary education institutions fell by 4 per cent compared with an average increase in the OECD of 49 per cent. Half of all tertiary spending is now from private funds.

Mr Smith said the investment Australia made in education compared with other countries was the crucial factor. "The report finds that there has been a significant decline in public investment across all levels of education in Australia under the Howard Government," he said.

Ms Bishop said the OECD's analysis was flawed, and was based on a different definition of tertiary institution than used in Australia. Ms Bishop also said it failed to include large public funding increases since 2004, including the $5 billion Higher Education Endowment Fund. However, she said the report provided further support for the Government's push to introduce performance-based pay for teachers. "The lack of incentive and career prospects is one reason why 40 per cent of teaching graduates do not go into teaching and 25 per cent of new teachers leave the profession within five years," she said"


Leftists find racism under every bed

TODD Harper, the VicHealth boss, really does seem awfully keen to see racism where none exists, Andrew Bolt writes

Last week, I pointed out that VicHealth now claimed our Anglo culture made immigrants sick. As VicHealth Letter put it: "The dominance of an Anglo culture, and civic organisation based on a British system of law and governance, inadvertently leads to systemic racial discrimination, creating barriers to the economic resources necessary to maintain good health and well-being."

I tried, using facts and reason, to show Harper why he was wrong to so savagely criticise a culture that has actually produced a society remarkably happy, rich - and healthy. I wasted my time. You may have seen on these pages on Monday Harper's response, which began with the best anecdote he could find to show how bad our racism was: "An 11-year-old boy, Steve, is at the footy with his dad. The boy was born in Australia. His father was born in Greece. They are both proud Aussies. "They are watching Carlton champion Anthony Koutoufides playing St Kilda in what will turn out to be his last game. "As Kouta drops a mark, a St Kilda fan roars: 'Go back to your souvlaki shop.' The boy turns to his father with a scared and confused look . . ." This, Harper triumphantly concluded, is among the "evidence (which) shows that Victoria's large culturally diverse population deal(s) with fairly high levels of discrimination . . ."

Small problem, Todd. As it happens, Koutoufides really does own a souvlaki shop, called Souvlaki Hut, along with former teammate Ange Christou. In fact, he's since left football and indeed gone back to his souvlaki shop. So, what was that St Kilda fan supposed to shout instead: "Go back to your Chinese takeaway?" And was what he said truly racist, when the most passionate anti-racists saw nothing wrong with similarly advising One Nation's Pauline Hanson to go back to her fish and chip shop? Really, Harper should be much less eager to take offence. It's not healthy, and not that fair on us, either.


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