Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Is Australia Racist?

The question above by SBS is absurdly broad.  Of course there are some racists in Australia but who are they and how many of them are there?  And what do they do? Do they attack minorities or do they just abuse them?  And is it only some groups that get abused?  But the story below is just a media stunt so none of those questions are posed let alone answered.

There is however no doubt about the group from whom most racism in Australia emanates:  The political Left.  They are obsessed with race.  See their complaints about "white privilege" and their support for "affirmative action" of various sorts.  Both those obsessions single out people for discriminatory treatment solely because of their race.  Some people call that positive discrimination but there is no such thing.  If you give something to one group, you take it away from another group.

There does appear to have been some attempt at science below --  in that a survey of 6,000 people is referred to -- but were those people a representative sample of any definable population?  The research desciption is here and it shows that the research is the sort of lazy rubbish that is all too common these days.  It is an online survey.  In other words, it got answers from computer-savvy people only and even then it heard only from those who were interested in the topic and could be bothered to answer the questions.

And there have been various occasions when such surveys gave very different answers to more labour-intensive surveys. How representative the survey was is therefore unknown. Its figures cannot be relied on.

And they did not in fact sample racist incidents.  All they did was ask what people thought.  And ever since the work of La Piere in the 1930's we have known that what people think may not be expressed in action at all.

The survey does however draw one conclusion which rings true:  Most of the antipathy was towards Muslims and African blacks.  There was no data given on (say) attitudes to our large Chinese minority.  Since the Chinese don't wage jihad towards up or break into our homes, I am guessing that there was very little antipathy to the Chinese.  In short, people have got good reasons to disapprove of the hostile behaviour that emerges from the African and Muslim populations.  If people would like to see all Muslims and Africans begone, that is a perfectly rational fear for their own safety.

The basic premise underlying the story below is that we should not illtreat individuals because they come from a problem population.  But we do not. A few exceptional white Australians may say critical things towards various minority members but official policy is  not to discrimiate at all against members of any minority.  But minority members are unreasonable if they expect people to ignore the bad behaviour of the group to which they belong.  People are right to be wary of them.  In the absence of a mind-reading machine, there is no way to know whether they are one of the hostiles or not.

And because there is no way of knowing that, the only way to protect ourselves from the outrages emanating from these groups is to deport the lot of them, which is Pauline Hanson's policy.  There seems little likelihood that it will soon become official policy, though.  Australians generally seem to be willing to tolerate  attacks on themselves in order to avoid unfair treatment of innocent minority group members.  The rise of Mr. Trump may however suggest that the patience concerned is wearing thin.

One notes that there is no mention below of the appalling behavior emanating from the two minority groups concerned:  No mention of what may lie behind suspicion of the group-members concerned.  One is apparently supposed to assume that Muslims and Africans are disliked purely because of the evil racist nature of mainstream Australians.  Such an assumption is itself grossly offensive -- particlarly considering the large number of genuine refugees that Australia has taken in from all over the world

"Where's your f---ing face? What are you hiding from? F---ing Allah?"

These questions were among the abuse caught on shocking hidden-camera footage of a random hate-filled attack on a young Muslim woman by herself in a shopping centre. 

A 50-something white male is seen launching into an angry tirade of abuse against the woman, in a prime example of the extent of the bigotry and hate endured by the Muslim community on a daily basis.

Research has found that a staggering 77 per cent of Muslim women in Australia have experienced racism on public transport or in the street.

The hidden-camera footage is one of many incidents featured in Is Australia Racist?, which aired Sunday night and is an hour-long documentary exposing the random, everyday bigotry and racism endured by ethnic groups across the nation.

The documentary kicks off SBS's Face Up To Racism week, which features a series of special programming putting the spotlight on prejudice in Australia today.

The woman in this incident is targeted because she's wearing a niqab – a veil which covers the head and face but not the eyes – in an attack triggered only by the fact she had the misfortune to happen to cross paths with the abusive man.

Unbeknown to her abuser, however, she's a volunteer for the documentary, which follows a number of people of different ethnicities with hidden cameras to reveal the ugly truth of racism on the streets.

It's the experience of the Muslim woman, Afghan refugee Rahila Haidary, that is the most shocking example in the program and a blunt insight into the vitriolic levels of Islamophobia in current society.

The man is seen approaching Haidary, telling her, "You're in my face like that", before launching into an intimidating attack.

"You're in our country because we helped save you from where you came from, from where you've been persecuted and you wear things like that," he shouts.

She responds by asking what should she do, to which he says she should dress like other Australians and become part of the culture.

She asks how Australians dress, to which the man explodes with rage at his lone, diminutive female target.

"They dress with a  f---ing face," he says, gesticulating angrily. "Where's your f---ing face? What are you hiding from? F---ing Allah?"

It's a confronting scene as the man, who is much taller than Haidary, continues his verbal abuse.

"Your f---ing Muhammad? You know he's a paedophile," he tells her.

It's at this point that two women passers-by stop and realise what's happening and start to move in to intervene. The man storms off, adding "f--- off"as he goes.

The whole incident is little more than 40 seconds but its impact highlights the damage that can be done in just a matter of moments.

Haidary, who doesn't usually wear a niqab, is visibly shaken by the experience.

"It's shocking to see that sort of hate," she says. "I can't imagine how those women who dress up like that would get along every day."

It is clear the man did not know he was being filmed. Legally, it's permitted to film people without their permission provided it's in a public space where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy.

An SBS spokesman said: "All filming featured in Is Australia Racist? was captured in public spaces and all relevant filming laws have been adhered to, along with SBS's own Codes of Practice, in the making of the documentary.

"The program shines a light on racism and prejudice in Australia today through a series of social experiments capturing racism and the reactions of people witnessing it, through the eyes of those who experience it."

Out of all the poisonous threads of racism featured in the program, Islamophobia appears to be top of the list in current times. The program notes that in 1998, 3 per cent of the population had negative views towards Muslims, now that proportion is 32 per cent.

Worse, as seen in the on-screen incident, the bullying targets women, with 77 per cent of Muslim women in Australia experiencing bigotry in a public place.

Of the 6000 people questioned, it found that one in five people have experienced racism in the past 12 months, with 35 per cent of those surveyed saying they had experienced racism on public transport or on the street.   

There are glimmers of hope, however. On many occasions, the hidden footage shows bystanders instinctively intervening when volunteers are targeted in hate attacks.

There's also evidence that the younger generation have much greater support for cultural diversity.

"There are things to be done," says Martin at the show's conclusion. "But it's not all gloomy."


Australians aren’t as Islamophobic as we’re led to believe, says Muslim researcher

It depends what you mean by "Islamophobia". The report by Riaz Hussein below is a reasonable bit of orthodox survey work. He even claims to have used a random sample, though he does not say  how it was gathered. At any event, this is the most credible work on the question so far.

His innovation over earlier work is to use five different questions describing five different situations in which a Muslim may be encountered and asking how respondents felt about each one.  He combimned the answers into what psychometricians call a "Likert" scale and found that, overall, Australians were not very wary of Muslims.  They were wary in some situations but not in most.

There are some things I could quibble about in the work (I would have liked to see more Bogardus-type questions included, for instance) but, overall, it is an orthodox psychological approach and certainly shows that few Australians are really bitter and twisted about Islam.  They can be bothered but are not easily bothered.  There is certainly no basis for claiming that Australians generally have a "phobia" (irrational anxiety) about Muslims. So Prof. Hussein's work is certainly an authoritative rebuff to the SBS circus.

The big omission of the survey is that questions concerning immigration were not asked.  So previous findings that show  high levels of opposition to Muslim immigration remain standing.  Combining that information with Prof. Hussein's study leaves us, then, with the summary that few Australians are "Islamophobic" but around half of Australians would nonetheless like to see Muslims begone.  Muslims really have blotted their copybooks in Australia.  They are their own worst enemies

Over the last few months, several reports have indicated a significant number of Australians hold anti-Muslim attitudes. In September 2016, The Australian newspaper reported an Essential poll showing 49% of people surveyed were in favour of a ban against Muslims entering Australia – compared to 40% opposed.

More recently, another Essential poll found 41% of those surveyed supported a Donald-Trump-style ban on people from Muslim countries entering Australia. Another 46% opposed a ban and 14% didn’t know.

Meanwhile, a Newspoll found 44% of respondents believed Australia should take similar measures to Trump’s executive order while 45% opposed doing so. Add this to the increasing support for the anti-Muslim One Nation and it’s no wonder some Muslims may feel unwelcome in Australia.

Anti-Muslim and anti-Islam attitudes displayed in these surveys are largely the result of increasing migration from Muslim-majority countries and fear of terrorism. All this has given rise to a new field of study relating to Islamophobia. Research in the US and Europe shows Islamophobia is a multi-dimensional phenomenon, which is not captured in single-item surveys.

For instance, another recent survey by the Pew Research Centre in the US found Australians welcomed diversity as much as Americans, despite some uncertainty over Muslim integration.

In a survey conducted in late 2015 and early 2016, we used a battery of questions to ascertain Australians’ attitudes towards Muslims and Islam. It is the first study that explored the multidimensionality of Islamophobia in Australia.

The resulting nuanced and comprehensive profile of Islamophobia in Australia actually showed few Australians are truly afraid of those of Muslim faith.

What is Islamophobia?

A 1997 report described Islamophobia as a shorthand way of referring to dread or hatred of Islam and unfounded prejudice and hostility towards Islam and Muslims. This included practical consequences of hostility such as discrimination and exclusion of Muslims from mainstream political and social affairs.

