Thursday, June 06, 2019

Facts vs. fearmongering in Australia

Forget GetUp, It’s Corporate Climate Bullies We Should Fear

If there was a gold medal for corporate climate change hypocrisy, the American company Ben & Jerry’s Holdings Inc. would be hard to beat.

Ben & Jerry’s is a wholly owned subsidiary of the giant foreign multinational corporation Unilever, and during the recent Federal election they ran a marketing campaign: “Let’s make sure Climate is the #1 election issue in Australia”.

Their advertising campaign was full of the typical climate lies and deceptions, with this foreign multinational effectively calling for Australians to vote for Labor and The Greens.

However, the first thing that anyone that really wants to ‘vote for the climate’ should do is to stop buying Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

Firstly, dairy cows are one of Australia’s largest single sources of Co2 emissions. In fact, Australia’s herd of dairy cows (nine million tonnes) emit more Co2 than the Liddell coal-fired power station (around 7.5 million tonnes) does.

Therefore, you are part of the climate cult that believes we can stop bad weather, it should be just as important to you that dairy products (including ice-cream) come off the menu, as it is to close down coal-fired power stations.

Secondly, the manufacturing, distribution and retailing of ice-cream products are highly energy intensive, especially since frozen Ben & Jerry’s ice cream must be kept at temperatures of -10°F (-23°C) throughout the distribution chain.

Thirdly, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is manufactured in the USA and it has to be shipped in special refrigerated transport all the way to Australia (thank you fossil fuels).

Advertising gurus at foreign multinational corporations like Ben & Jerry’s are playing with fire.

With their deceptive, misleading and breathtakingly hypocritical advertising campaign, they are holding hands with anti-capitalists that would seek to destroy them at first opportunity.

They are effectively feeding the crocodile, hoping it will eat them last.

But in the meantime, what a better way for the sanctimonious to virtue signal on the climate (and those opposed to hypocrisy and foreign interference in Australian election campaigns) – give up buying imported foreign-made Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream.


Shouted down by the crusading voice of division

Are we becoming a country divided by race? In the lead-up to tonight’s State of Origin game in Brisbane, some indigenous rugby league players have said they will not sing the Australian national anthem. That is their right in a free country. But their actions might liberate some non-indigenous people to boycott the recently invented “welcome to country” routines that precede so many events these days, from board meetings to school assemblies. Respect is a two-way street.

The racially charged actions of a few league players also will be noticed by Australians curious about the increasingly zealous push for an indigenous Voice to Parliament. It is dividing Australians into two classes instead of unifying us a nation. It confers a special class of governance privileges on a small group of Australians. Whereas the Senate is a house of review for the interests of all, the voice is a house of review for one class of people only.

Worse, it divides Australians on racial grounds. The criterion for these special governance privileges depends on the colour of a person’s skin. To repeat my favourite quote from US Chief Justice John Roberts, “the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race”. Advocates of the voice want to entrench permanent discrimination on the basis of race in our Constitution. They have no answer to that fundamentally retrograde step.

The forces behind a voice ignore two big lessons from the 2019 election. First, Scott Morrison’s quiet Australians see through bad policies. Second, inner-city elites and corporate virtue-signallers who try to ram bad ideas through the Australian public by pretending those ideas are inevitable or morally irresistible will fail. The noisier activists become, the more sceptical quiet Australians will become of them and their cause.

The voice is growing into a crusade, its moralising language thrusting us forward to the promise of “a better future”. The proposal, relying on emotion, not empirical analysis, is becoming a textbook case of good intentions that will be brought asunder by dreadful outcomes. Proponents will not be able to plead unintended consequences because many are foreseeable right now.

It would be bad enough if the voice were temporary, designed to last only until the gap in living standards was addressed, or if it could be amended, repaired or replaced if it did not work as intended or if it became unnecessary. But constitutional entrenchment means that for all intents and purposes it cannot easily be changed or replaced. Racially entrenched discrimination will become a permanent feature of Australian life because social justice activists will portray any attempt to reform the voice as the manifestation of evil.

That we have already tried an experimental voice, and it was a dreadful failure, won’t be forgotten by quiet Australians. Who can forget the Australian and Torres Strait Islander Commission, the rorting, dysfunction and chaos? The voice could be worse because it will be legally entrenched; ATSIC on constitutional steroids.

While we don’t yet have the foggiest idea of the proposed powers of the voice, voters are right to be sceptical. The voice will clog up the arteries of our system of government because legislation will have to go through three bodies, not two. Though proponents say there will be no veto power over legislation, the likelihood is a de facto veto power because no government will be brave enough to say no to the voice. What recourse then will voters have to fix this dysfunction? It is hard enough to get major reforms through the House of Representatives and the Senate — adding the voice is a recipe for paralysis.

An elected body based on race necessarily puts a premium on Aboriginality. Fraught questions then emerge about who is entitled to vote and who is entitled to be elected to the new race-based body. As more indigenous Australians intermarry and integrate, will tiny percentages of indigenous heritage suffice? The great risk is we end up, in effect, with an indigenous House of Lords that confers power and privilege on some Australians, and it becomes ever more unrepresentative and privileged over time.

Australians will likely see through a proposal that creates two classes of people. A bad idea is a bad idea no matter how warm and welcoming it appears at first glance. And those quiet Australians who re-elected the Coalition are a sobering reminder not to mistake noise for numbers.

Last week, the noise came from a small group of Australia’s leading corporate virtue-signallers, led by the likes of BHP, Rio Tinto, Woodside, Qantas, Lend Lease and IAG, which published full-page ads in national newspapers proclaiming in huge type, “We support the Uluru Statement from the Heart”.

The Uluru Statement asserts Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander co-sovereignty with the Crown over Australia and demands a First Nations voice enshrined in the Constitution, as well as a Makarrata Commission to supervise agreement-making between governments and First Nations. It is a big call to offer an unqualified, unambiguous expression of support for Aboriginal co-sovereignty, a constitutionally entrenched voice and a Makarrata Commission.

It is also reckless given that none of the signatories to the ad has the slightest idea about issues such as the powers of the voice, its composition, term, size, method of election or appointment, eligibility for membership or voting, funding or termination.

To be sure, the advertisement includes some weasel words in fine print about the need to develop specific proposals, but the headline makes it clear that the signatories are on board for whatever pops out at the end. Australians who own shares will understand that these companies are spending shareholders’ mon­ey to sign them up to whatever pig in a poke emerges from the process. These boards have made it near impos­sible for the company to object in future, as the proposals are more carefully scrutinised for intended and unintended consequences.

What if the final proposal is a disaster for resource companies such as BHP or Rio or an oil and gas company such as Woodside?

What if the voice has even a de facto veto power over new exploration or production or over legislation governing exploration or production? How can these companies give such a level of support to this undeveloped, unknown mirage? Committing this level of support to an unknown model, no matter what its implications for shareholders, looks potentially negligent or in breach of fiduciary duty, or both. And all this from companies conspicuously silent about the disastrous proposal to strip rebates of franking credits from many of their pensioner shareholders.

With its new-found vigilance on governance, one can only hope the Australian Securities & Investments Commision will investigate board processes of these companies to see what due diligence they did, and how they complied with their duties, in deciding to give unqualified support to an unknown body that may decimate shareholder value.

Thank god the final say on the proposal for a race-based body in parliament will rest with Morrison’s quiet Australians going into a little booth and casting their secret ballot. The activists can’t reach them there.


Labor faces key test in religious discrimination bill

The introduction of a religious discrimination bill will be a precedent-setting moment for the Australian parliament and is an early priority for the Morrison government, posing a test for the Coalition and a moment of truth for Labor.

The bill, an election pledge from Scott Morrison, follows the Prime Minister’s commitment last December — this involved an act to make religious discrimination unlawful, to create a new statutory position of freedom of religion commissioner in the Australian Human Rights Commission, and to require the AHRC to emphasise the importance of religious freedom. These are historic steps. They address a significant defect in our law — the failure to prevent discrimination against religion in the way there are laws to prevent racial and sexual discrimination.

The bill will be introduced by Attorney-General Christian Porter in the opening sitting weeks of the new parliament.

It is designed to implement the central recommendation of the Ruddock review into religious freedom. The government has a mandate for the law. Porter said it was an issue during the election campaign and the pledge is “obviously one we’re going to fulfil”.

The Labor Party has made no commitment to a religious discrimination law. During the same-sex marriage debate it refused to concede any problem, inhibition or discrimination against people holding religious views. It opposed every effort to protect religious freedom during that debate. In recent years its public rhetoric has been overwhelmingly directed towards protecting LGBTI rights and not religious rights.

The many statements from Christian and Catholic leaders highlight their lack of trust in Labor’s stance on religious freedom. Asked about Labor’s position on the proposed law, legal affairs spokesman Mark Dreyfus said: “Labor will examine any legislation the government puts forward. We will fully consult with people of faith — as we always have done on any issue concerning religion — through this process.” On May 27, appearing on the ABC’s Q&A program, Dreyfus said: “The Ruddock review concluded that religious freedom in Australia is not in imminent peril. Now, I agree. I don’t think that there is any present great risk to religious freedom.”

The new law will be seen as testimony to Morrison’s politics, beliefs and election victory. Labor in recent years has displayed not the slightest interest in any such religious protection law. Will the party now change its mind? This is going to be a difficult internal debate for Labor, given the extent to which progressive opinion in recent years has been hostile to or uninterested in fresh measures to bolster religious rights.

This is a benchmark issue for Labor — it must stand its ground or shift. It is a test of Labor values on an issue basic to people of faith and to multicultural communities. Recent remarks from a line of ALP frontbenchers — mainly from western Sydney, where they suffered anti-Labor swings — assert that Labor must now decisively demonstrate to people of faith that the party is their friend.

Former Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen said it had often been raised with him “that people of faith no longer feel that progressive politics cares about them”, adding that Labor needs “to tackle this urgently”. Any Labor decision to oppose the law or foment resistance or seek amendments such as eliminating the new post of religious commissioner would confirm the party’s inability to change despite the election warnings. In this sense the new law is an opportunity — the chance for Labor to prove it is rethinking.

Being realistic, Labor is going to be wedged. Have no doubt about the pressure Labor will face from the progressives. The Greens issued a media statement last week repudiating “radical” action to bolster religious rights as a “barefaced attempt to write a blank cheque” to discriminate against LGBTI people. The Greens called on Labor “to stand with us against expanding discrimination under the guise of religious freedom”.

Much depends on the nature of the law. The Morrison-Porter six-page joint statement from December last year gave a firm signal about its direction. This is a moderate approach founded in orthodoxy. It will not satisfy the best hopes of the conservative wing of the Liberal Party.

It does not, as Porter made clear last week, address the Israel Folau issue, with the government interfering in terms of employment contracts. With his election victory Morrison will have the authority to carry the day within the Coalition parties and uphold his strategy of governing “from the middle”.

In their December statement, Morrison and Porter flagged the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: “Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.” They quoted the Ruddock review, saying: “It is not a protection for religions. It is a protection, a human right for the religious, the non-­religious and those who subscribe to other systems of beliefs.”

They identified two issues. First, to proceed in an orthodox way and treat religion as an attribute to be protected — as sexual orientation, age and race are currently protected — by putting into the law a range of circumstances where it would be unlawful to discriminate on the basis of religion.

Second, they said freedom of religion is “one right among many others and so, in practice, this right coexists with a broad suite of other human rights”. The crucial point, however, is that “freedom of religion is not subordinate or secondary to other rights”. Much progressive opinion rejects this position.

From this conclusion flows the need to confront the inferior place religious protection occupies in the law and, to uphold this principle, there must be “enhanced” legal protection for religious freedom by giving it “more weight in our community than it currently receives”. While the previous parliament was partly dominated by the struggle over same-sex marriage and the eventual passage of the law, the coming parliament will focus on the related need to bolster legal and administrative processes for religious freedom. This will extend over two stages.

Porter’s 2019 religious discrimination bill will be followed by a 2020 bill resulting from the government’s reference to the Australian Law Reform Commission for advice on changes to the Sex Discrimination Act to ensure students cannot be locked out of school on the basis of sexual orientation, while also reconciling this with ­retaining the right of religious schools to pursue the ethos of their faith.

This follows pledges both sides made during the Wentworth by-election. Yet the Morrison government and the Shorten Labor Party were deadlocked on this question at the end of last year. Their inability to find a legislative solution between competing rights revealed the chasm separating the parties on their values and how to balance competing rights. This was despite their professed adherence to the same goals — religious freedom and the rights of LGBTI students and staff. This conflict overhung the election campaign. It was not raised explicitly — thankfully — but remains a ticking political time bomb. Ultimately, Morrison’s position will be simple and practical. He will say he wants bipartisanship. He will say, as he did last December, that our laws must reflect our values — that means while discrimination against students is unacceptable, religious educational institutions must be able to “teach and maintain rules consistent with their faith”.

The schools cannot accept a situation where a teacher becomes an activist and, relying on anti-discrimination law, openly undermines the faith of the institution. This means, of course, accepting the right of religious schools to teach a view of marriage now different to the law of the land, and accepting their right to employ staff to further their mission.

Labor has marched a long way down the road of becoming a progressive party on cultural issues. Turning around will not be easy. But the religious discrimination act will constitute the first such test on the cultural front. It is true that religion is in decline — but at more than 50 per cent, there are more religious believers in the nation today than people casting a primary vote for the Labor Party.


'Key growth area': Sydney to get a new selective school

Leftists hate selective schools.  It conflicts with their insane belief that all men are equal.  But selective schools do ensure that the kids in them get full access to the available educational materials and opportunities, something that is often less so in chaotic mainstream schools

A new selective school will be built in south-western Sydney to help meet "strong demand", with fewer than 30 per cent of applicants currently getting a place at NSW's academically selective high schools.

The new school is to cater to families in the "key growth area", Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.

"We know many students are travelling long distances to attend selective schools," Ms Berejiklian said.

"There is strong demand for selective schools, with around 15,000 applications for only 4200 places. This new school will provide another convenient local option for these students and their families."

There will be 49 fully and partially selective schools in NSW once the new school is built, the highest number in any Australian state or territory.

The announcement of the new school comes as the government begins overhauling the selective school entry test to make it less coachable and more equitable for students from lower socioeducational backgrounds and other groups that are under-represented.

The latest entry test results show minimum entry scores are at their highest for most selective schools, meaning that it is harder than ever to get into these schools.

Jae Jung, a senior lecturer in the University of NSW's school of education and a lead researcher of gifted education, welcomed the announcement.

"It's great that the government is promoting selective schooling in a comparatively disadvantaged area,'' Dr Jung said. ''The message is that we're going to look after gifted students across all socioeconomic backgrounds, who may not have the opportunities that other students may have.''

However, president of the NSW Teachers' Federation Maurie Mulheron said opening a new selective school is "a disgraceful decision".

"Selective schools have had an adverse impact on secondary schools wherever they exist,'' he said. ''They impact enrolments, social integration and broader curriculum options in many schools.

"For the government to announce this with no evidence on the benefit of selective schools and in the face of how negative these old-fashioned institutions are is incredible."

Labor's education spokesman Jihad Dib also said a new selective school "is not the way to go".

"It reinforces a two-tiered education system and ultimately, it's an exclusive school, so kids living in that suburb might not be able to go to that school," Mr Dib said.

"I want parents to be confident that their children will receive the best education at their local school."

NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell's predecessor Rob Stokes, was also critical of selective schools and told the The Sydney Morning Herald's Schools Summit in February that "segregating schools according to labels has created more of a problem that we have to deal with rather than resolving the fundamental problem".

The NSW government has also announced two new initiatives aimed at lifting academic performance across all public schools.

The high-potential and gifted program will promote personalised learning for students who show talent in particular areas and "give them a chance to learn above their age".

The ''bump it up'' program will be expanded to all government schools and will give each school tailored targets for improving literacy, numeracy, wellbeing, equity and attendance.

The program is in 137 schools and more than one-quarter of those have achieved their targets in the first year.

Ms Mitchell said the two state-wide programs will support all students in reaching their potential.

"NSW is the largest provider of public education in Australia, and we are committed to [ensuring] that every student, from Gunnedah to Gordon, has access to a top-quality education," she said.

Dr Jung said having a high number of selective schools as well as initiatives in comprehensive schools will mean all gifted students are able to perform to the best of their abilities.

"I applaud these initiatives,'' Dr Jung said. ''It's great that all these options are being provided for gifted students, so you've got them catered to in selective school settings and you've also got opportunities for gifted students to be catered to in comprehensive schools.''


Australian brewery in hot water over "homophobic" Facebook post - before company issues grovelling apology

An Australian brewery has been forced to apologise after sparking fury over an 'incredibly offensive' Facebook post.

Southern Bay Brewery, in Victoria, posted the 'beer meme' on Monday night, but within an hour they were forced to remove it.

The post read: 'Non-alcoholic beer - you mean gay lemonade?'

Social media users flooded the Facebook page, calling the brewery a 'disgrace' for the homophobic image.

The company then issued a grovelling apology, where they begged for forgiveness.

'This was posted without any thought whatsoever and no offence was intended. I apologise unreservedly,' the post read.


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

1 comment:

Paul said...

Everyone knows that Gay lemonade is really the Bacardi Breezer.