Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Wikipedia calls for Fair Use provision for content as Australian copyright debate drags on

GOOGLE, Wikipedia and VCRs could never have been invented in Australia, but a simple change in copyright law could change that

Critics of Australia’s copyright laws often point to the high profile case of Australian band Men at Work being sued for their hit song Down Under. Picture: Michael Ochs

ONE of the world’s most popular websites has weighed in on the debate over Australia’s strict, and what many see as outdated, copyright laws.

Wikipedia has launched a campaign targeting Australians to push for the government to introduce a “fair use” provision like in the US which permits the reuse of content, as long as it’s deemed to be fair and doesn’t hurt the market of the original content. Proponents say it will help Australia unlock creativity and innovation.

Wikipedia which displays logos and information on an array of topics owes its existence to such a provision because if it was hosted in Australia, it wouldn’t technically be legal.

In fact a number of the online services we enjoy including Google could not have started in Australia because the cataloguing of the internet is not expressly permitted and it’s very possible rights holders could have sued it out of existence.

Even the advent of VCRs which let people record shows on TV could have been nixed by rights holders had they originated in Australia.

But in the US a “fair use” provision enshrined in the country’s copyright law allows companies to use copyrighted material to do things deemed to be in the public interest.

Wikipedia — the 7th most visited website in Australia — launched a campaign today to push for Australia to follow suit and adopt more flexible laws around the copying and reuse of content.

If you visit Wikipedia in the next few weeks, you will see a banner displayed at the top of the page with the message: “Wikipedia editors and readers benefit from FAIR USE. But Australia does not. Yet. #FairCopyrightOz”

It’s been an area of debate for nearly two decades.

Australia currently has strict laws around the reuse of copyrighted material. Instead of a “fair use” allowance, Australia has a “fair dealing” provision which only allows limited defences for the reuse of copyrighted material including research and study, criticism and review, parody and satire, and news reporting.

A number of past reviews have called for the easing of certain provisions, the latest of which is a review by the government’s Productivity Commission which released a draft report in April last year.

As the Wikipedia campaign points out, “six government reports since 1998 have recommended Australia adopt Fair Use.”

Currently the government is considering its response to the latest recommendations.

The Copyright Agency, which collects payments on behalf of authors, is fighting hard against the introduction of Fair Use saying it will harm the ability of artists to make a living and receive proper compensation for the use of their work.

“This is not just unfair, it is a threat to jobs of young Australians and means the next generation of Australian filmmakers, songwriters, artists and authors will not be able to make a living,” the agency’s chief executive Adam Suckling said.

But critics often point to the case of popular Australian band Men at Work being sued for their iconic hit Down Under in 2010. The band were sued by plaintiffs who claimed the flute riff played by Greg Ham in the song was taken from iconic children’s song Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree, written by Melbourne teacher Marion Sinclair for a Girl Guides jamboree in 1934.

Men at Work band members were ordered to pay five per cent of their royalties from the song to the plaintiffs.

Professor Nicolas Suzor from the law department of Queensland University of Technology believes a fair use doctrine in Australian copyright law would help facilitate creativity and drive innovative projects.

“Overall there’s something really strange going on here, because in other countries, particularly in the US we see that fair use is actually a vital part of the creative process” he told news.com.au back in December.

“Creatives are scared,” he said. “In the transition to the digital economy people have had to change business models and people are really worried about copyright infringement and something really strange has happened; we’ve started to confuse fair use with pirates,” he said.

Jessica Coates of the Australian Digital Alliance — which represents librarians and is also partnering with Wikipedia on the latest campaign — told Fairfax on Monday that introducing a fair use provision would future-proof the law so it didn’t need to be updated with every new wave of digital technology.

“It took until 2006 to legalise taping a TV show on a video cassette recorder in Australia, by which time most VCRs were already mothballed,” she said. “We need copyright law that focuses not on specific technologies but on what is fair.”


Childless couples 'on track to be Australia's most common family type'

A society dominated by childless couples could become Australia's reality, with data analysis suggesting they will become the most common family type by 2023.

One sociologist says the trend is already happening, and future government policy will determine whether the traditional family model continues to exist.

For many millennials, like 23-year-old Karim Eldib, changing financial and social realities are important factors in the choice to have kids.

"[A lot of people] get the point where they say 'yep, going to have a child', and they don't think about all the things that come with having children," Mr Eldib said.

"I'm in a relationship and there has been talk of that but it's not something that we're seriously considering — it's something we'd like to consider after we've done all the things we want to do."

Is being a mum worth it?

"Nobody warned me" are words that resonate with many new mums. And, as some women share with the ABC, that's especially true when you're depressed, wetting yourself at every sneeze and feeling inadequate against idealistic images of motherhood on Instagram

His view is shared by other couples delaying their decision to extend their families, a trend which paired with Australia's ageing population means the nuclear family is in decline.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates between 2023 and 2029, there will be more people in a relationship living without children than families with kids.

Jackie Mahony and Trina Gilchrist, who are raising two-year-old Angus together, said the decision to have a child took a lot of thought.

    "For us I think it's very much about should we just have the one child? One is easy for us," Ms Mahoney said.

"We've been in a really long-term relationship — 13 years coming on and Angus was certainly a part of that relationship and conversation," said Ms Gilchrist.
Future policy will impact family choices

University of Melbourne sociologist Leah Ruppanner said while the trend of not having children varies between countries, it is already happening in Australia.

"[The trend is most evident in] a lot of countries like South Korea and Japan, where their populations are shrinking because they are not having enough babies," Dr Ruppanner said.

"One of the things is governments need populations to grow because it means you have people paying taxes, people looking after the older generation, and people supporting the economy."

Bronwyn Harman of Edith Cowan University, who studies social responses to childless couples, said the public has become more accepting of non-traditional families.

"In the past, we had the traditional family of mum, dad and the kids — mum stayed at home, dad was the bread-winner. We know that's not true now," Dr Harman said.

She expects the 2016 Census data, which has not been fully released yet, will show an increase in households without children.


Moroccan Soup Bar owner Hana Assifiri only hires Muslim women

This would appear to be contrary to Australian anti-discrimination law

THE owner of a Melbourne soup bar has described her policy of only hiring Muslim women as “positive discrimination”.

Moroccan Soup Bar owner Hana Assifiri, a self-described “Muslim feminist” who successfully campaigned to prevent human rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali from visiting Australia in April, was featured on the ABC’s religious affairs program Compass on Saturday.

The program described Moroccan Soup Bar as a “restaurant with a difference”, and Ms Assifiri as “on a mission to combat rising Islamophobia”.

In the documentary, she tells customers about “fear mongering”. “If I was to believe what I saw about Muslims on telly, I would be fearing Muslims as well,” she said.

Ms Assifiri runs regular “Speed Date a Muslim” sessions at her Fitzroy restaurant, where customers are encouraged to come and ask Muslim women any questions they like about Islam — “nothing is off the table”.

She explained that her hiring policy was a way of empowering Muslim women. “It’s positive discrimination,” she said. “You need to establish an environment that you know speaks to and engages and is relevant to Muslim women.

“There’s not a day that a woman walks through the door where she needs a job and I don’t give her a job, even though I don’t need workers. I believe in empowerment rather than charity, not only through monetary employment but being in an environment which is validating.”

Staff at the restaurant are allowed to drop everything to pray, even during busy service. “They say, ‘I’m going to pray’, they go pray, halfway through a shift, halfway through a meal, halfway through the chaos,” Ms Assifiri said.

“Some women will pray five times a day, some will accumulate them all until they go home, some need to pray at the time prayer’s called, some don’t pray. It’s not imposed, it’s at their discretion. It is what it is.”

Ms Assifiri highlighted examples of alleged Islamophobia. “Every night I will come in and go, ‘Now girls, what happened today?’, and somebody will tell me they were filling up petrol and they were accosted by a bunch of people and their hijab was pulled off,” she said.

“Customers would say to me things like, ‘Why [has] that woman got that thing on her head?’, and I go, ‘It’s a symbol of her faith’, and the guy then said, ‘The only thing it’s symbolic of is beheadings and honour killings’, and I went, ‘Woah, good thing you’re here to eat, mate.’”

Waitress Layalle El Najib told the program the Moroccan Soup Bar was “full-on”. “Even though you might not need a resume to get in, you still need to be strong minded, strong willed to work here,” she said.

“As long as you’re respectful to one another, I don’t care if you’ve got long hair, black hair, blonde, black, white, work is work.”

According to the Human Rights Commission, discrimination in employment on the basis of religion “occurs when someone does not experience equality of opportunity in employment because of their religion”.

“Example: An employer refuses to offer an employee a role serving customers because she wears a hijab,” the HRC website reads.

Human Rights Commissioner Edward Santow said federal anti-discrimination legislation “does not prohibit discrimination based on religion unless it is connected to a person’s ethnicity”.

“Religious freedom is protected under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” he said. “This means everyone has the right to freedom of religion and everyone has the right to worship according to their religious belief, subject only to laws that are necessary to protect public safety, order, health or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.

“Australia also has obligations under the International Labour Organisation Convention to ensure employers do not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, religion, political opinion or social origin.”


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 22, 2017

Push to change names linked to Australia's past

There were different standards in the past but the achievements of our ancestors were great and are rightly honoured.  And who is to say that our current behaviour standards are in any sense "right"?  In future it may be that the history destroyers are the ones seen as ignorant

Wealthy grazier John Batman is remembered as one of the "founding fathers" of Melbourne. He famously declared the site of the modern day city to be "the place for a village," suggesting it be called "Batmania".

He also signed a so-called "treaty" with Aboriginal elders in 1835, believed to be the only such agreement of its kind in Australia. In exchange for items like knives, flour and blankets, Batman's treaty gave him access to around 60,000 acres of land.

But the treaty was soon annulled, with colonial powers saying Batman did not have the authority to make it.

"Rename Batman" organiser Emily De Rango said Batman essentially duped Aboriginal people into an unfair trade they didn't understand.

She said there were also historical records of Batman as a bounty hunter of Aboriginal people in Tasmania. "Batman was one of the people to found Melbourne as a colonial city, which makes him important in a way," Ms De Rango told SBS World News. "But he's also somebody who was responsible for the murder of, and dispossession of Indigenous peoples."

Batman's name is a constant presence in Melbourne, with an electorate, streets, parks and other landmarks named after him.

But that might be about to change. One local council, Darebin, is changing the name of Batman Park in the northern suburb of Northcote and they want the Batman electorate to be renamed as well. "This is just one small step in the broader reconciliation journey that all levels of government need to get on board with," Darebin Mayor Kim Le Cerf said.

And Batman isn't the only colonialist to come under fire.  Victorian MP Russell Broadbent has been leading a push to change the name of his McMillan electorate in Gippsland. The electorate honours the memory of Scottish settler Angus McMillan.

But McMillan had also been labelled "the Butcher of Gippsland" and blamed for the massacre of dozens of Aboriginal people in the 1830s.

Mr Broadbent wrote to the Australian Electoral Commission asking for the name to be changed when a redistribution takes place early next year.

Former New South Wales Governor Lachlan Macquarie's legacy is also being questioned. Author and Journalist Paul Daley said Governor Macquarie's name is everywhere in Sydney, but while historians have been kind to Macquarie, the man left a dark legacy.

He said Governor Macquarie had been accused of giving the order for his soldiers to kill 14 men, women and children at Appin, on the outskirts of Sydney. "He was actually responsible for ordering the massacre in 1816 in Appin," Mr Daley told SBS News.  "After which he also ordered the theft of children to be taken to his native children's home in Parramatta."

Ms De Rango said while changing a name was a symbolic gesture, it could have real outcomes. "As a non-Indigenous Australian I think that it is really important that we genuinely recognise the full scope of our history," she said.  "Symbols matter. What we name something says a lot about what we value."

But some residents of the Batman electorate disagree. An online poll for a local paper last year found just 20 per cent of readers supported the name change, and some residents who spoke to SBS News said renaming places was a low priority. "I don't think it matters to everyday Australians," Batman resident Terry Martin told SBS News. "It's just a name, you know."

Darebin Council has worked with Wurundjeri people to find an appropriate replacement name for Batman Park.

The preferred name, Gumbri, comes from the last Aboriginal girl to be born at the Corranderk mission in Healesville, an hour out of Melbourne. She later lived in the Batman electorate.

Gumbri's grandson, Wurundjeri elder Colin Hunter Junior, said his grandmother would have been "chuffed". "I think that she would be quite proud of the honour," Mr Hunter told SBS News. "She would have been in this park many a time."

Mr Hunter said renaming the park, and the electorate, was an important step for healing. "Until you can accept the truth and acknowledge the past, how can you move forward in reconciliation?" he said. "You can't."


Daniel Andrews gender agenda and mythmaking

By now, I’m sure you would’ve heard the news that the Victorian Andrews government is backing a brand new “feminist collective” strategy under the assumed guise of tackling domestic violence through a $21 million tax-payer funded school program called Respectful Relationships. Whether you like it or not, your kids will be made to feel bad about themselves for being white and male and lectured on how “white, male privilege” and “hegemonic masculinity” are the roots of domestic violence. It’s bad enough that us adults are already exposed to a constant drumbeat of feministic, anti-male hysteria on a daily basis, but our kids? This is beyond outrageous.

Fightback, the “feminist guide” has the approval of the state government and is part of this “domestic violence awareness program” that is already implemented in 120 schools across the state, and is designed to counter “everyday sexism” by brainwashing secondary school children about “negative attitudes towards gender equality that contribute to high rates of sexism and discrimination and ultimately … violence against women”.

The disturbing material also asks teachers to lecture kids on the concept of “privilege” – an idea that some groups have advantages over others just because of their birth identity (chiefly due to their parents’ hard work and moral choices).

The controversial program has long been a subject of criticism for foolishly simplifying the issue of family violence, putting the blame mostly on men and their apparent “privilege”.

“Being born white in Australia, you have advantages,” the guide claims. “By being born male, you have advantages … that you may not approve of or think you are entitled to, but that you gain anyway because of your status as male.”

And just so you know, I am not a white male. However, on more than one occasion on the Twitterverse, I have wrongly been called “entitled” and a “privileged white male.” (Hey feminists did you just assume my race and skin colour? I thought that’s racist!)

But when you think about it, the concept of “white privilege” is an elaborate invention of the “progressive” liberal collective – especially third wave feminists – to silence freedom of speech by discrediting white males for simply being what they were created to be. Instead of teaching respect for men and women equally, regressive programs like Respectful Relationships would prefer that the concept of “toxic while masculinity” is drummed into young minds.

It might surprise you to know that the theory of white privilege (if you can call it a legitimate theory, that is) started out being solely about men and their perceived privilege. It had nothing to do with the struggles of non-whites due to their lack of privilege. Peggy McIntosh, a feminist who is touted as the inventor of the white-skin privilege concept in the late 1980s, came up with the term “unacknowledged male privilege,” or the seemingly unearned advantages men have in society by virtue of being born male. She believed there was also a “white privilege” analogous to male privilege, and so the terminology of white privilege was born. McIntosh manufactured a crisis about males to prove they garnered favour over females but then expanded the concept to include white males and later evolved the concept to include all whites as the root of all apparently unearned privilege.

It is commonly (and wrongly) believed that women are the typical victims/ survivors of domestic violence and that most perpetrators are men. But the fact of the matter is both men and women are victims of violence and abuse. This is an issue that affects both genders, young and old. It is also a fact, according to the Royal Commission, that 25 per cent of domestic violence victims are men. Men also die earlier than women and young men have greater rates of youth suicide and self-harm. I guess somehow that’s white male privilege. No?

What about the apparent gender pay gap? Well, to put it plainly, it’s a complete hoax. Industries statistically dominated by men tend to attract better pay than those traditionally dominated by women. And then there is the choice women make, willingly, to trade career heights for job flexibility, shorter hours, maternity leave and more time to raise children, which a lot of mothers would agree is a priceless privilege. Raising healthy, secure children is tremendously productive to our society.

Christina Hoff-Sommers, “the factual feminist” has a good question: “If, for the same work, women only make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes, why don’t businesses hire only women?”

That number is calculated in a way that doesn’t take into account several factors that contribute to wage. In fact, a feminist organisation’s own research found that the wage gap is 6.6 cents when factoring in these choices that men and women make. These are choices such as college major, specialities, hours worked, and location. The keyword here is choice (I thought you progressives love that word?).

And when it comes to education, women are the privileged sex. Girls outperform and outstay boys in school and, as a result, they go on to university in ever-greater numbers. According to 2013 statistics from the federal Education Department, the number of female students in higher education jumped by 33.5 per cent between 2002 and 2012, compared with a 22 per cent rise for males. In 2002, of the 151,550 Australian students who graduated from university, 56 per cent were women. By 2012, graduation numbers had increased to nearly 195,000, of whom 60 per cent were female, a ratio likely to be higher again this year.

Thus, the concept of “white male privilege” is nothing less than a complete myth. It is thanks to this regressive kind of thinking that in today’s brave new world, boys can no longer be boys and are instead forced to break traditional stereotypes by putting on makeup and playing with Barbie dolls. It is no wonder why problems such as effeminisation (the stripping away of all facets of manhood), homosexuality, acquired gender dysphoria and transgender-ism are rife among our youth.

The million dollar question is why are Victorian schools teaching our children this type of hogwash? The answer? The cultural Marxists backing these regressive programs such as “Respectful Relationships” have an agenda to create a genderless society and end any celebration of the unique qualities of each gender. Their ignorance of science, biology and, therefore, the truth will only create more depression in our youth, not less.


The boats will be back under Bill Shorten, no matter his denials

Peta Credlin

MOST of us have seen it first hand; the family barbecue or out for dinner, and the two political topics that divide the group are boats and budgets, or to put it more specifically, how the government manages Australia’s immigration program and how they manage our money.  

Other issues might come and go but as far as a political barometer is concerned, this double-headed test is still the best. If you’re prepared to risk a split in the friendship or even the family, give it a go. To be fair, Malcolm Turnbull’s recent Labor-lite budget might skew things a bit but as long as Peter Dutton’s in charge, the Coalition’s immigration policies won’t lurch to the left any time soon.

When it comes to immigration, you can’t trust Labor.

As he continues to lift in the polls, Bill Shorten’s going to start promising us he won’t restart the boats, but being soft on immigration is in Labor’s DNA. Go back to John Howard’s time and you’ll find that Labor opposed almost every sensible measure to curtail illegal arrivals.

