Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Bikies are not the only Bad Boys in Queensland!

Queensland's Maleny Dairies has come out against the halal scammers and declared they will keep prices down and will refuse to be bullied into paying a halal tax on their product. Their stance has had overwhelming support from everyone except the regularly-out-of-touch Courier Mail.

The move by the Maleny dairy farmers is an important one because the Halal protection racket that supports dubious anti-Australian and overseas causes can only be stopped if the Government makes it illegal for companies to comply with threats from halal certifiers.

The Maleny Dairies' Facebook page which has 24,000 likes and 3,000 shares since yesterday indicates the strength in the groundswell of angry objections from regular Aussies to a tax on Australian food from Muslim opportunists who are demanding certification fees for everything from milk to plastic containers. A brief look at their site showed thousands of comments supporting the dairy farmers' stand with a couple of comments suggesting it was silly because, "milk was halal anyway".

The Courier Mail stupidly took this to mean these comments were objecting to the dairy farmers' stand and falsely claimed, "others had accused the farmers of promoting xenophobia" with this ridiculous on-line headline: HALAL: "Maleny Dairies' Facebook post on Halal certification sparks customer backlash"

Well, the backlash is on all right, but not from the dairies' customers... they seem in full agreement.

The Mafia-style halal extortion racket was up in lights in Perth when police recently arrested a Dr Ratab Jeneid, Chairperson of the WA Halal certification Committee, with $8million worth of methylamphetamine and $380,000 cash in his possession. Janeid was also charged with illegally carrying unlicensed firearms.

Five of his associates from the Muslim Halal organisation, run from the same mosque, were also charged with various drug and firearm offences. The Courier Mail unfortunately did not carry that story.

Via email from my Toowoomba correspondent

Queensland election result still uncertain

Interesting that Jackie Trad will be the deputy Premier under a Labor government.  Trad is of course an Arab name but Ms Trad is of Maronite Christian background rather than Muslim.  The wife of outgoing Premier Newman is also of Lebanese Christian origin

LABOR was on the brink of ­claiming government in Queensland last night as it picked up the key seat of Maryborough, but any victory could be short-lived with the possibility of a by-election within weeks dictating another change of government.

The ALP’s Bruce Saunders was 800 votes ahead of the Liberal ­National Party’s Anne Maddern in Maryborough yesterday with only 200 votes left to count, ­although postal votes will still be received until tomorrow.

Winning Maryborough would give the ALP 44 seats in the 89-seat Queensland parliament, but independent Peter Wellington has indicated that he would support the ALP in the event of a hung parliament, giving Labor its crucial 45th vote.

ALP leader Anna­stacia Palas­zczuk was not claiming victory yesterday, nor was newly elected LNP leader Lawrence Springborg conceding defeat.

Doubt remains over Ferny Grove, a marginal seat in which the ALP is 414 votes ahead of the LNP.

But the Palmer United Party candidate has been disqualified as he is an undischarged bankrupt, and late yesterday he had posted 985 votes.

The Electoral Commission Queensland said late yesterday that it would continue counting votes in all electorates and declare a final result in all seats, and any challenge to that result may only take place after the result had been declared.

The LNP has foreshadowed it will challenge the result and Mr Springborg said the election outcome was “going to hinge more on what happens in Ferny Grove than it will hinge on any other seat”.

“The very real possibility of the matter being deliberated in the Court of Disputed Returns, it means that no particular party ... can confidently say they have 45 seats or more,” he said.

So Queensland faces the very real prospect of installing a Labor government that must then rely on winning a by-election, possibly within weeks of taking office, to stay in office.

On Saturday, the LNP elected Mr Springborg, who has led the Coalition to three defeats, and ­another former leader, John-Paul Langbroek, as deputy after premier Campbell Newman lost his seat of Ashgrove last weekend.

Mr Springborg held a press conference at an ambulance ­station yesterday to make the point that the services of government were still running under a caretaker government, and this should last until there was a clear result.

