Wednesday, April 24, 2019

'White males' should be BANNED from speaking during university classes so women and transgender students are more willing to contribute to discussions - seminar suggests

A workshop at one of Australia's top universities discussed banning white male students who look like Liberal Party voters from speaking in class.

The seminar titled How Privilege Manifests in Tutorials was held last week by the University of Melbourne Student Union.

Attendees discussed ways to make tutorials and lectures more inclusive by encouraging women, transgender, foreign and gay people to speak up more.

One proposal was to ban 'white, male students' and 'students resembling Liberal voters' from speaking.

This caused outrage among members of the student Liberal Club.  Thomas Carlyle-James, 21, said it was unfair to paint this stereotype of Liberal voters. 'There's generally this sort of idea that Liberals are all racist, rich, white kids,' he told The Australian.

'I know plenty of Liberals and none of them are racists and they aren't as wealthy as people think and are also from all different ­nationalities.'

The workshop was one of many held last week during the Student Union's annual event titled Radical Education Week.

Other workshops were titled Feminist History of Capitalism; Burn the Prisons Down & Tear Apart the Walls; and Climate vs Capitalism: Eco-socialism as an Alternative.

Student Union president Molly Willmott defended the workshop. 'This is not about stopping people from speaking,' she said. 'We're a university that encourages free speech.

'It's about giving space to people who don't feel included on university campuses because of things like gender, language (and) queerness.'

A University of Melbourne spokeswoman said: 'This is a workshop run by UMSU.' 'What is discussed is not university policy.'


Expecting truth from Shorten is a fool’s game

Bill Shorten is bidding to be prime minister but perhaps he has been seduced by the opinion polls because he has forgotten a golden rule of life and politics and sport.

If you don’t do the homework, you have no hope of passing the exam. At the end of the first full week, Shorten has to be given a massive F for fail.

You mean to say that a potential prime minister announces a policy about electric cars and he does not know how long it takes to charge the battery but pretends to know and finishes up about eight hours out.

Then in his budget reply speech he played the emotional card Labor do so well — cancer treatment would be free. Except it is now clear if that policy were implemented, it would cost $6 billion more than Mr Shorten offered.

Never mind, Labor will subsidise MRI scans. How much will that cost? Don’t know. They don’t know how many MRI machines there are in the country.

Stand negative gearing on its head. Why? Well only 7 per cent of those investing in housing, and negatively gearing, are investing in new homes. So the negative gearing tax breaks don’t assist the building of new housing stock.

Sounds OK. Except the Bureau of Statistics entered the field of play. They said there was no such figure. Yet Chris Bowen had said in January: “The most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows 93 per cent of new investment loans go to people purchasing existing housing stock.”

Not a bad mistake. A 93 per cent mistake.

Bowen and his leader have said for months, unapologetically, that Labor would be raising $200bn in extra taxes.

Remember he said if you don’t like it, don’t vote for us.

A massive hand in our pockets. Except that Treasury in the first week of the election said the figure was $387bn.

No wonder by week’s end, with the Labor Party swimming in mistakes and made-up figures, they deleted a whole heap of detail about tax from their website.

There were previously almost 100 paragraphs with charts and dia­grams explaining their housing policy and negative gearing. Well, the Bureau of Statistics blew them out of the water so approximately 90 policy paragraphs were deleted.

Signature policies. But hang on. You cannot make this stuff up. We are only in the first week.

Shorten said there would be no new taxes on superannuation.

Not bad except Labor has already announced a $34bn tax on super. So Labor have scrapped their superannuation tax change policy from their online manifesto.

And what about that brave young Network Ten reporter Jonathan Lea, who sought to ask Shorten a few questions on how much Labor’s climate change policy would cost the economy. He asked over and over again. No ­answer. Couldn’t answer.

The one thing Shorten cannot abide is a question on the economy. He won’t front radio or television programs that ask the tough questions.

But back to the question about energy costs. Presumably Shorten thought he was playing a trump card when he argued that the report on which his climate change policies were based was authored by Australian National Univer­sity’s Warwick McKibbin.

Except Professor McKibbin said he was surprised Labor had not spoken to him despite arguing they were relying on his report.

McKibbin soon smacked Shorten down, being quoted as saying his climate change policy would cost the economy at least $60bn more than the ­Coalition by 2030.

Now this is a climate change policy according to Labor, based on carbon dioxide being evil. But when I asked Labor deputy leader Tanya Plibersek how much carbon dioxide was in the atmosphere, she was honest enough to say she did not know. On most policy issues, they do not seem to know.

Expect the voter to say if you don’t know, we vote no.


Australia's Prime Minister is an authentic Christian

If you are old enough to remember a budget surplus then you will remember countless interviews with Kevin Rudd outside church. Before and after his election the Labor leader was ever willing to advertise his claimed conservatism by giving Sunday press conferences with spires as a backdrop.

