Friday, July 22, 2016

Is there an Australian race?

Maybe that is not as absurd as it seems.  Leftists seem to regard Muslims as a race so why not? Any criticism of Muslims is routinely denounced as "racist".  So I clearly have the angels on my side in arguing for a flexible definition of race.

And the fact of the matter is that Australians do talk as if they are a race.  It's probably politically incorrect by now but for many decades Australians have spoken among themselves as in the following example.  "She is herself Chinese but she is married to an Australian" -- where both persons concerned were born in Australia -- so it was obviously race that was being referred to.

So a person of Northern European or British ancestry who was born in Australia is an Australian.  Australians are a definable ethnic group.  So "Australian" can be either a nationality or a race. In the example above both persons would have been readily acknowledged as Australian citizens but only one was an Australian.

And note that NOBODY in Australia refers to themselves  or anybody else as "a person of Northern European or British ancestry born in Australia".  It would be far too cumbersome.  People so identified  are simply Australians.

So is the usage just a piece of shorthand for a longer descriptor or is there more to it than that?  There clearly is more.  Australians have quite a strong national consciousness.  They see themselves as quite distinct from even closely related groups such as the British or Americans.  When they are thinking of "a person of Northern European or British ancestry born in Australia", they are also thinking of personal characteristics.  "A person of Northern European or British ancestry born in Australia" is expected to be "fair dinkum", no Dobbo and someone who does not "bung on an act", for instance.

Those three examples are much-loved pieces of Australian slang and, like most slang are not entirely translatable into standard English.  But an approximate translation would be: "A genuine person, a person who does not incriminate others to the authorities and a person who is not pretentious.  I say a bit more about that slang and its origins elsewhere.

So, yes.  There IS an Australian race.  And there are other races that are similarly defined.  Mexicans, for instance have had it instilled into them that they are one race:  The famous "La raza".  The reality of Mexico is a whitish elite who run everything and a large, poor mass of people with brown skin. But  we mustn't knock "La raza", must we?

The English rarely refer to themselves as a race but they do to an extent tend to see themselves that way.  The regional divisions in England are severe.  People who live South of Watford see people from North of Watford as an odd and rather uncouth lot.  Watford is the last outpost of civilization when travelling North. But no matter where you live in relation to Watford Junction, you are still English.  And being English has certain expectations attached to it -- enormous expectations, in fact.  The expectations are well laid out in what is probably the funniest book I have ever read: "Watching the English: the hidden rules of English behaviour" by Kate Fox.  Australians have some of the same rules, as one would expect.

In fact, Australian-ness is better defined than English-ness.  Australia may be the only country without significant regional divisions.  A person who lives in Brisbane lives thousands of miles away from a person who lives in Perth but any difference between inhabitants of those two cities is very hard to detect.  That great giveaway, accent, has only the tiniest differences in  the two populations. 

One has only to think of Northern Italian attitudes to "meriodinali", of Bavarian suspicion of "Prussians" and, of course, enmity between Eastern and Western Ukrainians to see that divisions between national populations are the norm.  The USA even had a civil war over  it.

There is none of that it Australia.  So by international standards, the case for Australians being a race is unusually strong.  And they are a race that has an entire continent to themselves!  Nice!

So being an Australian is NOT "inclusive" except in the sense of nationality.  For that reason some younger people do avoid the usage.

I think they are mistaken, however.  Everybody does not have to be included in everything.  Because there are some lepers does that mean that we all have to get leprosy? Australians are just another ethnic group -- and we all allow that those exist. Nobody minds referring to Jews as Jews yet, with their many internal schisms (Ashkenazim, Sephardim, Mizrachim etc) Jews have a rather lesser claim on an ethic identity than the very homogeneous "Australian" population has.  And we even have our own commandments!

Business angry as S.A. wind turbines suck more power than they generate

Wind turbines in South Australia were using more power than they generated during the state’s electricity crisis, which has prompted major businesses to threaten shutdowns and smaller firms to consider moving interstate.

The sapping of power by the turbines during calm weather on July 7 at the height of the ­crisis, which has caused a price surge, shows just how unreliable and ­intermittent wind power is for a state with a renewable ­energy mix of more than 40 per cent. Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox ­yesterday said the rise in prices, ­already the highest in the country, had disrupted industry and served as a warning for the rest of the ­­­­nat­ion. “That is a serious blow to energy users across SA and has disrupted supply chains upon which thousands of jobs depend,” he said.

“The real risk is if this volatility becomes the norm across the ­National Electricity Market.

“In June, electricity cost South Australia $133 per megawatt hour on average — already a high price. But since July 1, electricity prices have spiked above $10,000 per MWh at times.”

Mr Willox echoed warnings of the South Australian government on the weekend, saying “We will see similar episodes again, and not just in SA”, and backing calls for major reform of the NEM.

“Changes in the pattern of ­energy demand and the ongoing build-up of wind and solar make life increasingly difficult for ‘baseload’ electricity generators across the country,” he said.

The power crisis comes amid growing pressure from independent senator Nick Xenophon to invest hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars into struggling South Australian businesses to save jobs, and as the Turnbull government attempts to establish a hi-tech ­submarine manufacturing industry in the state.

An analysis of data from the Australian Energy Market Operator, responsible for the administration and operation of the wholesale NEM, shows the turbines’ down time on July 7 coincided with NEM prices for South Australia reaching almost $14,000 per MWh

NEM prices in other markets have been as low as $40 per MWh with the AI Group estimating this month’s power surge in South Australian electricity prices had cost $155 million.

While all wind farms in South Australia were producing about 5780MW between 6am and 7am, by 1pm the energy generation was in deficit as the turbines consumed more power than they created. By mid-afternoon, energy generation by all wind farms was minus-50MW.

The situation forced several major companies, including BHP Billiton and Arrium, to warn the state government of possible shutdowns because of higher energy prices, forcing Treasurer and ­Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis to intervene by asking a private operator of a mothballed gas-fired plant in Adelaide for a temporary power spike.

BHP, which employs about 3000 people at its Olympic Dam mine in the state’s far north, said its operations in South Australia were under a cloud.  “The security and reliability of power have been a significant ­concern for BHP Billiton and the sustainability of Olympic Dam,” the miner’s head of corporate ­affairs, Simon Corrigan, said.

Opposition energy spokesman Dan van Holst Pellekaan said the snapshot of wind power operations in the state showed the Labor government’s energy policies had created an oversupply of cheap wind energy at times but that forced it to import from interstate when prices shot up.  “This wouldn’t be a problem if we still had a reasonable amount of base load generation but we don’t,” he said.

Mr Koutsantonis yesterday said improved interconnection for a “truly national electricity ­market” would drive prices down immediately. Federal Energy Minster Josh Frydenberg declined to be interviewed yesterday, but said he would convene a Council of Australian Governments meeting as soon as possible.

Not everyone is unhappy — farmer Peter Ebsary hosts four turbines from the Snowtown wind farm in South Australia’s mid north. The wind farm, owned by TrustPower, is the state’s largest.

“We get a financial return and don’t have to do anything ... we just sit back and collect the money as long as the wind blows,” he said.


School bans clapping and allows students ‘silent cheers’ or air punching but only when teachers agree

WTF is silent cheering?

CLAPPING has been banned at a Sydney primary school which has introduced “silent cheering”, “pulling excited faces” and “punching the air” to respect students who are “sensitive to noise”.

The school now only allows its pupils “to conduct a silent cheer” when prompted by teachers and says the practice “reduces fidgeting”.

Elanora Heights Public School, which is on Sydney’s northern beaches, announced its new “silent cheer” policy in its latest school newsletter.

The latest example of a political correctness outbreak in Australian schools, which have banned hugging, singing Christmas carols, celebrating Australia Day and singing the word “black” in the nursery rhyme “baa baa black sheep”.

The ban on clapping at Elanora Heights Primary School emerged on the same day that an exclusive girls school banned teachers from calling “ladies” or “women” in favour of “gender-neutral” terms.

In its July 18 newsletter, the Elanora school has published an item under the headline “Did you know” that “our school has adopted silent cheers at assembly’s” (sic).

“If you’ve been to a school assembly recently, you may have noticed our students doing silent cheers,” the item reads.

“Instead of clapping, the students are free to punch the air, pull excited faces and wriggle about on the spot.

“The practice has been adopted to respect members of our school community who are sensitive to noise.

“When you attend an assembly, teachers will prompt the audience to conduct a silent cheer if it is needed.

“Teachers have also found the silent cheers to be a great way to expend children’s energy and reduce fidgeting.”

The ban follows a direction at exclusive Cheltenham Girls High School in northwest Sydney for teachers to avoid discrimination and support LGBTI students by avoiding the words “girls”, “ladies” or “women”.

Elanora Heights Public School’s ban on clapping in favour of silent cheering comes after several schools have banned hugging.

In April, hugging was banned at a Geelong primary school and children were told to find other ways to show affection.

St Patricks Primary School principal John Grant said “nothing in particular” had caused hugging to be replaced by high fiving or “a knuckle handshake”.

“But in this current day and age we are really conscious about protecting kids and teaching them from a young age that you have to be cautious,” Mr Grant said.

He said he had spoken to teachers about his decision to ban hugging and then the teachers had spoken to classes, instructing the children on different methods of showing affection. He had not sent any correspondence home to parents but said there would now be a letter going home on Monday.

“There’s a range of methods including a high five or a particular knuckle handshake where they clunk knuckles as a simple way of saying ‘well done’,” Mr Grant said. “There are also verbal affirmations and acknowledgments.”

Children at the school have been enthusiastic huggers, he said, with hugs given out to teachers and other children.

“We have a lot of kids who walk up and hug each other and we’re trying to encourage all of us to respect personal space,” Mr Grant said. “It really comes back to not everyone is comfortable in being hugged.”


Wicked vans with offensive slogans banned under proposed legislation

The Palaszczuk government has found a way to get Wicked camper vans' offensive slogans off Queensland roads - unless the company cleans up its act.

After first indicating a review into the state's anti-discrimination act could potentially tackle the problem - a review the Queensland Law Reform Commission never began - the government then looked to the recommendations of a parliamentary committee inquiry carried out under the Newman government.
The Palaszczuk Government has found a way to get Wicked camper vans' offensive slogans off Queensland roads- unless the ...
The Palaszczuk Government has found a way to get Wicked camper vans' offensive slogans off Queensland roads- unless the company cleans up its act. Photo: MARION VAN DIJK

That inquiry recommended the Australian Association of National Advertisers be given statutory authority to force compliance, if companies were found to have breached codes or standards.

But Yvette D'Ath has found an even stronger solution. The Attorney-General will introduce legislation which will see commercial registration holders "who fail to comply with determinations by the Advertising Standards Bureau" face having the registration of those vehicles cancelled.

"I understand clearly the level of community concern about the vulgar, crass and offensive slogans that have been displayed on some commercial vehicles in Queensland and other parts of Australia," Ms D'Ath said.

"They have been subject to frequent complaints to the Advertising Standards Board.

"When the ASB has deemed those slogans to be offensive, the typical response from the holders of those commercial vehicle registrations has been deafening silence.

"Now if they refuse to remove the offensive slogans, their vehicles will be off the road."

Working in conjunction with the Department of Transport and the ASB, Ms D'Ath said the solution allowed the advertising watchdog to maintain its power, but gave any adverse finding teeth.

"The owners of these vehicles are in business, and some may see the offence and outrage they cause as a form of free publicity," she said, in answer to why she refused to name the notorious company, which has been banned from some caravan parks, as well as the focus of national petitions," she said.

"Now they have a strong financial incentive to comply with the ASB, because I they don't, their vehicles will be unregistered, off the road, and unable to generate revenue.  Should they attempt to relocate their business interstate, I would encourage other jurisdictions to consider similar laws so that these offensive slogans cannot continue to be displayed.

"This is a solution that imposes minimal additional regulatory burden."

The government hopes to have the legislation in front of the parliament by the end of the year, but said she hoped the owners "of these commercial vehicle registrations" would "see the writing on the wall and get this offensive writing off their vehicles."

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

1 comment:

PB said...

The clapping ban is strange, but I'm gonna offer a half defence of it. So many kids now have some kind of Autism-spectrum condition going on that it would hard to imagine from an outsider point of view how many have what level of condition in any given school. A feature of These disorders is tinnitus and hyperacusis which is a collapsed tolerance to everyday sound. I know because I have it myself and I can assure you that it is VERY hard to live with, even without the autistic side of things going on. Being surrounded by a room full of clapping, yelling kids would be a painful, brain-cutting, panic inducing moment for these sufferers. I'm not saying that its a good idea, and there are much simpler ways of dealing with the problem IF this is what is driving this idea (and nowadays that's a big IF), but it may be that this is one reason for it.