Monday, January 24, 2022

Leftists have made a non-racial holiday into a racial issue

Australia day is a celebration of the whole of Australia, which is a very multi-racial society. Everybody is welcome to join in. And many do -- usually by the totally innocuous process of getting together with family for a BBQ.

The Left have however seized on the fact that the date commemorates the arrival of the British in Australia. That arrival was the beginning of processes that produced the peaceful and prosperous nation that is Australia today so is a fitting date for a celebration.

But the Left focus on the fact that Australia's Aborigines were largely disposessed by the arrival and spread of British settlement. They focus on one racial group instead of on modern day Australia's multicultural society.

And that is typical of the Left. They are obsessed with race. And they use the gross oversimplifications that such a focus requires. They show no recognition that Aborigines themselves are culturally diverse. Perhaps half of Australia's Aborigines are fully integrated into mainstream Australian society. They have normal jobs, live in normal houses etc.

Which shows that generalizations about them as as one race simply ignores complex reality and is in fact grossly offensive. It ignores the real social and economic progress that many Aborigines have made. By all means be charitable to distressed people but injecting a racial focus into the discussion is evil and stupid. Racism begone!

Some excerpts below from a Leftist discussion of the matter:

There is an obvious practical case against January 26 remaining an official date for celebration: it divides the country. But this is not nearly as important as the straightforward moral case: we should not celebrate a day on which land was stolen, and which led directly to the murders of many people. It is unjust. If we accept the truth of these descriptions in any meaningful way – “theft” and “murder” – continuing to act in this way is plainly unacceptable.

But, as many Indigenous Australians have pointed out, this is not only about the past. Those injustices continue to cause suffering, both in Indigenous experience – through the lasting trauma of violence, of languages and knowledge gone forever – and, just as importantly, in the habits of white people. It is obtuse to insist there is no connection between the ongoing racism and neglect this country shows towards its First Peoples and the defining role those attitudes played in the establishment of the colony.

And so, there is an emotional logic to the fact many Australians continue to avoid, as far as we can, talking about both the past and present honestly – as though to acknowledge the wrongs of either would force us to confront the wrongs of both. Responding to the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, Morrison repeatedly turned to sterile language about deaths in custody – they were mentioned, but for the most part blandly, as “issues”.

Similarly, in a speech for Australia Day in 2019, he described in detail the ordeal of his family arriving on the First Fleet, but referred to Indigenous pain in abstract terms. Morrison is not unique. In this paper two weeks ago, John Howard made a convincing case for the importance of the National Archives. He dealt in detail with Australia’s democratic achievements: the secret ballot, votes for women. The horrific chapters of our past received a single euphemism: “blemishes”.


New YouGov poll reveals new findings about Australia Day date change and republic row

Aussies are in no rush to change the date of our national celebration, the look of our flag, the choice of our anthem, or our system of government, exclusive new polling by YouGov has revealed.

But if you’re sick of hearing about those issues, tough luck – the number of people wanting change in those areas is substantial, and in some cases growing.

The data suggests these issues are not likely to reach boiling point any time soon, but they’re not going to go off the boil, either.

YouGov surveyed 2297 people across the country between December 27 and January 10 on a wide range of issues, exclusively for News Corp. Forty-six per cent of survey respondents said they were keen for the country to become a republic, either now or once the Queen dies, and 35 per cent said our national day of celebration should be shifted from January 26 out of respect for indigenous Australians.

Views on changing the flag and the anthem were mixed.

A clear majority (59 per cent) said the flag should stay the same, but only 41 per cent of respondents voted for Advance Australia Fair out of a list of possible national anthems. The only really plausible contender to replace it, I Am Australian, was selected by only one in three people surveyed.

“There just doesn’t seem to be the appetite for these dramatic changes,” said Campbell White, YouGov’s Head of Public Affairs and Polling. “Only 35 per cent want Australia Day to be shifted, so basically for somebody wanting to make that case, there’s a 20 point gap there to be overcome, and that’s a lot.”

Some have suggested the ‘Change the Date’ cause is not straightforward, because there are differing views on the issue among indigenous Australians, and there is no organisation lobbying for the change.

But in some ways that makes the support the cause is receiving all the more remarkable.

The YouGov data reveals support for changing the date is strongest in Victoria (44 per cent of respondents) and among younger Australians. Forty-six per cent of Millennials (born 1986-1997) say the date should be moved, and among Generation Z (those born after 1997) the figure was 49 per cent.

While the hefty support among younger voters might make it seem change is inevitable, Mr White said Baby Boomers and Generation X had both become more conservative as they got older, and the same could end up happening to Millennials and Generation Z.


Dramatic rise in Australian children registered for home schooling

The COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating the trend to withdraw children from formal education with a record 9000 students now registered for home schooling in NSW, a jump of nearly 30 per cent.

Figures reported at NSW budget estimates reveal 8981 children were registered for home schooling as of October 31 last year, a 28 per cent increase on the 7032 registered at the end of 2020.

Home schooling has been rising in popularity for several years but spiked dramatically after the pandemic started – with 19 per cent growth in 2019, compared with an average 13 per cent for the three years before that.

Home Education Association president Karen Chegwidden said there were many reasons the pandemic was driving the trend. Having children at home during lockdown made some families realise they like the lifestyle of having their kids at home, while others were alarmed by their child’s lack of progress in mainstream schooling.

Vaccines were another big issue, Ms Chegwidden said. Those who were vaccine-hesitant were worried their child would be vaccinated against their will, while others would not send their child to school until they were fully vaccinated.

“Then there are just the people who are sick of the disruption – the idea that one day kids go back to school and the next day it’s closed because of COVID and the school is being cleaned is making life impossible to manage,” she said. “Kids are stressed out and parents are stressed out and that’s really reflective of a lot of families.“

Budget estimates reveal of those parents who provided a reason for home schooling, one in four identified their child’s special learning needs. Only 1 per cent said it was because of bullying.

Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said the pandemic had shifted the dynamics of education for students learning with a disability and remote learning during lockdown had been a challenge for some of these children and their families.

“I understand why some families have shifted to a permanent home schooling approach,” Ms Mitchell said. “I hope this year is the first in two years that we could call a normal school year. I also hope that we can begin to bring some of the students back to the classroom who have opted for home schooling over the past 24 months.”

Physical Disability Council of NSW chief executive Serena Ovens said the figures would include many children with a high risk of complications from COVID-19.

“If someone is known to be at high risk of severe illness or death with COVID then some parents will absolutely make that choice, and you can’t blame them,” Ms Ovens said.

Of the children registered for home schooling, 2874 were in western Sydney and 1099 were from the Hunter region, which includes Newcastle. This could reflect the fact that they are populous regions with a high number of students enrolled overall.

Labor education spokeswoman Prue Car said it could also reflect an under-investment in education in the rapidly growing outer western suburbs, and the government needed to determine if this was driving a push to home schooling.

“There are suburbs with overcrowded schools, suburbs with no schools five to 10 years after people have moved in, and a shortage of teachers,” Ms Car said. “It’s pretty alarming if parents feel they don’t have a choice because every child deserves a quality public school in their area.”


We’re no laughing stock … we’re the envy of the world

Groan. It’s around that time of the year again, in the lead-up to Australia Day, when some self-­important members of the citizenry feel the need to publicly declare that they are embarrassed and/or ashamed to be Australian.

Until recent times, this faux breast-beating came primarily from the alienated left-wing intelligentsia. Invariably, they were well-educated and relatively well-off Australians inhabiting the inner-city or the affluent inner suburbs.

It is no exaggeration to say that literally millions of the world’s population want to live in a nation like Australia. That is, a country with democratic institutions where the rule of law applies, where basic education and health is available free of charge, and where a social safety net is available for those who need it.

For many decades, students in schools have been told by some teachers that Australia is an illegitimate state which represses its people. This view is increasingly prevalent in the social science departments of Australia’s tertiary institutions. In political terms, this interpretation of Australia is found predominantly within the green-left – that is, the Greens and members of the Labor Party’s Socialist Left faction.

However, lately, the traditional left-wing “I’m embarrassed to be Australian” chorus has been complemented by some alienated right-of-centre types who have been motivated by their opposition to Australia’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In September 2020, the normally considered James Allan wrote in The Spectator Australia: “I’m now embarrassed to be an Australian, no that’s too weak; in fact, I’m ashamed to be an Australian.”. His article was headed: “Ashamed to be Australian: How did we become as bad as Cuba and North Korea?”

Which raises this question: How did it come to pass that The Spectator Australia decided to run such a rant in what presents as a journal of considered opinion?

Now, Allan is correct to oppose some of the authoritarian measures implemented, primarily by state and territory governments, in response to the pandemic. However, it’s just tosh to equate the commonwealth government’s restrictions on Australians departing the country with the ruthless totalitarian communist dictatorships in North Korea and elsewhere.

It’s akin to the leftist rant that the Coalition government led by Scott Morrison is fascist or Nazi. For example, in March 2020 lawyer Michael Bradley looked at the Coalition and saw “the central features of fascism”.

The recent deportation of the unvaccinated Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic has certainly fired up the right-of-centre. Sky News presenter Caleb Bond declared on January 14 that Australia had “lost the plot” and that Djokovic’s story was “so damn crazy”.

He maintained that, due to the handling of the case, Australia has become an “international laughing stock”.

Writing in The Daily Telegraph last Wednesday, Rita Panahi declared “Australians have never cared much what the rest of the world thinks of us but right now we should care”. She went on to refer to the “current mass lunacy that is afflicting our country”.

Panahi’s article was headed: “We are a laughing stock.”

It used to be the left-of-centre types who declared Australia to be a laughing stock to the rest of the world. Now it seems that the right-of-centre types have joined the chorus.

The truth is that the overwhelming majority of people on the planet have better things to do than to think about Australia. Do the good people of Sudan or Siberia give a toss that a wealthy tennis player has been deported from Australia? And, if they do, would this be a motivating factor for ­unrestrained laughter?

The fact is that many commentators have scant knowledge of the difficulties involved in governing democratic societies. For the most part, there are no easy decisions. As the historian Geoffrey Blainey has pointed out, many of the crucial decisions taken by democratic leaders over the decades are of the 60-40 or 70-30 for/against percentage score. Some are even close to 50-50. In short, there are few if any simple choices.

The available evidence suggests that Tennis Australia was desperate to get Djokovic to play in the Australian Open, despite knowing that he was unvacc­inated. Other less well-known tennis players took the vaccine in order to enter Australia.

In view of this, it would have been difficult for any commonwealth government to allow Djokovic to stay in Australia. Sure, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke could have decided otherwise. He refrained from doing so. Meanwhile, the tennis goes on – as does the rest of the world.

It was not so long ago that the left was banging on about the (alleged) most recent example of Australia being an international pariah. Writing in the Nine newspapers on November 12 last year, during the COP (Conference of Parties) 26 meeting in Glasgow, the Climate Institute’s Tim Flannery and Simon Bradshaw declared that they “felt embarrassed” at Australia’s performance at the UN climate talks.

In the left-inclined The New Daily on the same day, Zac Crellin opined that “the Australian government has little to show for its attendance other than a seemingly battered and bruised global reputation”. The article claimed that Australia had been “embarrassed for the duration of the Glasgow summit”.

Less than three months after COP26, nations are still buying high-quality Australian coal along with iron ore. And there is increased interest in Australian gas. Purchasers of Australian national resources have no reason to feel embarrassed. Nor should sellers.

The world is an imperfect place – as those who grew up with a ­notion of original sin well understand. Australia was no utopia ­before European settlement in 1788 – and it is not perfect now.

Over the past two centuries, Australian governments have got many things right and some things wrong.

Yet, compared with all other nations, Australia has done well. It is a relatively prosperous nation. And it is an accepting nation – judged by the relatively high level of intermarriage between citizens and the relatively low level of ­racially motivated crime.

On any reasonable analysis, Australia is one of the world’s most successful nations. That’s no joke.




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