It was smart politics and from what we know of Rudd it was an authentic depiction of his faith, even if it was used to create an entirely fictitious impression of his general political/economic disposition. Most successful politicians draw a character dividend of inferred stability and conservatism by associating themselves with mainstream religion. This is why Scott Morrison’s appearance at his Pentecostal church on the weekend was fascinating. I don’t know his media minders or their religious affiliations but I can guarantee they would have been reluctant and wary about letting cameras in on this event. This “happy clapping” version of Christianity is a growing part of the nation’s religious make-up but it is not the norm.

Morrison’s minders would have worried that pictures of the Prime Minister singing with his arms in the air praising Jesus and eyes closed in devotion would make voters uncomfortable. But they had no choice.

There was an election campaign running over Easter, he leads the nation and goes to church — the minders had to allow cameras in and share this experience with voters. After all, the alternative prime minister, Bill Shorten, was going to be at a more mainstream church and wouldn’t be shunning attention.

Morrison has worn some online abuse and mocking for his overt show of faith. But you get the sense most Australians respect his choice and his authenticity. He didn’t appear contrived or uncomfortable.

Aside from competence and authority, authenticity is the critical ingredient for politicians. And like the others, you can’t fake it. Morrison comes across as a daggy dad because he is one; and he is comfortable enough in his happy-clapper skin to allow the world to see it. Voters are likely to respect him for that.

Yesterday he likened our multicultural society to being greater than the sum of all its parts in the same way that his homemade curries weave culinary magic from a variety of ingredients. He seems relaxed on the campaign trail and the country is getting to know him.

Shorten is a canny campaigner. As I have pointed out before he never misses the right political point in his media appearances. He dodges difficult questions and pivots to his attack points masterfully. But he is having a bad campaign so far, caught out on factual errors, refusing to answer questions and lashing out at the media. He will need to turn it around and get onto the front foot.

Morrison and his team still need to do much more to highlight Labor’s weaknesses and convince voters they have learned from the dysfunction of the past. The electoral degree of difficulty is astronomical. But there is an early sense that he is winning people over as an authentic figure who seems at ease with voters and all the carry-on of campaigning.


Australia’s new battlefield: insiders vs outsiders: As in Brexit Britain and Trump’s America, it’s the elite vs the people.

Shorten's electric car fantasy is totally inappropriate for the  Australian people and the policy could yet be his undoing

If you trust the polls, Labor leader Bill Shorten will win next month’s Australian federal election, as surely as the British voted to remain in Europe and Hillary Clinton won the US presidency in 2016.

Shorten has been the consistent frontrunner for more than two years and faces a centre-right coalition with weakened authority after five years of internal division and two changes of leader.

Yet there is good reason to suspect that polling may be as reliable as it was in 2016.

Like Britain, the US and much of the democratic Western world, Australia is undergoing a transition from the politics of left and right to a contest between conformist insiders and woefully disobedient outsiders.

Shorten and the prime minister Scott Morrison feel obliged to tread cautiously across a treacherous cultural landscape. One false move could trip the next political explosion, as Shorten did two weeks ago when he announced a bold policy on electric vehicles.

Australia was lagging behind the rest of the world, he said. A Shorten government would ensure that by 2030, 50 per cent of vehicles sold on the market would be powered by batteries.

Had Shorten sought advice from anyone living more than five kilometres outside the Canberra political triangle, the thought bubble would never have been released.

Australians love their cars with the passionate intensity mid-America displays towards guns. The backlash was immediate. Alan Jones, the country’s most popular talkback radio host, declared that the issue would lose Shorten the election.

Shorten compounded his problems two days later when he was asked by a breakfast radio presenter how long the batteries took to charge. ‘Oh, it can take, umm … it depends on what your original charge is, but it can take, err, eight to 10 minutes depending on your charge’, Shorten ventured.

A more accurate answer would have been eight to 10 hours.

Few Australians would be embarrassed by Shorten’s accusation that they are behind the rest of the world in the quality of the exhaust emitted from their tailpipes. They live in a country of vast distances and rough terrain with the third-lowest fuel taxes in the developed world. Miles per hour still counts for more in the Australian car market than miles per gallon.

Others are welcome to drive Ford Fiestas, VW Golfs and Vauxhall Corsa, the three top-selling vehicles in Britain. But they’re a little squashy for four grown men even without their fishing rods.

Which is why Australians prefer the Toyota HiLux, Ford Territory and Mitsubishi Triton, the current top-selling vehicles, which emit almost twice the CO2 of the Fiesta but are far better suited for rounding up sheep in a wet paddock.

Few nations could rival Australia in its unsuitability for electric vehicles. The challenge of installing chargers at convenient intervals along Australia’s 7.6million kilometres of roads is hard enough. It is considerably more difficult than in the UK, for example, where there are 77 cars per square kilometre, compared to Australia’s 2.5.

Utility vehicles, or ‘utes’ in the local vernacular, SUVs and four-wheel-drives account for more than 60 per cent of the small vehicle market in Australia and their popularity is growing.

There is no electrical equivalent of these vehicles on the market. We’re told that the Hyundai Kona could be on sale by Christmas, but at $60,000 – $20,000 more than the petrol version – you can forget it.

The global mania driving the introduction of electric vehicles seems puzzling viewed through Australian eyes. If Norway chooses to spend billions of krone earned by selling oil on subsidies to bribe its citizens to drive electric cars, then let them. Unlike the Norwegians, Australians do not have 31 billion watts of hydro-generated electricity at their disposal.

Yet the technological obstacles and investment challenges are treated with little regard by the elite, where anxiety about the predicted effects of global warming are keenly felt. Support for electric cars, like enthusiasm for renewable energy, is strongest in well-to-do suburbs close the city, frequently close to the beach, where they drive cars the least and are soothed by maritime breezes on stinking-hot summer days.

The hostility to electric vehicles is not helped by the performance of the political and policy elites who have a track record of policy disasters in energy. The last Labor government used draconian cross-subsidies to force investment in wind and solar power with unfortunate results.

Australians once enjoyed among the cheapest electricity in the world. Now it vies to be the most expensive. The intermittent supply from renewable energy has made the grid unstable. There have been lengthy blackouts in South Australia and Victoria, where coal-fired power stations have been forced out of the market.

The intellectual elites who created this mess still struggle to see where they went wrong. If it worked for Denmark, why wouldn’t it work here?

But Australia is a very different country. Like other net exporters of energy, the relatively high level of emissions per-capita does not reflect local habits.

It exports some of the world’s cleanest coal, thus contributing to a reduction of emissions in some countries. And if coal is considered too dirty, there’s always gas, in which Australia leads the world in exports.

Agriculture, of which Australia is also a net exporter, contributes 16 per cent to national emissions, most of which comes from enteric fermentation in ruminant livestock – a polite way of saying belching and farting, for which there is no known antidote.

These peculiar national characteristics help to explain why climate policy is Australia’s Brexit: the issue that divides the intellectual elites with their grand theories from the rest of Australia with its no-nonsense practical outlook. It is the touchstone issue on which the nation divides along non-party lines, and could once break up a barbie in those innocent days when the two tribes grilled their steaks together and parked their six-cylinder Holdens in the same drive.

Like Brexit, leaders would prefer if they didn’t have to take sides, for fear of causing offence and disunity within their own party. Like Brexit, however, there is no fence to sit on. Shorten, the leader of the party that pays increasingly little attention to the workers that once defined it, is siding with the intellectuals, promising to abate roughly three times the amount of greenhouse gas by 2030 than Australia is obliged to do under the Paris Commitment.

If he thinks such virtue-seeking will go unquestioned by hoi polloi beyond the beltway, he will be disappointed. It is proving to be an electoral disadvantage in the outer suburbs and in regional Australia where a Trump-like revolt, if it ever happened in Australia, would be likely to break out.

It is here that Morrison is discovering surprise middle ground on the continuous issue of climate policy. Like Shorten, he promises action to reduce emissions, which 70 per cent of Australians favour. His appeal, however, is toward practical, measured policy, rather than one that seems intellectually pure.

‘You don’t have to choose between the economy and the environment’, Morrison says. ‘You don’t have to choose between your job and the environment.’

Any predictions about the result next month must be heavily qualified. The political duopoly that has been in place since the end of the Second World War is fraying. Populist independents and pop-up parties are strengthening and will almost certainly hold the balance of power in the next parliament, as they have for the past 12 years. They may also increase their presence in the lower house, increasing the chances of a hung parliament.

The Liberal/National Coalition, which has been in government for 18 of the past 24 years, comes to the poll as a weakened force, despite an exceptionally strong economy and low unemployment. PM Scott Morrison, who has been in office for less than eight months, has gone some way to restoring the government’s fortunes and repair the internal disunity, but time was never on his side.

The weekend polls still put Labor ahead by 52 per cent to 48 per cent. Yet if Morrison can manage to tap the well of discontent against the outlandish climate policy pursued by much of the political class, the coalition may yet confound those who have written them off.


When is a scorcher not a scorcher?

When it is in Australia.  A summer afternoon temperature indoors in Brisbane is usually 34C.  God knows what that would be called in  Britain.  A recent temperature 10 degrees cooler than 34 is a "scorcher" there

Brits have been hitting the beaches and parks to bask in a record-breaking 24C Easter weekend scorcher.

Brits have been hitting the beaches and parks today to bask in a record-breaking 24C Easter Sunday scorcher.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have already hit their highest temperatures ever registered for Easter, with a chance that England could follow suit too.

The mercury reached 23C in Trawsgoed, Wales, 22.8C in Edinburgh, Scotland, and 20.7C in Helen’s Bay, Northern Ireland, by 2pm.

Met Office meteorologist Dean Hall said the UK Easter Sunday record was 25.3C.

Heathrow airport recorded a steaming 24.6C to fall just short of the record, and parts of West Sussex hit 24.3C.


 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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