Sunday, January 21, 2018

Monarchists’ opposition to a referendum reveals their contempt for democracy (?)

The abusive article below by a JOHN SLATER published in a British periodical with libertarian and Irish sympathies does its cause little good.  Abuse and misrepresentation are rarely persuasive.  I am in fact quite amazed at the animus in the article.  Australian monarchists are mild  people driven by none of the passions that seem so common in other political fields, yet we are accused of a "raw disdain for popular democracy" etc.

And he writes as if Australia were still ruled by British officials.  We are not.  The Royal powers in Australia are exercised by the governor general, who is always a distinguished Australian.  One really wonders what the author below is talking about.  I suppose it's because he essentially has no case to make that he resorts to so much abuse.  Abuse is very commonly the resort of those who have no real argument

And he has no real argument because the issue he raises has already been settled.  Far from the monarchy and its supporters being undemocratic, we have already had fairly recently (in 1999) a referendum on whether Australia should remain a monarchy.  The result was a resounding affirmation of our present system.  In defiance of all the talking heads, 55% voted for the Monarchy. Even many people of non-British origin voted for it. In my home State of Queensland nearly two thirds voted for the Monarchy.

The most recent poll I have seen on the matter was in 2014 by ReachTel.  It showed just 39.4 per cent of Australians saying they support a republic.

It is people who insist that we should keep voting until we get the "right" result who are undemocratic and elitist

I have no intention of putting up an argument in favour of the monarchy as I put up rather a good one by someone else on 17th. (4th article). I had my say on the matter some time ago

And in passing I deplore the description of Prime Minister Turnbull as having a "rare fleck of courage".  His unassuming and compromising ways may create that impression but he has had amazing success in getting most of his legislative agenda through a very difficult Senate.  It could well be argued that only someone with Mr Turnbull's placatory style could have done that.  He is a good and successful face for Australia.

Almost 19 years since the last major push for an Australian republic, prime minister Malcolm Turnbull started 2018 with a rare fleck of courage by proposing a plebiscite to gauge public support for cutting ties with the monarchy.

For decades, polls have shown that Australians would prefer to have one of their own as head of state over a Brit born into the lap of pomp and privilege. Yet despite this, the PM’s announcement was pilloried by conservatives as a vanity project for an elite that is out of touch with the ‘bread and butter’ issues affecting the lives of ordinary people.

The head of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy, for instance, branded the suggestion ‘ridiculous’ in light of the more pressing problems of ‘energy prices, terrorism and ethnic gangs’.

But for all the talk of Turnbull being out of touch, these monarchists are driven by their own brand of elitism, just like their forebears for centuries before them. By fighting even the prospect of giving the public a vote on the future of Australian democracy, monarchists reveal their cynical belief that it’s beyond the wit of the everyman to decide for himself what shape his system of government takes, and who leads it.

This isn’t a debate about Australia’s logo and stationery, as one monarchist commentator glibly put it: a republic is about more than symbolism. As Australia found out in the 1970s, when first-term prime minister Gough Whitlam was sacked and replaced by a flick of governor-general Sir John Kerr’s pen, the powers of the queen’s unelected representative are not merely ceremonial.

Even if part of the case for a republic turns on symbolism, on questions that go to the core of a nation’s identity, symbolism does matter. On that score, the idea of a God-given right to rule, conferred by bloodline, not the ballot box, is completely at odds with Australia’s fiercely egalitarian attitude. Since the Gold Rush of the 1850s, Australia has cast aside the strictures of the English class system and embraced an ethos in which, as one historian famously put it, ‘Jack is as good as his master – and probably a good deal better’. Let’s face it: in today’s Australia, paying homage to a foreign royal family feels like a hangover from a bygone era.

While it is scarcely mentioned, Australia’s democracy is among the oldest in the world. Yet astoundingly, despite being directly elected by the people, its elected officials are still made to swear allegiance to the Queen. A republic would do away with this medieval heirloom and give long overdue recognition to the idea that the sole allegiance of elected officials should be to the people who elected them.

Monarchists frequently justify the relevance of the royals to the modern world by claiming they are role models that serve as an enduring icon of national unity. But once we peel back the pomp and pageantry, the royal family are little different to today’s celebrity class. Between Prince Charles’ eco-pieties on climate change and Prince Harry luxuriating with Barack Obama on the BBC, the royal family is now little different to low-rent reality TV.

Former PM Tony Abbott recently sought to beat down calls for a public vote by saying republicans will never win by running Australia down. He should heed his own words. By thumbing their nose at giving Australians the chance to choose who governs them, the monarchists lay bare their raw disdain for popular democracy.


Australia's jobs boom: employment numbers set historic mark

Kudos to Mr Turnbull

Employment has risen every month in a calendar year for the first time in four decades - and possibly the first time in history - after another 35,000 people ignored the summer slowdown and found jobs in December.

Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Thursday showed 2017 was the first full year in which employment rose every month since the bureau began releasing monthly data in 1978.

NSW is doing the heavy lifting adding 140,000 jobs in 2017, outstripping the weight of its population, while Victoria is lagging behind, adding only 87,000 jobs.

The discrepancy is showing in the unemployment rates of the two states with NSW now on the precipice of the natural rate of unemployment at 4.8 per cent while Victoria hit 6.1 per cent in December.

"Full-time employment has now increased by around 322,000 persons since December 2016, and makes up the majority of the 393,000 net increase in employment over the period," said Australian Bureau of Statistics chief economist, Bruce Hockman.

December was the 15th straight month of job creation, the longest streak since 1993, and fears of a growing number of people looking for more hours and not finding it appear to be misplaced.

The underutilisation rate has fallen to 13.7 per cent, down from 14.7 per cent at the beginning of the year. Over the past year, hours worked per working age adult have also climbed from 85.3 per month to 86.6 per month.

The unprecedented growth was not enough to stop the unemployment rate rising slightly to 5.5 per cent, up from 5.4 per cent in November after an extra 20,000 people found themselves unemployed based on seasonally adjusted figures.

The labour force participation rate, which measures employment by the working aged population aged 15-64, rose to at 65.7 per cent, the highest it has been since January 2011, while women have continued their participation run to hit a record of 60.4 per cent.

The Australian dollar initially slipped around 0.3 cents on the release of the figures before regaining much of the lost ground. At 3.20pm AEDT, it was fetching around 79.55 US cents. Overnight, it had broken through 80 US cents to hit a four-month high.

Commonwealth Bank economist Gareth Aird described the figures as "phenomenal". "The big lift in employment over December once again bettered consensus [15,000+] and once again the underlying detail was robust," he said.

The market faces a tough ask maintaining the extraordinary rate of job creation, with the near 400,000 lift in 2017 unlikely to be recreated this year, as the size of Australia's economy naturally constrains growth.

"These figures should not provide, unfortunately, sufficient confidence that we're going to see better days for 1.8 million Australians, who are either underemployed or unemployed," said Labor's employment spokesman Brendan O'Connor.

Minister for Jobs and Innovation Michaelia Cash said the Turnbull government was investing in getting more Australians into work.

"The best form of welfare is a job," she said.

For policymakers the key test will be whether the run of full time jobs finally eventuates into wages growth which have been stuck at or below inflation at 1.8 per cent, making every day items more expensive for consumers.

The stubbornly low rate of growth for wages threatens to undermine half-a-century of belief in the Phillips Curve, which suggests higher employment must eventually lead to higher wages, and is continuing to frustrate both the Turnbull government and the Reserve Bank.


Miserable Greens would deny us all that we hold dear and cherish

By GRAHAM RICHARDSON, former Labor party numbers man.  He eventually discovered that there is no such thing as a happy Greenie.  Their demands are insatiable

There was a time when the Greens were all that their name suggests they should be. They were passionate about our environment and they fought really hard to protect Australia’s forests.

I was proud to be their ally in the noble endeavour of protecting rainforests and old-growth forests. I placed more than 20 per cent of Tasmania into World Heritage and, despite resolute opposition from the Bjelke-Petersen government in Queensland, I managed to list the rainforests of the Daintree region and the far north on the World Heritage register as well. Sadly, it did not take too long for me to realise that I could never do enough for them. No matter how much I achieved, they were always disappointed.

The Helsham inquiry was set up to finally settle which Tasmanian forests were to be protected. Many learned conservationists were disappointed at its outcome and I set about undoing the ­inquiry’s final report. It took a three-day cabinet meeting that grew pretty heated at times before a very close vote overturned that report. I was ecstatic and raced to share the news of this huge win for Tasmanian forests’ preservation. I rang Bob Brown, who could only express his disappointment at the cabinet not going far enough. The Greens could never be satisfied. For them it was all or nothing.

Brown, despite everything, was a tremendous voice for the environment and by far the best leader the Greens have had. The Greens began their life in Australia as a mainly Tasmanian group. They were able to export their fervour to the mainland on the back of an environmental purist in Brown.

He was never seen as a politician on the make or consumed by personal ambition. He projected decency and Australians responded. The Greens were able to achieve a national vote of 10 per cent very, very quickly. The problem is that they have never been able to increase that number.

