Thursday, August 31, 2017

Schoolboy sex articles spark review of gay ‘health’ website

HEALTH Minister Greg Hunt has ordered an urgent review of a federally funded gay health website that has published articles about schoolboy sex with men.

The Australian reports the Health Minister was unaware of the Emen8 website, which was established with a federal government grant intended for health promotion.

It recently published an article titled “Who’s the perfect daddy for you?” which provides an analysis of the relationships that can occur between mature and younger men.

The article asks: “Does your fantasy include some condomless after-school action with your papa”, despite the site being restricted to adults.

Other articles reportedly feature tips on picking up at the gym and reviews for kinky sex toys.

Another recent article appears to be at odds with national health guidelines on safe sex. The article titled ‘Australian Opposites Attract study: condomless sex with an undetectable viral load is safe sex’ reports on recent study that found HIV-positive men with an un­detectable viral load were extremely unlikely to transmit the virus to a HIV-negative partner.

The study found no instances of HIV transmissions between more than 300 partners it tracked. It warned however that the “true transmission rate” could be higher at up to 1.56 per cent a year.
The article does not mention the warning and conclude “condomless sex with an undetectable viral load is safe”.

It also does not mention other sexually transmitted infections could be contracted through unprotected sex.

A spokesman for the Health Minister said The Australian that any associations with “underage or unsafe behaviour” was “utterly inappropriate”. “Any funding provided by the Australian government for health education should be used for health education and must be in appropriate context,” the spokesman said.

“This grant was provided in 2016 for health education. Minister Hunt was not aware of the website and has now ordered an urgent review.”

ACON Chief executive Nicolas Parkhill yesterday defended the site.  He told The Australian the organisation was confident it was in accordance with the original tender specifications.“In  rder to effectively target this at-risk population group, the tone and voice of some articles on the site need to reflect their culture, interests and behaviours; the language resonates,” he said. “The content integrates sexual health messages that are familiar to a range of gay men.”

The site was established through money from the Prevention and Service Improvements Grants Fund, which aims to tackle bloodborne viruses and STIs in priority populations.

ACON and the VAC, both majority-funded by their respective state governments, were successful in a joint application to develop resources for “gay men and men who have sex with men”, receiving $1.6m over two years.


Winter rain fills Perth dams to highest levels in decade

Greenie guru Tim Flannery once prophesied that Perth would become a ghost city through lack of water

LATE winter rains have spared the cash-strapped State Government from a potential billion-dollar upgrade to the water network after boosting the city’s dams to their highest levels in almost a decade.

Just weeks after the Water Corporation warned it may have to fast-track a major new source of drinking water amid plunging dam levels, heavy rainfall in July and this month has helped avoid the need for an expansion.

Figures from the Water Corp show there has been 62.8 billion litres of “stream flow” into the city’s reservoirs so far this year after a surge of more than 50 billion litres in the past month.

The run-off has left the dams at 41.6 per cent capacity — or holding 262 billion litres. This is 73 billion litres (or almost 40 per cent) more than at the same time last year.

While the run-off into Perth’s dams is still only broadly in line with the city’s post-1975 average, it is the highest level recorded by the Water Corp since 2009.

The dam boost has prevented the need to bring forward a major new drinking water source such as a desalination plant to prop up supplies.

Under the Water Corp’s planning, the State-owned group still assumes it will receive at least 25 billion litres into the dams every year to ensure it can meet demand from customers.

The corporation said that despite the relatively wet end to winter, Perth’s rainfall levels for the season were still below their long-term average.

Spokeswoman Clare Lugar said the long-term decline in Perth’s rainfall meant its dams were still only at a fraction of their capacity.

In a bid to further bolster supplies, the Water Corp will launch its latest efficiency campaign this weekend, when the winter sprinkler ban ends. “While it may feel like we’ve had a lot of rain this winter, we are still only just above the year-to-date average,” Ms Lugar said.

“As our catchments are so dry following nearly 20 years of abnormally dry weather, we’d need to get double the average rainfall for years on end to fill our dams again.”

‘We are still only just above the year-to-date average.’


Australia Day debate: reclaim history instead of distorting it

By historian Geoffrey Blainey

The move to disown Australia Day has become a minor stampede. Curiously, it comes not from Canberra or Darwin but from gentrified suburbs in the southern cities of Fremantle, Hobart and Melbourne.

Many Aboriginal activists view the national day as a reminder of a painful event, but many others don’t. At the big Garma festival in Arnhem Land earlier this month, the main message sent south was not about Australia Day.

Aboriginal leaders hope for a significant change to the Constitution, and ABC journalist and author Stan Grant is becoming a central spokesman. Some critics wonder about his blunt observations, not realising that he is enlarging on dubious statements in textbooks and some university lectures.

This week he soared into fantasy. He lamented that indigenous people are “a postscript to Australian history”. In fact, an enormous amount of money and talent has gone into researching and teaching Aboriginal history in the past half century, thus increasing Aborigines’ knowledge and self-respect. He laments that Aborigines, “excluded” from the Constitution, were not even worth counting, but in fact a determined effort went into doing so, census after census.

Grant deplores the “belief in the superiority of white Christendom that devastated indigenous people everywhere”. Maybe he forgets that polygamy blighted the lives of countless Aboriginal families, and Christians did more than any group to curtail that practice. Of course, in the past two years Grant has also made valid points, expressing them powerfully.

Until we realise that the initial confrontations between Aborigines and the British were perhaps the most difficult and puzzling in the recorded history of the world, we will minimise the problems faced by those who arrived and those who had long lived here. Some obstacles are still here, 229 years later. Both sides deserve blame and praise.

One of the advantages of Australia Day is that it often throws these important topics into the debating ring. However, the latest move against Australia Day, often led by suburban Greens, is unexpected. At a time when there is a widespread fear that the nation could be weakened by the hidden circles of Muslim terrorists, more social cohesion is essential. And yet the Australian people are now selected as a major cause of disunity. Apparently their failure, visible every Australia Day, is to be ignorant of their nation’s history.

The city council in Yarra, which contains about 90,000 people in Melbourne, hopes to convert January 26 into a day of “community education” about Aborigines. It will run an “education workshop” for young Aborigines (will they attend?). It will abolish citizenship ceremonies for that day and translate a correct “information sheet” into the six main foreign community languages spoken in the Collingwood-Richmond-North Fitzroy area. It hopes to organise a smoking ceremony followed by a “culturally sensitive event”.

There is a hint that, if successful, it will try to smoke out the word Australia from the national day. It claims that January 26 is for many a day of mourning “and the beginning of generations of trauma and suffering”.

Without doubt, most Australians favour the present type of Australia Day. In contrast, the Yarra City Council, after a local poll, insists its residents think differently. But its poll contacted fewer than 300 people, many of whom did not reply. A nearby municipality, Darebin, conducted an even smaller poll.

The fact remains that many Aboriginal people do have a deep sense of grievance. They describe the planting of the British flag in Sydney Cove on January 26, 1788 as “invasion day”. I myself have used the phrase to cover the first Aboriginal settling of the land 60,000 years ago and then the later European inflow. For a whole continent to be embraced by two such distinct inflows — perhaps without parallel in the world’s history — deserves a powerful descriptive word.

Today the word “invasion” is often imagined as denoting a long-term British military conquest of Australia. In fact, the event was usually accomplished by a few civilians and only occasionally by British regiments. It was sometimes supported or carried out by Aboriginal people. In Queensland, the native mounted police killed other Aborigines on a large scale.

In the first decades after 1788, it was not envisaged that the inflow or invasion would cover most of the continent. But in the end it did. Devastating and dislocating, it caused far more deaths through new diseases than through firearms. Alcohol — which was new to Aborigines — strongly increased the death toll.

This sequence of events has sometimes been magnified by the rewriting of indigenous history in recent years. The rewriting, often by television producers and Aboriginal expositors, depicts a peaceful paradise that flourished in the millennia before Europeans arrived.

Aborigines are now depicted as living in peace and harmony, with each other and with nature. In truth, they were human beings: they fought one another. From time to time they invaded neighbouring territory, killing and maiming children and women as well as men. But the words “invasion” and “massacre” are rarely used to describe these Aboriginal attacks. The evidence of their frequency has multiplied in the past quarter century.

Some Aboriginal leaders promote this new interpretation of old Australia. Impressive politicians, they frequently out-argue federal and state leaders. In time to come, various historians, looking back, may well argue that of the 10 most effective national politicians in the early 21st century, perhaps three were indigenous. These champions have no seat in parliament — probably to their advantage.

While they argue, with truth, that many of their kinsfolk are still suffering deeply, it is also true that in many ways Aborigines have gained from events since 1788. Most indigenous people live in cities, large and small: NSW that holds the highest population of Aborigines. They are part of mainstream Australia.

Their success is not often reported in the media, but in each Australian state about 35 to 45 per cent of urban Aborigines are paying off their own houses. They increasingly occupy places in more or less all the professions: perhaps 13,000 of the young are now enrolled in universities. These points are briefly set out in my recent book, The Story of Australia’s People.

The typical indigenous families — and they live in urban Australia — have gained enormously from advances in medicine. Their life expectancy is higher than mine when I was born. Of more relevance, most Aborigines are now, materially, better off than if they had still been living in their traditional hunter-and-gatherer society, with all its distinctive merits as well as its weaknesses.

In contrast, a substantial minority of Aboriginal people today are living in wretched conditions in the outback. Perhaps they constitute one in four or five of all the people who are called indigenous. They love to be close to their own heartland and relatives; they wish for the old freedoms; and they resent the intrusions of officialdom. Some control the use of alcohol on their lands. But the prospects for their children are low — infant health and attendance at school are poor and violence is widespread.

