Friday, June 29, 2018

Australian libertarian senator advises Green senator to 'stop shagging men' during women's safety debate

A classic case of theGreen/Left distorting what their opponents say. Donald Trump gets it daily

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young has accused senator David Leyonhjelm of telling her to “stop shagging men” during a debate about women and violence, and then swearing at her when she confronted him.

Senator Hanson-Young told parliament the Liberal Democrats senator made the remark on the floor of the upper house during a division on a motion about arming women with tasers to combat violence.

She said Leyonhjelm refused to apologise for the comments, which she says are offensive and sexist.

Later Leyonhjelm confirmed his words but denied he shouting them out.  He said he was responding to Senator Hanson-Young’s interjection in the debate, which he claimed was “along the lines of all men being rapists”.

“I responded by suggesting that if this was the case she should stop shagging men. I did not yell at her,” Leyonhjelm said.

“Following the division, Senator Hanson-Young approached me and called me a creep. I told her to f*** off.”

He said if the Greens senator took offence, it was an issue for her.

“I am prepared to rephrase my comments. I strongly urge Senator Hanson-Young to continue shagging men as she pleases,” Senator Leyonhjelm said.


'Sick of the man-hating PC brigade': Customers vow to stop shopping at Peter Alexander after the sleepwear company pulls 'boys will be boys' jumper from its shelves - because ONE mum claimed it was sexist

Peter Alexander's decision to stop selling a jumper after one customer complained has prompted a widespread backlash by customers of the iconic Australian brand.

The sleepwear company removed the controversial 'boys will be boys' jumper from its catalogue on Wednesday, one week after a mother said its message was 'sexist' and promoted 'toxic masculinity'.

Customers have since expressed their anger and disappointment at the decision to stop selling the top on the company's Facebook page - with some vowing to stop buying the brand completely.

'My family have over the years purchased many pyjamas from your business. Unfortunately, with your company bowing to the PC brigade and removing the 'boys will be boys' jumper, we will no longer be purchasing from your company. We are so sick of the Man hating PC brigade, but even more feed (sic) up with businesses that placate these groups. Thank you,' one man wrote.

'This is disappointing. If people want to be offended by everything fine, just don't buy it. I don't understand the offence or the response. Instead of removing it, why not introduce a top 'girls will be girls,' another customer suggested.

The top was removed after Melbourne woman Bridie Harris complained the top was sexist.

'Boy won't be boys. Boys will be held accountable for their actions. I hate to see an Australian store, who makes such great pjs, put such a sexist statement on a t-shirt intended for young boys. Excusing boys of their behaviour is not a step in the right direction. It's 2018,' she wrote on the business' Facebook page.

The jumper had been marketed online with the tag line: 'Boys will be boys, so leave them to it in this warm and cosy quilted sweater. Perfect for winter adventures'.

Known as the 'Pyjama King', Peter Alexander is famous for the unique themes he uses to design his pyjamas. His inspiration comes from his travels around the world such as Paris, New York, and African Safaris.

A Peter Alexander Sleepwear employee initially responded to the complaint, saying the feedback would be passed onto the design and production team. Within a week it was pulled from their catalogue.

'I just wanted to update you and again thank you for taking the time to get in touch with us and bringing this to our attention. We do not tolerate the behaviour that is being associated with this slogan,' a Peter Alexander Sleepwear employee wrote.

'In the light of your feedback, we have decided to withdraw this item from sale.' 

Ms Harris, who has a two-year-old daughter, told The Sydney Morning Herald she was glad the jumper was no longer being sold, as she did not want her little girl 'to think if someone pushes her on the playground it's just 'boys will be boys'.' 

'I want her to stand up and tell someone and be able to feel safe, playing in playground or walking home at night as an adult,' Ms Harris said.

Ms Harris' concerns were followed up by another complaint on the day the jumper was withdrawn from sale. 

A domestic violence victim, Jenny, told 3AW the decision to axe the jumper was 'ridiculous'.  'It has to stop. This has gone too far. There's so many rules that nobody can be themselves any more,' Jenny said.


Labor claims ‘secret deal’

In Parliamentary excerpt on afternon of 28th.

They kept hammering it but Turnbull showed himself to be a very good parliamentary performer -- being well-briefed (as one would hope of a barrister) -- and getting in a pretty powerful last word every time.  He never answers the question, of course

Labor’s Chris Bowen asks Malcolm Turnbull if he will reveal the “secret deal” with One Nation before the July 28 by-elections.

The Prime Minister dodges it and goes into counter-attack.

“Talking about personal discussions and conversations, I just noted in the shadow minister for Small Business’s interview with Alan Jones today. He was slipping and sliding, failing to defend his leader’s captain’s call,” Turnbull says.

After being fobbed off on his last question, opposition Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen tries the same one again.

“Has the government reached any agreements with One Nation within the last 48 hours?”

Malcolm Turnbull says he will not reveal negotiations with the crossbench, an answer that led to lots of noise from Labor MPs.

“We never discuss negotiations with the crossbench, we don’t,” the Prime Minister says.

“And we have found that the most important thing to do when negotiating with other members of parliament is to treat them with respect and that’s what we do.”

Labor MP Rob Mitchell yells out “Pauline’s puppet”, which earns him a rebuke from Speaker Tony Smith.

Opposition treasury Chris Bowen asks Malcolm Turnbull if the government has done any deals with One Nation in the past 48 hours.

The Prime Minister congratulates Bowen for adding the portfolio of small business to his responsibilities.

“There are many ways to create a small business. Most people start off with no business at all and build it up,” Turnbull says. “Others, and I think the shadow minister would fall into this category, would start with a large business and turn it into a small one. That’s exactly what he will do to Australia’s economy.”

Bill Shorten asks Malcolm Turnbull if he will bring back the big business tax cuts and strike a “secret deal” with One Nation after the by-elections.

The Prime Minister says the only secret deal around was the Opposition Leader’s announcement to increase taxes for businesses with a revenue of more than $10 million.

“The honourable member kept his assault on small business a secret from his shadow cabinet, from his caucus, from his mystified colleagues, including the Deputy Leader,” Turnbull says.

“Kept a secret from them until he dropped that bombshell and announced he was going to put at risk five million jobs.”


Shorten on the ropes? Second Labor MP refuses to endorse his "captain’s call" on tax

Some can see that being anti-business is also being anti-jobs

Labor MP Gai Brodtmann has repeatedly refused to endorse Bill Shorten’s captain’s call to raise taxes for businesses earning more than $10 million.

Ms Brodtmann, a former small business owner, refused to rule out crossing the floor if a future Labor government went further with repealing already legislated tax cuts on business — despite Labor MPs being barred from voting against the party position.

The Labor leadership group met this morning amid growing anger in the caucus and shadow cabinet at not being consulted about the policy.

Ms Brodtmann dodged several questions from Radio 2CC presenter Tim Shaw on whether she agreed with the Opposition Leader’s impromptu announcement this week.

“We are continuing to consider businesses up to $10m turnover but we have always been crystal clear that we put schools and hospitals ahead of tax cuts for big business and the banks,” Ms Brodtmann said.

She also refused to reject suggestions Mr Shorten made the wrong call in vowing to increase tax on business.

“Well there has been internal discussions on this issue, those discussions continue, and we will continue to consider whether those businesses on up to $10m turnover should be addressed,” she said.

When asked if she would cross the floor if a future Labor government also tried to raise taxes on businesses with a turnover of up to $10 million, Ms Brodtmann said: “I’m not going to speculate on any of that, the conversations are still being had within the leadership group.”

It came after Labor MP Ross Hart refused to endorse Mr Shorten’s position 13 times in an interview yesterday.

Shaw: Do you agree and do you support your leader in the winding back of tax cuts for medium business that he announced this week?

Brodtmann: We are continuing to consider businesses up to $10m turnover but we have always been crystal clear that we put schools and hospitals ahead of tax cuts for big business and the banks.

Shaw: Gai, I asked you specifically, do you support Bill Shorten’s position when he said ‘yes’ to the winding back tax cuts for medium businesses? And I remind you that you are a former small business person yourself.

Brodtmann: Yes I am and a proud former small business person and, as I said, we are continuing to consider up to ($10 million) turnover.

Shaw: So the leader was wrong to announce to the media that, yes, the policy of the Australian Labor Party was to repeal already L.A.W. law tax cuts for small business?

Brodtmann: Well there has been internal discussions on this issue, those discussions continue, and we will continue to consider whether those businesses on up to $10m turnover should be addressed.

Shaw: If Bill Shorten as Prime Minister and the front bench in government decided to repeal those small business taxes that have been applied by the Coalition government, would you be prepared to cross the floor to support those Canberra businesses with lower taxes?

Brodtmann: I’m not going to speculate on any of that, the conversations are still being had within the leadership group. We are going to take our time to consider this issue and making an announcement once those considerations have been made.


Share bikes a failure in Australia

A Greenie dream dies.  Many people who hire them are too lazy to return them

Bike-sharing service oBike is staying in Sydney despite piles of the disused bicycles ending up dumped in streets and waterways across the city.

OBike is no longer in service in Melbourne after the city council started issuing fines for illegal dumping.

The company has also announced it would stop operating in its home base of Singapore.

An oBike spokesperson told the ABC it was 'not leaving Australia'. 'Our service is as usual. Meanwhile we are also working closely with local authorities in Melbourne for a detailed discussion on how we can better provide our service.'

The company's decision to withdraw from Melbourne comes after the  Environment Protection Authority announced steep new fines of $3,000 per dumped bike, payable by the business.

There are at least four bike-sharing companies in Melbourne and Sydney including oBike and ReddyGo which were launched last year after being popularly used overseas.

The heavily criticised share bike industry, which also operates in other major cities across the country, often leaves pedestrians frustrated as the bikes are left strewn across footpaths or thrown into trees.

Port Phillip Mayor Bernadene Voss told radio station 3AW she had been informed the bikes were on their way out of Melbourne.

'We've been told they are going,' she said. 'We do understand though that there is a new operator coming in.'

Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp asked people to stop using the rental scheme after the company confirmed it was pulling out of Melbourne, following controversy and hefty fines over bikes dumped on streets, up trees and in waterways.

'oBikes have decided to withdraw from our market here in Melbourne and we are working very closely with them to remove oBikes from the city streets,' she told reporters.


