Sunday, May 29, 2016

We Should Be Accepting Refugees For Their Humanity, Not Their Literacy (?)

Once again a Leftist shows an inability to mount a valid argument, let alone a thought-out argument.  Ms Kovesi below quotes the case of two highly qualified central Europeans in the '50s as some sort of argument against Australia's current immigration  policies.  But the people trying to force themselves on us at the moment are nothing like highly qualified central Europeans.  They have low levels of literacy even in their own languages and few (about 16%) obtain full time jobs. The rest parasitize the Australian taxpayer.  So her example is completely irrelevant.  And the fact is that the two Europeans concerned came to Australia LEGALLY, whereas the "boat people" arrive illegally.

Ms Kovesi seems herself to see that the examples she gives have no real force so she trails off into saying that shared humanity is the reason why we should throw open the doors to all and sundry.  But we have shared humanity with rapists and murderers too.  So should we welcome them with open arms too?  Perhaps Ms Kovesi would like to billet a serial rapist in her own home? He's human too, you know. And that's all that matters, is it not? She may have a doctorate in history but I think most ordinary Australians would see her as a drongo

Last week’s comments by Peter Dutton that ‘illiterate’ refugees will take Australian jobs  misses the point at several levels, writes Catherine Kovesi.

Unsurprisingly, the electoral debate has brought the handful of tragic asylum seekers who live forcibly at our peripheries to our emotional centre stage once more. This time the argument is based on their possible illiteracy and job taking aspirations.

The response by some has been immediately to show the number of highly literate former asylum seekers who are now active and productive participants in Australian society. Others have shown instead how their illiterate parents became productive members of Australian society.

But does this advance the nature of the debate? Are literacy skills or the lack thereof what we should be basing the argument around in the first place?

My father and his brother filled out asylum seeker application forms to come to Australia in 1950. They were 19 and 23 respectively. Both were men of the mind. Highly literate, politically engaged young intellectuals. Fluent in Hungarian, and German, passable in French, and well versed in Latin. But with no English.

My father had studied Philosophy at Budapest University, and then, as a refugee in Austria in 1949, at Salzburg University. My uncle had studied medicine at the same institutions.

However in 1950, Australia was not interested in refugees’ literacy skills. In fact the very opposite. The country was only accepting refugees who had demonstrable practical skills.

My father had only just learnt to drive on the steep alpine slopes of the Tyrol, but he was accepted into Australia on the pretence that he was a truck driver, and my uncle that he was a shoemaker.

Anxiously, as they sailed towards Australia on the good ship Skargum with many other middle European refugees, my uncle studied an old shoemakers’ manual that he had hurriedly bought prior to departure, in case he arrived in Fremantle, Western Australia, to find materials to make a shoe waiting for him at Customs, in order to demonstrate his shoemaking expertise.

Both did indeed take on manual jobs when they arrived. Whilst living in the Northam refugee detention centre, my father worked variously as a gardener (planting out the grounds of the University of Western Australia), as a kiosk salesman on Cottesloe Beach, and as an orderly in a tuberculosis sanatorium in Perth. It was in that sanatorium that he spied some philosophy books on the table of one of the patients.

That patient, Professor Selwyn Grave, encouraged my father, who spoke little English, to come and study at the University of Western Australia – in the glory days of free undergraduate education. My father and my uncle did so.

Within five years my father had a scholarship to Oxford University. My uncle went on to Cambridge to study English Literature (although he always lamented that reading Shakespeare in the original was a disappointment).

But both returned to the country that had offered them asylum. Both went on to academic careers at the University of Western Australia – my uncle teaching English literature with a special focus on Shakespeare, and my father teaching Philosophy to generations of students.

Both are remembered with great fondness.

Sadly both are now dead.

But what they both offered Australia was not their literacy or otherwise. They offered quite simply all that we in turn can hope to offer desperate people who recognise something of good in the traditions of our island sanctuary – their humanity.

Can the debate please be removed from questions of literacy, and return to common questions of our shared humanity?


