Sunday, January 31, 2016
The most surprising things about Australia, according to an Indian international student
It will be a bitter pill for Leftists, but this guy finds Australia not racist at all. From reports in the Indian press, which were mainly recycled Australian journalism, he had expected a lot of racism. And it is no mystery why. A couple of years ago there were a lot of reports of Indians in Australia being attacked. What the reports covered up was that almost all of the attacks were by Africans. Australians as a whole were disgraced in the name of political correctness. For their own safety, Indians should simply have been told to avoid Africans
Hailing from Chennai in southern India, he has studied in India, Canada for three years and has been studying in Australia for almost a year.
Here’s what has surprised him most about Australia since he moved here.
Australians aren’t racist, they’re friendly.
Reports of racism and assaults on Indian students have made their way back to India, Shiva said when his family and friends found out he was coming to Australia they warned him about the violence.
However, Shiva said his experience has been the exact opposite: "People are very friendly".
"I was given lots of advice from India that you are going to Australia just make sure that you’re not being attacked or be a victim of racism," he said. "I don’t find any of that type of nonsense here, people are really friendly."
Shiva said he hasn’t been a victim of racism and it really depends on the company you keep. "It depends on the friends that you make and the places you visit," he said.
Australian girls are really friendly.
"Australian girls are really, really fun, they crack lots of jokes… even when you’re meeting for the first time," he said.
"In India, there’s a barrier when you’re talking from a girl. If you’re hailing from a very orthodox family you are not supposed to talk to a girl."
But Shiva said that is starting to change as India becomes increasingly westernised.
"People are coming out of those barriers," he said.
"For me while I was studying at college in India I faced that barrier. I was unable to talk to a girl so freely as I am talking to you and other people in Canada and Australia."
Working part-time in Australia pays good money.
While Shiva’s current study timetable means he cannot work at the moment, he has had a couple of part time jobs and was surprised how good the pay was.
"I’ve tried a lot of jobs, I’ve been a personal assistant to a top executive," he said.
"They pay me really good money like $28 to $32 per hour.
"I was really surprised because when I compared the market with the US and Canada I think Australia has better compensation and it’s really understandable because living in Australia is surging everyday, it’s really tough to keep up with the cost of living in Australia.
The beaches are extraordinary.
Taking a trip to an Australian beach was one of Shiva’s most memorable experiences.
"I’ve been to the Northern Beaches [of Sydney] and they’re really, really nice," he said.
"They’re really beautiful, I was totally crying when I was standing inside the lake walking literally to the middle of the lake and it’s not deep.
"The beaches are clean, compared to India where the beaches are not clean."
It’s surprisingly different to Canada.
Shiva thought Australia would be similar to Canada, when he arrived he was surprised it was very different.
"It’s more international, Canada is more like white people, there’s more Americans and Canadians but here in Australia the first thing I noticed is it’s very diverse in culture. You have loads of Chinese people, you have loads of Indians, lots of German people, French people, and everyone else, it’s all over the place," he said.
"In India you have different cultures but from the same country. Australia has more international cultures."
Being vegetarian means something else.
Shiva describes himself as a "pure vegetarian", what he means is according to Indian standards he’s a vegetarian but in Australia his eating habits are actually vegan.
He was also surprised by how much bread Australians eat and how breakfast is very different in Australia, "people eat a traditional breakfast whereas Indians we prefer a warm Indian breakfast. It took some time for me to get used to that".
All the differences and Australia’s high cost of living means Shiva now cooks for himself a lot more.
"I’m an excellent cook, he said. "I don’t need to find a girl."
Everyone shortens everything.
Shiva’s full name is Shivaramakrishnan Ramamoorthy, but he says it’s easier to shorten his name to Shiva in Australia.
"People would raise their eyebrows and have no idea what I was talking about but that’s my name!" he said.
"I kept my preferred name as Shiva, even on Facebook, so people don’t get afraid of my name.
"But they still shorten my name…[Australians] they shorten everything, they shorten it further. I usually say to people ‘Hi my name is Shiva but you can call me SRK or Shiv’."
It’s far less crowded than home.
Shiva estimates the population of his home town in India is roughly the same population as Sydney.
He’s not far off either but the big difference is the population of Sydney is spread out over an area which is about 67 times larger than Chennai.
"In India everything is crowded, you can’t even find a space to park your car or your to wheeler, your bike."
Aussies are afraid of spiders and cockroaches.
Back in India Shiva said he "used to play with them". "People are so afraid of spiders [in Australia]. I’ve even heard about people dying from spiders, if I say that to my parents they will laugh at me."
"I’ve seen people going crazy… it’s just a cockroach, it just goes by," he said.
There’s less respect for elders.
Australian Shiva is very different to Indian Shiva, he said when he returns home it takes four or five days to settle back into the customs and expectations of his home country.
"When I’m in Sydney it’s a completely different Shiva that you will see," he said.
"In Chennai you need to be more respectable to your parents, over here people really don’t care who the hell you are.
"If I say ‘mum I like this girl I want to marry her’ she will probably say ‘I don’t like that girl’… the culture is more parent dominating rather than giving freedom to the children.
"Over here I find that completely different it’s up to the choices of people."
It’s easier to get a visa in Australia compared to Canada or the US.
Shiva said he’s found it much easier to get a student visa in Australia. He began trying to come to Australia after his visa application was rejected in Canada in the US.
Studying in Australia is relaxing.
Shiva said he’s "more relaxed studying in Australia" compared to India, where he found the courses more intensive.
"Over here [in Australia] they say intensive courses but for me it’s like a piece of cake," he said.
Professors are approachable.
"The professors here are much more friendly," Shiva said. "In India if I even had to speak to a lecturer or a principal it takes lots of respect and effort to meet them."
Shiva said if he did manage to meet his lecturers in India they would dismiss him saying "what’s going on you’re a student just focus on your studies" whereas in Australia he said "they’re welcoming that approach from students, they’re really encouraging students to perform well, they’re really supportive here".
He said it comes back to the culture of having to "respect your elders".
The changes in political leaders are really confusing
Shiva said he doesn’t like politics in Australia and has trouble understanding how it all works. "Yesterday it was Julia Gillard and tomorrow morning it was Tony Abbott, I don’t know what the hell was going on," he said.
Shiva’s next adventure is to Norway in December.
Australia's coal-fired power stations at risk of 'death-spiral' - report
This is mostly nonsense. The idea that "renewables" compete with thermal coal is a laugh. They are just an unreliable luxury of very little actual use. They CANNOT supply predictable power.
Competition from gas may be a problem but gas prices are in flux so we will have to wait and see on that one. Gas prices differ widely in different parts of the world so arbitrage must come into play eventually.
The cheapest electricity in Australia has always come from Victoria's brown coal generators in the Latrobe vallety, but they are hated by Warmists -- and a proposed new one was made unviable by environmental requirements in the Gillard years. Germany is however building a heap of brown coal generators so a return to brown coal in Australia seems likely. It is undoubtedly the cheapest option
Brown coal deposits are frequently close to the surface so big digging machines just scrape it up and feed it onto a conveyer belt to the power station next door, which is very efficient. No miners and no trucks needed
Australia's power sector is at risk of a "utility death spiral" due to its reliance on coal, along with utilities in the US, Japan and Germany, according to a report highlighting the environmental-related risk of coal producers.
Additional pressures on the coal industry is coming from the shift by countries such as China and India to rely on domestic sources for coal, rather than imports, to feed their surging demand for electricity generation.
The report, by the University of Oxford's Smith School of Enterprise, pointed to the emergence of renewable sources of energy such as solar and wind, along with competition from gas as additional pressures for the sector.
Other issues include water stress, concerns over air pollution, changes to government policies and the challenge of carbon capture and storage technology, the report noted.
A 'death spiral' occurs as new energy sources take market share from coal-fired power stations, forcing stations to close while also undermining the economics of the centralised electricity grid by forcing higher distribution charges, according to the report.
The use of so-called 'sub-critical' coal-fired power stations which are poor converters of energy from coal into electricity, use high volums of water for cooling and release high levels of carbon emissions puts the utilities and coal companies at particular risk in countries such as Australia, according to work by the group.
That risk declines with the use of new generation technology, so-called "super-critical" power stations, which are more expensive to build.
The report comes after US energy giant ExxonMobil this week predicted that global demand for coal would peak in about 2025 and then fall into terminal decline.
In contrast to coal's decline, demand for natural gas would increase by 50 per cent over the next 26 years, ExxonMobil predicted in its 2016 Outlook for Energy report.
Turnbull and Morrison: daring to be brave
Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison have been handed their 2016 election campaign against Labor — that it is an unreconstructed "tax and spend" party from the Rudd/Gillard years not to be trusted with the economy.
That is the negative message and it will be powerful. The positive message is more difficult and yet to be decided. But the Turnbull/Morrison aspiration is apparent — to run on a major tax reform package that includes a higher GST, reforms to superannuation concessions, significant personal income tax cuts, lower company tax and compensation for welfare and low-income earners.
Whether they take the high road of courage and risk depends, above all, on the government’s standing over the next few months and the authority of the Prime Minister in the country against ALP leader Bill Shorten.
The rolling tax debate has unnerved some government backbenchers.
But if the early 2016 polling reveals Turnbull’s lead sitting at 53-54 per cent of the two-party preferred vote the greater risk will be damage to his authority by retreat to a "safety-first" agenda.
That would leave a re-elected Turnbull government devoid of any meaningful mandate to confront the immense challenges facing Australia, a recipe for post-election weakness and misery.
"Changes to the GST are certainly part of the tax debate and certainly being actively considered by the government as it should be," Turnbull said yesterday. He said the argument for a change to the GST was a tax system that better boosted growth and jobs. It is also the Treasurer’s mantra.
With Morrison having declared last Sunday it was a "fantasy" to think taxing multinationals would solve all our tax problems, that he wanted a "strong mandate" at the election and that on the arithmetic only a GST can finance genuine income tax relief, Turnbull and Morrison are talking up the courage option. The longer this happens, the more difficult the price of retreat.
Turnbull and Morrison both prefer a full-term, say September/October, election. Only Senate irresponsibility on the industrial bills might force them to rethink for a winter poll (the real early election option). The major tax package is more likely to be unveiled closer to the election. They realise the prize — re-election on a substantial tax reform as part of an economic growth strategy — will likely lay the foundation for a long-run Coalition government.
The authority of Morrison as a new Treasurer is pivotal in this high-stakes play. Morrison cannot look weak. He cannot lose the confidence of financial markets and the broader community. He cannot, as Treasurer, play a long, cautious game on fiscal repair (as he has decided) and also duck the policy reform task when the government is riding high in the polls.
With Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey liquidated because their courage was not matched by their political skill, Morrison knows he must find a path that unites policy strength and political success.
The Treasurer juggles two messages — trying to display policy leadership but keep open his options since no final decisions have been taken. Morrison needs to stay close with Turnbull and ensure they act in unison.
But the logic of being Treasurer in 2016 is to command the reform heights — if Morrison is the driver of a major reform that delivers a re-elected Turnbull government then his authority as Treasurer will rise immeasurably along with Turnbull’s as PM.
For Morrison, being a successful reformist Treasurer is the only route available to the Liberal leadership and the prime ministership. Caution all-round is simply not an option for his future success.
Turnbull and Morrison have no intention of committing electoral suicide. You can assume if they take the path of major tax reform the pre-election tax tables will show all income groups are winners except perhaps the top end.
Labor’s pledge to honour the full Gonski school funding agenda — an extra $4.5 billion over the forward estimates and $37bn over the decade — was nicely timed for the return to school and badly timed given Treasury secretary John Fraser’s warning to the political class about Australia’s unsustainable spending levels.
Morrison and Turnbull have defined the election battle. "Labor’s plan is to spend more and to tax more," Morrison told Inquirer. "This is a reckless position given these uncertain global economic times. We have a very clear difference between the sides — the Labor Party has a tax and spend approach. It is funding new education spending through tax measures that will only increase the structural problems in the budget that we now have."
Labor is chained to the Rudd/Gillard era in its policy and political outlook. Deluded by the belief that the Rudd/Gillard agenda was correct Shorten is running on big social spending programs, higher taxes and more class-based redistribution, an approach that may consolidate the ALP base but leaves Labor chronically weak in the centre ground against Turnbull.
By defining his campaign as being against Labor’s "tax and spend" agenda Morrison increases his internal policy leverage.
He wants to achieve a tax package that has "room" for substantial income tax relief and also impose discipline on ministers who merely seek to follow Labor down the social spending path.
"Labor has no aspiration to relieve the personal income tax burden on working Australians," Morrison said. "They have no empathy with the plight of people paying higher and higher taxes."
This slots into Morrison’s argument last Sunday when he attacked the hypocrisy in a public debate obsessed about compensation for any GST increase but that ignores the plight of workers being forced into higher income tax brackets. "What about the compensation for people who are running businesses, going to work every day," he asked.
Morrison has laid down three benchmarks — tax reform is about growth and jobs and not about having higher taxes to fix the deficit; that serious income and company tax relief can only be achieved by GST reform such as a lift to 15 per cent; and that he will deliver a long-run incremental trajectory to deficit reduction that keeps our AAA-credit rating.
The Treasurer operates deep in the shadow of Abbott and Hockey and is anxious to avoid another "busted promises" fiasco. As a result, he puts a priority on either having a mandate for post-2016 election policy or ensuring options are not ruled out in the campaign.
That will be a daunting task — it means being honest with the public in a campaign about the long-run budget position. Both sides of politics have credibility problems with the budget though Labor’s problem is greater.
The speech from Treasury secretary Fraser on Thursday night saw an explanation, yet again by a Treasury chief, that Australia is living beyond its means and that today’s generation in an act of selfishness is spending big and asking its children to pay the bill. Conducting such extravagance in the name of "equity" only inflates the offence.
Fraser said the "greater share" of the budget problem is structural. Since the early 2000s commodities boom the nation has made too many permanent spending decisions off the back of temporary revenues. On current trends the spending-to-GDP ratio will fall from 25.9 per cent to 25.3 per cent over four years — modest progress if it happens. But Fraser warned that "spending will not get below 25 per cent at any time over the next decade" and 25 per cent is a historically high level.
In short, the outlook is not good enough: the political class, Liberal and Labor, is failing the nation. Australia is slowly sinking into a debt risk situation. New spending commitments remain an addiction with public expectations divorced from reality. Labor’s contribution this week with its Gonski pledge — funded "in full and on time" according to Shorten — is applauded by the education sector (what else would it say?) and proof that Labor has failed to learn the lessons from Rudd/Gillard economic failures.
Asked how he would pay for the full restoration of Julia Gillard’s Gonski funding, Shorten pointed to Labor’s tax crackdown on multinationals, its tobacco tax and its attack on superannuation tax concessions. "The top end of town aren’t paying taxes," Shorten said. He gifts Turnbull and Morrison their "tax and spend" attack.
Labor says it has provided for $70bn of "saves" over the decade but they are overwhelmingly via tax increases.
About $48bn of the total comes from the tobacco tax alone — a classic case of using a diminishing revenue base over time to fund a permanent spending commitment. The absolute key to grasping what is happening is that the Gillard government, in its outcomes, chose to prioritise vast new spending agendas (notably Gonski and the NDIS) over the return to budget surplus. Labor has not changed its priorities.
The Gillard government relied upon the false assumption spending would be held to 2 per cent real growth each year for a decade. Fraser said this week that since 2007 spending had grown in real terms about 3.5 per cent annually.
Labor’s technique was to structure its programs with the big spends beyond the forward estimates and this week’s Gonski decision reveals its determination to honour such funding and re-run the same political battle.
Meanwhile Turnbull, aware that fiscal responsibility is also his vulnerability, said yesterday the May budget would be "tight" for "tight financial times". "This is not going to be a fistful of dollars election campaign, from us, anyway," Turnbull said.
Whether cabinet keeps its nerve in the teeth of Labor’s big spending is another matter. But Morrison will be delighted that Turnbull has declared the May budget to be "tight". The government’s problem in attacking Labor’s fiscal credibility remains its own fiscal credibility.
Interviewed by 3AW’s Neil Mitchell yesterday Turnbull struggled on the "return to surplus" issue saying it was "a long way off" but refused to concede a future 10 years of deficits. Turnbull needs to watch the populists and intellectuals on the Right. They dispute his strategy, oppose GST reform and demand deeper and faster spending cuts, a stance unlikely to translate into a viable position for the election year.
These coming decisions constitute the moment of truth for Turnbull. He must decide — to paraphrase John Howard on leadership — what are the enduring four or five ideas he will embrace as a conviction leader to change the nation? Having decided, he must take the risk and back his judgment at the 2016 poll.
Given no tax decisions have yet been taken, there are some pointers to Morrison’s thinking. He would prefer a lift in the GST rate to a major expansion in its base and, in effect, has ruled out an expansion into health and education. He is prepared to tackle "excesses" in the super system by remodelling tax on the contributions side. While a strong supporter of negative gearing for mainstream Australia and calling it a "valid chance" for many people, he is prepared to look at reforms to limit "excessive" gains.
If Turnbull and Morrison bite the bullet the progressive side of politics — Labor, the Greens and the trade unions — will seek to turn the election into a referendum on the GST.
Their ability to do this should not be underestimated. At that point the issue becomes much bigger: it is whether the cause of reformism can prevail after a decade of retreats or whether yet another reform agenda is vanquished with dangerous consequences for the country.
Record number of students in higher education in 2015
The Coalition Government has overseen the biggest jump in Indigenous higher education enrolments in nearly a decade according to new student data released today that also highlights record overall enrolment numbers and increases in enrolments of regional and low socio-economic students.
Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said despite the Labor Party’s fear campaign about the cost of university degrees, the new data shows more than 1.2 million students were enrolled in higher education in the first half of 2015, up 3.1 per cent on the same period last year.
Minister Birmingham said the Turnbull Government is committed to seeing more students enjoying the benefits of high quality tertiary education, while ensuring the higher education sector remains fair and affordable.
"This data shows Australians are continuing to enrol in record numbers in higher education institutions, despite the Labor Party’s best efforts to scare students about the costs of higher education," Minister Birmingham said.
"Instead we’re seeing more students enrol than ever before, with strong growth in enrolments from Indigenous students and students from regional areas – who together make up nearly one in five of all domestic enrolments.
"The value of higher education is clear as the new stats show university graduates have an unemployment rate of 3.4 per cent, compared with an overall rate of 5.9 per cent."
Minister Birmingham said it was encouraging that the number of Australians who had attained a job in the first four months out of education had risen to 68.8 per cent, but the report still highlighted that one third of those finishing an education did not immediately get a job.
"Australians must think carefully about the courses they enrol in to ensure they are entering a course that they are not only passionate about but that has a job at the end," Minister Birmingham said.
"We also must ensure that the record number of students who are enrolling are being encouraged and supported to complete their degrees – and not just another number on a seat.
"Recent attrition rates show that almost 15 per cent of these Australians do not progress to their second year. Universities must take responsibility for those students they choose to enrol and ensure they have the capabilities and support to succeed.
"The Turnbull Government is committed to ensuring our innovative institutions are delivering the world-class higher education that students want and to produce the skilled, job-ready graduates that Australian industry and business needs.
"I am currently consulting with the higher education sector, my parliamentary colleagues, students and their families about how to not only ensure higher education remains sustainable in the long term but how to ensure more Australians who start a course, finish and end up in the workforce."
Minister Birmingham said Higher Education annual funding had increased over the past five years from $12.5 billion to over $16 billion today.
"While the demand driven system has provided unprecedented access and must continue to be protected it has come at a significantly higher cost to the taxpayer," Minister Birmingham said.
"The Turnbull Government is committed to ensuring the system remains sustainable while continuing to support excellence, diversity and opportunity for all Australian students."
Key findings from the new data include:
· growth in Indigenous students up 7.6 per cent
· growth in regional student enrolments up 2.6 per cent, representing 18.6 per cent (nearly one-in-five) of the total domestic student population (up from 16.7 per cent in 2006)
· increase in students from low socio-economic backgrounds up 3.8 per cent
· strong continued growth in health-related courses, up 7.3 per cent on the same period in 2014, and up 81.7 per cent on same period in 2006
· mixed outcomes in students participating in STEM subjects – engineering and related technology studies up 0.9 per cent while IT down 0.4 per cent.
Minister Birmingham said the Turnbull Government was committed to ensuring students graduating from secondary school and university had the skills to succeed in a more competitive, globalised world.
"The lack of growth in the number of students studying science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) in this publication highlights the importance of the Turnbull Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda," Minister Birmingham said.
"That’s why we are investing more than $112 million in the education components of our National Innovation and Science Agenda to drive interest in digital literacy and STEM subjects so Australians are prepared for the challenges and opportunities ahead."
Some NSW universities will admit anyone
We see here how the numbers above were achieved.
Regional NSW universities are admitting more than 70 per cent of students who have not scored the minimum marks required to get into courses such as business and law, new data from a Fairfax Media investigation into university admissions has revealed.
The latest set of statistics also shows that the University of Technology Sydney is routinely admitting students below the advertised cut-off. Most are being being admitted through bonus point schemes in courses such as business and combined law.
UTS' bachelor of advanced science course, which students undertake before entering the nation's top medical faculties, has offered 85 per cent of places to high school students who failed to score the minimum 96.9 ATAR.
Out of the relatively small candidature of 14, only two passed the required mark in the prestigious course. Within the university's much larger bachelor of business cohort of 462 high-school graduates, 70 per cent of students did not make the advertised grade.
"Looking at the entry policies of universities right now, flexible is not the right word – they are endlessly elastic," said Richard Hil, a university admissions researcher from Griffith University.
"We have been concerned about regional universities for a long time, but what is really surprising is the numbers in the more well-known group of eight," he said.
An ATAR [Australia Tertiary Admissions Rank] is awarded to more than 50,000 NSW high-school students in December each year. Universities set an ATAR cut-off according to what they believe is the minimum academic standard required to complete a course, as well as supply and demand for the degree.
UTS provost Professor Peter Booth said places at UTS are offered mainly to high-school applicants who have satisfied ATAR cut-offs, unless there are specific course requirements or they are considered as part of special access schemes.
"The claim that a large number of admissions don't meet the cut-off is incorrect and don't take account of the well-known above adjustments, the details of which are publicly available to applicants."
But the release of the data this week has revealed that the published ATARs for prestigious degrees across the sector rarely reflect the actual quality of the candidature as whole, with regional universities continuing the state-wide trend.
At the University of Wollongong, more than three-quarters of places in some of its courses were offered to students whose ATAR ranks were below the advertised cut-off.
Almost 75 per cent of places in arts/law were offered to students below the ATAR cut-off of 90, and several were more than 20 points below the minimum mark.
Hundreds of offers have been made to school-leavers with ATAR scores 20–30 – and in some cases 40 – points below the stated cut-off for courses at the university, which is 80 kilometres south of Sydney. It has made 6000 offers this year.
UoW's deputy vice-chancellor, Joe Chicaro, said the students had been admitted through alternative entry schemes which took into account factors such as discipline, personal circumstances and school recommendations.
At the University of Newcastle more than 60 per cent of main round admissions for the bachelor of civil engineering scored below the ATAR cut-off of 80. More than half of nursing and chemical engineering admissions were below the minimum standard.
The University of Newcastle said in a statement that the ATAR is simply one component of the judgement made about the capacities and potential of a prospective student.
"A raw ATAR is one measure and does not take account of the many factors that may determine whether an applicant should be admitted to a particular university degree, which include subject choices, geographic location, the results of interviews, school recommendations, auditions and portfolios," it said.
Academics have cited the lack of transparency around alternative entry schemes as a key issue as they look to move beyond the ATAR.
"The system is not satisfactory – that is why we are moving away from it," said UNSW dean of law David Dixon.
"People realise we need to do something different, there is a patchwork of additional point schemes. We need to have a system which is much more clear to everyone about what is happening."
Friday, January 29, 2016
Below is a note from a correspondent who works as a counsellor
The husband of a couple that I have not been personally involved with but have been doing some peripheral admin for their case, shot himself last week. His wife is a feminist pushing for her "rights" and "entitlements", together with other feminists working in welfare who advocate for her and bend the rules of entitlement for her. I needn't go into details but it could be classified as fraud and rorting.
He went along with it because he was elderly and tired and could see no other option, until last week when he decided to get out of the situation by suicide.
In some ways it relates to what Mark Latham said about the emasculation of men relating to men's violence, including misplaced or inverted violence against themselves.
Severe feminists do not lose arguments in their marriages; they win, one way or another. They seize control, and that leaves the man in a powerless situation, and if pressurised he may express
his masculinity in what seems the only avenues left to open to him.
I wish I had been working personally with him; his death might not have happened. But we live and learn. In retrospect I can see the ingredients in the admin details and I hope I will recognise their like when I see them again. It is so easy to miss such things though.
David Morrison is another hectoring activist of the year
A nonentity with nothing original to say
What’s wrong with Australia? After 228 years, the only thing we can think of to celebrate this nation’s great achievements, and the liberation of its native inhabitants from the Stone Age, is the appointment of a tin soldier who excoriates us for sexism, family violence and lack of patriotism.
Does an ever-upward but otherwise unremarkable military career (until he delivered a speech written for him by a transsexual Twitter troll and fellow AOTY nominee) really fall within the category of “outstanding achievement” envisaged by the National Australia Day Council for an Australian of the Year?
Yet it seems David Morrison is now to be turned loose on the country, licensed to lecture and hector all and sundry for their failure to conform to his barrack-room discipline on social standards. As a lieutenant-general, Morrison might have passed unnoticed onto the retired list but for his 2013 outburst in a video clip applauded by the usual coterie of feminists, left-wing ideologues and the campaigning broadcasters of the ABC.
What we don’t hear often are the voices saying that Morrison demoralised the army with his “feminisation” of the service, which scandalously included taxpayer-funded sex change operations. Or that his concerns about gender bashing came very late in his career. The enthusiasm for his YouTube clip effectively snuffed out any analysis of the Morrison style: the fierce, almost jihadist fanaticism in his eyes, the tightened facial muscles, what might be taken to be a self-righteous vindictiveness lurking in his delivery.
Those who puzzled as to why the Chief of Army needed to deal so publicly with an internal disciplinary matter involving spotty cadets and a hidden video camera might just have glimpsed the unleashing of a political ambition fettered for four decades by military discipline.
On Monday night, as the rain came down in Canberra, Morrison did it again, let it all out.
Since when is the Australian of the Year, an unelected citizen, empowered to undertake a self-appointed role as a social and political activist? Listen: “Too many Australians are denied the opportunity to reach their potential. It happens because of their gender, the god they believe in, because of their racial heritage, because they’re not able-bodied, because of their sexual orientation.”
Diversity and equality are to be his watchwords. And with a flat criticism of the alleged but easily explainable 17.8 per cent “gender wage gap”, he signalled an intemperate foray into the equal pay issue. That should earn him little thanks from the government.
Then there was his declaration of support for the republic movement, with this fatuous contribution: “It is time at least to revisit the question so we can stand both free and fully independent among the community of nations.”
At least he stopped short of calling Australia a pariah state.
Throughout its history, the Australian of the Year award has been controversial. Since 1979 it has zigzagged, from recognising international achievement, to eminent Australians, to popular sportsmen and entertainers, then to promotion of multiculturalism and reconciliation, more recently to what might be termed social reconstruction.
In 2010, Professor Patrick McGorry’s campaign for youth mental health reform; Simon McKeon, in 2011, promoted World Vision, ending global poverty and MS research. In 2013, Ita Buttrose spent an active year on behalf of Alzheimer’s victims, arthritis, breast cancer and HIV/AIDS. Two years ago, 2014 saw Aboriginal footballer Adam Goodes kick along indigenous issues, but ultimately it ended with an own goal.
Who decides the tone and character of the award? Nominally, it falls to the National Australia Day Council board, which constitutes the judging panel. Since 1990, the board chairmen have been: John Newcombe, Phillip Adams, Kevan Gosper, Lisa Curry Kenny, Adam Gilchrist, and now Ben Roberts -Smith.
The present board of the council is widely drawn, but hardly outstanding: Ms Robbie Sefton, Tamworth, director of a rural public relations company; Ms Janet Whiting, Melbourne lawyer, president of the National Gallery of Victoria; Professor Samina Yasmeen, Centre for Muslim States and Societies, University of WA; Ms Elizabeth Kelly, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet; Jason Glanville, Wiradjuri member; Norman Schueler, company director, SA, vice president of the Council of Australian Jewry; and Dr Susan Alberti, businesswoman, Susan Alberti Medical Research Foundation.
The board is constrained by the nominations received from the states, and it seems that these have been determined by interests with specific agendas.
There were 34 nominations for the 2016 AOTY, including seven doctors or medical specialists,;six humanitarians, five human rights activists/lawyers, four artists/journalist (Peter Greste)/actors, three diversity/equality people,;three Aborigines, one scientist, and one cultural leader (Brendan Nelson of the Australian War Memorial). These largely smack of people out to change the world, not achievers to be recognised for their contribution to Australia. No industrialist, no business leader, no inventor or innovator, nobody from the rural communities.
The time has come to ask: Who is skewing this game? Is government using the appointment to do some of its social reforming on the sly? The award has always been seen as a non-event by the vast bulk of the population, interesting only when it generated controversy. It has abandoned the achiever and role model categories. Now it’s in danger of crippling itself in political activism.
Already there are signs Morrison’s campaign speeches on diversity and equality will drip nicely into the maudlin puddle of the elite’s loathing for all things they associate with Australians of less worth and intellect than themselves. Morrison will have the microphone and podium for the next 12 months. Best ignore him.
Why the new push for an Australian republic is doomed to fail
What passes for a new debate about a republic is a shallow fraud built on zero substance. No clarity on what exactly the reformers want and why
I have no problems with Australia becoming a republic. I also think this is the majority view. I do have problems with middlebrow megaphones.
The current debate, if you could call it that, about a republic is a fraud. Australia is not going to become a republic while self-appointed Dumb and Dumber are trying to dominate the process.
Let's look at the first attempt: Dumb. The agitation for a referendum began a quarter of a century ago in 1991, after it became Labor policy. Within months the Australian Republican Movement was set up. It made its first mistake by appointing the novelist Tom Keneally as its first head. Keneally is a delightful man but his appointment introduced a subtext of Irish versus English into the argument, which would be exacerbated later by the inevitable acidity of Paul Keating.
What followed was a cascade of errors for the republic case. There was much misguided contempt for existing constitutional arrangements. There was gratuitous contempt for the British royal family. After Prime Minister John Howard established a Constitutional Convention, held in 1998, the republican model that emerged was a doomed pastiche.
The referendum was an abject defeat, despite the support of former prime ministers Keating, Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser and unceasing cheerleading by the media.
When the people voted, the republic case was smashed. It lost in every state. It lost the national vote by a landslide, 55 per cent to 45 per cent.
Now comes a sequel, which brings us to Dumber.
The logic, as far as I can tell, is that Australia now has a Prime Minister who championed the republic cause during the 1999 referendum as head of the Australian Republican Movement. Therefore, one plus one equals two.
Malcolm Turnbull, however, has never been accused of being dumb, let alone dumber.
He has become much more politically adroit than he was 18 years ago. As such, he is keeping at arms' length from the Dumber sequel. As he said on Australia Day: "Frankly, there was more [republican] momentum in the late '90s than there is now."
The Prime Minister also pointed out that there is already a pre-existing log of national matters in the pipeline. First is a plebiscite on same-sex marriage. Then there is constitutional recognition of the Indigenous people.
The recognition process has become so mired that it has gone through four prime ministers and shows no prospect of even getting to the starting gate, let alone passing at a referendum.
The detail is difficult. It is make-or-break.
This time around, the Labor national leader lending his name to the republic push is Bill Shorten. He wants to appear more decisive and progressive than Turnbull on the issue. But Shorten is, politically, a dead man walking. His opportunism here is also naked. Turnbull, not Shorten, has done the heavy lifting for a republic.
The Dumber version, learning nothing, is again indulging in celebrity and mockery. Queen Elizabeth II is irrelevant to the process. She should be left out of it. So, too, is Prince Charles.
At the centre of the Dumber sequel is the insulting recycled claim that Australia is an insecure nation for having a foreigner as head of state and will not be a whole democracy until the British monarch is removed from the constitution. I wish people would stop projecting their own insecurities onto the nation.
It has long been an iron convention of Australian politics that the head of state, in practice, is the Governor-General. For more than 50 years, only Australians have served as Governor-General, and that, too, has become an iron convention.
Conventions are not expendable. They are core to the operation of the Constitution. The central role of political parties, for example, is based on conventions, not the Constitution.
Far from suffering from democratic cringe, Australia is one of the world's oldest, most stable and adaptable democracies. That democratic evolution is now almost 200 years old. The first Parliament in Australia, the NSW Legislative Assembly, can trace its roots back to 1823. Few nations have democratic continuity longer than this.
Crucially, the Dumber republic push does not even have a model for constitutional change, or a process for creating a model. Without a model, there is nothing.
Instead, an asinine idea is being floated that there should be some vote on a republic without doing any of the hard stuff. Do the soft stuff first and leave the hard stuff for later. This idea would consign Australia to a constitutional limbo, with no certainty that a model acceptable to the people would be formulated and pass at a referendum.
The hard stuff, the model, is everything. The talk is cheap.
A claim by a US presidential hopeful about Australia's gun laws has been questioned by a US newspaper
It is true that sex crimes have increased since the gun bans but the increase was small and not sudden so a cause-effect relationship may not be there
US presidential hopeful Ted Cruz's claim sexual assaults on women in Australia went up significantly after strict gun laws were introduced has been challenged by a Washington Post analysis.
Senator Cruz said on high-profile American radio host Hugh Hewitt's show on January 12 Australia's post-Port Arthur massacre gun legislation meant women were unable to defend themselves from being raped.
The Washington Post's Fact Checker column examined Senator Cruz's comment and on Monday rated it a "whopper" of a factual error, the highest rating on its "Pinocchio Test".
"And as you know, Hugh, after Australia did that [gun buyback program], the rate of sexual assaults, the rate of rapes, went up significantly, because women were unable to defend themselves," Mr Cruz told the radio host.
"There's nothing that criminals or terrorists like more than unarmed victims."
Conservative candidate Senator Cruz is Donald Trump's biggest rival for the Republican presidential nomination.
The gun debate has become a hot button issue in the presidential race, with Republican candidates like Senator Cruz and the National Rifle Association attacking President Barack Obama and Democrat hopeful Hillary Clinton's references to Australia's firearm laws.
The Washington Post analysis found no significant spike or drop but a gradual increase in sexual assault rates over the decade after the 1996 changes in Australia.
The increase was likely affected by a rise in the reporting of sexual assaults and there wasn't prevalent use of handguns for self-defence before 1996, as Senator Cruz suggested, the newspaper concluded.
"The rates didn't go up 'significantly' after the buyback and there's no evidence changes to gun laws in Australia affected sexual assault rates or jeopardised the ability of women to protect themselves," the Washington Post told readers.
The newspaper spoke to Samara McPhedran, senior research fellow at Australia's Griffith University and chair of the International Coalition of Women in Shooting and Hunting.
The Post also examined research by the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, Australian Institute of Criminology, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the Law Library of Congress, Christine Neill, economics professor at Canada's Wilfrid Laurier University and Andrew Leigh, an Australian MP and former Australian National University economics professor.
The newspaper also concluded given gun culture in Australia and the US is not comparable, including carrying concealed guns and the ability to carry firearms for self-defence, "politicians should refrain from attributing good or bad changes in Australian crime rates to the buyback program or to the legislative package".
"We also warn politicians on both sides of the gun debate about making broad assertions about Australia to justify policy arguments for the United States," the Post concluded.
Criminal prosecutions against South Australian police are at a record high
CRIMINAL prosecutions against police are at a record high and the number of complaints and breaches of code of conduct has risen 30 per cent over the past year.
SA Police annual reports show the number of sworn officers or public servants within the department facing criminal prosecutions has risen from seven in 2001-02 to 31 in 2014-15.
The 2014-15 annual report also shows complaints against police, breaches of the code of conduct and criminal offences prosecuted against employees rose from 69 in 2013-14 to 90 in 2014-15.
Criminal cases range from theft offences to more serious cases, including suspended SA Police officer Hayley May Greenwood who was charged after an Independent Commissioner Against Corruption investigation with abuse of public office, drug trafficking and aggravated theft.
Eight SA Police officers from the Sturt Local Service Area were arrested in October 2014 and charged with theft offences, also following an ICAC investigation.
Acting Assistant Commissioner Human Resource Service John Bruhn said that higher expectations of officers and a growing workforce could be contributing factors to the spike in criminal prosecutions and breaches of the code. “There are variations in statistics over many years — you mention from 2002 where complaints against police appeared low compared to higher now,” he said.
“This may range from increased levels of reporting, fluctuations in the workforce, broader expectations and other vagaries.
“Policing is one of the most highly accountable professions — even off duty officers must maintain demanding standards of integrity and conduct. “Any breaches have always and will continue to be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted as required.”
The rise in numbers of prosecutions and complaints against police follows the introduction of the South Australian Independent Commission Against Corruption in 2013, which The Advertiser revealed spent $45,420 on six telecommunications intercept warrants during probes for bribery and corruption offences in the first financial year of operation.
Police Minister Tony Piccolo said South Australia has one of the best police forces in the country. “In the last financial year, there was a drop in the total amount of complaints received and SAPOL enjoys a ranking higher than the national average for general satisfaction from the public,” he said.
“Disciplinary matters are an issue for the commissioner of the day ... if any member of the community acts in an inappropriate way, they will face appropriate consequences and this does not exclude police officers.”
Thursday, January 28, 2016
Petition to put Communist on five dollar note backed by high-profile Australians
Fred Hollows was a member of the Communist party for many years and seems to have retained such beliefs even after his membership lapsed. And we all know where Communism leads -- to mass murder. And Fred must have known that too. It is true that Fred was one of the very few far-Leftists to put his money where his mouth was, but giving any encouragement to beliefs such as his would be most unwise
I have put a fair bit of my personal history online and I have known Leftists to delve into that so I wonder if someone might accuse me of hypocrisy for mentioning Fred's Communist loyalties. I was myself a member of two Communist-front organizations in my well-spent youth: The Australia/Soviet Friendship Society and the Realist Writers' Group: The latter was headed by a man of genuine literary distinction, John Manifold.
For perspective, however, I should perhaps mention that in the same era I was an anarcho-caitalist, a member of the British Conservative party, a member of the Queensland Liberal party, had a lot to do with DLP types and would occasionally look in on Nazi meetups and meetups of a student anti-Vietnam (pacifist) group.
All of which mainly goes to show, I think, that I had a good sense of humour. I still do.
A petition has been launched today aimed at continuing the legacy of ground-breaking eye surgeon Fred Hollows, with a push to have his face featured on the $5 note.Dr Hollows helped treat eye diseases in Indigenous communities in Australia as well as poor countries around the world.
Despite his death 23 years ago, the Fred Hollows Foundation has helped restore eyesight to more than 2 million people.
The petition, called Put Fred on a Fiver, is being backed by high-profile Australians including former prime minister Bob Hawke and Olympic gold medallist Cathy Freeman and former chairman of the foundation, Ray Martin, who were at the launch in Sydney this morning.
Brian Doolan, the chief executive of the Fred Hollows Foundation, said it was about paying respect to one of the greatest Australians who ever lived. "The images on notes at the moment are all of great Australians most of whom did wonderful things in Australia, some of whom had an international career," Mr Doolan said. "But Fred Hollows has actually touched the lives of millions of people around the world."
"We'd be suggesting that we put Fred on the side that currently has a picture of the Old Parliament House and the new Parliament House," Mr Doolan said."We think it's an entirely appropriate time to take the one banknote on which there is not the image of a prominent Australian and to put Fred's image on the $5 note."
He also said it would be a fitting tribute for one of Dr Hollows' most successful fundraising campaigns. "Years ago they used to run a campaign 'give Fred a fiver' so that he could do the wonderful work he did both here and overseas, well this year instead of 'give Fred a fiver' we're saying 'put Fred on the fiver'," he said.
Journalist Ray Martin said putting Dr Hollows on the $5 note was a "no-brainer"."I was with Fred, about this time of the year, going to a radio station in a cab," Martin said."A Greek-Australian cab driver alongside reached out and said 'are you that Hollows fellow?'"I won't give you Fred's language, but Fred said: 'So bloody what?' and he said: 'Oh nothing, I just want to give you a fiver!' and Fred said: 'thanks mate' and he took the fiver and away the two cabs went - that's how much he was associated with a fiver.
"If you look today, the legacy of the power of one, there are 5 million people plus in the world who can see, who were cataract blind, as a result of this inspirational idea that he had
Sadly Australia Day has become a day of sanctimony
Australia Day sometimes seems to have become a parody of itself. Apparently intended as a day to celebrate our achievements and our values, it is now too often a day of introspection and sanctimony.
Our nation was founded in a spirit of optimism and co-operation on January 1, 1901. But we mark its birth on the anniversary of a flotilla of British ships arriving in Sydney Harbour to found a penal colony, 113 years earlier.
That strange genesis, along with our laconic national character, explains why the day used to be celebrated in a phlegmatic and relaxed manner.
It was just another public holiday when nothing expressed our good fortune better than the fact we felt no need for jingoistic displays of patriotism.
Congratulations, we were saying to ourselves, you are a successful, tolerant and welcoming country, working away on your imperfections, so you deserve a day at the beach or cricket.
Now such an approach is frowned upon. You need to express your guilt for generations past and air your current grievances.
If you are comfortable and relaxed you are part of the problem — how can the malcontents ever be comfortable and relaxed if there are so many people around them who are comfortable and relaxed?
Now, on Australia Day, you must demonstrate that you are a member of the new breed of Australian.
Be gone those who would call a spade a spade. Be gone those who nonchalantly build friendships with people of all creeds and colours. Be gone those who would laugh at authority and prefer the common sense of their neighbours and workmates.
Now we must speak in approved phrases about the issues of the zeitgeist. We must treasure our friends not for their character or friendship but because we need to collect the full set. And we dare not laugh at authority — they know what is best and we should listen.
We can truly show that we understand all this if we stop being preached at, and start preaching. Try it. Get onto social media and wish your friends happy Australia Day — but then just add some advice.
Happy Australia Day — embrace each other. Happy Australia Day — respect and understanding. Happy Australia Day —– watch out for nongs wearing flags. Happy Australia Day — remember it celebrates genocide. Happy Australia Day — don’t eat animals.
Welcome to the new Australian characteristic — preachiness.
Happy Preachy Day — when you get to sneer at your fellow citizens and tell them how they can match your level of sophistication and understanding, and shape the country more in your likeness.
This year’s official Australian of Year, David Morrison, fits in with the new zeitgeist. A fine soldier and citizen, of course, he was recognised for his professional work tackling a sexism scandal that arose on his watch. Now he chairs the Diversity Council of Australia.
For mine, if you want an inspirational Australian of the Year, who tackles sexism and demonstrates our “fair go” character, this newspaper’s choice as Australian of the Year is a better fit.
Humble, generous, passionate and determined, Michelle Payne was the first woman jockey to win our unique national sporting event, the Melbourne Cup. She is the epitome of the Aussie battler and will be remembered in the history books for smashing a glass ceiling.
“I can’t say how grateful I am,” she said, fresh out of the saddle, of the people who supported her, “and I want to say to everyone else, get stuffed, because women can do anything and we can beat the world.”
Happy Australia Day — we are undoubtedly, the luckiest, and pluckiest, people on the planet.
Anti-patriotic sign in Australian resort town
The response was a mature one: Abuse them back. No attempt to shut them down etc.
Bega District News reports a blackboard sign was put up in the Mister Jones Open Studio and Espresso Bar in Bermagui, on NSW's south coast, on January 25 and it read: "Yes, we're open on national dickhead day" – a reference to the venue being open for business on Australia Day.
On the night of January 25 it was posted on the Meanwhile in Australia Facebook page, which is "liked" by about 700,000 people. By mid-afternoon on Australia Day, it had more than 3000 shares, almost 6700 likes and 1770 comments with many deriding the sign.
While most of those who shared the post were individuals, some were pages such as Truthophobes - Exposing the Truth about Islam, Aussies against Islam and Sharia law, Reclaim Australia Rally - Canberra and Australians United Against Sharia Law.
It appears the official Mister Jones Facebook page has been taken down, but a new page called the Mister Jones Coffee Shop has been set up, possibly by a Facebook group called Aussie Infidels early on the morning of January 26.
This new page published a photo of two of the coffee shop's staff under the line "here are two good reasons for birth control", the phone number of the shop's owner and has encouraged people to contact the shop and leave feedback.
Bermagui Chamber of Commerce president Keith Dowden was disappointed the coffee shop had erected the sign, saying doing so had "displayed a lack of dignity and respect".
While he was sure the sign had upset some tourists, he did not think it would impact on businesses in Bermagui. "But it's not the sort of image I think the town should be projecting," Mr Dowden said.
He had received several calls about the issue and was glad it had come down on the afternoon of January 25. "In the short time it was up it probably created mixed feelings," Mr Dowden said.
"He [the owner of Mister Jones] is entitled to his own views, but he has to realise a lot of people don't feel the same way as he does. "[The owner] does have a history of being a non-conformist."
On Australia Day 2015, at the entrance to the coffee shop there was a sign stating "Strictly no patriotism beyond this point".
Social media fires up after CFA posts picture of breastfeeding volunteer on Facebook
READERS of the CFA’s official Facebook page have fired up about a photo of a volunteer breastfeeding while dressed in a CFA uniform beside a fire truck.
The photo is described as “One of the many faces of CFA in 2016” and has more than 17,000 likes, 750 comments and 1300 shares.
Some readers “unliked” the page because of the photo and described it as unnecessary and “trying to prove some point”.
Benita Panagopoulos-Morello wrote: “WHY ??? This does annoy me that women feel the need to post a picture while breastfeeding ...
“im (sic) a mother of twins who breastfeed both too (sic) but im (sic) so bloody over all these women trying to prove some point that it should be allowed to flop your boob out.”
Jake Kahlia Lynch decided he would unlike the page: “OK unliking. I took breast feeding pics too, but they really don’t need to be on the internet!!”
But the criticism led to a huge amount of support from other readers: Niki Jackson wrote: “Feeding a new generation of firefighters who save our homes and lives.” “But seriously, it’s just a boob. We’ve all seen them at some point. It is literally a chunk of flesh that helps to contain milk. Not the apocalypse.”
Elizabeth Wood agreed.
“I LOVE this,” she wrote.
“So fantastic that the CFA encourages you to combine family and firefighting, best of both worlds. Such a beautiful picture, you look so proud.”
The page posted to point out where the photo was taken and that the newborn was not being put in danger.
“This photo of Angela, a proud mum and CFA volunteer, was taken at a community event. No fires nearby and a safe environment for her child.”
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Aboriginal TV personality condemns lack of opportunity for Aborigines
Becoming a TV personality would be something of a pinnacle achievement for many people so the grievance in Stan Grant seems strange. Governments of all sorts in Australia bend over backward to improve the lot of Aborigines and there are various sorts of "affirmative action" designed to help them. So on a straightforward view the racism is against whites. So what is Grant's evidence that Aborigines are badly treated by reason of their race?
He simply reiterates the old litany of Aboriginal poverty and ill-health. That does reflect reality. But is it the fault of the white man? Hardly. Aborigines and whites get the same dole payments but few whites live the totally degraded life that many Aborigines do: failing school, poor hygeine, drinking methylated alcohol and smashing one another around -- with Aboriginal men commonly visiting casual violence on their women and children. I have seen the latter with my own eyes.
In short, no government programs so far have been able to rescue Aborigines from their own self-destructive behaviour and it seems unlikely that anything could.
Grant simply fails to take account of the fact that Aborigines really are different. They are not "just like us but browner". Cultures do differ. And that that does have consequences, one of which is that whites who know them tend to avoid them - as they would anyone found to be a dirty drunk, regardless of skin color.
Grant moans that he and his family were treated as suspect because of their Aboriginality during his childhood. The big thing missing from his thinking is any sense of perspective. He assumes that he is the only one who has had crosses to bear
But we nearly all have our crosses to bear. It's not only racial differences that can burden us. Just ask any short man about how he feels when women look right past him, for example. And very tall women usually wish they were shorter. And what about being fat? Is there any greater social disadvantage than that these days? Fat is usually regarded as changeable but it rarely is in practice.
I grew up in a small country town where sport was the focus of most social activity. But at no time have I had any interest in sport. So I was "left out" and "did not fit in" too. But I was too busy reading books to be much bothered by that. I could have been a whiner and a whinger about the heavy focus on sport and the way that "marginalized" people like me. But I was not such a whiner and whinger. I just got on with making the most of what opportunities I did have. I guess I had what people call a "thick skin". I think I still do. Grant clearly does not.
He has in fact had excellent opportunities that he has seized to his great benefit. Why does he now want the moon too? Nobody can have it all and the amount of social support and acclaim he has now is great. From the position of success that he occupies, he could surely be indulgent and tolerant -- maybe even amused -- towards anybody who criticizes or avoids him. But he is not manly enough for that
If I am accused of hate speech for my factual reports here, it is my contention that Stan Grant is the one who is guilty of hate speech against whites
Indigenous journalist Stan Grant has declared racism is "killing the Australian dream", in an impassioned speech that has gone viral on social media.
The powerful speech, delivered at the IQ2 Racism Debate in October, emerged online last week, with journalist Mike Carlton describing it as a "Martin Luther King moment" on Twitter.
Declaring the Australian dream as "rooted in racism", Grant said the legacy of Australia's dark past continues today, citing the lower life expectancy and higher rates of incarceration still experienced by indigenous Australians.
"The Australian dream - we sing of it and we recite it in verse: 'Australians all let us rejoice for we are young and free'," he said.
"But my people die young in this country - we die 10 years younger than average Australians - and we are far from free."
Grant said Australians need to acknowledge the two centuries of "dispossession, injustice and suffering" faced by his ancestors.
"We are in so many respects the envy of the world," Grant said. "But I stand here with my ancestors and the view looks very different.
"Every time we are lured into the light, we are mugged by the darkness of this country's history," Grant said.
The speech was published online just a week before Australia Day, a day commonly mourned by indigenous Australians as the anniversary of the British invasion.
The Sky News journalist said he had succeeded "not because of... but in spite of the Australian dream", pinning his success on his family's hard work in the face of ostracism and discrimination.
"My grandfather, who married a white woman... lived on the fringes of town until the police came, put a gun to his head, bulldozed his tin humpy, and ran over the graves of the three children he buried there. That's the Australian dream," Grant said.
"And if the white blood in me was here tonight, my grandmother, she would tell you of how she was turned away from a hospital... because she was giving birth to the child of a black person."
Grant urged Australians to acknowledge Australia's dark past and be "better" than racism.
"Of course racism is killing the Australian dream; it is self-evident… But we are better than that," he said.
"One day I want to stand here and be able to say as proudly, and sing as loudly as anyone else in the room, 'Australians ALL let us rejoice'."
Do-gooder gets a gong
He's noticed that not everybody gets to fulfil all their potential. But who does anyway? And what's he going to do about it? He doesn't say. Is he going to make the poor rich? If so, how? It's just feelgood rhetoric -- but people like it. They probably think he's got new ideas. And what's this republic rubbish? He says we need a republic so that "we can stand both free and fully independent amongst the community of nations”. Who says we don't already? I don't think he's all that bright
It was the phrase that shocked a Defence Force riven by sex scandals and prejudices against women and minorities. The “standard you walk past is the standard you accept” the then army chief David Morrison told the force in a YouTube video that quickly went viral around the world. His soldiers needed to show respect to women or “get out”.
Fierce and unapologetic, the Canberra-based retired lieutenant-general has been named the 2016 Australian of the Year for his commitment to inclusion, diversity and gender equality.
Mr Morrison last night vowed to lend his voice to the republican movement after state and federal leaders reignited the push to have an Australian head of state.
“It is time, I think, to at least revisit the question, so that we can stand both free and fully independent amongst the community of nations,” Mr Morrison said in his acceptance speech.
His 2013 video blast, aimed at ending a practice of those in command of personnel turning a blind eye to the misdeeds of soldiers beneath them, sparked a cultural shift in the male-dominated armed forces. The writer of that speech was Catherine McGregor, a senior transgender military officer who was also an Australian of the Year finalist.
Speaking to The Australian before the announcement, Mr Morrison’s message for 2016 was just as sharp. “We are a great country but imagine how much better we would be if everybody was able to reach their potential and wasn’t held back through the most questionable of criteria: their gender, their racial heritage, their sexual orientation or the god they believe in. Imagine what we could do,” Mr Morrison said.
The 59-year-old chairman of the Diversity Council Australia said he could never “unsee” mistreatment of fellow human beings.
“The nomination as the ACT Australian of the Year has given me a degree of public awareness again and I think I’d be abrogating what has happened so far if I was to simply stay silent, so I don’t intend to do that. “We’ve got a distance to travel in the Australian Defence Force and certainly the army but I’ll leave that to the current Chief of Defence Force and Chief of Army to deal with.
“Australia has got a long way to go, we are a great country, but we do have that wonderful Australian pragmatism that looks at ourselves in a fairly rational way and say ‘Well, you know what, I think we could probably be better’.”
During his 37-year military career, Mr Morrison commanded the army through a crucial part of its long-term commitment in Afghanistan. He retired in May last year and was named director of the anti-family violence organisation Our Watch in November.
On the stage with Mr Morrison last night was Gordian Fulde, the country’s longest-serving emergency department director, who was named Senior Australian of the Year; 21-year-old social entrepreneurs Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchett, the Young Australian of the Year Award recipients; and Local Hero Catherine Keenan, a Sydney-based youth educator.
“I believe that we’re actually gaining a much greater awareness of what is right about us,” Mr Morrison said.
“We’re at something of a tipping point and the fact that so many of the nominees for all of the categories of Australian of the Year have earned their reputations through their commitment to communities both at a local level and at a national level, there’s something enormously positive about us as Australians. How could you not want to be a part of it?”
These Leftist Double Standards are Simply Mindboggling
Until recently most folks would have been rather ashamed to be found guilty of committing gross double standards, horrific hypocrisy, and being swamped with logical contradictions. But regrettably many today not only do not mind all this, but even wear it as a badge of honour.
And there is no group more guilty of all this than the secular left. They regularly delight in utter hypocrisy and rampant double standards. But in an age where reason, logic and morality mean very little, they don’t seem to mind a bit being caught out time and time again with such duplicity and deception.
Examples of this are everywhere to be found. Let me just offer two very recent cases of this, both from Australia. The first one comes from Tasmania. As one news report states:
"Former Greens leader and Senator Bob Brown has been arrested during a community protest over logging in northwest Tasmania, after he refused to leave the site. Mr Brown was protesting with activists about the Forestry Tasmania’s logging project at Lapoinya when he was asked by police to leave the site but refused.
He was taken to Burnie police station to be processed before he is released from police custody. Steve Chaffer from the Bob Brown Foundation told AAP that Mr Brown had gone up to support the community protest. He said the arrest is a reflection of new “draconian” laws in Tasmania which prevent protests at workplaces."
Um, and what would those draconian laws be Mr Brown? Oh yeah, exclusion laws – you know, the very ones you and the Greens fully supported when it comes to peaceful vigils outside of abortion clinics. You don’t want any of those crazed baby lovers anywhere near those death mills, and you find nothing draconian about such laws at all. But here, well….
Jim Collins, head of FamilyVoice Australia’s Tasmania branch was quick to get a media release out highlighting this gross hypocrisy. He writes:
"Tasmanian Greens former leader Bob Brown has been arrested for protesting inside an exclusion zone around a northwest logging site. Everybody knows Bob Brown is passionate about our environment. But where was his objection in 2013 when all Tasmanian Greens MPs voted for a draconian law prohibiting any form of protest – even silent prayer – inside a 150 metre exclusion zone around abortion facilities?
Graham Preston is currently on trial in a Hobart court for standing peacefully near an abortion clinic, holding a sign saying: “Everyone has the right to life, Article 3 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” The back said: “Every child has the right to life, Article 6 Convention on the Rights of the Child.” His second sign showed an unborn child eight weeks from conception.
Bob Brown’s protest was designed to save trees, and he faces a $10,000 fine. By contrast, Graham Preston wanted to peacefully save human lives. He faces a possible $11,550 fine and/or one year in jail. If Green activists want to protest about restrictions on their freedom to protest, removing our abortion clinic ‘no go areas’ should be on their protest priority list too!"
Yes exactly, but do not expect any rational clarity and logical consistency anytime soon from the mad hatter Greens. They seem to prefer things to be as irrational, bizarre and contradictory as possible. The secular left are experts at all this, after all.
Things get no better in the Australian state of Victoria. The radical leftist Labor government there seems to be on a crusade to stamp out biblical Christianity. They have already told us that religious Christmas carols are verboten at Christmas, and now want to tell the churches just what is and is not sinful behaviour.
They want to ban all help for any homosexual who may want assistance in exiting the lifestyle. Nope, they must not be allowed to have any choice in the matter. Homosexuals must remain as they are, and any attempts to help them go otherwise will result in Big Brother Victoria throwing the book at you.
I wrote about this diabolical anti-Christian bigotry here: billmuehlenberg.com/2016/01/25/our-victorian-gaystapo/
But let me try to get this straight. If you happen to be a homosexual in Victoria who would like some help in getting out of the lifestyle, the government will deny you that right, and prosecute anyone who dares to offer such assistance. Right, got it.
Yet I am 100 per cent certain that Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and his Labor Party are fully supportive of men who want to become women, or women who want to become men. They would simply squeal with delight over cases like that of Bruce Jenner.
They would enthusiastically promote, endorse and celebrate such “transitions” and would insist that all available help be given to them, all at the taxpayer’s expense of course. One can completely ignore reality and biology and simply proclaim you are not who you were born to be, and the secular lefties just love it.
‘Of course you can be any gender you want to be honey. How dare I or anyone else prevent you from choosing for yourself just what you want.’ But hey, when it comes to homosexuality, it is a completely different story: ‘Sorry bud, but once homosexual, always homosexual. You were born that way, it is immutable, and we will make it a crime to even suggest otherwise. Tough luck bud, you must remain as you are, because we say so.’
Hmm, gotta love the double standards of Andrews and the loony left. Biology is merely a figment of our imagination, and choice is the name of the game – indeed, a fundamental human right. But those who seek to leave one very PC lifestyle have no rights whatsoever, and any and all choices must be stripped away from them.
Never mind the many thousands of ex-homosexuals who have proven what a lot of baloney the “born that way” mantra is. I know many of these people. Real change is possible, and those who seek such change have every right to get any help required.
But not here in the People’s Republik of Viktoria. Fuhrer Andrews has decided that the right to choose will not be available to any homosexual who wants out, and they must remain as they are, because the State always knows best. Folks, in my books that is just about as fascist and totalitarian as you can get.
But with the gaystapo now running the show here, we can expect even worse hellishness to come. If you happen to be a Bible-believing Christian who lives in the police state of Victoria, you now have to decide if you are ready for prison ministry.
There will be no other options here: you will either remain true to Christ and His Word and become an enemy of the State, or you will renounce Christ and cozy up to the pink dictators. It is your choice. But I implore you to choose wisely my friend.
Welcome to the Brave New World of secular left hypocrisy.
The animus against adoption among Australian social workers
BOOK REVIEW of "The Madness of Australian Child Protection: Why Adoption Will Rescue Australia’s Underclass Children" by Jeremy Sammut
In Australia there are tens of thousands of emotionally stable, financially secure but medically infertile people. As much as they may want biological children of their own, genetics, illness or injury render them incapable. Yet there are thousands of dregs at the bottom of the social teacup who seemingly breed like rabbits. No-hopers, drug-addicts, and the unemployable, for whom squalor is normality, who believe welfare is a God-given right and that fornication is not only time-passing relief from their miserable lot, but a passport to being able to dip their hands deeper into the public welfare and housing purse.
If you thought SBS’s reality series Struggle Street unfairly depicted welfare-fuelled life in underclass communities, think again. If anything it was too mild. I chief-of-staffed to a state community services minister a few years ago, and cases I saw were truly shocking. They shocked not only because of their facts – awful cases of domestic violence, sexual and emotional abuse and even incest – but because in the warped world in which these people lived they were routine, almost normal, events.
I still seethe with fury over one particular case, of incest in a Victorian country town. Confronted by child protection workers, this pustule of a man insisted he was only asserting his rights as a father. ‘She’s mine, I can do what I want’, he said without any hint of comprehending his vileness, or contrition. That excrescence forfeited any claims to parenthood, yet the community services system still wanted to respect his parental rights as a father. While the abused little girl was taken into care, child protection workers still, absurdly, hoped the family could be brought back together.
Most parents love and care for their children, even in the poorest communities. But while child abuse and neglect is a pestilence across society it is the underclass, where poverty, unemployment, crime, welfare dependency and substance abuse are rife, that the deepest problems lie.
As respected Centre for Independent Studies social policy thinker, Jeremy Sammut, demonstrates in this book, The Madness of Australian Child Protection, an entrenched policy mentality keeps failed families together wherever possible. Removal is a last resort. Sammut demonstrates, persuasively, how in the last forty years the pendulum has swung so far against adoption that too many kids are trapped hopelessly in destructive, dysfunctional family relationships or doomed to living in institutions and unsuitable foster homes without any chance of a permanent, loving family to call their own.
Trendy lefty social theorists have done incalculable damage, but conservative politicians holding the family unit as sacrosanct have let them get away with it. As far as I’m concerned, when ideology – Left or Right – gives misguided succour to utterly incompetent and abusive parents, whose unspeakable actions and substance-addled minds expose children to great neglect and physical and mental harm, it must be shoved aside for the children’s good. Just get those kids out of there!
Sammut rightly advocates child protection policies and practices that take children away from such brutal lives, and promotes re-normalised adoption as key to rescuing underclass children from desperate and dangerous ongoing situations. Making adoption work, however, requires two things: instilling a child-first prevailing mindset amongst caseworkers and policy-makers, and society’s reacceptance that children being permanently adopted into loving homes is far better than unwanted or at-risk children in dangerously dysfunctional family units.
Citing case after awful case of a system gone badly wrong, the essence of Sammut’s message is ‘preserve the family at all costs’ child protection needs dumping for a willingness to remove children from unfit parents, and offer them hope of love and security through permanent adoption by competent adults genuinely wanting them. Surely that is indeed the right way to go.
To achieve this, adoption process itself needs fixing. While it takes years, has so many hurdles and seems purpose-designed to subject potential adoptive parents to deliberate humiliation, the local adoption rate is unsurprisingly shameful. In 2014-15 there were just 56 local adoptions across Australia. Fifty-six kids out of thousands deserving and needing a better life than the no-hopers they’re now with can ever give them.
Successive Labor and Coalition federal and state governments and oppositions should hang their heads in shame at what decades of destructive social theory, applied by them, has wrought.
But don’t expect fashionable social experiments like same-sex adoptions to change things. Same-sex adoption is about gay couples demanding, and getting, the same rights as straight ones: it’s not about promoting the best interests of at-risk and damaged children. Having the right to adopt doesn’t guarantee actual adoptions: in New South Wales, where same-sex adoption has been legal for years, only nine children were locally adopted in 2014-15. If such miserable figures improve as more states allow same-sex adoption, I’ll eat my hat.
Last year former Labor minister and Speccie columnist Gary Johns caused chattering class outrage by suggesting welfare dependants should take contraceptives in return for benefits. Johns was far too charitable: those doing unspeakable things to vulnerable children deserve forced sterilisation over and above any criminal penalties. They don’t deserve to be parents, let alone procreate. At minimum, child protection authorities should presume that children removed from these pathetic excuses for parents are available for permanent adoption, not temporarily removed only to return into danger. That policy shift not only would offer lasting hope to endangered children: it may save lives.
Sammut’s back to the future take on adoption, and making it easier, offers an enlightened way forward. Taking his path, however, will take a big change of heart not only from elected politicians, but from a wider community that wrings its hands over the cesspit of child abuse and neglect, rather than actually take responsibility for doing something.
Melbourne woman 'bashed by police' during roadside altercation
A Melbourne woman claims she is the victim of police brutality after a violent roadside altercation.
Victoria Police insists Elisha Sherwood, 34, hurt herself while resisting arrest but she says they bashed and abused her for half an hour.
Battered and bruised, the Frankston woman claims she suffered these injuries at the hands of police after being pulled over in the early hours of Friday morning.
“They proceeded to say they were going to search the car for weapons,” she told 7 News. “I queried this and was basically tackled to the ground and my face was smashed into the ground and I was handcuffed."
“They were saying I was spitting at them but I was actually choking on my own blood,” Ms Sherwood said.
Police say the pair was aggressive and had to be restrained in an incident where police say three arresting officers had to be treated for minor injuries.
But Ms Sherwood and partner Daniel French dispute that version of events. “I only became aggressive after they started beating me,” Ms Sherwood said. “If they’re going to charge me for assault, I'd like to see their injuries."
The couple is hoping locals who saw what happened will come forward to back their version of events and are planning to commence legal action this week.
Tuesday, January 26, 2016
An extraordinary outpouring of hate for Australia day
On 26th January, Australians celebrate the arrival of the first British settlers in Australia. We celebrate it as the founding of our nation, which it is. As the Left try their best to rip away all of our traditions, it has become an increasingly popular day. People like their connections to their past so those connections we still have become better appreciated. The supermarkets sell all sorts of patriotic merchandise and you will see lots of cars driving around with Australian flags fluttering from them -- a flag in which the Union Flag of the U.K. is quartered. No ambiguity about our British origins there!
The far-Left do however condemn the day. Just as they condemn Columbus day in America, they call Australia day, invasion day. They regard the prior Aboriginal population as dispossessed. The fact that the Aborigines dispossessed the prior Negrito or "pygmy" race they cover up. But I come from a part of Australia that was the last redoubt of the pygmies so I know the facts of the matter. I have actually seen some of their descendants.
So it was fairly predictable that the far-Leftist Australian webzine "New Matilda" would publish a prolonged howl of rage in the lead up to this year's celebration. I am rather amazed by how prolix it is. It is a very long screed that finds many ways to repeat its condemnations. It must be driven by a white-hot furnace of hate. I give just a few excerpts from it below. I am not going to attempt rejoinders to any of the hate-speech. It is just a re-run of all the old Leftist themes so one would have to rehash most of politics if one wished to refute its assertions. Suffice it to say that it is just about as unbalanced a critique as you could get, unbalanced almost to the point of mental illness.
My family do celebrate the day in the traditional way, with a get together over a BBQ at my brother's place. I think we upset the Leftist stereotype a bit however, as our family includes some people of both Aboriginal and Han Chinese ancestry. All are native-born Australians, however and we do take a considerable interest in our ancestry -- with which we are well-pleased.
Some excerpts from "New Matilda":
We can all agree that Australia Day is a sickening celebration of jingoism and toxic masculinity that buries beneath its own excretion the invasion, dispossession and genocide on which this nation was built. The argument that Australia Day is just like 1988 satirical science fiction action horror film They Live is more contentious, though no less true.
There's the dominant ideological view of Australia Day which is a god awful hotpot of clich‚s, BBQs, boats and militant racism. Then there's the critique which contains some hard truths about the Indigenous population, asylum seekers, environmental destruction, poverty, homelessness, alcoholism, mental illness and domestic abuse.
This reality is painful for many and leads to aggressive opposition. It explains a lot about the public discourse of our national day, mainstream responses to daily examples of sexism by public figures, and probably the comment section at the end of this article.
Aussies love their garbage ideology.
The two-minute music video is an ultra-conservative fantasy draft of every boring clich‚ you've ever heard about Australia. Set to the tune of Outcast's party anthem `Hey Ya!', it flashes through images of flag umbrellas, the harbour bridge, koalas and kangaroos, BBQs, the baggy green, fireworks, novelty size things, beaches, Uluru, white people, mullets, singlets, cork hats, sports, vegemite, boomerangs, lamingtons, VB and Midnight Oil.
Worse than this inventory of the who's who of the 1970s are the capitalist, gendered and racist messages the song reproduces. We're supposed to `Thank God for our resources coz they are the sources for our wealthy land' as we see footage of mining and the smiling faces of Gina Rinehart, Rupert Murdoch and Kerry Packer. Thanks be to our capitalist overlords for destroying the environment and feeding us hatred of women and minorities.
We're told `mateship is forever', oh except if you made it to the continent first, you don't eat pork, or you arrived here by boat recently. In fairness, in between all the white people drinking and eating baby sheep, Indigenous folks do get a run. Though only really for their paintings which white people like to hang on the wall, for their athletic ability which white people are obsessed with, and for their dancing which white people like as entertainment.
We also learn that it's cool to binge drink and it makes us really happy. Let's not forget the suffocating masculinity which drowns most of the song. Australia at its core is all about mining, cooking BBQs, being mates, having a beer with the fellas, big things, watching cricket, mullets, singlets and go karting.
It also goes to Zizek's point that ideology is not something imposed on us but instead a spontaneous and natural expression of how we see the world.
As you bowl a few bouncers this Oz Day, recognise that we've never really owned our bloody history of invasion, dispossession, and genocide. Violence and disease decimated the estimated 750,000 Indigenous people living here across 400 nations in 1788. By 1920 there remained 60,000 and they were labelled a `dying race'.
While Paul Keating once gave a nice speech in Redfern and Kevin Rudd said sorry to the Stolen Generations, mainstream Australia has never properly come to terms with our violent past and our discriminatory present. Howard derided an honest reckoning as a `black armband view of history', while in contemporary politics, Abbott said there was `nothing but bush' before white settlement and Bill Shorten can't even bring himself to say the word invasion, opting for the more anodyne `settlement'.
Our failure to fully recognise past atrocities bleeds into our continued execution of them. A long line of white governments have denied Aboriginal people the right to self-determination and as a result these communities suffer the grossest social, economic, legal and political inequality.
Life expectancy is about fifteen years lower, infant mortality three times higher and youth incarceration 24 times higher compared to these rates for non-Indigenous Australians. Meanwhile the Recognise campaign stumbles on interminably to distract us all from the slashing of Indigenous services, the closure of Indigenous communities and the urgent need for a Treaty.
As you drive your Ute to Bondi next Tuesday, see that for a society founded by boat people, we have very little empathy for them. Australia runs remote pacific prison camps with endemic physical and sexual abuse, described by Australian of the Year Patrick McGorry as `factories for producing mental illness'.
Our detention regime has killed Reza Barati, Hamid Kehazaei, Fazel Chegeni and over 30 other innocent people since 2000, and deported many others to their deaths in their home countries. 159 children currently languish behind barbed wire offshore and on the mainland, while in Nauru, children are forced into schools where they are abused and sexually harassed.
Over 100 nations lined up late last year to spotlight our crimes against humanity. In 2013, the United Nations Human Rights Committee found Australia had committed 143 violations of international law. We've breached not only the Refugee Convention, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, but also the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention Against Torture.
Take a moment during `Fitzy and Wippa's Blokey Bonanza' to think about how Australia not only systematically abuses the rights of Indigenous peoples and asylum seekers, but also ruthlessly despoils the environment. Since coming to power in 2013 the Coalition government has really stepped up the assault on the natural world. They've tried to delist 74,000 hectares of Tasmania's World Heritage listed forests and weaken the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act, hoping to hand over environmental powers to the states. They've reviewed marine reserves and defunded environmental defender's offices and the CSIRO.
They've dismantled our climate policy, attacked the renewable energy industry and approved mega-mines in Queensland which alone will be the world's seventh largest polluter. They've approved dredging and an immense coal port expansion on the doorstep of the Great Barrier Reef. They've retained $10 billion a year in fossil fuel subsidies. Meanwhile, 2015 was in the top 5 hottest years ever for Australia, climate change is intensifying floods and bushfires across the country, and Peter Dutton thinks it's a good time to have a laugh about entire Pacific Islands going under water. Lol Peter, Lol.
As you re-watch `The Best of The Footy Show 1994-2002' for the 10th time, spare a thought for Muslims who experience racism at three times the national average as Bolt, Jones, Morrison, Abbott and the like stoke Islamophobia, riots and Reclaim Australia.
As you rub sun cream on your pet Koala's back, cast your mind to a decade of war in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria and the over 1 million civilians Australia and our allies have killed in the process. See Australia's shared responsibility in the destabilisation of the Middle East, the rise of ISIS and the global refugee crisis.
As you tuck into a vegemite coated novelty sized lamington, try not to throw up as you read that Australia's wealthiest 1 per cent have more money than 60 per cent of the population, and the nine richest people have more than the bottom 20 per cent. Know that the gap between rich and poor has grown by 13 per cent over the past decade and will jump another 10 per cent over the next 10 years. While the Australian media cares a great deal about which mansion our $200 million Prime Minister might grace with his presence, it seems to give less than two shits that there are 105,237 people without a bed to sleep in. Perhaps you could have a couple over at your spare mansion tonight Mr Turnbull?
DEFEND OUR CONSTITUTION
Message from Michael Darby, a Patron of Queenslanders for Constitutional Monarchy
The Prime Minister and the Premiers have reached agreement! Have they resolved to exert all possible effort to abolish slavery worldwide? Are they united in a desire to eliminate all mosquito-borne diseases? Do they now share a commitment to a timetable for delivery of the inexpensive energy craved by nearly a billion of the world's poor who presently do not own a light bulb? Are they committed to cleaning up the trash which blights the world's oceans and waterways?
No indeed, in Australia our elected and unelected leaders have different priorities. They want Australia to become a Republic, so that time-honoured constraints on the power of governments will be removed.
And whether through ignorance or dishonesty or both, this bunch is pretending that their campaign is about installing an Australian Head of State. The splendid Australian Constitution does not mention a Head of State, but for the benefit of those obsessed with the term, the most practical definition of a Head of State is the individual who commands the Armed Forces. In Australia that is the Governor-General, who performs all the functions expected of a Head of State.
When a bunch of high-taxing, high-spending opportunists all agree on something, we can be certain that the potential beneficiaries will be the high-taxing, high spending opportunists. Shame on them! God Save the Queen.
For all the ABC producers who have wished for an opportunity to present the Monarchist viewpoint, my phone number is 0402 558 947.
Lynton Crosby: Conservative strategist named Australian of the Year in the UK
Lynton Crosby, the top Liberal Party strategist and adviser to the British Conservative Government, has been named Australian of the Year in the UK.
Australia's High Commissioner Alexander Downer bestowed the award upon Mr Crosby at a gala ceremony at Australia House in London.
In the past, it has gone to people such as singer Kylie Minogue, performer Barry Humphries and bomb survivor Gill Hicks.
Mr Crosby was awarded the honour for being a "world leader in his profession and a great Australian", according to the Australia Day Foundation.
He helped steer the UK Conservative Party and Prime Minister David Cameron to an unexpected re-election victory last year.
Mr Crosby was also behind MP Boris Johnston's successful campaign to become Mayor of London in 2008 and played a key role in keeping John Howard's Liberal government in power in Australia.
He was controversially awarded a knighthood in Britain's New Year Honours.
UK Opposition MPs were critical of the decision to award him a knighthood, given his work had been for the benefit of the Conservative Party rather than for Britain.
Mr Crosby was paid $4.9 million by the Conservative Party for his services during the election campaign.
The Australian of the Year in the UK award is selected based on their "achievements in the year immediately prior... and ongoing contribution to the Australia/UK community" as well as being an "inspirational role model", according to the Australia Day Foundation.
A day to unite or divide the nation?
Australia Day means different things to different people. For some, it is a day for flag waving, citizenship ceremonies, and backyard barbeques. Yet for many Aboriginal people, the day commemorating when the British first settled in Australia, is not a day for celebrating, but a day of mourning — known as Invasion Day.
Every year on Australia Day protest marches are held around the country with people proclaiming: "We won’t celebrate Invasion Day” "No pride in genocide” and "Always was, always will be Aboriginal land.”
While people are free to do what they like on Australia Day, focusing on past injustices and portraying Aboriginal people as victims does little to empower Aboriginal people.
Contrast the ‘us’ and ‘them’ mentality that organisations such as Warriors of Aboriginal Resistance and First Nations Liberation embody with the words of Bess Price’s daughter, Jacinta Price — who wrote, in a recent Facebook post that has gone viral:
"Instead of teaching our kids to feel pain and resentment… and painting white people as oppressors and racists and black people as victims…let’s teach them love, strength and acceptance.”
As the daughter of an Aboriginal mother and a white father, Jacinta is acutely aware she would not exist if it weren’t for Australia’s history. Instead of emphasising people’s differences, she advocates focusing on what Australians have in common.
"Ultimately we are all human beings and our physical differences should not set us apart.”
So on Tuesday, ignore the media reports about the protestors marching down George Street — and take on board Jacinta’s message about celebrating what unites us rather than what divides us.
Patriotism: chop chop
Australia Day looms, and once again the nation is embroiled in a heated debate about Meat and Livestock Australia’s lamb ads.
The interesting thing about this year’s fuss is not that the 2016 campaign has become the most complained about advertisement in Australia’s history, but that MLA has successfully transformed consumption of one its products into patriotic duty. Forget a marketing coup: in 2016, even mild indifference to chops nears risking prosecution under Part 5.1 of the Criminal Code Act.
Of course, loving lamb is just one of our solemn obligations as citizens this Australia Day. Here are some others:
Putting things on the barbie
Tied to our duty to eat lamb is the requirement to cook it outdoors. Ideally, this should be performed only by family members who are incapable of even boiling an egg. This ensures the meat surface is transformed into a charcoal bark but the inside remains raw. As the Australian Constitution reminds us on every page, this is exactly how the Fathers of the Federation intended us to eat.
Quarrelling about the Australian flag
It would not be Australia Day without a national argument about the relevance of our flag. For one day every year, litres of ink are spilt in violently debating whether we need a new one. A series of pundits are trundled out to rubbish the idea, and then on January 27 we return to the real world without another whisper about the flag until next Australia Day.
Watching Lleyton lose
Since the dawn of the Federation, it has been a cherished Australian tradition to cheer on Lleyton Hewitt as he jousts in the Australian Open — and then act surprised when he is defeated on day two. With Hewitt’s ageing bones now disintegrating into dust, 2016 is his last year at the Open. To miss it would be tantamount to treason.
Now go and have a chop, please.