Friday, August 07, 2015
Another Green/Left conspiracy theory
Back in the '80s and '90s people still trusted scientists. Some naive people still do. So pronouncements from scientists about global warming were treated with respect. Even Margaret Thatcher was taken in for a time. There are a lot of people who understand science, however, and, as they began to look at the facts behind the warnings, they saw that it was all just a storm in a teacup with a poorly-founded prophecy built on top.
And that fact eventually percolated through to a lot of people, including a lot of decision-makers. But, because the prestige of science was great, few people denounced the scare outright. Instead it began to get just lip service from many decision-makers. Only Leftists retained fervour -- because the theory justified their hunger for control over us all so well.
But Leftists don't want to believe any of that so they are constantly putting out conspiracy theories: Shady people in dark places are manipulating us all. Antisemitism is the grandfather of such theories. Conspiracy theories are the recourse of people who don't really understand what is going on. They are a substitute for real enquiry. So Leftists have always been big propagators of them.
And so it has been with the Green/Left. The accusations of a dark conspiracy to prevent action on global warming never stop. Below is the latest one from Australia
There’s something about climate change that almost everyone in Australia has either forgotten or never knew in the first place.
In 1990 Bob Hawke announced his government wanted the country to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by the year 2005.
For a fleeting moment, it seemed the Australian public, politicians and the media were in agreement with the science.
But a new book investigates how the industries that stood to lose the most worked to undermine the science and entirely reshape the story being told to the public.
“We have been propagandised,” says the author, Maria Taylor.
Hawke was ready
In 1989 Hawke described a “growing consensus amongst scientists” showing there was a strong chance that major climate change was on its way, that this change was linked to human activity, and this could have “major ramifications for human survival” if nothing was done.
Public statements by scientists in Australia and around the world, backed by government reports and research, had established unambiguously that humans were causing climate change. Bold steps needed to be taken if the major risks of catastrophic climate change were to be mediated.
The UN’s intergovernmental plan on climate change delivered its first blockbuster assessment of the climate science in 1990.
Taylor’s book recalls how Australia was working its way towards a detailed plan to deliver Hawke’s proposal. State governments had response strategies in place. Politicians were largely on board. So was the fourth estate. The public understood the science and the huge risks of not acting.
Now, a quarter of a century later, climate change has been turned into a toxic political football. Scientists have their integrity attacked on a daily basis.
Climate science denial is a feature of the conservative media and many members of the public are either confused about the science, ambivalent about the issue or entirely uninterested.
So how has Australia has managed to find itself behind where it was a quarter of a century ago?
Around 2007, Taylor was asking herself that question. How did the corporate interest replace the public interest? How did climate science become “controversial” in the eyes of the public?
Taylor, who is a journalist and newspaper publisher, wanted to know how Australians were “persuaded to doubt what they knew”.
She reviewed hundreds of newspaper articles and government reports for a PhD thesis and now book, called Global Warming and Climate Change: What Australia Knew and Buried … Then Framed a New Reality for the Public” (you can download a copy free from publisher ANU Press).
Taylor also interviewed about a dozen key insiders, including scientists, advisers, politicians and journalists. She says the fact that Australia was ready and willing to act 25 years ago has itself been a forgotten story.
Almost no one that I spoke to remembered the 1990 emissions reduction target. Even people like [former energy minister] John Kerin, who co-signed it!
In the book Taylor explains how from the late 1980s industry groups, free market advocates and climate contrarians got to work to reframe the issue from the science to the economics.
By 1996 much of the damage was done. The advent of John Howard’s government ensured there would be no more genuine progress.
More jobs than before and yet the unemployment rate rises?
Both are good signs. As more jobs become available in Australia, the more people start to look for work. Previously "discouraged" workers are on the lookout again now that it seems worth looking
Employment surged in the month of July even as the unemployment rate climbed from 6 to 6.3 per cent.
The latest official figures from the Bureau of Statistics show a jump of employment of 38,500 in July after a jump of 7000 in June and 42,000 in May. The combined jump of 87,500 came as the unemployment rate climbed from 6 to 6.3 per cent.
The discrepancy is explained by a jump in the number of unemployed Australians from 771,000 to 801,000.
The results come at a time of unusual volatility in the figures following changes in the way the Bureau of Statistics collects the data.
