Friday, October 09, 2015

The Australian school so violent it’s patrolled by police

Very unusual in Australia. But what's the missing word below?  I guessed it right first time.  Answer at the foot of the report

Escalating violence has lead the government to install a permanent police presence at this school – but not everyone agrees with the decision.

Students and teachers are so terrified about attending Walgett Community College, in northwest NSW, that it has become the state’s first school to have police patrolling the grounds.

According to a report in The Daily Telegraph, the education department and Police Citizens Youth Club have signed an agreement to station two officers inside the school following escalating violence.

Among the incidents are a leaked video showing a 13-year-old girl being savagely beaten by fellow students in May, a teacher at the school taking out an apprehended violence order against a student, and four teachers resigning in the last few weeks of Term 2.

“It’s not uncommon for the police and schools to work together,” education minister Adrian Piccoli said.

“Recently officers have been working with students and staff from Walgett Community College at a PCYC centre in the school. They have access to the school hall before and after school, and during school holidays, and run positive engagement PCYC-related programs during those times.

“The feedback so far has been encouraging. There are no police stations on NSW public schools.”

However, Opposition education spokeswoman Linda Burney describes the move as another example of the government mismanaging problems at the troubled school.

“I do not believe having police present in the school is a good use of police resources, particularly in a community that has the second highest domestic violence rate in NSW,” Burney said.

“I think it sends a dreadful message, not only to children at Walgett, but also the Walgett community — that the only way to manage the school is if police are there.”

However, Acting Superintendent Tony Mureau insists the strategy is working.

“Over the past month there’ve been no incidents,” he told ABC News.

“What we’ll see is police in the classroom sometimes dealing with kids not necessarily in a negative way, but bringing them into the hall, playing sport. Just engagement strategies.”

The police will also be running anger management courses for students.


The missing word is "Aboriginal".  The school has a 97%  Aboriginal enrollment, as officially defined.  At the risk of prosecution for hate speech, however, I think I should note that most of those are of mixed ancestry.  The really black ones rarely go to school at all. The average Aboriginal IQ is very low and low IQ people tend to be more violent for various reasons

Pauline Hanson’s Facebook post on Muslims gains support

Hanson is an independent conservative who is not afraid to broach ethnic matters

SHE once rose to power on a tide of anti-Asian sentiment and it seems Pauline Hanson is now tapping into concern about Muslims to help her get re-elected.

A Facebook post urging people to vote for Hanson at the next federal election, has been shared more than 25,000 times in just two days. The post says: “A vote for me at the next Federal Election will be your insurance, the major parties will have absolute opposition to any more Mosques, Sharia Law, Halal Certification & Muslim Refugees. NO MORE! Share if you agree”.

An image accompanying the post says “No More: Mosques, Sharia law, Halal certification, Muslim refugees”. It has been liked more than 18,000 times.

Hanson, who is planning to run as a Queensland senate candidate for One Nation, has called for tighter Muslim immigration laws in the wake of the “politically motivated” Sydney shooting last week.

“Both sides of parliament are not doing enough to address this whole issue,” she told Sunrise.

“What Islam stands for is not compatible with our country ... let the Muslim countries take them.”

She said Australians need to know what was being taught in Islamic schools and mosques.

“Get out of your glasshouses and go and see what’s happening.”

Many of the comments on the post are supportive, one said: “You have my vote Pauline. I don’t pay taxes to be shot in my own country”.

Another said: “For the first time in my life I will be voting for someone who actually says what most free thinking Australians want”.

But there are plenty of others which challenge her view. One from Omer Dautovic has been liked almost 2000 times and responds to another comment, it states: “I’m Muslim, my kind has been here for over 50 years (Bosnian Muslims) we don’t want Sharia law as this great country provides us with a just and moral system”. It goes on to list other issues such as domestic violence, the free trade agreement and violent criminals, saying “I think there’s a few more problems than just ‘Muslims’.”

Another says: “Pauline is racist and disgusting. I have beautiful Muslim friends who have human rights to be here ... She’s certainly not a traditional owner of this country either”.

Hanson once represented the Brisbane seat of Oxley as an independent after being disendorsed by the Liberal party. In her maiden speech she famously said she believed Australia was in danger of being “swamped by Asians”.

“They have their own culture and religion, form ghettos and do not assimilate,” she said.

Hanson opposes multiculturalism, special government assistance for Aborigines, illegal boat people and foreign investment in agricultural land and established housing.

Hanson failed to be re-elected despite a number of campaigns, including standing in NSW and Queensland elections and bids for a Senate seat in 2001, 2007 and 2013.


Senator Nick Xenophon plots an end to preference whispering

Nick Xenophon has unveiled a plan for Senate voting reform that he says will eliminate candidates being accidentally elected with low levels of support while giving voters more chance than ever before to choose independents or minor parties.

The South Australian independent MP has written to the Turnbull government outlining the biggest overhaul to Senate voting in a generation that he believes would boost public con­fidence and could be imple­mented before the next election, which is due within 12 months.

Senator Xenophon, who was the only independent elected without the need for preferences at the last federal poll, has come under attack from Glenn Druery, the preference adviser who has told the minor parties “to put Xenophon last”.

