Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Push to ABOLISH girls' and boys' schools so children can be free to choose their own gender identities

This is an old chestnut.  Research generally shows that unisex schools enable better attention to studies -- most so with girls

A story often illumines these things well so let  me tell of a certain female person I know.  She is quite bright and was dux of her school in the final year of grade school.  Shortly after her move into junior high school, however, her hormones began to flow. She ended up just about failing all her secondary education.  Boys were of vastly greater interest than her studies.  She eventually dropped out and became a Hippie, working in humble jobs

An academic has called for all schools to become co-educational so students do not see the opposite gender as an 'entirely exotic beast'.

University of South Australia Associate Professor Judith Gill believes grouping boys and girls together would help children to appreciate attributes of the opposite sex.

The professor told The Courier Mail having separate schools creates a divide where boys are 'one way' and 'girls are another way'.

'Together they are less likely to see the opposite gender as an entirely exotic beast but rather just the array of personal attributes that people can choose,' she told the publication.

She believes young people would be freer to choose 'how they want to be' in a co-educational environment.

'Schools have a role in enabling young people to be much more broad in their choosing about how they want to be and that's more likely to occur in a co-educational environment,'she said.

'Certainly future schools are much more likely to be co-educational than not.'

An Australian Council for Educational Research spokesperson told the Financial Review in 2017 single-sex schools could be eliminated by 2035 if statistical trends continue.

The publication reported the number of single-sex independent schools dropped from 31 per cent in 1985, to 24 per cent in 1995 and 12 per cent in 2015.


Majority of Australians say there is TOO MUCH immigration for the first time, study reveals

For the first time in history the majority of Australians believe there are too many  immigrants entering the country, according to social research figures.

Nearly 55 per cent out of 1200 people thought the number of migrants coming to Australia was 'too high', in data collected by Social Research Centre in Melbourne.

Results from surveys carried out between March 5 and 25 revealed not everyone was happy with economic and social implications migrants were having on the country.

They showed points for dissatisfaction were up 14 points since last year and a staggering 17 points since 2014. 

Figures also revealed the lowest number of people in more than three years thought the current immigration rate was 'about right'.

About 10 per cent of people said it was 'too low', which was about the same amount as it was in 2014 and slightly down from about 18 per cent last year.

Immigration had not met the planned amount of 190,000 for the current financial year, with numbers still hanging significantly down.

Debate was recently sparked by New South Wales Labor leader Luke Foley who controversially highlighted a 'white flight' trend bought about by migrant families.

He was referring to low-income migrants forcing Anglo families out of affordable housing areas in Sydney's western suburbs.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton argued Labor was no longer an advocate for 'middle Australia' after it rejected a motion proposed by Conservatives senator Cory Bernardi.

'They voted to reject the notion that Australia's immigration program should operate in the interests of all Australians,' Mr Dutton told The Australian. 'They are captured by the radical left of their party.'

The motion called on the government to review migrant intake levels and to make sure it had no detrimental impacts on the economic, social or security interests of locals.

A separate Lowy Institute poll also found Australians to have the lowest level of trust in the United States ever recorded, with a 28 point fall since 2011 marked by a narrow majority of 55 per cent saying they trust the country to 'act responsibly'.

Nearly three quarters of Australians think the government has allowed too much investment from China, up from just 56 per cent in 2014.


Council faces backlash over bid for Fremantle solar farm

A push by a Greens-led council for the nation’s first major solar farm in an urban area has infuriated ­residents who fear construction on the former rubbish dump will unleash asbestos and heavy metals.

The industrial-scale solar farm is a key plank in the City of Fremantle’s bid to be powered 100 per cent by renewable energy by 2025.

But residents who spoke to The Australian said they were more concerned about the public health risks of the project being built near hundreds of houses.

The 8ha solar farm, to be built and operated by Australian renewable energy company Epuron, will produce 4.9 megawatts of electricity, enough to power about 1000 homes.

The heavily contaminated site contains ash, tyres, car bodies, marine bilge oil, hydrocarbons, ­asbestos, batteries, chemical drums, mercury and lead.

About 350 people have signed a petition calling for the project to be fully assessed by the state Environmental Protection Authority.

Mother of three Helena Everkans-Smith, who lives next to the South Fremantle landfill site, said if the project went ahead she would move out with her children for months because she was worried about the potential for contaminants to become airborne during earthworks.

Residents say strong winds in the beachside area would make the situation more dangerous, ­potentially pushing contaminants towards a school. Others in the community have raised concerns about the glare from solar panels and the possible health ­effects of electromagnetic radiation.