Real reason teachers walk away

Unending, deadening, bureaucratic interference with their work

HALF of our teachers are quitting within five years of graduating. We’re at crisis point, and as one teacher explains, it’s not changing.

THOUSANDS of Australian teachers are abandoning their careers every year, leaving our students much worse off. Something is seriously wrong in our education system.

Gabbie Stroud had high hopes walking into her career as a teacher. She was dedicated, and loved working with kids. But over a decade, she was worn down by the system. Below is an extract of her new book, Teacher, showing why it’s more than the daily grind that’s pushing our educators to the brink:

I HAD arrived at school earlier than usual, signing a form at daycare agreeing to pay the extra fifteen bucks for an early drop-off. I needed to prepare an activity for my class. We had been reading Where Is The Green Sheep? by Mem Fox and Judy Horacek, and today we were going to search the school for a lost green sheep. It would be a chance for students to get familiar with the layout of the school as well as engaging them in a rich literacy task. Boxes ticked. One day closer to maternity leave.

On coloured paper I had drawn and laminated sheep — a blue sheep, a red sheep, a yellow sheep, an orange sheep — and I was dotting them around the school. One had been taped to the underside of the slippery dip. Another had been pinned to the tuckshop menu board. I would deliver a couple to classrooms as well. The green sheep himself, a plush soft toy, would be waiting for us in the Principal’s office. The Principal seemed bemused by the entire activity, but had agreed to play along.

I hustled into Gretel’s class and explained the activity while she started up the bank of computers against the back wall of her classroom. “Sounds great,” she said, never looking up. “Sit it on my desk and when you bring your class down to find it. I’ll do the whole shocked and surprised routine.”

“Thanks.” I dropped off the orange sheep and lumbered out the door. I glanced at my watch. Twenty minutes until show time. One sheep left to deposit.

“Hey, Lana.” I knocked on her door, but didn’t wait for her welcome. “Can I please leave this sheep in here with you? And then later this morning I’ll come down with the Kindies?”

“I can’t do this,” Lana said, and for a moment I thought she was talking about my activity.

“Okay.” I took a step backwards. “I can ask someone else.” There was something about her face I didn’t recognise, even though I’d been teaching with her for years. But then it clicked and I did recognise it and I was terrified. It was stress. And defeat. And possibly desperation. All brought to life on the pale, frowning face of my long-time colleague and friend.

“No,” she said and slumped forward in her seat. “I can’t do this. I can’t do this anymore.” She shoved at the paperwork in front of her. “None of it!” She shook her head.

I moved towards her, abandoning the red sheep and putting my arm around her shoulders. Outside a child shouted, Too bad, so sad! and there was the tattoo of school shoes across the concrete.

“I know, it’s so exhausting,” I said, rubbing my hand across her back. “Let’s just take a minute and have a cry and then we’ll get our s**t together, hey?”

“No,” she said. Her stare was defiant. “I can’t do it anymore.” Tears started streaming and I felt panic grip me. I glanced at my watch. Fifteen minutes.

I’ve got to get her together. I need another teacher in here, but I don’t want to leave her. S**t! She’s got car keys in her hands. She is really sobbing. This isn’t a brief breakdown, this is something else.

“Here’s what we’re going to do,” I said with a voice that was warm and confident and reassuring. It was my teacher voice — Lana had one too — but she looked at me in the same way a little one does when they’ve spilled an entire tub of yoghurt down their front. “I’m going to call Pip because her class goes to the library this morning and she’ll come and take your class. So we can stop worrying about that.”

Lana looked at me, nodded, and asked for some tissues. I found the box and passed them to her.

“Then I’m going to ring the Principal. I’m going to tell him to get a relief teacher for your class for the rest of the day.”

She nodded again. “Thanks,” she whispered. “You’re probably just really tired,” I said and squeezed her arm.

“No!” Her voice was loud. Wild. “This isn’t tired! This is something else. This is … This is … I can’t do this anymore.” New tears came and she leaned over her desk, over the books and the papers and the laptop and the awards and the stickers, and sobbed.

I made the phone calls and our teaching community rallied. Madge offered to take my class for a bit and I sat with Lana until she had stopped sobbing and shaking. “I’m so sorry,” she was saying. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”

The Principal came to her room, sat beside her and found his teacher voice, too. He talked about stress leave and mental health and going home right now and not to worry — we would sort out the details later.

“I’m sorry,” Lana said again. “It’s okay,” he said. “And don’t apologise. Happens to the best of us.”

I found her bag and phone and I watched her go, bent over and frail like someone sick, very sick, about to die.

That’s me, I thought. That’s going to happen to me. And the baby rolled inside, uncomfortable under my skin.


“I can’t believe it,” I said. We were in the library after school, waiting for the staff meeting to begin, debriefing about Lana and wondering how she was feeling now.

“I mean, Lana’s so steady and calm and bombproof. She never seems stressed or frazzled. You never see her busting someone’s arse at the photocopier because she’s left things to the last minute and needs to jump the queue.”

“Appearances can be deceiving,” Jule said. “We all wear stress in different ways,” added Madge. “She’ll come good,” the Principal said. “Eventually.”

“You reckon?” I could still see her face — that was the face of a teacher having a breakdown.  “I’ve seen it before,” he said. “Plenty of times.”

Something about the way he said it, that nonchalant, casual manner, made me feel like exploding all over the room. I wanted to see my body fly against the walls in wet, red, meaty splatters. I closed my eyes for a moment, wondered at this anger that kept flaring inside me. Then, I took a breath and asked, “So what are we doing about it?”

He shrugged, opened his diary. “Nothing we can do. Okay — let’s start this meeting. First up, funding cuts.”


“Are you okay?” I was lurching out of my car, willing my body to move faster to get to my friend, to hold her and hug her.

Lana nodded and watched me, framed in her doorway. She was in trackies and uggies, and her face was bare. “I’ve never seen you in trackies,” I said.

“Or without make-up, probably,” she said. She tried to force a laugh, but it turned to a sob, and I stood there and hugged her as close as I could with the buffer of a baby between us. “Thanks for coming around,” she said, ushering me inside.

“I’m worried about you,” I said. About me, I thought.

“It’s stress,” she said simply, flicking on the kettle and pulling mugs from the cupboard. “I’ve seen the doctor; even saw a psychologist today. I just can’t seem to find a way to make my work and my life manageable.”

I nodded, watching as she moved about her kitchen. There was a weariness to her, like she was just out of hospital and recovering from surgery.

“Let me,” I said and took her place in the kitchen, making tea and finding biscuits.

“I mean, I’ve got some hormonal stuff that needs sorting out,” she said. “At my age, that’s pretty normal. But I just can’t see how I’m meant to go on being a teacher for another 20 years. I think about those professional teaching standards coming in and I just think, When am I going to get those done?”

“I try not to think about them,” I said. “Or the national curriculum.”

“Oh, my God,” Lana said. “That as well. I’m a teacher with over 25 years of experience, but these past few years none of that seems good enough. I’ve got to learn this new teaching technique and integrate new technology and promote the school at this thing on the weekend and help that student manage his emotions …” She sniffed. “I just wonder where it’s all going to end?”

“Me too,” I agreed.

“I bet you’re getting excited about the baby.”

“Yeah,” I said, touching my belly. “Probably for all the wrong reasons though.”

“Maternity leave?”

“Yep,” I admitted.

“I get it,” she said. “I get it.”

I stayed until Lana’s husband came home from work, watched as they embraced and she found fresh tears. Driving home, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I’d just had a glimpse of my future. This baby would buy me time away from the classroom, but then what? I would have to return and continue the battle, slogging it out day after day with big dark shadows of standardisation lurking over my head.

Part of me felt like sobbing, just like Lana.


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

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Australia's first Indigenous ophthalmologist enjoys intricate nature of 'elegant' eye surgery

Indigenous my foot!  There's nothing to distinguish him from a Caucasian. Any Aboriginal ancestry is obviously remote and tells us nothing about full-blood Aborigines

There are few areas of medicine more specialised than eye surgery, but it is in that field — which is also highly competitive — that Kristopher Rallah-Baker has made history.

Dr Rallah-Baker has become Australia's first Aboriginal ophthalmologist after completing his training with a stint in outback Western Australia.

Every year, barely more than 15 Australian doctors complete the five-year vocational training program to become an ophthalmologist.

"I think there's a lot of humility that comes with being the first in the field," he said.

"I guess some people would suggest that I'm a trailblazer.

"I see myself as doing a job and being a role model for other people to follow a similar path both Indigenous and non-Indigenous."

Dr Rallah-Baker completed his last six months with Outback Vision, an outreach service of the Lions Eye Institute.

He said he found he seemed to have a deeper connection with Indigenous patients.

"There is a slight difference in the level of interaction. I think a big part of that is an instant understanding that there's a common history and there's a common story there," Dr Rallah-Baker said.

"And that's not to say non-Indigenous people don't have that understanding, there's some fantastic, fantastic non-Indigenous ophthalmologists out there who just understand it.


Fatty loses her exorbitant payout

The original judge bent all the rules to give her such a big payout

Actress Rebel Wilson has been ordered to repay $4.1 million she received from Bauer Media in a defamation payout that was later reduced on appeal to $600,000.

The Court of Appeal on Wednesday ordered Wilson pay Bauer Media $4,183,071.45 – including $60,316.45 in interest – after the original judgment awarding her $4.7 million was set aside on appeal earlier in June.

Wilson was awarded the landmark payout in September 2017 following a defamation trial over a series of articles that made her out to be a liar, but an appeal later found she was not entitled to $3.9 million in economic damages relating to a loss of income.


Oxfam investigates allegation fundraisers threatened to rape a woman

Charity collectors have become very aggressive now that they are paid by results

Oxfam says it is investigating allegations that fundraisers knocking doors on its behalf have been accused of threatening to rape a woman after she turned them away from her home.

Police in a suburb of Perth, Western Australia, say they have received reports about the conduct of “legitimate representatives” fundraising on behalf of Oxfam in Byford on Monday.

CCTV footage from the group’s visit to the woman’s home – as well as commentary about their actions – has been circulating on social media.

In a statement, Oxfam said the two fundraisers had denied the specific allegations, but that the organisation was taking the allegations very seriously.

