Friday, May 20, 2016

Weasel words from the Left on immigration again

You can always rely on the good ol' "Guardian" for one-eyed Leftist propaganda -- and they have not failed us on this one.  They claim to critique the government's claim that refugees end up largely unemployed and therefore welfare dependent.  Excerpt below. 

Note that it does not address the question at all.  It speaks of "considerable" achievement by "refugees".  But what is "considerable?  You have to go to the underlying report to find that out.  And in my usual pesky way, I did  just that.  And what we read from their table 6 is that only 16.6% of "humanitarian" immigrants were in full-time work at the time the interviews were carried out.  Isn't it amazing how Leftists can spin things?  They are habitual liars

And note that the underlying report was commissioned by the Gillard government so was almost certainly already leaning over backwards to find something favourable to say about immigrants

Here’s what Dutton’s own department says about the social and economic contribution made by refugees to Australia:

In 2011 the department of immigration and citizenship (as the Department of Immigration and Border Protection was then called) commissioned a report by the University of Adelaide academic Prof Graeme Hugo. Hugo’s report is here.

The department’s own summation of Hugo’s findings (still available on the department website) reads:

    The research found the overwhelming picture, when one takes the longer term perspective of changes over the working lifetime of humanitarian program entrants and their children, is one of considerable achievement and contribution.

    The humanitarian program yields a demographic dividend because of a low rate of settler loss, relatively high fertility rate and a high proportion of children who are likely to work the majority of their lives in Australia. It finds evidence of increasing settlement in non-metropolitan areas, which creates social and economic benefits for local communities.

    Humanitarian entrants help meet labour shortages, including in low-skill and low-paid occupations. They display strong entrepreneurial qualities compared with other migrant groups, with a higher than average proportion engaging in small and medium business enterprises.

    Humanitarian settlers also benefit the wider community through developing and maintaining economic linkages with their origin countries. In addition, they make significant contributions through volunteering in both the wider community and within their own community groups.


The poor in Australia are less healthy -- and they bring it on themselves

The poor in Australia are so poor that they can eat, drink, and smoke themselves to death. ­Indeed, they seem pretty good at it because they are one and a half times more likely to suffer disease from those causes than those who are better off.

Last week, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare released its report, Australian Burden of Disease Study: impact and causes of illness and deaths in Australia 2011. Burden of disease combines measures of the impact of dying early and living with illness. The report suggests 30 per cent of the burden of disease in Australia is preventable because "modifiable risk factors" cause it.

An example of a modifiable risk factor is "high body mass" — fat. It could lead to heart disease, diabetes and more. A great many modifiable risks are "behavioural". They are very familiar and include grog, smokes, drugs, unsafe sex, physical inactivity, childhood sexual abuse, domestic violence, and a diet low in vegetables.

All of these factors are heavily class based. The researchers also say that, "if the poor were as healthy as the rich they would be 21 per cent better off." The message in the report, although drowning in gobbledygook, is quite simple. If you change the way you live, or with whom you live, you will live longer.

The researchers say that "disparity" in health outcomes is caused by "reduced access" to health services and resources, and "risky behaviours". Short of making the poor rich, how can the disparity be removed?

The fact that the wealthy can be kept alive by buying better health services does not explain why the poor, who have access to perfectly good health services, die younger. Bulk-billing GPs tell their patients every day to lose weight, eat vegetables, give up the smokes, give up grog, and to exercise. It is not "reduced access" that results in the poor dying younger or being less well.

All Australians are able to learn from highly qualified medical practitioners how to live healthier lives. Whether they listen is another thing altogether. Indeed, governments know that many do not listen, so they give them a real hard nudge.

Of the behavioural factors, and putting to one side unsafe sex, sin products such as grog and smokes (including gambling, which is highly related to others) are heavily taxed, vegetables are not, and the others are illegal.

In effect, the tax and the legal system distinguish between two classes of poor: the deserving and the undeserving.

The deserving poor do not have to pay sin taxes or fall foul of the law. To a great extent, through sin taxes and legal penalties, the undeserving poor pay for their sins, but little else.

Much of the federal election is encapsulated in this tale of class and health.

The welfare state cannot modify the class system sufficiently for the poor to catch up. The differences in health (and life chances) between the poor and the rest are unlikely ever to be abolished.

The welfare state provides ­adequate access to health services, and it tries to modify behaviour by taxation and the law. To some extent this works. In other respects, it makes lives more difficult.

Duncan Storrar, Q&A’s "national hero", is the architect of his downfall. He receives benefits regardless of whether he deserves it. As a nation, we have shown great forbearance.

