Sunday, March 18, 2018

Must not mention child abuse in Aboriginal families

The usual unbalanced response to the issue is coming from the Leftist Aboriginal industry.  The official policy is to leave abused black children with their families and if that does not work the kid is left with other black families, usually relatives. Where all that has been tried the kid may in rare cases be fostered by a white family. 

Adoption is usually considered only as a last resort.  Of the four Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children adopted between 2016 and 2017, three went to white families, according to government figures.

The protesters act as if the latest call is to place ALL abused black kids with whites, which is not being proposed at all. The proposal is for the most endangered kids to be placed with white families.  There have been deaths among children whom the authorities have simply shuffled around among black families.

A protester below says: "Aboriginal children are being taken away at exponential rates and these rates have grown every year"  --  as if that exonerates the existing procedures.  Surely it in fact shows that the problem is getting worse and in need of fresh thinking

The real driver behind the protests is of course the strange leftist belief that "All men are equal". Mentioning that child abuse if rife among blacks defies that foolish gospel

[TV program] Sunrise has sparked intense backlash after a commentator suggested Indigenous children should be taken from their families

The comments were made on Tuesday morning as part of the breakast show's 'Hot Topics' segment. Samantha Armytage kicked off the discussion by bringing viewers up to speed on assistant minister for children David Gillespie calling for non-Indigenous families to adopt at-risk Aboriginal children.

"It's a no-brainer", Sunrise commentator Prue MacSween supports federal minister David Gillespie's proposal for white families to adopt at-risk Aboriginal children.

"Post-Stolen Generations there's been a huge move to leave Aboriginal children where they are, even if they're being neglected in their own families," she said.

The Sunrise co-host then asked controversial commentator Prue MacSween and Brisbane radio host Ben Davis what they thought. MacSween made headlines last year after she said she was "tempted to run over" former ABC host Yassmin Abdel-Magied.

McSween claimed there was a "fabricated PC outlook" among some people who believed it was better to leave Aboriginal children in abusive homes than have them adopted by white families.

"It's just crazy to just even contemplate that people are arguing against this," she said. "Don't worry about the people that would cry and handwring and say this would be another Stolen Generation. Just like the first Stolen Generation where a lot of people were taken because it was for their wellbeing... we need to do it again, perhaps."

The comments have been slammed as false and misleading by prominent members of the Indigenous community.

South Sea Islander and Darumbal journalist Amy McQuire said the two minute segment was "packed [with] so many mistruths". "The idea that Aboriginal children are not being placed in white families is a lie," she wrote. "The greater lie is that Aboriginal children are not being taken away and are being kept in dangerous situations for fear of a 'stolen generation'.

"That does not gel with the statistics: Aboriginal children are being taken away at exponential rates and these rates have grown every year since Kevin Rudd gave his apology to the Stolen Generations and promised it would never happen again."

Black Comedy's Nakkiah Lui, meanwhile, has accused Sunrise of "bottom-feeding off people's pain". "If you're talking about the removal of Aboriginal children from their families, communities and culture, maybe speak to Aboriginal children, families and adults that have been affected," she wrote. "Not white people who have zero knowledge."


Bill Shorten’s ‘left behinds’ actually got ahead

Low-income households have ­enjoyed the biggest improvement in standard of living since the ­financial crisis, challenging Bill Shorten’s claim that inequality is rising and large parts of society are being “left behind”.

The bottom fifth of households ranked by income have had an 11 per cent rise in their living standards since 2007, more than twice as fast as those in the top income group, according to analysis ­undertaken at the Australian ­National University Centre for Social Research and Methods.

A comprehensive analysis of more than 20 different household types found those with incomes made up mainly of social security benefits have enjoyed an 18 per cent jump in living standards since 2007, wage earners enjoyed a 5 per cent jump and those with mainly business income recorded an almost 8 per cent fall.

The analysis, produced by ­researcher Ben Phillips, also shows that even the 20 per cent of households on the lowest ­incomes received on average $110 a year in franking credits in 2016, highlighting the political difficulty Labor faces as it seeks to end cash refunds for franking credits for all taxpayers. “Some low-income households do receive them but they are quite small in the scheme of things, with almost 80 per cent by value going to the top share of households with large portfolios,” Mr Phillips said.

The figures come amid an ­escalating battle between the ­government and opposition about the impact of Labor’s new policy, which the government says will hurt more than a million shareholders, mainly low-income retirees, and have far-ranging unintended consequences.

In a bid to tackle what he described as “the growing inequality in this country, the growing wedge of disparity”, Mr Shorten announced plans to scrap cash ­refunds for tax credits on franked share dividends for those paying no income tax, saying it would save $59 billion over 10 years.

The value of the tax increases combined would provide Labor with a war chest to cut personal income tax for workers, most of whom have experienced zero real wage growth since 2012.

The ANU analysis found that 9 per cent of households in the bottom income quintile received franking credits. The average payment received by that 9 per cent was $1250, with a median payment of $231. Among top-earning households, 38 per cent received credits. Among that group of households, the average payment was $13,300 and the median payment was $870 in 2016.

Mr Phillips said all types of households had “overwhelmingly” enjoyed large increases in their living standards over recent decades, while high-income households had seen “virtually no real growth in living standards since the GFC”.

His new research is based on a series of biennial income and ­expenditure surveys conducted by the ABS of up to 30,000 people.

Labor has announced a controversial swag of tax increases on trusts, high-income earners, multinationals and property investors in recent months. “In 2018, my side of politics is going to lay out our ­vision for that Australia — fairer, stronger, more inclusive — where no one gets left behind,” Mr Shorten said in January, echoing language used by British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Mr Phillips’ analysis provides a clearer picture of changes in living standards for different groups by comparing disposable income (after tax) with the cost of living. The lowest earners, who tend to spend more of their incomes on essential services, had experienced the biggest cost-of-living increase — 25 per cent since 2007 — but incomes, propped up by a hefty increase in the age pension in 2009, had more than kept pace.

Single, middle-income households aged 50 to 64, in Queensland and South Australia, appeared to have done the worst over the past decade. Single parents with a mortgage, living in ACT or NSW, appear to have done the best, relatively, the analysis suggested. “Middle and higher-income single parents did particularly well over the long term with a strong increase in workforce participation, helped along by changing ­cultural attitudes and increases in family payments as part of the Hawke government poverty-­alleviation measures,” Mr Phillips said.

When grouped according to age, households over 65 enjoyed the most rapid growth in living standards, up 16.5 per cent or almost three times that of those under 35 over the past decade.

“The main driver here has been a more generous taxation system for older Australians and large pension increase in 2009 under the Harmer review,” he said.

The new analysis reveals how previously booming resource states were now struggling. Western Australia was the only state or ­territory where households went backwards since 2007 while Queenslanders’ living ­standards rose 1.2 per cent — masking sharp surges and retractions in income. By contrast, real incomes in the ACT and the NT, which have relatively large government sectors, rose 14 per cent and 11 per cent, more than any others.

Against a backdrop of sluggish wage growth and high house prices, Mr Phillips showed living standards for all Australians had still risen substantially since the last recession in the early 1990s.

“A key point is that overall living standards, which are defined as income growth adjusting for cost of living, have increased dramatically since 1988, rising around 68 per cent, ” he said.

He noted they had risen more slowly in the past decade.

“Lower-income single parents have not fared so well over the past decade following cuts to welfare payments by the Howard government in 2005 and Gillard government in 2013,” he said.


Marginals pain for Labor as tax grab hits thousands of voters in key electorates

Bill Shorten has risked igniting a backlash in key election battlegrounds, with official data revealing that almost 90,000 voters across 13 of the most marginal seats in the country would lose an average $2000 a year in refundable tax credits under his policy.

As the Labor leader yesterday defended the $59 billion tax grab amid pressure from pensioner and retiree lobby groups, Treasury analysis of tax ­office data reveals seven marginal Labor seats could be vulnerable at an election.

Those seats have an average of ­almost 6000 voters who would lose thousands of dollars of income a year under the Labor plan.

In the country’s most marginal seat of Herbert in north Queensland, which Labor won at the 2016 election by only 37 votes, there are 4700 people who on average ­receive $1994 a year in refunds on tax credits from share dividends.

The ATO data suggests that the issue could also be a deciding ­factor in tomorrow’s by-election in the suburban Melbourne seat of Batman, which Labor is at risk of losing to the Greens, with 5284 voters receiving an average of $1471 a year in refunds. The same scenario could play out in the Queensland seat of Longman if Labor were forced to a by-election over questions about ALP MP Susan Lamb’s citizenship, with 5491 people collecting $1563 annually. Labor won the seat by just 1390 votes.

Treasurer Scott Morrison told The Australian: “Labor were hoping they would get away with it and try and slide this past hundreds and thousands of pensioners who depend on their tax refund to pay everything from their power bill to their grocery bill.

“Either Bill Shorten didn’t know, or he didn’t care. But either way he is going to pocket the tax refunds of pensioners and ­retirees.”

Mr Shorten and his Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen yesterday briefed opposition MPs about the details of the policy shake-up in a 30-minute phone hook-up of the Labor caucus after MPs were inundated with feedback from concerned constituents. The Australian understands that no one spoke out against the shake-up, but some were drawing up case studies to help explain the impact of the policy. “They went through the policy and we all had a chat,” a Labor MP said. “We have to ­explain it to the community and what the benefits are ... there were a number of people who were asking questions.”

Mr Shorten, speaking in Melbourne with the Labor candidate for Batman, former ACTU president Ged Kearney, branded government attacks on Labor’s plan a “ hysterical scare campaign”. But Ms Kearney was forced to back away from earlier comments that the plan could be reviewed, instead attempting to talk down the tax grab’s impact.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale moved to exploit Labor’s confusion ahead of the Batman by-election, saying the proposals “look like they could have a range of very serious unintended consequences”.

“It’s very clear here that we have a situation with Bill Shorten who is quite rightly raising the issue of inequality,” Senator Di Natale said.

“The Greens are very concerned that these changes could hit struggling pensioners — pensioners with low income, low assets — and make their lives harder.

“The Greens will do everything that we can using our power in the Senate and our numbers in the House to ensure that we scrutinise every aspect of Labor’s policy.”

In Batman, the ATO data shows it is home to 1052 pensioners receiving tax refunds.

Mr Morrison took aim at Mr Shorten after the Opposition Leader denied that he would seek to provide additional compensation to low-income pensioners who lose their refunds, following a report in The Australian revealing it was being considered.

“We’ve seen the circus of yesterday. They (Labor) are saying, ‘we’ll be compensating pensioners’. And today they say they won’t be compensating pensioners. They have no clue,” Mr Morrison said.

Tony Shepherd, who headed the Abbott government’s National Commission of Audit and is a ­former president of the Business Council of Australia, also spoke out against the dangers of making one-off ­alternations to the tax and superannuation systems. “There is considerable room in Australia for taxation reform but that must be done on a comprehensive basis with a thorough examination of the consequences,” Mr Shepherd told The Australian.

The ATO data shows about 84,000 NSW pensioners stand to lose money. Nearly 8000 of them are in the marginal seats of ­Gilmore, Robertson and Page, and 40,000 live in ALP seats.

More than 20,000 pensioners living in Labor seats in Victoria and almost 10,000 in Labor-held seats in Queensland would also lose out, according to the data.

The data shows that six Liberal and LNP-held marginal seats, which the government would ­likely lose in an election based on current polling, had similar numbers to the Labor marginal seats of pensioners and retirees who would be affected.

In the Queensland seat of Forde, which the LNP won by 1062 votes, there are 4074 voters receiving an average refund of $1604 while, in the central Queensland LNP seat of Capricornia that the Nationals’ Michelle Landry won by 1111 votes, there are 6209 voters ­receiving an average refund of $2079.

Mr Morrison will today visit the NSW south coast seat of Gilmore — won by Liberal MP Ann Sudmalis by 1503 votes — where there are 10,903 voters who receive an average refund of $1397.

The other marginal Liberal seats most affected by the policy include the central Queensland seat of Flynn — where there are 5939 voters receiving an average refund of $2461 — and the NSW central coast seat of Robertson where there are 9331 voters ­receiving an average refund of $1799.

The second-most marginal seat in the country — the Labor-held ­Adelaide electorate of Hindmarsh — has 8850 voters who receive an average refund of $2140.

Labor has warned that the value of the refunds at $6bn a year is unsustainable and will claw back $59bn in revenue over the decade by scrapping the measure initially introduced by the Howard government in 2001.


Australia bans bolt action rifle because of its scary 'appearance'

Gun owners often argue that “assault weapon” is just a term made up by politicians to ban guns that look “scary.”

The designation is made up, they say, to confuse consumers into thinking that machine guns are available off the shelf at local sporting goods stores. The so-called assault weapon, they say, is simply a semi-automatic rifle with certain cosmetic features.

Australia's government is giving ammunition to this argument by beginning to confiscate rifles simply because they look scary. The Australian Border Force ordered its citizens to turn in a bolt action rifle, 7 News Brisbane reports, “due to the firearm being substantially the same in appearance as a fully automatic firearm.” In other words, the guns are now illegal because they look like so called assault weapons.

This is, of course, ridiculous.

The rifle in question is a Riverman Operator Assisted Firearm. It cannot fire fully automatic. It cannot even fire semi-automatic. It is a bolt action rifle, meaning that a shooter has to manually chamber a cartridge before taking each shot. Aside from its pistol grip, tactical stock, and scope, it has more in common with Lee Enfield rifles of the Second World War than M16s or AK-47s of today’s conflicts.

But because looks can be deceiving, the gun has become illegal.


"Ping Pong" is racist?

A new Asian-themed gastropub called Hotel Longtime has sparked outrage on social media, with critics calling its name and theme racist.

The owners, married couple Alex Fahey and Tin Chu, have denied the Adelaide pub is racist, and said their Ping Pong Club Room has nothing to do with sex shows.

Critics slammed the pub's name, which they say references a scene from the movie Full Metal Jacket in which a Vietnamese prostitute says 'Me love you long time'.

They claimed the Ping Pong Club Room was prostitution-themed, referring to 'Asian strippers performing demeaning acts', as was a 'brothel madame' poster.

Vietnamese-born co-owner Ms Chu said their critics made associations that were never imagined when Hotel Longtime was designed, The Advertiser reported.

'It is worth remembering that I am a director of this licensee company and I am a proud Asian woman who has worked hard to build my business,' she said.

'There is nothing in our name which is in any way intended to insult or offend women. If anyone has felt that, then we humbly apologise.'

Mr Fahey denied the Ping Pong Club Room was a deliberate reference to sex shows involving ping pong balls, and said the name means 'stay for a long time'.

'It's meant to be like a clubroom, like a football clubroom, where you go and have a drink after playing ping pong. It's nothing to do with the Thailand ping pong shows,' he said.

Alice Whittington - who started a petition on demanding the pair change the name of the pub - said the theme perpetuated negative Asian stereotypes.

'All I wish for on behalf of Asian people and in particular women, is a change of venue name, as well as the acknowledgement that this name and concept blatantly reaffirms the stereotype.

'I too am a proud, half-Asian woman born and bred in Adelaide. Here and around the world, I have been subject to horrific slurs and racial and sexual harassment directly related to the quotes that are associated with the film Full Metal Jacket.'


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

Friday, March 16, 2018

Shorten scambles to reverse great tax blooper: To give back with the left hand what he takes with the right hand

Which leaves him with no budget "saving" after all.  He should just admit that he got it wrong and do a complete 180.  But Leftist hate to admit it when they are wrong, which they often are.  Where were his political instincts when he decided to hit 600,000 poor people?  It shows that the Labor Party is no longer the party of the worker

Bill Shorten is considering a supplement payment package for up to 250,000 pensioners to make up for annual cash refunds they stand to lose, as the Opposition Leader comes under mounting pressure over Labor’s plan to scrap $59 billion in refundable tax credits on share dividends.

As Labor faces pushback from seniors and self-managed super fund lobby groups, The Australian understands that a financial sweetener will be considered for the 10 per cent of pensioners on the lowest annual incomes who may lose their modest imputation credit refunds.

This would likely come in the form of a payment supplement in addition to Labor’s promise to ­restore the energy supplement linked to the carbon tax, which the Turnbull government scrapped for new welfare and pension recipients.

“We will make sure that pensioners are OK, full stop,” Mr Shorten said yesterday after hinting that Labor’s budget strategy would ensure pensioners were not left out of pocket.

Association and the Association of Independent Retirees yesterday urged their members to write to Labor MPs and warned of a ­national campaign against Mr Shorten’s tax grab.

The Opposition Leader yesterday acknowledged his policy would affect about 250,000 pensioners, amid new warnings the changes would force more people onto the Age Pension and possibly undermine the expected revenue gain of $59bn over a decade.

Mr Shorten’s claim that part pensions would rise to compensate low-income earners for the loss of their rebates was also ­attacked by National Seniors Australia. It declared the comment “incorrect” and argued it showed a fundamental misunderstanding of “how income is calculated for pensioners”.

National Seniors Australia chief executive Ian Henschke said he wanted Labor to “reconsider the full effect of this policy” and provided research showing that some part-pensioners would be more than $900 worse off once their rebates were removed.

Analysis provided exclusively to The Australian shows that a single person who qualifies for the part pension under the assets test may be substantially worse off under the Labor plan.

In one case study, an individual with $451,000 in assets — including $1000 cash from a refundable dividend tax credit — would receive a $3 increase in their fortnightly pension payment (from $302.65 to $305.65) once the refund was scrapped. While this would lift the part-pension payment by $78 a year, it would still leave the individual $922 worse off overall.

Centrelink makes an assumption about the income that investments will generate. In another case study, the analysis suggests that a single person who qualifies for a part pension under the income test is assumed to receive a return of 1.75 per cent on their first $50,200 of savings and 3.25 per cent on anything over that.

Changes in the person’s actual income are irrelevant to this calculation, so the abolition of cash imputation refunds would make no difference to the pension, ­although it would directly affect the pensioner’s total income.

National Seniors Australia’s senior officer Basil La Brooy said: “There doesn’t seem to be an understanding of how income is calculated for pensioners. And this is a policy that’s been in place for many years.”

Malcolm Turnbull yesterday accused Mr Shorten of launching a targeted attack on lower and middle-income earners in a “Labor cash grab” he said would hit more than 3.5 million superannuation accounts and affect more than one million people, including more than 200,000 pensioners.

“He’s seeking to take money from pensioners and self-funded retirees, money they’re entitled to,” Mr Turnbull said. “Think about that — 50 per cent of the individuals that will be hurt by this tax grab are on incomes of less than $18,000. These are pensioners and self-funded retirees.

“This is not a tax loophole or anything like this. This is a case where companies have paid tax, they’ve paid tax. They pay a dividend with a franking credit and if somebody doesn’t have other tax liabilities to offset that, they’re entitled to get the difference in cash. That is completely fair. It’s been the case for nearly 20 years.”

Writing to The Australian yesterday, former Treasury secretary John Stone backed Mr Turnbull’s criticism.

Mr Stone said Paul Keating had not gone far enough after introducing dividend imputation relief in 1987 to correct the “injustice” of double taxation whereby “dividend recipients had no or ­insufficient other taxable income against which to offset their ­credits”.

Mr Stone said this was “finally rectified” by Coalition treasurer Peter Costello in 2001, after the budget had been taken back into surplus. He warned that Mr Shorten’s policy on franking credits would “restore that injustice”.

The Association of Independent Retirees warned the Labor policy could “push more retirees onto the Aged Pension much earlier than would currently be the case” and “negate the short-term revenue gains anticipated”.

“You need to engage with your federal member of parliament and bring to their attention the concerns described above that AIR has with Labor’s announced policy on dividend imputation credits,” it said in a letter to its members.

The Self-Managed Super Fund Association produced figures showing that a single homeowner with $580,000 in superannuation (who had saved enough to forgo the Age Pension) could lose $5357 in franking credits — a reduction in yearly income from $28,357 to $23,000, or a cut of 18.8 per cent.

SMSF Association head of policy Jordan George said the drop to $23,000 in income was only $112 above the full Age Pension and Age Pension supplement of $22,888 which can be accessed by a homeowning single person with assets of less than $253,750.

“Self-funded retirees who have assets just above the Age Pension assets test thresholds may be worse off under the Labor proposal than those with less assets but receiving the Age Pension,” Mr George said. “This is a perverse outcome.”


Batman Labor voters vent fury over Shorten tax grab

Lifelong Labor voters living in Batman have called Bill Shorten’s radical tax plan the “final straw” ending their support for the ALP as the party road-tests new superannuation changes days ahead of a critical by-election.

Pensioners and low-income retirees living in the north Melbourne electorate say the latest ALP plan to abolish cash rebates for tax credits on shares held by retirees, investors and ordinary taxpayers will hurt those who can ill afford it. “Apparently it won’t affect me that much because I only hold shares through my super fund, but it’s possible those returns will go down and that hurts,” retired marine engineer Jim Robertson told The Australian yesterday. The 78-year-old, on a full pension supplemented by a small amount of super in an ­industry fund, has voted Labor in every state and federal election bar one since emigrating from Scotland more than 50 years ago.

Come polling day on Saturday, he will vote for either the Australian Conservatives or the Australian Liberty Party, saying the tax plan Mr Shorten unveiled in an address to the left-wing Chifley Institute this week was more evidence of Labor ditching traditional values.

“It wasn’t looking good before, but now I’m even less inclined to vote for Labor,” he said. “It’s like Labor has lost its roots and needs to get back to what it used to stand for: the working man. I don’t think the party of old would have gone about (tax reform) like this.”

Analysis of the new tax plan conducted by Treasury revealed that more than 610,000 Australians on the lowest annual incomes stand to lose an average of $1200 a year in tax refunds under the proposal to abolish cash rebates for tax credits.

Analysis of official tax data also showed the largest group of people to be hit by the $59 billion tax grab will be those receiving annual incomes of less than $18,200, the majority of whom receive the Age Pension.

Within the Batman electorate, voters over 65 make up almost 19 per cent of the voting population. In the last federal election, Labor would have lost the seat if it had sustained a net loss of just 927 voters on the two-party-preferred vote.

