Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tanya Plibersek mistakenly calls Africa a country

Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs Tanya Plibersek offers sympathy for all the people of Ebola in the country of Africa, promising to find the money to get them onto boats to Australia

Labor's foreign affairs spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek has defended mistakenly calling Africa a country instead of a continent, saying the government's $7 billion cut to foreign aid is the real embarrassment.

Speaking on her way into Parliament on Wednesday morning, Ms Plibersek was asked about Australia's role in trying to combat the outbreak of the potentially fatal disease Ebola.

"Africa is one of the countries that has suffered most from these cuts to the aid budget," she told reporters.

She said the Ebola outbreak was a "real event" where Australia "could and should be doing more", but said it would be difficult with a "$7.6 billion cut to the aid budget".

Ms Plibersek later on Wednesday said in a statement that she "misspoke" and added: "I'd be more embarrassed about cutting $118 million in aid to Africa – which is exactly what the government has done."

The government still provides $187 million in development assistance to African nations.

It's not the first time Ms Plibersek has wrongly called Africa a country.

In an interview in May, Labor's deputy leader also called Africa a country, but on that occasion corrected herself and said: "Africa is a continent where we have previously given aid dollars."

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop took a diplomatic swipe at her shadow on Wednesday, saying: "Africa most certainly is a continent and Australia has a very good relationship with a number of the countries that make up the African continent so perhaps she made a slip of the tongue."


Liberal rebel senator Dean Smith backs renewed free-speech push

LIBERAL senator Dean Smith, who has broken government ranks to support a renewed push to remove the shackles on free speech, says he refuses to be lectured by Bill Shorten on racism and xenophobia.

Adopting the language used by former prime minister Julia Gillard in her misogyny speech, Senator Smith said the Opposition Leader had accused him of wanting to "give the green light to racist hate speech".

"I will not be lectured on racism and xenophobia by this man, I will not," he said.

"I will not be lectured to about racism and xenophobia by a man who less than one month ago stood before a crowd of unionists on a flatbed truck in Adelaide and gave the most disgraceful, racist, xenophobic speech any Australian political leader has given in ­decades."

Mr Shorten last month came under fire for attacking the ­mooted purchase of Japanese ­submarines.

Senator Smith’s comments came during spirited debate on Family First senator Bob Day’s ­attempts to rework section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act to remove the words "offend and ­insult".

Tony Abbott abandoned plans to scrap 18C in August while announcing plans to enhance Australia’s counter-terrorism powers.

Senator Day’s bill has been co-sponsored by Senator Smith and fellow government senator Cory Bernardi, as well as David Leyon­hjelm from the Liberal Dem­ocratic Party.

Senator Day said his amendment, which is yet to be voted on, was "very minor".

"It simply removes the words offend and insult. Those other words humiliate and intimidate remain."

"Reasonable people do not support racial discrimination. However, reasonable people do support and defend their very precious freedom of speech, expression and opinion," Senator Day told the Senate.

Labor and the Greens have condemned the moves.  "Repealing section 18C risks creating a foothold for divisive and hateful abuse," Mr Shorten said.  "It sends an insidious signal that somehow the need to guard against discrimination is reduced.  "It tips a wink to the purveyors of prejudice.

"And tampering with protections against racial discrim­ination also threatens to derail the referendum on constitutional recognition for indigenous Aus­tralians. Bigotry and racism have no place in modern Australia."

Senator Bernardi said "18C has created an Orwellian environment … It’s a climate where … the tyranny of political correctness has become the price of freedom," Senator Bernardi said.  "It has become a tactic of the ­social progressive agenda to decry something as offensive merely to throw it out of the public arena."

Senator Leyonhjelm questioned how senators could vote against free speech when they enjoyed parliamentary privilege.

And he had a message for those who supported Senator Day’s Bill but would vote against it in the interests of party loyalty. "I would remind you that voting against this bill will not be an act of party loyalty, but an act of betrayal on your electors," Senator Leyonhjelm said.

"I put it to you that if you are one of those people who will vote this down, maybe you don’t believe in anything at all."

Labor senator Jacinta Collins, however, said the 18C issue was being use to "fan prejudice".


Financial pressures sometimes cause parents in affluent suburbs to make do with government schools

If the demographics of the area are good, the school should give good results.  The quality of the pupils is a major factor in the quality of the education delivered

MIDDLE-CLASS parents are flocking to high-performing government schools for their children, forcing some prestigious private colleges to cut their fees.

Elite private schools have lost 100,000 students and $1.2 billion in revenue to cheaper, independent, Catholic and top government schools in a decade. The global financial crisis has stoked demand from professional families for fee-free state schooling in affluent inner-city suburbs, new data modelled for The Weekend Australian reveals. Some private schools, which can charge more than $20,000 a year, are now offering half-price discounts to lure more students.

Melbourne private school teacher Elizabeth Blaher bought a house close to McKinnon Secondary College so her son would be guaranteed a place in the high-performing government school. She transferred her daughter Emily from a nearby Catholic girls’ school this year — saving the family $10,000 in private school fees.

"Parents often choose a private school believing their children will receive a better education but we have some outstanding public schools in Melbourne that rival the performance of any private school," Ms Blaher said yesterday.

Emily, 16, is flourishing at her new school: the classmates "look out for each other" while the teachers "push you a little bit more".

McKinnon College principal Pitsa Binnion said the school’s focus on high academic results, inclusion and discipline was a magnet for parents. "There’s a very inclusive community at the school, with strong traditional values and high expectations," she said. "Schools can put out wonderful brochures, but it’s the results that matter."

The Hills Grammar School in Kenthurst, in Sydney’s middle-class heartland, lost one in four students during the global financial crisis, with enrolments dropping by 322 between 2008 and last year.

It charges $15,000 for kindergarten and $23,000 for Year 12. Hills Grammar principal Robert Phipps says a few parents had pulled out of the school for financial reasons, although the school also had "deliberately downsized" to retain a personal touch.

"In tough times, parents have looked around," he says. "Some parents have lost jobs, and incomes have not been rising as fast as they did before the GFC.”

Rising education costs — up 5.1 per cent last financial year, outstripping inflation — are fuelling demand for free or low-fee education. Parents are using the government’s My School website and data from national literacy and numeracy tests to compare the performance of top state schools with private colleges.

Australian Development Strat­egies chief executive John Black said professional Gen X women were driving demand for government schooling.

"Professional parents want to send their kids to the lowest-cost school where they are most likely to rub shoulders with the kids of other professionals,” he said. "Right now there is strong ­demand for selective state schools in professional suburbs close to CBDs.”

Australian Bureau of Statistics data reveals the pull towards government schooling is strongest in affluent suburbs. The government and independent school sectors each enrolled 105,000 extra students during the decade to 2011, while Catholic schools took on 52,000 more students.

In the nation’s wealthiest suburbs, government schools gained three times more additional students than independent schools. In suburbs where parents were paying the highest 14 per cent of school fees, government enrolments rose by 16,253 during the decade. Private schools in those elite suburbs enrolled 5265 extra students, while Catholic schools gained 6127 more.

Association of Heads of Independent Schools chief executive Geoff Ryan said selective government schools were "putting a lot more pressure on us to perform".

"You do notice an impact on your enrolments when you have a very high-quality selective entry school in your area," he said yesterday. "All schools put a lot more effort into marketing. Schools are always trying to make savings but 70 per cent of the costs are for teachers, so the only way you can reduce labour costs is to increase class sizes and that’s not something parents, teachers or unions are comfortable with."

A website for "last minute" private school enrolments, School Places, is offering discounts for 39 schools in Victoria, NSW and Tasmania, and is soon to launch in Queensland. The company’s chief executive, Natalie Mactier, said the discounts ranged from 10 per cent to 50 per cent for up to six years of schooling.

She said 2000 parents had registered for email alerts since the site was set up five months ago, and the website had already generated $2m in enrolment revenues with $3m more pending.

In Sydney, the Jewish Masada College at St Ives is offering a 30 per cent discount over four years to Year 7 students enrolling next year. Its full fee this year was $20,492.

The My School website shows its enrolments fell from 341 in 2008 — the start of the GFC — to 299 last year.

In Hobart, St Michael’s Collegiate Anglican boarding school for girls is offering a 15 per cent discount on fees for two years.

Australian Education Union president Angelo Gavrielatos called on state governments to build more public schools in inner-city areas to meet growing demand.

"We do not have the infrastructure in the inner suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne to accommodate the parents’ choice of public schooling for their children," he said.

"Parents understand the value of public education but unfortunately (in some areas) it doesn’t exist due to the policy failure of previous governments that closed down public schools.”

Mr Black said private-school enrolments tended to rise and fall with women’s employment rates. Families often relied on the mother’s part-time job to pay school fees and statistics showed demand for private schooling fell in line with employment rates for women in the school’s catchment.

He said the GFC had destroyed full-time jobs for men in the private sector, but created public sector jobs — in health, education and the bureaucracy — for women.

"These Gen X professional mums tend to take the view of a school in terms of outcomes for money spent," he said.


The "phobias"

If they disagree with us we'll just stick "phobic" on the end of it

Xenophobic, homophobic, theophobic, islamophobic, etc and if those stigmatic titles don’t make you back off, there’s the old reliable favourites "racist”, "misogynist” and "bigot”. All are attack words in the armoury of the Left and they sure beat the hell out of constructing a reasoned argument to challenge an alternative view.

Phobia is a fear of something, so I can’t be homophobic ("homo” means "same” and I’m not fearful of the same) that simply doesn’t make sense.

I can’t be Islamophobic because I’m certainly not fearful of Islam. I’d like to ban it and I’d like to bulldoze a few mosques. I’d also like to get hold of a military helicopter (which I’m still licensed to fly) and strafe those bloody Islamic State bastards to kingdom come.

That’s not a phobia is it? It’s more like a blind rage I reckon.

I can’t think of one thing the Left has managed to do successfully, it consistently fails because its heart rules its head. But the Left now finds itself silenced and lost in a fog of ambiguity; things are becoming too complicated for its simplistic ideology and it's interesting watching how it wrestles with some glaring contradictions.

The Left supports women’s rights but remains silent on Islamic genital mutilation and female subjugation.

It supports the global warming mantra but is silent when the Himalayas don’t melt, seas don’t rise, Antarctic ice increases, and temperatures remain the same.

It supports the downtrodden but opposes our attempt to repel the Islamic State.

Well, I’m a devout atheist (and an agnostic) but at the risk of appearing Islamophobic, here’s the difference between Islamic and Christian paedophilia:

We try to stamp out paedophilia within our Christian institutions while Islam glorifies the vile practice embedded within its Sharia law. Again not a word of protest from the Left.

Christian parishioners don’t march with placards demanding the right to practise paedophilia but Islamic adherents march to protest their right to practise despicable Sharia law in which paedophilia is embedded.

Christian parishioners don’t protest in our streets demanding we adopt Christianity under the threat of decapitation. Is this not so, or am I missing something here?

I see the Hillsong Church suffering exposure in the Royal Commission, but not the Lakemba Mosque.

I see Cardinal George Pell publicly disgraced but not Sheikh Hilalay.

Christ said a lot of good things but he also said some bloody stupid things like, "the meek shall inherit the earth”.

That’s not the way it works... are you listening Tony Abbott?


1 comment:

Rubyred said...

Some very good points there Jon.
I don't know why the Coalition appears to be afraid of the left.

They need to listen to Australians, especially in regard to the invasion of Muslims. I just hope that behind the scenes there are some very big investigations going on in regard to the clerics preaching hate at the Mosques, of which there are already far too many. 18C should apply to everybody not just those opposed to Muslims.