Kevin from Queensland got in and thought he could get away with dismantling the Coalition’s tough border protection policies to win friends in inner-city latte land but the people-smugglers had other ideas. Almost immediately their trade started up again and as I watched them from opposition, Labor was utterly powerless to stop it. The Rudd-Gillard-Rudd record of chaos must not be forgotten: 800 boats, 50,000 illegal arrivals, 17 new detention centres, 8000 children in detention and 1200 deaths at sea (that we know about).

“That was then, this is now,” Bill Shorten will say. Don’t be fooled.

Some of you might look at Chris Bowen and see a man trying hard to be a credible shadow treasurer but I see the man whose record as immigration minister should disqualify him from any future office. Under Julia Gillard, 398 boats and 24,447 people arrived on Mr Bowen’s watch; the worst record of any immigration minister in Australian history. Hapless, reckless and completely inept; is it any wonder people are worried what he would do to the economy if this was his previous ministerial effort?

In recent days we’ve seen the example of six Iranians who came by boat under Labor, granted asylum to stay because they claimed their lives would be in danger if forced to return yet return they did, for a holiday. When Peter Dutton cancelled their visas and tried to deport them for lying about their so-called refugee status, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal overturned his decision and allowed them to stay.

Sadly, this isn’t an isolated case with the AAT overturning 39 per cent of the minister’s decisions on visas and deportations over the past year. As a result of the chaos left by former ministers like Chris Bowen (and his successors, Brendan O’Connor and Tony Burke, both also on Shorten’s frontbench), the Coalition is spending tens of millions of (borrowed) dollars fighting ridiculous court cases like this despite being up to our eyeballs in debt.

But it isn’t just the debt, it is the principle too.

We’re a generous nation and one of only 27 in the world that’s actually resettles refugees (yes that’s right over 160 other countries refuse) however it’s clear we’re being taken for a ride. Those really needing our help, waiting patiently in a camp often for a decade or more, are displaced by economic migrants with cash and a good story who lie their way through the system, until they’re caught by people like Dutton, and even then the system gives them a second chance. Sadly, there’s no second chance for the child in the camp, the persecuted Christian or the gay man thrown off a building by Islamic State.

On this issue, like so many, the hypocrisy of the Left is breathtaking. Australia cannot take all the world’s refugees but we do our bit and we do it better than almost any country in the world. But this tripe that anyone who wants to come here can just turn up and we should have to take them beggars belief. This mindset is one of the reasons Europe is such a basket-case.

Because we grant refugees almost immediate access to Australia’s taxpayer-funded school system, Medicare and Centrelink, governments must regulate the quantum of our immigration intake so we can keep paying for the services that most of us (sadly) take for granted. In the end — like everything — its all got to be paid for or we won’t be able to afford it in the future.

Under Malcolm Turnbull, the Coalition’s economic policies may have slipped to the left, but while Peter Dutton remains the same won’t happen to its immigration policy.

To date, Labor’s immigration failures have cost the taxpayer just shy of $14 billion dollars ($13.7b to be exact) and there’s a legacy caseload of over 30,000 people that Mr Dutton’s still sorting through. While Labor says ‘elect us, it won’t happen again’, let’s take a look at the facts.

At last year’s election, over 40 Labor MPs and candidates were on the record at one time or another opposing the Coalition’s policies to stop the boats. Right now, Labor are blocking legislation designed to prevent an illegal maritime arrival sent to a regional processing centre from getting to Australia. Bill Shorten tells us he has the same border protection policies as the government, but his troops won’t vote for them in the parliament. Surely this just shows that while Mr Shorten leads Labor, it’s the far Left who are actually in charge?

The uncomfortable truth is that to have a fair immigration system we have to be tough. There’s no shortage of people around the world who want a better economic outcome and while we can all understand that; aspiration alone isn’t what defines a genuine refugee. A ‘well-founded fear of persecution’ is the test and those who lie, who holiday back in their old homeland, or rort the system, displace those in real need of a place.

Malcolm Turnbull never had his heart in this issue last time as Liberal leader (or indeed when in Abbott’s cabinet) but we should all be grateful Peter Dutton does. And while Bill Shorten might say the right thing now, we know his people have other ideas should they get elected. This issue is important. As someone who worked for the prime minister who stopped the boats last time, if the boats start up again, under any government, stopping them a third time will be nigh on impossible.


Peter Dutton declares 'game is up' for 'fake refugees' living in Australia

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has given 7,500 asylum seekers living in Australia until October to lodge an application for protection, or face deportation, declaring the "game is up" for "fake refugees".

Mr Dutton said the asylum seekers had all arrived by boat under the previous Labor government, most without identity documents, and had so far either failed or refused to present their case for asylum with the Immigration Department.

"They need to provide the information, they need to answer the questions and then they can be determined to be a refugee or not."

The asylum seekers have now been given until October 1 to lodge an application for processing or they will be cut off from Government payments, subject to removal from Australia, and banned from re-entering the country.

According to Mr Dutton, the group is costing taxpayers about $250 million each year in income support alone and the deadline would ensure the Government is "not providing financial support to people who have no right to be in Australia".

South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon said the new policy would have public support, and appeal to the Coalition's support base, but urged the Government to take a "calm, methodical and fair" approach.

"I only hope that the Government puts as much effort into dealing with job seekers as it does with asylum seekers," Senator Xenophon said on Insiders.

Of the 50,000 asylum seekers who arrived by boat between 2008 and 2013, 43,000 have now been processed — which means they have either been granted a visa or had their claims rejected — or are currently having their claims assessed.

However, there are 7,500 asylum seekers "outside the process" and that is the group now subject to the October 1 deadline.

Asylum seeker statistics

-50,000 Illegal Maritime Arrivals arrived in Australia between 2008 and 2013

-Labor processed 20,000 of these people

-It stopped processing IMAs in August 2012 leaving 30,500 people yet to be processed — this is known as the Legacy Caseload

-23,000 of the Legacy Caseload have applied for Temporary Protection Visas or Save Haven Visas

-Of those 6,500 have been granted a TPV or SHEV 3,000 have already been found not to be refugees and must leave Australia

-13,000 are having their claims assessed

-Around 7,500 remain outside the process and have not presented their case for protection


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 21, 2017

Obsolete health advice in NSW schools

This is a good lesson in the folly of relying on governments.  The "health" advice below is based on minimizing the intake of dietary fat and salt.  That was of course conventional wisdom for many years. 

Over the decades however, the research did not support that and current  medical advice is that fat is actually GOOD for you and that it is sugar that should be minimized.  There is however a lot of research indicating no harm from sugar. And the advice on salt is that it is only a deficiency of it that kills you. 

So governments should get out of the health advice business.  Their current advice is just an obeisance to fads.  It is actually contrary to the best current scientific advice.  It is nothing more than a parade of ignorance

SCHOOLS have been told to stop using butter in the latest NSW government crackdown on the food sold at ­canteens.

Banning or severely restricting fairy bread, Vegemite, schnitzels, pies and cream is also part of a dreary new regimen for kids.

“We can’t teach good ­nutrition in the classroom and then sell rubbish in the playground,” Education Minister Rob Stokes said.

Under a blanket regimen starting next year, public schools are being told they must not buy hundreds and thousands, butter, cream, salt, Nutella, icing and chocolate chips.

The war on fat has also spread to Vegemite, which may now only be used in “small amounts, lightly spread”.

Fattier foods such as schnitzels, bacon, hot chips, pies and other foods must make up no more than one-quarter of canteen menus — and they must be healthier versions.

New Education Department advice says these ingredients “should not be used in your school canteen”.

The department has prepared a list of meals it would prefer kids have, including hummus, rice paper rolls, a “veg-o-rama burger” and a bean and corn salad. It wants canteen menus to contain at least 75 per cent healthy food, and water should be the kids’ “main drink”.

“The nanny state is getting ridiculous — governments are interfering too much in our lives,” Liberal MP Peter Phelps told The Saturday Telegraph.


African man jailed for abandoning girlfriend in desert

A BLIND, hearing-impaired woman overdue for medical treatment was abandoned in the desert south of Alice Springs without food or water in a “particularly callous” crime committed by her boyfriend, the Supreme Court has heard.

Kenneth Mututa, then 53, was jailed for two years and six months after pleading guilty to failing to provide the woman, 36, with the necessities of life, as well as two aggravated assaults committed before in the hours before the woman was abandoned.

Justice Trevor Riley said Mututa’s “heartless conduct” in November 2015 could easily have killed his girlfriend.

“Your conduct in leaving her there alone and completely vulnerable was particularly callous,” he said.

Mututa’s attacks on the woman began when he punched the woman in the face, cutting her lip and loosening her tooth, and continued with an indecent assault in a remote stretch of bushland south of Alice Springs.

Mututa then abandoned his victim, who suffers from end-stage renal failure and who was due for a dialysis appointment. A passing train woke the woman around late on the day she had been abandoned.

The woman, “lost, helpless and completely vulnerable” wandered towards the tracks, thinking they would lead her into town, but inadvertently turned south and began walking further into the outback.

A second passing train stopped to help the woman after nearly hitting her.

“It was mere good fortune that she was not killed or badly injured at that time,” Justice Riley said. “Had the train not arrived, and the operators been so observant, she could easily have perished while walking south rather than north.”

In a victim impact statement, the woman said she was “very scared when she was left alone” and no longer trusts people other than her family members.

Justice Riley said Mututa “must have known how helpless she would be in those circumstances”.

Mututa, who has served 14 months behind bars since police tracked him down in South Australia’s far north, will be eligible for parole in two months.


