Friday, August 21, 2015
In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG says that our liberties are leaking away under Leftist, Greenie and Islamist attack
House prices hurting Australia and nation's policies making it worse
Increased housing prices are what must happen when a high level of immigration hits land-use rigidities. It is time that some categories of immigration were cut back. Australia has already done its fair share of taking "refugees" for instance. With both Greenies and Nimbys intent on freezing land use, freeing up land for new residential construction is politically difficult.
The explanations given below for the problem are just ignorant Leftism -- a chance to trot out their usual myths. I note some in the text
The massive jump in the cost of buying or renting a house is having a profoundly negative impact on Australia, and policies imposed by Canberra and state governments are making the problem worse, a housing expert has warned.
Social Services Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday released Australia's Welfare 2015, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare's latest two-yearly national welfare report card.
The detailed snapshot of the health and wellbeing of Australians found the country is doing well in education and health, although there were serious areas of inequity for some indigenous Australians, some elderly and disabled people, those with a disability and people with a mental illness.
The report also showed a big jump in the number of Australians in housing stress, with more people renting and a dramatic fall in the number of people who own their homes outright.
It found an increasing proportion of young Australians still living with their parents into their mid-20s.
The report shows the great Australian dream becoming an unattainable fantasy for more people. Australian homes are the third-least affordable of OECD countries with only New Zealand and Canada having a higher price-to-income ratio.
There has also been a big jump in the number of people either living in social housing, or on a waiting list for a place. The number of homeless Australians has jumped, with a quarter of a million Australians accessing specialist homelessness services in 2014, the report said –a 4 per cent rise in a single year.
Australia's housing market is becoming increasingly unaffordable, according to Kate Shaw, an urban geographer at Melbourne University and a planning and housing expert.
"This is not a natural consequence of the increase in living and health standards documented in the report," Dr Shaw said. "The severe unaffordability of housing in Australia is due to poor policy decisions and could have been avoided. This is not part and parcel of being a wealthy country."
In the year to July, Melbourne house prices climbed 10.2 per cent, Sydney 16.2 per cent, and national capital average prices by 9.8 per cent.
Asked which other wealthy countries around the world had avoided such dramatic house price rises in recent years, Dr Shaw said: "All of them, except perhaps Canada, which suffers from the same problems. "The drivers there are the same – both Australia and Canada are regarded as very safe places to invest."
She said there should be better legislated protection for renters, who now make up a third of all households, and the federal government must remove tax concessions and incentives for investors. [More protection for renters will WORSEN the problem. It must and always does]
"Specifically negative gearing and the 50 per cent discount on capital gains tax," she said. "If these were phased out we would have billions of dollars every year to invest in affordable social, community and public housing." [And largely destroy private construction for rental. The woman is a Leftist ignoramus]
There was, Dr Shaw said, "A whole layer of low to medium-income housing arrangements provided in Canada and Germany and so many other places in the world that we have just completely ignored – they don't exist in Australia. And because we don't have them, it is increasing the pressure on the private rental market."
The report found that the proportion of people in rental stress, in which households pay more than one-third of their income on accommodation, rose from 35 per cent in 2007-08 to 41 per cent in 2011-12.
And it did not get much easier for mortgage payers, the report found. "Households with low to moderate incomes who manage to acquire their own homes sometimes cut back on necessities in order to meet mortgage repayments, especially in the early years." [So what else is new?]
A majority of over-65s own a home outright but the proportion has fallen from 78 per cent in 2002 to 71 per cent in 2011.
Higher living costs are associated with an increase in the rise in the rate of people working past retirement age. The proportion of Australians aged 55-64 who have retired fell from 49 per cent to 26 per cent between 1997 and 2012–13 and from 93 per cent to 77 per cent for those aged 65 and over.
Kerry Flanagan, acting director of the AIHW, said Australians were living longer and were healthier in senior years. "Adult participation in the labour force is higher than 20 years ago, and while some people are staying at work longer after retirement, the majority of older Australians are not using aged-care services," she said.
Ms Flanagan said other issues flagged in the report included increases in children receiving child protection services, youth unemployment and the proportion of young people who are not in employment, education or training.
Australia seeks to hobble Greenie lawfare against coal mining
Canberra plans to restrict the rights of green groups to challenge government approval of mining projects, in a move to prevent what Tony Abbott, Australia’s prime minister, says is “endless legal sabotage” that is costing jobs.
The crackdown follows expressions of concern from India over an Australian court’s decision this month to overturn approval for Adani Mining’s A$16bn (US$12bn) Carmichael coal mine in Queensland because of its potential impact on the endangered yakka skink and ornamental snake. It marks the latest stage in a battle between the government and campaigners that accuse Mr Abbott of prioritising industrial development over environmental protection.
“Everyone wants to give the Carmichael mine in Queensland a fair go,” Mr Abbott said on Wednesday.
“They shouldn’t be subject to endless legal sabotage because the law gives green groups an unusual level of access to the courts.”
The coalition plans to table legislation in parliament to alter a law that allows campaign groups to challenge government environmental approvals for major investments. Under the proposed changes, only people directly affected by a development could challenge its approvals.
The coalition faces a battle to pass the amendments through the Senate, where it needs to draw on the support of independent senators. The opposition Labor and Green parties have said they oppose the changes.
India’s High Commissioner to Australia, Navdeep Suri, recently expressed his disappointment to Andrew Robb, Australia’s trade minister, over delays to Adani’s proposed mine. This prompted Mr Robb to warn last week that green groups’ campaign against Adani’s mine was jeopardising talks over a trade deal between Australia and India.
The Federal Court of Australia’s decision to set aside government approval for Adani followed a legal action by a local green group. It forces Australia’s environmental minister to reconsider Adani’s application to build a huge mine in the Galilee basin — one of the world’s biggest untapped coal reserves.
Adani’s mine, port and rail project has become a potent symbol of the battle between the fossil fuel industry and environmentalists, who say burning the coal reserves in the Galillee basin would cause catastrophic climate change and damage the nearby Great Barrier Reef.
Human rights groups warn that the government’s proposed legal change threatens to undermine core democratic freedoms.
“The ability to take legal action in the public interest is central to ensuring governments remain accountable. Locking particular groups out of the courts is heavy-handed and will mean that bad decisions will go unchecked and unchallenged,” said Ruth Barson, senior lawyer at the Human Rights Law Centre.
Industry groups representing the mining sector have welcomed the government’s crackdown on environmentalists.
“Over recent years a large number of new projects and mine expansions have been subject to a calculated campaign of protests and harassment, including vexatious and incessant legal appeals lodged by a small band of extreme environmental groups,” said Brendan Pearson, chief executive of the Minerals Council of Australia.
He said a BAEconomics study found that reducing project delays by one year would add A$160bn to national output by 2025 and create 69,000 jobs.
Research by the Australia Institute, a progressive think-tank, suggests third-party appeals to the Federal Court have affected just 0.4 per cent of all projects referred under the legislation.
The ruling Liberal-National coalition recently convened a parliamentary committee to consider how to strip tax privileges from environmental groups that campaign against resource projects.
Relaxed NSW prosecutors again
Former NSW Director of Public Prosecutions Nicholas Cowdery QC was notorious for finding reasons not to prosecute
KARL Stefanovic has slammed the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for allowing Sydney siege gunman Man Monis to walk free, despite being linked to the murder of his ex-wife.
In a blistering attack on television this morning, the Today host blasted the Crown prosecutors.
Crucial information on Man Monis was never presented to court in 2013 because staff were due to go on Christmas holidays, the Saturday Telegraph revealed last week. “Are you not disgusted by that? I was,” Stefanovic said.
The ODPP was also caught trying to hide that one of its lawyers failed to present crucial facts about Man Monis to a magistrate who freed the gunman on bail.
The lawyer acting for the ODPP had not tendered a police document containing a list of objections to Monis being bailed, including that he was a danger to witnesses, it was revealed at the Lindt Cafe siege inquest yesterday.
Man Monis went on to take hostages in the Lindt Cafe in Martin Place, which resulted in the deaths of cafe manager Tori Johnson and mother and lawyer Katrina Dawson.
Homicide Detective Senior Constable Melanie Staples said the lawyer, whose name has been suppressed, admitted to her during the lunch recess he believed he had done a “terrible job” on the failed bail application at Penrith Local Court in December, 2013, when Monis was charged with organising the murder of his wife.
“Senior Constable Melanie Staples fought and fought and fought for Monis not to be granted bail then she was unfairly accused of criticising her prosecutor because she didn’t want this guy on the streets,” Stefanovic said.
“Imagine her frustration. Imagine the frustration from arresting officers. “Imagine knowing this guy was a danger and seeing him walk. Now the crown prosecutor has serious questions to answer. “She fought as hard as humanly possible to keep this wacko behind bars and she wasn’t allowed to. Whose side are they working on?”
Lawyers for the families of Ms Dawson and Mr Johnson told State Coroner Michael Barnes the document should have been revealed earlier.
The damaging evidence involving the Crown Prosecutor emerged as Constable Staples was being “aggressively” questioned by counsel assisting the inquest, Jeremy Gormly SC, over her handling of Monis’ bail application.
Monis was charged in November 2013 for being an accessory before and after the fact to the murder of his ex-wife.
Emergency services found the body of Noleen Hayson Pal, 30, in a Werrington apartment block in April 2013. The woman had allegedly been stabbed and set on fire. Monis’ second wife, Amirah Droudis, was charged with her murder.
Constable Staples, the officer in charge of the investigation into the murder of Monis’ ex-wife, was accused of unfairly criticising the performance of the prosecutor to her Homicide Squad bosses after Monis was granted bail.
Mr Gormly put it to her there was nothing in the statement of facts she had prepared for the Crown Prosecutor to say police had concerns about Monis’ bail, including that he was a danger to victims or that he could flee to Malaysia.
“That was in a separate document,” Constable Staples said.
Counsel for the Office of the DPP, David Buchanan SC, stood and said legal privilege was claimed over that document as well as any mention of it in the officer’s statement.
It was the first anyone in the court had heard about the document, which was among those redacted under legal privilege in a controversial move by the DPP last week.
Counsel for Mr Johnson’s family, Gaby Bashir SC, said the existence of the “highly relevant” document would not have been revealed had Mr Gormly not asked that question in court. The Coroner found the document was not covered by privilege.
It was then revealed it also contained the information the murder had been committed while Monis was on bail for charges of sending offensive letters to the families of dead servicemen and was an associate of the Rebels bikies.
It also said the detective believed he should have been dealt with under the section of the 1978 Bail Act that not only had a presumption against bail but called for exceptional circumstances to be shown for bail to be granted. The magistrate had been told none of those things, nor was the document tendered to the court.
Police minister under attack at tumultuous Queensland Budget Estimates hearing
POLICE Minister Jo-Ann Miller began the final hour-long stretch of her Estimates hearing - which will focus on the police aspect of her portfolio - with a third opening statement.
“I am the police’s voice around the Cabinet table in Queensland,” she told the committee. “I will always support our police. Our Government will always support our police. This budget... delivers on that commitment.”
Earlier, the Opposition’s interrogation of embattled Ms Miller began, but with an adjournment called within 20 minutes of proceedings commencing.
During Ms Miller’s opening statement to her Estimates hearing, in which she noted the state’s southeast prisons were collectively operating at 112 per cent capacity — she declared: “I’m very pleased to be here today, delivering on the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to keep Queenslanders safe.”
But Opposition MPs tried their utmost to change that from the outset, launching an attack almost immediately.
Former attorney-general Jarrod Bleijie — who has spent much of this term locking horns with Ms Miller — opened his question by noting that Ms Miller had been brought out of a “protection program” to face questioning.
Mr Bleijie’s first four questions, of which some were not even allowed to reach completion, were ruled out of order by committee chairman and Labor MP Mark Furner, who declared they were not relevant to the Budget.
