Friday, March 31, 2017

Call to ban ‘toxic’ interest-only home loans

I have often used interest-only loans so object to them being called "toxic".  "Useful" would be my word for them.  But I can see the author's point.  There's too much money sloshing around in the housing market and banning interest-only loans would reduce that.

There is no doubt, however, that councils and developers are not releasing new residential land at a rate that matches the demand.  They are not responding to market signals.  That is primarily due to bureaucracy plus Greenie harassment of any change.

If there is to be loan restrictions, there also needs to be a metaphorical bomb put under councils to release much more residential land than they have been doing.  They are the blockage in the system

FORGET dipping into super, scrapping negative gearing or opening up new supply. If we’re going to restore some sanity to the Australian housing market, the regulator must step in to ban “toxic” interest-only loans, economist Lindsay David has argued.

“It’s definitely the best policy to take artificial and speculative heat out of the market,” he told

According to the founder of property market research firm LF Economics, the much-maligned negative gearing is “only 8 to 10 per cent” of the reason why house prices in Australia are so high.

CoreLogic figures released this week showed home prices in Australia’s capital cities have jumped 3.7 per cent since the start of the year alone, with Sydney leading the charge, increasing by 5.3 per cent.

Earlier this year, Sydney was named the second most unaffordable city in the world second only to Hong Kong by research firm Demographia.

“Over the last 20 years, Australian house prices have risen in real terms by about 131 per cent, in the same time real wages have risen by about 38 per cent, and real rents have only increased by about 20 per cent,” Mr David told Sky News.

“So I disagree that Australia actually has a housing affordability issue, but what we do have is a credit-fuelled housing bubble issue. The easiest way to make house prices more affordable is to limit the amount of debt that gets flooded into the housing market.

“Here in Australia we’ve had this total household credit expansion that has moved in a beautiful straight line at about a 35-degree angle — the only other line I know that grows like that is Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.”

In a bid to keep the housing market under control, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority recently introduced a new rule requiring banks to keep growth in investor loans under 10 per cent.

Mr David argues the banks can easily “get around” the growth cap, and argues APRA should instead be thinking about banning interest-only loans, which now make up around 40 per cent of all mortgages. “These loans are very dangerous to the core fundamentals of the Australian economy, they’re toxic to the housing market and they’re toxic to those who buy bank securities,” he said.

He said the solution was not first-home owner grants or other proposed solutions such as accessing superannuation, which would only push up prices further.

“Any new policy that is designed to stimulate demand for housing will stimulate demand for housing,” he said.

“Just get rid of them. Just get rid of everything, let the market work on its own, and let’s try and reduce the risk profile of our banking system one way or another, because it looks like a giant Lehman Brothers waiting to go ‘ker-shmang’.”

He added that the lack of supply argument was “bogus”. “It’s the demand side that’s the big problem — it’s artificial,” he said.

“People aren’t paying this much money for a house because they’re trying to make money on rent. If there was such a supply issue, there wouldn’t be any negatively geared property owners because you would have seen rents go through the roof.”

And while Sydney prices are “insane”, Mr David believes Melbourne is currently in most danger. “In Melbourne, over the last 20 years house prices have risen in real terms by about 214 per cent, whereas rents have only risen by about 12 per cent,” he said.

“That is probably the biggest mismatch you will see of any city in the world pretty much. It’s nearly impossible to see how Melbourne cannot be the largest housing bubble in the country, even versus Sydney despite house prices being absolutely insane here.

“Yes they’re overvalued, yes they’re in a bubble, but nowhere near to the length that Melbourne is. And you look at Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane too, it’s the same story. They’re probably two times the value they should be.

“That’s been fuelled by a massive sum of credit flooding the housing market.”

It comes as all four of the big banks have been sharply hiking interest rates for interest-only loans, with some offering to waive switching fees for customers who move principal and interest repayments.

Commonwealth Bank last week raised its interest-only rate for investors by 26 basis points to 5.94 per cent per annum, and for owner-occupiers by 25 basis points to 5.47 per cent. The same day, ANZ raised its interest-only investor rate by 11 basis points to 5.96 per cent, and its owner-occupier rate by 20 basis points to 5.25 per cent.

It came a week after NAB and Westpac jacked up rates. Westpac increased its interest-only investor rate by 28 basis points to 5.96 per cent, and its owner-occupier rate by 8 basis points to 5.49 per cent. NAB increased its interest-only investor rate by 25 basis points to 5.90 per cent, and its owner-occupier rate by 7 basis points to 5.42 per cent.

Despite the official cash rate remaining on hold at its historic low of 1.5 per cent, banks have been raising rates out of cycle with the Reserve Bank to protect their profit margins as funding costs rise.

Late last year, the final report from a two-year parliamentary inquiry into housing affordability came back with no recommendations, drawing strong criticism from Labor and the Greens.

The committee argued against changes to negative gearing and capital gains tax discounts, a position shared by the federal government. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Treasurer Scott Morrison have blamed soaring house prices on a lack of supply.


Where’s the due diligence on renewables?

James Delingpole

You know that lovely warm glow you get on a summer’s evening when it’s still 42 degrees outside and you’re reaching into your fridge for your first restorative tinny when suddenly the lights go out and your air-con too?

Of course you do, especially if you live in South Australia, where, thanks to ambitious ‘green’ energy targets, power outages like this have become the new normal.

‘No worries!’ you say. ‘I accept that personal discomfort, inconvenience and mild danger are but a small price to pay to save the planet from global warming. Only a dinosaur would expect to go on being able to use electricity as and when he wants it. I for one welcome the bright new age of darkness, clean energy and government rationing!’

Except you don’t, do you? If you’re anything like all the commonsense Aussies I met last time I visited, you’ll be absolutely bloody livid: ‘We’re Australia, the lucky country, not some third world backwater. We invented commercial refrigeration. We’re sitting on top of a continent’s worth of cheap energy. What kind of eco-fascist madness is this?’

The madness is the result of the global warming scare which has dominated Western policymaking for the last four decades. Some countries are starting to get over it – notably Donald Trump’s United States –but in Australia it continues to exert a grip tighter than the bite of a ravenous saltie.

Climate change lunacy has affected everything from your right to clear trees off your property (often you can’t: they’ve been designated a carbon sink) to where you can’t build your waterfront home (junk science paranoia about rising sea levels) to how many millions of dollars you waste on desalination plants (for the permanent drought that never came).

Most damaging of all are Australia’s renewable energy targets. In South Australia they stand at 50 per cent (by 2025), in Queensland 50 per cent (by 2030) – rightly described as ‘bonkers mad’ by deputy PM Barnaby Joyce, in Victoria 40 per cent (by 2025). Even under the Liberal federal government, the national target is 23 per cent by 2020. All of these are doomed to fail –even the national one would require the impossible feat of a 50 per cent increase in Australia’s renewable energy (mainly solar and wind) within three years. Meanwhile, the havoc they have already wreaked is considerable.

South Australia has been the hardest hit so far by the great renewables disaster. No doubt it sounded good when premier Jay Weatherill and Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis first began evangelising about their world-beating clean energy targets. The consequence, though, has been blackouts, job losses and economic chaos caused by rocketing power prices and intermittent supply.

But instead of apologising, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) is asking customers to take it on the chin. In a process euphemistically known as ‘load shedding’, the AEMO can order customers’ power supplies to be switched off in times of extreme stress so as to prevent wider system failure.

Why is this happening now in a developed nation in the 21st century? The simple answer is that renewables, apart from being two or three times more expensive than fossil fuels, are intermittent, unreliable and unpredictable.

If the sun isn’t shining (which it doesn’t, at night, not even in Australia) or the wind isn’t blowing, then the power needs to come from more conventional sources like coal and gas. The more renewables in the energy mix – 40 per cent of South Australia’s energy capacity is now wind – the more inherently unstable the grid becomes.

Hence the great blackout of September last year: a storm forced a shut down of wind power to prevent surges; this in turn crashed the entire local grid.

All this man-made chaos might be excusable if it served any useful purpose. It doesn’t.

Increasingly, it is becoming apparent that renewables are one of the great, truly bad ideas of the last 100 years: a boon for troughing rent-seekers, virtue-signalling pollies and posturing greenies but terrible for the rest of us poor saps who have to subsidise them; disastrous for the environment (all those birds and bats sliced and diced); utterly ineffectual in ‘combatting climate change’ (Australia produces less than two per cent of the world’s greenhouse gases).

So what’s to be done? What’s painfully clear is that – with rare exceptions like Cory Bernardi and One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts – Australia’s politicians have no appetite for reining in the problem, for fear of suffering the same fate as Tony Abbott, whose political demise was partly wrought by the Green Blob. It doesn’t help that most of the media – especially the ABC –is so heavily in thrall to eco-zealotry and refuses to question the (fake) green ‘consensus’.

That means people who believe in regaining the cheap, reliable energy Australia used to have before the green madness took hold have a fight on their hands. One way they might yet win is through the courts via judicial review. What, after all, is the most basic requirement taxpayers ought to expect from their governments? Due diligence on public expenditure.

This is going to be one of the tactics of Cool Futures Funds Management – a contrarian Aussie hedge fund of which I’m an enthusiastic supporter because it is, as far as I know, the first financial institution to try to profit by holding the Green Blob’s dodgy dealings to account.

It has approached the government with a low-cost, shovel-ready, clean-coal technology solution which could solve all Australia’s baseload energy supply problems. But because this solution involves fossil fuel, it will inevitably be resisted heavily by the greens and their useful idiots in government and business. And that’s where the courts may have to adjudicate.

Australians deserve better than to be held to ransom by the duff ideology of a few eco-zealots. If governments can’t provide their voters with something as basic as reliable energy, then they must be held to account for their negligence.

South Australia is a warning the rest of the country should heed before it’s too late. And the answer to your problems, my Aussie friends, is most definitely not blowing in the wind. It’s right there, underneath your feet.


Urfa Masood to be Victoria's first female Muslim magistrate

Will sharia principles creep into her verdicts?

Victoria has appointed its first Muslim woman to the bench.

Attorney-General Martin Pakula on Tuesday morning announced the appointment of Urfa Masood to the Magistrates' Court of Victoria.

Ms Masood, who is of Sri Lankan background, will be the first Muslim woman to sit on the bench of any Victorian court.

Ms Masood started practising criminal law in 2003 and has worked for the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service and the Australian Tax Office. She has worked cases in the Magistrates', County, Children's, Family and Federal Courts.

In 2012 she became an adjunct lecturer at the College of Law, where she teaches advocacy.

Mr Pakula congratulated Ms Masood on her new position, saying she brought to the role extensive experience in criminal and family law.

"Ms Masood has extensive experience in criminal law, child protection and family law, as well as with the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service, which will prove invaluable in her role as a magistrate," he said.

Annette Vickery, deputy chief executive of the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service, said it was important to have magistrates with an understanding of the issues facing Aboriginal communities.

"The Aboriginal Legal Service has long been recognised as a development ground for exceptional legal talent and we congratulate one of our previous staff members on her appointment to the bench," she said.


University introduces 'trigger warnings' to courses - to warn students of distressing content

Monash University has become the first in Australia to introduce a policy of trigger warnings.

But critics have blasted the move as a bid to implement a politically correct agenda under the pretence of protecting the wellbeing of students.

In the Melbourne university's pilot program, 15 course outlines contain warnings that the content could cause emotional distress to students, the ABC reports.

It involves academics reviewing the course's content and highlight any 'emotionally confronting material' related to sexual assault, violence, domestic abuse, child abuse, eating disorders, self-harm, suicide, pornography, abortion, kidnapping, hate speech, animal cruelty and animal deaths, including abbatoirs.

The university insists political correctness was not a factor in the introduction of the policy, which was the culmination of years of campaigning by the Student Association.

But critics insist it is conceding to the demands of students who want to avoid ideas they do not agree with – and is a reflection of what is happening on campuses across the United States.

Student Association president Matilda Grey insists the warnings are not there so students can withdraw themselves from challenging situations – but so they can prepare themselves for the material they will study.

She added the current generation of students are simply more aware of the traumatising experiences their classmates may have endured, such as sexual assault.

'We're not suggesting that they should be faced with difficult, discomforting topics at all,' she said.

Rather, it will allow those who may suffer anxiety or panic attacks from distressing content to prepare themselves and manage their response, she said.

Chris Berg, from the Institute of Public Affairs, is critical of the move and says it is harmful to education.

'We've seen how this has played out in the US and it can turn into a censorious, highly politically correct [culture] and highly harmful to the mission of education that universities exist for,' he told the ABC.

And Marguerite Johnson, an associate professor at Newcastle University, considers herself progressive and regularly warns her students ahead of explicit material.

However, she disagrees with the idea of university officials deciding when warnings are to be issued – and thinks Monash sets the bar far too low.

'The world is emotionally distressing and I find it quite absurd that the universities may see themselves as the guardians of emotionally distressing situations,' she added.

She also believes the warnings are a stepping stone to censorship and could lead to the application of warnings on specific works.

For example, the works of Roman poet Ovid, Virginia Woolf and F. Scott Fitzgerald have often been objected to by American students for their depiction of sexual violence.

Professor Johnson also noted that analysing texts that might disturb students can be for the betterment of society, citing the example of Australia's reform of sexual assault laws.

She said it was only because young feminist students in the 1970s saw the way women were represented in rape cases that they went on to become lawyers and advocated for the change in legislation.

'If they hadn't experienced the horrors of reading the materials as students, how would they know what to fight against, how would they know what to kick against?'


The Leftist reliance on censorship


After a long winter of stultifying centrism, Australia has regained its two-party system. The left’s ­political persecution of artist Bill Leak and his untimely death have shocked the Liberal Party into resurrecting its founding principle of freedom. Labor has responded to the Prime Minister’s plea for freedom by revealing its intent to censor the people and the free press.

In the fashion of 21st-century totalitarians, the left is using race and human rights as rhetorical weapons against liberty and civil society. The Liberal Party is ­emerging once more as the party of freedom, fairness and democracy. It begs the question: what’s left of the left?

In the midst of World War II, sociologist Robert Nisbet warned that we would not be able to detect the return of totalitarianism by searching for political absolutism in the form of an autocratic state. Rather, the rise of totalitarianism would become apparent by the gradual encroachment of the state into all areas of life traditionally assigned to society: family, friendships and secular faith.

The object of totalitarian ­contempt is civil society because the ties that bind us in friendship, family and faith also effect our ­independence from the state. The animating principle of civil society is free speech and we learn to master it by exercising public reason. As a result, the most distinctive feature of liberal democratic states is the protection of free speech and public reason from state coercion and control.

The Western left seems capable of discerning the totalitarian threat, but only when it comes dressed like an enemy. Thus, its members might criticise Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for suppressing free speech, or Vladimir Putin for punishing dissidents, but celebrate the silencing of fellow citizens deemed politically incorrect by state censors.

In the modern West, the most popular and effective rhetorical device to erode free speech has been race. Communists used class as a weapon to depict state censorship of dissenters as victory for the proletariat. In the 21st century, the left uses race as a weapon to shame and silence dissenters from the PC party line.

State censorship of dissidents is marketed as victory for state-designated minority groups. In the West, however, these ­minority groups are rarely genuine political minorities. Under ­affirmative action laws, they are given superior rights to other ­citizens. They are usually numerical ­minorities granted a range of ­unearned privileges under law.

As a woman, I am one of the fake minorities singled out for special privileges under discrimination law and I have come to resent it. I believe in formal equality, not inequality and I dislike intensely any attempt to create hostility between people on the basis of biological traits. As history shows, a ruling class often comprises a numerical minority awarded political, legal and economic privileges that are denied other citizens. It is the meaning of systemic inequality and a reliable predictor of social unrest.

The Liberal Party seeks equality for all Australians under law. It wants to restore speech equality by reforming section 18C so that every citizen enjoys an equal right to freedom of thought and speech without fear of persecution by common slanderers, or the state. The Labor Party champions speech inequality by defending 18C. Under Labor, the people and the press are denied the right to speak freely.

Those who insist on free speech are often targeted for abuse by false accusers wielding the rhetorical weapon of race. As we saw in the persecution of Bill Leak by Islamist and PC censors, and the three-year-long case against QUT students, section 18C empowers a type of fraud. In its current form, the Racial Discrimination Act enables what I would call race fraud; the use of race to deceive/defraud Australians by means of false accusation and political persecution. The beneficiaries of race fraud include vexatious claimants, ambulance-chasing lawyers, race-baiting activists and establishment backers of 18C.

Section 18C is big business, as legal affairs editor Chris Merritt has revealed. Since 2010, respondents in race discrimination complaints handled by the AHRC have paid almost $1 million to avoid going to court. The complainant in the QUT case, Cindy Prior, sought $250,000 in damages from students over Facebook posts. Some of the biggest payouts have come from government ­departments, which means that once again, the taxpayer is funding the harmful PC industry.

Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane invited people online to complain about Leak’s cartoon. Soutphommasane was appointed in 2013 by then Labor attorney-general Mark Dreyfus. During a panel hosted by the Jewish Community Council of Victoria last week, Dreyfus outlined plans that could result in the application of 18C to a growing list of protected attributes.

According to Merritt, Dreyfus indicated that: “A Labor government hoped to consolidate all federal anti-discrimination legislation and would consider … a general standard for the type of speech that would attract liability.” Dreyfus plans on “consolidating the five anti-discrimination statutes when we are next in government” and establishing “a standard about speech generally”.

When last in office, Labor launched the most totalitarian ­assault on freedom of speech I have seen in the 21st century West. The Green-Left’s attack on free speech and the independent media was categorically anti-democratic. Combined with a ­proposed meta-regulator of the media, Labor’s human rights and anti-discrimination bill would have ushered in state control of free speech under the guise of social justice. The bill created a raft of new protected attributes including immigrant status, nationality or citizenship, and social origin. They would have been protected from “unfavourable treatment”, defined as “conduct that offends, insults or intimidates”.

Labor’s doomed bill was supported by the AHRC. The Liberal Party warned it would reverse the onus of proof, thereby destroying the presumption of innocence in Australian law. However, AHRC President Gillian Triggs contended that shifting the onus of proof to the accused was needed because complainants were “vulnerable”.

The ethos of Australian equality and mateship is protected by formal equality. We should seek a state where speech equality is guaranteed by ensuring all Australians can speak freely without fear of political persecution under 18C.


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, March 30, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is cynical about attempts by Turnbull to repeal the 18C "human rights" law.

Democracy triumphs over Turnbull’s unfathomable foreign policy fiasco

It was a great day for democracy in Australia as the political class ­rejected the debasement of our laws and legal system involved in ratifying the extradition treaty ­between Australia and China, and rejected likewise the enormous pressure the Chinese government brought to bear on the matter.

The unsuccessful attempt to get the treaty ratified is the single worst foreign policy fiasco in the life of the Turnbull government.

It represents a failure in principle, as well as a failure in political and process management, on an epic scale.

Rejecting the treaty was the right thing to do. Those Liberals who considered crossing the floor are an advertisement for decency and values in politics.

The way the process unfolded also offers a serious measure of justification for Cory Bernardi in leaving the Liberal Party. Outside the party, he was able to produce a result he could not have achieved from inside the party.

But the Turnbull government has achieved for itself the worst of all possible results — it has embarrassed itself and the Chinese, it has embarked on a course which contradicts fundamental Liberal ­values and its campaign of justification for the proposed ratification was at times bizarre and frequently rested on inadvertent factual mistakes from ministers who gave every impression of not understanding the process.

Surely the most objectionable element of the government’s ­arguments was to cite the situation of Australians who are now in Chinese custody.

The government’s argument contradicts itself and making it publicly is one of the most irresponsible actions I have ever seen from an Australian government.

If the Chinese government is going to mistreat Australian prisoners because Canberra does not ratify a treaty this is itself proof ­beyond question that the Chinese legal system is not independent or truly based on law.

But for an Australian government to make public reference to the fate of individual Australians in foreign custody, in support of a doomed and grossly mismanaged parliamentary ratification process, is cynical, irresponsible and frankly improper. I am surprised this element of the government’s behaviour has not excited wider comment. The government’s misuse of such arguments smacks of desperation and panic.

Two other elements are ­notable. The Labor Party has behaved well here. People are mistaking Penny Wong’s reticence to criticise the treaty in principle, but rather to base Labor’s public justification for rejection in process ­issues, as meaning Labor has no objection to this treaty in principle.

That is dead wrong, as Bill Shorten’s several comments on the matter illustrate clearly. Instead, Labor consistently tried to offer the government a way out of the mess of its own making which did not humiliate the Chinese and caused as little diplomatic fallout as possible.

That goes back as far as the Labor members’ dissenting report in the joint treaties’ committee.

Finally, the fact that we have some other extradition treaties with countries with dubious legal systems is no argument for having one with China. Those other agreements may themselves be problematic, but there are two fundamental differences with China.

No country other than China makes a remotely comparable ­effort to manipulate, coerce and control the political activities of its diaspora population in Australia as China does.

And no other country has China’s ability to pressure an Australian government.

This appalling treaty would institutionalise that manipulation and invite that pressure.

To bring it back onto the public agenda was a massive self inflicted injury by Turnbull. The source of his motivation for doing so remains an unfathomable mystery.


The homofascists are on a roll

Having pressured Coopers, IBM and PwC and their senior staff to sever links with Christian associations, gay rights activist Michael Barnett has turned his sights on academia, demanding Macquarie University force one of its lecturers to renounce a Christian educational organisation.

The move led the Christian group to warn the onus was on the university sector, as a national pillar of freedom of thought and ­expression, to back its academics against political pressure from LGBTI campaigners.

Mr Barnett, who tweets as ­“mikeybear”, re-posted the list of directors of the Lachlan Macquarie Institute, a training organisation established by the Australian Christian Lobby, and singled out Macquarie University senior research associate Steve Chavura as a member of the LMI board. “A bad look @Macquarie_Uni having a Lachlan Macquarie Institute board member and director on your payroll, as a @PrideDiversity member,” Mr Barnett tweeted.

Mr Barnett yesterday told The Australian he believed Macquarie University was conflicted while it was a member of the Pride in ­Diversity campaign which supports LGBTI individuals’ rights and safety in the workplace, while Dr Chavura was a director of LMI.

Mr Barnett said he did not know if LMI or Dr Chavura had ever issued any anti-gay material, but said “I don’t think they are going to be running floats down Mardi Gras.” Mr Barnett issued the post as The Australian revealed that ACL and LMI had been granted official permission to keep their board members’ names secret on the grounds of “public safety” after abuse and threats from gay activists forced IBM executive Mark Allaby to quit the LMI board.

Dr Chavura yesterday said he would not resign as a lecturer and director at LMI, and would resist what he described as an attempt by Mr Barnett to “weed out any dissenters from his view” about sexuality, in any public institution.

“I hope the university is strong enough not to capitulate” to this type of pressure, Dr Chavura said.

But Macquarie University yesterday declined to support Dr Chavura. “As a matter of practice, Macquarie University does not comment on individual matters pertaining to employees,” spokeswoman Megan Wright said in a statement to The Australian.

“When commenting publicly, the university asks that employees adhere to the university’s public comment policy.”

Dr Chavura, who lectures in history and political theory at the university and LMI, said while he privately maintained traditional Christian views on sexuality and marriage and would talk about them if asked, he did not canvass them in his teachings which ranged widely from Karl Marx to liberalism to political concepts.

“I think it’s a bad look for the tweeter, seeking to destroy the ­career of someone who has engaged in no abuse, no inflammatory speech whatsoever,” Dr Chavura said of Mr Barnett.

Mr Barnett, who describes himself as a campaigner for human rights and equality, is convener of Jewish LGBTI group Aleph Melbourne. He denied his post against Dr Chavura was an assault on the academic’s rights to freedom of expression, religion and association. “No one is stopping him going to church, being a member of a faith,” he said. “Being a member of a board is not religion.”


Food Fascists strike again

Australian parents were outraged earlier this month when two mothers were shamed for daring to let their children bring cake to school.

But now a Melbourne mother has revealed that even a organic Greek yoghurt snack was now against the rules.

And they didn't stop there. The staff also informed Aleesha that her daughter's second snack of Vegemite on cheese Cruskits also didn't meet their healthy standards.

Aleesha revealed that her daughter had not been allowed to eat either of her snacks.  'Seriously, where do you draw the line?' the mum wrote in a post about the incident on a parenting group.

A number of parents quickly agreed, revealing that their own healthy snacks of carrots with hummus or zucchini muffins were rejected by their children's schools.

And some feared that the strict dietary standards would only lead to their children developing unhealthy relationships with their food. 

Adelaide mum Jessica Gianoni's daughter Isabel declared 'You're in trouble mum' after a similar incident.

Jessica received a note from her kindergarten after she sent the four-year-old to school with a piece of cake.

'Sorry, cake is a sometimes food,' the note read, adding that it didn't align with the schools 'Healthy Eating Policy'.

The note said Jessica's daughter had been provided with a 'healthy alternative instead' and invited her to ask staff for nutritious snack suggestions.  

Jessica shared a photo of the note on Facebook, where a number of parents were equally outraged.

And, earlier this month, a South Australian mother was also shamed for including a slice of chocolate birthday cake in her three-year-old's pack.

She was given a note with an sad face emoji informing her that cake was from the 'red food category' and that she needed to 'choose healthier options for Kindy'.


'It's destroying the innocence of childhood': Experts slam 'sexism' program aimed at stamping out gender stereotypes in preschools

A new program targeting four-year-old children who show signs of sexism in preschool has been slammed by education experts.

Thousands of early childhood educators in Victoria will be trained to implement Respectful Relationships programs in a bid to stamp out gender stereotyping in the state's kindergartens.

A tender to train 4,000 educators suggests four-year-old children can show signs of sexism and gender discrimination.

'As young children learn about gender, they may also begin to enact sexist values, beliefs and attitudes that may contribute to disrespect and gender inequality,' the document says, according to The Australian.

'Professional learning will ­increase the capacity of early childhood educators to understand and implement respectful relationships and gender equality into their program delivery.'

Senior research fellow at Australian Catholic University, Kevin Donnelly, told the Herald Sun children in preschool do not have the capacity to understand complex teachings on gender and sexuality. 

'It is far too early... It is quite outrageous and quite offensive to think that young children of that age will be indoctrinated with this very cultural, left gender and sexuality theory,' Dr Donnelly said.  'It really is destroying the innocence of childhood.'

Opposition education spokesman Nick Wakeling has previously slammed Respectful Relationships programs.

'[Premier] Daniel Andrews should stop implementing ideological programs and forcing his values on other people's children, and start focusing on the basics such as teaching our kids to read, write and count,' he said.

The new program will reportedly cost the taxpayer $3.4 million.


Coal hatred behind South Australian blackout

Windmills are given huge subsidies but a small subsidy for a much more useful generator was denied

The owner of the now-defunct Port Augusta power station made a secret offer to keep generating electricity until mid-2018 in return for $25 million from the State Government — 22 times less than its $550 million power plan.

Extensive details of Alinta Energy’s bid to subsidise the 520 megawatt Northern plant’s operation are revealed in a May, 2015, letter from the company to the Government.
The Port Augusta power station. Picture: Kelly Barnes

Seizing on the explosive revelations, Opposition Leader Steven Marshall branded the rejection of an affordable deal to keep power prices down and prevent blackouts as the State Government’s biggest failure since the 1991 State Bank disaster.

In the six-page letter supplied to The Advertiser by the Liberals, Alinta warns of significant risk to the security of South Australia’s power supply and a surge in electricity prices — costing the state $56 million to $112 million a year — if the power station and associated Leigh Creek brown coal mine were to close.

Other sources have told The Advertiser that Alinta made another bid for $30 million to the government, which made a rejected counter-offer of only $8 million. Alinta then announced in June 2015 that it would close the station.

The secret Alinta letter revealed also warned that closure of Flinders Power, which included the Northern power station and Leigh Creek, would trigger a $150 million annual blow to regional GDP and cost 450 jobs.

The bulk of Alinta’s demand was for a 70 per cent subsidy of maintenance costs for the 250km Leigh Creek railway, which supplied brown coal to the power plant — equivalent to about $8 million over three years.

SA has been hit by three major blackouts, including a statewide outage last September, since the closure last May of Alinta’s Flinders Power operation.

Businesses across the state took an estimated $450 million hit because of the statewide blackout and mining giant BHP Billiton has said that outages at Olympic Dam cost it $137 million.
The Port Augusta power station on a clear day, in 2008. Picture: Supplied

Electricity prices for forward contracts in SA have jumped from about $80 per megawatt hour in mid-2016 to about $140MW/h.

Premier Jay Weatherill this month branded the Port Augusta plant a “clunky, old, coal-fired power station”, declared Alinta’s temporary offer did not secure SA’s energy future


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

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Labor would lead us to poverty: PM

Malcolm Turnbull has accused the opposition of wanting to lead Australia into poverty by rejecting the government's 10-year corporate tax rate cut.

As the Senate prepares to debate and vote this week on the package aimed at incrementally reducing the company tax rate to 25 per cent, the prime minister warned its rejection would lead to less investment and business and fewer jobs.

"That's Labor's policy. It's the path to poverty," Mr Turnbull told parliament on Tuesday.

However, while one opinion poll on Monday showed two in five Australians backing the $50 billion tax package, the latest Essential Research survey found just three per cent of respondents see it as a priority for the government.

Instead, nearly half want more investment in hospitals and health services as a major priority and close to a third want big business to pay their fair share of tax.

With Labor sticking to its opposition to a widespread tax cut and limiting the reduction to 27.5 per cent for firms with a turnover of $2 million or less, the government needs the support of a fractured crossbench.

However, there appears to be sufficient crossbench agreement to at least back the first leg of the package, which would reduce the rate to 27.5 per cent for business with a $10 million turnover.

At the moment, corporations pay 30 per cent apart from those with $2 million or less turnover, which pay 28.5 per cent.

But Business Council of Australia president Grant King says the $10 million turnover limit is a very low number that would leave thousands of businesses out in the cold and in a "very disadvantaged" position globally.

He believes Australia's tax rate is already uncompetitive after reductions in the UK and Europe.

"If the US tax rate is cut to anywhere near where Trump campaigned, which was a headline rate of 15 per cent, it would make Australia very disadvantaged," Mr King told ABC radio.

But shadow treasurer Chris Bowen argues Australia is already quite competitive.

He said a recent US Congressional Budget Office report showed businesses do not just look at the headline rate, but also other permissible reductions and the overall average rate.

"When you look at our top corporate tax rate of 30 per cent, it comes down much closer to 20 when you look at the average that's actually paid," Mr Bowen told ABC radio.

The government can expect support from crossbench senator Cory Bernardi and Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm, while Pauline Hanson's four One Nation senators will support a reduction for businesses with a turnover of up to $50 million.

Senator Nick Xenophon's three NXT senators will back a reduction for businesses with a $10 million turnover, as will independent Derryn Hinch, while Tasmania's Jacqui Lambie has said she will back a cut for "small business".

Under the initial stages of the plan, the corporate rate drops to 27.5 per cent for businesses with a turnover of $10 million this financial year, then for those with a $25 million turnover in 2017/18 and $50 million in 2018/19.


Rampant ‘rexism’ joins conga line of political correctness

THERE is a new form of bigotry sweeping our nation. Potentially, it’s as pernicious as apartheid, as revolting as the racism against blacks in pre-civil rights America, as vile as sexism against women before the feminist revolution of the ’70s, and as subtle and insidious as the McCarthy-era black-listings.

Although it combines several prejudices, at heart it’s a dangerous combo of racism and sexism. So I’m going to give this new form of bigotry a name: rexism.

Rexism means that in at least 33 per cent of hirings inspired by diversity and inclusion, organisation ends up with an employee who’s not as good as they could be.

Rexism is directed against one specific group of people in our society – some of whom might actually be called Rex, but that’s coincidental – and it’s designed to cripple their careers, lower their earning power, and damage their self-esteem. Rexism is rampant throughout business and politics, and it is being deliberately cultivated by some of the most powerful institutions in the country. Indeed, rexists are encouraged and rewarded with money, power and influence.

I define rexism as “prejudice against heterosexual white males”.

Of course, rexists, like racists and sexists, try to justify their prejudice. As in the past, when bigots would cite crackpot theories to “prove” that blacks or Asians or women were somehow genetically or intellectually “inferior” by the shape of their head or hormones or whatever, today’s rexists hide behind weasel words and pseudo-science.

“Diversity”, “inclusion” and “perceived merit” are some of those weasel words, and the theory of “unconscious bias” is the loopy science masking this prejudice against straight white men. (Often by straight white men, funnily enough.)

Martin Parkinson is the most powerful public servant in Australia. He is Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. He is also a leading rexist. He believes in the theory of “unconscious bias”, that merit is “perceived”, and he boasts ­that he’s committed to “diversity” and “inclusion”.

In his own words: “Treasury’s lack of diversity was largely a product of … my own biases. Recruiting on merit meant looking for someone who had done the job before – a safe pair of hands. The only candidates ticking this box tended to look, sound and think like those of us already in Treasury. The fault wasn’t the concept of merit, but how we perceived merit.”

Think through that logic.

Two people come in for a job requiring certain credentials and experience. Applicant One is a heterosexual white male who has the appropriate CV. Applicant Two is a gay/lesbian/transgender/Asian/African/Muslim/woman/take your pick, whose qualifications for the job are: a.) better than; b.) the same as; c.) worse than Applicant One’s. Who gets the job?

In the past, it would – or should – have been the person most qualified to do the job. But now, throughout the public service and in many banks and corporations, that choice is deliberately skewed in favour of Applicant Two.

In all those businesses now boasting about diversity and inclusion (D&I), the person doing the hiring will not only be expected to counter their own “unconscious bias” by choosing Applicant Two, but they will be expected to prove it, thanks to the presence in many organisations of “D&I officers”, whose job it is to monitor them. Thus, the hirer’s own job is on the line if they don’t repeatedly show that they have defeated their own “unconscious bias”.

By definition, in at least 33 per cent of D&I-inspired hirings, the organisation ends up with c.) an employee who’s not as good as they could be.

Diversity Council chairman David Morrison chided the army for being “overwhelmingly white, overwhelmingly male, overwhelmingly Anglo-Saxon”. Imagine if he’d said that about women, Muslims or gays.

Meanwhile, it gets harder for straight white men to be certain in their careers because the odds will always be stacked against them in favour of someone who represents “diversity” regardless of merit. Equally, gays/trans/Muslims etc will always have the nagging feeling they only got picked because of D&I. Ultimately, D&I means taxpayers, shareholders and consumers get dudded by political correctness.

And every day another non-gay white bloke is rejected, a victim of rexism.


Backlash over ‘racist’ theme of new Sydney bar

A NEW Sydney bar and restaurant has come under fire for its “sexy pre-war Shanghai” theme as social media users flood the business’ Facebook page with accusations of racism and cultural appropriation.

Suey Sins, a new bar and restaurant in Surry Hills, only opened its doors for business this morning but has already received a barrage of criticism over its name, traditional qipaos as staff uniforms, and theme.

The critics claimed the venue was glamorising the dark reality of Chinese culture during the British colonial era and “continuing negative colonial ideologies”, and “racist fetishisation of a marginalised women [sic] for a dollar”.

“Mind explaining the brilliant idea of blending “sins” and “chop suey” to come up with the name?” one person asked. “Mind explaining this incredibly obvious perpetuation of the longstanding stereotype of Asian women as exotic sex toys?”

Another social media user wrote: “The creepy concept of this bar makes my skin crawl. “The gross cultural appropriation is abhorrent and they also refer to “geisha chicks” in at least one of their posts while dressing their white staff in qipao as though Asian cultures are all the same. Ugh.”

In a press release, venue owner Eli West said the bar was named after “a famous Shanghai call girl ... a quintessential icon of the ‘Shanghai Naughties’.”

“I have spent most of my life travelling in Indonesia, and have some Chinese heritage and I like to think I may be related to a character very similar to Suey Sin,” Ms West wrote.

“I love the idea of this seductive, alluring woman who had old world charm and poise but also knew exactly what she wanted and how to get it. I see a bit of that in myself and the young women who will drink here.” understands Suey Sin was a Chinese woman working in the film industry — and not as a call girl or pre-war — in Los Angeles in the 1920s.

The venue also features a collage of Chinese-American actress Anna May Wong who, during her illustrious career, was passed over for a role playing a Chinese woman by MGM in 1935 in favour of German actress, Luise Rainer, according to

Venue management responded to the backlash on their Facebook page but has not yet responded to requests for comment from media.

“We acknowledge and understand that there has been some criticism surround Suey Sins,” the statement read.

“It has never been our intention to offend. We simply sought to create a venue that focuses on delicious Asian fusion inspired street style food and creative beverages for all to enjoy.”


Queensland rail fail: Taxpayers foot bill for staggering cost of overhaul

A spineless Leftist government said "yes" to egregious union demands.  And now all Queensland pays

TAXPAYERS have been stung more than $17 million in the wake of the rail fail as the Government scrambles to provide reliable services and overhaul the toxic organisation.

The bill includes $14.4 million Queensland Rail spent scrambling to replace cancelled trains and missing drivers caused by the timetabling disaster and chronic train crew shortages.

Taxpayers spent more than $4.2 million driving stranded passengers around in replacement buses and taxis even as they shelled out $10.2 million in train driver overtime in the months since October.

They were forced to pay ex-chief executive officer Helen Gluer a $160,000 severance payment as she left the organisation in crisis. Another $2.5 million was spent on the Strachan Commission of Inquiry to find out how to fix the chaos.

But the cost of a total overhaul of Queensland Rail’s driver training program had been dubbed commercial in confidence and remains secret as outside experts are brought in to try to trim the laborious 18-month training program down to nine months.

Transport Minister Jackie Trad released the staggering costs that show the cost of replacement buses and taxis for October to January was $206,000 more than the same period last year.

It was particularly high in December, when issues culminated in the cancellation of about one third of services on Christmas Day and led to the resignation of QR’s chief operating officer, Kevin Wright.

Queenslanders also paid $10.2 million in driver and guard overtime payments from October to February 19. Driver and guard wages in the period without overtime would have cost $5.68 million.

Ms Trad said the Government was working through all the recommendations of the Strachan commission. “He has given us a blueprint for reform and we are pursuing that,” she said.

But Opposition transport spokesman Andrew Powell said taxpayers were paying more now for 1800 fewer services a month.

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

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

No bias to fix at ABC, vows new chairman

And he really seems to mean it

The ABC’s newly appointed chairman, Justin Milne, has dismissed accusations of bias in news coverage, saying the organisation would continue to resist political pressure over its editorial output.

Speaking to The Australian in his first interview as chairman, Mr Milne said the broadcaster was fulfilling its role as a public service by presenting a wide range of political views.

“I don’t come to the job thinking I need to fix the perceived bias in the ABC because I don’t know that there really is a bias, but I imagin­e scrutiny of the ABC will continue — and so it should,” he said.

Criticism from former prime minister Paul Keating, current cabinet ministers and government MPs of an ABC bias on a range of issues was more often than not driven by personal ideology and a perception of bias, he argued.

“Roughly speaking, 50 per cent of the audience will think it is biased to the left, 50 per cent will think it’s biased to the right — it has ever been thus.

“The skill and test of the journalists and editors and staff at the ABC is to try to continually find that line down the middle.

“Generally speaking, as a punter and consumer of the ABC, it seems to me to be doing a very good job. I like ABC for news like all Australians do because the ABC attempts to be unbiased, it attempts to tell it right down the middle so it’s a good reference point for many Australians.”

Mr Keating said last year the ABC was “letting Australia down” with its presentation of news.

The public broadcaster has also come under fire from cabinet, including Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, who has described ABC reporters as ­“advocates dressed up as journ­alists” for their critical coverage of the government’s detention policies.

Mr Milne, however, said it would not be his responsibility to be an overseer of the corporation’s editorial output or weigh in on programming decisions for shows such as Q&A, which critics say do not feature enough conservative voices.

“I think Q&A serves a purpose and it clearly stirs people up and creates an audience, which is part of the job of being a media organisation,” said Mr Milne, who admitted­ to watching Q&A only “occasionally”.

“I won’t be sitting there with a score sheet. I think it’s the job of the board to ensure the ABC continues­ to provide the service that the Aus­tralian people want it to provide and that is … an unbiased view of politics, current affairs­ and the zeitgeist.”

In his first comments since his appointment was confirmed by the Turnbull government last week, Mr Milne said he was fully supportive of ABC managing directo­r Michelle Guthrie, and said the ABC must do more to connect with younger audiences.

He also underscored the importan­ce of serving regional rural communities after savage cuts under Ms Guthrie’s pre­decessor, Mark Scott.

A former Telstra executive and longstanding friend of Malcolm­ Turnbull, Mr Milne has media and marketing experience that aligns with Ms Guthrie’s strategy to increase the public broadcaster’s digital media output­.


Political correctness has become the new truth

Rex Jory

THE Australia I love is disappearing. It’s been hijacked by faceless people who worship at the altar of political correctness and personal offence.

These messengers of the new morality paint themselves as victims. They believe they are entitled to compensation or apology if they are offended. They seek reward or retribution for the slightest inconvenience.

These self-proclaimed victims use social media with such devastating effect they have wrested control of the nation’s political, social and moral agenda. They tear down people who dare express a contrary view. They humiliate and intimidate anyone who challenges their beliefs. Megaphone politics.

They know best. Their view of Australia in 2017 must prevail. My way or the highway. Never mind that it is not the view of the majority of people.

These purveyors of the new morality are reminiscent of the racially-based Ku Klux Klan in the US. They plant a burning cross in the front yard of someone they accuse of breaching their often warped moral code while dressed anonymously in white robes and pointed hats.

They have crushed free speech and free expression by destroying community debate. People are now too frightened to say what they believe.

Political correctness twists and manipulates truth. It has become the new truth, the selective truth. Yet truth is no longer a defence. Just because someone expresses an opinion based on fact, they are not immune from being attacked and discredited on social media.

If someone dares criticise or even raise political, religious or racial issues which are contrary to the beliefs of the anonymous purists, the reaction and retribution can be swift and brutal. Often it resembles hate-speak.

Look at poor old Coopers, the beer makers. They were lampooned for being associated with a private discussion between two Liberal members of Parliament about same-sex marriage. The attack on social media was vicious. Then IBM copped it because one executive is in a Christian group.

Now they’ve turned on proposed changes to section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act which currently threatens freedom of speech.

The Kokoda Track in Papua-New Guinea has become a target, with words like mateship being quietly erased from the lexicon. Mateship has been replaced by friendship. Never mind the Diggers and their families — let alone the wider community — who are offended.

In the new social agenda, mateship has become hateship. It has transferred power from the individual and a structured system of authority to a faceless, intangible force fuelled by moral indignation.

We are no longer allowed to be involved in civilised debate or think for ourselves. If the trend continues, then as a nation we are no longer civilised.

The Australian character has been stripped and reconstructed in the image of political correctness. The Australian larrikin has become an endangered species. Whatever happened to Australia’s “have a go” spirit? What happened to our irreverent sense of humour? What happened to common sense and the brave “she’ll be right” credo which helped build this country?

The Australian community has fragmented. We are no longer a single, coherent society. People are judged on what they are, what they believe and not what they have achieved or contributed.

For too many people, the first reaction is to lay blame and seek compensation through intimidation or litigation. Whatever cloak they wear — race, colour, gender, occupation, age, religion, physical appearance — they claim the moral high ground.

I don’t begrudge people holding strong beliefs. That’s their right in a democracy. I agree with some of them. But I resent being bullied into accepting those views under duress — or remaining silent.

Those promoting victimhood and personal offence as the path forward have used social media to promote their agenda by fear and suppression.

It’s time those who have taken the alternative path of meek silence spoke out and exposed the politics of victimhood as a false god.

If not the face and character of Australia, the Australia I love, will be lost. At the moment the people with the loudest megaphone are winning.


Australia's conservatives looking to Asia to build new coal-fired power station in north

The Turnbull government has opened talks with Asian investors to build a coal-fired power station backed by its $5 billion northern Australia fund, as half the nation’s voters endorse the use of taxpayer funds to develop the project and improve energy security.

Resources Minister Matt Canavan is fast-tracking the plan amid a growing fight with Labor and the Greens over support for coal power, as cabinet ministers prepare to decide how to encourage big investors into the market.

Senator Canavan told The Australian there was a “high ­degree of interest” from Asia helping to develop the new power station in northern Queensland, arguing that finance from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund would be needed to give the project long-term certainty.

A special Newspoll, conducted exclusively for The Australian, ­reveals that 47 per cent of voters favour the use of federal government funds to help construct a new coal-fired power station to improve energy security, while 40 per cent are opposed and 13 per cent undecided.

Amid a push by environmental groups to block new coalmines and coal-fired power stations, the national survey finds that 35 per cent of Labor voters and 15 per cent of Greens voters support using public funds to ­develop more coal-fired power.

It also shows that 59 per cent of Coalition voters favour public ­financial support for the new power station, lending weight to Malcolm Turnbull’s declaration that coal must be one of the options in a “technology neutral” approach to fixing energy ­security.

The findings come as the Prime Minister and Scott Morrison crack down on electricity ­retailers in a new move to act on fears about rising prices, ordering the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission to review the sector in order to get a better deal for consumers.

The Prime Minister and Treasurer will announce today that their response to the ACCC’s ­review will consider new measures to improve “reliability, security and pricing” across the sector.

As the imminent close of the ageing Hazelwood power station reignites debate about electricity shortages and price spikes, Labor climate change spokesman Mark Butler has declared there is no support from industry to build new coal-fired power stations in Australia.

The Australian Energy ­Council, which represents companies supplying electricity to 10 million homes, warns it has become “very difficult” to finance coal-fired power stations when investors are ramping up wind and solar projects as well as gas generators that provide baseload power with lower greenhouse gas emissions than coal.

But the government is determined to keep the coal proposal on the agenda by raising the prospect of funding from the northern Australia fund, which is also a potential source of support for the controversial coalmine planned for central Queensland by Indian company Adani.

Senator Canavan said there was “no doubt” of the rudimentary economic and commercial case for a coal-fired power station in northern Queensland but that the government’s challenge was to set the energy market rules to offer certainty.

“There’s clearly a risk of government policy changes in this area, and I think that’s a risk that’s been created by the Labor-Green(s) movement,” he said.

“Until last year there was bipartisan support for the future of coal in Australia but it was last year when Labor supported the Senate inquiry that said we should shut down all coal-fired power stations in Australia. That wasn’t the position of Kevin Rudd or Julia Gillard.

“The decision by Labor and the Greens to move to the radical fringes of our energy debate and turn their back completely on coal, on our second-biggest export, has introduced an element of risk to potential new coal-fired power stations.

“It’s now a sovereign risk and the only people who can get rid of sovereign risks are the sovereigns.”

A Senate inquiry led by a Labor and Greens majority last year argued for an “orderly retirement” of the nation’s coal-fired power stations but the government believes there is strong support in northern Queensland for a new coal project at a time of rising electricity prices.

Senator Canavan is examining options for a new power station near the Adani coalmine in the Galilee Basin, in Collinsville, to add to an existing power station or in Gladstone near an existing power station and taking advantage of transmission lines that are already in place.

The Resources Minister, who is also the Minister for Northern Australia and oversees the infrastructure fund, rejected suggestions that the help for a coal-fired power station would be a “subsidy” that meddled with the market.

“I wouldn’t characterise it as a subsidy, it’s an investment. Governments for decades have invested in energy infrastructure; all the energy infrastructure in Queensland is owned by the state government,’’ Senator Canavan said.

“It’s not unusual and generally those investments have paid off very well. I think most Australians see the central role of government as being investing in infrastructure — roads, rail and energy.”

Senator Canavan said the investment would be comparable to Mr Turnbull’s decision 10 days ago to offer government support for a $2bn expansion of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme.

The energy security committee of cabinet is waiting on a report into the electricity market from Chief Scientist Alan Finkel before deciding any changes to the sector, with energy security expected to gain a priority so that baseload power generators — including coal-fired ones — are assured a long-term return.

Senator Canavan is talking to Japanese companies that believe they could transfer their “high efficiency, low emissions” technology to the northern Queensland project.

Mr Butler is warning against the use of taxpayer funds for the rail line to the Adani mine or a new power station, claiming the long-term future for coal is one of decline.

“This is something the coal industry needs to deal with. We’ve said as a federal Labor Party we will not support taxpayers’ money going in to support infrastructure or pay for infrastructure around this (Adani) mine,” he said last week.


Pauline Hanson threatens to halt government's agenda over Queensland sugar dispute

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson is threatening to hold the government's $50 billion corporate tax cut plan to ransom, saying her party will withhold their crucial Senate crossbench votes until the Queensland sugar dispute is resolved.

The challenge in the final sitting week before the budget follows Monday's Fairfax-Ipsos poll showing 44 per cent support for the tax cuts, a 10-year plan to reduce the big business tax rate from 30 per cent to 25 per cent by 2026-27.

One Nation senators won't vote on government legislation until the Queensland sugar dispute is sorted out.

The plan was a centrepiece of Coalition's 2016 budget and re-election campaign.

Senator Hanson restated her threat on Monday to not vote for any legislation before Parliament until the government resolved a three-year crisis over sugarcane supply contracts in Queensland's Burdekin region, south of Townsville.

The Singapore-owned conglomerate Wilmar, which bought CSR Sugar's mills six years ago, is seeking control over marketing as well as milling, while growers want flexibility to use a single-desk system.

Until an agreement is reached, sugarcane growers have been unable to secure a price ahead of the June harvest.

The One Nation leader has previously ruled out doing deals to progress or block government legislation, including the reintroduction of the building industry watchdog.

The government had been expected to secure support for a cut for companies with a turnover of up to $10 million from One Nation and the Nick Xenophon Team, while other Senate crossbenchers have indicated they could move up to $50 million.

The Fairfax-Ipsos poll found 39 per cent opposition to the plan.

Labor will back a cut only for companies with a turnover of up to $2 million, while the Greens do not support the lowering of the rate from 30 to 27.5 per cent.

One Nation's growing influence has put Coalition MPs, including local Liberal-National backbencher George Christensen, under pressure.

Senator Hanson blamed the ongoing stalemate on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his deputy and Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce.

She told the Seven Network on Monday the situation was a headache in north Queensland, where growers had "their backs to the wall".

"This has been going on for nearly two years now, especially since the end of last year, Barnaby Joyce promised the cane growers it will be fixed by Christmas last year and nothing has been done," she said.

She said Mr Joyce was "crazy as bat-poo" for not standing up for growers, echoing his criticism of Senator Hanson's comments calling for a Muslim immigration ban.

Fellow Queensland One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts will join his leader in the planned blockade.

Treasurer Scott Morrison said work was ongoing, including with industry and the state government. "I don't think Australians expect their parliamentarians to go on strike. I think they expect them to turn up to work and do the job," Mr Morrison told ABC radio.

Mr Morrison said One Nation was "a bit behind the play" on the dispute. He expected a draft agreement to be reached as soon as Monday.


Cafe slammed on social media for serving up 'racist' burger named 'Uncle Tom' - but owners say they did not know it was offensive

American sensitivities are often little known abroad

A newly opened cafe is at the centre of a racism row over the naming of a burger. Master Toms, in Brisbane's city centre, only flung open its doors less than four months ago but it has already found itself embroiled in accusations of racism, 9News reported.

The cafe has named one of its burgers Uncle Tom, which is also a derogatory term describing a black person who is considered to be excessively obedient to a white person. The name first came to prominence in the novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin, in the mid-1800s. The novel, written by Harriet Beecher Stowe, details the suffering of African-American slaves.

Customer Jonathan Butler-White, who noticed the name when he dropped by the cafe recently, said he felt a 'mix of disappointment and anger'.

'I think it's concerning but I don't think it's surprising,' he said.  'I did leave straight away.'

Mr Butler-White then made his feelings known to the cafe through social media who told him they were 'completely unaware' of the name's historical meaning.

Master Tom's manager Eduardo Cantarelli vowed to change the burger's name and update the menu.

'We really want to change that because that's not good for us, it's not good for the business,' Mr Cantarelli said.


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, March 27, 2017

Non-mothers: Why you should pay for my daughter’s future

Because she will pay for your old age.  News item:

"Don’t be surprised if the government’s childcare package provides a boost for the Turnbull government — and unlike the artificial boost of last week’s Snowy Hydro silliness, this one is fairly earnt. The government has implemented, in broad, the recommendations of the Productivity Commission in the critical area of childcare and early childhood learning, and in doing so will make the childcare subsidy system more effectively targeted and more progressive, while also supporting female workforce participation. And it’s fully funded by savings elsewhere."

It was after a dinner with some very close, old friends of mine that I understood the gap that can exist between those who have children, and those who don’t.   

Shevonne Hunt with her future taxpayers. (Pic: Toby Zerna/News Corp)
Somehow we ended up on the topic of paid parental leave, and my friend (who doesn’t have children) said, with a distinct tone of disgust in her voice, that a colleague at work was “rorting” the system. She was, my friend said, “double dipping”.

This is a friend of mine who I consider to be well-educated and informed. Not a person who would swallow political rhetoric without question.

As I felt the blood boiling in my veins, taking deep breaths, she followed this up with, “if you can’t afford to have children, you shouldn’t have them.”

The Government has been trying to get its Fairer Paid Parental Leave Bill and its Jobs for Families Childcare Package through parliament for some time now. It’s being debated right now. But it’s when this kind of debate is back in the headlines that people without children either get angry, or they tune out.

They get angry, because they don’t see why their taxes should go to supporting adults who have children (why should they be penalised for not having children?) or they turn off because it has nothing to do with them.

While I am not Peter Costello, who back in 2006 said: “I encourage people who can, if you have the opportunity, if you’re young enough, to have one for mum, one for dad and one for the country,” I do believe that supporting families is fundamental to the wellbeing of our whole community.

Firstly, let’s look at Paid Parental Leave.

Without going in to too much detail about so-called “double dipping” — the reason it was first designed by the Labor Government (yes, designed — you were meant to have two bites at the pie if you could get it) was the overwhelming evidence that supporting mothers in the first six months of a child’s life contributes to society by having healthy mums and thriving babies (and reducing the burden on welfare and the medical system if they are not healthy and thriving).

It was also economically driven, by ensuring that mothers return to the workforce. A 2014 review of Paid Parental Leave found that more women returned to work one year after having their child because of the scheme.

Once you get mothers back to work, someone needs to look after the children. And given that the first five years of a child’s life is when most of their brain development takes place, you want that childcare to be quality, and accessible for all parents.

It’s also a very effective way of reducing disadvantage.

But, non-parentals could argue, Paid Parental Leave and Child Care are only needed if you have kids. So if you can’t afford them, don’t have them.

Peter Costello, regardless of what you think of his politics, was no dummy. He knew the value in having children. Children, if you raise them well (i.e. from birth by supporting parents, and in early life, through quality early learning) will become the future tax payers of Australia.

Yes, non parentals, our children will be contributing to your pension, your retirement home. A PWC report released in 2015 found that the benefits to GDP from children participating in quality early learning stood at more than $10 billion cumulative to 2050.

They will also be the future problem solvers. The ones that will have to clean up the climate mess we are currently leaving. The ones who will be untangling the political decisions our leaders are making now. They will be the ones supporting our ageing population.

According to the Australian Human Rights Commission, by 2050 around one quarter of all Australians will be aged 65 years and over. And in the next ten years it is estimated that people over 65 will overtake the number of children up to 14 years age.

My children are going to be shouldering a big load. And if you pay a little now, they’ll be better equipped at helping us all later.

And that’s why you should be paying for my daughter’s future — because it’s your future as well.


Cancer of political correctness corrodes society’s very fabric

By PETER BALDWIN (Baldwin was an active member of the Labor Party's Left in the '70s and is most famous for having been bashed up by what was probably someone acting on behalf of the Right faction. Like many before him, however, he seems to have drifted Rightwards over the years. He speaks good sense below)

Peter after the bashing

I consider the mindset we have come to refer to as political correctness to be a cancer, an ideological malignancy afflicting the Western world that chills speech, wantonly and unjustly destroys the lives and reputations of decent people, and seriously compromises our ability to hold open and honest debates about some of the most important issues that face our societies.

Defenders of PC see it as essentially benign, except in maybe a few extreme cases. All it does, they say, is urge us to avoid racist, sexist and homophobic abuse, just institutionalized politeness really.

The great tragedy is that modern PC ideology is a ghastly mutation of earlier movements that embodied these very sentiments: the civil rights movement to end racial discrimination, earlier waves of feminism that demanded equality of opportunity for women, the campaigns to end legal discrimination against homosexuals.

The defining feature of these earlier campaigns was a vision of a common humanity, not a world where people are seen, first and foremost, as members of one or other identity group category.

On the former view human beings, irrespective of such distinctions, were united by their possession of rationality, agency, and the right to exercise them irrespective of the cultural milieu into which they were born. They were held to have the right to critically evaluate, and indeed reject, aspects of their native culture, including religion.

Racial distinctions were viewed as trivial surface manifestations of minor genetic differences, something we should aim to transcend, a view encapsulated beautifully by Martin Luther King in his great 1963 civil rights speech.

Nowadays the Left is obsessed about race and determined to perpetuate racial distinctions. To say “there is only one race, the human race” or to say “all lives matter” are now serious affronts. Statements of viewpoint have to be prefaced by phrases like “as a woman” or “as a trans person” or “as a Muslim”.

Instead of the words of the old civil rights song “black and white together” there is the systematic demonization of something they call “whiteness”, invariably associated with privilege irrespective of individual circumstances.

We are seeing new segregationist movements, Black Lives Matter rallies where white supporters are told in no uncertain terms to hold their tongues and get to the back. There are calls for segregated college dormitories, separate spaces for minority races. In Britain there are gender-segregated Labour Party meetings in the Midlands — with women at the back. Modern progressives seem comfortable with all this.

In former times leftists, with the admittedly important exception of apologists for communist totalitarianism, used to champion free speech and campaign against censorship. The seminal moment in the emergence of the American New Left was the free speech movement at the University of California, Berkeley in the early sixties.

What an awful contrast to the events at this same institution a few weeks ago where masked, black-clad thugs attacked a scheduled event with Molotov cocktails, fireworks and metal poles, bashing attendees in some cases to the point of unconsciousness as police stood by passively.

These thugs style themselves as anti-fascists while employing classic fascist tactics from 1930s Europe. Scenes like this: peaceful, lawful assemblies being violently attacked, are an increasingly frequent occurrence all over the Western world, including here in Melbourne, and the perpetrators are overwhelmingly from the Left.

So if political correctness is not just about being nice and polite, what is it?

I think it is best described as an attempt to impose a comprehensive set of constraints on what can be said or debated, publicly or even privately, whenever such speech conflicts with the current version of the ever-changing identity politics ideology. It is the compliance and enforcement arm of this ideology.

John Stuart Mill’s dictum that “he who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that” is out the window. Instead of responding to disagreeable views with counter-arguments, the characteristic PC response is to say “I am offended by what you said, and you should not be allowed to say it and furthermore the fact you even say such things marks you as a bad person”.

It deploys a growing array of curse words — racist, sexist, fascist, far-right, homophobe, transphobe, Islamophobe, genocide-apologist — to delegitimise speech and to peremptorily declare certain viewpoints beyond the pale, not to be even heard or debated.

These curse-words are deployed with great abandon, irrespective whether they are even remotely justified. I experienced this personally in early 2015 when a public meeting held at Sydney University that was to hear a speaker known to be defensive of Israel was wrecked by thugs who forced their way in and shouted down the speaker with chants of “Richard Kemp, you can’t hide, you defend genocide”.

The speaker, Richard Kemp, a former commander of UK forces in Afghanistan who was in Israel during the Gaza conflict, was accused of defending genocide, a completely absurd allegation.

The only entities in the region that would commit genocide given the chance are the terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah, which openly look forward to the day when the world’s Jews can be exterminated — Hamas has it in Article 7 of their founding charter.

But in the minds of the disrupters Kemp is a genocide defender, his views beyond the pale and forceful action to stop him speaking is justified. Senior academics, including the head of the Peace and Conflict Studies Centre, endorsed this nonsense.

When it looked like the university administrators might act against the perpetrators, arts faculty staff went into a defensive frenzy. An international petition was raised, and in a truly Orwellian touch the disruption was presented as a legitimate exercise of free speech and academic freedom rather than its suppression.

I have described political correctness as the compliance and enforcement arm of identity politics, policing the boundaries of what can be said and debated when questions of identity are involved.

So how does these strictures enforced? I have mentioned some of the weapons in the PC arsenal — violence, no platforming, disruption of events.

All very unpleasant — and becoming more so. There are even reports that in America some groups are forming “fight clubs” to better prepare themselves for violent action. These are the brown-shirts of political correctness, though sartorially they seem to prefer black.

This is the overtly violent end of the spectrum. But ostensibly softer measures like ostracism and vilification through social media can be stunningly effective, and far more damaging to the target.

Take the case of a 72 year-old British biochemist by the name of Tim Hunt, or Sir Tim Hunt to give him his full title. He sat at the pinnacle of the British scientific establishment. A professor at University College London, Fellow of the Royal Society and recipient of the 2001 Nobel Prize for medicine, awards and honours galore. Absolutely secure in his position, you might think.

Well think again. In June 2015 he spoke at the opening of a conference of women science journalists in Seoul, South Korea and in the course of his remarks he made what was clearly a self-deprecatory joke about attitudes to women scientists of old codgers like him.

He immediately followed this by saying:

“Now seriously, I’m impressed by the economic development of Korea. And women scientists played, without doubt, an important role in it. Science needs women and you should do science despite all the obstacles, and despite monsters like me.”

Almost immediately a huge global twitterstorm, the modern equivalent of a medieval witch hunt, erupted based on a version of Hunt’s comments that omitted the paragraph I just read. Literally as Hunt was flying back to London, his career was destroyed.

His wife was summoned to University College before his plane landed and told Hunt must resign immediately or be sacked. The Royal Society disowned him. He was forced to step down from the European Research Council, which he was instrumental in founding.

His reputation and career, a lifetime’s contribution to science and medicine, trashed over a misreport of a triviality. Only later was an accurate transcript released, but it was too late. UCL refused to reappoint him and he now works in Japan. This despite a string of young women scientists coming forward to vouch for his mentorship and support from eight other Nobel laureates, and despite his abject apologies.

The furies of political correctness had been aroused. Hunt had been designated a sexist, one of the most lethal curses, and there was no way back. The sheer malignant cruelty of this is astounding, the obscene denunciations he was subjected to in both social and traditional media truly appalling.

But how about this for a contrast. A couple of weeks ago Professor Jonathan C. Brown, Chair of Islamic Studies at Georgetown University in Washington gave a lecture on slavery and Islam in which he said “it’s not immoral for one human to own another human” and that “consent isn’t necessary for lawful sex”, especially in the case of sex slaves since they do not possess agency. He dismissed consent as a modern Western obsession.

Surely the furies of political correctness would have erupted at this, Twitter should have gone into meltdown, you would think? Well, no — the furies were silent. You see Brown, a convert to Islam, had the ultimate protective blanket of identity politics — culture, and the demand it be respected. Can you imagine if a Catholic priest said anything like that?

In any “clash of correctness” cultural respect, it seems, is trumps. In the face of it older concerns, like women’s rights and basic humanitarianism just fall away. Recall how Germaine Greer denounced efforts to stamp out female genital mutilation as “culturally arrogant”.

I have mentioned violence, no platforming and campaigns of social ostracism. I will now briefly touch on what happens when these are bolstered by legal constraints like those imposed by our Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.

There is not time for me to say much about this, but I would ask you to consider the fate of the student respondents in the recent QUT case, young people on the cusp of their working lives.

Take the case of Alex Wood, at the time an engineering student, who after being evicted from an indigenous-only computer room, posted these words on Facebook:

“QUT stopping segregation with segregation”

A quite reasonable observation, I would say and as a federal judge confirmed, but in any case surely a legitimate expression of opinion. For this high crime he has had to endure years of stress, a farcical conciliation conference of which he had three days’ notice, followed by a court case.

Defenders of 18C say ultimately the system worked, since the Federal Circuit Court threw it out as being of no merit. Woods “won”, though what a pyrrhic victory it was.

He now faces reportedly $100,000 in litigation costs, as well as the damage of having an accusation of racism splattered all over the web. He would have been far better off to have just forked out the $5000 go-away money initially demanded and preserved his anonymity.

Another of the students, Calum Thwaites, dragged into protracted proceedings over a Facebook post he demonstrably did not make, has had to abandon his aspiration to teach in remote Australia. Who would employ a “racist” in that capacity?

All this because whoever handled the matter in the Commission failed to exercise the common-sense option of terminating the case as lacking in substance. I submit that any legislative scheme that can produce this sort of outcome is severely deficient.

My conclusion then is that political correctness is a major detriment to our society. It makes frank and honest debate about any issue where the prerogatives of culture come into play extremely difficult. The Bill Leak cartoon controversy highlighted one such, the debate over the role of traditional culture in perpetuating indigenous disadvantage.

Another matter where some hard questions need to be asked concerns the increasing salience of Islam in our society. How to avoid the disastrous situation that we see in some European countries with the emergence of enclaves like the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek that incubated the Paris and Brussels terrorist atrocities?

How to preserve our Enlightenment heritage, which includes the right to freely critique religion? I find it incredibly disturbing that high profile critics of Islam are routinely subjected to death threats. This applies especially to those who defect from the creed, labelled apostates, like Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Maryam Namazie of the Council of British Ex-Muslims.

As well as death threats, they are vilified by the PC brigade and subjected to no-platforming and sometimes violent disruptions of events where they speak. Incredibly, these disruptions almost invariably have the support of progressives, including feminist and LGBT groups crying about “Islamophobia”, an ill-defined term now routinely and absurdly conflated with racism.

How striking, this new found deference to religion — or one religion in particular — from a movement that used to champion secularism.

Tough questions, these, but if our society is to have a decent future they must be addressed.


Australia is world’s most successful immigrant nation

I think I can build a case to say that Australia is the most successful immigrant nation on Earth. The global community comprises 195 sovereign nations, 90 of which have what I would call a critical mass of 10 million or more residents. The UN tracks the propor­tion of each nation’s resident population born abroad.

In Australia’s case, that propor­tion is 28 per cent: almost seven million out of 24 million Australians were born overseas. Add in Aussies born here but who had one parent born overseas and that proportion tops 40 per cent.

These figures speak to a fundamental truth about the Australian people and nation. There is no other equivalent nation (meaning with a critical mass of population) that has been as generous in ­absorbing migrants.

The only nation with a higher proportion is Saudi Arabia, where 10 million residents out of 32 million, or 32 per cent, were born abroad. But Saudi Arabia’s foreign-born residents are guest workers who do not have the same sovereign rights as migrants.

Australia’s migrant proportion stands clear of peer nations: in Canada, it is 22 per cent; in Kazakhstan, 20 per cent; in Germany, 15 per cent; in the US, 14 per cent; in Britain, 13 per cent.

Our immigration story isn’t our generation’s success: it has been built up, layer upon layer, over 200 years, often spurred by calamity abroad such as the Irish Potato Famine and the desire to escape post-war Europe. There have also been lures such as the gold rush and various economic booms.

Typically, migrants enter Australia via the capital cities of Sydney­ and Melbourne, and cluster­ within enclaves formed by tribal and familial bonds. But there is also a practicality to clustering in the cities of the New World, such as Melbourne and New York: it supports an ethnicity’s schools, churches, shops and language.

The Italians commandeered Melbourne’s Carlton in the 1960s as the Greeks gravitated to Sydney­’s Marrickville. A century earlier, the poor Irish huddled in Melbourne’s North Melbourne or in the mean streets of Collingwood. The Vietnamese now “own’’ Sydney’s Cabramatta and the ­Arabic-speaking community clusters in Sydney’s Lakemba.

By the second generation, the Australian experience is that the migrant community bleeds and blends into the greater urban mass. Carlton’s Italians were building trophy properties in places­ such as aspirational Keilor and Fawkner by the 1980s and their Aussie-born children were part of the regeneration of the inner city. The Greeks and Italians had been absorbed into, but were also profoundly changing, Australian culture, which morphed into a Mediterranean-Anglo fusion.

We shifted our palate from tea to coffee and started kissing each other on the cheek in an oh-so-sophisticated continental way. But then you’d expect that from the most successful, most accommodating migrant nation on Earth. It’s not about “us’’ converting “them’’ to our culture; it’s about both cultures growing together over time, fusing in a very Australian way, where we take bits of each culture and create something that suits our values.

Horsham, in western Victoria’s Wimmera, is home to 20,000 people­. As whitebread a community as you could get, some would say. And yet 10 per cent of Horsham’s population was born overseas. Go to Pittsbugh (population 2.4 million) in the US and it is 4 per cent. Horsham by comparison is positively cosmopolitan.

At the last census, 42 per cent of urban Sydney’s population was born overseas. This proportion for New York, the great melting pot, is 29 per cent; for Paris, is 22 per cent; for Berlin, 13 per cent; for Tokyo, 2 per cent, for Shanghai, 1 per cent. Australia stands apart. Sydney stands apart. We are different.

This does not mean there are no ethnicity-based tensions in Australia, or that there won’t be tensions in the future or abhorrent acts of racism. What it does mean is that this nation should be proud of the fact that we have achieved something that no other nation has achieved or attempted. And that is the delivery of sustained economic prosperity combined with a generous immigration program­ over generations.


Australia's population soars past 24 MILLION as net immigration hits 200,000 a year - putting huge pressure on schools, hospitals and housing

Australia's population has soared past 24million as hundreds of thousands of immigrants flocked to the country.

New official figures show that population increased by nearly 350,000 in the year up to September 2016, hitting 24.2million.

Net immigration - the number of people entering Australia minus the number of people leaving - hit 200,000, the highest in four years.

The huge surge in population will put further pressure on already-stretched public services such as schools, hospitals and housing, economists warned.

The figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that the population rose 348,700 from September 2015 to September 2016.

Rob Tyson, an economist at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), told The Australian: 'Such growth means we need five new hospitals, 31 new schools and 35 new childcare centres every three months.'

The biggest increases were in Victoria and New South Wales, with respective population rises of 127,500 (2.1 per cent) and 109,600 (1.4 per cent).

Mr Tyson said that was the equivalent of adding a city larger than Ballarat or Bendigo to Victoria every year.

He added that cities such as Melbourne and Sydney were already facing 'strongly and persistently rising house prices, more congestion and strained infrastructure' before the population boom.

A total of 7.75million people now live in New South Wales, whereas 6.1million live in Victoria.

There was a 1.4 per cent rise in population in Queensland as the total number of people rose 67,700 to 4.8million.

A similar rise of 1.5 per cent in Australian Capital Territory left the area's population just shy of 400,000.

Population growth was far slower across the rest of Australia, with a one per cent increase in Western Australia.

An extra 9,400 (0.6 per cent) people now live in South Australia, while population increased by just 2,600 (0.5 per cent) in Tasmania.

Just 800 more people lived in the Northern Territory in September 2016 than a year earlier.

The new figures come just days after it was revealed that Sydney house prices have skyrocketed by 70 per cent over five years, while wages rose just 13 per cent - making it even harder for first-time buyers to get a foot on the property ladder.

The official numbers from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show house prices rose 6.1 per cent in Sydney in the three months to the end of December 2016. 

The high price growth in Sydney and Melbourne (six per cent) dragged property prices around the country higher. Property prices nationally went up 4.1 per cent in the December quarter - the strongest growth since June 2015.

The residential property price index in Sydney rose 5.2 per cent in the same quarter, and 5.3 per cent in Melbourne.

Melbourne had the largest annual growth of all capital cities at 10.8 per cent, followed by Sydney at 10.3 per cent.

The mean property price nationally is now $656,800. New South Wales has by far the highest mean property price at $864,900, followed by Victoria at $690,100. In the ACT that figure is $642,900.

Meanwhile, wages growth remains at record lows, making it even harder for first-time buyers to get onto the property ladder.


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