Thursday, October 19, 2017

Aboriginal poet fails to impress students

Though there's not much Abo in her.  Abos are black

Authors and poets have leapt to the defence of an award-winning Indigenous writer after she was allegedly abused online by year 12 students.

Ellen van Neerven also received messages asking her to explain her poem Mango from the book Comfort Food after students sitting the HSC English exam on Monday were asked to analyse the work.

The opening question in the exam asked students to "explain how the poet conveys the delight of discovery".

However, some students were less than delighted with the question, creating memes on social media inspired by the poem.

Other students expressed frustration and contempt for Ms van Neerven, whose first book, Heat and Light won a number of accolades including a NSW Premiers' Literary Award.

A post on the HSC Discussion Group Facebook page, purporting to be a message sent to the writer asking her to explain the poem: "In all honesty there wasn't much to analyse cos (sic) it reads like a 4 year wrote it."

Other comments descended to racist and vulgar abuse, prompting authors to criticise the actions of HSC students.

Evelyn Araluen, a poet and PhD candidate at the University of Sydney, said students had invaded Ms van Neerven's privacy and sent abusive messages: "It's not cute, it's harassment."

Author Omar Sakr called on the NSW Department of Education to investigate the online abuse directed at Ms van Neerven.

"[A]sking a poet to analyse their poem for you demonstrates a staggering lack of imagination and critical ability to engage with literature," Mr Sakr wrote in a separate post on social media.

Others criticised the NSW Education Standards Authority, which administers the HSC, for what they said was a poorly framed question.

David de Carvalho, the chief executive of NESA, condemned the treatment of Ms van Neerven. "I am appalled by the abuse of the author," he said. "This is a completely inappropriate response and I hope those involved see fit to apologise to Ms van Neerven."



PM Malcolm Turnbull blasts State Premiers, ABC journalist over National Energy Guarantee

MALCOLM Turnbull is urging State Premiers to listen to the “smartest people in the room” and not play politics on the federal government’s new energy plan.

A fired up Prime Minister today responded to the Premiers of Queensland, Victoria and South Australia who have already slammed the federal government’s new National Energy Guarantee.

Mr Turnbull said Australians were “fed up” with parties playing politics as their electricity bills soared.

He made the remarks today after a fiery clash with an ABC journalist on breakfast radio where he once again dodged questions on whether the strategy would slash power bills $115 a year.

“My message for the Labor premiers is put the politics aside for a moment, or put it aside for quite a while in fact,” Mr Turnbull told reporters in Canberra.

“Let’s focus on Australian families, let’s focus on delivering a genuinely bipartisan energy policy that will be enduring, that’s based on engineering and economics, and that will deliver affordable power, reliable power and meet our international commitments.”

Mr Turnbull refused to speculate on what would happen if the states blocked the NEG at the next Council of Australian Governments.

“I am confident that common sense will prevail,” he said.

“Australians are fed up with all of the political partisanship, that’s why we went to the Energy Security Board and we asked them to consider how we ensure we achieve this affordable, reliable and responsible outcome.”

The Prime Minister had earlier clashed with ABC journalist Sabra Lane on her AM program when asked whether he could guarantee prices would come down based on the modelling of the Energy Security Board.

In the heated interview, Mr Turnbull accused Lane of disrespecting the “distinguished Australians” on the ESB when she questioned the price cuts and why the experts were being touted as the saviours of Australia’s energy market when they had overseen the last decade of “disastrous policy”.

She claimed their bodies — the Australian Energy Market Commission, the Australian Energy Regulator, and the Australian Energy Market Operator — had overseen over-investment in poles and wires that had driven power bills up and the failure of the national energy grid to be fit for purpose today.

“I think we owe them the respect that their credibility and expertise deserves,” Mr Turnbull said.

“You can go through the history of it but you will find much of the over-investment was done at the instigation of state governments that gold plated their networks and then overcharged for them,” he said.

“There were mistakes made in the past but ... I can’t say how disappointed I am that rather than talking about the substance of the policy I’m sitting here with you on AM and you are attacking the credibility of the people ...”

“I’m not,” Lane said. “I’m sceptical. I’m a journalist and I am sceptical and these bodies have failed Australia to date and suddenly they are now the saviours to this.”

She asked: “What is plan B if the states do not support this?”

“Why don’t you ask ...” Mr Turnbull started to say, before Ms Lane interjected: “The mic is open and it is yours. You talk to the states.”

“This is the message, the states and the Commonwealth around the COAG table set up the Energy Security Board,” Mr Turnbull said.

“We all agreed to put the smartest people on the board and to take their advice. “COAG has sought their advice, so did we. “We have received the advice and we are following it. The same advice will go to COAG.

“Are the Labor states going to say, ‘We established the Energy Security Board, we put the smartest people on the board, now we will ignore their advice?’ I don’t think that is defensible.”

Meanwhile, Labor Senator Sam Dastyari questioned the suggested savings for households under the NEG.

In a stunt outside Parliament this morning, Senator Dastyari said a cheeseburger or a McDonalds soft serve ice cream were about all households could afford for the 50c to $2 savings per week they were likely to get from their power bills going down from 2020.

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg also revealed this morning he had called former Prime Minister Tony Abbott about the policy before a party room meeting yesterday.

Mr Frydenberg told Sky News he explained the policy and asked Mr Abbott to keep an open mind.

The NEG, announced yesterday, includes a reliability guarantee that aims to deliver the right level of dispatchable power — from sources such as coal, gas, pumped hydro and batteries — needed in each state.

The level will be set by the Australian Energy Market Commission and Australian Energy Market Operator, and penalties for retailers missing the guarantee have yet to be determined.

Energy retailers such as AGL, Origin and Energy Australia would also face deregistration from the market if they failed to meet a new emissions guarantee.

The mechanism would force the energy companies to source a portion of their supply at a set emissions level.

If they persistently failed to meet their obligations — which would be set by the federal government and enforced by the Australian Energy Regulator — they would be deregistered.


Voters want courage, not Turnbull’s tentative approach to energy

When Malcolm Turnbull announced his new cabinet in September 2015, he declared his was a “21st-century government and a ministry for the future”. He said: “We have to remember we have a great example of good cabinet government, John Howard’s government … I am absolutely determined that we have a proper consultative ­cabinet system.”

He signed off that press conference assuring us that this was an exciting time to be an Australian, surely more an insight into the newly minted and very excited Prime Minister than into how voters felt after five prime ministerial changes in eight years.

In any case, not many are excited now. Turnbull’s recipe for returning Australia to a Howard model, by making decisions “in a collaborative manner”, was a good start. But it’s like throwing a cup of flour in a bowl without the necessary binding ingredients. For two years now, and reflected in 21 downward trending Newspolls, Turnbull’s formula for good government is missing two critical ingredients: conviction and courage.

The current mess of energy policy is a prime example of why Turnbull’s recipe for government has fallen flat since he became Prime Minister.

This week’s announcement — energy retailers must buy a minimum amount of baseload power from coal, gas or hydro for every megawatt of renewable energy — was preceded by endless delay and vacillation over the biggest policy and political no-brainer in the country. The Prime Minister called for a review by Chief Scientist Alan Finkel that was always going to support rent-seekers in the renewable energy business rather than look after people who pay for those subsidies through higher electricity bills.

Then the Prime Minister departed from any belief in free markets by threatening to control gas exports. In question time on Monday, Turnbull lauded his government’s “character and commit­ment” to bring energy heads to Canberra last month, demanding they deliver discounts to their customers. Except that these discounts are illusory; they will be swallowed by new price rises.

Last week, the Turnbull government came up with a real policy stinker, promising financial incentives, including free seats in an air-conditioned cinema, if people turn off their home airconditioners in the blazing heat of an Australian summer. The poor, especially the old and poor, will be the ones to turn off their airconditioners, hardly a policy win for the country.

You can consult all you like, but without conviction and the courage to implement real reform it’s simply not the Howard model. If Turnbull had equal doses of conviction and courage, he would have settled long ago on what he now claims to understand as the bleeding obvious: abolishing the renewable energy target, no new clean energy target and no more subsidies for renewables after 2020. In fact, none of this required much courage, unlike floating the dollar or introducing a GST.

Showing early and determined leadership, rather than being dragged to it yesterday, could have been an early and exquisite confluence of good policy and even better politics, given that voters are fed up with rising energy prices and the government sits on a primary vote of 36 per cent, down six percentage points from the election last year when it scraped in with a one-seat majority. Instead, Turnbull’s endless vacillation means voters may still wonder: what does he really believe in?

Turnbull’s scaredy-cat approach to energy policy infiltrated cabinet ranks, too. A chorus of cabinet ministers, from Scott Morrison to Barnaby Joyce, has preached to voters that we must meet our “obligations” under the Paris Agreement, the same agreement that is driving up energy ­prices while doing nothing to genuinely reduce emissions.

It’s tempting, then, to lay part of the blame for the Turnbull government’s woes at the feet of his cabinet. Where is today’s Peter Costello, the treasurer committed to genuine fiscal prudence by cutting spending? Or Peter Reith, the warrior who took on the waterfront unions and oversaw labour market reform? Or Alexander Downer, who as a former leader and foreign minister was an equally determined champion of the economic reforms overseen by Howard’s government?

Where’s a Tim Fischer or John Anderson, who as Nationals provided the political backbone to those same reforms, which were not always popular in the bush?

Howard’s cabinet included other determined reformers: Ian McLachlan, John Fahey and then Nick Minchin as respective ­finance ministers; Philip Ruddock, John Moore, Jocelyn Newman and Amanda Vanstone, who in cabinet were all committed to the same economic vision for the country. Sure, there were quibbles at the edges but, together with Robert Hill’s leadership in the Senate, Howard united his team with equal doses of consultation, conviction and courage.

On the 25th anniversary of his first election victory, Bob Hawke said he had “the best cabinet in the history of federation”. Ol’ Silver would say that, but it’s also true that plenty in Hawke’s cabinet had serious political and policy clout, from treasurer Paul Keating to John Button in industry, Peter Walsh in the finance portfolio and others. These cabinet ministers oversaw tangible economic reforms for the good of the nation.