After those four attempts — during which Mr Bleijie attempted to list Ms Miller’s blunders and detail comments made about her by others — the Member for Kawana was warned by Mr Furner under Standing Order 185.
Mr Furner then called a brief adjournment after deputy committee chairwoman and LNP member Tarnya Smith moved that the committee express no confidence in the Minister for Police.
When the committee returned from a private meeting, Mr Furner handed questioning over to Government MPs.
Mr Furner ruled there would be no public discussion of what was discussed during the private meeting.
Under friendly questioning from Government MPs, Ms Miller talked about the donation of surplus pink jumpsuit material — left over from the Newman government’s anti-bikie crackdown — and prison issues.
The hearing was adjourned for a second time after Ms Smith moved that the private deliberations during the first adjournment be made public.
Earlier, Mr Furner denied there was a “protection racket” to shield Ms Miller from Opposition questioning.
Having had his questions blocked, Mr Bleijie turned his attention to Ms Miller’s director-general David Mackie, asking questions about the types of misconduct that would have Corrections staff disciplined.
He focused on asking about what consequences a staff member would face if there was a prima facie case of them providing a misleading statement.
Earlier this week, the Labor-dominated parliamentary crime and corruption committee passed a resolution, relating to the Police Minister’s secret documents bungle, that noted that Ms Miller had signed “an incorrect statement” and was “prima facie deliberately misleading”.
Mr Ryan on more than one occasion took issue with the questions, with his points of order including complaints about the “hypothetical” nature of some.
Mr Bleijie also tried to use reported cases relating to Queensland prisons in a bid to continue his attack. His line of questioning was again shut down by Mr Furner, before the hearing was temporarily adjourned to discuss Ms Smith’s motion.
By 4.50pm, Ms Miller had answered just three Opposition questions, along with one from crossbencher Robbie Katter. The Opposition questions answered all related to the distribution of a political email to rural fire service members, a matter that involved Labor MP Leanne Donaldson.
At one point, Mr Furner would not allow a question to proceed until more copies were provided of a document tabled by Mr Bleijie.
Proceedings were frequently halted due to arguments over questions or standing orders.
Six months of the Palaszczuk Labor Government in Queensland reviewed
QUEENSLAND, what have you done? In electing a Labor government you have invited criminal bikies back to sell ice to your teenagers.
You have welcomed back Cabinet ministers to consort with bully-boy unions.
You have ushered in a period of confusion and instability.
We are at a ridiculous crossroad where the Katter Party holds the balance of power and has issued a set of demands.
You got it wrong Queensland when you ousted the LNP.
The only projects of note are the ones started by the previous Newman government.
Labor has politicised the public service, improperly turned away developers and jobs and pandered to the loony Greens.
Labor is repealing laws to make it easier for unions to access workplaces.
Labor is winding back tough anti-bikie laws in the name of civil liberties.
Only an ignoramus would oppose the anti-gang laws which have not only repelled bikies but has left thousands fewer homes burgled by ice addicts. Car thefts have also plummeted since the crackdown.
The nation’s Border Force Commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg told it like it is on the weekend when he warned Labor not to soften the LNP’s tough laws against the outlaw gangs.
“My view is that once you create a hostile environment, and you’ve achieved what you want to achieve, unless you maintain that hostility there will be a return (of the gangs),” he said.
“I think the introduction of VLAD-type laws in Queensland, and elsewhere in Australia, has demonstrated that they have had a positive impact for enforcement on the co-ordination and organisation of outlaw motorcycle gangs.”
Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk have their heads in the sand. They are inviting the gangs to return.
Taskforce Maxima chiefs warn four major gangs — the Hells Angels, Rebels, Mongols and Bandidos — were opening clubhouses, recruiting new members and eyeing former lucrative drug markets such as the Gold Coast.
On crime, mark Labor down as a FAIL.
On job creation mark Labor down as a FAIL.
On links with bully-boy unions mark Labor down as a FAIL.
Queensland is stagnating.