Friday, May 10, 2019

Anglican Bishop calls the Bible hate speech

About what one expects of the modern-day Church of England.  Their clergy are mostly just dressup queens.  One assumes that a Reverend gentleman would be aware that what Folau said was a quote from Romans chapter 1.  For his information:  Romans is an epistle from the apostle Paul that is found in the New Testament of the Bible

An Anglican bishop has branded the religious statements of Australian rugby union player Israel Folau as hate speech.

The Bishop of Grafton, the Right Reverend Dr Murray Harvey, said free speech should not be used to vilify others.

"I think there's a difference between free speech and sometimes that can go over the borderline into hate speech," Bishop Harvey said. "Certainly, he's got that right to free speech that we all have, but with rights come responsibilities."

Bishop Harvey's comments followed a hearing this week that found Folau committed a "high-level breach" of the professional players' code of conduct over controversial social media posts.

One of the posts proclaimed hell awaited "drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters".

Folau has not apologised or expressed any regrets for the posts, and was awaiting a decision on what his punishment for breaching the code would be.


The shape-shifter: Australia's likely next PM tells different stories about his life and family to suit his audience - and even changed his football team

He is actually a toff.  At one stage his mother in law was Governor General of Australia

Labor leader Bill Shorten refers to his late father – also called Bill - as a waterfront worker, fitter and turner or seafarer, depending on who is listening to him.

In fact, Bill Shorten senior was a marine engineer who became a dry-dock manager and was estranged from his son until shortly before he died.

Mr Shorten is not lying when he chooses to highlight the various stages of his father's working life but he does like to play up his blue collar background.

But the way he describes his family history has become an issue days before Australia's 16 million voters go to the polls.

The man tipped to be Australia's next prime minister is under heavy fire for leaving out key details of his late mother's legal career to suit his political narrative during an appearance on Q&A.

Mr Shorten had spoken about his mother working as a teacher rather than following her dream to study law, without mentioning she had gone on to become a lawyer.

An emotional Mr Shorten had tears in his eyes during a press conference on Wednesday as he accused his critics of a grubby 'hit job' by criticising how he had described her professional career.

However, Mr Shorten has long used parts of his parents' backgrounds to suit the point he was trying to make.

He previously left the Catholic Church for his second wife's religion and converted his football faith to Collingwood.

Opponents accuse Mr Shorten of trying to exaggerate his working class credentials, while noting he is comfortable mixing with the extremely rich.

Mr Shorten, who says he can move easily in any company, was educated at an elite private school in Melbourne and has courted billionaires including the late Richard Pratt during his career as a union leader and politician.

While polls suggest Labor will win the looming election, the party's leader continues to have low personal approval ratings.

The Opposition has beaten the Government in 54 consecutive Newspolls, Mr Shorten has seen off two Liberal PMs - Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull - and is now staring down Scott Morrison.

But with The Lodge within his grasp, questions are being raised about Mr Shorten using certain details of his life if it helps him politically, or moving his policy and personal allegiances when it's convenient.

As far back as 2015 a newspaper profile about him was headed: 'Bill Shorten the shape-shifter.'

Mr Shorten clearly feels just at home on factory floors as he does in the mansions of Melbourne billionaires, talking to workers in their language and calling on his father's past.

He routinely moves between describing his father as a 'seafarer' and 'fitter and turner', depending on which job his audience is more likely to appreciate.

In March Daily Mail Australia heard him tell staff at the Austal ship-building workshop in south Perth his late father was a 'seafarer and engineer'. 'I grew up around the docks,' he told the factory floor.

The next morning, at the Komatsu mining machinery factory at Welshpool, in Perth's industrial south-east, Mr Shorten preferred another detail about his dad. 'My father was a fitter and turner,' he told those men and women in their high-visibility workwear.

On April 9 in Rockhampton, in central Queensland, Mr Shorten again painted his father as a tradesman with dirty hands. 'I want Australia to go back to being a tradie nation - 1.6 million of our fellow Australians got a trade qualification, my father was a fitter and turner,' he said.