Labor party racism still at work

When Nova Peris was nominated for the Senate by the Labor party's Julia Gillard, it was blatant racism.  The long-serving incumbent Labor senator, Trish Crossin, was given the boot in favour of Peris -- someone with no discernible eligibility for the job other than the colour of her skin. She was not even a member of the party when given the nod.  She proved as poor in her Senate job as one would expect and implicitly acknowledged that herself by resigning. 

The Labor party has learnt nothing however.  All the candidates to replace her also seem to be Aboriginal.  The Labor party claim to be opposed to racism, but they  practice it anyway

Five women will fight to replace outgoing politician Nova Peris as Labor's top Senate candidate for the Northern Territory.

Former NT Labor minister Marion Scrymgour, Yothu Yindi Foundation CEO Denise Bowden and Labor staffer Cathryn Tilmouth put their names forward as nominations closed on Friday afternoon.

The trio join journalist and former politican Malarndirri McCarthy and Senator Peris's chief of staff Ursula Raymond, who threw their hats into the ring earlier in the week, reported The ABC.

Senator Peris quit politics on Tuesday, which was also National Sorry Day, saying she needed to put family first and spend more time with her children.

Ursula Raymond, Peris's former top staffer, is reportedly the favourite to replace her old boss.

Ms Raymond has a long association with Senator Peris and outside of politics is the associate producer for Darwin's annual Garrmalang Festival.

Malarndirri McCarthy is an experienced journalist who was worked for the ABC and SBS. She quit journalism to enter politics in 2005 and was elected as the Labor member for Arnhem, NT, with a resounding 73 per cent of the vote.

After seven years in politics Ms McCarthy was defeated by Country Liberal Party member Larissa Lee in the 2012 election.

Former state Labor minister Marion Scrymgour is looking to re-ignite her 11-year career after standing down in 2012. When she was elected in 2001 Ms Scrymgour became the first Indigenous woman chosen for parliament in the NT. As Labor's Deputy Chief Minister from 2007 to 2009, Scrymgour was the highest-ranked Indigenous woman in any government in Australia's history.

Denise Bowden is a relative newcomer to politics but boasts an impressive resume as the CEO of the Yothu Yindi Foundation. The foundation was established in 1990 to promote Indigenous community development in the NT and Ms Bowden has been the CEO since April 2010. Ms Bowden is also the director of the annual Garma Festival which promotes Indigenous culture and economic development.

Cathryn Tilmouth is a Labor staffer who has previously worked for former NT Labor leader Delia Lawrie.  She currently works as an electorate officer for NT politician Ken Vowles and has also worked for federal minister Martin Ferguson.  In 2014 it was reported that Ms Tilmouth was in line to challenge Senator Peris for pre-selection to the senate, although the challenge never eventuated.

Senator Peris entered politics in 2013 as a 'captain's pick' by then-Prime Minister Julia Gillard following a successful sporting career. She was the first Indigenous Australian to win an Olympic gold medal and competed as a part of the women's hockey team at the 1996 and 2000 events.

Labor's national executive will choose her replacement and is expected to announce its decision on Monday.


The election is shaping as a battle between the two most politically correct leaders in Australia’s history

Mark Latham, below, was a terrible leader of the ALP but is always outspoken, a rare virtue

IN this era of political correctness and gender fluidity, Mother’s Day is lucky to survive. Under the guidance of the Safe Schools program, it’s only a matter of time before the second Sunday in May becomes an UN-sanctioned International Day For People Who Identify As Being Mothers. It will be open to men and women alike.

This is the logical extension of Leftist identity politics: a belief that capitalist social conditioning has fried our brains so badly that none of us can figure out our true gender role.

I’m a 55-year-old man who has spent the past 40 years admiring attractive women and, along the way, fathering three children.

But if only they had taught Safe Schools in the 1970s, I could have broken free from capitalist indoctrination, signed up for neo-Marxist gender politics and emerged as Australia’s answer to Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner.

At Sunday’s lunch in the splendid La Vigna Restaurant in Camden, my kids could have had two mothers, not just one.

On Father’s Day we wouldn’t have to bother, staying home to read our gender fluidity lecture notes from La Trobe University.