These families pay the high penalty for their determination to live in tiny settlements where civic amenities, health and police services, and even running water are usually deficient. Though out of sight, they are widely seen as a grim advertisement for Australia.

Nothing does more to cloud a discussion of the state of the nation and the role of Australia Day than the existence of two such contrasting indigenous groups. There is even a third, with a very different history and background.

Torres Strait Islanders traditionally do not speak of “invasion day” but rather of the Coming of the Light. Their special day annually commemorates the arrival of the London Missionary Society and its Pacific Islander evangelists in the early 1870s.

On the other side of Australia, in the Pilbara, the Torres Strait Islanders were famous for their feats as railway builders.

Meanwhile, what could we create in place of Australia Day and its genuine but generally subdued patriotism and overall popularity and acceptance?

It would be risky to transfer the day. It is more successful than it has ever been, but real success has come only since the 1990s. When I was a child, Victoria did not even call it Australia Day, preferring the name of the ANA (Australian Natives Association) weekend.

In 1988, the bicentenary of the founding of Sydney, the nation’s leaders did not agree on what they should celebrate. Even Jonathan King’s bold venture in organising a replica of the First Fleet — it sailed into Sydney Harbour on Australia Day — aroused strong official opposition in Canberra.

Some critics even wondered whether Anzac Day, April 25, should become the real celebration. But the original Australia Day at last began to triumph in its quiet way, and is now widely accepted, though it has legitimate critics.

It has been suggested that the day be renamed. I have no objection, so long as the new name has wide public support. After all, it is the Australians’ day.

We have a long history of renaming days and places. Three east coast colonies, now called states, each adopted a new name in the 1850s, and the exotic name of Van Diemen’s Land was one that disappeared. Henry Parkes, NSW premier and the father of federation — what a magician he was — believed that New South Wales could change its name to Australia. In living memory, Uluru has replaced Ayers Rock.

One fact is certain. Aborigines need to celebrate more effectively their own contribution to early Australian history. While some complain about the statue and status of Captain Cook, they have failed to erect a striking monument or memorial in honour of their distinguished heroes, the unknown discoverers of this continent. They made the discovery before the great rising of the seas separated Australia and New Guinea, but it is still the momentous event in the long story of our nation.

A national report in 1975 first suggested a special monument be created. It has been recommended again and again, including by me. The money could easily be found. Nothing has been done. Aborigines must ask themselves: Why?



CONGRATULATIONS to the leading doctor and lawyer who had the intellectual independence and personal courage to condemn the coercive tactics being used by proponents of homosexual marriage.

Those of us who haven’t made up our minds on how to vote may take some guidance from paediatrician Robert Hardwick.

He became the second medic to resign from the Australian Medical Association, claiming its support for same-sex marriage “completely overlooks the best and largest studies that have documented considerable long-term adverse outcomes for children raised in same-sex marriages”.

Hardwick said yesterday the AMA’s position was “flawed, deceitful, unscholarly and unscientific”.

“They have only referenced very poor quality, biased studies to back up their claims,” said Dr Hardwick, who is a specialist at the Sydney Adventist Hospital.

His resignation comes soon after Chris Middleton, a former president of AMA Tasmania, ­renounced his life membership in the national body’s roll of fellows because of a lack of consultation on the issue.

And Sydney solicitor Robin Speed has picked a fight with the NSW Law Society for issuing a press release suggesting 29,000 solicitors supported same-sex marriage.

Speed has given the Law Society a ­deadline of 4pm on September 8 to make it clear that the legal ­profession “is not in unison on the issue and may vote as they choose”, The Australian reported. He may take legal action.

So not all doctors and lawyers have jumped on the same-sex marriage bandwagon.

It seems to me the only organisation is the country in full agreement on same-sex marriage is the ABC.

I suspect that voters who have no dogmatic views on same-sex marriage may vote “No” just to protest at the terribly one-sided debate.


Hundreds of asylum seekers will be booted off Centrelink and out of taxpayer-funded housing

The federal government is moving to cut welfare payments to hundreds of asylum seekers who are temporarily in Australia to receive medical treatment.

The move will slash $200-a-fortnight payments and public housing to up to 400 asylum seekers, forcing them to work or face being sent back to Nauru, Manus Island or their country of origin.

A Department of Immigration document said income support would cease from Monday and a 'final departure Bridging E Visa' would be issued, giving many just three weeks to find their own accommodation.

'What we're saying to these people is that until you leave, we do not want you continuing to be a burden on our welfare system,' government minister Dan Tehan told Sky News.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale said the party was seeking advice on whether the policy can be overturned when the Senate returns in a week's time.

'This announcement from [immigration minister] Peter Dutton is just unspeakable cruelty. We're talking about people who are traumatised, people that are vulnerable,' he said.

'We do call on members of the crossbench and the Labor Party to support us in doing everything we can to stop this unspeakable cruel act getting through the Senate.

'If this is a disallowable instrument, it simply requires a majority of the Senate to stop it. So the question is for Bill Shorten and Labor - will you end this cruelty?'

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said it was a new low for the government of Malcolm Turnbull.

'Malcolm, this is not strong. This is cowardly and cruel. It's your weakest move yet,' he said in a Facebook post.

Human Services Minister Alan Tudge could not confirm the precise number of asylum seekers at risk, but said there wouldn't be any further provision of taxpayer support in Australia.

Mr Tudge said the move was consistent with the principle that anybody who arrives by boat would not be settled in Australia.  'They will be settled elsewhere. That's what this is about,' he said.

He did not think it was unreasonable to withdraw taxpayers support if they refuse to return back to Manus or Nauru.

Human Rights Law Centre executive director Hugh de Kretser said the asylum seekers in question have been prevented from working. 

'And now, completely out of the blue, with no notice whatsoever, they've been told tomorrow, you have no income we're taking all of your income away and in three weeks time we're taking your homes away,' he said.

Advocate Natasha Blucher said the asylum seekers were 'very, very employable' and wanted to work.

But with their history of trauma and the short notice, getting on their feet in 'this time frame is absurd and it's impossible and it will end with children homeless.'


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, August 30, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG has a word on the statue wars

Experts blame migrants for dramatically rising house prices

How the Devil could it be otherwise?  Australia is bringing in around 200,000 migrants a year but house building is heavily constrained by State and local regulations so nothing like 200,000 new houses are built each year -- leading to a shortage.  And where there is a shortage prices will rise.  At the very least, local councils need to be leant on to release more land for housing

Young people will struggle to break into the property market for the next 40 years, as housing prices in Australia's capital cities continue to surge out of reach.

A new report by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) says the great Australian dream of owning a home is over for many people.

The report, released on Tuesday, claims the federal government urgently needs to build 20,000 new homes to accommodate for low-income people each year.

It also says housing demand in Sydney and Melbourne has been put under a huge strain by an influx in migration resulting in population growth.

'What the CEDA report highlights is that ... the issue is far more complex and without changes now, could have longer-run consequences,' CEDA chairman Rodney Maddock says in the report.

The report finds a decline in interest rates and the end of credit rationing has caused housing prices to surge worldwide, leaving the poorest to struggle finding homes.

The committee's report also suggests long-term housing affordability issues will mean more people enter retirement without owning a home.

'In the long term, this could have budget implications for governments as more people become reliant on government assistance,' Professor Maddock says.

'The shift to a service economy has contributed to a larger population living in our cities and coupled with overall population growth through migration, has impacted housing demand, especially in Sydney and Melbourne,' Professor Maddock says.

'With most Australians choosing to live in our major cities, it is likely the trend of more people living in apartments and more long term renters will become permanent.'

'In addition, we also need to ensure better transport and infrastructure to accommodate increased inner city density and to connect outer suburban developments to employment hubs.


Big floods nothing new

The recent hurricane in Texas has revived the Greenie claim that global warming has increased the incidence of floods.  But if that's a global effect then it should have recently been seen in Australia too.  But it has not been.  The following academic journal article says of floods affecting the East coast of Australia: "Some of the most extreme events identified occurred in the 19th century and early-to-mid 20th century."

Major coastal flooding in southeastern Australia 1860–2012, associated deaths and weather systems

Jeff Callaghan and Scott B. Power

A new historical database describing major floods and associated weather systems that occurred in coastal catchments, from Brisbane in southeastern Australia to Eden approximately 1500 km further south, is described. In order to produce a homogeneous record of major flood and weather-type frequency we restrict attention to the period 1860–2012, when the region (i) is extensively populated, (ii) has an extensive coverage of meteorological stations, (iii) is extensively connected by telecommunication, and (iv) when there is busy coastal shipping offshore. A total of 253 major floods over this period are identified. A flood is considered here to be ‘major’ if it causes inundation of a river within approximately 50 km of the coast or if there is non-riverine flooding over land near the coast, extending 20 km or more along the coast. All major floods are associated with either (a) East Coast Lows (ECLs) or (b) Tropical Interactions (TIs). Three types of TIs are identified and described. ECLs triggered more major floods than TIs (57 per cent versus 43 per cent), but TIs caused more deaths from freshwater flooding (62 per cent versus 38 per cent) and they tended to cause over twice as many deaths per event (3.6 versus 1.7 deaths/event on average). Some of the most extreme events identified occurred in the 19th century and early-to-mid 20th century. If such events were to occur today they would have catastrophic impacts due to the massive increase in urban development in the study region since that time.