In a Facebook post about reviving Australia's shipping industry on February 23, he stated: 'I come from a family of seafarers, it's in my DNA.'

Two years ago he told the National Press Club: 'My parents always offered my brother and I, when we were at secondary school, the choice - support for uni or support for a trade.'

'In my family, a trade wasn't second-class - my grandfather was a great printer, my Dad a fitter and turner before a life at sea.'

In his Budget reply speech the same year Mr Shorten said: 'When my brother and I were growing up, Mum and Dad always told us that we could choose to learn a trade or go to uni - and they would support us either way. 'That's what you get from being raised by a teacher and a fitter and turner.'

Mr Shorten quoted his father in an address at Revesby Workers' Club in October last year.  'If I'm elected prime minister, I will never forget where I come from,' he said. 'I'll never forget the most important lesson that my father taught me, who worked on the Melbourne waterfront: you treat no one as your superior and you treat no-one as your inferior.'

Mr Shorten became estranged from his father following Bill Senior's separation from his mother Ann Shorten in 1988. There was a reconciliation shortly before Bill Senior died of a heart attack in 2010.

'He and mum split up when I was an adult and I hadn't seen a lot of him but just before he passed I caught up with him and that was good and then he passed,' he told Daily Mail Australia in March.

In his maiden speech to the House of Representatives on Valentine's Day in 2008 Mr Shorten thanked his father for his support.

'I thank my family for their constant support and belief over the years: my mother, Ann, and my late father, Bill; my twin brother, Robert, and his family; my parents-in-law, Julian and Felicity Beale; and my great uncle Bert Nolan, a union man from the days of the Depression whose values inspired me,' he told Parliament.

No mention was made, however, of his stepmother Helen, who his father married in 1990.

Mr Shorten's first wife Deborah Beale - the daughter of a multi-millionaire former federal Liberal MP Julian Beale - was described as 'an endlessly intelligent, supportive and loving woman.'

After separating from his wife later that year, Mr Shorten started a new relationship with public relations consultant Chloe Bryce.

Chloe's mother mother Quentin Bryce had just three weeks earlier been sworn in as Australia's first female governor-general when the relationship was revealed.

In a move more likely to upset Melbourne football fanatics, the former Australian Workers' Union leader became a Collingwood supporter after South Melbourne moved north to become the Sydney Swans.

He also converted from Catholicism to the Anglican Church before his marriage to Chloe.

Mr Shorten was educated at Xavier College, an elite Catholic private school where fees now top $28,000 a year. He acknowledged that fine education in his maiden speech. 'I would like to thank the Jesuits and teachers of Xavier College for teaching me to question and debate,' he said.

Another teacher Mr Shorten often credits as a driving force in his life is his late mother Ann, who went on to become a lawyer - an achievement he has been accused of downplaying this week.

In a bid to woo an audience at Monash University, Mr Shorten told the ABC's Q&A program how his mother was stuck being a teacher, without mentioning she later became a senior law lecturer at Monash University.

'She became a teacher, but she wanted to be a lawyer, but she was the eldest in the family, so needed to take the teacher scholarship to look after the rest of the kids,' Mr Shorten said on Monday night.

'My mum was a brilliant woman. She wasn't bitter. She worked here for 35 years. But I also know that if she had had other opportunities, she could have done anything

In fact, Dr Ann Shorten, who died aged 79 in 2014, obtained a PhD Monash University in 1976, the year Bill Shorten turned nine.

Ann Shorten graduated with first-class honours from Monash University, and won the Supreme Court Prize and the Flos Greig Memorial Prize in 1985, the year the Opposition Leader began an arts and law degree at the same university.

Mr Shorten, who briefly worked as a solicitor, was in tears on Wednesday when he detailed his mother's full trail-blazing career.

He also compared her parenting style with his father's. 'My dad was a good bloke,' Mr Shorten said. 'He worked on the waterfront.

'I'm not going to pretend that he would have passed the definition of a modern family. Nice man but he wasn't raising us.'

