Wednesday, August 09, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is cheering now that we are having a national vote on homosexual marriage

We’re squeezing the life out of our cities with excessive immigration

Judith Sloan
I have spent most of my life living in Melbourne. I was born and raised there. I have lived elsewhere, but have made Melbourne my home for at least part of the year, for more than a decade.

Take it from me, Melbourne is in the process of moving from being one of the most livable cities in the world to one of the most unlivable. Mind you, these international comparisons of livability have always been pretty dodgy: having a temperate climate scores a city a whole lot of points.

But would any Australian really choose Melbourne for its weather?

There is no doubt the primary reason for Melbourne’s loss of livability is the excess growth of its population, which has been apparent for at least a decade, but has accelerated in recent times.

Take the latest figures. Victoria’s population grew by 2.4 per cent over the year ending in the December quarter. Most of this growth was in Melbourne. Australia’s population, by contrast, grew by 1.6 per cent. The two states with the closest rate of population growth were NSW and Queensland, which recorded an annual increase of 1.5 per cent.

Last year’s census reported the population of Melbourne as 4.49 million, a figure that shows it closing in on Sydney, which has 4.82 million people.

Between 2004 and 2016, Melbourne’s population grew by almost a million compared with a rise in the number of residents in Sydney of 821,000.

According to Victorian government projections, Melbourne’s population is likely to exceed eight million by 2050.

When it comes to explaining why Melbourne, in particular, is growing so strongly, there are two principal reasons: overseas migration and interstate migration. Note that close to 90 per cent of recently arrived migrants opt for ­either Melbourne or Sydney.

Net interstate migration has also been strongly positive for Victoria in recent years.  While the annual net average figure for Victoria over the period 2005-06 and 2014-15 was 2885, more than 10,000 individuals moved to Victoria in 2014-15.

The 2016 census confirmed the continuation of this trend, with a remarkable number of people from Western Australia relocating to Victoria in the past two years.

For NSW, by comparison, net interstate migration has been consistently negative over the past decade, meaning more people chose to depart the state than ­arrive in it.

So what are the undesirable features of the galloping rate of growth of Melbourne’s population?

For starters, the new infrastructure projects that would normally be associated with such strong population growth have struggled to keep up. Think schools, hospitals, additional public transport and roads, particularly those linking different parts of the city — the list goes on.

The congestion on the roads and public transport at certain times of the day and week is something to behold. If I take the train to the city during peak times, the experience is akin to travelling in a sardine can. Even though we are not many stops from the beginning of the line, there is no hope of getting a seat or even finding a secure standing spot.

Driving is equally unbearable. Consider also the developments that have been allowed to occur in our precinct. On the arterial roads, the big houses have been sold, pulled down and replaced mostly by tacky-looking, albeit expensive, apartment blocks.

Nothing else has changed in terms of the local schools, local transport, local shops and other local amenities. There are many more people living in the area, but none of the supporting facilities has been altered. Evidently, we locals are being unreasonable trying to block this sort of development; we are guilty of selfish nimbyism and we just need to get with the program.

And that program is medium and high-density living, whether the longstanding incumbents like it or not. I used to think that it was our democratic right to express opinions about how our local suburb should develop, but apparently I was mistaken.

Perhaps I am also missing the point about the vibrancy, excitement and entrepreneurship associated with having such strong population growth, most of which is made up of overseas migrants. But it’s not entirely clear that these benefits are showing up in the economic statistics.

While the labour force participation rate in Victoria is slightly higher than the Australia-wide figure — 66 per cent versus 65 per cent — the most recent rate of unemployment in Victoria (5.9 per cent) is above the national average and well above the rate in NSW (4.8 per cent).

And while the rate of economic growth in Victoria on the face of it looks impressive, although not as impressive as NSW, it is per capita growth that is the more reliable indicator. On this score, the performance of the Victorian economy is only mediocre. Also bear in mind that most of the employment growth in Victoria has been in health and social assistance, public administration and safety, and education and training — all sectors dominated by the public sector.

Bear also in mind that the ­diseconomies of strong population growth, coupled with inadequate infrastructure provision, mean many Melburnians simply don’t feel as if their wellbeing is improving. Rather they feel stressed by packed trains and trams, congested roads, schools bursting at the seams and newly built hospitals that are already too small.

The policy implications are clear: there need to be steps taken to limit the rate of population growth in Melbourne, in particular, but also in Sydney. Blind Freddy could have predicted that excessively low interest rates, credit availability and rapid population growth would lead to skyrocketing house prices. For this reason alone, there should be some relief.

While the federal government has altered the provisions related to the entry of skilled temporary workers (the old 457 visas), which may have the effect of reducing the number of these entrants, it is as plain as day that the annual ­migration program — the permanent migrant intake — must be cut from 190,000, the figure that is in place for this financial year and the next three after that.

This number is simply too high given that almost all migrants head for Melbourne and Sydney and there are obviously limits to the extent to which these cities can absorb these extra people without causing serious downsides.

The only surprising aspect is why our political leaders have delayed the decision to cut the number of migrants. After all, Australia has nearly three times the population growth of the average of developed countries. Why this is sensible has never been properly explained.


The airforce fails to learn from the past

Yesterday I wrote about the RAAF’s decision to implement 62 of 65 recommendations from the Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Kate Jenkins, to lower standards in order to graduate female fighter pilots.

This story is not new. It has happened before.

In fact, the US Navy did just this in the early 1990s so that it could boast about ‘gender equality’. The first female pilot to graduate, Lt. Kara Hultgreen, later died after failing to land safely on the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln in October 1994.

In the fall out from the accident, a report from the independent Centre for Military Readiness revealed that Hultgreen had been allowed to graduate despite numerous failures that would normally have seen trainee pilots failed.

The report stated:

Late in December, 1994, the Center for Military Readiness (CMR) received credible information from a known source, relating to an extraordinary and unusual pattern in the training of two female pilots for combat aviation assignments. One of these, Lt. Kara Hultgreen, was killed while attempting to land an F-14 on the carrier U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln on October 25, 1994. The second female pilot, identified as "Pilot B" to protect her privacy, is still on flight status.

Because the assertions were very sensitive as well as serious, CMR sought the assistance of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) in obtaining verification from Navy officials. In a January 16, 1995 letter to Senator Strom Thurmond (R-SC), Chairman of the SASC, Elaine Donnelly, President of the Center for Military Readiness, presented nine detailed pages chronicling rocky training records for the two women. CMR also quoted a signed letter from a concerned individual who wrote that all of Lt. Hultgreen’s colleagues had great respect for her courage, but as dedicated professionals they could not allow a pervasive climate of political correctness to deter them from initiating a frank discussion of factors which may have contributed to the tragedy:

"In their haste to get women into combat billets as soon as possible, Navy leaders have denied unit commanders the tools they need to make integration workable. Lt. Kara Hultgreen was an F-14 pilot with limited abilities who, had she been a male, would arguably never have graduated to the fleet. (Her colleague, Pilot B, J was a substandard aviation candidate who unquestionably should not have graduated to the fleet, but did so only because of gender.

"…Unfortunately, Navy policy on integration isn’t one of ‘stretching the truth a little.’ With the first two female F-14 pilots, standards weren’t just broken, they were shattered."

From January of 1995 through March 24, Mrs. Donnelly met once at the Pentagon with Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jeremy Boorda, and three times with then-Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Stanley Arthur. At the March 24 meeting with Adm. Arthur, which was also attended by Chief of Naval Information Rear Adm. Kendell Pease and an aide for Senator Spencer Abraham (R-MI), Mrs. Donnelly was shown a non-published Navy document that confirmed, with only a few minor points of disagreement, that the facts and chronologies presented in the January 16 letter were largely accurate.

CMR’s purpose in releasing this information, presented here in condensed form, is to clarify the issues since the tragic death of Lt. Hultgreen, and to challenge the Navy to be fully candid about current and future training practices that treat women differently. If the Navy intends to defend the practice of extending extraordinary concessions to female aviation trainees-and it appears that they are prepared to do just that-the families involved and the entire nation have a right to know and debate the wisdom of that policy.

The question at issue here is not whether women should serve in combat squadrons, but whether women—and all trainees—should be held to the same high standards that have worked in recent years to reduce accident rates in aviation, the most dangerous occupation in the Navy.

Vehement protestations that both women were technically "qualified" are meaningless as well as misleading, because the definition of that word has been radically changed by practices that forgive low scores and major errors in training so that certain people will not fail. Extraordinary concessions and dual-track standards that treat men and women differently heighten risks because the aircraft itself does not forgive. Even proponents of women in combat should agree that these practices are simply indefensible.

Above all, CMR hopes that disclosure of this information will enable Navy personnel, family members, members of Congress, and the American people to engage in a responsible discussion that leads to constructive reforms, before heightened risks result in the needless loss of more young lives.

Importantly, ‘Pilot B’ challenged this report in court, complaining of defamation. The case was thrown out. And ‘Pilot B’ was also removed from service on aircraft carriers due to performance failures.

All Australians should be greatly concerned about this. We are failing to learn the mistakes of the past. And if the RAAF proceeds with these insane AHRC recommendations we may well see pilots killed because they have been graduated for political reasons rather than performance.

And I’ll just make this point too: it is not just females who are risk from this madness. These recommendations will also see males graduate who cannot pass current requirements…


Australia breaching human rights over same-sex divorce: UN

The United Nations has ruled that Australia is breaching its human rights obligations because it does not allow same-sex divorces.

On Thursday, the United Nations Human Rights Committee ruled the differentiation of treatment based on Ms Campbell's sexual orientation constituted discrimination.

In a statement, the committee added the Australian Government was obligated to provide the author "with an effective remedy".

"This requires it to make full reparation to individuals whose covenant rights have been violated," the statement read.

"Accordingly, the state party is obligated to provide the author with full reparation for the discrimination suffered through the lack of access to divorce proceedings.

The state party is also under an obligation to take steps to prevent similar violations in the future and to review its laws in accordance with the present views."

It made the point that Australian law allows people who entered into a polygamous marriage overseas to divorce, yet does not give the same right to same-sex couples.

Polygamy is when a man is married to more than one wife at a time and is banned in Australia.

Dr Campbell said she was thrilled to hear the decision and is hopeful the Government will act on the UN's decision.

"My status is frozen in time and therefore my options to remarry are closed off," she said.

"Further, my daughter's legal rights around freedom of travel and inheritance are compromised, are unclear."

When she initially lodged her case with the UN five years ago, the only way she could have obtained a divorce was if she moved back to Canada for one year.

That law has since changed but Ms Campbell said it would still be a difficult process in Canada because her spouse is "missing in action".

Rodney Croome, a spokesman for LGBTI advocacy group Just Equal, said case shows banning same-sex marriage is also a breach of human rights.

"At the heart of this decision is that Australia has an obligation, an international obligation to treat same-sex couples equally before the law and particularly to give them equal protection of the law," Mr Croome said.

He said Australia is now the only developed English speaking country that does not allow same-sex marriage.

Mr Croome said it should send a message to the Government that there is no need for an expensive and unnecessary plebiscite or postal vote on the issue.

A spokesperson for the Attorney-General said the Government is carefully considering the UN report.


Amazing! A Solid Journalism Academic

The adage that 'those who can't do teach' might have been uttered with our universities' media faculties in mind. There is at least one exception, however, a Wollongong lecturer who gets students to check facts, especially about climate-change claims. Sadly, he is retiring

blackall smallCan you even imagine it! A  journalism lecturer  shows students how to fact-check the climate alarmists’ wild claims and doom-laden forecasts. And he publishes a peer-reviewed commentary, Environmental  Reporting in a Post Truth World, analysing how the media ignores research that runs contrary to the alarmist narrative.

Lordy! How can this fellow get away with it in our all-pervading Left-alarmist academic establishment?

Meet Dr David Blackall (above), senior lecturer in journalism at Wollongong University. His paper is in the journal Asia Pacific  Media Educator. But since he’s in the process of retiring after 25 years with the university, he can rock the boat without fearing for his career prospects.[1]

“I’m packing up my office right now,” he tells Quadrant Online. “I haven’t had any backlash, even though the climate debate seems to be getting increasingly toxic and nasty. Younger academics can’t call out the fake news on climate like I can, because they’d risk their jobs and mortgages.”

The Wollongong Bachelor of Journalism course takes in about 80 entrants a year, plus others from an allied course, Bachelor of Communication and Media Studies. Blackall’s first degree is a Bachelor of Science (Agriculture), and he taught senior HSC agriculture, biology, physics and chemistry for ten years into the 1980s. This broad science background advantages him over non-science journalism academics, and over scientists so over-specialised that they miss the big picture.

Blackall is an ardent conservationist of biodiversity. He has his own 16ha wildlife  refuge reserve ‘Nadjunuga’ at Cambewarra  Mountain, previously a university field station, which he has managed for nearly 40 years. He has also taught and practiced investigative journalism, and last year co-authored an FOI-based study in the Lawyers Alliance journal Precedent on the Ponzi-style fraud and collapse of the Trio Capital Group during 2003-10.

The Blackall Post Truth paper has been re-blogged by leading European sceptic Pierre Gosselin, who asks, “Would it be so difficult for journalists to actually seek scientific verification of their claims before publishing? Or is the pursuit of real-world scientific confirmation too much to expect from journalists and media sources bent on advancing an agenda in this ‘Post Truth World’?”

Blackall writes that journalism students can be defensive about climate because they want careers in corporate media where the “greenhouse warming” narrative holds sway. “Contrary but accurate science journalism  must be generated for balancing societal discourse and demonstrating the Earth’s natural variability,” he writes. Journalists fail to verify facts, including that polar bear populations are increasing, contrary to what he calls the ‘emotional propaganda’ and ‘fake news’ of alarmists.

To deflect being labelled a ‘climate denier’, he gives students assignments on hypotheticals such as the impact of deforestation on clouds and climate. “In previous epochs, CO2 levels were around 400ppm, as they are now, but never in human history has the Earth’s surface been as denuded,” he writes. He cites a study this year that CO2 emissions from land-use changes –  such as tree harvesting and clearing for shifting  agriculture – have been substantially under-estimated.

“However, as a journalism educator, I also recognise that my view, along with others, must be open to challenge both within the scientific community and in the court of public opinion,” he continues.

“It is my responsibility to provide my students with the research skills they need to question – and test – the arguments put forward by key players in any debate.  Given the complexity of the climate warming debate, and the contested nature of the science that underpins both sides, this will provide challenges well into the future.  It is a challenge our students should relish, particularly in an era when they are constantly being bombarded with ‘fake news’ and so-called ‘alternative facts’.

“To do so, they need to understand the science. If they don’t, they need to at least understand  the key players in the debate and what is motivating them. They need to be prepared to question these people and to look beyond their arguments to the agendas that may be driving them. If they don’t, we must be reconciled to a future in which ‘fake news’ becomes the norm.”

He alerts his students to fake climate pictures, such as the use by Reuters of a 2010 photo-shopped image of two Adelie penguins on a block of melting Antarctic ice. The same faked picture (below) had also been used in 2013 to illustrate arctic warming (notwithstanding that penguins aren’t found in the Arctic). He also directs students to look into the  dubious ‘pause-busting” paper by Tom Karl of NOAA, timed to influence the 2015 Paris climate summit. “There are many agendas at play, with careers at stake,” he says.

Blackall’s paper queries why journalists fail to report the widening gap between climate models’ temperature forecasts and actual temperatures. Similarly, they don’t report the non-acceleration of sea-level rise, a big problem for the alarmist narrative.

His main argument is that human-caused greenhouse gases are not the main source of climate change, as claimed by the climate establishment.  The flat-lining of global temperatures in the past two decades despite massive CO2 increases is an obvious problem for the orthodox narrative, he says. There are multiple interacting and little-understood natural causes, but computer modelling is privileged over other relevant disciplines, such as geology. Alarmists play down the major uncertainties and use ‘consensus’ as a culture of gatekeeping  against contrary views. “Then, and dangerously, dissenters are silenced so that chosen and ‘necessary’ discourses arrive in journals, conferences and boardrooms,” he writes.

Blackall outed himself as a climate sceptic nearly a decade ago. In a 2010 paper also published in Asia Pacific Media Educator   (“Anti-terrorism, climate change and ‘dog whistle’ journalism”) he wrote of the compliant mainstream news media fanning fears on behalf of governments about imaginary climate catastrophes.[2]

Educators of journalists need to give students double skills – of integrity and fearlessness, plus the ability to maintain employability in the mainstream media, he wrote. The students need to become ‘highly adept chameleons’ to further their careers. They are given ‘hypotheticals’ requiring checking narratives against science literature. But the drafts must also be written conservatively. “No newspaper would run anything too removed from the dominant view on climate variability,” Blackall continued.

The media seemed unable to do routine internet searching to act as a ‘watchdog’ on government. This was reflected in its ‘advocacy journalism’ about the 2009 Copenhagen summit and downplaying of the Climategate email leaks, he wrote. [3]

In this paper he was prescient in highlighting the corrupted temperature  data relied on for the alarmist narrative and modelling –  including data from non-existent weather stations and stations affected by the non-CO2 urban heat island effects. In contrast, rural stations typically showed decades of consistent temperatures, he said. “News media have failed to explain or examine  these simple anomalies,” he complained. He also instanced floods being blamed by media on climate change when  the immediate cause was irresponsible local activities upstream, including tree-felling and mismanagement of dams.

He argued that without acutely educated scepticism, journalism graduates fall prey to the seductive and political tune of the dog whistle, such as believing the myth of a ‘climate consensus’.

Blackall’s arguments can be verified by  journalists’ climate ignorance in their use of the nonsense propaganda phrase “carbon pollution” when they actually mean “CO2 emissions”. Not one in a hundred journalists who quote the so-called “97% consensus” on climate alarm would be aware that the John Cook (UQ) study actually found that only 0.3% of 12,000 studies supported the IPCC line that more than half the past 60 years’ warming is human-caused.

Blackall’s critique of journalists can be tested against The Age (Garry Maddox) and The Australian (Rosemary Neill) stories last weekend about Al Gore marketing his climate-alarm film An Inconvenient Sequel in Melbourne.  Neither thought it worth mentioning that anti-emissions campaigner Gore inhabits a 20-room house (one of his three homes) whose pool heating alone uses as much electricity as six average US homes, and whose total electricity consumption is that of 21 normal residences.[4] The Age’s Maddox did not mention that Gore and his business partner from Goldman Sachs, according to Forbes, made nearly $US220m in carbon trading profits from 2008-2011.

The Australian’s Neill commendably reported the accusations of Gore’s enrichment via green schemes, and unlike Maddox, she drew attention to the UK High Court’s 2007 finding of nine scientific and other errors in Gore’s first film. The court also ruled that the film’s partisan stance made it inappropriate for UK school children unless accompanied by balancing  material. Neill should have queried why Gore had not corrected the nine errors or issued an errata, instead permitting the flawed film to mislead further millions of students. The film even asserts in its ignorance that some Pacific nations “have all had to evacuate to New Zealand.”

The Australian, via ex-ABC chair Maurice Newman, reported that Gore’s opposite number, top US sceptic blogger Marc Morano, was in Melbourne concurrently with Gore and promoting his own film Climate Hustle. The Age and the ABC ignored Morano (while the ABC gave Gore blanket coverage) but Andrew Bolt (Herald Sun) gave Morano a prominent interview.

Dr Blackall’s retirement is a loss to journalist education. Let’s hope there are others like him out there, with the guts, smarts and integrity to take on the “kindergarten science” of climate alarm.


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

1 comment:

Paul said...

"These recommendations will also see males graduate who cannot pass current requirements…"

Let me guess....

Black Lives Matter?