Friday, March 06, 2015

Are Islam's conservative social values a potential support for conservative political parties in Australia?

The writer below thinks that Muslims should be recruitable by Australia's conservative political parties.  He overlooks much, however.  It is true that Muslim values are conservative in some ways but Islam is also a supremacist religion that regards all non-Muslims as inferior and unworthy of support or respect.  It is a hate-based religion.  To anybody with Christian traditions that seems incredible but a reading of the Koran (start at Surah 9) will confirm it. 

The ALP is however also a hate-based party, as all Leftist parties are, so Muslim votes for it show where their deep motivations lie. Both the Left and Islam want to "fundamentally transform" (to use Obama's phrase) the countries in which they live. And the gentle values of Christian teaching simply seem weak and foolish to Muslims

During the 2013 election the Australian Broadcasting Corporation commissioned an online poll known as “Vote Compass” where voters were asked their opinion on several hot-button issues in Australian politics. This article uses those published results as a source.

When I ask people where they think the most conservative electorates of Australia are, their answers are usually the same. They are quick to mention electorates like Maranoa in Queensland, good rural voters in the capable hands of my party, the National Party. It is true that on most issues of traditional family and moral values the electorate of Maranoa or ones like it in Australia usually hold firm in respecting the values that have forged us as a nation.

On the issue of gay marriage, Maranoa is the most strongly opposed. On whether Australia should become a Republic, the voters of Maranoa are the most strongly opposed. On another issue of great concern to Australians, whether terminating the life of an unborn child should be less accessible – Maranoa comes in third.

Neighbouring Groom (another stalwart Liberal-National seat) leads the country in voters who reject the notion that a child should be killed for being inconvenient to their mother. You might not guess which electorate holds second place…

I am of course speaking of the Western-Sydney division of Chifley. The seat is named after an icon of the ALP, Ben Chifley (often called the founder of the modern Labor Party) and has been firmly held by the Labor Party since it’s creation in 1969. What the electorate has become famous, or even infamous for in recent years is being the seat of Labor MP Ed Husic, the first Muslim member of Australian Parliament and the first Minister of any Australian Government sworn in on the Quran. I do not consider this a positive or a negative event in our democratic history, merely a reflection of changing times and demographics in this country.

A change that shows what it takes for the Australian Labor Party to field a socially conservative candidate in its modern student-pandering era. A change that shows the heart of Labor conservatism is no longer truly at the hands of Catholic trade unionists behind closed doors, but Muslim voters on the streets and in the houses and businesses of places like Western Sydney.

A quick look at those of the Labor front-bench who voted against their publicity advisor’s wishes (a great crime in Labor circles) and supported traditional marriage in the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd government shows that so called Labor conservatives like Chris Bowen, Tony Burke and Ed Husic are respecting the wishes of their large Muslim constituent bases by supporting causes like the protection of marriage and the unborn. For this small glimmer of hope in the social policy of the Labor government, we have them (this minority of Muslim voters) to thank.

Why is it though, that in these majority Muslim divisions we see the re-election of progressive political parties? Sure, people like Bowen, Burke and Husic respect the wishes of their electorates and support causes relevant to Christian and Muslim families alike – but by voting for the Labor Party, Muslim voters are outright rejecting the national preservation of traditional family and moral values.

I honestly believe that the reason Muslims turn so often to the Labor Party is due to the outright xenophobia produced in the media and by many members (and some MP’s) of the Liberal and National parties towards Muslim-Australians. While the ALP in a shrewd political move races to accept Muslims and cater for them at a political level, it seems that the right of Australian politics does all it can to foster a jingoistic fear of all Muslims as terrorists, unable to integrate with multicultural Australia or even as backward and insular – perhaps so far as morally or religiously bankrupt. In my experience with the Australian Muslim community, nothing could be further from the truth.

The Muslim community I know and have grown to love are caring, devoted family people, a true community and one that by and large respects the religious and moral traditions set forth by the Quran and to a large degree also presented in our own Christian Bible. As seen by the Vote Compass results, Muslim communities reject abortion, gay marriage and euthanasia. They value time with their family, fight to retain their traditions and culture – and most of all love and treasure their religious freedoms and teachings.

I ask you how this is different to the Australian Christian? We should all be devoted to preserving the traditional family unit, fighting for the rights of the unborn and giving everyone the right to worship in peace and respect. This is why I will ask every one of you reading who is a member of a conservative political party – Nationals, Liberals, Katterites or Family First – to find a Muslim, a good-hearted, Australian Muslim connected to his or her community, sit them down for lunch or dinner and by the end of the conversation sign them up to your party.

