Friday, November 16, 2018

Greenies protect their own

Greenies can do no wrong, apparently

Let’s re-imagine, just for a minute, last week’s furore around the alleged sexual assault of ABC journalist Ashleigh Raper by former NSW Labor leader Luke Foley.

Let’s imagine that instead of resigning from the leadership within 24 hours, that Foley and the Labor Party instead branded Ms Raper a drug-using slut. Deeply offensive, I know, but stick with me.

Let’s imagine that after levelling those allegations, Foley refused to stand down and the Labor Party refused to even debate internally whether or not he should.

Now let’s try and imagine the public and media response to Ms Raper having her character assassinated for having the audacity to speak out against a politician in a position of power who sexually assaulted her.

The fact is, you don’t actually have to try particularly hard to imagine it. You only need to know the story of Ella Buckland, a former Greens NSW staffer who earlier this year levelled startlingly similar allegations against Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

Like Ms Raper, Ms Buckland alleges that after a work function, she was sexually assaulted by a drunken politician.

Like Ms Raper, Ms Buckland alleges that following the alleged assault, she received a phone call from her alleged attacker.

Like Ms Raper, Ms Buckland waited a considerable period of time to air those allegations.

Like Ms Raper, Ms Buckland was the subject of defamation threats when the issue became public.

Those are the commonalities. The differences, however, are stark.

In Ms Raper’s case, Luke Foley allegedly slipped his hand down her dress and between her underpants, resting his hand on her bare buttocks. In Ms Buckland’s case, Mr Buckingham allegedly approached her from behind, grabbed her “roughly on the vagina” and kissed her neck.

In Ms Raper’s case, she was dragged into the public fray by a Coalition politician seeking to exploit a political advantage. In Ms Buckland’s case, her motivation in coming forward was publicly and falsely ascribed to her being involved in a factional move against Mr Buckingham. Ms Buckland has not been a member of the Greens for several years and has no day-to-day involvement in politics.

In Ms Raper’s case, she received a phone call from her alleged abuser, who apologised and promised to resign. In Ms Buckland’s case, she received a phone call from her alleged abuser who threatened that she should be ‘careful in her job’.

In Ms Raper’s case, she subsequently received threats of defamation when the issue became public, only to have those threats widely shouted down. In Ms Buckland’s case, she received threats of defamation before the issue even became public, and Mr Buckingham has gone on to threaten to sue – and actively sue – multiple people.

In Ms Raper’s case, there was a startlingly swift resolution to the issue. Luke Foley announced his resignation almost immediately. Ms Buckland made her complaint internally through the Greens in April. It took months to progress, but not before a subsequent internal investigation finally turned the blow torch on Ms Buckland herself, investigating the baseless allegations that she was a ‘promiscuous drug user’.

The other glaring differences, of course, included the reactions of media and politicians.

In terms of the media response, the alleged assault on Ashleigh Raper was a major news story that dominated news coverage last week. The fall out is still being felt a week later. Ella Buckland’s alleged assault attracted far less interest. With the exception of the ABC, who broke the Buckland story in August and followed it up on Radio National just a day before the Foley allegations broke, no other mainstream media outlet has seen fit to report a syllable of the allegations levelled by Ms Buckland.

The most unkind interpretation of that silence is that when women are allegedly sexually assaulted, media interest is optional. But when journalists are allegedly sexually assaulted, it’s stacks on.

Fortunately, in the brave new world of social media, mainstream news outlets no longer control all the channels of public communication. That’s where the reactions of politicians come into focus.

Over the past week, anger at the difference in the treatment of Ms Buckland and Ms Raper has been blowing up on social media, with a growing number of people doing the job of the mainstream media by calling out the obvious hypocrisy between the two approaches.

Square in the gun of that growing public outrage has been the actions of Greens politicians, most of whom stayed silent for months over the Buckland allegations, but wasted no time in coming out to condemn Luke Foley.

