Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Another shriek about bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef

This is just a repetition of a story that has been going on for a year or more.  Previous claims of this nature have been shown to be highly exaggereated so a repetition of the claims from the same people as before has no credibility. 

I was born and bred in an area close to the reef and have been hearing cries of alarm about the reef for 50 years.  But somehow the reef still seems to be there.  It has always had episodes of retreat but coral is highly resilient and bounces back quite rapidly.

One thing we can be sure of is that the problems were not caused by anthropogenic global warming.  Why?  Because that theory says that warming is caused by increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere.  But the latest readings show NO increase in CO2 during 2015 and 2016

There WAS warming up until recently but that was caused by the El Nino weather cycle, not CO2. Once again we had the chronic Warmist problem that CO2 levels and temperatures do not correlate.  Below is a picture of the El Nino effect on global temperatures.  You see it peaked late last year and has been falling ever since.  So if warmth was the cause of the reef problems, the reef should soon start to recover

Two-thirds of the corals in the northern part of the Great Barrier Reef have died in the reef’s worst-ever bleaching event, according to our latest underwater surveys.

On some reefs in the north, nearly all the corals have died. However the impact of bleaching eases as we move south, and reefs in the central and southern regions (around Cairns and Townsville and southwards) were much less affected, and are now recovering.

In 2015 and 2016, the hottest years on record, we have witnessed at first hand the threat posed by human-caused climate change to the world’s coral reefs.

Heat stress from record high summer temperatures damages the microscopic algae (zooxanthellae) that live in the tissues of corals, turning them white.

After they bleach, these stressed corals either slowly regain their zooxanthellae and colour as temperatures cool off, or else they die.

The Great Barrier Reef bleached severely for the first time in 1998, then in 2002, and now again in 2016. This year’s event was more extreme than the two previous mass bleachings.
Surveying the damage

We undertook extensive underwater surveys at the peak of bleaching in March and April, and again at the same sites in October and November. In the northern third of the Great Barrier Reef, we recorded an average (median) loss of 67% of coral cover on a large sample of 60 reefs.

The dieback of corals due to bleaching in just 8-9 months is the largest loss ever recorded for the Great Barrier Reef.

To put these losses in context, over the 27 years from 1985 to 2012, scientists from the Australian Institute of Marine Science measured the gradual loss of 51% of corals on the central and southern regions of the Great Barrier Reef.

They reported no change over this extended period in the amount of corals in the remote, northern region. Unfortunately, most of the losses in 2016 have occurred in this northern, most pristine part of the Great Barrier Reef.

The bleaching, and subsequent loss of corals, is very patchy. Our map shows clearly that coral death varies enormously from north to south along the 2,300km length of the Reef.

The southern third of the Reef did not experience severe heat stress in February and March. Consequently, only minor bleaching occurred, and we found no significant mortality in the south since then.

In the central section of the Reef, we measured widespread but moderate bleaching, which was comparably severe to the 1998 and 2002 events. On average, only 6% of coral cover was lost in the central region in 2016.

The remaining corals have now regained their vibrant colour. Many central reefs are in good condition, and they continue to recover from Severe Tropical Cyclones Hamish (in 2009) and Yasi (2011).

In the eastern Torres Strait and outermost ribbon reefs in the northernmost part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, we found a large swathe of reefs that escaped the most severe bleaching and mortality, compared to elsewhere in the north. Nonetheless, 26% of the shallow-water corals died.

We suspect that these reefs were partially protected from heat stress by strong currents and upwelling of cooler water across the edge of the continental shelf that slopes steeply into the Coral Sea.

For visitors, these surveys show there are still many reefs throughout the Marine Park that have abundant living coral, particularly in popular tourism locations in the central and southern regions, such as the Whitsundays and Cairns.


The northern third of the Great Barrier Reef, extending 700km from Port Douglas to Papua New Guinea, experienced the most severe bleaching and subsequent loss of corals.

On 25% of the worst affected reefs (the top quartile), losses of corals ranged from 83-99%. When mortality is this high, it affects even tougher species that normally survive bleaching.

However, even in this region, there are some silver linings. Bleaching and mortality decline with depth, and some sites and reefs had much better than average survival. A few corals are still bleached or mottled, particularly in the north, but the vast majority of survivors have regained their colour.

What will happen next?

The reef science and management community will continue to gather data on the bleaching event as it slowly unfolds. The initial stage focused on mapping the footprint of the event, and now we are analysing how many bleached corals died or recovered over the past 8-9 months.

Over the coming months and for the next year or two we expect to see longer-term impacts on northern corals, including higher levels of disease, slower growth rates and lower rates of reproduction. The process of recovery in the north – the replacement of dead corals by new ones – will be slow, at least 10-15 years, as long as local conditions such as water quality remain conducive to recovery.

As global temperatures continue to climb, time will tell how much recovery in the north is possible before a fourth mass bleaching event occurs.


'It's not good enough': Pauline Hanson says there is no definition of 'Aboriginal' people - and claims anyone can give themselves the label if they marry an Indigenous Australian

Pauline Hanson has said there is no definition of an Aboriginal person while calling for changes to race-hate laws.

The One National leader told Andrew Bolt on Sky News on Monday she believes there is no definition, and has been asking for one for years.

'If you marry an Aboriginal you can be classified (as one), or if the community or the elders accept you into that community you can be defined as an Aboriginal,' she said.

'That's not good enough because then if you make a comment about it, well what are you? Are you an Aboriginal or non-Aboriginal?'

'I think that people need to toughen up a bit, we've all become so precious.

'We've stopped freedom of speech - to have a say to have an opinion and I remember when I was a kid sticks and stones may break your bones and that was the old saying.'

Senator Hanson made the remarks while defending calls for changes to the Racial Discrimination Act.

The firebrand senator says she had previously raised issues about 'equality' over the years about the definition of 'Aboriginal'.

'I think the whole lot needs to be opened up on this, a big debate on this.'

She believes people have become increasingly precious but it should be up to the public to judge controversial comments, including from her or indigenous leader Noel Pearson.


W.A. Police will be able to ram dangerous drivers off the road using the PIT manoeuvre if Labor is elected

DANGEROUS drivers who lead police on wild high-speed chases should be rammed off the road before they can hurt innocent people, Opposition Leader Mark McGowan claims.

Mr McGowan said that if Labor was elected in March, his Government would support a trial of the what is known as the "PIT manoeuvre" on WA roads to enable police to end chases quickly before they got out of the hand.

The manoeuvre is used widely in America, Canada and Britain where police use their vehicles to force fleeing cars into an uncontrolled spin.

But the manoeuvre is controversial, often resulting in serious injury or death to the fleeing driver.

The WA Police Union has been pushing for the PIT to be used in WA, but the idea does not have the support of the Police hierarchy.

Mr McGowan said strict controls would be introduced around when and where the PIT could be used, but he believed the prospect of causing injury to a dangerous driver was a preferable outcome to an innocent family losing their lives.

"I have seen some of those chases on the television and all you want is that car to get off the road before they kill someone," Mr McGowan said.

"I think extreme cases deserve extreme action and the people putting the public at risk like that... deserve everything they get."


'See you in court': Student rejects Labor MP Terri Butler's apology and vows to continue lawsuit

A stoush between a Queensland law student and Labor frontbencher Terri Butler over claims of a "racist smear" is bound for court after he bluntly rejected her apology as a "sham" and vowed to press ahead with a $150,000 defamation lawsuit.

Ms Butler announced at the weekend she had apologised to 25-year-old Calum Thwaites after repeating on national television allegations levelled against him in a case brought under controversial section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act.

Mr Thwaites was one of three Queensland University of Technology students accused of causing offence in a series of Facebook posts about an Indigenous-only computer lab. Mr Thwaites vehemently denied he used the phrase "ITT niggers" and the case against all three men was thrown out of the Federal Circuit Court this month.

On Q&A, Ms Butler implied the allegations had never been tested and said of Mr Thwaites' denials: "He would say that, wouldn't he?" Mr Thwaites elected to sue for damages of up to $150,000, claiming he had been traduced as a racist, bigot and perjurer.

In her letter of apology, sent on Sunday, Ms Butler wrote: "There should be no suggestion that you were responsible for the Facebook post [or] that you are racist, or bigoted. I offer you my unreserved apology for enabling those meanings to be conveyed."

But in a reply released by his lawyer Tony Morris on Monday, Mr Thwaites outright rejected Ms Butler's apology, telling her that to accept it would turn him into her "unpaid publicist". "You will not be surprised to learn that I have no intention of doing so," he wrote.

Mr Thwaites told Ms Butler that her subsequent comments - including suggesting to Fairfax Media that his lawsuit was "hypocritical" - meant that "your so-called 'apology' cannot be regarded as an 'apology' at all".

He also rejected her invitation to discuss the matter further by phone or in-person, saying he would see her in court. "I am sure that we will have an opportunity to meet at the trial of the defamation action," he said.

Mr Thwaites signed off the letter: "P.S. Happy 39th birthday."

Ms Butler - Labor's spokeswoman on equality and universities - has hired law firm Maurice Blackburn, where she was formerly a principal before entering politics in 2014, and is due to file her defence by December 23.

In his letter to Ms Butler, Mr Thwaites outed himself as a former Labor supporter, saying he had "until now" believed the ALP to be "the good guys" of politics. Since effectively becoming a pin-up boy for reform to section 18c, he had been embraced by Coalition figures including the "unreformed right-wing warhorse" Eric Abetz, he wrote.

Ms Butler said the letters spoke for themselves and had no further comment.


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, November 29, 2016

Feminist lack of reality-contact again

Clementine Ford has often appeared in the columns of the Sydney Boring Herald giving aggressively feminist opinions.  Her aggression and anger is normal among Leftists but her feminism adds an additional mental health problem to her profile. She  constantly denies that men and women are different -- except when women are superior, of course. 

But, in denying such a large slice of reality as male/female differences she is, I would argue, a low-level schizophrenic.  Denial of reality is the hallmark of schizophrenia.  There are probably as many sorts of feminism as there are feminists but I would argue that the more extreme ones have a form of mental illness which is dangerous to vulnerable women who listen to them and take them seriously.  It may be worth mentioning that feminist icon Kate Millett was in and out of mental hospitals for much of her life.

And Clemmie has just added more evidence of her poor reality contact.  As Tim Blair notes, with links to her Twitter account: "According to Godwin’s Law record-breaker Clementine Ford, Donald Trump is “installing people who pledge support to Nazism.” Also according to Clem, Trump “just made a neo-Nazi his chief strategist”, and Trump “is giving jobs to neo-Nazis".

The chief strategist she is presumably referring to is Steve Bannon, a retired U.S. Navy sailor and merchant banker who is a very forceful conservative.  And the American Left and media (but I repeat myself) are in something of a frenzy to discredit him. But they really have nothing to go on except for the scorn he heaps on them. There is an attempt here to use his own words to discredit him but it gets nowhere. It simply reveals that he thinks much the same as Trump and the Trumpians.  Just proving that about him is horror enough to the Left, of course,  but to anyone else what he says is just a newly legitimated expression of opinion. As did Reagan, Trump has bumped the Overton window rightwards and Bannon is now in that window.

But to the Left, everyone who opposes them and their ideas is a "racist" -- and that accusation is constantly flung at Bannon, spiced up a little by the related accusation that he is antisemitic.  But where is the evidence for that?  Once again, there is none, aside from one accusation from an embittered ex-wife.  Read here just one of many refutations of the "racist" claim from people who know him personally, noting, for instance, that Bannon’s longtime personal assistant is an African American woman, and he has extended family members who are Jewish". 

And Bannon has also been an forceful advocate for Israel. As a Jewish American news site put it:  "He headed arguably the most pro-Israel media organization in the world, and oversaw an operation that went out of its way to expose and attack antisemitism at every turn".

That is the man Clemmie calls a Nazi. 

I have not seen her byline on the SMH recently.  Has she become too unbalanced even for the SMH management?  She may have had something of a breakdown.  She embarrassed herself a couple of weeks ago by accusing someone else of a slur that he did not utter but which she did!  Maybe we have heard the last of her in the mainstream media.

Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett calls Fremantle 'disloyal' for axing Australia Day celebrations

West Australian Premier Colin Barnett says he is "extremely disappointed" by the City of Fremantle's decision to axe its Australia Day celebrations.

Fremantle has abandoned its Australia Day festivities in favour of what it describes as a culturally inclusive alternative celebration two days later.

The council voted in January to can its Australia Day fireworks display and replace it with a new event, called One Day.

It said it wanted to celebrate being Australian in a way that included all Australians, and believed moving away from the January 26 date was more in line with Fremantle's values.

Mr Barnett has made it clear he does not support the move.  "I am extremely disappointed in the Mayor and the City of Fremantle for doing that," he said.  "It's disloyal to our country, it's disloyal to our state, and I think it's disloyal to the community of Fremantle.

"There are people from all over the world who live in Fremantle and we come together as one people, one country on Australia Day — no one should undermine that.

"Everyone understands the history and the debate about Australia Day but Australia Day is our national day, most Aboriginal groups accept it and history is put to one side.

"Australia Day is now a day for all Australians — whatever their background, wherever they were born — and I think any group that tries to detract from that does a disservice to our country and to our people, all of our people."

The City of Fremantle has previously said the move has the support of Aboriginal people in the Fremantle area and denies the council is trying to be politically correct.


Pressure grows on David Morrison to be removed as Australian of the Year

Karel Dubsky, the officer wrongly accused of being involved in the Jedi council sex scandal by former Army chief David Morrison, has come out of the shadows to demand his tormentor’s removal as Australian of the Year.

He has authorised Senator Jacqui Lambie to move a motion in the Senate tomorrow to have Morrison replaced with “a person worthy of the title”. Lambie will say Morrison “allowed Lt-Col Dubsky and others to be wrongly accused of being a members of a group of sex offenders and/or demeaning of women …

“General Morrison’s behaviour caused exceptional and undue harm to retired Lt-Col Dubsky, his family, and other innocent members of the ADF — and demonstrated behaviour that was the opposite required of the Australian of the Year.”

Strengthening Dubsky’s arm is a leaked police report which suggests Morrison was aware of the “Jedi Council” pornography scandal for 10 months before he made the thundering YouTube speech in June, 2013, that brought him worldwide acclaim and a lucrative career as a “diversity” champion.

Dubsky has a private letter from the Army affirming he was never a member of the “Jedi Council”.  “But by not correcting the public record my name remains smeared,” he says.

He met Defence Minister Marise Payne in Canberra two weeks ago to plead for a public exoneration. But last week he received a formal letter from Defence saying the case was closed and no apology would occur.

To this day, Morrison refuses to comment, or apologise, to the man whose life he ruined.


Former Australian of the Year winners slam the awards and say they have been 'hijacked by activists'

Former winners of Australian of the Year honours have slammed the nominations for 2017, claiming the awards have been 'hijacked' by political activists.

Among the diverse list of nominees this year are 'social innovators', 'healthy living advocates' and a mining magnate described as an 'anti-slavery advocate'.

It's a list that Catherine McGregor, a 2016 Australian of the Year finalist, says proves the current system is 'broken' and is why she 'regrets' ever being a part of the awards, The Australian reports.

The transgender former Army officer was last year named Queensland's Australian of the Year and believes the system needs to be revamped. 'I think it has been hijacked by activists,' she said. 'It is unrepresentative of middle Australia and I regret profoundl­y ever being involved with it.'

Among those nominated for the major honour in 2017 is Andrew 'Twiggy' Forrest. While he's most well known around the world for his AUD$5 billion worth, stemming from his Western Australia mining empire, that's not why he's been put up for the award.

Instead, it's his work as a 'philanthropist and anti-slavery advocate' that led to his nomination.

Equally controversial was the selection of Victorian representative Paris Aristotle. Mr Aristotle, an 'anti-torture and refugee rehabilitation advisor', was given the honour despite massive support for Motor Neurone Disease (MND) sufferer Neale Daniher.

A former AFL player and coach turned tireless MND champion, Daniher received a groundswell of support in Victoria for his work to raise awareness for the disease.

However despite his bravery in the face of the disease that is killing him he was overlooked by Victorian judges.

In recent years the award has been handed to scientists, lawyers, sports stars, musicians, educators and people from all walks of life.

However 1994 Australian of the Year Ian Kiernan - the founder of Clean Up Australia Day - is among many who believe those doing their jobs shouldn't be nominated.

'I believe you shouldn’t get the award for just doing your job — you’ve got to go further, doing something significant for your country,' Mr Kiernan said.   


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, November 28, 2016

Pauline Hanson slips into wetsuit for reef trip -- and finds that all is well with the reef

Most of the media have been amusing about this.  They say that she has embarrassed herself by not going to the "right" part of the reef.  But that claim is itself a message that only part of the reef is affected by bleaching.  We can perhaps be thankful to them for getting that message out to a wider audience. 

There are many possible causes of bleaching but the  loons of the Green/Left are sure it is caused by global warming.  And that might pass muster when we note that the bleaching has occurred in the most Northerly (and hence warmer) one-third of the reef.  Problem:  Coral LIKES warmth, which is why the Northern part of the reef normally has the greatest biological diversity.  Normally, the further North you go (i.e. the warmer you get), the greater the diversity.  So the cause of the bleaching is unknown. 

As a fallback position, the Greenies say that the bleaching is caused by agricultural runoff.  Problem: The Northern part of the reef runs along an area of the Cape York Peninsula where there is virtually NO agriculture.  The soils there are too poor for it to be economically feasible.  So no runoff.  "Facts be damned" seems to be the Greenie motto

Pauline Hanson has slipped into a wetsuit and made a splash on the Great Barrier Reef to show the world the natural wonder is worth visiting amid claims it is dying.

The senator, who once cooked fish for a living, went swimming off Great Keppel Island today and expressed concerns about reports on the reef's health.

Ms Hanson says agenda-driven groups are telling "untruths" about the state of the reef that are harming the tourism industry and businesses.  "When we have these agendas that are actually destroying our tourism industry and businesses ... we need to ask the questions and we want answers," she said. "The Greens have no concern about people and jobs that we need here in Queensland, and the escalating costs that we are feeling from the effects of this."

One Nation senators Malcolm Roberts, who has long argued the case that global warming doesn't stack up, and Brian Burston were also on the reef trip.

Mr Roberts said people had stopped coming to the reef because they were being told it was dead and that Australia should not be reporting on its health to the UN agency UNESCO.

Conservationists are concerned climate change is putting severe stress on the reef, which experienced a massive coral bleaching event this year, and some have declared it's dying at an unprecedented rate.

They say Ms Hanson and her senators visited the wrong part of the reef as the southern sections had been least affected by the worst bleaching event in the icon's history.

The World Wildlife Fund said One Nation should have visited Lizard Island where bleaching, caused by high water temperatures, has killed much of the coral.


Federal Government rules out negative gearing changes despite calls from NSW

The Federal Government has ruled out any changes to negative gearing despite calls from the New South Wales Liberal Government to ease housing affordability.

New South Wales Planning Minister Rob Stokes has broken ranks with his federal colleagues, accusing them of falling prey to "a Canberra culture that promotes opposition over consensus".

His comments have been welcomed by the Federal Labor Party but dismissed by senior Government ministers, who warned any changes could have negative impacts.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said land supply was the key influence on housing affordability, rather than negative gearing tax exemptions.

"What we are working to do — and we are working with the state governments now to do — is to zone for more density, more affordable housing," he told 3AW Radio.

"The critical thing to do is to build more dwellings."

Treasurer Scott Morrison said the Government needed to consider how negative gearing would impact the entire nation and not Sydney alone.

"What might help in Pittwater may not help in Tasmania. In fact, it could actually have a negative impact because there is no one, single housing market," he said.

The Treasurer said he understood Mr Stokes was focused on Sydney, but he would focus on a comprehensive approach to housing affordability.

"There is no one issue that addresses this and anyone who pretends that really hasn't got across the full set of issues, and I think it is important we walk together," Mr Morrison said.

"Let's not forget that the overwhelming majority — some eight out of 10 people who buy investment properties — are not millionaires or wealthy property investors."

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann rejected Mr Stokes' call and said state governments were responsible for housing supply, not the Federal Government.

"The Commonwealth is always very keen to work with them but the suggestion that somehow increasing the taxes and making rental affordability less affordable is the right way to go … we completely reject," he told Sky News.

Labor backs 'recognition of reality' Labor's Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen welcomed the New South Wales Government's "recognition of reality" and called on the Treasurer to follow its lead.

He called on the Federal Government to "swallow its pride" and accept that negative gearing reforms were necessary to give young Australians hope, to repair the budget and to address housing affordability.

"First home buyers rates are at record lows, investor rates are at record highs," he said. "Right around Australia, young people are looking at the great Australian dream and seeing it slip through their fingers."

Mr Bowen said voters understood the time for negative gearing reforms was "well and truly here". "Today should be the last day that [the Federal Government] continues to refuse to listen to sensible contributions on negative gearing reform, including from their own party."

Focus on equality

In a speech to the Committee for Economic Development, Mr Stokes called on the Federal Government to focus on equality of opportunity for all homebuyers.

He said the NSW Government was willing to have a discussion about tax reform earlier this year and said he was disappointed by the Federal Government's policy position.

"Disappointingly our leadership on this issue fell victim to the Canberra culture that promotes opposition over consensus," he said.

"It's a major concern to me as Planning Minister of the most populous state, but also as a dad to three young children, of increasing reports that without parental support the dream of home ownership is becoming harder and harder to obtain.

"Surely the focus of the tax system should be directed towards the type of housing we need. Why should you get a tax deduction on the ownership of a multi-million-dollar holiday home that does nothing to improve supply where it's needed?"


University of Sydney beats Oxford, Cambridge in new global rankings

The University of Sydney produces graduates that are more employable than those from Cambridge, Oxford and Columbia, according to a new global rankings measure.

The QS Graduate Employability Rankings assessed 300 universities worldwide against five criteria: employer reputation, alumni outcomes, partnerships with employers, employer/student connections and graduate employment rates.

It surveyed 37,000 employers and mapped the careers of 21,000 individuals worldwide to determine the rankings.

On this basis the University of Sydney placed fourth worldwide, after Stanford and MIT in the US, and Tsinghua University in China.

The University of Melbourne ranked joint eleventh, while ANU and Monash University made the top 50 globally. UNSW does not appear in the list because it chose to opt out.

The success of Australia's universities in the global employability rankings is based in large part on their industry partnership programs, Ben Sowter, head of research at QS said.

"The 2017 instalment of this ranking illustrates that universities with a heavy STEM focus are generally among the most successful in nurturing student employability," he said.

"This ranking indicates that efforts made by Australian universities to establish themselves as industry-friendly knowledge hubs are paying dividends for their students."

QS or Quacquarelli Symonds ran the employability rankings for the first time as a pilot last year. Universities are permitted to opt-out, unlike in other rankings systems.

Tracey McNicol from ANU's Planning and Performance Management division said "for a university to perform well in this ranking they need to not only engage widely with employers but ensure that graduates leave their institutions with the skills and attributes that are relevant to the needs of employers."

The news will be a boost for the University of Sydney which sits behind the University of Melbourne and the Australian National University in the general rankings such as the Times Higher Ed and the Academic Ranking of World Universities.

Similarly, in the QS global rankings this year, Sydney ranked the 46th best university in the world, behind Melbourne (42nd) and ANU (22nd).

The University of Sydney's Vice-Chancellor Dr Michael Spence said it was committed to providing students with opportunities they need to thrive in the workforce.

"Equipping students with the knowledge, skills, values and purpose to serve society at every level and to lead the way in improving people's lives has been our mission since the University was founded in 1850," he said.


Privately-funded (better measured, more accountable) social services

Jeremy Sammut

National Adoption Awareness Week has redrawn attention to the appallingly few adoptions in Australia -- despite the appallingly high number of children in foster care that will never go home safely.

The opponents of adoption continue to claim the real problem with the child protection system is that not enough is done to help parents to stop kids entering care.

They falsely claim that adoption advocates (such as me) believe that early intervention services are a "waste of time" (see this review of my book).

This is nonsense, of course.  The problem is that child protection services bend over backwards to support parents to the point that children suffer prolonged abuse and neglect; hence there are many thousands of damaged children in care with maltreatment-related 'high needs' -- development, emotional, and other problems.

The critics also ignore the lack of evidence to support the 'family preservation' policies they endorse.

Take the 2015 Victorian Auditor General's report that found there was no way of knowing whether increased government spending on family support services  was "effectively meeting the needs of vulnerable groups ... because there are significant limitations in the service performance data and a lack of outcomes monitoring at the system level."

This is a sector-wide problem identified by my (sadly departing) colleague Trisha Jha in her excellent recent report detailing the lack of robust evaluations of early childhood interventions.

But change is slowly occurring in the social services sector, driven by privately-financed funding initiatives. The Benevolent Society's privately-financed Social Benefit Bond is used to fund the Resilient Families programs, which has had some early success in reducing the number of children entering care.

The success appears to be underpinned by a robust, independent evaluation mechanism. This includes the virtually unprecedented use of a matched intervention-group and control-group to generate a gold-standard measure of effectiveness.

Rewarding programs based on their demonstrated outcomes makes providers accountable; it encourages innovation and discovery of what actually works -- a virtuous circle.

We still need thousands more adoptions each year because there simply are some families that can never be fixed whose children will need rescuing.

But better measured, more accountable social services would also help ensure the child protection system protects children properly.


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, November 27, 2016

Post-truth was out there, but the electorate ignored it

Did the near-universal opposition to Trump convince people to vote for him? CHRIS KENNY reflects

Donald Trump, say the progressive media commentators, has been elevated on the back of post-truth politics. They couldn’t be more right, or more wrong.

The liberal media, smug about its own world view, sees Trump’s victory as evidence voters ignored the truth it presented. Silly voters; the media is never wrong.

It believes voters fell for Trump’s post-truth over the media’s truth. The self-delusion is staggering.

On our shores, the Guardian Australia’s Katharine Murphy put it this way: “We’ve been drifting, in increments, in the direction of post-truth, but the election of Trump is a headfirst pitch over the cliff. A person with manifest disdain for facts and evidence now occupies the White House because half the country didn’t care.”

As Murphy would have it, the media “did its job” trying to expose a “manifestly unqualified and potentially dangerous” candidate. Murphy discounted the “post-truth partisan hackery of Fox News” because she says it isn’t journalism.

The point that set Fox’s coverage apart from the media Murphy defends is that it got the story right, portraying Trump as a plausible contender. Fox also was, as ever, upfront about its own right-of-centre perspective. Viewers can take it or leave it, but there is no pretence.

The overwhelming majority of left-of-centre journalists and media organisations portray themselves as objective, “independent” or centrist. In doing so, they take their audiences for fools and break the nexus of trust at the first hurdle. Truth, and its absence, is a powerful factor in current discourse. No political group or individual is blameless but the progressive media doesn’t care to examine its own deceptions.

Perhaps the dishonesty of the PC brigade helps to drive voters to people such as Trump, Pauline Hanson and the Brexiteers, despite misgivings. When you are be­ing corralled in a certain direction by a jaundiced and sanctimonious political/media class consensus, why not rebel against it?

Remember, I say this as someone who opposed Trump and argued US voters would be unwise to abstain because they needed to pinch their noses and vote for Hillary Clinton to stop him.

By calling out the cosy establishment of politicians, media and lobbyists, and raising real grievances they ruled off-limits, he was a compelling figure.

There is much more to be analysed about Trump’s win — particularly economic factors and swing state campaigning — but this post-truth aspect is fascinating because we see loud echoes of it in our own politics.

The political/media class, exemplified by our taxpayer-funded media but strongly reflected in most political coverage, skews the news and opinion it produces on major issues. This underestimates the intelligence of the public, who surely resent being patronised.

Journalists and left-of-centre politicians (including Coalition moderates) can get caught up in self-referential circles, affirming their version of reality. Voters crash the party at elections or, if the politicians are lucky, by voicing their concerns beforehand.

Julia Gillard’s misogyny speech, carbon tax and live cattle export ban were illustrative examples, as was the NSW Baird government’s recent greyhound rac­ing ban — they were cheered by the Left and media but recognised as madness by the public.

This week Immigration Minister Peter Dutton spoke harsh truths about the Islamic extremists who have emerged from our Lebanese Muslim community, and the reaction from the green-Left and progressive media was classically post-truth.

The message Bill Shorten accused Dutton of promulgating was the polar opposite of what the minister enunciated. Dutton said the majority of Lebanese Muslims who have “done the right thing by this country” should not be “defined by those people who have done the wrong thing” but the Opposition Leader accused him of the “wholesale labelling of entire communities for the actions of a tiny minority”.

Shorten’s critique was fallacious but most media did not pin him. Before long the Guardian Australia was calling Dutton’s comments “incendiary” and Fairfax Media was running “Dutton race row” headlines and calls for his resignation.

As for the well-established facts about Lebanese Muslims arrested in terror operations and broader, extensively analysed problems of welfare dependency, crime and poor integration, the more outraged the media outlets, the less interested they were in such matters. Greens senator Nick McKim captured the zeitgeist. “Undoubtedly the advice he’s got is accurate but just because something is fact doesn’t mean that it’s reasonable or productive to talk about it,” he told Sky News.

Do these politicians and journalists presume the public (to use Jack Nicholson’s famous line) can’t handle the truth?

Or do they think the public will join a delusional parlour game of political theatre when serious issues of security, immigration and cohesion are at play? Some partisans will, of course, but the crucial, sensible centre is more interested in reality.

This is the real post-truth environment: mainstream voters seeing through the spin and jaundice of an overwhelmingly green-Left political/media class. Just as they have long been sceptical of arguments from big business because of its obvious self-interest, voters discern a politically correct agenda from the establishment, including the media.

Climate change is an area where these pontificators treat the public like mugs. Anyone with a pulse knows the scientific consensus about carbon dioxide emissions and temperature models; the complexity comes in whether actual events match the models, whether remedial action is worthwhile and comparing the range of possible responses and their likely costs and benefits.

Yet the political/media class pretends Australian action — be it a wind farm or a carbon price — equates to an environmental benefit. Does it think the public is not aware we contribute only 1.3 per cent of global emissions?

When the political/media class continually censors such realities, or eliminates them from discussions, to maintain a simplistic and binary discussion, does it think mainstream voters will never discover that China and India continue to massively increase global emissions?

Do the politicians and journalists presume all members of the public want to join their campaign of climate gestures or do they think we are too silly to comprehend that we are being made to pay higher electricity prices to produce a net environmental dividend of next to zero?

These are the same journalists, activists and politicians who went quiet on border protection when it was in chaos under Labor. ABC news bulletins often neglected to report boat arrivals, the Australian Human Rights Commission sec­retly delayed an inquiry into children in detention and journalists re­peated Labor’s mantra that “push factors” were to blame and boats simply could not be turned back.

After the Coalition turned back boats, stopped the people-smuggling and started emptying and closing the detention centres, the AHRC finally began its detention inquiry and the media went back to shrill reports of boat arrivals and claims of mistreatment from asylum-seekers. Instructively, only after the change of government did the ABC construct a web page to log the arrival of every boat; clearly intended to log the Coalition’s failure, it quickly became redundant.

The media/political class can easily convince itself of its ‘‘truthiness” version of reality, and it can have it reinforced constantly by “independent” and social media, but it can’t fool the public. That is the real message of the post-truth age. And the public has the ultimate say through the ballot box. The more they are preached at, especially with incorrect assertions or incomplete arguments, the more they are likely to rebel.

In this respect, Murphy may have been on the money when, in her piece about the media’s efforts to expose Trump, she said: “Our efforts to make things better could be making things worse.”


All power to energy security: Australia could learn from Trump

When US president-elect Donald Trump listed his six top priorities for executive action this week on “day one” of becoming the most powerful man in the world, naturally most attention was grabbed by his very first decision: withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.

Yet in global terms, and in Australia’s interest, his second priority was just as important.

This was Trump’s pledge to “cancel job-killing restrictions on the production of American ­energy including shale energy and clean coal, creating many millions of high-paying jobs”.

Energy security was placed above national security.

The jobs of coalminers, the use of low-cost shale deposits for ­energy and the creation of manufacturing jobs were placed ahead of national security, and the withdrawal from the Obama administration’s commitment to the Paris agreement on climate change didn’t even rate a mention.

There is global agitation about the pragmatism of protecting jobs through energy security, providing energy at a low enough price so people can afford to use it and producing energy when ­people need it, as well as an ­imperative to lower carbon emissions. The hidden cost of “intermittency” — the hallmark of wind and solar production — and the danger of blackouts are being recognised.

Australia is fortunate in that, historically, it has had low-cost ­energy, enormous natural res­ources, a pristine environment and the benefit of seeing how policy parameters such as the European emissions trading system and subsidised ­renewable energy programs work in practice.

Trump’s priorities and actions on energy are vital to Australia’s own energy future, economic growth, job creation and climate change actions as precipitous political decisions around the world are distorting energy markets, pushing up costs for ­industry, driving jobs across borders, exporting manufacturing ­opportunities and perversely ­affecting markets and carbon emissions.

There is also a political neces­sity to continue to get public support for climate change initiatives, although Trump has demonstrated there can be a white-hot anger about ideological climate change policies that don’t recognise the hurt to workers.

In recent weeks in Australia the closure of the Victorian Hazelwood coal-fired power station has been announced with the loss of 750 jobs in the Latrobe Valley, in part because of French government climate change policy; ­export coal prices have soared; coalmines have reopened; and AGL, one of the biggest domestic gas suppliers, has set aside $17 million for a feasibility study for Australia, the biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas, to import lower-cost LNG from suppliers in the Middle East.

As well, South Australia experi­enced catastrophic power blackouts, Victoria became a net electricity importer, with the ­potential for dire shortages or blackouts at times of extreme ­demand, and the Victorian Labor government introduced a bill this week to extend its existing moratorium on conventional onshore gas exploration to 2020.

The Greens, environmental ­activists and the ALP are simultaneously building a public campaign for the transition from coal and gas to a mainly renew­able ­energy future that is putting cutting carbon emissions ahead of ­energy and job security.

It is a challenge for all sides of politics in form and substance.

According to Industry, Innovation and Science Minister Greg Hunt, the Victorian government’s decision to continue to ban onshore natural gas exploration is the final act in laying the foundation for a “manufacturing crisis” with a looming shortfall in natural gas supply ­because Australia is locked into long-term LNG exports, and Victoria and NSW are banning or ­effectively banning gas exploration and production.

“It is absolutely clear there is no shortage of gas resources in the ground but there is a shortage of gas supply to homes and industry,” Hunt tells ­Inquirer. “We have to be honest that the effective closure of new supplies will risk jobs, will risk prices and will risk economic activity.

“The sad part, over and above that, is that potentially we choose higher emissions sources of ­energy for electricity.”

Whereas Australia is aiming to reform its energy market, upgrade its electricity interchange, boost renewable energy, keep coal and gas as integral parts of energy generation and job creation for decades to come, and meet its international agreements to cut carbon emissions by 26 per cent to 28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030, Trump is happy to shed global ­obligations to provide cheap power for the US economy.

He campaigned successfully on creating American jobs and specifically on returning the manufacturing and mining jobs lost in states such as Pennsylvania, which he snatched from Hillary Clinton, sensing the blue-collar fear and reality of job losses because of climate change policies closing mines and raising costs to support renewable energy.

As for Australia, seen as one of the world’s great carbon demons because of its coal production, it does not have the option of dumping carbon polices as Trump ­intends to do, but neither should Australian governments, state and federal, adopt distorting policies that push costs to domestic and ­industry users to levels that are punitive, unsustainable and a threat to a cohesive energy supply and security.

Without commenting on any US administration’s domestic policy, Hunt makes the point: “American manufacturing in ­recent years has become more competitive in significant measure because they have had access to lower-cost gas; it actually brought gas on board. As a matter of economics, if there is more natural gas available in the US, then their manufacturing will be even more competitive.”

In the past 10 years in the US, electricity generation from gas has risen from 18.7 per cent to 32.5 per cent while coal has fallen from 49.5 per cent to 33 per cent. Coal and natural gas are now almost equal as the producers of American electricity. During the same period, renew­able electricity energy has grown from 8.8 per cent to 13.8 per cent and nuclear has ­remained steady at 19.4 per cent.

The real lesson for Australia in the US experience of the role of gas, coal and renewables in this energy-climate change mix is not the increased potential economic threat from Trump’s low-cost powered US industrial base but from Europe.

Although Trump’s first priority involved ensuring the US created American jobs by producing steel and “making cars”, the threat to Australia’s coal exports — which even Bill Shorten admits must go on for decades — is the framing of public opinion and policy development that puts energy security at risk.

Ideologically driven energy ­decisions in Europe taken years ago provide the example of how Australia should not proceed: ­unrealistic renewable energy targets, unsustainable renewable ­energy subsidies, rising electricity prices, precipitously doing away with fossil fuels, politically driven decisions to close nuclear power plants, the export of jobs and, ironically, the start of the failure of carbon emission reduction policies.

In the past two years Germany’s renowned world leader status on renewable energy has started to be tarnished as political decisions to subsidise renewables and to close nuclear power plants, coalmines and coal-fired power plants have ­resulted in price rises and ­environmental anomalies.

Rising costs for industry’s power have forced companies to relocate, the government has told renewable energy producers they have to manage without subsidies, coal-fired power stations are being commissioned, brown coal — lignite — mines are being opened and brown “dirty” coal is still a large part of baseload electricity generation.

Paradoxically, as Germany tries to become nuclear free, it is buying nuclear-generated electricity from France and the French are importing cheap lignite-powered electricity from Germany. This makes a mockery of carbon emission and nuclear energy ­reductions.

France introduced a carbon tax on coal-fired electricity and cut subsidies to coal — in part affecting the Latrobe Valley — as a climate change policy, but higher costs forced the government to cancel the tax within a few months.

As Europe heads into winter, there are predictions of greater ­demand from Britain and The Netherlands from electricity suppliers, and some of that will be coming from Germany’s “dirty ­secret” of lignite. Germany is being attacked by industry for higher prices creating job losses and by environmentalists for dropping its specific carbon emission reduction targets for 2050.

Australia has the opportunity to bring a sober, pragmatic but ­environmentally responsible ener­gy security to bear in the ­national interest, but at the ­moment the approach is fractured, ideologically driven and not receiving the priority Trump is prepared to give energy security.


Trump’s Aussie mates: Latham, Dean and Cameron launch new show

Mark Latham, Ross Cameron and Rowan Dean, or “Trump’s Aussie Mates”, have teamed up for a new panel show on Sky News called Outsiders. It is an answer to the ABC’s Insiders program, the embodiment of an out-of-touch, inner-city Leftist class, according to the trio.

Former Labor Party leader, Latham, former Howard government frontbencher, Cameron, and editor of The Spectator magazine, Rowan Dean, hosted a US election-day function called Trump’s Aussie Mates on ­November 9 in Sydney. High on Donald Trump’s unexpected victory, the three men joined Sky’s Paul Murray Live that night to discuss and celebrate what had just transpired.

“All three of us over the past 12 months were both supportive of Donald Trump and, more importantly, recognised he would win and kept repeating this despite this meaning the opprobrium of every other media commentator basically,” Dean told The Australian. “I was told I was reprehensible as a human being for even countenancing a Donald Trump victory on Lateline.”

Days after the Paul Murray appearance, an agreement was in place for a new show featuring the trio to air on Sunday mornings at 10am, immediately after Barrie Cassidy’s Insiders on the ABC, with the program to debut on ­December 4.

“It could be close to a record for the fastest conception of a TV network news program,” Cameron said. “It required two conversations and one email and it took less than 24 hours.”

Latham, known for his Trump-like disdain for political correctness, the establishment and bleeding-heart Lefties, claims ­credit for the idea.

He said Cassidy’s predictions of a Hillary Clinton landslide victory galvanised his belief there was room in the market for a show that gave voice to Australia’s own silent majority.

“It’s like the ‘Opposite day’ ­episode of Seinfeld,” Latham said. “If you do the opposite of Barrie Cassidy you’ll get it right.”

Latham predicts the program will enjoy unprecedented access to the White House during the Trump presidency.

“When we want to call team Trump, we just called him direct. We don’t need the Shark,” he said in reference to a News Corp report that Australian golfer Greg Norman had put Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in touch with the president-elect.

One objective for the program is to gain access to a Human Rights Commission conciliation conference, run by president Gillian Triggs, for a complaint lodged under the controversial section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, Cameron said.

“Our modest goal is to be the highest-rating show on Sky in three weeks,” he said.

Latham said he was proud there was “absolutely no balance whatsoever” on the panel. “There’s no gender balance. We’re all white. We don’t believe in things like gender balance,” he said.

The hosts declined to divulge their thoughts on Turnbull’s handling of the Trump victory thus far. “You’ll have to watch the show,” they said.

So how do they think the Trump presidency will pan out?

Cameron: “Brilliantly. Two terms.”

Dean: “It will be a proper presidency.”

Latham: “We want Trump to abuse the media and for them to abuse him back and we want more lectures from actors … then a Trump landslide in 2020.”


School Indoctrination Just Keeps Getting Worse

First it was the Safe Schools program to indoctrinate our children into the LGBT agenda, then it was Respectful Relationships to teach our children about feminism and male privilege. Now we have a new school program to complete the trifecta of identity and victim politics with the Building Belonging program to enforce racial and cultural diversity. The program has been created by the embattled Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) and is aimed at pre-schoolers.

The justification for such a program according to the National Children’s Commissioner Megan Mitchell is apparently early childhood educators have been asked by students about the racial background of another student and half of those questions implied something negative about that race. Rather than an educator just answering these questions and putting it down to the curious nature of children which all parents understand. The AHRC concludes that these questions are asked because children are being racists, probably egged on by their parents. Therefore it requires a government mandated anti-racism program.

This is despite the fact that there are hundreds of multiracial suburbs and schools in our major cities such as Sydney and Melbourne and almost every white child these days has a friend from other race. But determined to paint a negative view of Australia and our children the left have created this program to stop the next generation of racists.

The content of this program includes lessons such as be aware of the difference in appearances of people, not to judge people because of their appearance and to respect diversity and how to respect people’s differences. It would appear from these lessons that the creators are intending to create a sense of difference between students where one might not exist in the first place. Young children might not have really thought about the fact that other students are of different races or cultures, but this program implants the idea of difference in their minds.

Then there is the toolkit for educators and parents, for educators it asks them to teach students to spot alleged racial prejudice and even teaches them to know when their parents are being racist. It also asks them to teach students about the benefits of cultural diversity and learning about other cultures. For parents it encourages them and their children to experience the culture of other races by going to their events and cultural festivals. The creators of the program have also created a list of frequently asked racist questions that children might ask. There is even song which students must sing about the different racial colours in Australia.

The message that these toolkits communicate send is specifically that white students and parents must embrace and experience other cultures as they are perpetuating a racist society. I never knew that multiculturalism must be compulsory, as long as I’m not believing some races are inferior to others it’s none of these educators business what cultural activities I take my child too.

This program is likely to have the opposite effect to what it is intended. The children of today already go to school with children from many different cultures and races therefore it is only natural for them to want to get along and have a good time. But this program has the effect of dividing students into different races and cultures and creating a barrier to student interaction where there shouldn’t be one. By telling mainly white students that the students of colour are radically different people from and you need to be careful when interacting with them could have the effect of creating resentment.

This program is just another facet of the left’s enforcement of identity politics, dividing people into victim groups and creating the concept of privileged classes of people. We are living in arguably the most tolerant times in human history where it is as easy as ever (in the western world at least) to be who you want to be without fear of persecution.

But of course to left everything is racist, sexist, homophobic or bigoted which therefore justifies them trying to remake society in their cultural Marxist image. This is why they have introduced all these programs into schools so they can get children while they are young and indoctrinate them into their worldviews therefore shaping the future direction of society.

Parents need to take a stand and say we will not put up with this, we will not let our children become footsoliders in this culture war you are trying to create. We are not living in some evil white privileged, patriarchal, heteronominative society that justifies you filling our children’s minds with such divisive, confusing and potentially damaging ideas. We know what is best for our children and will not let you use them for your destructive plans to destroy our current society.


Criminologist Paul Wilson jailed over ‘brazen’ child sexual abuse

I can't say I am surprised.  He was always an odd one.  He was a real pretty boy in his younger days and he became quite the narcissist.  He had big pictures of himself in the company of prominent people plastered up all over the walls of his office in the Michie building at UQ

A Queensland criminologist has been jailed for brazen and persistent sexual abuse of a young girl in the 1970s.

Paul Wilson, 75, first assaulted the victim when she was eight at his Brisbane home in Indooroopilly and only stopped when she moved away from the area. Some of the abuse was carried out while other children and an adult were in the house.

Judge Julie Dick sentenced Wilson to 18 months imprisonment suspended after six months. Dick said the offending was persistent, brazen and involved the corruption of a child “of tender years”.

“This was a child, somebody else’s child in the neighbourhood who was visiting,” she said. “You, being an older man, had some authority and power over her. She has suffered this over a long number of years and the trial itself was traumatic for her.”

She accepted the defendant had led an “admirable life” but added: “No one knows what happens behind closed doors.”

Wilson was convicted after a retrial at Brisbane supreme court of four counts of indecent treatment of a child between 1973 and 1976.

Prosecutor Phil McCarthy described him as brazen and manipulative, and said he had used his position of standing in the community to corrupt the young girl. The abuse continues to have a significant effect on the victim, who was “very young and sexually naive” at the time, he said.

Defence barrister Peter Davis, QC, said Wilson, awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for his contribution to education, had lived a “full, successful, busy and conventional life” as a university professor. He has suffered a “very public fall from grace”, he added.


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

Friday, November 25, 2016

Another Trump/Brexit/Hanson event and the Greens have a fit

NSW has a Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, the name of which is self-explanatory.  They mainly want an easing of gun laws but you can see similarities with Trump and other recent uprisings against political correctness.  They have previously got seats in the NSW Upper House only -- with the help of proportional representation.  Now that they have taken a lower house seat it is therefore quite an upset

The NSW MPs of the Australian Greens have chucked one of the most childish and immature tantrums ever seen in any Australian Parliament, after Orange elected Mr Phillip Donato from the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party (SFFP).

The three Greens MPs including Tamara Smith, Jenny Leong and Jamie Parker have announced they do not want to sit with the newly elected MP from the SFFP.  Resorting to behaviour better suited to your local primary school, they have asked that Mr Donato be seated with the Labor MPs.

Ms Leong who has clearly been triggered by this event has spoken out and declared that Mr Donato should sit “with his Labor mates,” a swipe at Labor for preferencing the SFFP over the Greens in the by-election. It is clear to see that the Greens are deeply and emotionally scarred by the tragic preferencing deal.

The people have spoken and it is time for the greens to take a big spoonful of cement and harden up.  Our parliaments are not places for the weak hearted.

SOURCE.  More background on Mr Donato here.  He is no rube.

Back to basics phonics test to be rolled out in Australian schools

A five-minute reading check for first-graders that includes made-up words like "beff" and "shup" has dramatically improved early literacy rates in the UK and is set to be adopted in Australia.

The Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham has endorsed new research which suggests the UK's Year 1 phonics screening check should be rolled out across Australian classrooms, after pledging to promote a back-to-basics approach to education in the May budget.

The test would provide data on student literacy levels as well as on how effectively teachers are teaching phonics, according to the report's author, Dr Jennifer Buckingham from the Centre for Independent Studies.

The federal government is threatening to make state education funding contingent on state governments implementing measures like the phonics check, after the current funding deal runs out at the end of next year.

But the Teachers Federation said the screening test was "anti-teacher", because it was based on not trusting teachers to do their jobs properly.

The phonics check was greeted with some controversy when it was introduced in the UK in 2012, with some teachers and parents claiming smart kids were failing the test because they were trying to correct the made-up words they saw in front of them, for example by sounding "strom" as "storm".

But in the years since it was launched, the share of children meeting the expected standard lifted from just over half in 2012 to eight in 10 this year.

Dr Buckingham's report, Focus on Phonics, said the UK's experience showed the check should be trialled in Australia.

She said there was doubt over how well systematic phonics is taught in Australian schools and has been critical of the widespread use of Reading Recovery, which the NSW government recently scrapped.

"Surveys of principals suggest there is not a lot of confidence in new teachers' ability to teach reading – which is extraordinary, because if there's one thing a primary school teacher should leave their initial teaching education with, it should be a high level of ability and training to teach reading," she said.

Literacy as measured by the international Progress in Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) and NAPLAN from Year 3 upwards suggests that the literacy levels of Australian students are persistently low compared with other English-speaking countries.

The check takes 5-7 minutes per child and can be administered by a teacher. It tests students' ability to sound out 40 words, including made-up words to ensure they are not simply remembering sight words.

"This check is a very simple and quick assessment of what children know at a pretty crucial point in their learning, before the gaps start to open up and becomes hard to remediate," Dr Buckingham said.

She is calling for a pilot program to be run in mid-Year 1.

But Maurie Mulheron from the NSW Teachers Federation said: "Her solution is more testing. And really it's a pernicious kind of thing she's saying, that 'I don't trust that teachers are doing the right thing, I don't trust that they're teaching the syllabus, I don't trust that they're using the literacy strategies they say they are, so I'm going to test the children to prove the teachers aren't doing the right thing'.

"It comes from a mindset that is anti-teacher."

Dennis Yarrington, the president of the Australian Primary Principals Association said "I'm a bit concerned with the assertion that teachers are not teaching phonics well, that's a broad statement," he said.

"The APPA would certainly not support any type of standardised year 1 assessment. We need to be identifying things that work in Australia, and we have a number of assessment tools being used in schools across Australia already. But if a school doesn't have something in place, this could be an option for them to trial."

Mr Birmingham discussed the UK's phonics screening check with his UK counterpart Nick Gibb in June. He said "the evidence from Dr Buckingham adds further weight to the need for states and territories to support the evidence-based reforms that the Turnbull government wants to use to leverage our record levels of funding to turn around our declining international education performance."

Mr Birmingham said the phonics check would be discussed with states and territories at the COAG Education Council meeting next month.

The NSW government has already committed $340 million to an early intervention literacy strategy, including a plan to make "quality online literacy and numeracy assessments" available to teachers.


Pauline Hanson has had it with being called a racist

SENATOR Pauline Hanson has declared herself a victim of “reverse racism” and claims she has never said anything that is racist.

The surprising speech was made during a Senate session on Thursday morning where members debated a private bill proposed by One Nation and Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm to decimate Australia’s race-hate laws.

Arguing to remove dealing with prohibition of offensive behaviour based on racial hatred from section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, the One National leader denied that she herself was racist, and said she was fed up or being labelled as one.

“Let’s define the word racism — a racist is a person who believes their race to be superior to another,” she said.

“Understand the meaning, so when you criticise or you have a point of difference, don’t counteract by saying it’s a racist comment.

“I am fed up with people in this parliament, and even outside this house calling me a racist, yet they cannot define one word that I have ever said in policy or anything that is racist.”

Ms Hanson went on to recall a time where she felt she had been victimised because of her race.

“I remember years ago when I was first elected I went to have a meeting with the Aboriginal elders,” she said.

“I remember they came out, they called me a pig in mud and white trash ... the media actually printed it, and when I actually spoke to them about it they said ‘what’s wrong with that?’

“Well imagine if I’d reversed the words, but I never did.”

Ms Hanson said Australians were fed up with “reverse racism”.  “It’s become now in Australia, down to reverse racism, that’s why Australians are fed up with it,” she said.

She said the current “point of view” meant that Australians’ freedom of speech had been stifled thanks to discrimination laws protecting certain groups.

“I’m in this chamber, I’m protected. I can say what I like in here, but if I go outside this chamber and say it outside like many Australians, well, you can’t have an opinion. You can’t say anything anymore,” she said.

Ms Hanson also used her time in the Senate to cite her involvement with people of different cultural backgrounds. She listed her first husband who “was actually Polish”, a woman who once managed her fish and chip shop who was “also a refugee from Laos”, and said she had rented properties to an Aboriginal woman and her child.

But while Ms Hanson said she “cherished” her associations with people of different cultures who had “assimilated”, she said she had “had it up to here” with having to be tolerant of people with “no intention of ever becoming Australians”.

But, she added: “I welcome anyone who has come to this country to join us, assimilate and enjoy our way of life.”


Peter Dutton stands by his comments on Lebanese migrants: "Why can’t I talk about the facts?"

IMMIGRATION minister Peter Dutton won’t step back from his comments regarding a small portion of the Lebanese Muslim community.

Australians were “sick” of over the top political correctness, the Minister told media after a Greens Senator said his comments might be factual but they weren’t “productive”.

Mr Dutton rejected suggestions his comments were whipping up racism. Instead, he blamed the “tricky elite”, Opposition leader Bill Shorten and Greens MPs for making the remarks a big deal to win political points.

“I want to have an honest discussion,” he said. “The vast majority of Lebanese Australians are law-abiding, hard working, good decent people who are besmirched by the small element within the community who are doing the wrong thing. “I made that clear.”

Earlier, Greens Senator Nick McKim had attacked Mr Dutton for telling politicians in Question Time on Monday 22 out of the last 33 people charged with terrorist-related offences in Australia were from a second and third generational Lebanese-Muslim background.

“Undoubtedly the advice he’s got is accurate but just because something is fact doesn’t mean that it’s reasonable or productive to talk about it,” Senator McKim said on Sky News.

“What we’ve got is a deliberate attack from Mr Dutton by quoting these numbers on a particular subsection of the Australian community.”

Mr Dutton had been clarifying this comment to a Sky News interview last week: “The reality is Malcolm Fraser did make mistakes in bringing some people in the 1970s and we’re seeing that today.”

On Thursday, Mr Dutton questioned why he couldn’t talk about facts. “Mr McKim gave the game away today when he said ‘What Dutton has said is factual and reasonable but shouldn’t be spoken about’,” he said. “Australians are sick of that. “They want to have an honest discussion.”

Mr Dutton said he condemned anyone who made death threats after Labor MP Anne Aly, a counter-terrorism expert and the first Muslim woman in parliament, yesterday said she had received abuse and death threats following his comments.

“The question she should be asking is of Bill Shorten — why did he seek to whip this up into an issue of political advantage,” he said.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has stood by Mr Dutton but has not directly addressed his remarks.


Turnbull finally pulls off the gloves after Shorten crosses race line

Malcolm Turnbull’s long pent-up hostility to Bill Shorten on character grounds — originating with the “Medicare privatisation” election issue — erupted yesterday in relation to Peter Dutton and Barnaby Joyce.

“He has no regard for the truth,” Turnbull alleged across the despatch box after a question from Shorten. Turnbull accused Shorten of sustained dishonesty, a sentiment he has nursed since the election. The hostility is rampant on the government frontbench that, Dutton aside, seems unable to lay a glove on Shorten as he goes his merry way.

Turnbull’s fury focused on Shorten’s accusations about Dutton yesterday — over claims Dutton did not make and actually repudiated. Turnbull believes Shorten, not Dutton, is the one “harming the fabric of society” over the Lebanese Muslim row.

“You can’t take it, can you,” Turnbull said to Shorten before being interrupted. He attacked “this consistent, dishonest, misrepresentation by the Leader of the Opposition”. It seemed Turnbull might abandon the Marquess of Queensberry rules by which he operates and which Shorten has effortlessly exploited.

Turnbull was roused to anger by Shorten’s calculated attack during a debate on counter-terrorism when the ALP leader accused Dutton of “loud, lazy disrespect, wholesale labelling of entire communities for the actions of a tiny minority”, saying this would “aid and abet the isolation and resentment that extremists prey upon”. It was a lethal charge, referring to Dutton’s comments on Lebanese Muslims that, if true, would mean Dutton was unfit to be Immigration Minister.

Dutton, in fact, referring to the Lebanese Muslim community, had told parliament this week: “I am not going to allow people who are hardworking, who have done the right thing by this country, who have contributed, who have worked hard and who have educated their children, to be ­defined by those people who have done the wrong thing.”

Turnbull, in effect, said Shorten was guilty of the charge he was laying against Dutton; that his comments would provoke disharmony. He accused Shorten of “recklessness” and “dishonesty,” of “misrepresenting one minister after another” and of being “all reckless to the consequences of what he does other than his own political interest”. This goes to the charge the government is building against Shorten: that his recklessness is a risk for the country, a line spearheaded in recent times by Dutton.

The incident came at the end of question time when Shorten asked Turnbull a question, claiming Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce had written to the South Australian government saying the Turnbull government “would abandon” its obligation to deliver 450 gigalitres of water to the Murray-Darling Basin.

Turnbull rejected this as another misrepresentation. In fact, the Joyce letter reflects the provisions of the Act that depends upon agreement among the states. It concludes “the hard conversation has to happen about how we resolve this stalemate”.

This brief eruption at the end of question time has a fuse going back to the election. It originates with Shorten’s Medicare claims, resentment of which has burnt into Turnbull’s brain. The only surprise is the eruption did not occur earlier.


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, November 24, 2016

Would-be teachers must improve uni scores

When will this bungler learn? Between all the red tape and the disruptive students, teaching is no longer a good job.  So bright people mostly avoid it.  You HAVE TO accept dummies as teachers or you will eventually not have enough teachers for the schools. 

Victorian students who want to train as teachers will need higher university entrance scores after concerns too many young educators aren't up to the mark.

The minimum Victoria state ATAR will be 65 in 2018 and rise to 70 from 2019.

"If you want the best and brightest kids, then you have got to make sure that we've got the best and brightest teachers," Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters on Wednesday.

"For too long I think too many people who are perhaps not ready to be teachers have been getting the scores necessary to get into that course."

The average ATAR of students who began a teaching course in 2016 was about 57, according to Fairfax Media, implying some students got in with even lower scores.

Mr Andrews lifting lift teaching standards will flow through to class rooms. "We've got an oversupply of teachers at the moment, so it's exactly the right time," Mr Andrews said.

But opposition education spokesman Nick Wakeling says a high ATAR score alone won't result in smarter teachers. "While ATARs are important, universities use a range of tools to select their teacher candidates, including interviews, portfolios and written applications," Mr Wakeling said.

"Teachers need better support as they enter the classroom and more valuable professional development focused on improving their skills throughout their career."


Australia cuts Clinton Foundation funds

The federal government has not renewed any of its partnerships with the Clinton Foundation.

Labor and coalition governments over the past decade have paid more than $75 million to the anti-poverty foundation set up by the former first family of the United States, but questions have been raised about its accountability.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told the coalition joint party room on Tuesday agreements entered into by the Rudd-Gillard government had not been renewed.


Noel Pearson condemns the ABC as a ‘miserable racist’ broadcaster at Paul Keating book launch

THE country’s top indigenous leader Noel Pearson has eviscerated the ABC as a “miserable racist national broadcaster” needing “blacks to lead short lives of grief and tribulation” in order to produce bleeding-heart news reports.

In remarks that stunned an audience of senior Labor figures gathered to launch a new biography of former prime minister Paul Keating, Mr Pearson denounced the ABC for “soft bigotry” in its coverage of indigenous Australians.

Paying warm tribute to Mr Keating’s commitment to reconciliation and his historic Redfern Speech, Mr Pearson said some of his most promising reforms had been “wrecked” by “ignorant ministers and blind bureaucrats” who have been “aided and abetted by the media, not the least the country’s miserable racist national broadcaster”.

In language as scathing as some of Mr Keating’s most famous insults, Mr Pearson described the ABC as “a spittoon’s worth of perverse people willing the wretched to fail”.

“They need blacks to remain alien from mothers’ bosoms, carceral in legions, leading short lives of grief and tribulation because if it were not so, against whom could they direct their soft bigotry of low expectations, about whom could they report misery and bleeding tragedy,” Mr Pearson said.

“Between the Quadrant’s hard bigotry of prejudice from the right and the ABC’s soft bigotry of low expectations on the left, lies this common ground of mutual racism.”

Mr Keating, who co-operated with the biography, The Big Picture Leader by The Australian journalist Troy Bramston, warned Australia would never reach its full potential until it had achieved true reconciliation and had cut ties to Great Britain.

“We will never be the place we ought to be without full reconciliation with the First Australians here, and we will never be the place we ought to be while a monarch from another country is the head of state,” he said.

Mr Keating also said he always thought Mr Pearson was Australia’s answer to Barack Obama and hoped he would play a greater leadership role in the country’s future.

The ABC hit back at Mr Pearson’s remarks and said it provided more coverage of indigenous issues than any other Australian media outlet.

A spokesman said the ABC had given a platform to Mr Pearson, and other indigenous commentators, to canvass issues of welfare dependency, alcohol abuse and violence against women.

“With its 60 locations across Australia, the ABC covers the everyday experiences of indigenous communities and provides a range of programs to give voices to indigenous Australians and to showcase their achievements.


Real solutions to violence epidemic in Indigenous communities

Sara Hudson

Urgent action is needed to counteract the epidemic of violence in Indigenous communities.  But instead of action, the government and Aboriginal legal services are busying themselves with inquiries and racial discrimination complaints.

Rather than wasting money on yet another inquiry -- where many of the recommendations come to naught - the federal government would be much better off focusing on the social issues that lead to high rates of violence and incarceration.

In some parts of the country, the rate of hospitalisation for domestic violence victims is 86 times higher for Indigenous women than it is for non-Indigenous women.

Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women have drawn attention to these appalling statistics but their voices have often been ignored.

Shamed by the Chairperson of the Prime Minister's Indigenous Advisory Council's scathing attack on the government's inaction on this issue, the federal government recently  announced a $25 million package for front line services to prevent violence. But this isn't new money -- just a re-announcement of the $100 million over 12 years for family violence in the 2016-17 federal budget.

Implementing good policy to counteract high levels of Indigenous disadvantage requires much more than just announcing a million dollar budget package.  To this end, we are pleased to support the voices of three outspoken and fearless Aboriginal women, Professor Marcia Langton AM, Councillor Jacinta Price, and lawyer and businesswoman Josephine Cashman at a special event at the National Press Club next Thursday.

The three women will outline some real solutions to the high rates of violence and incarceration in Indigenous communities.

Tellingly, those Indigenous communities with private home ownership and a sustainable economy also have lower crime and incarceration rates. For example, Mapoon in Far North of Queensland has a crime rate half that of the general rate for Queensland, (9293 offences per 100,000 people) and a tenth of all Queensland Indigenous communities.

This suggests that strategies to improve the economic outcomes of Indigenous communities are likely to be much more effective in reducing high rates of family violence than any other measure 'banded' about by government - like waiting with a stretcher at the bottom of a cliff to offer services.


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, November 23, 2016

There isn't a 'silent majority' of racists in Australia

By Tim Soutphommasane, Race Discrimination Commissioner.

Tim's headline above is beyond dispute but he goes downhill from there.  I have written previously about the Scanlon Foundation and its reports and what I have said previously still seems to apply. 

Peter Scanlon was the man behind  stevedoring business Patrick Corporation but he now seems to be mainly in shares and Real Estate.

This year's report has made a big issue over question wording.  They know, I know and all survey researchers know that the wording of a question can greatly influence the answers.  And by dwelling on that fact they apparently hope to obscure the reality that they are themselves great sinners in that regard. 

Just to take a simple example from their survey, one of their questions is: "Marriage equality for same sex couples".  They find that 66% of respondents say they support it.  But the question is ludicrously biased.  It is put in a way that argues for it.  Were the question a straightforward "Homosexual marriage" they would undoubtedly get a very different percentage of approval.  The Labor party certainly thinks so.  That is why they strenuously resist a vote on the question.  They know that a referendum on the question would be lost.

And the Scanlon questions about "refugees" are amusing too. One question asked for agreement with a statement seeking support for  resettling  ‘refugees  who  have  been  assessed  overseas  and  found  to  be  victims  of  persecution  and  in  need  of  help'. A real tear-jerker! Unsurprisingly, two thirds of respondents agreed with that. I would have liked to ask for responses to "Most so-called refugees are really just economic immigrants in search of a country with generous welfare payments".  I might have got two thirds agreement with that too.

So Tim is entitled to believe the Scanlon report but from my viewpoint as an experienced survey researcher it is basically rubbish. To believe their results you would have to show that they are similar to results that have been obtained by other researchers.  And they themselves admit that their results are often very different.  They say that the other researchers have bad research methods but I think it is more a case of Luke 6:42.

So when Tim says "An overwhelming majority of people (83 per cent) believe that multiculturalism is good for the country", we have to ask WHICH cultures do people see as beneficial? Muslim culture?  Probably not. Scanlon doesn't ask that question. They don't want to know.

Having said all that there were nonetheless two points which even Scanlon picked up, two points that other surveys have found:  Environmental issues are bottom of the barrel in importance for Australians and Australians are far more anti-Muslim than they are anti any other religion

Mr Scanlon has set up an organization that campaigns for immigrant acceptance.  Sad that they think they can further that aim by dishonestly pretending to do objective research

These are challenging times for race relations. In the United States, just a fortnight after the election of Donald Trump, there are already numerous reports of hate attacks on the rise. A similar trend was reported earlier this year following the Brexit vote in Britain.

This is what happens when political debates normalise attacks on immigrants and foreigners. This is what happens when populist nationalism trumps the normal rules of liberal democracy.

Australia is not the US. Neither is it Europe. But we are not immune from racial anxiety and xenophobia. There remains a small minority of people in our society who are hostile towards cultural diversity and immigration. These are people who believe that an Australian national identity is under threat from cultural change.

It is important that we deal with such concerns, that we understand why people may feel that way. Yet, as the Scanlon Foundation's Mapping Social Cohesion report shows, we shouldn't overstate such cultural angst. Those who are uncomfortable about multiculturalism do not constitute some "silent majority". The political mainstream mustn't rush to conclude otherwise.

Here are some of the facts, according to the Scanlon Foundation. An overwhelming majority of people (83 per cent) believe that multiculturalism is good for the country. A clear majority of people (59 per cent) believed that current levels of immigration were either "about right' or 'too low".

Such results, consistent with the Scanlon Foundation's findings over the years, are the best indication we have of where Australian public opinion really lies. It is confirmation that Australia remains a successful and harmonious nation of immigration.

Of course, recent commentary has painted a different picture. For example, one Essential Media poll about Muslim immigration has been frequently cited to support the proposition that half of Australians want to ban Muslim immigration.

Such commentary has tended to ignore other evidence indicating far more robust support for a non-discriminatory immigration policy. In a previous survey, the Scanlon Foundation in fact found that three-quarters of the population supported immigration being conducted on non-discriminatory lines. This year, the Scanlon Foundation found that with respect to Australia taking in refugees from Syria, 69 per cent indicated that "there should be equal consideration to all religious and ethnic groups".

The lesson is this. Political debate must avoid jumping to conclusions based on single opinion polls – especially when polls need to be interpreted with care. The best polls are those that can show trends over time. On matters of social cohesion, the Scanlon Foundation's findings have been robust and reliable.

Which is why there are some findings in this year's survey that should give us pause. There has been an increase in the reported experience of discrimination, which rose from 15 per cent of respondents in 2015 to 20 per cent in 2016. This is the highest proportion recorded since the Scanlon Foundation surveys began in 2007. Those of a non-English speaking background reported the highest experience of discrimination (27 per cent).

There can be no complacency on prejudice and discrimination. It remains fundamentally important that our society sends an emphatic signal that racism is unacceptable.


Bob Katter calls for crocodile culls

Greenie theory versus local realities.  There are tens of thousands if not a hundred thousand crocs in Queensland waters.  Reducing that population in inhabited areas is not going to endanger it

North Queensland MP Bob Katter has slammed Terri Irwin's call for Queensland MPs to rule out crocodile culls, saying those living up north are being "ripped to pieces".

Ms Irwin, of Australia Zoo at the Sunshine Coast, condemned two Liberal National MPs who expressed their support for a conversation about culling on Sunday and said it would be a "disaster for both human safety and crocodile ecology".

"Crocodiles are an apex predator and crucial to the ecosystem, keeping waterways and wetlands healthy," she said. "Crocodiles eradicate the weak, sick and injured wildlife, leaving only the healthy to prosper.

"Crocodile culling is an incredibly inhumane practice, often leaving crocodiles with debilitating injuries.

"Science does not support culling crocodiles and it would be a disaster for both human safety and crocodile ecology."

The member for Kennedy said Mrs Irwin's call for people to co-exist with crocodiles who was out of touch with the "world of reality".

"Let me be very specific, between Cairns and Townsville, the Paradise Coast, the rainfall is 100 inches or more, a crocodile habitat is in or near a waterway," he said.

"It would be hard to be on any piece of ground on the Paradise Coast and be more than a few hundred metres or so from a waterway.

"So is she suggesting humans should move out?"

Mr Katter then went on to explain that the environment was "out of whack".

"Tropical Nth Qld (sic) was the territory of my brother, cousins, the First Australians," he said.

"There was equilibrium in nature. If you are a respected naturalist you would know that this was the territory of man, not the territory of crocodiles.

"The catch of 60 croc eggs would keep a First Australian family going for a while, and similarly with dingoes, the goannas and gropers. "Now we have an unnatural environment.

"I don't care if she's St Gabriel's mother, we're being eaten and ripped to pieces."

The debate about crocodile management kicked off earlier in the year when NSW woman Cindy Waldron, 46, was taken by a croc at Thornton Beach, north of Cairns.

Mr Katter reignited his calls for crocodile culling after the incident and suggested crocodile shooting safaris to tackle population numbers, despite a lack of evidence indicating the population was out of control.

Dr Laurence Taplin, who is assisting the state government with its $5.8 million crocodile monitoring program, said there had not been any systematic crocodile surveys conducted in Queensland for more than a decade and suggested any debate relating to population numbers was anecdotal.

"The current debate echoes similar controversies in the late 1980s and the science we did back then showed clearly there was a great gulf between anecdotal claims of exploding crocodile populations around Queensland and the reality on the ground," he said.

Nearly 50 crocodiles have been removed from the Cairns region so far this year.


Election-trigger union bill finally passes in late-night senate debate

THE Turnbull Government has had a win after the Registered Organisations Bill, one of two industrial relations bills that triggered a double dissolution election earlier this year, finally passed in a late-night debate.

Senators were locked in debate until after 2am on Tuesday morning to pass the legislation.

The government secured the support of crossbencher Derryn Hinch, the Nick Xenophon Team, and One Nation.

Employment Minister Michaelia Cash called it a “massive win”.

“I’m delighted that this has been a massive win for the two million Australians who are members of registered organisations,” Senator Cash told ABC radio.

The Senate had been forced to sit indefinitely on Monday night until the legislation was voted on.
Senator Derryn Hinch and Senator Nick Xenophon voted in favour of the Registered Organisations Bill. Picture: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

Senators Xenophon and Hinch insisted they’d secured what could be the best whistleblower protections in the world in exchange for their support for the bill to establish a Registered Organisations Commission to oversee unions and their officials.

They secured amendments to protect and compensate union whistleblowers while also obtaining an undertaking from the government to extend the same protections — or stronger ones — to whistleblowers in the corporate and public sectors.

A parliamentary inquiry will examine the whistleblower protections in the legislation and if it recommends a stronger regime for corporate and public sector whistleblowers, the government will establish an expert advisory panel to draft legislation to implement those reforms.

The legislation needs to be introduced by December 2017 and dealt with no later than June 30, 2018, according to the undertaking.

The pair also secured amendments to ensure the independence of auditors, including tougher penalties for noncompliance.

“These amendments if passed will see Australia go from some of the worst whistleblower protection laws in the world to arguably the best,” Senator Xenophon said.

Senator Hinch insisted he was pro-worker and anti-corruption, arguing it was time for a fulltime independent regulator for a sector wracked with scandal.

He didn’t want to see a repeat of the scandals in the Health Services Union where officials like former Labor MP Craig Thomson misused funds.

“I was actually lying in a hospital bed and watching members of his old union ... doing menial tasks for about I guess $15 an hour,” Senator Hinch said.

“I watched a middle-aged European woman with a mop cleaning up after a burst colostomy bag and I thought at the time her union fees for the year would probably be around the $500 Thomson spent on one prostitute in one assignation.”

Senior Labor figure Doug Cameron lashed out, accusing Senator Xenophon of dropping the ball by not demanding the government immediately extend whistleblower protections to the corporate and public sectors.

“The whistleblowers in the banks can wait until some time after 2017 if you ever get a result out of this mob,” he said. “What have you got? You’ve got a committee, you’ve got an expert panel, you’ve got some legislation in 2017 that nobody knows what it is.

“If you were fair dinkum, you would’ve fixed this tonight and corporations would’ve been facing the same stringency as the Australian trade union movement.”

Senator Xenophon insisted the reforms went further than anything the previous Labor government achieved during six years in office.


Australian Leftist politician says paternalistic things to a conservative woman politician

Cameron is a former Scottish unionist, and there are no more bitter haters than they

The Left of the Labor Party claim they have the moral authority on most issues, but particularly women’s issues, including sexism, women’s rights and equal opportunity in the workplace.

Think of Labor’s feminist warriors, including Deputy Labor Leader Tanya Plibersek and senior frontbencher Penny Wong. Some women look up to these politicians to call out wrongs perpetrated against women.

Neither are shrinking violets and both of them are from the Left.

But where was the outrage last night - and indeed today - about what their fellow Left factional warrior Doug Cameron said to Employment Minister Michaelia Cash while the Senate was debating the Registered Organisation Commission Bill.

“Senator Cormann, I know you have to be there to hold the Minister’s hand,” Senator Cameron said.

“So maybe just hold the Minister’s hand and stop interjecting, would be a good start. That would be a good start.”

“The Minister can’t handle the Bill on her own … She needs Senator Cormann there to chaperone her through this Bill. I’ve never see this before with a senior minister in the Government.”

Basically, Senator Cameron accused Senator Cash of needing a man beside her to do a job properly.

Can you imagine the outrage if Immigration Minister Peter Dutton or Treasurer Scott Morrison said this? The feminazis would be lining up to attack such a ridiculous comment.

But where are they today? No where.

I know politics is robust and requires a thick skin but if we want women to be treated fairly and with respect than this rubbish needs to be called out. Senator Cameron, you should be ashamed of yourself.

But more than that, the shame sits more heavily on the women in the Chamber who said nothing while he spewed his ridiculous comments.


Aboriginal-run services can work but need to prove their worth, Indigenous leaders say

Sort of sad that the Aborigines themselves had to put this up.  What have the bureaucrats been doing?

A lack of evaluation of Indigenous-run programs aimed at overcoming disadvantage is placing serious limits on positive outcomes, Aboriginal leaders have warned.

The comments come after a report by the Productivity Commission found Indigenous Australians are becoming more disadvantaged, citing alarming increases in imprisonment rates, mental health problems and rates of self-harm.

The report also said of the $30 billion budget allocated to overcoming these disadvantages, just 34 of the 1,000 federally funded programs had been properly evaluated.

Northern Territory Aboriginal health service Danila Dilba has engaged a private economics consultancy firm to carry out a cost/benefit analysis of its key primary health care services, CEO Olga Havnen said.

"For every $1 invested we're delivering a $4.18 return," she said. "We wanted to be able to show that the Aboriginal community-controlled health sector actually delivers good services and good outcomes, and they are cost-effective."

But the report also showed Danila Dilba's outcomes were not the norm.

Indigenous leaders said the lack of economic evaluation left billions of dollars being spent in areas that may not have been proven effective.

"As a taxpayer you should be concerned that programs for which there is no evidence are being funded," anthropologist Marcia Langton told the National Press Club.

The head of the Prime Minister's Indigenous Advisory Council, Warren Mundine, said measurable data offered guidance for funding targets.

"It should be clear that you don't get funding forever just for the sake of funding, you actually have to get clear outcomes, and outcomes that are successful," he said.

There should be a real evaluation program in place if the federal government is "handing out taxpayers' money".

"We've got to totally revamp the way the evaluations are done and make them real so we get measurable data — and we can do that tomorrow morning," Mr Mundine said.

A spokesperson for Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion admitted there was a need for more evidence to demonstrate which programs were working.

"Minister Scullion acknowledged that in the areas of incarceration, domestic violence, mental health and substance misuse, increased effort was required to improve outcomes — and better evidence was needed to drive this progress," the spokesman said in a statement.

Public sector governance expert Steven Bartos said allocating funds without evidence created a false economy.

"When you don't know anything about any of the programs then you're just relying on gut feelings, and that's not good enough," he said. "The measurement of outcomes, the framework for doing that, has to come from Indigenous communities themselves."

Ms Havnen said she had spent years pushing for evidence-based programs and governments needed to focus on Indigenous-run organisations that proved they could deliver.

"We think it's also been really important to try to dispel the public perception that somehow spending more money in Aboriginal health isn't a worthwhile or a viable thing to do," she said.


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