Sunday, October 16, 2016

Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott says Donald Trump's policies are 'reasonable enough' - and calls his supporters 'decent people'

Former Australian Prime Minster Tony Abbott has jumped to the defence of Donald Trump's supporters and has even claimed his policies are 'reasonable'.

U.S. Republican candidate Donald Trump has been feeling the heat of the presidential race after his lewd remarks - from a decade ago - caught him in hot water and now finds himself trailing Democratic leader Hillary Clinton by double-digits.

But the former Australian PM is a self-confessed admirer of America and backs most of Mr Trump's policies and his supporters, according to the SMH.

'Many of the Trump positions are reasonable enough,' he said.

Mr Trump's supporters were maligned by Hillary Clinton, when she called half of them a 'basket of deplorables' and were labelled 'racict, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic'.

Mrs Clinton was forced to apologise and Mr Abbott jumped to the defence of the supporters claiming they are citizens who yearn for change and are following a leader they believe can make this happen.

'The point that I want to make is that the vast majority of Trump supporters are not deplorables, they really aren't,' he said.

'They are decent people who want to see change inside their country and that's fair enough.'

However, Mr Abbott condemned Mr Trump's remarks in a recent video that caught him referring to women in an appalling demeanor, back in 2005.

He described the tapes as, 'gross beyond belief' and 'indefensible', on Sky News this past Wednesday night.

Mr Abbott's defence of Mr Trump comes in sharp contrast to Labor leader Bill Shorten who broke the political mold to lambaste the potential U.S. president.

Mr Shorten launched a scathing attack on Mr Trump claiming he was 'entirely unsuitable' to lead the U.S. and even called his positions as 'barking mad'.


Competitive forces in school education
Jennifer Buckingham

Funding changes are not the only threats non-government schools will need to have on their radars in the next decade. School enrolment data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that after four decades of relentless growth, the proportion of students in independent schools has slowed substantially.

The number of students in the independent sector has continued to increase, but the other sectors have begun to regain some territory. The patterns are different for primary and secondary schools. At primary level, government schools have had an uptick in enrolment share for the first time since the 1970s, whereas secondary school growth has been greatest in Catholic schools.

This is arguably a good thing. For competition to be beneficial -- either by raising quality or lowering costs, or both -- it has to work in both directions. Growth in one sector alone over a long period of time creates stagnation; the waning sector is not responding effectively, and the prevailing sector becomes complacent.

Independent schools have been able to maintain their respected and valued position as educational leaders through a combination of strong and visible achievement and, for some schools, a large element of prestige.

But parents are becoming savvy consumers of education. Thanks to the My School website and various other sources of information about comparing schools, parents are able to weigh up school performance in NAPLAN versus the cost commitment of school fees. Of course, NAPLAN is not the only measure of school value, but it provides a hitherto missing piece of the puzzle.

There are also other potential disruptors. The success of free schools and academies in England is arousing the interest of policy makers, and the example of New Zealand's Partnership Schools has been instructive. Free schools and Partnership Schools were inspired by charter schools in the US. They are privately-operated schools that are fully publicly funded. They cannot charge fees and are usually not selective. This combination of independent management (with a high level of accountability) and the absence of fees will be an appealing prospect for many parents.

A healthy and high quality non-government school sector is an important part of the education landscape. But it should not be assumed that the circumstances of the past will be continued into the future.


It’s time for me to face the truth – I am no longer a feminist

Trisha Jha

This is a big deal for someone who was heavily involved with the Women’s Collective at university and helped to organise SlutWalk Canberra in 2011 (though I attended armed with a John Stuart Mill-inspired placard).

It’s been a long time coming – no-platforming, abuse of safe spaces, trigger warnings, microaggressions, you name it. Ideas that were once useful in improving understanding of gender and feminist issues are now instead being used to shut down discussion, rather than enlighten it.

So it’s with dismay rather than despair I read this morning’s Australian, which broke the news that Victorian high school students are going to learn about male privilege:

Victorian students will be taught about “male privilege” and how “masculinity” encourages “control and dominance” over women, as part of a mandatory new school subject aimed at combating family violence…

While the program refers to “gender-based violence”, the overriding emphasis is on men being the perpetrators of violent acts. Proposed lessons will introduce students to the concept of “privilege”, which is described as “automatic, unearned benefits bestowed upon dominant groups” based on “gender, sexuality, race or socio-economic class”.

“Being born a male, you have advantages — such as being overly represented in the public sphere — and this will be true whether you personally approve or think you are entitled to this privilege,” states guidance for the Years 7 and 8 curriculum,” it says.

By Years 11 and 12, students are asked to examine their privilege and ways that “equity” can be encouraged, such as catch-up programs, special benefits or entitlements for those who are not considered privileged.

