Friday, October 20, 2017

Greens have the mind of a flea

Comment on opposition to a planned big new coal mine (Adani)

The Coalition has begun to restore a modicum of rationality to the electricity market in Australia. There is more to do. They must assault the green mindset.

Greens are shallow, short-term and anti-democratic, precisely the opposite of the ideals they claim to champion: deep, long-term thinking with liberal democratic souls and pure of heart.

Instead, Greens are shallow because they spend their lives campaigning on the basis of crises that never eventuate. Overpopulation, mass starvation, ruination by agricultural chemicals, mass extinction of species, ecosystem collapse and resource depletion never happen. The world refuses to succumb to the calamity du jour.

But Greens need a calamity to thrive. When one calamity fails to materialise, they invent another. The latest is the alleged threat to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef from the Adani Carmichael coalmine. The reef is an icon, the mine its bete noire.

A Morgan Poll suggests that most Australians do not think the Adani (Carmichael) mine should proceed. I have my doubts about the veracity of the result, especially as another ­Morgan poll of “issues of concern” showed that climate change was mentioned by ­8 per cent of Australians, about the voting strength of the Greens.

Why, when climate change is such a low priority, should Adani be such a target? The Adani polling result is a shocking indictment of the wilful misrepresentation of evidence in the Adani case. Australian Greens leader Richard Di Natale says he is prepared to stand in front of bulldozers and be arrested to stop it. Green activists allegedly are trying to recruit pro­fessional moles to infiltrate jobs in the construction of the mine.

Di Natale believes that “losing” the Great Barrier Reef would cost 70,000 jobs. How will the reef be lost? Greens conflate an alleged physical threat to the reef with a broader climate threat. Coal has been hauled across the reef for generations without harm. There is no physical threat to the reef from shipping Adani coal across it.

The Morgan poll on Adani reflects a deliberate conflation of direct and indirect harm. There is no direct physical threat and the indirect threat is a fast fading theory. Even “the brightest man in Australia”, Chief Scientist Alan Finkel, would know that if Australia were uninhabited there would be no change to the potential threat to the reef from burning coal.

Recall Bjorn Lomborg’s observation of the Paris Accord, achieving the 1.5C global warming target “would require nothing less than the entire planet abandoning the use of every single fossil fuel in less than four years”.

Adani, as with so many other proponents for resource extraction in Australia, has complied with environmental legislation. Green activists assisted both major political parties to write such legislation. From the 1970s environmental impact statements have grown into extraordinarily complex studies, in the Adani case costing tens of millions of dollars and years to compile. And, after all the hurdles have been cleared, still green activists are unhappy. Democracy is ignored.

Instead, greens threaten to trash the law. Di Natale boasts: “You will see a campaign every bit as big as the campaign that stopped the damming of the Franklin.” The Franklin is a lovely river, most of it would have survived a dam, and Tasmania could have been energy self-sufficient with it. Instead, when drought hits Tasmania, the state must rely on coal generation from Victoria for electricity. Green Tasmania is bludging off the mainland.

Hydro is a renewable source of energy. Or at least it was until greens discovered wild rivers. And greens stopped nuclear power, the cleanest source of power. The trouble with greens is their thinking is so short-term.

The time has come to slap a writ on campaigners who set out to destroy others’ livelihoods. The time has come to confront, disrupt and punish environmental campaigners who break the law, ignore parliament and harm legitimate business and workers.

Civil disobedience has an honourable place in the world. It has helped to change attitudes and laws that ended slavery, secured the rights of women, and blacks, and gays. But it is an abuse of the noble tradition to suggest that civil disobedience is justified to prevent a theoretical harm at a far-distant time. Stopping an unrelated activity, a coalmine in Australia, at significant immediate cost to Australians and Indians will not stop climate change.

Activists are damaging Australia. It is about time politicians grew a backbone and confronted these latter-day Luddites.


Less than a quarter of refugees have found jobs

A snapshot of refugees resettling in Australia shows almost a quarter have found employment after two-and-a-half years but many have skills that are going to waste.

The Australian Institute of Family Studies has tracked 2400 refugees across the country, excluding the ACT, in an ongoing study.

A new report released on Thursday found 23 per cent had now found work, up from six per cent in the first six months.

It was easier for men to get a job compared to women, with 36 per cent of men employed compared to eight per cent of female refugees.

Many refugees have experienced trauma, and have spent time in camps and detention centres with interrupted education.

Institute director Anne Hollonds said those with higher levels of education and English skills fared better.

However, most were working in relatively unskilled occupations like labouring despite having been in more skilled work in their home countries, she said.

"Australia.. had forced them to skid down the employment ladder into low-skill jobs," researcher John De Maio said, adding better-targeted programs were needed.

Refugees' English language skills were also on the increase, with 37 per cent who did not understand the language upon arrival dropping to 11 per cent within the study period.


Australia Day: Victorian council ignores call to dump citizenship ceremonies

A COUNCIL under pressure to scrap Australia Day for “Survival Day” has ignored the push and the decision is being called a “slap in the face”

A COUNCIL has quashed a recommendation to immediately dump all January 26 Australia Day celebrations.

The Whittlesea Reconciliation Group, which wants the council to consider acknowledging January 26 as Survival Day while also ceasing citizenship ceremonies, made the recommendation in a joint letter tabled at the October 10 council meeting.

However, councillors resolved to note the joint letter with no further action to be taken, in effect quashing the recommendations.

WRG Co-Chair Andrew Morrison said he was “shocked” by the decision, claiming he received assurances from Mayor Ricky Kirkham and Cr Norm Kelly the recommendations would be given due diligence.

He also said Cr Kirkham had made a personal commitment to request a council officer report.

“What ensued on the night has left many within the group and the wider Aboriginal community shocked,” Mr Morrison said. “Whittlesea Council has historically listened to the voices of WRG and I am bitterly disappointed.

“The Mayor gave his word, to the group and to the local community, that sadly it seems he had no intention of going through with.”

Cr Mary Lalios, who is also president of the Municipal Association of Victoria, said the council didn’t have enough time to consider the joint letter as it needed to have a position for the MAV State Council meeting this Friday.

Cr Lalios instead opted to vote for a motion put forward by Frankston Council for the State Council meeting, which calls on the Federal and State Governments to reaffirm January 26 as the official National Day of Australia.

“I support the Federal Government in leading the debate as to an appropriate National day for all Australians,” Cr Lalios said.

“The Aboriginal community itself is divided on this issue — even within our own municipality there are varying views among Aboriginal people about January 26.”

However, Cr Lalios could not rule out the matter coming back to council in the future.

“It’s important that the conversation continues with all the community, not just the WRG.”

“It’s important that all residents are involved in such a debate, not just a few, because there are ramifications for the whole community, including a potential loss of citizenship ceremonies which is very important to our multicultural community.

“I support the continuation of established celebrations January 26 while the community decides if they wish to debate the issue.”


Are Chinese buyers driving up Australia's housing prices?

They're just a scapegoat.  It is the high level of immigration that is the problem

It's a common perception that Chinese buyers are descending upon Australia and driving up housing prices to unaffordable levels.

However, Chinese buyers had almost no impact on property prices, according to research by business consultancy Cross Border Management (CBM) and BIS Oxford Economics.

The study found that Chinese buyers accounted for less than 2 per cent of all Australian real estate transactions, and contributed less than 1 per cent ($122 out of $12,800) to the average quarterly housing price increase.

Their slightly more mundane conclusion is that the factors behind the nation's high property prices are record-low interest rates and strong population growth.

Chinese investment in Australia rose from $6.2 billion (in 2007) to $87.2 billion (in 2016), CBM stated in its report. That is a fourteen-fold increase in 10 years.

Although this is a rapid increase, the amount of Chinese investment is rather low, compared to the total amount invested by the United States.

America's total investment in Australia was at an already-high $433 billion in 2006. In the last 10 years, the US investment doubled to $861 billion, which is certainly slower than China's fourteen-fold boom in the same period. But when comparing the total value of investments in 2016, the US figure is 10 times higher than China's ($87.2 billion).

"While the growth in Chinese investment has been significant, it pales in comparison to investment flows from other countries," said CBM's managing director CT Johnson.

After the US, the next biggest Australian investors were the UK, Belgium, Hong Kong and Singapore, then China.

"Chinese capital flows into Australia have been almost negligible, accounting for just 2.7 per cent of inbound investment," he said.

"Where East Asians used to account for only 1 in 18 Australians, now they are 1 out of every 12," said Mr Johnson.

He also said the "East Asian" category included people from Japan, Korea, Vietnam and Malaysia, who are mistakenly identified as Chinese (which is a common experience).

Adding to the perception that Chinese buyers are flooding the Australian property market is the high concentration of Chinese residents in certain neighbourhoods.

For instance, almost every fourth person speaks Mandarin in the Melbourne neighbourhood of Clayton, while that figure is higher in the Sydney suburb of Burwood — every 1 in 3.

The CBM study also found there was no correlation between the number of Mandarin speakers and the annual rise in property prices (across 79 neighbourhoods with the highest proportion of Mandarin speakers).

Land squeeze a problem

"The other major factor in housing price growth is population relative to available land," Mr Johnson said, particularly as most Australians live around the coast, hemmed by geographical features like oceans and mountains.

He believes this makes it challenging to develop new land in response to population growth (up 18 per cent since 2006).

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

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