Monday, October 17, 2016

Socialist stupidity never stops

THEY have names like Murray, Wood, Casey and Burke. A few know the national anthem, and a couple of their relatives fought at Gallipoli, but they’re not Australian.

Their ancestors were disgruntled bushmen, shearers and unionists, who left the sunburnt country to create a socialist colony in South America in 1893.

New Australia was supposed to be utopia — a place where no-one drank, no-one cheated, and all men were equal — but it took less than two years to fall to pieces.

“They’re not 100 per cent Paraguayan, and they're certainly not recognised by Australia any more,” Dr Ben Stubbs told “There’s that impression that they’re stuck.”

The colony was led by an Englishman with a drooping moustache called William Lane.

He was a charismatic and intelligent man who liked to press buttons.

Lane grew up in England with an alcoholic father, and even though he was a hard line teetotaller, he once famously posed as a drunk to get thrown into a jail, writing a newspaper report that caused national controversy.

He was also infatuated with socialist ideals, and when he sailed to Australia in 1885, he became heavily involved in the formation of the Australian Labor Federation.

However, according to biographer Gavin Souter, it wasn’t until thousands of Queensland shearers went on strike in 1891 that he seriously considered the idea of a socialist settlement.

The protests were swiftly crushed by government soldiers, and Lane decided there could be no real change without a complete restructure of society.

His radical notion split the Labor Federation. The majority went on to form the modern Australian Labor Party, currently led by Bill Shorten. Lane and his followers set sail for Paraguay.


The promised land was 187,000 hectares in the jungle, and the first contingent arrived in 1893.

At the time, Paraguay was trying to rebuild itself after the Triple Alliance War — which saw nearly all its men wiped out by the armies of Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay — and the government offered Lane a parcel of free land in a desperate attempt to repopulate.

The land was swampy and full of parasites, but they quickly set about clearing jungle, buying cattle, and establishing a township.

It didn’t take long for them to tire of Lane’s strict rules.

“He ordered his men to have nothing to do with native women and forbade them drowning their sorrows in alcohol,” journalist Eric Campbell said in a 2006 Foreign Correspondent report.

According to Gavin Souter, Lane showed absolutely no compromise.

“He was autocratic, and under pressure his simplistic communism and mateship developed a non-denominational but distinctly religious tinge.”


It was only a matter of months before the cracks appeared.

“What were they supposed to do? Now you dump a bunch of Scots, Irishmen, [and] Australians in the land of the sugar cane. Christ, I bet that they didn’t take off their shoes and they were already making moonshine,” descendant Robin Wood told the ABC.

Much to Lane’s horror, the men were also extremely interested in the local women, and by the time the second contingent arrived in 1894, there was trouble in paradise.

The colony was barely self-sufficient. A number of settlers left to seek a better standard of living, others were expelled for breaches of conduct.

Eventually, Lane and a group of about 60 loyal followers left to start a fresh settlement called Cosme — but in 1899, he gave up altogether.

“You must call it more than a cooperative, it was purely communistic,” said Dame Mary Gilmore, the famous poet who appears on Australia’s $10 note.

She lived in New Australia until 1899, and spoke about it in a 1959 television interview.

“I wouldn’t say it was a success, but I certainly don’t say it was a failure,” she said.


No joking, even Australians would vote for a Donald Trump

Who supports him? That is the question so many Australians are asking about Donald Trump. Who supports a man who says what he says, and does what he does?

Only in America!

But wait. Imagine, if you dare, the prospect of Trump running for office right here in Australia. ­Imagine him, astride the Aust­ralian political landscape in that loose suit, and that ridiculous baseball cap, in all his golden-haired glory.

Would he have supporters?

Oh yes. Trump would absolutely have supporters in Australia, and they wouldn’t be cave-­dwellers and swamp-rompers and knuckle-draggers. They’d be ­people you know, and people you like, and people like you. They may even be you.

Because who are Trump’s supporters, really? Beyond the caricatures, they are mostly people who are tired of being told what to think and what to do. Also tired of being told how awful they are.

How ignorant, and racist, and sexist, and … yes, how deplorable they are.

To expand on that: the average Australian doesn’t think he’s ­racist, mainly because if he’s not a wog himself, then his parents are wogs, or else the neighbours are, or his boss at work, or his colleagues, yet he’s forever being told he’s a racist and, frankly, he’s put out by that.

The average Australian worries about radical Islam — he thinks you’d be crazy not to, given New York and Bali and Brussels and Paris and Nice — and he’s amazed to hear that makes him a bigot.

The average Australian sees somebody like Network Ten star Waleed Aly and thinks: that bloke seems to have done all right for himself. He’s got a column in the Fairfax newspapers, and his own TV show, and the Gold Logie. Then he gets told that Aly has been able to succeed only despite crippling racism, for which the average Australian is of course ­responsible.

This makes him feel aggrieved.

The average Australian sees himself as a generous individual, happy to put his hand in his pocket to pay for things such as Aboriginal health services — $1 billion a year and counting — and he’s astounded by the fact nothing ever improves, and that this is, of course, his fault. The average Australian couldn’t care less what anyone does in the privacy of their own bedroom — gay, straight, whatever — yet he’s apparently so ­vicious a homophobe that he can’t be trusted with a marriage equality plebiscite because he’s got such an ugly heart.

The average Australian hears this and he thinks: me? I’m just trying to get on with my life. And so when somebody like Pauline Hanson, with her quaver, or ­Trump, with his sniff, takes the stage, he thinks: these people make sense to me.
Trump supporters pray during a campaign rally in Ocala, Florida.

Trump supporters pray during a campaign rally in Ocala, Florida.

So, sure, Trump would have supporters. Would he get elected? That would depend on where he stood. To the Senate, almost certainly.


Lessons on ‘male privilege’ in $21.8m Victorian schools program

As usual, feminists think that demonizing men will help women.  It is more likely to make men angry and thus hurt women.  But logic and evidence doesn't come into it for feminists.  Only their hatreds matter to them

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.

The Victorian government will push ahead with the rollout of its $21.8 million respectful relationships education program, despite claims the program fails to consider the multiple and complex drivers of family violence, ignores male victims and amounts to the brainwashing of children.

Evidence has emerged the program risks alienating men — by presenting all men as “bad” and all women as “victims” — a point highlighted in a report evaluating a pilot of the program in 19 schools last year.

As part of its broader campaign against family violence, the Andrews government has released a series of new resources aimed at kindergarten through to Year 12 classes designed to complement a “whole-of-school” approach to violence prevention.

The Resilience, Rights and Respectful Relationships learning materials aim to encourage gender equity in relationships and challenge gender stereotypes, which are key drivers of ­violence against women, it is claimed.

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.

“An awareness of the existence of male privilege is critical in understanding why there is a need for feminist perspectives, and education on gender at all,” the curriculum guide points out.

It also introduces students to the term “hegemonic masculinity”, which is defined as the dominant form of masculinity in society that “requires boys and men to be heterosexual, tough, athletic and emotionless, and ­encourages the control and dominance of men over women”.

Jeremy Sammut, a senior ­research fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies, criticised the program, calling it ­“taxpayer-funded indoctrination” of children.

“The idea behind this program — that all men are latent abusers by nature of the ‘discourse’ — is an idea that only cloistered feminist academics could love,” Dr Sammut told The Australian. “A lot of evidence suggests that like child abuse, domestic ­violence is a byproduct of social dysfunction: welfare, drugs, family breakdown.”

Kevin ­Donnelly, a senior research fellow at the Australian Catholic University, said the program was biased and lacked objectivity and balance. “There’s no doubt that women are overwhelmingly the victims of domestic violence and more needs to be done,” Dr Donnelly said.

“The royal commission found that 25 per cent of victims of family violence are men and there’s little, if anything, in there that acknowledges the impact of violence on men and young boys.”

Hannah Grant, a spokeswoman for Our Watch, which ­man­aged the pilot and carried out the evaluation, acknowledged there had been tension in some schools and statistics demonstrating the gendered nature of violence often prompted challenging ­discussion. “Feedback suggested that the whole-school briefing had a varied impact within and across schools,” she said.

Education Minister James Merino dismissed concerns over the program. “We will not stand by while one woman in Australia is killed every week through domestic violence,” Mr Merlino said.  “It’s ­astounding anyone could think teaching our kids about respect for other people is a bad thing.”


I was wrong on NBN: It’s a turkey

Alan Kohler
Unhappily, Australia’s national broadband network is a white elephant and, to mix metaphors, an albatross around the nation’s neck.

I say this by way of mea culpa: your correspondent was an enthusiastic supporter of it in the early days. I thought the fibre-to-the-home plan was a piece of courageous and visionary policymaking all too rare in Australia, and booed what I thought was the Coalition’s penny-pinching, politically motivated decision to cut it back to fibre-to-the-node.

It’s now clear that my colleague Stephen Bartholomeusz was right all along: the thing is a dud, a donkey, a pasty pachyderm, and it would have been much worse if the original FTTH plan had gone ahead.

Bevan Slattery, a serial builder of fibre networks (PIPE Networks, which he sold to TPG Telecom, and now Superloop) threw a metaphorical glass of water in my face recently, when he said the NBN was “like watching a car crash in slow motion”. “It’s going to be to the most expensive and least utilised broadband network in the developed world.”

TPG’s share price crashed from $12 to $8.50 after its results came out last month, and has since kept falling to below $8, because it has now dawned on the market for the first time how much more the NBN will cost in wholesale access charges than Telstra’s ADSL.

The numbers are simple, and inescapable. The NBN will end up costing $50 billion, of which $30bn is government equity and $20bn will be debt, still to be raised.

After about 2020, it will have eight million customers. At the moment the average access charge is $43 per month (versus Telstra’s $15 a month for ADSL, which is why TPG’s share price crashed).

By 2020, that $43 can perhaps be got up to $50, so $600 a year. Total revenue, therefore, of $4.8bn.

Telstra has to be paid about $2bn a year in rent for its pipes and ducts, and the cost of running the NBN and maintaining the network is expected to be about $1bn a year. Assuming interest on the debt of $800m (at 4 per cent), that leaves a net profit of $1.2bn, or 4 per cent return on equity of $30bn.

To sell the network, as it intends, the government would probably need to write it down by $20bn so the ROE is 10 per cent.

And even then it will be a hard sell because of the high wholesale access price that would have to be charged, and the likely competition by then from 5G wireless.

Is Slattery right that it will be the most expensive network in the developed world?

Not even close. According to a cost-of-living database published by a website called Numbeo, the most expensive broadband is in Ethiopia — $US197.71 per month.

Australia’s monthly price on this list is $US52.85, and based on the today’s NBN access price of $43 ($US32.25), it could still be that price with the NBN as network wholesaler — as long as it is only earning an ROE of 4 per cent.

The problem comes if, or rather when, the NBN has to earn a commercial return. To make an ROE of 10 per cent, the NBN Co would need to charge $73 per month, or $US55.

A reseller margin of 40 per cent would take the Australian retail broadband price to $US77, which is more than Cuba’s $US72.50, but less than Bolivia’s $US81. And it’s an awful lot more than Britain’s $US25.95, where broadband network construction has been left to (the private) British Telecom.

That’s why TPG’s share price is down 30 per cent: it will be lucky to get a margin of 10 per cent, and even then it will be vulnerable to competition from wireless.

What’s to be done? Nothing. As an NBN insider told me with a rueful shrug this week: “We are where we are.”

Sorry about that.


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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