Sunday, February 03, 2013
Dutch MP sparks call for face-off
The organizers are doing their best to prevent conflict but the expectation of Muslim aggression is well-founded. Just look back at last Anzac day in Sydney
Anti-Muslim groups are urging Australian "patriots" to gather at public meetings by the controversial Dutch MP Geert Wilders, ready for trouble and a no-holds barred fight.
Tensions have been mounting over the impending visit of the far right-wing politician who has been accused of Islamophobia and racism.
One group, Australian New Nation, has been encouraging followers to react to any threat or sign of violence from Muslim protesters who might attend.
On its website, the group has posted an audio from "Radio Free Australia, the voice of white revolution in Australia" warning them to "expect an Islamic rent-a-crowd outside screaming and foaming at the mouth like the evil bastards they are".
"We encourage all patriots to exercise their legal right of self defence if any ragheads try to prevent them accessing the venue, or threaten, or use violence against their person once they try to strike the first blow, everything that follows is self defence on your part," it said.
The vitriolic broadcast, which lasts almost 10 minutes, goes on to say, "go … and be prepared to defend yourself and if they take a swing at you, they push at you, they spit on you, don't hold back. You have a legal right of self defence do what should be done to this rag-head camel f--- … Islamic filth who have no place in civilised society."
Muslim leaders have been encouraging their community to ignore Mr Wilders's visit and not to draw attention to his views by protesting.
The president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, Hafez Kassem, questioned what the authorities were doing about the "provocation by rednecks". "Surely they must be monitoring this," he said.
Keysar Trad from the Islamic Friendship Association said while Muslims should have every right to protest peacefully, it would only draw attention to Mr Wilders. Mr Trad recommended the community ignore the event.
Social media sites protesting against Mr Wilders's visits to Sydney, Melbourne and Perth have also been the target of hate messages.
Stepan Kerkyasharian, the head of the Community Relations Commission of NSW, said he had not had any complaints so far about Mr Wilders's visit, but it was clear the Muslim community was concerned about the outcome of his tour.
Mr Kerkyasharian said it was important other groups that may have their own agenda do not try to use his visit as an opportunity to vent their own venom. "We do not want anyone looking for an opportunity such as a visit from someone from overseas to try and undermine our cohesive, co-existence," he said.
The Federal Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen, last year said he would not use his ministerial powers to stop Mr Wilders from visiting Australia on a speaking tour.
The tour has been organised by the Q Society of Australia. A spokeswoman said this week that there had been steady ticket sales online, ahead of a radio advertising campaign which starts next week.
The venues of the meetings are being kept secret until 48 hours before the event and will be revealed only to registered ticket-holders.
Climate signals uncertain in Australia
Australia is a big place (MUCH bigger than Texas) so tends to have both droughts and floods at roughly the same time (in different parts of the country) so it takes a Warmist to extract any generalizations from that. Even they are growing hesitant, however, as we see below
For Australia, 2013 looks like being a "year of living extremely" if January is anything to go by.
The Bureau of Meteorology says January was the hottest ever month in just over a century of records. Nationwide, the January average maximum temperature anomaly was 2.28 degrees, "a substantial increase" on the previous record of 2.17 degrees set in 1932. [And it was similarly hot way back in 1790]
And, thanks to the unusual scale of the massive heatwave that dominated the first half of January, all states and territories posted above-average temperatures, the bureau said
This week's floods, of course, added to the extremes. The Queensland Premier, Campbell Newman, warned damage to the state's economy was $2.4 billion and rising, eclipsing the $2.388 billion bill from the huge flooding of 2011. Insurers don't think it will be that bad for them.
Add in record low rainfall for much of southern Australia, a flurry of bushfires and it looks a lot like climate change is kicking in - or does it?
Professor John McAneney, the director of Risk Frontiers, an independent research group funded mostly by the insurance industry, says that based on a database of natural hazard events in Australia, including some dating back to 1803, "there has been no increase in the frequency of natural hazard events since 1950".
