Friday, August 22, 2014


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is celebrating the defeat of Clive Palmer by the Chinese.  The buffoon deserves it.

Australian Muslim leadership in chaos: Radicals reject Australia, boycott Tony Abbott

RADICAL Islamic groups have launched a scathing attack on the Prime Minister’s call for Australian Muslims to join “Team Australia”, urging all Islamic leaders to boycott meetings with the PM.

And in an extraordinary rift, the extremist Muslims have even turned on their own leader, Australia’s Grand Mufti Ibrahim Abu ­Mohamed, lambasting him for meeting Mr Abbott on Monday to discuss new laws to safeguard Australians from a potential jihadist terrorist attack.

The Islamic Council of Victoria, which represents the state’s 150,000 Muslims, yesterday boycotted a meeting with the PM after earlier indicating it would attend.

And radical Sydney-based groups Hizb ut-Tahrir and al Risalah took to social media to attack Mr Abbott’s bid to unite Australians and protect the nation from extremist violence.

In a rare show of bipartisan support, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten backed the PM’s campaign to unite Australians under our flag. A spokesman for Mr Shorten said Labor Party stood behind Mr Abbott’s push for a united Australia.

The Daily Telegraph yesterday reported exclusively on radical Sydney Muslim leader Wissam Haddad’s rejection of the Australian flag in favour of the flag being used by murderous Islamic State terrorists in the Middle East.

ICV secretary Ghaith Krayem yesterday called on other Islamic groups to avoid talking with the Abbott government. The local branch of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah Association of Australia also pulled out of the afternoon meeting in Melbourne.

“We will not participate in staged processes that have no purpose other than as public relations exercises,” Mr Krayem said.

Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesman Uthman Badar, who supports “honour killings”, slammed the Grand Mufti, Dr Mohamed, for talking to Mr Abbott and releasing a statement saying the talks were positive.

“All those who signed that shameful statement coming out of the Mufti’s office gave Tony Abbott what he wanted: A rubber stamp for the terror law proposals,” Mr Badar told his Facebook followers.

A #BoycottTeamAustralia campaign was being supported on ­social media yesterday by Mr Badar and others over the proposed national security legislation changes.


The  Australia’s Constitution is perhaps the most successful written constitution in the democratic world


THE air is full of lamentations about our supposedly broken politics. Not just in Australia, but in the US. Not just on the Left, but on the Right. There is wailing about Clive and his antics. There is lamenting from ex-politicos, BBC types stationed here for a bit, from the big end of town.

Their gnashing of teeth and rending of garments sound like this: politics is broken; nothing gets enacted; why not just work together for the common good?

Really, it’s all nonsense. First, our political system is not broken. It is delivering what it is designed to deliver. Way back at Federation the men (and it was all men, so if you’re offended, tough) who put together our Constitution had two models on offer: one Canadian, the other American.

They chose the US model, both when it came to the sort of federal system we would have and to the version of bicameralism. Let me be blunt. Australia’s Constitution is the most American one going and perhaps the most successful written constitution in the democratic world. And I say that as a native-born Canadian.

Australia’s founders liked the Madisonian constitutional structure they saw in the US; they preferred its emphasis on a really strong upper house that could, and on a regular basis would, block what the lower house wanted to do. They liked the model of checks and balances.

True, our founders took that US model and, in my view, made it better: they got rid of its democracy-enervating bill of rights and substituted in a Swiss-style amending procedure that gives you and me a say in change, rather than leave it to the political class as in the US and Canada. (If it were left to the politicos we’d be a republic and we’d have recognised every ethnic group going.)

So when you buy the James Madison checks and balances, not surprisingly you buy lots of checks and balances. It’s hard to get things done. That’s not design failure. It’s what the design is supposed to deliver on occasion.

This will be annoying if you think government almost always gets things right. If the National Broadband Network, carbon taxes, paid parental leave and so on are virtually guaranteed to be good, then you want a New Zealand, British or Canadian setup where a party wins an election and does what it wants. There is no (elected) upper house blocking statutes.

If, though, you suspect government gets things wrong as much as it gets things right, then you are prepared to pay the price of gridlock and few things getting through. You, like Madison, think this is the lesser evil. Sometimes you will feel vindicated when a bill you don’t like can’t get through the Senate. Sometimes you won’t, when a budget measure desperately needs enacting. The two most successful models on offer in the democratic world are the British model, with next to no checks, and the US with loads of checks. It is far from obvious that Britain outperforms the US over time.

Of course there is no perfect choice. But the notion that the US is suddenly more partisan than in years gone by is garbage. And our founders even built in a mechanism the Yanks don’t have, the double dissolution. So in the end our more democratic lower house can prevail over the Senate. Make your case to the people. If the Senate blocks it, keep making the case and if needs be pull the double dissolution trigger. If you can’t sell your medicine, don’t blame the voters. It’s you.

