Monday, July 13, 2015
Does criticism of multiculturalists imply racism?
Concerning criticism that drew attention to the Greek background of controversial Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios:
I am not entirely in agreement with the thoughts below, though they do have some merit. I see Dawn Fraser's words as an acknowledgement of multiculturalism. The very idea of multiculturalism implies a recognition that cultures differ. And what is acceptible in one culture may be unacceptable in others. And Australia is unequivocally multicultural.
So if Fraser saw an Australian-born product of Greek culture as lazy and not making an effort, that could be an accurate recognition of a cultural difference. Given the parasitical tendencies of the Greek nation presently on worldwide dispay, how can we say she was wrong?
It's certainly politically incorrect to mention any negative features of multiculturalism but that is just prejudging the matter. It certainly says nothing about the truth of a matter. It forbids truths of some sorts from being uttered but it does not abolish them
Fraser was entitled to her views and she should have been tolerated when uttering them, not condemned. The Leftist myth that all minority cultures have nothing negative about them is absurd
Dawn Fraser's apology for her inappropriate 'go back to where you came from' comments about tennis player Nick Kyrgios needs to be kept in perspective regarding the extent of racism in Australia.
One interpretation is sure to be that Fraser's ill-judged remarks illustrate the 'dark underbelly of prejudice that persists in this country as a legacy of the White Australia policy'.
But what this incident really shows is how far we have come as a nation in refusing to tolerate intolerance.
Compare the current situation to when the White Australia legislation was passed by the federal parliament in 1901.
All of our first four Prime Ministers spoke during the debate. Three (Barton, Watson and Reid) advanced arguments that today would be condemned as racist and see them drummed out of public life.
The fourth (Deakin) was so embarrassed by his colleagues' racial prejudice that he argued it was actually the good qualities of 'alien' peoples such as the Japanese that explained why Australians were so determined to keep them out of the country.
The story of how we overcame our racist heritage and became one of the most successful multiracial nations in the world is a long and important one. I tell some of this tale in my article included in the free speech issue of the latest Policy magazine.
The takeaway is that we can rely on our culture of tolerance to curb bigoted speech and don't need laws like Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act that can be exploited to curtail legitimate free speech and debates about important public issues.
This is supported by the events of this week. The public outcry the comments provoked showed Fraser had crossed a line with regards to acceptable speech and forced her to issue an 'unreserved apology'.
This shows we can rely on the culture, and not the law, to protect people from racially insulting speech.
Australian union afraid of Chinese competition
If anybody needs competition to straighten them out the CFMEU does. They might have been listened too if they had been less hostile and obstructionist to everyone. They have constantly broken the law and used violence to rip off builders. It was unionist dislike of Chinese workers that inspired the White Australia policy enacted in 1901. So is the CFMEU racist too? It seems so
A national television advertising campaign highlighting flaws in the Abbott Government’s recently signed free trade agreement with China will begin airing from tonight, warning that the deal will leave Australian workers “without a hope.”
The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union advertisements — which will begin tonight in the ACT, Tasmania and Queensland — come as the union accused Trade Minister Andrew Robb of deliberately misleading the Australian public in his attempts to promote the agreement.
The commercial, which features the faces of young Australian’s in trades that will be opened up to Chinese workers without the need for existing mandatory skills assessments, warns that: “instead of creating jobs for Australians, the Abbott Government’s deal allows Chinese companies to bring in their own workers, leaving Australian workers without a hope.”
CFMEU national secretary Michael O’Connor hit back at attacks by Mr Robb on the union campaign against key elements of the free trade agreement, accusing him of publishing deliberately misleading and untrue statements in a Ministerial media release issued on July 7.
“Mr Robb appears to be deliberately misleading the Australian public about key details of this free trade agreement with China,” Mr O’Connor said.
“Among these deceptive statements is Mr Robb’s claim that a Chinese company investing more than $150 million in Australian infrastructure projects ‘must use Australian workers, unless it can prove that there are no qualified Australian workers to do the job’, which is completely untrue.
“As is his claim that ‘even then, an investor may only be approved to bring in a limited number of qualified workers with the specific skills required for a limited period of time.’
“The facts are that any company contracted to work on such a project — whether Chinese or Australian based — can use unlimited numbers of Chinese workers in all 651 skilled occupations covered by the 457 visa with no legal obligation to advertise jobs to prove there are no qualified Australian workers available.”
Mr O’Connor also attacked Mr Robb’s claim that “these are the same major project provisions that Labor introduced when in office.”