The Australian has also learned the minor parties have held talks about swapping preferences with each other at the next election to maximise hopes of repeating the record haul of seven seats won by the crossbench.

“If we all preference each other ahead of the majors, then one of us is going to get up and win a seat — we just don’t know who,” one crossbench senator told The Australian.

At the last election, Ricky Muir of the Australian ­Motoring Enthusiasts Party won a Victorian Senate seat, despite receiving just 0.51 per cent of the vote.  It was the preferences of 20 other parties that secured the 14.6 per cent needed to be elected.

Senator Xenophon’s overhaul would abolish group voting tickets, which are vital to the minor party strategy of preference deals yet leave voters largely unaware of the arrangements.

The proposal would see voters no longer just mark “1” for a party or group “above the line” on the Senate ballot paper; instead, they would be required to number a minimum of three squares above the line.

“It would encourage voters to consider alternatives other than the major parties,” Senator Xenophon wrote in his letter to Special Minister of State Mal Brough.

Senator Xenophon said his plan to require people to number at least three boxes would increase the chances of an independent, minor or micro party candidate receiving popular support but he told The Australian those parties would need to earn votes and not receive them through behind-the-scenes deals.

He said some people felt misled they gave their vote to one party but the preference swapping ­system meant they ended up electing a party with a different philosophy.

“I suggest the ­approach I’ve outlined would lead to an outcome that more fairly represents the genuine democratic will of voters,” he wrote to Mr Brough. “It would prevent the anomalous outcomes that can occur when a voter’s first preference (above the line) can end up electing a senator with diametrically opposed views on a range of key issues.”

Under Senator Xenophon’s plan, people voting “below the line” would be required to choose only a minimum of 12 candidates, instead of the existing requirement to number sequentially every box. In NSW and Victoria, there were about 100 candidates listed below the line.

About 95 per cent of people vote “above the line”, handing power to the one party they choose to decide preferences. At the last election, two-thirds of people voted above the line for ­either Labor or a Coalition party. Last year, the joint standing committee on electoral matters released a bipartisan report calling for urgent changes to Senate voting to better reflect the intention of the public in the wake of the 2013 result.

The committee, headed by Tony Smith, now the Speaker, called for the scrapping of group voting tickets and the introduction of optional preferential voting, to end “shadowy” preference deals and clean up the tablecloth-sized ballot papers by preventing “pop-up parties” being created to harvest votes for other parties.

Senator Xenophon, who won 24.88 per cent in the SA Senate race at the last election and polled more than the entire Labor Party, said his plan achieved those aims without putting minor parties out of business.

Senator Muir recently called reform plans a “power grab to protect the major parties”.  He said 24 per cent of people did not vote for Labor, the ­Coalition or the Greens.

“If the people of Australia felt like the major parties were representing them democratically and parallel with their will, people like me would not have been able to get elected in the first place,” he said.

Between 1984 and 2010, Labor, the Coalition and Greens received between 84 and 91 per cent of Senate votes. At the last election, the tally fell to 76 per cent.

Family First senator Bob Day, elected on preferences after receiving a primary vote of 3.76 per cent, said the major parties, including the Greens, were over-represented in the Senate because they had 85 per cent of the seats. He said the committee’s reform plan would “entrench the Greens as the balance of power party in the Senate”.

Mr Brough recently said he wanted to pursue Senate reform, a comment he later played down after it drew anger from the crossbench.

While the Greens have offered conditional support for changes, Labor is split on the topic and wants to see a firm proposal.

Malcolm Turnbull said while there were concerns about the Senate voting system, he had no specific plans to change it and has reassured crossbenchers of that.


No, Australia doesn't have a revenue problem

Michael Potter

Many commentators think taxes need to increase to ensure the tax-to-GDP ratio is 'restored' to historical levels. But their arguments are wrong.

The tax-to-GDP ratio is currently well above the 10-year average, and about equal to the 20-year, 30-year and 40-year averages (see details here). The mistake that the commentators made is (unsurprisingly) cherry picking data.

For example, the former Secretary to the Treasury, Dr Ken Henry, said taxes are currently too low compared to 2002. However, this is an abnormal year, due to the introduction of the GST. We could equally say taxes are currently too high compared to 2011, after the GFC, or 1993, after the recession we had to have.

Instead, it is much better to average the tax take over many years, including high tax and low tax periods.

And on that basis, tax increases can't be justified. In fact, the tax-to-GDP ratio is forecast to be well above historical averages by 2018-19, and using this measure alone we should be seeing large tax cuts by then -- around $24 billion per year in today's money.

But this is the wrong debate. It is bad policy to try to target the tax-to-GDP ratio, particularly because we would have to increase taxes in a recession. This is a terrible idea - it would make the recession worse. And given we are currently in a mild slowdown, this argues for tax increases now. Increasing taxes now would be almost as bad as increasing taxes in a recession. And unfortunately substantial tax increases are scheduled to occur as noted earlier.

But even with these unwise tax increases, the Budget deficit doesn't disappear by 2018-19. So how can we deal with that problem? Through spending restraint as long advocated by the CIS, particularly through the Target 30 campaign. This is a better approach than tax increases based on fallacious historical comparisons.


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