Tuesday, June 30, 2015
In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG sees the campaign for homosexual marriage as an offshoot of Marxism
Making Greenies pay their own way is "Blue blooded"?
New Matilda says so -- so who am I to argue? I can see no logic in it however. I think "Blue blooded" just seemed like a good term of abuse for them. As good Leftists they of course think that government should fund everything. The idea that Greens are just another political lobby who should pay their own way is incomprehensible to them. A few excerpts from the usual long-winded ramble below
In December 2013, the Abbott government gutted the Australian Network of Environmental Defenders, cutting off all funding, including $10 million over four years despite the agreement being just six months in.
Much of it was effective immediately, and the eight EDOs around the country were told that beyond June 2014 the recurrent base-funding the organisations had received from federal governments for 18 years would be pulled.
The flow of federal funds to the EDOs was critical to their ability to perform their public interest role, but the Attorney General refuses to meet with them to discuss the cuts.
There had been no warning, no consultation, and despite recommendations from the Productivity Commission and a Senate Inquiry, there has been no back-down.
The government has made it clear it does not value the work that the 20 full-time legal staff and 17 non-legal support staff around the country do, or the function they serve our democracy.
Driving them out of the democratic contest over the environment will diminish citizens’ access to justice, the quality of environmental protections, and the scrutiny and awareness of the corporations whose operations have the potential to permanently damage our environment.
The Productivity Commission has noted that the work EDOs do - on law reform, on public education, in outreach and importantly, running cases for people who otherwise couldn’t afford them - is not being done by anyone else.
Environmental Defenders Offices are a recognised bulwark against corporate power over the biosphere. Implicit in that, Smith said, is the fact they “can’t apologise for being relevant and playing the role we do”.
“We are not a lobbying group, we’re not a campaign group. But the work we do - public interest environmental law - is, by nature, about being relevant,” he said.
“That means working in the areas which are often high-profile and highly contested.
“At the moment that is definitely in the area of coal mining and coal seam gas, but it wasn’t so long ago we were working almost reservedly in the area of, say, native vegetation reform.”
Earlier this year EDO Queensland brought a case which revealed that coal mining company Adani had provided decision makers with extremely high estimates of the taxes, royalties and jobs its mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin would create.
The company plans to build the biggest mine in Australia’s history, along with the world’s largest coal terminal, adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef. In August, a separate EDO case will examine its environmental record, which is scarred with breaches and negligence in its home state of India, and whether the Environment Minister should have taken the development's vast carbon emissions into account.
Despite the potential for huge environmental damage and dodgy calculations the state government, under Campbell Newman’s tenure, had been offering to help pay for critical and expensive rail infrastructure to ensure Adani’s mine (and nine others) went ahead.
Recent weeks have shown that the Abbott government - which George Brandis reiterated last week believes “coal is very good for humanity indeed” - is more than willing to extend the same favour through its $5 billion Northern Australia Investment Facility.
The case the EDO brought - through logic and proper application of environmentally law - directly challenged the legitimacy of the Galilee developments.
And yes, it potentially damaged proponents’ chances of approval and financial close.
The small community group the Queensland EDO represented could not have funded a five-week case involving nearly two dozen expert witnesses, but the new information it dragged into the public domain has added substantial weight to widespread community concern.
Facilitating communities’ use of the law is central to the EDOs function, which is largely why the Senate Inquiry Into the Abbott Government’s Attacks on the Environment this week found that “the long-term cost to communities and to the environment will far outweigh the short-term financial gains achieved by the defunding of the EDOs.”
To the EDO, access to justice for communities and the environment is a public good: “The dominant purpose is not to protect or vindicate a private right or interest, but to protect the environment.”
China FTA skills test waiver alarms racist union
Anti-Chinese paranoia from unionists again -- from the rogue and far left ETU this time. Unionists were behind the original white Australia policy. It looks like nothing has changed
Chinese tradesmen will be allowed to work here without undergoing the usual skills tests,-under a secretive "side" deal struck as part of the Australia-China free-trade agreement, unions have claimed.
The Electrical Trades Union said it would hold an emergency meeting on Tuesday to demand a reversal of the federal government's decision to forgo skills assessments for Chinese workers in 10 trades.
According to a letter outlining the deal, there will be no requirement for Chinese electricians, cabinetmakers, carpenters and mechanics to undergo mandatory skills assessment in order to qualify for a 457 visa.
Skills assessments are normally required to make sure a prospective migrant has qualifications and skills that match the Australian standard.
ETU national secretary Allen Hicks said waiving the requirement was dangerous. "To allow electricians from a country with an appalling record on industrial safety – where more than 70,000 people a year die in workplace accidents – to practice without first assessing their skills or competency is negligent in the extreme," he said in a statement on Sunday.
"If we stop assessing the skills of overseas workers and just starting handing licences around, it's not a matter of if, but when, somebody is killed."
The China-Australia free-trade agreement was reached a fortnight ago. Mr Hicks said the skills assessment waiver was only revealed on Friday, when the government released a series of documents about the agreement.
A letter from Australian Trade Minister Andrew Robb to Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng was dated June 17 and said other occupations currently requiring skills assessments will be reviewed within two years, with the aim of further reducing, or even eliminating, such requirements for all occupations within five years.
ROBB DISCOUNTS 'SCARE CAMPAIGN'
Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb said the claims were the latest instalment of the xenophobic scare campaign being mounted by the union movement against the China FTA.
"The FTA does not, I repeat does not, change the skills and experience requirement that needs to be met by a skilled worker applying for a visa to work in Australia. Applicants will still be required to demonstrate to the Immigration Department that they possess the requisite skills and experience to work in this country.
"This includes evidence of qualifications, memberships of relevant bodies or associations, references, CVs, documents showing English language skills and so on," Mr Robb said. "This brings China inline with countless other countries including the US, countries in the EU, Japan, Korea, New Zealand and so on."
Teachers will undergo national literacy and numeracy exams to test skills
TEACHERS will face a new national exam on literacy and numeracy from August, designed to stop universities from churning out graduates who struggle to spell and count.
Education Minister Christopher Pyne will today announce a pilot program to test the first 5000 teaching students.
But the first guinea pigs for the new test will be assured that they can still graduate — even if they fail.
The sample exam paper reveals a taste of what teachers can expect, including the style of questions that teachers will be asked on numeracy and literacy.
It includes problems designed to test teachers’ understanding of syntax, grammar and punctuation, with graduates asked to spot sentences without errors.
Teachers will also be offered a calculator to assist with some of the questions that ask graduates to determine the percentage of funding remaining in an education budget, and challenges graduates’ ability to calculate a student’s marks.
From next year, passing the test will be a requirement to graduate.
“I want to ensure we get this right,’’ Mr Pyne said. “For too long there have been public concerns about the variability in the quality of teaching graduates and in the effectiveness of existing programs in preparing new teachers.
“Testing key aspects of the personal literacy and numeracy skills of aspiring teachers will assist higher education providers, teacher employers and the general public to have absolute confidence in the skills of graduating teachers.’’
In one study, graduates at an unnamed Australian university struggled to spell a list of 20 words including ‘acquaintance’, ‘definite’, ‘exaggerate’, and ‘parallel’.
More than 200 students were tested with not a single teacher managing to spell every word right in a list of 20 words. One teacher struggled to spell more than one word correctly on the list.
Mr Pyne has also written to university vice-chancellors to stress that the new national exam must become core content for graduates from next year.
The test plan follows complaints universities are accepting students to teaching degrees with marks lower than 50 per cent for their Year 12 exams.
But Mr Pyne has insisted that ATAR scores are a “blunt instrument’’ that he doesn’t want to get too caught up on.
According to Department of Education statistics, universities offered 894 places to applicants with ATARs of 50 in 2014. The results were an improvement on the previous year.
The new trial will be available for any teaching student regardless of whether they are in first year or a graduating student.
The tests will be conducted by Australian Council for Educational Research.
Students in Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra, Darwin and the regional locations of Albury and Ballarat will be tested.
Mr Pyne said the trial of the first 5000 teachers is designed to ensure that the test is “fit for purpose”.
It will become a course requirement for all initial teacher education students graduating from Australian universities from the end of next year.
New measures will also be introduced to ensure that teachers are provided with greater training on how to teach literacy and numeracy including a focus on phonics.
The decision to introduce a national exam for new teachers was a recommendation of the Action Now: Classroom Ready Teachers report.
Lever Action - the new DEMON GUN!
Many of you may have read or viewed disturbing media reports over the past week on how Victorian Police are “concerned” about a new “rapid fire” lever action shotgun about to be released for sale in Australia. As expected these reports have been followed by calls in the media and by various “experts” and officials for a rethink (read new gun grab) on Australian gun laws.
At Shooters Union we have been aware of a disturbing trend appearing over the past year. First a rumour here and a dropped word there from someone in a meeting. We were hesitant to bring it to our members because, to be honest, every single official that was approached denied there were any plans afoot to change legislation regarding certain types of firearms.
OOPS, now it appears these same people are coming out from their dark little corners because they think a modern lever action shotgun can be used to make the public fearful enough to push even more non-effective restrictions on you, the legitimate law-abiding firearm user.
In a nutshell, this is what we have been hearing over the past year or so:
Various state police officials in several states, have been working together with a shadowy group that operates under the Commonwealth Attorney General’s Office (Firearms and Weapons Policy Working Group) on various firearm related issues and one that has been repeatedly raised has been the concept of heavily restricting “Manually Operated Rapid Fire Weapons” MORFW (surely only a government department could even imagine such a title).
MORFW’s include the following:
* All lever action firearms (rifle/shotgun)
* ALL pump rifles (pump action shotguns already heavily restricted)
* Straight pull bolt action rifles with detachable magazines
The basic proposal is that MORFW’s should be reclassified as Category C firearms, as is currently done for self loading rimfire rifles and shotguns and pump action shotguns. This means that 95% of shooters could not own or use them!
BUT, here is the good news. To accomplish this the Federal government would have to get ALL Australian state governments to agree to change their legislation.
This will be hard to do as most state governments have ZERO interest in changing these laws and going through all the massive political fight that will come with such proposals (I am hoping you are in the fight right alongside us).
So that is exactly why you are now seeing very carefully dropped articles in media across the country about the new “demon shotgun” that can fire so rapidly and is “deadly” (I guess other 12 gauge shotguns are not deadly??). The people pushing for these outrageous changes need a focus, something to try and gain some support and the lever action shotgun has been picked as the new poster child for “bad gun”.
Leaving aside the inherent idiocy of the whole “good” gun “bad” gun concept we live with in Australia, this new move against what amounts to probably 30-40% of all legally owned firearms is mind numbing.
As firearm owners we need to be united in opposing this concept totally, utterly and completely.
* Lever Action Shotguns have been around since the 1880s, and newmodels have been selling well in Australia for a number of years without problems.
* Lever action rifles are the second most popular action type in Australia and have been selling here since the 1870s.
* All firearms are safe in the right hands.
You can write or talk to your local MPs and let them know your feelings on the issue. The only way these laws will get through is if you and your shooting friends say nothing and do nothing.
Australia Post cuts 1900 jobs after losing more than $1.5 BILLION in five years
Australia Post will cut 1900 jobs as the use of letters continues to sharply decline.
The company announced of Friday that its letters business had recorded losses of more than $1.5 billion over the past five years.
Australia Post managing director Ahmed Fahour said the letters business had recorded losses of nearly $500 million for this financial year.
'We have reached the tipping point that we have been warning about where, without reform, the business becomes unsustainable,' Mr Fahour said in a statement.
'We welcomed the Federal Government's decision to support reform so we can manage the mail service losses, meet the changing needs of our customers and continue to invest in growing parts of our business such as parcels and trusted services.'
The company is planning to offer 1900 voluntary redundancies over the next three years, the ABC reported.
Australia Post said it had established a fund to assist with employee retraining and redeployment – with $190 million set aside for voluntary redundancies.
'The significant and ongoing decline in physical mail volumes means there is less work in our mail service,' Mr Fahour said.
'We forecast in the next three years there will be a gradual reduction in jobs across the mail network because of this dramatic shift in consumer behaviour.
'I have made a commitment that there will be no forced redundancy of staff impacted directly by changes in our mail service and who are actively seeking jobs in other parts of the business.
'The provision will provide a safety net for employees who we know will choose not to transition with us and who may be legally entitled to a voluntary redundancy.'
Australia Post said ordinary mail volume decline accelerated to more than 10 per cent this financial year, the largest annual decline ever recorded.
The company added there would be no change to its five-day-per-week delivery service.
Monday, June 29, 2015
Dick versus Angus over air space reform in Australia
Ben Sandilands (below) is not the most reliable journalist and his outlet, "Crikey" is very Leftist but sometimes even Leftists have something reasonable to say and I think his account below stacks up pretty well. I have read Houston's reply to Smith and he does seem to be cost-blind. All he does is praise his organization. His background is military, not business -- JR
Are we wasting millions, and destroying general aviation, by inadequately and unfairly introducing new air traffic control technology?
In recent months an important, if not broadly understood aviation issue has been pursued behind the paywall of The Australian by Dick Smith on one side and the air traffic control provider AirServices Australia on the other.
Paywalls are essential if professional journalism is to survive, but unfortunately, a model that works effectively in Australia in conjunction with broad readership hasn’t yet been proven, which means that it is questionable as to whether there has been much connection between a crucial number of readers and the issues that have been raised by the newspaper’s detailed and perceptive coverage.
Yet that continuing argument, concerning new air traffic control technology (ADS-B or automatic dependant surveillance-broadcast) is one in which ruinous costs could lead to the shorter term destruction of the already hard pressed private and general aviation sectors in this country.
GA operators and private pilots are being asked to spend substantial sums of money on equipment that makes them ADS-B visible, yet not in practice be of use in many lower flight level situations, meaning that the money spent will not deliver improved safety outcomes in airspace and approaches to a wide range of secondary or regional airstrips where they are urgently needed.
These include airports where civil airliners, hobby ultra-light flyers, parachutists, private jets, more conventional propeller light aircraft and helicopters might all be using the same airspace, such as around Ballina or Port Macquarie.
While there are many voices canvassed by The Australian stories, and the twists and turns in the narratives do not lend themselves to bland summary, the twin focuses of the row have been on the opposing positions taken by Dick Smith and Angus Houston, who is the chairman of AirServices Australia.
Angus, as he prefers to be called, says everything is fine and Dick is wrong, and has in passing taken umbrage at criticism in the Senate of the amount of money being paid to AirServices managers, who are responsible for a public enterprise which supports itself from air navigation charges and makes profits which flow straight into Treasury.
My view is that Angus underlines a problem with the administrative and executive branches in Australia, in that there is a strong preference in Government to believe anything the Mandarins tell Ministers regardless of what party or coalition is in power, and that there is sod all serious independent auditing of claims and budget efficiency.
Angus is very loyal to his organisation, and some very fine professionals within it, but perhaps insufficiently skeptical of its narrative over the application of ADS-B technology as it currently stands.
Dick isn’t the only prominent general aviation figure quoted by coverage in The Australian as to the inadequacy of the airspace management in Australia today, and the more so, under ADS-B in the near future.
If Angus were to shift modes from defending the air traffic control establishment to dealing with the need to make the reforms work without further risking the survivability of the private pilot and general aviation interests in Australia we might have progress.
More nonsense from ratbag Triggs
Her track record of political bias ensures that even if she makes reasonable decisions they are unlikely to be respected. She has condemned herself to irrelevance
Banking giant ANZ has refused to apologise to a man, despite the human rights commissioner's recommendations to do so, after the company withdrew their job offer due to his armed robbery conviction back in 1979.
The man who made the complaint to the commission, only known as Mr AN, alleged that the bank had discriminated against him as they chose not to hire him on the basis of his criminal record.
While ANZ admits in the report - handed down by Human Rights Commission president Gillian Triggs - that Mr AN's criminal history was a reason for the exclusion, another contributing factor was his failure to disclose his conviction for the armed robbery offence.
The report - handed down by Professor Triggs handed down in March - states that Mr AN was interviewed for a role at ANZ as an information technology project manager in June 6, 2013. He was later selected for the position with a start date of August 5.
Documents further reveal that Mr An thereafter signed a form, warranting that 'he had not been convicted of a criminal offence anywhere in the world and acknowledged that ANZ may obtain a police clearance check to validate this'.
A few days later, he was questioned by a recruitment consultant from Robert Walters - responsible for sourcing candidates for the position - about his prior conviction which he had not disclosed.
While Professor Triggs acknowledged that Mr AN was wrong for not providing this information, she states that he had provided an explanation behind his decision.
'There is no doubt that the offence which Mr AN was convicted of was a serious offence,' she wrote. 'However, the offence occurred in 1978, more than 35 years ago. This offence was Mr AN's only offence and he has had no subsequent convictions.
'Mr AN was 21-years-old at the time of the offence. He has provided some context around the offence stating that he had "fallen in with the wrong crowd".'
Professor Triggs also recognised that Mr AN has been a volunteer fire-fighter for more than 10 years and received the National Emergency Medal for his services during the Black Saturday fire.
Her report further states that he had been employed full-time since 1982 and held senior management roles at various companies where he gained positive references. 'It is difficult to see what more Mr AN could have done to rehabilitate himself,' Professor Triggs wrote.
'With these factors in mind, I am not persuaded that there is a sufficiently tight or close correlation between the inherent requirement of the Position and the exclusion of Mr AN.
'I am not persuaded that Mr AN was unable to perform the inherent requirements of the Position. 'I consider that ANZ's decision not to engage Mr AN constitutes discrimination.'
While Mr AN does not seeking any compensation from ANZ, he requested the bank review its policies and procedures to prevent similar incidents from occurring.
He also requested the company to further acknowledge and apologise for the hurt and suffering they caused him.
An apology in written form was recommended by Professor Triggs as an appropriate remedy for discrimination.
Despite these findings, ANZ did not apologise to Mr AN but did review its Background Checks Policy.
'ANZ respectfully declines to provide a formal written apology to Mr AN,' the statement in the report read.
The bank supported its decision by stating that Mr AN did not disclose his criminal record during the recruitment process.
'ANZ holds its employees and contractors to the highest levels of integrity and honesty,' the statement said.
'It is ANZ's position that, due to the nature of the offence for which he was convicted, Mr AN could not fulfil the inherent requirements of the role, which included that he act in accordance with ANZ's Codeof Conduct and display honesty and integrity.'
Flag-waving protesters carry a PIG on a spit to demonstrate outside ABC offices against broadcaster's decision to allow former terror suspect on Q&A
Angry protesters cooked a pig on a spit outside the ABC's headquarters in Melbourne as they demonstrated against the broadcaster's decision to allow a former terror suspect to appear on their flagship show Q&A.
The far right group United Patriots Front marched to the office building in the city centre, waving Australian flags and calling on people to join their protest against Zaky Mallah, who was in the panel show's audience on Monday night.
As ABC staffers were told to stay away, some members of the group turned the spit outside the main entrance - an act designed to offend Muslims, particularly during the holy month of Ramadan.
'In here [the ABC] public opinion is shaped artificially. It's not democratic. It's not Australian,' one protester said, The Sydney Morning Herald have reported.
On their Facebook page, The United Patriots Front state they are 'a nation wide movement, opposing the spread of Left Wing treason and spread of Islamism.'
In a video posted on their social media, the anti-Islam group have said they are 'asking the country to stand up and condemn the actions of the ABC because Zaky Mallah is a convicted criminal.'
'No one wants to realise the truth, everyone's too scared, man up,' one of the protesters angrily yelled while standing in front of the pig carcass.
The ABC have confirmed they have heightened their security since Monday night's episode of Q&A and have received several threatening phone calls.
'Dildos from the United Patriots Front protesting outside Abc Melbourne in great numbers. 5 memebrs and 1 pig. Total 6. Ha!' Mr Mallah tweeted on Saturday.
This comes after Mr Mallah told Daily Mail Australia that his reputation 'is pretty much screwed up' and 'my prospects of employment are zero'. 'My last job was at Luna Park, last year, and after three weeks they didn't ask me back, probably looked me up. But now, how am I even going to get voluntary work?'
The 31-year-old Sydney man has been under siege since he controversially appeared on the ABC's Q & A program on Monday night, and challenged Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Trade Steve Ciobo over the government's proposals to strip dual nationals involved in terrorism of citizenship.
In a heated exchange, Mr Ciobo suggested that Mr Mallah would have been convicted on terrorism charges but for a technicality.
Mr Mallah is the first person charged under the government's new new anti-terrorism laws in 2003. He was acquitted in a jury trial and pleaded guilty to a charge of threatening a government official, for which he served two years' prison.
After the program, host Tony Jones apologised on air to the government. Mr Mallah came under further challenge by Waheed Aly on The Channel Ten program, The Project.
Since Monday night, government ministers have attacked the ABC and its managing director Mark Scott for engaging in a 'form of sedition'.
The ABC has hit back, saying it supports free speech. From his flat in Parramatta in western Sydney, Mr Mallah has watched himself at the centre of a national debate on television and social media in which he has been branded ' a terrorist', a 'convicted terrorist', a 'pig' and a 'rapist'.
'I feel I have been used and I don't deserve it. I've said stupid things in the past and I'll probably continue to do so. I can be a d**k and I'll probably continue to be a d**k, but there's no law against that.'
University uses sport to promote literacy among kids
Monash University has partnered with the Melbourne Football Club to deliver the club’s Read Like a Demon literacy program, aimed to inspire a love of reading and improve literacy among primary school students.
The program offers students a chance to participate in classroom reading and writing workshops with players from the Melbourne Football Club (the Demons), and a number of best-selling children’s authors.
The University's Faculty of Education, together with the Casey-Cardinia Library Corporation, will now provide participating schools with children's literature and teaching resources linked to the Australian Curriculum.
Monash researchers will also investigate whether elite sportsmen as reading role models encourage reading and improve literacy among the more reluctant readers. The research will inform future program enhancements and give a snapshot of the program’s success.
Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Education, Professor Deborah Corrigan said supporting positive literacy values with sporting role models provided children with confidence and improved reading and literacy development.
“The program offers primary school students an opportunity to identify with an elite sports person as a role model to inspire them to enjoy reading,” Professor Corrigan said.
“The program is designed to complement classroom literacy teaching, through engagement with reading role models and the provision of an on-line book review platform.
“We hope the program will enable more independent reading practices that students will need for academic success as they progress into higher year levels.”
The Read Like a Demon program aims to increase the literacy skills of grades 3, 4 and 5 students by giving them interactive ways to engage with reading and writing.
The comprehensive program features lessons, student activities, videos, book reviews, writing activities and access to the Book Club. The program also encourages children to visit deezone.com.au and upload their own book reviews and stories.
The program was introduced in 2009 and in 2010 it was extended to offer creative writing workshops.
The 2015 Read Like a Demon program runs until 18 August. It is hoped up to 20 schools in the Casey region will take part in the program this year.
Sunday, June 28, 2015
David Leyonhjelm has cast doubt over whether Aboriginal people were the first Australians
The hairless Senator is quite right. Australia's original pygmy race survived into the modern era in the jungles of Far North Queensland -- particularly in the Kuranda area. I was sitting in an outdoor cafe in Kuranda in 2004 when a very short dark man walked right past me. A full discussion of the evidence is here
SENATE crossbencher David Leyonhjelm has cast doubt over whether Aboriginal people were the first Australians.
His comments came ahead of the release of a parliamentary committee report today that will give the green light to a referendum to recognise indigenous people in the constitution and remove sections that could allow racial discrimination.
Senator Leyonhjelm says he is a “black and white anti-racist” and agrees with removing the two references to race.
However, the Liberal Democrat says he needs to be persuaded on the argument that Aboriginal people should be recognised as the First Australians.
“There may have been people in Australia prior to the Aborigines,” he told reporters in Canberra, adding that there were some anthropologists who argued that case.
That view was based on the Bradshaw or Gwion Gwion rock paintings in Western Australia that were distinctly different from other Aboriginal artworks.
Senator Leyonhjelm said several serious anthropologists had made the argument, but could not name them or their credentials.
“I could (name them) if I checked it out,” he said. “You’ve asked me at a door stop, I can’t off the top of my head. “But if there is any doubt at all, why would you put history in the constitution?”
Left discovers too late the enemy of its enemy no friend
For the green Left, any enemy of Tony Abbott will have their redeeming features. This week’s Q&A furore, at heart, was a classic demonstration of this mindset.
Even a jihadist sympathiser and convicted criminal who disseminates public threats of sexual violence against women was given an ABC platform — anything for a gotcha moment against the evil Abbott government.
Given this is the program’s schtick, the studio audience applauded. The mentality at play was brilliantly mocked by the iconoclastic John Safran (whose talent, to give due credit, was unearthed by the ABC). “I’m a man who keeps a woman hostage down a hole,” Safran tweeted, “and dances around in a human skin suit … who hates Tony Abbott! *Q&A audience applauds.”
This time it backfired. Not only did this ugly episode fail to embarrass the government, it actually helped to underline the Coalition’s argument for tougher anti-terrorism laws, while also inflicting enormous self-harm on the national broadcaster.
This is the problem with hatred as a motivating force for political strategy; it leads to misguided decisions. “Hatred is blind,” as Alexandre Dumas warned, “rage carries you away; and he who pours out vengeance runs the risk of tasting a bitter draught.”
As attacks on Abbott become more unhinged, the Left appears more desperate and out of touch.
To be fair, we were reminded of transgressions on the Right this week on The Killing Season when a teary-eyed Craig Emerson recounted his distress at signs labelling Julia Gillard a witch or bitch.
These were placards from a fringe group and Abbott paid a high price for being at that event, even though the signs were moved into place after he took the stage.
There is no comparison to the way the Left invokes hatred in the core of its arguments.
The same ABC program that gave a platform to Zaky Mallah, the misogynist justifier of jihadists, has hosted lengthy denunciations of Abbott over denied allegations of a punched wall more than 30 years ago.
Abbott repeatedly has been abused as a dog, lout, nut job, misogynist, thug, homophobe, sexist, racist, bullyboy and Neanderthal by other MPs. (Let’s not even venture into the terminology used on social media about anyone.)
This demonisation of conservatives has become commonplace. Take these comments from Greens leader Richard Di Natale — keeping in mind that he is supposed to be the new kinder, gentler and more reasonable face of the party.
“It’s not easy to sit in a room with somebody like Scott Morrison and look him in the eye and know this is somebody who locked up young kids, but you have to get past that,” Di Natale told this newspaper.
Even if we overlook the pivotal and, presumably, deliberate factual error that has Morrison putting kids into detention when his record has been to release them, it is impossible to miss the hate dripping from that comment; the nasty, personal disdain based on a political difference. If a government minister spoke in such terms about a Greens senator there would be hell to pay. No doubt Di Natale expects canonisation at the altar of Gaia for holding his nose and dealing with a lesser moral being such as Morrison just for the good of the movement.
Politicians have to have thick skins. Unlike Emerson, I am not here to weep at their misfortune.
My point is about what this does to the political debate, and for the Left it has often led them astray. If you convince yourself of the absolute moral turpitude of your political opponents then, by extension, you will develop a low opinion of their supporters.
Given the Coalition governs with a substantial majority, Labor’s hate can manifest itself in disdain for mainstream Australians, the people it needs to win over. Frontbencher David Feeney gave us a classic example this week, circulating a map on Twitter showing the parts of Sydney held by the Liberal Party as being populated by “toffs” or “bigots”.
When I tweeted how extraordinary this denunciation was, he deleted it. The people populating these areas are voters Labor should want to woo and, it hopes, govern — not denigrate.
Feeney’s attack reminds me of Mark Latham’s pitch to the mainstream when he said half the population was the “disengaged, self-interested middle class”. Or Latham’s bid for the military vote when he wrote, “I detest war and the meatheads who volunteer to kill other human beings.” Haters are gonna hate but voters aren’t likely to warm to it. The anti-Abbott obsession and hatred paraded by the Greens and Labor fires up Twitter supporters but will irk the mainstream.
The overreach can make a pretty disorderly Coalition seem relatively calm and measured when compared with those spitting the abuse. Just as they did with John Howard, many Labor operatives have convinced themselves the Prime Minister is an unredeemable pariah. This misreading has consequences. It’s an excuse to avoid the hard policy work needed in opposition to support plausible attacks on the government. So Labor under Bill Shorten has made no significant policy changes since the election. Just four months ago the few of us warning against this indolence were looking precarious as Labor appeared bullish.
After facing his leadership revolt, Abbott would have circled this week in his diary — if he could unite his party behind a budget, advocate it strongly and get through to the parliamentary recess, he could consolidate his position. Despite some missteps, he and Joe Hockey have done as well as they could have hoped. Voters may have been disappointed by the government, even antagonised, but they haven’t been given a plausible critique or an alternative. Labor’s hateful attacks against a lying, uncompassionate, racist, unfair, incompetent and manipulative government is too hyperventilated to work.
So, surprisingly, it is Shorten who would have felt most relief at escaping Canberra on Thursday night with his leadership intact. After revelations about his trade union days, a political lie unearthed from leadership dealings in government and the repercussions of policy inertia hitting home, the Opposition Leader suddenly finds himself on the brink of unelectability.
In coming weeks he faces two difficult tests: a royal commission appearance and the ALP national conference. Labor’s overindulgence on leadership trauma means it will be loathe to act again; otherwise he may be a dead man walking. This reluctance combined with new caucus rules means Shorten could stay on — even it starts to look like a Weekend at Bernie’s.
Bill Shorten’s secret past as a workplace hardliner
He sold himself and his union to the builders
BILL Shorten is to be congratulated on his introduction of flexible working arrangements when he was the Victorian secretary and then national secretary of the Australian Workers’ Union.
Taxpayers should thank him for assisting in delivering some major infrastructure projects, like Melbourne’s EastLink motorway, on time and on budget.
It just seems as though it was more than an oversight that some of those union members covered by some of his agreements appear to have been both unaware that they had been signed up to the AWU and that the union’s agreements actually removed some penalties and conditions — without compensation — that previous agreements had given them.
Had the detail of Shorten’s organisational activities in the ‘90s and ‘00s been made public, he would have been able to lay claim to being a great industrial relations reformer in the mould of former Labor prime minister Bob Hawke and former ACTU secretary Bill Kelty, whose Accord paved the way for modern enterprise bargaining in the 1980s, albeit though they kept union members in the loop.
All the evidence suggests that Shorten, as a union boss, actually went harder and earlier than Coalition prime minister John Howard did when he introduced his greatly vilified program of industrial reform, WorkChoices, in 2005.
It is now just over 10 years since Howard outlined to Parliament the WorkChoices package that controversially included the abolition of the “no-disadvantage” test that previous agreements had to satisfy. It had ensured that the terms of new agreements were at least as generous as comparative awards.
Under WorkChoices, employers were able to offer agreements that removed penalty or overtime rates, control of the scheduling of working hours, long-service leave, severance pay and a host of other rights an employee might otherwise have had under the provisions of an applicable award or statute.
The only protection offered to workers was that workplace agreements could not offer less than the minimum entitlements enshrined in the Australian Fair Pay and Conditions Standard (the Standard), or in a separate standard relating to public holidays.
Over the next three years, right up to the 2007 election, Howard’s reforms triggered the greatest co-ordinated campaign mounted by the trade union movement since the era of the Vietnam War.
A mass education scheme was organised by union activists and with millions of dollars raised through levies on trade unionists, television and radio advertising was bought (remember the “Tracy” adverts?) and it targeted those voters in low- and middle-income brackets who might have strayed from Labor to become “Howard’s Battlers”.
But as we are now aware, Shorten was streets ahead of Howard. Despite his secret membership drives, under his stewardship, AWU membership fell and some members also suffered beneficial and financial disadvantage. The workers received less, the union received more and employers prospered.
Shorten’s parliamentary colleagues may disagree, but there is an almost universal consensus in industrial circles that he has to explain the workplace deals he made while he was a union boss. Labor MPs are anticipating an election later this year, but are now questioning their leader’s ability to mount the necessary fight.
Last week, Shorten failed them on a number of fronts — although there was no single knockout blow.
They cannot understand how he walked into the row over paying a miserly $30,000 to crew of a people-smuggler boat to get them to return to their families and take their human cargo with them.
They can’t fathom why he permitted border protection to become an issue again when Labor has lost on every point.
Could it be that the current crop of Labor MPs forget it was the Labor immigration minister Gerry Hand who first introduced mandatory detention in 1992, even as they reject the proposed reintroduction of the temporary protection visas which were stunningly successful when operated by the Coalition government from 1999?
They can’t understand how he managed to let the government sew up a deal with the Greens and deliver a sensible outcome on pensions — and they are bewildered by his opposition to the deal that delivers for so many pensioners. It is a death of a thousand cuts.
With the ABC running its gripping Killing Season series, some see parallels between former prime minister Kevin Rudd’s lack of strategic thinking and Shorten’s abysmal performance, and point to the lack of seasoned advisers on the staff of both men.
Rudd tried to make a virtue of the youth and political inexperience of his closest staff and suffered commensurately, Shorten seems to be committed to the same fate.
Shorten has no one near him who has sufficient stature to tell him when he is wrong, even if he would listen, and is continuing to bleed.
The Left is on the march. Not because they’re burning with a desire to see the deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek ascend to the leadership, however. The NSW Left isn’t driving the anti-Shorten push, it’s all coming from Victoria.
The ALP’s national conference in Melbourne next month will be horrendous — the agony amplified if Shorten’s first appearance before the trade union royal commission puts the spotlight on the agreements he signed that left so many workers worse off.
Climate skeptics vocal within the Liberal party
Prime Minister Tony Abbott is facing a push from inside the Liberal Party to prevent Australia signing up to any binding emissions reduction targets at the upcoming Paris climate talks.
A cabal of regional and rural Liberal members, centred in Western Australia and supported by a number of conservative MPs, will force a vote at Saturday's federal council meeting in Melbourne on whether Parliament should "examine the evidence" around climate change before agreeing to any post-2020 emissions cuts.
Liberal sources told Fairfax Media that Environment Minister Greg Hunt is likely to be forced to step in and fight off the motion on Saturday by asserting the Abbott government accepts climate change is real and is willing to work with other nations to combat its effects.
The timing of the intervention will be a headache for Mr Hunt who has over recent months moved the government towards accepting tougher emissions targets, as revealed by Fairfax Media on Tuesday.
A Liberal moderate who will attend the federal council meeting said the group of elected Liberals and members behind the motion should be given an audience with the Pope so they can be "brought up to speed by a new age person living in this century".
The party's regional and rural committee, chaired by WA farmer Brian Mayfield, has submitted the motion, which will call for a House of Representatives committee to "examine the scientific evidence that underpins the man-made global warming theory".
It also calls for investigation into "the reasons for the failure of computer models, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and prominent individuals to predict, among other things, the pause in global warming this century".
"In light of the uncertainty around this issue, Australia does not sign any binding agreement at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris later this year," it says.
Mr Mayfield declined to comment but Liberal Senator Chris Back and Western Australian colleague Dennis Jensen both told Fairfax Media that an examination of whether the science supported climate change was worthy of party debate.
Mr Jensen said the push was coming out of WA because the state has a "reputation for independent thinking". In 2009, a similar campaign was aimed at then opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull who was urged by WA members not to negotiate with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd ahead of the Copenhagen summit. "The science is absolutely not settled. This argument that it's all done and dusted is rubbish," he said.
Farmers see more climate variability in their working lives than most people and the view that everything is in stasis except for the human influence on the climate was nonsense, he said.
A senior Liberal source said the motion would have to be "derailed" by Mr Hunt. "It's something that will appeal to some conservatives but he will have to head it off. There is more and more a view that Hunt has got the government to a point of being ready to act and accept the climate science, so the timing could not be worse."
"This sort of talk takes us back to the Neanderthal age. It's flat earth stuff."
But Senator Back said: "I think it is certainly worthy of debate but the question is can you get all the information between now and Paris [in December]."
Climate sceptic Tasmanian Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck said he expected the motion would "dead batted" on Saturday. "It's not a can of worms I would want to open up," he said.
Mr Hunt said: "We firmly and absolutely accept that climate change is real and taking action to combat it as imperative. We are already taking strong action and achieving significant reductions through the Emissions Reduction Fund.
"We will shortly announce our post-2020 target. There should be no doubt that our target will be significant and Australia will play a constructive role in global talks in Paris."
Woman runs red light and seriously injures boy -- but acquitted of dangerous driving
The judge seems to be impressed that her use of "Ice" may not have been harmful. Why did that matter? She was a serious and serial lawbreaker who clearly WAS driving dangerously
Mother of three, Leah Lenarczyk, 39, was under the influence of ice and other drugs when she picked up her young children from school on November 8, 2012.
She hit a school boy after running a red light in Adelaide's north and the 12-year-old sustained serious injuries including a collapsed lung and fractured skull.
Lenarczyk was acquitted of dangerous driving and was instead convicted with the subsidiary charge of driving without due care as it was found that the drugs did not have a negative impact on her driving. 'She had none of the indicia or symptoms of someone affected by methylamphetamine,' Judge Beazley said.
The District Court heard that Lenarczyk had an 'appalling' driving record, the Adelaide Advertiser have reported.
As well as a fractured skull and collapsed lung, the school boy suffered a broken leg, abdominal injuries and cuts on his face after he was hit by Lenarczyk at Salisbury Heights.
Judge Beazley took the expert evidence from professor of pharmacology Jason White, and clinical forensic toxicologist Michael Robertson who both confirmed that whether the drugs impacted positively or negatively on Lenarczyk's driving cannot be determined.
Following the accident, she was found to have no alcohol in her blood and was also travelling five kilometres under the speed limit.
Judge Beazley said two police officers were with her for over two hours after the accident and she showed none of the typical symptoms of ice use.
She will be sentenced next month.
Friday, June 26, 2015
Support an honest cop
I just signed the petition "Qld police Comissioner Ian Stewart and Police Minister: Drop Charges against Sgt Rick Flori" and want to see if you can help by adding your name.
Our goal is to reach 100 signatures and we need more support. You can read more and sign the petition here:
Details of the matter on the site
Jihadis and leftists, united in misogyny
I was invited to appear as a panellist on the ABC’s political talk show Q&A this month.
This week, Q&A featured a self-described Muslim activist who tweeted about gang-raping female columnists in January and pleaded guilty to threatening to kill an ASIO officer.
Why would I want to appear on Q&A following such an outrage against women and our nation’s protective forces?
The man who tweeted the idea of gang-raping female journalists also has expressed support for an Islamic caliphate. I consider him such an inferior example of manhood that I would prefer not to stain the page with his name, but here it is for the record: Zaky Mallah.
