Tuesday, September 01, 2015


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is critical of the way boys are being feminized

Qld ALP government afraid to block coal mining

A highly visible destruction of jobs would destroy their  government

SENIOR Palaszczuk Government figures have urged environmentalists within the Labor Party to be “pragmatic” and avoid hastily abandoning the state’s job-creating coal mining.

State Development Minister Anthony Lynham and Environment Minister Steven Miles yesterday faced down questions from the party faithful about the competing interests between Queensland’s mining industry and Labor’s environmental commitments.

Dr Lynham told the ALP State Conference there was a need to be “pragmatic”, while Dr Miles said Labor didn’t want to be the party that “jolts” the economy through a crackdown on coal. The state development minister said Queensland’s “future is with renewables”, but if Queensland didn’t mine coal, others would.

“We can mine coal in Queensland, where we have the highest mine safety record in the world, we mine coal with environmental rigour, and we mine coal that’s very efficient and economic to burn,” he said.

“If we don’t allow this to go ahead, coal is one of the most prolific minerals on Earth; there are many other sources of coal, but none as good as the coal we mine here.”

Dr Miles insisted Labor would balance job creation and the economy with the environment.  “We’re not just a bunch of greenies; we have the fantastic voices of our trade unions and, together, we can make sure working people are brought on this journey,” he said.  “We are not going to be the party that jolts the economy by closing down coal without a transition that adequately shifts the economy and takes workers with us.”

The internal contest between jobs and the environment was also highlighted through a heated stoush over a motion to amend the party’s policy platform to include ending sand mining on North Stradbroke Island by 2019.

Capalaba MP Don Brown, who is affiliated with left-wing union United Voice, locked horns with Ben Swan, the Queensland secretary of the AWU, which is aligned with Labor’s Right faction.

Mr Brown’s motion follows Palaszczuk Government confirmation this year that it will legislate by the end of the year to end sand mining by 2019.

But Mr Swan argued that workers were the “only group” that had been “left out of any consultation on this proposal”, despite the Government’s emphasis on consultation.  “That is a disgrace that workers and the unions have been left out,” he said.  “If this was the CFMEU mining and energy division, with respect to Acland, being treated this way, there would be howls of outrage.”

But Mr Brown said he had written to the AWU offering to meet with members, which was declined.


Master Builders Welcomes Royal Commissioner Heydon's Decision    

The vital work of the Royal Commission must now continue unfettered and free from future claims of bias following Justice Heydon’s decision to dismiss the attempts by the unions including the CFMEU to shut it down.

“It is in the community’s interest that the Royal Commission’s investigations into unlawful and corrupt behaviours in the construction industry continue,” Wilhelm Harnisch, CEO of Master Builders Australia said.

“Despite claims from vested interests in the construction unions, the integrity of the Commission’s processes have not been tainted, nor has the damning and compelling evidence that has so far been provided,” he said.

“The evidence given at the Royal Commission has been provided free from bias or intimidation and highlights the price the community and jobseekers pay for the conduct of the building unions,” Wilhelm Harnisch said.

“The evidence has shown just how out of touch the building unions are with normal standards of community behaviour and with the conduct of normal unions. It has identified a culture of intimidation that allows corrupt behaviours to flourish. The building unions know they cannot morally defend these behaviours, yet they insist on trying,” he said.

“Master Builders fully supports the work of the Commission and anticipates its Final Report delivering strong recommendations for law reform, including for the return of a construction industry regulator with sufficient powers to bring the industry back to normality, free from intimidation and corruption.” Wilhelm Harnisch said.

Press release

Gayby Baby imbroglio - Denials, fear and a lack of tolerance

Miranda Devine

THE NSW Department of Education has been telling lies about the Gayby Baby controversy to cover up its covert campaign to “de-normalise” heterosexuality.

This newspaper reported accurately the concerns of numerous parents at Burwood Girls High over the planned compulsory screening to all 1200 students of the overtly political documentary promoting same-sex parenting.

Those concerns included direct complaints to the school and complaints made via three religious ministers acting on parental request. It was in response to those complaints that principal Mia Kumar changed her mind on Monday and allowed students to opt out of the screening.

Yet the department pretended there had been no complaints from parents, thus portraying our story as inaccurate and, worse, muzzling those concerned parents.

A department spokesperson was quoted in The Guardian on Wednesday, saying: “The school has not received any complaints from Burwood High School parents.”

That just wasn’t true. But the official disinformation has resulted in a campaign by GetUp against this newspaper, which includes a petition, a complaint to the Press Council, vituperative emails and a planned protest outside our offices. The idea is to intimidate us into silence.

In true Orwellian fashion, the word “complaint” has been redefined by the department. Apparently it’s not a “complaint” unless it’s logged at the school, or if it’s couched in polite language, or if it isn’t rubber-stamped by departmental bureaucracy. Rank sophistry.