In 2011, influential political scientist Erik Bleich defined Islamophobia as “indiscriminate negative attitudes or emotions directed at Islam or Muslims”.

Indiscriminate and negative attitudes and emotions encompass a wide range. This includes aversion, jealousy, suspicion, disdain, anxiety, rejection, contempt, fear, disgust, anger and hostility. They also cover the “phobic” dimension, which implies a persistent and irrational fear of a specific object, activity or situation which is excessive and unreasonable.

Multidimensionality makes Islamophobia a graded phenomenon with levels ranging low to high. Islamophobia scales have been developed to measure its prevalence in society.

How Islamophobic are Australians?

The scale we used to measure Islamophobia consisted of seven statements. These were:

    Just to be safe it is important to stay away from places where Muslims could be.

    I would feel comfortable speaking with a Muslim.

    I would support any policy that will stop the building of a new mosque.

    If I could, I would avoid contact with Muslims.

    I would live in a place where there are Muslims.

    Muslims should be allowed to work in places where many Australians gather such as airports.

    If possible, I would avoid going to places where Muslims would be.

We randomly selected a sample of 1,000 adult Australians. The respondents were asked how they felt about each of the statements. The five options were: strongly agree, agree, undecided, disagree and strongly disagree.

To obtain a single summary score, strongly agree, agree, undecided, disagree and strongly disagree were given scores of one, two, three, four and five respectively.

In questions one, three, four and seven, “strongly agree” and “agree” reflect anti-Islam attitudes. In the other three questions, the same responses reflect the opposite. We reversed the scores for items one, two, four and seven in order to compute the values ranging from one to five. One represents low levels of Islamophobia, while five is high.

These findings are reported in the table below.

Our findings show almost 70% of Australians appeared to have a very low level of Islamophobic attitudes.

But the individual item responses provide a nuanced understanding of the intensity of such feelings and attitudes. We found 20% were undecided about how they truly felt. Less than 10% fell into the highly Islamophobic category.
Pockets of Islamophobia

We performed further analysis to ascertain levels of Islamophobia by state, capital city, gender, age, educational attainment, labour-force status, occupation, political affiliation and contact with Muslims and religious affiliations.

Our results showed Islamophobia increased with age and declined with level of education. On average, residents of Victoria were less Islamophobic than their New South Wale counterparts. There wasn’t much difference in the other states.

Those from non-English-speaking background were more likely to be Islamophobic compared to those born in Australia and those from English-speaking backgrounds. Respondents not in the labour force were also more likely to score higher on Islamophobia.

Capital-city and non-capital-city residence, gender and employment status had no effect. Liberal and National party supporters were more likely to be Islamophobic than Labor and Greens voters, and people with no political affiliations.

Australians who regularly come in contact with Muslims and those who believe immigrants make important contribution to society are significantly less Islamophobic.

So while there are pockets of antipathy towards Muslims, an overwhelming majority of Australians don’t share that antipathy.


An outspoken Chinese man gets away with stating a racial preference

HE’S loud, proud and is a man who definitely knows what he wants when it comes to dating.  And Alexander Montgomery makes no apology for what he considers to be the ultimate deal-breaker in any prospective partner — they must be white.

The man who calls himself the ultimate potato queen told news.com.au he refuses to date any other race and will only see caucasian men.  “To me white people are the epitome of class and the gold standard of desirability,” he said.  “I really feel the white race is the superior one today. I only date white men.”

He said caucasians ruled the global economy and spoke the dominant language.  Naturally he believes white men are also more physically attractive.

The Melbourne man insists his view on this is not unique and that he also knows plenty of Asian men who only date white.  “I know a lot of Asian guys who are like me,” he said.

“How often do you see Asian guys and white guys together in public?” They’re everywhere.”

The entrepreneur and True Confessions of a Potato Queen author said he knows his views are controversial, and even considered racist by some, but he was entitled to an opinion.  “Yes my view is controversial however this is my standard (for dating) and I stand behind my opinions,” he said.

Not only does he believe “white people are superior” but he also thinks “they are kinder and more sympathetic” which is one of the reasons the country has “the refugee problems it does.”

The 42-year-old features in Date My Race, which airs on SBS tonight.  The show aims to challenge what we think about what drives their own romantic attraction and connections.

However Mr Montgomery said he didn’t believe his views were racist.  “The definition of racism is someone who believes their race is superior,” he said.  “I don’t think other races are inferior to me — only that the white race is superior to me.

“Besides it’s not racism, it’s a preference, I am attracted to white guys.  “Do you call someone who doesn’t date tall people heightist?”

The show will also ask if racial preferences amount to racism when looking for love and follows Mr Montgomery, three others and show host Santilla Chingaipe on their dating experiences.

In an interview ahead of the program going to air, Mr Montgomery said he believes white privilege is a myth.

He also said while One Nation’s Pauline Hanson’s views on immigration was extreme to some, he was glad “people were speaking out to protect this great country of ours.”

During the show, Date My Race host and journalist Santilla Chingaipe embarks on her own colourblind dating experiment using three participants who all have expressed racial bias when dating.

The results are surprising and when Mr Montgomery is set up with another Asian man as part of an online blind test, the experiment goes exactly as you’d expect. He communicated with another man online, but hadn’t seen his face, and admits there was chemistry.

But things were very different when they met face-to-face. “There was no attraction, as soon as I saw him,” he said. “Attraction plays a key role in any relationship.”

During the show his views put him at loggerheads with Chingaipe who he described as a friend and wonderful lady.

He said an Asian guy had approached him during filming and revealed he had been racially abused in Australia, something he said has never happened to him.  “He told me he felt discriminated against and how he didn’t feel at home in Australia,” he said.

“Well you don’t like here, then leave.”

But Mr Montgomery said he learned a lot from going on the show and was constantly challenged by Chingaipe regarding his views.

And while he didn’t change his mind on his views, it did force him to do a lot of reflection about his dating preferences and why he was only attracted to white men.

He said growing up in Singapore and as part of an American-run church, white people were all around him and he looked up to them.

Having dated other races in the past, he said an 18-year relationship with a white man was his best experience and he couldn’t go back on that. “Once you go white, nothing else seems right,” he said.

He also said he is still looking for love and the only other thing he looked for in a potential relationship was someone who was easy going and confident in himself.


[The] refugee deal between Australia and the US has stalled under Donald Trump’s executive order to review America’s migrant vetting processes

No asylum seekers on Manus Island or Nauru have been vetted by Homeland Security yet as officials have not been directed by the US Government to begin the process.

It’s thrown into doubt whether refugees in Australia’s offshore detention centres will be resettled in the US in “the next couple of months”, as Immigration Minister Peter Dutton claimed last week.
Department of Immigration and Border Protection secretary Michael Pezzullo has confirmed the US vetting process has not yet started.

Immigration and Border Protection secretary Michael Pezzullo today confirmed the US vetting process was “poised” to begin but had not yet started.

Mr Pezzullo could not give a date of when the Trump Administration would direct Homeland Security officials to begin the vetting process but said it would be in “the foreseeable future”.

Mr Pezzullo rejected any suggestion the deal had “stalled” and reiterated that Homeland Security officials were “poised and ready” to begin vetting once the Trump Administration had reviewed its vetting processes.

It was expected there would be movement to begin vetting “in the next several months”, he said.

“It’s been made very clear and amply clear publicly that the US system has been directed by the US President to put in place revised vetting protocols and systems expeditiously, so I don’t

suppose it’s going to take a long time but that’s a matter for a foreign government of course,” Mr Pezzullo told the senate estimates hearing.
President Donald Trump wasn’t pleased with the ‘refugee swap’ deal in the first place. Picture: AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Greens Senator Nick McKim questioned whether the US could simply take none of the refugees on Manus Island and Nauru under the as-yet-unknown US vetting threshold.

Mr Pezzullo responded: “I presume the US potentially could set their threshold so they take no refugees from anywhere in the world.”

“The President has indicated that they’re looking with this program here to take 50,000 refugees, so I assume they’ll have their settings at a rate that allows them to follow through on that commitment,” he said.

Mr Pezzullo said the Trump Administration had indicated it would take 1250 refugees, as announced by White House press secretary Sean Spicer, if they passed the vetting process.
Manus Island detention centre remains an ongoing issue for the Federal Government, now that a deal with the US appears to have fallen through. Picture: AAP/Eoin Blackwell

Earlier this month, President Trump tweeted he would look at the “dumb deal” which had been made between Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and former US President Barack Obama.

After days of uncertainty, the White House confirmed the US would honour the deal with its long-time ally.

Mr Neumann called on the Immigration Minister to release the details of the deal after Mr Pezzullo’s revealed vetting had not yet begun.

“Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said refugees from Manus Island and Nauru will begin resettling in America in the ‘next couple of months’ but today the department confirmed the vetting process was still on hold,” he said.

“Constant contradictions coming out of the Turnbull Government need to stop.

“The priority must be ensuring those refugees on Manus Island and Nauru who are eligible have the opportunity to resettle in America as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile, Senator McKim said outsourcing Australia’s responsibility for people who have sought asylum here to Donald Trump has “only created further uncertainty” and “put people’s lives in the hands of an unstable and chaotic American regime”.

“The easiest way to resolve this impasse is to close Australia’s detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru and to bring every man, woman and child here,” he said.

It was also revealed at the estimates’ hearing today that two people trying to claim asylum had been recently deported from the detention centres after having been found not to be refugees.

The two people were deported to Nepal.

Two others had been deported in previous years.


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

Monday, February 27, 2017

More Leftist racism.  "Anglo-Saxon"  warriors no longer wanted in the Australian army

Politically correct nonsense is trying to make girl guides out of our soldiers

THE “diversity” revolution that Lieutenant General David Morrison inflicted on the Australian Army now threatens to diminish our war fighting capability.

Five years after the former Army chief and former Sex Discrimination Commissioner Liz Broderick launched a social engineering experiment aimed at stamping out the male “Anglo Saxon” warrior culture, the troops are unimpressed.

The top brass might have drunk the feminist Koolaid of “Pathway to Change” and its mutant offshoots, but most of the people they command are sceptical about gender fluidity, appeasement of radical Islam, and promotion by chromosome as payback for 116 years of military patriarchy. “People just think it’s crap,” said one young officer.

To overcome such common sense thinking, diversity experts have designed a $30,000 program effectively to brainwash young leaders in the Army to become “champions of change” and stamp out the “white Anglo-Saxon male” culture they are told no longer has a place in the military.

In October, a handpicked group was taken to Sydney and Canberra for the “Junior Leaders Shaping Future Army”, and subjected to five-days of diversity indoctrination.

On day one was a three-hour session from an imam explaining his “Islamic conversion testimony” and proselytising the benefits of Islam, according to one participant who took detailed notes.

The lecture went down so badly that a planned mosque visit on the schedule the next day was cancelled without explanation.

Gender diversity expert Professor Robert Wood introduced the latest politically correct inanity, “unconscious bias”, and criticised the predominance of “Anglo-Saxon males” and the “banter culture” of the Army.

The next day Qantas diversity and inclusion manager Zak Hammer spruiked the airline’s same sex marriage campaign and LGBTI network for staff.

“Gender diversity no longer refers to male and female, because there are people within our community now who don’t identify with these,” one presenter told them.

In one exercise they were asked how they would “inclusively” manage a diversity scenario in which a digger under their command converts to Islam, requiring him to pray five times a day, eat halal food and fast at Ramadan.

“I felt like I was sitting in a North Korean indoctrination camp,” recalls one insider. “Concepts such as bias and unconscious bias have been constantly harped on to try and change the way we think and speak. The soldiers are hating it.”

“It was an extreme politically correct environment for people who are dead set into war fighting,” said another participant.

A psychologist classified the students as “champions” or “skeptics”. However, in the Army, “champ” is an insult. “It’s the worst thing you can call someone. It means you’re a d---head.”

The ADF’s diversity orthodoxy decries a military comprising mainly “males of Anglo-Australian background”, Christians and “third-generation-plus” Australian.

“Such a demographic profile is no longer desirable or sustainable”, says one of the ludicrous diversity reports which now clog the minds and in-trays of generals.

“The typical Defence hero is a hero in uniform from an Anglo-Australian background who performs acts of bravery in battle and models the values of courage and sacrifice... This type of hero is unnecessarily exclusive and works against the desire for Defence ‘to represent the community it serves’,” writes education academic Dr Elizabeth Thomson in her 2014 report: “Battling with words”.

“Casual conversation in Defence is dominated by the kind of talk characteristic of the Aussie bloke... “Humour, banter, practical jokes and nicknaming are language practices (which) marginalise and exclude people (and must be) controlled”

If all this sounds frighteningly Orwellian, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Defence Force Recruiting is where crackpot theory first meets reality and Army chief Lt Gen Angus Campbell is frustrated with the slow progress to achieve his goal of doubling the proportion of women from 12 to 25 per cent.

In a speech to recruitment officers last August he criticised an unnamed dissident who had informed Defence Force Chief Mark Binskin’s “Gender Adviser”, Julie McKay, that he would resist diversity targets because he “needed to protect the Army from Canberra”.

“You need to understand that I will have no humour if my directions are ignored,” Campbell told the recruiters. “The number one priority I have with respect to recruitment is increasing our diversity.”

Since Campbell’s rocket, Defence Force Recruiting has pulled out all stops to entice women into the Army. One whistleblower says they run “female only information sessions, female only fitness assessments, female only job assessment days, have a dedicated female Specialist Recruitment Team... (and) free fitness training.”

Female recruits can ask to be posted with friends and to a location of their choice, and are offered reduced periods of service — one year while men have to serve at least four.

“Defence Force Recruiting has stopped males joining particular jobs which are open only to females,” he says. “Infantry, artillery, key jobs. Where does it stop?”

There is a new program at Kapooka for female recruits too out of shape to pass basic fitness requirements of eight push ups, 45 sit ups, and 7.5 on the Beep test. The Army Pre-Conditioning Program for unfit women offers seven weeks of intensive physical training, yet by the end almost half still flunk the entry test.

Women comprise 12 per cent of the Army, yet Broderick’s goal is 35 per cent of senior positions to be filled by women, so females have a three times better chance of promotion.

Army hasn’t met recruitment goals for ten years, and the exodus of men disillusioned about their promotion prospects won’t help.

At a time when our Army is being called on to step up the war against Islamic State, the deleterious effect of social engineering is clear.  As one former soldier puts it: “They’re messing with our war-fighting DNA”


Fishing store forced to take down 'incredibly offensive' ads after they were found to 'ridicule' Muslims

A fishing shop in regional Victoria has been forced to remove two of its Australia Day advertisements after it was found they 'humiliated' and 'ridiculed' Muslims.

Trelly's Tackle World in Shepparton, north of Melbourne, had a print ad featuring products on sale with an offer of free pork kebabs: '1 day only! Halal or Haram.'

A complaint lodged with the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) claimed the advert was 'incredibly offensive', 'Islamophobic' and 'aggressively attacked Muslims'.

The complaint said the emphasis on pork - consumption of which is forbidden in Islam - was intentionally included to 'suggest that Muslims are not Australians and are not welcomed'.

Trelly's responded to the claims by pointing out the word 'Muslim' was not used in the advertisement and said that kebabs were not exclusive to any one culture.

'In Australia we are free to eat and drink what we want within the laws of Australia,' Trelly's wrote. '[The complainant] is hiding behind the misuse of very loosely used words like multiculturalism and Islamophobic.

'I have also enjoyed by far a greater number of people who like my ad.'


University asks white male students to fill out a questionnaire 'to understand why they are privileged'

University students were handed a 29-point 'male privilege checklist' during diversity workshops on orientation week.

The checklist detailed ways in which males were perceived to have advantages over females in careers, sexuality, personal safety, child rearing, and even clothing.

The University of Western Australia in Perth confirmed the checklist was part of 'Diversity Dialogue' workshops last week, along with material on race and sexuality.

'My odds of being hired for a job, when competing against female applicants, are probably skewed in my favour,' the first point read.

'My clothing is typically less expensive and better-constructed,' another read, adding that 'my clothes will probably fit better'.

Other lines on the first page said carelessness with finances or driving would not be attributed to a male's sex, their grooming is quicker and cheap, and were not assumed to have to sacrifice career for family.

Point 17 read: 'If I'm not conventionally attractive, the disadvantages are small and easy to ignore.'

Promiscuous men were less likely to be called a s**t, males were interrupted less, under less pressure to be thin, and men's ability to make decision was never question due to the 'time of the month'.

Other material in the workshops included a 20-point list called 'understanding white privilege' where students had to tick yes, no or maybe next to each line.

One read: 'Can you go into a shopping centre by yourself and be confident you won't be harassed or threatened?'

'Can you operate successfully in public life, knowing only your first language?' another read.

Others dealt with whether people made them feel welcome and included, and saw people of their race on TV or at work, felt comfortable around authority figures, or were positively portrayed in the media.

The last point read: 'Can you name five famous Australians of your own ethnic background?'

The third handout, 'understanding heterosexual privilege', asked if students took for granted rights like public displays of affection, and talking openly about their relationship.

Others included their partner appearing in family photos, not feeling judged, and not having people assume their partner was of the other gender.

Students discussing them on school leaver social media groups were outraged at being 'forced' to sit through the workshops.

'That's just wrong,' one student wrote, while another commented 'you have got to be joking'. A third even wrote an eight-point 'female privilege checklist'.

A young woman said though men did have advantages over women, the checklist was 'dumb' and ignored the women also had privileges. 'I think the best way to realise the different types of advantages we have all had is through listening to other people's stories, not to have a blatant check list that blames one section of people,' she wrote.

UWA said the workshops were voluntary and used to start a conversation about unconscious biases about gender, race and diverse sexuality.

'Some of the examples listed on the material are common unconscious biases that people may have, sourced from documents provided by organisations such as the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission,' it said.

'They are intended as discussion points, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the university, its staff, or students.'


Capital gains tax: 50 per cent off is no bargain

Reducing the 50% capital gains tax discount is one of a welter of tax ideas to receive attention in the week since Treasurer Scott Morrison flagged tax increases as an alternative if the Senate fails to pass the government’s expenditure cuts.

It’s not a new idea, as halving the discount (and thereby increasing capital gains tax by a whopping 50%) has been Labor policy since the 2016 election. But this time the thought bubble — apparently from someone on the Coalition side — was to reduce the discount only for residential investment properties.

This kind of government-knows-best discrimination against a particular type of investment should be avoided. Neutrality is best. Drawing a dividing line between residential investment properties and all other properties would inevitably introduce new complexities and administrative problems. If there is a case for reducing the discount, it should be applied across the board.

