Monday, December 18, 2017

Safe Schools is gone, but its influence remains

Miranda Devine

EDUCATION bureaucrats keep trying to find ways to get around the NSW government’s ban on the “sexual and gender fluidity” sex education program known as Safe Schools.

This time it’s an attack on special religious education (SRE) classes. New education department guidelines issued in September banned volunteer scripture teachers from referring to sexual and gender issues.

In a letter this month responding to complaints from Presbyterian minister Rev Dr Peter Barnes, and Anglican minister Rev David Milne, Rod Megahey, assistant director of primary education, cited a departmental review of the SRE program which had elicited complaints from a “small number” of parents who “objected to secondary school SRE teachers addressing issues of sexuality and expressing homophobic views.”

Rev Barnes, of Revesby, and Rev Milne, of Panania, are insulted by the charge of homophobia. They want to know whether the new policy means that SRE teachers are not allowed to teach the seventh commandment, “Thou shalt not commit adultery”, or the Sermon on the Mount, which includes the line: “everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart”.

Rev Barnes asks if the Ten Commandments has to become the “Nine Suggestions”.

“Such a policy would clearly hand over the teaching of sexual ethics to those of the same mindset as the one who brought in the Safe Schools Program. “So much for freedom of religion, even in voluntary SRE classes.”

That’s the point. Religious education classes are voluntary, and if parents want their children to learn Christian ethics, that is their right. Parents who object to Christian teachings equally have the right not to allow their children to attend the classes.

But they don’t have the right to force their values on to other people’s children.


"Incorrect" joke about disability car stickers

It's apparently incorrect to say that a disability is a disability

BENNELONG winner John Alexander is again in trouble from his idea of what’s funny.

What has offended was a disjointed story he told as he accepted victory last night. In his victory speech Saturday night he appeared to tell how he was entitled to an invalid’s parking sticker because of a sore back, even though he was ranked 14th tennis player in the world.

He said: “The doctor at the time said, ‘You have eligibility for a disability sticker’.

“I said, ‘I still have some pride.’ That was before I entered politics.”

Wheelchair Paralympian Kurt Fearnley was among those not impressed. “I’m not one to get offended, and I’m not offended. Cause I choose not to be offended by the ignorant,” tweeted Mr Fearnley.

“But I spend my life convincing disabled kids that they are awesome. Then they hear that. You’re kidding yourself if you think that language is OK.”



This was an election that could have changed the government so both parties put a big effort into it.  As John Howard's old seat, it was basically a conservative seat so it is no great surprise that the conservatives won.  Three reports below

Labor lied their way through Bennelong campaign

IS the ALP going to lie and lie and lie its way to power at the next federal election?  It certainly looks that way. If you don’t believe me just take a look at the party’s shameful record during the Bennelong by-election.

First there were deceptive “robocalls” disguised as a community service call urging people to vote without indicating the announcement was being made on behalf of Labor.

The call recommended a visit to the website linked to NSW Labor and its how-to-vote information for failed candidate Kristina Keneally.

Then came a new version of Labor’s old favourite “Mediscare” scam that almost cost Malcolm Turnbull the last election.

Unions put out ­brochures claiming cuts were planned at Concord Hospital in NSW. It was a big fat lie. In fact the State Government recently announced an upgrade for Concord.

Then came the spurious claims the government has raised prescriptions by $5 a script — a move jettisoned in this year’s budget.

The brochures, titled Under the Liberals, our hospitals and Medicare are under threat, proclaim “Bennelong deserves better” were authorised by ACTU secretary Sally McManus.  The brochures said: “Save our Hospitals, save our Medicare — Bennelong deserves better.”

Frankly, the unions behave with such anti-social behaviour in this country, I wouldn’t believe anything they said. And neither should you.

The government rejected the falsehoods but the rebuttals got little traction in media.

John Alexander’s victory was a much-needed boost to the embattled PM Malcolm Turnbull. It has won two by-elections in a fortnight and next week’s MYEFO statement is also expected to show an improvement in the government’s finances.

The big loser in Bennelong was, of course, Bill Shorten. But it is a story you are unlikely to hear on the ABC. It must be a great encouragement that voters did not buy his spin.

Backhander Bill’s true character is beginning to surface. He showed great weakness by moving too slowly to oust Slippery Sam Dastyari who was forced to quit parliament over his links to China.

Shorten was also left with egg on his face when he insisted no Labor MPs had dual citizenship problems.

And he has failed abysmally to rein in unions.

It also has to be said that Labor blundered badly picking Keneally as the ALP candidate in Bennelong. Voters did not forget that she led one of the most corrupt government in NSW history

Perhaps the tide is turning in Malcolm’s favour.


Lessons for Labor from Bennelong defeat?

Labor got a swing towards them but it was no more than a normal by-election swing.  From the words of their spokesman below, no change in their message or policy seems imminent

Labor frontbencher Tony Burke has said the lesson out of Bennelong is how difficult it will be to win the next election and the party needs to focus on their policy agenda.

“The message for us - there’s a few different issues I think that come for us out of this,”

“One is the next election will be hard. It will be hard. But certainly, there are enough people willing to change their votes that with the right work and the right policy, we can get there,” Mr Burke told Sky News.

“But certainly, the policy work that we’ve continued to do since we came into Opposition, we can’t hit the brakes on that yet. We need to keep pushing our own policy agenda through this as well.”

Mr Burke talked up the swing, which some Labor insiders expected to be stronger considering the resources thrown at the seat, and said if replicated across the country it could cost the government the election.

“I think this by-election when you look at it that way was closer to a general election than you would ordinarily get, and if that is the case, then in a general election, we wouldn’t have won Bennelong but we may well have won Government.”

Mr Burke said there was “no doubt” the resignation of powerful NSW Right Senator Sam Dastyari from parliament hurt the party’s vote.

He said, however, the government’s push to oust the Senator set a precedent which could come back to bite the government.

“It’s also true that the rules effectively in terms of when you’re calling for someone’s resignation have now changed. “

“[Liberal MP] Stuart Robert, he’s on the backbench, for a scandal that involved dealing with Chinese donors and his ministerial office. There is pressure at the moment on Michaelia Cash over questions regarding respecting the integrity of an AFP raid.”

“We are in a world now, which I kept warning against, because I didn’t want this to be how we operate.”

“I think that the Government may end up regretting that they went to that extreme.”

Labor claims Bennelong voters have delivered a rebuke of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his government despite not electing their star candidate, Kristina Keneally.

Ms Keneally, a former NSW premier, conceded defeat in the high-stakes by- election about 8.30pm on Saturday, admitting it had been an intense campaign and thanking volunteers and her family.

There was a swing against Liberal candidate John Alexander of about 5.5 per cent and even though it wasn’t enough to secure victory for Ms Keneally, she claimed it was a success for Labor.

“I am here to claim success for the Labor movement,” Ms Keneally told supporters at Club Ryde. “The people of Bennelong have had their say on Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberals. The verdict is in, the message is clear: we have had enough of your lousy leadership.”

Ms Keneally claimed if the result was replicated in a general election, Labor would claim up to 28 seats.

She said Mr Turnbull had “injected himself” into the campaign by admitting it was a vote on his government. “There is no doubt that he owns this result. There’s no escaping it.”

The party had been “energised and electrified” by the result, she added.

Federal opposition leader Bill Shorten agreed the swing against the Mr Alexander, who had to recontest the seat after doubts over his citizenship, was all about the prime minister, not Mr Alexander who has a strong personal vote. “That entire swing is attributable to Malcolm Turnbull and his rotten policies for this country,” Mr Shorten said.

“(Mr Turnbull) said this was a poll on him and his government. Malcolm Turnbull, you are correct. It was.” He said it gave Labor an election-winning swing at the next federal poll. “Friends, Labor finishes 2017 with a most remarkable wind in its sails, not the least because of the effort of people in this room,” he said. The mood at the Labor Party by-election night event turned from optimistic to subdued when it became clear Ms Keneally could not win, with many long faces staring at TV screens as the news sank in.

It regained energy when Ms Keneally and Mr Shorten entered the room and there were chants, cheering and loud applause.

Ms Keneally called the result “extraordinary” and insisted the by-election was “a big fight, but a fight worth having”.


Labor and friends serve up another helping of bile and hate

The debasing of our national political debate continues, the ABC is complicit and the Bennelong by-election has proved to be a case study of how this plays out. Labor’s so-called star candidate, Kristina Keneally, has embraced a now familiar tactic of the left: claiming victimhood while spouting vicious and baseless attacks on her opponents. Her willing accomplice has been Bill Shorten.

Along the way, national ­cohesion has been undermined as imaginary racist backlashes have been drummed up for political ­effect, tensions in our relationship with China have been inflamed, and the bar has been lowered yet again for the standards of our ­national political discourse. The damage will be bad enough if, as expected, Liberal backbencher John Alex­ander is returned by ­voters today. But ­imagine if ­Keneally wins — ­imagine the ­implications if this sort of shameless and reckless mudslinging is proven to be successful.

Many commentators and ­players lament the incontestable decline of public debate but most — presumably in the interests of demonstrating their even-­handedness — tend to address it with a pox-on-both-their-houses denunciation. Putting the lunatic fringes on the right and left to one side, it is the hateful rhetoric of the ­mainstream left that is most corrosive on politics. Transgressions by any people from any party should ­always be called out but, perhaps largely because of its ­preoccupation with identity politics, it is the mainstream left that engages in the most bilious and ­destructive attacks.

On Tuesday the Opposition Leader stood in the Sydney suburb of Ryde, in Bennelong, with Keneally and said this: “I think the Chinese community in Bennelong would be ­unimpressed by the constant, rampant China-phobia from Malcolm Turnbull — let’s call it as it is.” Shorten accused the Prime Minister and his government of racism without citing a word they had ­uttered to justify his claim.

“They will pay any price and make any slur or smear because they’re worried by Kristina Keneally and what happens in the by-election of Bennelong.” The alternative prime minister went on to say “Labor welcomes” all Australians whe­ther by birth or by choice, in a sin­ister inference that the govern­ment didn’t.

The following day they were at it again. “What we see from Malcolm Turnbull every single day is an assertion that our Chinese Australians, the people of Chinese ­descent or Chinese who are here studying or working on temporary visas, are people to be suspicious of,” Keneally said with Shorten by her side. “That is what Malcolm Turnbull’s doing.” Again, there was not a single shred of evidence proffered.

“We know that they’re getting tired by Malcolm Turnbull’s ­assertion that Asian Australians are not fully fledged members of Team Australia. You know, the last time we heard this rhetoric was from Pauline Hanson and One Nation 20 years ago and people think that we were all well ­behind it, but Malcolm Turnbull is reviving it.”

We all understand the tantalising prospect this by-election holds for Labor — the chance to force the Coalition into minority government — and with such high stakes we expect tough campaigning. Some may complain about how the Liberals have focused on Keneally’s past as the titular head of what transpired to be a corrupt and chaotic NSW Labor government. But it has been no more than scrutiny of her record. (Turnbull erred when he said she ­appointed Eddie Obeid to cabinet — she never did. Rather, Obeid and his acolytes thrust her into the leadership and she recalled Ian Macdonald to cabinet.)

We know Shorten was knocked off balance by the controversy over senator Sam Dastyari’s personal payments from a Chinese benefactor while spruiking Chinese foreign policy and tipping off his benefactor to the possibility of surveillance by intelligence agencies. Dastyari’s forced resignation during the Bennelong campaign showed how his double-dealing had hurt Labor and exposed the lack of action by Shorten. So Labor’s “China-phobic” attacks on the Coalition were a transparent attempt to deflect the heat.

All voters could see what was going on. Yet surely most of us were surprised that when placed under this sort of pressure by the obvious misdeeds of their own colleague, the knee-jerk reaction of Shorten and Keneally was to make the most vile accusation against Turnbull. Short of behaving in a racist fashion, seeking to dishonestly tar someone as racist has to be about as reprehensible as you can get. Turnbull was right to point out his own granddaughter was a Chinese Australian.

Given the vital foreign policy ­issues at the heart of the Dastyari scandal — no less than the ­allegiance of our politicians to this nation — it is extraordinary also that Labor would seek to play politics in a way that would recklessly imperil our bilateral relationship as well as risk stirring up resentment within the Australian Chinese community.

Beijing reacted with fiery rhetoric and diplomatic representations. It is hard to ­fathom whether Labor aped Beijing’s inflammatory words or vice versa, but the line that Australia’s public warnings on foreign interference were motivated by Sino-phobic ­racism was similar from China and Labor. Whether this reaction was cooked up in Beijing or Sussex Street, or both, it was appalling and should never have passed Shorten or Keneally’s lips.

The Opposition Leader might have done better to say he had learned the lessons from Dastyari’s diplomatic two-step and taken steps to ensure it would never happen again. He might then be taken ­seriously on the challenge confronting both sides of politics over accepting Chinese donations too willingly and perhaps having been too unquestioning about allies and former colleagues profiting as ­lobbyists for Chinese interests.

It should go without saying that our national interest takes precedence over that of any other ­nation and that the focus is on China only because of its economic weight, strategic posture, ­intense lobbying activity and the Dastyari disaster. Race has precisely nothing to do with it.

Still, it has become common for the aggressive left — particularly when losing policy debates on border protection or indigenous ­affairs — to use the slur of racism to silence or intimidate anyone who disagrees with it. In its world of identity politics and virtue signalling, political views are ­indistinguishable from individual iden­tity, so anyone holding an ­opposing view becomes a worthy target for character assassination.

It is a depressing descent from political debate into personal abuse. Sadly it is facilitated, if not encouraged, by much of the media debate. On ABC television news this week a reporter told us “both sides” were “playing the race card” in Bennelong. Say what?! Labor played the race card, as evidenced above, and the Liberals defended themselves. And just this week we saw the ABC continue to promote people who spew hate at their ideological enemies (yes, this invariably means leftists attacking people on the right of centre).

Sami Shah is a Pakistani-Australian comedian given a plum ABC radio job in Melbourne. “Does Peter Dutton wake up every morning with a hard-on for abusing refugees?” is the sort of thing he tweets. “It’s not Peter Dutton’s fault. His grandfather was an asshole,” is another in his Twitter feed that is peppered with all the standard anti-American and anti-Israeli fare. The ABC also has promoted Benjamin Law despite — or perhaps because of — his tweeting about how he would like to “hate-f..k” politicians ­opposed to same-sex marriage.

If this is the hate and abuse that wins promotion at the public broadcaster — if this is the invective that is deliberately amplified through publicly funded platforms — what hope do we have of ­improving the national debate, let alone our political outcomes?


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

1 comment:

Paul said...

Its a shame that a snowflake was offended, but the issue Alexander was alluding to as I read it, was the devaluing of the disability sticker and entitlements that come with it.