Thursday, January 05, 2017
"Safe Schools" is not a return to the Cold War (?)
An amusing tilt at windmills by some young Yugoslav guy below. I suspect that he hankers after Josip Broz Tito. The Cold War was a military confrontation so pointing out that an Australian school program is not a return to the Cold War is something that only Seb Starcevic would feel a need to do.
The essence of his little rant is that the "Safe Schools" program is not Communist-inspired and is not designed to lead children towards Communism. That is actually an extraordinary claim. The authoress of the program, Roz Ward (the manlike figure in the red jacket giving the Communist salute in the picture above) is an openly-acknowledged Marxist and has said that she intended to use the program to promote Marxist thinking. Seb is in the grand tradition of Leftist liars
"Safe Schools" is a sexual indoctrination program, under the guise of “anti-bullying”, which asserts extreme fringe views of gender and sexual fluidity. It is in the grand tradition of old Karl himself, who saw the normal family as an obstacle to the implementation of his ideas
Something amusing: In a speech at the 2015 Marxism Conference, Ward argues, “LGBTI oppression and heteronormativity are woven into the fabric of capitalism” and “it will only be through a revitalised class struggle and revolutionary change that we can hope for the liberation of LGBTI people”.
Which stands truth on its head, in the usual Leftist way. Homosexuality was severely repressed in the old Soviet Union. It is only in the tolerant capitalist societies that homosexuals have gained broad acceptance. Try being queer in Africa or the Muslim lands. Maybe Roz should take her evangelism there
After the USSR collapsed in the 1990s, critics of communism were momentarily assuaged by the knowledge that the greatest threat to the American hegemony had been tossed into the dustbin of history.
With the stranglehold of socialism lifted, the Kraken-like monster depicted in so many comics was finally slain. The West could breathe easy, meaning office-bearers had to find something else to harp on about. Or so it seemed.
Which brings us to today.
With the rise of Trump and resurgence of McCarthyism in 2017, the hard right have trotted out the socialist scapegoat once again, deploying anti-communist rhetoric that would be at home in US propaganda from the 1950s.
Look no further than the scandal surrounding the Safe Schools program which, according to Senator Cory Bernardi, hopes to “indoctrinate children into a Marxist agenda of cultural relativism”.
Similarly, LNP backbencher George Christensen slammed Safe Schools for “originating in an ideology of queer gender theory and Marxism.”
This sort of blatant, baseless fearmongering draws on the historical existential dread associated with the Reds.
Never mind that a program intended to create safe and inclusive environments for vulnerable young LGBTQI people has little to do with an economic ideology dreamt up by some now dead Russians. All that matters is slinging the right buzzwords to push the barrow.
Of course, this strategy is nothing new. Pairing the two undesirables together has worked well in the past, at least for McCarthy, who once conflated communists with “cocksuckers,” implying that his detractors were either Soviet sympathisers or homosexual fornicators — both socially unacceptable in the monochrome 1950s.
Indeed, traditionally the quickest and simplest way to destroy someone’s credibility was to infer that they subscribed to socialism, and this practice has carried into the present day.
Just ask Bernardi and Christensen. Or Reagan and Johnson. Or Trump.
But in reality, just as universal healthcare wasn’t a gateway to communism then, Safe Schools isn’t part of some sparkly socialist agenda now. Demonising it as such only shows a profound ignorance of history’s affiliation with anti-communist hate.
And that thought is much scarier than any imaginary Red Menace.
The Lion Helmet calls to restrict pensions, says being poor 'nothing to be proud of'
David Leyonhjelm is a descendant of Swedish nobility, which is why he has such an odd surname. It means Lion Helmet and is probably pronounced something like that. He is a very tough-minded hombre but I doubt that his call on pensions will go anywhere. He just hasn't got enough hair for it
Crossbench senator David Leyonhjelm says people who receive pension payments should not be proud because it shows they are poor.
The Government has restricted access to the aged pension for 300,000 older Australians as part of a tightening of the assets test which began yesterday.
But the Liberal Democratic Senator Leyonhjelm said the restrictions did not go far enough.
"Taking the pension shouldn't be something you aspire to, it should be something you try to avoid because it signifies you're in a low income group — in other words you're poor or you know, close to poor," he told ABC.
The crossbench senator wants the payment to be viewed as welfare — not an entitlement for taxpayers once they reach a certain age. "We really have to get over this idea that you don't have to save for your own retirement and your own old age," he said.
He continued his calls for the family home to form part of the assets test for pensions.
The Government has been defending its changes to the pension during the summer holidays, as Labor ramped up their calls to have it reversed.
Senator Leyonhjelm said Australians should "reinforce the notion" that "when you retire you will only receive the pension if you're poor and its nothing to be proud of".
Peter Dutton calls for tougher citizenship test in Australia
A TOUGHER citizenship test could be on the cards for migrants wanting to become Australians.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said revamping the test “was a debate worth having” as the federal government looks at measures to prevent terrorists from exploiting migration path ways.
Mr Dutton flagged he wants to see greater focus on people’s ability to integrate into Australian society — an individual’s willingness to learn English, educate their children and employment prospects or potential welfare dependence.
Australia's Immigration Minister Peter Dutton is open to changing the citizenship test. Picture: AAP
Australia's Immigration Minister Peter Dutton is open to changing the citizenship test. Picture: AAPSource:AAP
“My view is people who don’t embrace these tangible values shouldn’t expect automatic citizenship,” he told The Australian newspaper.
The citizenship test consists of 20 questions drawn at random from a pool of questions. To pass the test, you must answer 75 per cent, or 15 out of 20 questions, correctly.
This quiz below is a sample of practice questions migrants can do which are listed on the Border Force website.
Mr Dutton said that his personal view was that there was “scope to modernise the arrangements”.
He said we need to look at whether we have the right test in place for future migrants coming to Australia.
“The question we face is whether or not we have the right test, the right questions ... whether or not people know Don Bradman’s batting average is a true test of whether or not somebody shares an Australian value,” he told 2GB radio.
“The vast majority of people come here and do the right thing... but there is a minority that are on a path way to citizenship who we need to have a closer look at in my judgement,” he told 3AW Radio.
The controversial test was brought in by the Howard government in 2007 and covered Australia’s history, sporting greats, government, geography and traditions.
The Rudd government tweaked the test two years later to cover civic duty and responsibilities.
Topics include the significance of Anzac Day, the role of the governor-general, laws and government, and the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship.
Key senate crossbencher David Leyonhjelm backed the minister’s calls. “Raising the bar on citizenship is the right response to the concern about immigration which is currently circulating in Australia,” Senator Leyonhjelm told AAP.
He believes Australia should look at Switzerland as a potential model where there is a sponsorship program and fellow citizens have to vouch for applicants. He said the citizenship test should cover people’s links to the community, work history and fundamental liberal democratic values such as free speech, equality before the law, rights of women and respect for diversity.
Great $45m politician giveaway for croquet lawns and iPads
New croquet lawns, a Finnish sauna and dozens of lawnmowers, barbecues and iPads are among the thousands of projects to receive federal grants under a $45 million slush fund used by MPs for hand-picked community projects.
The Stronger Communities program, announced in last year’s federal budget as an infrastructure initiative, was a two-year scheme that gave every MP $150,000 a year to spend on “small capital projects” in their electorates.
Details of the program obtained by The Australian from the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development show that the grant scheme has been used for blatant pork-barrelling, with about 400 grants spent on items less than $5000, and millions of dollars spent to shore up the support of ethnic and religious groups in the lead-up to this year’s federal election.
The grant program faces an uncertain future, with the Coalition understood to be divided over whether it will receive ongoing funding in next year’s budget, with some MPs concerned about the ethics of the program.
Because the government held 90 of the House of Representative’s 150 seats before the election, Coalition MPs had $13.5m a year to splash on community projects, compared with $8.25m for Labor-held seats. In one example in Scott Morrison’s electorate of Cook, $20,000 was given to the Catholic Church for the repainting in St Finbar’s parish in Sans Souci, which included the priest’s house and the religious and Catholic parishioners community house.
While awarded in October, the grant was applied for by the former member for Barton Nickolas Varvaris when the church was located in his electorate before the redistribution of boundaries in NSW.
The grant awarded in October was paid to the trustees of the Roman Catholic Church for the Archdiocese of Sydney.
The Xinjiang Chinese Association in Noble Park in Victoria, in Labor frontbencher Mark Dreyfus’s seat of Isaacs, received about $10,000 to buy 24 iPads and cooking utensils for use by its members. Presenting the grant in March, Mr Dreyfus said he was sure the “iPads and cooking utensils will be of great benefit to members of the association” and he had worked with a community advisory committee to identify “the best investment in our community”.
Another $5172 grant was given to the Chinese Xinjiang Senior Citizens Association in Endeavour Hills in Melbourne to buy 12 iPads and two computers to “assist senior citizens to obtain basic computer skills”.
The NSW, Victorian and Queensland branches of the Vietnamese Community in Australia each received grants, with $18,700 going to the Labor-held Queensland marginal seat of Oxley for a new community building that included an office, library, meeting room, training room, kitchen and carport.
While ethnic groups were well represented among grant recipients, sporting clubs, local councils, RSL and Rotary clubs were also favoured by MPs to receive the grants. More than 50 taxpayer grants bought new barbecues, about 20 paid for new lawnmowers for various community groups, and countless grants went to sporting clubs for equipment and facility upgrades, including to about a dozen croquet clubs.
In Wallsend, in the electorate of Newcastle held by Labor’s Sharon Claydon, taxpayers spent $7000 on mosaic artwork on planter pots, and paid to “fill the pots with flora”.
Ceiling fans were also a popular item among projects, with about $70,000 spent on fans, including $5000 to replace one at the Lions Club in Logan, south of Brisbane.
In Andrew Leigh’s Canberra seat of Fenner, $5000 was allocated for the Canberra Quaker Meeting House in Turner for it to install 16 solar panels.
While not known as a powerful voting bloc, the Finnish Society of Melbourne received $15,000 from Labor’s Tim Watts to build a community sauna in Altona, in the seat of Gellibrand.
Among Malcolm Turnbull’s hand-picked projects were $30,000 across two grants to the Jewish House in Bondi for security upgrades and for an electrical upgrade to its crisis care centre.
Grants in Bill Shorten’s electorate of Maribyrnong in Melbourne included $19,627 for a “rowing eight shell” for the Essendon Rowing Club and $10,000 for the Essendon Maribyrnong Park Ladies Cricket Club for new furniture, kitchen equipment and to “frame old photos”. He also gave the Vietnamese community $15,000 for a minibus.
Three current reports below:
Big split in the Greens
The far-left Trots (Trotsky-ites) infesting the Greens drop the mask
The partner of Greens senator Lee Rhiannon has attacked the federal party and defended the far-left, anti-capitalist faction Left Renewal, further exposing turmoil within the Greens after leader Richard Di Natale suggested the new group should consider options outside the party.
Geoff Ash, Senator Rhiannon’s partner of more than 25 years and a founding member and registered officer of the NSW Greens, has written a Facebook post suggesting the formation of the group could be a “wake-up call” for the party establishment.
Formed last month, the group aims to bind its members in a formal faction system and end capitalism, which it describes as the “violent and antagonistic relation between workers and those who exploit them”.
“As workers, whether or not we are waged, we experience perpetual violence and this violence must be brought to an end. We therefore fight to bring about the end of capitalism,” its online manifesto says.
Senator Di Natale described the overthrow of capitalism as a “ridiculous notion” and suggested members unhappy with Greens policies “consider finding a new political home”.
In a post last week on the “Australian Greens politics, news and discussion” public Facebook page, which has more than 8600 members, Mr Ash said although he was not a member of Left Renewal, he was not at all surprised the group had formed.
“Not only is our suite of economic justice policies underdeveloped, some existing positions are soft,” he wrote, citing the axing of a “moderate policy” of inheritance tax on wealthy estates, funding private schools and accepting corporate donations.
“The formation of Left Renewal is, I think, also a response to the position of the dominant Right grouping within the Greens, with its support for some undemocratic party structures and processes, and its vilification of some Left NSW figures in the party who have campaigned against that,” he wrote.
He accused the Right of the party of enabling a lack of grassroots democracy and the federal Greens partyroom of “making up its own rules, with the party having no say even though some of those rules are undemocratic”.