Police in Western Australia have confirmed they have received complaints over the behaviour of door-knockers employed by Global Interactive and collecting for Oxfam, who have visited a number of properties around Byford and Mundijong.

Residents have reported the door-knockers have became aggressive when they’ve been refused donations and, in one instance, have allegedly threatened to rape a female homeowner who declined to give money.

Residents, concerned over the behaviour, have posted accounts of their experiences and CCTV footage from their homes on social media, warning others.

Oxfam confirmed that while the door-knockers were not directly linked to Oxfam, the group was employed by Global Interactive to fundraise on the charity’s behalf.

Global Interactive is an “outsourced sales solution” company contracted by Oxfam to assist in its fundraising campaign.

Both Oxfam and Global Interactive are assisting WA police in their investigations. The Public Fundraising Regulatory Association, of which Oxfam and Global Interactive are both members, has also been notified.

“The people in the footage published on social media are engaged by Global Interactive to fundraise for Oxfam. The two fundraisers have denied any inappropriate behaviour, but in accordance with standard practice have been stood down pending inquiries into the matter,” Oxfam’s statement said.

“Global Interactive has removed all of their fundraisers from the Byford area, given community concerns about this matter.

“Oxfam expects people fundraising on our behalf to adhere to the highest ethical and professional standards to ensure our donors, supporters and members of the public are treated respectfully.”

The Mundijong police have confirmed they are investigating the allegations.

“We have a number of legitimate representatives in our area conducting charity work on behalf of Oxfam. A video has emerged on social media regarding conduct of some of the individuals involved and the company responsible have addressed the issues identified.”

Oxfam has weathered scandals already this year, when it emerged that in 2011, several Oxfam staff were accused of sexual exploitation and abuse in Haiti during the organisation’s response to an earthquake there. As well, allegations emerged from 2006 of Oxfam staff using sex workers in Chad.

In February, the deputy chief executive Penny Lawrence resigned over what she described as the British charity’s failure to adequately respond to the allegations of sexual misconduct by some staff.


'He's the one with the silver spoon in his mouth': One Nation's Pauline Hanson claims Bill Shorten has 'no connection with grassroots Australians'

Senator Pauline Hanson has accused Labor leader Bill Shorten of having a 'silver spoon in his mouth'.

The outspoken One Nation Senator, who revealed this week that she does not trust the Opposition leader, has accused Mr Shorten of having no connection to grassroots Australia and advised people to 'keep away' from him, according to The Courier Mail.

The rift between Ms Hanson and the Labor Party escalated last week when she supported Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's personal income tax cuts in the Senate.

Ms Hanson has taken aim at Mr Shorten's private school education, according to the publication.

'I don't trust him,' she said. 'It's women's intuition. I don't feel warm to him. I don't feel like I connect with him. 

'He's the one with the silver spoon in his mouth. Everything he calls Malcolm Turnbull, he needs to look at himself in the mirror.'

Mr Shorten attended the prestigious Xavier College and St Mary's Catholic Primary School, both located in Melbourne.

Ms Hanson was public-school educated at Buranda Girl's School and Coorparoo State School in Queensland. She left school at 15, and worked at her parents Fish and Chip Shop with her siblings from a young age.  

 Her comments come after Shorten's colleague Anthony Albanese was accused by the Coalition of firing the starter gun on the Labor Party leadership.

Mr Albanese set out his agenda for the Labor Party in his Whitlam Oration speech at Shellharbour, on the New South Wales Coast, on Friday night. But Labor denied any rift between the pair.

Ms Hanson told 2SM Mr Albanese would make a better Opposition leader, describing him as a 'lovely guy'.  'I think he would be better leader than what Bill Shorten is,' she told the radio network on Tuesday. 


'It's less efficient than regular unleaded': Motorists are being forced to use E10 fuel despite growing doubts about cost savings and environmental benefits

Motorists are being forced to use ethanol petrol despite industry doubts about its environmental benefits and cost savings.

Service stations in New South Wales and Queensland are being required to stock E10 petrol, which contains up to 10 per cent ethanol, and are hit with hefty fines if they fail to convert their tanks.

This lower octane unleaded blend, containing fermented sugarcane or grain, typically sells for $1.50 a litre in Sydney, compared with $1.75 a litre for premium unleaded.

Over a year, this equates to an extra $663 a year to fill up a small Mazda3 hatchback if motorists want to buy the superior premium unleaded petrol as lower octane, regular unleaded is replaced with E10 at service stations.

E10 is also three per cent less efficient per kilometre than regular unleaded petrol, with industry experts questioning its touted environmental benefits.

Independent petrol monitoring group Fueltrac said lobbying from ethanol producer Manildra and Queensland's sugarcane growers was forcing motorists in two states to pay significantly more for petrol if they didn't want to fill up with E10.

'There would be zero benefit in terms of environmental benefit and you've got the higher cost of the fuel,' the group's manager director Geoff Trotter told Daily Mail Australia today.

'The stuff only has 70 per cent thermal efficiency of a standard unleaded so you've got to use three per cent more to go the same distance.'

Mr Trotter, a former Shell executive, said the NSW government was threatening service stations with $500,000 fines if they didn't stock E10.

'When the motorists didn't respond to the mandate in the first tranche, they then threatened retailers with these huge fines,' he said.

'Unfortunately, what that's done is it's forced people to have to buy premium unleaded fuel which is between 15 and 20 cents a litre more than the previous standard unleaded. 'They haven't delivered any savings benefits for the poor old motorist.'


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, June 27, 2018

Senate must not pass large company tax cuts: Oxfam

Oxfam started out as a chain of charity shops in England.  They have now however transmogrified into a carping Leftist pressure group.  They still seem however to understand secondhand clothes better than economics.  They complain below that many large companies pay no tax in Australia while at the same time opposing tax cuts.  Anyone see a problem there?  Surely the companies who pay no tax will not be affected by tax cuts!

Multinational companies are often in a position to take their profits in a jurisdiction where tax rates are low -- as in Singapore or Ireland -- so it is sensible for companies to do that.  So the companies that pay no tax in Australia will pay tax in (say) Singapore. 

Australian government revenues lose from that but the solution is to get Australian company tax down to the Singapore rate -- 17%.  Despite being so lacking in natural resources that it even imports water, Singapore is a very prosperous place -- so if Singapore can do it so can we.

It won't happen soon.  The Left would mount a Jihad to stop it -- while the Singapore government enjoys tax money that could have gone to the Australian government.

The unfortunate Mr Turnbull is trying to get our company tax down -- our rates are about twice Singapore's -- but the ignoramuses of the Left would rather have our money go to Singapore

Commenting on the push to have large company tax cuts pass through the Senate this week, Oxfam Australia’s economic policy advisor Joy Kyriacou said:

“The proposed $65 billion hand-out for big business would make Australia the latest country to join the global race to the bottom on corporate tax rates.

“Slashing the corporate tax rate would undermine attempts to tackle inequality and poverty, both in Australia and around the world. When governments enter a race to the bottom on corporate tax rates, everyday people lose.

“It is utterly inconceivable that the Federal Government wants to push ahead with slashing the corporate tax rate when Australian Taxation Office data shows that more than one in three large Australian companies paid no tax at all in Australia for the past three years of reporting.

“Passing the corporate tax cut for large companies would be a further step in unravelling the fairness of our tax system.

“Right now, the use of tax havens and other loopholes by Australian multinationals is ripping billions of dollars from public coffers in developing countries, as well as in Australia.

“Oxfam estimates around $5-6 billion is lost to Australia’s public purse through the tax avoidance practices of multinationals – and global estimates are that the poorest countries loose well over $100 billion annually.

“This is money that should be spent on the things everyday people need: schools, hospitals, roads and public infrastructure.

“It would also be completely nonsensical to promise a crackdown on multinationals that are avoiding paying their fair share of tax in exchange for rewarding big business with these tax cuts.

“And the stubborn push for these tax cuts comes with little evidence of benefits to the economy and community – and in exchange for no more than a ‘pinky promise’ that big business will invest more in jobs and wage growth.

“What Australia should be doing is cracking down further on tax avoidance, including by introducing public country-by-country reporting that requires large companies to declare details of income, taxes paid and profits around the world.

“Oxfam calls on Senators to support the Australian people this week, not further profits for large companies. The corporate tax cuts for large businesses should be rejected.”

Via email.

Cattle the next target in climate war

Storm clouds have gathered over the long paddock as beef production becomes the target of a building global campaign that threatens to make cows the next coal in ­climate change action.

Australia’s biggest integrated cattle and beef producer, Australian Agricultural Co (AAC), has been thrown on to the defensive after it was named and shamed as a global laggard.

AAC, the oldest continuously operating company in the nation, claims a “high risk” rating by a group representing investors worth $5.9 trillion was more due to poor communication than bad management.

But a war of competing scientific views has been ramping up over the impact of cattle on ­climate, with Oxford University research rejecting the benefits of grazing and claiming diets with less meat of any kind were needed to save the planet.

Land emissions were due to surface as the next challenge for the federal government, which ­remains bogged down in energy policy and strongly resistant to plans to tighten regulations for new cars and the transport sector.

Some commentators claim Australian cattle, sheep and pig herds will need to be cut by millions of animals to meet agriculture’s share of the 26 to 28 per cent cut to carbon dioxide emissions from 2005 levels by 2030.

The fear is that climate policies would do to meat prices what had been done to electricity.

The Australian Meat and Livestock Corporation has responded to pressure with a public ­“ambition” to make the livestock sector carbon-neutral by 2030.

Rather than cut animal numbers, the industry says better land management, improved stock ­selection and handling can offset the impact of methane and carbon dioxide emissions from cows.

About 13 per cent of Australia’s carbon emissions come from agriculture compared with 35 per cent from electricity generation and 17 per cent from transportation.

The livestock sector represents about 70 per cent of emissions from agriculture, with beef cattle production mostly responsible.

Beef cattle produce high levels of the potent greenhouse gas methane when they graze and when they pass wind.

A spokesman for the federal Environment Department told The Australian the $2.5 billion emissions reduction fund allowed at least six methods the livestock industry could use to generate ­additional income while providing productivity benefits.

A government paper said to ­reduce the emissions intensity of beef, growers could reduce the ­average number of days from birth to slaughter, reduce the ­average age of the herd or reduce the number of animals in the herd.

CSIRO is exploring ways the industry can be carbon neutral while the national herd can ­remain stable at 28 million cattle and 70 million sheep.

MLA managing director Richard Norton said paths to becoming carbon neutral “don’t require the heavy hand of regulation”.

“What they do require is the commitment of industry, the right policy settings from federal and state governments and continued investment in research and development,” he said.

Mr Norton said the red meat industry had already reduced its share of Australia’s total emissions from 20 per cent of Australia’s 600 million tonnes total emissions in 2005 to just 13 per cent in 2015.

AAC said it was committed to working to further reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

“To do this, we recognise the importance of better understanding agricultural greenhouse gas flows at pasture and production level,’’ the company said. “Better data and industry benchmarking will help us drive further, long-term improvement.’’

Australia currently ranks as the world’s third largest beef ­exporter behind Brazil and India.


Bill Shorten’s frontbench team rich in assets

Bill Shorten’s asset-rich frontbenchers, who have led attacks on the personal wealth of Malcolm Turnbull, will continue to have ­access to the benefits of negative gearing on dozens of investment properties under Labor’s plans to axe the ­lucrative tax break for new investors.

As the opposition ramps up its class-war attack on “millionaires”, The Australian can reveal many of Labor’s frontbenchers are multi-millionaires, courtesy of bulging property portfolios. Parliamentary records show Labor’s 45 frontbenchers own or have an interest in a total of 105 properties, including 57 classified as residences, and up to 48 classified as investments, holiday houses or blocks of land.

The Opposition Leader has pledged to axe negative gearing, while “grandfathering” arrangements for those already in the market, in a move that would benefit senior members of his leadership team.

An analysis of parliament’s register of pecuniary interests reveals some Labor MPs also make use of family trusts, control self-­managed superannuation funds, and declare share portfolios. Labor’s wealthy frontbenchers ­include deputy leader Tanya Plibersek, who lists four properties in the register of pecuniary interests, owned by her or her spouse, including one in the Slovenian capital of ­Ljubljana.

Mr Shorten’s leadership rival, Anthony Albanese, lists four properties in the register with his wife, former NSW Labor deputy premier Carmel Tebbutt, including residences in inner-Sydney Marrickville and Canberra, and two investment properties in Sydney. Legal affairs spokesman Mark Dreyfus has a primary residence in the leafy Melbourne suburb of Malvern — a long way from his seat of Isaacs — and declares investment properties in South Yarra, Camberwell and Airey’s Inlet, owned by him or his wife.

Labor agriculture spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon has an interest in five properties, including a residence and commercial property in Cessnock, NSW, a block of land, and two properties in Canberra.

Labor’s biggest property ­moguls include communications spokeswoman Michelle Rowland, who owns six properties with her husband, including several owned through a family trust; and mental health spokeswoman Deb O’Neill, who lists six properties owned jointly with her husband.

Labor Medicare spokesman Tony Zappia also lists an interest in six properties.

Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar last night branded the Labor frontbench “typical ­socialists who enjoy the fruits of capitalism”.

“Unlike the Labor Party, we don’t begrudge anybody for ­aspiring to get ahead,” Mr Sukkar said. “But it looks like these Labor property investors are happy to enjoy the benefits for themselves but want to lock the gate behind them, with their massive housing taxes.”

Labor has pledged to axe negative gearing of property for new entrants in the market, except for those investing in new housing stock. It would also wind back the 50 per cent capital gains discount on the sale assets held for longer than 12 months from 50 to 25 per cent, in a package of changes that would raise an estimated $32 billion from taxpayers over 10 years.

Opposition Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen said Labor had been careful not to penalise everyday Australians who were already benefiting from negative gearing, or those who wanted to invest in new housing stock. “Labor’s policy is well-targeted and designed to get negative gearing working for the economy and housing supply by maintaining it for new properties only,” Mr Bowen said. ­“Importantly, any Australian who is currently negative gearing an apartment or house will be able to continue to do so.”

The Prime Minister told parliament yesterday that Labor’s property tax changes would have a devastating affect on the property market. “It will smash into the value of the largest single asset class,” he said. “The Labor Party is a massive threat to the savings, to the futures and to the prosperity of all Australians.”

Opposition finance spokesman Jim Chalmers yesterday said Mr Turnbull was a former banker who “always sides with the millionaires and the multinationals over Middle Australia”. Mr Turnbull ­donates more than the equivalent of his $500,000 salary to charity through the Turnbull Foundation each year, The Sunday Telegraph revealed in 2015.


How unis can beat the cheats by finding 'fingerprints' in their essays

The telltale signs of a cheat could be lurking in a comma or a seemingly innocuous double space after a full stop.

As universities grapple with a rise in contract cheating – which involves students outsourcing their assessments – technology is clamping down on the unethical practice by monitoring students' unique writing styles.

The software, which has been created by US-based company Turnitin and will be launched later this year, is being developed and tested at Australian institutions including Deakin University, the University of New South Wales, the University of Wollongong and the University of Queensland.

Forensic linguists – the experts who scrutinise ransom notes and suspicious wills – helped identify 70 different factors that feed into a person’s unique writing style.

These include the use of commas, parentheses and dashes, how they list examples and whether they double space after a full stop.

Turnitin vice-president of product management Bill Loller is reluctant to go into more detail, because he’s concerned it could lead to contract cheating websites modifying their essays to escape scrutiny.

“There are unique fingerprints around writing,” Mr Loller said.  “It's very unique in that it doesn't vary across your writing, whatever you do, you always do.”

The cheating detection software also calculates a student’s readability score and compares this with previous essays they have submitted.

Machine-learning algorithms determine whether students are writing at an undergraduate or postgraduate level. Their writing style, content, vocabulary variety and sentence complexity is assessed, and if there is a significant difference between two essays submitted by the same student, alarm bells start ringing.

“These give away whether the document has been written by the same person,” Mr Loller explained.

The software also helps university staff scrutinise the metadata of essays to pick up anomalies.

Mr Loller said his company decided to tackle contract cheating after receiving a visit from Australian university representatives in the wake of the MyMaster scandal uncovered by Fairfax Media in 2014.

That investigation revealed that thousands of students had paid up to $1000 for a Sydney company to write their university essays and assignments and sit online tests.

Mr Loller said contract cheating was a lot more nuanced and difficult to prove than plagiarism, which his company had previously focused on.

“Teachers and tutors have this gut instinct that something isn’t right when they see a paper but they don’t know what to do. They might talk to a student and a student might wave their hands and say, 'I did it, or I was a little off and had a drink the night before.' But it is really hard to prove and it is time consuming.”

In some cases, it has taken university staff up to 40 hours to prove one case of contract cheating.

While the new technology doesn’t conclusively say whether a student has engaged in contract cheating, it provides university staff with a detailed report on the likelihood of cheating and may recommend further investigation.

University of South Australia plagiarism expert Tracey Bretag tested the technology with essays her university had already deemed to be examples of contract cheating. The technology was useful in identifying them.

Dr Bretag's research found that 6 per cent of Australian students had engaged in cheating. This included obtaining an assignment to submit as their own, giving or receiving exam assistance and engaging in exam impersonation.

She said the new tool was “potentially very useful” but some students would always find a way around it. She said cheating students were inserting white Hebrew characters, invisible to the naked eye, into essays in an attempt to dupe plagiarism software.

“People who want to cheat are always going to find a way to cheat. We can't stamp it out 100 per cent,” she sad. “If we keep putting in place a lot of things to show we do care about this, we will reduce their ability, they will think 'this is getting hard'.”


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, June 26, 2018

Federal Court imposes personal fine on CFMMEU organiser

Construction union organiser Joe Myles has been ordered to personally pay a $19,500 penalty for unlawful conduct, under a significant Federal Court ruling designed to undercut the union’s strategy of paying penalties of behalf of law-breaking officials.

The decision follows a landmark High Court ruling in February that union officials can be hit with orders stopping unions paying fines on their behalf.

In a setback for the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union, a Federal Court full court said today the personal payment order against Mr Myles was designed to show officials they could not break the law knowing the union would always bale them out.

“The union acts through its officials, of whom Mr Myles was, and is, one,’’ the court said.

“The penalty against the individual must be a burden or have a sting to be a deterrent. The history of contravening by the union, all undertaken through its officials, reflects a willingness to contravene the Act and to pay the penalties as a cost of its approach to industrial relations.”

As well as the penalty order against Mr Myles, the union was penalised $111,000 for the unlawful conduct at the Regional Rail Link project in Victoria in 2013.

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner Stephen McBurney said the decision “makes clear to all union officials that when you break the law, you can no longer rely upon union members to pick up the tab”.

“This landmark decision is directed at preventing CFMMEU funds undercutting the sting or burden of the personal penalty,’’ he said. “The decision of the High Court and Full Court in this case now clears the way for personal payment orders to be sought in appropriate cases currently before the Courts.”

Mr Myles and 20 people parked vehicles across the entrance to the project, blocking Boral concrete trucks.

The 24.4 cubic metres of concrete in the trucks and 24.4cu m already poured were wasted. Mr Myles threatened a superintendent with “war” if his demands to put a CFMEU delegate on site were not met.

In today’s judgment, the court said the blockade was “extremely serious”.

“It involved the loss of a large quantity of concrete; it caused loss and damage of a significant amount to those conducting the works; it was a form of coercion on a building site of the utmost weight and force; it was deliberate and continued over a period of time; it was known to be a serious contravention of the Act; and, it was done with an apparent sense of impunity by Mr Myles as a union official directing it,” the judges said.

Under the order against Mr Myles, the court said he must not seek or encourage the union the pay the penalty, or accept or receive any money from the union for the penalty.

The Australian Building and Construction Commission sought an order requiring Mr Myles go to its office with a personal cheque or bank cheque to pay the penalties.

But the court refused, saying the ABCC application “smacks of an overly officious attitude”

“We are of the view that deterrence (specific and general) justifies the order that we are prepared to make,’’ the judges said. “It is directed at preventing union funds undercutting the sting or burden of the personal penalty.”

They said Mr Myles had a “history of significant contravention”.

“A personal payment order of the kind to which we will come will bring home to him, and others in his position, that he, and they, cannot act in contravention of the Act knowing that union funds will always bale him, or them, out,’’ they said


Liberals call Labor ad "grubby"

Malcolm Turnbull has hit back at new Labor attack ads over his wealth, as the government scrambles to win over the Senate crossbench to pass the last stage of company tax cuts.

Labor has rolled out a television ad, saying Malcolm Turnbull will personally benefit from the corporate tax cuts because of his massive shareholdings in big business.

Mr Turnbull said it was an example of "how the Labor Party is abandoning everything that it used to stand for."

And he defended his right to make money. "They want to attack me for having a quid," the multimillionaire said. "They want to attack me and Lucy for working hard and having a go. Luce and I have done that all our lives. "Making money. Paying tax. That's apparently not the Labor way any more. "You're not allowed to have a go. Make money. Work hard. "The old Labor leaders would be horrified by Bill Shorten's politics of envy."

Coalition colleagues said the ad was "grubby" and "appalling" and point out most Australians, including Labor MPs would benefit from the corporate tax cuts through superannuation funds.


Hateful Labor inflates Hanson

Labor likes to paint Pauline Hanson as a polarising figure who poses a threat to the social fabric of the Australian nation.

Through a blind hatred of the woman, the opposition has now ensured the One Nation leader has become a threat to the economy. This is not an indictment of Hanson. It is the consequence of Labor’s political decision to abandon common sense when it comes to business tax cuts — cuts it once supported.

The refusal to negotiate an outcome on an issue that once had bipartisan support has forced the government to deal with crossbenchers who never had a commonsense view of the economy to begin with.

With One Nation’s two votes in the Senate being critical for passage of legislation, Bill Shorten has effectively put Hanson in charge of economic policy. Labor’s Senate negotiator Penny Wong was apoplectic at the deal done last week between Hanson and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann to get personal income tax cuts done.

Wong was blindsided and the opposition was caught out. Its only option was to double down and launch an unhinged attack on Hanson — a tactic that some in shadow cabinet believe is a dangerous folly.

This week it is all about company tax and the opposition’s pressure campaign has succeed in spooking Hanson. She has folded on the flimsy argument that the government isn’t doing enough to crack down on multinational tax avoidance. This, of course, is nonsense. The government has passed the Multinational Anti-Avoidance Law and a Diverted Profits Tax to stamp out profit shifting overseas.

This is Hanson looking for a short-term rescue plan before the Longman by-election.

The problem for Labor and Hanson is that they have approached the issue as if it’s all about them. Corporate tax cuts are hardly populist policy. The government isn’t doing it because it makes people love them.


Australia needs more private universities

More private universities would introduce diversity into higher education

Pressure is building to allow more private universities into the higher education sector, as the industry begins to rationalise.

Private providers and industry experts say it's time to open up the university sector which has 39 publicly funded universities but only four that are private.

Government data shows three of the four private universities ranked highest on a survey of overall student experience last year. The Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching survey showed the top three also scored above 90 per cent on a ranking of overall educational experience, where the industry average was 78.4 per cent.

Professor of economics and dean of business at Alphacrucis​ College – a private higher education provider in Sydney – Paul Oslington, says the biggest barrier to new private universities is a hostile public policy environment.

And writing in today's Australian Financial Review, Professor Oslington says the public universities are strongly averse to competition from entrants.

"Public universities have campaigned against government funding for students choosing private higher education, even when degrees are accredited by the same body and according to the same standards as degrees offered by the public universities."

Ground shifting

The comments come as the ground shifts under public universities, with Adelaide University and the University of South Australia beginning merger talks, and after the debacle when a public university turned down a multimillion-dollar philanthropic donation from the Ramsay Centre on grounds of autonomy.

National sector leader, education, at consultants KPMG and a former university vice-chancellor, Stephen Parker, says there are restrictions on new entrants to the uni business that protect quality. But they are also prohibiting diversity.

Professor Parker said the sector had reached a size where it warranted reform. "We can't do anything to prejudice our global reputation. But the time has come to carefully free up the system."

He said in the face of disruption the time had come for the uni sector to focus on diversity. New higher education providers, with different business models could offer courses in specialised fields.

Apart from the four private universities (Bond, Notre Dame, University of Divinity and Torrens University) there are more than 140 non-university higher education providers, including religious, business and performing arts colleges.

National education leader at consultants PwC, David Sacks, said the public/private divide was a distraction. Public unis are required to do research, have comprehensive offerings and operate on a big scale.

Private providers are smaller and have the freedom to follow a particular mission and specialise. If government changed the settings the result would be more diversity in higher education.

He said the choice was whether Australia wanted more sustainability by keeping the uni system as it is or whether the settings could be changed to drive growth.

Mr Sacks said anything that made the sector more student-outcome focused was welcome. He noted the government's performance-based funding due to start in 2020 was about outcomes not inputs and that was well intended.

Bond University on the Queensland Gold Coast is a non-profit, private uni and offers degrees in four subjects: design, law, business and health sciences. A typical business degree costs $100,000. The academic year begins in the third week of January, runs over three semesters and ends in mid-December. Most public unis offer two 13-week semesters; start in February and end in early November.

Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham said higher education was a diverse market and any new entrants should meet the "high standard we've set".

"It's one of the reasons there are now three times as many non-university higher education providers as there are universities in Australia and they continue to attract strong enrolment growth," he said.


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

Monday, June 25, 2018

Australia's dangerous obsession with the Anglosphere

Dennis Altman, author of the article partly reproduced below, has been queer since before it was fashionable and was also born a Jew. Both those backgrounds probably have a role in making him alienated from the Australian society in which he lives. So much so that he clearly does not understand mainstream Australians -- which could also be due to his many distinguished academic appointments.

Academe is a very different world of its own. I saw it close up in my own academic career. In that career I did a lot of social surveys using general population samples and it was amusing how different the results I got were when compared with the conventional literature of social and political science. "The people" are not as academics conceive them. Most academics live in a complacent Leftist bubble from which all dissident thought is rigorously excluded.  And if a disturbing thought is forced into their consciousness, they foam with rage -- as Donald Trump has shown.

So, for various reasons, Dennis just cannot understand why our news media and cutural outlets do not focus on Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and New Delhi. Geographical considerations would suggest that our focus should be there but it is not. We hear ten thousand times more about Donald Trump than we do about Narendra Modi (Who's Narendra Modi?). The fact that Dennis finds that wrong is a very interesting commentary on his thinking. He elevates geography over the social sciences. Once again we see that people are a puzzle to him.

I reproduce below only the opening blast from his very long and repetitious article but I think that that suffices to give you a very fair indication of his drift.

It's what he doesn't say that is more enlightening, however. He fails to get to grips with the ancient truth that we get on better with people like ourselves and find people like ourselves more interesting. That simple truth explains the "perversity" that Dennis sees in the world about him. Both genetically and culturally the UK and the USA are very similar to us and that is the end of it. We will always be more interested in them than in the doings at Ulaanbaatar, historically important though Mongolia has been. Dennis's claim that we should be less preoccupied by ethnic and cultural similarity is pissing into the wind. He certainly does not explain why something so normal is a "dangerous obsession"

Over the past three weeks the ABC program Four Corners has presented special reports on American politics, which involved one of our best journalists, Sarah Ferguson, travelling to the US on special assignment. I watched these programs and I enjoyed them. But in part I enjoyed them because they covered ground that is already familiar.

If the same effort had gone into bringing us in-depth special reports from, say, Jakarta or Mumbai they would have been less familiar, but perhaps more interesting. Most important they would not be stories already covered by major English language media to which we have extraordinary access.

As we struggle to make sense of a changing world order, in which the role of the US seems less defined and dependable, our fascination with things American continues to grow. It is one of the ironies of current Australian life that preoccupation with "the Anglosphere", a favourite phrase of former prime minister Tony Abbott's, is in practice shared by many who regard themselves as progressive.

What is the Anglosphere? The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as "the countries of the world in which the English language and cultural values predominate", clearly referring to Britain, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. A surprisingly recent term, it was coined by the science-fiction writer Neal Stephenson in his 1995 novel The Diamond Age, and then picked up by a number of conservative commentators.

The Churchillian notion of near-mythical bonds created by the English language and British heritage has always attracted Australian conservatives. Chris Berg from the Institute of Public Affairs wrote in 2012:

"Our heritage is not something to be ashamed of. It is not a coincidence the oldest surviving democracies are in the Anglosphere. Or that a tradition of liberty, stretching back to the Magna Carta, has given English-speaking nations a greater protection of human rights and private property. We ought to be proud, not bashful. Sure, it's more fashionable to talk of the `Asian century'. But the Anglosphere will shape Australia's cultural and political views for a century. It's a shame only conservatives feel comfortable talking about it"

Both former foreign affairs minister Bob Carr and former prime minister Kevin Rudd attacked Abbott's enthusiasm for the Anglosphere. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is far less likely to invoke the term, and the election of Donald Trump means the idea has gone out of fashion on the right, who are struggling how to respond to a US president who is both their worst fears and their greatest hopes made flesh.

Yet despite 50 years of governments talking about Australia as part of Asia, now somewhat rebadged in the concept of the Indo-Pacific, our cultural guardians continue to behave as if nothing has changed. We may be wary of Trump's America, and a little bemused by the reappearance of Little Britain, but we still look unreflectively to the US and Britain for intellectual guidance.


Eurydice Dixon: ‘Rape culture’ facts just don’t fit

CLAIRE LEHMANN comprehensively demolishes feminist theory in just one article

It has been little more than a week since a young Melbourne woman, Eurydice Dixon, had her life cut short by young man who allegedly raped and murdered her, leaving her body in an empty oval in the early hours of the morning. The young man has since turned himself in to police. [He was a mental case]

In the aftermath of this brutal crime we have seen calls to action from Malcolm Turnbull to “change the hearts of men”, from Bill Shorten to “change the attitudes of men”, and from Adam Bandt that “we (men) must change the way we act”, as if there were some kind of unspoken bond between the person who committed this crime and the politicians who govern the nation.

Such utterances, while potentially comforting to those who are acutely distressed, are overly broad in their attribution of blame. Whether such broadness is intentional or not, it betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of evil, and betrays the liberal principle that no person should be held accountable for a crime they did not commit.

In my brief time as a graduate student of forensic psychology, I learned about children who had “callous and unemotional” traits. These traits are the childhood version of what we call psychopathy in adults. Children who exhibit these traits are cruel to their pets and siblings in ways the ordinary person would struggle to comprehend. I read about one child who stuck pins into the eyes of the family dog, and another child who poured paint stripper over his disabled sister’s legs. The traumatised parents of these children live out lives of devastation and outrage, and suffer the fate of being blamed for their children’s disturbance (when most often it is not their fault). Fortunately, there are a handful of clinics around the world that try to train such children out of such behaviour. But in the long run many of them do grow up to be antisocial, some become criminals, others do not.

When Victoria Police Superintendent David Clayton said people “should be aware of (their) surroundings” and take precautions to protect their own safety following the discovery of Dixon’s body, he uttered a statement so commonsensical as to be banal. Yet, from the vicious reaction to his words, one might have momentarily thought that he was the murderer. Premier Daniel ­Andrews seemed to implicitly rebuke the senior police officer when he officiously declared: “Women don’t need to change their behaviour. Men do.”

Yet anyone who has had any real-life experience knows what Clayton was referring to: psychopaths exist in our midst, and these predators opportunistically engage in acts of malevolence. These criminals are rare but the damage they can do can be devastating. All the high-minded efforts to get men to “change” aren’t going to rid the world of psychopaths, unless one believes psychopaths don’t exist in the first place.

As a senior police officer, Clayton presumably knows a bit about crime. He is familiar with depravity and recognises its signs. Yet this simple fact of life, that evil exists, seems beyond the realm of the progressive imagination. Limited by an emaciated vocabulary, such crimes are now explained via the newspeak of “oppression”, “power” and “problematic attitudes” that have been “socialised”.

The fashionable explanation today is the idea that crimes against women are a cultural phenomenon. Prominent feminist Clementine Ford writes in The Age: “Sexual violence and homicide might be the extreme end point of it, but the spectrum they sit on stretches right back to ‘harmless’ casual sexism, the rape ‘jokes’ and threats that proliferate online and the attitude expressed towards women on a daily basis by groups of men who’ve been socialised to view themselves as superior. These toxic behaviours don’t manifest one day out of nowhere. They are cultivated.”

White Ribbon ambassador Andrew Swan joined the crime-is-cultural chorus, stating: “It is crucial to consider sexual assault and family violence as part of the same spectrum — a dark rainbow that begins with something as simple as a sexist joke, and our reaction to it.” The solution? “Try not laughing,” he said.

The focus on sexist jokes and “everyday sexism” seems disproportionate when weighed against the evidence. You wouldn’t know it from the amount of times the myth is repeated by media commentators, but there is no evidence that links the telling of jokes to sexual assault or murder. On the contrary, in the psychiatric literature, losing one’s ability to laugh (anhedonia) is a recognised sign of psychopathology, and a general sense of humour is considered healthy.

The fashionable idea that all men are somehow responsible for a culture of rape and violence is not supported by the evidence either. Crimes in general, including crimes against women, are committed overwhelmingly by a minority subset of the general population. In Sweden, for example, a population-based study that looked at more than two million people from 1975 to 2004 found that only 1 per cent of the population were responsible for 63.2 per cent of all crimes recorded — nearly twice as many as the other 99 per cent combined. That’s a tiny percentage of the population responsible for the vast majority of offending.

The same holds true for sexual assault. Offenders who commit sexual assaults are much likelier to be “life-course persistent offenders”; that is, individuals who have the greatest propensity to criminality. Again, a minority is responsible for the majority of offending. Even when it comes to sexual harassment, it is likely that repeat offenders cause most of the trouble. The fact is that recidivist offenders are responsible for the vast bulk of all crimes, and unfortunately these individuals are the least likely to be persuaded by rehabilitation campaigns or public education efforts.

“But what about domestic violence?” one may ask. Isn’t the high rate of intimate-partner ­violence evidence that we live in a culture that belittles and devalues women?

It is true that women experience the most serious forms of domestic violence, which can involve stalking and end in murder. In Australia, about 70 per cent of all intimate-partner homicides are female. And about one in four women (or about 25 per cent to 30 per cent) report having been the victim of intimate-partner ­violence at some time. Yet intimate-partner violence is not a male-only domain. In an Australian study, lesbians were likelier to report having been in an abusive relationship than gay men (41 per cent and 28 per cent respectively). And in the US, the lifetime prevalence of having been the victim of intimate-­partner violence is found to be much higher among lesbians and bisexual women when compared with heterosexual women and gay men. The feminist theory that claims violence is a tool used by men systematically to oppress women as a collective fails to account for such data. It also fails to account for the Nordic paradox.

A study published in 2016 coined the term Nordic paradox to refer to the puzzling finding that in countries with the highest level of gender equality — ­Sweden, Norway and Finland — rates of reported intimate-partner violence are substantially higher than in the rest of the world. (The global prevalence of IPV is estimated to be about 30 per cent but in Sweden it is 38 per cent.) Researchers do not know if this is because there is a backlash effect in which men are responding to shifts towards gender egalitarianism by lashing out, or if it is simply the result of increased awareness and reporting. But whatever the explanation is determined to be, the feminist prediction that violence declines as gender equality increases simply is not supported by the data.

The idea that our culture condones violence against women is farcical. There are no sympathetic portrayals of rapists or wife-­abusers in films, TV shows or in most of the Western canon. On the contrary, films often revolve around a plot of revenge where a morally depraved figure who has harmed a woman receives his just deserts. There are no cultural artefacts that glorify rape and, contrary to the accusations of some feminists, men who abuse or exploit women generally are held in contempt by other men.

Crimes against women are stigmatised and punished harshly. Sexual offenders generally are given lengthy prison sentences and are secluded from other prisoners precisely because the crime is so reviled — even in ­prison.

While ABC journalists ask why violence against women is an “accepted part” of Western civilisation we must remember that a long view of the trends in violent crime all point to violence decreasing substantially across time. In Australia, the homicide rate and sexual assault rate peaked in the 1970s and has been declining steadily since.

As documented by Steven Pinker in The Better Angels of Our Nature, all Western nations have seen dramatic and persistent declines in interpersonal violence dur­ing the past 500 years. While there may be variations from year to year, rates of violent crime are much lower now than at any point in our recorded history.

Yet in public conversations about crime, data is overlooked in favour of appeals to emotion. And to compound the naivety, the political narratives that surround crime today — especially crimes against women — are becoming increasingly toxic and divisive. While “equality” for the left once meant the removal of artificial barriers that impeded people’s ability to partake in social and economic life, today it means something different.

The contemporary left sees the world through the lens of groups warring over scarce resources. This perspective perceives res­ources as static: there is a pie that never grows, and the role of politics is to cut the pie up in a more fair and equitable manner. In this world view, if more men are in positions of power within a society, then this happens at the expense of women. Interactions between groups are zero-sum.

In this world of identity politics, individuality is subsumed into the collective. When one man holds power, he doesn’t do so on behalf of himself, he does so on behalf of the male collective. Likewise, when one man commits a murder, collectivists will portray it as being done in the service of all men. This regressive world view has no qualms about ascribing collective guilt to entire groups of people. But ascribing collective guilt strikes at the very heart of our understanding of justice and liberty.

One reason violence has declined in the West is because at some point along the way we decided that individual sovereignty matters, and that it was unjust to hold people accountable for crimes they did not commit. Let’s not reverse the trend.


'The boats haven't gone away': Australia is approaching a 'danger phase' with illegal immigrant arrivals, says Peter Dutton

Peter Dutton thinks five years hard work 'stopping the boats' could be undone if Australia acts compassionately and allows entry for offshore detainees.  

The Immigration Minister warned his Coalition colleagues the country could be in 'danger phase' amid growing pressure to bring people in detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru to Australia.

'We are in a danger phase because only a month ago we stopped a steel-hulled vessel with 131 people coming out of Sri Lanka,' Mr Dutton told The Weekend Australian.

'There are 14,000 people still in Indonesia and there is excited chatter among people-smuggling syndicates about the prospect of Australia being available again.'

He argued success from the past few years of struggle could be 'undone overnight' if Australia bought 20 people from Manus out of compassion.

'The boats are there, we are scuttling boats, we are returning people and we are turning around boats where it is safe to do so. The boats haven't gone away and if there is a success defined by an arrival of a boat in Australia then the word will spread like wildfire.'

There are nearly 700 men currently in detention on Papua New Guinea, and more than 900 men, women and children on Nauru.

New figures come as 292 asylum-seekers were sent to the US in recent weeks under an agreement with Donald Trump.

Mr Dutton's firm view on detainees was backed by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who said Australia's 'compassionate, secure and well-managed immigration system' was based on strong border protection.   

'Here in Australia we have one of the most generous refugee and humanitarian programs in the world,' Mr Turnbull told Nine News.

'The reason we can do that is because we decide, the Australian government decides, representing the Australian people, who comes to Australia; not people-smugglers.'

Their comments came after Refugee Week, during which many accused Mr Dutton of having blood on his hands' regarding deaths in detention centres

Chris Breen from Refugee Action Collective said he agreed with Trump's words to Mr Turnbull 'you are worse than I am' because Trump reversed his decision to separate families, while Mr Turnbull continued 'cruelty to refugees asylum-seekers'.

Despite amounting pressure, Mr Dutton continued to deny entry to asylum-seekers who sought refuge in Australia by boat out of fear it would 'put Australia back on the table'. 

A Newspoll survey this week revealed 50 per cent of voters thought a Labor Government would either 'improve' or 'make no difference' to asylum-seeker policies.


NO WONDER our cities are struggling with congestion and housing unaffordability - Australia is growing faster than ever before

AUSTRALIA'S population is growing faster than ever before and is now set to hit a milestone it wasn't expected to reach until 2051.

Less than 20 years ago, in 1999, Australia's population was 19 million and it wasn't expected to top 25 million until 2051. But figures released this week from the Australian Bureau of Statistics now predicts this milestone will be reached in early August this year - that's 33 years earlier than scheduled.

Social researcher and demographer Mark McCrindle, of McCrindle Research, said it took just two and a half years to add the last million people. "That's a record, the previous million took two years and nine months," Mr McCrindle told

When Australia's population jumped from 23 to 24 million on the 23 April, 2013, it was the first time that a million people had been added in less than three years.

"The speed we are adding each million now has never been shorter," Mr McCrindle said. "The population increase has never been greater."

Back in 1999, a press releases from then-financial services minister Joe Hockey, suggested population growth would actually slow down as natural increase - births minus deaths - fell and migration levels remained steady. The reality has been very different.

"Natural increase has grown and net migration has increased even more," Mr McCrindle said.

Previously natural increase was the biggest factor, contributing 53 per cent of the population growth, while migration only made up 47 per cent.

The latest data from 2017 found natural increase made up just 38 per cent of the growth, while migration was responsible for 62 per cent of the increase.

"So back then, net migration was contributing less than half of the growth, now it's almost two-thirds."

This is in line with the most recent Census results that showed Australia was more multicultural than ever, with 26 per cent born overseas, compared to 1966 when only 18 per cent of the population had been born overseas.

The accelerated population growth has brought some positive impacts including driving economic growth, domestic demand and the growth in the property sector, but it's also created challenges.

"It seems city planning and general infrastructure provision was based on population growth that was a lot less than we are actually experiencing," Mr McCrindle said.

"If you are wondering why we have infrastructure bottlenecks, traffic congestion and housing unaffordability, it's because the growth was red hot and the planning was based on the wrong numbers."

However, in recent years there has been massive infrastructure investment and changes to housing development and land release strategies to accommodate demand.

"We are back on track with our planning but particularly in our cities, we are still playing a bit of catch-up and that's why residents in our largest capitals are experiencing `growing pains' as the population increases," Mr McCrindle said.

The population figure includes anyone who intends to stay in Australia for more than one year and that includes overseas students, long-term holiday makers and those who have skilled visas.

"They are all contributing to the economy and have been a key economic driver so that's why you're not going to see the migration number being pulled back that much," Mr McCrindle said. "The economy is relying on it."

He said the big question was where would Australia end up.

"Based on the current growth tracker, we will exceed 40 million by 2051," Mr McCrindle said. "Sydney will exceed eight million in that year and Melbourne will similarly exceed eight million.

"We are really going to have those megacities and indeed, global cities."

To put this in perspective, the current population of London based on 2011 figures, is just over eight million.

While some may be worried about such huge growth, Mr McCrindle said Australia had the land mass to handle it.

"We've got a population of 25 million living on a land mass similar in size to the US which has 325 million," he said.

"Certainly if we can get regional growth right and rebalance our population to areas outside of Sydney and Melbourne, our land mass can accommodate it if we have the right infrastructure.

"Canada also has a similar land mass and they're at 36 million currently - that's the scale of where we're headed."

Australia's population grew by 388,000 people in 2017 and reached 24.8 million by the end of the year.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics is now predicting Australia will reach a population of 25 million in early August 2018.


Trump 'welcome' in Australia: politicians

US President Donald Trump would be welcomed by both Liberal and Labor if he decides to visit Australia during a tour around the APEC meeting in Papua New Guinea in November.

Mr Trump, along with other world leaders, is expected to make stops in Australia as part of a tour that will take him to the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation leaders' summit in Papua New Guinea on November 17 and 18.

One option being considered is Mr Trump visiting Sydney, Canberra and Cairns, but nothing had been "locked in" yet, a US government source told The Australian newspaper.

Federal cabinet minister Christopher Pyne said any president of the United States is welcome in Australia, despite a high chance of protests.

"We have 100 years of mateship with the United States this year, of course we would welcome him here," Mr Pyne told reporters in Adelaide on Saturday.

"There's almost always protests when an American president visits Australia."

Labor deputy leader Tanya Plibersek said Australia's relationship with the US was very valued and important for national security.

"That doesn't mean that we should be unquestioning allies," she told reporters in Sydney. "We will always make foreign policy decisions based on our own national interests."

Mr Trump could also fly into Brisbane, an expected entry point for leaders on their way to PNG.

It would be Mr Trump's first Australian visit as president.


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, June 24, 2018

Feedspot has listed this blog among the top ten of Australian blogs

Supermarket plastic bag ban ‘like religion’

Although the small extra inconvenience of the new system does not bother me, it is clear that the ban on convenience bags takes us back 50 years for no provable beneft. I remember in my youth that all women took with them a wicker basket or a string bag to go shopping

The ban is a craze driven by false reporting, nothing else. It is third world countries that are responsible for the suffering of some marine creatures.  We dispose of ours properly.  In most of Africa and Asia they do not

The author of a landmark study into plastic bags has likened to “religion” their impending removal from supermarkets, suggesting ­arguments against them are “complete furphies you can demolish in a few minutes of analysis”.

Phillip Weickhardt, lead ­author of a 2006 Productivity Commission inquiry into waste management, said raising fines for littering made more sense.

“This is largely religion, deeply felt,” he told The Weekend Australian. “Plastic bags are useful: ­hygienic, water proof. They have multiple uses and functions,” he added.

Coles will join Woolworths in removing “single use” plastic bags from its stores next month, extending nationwide bans on the ubiquitous bags already in place across all states and territories ­except NSW and Victoria.

“The evidence plastic bags hurt marine life is very unpersuasive. When we looked at this we found that a lot of studies just cite each other; in fact we sourced it all back to some guy in Canada in the 1970s who’d done a study on the effect of fishing ropes on marine life,” he said.

Woolworths surveyed 12,500 of its customers last month, finding more than three-quarters wanted plastic bags scrapped. The retail giant, which gave out 3.2 billion plastic bags last year, points to a CSIRO study that found up to a third of the world’s turtles and 43 per cent of seabirds had eaten plastics.

The Productivity Commission in 2006 concluded: “Plastic bags take up little landfill space, and their inert characteristics can ­actually help to reduce a landfill’s potential for adverse environmental impacts”. “The true extent to which plastic-bag litter injures populations of marine wildlife, as opposed to individual animals, is likely to remain very uncertain ­because it is extremely difficult to measure,” it added.

Mr Weickhardt said: “Our conclusion generated the most angry vocal response from people who, with religious fervour, believe this is critical.”

The retail giants will instead offer a range of reusable bags, ­including 15c recycled bags.

A recent study in Britain, where plastic bags are taxed, found re­usable bags needed to be reused up to 173 times before they had a lower environmental impact than ordinary plastic bags.

“The environmental impact of all types of carrier bag is domin­ated by resource use and production,” it found.

“Whatever type of bag is used, the key to reducing the impacts is to reuse it as many times as possible and where reuse for shopping is not practicable, other reuse, eg store-place bin-liners, is beneficial,” it said.

A 2012 University of Pennsylvania study found San Francisco’s 2007 plastic bag ban killed people because reusable bags increased shoppers’ exposure to harmful bacteria that can infest them. “The San Francisco ban led to, conservatively, 5.4 annual additional deaths,” the authors concluded.

RMIT economist Sinclair ­Davidson said he was surprised Coles and Woolworths would ­“deliberately pursue a policy that they know will reduce the consumer satisfaction”.

“How consumers react remains to be seen — I suspect we’ll see less impulse purchasing,” Professor Davidson said.

“All-up, this is a virtue-signalling policy being adopted by Coles and Woolies; I suspect they have done their market research and are pretty confident they can impose their world view on consumers with little consequence.’’


This energy hex we place on ourselves, it’s madness

If our worst enemies abroad were given one evil wish to destroy our economy they probably would look to curse perhaps our greatest natural advantage: access to almost unlimited cheap energy.

Yet, as if to prove that fact is stranger than even this madcap fiction, this is a hex we are visiting upon ourselves.

If a prosperous nation decided to burden its people with expensive and unreliable power, imposing hardships including job losses, costs on struggling families, reduced profits and missed investment opportunities, to create a more benign environment for all the people of the world, it would be truly altruistic. But if it were inflicting pain on its citizens and handicapping future generations for no discernible benefit, then it would be an act of sheer madness.

Yet here we are. We are in a self-imposed energy crisis. No one disputes the urgency — Coalition and Labor politicians, state and federal, agree prices are too high; they are spending on diesel generators, large-scale batteries and stored hydro to find a way through; companies are having power cut or being paid to reduce demand; consumers and industries fear dire consequences; regulators sound alarms about lack of supply; and policymakers float a raft of possible solutions.

Yet it is all our doing. By mandating renewable energy targets, committing to global carbon dioxide emissions-reduction goals, subsidising wind and solar generation including by domestic consumers, toying with emissions trading schemes and imposing (for a time) a carbon tax, we have up-ended our electricity market, forced out some of the cheapest and most reliable generation and made our power more expensive and less reliable. The lion’s share of investment across a decade — upwards of $30 billion — has gone into the sure bet of subsidised renewable energy that has a guaranteed market but that cannot be relied on to meet peak energy output at any given time. Billions more have been spent on government payments and grants. All this money is recouped in the end from consumers, who are paying enormous sums to go backwards.

Since 1999, average spot prices per megawatt hour have leapt from $50 to $110 in South Australia and from less than $25 in NSW and Victoria to $80 and $95 respectively. Electricity costs for manufacturers have increased 79 per cent since 2010 and in that period there have been net job losses of about 140,000 in the sector. Price rises have squeezed family budgets, created hardship for pensioners and forced companies to cut jobs or shut down.

South Australia was plunged into darkness for hours and the Australian Energy Market Operator has warned that without remedial action, even in NSW where cheap and reliable coal-fired power has been abundant, there will be supply vulnerability in the coming years that could lead to 200,000 homes going without power during peak summer demand. The closure of NSW’s Liddell coal-fired power station in a few years will make the situation worse.

This month AEMO warned again that the “unprecedented transformation” of our electricity system means Australia “does not have the energy reserves it once had to lean on” when we need it. This is deplorable.

We are the world’s largest coal exporter. We will soon be the largest exporter of liquefied natural gas. We are the third largest exporter of uranium.

Australia powers the economic and manufacturing powerhouses of northeast Asia, and other parts of the world, with cost-effective and reliable energy supplies. But we decline to do the same for ­ourselves.

We may as well feed the people of the world with our wheat and sheep exports while our own people go hungry. Why are we doing this to ourselves? Politicians from both major parties and the Greens pretend — surely they are feigning because they must know the facts — that this is our contribution to global efforts to combat global warming. This is fraudulent.

We need to do what the climate activists constantly implore of us: back the science. All the facts tell us that, scientifically, Australia’s climate action is doing nothing to improve the global environment. We are putting ourselves through extended economic pain, with deep social consequences, for nothing more than climate gestures. This is the hard edge of gesture politics: national virtue-signalling, with the poorest citizens and jobless paying the highest price.

Don’t take my word for it; listen to Chief Scientist Alan Finkel, who the government tasked with revising policy. He confirmed before a Senate estimates committee hearing a year ago that Australia’s carbon emissions amounted to 1.3 per cent of the global total (that proportion is shrinking as world emissions grow). Finkel was asked what difference it would make to climate change if all of our nation’s emissions were cut — pretend 25 million of us left Australia idle — so that world emissions dropped by 1.3 per cent. “Virtually nothing,” was his reply.

But wait. Our contribution is much less significant even than “virtually nothing” because we will not eliminate all our emissions. We aim to reduce them by 26 per cent — so our best impact may be a quarter of virtually nothing. Wait again; we become even more irrelevant. Global emissions are on the rise. Led by China (growing by up to 4 per cent so far this year) world CO2 emissions are increasing at close to 2 per cent. So, more science, more facts. China’s annual emissions are about 30 times higher than ours and in any given year the increase alone in China’s emissions can be more than double what we plan to cut by 2030. While global emissions rise our piddling cuts do zip. We are emitting into the wind. Our price rises, blackouts, job losses, investment droughts, subsidies and energy system dilemmas are all for nothing.

Anyone with a pulse must understand this. Why they persist with proposing or backing costly climate policies is the question. They want to display their commitment to the cause. They want to associate themselves with protecting the planet. It is earth motherhood, dictated by political fashion and a reluctance to go against the zeitgeist. What a sad indictment on our political/media class — indulging its progressive credentials for social and diplomatic acceptance at the expense of struggling families, jobless blue-collar workers and our economic competitiveness.

The Coalition is starting to tear itself apart again; led by Tony Abbott, those who understand mainstream concerns are rising up against those stuck in commercial, media and political orthodoxy. Malcolm Turnbull and Josh Frydenberg’s national energy guarantee is a retrofit mechanism to encourage some investment in dispatchable electricity.

As they negotiate for a bipartisan position they could be left with a stark choice: satisfy Labor and its premiers or placate the Coalition partyroom. It may be impossible to do both — the partyroom may at least demand a plan to extend the life of Liddell — and another political short-circuit may be in the offing.

The national energy system is so badly distorted by a decade of renewable subsidies and the threat of future carbon prices that there is no easy solution. All sides of the debate propose expensive government interventions. Investors in anything but renewables are wary.

If we had done nothing on climate action we might have had plentiful and cheap coal and gas power on the back of private investment. But we killed that goose. There is bound to be a reckoning; eventually we will reclaim the energy advantage we export to other nations. And if we ever need a zero-emissions future, we will embrace the silver bullet of nuclear energy. The only question is whether it takes us three years or three decades to come to our senses — and how many political careers will be hoist with this petard in the interim.


Don’t let absurd theatre of identity politics divide us

The controversial University of Melbourne dance performance, Where We Stand, is an insight into kind of divided society we will become if identity politics is allowed to split the nation up into competing racial tribes.

By seeking to remind us that non-whites have been excluded from society and history, the political message being sent is that Australia remains a racist country in which racial privilege and prejudice determine outcomes in life.

What this really shows is how the kind of identity politics our politically-correct schools and universities incessantly preach to young Australians, creates fabrications that belie the diverse and tolerant society Australia is today.

There has never been less racism, despite the grievance-mongering claims made by Where We Stand — which epitomises the way identity politics misrepresents our history of successfully eradicating the racism that once blighted Australian society. 

A century ago, Australia was certainly a country in which race determined destiny.  Racial prejudices were so ingrained that the makers of the White Australia Policy felt that excluding non-whites was the only way to create an egalitarian nation.

The success of our non-discriminatory immigration program, and the transformation of Australia into one of the most harmonious multi-racial nations in the world, has only been possible because the old prejudices have been overcome and replaced by the willingness of the vast majority of Australians to extend the ‘fair go’ to all comers; regardless of racial background.

Absurd as it is, we should not downplay the threat identity politics poses to social harmony. The claim that the persistence of white privilege justifies special rights and status for certain racial groups, is a recipe for generating a backlash from those accused of holding privileges and prejudices they do not.

The best way to ensure that new age racism does not divide us is to simply tell the truth about our history and about the great changes that have occurred in Australian attitudes to race.


Proposed Australian education reforms are naive

Gonski had no professional knowledge of education. He's a lawyer and a businessman. He got his job because he was a good networker --  so his recommendations were just an idealistic fantasy

The sequel is generally worse than the original movie. The same could be said of the ‘Gonski 2’ review into Australian schools.

Despite a one-year process, hundreds of submissions, and a cost to the taxpayer of at least $700,000 (not including the eight-person government secretariat), the review came up with wide-sweeping, general recommendations that don’t offer useful guidance for the school system.

As we outline in a policy paper released this week, the review also failed to fulfill its terms of reference to examine the evidence regarding the most effective teaching and learning strategies, and to provide advice on how the extra $24.5 billion of taxpayer money for schools over the next 10 years should be used. There is practically no discussion of the cost-effectiveness of the recommendations.

And the review’s most significant recommendations face substantial implementation challenges and aren’t supported by rigorous evidence.

A key focus of the review is growth in learning — recommending a new online continuous assessment tool — as opposed to an age-based or year-based curriculum. This seems impractical, and many teachers have expressed concerns about the teacher time involved in frequent individual student assessment.

In addition, there is no evidence that such an assessment tool would have a positive impact on student achievement. The idea of creating ‘learning progressions’ for the entire curriculum has no support in academic literature. And there is no evidence supporting the implementation of such a broad-ranging assessment tool — the report offers no examples to show that such an expensive and time-intensive reform would be effective. If implemented nationally, it would be a lengthy and costly experiment, with Australian teachers and students as the guinea pigs.

If this recommendation is to be adopted, it should proceed only after a careful trial of the online assessment system in a sample of schools, to determine the efficacy of the approach and lessons for implementation.

Almost as problematic is the report’s recommendation to establish a national education evidence institute (which now has bi-partisan support at the federal level). In theory, a new body like this has merit. But there are obvious risks — like becoming politicised and being too focussed on pleasing stakeholders — that aren’t adequately addressed by the review.

If such a body is to be established, then it should have high standards of evidence and commission outside experts to conduct evidence reviews on important topics in their fields, similar to medical research institutes.

The Gonski 2 recommendations should be approached with great caution. They are potentially expensive and disruptive to the work of teachers and the lives of students, and have little or no evidence basis — a recipe for educational disaster.


Bill Shorten would be our worst PM, says Pauline Hanson

Pauline Hanson has vowed to do everything she can to keep Bill Shorten out of The Lodge after Labor yesterday accelerated its “Get Pauline” strategy, questioning her understanding of the tax system and launching robo-calls targeting her in the Queensland seat of Longman.

The One Nation leader launched a blistering attack on the Opposition Leader yesterday, declaring, “I think he’d be the worst bloody prime minister we’ve ever had”, and warning him he would have to go through her if he wanted to push legislation through the Senate.

Senator Hanson yesterday fell victim to a robo-call assault ­orchestrated by the opposition in Longman, a key battleground for Mr Shorten in the five Super Saturday by-elections on July 28.

The robo-calls, received by voters across southeast Queensland, blasted Senator Hanson for siding with the government “to give another tax cut to the top end of town”, as she prepared to vote for Malcolm Turnbull’s $144 billion income tax cuts.

“She’s even giving herself a massive tax cut,” the Labor call said. “But it’s not too late to stop her. Pauline is in Canberra right now, the final vote could happen at any minute. Press 1 to be connected directly to Pauline’s office to tell her yourself: stop selling Queenslanders out.”

Senator Hanson hit back, voicing her own robo-call attacking Labor. “The Labor Party is at it again telling lies,” she said. “In the Senate today I voted for battlers — low and middle-income earners — to receive a tax cut.”

Speaking to The Australian, Senator Hanson accused Queensland Labor senators Murray Watt and Anthony Chisholm of “spearheading the campaign to destroy One Nation”.

Senator Hanson — whose party’s preferences helped Labor’s Susan Lamb win Longman at the 2016 federal election, ousting unpopular Liberal National Party MP Wyatt Roy — said she would put Labor second last on One ­Nation’s how-to-vote cards, followed by the Greens.

“The Greens will always be the last, and as far as I am concerned. Labor will be just above the Greens,” Senator Hanson told The Australian.

Earlier, opposition Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen attacked Senator Hanson for her claim on Wednesday that she would not get a tax cut under the government’s plan.

In fact, she would get $135-a-year for the first four years and — if she retained her seat in the Senate — $2025 a year in 2022-23 and 2023-24, and $7225 a year from 2024-25.

“Maybe she does not understand how the marginal tax system works in Australia,” Mr Bowen said.

Senator Watt said Labor would target traditional Labor voters who had shifted their support to One Nation, by “highlighting the difference between what she says and what she does”.

“It’s about keeping her ­accountable for how she actually votes when she comes to Canberra,” Senator Watt said.

He noted One Nation had sided with the government on 100 per cent of Senate votes this year.

Senator Hanson claimed the Labor campaign was based on misrepresenting One Nation ­policies.

“They are spreading lies,” Senator Hanson said. “This is really a compliment. It shows they are ­really in fear of me and One ­Nation, because we are having an impact on their vote.”

After helping deliver the ­government’s income tax cuts, Senator Hanson declared it was “a great day for every worker in ­Australia”.

Mr Shorten branded her a “puppet” of the government, saying she and the government had “shafted 10 million working Australians” who would get a better tax cut under Labor.

“Today the Prime Minister and his government have demonstrated their complete contempt for working and middle-class Australians, and Senator Hanson and her One Nation party, such as it ­remains, have sold out 1.9 million working people in Queensland simply to do the bidding of the LNP,” the Labor leader said.

“And today the government and their puppets have locked in tax rates costing over $140bn.”

Senator Hanson said Labor “just don’t get it”.

“They have no heart for the people of Australia,” she said. “They don’t understand how tough they are doing it.”


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