Friday, July 28, 2017

Christmas cards and the word 'Jesus' could be BANNED in schoolyards in a bid to increase religious inclusiveness

The Queensland government are moving to ban Christian references from school events and playgrounds in sweeping changes to education practices.

The Department of Education have conducted a review into the system and educating students about religion.

Officials are concerned non-religious children are being exposed to and forced to immerse themselves in Christianity, with even references to Jesus to be banned from the schoolyard, The Australian reported.

The Department of Education's report stated the responsibility of the school 'to take appropriate action if aware that students participating in Religious Instruction are evangelising to students who do not.'

'This could adversely affect the school's ability to provide a safe, supportive and inclusive ­environment,' the report earlier this year stated.

Examples of evangelising, as explained in the report, including sharing Christmas cards themed with Jesus' birth and life, making bracelets to share 'the good news about Jesus' and making ornaments to give to each other.

Education Minister Kate Jones promised to clampdown on religious practices, and Christian groups are becoming increasingly concerned at the government's agenda to remove their influence from schools.

Neil Foster, a religion and law professor, told The Australian the government's changes are 'deeply concerning' and 'possibly illegal'.

Independent Studies research fellow Peter Kurti said it was a 'massive assault on freedom of speech and freedom of religion' and believes the government's fears are a total overreaction.

'I don't think that children have the maturity to comprehend let alone evangelise.' 


Labor’s version of equality is to punish talent

I had the great pleasure of attending a 60th birthday and a wedding in the past week, at which numerous young adults made speeches. They celebrated family, love and loyalty, and, yes, exuded success.

They were superb. Australia, your future is in good hands. These young adults will continue our great good fortune, despite the worst efforts of cringe-worthy government decisions.

And cringe-worthy government decisions are all around. Tony Abbott’s cringe was to impose a temporary levy on the top marginal income tax rate. This measure, to address the deficit, gave licence to those who think that government — that is, other people — have a right to your money. Abbott gave licence to class envy.

This error, on the part of a Liberal leader, was so inexcusable as to be politically fatal. To this point, Malcolm Turnbull has made no such error. Mind you, his bank tax came close because, among other things, it gave licence to the execrable South Australian Labor government to do the same.

As to the alternative government, Shorten Labor is moving unerringly left. More cringe-worthy government decisions await.

Bill Shorten is running on inequality. For this, read class envy. The only way to satiate class envy is to tax those who have and give it to those who have not.

The consequences, however, are that talent is punished and bad decisions and behaviour are rewarded. And remember, the talented can leave Australia, others cannot. Shorten runs the risk of telling talented young Australians that it is not worth getting ahead in Australia.

Egalitarianism in Australia must be the “have a go” version, not the “screw the rich and talented” version.

My old colleague Graham Richardson supports the Shorten agenda on inequality and contrasts the circumstances of the wealthy man and the single mother living out of a car as proof of inequality. To which we are entitled to inquire: what is the relationship between the two? So far as we know, absolutely none.

Unless the rich man was in a relationship with the poor single mother, he is no more responsible for the mother than any other ­citizen. He will, however, by dint of our highly progressive taxation system, have already contributed to her parenting payment, should she be in receipt of one, helped pay to chase support from the absent male partner, if he has failed to do so, and helped pay for numerous other forms of government ­assistance.

So, why do we throw in these illustrations inferring that the rich cause poverty? They do not.

While family is the first call for help, in Australia the rich pay the bulk of taxes, the poor receive the bulk of taxes, and charity picks up the rest: it has been so for decades.

This scenario was the subject of a thoughtful speech last week by Human Services Minister Alan Tudge, in which he remarked that “the formula that worked in the past of continual increases in welfare and further services will not provide the step-change improvement needed to address modern impoverishment”.

Modern impoverishment, as he calls it, is attributed to “family breakdown, worklessness, drug and alcohol addictions, education failure, and indebtedness and lack of financial capability”.

If the rich man did not cause the single mother’s plight, who did? Best not go there … it gets very personal and very judgmental. Better to think about what to do to prevent her plight.

Poverty is intergenerational. It runs in families, and relatively few at that. Indeed, the minister has to tell the full story about the families who collectively cost the taxpayer dearly. They require serious and prolonged intervention.

We can intervene to help, we should intervene to help, but at the right time and in the right way. And for goodness’ sake, let’s not be squeamish. The taxpayer is not responsible for bad choices and bad behaviour. The taxpayer is entitled to say so.

To intervene or not to intervene is not the great schism between left and right any more — both sides are at it. The purpose and effectiveness of the intervention is what counts. Labor’s inequality gambit blames the rich: it makes no pretence of understanding the cause of poverty. And Liberals have lost their ability to inspire the aspiring classes.

The young and gifted become the rich of tomorrow. Praise them, don’t tax them more, and don’t blame them for others’ misfortune. I want to witness more great speeches.


Government makes Aboriginal problems worse, not better

According to Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane, Australia remains a racist country because ethnic minorities are not perfectly statistically represented in the upper ranks of politics, the media, and business.

However, by calling for race-based quotas to end ‘Anglo-Celtic domination’ in these fields and ensure equality of outcomes based on racial-background, Soutphommasane is trivialising the issue of racism.

The real racism we confront in Australia is not how many ‘Asian’ CEOs there are. It is the reverse racism Indigenous children are subjected to in relation to child protection.

Indigenous children who need to be removed from their parents are treated differently to non-Indigenous children in ways that compromise their well-being and prospects in life — a form of racial discrimination about which ‘human rights’ activists like Soutphommasane are silent.

Thanks to our egalitarian values and modern attitudes towards race, we do not have anything that resembles a racial underclass denied equality of opportunity in this country — with one glaring exception.

