Wednesday, February 22, 2017



Nazeem Hussain says an irresponsible Pauline Hanson is doing ‘the same as ISIS

Nazeem Hussain is a Muslim, and of course a Lefty. He says, “When Pauline Hanson says things irresponsibly she is doing exactly what ISIS is doing.”

Isis have been murdering people by the thousands, blowing them up, sawing off heads with kitchen knives, shooting, burning, drowning, crucifying,... etc. They enjoy creatively killing anyone they hate, which is anyone other than themselves. Isis and Jihadists all over the world are committed to killing or supporting the killing of non-muslims.

Yet Nazeem Hussain says that Pauline Hanson is doing what Isis is doing.  Come again?  He also says that Isis and Pauline Hanson are trying to “divide” Muslims and non-Muslims. But Isis is not trying to divide Muslims and non-Muslims, they are trying to kill, enslave or convert non-Muslims through terror, which is the means of conversion encouraged in the Koran.

He is a stupid man. He should reassess himself and apologise for his stupid statements. I doubt he will though.



COMEDIAN Nazeem Hussain has accused right wing politician Pauline Hanson of playing into the hands of Muslim extremists.

“When Pauline Hanson says things irresponsibly what she is doing, is doing exactly what ISIS is doing,” Hussain told campmates in the South African jungle on Channel Ten’s I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!

“When tragedy happens, I always think, what is going to happen to us? Are we going to become what ISIS wants us to become, a world where there is Muslim and non-Muslim. What happens time and again, and this just shows the Australian spirit, is that we actually find ways to use that opportunity to strengthen bonds and we come closer together. It is weird me being emotional about politics like this but it is personal for me.”

Hussain, 30, broke down to tears as he spoke out about the pressure and responsibility he feels at being a Muslim in Australia today. He describes his commitment to his faith as being “devout” and prays five times a day, even when in the South African jungle.

“I am Australian, I love my country. I want to make my community and society better,” he said. “I feel like I need to be also using my platform to help people understand each other and to kind of bring people together.”

Hussain continued: “Before September 11, Muslims were just another ethnic community. But after September 11, Muslims in Australia suddenly became this political community that were ideologically opposed to the Australian way of life. We often talk about each other, Muslims and non-Muslims but we never really speak and have friendships with each other.”

SOURCE







Coal proves its worth while the Left tilts at windmills

Kevin Rudd breezed into the Sky News studio in Canberra last week to decry the lack of “deep, strong, committed national leadership” since the electorate’s foolish ­decision to turf him out of office.

It was “nuts” to remove the carbon tax, he said. “Where we are now can be summed up in three words: dumb, dumb, dumb.”

Australia’s energy market could be dumber still if Labor wins office and pursues its vanity target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030. The plight of South Aus­tralia, the canary in the turbine blades, demonstrates what happens when an economy becomes hostage to unreliable sources of power.

Yet Rudd was unapologetic. Coal? Don’t get him started. “The message for coal, long-term globally, is down and out,” he informed us. We need “a heavy mix of renewables”, which was why he was proud that the government had introduced the renewable ­energy target.

In the real world, the one outside Rudd’s brain, the RET is nothing to be proud of. It is one of the most expensive public policy disasters of the century, market intervention on a massive scale with unfair and unintended con­sequences that will haunt Aus­tralians for decades.

Rudd, determined to tackle the era’s “greatest moral challenge”, upped the target by more than 450 per cent in an uncosted promise before the 2007 election.

It was crazy, as the Productivity Commission politely tried to tell him in a 2008 submission. The target would not increase abatement but would impose extra costs and lead to higher electricity prices, the commission warned.

It would favour existing technologies — namely wind and solar — while holding back new ideas that might ultimately be more ­successful.

Rudd, of course, knew better. Not for the last time, he ignored the Productivity Commission and pushed ahead with his renewable target of 45,000GWh by 2020, of which 41,000GWh would come from large-scale wind and solar.

If the policy was designed to punish Australian consumers, it was a roaring success. Household electricity bills increased by 92 per cent under the Rudd-Gillard governments, six times the level of ­inflation.

Rudd went further, spending $4.15 billion on dubious clean ­energy boondoggles. He put $1.6bn into solar technologies, delivered $465 million to establish the research institute Renewables Australia, gave $480m to the Nat­ional Solar Schools Program to give schools “a head start in tackling climate change and conserving our precious water supplies”. Easy come, easy go; the money tree seemed ripe for picking.

The cost of meeting Rudd’s windmill and solar fetish has been extraordinary. Wind-generated power is roughly three-times more expensive than traditional energy, and large-scale solar even pricier.

It has taken cross-subsidies of $22bn to keep renewables viable, according to a 2014 review for the federal government. The economy-wide cost was put at $29bn.

It amounts to industry welfare on steroids. Corporations that jumped on the clean energy gravy train have benefited from assistance on a far greater scale than that we once lavished on the car industry.

Wind farm operators work in splendid isolation from the risk and uncertainty that trouble ordinary businesses. Their share price is not driven by supply and demand for electricity, but by the funny-money world of large-scale generation certificates.

When the LGC spot price shot up from $52 in July 2015 to $86, the value of Infigen’s stock ­quadrupled.

Coal energy producers, on the other hand, saw their fortunes decline. The Alinta power station closed at Port Augusta in May last year, ground down by operating losses of about $100m.

The result of Labor’s ill-considered RET policy should shame the social justice party into silence. Shareholders in the likes of Infigen have grown rich by squeezing coal operators out of business with all that entails: the loss of 440 jobs at Port Augusta, for example, and the threat the closure presents to jobs in other South Australian industries.

They have grown rich through a scheme that has made the electricity grid more unstable and reduced the reliability of supply.

They have grown rich through a scheme that has more than doubled the cost of running an air­conditioner, a detail that probably won’t trouble Infigen’s executives on the 22nd floor of their five-star energy-rated Pitt Street, Sydney, headquarters but would make life uncomfortable for a pensioner surviving on $437 a week in Adelaide’s northern suburbs.

On paper, the case for abolishing the RET is strong. Deloitte’s estimates the reduction in electricity prices would add $28.8bn to GDP by 2030 and create 50,000 jobs.

The politics of liberalising the energy market would be punishing, however, and all but impossible to negotiate through the Senate.

The status quo — a 23.5 per cent renewable target by 2020 — will require doubling the capacity of wind and solar and will further erode the viability of coal plants. The doubling of energy future ­prices that followed the announcement of the closure of Victoria’s Hazelwood power station is a sign of things to come.

Rudd’s claim that coal is “down and out” will come as news to the Japanese government, which is planning up to 47 coal-fired, high-energy, low-emissions plants burning high-quality Australian black coal.

It would be viable in Australia, too, if energy providers enjoyed a free market. With gas prices high, ultra-supercritical coal generation would fill the demand for base-load power.

Yet the uncertainty of Labor’s greener-than-thou policies — not just a 50 per cent RET but a price on carbon, too — could yet make the end of coal a self-fulfilling prophecy.

SOURCE





Academic rigour is a welcome change in new NSW curriculum

The new NSW senior school courses prove why it is best to give the states and territories control over Years 11 and 12 and not force them to adopt a national curriculum model, as we have for Foundation to Year 10.

While the devil is in the detail, the new NSW senior school courses in English, history, maths and science look to be an improvement on drafts released for public comment last year.

Compared with the other states and territories, it also appears these courses represent a more academically rigorous approach to the curriculum.

In history, the inclusion of topics such as the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, the Age of Imperialism and the Industrial Age are vital if students are to understand past events and movements that shaped Western civilisation.

Saying that English must include a mandatory course with “explicit reference to structure and grammar, spelling, vocabulary and punctuation”, while stating the obvious, is essential if students are to successfully communicate and this should also be welcomed.

One criticism of the draft science course released last year was that there was not enough emphasis on maths; the fact that the final syllabus design includes increased maths content is also welcome.

Emphasising critical thinking and not just “a recall of facts” — even though both are important — is also beneficial because by Years 11 and 12 students should be expected to master higher order, more abstract skills.

Where there is a slight misgiving is when the new maths syllabus says there will be an “increased focus on problem-solving, applied to real-world problems”.

Often what is most important in maths is mastering complex algorithms and procedures that might not have “real-world” application but are vital to the discipline.

As always, when designing curriculum, the real test will be what happens when it is delivered by teachers in schools and how well students are prepared for further study and a world of work.

Some of the best syllabuses, no matter how well designed, fail the classroom test and prove that what is intended does not always eventuate in practice.

SOURCE





How do you solve a problem like sharia?

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Yassmin Abdel-Magied, an Islamic activist, has been paid by the Australian government to visit countries such as Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Qatar, it is said, “to promote Australia”. Far from offering criticism of the misogynistic sharia laws on the books in those countries, Abdel-Magied recently stated that Islam is “the most feminist” of all religions. Confronted with the abuses that are committed against women in the countries she visited, Abdel-Magied replied: “I’m not going to deny, some countries run by Muslims are violent and sexist, but that’s not down to sharia. That’s down to the culture and the patriarchy and the politics of those … countries.”

That is absurd. Abdel-Magied fits into a familiar pattern, where the government of a free society such as Australia invests a considerable sum in an individual or a group in the hope that the person is a “moderate” Muslim and will advance the assimilation of their Muslim minority through constructive engagement. Then the supposed moderate the government has invested in is exposed as a closet Islamist, in this case sympathetic to sharia law. The government is left red-faced. Others simply see red.

In a televised exchange on ABC, Australian senator Jacqui Lambie challenged Abdel-Magied’s views, holding that those who support sharia law should be deported from Australia. Remarkably, the televised debate was followed by a demand for an apology by the ABC from a collective of 49 Muslim scholars, lawyers and self-appointed individuals who claim to speak for all Australian Muslims. The petition alleged “Islamophobia” and criticised ABC host Tony Jones for not upholding the “values of respect and fairness” and for failing to provide a “safe environment” for Abdel-Magied.

Yet what set of principles is less safe for women than sharia? As a moral and legal code, sharia law is among the most dehumanising, demeaning and degrading for women ever devised by man:

 *  Under sharia law, a woman’s testimony is worth half of a man’s testimony in court (Koran 2:282).

 *  Under sharia law, men are the “guardians” of women; women are to be obedient to men, and husbands may beat their wives for disobedience (Koran 4:34).

 *  Under sharia law, a woman may not refuse sexual access to her husband unless she is medically incapable or menstruating, a teaching based partly on Allah himself saying in the Koran, “Your women are a tillage for you; so come unto your tillage as you wish” (Koran 2:223)

 *  Under sharia law, a woman inherits less than a man, generally half as much, again based on holy writ: “Allah enjoins you concerning your children: the male shall have the equal of the portion of two females” (Koran 4.11, 4.12).

 *  Under sharia law, men and women who commit fornication are to be flogged. As to the punishment for fornicators, the Koran says: “Let not compassion move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by Allah, if ye believe in Allah and the Last Day: and let a party of the Believers witness their punishment” (Koran 24:2).

 *  Under sharia law, a man may unilaterally divorce his wife through talaq, whereas women are limited to divorce either under specific circumstances, such as the husband’s impotence, or with the husband’s consent and payment of a certain amount of money (khul).

 *  Sharia law permits fathers to contract binding marriages for their children so long as they are minors; and although a boy married against his wishes may exercise his power to divorce his wife unilaterally once he matures, a girl’s exit from such an unwanted marriage is much more difficult.

 *  Under sharia law, the custody of children is generally granted to ­fathers, and mothers lose custody if they remarry because their attention is supposed to go to their new husbands.

 *  Although majority-Muslim countries have in practice abolished slavery (Saudi Arabia did so mainly as a result of foreign pressure in 1962), slavery still has not been abolished in sharia law. Sexual slavery was common in Islamic history and is accepted by sharia law.

Defenders of sharia note that in some respects, Islamic law improved the position of women in 7th century tribal Arabia, for instance by categorically banning female infanticide. Yet surely, in the 21st century, we can set the bar higher than that?

Contrary to the claims of Abdel-Magied, the problematic tenets of sharia are not some relic left over from the cultural practices of the 7th century. Today, sharia law is applied in many countries as a matter of reality, and it is also enforced in many Muslim communities in matters such as marriage, divorce, custody and inheritance proceedings.

Indeed, the countries Abdel-Magied visited are proud to call their legal code sharia law.

Saudi Arabia’s Basic Law states: “The regime derives its power from the Holy Koran and the Prophet’s Sunnah, which rule over this and all other State Laws”, all “within the framework of the sharia”. Likewise, Kuwait’s constitution declares that “Islamic law shall be a main source of legislation”.

Sudan’s interim 2005 constitution states: “Nationally enacted legislation having effect only in respect of the Northern states of the Sudan shall have as its sources of legislation Islamic sharia and the consensus of the people.”

Qatar’s constitution requires the ruler to “swear by God, the Great, to respect the Islamic law”. Egypt’s 2014 constitution holds: “The principles of Islamic sharia are the principle source of legislation.”

In Iran, the marriage of girls at a young age is permitted, based on Mohammed’s consummation of his marriage to Aisha when she was nine. Was marriage at such a young age uncommon, given the cultural norms of the 7th century? No. Should such a historical precedent be emulated today? No.

It is therefore plainly false to say, as Abdel-Magied does, that the subjection of women in these countries is “not down to sharia (but) down to the culture and the patriarchy and the politics of those … countries”.

However, an important distinction can be made between “sharia lite” and “sharia forte”. Sharia forte is applied in the legal system of theocracies such as Saudi Arabia (which Abdel-Magied visited) and Iran, and by organisations such as Islamic State and Boko Haram. It does not apply in the West for obvious reasons.

But sharia lite is informally enforced within Muslim communities in Western countries, including Australia. In Australia, Islamists rely on sharia law to arbitrate divorces and inheritance disagreements. In 2015, a journalist writing in this newspaper observed that “given the undercover application of sharia law, often within mosques, there is little scrutiny of the process and the fairness of the adjudications”.

There is another problem: the general mindset of some Islamic “leaders” in Australia. In 2006, Australians were shocked to find the country’s most senior Islamic cleric, Taj el-Din Hilaly, refer to unveiled rape victims as “uncovered meat” that was left out in public. When a cat comes to eat the meat, the sheik reasoned, “the uncovered meat is the problem” because “if she was in her room, in her home, in her hijab, no problem would have occurred”.

The ensuing public controversy led to Hilaly’s retirement, but his views were not out of line with Islamic law.

Sharia manuals such as Reliance of the Traveller hold that a husband may forbid his wife to leave the house and the wife must obey, and that a woman may not draw attention to herself in public.

In the Islamist mindset, Muslim women in Western countries should not enjoy the legal protections of the societies they live in. Two recent studies conducted by Elham Manea and Machteld Zee into British sharia “arbitration councils” offer clear evidence of this.

Abdel-Magied and the Islamist collective that is demanding an apology from ABC are not interested in this kind of inconvenient truth. They want to deflect attention away from the problems inherent in sharia law.

In my view, the Australian government should stop funding people such as Abdel-Magied, and the other partners they have, and instead find progressive, reform-minded Muslims who will help with the vital task of assimilating Muslims into Australian society.

The only way to resolve the fundamental challenge to women’s rights posed by sharia law is to criticise its problematic aspects openly.

The successful assimilation of Muslim immigrants in Australia is an achievable goal, but not on the basis of the hypocrisy and phony indignation in which the likes of Abdel-Magied specialise.

SOURCE

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, February 21, 2017



Male Muslim students at Sydney public school given permission to refuse to shake hands with women - because it is against their religion

Muslim students at a Sydney public school can refuse to shake hands with women even at an awards ceremony.

The Hurstville Boys Campus of Georges River College introduced the policy to allow Muslim boys to instead put their hand on the heart as a greeting.

The Year 7 to 10 school's two principals told guests at its 2016 presentation day, including notable community members, that students may decline the gesture.

The practice comes from the Muslim teaching of hadith that states: 'It is better to be stabbed in the head with an iron needle than to touch the hand of a woman who is not permissible to you.'

The NSW Education told The Australian it approved of the 'agreed protocol' that was developed through consultation between staff, parents and students.

'The department require­s its schools to recognise and respect the cultural, linguistic and religious backgrounds of all students, with the intent to promote an open and tolerant attitude towards a diverse Australian community­,' it said.

The department said principals were best placed to know the needs of their communities when following that requirement.

Such a literal interpretation of hadith, which describes the practices of the prophet Mohammed is controversial even among Australian Muslim leaders.

Australia's Grand Mufti Ibrahim Abu Mohammed shakes hands with women as did his predecessor, Fehmi Naji El-Imam, and Islamic schools do not even have the policy.

Former Islamic Council of Victoria secretary Kuranda Seyit said many young students were taught to take it 'too seriously' and it should apply in a school context. 'For some young adults, when they meet people of the opposite sex, to shake someone's hand suggests a friendship,' he said.

Mr Seyit said it was an issue because Australians do not understand the custom and could be embarrassed if they were 'left hanging'.

'Students should be able to shake hands with the teacher or the principal, or receive a greeting from a visitor to the school,' he said.

SOURCE






Shorten fails to specify cost of Labor's renewables policy when asked four times

Bill Shorten has declined to be specific about the cost of Labor’s goal to have 50% of Australia’s electricity generated from renewable sources by 2030.

In an early morning radio interview on Wednesday, Shorten was asked four times about the cost to consumers of executing such a transition, but the Labor leader deflected, pointing to the costs of not acting.

With the Coalition intent on making energy policy a point of sharp partisan difference, Malcolm Turnbull pounced on the interview, telling reporters in Canberra the Labor leader had admitted “he had no idea what his reckless renewable energy target would cost, or what its consequences would be.”

“He confirmed precisely the criticism that we’ve made about Mr Shorten, that he is literally clueless on this subject, mindless, just like South Australia has been.”

Labor’s 50% by 2030 policy is not a RET, it is an “aspiration”. Labor’s election policy says the 50% national goal would work in concert with state-based RET schemes, which the prime minister has blasted consistently since a storm plunged South Australia into a statewide blackout last year.

During an interview with the ABC Shorten was pressed repeatedly about the practical consequences of the shift – the costs to consumers of executing such a significant transition in Australia’s energy mix.

Shorten attempted to explain the broad rationale for increasing renewables in Australia’s energy mix, and he said Labor believed there was “a range of levers which assist, from having an emissions intensive scheme and the energy intensity scheme in the energy industry, having a market trading scheme and an emissions trading scheme [and] looking at the rate of land clearing.”

“Our answer is very, very straightforward. We think the cost of not acting is far greater.”

“We don’t think we could sustain the cost as the Liberals are saying, of building new coal-fired power generation on the scale which Mr Turnbull is saying and we don’t think that, from insurance to drought to extreme weather events, that we can simply go business as usual.”

Australian National University research associate Hugh Saddler in July 2015 estimated Labor’s policy would increase wholesale market prices by four cents per kWh above present levels in every state market except South Australia.

By signing on to the Paris climate agreement, the Turnbull government has committed Australia to reducing emissions by 26-28% on 2005 levels by 2030. Meeting those targets will impose costs on consumers.

The government has been advised by numerous experts that its Direct Action climate policy will not allow Australia to meet the Paris targets, and adopting an emissions intensity scheme, a form of carbon trading, would allow Australia to reduce emissions from energy at the least cost to households and businesses.

The government has thus far rejected that advice.

SOURCE





Traditional Aboriginal culture at odds with "closing the gap"

Nine years, tens of billions of dollars and tons of national goodwill have not made much impression on the appalling gaps in social outcomes between the most disadvantaged indigenous Australians and other citizens.

This is the depressing finding of the 2017 Closing the Gap report — which has prompted Malcolm Turnbull to announce yet another reinvention of the federal government’s approach to indigenous policy.

The annual ritual of acknowledging the failure to close the gap should prompt us to consider the well-meaning but contradictory character of our approach to indigenous affairs.

Indigenous policy continues to pull in different and hard-to-reconcile directions. Recognising the tensions and contradictions might encourage us to adopt a more realistic attitude towards closing the gap.

The Rudd government’s Closing the Gap strategy introduced in 2008 extended the Howard government’s idea of practical reconciliation. The idea was that if indigenous people, regardless of where they lived, were given access to the same standard of social services as other Australians, they would hopefully achieve the same health, education, employment and other social outcomes.

This mainstreaming of indigenous services replaced the policy of Aboriginal self-determination established in the 1970s, which involved indigenous-controlled organisations delivering services to indigenous people. By the mid-2000s, Aboriginal self-determination was widely acknowledged to have failed to improve outcomes, especially in remote communities with the highest levels of disadvantage.

It now seems that the Turnbull government has gone back to the future: it has pledged to empower indigenous communities and collaborate with indigenous organisations to deliver local solutions — a renewed focus on self-determination, in combination with a commitment to ensuring indigenous programs are properly evaluated.

The Howard, Rudd and Turnbull approaches have all been underpinned by the same principle: government support should be extended to allow indigenous people to continue to live on their traditional lands in order to preserve traditional indigenous culture and identity.

This was also the idea behind Kevin Rudd’s recent comments about the emergence of a “second stolen generation” if indigenous children continue to be “separated from their culture” at record rates due to abuse and neglect.

The worst social outcomes and disadvantage are among the 20 per cent of indigenous Australians who live in rural and remote homelands with the worst social dysfunction.

By contrast, the 80 per cent of indigenous Australians who live mainly in urban areas achieve social outcomes that are the same as their non-indigenous peers. Moreover, their indigenous identity is unquestioned, despite having little contact with traditional lands and traditional culture.

Yet many Australians continue to support the idea of indigenous people living close to culture on traditional lands. They believe this is the path to true reconciliation by making up for the historic sins of colonial dispossession. Yet these attitudes make the problems worse.

This is the great insight of anthropologist Peter Sutton, who spent many years working in indigenous communities in Cape York. He has shown how the problems in the homelands cannot simply be blamed on colonial oppression, lack of self-determination, or suppression of indigenous culture.

As Sutton argues, the remote communities with the worst problems are those that have been least, and most recently, touched by colonisation, and where people have continued to live closest to a traditional manner and on their traditional lands. In these communities, the persistence of traditional culture practices — such as hunter and gatherer-style hygiene and sanitation habits and permissively neglectful attitudes to parenting children — contribute significantly to poor health, child welfare, and other social outcomes.

Welfare, alcohol, drugs and pornography imported into indigenous communities through contact with non-indigenous culture continue to cause havoc.

But as Alice Springs indigenous leader Jacinta Price has powerfully emphasised, epidemic levels of domestic violence in indigenous communities are caused by the deep cultural roots of some indigenous men’s traditional, violent and misogynistic attitudes towards woman.

The implications for indigenous policy are confronting — namely that if we want indigenous people to continue to live remotely in order live close to culture, maybe we need to accept that the consequence will be gaps in social outcomes.

Adopting this realistic approach will not solve the intractable problem of indigenous disadvantage. But it may help bring clarity to discussion of indigenous policy, and what can and can’t be done to close the gap.

SOURCE






The new welfare state leviathan

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) was described in a CIS report five years ago as "the new leviathan"; "in budgetary terms, another Medicare"; and "a monster of a government program."

This has been confirmed in spades, and it is hardly surprising that paying for the $22 billion monster has become a contentious issue.

The scheme's most ardent advocates insist it is fully funded because various revenue and expense offsets were announced when it was launched. This is just so much sophistry.

The offsets were never enough, and in any case were not put into a jam jar labelled 'NDIS'. That is not how the budget works. As long as there is a deficit, nothing the government does can be said to be fully funded by current revenue, and all spending programs and all revenue sources are subject to scrutiny for ways out of the deficit hole.

The real issue is the NDIS has attracted such political support that even at birth it is a sacred cow of public policy. It has become politically incorrect to be critical of it or anything connected to it. The former CEO of Myer learned that when he dared state the truth -- that increasing the Medicare levy to help pay for the NDIS would be bad for retail sales.

Ideally, the scheme would have been deferred until it could be afforded, but that opportunity has gone. Still, the NDIS cannot defy budget arithmetic: it has to be paid for, and doing so as it ramps up over the next three years makes balancing the budget so much harder. To state -- as various ministers have this week -- that this means spending less elsewhere and/or raising more revenue is to state the incontrovertible.

It is to be hoped the government is not softening us up for another hike in the Medicare levy. This is just an increase in income tax by another name, and would make a mockery of this government's rhetoric in favour of lower income tax. If the NDIS is sacred, then the way to make room for it in the budget is to squeeze other programs.

SOURCE

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, February 20, 2017



ZEG

In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG has switched his loyalty to Cory Bernardi's Conservative Party






A good letter gets results

I have always found it easy to write and as a result I write a lot of letters, mostly by snail mail.  So when I see something happening that I don't like, I don't just bitch about it.  I send a letter to whomever is likely to be able to fix it.  And it will be no surprise that I have written to the big bosses of banks quite a lot.  As I think everyone reading this will know, banks can be very frustrating

One thing that has been bothering me a bit lately is the way Australian banks keep closing branches or downgrading the services that they offer from a branch.

For a while there was a sort of mini-branch of the Commonwealth babnk right next to where I often go for brunch so that was very convenient.  I rather liked the looks of one of the female tellers they had there too. Even we oldies can admire from afar.

But it was of course too good to last.  The tellers were abolished and you were expected to do everything through a sort of super-ATM they had installed.  There were however still some staff there to help people who could not do what they wanted with the ATMs.

So recently I walked in with a big cheque that I wanted to deposit.  But the place was full of customers waiting for personal service.  So I decided to give up and visit a real branch the next day.  But where was there a real branch? It is not easy to look up.  They have a list of branches online but some of them have been abolished and there is no way of knowing what services the remaining ones offer.  In a couple of cases there were phone numbers I could ring but when I rang I got only an answering machine that had no answers that I wanted to hear.

What to do?  I also have an account at the Bank of Qld. and I have never had to wait long there.  So I went in to my nearest branch, found two tellers behind the desk and only one person ahead of me.  So I deposited my cheque, was given a printed receipt and walked out happy.  Because of their poor services, the Commonwealth missed out on getting my money despite considerable efforts on my part to give it to them.  Amazing.

So I wrote a letter.  Here it is:

28 December, 2016

TO:
Ian Narev
CEO
CBA

Dear Mr. Narev,

As a CBA shareholder and a customer I am appalled at how your standards of customer service have slipped.

I went into your recently downgraded Buranda branch today and found a big queue-up of people waiting for personal service.   I had a big cheque to deposit that I was not willing to entrust to your machines. I left rather than wait. Please reinstate its former status

I then went online to find an alternative branch near me.  I wanted to find one that had full service.  There were several possibilities.  But the phone nos. for them were not provided.  So I went through the rigamarole of calling your general number.  When I was eventually put through to the branches, however, all I got were answering machines that were as uninformative as your website.

After all the hassle I deposited my cheque with another bank.

Why can't you have more contact details available online?  Are you afraid your customers might talk to you? Can't you get it into your bald head that customer service matters?

In the absence of an accommodating reply from you, I will raise the matter at the next AGM.


I got a reply from someone called Emma Taylor who did little more than restate her bank's policies.  So I wrote another letter.  Here it is:

Dear Ms Taylor

Thank you for your letter of 19th.

I am disappointed that Mr Narev did not see fit to reply to my letter in person.  A year or so ago I wrote to Richard Goyder of Wesfarmers and got back from him a courteous handwritten note.  Perhaps Mr Narev has more dissatisfied customers than Mr Goyder has.

I have found your reply in which you do little more than restate the bank's policies quite unsatisfactory.  So I still have comments that I wish to address to Mr. Narev.  The following is for Mr Narev's eyes only:

Dear Mr Narev,

I am sure you find as revolting as I do the old stereotype of the fat Jewish banker smoking a cigar, wearing a top hat and looking contemptuously down his long nose at the simple people whom he exploits.

So why in G-d's name are you doing your best to validate that image?  You are Jewish, you are head of Australia's largest bank and you treat your customers with contempt by making it as hard as possible for them to contact you and your officers.

WHY do you not have on your website a phone number for each branch?  You are constantly changing your branches and what each branch does, so people need to enquire in advance to ascertain what services are available at a branch they intend to visit.

I myself some months ago was going to be in the Stone's Corner area so looked up your webpage and found the Stones Corner branch listed as fully functional.  It was not. I made the trip there to find it closed down.

So if it is such an enormous problem to provide phone nos., could you at least keep your website up to date with the level of service offered at each  branch?   It is surely an elementary courtesy.

And it might even be good business to upgrade your services.  The extra costs could result in happier customers who do more business with your bank.

In the absence of a reply from you, I am inclined to post a copy of this letter on the net.

Yours sorrowfully,

Dr John Ray


There was no reply.  BUT, today I had another large refund cheque to deposit.  So after my brunch I wandered in to the nearby Commonwealth branch that had given me problems previously.  Hey Presto!  Big change! A teller's counter had sprung up again, everybody in the branch was being helped and there was a lady standing at the teller's counter waiting to help me.  Very different!  Exactly what I had asked for!  Even though Mr Narev was too grand to reply to me, someone somewhere in the bank must have sprung into action. My letters got results.

A Leftist would of course have found my reference to Mr Narev's origins to be RACIST!  Even though I was writing with the intention of helping Jews.  I have in fact been a great supporter of Israel since I was a kid.  My immersion in the Bible made it permanently clear to me that Israel is the proper home of the Jews.

Some extended background on my thinking about that is here -- JR





Same-Sex Marriage Bill report strikes balance between freedom of religion and freedom from discrimination

It's a very lopside balance.  It provides that clergy will not be hounded but everyone else seems to be fair game.  You are still in the gun if you don't wish to provide services to queers

The Law Council today said the consensus Parliamentary report into the Government's Same-Sex Marriage Bill strikes a good balance between freedom of religion and freedom from discrimination and called on Parliament progress the report’s findings.

The Select Committee on the Exposure Draft of the Marriage Amendment (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill reached agreement on key issues, many of which align with recommendations made by the Law Council in its earlier submission. These areas of agreement include:

Ministers of religion should be able to refuse to marry same-sex couples;

Removal of 'conscientious objection' provisions;

Creating a new category of independent religious celebrants to cater for those people with religious beliefs, but requiring all other celebrants to marry same-sex couples; and

Strictly confining the exemptions available to 'religious bodies' to discriminate against same-sex couples.

Law Council of Australia President, Fiona McLeod SC, said the areas of agreement would, if implemented, improve the Bill significantly.

"The Law Council has been a long-standing supporter of same-sex marriage, however, changes to the Marriage Act need to carefully balance freedom of religion with the freedom from discrimination," Ms McLeod said.

"We are pleased to see that the Committee suggests that ministers of religion, and certain religious celebrants, should be able to refuse to marry same-sex couples in line with their beliefs. Civil celebrants on the other hand are performing a secular function and so have no other proper basis for exemption.

"We are also happy that the Committee agrees with the Law Council that 'religious bodies,' that were not specifically established for religious purposes, should not be exempt from anti-discrimination laws.

“We further note that the Committee did not recommend exempting individuals or commercial businesses from anti-discrimination law who hold a ‘conscientious’ objection to providing goods and services for same-sex weddings.

"Striking this balance between freedom of religion and freedom from discrimination is a challenging task. It is the Law Council's view that the Committee's suggestions achieve this balance well and should therefore be accepted by Parliament,” Ms McLeod said.

Media release. Patrick.Baume@lawcouncil.asn.au






DON'T feel sorry for the Muslim Rohingya

The Burmese certainly give the Rohingya a hard time but this ingrate may indicate it is deserved

A man accused of setting fire to a Commonwealth Bank branch and injuring 36 people has faced court on 92 charges.

The accused, 21, allegedly set fire to the bank branch in Springvale, in south-east Melbourne, in November last year.

Among his charges are counts of conduct endangering life, criminal damage by fire, gross violence and intentionally causing serious injury.

Staff and customers, including children, became trapped in the bank when a fire was lit. Dozens of people were treated for burns as a result.

The man appeared in Melbourne Magistrates' Court on Thursday evening and was remanded to appear again on May 11.

The 21-year-old is a Rohingya asylum seeker from Mynamar.

SOURCE





Lucky old Melbourne again:  Multicultural child molester


The offender

A 10-year-old girl was grabbed by the ponytail by a stranger who tried to lure her away in broad daylight, police said.

The man approached the girl on a Melbourne street corner and offered to 'buy her anything she wanted,' police wrote in a release on Saturday.

The girl, who was waiting with a friend near the corner of Springvale road and Windsor Avenue at 3.30pm, was then pulled by the hair after declining to go with the man.

She was able to run away after she kicked the man, causing him to let her go.

Investigators released a sketch of a man wanted for questioning in relation to the February 1 incident.

He was described by police as having 'dark skin with white pigmentation on his neck and arms, dark hair and yellow teeth.'

Detectives from the Dandenong Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Team are investigating the incident.

SOURCE

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, February 19, 2017



ZEG

In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG likes President Trump





Australia's new political divide: 'globalists' versus 'patriots'

There is often talk that the old Left/Right divide is inadequate.  Eysenck made a big deal of that in his 1954 book. And libertarians too think a two dimensional description is needed.  A fairly typical example is below:



So the claims below are not very new.

I paid considerable attention to the matter in my research career, as you will see here but my conclusion was that a second dimension of attitudes did not emerge from the survey results.  Only the old Left/Right division could be found.

An important qualification to that is that OBLIQUE factors could be found.  In other words, the Left/Right domain was not totally homogeneous.  For example, there is a dimension of economic conservatism plus a dimension of moral conservatism.  Statements within those two domains correlate highly with one another but the correlation between moral conservatism overall and economic conservatism overall was weak:  Weak but not non-existent. 

In other words, economic conservatives also tended -- somewhat -- to be conservative on moral issues.  And those two dimensions are the chief sub-dimensions of the Left/Right continuum.  They emerge repeatedly in survey research.  Despite some wrangling, economic and moral conservatives do find common cause in everyday politics.  They have enough in common to co-operate with one-another.

So what are we to make of the findings below?  Clearly, they have identified two distinct factors.  But how oblique are those factors?  We are not told.  I am almost certain that the two factors will in fact be very oblique, very highly correlated.  Patriotism is normally a strong component of conservatism and internationalism is normally a Leftist ideal. Leftists continue to salute the United Nations despite the gross corruption in that body.

So all that I think the authors below have done is rediscover the old Left/Right divide. They have identified a group of statements that conservatives strongly agree with -- patriotic statements -- and a group of statements that get strong support from Leftists -- globalism.  Two particular subsets of Left/Right attitudes have come under sharper focus and gained greater importance recently

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose



Openness. That is the word Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe chose to emphasise at his first public outing this year.

In Australia there is an "openness and transparency" not always found elsewhere, he told a high-powered business gathering at the Opera House on Thursday night.

And openness to trade and investment has been fundamental to the nation's prosperity.  Australia is "committed to an open international order," Lowe said.

Those sentiments might have seemed routine a few years back. But in the wake of Brexit and the election of Donald Trump "openness" to the world economy – often referred to  as globalisation – is now a hotly contested political issue.

A little over a year ago Marine Le Pen, the leader of France's far-right Front National party and a presidential contender, cast political battlelines as being no longer "between the left and the right but the globalists and the patriots". The globalists, she sneered, are for the dissolution of France into a "global magma".

Greg Ip, a Wall Street Journal economics commentator, wrote last month that Le Pen's remarks foreshadowed "the tectonic forces that would shake up the world in 2016".

Opposition to globalisation – the increasing movement of goods, money and people across international borders – was a key theme of Trump campaign to become president of the US. From now on it is going to be "America First", he says repeatedly.

In Australia, Pauline Hanson has globalisation in her sights. In her maiden speech to the Senate in September she accused national leaders of giving away our sovereignty, our rights, our jobs and even our democracy.  "Their push for globalisation, economic rationalism, free trade and ethnic diversity has seen our country's decline," she said.

In pitting globalists  against patriots Le Pen neatly summed up a new and unpredictable political fissure that cuts across old divisions between left and right.

Ip predicts the tussle between globalism and nationalism "will shape the coming era much as the struggle between conservatives and liberals has shaped the last".

This political split has emerged during a period of rapid global economic integration. In the two decades before the onset of the global financial crisis in 2007 international trade in goods and services grew by 7 per cent a year on average – a much faster rate than global GDP.

This has been a period of great prosperity for Australia, which has not experienced a recession for a quarter of a century. But there has also been a marked shift in the structure of the economy. Since the mid-1990s manufacturing's share of Australia's economic output has fallen from 14 per cent to about 7 per cent. 

Meanwhile, the importance of knowledge-intensive service industries such as finance and professional services has grown significantly. Similar trends have been at work in other advanced economies.

The flow of migrants to Australia – another factor many associate with globalisation – has also been strong. The proportion of Australians born overseas reached 28 per cent in 2014-15, the highest proportion in more than 120 years.

There are now signs the tussle Ip describes between globalist and nationalist sentiment has become an important political fault line in Australia.

Polling for the Political Personas Project commissioned by Fairfax Media and conducted by the Australian National University and Netherlands-based political research enterprise Kieskompas, shows public opinion is divided over the merits of trade liberalisation, one of globalisation's fundamentals.

The statement "free trade with other countries has made Australia better off" could not muster support from the majority of the 2600 voters surveyed – 44.7 per cent agreed (but only 7.1 per cent strongly), 27.5 per cent disagreed and 27.8 per cent were neutral.

There is a similar split when voters are asked to assess the impact of globalisation.

A separate Ipsos survey released in December found 48 per cent of Australians considered globalisation a "force for good" while 22 per cent said it was a "force for bad", with 29 per cent undecided.

Carol Johnson, professor of politics and international studies at the University of Adelaide, said many voters have, over time, become more aware of globalisation's drawbacks.

"Twenty years ago, the electorate seemed prepared to believe that while there were some risks to opening up the economy, there would also be benefits," she said.  "Part of what happened is that people are now more aware that many of our competitor countries, including Asian countries, are more than capable of developing these [high-tech and service] industries themselves.

"The assumption that Western countries will always be superior has started to come undone and voters are becoming worried that government hasn't got right the mix of balancing the benefits and downsides of globalisation."

Polling for the Political Personas Project found more than eight in 10 voters believe "we rely too heavily on foreign imports and should manufacture more in Australia". This statement received more support than any other proposition in the survey, which covered dozens of hot-button political issues.

Jill Sheppard, a researcher from the ANU's Centre for Social Research and Method who was involved in the project, said public concern about the decline of manufacturing was linked to perceptions of globalisation.

"Globalisation seems to manifest in people's minds as manufacturing and jobs going offshore. They think about cheap labour in Asian countries, which seem like a direct threat to us."

SOURCE





Lawyers pissing into the wind

They admit that discrimination is hard-wired so how do they think they can change that?

The Law Council of Australia is launching a major new program to help lawyers understand and address unconscious bias.

The Law Council has been working with diversity and inclusion specialists, Symmetra, to construct an unconscious bias program customised for the legal profession. It will be offered to all lawyers and legal practices via face-to-face workshops, train-the-trainer modules, and online courses from March 1 2017.

Law Council of Australia President, Fiona McLeod SC, said a series of national diversity and equality projects had been embraced by the legal profession and this program was an essential element of the whole strategy.

"Human beings are hardwired to notice personal characteristics and to prefer those with attributes or experiences similar to our own without conscious awareness,” Ms McLeod said.

“Research demonstrates that this can lead to skewed decision-making concerning recruitment, promotion and allocation of work and entrench inequity.”

Ms McLeod said that addressing unconscious bias could be the key to unlocking future diversity that would advantage the Australian legal profession – in terms of gender, and also in other fields of diversity.

"Addressing unconscious, or implicit bias encourages better decision making and new approaches to problem solving. A deliberate focus on diversity enables organisations to better attract and retain top talent, allows for the use of a greater talent pool and can boost productivity," Ms McLeod said.

The Law Council's new unconscious bias initiative follows a series of major national diversity and equality projects that have been led by the Law Council and embraced by the legal profession, including: the Diversity and Equality Charter and an Equitable Briefing Policy for barristers.

Last month, the International Bar Association announced it would be using the Law Council of Australia's landmark National Attrition and Retention Survey of lawyers as a template for its global investigation into the reasons why so many women lawyers are leaving law firms.

Via email from Patrick.Baume@lawcouncil.asn.au






The big South Australian blackout revisited

Reliance on "renewables" was the problem

Let’s recap on exactly what happened based upon the actual reports written after people knew what had happened, rather than before. First a little background on South Australia’s electricity system.

We had about 6,000 mega watts (MW) of capacity in 2015-16; which means when all of these sources of electricity were running flat out, we could light up about 60 million 100 watt globes. But because about 2200 MW of this capacity is wind and solar PV, then that would be impossible except perhaps on a hot and very widely windy day. On a windless night, that 2200 MW will produce bugger all. Since then, we have lost about 1,000 MW of baseload capacity. The word baseload is a little misleading, the right word is despatchable… meaning you can choose when you want it rather than with wind and solar, which operate according to the whims of the wind and weather.

Our maximum demand is only about 3,400 MW, but because of our high renewable mix, we not only need interconnectors to handle windless nights, we needed to upgrade the biggest of these in 2016. The flow of electricity into South Australia over the past decade has been steadily growing as our despatchable power stations close.

If all of our 4,800 mega watts was despatchable power, then we’d never need either of our interconnectors; Murraylink (220 MW) and Heywood (recently upgraded to 650 MW).

On the 28th of September, the Heywood interconnector was supplying 500 MW with Murraylink running at 110 MW. When the storm knocked over the transmission towers and some wind farms shut down, the system lost 445 MW of capacity.

Imagine sucking a drink through three straws and one of them blocks, then the suck on the other two rises. This is what happened when the wind farms shut down; the combined demand, the suck, was transferred to the interconnectors. Remember, Heywood was upgraded to handle a 650 MW suck and was running at 500 MW. When the wind farms died, the suck on Heywood surged to 850 MW and it turned itself off to prevent catastrophic damage. The rest is history; a cascade of failures.

Had we had 4,800 mega watts of despatchable power, then we wouldn’t have had such a load on the interconnectors and they would easily have had the capacity to absorb the additional load when the wind farms shutdown.

Was the SA generation mix a factor in the blackout? Of course. Are there generation mixes which would have prevented it? Of course; I just gave one.

The great thing about the interconnectors is precisely that they can function to satisfy demand during the loss of capacity. But if that function isn’t available because your interconnectors are already saturated making up for renewables which aren’t currently doing much, then you have a problem.

What enrages me so much about the debate on this issue is that everybody has an opinion about why the blackout occurred without understanding what actually happened. If you don’t know the simple facts of what happened, they how can you imagine you understand why?

I’ve deliberately ignored important things like frequency control and spinning reserves in an effort to keep things simple. But our renewable mix has various other complicated effects on our grid to make it less robust in the face of disturbances.

The short-term answer to our problems is to change the NEM rules which discriminate against despatchable systems. This will allow gas operators to make money and stay running. This will also allow investment in clean despatchable systems, meaning nuclear, that can solve both our reliability and climate problems simultaneously. Remember, the main reason that the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission found that nuclear would be uneconomic in SA is that under the current NEM rules, all despatchable power is uneconomic. When reliability isn’t considered worthy of a price premium then it will vanish, exactly as we have seen.

SOURCE





Debunking Inheritance Tax

An inheritance tax idea was floated by Tim Ayres this week in a speech to the Fabian Society. Tim Ayres is the NSW Secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union and a member of the ALP National Executive, which is somewhat of a cause for alarm as he is someone with genuine power to influence the ALP, and yet here he is discussing a marxist dream.

Debunking socialist ideas is a thankless and never-ending job, but every now and then I think it’s worth drilling into one to show how little economic knowledge and common sense these ideas demonstrate. The segment of the speech I’d like to focus on is below:

“I support Thomas Piketty’s proposal to use an inheritance tax to fund a one-off capital grant for every citizen at the age of 25. According to the Community Council of Australia, a 35% estate duty on all estates over $10m would raise at least $3.5bn in government revenue, while affecting only a fraction of the top 1% of Australians. A universal inheritance would give millions of young people a future: they can put it to a house, they can start their own business, they can pay off their university fees.”

Tim has relied on a quote from a Community Council for Australia Federal Budget submission, which is as follows: “ATO figures suggest around 25,000 families have assets above $10 million. If 4% of these families paid 35% in estate duties, it would equate to a minimum of $3.5 billion.”

At first glance, this looks like it makes sense, 4% of 25,000 families x $10,000,000 x 35% rate = $3.5 billion. The problem is it’s nonsensical.

The first difficulty, is the concept of a family or household paying an estate duty or inheritance tax, as this implies a household or family is capable of dying. To clarify, families and households do not die; the people who constitute them do. It’s actually hard to design how a government might tax a household on death, but if I give the statistic the benefit of the doubt I think one way it could work is if the government maintained a register of assets and their values and when a spouse died, they transferred all the wealth to the surviving spouse, so that when that second spouse died that would be the time when any duty could be applied.

Now I can already hear readers who are paying attention noting, that if the first spouse to die simply bequeathed assets to anyone other than their surviving spouse, then these removed assets may never be subject to a household estate tax as they aren’t there when the surviving spouses dies. To which I reply, you’re right! Therefore not only would this government register need to keep track of what assets people own, it would also need to keep track of any gifts given outside the household, so it could apply an imputed estate tax on these external gifts when the surviving spouse dies. (Now you can see just one of the ways socialism tends to create larger and larger government, but I digress).

I have assumed (so that I can press on with the analysis) that the 4% is what makes the revenue figure they specify annual and hence being able to fund the capital grant Tim Ayres is advocating. By that I mean, they expect 4% of rich households to die each year. For the record the ABS notes that the death rate per 1,000 people in 2015 was 9.8, which implies a death percentage of 0.98%. This is obviously lower than 4% but I think it stands to reason that rich households are likely to be older due to the time it takes to accumulate sufficient wealth to be in that demographic, and therefore rich households would have a higher death percentage. The ABS rate does not debunk the use of 4% in the quote, but they have essentially just picked 4% out of the air, as there is no demographic data on rich households from which to obtain a death rate.

The 25,000 families looks like a reasonable number based on the ABS wealth data, so we have one okay aspect! Then we get to the notion of a 35% rate, I note that they have applied it on a flat basis above $10,000,000, which perversely means, if your household dies with $9,999,999.99 wealth, you’re not wealthy enough to pay, but if it dies with one cent more, the tax would be $3.5 million, meaning your intended beneficiaries get $6.5 million. This is why in practice, estate taxes are often charged on the portion of the estate over a specific threshold, rather than “if above a certain value the tax is applied to the whole estate”. Yet another example of why the quote is unrealistic and isn’t of use in determining the revenue amount an estate tax may generate, as in practice the government would not implement it as the quote describes.

Tim has not specified how much the capital grant might be, but if we take the below figures from the ABS and approximate that 350,000 people are 25 in Australia each year, and accept the $3.5 billion each year is the minimum revenue, and we assume that cost of the asset register above and the cost of administering the payment is nil, then the grant can be $10,000 each.

Jun-2013: 340,097
Jun-2014: 345,661
Jun-2015: 356,056
Jun-2016: 355,120

Is $10,000 enough to “give millions of young people a future: they can put it to a house, they can start their own business, they can pay off their university fees”? Arguably the Australian youth receive amounts not unlike $10,000 via the first home owners grant, youth allowance and HECS.

To be fair, as the $3.5 billion figure is based on the assumption all the households being taxed have $10 million exactly, obviously the policy could generate more any given year if the dying households is higher. The government would be in for quite a pay day when the Rinehart household dies.

The cost to ensure compliance would be insane, as people would remove assets from the government’s remit as they approached the $10 million point. The situation is likely to spiral further, as the government attempts to gain data on people at lower and lower points of wealth in order to prevent anyone not being in the system. The government can barely run a Medicare database of willing participants now; it would be hard to fathom them maintaining an up to date database of unwilling participants and ensure all the valuations are appropriate. As all inappropriate valuations would be subject to legal challenges, that of course would require another government legal department to be created.

The worst part of this socialist thought bubble is the idea that this policy could be implemented and that no one affected would change behaviour. Arguably, this is the fundamental issue with Socialism: the theory assumes that you can compel people to not act in their best interests into perpetuity. Trusts, corporate structuring, off-shoring and other methods of avoiding hungry governments are already a major issue; the level of brain-drain and capital flight that would occur with an estate tax set to 35% is impossible to comprehend.

This is a very long-winded post, but it takes a lot longer to debunk an idea then it does to say it, which is why people are still advocating socialist policies and even saying that “socialism has never been tried”.

SOURCE





Are multi-vitamins a WASTE of money? Medical Association president says they just create 'very expensive urine'

Sales figures and research shows that seven in 10 Australians take some form of vitamin supplement each year, but many could be getting ripped off.

Dr Michael Gannon, president of the Australian Medical Association (AMA) slammed the promotion of multi-vitamins, saying they were unnecessary for most people.

The medical expert told ABC's Four Corners program that people who regularly take multi-vitamins just have 'very expensive urine'.

Monash University Adjunct Associate Professor Ken Harvey also weighed in on the show, saying that there was 'no benefit' for the average person taking multi-vitamins.

According to the AMA president and Professor Harvey, specific vitamins do have benefits when prescribed by doctors to treat specific deficiencies.

For example, many doctors will recommend folate supplements for pregnant women, Vitamin D for people with low sun exposure, or iron for people who are vegetarian or deficient in the vitamin.

Doctors generally agree that taking specific vitamins for this reason is helpful, but that multi-vitamins are not.

According to consumer website Choice, there are certain groups of people for whom vitamins  are helpful:

Pregnant women: Folate

People with limited sun exposure: Vitamin D

Vegans: Vitamin B12

But for ordinary public, who are spending billions each year on the vitamins, they could be useless.  'What you need is a good diet, you’re pissing the money down the toilet for no benefit,' Professor Harvey told the ABC.

Doctors believe that many people are being led to believe that they need complementary medicines as their diet isn't sufficient, when this isn't actually the case.

This, combined with celebrity endorsements by Olympians and foodies means that Australians are spending more on vitamins and supplements than prescription medicines each year.

But both representatives for the supplementary medicines industry and retail pharmacists have claimed that the products can have a positive impact.

'We're a nation living on tea, toast and takeaways. 90 per cent of us are deficient in our essential diets or vegetables and fruit, so of course a multivitamin plays a role,' an industry spokesperson said.

A retail pharmacist told the program that he was happy to provide complementary medicines, as it was his job to help consumers get what they want. 

SOURCE

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, February 17, 2017






Mediscare push back

In an absolutely disgraceful episode during the last Federal election, Labour party operatives sent messages to large numbers of people which contained outright lies about the coalition planning to cut back Medicare.  It probably influenced the vote.  The coalition now is trying to criminalize such lies

Labor has berated a push to criminalise falsely representing government entities such as Medicare as "the longest dummy spit in Australian political history".

The Turnbull government is poised to introduce harsh penalties, including jail time, for anyone caught falsely representing a government body - a tactic Labor harnessed in last year's "Mediscare" election campaign.

"Malcolm Turnbull needs to stop fighting the last election. He needs to stop worrying about this sort of campaigning and get on with government the country," Labor frontbencher Mark Dreyfus said on Thursday.

It is understood Attorney-General George Brandis is working on two pieces of legislation - one dealing with ways to authorise non-printed electoral communication such as text messages, and one tackling the false representation of a government body.

Existing laws around impersonating a commonwealth officer carry a penalty of up to five years in jail.

In December, a parliamentary committee found electoral laws should be changed to ensure parties were made responsible for their political statements, the authorisation rules applied to all forms of communication, and those who authorised electoral materials were identifiable and traceable.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull described Labor's "Mediscare" as an "extraordinary act of dishonesty" but the federal police declined to take any action after investigating the campaign.

SOURCE





Donald Trump PRAISED Malcolm Turnbull as a 'brawler' after explosive first telephone call with the Australian PM

Donald Trump praised Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull as a 'brawler', according to one of the U.S. President's staffers. 

Mr Trump made the comment after the two leaders' infamous first telephone conversation earlier this month, in which the US president reportedly berated Mr Turnbull for pushing a Obama-era refugee deal that would 'kill' him politically.

The February 2 phone call was supposed to last for an hour, but was reportedly cut short to just 25 minutes. 

The recent comments were made by Mr Trump to a staffer, and suggested the president was impressed with Mr Turnbull's conduct during the call.

'There is a brawler there,' Mr Trump reportedly told the senior staff member. 'Not what I expected of him. He is no shrinking poppy (sic).'  The president reportedly added he has 'no issues with the Aussies.'

Mr Trump's comments were reported by the Australian.

The president's phone conversation with the Australian prime minister should have been a formality - but turned into another headache for the new White House administration, after it was reported that the call was contentious and drastically cut short.

During the call, Mr Trump reportedly lashed out at Mr Turnbull over a deal the prime minister struck with former president Barack Obama, which involved the US accepting a group of refugees currently detained under squalid conditions on the islands of Manus and Nauru.

According to a report in the Washington Post, Mr Trump said it was 'the worst deal ever' and would get him 'killed' politically, and added Australia was trying to send the US the 'next Boston bombers.'

Mr Turnbull has disputed this version of events, saying the phone call was 'forthright' and 'very frank.'

The US and Australia have historically strong relations, described by the US State Department as 'a robust relationship underpinned by shared democratic values, common interests, and cultural affinities.'

The two nations have fought side by side in every major military conflict since World War I, the State Department fact sheet points out.

SOURCE





Government to end funding for SA Islamic school

The federal government has axed funding for a controversial Islamic school in South Australia.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham announced today that his department will no longer fund the Islamic College of South Australia in Adelaide from April 13.

Senator Birmingham said the school had failed to comply with financial reporting requirements, including the submission of quarterly reports.

"It is disappointing that after the number of chances this school has been given and the constructive work the Department has been doing with the authority since November 2015 the school has still failed to meet the reasonable standards and expectations placed on them," Senator Birmingham said.

He said the government had not taken the decision lightly but was left with no choice but to withdraw funding.

"The school authority is not meeting the strict conditions placed on them in April 2016, which included obligations around improvements to governance and financial management and regular reporting on progress in making the required changes."
The Commonwealth Government provided $4 million to the school during last year.

SOURCE





Opposition’s 50 per cent renewable energy aim suddenly gets complicated by the political heat

Labor’s renewable energy policy used to be so simple it could be reduced to street-march chants.

“What do we want?” “Fifty per cent renewable energy.” “When do we want it?” “2030.”

But now it has been complicated by the intensification of the political debate over energy security, and Labor has had to lose the simplicity of a “target” with the addition of terms such as “aspirations” and “goals”.

It no longer sounds like a guaranteed destination.

“What do we want?” “An aspirational approach to renewable energy goals.” “When do we want it?” “Some time in the future we hope but first we have to see where we are in 2020.”

Try chanting that. In fact, try defending and defining it in a political debate.

“What we have is, there are two Labor policies: there’s the renewable energy target and there’s the goal of getting to 50 per cent renewable energy,” shadow treasurer Chris Bowen told Sky News yesterday.

“Now 50 per cent renewable energy is underpinned by a range of policy measures.”

Tested on definitions Mr Bowen said: “Well, there’s the renewable energy target and then we have the 50 per cent aspiration which is separate to our renewable energy target.”

Today opposition environment spokesman Mark Butler had a crack at explaining the policy but also seemed to add qualification to qualification.

The aim, from what he told Radio National, seems to be to promote the shift to renewables with the wish and the hope the momentum will produce the goal in 15 years. The hope is that a combination of early backing and the retirement of fossil fuel generators will see Australia coasting to 50 per cent renewable energy use.

Well, that’s the aspiration. There is not dedicated plan to fix a target for 2030.

First task is to reach 23.5 per cent renewables by 2020, as proposed by the Paris Agreement Australian signed last year. By then, the task will have been done, said Mr Butler.

“By the 2020s though, this technology on all the modelling will be able to stand on its own two feet, compete in the market without subsidy from government or without subsidy effectively from consumers through a government legislated scheme, providing that there is a proper policy framework that gives investors a long term price investment signal that is compliant with our carbon pollution reduction efforts,” he said.

That momentum combined with emission reduction targets, Mr Butler said, “will require, in my very clear view, about half of our electricity by 2030 will be zero emissions”.

The political debate, which has been condemned by industry and the ACTU, also had hidden the fact there isn’t much difference between Labor and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Mr Turnbull said Monday: “Renewables have a very big place in Australia’s energy mix and it will get bigger. The cost of renewables is coming down.”

The key difference is the Government has yet to offer a “target” as the Prime Minister knows that would require some form of emissions trading, and Coalition colleagues wouldn’t allow that.

SOURCE




More trouble for Gold Coast police

ONE of the police officers accused of snooping at the personal file of a former bikini model has previously been convicted of the bashing of an elderly homeless man in Brisbane.

Former model-turned justice crusader Renee Eaves last month launched a lawsuit with the District Court of Queensland, amid allegations her personal QPRIME file was accessed 1400 times.

Police officers are only allowed to access the files during the course of work and some have faced disciplinary action or even criminal charges for unauthorised access.

In the lawsuit, Ms Eaves names five individual officers, including Constable Benjamin Arndt, who was convicted over the 2006 bashing of Brisbane homeless man Bruce Rowe.

Constable Arndt, who had originally been cleared of any wrongdoing by an internal affairs investigation, was eventually fined $1000 over the assault and lost a subsequent appeal.

Ms Eaves, whose own criminal history contains little more than the odd traffic offence, says she has been forced to move house amid fears hundreds of Queensland police officers had accessed her personal information, including her home address.

She is seeking $400,000 in damages.

SOURCE





Ballarat police officers charged with assault over kicking of drunken colleague

This appears to be the tip of the iceberg at Ballarat.  There have been other accusations of police thuggery there

Two police officers have been charged with assault and stood down from operational duties after a damning IBAC report into an alleged excessive use of force at Ballarat police station.

A drunk off-duty colleague was allegedly stripped, kicked and stomped-on in custody, an Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission report revealed last year.

An IBAC hearing into police conduct in Ballarat has been shown CCTV footage of the abuse of a female police officer arrested for drunkenness.

Footage shows her drinking from the toilet, allegedly after the officers refused to give her water.

When it released its report in November last year IBAC recommended  police consider whether assault charges should be laid in relation to the incident.

A female leading senior constable has been charged with one count of assault and a male senior constable with two counts of assault, Victoria Police said in a statement released on Thursday.

Both officers are from the Western region.

The charges relate to an alleged assault that occurred at Ballarat police station in January 2015. The members have been transferred to non-operational duties, Victoria Police's statement said.

In November, IBAC released a report into allegations of excessive use of force by several people at Ballarat police station.

A serving police officer, Yvonne Berry, was arrested before allegedly being stood on and kicked inside the station's cells.

"IBAC's Operation Ross exposed the concerning casual disregard and at times alarming mistreatment of a vulnerable woman in Ballarat police custody that was captured on CCTV," IBAC Commissioner Stephen O'Bryan QC said when the report was released.

"Importantly, Operation Ross also revealed broader systemic issues and missed opportunities by Victoria Police to address similar patterns of conduct at the station."

Both police officers will appear in Ballarat Magistrates Court on March 6.

SOURCE

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, February 16, 2017



Centrelink no longer requires immediate payment from those sent robo-debt letters

Centrelink’s debt recovery system will no longer demand immediate payment from individuals who believe they have wrongly billed, the government has announced.

The change is one of a number of amendments designed to improve the fairness of the controversial system, which were announced by human services minister, Alan Tudge, on Tuesday night.

The system is facing inquiries by both the commonwealth ombudsman and a Senate committee, prompted by repeated complaints that the system is wrongly issuing debts before putting the onus on the recipient to prove their innocence through a complicated, unfair and at times broken system.

A key criticism is that the system forces individuals, often vulnerable and on low incomes, to begin paying the money back even if they are disputing the debt. That would now change, Tudge said.

“This has been a longstanding practice for successive governments, whereby – and not just for this online compliance system, but for all debt which is owed to the government – that as soon as a debt notice is issued you have to enter into a repayment schedule,” Tudge told the ABC.

“I’ve recently made the decision to say that, well, if you ask for a review then you don’t have to enter into a repayment schedule. It’s only after the review is completed and you still owe the debt that you’ll have to enter into that repayment schedule.”

Tudge has previously defended the system as fair and working as intended. He said the government would also attempt to make it easier for individuals to get in contact with Centrelink once they received the initial letter generated by the automated debt recovery system, which notifies them that a discrepancy has been detected between income reported to Centrelink and income reported to the tax office.

People targeted by the debt recovery system have complained of being unable to reach Centrelink through its overloaded phone system to dispute discrepancies within the required 21-day window. That has led to many being landed with inaccurate debts.

Users would reportedly no longer need to use the troubled MyGov portal to confirm their income details with Centrelink, but instead would be able to log on directly to the online service that allows them to check and confirm their income details. Bank statements can also now be used to prove income, reducing the onerous requirement on welfare recipients to retrieve years-old payslips from past employers.

The government estimates 75% of welfare recipients would be able to access bank statements online. A new website upgrade also included “simpler language and better screen flow”, the government said.

It’s the second round of changes the government has announced to the system since problems began to emerge in early December. Last month, Tudge announced the system would take further steps to ensure that initial letters generated by the debt recovery system were being received. He said registered post would be used, as would more current addresses from the electoral roll. That sought to prevent debts being raised automatically against people who had not received Centrelink’s initial letter.

Tudge said he had always said the system would be constantly refined.

“I’ve always said all along that we’ll constantly make refinements to the system so that we can be reasonable to the Centrelink recipients, but also fair and reasonable for the taxpayer who’s paying for it,” he said on Tuesday.

Tudge defended Centrelink’s phone system, which has previously been found to have let a quarter of all calls go unanswered. The minister said he had been calling Centrelink’s phone line personally to check wait times. He said he had never had to wait to get through.

“I have been calling it almost every day myself to check on this, and I have never, ever had to wait,” he said. “Now, I’m not saying that that will be the case for evermore, but it is a very short wait time to be able to get through to somebody for them to give you a bit of reassurance as to what the process is.”

SOURCE





Asylum seekers can come home, Sri Lankan PM says

MALCOLM Turnbull and Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe have reiterated their joint commitment to combating people smugglers in the Asia-Pacific.

But the Sri Lankan Prime Minister has some frank advice for his citizens in Australia’s offshore detention centres: come home.

Mr Wickremesinghe issued the message while speaking at a joint press conference with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in Canberra this morning.

Brushing off concerns about alleged human rights abuses his citizens may have faced in detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru, Mr Wickremesinghe said Sri Lanka was “quite safe” now and they could simply come back.

“They left Sri Lanka illegally, they are welcome to return to Sri Lanka and we won’t prosecute them,” he said.
Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe says asylum seekers will not be prosecuted if they come home. Picture: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

“They can come back to Sri Lanka and we will have them but remember they broke the law attempting to come to Australia.”

Mr Wickremesinghe said some of the asylum seekers had left Sri Lanka from areas that had never even seen conflict and that many were not Tamils.

He also made it clear the Asia Pacific region should be strongly opposed to illegal immigration.

“We should not make a mess of ourselves like they’ve gone and done in Europe and the Middle East,” Mr Wickremesinghe told reporters.

Today’s meeting at Parliament House celebrated 70 years of diplomatic relations between Australia and Sri Lanka.
Australia and Sri Lanka have celebrated 70 years of diplomatic relations. Picture Gary Ramage

The two leaders signed a memorandum of understanding to continue Australia’s assistance in supporting Sri Lanka with its development goals and another to deepen co-operation between the two countries in sport, including sharing anti-doping technologies.

“We are looking at investments to further develop Sri Lanka, there is no need for people to be coming here,” Mr Wickremesinghe said.

The Sri Lankan Prime Minister also reiterated his criticisms of the former Abbott Government for not being tough enough on human rights abuses in Sri Lanka under his predecessors when asked.

He said there was no long-term damage to the two countries diplomatic relations but Australia should have put more emphasis on the human rights abuses.

SOURCE





High company tax rate holding Australia back

Australia faces a potential investment crunch with Treasury analysis revealing that foreign ­direct investment has already crashed almost 50 per cent on 2015 levels.

The downward trend is more concerning because it runs against growing global flows; Australia’s share of the $US1.8 trillion ($2.36 trillion) global foreign direct investment pool tumbled from 3.2 per cent in 2011 to 1.3 per cent last year as other countries became relatively more attractive.

Seeking to intensify the ­urgency of the debate over the government’s corporate tax plan to cut rates to 25 per cent, Scott Morrison told The Weekend Australian the analysis showed that Australia was already on a worrying slide down the world investment rankings, partly because of its high company tax.

A senior government source said that while Australia had weathered the worst of the fall since the end of the mining ­investment boom, the concern was that it was failing to pick up its share of the investment recovery since the end of the global financial crisis. Of equal concern was that conditions could further ­deteriorate, with the US, our largest source of investment, headed for a company tax rate of 15 per cent — half Australia’s — which could cause a flight of capital back to the US.

According to the Treasury analysis, foreign direct investment had begun falling even during the mining construction boom — by an estimated 15 per cent from 2006 to 2015 — but the downward trajectory had since steepened despite global ­direct investment flows increasing 25 per cent since the end of the GFC and 38 per cent year-on-year in 2015.

“Between 2011 and 2015 Australia was the 10th largest destination for investment, but has fallen to 18th in 2015,” the Treasurer said.

Mr Morrison made a direct link between the falling level of foreign direct investment and Australia’s company tax rate, which had failed to keep pace with the lower tax environments being pursued by other OECD countries.

He seized on a speech by ­Reserve Bank governor Phillip Lowe on Thursday in which he implicitly rejected Labor’s claim that the budget could not afford corporate tax cuts. Mr Lowe ­argued Australia needed to ­respond to lowering tax rates among competitor nations.

“The independent RBA has made it clear that Australia must have a competitive business tax rate,” Mr Morrison said.

“We need to be internationally competitive to attract investment, to encourage business to set up or expand their operations in Australia, to hire more and to buy more machines and equipment that boost our economy.

“Fifteen years ago we had the ninth lowest business tax rate among advanced economies. Today just five of the 35 OECD ­nations have a business tax rate higher than Australia’s.

“With the largest source of ­investment coming from the US, our tax rates must remain competitive because our attractiveness as a place to invest may be impacted by a reduction in the US corporate tax rate that might reduce outward investment from the US and divert ­investment away from Australia to the US.”

Mr Morrison said that while indirect foreign investment remained healthy, direct investment, such as foreign companies setting up Australian operations or expanding existing ones, was in a worryingly decline.

“The RBA governor makes it clear that our tax system is becoming uncompetitive and that we risk becoming stranded internationally and constrained in our efforts to increase investment in jobs and wages.

“Governor Lowe has sounded an independent warning that Australia is falling further behind our international competitors in being able to attract the critical investment we need to grow Australian jobs and lift wages.”

In 2015, global foreign direct investment flows jumped 38 per cent to an estimated US$1.8 trillion, their highest level since the GFC, but in Australia the same year the flow fell 44 per cent.

Even during Australia’s mining construction boom the flow of foreign direct investment fell 15.4 per cent from $US26.3 billion in 2006 to $US22.3bn in 2015. Mr Morrison cited the International Monetary Fund’s recent claim that foreign investment increased 4.4 per cent for every percentage point cut in the business tax rate.

It suggested a 10 per cent ­increase in foreign direct investment over the period 2010 to 2020 would increase real GDP by 1.2 per cent.

In his speech to the A50 Australian Economic Forum, his first for the year, Mr Lowe said Australia was built on the free flow of capital. “For more than two centuries now, capital from the rest of the world has helped build our country,’’ he said. “If we had had to rely on just our own resources, we would not be enjoying the prosperity that we do today.”

Labor infrastructure spokesman Anthony Albanese yesterday dismissed Mr Lowe’s assessment that company tax cuts were needed, instead citing the Reserve Bank chief’s calls for more infrastructure investment.

“Given the need to fund education and healthcare, given the need to provide support for the economy, what the government shouldn’t be doing is pursuing the $50bn of cuts, most of which, as a result of the structure of their proposal, will go to the very large corporations,” Mr Albanese said.

“Philip Lowe has repeated the comments that he has made, and that were made by his predecessor Glenn Stevens, that what Australia needs is a significant increase in infrastructure investment. He correctly has identified the fact that borrowing can be made and funds made available at a very cheap rate at the moment because of the record low interest rate environment.”

SOURCE




Scared Melbourne residents want new ‘vigilante’ group

Cops are useless

A MELBOURNE man is starting a vigilante group to “take back our streets” from ethnic street gangs that are terrorising locals.

Hayden Bradford believes police and the justice system are not to doing enough to protect Victorians and has started recruiting potential members for the group.

Some of the recruits are so desperate for action they have already pledged thousands of dollars to finance the group, which Mr Bradford hopes will be patrolling streets soon.

He told news.com.au the first meeting could take place within days.  “I think it’s getting to that stage people are just sort of saying ‘if we have to take back our streets then fine — we’ll do it our way’.”

Mr Bradford said there was “no doubt” there was some strong right-wing views in the community, but what he was proposing didn’t involve any law-breaking or taking the law into their own hands. “That’s not what we’re about. What we’re saying is put a presence there because the gutless bastards won’t do anything if there’s a presence.”

The ‘people power’ illustrates the dramatic escalation in the tension and fear that exists in some sections of the community in the Victorian capital.  Youth gangs, including notorious Apex, have been unleashing mayhem on city streets for months including bashings, home invasions and carjackings.

Anxiety over the rising crime rate — and perceived disconnect between authorities and citizens — was most evident after six people were killed when a man on bail allegedly mowed them down in Bourke St Mall.

At the weekend dozens of Sudanese youths rampaged through a family festival, punching and kicking people and stealing their belongings.

One mum told The Herald Sun the gang was intimidating.  “They have no fear. There’s a police station right next door, but it doesn’t seem to deter them,” she said. “Once the fireworks started it was like the Running of the Bulls.”

Mr Bradford, whose occupation is investing and writing, said: “It started as the odd home invasion, or carjacking ... But what we are seeing now has gone past that. We have gangs of these people [taking part in] planned attacks. They deliberately target people and want to cause mayhem and hurt people.”

Since he put the call out through social media for a “vigilante group” he had been contacted by dozens of people who either want to take part or finance it.  Mr Bradford said about $10,000 had been promised so far. The money raised would help expenses like petrol volunteers would use.

“A number of people have actually said to me there were already vigilante groups operating in their suburbs. So they are there, despite what the Andrews Government might say.”

Recent promises of boosting the number of police were a long-term fix — but locals were desperate for action now.  “This is why people have these vigilante groups patrolling their areas because there isn’t enough police.”  It was something he never thought could happen in Melbourne. “People are fed up, they realise something has to be done.”

The people who wanted to join his group were a cross-section of society. “They’re from all walks of life and various backgrounds. The thing you have in Melbourne [now] is people are scared and frightened for their security.’

Asked about the nature of what he was proposing, Mr Bradford said they were not encouraging illegal activity.

“Vigilante is an American term where you think of people walking around with shotguns shooting people. Nothing I fund would do anything illegal. Someone suggested there was a peace through presence, just being there could hopefully mean these gutless little sh*ts wouldn’t do anything if they see a couple of blokes sitting in a car. They won't go anywhere near homes because they are gutless.”

He said his group would be “more like Neighbourhood Watch where people go to designated areas”.

It isn’t the first time vigilante-style groups have been suggested in Melbourne. In July last year the Police Association secre­tary Ron Iddles told The Herald Sun he feared frustrated residents could take “matters into their own hands” after a resident patrol group began.

“I don’t call them vigilantes, but concerned residents who patrol and report to the police,” he said.  “Police stations are operating at a reduced capacity and they can’t respond, it’s putting members under stress,” Mr Iddles said.

Also last year, the Soldiers of Odin — an offshoot of a far-right Finnish group — confirmed they hold nightly patrols in the CBD and outer suburbs.  They wear black jackets emblazoned with a Norse war helmet and an Australian flag and appear to operate similarly to the Guardian Angels network, founded in New York City in the late 1970s, to patrol the subway system.

“Today our citizens are at fear when they leave there (sic) home, some don’t even feel safe there,” the group says on its Facebook page.  “We will not look away, we will not turn a blind eye.”

They say they are against racism and Nazism, and don’t support anti-semitism.

But they also say they’re against Islam. Their Facebook page says they are against “the fact it is okay to be” proud to be black, Asian, homosexual or transgender.

Mr Bradford said he’d been told the Melbourne division wanted to meet him, which he was happy to do.  “I’m open to meet with anyone and will be ... The point is we have got to do something.”

His feedback from people was a growing frustration about the “way the law works in Melbourne.

“ ... The police can arrest a gang member for a crime, but the court system releases the punk on bail to reoffend. The state Government of Victoria does nothing except to ask for a report. We’re sick of reports, we want action now.”

He said he had written to the Victorian Police Minister Lisa Neville and Premier Daniel Andrews, but no one was prepared to meet with him to discuss his concerns.

A Victoria Police spokeswoman told news.com.au said private ‘vigilante’ groups were not encouraged. “We do not recommend people confront offenders as this places you at risk of harm. Police have extensive training which equips them with the skills and resources needed to respond to safety issues.”

The spokeswoman said people should ring triple-0 if they were in danger or witnessed a crime. [And be ignored]

SOURCE

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