Sunday, July 31, 2016
Greenie moans about the Barrier Reef are putting tourists off -- NOT
As with the boy who cried wolf, most people probably discount the incessant Greenie moans
FAR North tourism operators are flat strap as cashed-up visitors take advantage of easy access to Tropical Queensland.
Data released by Cairns Airport this week shows about 43,000 passengers travelled through the international terminal last month, marking a 13.3 per cent rise from June last year.
Domestic passengers last month topped 335,600, about 14,400 more than the previous June.
According to the data, European passports used when clearing immigration at Cairns Airport have exceeded 68,600 over the past 12 months, a growth of 75 per cent.
A record number of international competitors also contested the 2016 Cairns Ironman in June.
Tourism Tropical North Queensland director of business and tourism events, Rosie Douglas, said the June growth continued to reflect the trends being experienced by the region’s industry.
“The addition of direct flights from Hong Kong and the Philippines has given greater access to the Asian and European markets, which also have been using the direct flights from Singapore,” she said.
“This increase in aviation capacity from Asia was instrumental in Cairns winning the right to host the prestigious Ironman Asia-Pacific, the feature event of the Cairns Airport Adventure Festival during June.
“June also marks the start of the school holidays for the United Kingdom, Northern Europe and Australia, bringing stronger numbers from those markets.”
Cairns Airport last month celebrated a milestone five million passengers for the year, with the total number now having reached about 5,011,000.
The influx of international and domestic visitors is being felt throughout the Far North.
Skyrail general manager Craig Pocock said the tourism heavyweight was experiencing “pre-global financial crisis” numbers.
“We’ve certainly seen strong growth across all markets,” he said. “This season we’ve also been strong both before and after the school break, and now we’re benefiting from the Japanese holiday period.
“This is a bright and optimistic period we’re experiencing, and bookings indicate that it will continue for some time.”
Mr Pocock said Skyrail was having to “ramp up” its operations to cater for the ongoing growth.
“We’ve had to increase resources, staffing and modify the way we operate to cater for the volume of visitors,” he said.
Stop the over-reaction. This was not ‘torture’
John Heffernan writes:
After more than 33 years working in both adult and juvenile corrections I feel I am qualified to present an informed opinion on this situation.
The ABC “Four Corners” program a few nights ago showed just a few seconds of edited footage which has now resulted in politicians from all over the country jumping on the bandwagon and declaring years of torture and cover-up in the management of juveniles offenders in the NT.
As evidence of this “torture” the ABC presented an image of a detainee in a chair with a hood over his head and proclaimed this is the way prisoners of war are treated, not kids.
I’m sorry, but through my experienced eyes I see a juvenile offender, who has obviously been acting out, being provided time out, restrained in an approved chair, with an approved “spit hood” covering his head.
Please don’t misunderstand me, I would never condone the use of excessive force and a couple of incidents shown on video would suggest that staff may have crossed the line and gone too far on those occasions.
But that said, force must be used in certain instances within adult and juvenile correctional centres, that is a fact of life. These juveniles are not locked up for stealing lollies from the local corner store. By the time they are actually incarcerated they have been given every possible chance by the courts.
I find it somewhat ironic that society demands of our governments and the judiciary that both adults and juveniles that commit extremely serious crimes receive the maximum penalty available. Our politicians respond to these requests and talk tough in the process and vow to protect the community by ensuring the offenders are put behind bars for as long as possible.
Yet, when those same offenders, when incarcerated, choose to behave in the same manner that resulted in their imprisonment by kicking, punching and spitting on gaol staff, politicians want to become all self-righteous when prison staff are forced to address that behaviour within the limited means available.
The policies and procedure relating to the use of force with gaols and detention centres are very specific in nature. They are also very restrictive in the amount of force that can be used, particularly when it come to juveniles.
There are approved levels of force and permission must be gained from the relevant authority as the level of force to be used increases. Departmental heads have approved those policies and politicians are aware of them, however, it appears now right now everyone in authority is ducking for cover leaving officers on the ground to assume the responsibility.
Correctional centres and juvenile detention centres, by their very nature, are dangerous places to work. Everyday staff are abused and quite often assaulted by those that are housed within. The work the officers perform is difficult and demanding.
When it comes to the management of young offenders, I have found some of the most compassionate people work in these centres. Officers trying their best to manage these offenders are often dealing with the consequences of young offenders who have absolutely no respect for the law. By the time the offender reaches a point where a magistrate decides incarceration is the only answer the damage is well and truly done.
In my opinion what is happening now is completely unfair to those staff tasked with managing young offenders.
There is another side to this story. A side that I do not believe for a moment to be as sinister and as secretive as what certain people would have us believe. It should not require a royal commission to determine the full facts of this matter. A full investigation at a fraction of the cost, I believe, would achieve the same result. Talk about using a sledgehammer to crush a walnut.
Muslim migration to Australia: the big slowdown
When it comes to immigration, the government and opposition are in agreement. Our migration program is proudly non-discriminatory and that is how it should remain.
Yet the Australian government is pursuing a migration strategy that makes it extremely difficult for large numbers of Muslims from the Middle East to settle here, even if that is not the policy’s aim.
While governments of all stripes insist Australia’s migration program is non-discriminatory, an analysis of available data by The Australian suggests that the migration of Muslims from Lebanon, in particular, has slowed to a trickle, with no sign of a rush coming anytime soon.
Immigration officials tell The Australian that the low number of Muslim immigrants from the Middle East arriving in recent years has nothing to do with their religion, since applicants are not asked to state their faith when they apply to settle.
Instead, they say, it’s an unintended consequence of a migration policy that is almost entirely focused on attracting skilled and family reunion migrants from countries such as India (now Australia’s No 1 source of permanent migrants, with 34,874 arrivals last year) and China (27,874).
The strategy, which both major parties insist is not deliberate, means that while Islam was once the fastest growing religion in Australia, there are now more Buddhists (2.5 per cent of the population) than there are Muslims (2.2 per cent), and the Hindus are rapidly catching up.
“There are officials and politicians who openly favour Christians including Orthodox Christians (and Jewish migrants over Muslims),” one of Australia’s most eminent scholars on immigration, James Jupp of the Australian National University, tells The Australian. But, he says, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection “will never admit bias as many decisions are made locally” — that is, by officials in the country of origin.
Islamic Sciences & Research Academy Australia’s director Mehmet Ozalp says the local community could not help but notice that “the Muslim population from the Middle East was at one point growing fast, but that was about 10 years ago, and now it is slowing, whereas the Buddhist and Hindu population was pretty low but has increased dramatically.
“It is concerning because there are calls for stopping Muslim immigration,” Ozalp adds. “It’s not too far to assume that people in parliament may agree with these calls, and we need to worry: are these numbers indicative of an underlying problem?”
Muslim immigration came to the fore during the recent federal election when Senate candidate Pauline Hanson called for a complete ban. A debate kicked off just last week, when Nine Network presenter Sonia Kruger said she, too, wanted a ban on Muslim immigrants coming to Australia.
And this week Liberal senator Eric Abetz sent out a tweet saying: “We need an open and frank discussion on the future of immigration.”
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton insists, however, that Australia’s migration program is proudly non-discriminatory. “We don’t focus on religion. We focus on skills,” he tells The Australian.
The question of how many Muslim immigrants come to Australia each year is difficult to answer. The Department of Immigration says it does not ask newly approved migrants to state their religion and therefore does not keep statistics.
In an effort to find an answer, The Australian studied immigration statistics from 1974 to last year and compared them with census data held by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, specifically on the religious affiliation of overseas-born Australians. The two sets of data are not a complete match, making a precise extrapolation impossible, but some trends immediately become clear.
While Lebanon once provided Australia with 2000 to 4000 migrants a year, that number had dropped by 2010-11 to 1143 people (last year’s figure was 1242). The department says it does not know how many of these people were Muslim, but according to ABS data most of the Lebanese migrants who arrived in recent years (57.2 per cent) are not Muslim. If that trend is holding — and there is no reason to suppose that it is not — then Australia is taking as few as 550 Lebanese Muslims a year.
The situation for Iran is similar: while figures show Australia continues to welcome immigrants from Iran (4093 people in 2013-14), the ABS data suggests that as many as 62 per cent of those who arrive are not Muslim but Christian or of the Baha’i Faith.
Halim Rane, associate professor in the school of humanities at Griffith University, who worked for the Department of Immigration for six years, says the trend towards non-Muslim immigration is not new.
“Even in the 1990s, before Islamic extremism was even on the radar, the majority of people coming to Australia from Muslim-majority nations were not Muslim,” he says. “Take Egypt: it is majority Muslim, but Australia takes mostly Coptic Christians because they tend to have more of the skills Australia needs.
“But I don’t believe there is a policy or an anti-Muslim bias because they don’t even ask the question. They wouldn’t know if you’re Muslim or not. What happens is, the government of the day will focus on attracting certain skills — say, technology — and those immigrants will come from China or India, where there are not a lot of Muslims.”
The focus on skills means Australia takes more people from Ireland (5541 in 2013-14) than from Iraq (4304), and more from Nepal (4470), whose population is about 80 per cent Hindu, than from Bangladesh (2569), where most of the population is Muslim.
There is one clear exception to the general rule: Australia welcomed 8281 immigrants from Pakistan in 2014-15, most of whom are assumed to be Muslim, since ABS data shows that 87.7 per cent of Pakistani-born Australians identify as Muslim.
On the other hand, ABS data shows that Hindus are experiencing the fastest growth, with numbers increasing by 189 per cent to 275,500 across a 10-year period, mostly because of immigration.
By contrast, while the number of Muslims in the community is still increasing, it is doing so at the much lower rate (69 per cent across the same 10-year period) and most of that growth would seem to be coming not from immigration but from a high birthrate.
Muslim community leader Jamal Rifi tells The Australian that migration from Lebanon has definitely slowed in recent years, but “it is for a couple of reasons, including that not as many people are trying to come”.
“For some families, it’s expensive to apply, but also because the Lebanese community in Australia is very integrated now,” Rifi says. “There aren’t as many people going back (to Lebanon) to find a partner. It’s better to find a partner here, who will be more educated and liberal and compatible. The marriages between here and there, we have seen failures.”
Rifi says the local community supports the rigorous, skills-based program. “We don’t want anyone who might end up being radicalised. It’s not an anti-Muslim policy, it’s a conscious decision to take people who will contribute, and that is why we don’t have the same problems here.”
Tricky to talk about the sexually confused
Today host Karl Stefanovic has apologised unreservedly for using the slur "tranny" while on-air on Thursday, calling himself "an ignorant tool".
Stefanovic was slammed by the LGBTQI community for using the term - considered a derogatory way to describe transgender women - while joking with colleagues.
The Today Show host apologises for using a transphobic slur and 'crossing a line'.
"I was an ignorant tool. And when I say 'ignorant', I really mean it. Yesterday I got it very wrong," he said on Friday morning.
The slur occurred on Thursday when Stefanovic and co-host Sylvia Jeffreys were interviewing Today reporter Christine Ahern, who was robbed by two transgender women while covering the Rio Olympics in Brazil.
"By using the word 'tranny', I offended an awful lot of beautiful, sensitive people," he said. "I honestly didn't know the negative and deeply hurtful impact that word has, not only on members of the LGBTQI community, but on their family and on their friends.
The 41-year-old presenter - who in the past has used his public platform to call out sexism and xenophobia - said he was wrong in assuming the transgender community would laugh along with him.
Not-for-profit organisation GLAAD states that 'tranny' is a defamatory word used to "dehumanise transgender people and should not be used in mainstream media".
'Transvestite' is also considered an outdated term, often used in the past to describe cross-dressers, and should not be associated with transgender women.
"Like so many other words we used in the past, it's time to throw that one in the bin," Stefanovic continued.
"I have no understanding of what it's like to feel like you are born in the wrong body, to feel uncomfortable in your own skin or the extreme courage it takes to accept yourself and live the life you've always wanted to live."
Critics rounded on Stefanovic on Twitter on Thursday, telling the presenter they'd be happy to buy him a beer and educate him.
Encouraging viewers at home to join him in educating themselves, Stefanovic called for tolerance.
"Given the events of the last year, now more than ever we need to educate ourselves, laugh together and embrace each others differences and live with tolerance, compassion and most of all, love and respect for everyone."
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