Thursday, October 16, 2014

Coal is 'good for humanity', says Tony Abbott at mine opening

Prime Minister Tony Abbott says Australia's coal industry has a "big future, as well as a big past" and predicted it will be the world's principal energy source for decades to come.

Mr Abbott also heaped praise on Japan in comments that come just days after China slapped harsh new tariffs on coal imports and will be noted in Beijing as negotiations on a China-Australia Free Trade Agreement move towards conclusion.

Industry has estimated the new tariffs could cost Australia's economy hundreds of millions of dollars annually, though it will be some time before exact estimates can be made.

"Let's have no demonisation of coal," Mr Abbott said on Monday. "Coal is good for humanity, coal is good for prosperity, coal is an essential part of our economic future, here in Australia, and right around the world."

The Prime Minister's comments, which angered the environmental movement, came at the opening of the $US3.4 billion ($3.9 billion) Caval Ridge Mine in Central Queensland, a joint venture between BHP and Mitsubishi. The mine will produce 5.5 million tonnes annually of metallurgical coal and employ about 500 people.

"This is a sign of hope and confidence in the future of the coal industry, it's a great industry, we've had a great partnership with Japan in the coal industry," Mr Abbott said. "Coal is essential for the prosperity of the world."  "Energy is what sustains our prosperity, and coal is the world's  principal energy source and it will be for many decades to come." 

The Coalition had affirmed its faith in the coal industry by abolishing the carbon tax and mining, Mr Abbott said, but if there was a change of government at the next election both of those taxes could come back.

"If you want to sustain the coal industry, if you want to sustain the jobs, if you want to sustain the towns that depend on the coal industry you have got to support the Coalition, because we support coal, we think that coal has a big future as well as a big past."

Mr Abbott's comments about coal having a bright future are in conflict with the United Nations' top climate official Christiana Figueres, who has warned most of the world's coal must be left in the ground to avoid catastrophic global warming.

Less than two weeks ago, a lead adviser to German Chancellor Angela Merkel lashed the Abbott government's championing of the coal industry as an economic "suicide strategy".

Climate Institute chief executive John Connor said the Prime Minister was "taking a higher and higher stakes gamble by putting all the chips on coal".

Earlier on Monday, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said that Australia risked being seen as the climate sceptic capital of the world ahead of the G20 meeting in November.

"We've got the G20 coming up. Most nations in the world at the G20 are dealing with climate change. Yet we're the climate sceptics capital of the world," he said.

"The rest of the world is moving towards taking real action on climate change, yet we've got a government who's slammed the nation into reverse gear and retreating away from action."

Over the weekend, Mr Shorten told Fairfax Media that Labor would take a carbon price - thought not a tax - as policy to the next election.

And he has previously left open the possibility of some form of resources tax, though he has promised to first consult with business over such an impost.


The Woolworths singlet that‘s been flagged as racist: 89% of Telegraph readers say it isn’t

NEARLY ninety per cent of Daily Telegraph readers have ­condemned a social media campaign to drive patriotic shirts out of Woolworths.

In a poll conducted on The Daily Telegraph’s website, the overwhelming majority of 8000 readers (as of 8.45am today) voted that the ­singlet tops were not racist.

The backlash against Woolworths over the “accidental” stocking of the shirt promoting Australia has been described as “hypocritical” by a ­government MP.

The supplier of the singlet — which sports the Australian flag and the words “If you don’t love it, leave” — also expressed concern over social media criticism of the shopping giant.

Only two Woolworths stores, in Cairns and Sydney, sold the singlets and all stock was removed on Monday.

Baulkham Hills MP David Elliott, parliamentary secretary to Premier Mike Baird, said he failed to see how the singlet could be labelled racist — a claim made by left-leaning critics — given that it appears to promote Australia.

An original Tweet by George Craig posting a photo of the singlet with the caption “@woolworths cairns, selling racist singlets for everyday low prices! #racist” was shared by Greens MP Adam Bandt on his Facebook page.

“While I acknowledge that the statement is controversial, I doubt it deserves the level of condemnation that we have seen” Mr Elliott said.  “I’d say the majority of Australians read it and say: ‘Yeah, if you don’t like it here you are free to leave’.’’

Neil Booth, the Sydney businessman who supplied the shirts to Woolworths, said:  “My father fought for this country. We believe in freedom of speech and I don’t believe Love it or Leave is discriminatory.”

Mr Booth said he had been “making this shirt for eight years now” and had “never had a single complaint about it”.  “We accidentally sold a few shirts to Woolworths, which in hindsight was a mistake ­because it’s a big corporate company and obviously they are more likely to be attacked over any minor problems with stock,” he said.