They are stuck at 10 per cent ­because they no longer have the Greens purity of a Bob Brown. Since they stopped worrying about the trees and adopted the mantle of the true party of the left in Australia, they limited their ­horizons and seem determined to remain a minor party.

Sure, they will win inner-city seats in the parliament and if the Liberals think that the short-term gain of Labor losing a by-election in the seat of Batman in Victoria is more important than keeping out a Greens member who believes in everything the Liberals don’t, then the Greens will secure that victory in the next few months. The Greens will no doubt trumpet this as a major win and predict they will march on to greater glories. They won’t, of course. As long as they lean as far to the left as they do at present, they will ­remain on the fringes of power. They can rattle their sabres in the Senate and have a minor role in shaping legislation but real power will continue to elude them.

As long as they are determined to push issues that not only alienate the bulk of Australians but ­infuriate them as well, then their campaigns will fall on deaf ears and blind eyes. One of the first ­indications that the Greens have fundamental difficulties in accepting the way the great majority of Australians live was when now-vanquished Queensland Green Larissa Waters took on the cause of changing the toys our children play with. She wanted to ban Barbie dolls because they were gender-specific. Little girls have played with dolls since the Son of God played on the wing for Jerusalem. I have managed to live my 68 years seeing absolutely nothing wrong with little girls playing with dolls. And even if I am ­accused of being a truly dreadful person, I readily concede that I would not have been comfortable with my son playing with dolls. Fortunately, he never did.

On the last day at my son’s school last month, there was a Christmas carols evening with a religious theme held at St ­Andrew’s Anglican Cathedral in Sydney. Silent Night still sounds like a wonderful song to me and the children and their parents had a terrific time. The harmonies, the musicianship and the most brilliant music teachers brought songs we had all been familiar with since we were children to life yet again. This was a great Christmas celebration following a great Christmas tradition. The Greens don’t want us to have these celebrations.

Tasmanian senator Nick McKim and a few of his mates drew up a non-denominational card to be sent out at Christmas. Why do these miserable bastards want to attack how we play and what we celebrate? The tradition of sending Christmas cards has been breaking down for some years. As a kid I remember my family ­received and sent a hundred cards. Now it is only a few. The Greens, though, should not read into the decline in cards anything about celebrating Christmas ­itself. That tradition is alive and kicking. The Greens can only stand outside the mainstream if they continue to deride it.

Today’s leader of the Greens, Richard Di Natale, surprised ­no one this week when, in line with the black-armband view of history they peddle, he called for Australia Day to be moved away from the commemoration of the landing of the First Fleet at Botany Bay. Again, he stands against what a huge majority of Australians want and believe in.

I was at the harbour in 1988 when the 200th anniversary was being commemorated. There were so many boats, from the workers’ tinnies to the billionaires’ luxury yachts, out that day that there was very little space on the water. Australians voted with their feet and came out in their millions to be a part of it. The Greens will never dampen the way we feel about Australia Day.

Di Natale said his party would take it up with their representatives in local government. As far as most of us are concerned, this will merely mean that a few nut­tier councils will lose their right to conduct citizenship ceremonies on this day. By the way, the number of people who seek to have their Australian citizenship conferred on Australia Day itself speaks volumes for the popularity of the day.

Australia Day can be a time when we celebrate the wonderful country in which we live and renew our vows to do better with indigenous health and education.

We cannot roll over and allow the Greens to tell us how to live and what to think.


Indigenous Affairs Minister says Indigenous people haven't raised Australia Day date issue with him

It's only a concern for politicized Aborigines who have been radicalized by white Leftists

Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion claims not a single Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person has approached him about changing the date of Australia Day.

Earlier this week, one of the Prime Minister's Indigenous affairs advisers, Chris Sarra, told 7.30 holding Australia Day on January 26 was dividing Australians and excluding Indigenous people.

Senator Scullion said it was "good to have heard that advice" from Dr Sarra, but that "outside of Chris", no-one had raised it with him.

"He'd be the only Indigenous Australian who has said [this] to me," he told AM.

"This is not something that comes up at all.

"I can tell you there would be no-one, as a fact."

Senator Scullion is a senator for the Northern Territory and has held the Indigenous Affairs portfolio since 2013.

He acknowledged Indigenous "culture was smashed" after the First Fleet's arrival at Sydney Cove on January 26, 1788.

But Senator Scullion said many Aboriginal people celebrated Australia Day, and shifting the date was "a very low priority certainly on my agenda".

"If you want to divide the nation, this is how we go down that line," 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

No comments: