Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The wronged men?

Knocked out by dodgy polls

Mr Turnbull was turfed out largely based on losing a series of opinion polls - the same polls which predicted a Labor win at the election but were proved horribly wrong.

Mr Turnbull justified seizing the top job in 2015 by pointing out Mr Abbott had lost 30  succesive Newspolls. Three years later he was ousted himself after losing 38 straight Newspolls.

The ABC's election guru Antony Green said the death of the household landline was to blame for the wrong polls.

'Polling in Australia has a really good record, but what people have forgotten in the past four years is they've totally changed their methodology,' Mr Green said.

'Polling used to be dominated by running from the electoral roll and doing random samples based on ringing up landlines.

'Now landlines have disappeared and therefore using landlines is no longer a reliable estimate.'

He said pollsters were making random calls to mobiles and it then 'gets very hard to determine what sample you're getting'. 

'I think that's what the problem is, they are having difficulty trying to get a representative sample, and they're all wrong.

'The only other alternative is they were getting a result like this and nobody believed it and they got a result like this.'


Joel Fitzgibbon says he will not rule out running for Labor leadership

A moderate, cautious Labor Party leader would be a refreshing change. Tanya Plibersek has said she will not contest the Labor leadership ballot

As Labor prepares to replace Bill Shorten in the wake of the party’s shock election loss, an unlikely contender is considering entering the race.

Hunter representative Joel Fitzgibbon, who hung onto his seat despite a 10 per cent swing, said he was not prepared to rule out running for the leadership if Labor didn’t match his concerns about representing the regions and its working class base.

“The Labor must reconnect with its blue-collar base and get back to the centre, and be less ambitious in its pace of change,” Mr Fitzgibbon told ABC radio this morning. “People are inherently conservative in Australia and any change has to be orderly and steady, and needs to be explained to people.

“We need to stick to the sensible centre and push reform in an incremental way and in an orderly way and properly explain why change is necessary to people. You’ve got to be able to take people with you.”

Mr Fitzgibbon managed to retain his seat, which he has held since 1996, with 32,000 votes.

The coal-country NSW seat saw the highest One Nation vote in the country, with more than 18,000 voters — roughly 20 per cent of the NSW electorate — voting for the far-right party’s candidate Stuart Bonds.

This was barely 2000 votes less than the Nationals candidate Josh Angus.


Climate lies of Labor, Greens sealed poll loss

Soon after the election was called I lamented that it might be the dumbest campaign we have ever seen, primarily because of the inanity around climate change. I am sorry to say that prediction turned out to be more accurate than any climate modelling.

But the good news was that voters were smart enough to see through it. Labor and the Greens continually made absurd claims — actually let us call a spade a spade — they told the same lies every day. They said Australia was not taking climate action now; they said they could take action that would stop floods, droughts, bushfires and cyclones; they said these same actions would create jobs and prosperity; and they refused to even countenance putting a cost on them.

Now these same politicians and their army of virtue-signalling barrackers in the media now wonder why they lost the election. The idiocy is beyond comprehension — at least it is entertaining.

As they pack up their placards and wash down their cars after their anti-Adani convoy, the activists are quietly wondering whether they might have helped deliver a Coalition win. A grateful nation applauds them.

And while commentators continue to call for an end to the so-called climate wars they still don’t understand where that settlement will be found. They are right in deducing that only a bipartisan agreement can lead to solid, medium-term arrangements and investment certainty. But they keep looking for that agreement in the wrong place.

Amid the noise of the election fallout yesterday I had the pleasure of hearing a new voice who brought utter clarity to a policy area that has been unnecessarily complicated and divisive. I had long heard that James Stevens was someone to look out for and although I had met him once or twice, I had never had a serious conversation with him.

On Saturday the former chief of staff to South Australian Premier Steven Marshall was elected as the new Liberal member for Sturt, replacing his former boss Christopher Pyne. Stevens is clearly identified as a moderate Liberal but when I interviewed him on The Kenny Report yesterday I was struck by his no-nonsense approach on climate policy.

“I do support our policy position on meeting the Paris targets, I think we should do our fair share as a country but no more than that,” Stevens said. “And we certainly shouldn’t penalise Australian businesses and Australian families by having a disproportionate approach to reducing carbon emissions that just exports our jobs to other countries that aren’t putting the same unnecessary, overly ambitious targets in place.”

At this point I interrupted him to say this was the clearest exposition of this issue I had heard from his party for a long time. He continued.

“All it means is that businesses, particularly in the manufacturing sector, the jobs that are lost in our economy, if we take unnecessary policy positions that increase power prices in an uncompetitive way, those jobs are going to go to countries that are emitting an enormous amount more carbon than we’re emitting here in Australia at the moment. So I don’t understand why even the environmentalists think that we should put ourselves in that position because you’ve got the perverse situation where we are penalising our economy but we’re also penalising the planet. If you consider increasing greenhouse gas emissions to be something that puts the planet in peril, that’s going to be achieved by sending jobs from this country to other countries that are not doing anywhere near what we already are.”

There you have it. It is obvious; it is based on fact rather than emotion; it involves not a hint of climate denial or economic vandalism; just responsible, pragmatic and committed environmental and economic management.

Then this morning we heard some sense spoken by Labor frontbencher Joel Fitzgibbon about how Labor must find a way to support climate action as well as the mining sector and the jobs, families and communities it supports. As Fitzgibbon pointed out, this is no more than giving voice to official ALP policy.

We are starting to see how Scott Morrison’s electoral triumph has unleashed an outbreak of intellectual clarity and common sense. The idiocy of the campaign is behind us, the emotive nonsense of the partisans is silenced (for a while at least) and there might be a chance for progress.

The answer is obvious. It is — as it always has needed to be — a bipartisan settlement. But not around reckless or overly ambitious gestures that aim to lead the world.

The major party consensus has to be a simple commitment to the Paris targets. No more, no less. A position Labor has held in the past before it started chasing unicorns. Labor has come back to the global consensus. It is that easy. If the major parties agree on that, the mechanism to deliver it is a doddle.


Qld.:  Palaszczuk government drops coalmine fine as pressure of Federal election result mounts

The Palaszczuk Government has dropped a bid to fine Adani-owned Abbot Point Operations $12,000 over the company’s release of sediment-contaminated floodwater during Cyclone Debbie in 2017.

The environment department today agreed to Abbot Point Operations’ offer to build a $100,000 real-time water quality monitoring system at the discharge point of its settlement ponds in return for the penalty infringement, which had escalated to court, being dropped.

Located 25 kilometres north of Bowen in north Queensland, the port of Abbot Point, owned by Adani, is Australia’s largest deepwater coal port and is supplied by a rail line from the Bowen Basin coalfields.

It would also be the offload point for coal from Adani’s proposed Carmichael mine in the neighbouring, but as yet untapped, Galilee Basin.

Abbot Point Operations, formerly Abbot Point Bulkcoal, was charged in 2018 with contravening a temporary emissions license after it released sediment water during the cyclone in March 2017.

The emissions license granted the company to release water from its settlement ponds into the ocean but Adani’s own monitoring of the water quality found the sediment concentrations in the released water had been eight times higher than was authorised.

Abbot Point Operations had pleaded not guilty, arguing that the sediment had not reached the Great Barrier Reef offshore and therefore the license had not been breached.

The Department of Environment and Science fined Abbot Point Operations $12,190 but the company elected to have the matter heard before a magistrate.

In a statement released today, Abbot Point Operations said it had reached an agreement with the government that would see the court matter resolved.

“As part of (a) commitment to continually improve our environmental management, we welcome the Queensland Government’s acceptance of an Enforceable Undertaking application that we lodged voluntarily in order to deliver additional water quality monitoring at our site,” the statement said.

“This Enforceable Undertaking will help ensure positive environmental outcomes are achieved in the near-term instead of continuing prolonged court proceedings in the Magistrates Court related to an alleged floodwater release during Cyclone Debbie.

“This new water monitoring infrastructure will allow us to measure water quality in real-time to assist in managing stormwater impacting our site.

“It will give the regulator and the community further confidence that our operations are being managed safely and responsibly.”

The water monitoring system will be built at the authorised flood water release point opposite the ocean to provide real-time monitoring of water flows.

Abbot Point Operations’ pledge to build the new system comes on top of $15 million in infrastructure improvements at the site in the past two years, including increased water storage, higher levee banks and better piping.

The department has previously said “no known environmental impacts occurred as a result of the discharge”.

The charge was not in relation to the nearby Caley Valley Wetlands.

The dropping of the fine comes as the Palaszczuk Government faces pressure from Labor members and its own MPs over its handling of the approvals for Adani’s Carmichael mine.

The Adani issue, and Labor’s mixed messages about whether the party supports the project, were a key feature of the federal election campaign in Queensland and are believed to have played a considerable impact in Labor’s poor results in the state.

Former state and federal Labor candidate and ex-mayor of Bowen, Mike Brunker, demanded a “rank and file revolution” in the north.

“I’m calling for a rank and file revolution in north Queensland to change the leadership (of both the Premier and Deputy Premier Jackie Trad),” Mr Brunker said.

“The Premier should have made a captain’s call by now, and said this rot’s got to stop, this (Adani) has got to go through).”

“If Adani is not fixed within the next fortnight or month, Labor is going to get wiped out in the state election.”


Teacher accused of punching and spitting on students because she's 'not Muslim' plans to sue police because the kid's claims were MADE UP

A primary school teacher will take police to court after she paid costly legal fees to fight allegations that she assaulted four students after being told she was 'no good' because she's 'not Muslim'.

The southwest Sydney teacher, 58 - who cannot be named for legal reasons - was cleared of all charges that she mistreated her year three and four students on Monday after a judge slammed the evidence against her.

She has been out of work since last May after she was accused of pinching, pushing and punching three boys and a girl, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Magistrate Daniel Covington noted that police failed to interview adult witnesses who may have been in the classroom and that some of the evidence against the teacher was 'implausible'.

He said that the children's accounts of the alleged assaults changed or became more detailed as they spoke to teachers and police.

What's more, a boy who accused the teacher of spitting on him made no complaint to teachers on the day of the alleged incident.

Mr Covington said the boy only made the claim when he was interviewed by police much later.

The same boy also told the teacher on her first day that she looked like Donald Trump.

The court heard during a hearing that a student also told the teacher, 'you're no good, you're not Muslim'.

The teacher was later given the nickname 'Miss Trunchbull' after the nasty headmistress in the popular children's classic 'Matilda'.

The boy also claimed to have witnessed the teacher scratch a student and draw blood.

Mr Covington dismissed the evidence as either a 'fabrication or at best an exaggeration'.

During the hearing, one eight-year-old schoolboy said the teacher pushed him hard against a wall and whispered 'f*** off' in his ear.

The court heard the girl accuser was the only witness and Mr Covington dismissed the incident as highly unlikely to have happened. 'It is completely implausible in my view that no one else would have witnessed it,' he said.

Mr Covington criticised police for failing to interview any adult witnesses and went on to dismiss the charges against the teacher.

Her lawyer Ian Fraser told the magistrate police failed to properly investigate the matter and that his client would pursue them to cover legal costs.

The case has been adjourned until next month for the court costs to be drawn up.

The Department of Education said it would follow its own enquiries into the matter. 'It is not appropriate for the NSW Department of Education to comment on a court decision. 'Following court matters of this nature the department makes its own enquiries.

'This person has not been teaching at schools since the issue was first raised, with her future employment status pending the outcome of the court case and any subsequent investigation.'


 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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