Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Nearly half of Australians want the number of Muslim immigrants slashed following the Melbourne terrorist attack

Almost half of Australians want Muslim immigration to be cut following the Melbourne terrorist attack, a poll has found.  

The Fairfax-Ipsos survey was conducted after Islamic State sympathiser Hassan Khalif Shire Ali attacked random people on Bourke Street, Melbourne, on November 9, knifing three and killing one.

The poll found 46 per cent of Australians believe that Muslim migration numbers should be reduced.

Of those surveyed, 35 per cent believed the intake should remain the same and only 14 per cent of voters supported an increase.

The telephone poll of 1200 respondents conducted nationally found that a majority of Coalition voters and one third of Labor voters backed the cut.

Muslim leaders deflected criticism of Islam in the wake of the Bourke St attack by stressing that Shire Ali's actions were caused by mental illness and not by religion.

Many Australians are concerned about the rise of Sharia law – the Islamic set of laws that are drawn from the Koran and Hadith.

Islamic State and other Islamist groups are fighting to establish Islam as a political system not just a religion, with the rule of sharia law.

Secular Muslims oppose the implementation of Islam as a set of laws.

Overwhelming majorities of Muslims in countries including Iraq, Egypt, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Malaysia, want sharia to be the law of the land, according to Pew Research survey results published in 2013.

Some elements of Sharia are applied in varying degrees in the legal codes of several Muslim-majority countries.

The Fairfax-Ipsos poll also found 45 per cent of voters would like to see overall immigration numbers reduced, with 23 per cent arguing for a rise and 29 per cent happy with the status quo.

The 2016 Census revealed Australia’s population grew by 1.9 million people in the five years to 2016, driven by a 1.3 million increase in new immigrants.

Of those, 86 per cent or 1.11 million settled in Australia's major cities, according to government data, causing strain on infrastructure in Sydney and Melbourne.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has called for a return to Howard-era immigration levels of about 45,000 a year.

Fairfax reported that Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton reduced permanent migration from the official estimate of 190,000 to an actual intake of 163,000.

Data from the 2016 Census showed the Muslim population in Australia has soared to more than 604,000 people, overtaking Buddhism as the most popular non-Christian religion.

The number of Muslims living in the country has almost doubled from 341,000 in the the 2006 census.


Senate could thwart a Labor government too

Bill Shorten’s ability to pass his tax-and-spend manifesto if elected could be put in doubt after projections that Labor would not be able to form a majority bloc with the Greens in the Senate to pass legislation without being forced to negotiate with key crossbenchers.

One Nation is tipped to ­increase its presence, with the Greens potentially losing a spot and Centre Alliance gaining a senator to likely hold the balance of power.

Despite polling pointing to a likely Labor landslide at the next election, analysis of specific Senate polling conducted since the last election shows the best-case scenario for Labor and the Greens was 38 senators, just short of being able to command the upper house.

It shows that on current trends Labor, if elected in the lower house, would face the same Senate gridlock caused by a chaotic, unpredictable and largest crossbench that has bedevilled the Coalition since 2013.

The research paper produced by the Australia Institute think tank suggests that Labor would not be able to guarantee passage of key tax and spending policies such as those on negative gearing or penalty rates.

It predicts a best-case scenario for Labor to be 29 seats, with the Greens either remaining on its current nine or more likely losing a spot to eight.

At worst, it would gain just one seat to have 27 senators.

Under either scenario, Labor would be forced to rely on crossbench senators such as the Centre Alliance or even a right-wing party such as One Nation to pass much of its $160 billion spending program and tax measures.

The best-case scenario for the Coalition would be 35 spots out of the 76-member Senate.

The likely May 2019 election will be the first half-Senate election under the new optional preferential voting system introduced by Malcolm Turnbull to make it more difficult for independents to be elected. However, polling suggests little change to the Senate crossbench numbers, with up to five One Nation spots — up one from the 2016 result — and an extra Centre Alliance senator making three and the likely independent party to hold the balance of power.

Cory Bernardi is not up for re-election nor are the two current Centre Alliance senators and One Nation leader Pauline Hanson.

Those independents elected for a half term of three years — which includes Derryn Hinch, Tim Storer, Brian Burston, Fraser Anning, David Leyonhjelm and Petro Georgio — are all up for election next year.

The analysis predicts Liberal Democrat Senator Leyonhjelm will lose his NSW spot, the potential re-election of Senator Hinch and the possible return of Tas­man­ian Jacqui Lambie at the ­expense of the Coalition.

The research is based on quarterly polling of voting intention for the Senate conducted since the last election based on a sample size of about 1400 voters.

Australia Institute executive director Ben Oquist says the new voting system makes predicting the Senate even more fraught. “While the last federal election was a ­double-dissolution election … this next election is a half-Senate election only, which doubles the quota making it more difficult for minor parties and independents in particular,” he said.

“Current polling makes Labor the favourite to form government at the next election, but our analysis shows they will still need to work with other parties, and potentially some independents, in the new parliament.

“Even under the most optimistic predictions for the Labor Party, we expect that they and the Greens will only have 38 senators between them, one short of a passing majority. ”


University review a win for free speech on campus

The review of freedom of speech at universities announced by the federal government is a timely initiative to ensure the rights and freedoms of all Australians are protected on Australian campuses, The Centre for Independent Studies (CIS) said.

The review follows a paper published last month by CIS Senior Research Fellow Dr Jeremy Sammut,  University Freedom Charters: How best to protect free speech on Australian campuses, which called for the introduction of University of Chicago-style free speech charters to promote and protect free and open inquiry in pursuit of truth in Australian universities.

“We welcome the move to hold higher education administrators to account and ensure universities fulfil the role they receive billions of taxpayer’s dollars to perform in a democratic society,” Dr Sammut said.

“As my report showed, the free speech policies developed in Chicago and emulated by other US colleges are international best practice.”

The review, headed by former High Court Chief Justice, Robert French, has been tasked with developing realistic and practical policies to promote free speech on campus that are based the Chicago approach.

“The Chicago model strikes the right balance between protecting legitimate debate and protest and stamping out the kind of disruptive behaviour that interferes with the right to free speech of others like we have seen recently at Sydney University,” Dr Sammut said.

He also welcomed the announcement that the federal government will use the findings of the review to formulate a national declara­tion on freedom of speech that will serve as a benchmark to hold universities to account.

“A key recommendation of my research was the need to ensure that university freedom charters are not toothless tigers to which only lip service is paid, and to impose greater external accountability mechanisms for what universities actually do and don’t do to protect free speech.”


Crying wolf too many times on poverty

Yet another sensationalist headline on poverty in Australia appeared this week, indicating poverty rates in Victoria are as high as 13%, and more than one in 10 Victorians are ‘poor’.

The breathless report by the Victorian Council of Social Services (VCOSS) found “alarmingly” there is no corner of Victoria untouched by poverty. But this reporting is misleading at best and irresponsible at worst.

Firstly, the report did not measure absolute poverty, but what is known as relative poverty — a subjective measure of deprivation, obtained by comparing person A’s income to person B’s income. This means if person B is wealthy, person A could be relatively poor.

In Australia, relative poverty is generally defined as receiving less than half the national median household income.

The limitations of this measure are obvious. If the median income increases, more people could be classified as poor — even though their absolute level of deprivation remains unchanged (or may even have improved).

Secondly, many Australians go through periods of low income — which does not necessarily indicate material deprivation or socio-economic disadvantage.

The obvious example is university students. Even VCOSS admitted the 13% figure would have picked up thousands of students in the Melbourne area. In retrospect, it is certain that I would have been technically classified as poor when I was a student at Sydney University a decade ago.

In fact, this simply reflects life cycle factors. Most people’s earnings peak and ebb during certain stages of their lives.

Consequently, retirees are more likely to be counted as poor by having lower incomes in that stage of their lives. Similarly, pensioners can be picked up in measures of relative poverty by being asset rich and cash poor.

The risk of elevating relative poverty as a problem is that governments will become distracted from tackling real, persistent disadvantage in Australia.

There are about 700,000 Australians — roughly 3% of our population — who experience entrenched socio-economic disadvantage.

Our concern should be focused on those Australians, particularly on early intervention for vulnerable children who would otherwise be caught in an intergenerational cycle of poverty and disadvantage.

But unfortunately for VCOSS, a 3% poverty rate doesn’t make for a news-grabbing headline.


High energy costs send Pact packing

Australia's largest manufacturer of rigid plastic packaging, billionaire Raphael Geminder’s Pact Group, says it will move more of its operations offshore to Asia because of the soaring cost of doing business in Australia.

Pact has closed three local manufacturing sites over the past 12 months among more than 60 it runs in Australia, New Zealand, Asia and the US after undertaking extensive work on establishing a reliable and cost-effective import supply chain for select product categories.

Pact, which has more than 4000 staff, supplies a wide range of plastic and steel packaging to the food, household cleaning, pharmaceutical, personal care, agricultural, chemical and industrial markets....

The manufacturer’s second-largest shareholder, the $9 billion Investors Mutual’s Anton Tagliaferro — who has previously written to the Pact board questioning the company’s performance — said Australian manufacturers faced a gloomy outlook given slipshod government policy and higher energy prices than many of its global competitors.

“All of manufacturing in Australia is feeling the pinch of failed government policies and that includes electricity,” Mr Tagliaferro told The Australian. “Manufacturers are seeing their costs going up, their margins being squeezed and they’re grappling with having to put their prices up to customers,” he said.

“It’s a diabolical situation where the price of electricity in Australia is three times what it is in the US. Unfortunately we’re living in this crazy environment where we sell coal, uranium and gas to everyone else in the world but it doesn’t seem like we are able to effectively use it here for our own needs.”

More broadly, he said a decade of ineffective government policies had put a handbrake on the ability of Australian business to succeed.

“Unfortunately, eventually the country is going to have to pay the price for this poor management.”

Mr Tagliaferro said there may be a pick-up under a Bill Shorten-led Labor government.

“At the moment I don’t think things could be any worse. We basically have a government that’s basically running the country by opinion poll and every week the policies change depending on what the polls say. What we need is some certainty,” he said. The impact of ineffectual policy had added to the pain of sharemarket investors reeling from weeks of volatility, he said.

Manufacturing Australia chair­man James Fazzino has previously claimed high costs and declining energy security were materially damaging the ability of local manufacturers to compete against imports, impacting both potential and current manufacturing investments.

He claimed the business case for undertaking essential reinvestments and plant maintenance in many existing manufacturing operations was increasingly being scrutinised by boards and executive teams and that plant closures and job losses flowing from high energy costs were inevitable.

But chief executive of the Australian Industry Group, Innes Willox, said recently that challenges remained for the sector.

“While manufacturers are working hard to sustain these robust conditions, the uncertainties hanging over energy prices and energy policy continue to cloud the medium and longer-term outlook, particularly for the more energy-intensive segments of the industry,” 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

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