Monday, November 21, 2016

More dribble from the Australian Left

The author below, John Hewson, is known as the man who lost an "unlosable" election (in 1993).  He stood then as a conservative party leader but over the last 23 years has drifted steadily Leftwards. His views now would be similar to those of Hillary Clinton, who also lost an "unlosable" election.  He deplores Trump, of course.

The idea that Australians have a inferiority complex is an old slur supported by no representative psychological research that I know of. In my own research I found general population averages on a standard neuroticism measure to show no differences as between England, Australia and India.  An inferiority complex would be associated with high levels of anxiety.  So Hewson is just spouting a lot of conventional nonsense with no care about evidence.

The claim mainly seems to be supported by the fact that Australians adopt a lot of ideas from overseas.  But Australia has a population of only 24 million so it is absurd to expect that Australians would have all the good ideas in a world of 6 billion people. If anything, it shows that Australians are an open-minded people with no fears of the new. 

And they don't need the example of Trump to make their decisions.  There was a major anti-immigrant upset in the Australian Senate in July, long before the Trump triumph.  In that upset, an anti-immigration party entered the Australian parliament for the first time

Why is it that so much of our lives is dominated by America, from fast food to the immediate release of the latest TV program, to the latest Kardashian excess? It seems that we have a massive national insecurity and sense of inferiority – if it is "good" for America, it must be "good" for Australia. The 51st state?

In politics we have seen the worst of it lately as some of our political leaders have sought to draw on, and emulate, elements of the Donald Trump victory. Pauline Hanson and some marginal Liberals and Nationals gloated, while Bill Shorten sought to capitalise on the anti-immigration sentiment, claiming to "protect Australian workers and their jobs". We must avoid the "Trumpification of Australian politics".

The most disturbing feature, among many, of Trump's anti-establishment strategy is the nationalistic, isolationist, anti-immigration position and proposals.

The US has a significant problem with "undocumented immigrants", reportedly now some 11 million of them, that is easy to exploit in a political argument about jobs and "white" wages, even though these people have mostly done the "dirty, menial" jobs and contributed to the "wage restraint" that has allowed the US to quickly recapture its competitiveness with "cheap Chinese and other imports".

It is also easy to promote xenophobia, especially against Muslims and against a threat of terror.

Unfortunately, this anti-immigration "movement" was also the dominant reason for Britain's Brexit vote and is now sweeping much of Europe, driven by the mass migration from Syria, Iraq and North Africa that in the end could tear down the dream of a united Europe.

It is perhaps most conspicuous and effective in Germany, where the anti-immigration vote has been significant and determining in recent regional elections and will probably ensure the demise of Angela Merkel. Just pause to contemplate a Germany controlled by the "hard-line right conservatives" and the likely consequences for Germany, Europe and the Euro.

We should want none of this here in Australia. Without in any way seeking to play down the significance and richness of our Indigenous origins, heritage and remaining challenges, we are an immigrant nation, where immigration has been fundamental to our economic and social development and wellbeing.

I suggest our greatest post-WWII achievement is that we have built a very tolerant and effective multiracial, multireligious, multicultural society, in many respects the envy of the world. It is to be appreciated, protected and further developed – it remains a work in progress, which calls for a clear acceptance of our national interests, to be delivered collaboratively with understanding, sensitivity and commitment.

It is a process in which we all have a role to play, but it needs to be led from the top, by our political and community leaders.

In this context, the rhetoric of Shorten's attack this week on 457 visas, essentially claiming that these immigrants are taking our jobs when we have some 700,000 unemployed and as many as 1 million underemployed, was most divisive and irresponsible, especially with the echoes of Trump.

It was also hypocritical when these visas reached their peak under Shorten as employment minister, even recognising the circumstances of a mining boom. And it was inconsistent with his proposals for a lower "backpacker tax" on foreign youth workers than would be applied to Australian youth workers. All up just more cheap, short-term, opportunistic politics.

While it is also true that if we were drafting section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act today we may have used different words, this is not the time to be having that debate, or to be making changes, as it gives another platform for xenophobia, "hatespeak", bigotry and the like. It is not a first order issue right now, and risks considerable downside.

There has been much said this week about "listening", especially in the aftermath of the Nationals' demise in the Orange byelection. Yes, much of the success of the Trump anti-establishment message is because a succession of establishment presidents, and their administrations, ignored the electorate's mounting concerns as the "system" of government failed to respond, while often favouring a few vested interests.

Here, too, the system is seen to be failing many, especially as inequality grows. Yet our leaders also have a responsibility to lead in matters of genuine national interest, as hard as it may be at times to educate and advocate against populist sentiments. There are also important intergenerational and moral dimensions to this challenge.

If this nationalistic, anti-immigration movement is allowed to spread, it will risk global fragmentation, reversing much of the global development we have all shared in, while stranding some 65 million people who are now displaced globally.


ABC radio program crows over public-purse pay deal

A soft life when the taxpayer is paying

The ABC has mocked private-­sector workers in a radio program and tried to cover up the incident by doctoring a recording of the comments on the public broadcaster’s website.

