Tuesday, January 31, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG comments on boxer Mundine's claim that the Australian national anthem is racist

Heinous sexist culture inside STEM industries exists in Australia

Of course it does.  Women are being pushed into occuptions where they don't belong and where they don't generally do well.

 What's this about "belong"?  It's simple aptitude.  We have known for a hundred years that women do not perform well on tests of mathemtical ability.  And STEM fields have a heavy mathematical requirement.  So those who do do well (men) in such fields tend to look down on those who do not (women). 

All men (and all women) are NOT equal and ignoring that for the sake of political correctness is always going to create friction.  It opposes policy to reality and those who can see the reality will reasonably object. 

There is a small minority of females who excel at STEM tasks and it is they alone who should be in such fields.  If such women were the only ones is such fields the cause for derision would disappear.  Women in such fields would be respected

A PARTICULARLY heinous brand of sexism faced by Australia's most educated woman has been exposed in a damning survey of professional industries including engineering and IT.

Managers in STEM industries (science, technology, engineering and maths) have been revealed to avoid hiring women because they "nag", take on women considering reasons other than their skills and qualifications because they want a "work wife", and prefer men because they can "pee on the run".

The shocking details accompanied by the concerning warning that three quarters of women who work in these areas plan to drop out of their profession within the next five years due to restrictions in career progression.

The claims are included in a submission from industry group Professional Australia to a senate inquiry into gender segregation in the workplace.

The comprehensive submission includes results from a survey undertaken by the professional body, showing that 25.8 per cent of women reported being sexually harassed at work with half taking no action on the matter, and 7 per cent quitting their jobs over it.

Women in the STEM industries reported experiencing bias against women in their male-dominated fields, and described their industry as a "boys club".  "Career progression is not always based on merit," one respondent said.

Women reported having to "fight for the pay and respect that men get naturally", and were told to be a "good sport" when on the receiving end of sexist comments.

One employee said women were regularly accused of "nagging" when making reasonable requests of male colleagues, with one recalling being told "you sound like my wife" after requesting overdue information from a male colleague.

"I took over a job on an industrial site from an obviously disliked female employee and on first meeting an operator (was) told `not another f***ing woman, are you here to nag us as well?'" one respondent said.

A female scientist reported opportunities diminished for women in the eyes of male managers once they became more senior. "A lot of scientists like cute student girls," she said. "Once that time period has passed, you are less likely to be offered any roles in anything."

The report also highlighted that women felt sidelined once they had children, with men being considered "more serious about their careers".

One respondent reported being offered a demotion after returning from maternity leave to "help with family flexibility". Another said she was told by a manger if she applied for a job alongside a male of the same age and experience, the male would be selected "as they are less likely to take leave in the future to care for children".

The report showed male engineers earned 24 per cent more than their female colleagues when they worked fulltime, and fulltime male scientists earned 18 per cent more than their female counterparts.

In its submission, Professionals Australia said it hoped shining a light on the issues faced by highly-educated professional women could be addressed.

The group said it wanted to "encourage police-makers and employers to look at ways to tackle gender segregation by looking at the need to address entrenched structural bias in work practices".

"Tackling the issues will be fundamental to providing for the optimal attraction, development and retention of women in the STEM workforce, and to fully realising Australia's productivity potential and innovative capability into the future."

The senate inquiry into gender segregation into the workplace and its impact on women's economic equality is due to report by March this year.


Review into accuracy of Queensland crime reports

Shades of Tony Blair's Britain

Auditors are reviewing Queensland's official crime statistics amid allegations figures have been fudged.

Police Minister Mark Ryan says Police Commissioner Ian Stewart has advised him of an audit office review into whether crime reports were manipulated to give false perceptions about the state's crime rates.

"The commissioner has given me assurances that the Queensland Police Service will work with the Queensland Audit Office to get to the bottom of this matter," Mr Ryan has told the ABC.

The ABC says it's been told two police crime managers on the Gold Coast have raised concerns that legitimate crime reports have been labelled "unfounded" in an effort to keep offences off the books.

The broadcaster said the managers took their concerns to the audit office only after telling a superior, who did nothing about it.

The minister said Queenslanders must be able to have faith in crime statistics.

"I expect the highest standards to be met and maintained by the Queensland Police Service from the top of the organisation down," Mr Ryan said.


Australia will support Donald Trump on strong border protection policies

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says the Turnbull government will support Donald Trump's "strong immigration and border protection policies", as the leaders of Britain and Germany criticise an executive order banning entry to the United States for refugees and citizens from a range of majority Muslim countries.

Speaking in Los Angeles after events promoting Australian business and tourism, Ms Bishop said the Turnbull government was working closely with the White House to ensure Australians would continue to have access to the United States and consular officials were assisting travellers on the ground.

"I'm confident that the Australian government and the US government will continue to support each other in ensuring that we can implement our strong immigration and border protection policies," Ms Bishop said.

"The Australian government is working very closely with the administration and the US officials and we want to ensure that Australians continue to have access to the United States, as they have in the past, and people from the United States have access to Australia."

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who spoke with President Trump for about 25 minutes on Sunday, is one of just a few world leaders to have spoken with the US leader since he signed the executive order. During the phone conversation President Trump confirmed the US would continue with a deal signed by the Obama administration to resettle hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers held by Australia on Manus Island and Nauru.

Apart from confirmation of the resettlement deal, no official information about the call has been made public. Ms Bishop said the two leaders spoke about a range international issues.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has ordered her ministers to speak to their US counterparts about the controversial travel bans, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel said efforts to defeat international terrorism did "not justify putting people of a specific background or faith under general suspicion."

Ms Bishop confirmed she had spoken to Vice President Mike Pence for a second time over the weekend and Trump officials were very well briefed on all of the details of US-Australia alliance.

Foreign Affairs minister Julie Bishop says Australia will work with the US on strong border protection policies.
Foreign Affairs minister Julie Bishop says Australia will work with the US on strong border protection policies.  Photo: Andrew Meares

Mr Trump's chief of staff Reince Priebus appeared to walk back aspects of the ban overnight, saying US green card holders from the affected countries would not be prevented from returning from overseas.

Earlier a federal judge ruled immigration officials could not detain people who arrived at airports after the ban came into force.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on Sunday updated travel advice for the US.

It said Australians who are dual citizens of Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria are no longer eligible to apply for a electronic visa approval for the US or for the existing visa waiver available to Australian citizens.

Australians who have previously been issued the approval are likely to have them revoked, while the US Homeland Security Secretary may waive travel restrictions on a case by case basis for travellers working for international and humanitarian organisations, regional organisations, state and territory governments, journalists on reporting trips and Australians who have travelled to Iran or Iraq for some legitimate business-related purposes.

Britain Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said most British citizens would be exempt from the ban and the only dual nationals impacted were those flying from one of the seven countries.

Fairfax Media has contacted the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for clarification about possible exemptions for Australians.

Acting US ambassador to Australia James Carouso said what President Trump had ordered was no secret. "He campaigned on strong borders," Mr Carouso told radio 3AW. "This is a pretty big change in our procedures."

The former ambassador, John Berry, was appointed by Barack Obama and returned to the US last year. President Trump is yet to announce his replacement.

Mr Carouso, who is officially charge d'affaires, said the visa changes were part of a 90 day review of border processes. Asked why countries such as Pakistan and Afghanistan were not included on the travel ban list, Mr Carouso said: "I wish I knew."


Nederland's growth record set to fall to Australia, says Deloitte

Australia is on track to pass the Netherlands this year and secure the world's longest spell without a recession, with a rebound in commodity prices ensuring the current account deficit will become narrower than at any time since Gough Whitlam was prime minister.

The prediction by Deloitte Access Economics' Chris Richardson is one of the most upbeat in several years and follows last week's decision by Moody's Investor Service to elevate its assessment of the economy's strength.

However, Mr Richardson warns that while the economy is set to comfortably weather President Donald Trump's new regime, there is still considerable work needed to avoid a credit ratings downgrade.

"National income may be rebounding, but the tax take isn't," Mr Richardson said. "Despite a leap in commodity prices, Treasury continues to write down expected collections of company taxes, while weak wage growth is having its wicked way with taxes.

With the Coalition still struggling to get all its budget repair agenda through the Senate, it is unlikely to get legislative backing to pass unpopular measures that would close the deficit.

"Chances are the successful defence of the AAA credit rating in late 2016 was a stay of execution rather than a turning point," Mr Richardson said.

In the run-up to Christmas, the government was internally concerned that further delays in a return to surplus next decade would trigger the first downgrade in three decades. Ratings agencies reaffirmed the top-notch rating in the wake of the mid-year budget update last month.

Helping ease the difficulties for the government is a strong rebound in commodity prices, particularly for coal and iron ore, as well as farm goods such as wheat.

With China's policymakers continuing to stimulate Australia's biggest trade partner in 2017, Mr Richardson says the economy is well placed.  "National income growth is amid a massive reawakening," he says.

"Pumped-up commodity prices and a bumper wheat crop are boosting export earnings at the same time as the fast-finishing construction phase of Australia's mining boom boosts exports and simultaneously cuts our thirst for imports.

"This good news on trade won't last forever, but it looks to be great news in the offing on the balance of payments for both this financial year and next."

Deloitte Access predicts the current account deficit – the broadest measure of trade and financial flows in and out of the country – will shrink to 1.3 per cent of gross domestic product this financial year, from 4.5 per cent in 2015-16.

The shift is a dramatic development, given ratings agencies were increasingly concerned about the widening current account deficit a year ago.

Improved earnings from abroad, an ongoing construction boom in NSW and Victoria, and a robust jobs market will eventually help drive the economy back to its full-pace.

GDP growth will accelerate from 1.8 per cent in 2016-17 to 2.8 per cent in 2017-18, and run at 2.7 per cent through the next two years.

"That mix should keep the home fires of growth burning by enough to leave unemployment relatively steady, and by enough to see Australia sail past the Netherlands to record the world's longest-ever spell without recession," Mr Richardson said.

The government was shocked last year by a 0.5 per cent fall in GDP in the third quarter, but is internally confident growth rebounded strongly in the final quarter of 2017, meaning it will avoid presiding over a technical recession.

The Netherlands continues to hold the record for the longest sustained run of economic growth, over 103 quarters. Australia recorded 100 quarters between the June quarter of 1991 and last year's September quarter without a recession.


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, January 30, 2017

Sharp practices at GoDaddy ISP

GoDaddy have recently opened up a branch in Australia.  It was not a good day for Australia.

I signed up just over a year ago for an Australian GoDaddy internet hosting service.  The price they were charging for a year was really low ($12.25) and, though I looked for a declaration that it was an initial offer only, I found no such declaration.  Just recently, however, they rebilled me for another year of service at a very high price ($131.88).  I did not authorize that but there may be somewhere in their terms and conditions a declaration that they automatically re-bill.  I certainly had no knowledge of that.

They did email me a fortnight in advance that they were going to make the debit so I tried to contact them to forbid it.  Nowhere however did they give either an email or a physical address to contact them.  They just gave a phone no.  Odd that an internet company insists on using old technology only to talk to its customers!  Do they have no trust in their own product?

The phone no. however seemed always to be so busy that even a long wait led nowhere so I wrote to the GoDaddy HQ in Texas a few weeks before any renewal came up.  I forbad them to debit me again.  No response.

I have asked the bank to reverse the debit so we will see what comes of that -- JR.

Cut tax or we'll be stranded, warns Scott Morrison

Scott Morrison has warned that Australia is now facing the real risk of being globally stranded by crippling taxes that would erode the nation's living standards if the government continues to be blocked politically from its company tax reforms.

In a speech today to business leaders in London, the Treasurer will lay down the challenge to parliament that unless Australia follows the example of Britain, which cut its tax rate to 20 per cent while in a worse budget position, then it will rapid-ly lose its competitive place in the world.

In a bid to escalate pressure on the Senate crossbench to support the government's plan to cut the company tax to 25 per cent, Mr Morrison said Labor would have to wear the responsibility for Australian businesses left behind as other countries moved to a lower tax environment.

Despite boasting the ninth-lowest corporate tax rate among OECD countries 15 years ago, Australia was now heading toward-s a competition and investment crisis, as it was now among the five top-taxing nations and was 22nd in terms of its competitiveness, Mr Morrison said.

"If both the parliament and the Labor Party choose not to support keeping Australian businesses competitive, then we run the great risk of stranding our businesses and the jobs that rely on them, as our competitors and friends continue to move on," the Treasurer told The Australian from London ahead of his speech.

"We simply cannot afford, as the UK understood at the time of one of their greatest economic crises-, to not go ahead."

Drawing the comparison with Britain, which plans to further cut taxes to 17 per cent by 2020, the Treasurer said Australia must counter a vicious cycle of stagnating growth and eroding living standards from higher taxes and falling investment.

"So with much of the world looking to stimulate investment and growth through more competitive- tax rates, Australia, as a net importer of capital, risks falling behind and becoming uncompetitive," he will tell the London meeting. "Many countries we're competing with for investment have more attractive corporate tax rates, and are looking to further- reduce them.

"We need to coax capital out of its cave."

US President Donald Trump wants to cut the US corporate tax rate from 35 per cent to 15 per cent.

Independent senator Nick Xenophon said yesterday that he had not closed the door to the totality of the government's tax plan, having already said he would support the first phase for businesses with turnover of less than $10 million.

But he wanted the government to address manufacturing job -losses in southern states first. "I'm saying we will talk to you, but we will talk to you first about industry policy which will have a more -direct impact," he told The Australian.

Labor and the Greens have ruled out supporting the tax cuts, claiming the budget cannot afford them and that there is no evidence that would stimulate econo-mic growth or investment.

Labor's Treas-ury spokesman Chris Bowen last month described- the ability of the government-'s proposed tax cuts to stimulate more investment as a "wing and a prayer".

This is despite Mr Bowen also championing the British model in 2013, when it faced a tougher fiscal situation than Australia.

Mr Morrison cited the need for tax reform, based on regional areas of Australia that he said were already feeling the effect of slower than hoped for investment.

"Post our mining investment boom, investment capital is still not flowing sufficiently to drive the economic activity needed to lift incomes and in particular address- the economic dislocation in areas and regions most adversel-y impacted by our economic transition," he will say.

"Australia needs to encourage business investment to promote economic growth, support job security and employment growth as well as improve living standards.

"The OECD has found that corporate income taxes are the most harmful major tax when it comes to economic growth.

"Research clearly shows that increasing tax on employers lowers economic growth and therefore lowers standards of living."

The Treasurer countered Labor's claims that tax cuts would do nothing for economic growth, using the British model, which he described as a "burning platform of reform" that reignited its economy and boosted investment by 25 per cent.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann has been negotiating with crossbench senators over the summer in an effort to convince them to support the government's bill for its Enterprise Tax Plan.

Legislation is yet to be introduced, but Mr Morrison has said the full plan would go to parliament unchanged.

The $48 billion plan will phase in cuts to the company tax rate from 30 per cent to 25 per cent by 2026-27. Initially, this would see a reduction to 27.5 per cent for businesses with turnover of less than $10m.

British modelling has suggested that its cuts to 20 per cent from 28 per cent will result in a permanent increase in investment of up to 4.5 per cent over a 20-year period-, or more than $11bn.

Mr Morrison said his Treasury modelling predicts that a 25 per cent rate in Australia would result in a permanent increase in business investment of up to 2.9 per cent, or $6.5bn.

"Our 10-year enterprise plan begins by reducing taxes for small and medium-sized enterprises, leading to a flat tax rate of 25 per cent for all companies," he will say in his speech.

"Now this does not go as far as has already been achieved here in the UK, where corporate tax rates have already dropped from 28 per cent to 19 per cent, and are scheduled to fall further to 17 per cent.

"What is more impressive is that these cuts began in 2010 under prime minister (David) Cameron, in the aftermath of the financial crisis and a budget deficit of around 10 per cent of GDP.

"Some have argued that Australia can't afford tax cuts. The UK government, in a far weaker and more vulnerable fiscal position than Australia, took the view they could not afford not to.

"Lower tax rates have supported a steady and sustained recovery in business investment in the UK, increasing nearly 25 per cent in the six years to March 2016.''


Resigning Fair Work chief blasts Leftist system

Tony Abbott believes the resignation of one of the Fair Work Commission's most senior members shows the workplace umpire is "pro-union and anti-jobs".

Graeme Watson has launched a scathing attack on the commission in his resignation letter revealed in Monday's Australian Financial Review. "There is an increasing understanding in the business community that the Fair Work Commission is partisan, dysfunctional and divided," the FWC vice-president wrote.

The former prime minister said the resignation was unprecedented.

"(This) shows that the FWC (former workplace minister Bill) Shorten created is pro-union and anti-jobs," Mr Abbott said.

Commission president Iain Ross in a statement said he had been informed Mr Watson had written to the governor-general tendering his resignation with effect from February 28.

"I thank the vice president for his service to the commission and wish him well in his future endeavours," Mr Ross said.

Mr Watson, who has been a member of the commission since June 2006, said in his letter it become clear the workplace system "is actually undermining the objects of the Fair Work legislation".

"I do not consider that the system provides a framework for co-operative and productive workplace relations and I do not consider that it promotes economic prosperity or social inclusion. Nor do I consider it can be described as balanced."

Mr Watson is a former Freehills lawyer who represented Patrick stevedores in the 1998 waterfront dispute.

Australian Industry Group chief Innes Willox said Mr Watson would be a big loss to the Fair Work Commission.

"(His) knowledge of business, his understanding of the imperatives of business competitiveness, his knowledge of the law, and his practical and fair approach, will be sorely missed," Mr Willox said in a statement.

The resignation letter showed the need for the government to overhaul the law relating to enterprise agreements, business transfers and unfair dismissal, in line with a report by the Productivity Commission.



Young Sikh boy, five, forced to change schools because he was not allowed to wear his turban to class

I think highly of Sikhs.  They successfully withstood the Muslims for 1,000 years.  So I see this ban as ignorant if it is based on religious prejudice.  It may however be a matter of uniform policy.  If one exception to the policy is allowed, it may undermine the whole policy -- producing exception requests on all sorts of grounds

A five-year-old boy has been forced to change schools because he was not allowed to wear a turban that was part of this religion.

Sidhak Singh Arora really wanted to attend Melton Christian College in Melbourne's north-west. But his patka, a turban for young Sikh boys with long hair, was an issue.

His father, Sagardeep Singh Arora, said it was unfortunate his son could not attend the best school in Melton.  'I really feel bad, and disappointed, because I thought this is a modern society, how can a kid not go to the school of his choice, just because he is wearing a religious clothing?,' he told SBS News.

'My son really wanted to go to that school. 'This is one of the best schools over there, I say the best school in the Melton area.'

The boy's father said the patka, which he puts on his son's head every morning, wasn't a fashion accessory. 'You have to keep your hair covered all the time,' he said.  'It's not like a fashion, or accessory for us, it's like a basic principle of our religion.'

The boy's family has taken his case to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal and the school principal declined to comment. A hearing date has been scheduled for April.  


Australia's 'fairy possum' faces uncertain future

There's a bit of unproven BS about climate change below but the article seems otherwise to be factual

A tiny possum, the faunal emblem of the state of Victoria in Australia, is rapidly heading towards extinction, say scientists.

Researchers say the creature, nicknamed the fairy possum, is suffering under a combination of logging, fires and climate change.

In a study, they argue that increasing the size of reserves would help the possum but would damage other species.

The research has been published in the journal Plos One.

There are estimated to be just 2,000 of the tiny Leadbeater's Possums left in the Central Highland forests of the state of Victoria - the only area where they are found.

The animals, "about the size of a tub of margarine", spend most of their lives living and nesting in hollowed out trees that are up to 200 years old.

"When fires burn in an old growth forest, it produces these big dead trees that the animal likes to nest in," said Prof David Lindenmayer from the Australian National University, and one of the authors of the new study.

"But fires in a young forest don't produce that pulse of old dead trees - the big problem now is that less that 1.1% of the entire forest estate is dominated by these big old trees and it used to be up to 60%."

Major fires in Victoria in 2009 eliminated large numbers of the animals and their habitat.

The complex interplay of fire, rising temperatures and industrial timber felling may see the end of the "fairy possum" as it's sometimes called, within 20 years.

"In the past logging took out the big trees and created young forests, but to our horror we've discovered in the last few years that forests that regenerate after logging are significantly more likely to burn at much higher severity," said Prof Lindenmayer.

"So logging and fire are not independent - and climate change and fire are not independent either, with increasing temperatures, reduced rainfall, increased lightning and wind, we're seeing more fire in this system."

With colleagues, Prof Lindenmayer set out to examine if increasing the size of reservations for Leadbeater's Possum would benefit the species. But it is not a simple equation. While there would be advantages, these would likely accrue at the expense of other vulnerable animals.

To ensure the best survival chances of all creatures in the region, would require a fundamental change, says Prof Lindenmayer.

"The price really is to move the logging industry into plantations and out of native forests," he told BBC News.

"These animals have survived for 20 million years without logging but over the past 50 years they have become critically endangered because of human interference with this ecosystem."

"If we want to conserve all of these different animals we need to take logging out of the system."

Prof Lindenmayer is at a loss to explain just how the species acquired its nickname.

"I never call it the fairy possum, I always call it Leadbeater's Possum, when you handle them they've got some real spunk, they'll bite and scratch that's their way of fighting off predators, so it is anything but fairy like!"


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, January 29, 2017

Violent Green/Left demonstrating actually hurts the Aboriginal  cause

IT WAS supposed to be a peaceful protest, advocating for change on behalf of indigenous Australians' whose history had been marred by violence and dispossession.

But ironically, violence, along with flag burning and threatening signs at Invasion Day protests marred what was an otherwise worthy and peaceful demonstration.

A man who allegedly tried to burn an Australian flag at a festival yesterday in Sydney's Chippendale devoted to the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, which also hosted a protest, has been charged.

The incident triggered a series of unnecessary incidents. A woman was knocked unconscious after the peaceful protest turned violent.

A police officer was hospitalised after his ankle was sprained during a violent outbreak in the march.

At demonstrations over the country, though most were peaceful, they were at times interrupted by bursts of violence and aggressive messaging.

Aboriginal leaders are among the many voices who have condemned protesters who did more to hurt the cause of rallying to change the date of Australia Day than to help.

The government's top indigenous adviser Warren Mundine, who has become one of the strongest advocates for the change the date movement, blasted those who took the wrong tack. "If we want to have a mature, sensible discussion and debate about a day that brings us all together as a nation, then fighting and burning people's flags is not the way to do it," he told ABC radio.

"You can have marches, you can have demonstrations, but you don't go around insulting people and attacking people over this."

Mr Mundine pointed out that it was possible to change people's minds using reasoned arguments and peaceful demonstrations, drawing on the case of conservative former MP Ian MacFarlane, who surprised commentators by coming out in favour of the date change ahead of yesterday's celebrations and protests. "He has changed his mind. Why? Because he's looked at the argument," he said.

Indigenous Labor MP Linda Burney, who attended the Yabun festival where the alleged flag burning was carried out, condemned the act.  "It was a peaceful rally, it was a rally that was making a really important point and I think it was marred by the incident," she told ABC.

New NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian also described the violence as "disappointing".  "I'm so disappointed people couldn't express themselves in a more appropriate way on such an important day," she told media in Sydney.

Police said crowds who had gathered to either celebrate or protest on the day had mostly made for a "family-friendly day".

Even the organiser of the Chippendale protest, Laura Lyons of group Fighting In Resistance Equality, said she was "saddened" the rally turned violent, and distance herself from those involved. "They just turned up," she told the Daily Telegraph.

"People called me in the lead-up and asked me about burning the flag and I said no. To us that represents a violent act. "Violence is not a part of our culture and we don't want to give our children the wrong impression."


Australia Day 'flag burner' charged

A man who allegedly tried to burn an Australian flag at an 'Invasian Day' march in Sydney has been charged by police.
The 20-year-old was arrested following a heated scuffle between protesters and police in the inner city suburb of Ultimo on Thursday afternoon.

The man was charged with assaulting police, malicious damage and resisting arrest, and is due to appear at the Downing Centre Local Court on February 14.

Police say an officer was hospitalised after injuring his ankle during the march, which was organised to protest the date of Australia Day.

Several thousand people attended the protest which began in Redfern.

A woman was also taken to hospital with a head injury during the protest, which police said was largely peaceful.

Another 96 people around Sydney were arrested and charged with a range of offences including drug possession and assault.

"Overwhelmingly, considering the significant crowds enjoying festivities, the vast majority celebrated safely, which made for a family-friendly day for everyone," Acting Assistant Commissioner Kyle Stewart said.


Man charged with police assault in 'invasion day' march is Greens organiser

A man arrested for allegedly assaulting police during the flag-burning melee at the "invasion day" march through Sydney is a Greens campaign manager who used to be a paid employee of the party.

He was arrested on Thursday and charged with assaulting police, resisting arrest and malicious damage. He has been bailed to appeal in Downing Centre local court on February 14.

In a statement, NSW Police said he was arrested during the anti-Australia Day march from Redfern after a "participant allegedly attempted to ignite a flag".

During the struggle to arrest Mr Williams, a male police officer injured his ankle and a female protester sustained head injuries. Both were taken to hospital.

His alleged involvement in the violent scenes has further polarised the Greens, with party opponents of Left Renewal saying on Friday that the faction has torn up the pacifist ideals of the wider movement.

Hayden Williams, 20, is also part of the anti-capitalist, anti-police, left-wing splinter faction in the NSW Greens, known as "Left Renewal", Fairfax Media can reveal.


US President Donald Trump has sent an Australia Day message, declaring America has no better friend than Australia

The message was delivered by acting Secretary of State Thomas Shannon Jr and comes just days after Trump killed America's participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership with Australia and other allies and as he considers whether to make it harder for Australians and Kiwis to travel to the US.

"On behalf of President Trump and the American people, it is my honour to congratulate the people of Australia as you celebrate this Australia Day, 229 years after the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Harbour," Shannon Jr said in a statement.

"It has been over 75 years since your commonwealth and the United States established diplomatic relations, but connections between America and Australia reach back to that fleet."

The Los Angeles Times revealed on Wednesday that Trump, in tightening up America's borders, is considering ending the visa waiver program that allows Australians, New Zealanders and citizens of 36 other nations, including many close allies in Europe, to easily visit the US on 90-day tourist visas.

A draft copy of Trump's potential executive order on immigration and refugees flags the scrapping of the program and forcing visitors to the US to sit for in-person interviews with US officials before being approved for entry.

 Shannon Jr, however, talked up in Thursday's Australia Day message the ease with Australians and Americans can travel to each country.

"Today, travel is easier, and we are honoured to host almost 1.5 million Australians in the United States each year, with over 200,000 Australians here on any given day," he said.
"Half a million Americans are fortunate enough to visit your land each year.

Shannon Jr also talked up trade, despite the TPP's demise that has left Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his government looking for a slimmed down TPP alternative or other trade deals.

"Today, Australia and the United States are top trade and investment partners, with $US65 billion ($A86 billion) in goods and services flowing between us each year," Shannon Jr said.
"The United States is responsible for over a quarter of all foreign direct investment in Australia and we are the top destination for Australian investment abroad.

"Our cooperation is deep and comprehensive: from space exploration to protecting the world's oceans to collaborating in the search for a cure for cancer.

"The United States has no better friend than Australia, and our longstanding alliance is a force for stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region and around the globe.

"I wish all of your people a blessed Australia Day, and continued prosperity and peace in 2017."


Conservatives accuse Qld govt of protecting unions

The opposition has accused the CFMEU of buying the silence and protection of the Queensland Labor government following reports the state's police have withdrawn from a joint taskforce to investigate union corruption.

Industrial relations spokesman Jarrod Bleijie said on Friday more resources should be invested in the Queensland Police Service, not taken away.

While the federal government has extended the national taskforce for four more years, Queensland's police has advised the Australian Federal Police they will no longer be involved.
News Ltd has reported federal Justice Minister Michael Keenan has accused the state government of making a political decision to save its "Labor mates".

Mr Bleijie also claimed the large union was funding the state government and demanded alleged intimidation practices and fear-mongering by officials be stopped.

"The reason it's not going to stop is the CFMEU continually funds the Palaszczuk Labor government to the tune of millions of dollars a year and that's what it buys you," he said.
"It buys you silence, it buys you legislative protection."

Mr Bleijie said the federal government had shown its commitment to the taskforce by continuing to fund it in the coming years.
It followed the findings of last year's Royal Commission into union corruption, which recommended the criminal investigation of several officials.

Former CFMEU boss David Hanna was charged late last year over allegations he corruptly received free building supplies during the construction of a Brisbane house. Mr Hanna's lawyer has said he will fight the charges.

Police Minister Mark Ryan denied any political involvement, indicating it was a QPS decision.

The QPS said in a statement the agreement for it to take part in the taskforce expired at the end of 2016.

"At present there are no outstanding referrals remaining from the royal commission awaiting action by the Queensland Police Service," the statement read.

"Resources previously attached to the Trade Union Taskforce have now returned to the State Crime Command."

Mr Ryan stressed police would always investigate any allegations of crime, whether they were against union members or not. "You don't need a joint task force to investigate these matters and if anyone has any concerns, complaints or allegations, I encourage them to come forward," he said.


Africanized Melbourne again

This rewarding criminals with Tim Tam biscuits to stop them acting up is like mothers rewarding children to stop them having tantrums.It doesn’t work.It is like putting more wood on the fire to dampen it down, which it does at first, then it flares up more than before.These people are fools. They put fuel on the fire then wonder why it is so big
Melbourne man shocked after intruder as young as 12 breaks into his home

A Melbourne man has spoken of his fright after he found an intruder, believed to be as young as 12, inside his home.

Werribee man Charles Allan was alerted to the young thief after he heard his record player smash last night.

Mr Allan said he chased after the young African offender, who made off with his wife’s backpack, but was unable to apprehend him.

"She (his wife) has an operation on Monday and she is stressed out because she needs her Medicare card," Mr Allan said.

The 47-year-old has lived in Werribee his entire life and said the recent crime wave in Melbourne is out-of-control. "It's just unbelievable," Mr Allan said.

Werribee man Charles Allan was alerted to the young thief after he heard his record player smash last night. "How game can you be to break into someone’s house and take stuff?

"When I was a kid and was 12, I was in bed, if I did anything wrong, my dad would have killed me. Where are these parents? What's going on?"

Large groups have recently been gathering near fast foods restaurants and parks in the nearby suburb of Tarneit, which has prompted the council to consider ways to engage with teenagers from the Sudanese and South Sudanese communities.

The council has organized a pop-up basketball competition, which on its first night attracted more than 80 young participants.

"It's fun. It’s like a second home for me. I come here whenever I’m mad so something like that. Get stress off and just play basketball," Isaac Ibigat said.

The council is hoping to make the basketball sessions a weekly event.


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, January 27, 2017

Youngest in class twice as likely to take ADHD medication

The use of Ritalin and other stimulant drugs to reduce unruly behaviour among children goes back a long way now -- around 5 decades or more.  And there has always been disquiet about the practice

And underlying the issue is treating certain behaviours as an illness: ADHD.  Behaviours that once would simply have been dismissed as "naughty" are now an illness.  No doubt there are some pupils who are appropriately and usefully medicated but too often medication can be a lazy way to cope -- a way of avoiding addressing real underlying issues and problems that the pupil may have.

And the findings below reinforce the view that what is going on in much alleged ADHD is not pathological at all -- unless youth is a pathology!

The process of growing up is a process of socialization:  Children learn to control their impulses in order to get on with others.  So the younger a child is, the fewer will be its internal restraints.  It will be less docile. 

I remember fondly a little boy when he was aged 3.  He was a demonstration of perpetual motion --  always running around with a fair bit of screeching thrown in.  Now that he is 5 he often just sits quietly playing with his toys.  He still enjoys running around and screeching as part of a game but he is quite a different boy from when he was aged 3.  If you didn't know his age when he was 3 he would easily be described as an ADHD sufferer. But he was not.  He was simply young.

So the finding below that the youngest kids in the class had a lot of ADHD may simply have been an hilariously wrong diagnosis.  The researchers were misdiagnosing behaviours characteristic of younger kids as an illness!

There is a useful discussion below of problems with ADHD diagnosis

It may be worth mentioning that there was in the 1960s an "anti-psychiatry" movement including Thomas Szasz, R. D. Laing and others who also challenged conventional diagnoses of mental illnesses.  The movement still has some adherents but it was up against the fact that some people really are mad:  They do see and hear things that are not there.  But the movement did succeed in considerably narrowing the definition of what is mentally ill.  It would seem that their work is not done yet

New research has found the youngest children in West Australian primary school classes are twice as likely as their oldest classmates to receive medication for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Published in the Medical Journal of Australia, the research analysed data for 311,384 WA schoolchildren, of whom 5,937 received at least one government subsidised ADHD prescription in 2013. The proportion of boys receiving medication (2.9 per cent) was much higher than that of girls (0.8 per cent).

Among children aged 6–10 years, those born in June (the last month of the recommended school-year intake) were about twice as likely (boys 1.93 times, girls 2.11 times) to have received ADHD medication as those born in the first intake month (the previous July).

The ADHD late birth date effect was first demonstrated in four large scale studies conducted in the US, Canada and Taiwan. The prescribing rate for children in the WA study was 1.9 per cent, slightly larger than that reported in the Taiwanese study (1.6 per cent). The late birth date effects identified in WA and Taiwan were of similar strength to those in the three North American studies, where the reported prescribing rates were much higher (4.5 per cent, 5.8 per cent and 3.6 per cent).

Questioning ADHD as a diagnosis

The late birth date effect is not the only factor creating unease about ADHD. Multiple studies, including the WA study, have established boys are three to four times more likely to be medicated for ADHD. If, as is routinely claimed, ADHD is a neurobiological disorder, a child's birthdate or gender should have no bearing on their chances of being diagnosed.

Other risk factors for receiving medication for ADHD include race, class, postcode and clinician, teacher and parental attitudes; none of which have anything to do with a child's neurobiology.

In addition, sleep deprivation, bullying, abuse, trauma, poor nutrition, toxins, dehydration, hearing and eyesight problems, giftedness (boredom), intellectual disadvantage (frustration) and a host of other factors can cause the impulsive, inattentive and hyperactive behaviours central to the diagnosis of ADHD.

Another common criticism of ADHD as a pathological condition is that the diagnostic criteria "medicalise" normal - if somewhat annoying - childhood behaviours. Critics contend teacher and parent reports of children "often" fidgeting, losing toys and pencils, playing loudly, interrupting, forgetting, climbing or talking excessively, being disorganised and easily distracted, failing to remain seated, and being on the go (as if driven by a motor) should not be construed as evidence of a psychiatric disorder best treated with amphetamines.

Proponents counter that stimulant medication for ADHD children is like "insulin for a diabetic" or "eyeglasses for the mind". There is no doubt low dose stimulants often make rowdy children more compliant. However, a 2010 WA Health Department study found ADHD diagnosed children who had used stimulants were 10.5 times more likely to fail academically than children diagnosed with ADHD but never medicated.

As evidenced by rapidly increasing child ADHD prescribing rates in Australia and internationally, ADHD proponents seem to be winning the very public and ongoing ADHD debate. But history has taught us that as societal values change, definitions of mental illness change. It wasn't long ago that the inventors of ADHD as a diagnostic entity, the American Psychiatric Association, classified homosexuality as a disease treatable with electric shock and other forms of aversion therapy.

Perhaps in the future playing loudly, talking and climbing excessively, fidgeting and disliking homework will no longer be regarded as evidence of a psychiatric disorder, best treated with amphetamines and similar drugs.


Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce rubbishes calls to change the date of Australia Day

Changing the date would miss the whole point of the celebration.  We celebrate 26th January because that is the day on which the first white settlers set foot in Australia.  We are pleased with what we have become because of their arrival.  Changing the date would be like taking Christ out of Christmas

And there is no reason why Aborigines should not celebrate too.  By all accounts there are more Aborigines in Australia today than there ever have been.  And they have access to services that would have been a fantasy in their original state.  There was no "sit down money" then

And calling the arrival of white settlers an "invasion" is hyperbole.  It is true that there were some isolated skirmishes in which some blacks and some whites died but there was no immediate or systematic resistance to the settlers.  The absurd death tolls proclaimed by Leftist historians have been comprehensively debunked by Keith Windschuttle

DEPUTY Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has rubbished calls to change the date of Australia Day, saying it’s “political correctness gone mad”.

The Nationals Leader’s message to anyone lobbying for the date to change from January 26 was “if you don’t like it, go to work or do something else”.

Speaking from his Tamworth home in New South Wales, Mr Joyce told 2GB radio in Sydney he was sick of people trying to make others feel guilty about celebrating Australia Day.

“I just get sick of these people who every time, every time there’s something on, they want to make you feel guilty about it,” Mr Joyce said this morning.

“They want to tell you you’re evil — they don’t like Christmas, they don’t like Australia Day, they’re just miserable gutted people who I wish would crawl under a rock and hide for a bit.”

It comes after former federal resources minister Ian Macfarlane — who readily admits he’s not normally a “bleeding-heart”, “latte-drinking trendie” — publicly announced his support for changing the date.

In a speech to Australian Unity’s Great Australia Day Breakfast in Melbourne this year, Mr Macfarlane said after the news of the last ever Triple J Hottest 100 and the announcement the City of Fremantle would also change the date, he asked himself what his Scottish ancestors would feel if they were forced to celebrate the Battle of Culloden, “where the Highlanders where cut down by English grapeshot” and survivors hunted down murdered.

“It was the moment I decided that as a conservative, Anglo-Celtic Australian, I want to play a part in the push to changing the date of Australia Day,” he said.

“I believe it is an important way to prevent a potential schism in Australia’s society and to remove a potential roadblock to reconciliation and a greater Australia.”

Mr Joyce didn’t comment on growing calls to change the date because it symbolised the beginning of Aboriginal dispossession.

He said Australia Day was about celebration.

“Don’t start your weeping and gnashing your teeth around me about the terrible evil that we’ve done, providing a nation where we’re democratic, where there’s free education, where there’s basically free health, where we’re well defended, where we basically look after the poor to the best of our ability, that has created a culture where we don’t see some of the craziness you see in some of the other parts of the world.” Mr Joyce said this morning.

“If that’s not important to you and you’ve got your nose bent out of joint because you think it should be something else, well that’s fine, find another day and go celebrate it by yourself.

“This is Australia Day — people have Barbecues, probably play a bit of cricket, here they’ll be walking up and down listening to a bit of country music.

His comments come as treasurer, Scott Morrison, has told the ABC’s AM he opposes the push to change the date as well.

He recognised that Australian stories “go back well beyond the time the first fleet arrived in Australia” but said “all Australians, I think, can embrace all of our stories”.

“That doesn’t mean we have to deny any parts of our heritage ... whether it’s our colonial heritage, our settlement history, our deep and long Indigenous history, our postwar migration with refugees coming to Australia,” he said.

“Today is our day and it’s a day to celebrate all of the things Australians have been able to contribute over all of that period of time.”

When asked about Indigenous Australians who can’t celebrate the day, Mr Morrison said Captain Cook’s arrival at Botany Bay was celebrated as a “day of reconciliation” and “a meeting of two cultures”.

“That was a time of two cultures, reluctantly or on purpose, coming together and much has happened since then,” he said.

“I take a much more optimistic view on these types of things, I’m a keen proponent of reconciliation. And I think reconciliation comes from all Australians combining together and celebrating all of our stories but also acknowledging all the things we have to learn from as well.”


All cultures are not equal

by Jennifer Oriel

Long after the West has defeated Islamic State, the jihadist threat will remain.

For the past 40 years, Western immigration policy has been based on multicultural ideology.

Its consequence is clear: Islamism has become a Western condition. Successive governments have diluted Western values to the point where they are no longer taught in schools. The result is a population unschooled in the ­genius of our civilisation whose youth cannot understand why it is worth defending.

Multicultural ideology must give way to a renaissance of Western civilisation in which Australian exceptionalism is celebrated and Islamism is sent packing.

Multiculturalism is not merely the acceptance of diverse cultures, or open society. It is the a priori belief that cultural diversity has a net positive effect on the West, coupled with a double standard that excuses lslamic and communist states from embracing it.

Thus, Western nations must open their borders while Islamic and communist states remain closed. The West must accept the myth that all cultures are equal while Islamic and communist states celebrate their unique contribution to world history. Under multicultural ideology, the greatest civilisation of the world, Western civilisation, is held in contempt while theocratic throwbacks and communist barbarism are extolled.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al- Hussein, regularly frames the West as xenophobic and racist. In a recent speech, he decried xenophobia and religious hatred. But he did not address the Chinese government’s persecution of Christians, or the governing Islamist regime in Gaza, Hamas, for hatred of Jews. Rather, he took aim at the West, saying: “My recent missions to Western Europe and North America have included discussions of increasingly worrying levels of incitement to racial or religious hatred and violence, whether against migrants or racial and religious groups. Discrimination, and the potential for mob violence, is being stoked by political leaders for their personal benefit.”

Western governments should explain why they continue to send taxpayers’ money to the UN when it has become an organisation expressly devoted to defending the interests of Islamist and communist regimes against the free world.

The growing hatred of Western culture goes unremarked by politicians whose populism is firmly rooted in political correctness. No major political party has calculated the cost of multicultural ideology to Western society. Instead, they extol it as a net benefit without tendering empirical evidence. When politicians claim truth without substantive supporting evidence, ideology is at play. It may be that multiculturalism is a net benefit to the West. If so, why has the evidence been withheld? Without it, minor parties can contend that multiculturalism is a net negative for the West and appear credible.

In the absence of empirical proof that multicultural ideology is beneficial, politicians such as Pauline Hanson, Donald Trump, Geert Wilders and Marine Le Pen seek to curb Muslim immigration and deport those who disrespect Western values. Hanson plans to push for a burka ban in the new year. The policy has international precedent as Dutch politicians voted recently to ban the burka in some public places. German Chancellor Angela Merkel also has proposed a burka ban, but it is reasonable to question her motives ahead of the 2017 election. In a state election held in September, Merkel’s party polled below nationalist and anti-Islam party Alternative for Germany. She has driven porous border policy and repeatedly castigated European heads of state who defend their sovereign borders, such as Hungary’s Viktor Orban. Her call for a burka ban is thus viewed by some as blatant political opportunism.

Malcolm Turnbull addressed the issue indirectly by citing poor border controls in Europe as the cause of the problem. However, as with so many issues concerning political Islam in Australia, the question of a burka ban is indivisible from the defence of Western values.

One such value is the universal application of law that requires the equal treatment of all citizens. If Australians are expected to not wear a balaclava in banks, courts or Parliament House, why are some citizens permitted to cover their faces in a burka or niqab? Double standards and preferential treatment of state-anointed minorities is fuelling widespread, and rational, resentment in the West.

Consider retelling the events of the past week to an Anzac just returned from war. We would tell him that a Muslim married to a terrorist recruiter refused to stand in court because she wanted to be judged by Allah. Muslims in Sydney and Melbourne were charged with preparing a terrorist act against Australians. In France, several people were arrested for plotting jihadist attacks. News broke that 1750 foot soldiers of a genocidal Islamic army had entered Europe without resistance from Western armies. As in Australia, many jihadists entered as refugees and lived on taxpayer-funded welfare under a program called multiculturalism.

In the same week, a German politician called Angela Merkel, who ushered Islamists into the West by enforcing open borders, was lauded by a respected magazine called The Economist as “the last leader of stature to defend the West’s values”. Yet men from Islamic countries who allegedly entered Germany under Merkel’s open-border policy were arrested for sexual assault, including the rape and murder of a teenage girl. Asylum-seekers and refugees had assaulted women and children across Europe. Less than a year before, on New Year’s Eve, Merkel’s asylum-seekers had attacked women and girls en masse.

We would tell the Anzac that Britain attempted to acknowledge the negative impact of its undiscriminating approach to immigration. A review recommended a core school curriculum to promote “British laws, history and values” and a proposal that immigrants sign an oath of allegiance to British values. But secularism, private property and Christianity were absent from the principle list and as such, it wasn’t very British at all.

There were few Anzacs left to see what the West has become. I suppose that’s a kind of mercy. We have dishonoured the millions of soldiers who laid down their lives in the 20th century fighting for our freedom and the future of Western civilisation. We should hang our heads in shame for letting the Anzac legacy come to this. We are the descendants of the world’s most enlightened civilisation. It is our turn to fight for its future.



Centrelink debt scare backfires on Labor

Labor’s attempts to mount a ­repeat of its discredited Mediscare campaign against Centrelink’s automated debt recovery system have been exposed, with at least two-thirds of those publicly claiming to be victims of Centrelink found to owe significant debts to the ­taxpayer.

In an embarrassing blunder for the opposition, it has also been ­revealed that a third of the people used to fuel a media campaign against the government were not subject to the automated system.

An assessment of the 52 cases of people publicly claiming they were being harassed by Centrelink with automated debt notices has revealed that 18 had in fact been identified under a manual system set up by the former Labor government.

The opposition had called for the automated debt recovery program — designed to assist in the recovery of an estimated $4 billion in welfare overpayments — to be suspended. But Labor could not guarantee yesterday that all the so-called victims, whose names it had supplied to the media, were “innocent”.

The assessments, carried out by the Department of Human Services following inquiries by The Australian and requested by the opposition, contradict the ­majority of the claims of supposed inaccuracies made by the 52 self-identified public cases in which people complained of being victims­ of the automated system.

The department also confirmed that a number of those who claimed to have been ­wrongly targeted had in fact accepted­ that the debt was owed, with some even having entered into ­repayment programs.

One claimant, seized upon by Labor after being championed in a television program as a victim, was discovered to have been claiming the Youth Allowance while not studying and failing to declare income from several jobs, leading to a debt to the taxpayer of almost $12,000.

Another had been working for a full year but had not declared a job, leading to a welfare repayment debt of $4000.

A woman who claimed to have been wronged had failed to ­declare income of $37,500 from a small business while on carer and parenting payments. The woman had already entered into a repayment agreement.

Of the 34 self-identified cases subject to the new system, almost 60 per cent had been found to have been overpaid for failing to declare other income or employment. A further 12 per cent who had been found to owe money had asked for a reassessment. The remaini­ng number of ­aggrieved welfare recipients had not both­ered to contact Centrelink.

The opposition, which is using the Medicare scare-type tactics which almost cost the Coalition government, admitted yesterday that it had supplied the names of many of those involved to the media but could not ascertain the veracity of their allegations, ­despite demanding that Human Services Minister Alan Tudge take up their cases.

“We can’t guarantee that in every case they are innocent,” a spokesman for Labor’s human services spokeswoman Linda Burney said, adding that people were vetted with the resources Labor had available.

Labor, which in government had pioneered data matching for debt recovery, has forced the ­Coalition to modify elements of the system in ­response to claims it had an error rate of 20 per cent.

Ms Burney said on Tuesday: “Labor will continue to hold the Turnbull government to account for its mismanagement of Centrelink. Mr Tudge continues to insist that the program is working well despite scores of stories about false debt appearing in media reports­, an active ombudsman’s investigation, possible legal action­ and calls by welfare groups for the system to be suspended.”

Mr Tudge said that, while the government should be rightly subject to scrutiny, the numbers being used by the opposition were wrong and demonstrated a deliberate misrepresentation.

“Many of the personal cases that Labor has fed to the media are examples where they received an overpayment because they had not declared all their income to Centrelink,’’ he said.

“There are other examples where entire jobs were not report­ed while the person was on benefits.

“When Labor was in government, they didn’t pursue these cases. If they had done the checks when they were in office, we would not have to do the work now.

“The unfortunate reality is that some people deliberately ­defraud the system, while others inadvertently don’t accurately update their income details. This means they received more payments than they were entitled to.”

The Department of Human Services has aggressively defended the system, posting rebuttals on its website.

“Commentary on the department’s online compliance system continues to incorrectly say 20 per cent of letters are being issued­ in error. This is misleading and a misrepresentation of the process,” department general manager Hank Jongen wrote.


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, January 26, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG has a comment on the tough job facing the new health minister

Changing climate has stalled Australian wheat yields (?)

As Warmist articles go, the study below shows unusual statistical sophistication. But the connection to Warmism is tokenistic.  The article would read much the same without reference to Warmism.  And it is refreshing that the model they use has had extensive validation.  Most unusual!  Warmist models normally have no predictive skill whatever.

In the end, however, they find that weather has reduced potential crop yields, not mainly via warming but mainly by reduced rainfall: "lower rainfall accounted for 83% of the decline in yield potential, while temperature rise alone was responsible for 17% of the decline"

And that is a problem.  Warmer seas should usually produce MORE rainfall.  How come the alleged warming was accompanied by LESS rainfall?  The authors do not know, or, if they do, they are not saying.  So the statistics are in fact incompatible with anthropogenic global warming.  A warmer globe should have produced more rainfall.  But there was LESS rainfall. 

All one can reasonably say in the circumstances is that there were poorly-understood local factors at work, not global ones.  From any point of view, what they have to account for is the reduced rainfall and they have not done that

Australia’s wheat yields more than trebled during the first 90 years of the 20th century but have stalled since 1990. In research published today in Global Change Biology, we show that rising temperatures and reduced rainfall, in line with global climate change, are responsible for the shortfall.

This is a major concern for wheat farmers, the Australian economy and global food security as the climate continues to change. The wheat industry is typically worth more than A$5 billion per year – Australia’s most valuable crop. Globally, food production needs to increase by at least 60% by 2050, and Australia is one of the world’s biggest wheat exporters.

There is some good news, though. So far, despite poorer conditions for growing wheat, farmers have managed to improve farming practices and at least stabilise yields. The question is how long they can continue to do so.
Worsening weather

While wheat yields have been largely the same over the 26 years from 1990 to 2015, potential yields have declined by 27% since 1990, from 4.4 tonnes per hectare to 3.2 tonnes per hectare.

Potential yields are the limit on what a wheat field can produce. This is determined by weather, soil type, the genetic potential of the best adapted wheat varieties and sustainable best practice. Farmers’ actual yields are further restricted by economic considerations, attitude to risk, knowledge and other socio-economic factors.

While yield potential has declined overall, the trend has not been evenly distributed. While some areas have not suffered any decline, others have declined by up to 100kg per hectare each year.

The distribution of the annual change in wheat yield potential from 1990 to 2015. Each dot represents one of the 50 weather stations used in the study. David Gobbett, Zvi Hochman and Heidi Horan, Author provided

We found this decline in yield potential by investigating 50 high-quality weather stations located throughout Australia’s wheat-growing areas.

Analysis of the weather data revealed that, on average, the amount of rain falling on growing crops declined by 2.8mm per season, or 28% over 26 years, while maximum daily temperatures increased by an average of 1.05℃.

To calculate the impact of these climate trends on potential wheat yields we applied a crop simulation model, APSIM, which has been thoroughly validated against field experiments in Australia, to the 50 weather stations.

Climate variability or climate change?

There is strong evidence globally that increasing greenhouse gases are causing rises in temperature. Recent studies have also attributed observed rainfall trends in our study region to anthropogenic climate change.

Statistically, the chance of observing the decline in yield potential over 50 weather stations and 26 years through random variability is less than one in 100 billion.

We can also separate the individual impacts of rainfall decline, temperature rise and more CO₂ in the atmosphere (all else being equal, rising atmospheric CO₂ means more plant growth).

First, we statistically removed the rising temperature trends from the daily temperature records and re-ran the simulations. This showed that lower rainfall accounted for 83% of the decline in yield potential, while temperature rise alone was responsible for 17% of the decline.

Next we re-ran our simulations with climate records, keeping CO₂ at 1990 levels. The CO₂ enrichment effect, whereby crop growth benefits from higher atmospheric CO₂ levels, prevented a further 4% decline relative to 1990 yields.

So the rising CO₂ levels provided a small benefit compared to the combined impact of rainfall and temperature trends.


'An act of betrayal against Australia': Fremantle divided over cancellation of Australia Day festivities

As the country counts down to Australia Day, a council in Western Australia is defending its decision to go it alone.

The port city of Fremantle will effectively become a litmus test for the #changethedate movement when the local council holds its "culturally inclusive" alternative celebration two days after Australia Day.  "What we're doing is coming up with something that is actually more Australian," Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt told 7.30.

It has been a highly controversial move, criticised by the Federal Government and Fremantle's business community.

Faced with losing out on one of the biggest trading days of the year, businesses have clubbed together to raise the $50,000 needed to salvage the traditional fireworks display on the 26th.

Visitors and residents now have a choice: the fireworks, which are part of a four-day fiesta called "Australia Week", or the council's alternative event "One Day in Freo" on the 28th.

On top of all that, far right groups Reclaim Australia and the United Patriots Front are planning to converge on Fremantle on Australia Day to protest against what they called "an act of betrayal against Australia".

Despite the backlash, Dr Pettitt maintained the council was showing leadership on an important national issue.

"Aboriginal support for this decision has been, it would be fair to say, to be honest with you, overwhelming," he said. "One Day in Freo is going to be a big family community concert. We really hope it's a celebration of what brings us together."

Noongar man Robert Eggington, executive officer of the Dumbartung Aboriginal Corporation, said he was one of a group of about 20 Aboriginal elders and heads of families who had endorsed the council's decision at a meeting last year.

He said Aboriginal people find nothing to celebrate about the day, which marks the arrival of the First Fleet. "Australia Day being celebrated on the 26th of January means the celebration of history, and in that history Aboriginal people have suffered so greatly," he said.

Noongar man Robert Eggington says he has never celebrated Australia Day. Mr Eggington will take part in a smoking ceremony at Western Australia's oldest public building, The Round House, ahead of the council's event on the 28th.

"I think white Australia will benefit from the decision that Fremantle Council has made, once it's able to rise above the fear," he said.  "I think we're creating a potential unity for the future by speaking out."

Noongar elder and ambassador for the Australia Day WA Council, Robert Isaacs, disagreed.  The former West Australian of the Year said his fellow Indigenous Australians were causing divisions by opposing Australia Day.  "We're one nation of people and we've just got to try and not forget that we need to go forward and don't look back," he said.

Dr Isaacs said hundreds of Aboriginal families attended Perth's Skyworks each year after a "survival concert" in the city centre, and he was scathing about the City of Fremantle's alternative celebration.

"I'm hoping people stand up very strongly and serve a strong message to the council that when it comes to their next election, they vote them out and get Australia Day back to where it belongs, January 26th."

Federal Liberal MP Ben Morton felt so strongly about the issue that he took out a full-page advertisement in a local Fremantle newspaper urging residents to support the national celebration.

The member for Tangney was instrumental in forcing the council to reinstate its citizenship ceremonies on January 26, which it had also planned to move to the 28th until the Commonwealth pulled rank.

"But they're wanting to create a national debate. And I just think the council here has got a little bit too far ahead of itself in that regard. "Perhaps rather than getting involved in national political debates, Fremantle council should stick to its knitting."

But Dr Pettitt pointed out that on top of January 26 causing discomfort for Aboriginal people, it had little relevance to WA.  "As a West Australian, I've always found Australia Day to be odd. It is New South Wales' day. In terms of the relevance to Western Australia, it's a pretty long bow to draw," he said.


Destructive political correctness about Aborigines

The meat industry’s spirited attempt to persuade Australians to unite around a plate of lamb has come unstuck. Meat and Livestock Australia’s annual Australia Day campaign has ditched Sam Kekovich’s familiar rants against the long-haired tofu-munchers and the anti-Australianism that has infected our national day.

Instead, they’ve gone for diversity and inclusion. Never mind terra nullius; surely we all agree that there’s nowhere better for a barbecue.

The keepers of indigenous rage are furious. Nakkiah Lui ­demands “a more accurate ­portrayal” of history that includes state-enforced genocide, segregation, oppression, that sort of thing. Luke Pearson on SBS’s ­taxpayer-funded platform says accuracy would be improved by feeding Aboriginals meat laced with strychnine.

Welcome to the dismal world of identity politics, where history is not a quest to discover shared truths but a loaded weapon to avenge ancestral wrongs.

Stan Grant blundered into this fatalistic territory 15 months ago when he was invited to speak to the motion “racism is killing the Australian dream” at a debate ­televised by the BBC.

Racism was “the very foundation of the dream”, Grant said. “When British people looked at us, they saw something sub­human … we were fly-blown, Stone Age savages.” Grant discovered the last quote in a satirical essay by Charles Dickens, The Noble ­Savage. Dickens, like Meat and Livestock Australia, made the ­mistake of using irony, a rhetorical device lost on today’s readers.

Grant was warming to the theme. “Every time we are lured into the light, we are mugged by the darkness of this country’s ­history,” he said.

The speech was widely viewed on the internet and praised by ­lovers of historical misery porn. The Sydney Morning Herald compared him to Martin Luther King.

Yet it was a speech that puzzled many of us who attended the event, including a businesswoman from India, who struggled to recognise her adopted country in Grant’s dismal description. She knew Australia as a land of opportunity and redemption, an experience common to most ­migrants since 1788, and possibly before.

Grant has developed his own misgivings about the speech, or at least its reception on the activist fringe. “That so many have sought to break my words into pieces and deploy only those that best suit them speaks of the age of the ­politics of identity,” he writes in a self-reflective contribution to Quarterly Essay.

He fears he may have perpetuated “a lazy narrative” of a people paralysed by history, unwittingly obscuring the true story of individual triumph against adversity.

The essay will make uncomfortable reading for the ­merchants of intergenerational victimhood; the notion that ­ancestral trauma is a debilitating inherited condition. Present damage caused by historical wrongs became a fashionable cause in Canadian indigenous politics in the 1990s, and Kevin Rudd’s acclaimed apology to indigenous Australians unwittingly encouraged its importation to Australia.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social justice commissioner Tom Calma called for the healing of “cumulative trauma” in a 2008 report, Beyond the Apology.

Indigenous Australians “have experienced trauma as a result of colonisation, dispossession and dislocation, as well as the trauma of ongoing racism, family violence and other events”, wrote Calma, citing as his authority a little-known emeritus professor by the name of Judy Atkinson.

The past cannot be changed, and memories of the past are ­disputed. Some may indignantly believe that Australia’s racist past has been censored. Others feel equally aggrieved that our ­colonial settlers have been defamed and that their gifts to us — the rule of law, stable institutions and the spirit of progress — are too frequently ignored. At any rate, having decided that indigenous Australians are prisoners of ­history, human rights activists have little idea how they might be released. A heartfelt public ­apology clearly isn’t enough.

What’s needed, wrote Calma, are “inclusive and holistic healing approaches’’, counselling, group therapy, yarning circles and healing circles, residential programs, retreats and — naturally — monetary compensation.

In his eagerness to correct an abstract historical injustice, Calma ignores a practical lesson of history; throwing money at a problem generally makes it worse.

Besides, those who define ­Aboriginals as victims of historical injustice have no interest in ­resolving the matter. Grievance is the fuel that powers identity ­politics and the cause that keeps the indigenous elite employed.

Hence the constant inflation of their demands. Rudd’s apology, the one John Howard wisely declined to deliver, was never going to be the end of the matter. Nor will constitutional recognition, in the unlikely event that a referendum ever gets off the ground.

Now they want a treaty — ­between whom hardly matters, nor what the treaty should say — so long as it affirms the victimhood of the permanently oppressed and shames their oppressors.

Grant, who spent some of last year touring the country as a member of the federally funded Referendum Council, admits to feeling “suffocated” by the “stifling and demoralising” world of indigenous affairs. “It is too easy to become consumed to the point that one loses all perspective,” he writes. It is hard to move beyond grief when you are locked in a cycle of “sorry business … a monotonous drumbeat of funeral marches”.

“Remembrance doesn’t necessarily stop the past repeating; sometimes it may even ­impede reconciliation and true justice. It is right to remember, but is it also right to forget?”

Grant hopes his essay will destroy the belief that indigenous Australians are helpless victims and challenge the attitude that success is not “black”. Indeed, his journey from an itinerant, working class, regional background to a respected international career in journalism shows that ­redemption for all Australians lies within our own grasp. “What emerges is, in many ­respects, a typical economic ­migration story,” he writes. ­“Migrants look to what they have built, not what they have left ­behind.”

If anything is killing the ­Australian dream it’s not racism but the identity politics that leads to what US writer David Reiff ­describes in his latest book as “the overvaluing of collective memory and the undervaluing of history”.

Far from ensuring justice, says Reiff, it is “a formula for unending grievance and vendetta”.


Australia Day Address orator Michelle Simmons horrified at 'feminised' physics curriculum

The inherent problems of "affirmative action" rear their heads yet again.  If women really are equal, why do they need special accomodations?  They are not lacking opportunity.  They are a majority on most university campuses

Professor Michelle Simmons, a professor of quantum physics at the University of NSW, has expressed her horror at the "feminised" nature of the HSC physics curriculum.

Delivering the 2017 Australia Day address on Tuesday, Professor Simmons said it was a "disaster" to try to make physics more appealing to girls by substituting rigorous mathematical problem-solving with qualitative responses.

During her Australia Day Address, Professor Michelle Simmons, a world expert in quantum physics and computing challenged Australians "to be known as people who do the hard things".

"There is a big cost in this type of thinking," she said to an audience that included Premier Gladys Berejiklian. "When we reduce the quality of education that anyone receives we reduce the expectations we have of them," she said.

A spokesman for the NSW Education Standards Authority (formerly BOSTES) said the new HSC science curriculum will commence in 2018.  He said: "The new courses address the exact concerns expressed by Professor Simmons. "The physics and chemistry courses will have a greater focus on mathematical applications."

He also said there will be a reduction in the sociology-based content and an emphasis on practical investigations.

Professor Simmons' Australia Day speech focused on the need for Australians to attempt the difficult things in life. "It is better to do the things that have the greatest reward; things that are hard, not easy," she said.

"If we want people to be the best they can be we must set the bar high and tell them we expect them to jump over it," she said. "My strong belief is that we need to be teaching all students – girls and boys – to have high expectations of themselves."

Professor Simmons has certainly set the bar high for herself. She wants to realise her dream to build a working quantum computer, here, in Australia.

For her Cambridge was "too hierarchical and esoteric". The American culture, she said, restricts early-career researchers. When she arrived, people asked her "Why on Earth did you come?"

But for Professor Simmons the choice was easy. "Australia offers a culture of academic freedom, openness to ideas and an amazing willingness to pursue ambitious goals," she said.

Professor Simmons is so proud of the one-way ticket to Australia she bought 18 years ago that she had it framed and sent to her brother for his 50th birthday.

From what she said was a "pretty rough" part of south-east London, she moved to Australia in 1999 after studying at Cambridge. Her big brother Gary went to the United States.

In her Australia Day Address on Tuesday, she said she often jokes with him that she got the better deal. "Only I'm not joking," she told an audience, including NSW Governor David Hurley and Premier Berejiklian. "It's the truth. I genuinely believe it is better here."

Ms Berejiklian introduced Professor Simmons in what was her first official function as Premier.

Professor Simmons said: "On occasions like this, we tend to emphasise the beauty of our natural environment, our great lifestyle and the easygoing character of our people. "This is a mistake ... it encourages us to shy away from difficult challenges. It will stop us from being as ambitious as we might be," she said.

Professor Simmons leads a storied team of dedicated scientists trying to do what many think impossible: build a new type of computer – a quantum computer – based on individual phosphorous atoms in silicon.

She said said: "Quantum physics is hard. Technology at the forefront of human endeavour is hard. But that's what makes it worthwhile."

Building a quantum computer is one of the greatest challenges of our time. Professor Simmons calls it the "space race of the computing era". There are three dedicated centres of excellence in Australia working on quantum technology, with a strong presence across Sydney's universities.

"Australia, for some reason, is disproportionately strong in quantum science. And, with billions of dollars of investment coming into this field from across the world, our challenge is to see if we can translate our international lead into high-technology industries," she said.

A working quantum computer would make currently impossible computing tasks possible. "Instead of performing calculations one after the other like a conventional computer, quantum computers work in parallel, looking at all possible outcomes at the same time," she said. This would allow us "to solve problems in minutes that could otherwise take many thousands of years".

Australia, she said, is a great place to discover things. "I am grateful for that Australian spirit to give things a go and our enduring sense of possibility."

Professor Simmons said: "I want Australians above all to be known as people who do the hard things."


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, January 25, 2017

US withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership

The account of the matter below is fairer than most but I think it needs a summary.  So, in summary:

There has been much media hysteria over the withdrawal being bad for Australia but most of that is just anti-Trumpism.  The TPP was NOT a free trade deal.  It just swapped one concession for another and many people IN AUSTRALIA were unhappy at the trades being agreed to.

It has costs for Australia as well as advantages and there was widespread disagreement over whether the trade-offs were on balance advantageous for Australia. Only "modelling" says it was and some of the negatives are difficult to quantify so it is  just guesswork.   And maybe I can be forgiven for mentioning the utter failure of economic modelling to predict the 2007/2008 financial crisis.

Even Australia's long-suffering sugar farmers did not stand to gain much from it in absolute terms.  $13 million is peanuts in international trade terms

THE withdrawal of the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership will be a huge blow to some Australian producers but its biggest impact could be to relations in the Asia-Pacific.

With the stroke of his pen and a smile, US President Donald Trump lived up to his promise of killing the TPP between America, Australia, New Zealand and nine other Pacific nations.

The agreement was originally billed as the gold-standard in free trade deals and a strategy to blunt China’s dominance in the Asia-Pacific.

But just three days after the TPP’s champion, former president Barack Obama, moved out of the White House, Mr Trump signed the executive order to withdraw the US from the TPP.

It is a major blow to Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull as the TPP was the key plank of the nation’s trade policy.

“Everyone knows what that means, right?” Mr Trump said at the signing ceremony. “We’ve been talking about this for a long time. It’s a great thing for the American worker.”

A slimmed down TPP, without the US, could emerge, although China is expected to move in and fill the hole left by America. China was not invited to join the TPP and had already been negotiating its own rival deal, the RCEP.

The TPP was between the US, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Singapore, Mexico, Chile, Vietnam, Peru, Brunei and Malaysia.

Australian Trade Minster Steven Ciobo, who is in the US, said on the weekend he had been speaking with remaining TPP nations “on ways to lock in the benefits from the TPP” without US involvement.

Negotiations began more than eight years ago and Australia’s prime ministers during the period — Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd, Tony Abbott and Mr Turnbull — all threw their support behind it.

The deal was signed last year and was in the process of being ratified. That looks unlikely to happen now that the US has pulled out.

Submissions to a Senate inquiry on the TPP highlighted some of the benefits to the Australian economy, with the committee expected to report back on February 7. In particular the Australian sugar industry was a big winner from the deal.

According to the Australian Sugar Industry Alliance, the TPP allowed Australian producers to export an extra 65,000 tonnes of sugar to the US — 74 per cent higher than the current limit — worth more than $13 million a year to farmers.

In addition to this, they would also be able to provide 23 per cent of any extra raw sugar allocations in the US, and the TPP also removed an in-quota tariff worth about $3 million a year to Australia.

If the US withdrawal means the entire deal falls apart, producers looking to unlock other markets are also set to lose out.

The Australian pork industry was expected to benefit from the removal of tariffs in markets such as Mexico, a significant pork-importing country.

Cheese makers were expected to benefit from the cutting of tariffs to Japan and increased access to the US.

The Business Council of Australia said reducing barriers and costs to doing business internationally would help generate new jobs and opportunities.

“Seventy per cent of our exports currently flow to TPP countries,” it said.

It quoted World Bank modelling that suggested Australia’s GDP would increase by 0.7 per cent by 2030, and exports would increase by 5 per cent.

The Peterson Institute’s modelling has estimated that the TPP would lead to a US$15 billion permanent increase in Australia’s real GDP.

But others have raised concerns with the TPP, in particular the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clause that gives foreign companies the right to sue governments.

Consumer organisation Choice has questioned whether it could limit future reforms to require food labelling, the display of ‘health stars’ on packaged foods, ban certain imports or improve consumer law.

There were also concerns about whether the TPP would keep cheaper generic drugs locked out of Australia for longer, although the PM has insisted there will be no change to Australian laws.

Mr Trump said on Monday he was pursuing what he calls “fair trade”, not free trade, and he has China and Japan in his sights.

He called out Japan, a TPP member, for making “it impossible to sell” US cars in Japan. “If you want to sell something into China and other countries it’s very, very hard,” Mr Trump told a meeting of chief executives of some of America’s biggest companies earlier on Monday.

“In some cases it’s impossible. They won’t even take your product.  “But when they do take your product they charge you a lot of tax.  “I don’t call that free trade. What we want is fair trade.”

The President plans to cut regulations for businesses in the US and slash the company tax rate from 35 per cent “down to anywhere from 15 to 20 per cent” to bring manufacturing back to the country.

He said companies that moved factories out of the US and then tried to sell its products back to America would be punished with a “very major border tax”.

But one expert says Mr Trump’s decision to pull out of the TPP is giving China “a free hand to dictate trade in Asia”.

China was not invited to join the TPP, but Mr Trump could have opened the way for the Asian power by walking the US away from the massive free trade pact.

Mr Trump’s media spokesman Sean Spicer said on Monday the US would pursue one-on-one trade deals with countries rather than complicated multi-nation pacts like the TPP.

“For someone who is so outwardly anti-China, many of Trump’s major policies, philosophies, and plans benefit China,” Asia Society’s centre for US-China relations senior fellow Isaac Stone Fish said. “TPP is just one of many examples.”

Mr Fish said Trump’s “discrediting” of the US alliance structure made China stronger in regards to Japan and South Korea.

“His isolationism, and his dislike of pushing China on human rights, improves the country’s image both domestically and internationally,” he said.

“His trade policies — and even a trade war — could push China towards an economy more reliant on domestic consumption, instead of exports. “And that is what many foreign experts, and Chinese liberals, believe is the way for the country to build a sustainable economy.”


Multiculturalists bash three Melbourne boys in a shopping centre toilet before stealing their phones

Jasmine Moey from Melbourne told Daily Mail Australia her son and his friends went to the movies at Highpoint shopping centre when they were attacked by a group of thugs.

The boys had gone to see a movie, had dinner and were in the shopping centre toilets when they were set upon by a group of African males.

'My son's friend came out of a cubicle as the African boys walked in. 'They shoved him into the corner - then when my son came out they punched him in his left eye,' she told Daily Mail Australia.

The boy's other friend stayed in his cubicle - waiting until the thugs left to help his friends.

'My son said there were two men in the bathroom and they didn't do anything,' Mrs Moey said. 'The shopping centre was packed people would have seen the boys leave the bathroom but no one helped.'

The attacked happened at 7.15pm - the protective mother decided to let her son go with his friends to the movies because she wanted him to have some independence.

'I used to go and be physically in the mall when I went - but these boys are all big boys and will even have jobs soon so I wasn't concerned. 'It was still daylight outside when the attack happened and the mall was crowded.'

Mrs Moey's son told her the teenagers were aged from '15 to 18' and were 'African'.

'They stole his phone, and his friend's phone. 'They made them unlock them and take of the location settings.'

The attack lasted just a few minutes and left Mrs Moey's son with a black and purple eye.

But she says she will let her son go back to the mall. 'If he is confident to go again by himself I will let him. 'He is almost 15 and will have a part-time job soon so he does need to be independent.'

The boys were told 'not to chase' the young thugs who robbed them. Instead they phone a police who arrived in 'five minutes' according to Mrs Moey.

Police are doing nothing investigating.


Greenie policies make Sydney housing world’s second most unaffordable

The "urban containment policies" mentioned below are what American Greenies call "smart growth".  It has for some time now become widely recognized as stunted growth

SYDNEY is Australia’s most unaffordable housing market and the second most expensive city in the world, second only to Hong Kong, according to research firm Demographia.

For the 13th time, each of Australia’s five major housing markets have won the dubious honour of being rated “severely unaffordable” in Demographia’s annual index.

Melbourne came in at six in the study, while Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth were all ranked in the top 20 most expensive cities in the world.

Demographia, which ranks housing affordability in 406 cities with a population over one million, said urban containment policies were the cause of Australia’s affordability crisis.

Urban containment policies aim to curb the growth of the urban sprawl by encouraging greater density in existing housing areas rather than opening up new sites, commonly called “greenfields”.

“Consistent with the basics of economics, this is associated with higher land prices and, in consequence, higher house prices,” the report said.

Sydney’s “median multiple”, or the median house price ($1.077 million) divided by the median household income ($88,000) is 12.2 — the same rating as last year — meaning a typical home costs more than 12 years’ wages.

Hong Kong’s median multiple, by comparison, is 18.1, down from 19 last year. A typical home in Hong Kong costs $HK5.422 million ($920,000), compared to the median household income of $HK300,000 ($51,000).

The overall median multiple for Australia’s major housing markets is 6.6. It comes after UBS ranked Sydney’s property market the fourth riskiest in the world in its global bubble index, behind Vancouver, London and Stockholm.

Overall, Australia’s 54 housing markets have a “severely unaffordable” median multiple of 5.5 — four housing markets are “affordable”, three are “moderately unaffordable”, 14 are “seriously unaffordable” and 33 are “severely unaffordable”.

The four smaller housing markets deemed “affordable” are in former mining boom areas: Karratha (2.1), Port Hedland (2.3) and Kalgoorlie (2.6) in Western Australia, and Gladstone (2.8) in Queensland.

“Australia’s generally unfavourable housing affordability is in significant contrast to the broad affordability that existed before implementation of urban containment policies,” the report said.

“The price-to-income ratio in Australia was below 3.0 in the late 1980s. All of Australia’s major housing markets have severely unaffordable housing and all have urban containment policy.”

The news comes after new NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced she would address the NSW housing crisis, declaring it “the biggest issue people have across the state”.

Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison, meanwhile, is looking to the UK’s affordable housing initiatives for inspiration. One of the initiatives he will investigate is the Housing Finance Corporation, an independent body that makes low-interest loans to regulated housing associations through the issue of bonds to private investors.

Oliver Hartwich, director of the New Zealand Initiative, said it was a “social imperative” to make housing more affordable “especially at a time when there is a growing threat of populism to Western democracies”.

“We should not accept extreme price levels in our housing markets. High house prices are not a sign of city’s success but a sign of failure to deliver the housing that its citizens need,” he wrote in the report.

“Of course, if you are an investment banker, a media personality or a sports star, you will always be able to live a decent life, no matter how expensive your city is. And if you are within this group, you will also benefit most from the amenities that global cities provide.

“If, however, you are teacher, a nurse, or shop assistant your experience of city life would be very different. You would then have to put up with all the downsides of extreme price levels without being able to participate in metropolitan life.

“But is this the kind of society we want to live in? And isn’t this kind of social polarisation exactly the breeding ground for populism and resentment we are witnessing?”

Economist Alan Moran wrote that the costs were due to excessive regulation. “A fully finished new house (three bedrooms, two garages) costs as little as $150,000,” he wrote.

“Preparation of the land with sewerage, local roads, water and other utilities costs around $70,000 per block. The land itself is mainly used for agriculture and is intrinsically worth maybe $2,000 a block. Yet that new house in western Sydney costs upward of $700,000.

“The fact is that governments have agreed to an ever-growing set of regulations covering everything from phony endangered species to requirements for set-asides for child care, community centres and so on.

“These compound the shortage of land created by refusals to allow development outside of some designated growth corridors, which means rationing of land available for housing. That rationing’s end product is housing that is increasingly out of the budget reach of younger buyers.”


Pauline Hanson defends her call for a ban on the Burqa in Australia

A TRIPLE M [Rock radio] breakfast host launched into One Nation’s Pauline Hanson on Tuesday over her controversial stance of banning the burqa.

Ms Hanson, who has been pushing for a complete ban of the Muslim garment in recent months, as well as an inquiry into Islam as a religion, began the segment by asking the hosts a question.  “Do you like (the burqa)?,” she asked. “Do you wear one?”

Robin Bailey, who joined Triple M at the beginning of the year, took exception.

“You know what, I will say quite honestly, that is a representation for a group of people about their religion and you having a go at the burqa is like having a go at a Christian for wearing a cross,” Bailey said.

Ms Hanson laughed off the comparison. “The burqa is not a religious requirement ... countries around the world are now wanting to get rid of the burqa, we’re talking about the full face covering,” Ms Hanson said.

She told Bailey that she “couldn’t believe a woman ... believes a woman should be covered up from head to toe”.

Bailey fired back.  “I can’t believe a woman wants to have a crack at another woman about what she wears,” the host said.

Ms Hanson demanded: “Don’t pull the woman stuff on me.” “Just because I’m a woman and I’m complaining and I do not like it ... don’t try and shut me down because I’m having a go at a woman. I’ll have a crack at anybody.”

Ms Hanson told Bailey “you don’t understand the Islamic religion”.  “What are we doing, taking women back 2000 years?”

Bailey said: “No one is forcing ... in this country you are not forced to wear the burqa.”


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