“We immediately withdrew those shirts from them. We wholesale on the net to people who sell them.’’

2GB host Ray Hadley described the singlet as a “positive image”, with his colleague Ben Fordham giving away 50 shirts on his afternoon show.

“This is the best country in the world — if you don’t embrace it you don’t deserve to be here,” Hadley said.

Mr Craig — the man who sparked the drama while on a footy trip to Cairns — said he was “pretty shocked to see the way this has taken off”.


Uni degrees in indoctrination

FIRST-year media students at some of the nation’s most prestigious universities are being taught the federal government’s media policy process is “corrupt”.

The 18-year-old students are also being told repeatedly that one of the world’s biggest employers of journalists, News Corp, uses “naked political pressure” to the detriment of democracy.

The Australian obtained the first-year course material for media and communications at University of Technology Sydney and The University of Sydney to examine what students are being taught about the media industry.

Over a period of five weeks, The Australian attended some lectures on an undercover basis and obtained the audio recordings of other lectures from students.

The University of Sydney course in particular is leading students to form a critical view of News Corp.

Lecturer Dr Penny O’Donnell teaches students that News Corp newspapers’ 2013 election coverage was driven by a corporate fear of the NBN — a claim that has no factual basis and is incorrect.

She also tells students, studying to become journalists, that the federal government’s media policy process is “corrupted” because it sacrifices public interest objectives in favour of corporate interests.

“We elect governments to act on our behalf so what happens to those public interest objectives?” she asks her class. “They are typically sacrificed to a process that’s very corrupted because it listens more to large corporations than it does to ordinary people. The latest battleground where you see this playing out is over control of the internet.”

A similar claim was repeated by Dr James Goodman in a lecture at The University of Technology Sydney. “You can see individual media corporations having influence over the legislative process, saying what about tweaking this, what about changing this rule and the government quietly changes it partly to keep the media, to keep that organisation on side and it corrupts the political process,’’ he said.

But the indoctrination appeared to be strongest at The University of Sydney where the entire first major lecture focused on News Corp’s power and its impact on journalism, irrespective of the fact it is one of the largest employers of journalists in Australia.

“It’s all about Rupert Murdoch today,” Dr O’Donnell said.

“What is good for the commercial fortune of the media proprietor is not necessarily good for the democratic role. You need to go no further than the case study of Rupert Murdoch to get evidence that supports that statement,’’ she said.

O’Donnell encouraged students to read well known News Corp critic Rod Tiffin and said she “highly recommends” Nick Davies’ anti-Murdoch book Hack Attack, How the Truth Caught up with Rupert Murdoch.

“Thirdly, I’m sure you’ve gathered this from the readings today, I want to suggest that Australia’s media policy fails miserably when it comes to supporting a healthy, competitive and quality newspaper sector. We have instead a very insular, oligopolistic and powerful press industry that spends too much time seeking to skew media policy to serve its own interests and not enough time doing the work that makes newspapers so important,’’ she told her class. “The Murdoch way is political pressure. Naked political pressure. Nothing subtle. Get them Out. Australia Needs Tony. This is the way Rupert exercises power.”

O’Donnell asked the class why Murdoch would want Abbott as Prime Minister instead of former PM Kevin Rudd.

With no reference to the fact Rudd was leading a dysfunctional government, she agreed with students that some of the reasons Murdoch supported Abbott were because: “All the elites stick together”; “We know Murdoch hates unions” but, she claims, it was primarily because of the NBN.

“Your challenge in the next two seconds is to work out why is the man who is tilting to take over Time Warner and become the most powerful media mogul on the planet, why is he worried about the NBN,” she asks, before answering the question by alleging he is protecting his interests and the NBN represents competition.

Directly following this discussion, Ms O’Donnell then questions whether Murdoch is “publicly accountable”.

She tells students of Davies’ argument that Murdoch’s statement “This is the most humble day of my life” was not genuine accountability but simply a “PR sound-bite”. “A good sound-bite, but just a sound-bite,’’ she said.

“We are left with a mogul and a company whose power is undiminished. In fact, it’s growing.”

In a 50-minute lecture, O’Donnell referenced positive aspects of News Corp only briefly, saying it employed some of the best journalists in the country, citing Hedley Thomas’ reporting on Clive Palmer. But even this she qualified, saying the company also employed some “not so good ones as well”.

On slides before the students, the concepts discussed include political pressure, fear-mongering, scandals and regulating media influence.

A lecture slide asks students to discuss how power is exercised through newspaper owners and “what measures, if any, should be taken to control press power.”

