Tuesday, May 18, 2021

The bigots are out in full cry about the Sikh religion

See the passion here


where broadcaster Chris Smith said: 'I don't think it's hard, it's not 1621, it's 2021, it is Australia, it is modern day. You don't put knives in the hands of immature human beings.' What sort of backward religious belief is this in the modern day? It's dangerous.'

The kirpan is an issue in most countries but banning it is asking Sikhs to abandon their faith. Compromises are usually reached, such as mandating that it should not be sharpened

A fiery debate has erupted on the Today Show about whether children should be able to take religious weapons to school after a teenager was allegedly stabbed with a kirpan in Sydney - as the NSW Department of Education bans the practice.

A teenage boy who nearly killed a classmate during a playground fight was legally allowed to carry the 'knife' he used in the attack on the school's grounds - because it was classified a 'religious weapon' by the education department.

The sword must be carried by baptised Sikhs at all times to remind them of their duty to 'uphold and defend the truth courageously' and was permitted on school grounds in NSW at the time of the alleged attack.

Karl Stefanovic on Tuesday admitted it was a 'difficult one' to debate as it was 'school safety versus religious freedom'.

Former opposition leader Bill Shorten, who was also appearing on the show, then interjected urging for caution.

'I'd be careful about saying the Sikh's have got a backward religious belief,' he said.

'I think it's not an easy issue but we've got to be careful because it's a different religion to what we are used to.'

NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell on Tuesday morning announced religious weapons would be banned at public schools across the state from Wednesday.

'That will come into place from tomorrow,' she told 2GB's Ben Fordham.

'I feel much more confident knowing that we put that than in place as a policy … while we work through the legal issues that exist with the act.'

The ban will apply to all students, staff and visitors to NSW public schools.

'In the interim I've also asked the department to send advice out to our schools today updating our policy to say that knives for religious purposes will be banned in government schools,' Ms Mitchell said.

Ms Mitchell had spoken to representatives from the Sikh community about the stabbing and they were distressed, she said.

'We need to act and I think that's in line with community sentiment and it's also in line with my responsibilities as minister,' she added.

'I have to make sure that our schools are safe places for our students and staff and that's why we need to take this action.'

Her announcement comes after the alleged stabbing incident at Glenwood High School in Sydney's north-west on May 6.

The 14-year-old boy allegedly stabbed another male student, 16, twice in the stomach with the miniature sword called a kirpan.

The 16-year-old boy was rushed to hospital while the other student, 14, was charged with two counts of wounding a person with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

He is on bail and is due back in court in July. Meanwhile, his alleged victim was only released to hospital on Monday, 11 days after the attack.

At the time of the alleged attack he kirpan was exempt from the NSW Education Department's ban on knifes as school.

The policy states that students caught with other types of knifes face suspensions of up to 20 days and even being expelled.

The kirpan, which looks like miniature sword and is generally kept in a holster, is considered one of the 'five k's' of Sikhism.

The others are maintaining Kesh through uncut hair, wearing a Kara (steel bracelet), carrying a Kanga (a wooden comb) and wearing Kacchaera (cotton underwear).

A paper submitted by the Australian Sikh Association seeking an amendment to the Anti Discrimination (Religious Freedoms and Equality) Bill 2020 claimed Sikhs were often discriminated against for carrying a kirpan.

The Australian Sikh Association also claimed three 21-year-old Sikhs were discriminated against while attending an interfaith public event at NSW Parliament House in 2016.

A boy allegedly stabbed at Glenwood High School on May 6 is yet to return to school. Pictured are police at the scene +10
A boy allegedly stabbed at Glenwood High School on May 6 is yet to return to school. Pictured are police at the scene

They said the trio were refused entry due to carrying their Kirpans, as staff explained there was protocol in place which required any practicing Sikh to obtain prior approval to visit with the weapon.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she was shocked to learn students could take knives to school and said it didn't pass the 'common sense test'.

Ms Mitchell earlier said she and Attorney-General Mark Speakman were urgently reviewing the operation of laws relating to children carrying knives for genuine religious reasons.

'Student and staff safety has to come first, and that's why I have asked for advice and I think we have to look at that exemption, and if there is more we need to do,' Ms Mitchell said.