Eventually, last night, the department admitted what we have known all along, that the school has received a number of complaints, both directly from parents and through proxies.

Religious ministers said parents asked them to intervene on their behalf.  Presbyterian minister Mark Powell said the calls began on Saturday morning. A meeting was convened on Monday night between 15 concerned parents and citizens to address the problem.

One father told Powell his daughter begged him not to complain to the school.  “I’ll be ostracised. They’ll call me a homophobe,” she said.

What an irony that a program designed to stamp out bullying ends up intimidating anyone with a different view.

After our story, minister Piccoli ordered the cancellation of the movie screening. But he is driving the Proud Schools program, which supports “sexual diversity” through exactly such events as the screening of Gayby Baby.

Ostensibly designed to stamp out homophobia, the Proud Schools program aims to eradicate the idea that heterosexuality is the norm in human relationships. It defines such thinking as bigotry and labels it “heterosexism”.

According to the Proud Schools’ Consultation Report, “positioning heterosexuality as the norm for human relationships [is] discriminating against non-heterosexual people. Heterosexism feeds homophobia.”

When parents complain about this propaganda, their concerns are airbrushed out of existence. And when this newspaper reports these facts we are subjected to a campaign of intimidation.

Great way to promote tolerance.


The new sugar correctness

An early learning centre in Sydney has banned birthday cakes to stop children from eating too much sugar and so kids with allergies don't get left out of celebrations.

The Only About Children (OAC) learning centre in Surry Hills, banned the baked dessert, 'stunning parents who pay $120 a day,' reported The Sydney Morning Herald.

The birthday cake embargo came after complaints from some parents that thought there were too many cakes being given to their kids because of the number of birthdays celebrated weekly.

A representative from OAC told the Sydney Morning Herald that: 'Birthday cakes exceed the nutritional guide for early childhood.'

'Some children were left out of birthday celebrations because of their allergies,' they continued.

OAC said having to exclude children from celebrating with their peers is a direct violation of their mission statement.

Seventy-three children attend the centre and although some concerns have been raised, a number of parents believe that the birthday cake is an integral part of the celebration and described the ban as 'completely unreasonable.'

One parent, who did not wish to be identified, told The Age: 'The birthday cake is a tradition, it's a coming together over something pleasant and enjoyable. It's those little moments of fun that make it a very important social event for the kids.'

Contraband cake will not allow children to gauge the importance of reserving treats for special occasions.

Parents banded together and said that 'rather than banning cake, children could be given smaller slices or parents advised how to provide allergy-free cakes that everyone could enjoy.'

KU children's services will offer to bake a cake on behalf of families that meets the dietary requirements of all children.

The chief executive of KU children's services, Christine Legg told The Age, 'most parents are happy for their child's birthday to be celebrated at the centre, including cake.'

OAC is offering alternatives to parents worried about the ban, including 'making a crown to wear on the day, whizzing up healthy fruit smoothies with their classmates or choosing which activities to do.'

OAC Surry Hills centre director said, 'Children's birthdays are exciting milestones and are important to recognise and celebrate at the campus.'

'But in doing so there are many aspects we might like to consider, including family culture and preferences, health and nutrition, equality amongst the children and a sense of fun,' she said.

'With this in mind we have made the decision to stop the bringing of birthday cakes on children's birthdays to campus,' she continued.

The efforts to maintain a healthy environment for kids, has seen rules employed to maximise health across Australian child care centres.

The staying healthy in childcare booklet released by the Australian Government said: 'Birthday cakes and blowing out candles when it is a child's birthday, many children like to bring a cake to share with their friends.'

'One of the ways of minimising the spread of droplet infection, is to encourage parents to provide individual cupcakes with a single candle on the birthday child's cake,' it continued.

The birthday cake tradition originated in Europe moving to other western societies during the 19th century and commonly has icing on a sweet baked base.


The long slow death of long distance passenger trains

Cheap airfares have killed them off.  Only government keeps them rolling

THE South Australian government will provide more than $1 million to keep the Overland passenger train service running between Adelaide and Melbourne for at least the next three years.

UNDER the funding deal Great Southern Rail will continue to operate two return services each week, Transport Minister Stephen Mullighan says.

The state government has supported the service for the past 15 years and currently provides about $300,000 a year.

The Victorian government also provides some funding.

Until Thursday's announcement, Overland services were not guaranteed beyond the end of 2015, and fears were held for its continued operation after GSR moved to cut services for its Ghan and Indian Pacific trains.

From July 2016, the Ghan will only run between Darwin and Adelaide once each week, instead of twice, with the same changes to be made to the Indian Pacific train between Perth and Sydney.

Mr Mullighan said under the terms of new funding GSR had agreed to relocate operational and office staff in other states to Adelaide, and had committed to supporting local contractors for maintenance, capital and operational works.

"About 100,000 people use the Overland, Ghan and Indian Pacific each year and the services play an important role for the South Australian tourism industry," Mr Mullighan said.


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