In contrast with his father, Mr Shorten's mother was always there for him and Robert his non-identical twin. 'In the first year that Rob and I ended up at university, she was there,' he said.

'Mum topped the law school. She was grey-haired. She was 51 and she topped university at law. She got a Supreme Court prize.'

Mr Shorten, who turns 52 on Sunday, hopes to be elected prime minister on May 18.


Labor will introduce a internet 'licence' for school age children if it wins election

First they came for the school age children ...

The Australian Labor Party has revealed a plan to protect kids on the internet by giving them a 'digital licence', just like the 'pen licence' of yore. 

It comes after the Coalition vowed to name and shame paedophiles on an online register if the Government is re-elected at the federal election on May 18.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten's party released the policy recently, saying children will learn 'critical skills to stay safe online' before earning their licence.

'For years, Australian kids have been getting a pen licence as they learn to write - this is the pen licence for the digital world,' an official statement said.

The concept was developed by the Alannah & Madeleine Foundation and is described by the ALP as 'one of the most comprehensive online safety cyber resources available'. 

If the Opposition wins the election, it will launch a pilot program to see if the idea if practical.  It then plans to roll the licence out to schools for students in grades Three and above from 2020. 

'Labor's priority is ensuring eSmart licences are available to all Australian children, regardless of what school they go to,' the statement read.

'Labor understands and respects that schools are best placed to choose the programs that suit the needs of their children and communities.'  The program will be available to any school that chooses to take it on.

Labor's commitment will cost $2.5 million and would flow from the 2019-20 financial year.


Like the Greens, Labor reserves a special rancour for media outlets that hold them to account

When it comes to Labor and the Greens, there is no doubting the sincerity of their climate policies. Both parties will make full use of public resources to reducing the temperature, as they have done before. No, I am not talking about the climate in the literal sense. Rather, I mean the “chilling effect”, that being legislation designed to make you self-censor.

This week Herald-Sun columnist and Sky News presenter Andrew Bolt revealed video footage of Greens leader Richard Di Natale telling his supporters last March of his plans to silence conservative journalists.

“We’re going to call out the hate speech that’s been going on,” he said. “We’re going to make sure that we’ve got laws that regulate our media so that people like Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones and Chris Kenny – and I could go on and on and on. If they want to use hate speech to divide the community then they’re going to be held to account.”

On and on and on? Di Natale’s list of journalists he intends to prosecute must be a long one. “We need to have new laws that make it a crime to engage in hate speech,” he said. “At the moment when you look at the regulators for the media ... they don’t have the power they need to hold these really powerful voices to account.”

There it is, that nebulous expression “hate speech”. It is a cliched, all-encompassing, and infantile pejorative often used by those who are either unwilling or unable to refute a dissenting opinion. The beauty of that phrase, at least for those who parrot it, is that it cannot be held to an objective definition.

Anecdotally, however, one might conclude the truthfulness of the offending remarks and the intensity of hate speech denunciations have a close correlation.

Strangely, Di Natale does not seem to regard certain racial insults as an example of hate speech. For example, he continues to support the Greens candidate for the Northern Territory seat of Lingiari, George Hanna, who shared a despicable Facebook meme that described indigenous woman and Liberal candidate for the same seat, Jacinta Price, as a “coconut”.

“As far as I am concerned, both these men (Di Natale and Hanna) resemble the epitome of racism and sexism,” said Price yesterday.

Interestingly, in 2011 during his maiden speech, Di Natale championed the Greens as “a party that represents the best traditions of liberalism, expressed through its support for individuals to make decisions without interference from government”. Now he uses his position as a senator to intimidate journalists and implies they will answer to the state for pointing out truths he finds unpalatable.

Presumably he would claim it would be hate speech for me to say this is proof of his hypocrisy and demagoguery and that the Greens leader is full of — well, let’s just say hate.

Last week shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus announced a Shorten Labor government would, if elected, “beef-up” the Australian Human Rights Commission in order to defend section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, which makes it unlawful to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate someone on basis of race.