Catholics declare war on the Libs over school funding

The Catholic education system will campaign against the Turnbull government’s school funding arrangements.

The Catholic education system has declared war on the Turnbull government with plans for a ­nationwide mining tax-style campaign against the Gonski 2 education reforms, which it claims will rip funds from the most in-need primary schools and force closures.

The Weekend Australian has confirmed that members of the National Catholic Education Commission voted on Wednesday night to approve a campaign that would involve a grassroots, social and main-media blitz across the country.

It is believed Catholic officials have also approached several Liberal Party research companies and pollsters, including Crosby Textor, as part of a bid process for the focus group and campaign research that would guide the campaign against the government.

It is understood the campaign would also focus on marginal Liberal seats, with parent forums to be held across nearly every diocese in the country.

An NCEC source confirmed that the campaign would be the largest ever undertaken by the sector, claiming that the integrity of the entire Catholic school system was under threat.

“The National Catholic Education Commission was resolute,” the source said. “It will be a long and sustained campaign and based on ‘Who do you trust more: the school, the principal or the government?’ This will be an informed campaign to let parents know the impact of the government’s policy on their schools.”

With independent schools, including the most elite in the country, now admitting that they came out “better off” under the government’s deal, the Catholic schools are claiming they want the playing field to be levelled.

The independent school lobby has hit back with a sectarian attack on the Catholic school sector, accusing it of going “beyond ­robust advocacy”.

Colleagues of Simon Birmingham said the Education Minister was working on a solution but it was not clear what that would be.

The government is unlikely to countenance taking money back from the independent sector.

The alternative would be to find up to $700 million in the second half of the 10-year Gonski 2 deal, well beyond the current budget forward estimate parameters, to redress the issues claimed by the Catholic sector.

The government has privately argued that the issue was being conflated by Victoria and ACT Catholic educators. However, The Weekend Australian has confirmed that every diocese and state represented on the Catholic education commission voted in favour of the campaign.

The Catholic sector yesterday repeated its warning that the school funding shake-up would force the financial burden on to working parents, and those sending their children to low to ­medium fee Catholic parish schools could be looking at fee hikes of about $5000 next year.

Parents currently pay $2397 a child at the Father John Therry Catholic Primary School in the Sydney inner-west suburb of Balmain but exclusive modelling today reveals parents would need to find an extra $6082 a student next year. The shortfall is because the federal government’s reforms estimate the expected private income per child at the school in 2018 should be $8762.

The escalation in hostilities between the sector and the government coincides with the end of a budget-period truce agreed to by angry conservative Liberal MPs who claim they intend to resume internal pressure on Senator Birmingham to reach a compromise with the Catholic schools.

Several MPs said several marginal seats could be severely impacted, including Dunkley, Corangamite, Chisholm and ­Latrobe in Victoria and the Sydney seats of Banks and Reid. A number of Queensland seats were also vulnerable as was the ACT, where the Liberals hold a Senate seat.

A significant bloc of MPs took a view prior to the budget that they needed to allow the government to focus on core business but made it clear to Senator Birmingham that he had to consult and find an ­arrangement with the Catholic sector. “He has failed to do that,” said one senior Liberal MP.

Senator Birmingham’s office said the minister did not hold any meeting with the Catholic sector yesterday.

Claims by Senator Birmingham that the Catholic sector had in the past received “a special deal” because it operated as a school system appear to have been undermined. Lutheran schools also operate as a system, as can any private school sector that applies as is provisioned for under legislation.

The Catholic Education Commission’s new research, obtained by The Weekend Australian, examined 72 Catholic systemic schools nationwide, finding 31 would need to raise fees by between $3000 and $4000 a child next year and anothe­r 21 schools would be hit with hikes of between $4000 and $5000.

Parents at these parish schools, which are part of state-based Catholic education systems, currently pay an average of about $2000 a student in fees.

At Galilee Regional Catholic Primary School in South Melbourne, parents contribute about $1651 a child but next year the CECV data argues that the government is factoring in private income of about $6698 so fees could be expected to rise by more than double, or $4366 a student.

Fees at St Bernadette’s Primary School in western Sydney’s Castle Hill are also expected to double from $1944 to $4506 next year.

Bill Shorten has continued to push the cause of Catholic schools, visiting St Brigid’s in the marginal Tasmanian electorate of Braddon yesterday. It was the Opposition Leader’s seventh visit to a Catholic school in the past fortnight since the government’s Gonski changes were announced.

He accused Malcolm Turnbull and his team of launching “an ­unconscionable attack into the Catholic systemic system’’.

“When will Mr Turnbull rea­l­ise, in his out-of-touch universe … that people who choose to send their kids to a local parish school should not be presumed to be wealthy,’’ he said.

Mr Shorten said private schools at the very top end didn’t need much more money but disagreed with the proposition that parents who chose to send their kids to a Catholic parish school “shouldn’t get some investment back for the taxes they pay — I don’t buy that’’.


A government avoiding all the hard issues

Cory Bernardi

We have a diverse crossbench, a government transitioning from Conservative to Social Democratic, an opposition devoid of any integrity, colourful characters and a multitude of controversial matters facing the country. It’s the latter that is actually getting quite repetitive.

The significant issues facing the country are the same as they were a year ago which are the same ones from three years ago, which are the same ones from five years ago…and so on. The issues we need to confront are pretty straightforward. Too few taxpayers are paying too much in tax and too many are paying nothing.

Governments of all political colours are spending beyond their means and accruing debts they will demand that others repay. Our migration system isn’t working to our advantage and bureaucrats are empowering abuse of the system.

There are only a couple of public voices left who are brave enough to champion the lower tax, limited government agenda. Everyone else seems to have abandoned all hope of getting our political system and public finances back on an even keel. For the true believers it’s never been a more challenging time to be a conservative beacon in an ocean of socialism.

I said on Sky News last night that the great socialist experiment of decades past was going to come to an unhappy end. Debts (social and financial) will have to be repaid in one way, shape or form. Unbridled welfare is unsustainable from a financial and human interest perspective. The deconstruction of societal norms is already having profound negative consequences - for our children and our families - which are evident for anyone who chooses to see them.

Perhaps one of the most alarming things I have read recently, but one that captures the new zeitgeist so clearly, was presented by ‘our’ ABC. It was posited that children who have a bedtime story read to them by a parent have an ‘unfair’ advantage over those children who don’t. Now I happen to agree with the benefits of reading to children, but rather than use this as a means to suggest stronger families are vital to children’s development, the ABC chose a different path. Instead, they suggested that bedtime stories should be restricted, even proffering the views of an ‘expert’ who posited the very concept of family should cease.

“If the family is this source of unfairness in society, then it looks plausible to think that if we abolished the family there would be a more level playing field” the ABC’s chosen philosopher stated.

It is alarming that such an attitude barely raises an eyebrow on our public broadcaster or amongst many of our political leaders.
Yet it is emblematic of everything else we are facing. The inconvenient truths are that societal norms have evolved through multi-generational experience about what is best for society and the greatest number are being turned on their head by misty-eyed idealogues intent on re-purposing the established order in their experimental image. They are empowered by emasculated politics where too few stand for very much at all.

That has to change. We simply cannot continue down the path of least resistance because it only leads to a prison of misery and pain. Sure the journey to the cells might be relatively easy but, after that, there are few means of escape.

It’s not too late to turn around and pursue a better way but it will take a strength of character that is lacking in most of our political options available today.

Via email

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 19, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is having a laugh at the frauds in the Taxation office

Western Australia’s catastrophic forest collapse

A thoroughly lazy article below. It does seem to be true that West Australian forests are retreating but the galoots below have no idea why and don't try to find out.  They just chant the tired old mantra of global warming.  But global warming COULD NOT be the cause.  As any number of studies show (e.g. here) increased CO2 in the atmosphere has a GREENING effect, not a browning effect.  The writers below, George Matusick, Giles Hardy and Katinka Ruthrof, are all academics specializing in forest studies so they are quite simply a disgrace to their professions.  It's just a bit of opportunistic Warmist propaganda below. 

Even aside from its building block effects, elevated CO2 reduces transpiration time for plants and makes them less needful of water; Warming oceans give off more water vapor which comes down as rain.  So both CO2 rises and its allegedly associated temperature rises are good for plants.  They certainly don't dry anything out.  So what they say below flies in the face of all the facts.  They are just grant-hungry crooks

Recent, unprecedented, climate-driven forest collapses in Western Australia show us that ecosystem change can be sudden, dramatic and catastrophic. These collapses are a clear signal that we must develop new strategies to mitigate or prevent the future effects of climate change in Australian woodlands and forests. But society’s view of forests is ever-changing: are we willing to understand ecosystems and adapt to changing conditions?

The south west of Western Australia has experienced a long-term climate shift since the early 1970s, resulting in dryer and hotter than average conditions. This shifted baseline, or average, has also led to more frequent extreme events. In 2010, the region experienced the driest and second hottest year on record.

These climate changes have resulted in significant decreases in stream-flow and groundwater levels. For example, formerly permanent streams now stop flowing for considerable periods. Groundwater levels have fallen up to 11 meters in some forested areas, with larger decreases in populated areas. Clearly, soil water reserves have dried out substantially and will likely continue to do so; we are now starting to see the implications of this. Although most of the West Australian society, particularly those in urban environments, may be well-buffered from these changes, ecosystems are not.

The climatic changes occurring in the south west of Western Australia are contributing to deteriorating woodland and forest health. In the past 20 years, insect infestations and fungal diseases have plagued many iconic tree species, including tuart, wandoo, flooded gum, marri, and WA peppermint, increasing their mortality rates. Many of these disorders are likely triggered or incited by changing climate conditions.

In extreme climate conditions, woodland and forest health suffers most. For instance, during the record dry and hot period in 2010 and 2011, large patches of trees throughout the region suddenly collapsed, with little recovery in some areas. Along the coastal plain surrounding Perth, some areas of Banksia woodland suffered losses as high as 70-80%, while over 500 ha of tuart woodland collapsed and over 15,000 ha of exotic pine plantations (~70% north of Perth) were destroyed. In the northern jarrah forest, over 16,000 ha of forest suddenly collapsed, with mortality rates 10.5 times greater than normal.

In several ecosystems, species have died out and not been replaced, permanently shifting vegetation structure and ecosystem function. Some believe that species and ecosystems will transition slowly in response to climate change. But following the extreme conditions experienced in 2010-11, we now know the transition in many West Australian woodlands and forests will likely occur in sudden, catastrophic, step changes. Many species may not have time to adapt.

These often sudden and dramatic shifts in vegetation health, structure and function have profound consequences on associated flora and fauna, including many critically endangered species. The Mediterranean type-ecosystems of the south west were recently named among the top 10 ecosystems most vulnerable to climate-induced tipping points and degradation by a panel of 26 leading Australian ecologists. The region is one of 35 global biodiversity hotspots, harbouring approximately 1500 plant species, most of which aren’t found anywhere else.


Former Labor party leader slams Sydney council for putting screens around a public pool for Muslim women to swim in private

Media personality Mark Latham says putting up curtains at a Sydney public swimming pool to cater for Muslim women is a step towards putting drapes around section of Bondi Beach - as an Islamic sheikh likened it to imposing sharia law in Australia's suburbs.

The council-run Auburn Ruth Everuss Aquatic Centre in the city's west has installed a retractable curtain around one of its three pools so women can swim privately during two set time slots on Wednesdays, infuriating many residents who said it was like 'segregation'.

The organiser of the swim group, Yusra Metwally, said the idea behind the sessions was to 'accommodate people who wouldn't otherwise swim at a beach, or swim in a swimming pool because they don't feel comfortable'.

However Mr Latham, a former federal Labor leader, said it set an awful precedent and undermined Australia's egalitarian values about people from all different backgrounds mixing together.

'Where does it end? What's the next step? Down at Bondi Beach, we're going to have some curtained-off area, or something, it's just ridiculous,' he told Daily Mail Australia on Wednesday.

While Mr Latham supported the right of Muslim women to swim in a burkini, he said councils were bowing to left-wing demands to protect minority groups instead of encouraging individuals to come to terms with their modesty issues.

'It's not going to be very helpful for Islamic integration into the broader Australian community,' he said. 'Enclaves are a disaster for Australian multiculturalism. It becomes monocultural.'

There are even critics within the Muslim community, with Adelaide Shia imam Sheikh Mohammad Tawhidi likening the swimming pool policy to sharia law.

'It is part of sharia law that a strange man must not see the body of another woman, therefore they are installing the curtains,' he told Daily Mail Australia.

Sheikh Tawhidi said religious Muslims should build 'Muslim-only swimming pools for themselves' rather than have their laws imposed on non-Muslims.

'Ruth Everuss Aquatic Centre is not an Islamic swimming pool, therefore they should not be accepting of such an idea in the first place,' he said. 'The Muslim community can afford a private swimming pool for themselves that observes their sharia laws.'

Some locals have slammed the idea as 'segregation,' saying the women are receiving 'special treatment'.

'These communities should be encouraged to integrate and uphold the values of equality and respect not division and segregation paid for by taxes and council rates,' one woman wrote.

Anthony McIntosh, manager of the centre's operator Belgravia Leisure, said the covering for the swimming pool's glass walls was intended to make Muslim women more comfortable with aquatic activities.

Behind the curtain, Muslim women who wear a hijab would be able to swim in whatever attire they feel comfortable instead of a modesty suit or burkini.

Ms Metwally said other swimmers would not be affected as the other pools would be open to everyone during the session times.

'We had a record number of people drown at the end of last year which matches up with the road fatalities,' she said.

'So if we can have more women who are water-safe, that's surely a good thing.'

Cumberland Council general manager Malcolm Ryan told Daily Mail Australia female lifeguards are present during the women's only swim sessions. 'Council has a responsibility to cater for the needs of its community,' he said.

'The curtains, which are retractable and can be used or not used at any time, ensure we have provided a space that is accessible to and inclusive for all'.

The pool is also used for children's swimming classes and use by the elderly, people with a disability and patients having hydrotherapy or physiotherapy, who may prefer additional privacy during their use of the pool.

It is not only used by Muslim women and can be used by any women.
Cumberland Council General Manager, Malcolm Ryan, told Daily Mail

Cumberland Council General Manager, Malcolm Ryan, told Daily Mail Australia female lifeguards are present during the Women's Only swim sessions

Ms Metwally said although she is an avid swimmer, she 'didn't like swimming in a burkini and for a long time.' 'I remember when I was younger I was told by a lifeguard that my clothes weren't appropriate for the pool — you feel like you are being policed and that you stand out.

'Some women are worried that what they wear in the pool can expose them to questions, comments or stares.'


Must not laugh at blackface concerns

An Australian ice-cream store says it has taken disciplinary action against a staff member after the brand came under fire on social media for a post that made reference to blackface.

Mumbrella reports N2 Extreme Gelato made a post on both Instagram and Facebook on Friday, advertising a new flavour of ice-cream containing charcoal. The photo shows the ice-cream held in someone’s hand, which is smeared with charcoal.

The caption accompanying the post reads: “Is it still considered blackface if it’s just on your hand???”.

“Anyway it’s just split [sic] carbon so calm yo tits with our HONEY CHARCOAL VANILLA gelato!” the caption concludes.

It wasn’t long before customers took to the comments sections to slam the brand over its “inappropriate” caption and post, labelling it both racist and sexist.

“Wow @n2australia you should probably have a sit down with whoever is in charge of your social media and give them lesson on how not to trivialise racism,” wrote one commenter on Instagram.

“This is a heinous caption. It’s offensive and trivialises a serious issue. Take it down,” wrote another.



Four current reports below

Why should everyone else pay for your expensive university degree?

Australian students have the immense privilege of being able to attend a world-class university regardless of their bank balance, or family background.

And that will continue under the government’s recently announced plans to make students foot more of the bill for their degree, and to start paying it back sooner.

The beauty of Australia’s higher education contribution scheme, or ‘HECS’ as it’s widely known, is that students are only expected to repay less than half the full cost of their studies after they land a job that earns them a comfortable living. By the time former students are earning the government’s newly revised threshold of $42,000 a year for compulsory HECS repayments, they will be taking home a healthy $700 a week after tax and super contributions.

That is a far cry from packaged noodles, tinned spaghetti and instant coffee.

And once students do start work, the dividends are enormous. University graduates can expect to earn well over $1 million more throughout their working life than those without a degree. They also enjoy around half the average unemployment rate, as well as having the opportunity to spend valuable years plying their trade in their chosen field.

That kind of pay-off makes the government’s proposed fee increase of no more than $3600 a year look like chump change. Anyone who claims an increase of this order will stop school leavers from pursuing their dream career can join me for a bicycle ride to the moon. Indeed, whatever way you slice it, taking out a HECS loan to attend university stands to be the best investment you’re ever likely to make.

It’s fashionable to romanticise the Whitlam government’s introduction of free tertiary education as a shining example of the truly egalitarian society Australia ought to be.
A student in the quadrangle of the University of Sydney. Holders of degrees will significantly out-earn other workers, so asking them to pay more is fair and reasonable. (Pic: AAP/Paul Miller)

But where is the fairness in asking the majority of Australians — three quarters of whom don’t have a university qualification — to subsidise the debt of tomorrow’s professional class who are likely to earn more over their lives than they will?

With an eye-watering national debt of $550 billion and an annual deficit of $37 billion, there is no painless or politically simple way of bringing our country’s finances back to a sustainable footing. Faced with the challenges of an ageing population, chronic infrastructure backlog and inexorably rising health costs to name a bare few, hard-headed choices in our national interest are sorely needed.

If we want to take care of those who are sick, without work or who can’t otherwise go it alone, it makes sense to share the burden with those who can. By that standard, paring back the funds used to pave the way for doctors, lawyers, scientists and engineers without raising the entry barriers for future students is a perfectly equitable place to start.

None of this is to say there aren’t scores of students buckling under the cost of living independently while studying 40 hours a week. But if we actually want to help students doing it tough, there are far better things we could do than paying off a debt they will only encounter once they’re taking home an easily liveable wage.

But as famously said by Paul Keating, the Treasurer who abolished free university and introduced the HECS system, "a free higher education system is one paid for by the taxes of all, the majority of whom haven’t had the privilege of a university education. Ask yourself if you think that is a fair thing."

On that score, Education Minister Simon Birmingham’s announced shake up of university funding is exactly the kind of fair and forward-thinking policy the Coalition government should be championing.


Enrolments at Sydney Catholic high schools drop for the first time in 20 years

Mainly due to the high costs of living in Sydney, particularly for accommodation

Enrolments in NSW Catholic high schools have dropped for the first time in almost 20 years and are down overall in Catholic schools for the first time since 2008 as struggling families are forced into overcrowded public schools.

The latest enrolment figures show there are 219,862 students in the state's systemic Catholic schools, down 179 from last year, according to the minutes of the NSW Catholic Education Commission's March meeting.

Schools in the Maitland diocese had the largest enrolment increase, with 392 extra students this year, while the largest decline was in the Parramatta diocese, with saw a drop of 353 students.

At the same, the latest enrolment figures from the NSW Department of Education show that some public schools within the area covered by the Parramatta diocese have ballooned by about 20 per cent in just four years.

"This is the first year since 2008 in which total enrolments have declined from the previous year [and] this is the first year since 1999 in which secondary enrolments have declined," the minutes say.

Maitland-Newcastle and Wollongong dioceses had enrolment growth in both their primary and high schools, the minutes say.

"Sydney and Lismore also grew overall but declined in the secondary and primary sectors respectively."

The executive director of Catholic education in Parramatta, Greg Whitby, said there were substantial financial pressure on families in western Sydney.

"House prices and rental costs, as well as general cost of living increases, are putting many families in a situation where they don't feel that they can afford even the modest cost of systemic Catholic schools fees," Mr Whitby said.

But Mr Whitby said some parents were also "hesitant" about the "strong school transformation agenda" in Parramatta.

"For some communities, this student-centred, inquiry-based learning model is very different from what they know or are used to. For the schools that have embraced this contemporary approach to learning and schools, they are doing outstandingly well," Mr Whitby said.

"Others are more hesitant or are still in the early stages of change. We believe this is reflected in enrolment numbers."

In the Sydney diocese, primary school enrolments increased by more than 100 students but there was a "slight decline" of less than 50 students from their secondary schools, according to a spokeswoman.

"Preliminary research shows that some families, particularly in the southwest regions of Sydney, are already struggling to make ends meet especially due to the mortgage stress of the Sydney housing market," the spokeswoman said.

"Only 35 per cent of families in our south-west Sydney schools can comfortably afford a Catholic education, while 15 per cent find it a real struggle."

The spokeswoman said the Catholic systemic schools had always maintained to keep school fees "affordable to the bare minimum required to deliver a quality education".

The fees for years 7 to 8 are about $1600 per year, increasing to about $1700 per year for years 9 and 10 and $2200 per year for years 11 to 12, according the the Sydney Catholic Schools website.

"The reality however, with the current uncertainty in Commonwealth's announced 10-year funding school model means, Sydney Catholic Schools could face fee increase potentially forcing some families to seek enrolments in the already overcrowded state education sector," the spokeswoman said.


Proposed changes to Australia Education Act do not go far enough

The majority of Australian school students are considered ‘disadvantaged'

The government’s proposed amendments to the Australia Education Act introduced to the Parliament today include welcome changes to school funding but do not go far enough, Centre for Independent Studies education policy analyst Blaise Joseph said.

“The proposed changes — important updates of school funding data, a better way of allocating funding for students with disabilities, sensible transition arrangements for schools with funding changes over the next 10 years, and indexation based on actual costs – ignore the crucial issues,” Mr Joseph said.

“The changes do not address the fundamental underlying problems with the school funding model: that the benchmark is set unreasonably high and is not based on any evidence.”

“The SRS base amount is to be calculated using the latest data, which is welcome as it is currently based on data from as far back as 2008. However, the legislation does not include any provision for further updates any time the next 10 years, so in 2027 schools will be funded based on data which is over 10 years old. This is a significant oversight which should be rectified,” he said.

“The government’s proposal to have three different levels of support for students with disabilities depending on need — instead of just one level for all students with disabilities — is a sensible move, as not all student with disabilities have the same needs.

“However the proposed changes to loadings do not address the fundamental problems with the SRS.

“It is inexcusable that the other loadings haven’t been substantially altered, as they represent a significant proportion of the cost of the SRS, are not based on any evidence whatsoever, and do not represent genuine needs-based funding.

“In particular, the loading for low SES still applies to the lowest 50% of all students.”

“This means the criteria for ‘disadvantage’ remains unreasonably broad such that the majority of Australian school students are considered ‘disadvantaged’ and receive extra funding. As a result, the cost of the SRS is unjustifiably high,” Mr Joseph said.


Jobs without degrees: Is university becoming outdated?

THE Government’s decision to increase university fees is not the only reason Australians should reconsider enrolling.

Many experts and employers believe degrees are outdated, with the world of work is changing faster than universities can keep up.

Degree costs are set to grow 7.5 per cent by 2021 and students will have to start paying back loans as soon as they earn $42,000 a year, meanwhile shorter, less expensive study options – such as free online courses and vocational qualifications – are increasingly considered on par or even preferable, depending on the field of work.

Dr Amantha Imber, founder of training and consulting firm Inventium, says she does not look for university degrees when hiring for operational, administrative or support roles.

“In this day and age there is a wealth of learning experiences online and many of those are free or cost effective, like under $1000, and what you can learn is often actually a lot better than what you learn in a university degree,” she says.

“What is important to us in any job applicant is a thirst for learning.

“(Universities) generally are big conservative organisations and they are not moving fast enough to keep up with how the world is changing around them.”

GradStats data finds 68.8 per cent of 2015 bachelor degree graduates available for full-time work found it within four months of completing their studies.

This is up from 68.1 per cent for 2014 graduates but down from 71.3 per cent for 2013 graduates.

Although some occupations still require university for licensing purposes – such as lawyers, teachers, doctors and engineers – Imber says there is a trend of employers thinking outside the box when it comes to education.

“There are definitely larger organisations no longer treating (degrees) as a mandatory requirement,” she says.

“They are probably still in the minority but there is definitely a change happening.”

In July, PwC will welcome its first cohort of school leavers under the Government’s Higher Apprenticeships pilot program.

The Year 12 graduates will join PwC’s consulting and assurance teams in Sydney and Melbourne and be trained on the job, earning a Diploma of Business along the way.

Latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show more than a quarter of school leavers choose the workforce over post-school studies straight after graduation.

Of the 237,400 Australians who finished Year 12 in 2015, 69,200 were working and not studying in May, 2016.

Michelle Moloney, director of nanny matching service Mini Majer, did not go to university and has zero regrets.

She started her career path with a Diploma of Hospitality Operations and Event Management, and a three-month stint in catering but soon decided to move into the corporate world.

She became a receptionist at a recruitment firm before working her way up to a consultant position then eventually managing and purchasing Mini Majer.

“I didn’t need any degrees or anything like that,” she says.

“(Recruitment) is one of those things you can only learn on the job.

“In high school I was very competitive and always wanted to get ahead but I never thought a degree would get me ahead.

“My mum grew up in a village in a convent and didn’t have the luxury of finishing high school so I get that drive from my mum.”

Lisa Solomons, director of 360 PR, also took an alternative path to success. She went straight into full-time work with Telstra then, after a year, enrolled in a Diploma of Marketing, specialising in Sports Marketing.

“At the time I was cheerleading for the Roosters and decided I would prefer to be in the office rather than on the field,” she says.

“I ended up working in the marketing department for a Sydney nightclub (then) a 12-month reception role came up at a public relations company and I quickly realised that this was where I was meant to be.”

Solomons studied part time at night to complete a Diploma of Public Relations and now runs her own company.

“(If you don’t got to university), you need to be proactive and say ‘yes’ to create the path you want. Have a bank of mentors and look beyond people within your chosen industry,” she says.

“I didn’t want to go to university just because that was the thing you do.”


A majority of Australian school students are considered ‘disadvantaged’!

The government’s proposed amendments to the Australia Education Act introduced to the Parliament today include welcome changes to school funding but do not go far enough, Centre for Independent Studies education policy analyst Blaise Joseph said.

“The proposed changes — important updates of school funding data, a better way of allocating funding for students with disabilities, sensible transition arrangements for schools with funding changes over the next 10 years, and indexation based on actual costs – ignore the crucial issues,” Mr Joseph said.

“The changes do not address the fundamental underlying problems with the school funding model: that the benchmark is set unreasonably high and is not based on any evidence.”

“The SRS base amount is to be calculated using the latest data, which is welcome as it is currently based on data from as far back as 2008. However, the legislation does not include any provision for further updates any time the next 10 years, so in 2027 schools will be funded based on data which is over 10 years old. This is a significant oversight which should be rectified,” he said.

“The government’s proposal to have three different levels of support for students with disabilities depending on need — instead of just one level for all students with disabilities — is a sensible move, as not all student with disabilities have the same needs.

“However the proposed changes to loadings do not address the fundamental problems with the SRS.

“It is inexcusable that the other loadings haven’t been substantially altered, as they represent a significant proportion of the cost of the SRS, are not based on any evidence whatsoever, and do not represent genuine needs-based funding.

“In particular, the loading for low SES still applies to the lowest 50% of all students.”

“This means the criteria for ‘disadvantage’ remains unreasonably broad such that the majority of Australian school students are considered ‘disadvantaged’ and receive extra funding. As a result, the cost of the SRS is unjustifiably high,” Mr Joseph said.


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

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Santos boss warns on ‘rushed’ east coast gas intervention, urges industry solution

Victoria and NSW want to grab natural gas mined in Queensland because they have banned gas mining in their own States, despite having big reserves.  Why should anyone accommodate that?  There is however a big new gas  mine under development in Qld. that should supply plenty of gas for all

Santos chief Kevin Gallagher says Malcolm Turnbull’s east coast gas intervention is being rushed through, could put future Australian LNG contracts at risk and will reduce pressure on Victoria, NSW and the Northern Territory to produce their own onshore gas.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association conference in Perth, the Santos boss said east coast exporters should put an industry solution to the east coast crisis.

“There is an imbalance in the market and I don’t think it is just about availability — it’s a supply issue, but it’s an affordability issue as well,” he said.

“Whatever we come up with has to be robust and not scare investors, international oil companies and buyers.

“A reputation for reliable supply has really underpinned the boom we’ve been through. There are still millions of tonnes of LNG to be contracted in the years ahead, and we have to be really careful we don’t create an environment where we are known asbeing not only a high cost environment but a high sovereign risk environment.”

Mr Gallagher said the government’s plan to implement its domestic gas intervention plan by July was too quick. “This is a tool for governments to use over 20 to 30 years,” he said.

“Any long term solution has to protect the sanctity of long-term agreements. If you start putting export licenses in place and you ask companies to apply every year to meet contract commitments, how will you sign the next agreement ... people will go to the US to get their gas.”

He said gas swaps, where export-bound gas could be diverted to domestic markets and LNG contracts filled by spot purchases took time to negotiate.

Resources Minister Matthew Canavan and Woodside Petroleum chief Peter Coleman have said swaps are one solution to the east coast problem. “Some of the people making comments in the market might be conflicted because they are looking to sell some spot cargoes,” Mr Gallagher said.

He said that a rushed mechanism could have unintended consequences. “One of the problems with an ill-thought-out mechanism is it may just let all the states that haven’t developed resources sit back and rely on Queensland.

“Everybody should work together to get an industry solution we can take to government. I think there is a risk we are standing alone and being singled out as a project, the way this is heading, and I don’t think that’s a good outcome and it doesn’t necessarily solve the problem.”


Immigration farce shows Pauline Hanson was right all along

Des Houghton

I HATE to say it, but it seems Pauline Hanson was right all along.

Muslim immigrants are sneaking into Australia on fake claims they will be persecuted if they are sent home.

Perhaps we are too soft at welcoming uninvited non-citizens who jump the back fence.

Australia’s immigration system is again under scrutiny after visas were granted to “refugees” who lied their way in by pretending to be in danger if they were sent home.

Six Iranian boat people have made a mockery of our strict border controls by gaining residency and then travelling back and forth to Iran on holiday.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton did the right thing and moved to deport them, only to have his decision overturned by the Administration Appeals Tribunal.

In fact 39 per cent of Dutton’s decisions or those by delegates have been overturned by the AAT in the past year.

Dutton has done a mighty job protecting borders and showing the door to undesirables.

He chose his words carefully yesterday saying some “infuriating” cases make you “shake your head”. So the courts, once again, usurp the powers of the democratically-elected Cabinet minister responsible for our welfare.

The left-wing Greens and Labor pretenders don’t like me mentioning it but “refugees” pay $10,000 to people-smugglers for places on boats to Australia. So they are not genuine refugees. They are queue jumpers.

Polls show a majority of Australians support immigration. But the majority also favours entry of only genuine refugees who have been carefully assessed.

Now isn’t the time for Malcolm Turnbull to go soft.

He should remember that strife surrounding unvetted immigration has smashed European Union and delivered Donald Trump the White House.


Shipbuilding sticker shock: taxpayer to waste millions per naval job

From those of us who long lamented the waste of taxpayer dollars propping up the automotive industry, it’s time to declare “come back, all is forgiven”. Perhaps it’s not too late to throw a few billion at Detroit and Tokyo to get them to stay because, compared to its replacement, automotive protectionism was bargain basement stuff.

In unveiling its Naval Shipbuilding Plan today, the government gave some hard numbers to the cost of propping up Australia’s uncompetitive naval construction sector and the diminishing number of Liberal-held seats in South Australia. And they’re horrific. To build a succession of frigates, patrol boats, submarines and smaller naval craft in Australian shipyards in coming decades, the government has committed to spend at least $195 billion, not merely on building the vessels, but in upgrading shipyard infrastructure to handle the task (the cost of maintaining the vessels is a whole, and much larger, separate bucket of money). The big-ticket items are the $50 billion submarine contract and the $35 billion future frigates project, both of which will be built in Adelaide, although the future frigates project still awaits a decision on a successful tenderer.

Today’s plan also reveals the government needs to invest in the upgrading of the Adelaide shipyards in order to accommodate multiple builds. That will cost at least $1.2 billion — although the upgrades haven’t even been designed yet, meaning the cost is almost certain to increase. Worse, the vessel construction schedule is dependent on those upgrades being completed by late 2019, meaning there’s no room for delays. That $1.2 billion is likely to end up looking fanciful when time comes for the Australian National Audit Office to write the inevitably scathing report of how the upgrades were mishandled.

Australian shipbuilding plan © Provided by Private Media Operations Pty Ltd. Australian shipbuilding plan According to the plan, it will sustain 5200 jobs when construction reaches a peak in the mid-2020s. That’s what we’re getting in terms of employment for spending $195 billion on local construction. The plan notes the famous RAND report that found “the cost of building naval ships in Australia was 30-40 per cent greater than United States benchmarks, and even greater against some other naval shipbuilding nations”. Assuming RAND’s lowest estimate, 30%, we’re spending nearly $60 billion more than we need to over the coming decades (and more beyond) for 5200 jobs. That’s around $11.25 million a job, or about $1 million a year over a decade. In contrast, back around 2010, we were spending about $10,000 a year to support around 50,000 automotive manufacturing jobs.

But according to the plan, we’re missing the point. What the government is doing is investing so that that 30-40% gap can be closed.

    “RAND judged that the premium could be reduced if both Government and the industry were prepared to reform. Government would need to change its demand profile for new naval vessels and reform its acquisition and contracting processes. Industry would need to reform its workplace cultures and institute productivity improvements across the board. Both sides of the demand-supply relationship would need to work more collectively – in partnership — to deliver a more productive and cost-competitive industrial capability. The Government accepted the RAND principles and is making the necessary investment in a strategic national capability for naval shipbuilding and sustainment.”

So, we’re spending $195 billion over the next ten years on local naval construction so that we spend less on naval construction. It’s a kind of fiscal equivalent of fighting for peace (or as the Plan puts it, all this extra defence spending is “part of the Australian contribution to global peace”). So let’s assume that the government is wildly successful and reduces the RAND gap by three-quarters. We’d still be spending tens of billions for 5000 local jobs.

But it isn’t the only interesting twist on protectionism in the document. We’re building so many vessels locally that we won’t have enough workers to build them. We’re not just propping up existing jobs, we’re creating new ones to subsidise. Better yet, many of those jobs are going to be filled by… foreign workers. Yes, even though it’s only a few weeks since the Prime Minister announced the faux-bolition of 457 visas, the plan says we’ll need lots of foreign workers:

    “Selected shipbuilders are expected to bring into the Australian shipyards workers from their home companies who are familiar with their specific production techniques and processes. These workers are likely to fill middle management and supervisory roles and will be essential to the process of knowledge transfer to the Australian naval shipbuilding industry.”

You’ve got to hand it to Australia — we’ve invented a form of protectionism that involves looking after foreign workers. So, everyone’s a winner. Except the poor taxpayer.



A most incorrect man: Broadcaster John Laws reveals he still demands female staff wear short skirts

If men stopped liking the looks of women, the human race would rapidly die out

Controversial broadcaster John Laws says he still demands women in his office wear short skirts and bare legs and refuses to be bowed by "political correctness".

The 81-year-old refused to accept he could not "get away with some of the things he got away with in the 70s, 80s and 90s", and when asked if he still demanded female staff to wear skirts he said "you bet".

"I can ... (and) they all wear skirts," Laws said in an interview with Steve Price on The Project last night.

"He who pays the piper calls the tune. "I just love women, it's been one of my great downfalls in life.

"I love to talk to them, I'd much rather talk to them than a bunch of blokes and I love them to look feminine. "And to me a skirt on a beautiful body is a very, very feminine thing."

Laws said if he was confronted by the Equal Opportunity Commission, which investigates discrimination in the workplace, he would tell them to "get stuffed".

His comments sparked fury amongst viewers, who said it disrespected women. "Someone needs to tell John Laws women's bodies don't exist for male pleasure," one person wrote.


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

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Reading to children at bedtime: ABC questions value of time-honoured practice

I question it too.  All the studies show that children read to subsequently do better at school but is that a result of the reading?  It is more likely a social class effect.  Middle class people are more likely to read and they also have higher IQs.  The question could easily be answered by controlling for IQ  but IQ and social class are both largely forbidden topics in the social science and medical literature. 

There is however one well controlled study here which found that NO parental lifestyle differences, including reading to children, had any effect on the subsequent IQ of the child

THE ABC has questioned whether parents should read to their children before bedtime, claiming it could give your kids an “unfair advantage” over less fortunate children.

“Is having a loving family an unfair advantage?” asks a story on the ABC’s website.

“Should parents snuggling up for one last story before lights out be even a little concerned about the advantage they might be conferring?”

The story was followed by a broadcast on the ABC’s Radio National that also tackled the apparently divisive issue of bedtime reading.

“Evidence shows that the difference between those who get bedtime stories and those who don’t — the difference in their life chances — is bigger than the difference between those who get elite private schooling and those that don’t,” British academic Adam Swift told ABC presenter Joe Gelonesi.

