Wednesday, November 23, 2016
There isn't a 'silent majority' of racists in Australia
By Tim Soutphommasane, Race Discrimination Commissioner.
Tim's headline above is beyond dispute but he goes downhill from there. I have written previously about the Scanlon Foundation and its reports and what I have said previously still seems to apply.
Peter Scanlon was the man behind stevedoring business Patrick Corporation but he now seems to be mainly in shares and Real Estate.
This year's report has made a big issue over question wording. They know, I know and all survey researchers know that the wording of a question can greatly influence the answers. And by dwelling on that fact they apparently hope to obscure the reality that they are themselves great sinners in that regard.
Just to take a simple example from their survey, one of their questions is: "Marriage equality for same sex couples". They find that 66% of respondents say they support it. But the question is ludicrously biased. It is put in a way that argues for it. Were the question a straightforward "Homosexual marriage" they would undoubtedly get a very different percentage of approval. The Labor party certainly thinks so. That is why they strenuously resist a vote on the question. They know that a referendum on the question would be lost.
And the Scanlon questions about "refugees" are amusing too. One question asked for agreement with a statement seeking support for resettling ‘refugees who have been assessed overseas and found to be victims of persecution and in need of help'. A real tear-jerker! Unsurprisingly, two thirds of respondents agreed with that. I would have liked to ask for responses to "Most so-called refugees are really just economic immigrants in search of a country with generous welfare payments". I might have got two thirds agreement with that too.
So Tim is entitled to believe the Scanlon report but from my viewpoint as an experienced survey researcher it is basically rubbish. To believe their results you would have to show that they are similar to results that have been obtained by other researchers. And they themselves admit that their results are often very different. They say that the other researchers have bad research methods but I think it is more a case of Luke 6:42.
So when Tim says "An overwhelming majority of people (83 per cent) believe that multiculturalism is good for the country", we have to ask WHICH cultures do people see as beneficial? Muslim culture? Probably not. Scanlon doesn't ask that question. They don't want to know.
Having said all that there were nonetheless two points which even Scanlon picked up, two points that other surveys have found: Environmental issues are bottom of the barrel in importance for Australians and Australians are far more anti-Muslim than they are anti any other religion
Mr Scanlon has set up an organization that campaigns for immigrant acceptance. Sad that they think they can further that aim by dishonestly pretending to do objective research
These are challenging times for race relations. In the United States, just a fortnight after the election of Donald Trump, there are already numerous reports of hate attacks on the rise. A similar trend was reported earlier this year following the Brexit vote in Britain.
This is what happens when political debates normalise attacks on immigrants and foreigners. This is what happens when populist nationalism trumps the normal rules of liberal democracy.
Australia is not the US. Neither is it Europe. But we are not immune from racial anxiety and xenophobia. There remains a small minority of people in our society who are hostile towards cultural diversity and immigration. These are people who believe that an Australian national identity is under threat from cultural change.
It is important that we deal with such concerns, that we understand why people may feel that way. Yet, as the Scanlon Foundation's Mapping Social Cohesion report shows, we shouldn't overstate such cultural angst. Those who are uncomfortable about multiculturalism do not constitute some "silent majority". The political mainstream mustn't rush to conclude otherwise.
Here are some of the facts, according to the Scanlon Foundation. An overwhelming majority of people (83 per cent) believe that multiculturalism is good for the country. A clear majority of people (59 per cent) believed that current levels of immigration were either "about right' or 'too low".
Such results, consistent with the Scanlon Foundation's findings over the years, are the best indication we have of where Australian public opinion really lies. It is confirmation that Australia remains a successful and harmonious nation of immigration.
Of course, recent commentary has painted a different picture. For example, one Essential Media poll about Muslim immigration has been frequently cited to support the proposition that half of Australians want to ban Muslim immigration.
Such commentary has tended to ignore other evidence indicating far more robust support for a non-discriminatory immigration policy. In a previous survey, the Scanlon Foundation in fact found that three-quarters of the population supported immigration being conducted on non-discriminatory lines. This year, the Scanlon Foundation found that with respect to Australia taking in refugees from Syria, 69 per cent indicated that "there should be equal consideration to all religious and ethnic groups".
The lesson is this. Political debate must avoid jumping to conclusions based on single opinion polls – especially when polls need to be interpreted with care. The best polls are those that can show trends over time. On matters of social cohesion, the Scanlon Foundation's findings have been robust and reliable.
Which is why there are some findings in this year's survey that should give us pause. There has been an increase in the reported experience of discrimination, which rose from 15 per cent of respondents in 2015 to 20 per cent in 2016. This is the highest proportion recorded since the Scanlon Foundation surveys began in 2007. Those of a non-English speaking background reported the highest experience of discrimination (27 per cent).
There can be no complacency on prejudice and discrimination. It remains fundamentally important that our society sends an emphatic signal that racism is unacceptable.