 He stated that hate speech would become worse if there was a “continuation of right-wing government in Australia,” claiming the Coalition had made “very serious attempts to allow more hate speech in our community in the form of their attacks on section 18C”.

Never mind that 18C is a deeply flawed section that relies largely on a subjective test to determine wrongdoing. The Coalition had unsuccessfully tried to legislate instead this test be determined by the standards of an ordinary reasonable member of the Australian community, not by the arbitrary pronouncement of a minority group. To suggest this, as Dreyfus did, amounts to licensing hate speech is disingenuous.

Exactly how Dreyfus proposes the AHRC utilise its increased funding to enforce 18C we do not know. Perhaps that august body will commission more of those risible videos, worthy of a Razzie award, featuring evil white men gleefully preventing people of colour from entering lifts or catching taxis. Or it could employ activist organisations like GetUp! and Sleeping Giants to monitor social media and report wrongdoers. Even better, let’s have an anti-racism campaign focusing on educating school children. We could call it the “Sadly you can say what you like around the kitchen table at home” campaign in honour of former AHRC president Gillian Triggs.

Lest you think that is far-fetched, remember Dreyfus’s response in 2017 when asked whether 18C should be expanded to cover gender and disability. “One of the things we’ll be looking at is this very point of whether or not we should set a standard about speech generally,” he stated. In 2017, Labor backbencher Anne Aly called for 18C to cover religious vilification, stating discrimination against Muslims was a “new form of racism”.

In fairness to Dreyfus, however, he is acting in accordance with a Labor tradition of curtailing free speech. In 2012 then Attorney-General Nicola Roxon introduced the draft Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill under the banner of consolidating the five federal anti-discrimination statutes into one act. Had this dog’s breakfast of a bill been enacted, it would have rendered it unlawful to subjectively offend someone on the grounds of their family responsibilities, industrial history, medical history, nationality or citizenship, political opinion, religion, or social origin in a work environment.

As one lawyer pointed out, these provisions were so ridiculously expansionist it would even outlaw sledging on the football field. Worse still, this legislation would have shifted the burden of proof onto respondents of complaints. It was withdrawn only after an intense campaign led by the Institute of Public Affairs and News Corp newspapers. Conversely, ABC and then Fairfax journalists were, for the most part, indifferent. As The Australian columnist Janet Albrechtsen observed, the ABC became interested in the free speech ramifications only when Triggs, then AHRC president, voiced concerns the draft laws had “gone too far”.

Labor’s obsession with suppressing free speech in the name of tolerance goes back a generation. In 1994 the Keating government proposed legislation that would have criminalised threatening to cause harm to another person or group based on their race, colour, nationality or ethnic origin, the maximum penalty being two years imprisonment.

The basis for this draconian measure was a report by the then Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, The National Inquiry into Racist Violence in Australia, which recommended both criminal sanctions and civil provisions for racial vilification. But its findings were based on flimsy, partisan and unreliable evidence, as then Canberra Times journalist and now Nine’s political correspondent, Chris Uhlmann, noted. His observations are worth repeating.

“The report is a shoddy base of research which does not attempt to disguise its own prejudices,” he wrote. “Racist violence was reduced to violence by ‘Anglos’ and inter-ethnic violence was not discussed.” While acknowledging some of the claims of racism detailed in the report had no doubt occurred, Uhlmann noted the evidence collected, “was not tested in a way that would stand up in court”.

Although the Keating government had consulted with the public about the proposed changes, Attorney-General Michael Lavarch announced the results had “been put to Cabinet” and “would not be released publicly”. As Uhlmann surmised, the reason for this was it was unlikely the results supported the government’s proposed action. When the criminal provisions of the bill failed to pass the Senate, Lavarch was apoplectic, saying this had sent worst possible message domestically and internationally during the Year of Tolerance. You might say these measures are as much about symbolism as they are about censorship.

Like the Greens, Labor reserves a special rancour for newspapers that hold its politicians to account, as demonstrated by its decision in 2011 on spurious grounds to commission the Finkelstein Inquiry into the Australian media. Had those recommendations been realised, it would have resulted in newspapers answering to a government-funded and euphemistically titled “Public Interest Media Advocate”.

The party’s paranoia during this time was also evident when The Daily Telegraph reported in November 2011 then Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd was being urged by backers to challenge then Prime Minister Julia Gillard for the leadership. Senator and left faction leader Doug Cameron labelled then News Ltd a “threat to democracy”, claiming the Finkelstein Inquiry should be expanded to examine the company’s “absolute hatred” of Labor. The story about Rudd, he claimed, was a “complete fabrication”. Rudd of course did challenge Gillard less than four months later. Cameron has passed the paranoia baton on to Rudd, who last year called for a royal commission into News Corp, blaming it for the downfall of his government in 2013.

Whether the subject is the “hate media” or “hate speech”, you can be certain those who obsessively denounce it are motivated by a combination of egotism, vindictiveness, zealotry and just plain stupidity. We need less regulation of speech, not more. We need political leaders to respect a free press, not compromise it. We need level-headed and practical people in human rights commissions to deal with complaints, not sententious, authoritarian and overpaid panjandrums. Most importantly, we need politicians to acknowledge the insidious chilling effect of so-called hate speech legislation, and to call these laws out for what they are — one almighty snow job.


‘Green tape’ strangling infrastructure

Delayed environmental approvals for mining and rail projects are ­expected to contribute to a significant downturn in major infrastructure projects in Queensland.

The peak body representing Queensland’s infrastructure sector has forecast that after two years of increasing major project expenditure, the state is facing a decrease of 24 per cent next year.

The Infrastructure Association of Queensland’s ­annual Spotlight report, released today, focuses on rail and mine projects in the Galilee Basin. But it says the downturn would be even more pronounced if the federal Brisbane-to-Melbourne inland rail project and Adani’s Carmichael mine in central Queensland faced further ­delays with approvals.

IAQ chief executive Steve Abson said investors were turning away from Queensland because of perceived political instability, particularly around “red and green tape”. “By Queensland’s boom-and-bust standards, the (downturn) is not unusual, but the problem is it gets worse if we don’t have the bilateral agreement for inland rail and it doesn’t get moving through approvals,” he said.

“It also gets worse if Adani don’t get their approvals. If you’re already having a downturn, the last thing you want is for projects earmarked to be delayed.”

Adani was last week dealt another blow by the Palaszczuk government when the Department of Environment and Science rejected its plan to manage populations of the endangered black-throated finch. The Indian mining company is also awaiting approval of its critical groundwater management plan.

Mr Abson said the lack of an agreement between the federal and Queensland governments on the inland rail project had ­hindered the Australian Rail Track Corporation in progressing its environmental impact statement.

“If we are faced with a decline in activity next year, then let’s do all we can to make the current projects that are shovel-ready get ­approval,” Mr Abson said.

“With projects like inland rail and the Galilee Basin mines (the government) should be finding ways to say ‘yes’ to those projects and not unreasonably holding them up.”

The IAQ’s report, which receives input from the government and major engineering and economic firms, considers all public and private engineering projects worth more than $50 million, excluding hospitals and schools, to outline the pipeline of programs under way or proposed. This year about $6 billion is being spent on projects, but that is expected to fall to less than $4.5bn next year.

That would drop by a further $500m if the inland rail and Adani mine projects are stalled.

Mr Abson said political instability and “backflips over projects” were driving national and inter­national investors away from Queensland.

“It’s difficult to see how all this carnage with Adani’s approvals that is going on right now is not going to have some kind of effect on investors’ view of Australia as an attractive destination,” Mr Abson said. “It is and will have an effect.”

Mr Abson said the public and private sectors traditionally shared about 50 per cent of the ­expenditure on major infrastructure projects in Queensland.

But a reduction in investment, partly fuelled by concerns over green and red tape, had seen that shift to 65 per cent government investment and 35 per cent from the private sector.


 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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