“Labor’s Enterprise Migration Agreements required a project to be worth $2 billion — with a workforce of at least 1,500 people,” he said.
“Mr Robb’s IFA’s have no minimum workforce size, only need a total project expenditure of $150 million, and only require Chinese investment to be 15 per cent of that.
“Another of his claims, that the China free trade agreement ‘does not change the skills and experience requirements’ for an application for a temporary skilled visa to work in Australia, is also false.
“The ChAFTA agreement includes a side letter — signed personally by Andrew Robb — stating that for 10 skilled occupations, including electricians, mechanics and carpenters, mandatory skills assessments will no longer be required.
“These mandatory skills assessments are currently required for workers from China, as well as many other countries, and are being removed directly as a result of this agreement.
“In its rush to secure an agreement, the Abbott Government appears to have been outsmarted or outmanoeuvred by the Chinese government, to the detriment of Australian workers and businesses.
“They are now too embarrassed to admit key elements of the agreement may be a mistake, instead attacking unions who highlight the negative impacts this free trade deal will have on Australian jobs, workplace safety, and consumer protections.”
Press release from the CFMEU
Federal govt defends wind farm blocking
LABOR says the nation's clean energy bank will be left to fund "flying saucers" after being told by the government not to invest in wind energy projects.
THE $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has been ordered to focus on new technologies instead of wind farms under a revised mandate drafted by the government. The government says the change is not new but came as part the deal over the renewable energy target reached with Senate crossbenchers in June. Prime Minister Tony Abbott believes it will provide certainty for the sector.
The plan was always to abolish the corporation entirely, he said.
"But while it exists, we believe we should be investing in new and emerging technology - certainly not existing wind farms," he told reporters in Darwin on Sunday.
The opposition mocked the move, accusing the government of sabotaging the future of renewable energy industry. "The guidelines now being proposed ... mean that the only thing the CEFC can invest in is flying saucers," Labor leader Bill Shorten said. "Because anything which is any closer to development Mr Abbott is saying is an established technology."
Environment Minister Greg Hunt lashed out at reports he was left out of the decision, denying it was made without his approval. He says he approved it with Finance Minister Mathias Cormann. "Claims that I have been angered are a complete, absolute and utter fabrication," he tweeted on Sunday.
The Australian Greens branded the change a "vindictive form of industrial sabotage".
Wind farm groups said the "senseless" decision would be the final nail in the coffin for the industry.
The Clean Energy Council said having an overt directive against wind investment would affect the nation's ability to attract jobs and investment.
Mr Abbott has previously said he found wind farms "visually awful" and noisy.
Options for over-crowding in schools
Enrolments in inner city Sydney public primary schools have doubled in the last five years. Most of these schools have reached capacity, and it is likely that the demand for schools in the inner city will continue to grow.
The NSW government has recently discarded plans to build a new school on an old industrial site in Ultimo, reportedly due to the cost of remediating the site to make it safe. While most of the debate has been about whether these cost estimates were over-estimated, the larger question is about how governments can respond to fluctuations in demand for school places, especially where land prices are high. No government wants to risk spending hundreds of millions of dollars building a new school only to find that enrolments are lower than predicted.
NSW education minister Adrian Piccoli has suggested a couple of options instead of building the new school: expand enrolment zones to allow inner-city residents to attend schools in neighbouring suburbs that may have space; accommodate students in demountable classrooms; and refuse to enrol international students in over-subscribed schools.
These are short-term and counterproductive solutions. Eventually, inner suburban schools will fill up too, demountable classrooms are far from ideal learning environments, and international students are a valuable source of revenue. International students pay between $10,000 and $13,500 per year to attend NSW public schools. On this basis, the 1153 students in inner city public schools contribute up to $15.5 million per year to the NSW education budget. One might think it was worthwhile to encourage their enrolment.
Another possibility is to alter school funding arrangements to encourage the establishment of privately-managed public schools in the city. In the US, UK, Sweden and New Zealand, governments have enacted 'charter' or 'free' school policies, which provide full public recurrent funding to private organisations to operate schools, in exchange for the schools meeting a number of requirements - they must have open enrolment, they cannot charge fees, and they are accountable for their performance. These schools usually adapt existing buildings or raise private capital to build new ones. In this way, the capital risk is privatised, but students are still able to access a 'public' school.
Governments in Australia have resisted the charter/free school trend despite evidence that they can work very well if governance arrangements are strong. In the inner city, necessity may force a change of mind.