Senator Jacqui Lambie clashes with Aborginal musician over the date of Australia Day

What's this rubbish about white settlement in Australia being genocide for Aborigines?  On most estimates there are now more Aborigines than ever in Australia

A fired-up Jacqui Lambie has slammed indigenous singer Dan Sultan over his calls for the date of Australia Day to be changed.

The Tasmanian senator's passionate defence of the current date came after Sultan had described it as 'racist' and a 'day of mourning' for indigenous people.

During the heated exchange Ms Lambie said the date of Australia Day should not be moved from January 26, and called for unity instead.  'Everyone needs to put their difference aside,' she said on the ABC's Q&A.

'You know what? Someone else will pick another day, and then someone, they'll be a minority group come up and say "We don't like that day." When's this going to stop?  'When are we going to stop fighting and arguing and [have] unity?' she asked.

'When we start talking about it, when we come together,' replied the musician.

'We have been talking about it, mate, we've been talking about it for years, it's like reconciliation, and I don't agree with you,' the senator responded.

While she was speaking Sultan said: 'January 26 is the wrong date,' and 'It's not a matter of opinion, it's fact.'

'That is the Australia Day, that's the way it goes, just because it doesn't suit a minority the rest of us should not have to pay the price,' Ms Lambie continued.

'It's history, it's not an opinion,' countered the Aboriginal artist.

Host Tony Jones then interjected and ended the exchange, saying: 'Sorry, we've had this experience before of people talking over each other so we'll try not to let that happen.'

The last time Ms Lambie appeared on the Q&A panel she was involved in a fiery debate about sharia law with Muslim activist Yassmin Abdel-Magied.

The clash between Sultan and Ms Lambie came after the singer had replied to a question asking whether there should be a national day at all.

Sultan said he believed it is important to have an Australia Day, but January 26 'started the ongoing genocide of our people'.  He said the current day excluded indigenous Australians and anyone with 'sympathy or empathy towards our story'.

The singer-songwriter also called the date 'racist' saying it has always been that way, and referred to it as a 'day of mourning'.

Later in the program Sultan praised the senator and said he had a lot of respect for her.  'Although I don't always agree with you, with her, I think she's great, the way she goes about it,' he said. 'I think most of the time she's got a very good heart and I think she wears it on her sleeve.'

Ms Lambie showed a softer tone later in the panel also, saying she would support an additional plaque be added to the Captain Cook statue in Sydney's Hyde Park.


Same sex marriage: Network Ten fake news

Network Ten has admitted to digitally doctoring footage for a news item on the alleged spitefulness of the same sex marriage debate, digitally superimposing a homophobic image sourced online onto a stock image of a random bus stop.

A poster with the phrase “Stop the Fags”, allegedly spotted in Melbourne’s Heffernan Lane earlier this month, was seized upon by marriage equality supporters as evidence that those opposed to changing the Marriage Act were willing to resort to hateful lies and scaremongering to win the debate.

Originally uploaded on Twitter on August 19 by a childcare worker Dan Leach-McGill, the image of the poster soon went viral, sparking extensive news coverage and commentary on both social media as well as in the mainstream press. Even Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition leader Bill Shorten weighed in, condemning the image and its message.

Yet when a Channel Ten news crew visited the alleged site on August 22, there was no sign of the offending poster.

And with a member of a global online forum for fascists claiming credit for the artwork, which has allegedly appeared on flyers across the US in recent months, and Mr Leach-McGill conceding that he had not personally viewed it, doubts have emerged over its existence.

“The poster in question had been taken down when our film crew visited the laneway in question so we were forced to source a copy online,” a spokesman for the network said yesterday.

“Unfortunately, an oversight in briefing our graphics department interstate may have created a false impression about its size and location.

“This was not a deliberate attempt to mislead our audience, but a creative error which we regret.”

The poster in question, which claimed that children of LGBTI parents were likely to be abused and of poor health, appears to derive from the US, with a member of the online fascist forum claiming credit.

Similar posters have emerged recently in various neighbourhoods in Minnesota in the US, according to anti-fascist website It’s Going Down.

Coalition for Marriage, which is campaigning for the No vote and was forced to deny any connections to the poster last week, has expressed disappointment that a major television news program relied upon a photoshopped image as evidence of “hateful” campaigning ahead of the postal plebiscite.

“After an unsubstantiated allegation that anti-LGBTI posters were displayed in Melbourne, Network Ten – instead of doing its job to investigate the facts and report on them – used manufactured images in its broadcast,” coalition spokeswoman Sophie York said.

“Other news outlets, while not as brazen to use manipulated images, still ran with the story without testing the veracity of the claims.

“There is a lot at stake when it comes to changing the laws on marriage. Instead of accurately and fairly presenting the ‘no’ case, including the very real consequences for ordinary Australians if the law is changed, media outlets have instead used manufactured stories to favour the Yes case.”


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

PM in waiting Bill Shorten has all the answers, but few ring true

He was a leader in the union movement, but he is not loved like Bob Hawke was. He is not as interesting or as imaginative as Paul Keating. He lacks the conviction of John Howard and the intellectual appeal of Malcolm Turnbull. Yet the completely predictable, politically accomplished, remorselessly ambitious Billbot — Bill Shorten — is on course to become Australia’s prime minister.

The Opposition Leader has a response to every question or every problem that is put to him. Unfortunately, too often his words fail to ring true, or they fall well short of qualifying as answers or solutions, particularly when it comes to policies on — dare we say it — jobs and growth. Inspired by Shorten’s appearance on the ABC’s Q&A, the Liberals’ new federal director, Andrew Hirst, has produced a pointed ad to underline the point.

Shorten’s tactics and positioning are paying big dividends despite the fact his actual program remains problematic. With the collapse of centre-right governments and much of the ideology that went with it, Shorten rightly judged the mood of the electorate, shifted leftwards and fashioned the policies to suit.

For years he had modelled himself as the unionist who could build bridges to business. Billionaires and millionaires were his best friends. Or his in-laws. His union did deals with companies to enrich itself at the expense of the workers it claimed to represent; then later, when he made his run for parliament, union funds were diverted to his own election campaign.

When questioned about this, he said he had answered thousands of questions about it previously. Well, no he hadn’t, actually.

The questions were put to him last week following Brad Norington’s revelations in The Australian, and he couldn’t or wouldn’t answer them, finally dismissing them by saying they had all been dealt with. They haven’t.

For weeks Labor has been running the citizenship campaign against members of the government. Penny Wong’s staff member was caught out asking New Zealand MPs to ask questions about Barnaby Joyce.

Last Friday journalists asked Wong why Labor staff had been “shopping around” information on Nick Xenophon’s citizenship. Wong claimed no knowledge. Of course not.

Subsequently, Shorten was asked his own status. He says his own word that he is dinky-di is all the evidence people need. Then, when he is pressed, without a hint of shame he accuses the Prime Minister of running a birther campaign against him, as Donald Trump did against Barack Obama. He could produce the evidence to prove his renunciation. He is either having too much fun to put a stop to it by making it look as if the government is obsessed with him or preoccupied by this issue, or he is running the protection racket for suspect Labor MPs.

Funny he mentioned Trump. The one leader who has succeeded by running against the establishment while stoking grievance and complaint was the Donald. How is that working out for everyone? When you think about it, no matter what the issue, the Trump experience should provide salutary lessons for Australians. Should Australia become a republic, as Shorten has promised, after a succession of plebiscites? Think Trump. A republic with a directly elected president, which is what every poll shows people want? Again, think Trump. Should the House of Representatives be extended to four-year terms, again as Shorten has proposed? Think at least four full years of Trump.

Whatever his shortcomings, Shorten is no Trump; however, he has borrowed from Trump’s campaign (adopting populist poses and offering seemingly simple solutions) almost as much as he has aped Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders to create his own Australian avatar.

One key difference is that Trump did not campaign against rich people. He promised to create more of them.

As noted, Shorten used to love rich people too, only to refine his narrative to become the enemy of inequality when he became leader, then even more so when Turnbull became Prime Minister.

Shorten has made the most of his amazing run of good luck as Opposition Leader. Tony Abbott’s incompetence as prime minister allowed Shorten to redefine himself, and so did a poor 2016 election campaign. Mediscare and carefully constructed policies that appeared to address problems such as housing affordability, but that were really all about raising revenue, eliminated a healthy majority and weakened Turnbull’s authority.

Then Shorten and Abbott played tag team to destroy Turnbull. While Abbott softened him up, Shorten held back when the other opposition leader was in the ring, then jumped in to deliver a few uppercuts. Shorten’s reward could be the prime ministership.

Abbott, whose own prescriptions for government are even more confused than Shorten’s, will sup on revenge.

Howard was often behind by 10 percentage points for weeks on end and managed to pull out of the trough in time for the election. Turnbull is not as good at politics as Howard was but he is as relentless and he has — barring catastrophes — almost two years to do it, if only the infighting stops long enough to enable Shortenomics to be discredited. Meantime it thrives in the face of orthodox arguments that ever-increasing taxes can damage the economy.

After Shorten claimed inequality was greater now than it had been for 70 years — typically debunked as false but glossed over because feelings trump truth — opposition Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen switched theories: “Now the government, of course, doesn’t understand that growing inequality is actually bad for growth. We do. The government thinks you have a choice; you can have growth or you can have equality. We think you can have both.”

The Billbot hardened it up to justify his plan to tax trusts: “Equality is a precondition to successful growth.”

It sounded good; however, few people understood what he meant and he wasn’t asked to explain. That happens a lot, too. Shorten-omics apparently means tax increases act as stimulus packages.

Shorten also has argued his arrival at the Lodge would lift confidence and that would boost the economy, an outcome difficult to imagine if businesses and their owners are hit with the quadruple whammy he proposes of higher penalty rates, higher top personal tax rates, higher company tax rates and a tax on trusts.

If the polls remain where they are, we may get to find out.


Australian panel would punish priests who fail to report abuse confessions

This is an old controversy but in the end people draw the line at jailing priests.  It was an attack on a priest, Father Popiełuszko, that was instrumental in leading to the downfall of the Communist government in Poland

Priests who fail to tell police about suspected child sexual abuse should face criminal charges, even when they learn of abuse during a confidential religious confession, Australia’s most powerful investigative authority recommended on Monday.

Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse — the nation’s highest form of inquiry — recommended that all states and territories in Australia introduce legislation that would make it a criminal offense for people to fail to report child sexual abuse in an institutional setting.

Clergy who find out about sexual abuse during a religious confession would not be exempt from the law.

"The right to practice one’s religious beliefs must accommodate civil society’s obligation to provide for the safety of all and, in particular, children’s safety from sexual abuse," the commission wrote in a report released Monday.

"Institutions directed to caring for and providing services for children, including religious institutions, must provide an environment where children are safe from sexual abuse," it said. "Reporting information relevant to child sexual abuse to the police is critical to ensuring the safety of children."

Current laws on reporting knowledge of crimes vary across Australia. In some jurisdictions, information received during religious confessions — which are considered highly confidential by churches — is considered privileged, and thus exempt from mandatory reporting requirements.

The royal commission has been investigating since 2013 how churches and other institutions responded to the sexual abuse of children in Australia over the last several decades.

The reporting requirement that it urged Australia to adopt was one of 85 recommendations it made in a report aimed at revamping the criminal justice system to ensure fairer treatment of victims of child sexual abuse.

The reporting mandate would apply to people who failed to tell police that they knew, suspected or even should have suspected that an adult associated with their institution was sexually abusing a child.

If such a law was actually imposed in Australia, priests would ostensibly have to choose between following criminal law or canon law, which forbids them from revealing anything they hear during confession.

In its report, the commission acknowledged the significance placed upon the confidentiality of religious confessions, particularly by the Catholic Church. But the commission also said it had learned of cases in which abusers had confessed to clergy that they had sexually assaulted children and then went on to reoffend, before seeking forgiveness yet again.

The issue of whether religious confessions should be considered privileged has long plagued governments and courts across the world.

In the United States, the Louisiana state Supreme Court ruled last year that state law does not require a priest to notify authorities after hearing evidence of child abuse from a child making a confession. That ruling came amid a lawsuit against Catholic authorities by parents who say their daughter was sexually abused by a parishioner at a local church.

Ireland introduced legislation in 2012 that made it a legal requirement to report knowledge of crimes against children, and made no exemption for priests who received information about crimes during confession. How that law has been applied since then, though, is unclear; Australia’s royal commission noted in its report that the issue has yet to be tested in Ireland’s courts.

Cathy Kezelman, president of the Australian victims’ advocacy group, Blue Knot Foundation, applauded the commission’s recommendations.

"The recommendation around religious confession is most welcome, as although Blue Knot Foundation respects the right of all religions to practice their religion, children must be protected from the insidious crime of child sexual abuse," Kezelman said. "There should be no exemption in that regard, the confessional included." ???Australian clergy have anything to say or Vatican?NOT YET.


Getting Indigenous history right

Before we start tearing down statues of Captain Cook and Governor Macquarie in a misguided attempt to atone for Australia’s racist past, we should get the facts straight about contemporary Indigenous Australia.

The political narrative behind the attempt to emulate the campaign in the United States to remove Civil War memorials is that Indigenous Australians still suffer racism, prejudice, and disadvantage due to the historic legacies of colonialism and dispossession — which the Cook and Macquarie statutes are said to symbolise.

White Australia does have a black history filled with many shameful episodes; the cumulative impact was to exclude and marginalise Indigenous people from mainstream society until at least well into the 1960s.

But since then — beginning with the end of the White Australia Policy in 1966 — attitudes to race, and the place of Indigenous people in the nation, have been transformed.

Even the ABC’s Indigenous editor, Stan Grant has acknowledged in his recent Quarterly Essay that most indigenous Australians now enjoy the ‘Australian Dream’ of the fair go and opportunity for all regardless of colour, caste or creed.

Hence, 80% of Indigenous Australians have the same employment, health, housing and other social outcomes as their non-indigenous peers, and mostly live in metropolitan areas, concentrated in south-eastern Australia.

By contrast, the 20% of indigenous people who are doing badly and have appalling social outcomes, live mostly in rural and remote areas.

These are the ‘homeland’ communities established in the 1970s under the policies of Aboriginal self-determination that addressed the legacies of colonialism and dispossession by enabling indigenous people to return to their traditional lands and live in traditional ways.

Trying to make up for our racist past through ‘separatist’ policies has ultimately made things worse. The minority of Indigenous Australians that live in the homelands have remained excluded from the freedom, equality, and prosperity that other Australians take for granted.

Knocking Cook and Macquarie off their pedestals won’t do anything to ‘close the gap’. It will simply reinforce the flawed kind of thinking about our history and its legacies that has ultimately led to misery and suffering for the most disadvantaged Indigenous Australians in rural and remote Australia.


'British settlement was undeniably very good for Australia'

Former Liberal prime minister John Howard has dismissed calls to change the date of Australia Day in favour of retaining British values brought to Australia during settlement.

Mr Howard argued that British colonisation was the best option for Australia in comparison to alternatives of that time period, The Australian reports.

'Their settlement policies, their colonial policies, were not without fault, but they were infinitely better than the alternatives from around the time, Mr Howard said.

Mr Howard retained his position that colonisation of Australian land was essentially inevitable, and the British settlement was most likely the best outcome.

Slamming campaigns to shift Australia Day from January 26, Mr Howard said the move was merely 'a Green-inspired, left-wing ­exercise in gesture politics'.

Mr Howard also asserted that an inscription on a Captain Cook statue in Sydney's Hyde Park that says Cook 'discovered this territory' should be left as is, despite calls from ABC's Indigenous Affairs editor Stan Grant to have it amended. 

Stating that 'context is everything', Mr Howard agreed with Aboriginal leader Warren Mundine who said: 'if you start mucking around with statues then you might as well start tearing down the Pyramids.'

'I thought that was a good way of putting it because if you look at all the figures of history, if you go back sufficiently in time, you will find people on both sides of politics advocating what would now be seen as racial immigration policies,' he told the publication.

He also defended his attitude against apologising to Aboriginal people during his time as the country's leader, saying modern attitudes were incomparable to previous generations. 

'In some circumstances the behaviour is undeniably evil and unacceptable. But you can't do that, you have to think of the context of the time.'

In terms of history curriculum taught in schools, Mr Howard said he disagreed with the tendency to have British contribution to Australian history 'written out'.

'I don't know how to advance the position of the First Australians by diminishing the benefits of our British heritage,' he said.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

Monday, August 28, 2017

Stan Grant slams ‘disgraceful’ statue vandals

ABC indigenous affairs editor Stan Grant has slammed the vandals responsible for defacing Hyde Park statues, saying their “disgusting criminal behaviour” dishonoured indigenous Australians.

UPDATE: Federal Minister Dan Tehan has today slammed the attack, along with council moves to change the date of Australia Day.

Grant, who sparked fierce public debate earlier in the week when he called for amendments to the inscriptions on colonial statues, said the statues in Sydney’s Hyde Park were a part of the nation’s history and should not be removed.

The Captain Cook statue and a number of other monuments were vandalised across Sydney’s CBD in the early hours of Saturday morning, graffitied with the phrases “change the date” and “no pride in genocide”.

“It is disgraceful criminal behaviour. They (vandals) don’t support indigenous people, they dishonour us,” Grant told The Australian.

“They (the statues) are a symbolic starting point to discuss who we are today and who we wish to be in the future.

“This is a democracy and we should conduct ourselves with dignity and respect. Those statues are our history they tell us who we have been which is why I would not want them removed.

“I want a national story that speaks for us all. You don’t achieve that by illegally smearing monuments.”

In a column earlier this week, Grant called for an amendment to the Captain Cook statue’s inscription, which says that he “discovered this territory in 1770”. Grant said those words ignored the complexity of indigenous Australian history.

“I have advocated freeing ourselves from the damaging legacy of history, not chaining ourselves to the past,” he said.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull responded by saying Grant was “dead wrong” and that “rewriting history”, “editing statues” and “deleting Australia Day” was a Stalinist exercise to blank out parts of history.

Grant said he didn’t think Turnbull was responding to what he wrote and that he and the PM were in agreement with each other.

“He says we shouldn’t edit history — I totally agree.” he said. “I think we should enlarge it and include indigenous perspectives.”



Blackface OK if you are a Leftist

The Chaser is an ABC program. Australia's ABC is relentlessly Leftist

Comedian Chas Licciardello has surprisingly revealed that he and his colleagues from The Chaser escaped any criticism for using blackface on national television, despite other entertainers being slammed for the same thing.

In a now largely forgotten skit broadcast on the ABC in 2007, The Chaser case used blackface to parody a Jackson Five song and received 'no blowback' at all, Licciardello said.

'We were blackfaced. There's no other way to describe it. And at the time, it didn't occur to me there was an issue,' Chas said on ABC chat segment The Mix on Friday night.

'There as no [blowback]. None. There was no complaints, there were no phone calls. Social media was around and we got nothing. It never occurred to us...I just hadn't even been aware of it.'

'If I had my time again, I absolutely would not have done it. Not because of the controversy...but because it obviously offended people, and that's wrong.'

Chas went on to say that he thinks what was racist in 1990 is very different to what's racist in 2017.

'As a comedian what I feel you have to do is be skilled at taking the temperature of society and saying, ''What can I get away with?''.'

The Mix's other guest speaker, performing artist Candy Royale, vehemently disagreed, saying that nobody has been doing blackface in America for decades.

'Australia is so far behind in its racial politics that there are people here who think it's okay to do blackface,' she said. 'And it hasn't been okay to do blackface for a really long time.'

The Mix segment has ignited debate about why the ABC stars were able to get away with doing blackface, but when Hey Hey It's Saturday aired a similar skit two years later there was public outrage.

Despite an on-air apology by host Daryl Somers, the skit titled 'The Jackson Jive' featuring a blackface performer was widely slammed.

'I think we may have offended you with that act and I deeply apologise on behalf of all of us - because I know that to your countrymen, that's an insult to have a blackface routine like that on the show, so I do apologise to you,' Somers said to Connick Jr. t the end of the segment.

The skit was also raked over the coals online, with one person writing, 'Nice going Australia, now your [sic] back to being racist again'.

Other praised the singer for 'not just going along with it' and standing up for his belief that black people should not be made to look like 'buffoons'.

Online commentary about The Mix segment has been widespread, with one commenter calling Chas weak and hypocritical.

'The whole point of the chaser was to be offensive, but according to him now causing offence is wrong,' Michael Mahoney wrote on Facebook. 'I think he has no spine and bends easily under pressure.'

His comment was joined by others accusing Australian society of being too easily-offended, whereas blackface is 'pretty damn common' in China and South Korea.

Other wrote that that they don't understand what the 'big deal' is about blackface, because actors change their looks all the time to suit a persona or character.

'If a black fella wanted to White up and demonstrate how I dance compared to him, I'd not have a problem,' Benjamin Smith commented under a video snippet from The Mix.

'Geeez we are all a sensitive lot these days. Let's just have fun and love each other. It's not about offending it's about entertaining!'

Still others wanted to clarify that blackface and 'cultural appropriation' being brought up in the same sentence is inappropriate, they are not the same thing.

'Appropriation means stealing or borrowing depending on how you look at it,' clarified Christian Findlay on the ABC Facebook page.

'But blackface is not appropriation. It's just mockery...Can we please stop conflating the concept of cultural appropriation with mockery?


Sydney public schools record a huge rise in the amount of Muslim and Hindu students - while Christianity continues to decline in popularity

Public schools in Sydney have recorded a huge rise in the number of Muslim and Hindu students with Christianity on a sharp decline.

A New South Wales Department of Education survey found the number of Muslim and Hindu students were standing at 52,000 and 20,000, respectively.

Last year, enrollment for Muslim students in public schools was at 50,000 while Hindu students were standing at 18,600, the Daily Telegraph reports.

The newspaper reports that more than 230,000 students did not identify themselves with any religion at all. 

There was also a sharp decline in the number of Christian students with the number of Anglicans falling from 105,300 students last year to 99,000 this year.

Other forms of Christianity such as Presby­terian, Protestant and Baptist were also on the decline, according to the newspaper.

However, the number of Catholic students were unchanged at 103,000.

Parents and teachers have also called for ethics classes to be more readily available across the state after the data showed 230,000 students identified with 'no religion'.


Australian Muslims charged with terrorism over mosque fires

Muslim on Muslim violence comes to Australia

Australian police have charged three men with committing terrorist acts on suspicion of starting fires at a Shiite Muslim mosque in Melbourne last year, inspired by Islamic State and intending to divide the Muslim community.

Two of the men are already in custody and awaiting trial on suspicion of plotting bomb attacks in Australia's second largest city last year, while a third – a 29-year-old Melbourne man – was arrested late on Saturday.

All three face a maximum penalty of life imprisonment over the arson attack at the Imam Ali Islamic Centre in December 2016.

Australian Federal Police's counter terrorism national manager said that attacking a place of worship had no place in society.

“It is clear that these arson attacks were designed to intimidate and influence those that attend this mosque and the wider Islamic community," Assistant Commissioner Ian McCartney said on Sunday.

Australia, a staunch U.S. ally that has sent troops to Afghanistan and Iraq, has been on heightened alert since 2014 for attacks by home-grown militants returning from fighting in the Middle East, or their supporters.

While there have been several "lone wolf" attacks, officials say 13 significant plots have been foiled in that time.

Police say the three men were adherents of militant Sunni Muslim ideology.

Police said the arrest of the man on Saturday came after extensive investigations into fires at the Melbourne mosque – but said it did not relate to any direct threat to the community.

The other two men facing charges are in custody and awaiting trial for allegedly planning militant attacks around Christmas Day 2016 in Melbourne.

The two, a 25-year-old and a 27-year-old, will also be charged with terrorist offences for causing a previous fire at the Imam Ali Islamic Centre in November 2016.

The man arrested on Saturday will appear in Melbourne Magistrates' Court on Sunday, while the other two will appear in court on Monday.

This month, two men were charged with terror-related offences after authorities disrupted what they described as an Islamic State-inspired plot to bomb an Etihad Airways flight.

Another man arrested in relation to the foiled plot was charged with weapons offences and released on bail. A fourth man was released without charge.

A gunman in a 2014 Sydney cafe siege boasted about links with Islamic State militants, although no direct ties with the group were established. The gunman and two other people were killed in the siege.


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, August 27, 2017

Silent revolt against homosexual righteousness?

It all started when a contact at the ABC forwarded me a memo which had been circulated to all ABC News and Radio staff. The email reminded journalists that some 40 per cent of Australians do not support same-sex marriage and it was the taxpayer-funded broadcaster’s statutory duty to remain impartial on this matter, including across employees’ social media accounts. This was the second time the broadcaster had issued such a warning; one had also gone out last September, before the first bill for a plebiscite was about to go before parliament. The same contact told me back then, policy staff were ‘harassed’ by their journalist colleagues who disagreed.

Unsurprisingly, it didn’t take long to find several examples of ABC staff still flagrantly breaching the directive. Hell, in the six hours after the latest memo was sent, ABC News’ own official Facebook page published five posts from the pro-SSM side, one that was neutral and none from the No case. But the most high-profile of those who’d gone rogue was Emma Alberici, the host of Lateline. Days earlier, she’d begun an interview with Finance Minister Mathias Cormann suggesting party room bickering was endangering vulnerable young gay people. She went on to claim the wider public doesn’t want a plebiscite, although anyone who’s taken even a cursory glance at the polls knows this to be patently false. But it was Alberici’s social media activity which proved most illuminating: she regularly lashes out at defenders of traditional marriage and openly admits she can’t get her head around why some may oppose change.It’s a stance you’d expect from an outlet such as the Guardian, whose Australian editor Lenore Taylor declared she would not be publishing balanced journalism on the issue because she couldn’t personally see a reasonable case for No, but not from one whose recently appointed chairman dismissed claims of bias out of hand.

In the same week, comedian Tim Minchin penned a ditty smearing Australians as ‘a little bit homophobic’ and labelling those in favour of retaining the traditional definition of marriage ‘bigoted c—s’, while hundreds of advertisers signed up to a campaign vowing not to work for anyone on the No campaign.

By the time I sat down to write my regular column for the Daily Telegraph, one theory had been percolating in my mind for a while: was gay marriage Australia’s Brexit/Trump moment? Certainly, the arrogance in some sections of the mainstream media about assured victory and moral superiority, coupled with the taunting of those opposed to change as deplorable, were eerily familiar. I watched one openly gay friend post on his private Facebook page that he was abstaining from the plebiscite because he was personally against same-sex marriage. He was so viciously attacked by his own so-called friends, he deleted the post. Meanwhile, Mia Freedman was torn to shreds over a failed attempt to start a viral #marriedformarriageequality selfie movement, all because she wasn’t campaigning in the ‘right’ way. So I knew writing the piece would open me up to similar criticism and pressure from the SSM thought police. I made it clear from the start I was sympathetic to gay marriage, to the point of mentally planning my wedding guest outfits, but went on to point out that some Yes campaigners’ strategy of intimidation and suppression of other views would almost certainly push not just the undecided away, but many inclined to be supportive, too.

I was well-acquainted with Twitter lynch mobs after years of writing columns, but even I was taken aback by the ferocity of the online attacks that ensued. This was more brutal than the times I’d argued the merits of capital punishment, written in support of Israel and taken on bloodthirsty jihadists put together. The flogging kicked off with Alberici posting a tweet about the column complete with the expletive ‘WTF’’ to her 67,000 followers. What was she so outraged over? Did she take exception to the accusation she had been blatantly campaigning on this issue, thereby breaching the ABC’s charter? Nope, she was livid that – according to her, anyway – I’d announced I would be voting No. Aside from the fact I deliberately did not disclose how I would vote (not least because, as a foreign national, I can’t), the personal attacks in Alberici’s countless tweets that followed only served to reinforce the central point of the piece.

When fellow Tele columnist Miranda Devine accused Alberici of acting like a bully, the presenter resorted to every schoolkid’s favoured retort of I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I, claiming I was the real bully. Her echo chamber enthusiastically leapt aboard, some labelling me a ‘closet homophobe’, other humourless scolds blasting me for only caring about my closet.

Speaking of which, is white still considered a faux-pas? Should I go short or long?

But there’ll always be a special place in my heart for the brave soul who trawled through my Instagram feed to find a photograph of my baby nephew under which he could comment: ‘hope he’s not gay’. A casual observer could be forgiven for thinking I’d argued homosexuals should be hanged, drawn and quartered at dawn. My favourite critics, though, had to be the ones who angrily accused me of ‘stereotyping’ my gay friends as fabulous. If it’s any consolation, I happen to harbour the equally insufferable view that my straight friends are pretty darn fabulous, too.

One of my Sky News colleagues also took the opportunity to have a crack online, feigning surprise at the piece and accusing me of ‘voting’ to deny rights to same-sex couples out of spite. But he failed to mention we’d discussed the column the day before off-air, during which I recall him laughing about hoping the Yes vote failed as it would cause havoc for the government. Pots and kettles. In any case, it was when former prime minister Tony Abbott weighed in, calling out ‘bullying’ by the usual suspects, that things really blew up and the Twitter ugliness became the subject of various news reports. An online storm usually passes after a good 24 hours, but the attacks began afresh on Day 2 when high-profile same-sex marriage campaigner Kerryn Phelps rebuked me for my apparent ‘admission’ I was voting No, which she called ‘truly disturbing’.

A public shaming by the rainbow thought police is hardly going to dissuade me from speaking out, but you can bet it will make others think twice about expressing their views openly if they don’t conform unequivocally to the groupthink.

All the more reason to suspect we may well see a silent revolt at the postbox.


Statues vandalised in Sydney’s Hyde Park

A number of monuments across Sydney’s CBD have been attacked by vandals, including a statue of Captain James Cook, following fierce public debate about whether it should be changed.

Police are investigating “a number of incidents of malicious damage” in the park, believed to have happened between 2am and 3am on Saturday.

“Three crime scenes have been established throughout the park and inquiries are continuing,” a spokeswoman said.

The words “change the date” and “no pride in genocide” were spray-painted on the Captain Cook statue, with similar words scrawled on that of Lachlan Macquarie. The graffiti attack comes just days after indigenous broadcaster Stan Grant called for the inscription on the Cook statue - saying he “discovered” the territory in 1770 - be changed.

But Malcolm Turnbull, weighing into the debate on Friday, said Grant was “dead wrong”.

The prime minister said the vast majority of Australians would share his horror at the thought of “rewriting history” by editing the inscriptions on statues.

“All of those statues, all of those monuments, are part of our history and we should respect them and preserve them,” he told Neil Mitchell on 3AW radio.

“By all means, put up other monuments, put up other signs and sites that explain our history.” He denounced such a “Stalinist exercise” of trying to white out or obliterate parts of Australia’s history.

“You don’t rewrite history by editing stuff out. If you want to write a new chapter of our history, if you want to challenge assumptions in the past, by all means do so,” he said.

A City of Sydney spokeswoman said the council was also cleaning up graffiti that appeared overnight in Martin Place and Macquarie Street.

“Sites affected include the Archibald Memorial Fountain, ANZAC Memorial and statues including the Captain James Cook statue,” she said.

“NSW Police have completed forensic work and City cleaning crews have commenced work to remove the unlawful graffiti.”


Fruitcake  pushes politically correct plan to rename Father’s Day ‘Special Person’s Day’

Surely this discriminates too.  Dogs are people, as we all know.  So why not a "Special creatures" day? Why limit it to bipedal persons?

AN EARLY childhood activist has been labelled “offensive” after suggesting Father’s Day be renamed ‘Special Person’s Day’ so kids without dads wouldn’t feel left out.

Dr Red Ruby Scarlet, an activist with a doctorate in early childhood studies, is pushing for the name change to the annual holiday.

During an interview on Today Tonight Dr Scarlet denied it was case of excess political correctness.

“Why are we calling this political correctness when in fact it’s about our rights?” Dr Scarlet told host Rosanna Mangiarelli.

She went on: “There’s a lot of Australian research that has actually informed a lot of international research ... that has demonstrated children’s capacity to be really inclusive once they know about these ideas and they think, ‘Wow, why are people seeing this as a controversy?”

Dr Scarlet, who insisted that was her real name, said that many families without fathers supported the idea.

“We have single parent families, satellite families, extended families, lesbian and gay families,” she said.

Her ideas were met with a stern rebuke from New South Wales Liberal minister David Elliott, who called them “rubbish”.

“Can’t believe that someone who professes to be ‘enlightened’ would advocate such crap,” Mr Elliott wrote on Facebook.

“People still celebrate fatherhood even after their father and grandfathers have passed away, in fact for many people Father’s Day is a wonderful time of reflecting and remembering.”

He went on: “Dr Red Ruby Scarlet — you are the offensive one. Maybe we should start a campaign to address that.”


History lessons teaching children to feel a 'strong sense of guilt' about Australian history

As fights to alter the date of Australia Day and pull down or alter statues come to a head, some experts are warning changes to the history curriculum taught in schools could be to blame.

Kevin Donnelly, who runs education think-tank The Education Institute, says imbalanced teaching is leaving students with a 'strong sense of guilt'.

He told The Australian while some acts committed by the British upon their arrival in Australia were 'wrong', some were 'beneficial and positive' but were not given the same weight in the classroom.

'When you look at the history curriculum part of the problem is students come away with a strong sense of guilt about what we've done as a nation in terms of indigenous culture and history.'

Mr Donnelly went on to explain children would leave school with a 'black-armband view where we feel guilt about something over which we now have no control'.

The senior research fellow at the Australian Catholic University's comments were echoed by Professor Ken Wiltshire, who also argued children were not taught a 'comprehensive' version of the nation's history.

Earlier this week, Indigenous leader Stan Grant called for an inscription on a statue in Sydney's Hyde Park, which credits Captain James Cook with 'discovering Australia' to be changed.

The man wrote in a column for the ABC that for Indigenous people, the statue was a reminder of 'the violent rupture of Aboriginal society' – an ongoing issue. 'This statue speaks to emptiness, it speaks to our invisibility,' he said. 'It says that nothing truly mattered, nothing truly counted until a white sailor first walked on these shores.'

Adding fuel to the fire, two Melbourne local councils have responded to protests regarding the date of Australia Day - choosing to cease holding celebrations or citizenship ceremonies on January 26.

The Federal Government responded to the decision by disallowing the Councils to hold citizenship ceremonies in their area at any time of the year.

NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes said the state had worked hard to pull together an adequate mix of Indigenous history and early European settlement. ' If you're genuine about trying to teach Australian history, it's impossible to have one without the other,' he said.


Nazism is back -- among the hipsters

Joe Hildebrand

WE’VE sure learned a lot about our politicians recently: Nick Xenophon is part Briton, Matt Canavan is part Italian and Pauline Hanson is part Taliban.

But hidden deep beneath the dual citizenship farce is a little kernel of truth about our nation, possibly about the whole world, that is darker and more dangerous than the All Blacks.

While the dual citizenship debacle was going on, asked a data analysis firm to compile the sentiment on social media — especially Twitter, the town hall of the 21st century.

The results were staggering.

It has long been the bugbear of conservatives and the conspiracy theory of the alt-right that Twitter is biased towards the left.

To some extent this is obvious to any reasonably balanced observer — and not in itself a bad thing. All people, and the media they use, have the right to freedom of expression.

But the data gathered by the global firm Meltwater is perhaps the most fascinating proof yet of just how extreme the bias is.

The analysis was first conducted in July over the period that Greens senators Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters resigned from parliament over their dual citizenship, Nationals senator Matt Canavan stepped down from cabinet and One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts was busted for the same thing.

Then when the Barnaby Joyce bombshell dropped, another round of analysis was done to gauge the reaction to that.

The first key finding of the report says it all: “Positive social sentiment was only generated in relation to the former Greens senators.”

In fact, when it came to Scott Ludlam – the first to fall – there was actually more positive reaction (20.2 per cent) than there was negative (14.6 per cent), the remaining 65.1 per cent being neutral.

For Larissa Waters, who if anything had a stronger case for not knowing she was a dual citizen, there was a 22.4 per cent negative response but still a 14.8 per cent positive response.

Both these senators were born overseas and knew it but sympathy still overflowed. How understanding the commentariat can be.

However for Canavan, a Nationals MP born in Australia whose mother supposedly signed him up for Italian citizenship after the fact — or maybe even not according to the latest argument — there was literally no sympathy at all out of 5473 mentions. Zero, zip, zilch. Social media was 20.8 per cent negative and the rest neutral.

Likewise for Roberts, who is no stranger to extreme sentiment, it was 24 per cent negative and 76 per cent neutral with not a single positive comment.

And for Joyce, the Australian-born deputy prime minister who unknowingly inherited New Zealand citizenship via his father, the result was virtually the same. Out of a whopping 22,689 mentions, 24.6 per cent were negative compared to just 0.4 per cent positive.

For the Turnbull government overall the story was even more bleak. There was literally no positive sentiment at all, with 24.7 per cent negative and the rest neutral. No wonder they are desperately trying to kill off this issue before it kills them.

Again, there is of course nothing wrong with this. An obvious response is: “But Twitter isn’t representative of society!”

And that is exactly the point. It’s when social media gets mistaken for being a political barometer that public debate on big issues can often get distorted.

Indeed, what is most distressing, especially for those of us who want the world to be a fairer place, but also retain some common sense, is when progressive causes get hijacked by extremists and even the most reasonable positions get shouted down as extremism by the very extremists they’re trying to calm.

Confused? Here’s an example.

One night last week I was puzzled to see the name of Triple J presenter Tom Tilley trending on Twitter and clicked on it to see why. Apparently, in a segment about the infamous and ultimately tragic clash between Neo-Nazis and left-wing activists in Charlottesville Virginia, he had interviewed a white nationalist to see what they were all so upset about.

For this most basic of journalistic exercises Tilley was roundly condemned as a Neo-Nazi sympathiser. And if the ABC’s youth radio station was now the new hotbed of white supremacy I knew I had a story on my hands.

One prominent tweet that popped up joked about whether he should be killed – to which many responders enthusiastically offered both endorsement and methods.

Obviously I did not think it likely that Tom Tilley would be literally shot dead by a millennial lynch mob but it still seemed a pretty strange reaction to a guy whose only crime was to take a phone call from an arsehole.

“Wow,” I said, quoting the tweet. “Tom Tilley is getting death threats because he interviewed a Neo-Nazi dickhead? Outrage just ate itself.”

Little did I know the outrage had only just begun. By the time it ended I had met a lovely young lady who told me my wife was currently fellating her boyfriend – an act which, I would have thought, reflected poorly on both of us.

Clearly I am not up to speed with millennial humour.

I was also told that to suggest the original deathly tweet was a tad over the top was in fact a form of bullying. Lord knows how poor Tom Tilley must feel, wherever his body now lies.

But before the obvious backlash to the backlash to the backlash I’ve no doubt already started by criticising the backlash, please don’t get me wrong: I’m not crying foul or saying anyone should be silenced. I’ve made plenty of bad jokes about plenty of good people.

It is however odd that there is such violent language in politics – and in some cases actual violence – that even when someone suggests it’s gone a bit far they are accused of violence by the very people who claim to be denouncing violence.

Because that’s what is most disconcerting about the new left: You expect Neo-Nazis to be bastards, you don’t expect hipsters to be.

I say all this as someone who came from the old left and who is now deeply troubled by what it has become. I thought it was all about helping poor people and having a good time. Turns out it’s all about finding new ways to be offended and shouting people down.

But maybe it was always like this and it is here I must make a full confession: I was the ultimate activist cliché myself. I was a card-carrying student socialist at one of the most elite universities in the country. Oddly, I was one of the few there who had grown up poor and gone to a public school but I was later to learn that I was an oppressive vessel of white male privilege.

A few red flags went up during that time, both literally and metaphorically.

One was when I was a marshal at a march against voluntary student unionism and had to pull one of our guys away from shouting and spitting in the face of a cop. The officer was just standing there, rigid as a Buckingham Palace guard, one of countless cops who just happened to be rostered on and deployed solely to give us safe passage down the very street we were marching along. Our working class warrior ran up to abuse him for it.

Another was when I was a weird kind of “liaison” officer during an occupation of the university admin building, the weirdness being that I didn’t even know it was going to be occupied. Or maybe someone told me and I was just too stoned to remember.

At any rate, while some of the occupiers sat on the floor and took endless votes about how to protest next, others ransacked the offices and threw random documents out the window.

For the life of me I did not know then — and still don’t today — what purpose this served. We were supposed to be protesting against fees for degrees. Now it just felt like a book-burning.

At one point I remember being on the ground underneath the building as the papers rained down, trying to negotiate with the university’s registrar.

“You’ve got to make them stop,” he said.

“That’s the whole problem,” I replied. “I can’t.”

Just then a small horde tore past and invaded the Law Library. Apparently the next step in the campaign was to tear up old texts about tort reform.

Of course, as history shows, it didn’t change much. The only difference was some underpaid cleaner had to fix everything up again and an underpaid clerical worker had to pick up all the documents. And some poor cop had to go home and probably not tell his missus that someone had spat on him that day.

Power to the people indeed.

It’s hard not to feel the same way about the mobs who are going around defacing and tearing down historical monuments in the United States because they object to the history they represent — as nauseating as that history might be.

As I have said before, reaching back through time and erasing remnants of past sins is the worst kind of historical whitewashing. And it is deeply ironic that it is now being perpetuated not by fascist dictators but by those who claim it is precisely those dark pasts which ought to be remembered.

This is a cause as perverse as it is pointless. We need to be reminded of what our society is built on, both good and bad. Indeed, if anything, especially the bad.

It is also important those issues are represented in the public sphere. When one walks past the icon of a liberator or a tyrant one is obliged to reflect upon the bones underfoot. The statue of Oliver Cromwell outside the UK Houses of Parliament is an invitation to conflicted thought.

If that means building more statues of the oppressed then let us do that, but tearing down statues of oppressors a century after their deaths isn’t freedom, it’s censorship.

It is also, to counter a tired argument, entirely different to liberated peoples tearing down images of the oppressors in the here and now. The question is not whether we should have torn down that statue of Saddam Hussein in 2003 but whether, should it so improbably survive, it should be torn down in 2103.

If this is a concept too complex for people to grasp, here is a handy rule of thumb: If everyone involved is long dead, it’s history and you should probably leave it alone. If the guy in the statue is still killing people, feel free to knock it over.

In my younger days I may well have been persuaded to knock over statues of the living and the dead with equal abandon. Fortunately, I grew out of it.

And probably the majority of angry activists out there today will grow out of it too. Wiping out history becomes a little less appealing when you have more of it behind you than in front of you.

The difference between then and now is that these days those youthful destructive impulses no longer sit in our pasts. The limitless lateral reach of social media means that what was once a phase we all went through is now a wave that can be unleashed across continents.

And, once all our mistakes are tallied and we face our final reckoning, I wonder what we’ll regret more: The things we tore down or that last angry tweet.


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, August 25, 2017

A thought experiment: Would blowing up Charlotte St. create any problem?

In my burg -- Brisbane -- there is a skyscraper in Charlotte St which houses most of the State government bureaucracy.  So what would happen if some Muslim blew the whole thing up, killing all the bureaucrats in it?

There would be much wringing of hands of course but what would change in the lives of my fellow citizens?

The supermarkets would still be open; the trains would still be running; the traffic lights would still work; the farmers would still bring their produce to market; the abbatoirs would still be slaughtering and selling carcases to butchers, bakers would still be baking; dentists would still be fixing teeth; the great turbines in our coal-fired power stations would still be spinning; the police would still be attending crimes about an hour late; and doctors would still be handing out prescriptions.

And so it goes.  I cannot see that the inhabitants of the Charlotte St. tower would be missed. Are they any use to us at all?  Why not dismiss them all and leave the tower empty?  I cannot see anything that we need them for -- JR.

Australia is still mining -- with State and Federal support

Copper and gold

THE $916 million Carrapateena mine given the green light by Oz Minerals is set to create 1000 jobs during the construction phase and will support around 400-500 positions over the mine’s 20-year lifespan.

The company on Thursday morning announced the board had approved development of the mine located 160km north of Port Augusta, as it recorded a 51 per cent jump in its first half profit to $81 million.

The Carrapateena project, which is targeting first ore production in the second half of 2019, will become South Australia’s second biggest copper mine after Olympic Dam.

The mine life is 20 years with an estimated average annual production of 65,000 tonnes of copper and 67,000 ounces of gold.

It is expected the project will create about 1000 jobs during construction and 400-500 over the mine’s 20-year minimum mine life.

Premier Jay Weatherill says the project will also provide opportunities for Aboriginal employment and supply contracts in the Upper Spencer Gulf.

“This announcement is yet another vote of confidence in South Australia’s economy,’ Mr Weatherill said.

“This copper project showcases the importance of the resources sector to the South Australian economy with investment in Carrapateena creating local jobs, infrastructure and opportunities for Aboriginal participation.”

OZ Minerals, which is self-funding the project, started construction work on a decline (mine shaft) 1450m-deep to the underground mine last year.

The company has a cash balance of $624 million and no debt. Most of the funding for the project will come from the cashflow generated at its existing Prominent Hill copper mining operations, 130kms southeast of Coober Pedy.

OZ Minerals chairman Rebecca McGrath said it was an exciting time for the company. “Carrapateena will be a robust, cash-generating asset with expansion potential that sets OZ Minerals up for further growth,” she said.

“Our confidence in the economics, constructability and operability of the Carrapateena project as a long-life low cost mine has been further reinforced through the feasibility study phase,” OZ Minerals chief executive Andrew Cole said.

“Strong operating cash flow of $93.5 million in the first half of 2017 continues to support a significant cash balance of $624 .5 million with no debt, allowing for shareholder returns, continued investment in the Carrapateena and West Musgrave projects, and advancement of our growth pipeline,” he said.

The company will begin building an accommodation village, a 550 person camp, called the Tjungu Village and an airstrip in the third quarter of this year.

The mine will be developed in two phases — the first phase starts next month followed by a more intensive second phase in the second quarter of 2018, subject to mining lease approvals.

The group also announced the $150 million concentrate treatment plant — expected to create more than 100 construction and around 100 ongoing jobs — has been removed from Carrapateena’s project financials due to “increased confidence” that the existing copper concentrate will be sought after in international markets.

The company has bought a site near Port Augusta for the plant, which was originally tipped for Whyalla.


Religious freedom at risk in same-sex shift

The myopic failure of parliament to confront the need for broad ­religious-freedom guarantees in association with same-sex marriage laws has produced the inevitable — strong warnings that one right will be won at the erosion of other rights.

This is the unpalatable situation Australia faces with same-sex marriage. Despite claims from George Brandis, Bill Shorten and many others, such warnings are fully justified.

They rest upon three realities: that protection of belief and ­religious freedom in this country is seriously inadequate; the refusal of politicians either to admit or to address such defects; and the abundant evidence at home and abroad that individuals and institutions will be intimidated after the marriage law is changed.

Assertions to the contrary by politicians are worthless. Having been derelict in their duty they now complain about people pointing out the consequences of their dereliction.

Senior Liberals should beware of running a dishonest campaign ­asserting that such freedoms are protected when that is manifestly not the case.

This has been pointed out by many religious figures including the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher, human rights lawyer and priest Frank Brennan, a range of Liberal politicians including Tony Abbott, and the chair of the Senate committee report, South Australian Liberal David Fawcett. It was documented at length in submissions to the committee that recommended protections for religious freedom be enhanced. This inadequacy has been raised in many independent reports over the years.

Advocates of same-sex marriage insist the change to marriage law must be the only issue considered at the plebiscite. Anything else is dismissed as a scare or distraction. You can only believe this if you believe the consequences of the change don’t matter or if you don’t care if the price of a new right is the sacrifice of other rights or if, in fact, you actually support the winding back of protections for individual belief and religious freedom.

In his recent article for The Guardian, Frank Brennan said religious freedom in Australia was seen as a “second-order right” while in international law it was a “first order ‘non-derogable’ right”.

While the Liberal Party is desperate to “resolve” the same-sex marriage issue, it should beware presiding over a process that sees the roll-back of rights once believed to be intrinsic to its existence. That will come with a high price in future years.

The tactical mistake the Liberal Party made was seeking to make opposition to same-sex marriage the issue (a losing position) when it should have made same-sex marriage only on the condition of religious tolerance guarantees the issue (a winning position).

Newspoll this week showed strong support for same-sex marriage but the vote was 62-18 per cent for protecting religious freedoms at the same time.

The debate about religious freedom has focused entirely around the ceremony, not the society. But the bigger issue concerns protections for individuals, schools, charities, adoption agencies, businesses and institutions. The politicians will deny it but advocates of same-sex marriage felt religious freedom beyond the ceremony was a non-issue they didn’t have to worry about, a telling conclusion.

The efforts of Senator Brandis and Liberal backbencher Dean Smith to draft bills with protections for ministers and celebrants is important and should be recognised.

Wider guarantees must involve legislation beyond the Marriage Act such as anti-discrimination acts. This recognises that, over time, the main social consequence will not arise from same-sex marriage itself but the wider social, cultural and institutional change it brings.


Now they want to ban the Queen's Birthday: Labor Party calls for public holiday to be replaced with celebration of Aboriginals

The NSW opposition leader says Australians should consider replacing the Queen's Birthday public holiday with a day to celebrate indigenous history as the Australia Day debate rages on.

Two Victorian councils have been stripped of the right to host citizenship ceremonies after they decided to cancel them on January 26 given many indigenous people view the date as 'invasion day'.

The move by the Melbourne councils has led the NSW Greens to back state councils considering taking a similar stance.

But NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley isn't convinced Australia Day needs to moved from January 26, which is when the First Fleet arrived in 1788.

'I'm not in the business of rewriting history but there needs to be a completeness when we tell our history,' Mr Foley told 2GB on Wednesday.

'Whether it's now or when Her Majesty passes away, whether that June public holiday would be best becoming the occasion, the public holiday where we recognise and celebrate 40,000-plus years of indigenous history here.'

Lismore and Byron councils are considering moving celebrations from Australia Day.

'Decisions by local councils to hold citizenship ceremonies and celebrations on dates other than January 26 may be largely symbolic but symbols are powerful and create momentum for change,' NSW Greens MP Dawn Walker said in a statement.

'Local councils have shown incredible leadership in passing motions in support of changing the date of Australia Day.'


Social engineers determined to remove the wonder from childhood

Decades of Increased litigation and skyrocketing insurance premiums have already wreaked havoc with kids’ playgrounds, writes Janet Albrechtsen

Childcare centres, preschools and libraries will be encouraged to scrutinise books, toys and posters to ensure play ­spaces are “gender equitable” in the latest government-led bid to tackle family violence starting in childhood.

Victoria should change its car numberplates to The Social Engineering State. A new guide has been drafted to help its councils conduct a gender audit on children’s playgrounds to ensure that gender stereotypes are not encouraging domestic violence.

Question: what will ensure that children can be children, free from busybody bureaucrats imposing their social, moral and political judgments about kids playing families in the sandpit or race car drivers in the playground?

Decades of Increased litigation and skyrocketing insurance premiums have already wreaked havoc with kids’ playgrounds. These were once ­places of adventure where kids could explore the world beyond their home and parents. It’s where kids first push the boundaries of everyday risk, exploration and initiative, playing freely and making up their own stories long before helicoptering became a parenting technique rather than a feat of airborne engineering. It’s where a grazed knee and a bruise or bump taught kids some resilience; in other words, picking yourself up when something goes wrong. Today most playgrounds are humdrum places for kids. Swings are so safe they have lost their sense of fly-high exhilaration. If you can find a seesaw, it’s a shadow of its former self where squeals of delight once signalled tiny bums knocking on the ground.

Now playgrounds will be measured for more than litigious risk. They will be audited for gendered play so that local councils can think about “not only who is where, and how often, but what are they doing? What are the storylines of their play telling you about what the children think are the normal roles for women and men?” says the Creating Gender Equity in the Early Years guide produced by Melbourne’s Darebin City Council.

It’s bad enough that bureaucracies have built empires of paternalism in the adult world, sidelining the role of civil society and wrecking the symmetry between individual responsibility and individual liberty. Not content with intruding into the adult world, they search for new arenas to impose their activism.

Under the guise of Safe Schools, they injected LGBTI role playing into the classroom. Now, it’s a gender audit of playground. Social engineers of this kind often dress up their effort to regulate using inflated language. Here they are co-opting the emotion around domestic violence to justify policing in a playground to find episodes of a designated new evil of gendered play. Explaining this latest move as good intentions gone awry doesn’t wash any more.

The bureaucratic endeavour to create gender-free playgrounds assumes that this future utopia must be better than what has gone before. It’s a story as old and as flawed as the French Revolution. Just as Edmund Burke, in 1790, predicted that the lofty intentions of that period of social and political upheaval would lead to a worse form of tyranny, it’s safe to predict a new modern form of tyrannical paternalism by bureaucratic edict.

From health to education to human rights, large swathes of social policy have been delegated to unelected bureaucrats, destroying the little platoons of civil society described by Burke as central to a flourishing and free society. That collected wisdom of people, garnered from experience, tradition and custom, has been replaced with a form of mob rule where the claimed wisdom of an elite class is imposed from above.

It’s passing strange that adults cannot conceive that what’s an issue for them becomes an issue for kids only when adults make it one. Then again, maybe that’s the aim, to project adult obsessions about gender on to children. And this playground pursuit of gender equity by taxpayer-funded public servants is enabled by complacent followers of this latest bureaucratic baloney.

We risk losing the kind of adult-free play that emboldened childhood, assuming we haven’t lost it already. I recall a childhood where two working-class parents worked long and hard, and kids after school were left to explore their surrounds free from tightly scheduled afternoon activities. No Kumon lessons to create a maths genius or speech lessons to perfect our voice patterns. No ballet followed by music followed by enforced reading, before a rushed dinner and bed, only to be repeated the next day with a slightly different array of activities.

There was sport organised by schools and clubs, and then the play that kids made up on their own. No gender equity worries, let alone stereotypes. You could play with a Barbie, be a feisty young girl and grow up to be an empowered woman.

When we weren’t in school, a few of us local kids often headed to the local Sturt Gorge, a 244ha adult-free zone a good few kilometres from our home. We were nine and 10 years old; my younger brother, just seven, tagged along. We wandered and explored for hours, pretending to be lost in a big unknown world, with no mobile phones but with a bag of food and plenty of adventures in trees and mucky water. Sometimes we did get lost, but we always managed to be home by dinner, invariably dirty, dishevelled and tired, but also exhilarated by the responsibility and freedom of managing in a world away from parents and teachers.

We also set up stalls in our driveway selling a mix of watery orange cordial and old toys. Try that today. A few months ago a five-year old girl in east London set up a homemade lemonade stand. A half-hour later four council officials approached her father, read from a script about operating a stand without a permit and fined him £150 ($246). Her father, Andre Spicer, who was born in New Zealand and has lived in Australia, told one media outlet that he couldn’t imagine this kind of thing happening here. Except it did, in Bunbury, Western Australia, 18 months earlier when 11-year-old Chelsea-lee Downes wanted to earn some money over Christmas by selling “fresh organic” homemade lemonade, cupcakes and lemon meringue pies. Local councillors shut down her stall, too.

Today, child play is ruined by regulation. That deliciously thrilling and sometime scary dance manoeuvred by kids around responsibility and freedom is being undermined. If not by parents who overthink childhood for their children, then by a broader society that has taken a wholly disproportionate attitude to the normal risks we should expect to confront as children and indeed as adults. Bubble-wrapping kids from the freedom to fall and fail isn’t building resilient young adults if the rising rates of mental illness and childhood therapy are anything to go bycorrect.

Now we’re pushing kids around again, with Victorian social engineers adding their own layer of regulation to audit playgrounds for some lately imagined evil of gendered play. Not only are we imposing adult fixations about gender on kids, we’re regulating the wonder out of childhood. Before we rush headlong into this latest utopian future mapped out by social activists policing modern memes about gender equity, it pays to check whether pushing kids around in this way is moving them and us in the wrong direction.


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