As for the lovey-dovey ‘‘Let’s just hold hands and work together to make our country a better place’’, the point is that reasonable disagreement is a fact of life. The idea that one can explain moral and political disagreement in terms of me being God incarnate and you a defective, intellectually challenged git in need of re-­education is garbage and the natural home of the Greens. The rest of us should avoid it.

We are not living through the breakdown of politics. Voters may have made choices they regret. Any bets on whether a re-run today of the 2007 election would see Howard win? But in the end democracy is the worst form of government except for every other system going. It is not infallible. Right now the system is working as designed. Get the voters on board and our Senate will cave in like a house of cards.


Solar cycles linked to climate pause, assist in coastal planning

Australian data

LONG-TERM  natural cycles linked to the sun could explain the pause in global average surface temperatures and offer a better guide for coastal planners to predict sea level rises, storm surges and natural disasters.

Publication of the findings in Ocean and Coastal Management follows a decade-long struggle for the lead author, Australian scientist Robert Baker from the University of New England, whose work has challenged the orthodox ­climate science view that carbon dioxide is the dominant factor in climate change.

Dr Baker, a former chair of the International Geographical Commission on Modelling Geographic Systems, said what had been a purely scientific debate on climate change until 2005 had become political. His latest paper with his PhD student faced a ­series of ­objections from scientists close to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change but was published after an 11-member peer review panel voted 8-3 to publish. An editorial that accompanied the paper said it was an “excellent ­example of how to approach these complex issues that are now vulnerable to often irrational and heated debate instead of the ­required proper scientific discussion”.

The Baker paper suggests a ­hybrid model that allows future climate change to be estimated with or without human influences. The authors said this would provide a better legal foundation for decision making. Problems with coastal planning in NSW, based on sea-level predictions from climate modelling, were cited in the international paper.

The paper accepts that if there is a human influence on climate change, then it could result in a threefold increase in one-in-100-year extreme coastal events. But it says, as the hiatus shows, human influence can be overtaken by long-term natural cycles, making predictions less certain. The combination of natural and human-induced change in a hybrid model of natural cycles and human influence suggested by Dr Baker produces a “planner’s ­dilemma” of determining whether extreme events are natural fluctuations or from anthropogenic warming.

The paper shows, from scientific analysis of a large number of data sets, that previous fluctuations are periodic and likely to repeat, which has previously been ignored in climate models. According to the paper, the new model was able to simulate a number of climate features . This included greater heat uptake in the oceans to explain the present temperature “pause”; regional effects whereby global warming impacts were not evenly spread ; and planetary, lunar and solar cycles being embedded within the chaotic fluctuations in short-term mean sea-level data. Historic cycles could be predicted to repeat, except with the addition of anthropogenic warming, where the impact could be magnified.

The IPCC’s latest report said the “pause” was due to natural variation and ocean warming. Climate scientists say they expect warming to resume in the near future.


A small minority of ANU students march again over fee deregulation

Students at the Australian National University (ANU) have vowed to ramp up their opposition to the Government's proposal to deregulate student fees.  More than 200 ANU students in Canberra marched against the proposed deregulation of student fees.

The controversial policy was announced in the Federal Government's budget earlier in the year, but the proposal is yet to pass the Senate.

Organisers of the protest warned university fee deregulation would disadvantage students from lower income areas.

The protesters targeted Education Minister Christopher Pyne and Prime Minister Tony Abbott, but also the ANU vice-chancellor Ian Young, for supporting the proposed policy.

ANU student organiser Geraldine Fela has warned an uncapped university system could lead to degrees costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"Our vice-chancellor Ian Young, who's also the chair of the Group Of Eight universities, has been championing fee deregulation from the beginning," she said.  "He's certainly I think feeling very uncomfortable on the campus."

Speaking at the National Press Club last month, Mr Young said fee deregulation, although not the whole answer, would enable universities to differentiate and play to their strengths, creating real competition in the sector.

He used his speech to urge the Senate to "rise above point-scoring and political trickery" and support deregulation.

Today students marched to the University's Chancellery building, where they were blocked by a small team of security guards.

There was a minor scuffle between protesters and security, before the students left the site.

In May there were fiery protests around the country, opposing the proposed changes


Old-fashioned slang for homosexuals lands Australian regional politician in trouble

The Northern Territory’s Deputy Chief Minister Dave Tollner is in trouble after being heard calling the gay son of fellow Country Liberals Party politician Gary Higgins a “pillow biter” and “shirt lifter.”  [He missed out "freckle puncher"]

The incident happened during a row over the content of a draft speech, reports the NT News. It may have serious fall-out, with Higgins reportedly telling the parliamentary wing that he would boycott all party meetings while Tollner remained in a leadership position.

Tollner has apologised to Higgins’ son for the comments, which have also been condemned by Chief Minister Adam Giles as “inappropriate” and “not acceptable.”


1 comment:

Paul said...

I prefer the more genteel "friend of Dorothy".