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

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