Friday, September 16, 2016

Don't marginalise Pauline Hanson again, John Howard warns

Former prime minister John Howard has warned it would be wrong to repeat the mistake of 20 years ago and try to marginalise Pauline Hanson and her supporters.

Senator Hanson caused a stir last night with her first speech declaring Australia is in danger of being swamped with Muslims - 20 years after making the same warning about Asians.

Mr Howard told ABC TV, Senator Hanson was entitled to be treated in a respectful fashion by the rest of parliament.

"In relation to Pauline Hanson, the mistake that was made 20 years ago of trying to demonise her and demonise her supporters should not be repeated," Mr Howard said.

John Howard says Pauline Hanson is entitled to be treated in a respectful fashion. He argued that people who voted for Senator Hanson were not racists or bigots and did not vote for her because of their views on immigration.

"They voted for her because they're unhappy with the mainstream political parties," Mr Howard said.

"A form of disillusionment or protest vote, yes."

It reflected poorly on the Greens that they walked out early, he said.


Migrants bringing parents to Australia should wear cost, Productivity Commission says

Pauline's influence?

Migrants who bring their parents to Australia should be responsible for their living costs as part of an overhaul to family reunion visas, a Productivity Commission report has recommended.

The report found family reunion visas need to be restricted for parents of migrants, with the average older age and shorter time in the workforce costing the health and welfare system billions of dollars.

Under the recommended changes, a temporary visa for parents would allow them to stay for a longer period of time as long as the sponsoring child met the necessary health and income costs during their stay.

The report also said criteria for non-contributory parent visas should be narrowed to cases where there were "strong compassionate grounds".

Migration Council Australia chief executive Carla Wilshire welcomed the report, and said it was comprehensive and well balanced. "I think it makes some excellent points about recalibrating what some of the economic advantages are of migration," she said.

But Ms Wilshire said she had concerns about the commission's recommended changes to the migrant parents visa system. "I think we need to be careful and do a comprehensive community consultation," she said.

"For a lot of migrant families, separation from parents is a particularly difficult part."

The chairman of the Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils of Australia, Joseph Caputo noted the system governing migrant parents' visas was already highly regulated.  "We are disappointed they are recommending tightening up the already very strict regulations in place for bringing parents into the country," he said.

Mr Caputo also highlighted the indirect benefits that parents brought to their migrant children upon arrival. "Many grandparents provide much needed childcare for their working children," he said.

"They can also contribute in other ways, including helping the family settle in Australia without the worry of an elderly parent alone overseas."


Malcolm Turnbull dumps super changes that would have forced wealthy Australians to pay more tax on contributions over $500,000

The Turnbull government has bowed to internal party pressure and altered a significant measure in its plan to overhaul superannuation tax breaks.

The planned $500,000 lifetime non-concessional cap on fund balances, backdated to 2007, has been dumped.

The controversial measure, which sparked an angry backlash from sections of the Liberal party in the run-up to the federal election, will be replaced by annual cap of $100,000.

Those aged under 65 will still be able to 'bring forward' three years' worth of non-concessional contributions but those with super balances of more than $1.6 million won't.

The new package will also keep a work test in place for those aged 65 to 74, saving the budget $180 million, and defers starting catch-up concessional contributions by one year until July 2018.

It is believed the changes will come at a cost of $400 million to the budget.

The measures were about ensuring superannuation tax concessions were not being used as a tax-incentivised estate planning vehicle, Treasurer Scott Morrison told reporters in Canberra on Thursday

'It also ensures that Australians are supported to maximise their retirement balances in the pension phase of superannuation where they access tax-free earnings,' he said.

'These measures make the superannuation system even fairer, even more flexible and even more sustainable.'

Mr Morrison said he had spoken to shadow treasurer Chris Bowen and offered a detailed briefing, but expressed confidence the package would now clear parliament.

'These measures remove any remaining impediment or barrier for the government's budget superannuation package to now receive bipartisan support in this parliament,' Mr Morrison said.

The legislation, backed by cabinet and the coalition party room, would be introduced by the end of the year.

Financial Services Minister Kelly O'Dwyer said the government would like to be able to do more for older workers in the future, when the budget allowed.

'We need this package to wash its face ... we need to have that discipline and we have demonstrated that discipline by making some difficult choices,' she said.

She said 96 per cent of Australians would be better off or unaffected by the changes.

One of the coalition backbenchers critical of the initial plans, George Christensen, says the changes go even further than he had hoped.

The Nationals MP had proposed doubling the lifetime contribution cap to $1 million but said the new plan to do away with it altogether was 'one step better'.

'This really does seal the deal and as such, I can say I am 100 per cent supportive of the new superannuation reforms that we will take to parliament and I will no longer be crossing the floor, ' he told reporters in Canberra.

This comes as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is preparing to head to New York for talks on the economy and refugees. 

In a series of interviews to mark the anniversary of his becoming prime minister, Mr Turnbull spruiked Australia's 3.3 per cent economic growth rate and was positive about delivering on his election promises.


Identity politics and populism

 Jeremy Sammut

An online newspaper marked the first sitting of the federal parliament by encouraging readers to enter some basic personal information into a search engine.

The results told you how well you were represented in parliament -- based on the number of MPs and senators who reflected your age, gender, sexual preferences, education, ethnic and religious details.

This is an insight into what passes for democracy in the age of identity politics: only those with 'lived experience' are seen as able to legitimately represent the best interests of identity group x, y, or z.

This was also the theme of some of the coverage of some maiden speeches. The gist was that finally minority groups were better represented in parliament due to the identities of some of the new parliamentarians.

This isn't a bad thing, of course. Minorities standing for parliament and getting elected on their merits is a great victory for and measure of the depth of community tolerance and acceptance.

But at a time when Establishment politics is facing a crisis of legitimacy in many western countries, I'm not sure that the political/media class focusing on identity politics is particularly helpful. I suspect it helps widen the gulf between elites and the masses.

The subtext behind the obsession with 'respect' for difference is that ordinary people are bigoted and need to be lectured to by their 'betters' and  have 'diversity' rammed down their throat for their own good.

The default cultural attitude of many 'insiders' encourages 'outsiders' to turn away and vote for the kind of populists who love to take cheap -- if often unerringly accurate -- pot-shots at 'out of touch' politicians.


Muslim is appealing for answers after accounts for his charity MATW Project were shut down

No great mystery here.  Money from Muslim charities has been siphoned off in support of terrorism in the past and the CBA doesn't want to be accused of facilitating that

THE founder of a Muslim charity, Ali Banat, said he was given just 30 days to remove his funds from each of his three charity and personal accounts with no justification provided by the bank.

“In my opinion the Commonwealth Bank have decided to close all our accounts because this is a Muslim charity working for the Muslim community,” Mr Banat said.

Muslims Around The World works to provide aid to Muslim communities across Africa and was established late in 2015 after the former Greenacre business man was diagnosed with cancer.

“I’ve had millions go through the bank with my previous business but as soon as I start a charity called Muslims Around The World my accounts get stopped and my EFTPOS machines are taken away from me,” Mr Banat said. “All I want is a reason.”

The local Muslim community has been quick to support the charity, and now, its fight against the banking giant.

Merrylands resident and close friend of Mr Banat, Shai Jacobz Zreika said the prejudice against the charity was disgusting.

“How could they be so heartless as to close accounts for no reason,” he said.

Mr Zreika said he questioned the bank’s ability to target an account holder based on religion.

“We don’t want banks to have a theory in their head, to share it in the world and make it come true,” he said.

“We will be taking legal action — if I have to take it to the highest court in Australia I will.”

Correspondence from the bank offers little insight for the charity, who is now flagged as a risk in future banking relations.

A statement received by Mr Banat reads, “the Bank recognises the closure of your account(s) may cause you inconvenience. Accordingly, the Bank gives you 30 days notice ... You will not be able to open any new accounts with the Bank”.

The charity has taken to social media to share their message across the globe.

A video posted by Mr Banat asking for answers has clocked up over 5,000 shares since it was posted on August 30.

“I am a fully registered organisation and do not support terrorism,” Mr Banat wrote.

“We house innocent African children and widows. I have tried to call the bank and get an explanation however no explanation can be provided simply ‘commercial decision to cease banking relationship’”

More than $300,000 was raised for the charity’s project to provide animals to families for sacrifice in the Muslim celebration of Eid.

Their work extends to Burkina Faso, Togo, Ghana and Benin and Mr Banat hopes to fund development of entire villages across poverty-stricken areas in Africa.

Changes to bank accounts is problematic for the charity who says it could stand in the way of donations.

“Changing a bank causes a lot of confusion and stops money from coming in,” he said, “People are frightened to donate in case they lose their money.”

The Commonwealth Bank refused to comment on the individual customer and issued the following statement.

“Commonwealth Bank consistently serves each customer on a case-by-case basis. There are instances where Commonwealth Bank will need to make a decision to end our relationship with a customer and this is always done after very careful consideration and in line with our account terms and conditions.”

Mr Banat started the charity in late 2015 after he was diagnosed with stage four cancer and given just seven months to live.

He says the diagnosis is a gift from Allah and will continue his work to create a legacy and lasting change for less fortunate communities.

To date, he estimates the charity has distributed more than $2.1 million in aid projects.

The MATW has a charitable fundraising license registered since January 7 2016.


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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