Resident Niek van Santen said the City of Fremantle had backed the project without proper consultation and nobody knew who would be held responsible if public health was put at risk.

“Nowhere in the world has there been a solar farm in a residential area, especially not on a contaminated site,” Mr van Santen said. “I won’t put our child at risk by staying here.

“The council are trying to steamroll this project through just so they can be seen to be green.”

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt defended the council’s approval of the project and said Epuron would need to comply with a site management plan prepared by an independent consultant. The solar farm would avoid the need for site remediation, which has been estimated to cost tens of millions of dollars. “We will only do the project if it can be done safely,” he said.

The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation said it would review an updated site management plan. Epuron could not be reached for comment. However, the company has said previously that a solar farm was an ideal use for the site until longer-term remediation and development options could be delivered.


The rot set in with current affairs, and ABC news has since lost its bearings

Geoffrey Luck

I began my working life as an ABC cadet journalist 15 years before ­Michelle Guthrie was born.

As a regional journalist reading my own news bulletin in outback Queensland, as news editor ­responsible for training the first Papuans and New Guineans as journalists, as a foreign correspondent leading a talented team during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, and finally as the ABC’s (only) economics and ­finance correspondent, I was proud to work for the Majestic Fanfare. Today, I would be ashamed to be associated with ABC news and current affairs.

My view is the result of observing, listening and watching the decline of news coverage and output across 70 years. By contrast, ­Guthrie’s real knowledge of the ABC dates only from her appointment as its managing director two years ago.

Our perspectives, understandably, are poles apart. She knows only the organisation she was ­bequeathed; I measure the decline in news values, accuracy, balance, impartiality, leadership and self-control across two generations.

The community’s simmering disquiet with the public broadcaster’s decline in credibility has been trying for years to find its expression in policy terms. The ­recent populist clamour to “sell off the ABC” can be seen as a final incoherent shout from the frustrated and disappointed.

Much nonsense has been talked in arguing that proposition. It misses the point, just as Guthrie’s recent speech to the Melbourne Press Club did.

The speech demonstrated how little she understood of journalism. Not only did she confine her admiration of “hallowed names” of ABC journalists to those who were retired or dead, she also went on to define the role of her journalists as “their relentless drive to ensure that the institutions and processes which are the foundations of our democratic system work to the benefit of that community; their determination to provide a voice for the powerless, the weak and the intimidated; their ability to shine the light on malfeasance and corruption”.

Wrong! That’s exactly the problem with ABC news and current affairs. One might think a managing director who had ­assumed the unearned title of ­editor-in-chief would at least make seeking facts and objective truth the hallmark of a news service. It used not to be difficult to define news in those terms.

Instead, with the ABC there is too much excitement about ­“investigative journalism”, exposing malfeasance and corruption, ­co-operating with newspapers it was formed to distance itself from, and celebrating loudly its petty exposures. If Guthrie’s virtues are the consequence of good news gathering, well and good, but they are not the principal purpose.

ABC news is now trivialised. Every night the flagship 7pm television bulletin runs petty local stories ahead of news of consequence to the nation and the world. The audience decline reflects its loss of credibility.

Sixty years ago I always had to have a coin in my pocket to phone in a story. Today’s technology ­allows pictures and sound to be transmitted wirelessly from an event and put to air live. But the ABC is so seduced by this ability, its policy is to have journalists report live every possible story.

That completely distorts news values. Trivial crimes, road accidents and court reports occupy minutes of airtime, a reporter ad-libbing tedious detail against a backdrop that adds nothing.

That supposedly is the new virtue of “immediacy”, but what the viewer notices is the reduction in the number of stories in a bulletin and the foreshortening of major reports. The latest overuse of the technology is the live cross to a press conference. Politicians twigged to the advantage of cutting out the reporter and speaking direct to voters. I have timed them as lasting seven to nine minutes, because they’re hard to interrupt.

When I remonstrated with the ABC that the live-streaming technique put editorial control in the hands of the politicians, editorial policy chief Alan Sunderland replied that immediacy was fundamentally important in a news ­environment. In other words, technology is not merely a tool; demonstrating technical prowess is more important than content.

How the wheel has turned. Forty-five years ago general manager Talbot Duckmanton chided me as London editor for sending voice reports for the morning ­national news: “There’s too much talking in the bulletins,” he said.

The multiplicity of news programs across many radio and TV channels has put supervision of news content in the hands of the producer of each. Gone are the knowledge, wisdom and authority of the chief sub-­editor, who caught mistakes ­before they went to air and put a stop to any juvenile attempts to ­introduce comment or opinion.

