Thursday, November 30, 2017

White "Aborigines" soaking up funds needed for blacks

Andrew Bolt got prosecuted and convicted for saying this.  Good that someone now is allowed to say it

Cosseted urbanites who belatedly self-identify as indigenous are ­ripping much-needed funds from the pockets of their disadvantaged brethren in remote communities farther north, according to one of the nation’s highest-profile Aboriginal bodies.

The Yothu Yindi Foundation, which runs the annual Garma Festival in Arnhem Land, yesterday told the Productivity Commission that counting indigeneity in the formula used to allocate GST revenue might be hurting those in areas with the highest need.

YYF representatives said “exponential” growth in the indigenous-identifying populations of southern states — over and above that attributable to natural factors — was “draining away” money from the Northern Territory.

Bob Beadman, who previously chaired the local branch of the body responsible for implementing the GST formula, said YYF was also concerned about identity “fraud” and called for “greater efforts to distinguish degrees of need among the Aboriginal population”.

“We believe the self-identification provision in the census is encouraging people to come ­forward for reasons of their own. Some of those reasons might be to do with the work of genealogists … if there was an indigenous ancestor 200 years ago, suddenly an ­entirely new family appears on the census data as indigenous,” Mr Beadman said.

“We know from census data that 80 per cent of marriages interstate are to a non-indigenous partner, and the kids of that union then become indigenous … all of this growth in numbers is drawing money away from the Territory.”

Mr Beadman made the comments at a PC hearing into the horizontal fiscal equalisation formula, which governs the Commonwealth Grants Commission’s allocation of GST. Over half the Territory government’s annual budget typically consists of GST.

“A double university-degree, double-income family in their own house in Parramatta should have much lesser value in the weighting that the CGC would give to an indigenous family (as compared) with (a family consisting of) several intergenerational levels of welfare dependency, all unemployed and in a humpy in a remote community like Papunya,” he said.


Religious freedom laws not included in same-sex marriage bill

Malcolm Turnbull is facing mounting hostility among conservative MPs after an overwhelming majority of Coalition senators last night voted for amendments to the same-sex marriage bill only to be shot down when six Coalition senators, including three cabinet ministers, sided with Labor and the Greens to scuttle them.

The move is likely to see Liberal senator Dean Smith’s bill rammed through the Senate unchanged as early as this morning, crushing attempts by 18 of 26 ­Coalition senators to secure significant amendments to broaden religious protections.

Liberal frontbencher Zed ­Seselja last night accused colleagues of conspiring with the Greens and Labor to undermine the rights of parents and freedom of speech.  “Labor, Greens and a handful of Liberals are undermining freedom of speech, religion and parental rights in Australia by voting down these amendments,” he said.

The defeat of the first two rounds of amendments put by Liberal senators David Fawcett and James Paterson came as six No voting Labor senators buckled to internal pressure to not cross the floor in support of the amendments, prompting claims Labor’s conscience vote had been torn up.

Cabinet ministers Simon Birmingham, Marise Payne and Nigel Scullion joined Senator Smith and Jane Hume in voting against changes to the Smith bill, ensuring it will pass unamended. The remaining Fawcett/Paterson amendments, including parental rights, also failed.

In a final bid late yesterday to secure a token protection measure, cabinet ministers Matt Canavan and Attorney-General George Brandis moved a reworked amendment to protect people from discrimination for expressing a religious view.

WA Liberal Linda Reynolds voted in favour of the Canavan and Brandis amendments but voted against the others.

Conservative MPs have warned that the Prime Minister faces a potentially hostile partyroom next week with six cabinet ministers and a growing number of frontbenchers supporting amendments, which will now be taken to the lower house when it returns next week to vote on the bill. The same-sex marriage split comes as Mr Turnbull faces pressure from the Nationals to support a commission of inquiry into the banks, as crossparty support mounted for the probe pushed by LNP senator Barry O’Sullivan.

“He will have to respond to this and realise there is a problem. If the Smith bill had been put to a partyroom vote it would have had no chance of being passed,” one senior MP said. “He risks being completely out of step with his partyroom on this.”

Queensland MP Scott Buchholz and senator Ian Macdonald yesterday criticised the Prime Minister for lacking an “inner mongrel”, saying he had failed to take on Labor with more “passion and aggression”.

Senator Macdonald, who is based in Townsville, said Mr Turnbull — who has visited north Queensland only three times since last year’s federal election — was not appealing to Coalition supporters by playing to people “that will never vote for us”.

In September, Mr Turnbull had offered hope to Christian groups and conservative MPs when he pledged to protect ­religious protections following the same-sex marriage survey.

“I just want to reassure Australians that as strongly as I believe in the right of same-sex couples to marry, as strongly as I believe in that, even more strongly, if you like, do I believe in religious freedom,” Mr Turnbull said. “Religious freedom is fundamental and it will be protected in any bill that emerges from this ­parliament.”

Scott Morrison, a leading proponent and most senior cabinet minister backing religious freedoms, tried to turn the tables on Labor, accusing Bill Shorten of binding his No-voting senators against backing the amendments and effectively reneging on a promise of a conscience vote.

“Bill Shorten has turned his back on people of faith and ­religion, including Labor voters, for political advantage,” the Treasurer told The Australian. “Many people of faith voted against same-sex marriage in Labor electorates and wanted protections for ­religious freedoms. “If you are person of faith in Australia, you can have no faith in Bill Shorten and the Labor Party.”

Senator Smith told The Australian religious freedoms “does not end with the passage of the same-sex marriage bill”.

“The strength of the government’s pathway for legislating for marriage equality has always been its decision to allow individual ­Coalition senators a parliamentary free vote,” Senator Smith said.

“This has allowed Coalition senators in good faith to represent the views of both Coalition Yes and No voters in designing the legal architecture for same-sex marriage. Equally, it has allowed the ventilation of various attitudes on how to best protect religious views and uphold our effective anti-discrimination laws.

“The matter of religious freedoms in Australia does not end with the passage of the same-sex marriage bill.

“It has been clearly demonstrated the matter warrants careful, comprehensive examination.

“The result of the survey highlights many things, not least the need to carefully balance the contemporary values of many Australians with the more socially conservative approach of other Australians. Guaranteeing the co-existence of these attitudes is important for Australia and critical for the future electoral success of the Liberal Party.”

Labor legal affairs spokesman Mark Dreyfus denied Labor senators who had signalled an intention to vote with conservative Coalition MPs in favour of amendments had been stripped of a conscience vote.

He said Labor MPs who were opposed to same-sex marriage would not get a conscience vote on enshrining further ­religious protections after the review of the freedoms ordered by Mr Turnbull and to be conducted by former Howard minister Philip Ruddock was completed next year.

Labor senator Helen Polley, who has strongly suggested to ­Coalition senators that she would vote with the amendments, last night said she would oppose them on the basis there were “legitimate concerns regarding religious freedom” that should be investigated in the Ruddock review.

“It’s important that these issues be investigated by the Ruddock review and that religious freedom protections in Australia be considered in greater detail,” she said.

“Those who know me know that I have always had a very strong view regarding marriage. “Unless we ensure appropriate protections are in place, this is the type of intolerance incident I fear could become the norm if safeguards are not put in place in the future,” Senator Polley said.


The universities and degrees with the best outcomes revealed

Three Sydney universities are among the best in the country for their six-year degree completion rates, but the national graduation rate has fallen to its lowest level recorded.

Overall, the six-year university completion rate has dropped to the lowest levels recorded since the Department of Education began collating the data, with only 66 per cent of students who started their degree in 2010 finishing by 2015.

The overall short and medium-term employment rates for students with undergraduate degrees have also fallen significantly since 2007, with 67.5 per cent of students who graduated in 2014 finding full-time work within four months, compared to 83.6 per cent of students who graduated in 2007.

About 89.3 per cent of students who graduated in 2014 found work within three years, compared to 92.6 per cent of students who graduated in 2007, according to the 2017 Graduate Outcomes Survey, which is funded by the Australian government and conducted by the Social Research Centre.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham said universities could do more to improve outcomes for students. "It's clear some of our universities need to take a close look at their efforts and do more to support the students they enrol with significant taxpayer subsidies," Senator Birmingham said.

"While the results show most institutions are supporting the vast majority of their students through to completing their courses, some with already below-average results have seen further declines."

The University of Melbourne is the best university in Australia in terms of completion rates, with nearly 88 per cent of domestic bachelor students who started their degrees in 2010 graduating by 2015, according to the latest Department of Education figures.

The University of Sydney has the next best completion rate, with nearly 83 per cent of students finishing their degrees within six years of commencement, followed by Monash University, with a six-year completion rate of 80 per cent.

The University of NSW is also among the top universities by completion rate, with 79.6 per cent of students finishing their degree within six years, followed by the University of Technology Sydney, with a completion rate of 76.7 per cent.

At the other end of the spectrum, less than half of all students at the University of New England in northern NSW had finished their degrees after six years, with a completion rate of 47.2 per cent.

Other universities with low completion rates include Federation University Australia in Victoria, with 36.4 per cent of students finishing their degree within six years, Charles Darwin University in the Northern Territory with a completion rate of 41.2 per cent, and the University of Southern Queensland, with a rate of 42.5 per cent.

Nationally, students who graduated with medicine degrees had some of the best outcomes, with the highest short and medium-term employment rates and median salaries.

About 97.7 per cent of medical graduates were in full-time jobs four months after graduating and had a median full-time salary of $63,000.

In comparison, students who graduated with creative arts degrees had some of the worst graduate outcomes, with only 45.7 per cent finding full-time jobs within four months of finishing their degree, and reporting an initial median salary of $45,000.

This increased to 79.4 per cent of graduates in full-time work within three years of finishing university, and a medium-term median salary of $55,000.

Similarly, only 48 per cent of science and maths students found work within four months of graduating and had a median salary of $52,000. This increased to 83.5 per cent of students in full-time jobs within three years, with a median salary of $62,000.


Barrier reef not as fragile as once thought

It has inbuilt recovery from damage mechanisms

About 100 coral reefs within the Great Barrier Reef have been identified as having particular resilience that may help corals recover from bleaching and other threats.

The hardy "robust source reefs" – about 112 in number or about 3 per cent of total coverage – were found to be in cooler, outer reefs.

Their location helped shield them from the recent back-to-back annual bleaching that had devastated corals, the Australian and British researchers found.

Their proximity to stronger ocean currents than inland reefs also meant their annual spawning events could disperse coral larvae over a large region, fostering recovery after bleaching or cyclones.

A third characteristic was a relative absence of crown-of-thorns starfish, lowering their susceptibility to that threat.

Peter Mumby, one of the authors of the reef paper appearing on Wednesday in PLOS Biology, said a single coral spawning event from the robust sites could "almost reach half the reefs of the Great Barrier Reef".

"These sites are important ecologically, providing some of the backbone of the reef," said Professor Mumby, who is based at the University of Queensland's School of Biological Sciences.

"We are trying to uncover the natural life-support system of the reef, so we can then support it," he said, adding: "The reef is much better connected than we thought."

The importance of supporting natural recovery processes would likely increase in the future "as climate change reduces the average size of coral populations and the need for recolonisation becomes more frequent," the paper said.

But with most of the robust sites clustered off Mackay in the central-south region of the Great Barrier Reef, any relative resilience might be of little benefit to more distant regions, such as the northern end.


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, November 29, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is skeptical about Tracey Spicer involving herself in the sexual abuse panic

Bob Katter versus crocodiles versus "experts"

Crocs mean "no swimming in coastal waters or in rivers within a certain distance from the coast" but that's OK, apparently. The Greenies below look at the long term average of croc attacks and say it is low but that is an inappropriate statistic where the population is rising.  They should look at the trend.  And if you do that you see the four recent attacks as a minimum not as an outlier.

And to demonstrate ecological benefit from lots of crocs they had to go to Brazil.  Pretty good evidence that there are no such benefits here.

They are right in saying that crocs are a tourist attraction and some areas should be set aside for that purpose.  But limiting their Queensland population to the Daintree and parts North would be a reasonable compromise.  That would leave a big areas for crocs while leaving most of the North Queensland coast safe.  But compromise is alien to Greenies.  They always want it all

Australian politician Bob Katter wants to launch a war … against crocodiles. 

Katter, known for his controversial opinions on multiple topics including same-sex marriage, claimed on Nov. 15 that there are too many crocodiles in Australia. They have no natural enemies, and in the Australian region of North Queensland alone, they eat up to four people each year, he said.

Katter made the anti-croc statement on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's program "Insiders"

But crocodile experts assert that the ancient reptiles are, in fact, good for Australia.

The animals have a positive effect on the ecosystem, as well as the local economy, said Adam Britton, a leading crocodile expert and zoologist at Charles Darwin University in Australia. Though Britton conceded that crocodiles in the rivers of northern Australia can threaten people's lives, these dangers can be easily managed, he said.

"There are probably between 150 [thousand] and 180 thousand crocodiles in the Northern Territory [of Australia] and some 40 [thousand] to 50 thousand in Queensland," Britton told Live Science. "They are certainly not endangered. But over the last 30 to 40 years, we were able to deal with the risks [posed by crocodiles] via a management program."

For local people, that program means no swimming in coastal waters or in rivers within a certain distance from the coast.

Britton, who runs the website CrocBITE, which monitors attacks by all sorts of crocodile species around the world, noted that North Queensland has experienced an unusual streak of crocodile attacks over the past year. However, he said that he doesn't think there are too many crocodiles in Queensland's rivers. Rather, the croc population is still recovering from overhunting that occurred in the first half of the 20th century, he said.

"This year has been a little bit unusual for Queensland," Britton said. "They had four attacks in total. Two of them were fatal. It has been the worst year they've had for a long time."

But in the long term, the statistics look less sinister, Britton said. "Over the last 10 years, there have been 14 crocodile attacks in North Queensland, six of them fatal," he said. "That would be about one person killed by crocodiles every 20 months."

Most of the victims had ignored a slew of warning signs, Britton said. The crocodile habitats are known and marked by warning signs, yet some people decide to risk their lives nonetheless.

In one of the recent cases, for example, a guy "was attacked by a crocodile when he was showing off to a girl," Britton said. "He jumped into the water, where he knew there were crocodiles, and sure enough, one of them bit him. It's like putting on a blindfold and walking into a highway. You may be lucky or you may not."

Britton added that even though crocodiles place limitations on people living in the areas, northern Australia benefits from the animals' presence. The reptiles attract adventure-seeking tourists, and the wild-crocodile egg-harvesting program is an important source of income for Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory, he said. Harvesters can sell the eggs to crocodile farms that breed the animals for skins, which are popular in the fashion industry.

Moreover, artificially reducing the crocodile population could disrupt the balance of the wider ecosystem, Britton said.

"There are examples from other parts of the world," Britton said. "For example, in Brazil, when they removed black caimans [a large crocodile species], the economically valuable fish that were captured by local people disappeared."

After the reintroduction of the caimans, the fish population recovered. Researchers eventually found that the juvenile caimans feed on crabs, which eat fish eggs. The lack of juvenile caimans had meant too many crabs in the water, which resulted in a reduced fish population and economic problems for local fishers.

Katter said he is concerned that crocodiles don't have natural enemies and that the only way to keep the population within limits is to kill off the animals. But Britton said the population will stabilize naturally once it reaches healthy levels.

"As the crocodile population recovers, the mortality rate of juveniles increases through competition," said Britton. "Crocodiles actually self-control their own population growth, eventually slowing down and reaching a stable level like any wild animal population with limited resources."


Queensland election: Stephen Andrew won't be last to win seat for One Nation, Pauline Hanson says

A gun dealer and feral pig shooter from Mackay who secured One Nation's first, and likely only, seat in the state election will be a strong voice for regional Queensland, party leader Pauline Hanson has said.

With 75 per cent of the vote counted, One Nation's candidate Stephen Andrew has secured enough preferences to take the northern seat of Mirani, ousting Labor MP Jim Pearce.

ABC election analyst Antony Green officially called the seat for Senator Hanson's party late yesterday afternoon.

Labor is predicted to get the required 47 seats to form government in the next few days, while the LNP has 36 and could get 40.

Green has predicted One Nation and the Greens may win one seat each, Katter's Australia Party possibly three seats, and one independent.

Mr Andrew would also become the Queensland leader of One Nation, by default, after the current leader Steve Dickson was turfed from his Sunshine Coast seat of Buderim.

Mr Pearce said while he topped the primary vote, preferences proved to be his downfall. "With One Nation and the LNP swapping their preferences, I really had no chance of hanging onto the seat once they did that, because the preferences have been coming through in large numbers for the One Nation candidate," Mr Pearce said.

In a statement, Ms Hanson said Mr Andrew had worked "exceptionally hard over the past 12 months" and would be a strong voice for regional Queensland. "I suspect he and the Katters will hold the balance of power in the state," Senator Hanson said.

Senator Hanson also posted on Facebook this morning, saying she thought the party would win other seats. "I'm very proud of Stephen Andrew's win in the Queensland election," Senator Hanson wrote.  "He won't be the last, with things looking very strong in at least five other seats." "I sense we will have some other exciting announcements over the coming days," Senator Hanson said.

Mr Andrew is a fourth generation South Sea Islander who lives in Mackay. He is also heavily involved in the gun lobby movement and is a licensed weapons dealer.

Mr Pearce was elected as the Member for Broadsound in 1989, before moving to the electorate of Fitzroy. He retired in 2009, but won Mirani in 2015, the first time Labor held the seat.


Perth Modern School wants bigger classes

Larger class sizes can in fact be highly beneficial if they expose more students to good teachers.  But the unions are afraid of them in case they reduce the number of teaching jobs available

WA’s only academically selective school is offering teachers up to $500 cash in exchange for taking extra students above maximum class-size thresholds, raising the ire of the teachers’ union.

Perth Modern School has told teachers they can “negotiate” compensation for accepting bigger classes above the limit of 32 pupils in Years 7 to 10 or 25 in Years 11 and 12.

A document circulated last week to staff at the Subiaco school said it was not compul-sory for teachers to take on extra students but there would be trade-offs for those who chose to do so.

“Examples of negotiated compensation may include trading off yard duty or, in some cases, for middle years there is a figure of $300 for an extra student and $500 for senior years, or you are welcome to negotiate for something else if you require,” it said.

State School Teachers Union president Pat Byrne said offering teachers a financial incentive for extra students was “highly unusual”. The union had raised its concerns with the department after Perth Modern teachers flagged the issue.

“Planning to have classes that exceed the limit is a breach of our industrial agreement,” Ms Byrne said. “So that’s certainly a concern.”

She said that under the union’s agreement with the Education Department, schools were not permitted to plan for classes to be above the agreed maximum. The agreement recognised that classes sometimes exceeded the limit after new students enrolled, so teachers could discuss reducing other duties in recognition of the additional workload.

“There is nothing unusual about that,” Ms Byrne said. “Where it gets unusual is the notion that people are paid extra. It means the school is actually not prioritising class sizes. Class sizes are fixed at a number for a range of reasons — a lot of that is to do with the size of the classroom and safety, particularly if you’re in a science lab or home economics room.

“It isn’t just about workload, it’s also about the actual attention that a teacher can give to individual students.”

Ms Byrne said she had not heard of any other public schools making a similar offer but worried it could set a precedent.

“It undermines the whole rationale for having smaller classes,” she said. “Schools are funded according to the class size ratio, so there should be no reason for a school to be needing to offer that sort of payment,” she said.

“The implication here is that as long as people get paid money, it’s all right to have larger class sizes.

“But we wouldn’t support that at all. It’s about the quality of education you can provide for that class and the bigger it gets the harder it is to do that.” An Education Department spokeswoman said: “This matter was brought to the department’s attention recently and we are currently looking into it.”


Our tax system rewards losers, so it reaps failure

Scott Morrison is looking at our income tax system with a view to proposing tax cuts before the next election. Well, he may have a really hard look because our system is set up all wrong and needs the rules dramatically changed. Our tax game incentivises losing. We need fewer losers, more winners. So we must incentivise winning. Our system takes too much off those who are bright, who work the hardest, take the most risks and, yes, have the best luck, too.

Our system incentivises us towards failure, and so the result is failure and an undesirable, tall poppy-hating culture. In Australia there seems to be no point in working overtime, working too much, trying too hard and becoming a champion. We punish those who try to create wealth. We sneer at our winners. We line up to lose and cheer ourselves on as losers.

Virtually half the country lines up at Centrelink every fortnight with their hand out, without a moment's thought towards the person who had to go to work to put that money into their possession.

One half of our community supports the other half. Surely, everyone can see how ridiculous this is. Worse, the supported half seem insatiable; no matter how much they are given it is never enough and constantly there is loud clamouring for more.

The Treasurer, to put it mildly, is a disappointment of the highest order. With regards to his tax proposal he is likely to do something characteristically foolish and self-defeating yet again. If he cuts income taxes it will probably be by a few measly bucks a week. This will be an insult that will infuriate, and hasten his demise.

The government needs a circuit breaker and strong product differentiation from Labor. Wise heads within the government should push Morrison to turn the income tax system on its head. The system should drive wealth creation and reward self-sufficiency. People should be incentivised to earn as much as possible, to stand on their own two feet. Avoiding contact with Centrelink should become a source of pride and a national obsession, the ultimate goal everyone strives to achieve.

There will always be people in our community who need support but there is no way that number is 50 per cent. At the moment, because of our tax system, dishonesty, mediocrity and failure are rewarded, therefore aspired to, and ultimately revered. Imagine how much better our country would be if all of that were totally reversed.


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, November 28, 2017

Australian cities could soon be uninhabitable because of extreme heat with 'brutal' global warming already making temperatures soar to SEVENTY degrees (?)

What a lot of slime!  The alleged 70 degrees reported was the temperature reached by bitumen roads at  midday on a dry sunny day in the tropics.  No air temperature ever gets near that.  And bitumen roads in the tropics have always got very hot -- so hot that the bitumen sometimes melts.  It is neither unusual nor diagnostic of anything. I well remember sitting on my verandah in the tropics one Christmas day long ago and watching the heat waves rise like worms from the bitumen road outside

And you can't draw global conclusions from what happens in one country.  Australia is at the moment having a hot spell but at the same time Britain is having an unusually cold spell. The two average out to say nothing global is happening.  I reproduce both the Australian and British reports below

Climate scientists have warned that some Australian cities could become 'virtually uninhabitable' due to a combination of blistering heat and smothering humidity.

In the past week alone, surface temperatures in parts of Darwin's inner city have been nudging 70C - and experts have told that some regional cities in Queensland 'may not be far behind'. 

This year, Bureau of Meteorology senior climate liaison officer Greg Browning warned Darwin residents that 'everything would be hotter than normal' in the lead-up to the wet season.

Average temperatures all over the country have been shattering records all year, with Hobart's recent run of six consecutive November days unparalleled in 130 years.

Darwin residents have 'suffered' through a 'hotter than average' lead up to the 2017 wet season

Sydneysiders are also in the midst of the warmest November week in nearly 50 years, ending a dismal run of rain and cooler temperatures.

A prolonged run of uninterrupted warm weather is due to hit the city with temperatures set to reach or exceed 25 degrees every day until the end of November.

'The last time this happened in November was in 1968, and it's only happened four times in the last 160 years,' Weatherzone meteorologist Brett Dutschke told Daily Mail Australia.

The last times Sydney basked in seven consecutive days of temperatures at or above 25 degrees were in 1968 and 1897.

The consistently warm weather is the result of a high pressure system - known as a 'blocking high' - that is centred over the Tasman Sea and is stopping any strong cold fronts from moving up Australia's east coast.

And it's not just Sydney that's rolling into summer - Melbourne residents have had sweltering spring temperatures for the past week, enduring the longest stretch of November days exceeding 28 degrees on record.

Australian National University's Dr Elizabeth Hanna warned that the issue would mostly affect the Top End due to the tropical humidity.

'We can cope with much higher temperatures in Melbourne because the air is drier, but in Darwin the high temperatures and humidity are oppressive.

'If it gets worse, those unpleasant times of the year (like the build-up) will extend longer and longer making it not a viable place to live,' she told the news site.

Professor Mattheos Santamouris explained that the way to combat climate change and battle rising temperatures is to 'understand what is happening at a local level'.

He warns that if Australia can't find a solution, the cities will eventually become 'uninhabitable'.

But it's not just the environment that will suffer - when it's oppressively hot, people feel 'crappy and grumpy' which impacts on people's social behaviour.  

Professor Samtamouris recommends planting more greenery - the surface temperature of grass in the city of Darwin is only 27.4øC, while bitumen can have a surface temp of nearly 70øC

Three months ago, the Territory Government kicked off a project to see where Darwin's hot spots were - and what was causing them - so they could cool down the CBD.

'The study found our streets, parking lots, roofs and pavements have very high surface temperatures, ranging from 45-67C,' said Chief Minister Michael Gunner at the time.

'Areas such as the Post Office carpark, the Supreme Court car park, and the Bus Terminal are incredibly hot - Cavanagh Street (the CBD's main thoroughfare) is a river of fire.'

Professor Samtamouris told Darwin was a 'classic case of an urban heat island' where materials used in roads and buildings 'turbocharged' temperatures.

Excessively hot surface temperatures can raise the temperature around them - for instance, black bitumen can heat the air by around 3ø - which is why Professor Samtamouris recommends more greenery in the city.

He also suggests building with alternative materials, like 'cooling' asphalt which works to bring own the surrounding air temperature.

The urban heat island effect is being felt most strongly in Darwin, but the rest of Australia may not be too far behind.

'Townsville and Cairns are not as bad but they will start to become like Darwin. Everything is just moving to the extreme but we just don't know exactly when or how fast it will happen,'' warned Professor Hanna.

'Global temperatures are going so badly and emissions are increasing so much that it's not looking good.'

Planting more trees and creating shady streets was a good strategy to make cities more liveable, she said, but as temperatures continue to rise, there's only so much that plants can do.


Britain is gripped by a deep FREEZE: Health chiefs warn of 'very real risk' of deaths as temperatures plummet to -4C and November looks set to be coldest on record

Just as quickly as the temperatures across Britain dropped this weekend, bookmakers have slashed the odds on November to be the coldest on record.

Britain is facing more sub-zero temperatures tonight as the cold snap which has braced the nation is expected to bite again.

The mercury dipped to -3.5C (25.7F) in Hurn, Bournemouth, while South Newington reached -2C (28.4F) and Drumnadrochit, near the Loch Ness dipped to -1.7C (28.94F), while health watchdogs have urged people to prepare for a prolonged cold snap. 

Ladbrokes slashed their odds to just 5/2 that November will be the coldest on record. The betting firm has also slashed the odds of the UK seeing a White Christmas to just 8/15, while Coral is offering 4/6 on the same bet.

Jessica Bridge of Ladbrokes said: 'The sun might be shining but the odds are shivering south as much as the mercury is. It looks like the UK could finally see a proper White Christmas this year.'

Weathermen believe records may have been broken as this weekend was the fifth autumn weekend which saw temperatures fall below at least -4C. 

The Weather Outlook forecaster Brian Gaze said: 'All regions are at risk of rain, sleet and snow later in the week.

'Five autumn weekends in a row each having sub-zero cold snaps must be a record.'

And the low temperatures are likely to see a new level 2 Government health warning as hospitals prepare be to busier than usual., while staff prepare to make daily visits or phone calls to the vulnerable. Figures earlier this week showed there were more than 34,000 'excess deaths' across England and Wales over the last winter period, the second highest level in eight years. 

But despite the chilly temperatures last night, the mercury did not drop near to this Autumn's lowest temperature of -6.3C which was recorded this Friday in Topcliffe, North Yorkshire.

On Saturday there were smatterings of snow in parts of Scotland and the West Midlands, with more forecast for higher parts of Wales, the Pennines and parts of Northern Ireland overnight.

On Saturday there were smatterings of snow in parts of Scotland and the West Midlands, with more forecast for higher parts of Wales, the Pennines and parts of Northern Ireland overnight. The mercury dipped to -3.5C (25.7F) in Hurn, Bournemouth, while South Newington reached -2C (28.4F) and Drumnadrochit, near the Loch Ness dipped to -1.7C (28.94F)

A yellow weather warning was issued for the length of the western side of Britain and Northern Ireland from 10pm on Saturday until 10am on Sunday, alerting people to the risk of ice.

Yet the weather warnings have now been lifted, although a Met Office spokesman warned people living in coastal areas to remain vigilant as there is the possibility that showers which happen into this evening and overnight could pose a risk of icing over. 

Heading into next week, the Met Office warned of snow as far south as Essex by Wednesday, with the East, Northern Britain and Wales all due low-level snow near coasts.

While temperatures will remain similar to the 3-6C that most of Britain felt during the day this weekend, the bitter polar winds next week could make it feel a bitter -1 to -2C.

Temperatures in some parts of Britain could plummet to a brisk -7C on either Wednesday or Thursday in both Scotland or England, which would beat Saturday morning's low of -6.3C in Topcliffe, North Yorkshire. 

Met Office forecaster Luke Miall said: 'It turns cold again from Monday afternoon and stays colder-than-average through the week and for up to 10 days, with winds from the Arctic.


Thug cops still working in NSW police

A toy dinosaur could end up costing NSW about $500,000 after police settled a claim they had bashed two men in Queanbeyan in 2013.

The two officers have been promoted, one having made detective, and remain on the force after NSW settled the claim without admission of liability in August.

Court-tendered documents alleged Rickey Caton and Adam Antram were beaten by then-senior constable Todd Finnigan and then-constable Patrick Hicks in December, 2013 after Mr Caton pointed a toy dinosaur at senior constable Finnigan.

According to the claim, the two officers then charged Mr Caton and Mr Antram with numerous offences, including assaulting an officer, in what is now known as "the dinosaur incident".

The case went ahead until a third officer who was present, constable Lucie Litchfield, testified in court to the contrary.

In total, the incident could cost NSW about $500,000. After police dropped the criminal charges against Mr Caton and Mr Antram in October 2015, they paid their $110,00 legal costs.

Their lawyer, Peter Bevan, expects the NSW government to pay over $300,000 in legal costs after a civil claim lodged by the men saw the police settle for $45,000 apiece with the two men in August this year.

An internal police investigation into the officers' actions that night concluded in June this year they had not acted improperly and no disciplinary action was taken.

The two officers have been promoted. According to unrelated court documents from September this year, Finnigan has been promoted to detective; another unrelated document from May shows Hicks is now a senior constable.

"Those two officers remain in the workplace with the full confidence of the commander," a NSW police spokeswoman said.

Ms Litchfield resigned from the force in 2015, then telling Fairfax Media she had been driven out. Ms Litchfield was contacted for comment for this article.

Mr Bevan has lodged a complaint to the NSW police watchdog, the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission, regarding the investigation's outcome.

A commission spokeswoman said they were reviewing the internal report. "Once the LECC has completed this review, further information will be sent directly to the complainant about the matter," the spokeswoman said.

Speaking for the first time since the settlement, ?Mr Caton and Mr Antram expressed frustration the two officers remained employed.  "It wasn't even about the money for me, I would have rather seen them lose their jobs," Mr Caton said.  "If it wasn't for Lucie we probably would be in jail."

According to court documents from the settled civil claim on December 21, 2013, police stopped Mr Caton, Mr Antram and two other friends on Morella Avenue in Jerrabomberra.

They'd mistaken their car for one associated with a nearby violent home invasion when the men were in fact heading to the shops to buy more alcohol for their work Christmas party.

Senior constable Finnigan asked the men if they had any weapons. Mr Caton then held his daughter's toy dinosaur out the car window and said "No weapons, but I've got a big dinosaur. Roar."

According to the claim, senior constable Finnigan then opened the rear passenger door where Mr Caton was sitting, pulled him from the car, kicked his legs from underneath him, smashed his sunglasses and handcuffed him.

Constable Litchfield ordered Mr Antram from the car and told him to stand by a nearby retaining wall, which he did.

Constable Hicks then tackled Mr Antram, who was standing still, causing his head to collide with the wall, knocking him unconscious. The constable later claimed Mr Antram had charged at him.

"I couldn't believe it. Being charged with assaulting police, I thought I was honestly going to jail," Mr Caton said.

According to the claim in January, after the incident, officers Finnigan and Hicks told Mr Caton's and Mr Antram's boss the pair were unsuitable for employment.

He fired the two, who then couldn't find removalist work in Canberra.

Mr Antram's partner left him and he moved to Cooma where he still finds it difficult to find work.

Mr Caton believes he could have got more from the police, but working as a concreter in Canberra, he couldn't afford to take time off for a 16-day trial in Sydney.

Mr Antram said the harassment hasn't stopped. He described a night at the Cooma Hotel in August last year where he was invited to celebrate a mate's engagement.

Within minutes of showing up, Mr Antram said police had arrived with sniffer dogs, including constable Hicks. "You're looking good, aren't you," constable Hicks allegedly said.

There were other police who were looking at Mr Antram, one commenting "this is the guy who's taking us to court".

"I got underneath a camera straight away," Mr Antram said.

NSW Police were contacted regarding the incident, they declined to comment on the scenario but said the use of sniffer dogs at venues was routine. "The use of drug detection dogs within licensed premises has been used across the command with great success and will continue into the future," a spokeswoman said.

Mr Caton said he hasn't had similar encounters but refuses to go to Queanbeyan. "I'm alright with the coppers, but I won't go to Queanbeyan any more. I used to go there for pool comps, dart comps, all that sort of shit," he said.

Their lawyer, Mr Bevan, said they were still pursuing their legal costs from the state. "Although this is a lot of money to pay out, NSW Police have determined that no one is accountable," Mr Bevan said.


'Rubbish, we've done extremely well': Pauline Hanson

Pauline Hanson insists her One Nation party did 'extremely well' in the Queensland election despite failing to win a single seat.

The One Nation leader put on a cheerful face as veteran Sixty Minutes interviewer Liz Hayes asked her if the public's perception of her party as chaotic had cost it votes.

'No. No. Rubbish. It's not chaos when we are actually polling the second highest vote in these seats,' she said. 'We've done extremely well.'

The exchange became tense when Hayes asked Senator Hanson if she took any responsibility for One Nation's poor showing. 'If you don't win any seats, is that you who lost?,' the Sixty Minutes star asked.

Senator Hanson downplayed the result. 'Liz, for what we have achieved in short period of time, it is a positive,' she said.

'I'm not going to see a negative in it whatsoever and you or anyone else is not going to badger me into it.'

One Nation has failed in its bid to win a single seat in the Queensland parliament, despite a Galaxy poll in early November showing Senator Hanson's party with 18 per cent support across the state.

The party's primary vote fell to less than 14 per cent on Saturday, only two weeks after new Queensland Senator Fraser Anning, a former friend of Pauline Hanson, quit One Nation to sit as an independent.

He had replaced Malcolm Roberts, a dual British citizen forced out of federal parliament only to lose his bid for the state Labor seat of Ipswich.

When she launched her Battler Bus to kick off her campaign in early November, Senator Hanson appeared to suggest her party was on track to win more than 11 seats.  'Honestly I think this is going to be bigger than it was in 1998,' she said three weeks ago.

On Sunday, Senator Hanson insisted she had never put a number of the seats she expected to win in her home state.

'What I said was the feeling was stronger than what it was in 1998,' she told Sixty Minutes.

One Nation failed to win a seat in Townsville, where a Newspoll showed the nationalist party was on track to win the north Queensland electorate of Thuringowa off Labor.

The campaign suffered a setback when a 7News reporter ambushed candidate Mark Thornton with questions about his wife's adult shop.

In neighbouring Mundingburra, One Nation's Malcolm Charlwood denied posting sexist Facebook memes mocking married and overweight women.

One Nation also failed in the farming seat of Lockyer, west of Ipswich, which Pauline Hanson came within 200 votes of winning at the 2015 Queensland election.

Her party's state leader Steve Dickson, a former Liberal National Party minister, also lost his seat of Buderim on the Sunshine Coast.

The party's hopes were also dashed in Maryborough and Gympie, which the party had hoped to pick up.

One Nation's only realistic hope lies in the central Queensland seat of Mirani, where Stephen Andrew could defeat sitting Labor MP Jim Pearce with Liberal National Party preferences.

It also stands a chance in the north Queensland seat of Hinchinbrook, held by LNP frontbencher and former minister Andrew Cripps.

With Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's Labor Party yet reach a majority of 47 seats in the expanded 93-seat parliament, Senator Hanson insisted One Nation could still be kingmakers.

'If we win two or three seats or even one seat, whatever, it may come down to our seat to decide who is going to govern,' Senator Hanson said.

However, ABC election analyst Antony Green predicts Labor will have 48 seats, negating the need for the government to rely on One Nation or any crossbench MP to retain power.


Goodbye Goldilocks? Calls for parents to ditch traditional fairy tales in favour of gender-neutral books showing 'men in caring roles and women as scientists'

Children should be read gender-equal books instead of fairy tales of knights and princesses.

That's the view of former sex discrimination commissioner Elizabeth Broderick, who believes exposing children to gender-neutrality at preschool could help solve issues of pay disparity and violence towards women later in life.

'A lot of what our children see and are taught is subconscious gender stereotyping and what we have to do is really shift that, and we won't shift that until the social norms change,' she told The Sunday Telegraph.

Ms Broderick said children's literature in Scandinavian countries helps 'children understand that boys and girls can do anything.

'Their picture books are ones which show men in caring roles and women as scientists, through to looking at the division of unpaid work and the role of women in building the economy.

'I think we really need more of that approach here and it's not just putting all the men in caring roles and all the women as scientists. It is showing men and women in the diversity of roles,' she said.

Critics have slammed Ms Broderick's call as 'political correctness gone mad'.

Kevin Donnelly, director of the Education Standards Institute, told the publication that there was a real risk of 'damaging boys'.

'It is wrong to try and attempt to indoctrinate children with a politically correct gender agenda. 'It runs counter to human nature and what most parents want for their children - and it could be damaging to boys and their development'. 'Biologically girls and boys are different. Girls have a more nurturing role as mothers and wives which is different to what men are.'

Critic and entrepreneur Dick Smith told the paper: 'I'd much rather we weren't trying to make young girls aggressive by changing the messages they are getting. I'd much rather young girls continue to be nurturing, kind and understanding.'

Sam Page, CEO of Early Children Australia, told the paper he applauded Ms Broderick's call to introduce children to gender-equal ideas through books at school and wants parents to get board too.

'We've had examples where parents and dads have been really upset when boys dress up in dresses or traditional girls clothing as part of their normal play.

'While I don't think we should get rid of fairy tales altogether, we do need to contextualise and balance them with contemporary stories as well,' she 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, November 27, 2017

Illegal immigrants on Manus Island now no longer refugees  -- if they ever were.  Now have residence in Papua New Guinea

They didn't want to be freed from detention.  Detention suited them better than freedom did

The month-long standoff on Manus Island came to a violent end on Friday after Papua New Guinea police carrying batons raided the decommissioned processing centre and forced out about 330 remaining refugees and asylum seekers.

The men had subsisted on stockpiled food and rainwater for 24 days since the facility officially closed on October 31, having refused to leave citing fears for their safety and an unwillingness to move "from one prison to another".

PNG police entered the site for the second day in a row in Friday's early hours, and by midday all the remaining men had boarded buses for the nearby town of Lorengau, saying they could no longer resist police willing to use force.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull welcomed the men's capitulation, telling reporters in Canberra: "That's as they should. That is precisely what you should do if you're in a foreign country: you should comply with the laws of that other country."

But the altercation was rough, with video seen by Fairfax Media showing local police appearing to wield long batons against refugees, and several of the men posting on social photographs showing cuts and bruises they said were sustained on Friday.

"They hit me on my hand," Pakistani refugee Samad Abdul said during the raid. "The police are so aggressive. They are telling us 'you should go back to your country'. They are swearing at us. Everyone is scared, everyone is just terrified. "We don't have any option to stay here. All of us, we all are going."

Another Pakistani man, Ezatullah Kakar, said the men were "crying" as they left the camp. He boarded the last bus and said the men spent Friday afternoon arranging transfers to one of three alternative accommodation sites in Lorengau.

Manus Island police commander David Yapu denied his officers used force and said the operation had proceeded "smoothly", but noted there had been "some resistance".

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said three people had sustained very minor injuries and claims of violence were exaggerated by Australian activists. He urged advocates to stop the "cruel hoax" of suggesting refugees might be allowed to come to Australia if they kept up their protest.

"You are offering out false hope to people who are in a difficult situation. You have compounded their problems," Mr Dutton said. "Under no circumstance will people be coming to Australia. We will provide whatever support we can to see people resettle elsewhere."

The minister also said backup power generators and water infrastructure at the new sites had been sabotaged, in what he called "an organised attempt to provoke trouble and disrupt the new facilities". Repairs were under way and the matter was being investigated, he said.

Labor's immigration spokesman Shayne Neumann said reports of force by PNG police were of "deep concern", and demanded the Turnbull government agree to a refugee resettlement deal with New Zealand "immediately".

Mr Dutton dismissed that as "not an option that's on the table for us now" and said intelligence reports suggested it would mean the boats would restart.

Hundreds of refugees on Manus Island are awaiting possible resettlement in the US under a deal struck between Mr Turnbull and former president Barack Obama, which has been slow to get off the ground under President Donald Trump.

Only 54 refugees have gone to the US from both Manus Island and Nauru so far. Most have been on the islands for more than four years and many, such as Mr Abdul, are yet to be interviewed by US authorities.


"Woman" is now a bad word

MOTHERHOOD, it used to be said, is sacred. But perhaps in these supposedly more enlightened times we should change that to “carer status is sacred”.

As reported yesterday, Australia’s national Nursing and Midwifery Board just almost passed a new code of conduct which, among other things, would have made midwives refer to their patients as “persons”, not “women”.

As in, “the person in Delivery Suite A has been in labour for four hours”.

Welcome to mother… er, make that parenthood.

The shift was proposed, apparently, to make a universal change so that the profession would be more inclusive of those “individual instances” of women who identify as men giving birth.

Now of course everyone knows that transgender people are part of the community and surely no one of good will wants to make life more difficult for them.

But couldn’t it be left up to midwives and patients to work this out when these “individual instances” occur?

In any case, thanks to strong opposition from the profession, the Board relented, but not for lack of trying.

If anything, the progressive push to re-engineer the entire English language to suit whatever the rules are about what we can and cannot say this week is stronger than ever.

Political correctness used to be defended on the grounds of politeness, but the current language wars go far beyond that, even if they follow a predictable pattern.

What starts out as attempts by progressives to burnish their own moral standing by finding something to be offended about on someone else’s behalf quickly morph into campaigns to so comprehensively divorce words from their meanings that the rest of us dare not open our mouths lest we say the wrong thing.


Australia's seniors say the political correctness of millennials is ruining society

Older Australians are sick of the younger generation's manners, obsession with technology and political correctness, which they say is ruining society.

That was the verdict on the nation's young which emerged from a study commissioned by the Australian Seniors Insurance Agency (ASIA).

Of 1,000 people aged over 50 surveyed by CoreData for the ASIA, 88 per cent thought people in modern Australia were too politically correct.

As well, 74 per cent of seniors said people who strived to be politically correct annoyed them, and 45 per cent said they tried to avoid being politically correct just for the sake of it.

And 86 per cent of those surveyed said the drive to be politically correct was ruining society.

Study findings:

85 per cent of older Australians found millennial social etiquette confusing

88 per cent thought people in modern Australia were too politically correct

86 per cent said the drive to be politically correct was ruining society

Employment etiquette included putting phones away in meetings, punctuality, personal hygiene

Posting online when tired, intoxicated or emotional in the top 3 no-nos

Nan Bosler, president of the Australian Seniors Computer Clubs Association, said seniors found it difficult these days when it came to simple things, such as certain words they used day to day.

"Names we have known things by all our lives, they weren't there out of disrespect or anything like that, it was just a name we knew things by," she said.

"And if we have to always modify what we're saying, it's a little distracting, it's a little bit frustrating.

"We of course do respect other people, so we understand about political correctness. "But we don't always think it's the way we want to go — we want to be true to ourselves."

Ms Bosley said too much sensitivity about the meaning of words and phrases acted as a barrier between younger Australians and people aged over 50. "I think we can just be too politically correct," she said.

"I suppose it's for the majority that the minority have to sometimes think well 'ok, can't say that anymore, I must remember that'."


Queensland election: Labor to form majority government, Antony Green predicts

Annastacia Palaszczuk will be returned as Queensland Premier with her government likely to win up to 48 seats, giving it a slim majority, ABC election analyst Antony Green says.

He said he was certain Labor would have at least 46 seats, with the ABC election computer predicting they would win one or two more, clearing the 47 needed to govern with a majority.

The LNP is predicted to win 39 or 40 seats.

One Nation and the Greens are predicted to win one seat each, Katter's Australia Party two, and one independent.

This afternoon, Labor state secretary Evan Moorhead said only Labor could form a majority government.

"Of the remaining 13 seats in doubt, we need to win four seats for a Labor majority," he said. "We are leading in six of these seats and very close in five further seats.

"We're confident that as counting continues, Labor will confirm a majority in the Queensland Parliament."

Green said on his numbers it looked like the Palaszczuk Government would get a majority. "But even if she falls a seat short, she doesn't have to do any deals," Green said. "She can leave it to the Parliament to vote her out, because it would be unlikely that all the crossbench would vote against them at once.

"It is a fixed-term Parliament — the Government can't just resign and walk out of office and leave someone else to form government — they can't do that, so somebody will form government. "So it is very hard to see how anyone other than Annastacia Palaszczuk can form government in the new Parliament.

"They have a certain 46, and they only need one more vote and at the moment we are giving them another two seats on a prediction."

Green said although One Nation had done well, it was not well enough to win many seats.

"There is a strong likelihood they could win the northern mining seat of Mirani — that's the only one," he said.

"The only other seats where they have done very well, the LNP has been re-elected on Labor preferences."
Mr Moorhead said Labor succeeded in keeping One Nation from the balance of power.

"Our principled decision to put One Nation last has rescued the LNP in regional Queensland, where their vote collapsed," 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

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Refugee frauds

I was stunned into silence the first time I saw a refugee reach Australian soil; it was a hot Saturday afternoon, February 24, 2007, and I stood with notebook and pen ­behind a waist-high barricade on the Christmas Island jetty.

The new arrivals smiled and waved. They carried bottled water and wore baseball caps given to them by young navy crew from HMAS Success, which days earlier had rescued them from their stricken vessel. It seemed astonishing that these 82 Sri Lankan men and one boy had made it ­almost all the way across the deep ocean of the Java Trench in a small wooden boat, and miraculous that they had been plucked to ­safety. I felt proud these victims of civil war had chosen us and that we would help them.

I cannot be sure of the moment my heart began to harden. It took a long time but I felt I lost my soul a little bit in the next decade. During 17 assignments to Christmas Island, I learned a lot about liars, opportunists and innocent victims while reporting on the more than 50,000 asylum-seekers who reached Australia by boat and the estimated 1200 who died trying.

The idea that an asylum-seeker could be digging for water inside a derelict offshore camp ­established by my own government would have brought me to tears at one time. But I was wary this month when that bleak scenario was acted out. I was mostly ­unmoved by the words of men at the old Manus Island camp who refused to move to the new accommodation built for them. Instead, I wondered immediately if refugee advocates had encouraged these wretched souls to hold out.

I am now out of step with — among many others — my union, the organisation of journalism professionals I have served as a volunteer since 2000. The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance co-signed a letter to Malcolm Turnbull asking him to bring three Manus Island detainees to Australia: cartoonist “Eaten Fish”, performer Mehdi Savari and journalist Behrouz Boochani. They ended up on Manus because they reached Christmas Island after Kevin Rudd slammed the door on boat arrivals on July 19, 2013.

It was already a brutal policy before the Coalition turbo-charged it by putting asylum seekers in orange lifeboats and pointing them towards Indonesia. Genuine refugees such as Boochani missed out on a smooth path to a new life in Australia by a matter of days. They were told on arrival they would be settled in a foreign country and never, ever in Australia. Boochani has responded with defiance, bringing international scrutiny to the plight of the men on Manus through tweets and online reports.

My friends — decent, compassionate people — will be surprised and possibly disgusted to know how I feel.

I had made wrong assumptions from the beginning. The Sri Lankans I saw taking their first steps on to the Christmas Island jetty in 2007 were rescued by the navy, but only after their ­Indonesian crew sabotaged the boat engine twice. And not everyone on board had sought out Australia as a beacon of humanity — one of the men later told me he had paid to go to New Zealand, which many of his countrymen preferred.

To round out my trifecta of mistaken beliefs during that first wide-eyed attempt at asylum-seeker reporting, it turned out Australia had not wanted to help these men at all. The Howard government tried to send them to Cuba in an elaborate people swap.

The 2007 Tamils were the first large group of asylum-seekers to reach Australia in more than a year. They were taken to a detention camp on the island that held just two Vietnamese men, long-time detainees who spent their days outside the centre gardening for the island council or visiting residents.

Rudd’s landslide victory over John Howard, which I watched on a wall-mounted television at Christmas Island’s open-air pub, the Golden Bosun, on November 24, 2007, changed everything. The island of 1200 permanent residents is a heavily unionised workforce of Labor voters; that night locals told me the boats would come again. They predicted a rush of arrivals like before the Tampa crisis of 2001, which triggered turnbacks and the hated Pacific Solution. I thought they were too cynical. I also thought: “So what? Refugees deserve protection.”

The following July, Chris Evans, the immigration minister at the time, unveiled a more compassionate policy on asylum-seekers, saying Labor “rejects the notion that dehumanising and punishing unauthorised arrivals with long-term detention is an ­effective or civilised response”.

“Desperate people are not ­deterred by the threat of harsh ­detention,” Evans said. “They are often fleeing much worse ­circumstances.”

In hindsight, it was as good as giving people-smugglers the double thumbs up. Christmas Island began to fill; by the end of 2008 there had been 161 arrivals, in 2009 there were 2557, largely from Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. In 2010 6555 people arrived by boat and even Christmas Island’s $396 million immigration detention centre was full, which meant offshore processing was over. The Howard-era detention centre at Curtin in Western Australia’s remote north was reopened and it eventually held 1400 men. New, reopened or expanded immigration detention facilities were eventually needed in every mainland state.

More than 17,000 asylum-seekers reached Christmas Island in 2012 and now many were Iranians. The final year of the Labor government was chaos: 20,711 people arrived by boat, 7678 of whom were Iranians. Five boats in one day is the most I can recall.

I was based in The Australian’s Perth bureau during this extraordinary chapter and I spent many months on Christmas Island documenting the arrivals and listening to the stories of asylum-seekers. Perth was the only Australian city with a commercial service to the tiny Australian territory. The seven-hour flight via Cocos (Keeling) Islands initially ran just twice a week but ramped up to cope with the very big business of detention.

The first fatality I reported on was in April 2009, not long after the boat trade was re-energised; the vessel had been intercepted by the Australian navy when someone on board deliberately set off an explosion, killing five of the 47 asylum-seekers on it. Then a boat that left Indonesia loaded with asylum-seekers disappeared and was never found. Others were found capsized with desperate people clinging to the hull. Some vessels were not sunk by waves, they were just terrible junk that slipped under the sea in calm weather. By July 2013 there were 4000 detainees on the island and the coffins of the drowned were in my nightmares.

In those years the island was overwhelmed, not so much by the asylum-seekers but by the enormous number of public servants who came to detain and process them. There were hundreds of Australian Federal Police, Customs officials, detention centre guards, ASIO officers, teachers, case workers, cooks and cleaners.

The island’s sewerage system ­failed and began spewing brown liquid on to the pristine reef. Fresh fruits and vegetables were flown in for detainees but they were scarce on the outside — once I saw fresh milk had been airfreighted in and was on sale at the local grocer. I grabbed it before anyone else could and paid $19.95 for two litres.

As well as looking for stories, I often spent hours each day trying to find accommodation. Eventually we got to know locals who agreed to rent us their homes when they were on holidays. One woman let us stay in her unfinished and unfurnished house. We were often the only news outlet on the island.

I began with deep compassion for everyone I met in detention. Among them was Leela, a 19-year-old Sri Lankan journalist who was detained and beaten by Colombo police after his employer, a radio station, broadcast a speech by an LTTE leader. He was bashed again in detention, including by a professional kickboxer at Sydney’s Villawood, an angry man who was waiting to be deported to New Zealand for violent crimes.

Leela and I became friends and talked a lot about food, a neutral topic that kept the conversation away from the twin horrors of life in Sri Lanka and in Australian ­detention. I gave him Stephanie Alexander’s The Cook’s Companion. He is now a chef in Sydney’s Surry Hills and has bought a second-hand BMW. He is so happy.

A lot has been written about the dire mental health of the men on Manus Island, but people were going mad in the camps on Christmas Island long before anyone was shifted to Papua New Guinea. One detainee dug his own grave and slept in it each night for months. A stateless Kurd nicknamed Spiderman spent an entire month naked in Villawood and threw his faeces at people.

The family “camp” at Christ­mas Island was every inch a detention centre and it deteriorated into one of the most disgraceful things I have seen — it was overcrowded with kids who had no grass to play on. Due to a falling-out between immigration officials and the local sports club, children could see an oval and playground equipment from their compound but they were not ­allowed on it.

Guards drank ­heavily, apparently to cope with stress. Some would phone me at night, horribly drunk, to say they could not stop thinking about the cries of parents whose children had drowned. Detainees ­befriended the guards, but sometimes they also attacked them (on one ­occasion by pouring a kettle of hot water over an unsuspecting staff member).

Some male guards were accused of assaulting detainees. Stories of middle-aged female guards flirting with young male detainees were common. It was all so sick and strange, and I suspect everyone knew it. The island’s camps began to wind down when the boats stopped, and from July next year the last of them, the men’s detention centre on the northwest corner of the island, will be empty.

Built by the Howard government and dormant until the run of boats that started in 2008, this centre was a well-appointed hellhole. Groups of male detainees were caught raping, and attempting to rape, the weak. Self-harm became a form of self-expression; one ­female guard walked into a compound in early 2011 to find a man with his lips sewn and his body strapped high on the fence with his arms out and his feet together “like Jesus Christ or something”. She joined a growing number of colleagues on stress leave.

The centre’s “visiting room” was converted to a ward where up to 20 self-harming detainees were under watch each day. These were the lip sewers, cutters, hunger strikers and men who had tried to hang themselves.

The most dominant personalities in detention were in regular contact with refugee advocates. Greg Lake, a former director of offshore operations, was howled down in 2014 when he told me that asylum-seekers in detention were being coached and encouraged to attempt self-harm by refugee ­advocates, who then used the incidents as political capital.

Lake has long since left the ­Department of Immigration and Border Protection — he is a Christian who said he struggled with Australia’s decision to send asylum-seekers to Nauru. But he is watching the debacle on Manus Island closely. “When you see people exploit their victim status to try to get something from Australia, it’s usually a good sign that they’re not the right person for us to take,” he tells Inquirer.

Lake stresses that at the height of the arrivals under Labor, many of the asylum-seekers who arrived by boat were still genuine refugees with heartbreaking stories. But he says opportunism was rife by the time of an influx of middle-class Iranians.

“There were some Iranians who struggled but probably nothing like the proportion who ended up showing up (in Australia),” he says. “A lot of those who came by boat were here to exploit the system and these people don’t ­deserve the support, frankly. They get in the way.”

A former kitchenhand at the family camp on Christmas Island told me in 2011 that the wealthiest new arrivals “bossed staff about like servants”. “We have to call them clients, even when they’re throwing their dinner on the ground,’’ he said at the time. “One Iranian guy said, ‘I’m not going to eat this. Do you know how much I paid to come here?’ ”

It seemed to contradict what I thought I knew about asylum-seekers and their motives. I ­realised there was a misunderstanding in some individuals’ minds about what Australia’s ­humanitarian intake was for. Some viewed it as a service they had purchased. Being called “clients” by guards and immigration officials reinforced this.

I was shocked when a camp doctor told me “Persian prin­cesses” in the camps were asking for breast enhancements and their husbands requested cosmetic dentistry. Sitting on the beach at Flying Fish Cove, the doctor told me his theory that in Iran people-smuggling agents were selling the lie that the Australian government would happily provide these things as soon as they stepped off the boat. Could this be right? I know I did not try as hard as I should have to pursue stories such as this. I felt the claims were too outlandish, too hard to prove or that they would reflect unfairly on the genuine refugees in detention.

Then in 2013 the former director of medical health services for Australia’s offshore asylum processing network, Ling Yoong, confirmed to the Medical Observer that detainees did, indeed, request Botox, IVF and breast enhancements when they underwent standard medical checks in the camps.

This was all happening as Syrians began to arrive at Christmas Island by boat. Families fleeing a humanitarian crisis that displaced 5.1 million people were in the same camp as a young Iranian woman who told me — through the detention centre fence — that she had been living in Malaysia but ­decided to come to Australia by boat to pursue a modelling career.

I found it so difficult to believe anyone would risk their life if their life was not already at risk. But I was finding out that they did.

Among the most extreme ­examples was a British citizen who had no claim to asylum but wanted to live in Australia, and a woman from Russia who arrived with her Afghan boyfriend in 2011 — on the boat ride over she sat on the deck reading a book. In detention, which she initially thought was a hostel, she was shocked to learn from a guard that a few months earlier 50 people had died on a boat like hers that foundered against the cliffs on Christmas Island. Footage of asylum-seekers falling into the sea as that boat broke up in wild weather on December 15, 2010, was a jolt to many Australians.

I looked for a personal story and found nine-year-old Seena Akhlaqi Sheikhdost, who was ­orphaned that day. In the next two months in ­detention on Christmas Island, Seena injured himself kicking his bedposts in grief and told other children that his parents were not dead.

On ABC’s Q&A this week, former Labor immigration minister Brendan O’Connor cited that tragedy when he was asked whether the Coalition should ­accept New Zealand’s offer to take the men protesting on Manus ­Island. O’Connor — who oversaw the establishment of a temporary morgue on Christmas Island to hold the many drowned — would say only that he believed the offer should be considered. Though he was interrupted several times, O’Connor insisted on making his point that the passengers on that doomed asylum boat in 2010 had left transit countries.

“I saw the bodies of men, women and children and, let me tell you, when they got on that vessel at that point they were not fleeing persecution,” he said. “We have to find a way to stop people embarking on unseaworthy vessels where they kill themselves. That’s why I don’t bring righteousness or sanctimony to this debate. It’s very complicated.”

Amid all this tragedy, I was still looking for happy stories. I found them on “visa days” at the Christmas Island airport where I interviewed freshly released refugees who were suddenly free and on their way to the Australian mainland as permanent residents. It was the loveliest part of the job to speak to people who had found safety and to tell their stories in The Australian. On four occasions that I remember well, newly ­minted visa-holders waited until immigration officials were out of earshot and warned me frauds were getting visas, too. These people were dobbing, and each of them seemed sincerely concerned about the integrity of the system that had helped them.

Over time, and without noticing it, I became extremely anxious about the prospect of having to ­report on more drownings. I hated these stories; the raw grief I witnessed on the jetty after a sinking or a capsize had a cumulative effect. I began to wish hard that somebody — anybody — would stop the boats.

An asylum-seeker coffin is light grey steel with a number on it. Sometimes there were so many dead that airport ground crew worker Mark Stein and his colleagues found it quickest to load them on to planes with a forklift, four at a time.

But when baby Abul drowned with almost 100 others between Indonesia and Christmas Island on July 12, 2013, he was placed into a special white coffin with a number on it for his final journey to Melbourne for burial. It was child-sized yet still too big for a 10-week-old baby.

Abul’s parents, Masouma and Ali Jafari, told the horrible story of being tricked by people-smugglers who took $25,000 from them, ­assured them they would be safe and put them in a rotting boat. ­Masouma and Ali saved three of their four children as rescuers drew near but the baby was torn from them; when the family was delivered to dry land, Masouma had an empty baby carrier strapped to her chest. A female guard put an arm around her.

Sometimes there was a miracle amid the misery — baby girl Raha was one. After another asylum boat sank on July 16, 2013, navy crew members from HMAS Warramunga spotted her floating face down in the water. They pulled Raha into a rigid inflatable boat and saved her life.

“The baby was unresponsive and the boat crew immediately commenced CPR,” the navy later confirmed in an emailed response to my questions about the girl ­locals called “the miracle baby”.

Raha had stopped breathing again on the way to the navy vessel and the crew had again revived her. Her 30-year-old mother was never found, nor were 10 others in their party. As Raha was transported to Christmas Island hospital with her two young sisters and their father, Sudollah, the bodies of four drowned adults from Raha’s boat were placed in a refrigerated sea container near the town swimming pool.

I worked hard to get the details of this rescue. Trying to be hopeful as ever, I wanted to produce something uplifting. The navy heroes deserved it, I told myself, and it was truly amazing that she survived. But moments before I filed the story I looked again at the photograph that would accompany my words and I wondered what on earth I was thinking. It showed beautiful Raha in her father Sudollah’s lap on the Christmas Island jetty. He was ashen-faced and staring straight ahead. His three girls had just lost their mother. His wife was dead. This was not the dream they had been sold.


Philip Ruddock appointed to conduct review of Australia's religious freedoms

This is just a ploy to get the Christian question out of the debate over homosexual marriage legislation

The government has appointed Howard-era cabinet minister Philip Ruddock to lead a review into the legal protections for religious freedom in Australia, which has emerged as a contentious issue inside the Coalition ahead of the legalisation of same-sex marriage.

Announcing the review, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said recent proposals for religious protections went beyond the immediate issue of marriage and warned any change should be undertaken carefully.

Former attorney-general Philip Ruddock has been appointed to ensure religious freedoms are protected as the government pushes ahead with legalising same-sex marriage.

"There is a high risk of unintended consequences when Parliament attempts to legislate protections for basic rights and freedoms, such as freedom of religion. The government is particularly concerned to prevent uncertainties caused by generally worded Bill of Rights-style declarations," Mr Turnbull said.

Since the Australian people backed same-sex marriage in the postal survey, Coalition MPs have been pushing various proposals for religious exemptions, including allowing service providers to boycott weddings that conflict with their faith. One proposal would see a section of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights incorporated into the same-sex marriage bill.

Debate over the raft of proposed amendments has risked derailing the government's plans to legislate the change by the end of 2017.

Mr Ruddock, who retired from Parliament in 2016 and was recently elected as mayor of Hornsby, will conduct the review with an expert panel consisting of the president of the Australian Human Rights Commission Rosalind Croucher, retired federal court judge Annabelle Bennett and Jesuit priest Frank Brennan.

The Prime Minister said the review, which will report back by March 2018, would be a "timely expert stocktake" to inform any future legislation.

Treasurer Scott Morrison, a vocal advocate for religious exemptions, said he was pleased with the review and emphasised it was "not a substitute" for relevant amendments to the same-sex marriage bill.

"Those amendments ... will still be pursued and, as you know, I have a view that they should be supported," Mr Morrison told ABC radio.

As the last attorney-general of the Howard government, Mr Ruddock introduced the 2004 amendment to the Marriage Act that explicitly defined it as a union between a man and a woman.

He was recently the government's special envoy for human rights and has strong connections to Australia's multicultural and religious communities.


Hindus get lamb ad ban as advertising watchdog does backflip

Lamb may well be the meat to eat this Spring, but you won’t be watching any more of one particular ad about it.

The Meat and Livestock Corporation’s (MLA) latest offering, featuring a range of religious gods, deities and prophets has been has been banned.

The ad sang the praises of lamb as the food of the gods, with a message of unity and bringing people of diverse backgrounds together.

But the fact that it featured opposing divinities and prophets including Jesus, L. Ron Hubbard, Thor, Zeus, and Hindi god Ganesha proved its stumbling block, with the advertising watchdog ruling it discriminatory to those of the Hindu faith.
It’s a U-turn by the Advertising Standards Board, which originally sided with the view of the MLA that it was fine, despite a flurry of complaints when it first aired from Hindus seeing red.

But after an independent review the Board revised its decision, ruling the ad is discriminatory to those of Hindu faith.

The review rejected the board’s initial majority finding that the YouTube advert, which showed Lord Ganesha at a meal celebrating lamb as “the meat we can all eat”, was “lighthearted and humorous” and did not breach the advertising standards code.

At issue is the portrayal of Ganesha, with the board ruling Ganesh got “less favourable treatment” in the ad. The Hindu god is a vegetarian.

In the ad, amid lines like “it’s a nightmare catering for you lot with all your dietary requirements”, the agnostic host declaring a toast “to lamb — the meat we can all eat”, comes another line about “addressing the elephant in the room”.

It was the “elephant in the room’ reference which caused the problem, because the deity — who appears in elephant form — was the only one singled out for his physical characteristics.

The phrase “might sound cute and clever”, the Board noted, but to Hindus, Ganesha is “not just an elephant” but rather “the first deity in all Hindu services, and is considered the remover of obstacles”.

It ruled the MLA had not given adequate consideration to “how seriously some Australians take their religious views — and did not pay due attention to the level of offence about something important to those people”.


Australia's Energy Guarantee Could ‘Decimate’ Wind, Solar


PM Turnbull plan calls for emissions reduction of 28% by 2030
Government to debate national energy guarantee plan on Friday
Australia’s proposed National Energy Guarantee program could slash investment in large-scale wind and solar projects if the government fails to boost its 2030 emissions-reduction target, according to a report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull government’s goal of reducing emissions by 28 percent by 2030 only requires an additional 1.5 gigawatts of new large-scale renewables, according to an estimate by BNEF. That target “could decimate large-scale wind and solar construction” while a 45 percent reduction target advocated by the opposition Labor party would “continue the current boom,” it said.

“The National Energy Guarantee could be an effective and innovative policy mechanism, but if the target is weak, it will deliver little,” BNEF’s Australian head Kobad Bhavnagri said in an email.

Turnbull’s Liberal-led coalition government will provide information to the states on Friday in a bid to get them to back the National Energy Guarantee, which aims to bolster reliability of Australia’s faltering electricity grid. Australia’s six states and two territories will need to approve the program for it to function properly with a meeting of the Council of Australian Governments to be held Friday in Hobart to discuss the plan.

The Labor plan would require 17.3 gigawatts of large-scale renewables, according to BNEF’s modeling. The level of ambition by the nation’s political parties on emissions reduction targets will ultimately play a big part in determining the success of the government’s proposed energy policy, according to BNEF.

Turnbull on October 17 ditched plans to set renewable power targets as part of his latest policy to lower electricity prices and require generators to guarantee reliable supply and limit emissions. The government has argued that falling costs mean the technologies no longer need government subsidies to compete against traditional energy sources.


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, November 24, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG thinks PM Turnbull is on his way out

There’s a touch of fluidity in comments on Safe Schools program

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk argues that the Marxist-inspired Safe Schools gender and sexuality program is not being taught in Queensland’s schools and, if re-elected, her government has no plans to impose it on students.

The LNP, in its election policy, says that if it wins government it is committed to “withdrawing the Safe Schools Coalition resources from Queensland schools” and implementing a general anti-bullying and anti-discrimination program.

Who to believe? Based on the ALP’s 2017 state platform document Putting Queenslanders First, it’s clear, while not specifically mentioning Safe Schools, that a Palaszczuk government intends to force schools to adopt similar radical gender and sexuality programs. These are programs and resources that a commonwealth inquiry found unsuitable for students and that have been withdrawn from schools interstate, except for Victoria, the Albania of the south under the Andrews ALP government. The Palaszczuk platform document says an ALP government would “invest in professional development, training and ongoing support for school principals, teachers and support staff so that they can support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer/questioning students”.

Couple that with the ALP’s plans to “reduce discrimination, harassment, abuse and bullying against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer/questioning students” and it’s clear who to believe.

The only comfort is that the ALP’s gender and sexuality policies are not as extreme as the Greens’. A watermelon party that argues gender, instead of being genetically determined, is a “lived” social construct where individuals, including schoolchildren, can self-identify as whatever gender they desire.

It’s not just gender and sexuality where the two major parties differ. The LNP is committed to giving schools greater autonomy over decision-making based on research that proves flexibility at the local level raises standards.

Queensland Labor promises to stop funding the program and to undertake a review. This review, no doubt, given its reliance on the support of the Australian Education Union, would return schools to inflexible, bureaucratic control. As an example, instead of letting schools choose staff best suited to their culture and mission, the ALP document states teachers will be chosen by a “a statewide staffing system”.

Dr Kevin Donnelly is director of the Education Standards Institute and author of Dumbing Down


China will finance Adani coal mine, insiders say, as Greenies vow obstruction

The Adani Group is close to securing finance for its controversial coal mine and railway project in outback Queensland, with an announcement expected in coming weeks that Chinese state-owned enterprises, banks, and export credit agencies are backing the venture.

Australian taxpayers may be let off the hook under the deal, which could mean Adani no longer requires an Australian Government-subsidised loan of up to $1 billion for the railway it needs to transport the coal to port.

But China's money will come at the cost of local jobs.

Chinese enterprises and export credit agencies invariably require that materials for key infrastructure are sourced from China, effectively shifting work out of Australia and undermining Adani's claims its project will create many thousands of additional jobs for Queensland.

Jobs and exports from existing coal regions will be decimated by new project, according to new research.

Just days ago, a director of Adani Mining, an Australian subsidiary of the Adani Group's flagship company Adani Enterprises, told industry figures Adani had secured Chinese funding for the Carmichael mine in North Queensland and the Carmichael rail project.

He said Adani would not need the loan from the Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) to fund the 388-kilometre railway, and claimed a formal announcement of "financial close" was imminent, the ABC has been told.

Details are sketchy, however the ABC revealed earlier this month that a Chinese state-owned enterprise, China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC), was in negotiations with Adani for contracts to build key mining plant and equipment in return for China's financial backing of the Carmichael mine.

CMEC is listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange, but is 78 per cent owned by the giant Chinese state-owned enterprise China National Machinery Industry Corporation Ltd, or Sinomach.

Media player: "Space" to play, "M" to mute, "left" and "right" to seek.

We asked if you thought leaving Australian taxpayers off the hook in funding the coal mine was more important than keeping jobs in Queensland.

Adani Mining's chief executive Jeyakumar Janakaraj told Reuters in October that Adani was in talks to secure loans from export credit agencies for its mining equipment and tie up other funding.

"The company is in advanced discussions in all these cases with merely term sheets under final negotiations," he said.

Mr Janakaraj said Adani was looking to sell minority equity stakes in the coal project, and rail line, to financial institutions and contractors to help fund it.

"By the end of this financial year, all things will be in place," he said.

The Indian financial year ends on March 31.


Manus Island: Police enter former Australia-run asylum centre

Image caption PNG authorities have given asylum seekers a deadline to leave, the former detainees say

Police in Papua New Guinea (PNG) have entered a former Australian-run detention centre in a bid to get asylum seekers who remain there to leave.

Hundreds of men have refused to leave the Manus Island centre since it was shut down on 31 October, citing fears for their safety.

On Thursday, men inside the camp said that PNG police had given them a one-hour deadline to leave. One refugee, a journalist, was reportedly arrested.

Australia said it was a PNG operation.

Under a controversial policy, Australia has detained asylum seekers who arrive by boat in camps on Manus Island and Nauru, a small Pacific nation.

Australia shut down the Manus Island centre after a PNG court ruled it was unconstitutional, urging asylum seekers to move to transit centres elsewhere on the island.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said his nation would "not be pressured" into accepting the men, reiterating a long-held policy that such a move would encourage human trafficking.

"They should obey the law and the lawful authorities of Papua New Guinea," Mr Turnbull said.

One refugee, Abdul Aziz Adam, said about 420 asylum seekers were in the centre early on Thursday. PNG police later told Australia's ABC that about 35 men had left voluntarily.

The Sudanese refugee told the BBC a large number of police officers had entered the compound.

"They had a really big microphone in their hands and started telling people 'you have to move'. They are taking all the phones away, destroying all the rooms and belongings and everything," he said.

Another refugee, Iranian reporter Behrouz Boochani, was arrested, according to Australian media outlets and journalism union Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA).

The MEAA called the arrest of Mr Boochani, a prominent voice within the centre, an "egregious attack on press freedom". A video and a separate photo appeared to show him being led away by officers.


Australian school apologises for 'suggestive' saint statue

An Australian school has covered a statue from view because of its "potentially suggestive" depiction of a saint handing a loaf of bread to a boy.

The Catholic school in Adelaide apologised on Wednesday for the statue, which was completed recently.

The sculpture, portraying St Martin de Porres, was widely criticised after images of it were posted online.

The unfortunate position of the loaf of bread held by the saint led to some misreading the scene.

Blackfriars Priory School said it had commissioned a new sculptor to "substantially alter" the design.

In a message posted on Facebook, principal Simon Cobiac apologised to the school community for "any concerns and publicity" caused by the statue.

He said the school had approved its design and commissioned a sculptor in Vietnam, but "upon arrival the three-dimensional statue was deemed by the [school] to be potentially suggestive".

The Adelaide Advertiser newspaper said the statue had been installed last week and later covered with a black cloth.

It drew public attention after an image of the statue was posted on a popular Adelaide Instagram account, where it attracted hundreds of comments.

"Who designed that...surely someone has to say 'mmm big mistake'," wrote one commenter, in a sentiment echoed by many.

Mr Cobiac said the design had been intended as a "depiction of the tireless work of St Martin de Porres, a Dominican brother, for the poor and downtrodden of the 16th Century".


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