Monday, May 13, 2019

Botched Victoria police raid ‘may cost man his arm’

I rarely put up accounts of police thuggery these days as the thuggery is so common that the police Australia-wide are clearly out of control and look set to remain that way.  This case where an innocent man was tortured causing serious injury really gets my goat, however.  If I were able I would ensure that each cop on the raid got the identical treatment to what they dished out to the innocent man, even if it did result in a  group of one-armed cops.  That might help to persuade them that they are not Nazi Storm Troopers

A man mistaken for a car jacker may lose the use of his arm after he was seriously injured during a botched police raid in Melbourne.

Nik Dimopoulos was arrested outside a bookshop on Johnston Street in Fitzroy around 2.30am on Saturday after police tracked a stolen car.

“The man police arrested was mistakenly identified as the suspect police were searching for that had fled the stolen vehicle nearby,” a Victoria Police spokeswoman said on Sunday.

The stolen car was allegedly involved in a home invasion and car jacking, and was spotted speeding on the Eastlink before it was tracked to an address in Fitzroy.

But bookshop owner Rowland Thomson said on social media at no stage did police identify themselves or what they were doing.

“They just stormed into a dark room shining torches and it was impossible to identify them as police,” he wrote on Facebook.

The injured man had his hands tethered behind his back “way beyond what can be endured”, he said.

He may lose the use of his left arm and would have to undergo surgery, according to Mr Thomson.

Premier Daniel Andrews said his government was reaching out to Mr Dimopoulos and his family to offer their support.

“It would have been terrifying, he’s obviously got serious injuries and I want to assure every Victorian he’s getting the very best of care,” Mr Andrews said on Sunday.

“We will look very closely at what has happened.” The police has acknowledged the distress the situation caused the victim and an investigation is underway into the incident, a Victoria Police spokeswoman confirmed.


Childcare wages subsidy branded ineffective

A great raft of do-gooder regulations has pushed up the cost of childcare to the point where it is unaffordable to lower income families -- thus driving many women out of the workforce and cancelling their hopes of improving their situation.  You can rely on government to shaft the poor.

Governments have had that dinned into them from many sources but there is no way they will let go of their precious regulations.  So their brainwave is that they will drive down childcare costs by subsidizing the wages of childcare workers.  That never looked good and the report below shows that it would solve nothing

A push for taxpayer-funded subsid­isation of childcare workers’ wages was previously dismissed by the Productivity Commission as likely to be “ineffective” and “inefficient”, ultimately propping up ­already profitable providers.

As unease builds around Labor’s election pledge to spend $10 billion boosting the wages of childcare workers, it has emerged that the commission considered a similar proposal three years ago as part of a wide-ranging review of the industry.

Its comprehensive inquiry into childcare and early childhood learning, handed down in 2015, found there were no significant regulatory or other impediments preventing the sector from addressing any recruitment, retention and workforce shortage issues through higher wages, better conditions and improved career ­opportunities.

It noted that some employers already paid staff above award rates, particularly in areas where difficulties recruiting and retaining staff were most acute.

“The use of wage subsidies to attract and retain staff is likely to be ineffective, inefficient and unsustainable,” it said.

“Universal subsidies available to all staff and services in the sector may fail to offer adequate support to services that face the most substantial recruitment and retention challenges, such as those operating in rural and remote locations, while at the same time inefficiently directing funds to services that are competing successfully in the ­labour market.”

Despite increasing scrutiny over the plan and its cost, Labor leader Bill Shorten continued to defend it yesterday, describing it as “affordable”.

With its policy originally costed on delivering 100,000 workers a 20 per cent pay rise over the next decade, Labor has declined to clarify how it would be applied given the sector employs closer to 200,000 workers. New modelling by the government suggests the cost will exceed $1.6bn a year once the phase-in ­period has passed and the full ­20 per cent pay rise has taken effect.

Mr Shorten dodged questions on whether some workers would inevitably miss out on the promised subsidised pay rises.

“The market is broken when it comes to the payment of early childhood educators,” he said. “We have an envelope of funding, we have a plan over the next 10 years, we are going to do the right thing by a very important section of the economy who experience unique difficulties.”

As part of its inquiry, the Productivity Commission received close to 500 submissions, including from childcare operators, workers and their representative union, revealing widespread concern that workers were “under valued and under paid”.

The latest report on the status of the industry reveals that for-profit childcare providers operate almost two-thirds of approved long daycare services, more than 70 per cent of family daycare services and close to half of outside school hours care services.

One of Australia’s biggest commercial childcare operators, G8 Education, made a profit of $72 million last year.


More Leftist stupidity in Western Australia

Foreign buyer slug crippling Perth apartment projects. Just whose stupid idea was it to scare off buyers like this?

The State Government has ruled out any change to the 7 per cent surcharge for foreign property buyers despite apartment developers complaining that the impost has smashed off-the-plan sales, putting new projects in jeopardy and damaging job creation.

The Government introduced the foreign buyers duty for residential properties on January 1 in the hope of raising $123 million over 31/2 years to 2021-22.

Data from urban planning design and research firm Urbis shows the sale of new apartments to foreign buyers fell from 120 in the December quarter to just 14 in the March quarter.

Apartment sellers have called for the surcharge to be dropped ahead of tomorrow’s State Budget, arguing it will weigh on WA’s already crippled property market.

They also claim the precipitous drop in foreign apartment buyers shows the Government’s expected revenue forecasts from the scheme are inflated.

Urbis director David Cresp said the December figures were pushed higher by a rush of foreign buyers looking to beat the introduction of the surcharge.

But he said the trend in the data showed the proportion of foreign apartment buyers falling to below 10 per cent compared with a historical average of about 15 per cent.

WA was the last of the mainland States to introduce a surcharge for foreign buyers but the local industry says overseas purchasers comprise a lower proportion of overall buyers than in Sydney or Melbourne.

They also note that Chinese buyers are all but absent from the WA market, with Singaporeans, Malaysians and Indonesians representing most foreign buyers.

WA Property Council executive director Sandra Brewer said foreign buyers were typically the first movers in off-the-plan apartment sales, which was key to building sales momentum and getting new projects approved.

“Without those early sales, projects are at risk of not getting off the ground,” she said.

Ms Brewer said the typical overseas buyer was a family with children studying at Perth universities and colleges.

“These students have, on average, three visits from family during the year, so the impact to the economy by declining foreign apartment buyers should be of serious concern to the Government,” she said.

Blackburne boss Paul Blackburne said WA should be welcoming the few foreign buyers it attracted because they were essential to getting local job-creating projects off the ground.

Mr Cresp said the surcharge also made it more difficult for the property sector to meet the State Government’s own infill development targets.

State Government data showed the foreign buyers duty had raised just over $2 million in the year to date from 83 transactions and a further 51 assessments worth $1.8 million were on hand. The Government had granted 48 full or partial exemptions.

The figures included all foreign property transactions, not just new apartment sales.


It’s time for Australia to introduce a national school starting age

If you’re a parent of a preschool-aged child one of the first things you’ll do when you start thinking about their schooling is start hunting for information about the best age for them to start.

Good luck.

Thanks to the wild variation in minimum school starting ages from state to state, you’re likely to come away even more bemused by the complexity of the issue than before you flipped open your laptop.

The six Australian states and two territories each have different minimum ages that a child can begin their schooling (and thanks to our decentralised education system you’ll struggle to find even that information on a single website).

In Queensland, children must be five by June 30 of the year they enrol. In NSW, they tack on an extra month — because why not? — so NSW kids have to be five before July 31 of their first year at primary.

In South Australia, the cut-off is the seemingly arbitrary May 5. And Tasmanian kids have to be five years old by January 1 of the year they begin school.

And yet there’s little to no appetite for a simple standardisation of a school starting age across the country, a move that would lessen confusion and anxiety for parents, make it easier for teachers to prepare for the age of the children they’re teaching and improve learning outcomes overall.

“It’s as though we think it’s too hard so we don’t do it,” says Australian Childcare Alliance president Paul Mondo.

“Maybe it was less of a problem when there was less research about the impact of school starting age. But now we have that research and we know that it’s absolutely important and absolutely in the best interests of our children.”

More data is coming to light every day that shows that children who are on the older end of their class age spectrum have better social and learning outcomes.

The most recent and compelling study comes from the University of NSW which looked at 100,000 children and found that those who were “held back” in order to start school at an older age fared better than their younger peers.

“When we compared their developmental data there was a clear trend: outcomes improved with each additional month of age,” said researcher Dr Mark Hanley.

But when the different states and territories can’t agree on when that age is, parents start taking matters into their own hands.

Facebook pages and online forums are filled with anxious mums and dads tying themselves up in knots over the best time to send their children to school — and consulting phalanxes of educators, psychologists and paediatricians to make sure they get it “right”.

It’s understandable — the wrong decision can affect a kid all the way through to Year 12.

The decision they often make is to err on the side of sending their kids to school older rather than younger, despite the fact that this causes some classrooms to have huge gaps between the youngest and eldest children.

According to the same NSW University study, one quarter of NSW children are being “held back” a year to start school when they’re six or close to six because of concerns that they’ll be significantly younger than their cohorts if they start on time or early.

This means that teachers are trying to formulate a daily classroom routine and curriculum that has to cater to both four-and-a-half year olds and six year olds — a gaping developmental gap at that young age.

It also creates another have and have not divide — as holding a child back may not be something a lower-income family stuck with crippling daycare fees is able to afford.

So why don’t we simply iron out the bumps, level the playing field and agree on an age and stick to it nationwide? For the same reason that anything to do with standardising education gets thrown into the too-hard basket.

It’s something that every state and territory education department would rather buck pass than coalesce to address, and as always the federal education department defers to the states.

Meanwhile, Australia slips further and further down the global rankings of reading, mathematics and scientific literacy.

It’s just another way that Australia struggles to think much beyond “she’ll be right, mate” when it comes to education policy.

And seeing as we can’t even agree on what to call the first year of “big school” around the country — depending on where you live it could be “kindergarten”, “prep” or “reception” — is it any wonder we seem to be so flaccid about addressing anything else?


Both major Australian parties are failing to confront the undisputed fact that the huge costs of their climate policies CANNOT yield any beneficial result

The Australian population and economy is too small for even their most severe climate policies to have any impact on the climate

Plain-speaking Australia has been replaced by parlour games, and we all suffer. Instead of arguing big issues from first principles, politicians corral debate to avoid offending the Canberra press gallery, the ABC or theoretical swinging voters as imagined by political consultants.

This is how an election choice between orthodox economic progress and a reckless ideological punt ends up being portrayed as an ill-defined contest between evenly matched plans.

We have the unthinkable scenario of Labor refusing to reveal the economic impact of its climate and energy policies on the absurd basis that it will be less than the cost of inaction.

Our spineless national debate also means the Coalition can’t bring itself to respond with the plain fact that there is no cost to inaction; presumably because that might expose the folly of heavy costs already imposed by its climate policies. Much in this campaign is based on similar obfuscation.

Think of it this way. If Labor were to run an emotive argument on climate change during a drought — suggesting it could stop droughts, floods and bushfires — and ignoring details and cost, it just might get a head nod in focus groups. Then imagine Coalition strategists deciding they need to tackle Labor’s plan by pointing out the obvious facts about how Australia’s actions can have no environmental benefit while global emissions are rising by a much greater factor and that doubling our emissions reductions will produce serious economic disadvantages. The pollsters and consultants might step in and warn that this would be a self-defeating approach because their qualitative polling shows climate is Labor’s ground.

Instead of having a real argument about costs and benefits, the Coalition might retreat to policy and rhetoric that doesn’t confront the emotive and wrongheaded foundations of Labor’s plan but merely quibbles over the extent of action. The real debate is left ­unargued.

This, as you can see, is probably not far from what has transpired. And it is not the only debate eviscerated in such a fashion.

Too many commentators are sucked down the same path. Analysis can be constrained within the unspoken boundaries of the media/political class, unconsciously placing a greater store in resonating with peers rather than serving audiences.

This is how groupthink is formed and, together with a broad green-left bias in the media, it is why so many commentators have had to back-pedal in this campaign from earlier predictions of a Labor landslide. As we approach the crucial final week, what important facts and issues are not being aired and what myths are being perpetuated?

The economic choice is profound. At a time of global uncertainty and domestic stasis — as exemplified by the Reserve Bank’s contemplation of lowering interest rates from record emergency lows — Labor’s prescription to increase the government take from the economy by up to $387 billion across 10 years is frightening.

The major parties agree public debt levels are worrying and that returning the budget to surplus is just the start of a fiscal recovery plan. Yet the Coalition prescription is to lower taxes and constrain spending to foster growth and Labor’s plan is the polar opposite.

We know which of these works and which will lead to ruin. The postwar political and economic history of Western liberal democracies tells us the smaller government approach is required. Yet Labor promises bigger government, with more interventions in tax, wages and energy.

Labor rolled out Bob Hawke and Paul Keating to endorse its economic prescription and they rightly claimed their reforms set up decades of prosperity. But they failed to mention how their own party repudiated this aspirational approach under Kevin Rudd and is now focused not on economic ­reform but on increased taxation, redistribution and spending.

Privately, Hawke and Keating would be horrified by modern Labor’s economic regression. But the media remains conveniently ­incurious.

In economic terms this election is at least as important as the 2007 switch from John Howard and Peter Costello to Rudd and Wayne Swan. That is saying something.

The climate debate is disgraceful. There cannot be a journalist in the country who doesn’t know that global carbon emissions are growing each year by about double Australia’s annual emissions, yet they allow Shorten and Labor to get away with the fiction that their policies will be cost-free and will reduce drought, floods, bushfires and cyclones.

How is it that so many people with functioning intellects can allow this nonsense to go ­unchallenged day in, day out? Presumably they want to conform with a climate-sensitive, “woke” generation or don’t want to risk being denied access to Labor insiders on the cusp of forming government. They go with an ­orthodox fiction and fail their ­audiences.

The Greens get away with murder. Richard Di Natale has been spruiking new laws to clamp down on the media and says the aim is to stamp out hate speech, but it sounds more like silencing his ­critics. The ABC and other media have been silent about this threat to freedom of speech even though there is form — in alliance with the Greens, the Gillard government tried to impose de facto regulation on print media.

Days after these plans were exposed, Di Natale’s double standards were laid bare as he stood by candidates caught posting offensive and racist material online. One resigned but Di Natale still backs George Hanna, the Greens candidate in the Northern Territory seat of Lingiari, who referred to his indigenous Coalition opponent ­Jacinta Price as a coconut.

This is purely racist abuse — suggesting someone is brown on the outside and white on the inside — and the only excuse the Greens can offer is that Hanna, too, is indigenous. Pathetic. Imagine the reaction if the Coalition attempted to stand by a candidate in such circumstances.

Much of the media/political class buys into Labor’s paranoia about News Corp but is incurious about how the publicly funded broadcasters boost the green-left agenda 24/7 and fail to scrutinise Labor or the Greens.

They see a conspiracy when The Daily Telegraph tells the inspirational truth about Shorten’s mother but are fine with the deliberate and extended fake news around the so-called “watergate” scandal.

A clutch of 15 so-called independent MPs and candidates are boosted by the media — because they attack conservatives — but are never pinned down over who they would support to form government. They will support Labor, of course, which may prove very important as a hung parliament is a possibility.

Much of our debate seems incapable of referencing a reasonable person test. As much as the Coalition has let us down, damaged itself and made it easy for people to vote against it, it has muddled through a useful period of economic and fiscal recovery, restoring our border security and securing significant free trade deals.

Would a reasonable person believe that a switch to Labor does not involve an enormous and unnecessary risk on border security, energy affordability and reliability and economic progress?

The choice is stark and the debate is far more opaque than it should be.


 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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