My sense, in this campaign, is that forbearance is wearing thin. This is a huge danger for Bill Shorten and the Labor Party on two grounds. The ideology that welfare can abolish differences is threadbare. The money backing the threadbare ideology has gone. Labor has spent the ­future. There is no more chance that the welfare state can abolish the class system, sufficient to have the poor live as well as the rich, than Bill Shorten has of becoming prime minister.

To paraphrase Amy Wax (Race, Wrongs and Remedies: Group Justice in the 21st Century), no one knows how to ensure that others make good health choices or do not engage in risky behaviour. More broadly, "We do not know how to make someone obey the law, study hard, develop useful skills, be courteous, speak and write well, work steadily, marry and stay married, be a devoted husband and father, and refrain from bearing children they cannot or will not care for."

The problems of the unhealthy poor will not be found in great social programs run out of Canberra. What remains is a salutary series of questions, with few answers, and the bill


States and territories in the age of entitlement
Transferring responsibility to the States is possible and practical

Carve 10 percentage points out of personal income tax, put it in the hands of a sub-national government, and reduce grants to said government by an equivalent amount. Malcolm Turnbull's pre-COAG thought bubble? It sounds like it, but it's what has actually just happened in the UK, as Westminster devolves fiscal power to Scotland.

Has the Australian federation reached such a sorry pass that we can take lessons from one of the most centralised of unitary states? For that matter, decentralisation is a global trend. As the Australian federation becomes more centralised, unitary states are going in the opposite direction.

We've travelled so far along the centralisation path that we've been conditioned to think the idea of our states raising more of the money they spend as freakish. In fact it's nothing less than a bedrock principle of accountable, efficient federalism. The Premiers and Chief Ministers know that, and some of their predecessors even advocated what Turnbull proposed to COAG, but it suits them (the WA Premier excepted) to pretend otherwise.

Turnbull's proposal has been put to rest for now, but the problem of unaccountable, inefficient federalism remains. More than that, the Premiers and Chief Ministers have become part of the entitlement culture.

Far from coming to an end, the age of entitlement long ago spread from pensions and other cash benefits to in-kind health and education benefits. It is the states and territories -- not the federal government -- that actually run public hospitals and schools, but instead of being held accountable for how they are run the Premiers and Chief Ministers have turned themselves into a pressure group for more federal funding as if that is the solution to all problems.

Public attitudes towards health and education in the age of entitlement make it politically difficult for the Commonwealth to make 'take it or leave it' offers to the states as in the past, but eventually something must give. The Abbott government's so-called '$80 billion cut' forced the issue into the open, but the nature of its resolution is not yet clear. The least satisfactory one would be more Commonwealth taxation to finance more grants to the states.     


‘Nothing worth doing comes easy’: How 23-year-old Brisbane man saved for his first home

I hope it works for this kid.  Buying off the plan can have big pitfalls

LIKE many young Aussies, housing is a major issue for Brisbane IT professional Nick Burge, only the 24-year-old is frustrated for different reasons than most.

He’s frustrated by Gen Y constantly complaining about how they can’t crack the property market, and thinking politicians should be making it easier for them to buy their first home.

He’s frustrated by suggestions that parents should "shell out" and hand over cash to their kids to set them up with a new house.

And he’s mostly excited, but still a little frustrated, by the fact that he still has to wait another three months before he can move into his brand new two-bedroom apartment, rooftop pool and all.

In stark contrast to the widely accepted narrative that young first home hopefuls are locked out of the market, Mr Burge managed to save for a deposit on his own home, after paying in full for his first car, without handouts from his folks by the age of 23.

And he wants his peers to know that they can do it too.

"A lot of my friends are in that situation where they think they’ll never own property, and it’s quite frustrating because it’s probably more a lack of research on their end," he tells

"Yes, it’s extremely hard. I know that from my own experience. But nothing worth doing comes easy."

While living with his parents in Brisbane and studying IT and design at university, Mr Burge was at first furious his mum and dad were happy to sink money into his education, but a car was out of the question.

Looking back, he says it’s now the best thing they could have done, setting him on the path to become a self-funded success.

"It was hard to comprehend ... They were financially capable that they could help me, but they said from the beginning that they weren’t going to," he says.

"They said if I wanted a car I could save for it myself, so I basically just challenged myself for a few months to work so many hours and rack up that money, which also reduced the amount of time that I could spend money.

"That made me really want it, and want to set goals. To me it was buy a car first, buy a house second."

The student worked three part time jobs over the uni break and kept up as many hours as he could during semester. He also managed his money carefully, investing in different term deposits and keeping his spending money in cash.

When his investments had matured and he had enough saved, Mr Burge withdrew from his four accounts so he could have all the money in the one place, and went to the dealership with a wad of fifties.

"I had $20,000 in notes, in cold hard cash. I took it to the dealership and we had to count it like 10 times to make sure it was the right amount," he says.

"The guy was like ‘this is the first time this has ever happened to us’."

The 18-year-old drove from the dealership in his brand new Mazda 3 with a zero account balance, so it was clearly the right time for the teenager to start planning his first property purchase.

Motivated by his home ownership dream, and the need for experience when he graduated his degree, Mr Burge started freelancing as a web designer and eventually landed a part time job at a start-up which turned full-time once he graduated.

He researched houses but found an apartment would be more attainable, so decided to invest in a two-bedroom apartment in Coorparoo, only about 4km from Brisbane’s CBD.

In April last year he secured his first property with a price tag of $389,000. That’s about 40 per cent cheaper than the average two bedroom house price in the area. It’s a home, and that’s what he was after.

Mr Burge had done all his research. Buying off the plan meant he required only a 10 per cent deposit ($38,900). He decided to save another 10 per cent by the settlement date to avoid paying mortgage insurance.

Although he’s not a fan of handouts, he’s also planning to apply for Queensland’s $15,000 "Great Start Grant" for first homeowners purchasing new homes. He sees it "as a reward for my hard saving", and intends to use the money "towards some nicer furniture when I move in".

With housing affordability consistently cited as the greatest source of pressure for Australians, particularly young ones, it’s not going away as a political issue.

Malcolm Turnbull’s comments that parents should "shell out" and support children to buy their first home attracted a huge amount of criticism that the Prime Minister had a limited understanding of the issue and was "out of touch" with the property-seeking public.

Mr Burge was also incensed by this comment, taking to LinkedIn to pen an essay in response.

He’s on board with the Government’s choice to make no changes to negative gearing and capital gains tax, and he didn’t think the quip made the PM seem out of touch. Rather, he thought it highlighted another cause of housing affordability struggles — parents being too generous.

"We’re having the wrong conversation," he wrote.  "The root solution has nothing to do with external financial aid for the younger generation. It’s a personal one ... parents are the worst culprits."

Mr Burge slammed the notion that parents should assist their kids in buying a car or putting down a deposit on a house. "My parents chose a different direction. Instead, they offered to put some money towards my university degree," he wrote.  "I didn’t realise it at the time, but they had given me an even greater education — the reward of hard work."

Mr Burge admits he’s lucky. He knows not everyone has the luxury of living with their parents and avoiding rent and other costs that come with leaving the nest.

"I know not everyone’s in that position, but people can achieve different goals at different stages, and I think the discussion we need to be having is more around financial responsibility and educating people a lot younger," he says.

"I suppose compared to other people, I don’t have a gym membership, I haven’t signed up for Netflix, I just spend my time probably working, I do a cheaper form of exercise, I have boardgame nights with friends. It’s just a different sort of lifestyle I guess, different priorities."

For now, his top priority is paying off his mortgage, and his next big goal will be to expand his property portfolio.


In brief

Those mainstream, moderate Greens. Jim Casey, Greens candidate for Grayndler, writing in the Guardian Australia, Thursday:

"As a union leader used to speaking shorthand to comrades, I framed capitalism as an idea that could be overthrown. On reflection, it is something that is more likely to collapse under its own weight — we cannot adhere to a belief that is so obviously unable to make the transition into the future that awaits many of us and all of our children … We must challenge the durability of capitalism in the face of three overriding realities: climate change, growing inequality and resource depletion"

Tell that to your comrades in Caracas. The Pan-American Post reports on life in the socialist paradise of Venezuela, May 4:

"Ramon Muchacho, Mayor of Chacao in Caracas, said the streets of the capital of Venezuela are filled with people killing animals for food. Through Twitter, Muchacho reported that in Venezuela, it is a "painful reality" that people "hunt cats, dogs and pigeons" to ease their hunger. People are also reportedly gathering vegetables from the ground and trash to eat as well"

Could happen to anybody. ABC News websites, Thursday:

The Labor candidate for the federal seat of Fremantle is set to be disendorsed by the ALP. It has been revealed Maritime Union official Chris Brown failed to disclose two convictions from the 1980s — the assault of a police officer and driving under the influence.

Bill Shorten, speaking to the press in Rockhampton, Thursday:

I am very disappointed by this set of events. The Labor Party has acted and we’re moving on from it. The national secretary has made a recommendation to me … I believe that Josh Wilson, the deputy mayor of Fremantle, will be a very good candidate in Fremantle.

Shorten, clearing up another candidate issue, moments later:

I don’t accept the language that was used at all by our candidate.

The Labor candidate for Macarthur, Michael Freelander, Wednesday:

I would hate to think we would be torturing children in a place like Manus Island — in a concentration camp — and I could never support that.

Israeli MP Sharren Haskel disputes the description of Manus Island:

I would invite (Dr Freelander) to Germany to view some real concentration camps and everything that happened there, the gas chambers, mountains of shoes, and clothes and glasses.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

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