ABC news once had a style guide. If it still exists, it’s been ­watered down, or allowed to be flouted. For example, adjectives were banned, except in quotation. Today reporters use them to subtly colour their stories. Preambles and summary conclusions were prohibited because they were comment, potentially indicating how a listener should interpret the item. Opinion, unless as a direct quote, would see the reporter sent back to rewrite. Yet the other day a Washington correspondent took it upon himself to characterise Donald Trump as “a President under siege”, then interpreted his comments about past policies as ­“insulting the other side”.

Such lazy, undisciplined writing goes unremarked, but is understandably seen as evidence of bias. Too often, interviewers don’t just ask questions, they argue.

What explains the ABC’s ­departure from its charter and its own code of practice and editorial guidelines? How does the public get the impression of “groupthink” on issues from Palestine to same-sex marriage to climate change?

The news staff has always been “bolshie” in the sense of rooting for the underdog, critical of authority and politically left in inclination. At the Labor split in the 1950s, half the Brisbane newsroom went down the road and joined the ALP in protest at Vince Gair and the Democratic Labour Party. When BHP announced its first $1 million profit, sub-­editors on the national newsdesk were outraged — until I pointed out it represented only 2 per cent return on its steel assets.

In the past, there was discipline. Personal views were never ­allowed to intrude. Management control and sub-editorial oversight ensured that, and reporters understood instinctively that ­impartiality was fundamentally the basis for public trust. It was our role to provide the facts, not to change the world.

Management lost control with the arrival of current affairs. While news was strictly held to editorial standards — and its journalists were actively deterred from broadcasting — ambitious executives recruited young university graduates to launch current affairs programs — AM and PM on radio, and This Day Tonight on TV.

Fact, analysis, opinion and political ­barrow-pushing — together at times with undergraduate clowning — became inseparably confused.

What’s forgotten is that in 1976 news journalists were on the verge of striking over current affairs ­trying to take over the right to break news. On the day of the Whitlam dismissal, AM/PM staff seized control of the phone circuits to Canberra with the concurrence of senior management, preventing Canberra news staff from filing their stories. Four years later, the growing conflict escalated when ­current affairs tried to cover the national wage case decision in a live broadcast. A strike by journalists was averted only when management brokered a peace deal that involved the two departments sharing the broadcast.

Now, a story that’s never been published. In an attempt to persuade management to impose the same editorial standards on ­current affairs staff and programs, a nationwide journalists’ conference in 1976 voted unanimously to merge news and current affairs. I was studying for my MBA degree part-time, and persuaded John Hunt, a leading behavioural scientist, to conduct the all-day seminar for us for free. Duckmanton ­ignored the findings. It was years before the merger took place, but left current affairs, with its loose editorial principles, ascendant.

At the heart of the community’s frustration with the ABC is its ­refusal to enforce its charter. For more than 30 years it has been fighting to escape ­accountability for its news and current affairs broadcasts. It first resisted government attempts to impose an external complaints ­review body, then ­watered down its internal self-regulatory system so that only the most egregious breaches can be upheld. It amended its editorial policies five times in 10 years. It even introduced a new category of “resolved” to avoid classing a complaint as “rejected” or “upheld”.

It could well be argued that the ABC board is not fulfilling its duty under section 8 (1) (c) of the ABC Act, which requires it: “to ensure that the gathering and pre­sentation by the Corporation of news and information is accurate and impartial according to the recognised standards of objective journalism”.

The ABC board has consistently shown its inability or unwillingness to investigate, let alone enforce, the key attributes, impartiality and objectivity. If it cannot carry out its obligations under the law, it’s time for the government to impose a remedy.

A simple amendment to the act would establish an independent external body — call it an ombudsman — to handle all complaints about breaches of the ABC charter, its code of practice and editorial guidelines. It would bring all programming under the same rules. The internal audience and consumer affairs section only masquerades as independent, a case of the policeman investigating the police.

Nine years ago the ABC proudly published a paper, Change with Continuity, in which it said: “Media professionals need to grow thicker skins. They need to accept more and harsher criticism, disseminate it more readily, correct errors swiftly, be willing to clarify, explain their decisions, acknowledging their misjudgments, and where appropriate, apologise.”

Bringing the broadcasters to heel by making them answer to an external umpire would sidestep the powerful staff interests, ­neutralise Guthrie’s nonsense, and enable the board to restore discipline. With a stroke of the pen, the government could stop the rot.


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

No comments: