Friday, May 18, 2018

The word 'Aboriginal' is REMOVED from birth, marriage and death certificates after politically-correct bureaucrats rule the term is offensive

What an insult to Aborigines!

The word 'Aboriginal' is being removed from birth, marriage and death certificates after politically-correct bureaucrats ruled the term offensive.

The practice of eradicating the word was implemented by the Western Australian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages when it made its records digital between 2007 and 2015, the ABC reported.

The practice came to light when family historians Garry Smith, from Perth, and his cousin John Chandler, from Queensland, discovered the word had been whited out on their ancestors' certificates.

Mr Smith claimed a staff member told him the word Aboriginal was removed because it was deemed offensive. He said it made him feel as if he should be ashamed of his aboriginal heritage.

Mr Smith also slammed the movement as hypocritical. 'If you're Aboriginal, it's offensive and deemed offensive – but the government calls us Aboriginals,' he said.

Mr Smith's cousin, Mr Chandler, said the news brought back painful memories for his family. 'We feel like we have people making decisions on behalf of us, just like in the past,' he told the ABC.

The men called for the registrar to stop whitewashing documents and apologise for any offence caused.

Mr Chandler and Mr Smith have together lodged a claim of racial discrimination against the registrar in the Federal Court, however their claim was unsuccessful.

History Council of Western Australia's Dr Cindy Solonec said the practice repulsed her. She said the movement was 'hogwash' and would undoubtedly offend every Aboriginal person in Australia. 

University of Western Australia history professor Jenny Gregory said she would contact the WA Attorney-General to call for the 'bizarre' practice to be stopped. 'The registrar is tampering with history,' Dr Gregory said.

WA Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages' Brett Burns told Daily Mail Australia there was no legal requirement to note the race or ethnic background of a person on documents such as birth certificates. 'This applies whether a person is Aboriginal, Greek, Italian, or from any other heritage,' he said.

Mr Burns said the practice was in no way fuelled by racism. 'I completely refute any suggestions that I, or my staff, have acted in a racist way in this matter. That suggestion is ridiculous and hurtful,' he said.

He said the change was made after offensive terms were used by past registrars. Mr Burns said offensive terms such as 'Abo', 'Chinaman', 'native', 'nomad' or 'half-caste' were once used on official documents.

'That has prompted the removal of all references to race, which were never required to be included in the first place, from the Registry's records,' he said.

'This does not just apply to Aboriginal people and any suggestion we are 'white-washing' history is wrong.' 


Australia needs to stop fantasising about high-speed rail and build medium-speed rail instead

AUSTRALIA’S obsession with massively expensive high-speed rail between the east coast’s major capitals is “pie in the sky” and the country should instead be focusing on connecting our largest cities to regional centres.

That’s the view of transport boffins who have said the focus on 300km/h Japanese style bullet trains and even the Elon Musk championed 1000km/h Hyperloop system has blocked the way for less ambitious, slower — and certainly less sexy — but far cheaper and game-changing rail projects.

By some estimates, a high-speed rail network linking Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne could cost north of $100 billion.

Cutting train times from Sydney to Newcastle by an hour would cost far less and open up the possibility of commuting between the two centres for many currently put off by travel times.

“We’ve been talking about high-speed rail in Australia since the 1980s and nothing ever happens. So maybe it’s time to look at more affordable options,” Professor Rico Merkert, from the University of Sydney’s Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies, told

He said the level of funding the Federal Government had so far dedicated to higher speed rail to regional cities was “disappointing”.

In the 2017 Budget, $20m was committed to prepare three studies to look at speeding up trains times between Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane and specific regional cities. Of the billions in the 2018 Budget for rail, very little was earmarked for regional passenger rail.

However, Associate Professor Philip Laird, an Honorary Principal Fellow at the University of Wollongong, said some $125m had been spent by successive governments on high speed rail studies and yet not a skerrick of track had been built.

“It is now time for Australia to commit to medium-speed rail, trains operating on new or existing tracks at speeds of between 160km and 250km/h,” he wrote in The Conversation this week.

In NSW, modern Intercity trains can go as fast as 130km/h but rarely reach anywhere close to that speed. A 2013 report found the average speed of trains in Sydney was just 43.3km/h.

When, last year, Labor asked Transport Minister Andrew Constance for the average speed of the state’s trains, he said speeds “were affected by such a significant amount of variables … there is no value in calculating it”.

Nonetheless, trains in NSW can take longer to get to their destination than in other states. A trip from Sydney’s Central station to Gosford takes almost 90 minutes by train, while a train from Melbourne’s Southern Cross to Geelong, a similar distance, takes less than an hour suggesting V/line trains are speeding along at around 80km/h.

But even that isn’t fast enough with the Federal and Victorian Governments commissioning a study to see if a line with a top speed of 250km/h could be feasible.

“A fast rail link from Geelong to Melbourne would slash travel times between Victoria’s capital and its second biggest city,” the Andrews Government said.

In Britain, a rail journey between London and the regional city of Ashford, 93kms from the CBD, takes just 35 minutes on a true high-speed line.

Undoubtedly Sydney is cursed with a challenging topography of national parks and mountains that will make cutting travel times tricky.

But Professor Merkert said the fact there were three flights a day between Newcastle and Sydney airports, just 160km/h distant, was a sign not enough had been done to improve rail links between NSW’s first and second cities.

He said the Hyperloop low pressure system, that could see pods shoot through tubes that have been almost completely expunged of air, was “pie in the sky” though.

“Hyperloop is way too expensive; it’s not feasible at the moment because you need a very straight line and any curve in it would be unpleasant for passengers and the sheer distance between the capitals destroys the economics.

“We currently talk about slow (suburban) trains and at the other extreme Hyperloop; maybe it’s worth thinking about something in between. “(Medium-speed rail) would be better for regional development.”

Speaking earlier this year to, Professor Merkert said this was because: “The idea would be to get people moving into regional centres such as Goulburn and then commuting into Sydney.”

Yet, to compete with airlines, very fast trains would be under pressure to not stop in any regional centres.

Consultants HKA, who work with Virgin Hyperloop One, a company building the new technology, have said regional areas needn’t miss out because the system uses on-demand individual pods which could service, say, Goulburn as long as a station was constructed.

Professor Laird said while the private sector had shown some encouragement for high speed rail, “at all levels” government was not supportive.

“Despite many studies recommending the need to identify and protect a corridor for a future high-speed rail network, government has failed to reserve any.”

In contrast, the move towards medium-speed rail in regional Victoria had been a huge success. Costing around $4.5bn the investment in new track, trains and stations over the last decade has seen jumps in passenger numbers to and from regional centres.

Regional NSW was now the laggard. “The rail situation in Australia’s most populated state is not good for its regions,” he said. While a growing Sydney was overflowing with infrastructure projects, such the Sydney Metro and light rail, connections to the surrounding areas were lacking.

“The State Government is getting new intercity electric trains and has committed to buying new regional trains. But it’s yet to commit to track upgrades to help the new trains go faster than the present slow ones.”

Professor Merkert said the Government’s regional rail priority seemed to be the 1700km Inland Rail route between Brisbane and Melbourne which aims to reduce the number of trucks charging up and down coastal motorways.

But once that was done, more should be focused on how we bring our regional cities to within commuting distance of the capital.

“There’s lots of infrastructure in the cities but not much connecting the cities,” he said.


Coalition won't ban live exports and has delayed report's release

The Turnbull government will not announce a summer ban on live sheep exports when it releases a report into the live export trade on Thursday.

The planned release of the report by livestock veterinarian Dr Michael McCarthy was abruptly cancelled on Wednesday after cabinet deliberations.

A government spokesman has confirmed the report is now scheduled for release on Thursday morning, and a second confidential briefing for stakeholders has been arranged after the initial briefing, slated for Wednesday morning, was put off.

The details of the report are not yet known but Guardian Australia understands the government is not likely to recommend banning the live sheep export trade between May and October, despite a recommendation from the Australian Veterinary Authority.

Government response will instead focus on the requirements for greater ventilation and air conditioning on ships, and a reduced stocking density. Both of those issues were terms of reference for McCarthy’s inquiry.

The federal opposition and the Western Australian state government have both called for a summer ban.

There are conflicting accounts about the surprising 11th-hour decision to delay the report on Wednesday. Nationals sources say it was a unanimous decision by the five Nationals in cabinet to delay the report, and that they presented their argument to their cabinet colleagues on Tuesday and it was accepted.

Separate reports suggest the agriculture minister and Nationals MP David Littleproud was rolled by Liberals in cabinet and the delay was imposed over his head.

McCarthy was appointed by Littleproud to conduct the review of the live cattle trade on 10 April, two days after 60 Minutes aired footage of sheep suffering extreme distress on the Emanuel Exports stocked ship Awassi Express, which left Fremantle on 1 August 2017 and lost 2,400 sheep to heat stress.

His scientific report contains recommendations about how many sheep can be safely transported on live export ships during the Middle Eastern summer.

The report contains a “very complex formula” that people will need time to think about. It is understood the Nationals wanted to receive more scientific advice about the formula before releasing the report.

Matt Canavan, the resources minister, said the government simply wanted to properly consider the review before responding to it.

“The key thing we would like to avoid is making the same mistake as has been made in the past, as has been made by the former Labor government and seemingly repeated by the Labor opposition today, and that is not to make a knee-jerk response here,” he told ABC radio on Wednesday.

“This is an industry that employs thousands of people. Their livelihoods and jobs are reliant on governments that make well-informed and considered decisions and I’m confident that Minister Littleproud is doing exactly that.”

Animal welfare organisations raised concerns last month about McCarthy’s appointment to conduct the review into conditions experienced by sheep on live export ships, saying there was a perceived conflict of interest.

McCarthy has more than 30 years experience as a livestock veterinarian and has worked most of his career in the live export trade.

He has acted as shipboard veterinarian on 65 live export voyages for eight major Australian exporters, including Emanuel Exports; conducted industry-funded research for Meat and Livestock Australia and LiveCorp; and acted as an expert consultant for Murdoch University and the University of Queensland.

But animal welfare groups say McCarthy’s extensive working history as a paid contractor to the live export industry created a perceived conflict of interest.


Renewable energy investment surges as Australia on track to exceed RET

There's nothing like a juicy government subsidy to guarantee your profits.  This is tax mining

Investor appetite for renewable energy projects, such as large-scale solar and wind projects, is set to help Australia exceed its 2020 Renewable Energy Target two years ahead of schedule.

While coal and gas-fired power are still the dominant fuel source in the National Electricity Market, investors are voting with their money and backing more than $20 billion in renewable projects as Australia moves to a less carbon-intensive economy.

But the surge in renewable investment is not expected to remain at record levels unless the Turnbull government becomes more ambitious with its emissions reduction targets under its proposed National Energy Guarantee, which is currently set at 26 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

Although conservatives in the Turnbull government party room would like a new coal-fired power station to be built in Australia, the private sector has shown no interest in funding a $5 billion, new, high-efficiency, low-emissions power plant, a fact acknowledged by Treasurer Scott Morrison and federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg.

The Turnbull government is attempting to push through the NEG to replace the RET after 2020. The energy sector is keen to ensure a new mechanism will help keep renewable investment flowing out to 2030 and beyond, and to end 10 years of uncertainty over climate change and energy policy.

The latest update from the Clean Energy Regulator this month found there was 6553 megawatts of capacity from renewable energy projects under construction or already built – this is above the 6400 megawatts of capacity required to meet the RET.

The RET requires 23.5 per cent of Australia's energy – or 33,000 gigawatt hours – to come from clean energy sources by 2020, with key investments to keep flowing out until 2030.

The CER said there was also an additional 1454 megawatts of projects subject to power purchase agreements that are likely to be fully financed and under construction this calender year.

Almost half of the 6553 megawatts under construction has already been accredited and generating large-scale generation certificates (LGCs), with a further 1592 megawatts having applied for accreditation and expected to soon be generating them.

"We expect the 2020 Renewable Energy Target to be exceeded at current build levels," the Clean Energy Regulator said.

"The judgment that the RET will be exceeded takes into account the effect of updated AEMO marginal loss factors and expected curtailment as a result of network congestion. The Clean Energy Regulator is aware of other projects that are likely to be announced in the near term."

The rush to invest in renewable projects past 2020 is also likely to result in a big drop in the price of LGCs, which will embolden clean energy industry advocates to debunk claims that renewable projects can only get off the ground if they have heavily subsidised by taxpayers.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance said there was a record $12 billion in renewables investment in Australia in 2017, with $3.2 billion so far this year. But Green Energy Markets Renewable Energy Index estimated there was more than $20 billion projects under way, contracted or under tender that would add 9691 megawatts of new capacity to the NEM by the early 2020s.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance's Australia head Kobad Bhavnagri said there was likely to be a tapering of renewable investment in the lead-up to 2020 given the target had been met and even exceeded. The price of LGCs were likely to stay low now the RET has been met.

He said the investment was likely to be lower in future years unless the federal government increased the 26 per cent target under the NEG, either from a change of heart from the Coalition or an in-coming Labor administration.

"It's likely to taper in 2018 and then collapse after 2020 because the National Energy Guarantee requires very little investment to be met," Mr Bhavnagri told The Australian Financial Review.

"It's more likely to be stop-start in the future to replace the exit of coal-fired generation [like AGL Energy's Liddell in 2022 and Delta Energy's Vales Point in 2028]."

Surge in solar

Under Bloomberg's projections, Australia will reach 23 per cent below 2005 level emissions by 2020 – meaning Australia will only need to achieve 3 percentage points over a decade to achieve the NEG target, something which Mr Bhavgnari believes will be achieved through the on-going rollout of small-scale solar.

A Climate Council report released this week found there were now 40,000 commercial solar systems installed in Australia, an increase of 60 per cent between 2016 and 2017.

Pacific Hydro's 80 megawatt Crowlands wind farm near Ararat in Victoria, which secured $80 million in project financing this week, is an example of the money flowing into renewable energy projects.

The Crowlands wind farm, which will comprise 39 wind turbines and create enough energy to power the yearly needs of about 50,000 Victorian homes, was financed by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and the National Australia Bank. It is the first project to be supported by a long-term power purchase arrangement with a group of corporates through the Melbourne Renewable Energy Project.

Planum Partners managing director Shaun Newing, who helped pull together the finance for the Crowlands project, said there was strong interest from banks to invest in renewable projects.

"We are seeing a lot of activity in that space. These projects are never easy to do. It depends on the quality of the sponsor and the quality of the revenue streams. But all the banks are well set up to finance renewable projects. They are keen to get involved," Mr Newing said.


Genomics and nanotechnology to benefit from $393m research funding boost

Nanotechnology, genomics and remote ocean sensors to improve the health of the Great Barrier Reef are among the projects that will benefit from $393m over five years in new federal research funding.

On Tuesday, the federal government released its response to the national infrastructure roadmap, allocating funding to its research priorities after recommendations by an expert group led by the chief scientist, Alan Finkel.

The plan was submitted to the government in February 2017 but was allocated an additional $393m over five years – or $1.9bn over 12 years – in the 2018 budget on 8 May.

New funding announced in the current round includes grants over the forward estimates of:

$36m to the Australian National Fabrication Facility for nanotechnology manufacturing research

$22m for marine observation systems used by international marine and climate science communities, as well as $31m for the research vessel RV Investigator to operate for an extra 120 days at sea

$14m for microscopy and microanalysis equipment for applications including health and biomedical research

$48m for Bioplatforms Australia’s work in the field of gene sequencing

The government response states the public benefit of the research will include: improving weather forecasts; increasing the identification of cancer; better management of the Great Barrier Reef by using remote sensor data to detect coral bleaching; and using genomics to increase wheat yields and agricultural returns.

The program also includes “expansion of the southern hemisphere’s unique nuclear capabilities to drive world-leading advances in biotechnology, agricultural, chemical and material sciences”.

The government estimates the investment will create about 500 new jobs over the next 10 years, including for science, technology, engineering and maths graduates.

Finkel said: “The interdependence between national research facilities and scientific breakthroughs is a virtuous merry-go-round that that has been given a boost in the budget to spin faster for the common good.

“The benefits include new diagnostics for earlier disease detection, micro-sensors used in advanced agriculture, and new metal alloys for construction and machinery.”

In a statement the education minister, Simon Birmingham, said the Turnbull government “is partnering with researchers across our world-leading universities and other research institutions that will deliver a stronger economy, a healthier environment and cutting-edge medicines and treatments”.

“This is the single largest and most comprehensive investment in research by any Australian government,” he said. “Australia’s prosperity depends on the work being done in these research labs today and into the future.”

The budget papers stated the injection of $1.9bn over 12 years would bring to $4.1bn the total cost of government investment in national research infrastructure projects.

The plan will be reviewed every two years to keep investments in line with research priorities.


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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