But is there a case for cutting the discount? According to the Australian Financial Review last week, the 50% discount is excessive for its ostensible purpose of freeing the inflationary component of capital gain from taxation. No doubt the AFR was reflecting — as well as reinforcing — a common view of the purpose of the discount. However, it is a flawed view. The fact is that inflation is just one of numerous reasons for taxing capital gains more lightly.

Australia had no general capital gains tax until 1985. From then until 1999, we had a capital gains tax that removed the inflationary component by indexing the cost basis of an asset to the CPI. Along came the Ralph Review of Business Taxation in 1999. If the Ralph review thought inflation was the only reason for a discount, it would have left the system alone. But it didn’t think that, and those like the AFR who repeat the mantra about inflation adjustment should go back and read the Ralph report.

John Ralph talked about the importance of low capital gains tax in encouraging saving and investment — particularly long-term and risky investments. He also talked about international competitiveness, noting that most countries either had no capital gains tax at all (such as New Zealand and Singapore, which still don’t) or taxed capital gains much more lightly (such as the US, where the highest rate is still only 20%, and even high-tax Sweden, where it is 30%). Ralph also talked about the powerful lock-in effect of a tax on realised capital gains, which can lead investors to hold on to assets earning a lower rate of return than alternatives, at a cost to economic efficiency. (The lock-in effect, by the way, means that a reduction in the discount would raise nothing like the revenue its advocates claim.)

Every advocate of reducing the discount has also forgotten that when the 50% discount was adopted in 1999, at the same time investors lost the benefit of the averaging provision, which softened the blow of realised gains accumulated over a long period pushing taxpayers into higher tax brackets. The discount is in part compensation for this bunching effect, yet nobody who now advocates reducing the discount talks about bringing back averaging.

The 50% discount is a good way of recognising all the above reasons to tax capital gains more lightly than ordinary income. It is not a rort or a bargain for taxpayers. Capital gains tax gains applies to all forms of assets and should not be driven by concerns about housing affordability in a few cities.


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 26, 2017

More Warmist prophecy

Summer is already past its peak so where is the bleaching?

The Great Barrier Reef could be struck by its worst-ever blast of coral bleaching as early as this year, experts have warned.

Sea temperatures around the reef near Queensland, Australia, have reached a year-long high, putting coral at risk of extreme heat stress, according to a UN report.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority warned that the reef is more at risk now than it was just before its previous worst-ever bleaching last year, when a quarter of all coral was killed off.

It said a 'lack of planning' for climate change was to blame.

The report, which was presented to the UN on Friday, said that 'unprecedented severe bleaching and mortality of corals in 2016 in the Great Barrier Reef is a game changer'.

The vast coral reef is under pressure from agricultural run-off, the crown-of-thorns starfish, development and climate change.

Last year swathes of coral succumbed to devastating bleaching, due to warming sea temperatures, and the reef's caretakers have warned it faces a fresh onslaught in the coming months.

Canberra updated the UN's World Heritage committee on its 'Reef 2050' rescue plan in December, insisting the site was 'not dying' and laying out a strategy for incremental improvements to the site.

But an independent report commissioned by the committee concluded that the government had little chance of meeting its own targets in the coming years, adding that the 'unprecedented' bleaching and coral die-off in 2016 was 'a game changer'.

'Given the severity of the damage and the slow trajectory of recovery, the overarching vision of the 2050 Plan... is no longer attainable for at least the next two decades,' the report said.

Shallow-water corals in the north of the 1,400-mile (2,300-kilometre) long reef were affected, although central and southern areas escaped with less damage.

The government has pledged more than £1.2 billion (US$1.5 billion) to protect the reef over the next decade, but researchers noted a lack of available funding, with many of the plan's actions under-resourced.

The latest assessment comes after the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority warned the Queensland State government of an 'elevated and imminent risk' of mass-bleaching this year, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

With heavy use of coal-fired power and a relatively small population of 24 million, Australia is considered one of the world's worst per capita greenhouse gas polluters.

Researchers highlighted that the government's rescue plan does not do enough to address climate change, noting that 'new coal mines pose a serious threat' to the reef's heritage area.

While the plan has a strong focus on improving water quality, environmental groups too have been critical of the government for inactivity on global warming.

'These independent experts have given UNESCO a far more accurate assessment of progress than the rose-coloured-glasses version released by the Australian and Queensland Governments late last year,' said World Wildlife Fund Australia head of oceans Richard Leck.

But Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg told the ABC the government had been 'very successful to date' in implementing the reef's 2050 plan.

'Climate change is the number one threat to the reef together with water quality issues,' he said, citing the government's ratification of the Paris agreement, the world's first universal climate pact, as part of the 'broader' efforts to reduce stress on the reef.


Australian universities ask students to respect Muslims by not shaking hands with the opposite sex

Top Australian universities are asking students to respect Muslims by understanding that shaking the hand of the opposite sex is not allowed for followers of Islam. 

Adelaide's Flinders University, Perth's Curtin University and the University of Western Australia (UWA) provide information to students aimed at giving them a better understanding of Islam.

This information hopes to further the understanding that 'shaking hands or touching members of the opposite sex who are not family is not permitted' for Muslims, The Australian reported.

It also says greeting Muslims with phrases such as or 'Happy Easter' or 'Merry Christmas' is not culturally appropriate.

National Union of Students ethno-cultural officer Lorena White told The Australian universities should not force students to participate in actions that do not respect their faith.

UWA and Flinders University do not have a formal handshake protocol, according to a spokesperson from each institution.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham said: 'We expect them [universities] to be ­accountable to their communities, students and the taxpayers who fund them and to reflect community expectations and standards.'


Tony Abbott plays his Trump card: Former leader unleashes on Malcolm Turnbull as 'Labor lite' - and calls for him to slash immigration and scrap climate change targets

Former prime minister Tony Abbott has called on his successor to wind back immigration, axe the Human Rights Commission and stop 'pandering' to climate science.

Mr Abbott said Malcolm Turnbull was losing votes to One Nation because he was running a 'Labor-lite' government, he told a book launch for 'Making Australia Right', edited by Jim Allan, in Sydney on Thursday night.

He said to win back votes before the next election, Mr Turnbull should scale back immigration to ease housing prices, axe funding to the Human Rights Commission to stop 'financial bullying', and cut the renewable energy target to stop 'pandering' to climate change 'theology'.

'The Coalition has become Labor-lite,' he said in his speech at the book launch, in a transcript supplied to The Daily Telegraph.

Mr Abbott, who was rolled by Mr Turnbull in September 2015, said there was disappointment with 'perhaps even despair' with the government.

'These criticisms aren't always fair. 'Still, unless we heed the message from people who think that we have let them down, a book like this can become the thinking person's justification for voting One Nation.'

The former prime minister said it was 'easy to see why' the major parties lost votes in last year's election. 'Our challenge is to be worth voting for,' Mr Abbott said.

Mr Abbott later told conservative columnist Andrew Bolt the government was losing its way.

'Plainly there are lots of people who are concerned about our direction and plainly the risk is we will drift to defeat if we don't lift our game,' Mr Abbott told Sky News on Thursday night.

'I have a duty to try and ensure that our party and our government stays on the right track and plainly there are some issues right now and it's incumbent upon me to raise these issues, to exercise if you like the freedom of the backbench.'

Mr Abbott's intervention is politically destabilising to Mr Turnbull, who governs with a bare one-seat majority.

The comments are reminiscent of former Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd destabilising Julia Gillard in the years after she took his job in June 2010.

Now Mr Abbott, who like Mr Rudd was knifed as PM during his first term, said politics shouldn't be a clash of egos. 'It won't be easy but it must be possible or our country is doomed to a Shorten government that will make a bad situation immeasurably worse,' Mr Abbott told the book launch on Thursday night.

'In or out of government, political parties need a purpose. Our politics can't be just a contest of toxic egos or someone's vanity project.'

During his speech at the book launch, Mr Abbott also recommended the government consider taking senate reform to the next election.

'The Senate sabotage of the 2014 budget was blamed on poor salesmanship, but my successor's difficulties with far less sweeping measures show that the problem is less the salesman than the system.'

On The Bolt Report, Mr Abbott said Mr Turnbull needed to live at Kirribilli House, on Sydney Harbour, instead of having taxpayer foot a hefty security bill to live at his mansion across the water at Point Piper, in the eastern suburbs.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says she does not agree with Mr Abbott's assessment that the government risks a 'drift to defeat' if it fails to lift its performance.

Speaking to reporters in London on Thursday Ms Bishop said she had not seen Mr Abbott's 'so-called manifesto' to make the next election winnable for a coalition government.

She said the Liberal Party welcomed policy initiatives from ministers and backbenchers and as a former party leader Mr Abbott would have ideas. But she said she rejected Mr Abbott's 'drift to defeat' view. 'I don't accept that characterisation at all.'

Ms Bishop said the Turnbull government had been pursuing policies that were in the interests of the Australian people to grow the economy, create jobs and focus on national security.

She also rejected a suggestion in an Andrew Bolt interview with Mr Abbott on Sky News that she was not 'conservative, plain-speaking and loyal'.

Ms Bishop said she had been elected by the party to be deputy leader and she owed her loyalty to the party room.

'If there's a characterisation about being conservative and plain speaking and loyal I believe I fill that characterisation.'

On the West Australian election Ms Bishop said she expected the Liberal Party to win in its own right without One Nation support as Premier Colin Barnett was the only leader with a plan for the future prosperity of the state.

On Friday morning, Defence Minister Christopher Pyne said the government was 'getting on with the job' and would not be distracted by the speculation.


Has Bob Hawke lost his marbles?

Senile dementia?  He's 87

It is something of an event when a long-standing friend of Israel chooses to publicly criticize it and recommend recognising Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority (PA) (but not Hamas-controlled Gaza) as a sovereign ‘Palestine.’ In the case of former Prime Minister Bob Hawke, writing recently in the Australian Financial Review (14 Feb.), this was always going to be newsworthy, given his long role in passionately standing up for Israel in the labor movement at home and abroad amidst the radical furies of the 1970s.

Accordingly, Mr Hawke’s views command attention and their provenance can have an impact on an ALP seeking to define its stance. In fact, it probably has: since his piece appeared, former Labor Foreign Ministers Gareth Evans and Bob Carr have felt called upon renew their own calls for recognising ‘Palestine’ and they now been joined by former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd.

Mr Hawke was once an eloquent proponent of the view that Israel could not relinquish territories to forces inimical to its existence. Yet his views began to alter, perhaps as early as the late 1970s, but certainly by the mid-1980s. It is not unreasonable to suppose that his Israeli Labor counterparts, who were increasingly adopting the view that a Palestinian state might defuse the conflict, exerted an influence on his thinking. Witnessing a seemingly unending sequence of bloodshed and uneasy respites over decades inclines people of goodwill to suppose that a bold initiative might break the tragic logjam. And indeed, the Israeli Labor Party did eventually embrace this point of view, chartering in 1993 the Oslo peace process with Yasser Arafat and his Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), upon whose probity its ultimate success depended.

It did not work out as intended, at least on the Israeli side. The PA regime established in Gaza and Jericho in 1994, later progressively extended to other major population centers in the West Bank, proved a corrupt and violent entity which, far from fostering a renovation of Palestinian society away from terrorism and conquest towards peace and accommodation, actually incubated the jihadist terror organizations of Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Children within the PA became hostage to an educational system replete with incitement to hatred and murder. One need only view a few video clips of Palestinian classrooms, with their pupils interviewed openly and proudly on PA television, extolling the religious and national duty of murdering Israelis, to see the bloodcurdling effectiveness of this sort of pedagogy.

None of this was altered or ameliorated by the transfer by Israel of territory, funds and, tragically, even arms, to Arafat’s forces, to say nothing of the vast inflow of foreign capital: in the Oslo era, Palestinians became the largest per capita recipients of international aid while, for example, tragically destitute Niger, with one doctor per 33,000 people, got peanuts.

Ambitious peace plans, going beyond what most Israelis before, then and since regarded as prudent, the first brokered by US President Bill Clinton in 2000-1, the second proposed by then-Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in 2008, were rebutted without counter-offer by the PA.

Indeed, Arafat’s response in 2000 was to launch a terror wave of suicide bombers against Israel that lasted four years and claimed the lives of over 1,100 Israelis. In the years since Oslo, more Israeli lives have been snuffed out by terrorists than had been in all 45 years of Israel’s national existence that preceded Oslo.

The wonder, then, is not that Hawke changed his view on dealing with the PLO –– many a friend of Israel, to say nothing of about half of Israelis, came to the view that the conflict was perpetuated by the absence of Palestinian self-determination, not continuing rejection of Israel’s legitimacy and permanence. Rather, the wonder is that many including Mr Hawke continue to subscribe to this viewpoint, long after the Oslo process had been tested to destruction and ruination. It is peculiar to read Mr Hawke today, thinking and arguing as though Oslo never happened, as if dealing with Arafat’s lieutenants and loyalists had never been tried.

Thus, he now writes,“I and the friends of Israel around the world are fearful that in a real sense we may be witnessing again after thousands of years a giant Eyeless in Gaza. Is there not emerging the danger of Israel being blinded to the threat to its very soul and the vision of its future?”

Other than one small change of phrase, Mr Hawke has lifted verbatim a passage from a speech he gave in May 1988 where he first voiced the view that Palestinian statelessness was the key issue. No-one who has spoken to Mr Hawke about Israel, as I have several times in the past, including on that night in May 1988, could doubt that he viewed negotiations with the PLO as the acme of far-sighted Israeli statesmanship. Far from being disabused by the carnage and tragedy that followed from Israel acting on such advice, and, ironically, eleven years since Israel evacuated every Jew, living and dead, from Gaza in return for exponentially increased rocket assaults, he seems entrenched in the view that he has been right all along.

Mr Hawke used to propound the view that, should Israel ever be assaulted from territories it had ceded for peace, it should reoccupy them in perpetuity, without any further “argy-bargy.”  Today, however, in the absence of argy-bargy –– the PA has persistently refused all but one week of talks with Israeli counterparts in the past eight years –– he thinks Australia should recognise as a sovereign state the PA that has served as the base for these assaults. Accordingly, he joins the ranks of those who urged Israel to take risks for peace and continue to do so, long after it has blown up in its face.

Why has he done so? With those who were always hostile to Israel, there is little mystery, but in the case of Mr Hawke it is difficult to diagnose the cause. A warm friend of the late Israeli Labor Prime Minister, Golda Meir, Mr Hawke, in his recent piece, recalls her telling him in the immediate aftermath of the 1973 Yom Kippur War that “there could be no peace for Israel until there was an honourable settlement of the aspirations of the Palestinian people.”

Peculiarly, this recollection is not to be found in the detailed account of this meeting in Blanche D’Alpuget’s biography (Robert J. Hawke, pp. 259-60). But whenever Golda Meir communicated these views to him, it remains worth noting that she also said in 1976 that the “startling effrontery” of the PLO in seeking a Palestinian state, the better to assault Israel at a later date, made it ineligible for talks until its changed its eliminationist program.

The PLO has certainly since changed some of its statements (at least in English) –– and, as noted, was rewarded with recognition, territory and assets as a result –– but it only takes a moment’s checking of today’s scene to see that the change Mrs Meir hoped to see has yet to emerge.

In the last month alone, the PA has upbraided the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for the “sin” of correctly stating that the Jewish biblical temples stood on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. An Al-Quds university academic, professing that Jews have no historical connection to the city, was just broadcast on PA TV.  Indeed, the PA, whom Mr Hawke wishes to recognise as a state, has called for such a state to be Jew-free.

Mr Hawke’s cri de cœur shows no flicker of recognition of the state of Palestinian society today and its majority support for terrorism against Israel. Of the PA-encouraged and applauded wave of ongoing stabbing attacks on Jews walking Israeli streets, or the call to preserve the mosques atop Jerusalem’s Temple Mount from wholly imaginary assault from what the PA’s Abbas called the Jews’ “filthy feet,’ not a word.

Indeed, Mr Hawke doesn’t seem to have noticed that the PA recently led a successful effort at the UN with the backing of the so-called ‘non-aligned’ bloc to have UNESCO authorize a flat-earth resolution rewriting history by declaring Jerusalem’s Temple Mount to be an exclusively Muslim site.

Mr Hawke used to oppose mightily the cynical manipulation and fostering of Jew-hatred, encoded as anti-Zionism, via international organizations. Today, however, when blatant denial of Jewish history and heritage is the order of the day and malevolent anti-Semitic fiction declared to be fact, he believes that Israel can obtain peace from those who deny Jews ever lived there.

Instead of conceding that Israel did as he urged and was rewarded with bloodshed, opprobrium and boycott, he lends his hand today to applauding December’s UN Security Council Resolution 2334, another flat-earth resolution, which has condemned as illegal all Jewish residence in the West Bank and the eastern half of Jerusalem. (Actually, Jewish settlement in these territories has been something enshrined in international law since the 1920 San Remo settlement and never subsequently extinguished by any binding agreement).

Mr Hawke now urges Australia to recognise ‘Palestine,’ an international fabrication designed to circumvent the negotiations that he believed –– as he enthusiastically opined at the time of Oslo Accords –– he had been ahead of his time in urging upon the Israelis. He shows no sign of having thought whether Australian recognition of ‘Palestine’ might aid postponing indefinitely any prospect of a settled peace, as indeed it does: Israeli/Palestinian negotiations have less chance of convening, much less succeeding, if only because 2334 tells Palestinians that everything is theirs and that there is nothing to negotiate.

Indeed, even Mr Hawke seems to be thinking this way. Why else recycle, as he did in his piece, the old chestnut that the 1947 UN General Assembly partition resolution recommending two states, which as he reminds us, emerged in good part due to the efforts of Australia’s External Affairs Minister, Dr. H.V. Evatt, gave 54% of “the Palestinians’ best cultivated land and cities” in British Mandate of Palestine to its Jewish third, who merely owned 6% of the country, while giving a mere 47% “of their own country” to the Palestinian two-thirds who owned the remaining 92%?

Not only is the mathematics shoddy, but the statistics absurd: in the territory that became Israel in 1948, Jews owned 8.6% of the land, Arabs owned 20.2%, and the remainder ––71.2% –– was Crown land. The greater part of the territory awarded to the Jews by the UN, far from being “the Palestinians’ best cultivated land and cities” was the almost uninhabited Negev desert. Major Arab cities and towns –– Jaffa, Ramleh, Lydda, Ramallah, Nazareth, Gaza –– were all awarded by the UN to the intended Arab state and would be part of one today, had the Palestinian and wider Arab leadership accepted the award.

How swallowing whole and regurgitating  a cynical fabrication routinely disseminated by Israel’s enemies honours Golda Meir, a plucky defender of her country, and her aspirations for peace is anyone’s guess. It is surely not saying too much to assert, at the least, that she would have been profoundly dismayed at this turn of argument from her passionately pro-Israel Australian friend.

Whatever brought Bob Hawke to this pass can only be guessed at. But one can certainly say of his current preoccupation with establishing a Palestinian state via international pressure on Israel is that it suffers from the undemocratic tendency of seeking to compel Israel, against the judgment of its government and electorate, to make self-defeating concessions to a unreconstructed, irredentist Palestinian regime.

It also partakes of the flawed tendency to believe that such a state will produce peace. Yet no perusal of Palestinian sermons, statements or publications suggests that Palestinians currently accept the idea of a peaceful state alongside Israel. If a Palestinian state won’t bring peace, why create it or urge its creation upon others? Surely, a policy that devises carrots and sticks to induce Palestinians to relinquish their war on Israel’s continued existence provides the best basis for future, fruitful negotiations.

In the meantime, Palestinians live under Hamas in Gaza and the PA in the West Bank. Scarcely a happy outcome for Palestinians, who must contend with the despotism, brutality, corruption and capriciousness of their own regimes, even while sharing their political goals. But we can discard the cant about their being occupied by an Israel that stands to lose its soul.

As it stands, the PA lacks vital attributes of sovereignty required under international law, such as effective control of territory and undivided authority. Does Australia really wish to endorse a mischievous fiction by recognizing ‘Palestine,’ which additionally circumvents a negotiated settlement? Mr Hawke never asked this question, but those reading him should.


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 24, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is disgusted by Muslim wife bashing

School Revolution?

John Hattie is a smart guy but he is up against a lot:  principally the low intellectual standards of those applying to be teachers.  Very few people with other options would want to teach in Australia's chaotic public classrooms.  Dedicated teachers get jobs in our large private school system, where they can make a difference.  My son's private High School actually had several MALE teachers!  Wonder of wonders!

AUSTRALIA is on the brink of a revolution in our schools, with a radical overhaul driven by the kids whose lives it will transform. And it all comes back to a reality TV show.

For the first time the progress of students will be linked not just to their teacher but all the way to their teacher’s teacher.

Under tough new standards being developed by the government, teacher training institutions will be accredited based on how students ultimately respond to the teachers they produce.

The pioneering new approach is driven by the guru behind the ABC reality show Revolution School, which famously transformed a struggling public high school in outer Melbourne into one of the leading schools in the state.

Internationally renowned education expert John Hattie says not only does the way we teach have to change but the way we teach our teachers must too.

He told news.com.au he was sick of teacher training institutions reporting only what they taught their graduates without focusing on how that ended up in the classroom.

“I couldn’t give a s**t how you teach,” he says. “I care about the impact of your teaching.”

Prof Hattie is director of the Melbourne Education Research Institute as well as chair of the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL), which has been set up to advise the Federal Government as it overhauls Australia’s flagging education system.

His book Visible Learning is, according to the University of Melbourne, “believed to be the world’s largest evidence-based study into the factors which improve student learning”. It combined 50,000 other smaller studies and ultimately involved 80 million students.

In a nutshell, it found that teachers should talk less and listen more.

Almost miraculously in the current political environment, this approach has bipartisan support. Labor has even accused the Turnbull Government of pinching its own ideas, which in politics is about as close to a compliment as you can get.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham is understood to be very close to the thinking of Prof Hattie and Labor’s education spokeswoman and deputy leader Tanya Plibersek told news.com.au: “I think the Hattie approach is fantastic.”

According to one senior insider developing the new scheme it is nothing short of a revolution. “It’s absolutely a revolution. It’s going to take a while to flow through — you can’t make these things happen overnight — but it will happen.”

Senator Birmingham has adopted a cool and clinical philosophy since becoming minister 18 months ago but his resolve is clear.

“Every decision that’s made and every dollar that’s spent needs to come back to answering a simple question — what does the evidence show works best?”

And Ms Plibersek agrees: “All the research agrees that the most important thing to the child’s success in the classroom is the teacher.”

Critically, Ms Plibersek says that while she still wants to see more needs-based funding for schools, the Opposition “would never hold reform hostage” and supports maximum transparency in measuring student progress as well as teachers and training institutions being driven by that.

This is an almost unprecedented aligning of the planets when it comes to real reform that will transform our kids and ultimately our country.

And a major breakthrough could come in mere weeks, with the Council of Australian Governments’ Education Council set to meet in Hobart on April 7.

It is expected there will also be significant progress on fixing school funding so that wealthy private schools are not overpaid with taxpayer dollars, which Labor has indicated it is also willing to consider.

The top-to-bottom schools overhaul follows a string of international reports showing Australia falling behind in education.

The latest figures from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study found Australia had fallen behind Kazakhstan in maths and science — described by the Centre for Independent Studies education research fellow Jennifer Buckingham as “dismal”.

The following week the Programme for International Student Assessment found Australia had slipped behind nine countries — including New Zealand.

The Australian Council for Education Research’s Dr Sue Thompson, who collated our portion of the data, described school performance as being in “absolute decline”.

Prof Hattie is even more brutal, saying the obsession with more cash over better quality of teaching was destroying Australian education. “There’s a lot of ‘Just give me more money and leave me alone’ and it’s killing us,” he says.

“Everybody knows we’re going backwards but it’s very hard to get that on the table. We want more money to do what we were doing yesterday which is not the right answer.”


As demonstrated by Revolution School, as well as data and research across the world, the number one factor in a student’s performance isn’t school resources or class sizes but how the teacher engages kids in the classroom.

The new push means that for the first time student progress will be tracked not just back to the teachers but to the teachers’ teachers, with tough new standards for training providers based on how their methods work not on their graduates, but on the kids their graduates end up teaching.

It’s so simple it’s radical.

The government is significantly toughening up the accreditation process for initial teacher education programs, which Prof Hattie says has been ridiculously soft.  Providers must now apply for accreditation against a new strengthened standard. Some may well fall short.

“In the history of this country we’ve never denied accreditation to a single institution,” he says.

Under the new scheme providers would need to show “evidence of impact”. It is linked to an Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership report that states:

“It is a fundamental expectation that every teacher education graduate will have met the Graduate Teacher Standards, succeeded on the teaching performance assessment and demonstrated a positive impact on student learning.  “Equally, it is expected that graduates will continue to have a positive impact throughout their teaching career.

“It is acknowledged there are measurement challenges in assessing teachers’ impact on student learning, but it is expected that improved mechanisms will develop over time, given the importance of measuring this impact.”

In other words, the accreditation of training providers will depend on the performance of teachers not in their institutions but in the classrooms of the future.

Prof Hattie admits the approach of constantly measuring teacher performance by student progress or “growth” had met resistance by entrenched interests, including teachers unions and the odd state government.  “The union at the moment has a black ban on AITSL,” he says, only half joking.

In response, the Australian Education Union says it was actually represented on the AITSL Board until 2015, when former minister Christopher Pyne restructured it. “We’ve not really been part of their work since then, but we haven’t black-banned them,” a spokesman says.

He says the AEU supports measuring teacher performance and pay against set professional standards — a big improvement on the previous model based on years of service — but not on teachers being measured by student achievement.

“On the general idea of paying teachers according to student achievement, there are massive practical issues with what you measure, how you measure it and how you compensate for the different social backgrounds of schools. As far as I know, there’s no school system, public or private, that makes it the basis of teacher pay, including high-performing Asian ones like Singapore.”

But Prof Hattie says this is because schools do not have the right tools to measure student growth. “When you give the teachers the skills, the resources, they’re hungry for it,” he says.

The key is regular ongoing feedback and measurement rather than just end of year report cards or NAPLAN tests. “How do we help the teachers use that? How many of their kids have grown? There’s no calibration,” Prof Hattie laments.

“Teachers don’t have a common conception of progress. It’s reporting back to teachers, giving the resources to teachers so they can see who’s making progress.”


It is also vital to be able to talk about teacher performance without being seen to “bash teachers”. “How do you get a debate about expertise without getting a debate about bad teachers?”

Even parents, he warns, have fallen prey to misguided ideological thinking, often focusing on issues like class sizes that the research says do not really matter: “The things they want the resources for are the things that impact the least.”

Meanwhile, the great dance of the federation continues, with the states instinctively milking the Commonwealth for all the money they can get. “Every time the government puts a dollar in, the states take a dollar out,” Prof Hattie says.  “I can tell you, Oliver Twist is alive and well.”

Or, as the insider puts it: “Essentially we’ve been handing over this cash to the states and they’ve been doing all this ideological s**t that doesn’t make a difference.”

Meanwhile the crippling taboos and sensitivities that have always haunted political reform remain.

Prof Hattie is at pains to stress that his approach is nothing like the much-maligned NAPLAN “National Assessment Program — Literacy and Numeracy” testing, saying he’s scared to even use the word “assessment”. “You can’t do that!” he jokes. I think.

But there’s one thing even more shocking, more galling and more forbidden about the schools revolution that might just save our nation. A truth that the former Professor of Education at Auckland University dare not speak and one that should send chills down the spine of every red-blooded Australian.

“I should never say we’ve already done it in New Zealand.”


A fine Muslim man whom Australia is lucky to have

Showing a typical Muslim respect for women

A Sydney woman, who saw her father stab her mother to death, begged and frantically tried to stop him while screaming for help, she has told a court.

Ola Haydar, who was 18 at the time, told the NSW Supreme Court she heard a scream at her Bexley home and ran into the kitchen to see her father, Haydar Haydar, stab her mother, Salwa Haydar, in the back in early 2015.