On the face of it they show they show a big increase in the number of Australians prepared to look for work as an extra 30,000 described themselves as unemployed and an extra 87,500 found jobs.
It is highly likely that both growth rates will be revised down next month when the Bureau recalibrates its estimates to take account of lower than expected population growth.
A risky Chinese connection for Australia?
A Brisbane lecturer says corruption is rife in Chinese education, with students asking for answers and using smartphones freely.
A deal to form closer vocational training ties with China could wind up undermining Australian education programs, according to a Brisbane business expert.
Last month the Australian Skills Quality Authority signed a memorandum of understanding with the China Education Association for International Exchange to improve quality assurance and collaborate on vocational education and training (VET).
It came after the signing of the free trade agreement between the two countries in June.
But Griffith Business School lecturer Rakesh Gupta said endemic corruption in the Chinese education system could tarnish the reputation of Australian training programs and result in poor-quality graduating students.
Dr Gupta spent much of the past 12 months guest lecturing at Chinese universities and technical colleges, and said the country struggled with "normalised" corruption in the education system.
"I came across one English language teacher who told me she was doing a substitute exam for a student in high school," he said.
"She explained that the high schools contact her, she goes there, does the exam for the student because they wouldn't pass otherwise, and they don't see any moral or ethical issues with the whole process."
Dr Gupta said other incidents included students asking for answers during exams, and using smartphones freely.
He said about 600 programs were being evaluated as potentially being transferred to China, but while Australian institutes would provide intellectual property and technical know-how, the curriculum would be taught by local recruits.
"Australia can set up education facilities there but at the end of the day it runs the risk of graduates not having the requisite competence and knowledge," Dr Gupta said.
"Policymakers are addressing the issue of corruption, but do not seem to have much support from the middle sections of the power structure in tackling it."
Dr Gupta said thorough risk assessments and regulated oversight were needed to ensure training programs.
"One institute not performing will mean there's an effect on the whole education sector from Australia," he said.
"We have a good reputation in China that we are risking."
More than 35,000 people enrolled with Australian VET providers in China in 2013.
More than 30 million Chinese students undertake formal VET, and the government wants to boost that to 38.3 million by 2020.
SAME-SEX MARRIAGE DEBATE TURNS TO PROTECTION OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) Managing Director Lyle Shelton has welcomed the raising of freedom of conscience and freedom of religion issues by the mainstream media. In recent weeks Editor-at-large for The Australian Newspaper Paul Kelly and a subsequent editorial in the same newspaper have published commentary pieces drawing attention to the consequences of legislating a new definition of marriage. Mr Shelton said "We have been concerned for many years about the intolerance of same-sex marriage lobbyists and some politicians who say there is no place in Australia for people who do not agree with a proposed new definition of marriage," Mr Shelton said.
Mr Shelton said Kelly was right to say there was a "haze of misinformation and emotion" surrounding the debate. "It is admirable that supporters of same-sex marriage such as The Australian newspaper and human rights commissioner Tim Wilson acknowledge that current proposals to change marriage do not protect people who will never accept the state's new definition. "What is becoming clear is that same-sex marriage ideology is incompatible with freedom. "All of the debate of the past five years has been about forcing people of conscience to bow to the new definition of marriage," Mr Shelton said. "In America and Europe individuals who exercise their conscience and publicly manifest their belief in the timeless definition of marriage are routinely being hauled before courts and tribunals. Australians would not support same-sex marriage if they knew that this was a consequence."
Mr Shelton said Kelly was right to observe that all of the current proposals to change the definition of marriage contained no protections for individuals' freedom of conscience and inadequate protections for religious freedom. "Mr Kelly is right to observe that lack of protections for non-religious individuals and of religions amounted to 'calculated intolerance' by same-sex marriage lobbyists and their political supporters." Mr Shelton renewed ACL's calls for Australian Marriage Equality head Rodney Croome to stop reporting the Catholic Church to the Human Rights Commission for distributing material promoting the benefits of gender diverse marriage.
"I note that Mr Croome has rejected the idea of protections against legal action against individuals who did not agree with same-sex marriage. "Also, the New South Wales independent MP and former head of AME, Alex Greenwich, should cease his attacks on the protections for religious freedom in State anti-discrimination law," Mr Shelton said. "There is a long way to go before thinking people could have confidence that the same-sex marriage political agenda does not reach far beyond the slogans of 'equal love' for two adults," Mr Shelton said.
In the commentary pieces written by Mr Kelly and the editor of The Australian they make the point that the central issue in any Australian recognition of same-sex marriage remains almost invisible - whether the state's re-definition of civil marriage will authorise an assault on churches, institutions and individuals who retain their belief in the traditional view of marriage. They go on "It seems to this point that none of the proposals for same-sex marriage or related policy prescriptions are satisfactory laws for passage by the Australian parliament. The real issue is conceptually simple - it is whether same-sex marriage will deny conscience rights to much of the population.
Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson, a strong supporter of same-sex marriage, has also weighed into the debate. "The primary problem is that people think of religious protection just in terms of a minister of religion solemnising a marriage," Wilson said. "But this is a superficial analysis of the issue. The question of religious freedom has not been taken seriously. It is treated as an afterthought. We cannot allow a situation where the law is telling people they have to act against their conscience and beliefs. We cannot protect the rights of one group of people by denying the rights of another group." If the Australian parliament intends to create a legal regime with this consequence then the law-makers must justify this to the people and explain how such -calculated intolerance leads to a better society.
Kelly correctly claims that the legalisation of same-sex marriage means the laws of the state and the laws of the church will be in conflict over the meaning of the most important institution in society. This conflict between the civil and religious meaning of marriage will probably be untenable and marked by litigation, attempts to use anti-discrimination law and entrenched bitterness. But an effort ought to be made to make it tenable on the basis of mutual tolerance. A legal brief put to the US Supreme Court on this issue offers the best statement we are likely to see on the method of reconciliation between these competing rights. "The proper response to the conflict between gay rights and religious liberty is to protect the liberty of both sides," the brief argues.
"Both sexual and religious minorities make essentially parallel claims on the larger society, and the conduct that follows from each, are fundamental to human identity. Both same-sex couples and religious organisations and believers committed to traditional understandings of marriage, face hostile regulation that condemns their most cherished commitments as evil. There should be no doubt, however, about the bottom line: the Australian parliament should not legislate the right to same-sex marriage on the altar of denying institutions and individuals the right to their conscience.
Kelly is also correct when he asks what is the real ideology of the same-sex marriage campaign. "Is it merely to allow gays to marry? Or is its ultimate purpose to impose "marriage equality" across the entire society, civil and religious. Is "marriage equality", as designed and evolving by its advocates, an ideology that can live with two different concepts of marriage, civil and religious?" The concern for Christians is not limited to whether pastors are made to perform wedding ceremonies against their conscience. There is a wide range of other issues to be considered. Must religious colleges provide married housing to same-sex couples? Must churches and synagogues employ spouses in same-sex marriages even though this flouts their religious teaching? Must religious social-service agencies place children for adoption with same-sex couples?
Will religious institutions be penalised by losing government contracts, tax exemptions and access to public facilities? Will religious institutions and schools be penalised if they teach their own beliefs about marriage, thereby contradicting the state's view of marriage? Or will the state laws via anti-discrimination legislation be mobilised to force the state's view on to religious institutions? Australian lawyer and priest Frank Brennan argues, that the upshot in the US will be "years of litigation" about the rights of religious bodies that is sure to be "nasty and hard fought". The public grasp of this issue in Australia is far distant from the debate that is needed.
Wilson's comments on this issue reveal that he knows this is not the way to proceed. It only guarantees institutional division and rancour. The core question remains: what is the real ideological objective of the same-sex marriage campaign? The issue needs serious attention if Australia is to avoid same-sex marriage laws that are shallow and problematic and would open the way for sectarian divisions and protracted, costly litigation. Australian Cardinal George Pell raised similar concerns at a church conference in Ireland recently, citing the closure of adoption agencies in England and Northern Ireland because they would not place children with same-sex couples.
The struggle to maintain religious freedom across the world, Pell said, would intensify following the Irish referendum and US Supreme Court decision backing same-sex marriage. The separation of church and state does not legitimise the right of governments to be anti-religious or to diminish or intimidate church communities. Such concerns have already emerged overseas, which partially influenced Austrian MPs to vote 110-26 against same-sex marriage last month. In the US, religious universities have been prosecuted for not providing married accommodation to same-sex couples. Christian and Jewish organisations have been challenged to employ same-sex spouses. In Europe, rabbis and bishops have been condemned for "hate speech'' for stating their faith traditions.
Australian Prayer Network - Newsletter