As Paul Kelly has remarked, “the public wanted change — but it was not protesting in the streets for a floating dollar, free trade and low inflation. The intellectual momentum for the 1980s reforms were elite-driven.” In other words, genuine reform would not have happened except for the policy and political leadership that Hawke and later Howard brought to the cabinet table.

That’s why comparing the Howard and Hawke cabinets with Turnbull’s cabinet is not entirely fair. A strong prime minister makes it easier for cabinet ministers to shine, revealing their policy and political strengths. There are good, potentially great, ministers in Turnbull’s cabinet and outer ministry. Christian Porter and Alan Tudge are doing great work in the welfare space largely, perhaps, because Turnbull doesn’t appear to have a strong interest in the area. Peter Dutton is a strong Immigration Minister because even Turnbull knows not to mess with border protection policies that have stopped deaths at sea.

Elsewhere, it’s a different story. Mathias Cormann could be a very effective Finance Minister but he’s hampered by Turnbull’s lack of conviction so he’s forced to sell one levy after another as fiscal prudence. Same with Michaela Cash, the Minister for Employment. When, time and again, Turnbull refused to make the case for reform of penalty rates as a job-­creating policy, instead blaming Fair Work Australia for the recommended cuts, Cash was left with little support at the head the cabinet table. And Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg may well be champing at the bit to deliver a sensible energy policy that serves the national interest. But when the leader lacks policy conviction and political courage, what’s a cabinet minister to do?

In fact, two years and 21 dismal Newspolls later, it’s hard to discern what Turnbull brings to the leadership of the Coalition government. That’s why more dissatisfied voters support those wildlings in the Senate. The Prime Minister is not the great communicator he thinks he is: his press conferences are waffle and smiles rather than political clout and conviction. ­Decisive? Determined? Politically savvy? None of the above. Turnbull’s poor interpretation of the Howard model is missing so many ingredients, this latest energy policy may not be the saviour for the blancmange Prime Minister.


Most migrants from Asia

India has been revealed as the Australia's biggest source of skilled and family migrants, as new figures reveal the nation accepted fewer migrants this financial year.

Around 6,400 fewer permanent skilled and family visas were granted in 2016-17 compared to the previous year from a total of 183,600 visas.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said the figures were in line with the government’s strategy of “ensuring that migration levels are consistent with Australia’s genuine labour market needs”.

Just over 20 per cent of migrants came from India, with about 38,854 visas granted - down from 40,145 in 2015–16.

Meanwhile, China accounted for 15.4 per cent of migrants, with 9.3 per cent coming from the United Kingdom.

Southern Asia; India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh and others, now accounts for 30 per cent of the migrant program. This is slightly lower compared with the previous year.

The number of Chinese Asian migrants – from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau and Mongolia – rose from 16.9 per cent to 17.1 per cent.

Most of the visas were granted to skilled migrants, with a substantial number of those sponsored by employers. Employer-sponsored visas accounted for 39 per cent of the skilled migrants stream.

Families sponsoring loved ones accounted for 30 per cent of the total number of migrants, most being applications for partners.


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, October 18, 2017

Government to omit clean energy target from energy policy

They are just focusing on keeping the lights on

GOVERNMENT figures insist its new energy policy will meet Australia’s Paris agreement emissions target while saving households more than $90 a year.

Coalition MPs will be briefed on the scheme at a meeting in Canberra today following cabinet’s decision to reject a clean energy target as recommended by Chief Scientist Alan Finkel.

Instead, it has backed an idea from the new independent Energy Security Board. The head of the coalition’s backbench energy committee, Craig Kelly, was briefed on the new approach after Monday night’s meeting, welcoming the focus on dispatchable switch on/switch-off power.

“The problem with solar and wind, as wonderful technologies as they are, when there is no wind you get no electricity generation and as soon as the sun sets you also get zero electricity generation as well,” he told ABC radio this morning. “So as good as technologies as they are, you’ve got to have them backed up in some way and that’s either got to be a coal-fired power station, a gas generator or some form of battery.”

He defended the idea to ditch the clean energy target, as recommended by Dr Finkel. “The Finkel report contained 50 recommendations. If we’ve recommended 49 that’s a 98 per cent strike rate,” he said.

However supporters of the clean energy target — recommended by the country’s chief scientist as a way to reduce the future cost of energy — slammed the move to disregard the idea.

It is understood economic modelling of the alternative to the clean energy target — expected to be called the National Energy Guarantee — delivered price cuts deeper than under Dr Finkel’s mechanism.

The annual benefit from the CET came in at $90 a year for households, while large industrial users were expected to pay about 20 per cent less a year. At the same time, the modelling showed the new mechanism would enable Australia to achieve its commitment of a 26-28 per cent reduction in 2005 emissions by 2030.

Blackouts would be minimised with power generators and storage providers, such as hydro and batteries, covered by a new “generator reliability obligation”, as recommended by Dr Finkel.

Adequate dispatchable power would be required in all regions of Australia to ensure consumer demand is met, with the obligation being met using a variety of technologies.

Power prices have risen in real terms by 63 per cent during the past decade.

Labor leader Bill Shorten says Malcolm Turnbull was endorsing a clean energy target only four months ago. “Why on earth did we ask the chief scientist of Australia to give us a report,” he told reporters in Canberra.


Australian researchers show virtual puzzles can teach kids to solve real-world problems

Young children can apply puzzle solving skills learnt from touchscreen tablets to real-world scenarios

Findings contradict most previous research and suggest different screen learning media could have different effects on skill transfer

Swinburne researchers have shown that children can apply the skills they learn on a tablet to the real world.

The research shows that when four to six-year-olds learn how to solve a puzzle using a tablet, they then apply this learning to the same puzzle in the physical world.

The findings contradict most previous research and suggest that the real world skill learned by a child from a device depends on the actual game played.

"These results demonstrate that 'screen time' is not a useful umbrella phrase, as what children can obtain from different types of screen media will vary, and numerous factors can impact their learning outcomes," says Swinburne researcher Dr Joanne Tarasuik.

In a previous study, Dr Tarasuik and colleagues found that children in Australia could learn how to solve a puzzle on a touchscreen device, and successfully transfer these skills to completing the same puzzle in the physical world.

As this finding was contradictory to most previous research, the team repeated the study with new children with different languages and cultures to confirm it. In the replication study, recently published in Frontiers in Psychology, the Australian team collaborated with researchers in Croatia to repeat their original study.

The study used the 'Tower of Hanoi' puzzle, which involves moving discs between pegs so that they line up in order on a different peg, using the smallest possible number of moves.

The children practised the puzzle on a touchscreen app, or with a physical version using wooden pegs and discs. The researchers measured how many moves they took to complete it, and how long they spent doing it.

Some of the children practised the puzzle several times on the tablet before trying it on the wooden version. This allowed the researchers to see if the kids' virtual practice could improve their skills in the physical world.

The children all needed a similar number of moves to complete the wooden puzzle, regardless of whether they had practised using the virtual puzzle, the physical puzzle, or a combination of the two. From the first to final attempt at the puzzle, all the children also improved their speed.

"We successfully replicated our previous findings that four to six-year-old children can apply knowledge of this puzzle from practice using a touchscreen device, to the physical version of the puzzle," says Dr Tarasuik.

“We would like these results to guide future research into how and what children of different developmental stages can learn via touchscreen technology, and then apply in the physical world."

Media release from Swinburne University of Technology

Senate urged to reject mandatory sentences in bills

I don't have much respect for the Law Council but they are right on this -- JR

The Law Council of Australia is urging Senators to reject new mandatory minimum sentences included in bills to be debated this week, due to the very real risk of unintended consequences with potentially life-shattering outcomes.

The bills, targeting sex crimes against children and firearms trafficking, are intended to better protect the Australian community from the dangers of such grievous conduct.

Law Council of Australia President, Fiona McLeod SC, said that while these aims were laudable, mandatory sentencing has been shown to have no effect on crime rates, while undermining the independence of the judiciary and creating unjust and unintended consequences.

“Sex crimes and gun trafficking are all patently serious offences and it is absolutely appropriate that harsh maximum sentences are available to our courts,” Ms McLeod said.

“But mandatory sentencing is always likely to trigger unintended consequences that are at odds with the intention of the laws and fundamental principles of justice.

“The idea of a standardised mandatory sentence may be appealing on a theoretical level, but in practice, mandatory sentences can see people doing life-shattering stints in prison for actions that might have significant mitigating circumstances.

“For example, a 15 and 17-year-old might be sharing sexual images with each other in a consensual relationship, yet the day the older partner turns 18, under this legislation that 18-year-old would be looking at an automatic five-year sentence,” Ms McLeod said.

“Teenage years can often be marked by rash decisions and regrettable mistakes. A blunt instrument like a mandatory minimum sentence will not take this into account.”

In the case of the firearms bill, Ms McLeod pointed to other potential unintended consequences.

“Former Victoria Police Chief Commissioner, Simon Overland, inadvertently carried a magazine containing live rounds of ammunition on a flight from Melbourne to Canberra in 2010. Prior to travelling, Mr Overland had removed a firearm from his bag, but forgot to take out the magazine. Under the proposed laws he could be facing a mandatory five-year jail term,” Ms McLeod said.

“Judicial discretion is a core principle of our justice system for a very good reason.

“When you take away the ability of a judge to take into account the seriousness of the offence, the degree of culpability of the offender, their personal circumstances or the explanation for offending, you generate disproportionate and, often, unconscionable outcomes.

“Furthermore, there is no evidence that mandatory sentencing is effective at driving down crime, but ample evidence of its long-term criminogenic effect. The US and other jurisdictions are winding back mandatory sentencing regimes because they don’t work.

“Mandatory sentences actually make it harder to prosecute criminals, by removing the incentive for anyone to plead guilty or to provide information to the police. There is every incentive to fight on and appeal against convictions,” Ms McLeod said.

Media release from the Law Council

Tradies – powerhouses for the future

When it comes to careers for school leavers, tradies get a bad rap

But just why is it that four in five Australian parents (79%) 1. want their kids to go to uni after leaving school, rather than do an apprenticeship? To those already enjoying the apprenticeship lifestyle, it’s a no-brainer.

At a time when Australia is desperate for more skilled workers, school leavers are going to university based on the idea that this is the only way to a secure future.

But more times than not, they would be better suited to doing something they’re truly interested in, earning while they learn, and with little or no debt at the end of their training.

“We’re unnecessarily setting up a generation with unrealistic job expectations and large student debts,” says Colin Fitzpatrick, CEO of the Timber and Building Materials Association (TABMA) and TABMA Apprentices and Trainees.

“There are thousands of great and rewarding jobs out there that don’t require a degree, with well-paying, upwardly mobile careers.

“And given the rising cost of formal education, a traineeship is a far more cost effective training option.”

Most Vocational Education & Training (VET) students get priceless industry experience in a genuine work environment, while earning, making it easier for them to find relevant employment at the end of their studies.

TABMA Apprentices and Trainees employs apprentices and trainees in hundreds of vocations and specialises in placing them within the timber, construction, forestry, furnishing and manufacturing industries across Australia.

These are industries based on the ultimate renewable resource: timber; sophisticated industries at the cutting-edge of innovation, with sustainable forest management programs, advanced robotic precision manufacturing, biomaterials, engineered/cross-laminated timbers and more, all with exciting job prospects.

And when it comes to employability, money and earning potential, a trade option also often comes out on top.

Of 2014’s apprentice and trainee graduates, 84.1 per cent were employed after completion2. By comparison, just 68.8 per cent of university graduates from the same year looking for full-time work found it within four months3. And the median full-time income for a (VET) graduate is often substantially more than that of a uni graduate4.

Jake Wiggins is an apprentice with McKay Timbers, in Tassie. Jake went straight on to do his Certificate III in Sawmilling and Processing through TABMA Apprentices and Trainees after finishing Year 12 in 2015, and not only enjoyed learning about different types of timber, but also being paid to learn!

“I would recommend a timber traineeship to anyone who is interested in gaining a qualification while working full-time in a hands-on role,” says Jake. “I’ve learned skills for life.”

Choosing VET does not mean you will be stuck in one place either. "Training for a trade equips you for jobs all over the world,” Colin says.

The VET sector currently provides training courses for 9 out of 10 occupations predicted to have the greatest growth of new jobs over the next five years5. It is definitely equipping Aussies with the skills employers need.

The top trades experiencing skills shortages in Australia in 2017 6 are:

• Bricklayer
• Stonemason
• Painters
• Glaziers
• Fibrous plasterer
• Solid plasterer
• Roof, wall and floor tilers
• Cabinetmaker
• Air-conditioning and refrigeration mechanic
• Baker
• Pastry cook
• Butcher
• Arborist
• Hairdresser
• Automotive electrician
• Motor mechanics
• Sheetmetal trades worker
• Panelbeater
• Vehicle painter
• Locksmith

Media release by TABMA via Colin Fitzpatrick,

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

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

'Climate change isn't because of humans!': Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young accuses Pauline Hanson of living in 'La La Land' as the pair clash on Sunrise

Pauline Hanson has clashed with a Greens senator after rubbishing climate change and claiming everyday Australians can't afford clean energy.

The One Nation leader told South Australian MP Sarah Hanson-Young she was very 'skeptical' about the link between pollution and climate change. 'I'm very skeptical of this (climate change) because the science isn't there, and that's been proven,' Ms Hanson said on Sunrise.

'Climate is changing, but it's not from humans Sarah – get this through your head.'

Ms Hanson-Young hit back in disbelief, accusing Ms Hanson of living in 'La La Land.' 'Thank goodness most Australian's disagree with you. Are you really lining up with the tin-foil hat brigade Pauline?,' she asked.

Interrupting the heated discussion, host David Koch pointed out the government's Chief Scientist Alan Finkel believed in climate change.

But Ms Hanson said everyday Australians were sick of paying enormous power bills, stressing her party would not support the Coalition's proposed clean energy target.

'People can't afford it, it's putting so much pressure on families and businesses,' she said. 'How can a fish and chip shop afford $14,000 a quarter in electricity? How can these pubs in outback Longreach afford $20,000 electricity a quarter? Wake up.

'We can't do it at the moment, I won't see any more people lose their jobs and I won't see any more businesses shut down because of this.'

Taking to social media after the interview, Ms Hanson-Young posted a link to the debate and wrote: 'On Sunrise this morning Pauline Hanson tells me get it through your head Sarah climate change 'isn't because of humans' #OneNationFail.'

Cabinet on Monday is expected to discuss the government's new energy policy, including whether to adopt a version of the clean energy target recommended by Mr Finkel. The coalition party room could examine the proposal on Tuesday.

It follows a new report from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which highlights huge increases in power bills over the past decade. The report says power is putting unacceptable pressure on Australian households and businesses.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims cautioned the clean energy target was designed to cut emissions, but it was hard to say whether it would also bring down prices.

It was important to understand the trade-offs between the various objectives if the nation was to have an effective energy policy.


Church sprayed with vile graffiti telling people to 'bash bigots' and 'crucify No voters' - even though it ISN'T urging parishioners to vote against gay marriage

A church has been tagged with vile 'bash bigots' graffiti - even though it isn't telling parishioners how to vote on gay marriage.

Drew Mellor, the head pastor of Glen Waverley Anglican Church in Melbourne's south-east, discovered the spray can attack early on Sunday morning. He was particularly upset with a tags which had threats of violence via the phrases, 'Vote Yes, bash bigots' and 'crucify No voters'.

'That's very unsettling for some of our older members of our church this morning,' Dr Mellor told Daily Mail Australia on Sunday. 'Some asked, 'Does that mean we're going to be bashed?'.

Dr Mellor also took exception to a cross and a Nazi swastika being sprayed on either side of an equals sign.

'To see Christians in that light, that somehow we hold a view that if people don't agree with us then we're going to do something to diminish them, that's not what people of the Gospel think,' he said. 'It conveys a message that as a Christian church we are intolerant.'

Dr Mellor said he was 'saddened' to have found the graffiti at 6.30 on Sunday morning, adding he repudiated any suggestion Christians are 'bigots' who sought to harm those with different views.

The Glen Waverley church isn't telling people how to vote on gay marriage, with Dr Mellor releasing a statement in September, which said recognising gay relationships was 'the respectful thing to do' for those inclined to vote 'Yes' to redefining marriage.

While Dr Mellor is opposed to gay marriage for Biblical reasons, he said his parish welcomed gay members. 'We certainly have ministry with, long connections with people that would align themselves with personally with the gay community,' he said.

'We wouldn't conduct a marriage service for a gay couple ... nor would we exclude anyone if they happen to be a gay couple in a marriage relationship.'

The Coalition for Marriage, which is leading the 'No' case against gay marriage as part of the $122 million postal vote survey, said the graffiti attack highlighted the intolerance of 'Yes' campaigners.

'One thing that this process has revealed is that, despite the rhetoric, 'Yes' campaigners do not actually believe in a tolerant society, where people are allowed to 'live and let live',' spokeswoman Monica Doumit told Daily Mail Australia.  'Rather, they will target those who disagree for abuse, for boycott, or for some other type of punishment.'

However, Dr Mellor said he would forgive the vandals adding the graffiti attack was not a reflection on all 'Yes' voters. 'I don't believe that's where the majority of those who are advocating equality in marriage would be coming from,' he said.

This graffiti attack comes two weeks after a Mormon church, west of Sydney, was defaced with 'Vote Yes' graffiti even though it hadn't even told its parishioners how to vote in the gay marriage postal survey. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at Leura, in the Blue Mountains, was sprayed with red and black tags.


Inquiring about the elephant in the classroom

It is easy to understand why people find the idea of inquiry learning so appealing. It’s a lovely notion that children can and will learn important concepts and knowledge simply by being given an opportunity to discover them for themselves.

This is allegedly the education of the future — a future in which children need only to learn how to find what they need at the time they need it.

But is it true that children learn best by inquiry? You would think so if you listened to Andreas Schleicher, the Director of the OECD Education Directorate, which runs the Program for International Assessment (PISA).  Professor Schleicher was in Australia recently, giving interviews and speaking at events and forums. Disappointingly, he did not mention the pedagogical elephant in the room — that OECD reports show that inquiry learning is strongly negatively associated with PISA scores.

A deeper analysis of the PISA scores by McKinsey and Co found that the ideal balance is for almost all lessons to be teacher-directed with a small number of inquiry-based lessons. This fits well with the cognitive science-informed framework in which novice learners need more highly structured, explicit teaching, with a gradual shift to independent inquiry as they consolidate their knowledge and develop expertise.

The PISA data is supported by numerous other studies showing that explicit, teacher-directed instruction is more effective than inquiry learning.

Strangely, however, the more evidence stacks up against inquiry learning, the more it seems to take on a mythical status of being unassailably superior.

This week the long line of heavy weights endorsing inquiry learning included the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers, and a German maths professor who happily acknowledged that her version of inquiry learning is not based on cutting edge research but on a centuries-old theory that was refined in the 1920s and popularised in the 1960s.

Inquiry learning can be useful when administered in the right doses at the right time in the learning process. It is not a miracle cure for a new age.


What's the connection between Immigrants and Aborigines?

Sunrise presenter Andrew O'Keefe has slammed a Sydney council's plan to hold citizenship ceremonies during an indigenous celebration week instead of Australia Day.

The Greens and Labor-dominated Inner West Council wants to move citizenship ceremonies from January 26 to the first Sunday in July.

However O'Keefe, who One Nation leader Pauline Hanson accuses of being too left-wing, is skeptical of holding citizenship ceremonies during NAIDOC Week.

'If you don’t feel an attachment to the British realm, because of your background, why've you got to feel an attachment to being Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander?,' he asked on Sunday.

Sydney ABC radio presenter Richard Glover was also skeptical of moving citizenship ceremonies to appease Aboriginal people upset at commemorating the arrival of the British First Fleet in 1788.

'I do want to argue back a little bit,' he said. 'Maybe we need to have a different tone about Australia Day but it’s still the day that everything changed.

'You can say it's the beginning of both European colonisation but also the beginning of Aboriginal survival.'

Glover said it was a 'wrong step' to move citizenship ceremonies to that week in July, commemorating National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee Week, arguing Aboriginal dispossession could be acknowledged on Australia Day.

Inner West Council is considering moving citizenship ceremonies from January 26 after the Greens failed to get support for an indigenous advisory committee to examine whether the local government should withdraw from Australia Day, The Sunday Telegraph reports.

Inner West Council could join three Melbourne councils and Fremantle in dumping Australia Day celebrations.


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, October 16, 2017

High energy costs slash small business investment
The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman has expressed dismay that politicians continue to argue over energy policy while small businesses suffer.

Ombudsman Kate Carnell said the latest East & Partners SME survey* of 1280 businesses showed 70 per cent would reduce investment in capital expenditure because of higher energy prices.

The survey shows that:

39.5 per cent of SMEs would scale back in the short term (long-term capex unchanged);

20.8 per cent would scale back in the long term (short-term capex unchanged); and

9.9 per cent would scale back capital expenditure in the short and long term.

Ms Carnell said that despite evidence of spiralling energy costs and reduced business confidence, politicians had not provided investment certainty.

In particular, she criticised State Governments for failing to agree with a national approach.

“The ACCC has revealed the impact of gas exploration bans on supply and distribution in Victoria and New South Wales, but these governments continue to shift the blame elsewhere,” she said.

“The Labor states talk about going alone on a clean energy target, which is putting politics ahead of the national interest.

“Meanwhile, businesses in South Australia may have to use dirty diesel generators to keep the lights on over summer.

“The Finkel Report provided a roadmap to repair the long-term damage of failed policies.

“All parties and all governments should endorse the report, remove bans on gas exploration and adopt a bipartisan approach to provide investment certainty.

“The danger with continued political bickering is that businesses will go to the wall, jobs will move offshore and be lost and consumers will feel even greater pain.”

* The energy question was asked as part of the East & Partners SME Transaction Banking survey, which examines and forecasts demand for transaction banking product lines and service offerings within Australia’s Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) segment (A$1-20 million turnover per annum).

Media release from Michael Gorey

ABC’s hubris laid bare in response to Michael Danby’s criticism


As the great Yugoslav dissident and democratic socialist Milovan Djilas once remarked: “In politics more than anything else, the beginning of everything lies in moral indignation.”

Michael Danby, the federal Labor member for Melbourne Ports, has been feeling some moral indignation about the ABC’s coverage of Israel.

He has been the Labor member for Melbourne Ports since 1998. Before that he was a union official and for a time worked for Jewish community organisations.

Danby is Jewish. His father was born in a part of Germany that later became a part of Poland. Danby’s grandfather, though he had served in the German army, was, along with his wife and many members of his family, slaughtered at Auschwitz.

Melbourne Ports is one of the two federal seats with the highest proportion of Jewish voters. Danby is not a single-issue politician but is a strong supporter of Israel who believes the ABC does not report the nation fairly.

Frankly, no one could seriously contest that proposition.

Danby is a passionate man, sometimes impetuous. He almost never gets invited on to any ABC program and the Melbourne-based Fairfax media never prints his opeds but merely attacks him from the left, as do the fellow travelling websites such as Crikey and The Guardian Australia.

So occasionally he buys ads to make his point. He has even used his electorate communications allowance for this, after checking with the relevant agencies that this was kosher, so to speak.

He has bought advertisements to campaign for public transport in his electorate, for more federal infrastructure spending, for same-sex marriage, and sometimes for issues relating to Israel and, on a couple of occasions, Iran.

A former chairman of the parliamentary joint standing committee on foreign affairs, he is an old-style social democratic internationalist with a passionate concern for human rights, free trade unions and the like.

Danby took two ads in The Australian Jewish News over a couple of weeks to complain about the treatment of Israel by the ABC’s Sophie McNeill.

The ABC’s Media Watch summarised one ad. It said: “The nub of Danby’s complaint is that two recent stories by McNeill received very different coverage. The eviction of a Palestinian family last month after a court returned their home to Jewish ownership scored a two-minute feature on the midday news.

“But the stabbing to death of three members of a Jewish family in July did not receive such personal treatment and was reported only in the context of a surge of violence in which four Palestinians were also killed. They did not get feature treatment either. So, is that bias? Or part of a pattern?”

It is honest of Media Watch to pose the question that way. Let me answer it: Yes, it is a pattern, and yes, it is bias.

The ABC is consistently biased against Israel in a similar way to the BBC and for similar reasons. The overwhelming majority of ABC reporters and general broadcast commentators share a fairly narrow spectrum of world view, ranging from the middle left of Labor to the green left.

This is why the ABC finds it so difficult to come to grips with, or even understand, the complaints this kind of bias generates.

Within their world view these ABC broadcasters mostly behave professionally, and in the field often with heroic distinction. But in that world view, as has been well established in countless books and studies, Israel represents, entirely falsely in my view, Western colonialism, militarism and racism.

This gives reporters and producers an instinct never to represent Israel sympathetically. Jewish Israeli civilians (even victims of terrorism) are almost never portrayed sympathetically on the ABC, unless they are abusing their government or society. Then they are moral heroes.

To humanise an innocent Jewish Israeli grandfather or child brutally murdered in their home by a terrorist seems somehow or other to be supportive of Israel, so it is rarely done.

Danby in his ads was responding to this profound emotional truth. The ABC’s response to Danby’s criticisms is dismaying. It exhibits bullying, hubris and unchecked power.

But first a word on McNeill. It is the case that she had a record, before her appointment as a correspondent, of pro-Palestinian activism. It is entirely legitimate for critics of her journalism to point to that history. It’s also entirely legitimate to criticise journalists. This may shock you, dear reader, but there have been occasions when I myself have been criticised, even indeed on the ABC, meaning the criticism came from taxpayers’ money.

ABC broadcasters sometimes darkly refer to “dossiers” that have been compiled on McNeill, as though this involved nefarious access to ASIO files. What they mean by dossiers is articles and footage that McNeill herself has produced. In other words, judging a journalist by their output.

Quelle horreur — surely only the Elders of Zion could plot such fiendish stratagems!

The ABC issued a kind of papal document beatifying McNeill and condemning Danby’s criticism as “highly inappropriate”. McNeill herself issued a bizarre statement demanding Danby be censored. She said: “If using taxpayer dollars to print false claims about a journalist is allowed within parliamentary guidelines, then clearly they need to change.”

Just take a step back and look at the larger picture. Danby, who almost never appears on the ABC, has paid for critical but not remotely abusive ads, the basic accuracy of which is attested by the ABC’s Media Watch, in small-circulation newspapers that might reach 20,000 readers. In response he is attacked, mocked, vilified and condemned in many ABC news programs and by numerous ABC commentators to a cumulative audience in the hundreds of thousands if not millions.

Surely even in the ABC someone must see this is a kind of parody of free speech.

It’s more like the Chinese Communist Party discovering an enemy of the state preaching in a home church and simultaneously denouncing him in People’s Daily, Global Times and the Xinhua News Agency (irony alert, that sentence consciously involves exaggeration, don’t pretend to take it literally).

The ABC did the same thing a couple of years ago when a Jewish old folks’ home withdrew an invitation to the actress Miriam Margolyes to read from an anti-Israel play. All over the country the ABC beat this story to death as a crime against free speech.

Naturally the nursing home didn’t want to debate Margolyes, so she was given uncritical interviews, with no attempt to provide a balancing voice, to a cumulative audience in the hundreds of thousands to berate Israel and defame the Jewish community.

Oi vey!

The implication is always that Jewish criticism of the ABC over Israel is somehow sinister. Two questions: what penalty has any ABC producer or broadcaster ever paid for this criticism? Answer: none. Therefore it is really not too sinister. And is not even the ABC aware of the true, astonishing weirdness of a body that gets more than $1 billion of taxpayers’ money each year trying not to answer criticism but to declare it “inappropriate”?

A more sophisticated broadcaster would have interviewed Danby at length about his criticisms, even if the interview was robust or Danby’s views were answered by somebody else.

The worst part of this saga is that Bill Shorten gave in to ABC pressure and admonished his colleague.

Full disclosure: I have known Danby for more than 40 years, and admired him all that time. He is exactly the kind of person we need in parliament — passionate, fiercely independent, brave as a lion, taken up with human rights concerns in China, Tibet, North Korea, Darfur — a genuine internationalist of which there are almost none in Canberra.

In taking on the colossus of the ABC, Danby spoke truth to power. Good on him.


Radicalised Muslim students will be BANNED from classrooms

Radicalised and violent students could soon be banned from the classroom in a major overhaul of school safety laws.

Legislation is expected to be introduced into the New South Wales parliament this week which will force students who pose a 'significant risk' to enrol in distance education.

Under current laws, principals are unable to take action against any pupil who commits a crime away from school grounds and outside school hours.

A student at a Sydney high school who was recently stopped from flying to Syria where he planned to fight for ISIS was allowed to continue attending classes because his actions weren't related to the school, The Daily Telegraph reported. 

The proposed changes will see principals given the power to ban violent or radicalised pupils from attending class - whether the student's criminal behaviour took place in or outside school.

NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes said the major shake-up is designed to bring the three-decade-old Education Act in line with modern-day threats.

'These are common sense changes to the Education Act that bring us into line with other jurisdictions,' Mr Stokes said, according to the paper.

'It's a sensible solution to dealing with modern-day problems that were not anticipated when the Education Act was drafted almost 30 years ago.

'The measures in this Bill are being put in place to uphold the public's ­expectation that schools remain safe, secure and collegial environments for both students and staff.'

