Sunday, November 14, 2010

UK too full of immigrants, says Pauline Hanson

The only political figure in Australia who tells it like it is

Pauline Hanson has abandoned plans to move to Britain, after discovering it's not the racially pure utopia she was hoping for.

After returning a fortnight ago from an extended holiday in Europe, the former One Nation leader has told The Sun-Herald she's back in Australia for good and considering yet another return to politics.

"I love England but so many people want to leave there because it's overrun with immigrants and refugees," Ms Hanson said.

"France is becoming filled with Muslims and the French and English are losing their way of life because they're controlled by foreigners in the European Union.

"Problems are worse over there than they are in Australia and Australia is still the best place in the world to live, but the same sorts of awful things are happening here too. Residents of Commonwealth countries who want to live here are discriminated against in favour of others."

Ms Hanson, 56, spent two months touring countries including England, the Czech Republic, Germany, Lithuania and France.

In February, Ms Hanson told Woman's Day magazine she was selling her home and property at Coleyville, south-west of Brisbane, and moving to Britain, partly because she was disappointed by the way Australia had changed.

Ms Hanson told The Sun-Herald she wouldn't rule out a return to politics. "I still haven't got politics out of my system," she said. "I get asked constantly, 'Are you going back into politics?' - even by people who recognised me overseas."

It was "difficult to say" whether she would sell her Coleyville house, but she said she would move "very soon, possibly interstate".


Bureaucratic obstacle to rebuilding young women's lives

The NSW hospital system again

MICHAELA has dated a handful of men, but whenever the relationships began to get serious, she would end them. "How do you tell someone you don't have a vagina?" she asks.

The 18-year-old, who was also born with two uteruses and a deformed kidney, hopes she never has to - but her future is hanging in a bureaucratic balance, which has infuriated doctors who want to help.

As an apprentice chef, Michaela cannot afford the cost of a surgically created vagina but desperately wants a chance at a normal marriage and sex life.

Her doctor, Michael Bennett - one of only two people in Australia trained to do such procedures - has offered to operate for free, but NSW Health will not allow it. The nation's only other paediatric/adolescent gynaecologist, Sonia Grover, works in Melbourne but spent most of the year on leave in Switzerland. "This is despicable. It's not like [Michaela] can go to anyone else," Professor Bennett said.

The problem began in January when Professor Bennett retired as the head of obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of NSW. That role was linked to his contract at the Royal Women's Hospital, in Randwick, where he has been seeing patients for 27 years.

Concerned that women who could not afford private health cover would be marooned, he requested permission to work at the hospital one day a week until Associate Professor Grover returned from Switzerland or a colleague, undertaking training in Britain, returns next year.

South Eastern Sydney Illawarra Area Health Service refused the request on the grounds the hospital could not afford it. Professor Bennett then offered to do the surgery free but was told the hospital had no money and was asked to provide a "business case" to support his request. "I presented the 130 cases I had dealt with in the past five years. All but five of them had been day surgery patients, so the costs are very little. … This is a stupid bureaucratic argument."

About one in 5000 women were born with reproductive abnormalities and almost all were profoundly troubled, feeling alone and lacking self-esteem, he said. "But with very little money or time, someone with the expertise and training that I have can get them back on track to being normal."

Michaela is not the only case Professor Bennett is fighting for. He has another patient, 18, sitting her Higher School Certificate, who needs a vaginal construction and cannot afford the surgery. She wanted the operation before she attended schoolies next week, so she could "do whatever every other girl does at schoolies", he said.

A spokeswoman for NSW Health said women such as Michaela could be treated as public patients at the Sydney Children's Hospital, the Children's Hospital at Westmead or Prince of Wales, a statement that infuriates Professor Bennett.

He has presented evidence that unless these women are treated by specialists, such as himself, they often ended up with botched surgery. One girl, who could have had a vagina surgically created, will now have to go without because her gynaecologist accidentally cut the tissues between her rectum and bladder.

