Thursday, February 18, 2016
Computer lab for indigenous use only: QUT
University boss Peter Coaldrake tries to square the circle of discriminating racially while not being racially discriminatory. He probably wants to say that some racial discrimination is good but fears the can of worms that would open up. He would never live it down if he said that. People might ask him: "Why not drinking fountains for blacks only?" Note that discriminating in favour of blacks in American universities has been outlawed by the U.S. Supreme Court
A top university agrees with a claim by a former employee in a racial vilification case that the Oodgeroo Unit and computer lab on its main Brisbane campus "is provided for use by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students only".
But Queensland University of Technology, which released its legal responses yesterday to the Federal Circuit Court in the racial vilification row, denies it is endorsing or facilitating racial segregation at Oodgeroo.
The legal responses disclose that Cindy Prior, a Brisbane woman running a $247,470 damages claim against students, QUT and academics, wanted a "duress alarm, fast dial access to security, 24-hour swipe card access to a computer lab and a security guard patrol" because she feared for her safety if non-indigenous students entered her work area, a "culturally safe space".
Ms Prior was an administrative officer in the Oodgeroo Unit when she turned away three students in 2013 because they were not indigenous. Her decision to refuse the students access to the computers that were not being used led to Facebook posts which described racial segregation.
Ms Prior alleges in her case that the Facebook posts and the related actions of QUT and its staff have caused her hurt and psychiatric injury and stopped her from working for two years. She has accused the students of racial vilification under Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.
The university and two of its staff, professor Anita Lee Hong and director of equity Mary Kelly, want the court to dismiss Ms Prior’s application, which began with a complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission in 2014.
A key question arising from the case is whether the operation of the Oodgeroo Unit breached anti-discrimination laws if it was set up, as stated by Ms Prior and agreed yesterday by QUT, for use "only" by indigenous students.
QUT said in its court reply that "many public Australian universities have established and are maintaining similar programs with similar objectives for similar reasons" as the Oodgeroo Unit.
It said the unit had operated successfully for 25 years "in a way which has furthered the purposes for which it was established and has provided meaningful and effective support for indigenous students to assist them to enjoy equally with non-indigenous students the experience of and benefits of tertiary education".
It added that the unit’s facilities "are generally reserved for use by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students".
The university alleges in meetings with staff to try to resolve Ms Prior’s complaints, she wanted a "duress alarm, fast dial access to security, 24-hour swipe card access to a computer lab and a security guard patrol".
Ms Kelly, who is being sued in the case, said she told Ms Prior that in her opinion, ‘"there was no evidence that a ‘white supremacy group’ existed at QUT".
She did not believe the students who went to the unit were "part of an organised group". She indicated to Ms Prior that "there was no evidence that any student posed a physical threat to individual staff". She advised Ms Prior at an early stage the legal threshold for proving racial vilification was high and she should get legal advice before proceeding.
In an attempted return to work meeting with Ms Prior, however, "the feasibility of implementing a variety of security solutions for the Oodgeroo Unit was discussed". Professor Lee Hong expressed concern a "security guard patrol at the Oodgeroo Unit might make the students uncomfortable", but she denied a claim that she had refused to consider the option.
She said swipe card access was implemented along with fast-dial access to security, and she understood "security passes would be possible" and were pending approval.
Weeks later, medical reports by two doctors confirmed that Ms Prior, who said she has suffered a psychiatric injury and severe stress, hurt and humiliation, "was able to return to work but not at the Gardens Point Campus".
QUT said it made multiple responses to alleviate Ms Prior’s concerns and her stress.
Vice-chancellor Peter Coaldrake had put a statement on the university’s web page stating "all staff and students had the right to go about their business without being offended by ill-informed remarks in the public arena". "The vice-chancellor also addressed the issue of the posts in similar terms at his campus briefings with staff, which occurred in the days following the incident," QUT’s response says. "Senior staff members of the university met with indigenous student representatives to discuss the support that could be offered by the university to its indigenous students in response to the incident."
The students who made the posts and are now being accused of racial hatred have strenuously denied the claims. They are being defended by Tony Morris QC, who intends to mount a constitutional challenge to the validity of Section 18C.
Students fear effect of ‘outrageous law’ on QUT campus culture
The students were rightly angered by being discriminated against on the basis of their race. Now they are being sued for saying they were victims of racial discrimination
Jack McGuire, a law student at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, has a message for Malcolm Turnbull and George Brandis.
Mr McGuire wants the Prime Minister and Attorney-General to urgently amend section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, which is embroiling QUT students in claims of racial hatred that threaten their reputations, careers and health.