The announcement has been met with a mixed reaction on social media, with many suggesting the proposed changes are well overdue. 'It's about time,' one wrote, while another said: '30 years too late'.

Others argued the proposal will only serve to further alienate students prone to radicalisation. 


Woman saves the day by picking up a shark out of a pool: "The most Australian thing I have ever seen"

Port Jackson sharks are not dangerous

A REAL estate agent has found a new home for a shark after she wrangled the slippery customer out of a rock pool.

Melissa Hatheier has become a social media sensation after witnesses caught her Monday morning encounter with a Port Jackson in Cronulla, in Sydney’s south, on camera.

“I got home from the gym, and my gorgeous mum who swims every morning down here in the rock pool rang and said this there is a shark in the pool,” she told Channel 9’s Today show.

“And I said, OK don’t worry, I will come down. So I came down, there was a bit of a crew down here, and had a look and he was a little Port Jackson and was doing laps of the pool and I said, you know I’m going to go in and check him out.

“I jumped in and I thought, ‘I reckon I can probably get him out.’ And Mum, god love her, called 000 so the police came down as well.

“And they didn’t know what to do. So I said, I think I can just grab him. So I herded him into the shallows and then I just sort of got on my knees. With his fins, I picked him up and helped him back.

“He was getting stressed because he was bumping into the rocks and I was thinking I just need to put him back where he is meant to be.”

And, it is not the first time Ms Hatheier has been up close and personal with nature.

“I was surfing out here about six months ago with Tyler from up the road and there was a massive hump back and its baby,” she said. “We paddled out and went up close to that and we got a drone shot of that.”

Yesterday’s heroics also have a touching family story to explain the inspiration.

“You know what, I lost my beautiful dad nearly a year ago, to cancer,” she said. “The last thing he said is, ‘Please look after Mum. So we are looking after Mum. I made sure the pool was safe and she can swim.”

The video, filmed by Ms Hatheier’s daughter Shannon, shows the brave real estate agent throwing the shark into the ocean, to rapturous applause by those watching.

The footage was uploaded to Facebook where it’s been viewed more than nine thousand times.

“Our in house Shark Wrangler Melissa Hatheier wrestling a shark out of Oak Park Rock Pool yesterday morning! Nice work Mel! #nextlevel #classicMel” the post accompanying the video reads.

Hundreds reacted to the video, with one poster saying: “I would have walked on water to get out of the pool. You’re a brave woman.”

Another said: “This is hands down the most Australian thing I have ever seen. Holy mackerel.”

“My worst fear has come true!!!! A shark in the oak park pool! On another note, this chick is a dead set legend,” said another commenter.


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, October 15, 2017

Surf Life Saving Queensland boss says swimmers not safe from crocodile attack

A warning now amplified by the apparent death of an elderly lady at Port Douglas -- apparently the result of a croc attack.

Since crocodiles were made protected under Greenie influence, their numbers have spiralled, with at least 100,000 of them in Australian waters now.  So there is no sense in continuing protection across the board.  I would argue that they be de-protected South of Daintree.  That would still leave them a large safe habitat.  Once an area had been cleared, some crocs would move South into it but that would simply make good targets for sporting shooters.  The core population would continue to thrive and human users of the waters would be safe from them

And what is this nonsense about relocating them?  Relocating them to zoos does stop them but relocating them to other areas and releasing them is a crock (Pun admitted).  They just swim back to their old stamping ground.  One croc that was relocated to the Western side of Cape York peninsula swam back all the way around Cape York to his old habitat well South on the East coast -- a journey of perhaps 1,000 km

A SURF Life Saving boss is warning swimmers they should no longer feel safe in some of our most popular waterways — as crocodile numbers keep rising.

A SURF Life Saving Queensland boss says swimmers can no longer feel safe in the state’s waterways due to the increased threat of crocodile attack.

SLSQ chief operating officer George Hill yesterday told a public hearing into Katter’s Australia Party’s proposed Safer Waterways Bill there was a growing risk to both Surf Life Saving staff and the general public at Queensland beaches.

“We have seen a growing trend and a higher risk to our community,” he said.  “The reality is that there’s tourists sunbaking and there’s crocodiles (basking) less than 30m apart.  “It’s a risk that has the potential to have a catastrophic result for the community.”

The revelation comes after The Courier-Mail this week revealed crocodile sightings in the state have increased by more than 38 per cent in the past two years.

Mr Hill said while the service did not support killing crocodiles, it did want to see them removed from popular swimming areas.

“Both those levels (life guards and life savers) have identified a trend of seeing larger crocodiles in what we call public space, waterways where people can frequent. And when I say larger crocodiles, over the past five years the trend has certainly grown to see 3m to 4m crocodiles.

“(This) is in public spaces such as Port Douglas Beach, Four Mile Beach, there was one there last week that we closed the beach for, Palm Cove, Trinity Beach, Forest Beach in Ingham, Townsville’s Strand.”

Mr Hill said members were becoming hesitant to patrol waterways north of Townsville and that he was particularly concerned for the safety of SLSQ staff manning stinger nets in north Queensland.

“Unfortunately crocodiles can enter those (nets) and ... we have situations where every morning in summer our lifesavers and lifeguards will drag those nets for stingers.

“But they’re going in knowing there may or may not be a crocodile in there.”

Mr Hill said he supported changes to the state’s crocodile management plan if it meant safer waterways for swimmers.

“We need to protect our environment but certainly we need to protect the public and our users and future surf life savers and people that frequent our waters,” he said.

“While we don’t want to see the crocs harmed in any way, we certainly do support the removal of any crocodile that’s in a public space that could be a risk to anyone in the community whether it’s a bite or a fatal attack.”

The proposed KAP Bill would introduce a number of new measures including controlled crocodile culls and egg harvesting.

A spokesman for Australia Zoo also spoke at the hearing and slammed the Bill saying it was poorly researched and would not make waterways any safer.

“This legislation will be disastrous for humans and for crocodiles,” he said. “The environmental research has been basic and sketchy.”


Three generations of the same family will soon be living under the same roof because of Sydney's 'out-of-control' population growth

And what is driving that growth?  Out of control immigration

Thanks to the out-of-control population growth Sydney, it has been predicted that multi-generational living will soon become the norm.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the majority of families will be living with three generations under one roof by 2031.

NSW Planning Minister Anthony Roberts said that multi-generation living is 'the way of the future' as the population of NSW is expected to increase by 30 per cent in the next 20 years.

A new analysis constructed by state government demographers indicates that the population increase is largely due to people living longer.

The average male life expectancy is now 80, as opposed to the 1950s when men were only expected to live until the age of 67.

Mr Roberts explained that there will be a 67 per cent increase in the 65+ age group thanks to people's healthy and active lifestyles.

'While that is a testament to our healthcare certainly shapes the next 20 years and defines what services we will need,' he said.

The current trend is for young people to live in apartments closer to the city centre while older people are living in the suburbs, mostly in free-standing homes.

This trend points to a gap in the housing market - a lack of low-rise, medium-sized homes that allow dual occupancy, according to the demographic analysis.

Mr Roberts terms this gap the 'Missing Middle' and highlights the importance of diversifying housing in the next two decades. 

'Well-designed, medium density is how we will accommodate multiple generations living under one roof,' he said.

Meanwhile, Greater Sydney Commission chief executive Sarah Hill said that Sydneysiders need reassurance that the 'right infrastructure' was being put in place to handle population growth.

Ms Hill also said that along with increased population density comes more jobs and more houses - but also more difficult questions.

'[Questions like] where do you want your children or grandchildren to live? Do you want them nearby for when you are old and need support? Where do you want them to find good jobs?' she said.

It is expected that by 2036, NSW will have an extra 2.2 million people, and the Department of Planning expects 180,000 new houses to be built in Sydney in the next five years.

Suburbs slated to receive the most new homes are Haymarket, Mascot, Zetland and Roseberry.


The Federal governments brilliant way to avoid blackouts this summer

They want people to switch off

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) today jointly announced 10 pilot projects have been awarded funding under the demand response initiative to manage electricity supply during extreme peaks.

In total, the $35.7 million initiative will deliver 200 megawatts (MW) of capacity by 2020, with at least 143 MW to be available for this upcoming summer.

Over three years, the pilot projects will be trialled in Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales to free up temporary supply during extreme weather - such as prolonged summer heatwaves - and unplanned outages.

On behalf of the Australian Government, ARENA has committed $28.6 million in total to fund set-up and operational costs for the projects, with $7.2 million to be matched by the NSW Government for NSW-based projects.

Successful funding recipients include energy retailers, an energy distributor, a demand response aggregator, a smart thermostat developer and a South Australian metal foundry.

Demand response involves paying an incentive for energy users to reduce their power consumption, switch to backup generation or dispatch their energy storage for short periods when electricity reserves reach critically low levels.

From Texas to Taiwan, demand response is commonly used overseas to avoid unplanned or involuntary outages, ease electricity price spikes and provide grid support services. In other countries, up to 15 per cent of peak demand is met with demand response.

The pilot projects will engage large scale industrial and commercial businesses - such as cold storage facilities, manufacturing plants and commercial buildings. Tens of thousands of households are also expected to voluntarily sign up to participate in exchange for incentives.

In the coming months, the pilot projects will be engaging customers and installing hardware to remotely monitor and control their energy usage. Household hardware will have optional user overrides.

This program, which was launched in May and run as a competitive round, is the flagship initiative of ARENA and AEMO’s collaboration to test proof of concept projects to support grid security and stability.

AEMO Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Audrey Zibelman said the projects would undergo testing by AEMO in November and would be up and running by December 2017.

“These demand response projects will help manage spikes in peak demand in a cost effective way using our existing electricity infrastructure and clever new technology.

“It is clear that demand response has untapped potential to manage demand during extreme peaks in Australia, just as it does in other countries,” Ms Zibelman said.

“We’re hopeful this will create the proof of concept for a new market mechanism that will ultimately be to the benefit of Australian consumers,” she said.  

ARENA Chief Executive Ivor Frischknecht said the funding round had well exceeded the 160 MW initially hoped for, and cost less than expected.

“Through this initiative, we’ve been able to build a virtual power plant the size of two of Tesla’s giant 100 MW batteries in a matter of months for a fraction of the cost of building new supply.

“We are also trialling an innovative range of technologies and behaviour change programs from voltage control to intelligent thermostats to app notifications,” Mr Frischknecht said.

“Demand response will not only ease the strain on the electricity grid and prevent blackouts. These projects will also put money back into the pockets of Australian businesses and households, helping to reduce their energy costs and emissions,” he said.

For further information, visit or

Media release

Plastic recycling Pow-Wow

A heavyweight occasion

Plasticity Forum Attracts International Speakers For Discussion On Transforming Plastic Waste Into A Valuable Resource

On Tuesday 31 October, the 9th global Plasticity Forum will be held at the Maritime Museum in Sydney’s Darling Harbour. World-renowned experts across education, research, renewable energy and retail sectors including entrepreneurs, financiers, plastics recovery experts and brand owners will discuss the big ideas on innovation, sustainability and business successes driving new plastics circular economies.     

The only global conference focused solely on plastic sustainability, a key area of discussion will be Australasia’s recycling efforts, which are under threat from China’s new “National Sword” policy that is disrupting the region’s plastic scrap marketplace. Rather than focusing on the doom, this changed circumstance offers opportunities for existing and new businesses across a range of industries.

Internationally renowned speakers taking part in the ‘TedTalk-style’ forum include Dr Steve Wong, founder and MD of Fukutomi Company Limited and a top player in the international plastic scrap market; Nev Hyman, founder and chairman of Nev House which provides innovative and affordable housing solutions using recycled materials; Stuart Clark, CEO of Foy Group, an Australian company with patented technology to convert end-of-life, non-recyclable waste plastics to road-ready fuel.

Other presenters include Phill White, Co-founder of Circular Economy and creator of Blockcycle, a world first blockchain platform with partner Coca-Cola; Rob Dvorak, Plant Manager of Visy rPlastics one of the leading recycling facilities which recycles PET and HDPE  bottles back to food grade pellets; and Dr Karen Raubenheimer, Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security, who is currently assessing the effectiveness of relevant international, regional and sub-regional governance strategies and approaches.

Media release for Plasticity Sydney from Sophie Olorenshaw.
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, October 13, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG has some choice words about the global warming scam

Fat and neurotic feminist needs a dash of Pauline wisdom

Overweight and chronically angry feminist Clementine Ford had a disabling neurotic crisis recently but seems to have learned nothing from it.  The Pauline wisdom she needs is in Acts 26:14, where Jesus advised Paul not to kick against the pricks -- i.e. not to resist the inevitable.

The inevitable is inborn male/female differences.  In our evolutionary past we have evolved to be sexual specialists. At it simplest men did the hunting and women looked after the babies. And evolution is slow to change. We are still born with those old cavemen specialisms.  That is who we are and how we instinctively feel

That all that specialization has become of little importance to survival in the last half century will have had no impact on our genetic propensities whatever. We will still be most comfortable in traditional roles. But Clem believes that such roles are now WRONG and resists them

And that can only result in discomfort and dissatisfaction for all concerned. Expectations will continuously be at odds with natural inclinations. Human beings are very flexible so some degree of accommodation to modern reality is possible but all flexibility has its limits

And Clemmie is one of those who kick against the pricks of her inborn feminine instincts.  She describes a lot of that below.  And it is obviously stressful for her.  No wonder she had a serious anxiety breakdown recently. 

And against all probability, it appears that she has a partner, probably male. He must be a Trojan.  So her hormones are in good order even if her mind is troubled.  And the account she gives of her life with him makes it clear that therein lies another source of stress.

She would be a much happier lady if she went right along with her female instincts instead of obeying her feminist ideology.  But is it ideology?  She has an impeccably conservative father so she would not have got it from him. So she probably just is chronically angry, in the typical Leftist style. There appears to be no cure for that. 

I recently spent the afternoon in a park with a friend and our kids. It was a lusciously sunny and warm day, the first in a long time after such a cold winter. It was the kind of day that you want to prolong, so we decided to do exactly that and headed back to her house to drink wine and watch the sun set.

While the kids set about destroying the house on arrival, I asked my friend if I could use her bathroom. "Sure," she replied. "Just give me a second to make sure it looks okay."

I waited while she dashed in to make sure there were no suspicious marks in the bowl (or on the seat) or a forgotten flush. She came out a minute later and gave me the all-clear.

I knew this was what she was doing, because it's exactly what I do when guests ask to use my bathroom. I also apologise automatically for the general mess of the house, for any dishes that might be left dirty in the sink or food crumbs strewn across the counter. I do all that despite the fact that not only do I not care about the state of any of my friends' houses, I also loathe the gendered expectation that these are things women should care about, along with making sure everyone in the house has healthy food to eat and the kids' clothes are neatly ironed and stain-free.

Like many women – and feminist women in particular – I'm interested in what perpetuates this sense of obligation even in households populated by people who are arguably aware of the existence of these pressures and the essential inequality of them. Why do we feel that a dirty toilet will reflect badly on us alone, and not also on the people we live with (particularly if those other people happen to be men, whether partners or housemates)? I suspect there is a residual fear of being perceived as filthy ourselves or inattentive to the filth of those men, whose domestic harmony we're expected to take responsibility for.

Still, I'm far from the first woman to write about the gendered division of labour. By now, only the most obstinate and wilfully ignorant of people are in denial of the fact that women perform the bulk of the world's unpaid labour, even in the countries these same people love to believe are matriarchal dictatorships. Just recently, Gemma Hartley wrote about women's emotional labour in the domestic sphere for Harper's Bazaar. In reflecting on the example she and her husband were setting for their children (one girl and two boys), Hartley wrote: "I find myself worrying about how the mental load bore [sic] almost exclusively by women translates into a deep gender inequality that is hard to shake on the personal level. It is difficult to model an egalitarian household for my children when it is clear that I am the household manager, tasked with delegating any and all household responsibilities, or taking on the full load myself. I can feel my sons and daughter watching our dynamic all the time, gleaning the roles for themselves as they grow older."

Hartley is just one of many women in heterosexual partnerships who feels obliged to "manage" not just the workload of the home she shares with at least one other adult, but also the way her home is perceived by other people. I'm speaking generally here (and before I go further, let it be known that I acknowledge there are always outliers to every situation, which means of course there are house-proud men out there), but I've rarely, if ever, encountered the same level of domestic embarrassment in my male friends in hetero partnerships as I have in my female ones. They don't give the toilet a quick once over to check for rogue floaters, nor do they offer apology for presiding over a living room that actually looks lived-in.

And it isn't just that men who partner with women suddenly give up on doing the domestic workload they performed rigidly before. Let's just say that of all the men I slept with in my 20s, not a single one of them ever apologised for the fact that they were clearly sleeping on sheets that had never been washed and definitely smelled like it. Meanwhile, the majority of western women are conditioned to apologise to potential paramours for egregious crimes like having unshaven legs. (And if you don't think that's true, think of the Swedish model who recently posted a photograph of herself with hairy legs and received a slew of rape threats.)

Emily Shire nails it here when she writes that women are judged more for having messy houses and unkempt children than men are. In fact, I would wager the average person wouldn't even think to implicate husbands and fathers in either of these things, because the cultural stereotypes around both still hinges on a woman's worth or lack thereof.

So what's the solution?

In my own home, having open lines of communication has been hugely rewarding. My partner and I have ongoing conversations about how we can model equality to our son, from having set weekdays in which we both act as primary parent to making sure he sees both of us doing things like vacuuming, washing clothes and cleaning the kitchen. We each do our own laundry and often cook or organise our own dinner, both of which stop these jobs from being naturally assumed to be my responsibility. I'm not afraid to have endless discussions about our domestic dynamic, even though I find it boring and frustrating most of the time. Because this seems to be largely why women in hetero partnerships just throw their hands up and conform to gendered domestic expectations – it's too tiring and dull to keep having the same conversations over and over, so we just end up giving up and doing it. 

I'm not saying we should stop doing the toilet once-over when guests arrive. But start questioning your partners if you notice they never do it. And for goodness sake, stop washing men's clothes for them.


Is 62 per cent turnout enough to carry the same-sex marriage vote?

I would argue that the amount of bullying, coercion and vote faking from the "Yes" side invalidates the result

AS THE closing date for the same-sex marriage postal survey nears, thoughts are turning to the final result and what percentage needs to be achieved for it to be accepted.

More than 16 million survey forms have been posted to eligible Australians and an estimated 10 million survey forms had been returned as at Friday, October 6.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the turnout represents 62.5 per cent of Australians.

But is this enough? It’s hard to tell.

ABC election analyst Antony Green told that turnout for the Brexit vote in the UK was 72.2 per cent and just 51.9 per cent voted to leave.

“No one has questioned that result even though it was relatively close,” Mr Green said.

He said the Brexit vote was a good comparison because it was a yes/no vote and people were also voting for a principle, not a piece of legislation.

“No one knew what Brexit actually meant and they still don’t,” he said.

In comparison the Irish referendum to approve same-sex marriage was also carried with 60.52 per cent turnout and 62.07 of the vote.

Mr Green said he expected the turnout for Australia’s postal survey to be similar to the Brexit vote, judging from the numbers that had already returned their surveys.

He said how much of a turnout was required to make the vote “legitimate” depended on how people measured these things.

However, he was confident Yes was likely to win. “Yes is still 20 per cent ahead (according to recent polls), no turnout (figure) is going to turn that into a No vote,” he said.

While polls ahead of Brexit were wrong, Mr Green said they were only off by about 2 to 3 per cent — although in that case it was enough to turn the result. “They weren’t wrong by 15 per cent,” he said.

But one expert is unsure that achieving a good turnout and a “simple majority” will be enough to silence critics in Australia.

It is not compulsory to vote in the postal survey which means people not happy with the result could still argue it doesn’t represent all of Australia’s views.

Political scientist Sarah Maddison of the University of Melbourne said it would require leadership from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to legitimise the vote.

“I think there is very little question the Yes vote will be in the majority but the size of the majority is going to count in terms of the silencing the conservatives,” she said.

“I think this has been one of the problems with the survey from the outset: there has been no clear guidance from the government about what could constitute a legitimate response.”

Even if the turnout reached 70 per cent as Mr Green predicts, Prof Maddison was sceptical a simple 51 per cent majority would decide the issue.

“It is very hard to imagine (prominent No voter) Lyle Shelton accepting graciously that he and his colleagues in the No camp are in the minority,” she said.

“No campaigners and radical conservatives will keep pushing to have their reactionary position maintained in policy decisions.”

Prof Maddison wasn’t sure what percentage the Yes vote would have to reach in order to silence critics, and said she would be “picking a number out of the air”.

“Certainly 51 per cent won’t do it. I don’t think anyone involved in the campaign for marriage equality thinks that a simple majority will end the matter.

“Maybe it’s 60 per cent, maybe it’s 70 per cent, I don’t know. We’ve lacked clear leadership from the Prime Minister on that question,” she said.

In past statements, Mr Turnbull has said he believes the result would be respected in parliament.

“If the postal vote is carried, the legalisation of same-sex marriage will sail through the Parliament, believe me,” he told 2DayFM.

But Prof Maddison said it would still require leadership.  “This has to be the end of the matter but this has to come from our political leaders,” she said.

She urged people who had not yet voted not to be complacent. “We need as many Australians as possible (to vote) to have as much validity as possible to make sure this question is answered once and for all.”


Time for climate scientists to produce evidence that carbon dioxide emissions affect climate

By Rowan Dean, a prominent Australian advertising man and an energetic conservative commentator much seen in TV discussions

IT’S time for so-called climate scientists to either cough up one single, solitary shred of genuine scientific evidence that proves that the climate is being changed by mankind’s carbon dioxide emissions, or ‘fess up and admit that the whole thing is a gigantic hoax.

That’s the bottom line.

Asked at the beginning of this year for one of those “predictions for 2017”, I claimed that this would be the year the Australian public wakes up and realises they are being hoodwinked by the whole climate change/renewables scam.

Data that “climate experts” fail to provide is that Earth has frequently warmed up, cooled down, and warmed up again.
I told Paul Murray’s lively late night TV show on Sky News that 2017 would be the year the climate con comes to an end. So how is my prediction going?

Well, so far this year two extraordinary books have come out, and one insightful film, that support my argument that the public is indeed waking up to the tricks of the climate change/renewables fraud.

Climate Change: The Facts 2017, a series of essays published by the Institute of Public Affairs, not only debunks the entire scare campaign about the Great Barrier Reef, but in a piece of superb investigative work Dr Jennifer Marohasy exposes the Bureau of Meteorology’s embarrassing manipulation of temperature data.

The book has sold out three print runs and gained serious attention overseas. Then came the surprise hit film Climate Hustle by sceptic Marc Morano, which was, ironically, more popular than the scaremongering Al Gore film it challenged.

And this week a new book is coming out by Australia’s Ian Plimer, one of our greatest geologists.

Called Climate Change Delusion and the Great Electricity Rip-off it’s a must-read for anyone who still believes they’re saving the planet by paying through the nose for electricity.

Because you’re not. The planet is doing just fine with or without your financial impoverishment, and whatever changes may or may not be occurring to our planet’s climate, it almost certainly has nothing to do with your gas bill.

As Plimer points out, Australia is blessed with an abundance of the cheapest and cleanest energy on the planet, yet we are paying the highest electricity prices on earth.

Put simply, that doesn’t add up. And when something smells fishy, it’s because it is.

Australian taxpayers are being ripped off by deluded luvvies (Turnbull is one of the worst) pandering to the voracious leeches of the renewables industry and their greedy investors gorging on a bloated smorgasbord of your cash which they siphon up via subsidies, targets and bills.

Yet, as Plimer points out, it’s all in vain. With rigorous scientific and geological data, Plimer provides evidence that the climate “experts” fail to provide. He shows that Earth has frequently warmed up, cooled down, and warmed up again, but this process has never had anything to do with CO2.

Indeed, the geological evidence is that Earth’s coldest periods often had far higher atmospheric CO2 levels than we do now. What’s more, the mild warming we may currently be experiencing (we are, geologically speaking, still in an Ice Age and moving slowly out of it) has always been associated in human history with increased health, wealth, fertility and prosperity.

Mankind’s most successful times have been in periods such as the Roman era or medieval warming when the Earth was warmer than it is now.

Indeed, we are currently seeing flora around the globe getting greener and more fertile as CO2 levels increase.

Meanwhile, desperately trying to reinvigorate the whole tiresome climate change alarmist nonsense, this year we got Al Gore’s latest horror flick-cum-ad for his own renewables investments An Inconvenient Sequel (what an unoriginal title).

Showing suitably terrifying footage of storms, floods and hurricanes, the film was a box-office flop that received lacklustre reviews at best. Oh, and the other day an ANU “climate scientist” made the hysterical (and unprovable) claim that Sydney and Melbourne “could” roast in 50 degree summers by the end of the century.

That’s it. And still no proof that man-made carbon dioxide emissions are warming the planet. Still no proof that a warmer planet can be avoided, or would actually be a bad thing. Still no proof that removing civilisation’s reliance on coal is even remotely feasible. Still no proof that even if we did do all the things climate fanatics want us to do and destroy our economies and lifestyles, it would make the slightest difference to global temperatures. And still no proof that we even need to.

The biggest con of all is that Australian voters are denied any political leadership courageous enough to call out this scaremongering for what it is, cancel all our subsidies, targets and the Paris Agreement, which only enrich renewables carpetbaggers, and return us to a land blessed with cheap, abundant energy.


Why is Satyajit Das so angry about Australia’s economic growth?

As Australia closes in on the world record for recession-free economic growth, expect a few contrarian pieces attacking us. “26 Recession-Free Years Hide a Darker Picture for Australia” was one Bloomberg piece this week.

But in an early bid to dominate the field, our own Satyajit Das has let rip with a cracking piece about how we’re basically a bunch of lazy racist frauds. In a piece in the Financial Review today with the sinister title “Australia’s luck is running out”, Das — a former banker turned author and commentator, manages to combine that staple of Fairfax, the property bubble/We’re All Rooned piece with a broader critique of the Australian economy. Das says we rely too much on mining, we have a huge property bubble, too much debt, we pay ourselves too much and our productivity growth is too low, we depend too much on foreign capital.

Rather than pointing out evidence about wages growth, productivity and our superannuation pool that contradicts Das’ economic critique, or noting the strange job snobbery that regards mining and construction as an inferior source of growth, it’s more exciting to move onto his moral critique. Australia, you see, are a bunch of racists and busybodies.

“the widespread view that it is a European Christian nation, complicate its trading relationship to Asia… Australian criticism of regional governments over human rights and capital punishment is seen as interference in domestic affairs… Australia’s “Whites Only” immigration policy ended only in the early 1970s.”

You can just see Chinese steel manufacturers rubbing their chins. “Hmmm… this Australian iron ore — it’s from a European Christian nation that only ended a racist immigration policy fifty years ago. I don’t think we can use it.” It’s also amusing that Das wants to have it both ways — he argues Australia’s (for him, inconvenient) economic growth of recent years has been heavily reliant on immigration. But we’re also racists and xenophobes at the same time.

Why would Das be so angry about Australia’s growth? It wouldn’t have something to do with the fact that our economy, along with the rest of the world, has stubbornly refused to follow his predictions, would it? After all, Das is, in the words of one economic commentator in 2015, “one of the gloomiest financial commentators I know… [who] has succeeded at taking his economic pessimism to a new level.” Das, to be found opining at the ABC, or in various online outlets, has regularly warned of another financial crisis that will lead to a depression worse than the 1930s, of falling international growth, of “another great recession”.  It must be infuriating for Das that the global economy has been picking up momentum all year and the Australian economy, too, is accelerating and delivering very strong jobs growth.

It’s OK, Satyajit — keep on with the perma-bear act, you’re bound to be right one of these years.


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, October 12, 2017

Up to 46 university students are vying for the one graduate job

Raife Watson, the CEO of Adzuna - a job search engine - told Lifestyle Overnight there were 'a lot of jobs out there, but not a lot of jobs for graduates'.

Mr Watson said Sydney was a great place for a graduate to find a job, as a lot of companies started up in the capital city, and a lot of infrastructure projects underway.

But for the best chances of finding a graduate job, Mr Watson said the Northern Territory was the place to go.

South Australia was the worst place to find a graduate position according to the company's research, with 46 graduates competing for each job on average.

NSW has odds of 20 to one, but the Northern Territory has only an average of ten people applying for each job.

Mr Watson said that unsurprisingly, the top end often struggled to attract graduates, meaning the jobs were more plentiful.

'Go somewhere where your skills are really needed for a couple of years and develop those skills,' he advised new graduates.

Nationally, the average was 22 new graduates for each relevant position.

Mr Watson said universities had 'a lot to answer for' in terms of course admission far outweighing job availability.

'Universities are now profit making machines, and a lot of them are offering huge amounts of students these courses that there are no jobs for,' he said.

'You come out of uni with a $40,000 debt and no hope of finding a job in your chosen profession.'

Mr Watson told the Sydney Morning Herald new graduates were now often taking up jobs completely unrelated to their expensive qualifications in order to pay the bills.

'You end up behind a bar, or in some other job that's unrelated to what you studied. You see a lot of law graduates going into sales or call centres,' he said.

And while Adzuna's research showed there were about 90 law graduates for every graduate law position, there were only nine graduates with engineering degrees for each related position.

Mr Watson said there needed to be a bigger push from the government to ensure fields that need skilled workers have enough people, and students aren't left out of pocket and out of a job.

'We need to think about what's really needed in education, the courses that we really need in the country,' he said. 'Why aren't we pushing more people into STEM [science, technology, engineering and maths] degrees?'


Penalty rates slashed as Federal Court backs Fair Work Commission decision

THE Federal Court has backed the Fair Work Commission’s decision to slash Sunday penalty rates for hospitality, retail and fast-food workers.

Unions representing hospitality and retail workers challenged the commission’s decision in June slash penalty rates for workers in the fast food, hospitality, retail and pharmacy sectors, starting on July 1.

But the court found no jurisdictional error in the commission’s February decision to cut Sunday and public holiday penalty rates for full-time and part- time workers.

Malcolm Turnbull believes the Federal Court’s backing of a decision to slash Sunday penalty rates confirms the work of the independent umpire.

“These are the same unions that have been trading away their members’ penalty rates for years, but nonetheless they took it to the Federal Court and the decision of Fair Work Australia was upheld,” he told reporters in Sydney. “So that is the independent umpire doing its work and its work being confirmed by the court.”

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said he was disappointed in the Federal Court’s decision.

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry urged unions to accept the umpire’s decision.

“Now that the Federal Court has made its decision, employers should be able to get on with implementing these changes, and start offering longer opening hours and more shifts on Sundays,” chief executive James Pearson said. The chamber estimates the commission’s decision will affect about 220,000 workers in retail, pharmacy, hospitality and fast food.

“We are talking about limited changes - for example, from double-time to time- and-three-quarters for Sunday work,” Mr Pearson said.


Scale back Paris emissions commitment: Banks, Hilmer

Two of Australia’s most respected economic reformers have urged the government to scale back its commitment to the Paris emissions-reduction agreement and revive a market-based mechanism to curb greenhouse gases, suggesting the renewable energy target is damaging the country’s competitiveness.

Lamenting at least a decade of reform paralysis, Keating government adviser Fred Hilmer and Gary Banks, the inaugural Productivity Commission chairman, said they had all but given up on rational reform in the energy market. They were now left to hope that blackouts in Sydney and Melbourne this summer inject sense into what they saw as an increasingly dishonest policy debate.

Professor Banks sympathised with Australians who were “bemused” about rising power bills amid claims of a low-cost, renewable-energy future

“The notion that there’s a trade-off, that we can’t have it all, that there’s no free lunch, that’s not been made clear to the public,” Professor Banks said. “In fact when you look at it, we’ve ruled out all the least-cost ways of transitioning to a low-emission economy … we’ve ruled out nuclear and essentially ruled out gas too.

“I had a feeling under the last Labor government that there were tentative moves in the nuclear ­direction but then we had Fukushima, and that was it.”

Australia is the only G20 country with a legislative prohibition on nuclear energy.

Professor Hilmer, whose report for the Keating government unleashed a wave of pro-competition reforms in the 1990s, including helping to form the national electricity market, said blackouts this summer “would be great” to refocus the energy debate.

He and Professor Banks are both frustrated with state bans on gas ­exploration. “I can’t believe the problems (with fracking) are all that real; otherwise the US would be committing suicide,” Professor Hilmer said.

He suggested claims about the capacity of new batteries to store renewable energy had been exaggerated. “We need a blackout in South Australia when the new battery is going,” he said. “You can look at the sun shining and say renewable energy is cheap but it doesn’t solve storage. These huge batteries — half an hour’s power for Adelaide, or not even.”

In an allusion to South African billionaire Elon Musk’s plan to build the world’s largest battery in South Australia, Professor Hilmer said: “To say you have cheap power ‘most of the time’ is a ­disaster.”

Professor Banks, now a professorial fellow at the Melbourne Institute after 15 years leading the Productivity Commission, said Australia was getting ahead of other countries, notably the US, in pursuing low-emissions targets, to its economic detriment.

“We have to go back to start to look at whether we’ve signed up to something that for our economy is too tough,” Professor Banks said. “Not only are we choosing to transition to low emissions at a high cost, which is the RET or RET Mark II, we’re doing it over a compressed timeframe.”

In June the Turnbull government reaffirmed Australia’s commitment along with more than 100 countries to reduce emissions by at least 26 per cent by 2030 from 2005 levels.

Brendan Lyon, head of Infrastructure Partnerships Australia, which hosted the discussion with The Australian this week, said: “Paris is the hair shirt and we’ve popped on a straitjacket too.”

The comments will increase pressure on the Turnbull government, which has appeared divided on energy policy since the wake of blackouts in South Australia last year, to reject chief scientist Alan Finkel’s recommendation in June to introduce a clean energy target that would mandate a rising share of low-emissions energy provision after 2020.

Professor Hilmer and Professor Banks said the quality of analysis and modelling of energy policy, including in the Finkel review, had not been transparent, rigorous or comprehensive enough. “We’ve been cursed with multiple objectives,” Professor Hilmer said.

Professor Banks suggested the Productivity Commission should and could have made “a much bigger contribution” to the development of energy policy.

On Monday Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg hinted the government might not replace the Renewable Energy Target, which will require 33 terawatts of renewable energy generation by 2020, arguing wind and solar power were increasingly viable without support. The prospect of further blackouts when AGL’s Liddell coal-fired power station in NSW closes in 2020 has increased attention on national energy policy.

Professor Banks said Australia had ­ignored a 1991 report — the first of its kind for a developed country — by the Productivity Commission’s forerunner, the Industry Commission, which had laid out the best way to wean the economy off fossil fuels. “It was clear: it had to be an economy-wide (approach), not fixated on particular greenhouse gases, and use market instruments to ensure least cost abatement occurs,” he said. “Here we are 25 or 26 year later and we haven’t done any of those things.”

Professor Hilmer, who was a vice-chancellor of the University of NSW and Fairfax chief executive, questioned whether a government would be “brave enough to (tell voters): actually let’s stop and start again because we’re hurting this country by making it high cost”. Reform was easier in the 1990s, he said.

“We had a ‘burning platform’, now there’s complacency,” he said. “Second, we had bipartisanship; now we don’t even use the word. Third, we had strong leadership by prime ministers.”

The Turnbull government has struggled to implement the successor to Professor Hilmer’s 1993 ­National Competition Policy: Ian Harper’s competition review, released in 2015 under Tony Abbott.


Threats from union thugs at Queensland mine

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has rejected demands to ban political donations from the CFMEU, after members of the union were caught on tape allegedly using expletive-filled and threatening language.

The minority Labor government’s links to the union movement – in particular the CFMEU – dominated the ongoing sitting of Queensland’s hung parliament today, with the Opposition calling for a ban on CFMEU donations.

The Courier-Mail today published a video appearing to show CFMEU protesters at Glencore’s Oaky North mine yelling threats on the picket line, including one that read: “Crash your car into a tree on your way home”.

Opposition industrial relations spokesman Jarrod Bleijie tabled part of a letter from Glencore to federal Coalition MP Michelle Landry, outlining extracts from security reports prepared for Glencore detailing alleged verbal abuse by CFMEU members and officials.

The epithets include: “I’ll f***ing rape your kids c**t,” “I’ll rip out your spine,” “I’ll attack you with a crowbar,” “You’ll find him in the box watching videos of kids,” “ya f***ing dog”.

Ms Palaszczuk today described the allegations as “unacceptable”. However, when asked by Deputy Opposition leader Deb Frecklington in parliament if she would ban the CFMEU from donating, Ms Palaszczuk said, “the answer is no”.

The Premier is pushing for a similar ban on donations from property developers at state and local government levels, after a recommendation from the Crime and Corruption Commission.

The CCC did not recommend such a ban on union donations.

“The CCC’s view is that until such time as unions and other types of donors demonstrate the same risk of actual or perceived corruption in Queensland local government as property developers, a more encompassing ban is not appropriate,” the watchdog’s Operation Belcarra report said last week.

The Courier-Mail today published a video appearing to show CFMEU protesters at Glencore’s Oaky North mine yelling threats on the picket line, including one that read: “Crash your car into a tree on your way home”. The report also alleges protesters threatened to rape children, although that is not included in the footage.

Opposition leader Tim Nicholls said the report was “appalling and disgusting” and Ms Palaszczuk should refuse to take donations from unions, as she pushes to ban donations from property developers.

“We believe the threat of unions is equal to, if not greater, than any other group that makes donations to political parties,” Mr Nicholls said.

He said the CFMEU had influence over the Labor government and were “law-breakers who are becoming law-makers.”

Mr Nicholls would not say whether the LNP would back a proposed ban of developer donations. “The legislation should include the union movement,” Mr Nicholls said.

Ms Palaszczuk today described the CFMEU’s behaviour as unacceptable.  “It is not acceptable for anyone to use threatening behaviour, and I don’t care whether that person is from the business community, a member of the public, or a member from the union movement,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“I would expect everyone to comply with the law of Queensland, and the law is everyone is equal before the law.”

The Premier would not comment on the timing of the proposed legislation to ban developer donations.

“I will be having some consultations this week with stakeholders, and those consultations will begin today on the banning of developer donations,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“What the people of Queensland have seen is my government acting very swiftly … on accountability and integrity issues.”

“There is a very clear link between developer donations and the prospect of alleged corruption, there is a proven link, therefore we have an obligation to act on those reforms.”

The CFMEU issued a statement to say the union had issued guidelines to those protesting on the picket line and did not condone offensive behaviour.

Stephen Smyth, the CFMEU’s district president for mining and energy, said allegations of abuse should be taken to the police not the media.

“Almost 200 Australian families have been hung out to dry by the mine’s foreign owners as the miners - many of them primary breadwinners - enter day 100 of the dispute,” Mr Smyth said.

The CFMEU said the reports were being used as a “distraction” to the ongoing industrial dispute, in which the union claims Glencore refused to return to the negotiating table with local workers.

The union said today was day 100 on the picket line.

The Crime and Corruption Commission’s Operation Belcarra report last week recommended property developer donations to local government be banned, but did not make the same call in relation to unions.

Ms Palaszczuk has promised to widen a ban to the state level as well, and is currently having legislation drafted.


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