Not surprisingly, in my state of false consciousness, I’m not alone. As I looked around the restaurant two days ago, all the mothers ­appeared to be women and all the fathers appeared to be men.

They too missed the Safe Schools lesson where you arrive from outer space without a penis or vagina and then sort out what to do.

Undeterred by our lack of formal education, we dug into the veal scallopini and seafood ravioli instead.

It says something bizarre about Australian politics that in this election campaign, both major parties are committed to keeping Safe Schools and the equally Goebbelesque Building Respectful Relationships program. As a duo, Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten are the two most politically correct leaders in our history.

They have formed an elitist bipartisanship around the things the Australian people aren’t allowed to hear.

Think of it as the great silence swindle of election 2016.

Over the next eight weeks there will be no talk of how welfare dependency in places like Auburn, Parramatta and Merrylands has become an Australian breeding ground for Islamic terrorism.

There will be no talk of how the nation’s 200,000 per annum immigration program is adding daily to congestion and urban sprawl, making large parts of Sydney unlivable. There will be no talk of amending section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act to restore genuine freedom of speech.

There will be no talk of curbing the thought-police powers of the Human Rights Commission, which has declared its right to name and shame “racists”, even when there is no evidence of racial malice.

There will be no talk about the true extent of domestic violence in Australia: the ABS statistic showing an annual rate of domestic assault against women of 1.06 per cent. Instead, we’ll be bombarded with more taxpayer-funded propaganda about an “epidemic” and “national emergency”.

From Bill Turnbull and Malcolm Shorten, there will be no talk about the importance of teaching strength and resilience in our schools.

Their education policies will add to the Age of Sookery — where children are encouraged to play the victim, seeking quotas and other nanny-state interventions to succeed in life. There will be no talk of ending Australia’s pill-pop culture, where newly invented ailments such as “anxiety depression” have become an all-purpose alibi for errant footballers, welfare slackers and those claiming to be freaked out by the prospect of a democratic national vote on same-sex marriage.

Most of all, there will be no talk exposing the fraud of identity politics: the Leftist obsession subdividing our nation on the basis of race, gender and sexuality.

By encouraging people to focus on their individual identity, the Left is atomising society and destroying our sense of community, no less than the individualistic Right.

How fitting for this election to have been called on Sunday. It’s the mother of all politically correct charades.


Australia’s secret ETS starts in five weeks

Quietly, surprisingly, Australia’s climate change policy has become a bipartisan emissions trading scheme, or ETS … well, almost. The parties might try to manufacture differences for the election campaign, although they haven’t yet, and anyway they don’t really exist.

From July 1, coincidentally the day before the election, the Coalition’s “safeguard mechanism” within its Direct Action Plan will come into force.

One-hundred and fifty companies, representing about 50 per cent of Australia’s total carbon emissions, will be capped by legislation at their highest level of emissions between 2009-10 and 2013-14.

If they emit less than their caps, they will get credits, called Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs), which were created by the Gillard government’s 2011 legislation; if they emit more, they have to buy ACCUs on the market.

The caps specifically include the electricity sector and the ACCUs are “financial products” under both the Corporations Act and the ASIC Act, and can be traded, so an ETS market will be established from July 1.

It is, in short, a classic cap-and-trade ETS, similar in effect to the one legislated by the ALP in 2011, but which unwisely started with a fixed price that could be labelled a carbon tax, and was repealed on July 17, 2014 by the Abbott government, with high-fives and champagne.

What hasn’t been announced or included in the Coalition’s legislation yet is that the caps will start to be reduced from next year, which will make it even more similar in some ways to the Gillard government’s Clean Energy Act 2011.

The legislation that included the Coalition’s ETS was passed by the Senate — with the support of both the ALP and the Greens — on its last day of sitting in 2015, in December.

As it happens, that was the day before the Paris climate conference, called COP 21, got underway, at which an agreement to keep the global temperature increase to 2 degrees was signed by 189 countries, including Australia.

The emissions caps imposed on 150 companies are described by the government as a “safeguard mechanism” to support the Emissions Reduction Fund that is the centrepiece of the Direct Action Plan, in which companies bid at auction for the right to be paid to reduce their emissions. Those auctions have so far resulted in 143 million tonnes of abatement at an average price of $12.10 per tonne, which is much lower than had been forecast by the scheme’s opponents.

The Department of Environment’s website says: “The safeguard mechanism will protect taxpayers’ funds by ensuring that emissions reductions paid for through the crediting and purchasing elements of the Emissions Reduction Fund are not displaced by significant increases in emissions above business-as-usual levels elsewhere in the economy.”

But depending on the gradient of cap reduction that is decided next year, the safeguard itself could end up becoming the central pillar of Australia’s response to the Paris agreement.

That’s because the government almost certainly can’t afford to pay for enough abatement under the auction system to meet its Paris commitments, given the state of the budget.

In fact, the safeguard mechanism becomes a way for the government — Coalition or Labor — to adjust the budget deficit: reducing the “safeguard” caps faster would reduce the amount that the ERF would have to pay out.

The interesting question is why no one is talking about any of this. Obviously the 150 companies involved know about it, and it’s all described in full on the department website, but the fact that Australia has effectively legislated an emissions trading scheme is virtually a secret.

So far, climate change has been absent from the election campaign and will probably remain so — because fundamentally the parties agree now. The only disagreement is likely to be rate of the reduction in the caps, and no one is ready to talk about that yet.

In fact, the idea of a cap-and-trade scheme has been part of the Coalition’s climate policy since well before Greg Hunt went from shadow minister to Minister for the Environment in 2013. He made it a condition of his appointment by Tony Abbott that the science of climate change would be accepted and the emissions reduction target would not change.

Within that, he and Abbott constructed a policy position that could more or less credibly be argued as achieving the abatement targets, while at the same time satisfying three requirements: differentiating their policy from the ALP, not increasing electricity prices and not upsetting the far right of the Coalition.

When Malcolm Turnbull became leader and Prime Minister last year, amazingly, he did not fully understand his party’s climate policy, and in particular the inclusion of a cap and trade ETS, because Hunt had never discussed it in Cabinet. Apparently, he was pleasantly surprised, but decided to maintain radio silence, as part of his broader efforts to keep the conservatives onside.

The whole process has been a remarkable strategy by Hunt: he has effectively steered an emissions trading scheme into Australia’s response to climate change through a ferociously polarised political debate.

It’s arguably a bit like Nixon in China — only a conservative minister could have done it.

The key has been not talking about the ETS part of the policy and to emphasise the lack of a price on all emissions. He hasn’t exactly kept it secret, since it’s in the legislation, but nor has he talked about it publicly and nor has anyone else.

Both the Greens and the ALP passed the legislation in December, even though they probably could have blocked it. Why? It’s because they basically agree with it and want to use the mechanism if elected.

Will it work? That depends on the gradient of the cap reductions when they start. The key is that an ETS has now been legislated in Australia and can be adjusted to fit requirements, either budgetary or political.

Will it result in higher electricity prices? Almost certainly. Shhh.


Police officer who faces trial after blowing the whistle on a brutal police bashing says he's received threats

A police officer facing trail for leaking footage of a violent police bashing has received death threats. Sergeant Rick Flori was sent a social media message betting $100 that he would be dead by the end of the week, The Courier Mail reported.

The revelation came on Friday after the suspended Queensland officer was committed to stand trial over the allegations he distributed CCTV footage to dishonestly cause a detriment to colleagues.

The video showed the brutal bashing of a handcuffed Noa Begic, 22, in the basement of the Surfers Paradise police station in 2012.

Mr Flori asserted his innocence in the Southport Magistrates Court, entering a formal plea of not guilty.

Prosecutors alleged that Mr Flori distributed the footage because he had a grudge against an officer in the video, Senior ­Sergeant David Joachim, who was filmed washing blood off the concrete.

Mr Flori's defence argued that he was trying to shed light on police misconduct in Queensland.

Magistrate Michael Hogan said Mr Flori did have a case to answer.  He set the matter for trial at a later date.

Outside court, Flori said he was pleased a jury would decide the outcome.  'I can't wait until the whole story comes out to be honest,' he said.  'I just hope that it doesn't get strung out for too long.'


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

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