Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Bill Shorten: ‘Systemic racism’ still exists in Australia as there’s no agreement about how the country was taken from Aboriginal people

He falls at the first hurdle.  The country was NOT taken away from Aborigines.  They still live here.  And that others also now live here actually gives them rights and privileges that they never had in their tribal past.

But this racism accusation is deplorable  coming from someone who thinks he can lead the country. He calls Australians racist but still wants their vote.  Does that make him a racist too? Hate clearly blinds him.  But Leftists do tend to hate the society they live in so it is not really surprising.

And if there is "systematic" racism, where is it?  Where is the system or systems concerned?  The only systematic racism I know of is the various affirmative action policies of the Federal and State governments -- which  give privileges to blacks that are not available to whites.  That is certainly systematic racism but Shorten is presumably not condemning that.  His party is behind much of the racism concerned.

And to call racist a country that has for many decades welcomed immigrants from all over the world is the height of absurdity.  Few countries have been as welcoming to foreigners as Australia.  But Australia has always tried to select migrants in a way that excludes problem people and still insists on that right of selection.  People who try to sneak in the back door are not sent away because of their race but because of their contempt for reasonable Australian laws.

That Aborigines live in a way that most whites deplore is their affair.  If unemployed, they get the same dole money as any other unemployed person and many unemployed people live civilized lives.  I lived on the dole for a couple of years in my youth and I lived quite well.  Nobody would have thought me to be pitied.

There is no doubt that Aborigines envy whites some things but the solution to that is to work for what they want.  Australia now has a very large minority of East Asian people who are very prosperous and contribute a great deal to the community.  But many arrived here penniless and unable to speak English. And, like Aborigines, they look different.  That they have nonetheless done so well shows that the opportunity is there for everyone in Australia. 

If Aborigines fail to take advantage of the opportunities available to them, that is their decision and it should be respected.  Let us not criticize them for being loyal to their own traditions

OPPOSITION Leader Bill Shorten has declared “systemic racism is still far-too prevalent” and says there isn’t “fundamental agreement about how the country was taken from Aboriginal people”.

Mr Shorten made the comments at a Reconciliation Australia Dinner in Melbourne, after campaigning in Darwin on indigenous affairs issues.  “Systemic racism is still far-too prevalent,” he said.

“The insidious nature of stubborn racism is still a reality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals — regardless of the status and stature they achieve in our society.

“Every generation of Aboriginal athlete, from Doug Nicholls to Nicky Winmar to Michael Long to Adam Goodes has known this.”

Mr Shorten said he knew “racism is not true of most Australians”, and that he was proud of those who stand up to it.

But he also acknowledged there was more to be done as “this sense of discrimination percolates down to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the street every day”.

Mr Shorten said real equality came from “being truthful”.

“Right now, there is not fundamental agreement about how the country was taken from Aboriginal people,” he said.

“Or the issues about settlement, and colonisation.

“We need a process to find the common ground, on such matters, for the common good of our nation.”

Mr Shorten went on to say the “disgraceful fiction of the doctrine of terra nullius has been disproved”.

“But without a future framework agreed with Aboriginal people, all the arguments from 1788 onwards will continue to plague us,” he said.

“Our goal should be to agree to a future which gives us all pride and respect.”

The Opposition leader went on to say it was important to acknowledge there was “unfinished business — and there are new pathways to be developed”.

“The reconciliation process has provided a constructive opportunity for our nation to find agreement on these fundamental issues — or at least help us settle them,” he said.

“But the concept of Reconciliation has — for too long — been split by some into a false dichotomy.

“‘Practical’ reconciliation on one hand — and ‘symbolic’ actions like compensation and agreements on the other.

“The truth is we need agreement on both paths.”

The Opposition Leader said the nation could not truly celebrate its achievements in the area of indigenous affairs while was “still a sense of injustice lingering in the hearts and minds of the first Australians”.


Homeowners kept in dark about climate change risk to houses, says Greenie report

They are asking for information that does not exist.  There is no way sea level rise can be predicted.  No Greenie prediction has come true yet -- and they have made many, most of which were hilariously wrong.  The Climate Institute is a privately funded Warmist organization that is at present struggling for funding.  The "report" referred to would seem to be an attempt to drum up funding for themselves

The risk that houses in some areas of Australia are likely to become uninsurable, dilapidated and uninhabitable due to climate change is kept hidden from those building and buying property along Australia’s coasts and in bushfire zones, a Climate Institute report says.

The report says there is untapped and unshared data held by regulators, state and local governments, insurers and banks on the level of risk, but that most homebuyers and developers are not told about the data and do not have access to it.

“Even when public authorities, financial institutions and other stakeholders possess information about current and future risk levels, they are sometimes unwilling, and sometimes unable, to share it with all affected parties,” the report released on Monday says.

“Thus, foreseeable risks are allowed to perpetuate, and even to grow via new housing builds. The full scale of the risk may only be recognised either through disaster or damage, or when insurance premiums become unaffordable. Any of these events can in turn affect housing values.”

The economic costs are high and could ultimately represent a real risk to the financial sector itself, the report says. While insurers, regulators and governments have started to recognise this risk, banks who approve the mortgages for at-risk properties have not yet begun working towards a solution.

For example, the report says, banks could integrate the impact of climate into their risk assessment processes, work with other stakeholders in the public, private and civil society sectors to research and develop ways to minimise climate impact risk to housing, and address losses that will occur in an equitable way.

It also says that state, federal and local governments could do more to protect buyers, by including climate risk in planning, development and approval processes, mandating the disclosure of all available hazard mapping, and requiring that all dwellings be built or renovated as fit-for-purpose for the maximum projected impacts of climate change.

Extreme weather and climate change risks associated with a property should also be disclosed at the point of sale.

“Even if these ‘uninsurable’ and ‘unadaptable’ properties are only a tiny minority of the total housing stock, the eventual devaluation could be financially devastating to individuals,” the report says. “It could also be damaging to banks, other financial companies and public balance sheets at all levels of government.

An author of the report and the manager of investment and governance at the Climate Institute,Kate Mackenzie, said the sector had to be proactive before houses became damaged, otherwise there could be a costly and messy battle over who bore responsibility.

For example, she said, councils could be liable for not providing flood data and for permitting a vulnerable development to go ahead, the developer for building it, the home owners for not realising the risk, the building code authority, the banks for financing the development and the mortgages, or the insurers.

“There’s definitely a big need for governments to show leadership on this,” she said.

“There have been a few very good recommendations made in the past by public policy reviews which really haven’t been followed up at the federal level or at the state level or through Coag, which would provide a mechanism for a national adaptation strategy.”

These included the reports from an Australian Treasury taskforce, the natural disaster insurance review, and two Productivity Commission inquiries, she said.

Her report concludes: “A sense of exasperation is evident among those who have spent any length of time seeking to address the economic and policy challenges posed by extreme weather.”

Some researchers are already taking the matter into their own hands and developing products to help buyers manage risk. Last month, the website Coastal Risk Australia was launched. It combines Google maps with detailed tide and elevation data, as well as future sea-level rise projections, to help people see whether their house or suburb is likely to be inundated.


Shorten's weak stance on religious freedom
This week Labor leader Bill Shorten announced his party will not join the Greens in supporting the abolition of religious exemptions to anti-discrimination laws.

"We haven't seen the case made to make change," he told a press conference. "At this point in time, let me be really clear about that."

This less-than-resounding statement was followed by a more emphatic addendum on the superfluity of a gay marriage plebiscite.

"But also let's be straight up here. It is a massive waste of money, $160 million being spent on a plebiscite on marriage equality. Why should some people's relationships have to undergo the gauntlet of public opinion and taxpayer-funded hate campaigns?"

Casually referring to "hate campaigns" is not very reassuring in this context, considering that the very anti-discrimination laws in question are those under which the Catholic Archbishop of Hobart was subjected to a formal complaint seeking to ban a temperately worded booklet laying out the church's teaching on marriage.

Even less reassuring is that the Labor party's national platform says that anti-discrimination laws would be reviewed under a Labor government. No doubt the Greens would continue to push hard during such a review for the elimination of religious exemptions.

Shorten's half-hearted semi-endorsement does nothing to quell the uncertainty that does so much to fuel the bitterness of the marriage debate. Those on both sides who are weary of the culture wars should work toward a stable, sustainable truce that protects minorities of all kinds, not prolong uncertainty by foreshadowing future U-turns.

Exemptions for religious groups protect good-faith adherents of traditional views like Archbishop Porteous. Religious freedom is a fundamental Australian value that deserves our politicians' full-throated endorsement -- or at least something stronger than "we haven't seen the case made ... at this point in time."


How to play the man not the ball: negative gearing edition

Negative gearing has yet again been splashed in the media this week. On Tuesday, a draft report arguing against the ALP's proposed changes to negative gearing and CGT was leaked to the press.

The report was criticised because it was commissioned by Greg Paramor, managing director of property company Folkestone, after he met with the Treasurer. So does this criticism mean that politicians can never commission reports? If so, how would oppositions ever be able to get research done?

Or does it mean that links with political parties nullify a report? If so, should McKell Institute and Per Capita reports be dismissed due to ALP links, or The Australia Institute reports because they have links to the Australian Greens? Or does this rule only apply to the Coalition?

Other criticism focused on the report containing typos, with the critics conveniently forgetting that it is a draft -- evidently a fairly early one.

But this is all playing the man not the ball. Noting it is still a draft, the report makes substantive points that should be the focus. It argues the winding back of negative gearing will result in large rent increases, leading to increased need for rental assistance.

It argues the existing system has reduced the number of households in rental stress and increased the number of rental properties, in contrast to arguments from the Grattan Institute. The report argues these rental effects will be put in jeopardy by any change. The report also argues the existing tax system hasn't reduced home ownership, because the increase in rental properties offsets a decline in social housing.

It is these last points that should be the focus of the debate, not the superficial discussion that has occurred so far.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

Monday, May 30, 2016

Australian university places still mainly filled by better-off students despite uncapping

This is a good example of shallow Leftist thinking leading to a result the opposite of what was intended.  A measure designed to help the poor has helped the rich.  Dumbing down university admission standards to help the poor sounds right for about 5 minutes -- until you look at the source of the problem. 

And the source is clearly the bad schools that the poor are forced to attend.  And you can't fix the schools by making university education dumber.  It is clear what is needed:  Restoration of discipline in the schools so that teachers are free to teach, no matter how poor the catchment area of the school may be.  As it is at the moment, a few disruptive students can hold back a whole class.

And student fees are another deterrent to the poor -- but not to the rich.  So a wealthy family can now get a university degree for their kid even though the kid might not be the brightest

AUSTRALIA’S universities ­remain the playground of the "rich and thick", who are gaining entry to degrees with low scores thanks to reforms ­designed to help the poor.

That has prompted one university head to warn that you don’t "change the make-up of the flock by leaving the farm gate open".

Thanks to former prime minister Julia Gillard’s decision to uncap university places, unis can enrol as many ­students as they wish, with the federal government funding the places and students running up $67 billion in uni loans.

It is estimated that one in four of these debts will never be repaid to taxpayers.

The number of students gaining university places with a tertiary entry mark under 50 is on track to hit 10,000 students this year.

But the target of 20 per cent of students from low-income backgrounds by 2020 is proving tougher to deliver.

The proportion of low-income students attending university had remained ­stable, at around 16 per cent, for nearly two decades.  Uncapping places has lifted it by only about 1 per cent.

University of Adelaide vice-chancellor Stephen Bebbington has previously warned the reforms had not done much to lift participation of disadvantaged kids. "As my father the farmer would have said, ‘You don’t change the make-up of the flock by leaving the farm gate open’," he said.

The Group of Eight (Go8) universities, Australia’s eight leading research universities, have previously warned that the reforms need a rethink. "Although the proportion of students from a low SES background has increased over the past five years, 80 per cent of growth still occurred in students from medium and high SES backgrounds."

There are also claims that wealthy public and private schools "inflate" entry scores with intensive tutoring that leaves those students struggling at third-level.

Curtin University researchers found that schools with higher socio-economic status inflate their students’ university entry scores and hence ­access to university.

Meanwhile, Grattan Institute director Andrew Norton said there was evidence that students from disadvantaged backgrounds who had defied the odds to make it to university performed better than their lower Year 12 scores predict.  "They are resilient and have the work ethic to succeed even if their ATARs are lower."

Some critics are calling for a new debate around whether a university education should be regarded as a prerequisite for all, citing the example of successful Australians, including Paul Keating and philanthropist and businessman Frank Lowy, who did not attend uni.


How the racing industry turned its back on Melbourne Cup winner Michelle Payne

Now why would that be?  Could it be that her feminist tirade at the Cup condemning men in the racing industry went down like a lead balloon?  The lamebrain seems not to understand the importance of getting on with people.  But you can't expect a jockey to be bright, I suppose. Condemning the men in the racing industry and them expecting them to give you work is about as stupid as Gillard's big feminist tirade -- which ultimately got her turfed out of office when her popularity among male voters dropped to about 20%

Melbourne Cup winner Michelle Payne was riding for just $190 at a country track in Victoria on Monday when she suffered serious abdominal injuries and was forced to have surgery for an injury which threatens to end her career.

Payne, 30, remains in a serious but stable condition in hospital after the fall in race seven at Mildura - only six months after winning Australia's greatest race in November where she delivered a confronting speech about inequality and chauvinism in the sport.

But riding in Mildura in Victoria's far north-west on Monday and then Casterton on the Sunday before are a far cry from the glitz and glamour of Cup week at Flemington and her ambassadorial role ahead of Rosehill Guineas Day during the Sydney Autumn Carnival in March.

After becoming the first woman to ride a Melbourne Cup winner, on Prince of Penzance, Michelle Payne quickly became the face of racing and was widely sought after - featured on magazine covers and approached for speaking engagements.

But with increasing pressure from family members to quit racing after her latest bad fall - that's where her future may now be.

Aside from taking mounts at Morphetville (including Prince of Penzance's return to racing) for champion trainer Darren Weir, for whom she rode the Cup winner, the majority of rides have been at country venues like Ararat and Pakenham.


Far from bleached, reef’s in the pink

West Australian coral is doing fine while Queensland (Eastern)  coral is extensively bleached.  So any pretense that the Queensland situation is part of a global phenomenon is at least dubious.  There's some very confused thinking about El Nino and La Nina below.  The journalist appears to have the two mixed up

Scientists have discovered that the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef off the West Australian coast — the largest fringing reef in Australia — has escaped any recent coral bleaching and that some areas are in the same condition as 30 years ago.

CSIRO ecologist Damian Thomson said yesterday a major study of the reef that ended this month had found that Ningaloo was unaffected by the current bleaching "event” that has hit Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef and other reefs off WA’s northern coast.

He said the research — funded by CSIRO and BHP Billiton through a $5.4 million partnership — showed Ningaloo was more resilient than expected.

"It’s really pleasing that Ningaloo hasn’t undergone any bleaching — it’s fantastic news actually,” Mr Thompson said.

The clean bill of health will be welcomed by the tourism industry around Exmouth, a town ­reliant on thousands of visitors visiting the reef every year ­between April and July to snorkel with migrating whale sharks. Later this year, tourists will also be able to swim with humpback whales, which is expected to double the length of Exmouth’s $6m tourist season.

Conservationists are worried about the human impact on the reef and have also raised concerns in recent years about ­increased oil and gas exploration — including by BHP — close to Ningaloo Marine Park.

Mr Thomson said while coral bleaching remained a possible future threat to the reef, the sheer number of people visiting the area was its major challenge.

"It’s a relatively small tract of reef when you look at the extent of the Australian coastline, but the number of people that love holidaying there or going there for other activities, it is very well used. That is probably the main challenge, managing that.”

Mr Thomson said bleaching tended to occur on Australia’s west coast during La Nina years, when strong currents from ­Indonesia pushed warm water south to Ningaloo. But during the recent El Nino, those strong currents had not ­occurred, ­resulting in cooler waters.

CSIRO research surveyed 70 sites at Ningaloo and found no coral bleached at locations where bleaching was recorded in 2010. At Osprey, on the western part of Ningaloo, results were as good as those taken in 1987. Ningaloo was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2011 for its biological diversity and conservation significance.

The findings are for the first year of field work undertaken by the Ningaloo Outlook project, which aims to increase the ­ecological understanding of the reefs.


Old Commo Roz Ward quits Vic government role

Controversial Safe Schools Coalition co-ordinator Roz Ward has resigned from a Victorian government advisory role after The Australian discovered a Facebook post where she labelled the national flag "racist”.

Ms Ward made a Facebook post on Tuesday after Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews apologised to the gay community for past discrimination.

The government hoisted a gay-pride rainbow flag on parliament house as part of the event.

Ms Ward posted a photo of the rainbow flag on Facebook with the comment: "Now we just need to get rid of the racist Australian flag on top of state parliament and get a red one up there and my work is done.”

The Australian last night asked Ms Ward and the Victorian government for a comment on the post, given she is implementing Safe Schools and is advising the government on LGBTI issues.

In response to the request, her resignation was announced this afternoon.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

Sunday, May 29, 2016

We Should Be Accepting Refugees For Their Humanity, Not Their Literacy (?)

Once again a Leftist shows an inability to mount a valid argument, let alone a thought-out argument.  Ms Kovesi below quotes the case of two highly qualified central Europeans in the '50s as some sort of argument against Australia's current immigration  policies.  But the people trying to force themselves on us at the moment are nothing like highly qualified central Europeans.  They have low levels of literacy even in their own languages and few (about 16%) obtain full time jobs. The rest parasitize the Australian taxpayer.  So her example is completely irrelevant.  And the fact is that the two Europeans concerned came to Australia LEGALLY, whereas the "boat people" arrive illegally.

Ms Kovesi seems herself to see that the examples she gives have no real force so she trails off into saying that shared humanity is the reason why we should throw open the doors to all and sundry.  But we have shared humanity with rapists and murderers too.  So should we welcome them with open arms too?  Perhaps Ms Kovesi would like to billet a serial rapist in her own home? He's human too, you know. And that's all that matters, is it not? She may have a doctorate in history but I think most ordinary Australians would see her as a drongo

Last week’s comments by Peter Dutton that ‘illiterate’ refugees will take Australian jobs  misses the point at several levels, writes Catherine Kovesi.

Unsurprisingly, the electoral debate has brought the handful of tragic asylum seekers who live forcibly at our peripheries to our emotional centre stage once more. This time the argument is based on their possible illiteracy and job taking aspirations.

The response by some has been immediately to show the number of highly literate former asylum seekers who are now active and productive participants in Australian society. Others have shown instead how their illiterate parents became productive members of Australian society.

But does this advance the nature of the debate? Are literacy skills or the lack thereof what we should be basing the argument around in the first place?

My father and his brother filled out asylum seeker application forms to come to Australia in 1950. They were 19 and 23 respectively. Both were men of the mind. Highly literate, politically engaged young intellectuals. Fluent in Hungarian, and German, passable in French, and well versed in Latin. But with no English.

My father had studied Philosophy at Budapest University, and then, as a refugee in Austria in 1949, at Salzburg University. My uncle had studied medicine at the same institutions.

However in 1950, Australia was not interested in refugees’ literacy skills. In fact the very opposite. The country was only accepting refugees who had demonstrable practical skills.

My father had only just learnt to drive on the steep alpine slopes of the Tyrol, but he was accepted into Australia on the pretence that he was a truck driver, and my uncle that he was a shoemaker.

Anxiously, as they sailed towards Australia on the good ship Skargum with many other middle European refugees, my uncle studied an old shoemakers’ manual that he had hurriedly bought prior to departure, in case he arrived in Fremantle, Western Australia, to find materials to make a shoe waiting for him at Customs, in order to demonstrate his shoemaking expertise.

Both did indeed take on manual jobs when they arrived. Whilst living in the Northam refugee detention centre, my father worked variously as a gardener (planting out the grounds of the University of Western Australia), as a kiosk salesman on Cottesloe Beach, and as an orderly in a tuberculosis sanatorium in Perth. It was in that sanatorium that he spied some philosophy books on the table of one of the patients.

That patient, Professor Selwyn Grave, encouraged my father, who spoke little English, to come and study at the University of Western Australia – in the glory days of free undergraduate education. My father and my uncle did so.

Within five years my father had a scholarship to Oxford University. My uncle went on to Cambridge to study English Literature (although he always lamented that reading Shakespeare in the original was a disappointment).

But both returned to the country that had offered them asylum. Both went on to academic careers at the University of Western Australia – my uncle teaching English literature with a special focus on Shakespeare, and my father teaching Philosophy to generations of students.

Both are remembered with great fondness.

Sadly both are now dead.

But what they both offered Australia was not their literacy or otherwise. They offered quite simply all that we in turn can hope to offer desperate people who recognise something of good in the traditions of our island sanctuary – their humanity.

Can the debate please be removed from questions of literacy, and return to common questions of our shared humanity?


Labor party racism still at work

When Nova Peris was nominated for the Senate by the Labor party's Julia Gillard, it was blatant racism.  The long-serving incumbent Labor senator, Trish Crossin, was given the boot in favour of Peris -- someone with no discernible eligibility for the job other than the colour of her skin. She was not even a member of the party when given the nod.  She proved as poor in her Senate job as one would expect and implicitly acknowledged that herself by resigning. 

The Labor party has learnt nothing however.  All the candidates to replace her also seem to be Aboriginal.  The Labor party claim to be opposed to racism, but they  practice it anyway

Five women will fight to replace outgoing politician Nova Peris as Labor's top Senate candidate for the Northern Territory.

Former NT Labor minister Marion Scrymgour, Yothu Yindi Foundation CEO Denise Bowden and Labor staffer Cathryn Tilmouth put their names forward as nominations closed on Friday afternoon.

The trio join journalist and former politican Malarndirri McCarthy and Senator Peris's chief of staff Ursula Raymond, who threw their hats into the ring earlier in the week, reported The ABC.

Senator Peris quit politics on Tuesday, which was also National Sorry Day, saying she needed to put family first and spend more time with her children.

Ursula Raymond, Peris's former top staffer, is reportedly the favourite to replace her old boss.

Ms Raymond has a long association with Senator Peris and outside of politics is the associate producer for Darwin's annual Garrmalang Festival.

Malarndirri McCarthy is an experienced journalist who was worked for the ABC and SBS. She quit journalism to enter politics in 2005 and was elected as the Labor member for Arnhem, NT, with a resounding 73 per cent of the vote.

After seven years in politics Ms McCarthy was defeated by Country Liberal Party member Larissa Lee in the 2012 election.

Former state Labor minister Marion Scrymgour is looking to re-ignite her 11-year career after standing down in 2012. When she was elected in 2001 Ms Scrymgour became the first Indigenous woman chosen for parliament in the NT. As Labor's Deputy Chief Minister from 2007 to 2009, Scrymgour was the highest-ranked Indigenous woman in any government in Australia's history.

Denise Bowden is a relative newcomer to politics but boasts an impressive resume as the CEO of the Yothu Yindi Foundation. The foundation was established in 1990 to promote Indigenous community development in the NT and Ms Bowden has been the CEO since April 2010. Ms Bowden is also the director of the annual Garma Festival which promotes Indigenous culture and economic development.

Cathryn Tilmouth is a Labor staffer who has previously worked for former NT Labor leader Delia Lawrie.  She currently works as an electorate officer for NT politician Ken Vowles and has also worked for federal minister Martin Ferguson.  In 2014 it was reported that Ms Tilmouth was in line to challenge Senator Peris for pre-selection to the senate, although the challenge never eventuated.

Senator Peris entered politics in 2013 as a 'captain's pick' by then-Prime Minister Julia Gillard following a successful sporting career. She was the first Indigenous Australian to win an Olympic gold medal and competed as a part of the women's hockey team at the 1996 and 2000 events.

Labor's national executive will choose her replacement and is expected to announce its decision on Monday.


The election is shaping as a battle between the two most politically correct leaders in Australia’s history

Mark Latham, below, was a terrible leader of the ALP but is always outspoken, a rare virtue

IN this era of political correctness and gender fluidity, Mother’s Day is lucky to survive. Under the guidance of the Safe Schools program, it’s only a matter of time before the second Sunday in May becomes an UN-sanctioned International Day For People Who Identify As Being Mothers. It will be open to men and women alike.

This is the logical extension of Leftist identity politics: a belief that capitalist social conditioning has fried our brains so badly that none of us can figure out our true gender role.

I’m a 55-year-old man who has spent the past 40 years admiring attractive women and, along the way, fathering three children.

But if only they had taught Safe Schools in the 1970s, I could have broken free from capitalist indoctrination, signed up for neo-Marxist gender politics and emerged as Australia’s answer to Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner.

At Sunday’s lunch in the splendid La Vigna Restaurant in Camden, my kids could have had two mothers, not just one.

On Father’s Day we wouldn’t have to bother, staying home to read our gender fluidity lecture notes from La Trobe University.

Not surprisingly, in my state of false consciousness, I’m not alone. As I looked around the restaurant two days ago, all the mothers ­appeared to be women and all the fathers appeared to be men.

They too missed the Safe Schools lesson where you arrive from outer space without a penis or vagina and then sort out what to do.

Undeterred by our lack of formal education, we dug into the veal scallopini and seafood ravioli instead.

It says something bizarre about Australian politics that in this election campaign, both major parties are committed to keeping Safe Schools and the equally Goebbelesque Building Respectful Relationships program. As a duo, Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten are the two most politically correct leaders in our history.

They have formed an elitist bipartisanship around the things the Australian people aren’t allowed to hear.

Think of it as the great silence swindle of election 2016.

Over the next eight weeks there will be no talk of how welfare dependency in places like Auburn, Parramatta and Merrylands has become an Australian breeding ground for Islamic terrorism.

There will be no talk of how the nation’s 200,000 per annum immigration program is adding daily to congestion and urban sprawl, making large parts of Sydney unlivable. There will be no talk of amending section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act to restore genuine freedom of speech.

There will be no talk of curbing the thought-police powers of the Human Rights Commission, which has declared its right to name and shame “racists”, even when there is no evidence of racial malice.

There will be no talk about the true extent of domestic violence in Australia: the ABS statistic showing an annual rate of domestic assault against women of 1.06 per cent. Instead, we’ll be bombarded with more taxpayer-funded propaganda about an “epidemic” and “national emergency”.

From Bill Turnbull and Malcolm Shorten, there will be no talk about the importance of teaching strength and resilience in our schools.

Their education policies will add to the Age of Sookery — where children are encouraged to play the victim, seeking quotas and other nanny-state interventions to succeed in life. There will be no talk of ending Australia’s pill-pop culture, where newly invented ailments such as “anxiety depression” have become an all-purpose alibi for errant footballers, welfare slackers and those claiming to be freaked out by the prospect of a democratic national vote on same-sex marriage.

Most of all, there will be no talk exposing the fraud of identity politics: the Leftist obsession subdividing our nation on the basis of race, gender and sexuality.

By encouraging people to focus on their individual identity, the Left is atomising society and destroying our sense of community, no less than the individualistic Right.

How fitting for this election to have been called on Sunday. It’s the mother of all politically correct charades.


Australia’s secret ETS starts in five weeks

Quietly, surprisingly, Australia’s climate change policy has become a bipartisan emissions trading scheme, or ETS … well, almost. The parties might try to manufacture differences for the election campaign, although they haven’t yet, and anyway they don’t really exist.

From July 1, coincidentally the day before the election, the Coalition’s “safeguard mechanism” within its Direct Action Plan will come into force.

One-hundred and fifty companies, representing about 50 per cent of Australia’s total carbon emissions, will be capped by legislation at their highest level of emissions between 2009-10 and 2013-14.

If they emit less than their caps, they will get credits, called Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs), which were created by the Gillard government’s 2011 legislation; if they emit more, they have to buy ACCUs on the market.

The caps specifically include the electricity sector and the ACCUs are “financial products” under both the Corporations Act and the ASIC Act, and can be traded, so an ETS market will be established from July 1.

It is, in short, a classic cap-and-trade ETS, similar in effect to the one legislated by the ALP in 2011, but which unwisely started with a fixed price that could be labelled a carbon tax, and was repealed on July 17, 2014 by the Abbott government, with high-fives and champagne.

What hasn’t been announced or included in the Coalition’s legislation yet is that the caps will start to be reduced from next year, which will make it even more similar in some ways to the Gillard government’s Clean Energy Act 2011.

The legislation that included the Coalition’s ETS was passed by the Senate — with the support of both the ALP and the Greens — on its last day of sitting in 2015, in December.

As it happens, that was the day before the Paris climate conference, called COP 21, got underway, at which an agreement to keep the global temperature increase to 2 degrees was signed by 189 countries, including Australia.

The emissions caps imposed on 150 companies are described by the government as a “safeguard mechanism” to support the Emissions Reduction Fund that is the centrepiece of the Direct Action Plan, in which companies bid at auction for the right to be paid to reduce their emissions. Those auctions have so far resulted in 143 million tonnes of abatement at an average price of $12.10 per tonne, which is much lower than had been forecast by the scheme’s opponents.

The Department of Environment’s website says: “The safeguard mechanism will protect taxpayers’ funds by ensuring that emissions reductions paid for through the crediting and purchasing elements of the Emissions Reduction Fund are not displaced by significant increases in emissions above business-as-usual levels elsewhere in the economy.”

But depending on the gradient of cap reduction that is decided next year, the safeguard itself could end up becoming the central pillar of Australia’s response to the Paris agreement.

That’s because the government almost certainly can’t afford to pay for enough abatement under the auction system to meet its Paris commitments, given the state of the budget.

In fact, the safeguard mechanism becomes a way for the government — Coalition or Labor — to adjust the budget deficit: reducing the “safeguard” caps faster would reduce the amount that the ERF would have to pay out.

The interesting question is why no one is talking about any of this. Obviously the 150 companies involved know about it, and it’s all described in full on the department website, but the fact that Australia has effectively legislated an emissions trading scheme is virtually a secret.

So far, climate change has been absent from the election campaign and will probably remain so — because fundamentally the parties agree now. The only disagreement is likely to be rate of the reduction in the caps, and no one is ready to talk about that yet.

In fact, the idea of a cap-and-trade scheme has been part of the Coalition’s climate policy since well before Greg Hunt went from shadow minister to Minister for the Environment in 2013. He made it a condition of his appointment by Tony Abbott that the science of climate change would be accepted and the emissions reduction target would not change.

Within that, he and Abbott constructed a policy position that could more or less credibly be argued as achieving the abatement targets, while at the same time satisfying three requirements: differentiating their policy from the ALP, not increasing electricity prices and not upsetting the far right of the Coalition.

When Malcolm Turnbull became leader and Prime Minister last year, amazingly, he did not fully understand his party’s climate policy, and in particular the inclusion of a cap and trade ETS, because Hunt had never discussed it in Cabinet. Apparently, he was pleasantly surprised, but decided to maintain radio silence, as part of his broader efforts to keep the conservatives onside.

The whole process has been a remarkable strategy by Hunt: he has effectively steered an emissions trading scheme into Australia’s response to climate change through a ferociously polarised political debate.

It’s arguably a bit like Nixon in China — only a conservative minister could have done it.

The key has been not talking about the ETS part of the policy and to emphasise the lack of a price on all emissions. He hasn’t exactly kept it secret, since it’s in the legislation, but nor has he talked about it publicly and nor has anyone else.

Both the Greens and the ALP passed the legislation in December, even though they probably could have blocked it. Why? It’s because they basically agree with it and want to use the mechanism if elected.

Will it work? That depends on the gradient of the cap reductions when they start. The key is that an ETS has now been legislated in Australia and can be adjusted to fit requirements, either budgetary or political.

Will it result in higher electricity prices? Almost certainly. Shhh.


Police officer who faces trial after blowing the whistle on a brutal police bashing says he's received threats

A police officer facing trail for leaking footage of a violent police bashing has received death threats. Sergeant Rick Flori was sent a social media message betting $100 that he would be dead by the end of the week, The Courier Mail reported.

The revelation came on Friday after the suspended Queensland officer was committed to stand trial over the allegations he distributed CCTV footage to dishonestly cause a detriment to colleagues.

The video showed the brutal bashing of a handcuffed Noa Begic, 22, in the basement of the Surfers Paradise police station in 2012.

Mr Flori asserted his innocence in the Southport Magistrates Court, entering a formal plea of not guilty.

Prosecutors alleged that Mr Flori distributed the footage because he had a grudge against an officer in the video, Senior ­Sergeant David Joachim, who was filmed washing blood off the concrete.

Mr Flori's defence argued that he was trying to shed light on police misconduct in Queensland.

Magistrate Michael Hogan said Mr Flori did have a case to answer.  He set the matter for trial at a later date.

Outside court, Flori said he was pleased a jury would decide the outcome.  'I can't wait until the whole story comes out to be honest,' he said.  'I just hope that it doesn't get strung out for too long.'


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

Friday, May 27, 2016

El Nino over, BoM says, so winter rain could be on the way

A miracle has occurred.  The BoM has not blamed anything below on global warming

The latest El Nino cycle is over, which could lead to a wet winter, according to the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM).

The bureau's modelling shows ocean surface temperatures across the tropical Pacific have cooled to neutral levels over the past fortnight.  Waters beneath the surface have also cooled.

Forecaster Michael Knepp said conditions were back to neutral and the bureau was now on La Nina watch. During La Nina events, rainfall in winter and spring is above average over northern, central and eastern Australia.

"[There's] a greater than 50 per cent chance that we might be in La Nina conditions later in the year," Mr Knepp said. "That's not a certain thing, just something to keep an eye on over the next few months."

International climate models indicate the tropical Pacific Ocean will continue to cool. Six of eight models suggest La Nina is likely to form during winter.

Mr Knepp said more rainfall could be expected across the region if predictions were correct, but the outlook accuracy at this time of year was low.

El Nino has contributed to drought conditions over the majority of Queensland. Currently, 85 per cent of Queensland is drought declared.

The bureau said almost the entire western half of Victoria was experiencing severe rainfall deficiency.  The rainfall deficiency in Tasmania covers much of the state.

Areas of serious to severe deficiency remain through inland Queensland and into northern New South Wales.

Large areas of South Australia and Western Australia are also experiencing serious rainfall deficiency.


Three newborn babies have died and another 167 have been infected by SYPHILIS in Queensland Aboriginal community
Syphilis is endemic in many Aboriginal communities -- mostly spread by rape

Three Aboriginal children have died from congenital syphilis in Queensland's worst outbreak in 30 years.

Since 2015, 167 new cases of congenital syphilis have been diagnosed in North Queensland, prompting Health Minister Cameron Dick to announce on Wednesday a five-year $15.7 million plan to tackle the sexually transmitted disease, according to The Brisbane Times.

Congenital syphilis infects babies when a pregnant woman contracts the disease and passes it along to her child. It can be treated with penicillin if diagnosed early.

The three children who died from the disease didn't receive timely healthcare, according to the Brisbane Times.

The North Queensland's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sexually Transmissible Infections Action Plan will disperse eight new specialists to north Queensland to increase the amount of regular sexual health screenings.

Sexual health education will also be administered in remote areas such as Doomadgee and Kowanyama.

Mr Dick said that he hopes the plan will stabilise the outbreak within five years but the Queensland government has given themselves 18 months to stop the increase in cases.

'This is an unacceptable situation and we need to ensure health services are working with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their communities,' Mr Dick said.

The plan predicts that some children will continue to die from congenital syphilis will continue until December 2017.


Australia ‘haunted by bureaucratic ghosts’ of Rudd and Gillard, red tape costing $176bn

SHUT it down. Fire them all.

That’s the message from free market think tank the Institute of Public Affairs, which is calling for Australia’s multitude of quangos, boards, tribunals, commissions, regulators and authorities to be cleansed with fire.

In a new report, The Red Tape State, the IPA estimates that 444 government bodies established by the Rudd and Gillard governments continue to exist, of which a staggering 198 are involved in imposing red tape on various industries.

To put that into context, there are roughly 1181 Commonwealth entities and bodies, 497 of which are involved in policy design or enforcement of the federal regulatory system.

In other words, 40 per cent of the various bodies responsible for enforcing red tape were created under Labor.

From the Workplace Gender Equality Agency and Safe Work Australia to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, a large number “impose substantial compliance and other costs upon the Australian economy”, the report says.

The think tank has previously estimated the cost of red tape at $176 billion annually.

However, the union representing more than 55,000 public sector workers has slammed the findings, saying corporate scandals at the 7-Eleven and the big banks highlighted the need for effective regulation.

In The Red Tape State, the IPA identifies 31 federal government bodies established under the Rudd and Gillard governments that should “at the very least” be done away with immediately.

Their functions should either be handed back to the states, merged with existing agencies or abolished altogether, saving at least $203 million, the report says.

The majority fall under the health and education portfolios.

They include 14 national health occupational licensing boards such as the Optometry, Dental and Pharmacy Boards, and education bodies including the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator.

The IPA recommends six be abolished completely — the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, Australian Renewable Energy Agency, Clean Energy Regulator, Climate Change Authority, Anti-Dumping Commission and Anti-Dumping Review Panel.

In the case of the Anti-Dumping bodies, the IPA argues that “regulated prevention of cheaper imports into Australia harms consumers and producers”.

Together the 31 bodies employ around 900 people.

“As was the case with the now abolished Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, agencies like the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, Safe Work Australia and the Workplace Gender Equality Agency do nothing but impose excessive and unnecessary red tape on the Australian economy,” IPA senior fellow Mikayla Novak said.

The Rudd-Gillard government saw the biggest expansion of government bodies in the Finance portfolio, where the department had the ironic title of the Department of Finance and Deregulation, she said.

“Bill Shorten’s expansion of red tape bureaucracies would be a handbrake on economic growth and hurt Australia’s international competitiveness.”

The IPA is calling on either a re-elected Turnbull government or Shorten opposition to redouble efforts to abolish public sector red-tape regulators.
Canberra red tape costs $176 billion a year. Picture: Kym Smith

Canberra red tape costs $176 billion a year. Picture: Kym SmithSource:News Limited

Since the 2013 election the government has abolished or scheduled for abolition some 286 federal bodies, some of which were created under Labor and others under previous governments.

A lack of co-operation in the Senate and other political considerations means several Rudd-Gillard-era regulators previously slated for abolition remain in existence — most notably the Australian Charities and Not For Profits Commission, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, and the Workplace Gender Equality Agency.

Earlier this year, the WGEA introduced strengthened mandatory reporting for companies about how they treat new mothers, despite earlier promises from the Abbott government that there would be no extension of reporting requirements for businesses.

“The federal government has been incurring budget deficits for almost a decade, while it is well known that regulatory growth has imposed significant compliance and economic costs upon Australian businesses and individuals,” the report says.

“As this paper indicates, at the very least there is the prospect that the Commonwealth can abolish 31 regulatory bodies immediately yielding a win-win of aiding the budget and economy at the same time.”

Community and Public Sector Union national secretary Nadine Flood said “unlike the IPA, Australians are far more concerned that the Commonwealth government provides effective regulation”.

“This has been highlighted by growing community concern about multinational corporations paying little or no tax while the Abbott-Turnbull Government has cut over 4000 jobs at the Tax Office,” she said.

“Recent scandals in the banking sector and 7-Eleven show how important it is to have adequately resourced regulatory agencies on the beat to stop dodgy corporations exploiting customers and employees.”

In 2013, the IPA released a similar report highlighting potential savings of $23.5 billion through cuts including slashing foreign aid, abolishing the Human Rights Commission and sacking around 24,000 public servants across 14 departments.

In a statement, a spokeswoman for Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said the government had saved $1.5 billion since 2013 by abolishing or merging more than 200 bodies.

“We continue to explore further opportunities to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of government administration,” she said.

“On top of this, we are saving about $2.7 billion by making the largest departments leaner by removing redundant functions and merging back office areas. Over the next four years we expect to save another $1.4 billion from a new efficiency drive and $200 million by rationalising property leases.

“The Coalition has been successfully implementing our Smaller Government Reform agenda to ensure the public sector is as streamlined, efficient and effective as possible.

“Our reforms are delivering greater value to taxpayers through better services delivered faster and at a lower cost.”


* Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority

* National Vocational Education and Training Regulator

* Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency

* Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority

* Safe Work Australia

* Workplace Gender Equality Agency

* Australian Renewable Energy Agency

* Clean Energy Regulator

* Climate Change Authority

* Australian Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Authority

* Australian Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Advisory Council

* Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency

* National Health Practitioner Ombudsman and Privacy Commissioner

* Dental Board of Australia

* Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia

* Occupational Therapy Board of Australia

* Optometry Board of Australia

* Osteopathy Board of Australia

* Pharmacy Board of Australia

* Physiotherapy Board of Australia

* Podiatry Board of Australia

* Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice Board of Australia

* Chinese Medicine Board of Australia

* Chiropractic Board of Australia

* Medical Board of Australia

* Medical Radiation Practice Board of Australia

* Psychology Board of Australia

* Anti-Dumping Commission

* Anti-Dumping Review Panel

* Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission

* Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission Advisory Board

TOTAL SAVING: $203 million


Social justice warriors perpetuate poverty

Jeremy Sammut

The reactions on the Left to the revelations about Duncan Storrar's past after his controversial appearance on Q&A last week have been predictably misguided.

News Limited publications -- The Australian and the Herald-Sun -- have been accused of engaging in vicious class warfare by seeking to discredit a person who had the temerity to question the right of wealthy people to receive tax cuts.

What was actually being questioned -- by a range of commentators including by myself -- was the simplistic explanation for social inequality given by the ABC.

If only poverty was simply a matter of money, rather than a matter of morals and manners -- the behavioral norms around education, work, and family life that account for different outcomes in life.

Nevertheless, those who try to unpick the complex causes of poverty have been accused of 'punching down'. We are vicious neo-liberals without social consciences who only care about keeping our own money in our own pockets.

Such caricatures are the standard stuff of political rhetoric, but should not be allowed to pass unchallenged.

Sure, I resent having to hand over a higher proportion than I should have to so that some people can lean on others rather than do their own lifting.

But the motivations that drive my interest in the underclass -- and especially the welfare of underclass children -- are more complex than this.

It may be my migrant heritage, but I like to believe Australia represents a new dispensation. This is a place where anyone, from any background, can make a go of life and rise up as far as their talents and efforts allow.

The existence in this country of a growing underclass that is trapped in intergenerational dependence and dysfunction offends my sense of the fair go.

The desire to right so terrible a social wrong is also entirely consistent with true classical liberal principles, which are founded in belief in equality of opportunity and in maximising the human potential of every individual.

I -- along with many other Australian taxpayers -- am sick of being lectured to about the need to address social inequality by spending more on welfare, which will only perpetuate the problem.

If people really want to eradicate poverty, the path is outlined in my book. And they should support the adoption of underclass children by functional families so as to give the most deprived children in the community a better chance of climbing off the lowest rungs of society.


Adam Salter shooting: Police agreed to lie about what happened, court hears

Adam Salter died after being shot by a policewoman in 2009. Four police officers at the scene when a man with a mental illness was shot dead "got their heads together" and agreed to lie about what happened, a Sydney court has heard.

In 2009, Adam Salter died after being shot in the back in a Lakemba home.

His father, Adrian Salter had called triple-0 seeking help for his 36-year-old son, who was bleeding in the kitchen after stabbing himself.

Four officers who were called to the scene are on trial, accused of lying to the Police Integrity Commission (PIC) about what happened on the day.

Crown prosecutor Nanette Williams told the court the four officers - Sheree Bissett, Aaron Abela, Emily Metcalfe and Leah Wilson - deliberately gave false evidence to the PIC when questioned under oath in 2012.

"It is the crown's case that sometime after the shooting - perhaps even immediately after, they got their heads together and agreed to give a false account of what happened," she said.

The court heard Adam Salter managed to get hold of the knife for a second time even when the paramedics had arrived, and began stabbing himself again.

All four officers claim that one of them, Constable Aaron Abela tried to restrain Adam Salter before another officer - Sergeant Sheree Bissett - shot the victim.

"[Aaron Abela said] he attempted to restrain Adam Salter by grabbing his arm, but his arm slipped because it was covered in blood," Prosecutor Nanette Williams said.

"The crown's case is that this evidence is false, and that he knew it to be false."

The court heard Sergeant Sheree Bissett shouted "Taser, Taser!" but then fired her gun, shooting Adam Salter in the back while he was stabbing himself in the neck.

Adam Salter's father Adrian was the first witness to give evidence in the trial. He said when he heard a female officer shout "Taser" and saw his son fall to the ground, he was relieved because he thought his son had been Tasered, not shot.

"I thought 'that's OK' because he was sticking the knife in his [own] throat," Adrian Salter said.  "I then went to him and pulled his hand away - the hand that was holding the knife and he went limp."

Adam Salter was taken to Canterbury Hospital but he died shortly afterwards.

The trial is being heard by a judge only - Justice Greg Woods.

Earlier, tape recordings of calls made on the police radio system were played to the court.

In one, a female officer is heard explaining a man with a self-inflicted stab wound had been shot. "Just confirming he's been shot by police?" the man taking the call asks. The female officer is heard confirming that, and then adds "he was coming at us with a knife".


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Australia is a nation of moguls and cartels

It is of course a general rule that cartels are bad for a country -- just as it is a general rule that import tariffs are bad.  A recognized exception to the rule about tariffs is however specifically called the Australian case -- an argument that tariffs may help diversify an economy that is overly dependent on erratically-priced agricultural and pastoral exports

And I think Australia is a special case when it comes to cartels too.  Australia has a relatively small population and cartels may be needed to enable Australian businesses to achieve optimal economies of scale.  Absent cartelization, there would be many small businesses rather than few big businesses.  And in that situation, none of the businesses may be big enough to achieve the most efficient size -- which would lead to prices being higher than they needed to be.

What I have said is of course theoretical and the case would almost certainly apply to some industries but not others.  It's one for the modellers to work on.  In the meantime we should not leap to conclusions and advocate "reforms".  Reforms could clearly be counterproductive in the absence of more data.

Ever played the game where you try to name an Aussie industry that isn't dominated by a handful of companies? Banks? Airlines? Supermarkets? Telcos?

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull wants to lead a nation of innovators, entrepreneurs and start-ups.  But a new analysis proves what we've always known: Australia is prime breeding ground for monopolists, moguls and cartels.

And, according to the analysis by Labor MP and former academic economist Andrew Leigh, it's only getting worse.  In a speech delivered to honour Melbourne University economist John Freebairn on Thursday night, Dr Leigh shared the fascinating results of a comb through IBIS World data on the revenue share of firms in 400 industries.

The biggest four firms control more than four-fifths of the market in department stores, newspapers, banking, health insurance, supermarkets, domestic airlines, internet service providers, baby food, and beer and soft drinks.

The biggest four firms control more than two-thirds of the markets for petrol retailing, telecommunications, credit unions, cinemas, liquor retailing, bottled water and fruit juice.

And more than half of the markets for pharmaceuticals, hardware, gums, snack foods, magazines, newsagents and international airlines are controlled by the biggest four firms in those markets.

"Like a large tree that overshadows the saplings around it, firms that abuse their market power prevent newer competitors from growing. They hurt entrepreneurs and often reduce the scope for innovation. Consumers suffer through higher prices, lower quality and less choice," says Dr Leigh.

Compared with the US – where the top four firms control, on average, 33 per cent of that country's markets – market power of top firms in Australia is more concentrated at 41 per cent.

Australia is particularly mogulised when it comes to liquor retailing (78 per cent of market controlled by the top four firms, compared with 10 per cent of the market in the US), supermarkets (Australia 91 per cent, US 31 per cent), petrol (Australia 70 per cent, US 14 per cent) and cardboard manufacturing (Australia 88 per cent, US 36 per cent).

"The combined revenue of the 10 largest Australian firms – ANZ, CBA, NAB, Westpac, Wesfarmers, Woolworths, AMP, Australian Super, Rio Tinto and BHP – is the equivalent of one-fifth of the total Australian economy," says Leigh.

But surely things are getting better, as the cool winds of capitalism stir change and the emergence of new, more-efficient business models to challenge the dominance of the old?

Ha. No, market concentration in Australia is getting worse, according to Leigh.

The number of firms in Australia actually shrank 1 per cent from 2011-12 to 2014-15, driven not because more businesses collapsed, but due to a slowing in new business formation.

In the retail sector, the number of firms shrank 8 per cent, even as the value of goods and services produced in the industry grew 13 per cent.

Despite the entry of Aldi and Costco, the market share of Coles and Woolworths has risen from 60 per cent to 73 per cent since 2008 when Kevin Rudd held his grocery price inquiry.

Observers have long pointed to Australia's relatively small population and distance from larger markets to explain our corporate behemoths and the lack of competition they face.

However, according to Leigh: "This does not explain why markets should have become more concentrated. Since the turn of the century, Australian population growth has been among the fastest in the advanced world, and incomes per person have also risen (though not in recent years). If all that mattered was market size, there should be less concentration in Australia, not more."

According to Leigh, the shift to new technologies and the "weightless" economy were supposed to drive down barriers to entry and switching costs.  However, "in many sectors, this now looks to be a forlorn hope", he says. Think Google, Apple and Facebook.

It remains truer today than ever that to succeed in business in Australia, it matters not so much what you know, as who.

An outsized finance sector has grown up that makes a living charging fees for advising on mergers and takeovers that only further concentrate market power. The former merchant banker and managing director in Australia of Goldman Sachs, Malcolm Turnbull, should know this only too well.

According to the Institute for Mergers, Acquisitions and Alliances, the number of mergers in Australia has risen from 394 in 1992 (with a combined value of $US12 billion) to 1460 last year (with a value of $US117 billion).

The concentration of market power among a smaller number of firms is only adding to forces driving greater inequality, says Leigh.

Labor has rejected the Coalition's so-called "effects test", which would override existing "misuse of market power" provisions and open firms to legal challenge over any activity that had the "effect, or likely effect" of reducing competition.

Turnbull angered big business when he adopted this policy this year in a sop to the National Party, which thinks the new clause would provide greater protection for suppliers to the supermarket giants.

In reality, however, it would apply to competitors of only the retailers, not suppliers, who are instead covered by existing "unconscionable conduct" protections. All the new test would probably do is expose all companies to costly litigation for doing what every business does: try to win a greater share of a market.

There are no easy solutions to diluting the growing market power of Australia's big corporates. Labor's proposals include higher penalties for and greater scrutiny of companies who target disadvantaged Australians.

But if we're serious about sowing the seeds of a more entrepreneurial and innovative nation, we need to start by acknowledging how removed that is from our present reality.

Oh, and if you want to win the guessing game; the most dispersedly controlled markets in Australia are for car dealers, hairdressers, dentists and law firms, the top four in those industries accounting for less than 10 per cent of the market.


Aurukun teachers evacuated again over safety concerns

Teachers in the Indigenous community of Aurukun in far north Queensland are being evacuated after children as young as six tried to steal a car.

It is the second time this month that teachers have been evacuated over safety concerns.

Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said a number of children were involved in the overnight incident.  "[There was] a group of young people trying to steal a car, throwing rocks at security guards and people's houses," he said.

Mr Stewart said the latest incident occurred near homes where teachers were staying.  "I have great sympathy for the teachers," he said.  "They're not armed and they're not trained to deal with the type of violence that sometimes occurs in those communities."

Mr Stewart said Aurukun usually had a contingent of eight officers but there was currently 17 in the town.  He said there would be another increase in police numbers, but more officers were not the answer.  "You could put a hundred police in there, this is about the community stepping up when they've agreed to do that," Mr Stewart said.

"I actually think parents have to be held to account.  "The community has to step up, parents have to step up to make Aurukun a safe place for everybody."

The Queensland Teachers Union (QTU) said the extra police had not been able to prevent teachers from fearing for their safety.

President Kevin Bates said the teachers' anxiety levels were high and they were under huge emotional strain.

"In response to increased concerns from staff the decision has been taken to withdraw [them] from the community until the end of this school term, so that they won't return until the beginning of term three," he said.

"The department has made it clear that if people don't feel that they can return to the community then they'll be supported to exit.  "People can't live and work in these types of conditions with these stresses without suffering consequences.  "This is a proper decision by the employer and we support it wholeheartedly."

Mr Bates said there was an alternative teaching program that could be provided to students in the absence of teachers.

Teachers had voted on Sunday to stay, but Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said they would leave the community immediately, with a decision about their return to be made closer to the new school term.

The Premier, who has met with ministers, directors general, and the Police Commissioner about the situation, said the safety of staff and the community had "always been the number one priority".

"I've been advised that the teachers are feeling unsafe so we are going to get the teachers out. We need to have a strong presence on the ground to really help build the community capacity," she said.

Ms Palaszczuk said she would travel to the community on Friday, with a public meeting to be held.  "[The Mayor is] going to call a big community meeting and I'll be there listening to what the community has to say," she said.

Most of the Cape York Academy's 25 staff and teachers had only returned last Thursday but tensions again flared on the weekend.

Principal Scott Fatnowna and his wife were allegedly threatened by three youths carrying machetes and knives on Saturday night when they returned home after visiting colleagues. The youths, who have been charged, allegedly took the government car for a joyride before it got bogged just out of town.

It comes after two teachers were terrorised in their home at the start of the month, and another carjacking involving Mr Fatnowna.


Pauline Hanson to make return to politics

Good.  I will be able to vote for her once again

PAULINE Hanson wants to halt Australia’s refugee intake and force people to be fingerprinted before they go to the doctor as part of an anti-immigration scare campaign.

If the former Oxley MP wins a seat in the Senate, she would use the platform to mount another attack on multiculturalism and push for an immigration policy that discriminates against Muslims.

In a series of Donald Trump-inspired policies, Ms Hanson wants a royal commission into whether Islam is “a religion or a political ideology”, a ban on new Islamic schools and CCTV cameras installed in existing mosques.

Ms Hanson wants Medicare cards to include photographs and fingerprints to stop what she says is fraudulent use of Australia’s health system by migrants.

Senior members of the Government and Opposition yesterday condemned Ms Hanson’s attempted political revival after The Courier-Mail revealed the major parties fear she is likely to win a Senate seat in Queensland.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop warned the Coalition would only work with “sensible senators” and would shun Ms Hanson if she entered Parliament. “It seems to me she doesn’t have policies that will make a positive contribution,” she said.

Labor frontbencher Penny Wong said she was alarmed by the suggestion Ms Hanson “might be in with a chance”. “I’ve spent a lot of my adult life arguing against the views that she’s promulgated,” she said.

Queensland Labor Senate candidate and party powerbroker Anthony Chisholm said Ms Hanson’s return “could not come at a worse time” as Australia tries to boost economic ties with Asia.


Events in Europe vindicate Australian immigration policy

The spectre of political disruption in Europe moved another step closer to reality on Monday when Norbert Hofer, the anti-immigration candidate for Austrian president, lost by a hair’s breadth.

The rise of Hofer, leader of the far-right Austrian Freedom Party, to claim 49.7 per cent of votes is Europe’s Trump moment. For the first time since Austrian voters were given the right to choose their president in 1951, neither mainstream party will fill that role. Disillusioned with the political establishment and its inability to handle the migration crisis, voters cleaved to the far left and the far right and the win by former Greens and now independent Alexander Van der Bellen by 2,254,484 votes to Hofer’s 2,223,458 votes will do little to bridge Austria’s deep divisions. The lessons for Australia are clear. Those who foolishly demonised Immigration Minister Peter Dutton last week fail to understand that social and political cohesion depends on public confidence in an immigration system.

Snooty Europeans have had a tendency to look aghast at the rise of populist Donald Trump in the US. They turn up their noses at Trump’s rise as an “only-in-America” phenomenon where angry, mainstream Americans have snubbed the establishment for reasons relevant only to America. Yet, European elites now face their own nightmare on main street.

The driving force behind Hofer’s rise is deep community anxiety about the ramifications of uncontrolled immigration. In a small country that has taken in 90,000 asylum-seekers last year — more than 1 per cent of its population — almost half of Austria’s voters looked to a leader, even a symbolic presidential one — to send a blunt message to Austria’s political establishment: the political, social and economic consequences of uncontrolled immi-gration from the Middle East cannot be ignored any more.

The fault lines for Monday’s result were laid last year when Angela Merkel opened Germany’s door to every asylum-seeker fleeing Syria. Merkel’s welcome mat is a stark reminder that good intentions can lead to devastating outcomes — such as the rapes in Cologne on New Year’s Eve where one police report recorded a perpetrator saying: “I am Syrian. You have to treat me kindly. Mrs Merkel invited me.” As Milton Friedman said, “One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.” European elites ruminating over Monday’s election should see Hofer’s rise as the direct result of Merkel’s policy.

Moreover, the Austrian vote is not an outlier event. Far from Hofer being Europe’s solitary Trump, a glance across the continent reveals the political centre has shattered, as people look elsewhere for a voice. Far-right politicians are engaging with voters on issues long ignored by elites: economic insecurity, EU elitism, open borders, national identity, social and cultural cohesion.

Start in France where far-right candidate Marine Le Pen and her National Front party may cause shock waves in next year’s presidential and legislative elections. In Germany anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany has emerged as a force in state elections. In The Netherlands, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and beyond, outrage over immigration has put populists into parliament. It’s the same northwards where Scandinavian countries famous for their social welfare models have also felt the backlash against uncontrolled immigration policies.

In Norway, there’s Sylvi Listhaug from the populist Progress Party. The Finns Party (formerly True Finns) is in government in Finland. In Sweden, which has accepted the highest number of refugees per capita than any other country in the world, far-right nationalists, Sweden Democrats, is the country’s third largest party. In January, the Swedish government decided to deport 80,000 asylum-seekers.

In Denmark too, Merkel’s migrant-crisis fault lines have elevated Thulesen Dahl, the leader of the Danish People’s Party, to represent the second-largest party in parliament.

In fact, the unfolding immigration debate in Denmark offers an insight into all that is wrong with the unthinking rush of many on the Left to condemn Europeans as xenophobic if they raise questions about the arrival of more than one million asylum-seekers this year alone.

In Foreign Policy, James Kirchick explores how Denmark’s response to Europe’s migration crisis “is now looking like the better part of wisdom”. Media elites derided new Danish laws that allow the state to confiscate property from migrants seeking welfare as reminiscent of the Third Reich.

Writes Kirchick, “these reduction ad Hitlerum arguments are facile” given the same laws apply to native-born Danes. Equally shallow is the way the media has lionised Merkel as a selfless humanitarian given her policy has fuelled the rise of anti-immigration sentiments across Europe.

The self-evident truth that immigration policy needs support from the people is too often ignored by media and political elites. Danes are keen to buttress their social welfare compact, where a largely homogenous country understood a generous welfare system is the quid pro quo for paying high taxes. Hence they have backed the confiscation law along with stricter measures around asylum-seeker family reunification.

Denmark is confronting the progressive dilemma of imposing diversity and expecting solidarity. Writing more than a decade ago in Prospect magazine, David Goodhart challenged his left-leaning audience to understand the contradiction at the heart of their misty-eyed idealism.

He recalled what British conservative politician David Willetts said at a welfare forum: “The basis on which you can extract large sums of money in tax and pay it out in benefits is that most people think the recipients are people like themselves, facing difficulties that they themselves could face. If values become more diverse, if lifestyles become more differentiated, then it becomes more difficult to sustain the legitimacy of a universal risk-pooling welfare state. People ask: ‘Why should I pay for them when they are doing things that I wouldn’t do?’

“This is America versus Sweden. You can have a Swedish welfare state provided that you are a homogeneous society with intensely shared values. In the United States you have a very diverse, individualistic society where people feel fewer obligations to fellow citizens. Progressives want diversity, but they thereby undermine part of the moral consensus on which a large welfare state rests.”

The Austrian result is a timely cue to put our own immigration debate in a global context. The rush to revile Dutton for speaking about the challenges of increased immigration couldn’t be more misplaced. If we are genuinely committed to social, political and economic cohesion, we should thank Dutton for the straight-talking that mainstream European politicians have cowered from.

Our immigration response is far more measured and compassionate than many European anti-immigrant politicians, whose popularity represents a public backlash against the porous borders advocated by the muddle-headed moralisers in the Greens and Labor. It’s far better that immigration policy is settled in parliament than on the streets.


Off-duty female cop stripped, pepper sprayed, punched, kicked: anti-corruption watchdog

An off-duty female police officer was pepper-sprayed, had her clothes removed, was kicked and punched, and then dumped by Ballarat police in a cell for hours without pants or blanket, Victoria's anti-corruption watchdog has heard.

The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission has begun examining claims of police brutality in Ballarat police cells at public hearings that continue this week after numerous appeals.

IBAC alleges 157 complaints were made against officers at the Ballarat Police Station between 2010 and 2012, most of which were made against senior officers.

An alleged incident involving the 51-year-old woman was the first of four alleged uses of excessive force by police in the area to be heard by the anti-corruption watchdog in the week-long hearing.

Council Assisting IBAC Jack Rush, QC, told the public hearings on Monday the woman was arrested for being drunk in public when she was allegedly subject to violent and degrading treatment while in custody last year, the Ballarat Courier reported.

He said she was partially stripped in front of male officers, pepper sprayed while her hands were cuffed behind her back, Mr Rush said.  "She was kicked, stomped on and stood upon."

Footage of the incident was shown before the commission, of the woman forced to use a cup to scoop water from the toilet bowl to drink. The video has not yet been made public.

Mr Rush said police involved in the alleged incident would be asked to give their account of the night during this week’s hearing.

Another three alleged incidents of police corruption involving officers at Ballarat would be examined this week.

The commission revealed an alarming statistic of 52 Ballarat officers receiving four or more complaints – compared to the state average of 2.5 complaints per member, the Courtier reported.

This week's hearings will focus on the alleged excessive use of force and Victoria Police's management of the incidents.


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Australian Special Forces raid which killed Afghan women and children

The death of bystander women and children is of course deplorable but the troops acted solely in self-defence in response to an attempted ambush and while being fired on.  So as far as I can see the responsibility for the outcome rests entirely on the man who continued to provoke fire at himself while women and children were beside him in the same room.  And his sustained aggression makes mockery of the claim that he was not a Talib.  If he was not, he was of the same ruthless mind-set

A soldier at the centre of one of Australia's most controversial and secret military cases has spoken publicly for the first time about a horrific commando night raid in which five Afghan children were killed.

Identifying himself as Dave, the former lance corporal is one of two reservists from the Army's elite 1st Commando Regiment who was charged with manslaughter over the children's deaths in the 2009 raid of a family compound.

The manslaughter case sent shockwaves through the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and was the subject of a sustained public outcry, with accusations of "armchair" ignorance of combat conditions.

An ugly vilification campaign was mounted against the former director of military prosecutions, Brigadier Lyn McDade, who had laid the charges.

The case against the men was dismissed prior to a court martial, but Dave and other members of the regiment remain angry that the ADF still has not formally exonerated him or the other soldier, a sergeant, who was charged.

Debate about the case was reignited last week with the release of a ministerial memorandum obtained by Australian Story under Freedom of Information legislation.

The ADF has never given a full public account of the events of that night.

Now Dave — who at the request of his family has not divulged his surname — and other soldiers directly involved in the action, have given Australian Story a detailed description of the circumstances leading up to the raid, what happened on the night and its tragic aftermath.

Australian Story also raises many serious questions yet to be addressed by the ADF. It is still not clear whether the raid was properly authorised or if the intelligence the soldiers were acting on was incorrect and led them to the wrong compound.

The 1st Commando Regiment was sent to Afghanistan in November 2008 on a four-month tour of duty.

They were operating as a strike force, primarily targeting the Taliban leadership on "kill or capture" missions.

A member of the regiment, Corporal Geoff Evans, said all missions were intelligence-driven and had to be approved by senior army ranks, but the information provided was not always reliable.

"The intelligence we received was of varying quality. Sometimes it was very, very good, and other times it felt like they were throwing a dart at a map," he told Australian Story.

Another commando, identified as Corporal W, said: "Quite often we'd go into a compound and it would be what we'd call a dry hole. There'd be nothing there, we'd go in, do our search and then leave. Other times we would go in, capture a Taliban leader, for example, so it varied."

Raiding party redirected

On the night of February 12, 2009, a force of over 20 people, including a number of Afghan National Army personnel and Afghan interpreters, headed towards the tiny village of Sorkh Morghab in Uruzgan Province. They were targeting a Taliban leader.

As directed, they first entered a family compound, but found that the occupants had no Taliban influence or links. The information they had been given was false.

They then received further orders from a lieutenant colonel in Kandahar to proceed to a nearby compound. Details of why these orders were given and the intelligence on which they were based remain unknown.

As the team cleared the second compound, they found a family including an armed man and relocated them to a courtyard.

One of the commandos, Corporal W, told Australian Story that when he looked through the window of another room, he saw a man pointing an AK-47 rifle at a door that soldiers were about to enter.

"I shot him," Corporal W said. "I believe that if I didn't engage him at that time [the soldiers] would have made entry into that door and he would have shot and killed at least one, maybe two of them."

According to Corporal W, the man then fired at him "probably half a mag(azine) from one-and-a-half metres away". "It's a miracle I wasn't killed. Bullets whizzed past my ears and shoulders and glass and wall fragments struck me in the face," he said. Corporal W hit the ground and other soldiers thought he was dead.

Soldiers say they warned gunman to stop firing

According to the Australian soldiers, members of the Afghan National Army, interpreters and some of their own unit were calling out to the armed man to cease fire throughout the altercation.

He continued to fire and Sergeant J — who was also later charged with manslaughter — directed Dave to throw a grenade into the room.

After it detonated, Dave said there was a brief pause in the fire coming from the room and then it continued "at a rapid and sustained rate, hence us believing that there was more than one insurgent in that room".

"It was coming out through the windows and it was coming out through the walls, around eight or 10 centimetres from my head and chest," he said.

The soldiers told Australian Story that the design of the compound meant that the man shooting at them had full coverage of the only exit and that they had no option but to kill him in order to save their own lives.

Sergeant J directed Dave to throw a second grenade, at which point the firing from the automatic AK-47 rifle ceased.

It was not until the dust from this grenade settled and the room was entered that Dave and other soldiers say they realised there were women and children in the room.

Three children were dead and several badly injured. Two babies who were evacuated for medical treatment did not survive, taking the death toll to five children.

Family says gunman not a Taliban fighter

The man who had been shooting at them, Amrullah Kahn, also died after medical evacuation.

His surviving family said he was a peasant farmer and that neither he nor they were affiliated with the Taliban.

A family spokesman, Farid Popal, who lives in Perth, told Australian Story that the Kahn family wanted justice for their devastating loss. "The family want answers as to why their father and their children and other members of the family were attacked, and why did they die?" he said.

Mr Popal said that as far as he was aware, the family had never received an explanation nor an apology from the ADF.


Two pictures speak 1,000 words

Yesterday I put up two articles, one by a Leftist lady, followed by another article by a conservative lady.  I accompanied each article by the ladies' self-chosen picture of themselves.

The Leftist lady presented herself with an angry, glowering look.  The eyebrows alone would frighten you off.

And the conservative lady presented herself with a happy smile

So there you have an excellent summary of the difference between Left and Right.  It must be painful to be a Leftist.

How to become an honoured meteorologist

Tell lies.  He says below:  "I don’t know a meteorologist who doesn’t understand and accept that putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere will lead to warming of the surface of the earth. It’s meteorology 101. This is not 40 per cent or 70 per cent. It’s 100 per cent"

Yet we read elsewhere:  "Barely half of American Meteorological Society meteorologists believe global warming is occurring and humans are the primary cause, a newly released study reveals"

And has he heard of this guy?

Prof. Nicholls knows on which side his bread is buttered

Monash meteorologist honoured by prestigious fellowship. Emeritus Professor Neville Nicholls’s lifelong passion and commitment to science has been formally recognised with a prestigious Australian Academy of Science (AAS) fellowship.

Professor Nicholls, School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment in the Faculty of Science, set his sights on science at the age of eight, when his aunt gave him a book on wildlife of the British Isles.

Professor Nicholls took his interest in science further by training as a meteorologist with the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, after which he returned to research to further investigate how and why the climate is changing.

“Weather and climate variations affect almost everything we do, particularly the extremes like heatwaves, tropical cyclones, droughts and bushfires, which destroy lives and property. The better we can predict those phenomena, the more we can help improve the quality of life,” Professor Nicholls said.

Climate change is a particular area of interest to Professor Nicholls, who is surprised at the perception of a scientific divide on the issue.

“I don’t know a meteorologist who doesn’t understand and accept that putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere will lead to warming of the surface of the earth. It’s meteorology 101. This is not 40 per cent or 70 per cent. It’s 100 per cent. There is a perception that there is a big battle between scientists. There isn’t.”

Professor Nicholls has described himself as “doubly honoured” by the peer-nominated fellowship, both as an individual researcher and as a member of the meteorology community.

“I feel privileged to be only the third meteorologist ever to be elected to the Academy. From the operations to the research, meteorology is important because of the impact it has on people’s lives, so I am doubly honoured,” Professor Nicholls said.

Press release from Monash Media & Communications

What is happening in Aurukun?
Once again, Aurukun is in the news for all the wrong reasons. Last week schools were shut down and teachers evacuated due to safety concerns, and this week there are reports police are turning a blind eye to fighting in the street.

So what is happening there?

The situation in Aurukun is symptomatic of the broader social malaise affecting many remote Indigenous communities. It is what happens in the absence of a real economy and appropriate social controls. Welfare payments are spent on alcohol, and heavy drinking becomes endemic.  Such circumstances are not unique to Australia -- many First Nation communities in Canada also suffer similar fates.

Back in the 1970s, Aurukun was described as a 'liveable and vibrant community,' but following the introduction of an alcohol canteen in 1985, levels of violence, abuse and neglect in the community skyrocketed. By the time the canteen was closed down and alcohol management plans were introduced in the early 2000s, the town's homicide rate was estimated to be 120 times the state average.

What is not so well known is that many residents (particularly the women) of Aurukun vehemently opposed the introduction of the alcohol canteen -- fearing the damage it would bring to their community. The downward spiral of Aurukun was exposed in an excellent episode of the ABC Four Corners show in 2011, which re-aired previous episodes from 1978 and 1991.

Australia has a long history of treating Aboriginal people differently. First they were subjected to discriminatory laws that prevented them from living where they chose, drinking legally, voting, and being paid a fair wage. When these inequitable laws were finally abolished, they were replaced by equally damaging affirmative action and 'culturally appropriate' separatist policies. This has resulted in the police in Aurukun applying different standards and excusing behaviour that they would not tolerate in any other suburban street.

Police say they have to "let fist fights play out on the streets of Aurukun to prevent more widespread violence taking place" but I bet they wouldn't let that happen in Kings Cross.

It is time to stop ignoring Indigenous violence in the hope it will go away. The people of Aurukun deserve to be treated better than just fodder for news stories.


THIS is the aircraft that Australia should be buying

The Collins submarines have never worked properly and the F35 shows every sign of being the same

The latest version of the Gripen fighter jet has been unveiled by Swedish aircraft maker, Saab.

Dubbed the Gripen E prototype 39-8 'Smart Fighter', the aircraft is aimed at markets not yet cleared to buy the troubled Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

The E fighter, the sixth variant in the Gripen family, is slightly bigger than previous versions, has a stronger engine and updated radar systems.

It is designed to carry more weapons further, and to track multiple threats using the latest type of radar.

Weapons include guided glide bombs, long-range air-to-air missiles and heavy anti-ship armaments.

It also has a 27 mm Mauser BK27 gun, which can be used in air-to-surface attacks against land and sea targets.

Like others in the range, the Gripen E has a delta wing and fly-by-wire flight avionics.

But unlike some others in the line, it has a greater fuel capacity, 20 per cent more thrust, more pylons, in-flight refuelling capability and increased take-off weight.

It has a 15.2 metre (50ft) long body has a wingspan of 8.6 metres (28ft) which allows it to manage a take-off weight of 16,500 kg (36.376lb).

It can reach Mach 2 (1,522 mph, 2,450 km/h) at high altitude with a turnaround time between missions of just ten minutes.

The aircraft's sensors include an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, Infra-Red Search and Track (IRST), Electronic Warfare (EW) suite and data link technology.

Saab claims that, combined, these sensors give 'the pilot, and co-operating forces exactly the information needed at all times.'


New development targeted at Muslims in Melbourne sparks outrage

PEOPLE have slammed a new development in Melbourne, calling it “a ghetto of Islam”.  A block in Melton South will be transformed into housing targeted at the Islamic community, with 75 separate lots and a mosque built in the middle of the neighbourhood.  It’s called Iqra Village and is said to become Victoria’s largest faith-based housing.

The development, which featured on A Current Affair on Monday night, sparked a lot of outrage on social media and there were myriad racist comments, with some even saying it shouldn’t be allowed.

“What a joke. If Australians build an Australian only suburb, we would all be racists,” a comment on Twitter said.

An anti-Islamic Facebook group is also encouraging people to boycott this housing development, which will be built near last November’s riots, caused by anti-Islamic groups who were against Islamic schools and mosques.

But the development is not a Muslim-only community and it will certainly not be gated.  While it will be rich with Islamic culture, it’s only targeted at Muslim families who might want to live around others with the same values.

Australian Federation of Islamic Councils treasurer Keysar Trad told A Current Affair Muslims were just creating a neighbourhood free of discrimination and free of misunderstanding.

“This particular venture is an indication there’s a feeling out there that there’s perhaps less acceptance of Muslims,” he said.  “A project of this nature will allow people to be able to develop a local place of worship or a local school without too many objections from neighbours. They won’t be getting in anybody’s way, it’s something within their local community.

“We’ve always encouraged our community to live among mainstream society and to build friendships and promote understanding and awareness.”

Town planner Bill Kusznirczuk told A Current Affair he did not have a problem with it.  “Just make sure that we are planning these areas properly,” he said.

“Australia has found that its settlement post war has been a mix of a range of ethnic cultures and that’s a good thing, it makes for the perfect minestrone from an urban planning point of view.”

Mr Kusznirczuk encouraged the developments, as long as they remained open to all in the community.  “Make sure it’s inclusive make sure this particular parcel of land joins and isn’t segregated from others,” he said.  “Plan it well and there will be good outcomes for people who are living there.”


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here