Friday, September 30, 2016

The whole State of South Australia blacked out during storm

This was expected.  The storm just pushed S.A. over the edge it was balanced on.  Their triumphant boast that they now rely on "green" power only had to lead to power loss. Green power only works under very favourable circumstances.  That the storm knocked down a few poles in one area should not have taken the whole State down.  Wind turbines have to be switched off during high winds so that was the most likely cause of the problem.  And once they were down, the lowered voltage would have hit hard the interconnector to Victoria and tripped it off

A “CATASTROPHIC” superstorm that left an entire state without power is far from over with warnings the worst of the wild weather is yet to come.

As the nation’s leaders stuggle to work out how South Australia was left in total blackout — causing travel chaos, hospital terror and reported looting of homes — forecasters say more is on the way.

The once-in-50-year storm is expected to move east through the south coast of Australia in the next 24 hours, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

Expect havoc across the country as the storm unleashes again, with flood warnings in place for five states as well as for the ACT.

It has already hit parts of Victoria and will move into NSW and Tasmania today. BoM senior meteorologist Craig Burke said a weather event of this size and intensity was unusual, especially when it affected so many locations.

“It’s extremely rare to see a low of this much pressure and intensity,” he said. “It’s fair to say it’s going to get extremely nasty again.”

The extreme weather saw gale-force winds, heavy rain and thunderstorms lash South Australia and parts of Victoria last night.

As the “worst storm in decades” struck the country with force, South Australia was plunged into darkness and triple-0 was down in isolated parts of the state.

SA Premier Jay Weatherill insisted it was not South Australia’s reliance on renewable energy that led to the blackout, as some have suggested.

“This was a weather event, this was not a renewable energy event,” he said, saying the whole electricity network was forced to shut down after a “catastrophic weather event” damaged infrastructure near Port Augusta at 3.48pm yesterday.

The Premier said powerful wind gusts and thunderstorms smashed 22 electricity transmission stations in the area, and the toppled towers were followed by a lightning strike, which triggered a shutdown for safety reasons.

“This is a catastrophic natural event which has destroyed our infrastructure,” he said in a press conference this afternoon. “These are events the Director of the Bureau of Meteorology has never seen in his whole career.

“There is no infrastructure that can be developed that can protected you against catastrophic events that take out three pieces of infrastructure.

He praised the rapid response of the Australian Energy Market Operator, SA Power and emergency services, as well as the “community spirit” among South Australians.

“This is certainly a system that was designed to get the system back up as quickly as possible. In a few hours we were beginning to restore power and now the lion’s share of the system has been restored.”

Ninety per cent of the power has been restored in the 38 hours after the blackout, with 75,000 still without power this morning.

Mr Weatherill warned about 40,000 households could be without power for the next two days. Large industrial users are among the last waiting to begin operating again.

“It’s not simply a storm, it’s an unprecedented weather event, the likes of which the bureau has not seen here,” he added. “There are things we have to reflect upon, but our present advice is this was an event which could not have been predicted, it was an extreme event.”

He said there would be a three-pronged inquiry into what went wrong, but said the priority now was to deal with people still suffering, particularly in the north of the state.

On reports of looting, he said: “There’s some isolated incidents the police commission might want to concern themselves with. If that’s happened, it’s disgusting.

“An isolated incident is disgusting and regrettable but I done think it reflects the overwhelming evidence of community spirit.”


Hospitals came under serious pressure as they switched to back-up power generators to assist people on life support. Handheld battery packs and hand-operated respirators were used as 17 patients had to be moved.

People using life-support devices at home headed to hospitals for extra power, with the wards focusing solely on those in life-threatening situations.

By 7pm (local time) yesterday power had started to be restored to some suburbs, mostly in the metropolitan area’s eastern districts.

Adelaide Hills and northern suburbs were among the worst affected.

Hail, winds and wild weather made travel impossible with traffic lights out of action and trams and trains cancelled.

The BoM has warned that gale-force winds of up to 120km/h and plenty more rain is expected across the state today.


Malcolm Turnbull criticises state governments for 'unrealistic' emissions targets over energy security

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has criticised the state Labor governments, saying they have prioritised lower emissions over energy security, following a state-wide blackout in South Australia yesterday.

South Australia's entire power supply was cut off when wild weather toppled dozens of transmission towers and tripped the interconnector with Victoria.

Mr Turnbull said measures targeting lower emissions had to be consistent with energy security.

He told reporters in Tasmania this morning that intermittent renewable energy sources posed a "real threat" for energy security. "Energy security should always be the key priority ... whether it is hydro, wind, solar, coal or gas," he said.

"A number of the state Labor Governments have over the years set priorities and renewable targets that are extremely aggressive, extremely unrealistic, and have paid little or no attention to energy security."

South Australian Labor Senator Penny Wong has criticised the Turnbull Government, accusing the Prime Minister of politicising the event.  "We're all waiting for Malcolm Turnbull to behave like a Prime Minister and like a leader," she told the ABC.

"To have not just the Prime Minister, but others jumping in to play a bit of politics with this about their own views around renewable energy is disappointing."

Senator Wong also criticised fellow South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon, who yesterday said "heads have to roll" over the power outage.  "We all know Nick loves publicity, but yesterday he crossed the line," she said.

"He crossed the line jumping on television to have a crack, to talk about hospitals shutting down was irresponsible, it was alarmist and frankly it was tacky."

Mr Turnbull said he had spoken with Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg about negotiating with his state counterparts to move towards a national renewables target instead of "political gamesmanship" between states.

Mr Frydenberg also addressed media at a separate event, saying that he hoped to meet with his state counterparts in coming days.

He said the weather led to the "cascading effect" which caused the power outage, but also raised concerns over the security and stability of renewable energy, which accounts for more than 40 per cent of South Australia's power.

"That type of renewable energy is intermittent, meaning when the wind is not blowing and the sun is not shining, power is not being generated," he said.

"This creates issues for the stability of the system because of the level of frequency that is generated and these are issues that COAG are currently looking at."

Experts have dismissed suggestions a reliance on renewable energy was to blame for the outage, following comments from Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, who says the black out in South Australia should prompt questions about the state's reliance on renewable energy.

Mr Joyce told the ABC that "the question has to be asked, is the over-reliance on renewable energy exacerbating their problems and capacity to have a secure power supply".

Greens MP Adam Bandt said his party will move for an inquiry into the effects of global warming on infrastructure, particularly energy infrastructure.

Senator Xenophon also wants an independent inquiry into the power outage.


Tasmania's empty dams problem

Should they stop using for power what water is left so that water levels can build up?  Tasmania ran down its water reserves during the Gillard years -- in response to perverse Greenie incentives. Then the rain stopped coming

Hydro Tasmania has baulked at a suggestion from its biggest customers that a year's worth of power should be stored in the state's dams.

In a submission to the Energy Security Taskforce, the Minerals and Energy Council said Hydro should increase its water storages to ensure a 12-month safety net.

The taskforce was established to investigate the best way to ensure energy security after an unprecedented energy crisis earlier this year caused by record low Hydro dam levels and a broken Bass Strait undersea power cable.

Hydro Tasmania's chief executive Steve Davy said cost would be an issue in relation to the storages called for.

"It sounds like an expensive measure and I would caution against measures that would make the costs of supplying that very expensive to Tasmanians," he said.

It is unclear exactly what level of water would be required for a 12-month safety net.

Energy analyst Marc White said more modelling would be required.

"This is a question of what insurance premium are we prepared to pay for what levels of system security, and I think there's more work to be done on the modelling," he said.

To boost dam levels in the coming months the costly Tamar Valley Power station will be fired up in October.

Mr Davy said Hydro was taking a conservative approach.

"The management and board of Hydro are aware of the lessons that we need to learn and are making the changes in terms of our risk management that are required," he said.

Hydro said rainfall levels would determine how long the Tamar Valley Power Station operated for.


Australia 'should go in to bat for China'

This may be the first and last time I agree with a U.N. official but I think the lady below is right.  I have previously argued that China now has a perfectly legal right to the islands it has built in the East China sea: The right of first settlement

Australia is well placed to make the case to Washington to try to reform international organisations to accommodate China's rise, according to a senior EU advisor.

Nathalie Tocci, a special advisor to the European Union's High Representative, says as Europe is doing some soul searching about giving up some of its own power, other countries need to do the same.

"Unless we start doing that we may end up in a situation where other organisations pop up," Dr Tocci told AAP on Wednesday.

China needed to be told the world understood it was growing and needed more space, within rules and limits.

"It's also about telling Americans, you've got to make that space, otherwise they are going to take it and it's not going to be pretty," she said.

The China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, set up in opposition to the US-based International Monetary Fund and World Bank, was the "first warning signal", she said.

Other bodies such as the World Trade Organisation and even parts of the UN could also need reform.

"In order to ensure that multilateralism survives into the future, we have to transform it," Dr Tocci said.

She urged Australia to take a leadership role because it understands China's rise is inevitable.

"I think, given Australia's relationship with the United States, it has a huge role to play in making the case," Dr Tocci said.

On the prospects of an EU and Australian free trade deal, Dr Tocci, who helped draft the new global strategy on foreign and security policy after Britain voted to leave the bloc, said politicians needed to start laying the ground work early in order to win over a hostile public.

"These are not easy times. What we are seeing is a backlash against globalisation," she said.

"A lot of explaining needs to be done about why these agreements are actually good." She predicts the deal could be finalised by 2018.


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

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Support for recognition of Indigenous Australians in the constitution has dropped below 60%, according to an Essential poll released today

And it will drop further the more it is politicized.  Bipartisan consensus is needed to get something like this through.  Aborigines are already recognized by the Australian consitution.  The 1967 referendum did that.  They are now just Australians.  Anything else would be racist.  And we can rely on Pauline to tell us all that.  With her opposed, a referendum would not have a snowflake's chance.  She speaks for huge numbers of Australians on ethnic issues

The poll of 1,006 respondents found 58% said they would vote yes in a referendum to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Australian constitution.

The figure is a large decline on a poll commissioned by Recognise in 2015 which found 85% in favour of constitutional recognition but only a small decline on a JWS Research poll in July which found 60% in favour of recognition and 59% in favour of a treaty.

The poll also found 61% of respondents disapprove of the government’s proposal to allow a single company to own all three of a newspaper, TV network and radio station in a single market.

It found 18% approve of the abolition of the two-out-of-three rule, 22% don’t know, and the majority of those that disapproved of the policy did so strongly.

The Essential poll found Labor leading the Coalition 52% to 48%, echoing a Newspoll released on Tuesday that had the same 52-48 result, albeit with a slightly higher Coalition primary vote of 39%.

It found continuing high support for voluntary euthanasia, at 68%, consistent with Essential polls as far back as 2010.

The campaign for constitutional recognition is entering a fragile period. Although recognition enjoys majority support, the referendum council has not approved a particular proposal to be voted on at a referendum.

Labor has said it would consider a treaty with Aboriginal Australians in addition to constitutional recognition, a proposal which led the government to accuse it of putting at risk “meaningful but modest” change in the form of constitutional recognition.

Asked to rate a series of issues on their importance, 75% of respondents to the poll said reaching a global agreement on climate change was important, compared with 62% for a banking and finance royal commission and 59% for a treaty with Indigenous Australians.

Issues which a majority did not consider important included a plebiscite on same-sex marriage (36%) and a referendum on a republic (34%).

The Labor financial services spokeswoman, Katy Gallagher, said the poll showed the government was “out of touch” on a bank royal commission because even 59% of Coalition voters were in favour, according to the poll.


Queensland 'comfortable' with damning prison report

Queensland's Corrections Minister Bill Byrne is "comfortable" with the service in prisons despite an ombudsman's report showing pregnant inmates sleep on the floor due to overcrowding.

The Brisbane Women's Correctional Centre was on Tuesday named as the state's most overcrowded prison in a report by ombudsman Phil Clarke.

Mr Clarke said there had been a significant increase in assaults, self-harm and suicide attempts at the facility.

"In my view, QCS (Queensland Corrective Services) has failed to provide adequate living conditions for prisoners at BWCC," he wrote.

As a way of managing the problems, the department "continues to make extensive use of doubling-up prisoners" in cells designed for one person, Mr Clarke said.

As a consequence, pregnant prisoners were required to sleep on mattresses on the floor. However, QCS on Tuesday said pregnant inmates weren't compelled to share a cell and were always allocated a built bed.

Mr Byrne said the problems in the report were well known.  "We are well-attuned to the issues that come from overcapacity," he said.

"I'm very confident about the level of safety and security that applies to principle staff and also prisoners under normal, day to day circumstances."

"I'm comfortable with the level of service provided to Queensland prisoners, whether they're pregnant or not," he said.

Mr Byrne said the report "somewhat disregarded" much of the background material that impacts on why women were incarcerated in the first place, including drug use, mental health problems and histories of abuse.

He announced the Palaszczuk government would spend $1 million on a new female prisoner re-integration program, expected to be operational by next month.

Mr Byrne said the program was not something that had been "crafted in the short term" and criticised the former Liberal National Party government for cutting reintegration services.

He said Queensland could not simply build its way out of the overcrowding issue because even if a new facility was ordered no new cells would open for three years.

However, shadow attorney-general Ian Walker said the government had to act quickly and slammed Mr Byrne for dismissing the overcrowding as a comfort issue.

"We at the LNP don't expect prisoners to be housed in the Taj Mahal," he said.

"But we do expect that they will be in proper and decent conditions because if they're not it leads to considerable discipline measures in our jails ... it puts our hard-working prisoner officers at risk."

Mr Walker also said Labor had trashed the LNP's proposal to convert the Southern Queensland Correctional Centre at Gatton into a women's prison, which would have helped address the overcrowding problem.


Liberals trigger storm over private school funding

Education Minister Simon Birmingham’s concession that some of the nation’s wealthiest private schools are “over-funded” and could lose money has ignited a fresh front in the decades-old ­political firestorm over education spending.

As Labor recycled John Howard’s 2004 attack on Mark Latham’s discarded schools funding policy to accuse the Coalition of crafting a “secret hit list’’, Senator Birmingham hit back by saying Bill Shorten was now trying to frighten families and children with a “schools-scare’’ campaign.

UPDATE: Treasurer Scott Morrison has accused Bill Shorten of playing “cynical bogeyman politics” over threatened funding cuts to wealthy private schools.

Independent Schools Council of Australia executive director ­Colette Colman warned that ­private schools were not an easy target, saying “pitting school sectors against each other is not helpful, as there are over-funded schools in every sector’’.

Independent schools received significantly less funding than government schools, with the ­majority coming from parents, she said. “This after-tax private contribution saves the Australian taxpayer more than $4.3 billion every year,’’ she added.

Ross Fox from the National Catholic Education Commission also weighed in, saying “springing funding cuts on schools or systems is far from fair and does nothing for funding certainty’’.

“The priority must be to move all systems and all schools closer to being funded according to their need rather than moving funding between schools in aid of other policy objectives,’’ he said.

The Australian has examined the latest national literacy and numeracy test results to compare schools across the nation as part of exclusive Your School special analysis.

Launched this Saturday in The Weekend Australian, Your School reveals the school that spends the most on its students nationwide is the Walgett Community College in the remote NSW township, where 99 per cent of the students are indigenous.

Walgett spends $44,692 per student, with $43,501 coming from the federal and state government to support the school’s extra needs. By comparison, elite Sydney Grammar spends $40,982 per student, with $3617 coming from public funding.

NSW contends that Senator Birmingham’s plans to rip-up the Gonski school funding agreements and replace it with a new model in 2018 will herald a return to the “bad old days’’ of constant bickering, hand rich private schools with swimming pools more money at the expense of struggling public schools, and fuel the “sectarian debate’’ over education spending.

The Coalition is arguing that 27 separate Gonski deals with the states, territories and different education sectors produced a patchwork of inequitable arrangements that left students in some states worse off than students in others.

Senator Birmingham wants to level the playing field, but his comments on the ABC’s Q&A program on Monday night, agreeing that some private schools were “over-funded’’ and could lose money, has inflamed tensions and has the ­potential to alienate Coalition voters. Asked if some wealthy private schools would be worse off, Senator Birmingham said: “That ­depends on whether we can actually reach some accord with the states and territories and ultimately with the Senate, to get a fairer funding model in place.’’

He said it was possible they could lose money because under the current Gonski arrangements there were “some schools that are notionally over-funded’’ and it would “take more than 100 years to come into alignment with the current funding model’’.

Opposition education spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek demanded Senator Birmingham detail which schools would be in line for funding cuts.

“If he thinks that some schools are over-funded, the obvious question is, ‘which ones?’ Does he have a secret hit list?’’ Ms Plibersek said.

In 2004, Mr Latham’s ill-fated schools policy included a “hit list’’ to slash government funding from 67 schools including the King’s School and Trinity Grammar in NSW and Geelong Grammar and Caulfield Grammar in Victoria.

Critics slammed the policy as class warfare.

Negotiating the Gonski agreements, Julia Gillard sought to avoid the Latham trap of creating losers by promising that no school would be worse off under the reforms. Her detractors argue this meant true needs-based funding irrespective of education sector or location was never introduced.

Senator Birmingham told the ABC he had been careful never to make the promise that no school would be worse off, and also indicated he was open to creating an independent body to oversee needs-based school funding if the states and territories were on board.

He last night hit back at Labor’s suggestion of a “hit list’’, saying the Opposition was “trying to prop up yet another desperate scare campaign to distract attention away from the inequity they built into their 27 different schools funding deals’’.