China’s not winning its trade war with Australia

It must be a source of increasing frustration for China’s bureaucrats that its own economic successes are overwhelming their efforts to sanction Australia for our less than diplomatic commentary on the origins of the pandemic and China’s treatment of the Uighurs in the Xinjiang region.

While the sanctions on barley, wine, lobsters, coal and other products have bitten, they have been far more than offset by China’s insatiable demand for iron ore and LNG and the spiking prices – in iron ore’s case, soaring prices – of both.

If this is a trade war, Australia is winning its first phase quite handsomely.

The iron ore price is above $US200 a tonne and LNG prices have rebounded from the pandemic to levels last seen two years ago.

In coal, the Australian producers have responded to China’s bans by shifting their exports elsewhere, particularly to India. While the producers might not be getting the same prices as before, China is being forced to buy lower quality coal at higher prices while its competitors benefit from the windfall of high quality Australian coal at lower prices.

It’s not that China hasn’t tried to do something about its reliance on Australian iron ore and LNG.

Last month it announced a series of changes to tariffs on raw materials used in its steel industry to encourage imports of pig iron and scrap steel, along with moves to reduce domestic steel production and encourage domestic iron ore production.

In the context of record steel production – and a function of China’s success in recovering quickly from the worst of the pandemic last year and the strengthening economic recovery emerging in other major economies – the measures are likely to have only modest effects.

In the longer term scrap metal might have a more material role in China’s steel industry – China wants to double production from its electric arc furnaces over the next four or five years – but its ambitions will have only modest impacts on its demand for iron ore and iron ore prices in the medium term.

Along with a crackdown on iron ore futures trading last week – the authorities vowed to punish market manipulation – the actions helped slightly lower the iron ore price, from more than $US230 a tonne to around $US210 a tonne. Iron ore started this year priced at less than $US160 a tonne, having traded down to around $US60 a tonne just over a year ago.

China’s reliance on Australian iron ore for almost two-thirds of its steel industry’s requirements and Vale’s continuing struggles to restore production after its tailing dam disasters and pandemic-related disruptions in Brazil means there is little it can do to curtail purchases of Australian iron ore without hurting its steel industry and economy.

Even if it can develop new sources of supply, with the giant Simandou resource in Guinea the most obvious, they would be higher-cost (development of the infrastructure for Simandou could cost the best part of $US20 billion), are nearly a decade away and would in any event probably represent only about 10 per cent of China’s existing demand.

The big Australian producers – Rio Tinto, BHP and Fortescue – are the low-cost producers and have a significant cost advantage over Brazil because of their proximity to China and therefore their lower shipping costs.

Recognition of that freight advantage and the move to index-related – market, rather than contract -- pricing of iron ore in the last decade transformed the market for iron ore, undermining the leverage buyers had when determining the volumes and prices of contracts in the past.

LNG has different issues. Australia is almost neck and neck with Qatar as the world’s leading producer as China looks to LNG to reduce its usage of coal for energy production.

Despite the damage it has done to some export categories with its tariffs and other sanctions, China hasn’t been able to hurt the Australian producers of the two big commodities that really matter.

China could buy more LNG from Qatar and the US (it has a commitment under the Trump era trade truce to buy more LNG from the US, is in talks with Qatar about taking equity in the world’s biggest new project and has been expanding its relationship with Turkmenistan) but LNG is an internationally-traded commodity and demand within the Asia Pacific is strong enough for Australian cargoes to be redeployed elsewhere, as has happened in coal.

A subsidiary complicating factor is that China’s state-owned energy companies have big, multi-billion-dollar equity stakes and long term contracts with the major Australian LNG exporters, so damaging the Australian industry would damage China’s own SOEs.

Two of the three big export projects on Curtis Island in Queensland, for instance, have Chinese SOEs as foundation shareholders and customers.

Sinopec has a 25 per cent interest and was the foundation customer in the Origin Energy-led GLNG consortium while CNOOC has a 50 per cent interest in the first train of Shell’s QGC project. PetroChina is a partner with Shell in the Arrow Energy joint venture. Woodside has long term contracts with Chinese companies.

China has been trying to withdraw the pandemic-related stimulus it injected into its economy last year as part of a wider effort to deleverage and decarbonise and improve the productivity of its industrial base.

That includes efforts to limit steel production. It has targeted a reduction in steel output from the record 1.2 billion tonnes it produced last year and has threatened mills that don’t conform to its directives.

That hasn’t, however, stopped production from setting monthly records this year, probably because the mills are experiencing strong margins.

There’s also a suspicion that China is building up its stocks of vital commodities amid rising geopolitical tensions which, if true, might mean the spikes in commodity prices have a transitory element to them.

It is not in the long term interests of either Australia or China for the diplomatic and trade relationships to continue to deteriorate but in the meantime, despite the damage it has done to some export categories with its tariffs and other sanctions, China hasn’t been able to hurt the Australian producers of the two big commodities that really matter.

Indeed, apart from its purchases of near-record levels of Australian iron ore and LNG at, in iron ore’s case, near-record prices, its actions have prompted Australian companies -- from wine makers to coal miners to LNG exporters – to seek out new markets and reduce their dependence on China which, given the recent relationship, is probably a positive for Australia’s long term national interests.


Qld Catholic schools commit to being 100 per cent powered by renewable energy by 2038

More than 100 Queensland Catholic schools are set to “go green” after striking a deal to be 100 per cent powered by renewable energy. Here’s when they aim to achieve it.

Under the new arrangement with energy provider ENGIE Australia & New Zealand, Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane buildings – including 115 schools and family services sites – will soon be powered by green electricity.

Brisbane Catholic Education deputy executive director Doug Ashleigh said the long-term electricity supply agreement, which comes with zero net carbon certification, was a crucial step in the sector meeting its renewable energy goals.

“We educate our students about the importance of environmental sustainability, so it is great to show that we are modelling this by moving to renewable energy sources to power our schools,” Dr Ashleigh said.

He said he also considered it a “win for school budgets”, due to the reduced power costs.

Among the schools set to make the switch was St Augustine’s College in Greater Springfield, putting the school well ahead of schedule to meet the entire city’s target of 100 per cent renewable power by 2038.

Archdiocese of Brisbane property and building director Patrick Lane-Mullins described the move as a “great step forward in reducing our carbon footprint”.

“It will result in the majority of the larger energy-consuming assets being not only under the single service provider, but also being 100% renewable,” he said.

ENGIE ANZ has multiple wind farms across the country as well as solar and gas projects.

Executive general manager Andrew Hyland said the company was working with a diverse range of businesses to go green, and the deal with BCE should serve as an example to other education authorities.

“Schools and public buildings are at the centre of our communities and play an important role in leading our net zero energy transition,” he said.


Presbyterian Church of Queensland in receivership

A Christian church organisation has gone into receivership in a move set to shock thousands of employees, students, aged care residents and congregations.

The church said it had applied to the Supreme Court of Queensland to place its legal entity – PCQ a Letters Patent Entity (PCQ) - into receivership.

Moderator of the PCQ, Reverend Dr Philip Strong, said the decision to enter receivership was regrettable but necessary to ensure that PCQ can continue providing important services to the Queensland community for the long term.

“While our team has worked hard for more than a year to restructure the operations, historical contractual arrangements have made this extremely challenging. While making the decision to appoint a receiver is a difficult one, we believe it is the best next step,” Reverend Dr Strong said.

“I know that today’s announcement will be unexpected for our congregations, employees, residents, students and the community. Our priority has always been and will continue to be their wellbeing.”

PwC Australia’s (PwC) Michael Owen and Phil Carter were appointed receivers of PCQ’s legal entity by the Supreme Court of Queensland late in the evening of 12 May 2021.

“Our immediate priority is to work closely and constructively with PCQ and its stakeholders while we undertake a review of the entity’s affairs pursuant to the order of the Court,” Mr Owen said.

“We plan to continue to operate the services that PCQ provides across the community on a ‘business as usual’ basis while we conduct this review, and we will update stakeholders further once this initial assessment has been completed.”

PCQ’s aged care facilities, schools, congregations and other community services will continue operating while the receivers gain a better understanding of the organisation’s position.

Together with the congregations, PCQ’s ministries include PresCare, a provider of residential aged care and Presbyterian ministry services, the Queensland Theological College (QTC) and Fairholme College, a school in Toowoomba.

PresCare recently contracted the sale of its residential aged care facilities in Maryborough and Rockhampton to the Apollo Care Alliance.


Also see my other blogs. Main ones below:

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM -- daily)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com (TONGUE TIED)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

https://heofen.blogspot.com/ (MY OTHER BLOGS)


No comments: