Tuesday, April 30, 2019

ScoMo could squeak it in with Palmer's support

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has narrowed the gap behind Bill Shorten in the latest Newspoll as support for controversial billionaire Clive Palmer soars.

Labor is leading the two-party preferred vote 51 per cent to 49 per cent ahead of the Coalition with three weeks to go until the federal election.

But both of the major parties have lost votes to Mr Palmer, whose extensive $50million advertising campaign for the United Australia Party has resulted in five per cent of the primary vote.

The result is a marked improvement for the Coalition since March, when Mr Morrison's government was down 54-46 on the same measure.

The poll comes after the first two weeks of the election campaign in which Mr Morrison has campaigned heavily on the economy and attacking Labor's tax plans.

But the Coalition's primary vote has dropped one point to 38 per cent, while Labor's primary is down to 37 per cent.


Coalition - 38 per cent

Labor - 37 per cent

Greens - 9 per cent

United Australia Party - 5 per cent

One Nation - 4 per cent

Source: The Australian

Support for One Nation has dropped to four per cent, while the Greens remain on nine per cent.

Labor has ruled out negotiating a preference deal with Mr Palmer after making informal approaches.

Malcolm Turnbull needed a primary vote of 42 per cent to win a one-seat majority in 2016.

Despite the drop in primary vote, Newspoll calculates the Coalition has made up ground based on preference flows at recent federal and state elections.

The two-party preferred vote is now back to where it was before Mr Turnbull was forced out of the top job in August 2018.

Mr Shorten has climbed higher in the preferred prime minister stakes, jumping two points to 37 per cent, while Mr Morrison dropped one point to 45 per cent.

The Labor leader has only won one preferred prime minister poll, getting his best result immediately after Mr Turnbull went, before Mr Morrison overtook him.

The two leaders will conduct their first debate of the campaign on Monday night in Perth, before another debate in Brisbane on Friday.


Fabric of democracy fraying under weight of the mob


Isaac Butterfield was, until now, a little heard of stand-up comedian — until he included Holocaust material in his gig at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival this month.

According to a report in Melbourne’s Herald Sun, a Jewish woman emailed Butterfield complaining about some of his material. He replied: “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the oven.” The original saying referred to “the kitchen”.

Butterfield’s word usage in this instance is brutally telling, especially when knowingly directed at a Jewish woman. It is an established fact many of the Jews who were murdered by Nazi Germany with poison gas were cremated in ovens. So how did the MICF handle the situation? Well, a spokeswoman said performers were able to express their views, even opinions viewed as offensive. Apart from that, the organisation went into no-comment mode.

This is the same MICF that recently dropped its Barry Award, following comments by comedian Barry Humphries describing transgender as a fashion. Similar comments in recent years have been made by the likes of Julie Burchill and Germaine Greer. The former’s views were removed from the Guardian website.

So, according to the MICF, it is appropriate to strip the name of Australia’s most famous comedian from its key award for making a comment about trans­genderism. But it’s quite OK for Butterfeld to dismiss the views of a Jewish Australian with a tasteless reference to ovens.

In a recent discussion with a young comedian, I asked what remains of humour when so many take offence, often on behalf of somebody else. He replied that it’s still legitimate to make jokes about conservatives. It was a reminder that in the contemporary West it is the Left that is into censorship of thought — and its targets are invariably conservatives.

In his 2019 Keith Murdoch Oration, News Corp chief executive Robert Thomson spoke about “the seemingly powerful global companies that panic and prevaricate at the first mutterings of the … media mob”.

His specific reference was to Google’s decision to surrender when “a mob of Google employees” objected to their employer’s decision to appoint Kay Coles James to an advisory council on artificial intelligence.

The problem was that James is president of the conservative Heritage Foundation. She is also a 69-year-old black American who, as a girl, suffered discrimination when integrated into a white school in Richmond, Virginia.

Thomson commented: “There is no doubt that a mob mentality has taken hold in much of the West and among the most pronounced of the mobs are illiberal liberals, who are roaming the landscape in the seemingly endless, insatiable quest for indignation and umbrage.”

The reference was to the North American use of liberal, meaning Left or left-wing in Australian word usage. He added: “It is vituperation as virtue.”

The latest expression of mob outrage in Australia has been directed at Israel Folau, a rugby union player and committed Christian. His secular “sin” was to post an Instagram warning to drunks, homosexuals, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters that hell awaits them — unless they repent. This was a selection of “the works of the flesh” nominated in St Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians.