Gelonesi responded online: “This devilish twist of evidence surely leads to a further conclusion that perhaps — in the interests of levelling the playing field — bedtime stories should also be restricted.”

Contacted by The Daily Telegraph, Gelonesi said the bedtime stories angle was highlighted by the ABC “as a way of getting attention”.

Asked if it might be just as easy to level the playing field by encouraging other parents to read bedtime stories, Gelonesi said: “We didn’t discuss that.”

Swift said parents should be mindful of the advantage provided by bedtime reading.

“I don’t think parents reading their children bedtime stories should constantly have in their minds the way that they are unfairly disadvantaging other people’s children, but I think they should have that thought occasionally,” he said.

Professor Frank Oberklaid, from the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute said he was bewildered by the idea. “It’s one of the more bizarre things I’ve heard,” he said. “We should be bringing all kids up to the next level.”


'Fake' Iranian refugees reportedly allowed to stay in Australia

Six Iranian refugees who were caught travelling back to the country where they claimed their lives were in danger have reportedly been allowed to stay in Australia.

The group have been accused of lying on their visa applications after voluntarily returning to Iran on holiday despite having obtained protection visas based on fears for their lives, News Corp reports.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton is considering what he will do in response to the reports, 9NEWS understands.

All six refugees' protection visas were reportedly cancelled after it was discovered they were travelling between Iran and Australia. They were set to be deported, but after successfully appealing to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal they were allowed to stay in Australia.

One man reportedly made three trips to Iran despite earlier claiming he could face execution if he returned. A couple also reportedly travelled to and from Iran using their Iranian passports after claiming persecution.

Mr Dutton has the power to set aside decisions made by the tribunal, and is understood to be considering the reports on a case-by-case basis.


Inflated housing expectations

The Budget measures relating to housing are a case study in how to fail in meeting expectations. The government unwisely generated, then inflated, expectations that there would be major solutions to housing affordability in the Budget.

But we haven’t got those solutions. Instead we have a hodge-podge of measures that help and hinder the problem simultaneously. On the help side, the main funding agreement for the states will be reformed to cajole them into reforming planning laws and increasing housing supply. About time too.

The new Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (HFIC) for social housing could be worthwhile as long as it doesn’t have government backing.

There are also changes to super to facilitate saving for deposits by home owners, and downsizing by retirees, but these will make the super system even more complex.

However, the ‘hinder’ side of the ledger is long. There are several increased taxes on housing investors, particularly foreign investors. Tax deductions for travel to investor housing will be denied, as will depreciation deductions for plant and equipment installed by previous owners of housing. Foreign investors will pay more capital gains tax (CGT) and an extra levy on properties left vacant, while there will be added restrictions on housing purchases by foreigners.

And the big tax on big banks, worth $6.2 billion over four years, will flow through to higher mortgage rates, harming housing affordability and investment.

These measures send a totally mixed message when other measures purport to promote housing investment, including through reduced CGT on investment in affordable housing and the previously mentioned HFIC.

There is also $1 billion for a National Housing Infrastructure Facility, but this is unnecessary as the states should undertake housing-related infrastructure investment themselves — and lose funding if they don’t.

Overall, if the housing measures in the budget demonstrate anything, it is how mismanaging expectations can generate policies that are more bad than good.


Advance Australia Fair is our anthem, right or wrong

Stan Grant continues his rightwards drift below

When my brother was a young boy he was asked in class what he wanted to be when he grew up.

"Lionel Rose," he answered.

The Aboriginal world boxing champion was a hero in our family.

For Aboriginal people like us, sport was a pathway to success.

We did not know anyone who had been to university, but we knew a lot of boxers and footballers.

One of my sweetest memories of childhood is walking with my father through the park that led to Redfern Oval, home of our beloved South Sydney Rabbitohs.

Dad would take me by the hand to see players like Eric Simms, the Aboriginal full back and point scoring wizard.

Sometimes we would bump into my father's old mate Eric Robinson, a powerful, fast Rabbitohs player from the 1960s.

Eric's son Rick Walford would later play for the St George Dragons and Eric's grandson Nathan Merritt would pull on the red and green of South Sydney.

A wonderful football dynasty. They are part of a proud tradition of Aboriginal rugby league players.

Dad turned out for Newtown, my cousin David Grant played for Souths and later captained Canberra.

I remember them all, the immortal Arthur Beetson, Larry Corowa, Percy Knight, Cliff Lyons, Steve Ella, John Ferguson, Laurie Daley and modern day giants like Greg Inglis and Jonathon Thurston.

I could go on and on. Indigenous people comprise fewer than 3 per cent of the Australian population but are more than 10 per cent of the National Rugby League competition.

Of the 13 players who ran out for the Australian Kangaroos against New Zealand in the Anzac test, five were Indigenous. But for injuries there would have been more.

This weekend the NRL is honouring this extraordinary legacy with the Indigenous round.

Teams will wear specially designed Indigenous-themed jumpers, part of a celebration of the culture of the first people of Australia.

It is a high point of the year, but something troubles me.

The NRL has opted to play politics, to dabble in social engineering.

The national anthem will be played before each game. OK, nothing wrong there.

But alongside the "official" anthem the NRL is also including an "alternative" version, Advance Australia Fair rewritten by Judith Durham, the former singer of the 1960s pop group The Seekers.

Same tune, different words. It is meant to be more inclusive: "a new day dawns", "Australians let us all be one" and "honouring the dreamtime".

Nice sentiments. I am all for a new anthem that is less "girt by sea".

But by including it this weekend it seems the NRL is apologising for Advance Australia Fair.

Could anyone imagine a football game in the United States offering an alternative version of the Star Spangled Banner?

Would the English football team walk into Wembley Stadium to a rewritten God Save the Queen? (I can hear the Sex Pistols playing faintly in the distance!)

Imagine an updated Le Marseillaise?

It is problematic for many Indigenous people. It sits with those other uneasy symbols of dispossession and colonisation, the flag and Australia Day.

Some have taken a stand. Indigenous singer Deborah Cheetham declined an invitation to sing the anthem at the 2015 AFL grand final.

Boxer and former footballer Anthony Mundine has boycotted the anthem and called on other Indigenous sportspeople to do the same.

But I have also seen black sports stars — like Thurston — proudly sing with hand on hearts while representing their country.

We live in a democracy and I support the right of people to boycott the anthem or reject the flag.

I also accept and respect those who cherish our national symbols.

We value pluralism — the right of many voices to be heard — but we also live in a system that accepts the decisions of the majority.

Our vote is our expression of our democratic right and for those in the minority our law should protect and defend us from potential tyranny.

Strange multiplicity

Getting this balance is right is crucial. The strength and primacy of the nation state is one of the challenges of our age.

Around the world we are seeing a blowback against globalisation, deindustrialisation and a liberal cosmopolitanism that has cost jobs, eliminated borders, challenged sovereignty and left some people feeling as though they no longer recognise their own country — strangers in their own land.

This dislocation has fuelled a wave of populism founded on xenophobia, racism, and trade protectionism that seeks to exploit division.

It is countered by identity politics that is often framed by a celebration of difference over unity.

British political scientist David Goodhart captures this phenomenon in his recent book The Road to Somewhere: The Populist Revolt and the Future of Politics.

He identifies two broad groups: "anywheres" educated, mobile professionals of no fixed allegiance at home anywhere in the world, and "somewheres" often working class, more rooted and loyal to a fixed place.

His message is, in a rapidly changing and connected world, somewhere still matters.

The task of so-called "liberal elite" is to negate the appeal of populists by strengthening a sense of nationhood while still opening up to the world.

Canadian philosopher, James Tully, speaks of a "strange multiplicity". He asks how to manage constitutionalism in an age of diversity.

Professor Tully says we find ourselves locked in intractable conflicts of nationalism and federalism, linguistic and ethnic minorities, feminism and multiculturalism and the demands of indigenous rights.

    "The question is whether a constitution can give recognition to the legitimate demands of the members of diverse cultures that renders everyone their due," he writes.

In the time of this "strange multiplicity" democracy has been in retreat.

A 2016 edition of the journal Foreign Affairs revealed that between 2000 and 2015 democratic ideals broke down in 27 countries from Kenya to Russia, Thailand and Turkey.

In this world of competing claims on nationhood and identity, can the centre hold?

Where is the role for citizenship? What does citizen mean?

All of this may seem very far from the National Rugby League. But it isn't.

Just as sport inspired me and told a young Aboriginal boy he could have a future in the world, so it helps bind us as a nation.

    We don't strengthen a nation by weakening the symbols of a nation. We don't strengthen the values of our democracy by apologising for our anthem.

If we don't like it, as a nation we should change it.

By offering an "alternative" version the NRL is trying to have it both ways, trying to appease any potential Indigenous political opposition.

It is well meant but misguided and potentially politicises what should be a celebration.

There are many things I would wish to see in Australia — a republic, a new flag, Indigenous constitutional recognition and treaties that enshrine the Indigenous place in Australia, that recognises our traditions and claims to this land, and produce economic and political certainty.

In a democracy we compete peacefully and persuasively for our ideas, we listen to and value the voices and opinions of others, we prosecute our case in the marketplace and seek validation in our courts and at the ballot box.

And, yes, one day I would like to see an anthem that speaks to us all.

When that day comes the NRL should play that loudly and proudly.

Until then we have an anthem it is Advance Australia Fair. The NRL should play it and accept and support those who may protest.

Otherwise, play no anthem at all


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