Thursday, March 24, 2016
Turnbull Government to strip $1.3 billion from renewables
Below is an enraged whine from the vested interests created by the global warming nonsense. At a time of budget difficulties, Mr Turnbull is to be congratulated for cutting useless expenditure
The Turnbull Government has today announced plans to strip $1.3 billion in renewable energy budget funding, according to the Australian Solar Council – the peak body for the solar industry.
“Malcolm Turnbull’s Clean Energy Investment Fund is like an exquisitely decorated Easter Egg. It looks great on the outside, but inside it’s a rotten egg”.
“The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has $1.3 billion in allocated and unspent funds between 2016-2022. The Government has announced it will replace this with $1 billion in funds between 2016 and 2026, taken from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation’s existing $10 billion budget.”
That amounts to $1.3 billion in funding stripped from ARENA and $1 billion reallocated from within the CEFC.
“The governments ‘beautiful $1bn renewables Easter Egg’ is actually a $1.3bn cut in funding for renewables overall.”
Further the Turnbull Government has announced that early stage renewable R&D and commercialisation will now be majority funded by debt and equity.
“By its very nature early stage research is speculative. Almost no projects will be fundable under this model. This will rip the guts out of renewables innovation in Australia”.
“The Turnbull Government has tried unsuccessfully to abolish ARENA and the CEFC. This is a backdoor way to gut ARENA.”
“ARENA has played a critical role in supporting research and development and early stage commercialisation of renewable energy projects through grant funding. Stripping its budget, taking away funding for early stage commercialisation, and directing the money be spent on non-renewables projects, achieves its goal through other means.”
Self-determination dream has turned into nightmare
Stan Grant's much-publicised new book, Talking to My Country claims the nation is yet to be held properly to account for its historic crimes and injustices against Indigenous peoples.
He argues Indigenous Australians experience different outcomes in life to other Australians because of the history of colonial oppression.
This is a questionable explanation for contemporary Indigenous disadvantage. The original sins of Australia's founding were acknowledged in the 1970s when they formed the basis of the policy of Aboriginal self-determination, which was specifically intended to right the wrongs of history by allowing Aborigine people to live in traditional ways on their traditional country with communal ownership and no private property rights.
Ironically, the most disastrous event that has caused the greatest suffering for indigenous people has been the implementation of the policy of Aboriginal self-determination to address the legacies of racism, imperialism, and colonialism.
The dysfunction that blights Indigenous communities is not due to the nation having done too little to address history's sins, but due to having addressed these sins in a way that has ultimately condemned too many Indigenous Australians to poverty.
Grant does not see it that way. Instead he writes, that due to colonialisation, Indigenous people are "without land" and "people with no land are poor."
This is profoundly untrue. Aboriginal self-determination has meant that the poorest indigenous Australians, who live in the remote homeland communities with the worst problems, are those who have continued to live closest to a traditional manner and on their traditional country.
The richest Indigenous Australians might not own their ancestor's country, but they are healthy and wealthy because they have seized the opportunities of education and employment in mainstream Australia. They have escaped the 'dream' of self-determination -- a dream that has long turned into a nightmare.
Safe Schools operatives have been coaching educators to dismiss parental concerns over the contentious sex and gender-diversity program, asserting that parents are powerless to shut it down.
A Safe Schools national symposium was told by the program’s Victorian co-ordinator, Roz Ward, that schools could ignore concerns raised about the agenda.
“When people do complain then school leadership can very calmly and graciously say, ‘You know what? We’re doing it anyway, tough luck’!” she told more than 300 attendees.
Leaked video footage from the event, which emerged at the weekend, also appears to confirm what critics of the program have long suspected: that it was more about promoting radical political ideas around sexuality and gender than preventing schoolyard bullying.
“(It’s) not about celebrating diversity; not about stopping bullying,” Ms Ward said. “(It’s) about gender and sexual diversity. About same-sex attractive, about being transgender, about being lesbian, gay, bisexual — say the words — transgender, intersex. Not just, ‘Be nice to everyone; everyone’s great’.”
Safe Schools project manager Joel Radcliffe, a fellow academic at La Trobe University, which spawned the program, told the audience that the issue of parental concern came up a lot when schools were considering whether to join the program.
“Parents … seem to have a lot of power (in) schools,” he said. “Parents don’t have the power to shut this down.”
The emergence of the video, which was shot in Melbourne in June 2014, follows the federal government’s decision on Friday to overhaul the taxpayer-funded program in light of an independent review.
Elements of the program, including homosexual role-play and asking students to consider gender as a fluid concept unaligned with sex at birth, have alarmed some parents.
Education Minister Simon Birmingham has ordered organisers to curb their classroom campaign or lose their remaining $2 million in funding. “Just as proselytising is not part of the school chaplaincy program, advocacy must not be part of the Safe Schools program,” Senator Birmingham said last week.
The Victorian government, which is pushing for the compulsory roll out of the program over the next few years, has said it will pick up the bill if the funding is cut, arguing that the program “saves lives”.
Launched in 2010, the program claims to be dedicated to creating “safe and inclusive” learning spaces for same-sex attracted, intersex and gender- diverse students. It was created off the back of a campaign by the La Trobe University to elevate the interests of same-sex attracted youth in schools.
FamilyVoice Australia national research officer Ros Phillips said the video showed that the program was about pushing “rainbow ideology” not stopping bullying.
Ms Phillips said the organisation had received feedback from a significant number of parents who had been rebuffed when raising their concerns with principals.
A spokeswoman for the Safe Schools Coalition said the program aimed to reduce homophobic and transphobic bullying and discrimination in schools.
Campbelltown Council votes against permanently flying the Aboriginal flag
CAMPBELLTOWN councillors have rejected a push to permanently fly the Aboriginal flag outside the council chambers, saying it would increase cultural divide rather than promote unity.
At a meeting last week, councillors narrowly voted against a request from its Reconciliation Advisory Committee to spend $2000 on a new flag pole so the Aboriginal flag could fly alongside the Australian flag.
Cr Max Amber told the meeting that permanently flying the Aboriginal flag would do more harm than good.
“I feel very strongly that the Australian flag, we fought two world wars under and numerous others, is the flag for all Australians,” Cr Amber said.
Cr Neville Grigg — with councillors Amber, James Nenke, John Kennedy and Dom Barbaro — was against flying the flag.
“This is separating the Australian into two separate peoples. “We are one Australia, we have one flag, and that’s the way it should stay.”
But Cr Marijka Ryan said flying the Aboriginal flag would help indigenous people, especially members of the Stolen Generation, heal and feel more accepted within the community.
“It would promote everything we value as a society, compassion, tolerance, acknowledgment of our history and respect from what is right,” Cr Ryan said.
“Flying the Aboriginal flag is not divisive, it’s not meant to offend, it’s meant for the good of those who were displaced in their own land and it’s a symbolic gesture.”
Aboriginal Elder Lowitja O’Donoghue was “gobsmacked and surprised” by the decision.
“I didn’t think it was a question anymore, anywhere, because the flag does fly everyday in most council areas.”
Campbelltown’s Reconciliation Advisory Committee was set up in 2005 to help develop projects and raise awareness of the significant Kaurna heritage in the area.
Mayor Simon Brewer and councillors Ryan and Jill Whittaker are on the committee, together with five independent members — three of them Aboriginal.
Mr Brewer condemned the council’s choice on his Facebook page and said he would now wear Aboriginal-inspired ties in place of official council ties at functions.
“In my view, in this more enlightened world, it is not flying the flag and recognising the special and unique place of Aboriginal people in Australia that is divisive,” Mr Brewer wrote.
“Until (the) council moves into the 21st century on this matter, the council tie is retired from this neck.”
The council will continue to fly the Aboriginal flag during NAIDOC Week.
It already flies the Australian flag, the State flag and the Campbelltown flag.
University of Sydney's Evangelical Union shouldn't have to give up its faith in fight against discrimation
Here is the new rule for student groups on campus at one of our leading universities: you can have any faith you like, as long as it's not any faith in particular.
As of November last year, the bolshie student politicians running the University of Sydney student union have voted to stop clubs and societies from defining themselves by reference to a particular creed. Because, er, discrimination, or something.
And the union's board has inaugurated this new reign of tolerance by deciding to kick one of its oldest and largest interdenominational faith based groups off campus. The Evangelical Union has been around doing its thing since the 1930s – my grandma was on the committee.
For 86 years they have been doing their same earnest and mildly irritating thing, floating around campus in green T-shirts inviting people to interminable barbecues.
From March that must all stop. That is, unless the members of the Evangelical Union agree to make membership of the Evangelical Union about something other than being evangelical. The beliefs and principles which form the core basis of their association (and which their executive must sign up to) have to go, or else.
Olivia Ronan, vice president of the student union, sees it as an open and shut case of discrimination: in an interview with a student newspaper she explained that the student union is about "accessibility and inclusion" and so the board has decided that for associations to require particular beliefs of their executive "is no less exclusionary than requiring candidates to be of a particular sexuality or gender identity".
And she'd be absolutely right. If we were talking about "Electricians United" or the "Eurhythmics Union". But this is the "Evangelical Union": being out and proud as an evangelical is what the club is about.
It's not unlawful discrimination to make being on board with what the association is about a requirement for leadership in that club: it's what it means to freely associate with like-minded people. And inclusion is not the issue; as the green T-shirts will all too keenly inform you, they actually give discounts to encourage non-believers to take part in their activities.
We need anti-discrimination policies to address the wicked tendency of powerful people to exclude those they don't like (whether because of their race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation). Discrimination is discrimination because these factors are irrelevant to the inherent requirements of a job, or (in this case) the basis of the association.
It's good for us normally to be suspicious of faith-based requirements for membership. As a rule of thumb, someone's beliefs are usually irrelevant. But not always. Political views are no reason to ban someone from a restaurant. But political beliefs are a very good reason to decide who can sign up to a political party. By deciding that beliefs are never relevant to any association you're saying faith groups can't form associations.
The irony of using an anti-discrimination policy to justify violating the right to religious freedom appears to be lost on the USU board. For five years, successive Evangelical Union leaders have patiently tried to explain to the union's staff and board members that a rather important part of protecting diversity is protecting the rights of diverse groups to associate. Indeed the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (which Australia has signed) explicitly guarantees as much.
The USU vice president has responded to this (as only a law student could) by pointing out that the union board is not a signatory to the UN. Let's just pause on that for a second. The student union couldn't care less what one of the single most important international instruments on the subject of human rights actually says about the very rights they say they're trying to protect?
It's a dark day for anyone who cares about discrimination to see words designed to protect against religious discrimination used to banish faith-based groups.
Protecting freedom of religion by attacking faith communities' freedom to associate? The union board has missed the irony. Or perhaps they just don't like religious groups, and want them, and their annoying T-shirts, off campus for good.