"It is absolutely ridiculous that it has got to the stage where the courts are involved," Mr McGuire, 23, the immediate past president of the Students Guild at QUT, told The Australian.
"Universities are supposed to be a place of ideas and learning and debating. The Prime Minister and the Attorney-General should be looking at this and stepping in to help not just those students who are being effectively prosecuted in the Federal Circuit Court in this case brought by Cindy Prior but others who will be caught in future cases."
Guild president Phil Johnson said: "At most, this is an issue for QUT’s disciplinary procedures, certainly not a federal court."
Mr Johnson said his main concerns revolved around the impact on freedom of speech. "This case sets a dangerous precedent and it’s concerning that students might now have reservations about discussing topical issues in fear of ending up in court," he said.
Mr McGuire said that if 18C was not repealed, it should be amended to increase the threshold "so that people can’t use it to claim they are hurt and humiliated" in legal actions.
"Having been around some of the students (involved), it is quite clear that they have suffered enormously from being brought before court and labelled racist.
"For the sake of these students and all students, the government needs to revisit this outrageous law and at least take a middle of the road approach in amending 18C, if not striking it out altogether."
Mr McGuire said the law was sufficiently broad and open to subjective interpretation that his comments in this article could potentially be construed as hurtful to an indigenous person, resulting in an 18C case.
A case study in Leftist stupidity and refusal to learn -- the "stolen generation" myth in Australia
On very shallow grounds, many Australian Leftist historians have alleged that 1930s social workers took black (Aboriginal) children from their families willy-nilly and forcibly adopted them into white families in order to make them more like whites. The allegation suits the Leftist tendency to see "racism" under every bed.
Australia is a very tolerant, laid back country that has been absorbing people from many cultures for a couple of hundred years but Leftists are determined to find that Australians are racist -- and the "stolen generation" myth serves that purpose. That the social workers concerned were do-gooder predecessors of today's Leftists doesn't seem to register.
Note the word "generation". That implies thousands. But at most one or two dubious removals have been identified. Only endangered children were removed -- for their own safety -- as various official enquiries in modern times have found.
So how did Leftist historians get it so wrong? By committing a characteristic Leftist mistake: Thinking things were simpler than they were. In particular, they committed a mistake well known to psychologists: Mistaking attitudes for actions.
Psychologists themselves fall into that mistake at times. The most hilarious example of that happens when psychologists purport to study the psychology of conservatism -- aiming to disparage it, of course. They produce sets of statements -- "scales" -- which they believe typify conservative thought and then correlate agreement with them to all sorts of maladjustment. And when they find a correlation they think they have proved that conservatives are a sick lot.
One problem: The scales fail to predict vote for conservative political candidates in national elections. From Adorno, through McClosky to Altemeyer, their lists of "conservative" attitudes do not predict conservative actions. Which shows you how little Leftists know about conservatism -- or anything else much for that matter.
The best known example of an attitude-behavior gap in fact comes from the era of the allegedly "stolen" generation. In the 1930s LaPiere asked restaurateurs if they would serve a minority person. Most said No. So LaPiere sent minorities into the restaurants of the Naysayers and found that they almost all were served without demur. The restaurateurs' attitudes and actions usually did not match.
Why? Because of practical difficulties, mostly. Tossing someone out of your restaurant would create an unpleasant scene which was best avoided.
And a similar thing happened among Australian social workers of the 1930s. Like most people in that era (and indeed today) the social workers saw Aborigines as a sad lot and wished to improve their situation. And a solution that occurred to some of them was to remove all black children from their families and have them brought up by whites in white adoptive families. They failed to grasp how profound are the differences between Aborigines and whites. You are still not allowed to see that, of course.
And the reason why they did not implement that policy was that it was both difficult and mostly illegal. So it was only when the safety of a black child was threatened that they used their social-work powers to remove that child from its family. Given the high rate of dysfunction in black families, however, the only reasonably available adoptive families were often white. And thus the myth of "stolen" children arose among incautious Leftist historians. Caution is in short supply among Leftists generally.
The myth persists among Australian Leftists to this day and it is such a pernicious myth that social workers are often now afraid to remove endangered Aboriginal children from dysfunctional families. It's a myth that kills black kids: Another bad effect of Leftism.
For a systematic debunking of the myth, see historian Keith Windschuttle's magisterial tome "The Fabrication of Aboriginal History, Volume Three, The Stolen Generations 1881-2008". For more concise treatments of the topic see here and here and here (scroll down)
Call to slow ‘breakneck’ population growth
AUSTRALIA should consider cutting immigration by as much as half in order to put the handbrake on the country’s "breakneck" population growth, says former foreign minister Bob Carr.
Early on Tuesday morning, a newborn baby became the 24,000,000th person in Australia slotting us in somewhere between Taiwan and North Korea in the population stakes.
The 24 million mark comes 32 months after Australia’s population topped 23 million and means we’re growing at a rate faster than ever before and faster than experts had predicted. By some estimates Australia could be home to 40 million people by 2050.
And it’s worrying Mr Carr.
"We’ve got a third-world style population growth rate and I think the Australian people need to be alerted to this," the former NSW Premier told reporters in Sydney on Tuesday.
"There’s a case for pegging immigration back by easily a third, perhaps 50 per cent.
"We are going for breakneck population growth and it’s all about supply and demand."
Mr Carr said increased numbers of residents would put huge demand on infrastructure and housing stock, pushing up prices.
"No matter how much governments spend on infrastructure, at this level of population growth, it’s always never enough," he said.
"All of Australia’s population growth will be settled in a narrow band along eastern Australia. "There comes a point, given we’ve only got a narrow fertile coastal strip, when at 40 million, 50 million, 70 million by the end of the century, we’ve got to start thinking again." The growth could not continue indefinitely, he said.
"I’d rather see us tapering off before we’re locked into irreversible degradation of what we’ve got on this continent."
However, Mr Carr said capping immigration did not mean stopping asylum seekers coming to Australia and he was "perfectly comfortable" with accepting refugees.
Australia reached 23 million people on April 23, 2013. That means we’ve gained our latest million in a space of two years, nine months and two days. Never before has Australia added a million people within three years.
"From 1954 when the population hit nine million, until 2003 when the population hit 20 million, each additional million was added in a time span of around four and a half years," Sydney-based social researcher Mark McCrindle said this week.
"From 20 to 23 million, the time span had decreased to add each million every three and a half years."
Mr McCrindle said previous forecasters predicted Australia would reach today’s population by 2033. So we’re 17 years ahead of schedule. "While Australia’s population growth is significant in national terms, our new milestone of 24 million is small compared to the US population of 323 million," Mr McCrindle said.
"In a global context, Australia’s share of the world’s population is just 0.32 per cent, less than one third of one per cent."
In terms of the number of people for a country’s physical size, Australia is one of the most sparsely populated in the world with barely more than three people per square kilometre. Only Namibia, Mongolia and Greenland have fewer people per kilometre.
Most Australian Army rations now halal, kosher or vegetarian
Two-thirds of army rations conform to halal, kosher or vegetarian guidelines.
Cory Bernardi, a conservative Liberal senator, says it a "disgrace" that fewer than 100 Muslims in the defence force are now "dictating" to the military about what they should be eating.
Senator Bernardi was responding to revelations that two-thirds of the army’s combat rations conform to halal, kosher or vegetarian guidelines to create an "inclusive working environment" for Australia’s defence personnel, according to documents published under Freedom of Information.
An internal army document — obtained by a new anti-Islamic political party, the Australian Liberty Alliance — describes how the combat ration packs (CRP) should include a diversity of food and drink to ensure "menu fatigue" is minimised.
"CRP should be designed to take account of the broad religious, ethnic, and cultural diversity of the ADF and alliance partners in aspects of food choices and their preparation and consumption," the document reads.
The Australian military, which includes a substantial minority of practising Muslims, are currently operating alongside counterparts from Islamic countries including the United Arab Emirates, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Senator Bernardi suggested Muslims in the military be issued with non-halal rations and say their own prayer over the meal before consumption.
"The very idea that someone will not accept food because they’re unsure of the origins of it in a desperate wartime environment or war theatre beggars belief," Senator Bernardi said.
"This is just another step in the encroaching Islamisation of Western civilisation and we have an opportunity not to repeat the mistakes of Western Europe, but it takes the will of politicians to make sure those mistakes don’t happen here."
Bernard Gaynor, the ALA’s Senate candidate in Queensland, said criticised the decision as "politically correct".
"It is dangerous appeasement because it shows Defence is more interested in ticking diversity boxes than understanding Islam and its links with our battlefield enemies," Mr Gaynor, a former army officer, said.
"As a result of this decision, taxpayers will be funding a program that forces Aussie Diggers to eat food that has been sacrificed to the god of the enemy."
Paul Jordan, a former Special Air Service trooper, now general manager of Hart Security, said even non-Muslim soldiers would benefit from being able to share food with partners in countries such as Afghanistan.
"If there’s no great cost attached to it — and I don’t think general soldiers would even know the difference when they eat it — then it’s OK," he told The Australian.