At a time when half the membership of the Liberal Party would scoff at the idea of regular church attendance or call you an extremist for merely supporting the right to life of a child – we need these committed conservatives and family-people. We need to visit our local mosques like we visit our local churches, to find fast friends in the Muslim community of Australia and to convince them that we (the Coalition or conservatives generally) are not their enemy.

We need to field good, conservative Muslim candidates in electorates like Chifley, McMahon and Watson because there is nothing intrinsically holding Labor to these seats. We need to inspire the new generations of migrant, refugee and minority that we are the party for them, the movement for them. We need to show Muslim-Australians that the Coalition is there to support them in owning a home, starting a business and caring for their family like we did for Italian, Greek, Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees before them, among others.

These candidates will be all you could ask for in a good conservative Liberal. Supportive of a child’s right to life, supportive of traditional marriage, supportive of freedoms of religion and religious expression – and to support the principles of good mainstream Australian moral values.

Within the next ten years, we can see traditional Labor holdouts turn blue as our new members embrace the economic opportunities that the Coalition offers while still maintaining their traditional cultural and religious views and values. We can help turn the tide of a continued shift to the left within our own party ranks with this fresh injection of traditionalism, and most importantly we can fight the ugly head of racism and xenophobia within the conservative movement.

Many people say you only fear what you do not know, so I say to all young conservatives in this nation – go and get to know your local Muslim community, you may well have more in common than you first thought.


Official Federal report finds climate change benefits

Climate change could have positive economic spin-offs, a new government report says.  It's only one sentence in a vast bureaucratic document but it is a sign of the times to see some realism creeping into officialdom

The Intergenerational Report released on Thursday includes a chapter on "managing the environment", which has been a feature of previous versions of the five-yearly economic and budget update.

The report sets out the government's plan to reduce carbon pollution through its $2.55 billion Emissions Reduction Fund.

But it also says "some economic effects may be beneficial".  "Where regions become warmer or wetter this may allow for increased agricultural output - while others may be harmful," the report said.

"For example, lower rainfall may reduce crop yields, or transport infrastructure (such as roads, ports and rail networks) may become more susceptible to damage from extreme weather events."

The report reinforces the government's aim to cut emissions by five per cent on 2000 levels by 2020.

But, despite the report being about Australia in the period to 2055, it does not discuss a possible new target.

"Australia will meet its Kyoto target for 2020 and will join with the international community to establish post-2020 targets with the aim of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions," it said.

"The international community has agreed to aim to keep global warming to a less than two degrees celsius increase above pre-industrial climate levels."

The intergenerational report produced by Labor in 2010 found that unmitigated climate change would leave Australian GDP in 2100 about eight per cent lower than the level it would be in the absence of climate change.

Former Liberal treasurer Peter Costello's 2007 report concluded: "There does seem to be consensus around the fact that significant levels of global warming imply losses in global GDP over the longer term that should be factored into the policy choices made today."


Stay out of my child's lunch box

As a brand new school mum, I've recently discovered that schools have assumed the role of the Lunch Box Police. Every morning tea and lunch is a test to see if kids and their parents have faithfully followed the laws of healthy eating.

It's a nice idea, but it's questionable whether this has anything to do with health. In fact, in the quest to promote nutrition, schools may unintentionally be damaging kids' relationship with food.

One school in Brisbane is so strict that the children have to show their lunch boxes to the class each morning. I know of one child who is so anxious about having 'bad' food in his lunchbox that he doesn't want to go to school.

Another school in Melbourne's eastern suburbs was conducting food inspections at the school gate, prohibiting 'junk food' from entering the school grounds. Some enterprising pre-teens had an early lesson in supply and demand and realised that prohibition is a golden marketing opportunity. They started a black market trafficking doughnuts behind the school shed.

"What more evidence to do you need that food policing by schools is dangerous?" asks Clinical Psychologist Louise Adams. "It's teaching kids to hide their eating and to binge eat."

Adams who runs Treat Yourself Well Sydney, a healthy weight management clinic, says that the risks of schools having food policies far outweigh the benefits.

"From the US research, we can see that this sort of food policing has not resulted in a reduction of body weight in children," she says.

"As a psychologist specialising in this area, all I can see happening is that children are developing a fear of food. Fear is not going to make children healthy; it's just going to make their relationship with food disturbed."

The food rules of most schools appear to be less extreme than the examples above, but they are still inappropriate, if not damaging.

