Monday, November 23, 2020

Labor renegade Joel Fitzgibbon is now openly threatening to bring down leader Anthony Albanese and take his job unless he dumps the green inner-city Left and backs workers

The old party of the workers makes a last ditch stand. Fitzgibbon has no chance. The Left worldwide is now the party of the elite

The Soviet threat once kept the elite conservative. They were the ones threatened by a Communist takeover. But once that threat was gone they went on to service their natural feelings of superiority. Because they had obtained elite status in one field they felt that they knew it all and were entitled to impose their views on other people, including the workers. And telling other people what to do is the essence of Leftism

Joel Fitzgibbon has threatened to bring down Anthony Albanese if he doesn't move Labor to the centre and focus on the economy to win back blue-collar workers instead of pandering to left-leaning inner-city voters who favour climate change action over jobs.

The Hunter MP, who quit the frontbench last week after an explosive 'dust-up' with his leader over climate policy, told Daily Mail Australia he is prepared to 'go to the next step' if the party's emphasis doesn't change soon.

'I've given him a big warning and another chance and we'll see whether he can grasp that opportunity or if we'll have to go to the next step,' he warned.

Asked how long he would give Mr Albanese to turn things around before making his next move, Mr Fitzgibbon said: 'I haven't defined a time, let's see where this take us.'

The 58-year-old, who almost lost his coal-mining seat at the 2019 election, believes Mr Albanese and some shadow ministers are too focused on climate change and worries an overly ambitious policy could cost jobs and votes in regional areas.

He was furious that senior left-wingers - whom he branded the 'cheesecloth brigade' - were calling for an 'even more ambitious climate change policy' in the wake of Joe Biden's US election win as Mr Albanese attacked Scott Morrison for refusing to adopt a 2050 net zero emissions target.

Mr Fitzgibbon, who supports the target, admitted there isn't a gulf in policy between him and Mr Albanese - but wants Labor's 'language and emphasis' to change so that resources sector workers feel less 'demonised'.

'We should spend less time talking about climate change and more time talking about people's economic welfare and their aspiration,' he told Daily Mail Australia.

'People are more concerned about whether there are jobs and paying their mortgages than they are about climate change.

'We need to stop this fascination with it and talk in the language of our traditional base.'

Mr Fitzgibbon, who has backed the coal and gas industries since his election to parliament in 1996, accused left-wingers of deliberately exaggerating the problem of climate change to impress progressive inner-city voters.

'The left, of course, want to overstate the challenge and the problem because it suits them,' he said.

The former defence minister cited government figures released in August which showed that emissions per capita were lower than in 1990 by 42.9 per cent while the emissions intensity of the economy was 64.2 per cent lower than 30 years ago.

'This is a straw man. We're trying to fix a problem that doesn't really exist. Australia is doing it's bit. Someone's got to show some leadership on this stuff,' he said.

Mr Fitzgibbon said he wants Labor to focus on jobs and getting people back to work after the Covid-19 recession put more than 1million Aussies out of a job.

'It's not just about one policy,' he said. 'It's not just about coal, it's about re-claiming the centre ground.'

One right-faction Labor politician, who supports Mr Fitzgibbon's position, told Daily Mail Australia the problem is that Mr Albanese is struggling to resist progressive figures in the shadow cabinet who are dragging him to the left.

One example was shadow foreign affairs minister Penny Wong's insistence that he should ask the prime minister to call Donald Trump and tell him to concede the election - a risky move that no other world leader contemplated, the politician said.

To win the next election and avoid a fourth defeat in a row, Mr Fitzgibbon believes Labor must claim the regional Queensland seats of Flynn, Capricornia and potentially Dawson, which all have large coal industries.

He is angry that Mr Albanese, who trailed Scott Morrison by 58 to 29 in the latest preferred prime minister Newspoll, has not visited a single coalmine after 18 months as leader.

CFMEU Queensland mining and energy president Stephen Smyth said if the Labor Party refuses to back coalminers then their votes will go to One Nation.

'Joel is great advocate and understands the issues facing coalmining generally. If Labor doesn't have an advocate in that space then One Nation will fill that void,' he told Daily Mail Australia.

Mr Smyth said his union members do not deny the science of climate change and are open-minded about the transition away from fossil fuels but worry that moving too fast will decimate their communities and destroy thousands of jobs.

Under Labor rules, 60 per cent of senators and MPs have to support overthrowing a leader before they can be replaced, but commentators say any number above half would pressure Mr Albanese to step down.

Some say Mr Fitzgibbon is more likely to act as a 'stalking horse' for a fellow right-faction leader such as Richard Marles or Jim Chalmers rather than take the reins himself.

Pushed on whether he would personally challenge for the top job, Mr Fitzgibbon laughed and said: 'It's too early to be talking about that, let's see where this takes us.'

The veteran MP last week said he has 'no plans' to run for leadership but would consider a tilt if 'drafted' by his colleagues.

Mr Fitzgibbon, who has demanded the resignation of left-wing climate spokesman Mark Butler, said several Labor politicians share his concerns.

'I have very, very significant support in the caucus for my views on the party's direction, my determination to make the party more electable,' he said.

Labor's dispute over energy policy is part of a broader challenge faced by left-of-centre parties in western democracies who are struggling to hold their traditional working class voter base while appealing to younger, more internationalist supporters who typically live in major cities.

This divide undid the UK Labour Party in December when Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson won long-held labour seats in former mining areas in the north of England with a nationalistic rallying cry to 'get Brexit done'.

A review of Australian Labor's 2019 federal election campaign found the party had become a 'natural home for diverse interests and concerns including gender equality, the LGBTQI+ community, racial equality and environmentalism'.

But it warned that 'working people experiencing the dislocation caused by new technologies and globalisation could lose faith in Labor if they do not believe Labor is responding to their issues.'

Mr Fitzgibbon believes Mr Albanese can win the next election but only if he strikes a better balance with a more moderate climate policy.

The Labor leader said he is not concerned about alienating blue-collar workers and believes Mr Morrison is isolating Australia from the rest of the world by refusing to adopt a 2050 net zero emissions target.

Frontbencher Mark Dreyfus, who represents Isaacs in Melbourne's eastern suburbs, said Mr Fitzgibbon is 'out of step' with the majority of Labor Party supporters and insisted 'we don't get to say no to climate change.'

Australia's largest union, the ACTU, supports that position. President Michelle O'Neill said climate change 'impacts every job' and 'we need to act.'

Labor's 45 per cent carbon emissions reduction target by 2030 was received badly in the Hunter and regional Queensland.

Australian Public broadcaster blames France when jihadis murder its innocents

Since the brutal assassination of French schoolteacher Samuel Paty, who was beheaded on the street by an ­Islamist for showing his students a caricature of the Prophet Mohammed, the ABC has distinguished itself by publishing one piece after the other that pins the blame for the French terrorist attacks not on the fanatics and their murderous ideology but — you guessed it — on France.

The ABC’s own news analysis, issued some two weeks after Paty’s murder, set the pace. Although presented as coolly factual, more than two-thirds of the piece was taken up with criticisms of Charlie Hebdo’s caricatures. Adding to the bias, the only expert interviewed for that piece — a long-time critic of the caricatures — was allowed to get away with claims that are frankly astonishing.

According to that hand-picked expert, there is a stark contrast ­between France, which defended Charlie Hebdo’s right to publish the caricatures as falling within the country’s constitutional guarantee of freedom of expression, and the “responsible” approach adopted by “other European nations”.

But almost all of those countries treated the caricatures exactly as France has; and far from affecting France alone, Islamist protests about caricatures of the prophet have, targeted Denmark, The Netherlands, Sweden and the UK, among many others.

Those comments, however, were just an hors d’oeuvre for an opinion piece by Myriam Francois, a UK-based convert to Islam who specialises in denouncing what she views as Islamophobia, and a follow-up article issued on Monday by Deakin University’s Fethi Mansouri and Greg Barton.

Merely to list the grievous errors in those pieces, which were not balanced by better informed points of view, would require far more space than is available. But the essence of their argument is straightforward.

In Mansouri and Barton’s words, France’s laws on secularism “marginalise” and “chastise” the country’s “religious minorities”, including its Muslims, while providing “significant support” to the country’s majority Catholic faith.

Viewed in historical perspective, that contention is laughable. Although Mansouri and Barton show little sign of having read them, the landmark statutes adopted in 1881-83, 1886, 1901 and 1905 were designed to, and did, eliminate the Catholic Church’s role in public decision-making, weakening the church dramatically.

Nor is there any evidence that the laws generally “marginalised” and “chastised” religious minorities, as Mansouri and Barton contend; on the contrary, thanks partly to their protections, Protestants and Jews thrived in France after the Second World War, rising to prominence in every sphere of public life, much as France’s Vietnamese community is doing.

It is true that the picture for Muslims, although not uniformly bleak, is grimmer. But that is hardly the fault of the secularism laws, which, as well as safeguarding the freedom to practise Islam, have been implemented neutrally, with the Council of State — the country’s powerful administrative court — rejecting any measures which discriminate against particular faiths.

For example, a suite of laws adopted in the 1880s effectively prohibited “ostentatious” signs of religion in the public sector, forcing the removal, on a massive scale, of crucifixes and other ­Catholic icons from all state schools and offices.

It was in the spirit of those prohibitions that the wearing of hijabs by Muslim students and of skullcaps by Jewish students in state schools was addressed (rightly or wrongly) in the law of March 15, 2004.

In fact, if that law, which extended the prohibition on “ostentatious” symbols to hijabs and skullcaps, was subsequently upheld by the European Court of Human Rights, it was primarily because it applied to all faiths on a neutral basis.

Mansouri and Barton then compound their error by claiming that Catholic schools in France ­ receive greater support than those of other denominations. On the contrary, the law of ­December 31, 1959 provides exactly the same (very generous) level of financial assistance to all independent schools that agree to meet the standards set down in the national curriculum, regardless of their affiliation.

Schools which refuse to teach subjects such as sexual education and evolutionary biology, as some Islamic schools choose to do, receive less public funding — but so do all non-Islamic schools which make the same choices.

Indeed, rather than arising from the principle of neutrality, many French analysts believe France’s problems with Islamism have been aggravated by the myriad derogations from that principle which have, however inadvertently, favoured the Islamists in recent years.

Over the past three decades, for example, administrative rulings have made it easier for low-­income Islamic communities to build mosques by allowing local councils and other public bodies to contribute to their financing.

At the same time, so as to ­ensure the availability of trained imams, France has facilitated their education in, and recruitment from, the Islamic world, including through state-to-state agreements.

But instead of strengthening social cohesion, as they were intended to do, those measures have encouraged the proliferation of centres preaching radical Islam, with foreign imams who were trained in fundamentalist madrassas actively promoting jihadism.

Similarly, although few public resources are devoted to consulting with other religious groups, since 1989 — when Pierre Joxe, the then minister of the interior, set up an official Islamic advisory council — governments from both sides of politics have made a sustained investment in establishing national and regional bodies to represent France’s Muslims.

To claim, as Myriam Francois does, that France’s Muslims are “rarely, if ever, consulted” on the policies that affect them is consequently absurd. What can be said, however, is that those efforts at consultation have largely backfired, creating additional platforms for the Islamists to capture and exploit.

There is nonetheless one assertion of Mansouri and Barton’s that rings true: France does indeed “ask migrants to simply adopt and adapt to the republican values and work towards becoming French citizens”, rather than remaining trapped in “hyphenated identities”.

But despite the howls of outrage it provokes from Francois, Mansouri and Barton, that goal scarcely seems illegitimate. After all, while migrants bring to their new home their individual pasts, forging a common future requires a commitment to shared values and to the undivided obligations of equal citizenship. And the stronger, deeper and more genuine the common bonds of citizenship are, the greater will be the individual differences the polity can tolerate without tearing itself apart. Liberty and loyalty are therefore not alternatives but inseparable companions.

How those bonds of citizenship should be formed and tested is, no doubt, open to debate. Yet this much is clear: advancing that debate by providing a balanced and accurate discussion is not on the ABC’s agenda.

Writing in this newspaper on Tuesday, ABC board member Joseph Gersh argued that today’s “era of fake news” has made the ABC’s role more important than ever.

It certainly has — as a purveyor, at taxpayers’ expense, of the fake news he so loudly decries.

Australian High School denies Year 12 graduate entry to formal because of unpaid fees, accused of being ‘elitist’

It's not elitist that you should be expected to pay your way

A YEAR 12 Keebra Park High School student who was told he couldn’t attend his formal on Wednesday night because of unpaid fees has slammed the school for being “elitist” and only caring about the wellbeing of a select few.

Graduating student Bailey Thompson-Rowsell, 17, said he and his long-term girlfriend Jenna had been looking forward to the attending the event all year.

But he said because his mother, who has gone through recent personal hardship, is behind in her school fees, a staff member told him in front of his peers he couldn’t buy a ticket.

“I met every other requirement and then was told I wasn’t allowed to go because my fees weren’t up to date, I felt kinda hopeless,” said Bailey.

“Most of the footy boys have been given scholarships to pay off the rest of their school fees but when it comes to the other students like me, who have also had to work hard all year to graduate, it’s like no one cares.”

Bailey, who intends to get a carpentry apprenticeship after graduating, said he was gutted he was unable to be at his girlfriend’s side during the formal.

His mother said she tried to get financial support a few years ago to see if her son could access indigenous funding through the school but was told all indigenous support had been stopped at the school and that “elders had been fired”.

“With my son well aware of our financial issues, he took it on himself to speak to the principal in the middle of the year who informed him he would be able to attend so long as his attendance was good and he passes,” she said.

“He worked so hard to pass, he’s a good kid.

“Last week, after assistance from his aunty and uncle he had the money to pay for a formal ticket, but when he went to purchase the ticket he was informed he couldn’t go due to unpaid fees.

“This was obviously very embarrassing as other students were around.”

Despite numerous attempts to contact the school to sort something out, Bailey’s mother said she had not heard whether her son would be allowed into the formal.

She said the school even suggested her son should pull out of school altogether. “But he didn’t want to leave and he not only finished the year but finished before all the other students in his class,” she said.

“I personally think this is social discrimination at its best and this only proves to disadvantaged young people no matter how hard you work in school it still will not be enough to celebrate with your peers and not feel like as my son would say a poor kid.”

Hyundai Kona Electric car recalled in Australia

One of the world’s biggest car makers has issued an urgent recall of its flagship electric car after some serious issues were reported.

The lithium-ion battery in the Kona Electric SUV may have internal damage or the battery management system control software may cause an electrical short circuit after charging.

If this does happen then the vehicle’s battery may catch fire, which could result in serious injury or death to occupants or bystanders and damage to property, according to the company.

Hyundai suggests the affected vehicles should not be parked in a garage. They should ideally park in an open space away from flammable materials to minimise further damage if the vehicle does catch fire.

Owners should also only recharge their vehicles to no more than 90 per cent to further minimise the risk.

Close to 800 vehicles built between 2018 and 2020 are affected, and Hyundai is getting in touch with owners and directing them to their nearest Hyundai dealership to have the issue fixed.




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