“I don’t think this has ever happened in Australia before,’’ he said.

“We’ve had a premier lose their seat on election night, we’re facing an immediate by-election and there is no clear picture whether any party has enough seats to form government. Caretaker can continue until we get certainty.”

Seats still in play are Whitsunday and Mount Ommaney, where the LNP is ahead but the ALP feels it has a chance, and Lockyer, where Pauline Hanson is 183 votes behind the LNP’s Ian Rickuss.

Katter’s Australian Party, which won two seats and has not yet indicated which side it will back, claims it will play a pivotal role in the next government, ­regardless of which party is in power. “It would make for a very unstable government if they (Labor and the LNP) didn’t treat the crossbenches very well,” said KAP leader Rob Katter.

“We think that we’re going to have a lot of power in the next ­government.”

The ALP is set to unveil the ­nation’s first all-woman leadership team, with its environment spokeswoman, Jackie Trad, to ­become Ms Palaszczuk’s deputy premier if the party can win office.

It would be a meteoric rise for Ms Trad, who entered parliament after the 2012 election in a by-elect­ion for the seat of South Brisbane caused by the resignation of former premier Anna Bligh, for whom Ms Trad was a staffer.

While Ms Trad was one of the more effective members of the ­opposition in parliament last term, her elevation comes mainly because of the dominance of the Left faction, which is set to claim half of the 14 ministries available.


University of Sydney goes green

Divest from Israel; divest from carbon producers.  What's left?  Will feminism cause them to divest from firms led by men?  This could get amusing

In a first for Australian universities, the University of Sydney has announced it will substantially reduce the carbon footprint of its listed share portfolio over the next three years. By setting a reduction target of 20 percent relative to the footprint of its current listed equity composite benchmark, the University is visibly demonstrating its commitment to addressing climate change.

The decision follows a comprehensive review taking into account leading practice on sensitive investments, and the current global views and actions surrounding fossil fuel investments.

The review considered a number of options, including whether to divest entirely from the fossil fuels industry. It also highlighted the complexities of reducing an investment portfolio's carbon footprint. For example, divesting entirely from all companies with an interest in fossil fuels could result in divesting from companies that are also committed to building renewable energy sources. In addition, there are many companies that do not produce fossil fuels who are nonetheless heavy emitters.

Based on the review's findings, the University of Sydney believes a whole of portfolio approach to reducing its carbon footprint is an effective and meaningful way to address climate change.

In an innovative step, the University will ask its listed equity fund managers to build a portfolio of investments that enables the University to reduce its carbon footprint by 20 percent - in just three years. The University will measure and publicly report progress towards this goal annually.

The University's Vice-Principal (Operations) Sara Watts said, "The new strategy balances the University's obligation to manage funds wisely on behalf of our students, staff, donors and alumni with its desire to address climate change and protect Australia's heritage.

"This strategy will give the University a legitimate voice in the conversation on how organisations can best address climate change risks. The University's strategy signals to the entire market that investors are concerned about the impact of climate change and expect contributing sectors to respond with plans to reduce their emissions."

In addition, the University:

* Has become a signatory to the CDP (formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project), the world's largest source of company-reported emissions data, and a global movement urging companies to disclose carbon emissions and set targets to reduce them;

* Has joined the UN-led Portfolio Decarbonisation Coalition, a coalition of investors who collectively are committed to decarbonising $US100 billion of its investment assets;

* Will incorporate carbon footprint reporting capability into the selection and review of listed equity investment managers; and

* Will further expand its Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) framework to put in place ethical investment standards that support the economic and social rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.


The sad loss of Australian slang

As an oldster I feel this particularly.  I love our vivid Australian slang but never write it and seldom speak it -- as many people no longer understand it.  It survives best among working class people and Aborigines

Could there be anything more dinky-di Australian than sitting under the scoreboard at the wonderfully named Aussie-Drain Oval in Simpson, Western District, munching on a barbecued snag and sauce on Australia Day?

It was all Aussie flags, anthems and Down-Under rural mateship last week at Corangamite shire's big Oz Day celebration (coincidentally, the mayor's birthday too) and a bonzer-beaut time was had by all.

This is a slice of God's own country where a cheery "G'day how are ya" still prompts the age-old Aussie echo ("Yeah, g'day how are ya?") and that certainly came as a relief to me. Reason: a couple of weeks earlier a lady named Helen Speirs had fired in a letter to the Colac Herald, alarmed at a perceived change in Australian social behaviour. So incensed was Helen that she wrote in verse:

New Year's Day went for a walk with dogs not one but three,

I saw some cyclists riding by and I know that they saw me.

A kid about five was riding close and I said "G'day" to him

He just stared at me, not a word he said, perhaps he was slightly dim.

There was more – but the gist was this: of all the passing Colac-ites that morning, no-one had time for a "G'day". The concern here is that we are talking about the bush, where Australian culture has traditionally held firm against creeping Americanisation, the process that has turned 20th century "blokes" – and women too – into 21st century uni-gender "guys".

The Aussie bush and its native fauna have given us some wonderful slang: "Mad as a cut snake." "Flat out like a lizard drinking." "I'm as dry as a dead dingo's donger." Some of the best insults and hoots of objection derive from the same source: "He's got a kangaroo loose in the top paddock." "Pig's arse!" But as Gazza, a country-singing dairy farmer and friend of the family from Terang, told me later that Australia Day, this kind of banter is disappearing.

What a tragedy that would be in this increasingly homogenised and PC world. Thirty years ago that snag and tomato sauce at Aussie-Drain Oval might well have been offered as a "mystery bag and dead-'orse" but such terminology is rare these days – perhaps it risks contravening food regulations or some Equine Equality Act.

Give Kevin Rudd his due here. Six years ago he threw a "fair shake of the sauce bottle" into a prime ministerial exchange but, as one commentator remarked at the time, Kev ended up a flamin' galah. It is "fair suck", not "shake", with a bottle of dead-'orse. Slang or not, you have to get it right.

Dead-'orse is the sort of colloquial rhyming slang by which a bloke once fondly (or otherwise) dubbed his wife "the trouble and strife" and turned Aussie kids into "billy-lids" (which roped in another Aussie icon, the bushman's billy in which you boiled your bush tea).

But rhyming slang – reputedly imported by Cockney migrants – seems to be fading in Australia too, despite its determined championing by exponents such as 3AW's Ross Stevenson. (He once outlined his technique of shaving in the shower this way: "To dad-and-dave in the Eiffel Tower? I just run my onkaparingas over my boat-race as I go.") Think about it. When is the last time you heard of someone going to the "rubbidy" for a beer? Or grabbing the car keys to "hit the frog and toad"?

On an earlier Australia Day sojourn the bonny bride and I stayed at Rushworth in northern Victoria. A large black labrador was in the habit of sitting in the middle of the hotel corridor, getting under patrons' feet. "Don't mind him," said the publican. "We call him Pothole – always in the road."

Happily, nicknames seem still to be part of Australian life. The redhead called Bluey, the medico dubbed Doc Death. Rare is the AFL footballer without a sporting sobriquet – at last resort, team-mates will just add a vowel to the surname. Johnno. Walshy. Nor does there seem a lack of Aussie larrikins to spice up other designations. Last time we drove down the Tasmanian east coast the sign at the Wet Marsh Creek had been re-daubed Wet Arse Creek.

But what about all those gems from the Aussie lexicon of yore? The days when, if you missed work because of illness, you were "off crook" – and if you got worse you could eventually "cark it". When a bloke, fancying a sheila, would try to "crack on to her" – and if he failed miserably he "wouldn't come within coo-ee". When, if you tried your hardest regardless of success, you "gave it a burl". Or when a dog dug a hole in the vegie patch and his master threatened to "introduce him to the Julius Marlow" [shoe].

The sass, the wit, the irreverence. That was the Aussie trademark. Is it all vanishing into the global melting pot?


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