Greens MLA Cate Faehrmann weighed into the Foley issue last week. The condemnation of her obvious hypocrisy was swift.

That public condemnation of Faehrmann comes in the absence of all the facts, which are actually much worse than they appear. Not only has Faerhmann said nothing publicly about the alleged assault on Ella Buckland, she recently voted in a Greens NSW State Delegates Council meeting against any debate on whether or not Mr Buckingham should stand down from his position while an internal investigation was ongoing.

Read that again: Faerhmann didn’t just vote against any action being taken against Buckingham, she voted to suppress any debate about any action being taken against Buckingham.

Greens MP for the seat of Newtown, Jenny Leong has also seen fit to weigh publicly into the fray around Foley, while having nothing to say about Jeremy Buckingham.

Labor, obviously, handled their crisis much better. Even Bill Shorten, the federal leader of the Labor Party and a man known for his inability to avoid spin at every available opportunity, weighed into the debate, saying, “Modern society has no tolerance for the behaviour described.”

So how did the Greens federal leader, Richard Di Natale respond to the Buckland allegations?

Helpfully, he was asked about them by Fran Kelly, on ABC Radio National less than 24 hours before the Foley allegations broke. The response is telling.

FRAN KELLY: Are you satisfied this matter has been dealt with appropriately?

DI NATALE: Well as you’ve said Fran, that was the subject of an independent external investigation and obviously it’s a matter for the NSW Greens to respond to that.

KELLY: Have you intervened in any way?

DI NATALE: We have very clearly protocols about how these are dealt with. We’ve respond based on the advice of a number of women’s groups, a number of experts in this field. We’ve got clear protocols. We had an independent investigation take place and we’ve made it very clear the party needs to take these cases, treat them really seriously, create an environment where women come forward and are supported in taking action, and we’ve done those things, and now this is a matter for the NSW Greens.

KELLY: Does Jeremy Buckingham have your confidence?

DI NATALE: Well, as I said Fran this is now a matter for the NSW Greens…

KELLY: Well you’re the leader of the Greens, does he have your confidence?

DI NATALE: Well I’m the leader of the federal party. And our federal party has made it very clear there is no role for members of parliament to be making judgements about cases that have been thoroughly investigated, and that’s as it should be.”

The deafening silence and spin aside, that last statement – about a ‘thorough investigation’ – is the claim on which Di Natale should perhaps stand most condemned.

It is that very ‘thorough investigation’ which led directly to the allegations against Ella Buckland that she was a ‘promiscuous intravenous drug user’.

If that’s what a ‘thorough Greens-led investigation’ looks like, you have to wonder what hope there is for the party.

Having said that, there are good people within Greens NSW, and the party more broadly, who have worked hard internally to take the right path on this issue. I acknowledge that sometimes, the right path is a difficult one to map out.

The Greens have, to some extent, been frozen by a strong belief in affording procedural fairness to Jeremy Buckingham, while also supporting Ella Buckland. But that begs one simple question: Why have Greens MLA’s been prepared to afford Jeremy Buckingham that ‘procedural fairness’, but not Luke Foley?

Why did Greens politicians who had nothing to say about the alleged assault of one of their own, by one of the own, not feel the same weight of ethical constraints when it came to a member of the Labor Party?

The answer is obvious: politics.

While that plays out, in all its unedifying glory, the Greens continue to tie themselves in knots, determined to ‘respect the process’, despite the outcome.

As we speak, fresh moves are afoot within the party to remove Jeremy Buckingham from the Greens’ ballot in the March 2019 state election. We’ll have that story in a day or so, and there are more revelations to come. New Matilda’s investigation into the Greens handling of sexual assault allegations is ongoing, albeit moving at the snail’s pace for which we’re famous (you can help speed it up by clicking on the link directly below and contributing to our fundraiser).

Whatever the outcome though, the Greens, as a party, has clearly lost its way. On this issue at least, it is hopelessly compromised.

The last word belongs to Ashleigh Raper, whose dignified and moving statement should be required reading for all men in power, and for all political parties.

“It is clear to me that a woman who is the subject of such behaviour is often the person who suffers once a complaint is made,” Ms Raper wrote.

“I cherished my position as a state political reporter and feared that would be lost. I also feared the negative impact the publicity could have on me personally and on my young family. This impact is now being felt profoundly.”

I’m sure Ella Buckland, who did lose her dream job, can empathise.


Australian immigration and asylum system needs cutback

Tony Abbott has repeated his call for Scott Morrison to cut the rate of immigration as the government redoubles efforts to engineer an overhaul of the program, including giving the states more input into where migrants settle.

The former prime minister used his regular spot on 2GB on Monday to declare that the current intake needed to come down until infrastructure, housing and “integration” caught up.

Even though the intake is down on previous years, Abbott said there was “absolutely no doubt” that “record” numbers of “newcomers” were putting “downward pressure on wages, upward pressure on housing prices and adding to the crush on our roads and public transport”.

“We do need to get the numbers down,” he said.

Work on an overhaul of the program began under Malcolm Turnbull, partly in response to positioning within Liberal party ranks. Abbott has been campaigning for months on immigration, and Peter Dutton also signalled support for a cut in the rate in the build-up to the government’s leadership crisis.

Turnbull, and Morrison as treasurer, resisted calls for a cut in the rate and put in place a process examining options to relieve pressure in Sydney and Melbourne, as well as boosting spending on infrastructure.

Migration is running under the 190,000 cap: 162,417 people permanently migrated to Australia in 2017-18 – well under the cap and down from 183,608 the year before.

Abbott in February advocated a target of 110,000 migrants a year, prompting Morrison to say at the time: “If you cut the level of permanent immigration to Australia by 80,000, that would cost the budget, that would hit the bottom line, the deficit, by $4bn to $5bn over the next four years.”

On Monday Morrison said the government was looking to pursue a better process with state governments to ensure migration levels aligned with the “carrying capacity” in large cities including Sydney and Melbourne. He said the current process was not working as it should.

The prime minister said state governments, with planning departments responsible for building schools, roads and hospitals, were best placed to indicate to the commonwealth “their carrying capacity”.

“Our process to date has not been enough ground-up,” he told Sky News. “Having a top-down approach to migration I don’t think has served us well.”

He said the process under development would see the commonwealth continue to set the cap, and the system would remain demand-driven, but the states would have greater input in determining how migrants were distributed by providing advice about whether local services matched growing population levels.

Morrison said the “polarisation” in the migration debate was unhelpful to getting a practical outcome. The prime minister said he was attempting to set a middle course to manage what is always a hot-button political issue.

More migrants were needed in Perth, Darwin and Adelaide, he said, and the commonwealth had scope with temporary migrants to determine the terms of their settlement.

Dutton, the home affairs minister, told reporters on Monday that migrants could not be compelled “to stay within a particular postcode” but he said “there are incentives you can provide” and that’s what the government was examining.

Abbott told 2GB he was sanguine about creating a new process with the states if it was related to reducing the current intake. “If this talk with the states is part of getting the numbers down, all well and good, let’s expedite it.”


Support for a republic slumps to 25-year low

The recent trip to Australia by Prince Harry and new wife Meghan has changed Australians’ stance on a key issue.

Royals vs Republic: Have Harry and Meghan turned Aussies into monarchists?

Young Australians appear to have revived support for the monarchy with support for a republic slumping to a 25-year low after a visit from Prince Harry and his pregnant wife Meghan.

A Newspoll survey found only 40 per cent of respondents favoured Australia becoming a republic, the lowest level of support in 25 years and 10 points down from a similar poll conducted before the royal tour in October.

Australian Monarchist League national chair Philip Benwell told there’s been growing support for the Royals from younger generations of Australians.

“The majority of our members are under 40, many of them are in their 20s and we are now getting a number of 16 to 17 year olds through, who are very staunch,” he said.

Mr Benwell believes the renewed support is due to three factors. It’s partly a reaction against the pro-republic, anti-Establishment attitudes of the Baby Boomer generation, and because the younger generation have a rapport with the younger royals, who are more relaxed and not so strict on protocol.

“The young Royals are naturals and of course, are closer to their age groups whereas the Queen and Prince of Wales are elderly,” he said.

Mr Benwell said young people also love the way of life in Australia, which they equate to the system of governance and don’t want it to change.

Just in the last week, Mr Benwell said about 1000 people had either liked the organisation’s Facebook page or signed up to be members.

“We’ve got financial members in the several thousands and a support base of 40,000 and it’s growing continuously,” he said.

Australian Republic Movement national director Michael Cooney acknowledged the organisation had to work harder to gain support.

“We know a republic is not inevitable,” Mr Cooney told “Australians want to know what the benefits are and our campaign has to work hard to have conversations with more of our citizens.

“The queen’s grandchildren are popular and I’m sure their visit has had a short term effect. “They will be welcome guests in an Australian republic.”

Mr Cooney said the organisation would continue to work towards achieving a republic but appears to have dropped its target of achieving this by 2022.

It’s now working towards a referendum in 2022 on two questions: Should Australia have an Australian head of state? And how should our head of state be chosen?

The Labor Party, which is favoured to take power in the next national elections due by May, announced on Monday that it would organise another plebiscite on becoming a republic if elected.

Monday’s poll indicated that bid would likely fail as it did in 1999.

However, there are limits to the Royal love-in and the outrage over former prime minister Tony Abbott’s decision to grant a knighthood to Prince Philip on Australia Day illustrates this. Mr Benwell said he didn’t support the knighthood and there was a reaction to Mr Abbott making a captain’s call without much consultation but it was also bad timing.

“It would have been accepted if it had been given when the Queen became the longest serving monarch later in the year,” Mr Benwell said.

“Australia Day has become a national day and people (whether they were) monarchists or republicans, didn’t feel like it was good idea.

A total of 48 per cent of the 1800 people questioned in the Newspoll said they opposed ending the colonial tradition of having the British monarch act as Australia’s head of state.

It was the first time since a 1999 referendum on the issue which maintained Australia’s status that supporters of the monarchy outnumbered republicans.

The turnaround in public sentiment came after Prince Harry and Meghan spent two weeks touring Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Islands in a tour that drew adoring throngs.

It was the first international tour for Harry and the American-born former actress since the couple were married in May, and began with the announcement that Meghan was pregnant.

She charmed crowds with a down-to-earth style which saw her halt the royal entourage several times to give shy toddlers a cuddle and bring homemade banana bread to an afternoon tea in the outback town of Dubbo.


Huge green grocer cicada unearths itself near Mt Gambier

A huge, green insect with a screeching call that would “put the Red Hot Chili Peppers to shame” has unearthed itself in SA’s South-East.

The green grocer cicada is one of the loudest insects in the world and after spending years underground as caterpillars, they have now emerged for six weeks of noisy mating.

One of the ear-piercing insects was spotted at Mt Gambier yesterday, measuring a whopping six centimetres, two more than their average length.

While it is too early to say, there could be “many thousands” of these cicadas emerging with it, according to UniSA Professor Chris Daniels.

“They all emerge at once, they mate like crazy and then they die,” he said.

“So you get some appearances of really large numbers of cicadas every two to 17 years, depending on the species.”

This particular species of cicada, the green grocer or yellow monday depending on the colour, can spend up to seven years underground feeding on plant roots before emerging.

And when they do emerge — usually near forests around Christmas time — the sound is deafening.

“They’re so loud, they can actually deafen themselves,” Professor Daniels said. “They would put the Red Hot Chili Peppers to shame.”

The noise, which is used to find a mate as quickly as possible while fending off predators, can reach up to 110 decibels.

Around sunset is the best time to hear the male’s harsh, high-pitched call for females in their six-week final hurrah.


 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: