Wednesday, June 19, 2019

New Laws to Rein in Law-Breaking Unions And Officials
The Ensuring Integrity Bill failed to pass when it was introduced in 2017 but the Morrison government has pledged to reintroduce it early in the next sitting of parliament, which sits from July 2.  The makeup of the new Senate gives it a fair chance of passing this time, perhaps with a few amendments. It gives government and the courts more powers to rein in thug union officials

The Ensuring Integrity Bill is about making sure that fit and proper people are in charge of unions and employer organisations, not bullies and thugs.

 “Attacks on the Bill as anti-union are way off base. Rights and obligations govern our society and when obligations are repeatedly flouted, then rights are restricted. Unions and union officials should be no different to the rest of the community,” Denita Wawn, CEO of Master Builders Australia said.

“Master Builders has strongly and consistently backed the Bill for this reason, and we are encouraged by reports that the Government will it bring it back before the Parliament,” she said.

“The Opposition Leader deserves credit for his public repudiation of John Setka’s behavior past and present, but he cannot legitimately ring-fence the issue from its industrial relations context. Setka’s bullying behavior and flouting of industrial laws is the embodiment of his union’s deliberate strategy of coercion and intimidation in pursuit of his its industrial agenda, and it’s small businesses and tradies around the country who are the victims,” Denita Wawn said.

“The reality is that Setka and his antics are merely the tip of the iceberg. Construction unions constantly demonstrate their total contempt for the law and hundreds of their officials have followed suit while remaining in positions of responsibility, retaining their rights and privileges under the current laws,” she said.

“The real-life consequence is that union officials who have been found by the courts to have unlawfully bullied and coerced, still have the right to enter construction sites. The community does not tolerate bullying, and it must be not be tolerated on construction sites,” Denita Wawn said.

“The Ensuring Integrity Bill is about making unions more accountable and bringing them into line with the community’s expectations. The Bill will make sure that any organisation or its officials that don’t live up to their obligations will face real and meaningful consequences,” she said.

“Union officials should not be exempt from community standards of behaviour. The Ensuring Integrity Bill means that union officials who repeatedly break the rules they will have their privileges restricted just like everyone else,” Denita Wawn said.

Medianet Press Release

Skeptical Australian Radio commentator slammed over climate change remarks on TV science panel

That weed Karoly has been a Warmist from wayback.  He is far from an unbiased scientist.  Note that all he points to is raised levels of CO2.  But nobody disputes that.  What about the global temperature? Is that rising? Crickets. (It's falling). Typical Greenie deviousness

His argument that Australia is contributing more than its "fair share" of global warming is also  faulty.  What he is referring to is again CO2 emissions. And skeptics see CO2 as being primarily plant food  -- which it undoubtedly is -- and not as any significant influence on global temperature.  There have been long periods when CO2 has shot up while temperatures remained stable -- the 30 relatively recent years of 1945 to 1975, for instance. Karoly has his head in an unmentionable place

Alan Jones copped an absolute roasting on tonight’s episode of Q&A — despite not even being on the panel.

The radio shock jock was slammed by a panel of science experts for downplaying human impact on climate change, after he said we only contribute three per cent to greenhouse gas emissions during his own Q&A appearance last month.

“I saw the radio commentator Alan Jones on TV recently, and he said that 0.04 per cent of the world’s atmosphere is CO2,” the questioner said. “‘Three per cent of that human beings create around the world, and of that, 1.3 per cent is created by Australians’. Is that correct, and if so, is human activity really making a difference?”

Professor David Karoly, an Australian atmospheric scientist based at CSIRO, bluntly responded: “Not everything Jones says is factually accurate.”

Prof Karoly said that, while it’s correct that 0.04 per cent of the world’s atmosphere is carbon dioxide, Jones’ statistics around humans causing climate change — and the role Australians specifically play — is completely false.

“I am a climate scientist, and Alan Jones is wrong. The reason he’s wrong is because we know that yes, the greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere is 400 parts per million … and that corresponds to about 0.04 per cent.

“All his other numbers were wrong. We know that carbon dioxide concentration 100 years ago was about 280 parts per million, or 0.028 per cent, but it’s grown 120 parts per million — or about 40 per cent — and that 40 per cent increase is due to human activity. We know that for absolute certain.” [Real scientists never know anything for absolute certain]

In other words, Prof Karoly was saying we’ve technically increased greenhouse gases by 40 per cent, not the three per cent figure Jones used.

The scientist also slammed the radio host for implying that Australians contribute a negligible amount to global warming.

“Australians have contributed about 1.5 per cent. Now that sounds like a small amount, but Australia only makes up 0.3 per cent of the population, and we’re contributing 1.5 per cent roughly of greenhouse gases,” said Prof Karoly. “So is it fair that 0.3 per cent of the global population has contributed 1.5 per cent? We’ve contributed much more than our fair share.”

Particle physicist Brian Cox said people think the climate is overly “simple”, which is a big part of the problem. “But actually, the climate is extremely complicated. These models are very, very complicated and constantly evolving.

“I think many people assume you can just work out what the climate’s going to do, like it’s common sense. But it’s actually a very complex system.” [Too complex to support any firm prediction, in fact]


Top bosses of Australian universities endorse free speech

The chancellors agree to adopt the model proposed by former High Court chief justice Robert French, thus shafting their wishy-washy Vice-chancellors.  But it will be up to the Vice-chancellors to administer the model

Today we report that Peter Shergold, John Brumby, Angus Houston and other heavy-hitters who serve as university chancellors are taking seriously the activist challenge to open inquiry and free speech on campus.

This is good news, because Universities Australia, the lobby for the vice-chancellors in charge of campus life, reckons there isn’t a problem. This is an issue that goes to the heart of higher education and its interplay with values and institutions in the wider culture. The task of universities is to pursue knowledge and truth, encouraging young minds to range widely, reason honestly and test their opinions against other views. None of this amounts to “hate speech”, the lazy smear now aimed at opinions that depart from progressive orthodoxy. If society is to solve complex problems, we need graduate-citizens who won’t tailor their thinking to audience sensitivities.

But the trojan horse of “social justice” has brought unhinged activism into higher education. Politics and academic integrity do not go together, especially when emotionally brittle activists demand “safety” from competing viewpoints — opinions, not hate speech. The future of universities in their present form is not assured. They undermine their true interests if they appease noisy minorities. Online courses have yet to shatter the face-to-face campus business model but entrepreneurs, companies and technologists are all actively investigating cheaper, better and more flexible options. Meanwhile, the cost of professional qualifications is rising (two degrees are often needed now for entry-level jobs) and discontent with value for money is likely to intensify.

Universities are less dependent on public money these days but they cannot afford to alienate the federal government, which has noticed the change in campus climate. Last year, psychologist Bettina Arndt, a sceptic of the claimed “rape crisis” at university, faced ugly attempts to shut down her speaking tour. A visiting US paediatrician, deemed “transphobic” for opposing sex change treatment of children, was “deplatformed” at the University of Western Australia. Also last year, physics professor Peter Ridd, a climate science critic, was unlawfully dismissed by James Cook University, partly for breaching a (difficult to satirise) order that he not satirise the disciplinary process against him.

All this, and the passivity of UA, helps explain the intervention by Education Minister Dan Tehan last November. He appointed former High Court chief justice Robert French to look into campus freedom. Mr Tehan’s action presented no threat to university autonomy. He has highlighted a missed opportunity for the sector to self-regulate. In the US, the Heterodox Academy has emerged to champion “viewpoint diversity”. Key figures in this movement — including psychologists Steven Pinker and Jonathan Haidt — are classical liberals, hardly anti-intellectual right-wing enemies of the academy. It’s heartening that Heterdox has a foothold here in Australia.

UA’s shabby reception of Mr French’s report in April shows the need for leadership on this fundamental question of principle. The lobby seized upon Mr French’s legalistic finding of “no crisis” in campus speech, ignoring his pointed remarks about the vulnerability of free expression under the endless rules and codes that entangle university life. UA has to judge for itself how best to protect the lucrative education industry it represents, its reputation, recruitment prospects and revenue streams.

But there are dissident vice-chancellors behind the collective indifference of the lobby. Dawn Freshwater, vice-chancellor at UWA, has certainly stolen a march with a new, beefed up statement telling students (and staff) that they have to be open to viewpoints at odds with their own, a sometimes uncomfortable experience that any thoughtful person has to get used to. And now university chancellors have agreed in principle to Mr French’s suggestion that universities adopt a voluntary model code making freedom of expression a paramount concern. (Mr French is also chancellor of UWA.)

It’s important to keep a sense of proportion. Even in the humanities and social sciences, where progressive groupthink is strongest, there are many scholars quietly faithful to evidence. It seems big city elite institutions are more likely to suffer from a dysfunctional campus culture. That is the case in the US, where the problem is worst. But all the Anglosphere countries have some level of this corruption and the US experience shows it can spread very quickly. The task is to prevent a crisis and resist a dysfunctional culture already present in higher education, as well as the corporate world.

In business the same ideology of selective “diversity” put paid to the career of footballer Israel Folau and generated the Orwellian newspeak of “behavioural awareness officers” for the AFL. Like the May 18 election result, the good sense of the mainstream will impose a correction; there are already hopeful signs. But why can’t more vice-chancellors see the advantage of rising to the occasion and becoming authors of their own reform?


Holding out against French code not viable strategy

The decision of chancellors to ­assert their precedence over university management on the freedom of speech issue is very significant for higher education.

Ever since Education Minister Dan Tehan launched the review of freedom of speech in universities by former High Court chief justice Robert French last year, university management, represented by the body Universities Australia, has reacted defensively.

It was seen as yet another threat to the autonomy of universities. It followed the revelation that Tehan’s predecessor, Simon Birmingham, had secretly used his ministerial prerogative to deny several research grants that had been approved by the Australian Research Council.

In fact, if freedom of speech had to be reviewed, there could not have been a fairer or more reasonable person to review it than French who had thought deeply about the issue. He said clearly that there was no free speech crisis and came up with proposals that steered a middle course that would appear to be palatable to universities.

Among the things he did not recommend was the imposition of laws that would prescribe to universities how they would deal with freedom of speech and academic freedom issues. His answer was a voluntary code that universities could subscribe to and align their policies to, with freedom to vary them where they saw necessary.

That should have pleased the universities. It is puzzling that the vice-chancellors, represented by Universities Australia, did not back it. Now the chancellors who chair university governing bodies and are ultimately responsible for the institutions have intervened and said that freedom of speech is a matter for them. They have collectively got behind the French model code for freedom of speech.

It’s no coincidence the chancellors are people with a huge reservoir of experience in business, politics and public life. It is clear to them, if not to the universities they preside over, that holding out against the free speech code proposed by French is not a viable strategy for universities.


Herron murder highlights real homeless problem

As the details emerge about the background of Courtney Herron’s alleged killer, we need to take a serious look at the problem of homelessness and mental illness. Our approach to these problems has not been working.

Henry Hammond, a 27-year-old homeless man, appears to have had untreated mental illness and issues with substance abuse, including the drugs heroin, LSD and ice.

According to witnesses, he had a long history of bizarre behaviour. He was failed by a system that did not assertively address these issues because of misguided priorities.

The real cause of homelessness — and of the tragic events in Royal Park — relate to a lawless homeless subculture in which mental illness and drug abuse are rife.

The rate of mental illness is up to 40% in homeless persons, and even higher in ‘rough sleepers’.

And as I point out in the CIS paper Dying with their Rights On: The Myths and Realities of Ending Homelessness in Australia, although the government already spends $10 billion a year on housing and homelessness, rates of rough sleeping are increasing.

Despite the 29% increase in funding (from $634.2 million to $817.4m) for homeless services alone between 2011 and 2016, the number of Australians sleeping rough increased by 20% across that time.

Approximately 8,000 Australians continue to sleep rough each night because homelessness services have not been assertive enough at getting people off the streets. Outreach workers are reluctant to violate the ‘right’ of people to sleep rough and refuse treatment.

Homelessness services have therefore proved unable to help because they refuse to take an effective approach to assisting people to exit the streets.

Hence, participation in mental health and drug counselling and treatment is largely optional. This means the people who most need help to deal with their addictions and mental illnesses are the least likely to get it.

Long-term care facilities offering high levels of support would benefit the chronically homeless and gravely ill people — who will otherwise continue to live and die on the streets.

Drug and alcohol treatment must be made mandatory for homeless addicts, as must compulsory mental health assessments to ensure that appropriate treatment reaches those who need it.


 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

1 comment:

Paul said...

I was working in Mental Health in Victoria at the time of the great de-institutionalisation. It wasn't just Mental illness, it was also Intellectual Disability services. The problems with the big Institutions were many and varied, but the main ones were size and upkeep, and the most appalling Union cronyism and feather-bedding you ever saw. The Institutions tended to be used as sponges for migrants who were placed there unskilled, which wasn't that bad in patient care terms because they were mostly Eastern European women or (south-east) Asians who really aren't too bad most of the time. Indians weren't bad either, at least the women wern't. The men were shockers. You just wouldn't do it now with Africans running around as the latest immigrant group needing phoney government jobs, the cost in lives wouldn't be concealable. The other main problem that I saw? Theft. Pallets of food disappearing into cars (with shifty Eastern European faces looking sideways at you as they did it, and relatives coming in claiming to be carers so they could access accounts (for supplies of course!). Saw a bit of direct violent abuse of the demented oldsters in a long closed Institution in Beechworth too. That was straight out scary when I was a kid just out of nurse-training.