The opposition health spokeswoman, Jillian Skinner, said there was no excuse to deny these young women. "When a highly specialised surgeon is offering his services for free, it makes no sense for the government to act as a roadblock. Health administrators should be looking at ways to make this work, not coming up with excuses as to why it can't be done."

Michaela is saving her minimal wage in the hope she can afford the surgery in a few years, but Professor Bennett has refused to reveal the full cost for fear of dashing her hopes. "This is the last thing I need to do and then I'll be just like everyone else," she said.


Australian psychologists are deep Greens

See an except from an official Australian Psychological Society emission below. That they are so clueless about climate science is entirely to be expected from their cluelessness about psychological science -- which I have often set out at psychology conferences and in the academic journals -- including Australian psychology journals and conferences. See here. Note that there is not a shadow of scientific caution expressed below. Green/Left faith is all that they have

Climate change and other environmental problems are fast becoming daily news items in the media. As our awareness of environmental problems increases, many strong emotions can surface. But climate change doesn't need to be faced with dread. It also needn't require missing out on things, or living a less pleasurable life. There is a lot of information available about what we need to do to combat environmental problems, and many changes are very easy to make. Change can also mean we end up living better.

This information booklet is aimed at helping people cope with the many environmental threats facing us. It offers suggestions for dealing with distressing feelings when learning about environmental problems. It also provides tips for people who want to do something about environmental problems, but may be having difficulty getting started. Finally, the booklet aims to help people work out how to talk with others about these issues, and how to encourage others to join in making positive changes.

* Common reactions to learning about environmental problems

* Managing the feelings climate change can generate

* How to change your own behaviour

* Encouraging others to change

Common reactions to learning about environmental problems

It is common for people to experience a range of emotions and psychological reactions when faced with information about environmental threats and predictions of an uncertain future. People may feel anxious, scared, sad, depressed, numb, helpless and hopeless, frustrated or angry.

Sometimes, if the information is too unsettling and the solutions seem too difficult, people can cope by minimising or denying that there is a problem, or avoiding thinking about the problems.

Being sceptical about the problems is another way that people may react. The caution expressed by climate change sceptics could be a form of denial, where it involves minimising the weight of scientific evidence/consensus on the subject. Or it could indicate that they perceive the risks of change to be greater than the risks of not changing, for themselves or their interests.

Another common reaction is to become desensitised to information about environmental problems. Stories and images relating to climate change flood our daily news. People can become desensitised to the stories, and mentally switch off when the next one comes. The fact that these problems are not easily fixed, and seem to go on and on without resolution, increases the chances that we will tune out, thus minimising our stress and continuing with business as usual.

Once people believe that they cannot do anything to change a situation, they tend to react in all sorts of unhelpful ways. They may become dependent on others (i.e., by believing that the government or corporations will fix things, or that technology has all the answers), resigned ("if it happens, it happens"), cynical ("there's no way you can stop people from driving their cars everywhere - convenience is more important to most people than looking after the environment"), or fed up with the topic.

Managing the feelings climate change can generate

Although environmental threats are real and can be frightening, remaining in a state of heightened distress is not helpful for ourselves or for others. We generally cope better, and are more effective at making changes, when we are calm and rational.
Be optimistic about the future

It can help to remind ourselves that the future is not all bleak. There are millions of people all over the world who share our concerns and are working on protecting the environment, helping others to change their behaviour, and finding other solutions. We already have a lot of information about what we need to do (like reducing greenhouse gas emissions), and what we need to stop doing (like wasting water), and there are tremendous advances in technology being developed every day to help us live sustainably and well.

The power of the individual - taking action

The other good news is that a lot of desirable goals are easily achievable by people simply making changes to their personal life. These changes don't need to be difficult, nor do they need to involve giving up a lifestyle that we enjoy. When everyone makes a commitment to purchasing green energy from renewable sources, reducing petrol use, and making sustainable choices as consumers, then whole communities and nations can drastically reduce their emissions, reduce the pollution of air and water, and develop sustainable ways of living.

Reminding ourselves that there is a lot that we can personally do, and starting to take action to manage the environment better, can help us move from despair and hopelessness to a sense of empowerment.


"The long-run trajectory for Aborigines in Australia is integration", says Labor Party figure, Gary Johns

Any amendments to the Constitution to recognise Aborigines should be minimalist. THE Gillard government's intention to discuss the wording of a constitutional amendment to recognise Australians of Aboriginal origin provides the opportunity to ask where we are headed in Aboriginal affairs.

Should this amendment be seen by activists as a chance to settle old scores, they had better think again. The long-run trajectory for Aborigines in Australia is integration. The experiment with separate development in the past 40 years has been a dismal failure.

To appreciate the nihilism of Aboriginal Australians sitting on their land being fed by the Whiteman, just watch the film Samson & Delilah. Two black kids sitting on their land eating from tins, drinking bore water and staring into space is not much fun.

That does not mean there has not been a flowering of the talents of people of Aboriginal descent, but do these people warrant a special mention in the Constitution?

To make up for this failure of separatism, the Aboriginal lobby, led as it is by wholly integrated Aborigines of mixed descent, is desperate to have every Australian recognise their culture.

The trouble is, Aboriginal culture, in any sense in which the original inhabitants practised it, is long gone. Elements of the original that remain, such as polygamy and underage sex, are illegal or, in the case of sorcery, re-emerging around places such as Yuendumu and Groote Island, is just plain evil.

The fact is, with Aboriginal intermarriage rates at more than 70 per cent and most Aborigines living in the cities and regions and fast integrating, the question of identity is looking very thin. Much more important, Aboriginal identity and culture is a matter for those who claim its ownership, it should not be force-fed to the rest of the nation. If children are to be taught Aboriginal culture, I want for them the full unexpurgated version, not the pretty commemoration of recent invention that one can pick up on the bookshelf at the ABC shop or a university politics department.

The census question "What is this person's racial origin?" has not been asked since 1971. Since then the census has asked, "Is the person of Aboriginal or Torres Strait origin?" As has been observed across the Anglo settler countries, growth in census numbers reflects the movement of ethnicity from the biological to the social realm. Being an Aborigine just isn't what it used to be.

This is fine, as long as no privileges arise from that identity. Already we see the complaint from fair-skinned Aborigines that they are being refused jobs reserved for Aborigines. Those, who because of their looks could never have suffered prejudice, are denied the assistance specifically meant for those who may have suffered prejudice. Identity politics should not be used for people who suffer no prejudice greater than any other.

Be wary that the constitutional amendment is not used to privilege those Aborigines who have made it in the modern world, in the name of those who have not.

Here are my suggestions for the committee considering the constitutional amendment.

The present preamble to the Australian Constitution begins: "Whereas the people have agreed to unite in one indissoluble Federal Commonwealth under the Constitution hereby established." We could add the words: "Whereas those who came to Australia after the act of settlement by the Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland recognise that this land was first settled by Aboriginal people."

Such minimal treatment is not to diminish the Aboriginal people; rather, it is to understand that no one receives a mention in the Australian Constitution. It is also important to reinforce that setting up a constant reiteration of "we were here first" undermines the task that every inhabitant of this land has: to get on with it.

In the Constitution proper, section 25, which states, "if by the law of any State all persons of any race are disqualified from voting at elections", thankfully no longer applies and should be removed.

Perhaps section 51. xxvi, "The people of any race, for whom it is deemed necessary to make special laws", should remain, although the suggestion by Mick Gooda, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, that this power has been used to discriminate against Aboriginal people is laughable.

A statement in the preamble that recognises the original inhabitants is all that Australians will agree to. Any amendments that acknowledge a special relationship with the land or the culture will invite critical scrutiny.

The nonsense that was forced through the Victorian and ACT parliaments in various acts of rights and responsibilities by Labor (and some Liberal) dreamers will not pass muster at a referendum. If you want a large yes vote at the referendum, the amendment must be minimalist.


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