Thursday, October 29, 2015
Turnbull appoints pro-nuke man as chief "scientist"
I entirely approve of the fact that Alan Finkel is an energetic advocate of nuclear power. But that's a political matter, not a science matter. One might as well mention that he is rich, brilliant, Jewish and a supporter of Israel. I think well of all those things too but they are not scientific qualifications. As a retired scientist myself, I had hoped that a politically uninvolved scientist would get the job. But Turnbull knows his politics. And Finkel is politically clever too. He pushes nuclear power by joining the Greenie chorus against coal. So he more or less has everyone onside. A clever man indeed
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says he's putting innovation at the heart of government policy with the appointment of an entrepreneur as Australia's new chief scientist.
Prominent engineer and neuroscientist Alan Finkel, who is also an advocate of nuclear energy, has been billed as the man who can help Australia bridge the gap between scientific research and industry.
It's one of Australia's weaknesses and it needs to be addressed if Australia is to remain a prosperous 'high-wage, generous social welfare net economy in the years to come', Mr Turnbull told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.
'Science as part of innovation is at the very heart of this government's policy,' Mr Turnbull said. '(Dr Finkel) absolutely fits the spirit of the times in which we live. 'A scientist and an entrepreneur, an innovator, a communicator.'
Labor and the Greens also welcomed his appointment. 'Although we differ with him about nuclear power, we hope Dr Finkel's appointment represents a new scientific consensus that coal's days are numbered,' Greens MP Adam Bandt said.
Industry Minister Christopher Pyne said Australia was sixth in the OECD when it comes to quality of research but last when it comes to commercialisation of that research.
He said Dr Finkel fits into the government's new priority of linking business and science.
'We have demonstrably appointed him as a signal to the sector that we want science and business to be very much focused together in this country to create jobs, to create growth and to make breakthroughs that assist in the human development,' he said.
Mr Pyne said the government would announce a comprehensive innovation and science agenda by the end of the year.
Dr Finkel is Chancellor of Monash University and president of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.
He said Australia was at a 'critical moment', under a leadership team that appreciates the importance of science and technology and understands how it can deliver prosperity and productivity.
Dr Finkel takes the reins from Professor Ian Chubb as the government's top science adviser in January.
Prof Chubb said Dr Finkel came to the role with a 'rare blend of passion, patience and persistence the position demands'.
The TRUTH about the fight against the Bendigo mosque
If anyone is foolish enough to believe what is being printed in our media about the outcome of the Bendigo mosque VCAT hearing last week or if anyone has any delusions that our win at VCAT was anything but a major and significant victory, let me begin by saying that had there been any opportunity for VCAT to force this mosque permit through, they most certainly would have.
The postponement of the hearing to the 23rd of February 2016 did not happen simply because VCAT President, Greg Garde was feeling benevolent toward us. It was because he had absolutely NO CHOICE.
Robert Balzola dismantled their case and they were unable to rebut his argument.
Of great significance was the complete annihilation of the Human Rights Charter argument by the lawyers acting for the Bendigo Council and those acting for the Australian Islamic Mission incorporated.
They played the discrimination card citing violations of the Human Rights Charter if the Australian Islamic Mission incorporated was denied their massive mosque in a quiet Bendigo residential area.
What they didn’t realize was that Robert Balzola is an expert on the Human Rights Charter, in particular, the Geneva Convention Human Rights Charter to which Australia is a signatory.
He pointed out that neither the City of Greater Bendigo nor the Australian Islamic Mission incorporated are covered under any Human Rights Charter because they are both corporations and not a ‘natural person’.
He told VCAT that the only person in this entire VCAT matter that was covered by the Human Rights Charter was Ms Julie Hoskin.
Robert Balzola then went on to list a raft of Human Rights violations that the City of Greater Bendigo and the Australian Islamic Mission incorporated had committed against us.
This puts a whole new slant on the conduct of the Bendigo Council toward the residents of Bendigo and potential grounds for appeal to the Human Rights Commission to bring them to account for their abuse.
Furthermore, numerous other violations and breaches of the law were raised as well as the monumentally flawed and unacceptable documents contained in the planning file for the mosque.
The performance and conduct of the council and the councilors was raised as well as the pecuniary interests of a number of current councilors in direct connection to the mosque development.
It was raised that these same councilors did not refrain from voting as they are meant to do when the mosque permit was presented for approval at the public council meeting on the 18th June 2014.
Again, do not believe anything that is presented in the media.
Your allegiance is to Australia. What don’t you get?
