Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A very frank video

About how the carbon dioxide tax land scam works in Australia.  It is truly extraordinary to see how much money is involved and where it goes

If the video does not come up, go here.

Two questions.

1. Why does it take a TV group based in the Philippines to provide this insightful view into what is happening in Australia – just WHERE are the so-called mainstream Australian media on issues like this (that’s a rhetorical question: no need to answer); and

2. When will Koozzoo make similar programs explaining the shonky science of climate change, the irrationality of MRET schemes and the futility of alternative energy as a source for the grid?

Councils can jettison UN sea-rise rules

THE O'Farrell government will ditch UN sea-level rise predictions as the basis for coastal management, after local council decisions based on what climate change might do by the end of the century shattered waterfront property values.

The move, foreshadowed by The Australian in March, is likely to lead to renewed national debate on the application of long-term greenhouse effect forecasts to actual planning policy.

In an announcement today, the state government will say that climate change science is "continually evolving", producing uncertainty surrounding sea level rise predictions.  The change follows an extensive review by a cabinet committee that re-examined the science of coastal processes.

It comes after revelations in The Weekend Australian owners of 62 beach-front properties at Lake Cathie on the NSW mid-north coast had suffered huge drops in the value of their homes after the Port Macquarie-Hastings council placed notations on their planning certificates saying they were at risk of coastal erosion. Another 17 home-owners at Lake Cathie had faced eviction, when a Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation study recommended "planned retreat" in the face of erosion, a proposal later rejected by the council.

Lake Cathie was one of 15 coastal erosion "hot spots" on the NSW seaboard identified by the former Labor government.  Local councils covering those areas are in varying stages of developing coastal zone management plans, and have been required by laws introduced by Labor to take into account sea-level rise predictions of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

These laws compelled coastal councils to prepare for a forecast sea-level rise of 40cm by 2050 and 90cm by the turn of the century.  Planners apply a formula known as the Bruun Rule, which estimates that every centimetre of sea-level rise will bring the tide a metre inland based on a standard beach, leading to coastal erosion.

Special Minister of State Chris Hartcher will announce a new coastal management policy that would free councils from having to rely on the IPCC predictions.  In a statement, Mr Hartcher says "the heavy-handed application of Labor's sea-level rise planning benchmarks for 2050 and 2100 would go".

"The NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer has identified uncertainty in the projected rate of future sea-level rise given that the scientific knowledge in the field is continually evolving."

Based on the long-term IPCC predictions, the Port Macquarie-Hastings council in 2008 placed "Section 149" notations on houses at Lake Cathie warning they could be subject to coastal erosion, although they are separated from the beach by a 60m-70m strip of bushland and are nine metres above sea level.  The notations had caused property values to fall by an average of 44 per cent based on sample valuations of four houses.

"There has been concern about the negative impacts on property values from these unclear Section 149 certificate notations," Mr Hartcher says in the statement.

The NSW government would issue advice to all councils to guide the preparation and use of section 149 certificates.  "This will provide much-needed certainty for local communities on how these certificates refer to future coastal erosion hazard," the statement says.

The government will announce further changes to coastal management policy. Councils preparing coastal zone management plans will be given an extra 12 months to complete them.


Teenage meningitis victim 'sent home from Rockingham hospital', dies

A TEENAGE girl died of meningitis after being sent home in extreme pain by a West Australian hospital and told she would recover at home, a coronial inquiry has heard.

On the first day of an inquiry into the death of Amy Lee Dawkins, Deputy State Coroner Evelyn Vicker heard on Monday that the 17-year-old went to Rockingham General Hospital, about 40km south of Perth, on December 28, 2008, complaining of headaches and flu-like symptoms.  The teenager was diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection, treated with fluids and sent home.

A local GP prescribed antibiotics for Amy the next day, but her symptoms persisted.  She returned to the hospital on January 7, 2009, where she complained of a sore neck and "11 out of 10'' painful headaches.

This time Amy was diagnosed with meningitis and treated with painkillers, including aspirin, paracetamol, codeine and morphine.  [Painkillers?  Meningitis is usually bacterial.  Why no antibiotics?]

But after a series of tests and being kept overnight, Amy was discharged the following day and told her condition would be "painful, but it would go away in a week''.

At that point, she was in such pain she had to taken to a waiting car in a wheelchair.  Just a day later, on January 10, Amy was rushed back to the hospital's emergency department suffering cardiac arrest due to complications from her meningitis.

A CT scan found severe swelling and fluid on her brain.  Amy was transferred to Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital's intensive care unit in Perth, where she was put on life support.

Kerry McGlew made the heart-wrenching decision to turn her daughter's life support off at 8.30pm the next day, and Amy was declared dead.


Media bias on schools policy stifles debate

NOW that Julia Gillard has endorsed the Gonski report in principle, and state and federal governments are deciding what the new model will look like post 2013, Australia's cultural-Left institutions such as the ABC, the Fairfax press and a number of universities are mounting a one-sided campaign against non-government schools by giving critics a free run.

The failure to offer a balanced and objective view of the funding debate is best illustrated by the ABC's 7.30 program telecast on August 20. The program centred on disadvantaged government schools.

Non-government school opponent Richard Teese, of the University of Melbourne, argued: "The biggest single predictor of differences in achievement is the social background of children."

This reinforces the argument that money must be redirected from non-government schools to government schools, but it is incorrect.

Teese's argument that there is no advantage in parents paying fees to send their children to non-government schools, as such schools fail to outperform government school students after adjusting for socioeconomic background, is also not supported by the research.

Another academic who is vocal in his opposition to non-government schools, David Zyngier from Monash University, has also been given airtime on the national broadcaster.

In ABC radio's The World Today on September 7, Zyngier was one of two pro-government-school voices versus a token independent school representative.

Zyngier argues that the main reason why Australia is outperformed by a number of Asian countries is because of "parents paying enormous amounts of their money for private tuition after school". He also repeats the mantra that demography is destiny and that children from low socioeconomic backgrounds are doomed to failure.

In fact, Asian countries outperform Australia because they have a more academic curriculum and more effective classroom pedagogy, their students face high-risk tests and the culture respects and values learning.

It's no accident that, compared with many Western countries, Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan have significantly higher proportions of students defined as resilient - that is, classified as disadvantaged but able to achieve high performance.

A recent seminar at La Trobe University organised by Robert Manne, titled Education in Australia: The Struggle for Greater Equality, involved Carmen Lawrence, Teese and Dennis Altman. All were critical of funding to Catholic and independent schools. (Manne says a spokesman from the independent school sector had been invited to the seminar, making it three to one, but was unable to attend.)

Since the Gonski review was established more than two years ago the Fairfax press's editorial stance has been to attack non-government schools and to give priority to critics such as Jane Caro, Teese, Lawrence, Kenneth Davidson, and Trevor Cobbold.

Two pieces in last weekend's edition of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age best illustrate this bias.

In the piece titled "No fair go at school: Gonski", those interviewed include Lawrence, Zyngier and Chris Bonnor, and the argument that socioeconomic background determines success or failure is repeated.

Research by Gary Marks of the Australian Council for Educational Research analysing the impact of socioeconomic background on performance across 30 countries was ignored; it concludes that "both between and within schools, differences in student performance are not largely accounted for by socioeconomic background".

Also ignored is research commissioned by the OECD, published in a report titled "Let's Read Them a Story!", which concludes that, regardless of socioeconomic background, parents who read to their preschool children bolster their chances of educational success.

The report says, "PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) results show that even among families with similar socioeconomic backgrounds, reading books to young children is still strongly related to better performance when those children reach the age of 15."

The second piece, published in The Age and titled "The invisible backpack, and why it makes the education gap hard to close", also repeats the cultural-Left view of education and includes comment by Zyngier and Teese.

Luckily, we have a free media and independent universities but on issues like school funding cultural-Left group-think is evident and, as a result, debate and public discussion suffer.


1 comment:

Paul said...

Any young person with neck stiffness and headaches should be presumed a possible Meningococcal meningitis, without delay. The diagnosis should then be excluded AFTER treatment is started. That is normal practice but normal is getting rare these days.