Rather than be inspired by some examples of excellent newspaper journalism, students were asked whether they can “find evidence that the internet has replaced print journalism with superior, commercially viable digital journalism.”

After being shown a transcript of the lecture on News Corp, the company’s group editorial director Campbell Reid accused the University of Sydney of indoctrinating students, not educating them.

“Obviously I can’t comment on the full breadth of the content of these courses but on the basis of what has been relayed here I have to wonder if we are dealing with indoctrination rather than education,’’ he said.

“One of my deepest concerns is that when young people who want to be journalists ask me for advice on what education options are best I usually find myself saying ‘not journalism courses.’

“I can’t imagine a senior lawyer advising an aspiring counsel to not get a law degree but I am not alone in my suspicion that journalism as it is taught and journalism as it is practised are two different things.”

Contacted for comment, O’Donnell said “We take our responsibility to educate students about the Australian media very seriously. We do it in public. Everything is recorded and available for review. The lectures are interactive and students are invited to challenge and criticise ideas and views that they do not agree with. That is what higher education is all about. We have no axe to grind against any media company but discuss them all without fear or favour. That is the university tradition. That is our job as media educators. Students are welcome to take any stance they wish on media policy and media politics. We encourage them to first investigate and debate contentious issues, including media power.”

In the introductory lecture at the University of Sydney, Dr Bunty Avieson told students she hoped they were all subscribers to Crikey “if not, be so by next week.” She also recommended websites New Matilda, The Conversation, No Fibs and Media Watch, along with two newspapers a day.

In another lecture, students were advised not to present both sides of the argument on climate change because, similar to the old tobacco debate of the past, there only was one side. The argument was that balanced reporting allowed sceptics to be given airtime. The Australian newspaper was labelled a “repeat offender” of this crime.

Dr Avieson described as “tedious” a Q&A episode where host Tony Jones asked Tanya Plibersek her view on global warming.

“I just about screamed at the television,’’ she said, arguing global warming was an issue for scientists not politicians.

Students were asked to write an essay on news reporting of climate change in the Australian press and how it’s widely criticised as “more partisan than professional.”

“… Critically evaluate whether citizen journalism does a better job of animating public debate and pressure for change on this significant political issue, and provide one case study to ground your discussion and support your argument,’’ it states.

UTS also focuses on media ownership, with students being shown a slide on “content and power” with images of Gina Rinehart, Lachlan Murdoch and James Packer.

When contacted for comment, a spokeswoman said: “The University of Sydney, while not endorsing the comments, defends the academic freedom of its staff. This means it neither censors nor approves the content of lectures and course material delivered by academic staff of the University. “

UTS’s Dr Goodman said he was “referring to the potentially corrupting influence on freedom of political communication, and thus on democracy, of a media system in which there are very few owners and/or dominant outlets. I don’t think this is especially controversial as a free and diverse press is widely recognised as a key precondition of democratic life.”


Frank Salter on State versus Nation in Australia


By John Derbyshire

What follows is a review of the new book by Australian political scientist Frank Salter. The book is titled "The War on Human Nature in Australia’s Political Culture". As the title makes plain, the book is concerned with some particularly Australian themes; but many of the points it makes are of universal interest.

If you’re familiar with biological approaches to the human sciences you’ll know Frank Salter as author of the 2003 book "On Genetic Interests: Family, Ethny, and Humanity in an Age of Mass Migration", a dense and scholarly treatment of social and political topics from the perspective of altruism within groups of genetically similar people.

Salter’s new book contains six stand-alone essays exploring the territory where the rigorous human sciences meet politics and culture. Five of the essays appeared in the Australian conservative magazine Quadrant from 2010 to 2012; the sixth has not previously been published.

The third and fourth essays explicitly address the National Question, which Salter defines at the beginning of the third:

"No front of the culture wars is more important than the national question—what constitutes a nation, the benefits and costs of nationhood, the connections between national identity and interests, ethnic and racial differences, and the proper relations between nation, state, immigration, domestic ethnic groups, and other countries."

The precise topic of that third chapter is Australian media coverage of National Question issues. Salter collected 215 articles and programs from Australian broadsheet newspapers, radio, and TV, during a period from September 2011 to August 2012. The items covered "Aborigines, refugees, white racism, the benefits of multiculturalism and diversity, criticism of white Australia, national identity …, foreign investment, international relations, and overseas ethnic conflict.”

With a handful of exceptions, the reports showed no awareness of biological discoveries in the modern human sciences. For instance:

"The general absence of biosocial perspectives was evident in the media’s lack of interest in signs of ethnic hierarchy. Pecking orders interest zoologists. They are ubiquitous in vertebrate species. Ethnic hierarchy is relevant to the national question because a fundamental legitimation for government is that it protects the people from conquest … Yet the Australian elite media show little interest in ethnic hierarchy, beyond alleging white racism."

Salter follows with several pages of examples of anti-white sentiments from those media reports, some of them quite shocking. There are contrasting mentions of the media treatment dished out to dissidents who have criticized mass immigration and multiculturalism—historian Geoffrey Blainey, for example

Our author then gives a brief history of the shifts in intellectual fashions that led to "the top-down demographic revolution now under way across the English-speaking world.”

"This changing of the intellectual guard occurred in the United States by the 1940s and was already apparent in the 1920s and 1930s with the rise of anti-Anglo ideology dressed up as anti-racism. That was the tipping point … The alienation of the state from the nation left the latter without effective leadership and thus ill-equipped institutionally or financially to contest control of centralized government, education, and the media."

For this analysis Salter uses some of the ideas put forward by  sociologist Eric Kaufmann, in his book "The Rise and Fall of Anglo-America" —though without, Salter pointedly notes, "the positive spin Kaufmann puts on cosmopolitanism.”

Salter explains how this changing of the guard played out in Australia, and the present-day consequences

"Australia’s leftist elites are, in effect, electing a new people to replace reactionary Anglo Australia."

The following essay, Salter’s fourth chapter, carries the issue into Australia’s universities. Should not academics from the human sciences step up to enlighten the public and correct the anti-white bias in the media?

Perhaps they should, but resistance to biological theories of human social behavior is even stronger Down Under than  in the U.S.A. The resistance is not empirical, nor even properly intellectual, but ideological:

"No political science or sociology department [in a survey Salter conducted] reported a scholar basing his or her research on behavioral biology. The skew towards Marxist and other environmental theories means that scholars of nationality do not know what to do with the wealth of findings drawn from evolutionary psychology, ethology, and sociobiology; except ignore them."

It’s a dismal state of affairs altogether, made dismaler by the lack of constitutional protections for freedom of speech in Australia.

Readers may remember the cases of law professor Andrew Fraser and columnist Andrew Bolt. Fraser was suspended in 2005 for writing, in a letter to his local newspaper, that blacks commit a disproportionate amount of crime. Bolt scoffed at blonde, blue-eyed, fair-skinned Australians who claim entitlement to race preferences, prizes, and scholarships on the basis of some tiny strand of aboriginal ancestry. Nine of these opportunists sued Bolt in court for their hurt feelings … and won!

In the fifth of his six essays Salter tosses and gores Australia’s little—but influential and dismayingly respectable—clique of open-borders libertarians. He rounds off the essay with some blunt facts.

"The only population difference between the immigration levels adopted by succeeding governments over recent decades and open borders is the date at which the country becomes overcrowded. In addition ethnic stratification is growing. Most Aboriginal Australians remain an economic underclass and some immigrant communities show high levels of long-term unemployment. Anglo Australians, still about 70 percent of the population, are presently being displaced disproportionately in the professions and in senior managerial positions by Asian immigrants and their children."

The solution, he believes, is to break the stranglehold of ideology on university departments of humanities and social sciences.  Lots of luck with that.

Those three essays—Salter’s third, fourth, and fifth—are the real meat of the book, but the other three are worth reading.

The first, "Introduction to the Culture War on Human Nature,” surveys the different levels of success at which biosocial approaches have penetrated popular media, business culture, and the academic social sciences.

The second, "Sexless Gender Studies,” is a take-down of that area of the social sciences where the biological dimension is most undeniable…you would think.

The sixth and final essay in this collection is an appreciation of Salter’s mentor and colleague Hiram Caton, "Australian Pioneer of Biosocial Science.” Caton’s name was not previously known to me. He was American by birth, a native of North Carolina, and in his thirties contributed to the U.S. conservative press. I smiled to read that: "In 1965 his National Review circle welcomed the immigration reform legislation of that year.” (This may be an exaggeration of NR’s attitude at the time—see More Immigration, by Ernest van den Haag, NR, September 21, 1965.) Caton’s name does not, however, appear in either George H. Nash’s The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945 or the ISI’s American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia.

Frank Salter offers a fresh view of the National Question. His point of view and his arguments may not be shocking to readers here, but he emphasizes their grounding in sociobiology and genetic interests.

The War on Human Nature in Australia’s Political Culture is a fine contribution to the literature of dissent against multiculturalism, mass Third World immigration, and white ethnomasochism. I wish it every success.


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