A report on current-affairs program The World Today on slow wages growth no longer includes dismissive remarks and laughter about private-sector pay by ABC reporter David Taylor and host Eleanor Hall.

The Australian has obtained a clip of an exchange between ­Taylor and Hall that ABC Radio editors attempted to hide from public view.

In a discussion about official data that shows Australian wages growth has hit a record low, ­Taylor comments: “Wages growth is still above the cost of living, but it’s not going anywhere.”

Hall asks whether the latest statistics from the Australian ­Bureau of Statistics are “across the board, or are some wage earners doing better than others?”

Adopting sarcastic tones ­Taylor replies: “Some wages are in fact ... if you’re in the public sector like we are, we’re better off than the private sector … that’s why we’re at the ABC.”

Hall responds by laughing.

The segment, which aired on Wednesday, comes just weeks after the Turnbull government ­accused the ABC of breaching public-sector policy over a pay deal with staff. A note on The World Today’s website tells listeners without explanation: “Please note that the audio attached to this story has been edited from the original version that aired.”

Asked to explain why it has been altered, a spokesman for the ABC attributed this to broadcasting arrangements in different states for a show that is broadcast on Radio National and local networks.

“The original version ran live in some eastern states,” he said.  “The edit was made for versions in other Australian time zones, a common decision in live radio. The final broadcast version was posted online with an editor’s note.”

However, it is understood ABC Radio editors immediately recognised the comments were inappropriate and intervened to remove them.

The wage price index rose 0.4 per cent in the last quarter, ­seasonally adjusted at 1.9 per cent over the past year.

This growth figure is half that of four years ago, indicating many Australians have not had a pay ­increase for years, and some have had pay cuts.

The ABC’s agreement with its almost 5000 staff delivers cash and domestic violence leave on top of annual wage rises.

It includes a one-off $500 payment in addition to annual 2 per cent pay rises, back pay, seven days of domestic violence leave and an increase in maternity and spousal leave.

News of the incident comes as government MPs called on ABC managing director Michelle ­Guthrie this week to explain why some of the ABC’s journalists took to social media to react stridently against president-elect Donald Trump in the lead-up to his ­victory.


Hillary’s crybabies need to grow up

Miranda Devine

It’s astonishing that we’re in the second week of anti-Trump protests, with the sore losers showing they have learned nothing from their humbling.   

Their placards read Love Trumps Hate but it’s the other way around for them. Refusing to accept the verdict of the ­people unless it goes their way, they beat up suspected Trump voters, torch cars, break windows and injure police officers.

The impression is of a profound sense of entitlement.

They demand “dump Trump” because they are so certain of their moral superiority. They think if they splash around lazy insults, “racist, sexist, Islamophobe, homophobe”, they’ve won the argument.

They describe a vote for Trump as a “hate crime”. Yet they ignore actual hate crimes, like the bashing of a 15-year-old boy wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat in Maryland, or a 24-year-old on the subway in New York wearing the red Trump cap, or a 50-year-old man in Chicago suspected of being a Trump supporter ­because he was white.

Imagine if it were a Clinton voter who had copped beatings; it would be reported as the end of civilisation and evidence of the utter depravity of Trump voters.

If you needed proof for why Trump won the election, look no further than the hypocrisy of the left’s crybabies and sore losers, even now imagining they can bully their way into refusing Trump the job he won fair and square.

And where is President Obama, as his cities erupt? In Germany, with Angela Merkel, refusing to call for peace: “I would not advise people who feel strongly (about) the campaign. I wouldn’t advise them to be silent.”

Why hasn’t Clinton called off her goons? Why isn’t she urging that “peaceful transition of power” she was so big on when she thought she had the election in the bag?

She’s been at home, feeling sorry for herself. When she finally emerged for her first public function since the election on Friday, she was hailed as a feminist hero for not wearing makeup or brushing her hair. It was a deliberate statement, but what did it mean, other than to enhance the self-pity in which she is wallowing?

“There have been a few times this past week when all I wanted to do is just curl up with a good book or our dogs and never leave the house again”, she said, crying out for sympathy, but not ­respect.

Thus the anti-Trump protesters are being encouraged by their establishment elders, who ought to be setting a good example but instead have resolved their loss by turbocharging their contempt for the “deplorables”.

“Trump won because voters are ignorant, literally,” wrote Jason Brennan in Foreign Policy magazine.

But when anyone bothered to ask real Trump voters why they did it, as the Washington Post did last week, the answers defy the stereotypes.

“I am a gay millennial woman and I voted for Trump because I oppose the political correctness movement which has become a fascist ideology of silence and ­ignorance,” Samantha Styler, 21, of Arizona, wrote.

Deniz Dolun, 22, of Florida: “My entire family — five Muslim immigrants from Turkey — voted for Trump because of the Democratic Party’s pandering to Islamism. As people who have actually experienced Islamism in its purest form... we supported the candidate who promised to help us fight that issue.”

