Sunday, April 20, 2014

Projected WA Senate Result: Libs 3, ALP 1, GRN 1, PUP 1

Since election night, almost 32,000 postal votes have been added to the WA Senate count. When we look at the results by electorates where postals have been counted, we find that the Liberals are doing at least 10% better on postal votes than on ordinary votes. The Liberals' share of the overall Senate vote has thus increased from 33.7% to 34.0%. The Greens have performed badly on postals, and their share of the overall vote has declined from 15.8% to 15.5%. Labor is approximately flat when comparing postals in each electorate with ordinary votes. However, with the total Labor/Green vote falling, and the Liberal vote rising, the sixth WA Senate seat can now be called for the Liberals, who now lead by over 5,000 votes in the ABC Senate calculator.

Although absentee votes will probably be worse for the Liberals than ordinary votes, pre-poll votes will be somewhat better, and there simply will not be enough provisionals to make a difference. You can see these patterns from the 2013 Senate results, which have so far been validated by the postals.

A hope for Labor was that Palmer United Party (PUP) would gain a quota earlier than the ABC calculator suggested, freeing up some votes that went to PUP then Labor to go directly to Labor. Labor would thus get the full value of these votes, rather than have them diluted by becoming part of the PUP surplus. However, the Liberals' lead is going to be too large for this consideration to make any difference to the result.

The Labor-favouring electorate of Brand is the electorate with the most counting. The vast majority of ordinary votes in Brand have been separated into above-the-line ticket votes and below-the-line candidate votes. All of the postals counted so far are only ticket votes, but looking at the ordinary votes, there are not very many below-the-line votes. Labor will not receive much help from below-the-line declaration votes.

In general, I can see no reason to not call the sixth WA Senate seat for Liberal Linda Reynolds, who will defeat Labor’s Louise Pratt. That means this WA half-Senate election will produce 3 Liberals, 1 Labor, 1 Green and 1 PUP. This has definitely been a disastrous election for Labor.


Feminist "research" neutered

A national coalition of men’s health advocates has made a formal complaint to the UNSW Ethics Committee about an ‘online study of young people’s attitudes towards domestic and family violence’ that it appears to have approved.

The complaint states the survey on which the research is to be based is gender-biased, poorly formulated and misleading. It cannot achieve its stated aims and any consequent findings will be unreliable and are likely to mislead the public.

The study, being conducted by the Gendered Violence Research Network at UNSW, the White Ribbon Campaign and Youth Action NSW, states it intends to represent a follow up on research conducted in 1999 by the Crime Research Centre.

Men’s Health Australia has lodged a complaint with the Ethics Secretariat at UNSW, asking the committee to consider withdrawal of approval for the project in its current form.

Men’s Health spokesman Greg Andresen said, “We have three major areas of concern with this research. Firstly the survey questions are poorly formulated and gender biased. Secondly, the methodology used in the survey is so dissimilar to the original as to make any useful comparison impossible. Finally the promotional material to prospective online participants contains false and misleading information.”

“We are concerned that the current survey ignores many of the findings of the 1999 research with respect to the experience of men and boys of domestic abuse and instead focuses almost entirely upon stereotypes and sexist attitudes toward women and girls. The study seem bound to unearth ‘evidence’ of ‘poor attitudes to violence against women’ simply because it contains leading questions and fails to ask about attitudes to violence against men!” said Mr Andresen.

Men’s health advocates are also alarmed that the promotional materials for the study contain significant factual errors and misrepresentations. In one example, the flyer states that “one in four young people have witnessed domestic violence against their mother or step mother,” neglecting to mention that the same percentage of young people have witnessed domestic violence against their father or step father.


The study has now been suspended by the university

Climate change proponents using 'mediaeval' tactics

George Brandis has compared himself to Voltaire and derided proponents of climate change action as "believers" who do not listen to opposing views and have reduced debate to a mediaeval and ignorant level.

In an interview with online magazine Spiked, the Attorney-General also declares he has no regret for saying Australians have the right to be bigots and accuses the left of advocating censorship to enforce a morality code on the nation.

It comes as former Australian of the year Professor Fiona Stanley said climate science had been denigrated through politicisation and denial, and issued a stinging attack on the federal government for the absence of a specific department to tackle global warming.

Senator Brandis, who is driving reforms to Australia’s racial discrimination act, describes the climate change debate as one of the “catalysing moments” in his views on freedom of speech.

While he says he believes in man-made climate change, the Queensland senator tells the magazine he is shocked by the “authoritarianism” with which some proponents of climate change exclude alternative viewpoints, singling out Labor’s Penny Wong as “Australia’s high priestess of political correctness”.

He said it was “deplorable” that “one side [has] the orthodoxy on its side and delegitimises the views of those who disagree, rather than engaging with them intellectually and showing them why they are wrong”.

As examples, he points to Senator Wong and former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who he accuses of arguing “the science is settled” to shut down political debate on climate change.

“In other words, 'I am not even going to engage in a debate with you.' It was ignorant, it was mediaeval, the approach of these true believers in climate change,” he said.

Senator Brandis also defended comments he made in the Senate, where he argued for the right of Australians to be bigots as justification for changes to section 18C and 18D of the racial discrimination act.

“I don’t regret saying that because in this debate, sooner or later – and better sooner than later – somebody had to make the Voltaire point; somebody had to make the point [about] defending the right to free speech of people with whom you profoundly disagree.”

Senator Brandis said there had been a shift in Australian politics, claiming it was now the “Tory point of view”, rather than the left, that fell on the side of liberation and free speech.

“Now, the left has adopted a reasonably comprehensive secular morality of its own, which it now seeks to impose upon society,” he said.

“And it’s prepared to impose that secular morality on society at the cost of the freedom of speech which it once espoused.”


Muslim aggression in Australia

A WILD brawl involving police and three brothers ­already on trial for fighting with cops broke out inside a Sydney court yesterday.

The melee erupted only minutes after the siblings from Bankstown were convicted of assaulting police, hospitalising four of them, outside their home in 2013.

One of them, Adel Mehanna, shouted from the dock: “I’m going to kill you” before his brothers Ali and Hussain got into a punch-up with police.

The fight then spilled out of the court into the foyer, shocking dozens of onlookers as numerous punches were thrown.

Six officers tried to ­restrain one of the brothers who lay screaming on the ground: “Help me, somebody help me.”

The brothers’ mother Rafah Mehanna said “no, no” before she was later taken from the court in an ambulance. She was wasn’t hurt in the fight.

Outside the court building, an angry Ali Mehanna blamed the police for starting the fight, claiming it was “police brutality”.

He said one officer crash-tackled his brother Hassan as he was walking out of court: “After the court dismissed most of the charges (against) my mother, my ­father, my sister, my brother — the cops aggravated the situation. As my brother left the courtroom, they came, they provoked him and they rearrested him.’’

“There are videos of the officer constantly hitting my brother, there was six, seven of them on top of him, they were hitting him,” he said.

Their court appearance came after police were called to their Bankstown home on New Year’s Day last year ­because of reports of a domestic dispute.

When police arrived the court heard Ali swore at them, calling one a “slut” and telling them it was a family matter.

A fight erupted with police and it was alleged three officers were hospitalised and four others injured.

Hussain was taken into custody yesterday following the fight, Adel remains in custody. Ali was given bail.


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