She said she 'tried to get in the middle of it' but her father kept going.  'I was trying to hold his hand back, the one that held the knife,' she said on Wednesday.  'I tried pushing him off her but I couldn't.'

Breaking into tears, Ms Haydar said she was 'begging him to stop' and 'screaming and screaming for help'.  She cried out: 'What are you doing? Oh my God you're going to kill her'.

But her father responded, 'No, it's fine' and 'Why are you screaming? Stop screaming'.

Haydar, 60, is on trial and has pleaded not guilty to murder, wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and reckless wounding, but has pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

The Crown says the former taxi driver suspected his wife of having an affair and stabbed her 30 times.

On Wednesday Ms Haydar told the court two of her fingers were cut when she tried to save her mother, but she wasn't paying attention to herself at the time.

She said she heard her father call her mother the Arabic word for 'sl**' during the attack and heard her mother say: 'I didn't do anything'.

Ms Haydar said she went to the phone to get help and her father turned around. 'He looked at me and said, "What are you doing?", and he continued,' she said.  'He'd look back and continue.'

Haydar cried and held his head in his hands in the dock.

Crown prosecutor Michael Barr said in his opening statement Haydar and his wife, a drug and alcohol counsellor, had talked often about separating.

Mr Barr said Haydar suspected his wife of being unfaithful after he found messages to a co-worker on her phone.


Greens cowardice on Islam, other key issues, matches their ignorance

by Chris Kenny

Islam is the most feminist religion. Wind energy is reliable. Border security is unnecessary. The US alliance is inimical to our national interest. The Australian is a race-baiting newspaper.

The Australian Greens have strayed so far from reality in their post-truth universe that they must have become confused between the real world and a flashback to some trip in the 70s.

They have become the lunatics at the bottom of the garden shouting at the moon.

It would be hilarious if it weren’t so dangerous, amusing if it wasn’t so damaging to our nation. “The Australian, or as it may be better described, the Q Society Gazette,” said Greens senator Nick McKim in the Senate today, “has become little more than a loss-making, race-baiting rag.”

Not only do these political fringe dwellers combine with Labor and crossbench senators to undermine the nation’s fiscal position and economic future, but they meddle incessantly and odiously in identity politics, fuelling resentment and division, and spitting bile at mainstream voters, their concerns and their values.

This latest foray from Greens leader, Richard Di Natale, and McKim has come after today’s page one article by Caroline Overington about Yassmin Abdel-Magied.

Overington revealed how taxpayers had funded the writer’s tour to majority Muslim nations in North Africa and the Middle East to promote her book and her views.

It was highly relevant and topical given Abdel-Magied’s appearance on Q&A on Monday night, when she attempted to justify sharia law, and, astonishingly, said Islam was “the most feminist” religion.

In return for its reporting on this issue, this newspaper was singled out by the Greens leader who claimed we had attacked Abdel-Magied and that our reporting was fuelling tensions around Islam.

Overington revealed Abdel-Magied’s tour took her to a range of countries where women are treated appallingly.

She did nothing but put salient facts into the debate. She can’t do much about her skin colour but Overington is neither middle-aged nor male and anyone who reads her work knows she is a strong feminist.

McKim and Di Natale, on the other hand, are white non-Muslim men eager to parade their tolerance for Islam while wilfully blind on equality for women behind the veil.

Their cultural and political cowardice is matched only by their ignorance.


Labor party computer bungle still hitting hospital staff years later

The bungle was entirely the work of a big-noting health minister at the time.  He signed off on the contract before the new system had been validated.  All debts or apparent debts incurred at the time should have been written off years ago

A SUNSHINE Coast mum is being chased by a debt collector on behalf of Queensland Health for $6000 they say she was overpaid as a result of the payroll debacle seven years ago.

Krysten Harvey is fuming as she has been trying to get an explanation from Queensland Health for more than a year showing how they have worked out the debt, The Sunshine Coast Daily reports.

She’s had no response and didn’t think more of the matter, particularly as six months ago she gave birth to her first child.

But on Monday she received a text from a debt collector advising she was now being pursued for the alleged funds.  “Please contact ARL on .... concerning a matter received from Queensland Health,” the text read.

Ms Harvey, who worked as a wardie for Queensland Health in 2009 and 2010 while on a year off from university for her nurse studies, was hit by the payroll debacle “pretty blood bad”.

Sometimes she would go without pay for “months” and then her pay was “always wrong if I was paid”.

“None of my pay slips matched the figure which was finally deposited into my bank account,” she said. “Mind you, I was also receiving two pay slips each fortnight. Why? I don’t know. These pay slips made no sense at all.

“ I’d work a 64-hour contract, I was casual and one pay slip would say I was paid nothing and the other pay slip would say I was taxed $1200.”

It became so bad, it “marred the rest of my experience with Queensland Health”. “I struggled to pay bills, to pay my rent, to eat, to afford fuel to even get to work.

“I called Centrelink out of desperation only to be told that they couldn’t do anything because ‘on paper’ I was earning money.”

She washed her hands of the matter out of frustration.

The payroll debacle, which affected thousands of Queensland Health employees, sparked a Commission of Inquiry by Honourable Richard Chesterman in 2013. He described it as a “catastrophic failure”.

Health Minister Cameron Dick also apologised in September 2015 that the “payroll system under the previous Labor government was a disaster”. But if Ms Harvey thought that was the end of the nightmare, she was wrong. It was only the beginning.

In 2016 when she was pregnant with her first child and working as a registered nurse, she received a phone call from Queensland Health.

She thought it was about appointments for her pregnancy, but it wasn’t.  “It’s about a supposed $6000 plus debt that I owe to Queensland Health,” she said.

Thankfully, Ms Harvey had kept her pay slips and could access her bank statements from six years earlier and she took the matter to her local member Jarrod Bleijie and she asked Queensland Health for their documentation.

None of their examples matched what she was paid on her pay slips.

That was months ago and she hoped the debacle was behind her, until she received the text from the debt collector.

“The year is now 2017 and they’ve sent the issue to a debt collector now which I can only imagine meant that I have been defaulted for an amount of money that they have practically made up,” Ms Harvey said.

She is determined to fight it as they have caused me an “insurmountable amount of emotional trauma”.

“I gave birth to my now six-month-old son two weeks early due to stress-induced pre-eclampsia and now they are potentially affecting my ability to get a loan.”

Mr Bleijie was also amazed this issue had raised its ugly head again.  “I feel for Krysten and other nurses who have contacted me about the Palaszczuk government’s cruel attempt to recoup alleged overpayments that can’t be proven and occurred over six years ago under Labor’s watch,” he said.

“This is seriously affecting Sunshine Coast families and it’s time Cameron Dick stepped out of his ivory tower, listened to Queenslanders, and fixed his own mess.”

Queensland Health was approached early yesterday for comment. No response was received by deadline.


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 23, 2017

Australian men longest lived

The Sydney Boring Harold is a miserable carping paper -- as befits its strong Leftist lean. Ordinary Australians would be pleased that we are unusually long lived but what did the SMH head its story as?  They said: "Australian men to be knocked off top spot for life expectancy". They had to scratch for something negative in the news, even if it was highly speculative.  As you would expect, they attribute our good fortune to our free public hpospitals.  But we have had those for decades so that is nonsense.  It's more likely that other nations have things holding them back -- like the two large minority populations in the USA

Australian men are the world's longest lived, a new study has revealed, but the research shows that by 2030 they will have been knocked off the top spot for world life expectancy.

The study, published on Wednesday in The Lancet, shows that across the developed world life expectancies continue to climb, pushing above 90 for the first time.

Australian boys who were born in 2010 can expect to live to 80.10, the study says, longer than any other country. And those to be born in 2030 can expect to live to 84.00.

However, males born in South Korea in 2030 can expect to live to 84.07, or about 25 days longer than an Australian male born at the same time. Given the nature of the statistical modelling, this falls within the margin of error.

The study says: "For men, South Korea, Australia, and Switzerland have highly overlapping distributions of projected life expectancy and hence similar probabilities of occupying the top three ranks."

South Korean women born in 2030 are also expected to live the longest, to 90.82 on average. This is the first time that a life expectancy has passed 90, the study's authors say. South Korean girls born in 2010 also had the highest life expectancy, at 84.07.

Australian women currently have the fourth longest life expectancy at 84.53. Girls born in 2030, the study says, can expect to live until they are 87.57, which is the sixth longest projected life span.

"As recently as the turn of the century, many researchers believed that life expectancy would never surpass 90 years," said lead author Professor Majid Ezzati from Imperial College London.

"Our predictions of increasing lifespans highlight our public health and healthcare successes. However, it is important that policies to support the growing older population are in place."

Professor David Le Couteur from the Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney said: "Three things struck me about this study. One is that much of this life expectancy gain is occurring in old people. Two is how well Australia is doing. And three is how badly the US is doing."

Professor Le Couteur said Australia's performance is due to a combination of lifestyle factors and social policy.

"There has been a dramatic reduction in smoking and enough people are exercising as they get older to make an impact. And while obesity is a problem it is not as bad as in the US or Britain.

"A strong conclusion of this study and one I would support is that having a strong universal health system with public health interventions makes a huge difference."

He said that in the US high homicide rates, obesity, inequality and the lack of universal healthcare are contributing to its stagnating life expectancy rates.

"The US spends more on health [per capita] than Australia but it's very inequitable in terms of delivery," Professor Le Couteur said.

"America is not even in the top 20 countries for life expectancy - which is incredible considering how much it spends on healthcare."

The study also shows that in every country - except Mexico - the gap in life expectancy between men and women is decreasing.

For Australians born in 2010, women are expected to live 4.43 years longer than men. However, for those born 20 years later, that gap is expected to drop to 3.57 years.

In the Netherlands the gender gap will drop to 1.7 years, with men born in 2030 expected to live until 83.69 and women until they are 85.39.

Professor Le Couteur said: "I suspect countries with the narrowest difference between men and women have better social equity and lower smoking rates."

He said men are healthier and there is a tendency for women to be taking up some of the bad health behaviours of men, such as heavier drinking.

Ailiana Santosa, from the Centre for Demographic and Ageing Research, Umea University, Sweden said: "Countries are moving towards universal health coverage. Achieving universal health coverage is worthy, plausible, and needs to be continued."

The researchers used a statistical method based on 21 models for 35 countries with populations above 1 million, rather than a single statistical model. These results were then combined using a Bayesian modelling technique.

The data for Australia compares well to recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which predicts life expectancy for Australian girls born in 2013-15 to be 84.5 and boys born at the same to time to live until they are 80.4.

"What these figures reflect is health. The reason people are living longer is because they're healthy. And because they are healthy they are contributing more to society and using fewer healthcare resources," Professor Le Couteur said.


Immigrants to blame for high house prices, businessman Dick Smith claims

You can't fault his logic

Australian businessman Dick Smith has blamed immigrants for high house prices, claiming the "enormous population increase" is making young families unable to buy their first home.

Appearing alongside former Labor leader Mark Latham and controversial former Liberal MP Ross Cameron, Mr Smith said "jumbo loads" of immigrants arriving each week were the "main driver" behind the country's housing affordability crisis.

"The main point that's driving our unaffordable housing is about 200,000 immigrants come in a year. That's five jumbo loads a week that go out empty," he told Sky News.

"All of our problems are from this unbelievable population increase. You can't drive in Sydney at the moment. The housing prices are enormous.

"The most fundamental right is to get a house with a backyard. Young couples can't do that anymore, purely driven in 95 per cent of cases by the enormous population increase, mainly driven by ridiculous immigration."

The entrepreneur has long argued in favour of a "sustainable" population and last year backed One Nation's policy of restricting migration levels - though he disagreed with banning Muslim immigrants.

On Tuesday, Mr Smith asserted population growth of 1.7 per cent was not compatible with long-term prosperity, and Australia had reached a "sweet spot" of around 24 million people.

He said infinite population growth would "just mean that most people are poor". In doing so he took aim at the service sector economy, which he described as "selling coffee to each other or doing nails".  "You can't run a country on that," he said.

Both sides of politics and most economists spruik the benefits of immigration. The majority of the 190,000 migrant places offered by Australia each year are in skilled migration, attracting people with a high level of education and who tend to be of prime working age.

That contrasts with Australia's ageing population, which requires the support of younger workers, and the relatively stable but low birth rate of 1.9 births per woman, which is below the population replacement level.

A report by the Migration Council of Australia used modelling by Independent Economics to declare that by 2050, migration will have added 21.9 per cent to the real wages of low-skilled workers, and will be contributing $1.6 trillion to the country's gross domestic product.

It comes amid a deepening debate within the Turnbull government about how to combat the housing affordability crisis, with MPs pitching a variety of ideas from deposit-free home loans to high-speed rail.

Assistant Minister to the Treasurer Michael Sukkar was criticised by Labor for suggesting that "highly-paid jobs" should be the "first step" for those seeking to buy a home.

The comments were reminiscent of former treasurer Joe Hockey's infamous declaration that aspiring home owners should "get a good job that pays good money".


Controversial One Nation candidate David Archibald claims Africans have a lower IQ and welfare is stopping human evolution

The figures are on his side

A One Nation candidate believes black Africans have lower IQs and government welfare is preventing human evolution.

David Archibald, a geologist who is running for Pauline Hanson's party at next month's West Australian elections, wrote an opinion piece for the niche, right-wing American Thinker website, in May 2015.

One Nation's candidate for the mining-rich Pilbara region, in the state's far north, said Africans in the continent's southwest had intelligence quotients, which were much lower than the average IQ of 100.

'One major kind of diversity is in the range of human intelligence, with the bushmen of southwest Africa at the bottom end with an average IQ of 60 and Ashkenazi Jews at the top end with an average IQ of 115,' he said.

In the same article, titled 'Genes, Mutations and Behaviour', Mr Archibald said government welfare was also stopping millions of years of human evolution.

'Human evolution, both the enhancement of the good and the winnowing of the bad, has now stopped due to the rise modern medicine and the welfare state,' he said.

'Mutations continue, though, so in theory the human genome is going backwards now.'

Earlier this month, One Nation's federal leader Pauline Hanson hit out at journalists and politicians, including Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese, who had called for Mr Archibald to be disendorsed for saying single mothers were producing 'lazy and ugly' children.

'To all the fat lazy politicians and fat lazy journalists in the fat lazy media playing fat lazy political correctness, identity politics - the answer is no,' the Queensland senator wrote on Twitter.

In another article for the Australian conservative Quadrant magazine in August 2015, Mr Archibald described gay marriage as 'degenerate'.

'It is possible that the incidence of homosexuality is an acceptable loss, in evolutionary terms, so that the rest of the males can be more male-like. 'Viewed in that way, homosexuality is part of the human condition. But so is marriage – it is more than just a social construct. 'A successful culture wouldn’t mix the two. A degenerate culture might.'

In the same opinion piece, titled 'Evolution versus Gay Marriage' he said pregnant women in the Middle East were stoned to death during the time of Jesus' birth. 'Marriage as a social institution was reinforced in part by stoning to death women who became pregnant outside of marriage,' he said.

'The miracle of Mary’s virgin birth has been explained as an act of charity by Joseph in taking in a pregnant woman who otherwise would have been stoned to death.'


PM welcomes Netanyahu to Australia

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has arrived at Admiralty House in Sydney at the beginning of a historic four-day tour.

Mr Netanyahu, the first sitting Israeli Prime Minister to visit Australia, was welcomed by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Governor-general Sir Peter Cosgrove.

His plane landed in Sydney early this morning. He has brought with him a business delegation of about 25 Israeli executives and entrepreneurs, particularly from the hi-tech industry.

Major deals involving cybersecurity and technology are expected to be signed in the next four days.

The visit is not without opposition. Sixty prominent Australians, including former Commonwealth Solicitor-General Gavan Griffiths and former Federal Court judge Murray Willcox, have signed a letter opposing the visit.

They say the visit should not be going ahead because the policies of the Netanyahu government “provoke, intimidate and oppress” the Palestinian people.

Kevin Rudd has urged Australia’s political leaders to “seize the opportunity” of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s historic visit and call out the country’s recent moves in the occupied territories in the West Bank, while pushing for the official recognition of a Palestinian state.

On the morning Mr Netanyahu arrived in Sydney, marking the first time a sitting Israeli prime minister has visited Australia, the former Labor PM also called for his party to change its policy for a two-state solution at its national conference next year.

“To be fair to Labor’s leadership these have been recent and unfolding events both in Israel and in the United States and that is why I’ve chosen to speak out as well,” Mr Rudd told ABC radio.

“President Trump of the United States has now called into question the future of American support for a two-state solution, an independent Palestinian state and of course the state of Israel. As well as the fact that we now see through recent draft legislation going through the Israeli parliament the legitimisation of mass new Israeli settlements in the occupied territories on the West Bank.

“Therefore the time has come for strong friends and allies of both Israel and the United States to begin to draw a line and say ‘we cannot go past this’. Otherwise we kill the idea of an independent Palestinian state forever.”

The remarks come amid a growing divide within the Labor Party over a two-state solution and as Malcolm Turnbull strongly condemns the United Nations, accusing it of a prejudiced attack against Israel after a Security Council resolution denounced Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Mr Rudd, who with Labor’s former prime minister Bob Hawke and former foreign ministers Bob Carr and Gareth Evans have advocated a change in foreign policy and recognition of a Palestinian state, said Australia should speak “candidly” to its Israeli friends about policies they did not support.

“I’m a lifelong supporter of the state of Israel, that does not make me however a lifelong supporter of the policies of Benjamin Netanyahu,” Mr Rudd said.

“Therefore the opportunity must be seized and when you speak as friends, as we do with Israel, and express our view about the legitimate right of the Israelis and the Palestinian people, the time has come to seize that opportunity.”

Labor MP Michael Danby yesterday hit out at party “heroes” for “provoking” Mr Natanyahu ahead of his visit, questioning why they don’t also “beat up on China”.

But Mr Rudd dismissed the comments, saying Mr Danby was “once voice within nearly 100 members of the federal parliamentary party”.

“I’m sure some of us may share his views but I’m also a member of the Australian Labor Party and I also have an equal right to articulate my own view,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Netanyahu paid tribute to the strong ties between his country and Australia after landing in Sydney. His four-day visit to Sydney would strengthen the bonds between both countries, he said.

“We admire Australia, we embrace Australia and this visit will enable us to bring our countries even closer,” he told the ABC.

“I’ve been here before and counted the years wanting to come back again and I’m very proud to be here as the first Israeli prime minister to make an official visit to Australia.” Mr Netanyahu also paid tribute to Australia’s military efforts during World War I battle of Beersheba when they ensured the lifeline of the Suez Canal. “We’re celebrating 100 years of friendship between Australia and Israel,” he said.

“I always remember, it was Australian Light Horse that liberated Beersheba, an old, old city in our history. We have been friends — extraordinary friends — ever since.”


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