After hearing the standard Islamist narrative on the ABC — that is, Islamists charged with threatening violence are victims of government action to stop terrorism — Q&A’s audience applauded Mallah. That tells us a lot about the state of left-wing politics today.
In the 21st century, the hard Left goes soft on men who attack liberal democracy and promote violence against women as long as such men belong to a Left-anointed minority.
Q&A host Tony Jones upbraided Mallah, but only after he had blamed the government for jihadism. And Tuesday’s limp corrective by the ABC falls well short of the explanation we need and the apology Australians deserve.
The terms of reference for the investigation into the ABC’s indulgence of Mallah must include why a man who threatened to kill an ASIO official was cast as a victim while criticising our liberal democratic government’s anti-terrorism policy.
The omission that Mallah threatened lethal violence against a member our security forces and sexual violence against female intellectuals demonstrates more than mere oversight by the ABC. Australia’s public broadcaster has put Australian citizens in harm’s way.
What might have happened, for example, if either of the two female columnists Mallah proposed should be gang-raped in January were on the Q&A panel this week?
Unlike those female columnists, I was actually invited to be on a Q&A panel this month. I have written extensively on Islamist terrorism and have been threatened for doing so.
The thought that a man such as Mallah might have been sitting a few feet away from me on Q&A is, quite frankly, horrifying.
No woman should have to fear for her bodily safety in Australia when she exercises her democratic right to free speech — especially on our public broadcaster. And yet, that is precisely what I now feel about the prospect of appearing on Q&A.
There are serious questions which must be answered about the modern Left and its indulgence of Islamist terrorism and misogyny. We might begin by asking why the taxpayer-funded ABC indulged a man who promoted the idea of gang-raping female columnists.
Is it because the targeted columnists, Miranda Devine and Rita Panahi, are viewed as politically conservative and therefore deserved victims by Islamists and their left-wing allies in the West? Does the Left believe dissident women are asking for it?
We are bearing witness this week to a new form of political correctness — politically correct misogyny — where leftists and Islamists converge to shut dissident women out of public debate.
Author and human rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali has suffered the brunt of PC misogyny during the past decade following her trenchant criticism of Islamist violence against women and girls.
In his book The Flight of the Intellectuals, Paul Berman chronicled the rise of the new sexism crafted by left-wing men against Hirsi Ali.
Using sleazy sophistry to conceal their contempt for the woman who dared to refuse victim status and became instead a champion of the free world, PC misogynists claimed she only made it because she was attractive.
In the US as in Australia, the sneering disdain some left-wing men reserve for dissident women is becoming more overtly misogynistic and it seems to increase in direct proportion to dissidents’ public success.
After Hirsi Ali received a standing ovation at the American Atheists convention, left-wing activist journalist Sam Hamad described her as: “a perfect little brown-skinned conduit” for the views of “white males”.
One would have thought that describing a woman with African descent as a “little brown-skinned conduit” should provoke public furore. But there was no cry of hate speech from the progressivist media, no call of sexism from the ivory towers.
Instead, the girl who survived female genital mutilation in Africa, assassination attempts in Europe and jihadist threats in America has grown to become a trending target of hard Left hate because by daring to live and tell the tale, Hirsi Ali has exposed their PC misogyny.
While Mallah might lack the hard Left’s talent for sophistry, his effect is just as devastating. On social media, he described columnists Panahi and Devine as “whores” and proposed that they be gang-raped on television. That is hard to write. No woman should have to read it.
It is little surprise to find support for misogyny among men who enthuse about an Islamist caliphate, where the unequal status of women and girls is enshrined as a rule of law and a cultural right.
But it should be a surprise to find self-declared progressives of the Western Left endorsing Islamist misogyny against any woman, let alone parading its advocates as paragons of sound citizenship.
In its response to the public furore about Mallah on Q&A, the ABC acknowledged his tweet about female columnists — in a single sentence of the last line of the final paragraph. The message could not be clearer.
As a female political commentator who leans conservative, my right to free speech and bodily safety may not mean much to the ABC. But I did not spend my formative years fighting for women’s rights in the 20th century only to submit to an Islamist-Left alliance of misogyny in the 21st.
I expect a public apology from the ABC for its outrage against women, female columnists and the basic security of Australians.
Until such an apology is given, I will not consent to appear on Q&A.
Rogue construction union ordered to pay Builder $3.5m; fined for conduct on Brisbane worksite
AUSTRALIA’s biggest construction union is under siege amid a record $3.55m payout, a push for deregistration and damaging allegations including of unlawful conduct at a Brisbane worksite.
The $3.5m payout to Grocon was for a series of damaging blockades of its building sites in several states in 2012.
That payout could be dwarfed by a $28 million compensation fee being sought by Boral, while the ACCC also has its sights on the union over claims of restrictive work practices.
The CFMEU has also been fined $545,000 for unlawful, intimidating and coercive conduct on a Brisbane worksite where subcontractors and employees were called dogs and “scabby gay boys”.
In a scathing judgment the Federal Court found the union displayed “outrageous disregard” for industrial norms and implied it could face deregistration if it continued its unlawful conduct.
The judgment also singled out one union official, questioning whether or not he should continue in his role after behaviour at the taxpayer-funded South Brisbane construction of 140 units for Queensland’s long-term homeless.
The incidents occurred while the CFMEU was taking protected industrial action over an enterprise bargaining agreement with developer Grocon.
Fair Work Building and Construction director Nigel Hadgkiss welcomed the ruling yesterday. “Coercion is particularly heinous conduct and has widespread impacts on Australia’s building and construction industry,” he said. “Regrettably the conduct outlined in this case is but day-to-day activity on Australia’s building and construction sites.”
CFMEU national vice president Michael Ravbar said the union would not appeal. He said the language used by the members concerned was unfortunate with three of those involved no longer with the union.
“You learn by your mistakes and some of these officials, a couple of them, are no longer with the union,” he said. “We don’t support the comments they made.”
But he dismissed the judge’s implication the union should be deregistered.
Federal Court Justice John Logan found the CFMEU, four of its officials and one delegate should be fined a total of $545,000 for unlawful industrial action at the Brisbane Common Ground construction site over seven days in March, 2012.
“An industrial organisation, be it an employer organisation or an employee organisation, which persistently abuses the privilege by engaging in unlawful conduct cannot expect to remain registered,” Justice Logan said.
He singled out one official in his judgment, Joseph Myles, who he described as being “predisposed to engage in unlawful conduct to supplement legitimate industrial aims”. Mr Myles was fined $40,000 while fellow officials Paul Cradden and Mark O’Brien were fined $30,000 each.
Delegate Jack Cummins was fined $25,000 and official Mike Davis was fined $20,000. The union was fined $400,000.
The $3.55m payout to Grocon was signed yesterday and is believed to be the largest ever payout from a union.
The payout — with Friday’s fine, a previous $1.25 million fine, and costly disputes yet to settle — has placed question marks over the ongoing viability of the union.
Headline numbers a tribute to prudence of conservative government of NSW
There are two strong underlying messages in this year’s NSW Budget. The first is that prudence pays off. The second is that even while basking in the warm sunny uplands of budget surplus territory into which Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian has led the state this year and through the forward estimates, there can be no relaxation of the Baird government’s relentless focus on discipline.
Four years ago, this government inherited forecast deficits totalling $4.4 billion. From the next financial year underlying surpluses are forecast to rise from $713 million to $895 million in 2018-2019.
Significantly, the surpluses will appear even larger from this year because of a change in accounting methods which creates a new body — the Transit Asset Holding Entity (TAHE) — which will manage transport assets instead of paying recurring grants to Rail Corporation.
After the introduction of TAHE, next year’s forecast rises from $713 million to $2520 million. Handy, indeed, for the 2019 election.
It must also be noted that the budget surplus does not take into account the projected receipts from the expected leasing of the poles and wires. They remain a bonus to insulate the State’s fortunes when they suffer as-yet-unforeseen economic setbacks.
Politically, the budget numbers just keep stacking up for the Baird government and strip Labor of any fiscal credibility.
Historically, Labor always spent more ($1.3 billion on average) despite falling revenues and now Labor’s long and disastrous record has become the Coalition’s cautionary tale.
The state’s first woman Treasurer can nominate outstanding results in field after field but she is building on four years of careful rebuilding for which her predecessor Andrew Constance might have been given a nod.
The prudent stewardship is paying off. This is a “gold, gold, gold” moment for NSW budgets and there is a pay-off for residents in the whacking investments in infrastructure and new frontline service employees.
State infrastructure spending over the next four years, including government businesses, is a record $68.6 billion and the election commitment to deliver 150,000 new jobs stands — attracting record migration.
Savings have been made in terms of background jobs which has seen an overall wage growth decline in the public jobs but there is a strong upside for the public in terms of the investment being made in education (1000 new teachers), the health sector (3525 new nurses) and police (550 more).
The discipline in the back office has delivered a bonus for those who want front office services. The spending on health, education, social security and welfare, public order and safety has increased — it’s another record.
Record, record, record.
But the Treasurer appears acutely aware of the risks. The ever-present risk of fiscal volatility that could send the projections crashing, the risk of further changes in Commonwealth-State funding arrangements (the Commonwealth provides 40 per cent of revenues), even the economic weakness of the other states poses a long-term threat to NSW as their economies fail to provide their residents with the cash needed to buy from NSW businesses.
This budget may constitute a high-water mark for NSW — but the disciplined approach should mean that there will be a greater degree of certainty over the rest of the government’s term.
Failing unforeseen crises, it should also deliver another term for the Coalition.
Politically correct school reports
School report says: Spirited. Teacher really means: Your kid is a pain in the arse
At school, I was one of those kids who did fairly well by studying hard and staying out of trouble. Not so my brother Benjamin, who spent the last day of every term defecating bricks. Inside his school bag was always an explosive report card, more dangerous than a stick of dynamite when it reached the hands of my parents.
One year I remember Dad opening a particularly giant can of whoop-ass on my naughty sibling, after his report revealed “serious misbehaviour” with “hot metals and acid” in science. The exasperated teacher also went on to chastise his habit of “rocking on chairs” and “pea shooting” during class.
Then there’s my good friend Joanne, who recently shared one of her classic report cards from the 1980s. “One of the noisiest girls I’ve ever seen in a classroom. Can be a thorough pest. Concentrate on the work Joanne,” her Year 11 English teacher wrote.
The maths teacher offered a similar observation. “Joanne is a very bright girl but needs to be less noisy.” Adding insult to injury, there was also this: “Joanne is a capable student who has made good progress, however she is a chatterbox.”
Nearly 30 years later, and my friend can still vividly recall the sheer terror of handing that clanger over to her hardworking parents in Darwin.
Words like “lazy”, “uncooperative” and “anti-social” weren’t uncommon on kids’ report cards when I was growing up. If you were rebellious, the teacher said so. If you dared backchat in class, or regularly failed to hand in homework, then your parents read about it in a personalised, handwritten school report. Drop the f-bomb or blatantly flout the school rules? Then you were busted, custard.
In 2015 however, I find myself wondering if there is such a thing as a “bad report” anymore. Do they even exist?
This week, parents (like me) will open our little darling’s half-yearly school reports. And chances are they’ll be so sterile, so bland, so terribly boring that we’ll struggle to make sense of what’s actually being said.
Instead of receiving a truthful, pull-no-punches assessment of our kid’s progress, we’ll open up a white, printed out page filled with computer generated safe words and corporate jargon.
But these newfangled, vanilla flavoured reports aren’t the fault of teachers. Or principals. Our politically correct school system has bound and gagged educators with bureaucracy and red tape, preventing them from telling the warts-and-all real version of our kid’s classroom behaviours.
A former senior-level teacher I know left her job, after becoming completely disillusioned with the education system. “Teachers cop it from all directions these days,” she tells me. “We are constantly treading on eggshells, dealing with greater numbers of delusional parents — and classrooms full of kids who’ve been wrapped up in cotton wool.
“The writing — and delivery — of report cards is a minefield. It’s definitely the worst part of any teacher’s job,” she says.
Demanding, pushy parents are also partly to blame for this new trend in sanitised school report cards. “Many of them see their kids as perfect little angels, with an IQ worthy of a Mensa membership,” my teacher mate says. “If we write a school report and tell the parents otherwise, then the evidence is against us.
“So it has become standard practise now to use insipid, watered-down phrases instead of the real truth.”
Looking back at a few of my own children’s report cards, I notice they’re peppered with words like “satisfactory”, “sound” and “working towards”. The boring babble hides the real truth.
“…needs to continue to focus on the quality and neatness of his work presentation,” one comment suggests.
Let’s cut to the chase here. We’re talking about unbelievably shocking, mostly illegible bookwork. And I know it for a fact because I kick my boy up the backside every time he puts pen to paper. So why did his teacher sugar coat the facts? To make me feel better about his sloppy efforts in class?
“He tries to listen carefully when not distracted by others around him.”
He tries to listen? Are you serious? Clearly, he doesn’t. And reading between the lines, it seems he’s also mucking about with mates instead of being focused on his work.
My teacher friend reckons that if you look hard enough, it is possible to decode your child’s next school report. Here is her Top 10 list of euphemisms, frequently used by educators everywhere.
1. School report says: Spirited. Teacher really means: Your kid is a pain in the arse.
2. School report says: Keen to participate in group discussion. Teacher really means: Little Johnny talks too much. Shut your cake-hole and give someone else a go.
3. School report says: Satisfactory effort. Teacher really means: Has done the bare minimum.
4. School report says: Energetic. Teacher really means: Possibly ADHD and requires medication.
5. School report says: Creative. Teacher really means: Can’t follow instructions and makes a mess of everything.
6. School report says: Helpful. Teacher really means: Annoyingly so.
7. School report says: Is developing (eg: handwriting) skills. Teacher really means: Still can’t do it despite all the hours I’ve put in.
8. School report says: Took awhile to settle in. Teacher really means: We didn’t like each other.
9. School report says: Needs to settle when working with other teachers. Teacher really means: They don’t like your kid either.
10. School report says: I wish them well next year. Teacher really means: Thank god they won’t be in my class again.
Legal nonsense about CO2
Will island nations be able to sue for damages if their lands become inundated by rising sea levels caused by climate change, and if so, who should pay?
Justice Brian Preston, chief judge of the NSW Land and Environment Court, is among leading jurists exploring how domestic and international law might be used to address or remedy such "warm crimes" - and many others - caused by human activities.
He co-chairs an International Bar Association group that is developing a model legal statute which could be applied a range of jurisdictions. It builds on the IBA's landmark report last year - Achieving Justice and Human Rights in an Era of Climate Disruption
"It's an enormously difficult task," Justice Preston told Fairfax Media from his chambers on Sydney's Macquarie Street. "You've got so many different legal systems, you've got so many different countries at different stages of economic, social and legal development."
The legal work is seen by some as a fallback plan should nations fail to sign up to ambitious cuts to carbon emissions at the Paris climate conference late this year.
Fresh proof of the legal option may be on show this week with a Dutch court due to rule on whether the government can be forced to cut national greenhouse gas emissions.
The class action lawsuit argues the government has failed to protect Dutch citizens in a country with about a quarter of its territory below sea level.
In Australia, groups such as the Institute of Public Affairs and the Minerals Council last year responded to the IBA report by questioning whether environmental rights should have equal same standing with other rights, and warned against judges grabbing power from the people.
Obstacles to successful lawsuits are many, including the challenge of proving causation of damages from another's actions, potentially committed a century ago, and the limited ability to sue outside one's own jurisdiction.
"We'll identify the hurdles and match them with the course of action, and then say what we need to do about it," Justice Preston said, adding his group plans to complete a report on the "menu" of options by September 2016.
Thursday, June 25, 2015
Tasmanian lobster fisherman has no case to answer
This nonsense originated under Greenie influence. The State government in 2011 was a Green/Left coalition. Greens hate fishermen. Why? Because they kill fish!
HIGH-profile fisherman Mark Eather has been cleared of fisheries offences he has been fighting for more than three years.
Appearing in the Supreme Court in Hobart this morning, he was found not guilty of trafficking fish after a judge found he did not have a case to answer.
The verdict comes after a three-and-a-half year legal battle for Mr Eather, who was well known throughout the industry as a champion of sustainable practices. Mr Eather pleaded not guilty to trafficking in 624kg of untagged rock lobster between January 2011 and October 2011.
Supreme Court Justice Shan Tennent directed the jury to return the verdict after an eight-day hearing.
Speaking outside the court, Mr Eather said he was charged on the day he was involved in a high-profile event with celebrity chef Kylie Kwong at MONA.
“What ensued was me spending three and a half years of being labelled a trafficker and poacher and $200,000 I didn’t have and had to borrow purely because I wanted to make a stand,” he said.
“This is a gorgeous state, lots of beautiful people and this industry is full of hard working, salt-of-the-earth people.
“The nature of our work involves lots of peril but what scares us the most is the plethora of legislation that in this case the upper echelons of the law and even the compliance manager of the fishery didn’t understand.”
“How the hell is a fisherman supposed to be across them?
“This disgrace could have been prevented by one phone call.
“This state deserves better. Is it any wonder we’re permanently broke when we have administrators and legislators acting in this Machiavellian way?”
Mr Eather said such treatment was likely to scare off people considering investing in the state.
ABC chiefs duck for cover over Zaky Mallah appearance as crisis grips network
Zaky Mallah’s trip to and from the Q&A program, which is facing an independent review for allowing him to appear, was paid for by the ABC.
Mallah told 2GB broadcaster Ben Fordham today he was taken in a shuttle bus from Parramatta to the Sydney-based ABC studio, in a bus paid for by the national broadcaster.
Later this afternoon the ABC’s spokesman Nick Leys confirmed this to Fordham, with a statement saying: “Every Monday night Q&A provides a free bus service from Western Sydney for audience members attending the show. This week, Zaky Mallah was a passenger on that bus.”
The news has angered Liberal MP George Christensen, who has called for the ABC’s free bus service to be scrapped.
The latest development in the Q&A crisis comes after Prime Minister Tony Abbott has blasted the ABC for today repeating a screening of a controversial episode where it allowed a former terrorism suspect to appear on Q&A.
The Q&A program, which first aired on Monday night, had already come under fire for giving one-time terror suspect Zaky Mallah publicity.
Mr Abbott continued to apply pressure on the ABC this morning, as the furore over its decision to allow Mallah to appear on Q&A shows no signs of dying down.
He labelled the second screening — which gave a national platform, and even a global platform — to Mallah, as “unacceptable”.
“The ABC has compounded this problem by again airing this disgraceful individual’s views,” he said.
“This is unacceptable. The ABC has once again given a platform to someone who hates us, who hates our way of life, who supports terrorists, and again, I ask of the national broadcaster: whose side are you on?” he added.
During an interview on Today, the PM was unrelenting in his criticism of the ABC, which yesterday said it “made an error in judgment” for allowing Mallah to confront federal MPs on Q&A without any security checks.
Mr Abbott repeated his concerns that the ABC had given a national platform, and even a global platform, to Mallah.
He said it was interesting that when Mallah was sentenced in 2005, the judge was critical of the platform the media had given to him.
“Now of course our supposed national broadcaster is giving a platform to someone who hates us, who hates our way of life, supports the terrorists that would do us harm,” he said.
“The issue for the ABC, our national broadcaster, is whose side are you on?
“Because all too often the ABC seems to be on everyone’s side but Australia’s.”
The ABC’s spectacular own goal in allowing Mallah on the air has plunged the $1 billion taxpayer-funded network into crisis and left Q&A facing investigation.
The public broadcaster is dodging questions about why it gave Mallah a nationally televised platform to accuse the Federal Government of pushing young Muslims to join deadly terrorist cult Islamic State.
The Prime Minister yesterday accused the ABC of betraying Australia, and described Q&A as a “Leftie lynch mob”.
“What our national broadcaster has done is give a platform to a convicted criminal and terrorist sympathiser,” Tony Abbott said.
“They have given this individual — this disgraceful individual — a platform, and in so doing I believe the national broadcaster has badly let us down.”
ABC management failed to answer 10 questions from the Herald Sun about Mallah’s appearance, merely acknowledging an error of judgment. Scroll down to see the questions
But Mr Abbott said: “I think that the ABC does have to have a long, hard look at itself, and to answer a question which I have posed before: Whose side are you on?”
The Prime Minister said: “I think many, many millions of Australians would feel betrayed by our national broadcaster right now.”
Mallah was acquitted of terrorism charges but served 2½ years’ jail for crimes including buying a gun and threatening to kill ASIO officials.
The Australian Federal Police will be called in after it was discovered that Monday night’s show did not employ physical security screening of the studio audience, which included Mallah.
ABC TV director Richard Finlayson said that allowing Mallah on the show had been an “error of judgment’’.
It is understood that he went through the usual process of applying to join the audience in the Sydney studio and of submitting questions. He was chosen as an audience member and further chosen to ask questions.
It is understood that the ABC had been aware of Mallah’s history.
During the show, Mallah verbally attacked the Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Steve Ciobo, and admitted that he had gone to the front line in Syria.
He later tweeted that he would “pay to see that Minister dumped on #ISIS territory in Iraq!’’.
Mallah questioned Mr Ciobo about the Government’s anti-terrorism laws, then commented: “The Liberals have just justified to many Australian Muslims in the community tonight to leave and go to Syria and join IS because of ministers like him.”
Host Tony Jones apologised for the comment and shut the debate down. “Tony Jones correctly and immediately ruled a statement made by Mr Mallah as out of order,’’ Mr Finlayson said.
“Q&A will continue to raise issues that are provocative and controversial. There is always risk in undertaking live television. That is the nature of the Q&A program since it first aired in 2008.”
An external review was already under way into Q&A topic choices, and the makeup of its panels and audiences, after complaints of Left-wing bias. It will now examine how Mallah was allowed on the air.
Adding to the furore, Mallah on Tuesday night made another media appearance on Channel 10’s The Project, saying he stood by “everything I said” on Monday night.
Presenter Waleed Aly said that Mallah had “done more harm than good”, inflamed the situation, and was now refusing to take responsibility for his “call to arms”.
Mallah replied: “I bear no responsibility. I expressed my views last night. I was entitled to express my views just like everyone else did last night. “Australia champions freedom of speech, and ... I expressed my views … in the best way I could.
“Maybe the tone of voice was a bit harsh, but I stand by my words. I stand by everything I said last night and I’m willing to have round two with this minister.”
Mallah also urged young Muslims not to travel to Syria or Iraq or join IS. “I don’t support IS, I don’t support anyone leaving Australia,” he said.
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who phoned ABC managing director Mark Scott and chairman Jim Spigelman to complain, told Parliament the broadcaster had made a “very grave error of judgment”.
“A person with those opinions being allowed to express them without any hindrance on live television raises very real — very real — concerns. Secondly, I have grave concerns, too, that Mr Mallah was there without any thorough security checks.
“I have asked the chairman of the ABC to ensure that … the Federal Police are consulted, because I think this incident … does raise issues about … the way in which the physical security of audiences and guests is protected.”
He said he was not suggesting the show be dumped.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the ABC “got it wrong” and there was “ no excuse for allowing someone convicted of such serious offences airtime to peddle this kind of extremism.
“Labor expects the ABC to fully investigate what went wrong here to ensure it doesn’t happen again.’’
Of Mallah, Mr Ciobo said: “I think, frankly, he is clearly a pretty sick and twisted individual. Clearly, he should be subject to a lot of scrutiny. At best, he is a sympathiser; at worst, he is a participant in an organisation that is attempting to do Australia harm.’’
Labor, coalition close detention loophole
LABOR has helped the federal government fast-track a bill to put beyond doubt Australia's authority to enter offshore processing agreements with other countries.
THE Australian Greens and human rights lawyers claim the government rushed the bill to try to circumvent a future decision of the High Court regarding a challenge over the spending of taxpayers' money on the Nauru detention centre.
The bill, which took just over an hour to be introduced and pass the lower house, authorises Commonwealth actions and spending on regional processing dating back to August 18, 2012.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton told parliament the bill doesn't change or expand regional processing, but merely gives "clear express statutory authority" for the government to provide assistance to other countries.
"Regional processing helps combat people smuggling," Mr Dutton said. "It is an important solution for maintaining Australia's strong border protection policies."
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten told parliament Labor objected to having so little time for caucus to consider the bill. But it supported the laws because regional processing was Labor policy.
"We come to this decision ... guided by our compassion," Mr Shorten said. "Our compassion demands we prevent drowning at sea, just as our compassion demands the humane treatment of all those in our care."
Mr Shorten said Labor did not believe the government was running offshore detention in a way the Australian public wanted it to.
"They (detainees) are not illegals and fleeing persecution is never a crime," Mr Shorten said. "There is no place for violent, inhumane or degrading treatment."
The Human Rights Law Centre, which is bringing the High Court action, said the laws contradicted the government's claim that its actions running and funding offshore detention centres are legal.
"A government confident its actions are lawful doesn't suddenly change the law when its actions are challenged in court," said HRLC director of legal advocacy, Daniel Webb.
The case began on May 14 on behalf of a group of asylum seekers and their families, but a hearing date has not been set.
Mr Webb said newborn babies, people with serious medical issues and women who have reported being sexually assaulted on Nauru deserved to have the lawfulness of their treatment considered by the courts.
While Mr Dutton did not mention the High Court case in his speech, Liberal backbencher Andrew Laming told parliament the bill would "close a loophole opened up by the High Court".
Outspoken Labor MP Melissa Parke, while acknowledging her party's role in re-establishing offshore processing, said she was uncomfortable with the bill. She criticised the "awful, ugly, illegal" treatment of asylum seekers under the Abbott government. "This is a matter of national shame for which one day there will be a reckoning."
The Killing Season: Rudd’s charm trumps Gillard’s grimness after three episodes
UP UNTIL the final scenes of The Killing Season, Kevin Rudd presented himself as the cuddly puppy savaged by a pack of political death hounds.
He started the series, which concluded last night, lamenting that he had been the target of ambush and deception. He was a victim to the end.
However, while it was not mentioned in the three programs, there are many in politics, and many who have reported on politics, who recall Mr Rudd’s unrelenting bitterness and the energy he directed at his own vindication.
He was known in public to refer to his successor as “that f***ing bitch”.
To that extent, the excellent ABC series did not deliver a complete picture. The Rudd charm outplayed the Gillard grimness.
In the final episode, Julia Gillard accepted her defeat by Rudd forces in 2013 and was shown enjoying a drink with friends before leaving the Lodge. Mr Rudd was unable to accept his fate back in 2010 and, right up to the last minutes of the three-part series, he pleaded a case as the wronged political partner.
He readily regretted that he and Ms Gillard could not have continued as a team, when they were an effective unit.
“Of course we were! We were a very effective team. And I wanted her to succeed me. I really did,” Mr Rudd told the program.
On the other side of this impossible relationship was an ambitious Julia Gillard. During the series, she pleaded that she had been tossed into hard decisions by unremitting circumstances, painting herself as someone who acted to save the party in government.
But the most important reason why she couldn’t be the ALP’s salvation by winning a workable majority in the 2010 election was because she could not condemn Mr Rudd’s leadership while also pointing with pride to Rudd government achievements.
It became an election about her and a significant number of voters didn’t like Julia Gillard or what she had done to the prime minister they had elected in 2007.
As an ALP official told the program: “The language on Gillard in focus groups was really harsh. It was amazing that you could have, you know, six or seven strangers who didn’t know each other in a room and Gillard would come up and it would be full on and nasty.”
The notion that Ms Gillard would make the nation swoon at election time was one of the first political mistakes that doomed her in 2013.
Labor’s six dismal years in government consisted of a succession of political decisions inexplicable in hindsight. It was political failure on a number of fronts.
As Anthony Albanese, one of the few to emerge with dignity from The Killing Season, said of the 2013 push against Ms Gillard: “I have argued against this sort of action before, on the night of 23rd June, 2010. I believe the government’s difficulties can be traced to that night.”
There are broader questions remaining, and they are outlined by Alan Milbourn, a former British Labour MP Ms Gillard brought over to help in 2010.
If blame has to be handed out, it shouldn’t just go to Rudd and Gillard.
“The hard question that the Australian Labor Party has to ask itself is this: How is it possible that you win an election in November 2007 on the scale that you do, with the goodwill that you have, with the permission that you’re gifted by the public, and you manage to lose all that goodwill, to trash he permission, and to find yourself out of office within just six years?” he told the ABC.
“I’ve never seen anything quite like it in any country, anywhere, anytime, in any part of the world. No one can escape blame for that, in my view.”
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is displeased at an extremist Muslim appearing on ABC TV
Strange days: "New Matilda" agrees with the Abbott government
They have overcome their chronic Leftist rage long enough to see that the Abbott government really is trying to be fair. I can rarely read much of "New Matilda". Wading through all that rage is too depressing for a cheerful soul like me. So am pleased to find something sensible and positive for a change
Last week, Social Services Minister Scott Morrison said something rather unusual. “I commend the Australian Greens, and their new Leader Senator Di Natale, supported by Senator Siewert, for their constructive engagement with the Government,” Morrison wrote in a media release.
Did you read that right? Was Scott Morrison commending … the Greens?
Yes, he was. Morrison was talking about the government’s latest move on pension reform: a change to the way the pension is tested. As a result of the changes, about 170,000 mostly poorer pensioners will receive higher pension payments, while more than 320,000 wealthier pensioners will be negatively affected. Perhaps 90,000 Australians will lose their payments altogether.
The pension move saves the government $2.4 billion over four years. It also gets the Coalition out of a tight spot. Joe Hockey’s horror 2014 budget had foreshadowed a big cut to pension indexation, reducing all pensions inexorably over time.
Like so much of Hockey’s first budget, the pension indexation crimp was abandoned last year in the face of widespread community opposition to the measure. The new Liberal-Greens deal on pensions replaces that measure, but still saves the government some money.
The decision by new Greens leader Richard Di Natale to strike a deal with Morrison and the Coalition has drawn considerable criticism. Labor has launched a stinging attack on the compact, arguing it leaves many retirees on middling incomes worse off.
“The Greens and the Government have done a deal to sell out pensioners,” Labor’s Jenny Macklin thundered last week. “While the Government would like to portray this measure as only affecting millionaires, the reality is this pension cut is an attack on middle Australia.”
The Greens deny this. They say the current reform will make for a fairer pension system. They also point out it is longstanding Greens policy.
“More Australians who don’t have the advantage of a healthy super balance will be able to access a full pension when we undo John Howard’s tampering with taper rates,” Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said last week.
The Greens have put out a fact sheet that details the government modelling of the pension changes. This shows that the pension reforms do indeed help those at the lower end of wealth spectrum. But they also affect many pensioners in the middle and upper tiers.
So who’s right? The University of New South Wales’ Rafal Chomik has crunched the data... As you can see, the new pension test cuts in at a higher initial figure, but then tapers more quickly.
What this means is that some senior Australians with fewer assets will receive higher pension payments. Some pensioners with a lot of assets will lose their part-pension altogether.
In other words, the changes are progressive, even as they punish pensioners with higher assets. They help those in the lower tiers, and exclude more of the wealthy from accessing it.
For pensioners with very little, the changes will have no impact. There are nearly a million pensioners who neither own their home nor have more than $300,000 in assets. These pensioners will not be affected.
"Stolen Generation" court case decisively lost by Left-supported Aboriginal family
The W.A. government's actions were not improper -- just a child welfare case
An Aboriginal family left devastated more than four decades after seven of their children were removed in the 50s and 60s are now asking the High Court to appeal a decision ordering them to pay the WA government’s legal costs following an unsuccessful Stolen Generations test case.
In the absence of any national or state-based compensation scheme for victims of the Stolen Generations, Donald and Sylvia Collard took their claim for damages to the WA Supreme Court in 2013, saying the state had breached its fiduciary duty in forcibly removing their children.
The Collards had seven of their children taken from them from 1958 to 1961 and placed in the ‘care’ of the Child Welfare Department, where they were separated into state homes.
The test case was the first of its kind in Western Australia and was significant for other Stolen Generations victims in the state who have waited a lifetime for full reparations.
Apart from damages, the Collards told the court they “wanted answers”. One daughter, taken from a hospital when she was only six months old, said she wanted “some explanation why I was taken as a little baby and why my life turned out the way it did because of this”.
Justice Janine Pritchard said in the judgement “there is no doubt that all the children, and Don and Sylvia, have been deeply scarred by their separation, by the fracturing of their family relationships and by their disconnection from their Aboriginal culture”.
But in April 2013, Judge Pritchard ruled against the Collards in a 410-page judgement, saying “the evidence leads to the conclusion that the state was not, and is not, subject to the fiduciary duties alleged by the plaintiffs”.
"Even if the state was subject to those duties, the plaintiffs did not establish that the state breached those duties, other than in relation to a decision which was made in November 1959 not to return Ellen to Don and Sylvia's care,” Judge Pritchard said.
It was a devastating decision for the family, with father Don Collard telling NITV at the time it had made him “bitter”.
Judge Pritchard ruled against the usual practice of the unsuccessful party covering the costs of the successful party, saying that the Collard’s case was “rare and exceptional” and they wouldn’t have to pay the WA government’s legal costs.
The WA government successfully appealed that decision this year, which could run into the tens of thousands of dollars.
The Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia and the Human Rights Law Resource Centre last week said it had asked the High Court for permission to appeal.
The Human Rights Law Centre’s Ruth Barson said the WA government’s appeal on costs had added “salt to the wounds” to an already devastating decision.
“Legal cases on issues of public importance, like redress for past policies of forced removal, are an important part of our legal system. While appropriate safeguards around litigation are vital, the ability to bring cases of public importance should not be restricted to the wealthy,” said Ms Barson.
“Losing such a significant case was devastating for the Collards, so being left with the Government’s hefty legal bill is just like adding salt to their wounds.”
Aboriginal Legal Service of WA CEO Dennis Eggington said the test case was critically important and that Aboriginal people shouldn’t be threatened by the prospect of huge legal costs Why not?
Tony Jones apologises after claim Australian Muslims are 'justified' to join IS on Q&A
The ABC's Q&A reaches a new low of Leftist pandering
The first Australian to be charged under the nation's counter-terrorism laws claimed Muslim Australians who disagree with Liberal Party politicians are "justified" in joining the Islamic State on Monday night's Q&A.
Zaky Mallah, who was charged with planning a terrorist act in Sydney in 2003, drew on his own experience when questioning the panel on whether the power to strip dual national terrorists of their citizenship should rest with a government minister or the courts.
Mr Mallah complained he was treated by authorities "like a convicted terrorist" when he was subjected to "solitary confinement, a 22-hour lockdown, dressed most times in an orange overall".
In a strident attack, Foreign Affairs and Trade parliamentary secretary Steve Ciobo said he believed the only reason Mr Mallah was acquitted of terrorism was that the terrorist offences "weren't retrospective in application", and that he would be glad to see Mr Mallah sent out of the country.
A worked-up Mr Mallah responded: "The Liberals have just justified to many Australian Muslims in the community tonight to leave and go to Syria and join ISIL because of ministers like him."
Tony Jones seized on Mr Mallah's words and apologised for his comment: "I think that's a comment we are going to rule totally out of order. I'm sorry about that. I don't think there is much more to say at this point."
Mr Mallah was acquitted on terrorism charges in 2005, but pleaded guilty to threatening to kill government officials.
He initially posed a hypothetical to the Q&A panel, asking how his case would have unfolded had a minister, rather than a court, made the ruling.
Mr Ciobo said based on the facts of his case, he believed Mr Mallah should be sent out of the country. "I'm happy to look you straight in the eye and say I'd be pleased to be part of a government that would say you're out of the country as far as I'm concerned. I would sleep very soundly at night with that point of view."
Mr Ciobo added that Mr Mallah had done the Muslim community a disservice by making the explosive claim.
"As best as I know, your circumstances, the comments you have made, the threats you have made that you have pleaded guilty to, to me more than justify the concerns that the government has. I think that it is very wrong, frankly, for you to portray the Muslim population as all being incentivised to do those things. I know a lot of Muslims who are very good people and they can be recoiling at what you just said."
Mr Mallah, who travelled to Syria when the civil war began, said he met the Free Syrian Army to "go to the frontlines and see what the war was all about". "I went to Syria to experience the situation for myself and why the uprising had begun."
Mr Mallah spent two years in high security in Goulburn jail before he was acquitted on two terrorism charges.
In a statement released on Tuesday morning, the director of ABC TV Richard Finlayson admitted the program made an "error of judgment" in inviting Mr Mallah as an audience member. The broadcaster said the circumstances of his appearance would be reviewed.
"In attempting to explore important issues about the rights of citizens and the role of the Government in fighting terrorism, the Q&A program made an error in judgment in allowing Zaky Mallah to join the audience and ask a question," it read.
"Mr Mallah has been interviewed by the Australian media on a number of occasions. The environment of a live television broadcast, however, meant it would not be possible for editorial review of the comments he might make prior to broadcast, particularly if he engaged in debate beyond his prepared question.
"As has been the case in the past on Q&A, circumstances will happen that are not anticipated. The critical question is whether risks could have been managed and the right editorial judgments made in advance."
Mr Mallah's comments sparked a flow of derision on Twitter.
Death, taxes and political advertising
It feels like aeons ago that Kevin Rudd referred to taxpayer-funded political advertising commissioned by governments as "a long term cancer on our democracy." Over the course of their first term in office, the Rudd government went from having advertising campaigns of more than $250,000 approved by the Auditor-General, to replacing this role with a hand-picked 'independent' committee of former public servants.
And now? It seems whatever guidelines may exist to ensure proper use of taxpayer funds for information campaigns, they are being rather liberally interpreted. In the last few months, the Abbott Government embarked on a $15 million campaign for its higher education reform package before the policy had even passed the Senate. And this week it was announced they would do the same with the Jobs for Families package (the childcare reforms), spending $18 million when it also hasn't passed the Senate.
Not that this is a new trend. Rudd MkI spent $38 million to defend the mining tax, before the campaign against the policy was even fully formed. There was the Gillard Government's $12 million to sell the carbon tax. And then Rudd MkII's $30 million domestic campaign that spruiked their border protection policies, in the midst of an election campaign no less.
These advertising programs are definitely a waste of taxpayer money in that they serve naked political self-interest. Being obliged to pay for an advertising campaign, which has arisen directly out of government's inability to campaign on reform, is an indignity.
But the fact that they happen so frequently -- and that governments that attempt to curtail the practice eventually give up -- speaks to a broader truth about politics: survival is the main game. Ultimately, the dignity of taxpayers and voters will always play second fiddle.