But what of the spiralling insurance claims in the wake of hailstorms, floods, cyclones (think Yasi at $1.4 billion) and bushfires ($4 billion for Victoria's Black Saturday firestorms)?
"What we can see very clearly is that when this dataset … is corrected for the increases in numbers of buildings at risk and their value, no long term trend remains," Professor McAneney said.
"It is indisputable that the rising toll of natural disasters is due to more people and assets at risk."
He said US hurricane modelling to identify a signal climate change is contributing to storm strength suggests it could be a while before the data is definitive. Averaging 18 different climate models, "it's going to take 260 years", he said.
"This whole thing about climate change being responsible for an increase in extreme weather, or natural disasters, is just a fiction really."
Cue howls of protests from climatologists and cries of "gotcha" from climate change doubters? Not quite.
Some climate change signals are clearer than others, and there is no reason to ignore the direction most indicators are clearly pointed, said Andrew Ash, director of the climate adaptation flagship at the CSIRO. "It doesn't mean all extremes are changing," Mr Ash said.
Take temperature, for instance. The weather bureau notes that during 2001-11, the frequency of record high temperatures in Australia was 2.8 times (for maximum temperatures) and 5.2 times for minimums than the rate of record low temperatures.
Sea temperatures are also increasing, with waters in the Australian region [Only in the Australian region? Sounds like a local phenomenon, not a global one] about 0.6-0.7 degrees warmer than they were in 1900, said Neil Plummer, assistant director of the weather bureau's climate information services.
Add a warmer atmosphere - with temperatures about 1 degree higher than pre-industrial levels [i.e. over 150 years!] and rising - there is little doubt more moisture can be held and then dumped in the form of more severe rain deluges.
A peer-reviewed report for the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Climate by researchers including Seth Westra, a hydrologist at the University of Adelaide, bears that out. The report found statistically significant increasing trends globally of annual maximum daily precipitation, using a dataset of 8326 high quality observing sites with more than 30 years of records. [Yet Warmists contantly tell us that it is drought that proves global warming!]
The median intensity of extreme precipitation increases "in proportion with changes in global mean temperature at a rate of between 5.9 per cent and 7.7 per cent per degree, depending on the method of analysis," the report found.
The big wet, when it comes, is getting wetter. But what of Australia? The weather bureau says it depends where you look.
The annual number of days with more than 30 millimetres of rain from 1950-2012 has decreased in the southern and eastern parts of the country but increased in the north.
And as for the frequency of disasters, such as cyclones, the answer is complex because there aren't many instances in the record to count.
"Because you're dealing with a very small number of very extreme events … the size of the signal you would need to have before it was statistically significant is detectable is quite big," said Blair Trewin, a senior climatologist at the bureau.
"The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence."
'Jobs for mates' under Victora's conservatives
The Labor party set the example .... Drag down standards and that can well become the new standard
THE state government has appointed dozens of Coalition backers and former MPs - including one of Ted Baillieu's relatives - to plum positions on boards and agencies around the state.
Despite Mr Baillieu slamming the former Labor government every time a so-called "jobs for mates" scandal emerged, little appears to have changed since the Coalition came to office two years ago.
An analysis of appointments in health - where Victoria and Canberra continue to trade blows over hospital funding - shows many positions have been given to former ministers, MPs, political staffers and party officials.
For instance, Kennett government minister Mark Birrell was made the deputy chairman of VicHealth, former health minister Robert Knowles was appointed to the Royal Children's Hospital board, former Caulfield MP Helen Shardey was made chairwoman of The Alfred hospital, and former Nationals MP Noel Maughan was appointed chairman of Goulburn Valley Health.
The water industry is similar. Former Kennett government treasurer Alan Stockdale is chairman of City West Water, former minister Geoff Coleman is on the board of Westernport Water, and former upper house MP John Vogels is on the Wannon Water board.
Mr Baillieu's brother-in-law Graeme Stoney - a former MP - was granted a role on the board of VicForests, while some of the Premier's former top aides have also received government roles.
They include Michael Kapel, Mr Baillieu's friend and former chief of staff, who is now based in San Francisco as the Commissioner for the Americas, and Di Rule, who was a key adviser to Mr Baillieu in his early years as opposition leader, and is now on the board of the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority.
The appointments are among dozens in the past two years given to government associates. Mr Baillieu's spokeswoman Kate Walshe insisted that all were made after an "extensive selection process to identify qualified, skilled and experienced individuals for the position, unlike the previous Labor government who unashamedly made partisan appointments without regard to their ability or experience to perform the duties of the role".
Opposition scrutiny of government spokesman Martin Pakula rejected this claim, accusing the government of blatant hypocrisy. "Having once been horrified by jobs for the boys, Mr Baillieu has now made an art form of it," he said. "If you have ever been a Liberal MP, candidate or staffer, you're pretty much home and hosed for a cushy government gig."
Appointing party "mates" has long been an issue at Spring Street. Former Labor premier Steve Bracks came under fire early in his first term for appointing an old friend, Jim Reeves, to head the Urban and Regional Land Authority.
Mr Baillieu was then opposition planning spokesman and a vociferous critic of the decision, citing it as an example of "special access" for government mates. A decade later, his government picked Liberal Party stalwart Peter Clarke - Mr Baillieu's close friend - to lead planning authority Places Victoria.
First it was the Greeks, now it is the French
Fleeing to Australia to escape a job drought at home
EIGHT years ago, it was just an online message board for people in France wanting to swap photos and stories on adventures in Australia.
But at an Australian-themed pub in the heart of Paris, they are now queuing up out the door, literally, for help to migrate to Australia in what last year saw a bigger rise in the number of French nationals going Down Under than those from the UK.
And part of the exodus is to escape France's dire economic woes which one French government minister described this week as a "bankrupt state".
"Yes of course we are overwhelmed by the response because it started just with a place for messages on a website but now you can see a lot of French people want to go to Australia, G'Day Sunday organiser Cedric Barusseau said yesterday from the Australian themed Oz Cafe on the busy Rue Saint-Denis.
The latest Department of Immigration figures show 20,086 Working Holiday Maker Visas were granted in the last year, a rise of 8.4 per cent compared with rises to Australia for people from the UK of 7 per cent and 6.4 per cent for Germans.
The latter two nations accounted for more in real numbers but the rise of the French as a percentage was greater.
The rise in working visa for the French is also 50 per cent higher than just five years ago; in the last year the number of French coming to stay is also twice as many as Italians (9600 people) and all the Scandinavian countries put together including Sweden (4772), Denmark (1484) Finland (1181) and Norway (617).
Mr Barusseau said he now holds meeting four times a year and attracts between 400 and 500 people wanting to know about jobs, accommodation and Australians generally.
The meetings are held at an unrelated Aussie bar to give them that first taste from the Aussie bar staff.
Mr Barusseau said he had also now partnered with Etihad airlines and other firms to package the migration process.
When asked where they were all heading, Mr Barusseau was clear: "Sydney of course, it'salways Sydney, the Opera House and these things. At the beginning they just want to get to Australia and all they know is Sydney and kangaroos and Uluru and that's all. After, when they take more information, they discover other parts of the country. They go to Sydney first then move about the country to other cities."
He said despite huge costs of living in Australia and the cost of the visas and economic hardship in France, young people particularly were still willing to travel.
"There is still a lot of different people, but mostly those aged early 20s, perhaps just finished university or taking a break of one year between degree years and a lot of people who simply can't find jobs in France and they think it easier in Australia so want to try."
University Student Stefany Tapia doesn't know her final destination yet but her and boyfriend Marcial Gras just want to arrive in Sydney and start from there.
Like Elsa Ryan and Virgile Craplet, they pored over maps of Australia to see where they could travel and work.
Her visa is for one year but there is an option to extend. "We just want to go there and see," she said.
France's Employment Minister Michael Sapin caused controversy on Wednesday after he described France as bankrupt. "There is a state but it is a totally bankrupt state that is why we had to put a deficit reduction plan in place and nothing should make us turn away from that objective," he said.