Bob Katter calls for crocodile culls
Greenie theory versus local realities. There are tens of thousands if not a hundred thousand crocs in Queensland waters. Reducing that population in inhabited areas is not going to endanger it
North Queensland MP Bob Katter has slammed Terri Irwin's call for Queensland MPs to rule out crocodile culls, saying those living up north are being "ripped to pieces".
Ms Irwin, of Australia Zoo at the Sunshine Coast, condemned two Liberal National MPs who expressed their support for a conversation about culling on Sunday and said it would be a "disaster for both human safety and crocodile ecology".
"Crocodiles are an apex predator and crucial to the ecosystem, keeping waterways and wetlands healthy," she said. "Crocodiles eradicate the weak, sick and injured wildlife, leaving only the healthy to prosper.
"Crocodile culling is an incredibly inhumane practice, often leaving crocodiles with debilitating injuries.
"Science does not support culling crocodiles and it would be a disaster for both human safety and crocodile ecology."
The member for Kennedy said Mrs Irwin's call for people to co-exist with crocodiles who was out of touch with the "world of reality".
"Let me be very specific, between Cairns and Townsville, the Paradise Coast, the rainfall is 100 inches or more, a crocodile habitat is in or near a waterway," he said.
"It would be hard to be on any piece of ground on the Paradise Coast and be more than a few hundred metres or so from a waterway.
"So is she suggesting humans should move out?"
Mr Katter then went on to explain that the environment was "out of whack".
"Tropical Nth Qld (sic) was the territory of my brother, cousins, the First Australians," he said.
"There was equilibrium in nature. If you are a respected naturalist you would know that this was the territory of man, not the territory of crocodiles.
"The catch of 60 croc eggs would keep a First Australian family going for a while, and similarly with dingoes, the goannas and gropers. "Now we have an unnatural environment.
"I don't care if she's St Gabriel's mother, we're being eaten and ripped to pieces."
The debate about crocodile management kicked off earlier in the year when NSW woman Cindy Waldron, 46, was taken by a croc at Thornton Beach, north of Cairns.
Mr Katter reignited his calls for crocodile culling after the incident and suggested crocodile shooting safaris to tackle population numbers, despite a lack of evidence indicating the population was out of control.
Dr Laurence Taplin, who is assisting the state government with its $5.8 million crocodile monitoring program, said there had not been any systematic crocodile surveys conducted in Queensland for more than a decade and suggested any debate relating to population numbers was anecdotal.
"The current debate echoes similar controversies in the late 1980s and the science we did back then showed clearly there was a great gulf between anecdotal claims of exploding crocodile populations around Queensland and the reality on the ground," he said.
Nearly 50 crocodiles have been removed from the Cairns region so far this year.
Election-trigger union bill finally passes in late-night senate debate
THE Turnbull Government has had a win after the Registered Organisations Bill, one of two industrial relations bills that triggered a double dissolution election earlier this year, finally passed in a late-night debate.
Senators were locked in debate until after 2am on Tuesday morning to pass the legislation.
The government secured the support of crossbencher Derryn Hinch, the Nick Xenophon Team, and One Nation.
Employment Minister Michaelia Cash called it a “massive win”.
“I’m delighted that this has been a massive win for the two million Australians who are members of registered organisations,” Senator Cash told ABC radio.
The Senate had been forced to sit indefinitely on Monday night until the legislation was voted on.
Senator Derryn Hinch and Senator Nick Xenophon voted in favour of the Registered Organisations Bill. Picture: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas
Senators Xenophon and Hinch insisted they’d secured what could be the best whistleblower protections in the world in exchange for their support for the bill to establish a Registered Organisations Commission to oversee unions and their officials.
They secured amendments to protect and compensate union whistleblowers while also obtaining an undertaking from the government to extend the same protections — or stronger ones — to whistleblowers in the corporate and public sectors.
A parliamentary inquiry will examine the whistleblower protections in the legislation and if it recommends a stronger regime for corporate and public sector whistleblowers, the government will establish an expert advisory panel to draft legislation to implement those reforms.
The legislation needs to be introduced by December 2017 and dealt with no later than June 30, 2018, according to the undertaking.
The pair also secured amendments to ensure the independence of auditors, including tougher penalties for noncompliance.
“These amendments if passed will see Australia go from some of the worst whistleblower protection laws in the world to arguably the best,” Senator Xenophon said.
Senator Hinch insisted he was pro-worker and anti-corruption, arguing it was time for a fulltime independent regulator for a sector wracked with scandal.
He didn’t want to see a repeat of the scandals in the Health Services Union where officials like former Labor MP Craig Thomson misused funds.
“I was actually lying in a hospital bed and watching members of his old union ... doing menial tasks for about I guess $15 an hour,” Senator Hinch said.
“I watched a middle-aged European woman with a mop cleaning up after a burst colostomy bag and I thought at the time her union fees for the year would probably be around the $500 Thomson spent on one prostitute in one assignation.”
Senior Labor figure Doug Cameron lashed out, accusing Senator Xenophon of dropping the ball by not demanding the government immediately extend whistleblower protections to the corporate and public sectors.
“The whistleblowers in the banks can wait until some time after 2017 if you ever get a result out of this mob,” he said. “What have you got? You’ve got a committee, you’ve got an expert panel, you’ve got some legislation in 2017 that nobody knows what it is.
“If you were fair dinkum, you would’ve fixed this tonight and corporations would’ve been facing the same stringency as the Australian trade union movement.”
Senator Xenophon insisted the reforms went further than anything the previous Labor government achieved during six years in office.
Australian Leftist politician says paternalistic things to a conservative woman politician
Cameron is a former Scottish unionist, and there are no more bitter haters than they
The Left of the Labor Party claim they have the moral authority on most issues, but particularly women’s issues, including sexism, women’s rights and equal opportunity in the workplace.
Think of Labor’s feminist warriors, including Deputy Labor Leader Tanya Plibersek and senior frontbencher Penny Wong. Some women look up to these politicians to call out wrongs perpetrated against women.
Neither are shrinking violets and both of them are from the Left.
But where was the outrage last night - and indeed today - about what their fellow Left factional warrior Doug Cameron said to Employment Minister Michaelia Cash while the Senate was debating the Registered Organisation Commission Bill.
“Senator Cormann, I know you have to be there to hold the Minister’s hand,” Senator Cameron said.
“So maybe just hold the Minister’s hand and stop interjecting, would be a good start. That would be a good start.”
“The Minister can’t handle the Bill on her own … She needs Senator Cormann there to chaperone her through this Bill. I’ve never see this before with a senior minister in the Government.”
Basically, Senator Cameron accused Senator Cash of needing a man beside her to do a job properly.
Can you imagine the outrage if Immigration Minister Peter Dutton or Treasurer Scott Morrison said this? The feminazis would be lining up to attack such a ridiculous comment.
But where are they today? No where.
I know politics is robust and requires a thick skin but if we want women to be treated fairly and with respect than this rubbish needs to be called out. Senator Cameron, you should be ashamed of yourself.
But more than that, the shame sits more heavily on the women in the Chamber who said nothing while he spewed his ridiculous comments.
Aboriginal-run services can work but need to prove their worth, Indigenous leaders say
Sort of sad that the Aborigines themselves had to put this up. What have the bureaucrats been doing?
A lack of evaluation of Indigenous-run programs aimed at overcoming disadvantage is placing serious limits on positive outcomes, Aboriginal leaders have warned.
The comments come after a report by the Productivity Commission found Indigenous Australians are becoming more disadvantaged, citing alarming increases in imprisonment rates, mental health problems and rates of self-harm.
The report also said of the $30 billion budget allocated to overcoming these disadvantages, just 34 of the 1,000 federally funded programs had been properly evaluated.
Northern Territory Aboriginal health service Danila Dilba has engaged a private economics consultancy firm to carry out a cost/benefit analysis of its key primary health care services, CEO Olga Havnen said.
"For every $1 invested we're delivering a $4.18 return," she said. "We wanted to be able to show that the Aboriginal community-controlled health sector actually delivers good services and good outcomes, and they are cost-effective."
But the report also showed Danila Dilba's outcomes were not the norm.
Indigenous leaders said the lack of economic evaluation left billions of dollars being spent in areas that may not have been proven effective.
"As a taxpayer you should be concerned that programs for which there is no evidence are being funded," anthropologist Marcia Langton told the National Press Club.
The head of the Prime Minister's Indigenous Advisory Council, Warren Mundine, said measurable data offered guidance for funding targets.
"It should be clear that you don't get funding forever just for the sake of funding, you actually have to get clear outcomes, and outcomes that are successful," he said.
There should be a real evaluation program in place if the federal government is "handing out taxpayers' money".
"We've got to totally revamp the way the evaluations are done and make them real so we get measurable data — and we can do that tomorrow morning," Mr Mundine said.
A spokesperson for Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion admitted there was a need for more evidence to demonstrate which programs were working.
"Minister Scullion acknowledged that in the areas of incarceration, domestic violence, mental health and substance misuse, increased effort was required to improve outcomes — and better evidence was needed to drive this progress," the spokesman said in a statement.
Public sector governance expert Steven Bartos said allocating funds without evidence created a false economy.
"When you don't know anything about any of the programs then you're just relying on gut feelings, and that's not good enough," he said. "The measurement of outcomes, the framework for doing that, has to come from Indigenous communities themselves."
Ms Havnen said she had spent years pushing for evidence-based programs and governments needed to focus on Indigenous-run organisations that proved they could deliver.
"We think it's also been really important to try to dispel the public perception that somehow spending more money in Aboriginal health isn't a worthwhile or a viable thing to do," she said.
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