IT is not the fault of the Muslim children who walked out of a school assembly when the Australian national anthem was played.
It is entirely the fault of the misguided principal who offered the primary students the opportunity to walk out and who encouraged them to reject this quintessential expression of Australian identity, in the name of “diversity”.
This is not a “storm in a teacup” as one Muslim leader put it. Nor is it a test of this country’s “understanding of difference or tolerance”.
Singing Advance Australia Fair and raising the Australian flag are purely secular expressions of allegiance to this country. They do not conflict with religious expression.
To spurn this deeply symbolic public display of patriotism is a statement of disrespect and disloyalty, which implies a rejection of Australian values.
You would expect an Australian public school principal to understand this.
But, the principal of Cranbourne Carlisle Primary School, Cheryl Irving, claimed that her offer to the Years 2-6 students last week to boycott the national anthem was made out of “respect” for a Shiite Muslim religious observance.
Between October 13 and November 12, some Muslims observe the month of Muharram, to mourn the death of a grandson of Muhammad. The aim is to avoid “joyful events”.
Fair enough. But the national anthem doesn’t have to be a joyful event, unless it’s sung after the Wallabies beat the All Blacks at Twickenham.
And if 30 or 40 Muslim students did not want to sing, they could have stood to attention respectfully as the anthem was being played.
In any case, senior Shiites such as Musa Naqvi, president of the oldest Shi’a Muslim group in Victoria, the Panjtan Society, have said there was no religious necessity to avoid the anthem.
Where does it stop, this endless demand for special treatment by groups who hold themselves exempt from Australian culture and tradition.
This is the poison of Leftist multiculturalism taken to an extreme where it threatens to divide the country.
The excuse from the Victorian Department of Education is the school supports “diversity” because many students were born overseas and more than half don’t speak English at home.
Well, that’s the story of Australia. We have become one of the world’s most harmonious immigrant nations because we have absorbed people of different races, cultures and creeds who have come here to become Aussies. We have benefited from the “hybrid vigour” that immigration brings and the Australian identity has adapted and been enriched.
We are a secular nation. But the values that made Australia a free, prosperous, fair democracy, that migrants strive to join, come from the Judaeo-Christian foundations which underpin Western civilisation. This is the origin of our democracy, rule of law, equality of every human being, and freedom of speech, conscience and religion.
The alternative value system you will find in Saudi Arabia, where women are stoned to death for adultery.
It is precisely because Cranbourne is so linguistically and culturally diverse that the national anthem and the flag are so important. If public schools don’t assert Australian values, it is certain that someone else’s values will prevail.
But you just have to look at the new national school curriculum, instituted ironically enough, under a supposedly conservative Abbott government, to see how the Left’s long march through the institutions continues unabated.
In the Years 7-10 curriculum, Christianity makes just two appearances, (compared to “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander” appearing 14 times).
Even then it’s not in any meaningful way. In year 8 the curriculum for Civics and Citizenship, for instance, will teach just: “The values and beliefs of religions practised in contemporary Australia, including the Christian traditions of Australian society”.
In the History syllabus in years 7-10 you get one mention: “the transformation of the Roman world and the spread of Christianity and Islam”, along with a reference to the Crusades and the “dominance of the Catholic Church” in Medieval Europe, which is sure to be flattering to Christianity — not.
There seems to be a worrying cultural and spiritual vacuum in our public schools, in which cultural relativism rules.
As Kim Beazley, our ambassador to the United States, points out, Australia has a much worse problem of young jihadis running off to join terrorist armies than America does.
He suggests that Australia’s brand of multiculturalism fosters the development of multiple identities which counter a strong national identity. And he has described the values in our education system as “good but amorphous”.
Conversely, in America, “you are an American first … you don’t have other ideas,” he said in a recent interview.
In almost every US state, children stand with a hand over their heart every morning and cite the pledge of allegiance as the flag is raised, “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
Rather than bending over backwards to make exemptions for those who want to opt out of unifying national rituals, we should do the opposite and emulate this daily pledge of allegiance to Australia in every school.
Otherwise, into a vacuum, something sinister will likely rush.
Online Lefties slam Abbott's speech about dubious "refugees"
FORMER prime minister Tony Abbott has been accused of “embarrassing Australia” at prestigious gathering in London, where he urged European nations to turn back refugees fleeing the war torn Middle East.
Delivering the Margaret Thatcher lecture in London on Tuesday night, Mr Abbott warned of the “catastrophic error” Europe was making in its readiness to take in refugees from war-torn countries, offering his government’s tough boat-stopping strategy as an experience that “should be studied”.
Though the conservative crowd cheered the deposed leader, Abbott’s online audience hasn’t been so kind.
Greens Senator and asylum seeker advocate Sarah Hansen-Young was one of the first to distance herself from our former PM advocating anti-immigration message abroad. “Tony Abbott still making a fool of himself and embarrassing Australia,” she wrote on Twitter. “His obsession with pushing people in need away is beyond belief.”
And she wasn't the only one critical of Abbott’s harsh words.
Abbott’s repetition of his government’s achievements like stopping the boats and repealing the carbon tax — phrases Australians have grown tired of hearing him rattle off — were also targeted on social media.
Mr Abbott’s uncharacteristic departure from his Christian values — namely, his criticism of other Western countries’ “love thy neighbour” approach to welcoming asylum seekers — has also angered Catholic priests.
A former Bishop told Fairfax he was astounded and appalled by Abbott’s use of Bible passages to preach such a “hard-hearted” approach to refugees. “I’m ashamed that a former Australian PM would be putting out a message like this,” retired Bishop Pat Power said.
“People will make their own judgments but that’s completely at odds with what’s at the heart of Christianity. I’m certainly offended.”
In the interest of balance, news.com.au searched for, but struggled to find, praise of Mr Abbott’s speech in social media comments.
There was one positive comment from Melbourne-based Briton Antonia Mocham: “Only good thing about the Abbott speech is that no-one in Europe seems to have noticed it happened.”
Freedom of speech and rigorous debate no longer accepted in practice at Australian universities
OUR universities do not sit in some sort of moral or ethical vacuum and so changes at these institutions have ripple effects into broader society. One only needs to look at the sexual revolution or the anti-Vietnam War movement to see the influence that universities have over the wider world.
This is why change away from an acceptance of freedom of speech at our universities is so concerning.
My experience as a student magazine editor for the past year has shown me that freedom of speech no longer has de facto acceptance on campus. Universities are no longer a place of inquiry or rigorous debate. Academic censorship is rife.
Take Bjorn Lomborg, the Danish environmentalist who sought to establish a research centre at the University of Western Australia and Flinders University. At both institutions he has faced resistance form students who staged protests and leveraged their student bodies to prevent such a centre from being established.
Their rationale? They do not agree with his findings and they’re not prepared to engage in debate.
Lomborg’s situation is strikingly similar to that of Galileo when he posited that Earth revolves around the sun, and not vice-versa. The church was not willing to hear out the argument and simply cast Galileo out.
If anything exemplifies the dangers of academic censorship it is the case of Galileo. How do we expect our society to advance when new ideas cannot be discussed because of an unwillingness by some precious, self-centred students?
These same students also want to limit free expression by mandating the use of “trigger warnings”, as well as censoring books they find uncomfortable or challenging. A “trigger warning” is a device that has emerged in the past two decades that seeks to warn a reader where a post traumatic reaction may be induced based on the content.
This has gone from warning of a discussion about rape to now including things such as ‘‘how many calories are in a food item’’ and “drunk driving’’. The discussion of these things doesn’t actually harm anyone, it’s just that students now demand to live in a cotton-wrapped world.
Great works such as The Great Gatsby, Metamorphoses and Mrs Dalloway have been banned from university reading lists simply because some self-absorbed students find the content emotionally challenging and upsetting.
Seemingly anything that infringes on a student’s apparent “right” to feel comfortable is cast out and banned from campus (including Mexican themed parties).
Further, the attitudes of the ever-increasing number of “social justice warriors” towards those who they disagree with is creating an environment that is not conducive to the exercise of speech, of free thought, and of debate.
You risk being labelled “fascist scum” if you happen to be of conservative ilk or simply opposed to communism or radical feminism. If you seek to express a view that doesn’t conform to that espoused by the revolutionary socialist groups on campus, then you are “racist”.
Don’t support gay marriage? You’re “homophobic”. Not a fan of unisex toilets? “Transphobic”. Radical, self-obsessed students have initiated this massive smear campaign against any opponents and in doing so they have significantly shifted the threshold, at least on campus, of these terms.
Naturally, people don’t like to be labelled as “racist” or “homophobic” and so the liberal use of these terms by these radicals is only shutting down speech and debate.
I simply ask: How would Galileo get on in today’s university?
My bet is that he would be driven out by an angry horde, upset that a “cis gendered”, heterosexual white male had dared to challenge the view of an oppressed, incredulous minority without even so much as including a trigger warning.
Who cares about deregulation? The real issue at our universities is the erosion of freedom of speech.