As my colleague Dr Jeremy Sammut pointed out, this is indeed an example of “taxpayer-funded indoctrination” that ignores the complex social problems that inform domestic and family violence.

More than that, it’s truly sad that a program originally labelled “Respectful Relationships”, instead inspires alienation, and peddles guilt and shame, when put in practice.

Rather than telling boys and girls as young as 12 that boys are “privileged” and girls are “victims”, would it not be better to teach them how to have a healthy, independent sense of self that is more resistant to peer pressure and social messaging about what it is to be an “ideal” man or woman?

But this is more just a wasted opportunity – there is potential for real harm. A focus on ‘control and dominance’ and ‘hegemonic masculinity’, so distant from the lived experience of teenagers who have grown up around family violence where abusive behaviours are seen as the norm, is more likely to result in a dismissive attitude to the whole idea. For students whose understanding of communication and non-violent conflict resolution within intimate relationships is imperfect, this simply means they are more likely to grow into adults who struggle — and perhaps even resort to abusive behaviours themselves.

If the goal is to stop domestic violence at the start, as those federally-funded ads tell us, then it’s difficult to imagine a worse way to do it than this – cooked up by academic experts on gender theory, dished out by teachers who may not know how to effectively communicate nuance, and served to teens at a key stage in their maturation into adults.


ABC's Chris Uhlmann says 'vigilante mob' abuses him online over alleged rightwing bias

After row over coverage of South Australia power failure, political editor says he stands up to a ‘bag of intolerant bastards’ that criticise him from both sides

The ABC’s political editor Chris Uhlmann said there was an online “vigilante mob” who loved to attack him for what they perceive as his rightwing bias.

“Quite frankly, there is now this vigilante mob that exists online, that basically congregates the minute it smells blood,” Uhlmann told Guardian Australia after he was criticised for linking the South Australian blackout to the state’s use of renewable energy.

“For whatever reason, years ago, they decided that in their estimation I was too conservative to be on the ABC. Isn’t that the bottom line, that these people think that?”

Conversely, the former 7.30 and AM host said, he was subjected to jibes from another group who assume he is a Labor supporter because he is married to Gai Brodtmann, Labor MP for the seat of Canberra.

Uhlmann said the two groups “don’t read each other” so criticise him from a different perspective: “There [is] a group of people who think that my marriage proves that I’m a Labor party supporter.”

Uhlmann, 56, said his reputation as a rightwinger at the ABC had sprung from his earlier career, first as a seminarian and then as a political candidate and staffer with a conservative independent in the ACT legislative assembly.

Uhlmann stood unsuccessfully for a seat in 1998 on a ticket with Christian independent Paul Osborne, and then worked as his senior adviser. Later that year he joined the ABC in Canberra.

But that same experience, he said, has also informed his response to his critics.

“It’s like living in the 12th century and saying, ‘Look, I believe in God, I read the Bible, I go to church. I just have a few issues with the bishops and the inquisitors,’ ” he said.

“Having come from the church I recognise these people. This is the same bag of intolerant bastards that I used to deal with when I was in the seminary. It’s that ‘outside the church there is no salvation’ [attitude].”

Separately he said the critics were “absolutely not” getting him down and he was intent on taking them on.

“It’s [like] the kid who grew up having to change school every two years and was bullied in the playground and was a coward for his whole life, basically,” he said. “Who got to a point in secondary school where he thought, you know what? They might beat the shit out of me but I’m going to fight.

“They did beat the shit out of me but I felt a whole lot better about myself.”

In an interview with the Canberra Times in 2014, Uhlmann described himself as “more conservative” than his wife and said they disagreed on the repeal of section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act: “It’s an insidious, creeping assault on free speech.”

He said online critics read his Wikipedia profile and assumed he is on the conservative side. “Isn’t that saying that there is an expectation in the left that everybody in the ABC actually is from the left?

“I, once upon a time, considered myself middle of the road ... My father started out as a communist, ended up as dyed-in-the-wool Labor and died basically by returning to being a communist. That was the family that I came out of.

“When I was growing up all the Catholics I knew were Labor party voters … and I didn’t think that people were anything but Catholic or voted Labor. And I am married to a Labor member of parliament.”

Uhlmann said critics jumped on an interview he conducted with the then Greens leader, Bob Brown, in 2011 on 7.30. A complainant to the media watchdog, the Australian Communication and Media Authority (Acma) said he had “aggressively” interrupted Brown.

The ABC stood by the interview and Acma later cleared it of bias.

Uhlmann: “I asked him several times in an interview on 7.30 how he would replace the $50bn in lost revenue. People got very angry about that. That was a complaint that went all the way … I think we got 500 complaints after that.”

The ABC has received 180 complaints about the coverage of the South Australian blackout, including the analysis by Uhlmann on News 24 and online which some viewers thought was too quick to blame renewable energy in the states.


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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