Friday, May 13, 2016
Another Leftist fraud
Geelong truckie Duncan Storrar has been hailed Australia's "new national hero" for his appearance on Q&A, but to his son he is a deadbeat fraudster undeserving of sympathy.
Aztec Major, 20, says he is in disbelief his estranged father has received more than $50,000 in donations after claiming on the ABC panel program he was a low-income earner who deserved a tax cut "to take his kids to the pictures".
"He doesn’t deserve it … It's ridiculous," Mr Major told The Australian. "He’s used drugs. He’s not the person he’s making himself out to be."
Mr Major, who works as an apprentice spray painter in Geelong, says he lived with his father until he was four-years-old. When he turned nine his mother Susan passed away from breast cancer, after which he lived with his grandparents.
He tried to reconnect with Mr Storrar when he was 17, only to realise he "was the kind of person I don't want to be". "I came to the conclusion the best solution was to cut all the crap out of my life. I had to cut him out," he said.
Tamika Drew, the daughter of Mr Storrar's ex-partner, Cindy-Lee, agrees. "I saw things as a kid living with him from when I was seven that I shouldn’t have to see," she said.
Mr Storrar has drawn widespread sympathy after asking Assistant Treasurer Kelly O'Dwyer why workers earning $80,000 deserved a tax cut in this year's budget.
The 45-year-old, who has two daughters aged eight and six and lives in public housing, said the change was unfair.
"If you lift my tax-free threshold, that changes my life. That means that I get to say to my little girls, 'Daddy's not broke this weekend, we can go to the pictures'," he told the panel. "Rich people don't even notice their tax-free threshold lift. Why don't I get it? Why do they get it?"
Social media users soon sprang into action, tweeting #DuncanforPM and #IstandwithDuncan.
Mr Storrar later admitted he never pays tax, as he earns below the threshold and collects Austudy payments.
A GoFundMe page dedicated to Mr Storrar has raised $54,000.
Mr Major says he would rather see the money given to more worthy causes. "I don’t need it. I’m working now. The Cancer Council would be my suggestion," he said.
Waleed Aly’s complaint at Logies about TV racism erases the true trailblazers
WAS there anything more ludicrous than seeing Waleed Aly complaining last weekend about racism even after he was given the Gold Logie for Best Personality on TV?
Was there anything sillier than seeing Noni Hazelhurst likewise complaining last weekend about women not getting a fair go at the very moment that she was inducted into the Logies Hall of Fame?
Please, children are watching. Wouldn’t a “thank you” rather than a “stuff you” not have set a better example?
And wouldn’t a tribute to Australia have been more appropriate than all this childish displaying of wounds that seem to be not even the barest of scratches?
Instead, we were treated to something Kafkaesque on Logies night, where tales were told of Australia’s allegedly inherent racism and sexism at an event that at every turn contradicted that fashionable smear, so wildly applauded by the audience.
Take Aly’s acceptance speech. By any measure, Aly has succeeded so completely in this country that he is a walking contradiction of claims that Muslims or people from Middle Eastern families are invariably the oppressed.
Instead, our institutions have rushed to embrace and sanctify this man who seemed the moderate and unthreatening Muslim of their dreams — a man who allowed them to prove their own broad-mindedness at minimal risk and to ignore the explosions, gunfire and screams of “Allahu akbar” on the TV news.
A grateful Labor government appointed Aly to the board of the Australia Council. The ABC, committed to every kind of diversity except diversity of thought, signed up this preacher of Leftist pieties and Islamic apologetics as an on-air presenter. An eager Monash University made him a lecturer at its Global Terrorism Research Centre, even though he had not even completed a PhD.
Gold Logie award winner Waleed Aly has complained about racism.
The Age made him a columnist, Channel 10 made him a host of The Project and the Australian government sent him on a tour of the Middle East.
The journalist union’s Walkley Awards even handed him a prize for his columns and a portrait of Aly as a kind of Christ, blood dripping from his noble head, was a finalist for the Archibald Prize for portraiture.
No one can have been showered with so much by so many so soon — and so clearly while being so different.
Yet Aly in his speech still wouldn’t take yes, yes, yes for an answer. He instead attacked the TV industry for not being welcoming enough to Muslims, ethnics and people with funny names. You know, to people just like Waleed Aly.
“If tonight means anything, it’s that the Australian public, our audience — as far as they are concerned there is absolutely no reason why that can’t change,” he said, clutching his Logie.
And then he told the most astonishingly far-fetched tale of oppression, announcing that ethnic actors had seen in him their representative, even their hero, and had urged him to win the Logie for them.
“Someone who is in this room — and I’m not going to use the name they use in the industry — came up to me, introduced themselves and said to me, ‘I really hope you win. My name is Mustafa. But I can’t use that name because I won’t get a job’.”
How sad. But how suss. It soon turned out that this actor too scared to reveal his Middle Eastern first name was Tyler De Nawi, who still kept and traded under his Middle Eastern surname without any trouble.
Even stranger, De Nawi had just starred in the Channel 9’s prime-time hit TV show, Here Come the Habibs, playing someone from a Lebanese background just like his own.
Exactly what did Aly think De Nawi was hiding? If De Nawi thought he had to keep his Lebanese background secret to succeed, he was going about it in a hell of a strange way. But on Aly ploughed, saying an actor called “Dimitri” had also urged him to win.
“To Dimitri and Mustafa and to everyone else with an unpronounceable name like I don’t know, I really just want to say one thing and it’s that I am incredibly humbled that you would even think to invest in me that way,” he sighed.
Please. A man with an even more allegedly “unpronounceable” name than Dimitri — Alex Dimitriades — had already just won the Logie for the Most Outstanding Actor.
And Deborah Mailman, of Aboriginal ancestry, had won Most Outstanding Actress, showing that honouring people of different colour and “race” is not quite the Aly-specific Big Deal in this exceptionally embracing country.
That is the real shame of this Aly schtick — that by presenting himself as the great challenger of our racism he wipes out the abundant history we have of people who did that challenging long ago and helped to create the kind of country where an Aly effortlessly cleans up big-time.
Am I too harsh?
Then consider how Aly’s wife, Muslim convert Susan Carland, herself given a lecturer’s job by Monash University and a gig by ABC radio, has presented her husband as the shining first to challenge a colour-phobic TV industry.
As The Australian reported in a generous profile of Aly last month: “Aly’s wife, academic Susan Carland, points out the significance of having a non-white face on commercial TV.
“ ‘I think a lot of people forget that — he’s the first non-white on prime-time commercial TV. That’s huge,’ she says, later sending me a text to correct herself: ‘PS, Waleed told me apparently Ernie Dingo hosted something on commercial TV back in the day’.”
Strange how a couple who have apparently discussed Aly’s great significance could only just remember Aboriginal Ernie Dingo — who merely hosted “something on commercial TV — and no one else.
It appears that so many others who went before have been wiped from their memories, including Aboriginal current affairs host Stan Grant, Sri Lankan entertainer Kamahl, exercise guru Swami Sarasvati, Aboriginal presenter Aaron Pedersen of Gladiators Australia, the much-loved African American singer Marcia Hines and Bellbird’s Bob Maza, whose Hall of Fame entry hails him for having “changed the way indigenous people were portrayed in the media”.
Also wiped from this Aly-Was-First history are Big Brother’s Trevor Butler, MasterChef’s Poh Ling Yeow and Adam Liaw and Australian Idol’s Casey Donovan.
And, while Carland limited Aly’s exceptionalism to commercial TV, surely the ABC’s Trisha Goddard and the SBS’s Lee Lin Chin deserve some acknowledgment?
The truth is that whatever the flaws of Australia’s past, Aly is by no means the exception or the saviour by which we will be saved from the sin of our alleged racism.
He instead slots easily into a long tradition of Australians embracing people of all backgrounds who make an effort to join.
It is this version of Australia that should be taught — an affirmation of Australia’s warm heart, not a damnation of its imagined evil.
So next time let’s have a Logies winner admit they are not a victim but a winner in a society from which they so richly profit.
China’s kids excel at school — at half the cost
Not too surprising. They study harder and are brighter to start with. Australia could still do better, though
Chinese students are trouncing their Australian counterparts in literacy and maths but cost half as much to educate, the latest data shows, as schools funding becomes a key election issue.
Australia spends $132,945, on average, to educate a student from primary school to Year 10 — double the $66,463 spent on students in Shanghai and 40 per cent more than the $93,630 cost in South Korea, the latest comparative OECD data shows. More than half the students in Shanghai and nearly a third of Korean students top the class internationally in maths — compared with just one in seven Australian students.
One in five Australian students failed the minimum standard in maths in the OECD’s 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), compared with 3 per cent of Shanghai students and 9 per cent of Korean teenagers.
As Bill Shorten talked up Labor’s $3.8 billion cash splash for schools in 2018-19 yesterday, a new report warned that Australia’s students had fallen behind Asian countries despite record spending on education. The Australian Council for Educational Research criticised a widening gap between the performance of rich and poor students, and a “residualisation’’ of struggling students in the poorest government schools.
“Australia has increased spending on schools and seen standards decline,’’ council chief executive Geoff Masters said yesterday. “It is of concern that so many Australian 15-year-olds are failing to achieve minimally adequate levels of reading and mathematical literacy.
“We cannot keep doing what we have been doing and expect performances to improve. The answer is to target resources on effective strategies for arresting the drift in Australia’s schools.’’
Professor Masters said it was too soon to tell if the needs-based schools funding model devised by business leader David Gonski — a long-time friend of Malcolm Turnbull — was making a difference. “It’s possible that if funding is better targeted (through Gonski) to where it will make a difference, performance will improve,’’ he said yesterday.
“High-performing countries are focused on trying to reduce disparity between schools so it matters much less what schools students go to. “In Australia the concern is we can see an increase in disparity between schools — we’re ending up with low-achieving disadvantaged students being concentrated in particular types of schools.’’
The previous Labor government signed a six-year Gonski funding deal with most states and territories in 2013, worth an extra $9.4bn in federal funding and $5.1bn in extra state funding. The Abbott government cancelled the last two years of the agreement, worth $4.5bn in federal funding.
Labor is promising to spend the missing $4.5bn, while the Coalition promised $1.2bn in extra funding between 2017 and 2019 in last week’s federal budget.
Disadvantaged schools only began receiving their Gonski funds in 2014 and the results of last year’s PISA exam — which tested half a million 15-year-old students in 70 industrialised countries — will not be known until December.
Labor last night began sending out emails with an in-built calculator for voters to work out “how much Turnbull cut from your school’’, based on the difference between Labor and Coalition spending promises.
The Opposition Leader declared yesterday that Australia’s plummeting performance was “not good enough’’.
“If you look at the success of the emerging nations of our region, they are increasing investment in schools,’’ Mr Shorten said. “If we want to be a smart and successful nation, we need to be an educated nation.”
Opposition education spokeswoman Kate Ellis said a Labor government would spend $4.8m on “targeted teaching’’.
The council report says fewer Australian students are studying advanced maths and science subjects in high school, while 40,000 teenagers failed the minimum international standard for reading at the age of 15. It says teachers are required to teach too much content in a “crowded curriculum”.
The federal and state governments approved a pared-back national curriculum, with a greater focus on phonics-based literacy, for primary school late last year but it has yet to take effect in most classrooms.
The Australian’s analysis of Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development data shows a strong link between attending preschool and success in high school.
Barely half the Australian teenagers who took the PISA test in 2012 had attended preschool for more than a year, compared to 88 per cent of students in Shanghai, 90 per cent in Singapore, 97 per cent in Japan and 83 per cent in Korea.
The OECD data reveals that a third of Australian teenagers skip classes or wag school — 10 times the rate in Shanghai.
The US spends even more than Australia — $157,270 to educate a child to Year 10 — yet its students performed even worse.
Singapore spends slightly less than Australia — $115,665 per child — yet its students are twice as likely to top the tests in maths and reading.
Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham yesterday said the council report “smacks down’’ Labor’s big-spending approach to education.
“We need to focus on what actually makes a difference for our students because, while spending on Australian schools has increased, the results of our students has gone backwards,’’ he said. Senator Birmingham said the Coalition’s “back to basics’’ education policy would improve outcomes in literacy, numeracy, the STEM.
Another one of those charming Muslims that Australia is lucky to have
A MAN who has been charged for allegedly stomping on and destroying baby graves came out of Burwood Local Court this morning swinging at the media.
Muhammad Ibrahim, 25, slapped away cameras and almost ran a photographer over in his Jeep, which had been parked illegally.
Ibrahim was in no mood to talk to the media after turning up about 30 minutes late to his hearing for allegedly destroying almost 70 Christian graves at Rookwood Cemetery on November 27 last year.
Ibrahim pushed one camera away and grabbed another as he walked towards a Jeep that he had parked in a no-stopping zone almost directly outside the court house.
He climbed into the Jeep and, with a parking ticket still stuck under his windscreen wipers, did a three-point turn, narrowly missing a Daily Telegraph photographer.
He then stopped to pull down the window and stick up his middle finger for the cameras.
It is not the first time Ibrahim has been involved in an altercation outside court. When he appeared in March, he was confronted by a group of angry Russian patriots who chased him down the street shouting, “you’re a coward.”
Ibrahim’s hearing was adjourned because of a delay in locating his co-accused Nassem Raad.
Magistrate Eve Wynhausen adjourned the court case so that Ibrahim and Raad, who has also pleaded not guilty, can face a hearing together.
Ibrahim has pleaded not guilty to destroying or damaging property and supply of a prohibited drug. Raad has pleaded not guilty to entering an enclosed land without lawful excuse and destroy or damage property.
The Daily Telegraph understands almost 70 graves around a Greek Orthodox church were destroyed with crosses and headstones smashed including on at least four baby graves.
A security guard at the cemetery said he saw one father turn up to his infants grave sobbing.
A caretaker told the Daily Telegraph that many of the Greek Orthodox Christians would visit their relatives graves every day and the destruction of their loved ones headstones was deeply distressing to them.
As of January, the damage bill was $50,000 but it is expected to be a lot higher. Ibrahim and Raad’s cases will return to Burwood Local Court on June 30.