Friday, November 25, 2016
Another Trump/Brexit/Hanson event and the Greens have a fit
NSW has a Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, the name of which is self-explanatory. They mainly want an easing of gun laws but you can see similarities with Trump and other recent uprisings against political correctness. They have previously got seats in the NSW Upper House only -- with the help of proportional representation. Now that they have taken a lower house seat it is therefore quite an upset
The NSW MPs of the Australian Greens have chucked one of the most childish and immature tantrums ever seen in any Australian Parliament, after Orange elected Mr Phillip Donato from the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party (SFFP).
The three Greens MPs including Tamara Smith, Jenny Leong and Jamie Parker have announced they do not want to sit with the newly elected MP from the SFFP. Resorting to behaviour better suited to your local primary school, they have asked that Mr Donato be seated with the Labor MPs.
Ms Leong who has clearly been triggered by this event has spoken out and declared that Mr Donato should sit “with his Labor mates,” a swipe at Labor for preferencing the SFFP over the Greens in the by-election. It is clear to see that the Greens are deeply and emotionally scarred by the tragic preferencing deal.
The people have spoken and it is time for the greens to take a big spoonful of cement and harden up. Our parliaments are not places for the weak hearted.
SOURCE. More background on Mr Donato here. He is no rube.
Back to basics phonics test to be rolled out in Australian schools
A five-minute reading check for first-graders that includes made-up words like "beff" and "shup" has dramatically improved early literacy rates in the UK and is set to be adopted in Australia.
The Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham has endorsed new research which suggests the UK's Year 1 phonics screening check should be rolled out across Australian classrooms, after pledging to promote a back-to-basics approach to education in the May budget.
The test would provide data on student literacy levels as well as on how effectively teachers are teaching phonics, according to the report's author, Dr Jennifer Buckingham from the Centre for Independent Studies.
The federal government is threatening to make state education funding contingent on state governments implementing measures like the phonics check, after the current funding deal runs out at the end of next year.
But the Teachers Federation said the screening test was "anti-teacher", because it was based on not trusting teachers to do their jobs properly.
The phonics check was greeted with some controversy when it was introduced in the UK in 2012, with some teachers and parents claiming smart kids were failing the test because they were trying to correct the made-up words they saw in front of them, for example by sounding "strom" as "storm".
But in the years since it was launched, the share of children meeting the expected standard lifted from just over half in 2012 to eight in 10 this year.
Dr Buckingham's report, Focus on Phonics, said the UK's experience showed the check should be trialled in Australia.
She said there was doubt over how well systematic phonics is taught in Australian schools and has been critical of the widespread use of Reading Recovery, which the NSW government recently scrapped.
"Surveys of principals suggest there is not a lot of confidence in new teachers' ability to teach reading – which is extraordinary, because if there's one thing a primary school teacher should leave their initial teaching education with, it should be a high level of ability and training to teach reading," she said.
Literacy as measured by the international Progress in Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) and NAPLAN from Year 3 upwards suggests that the literacy levels of Australian students are persistently low compared with other English-speaking countries.
The check takes 5-7 minutes per child and can be administered by a teacher. It tests students' ability to sound out 40 words, including made-up words to ensure they are not simply remembering sight words.
"This check is a very simple and quick assessment of what children know at a pretty crucial point in their learning, before the gaps start to open up and becomes hard to remediate," Dr Buckingham said.
She is calling for a pilot program to be run in mid-Year 1.
But Maurie Mulheron from the NSW Teachers Federation said: "Her solution is more testing. And really it's a pernicious kind of thing she's saying, that 'I don't trust that teachers are doing the right thing, I don't trust that they're teaching the syllabus, I don't trust that they're using the literacy strategies they say they are, so I'm going to test the children to prove the teachers aren't doing the right thing'.
"It comes from a mindset that is anti-teacher."
Dennis Yarrington, the president of the Australian Primary Principals Association said "I'm a bit concerned with the assertion that teachers are not teaching phonics well, that's a broad statement," he said.
"The APPA would certainly not support any type of standardised year 1 assessment. We need to be identifying things that work in Australia, and we have a number of assessment tools being used in schools across Australia already. But if a school doesn't have something in place, this could be an option for them to trial."
Mr Birmingham discussed the UK's phonics screening check with his UK counterpart Nick Gibb in June. He said "the evidence from Dr Buckingham adds further weight to the need for states and territories to support the evidence-based reforms that the Turnbull government wants to use to leverage our record levels of funding to turn around our declining international education performance."
Mr Birmingham said the phonics check would be discussed with states and territories at the COAG Education Council meeting next month.
The NSW government has already committed $340 million to an early intervention literacy strategy, including a plan to make "quality online literacy and numeracy assessments" available to teachers.
Pauline Hanson has had it with being called a racist
SENATOR Pauline Hanson has declared herself a victim of “reverse racism” and claims she has never said anything that is racist.
The surprising speech was made during a Senate session on Thursday morning where members debated a private bill proposed by One Nation and Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm to decimate Australia’s race-hate laws.
Arguing to remove dealing with prohibition of offensive behaviour based on racial hatred from section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, the One National leader denied that she herself was racist, and said she was fed up or being labelled as one.
“Let’s define the word racism — a racist is a person who believes their race to be superior to another,” she said.
“Understand the meaning, so when you criticise or you have a point of difference, don’t counteract by saying it’s a racist comment.
“I am fed up with people in this parliament, and even outside this house calling me a racist, yet they cannot define one word that I have ever said in policy or anything that is racist.”
Ms Hanson went on to recall a time where she felt she had been victimised because of her race.
“I remember years ago when I was first elected I went to have a meeting with the Aboriginal elders,” she said.
“I remember they came out, they called me a pig in mud and white trash ... the media actually printed it, and when I actually spoke to them about it they said ‘what’s wrong with that?’
“Well imagine if I’d reversed the words, but I never did.”
Ms Hanson said Australians were fed up with “reverse racism”. “It’s become now in Australia, down to reverse racism, that’s why Australians are fed up with it,” she said.
She said the current “point of view” meant that Australians’ freedom of speech had been stifled thanks to discrimination laws protecting certain groups.
“I’m in this chamber, I’m protected. I can say what I like in here, but if I go outside this chamber and say it outside like many Australians, well, you can’t have an opinion. You can’t say anything anymore,” she said.
Ms Hanson also used her time in the Senate to cite her involvement with people of different cultural backgrounds. She listed her first husband who “was actually Polish”, a woman who once managed her fish and chip shop who was “also a refugee from Laos”, and said she had rented properties to an Aboriginal woman and her child.
But while Ms Hanson said she “cherished” her associations with people of different cultures who had “assimilated”, she said she had “had it up to here” with having to be tolerant of people with “no intention of ever becoming Australians”.
But, she added: “I welcome anyone who has come to this country to join us, assimilate and enjoy our way of life.”
Peter Dutton stands by his comments on Lebanese migrants: "Why can’t I talk about the facts?"
IMMIGRATION minister Peter Dutton won’t step back from his comments regarding a small portion of the Lebanese Muslim community.
Australians were “sick” of over the top political correctness, the Minister told media after a Greens Senator said his comments might be factual but they weren’t “productive”.
Mr Dutton rejected suggestions his comments were whipping up racism. Instead, he blamed the “tricky elite”, Opposition leader Bill Shorten and Greens MPs for making the remarks a big deal to win political points.
“I want to have an honest discussion,” he said. “The vast majority of Lebanese Australians are law-abiding, hard working, good decent people who are besmirched by the small element within the community who are doing the wrong thing. “I made that clear.”
Earlier, Greens Senator Nick McKim had attacked Mr Dutton for telling politicians in Question Time on Monday 22 out of the last 33 people charged with terrorist-related offences in Australia were from a second and third generational Lebanese-Muslim background.
“Undoubtedly the advice he’s got is accurate but just because something is fact doesn’t mean that it’s reasonable or productive to talk about it,” Senator McKim said on Sky News.
“What we’ve got is a deliberate attack from Mr Dutton by quoting these numbers on a particular subsection of the Australian community.”
Mr Dutton had been clarifying this comment to a Sky News interview last week: “The reality is Malcolm Fraser did make mistakes in bringing some people in the 1970s and we’re seeing that today.”
On Thursday, Mr Dutton questioned why he couldn’t talk about facts. “Mr McKim gave the game away today when he said ‘What Dutton has said is factual and reasonable but shouldn’t be spoken about’,” he said. “Australians are sick of that. “They want to have an honest discussion.”
Mr Dutton said he condemned anyone who made death threats after Labor MP Anne Aly, a counter-terrorism expert and the first Muslim woman in parliament, yesterday said she had received abuse and death threats following his comments.
“The question she should be asking is of Bill Shorten — why did he seek to whip this up into an issue of political advantage,” he said.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has stood by Mr Dutton but has not directly addressed his remarks.
Turnbull finally pulls off the gloves after Shorten crosses race line
Malcolm Turnbull’s long pent-up hostility to Bill Shorten on character grounds — originating with the “Medicare privatisation” election issue — erupted yesterday in relation to Peter Dutton and Barnaby Joyce.
“He has no regard for the truth,” Turnbull alleged across the despatch box after a question from Shorten. Turnbull accused Shorten of sustained dishonesty, a sentiment he has nursed since the election. The hostility is rampant on the government frontbench that, Dutton aside, seems unable to lay a glove on Shorten as he goes his merry way.
Turnbull’s fury focused on Shorten’s accusations about Dutton yesterday — over claims Dutton did not make and actually repudiated. Turnbull believes Shorten, not Dutton, is the one “harming the fabric of society” over the Lebanese Muslim row.
“You can’t take it, can you,” Turnbull said to Shorten before being interrupted. He attacked “this consistent, dishonest, misrepresentation by the Leader of the Opposition”. It seemed Turnbull might abandon the Marquess of Queensberry rules by which he operates and which Shorten has effortlessly exploited.
Turnbull was roused to anger by Shorten’s calculated attack during a debate on counter-terrorism when the ALP leader accused Dutton of “loud, lazy disrespect, wholesale labelling of entire communities for the actions of a tiny minority”, saying this would “aid and abet the isolation and resentment that extremists prey upon”. It was a lethal charge, referring to Dutton’s comments on Lebanese Muslims that, if true, would mean Dutton was unfit to be Immigration Minister.
Dutton, in fact, referring to the Lebanese Muslim community, had told parliament this week: “I am not going to allow people who are hardworking, who have done the right thing by this country, who have contributed, who have worked hard and who have educated their children, to be defined by those people who have done the wrong thing.”
Turnbull, in effect, said Shorten was guilty of the charge he was laying against Dutton; that his comments would provoke disharmony. He accused Shorten of “recklessness” and “dishonesty,” of “misrepresenting one minister after another” and of being “all reckless to the consequences of what he does other than his own political interest”. This goes to the charge the government is building against Shorten: that his recklessness is a risk for the country, a line spearheaded in recent times by Dutton.
The incident came at the end of question time when Shorten asked Turnbull a question, claiming Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce had written to the South Australian government saying the Turnbull government “would abandon” its obligation to deliver 450 gigalitres of water to the Murray-Darling Basin.
Turnbull rejected this as another misrepresentation. In fact, the Joyce letter reflects the provisions of the Act that depends upon agreement among the states. It concludes “the hard conversation has to happen about how we resolve this stalemate”.
This brief eruption at the end of question time has a fuse going back to the election. It originates with Shorten’s Medicare claims, resentment of which has burnt into Turnbull’s brain. The only surprise is the eruption did not occur earlier.
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