He cited the allocation of portfolios, the election of the leader “by just a small number of MPs”, a failure to define the powers of the leader and the constitutional right of Greens MPs (except in NSW) to defy party policy and decisions when voting in parliament “through the exercise of a highly elitist and undemocratic so-called conscience vote”, as showing the partyroom’s lack of democracy.
“Maybe the formation of the Left Renewal group will provide a wake-up call,” he wrote.
Senator Rhiannon could not be contacted for comment.
No state or federal MPs have joined the new group but Brigitte Holly, due to take up a position in Senator Rhiannon’s office soon, and Tamara Ryan, who until recently was on Senator Rhiannon’s federal parliamentary liaison committee, are supporters.
Tom Raue, a self-described anarchist, former Socialist Alternative member and staffer with NSW MP David Shoebridge, has called on Greens to join Left Renewal. Mr Shoebridge is not a member but defends its existence.
A spokesman for Senator Di Natale, who is on leave, said he had no further comment. Federal Greens sources are playing down the issue as a NSW matter.
Victoria's duck hunt given green light
Animal activists are preparing for another war on the wetlands after the Victorian government announced the 2017 duck hunting season.
The season will run for 12 weeks from March 18, with a bag limit of 10 birds per person per day, Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford said on Tuesday.
Coalition against Duck Shooting's Laurie Levy told AAP that activists were again preparing to keep watch across the state's wetlands for hunters shooting threatened species.
Rare and endangered freckled ducks and a swan were among birds killed on the opening weekend of the 2016 season.
Renewable energy goal could cost Queensland $19bn
The Palaszczuk government has been accused of leaving Queensland at risk of a $19 billion price tag to help reach its 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030.
Opposition energy spokesman Michael Hart said the government’s independent expert panel had adopted “heroic assumptions” in failing to accommodate a federal government that opposed a carbon price or emissions trading scheme.
In its draft report released in October, Mr Hart said the panel assumed a national carbon emissions scheme of between $25 a tonne and $80 a tonne of CO2 across three scenarios.
He said the panel’s suggestion that the impact of a 50 per cent renewable energy target on electricity prices would be “broadly neutral” was based on flawed calculations.
The Gold Coast MP said the Palaszczuk government’s plan would put Queensland’s energy security at risk and trigger higher electricity prices for households, businesses and industry.
“Labor’s modelling to justify its extreme renewable energy scheme is fundamentally flawed,” Mr Hart said.
“Annastacia Palaszczuk needs to come clean to Queenslanders about the $19bn price tag of this extreme renewable energy scheme — the cost to be borne by taxpayers in subsidies and lost income from electricity generators.”
He said a Queensland Productivity Commission report showed that $10.8bn would be required by 2030 to subsidise large and small-scale investment. The QPC report also raised concerns about revenue reductions at government-owned corporations.
“Generators in Queensland would experience a decrease in total earnings of around $6.2bn or 15 per cent,” the report said.
“The Queensland government, as owner of the majority of carbon generators in Queensland, would incur the largest financial cost.”
The report also stated there would be increases in residential, commercial and industrial consumer bills.
“The Palaszczuk government needs to explain to Queenslanders why (it) continues to push this extreme scheme which has failed in other states,” Mr Hart said.
Queensland Energy Minister Mark Bailey described the LNP’s stand on his government’s 50 per cent target as “obsessive opposition to renewable energy and resistance to climate change”.
He also rejected claims the expert panel had used flawed methodology to reach its conclusions.
“The independent expert panel’s draft report factors in policy flexibility by giving Queensland three different credible pathways to 50 per cent renewables by 2030 to adjust to federal policy changes or the absence of federal policy,” Mr Bailey said.
He received the independent expert panel’s final report before Christmas and said it would be “a priority”.
He rejected the QPC report findings.
“The QPC desktop $10.8bn estimate figure referred to by the LNP has been superseded by the more detailed economic modelling by the independent renewable expert panel, which estimates a maximum cost of $900 million over the next 13 years,” he said.
“The modelling found the transition to renewable energy would be broadly cost-neutral to consumers in stark contrast to the 43 per cent electricity price surges inflicted on Queenslanders by the LNP during their brief three years under Campbell Newman.”
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