Sunday, July 30, 2017

Powerful ‘after rape’ pics show university problem (?)

I don't quite see why pictures of young women holding signs is "powerful". Given the pro-female bias in the educational system, I doubt that the story is true.  University culture from top down is pro-female so the claim that universities have a rape culture and even cover up rapes on campus could not be true per-se, but making the claim fits perfectly with university feminist mentality. It is an example of feminist detachment from reality and a needing to see things in a negative way, even the opposite of how they really are.

So the women with signs are just attention-seeking, more likely. 

And as we see from many British court cases, false rape cries are common so --  in that context -- at least initial skepticism displays proper caution.  Many innocent men have had their lives ruined by false accusations -- even after being exonerated

RAPE survivors and other university students have launched a powerful social media campaign to expose how Australian universities have mishandled rape and sexual assault complaints.

Holding messages condemning university inaction and cover-up, the survivors and other students are photographed holding signs calling out their institutions.

“My university punishes plagiarism more harshly than rape” wrote one student from the University of Sydney.

“I was sued for defamation for speaking out against a college covering up rape” wrote another. has confirmed the woman’s claims.

End Rape On Campus Australia, along with myself, designed the campaign to ensure that the voices and views of students are not sidelined next week, when a national report into rape at universities is released by the Australian Human Rights Commission.

After all, it’s often all too easy to forget that behind every statistic there lies a real person.

All too often, the temptation is to reduce sexual assault survivors to mere numbers without recognising the horror and complexity of each survivor’s story.
Students’ powerful plea to #EndRapeOnCampus

University students pose with signs in support of the End Rape on Campus campaign.

By putting a face on the issue, we not only humanise students’ stories, but importantly, it makes it much more difficult for universities to dismiss concerns via damage control strategies aimed at whitewashing the issue and protecting their own reputations.

And some of the stories we have heard at End Rape On Campus are absolutely harrowing.

One rape survivor called out her head of college for disbelieving her when she reported her rape to him.

“This does not sound like a boy who just raped a girl” the head of college allegedly remarked.

As for me, having spent a solid year reporting on sexual assault and rape at Australian universities — including revealing cases where staff members have raped students — the message I most want to send to all survivors next week is a very simple one:

I believe you. It’s not your fault. You’re not alone.

We’ve got your backs.


Prof Peter Ridd: the Great Barrier Reef recovers, our science institutions are failing us, science needs to be checked

Who is Peter Ridd? Some context first:



When marine scientist Peter Ridd suspected something was wrong with photographs being used to highlight the rapid decline of the Great Barrier Reef, he did what good scientists are supposed to do: he sent a team to check the facts.

After attempting to blow the whistle on what he found — healthy corals — Professor Ridd was censured by James Cook University and threatened with the sack. After a formal investigation, Professor Ridd — a renowned campaigner for quality assurance over coral research from JCU’s Marine Geophysics Laboratory — was found guilty of “failing to act in a collegial way and in the academic spirit of the institution”.

His crime was to encourage questioning of two of the nation’s leading reef institutions, the Centre of Excellence for Coral Studies and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, on whether they knew that photographs they had published and claimed to show long-term collapse of reef health could be misleading and wrong.


Alan Jones, interviews Peter Ridd,  James Cook university professor of physics about the state of the Great Barrier Reef

The coral reef recovers.

Peter Ridd: Coral Reefs recover — “the scientists make hay when it dies in a spectacular way but they are quiet when it recovers.”

On symbionts — “There is a large variety of symbionts and some allow coral to grow faster but are more sensitive to bleaching.”

All the corals on the Great Barrier Reef live and grow much faster in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Thailand where the water is much hotter than it is on the reef and the corals just juggle these symbionts.  

Corals have a little thermometer built in them, when you take a core of them from many years ago we know what the temperature of the water was back when Captain Cook sailed up the coast, it was actually about the same temperature then. It was colder 100 years ago, but it has recovered from that. The temperatures on the reef are not even significantly warmer than average on a hundred year timescale.

Corals that bleach in one year will be less susceptible to bleaching in following years.

On the failure of modern science:

Peter Ridd: We can no longer rely on our science institutions. This is a very sad thing.

We are like a ship upon the ocean when our science fails and we need to do something about it. … This science is almost never checked.

Alan Jones: All these things [bleaching, crown of thorns] have been around for millennia, I love this line, as you write “long before scientists got hold of any scuba gear.”

Peter Ridd: These things only became a problem when scientists pop up on the scene.

Scientists are trying to close down, or affect adversely the sugar cane, the cattle, and the coal industry, and they are also telling the world the reef is dead which affects the tourist industry in Queensland.

Like a bushfire… It [bleaching] looks terrible when it happens but it grows back.

On the future:

Peter Ridd: There needs to be a properly funded group of scientists who sole job is to find fault in the science with which we are basing expensive public policy decisions ….


Australian liberalism is conservative in sense Disraeli would appreciate


A dogma, Groucho Marx might have said, is a man’s best friend. After all, no one could deny that a fixed set of beliefs can sustain good combat, soothe defeat and simplify hard choices.

But in democratic politics, the blinkers dogmas impose are the surest road to ruin.

Malcolm Turnbull was therefore right, in his recent Disraeli Prize oration, to raise the fundamental question of what the Liberal Party stands for. And the mere fact that his speech fuelled yet more debilitating infighting does not detract from the importance of the issues he raised.

Yes, disunity can be death; but suppressing debate is a recipe for extinction.

Of course, Labor doesn’t have that problem. As a coalition of rent-snatchers — going from the thugs of the CFMEU through to the interest groups that live off the taxes of others — the only dilemma that seems to torment it is how to extract the resources needed to fund its many promises.

Little wonder then that any real thought perished long ago, smothered in the rhetoric of fairness, with Julia Gillard’s effort at articulating the ALP’s raison d’etre highlighting the intellectual collapse: Labor, she famously declared, is as it is because “we are us”.

But Labor’s determination to imitate the sea squirt — which starts life swimming with the aid of a brain but once it finds a home, ­digests the now redundant organ and basks in the life of a vegetable — cannot excuse the Liberal Party from re-engaging with its history, values and principles.

To say that is not to suggest those form a monolithic whole, whose meaning can be discerned by consulting a sacred source. For all his enormous merits, Menzies was not a prophet, and nothing he wrote or said amounts to holy writ.

Indeed, it is hard to conceive of an approach more antithetical to liberalism than the belief that, as Isaiah Berlin put it, “somewhere, in the past or in the future, in divine revelation, in the pronouncements of history or science, or in the simple heart of the uncorrupted man, there is a final solution” to the practical problems of governing.

It is precisely because liberalism dismisses that Promethean conceit that it respects institutions that have stood the test of time, rejects grand projects of social transformation and accepts the inevitability of trade-offs between equally meritorious ends.

Like Dr Bernard Rieux, the hero of Camus’s The Plague — who says: “Salvation is just too big a word for me. I don’t aim so high. I’m concerned with man’s health; and for me, his health comes first” — its goal is not to endow life with splendour and greatness.

Rather, in resisting the temptation to put too high a hope on political achievement, it contents itself, as Michael Oakeshott suggested, with providing a framework for “the gradual readjustment of human relationships by fallible men”.

That is necessarily a matter of time and place.

And Menzies’ genius lay precisely in grasping the changing realities of postwar Australia and attracting the social forces Labor had ignored and ill-treated. It is that achievement the Liberals need to emulate, instead of descending into scholastic disputes about Menzies’ views.

The difficulties that lie in the way of replicating Menzies’ achievement are formidable.

In the postwar world, the threat of communism created a natural fault line; today’s adversaries are less sharply defined. Australian society is also far more heterogeneous, and has lost all sense of a shared past or a common future.

Moreover, although liberalism is not tied to any religion, its underlying premise — that men are not gods, and that salvation, like ultimate truth, is not of this world — clashes with the unbounded self-assurance of a secular age.

Yet the threats Liberals need to confront are as great as ever. At one end are the jackboots of the unions, whose lawlessness has been condoned by the ACTU secretary; at the other, the new totalitarians whose belief in the ability to reshape the messiness of human affairs along “rational” lines, whatever the cost, reaches its peak among the climate change zealots.

How Benjamin Disraeli would have reacted to all of that is impossible to know. What is certain is that many viewers would have felt an element of irony in watching Turnbull receive a prize honouring a man of whom it was said, only slightly unfairly, that “he never thought seriously of anything except his career”.

That Disraeli coined the phrase “the greasy pole” was therefore unsurprising; and it was unsurprising too that in his rush to dislodge Robert Peel, he launched what David Cesarani, in a brilliant study, terms an “unprecedented parliamentary vendetta”, with his triumph of “intellect and unscrupulousness” transforming the Tories into “a party in chronic revolt and unceasing conspiracy”.

Yet it is equally certain that no one better understood that, as Disraeli himself put it, “Great politicians must feel comfortable both in themselves and in their times.”

Whatever his flaws, he forced the Tories to adapt to a society reshaped by the Industrial Revolution; and his greatest political achievements — the Reform Act of 1867, which gave ordinary working men the vote, and the avalanche of social legislation that followed it — reflected a conviction that workers, far from wishing to destroy society, were natural conservatives, united in their respect for national institutions and in the aspiration for a better future.

In that sense, Australian liberalism has also always been conservative: not in trying to preserve the past but in balancing continuity and change, stability and aspiration, self-reliance and mutual assistance.

Reasserting its core principles requires lucidity, not dogma, and mature reflection, not personal attacks.

Whether our political class is capable of that remains, at best, unproven.


Our students and teachers deserve better

Jennifer Buckingham

I had the privilege of travelling to England to speak with some of the world’s best researchers on how children learn to read, and to observe how high-performing schools use this research to get all children reading.

There is no longer any serious debate in England about the need for explicit phonics instruction in early reading instruction. In fact, it is mandatory for all English primary schools to teach synthetic phonics — a method of instruction that systematically shows children the connection between spoken and written language, and how to use the English alphabetic code to read and spell.

The quality of synthetic phonics instruction is still uneven. Not all teachers have sufficient depth of knowledge and expertise yet. Nonetheless, there is evidence via the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check (PSC) that instruction has improved. In the first year of the national PSC in 2012, 58% of Year 1 students achieved the expected standard. In 2016, 81% of students achieved the standard.

England’s progress in implementing effective early reading instruction was accelerated by the ‘Rose Review’ of early reading by Sir Jim Rose, published in 2006. It strongly endorsed the ‘Simple View of Reading’– a conceptual model which emphasises the importance of both decoding (word reading accuracy) and comprehension — and found that synthetic phonics was the most effective method of instruction, especially for children from disadvantaged backgrounds or with language difficulties.

The Simple View model is strongly supported by research from multiple disciplines. UK Schools Minister Nick Gibb was influenced by this research and has relentlessly pursued the adoption of effective reading instruction, firmly believing that reading is key to educational success and social mobility.

Australia had its own review of the teaching of reading — the National Inquiry into Teaching Literacy (NITL) — the report of which was published in 2005. Its findings were remarkably similar to the Rose Review.

Yet it\ has had very little impact on reading instruction in Australia. Instead of citing the recent scientific research of Professors Maggie Snowling, Kate Nation, Anne Castles, or Charles Hulme, our Australian literacy academics drag out the outdated, unsubstantiated socio-theoretical views of Ken Goodman and Stephen Krashen.

Australia has many outstanding teachers of reading, but they are too often swimming upstream against poor quality reading programs and policy. Australian teachers and students deserve better.


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

1 comment:

Paul said...

As Unis go, JCU is a bit of a running joke.