At two of the primary schools in my inner-Melbourne suburb, children are only allowed to eat fruit, vegetables and yoghurt for morning tea. This means that by lunchtime the kids are often starving. This is hardly conducive to learning.

But even worse, it's teaching children not to trust their bodies, and to develop an almost hysterical fear of certain foods.

One friend packed a biscuit made by grandma for her daughter's morning tea. Her daughter came home feeling embarrassed that she had 'bad' food in her lunch box.

"I put one biscuit in, not six," says my friend. "What's missing from this situation is the love and care that grandma put into making special biscuits for her granddaughter."

I've put a lot of effort into teaching my daughter to listen to her body and to decide when she is hungry and when she is full. If she's hungry and wants to eat two sandwiches for morning tea, then I encourage it. I don't tell her that she should ignore her appetite and only eat carrot sticks.

And we never discuss food in moral terms. There's no 'good' or 'bad' or 'healthy' or 'unhealthy' food in our house. Consequently, there's no shame or guilt.

But the food policies of these schools undermine our efforts as parents to help our kids develop healthy relationships with food.

It's also a stretch well beyond the school's realm of authority. As a parent, what goes into my child's lunch box should be my decision. It's based on our family values, my intimate knowledge of my child's current appetite, preferences, and wellbeing, our family budget, and what's in the cupboard.

So long as it doesn't threaten the wellbeing and health of other children — as, say, peanuts and nuts do — then it shouldn't be the concern of the school.

Coincidently, Adams' daughter came home from her school on Sydney's northern beaches just last week, distressed because she had a muffin for lunch and she was told that it was unhealthy.

"My daughter was told that she should only eat fruit and vegetables and there was such shame on her face, like she'd really done something terrible," Adams says.

"Kids go from just eating food and being in tune with their bodies, to being scared and feeling worried that they are doing something wrong. This is the breeding ground for an eating disorder."

Adams says that schools should not be delivering any health messages about food to children. 

"Kids are very black and white. Their capacity for nuance is not developed. If we tell them that something is good and something is bad, they believe that absolutely. Then they relate it to themselves, that they are then a good or bad person.'

"Maybe we as parents need some support and help with how to provide a variety of foods to our kids, but it's psychologically damaging and unnecessary to discuss it with children."

There is no doubt that the schools mean well and they are implementing their food policies with the best of intentions. But given that school food policies have not resulted in a reduction of childhood obesity and that eating disorders are skyrocketing, it's time for schools to examine if they are actually contributing to the problems they are trying to solve.


Australia almost top in world ranking of retiree welfare

Using some rather dubious reasoning -- but it may be true nonetheless

Australia is one of the best places in the world to grow old in. And that's official.  A global index that measures the welfare of retirees puts Australia near the top, with a system that is improving relative to that in other countries.

While Switzerland takes out the top spot in the 2015 Global Retirement Index, Australia's position has improved to third in 2015 from 11th in 2013 and 5th in 2014.

The index, which is produced by Natixis Global Asset Management, one of the biggest fund managers in the world, is based on more than just retiree finances.

It scores countries on 20 performance indicators including health of retirees and access to quality health services as well as their safety and having the means to live comfortably.

It also rates the performance of each economy. Natixis then combines scores to produce an overall ranking.

Eight of the 10 highest-ranked nations are northern European. Australia shares third place in the 2015 rankings with Iceland, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark.

Australia scores well in all categories and particularly well in health and quality of life. While there is much hand-wringing in Australia about the state of the economy, it performs well by international standards.

Natixis says Australia has relatively low levels of public debt, strong bank balance sheets and low levels of inflation.

It has been one of the faster-growing developed economies with low levels of unemployment.

Natixis also notes Australia benefits from a strong welfare system and high income equality.

The only black mark is Australia's high per capita levels of carbon dioxide emissions and a lack of action to help tackle climate change. Australia scores only 28 per cent on climate change, one of the lowest scores in the world. The United States ranks 19th behind South Korea, Japan and the Czech Republic.

It is estimated that only about half of the workers in the United States are covered by a workplace retirement plan. Australia has had compulsory superannuation since 1992.

New Zealand, which ranks highly in 10th place, has a government-administered superannuation program called KiwiSaver.

The United Kingdom ranks 22nd. The country had experienced a "stronger-than-most" economic recovery in 2014 after several years of stagnant growth following the financial crisis, Natixis says.

However, government debt was higher than average and real incomes have yet to benefit significantly from improving fundamentals, the fund manager notes. An extended period of low interest rates in the United Kingdom also makes it difficult for retirees to save.


1 comment:

PB said...

One word for why Muslims will never support Conservatives.....Welfare.