The by-election is a close contest between former ACTU president Ged Kearney for Labor and Greens candidate Alex Bhathal, who is making her sixth attempt on the seat.

Northcote-based financial planner Anthony Galle fielded calls from clients concerned about the changes. “I had one client who called it ‘political suicide’ because so many people — not just in the electorate, but around the country — are going to be affected,” he said.

Another Northcote-based planner, Jeff Yacoub, also fielded calls from concerned clients, and said he was personally concerned about how super returns would dip as a result of the policy.

“Sure, the impacts will be more visible to people with an SMSF, but people with money in super funds will also see returns go down. It might be 4.8 per cent last year and then its 4 per cent this year. It’s less obvious, but they’re still getting hit,” he said.

“And it’s a bad political stunt because it’s probably going to be supported by people who don’t understand the implications, because they’re not active or direct investors.”

At Quarries Park in Clifton Hill, self-managed super fund beneficiary Geoff Griffiths fumed at the changes which he said had the potential to drive the price of shares down across the Australian equities market.

The Clifton Hill resident, who owns a house in Batman but isn’t a resident for voting purposes, said he had been a near lifelong Labor voter, but this had turned him off the party for good.

“Now I’ll have to vote for whoever will be strongest against Labor,” he said.

Ms Kearney kept a low profile yesterday. In her absence, Greens leader Richard Di Natale said the Greens were wary of unintended consequences for the elderly and pensioners.


Perth's back-to-back cooler summers belie warming trend, say forecasters

While its counterparts in the east sweltered, Perth had one of its mildest summers in 18 years, recording just 10 days over 35 degrees Celsius.

Residents in the WA capital can normally expect about 20 days where the temperature reaches 35C or higher, and three or four days hotter than 40C.

However the hottest day this summer, January 14, was a mere 38C — the lowest maximum since the summer of 2001-02.

Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne and Canberra all recorded higher summer maximums, with each experiencing days exceeding 40C.

Sydney sweltered through the hottest day of the season, with a top of 43.4C, its highest temperature in 79 years.

The average maximum for Perth this summer was 30.2 degrees, half a degree below the average since recording began at the Mount Lawley weather station 25 years ago.

The long-term average for the city is 29.3 degrees.

It has also been Perth's fourth-wettest summer, after heavy falls from ex-Tropical Cyclone Joyce dumped 96.2mm in the gauge on January 16, bringing the summer total to 147 millimetres.

The Bureau of Meteorology's Glenn Cook said the cooler weather was partly due to the mobility of weather systems to the south.

"We've had high-pressure systems moving fairly steadily to the south and not sitting in the Bight for any length of time," he said.

"Hotter summers will usually have more easterly winds and more static high pressure systems in the Bight, building up heat over the west coast."

Perth's wetter, cooler summer is the second in a row for the city.

2016-17 saw a record wet summer, with 192.8 millimetres of rain over three months, exceeding the previous record of 180.4mm set in 1954-55.

It was also a season of mild daytime and overnight temperatures.

Several sites across the metropolitan area had their lowest daily maximum temperatures ever on February 9, 2017, with temperatures in the 13-18C range.


Australia to get a new German-designed light tank

Much faster than a tracked vehicle

Australia’s top political military figures have announced the largest purchase in the history of the Australian Army which Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said was based on “lethality and survivability”.

The Turnbull Government plans to use the new Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle (CRV), known as “The Boxer”, to replace the Army’s current crop of substandard products, the Australian Light Armoured Vehicle, or ASLAV for short.

“We’ve put them in the heat, we’ve put them in the cold, we’ve put them in the wet, we’ve put them in the dry, we’ve shot at them, we’ve tried to blow them up,” Defence Minister Marise Payne said.

The move follows the Army being left forced to use substandard products in combat, threatening the lives of Australian soldiers by using older products not suited to modern day warfare, a security expert has told

“This is a large step up in terms of size and capability from the vehicle they are replacing,” Marcus Hellyer, senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute said.

“You could technically say that defence has undercapitalised its armoured vehicle fleet for decades.

“The Army got to the point where they couldn’t take ASLAVs any more to Afghanistan because they couldn’t withstand the blast of an improvised explosive device (IED).

“The kinds of vehicles that the Army currently has, the ASLAV, and M113, are just not capable of surviving on a modern battlefield, they can’t survive even in lower threat environments such as Afghanistan.

“We had ASLAVs blown up in Afghanistan and soldiers killed to the point where Army chose not to deploy any more. It didn’t even deploy its M113s to Afghanistan at all.

“The M113 is really a vehicle with a 1950s pedigree, and we still have M113s in the Army today that went to Vietnam. They are a much older technology.

“The Boxer will provide protection against those IEDs as well as rocket propelled grenades.”

In January, decorated war hero Ben Roberts-Smith told The Courier-Mail troops under attack would stand a better chance at survival if the Government used the Boxer.

“They are going to have to live and die by their own decisions,” he said at the time.

According to The Courier-Mail, “it is understood Rheinmetall’s Boxer CRV was the far superior vehicle and has a bigger export footprint to South-East Asian countries and the potential to break into the US”.

The vehicle, dubbed “highly lethal”, can survive direct bomb hits while its cannons can fire up to 200 rounds of ammunition in one minute.

It also uses a “pulse” technology which blows up incoming missiles and soldiers have noted its “astounding accuracy”.

Mr Turnbull said the new vehicles ensured “the best protection for our soldiers on the battlefield” and will “undertake a range of missions, from regional stability and peacekeeping through to high-threat operations”.

“This is a decision based on the capability of the vehicle both in terms of lethality and survivability,” he told soldiers during the announcement on Wednesday.

“What we’re doing is ensuring you have the vehicle that will enable you to complete your missions with the best capability, the greatest lethality but also will protect you and ensure that when you have completed your mission you will come home safely.”

Yet Mr Turnbull’s choice of words has sparked concern over the fate of Australia’s future at war.

“Things take a long time and if you decide to start getting these things the day before the war starts, it’s too late,” Mr Hellyer said. “If you want to be ready for a war that starts in 2025 you need to start preparing now.”

What the Prime Minister didn’t mention in today was that the announcement is in fact phase two of a four phase “megaproject” which according to experts will cost three to four times as much as phase two.

The next phase, according to the Department of Defence, is to replace its current crop of M113 vehicles.

“This is actually the small part of the project, despite the $5 billion price tag,” Mr Hellyer said.

According to a statement from the Defence Department, the next phase of the program is to replace the M113, otherwise known as an Infantry Fighting Vehicle, which will have the job of carrying soldiers on the battlefield.

The cost of the next phase is estimated to be close to $20 billion.

Queensland has been picked to build $5 billion worth of the vehicles, which according to the Department of Defence will “support the next generation of Armoured Fighting Vehicles (AFV) with the firepower, protection and mobility to defeat increasingly lethal and adaptive adversaries well into the future”.

Ms Payne said it took three years of “rigorous testing” to determine which vehicle would fight best in warfare.

“The outcome of that assessment is that this is the best capability to provide the mobility, the lethality and the protection that will support the men and women of the ADF in doing the job that we ask them to do every day.”

The vehicles will be “manufactured and delivered by Australian workers, using Australian steel,” according to a statement from the Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne.

Mr Turnbull made the announcement this morning, revealing German contractor Rheinmetall will build 211 Land Combat Vehicle Systems at a new facility in Ipswich, southwest of Brisbane.

Major General Gus McLachlan tweeted Australian soldiers were “grateful” for the new multipurpose Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle.

“A tough competition delivered us a great vehicle to start the process of modernising our Armoured Fighting Vehicles. Make them well, Rheinmetall, because they will protect our most precious asset, our soldiers.”

Despite looking like a tank, the Army will use the Boxer in a different, more mobile form during combat.

“It’s going to be out in front of the tanks, scouting out ahead and doing reconnaissance, it’s not meant to get into a battle with the enemy. A vehicle like this is going to lose a fight with a tank very quickly,” Mr Hellyer told

The federal government said the project would “create jobs across Australia, including 330 in Queensland, 170 in Victoria and 140 in New South Wales during acquisition”.

An additional upgrade of facilities in Puckapunyal and Bandiana in Victoria, Adelaide, and Townsville and Enoggera in Queensland, where the vehicles will be used, will commence at a cost of $235 million.

The first CRV’s are not expected to be rolled out until mid 2020.

“In years gone by we would have bought these vehicles from overseas and import them into the country, Mr Pyne said. “54 per cent of the acquisition will be valued to our economy and 70 per cent of whole project.”


Lenient sentence for African menace

Tempers have flared outside court after an unlicensed driver who killed a teenage boy escaped a prison sentence.

Ayou Deng was driving when knocked 13-year-old Jalal Yassine-Naja off his skateboard in Brookfield, west Melbourne in March 2017.

The mother-of-seven wasn't charged for the fatal collision as it was deemed an accident, but on Tuesday she was sentenced to 80 hours of community work for driving without a licence, Nine News reported.

She was also sentenced for unrelated unlawful assault and criminal damage offences.

Deng was heckled by members of the far-right group True Blue Crew as she walked from court.

Group member Kane Miller was heard yelling: 'If her family wasn't on the road the boy would still be alive... child killer'.

Jalal's mother Olivia Yassine said Deng should have been charged over her son's death.

'I want it to be acknowledged that she killed a person - my son - and she ran over him. And she did wrong. You do the crime, you do the time,' she said.

Conservatives MP Rachel Carling-Jenkins was also outside court and she was critical of Victoria's judicial system.

Ms Yassine said she wants the case to be re-examined so charges can be pursued against Deng.

'That's not right. I will fight for my son. It doesn't matter what it takes. I will get answers out of this and I will appeal it,' she 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

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Statistics show Australia doesn’t need these migrants

AUSTRALIANS are being fed a “myth” about immigration and one expert says he has the damning statistics to prove it.

AUSTRALIA’S immigration program has been slammed by an expert, who says it is not really aimed at addressing skills shortages.

Population expert Bob Birrell, a former Monash University professor and now head of the Australian Population Research Institute, has released new analysis on the skilled migration program that confirms many can’t find jobs.

Mr Birrell points out that supporters of high immigration levels often spruik the role of migrants in delivering scarce skills. But he found the idea that the program was attracting migrants with in-demand skills was “a myth”.

“Only a small proportion of recently-arrived migrant professionals are actually employed in professional positions,” Mr Birrell’s report Australia’s Skilled Migration Program: Scarce Skills Not Required said.

He said the selection system did not prioritise occupations with skill shortages and so many professionals entering Australia were trained in fields that are currently oversupplied.

This includes accounting, engineering and many health professional fields.

Mr Birrell said the Skills Occupations List introduced in 2010 to target professions experiencing a “national shortage”, had gradually been watered down and then scrapped altogether in 2016.

He believes the list was axed because of the pressure to maintain a high immigration program after the mining boom slowdown. Recently, Treasurer Scott Morrison said calls to reduce immigration could cost the Budget $1 billion a year.

“From the Treasury’s point of view, low growth (that is without the population boost) means a slowdown in tax revenues,” the report suggests.

“It will make it even harder for the government to rein in the budget deficit.”

Adding to the pressure was the fall in overseas students due to a tougher university selection system introduced in 2011.

“Around half of all overseas students enrol in business and commerce courses, where most do the required accounting courses needed to attain the credentials to apply as an accountant or auditor for a Skill Stream visa,” the report said.

“Many others do engineering courses. Should such occupations have become ineligible it would have dampened future enrolments.”

So instead of being guided by genuine skills shortages, immigration is now allowed via the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skill List aimed at attracting occupations that could experience a future skill shortage. This does not address current skills needs.

“To the extent that the current program does deliver any scarce skills this is an accidental rather than a planned outcome,” the report says.

Mr Birrell questions the effectiveness of looking to fill future shortages as young Australians could be encouraged to train in these areas instead.

“Australia is awash with graduates from both domestic and migrant sources,” the paper notes.

“Demand for graduates may grow, but so too will supply.”

Governments, educational authorities and innovation advocates are already encouraging young Australians to enter university, particularly in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) disciplines, and the recent deregulation of university enrolments will also ensure a growing supply of graduates.

Mr Birrell has analysed census results to identify whether professionals moving to Australia to fill skills shortages are actually getting jobs, and the answer is, in many cases they’re not.

Census 2016 results showed just 24 per cent of educated migrants aged 25 to 34 years old from non-English-speaking countries arriving between 2011 and 2016, were able to find professional level jobs by 2016. Five per cent had found managerial jobs.

This compares with 50 per cent of those from mainly English-speaking countries who managed to get professional jobs and an extra 13 per cent in managerial jobs.

Young people born in Australia had the best prospects, with 58 per cent in professional jobs and 10 per cent in managerial jobs.

But despite the poor job prospects, Mr Birrell said people still wanted to live in Australia.

“The reason is that there is a huge pool of professionals in Asia who would like to move to a country with Australia’s salary levels and quality of life,” the report said.

“There is also an expanding number of Asian graduates from Australian university courses who want to convert their qualification into a permanent entry visa. Many of these professionals are not put off by Australia’s soft labour market in some professions.”

While Mr Birrell noted that there were caps on the number of visas that can be issued to each occupation, he said these numbers were so high they had little impact, except in the case of accountants.

Overall, he said Australia’s skilled program was being driven by migrant demand, not the country’s needs.

“Most recently arrived skilled migrants cannot find professional jobs,” the report said.  “The Skill Stream program is deeply flawed.”


Calls for Aboriginal adoption laws to be relaxed evoke anger

But the angry comments did not actually refer to what was proposed

SUNRISE is facing a backlash after a discussion on taking Aboriginal children out of abusive family environments sparked accusations of “blatant racism” and “bottom feeding”.

The controversial chat on the Channel 7 breakfast show came after children’s minister David Gillespie’s proposal white families should be able to adopt indigenous children to save them from rape, assault and neglect.

Currently, they can only be placed with relatives or other Aboriginal families or with other families as a last resort.

Sunrise host Samantha Armytage said: “Post-Stolen Generation, there’s been a huge move to leave Aboriginal children where they are, even if they’re being neglected in their own families.”

 Panellist Prue MacSween said removing the kids was a “no-brainer” and that there was a “conspiracy of silence and fabricated PC outlook that it’s better to leave them in this dangerous environment.”

MacSween, who was previously criticised for saying Yassmin Abdel-Magied should be run over, added: “Don’t worry about the people who decry and handwring and say, this will be another Stolen Generation.

“Just like the first Stolen Generation, where a lot of children were taken because it was for their wellbeing, we need to do it again, perhaps.”

Brisbane radio host Ben Davis said Mr Gillespie’s proposal was simply spelling out “what a lot of politicians are afraid to say.”

Davis said doubts over taking this step were “politically correct nonsense” and claimed Aboriginal leader Warren Mundine had called it “madness”.

“We need to be protecting kids, we need to be protecting Aboriginal kids and putting them back into that culture, what culture are they growing up seeing?” asked Davis. “Well, they’re getting abused, they’re getting hurt and they’re getting damaged.”

Armytage wrapped up the segment by saying, “let’s hope some sense prevails there.”

But social media users were disturbed by the discussion, with the chat attracting a stream of comments calling it “paternalistic racist BS”, “vile” and “a new low”.

Some viewers claimed the panellists were advocating “forced assimilation” without looking at other solutions such as better foster care or support from family case workers.

Angelo Angeli tweeted: “Sorry to inform you that the 1st of April is over two weeks away.”

Many viewers asked why there were no indigenous voices on the panel.

James Dean, an Aboriginal ABC Alice Springs reporter, wrote: “I see the horrible conditions some of these kids live in. But the suggestion that ONLY white families should take them, is a terrible inference that suddenly EVERY Aboriginal family is bad.

“Also the reference at the end it the video that Warren Mundine supports the idea, incorrect as well, Mundine does not support white families taking in abused Aboriginal children, he agrees with the consensus that these children need to be removed from these abusive environments.”

A spokesperson for Seven told Fairfax Media: “Editorial opinions, either written or articulated are a vital part of journalism.

“At all times on Sunrise, respect for others and their values and opinions is a foundation principle in debates.

“The issue raised by the page one article in today’s newspapers around the country warranted a discussion in a fair and reasonable forum, as undertaken by social commentators Prue MacSween and Ben Davis.”


Conservatives are everywhere

Another completely dense article from Janet Albrechtsen, this time on Where have all the conservatives gone? Her first half sentence: “It is premature to read the last rites to Australian conservatism”. As if she’d know. Oddly, just the other day this same issue came up in a letter I was writing, in which I wrote in reply to someone else:

    “Conservative” is not a list of policies but a state of mind that values the past and wishes to preserve what we have learned by heart so that it can be passed on to future generations. Border protection is the single most conservative policy of the present day. Lose on that, and everything else disappears. Zero tariffs is not a “conservative” policy in any sense I can think of.

So here is Janet going on about the same thing, but with hardly a sense of what that elusive thing called conservatism is. I will come to the comments in a minute, but first will take you to her last para:

    Just as Ronald Reagan was once described as an optimist in a party that had acquired a habit of pessimism, Australian conservatives need a good dose of optimism before they can man up for a long battle over ideas that still matter today.

Missing entirely in her empty screed is mention of Donald Trump, the most conservative political leader of the past thirty years anywhere in the world, and a living example of what a conservative looks like and does. And then these, from the top down, in comments on her article at The Oz.
Mandy6 hours ago

For a prime ministership cut short by Turnbull, the Labor way, Abbott’s legacy is impressive :

stopping the boats, beginning budget repair (getting regulations & spending down), completing beneficial trade deals with Japan, South Korea and China, scrapping the mining and carbon taxes, agreeing to a second Sydney airport, ending wasteful corporate welfare, reducing the public service by 12,000, and abolishing hundreds of unnecessary government boards and agencies.

And, he has said he’s sorry for reneging on the pledge to repeal 18C. He’s acknowledged the wall of opposition he faced at the time – within the parliament and the lobby groups outside of it.He’s said he’s sorry for reneging, what more do you want?

Cultural leadership, no other contemporary parliamentarian can top this -Abbott’s memorable speech, self-penned, for the 2015 dawn service at Gallipoli.  A snippet, “So much has changed in one hundred years but not the things that really matter.  Duty, selflessness, moral courage: always these remain the mark of a decent human being. They did their duty; now, let us do ours.They gave us an example; now, let us be worthy of it. They were as good as they could be in their time; now, let us be as good as we can be in ours”.

And he’s still providing leadership to this day.From the backbench.Raising the parliamentary bar with contributions via interviews, self penned newspaper articles and speeches such as the Sydney Institute speech on immigration levels (and energy) and his “Daring to Doubt” speech for Global Warming Policy Foundation in London. And the toxic Turnbull and his Team’s reaction to Abbott speaking the truth? They attempt to shoot-the-messenger Abbott, because as Richo has noted, many resent the man they have already knifed, Tony Abbott, because he dares to demonstrate, day after day after day, that the man they chose to replace him as prime minister is a political dud.


Coalition backbenchers urge end to solar subsidies

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg faces a backbench revolt with pressure building to end subsidies for solar panels.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott is demanding action after revelations that the subsidies could cost consumers more than $1 billion this year.

Mr Abbott led a chorus of ­Coalition backbenchers urging the government to end the small-scale renewable energy scheme, with Liberal MP Craig Kelly declaring the policy was more economically damaging than the Rudd government’s home insulation scheme.

“The cost to the economy in dollars is far greater than what the (home insulation) scheme was,” Mr Kelly said.

The scheme was also criticised by Grattan Institute director Tony Wood because it did not reduce subsidies to solar panels as they ­became more affordable.

Mr Abbott cited a report in The Australian that revealed the big increase of solar panels could drive up costs by $100 per household.

“Australians are paying far too much for our emissions obsession. Government must end subsidies for new renewables,” Mr Abbott said yesterday.

Nationals senator John Williams said the policy forced struggling families to subsidise rich people’s solar installations. “Renewable energy is good in that it is renewable and it goes on forever,” Senator Williams said.

“However, the subsidies they cost us is enormous, renewable ­energy should be made to stand on its own two feet. We’ve got all the users of electricity paying for this.’’

Queensland senator Ian MacDonald said the small-scale ­renewable energy scheme pushed up electricity prices but did nothing to reduce climate change. “Nothing we do in Australia will make any difference, we could open up new mines, new power stations it would not make one iota of a difference to what they say is climate change,” he said.

“I think we should be at least making renewable energy compete on a different basis with other forms of energy and that means phasing out subsidies for an ­expensive form of power.”

The small-scale renewable scheme, which is unaffected by the proposed National Energy Guarantee, gives financial incentives for homes and small businesses to install solar panels or hydro systems on their property.

Certificates, worth a maximum of $40, are provided for each megawatt hour of renewable electricity that would be created from a solar panel until the scheme ends in 2030. Electricity retailers are ­required to buy the certificates, passing the cost on to consumers.

Industry analysis obtained by The Australian showed the subsidy was expected to more than double from $500 million last year.

Mr Kelly, chairman of the ­Coalition backbench committee for energy and the environment, said the government should halve the maximum certificate price to $20, followed by another ­halving in its value next year ­before it is phased out a decade early in 2020.

Mr Wood, from the Grattan ­Institute, said the problem with the renewable energy target was that it did not have any “self-correcting mechanism”.

“The idea the subsidy stays in place regardless of what happens to the thing you are subsidising is asking for a problem in the long term,” he said.

“If people continue to put in more small-scale solar the retailers, more or less, are forced to support it with a price that is capped at $40 MWh.

“That means that, despite the cost of solar coming down dramatically, there is nothing that means that subsidy comes down with it, and that business in effect becomes more profitable.”


Shoe brand cops heat on social media for “ridiculous sexualisation”

A SOCIAL media campaign for a Melbourne shoe company has sparked outrage online, with one labelling the advertisement as “ridiculous sexualisation”.

Preston Zly Design, which launched in North Fitzroy in 1995, sells handmade shoes designed by artists Johanna Preston and Petr Zly.

The shoes, which are available in store in Melbourne as well as online, uploaded a montage of designs to their Instagram, which featured an array of boots, heels and wedged shoes.

But some social media users were quick to critique the campaign, which features an almost naked woman wearing the brightly coloured shoes.

“Why does the model have to take her pants off to sell shoes? one person questioned.

“Lisa Little lovely shoes. Shame about the ridiculous sexualisation,” another added.

Designer Johanna Preston hit back at the criticism, defending the photographs as simply showing off the shoes to consumers.

“We are not clothing designers — it’s all about the shoes here,” she wrote on Facebook.

“She [model] is not naked and is not doing anything sexual. Have we come to a place now where the female body is completely taboo?”


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 14, 2018

Shorten aims at the big end of town and hits the little guy

Retirees with a small income who own a few shares will not get the tax refunds on their shares that they are entitled to.  I have an above-average income and I will still get every cent of the tax refund due to me.  Is that fair?

Labor will target more than 1 million Australian taxpayers who own shares in a $59 billion revenue push that would take its heaviest toll on retirees, as Bill Shorten wages war on “unfair” cash refunds and ramps up attacks on the rich.

In a bold move that hurts wealthier voters, the Opposition Leader will reveal plans to help balance the budget by cancelling cash refunds worth an average of $5000 a year to taxpayers who own shares and claim tax credits on their dividends.

The stunning decision takes aim at more affluent taxpayers in a “hit the rich” policy that is certain to spark a political fight over a group of voters still reeling from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s move to scale back superannuation tax breaks two years ago.

As Labor fights to hold the marginal seat of Batman against a threat from the Greens this weekend, Mr Shorten will blast the Coalition for creating a “loophole” in 2001 on the tax credits paid on dividends.

Mr Shorten opens the new fight over shareholder credits after his long row with Mr Turnbull over company tax cuts, where he has attacked the “big end of town” for not paying enough tax.

Labor is calculating the political pain from the bold new plan will be worthwhile when it uses the huge revenue gain to pay for policies at the next election - including personal income tax cuts.

The Labor policy, seen by Fairfax Media, is aimed at raising $5.6 billion in 2020 and a similar amount every year, equivalent to about $4,800 on average each year for every taxpayer affected.

Labor will target more than 1 million Australian taxpayers who own shares in a $59 billion revenue push.

This is based on Labor assumptions the reforms would hit about 8 per cent of taxpayers, or around 1.17 million individuals and superannuation funds - including 200,000 self-managed super funds.

In a key pledge, Mr Shorten will promise to continue with dividend imputation for millions of taxpayers and would only change the rules for those whose taxable income is so low they qualify for cash refunds.

“Everyone will still be able to use imputation credits to reduce their tax - but not to claim cash refunds,” he says in a draft of his remarks to a policy summit on Tuesday.

“Reforming the system to eliminate this concession will save the budget $11.4 billion over the final two years of the current forward estimates and $59 billion over the medium term.”

Under dividend imputation rules, Australians are given franking credits on the dividends they receive for the shares they own, in order to avoid company profits being taxed twice.

Because the company has already paid tax on its earnings, its dividend payments to shareholders come with credits that reduce the individual’s tax bill every year.

Most workers have incomes that are high enough to ensure they still pay tax after the dividend credits are counted.

But when the individual has little or no income other than dividends, he or she ends up being owed money by the Australian Tax Office and then receiving it as a cash refund.

Former prime minister Paul Keating, who introduced dividend imputation as treasurer in 1987, did not include the cash refund in the original scheme.

The cash payments only began after 2001 when the Howard government, enjoying a substantial budget surplus, decided to help the relatively small group who claimed they were owed money from the ATO.

The Coalition policy cost the budget $550 million at the time but the bill has blown out to $5.6 billion a year because of the rise in the number of shareholders and dividend payments.

Mr Shorten will tell the Chifley Research Centre today, in a policy move advanced by shadow treasurer Chris Bowen, that nobody will “pay more tax” because the cash payments will stop.

“I want to emphasise a few important points here. Firstly, this change only affects a very small number of shareholders who currently have no tax liability and use their imputation credits to receive a cash refund,” he says in his draft speech.

“These people will no longer receive a cash refund - but they will not be paying any additional tax."

“Let me repeat that: a small number of people will no longer receive a cash refund - but they will not be paying any additional tax.”


'I don't want them recycled back into harm': Calls for abused Aboriginal children to be placed into the care of white families

Leftist lies about a "stolen generation" have done great hard

Aboriginal children who are abused should be allowed into the care of white families, assistant children's minister David Gillespie has argued. Dr Gillespie wants to relax rules that keep Aboriginal foster children in the care of indigenous families because too many are still raped and abused.

He said his fears of 'an abandoned and damaged generation' trumped his desire not to create another Stolen Generation.

Dr Gillespie said there was a 'mind-blowing' number of aboriginal children with sexually transmitted diseases, adding: 'If a child is being raped we can't just say it's OK on cultural grounds.'

He said: 'In small communities, if a family is dysfunctional, that's not satisfactory. I don't want children recycled back into harm.'

Queensland will this year introduce 'permanent care orders' so Aboriginal children can be looked after by foster parents until they reach 18, reported the Courier-Mail.

'Foster care is not ideal, but there is a reluctance to put them in a more permanent situation for fear of creating another Stolen Generation,' Dr Gillespie said.

The minister is supported by prominent Aboriginal leader Warren Mundine who has long been campaigning for abused children to be allowed out of Aboriginal communities.

He said safety is 'paramount, more important than anything else, including culture and kin'. 'Culture is not a reason to leave a child in an unsafe or neglectful home,' he added. 'Indigenous children can be raised with their culture and language even in adoptive families.

'And, frankly, if parents can't take care of their children's basic needs, well-being and safety, I'd question what culture their children are learning anyway.'  


Case dropped but Christian clerics fight on for free speech

Two Hobart preachers will continue a constitutional challenge against Tasmania’s anti-discrimination laws, despite the withdrawal of a legal complaint about their preaching on homosexuality and gay marriage.

Presbyterian pastor Campbell Markham said yesterday the two had “no intention” of withdrawing their constitutional challenge to Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Act in light of the dropped complaint, despite advice the case could cost $20,000 in legal fees.

They also planned to seek a meeting with whomever was named attorney-general in the pending post-state election reshuffle, to lobby for another attempt at amending the act.

“We feel a responsibility to fight this law — not for ourselves, but on behalf of all Tasmanians who want to live in a free society,” said Mr Markham, of the city’s Cornerstone Church.

The state government last night suggested it was open to ­another tilt at reform, after changes to bolster religious freedom were last year blocked in the upper house.

“We remain of the view that the act as it stands does not get the balance right,” a spokeswoman said. “We are supportive of strengthening freedom of speech, but no decision has been made on any legislative change.”

Often described as the nation’s broadest anti-discrimination law, its section 17 bans conduct that “offends, humiliates, intimidates, insults or ridicules” someone on the basis of 22 attributes, including sexuality and religious belief.

Mr Markham said despite the complainant, Hobart man Sam Mazur, dropping the case against him and his church’s street evangelist, David Gee, it had already tied them up in legal wrangles for six months.

It had also set a precedent, with Equal Opportunity Tasmania agreeing to accept the complaint despite Mr Mazur not identifying as gay and instead bringing the complaint on behalf of others. “If the EOT starts accepting third-party complaints then every Tasmanian is exposed to legal ­action — not just because a person may be offended by what they say, but because someone may decide that someone else, somewhere, might be offended,” Mr Markham said.

Mr Mazur suggested he had withdrawn the complaint because of doubts about its chance of success, given that he was not gay.

According to Mr Mazur’s complaint, Mr Gee suggested same-sex marriage could lead to “polygamy, pedophilia, incest and even bestiality”. In online blogs, Pastor Markham has referred to the “distressingly dangerous homosexual lifestyle”.


Assertion in lieu of evidence

There are absolutely no facts advanced to support the assertions below.  Even the IPCC says that extreme weather events cannot be linked to present levels of warming

YOU can forget about climate change being a future phenomenon, according to Professor Lesley Hughes.

“It’s a now phenomenon,” she said during her visit to Bathurst on Monday.

She says the effects of climate change are already being seen in Australia – from more intense droughts to a longer bushfire season – and those impacts are only set to grow so “the status quo is not an option”.

Professor Hughes, a Distinguished Professor of Biology and Pro Vice-Chancellor at Macquarie University and a former federal Climate Commissioner, gave a lunchtime presentation on Monday hosted by Bathurst Community Climate Action Network and introduced by Councillor Jess Jennings.

She was brought to Bathurst courtesy of the Climate Council, whose Cities Power Partnership recently added Bathurst as a participant.

Speaking after her presentation, Professor Hughes was at pains to emphasise that the climate had already changed and would continue to change based on what was being put into the atmosphere now.

“What we will get for the next few decades is already on the way now,” she 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

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Insane population growth in Australia

Fed by an insane immigrant intake.  A moratorium on the refugee intake would be well warranted while Australia assimilates the refugees taken in already

Australia is growing fast. In one year we added nearly 400,000 people to our population. That is like adding a city the size of Canberra.

But, of course, we are not building new cities. Most of those new residents are swelling the populations of our four major cities: Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.

Between 2006 and 2016 Melbourne has added close to 1 million people. Sydney was not far behind adding 800,000.

In the same period, Brisbane and Perth grew by almost half a million.

The pressure points are plain to see — from congestion on the roads and rail networks, to the struggle to keep up with demand for schools and hospitals.

Back in 1997 it was estimated we would take until the middle of this century to reach a population of 25 million. Australia's population is there already.

Four Corners has investigated how this population growth has occurred and why it is taking government by surprise.

Australia has a steady birth rate and we're also living longer.  But the main driver of our population growth is immigration.

On our current rate of growth, Melbourne and Sydney will nudge 8 million in the middle of this century. But they are already groaning under the strain.

It is going to mean big changes. We will all need to make choices, trade-offs, and compromises.

We need more public transport, and fewer cars on the roads.

Most of us feel the pressure of population growth during our daily commute to and from work. Sydney has the longest commute times, followed by Melbourne.

Marg Prendergast is coordinator general at Transport for NSW. She told Four Corners our reliance on cars will have to change. "We're doing everything we can to put public transport as a real option, because single car drivers are just not going to fit on the road in years to come," she says.

"We can't build ourselves out of this growth. We actually need to manage demand better. We want people to travel earlier (or) to travel a bit later."

New South Wales is experimenting with getting employers to shift working hours, so that the traffic load can be spread across the day.

But if Melbourne and Sydney are going to become cities on the scale of London and Hong Kong, much bigger changes are needed.

"London and Hong Kong cope because they've got amazing public transport systems. Here in Sydney, we're in catch-up mode."

We're going to need a lot more schools

State governments are scrambling to keep up with demand for schools.

In 2016, the Grattan Institute estimated that in more than 10 years Victoria and NSW will need to build around 200 schools each to keep up. Queensland is not far behind, needing an estimated 197 new schools.

Victoria is now building multi-storey "vertical" schools in the inner city to replace those shut down in the 1990s.

Victorian Education Minister James Merlino says this is the future for inner-city suburbs.  "The land lots are smaller, so you need to go vertical to cater for the student numbers," he says.

"We need to accommodate 90,000 additional students over the next five years, just incredible enrolment growth.

"We've got 56 new schools in the construction pipeline, 11 of which are opening for the 2018 school year.

"We just need to keep that pace up, year after year, because this pressure is not going to stop."

We need to think about how fast our population should be growing

Fresh calls for pulling back on immigration are coming from both sides of politics.

In 2000, former New South Wales premier Bob Carr famously declared Sydney was "full". Close to two decades later, he says we have overshot the mark on immigration.

"Would it be such a national tragedy, if it took us five years to add a million to our population, instead of three? Or, might it, in fact, encourage Australians to find other ways of driving a contemporary economy?" Mr Carr asks.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott recently suggested slashing immigration to allow infrastructure to catch up.

Treasurer Scott Morrison dismissed that immediately, saying "the hit to the budget of that would be about $4 billion to $5 billion over the next four years".

The Federal Government is cracking down on one aspect of the immigration program: temporary visas. Not only is the list of approved jobs for foreign workers shorter, but it is harder for them to stay on and become permanent residents.

Business is worried. Scott Farqhuar is the co-founder of the Australian tech giant Atlassian. He says about one-quarter of his Sydney workforce are here on temporary visas.

"Bringing someone in from overseas actually creates jobs and creates a whole industry versus taking someone else's job. That idea of one person in, one job gone, is a very much industrial-era way of thinking. It's not relevant for today," Mr Farqhuar says.

He says the changes have already made it harder to attract the skilled workers he needs. "If you're trying to find someone who's 45 and they're a senior person, they're going to bring their family, their partner, their kids. They want to know that if they like it here then they can stay, they're not going to have to uproot their family," he says.

"The government has basically put up a big red balloon internationally saying 'Australia's closed for business'. "People who are interested in moving here now think, OK, I don't want to move to Australia because the government has sent off this message."

And … we need someone in charge

By mid-century, Treasury forecasts show our population over the age of 65 will double. Our population over 85 will quadruple.

Bernard Salt of The Demography Group says that will be a major issue to manage.

"Five million baby boomers coming out of the workforce take their tax-paying capacity out. Then they say, 'Well, thank you very much, I'll have an age pension. I'll have pharmaceutical benefits, and anything else that's going'."

The question is, will there be enough working-age people to look after them?

And why do we not have a national population policy? Or a population minister?

"I suppose the urban plans we've got for Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane are competent documents," Mr Carr says.

"They spell out where the high-rise will occur. All I'm saying is we're going to have to have a whole lot more high-rise to accommodate another 4 million over the next three or four decades."

Australian Industry Group chief executive officer Innes Willox is more blunt. "We've done an abysmal job," he says.

"You know, there has been really no serious integrated debate around all the key factors that population growth brings to our economy and our national way of life."


NSW laws that make land clearing easier reinstated by Berejiklian government

Greenies on the warpath

On Friday, the NSW land and environment court ruled the Land Management (Native Vegetation) Code was invalid, since it was not approved by the NSW environment minister before it was implemented by the primary industries minister.

The code was created to exempt clearing from the usual development assessment procedure and was introduced after the NSW Coalition government overhauled the state’s conservation laws in 2016, making land clearing easier for farmers.

But the laws were thrown into disarray on Friday when the Nature Conservation Council (NCC) of NSW won a challenge against them, after it was revealed the proper procedure for implementing them had not been followed.

The NCC and the NSW environmental defenders office, which represented the NCC, said on Friday the government should not simply remake the laws, since the case showed the environment minister, Gabrielle Upton, had not done the work required to protect biodiversity.

“This is not simply a matter of incorrect paperwork,” said David Morris, the chief executive of the environmental defenders office NSW. “Ecologically sustainable development is not just another box to tick. The environment minister has a legal responsibility to protect biodiversity in this state.”

But the government made no delay remaking the laws, announcing on Saturday it had been completed.

“The remade code is identical to the previous one and is an integral part of the new land management framework which gives landowners the tools and certainty they need,” said David Witherdin, the CEO of Local Land Services, which oversees clearing under the codes.

The move was condemned by the NCC. “By waving these laws through a second time without even pausing to consider the consequences, Premier Berejiklian has gone against the wishes of voters and the advice of leading scientists,” the NCC’s CEO, Kate Smolski, said.

“The government’s own experts have warned 99% of koala habit on private land is left exposed to clearing by these laws and that there would be a spike in tree loss of up to 45%.

“As the state’s peak environment organisation, we will continue to do everything we can to expose the damage of land clearing and will not stop until we have laws that give nature the protection it deserves.”


The NAPLAN nervous ninnies

NAPLAN [national school tests] results are out and high gain schools are receiving their just recognition. Yet, critics are calling for a review of NAPLAN because results have not improved as much as we would like.

Criticising NAPLAN for poor literacy and numeracy is like blaming your thermometer for your fever. NAPLAN is not responsible for the deplorable differences in performance between wealthy and disadvantaged students. NAPLAN’s job is to expose the truth about those gaps, and that is what it is doing.

Perhaps it would help to see what NAPLAN really involves. Here are two sample questions:

* Ben collected 68 cans. Jack collected 109 cans. How many cans did Ben and Jack collect altogether?

* The following sentence has one word that is incorrect. We bought fresh bred. Write the correct spelling of the word.

These questions may appear harmless, but critics claim they traumatise our children, pervert classroom teaching and undermine education. They say that asking children to calculate sums and spell ‘bread’ can cause insomnia, stomach aches and nail-biting — and getting the answers wrong crushes students’ self-esteem. Teachers report they are forced to ‘waste’ valuable class time teaching students to spell and do arithmetic when they could be focusing on more important things such as ‘creativity’.

Ludicrous? Welcome to the surreal world of opposition to the National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy, commonly known as NAPLAN.

Questions 1 and 2 come from NAPLAN’s Year 3 numeracy and literacy assessments, respectively. To answer them, a child must know how to read, add and spell. These are vital skills. NAPLAN simply tells us whether children have learnt them.

Testing did not begin with NAPLAN. Teachers have always used assessments to monitor students’ progress and identify those who need extra help. In addition, state education authorities administered examinations to ensure that schools were preparing children adequately for further learning.

Unfortunately, the curriculum, the assessment tests and the standards children were expected to achieve differed across teachers, schools and states. As a result, students participated in a postcode lottery — the content and quality of their education depended on where they lived and which school they attended.

The Australian Curriculum and NAPLAN have eliminated these inequities. For the first time, all Australian children are taught the same content, undertake identical assessments and are held to common performance standards. The benefits have been enormous. Using NAPLAN, teachers can identify students’ strengths and weaknesses and plan lessons accordingly. In addition, because NAPLAN is administered in years 3, 5, 7, and 9, schools can see how their students’ learning grows over time.

Because their curriculum and the assessment methods are now comparable, schools in one state can compare their educational outcomes with those of similar schools in other states. Authorities can identify high performing schools and disseminate their successful teaching methods nationally.

NAPLAN will eventually move from paper and pencil to online assessment. When this occurs, results will be available much earlier in the school year, but that is not the only benefit. In contrast to the present one-size-fits-all paper test, NAPLAN online will be tailored to the abilities of each student. Teachers will be given a precise picture of each student’s strengths and weaknesses. Moreover, moving NAPLAN online will allow the test to be customised for the special needs of students with disabilities.

Instead of welcoming these benefits, the critics of NAPLAN have stepped up their attacks. In addition to lowering self-esteem, making children ill and occupying too much time, NAPLAN is also blamed for low levels of literacy and numeracy, and for not measuring creativity, critical thinking and ‘personal attributes’. These claims are all baseless.  Apart from anecdotes, there is no evidence that asking students how to spell ‘bread’ makes them ill.

Critics of NAPLAN believe that self-esteem is protected by never allowing children to fail. But the truth is precisely the opposite.  By preventing children from experiencing failure, we stop them from gaining the self-confidence that comes from overcoming it.

If we want young people to be able to handle life’s inevitable slings and arrows, then we should not encourage them to avoid difficult situations. Instead, we should teach children how to cope with them. If children find NAPLAN stressful, imagine the stress they will encounter trying to find jobs if they leave school unable to read, spell and do arithmetic.

Claims that NAPLAN takes up valuable teaching time are simply untrue. Over 10 years of schooling, NAPLAN testing occupies an average of 3 minutes per week. Surely this leaves enough time for teaching. Teachers claim that they are ‘forced to waste time’ drilling students on sample NAPLAN questions. It is not clear who is exerting this force, but drilling is not an effective teaching method.  The only way to prepare students for NAPLAN is to teach them to read, write and do mathematics.

And perhaps this is one reason that some educators are so critical of NAPLAN — it exposes the truth. By identifying good and poor performers (such as the high gain schools recognized this week), NAPLAN makes school learning transparent.  Some may find the spotlight uncomfortable, and criticise NAPLAN even as online delivery promises timelier and more useful tests. It is time for parents, policymakers, and community leaders to enter the debate.


$1.3bn hit on electricity users as subsidies for solar panels surge

Energy consumers will be forced to pay more than $1 billion for rooftop solar installation subsidies this year, increasing power costs by up to $100 per household, according to an industry analysis.

Operators warn of a spike in the number of unscrupulous ­operators unless the green-power subsidy is wound back.

The Clean Energy Regulator has released figures showing that more than 1057 megawatts of ­capacity was installed last year, equating to 3.5 million solar ­panels being fixed to rooftops.

Industry analysis obtained by The Australian reveals the cost of small-scale technology certificates — created to increase the incentive to install rooftop solar — shows the value of the sub­sidies was $500 million last year.

The solar industry is expecting the subsidy to increase to about $1.3bn this year after the regulator estimated in January that 22 million new certificates would be created over the year. The certificates are granted to people installing solar panels, and electricity retailers are required to buy them.

Jeff Bye, founder and owner of Demand Manager in Sydney, a company that creates and trades the certificates, warned that the rebate was “overly generous” in many circumstances. “There are strong reasons to support installation of rooftop solar in Australia; however, it’s a question of the degree of support needed,” he said.

“The cost increase (this year) is about $800m and there are 8 million households … so there’ll be a cost impact of around $100 per household. The electricity impact might be $40 or $50 per household but businesses will pass through the additional cost too … That subsidy of $500m last year, or $1.2bn to $1.3bn this year, is added on to everyone’s bills.”

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said the Australian Energy Market Commission had found the average cost to households over the past five years was about $29 a year, with the price peaking in 2012 at $44 for the year. “The AEMC forecasts residential electricity prices will fall over the next two years as renewable energy, including small-scale solar supported by the Renewable Energy Target, enters the system,” Mr Frydenberg said.

In last year’s Residential Electricity Price Trends report, the AEMC acknowledged that “costs incurred in purchasing certificates are assumed to be passed on to consumers through retail prices”.

Mr Frydenberg celebrated the solar rooftop take-up last year, saying Australia had emerged as a “world leader” and noted that one in five households used solar power.

NSW Liberal MP Craig Kelly, chairman of the Coalition backbench committee for energy and the environment, warned that the cost of rooftop solar subsidies was being carried by those who could least afford it.

He said the benefits of lower power prices were going to high-wealth households that installed the panels, while those without solar panels were hit with higher prices passed on by electricity ­retailers.

“It’s effectively a reverse Robin Hood scheme where we are ­increasing the electricity prices on the poor to reduce electricity ­prices for the rich,” Mr Kelly said.

“A woman rang me during the week and broke down on the telephone. She just got her electricity bill and it was $800. She was ­expecting a bill of $400 ... she’s got no way of paying for it.”

Mr Frydenberg faces calls to ­reduce rooftop solar subsidies by slashing the price of the certificates that electricity retailers are required to buy. He is expected to set a target for the calendar year by the end of this month.

Mr Bye said the number of certificates to be bought each year was set by the small technology percentage (STP), but warned the system was flawed and the certificates were overpriced.

“In recent history, the certificates have traded close to the maximum legislated price of $40 and the target-setting process, overseen by the minister, effectively leads to a continuation of that pattern,” Mr Bye said.

“However, there was a period last year when the market price dropped to $30 but the boom in solar installations continued.”

Mr Bye warned that the high STC price, coupled with growing demand for solar, could attract “unscrupulous operators”.

“It’s nowhere near what it was 10 years ago under the home insulation program but we should be wary of subsidies attracting the wrong people,’’ he 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 12, 2018

The war on "Throaties"

Note the little birdie

I gather that "Throaties" are officially regarded as confectionery rather than medicine.  On the rare occaion when I get a cold, however, I find them helpful.  And Woolworths is the obvious source of supply for them.

"Throaties" do contain various volatile compounds (menthol etc.) which are the active ingredients.  So "Throaties" are one of the cough lollies that come carefully double wrapped in order to prevent the volatiles from evaporating off.

Some lamebrain at Woolworths, however, didn't see the point of all that double wrapping so put all the lozenges together in a little plastic bag -- into which all the volatiles promptyly evaporated.  So as soon as you opened the plastic bag, all the stuff you wanted promptly escaped into the air.  So your "Throatie" no longer had any active ingredients.

I found that very frustrating but was consoled to find that a Bangladesdhi grocery on a corner near where I go had the olde "Throaties" in stock.  So I promptly bought 4 of them to tide me over.

Sadly, however, the Bangladeshi grocer is now a Mexican restaurant so when I got a cold recently I had to go in search of "Throaties".  My local chemist did not have them in any form.  Too grand for "Throaties", I guess.

But I knew how widely "Throaties" used to be stocked so on a hunch I called in to my local newsagent.  And there they were.  I bought 4 packs straightaway!

Jordan Peterson finds fellow travellers in the search for meaning


I want to start by saying: if you don’t have a ticket to see Jordan Peterson while he’s in Australia, run and get one. Beg, borrow and steal to get one. Except you can’t.

Peterson arrived in Australia this week for what, to their dismay, local organisers — a small company, True Arrow Events — immediately recognised is a too-short series of lectures in too-small theatres, on too few dates. He is sold out everywhere.

People can’t get enough of the 55-year-old psychologist. So, what will you be missing?

I went along to the Melbourne lecture on Thursday to find out. I’m not going to deny that I was already a bit of a fan girl.

Like many people, I stumbled on Peterson online last month when his interview on Britain’s Channel 4 with Cathy Newman went viral. I enjoyed it — enjoyed him — so much, I went and got his book 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos and inhaled it in a day. And OK, sure, since then I may have found myself, more than once, happily lost down a YouTube rabbit hole of Peterson ­lectures.

This was to be the real thing. The event was to be held in the sublime surroundings of the Melbourne Recital Hall. It was a warm night and the crowd was mostly on foot, and mostly young but not especially so — there were certainly people middle-aged and older.

I found myself seated in the second-back row, near the sound mixer, alone yet not, because it seemed like half the crowd had come alone, and I soon found out why: they hadn’t been able to convince friends to come along.

You want me to sit for two hours listening to some obscure Canadian drone on about the meaning of life — or else maybe pluck my eye out with a fork? Pass the fork.

They had shrugged and come along anyway.

To my left, I had a super clean-cut guy, Alex Roy, 32, who works for a non-profit. Behind us was the tattooed and beautiful Maggie Baines, 32, who is doing gender studies at the University of Victoria (she sheepishly admitted that her girlfriends weren’t all that happy about the idea of her “going to see Jordan ‘Effing’ Peterson because I guess he’s seen as a bit antifeminist”); and to our right we had brothers Tim and Nathan Morris, 24 and 26 respectively, who stumbled on Peterson while gaming, and soon found themselves “like, not talking about My Kitchen Rules, talking about big issues, like: what is the purpose of my life?”

Within seconds, everyone had introduced themselves and they were all getting animated, remembering the best things they’d heard Peterson say, when the lights dimmed and Peterson strode on to the stage.

To my complete surprise, they — indeed the entire audience — immediately rose as one and gave him a standing ovation. He hadn’t even said anything yet!

His first words were: “It’s three in the morning my time.” They cheered that, too.

Peterson did not say so but he had only just got off the plane. It would be an exaggeration to say that he has been on a speaking tour nonstop since the start of the year, but not by a lot. He’s touring the world and it’s different every night. He decided on his topic for Melbourne just 10 minutes before taking the stage.

He wanted to begin, he said, with something “spectacularly difficult”. The existence of God.

Peterson uses Bible stories to illustrate basic points in his lectures, and “people keep asking me, do I believe in God? And I’ve been accused of hedging my bets.”

It wouldn’t be fair to try to summarise his answer to that question. He spoke for more than 90 minutes, with no notes. If that sounds like your worst nightmare, know this: he does not drone.

Peterson has an unusual way of speaking that carries you along. Partly it’s the accent — he is a Canadian who has spent time in the US — but it’s also the way he speaks, with his long fingers pressed against his forehead, like he’s trying to push, or maybe even pry, the thoughts out.

Other times he’s like a mime artist, using his hands to draw boxes in the air, or else he’s doing a sucking thing with his fingers, drawing his hand back, like the movement of a jellyfish.

He does not shout or insist. He’s not a snake-oil salesman or a tub thumper.  He’s got his doubts, too. And depression.

There is also the manner in which he paces the stage, lean and hungry. All of Peterson’s clothes are new because he recently has lost more than 20kg by restricting his intake pretty much to moose, elk and steamed broccoli.

His daughter Mikhaila, 25, has suffered from chronic ill health almost all her life, including a form of arthritis that cost her a hip and an ankle when she was 17, and threatened to crumble more of her joints. She invented a diet that he has now adopted. It’s so strict, the tour organisers had to book him into self-catering hotels and Airbnb where the whole family can prepare their own meals (there being no elk in Australia, kangaroo may have to do).

Mikhaila Peterson credits the diet with curing her ailments and Jordan Peterson’s depression, which has been severe at times. He is now obsessive about food and veers dangerously close to those gals who claim to cure disease with food, except everyone knows he is right. You do feel awful when you eat junk food, and when you stop you’ll lose weight and feel better, and diabetes and arthritis may well be improved.

But on with the show. What did he say?

In essence, his point was not a new one: in a million years, who will care that you lived? You will be dust, and so will everything you ever did and everyone you ever loved. “Given that, you can decide that everything’s pointless, and yet we don’t,” he said.

Human beings tend to live like there is a point to it all. Not just here in the West. Every society has its parables. We are apparently hardwired to accept that there is more. Which maybe means there is more?  Maybe life does matter. Maybe we do, too.

On the other hand — and we all know this is true — with every person you meet, “you don’t have to scratch very much to find a bedrock of tragedy”.

“God only knows what’s wrong in your life,” Peterson said. “No doubt plenty, and there is more to come, you can be sure of that.”

That’s because even normal, well-functioning human beings are burdened by sorrow, and how could it be otherwise? We all suffer because bad things happen to all of us. We all lose people we love and in the end we all die.

Think about that for even a day and you’ll find yourself on the edge of nihilism. What can rescue us from despair?

“Happiness isn’t going to do it, that’s very fragile,” Peterson said. But meaning?  That may be the trick.

But what does it mean, to have meaning in your life?

Peterson’s ideas are difficult to summarise but essentially he believes that heaven and hell exist in some form on earth, and anyone who has ever done a bad thing knows it.

When you do a bad thing, you feel awful, and it’s the same when you find yourself being carried along by people or organisations whose values you don’t share, or working in a job that is not fulfilling, or telling lies about your drinking, or even when you’re not doing what you believe in your heart you were put on earth to do.

You feel awful because you’re walking in the wrong direction.  Let’s call that hell, since that’s how it feels.

When your house is in order, when you’re acting with clarity and honesty, when you’re moving in the right direction, you feel better, right?  That’s the opposite of hell.

Probably not heaven, since we’re human, but it is better than the alternative.

Peterson’s idea is that you — the sovereign individual — should start moving as quickly as possible away from hell. Away from things that would make you feel bad, and therefore make your world worse.

Pick your goal — a job more suited to your skills, a more honest marriage, a life filled with more kindness towards others — and head in that direction.

Catastrophic things will still happen. You will still suffer, because you’re human. But you will be able to bear it.

The reason we despair, he says, is because we have no target, “sometimes no bow, no arrow, no idea that we’re even meant to be aiming at”. So pick up whatever burden you’ve been given — your personal losses and grief, which you can’t escape anyway — and start moving rapidly in a direction that won’t make your life worse.

Make good decisions. Don’t tell lies.

Maybe the only life you’ll improve will be your own, but that’s a good start.  “Fix what’s in front of you,” Peterson said.

Peterson told the Melbourne audience he had received 30,000 letters in the six months since he rocketed to fame and, in broad outline, they said two things.

The first group says: “You put into words what I always thought was true, but couldn’t find a way to say it.”

The second group says: “I’ve listened to you, and I’ve been trying to put my house in order. I stopped making things worse, and lo and behold, they got better!”

The audience laughed and cheered.

Ninety-five minutes in, Peterson stepped briefly away from the stage and people were invited to line up behind the microphones, and half the audience rose and rushed toward the aisles, since everyone had a question for him.

No way was he going to get to them all, which was a shame because unusually for this format — audience participation — even the questions were good.

He was asked if there is a coming Christian renaissance — he thinks it likely — and about the looming civil crisis in South Africa.

One guy in an open relationship wanted to know if Peterson admired his decision to voluntarily face the fear and insecurity that develops when you know your partner is sleeping with other people (answer, in short: no).

A pale individual with a quaking manner asked whether “a person can continue to do graffiti and still say they were aiming to make the world a better place?”

The crowd laughed, but Peterson paused for a long time, like he wanted to give it serious consideration. “Mostly I think it’s a desperate attempt to get status,” he said ­finally. “And I think you should paint on your own property. But then there’s Banksy.

“So I hate to say this, but it depends on who you are. Probably you’re not Banksy.”

It went on for a bit longer, then it was time to go, and of course Peterson got a second standing ovation, but it wasn’t a long one, for everyone was rushing to get outside — and I soon figured out why.

Peterson was going to be signing. Buy a book and you’d get a chance to meet him, and didn’t that provide a moment to make a local author weep: the queue was 25 wide — that’s wide, not deep — and it snaked through the foyer and right up the staircase, and why wouldn’t it?

There just aren’t that many roaming rock star philosophers in the world today. You may think it mumbo-jumbo. You may profoundly disagree.

Even so, it will be a long time since you sat for two hours and considered the big questions with other people keen to have an animated conversation about the world, and our place in it.

I’d say get a ticket — but of course, you can’t.


Chilling fact is most climate change theories are wrong


You have to hand it to Peter Hannam, The Sydney Morning Herald’s climate change alarmist-in-chief, for his report last month - “ ‘Really ­extreme’ global weather event leaves scientists aghast”.

Hannam is often the ­canary in the coalmine (er, wind farm) when there is a sense that public belief in man-made global warming is flagging. With Europe in the grip of a much colder winter than predicted and with the ­abnormal chill spreading even to Africa, he did his best to hold the line.

Earlier this year, Climate Council councillor Will Steffen also climbed on board — for The Sydney Morning Herald of course. Extreme cold in Britain, Switzerland and Japan, a record-breaking cold snap in Canada and the US and an expansion of the East Antarctic ice sheet coincided with a ­Bureau of Meteorology tweet (later retracted) that January 7 had set a heat record for the ­Sydney Basin. Steffen told us these seemingly unrelated events were in fact linked. “Climate ­disruption” explained both. Whether fire or ice, we’re to blame. No ifs, no buts.

Now a warming Arctic provides the perfect opportunity for Hannam to divert attention from the latest deep freeze. He ominously warns: “Climate scientists are used to seeing the range of weather extremes stretched by global warming, but few episodes appear as remarkable as this week’s unusual heat over the Arctic.”

It’s true, warm air has made its way up to the high Arctic, driving temperatures up to 20C above ­average. But Anthony Watts, who runs a climate change website, puts things into perspective. He observes: “Warm moist air from the Pacific and Atlantic oceans has warmed the Arctic above the 80th parallel. It should be noted, however, that the Arctic Circle actually starts at 66 degrees north, meaning the record heat is over a much narrower area.”

Cato Institute atmospheric scientist Ryan Maue reviewed high Arctic temperature data going back to 1958 and says: “Data before the satellite era … has some problems, so it’s hard to say the current spike is for sure a record.” He says that if the baseline is 1973, when the polar-­orbiting satellites began recording the data, there is not much difference between today’s ice extent and then.

Indeed, we now have satellite confirmation that global air temperatures are back to the same level they were before the 2014-16 super El Nino event and, this January and February, the decline accelerated. Since 2015 satellites also have detected a fall in sea surface temperatures.

Solar expert Piers Corbyn, of British forecasting group Wea­therAction and famous for his successful wagers against the British Met Office forecasts, predicts Earth faces another mini ice age with potentially devastating consequences. He notes: “The frequency of sunspots is expected to rapidly decline … reaching a minimum between the years 2019 and 2020.” Indeed, the present decline in solar activity is faster than at any time in the past 9300 years, suggesting an end to the grand solar maximum.

Critics say while “it might be safe to go with (Corbyn’s) forecast for rain next Tuesday, it would be foolish to gamble the world can just go on burning all the coal and oil we want”. That’s the nub of it. The world has bet the shop on CO2 warming and the “science” must be defended at all costs.

But while spinning unfalsi­fiable “climate disruption” slogans may sway readers of The Sydney Morning Herald and resonate with believers in their centrally heated halls, those in the real world, witnessing hundreds of people dying of the cold and thousands more receiving emergency treatment, will consider they’ve been duped.

Not feeling duped are successive Australian governments that have become committed members of a green-left global warming movement promoted by the UN. On dubious scientific grounds they have agreed to accept meaningless, anti-growth, CO2 emission targets that enrich elites and burden the masses.

And, true to label, a Green Climate Fund supported by Australia and 42 mostly developed countries will redistribute $US100 billion ($128bn) annually to poorer nations as reparation for the unspecified environmental harm the West has allegedly caused them.

Big emitters such as China, India and Russia are conspicuously absent.

Policing Australia’s targets and helping to spread confirmatory propaganda is a network of international and local bureaucracies. The world’s academies and meteorological organisations, frequently found to be unreliable and biased, keep the faith alive. They reject debate and starve nonconforming researchers of funds and information. Students are indoctrinated with unproven climate-change theories that an unquestioning media gladly ­reinforces.

Meanwhile, the country ingenuously surrenders its competitive advantage by refusing to embrace its rich endowment of affordable baseload energy. This it happily exports while lining the pockets of renewable energy rent-seekers with generous taxpayer subsidies.

Should the world enter a per­iod of global cooling, we should ­expect concerted denial. Too many livelihoods, too many reputations and too much ideology ­depend on the CO2 narrative. Having ceded sovereignty over our economies’ commanding heights to unelected bureaucrats in Geneva, the West (Donald Trump excluded) repeatedly turns to expensive vanity projects to paper over this folly. If the iceman cometh, there can be no quick fix. Yet we know it takes twice as much energy to heat a home than to cool one. So pity the poor and infirm who respected medical journal The Lancet says are 20 times likelier to die from cold than heat.

While even to mention a mini ice age risks scorn and derision, recent research has shown a close correlation between solar activity and climate on Earth. That possibility alone should cause shivers. But it will take time and experience before we accept the global warming movement is really the triumph of ideology over science. Until then we will continue to commit life’s cardinal sin of putting too many eggs into one questionable basket.


Goverment regulations a huge part of the cost of new housing

What does a million dollars buy in Aussie capital cities?

Everybody complains about high housing prices these days. But would you live in a concrete jungle if it meant you could get a much cheaper home?

That’s the question Australia’s Reserve Bank is asking. It put out a report this week on how Australia’s housing market would look in the theoretical world where there were no zoning controls. It finds zoning rules — things like minimum block sizes and height limits — have raised Sydney house prices by 73 per cent.

The price of an average block of land in Sydney is $765,000, which is 36 per cent the true value of that land and 64 per cent the cost of what the RBA calls the Zoning effect.

Without zoning, you’d get Blade Runner cities full of high rise apartments, but they’d be damn cheap to buy. If a Blade Runner future doesn’t quite sound perfect for your family, that’s probably because zoning can be good. Even the RBA admits it.

Zoning rules mean we pay higher prices but we get a bit more breathing room to live in. More light in our homes and perhaps a bit more beauty. Zoning gets us nice leafy streets of one and two storey homes with big yards (…that we drive past on our way to the home we can afford!).

The question is whether having zoning rules that bring us high prices is worth it. The high cost of housing is a real burden on a human life. Two working parents slave away for years to pay off a mortgage, spending time away from their kids, getting stressed and unhappy at work. Do we really get more benefit from a heritage facade and a front yard than we would from 15 years less mortgage?

(Personally, I’ve always thought front yards are a total waste. We never really use ours and it’d save on gardening if the house went all the way to the street. If I could get rid of one rule, it would be the rule we must have front yards.)

It is worth pointing out that the Blade Runner cities would only be in the inner parts. Once the most valuable land is built up tall, larger houses would be available a bit further out

The fact we’d like to buy just a little bit of land to build a house on, but we have to buy a big block, suggests some people don’t get much value from being forced to have big blocks. It suggests that zoning rules such as minimum block sizes are making housing more expensive than they would otherwise be.

The RBA paper is partly an intellectual exercise — wrecking balls are not going to come tearing through the beautiful old suburbs tomorrow even if we decide to relax zoning rules. But it is also a political document. In discussing how much it costs us to have the zoning restrictions, it encourages us to think about getting rid of them. If we turfed out heritage controls and height limits and minimum apartment sizes, we really could make housing more affordable.

It’s a question worth thinking about, since to a large extent we seem to be heading that way anyway, with towers shooting up across Australia’s cities.

There is one city in the world that is most famous for existing without major zoning laws — Houston Texas. It is famous for having enormous urban sprawl and the lack of rules mean very different kinds of buildings can end up next door. They could build an enormous tower just over your back fence, for example:

But Houston, which is an extremely wealthy city, also has very affordable housing. House price to income ratios have been falling since the 1970s, which says housing is getting easier to buy there. (In San Francisco, where zoning rules are incredibly strict and locals fight back against development, median house prices are the highest in the USA.)

Houston has a few higgledy-piggledy moments, but it still has a lot of single-family homes. Meanwhile, the commercial parts mostly stick to the commercial areas and residences mostly get built in residential areas. The lack of zoning doesn’t end up changing it too much from a normal city, and it has managed to absorb a huge amount of population growth.

As our cities struggle to absorb big population growth, being just a little bit more like Houston might be in our interests.


Victoria police 'caught using and trafficking meth and ecstasy - as two officers joke over texts about going to work after a cocaine bender'

No wonder they cannot control the African teenagers who aree running riot

Police partying on ice, cocaine and ecstasy would meet up with known traffickers, peddle drugs themselves and return positive tests, says an Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission special report.

The report takes in three investigations into claims of drug possession, trafficking and use by police since 2014 and says allegations against eight officers have been substantiated.

Operation Apsley revealed a group of police were using drugs regularly in their social lives - including one who used cocaine 'most days' for four months last year.

The officer, known as Senior Constable A, and a friend, Senior Constable B, used and trafficked drugs and were 'cavalier about the safety risks', the report says.

Both told IBAC they would not work if affected by drugs, but messages between them refuted these claims, including this exchange after a night out using cocaine:

Senior Constable A: 'Feeling slightly average but okay. Gonna be a long shift. Rad night.'

Senior Constable B: 'Kill me, I wanna lay down.'

Another senior constable messaged a civilian associate about putting MDMA powder into capsules - 'Now that you run a sophisticated drug syndicate you will be... essstremely bizzy' was the reply.

Two other IBAC operations also exposed regular drug use with one that focused on a constable leading to that officer's brother being arrested by federal and interstate police on drug offences.

While IBAC says allegations against eight were substantiated it says they were likely just 'snapshots of a more widespread and serious problem for Victoria Police'.

Of those eight officers, two were charged with giving false evidence, misleading or attempting to mislead IBAC, and inciting a witness to mislead IBAC, and one was charged with criminal drug offences.

One has been dismissed, three have resigned, three are suspended and one returned to work after an admonishment notice.

There are systemic deficiencies in Victoria Police's illicit drug prevention and detection, IBAC concludes.

'Police officers cannot be selective in choosing which criminal laws they will obey,' IBAC Commissioner Stephen O'Bryan QC said in a statement.

'While most of the police officers investigated were aware they were engaging in illegal conduct, they rationalised their off-duty criminality as being separate to their obligations as police officers.'

Victoria Police's alcohol and drugs policy says illicit drug use is not tolerated but there is ambiguity about the consequences, IBAC says.

Police have accepted the recommendations and are reviewing their practices and policies, a Victoria Police spokesman said in a statement.

A progress report is due on June 30 and Victoria Police must provide IBAC with a final report by June 30, 2018.

Police Minister Lisa Neville said drug use has 'no place' within the force.

'This investigation related to a small group of police officers, and Victoria Police has since taken appropriate action through criminal, disciplinary and management interventions,' she said in a statement.

Police Association secretary Ron Iddles denied there was a systemic drug problem within Victoria Police, but conceded the eight instances didn't come as a 'total shock'.

'Our members are susceptible to more pressure and stress than the average member of society,' Mr Iddles said in a statement to AAP.

He said the report showed health and wellbeing services available to Victoria Police's 15,000 members needed to be improved.


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