Now it appears that Folau breached a warning from Rugby Australia not to make homophobic comments. But St Paul’s mes­sage to the Galatians was not confined to those termed gays today. Even if it were, a lifetime ban for a professional footballer is an enormous punishment for an expression of a religious belief.

The pile-on against Folau seems to begin with companies that advertise with Rugby Australia — most particularly Qantas, whose chief executive, Alan Joyce, apparently suffers no conscience pangs due to the fact the public company of which he is an employee has business dealings with some Muslim nations that are not exactly gay-friendly. And it goes all the way down to sneering secularists such as Nine newspapers’ Peter FitzSimons.

On ABC television’s Offsiders program on April 14, presenter Kelli Underwood and panellist Caroline Wilson bagged Folau and talked down fellow panellist John Harms, who, while not agreeing with the footballer’s comments, argued that his “religious position has to be respected”. Underwood accused Folau of attempting to “hide behind religion” to engage in “hate speech”. The inference is that it’s now hate speech for a Christian to quote St Paul and urge repentance.

What Thomson refers to as “a mob mentality” has even reached the doors of the Australian judicial system. In his judgment in the NSW District Court on December 6 last year in R v Philip Edward Wilson, judge Roy Ellis warned about the “potential for media pressure to impact judicial independence” in child sexual abuse cases.

Ellis’s concern was about “perceived pressure for a court to reach a conclusion which seems to be consistent with the direction of pubic opinion, rather than being consistent with the rule of law that requires a court to hand down individual justice in its decision making process”.

This was an important statement by an experienced judge — which appears to have been ignored by the NSW government. This trial did not involve a jury.

In his sentencing judgment in R v George Pell on March 13, Victorian County Court Chief Judge Peter Kidd had this to say: “We have witnessed outside of this court and within our community, examples of a ‘witch-hunt’ or ‘lynch mob’ mentality in relation to Cardinal Pell. I utterly condemn such behaviour. That has nothing to do with justice in a civilised society.”

Again, this was a significant statement about the presence of a mob hostile to the defence and defence counsel by a senior Victorian judge — which appears to have been ignored by the Victorian government. This was a trial by jury.

Democracy has succeeded through the decades because its principal institutions — the executive, the legislature and the judicial system — prevailed against mob opinion.

Let’s hope this remains the case, otherwise intolerance and injustice will prevail.


Teachers claim constant bullying and harassment from parents is forcing them to abandon their profession in droves

Parents objecting to Leftist bias and indoctrination, most likely.  Leftists can dish out the aggression but they can't take it

The number of teachers quitting their jobs is rapidly rising across Australia amid claims angry parents are to blame. 

Teachers say they are being met with bullying, harassment and violence from parents more than ever, and even face the prospect of losing their role if they speak up.

But parents claim they're just being vocal about their concerns. 

A study from Melbourne's La Trobe University found 80 per cent of teachers were subject to student or parent-led bullying in the past year.

A separate report conducted by the Australian Catholic University found that 45 per cent of school principals across the country were threatened with violence in 2018.

In an emotional interview with Channel Nine's 60 Minutes, former teacher George Allertz says that although he was passionate about his job, the constant physical, verbal and electronic abuse he copped pushed him out of the profession.

'You're going home after being abused from a parent because they didn't agree with something that you taught or the way that you taught it,' Mr Allertz says. 'You basically become deflated… I can't do that anymore.'

Mr Allertz says he has witnessed school events during which parents become violent.

The former teacher says parents have opted to fight not only teachers but other parents on school grounds.

He also said he's seen parents use horrific language and come to physical blows before having to be escorted off the grounds.

However, parents have insisted they're just speaking up about their concerns over their children's treatment or the education system.

Kevin Saunders was disciplined for criticising the way his son was being taught at school, causing the angered father to pull him out altogether. Mr Saunders was bewildered that he was disciplined and questioned why he didn't have the right to speak up for his son. 'I spoke the truth and suddenly I'm getting escorted out of there,' he said.


Election coverage offers a measure of ABC’s decline

So far, the ABC’s election coverage could not be described as scintillating. That much is hardly surprising since the campaign performance of a media organisation seldom outshines that of the candidate it backs, and Bill Shorten has hardly delivered a showstopper.

In naming Shorten as the ABC’s preferred prime minister, we should acknowledge, of course, that the corporation takes no editorial stance as such. But as an editorial guidance note to staff acknowledges, impartiality is in the eye of the beholder. “Everyone regards the world through the prism of their own values,” it reads. “Impartiality is therefore an art rather than a ­science.”

So how are the virtuosos of value neutrality performing on AM, the showpiece of ABC radio news and current affairs, which once stretched the canvas on which the day’s campaign would be painted? Scratchily is probably the kindest response. So much so, that if the aim of Sabra Lane and her team was to make the program utterly extraneous, they are succeeding magnificently.

On Tuesday, April 17, for example, we were treated to an exclusive interview with Richard Di Natale defending the rights of the children of terrorists. Wednesday’s coverage began with the launch of the Greens’ climate policy. On Thursday we learned about the alt-right’s covert plan to adopt Fraser Anning as its zombie.

On day eight we were obliged to wait for 16 minutes for the sole election item. “Experts are calling on the government to do more to protect consumers from aggressive hawkers of funeral insurance,” it started unpromisingly.

Last week the taxpayer-funded program ran a series of reports recommending other things on which taxpayers might care to lavish their money. AM called out “childcare as the missing issue in the campaign” and bemoaned the failure of both major parties to boost payments for Newstart.

Experts told us there was “a genuine fundamental shift away from preference for small government”. It was a response to the Work Choices legislation, Joe Hockey’s 2014 budget and climate change, said expert Jill Sheppard from the Australian National University. Expert Ian McAuley from the Centre for Policy Development agreed, claiming voters were reacting against privatisation.

It was left to the Centre for Independent Studies’ Blaise Joseph to provide a sensible opinion. In doing so, regretfully, he revealed that he was not expert, since an expert by definition cannot dispute “expert opinion”, the nebulous voice called upon whenever the ABC’s preconceptions need shoring up. AM no longer provides the forum for grown-up policy debate it did as recently as the 2007 election. That campaign began with interviews with John Howard and Kevin Rudd, followed the next day by details of the Coalition’s tax package and an interview with Wayne Swan.

On subsequent days Nick Minchin was interviewed about housing policy, Hockey attacked Labor’s union links and Julia Gillard spoke for the defence.

There was a four-story package on the first leaders’ debate, Rudd was attacked by the CFMEU, both sides joined a discussion on pensions, treasurer Peter Costello gave a live interview, Julie Bishop defended the Coalition’s record on university funding, Rudd proclaimed his climate credentials and Malcolm Turnbull, as environment minister, responded.

The decline of AM over the course of just four elections is a symptom of the public broadcaster’s drift towards the periphery of national life. Once the daily electoral cycle began with AM’s keynote interview, was punctuated by the 7.30 Report and ended with ABC TV’s Lateline.

Today, AM is a shadow of its former self, so pale that its features are hard to define. The 7.30 audience that once hovered around a million in the five major metropolitan capitals has sunk below 600,000. In an act of mercy, Lateline has been put to sleep.

That the ABC retains any potency at all is down to the integrity of a dwindling number of presenters who understand the responsibilities that come with the ABC’s privilege. It owes nothing to the institution itself, which is increasingly ill-disciplined and hostage to group think.

Take the ABC’s obsession with “Watergate”, for example, a conspiracy concocted on Twitter about alleged irregularities in the allocation of water licences. Quite what the irregularities were, who was alleging impropriety, or indeed whether any of it mattered a jot has never been explained.

Suffice to say, however, that the ABC’s Virginia Trioli decided it was one of the “big issues of the day” when she interviewed the Prime Minister last week.

Scott Morrison drew on his reserves of patience to explain that water deals are done with the advice of state ministers and public servants, not on the whim of the federal government.

Trioli, however, was not satisfied. “You said on this program on January 14 that you’re ‘a Prime Minister for standards’. So is this the standard that we should then accept from you — rather casual about accountability, casual about transparency and seemingly unaccountable about value for taxpayer money?”

Morrison: “Well, Virginia, I think they’re pretty strong accusations you’ve just made there without providing any foundation for them … I don’t know how you could make those allegations in the way that you have, I’d seem to think that would be a bit over the top from you.”

We can only guess if Trioli’s colleagues slapped her on the back after the show or, like most reasonably minded viewers, thought she’d made a goose of herself.

What is indisputable is that Trioli wasted an opportunity to quiz the Prime Minister about substantial policy issues of vital national importance to embark on a frolic of her own. This was not the ABC as the corporation’s great postwar chairman, Dick Boyer, imagined it, an institute standing “solid and serene in the middle of our national life, running no campaign, seeking to persuade no opinion, but presenting the issues freely and fearlessly for the calm judgment of our people”.

It was the very opposite: a jittery voice from the bottom of the garden, lacking self-awareness, jumping at shadows, fixated on the immaterial and utterly and completely irrelevant.


 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: