Sunday, March 11, 2018

President Donald Trump has announced he will not impose tariffs on Australian steel and aluminium

A major diplomatic victory for Malcolm Turnbull. His unfailingly polite approach to almost everything has paid off here. Australia has two large raw steel producers  but their output is down to a quarter of what it was.  And they produce less than 1% of world output. So the effect on Australian steelmakers and the coal and iron miners who supply them is likely to be minimal. 

Australia is however an aluminium superpower.  It is the world's largest producer of bauxite, the mineral used to produce aluminium.  And there are seven existing plants (alumina refineries) to do that conversion in Australia.  Alumina in turn is converted into aluminium in smelters and there are such smelters in Queensland, Tasmania, New South Wales and Victoria. So there may be a more significant advantage to Australia in aluminium

Mr Trump tweeted the announcement on Saturday morning after authorising new tariffs this week.

Mr Trump said he will not be imposing the tariffs on the 'great nation of Australia', fulfilling a promise he made to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Mr Turnbull replied to Mr Trump's tweet, saying the pair had a 'great discussion on security and trade'.

The President said he was 'committed to having a very fair and reciprocal military and trade relationship'.

'Working very quickly on a security agreement so we don't have to impose steel or aluminium tariffs on our ally, the great nation of Australia,' he said.

Earlier this week Mr Trump introduced a 25 per cent tariff on steel imports and 10 per cent on aluminium.

He had hinted that Australia along with Mexico and Canada may be exempted from the tariffs.

Mr Turnbull said the trade relationship between the US and Australia was 'fair and reciprocal, and each of our nations has no closer ally'.

'Thank you for confirming new tariffs won't have to be imposed on Australian steel and aluminium - good for jobs in Australia and in US.'

The announcement is the latest development in the growing relationship between Mr Trump and Mr Turnbull. It began in rocky circumstances when Mr Trump berated Mr Turnbull on a call days into his presidency for a 'stupid deal' his counterpart had struck with Barack Obama.

'I will be seen as a weak and ineffective leader in my first week by these people. This is a killer,' Mr Trump told Mr Turnbull, before reportedly hanging up the phone on him. Mr Trump described the phone call with Mr Turnbull as the 'worst' out of a series he made to foreign leaders after becoming president.

Mr Trump also seemed to refer to Mr Turnbull as 'Malcolm Trumble' when speaking about the Australian leader.

The frosty start to their working relationship seemed to thaw during Mr Turnbull's recent visit to Washington D.C.

Mr Trump signed the tariffs into law on Thursday, flanked by senior officials on one side and a group of steelworkers on the other.

'You are truly the backbone of America, you know that? You are very special people,' he told the blue collar contingent. 'We want a lot of steel coming into our country, but we want it to be fair and we want our workers to be protected.'

The president said his promises to factory workers were a big reason for his 2016 victory, complaining that American steel and aluminum workers have been betrayed – but 'that betrayal is now over.'

The Associated Press reported that every nation in the world will be able to petition the United States for exemptions to the tariffs.

A senior administration official said the national security underpinnings of the new policy were 'unassailable,' and clarified that the offer of loopholes would be somewhat limited

Mr Trump will 'allow any country with which we have a security relationship to discuss with the United States and the president alternate ways' of protecting America's interests, the official said, while cautioning that petitioning countries would have to prove that their steel and aluminum exports aren't harming America's national security capabilities. 


Tough school deputy head supported by the students

School authorities making mountains out of a molehill

The student who had his hair cut by a long-standing deputy principal of an elite private high school has revealed he never wanted he wanted him to be sacked.

A woman who claimed to be the boy's aunt told The Herald Sun they did not try to force Rohan Brown out of Trinity Grammar School in Melbourne. She also said that her nephew had been the target of bullying since the announcement of Mr Brown's dismissal and that the student and Mr Brown had sorted the issue out between themselves.

Students were seen passionately protesting the dismissal of Mr Brown, with one student claiming students and teachers alike were crying over it.

However despite more than 500 people signing an online petition to 'Bring Brownie Back' and parents threatening to withhold fees, the school is standing firm on its decision.

Principal Michael Davies said he would consult with advisors and leaders so that the school could provide more insight into the issue in the coming weeks.

Trinity Grammar School council chairman Roderick Lyle told parents on Thursday night Mr Brown had left the school. Mr Lyle said Mr Brown's actions were 'inconsistent with community expectations in this day and age', The Age reported.

It is understood Mr Brown cut a student's hair because it was too long on the school's photo day.

The school's policy is that hair must be off the collar.

'As a result, the school council was of the view that Mr Brown's leadership position at the school was no longer tenable,' the letter read. 'We are all very disappointed and deeply saddened by the situation.'

Mr Brown had worked at the school for almost 30 years, and said he was upset about what had happened. 'I would like to go back. It's a good school and this is tearing me apart. I can't comment further,' he said.

Former students said they believed the decision to sack Mr Brown was political.

'This was a school which produced well-rounded men who had an interest in the wider community not just their pay packets and status. The school is being destroyed,' a former Trinity Grammar student said.

Former teachers said there had been high staff turnover after current principal Michael Davies took the role in 2014. A teacher estimates 152 staff had left the school since then.

In his letter to parents, Mr Lyle said Mr Brown had served the school and had made a strong contribution.

An interim leadership structure has been put in place at the school while the council looked for a replacement for Mr Brown.


Jacinta Price says what few dare about Aboriginal culture and violence towards women and children

Soaked in blood, with nightclothes clinging to her skin in the thick, muggy heat, Jacinta Nampijinpa Price sprints to the nearest neighbour’s house and begs them to call the police. It is 7am, Darwin, 2008. Five months into a new relationship — the first since splitting with her high-school sweetheart and father of her three kids — and Price is bolting for her life.

Drugs and feral outbreaks of jealousy have broken the veneer of the honeymoon period. In the heat of the attack a lamp is hurled at her with such force that it leaves a gash requiring six stitches. “I looked at my hand, it was covered in blood and the blood was dripping down my shoulder,’’ Price recalls. “And I thought, ‘I have to get out of here because if I don’t get out of here, he’s going to kill me.’ ”

She manages to make a run for it, out the door, feet slapping the driveway of the flats where she lives, across the road and into sanctuary. “I felt like the stereotypical Aboriginal woman victim of ­violence. And I felt really degraded,” Price says now. “Sitting in this stranger’s house, bleeding all over their floor and asking them to call an ambulance for me, and the police. I was just so glad that my kids weren’t there to witness that.”

The proud Warlpiri-Celtic woman peers at the bushland across the street from her mother’s place on the edge of the Alice Springs township. ­“Immediately there’s a stigma attached to a victim of family violence. And I felt it, straight away. And I felt like, ‘How could I let this happen to myself? Why didn’t I see this coming?’”

This would be the last time Jacinta Price would be a victim. She broke up with her boyfriend, roused her spirits and took a good hard look around her. In the mirror stood a clever young Territory woman with much to say — although it would take some years for her to articulate all that she’d seen and experienced since she was a tiny kid running through the potholed backstreets of Alice.

But soon she began to speak some uncomfortable truths. She lifted the veil on the murderers and rapists and victims in her own extended family and the kinship ties and “cultural excuses” that protect the perpetrators. She has been hailed as a fearless anti-violence warrior and at the same time has become a lightning rod for criticism. But once the lid was off she realised there was no turning back. Despite the vitriol, the scorn, the social media hate campaigns. No running away.

In a newspaper article, Price listed the diverse cultural mix in her own household: “I am half Warlpiri and a mixture of Irish, Scottish and Welsh. My sons are of Warlpiri, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Malay, Indian, French, African, Chinese, Scandinavian and ­German ancestry. My stepson is half Scottish and a quarter Mauritian. They are all 100 per cent ­Australian.” Her point? “Most of the self-identifying indigenous members of our community who claim to feel hurt by Australia Day being held on January 26 would also have white ancestors in their family trees and may not even have been born if the First Fleet hadn’t come.”

Price’s views have attracted the attention of some high-profile allies, including the one-time prime ministerial candidate turned anti-PC baiter Mark Latham, who enlisted her to take part in a televised Australia Day campaign. “I heard her speak at a conference in Brisbane last year and was very impressed by her practical but compassionate approach to the indigenous issues,” says Latham.

The cavalcade of abuse that dogged Price in the weeks following her involvement in the campaign was “horrendous”, says the one-time Labor leader. “The trolls hate her because she’s the sort of ­person that identity politics would normally applaud — an indigenous woman, an elected councillor from Central Australia. She’s got impeccable credentials for speaking on indigenous issues, but she’s not toeing the inner-city green line, and their only response is abuse and online hysteria.”

Latham understates nothing when speaking of how far he believes Price could travel in politics. In April, if she is successfully nominated to run for the Country Liberal Party in the sprawling ­Territory seat of Lingiari — which insiders say looks a done deal — she then has the chance to ride into the House of Representatives on the ticket at next year’s election. “I think Jacinta is the most impressive indigenous person that I’ve come across in the political sphere,” Latham says.

Conservatives across the nation latched onto the Price juggernaut following the intense Australia Day coverage. Asked if she trusts figures like Latham and others now hooked on her and her political ideologies, and whether they have her best interests at heart, she cautiously replies: “Trust is a strong word. I think there are people who are ­valuable to have in your network, put it that way. You need to surround yourself with ­people you trust. There are only a few people you can trust. I’ve learnt that most definitely. And never necessarily trust those who are throwing themselves at you and want to do things for you. Even if they say they don’t ­necessarily want something, there is always something that someone wants.”

By 2015, the younger Price was in the process of a political awakening. She realised she too was now in a position to start raising her voice. The seemingly endless chain of violence in her family led her to speak out. “I got to a point in my life where we had that many deaths in our family. We had that many women traumatised by family violence and children traumatised by family violence,” she says. “And this ‘growing up yapa [Aboriginal] way’ is always like, you don’t talk about the really tough things. You pretend like they don’t exist. You know there are members in your family who have beaten the crap out of your own aunty, who have raped people, and yet your family expects you to pretend that these people haven’t done those things. You’re supposed to turn a blind eye to that. And I think I got to a point where I went, ‘I’ve had enough of this’. And I became quite vocal.”

In lifting the veil from the largely taboo subject of Aboriginal community violence, Price’s star began to rise. She was hand-picked to deliver a couple of high-profile addresses to audiences at the National Press Club and the right-wing think tank the Centre for Independent Studies. In the latter, in 2016, she told the audience: ­“Aboriginal culture is a culture that accepts violence and in many ways desensitises those living the culture to violence.”

To the press club she admitted she had been placed under immense pressure to withhold parts of her story, saying she was putting her immediate family at risk of violent retaliation. “But why am I standing here if not to hold us all to account for the lack of responsibility, action and justice for these Aboriginal women and children and the thousands of ­victims of family violence and sexual abuse?” she said.

Prominent Aboriginal leader Warren Mundine says Price’s uncompromising stance on indigenous violence has never been more necessary. “It’s a voice we need to have in the parliament. Because the current situation is not working,” he says from Sydney Airport, where he is waiting for a flight to ­Darwin where he will meet members of the NT Government dealing with a child protection crisis after the alleged rape of a two-year-old Aboriginal toddler in Tennant Creek. “On the Closing the Gap figures, we’re spending something like $130 billion [in eight years to 2016] and we’re not really confronting the real issues,” Mundine says. “About the social breakdown and family dysfunction in some of these communities. And the alcohol and drugs and so on. So I think she’s spot on. The status quo is not working. We need new blood in there, we need someone to be disruptive and to shake it up so we start actually confronting and dealing with the issues.”

In her desert hometown, some have begun striking out against Price’s firebrand commentary. A perception that she hasn’t properly consulted with women in town camps and communities has added kindling to the blaze. In late January, a statement attributed to “the Aboriginal women of Central Australia” was read in the Alice Springs council chambers by indigenous councillor ­Catherine Satour, appearing to take aim directly at Price. “To be an Aboriginal leader it requires you to be appointed and recognised as such by the Aboriginal community,” the statement read. “As the Honourable Linda Burney MP so rightfully put: ‘Leadership in an Aboriginal cultural context is not given or measured by how much media you get or if you earn big money. True Aboriginal ­leadership does not come from high-level appointments or board membership. It doesn’t come from and cannot be given by white constructs. Leadership is earned; it is given when you have proven you can deal with responsibility and you understand that responsibility’.”

While Satour and others flatly deny the speech was pointed at Price, a heated stoush at the ­meeting’s conclusion suggests otherwise. Inflamed on social media beforehand, Price’s relatives showed up to defend her name. Price herself was a no-show, away in Sydney for unrelated business. White activists accompanied a group of Abori­ginal women supportive of the statement. The place was packed. While the meeting dragged on, a din erupted on the council lawns. A ­screaming match between Bess Price and other desert women had broken out, with insults hurled in English and Red Centre languages. The stoush hit fever pitch as Satour left the chambers. It is alleged that an uncle of Price’s stormed up and verbally assaulted the councillor. “Following this statement [being] read is now a matter for a police investigation as I and the Arrernte woman were abused and I was threatened with violence,” Satour says. Territory Police have confirmed a report was filed.

More HERE 

Broadcasters Withhold Important Information from the Australian Public Concerning Climate Change

Jennifer Marohasy

Australian politicians, and the media they sponsor, have been throwing their hands in the air and screaming unprecedented climate change – particularly over the last two weeks. A focus has been on the record number of new record hot days. But in all of this, there is no mention that the method used to actually measure hot days has changed.

This week’s Four Corners program began by interviewing Karl Braganza from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. Braganza explained that it is really only since the 1990s that we have started to see the extreme heat. What he didn’t mention is that a totally new method of measurement came into effect on 1 November 1996 – with the transition continuing, so each new year, additional weather stations have their mercury thermometer replaced with an electronic probe taking one-second spot readings.

For example, the Bureau claimed a new record hottest day for September for the state of Victoria on 23 September 2017, which was actually a one-second spike from an electronic probe installed in June 2012. The Bureau reported this as the hottest September day back to 1889. Yet between 1889 and 1996 a completely different method was being used to measure maximum daily temperatures at Mildura.

According to the Guinness World Records, a record must be standardisable and verifiable. Yet the new record from Mildura was not measured according to world standards of calibration for the use of electronic probes which specifies that one-second readings be averaged over at least one minute. Meanwhile this questionable data is being used to justify ever more expenditure on Australia’s perceived climate catastrophe – without any questioning by leading Australian journalists Michael Brissenden or Sarah Ferguson, who presented Monday night’s program that lamented the new record hot days.

In not reporting that the incidence of “extreme heat” corresponds with a change in how maximum temperatures are measured, these two journalists, Brissenden and Ferguson, have withheld important information from the Australian public.

Given the new, very different, method of measuring temperatures, it would be assumed that there are dozens of reports published by the Bureau that document how comparable the measurements from electronic probes have proven at different locations, and under different conditions. Yet there are none!

The Bureau claims, when asked, that temperatures from its electronic probes and traditional mercury thermometers are comparable – without providing any actual evidence. My analysis of temperature data from Mildura indicates that there is a statistically significant different – with the first probe (in place from 1996 to 2000) recording too cool, and subsequent probes too warm relative to the mercury thermometer (often by up to 0.4 degrees Celsius).

I have been attempting to bring this to the attention of the media, particularly the ABC for some months. But their journalists turn-away. They don’t want any scrutiny of this much revered institution, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

Even in the Australian parliament there is a closing-of-ranks. Rather than consider my evidence, Monday before last Senators Richard Di Natale and Anne Urquhart from the Australian Greens claimed that the questions I have been raising about the integrity of the temperature data amounted to ‘climate denial’ and harassment of the Bureau’s CEO, Andrew Johnson.

In reality, my few emails to Johnson have focused on the single issue of how temperatures are measured, which really has nothing whatsoever to do with denying climate change. Indeed, if we are to accurately quantify the magnitude of global warming, then the integrity of the temperature databases is paramount. Yet the number of documented anomalies continues to grow – as does the indifference of our political class.


Software gurus say Trans Pacific Partnership agreement still on the nose

The "Comprehensive & Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership"(CPTPP) was signed yesterday in Chile by representatives of the 11 remaining Parties, including Australia's Minister for Trade, Tourism & Investment, Steve Ciobo, without the Commonwealth Government having commissioned any independent analysis or economic modelling of the treaty whatsoever.

On 21 February, DFAT released briefing material around CPTPP, including a TPP-11 background document entitled "Myth Busters: FACTS vs FICTION"[1]. Despite its attention-grabbing title, that document is anything but an objective analysis of CPTPP.
'The DFAT "Myth Busters" document is mostly a propaganda piece,' said OSIA Company Secretary Jack Burton, 'whilst there are some facts in it, they have been very carefully presented in a manner likely to mislead the reader on the true nature of the treaty.'

On four previous occasions\footnote[2,3,4,5], OSIA has called for the Commonwealth Government to commission independent analysis of TPP and modelling of its economic impact on Australia, by the Productivity Commission or any other suitable arms-length body.

In the past the ACCC[6], the Productivity Commission themselves[7] and even the Senate Standing Committee[8] have also called for the same thing. Those calls have all fallen on deaf ears.

'Following the signing of CPTPP yesterday we renew that call,' Burton continued, 'in the hope the Commonwealth Government will commission that critical, independent analysis & modelling prior to referring the revised treaty back to JSCOT & to the Senate Standing Committee.The highly partisan nature of the propaganda about CPTPP we are now seeing released by DFAT makes it even more crucial that Parliament and its various Committees be informed by objective analysis & modelling undertaken by a credible, independent Australian body, before making decisions on CPTPP.'

Interestingly, the first "myth buster" in the DFAT document seems to anticipate that very call. It begins by touting the Peterson Institute's forecast[9] of 0.5% growth in Australia's national income by 2030. The PIIE forecast seems extremely optimistic, given that in 2014 & 2016 (when the USA was still part of TPP so the potential export markets involved were far greater) the United States Department of Agriculture[10] forecast that TPP would have no measurable impact on Australia's GDP by 2025 and the World Bank[11] forecast TPP yielding only 0.7% growth in Australia's GDP by 2030.

Even if one accepts the most generous PIIE forecast of 0.5% growth by 2030, it is important to note that that 0.5\% is a gross figure. Annualised, that equates to a CAGR of only 0.042%.

'Such meagre growth forecases lie well within the usual margins allowed for error, so effectively CPTPP delivers no positive economic impact at all,' said OSIA Chairman Mark Phillips, 'the numbers just don't add up'.

What is far more concerning about the first "myth buster" though is that it claims that the PIIE forecast "underestimates the potential benefits of the TPP-11 because it mainly focused on tariff reductions", implying that the non-tariff measures in CPTPP were of greater economic benefit to Australia. In fact, the tariff reductions of Chapter 2 are the only part of TPP that is about free

'With the exception of Chapter 2, TPP seeks to proliferate a wide range of restrictions on trade and on all sorts of matters unrelated to trade, as we've pointed out many times before', said Burton. 'We cannot understand how DFAT could believe that such restrictions could possibly help "break down trade barriers" when such restrictions are in effect the exact opposite of free trade.'

Media release from OSIA

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

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