Sunday, February 11, 2018

From drinks at the bar to back at her house: The new 90-minute sexual consent test Australian university students must pass before they are allowed to enrol

The range of what is called sexual harassment has widened enormously in recent times.  Rape however is a lot LESS common in the universities than elsewhere so singling out students as likely evildoers is offensive

Students starting at some of Australia's most prestigious universities will need to prove they understand sexual consent by sitting a mandatory course.

An online 90 minute test has already been implemented at University of Melbourne, where all undergraduate students must pass the test before beginning study.

New students at the University of Sydney must also sit the compulsory test, and those living in residential colleges at the Australian National University will need to pass it as well, The Age reports.

The one and a half hour long animated course touches on how levels of intoxication would affect each person's ability to give consent to sexual activity.

Students are also schooled on boundaries, misconceptions about consent and how others should intervene if they see sexual harassment occurring.

Desiree Cai, University of Melbourne's student union president, praised the move for being an important first step in addressing sexual harassment.

'Discussions about what consent is didn't exist a couple of years ago,' Ms Cai said. 'There has been a real shift but we would like to see more action in the future.'

The progressive move comes in light of the Australian Human Rights Commission's startling findings in its report on sexual harassment and assault on campuses.

The report found one in two students were sexually harassed at least once on university campuses in 2016.

So far about a quarter of University of Melbourne's students had sat the test, but Universities Australia chief executive Belinda Robinson said it would take more than one quiz to solve the problem.

'There's a significant amount of activity occurring and a comprehensive effort is very much in evidence,' Ms Robinson said.

National Union of Students women's officer Kate Crossin also felt more was required in order for significant societal change to occur. She was not convinced the Consent Matters course was effective, saying 'It hasn't been found to reduce sexual harassment or assault. Face-to-face training is much better.'


Jim Molan offers lesson in courage for gutless Greens

What a spiteful, divisive, unethical and prejudiced political force the Greens are in Australian politics.

This is evident from their grotesque attack on Major-General (retired) Jim Molan, a new Liberal senator for NSW and one of the bravest and most important soldiers Australia has produced in the past 40 years.

Molan is neither the pope nor a secular saint. It is perfectly legitimate to criticise his views. What the Greens did, in calculated, ­extreme and grossly insulting comments, was attack his character, substantially on the basis of his military service.

Greens senator Nick McKim labelled Molan “a blatant racist … who revels in trampling rights and freedoms”.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale accused Molan of overseeing “a humanitarian catastrophe” during the allied assault on Fallujah in Iraq in 2004. Quoting a United Nations Special Rapporteur with a long history of extreme anti-­Western activism, Di Natale said: “At the time of the assault on Fallujah under the command of now-Senator Molan … coalition forces used hunger and deprivation as a weapon of war against the civilian population.” This is a charge Molan strenuously denies.

Di Natale asked Defence Minister Marise Payne whether she was concerned that Molan’s views influenced his approach to the campaign in Fallujah.

The most extreme attacks came from Greens deputy leader Adam Bandt, who said that if there were a proper inquiry into the Iraq war “like there has been in other countries, I think you would find Jim Molan would probably be up for prosecution rather than praise for his role in the atrocities in Fallujah”.

Bandt added: “When you share white supremacist videos and then you justify it by saying: ‘Oh, I’m doing it to stimulate debate’ — and that is the line that came out of his office — you are a coward, you are a complete coward.”

Bandt subsequently apologised for his remarks, and then further extended the apology yesterday.

Everything the Greens have said here is wrong. They have not only been unfair to Molan, they have turned reality on its head. They have proved that far from being progenitors of more ethical politics, the Greens are a narrow, sectarian group imprisoned in their own prejudices.

Here are a few key facts. Molan was for a time the defence attache in Jakarta. He was there for the fall of Suharto in 1998 and the East Timor independence referendum in 1999. In East Timor he personally oversaw the evacuation first of Australian personnel and later UN staff, including many Indonesians. In June 2000 Molan organised the evacuation of 800 Australians from Solomon Islands.

In 2004 he was appointed chief of operations under US General George Casey for the entire US-led UN coalition in Iraq, during which time the second operation in Fallujah took place.

One year ago, long after he left the military, Molan re-posted on to his Facebook page two videos that had come from the British First group and showed apparently Islamist violence in Europe.

Let’s interrogate these matters.

Adam Bandt may think Molan “a coward, a complete coward”. It is probable that Bishop Carlos Belo, and some Philippines nuns, have a different view. At the time of the fall of Suharto, Molan’s wife had to self-evacuate with the ­couple’s four children from an ­extremely dangerous part of Jakarta to a safer area.

Jakarta was roiling during this time under extremely violent rioting, an at times heavy-handed military and police response and some rogue military snipers who were shooting people indiscriminately. I spent a little time in Jakarta myself during this period and for a little while it was a terrifying city.

Molan, as defence attache, was on the streets every day morning until night, as were eight other members of his team, getting a sense of what was going on so that the Australian government could respond effectively and the ­embassy would know when and how to carry out the evacuation of Australian nationals.

Molan is tall and blond. He was a highly visible target.

But Dili was much more dangerous. Molan took four members of the Jakarta defence attache team with him to Dili to organise the evacuation of Australians, then later of UN staff. He and the four others drove a vehicle each and went round Dili picking up Australians and others who ­needed to leave. This was at a time when murderous, pro-Indonesian militia were rampaging through Dili murdering and burning.

Molan also had to talk the ­Indonesian military, whom he knew very well, into accepting an Australian peacekeeping force and not firing on it, and disciplining the militia not to fire on the Australians, either.

In Bandt’s world, none of this may excuse a man from cowardice — it probably doesn’t compare with the moral gravity of having to choose, say, between skim milk and soy for a $5 latte in Carlton — but it is possible that some East Timorese have a different view.

There was one especially tense confrontation on the tarmac at Baucau Airport. In one of those desperate coincidences, a group of pro-Indonesian militia were to be flown to West Timor on the same day that UN expatriate staff were to be flown to Darwin. The Indonesian UN staff were also there to be evacuated. The international staff, heroically, were refusing to leave unless their Indonesian colleagues joined them.

Then it turned out that Bishop Carlos Belo, the Nobel Prize winner, was there. He had to flee his Dili home because it had been ­attacked and burnt to the ground. The militia had declared they would kill Belo. Molan was in command of no force although there were some Australian security personnel discreetly placed on the evacuation planes.

The militia commander at the airport kept drawing his pistol. In hours of tense, difficult conversation and negotiation, Molan got the UN staff out, including Belo.

There is no doubt that Molan saved Belo’s life. One night in East Timor Molan had a long conversation by phone with John Howard. He had to convince Howard that the Indonesians would not fire on an Australian peacekeeping force and the deployment of the force should go ahead.

On another occasion Molan was speeding towards the airport with half a dozen Philippine nuns in his car. A pro-Indonesian gunman on a motor bike with a rifle slung over his shoulder was chasing Molan’s vehicle and trying to take his rifle off his shoulder, presumably to fire. A sudden block on the road forced Molan to screech to a halt, the gunman hit the back of Molan’s transport and his body pitch-forked into the back of Molan’s vehicle, among the nuns. Molan could see the man’s neck was broken. He could also see a crowd beginning to gather. So he reached back from the driver’s seat, pushed the Indonesian body out the back, and sped off to the airport. Once there he unloaded the nuns, who flew to safety, smashed out the rest of his back windscreen, and resumed evacuation operations.

No doubt, though, Bandt is the best judge of a man’s cowardice.

In Iraq, Molan was lent by Peter Cosgrove, then chief of the ­Defence Force, now our Governor-General, to be the chief of ­operations in US General Ricardo Sanchez’s headquarters. At first Sanchez did not want a non-American in such a senior job. Molan was given the task of restoring Iraq’s infrastructure. He did this so well that Sanchez’s successor, General George Casey, ­appointed him to the chief of ­operations role.

The legality of the original US-led invasion of Iraq, in which Australia participated, is disputed, although the Australian government believed it was justified by previous UN resolutions. By the time Molan got there the operation had explicit UN authorisation and involved 28 nations.

Fallujah had been a city of 300,000. By the time of Molan’s operation it had between 10,000 and 30,000 inhabitants. Most had fled to government-controlled areas. The extreme Sunni Islamist insurgency, which later became Islamic State, was savagely barbaric.

In a book I wrote on the US ­alliance 10 years ago, Molan told me: “We conducted Fallujah both to protect the Iraqi people and to protect the Iraqi political process (the upcoming national election). Fallujah was a safe haven for straight-out terrorists, not insurgents. There were 19 improvised explosive device factories, six car bomb factories, torture chambers, TV stations” and the insurgents’ command centre.

“The responsible use of military force by the Americans cost (US) marine lives. We could have flattened the city in a night and killed everyone there (and lost no marines) but that would have been wrong.”

In Iraq, Molan faced death a dozen times, more than that. The house next to the one he lived in was destroyed by rocket fire. He was many times fired on. He had a close protection unit of Australian and US special forces. Once he was dozing in a Blackhawk helicopter between Baghdad and Mosul when he opened his eyes to see a 23mm anti-aircraft gun blinking at the chopper, just about to fire. Luckily the pilot took radical evasive action at that moment.

Still, as Adam Bandt would no doubt know, you never know where cowardice is hiding.

The two videos that Molan re-posted to his Facebook page last year showed genuine violence in Europe, in at least one case certainly Islamist violence. In one, Molan was particularly, almost technically, interested in the ­restraint French police showed under attack. Like almost everyone else, he had never heard of the British First group, nor known anything of its politics, until ­Donald Trump got into trouble for re-posting their material. Of course, the failure of mainstream politicians to discuss Islamist violence in Europe is one factor that has driven the growth of extremes.

Three political conclusions from the Molan affair are inescapable.

One, the Greens are truly a ­destructive, vicious political force, always happy to attribute great moral courage to themselves while foully and often baselessly attacking the motives and character of anyone who disagrees with them. They seem to have an unhealthy hang-up about the military.

Second, what idiots the Liberals were not to preselect Molan ear­lier, favouring anonymous identikit candidates instead. Molan is in the Senate by fluke. If the Liberals are to revive as a party they need big personalities who represent real constituencies and bring varied life experience to the parliament. Just having Molan there has enraged the Greens and polarised voters in favour of the government.

And thirdly, while this controversy has run OK so far for Molan, the Howard government never appointed a soldier of his seniority to Iraq again, despite US requests. I suspect this is because even the Howard government was scared of having to take political responsibility for genuinely big battlefield decisions. We claim to want influence, but are often scared of it.

If only we had a few more “cowards” like Jim Molan.


Protect your people from shark attacks, Frydenberg tells Green/Left WA government

Greenies would rather have people die than sharks

Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg has warned the West Australian government to take “stronger action to protect its citizens”, after a CSIRO study revealed an explosion in adult great white shark numbers off the west coast.

Mr Frydenberg said the “groundbreaking” CSIRO study clearly showed a greater number of larger white sharks off the west coast compared with eastern Australia. “These results along with the high number of fatal shark attacks in Western Australia make a compelling case for the WA government to take a more proactive approach to protect the public from shark attacks,” he said.

“The primacy of public safety is non-negotiable. That is why the commonwealth continues to call on the West Australian government to take stronger action to protect its citizens.”

In December, The Australian reported on preliminary results of the CSIRO study, which revealed more than double the number of adult great white sharks inhabited the waters between Wilson’s Promontory and northwestern WA compared with the eastern Australian population.

The final 64-page CSIRO report, “A national assessment of the status of White Sharks”, provides a scientific analysis of juvenile and adult great white shark populations off the Australian coastline. Commissioned following a series of great white shark attacks off WA and NSW, it is the first detailed analysis of white shark populations.

The report, labelled the first of its kind in the world, concedes that “shark attack rates in Australia have risen over recent years”.

“The results and methods employed represent a step-change in capacity to assess otherwise difficult-to-monitor species, such as white sharks,” it said.

Preliminary analysis of the data showed that the animal’s current adult population in the west was between 750 and 2250, with a 90 per cent survival rate year-to-year.

In the east there are about 750 adult sharks (with a range of between 470 and 1030 great whites) at a yearly survival rate of more than 90 per cent.

The final research revealed the total number of white sharks in the eastern population is 5460, with a potential range between 2909 and 12,802.

CSIRO lead author Dr Richard Hillary said sharks take 12—15 years to become mature adults, ”so we wouldn’t expect to see the effect on the adult population of that reduction in juvenile shark mortality until the next few years”.

“Now that we have a starting point, we can repeat the exercise over time and build a total population trend, to see whether the numbers are going up or down,” Dr Hillary said.

“This is crucial to developing effective policy outcomes that balance the sometimes conflicting aims of conservation initiatives and human-shark interaction risk management.”

The Australian understands the CSIRO data focuses mainly on adult white sharks, with NSW Department of Primary Industries tagging research tracking large numbers of juvenile great whites along east coast beaches.

Mr Frydenberg, who commissioned the report last June, has noted the shark population in the west “may not be increasing” but was “significantly larger” when the juvenile sharks were included in the data.

“Couple these higher numbers with the 15 fatal shark attacks over the last 17 years in Western Australia and it’s clear the state government needs to look seriously at rigorous and proactive measures to protect its citizens from shark attacks,” Mr Frydenberg previously told The Australian.

Multiple fatal shark attacks off WA in recent years prompted the former Barnett government to consider protective measures. A culling program was cancelled after it mainly caught tiger sharks instead of great whites.


The hidden dangers lurking in your reusable bag and how to avoid them

They are big trouble and a lot less safe than disposable bags

ECOBAGS are the new standard on the weekly shop — but could you be bringing more than you bargained for back home in your carrier?

The new, thicker bags have replaced the single-use plastic ones, which in Australia are already banned in South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory with Western Australia and Queensland to follow this year.

Supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths have also announced they would phase out single-use bags and charge 15 cents for re-usable ones.

Envirobags may have been brilliant for the environment but, if you’re not careful, your re-usable bag can be bad for you.

According to The Sun, they can become home to E. coli and salmonella and, by failing to pack items into separate bags, we could be exposing ourselves to these invisible germs that live on long after the shopping trip has ended.
Sturdy EcoBags replaced have become a shopping staple for many.

The trouble is that many of us don’t separate our shopping out properly into the bags, and even fewer of us ever wash them out after we get home from a shop.

This means they can collect and incubate germs from food we pick up while shopping — and raw meat, although the major problem, isn’t the only cause of contamination.

Even the outside of packaging for foods like raw chicken can be coated in the dangerous bacteria.

Other harmful germs found teeming on the bags include salmonella and E.coli, which can cause stomach bugs lasting up to seven days.

Thousands of people are admitted to hospital each year with the symptoms of food poisoning, and according to Danish scientists, deaths caused by food poisoning are twice as high as statistics suggest, with many contracting secondary infections up to a year after their gastric sickness started.
Germs hidden in the reusable bags for life can cause serious sickness and can take up to seven days to recover from.

Thankfully, there are plenty of things you can do to protect yourself and your family.

In the UK, the Food Standards Agency has asked for supermarkets to give out free plastic bags at meat aisles and counters to encourage people to create an extra barrier against germs.

Warnings were issued after reports found people who didn’t use extra bags were at greater risk of food poisoning.

The FSA has also updated its guidance on how to pack shopping safely, advising consumers to separate their raw foods, especially meat, from ready-to-eat goods and non-edible items like clothes or household products.

Loose vegetables covered in soil and cracked eggs also contain traces of bacteria, so even if you’re a vegetarian it’s worth separating all items to avoid contamination.

No one is suggesting a return to the flimsy plastic bags — ecobags are handy, if properly stored and used.

They’re strong and sturdy, as well as being more environmentally friendly.

But until there’s a way to stop food packaging from becoming contaminated, ecobags should be washed after every shopping trip, and thoroughly.

Most are made from a strong plastic like polythene, or you can opt for an even more long-lasting hessian or canvas tote bag.

It’s much easier to wash the canvas bags, and this should be done after every visit, at a high temperature.

If you do wash the plastic bags, it’s not enough to simply wipe down the surfaces with antibacterial spray: you need to soak every inner and outer seam.

A spokesman for the FSA says: “Our main advice is to use specific bags for specific tasks, so keep some for use with meat and other raw foods, some for ready to eat and some for things like washing powder/dishwasher tabs and other chemicals”.

“Consumers might choose to label bags to make this easier, or they may choose to buy bags under specific themes to mark purpose.

“There is also the option to go with machine-washable fabric bags for the raw foods, so that they can be washed regularly and/or whenever there is a spill.”

If supermarkets don’t offer free plastics to wrap meat products, then it’s a good idea to label the bags you use, especially if you plan to use them again.

Colour-coding shopping bags might help to tell them apart: red for meat, for instance, green for vegetables and yellow for other potentially harmful items.

And make sure you have enough for a big shop so you don’t end up forced to put things in the same bag.


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

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