“Bill Shorten has gone from scaring older Australians and the sick with ‘Mediscare’ to trying to frighten families and children with ‘schools-scare’. Labor has stooped to a new low,” he said.

Unlike many of his colleagues, Senator Birmingham was educated at his local government school, Adelaide’s Gawler High but he is a strong supporter of a parent’s right to choose the non-government sector.

The Grattan Institute’s school education program director Peter Goss said Senator Birmingham “is to be absolutely commended for calling out the fact that some schools are over-funded relative to their need. That means we are spending dollars and extra dollars each year in places that don’t need it, and that is preventing us from spending it in places that do need it’’. “This must change,’’ he said. “This is about the principles of needs-based funding — arguments about hit lists of private schools are purely self-serving.’’

“This has been a no-go area for far too long. It is fantastic that Minister Birmingham is showing signs of taking it on.’’


ALP’s anti-plebiscite drive reflects audacity of hate

Jennifer Oriel

There is something rather dangerous about the gay marriage debate — and it is not homosexuality or marriage.

It is the view widely held by our political Left that ­liberal democratic precepts can be overridden whenever they interfere with politically correct ideology.

Not content merely to deny the democratic mandate of millions who endorsed the same-sex marriage plebiscite by voting the Coalition into power, Labor is sowing civil hatred as social order.

The abysmal and divisive new ethos of Labor is the audacity of hate.

I think it would be fair to surmise that the opposition’s legal affairs spokesman Mark Dreyfus doesn’t suffer from an excess of modesty.

But even so, his idea that the government should “win over” Labor by compromising on the plebiscite bill is remarkably arrogant. The government has an election mandate to hold a plebiscite on same-sex marriage. Labor’s ­denial of it constitutes a repudiation of the will of the people.

Having lost its election campaign to deny people a vote on marriage reform, Labor has swung into attack.

It is reframing the plebiscite ­debate by exploiting fear and manipulating emotion. In one short week, Labor has succeeded in re­framing the founding principles of liberal democracy as manifestations of hatred — all in the name of love, of course.

In Labor’s grand lexicon of doublespeak, public reason, active citizenship, and the human rights to free thought and speech, freedom of association and religion are mistranslated into forms of ­hatred. And the citizen who seeks active participation in democracy by advocating for the same-sex marriage plebiscite is, by extension, hatred personified.

Increasingly it is the case that whenever a question of social reform arises, the political Left reverts to the audacity of hate to coerce people into conformity. Its default position is to mob and vilify dissenters.

It acts as though Australia were a country under democratic socialism rather than liberal democracy.

Like revolutionary socialism, the democratic model holds socialism as the only end of democracy, but its tenets are introduced using the state and associ­ated institutions rather than militant revolution.

During the past week, the socialist Left position on gay marriage has been promulgated by Labor, the Greens and the state media institutions that consistently follow the Left party line: SBS and the ABC.

In news and on current affairs programs, the ABC has so aggressively campaigned for the socialist Left’s anti-plebiscite position, it appeared there was no alternative. And that is perfectly consistent with the one-party-rule ethos of democratic socialism.

But it just happens to run counter to the Australian people’s will — namely, the democratic mandate for a plebiscite endorsed at the federal election.

Whenever a pro-plebiscite voice is raised, the Left howls it down in a chorus of contempt. Predictably, Christians and conservatives are the principal victims of the Left’s pre-emptive moral infallibility.

For example, when it looked as though Stephen O’Doherty, chief executive of Christian Schools Australia, was winning the plebiscite debate on ABC’s The Drum, host Julia Baird interrupted to promulgate an anti-plebiscite line in unison with the other panellists.

Tony Jones, the host of ABC’s Q&A, so routinely interrupts politically incorrect panellists that the online forum Catallaxy Files holds bids for “interruption lotto” before each show.

The tendency of the political Left to contort democracy whenever it conflicts with politically correct ideology is evident also in its main counter-argument to the plebiscite, which actually constitutes a rationale for it.

Anti-plebiscite politicians and commentators believe they can relieve Australia of the people’s will by appeal to representative democracy.

Yet the zenith of representative democracy — the popular democratic election under a system of universal suffrage — yielded a yes vote for the plebiscite as a central feature of the Coalition’s election platform.

In recent years the appeal to representative democracy has been fashioned into a rhetorical tool of convenience to justify everything from policy reversals to unseating prime ministers. It is the default defence of those who seek a ready rationale for acting against the will of the people expressed in federal elections.

And it seems that appeals to representative democracy strip­ped of both genuine representation and democracy are especially popular among the members of left-leaning factions in both major parties.

Such appeals were used to unseat Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd and Liberal prime minister Tony Abbott.

However, hollow appeals to representative democracy threaten its future by subordinating the people’s will to party politics and replacing election mandates with polls.

They are the source of the growing democratic deficit — the vast gulf between the people and the elites — producing political instability across the West.

The government has a mandate to pass the bill for a plebiscite on same-sex marriage. The mandate was provided by millions of Australians who voted for the Coalition in the July election.

Labor would have liked to win the election with its opposing campaign to legislate for same-sex marriage in parliament. But it did not win. Having lost the popular vote, Labor seeks to subvert democracy by blocking the plebiscite.

The worrying implication is that the Left may actually loathe the people and mistrust democracy as much as its anti-plebiscite propaganda suggests.


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

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Q&A: Penny Wong takes another swipe at Pauline Hanson

As a long-term Leftist apparatchik and a lesbian of East Asian extraction, she was never going to do anything else. And as usual, Amanda Vanstone spoke the most sense. Amanda is an overweight lady so does not get a lot of respect but what she says is very balanced. She is a lawyer by background

Pauline Hanson may not have featured on the Q&A panel on Monday night, but the controversial Queensland senator's name was bound to pop up at some stage.

Labor leader in the Senate Penny Wong has previously accused Senator Hanson of peddling prejudice and fear, and she doubled down on that statement when questioned by an audience member.

The panel at Her Majesty's Theatre in Adelaide also featured South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill, Minister for Education Simon Birmingham and former Liberal senator Amanda Vanstone.

Senator Wong, as she so often does in her Q&A appearances, produced the biggest reaction from the audience on the night.

Asked how she could argue Senator Hanson peddles prejudice and fear when she was elected by the people of Australia to represent their views, Senator Wong responded with, "because I look at what she says".

"Yes, she is elected, you know, she has her seat in the Senate. And she's entitled to speak, but those of us who have very different views are also entitled to speak.

Mr Birmingham said the figures quoted in the Essential poll stating that 49 per cent of Australians agreed with Senator Hanson's views surprised, while Mr Weatherill said the general public was receiving shaky information about Muslim immigration.

"I was surprised but not shocked," Mr Weatherill said. "The popular discourse is equated, has equated the Muslim faith with terrorism. So we see probably people being confused about those two ideas."  [Rubbish!  the Muslim faith has been equated with terrorism by the deeds of Muslims.  When they shout "Allah Akhbar" while doing their foul deeds, you can be sure they are not Presbyterians]

Ms Vanstone said the political elite should be wary of dismissing Senator Hanson's supporters as ignorant.

"My view is to why Donald Trump, inexplicably is doing so well in the US, is typified by Hillary [Clinton]'s comment, 'the basket of deplorables'.

"If we can't have a civil debate, you have views with which I don't agree, without saying you are from a basket of deplorables, those people that think things I don't think, well, up you Jack, I'm sick of you, treating me as if I'm an ignoramus.

"I've got a vote, I've got these views and I think it's come about from a lack of respect from the political elites for people with a different view."


Pauline is the people's politician

A new survey has revealed that 60 per cent of Australians would not want a member of their family to marry a Muslim.

The research, which is part of an ongoing Deakin University study into attitudes towards Islam, also found more than one third of people thought Muslims should be more closely scrutinised at airports.

This comes just a week after a similar poll revealed half of all Australians would support a complete ban on Muslim immigration.

In the Deakin survey, a quarter of respondents said they would be comfortable if all anti-terror efforts focused solely on Muslims.

It showed that Australians have significantly more negative views towards Muslims, and while 60 per cent would be concerned if a Muslim married into their family, 33 per cent would be similarly unhappy over a Jewish fiancé.

Just 8.1 per cent of people would be upset if a relative was marrying a Christian.

The ongoing survey also revealed that when given the option, respondents did not disagree with Islamaphobic statements such as 'practicing Muslims pose a threat to Australian society'.

Co-author of the paper Dr Matteo Vergani, who is a Research Fellow at Deakin's Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, said education was the key to combating these attitudes towards Islam.

'We found that across the board – among conservative or progressive individuals, people of different age, education and country of birth – there was an association between someone's level of knowledge about Islam and their prejudice against Muslims.

