Tuesday, December 05, 2017

WA rivers losing climate change battle

This is utter rubbish.  Rainfall in WA is notoriously variable, with many long dryish periods and some periods of flooding.  Rainfall has in fact been quite good in recent years, thus raising the average for recent years.  To compare that recent average with current falls tells us nothing.  Note below no comparison with the long term average

Rivers in the southwest region of WA are struggling to cope with the impact of climate change despite average winter rainfalls returning to the area.

A good dose of winter rainfall has failed to save rivers in WA's South West region from the impact of climate change, the state's water minister says.

Despite improvements in overall rainfall, most rivers recorded below average flows compared to the period from 1975 to 2016, according to the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation.

It comes as winter this year was WA's hottest on record, with average winter rainfall the 11th-lowest since 1900 when records began.

Gingin Brook in Perth's north continues to be one of the areas most affected by climate change, Water Minister Dave Kelly said on Monday.

Unusually heavy rainfall in February, combined with last year's winter rains, has given a short-term boost to Perth's main groundwater supply, which is currently at levels not seen since 2009.

Known as the Gnangara groundwater system, it supplies around 40 per cent of Perth's drinking water each year.

Mr Kelly said the February rainfall was another example of climate change where more extreme and unusual weather is predicted.

"River flows are one of the best indicators for measuring the effects of reduced rainfall," he said.

"What this year shows is there is no escaping the impact of climate change, which is not only reducing flow to our water supply dams but to our rivers as well."


University boffins want to scrap sporting terms like 'ruckman' in favour of 'ruckperson' to tackle rigid gender stereotypes

University researchers have recommended terms like 'ruckman' and 'batsman'  be scrapped in favour of 'ruckperson' and 'batter' to help fight against gender stereotyping.

The push for 'gender-neutral' language in sport has been proposed to help reduce violence against women and follows research by Swinburne and Latrobe University researchers .

 A key recommendation of the research, according to the Herald Sun, was to employ gender-neutral language across the sporting sector at every level, in a bid to 'discredit rigid gender roles and stereotyped constructions of masculinity and femininity.'

Since a roundtable last week, there has been plenty of debate about the effectiveness of the move in dismantling gender stereotypes.

Dr Lauren Rosewarne told Neil Mitchell on 3AW on Monday morning that she thinks gender-neutral language is important, but we should also be focusing on non-sporting terms - like 'chairperson' instead of 'chairman' as well.

'I'm always a supporter of language that can be inclusive, [but] I don't think it's going to have the impact the researchers think – I think that's a very long bow to draw,' she explained.

'But I am a supporter of gender neutral language,' she added comparing the recommendation to the recent adoption of gender-neutral language in maths, science and technology.

'If we identify that we want everybody to feel included, then we have to use language that includes everybody - and that means women,' she said.  'It's not as difficult as you're making out.'

Dr Rosewarne, a senior lecturer in the School of Social and Political Sciences, writes, researches and comments on sexuality, gender, feminism, the media, pop culture, public policy and politics.

'I've never seen any research that domestic violence occurs because somebody is calling them a ruckman,' she elaborated.

'While I'm passionate about gender-neutral language because I like to be inclusive, I'm not sure in this example that it's the way to solve the problem.

She said that better terms to work on would be 'spokesperson' and 'chairperson'  - 'they are examples of words that make assumptions that men are in a position of power always.'

The project was initially commissioned by the Andrews Government's Office of Prevention and Women's Equality.

It is being spearheaded by Swinburne's Dr Emma Sherry, who believes sport plays a significant role in reducing violence against women and promoting gender equality.

The first stage of was to convene a panel of experts in sport and active recreation, women's equality, and prevention of violence for the round table.

An in-depth summary of the findings will be presented to the Office of Prevention and Women's Equality later this month, according to Swinburne University, and will be put into effect in 2018.


Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says he's 'confident' he will remain Liberal leader

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says he has "every confidence" his leadership will survive to the next federal election as the government sheds "barnacles" and welcomes back Barnaby.

Mr Turnbull is trumpeting Barnaby Joyce's thumping victory in Saturday's New England byelection as evidence there is still strong public support for the Coalition, despite its recent woes.

Mr Joyce is expected to return to Canberra this week after securing a massive 64 per cent of the primary vote in the byelection, which was ordered after the High Court found he was a dual citizen.

Mr Turnbull admitted the government had faced some "tough issues" in 2017 but said Saturday's result was a "big vote of confidence" in the government. "The swing to Barnaby was higher than the Labor Party's primary vote. So it was a very emphatic swing," he told Sky News.

The Prime Minister says he has a big agenda for 2018 - including personal income tax cuts - as he seeks to put the divisive debates over same-sex marriage and the banks, not to mention the citizenship crisis, behind him.

"Step by step we're getting barnacles off the boat, we're making real changes that are resulting in real jobs and real investment," he said.

"I have every confidence that I will lead the Coalition to the next election in 2019 and we will win it. Because we are putting in place the policies that deliver for the Australian people."

Mr Joyce has vowed to reinstate discipline in his party's ranks when he returns to Canberra but also suggested there is "jealousy" among some Liberal colleagues over the Nationals' influence over recent policy debates.

Mr Joyce said the Nationals "stand up for themselves" and would continue to drive "the day-to-day iterations within the policy debate which we put our fingerprints all over".

Mr Joyce said it wasn't clear when he would resume his seat in Parliament but he was "not in a big hurry". Party sources say it could be as soon as this Wednesday.

"I just want to take a day off. It's a hectic time, a campaign. But no doubt people want me down there as quickly as possible," he said.

He said he'd already started helping stitch Coalition relations back together, having most of his Nationals team in Tamworth on Saturday night to celebrate his victory alongside Mr Turnbull.

The Prime Minister has been battling rebellion from a number of Nationals MPs in Mr Joyce's absence, particularly over the banking royal commission. Mr Turnbull announced a royal commission on Thursday after it become clear the rebels had the numbers in Parliament to set up an inquiry without the executive's support.

"There are 226 individuals and each of them will from time-to-time express views that are not necessarily ideal from their leaders point of view. But that's democracy," Mr Turnbull said.

"Having Barnaby back as leader is obviously very important," he said. "I am very confident we will be able to see a disciplined approach to teamwork within the coalition."

In a lengthy interview on Sunday morning, Mr Turnbull also promised that "there will be no preference deals with One Nation at the next federal election, full stop."

Mr Joyce reiterated his call for a referendum on changes to Section 44 of the Constitution dealing with citizenship - suggesting a model in which someone born in Australia could sit in Parliament unless they had actively sought a second citizenship. He said the current situation was "patently absurd".


Penalty rate changes to go ahead

LABOR’S push to reverse cuts to Sunday penalty rates appears to be doomed after Nationals MP George Christensen rebuffed an Opposition challenge to cross the floor.

A bill reversing the industrial umpire’s decision cleared the Senate on Monday. The Greens and several crossbench senators supported Labor’s amendments to legislation scrapping four-yearly reviews of modern awards.

Labor frontbencher Doug Cameron said there was “no excuse” for Mr Christensen to abandon his support for penalty rates.

In July, the maverick Queensland MP introduced a private bill to wind back the Fair Work Commission’s decision to cut penalty rates for hospitality, retail, pharmacy and fast-food workers.

But Mr Christensen won’t back Labor’s amendments when the legislation enters the lower house. “Amendment from the Senate does not guarantee no back-pay costs for small business. I can’t just go on Dougie Cameron’s say so,” Mr Christensen tweeted on Monday.

“As such, I can’t support the amendment as it is.” Labor’s move — labelled a stunt by Employment Minister Michaelia Cash — forced the government in the upper house to oppose its own bill.

With Mr Christensen’s support, the government has the numbers in the lower house to defeat the penalty rates reversal.

Senator Cameron says 700,000 workers have been affected by the commission’s decision since it took effect on July 1. “This is exactly why people see the coalition as not being fit for government,” Senator Cameron said.

“They do not support penalty rates for workers. They want to attack working people in this country every opportunity they get.” Senator Cash accused Labor of holding otherwise non-controversial legislation hostage to another stunt on penalty rates.

“They would put political point-scoring ahead of the interests of employers, unions and everyday workers,” Senator Cash said.

She says the original bill, which also allows the Fair Work Commission to overlook minor and technical errors when approving industrial agreements, made common-sense changes.

Mr Christensen has broken ranks with the government this year over establishing a banking royal commission and restoring penalty rates.

He has admitted he was the anonymous MP last week threatening to quit the party if Malcolm Turnbull continued as prime minister.


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

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