Christopher Todd, 53, of Florida: “I voted for Trump on the calculated bet that he would nominate conservative Supreme Court justices. If people want to permit gay marriage or abortion for any reason, then make both legal through the legislature, not via an unelected oligarchy rewriting the Constitution.”

Lori Myers, 51, of Texas, wrote: “I voted for Trump ­because the media was so ­incredibly biased. They were ­unhinged in their obvious role as the Clinton campaign propaganda machine.”

In Australia, everyone from Bill Shorten to Pauline Hanson has tried to shoehorn the Trump narrative into their own ambition.

Tony Abbott and his boosters are trying to channel Trump’s populism into a comeback. But Abbott is part of the problem that Trumpism is reacting against: conservative politicians who wimp out once they win power.

Abbott could have been the civilised, conservative Trump of the Antipodes, but the minute he got into office he stopped being Abbott.

He surrounded himself with “moderates”, and bent over to the left on everything from 18C to Safe Schools to higher taxes, fouling the nest for budget repair and ultimately losing his job.

Seeing Trump’s success at punching through, you get the impression Abbott wishes now he had been bolder, but it is too late.

His most telling error was to exile Senator Cory Bernardi for his outspoken defence of traditional marriage. Bernardi’s career suffered because he never jettisoned his values to appease the left, but his reputation was only enhanced. In exile, he has become a formidable conservative warrior, building a network of 50,000 supporters in his Australian Conservatives movement. On secondment to the UN in New York for three months, he was almost unique in the Australian political establishment in cheering a Trump victory. His 2014 manifesto, “The Conservative Revolution” foreshadowed Trump and Hanson.

If Malcolm Turnbull ­really wanted to succeed as PM, and preside over a broad church Liberal Party, he would bring Bernardi in from the cold. Bernardi could save the government from itself.


Another Muslim pest hurts a lot of people

A MAN who set fire to himself at a Commonwealth bank may have been reacting to his welfare payment being rejected, a community source said.

The 21-year-old Springvale man believed to have set fire to himself in the Commonwealth bank in Springvale is thought to be an asylum seeker from Myanmar and considers himself a part of the Rohingya community.

A Rohingya Community leader said the man had lived in the area since about 2013.

The Rohingyans are a Muslim minority in Myanmar, who have faced persecution there.

Australian Burmese Rohingya Organisation president Habib Habib said he believed the man was expecting a welfare payment this week that did not come through.

The man’s mental health had deteriorated since he had been within the community, Mr Habib said. He said he had not shown signs of mental illness while he was detained on Christmas Island but had become disillusioned about the asylum seeker process.

Mr Habib said due to restrictions on his Visa he was not able to work and his refugee claim was proceeding slowly.

The man did not have family in Australia and lived with other Asylum seekers in temporary accommodation.

Mr Habib said he was from lower Myanmar and identified as Rohingyan. He said the man also spoke the language.

Witnesses say a fireball trapped staff and customers inside the Springvale branch after the man lit matches to petrol he had poured on the floor near the entrance.

He was last night under police guard in hospital and believed to be one of two fireball victims clinging to life.

Of the six people with serious burns taken to The Alfred yesterday - this morning one remains in a critical condition, one patient is “critical but stable” and four patients are now in a stable condition.

The hospital will release another update on the patients’ conditions at 4pm today.

The horrifying incident left several people, including toddlers and elderly customers, badly hurt.

Witnesses say the man who started the blaze had picked up a plastic drum outside a shop minutes earlier.

He then visited a nearby Caltex service station, poured fuel into it and returned to the bank just after 11.30am.

He poured out petrol, lit a match and the fireball erupted. Those inside could not see for thick smoke and flames.

The Herald Sun has been told the man was a native of Myanmar who had spent time in detention on Christmas ­Island. He was later allowed into Australia on a bridging visa, but police are as yet unsure about his motive.


After TPP, Australia Looks To China On Trade

Trade winds are quickly shifting, as Australia moves to embrace China’s alternatives to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Financial Times reports:

Australia is throwing its weight behind China’s efforts to pursue new trade deals in the Asia-Pacific region amid a growing acknowledgement the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement is dead in the wake of Donald Trump’s election victory.

Steven Ciobo, Australia’s trade minister, told the Financial Times that Canberra would work to conclude new agreement among 16 Asian and Pacific countries that excludes the US.
He said Australia would also support a separate proposal, the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific, which Beijing hopes to advance at this week’s Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation summit in Peru.

“Any move that reduces barriers to trade and helps us facilitate trade, facilitate exports and drive economic growth and employment is a step in the right direction,” Mr Ciobo said Wednesday. 

As we noted this past week, the election of Donald Trump and the imminent demise of TPP have given China an opening to pitch its own trade deals. Australia is the first major U.S. ally to peel off and publicly announce its intention to sign on to China’s deals. Others may soon follow suit, as China makes a renewed push to finalize the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), which has been under discussion for over a decade, and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which China has been developing since 2012.


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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