'In the wake of the recent Essential poll which showed that 49 per cent of Australians support a ban on Muslim immigration, this result is particularly heartening and important because it suggests that education and knowledge of Islam is key to overcoming Islamophobia and building a more cohesive society.'

The research comes a week after it was revealed almost half of all Australians support One Nation leader Pauline Hanson's policy of ban Muslim immigration.

Polling conducted by Essential Research found 49 per cent of Australians surveyed supported a ban on Muslim immigration to Australia, with 40 per cent opposed to the idea.

The results surprisingly revealed more than one third of Greens voters (34 per cent) support the proposed ban, while 60 per cent of Liberal voters and 40 per cent of Labor voters agreed.

A perceived terrorist threat was the second greatest reason given (27 per cent) by those who support the ban, behind fears Muslim people 'do not integrate into Australian society' (41 per cent).


Backpacker tax: Federal Government backs down on plan

The Federal Government has responded to backbench and industry pressure and dumped the budget plan to impose a 32.5 per cent tax on backpacker workers.

Under a compromise deal, working holidaymakers will be taxed at 19 per cent from their first dollar earned instead.

Treasurer Scott Morrison announced the deal after it was signed off by Cabinet today, saying the backbench committee pushing for the changes was also satisfied.

"As one said, they were a pig in mud when it came to the changes that I'm about to announce now," Mr Morrison told reporters in Canberra.

The move comes within weeks of the Government's backtrack on superannuation, again following intense backbench pressure.

Queensland Coalition backbencher George Christensen was one of the main protagonists in pushing for both policy changes, but is not claiming total responsibility.

"I'm one of many, we all have a say, I'm having my say all the time, and other people are having their say too."

"This is not something that I'm going to go out saying that I scored a win on, it was a collective win."

Opposition leader Bill Shorten said Mr Christensen’s influence was broader than he was letting on.

“We've just seen this latest backflip from the government on this backpacker tax, there's no doubt that George Christensen and the right wing of that party are spelling out the song that Mr Turnbull has to sing,” Mr Shorten said.


Road to tyranny is paved with Leftie assumptions

Maurice Newman

When your news and views come from a tightly controlled, left-wing media echo chamber, it may come as a bit of a shock to learn that in the July election almost 600,000 voters gave their first preference to Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party. You may also be surprised to know that still deluded conservatives remain disenchanted with the media’s favourite Liberal, Malcolm Turnbull, for his epic fail as Prime Minister, especially when compared with the increasingly respected leader he deposed.

Perhaps when media outlets saturate us with “appropriate” thoughts and “acceptable” speech, and nonconformists are banished from television, radio and print, it’s easy to miss what is happening on the uneducated side of the tracks. After all, members of the better educated and morally superior political class use a compliant media to shelter us from the dangerous, racist, homophobic, Islamophobic, sexist, welfare-reforming, climate-change denying bigots who inhabit the outer suburbs and countryside — the people whom Hillary Clinton calls “the deplorables”.

They must be vilified without debate, lest too many of us waver on the virtues of bigger governments, central planning, more bloated bureaucracies, higher taxes, unaffordable welfare, a “carbon-free” economy, more regulations, open borders, gender-free and values-free schools and same-sex marriage; the sort of agenda that finds favour at the UN.

Yet history is solid with evidence that this agenda will never deliver the promised human dignity, prosperity and liberty. Only free and open societies with small governments can do that.

Gradually, the masses are realising something is wrong. Their wealth and income growth is stagnating and their living standards are threatened. They see their taxes wasted on expensive, ill-conceived social programs. They live with migrants who refuse to integrate. They resent having government in their lives on everything from home renovations to recreational fishing, from penalty rates to free speech.

Thomas Jefferson’s warning that “the natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground” is now a stark reality.

The terms “people’s representative” and “public servant” have become a parody. In today’s world we are the servants and, if it suits, we are brushed aside with callous indifference. Like the Labor government’s disregard for the enormous emotional and financial hurt suffered when, overnight, it shut down live cattle exports on the strength of a television show.

Or like the NSW parliament passing laws banning greyhound racing in the state. There was no remorse for the ruined lives of thousands of innocent people, many of whom won’t recover. Talk of compensation is a travesty.

Or like the victims neighbouring Williamtown and Oakey air force bases, made ill from toxic contamination of groundwater. Around the world it’s known chemical agents used in airport fire drills cause cancer, neurological disease and reproductive disorders, yet the Australian Department of Defence simply denies responsibility. The powerless are hopelessly trapped between health risks and valueless properties.

Similar disdain is shown for those living near coal-seam gas fields and wind turbines. The authorities know of the health and financial impacts but defend operators by bending rules and ignoring guidelines.

If governments believe the ends justify the means, people don’t matter.

When Ernst & Young research finds one in eight Australians can’t meet their electricity bills, rather than show compassion for the poor and the elderly, governments push ruthlessly ahead with inefficient and expensive renewable energy projects.

This newspaper’s former editor-in-chief Chris Mitchell reveals in his book, Making Headlines, how Kevin Rudd, when prime minister, brazenly attempted to use state power to investigate “the relationship between my paper and him”. Rudd’s successor, Julia Gillard, wanted to establish a media watchdog to effectively gag journalists.

None of this is fantasy and it explains why people are losing confidence in the democratic system. Australians feel increasingly marginalised and unrepresented. They are tired of spin and being lied to. They know that data is often withheld or manipulated.

As they struggle to make ends meet, they watch helplessly as the established political class shamelessly abuses its many privileges. It appears its sole purpose in life is to rule, not to govern. This adds weight to the insightful contention by the Business Council of Australia’s Jennifer Westacott that Australia is in desperate need of a national purpose.

It’s no wonder, to paraphrase American author Don Fredrick, that a growing number of Australians no longer want a tune-up at the same old garage. They want a new engine installed by experts — and they are increasingly of the view that the current crop of state and federal mechanics lacks the skills and experience to do the job.

One Nation may not be the answer, but its garage does offer a new engine.

This is Australia’s version of the Trump phenomenon. Like Donald Trump, Hanson is a non-establishment political disrupter. However, unlike Trump, who may soon occupy the White House, Hanson won’t inhabit the Lodge.

This leaves Australia’s establishment and the central planners very much in control. It means we will remain firmly on our current bigger-government path, finan­ced by higher taxes and creative accounting.

Nobel laureate economist FA Hayek observes in his book The Road to Serfdom: “The more planners improvise, the greater the disturbance to normal business. Everyone suffers. People feel rightly that ‘planners’ can’t get things done.”

But he argues that, ironically, in a crisis the risk is that rather than wind back the role of government, people automatically turn to someone strong who demands obedience and uses coercion to achieve objectives.

Australia is now on that road to tyranny and, with another global recession in prospect and nearly 50 per cent of voters already dependent on government, the incentive is to vote for more government, not less.

The left-wing media echo-chamber will be an enthusiastic cheerleader.


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

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The real lesson from South Australia’s electricity ‘crisis’: we need better climate policy

The guy below is certainly right about that  but he waffles a lot and is very timid about saying exactly what policy is needed.  He knows perfectly well what is needed if big spikes in power prices are to be avoided:  Backup generators fired by coal (cheapest) or natural gas (dearest). And only government subsidies will keep them available.  Once you distort the market by subsidizing one source of power, you have to subsidize the rest of the market too.  Otherwise your backup generators will go out of business, which is what happened in South Australia

Australia’s energy markets got a big shock in July this year, when wholesale electricity prices spiked in South Australia, alarming the state government and major industrial customers. Commentators rushed to find the immediate culprits. But the real issues lie elsewhere.

As shown by the Grattan Institute’s latest report the market worked. Having soared, prices fell back to more manageable levels. The lights stayed on.

Yet South Australia’s power shock exposed a looming problem in Australia’s electricity system – not high prices or the threat of blackouts, but an emerging conflict between Australia’s climate change policies and the demands of our energy market.
A perfect storm

On the evening of July 7, the wind wasn’t blowing, the sun wasn’t shining, and the electricity connector that supplies power from Victoria was down for maintenance. This meant gas set the wholesale price, and gas is expensive these days, especially during a cold winter. At 7.30pm wholesale spot prices soared close to A$9,000 per megawatt hour. For the whole month they averaged A$230 a megawatt hour. They were closer to A$65 in the rest of the country.

Australia has committed to a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2030. Despite this well known and significant target, the national debate on climate change has been so toxic and so destructive that almost no policy remains to reduce emissions from the power sector in line with that target.

By 2014 the much maligned renewable energy target (RET), a Howard government industry policy to support renewable energy, remained as the only policy with any real impact on the sector’s emissions.

Wind power has been the winning technology from the RET, and South Australia has been the winning state. Wind now supplies 40% of electricity in South Australia due to highly favourable local conditions. Because wind has no fuel costs it suppressed wholesale prices in the state and forced the shutdown of all coal plants and the mothballing of some gas plants. But wind is intermittent – it generates power only when it is blowing, and the night of July 7 it barely was.

A report by the Australian Energy Market Operator noted that the market did deliver on reliability and security of supply in July. It reviewed the behaviour of market participants and concluded there were “no departures from normal market rules and procedures”.

The events of July do not expose an immediate crisis, but they have exposed the potential consequences of a disconnection between climate change policy and energy markets. If it is not addressed, the goals of reliable, affordable and sustainable energy may not be achieved.
The bigger problem

Climate change policy should work with and not outside the electricity market. With a fixed generation target of 33,000 gigawatt hours of renewable electricity by 2020 and a market for renewable energy credits outside the wholesale spot market under the RET, the conditions for problems were established some time ago.

The specific issues that arose from the design of the RET would have been far less problematic if one of the attempts over the last ten years to implement a national climate policy had been successful. A rising carbon price would have steadily changed the relative competitiveness of high and low emissions electricity sources and the RET would have quietly faded.

The first lesson for governments is that we need to establish a credible, scalable and predictable national climate change policy to have a chance of achieving emissions reduction targets without compromising power reliability or security of supply. A national emissions trading scheme would be best, but pragmatism and urgency mean we need to consider second best.

While such an outcome is the first priority, it will not provide all the answers. The rapid introduction of a very large proportion of new intermittent electricity supply creates problems that were not foreseen when traditional generation from coal and gas supplied the bulk of Australia’s power needs.

All of the wind farms in one state could be offline at the same time – a far less likely event with traditional generation. The problem can be solved by investment in storage and in flexible responses such as gas and other fast-start generators. Commercial deals with consumers paid to reduce demand could also contribute.

Lower average prices combined with infrequent big price spikes are not an obvious way to encourage long-term investors. The market may find solutions with new forms of contracts for flexibility or the market operator could introduce new structures or regulations to complement the existing wholesale spot market.

Much uncertainty exists, no easy fixes are in sight and the consequences of failure are high. Getting it right will provide clear signals for new investment or for withdrawal of coal plants as flagged by speculation over the future of the Hazelwood power station in Victoria.

Josh Frydenberg, as the new minister for the environment and energy, and his fellow ministers on the COAG Energy Council would be unwise to waste a near crisis.


Science Confirms The Australian Diet Is A Disaster (?)

Wot a lotta ...  The conclusion depends entirely on assumptions about what is healthy.  And since lots of those assumptions have recently been tipped on their ear, it is pretty clear that nobody knows what is healthy or not. So the question asked below is indeterminant.  We don't know how healthy the Australian diet is.  But since we are one of the world's most long lived population groups, we are probably pretty good

Despite a seemingly increased awareness about healthy eating, Australia’s largest ever diet survey has confirmed that the vast majority of our eating habits are getting worse.

The 2016 CSIRO Healthy Diet Score report, released today, canvassed the dietary habits of more than 86,500 adults across the country over a 12 month period. An early snapshot of the survey results released in August 2015 awarded the nation’s diet a score of 61 on a 100-point scale.

With almost 47,000 additional surveys completed since then that figure now stands at just 59 out of 100, confirming that Australian diets are worse than first thought.

“We have an image of being fit and healthy, but with a collective diet score of 59/100 that image could be very different unless we act now,” CSIRO Research Director and co-author of the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet, Professor Manny Noakes said.

According to the 2016 Healthy Diet Score, 80 per cent of respondents received an individual score below 70, which is a benchmark figure.

“If we can raise our collective score by just over 10 points, we help Australia mitigate against the growing rates of obesity and lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and a third of all cancers,” Professor Noakes said. “All people need to do is halve the bad and double the good. In other words, halve the amount of discretionary food you eat and double your vegetable intake.”

People across Australia, in all occupations and age groups were invited to participate in the online survey between May 2015 and June 2016. CSIRO researchers have used this information to create a detailed picture of the country’s eating habits. The closest we get to meeting Australian Dietary Guidelines is the fruit food group where 49 per cent of respondents meet the recommended intake.

That means one in two of us still have room to improve. But of greater concern is dietary performance in regard to discretionary, or junk foods. Just 1 per cent of Australians are abstaining from junk food, while more than one third admitted to eating more than the recommended maximum allowance.

“We find that there is often a tendency to under-report on certain types of food, so in all likelihood that figure is even higher,” Professor Noakes said.

The report showed that women have better nutritional levels than men (60 v 56/100). Construction workers were among those with the poorest diets, while public servants, real estate agents and health industry workers reported some of the healthiest eating patterns.

The 2016 CSIRO Healthy Diet Score also tracked food avoidance in diets for the first time, and found that approximately one in three Australian adults are avoiding one or more foods such as gluten, dairy or meat.

To get involved CSIRO is asking people to undertake The Healthy Diet Score — a free online assessment which evaluates diet quality and identifies individual areas of improvement, as well as providing a personal diet score out of 100.

“It is never too late to eat better and increase your score, and the nation’s,” Professor Noakes said. “We encourage people to also take the test regularly to ensure they are improving their eating behaviour and overall health and wellbeing.”

The Healthy Diet Score was developed by CSIRO and is designed to assess compliance with the 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines and Australian Guide to Healthy Eating. It asks about frequency and quantity of consumption of fruits, vegetables, grains, meat and alternatives, dairy, “junk” foods and drinks. It also addresses the quality of core foods (frequency of wholegrain and reduced fat dairy) and variety within core food groups.


The Left have only themselves to blame for driving people into Pauline Hanson’s arms

Half of Australia supports Pauline Hanson’s call to end Muslim migration, according to a poll released last week.

But according to leftist activists and Muslim stirrers like Mariam Veiszadeh this is somehow simultaneously a shock and confirmation of their slur that half the population are bigots and Islamophobes.

Race discrimination commissioner Tim Soutphommasane blamed Pauline Hanson, and the media which he thinks should censor the elected Senator, hardly a recipe for harmony.

He and his fellow posturing “anti-racists” never seem to put two and two together. They won’t admit that it’s their unreasonable demands, insults, endless grievances and crying wolf that drives people into the arms of right-wing groups.

This poll is their handiwork. Hanson has only capitalised on the disquiet they have helped create.

They never understand that the experiment they championed in which Labor dismantled hard-won border controls, unleashing an exponential flood of unauthorised boat arrivals — most of them Muslims from Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and Iraq — threatened the very multicultural harmony they pretend is their sole preserve.

They never understand that it doesn’t help their cause to deny the obvious problems of Islamist terrorism and failed Muslim integration.

“People often say that our democracy is robust enough to withstand overt hate speech being spouted by some, but these results indicate otherwise,” said Veiszadeh.

But nothing in the poll results indicates “hate”, or any ill will towards the many fine Australian Muslims who flourish here.

What it does express is a distrust of a political class, which pretended that the Lindt Café siege was a mere “brush” with terrorism that had nothing to do with Islam. Or that the attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando by a fanatical follower of Islamic State was just about homophobia and guns. Or that the terrorist murder of Curtis Cheng in Parramatta had nothing to do with Islam. Or that pressure cooker bombs in New York last week were not terrorism — until a radicalised Muslim was arrested. Surprise, surprise.

Since 2001, every innocent, sociable activity we engage in is tinged with fear, going to a footy match, getting on a plane, taking your child to a Jewish preschool or waving him off to Europe on a gap year.

We live in defiance of fear, but that does not mean we are not aware of the cause — irrational ancient grievances of an alien ideology which is embraced by some of our own fellow citizens.

That’s the reality reflected in last week’s Essential poll, in which the main reasons people cited for wanting a ban was a belief that Muslim migrants do not integrate into society (41 per cent), are a terrorist threat, (27 per cent) and do not share our values (22 per cent).

Demonising those who hold such views and pretending that it’s all Hanson’s fault just drives more people into the arms of anti-migration groups and reinforces their fears.

When hostages in the Lindt Café were still suffering the terror of being held at gunpoint, Veiszadeh, refugee lawyer Julian Burnside and friends were helping whip up hysteria about a hypothetical anti-Muslim backlash with the obscene “illridewithyou” hashtag on Twitter.

The daughter of Afghan refugees, who has benefited from the safety and generosity of Australia, Veiszadeh has made a career out of magnifying conflict and disunity in her adopted country.

She disrespects the triumph of Australia’s history. We are the most harmonious immigrant country in the world and the most generous per capita when it comes to resettling refugees.

Almost one third of Australians were born overseas. How does that gel with a racist, inward-looking xenophobic country?

As Malcolm Turnbull told President Obama’s refugee summit in New York last week, it was only the tough border protection measures of the Howard and Abbott governments, that allowed us to increase our refugee intake, to remove children from detention, close 17 detention centres and prevent asylum seekers drowning.

“If you can’t control your borders, public reaction is going to be very, very adverse; it gives rise to all sorts of anti-refugee, anti-­foreigner, in many cases anti-Muslim sentiment; it destabilises countries,” Mr Turnbull said.

Even Angela Merkel belatedly gets the message. The German Chancellor who opened the floodgates last year to more than one million “migrants” — mainly young men from North Africa and the Middle East — with all the predictable social problems that ensued, has now admitted it was a mistake.

But it took two election victories of the most far-right parties in Germany since Hitler’s day for her to wake up. Her moral vanity has unleashed the genies of bigotry and racism.

Let last week’s poll be a warning to our own self-appointed moral betters: you get what you wish for.



Ms Veiszadeh was so disgusted by the Essential poll that she decided to conduct her own online poll on Left-leaning Twitter.

Sadly, the result wasn't what she expected. After more than 46,000 votes a whopping 74% of respondents said they'd support a ban on Muslim migration. Awkward.

Police face struggle to jail returning jihadis

Dozens of returning Islamic State terrorists will never see the inside of a courtroom, with the country’s top counter-terrorism cop, the Australian Federal Police’s Mike Phelan, acknowledging that the difficulties in obtaining evidence overseas will force police to use other methods to control suspect­ed jihadists.

With the Islamic State’s self-styled caliphate in Iraq and Syria inching towards collapse, Mr ­Phelan has warned that Australia is facing a new wave in the terror threat, one that could see dozens of returning foreign fighters back in their communities.

Mr Phelan, the AFP’s deputy commissioner for national security, said he had officers — working in what were dubbed returning terrorist suspects teams — whose sole job it was to put together criminal briefs on foreign fighters.

But he acknowledged that difficulties in obtaining evidence meant not all would face justice.

“The AFP’s preferred option when anybody comes back that’s been fighting in theatre or supporting terrorist organisations in the Middle East is to prosecute them,’’ Mr Phelan said.

“But the practical realities of that are, though, we may not be in a position to prosecute everybody that comes home due to the lack of admissible evidence that we can use in Australian courts.’’

ASIO estimates that about 110 Australians are engaged in the fighting in Syria in some way.

While Australian authorities have access to often highly accur­ate intelligence on where those Australians are and what they are doing — thanks largely to the web of international intelligence-­sharing arrangements spawned by the Syrian crisis — only a fraction of that information can be used by police in court. The AFP also has no remit or ability to operate in the war-torn areas of Iraq and Syria.

But the main ­obstacle is the highly sensitive ­nature of the intelligence, much of which has been supplied by partner agencies, such as the CIA or the British secret services, which place strict conditions on its use.

For instance, no secret service would allow its intelligence to be tendered as part of a criminal prosecution if there were the slightest chance it could be discussed in open court.

Mr Phelan said the “vast majority’’ of Australians in Syria were fighting with Islamic State, ­although some were fighting with al-Qa’ida’s official affiliate in the Syrian conflict, Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham, formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra. A small number are fighting with anti-Islamist groups such as the Kurds.

Mr Phelan hinted at the wide gap between what police know and what they can prove, and the difficulties that posed.

“We may very well know or strongly believe, based on intellig­ence, where somewhere has been, what they’ve been doing and who they’ve been with,’’ he said.

“But that does not necessarily mean I can use that information here in a court of law in Australia.’’

Last week The Australian reported that authorities were also preparing for the potential return of dozens of Australian children who have been caught up in the Syrian conflict. A handful — such as the children of notorious ­Sydney terrorist Khaled Sharrouf — were taken into Syria by jihadist parents.

Many more were born there to Australian fighters or Australian women, which would entitle them to Australian citizenship. State and federal authorities have begun war-gaming how to handle the needs of these, as well as any risk they may pose to the community.

So far only about 40 Australians have returned from the fighting in Syria, almost all in the early stages of the war before the ­ascendance of Islamic State and the Islamification of the Syrian ­opposition movement.

A handful of Australian jihadists have made overtures about ­returning, mainly through third parties, usually lawyers. Mr ­Phelan predicted there would be more: “It is a genuine concern as the caliphate starts to fold and the ISIL loses territory. We would be naive to think some Australians wouldn’t try to come home.’’

In recent months, Islamic State (also known as ISIL and ISIS) has lost half its territory in Iraq and 20 per cent in Syria, prompting analysts to predict the caliphate’s demise is nigh, possibly within a year.

Mr Phelan said any returning foreign fighter would be subject to a risk assessment. If the evidence wasn’t there to prosecute them, the AFP would be forced to rely on other methods. Control orders are granted by courts and can be sought only by the AFP. To date, despite the proliferation in extremist violence that has accompanied the rise of ISIS, only five control orders have been granted.

In the past, police have priv­ately complained that the evident­iary requirements are so high that obtaining them has not been practical. Amendments to the control order regime, now being considered by the Senate, would allow police to use classified intelligence to get a control order, which would effectively lower the bar.

“If we can’t arrest and charge somebody when they arrive at an airport ... then the other options that are available to us are control orders,’’ Mr Phelan said.

“And with those control orders we can place some pretty heavy ­restrictions on people in terms of monitoring where they go, who they can speak to, what ­access they can have to communications etc.”


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

Monday, September 26, 2016

Why are so many people fighting to protect Sydney eyesore?

Locating the building in a premium area was a wasteful act to start with.  As welfare housing it generated only a fraction of the income it could have generated if it had been used for high-end accommodation.  But it gave good views to a few privileged poor people and the Left liked that. Rationality is however now catching up.  The money made by selling the building will fund much more public housing than  before

The arty-farty arguments for retaining an ugly building are amusing.  They say it adds to "the social mix".  So what?  Why is that a good thing? It is probably a bad thing. Having lots of poor people in a given area tends to elevate the crime rate in that area.  But you are not allowed to mention that, of course.  Assumptions are all the Left need -- not those pesky facts.  They don't even bother to argue for their assumptions.  They just "know" the truth

IS IT ugly and deserving of a wrecking ball? Or iconic and in need of protection?  It depends who you ask.

But for now, Sydney’s Sirius building — which has been used for public housing since it was built more than 30 years ago — appears to be living out its final days next to the iconic Harbour Bridge, in The Rocks.

The Cumberland Street apartment block is under threat from NSW Government plans for redevelopment, with most tenants having already moved out.

Hundreds of protesters have opposed the plans to replace the 1979 building with apartments boasting million-dollar views and price tags to match.

But their calls to save the building have so far fallen on deaf ears, with a heritage listing bid for the harbourside building ultimately rejected by the government.

The building is arguably the worst eyesore on one of the world’s most spectacular harbours. So why are so many people fighting to protect it?

Sydney’s Lord Mayor and NSW opposition members joined hundreds of protesters in a march from Circular Quay over the weekend, demanding one of the city’s most controversial buildings be saved from demolition.

Hundreds of protesters marched from Alfred Street, around the Quay, meeting at the base of the brutalist building on Saturday morning.

The vocal crowd, flanked by police officers, were addressed by several opponents of the building’s slated demolition, including Lord Mayor Clover Moore and opposition planning minister Michael Daley.

“If the government applies this policy to other inner city areas, it will destroy the social mix — the very soul of city — and we will fight that all the way,” Ms Moore said from the back of a truck in front of the building.

“This housing is needed just as much now, or even more, because the majority of social housing residents in Millers Point have already been dispersed.”

The mixed-bag of protesters included unionists, architects and social housing advocates.

The CFMEU granted a Green Ban over the building earlier this week, in an attempt to stall demolition plans.

Michael Daley warned the Baird government any attempt to tear down the building would be met by fierce opposition. “We’re here to say to Mike Baird, if you try and cheat the people of Sydney out of the Sirius building, when you come down here with your developer and your banker mates, we’ll be waiting,” Mr Daley said.

Architects Olivia Savio-Matev and Hugo Raggett said the Sirius building held more than just architectural importance in Sydney.   “We’re here to support and save the heritage architecture of Sydney, but also to support the residents who are being evicted.

“I think the government’s stance on this building is purely a money grab.”

Leading the charge to save the building of brutalist architecture is the National Trust’s advocacy director Graham Quint. “They’re dramatic and they’re meant to make a statement,” Mr Quint told  “I don’t know whether ‘beautiful’ would be the word, but not everything’s meant to be beautiful.”

The Sirius building had a unique history, said Mr Quint, built specifically for housing commission tenants turfed out of harbourside suburbs when the area was being redeveloped in the 1960s.

Far from blocking views of the harbour it actually “steps down” to reveal a wide sweep of Sydney, said Mr Quint. Any replacement could be even bigger.


Obstructive black man finally moved on

The internet is divided over a controversial video of a black man with a 'stop racism' sign being pepper sprayed by police on a busy street in Melbourne.

The video, which was uploaded online on Friday, shows footage of a black man being surrounded by three police officers as he stands in the street.

The man can be seen holding a sign which reads 'stop racism' near the Flinders St Station, a busy thoroughfare in Melbourne.

It is unclear why he is being arrested, but the police officers are eager to restrain him. The man resists attempts to move him, and an officer eventually pulls out a can of spray and directs it into the man's eyes.

Police then grasp the man's arms and lead him off the street. The man can be seen grimacing.

Onlookers appeared surprised by the arrest.  'Oh my god, they pepper sprayed him,' a woman can be heard saying in the video. 'Can they even do that?' A man can then be heard saying 'are you kidding me you hero' as the police officers walk past.

But not everyone agreed the police officers' force was too strong, with one woman claiming they were 'just doing their job'.

The man can be seen with tears streaming from his eyes as he's marched off the street, past the camera.

When the video was posted to Reddit yesterday, social media users were quick to jump in with their opinions, and the debate was split.

While some defended the man, others took the police' side, claiming they'd seen the same man often standing in the middle of the road holding up traffic.

'He has been there on many occasions and has held up the trams and essential service vehicles,' one user said. 'He has been warned about standing in the middle of the road and this time it appears as if he was moved on.'

But another user who claimed he'd seen the man a few times, said he never saw him causing any problems for traffic or pedestrians.

The bickering between Reddit users continued, with some even questioning the man's motives.

'Who is he accusing exactly of racism? What does he want done about it? What is the end point where he will be happy?' they said.

'(Melbourne is) the most multicultural city in the world, if he fails to see that, and disrespects that, then it is not our job to wear his manufactured guilt.'


Social Justice is a Racket

Despite his alleged financial savvy and alleged conservatism, Malcolm Turnbull has finally managed to fully outflank the Greens in a frivolous and economically wasteful gesture of virtue signalling.

Turnbull is just the latest sucker falling over themselves to pay a snake oil seller $187,550 for a three month contract to carry out an audit to find out whether our Prime Minister’s office has an unconscious bias against women.

Now let’s just say that feminist guru Deborah May does 38 hour weeks over the 12 week period, which I seriously doubt. But even if she does, her hourly rate will be a whopping $411.29 per hour (I’m being facetious of course… it’s Canberra. No way she’s putting in 38 hours a week). Now Malcolm… I don’t know if I’m missing something or not completely up to speed on third wave feminism, but if your office feels obliged to pay a “feminist guru” the equivalent of $411.29 an hour to ascertain whether your office has an unconscious bias against women, IT PROBABLY DOESN’T HAVE AN UNCONSCIOUS BIAS AGAINST WOMEN!

Of all places to conduct such an audit, the ACT public service surely seems to be the most redundant. It’s a little like charging PETA $187,550 to audit whether they have any inclination toward systemic animal cruelty.

Deborah May has quite a racket going on. She’s managed to trump many in the climate alarmist industry in terms of sheer profit for hysteria, and that’s saying something. She’s been awarded a bunch of federal contracts over the past 6 years totalling just over $2 million, which proves in and of itself that the patriarchy isn’t quite as oppressive as she indicates in her sales pitch.

She’s reasonably sure something is amiss. Only 66% of employees in Turnbull’s office are women. That’s less than half in Cultural Marxist newsspeak. Outrageous. If I were a betting man, I’d guess that Deborah May is going to find some systemic sexism in that office, even if she has to bring in mattress girl.

The line between identity politics and good old-fashioned satire is well and truly blurred in 2016. The regressive left are just so lacking in self-awareness that they’ve turned absurdity as an industry into an art form. Merely going about day to day activities in their natural state produces comic manna as a byproduct.

They say that war is a racket, but I’d argue that social justice issues are an even bigger racket. Whenever the Regressive Left get their ire up about something, you can bet there’s a lot of money to be potentially made. There’s no doubt that George W. Bush made a tidy profit from the Iraq war. His personal net worth is $20 million. But this is dwarfed by the Clintons’ net worth of $80 million accumulated from activism, or Al Gore’s personal net worth of $200 million from the war on climate change. Who’d bother bombing the s— out of a country for their oil when intimidating companies and government departments with politically correct teamster tactics is so much more lucrative?


Liberal director calls for debate after Medi-scare hit party support

THE man who ran the election campaign which nearly cost the Liberals government today emotionally condemned Labor’s “cold blooded lie” on Medicare privatisation.  Federal Liberal director Tony Nutt called for a public debate on the boundaries of negative campaigning and the use of scare tactics.

Not all his condemnation was driven by politics. There also was distress close to home.

Mr Nutt said the election result was a “near run thing” which saw the Government lose 14 seats and put that down to the so-called Medi-scare, campaigning by trade unions and third-party groups such as GetUp and redistributions in NSW and WA.

He acknowledged “some difficult and complex public policy issues” in February and April. This was when Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull conducted a messy debate over the future of the GST and randomly raised the potential for state income taxes.

He said there had been “a cacophony of demands and high expectations” but had no criticism of Mr Turnbull.

But Mr Nutt focused in detail on the bogus text messages falsely said to have been sent by the public health insurer but actually from ALP linked groups on election day. They claimed: “Time is running out to Save Medicare.”

He said the messages and other campaign claims had upset elderly voters including those in their 80s. It is understood Mr Nutt’s mother was among those upset and this was the source of his passion on the matter.

“Are we really saying taking an absolute lie, a cold blooded lie, and shoving it down the throat of vulnerable people in their 70s and 80s who are scared to death that their Medicare might be pulled back is acceptable?” he said at the National Press Club in Canberra.

“Is there no standard, is there no tactic unacceptable? “I call upon the Labor Party to pledge that at least in this tactic on this topic they won’t do it again.”

Mr Nutt said the Liberals had not returned fire with negative tactics because their research had found voters wanted a positive vision and were sick and tired of “the distraction of political aggression”.

“(Labor Leader) Bill Shorten and Labor focused their campaign message on the extreme negatives and this delivered them the their second-lowest primary vote,” he said in a speech.

“While their negativity had an effect on the Liberal primary Party vote, those votes didn’t always flow to Labor. Instead Labor’s negative campaign helped drive a high minor/independent vote.”


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

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Why we should lock more people up, and it’s not what you think

The writer below says "We put people in the clink more and more" and "crime is falling".  He attempts no inferences from that.  Could one be the the consequence of the other?  He is similarly insouciant in attributing the good results in Norway  to Norwegian lenience.  That there might be even better results from a less lenient system seems not to have occurred to him.  He can't get beyond his Leftist assumptions

I’VE always thought jail is mostly a bad idea: It takes young people and puts them in constant contact with society’s very worst. They eventually emerge with no skills but a tight-knit network of former criminals.

Under my theory, jail is mostly unhelpful for the people that are in there — we only send people to jail because it is hopefully scary enough to deter people from committing crime.

Australia has a jail addiction though. We put people in the clink more and more.

There are lots of explanations why this might be, including the fact we use private prisons even more than America. (And America is reconsidering whether private prisons are a good idea.)

In 2014, The Catholic Prison Ministry said: “Handing the administration of punishment over to corporations will lead to conflict between the social interests of citizens as stakeholders and financial interests of corporations to maximise profits for shareholders.”

And I thought they were probably right, because crime is falling:

It’s not just murders. Break-ins, robbery and motor vehicle theft all went down in the last five years. Sexual assault and theft rose.

(Taking the really long view, violent crime is at record lows: “Violent deaths of all kinds have declined, from around 500 per 100,000 people per year in pre-state societies to around 50 in the Middle Ages, to around six to eight today worldwide, and fewer than one in most of Europe.” Steven Pinker told the Scientific American in 2011.)

You can see why I was cold on prison. And experts agreed. “Putting more people in prison diverts resources from vital social infrastructure and cost effective initiatives which have been shown to successfully address the underlying causes of crime,” these experts said.

But some new research from Norway is making me weigh up my view. It finds prison is good, and it does so in a very clever way.

There is an obvious problem researching whether prison works. Ex-prisoners tend to commit a lot of crime. Did prison made them like that? Or were they always like that?

The clever thing this research does is comparing groups of prisoners who are otherwise the same, except for the judge they get. Some got a judge who puts away prisoners more than half the time, some got a judge that gives two out of three offenders community service or similar.

This means we can look at how much crime the two groups commit later, and the only likely difference between them is the influence of a prison environment.

This research finds jail is great. The prisoners who go to jail end up getting 10 fewer criminal charges. (The result is not due to simply being unable to commit crime in jail — the reduction starts from when the person is released, over an equivalent period of time.)

The ones that went to jail also have much better employment outcomes — they are more likely to find work.

There is an important point to make. Jail seems to really work for some kinds of people. It strongly improves the chances for people who were not employed. Jail didn’t prove to be either positive or negative for people who previously had jobs. The reason is probably that jail adds a lot of structure and training to their lives.

“Imprisonment causes a 34 percentage point increase in participation in job training programs for the previously non-employed, and within five years, their employment rate increases by 40 percentage points,” according to academics Manudeep Bhuller, Gordon B. Dahl, Katrine V. Loken and Magne Mogstad in their paper,Incarceration, Recidivism and Employment.

It’s worth pointing out this research happened in Norway, where jail can be pretty different (even “luxurious,”) and most prison sentences are under a year.

“In Scandinavian countries like Norway, the prison system focuses on rehabilitation, preparing inmates for life on the outside. This is done in part by investing in education and training programs, but also through extensive use of “open prisons” in which prisoners are housed in low-security surroundings and allowed frequent visits to families while electronically monitored. In comparison, in many other countries, rehabilitation has taken a back seat in favour of prison policies emphasising punishment and incapacitation.”

It seems like jail can be pretty useful for some people — so long as you design it to be useful. Unfortunately, Australia’s prisons are more like America’s than Norway’s.

We could make our prisons like Norway’s. But first we need to decide if we can stomach being “nice” to prisoners in order to actually stop them from committing more crime later. I’d support that. But I suspect for a lot of people, that’s not going to be acceptable — for them, punishment is what matters most.


Judge calls for ‘clarity’ in Aboriginal determinations

A federal judge has described as “vexed” the process for determining Aboriginality -- and he sure is right about that.  I have a niece whose skin is as white as snow but she is Aboriginal under Australian law

A federal judge has raised concerns about the process for determining Aboriginality in rejecting a racial discrimination claim by a NSW cultural educator after she had her certificate of Aboriginality taken away.

Elizabeth Taylor lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Commission in 2013, alleging she had been racially discriminated against by an Aboriginal group.

The complaint followed a ­decision by elders from the ­Yamanda Aboriginal Association, on the NSW southern highlands near Wollongong, to take away certificates of Aborig­inality they had issued Ms ­Taylor and her family in May 2010.

In the Federal Circuit Court, she sought more than $150,000 compensation for lost income, pain and suffering caused by the decision.

Judge Rolf Driver yesterday found no proof that Ms Taylor had been discriminated against, noting evidence she did not identify as Aboriginal until the day she received her certificate, but he said the “vexed process” of establishing Aborigi­nality needed to be more transparent.

“Some clarity is needed regarding who represents people within the Aboriginal community and how decisions are made,” Judge Driver said. “The process should be made more transparent to ensure the decision-making is properly focused and not influenced by personality.”

In June 2012, while still holding a certificate of Aboriginality, Ms Taylor and her father registered the Families Sharing Culture Aboriginal Corporation, a group describing itself as an educational corporation teaching Aboriginal culture to schoolchildren in the Southern Highlands that has received thousands in government funding.

After a dispute between Ms Taylor and a senior member of the association, her certificate was taken away.

Judge Driver accepted a certificate could be rescinded, but said that had happened in her case because of the falling out.


Father Frank Brennan is calling on Labor to support a same-sex marriage plebiscite

Brennan is a notoriously Leftist priest

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is expected to tell Labor MPs to block the legislation in the Senate, but Father Brennan said Labor should ensure the issue is dealt within the next few months.

He said he thinks same-sex marriage in Australia is inevitable.

"The risk for the Labor Party in opposing a plebiscite will be that instead of the matter being resolved by February, it will drag on in the public mind for the next year or two and then we won't know until after the next election whether there is indeed to be a plebiscite," Father Brennan said.

"And then it will take some time before the Parliament actually votes.

"So the real question is: is it better to get this over and done with now, with certainty, by February; or is it better to put it on the long finger, in the hope of the Labor Party causing maximum embarrassment and political agitation for Malcolm Turnbull?"

Federal Cabinet has signed off on plans to hold the same-sex marriage plebiscite on February 11 next year earlier in the month, and to allocate public funding for both the "yes" and "no" campaigns.

The question to be put to voters will be: "Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?"

Labor and the Greens have voiced concerns about the cost of the plebiscite, as well as the prospect of a potentially divisive public debate on the issue.

The Greens are opposed to a plebiscite, and Mr Shorten has said it was the "second-best option" to a direct vote in Parliament.

Despite hinting that he will tell Labor MPs to block the legislation in the past, he has not ruled it out completely, leaving the door open to compromise.

Attorney-General George Brandis and his Labor counterpart Mark Dreyfus will meet on Monday to discuss the bill.

The Prime Minister will need nine of the 11 crossbenchers in the Senate to pass legislation for the plebiscite, if the move is opposed by Labor and the Greens.


Productivity Commission identifies six government services that could benefit from privatisation

SOCIAL housing, some hospital services and public dental care are among six priority areas that could benefit from privatisation, the Productivity Commission has found.

The commission released a preliminary findings report today that identified six areas it believes could benefit from being privatised.

They include:

 *  social housing;

 *  services at public hospitals;

 *  specialist palliative care;

 *  public dental services;

 *  services in remote indigenous communities; and

 *  family and community services.

“Reform in the areas we have identified has the potential to improve the lives of users and the welfare of the whole community,” Productivity Commissioner Stephen King said.

But the Labor Party has been angered by the new report, warning it could lead to higher prices and fewer services.

The commission suggests there’s room for improvement in the management of social housing services, highlighting concerns such as long waiting lists, poorly maintained properties and a lack of information to judge providers’ performance.

A majority of properties were run by government entities but there was a large number of providers, including some profit-making, which could do the job, it said.

Giving people greater choice could also give them more options for a roof over their heads.

On hospitals, the commission said it would welcome evidence on whether governments could use routine renegotiations with providers to consider alternatives to public healthcare.

That’s because most public hospitals didn’t have a formal selection process and providers rarely changed, it said.

The commission added while allowing private operators to run public hospitals was rare — because of a series of failed attempts in previous years — this wouldn’t be much of a problem today because of better checks and balances.

And greater user choice over public hospitals could help disadvantaged people.

States and territories could consider replacing senior management in government operated hospitals who don’t perform well.

“This would not require switching to a non-government provider,” it said.
Some hospital services could benefit from privatisation says a new report.

Some hospital services could benefit from privatisation says a new report.Source:News Corp Australia

On public dental services, the commission said they could be made more contestable if bids were allowed from private operators.

“More competition and choice could involve using delivery mechanisms that allow users to choose between competing private dental practices.”

Labor leader Bill Shorten, who said the opposition would fully study the report, said Australians had seen such moves before.

“Here we go again,” he told reporters in Melbourne on Thursday. “Why is it that the government uses code words in this report that the public get less service and pay more money.”


Greenie blindness

Yesterday I raised the issue of the Greens staging a pre-planned walkout during Pauline Hanson’s first speech last week.  The Greens came seriously unstuck. What was obvious to everyone is that the Greens just hate the idea of anyone saying anything to contradict their own twisted view of the world.  And why is it that the Greens are so keen to defend Moslems from even gentle criticism?

The Greens are hostile to our Christian civilisation, and they instinctively ally themselves with anyone else who is hostile to Christian civilisation.

Following yesterday’s editorial I received a flood of favourable comment, so here is some more on the same subject.

Pauline Hanson’s Senate speech was bold and courageous in the face of the bland faces of opposition parties who have no stomach for the difficult truths Australia faces in the future. Pauline represents the silent majority who are reluctant to speak out because of our anti-free-speech laws.  Many fear retribution from the very people Australia welcomed as citizens and various Muslims openly stating they have no respect for our laws or society and advocating the introduction of sharia law.

It is a sad state of affairs when in the twenty first century human beings have to deal with archaic beliefs supported by embittered people including even deranged individuals with no regard for human life. Australian governments have been asleep at the wheel when it comes to immigration from the third world. One of the main drawcards to Australia is the ridiculous welfare support given to these people. Once in the system they can manipulate and maneuver with many never working in their lifetime getting huge government payments to support their multiple spouses and numerous children. And then they tell us they don’t like us!

As for the Greens, these self-righteous pompous individuals lack the basic common senses to realise their country and their lifestyles are in danger of being hijacked. Open your eyes and ears, read the news occasionally and consider the innocent Australians whose lives have been destroyed by criminals that openly support sharia law and other Islamic militants who exploit Australia’s gullibility. How strange it is that some people still vote for a political party which supports such activity.

Australia is a wonderful country with many beautiful aspects and it should be kept that way. Australians don’t want to live in a lawless society divided by violence and aggression so let’s support the sensible politicians, like Senator Pauline Hanson, The Member for Melbourne Ports Michael Danby MP, Senator Corey Bernardi, Senator Brian Burston, Senator Jacquie Lambie, Senator Bob Day AO and the Federal Member for Dawson in Queensland, George Christensen MP.  All of these proudly uphold and support the Australian way of life instead of condoning subversion.

Save Australia before it’s too late!


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