Friday, March 26, 2021

High-profile Qld eisteddfod’s sudden shut down

This is very sad. The Brisbane Eisteddfod has been fading for some time. But for many years it was an opportunity for country people to send their children to the "big smoke" where they could get their talents a wider audience

I well remember the excitement at my country school many years ago when it was announced that some kid was off to the eisteddfod. The teacher and mother concerned were always as proud as punch and the kids were full of anticipation

There is still a Gold Coast eisteddfod:

The Queensland arts world has been left shocked by the announcement that one of the state’s premier Eisteddfods was folding due to a lack of support.

The long-running Brisbane Eisteddfod has announced it will fold after 129 years of performances.

The Eisteddfod, which every year provides young performers the chance to showcase their talents in music, dance and drama, has confirmed the closure due to a “loss of relevance”.

In a statement on the Brisbane Eisteddfod site, the executive management committee said it “had taken the hard decision to formally close down Brisbane Eisteddfod Inc. as a functioning performing arts competition platform.”

“The decision was not made lightly and is not based on financial or resource availability. A discouraged internal level of commitment and energy and a lack of external understanding and appreciation of dedication, along with a demonstrated lack of interest by the eisteddfod and arts community in maintaining Brisbane Eisteddfod as viable, has further exacerbated its demise as a valuable opportunity,” the statement said.

“Numerous calls for support over social media and the press in recent years has also denied us results.

“Recent rebranding presented Brisbane Eisteddfod with a fresh new look however the anticipated new volunteer interest did not follow.

“From a membership of in excess of 100 some 40 years ago to just 10 over recent years, it’s this in the first instance that has contributed to our position.

“We have always ensured that the competitions were first and foremost in our minds as that’s the staple of our Constitution.

“For Dance, Speech & Drama, Vocal, Instrumental and to a far lesser extent, Choral and Choral Speaking, it is indeed a sad final entry!”

Queensland’s shadow minister for the arts Dr Christian Rowan said the demise of the eisteddford was a huge loss for the Brisbane community.

“This is incredibly sad news, given that the Eisteddfod has been an invaluable opportunity over many years for young performers to demonstrate their talents in music, dance and drama.

“All levels of Government should urgently consider any forms of assistance and support,” Dr Rowan said.


Gender equality watchdog warns of ‘mob mentality’ against men in war against workplace sexual harassment

The federal government’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) director Libby Lyons called for more respect for women at work, but warned against demonising all men after an avalanche of sexual harassment allegations aired this month.

“Some of the worst bullying I’ve seen in workplaces has come from women,’’ she told News Corp Australia.

“We have to be very, very careful that we don’t fall into a mob mentality and mass hysteria. “I believe there are many more good men out there than men who treat people poorly.’’

Ms Lyons said she was “outraged’’ by workplace harassment, and called for more women in top management roles to ensure diversity and prevent “groupthink’’ by men in power. “I am not here bashing men around the head,’’ she said.

“This is about respect for everyone.

“There are many good men who try incredibly hard and are probably worried about standing up and calling things out – they probably feel they are in the minority.’’

Ms Lyons said some men feared “that if they speak up they’ll be shouted down’’.

“We must ensure we are not lumping all men into the same basket,’’ she said. “This is not about pitting men against women, this is about ensuring we point out we all need to be treated respectfully.

“We must ensure we have workplaces that mirror the communities in which we live – this means we embrace young and old people, people of different cultural backgrounds, people with disabilities, and women.‘’

Ms Lyons said women’s revelations of workplace harassment were “outrageous’’. “Goodness me, what happened to basic kindness?’’ she said.

“It‘s outrageous. People get into positions of power and they take the privilege for granted.

“There’s a lot of pent-up frustration and discontent, in some cases leading to anger in women, because they feel they’re unable to speak up and have been unfairly and unjustly treated, and in fact mistreated, in many cases.

“Women have been fearful to speak up because for decades we’ve had law enforcement, a legal system and a justice system dominated by men and women have not had a fair go when they’ve been brave enough to step up to make reports.’’

Ms Lyons said harassment and discrimination against women at work was “a symptom of an embedded culture we have lived in for generations’’. “That is a culture where the man is the breadwinner and responsible for bringing home the bacon and the woman has been the happy homemaker,’’ she said.

“That all changed as more and more women wanted to have a career.

Ms Lyons was speaking before today’s launch of new research by the WGEA and Bankwest Curtin Economics centre, predicting that Australian women will take a quarter of a century to earn as much as men.

Men still earn, on average, 20 per cent more than women working full-time.

Ms Lyons said more women need to “sit at the decision-making table’’.

“If we have more workplaces that have more women – not just white women either but more from all sorts of backgrounds and experience and ages – sitting around the decision-making table, they’ll be able to feed in their ideas and we’ll get better decision-making and more respectful workplaces,’’ she said.

“We need to challenge groupthink.’’


Home battery incentives proposed as way to bypass solar power traffic jams

A deluge of rooftop solar power pouring into the electricity network is causing network traffic jams, prompting the energy market rule-maker to propose new regulations to smooth the torrent of household power into the grid and offer incentives to drive the use of home batteries.

Networks were built decades ago when power only flowed from big coal and gas-fired generators directly to customers’ homes. Now power lines are groaning under the strain of Australia’s world-leading solar power installation, which is forecast to grow from 2.6 million energy customers, or 20 per cent of households, to 50 per cent in the next decade.

The energy market rule-maker says new regulations are needed to stop customers copping bigger bills as the network is weighed down by more rooftop solar power.
The energy market rule-maker says new regulations are needed to stop customers copping bigger bills as the network is weighed down by more rooftop solar power. CREDIT:NICK MOIR

Currently, network operators are scrambling to curb the volume of power flowing back into the grid by limiting how much homeowners can sell into it, restraining the returns they make on their investment into panels that cost thousands of dollars.

The Australian Energy Market Commission released proposed rule changes on Thursday to allow networks to offer financial incentives to home owners who avoid sending power to the grid in the middle of the day but export it at night instead. This would encourage greater uptake of home batteries, which could store power generated during the day.

It also made a more controversial proposal that would allow networks to charge solar panel owners for sending power to the grid when the network is most congested, such as in the middle of a sunny day.

In Victoria, excess supply is already causing four of the state’s five network operators to impose solar export limits on households with rooftop panels to prevent disruption to the state power grid.

The AEMC said its rule changes would prevent the need to invest in new network capacity to cope with an excess of power supply. That would limit network charges, which comprise about half the cost of retail electricity bills.

“One option to deal with more solar traffic – building more poles and wires – is very expensive and ends up on all our energy bills whether we have solar or not,” AEMC chief executive Benn Barr said.

“It’s important to do this fairly. We want to avoid a first-come, best dressed system because that limits the capacity for more solar into the grid.”

The AEMC modelled likely scenarios that showed that under the proposed changes an average household customer — including those without rooftop panels — would get a small reduction of up to $25 in their annual bill. But customers with solar panels would take a small hit on their earnings.

A customer with a typical solar system with a capacity of between two and four kilowatts, who on average earn $645 a year for sending power to the grid, would receive $30 less under the rule changes.

The AEMC warned a “do-nothing” approach would see congestion grow and cause restrictions on power export. If implemented for 10 per cent of the time for customers with an average size system, they could see a reduction in annual revenue of around $30, or $80 if exports are restricted for 25 per cent of the time.

The proposed rule changes don’t mandate the price options to customers, which would be left up to network operators to agree with the market regulator.


Frustrated driver sick of climate change protesters blocking his commute to work rips down their signs - before the police arrest HIM instead of clearing the road

A man was tackled to the ground by police after he jumped out of his car and ripped a large banner from the hands of climate change protesters.

Dennis Huts, the former head of the Perth chapter of the United Patriots Front, was later charged with several offences over the incident in the city's CBD on Tuesday.

The 52-year-old had stopped at a red traffic light on Wellington Street as Extinction Rebellion protesters stood in the middle of the road holding the banner which was emblazoned with 'climate and ecological emergency'.

Video footage shows a viably angry Mr Huts got out his car and approached the protesters while yelling 'Get out of my f**king way' and furiously shaking his finger, before grabbing the banner and walking to the side of the road.

Several police officers who were keeping a close watch on the protest quickly pounced on Mr Huts, telling him 'you're under arrest'.

Mr Huts was dragged to the ground by officers as he demanded 'why don't you f**king deal with them?'.

He was bundled into the back of a police van while surrounded by five cops. One officer suffered a serious knee injury during the arrest.

Mr Huts was later charged with common assault, obstructing officers and disorderly behaviour.

He told Nine News he had no issue with protesters but took umbrage at them blocking traffic.

'I've been involved in activism myself - conservative activism. So I support all of that,' Mr Huts said.

'What I don't support is people stopping other people from going about their lawful business.'

In January 2019, Mr Huts outed himself as the man behind a banner reading 'it's OK to be white' which was unveiled in front of thousands of fans at a Big Bash cricket game.

The One Nation supporter said he and a group of others left the sign hanging on the stands to 'protest against the on-going attacks by the progressive left establishment' as he urged Australians to 'embrace the glory of colonisation'.

Mr Huts arrest came on the second day of planned Extinction Rebellion protests in Perth.




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