The exception is the most disadvantaged Indigenous Australians who predominately live in rural and remote ‘Homeland’ communities.

Established in the 1970s under the policy of Aboriginal Self-Determination as implemented by the Whitlam government, the Homelands experiment in separatist development was designed to allow Indigenous people to return to their ‘country’ to live on their traditional lands and practice traditional culture.

In reality, however, these communities have long suffered from a well-known array of social problems — despite the billions spent on Indigenous programs and support services — including major concerns for child welfare due to high levels of child abuse and neglect.

As a result, Indigenous children are removed from their families at 10 times the rate of non-indigenous. Of the 45,000 children living into care across Australia, one-third are indigenous, and total more than 6% of all Indigenous children.

What is less well-known is how Indigenous disadvantage – appalling social outcomes in health, housing, education, and employment concentrated in rural and remote communities – is perpetuated by Indigenous-specific child protection policies.

Under the Aboriginal Child Placement Principle (ACPP) practiced in all states and territories, the preferred option is to place Indigenous children into ‘kinship care’ with relatives or local community members in the name of ensuring children maintain contact with traditional culture.

This is consistent with the separatist principles of self-determination. Yet the complying with the ACCP means that the priority given to ‘culture’ can outweigh child welfare concerns.

In Indigenous communities in which there are more maltreated children needing care than there are functional adults capable of providing suitable homes, children can end up being placed in accordance with the ACPP in unsafe kinship placements that do not meet basic standards, and into which non-Indigenous children would not be placed.

As the last inquiry into child protection in the Northern Territory (the 2010 Bath Report) found, the ACCP had justified “Aboriginal children in care receiving a lesser standard of care than non-Aboriginal children.”

These findings have been echoed by the recent evidence given at the Western Australian coroner’s inquiry into high rates of Indigenous youth suicide.

The common threads in 13 cases of Aboriginal children and young people who killed themselves between November 2012 and March 2016 in the Kimberley region include family homes featuring alcohol abuse and domestic violence; long histories of safety concerns ranging from chronic neglect of basic needs to sexual abuse; and “frequent moves between households of various family members and guardians”.

This is to say that, due to the ACPP, Indigenous children are taken out of the frying pan of family dysfunction only to be placed back into the fire of broader community dysfunction.

Recognising these problems, and the tragic consequences for many children, the South Australian government recently proposed an amendment to the state’s child welfare laws that would have enabled Indigenous children to escape being caught up in the present system.

The plan was to remove the application of the ACPP if an Indigenous child made an “informed choice” not to identify as Aboriginal in relation to placement decisions. This would, it follows, have allowed Indigenous children to be placed with safe and suitable non-Indigenous foster carers outside their communities.

However, the government dropped this provision from the new child protection act passed this month  in response to protests by offended Aboriginal groups,  who nonsensically argued that allowing children the right to opt-out of the ACPP “reeks of forced assimilation”.

The emotive claim that upholding the ACPP will prevent another Stolen Generation may look noble.  But denying the most vulnerable children in the nation the freedom to choose to leave Indigenous communities — such as the notorious APY lands in South Australia — is deeply inequitable, and locks them out of accessing the benefits and opportunities of life in mainstream society that all other Australians take for granted.

Continued compliance with the ACPP is nothing less than a recipe for trapping another lost generation of Indigenous children in dysfunctional communities, and keeping open the gaps of Indigenous social outcomes that remain a blot on our proud national record of delivering a fair go for all.

We should take the issue of racism seriously because racism is inconsistent with the nation’s core values. Eradicating Indigenous disadvantages is the number one social challenge we face. Recognition of Indigenous children’s right to relocate, if they so wish, would protect their human right to equality of opportunity regardless of race.

A Race Discrimination Commissioner serious about eliminating real race-based social disparities should stop fretting about ‘non-Anglo’ CEO numbers, and start focusing instead on fixing Australia’s highly discriminatory child protection regime.


'They'll become terrorists': Millionaire entrepreneur Dick Smith says high immigration will create an angry underclass of unemployed - and likens population growth to cancer

Millionaire entrepreneur Dick Smith predicts Australia will suffer from a spate of terrorist attacks if it continues taking in 200,000 migrants a year.

The 73-year-old businessman and philanthropist told media commentator Mark Latham that high population growth and robots taking jobs could see 40 per cent of the nation living in poverty in coming decades.

'Those really poor people, especially the ones who can't get jobs, they'll be the ones that become terrorists because you have two or three generations without any satisfying work to do and you get angry,' he told the Mark Latham's Outsiders program.

Mark Latham was Labor leader when John Howard as prime minister increased immigration

Mr Smith, the businessman behind Dick Smith Foods and OzEmite, said Australia's population would quadruple from 24 million now to 100 million people by 2100 at the current annual population growth pace of 1.7 per cent.

This would see 40 million 'really poor people' who could potentially resort to violence.

'When you get such incredible difference between the rich and the poor, the pitchforks come out. We'll end up with people being killed,' he said.

In a separate interview with Daily Mail Australia, Mr Smith likened Australia's high annual net immigration rate to cancer which could upend democracy.

'Only cancer cells grow forever and they mostly end up killing their host,' he said.  'We will destroy Australia as we know it today.'

He accused the Liberal Party of being in the pocket of big business and Labor of bowing to the ethnic lobby groups.

Australia's annual net immigration rate stood at 82,500 in 1996 but crept above 100,000 a year in 2003 when John Howard was prime minister. It reached 190,000 a year in 2013 when Julia Gillard was national leader. 

Mr Smith called for the major parties in government to return to Australia's annual net migration rate to 70,000, the average level of the 20th century.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson is calling for a much more drastic zero annual net immigration pace for Australia.


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

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