Friday, October 31, 2014

There was NO "stolen generation"

Joe Lane

    My wife and I made the first Aboriginal flags, back in 1972, more than a hundred of them up to 1981 or so, and sent them all around Australia.  We were ardent supporters of land rights and self-determination and used to devour any new book on the subject…

    In the eighties, I found the Journals of George Taplin, the missionary who set up the Point McLeay Mission on Lake Alexandrina, where my wife was born, and managed it between 1859 and 1879.  The Journals were (and still are) in the State Library in Adelaide, in an old type-written copy.  At the time, I thought that some fool should type them up again.  As it turned out, I was that fool.  But I had found a gold-mine of information, much of which did not conform to the dominant paradigm, or ‘narrative’ [See web-site, below].

    A friend gave me some old letter-books from the Mission, covering up to 1900, which I carefully copied.  By then I was hooked on searching out first-hand sources and went on to type up the thousand pages of the various Royal Commissions ‘into the Aborigines’, of 1860, 1899 and 1913-1916.  Many other documents suffered the same fate.  More recently, I have been typing up the correspondence of the Protector of Aborigines in South Australia, more than thirteen thousand letters in, and eight and a half thousand letters out, 1840 to 1912.

    All in all, I’ve transcribed around eight thousand pages of primary-source material and put it all on a web-site ...

    Comprehensively, this material does not support the current ‘narrative’ and, in fact, actively supports a more complex and intriguing perspective.

    The dominant paradigm, which is being taught around Australia, in schools and at universities, asserts that

        - Aboriginal people were ‘herded’ onto Missions;

        - Aboriginal people were driven from their lands;

        - Countless children were stolen from their families.

    So far, I have found no unambiguous evidence of any of this…

    Let’s look at each of these assertions in turn:

    ‘Herding Aboriginal people onto Missions’:

    Between 1840 and the present, the Aboriginal population on Missions never exceeded more than 18 % of the total Aboriginal population in contact with the state, except during the depression when it rose to about 30 %.  In other words, for most of the time, more than 80 % of the entire Aboriginal population lived away from Missions, across the State…

    It should be noted that the total number of full-time staff of the grandly-named Aborigines Department, was one, the Protector.  His main task was to set up and supply up to forty ration depots, as well as roughly as many issuing points for individuals and families.  Issuers, mainly police officers, station managers and pastoral lessees, and missionaries, were not paid.  So: one full-time staff member and up to seventy five or more issuing-points.  So who was doing the ‘herding’ ?

    When the first long-term Protector, Dr. Moorhouse, resigned in 1856, the ‘Department’ ceased to exist.  Its routine functions, of distributing rations, were handled by the Commissioner of Crown Lands, the Chief Storekeeper and the network of Issuers at twenty or so Depots.

    Mission staff rarely numbered more than three or four.  They were flat-out issuing stores, building cottages, supervising farm work, running the schools, providing medical attention.  As far as I know, no Mission ever had a fence around it to keep people in.

    Many times in the Protector’s correspondence, an issuer may ask urgently for more stores as a large number of ‘Natives’ had arrived at their Depot, sometimes hundreds.  The Protector arranges for the stores either to be immediately sent out or purchased in the nearest town.  A few weeks later, the people have gone off again.  People came and went, as they chose.

    The Protector sends rations to a Mission near Port Lincoln, located on eighteen thousand acres of crop and grazing land, with the express instruction that the rations are not for the residents but for ‘travelling people’, passing up and down Eyre Peninsula to and from Port Lincoln, and that the rations are to keep them supplied on their journey.  The Mission population there were supposed to be self-supporting (which they were from about 1868 onwards).  The ‘travelling people’ camped a couple of miles from the Mission and occasionally worked for wages on the Mission, grubbing stumps.

    At Point McLeay, from Taplin’s Journal, from the Letter-Books and from the Protector’s letters, one can read of hundreds of people suddenly arriving from down the Coorong or from up the Murray for ceremonies, who camped a mile or two away, and who needed provisioning.  A week or two later, they have gone back to their own country.

    Rations were strictly for the sick, aged and infirm, mothers with young children, and orphans.  Able-bodied people were expected to hunt or fish or gather, or work for farms and stations.  Families which had been deserted or widowed were also provided with rations…

    Missions regularly expelled people who had behaved badly, or immorally.  In other words, they were fairly particular about who could and couldn’t stay on a Mission.  I suspect that one Mission had to wind down in the 1890s simply because it couldn’t get enough working men to come and stay there: it seemed to have a chronic shortage of labour from the late 1870s as capable men found work in the district which paid better.
    In sum, there does not seem to be any evidence of ‘herding’, or even any obvious intention to ever do so.

    ‘Aboriginal people were driven from their lands’:

    There is only one instance in the Protector’s letters of a pastoral lessee trying to drive people from his lease (in 1876), and as soon as the Protector is informed, he writes to remind the lessee that he would be in breach of his lease, which stipulates that Aboriginal people have all the traditional rights to use the land as they always had done, ‘as if this lease had not been made’, as the wording went.  It was assumed that traditional land-use and pastoral land-use could co-exist, as, of course, they could and still can.  I’m informed that that condition still applies in current legislation.

    By the way, six months later, that pastoralist is applying for rations.  The depot there was still issuing rations at least thirty years later.

    The Protector provided dozens, perhaps a hundred or more, 15-ft boats, and fishing gear (fishing-lines, fish-hooks, netting twine), to people on all waterways, even the Cooper’s Creek, so that they can fish and ‘stay in their own districts’.  He provided guns to enable people to hunt more effectively.  Boats and guns are provided free – as well as their repair – to people unable to earn a living, and able-bodied people are expected to pay half their cost.

    The Game Act has always expressly exempted Aboriginal people from restrictions on hunting and fishing in ‘Close Season’, even now.

    He advises a woman who has been living on a Mission, but whose husband has been knocking her around, that he can provide her with rations at a town near her own country.

    Over the years, whenever particular individuals or groups were ‘loafing about the City’ or drunk and disorderly, or begging (what we call ‘humbugging’ these days) about the streets, he provides them with rail or steamer passes to ‘go back to their home districts’.

    From the earliest days, Aboriginal people were encouraged to lease plots of land, up to 160 acres rent-free, and to live on the land, which usually happened to be in the country from where they came.  The earliest record seems to be a woman who had married a white man – often white men thought that, if they married an Aboriginal woman, they could get a piece of land, but no, the lease was always vested in the Aboriginal partner.

    During the 1890s, more than forty Aboriginal people, including at least three women, held such leases.  In fact, one Mission may have wound down precisely because the more capable men took out leases of their own, leaving the Mission bereft of labour and getting seriously into debt.

    In sum, again there does not seem to be any evidence of any intention to drive people from their country.  Again, quite the reverse.

    ‘Stealing countless children from their families’:

    It’s probably no secret that colonisation disrupted much of Aboriginal traditional life and family patterns.  Women had children by white Men (as well as Africans, Chinese, Afghans and West Indians) and lived peripatetic lives around the towns.  Many children were abandoned or orphaned by single mothers who either could not support them or died.  Occasionally, young boys were brought down from the North by stockman and survey teams, sometimes from inter-state, and then abandoned in the city.

    All States have fiduciary obligations to their inhabitants, especially to children.  The Protector was, in effect and in law, the legal guardian responsible for the well-being of such abandoned children.  Facilities in those days were either rudimentary or non-existent, so the most suitable place for such children, short of locating their living relatives (which occurred occasionally), was to ask a particular Mission if they could take them.  Often this was not possible, so the Protector had to shop around to see where to place a particular child.

    So how many ?  I typed up the School Records, 1880-1960, from one Mission/Government settlement and found that, for example, between 1880 and 1900, only eight children – out of a roll of two hundred over those years – had been brought to this Mission without any family.  In fact, there were fewer again in the next fifty years.

    And – just in case ‘stealing children’ means taking them FROM Missions and settlements, it should be pointed out that, in that period 1880 to 1960, during which eight hundred children were, at one time or another, enrolled at that School, a grand total of forty seven school-age children transferred to homes or institutions or the Adelaide Hospital, and the vast majority of them came back within a year or two.  Mothers died, fathers died and mothers re-married, families fell destitute or broke up for all manner of reasons – after all, the reasons for Aboriginal children being put into care of any sort were not much different from those for any other Australians, and at 4 %, neither was the rate of ‘removal’…

    In the period under study, 1840-1912, under the Protector’s watch, if children knew their own country and wish to go back there, he arranged for their travel home. One boy from the Far North at one Mission was unhappy and wished to do that, so the Protector promptly arranged for him to travel up to Oodnadatta and then on to his own country.  A year or so later, he was back at the Mission, working and asking for some financial support to buy a harmonium.

    So, from the record, there does not seem to be any concerted effort to take children from their families.  In fact, the Protector notes that he does not have the legal power to do so, and I suspect neither did he have the intention.

    So why did I believe as I did, without evidence ?  Because the conventional paradigm, the ‘black-armband approach’, fits together.  It makes sense.  It doesn’t need evidence.  And perhaps in other states – Queensland, for instance – conditions were much harsher for Aboriginal (and Islander) people. But that’s for researchers up there to follow up on, if they have the courage.

    There are such things as ‘facts’.  There WAS only one full-time staff member of the S.A. Aborigines Department.  There WERE forty or more official ration Depots from around 1870 onwards – in fact, up to seventy.  Sometimes ‘facts’ are like rocks in a stream of ‘interpretation’: flow this way or that, twist and turn as one may, the ‘interpretation’ of history still has to deal with the ‘facts’, the evidence.  What comes first, evidence or ideology?

    It may not have been all sweetness and light, but neither was it as brutal as the conventional paradigm supposes.  Nineteenth century people were no different from ourselves.  We are them, they were us.  It’s time we relied more on evidence than feelings, or suspicions, otherwise we will forever be barking up the wrong tree.


Cattle industry launches class action against Federal Government, seeking compensation over live export ban

Industries involved in the live cattle trade have launched a class action against the Federal Government that will likely seek hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation.

The class action filed in the Federal Court yesterday will be open to anyone who suffered losses because of the Government's suspension of live cattle exports to Indonesia in 2011.

The industry said the suit, which will be fought by law firm Minter Ellison, was being launched after three years of trying unsuccessfully to negotiate its claim with the Federal Government.

Lead applicant Emily Brett from Waterloo Station, near the West Australian and Northern Territory border, said while the ban lasted a month, the impact for the industry lasted much longer.   "It's still going now," she said.

"We lost so much money and incurred so many costs because of that one decision.  "They're not costs that we've been able to recoup, they're not costs that we've been able to get back."

Following Four Corners' revelations of shocking animal cruelty in 12 Indonesian abattoirs in June 2011, the Federal Government ordered a shutdown of the live export trade to Indonesia. As a result, the once booming trade was brought to a halt.

Ms Brett said it was a knee-jerk reaction with devastating consequences for businesses across northern Australia.

"It was just such a quick decision made to try and look as though the government was doing something," she said.

"But in effect it just had a crippling effect on anyone involved in the industry and people involved in businesses that supply products to the industry... everyone was affected by it."

Now the industry is taking its case for compensation to the Federal Court in an open class action that is likely to include the full breadth of industry players, from major corporates to smaller family-run pastoral stations.

In Queensland, Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter says he believes the previous government failed its 'duty of care' and has a clear case to answer, while AgForce has described the ban as 'reckless'.

Minter Ellison's existing group of clients covers a range of industries that support the live export trade and the class action will be open to anyone affected by the ban.

Businesses such as Road Trains of Australia - one of the largest trucking companies involved in the live export trade - may also be eligible to join.

Road Trains of Australia managing director David Jones said his business was still recovering.  "Financially it was very tough... all the banks hated us," Mr Jones said.  "We were a business at risk... there was a lot of people that sort of left the industry, managers and drivers, so we had to tighten our belt very quickly and try and survive."

It is even possible businesses in Indonesia affected by the ban could be eligible to join the class action.  While it is still not clear how many parties will join, the claim against the Federal Government could go into hundreds of millions of dollars.

Australia's largest cattle company, Australian Agricultural Company, has already put its damages from the live export ban at more than $50 million.

At Waterloo Station, the Brett family felt the costs of the ban almost immediately.  Ms Brett said the ban hit just before the station was due to finalise a major cattle sale they had been counting on to cover items they had already had to buy for the property.  "We didn't know when we wouldn't be able to pay those bills," she said.

"I can't explain how stressful it was on all of us, on the whole family, not knowing... that we'd have to go through all of that and tell those companies that we wouldn't be able to pay those bills and we didn't know when."


Operation Boring leading to surprise comeback for Campbell Newman in Qld.

Campbell Newman has staged a surprising personal comeback; voters refuse to warm to him, but believe he should be given another go at the next election.

It is understood that is one of many findings of private LNP research conducted both in Ashgrove, and on Brisbane's south-side.

It is understood the polling - conducted in four tranches less than a month ago - was done to gauge the ongoing damage of the Stafford by-election on both the premier's personal standing and the party's fortunes ahead of the next election.

The economy, job security and wages, cost of living, security/crime and frontline services topped the list of voters' concerns, with the Government's "leasing" argument taking the sting out of privatisation plans.

Voters also believed that Campbell Newman needed longer to do the job, and swinging voters saw him as a strong leader - despite not liking him.

This supports other internal research across the state which shows the premier's shocking negative personal ratings (up to -35 in some areas) has evened out (and is now sitting at -5 in some of those same areas) on the back of 'Operation Boring'.

But the latest research, conducted in marginal Brisbane seats with groups of swinging voters, also highlights three significant problems for the LNP Government.

The first is that voters - rightly - blame the Government for diminished job security.

It is likely Campbell Newman's rushed decision to sack thousands of public servants will continue to haunt him, and it will be exacerbated by his promise to create 420,000 new jobs, and a four per cent jobless rate by 2018.

It is near-impossible to see how the Government will do that - and it will be a target of Labor's electoral campaign.

The second issue raised by the internal polling is voters' abhorrence at what they see as the Government making a big deal about issues to hide the lack of progress in families' cost of living pressures.

Voters raised both the controversial bikie laws and the judge's fiasco as examples which they believed provided a distraction for the government, which should have been focusing more on how their decisions were impacting families.

But LNP MPs are more concerned about the third issue - and that is where a big protest vote is headed because voters want a more balanced Parliament.

Up until now, the LNP had hoped PUP's Clive Palmer and other minority parties would bank the protest vote, which would then exhaust.

But this polling shows it is headed to Labor on the back of Clive Palmer's diving fortunes.

Indeed, Palmer has gone from being seen as "an authentic larrikin" to a "self-serving politician", meaning Labor will be the beneficiary of a strong anti-LNP vote.

Despite that, swinging voters have a "spontaneous hesitation" towards Labor on the back of the Bligh government's performance, and do not see Annastacia Palaszczuk as a strong leader.

That finding flies in the face of other public research, including this week's Morgan poll which shows her leading Campbell Newman as preferred premier, 52.5 percent to 47.5 percent.

"Operation Boring is working," one senior LNP member quipped.

"It's working for Campbell Newman and for us."

Perhaps it's almost strong enough for the premier to call an election before the end of this year...


Palmer backs Green rollback

And the Greenies are fuming-- See below.  But they are right about "Direct Action".  It won't do anything to the climate -- but nor would Greenie schemes.  And it's a lot cheaper

The Abbott government has secured the likely passage of its Direct Action carbon policy through the Senate.

The news comes as a result of an agreement reached yesterday between Environment Minister Greg Hunt and Palmer United Party leader Clive Palmer, for the PUP to support the bill with minor amendments.

Once again, after tough talk and media stunts, Palmer has rolled over in the back rooms and done a deal in his own best interests. As the owner of several large coal and iron ore mines, Palmer has an obvious vested interest in ensuring a taxpayer-funded compensation plan for big polluters.

As we've argued many times, Direct Action is a fraudulent policy that can’t possibly reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions to our target of a 5 per cent reduction by 2020.

What it will do is pay the biggest polluters in the country a total of $2.55 billion over the next six years. All for doing what everyone (except the most ardent climate denialists) agrees they must, if the world is to escape devastating warming: lower their fossil fuel pollution.

The government claims the policy will spend $2.55 billion in reverse auctions to those firms that can promise the biggest reductions. This will be great for the bank balances of big polluters, but won’t do much to reduce Australia’s overall emissions.

You can get an idea of just how little the government cares by reference to Hunt’s plans for those polluters who take advantage of the scheme to rapidly ramp up their emissions. He has no plans to punish rogue polluters.

Hunt just expects everyone to play by the rules. After all, fining polluters for releasing greenhouse gases would look awfully like … a carbon tax. “Our intention is no, our budgeting is no, and that's because we think the firms will operate within it," Mr Hunt told Sky News on Thursday.

No credible analyst believes Direct Action can achieve anything like the 5 per cent emissions reduction target we have signed up to. According to respected analysts RepuTex, Direct Action may be able to reduce emissions by 80 to 130 million tonnes at best. “This is equivalent to a shortfall of over 300 million tonnes for Australia to meet its 5 per cent emissions reduction target of 421 million tonnes by 2020,” RepuTex’s Hugh Grossman told The Australian.

Clive Palmer is lying too. He put out a press release yesterday that read “Palmer Saves Emissions Trading Scheme”. Even in the reality-challenged worldview of Palmerama, this is a pretty impressive confection. Australia doesn’t actually have an emissions trading scheme to save: Palmer voted with the government to abolish it.

Palmer is probably talking about his pet scheme for a “zero dollar” emissions trading scheme that would have a carbon price of zero until Australia’s major trading partners introduce their own schemes (presumably Europe is not a major trading partner). He secured a token concession from Hunt on this point, allowing the Climate Change Authority to research the zero-price ETS and report back.

But Hunt is frank about the government’s attitude to such a proposal. “We have agreed to a review but our policy is crystal clear, we abolished the [carbon] tax and we're not bringing it back," Mr Hunt told the ABC this morning.

Palmer is also trumpeting his success in saving certain climate agencies and initiatives like the Climate Change Authority and the Australian Renewable Energy Authority, both of which the government wants to abolish.

It’s not much of a success. The last federal policy that is achieving any emissions reductions of note, the Renewable Energy Target, is hanging in the balance. Palmer has pledged to vote to keep the RET.

On the other hand, he also pledged to vote against Direct Action, which he is now voting for. On recent form, anything Clive Palmer rules out one week is a good chance to receive his support the next.


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Blatant attempt by Federal cops to evade their duties in union corruption matter

On Monday 4 August 2014 I made this report to the Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police.

The key points were:

*    The AFP enforces the Statutory Declarations Act 1958

*    On 24 March 2014 Mr Wayne Forno swore an apparently false Statutory Declaration, stating the TWU NSW Branch had 43,835 members - by his admission he knew at the time it had 17,300.

This morning I received this letter from Superintendent Mark McIntyre of the AFP Crime Operations department.

The Fair Work Commission has no enforcement role in relation to policing the Statutory Declarations Act 1958 - it also has no role in policing murder, rape or armed robbery.   Police prosecute a range of Australians every day - normally without regard to the status their job might confer on them.   That is the duty of police.   Their role is to detect offences and bring offenders before the courts. 

Joel Silver makes some very good points in this paper submitted to the Royal Commission into Union Corruption and Governance, summed up in this quote:

"While there is some merit in their separate registration and regulation, there is nothing so unique or complicated about trade unions as to justify investigations into them being handled by a specialist agency, let alone to the exclusion of ordinary law enforcement. Agencies including the Australian Federal Police and
Australian Crime Commission have experience in such investigations (of which the General Manager Fair Work Australia was shown to be lacking), and whose impartiality is not as easily called into question. Such agencies should have responsibility for all and
any future investigations"

I note that the Fair Work Commission's GM Bernadette O'Neill is yet to report any inquiry or investigation into this matter.


Energy company starts fracking in NSW -- to Greenie protests

The NSW government approved controversial coal seam gas exploration at Gloucester before receiving proof that chemicals involved were safe for human health, throwing into doubt claims it is clamping down on the contentious industry.

It comes as protests at the site became heated this week, including allegations that a protester tried to hold the head of a security guard under water during a scuffle. Protesters described the claim as "exaggerated".

Police charged two protesters on Monday after they allegedly accessed the AGL site illegally. About 20 protesters reportedly blockaded the entrance to the site on Tuesday, but were kept out by a large police and private security guard presence.

AGL's Waukivory pilot project, south of Gloucester, has emerged as the latest front in community opposition to coal seam gas, following fierce protests around Narrabri and Lismore.

Fairfax Media has learned that the NSW Office of Coal Seam Gas signed off on the latest stage of the project before receiving lab test results confirming the chemicals to be used were safe to human health and the environment.

The AGL pilot involves the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing or "fracking", which forces gas to the surface by pumping water, sand and chemicals underground.

There are fears it can cause gas leaks, damage aquifers and pollute water with toxic chemicals.

Companies must demonstrate that all fracking additives comply with Australian drinking water guidelines, by having them tested by a certified laboratory.

The NSW government approved AGL's fracking work on August 6, despite officials not receiving the test results until more than two months later, on October 23.

A spokesman for Resources Minister Anthony Roberts said AGL was required to identify the chemicals to be used prior to approval being granted, but did not have to run tests on the chemicals before that date. The company was "compliant with its obligations", he said.

Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham said allowing AGL to start fracking before its chemicals were scientifically deemed compliant "defies common sense" and was at odds with community expectations.

AGL says the pilot will test the amount of gas produced from wells and provide data about the area's geology and groundwater. 

A company spokeswoman said test results were supplied to authorities before fracking occurred and AGL had complied with government policy.  She said the results confirmed no banned substances were detected in its hydraulic fracturing fluids.

AGL reportedly required police escorts to move fracking equipment onto the site last week.

The spokeswoman said based on information from its private security team on Monday, "protesters were aggressive" and threw punches at guards who were attempting to prevent protesters from accessing the site.

"In one incident a security guard fell into the river and a protester allegedly tried to hold his head under water. A third security guard suffered a cut to his arm," she said.

A spokesman for Mr Roberts said the minister met with concerned community members from Gloucester last week and authorities would "make regular inspections of the [AGL] fracking sites to ensure compliance".

The department "has and will continue to ensure a detailed level of transparency" around coal seam gas applications, he said.

In a report into the industry released last month, NSW Chief Scientist Mary O'Kane said the government should "establish a world-class regime" for coal seam gas extraction and ensure good communication about the industry's activities.

Laws should be supported by a transparent and effective compliance and reporting regime, she said.


Criticism of Aborigines to be banned?

And what will count as "discrimination"?

A BIPARTISAN joint parliamentary committee believes the constitution could be changed to explicitly prohibit racial discrimination against indigenous Australians.

THE government is committed to a referendum to recognise indigenous Australians, however when it will be and what it will look like is uncertain.

The committee on constitutional recognition for aboriginal and Torres strait islanders, chaired by indigenous MP Ken Wyatt, has released three options to include indigenous people in the legal document.

Two include the prohibition of racial discrimination - a recommendation of the government's expert panel in 2012.

It's something opposition leader Bill Shorten also wants, however Prime Minister Tony Abbott has indicated he's not keen for discrimination to be included in the debate.

Both options change the constitution to state: "The parliament shall, subject to this constitution, have the power to make laws for peace, order or good government of the Commonwealth with respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders".

They then state the government can not discriminate on the basis of race, unless the laws are made for the purpose of overcoming disadvantage.

The committee recommends a third option for constitutional change which gives the government powers to make laws with respect to indigenous Australians.

It wants the repeal of Section 25 which allows states to ban people from voting based on their race and section 51(xxvi) to remove any reference to race.

The referendum should also be held on or shortly after the 2016 election.

Mr Abbott has all but ruled out a referendum before 2017, saying it must be bipartisan to be successful and an election would make that near impossible in 2016.

Mr Wyatt told parliament that national, active leadership must be shown on this issue.  "It's time to take this step further," he said on Monday.

The committee agreed for the most part with the government's expert panel in 2012 - concurring with all but one major recommendation.

The committee doesn't believe indigenous languages need to be included in the constitution as recommended by the expert panel.

It's final report is due in June next year.


Pickering on Gough

I used to say that I would go to Margie’s funeral to pay my respects but I would go to Gough’s funeral to make sure he was dead. Of course that is quite uncalled for and in extremely bad taste now that he has gone.

But to be honest, he disliked me intensely and I detested him. As the Left today will recall with sombre reverence his many legacies, I will remember him for the irreparable damage he caused this nation, damage that will continue to last generations.

I recall his economic illiteracy, the unwavering belief in himself, his disdain of mere mortals and his self-acclaimed intellectualism, it was painful. Had he been competent in the slightest, it was a pain I could have endured.

Gough, with his corrupt Cabinet, was unable to serve one complete term of Office and what he did serve was utter mayhem.

The Left decry his sacking but Gough, bereft of supply, was quite prepared to go down in flames and take the nation with him.

The ensuing general election was an exercise in what the Australian people really thought of him.

Crean, who printed money like there was no tomorrow. Connor, who tried to borrow even more from a shady loan shark called Khemlani. Cairns, the unabashed communist root rat. Attorney General Murphy, who escaped jail by dying. Grassby the drug lord who dressed with the light off.

Just one example of Gough’s economic empty headedness was his grand idea to provide housing for young Labor voting couples who could not break into the housing market (much like today). He dumped a borrowed $500 million (a lot in those days) into the banking sector at a ridiculously low rate of interest.

Instead of assisting young couples, the banks predictably lent the money to existing home-owners who upgraded to bigger, better homes. Why not? After all they had the security in their current homes the banks wanted. Not one new house was built and the resultant increased demand on existing houses put them even further out of reach of the young couples, who were supposed to vote Labor, but in the end they didn’t.

But Gough’s real crown of thorns was his Schools’ Commission and his fixation with phonetic spelling. The real legacy left by Gough is the kids of today who cannot spell, or construct a sentence.

But never mind, Gillard’s Labor fixed that with a multi-billion Gonski scheme that will do nothing to educate teachers, but will certainly ensure they are paid better.

Kids now lack communication skills, the ability to express themselves, and there is no-one to teach them because the teachers of today were Gough’s pupils of yesterday.

English Expression and Latin are lost subjects, exchanged for ethereal ideological Social Studies’ subjects that extol a global-warming hoax and a One World Government.

Yes, that’s the real legacy of Gough... kids without communication skills who in frustration resort to violence to explain themselves and journalists without the ability to sub-edit their own work.


The Leftist education "revolution" of the 70s led to a rot in standards


Gough gave us universities full of dickheads who can now call themselves doctors and professors. Once upon a time a university education was fought for and deserved. Without excellent marks, a scholarship or doting parents prepared to go without, it was hello workforce.

Now anyone can dodge getting a job, go to uni and the taxpayer will finance you. And we wonder why our education status has slipped well below the international average.

Well Gough certainly achieved his aim because degrees in union thuggery, Marxism, political science, green pursuits, global warming and any other bloody useless subject Left of centre are now held proudly by those who make up the Labor Party... the party of the struggling "working man".

Higher education will never make a person smarter, nor will it increase any person’s IQ. It may make a person more aware of a chosen subject, most of which could be gleaned from the net but the net doesn’t offer fair dinkum doctorates.

Left wing law firms, like Slater & Gordon and Maurice Blackburn, soak up the rubbish with law degrees, like Shorten, Bandt, Roxon and Gillard... all utterly unemployable outside the Labor fraternity and all locked into a Marxist philosophy of new world egalitarianism.

Those who can’t enter the Labor movement return to uni as lecturers to recycle the same garbage that made them unemployable in the first place. And the uni lecturers I know couldn’t teach a bloody fish to swim anyway.

Shorten this morning launched his campaign against Abbott’s university reform policy. A reform that is critical to repairing a broken education regime that Gough started and Gillard perpetuated.

As usual, Labor’s solution to correct its own failures involves dipping into that bottomless piggy bank of the “privileged elite”, ergo those awful employers.

Gonski’s billions won’t mend our illiterate educators any more than the billions thrown at aborigines will mend that disaster.

Higher education should be a reward, a privilege earned from dedicated hard work in secondary school.

As long as taxpayers are forced to finance dickheads through uni we will finish up with Prime Ministers like Julia Gillard and, perish the thought, Bill Shorten.

But you’re entitled to disregard my opinion, I left school at 14 and never returned.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Some excerpts from a diatribe by an Australian Green/Left law academic

He's certainly got a good imagination.  He implicitly implies that "climate disruption" is going on but seems unperturbed that the 2003 prophecy he quotes (in red) shows no sign of being fulfilled.  Mr Obama is in fact letting poor Hispanics flood into America these days.  Some fortress!  The usual Green/Left lack of reality contact. 

And where do we see these days "a dramatic growth in violent political and social unrest over dwindling resources"?  I know of none. 

And another loss of reality contact in saying that police forces are also adopting military ideas and tactics "to confront demonstrations about climate change".  Tactics of that sort are indeed growing in the USA but they are used to confront crime, especially black crime (check Ferguson, Missouri). If middle-class Greenies make a big enough nuisance of themselves they might experience such approaches but that is entirely their doing.

 And his last paragraph below is sheer fantasy -- and a good laugh. A definite ivory tower inhabitant

For over a decade, the Pentagon and other Western militaries such as Australia have put serious thought into the medium and long-term implications of climate change. For example, in 2003, the Pentagon released a paper titled “An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and its Implications for United States National Security.”

The report predicted massive flooding, storms, forced migration, food shortages, starvation and water crises. Moreover, as a result of diminishing carrying capacity, the report also foresaw a dramatic growth in violent political and social unrest over dwindling resources.

The authors of the Pentagon report also predicted “boom-times” for militarized security, as nations that have food, water, energy and other resources mobilize high-tech technology to separate themselves from the masses outside of their geographical borders. By 2025-2030, the authors predicted:

The United States and Australia are likely to build defensive fortress around their countries because they have the resources and reserves to achieve self-sufficiency… Borders will be strengthened to hold back unwanted starving immigrants.

Such an outcome would make current LNP immigration policy look like “an evil child's fumbling toys” to quote Hannah Arendt. And yet, the Australian government already uses the Navy to prevent asylum seekers from landing on Australian soil. Moreover, it has continued to build an “economic fortress” around itself by dramatically cutting its foreign-aid budget and refusing to commit to the United Nations Green Climate Fund.

Police forces are also adopting military ideas and tactics to confront demonstrations about climate change and other justice issues. Stephen Graham highlights in his book Cities Under Siege, the way that large defence and IT companies have created a multi-billion dollar market in civilian technologies directed at crowd control and civilian disturbances. Geographic mapping and drone technology are perhaps the best-known examples utilised by the Australian police.

This might sound like hyperbole, but I do not think it is a stretch to imagine a time when the US-Australian Great Green Fleet (complete with biofuel planes) is deployed in the name of national security to “hold back unwanted starving” climate refugees or masses of people suffering from climate related disease.


Greens protest visa ban on West Africans

Showing that they are really Leftists.  What part of the natural world is threatened by quarantining Ebola?

THE Greens say shutting the door on west African refugees is cruel and selfish.

THE Immigration Department is no longer processing any humanitarian visa applications from Ebola-affected countries, which include Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

The government is also cancelling and refusing non-permanent or temporary visas held by people who haven't yet departed these countries for Australia.

Permanent visa holders who have yet to arrive in Australia are being required to submit to a 21-day quarantine period before departure.

Greens immigration spokesperson Sarah Hanson-Young says it is a miserly, selfish and cruel announcement.

"Banning refugees from fleeing west Africa is like shuttering up the windows while a house burns down," Senator Hanson-Young said, calling for the decision to be reversed.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison says the systems are in place to protect Australians.


South Australian Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young accused of hypocrisy over fossil fuel campaign targeting Santos

Mining and extractive industries are one of the few things S. Australia has going for it so having a South Australian senator attacking such industries is very grievous

GREENS Senator Sarah Hanson-Young is being accused of hypocrisy for targeting fossil fuel companies, yet relying on their products for taxpayer-funded flights and limousine travel.

Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis said public criticism of the campaign urging Adelaide universities to divest shares in resources companies including Santos exposed the hypocrisy of the Greens’ stance.

He said arguments about such important matters should be based on science, not emotion, stressing natural gas produced by Santos was an important transition fuel.

“If you’re going to rely on science, you should rely on science all the time and if you believe that climate change is real then it’s an argument about science,” Mr Koutsantonis said in an interview with the Sunday Mail. “But then when you try to use emotive arguments to try to discredit scientists, you fall flat on your face.

“I think Senator Hanson Young’s hypocrisy by having a reliance on fossil fuels, whether it be through aeroplane flights or using a Comcar, like all of us do, just shows that her argument isn’t based on fact or science. It’s based on ideology.”

However, Senator Hanson-Young’s spokesman rejected the Treasurer’s argument as a petty and baseless distraction, saying all Greens had negated the environmental impact of their travel for years through self-funded carbon offset and abatement options.

Mr Koutsantonis, also the Mineral Resources and Energy Minister, said he believed Australians wanted pragmatic politicians who searched for out-comes, rather than crusading on ideology without regard for the impacts. “If you’re serious about saving the planet, then practice what you preach,” Mr Koustantonis said.

Mr Koutsantonis and federal Liberal MP Jamie Briggs have been prominent critics of the divestment campaign, which resulted in Australian National University earlier this month deciding to sell stocks in seven companies, including those of Santos.

But the campaign has been resisted by Flinders and Adelaide universities.

The latter has close links to Santos, which in 1999 provided $25 million to establish a world-class School of Petroleum Engineering.

Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne, also MP for Sturt, told the Sunday Mail Senator Hanson-Young’s call for organisations to divest support from companies like Santos would have a huge impact on the community.

“If this is genuinely Senator Hanson-Young’s position, it is clear why the Greens can never be trusted to put the best interests of the state ahead of their ideological beliefs,” he said.

But Senator Hanson-Young’s spokesman said Mr Koutsantonis’s petty behaviour showed the desperation of the fossil-fuels industry and the political parties that relied on their donations to survive.

“The fact is that South Australia stands to gain significantly from a pivot away from fossil fuels and towards the renewable energy industry of the future,” the spokesman said, in a written statement.

“It’s concerning for the state that the Treasurer is so openly and closely aligned to the mining lobby.”

The cost of taxpayer funded travel by MPs and senators is publicly available on the Finance Department website.

The latest in-formation for Senator Hanson-Young shows last year she took 114 domestic flights costing $60,990.75, a $4227.57 flight to PNG, three charter flights costing $8140.91 and Comcar limousine trips at $24,188.36.

Comcar’s fleet includes many six-litre V8 Holden Caprices, which are being replaced with LPG models and Ford Falcons with cleaner-burning liquid phase injection technology.

Qantas’s carbon offset calculator estimates the CO2 emissions share for one passenger from an Adelaide to Canberra flight is 131kg.

The figure for a single passenger on a Sydney-Port Moresby flight is 356kg of CO2 emissions. More than 95 per cent of flight emissions come directly from jet fuel combustion, Qantas says.


Report on reorganizing Australia's Federal system

Increasing State Government control of revenue, targeted specifically for schools, health, public transport and roads, along with running a series of conventions across Australia to engage the public in a national conversation on reforming Australia’s Federation, are key recommendations proposed in CEDA (Committee for Economic Development of Australia) research being released today.

CEDA Chief Executive, Professor the Hon. Stephen Martin said the research report, A Federation for the 21st Century, has found Australia’s excessive vertical fiscal imbalance is one of the key issues undermining the positive aspects of our Federation.

“We need to move away from State Governments being held to ransom by the Federal Government and match service delivery responsibility with funding,” he said.

“Currently, for example, the Federal Government fails to deliver suitable levels of funding for transport infrastructure because while it collects the majority of revenue, it is not responsible for delivery.

“Distribution of Federal Government funding to the states in areas vital for the economic and social wellbeing of Australians, such as health and education, should not be swayed by politicking.” 

Professor Martin said a key focus of the Federal Government review of the Federation should include examining the distribution of government revenue and ensuring we have clearly defined levels of responsibility among the different tiers of government.

CEDA’s report suggests we need to consider a range of options to align revenue and expenditure requirements such as:

Assigning a fixed portion of income tax to states for funding schooling.

Allowing State Government’s to develop a comprehensive land tax or property charge with funds raised to be used specifically for public transport.

State Government’s extending road-use charging and receiving the fuel taxes collected by the Commonwealth, specifically to build and maintain roads.

Professor Martin said the report examines a range of different approaches for reform as it is likely the best outcomes will be achieved not by a single solution but by a combination of different approaches.

Another key recommendation is to further extend activity based funding reforms in education, health and welfare.

“The reforms to hospital funding in Victoria are a good example of how this can work well, with hospitals now funded on the individual activities undertaken rather than individual hospitals having to lobbying for an overall amount at the start of each year,” he said.

“This has resulted in a much more efficient delivery of services and it is very disappointing that the rollout of this approach to other states has been stalled due to the Federal Government removing funding promised by the previous government in the May Federal Budget.    

“Reforms need to focus on making government funding more citizen-focused and able to deliver the services and infrastructure Australians need.

“While the Australian Federation has largely worked well, delivering political stability and economic prosperity for over a century, it can do better.”

In addition to making recommendations around changes to revenue allocation and collection, Professor Martin said it important to ensure ownership of any changes by the Australian public. In this regard the report also recommends:

The creation of a Federation Reform Council to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of reforms to our Federation and make sure there are no unintended consequences; and

A series of Federation Conventions be held in conjunction with the white paper process to encourage the participation of as many people as possible in what must be a significant national conversation on this issue.

“Reforming the Federation has been a recurrent issue and is once again a priority on the national agenda with the Federal Government White Paper due next year,” he said.

“However, the federalism debate has had the best outcomes when it has engaged the imagination of the broader population, which is why it is vital that discussion around reform is much broader than in the halls of Federal and State Parliaments.”
The CEDA research report A Federation for the 21st Century can be downloaded from the CEDA website The report includes contributions from 19 experts from academics to former politicians such as the Hon. Fred Chaney AO, the Hon. John Brumby and Lucy Hughes Turnbull AO.


'Bring it on' - Newman welcomes PM federation reform talk

Qld. Premier Campbell Newman is picking up what Prime Minister Tony Abbott is putting down about reforming the federation.  Mr Abbott has issued a call to the premiers to have "a rational discussion about who does what" in a precursor to the federation white-paper process.

Mr Newman has long called for reform on how the Commonwealth funds the states, especially when it comes to education and health, which are run by the states but reliant on changing funding mechanisms from the federal government.

The latest budget, which announced an $80 billion cut in health and education funding in the forward estimates, has only inflamed the debate.

Giving the Sir Henry Parkes commemorative address on Saturday, Mr Abbott argued states that received a lower share of GST from the Commonwealth, which included New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia, deserved a "fair go", but any changes should not leave smaller states worse off.

"It's basically about giving everyone a fair go – but it has to be fair to the states making the financial contributions as well as to those receiving them, to those who give as well as those who receive," he said in an advance copy of the speech obtained by Fairfax Media. "It should be possible to make these arrangements more equitable between the larger states with the smaller states no worse off."

Mr Newman said to bring it on.  "I welcome Prime Minister Abbott's commitment to working with state governments to review the federation," he said.  "We need to clearly define which levels of government should deliver education in schools and universities and health services in hospitals, as well as who should provide the roads, rail, ports, electricity and water supplies that are essential to our future prosperity.

"There are far too many areas where federal and state responsibilities overlap and create waste, duplication and confusion.

"We've reached a situation where funding for vital services – like health, education and housing – is provided only if the services are delivered as the federal government sees fit and only if states agree to complex, onerous and expensive administrative requirements.  "States must have untied access to a sustainable revenue base that is sufficient to deliver on their responsibilities.

"All Australians are the losers in this because billions of dollars are wasted on unnecessary bureaucracy.

"I also believe that getting out of each other's way will not only mean more efficient government, but more accountable government.

"Right now there's a window of opportunity to make real and positive change.  "The Queensland government is keen to grasp this chance and will work constructively with Canberra and the other states to develop a new partnership and secure a brighter future for all Australians."

The Prime Minister is expected to call all premiers together before the middle of next year to discuss federation reform, but not until the Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland elections have run.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A silly little Leftist lady tries to "psychologize" conservatives

One does not expect much in the way of profundity from the  crusading Australian Leftist organ, "New Matilda", but a rather long diatribe just up there is particularly feeble.  Author Lissa Johnson starts out claiming that conservatives are psychopaths but gives neither reasoning nor evidence that could lead to that conclusion.  She particularly targets Tony Abbott, Australia's conservative Prime Minister. 

So what psychopathic characteristics does Mr Abbott show?  Is he, for instance, extremely self centred?  Seeing Mr Abbott has for many years taken substantial time out to work hands-on in Aboriginal communities, creating and upgrading facilities for the use of the community's people, that accusation has to earn a resounding "Not Guilty" verdict.  I know of no Leftist who has shown anything like Mr Abbott's personal committment to Aboriginal welfare.  It is because of that committment that the reviled Prof. Spurr called Abbott an "Abo lover".

So what about the various other attributes of the psychopath?  Ms Johnson is a clinical psychologist so she should know them well. Which of those does she find among conservatives?  She does not say.  She offers no evidence for her assertion.  What she does do is however amusing.  She offers a survey of the psychological literature on the psychology of conservatism.  And her survey is a broadly  accurate one.  But nowhere in that literature are conservatives accused of psychopathy!  Her own literature survey refutes her opening assertion!  The evidence that Leftists are pychopathic is however abundant.

So let us look at the psychology literature Ms Johnson believes in.  The big problem with it is that it is almost  entirely written by Leftists --  with all the lack of ethics and objectivity that one expects from that.  The author in that literature most favoured by Ms Johnson is the amusing John Jost, senior author of a paper that purported to be a meta-analysis of the literature on the psychology of conservatism, and which claimed, inter alia, that Stalin, Khrushchev and Castro were conservatives!

And one of his co-authors was the anti-scientist Frank Sulloway, who tried to use litigation to suppress publication of a research report that contested one of his theories.  Leftist attempts to suppress speech that they disagree with are notorious (See TONGUE-TIED) but Sulloway stands out even in that company.

And suppressing contrary evidence was Jost's bag too.  His article purported to be a meta-analysis and should, as such, have offered a comprehensive view of the relevant literature.  It did not.  It omitted about half of the relevant research.  Which half?  The half that disagreed with his foreordained conclusions, of course!  Any hope of finding truth in the writings of Prof. Jost and his ilk is therefore highly likely to be disappointed.

And even if one conceded every claim about conservatives made by Leftist psychologists, the gruel is thin. They have such a lot of trouble finding something wrong with conservatives that they confine themselves almost entirely to cognitive style variables.  And such variables can be seen in a variety of lights. Even Jost ended up admitting that.  For instance, one of the earliest accusations hurled at conservatives was that they are "intolerant of ambiguity".  But that can equally be parsed as showing that conservatives seek order.  And seeking order in natural phenomena is precisely what real scientists do.  The idea that such a cognitive style is in any way aberrant is simply ludicrous.

I in fact have had many papers published in the academic literature on cognitive style research and repeatedly found that the measuring instuments used fell far short of accepted psychometric standards.  So even the literature that Jost & Co. reviewed was inadequate to support their conclusions.  My most recent article in that genre is here

And I would be remiss if I did not take some note of two more of Ms Johnson's academic inspirations:  Altemeyer's RWA research and the SDO scale associated with Jim Sidanius.  Both are fairly hilarious pieces of work, as I show here in the case of SDO and most recently here in the case of Altemeyer.

The unfortunate Ms Johnson is simply credulous.  But Leftists believe what they want to believe anyway, and damn the evidence

Barry Spurr hounded by moral crusaders of the new inquisition

WHY is it bad to hack and expose photographs of a woman’s naked body but apparently OK to steal and make public the contents of a man’s soul?

This is the question that should burn in our minds in the wake of the Barry Spurr scandal.

For just a few weeks ago, when a hacker invaded the iCloud ­accounts of female celebs and ­rifled through their intimate snaps, there was global outrage.

This theft of explicit private photos of actress Jennifer Lawrence and others was a sex crime, we were told. It was an act of misogynistic tyranny, proof that even women’s private lives were not safe from the bulging eyes and clasping hands of a hateful, macho culture.

To peer into a woman’s most intimate moments was a “sexual violation”, said a writer for Guardian Australia. Just because these women were in the public eye, just because they “offer their image to public consumption”, that didn’t mean they were “trading (in) their intimacy”, she said.

Fast forward to last week, and some of the same people whose jaws hit the floor at the audacity of those who leaked these women’s private, unguarded pics were cheering the hacking of Spurr’s private, unguarded words.

Spurr, a professor of poetry at the University of Sydney, has had his private emails pored over and published by pseudo-radical, eco-miserabilist website New Matilda. In some of his emails, in what he has since claimed was a cheeky competition between him and his friends to see who could be the least PC, Spurr used words that would no doubt cause pinot gris to be spilled if they were uttered at a dinner party.

He described Tony Abbott as an “Abo lover”, referred to a woman as a “harlot”, called Nelson Mandela a “darky”, and used “Mussies” for Muslims and “chinky-poos” for Chinese. He now has been suspended by the university.

Many people will wince on reading those words. Just as we will have winced if we happened upon those photos of well-known women doing porno poses or ­engaging in shocking sex talk in videos shot by their boyfriends.

And that’s because these behaviours, both Spurr’s knowingly outrageous banter and the act­resses’ knowingly sluttish poses, share something important in common: they were private acts, not intended for public consumption. They were things done or said between intimates, far from the eyes and ears of respectable ­society. Yet where right-on commentators and tweeters stood up for the right of famous women not to have their private nakedness splashed across the internet, they have relished in the exposure of Spurr’s soul to the panting, outraged mob.

Spurr’s private thoughts are fair game for public ridicule, they claim, because of his position as a specialist consultant to the federal government’s review of the national curriculum.

New Matilda says Spurr’s standing as someone who could “influence what will be taught to every child in every school” means his intimate chatter is a legitimate target for moral policing. His private thoughts clash with his public duties, it says.

Imagine if this tyrannical insistence that everyone should have a spotless private life were taken to its logical conclusion. For a start, we might argue that it was legit to leak those female celebs’ intimate photos on the grounds that they exposed the women’s hypocrisy. Many of these actresses and singers are role models to young girls and pose as demure creatures in their work lives. But behind closed doors they get up to stuff that wouldn’t look out of place in Hustler. Their private lives run counter to their public personas. Does that mean they should be exposed, mocked, ridiculed, made into quarry for pitchfork-wielding moralists? Of course not. And neither should Spurr.

No amount of faux-progressive lingo about exposing “institutional racism” in the upper echelons of Australian society can disguise the fact Spurr-bashing is an old-fashioned, McCarthyite hounding of someone for having a private life and private thoughts that fail to adhere to new orthodoxies.

The hounding of Spurr by an army of intolerant tweeters and hacks is Salem-like intolerance dolled up as a radical exercise in tackling racist attitudes.

New Matilda rather gave the game away when it said it had one aim — “cleansing the national curriculum review of the toxicity of this man’s views”.

Cleansing. What a word. It speaks to the true driving force behind the assaults on Spurr: an incredibly authoritarian instinct to rid the public realm of anyone whose outlook is not 100 per cent pure and decent, as defined by the new self-styled guardians of moral probity: so-called progressives, with righteousness in their hearts and rotten tomatoes in their hands.

We need to face up to the seriousness, to the sheer intolerance, of the creeping new trend for punishing people for their private thoughts. It isn’t happening only in Australia. In the US, Donald Sterling, a business magnate and owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team, was expelled from basketball earlier this year and turned into an object of international ridicule following the leaking of an ­entirely private phone conversation in which he said something disrespectful about black people.

In Britain, two football managers were sacked following the leaking of private emails in which they made juvenile jokes about gays and black people.

There is something Stasi-like in this moral policing of private speech. In the wake of the Sterling scandal, a columnist for The Washington Post said: “If you don’t want your words broadcast in the public square, don’t say them … Such ­potential exposure forces us to more carefully select our words and edit our thoughts.”

This is terrifying. It is a straight-up celebration of the kind of public denunciations of private deviancy that were encouraged under Stalinist regimes. Why don’t we just put a Nineteen Eighty-Four-style telescreen in everyone’s homes? That’s surely the only way to ensure that no one misspeaks privately, and instead edits their thoughts and suppresses their more “toxic views”, or risks finding themselves a target of “cleansing” by their betters. The haranguing of Spurr and others turns the clock back to a darker moment in human history.

During the Inquisition, people were regularly tried and punished for their private beliefs. The Enlightenment thinkers who came in the wake of that calamity insisted that such tyranny should stop. In the words of the great enlightened 17th-century English jurist Edward Coke: “No man, ecclesiastical or temporal, shall be examined upon the secret thoughts of his heart, or of his secret opinion.” Spurr is being punished for his ­secret opinion.

Coke’s enlightened view, his conviction that individuals must be free to think and say what they want in their private lives, is in mortal danger today. It’s being crushed by a New Inquisition, staffed by members of the chattering classes, inflamed by Twitter and assaulting not only individuals such as Spurr but also the very principles of privacy, autonomy and freedom of thought.


Labor's 'stubborn pride' on boat turnbacks

LABOR needs to get over its "stubborn pride" and fully support asylum seeker boat turnbacks, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison says.

LABOR has signalled it might continue the government's policy of turning back boats - despite arguing against it for years - if it could get Indonesia's backing for it.

Opposition immigration spokesman Richard Marles at the weekend conceded turnbacks have helped stop the boats, but says his party still has reservations about the measure.

Mr Morrison says Labor should support the policy wholeheartedly.

"The policies that were put in place have proven to be a success and it's time for the Labor party to frankly get over their stubborn pride, stop making excuses and support the turnback policy," he told ABC radio.

He says there has only been one successful asylum seeker boat venture since the government started turning boats back to Indonesia on December 19 last year.  "If that doesn't convince him, then what would convince Labor that turnbacks should be implemented?"

Indonesia's new president, Joko Widodo, has expressed his own reservations about turnbacks. But Mr Morrison says his government will continue to "do what we need to do".

He says co-operation with the Indonesian government is off to a "very good start".  "I have no doubt that we will be able to work with the new government."

Labor MPs deny there has been any change in the party's policy on boat turnbacks.

NSW MP Stephen Jones noted the caveats in Mr Marles' support for the measure.  "I'm very comfortable, the Labor caucus is very comfortable where our policy is at the moment," he told reporters in Canberra.

Victorian backbencher Tim Watts said he was happy with Labor's position.  "Labor will not support boat turnbacks where it is unsafe to do so or where it jeopardises our relationships in the region," he said.


Combating (genuine) poverty need not punish 'the rich'

But Leftists WANT to punish the rich, of course

October 12-18 was Anti-Poverty Week, aiming to encourage all Australians " organise or take part in an activity aiming to highlight or overcome issues of poverty and hardship here in Australia or overseas." Anti-Poverty Week often provokes new offensives in the poverty wars, which usually ensures a few entertaining op-eds, but does nothing to alleviate genuine poverty.

In recent times Anti-Poverty Week has been kicked off with the release of the Australian Council of Social Services' (ACOSS) Poverty in Australia report. According to this year's report, 2.55 million Australians (13.9%) were living below the poverty line.

Poverty, as defined in the report, includes anyone in a household with an income less than half of the median household income (after adjustments for differences in household composition and housing costs).

By defining poverty in these terms, the focus is shifted away from living standards towards income inequality so that poverty can only be eradicated through an extreme policy of income redistribution that leaves all households with the same (equivalised) disposable income.

This focus on relative poverty as a metric for measuring the effectiveness of Australian social policy conflates income inequality with the material deprivation that most Australians associate with 'living in poverty'.

The other consequence of the income inequality/anti-poverty rhetoric of the left is to shift the focus away from those who are living in genuine poverty to the incomes of those they deem to be "the rich". Redistribution of income alone tells us nothing about the effectiveness of programs that aim to improve the lives of the disadvantaged.

The effectiveness of programs targeted at the less fortunate is far more important. If these programs are not working, the costs imposed on society are not being offset by any increase in overall social welfare. As we learned earlier in the week it is possible to spend $120 million on an employment program that manages to provide only 277 jobseekers with a job that lasts more than six months at a cost of $433,000 per placement.

Alleviating poverty should focus on ways to change people's lives for the better. While this will require some income redistribution, redistribution should never be an end in itself.


Halal battlefront over Byron Bay's Anzac biscuits

They deny that money from Halal certification goes to support terrorism but do not say WHAT it goes to

A SOCIAL media storm has erupted after it was revealed on Facebook that Byron Bay Cookie Company produced Anzac biscuits were halal certified.

By 2pm yesterday more than 1300 people had posted on the company page, the majority expressing their disgust at the announcement that all the companies' products were halal certified.

But do you really know how mainstream halal certified products have become?

Chocolate maker Cadbury has 71 products on its website that are halal certified, ranging from Dairy Milk chocolate to Freddo Frogs and Red Tulip chocolates.

Nutri Grain, Nutella, Peters Ice Cream, Four' N Twenty pies and sausage rolls, Norco Foods Nimbin Cheese, Extra chewing gum, Milo, SPC tinned fruits, Mars bars, Bega cheese and Heinz jams, marmalades, relishes and sauces are all halal certified.

Products from the Northern Co-operative Meat Company's abattoir at Casino have been halal certified since 1995.

Supporters and producers of halal products claim the social media hysteria had been whipped up by the group Boycott Halal in Australia.

Boycott Halal in Australia identifies halal certified producers and products on its Facebook page, calling for a boycott of their products.

The group also incorrectly claims money raised by halal certification contributes to funding construction of Islamic mosques and global Islamic expansion.

Sydney-based company Halal Australia has been certifying producers and their products since 2005.

Chief executive Muhammad Khan refuted allegations funds from halal certifications were directed to Islamic terrorists.

"Halal certification profits do not go towards supporting any terrorist activities or violent politically motivated religious organisations," he said.

Mr Khan said Halal Australia did not provide the Byron Bay Cookie Company with halal certification.

Police confirmed they are investigating posts on the Facebook pages of both the company and its employees.

What you said:

STEVE SMART: Our Anzacs died for this country , why should a company disrespect them by complying with an Islamic tax that a percentage of goes to fund terrorism.

RACHEL JENNER: I think it's great that they recognise the fact that as a country we are made up of many faiths and religions and people that want to enjoy Anzac biscuits may belong to any number of these.

JASON HAILES: Good screw this halal SCAM. It is helping fund terrorism and Islamic schools which help breed new generations of extremists.

ERIKA TAYLOR: People are outraged on behalf of ANZAC soldiers who fought in Gallipoli?
Do they not realise there were many Muslim Anzacs that fought for this country, Britain, Canada, New Zealand.... or that the first Mosque was built in Australia in the 1860s?

LINDA MILLS: For goodness sakes. All halal means is compliance with certain requirements around hygiene and how an animal is butchered.
Nothing to do with supporting or funding terrorism.
This is another excuse to persecute and target a religion and for people to show how bigoted and racist they are.

JENNY DOWELL: It makes marketing sense to make and market all of their products as Halal so more of the world can enjoy them. I'm appalled that people would boycott a biscuit company for having good business sense.

MARS MIRZA: As a Muslim I half agree with the backlash.
The ingredients that go into making Anzac cookies have nothing to do with the dietary restrictions of Muslims, unless they use lard (which is mainly pig fat) instead of butter, but if they did that then that the cookies would be gross.
There is no reason to put a "halal" label on it, the ingredients list on the packing is enough to tell anyone these cookies are okay to eat. as many have pointed out this is purely marketing.
These cookies are exported and some Islamic countries the law prohibits the importing/sale of non halal foods.


Monday, October 27, 2014

Climate mindset awry

Retired Professor Bob Carter of Townsville had the following Letter to the Editor published in "The Australian"

ROBERT Manne (Letters, 23/10) decries the “mindset of geologists and engineers” in responding to Nick Cater’s commentary (“Time for cooler heads to prevail”, 21/10).

That mindset includes the beliefs that a bridge should be constructed so that it does not fall down, and that the raw materials to provide the infrastructure and energy needs of our modern society should be located, mined and processed in a cost-effective and environmentally responsible way.

The mindset does not include the belief that the planet’s most environmentally beneficial and life-giving essential gas should be ignorantly demonised as a pollutant; and therefore does not support the implementation of foolish and swingeingly expensive schemes to limit industrial carbon dioxide emissions in the naive hope that future weather will somehow be altered for the better.

Today’s geologists and engineers continue to discover and develop the resources that have for more than 100 years provided the backbone of the Australian economy, on which rests the wealth, health and happiness of all our citizens.

I am glad that the wealth thus created provides Manne and his ilk with the highly privileged lifestyle that they now enjoy.


‘I support same sex marriage’: Bill Shorten says he ‘cannot stay silent’ on Australia’s in action over marriage equality laws

Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has confronted a crowd of conservative Christians, saying he is a Christian and a supporter of same-sex marriage.

'I am a Christian and a supporter of marriage equality under the law,' Mr Shorten told the Australian Christian Lobby national conference in Canberra on Saturday.

The move drew a mixed reaction with some gay marriage advocates saying he shouldn't have given the ACL credibility by addressing them.

The opposition leader began his speech as if was a sermon - by quoting from the scriptures.  He went on to say when the scriptures are used to attack blended families like his own, demonise people based on who they love or claim marriage equality is a step towards bestiality, 'I cannot stay silent'.

'No faith, no religion, no set of beliefs should ever be used as an instrument of division or exclusion,' Mr Shorten said. 'Freedom of worship does not mean freedom to vilify.  'These prejudices do not reflect the Christian values I believe in.'

These attitudes sent a message that Christianity was incompatible with modern life, he said.  He added that the current laws in Australia are discriminatory, and it was time they were changed.

Mr Shorten was applauded on the conclusion of his speech and ACL managing director Lyle Shelton thanked him for his 'fearless and frank' speech.

Liberal senator Cory Bernardi, who made comments linking bestiality and gay marriage, said no one would take Mr Shorten's comments seriously.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said the issue wasn't even on the table for the government which has the more pressing matters of national security and the economy.

But his colleague, Josh Frydenberg, who supports the idea of a conscience vote in the Liberal party, admitted there had been a shift in attitudes.

Australian Marriage Equality acting director Ivan Hinton-Teoh congratulated Mr Shorten on his 'powerfully-worded address' and said the speech marked a powerful moment in history.

But Equal Marriage Rights Australia said Mr Shorten's attendance was hypocritical after Labor's motion against Liberal politicians attending the 'extremely anti-gay' World Families Congress in August.  '(His attendance) is completely outrageous and extremely hypocritical,' spokesman Ben Cooper said in a statement.


Spurr a scapegoat of those who would shut down free expression


A RECENT graduate of the University of Sydney with a bachelor of arts in English and international and comparative literary studies, I have read every article concerning professor Barry Spurr.

The unauthorised exposure of his private emails, his suspension and, worst, the overreaction of the ­ignorant public and apathy of his fellow academics who have stood by in silence grieve me more than words can say.

Spurr is one of the very few lecturers I unreservedly admire. When I began my degree I was a lone Asian face in a sea of fair-haired and clear-eyed Australians. I struggled to understand my lecturers. Their tendency to nominalise common adjectives rendered familiar words alien to me. Their habit of monotonously reading pre-prepared scripts and their inability to interact with students left me dissatisfied. Yet when I audited Spurr’s lectures on modernism, I saw, for the first and last time, every inch of the lecture hall, including the stair­cases, occupied by students. He spoke with confidence, clarity, eloquence, humour, pacing the room with a stately gait, quoting from a copy of Yeats (apparently unannotated) that always seemed to open at the right page. He took me on a breathtaking journey through Irish literature and revolution. They were classes to remember and set the bar by which I measure all teaching.

I never found Spurr patronising or discriminatory. I never felt undermined or underestimated. Contrary to the unapproachable, unsympathetic professor New Matilda eagerly paints, Spurr is actively involved in student societies: from poetry and religion to the defence of animal rights.

At his lectures, student-society talks and charity functions, I met some of the kindest, most intelligent and open-minded of my friends. The surprise and joy we felt at the congregation of such an unlikely combination of people was immense.

I cannot say that I have never experienced racism from academic staff at Sydney although most racism we encounter in life is very subtle. But if we were to investigate every staff member’s private correspondence we might overhear a few grumpy words that could be labelled racist or sexist. If we take words out of context, truth is distorted and the author’s intention misunderstood.

Moreover, any comment not published in accordance with the will of the author, or delivered as a personal attack towards an individual, has no impact on social mores, however distasteful the language, so ought not be grounds for punishment.

Freedom of expression is fundamental to academe and democracy. Deprived of it, Australia is headed down the perilous path towards totalitarianism. At Sydney University students and staff enjoy, as well as suffer from, the great freedom using or abusing their languages to express their views. When it is acceptable to use the most vulgar language in student campaigns, on T-shirts, pavements, when f. k and bitch are used throughout the student newspaper, Honi Soit, and the groups campaigning for its editorial control last year were named Sex and Evil, how could politically insensitive terms in personal correspondence cause offence?

We are all entitled to our beliefs (however antiquated, unpopular or prejudiced) and to say things we may or may not believe — sometimes merely for social purposes. Our growth as a person and as a society terminates when we allow pride to triumph over our thirst for knowledge and truth. If an opinion offends us, we should respect the right of expression but beg to differ. The aim of education is not to silence people into kind whispers and innocuous small talk but to provoke thought. It’s all part of an ongoing discussion, without which learning is impossible.

The exaggerated outrage at Spurr’s emails is centred on his role in the reform of the English school curriculum, insinuating his judgment on the dominance of indigenous literature in Australian textbooks is coloured by a racist antagonism towards Aborigines. Yet Spurr spent more time in his emails criticising the hypocrisy of the political establishment in its endless gestures towards the Aboriginal community than diminishing the Aboriginal contribution to Australian literature.

In China we boast of our literary heritage and classical Chinese is compulsory in high school, but we have not forgotten the brilliant galaxies outside our own. One of the brightest is Anglo-American literature. To deny its place in the literary universe or reduce the number of masterpieces in the curriculum of an English-speaking country to include an excessive number of texts from another literary tradition would be sacrilege.

If the Australian government and people can garner the energy they’ve wasted on being politically correct and displays of gratitude or guilt, and channel it into constructing better community facilities, education and support services for Aboriginal people and all the sons and daughters of Australia, they would heal more wounds than random “racist” remarks can inflict.

All I know for sure is Spurr’s personal linguistic choices are none of our business. None of the emails prove him guilty of any sin other than a sardonic sense of humour and childlike whimsicality — the common vices of a poet.

To me he is someone who dedicates himself to the noble cause of restoring the beauty of a civilisation that people have too lightly cast away: good manners, respect for the elderly, a sound knowledge of English, modesty of dressing in public. His intentions are honourable, even if they make him unpopular with opponents.

He should not be made a scapegoat for an ideology of which he is not an advocate. He is not the parody the media presents. The university should not lose a jewel in its crown. If I, a small, sensitive, feminist, patriotic Chinese girl, am not offended by these leaked emails, why should anyone else be?


The PUP is dying

THE Palmer United Party, under pressure to come up with a list of 500 Queensland members by Monday or face deregistration, is trying to claim people who have resigned from the party as active members.

The party has four more days to prove to the Electoral Commission Queensland that it should remain eligible for inclusion on the state’s Register of Political Parties.

But former members have told The Australian the PUP advised them their memberships were automatically being reinstated, and that they would be listed as members of the political party in the PUP’s submission to the ECQ.

One former member received an unsolicited email from the party’s executive committee late on Wednesday advising that he had until the close of business yesterday to object or his name would be automatically included as a current member.

“The party executive has reviewed the memberships for the party and have decided that any membership of a person residing in Queensland be renewed by resolution of the party executive,’’ it read. “Any outstanding membership fee is waived.

“We wish to advise that your name will be submitted to the Queensland Electoral Commission (sic) … Please email back, by close of business tomorrow Thursday 23rd October, if you do not wish your membership details to be submitted to the QEC.”

The former PUP member in question said he resigned from the party last month when he realised it was “completely one-sided” in dealing with members.

He said he was frustrated with the PUP’s attempt to continue to claim him as a member when he clearly did not want to be, claiming it was “just not allowed”.

According to current Queensland legislation, his resignation from the PUP renders him inelig­ible to be listed as a legitimate party member with the ECQ.

The former member said he believed the party was “getting desperate” to meet membership numbers, given that his resignation had been acknowledged by the PUP in August.

The party boasted this week that it had “thousands of Queensland members”, but a party spokesman declined to state the actual number. Two party spokesmen were asked yesterday for comment about the email but declined to respond.

In 2003, a criminal prosecution was launched against Pauline Hanson, the former leader of the One Nation party, over claims that there had been fraudulent registration of members in Queensland. She was convicted and jailed, but freed after the decision was reversed on appeal.

At the heart of the case were claims that non-party members were falsely put forward to meet the 500-member requirement for a political party to be registered.

The PUP is required to prove that it has 500 members as it lost its status as a parliamentary party when the two MPs who joined from the Liberal National Party, Alex Douglas and Carl Judge, both resigned from the PUP.


More building union crookedness

The huge Construction and Building Unions Superannuation fund (CBUS) is heavily politicized and deep into union shenanigans

Lisa Zanatta who confessed to premeditated perjury at the Trade Union Royal Commission a few weeks ago has been sacked it was revealed on Thursday. CBUS CEO David Atkin confirmed Ms Zanatta had been terminated as an employee of industry super fund Cbus.

The evidence shows that it is not the perjury that concerned the Cbus Directors but the fact that she was caught. The Directors are in a lot more trouble than they realise and their days are numbered.


I wrote about Ms Zanatta a few weeks ago in relation to her perjury on the 3rd of October. The article is titled “Lisa Zanatta – Perjury Queen of the Trade Union Royal Commission”

“The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union CFMEU managed to obtain personal data which included contact details for the customers of Cbus (Construction and Building Unions Superannuation) who worked for the company Lis-Con. The CFMEU wanted the data to use in an industrial battle with Lis-Con. It has been alleged that the CFMEU wanted to contact the employees and make trouble for Lis-Con.”

“As the facts show Cbus employee Lisa Zanatta who lives in Melbourne had the data printed out and couriered to her house on a Friday. The following Monday she flew to Sydney and hand delivered the data to the CFMEU Lidcombe office at the request of Brian Parker who wanted the data.” (Click here to read more)

Lisa Zanatta was caught perjuring herself in relation to giving the personal data to the CFMEU as is shown in the transcript in the previous post.

On the 9th of October Cbus issued a statement which said that Lisa Zanatta had been suspended:

“On Friday 3 October, a Cbus employee admitted under oath at the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption to wrongfully supplying personal information, including contact details of Fund members’ who were employees of Lis-Con Services and Concrete Construction, to the CFMEU.”

“Having misled Cbus management during an internal and external investigation, and the lawyers acting for Cbus at the Royal Commission, the employee has been suspended.” (Click here to read more)

Lisa Zanatta’s sacking – Very strange indeed

At a time between the 9th of October and the 23rd of October Lisa Zanatta was sacked. Exactly when and why is unknown at this stage although the perjury is the obvious reason why. Cbus should have issued a press release one would have thought given the circumstances and given they did when Ms Zanatta was suspended. I tried to find out more and hit a brick wall.

Who is Rod Masson?

I phoned the Cbus media person Rod Masson on Thursday (23/10/14) to ask a few questions but his voicemail said he is overseas until November and to call Peter Keogh. Mr Masson’s background is interesting to say the least. His LinkedIn profile says he is “National Director Policy and Communications at Finance Sector Union of Australia”. Another union boy who obviously forgot to update his profile. I wonder what he knows of Cbus giving the personal data to the CFMEU. Mr Masson also previously worked at Essential Media Communications which received a mention in a previous post by me (Click here to read) as being the company that is doing the Crisis Management for the CFMEU for the Royal Commission. Such a small world.

Who is Peter Keogh?

I phoned Mr Keogh who is Senior Adviser, Corporate Affairs at Cbus on Thursday as well and left a message. He never did return the call. Mr Keogh previously worked as Chief of Staff for Victorian Labor Party MP and Minister Richard Wynne from February 2007 to November 2010.

The point about Mr Masson and Mr Keogh is that Cbus is clearly a money train for the Labor Party and union movement with every man and their dog having their snout in the trough. It is not just the Directors who are Labor Party and union cronies, it is the whole organisation and that is why they are all involved in the cover-up and why there is very little information being made public or available to the media..

Admission of sacking by CEO David Atkin

It was not known in the media that Lisa Zanatta had been sacked until Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission Jeremy Stoljar asked Cbus CEO David Atkin while he was giving evidence on Thursday what her current situation was. Mr Atkin replied that Zanatta’s employment had been “terminated”.

Mr Atkin had an obligation to say a lot more about Ms Zanatta’s termination before he was asked when he was in the witness stand. But the situation is really a Board of Directors responsibility now although they are hiding behind Mr Atkin at the moment.

Cbus Directors are liable and are in breach of their Director Duties

Cbus Chairman -Steve Bracks - Former Premier of Victoria
Cbus Chairman – Steve Bracks – 2013 salary $102,020 –  Former Premier of Victoria
There is a crisis going on at the $27 Billion Cbus and Chairman Steve Bracks and the other Directors are nowhere to be found. If you have a look at the Directors list it is full of Labor Party and union boys and girls. (Click here to see the Directors list and pay)

The Directors have legal obligations that they need to abide by and they are clearly failing and should be charged themselves. The lack of action by the Cbus Directors clearly shows they are protecting the CEO, staff and most likely one or more Directors from being exposed for criminal conduct. They have clearly given the green light for staff members to perjure themselves at the Royal Commission as long as they do not get caught.

Questions Chairman Steve Bracks, and the other Directors need to answer:

1. Given the evidence at the Royal Commission why haven’t the Directors sacked or suspended the CEO David Atkin?

2. Has the Board of Directors made a complaint to the police in relation to Lisa Zanatta stealing the personal data of the Cbus members and giving it to the CFMEU. If not why not?

3. Has the Board of Directors made a complaint to the police in relation to Lisa Zanatta perjuring herself at the Royal Commission given she did it as a Cbus employee? If not why not?

4. Given the Royal Commission has been investigating the CFMEU, have the Cbus Directors employed at the CFMEU stood aside as Cbus Directors until the end of the Royal Commission. Those directors being: Dave Noonan, Rita Mallia and Frank O’Grady.

Numerous ways Lisa Zanatta can be charged with perjury and other crimes

The chances of Lisa Zanatta facing criminal offences would have to be extremely high and one would expect if she does she might roll over on others. Cbus themselves should have made a formal complaint to the police. Commissioner Heydon can refer her conduct to the Director of Public Prosecutions. Members of Cbus can make a complaint to the police and relevant authorities and the company Lis-Con can also make a complaint to the police

Commissioner Heydon warned another Cbus staff member, Maria Butera, on Thursday of the consequences of perjuring herself. So unless Commissioner Heydon was bluffing then Cbus could find a current staff member being charged as well as former staff member Ms Zanatta.

NSW Brian Parker

Dave Noonan Brian Parker - 2
Brian Parker and Dave Noonan at the Royal Commission on Friday (24/10/14) They had a good chat after Brian Parker gave evidence. Probably had a good chat before he gave evidence as well.
If Cbus sacked Lisa Zanatta for perjury then the obvious question is why haven’t the CFMEU sacked Brian Parker for clear and blatant perjury. (Mr Parker was previously caught lying when they asked him questions about threatening to bash a whistleblower which he denied. They then played an intercepted phone call of Mr Parker making the threat.)  Why Mr Parker has not been sacked is a question Dave Noonan should be able to answer given he is a Director of Cbus and National Secretary of the CFMEU. Unless of course Mr Parker is protecting Mr Noonan. Rita Mallia might also be able to answer the question as she is President of the NSW CFMEU and also on the payroll of Cbus as a Director.

The situation at Cbus will heat up over the next few months after Commissioner Heydon publishes his interim report in December. Commissioner Heydon I would expect to be writing beside many witness’s name the words “not a credible witness” and/or “the witness gave deliberately false evidence”. Watch Cbus explode if he does.

While there is no evidence of fraud and theft of members money at Cbus it makes you wonder when senior management are so obviously corrupt.