Wednesday, July 31, 2019

There was no "welcome to country" at this weekend's WA Liberal conference, with the leader saying it's not meaningful to 'tick a box' to be politically correct

Just because Aborigines once lived in a place, why does it mean that we have to keep mentioning it?  It achieves nothing.  It is just Leftist virtue signalling that costs them nothing

It is also at much conflict with other claims of the Left, particularly when the speech concerned is some addled rave from an Aborigine, which it often is.  The Left like to claim that there was a great struggle of Aborigines against white settlement -- while in fact Aborigines mostly just faded away in the face of white encroachment.

So what we now see is a colonialist's fancy -- pretending that blacks "welcomed" whites to their land.  However you look at it, it is a gross distortion of the truth.  It in fact demeans Aborigines.  It makes them puppets for whites

West Australian opposition leader Liza Harvey has trotted out a "tired, lazy argument" in defending her party not starting its annual state conference with a welcome to country, Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt says.

Asked if it was a good look for the WA Liberal gathering on Saturday to omit the Indigenous ceremony, Ms Harvey replied: "It is what it is".

"I think the worst thing you can do is for the sake of political correctness, engage in welcome to countries that aren't meaningful," Ms Harvey told reporters on Sunday.

"Where it's appropriate, there are welcome to countries, for example the City of Stirling at their citizenship ceremonies on Australia Day," Ms Harvey said.

"It's fantastic - I'm a big fan of that but I don't think we should do these things just because you've got to tick a box.

"It needs to be meaningful and respectful."

Mr Wyatt, whose relative Ken Wyatt is pushing for constitutional recognition, was unimpressed. "A welcome is about a modern, inclusive, respectful society," he tweeted.

"Even Colin Barnett understood that, which is why the parliament amended the WA constitution to recognise Aboriginal traditional ownership."


Central Australian date farmers determined to fight cheap imports as industry grows for sugar substitutes

This is the old, old story of Australian agriculture: We can grow huge quantities of almost everything -- but can we do it at a competitive price?  Mostly the answer is No

Spread out across the edge of the Simpson Desert is a date palm plantation, trees swaying in the breeze.

The Desert Fruit Farm near Alice Springs is the only commercial date operation in the Northern Territory, and one of only a handful in Australia.

The trees are a legacy of Afghan cameleers who arrived in the middle of the 1800s — the 'pilots of the desert' effectively helped set up Central Australia's vast interior, and to keep homesickness at bay brought a little bit of home with them, in the form of palm trees.

"Dates [were] first grown in the Hermannsburg Indigenous community, with the mission they had to be self-sufficient in their food," said Ben Wall, the manager of the Desert Fruit Farm.  "[They] grew dates by the Finke River, the oldest river in the world, and the first commercial farm was set up in the 1950s."

Mr Wall said it was a thoroughly modern trend that has made this date palm a desert gold mine; as more people seek out sugar-free alternatives to get their sweet fix, dates are in high demand.

The farm has about 10 varieties of date.

"Often a lot of people want them for processing dates like energy bars and doing things with hemp, so these are good because they are kind of dry," he said.

The cooperative has been running since 2014 on a farm established by the previous owner in the 1990s. Mr Wall manages the farm on behalf of investors, and is passionate about sustainable agriculture, particularly in Australia's arid zone.

Across 6 hectares, there are 700 mature female date trees, with about 20 male trees to pollinate them, he said.

But fickle in its fertility, date trees need to be hand-pollinated, with pollen from a male tree extracted and cut with powder to help transport it.

The farmers essentially have to do the job a bee would do with conventional plants.

"It generally takes about five years [to attain] first fruit, but then you don't want to farm until about eight to 10 years," Mr Wall said.     "Dates are like humans, they live to be the same age — 80 to 100 years — and are most productive when teenage to 30 years old.

["They're] fertile, yes, and then a gradual decline, very elegant decline just like us."

Harvesting is also onerous, as the dates have to be picked by hand one at a time.

This year the farm was up 300 per cent on the previous year's yield, with 2 tonnes sent to the Middle East and the rest sold domestically.

"There's a huge market for them, and we get calls all the time from the Middle East because we are in the southern hemisphere," Mr Wall said.

    "There are 2 billion Muslim people [for whom] dates are an important part of the culture, [so] we can sell anything we can grow, really."

Dates are grown in 40 different countries across 800,000 hectares, and Central Australia's arid zone is the perfect landscape and climate for growing them.

But despite that, the industry remains extremely small, with only a handful of operators across the country.

The Arid Zone Research Institute (AZRI) is working to change that, and holds the largest collection of date varieties in the southern hemisphere.

Its research will help inform farmers about the best varieties to grow to suit the climate and conditions, and will also offer pollination advice.

Stuart Smith from AZRI sees the Australian industry expanding in future years, particularly in the desert.     "Because of our isolation and dry atmosphere, we can produce a lot of crops without disease," he said.

"If you have adequate water well-allocated, and sustainably-allocated groundwater systems, which we have here in Central Australia, I think the arid zone is a good place for agriculture."

Further south, farmers are also having success.

Dave Reilly has 3,000 date palms on his family property Gurra Downs in the Riverland District in South Australia, where they have been growing dates for 20 years.

He's a big supporter of helping other growers get a foothold in the market, but there is competition he doesn't welcome from cheap imports.

Biosecurity Australia is currently considering allowing fresh dates to be imported from Africa and the Middle East, which has him and other growers worried.

"That will totally change dynamics," Mr Reilly said. "For example, we pay our staff $25 an hour, and we'll be competing with countries that pay a $USD1 an hour, so it's going to be very difficult to compete.

"Unfortunately that's what happens with free trade agreements; it doesn't benefit everyone, and our industry being relatively labour-intensive may well get beaten up by cheap imports."

Mr Reilly is hopeful that discerning consumers will continue to seek out locally-grown dates.

"Australian relies almost entirely on imported dates so the demand is there, there's curiosity surrounding the Australian-grown fruit, so we are benefiting a bit over the last 10 years, selling that into the area," Mr Reilly said.

"Dates are now being recognised for their health benefits … so we are getting a lot of interest from health food people.

    "Dates are sweet but also have a lot of nutrition so from a health food perspective dates are a wonderful substitute to sugar."

This ancient fruit could also be grown on Indigenous-run plantations, Mr Wall said. "There is a lot of potential to grow the industry, there are a few growers around Australia now just finding their feet, [so there is] potential for dates to be growing around each Indigenous community," he said.

"You can use low-quality water, salty water to grow food, and they create a shaded ecosystem to grow other food underneath it, so we are really hopeful the industry can grow from this little farm here."


Household income plunging and poverty rising: How Australians were BETTER off during the global financial crisis - and experts say immigration is to blame

Australian households are earning less than they did during the global financial crisis a decade ago.

A survey of 17,500 people confirmed stagnant wages are even worse than first thought, with pay packets falling as immigration has surged.

Median household incomes, after tax, are now $542 less than they were during the GFC.

They have fallen from $80,637 in 2009 to $80,095 eight years later, new data from the Melbourne Institute's annual Household, Income and Labour Dynamics Australia (HILDA) study for 2019 showed.

Income growth has been patchy during the past decade, falling in the two years after the GFC, rising in 2012 and mainly stagnating after that.

During that time, Australia's population has surged from 21.2million in 2009 to 24million in 2017, before rising above the 25million milestone in August 2018.

The Grattan Institute think tank's chief executive John Daley has told economists with the Reserve Bank of Australia that low-skilled migrants were driving down wages.

'Many believe that Australian migration is highly skilled and has nothing to do with the underpayment of minimum wages,' he said in his April presentation, which was made public on Monday.

'That might have been true in the past, but it's less true now.'

Professor Daley said 59 per cent of temporary visa holders were in low-skilled jobs.

For student and working holiday visa holders, that number in low-skilled jobs rises to 75 per cent.

With one in five Australian workers on the minimum wage, Professor Daley said 'low-skilled' employment at or below the minimum wage was 'big enough to matter'.

Australia is home to one million temporary migrants, with 450,000 of them being on student visas with another 150,000 on working holiday visas. Then there are 250,000 temporary migrants in the 'other' visa category.

If all migrants worked, they would comprise four per cent of Australia's 13million workers.

When household incomes were adjusted for needs, the HILDA research found salary levels over five years had gone backwards in Adelaide, Perth and regional New South Wales but had risen in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

Poverty levels, defined as income that is half of the median, have also risen in recent years.

Financial hardship levels fell from 12.4 per cent to 9.6 per cent between 2007 and 2016 but rose again in 2017, to reach 10.4 per cent.


One in five solar units ‘defective’

More than one in five rooftop solar installations on Australian homes were found to be substandard in 2018 amid a boom in the renewable energy source driven by cheaper costs and government rebates.

More than 20 per cent or 748 of the 3678 solar units inspected last year were found to be substandard, meaning defects were found such as incorrect wiring that could lead to “premature” equipment failure, Clean Energy Regulator data shows.

The government’s renewables regulator has been conducting random inspections of rooftop solar units across the nation since 2011, with the average number of substandard systems recorded at 17.7 per cent as of July 2018. Last year’s figure of 20.3 per cent marked a jump and was also a slight increase on the 19.8 per cent of systems labelled substandard in 2017.

The number of unsafe systems, defined as a possible safety hazard, also grew slightly with 80 out of 3678 solar units receiving the rating, equating to a rate of 2.2 per cent compared with 1.9 per cent in 2017. Common issues included water found in electrical components and products subject to recalls.

The growth of solar continues to accelerate in Australia with 2.15 million households now owning rooftop systems spurred by the falling cost of kit and subsidies at federal and state level.

The technology’s rampant growth is helping to reset the generation mix of the nation’s power grid while the growth of rooftop solar contributed to prices hitting zero across the entire national electricity market last Sunday, underlining new-found volatility for electricity generators in the market.

Growth in solar will continue over the next decade even as subsidies are retired, the regulator said.

“We continue to see growth in rooftop photovoltaic for households and businesses, even as the level of the support from subsidies under the Small-Scale Renewable Energy Scheme gradually decreases between now and when the scheme ends in 2030,” Clean Energy Regulator chairman David Parker said.

The number of accredited installers working in Australia and New Zealand surged by more than 1000 to 5922 by the end of 2018 with the Clean Energy Council taking action against 590 installers or roughly 10 per cent of the entire workforce, the report found.

New guidelines to improve safety and quality effective July 1 will cut the number of jobs an installer can sign off on to two from three while ongoing work with product manufacturers and safety regulators is being conducted to improve safety concerns.

In Victoria, the Andrews government’s solar subsidy was plunged into disarray this week with the staggered nature of the $2225 subsidy leading to a boom and bust cycle and forcing some businesses to the brink.

The $1.3 billion Solar Homes program — launched last year in the lead-up to the election — was designed to help 770,000 households invest in solar while creating 5500 new jobs and slashing carbon emissions.

However, the Smart Energy Council, which organised a mass protest on Thursday over the rollout of the scheme, yesterday urged those affected to meet with their local MPs to try and reset the system.


 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

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Once they got a degree, disadvantaged and advantaged Australian students did roughy equally as well -- after a slow start

The report below uses what must be the latest euphemism for "disadvantaged"  -- "Equity".  So if you start out unequal, you are an "equity" person! The logic quite escapes me despite my many years of dealing with political correctness.  But you need to know that abuse of language  to understand the report below.

They find that most people from an unpromising background (Aborigines and the disabled excepted) do roughly as well in jobs and income after they have graduated.  But that is only true if you look at the groups around seven years after graduation.  The "equity" students do catch up to the others but not initially.

The authors appear to think that the roughly equal long term outcomes for advantaged and disadvantaged students show that a university education is effective in overcoming inital disadvantages that people suffer. 

But it doesn't.  It simply shows that the selection criteria used to govern entry to university do a good job. You get into university on ability, regardless of your "equity" status.  Putting it another way, the "equity" students who get into university are a specially selected subset of the "equity" population, so how well they do does not reflect the prospects  "equity" people in general

Beyond graduation: long-term socioeconomic outcomes amongst equity students

Wojtek Tomaszewski et al.

Executive Summary

This report aimed to address significant gaps in scientific knowledge about the trajectories of post-graduation outcomes of students from equity groups by examining the following research questions:

Do equity graduates reap the benefits of university education to the same extent as non-equity graduates over the short and long run?

What are the differences in outcomes between graduates from different equity groups?

What are the specific outcome domains (e.g. labour market, social capital, wellbeing) where equity group graduates perform particularly well or particularly poorly?

To answer these research questions, the study utilised robust statistical methodologies to analyse high-quality, nationally representative longitudinal data from the ABS Census of Population and Housing (the Census) and the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey. Both sets of analyses covered five population-based equity groups:

* low socioeconomic status (low SES)
* non-English-speaking background (NESB)
* residents in regional/remote areas
* Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders (Indigenous)
* students with disability.

Analysis of the Census data focused on the labour market outcomes and provided robust evidence over a short to medium time period. The Census analyses were complemented by innovative analysis of the HILDA Survey, which enabled us to document long-term trajectories across a broader set of socioeconomic outcomes (for example, health, subjective wellbeing and social capital) that go beyond the standard labour market indicators investigated by previous studies in this area.

The analysis of the longitudinal Census data suggested that there exist relatively small but significant differences between graduates from some of the equity groups and their non-equity counterparts in relation to certain labour market outcomes.

Key findings from these analyses included:

a lower likelihood of low SES and NESB graduates to be in employment, to be employed in a managerial or professional occupation, and to have a high personal income if in full-time employment

a lower likelihood of graduates with disability to be employed.
These findings are consistent with the previous evidence from the limited body of other Australian studies in this area, while arguably offering more robust evidence being based on a high-quality and authoritative data source. Furthermore, while the Census analyses have a relatively short time horizon, covering up to five years post-graduation, this analysis went considerably beyond the four- to six-month after graduation horizon of the Graduate Outcomes Survey (GOS), which has been typically used to report employment outcomes for university graduates in Australia.

The HILDA analyses further extended the time horizon covered, capturing outcomes up to 15 years post-graduation. They also focused on a different set of outcomes, covering health and wellbeing indicators, as well as a set of subjective measures related to employment and financial circumstances. This makes it the first study in Australia to investigate such outcomes in relation to post-university outcomes of equity graduates.

Overall, the HILDA analyses suggested that for most of the outcomes investigated in this report, the trajectories of equity and non-equity graduates moved in similar directions, and at a comparable pace, after the attainment of undergraduate university qualifications. This resulted in lack of differences or a convergence in outcomes over a longer time horizon. However, while rarely statistically significant, there appeared to be some evidence that equity graduates generally reported inferior outcomes compared with non-equity graduates, at least in the first few years after graduation. This pattern appeared to be most pronounced for indicators related to subjective assessment of financial prosperity and job security but also social support.

Although the differences between equity and non-equity graduates were often not statistically significant, or converged over time, there were two notable exceptions to this pattern: students of an Indigenous background, and students with disability, both of which reported significantly inferior outcomes compared with their non-equity counterparts, particularly in terms of physical and mental health, and subjective wellbeing as captured by life satisfaction. While based on small samples, and arguably reflecting a broader underlying disadvantage for these two equity groups, these findings highlight that this kind of disadvantage is not easily alleviated through the completion of a university degree alone, but also requires a concerted policy effort within and beyond the higher education sector. For the other equity groups, the trajectories of equity and non-equity graduates appeared to converge over a longer-run so that any initial differences disappear after seven to eight years post-graduation. However, arguably more could be done to prevent this seven- or eight-year-long catch up and give an equal start to all university graduates, regardless of their background.


How good is ScoMo? Popularity for the Coalition SURGES as PM enjoys post-election boost following tax cuts and help for drought-stricken farmers

Scott Morrison is squaring for a fight against union thugs as the Government's popularity surges ahead following the federal election.

The coalition's primary vote has increased 2.6 per cent since its May victory to 44 per cent, according to the post-election Newspoll published by The Australian.

Mr Morrison has also seen the best results for a prime minister since 2016, with approval ratings shooting beyond 50 per cent for the first time in four years.

The boost in popularity comes as the Government delivers on its tax-cut promise, which saw millions of Australians receive up to $1,080 in relief when they lodged their tax returns this year.

Mr Morrison's continued support for drought-stricken farmers has also been tipped as a key factor in the surge.

The Government now leads Labor 53 per cent to 47 per cent on a two-party preferred vote.

And with four sitting days left until the long winter break, the prime minister wants to pass laws making it easier to kick rogue officials out of the union movement.

Mr Morrison also wants more power to de-register misbehaving unions and put checks on union mergers.

He has seized on John Setka's refusal to step down from the Victorian construction union as apparent proof the crackdown is needed.

This may be enough to clinch crucial Senate crossbench support for his union-busting legislation but Labor claims the industrial relations laws expose the prime minister's deep-seated 'hatred' for unions in general.

The opposition will this week try to launch an inquiry into meetings between Energy Minister Angus Taylor and environmental officials about endangered grasslands.

Labor is pursuing the cabinet minister over his interest in a family company linked to an investigation into alleged illegal land clearing.

But Mr Taylor says his interests have been widely declared and has accused the opposition of waging a 'grubby smear campaign'.

The government has so far managed to fend off an investigation. But key crossbench senator Rex Patrick has flipped his position, and is now willing to back an inquiry.

Meanwhile, Mr Morrison heads Labor leader Anthony Albanese as preferred prime minister 48 per cent to 31 per cent, according to Newspoll, while Labor's primary vote remains largely unchanged at 33 per cent.

The findings come after many pollsters took a hiatus following the May election result which they failed to predict across the board.


Labor smashes the Coalition over energy bills as figures show power prices have surged by 158% since 2015

They would have been even higher under Labor

Labor is going on the attack over climbing power prices, as it tries to maintain pressure on federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor.

Mr Taylor is already under fire over controversial meetings about endangered grasslands, and for suggesting the federal government had an open mind to nuclear power generation.

Now, Labor has seized on figures showing average wholesale power prices have increased by 158 per cent across the national energy market since 2015.

The opposition is renewing calls for Mr Taylor to exhume the National Energy Guarantee, which was supposed to save households $550 each year.

'Australian households and businesses have been punished by this divided government with rising power bills,' Labor's energy spokesman Mark Butler said on Monday.

'Angus Taylor's one KPI was to reduce power prices, but instead they have continued to go up, and up and up.'

Mr Taylor has steadfastly refused to revive the NEG, instead pursuing other initiatives aimed at reducing power costs.

Labor is also continuing to push for a formal inquiry into meetings between Mr Taylor and environmental officials about endangered grasslands.

The opposition is pursuing the cabinet minister over his interest in a family company, Jam Land Pty Ltd, linked to an investigation into alleged illegal land clearing.

Its pursuit centres on 2017 meetings with environment department officials and the office of then-environment minister Josh Frydenberg to discuss the grasslands' listing as endangered.

The meetings were held while investigations were under way into the alleged poisoning of 30 hectares that contained the grassland on a NSW property Jam Land Pty Ltd owned.

Labor is concerned is the minister didn't properly disclose his interest in the company, and wants to know whether he sought to influence the endangered status of the species.


Bangladesh wants Australia's coal for new power stations

Bangladesh is urging Australia to take advantage of an "enormous opportunity" to export coal and liquefied natural gas to the developing country, which is experiencing surging demand for the fossil fuels.

The country of about 165 million people has a slew of coal-fired power stations coming online over the next five years and will be importing about 45 million tonnes of coal by 2025, worth a predicted $4 billion to $5 billion annually.

"There is enormous opportunity for export of Australian coal and LNG to Bangladesh given Bangladesh's sustained energy demand," the Bangladesh high commissioner to Australia, Sufiur Rahman, said on Monday. "If these are added to the traditional traded items, Bangladesh could emerge as a major trading partner of Australia soon."

Mr Rahman called for a greater policy focus from the Australian government on the export opportunity and stronger private sector relationships to facilitate the trade.

According to figures provided by the Bangladeshi high commission, about 40 million tonnes of the country's predicted demand in 2025 will be for thermal coal while 5 million will be coking coal, used in steel production.

Bangladesh currently sources the bulk of its coal from Indonesia, South Africa and India but Australia is seen as a supplier of a high-quality, efficient product.

The Bangladeshi market could present a valuable opportunity for the coal industry as exports to China falter. The Chinese government has been subjecting Australian coal to tighter import restrictions, with some analysts fearing political tensions between Beijing and Canberra are to blame.

Australia's coal exports were worth almost $70 billion in 2018-19, with Japan, China and South Korea the major destinations.


 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

Monday, July 29, 2019

Author John Marsden criticised over bullying comments

Author John Marsden is facing criticism for comments he’s made about bullying in the schools.

Marsden, best know as the author of the ‘Tomorrow’ book series, has been a teacher for several decades and runs two schools north of Melbourne.

The author has defended comments he made saying that bullying was just “feedback” from other children. Marsden said some “pure unadulterated bullying” does occur, most is prompted by what he called the “unlikeable behaviours” of the child who is being bullied.

Marsden says those experiencing bulling should first look at their own behaviours and see if they themselves are to blame. The educators advice to children is to “look at your own likeable and unlikeable behaviours and try to reduce the list of unlikeable behaviours and unlikeable values and unlikeable attitudes and over time that will probably have a significant effect”.

The author made the comments as he was promoting a new book he has written he Art of Growing Up which argues that the education system is trying to cover too many issues.

His comments have been condemned by bullying experts. Naomi Priest, an Australian National University Associate Professor, who researches the impact of racism and bullying on young people told the Sydney Morning Herald that Marsden’s take on bullying was “flawed”. “It is a very limited and flawed understanding of bullying to characterise it as just about an individual’s character traits that are unappealing,” Priest said.

Marsden dismissed research suggesting that children from non-anglo backgrounds were more likely to experience racism saying in his experience conflict occurred because children from some subcultures were not ‘westernised’ enough. The author drew upon his time teaching at Geelong Grammar in the 1980s.

“At Geelong Grammar they had quite a high percentage of students enrolling from Asian countries and their acceptance depended very much upon how Westernised they were,” Marsden said of his time at the school. “If they were able to speak English fluently and wear the clothes that Anglo kids wore and listened to the same kind of music, then they were fully accepted.

“There was absolutely no racism involved,” Marsden added. “But if they weren’t yet at that stage then there was a gulf between them… It didn’t necessarily result in bullying, although sometimes it did, but more often it was sort of a gap between the two subcultures.” Marsden denied his views were racist.


Labor Party sings to the union tune

If you were in any doubt the Labor Party is a wholly owned subsidiary of the trade unions, the events of the past parliamentary week would have dispelled your doubts.

ACTU president Michele O’Neil was camped out in Parliament House, available for continuous media commentary and effectively issuing instructions to obedient Labor parliamentarians.

Note that O’Neil is a career unionist who ran the completely inconsequential Textiles, Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia, which is now part of the Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union.

What is infuriating O’Neil and other union leaders is the Ensuring Integrity and Proper Use of Worker Benefits bills, which the government has introduced to the house. They are routinely ­described by parts of the media as “union busting”. Actually, these bills contain a series of sensible amendments that should become law as soon as possible.

Needless to say, Labor parliamentarians in general, and opposition industrial relations spokesman Tony Burke in particular, are toeing the union line by voicing their complete opposition to the bills.

When the name of John Setka of the CFMEU was mentioned this week, Burke batted the issue away by stating the new law would be prospective and so wouldn’t affect him. Mind you, this assumes that Setka decides to abide by the law in the future.

Burke then used the silly example of nurses undertaking unprotected industrial action over patient-staff ratios as the basis for the possible deregistration of the nurses union. Had he bothered to read the legislation, he would have learned the example he gave would not constitute the basis for deregistration by the Federal Court.

By way of background, both bills are amendments to the Fair Work Act. They can be traced back to the Heydon Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption’s final report, which was issued in 2015.

Consider first the Ensuring Integrity Bill. It introduces a public interest test for amalgamations of registered organisations. Had this been in place before the proposed merger of the CFMEU, the Maritime Union of Australia and the TCFUA, it is unlikely the merger would have been approved.

The bill also provides for the Federal Court to prohibit officials from holding office in certain circumstances or if they are otherwise not a “fit and proper person”. The decisions are all subject to ­appeal. There are also some new criminal offences that will lead to the automatic disqualification of officials.

Industrial Relations Minister, Christian Porter said “registered organisations (trade unions and employer associations) are there to look after their members’ interests. When that objective is lost it is important that our courts have the powers they need to impose ­appropriate sanctions.”

The trade unions’ objections to the Ensuring Integrity Bill have come thick and fast, including the supposed abuse of human rights laws, the possible violation of international labour conventions and the purported uneven treatment of companies that breach the Corporations Act relative to the provisions contained in this bill.

The big picture here is the regulation of registered trade unions (and employer associations) is a matter of public policy interest ­because they need to be held ­accountable to their members. The reality is this accountability is currently generally very weak.

Elections for the positions of union officials are often uncontested — the incumbents typically make it very difficult for rival candidates. And few sanctions for inappropriate behaviour by officials exist in practice. Union members often have only two choices: stay with the union and put up with bad behaviour, or resign.

The law makes it nigh impossible for rival trade unions to set up because of the “conveniently belong to” rule.

What this means in practice is there is effectively no competition in the market for union membership that might otherwise induce more responsive and better standards of behaviour by union officials.

When it comes to the Proper Use of Workers Benefits Bill, there is also a very clear case for major reform to ensure the income from funds that are specifically established to meet redundancy, long-service leave and other worker benefits accrue to the members (the workers) and not the sponsoring bodies, most typically a trade union and employer association.

The issue of worker entitlement funds was covered in the Heydon royal commission where it was noted these funds are particularly common in the construction industry.

There are several funds, including the Building Employees Redundancy Trust in Queensland; Incolink, which ­operates several redundancy and sick leave funds for construction workers in Victoria and Tasmania; and the Protect scheme, which operates a redundancy fund for electricians in Victoria.

Protect has been in the news ­recently because the trustees ­decided to return virtually all the capital ($30 million) to the Electrical Trades Union and the National Electrical and Communications Association. The ETU received the lion’s share of the distribution.

The trustees claimed the threat of the Proper Use of Workers Benefits Bill becoming law was sufficient reason to distribute the capital, pointing out the ETU and NECA had guaranteed that benefits to workers would be met.

The reality of most worker entitlement funds is that employers are effectively forced to pay into them on a basis specified in enterprise agreements, but the workers are entitled to receive in ­return only the money that is contributed on their behalf. The earnings of the funds are distributed to the sponsoring bodies, typically a trade union and employer body.

There are many problems associated with these funds, including the one noted above, but also that they are not subject to any mandatory disclosure. There is no requirement to disclose the commissions and other payments made to the sponsoring bodies. Workers are not even always made aware of their entitlements. There have been instances where entitlements have been denied to non-unionists.

What the Proper Use of Workers Benefits legislation seeks to do is ensure these worker entitlement funds are registered and are subject to proper standards of governance and disclosure.

It also will become illegal for employers to be forced to contribute to particular funds.

It is completely understandable why trade unions (and some employer bodies) might oppose these new laws. Not only are there no ­effective breaks on standards of behaviour, there is also a great deal of money flowing under the table by virtue of the monopoly position of these worker entitlement funds.

Recall here that trade unions and employer bodies are both tax-exempt.

Labor may decide it’s preferable to side with workers rather than protected union officials and vote for these bills.

But given the flow of funds from unions to the party — measured in many millions of dollars donated by the CFMEU — I won’t be holding my breath.


Climate change protester is fined $61,000 after attaching herself to a barrel filled with concrete, shutting down a railway for hours

A climate change activist has been handed down a whopping $61,000 fine after attaching herself to a 500 kilogram oil drum, obstructing railway services for hours.

Brisbane protester Alice Wicks, 26, blocked all coal trains heading to the Port of Brisbane for five hours during a protest in Wynnum West on April 19.

The drum was weighed down with concrete, and she was pictured squatting next to it, her hand appearing to be inside. 

A banner behind her read: 'STAND in the way of EXTINCTION'.

Ms Wicks's actions temporarily shut down the railway line, and  after she was released from the barrel, she was rushed to hospital suffering hypothermia. 

On Monday, the Wynnum Magistrates Court ordered Ms Wicks to pay $61,000 to Queensland Rail after she pleaded guilty to the charges of trespass on a railway, obstructing a railway and obstructing police.

She was placed on a good behaviour bond, but the court found Queensland Rail was the victim of her actions and she has been ordered to pay the massive fine in compensation, The Courier Mail reported.

The activist has been protesting for the past three years, and works in the environmental sector.  'I took this action because I have exhausted all other avenues for demanding action on the climate crisis,' Ms Wicks was quoted in Greenleft Weekly.

'The permafrost has melted 70 years ahead of scientist's predictions. We need to act now.' 'It's clear that the state is cracking down on anyone who tries to shed light on this corrupt system', Wicks said.


Franking credits explained yet again

They are NOT free gifts.  They are a refund of overpaid tax


I thought I had written my last column on franking credits and the role of cash refunds. Let’s face it, the topic was a serious busted flush for Labor, and if the party had any sense it would reject all proposals to tweak the system.

But last week dear old Dick Smith popped up to demonstrate his extreme naivety when it comes to financial matters and franking credits, in particular.

Here’s what he said: “I found I was getting this ridiculous money from the government. That’s wrong, I said, I’m wealthy. My accountant said ‘That’s how it works, that’s what you have to do.’ I can’t stop it. I think it’s outrageous for wealthy people to be getting money from the government.”

Actually, Dick, you can stop it. All you need to do is withdraw all the funds from your gigantic self-managed superannuation fund, invest them in your own name in non-franked assets and pay tax at the top marginal rate of 45 per cent plus the 2 per cent Medicare levy.

If that floats your boat, you should just get on and do it.

Unsurprisingly, the lefties in the media lapped up Smith’s ignorant comments with the takeout that Labor must not abandon its “principled” decision to abolish cash refunds for franking credits.

The fact Smith wasn’t even aware that he had been receiving substantial cash refunds since 2001 was surely an indication that he wasn’t a reliable authority on which to base a story.

Let me explain.

There are a very small number of legacy self-managed superannuation funds around that are generally the result of the trustees successfully selling a business. On the basis of the figures that Smith presented, his fund has at least $30 million. But, overall, only 0.7 per cent of these funds have more than $10m.

In other words, they are exceptional.

But here’s the key: there will never be these large superannuation funds in the future because of the restrictions placed on both concessional and non-concessional contributions.

Indeed, even high-income individuals will be hard-pressed to reach the $1.6m transfer balance cap that was implemented in 2017.

In other words, Smith’s story is ancient history. And note here that his all-knowing accountant will have had to split the superannuation fund into two because of the cap requirement and the vast bulk of the fund is being levied with a tax of 15 per cent.

But the lefties will still maintain that paying cash refunds for franking credits is unsustainable, costing about $6 billion a year and projected to rise to $8bn. Actually, these figures are meaningless unless they are embedded in the projected value of all franking credits that are eligible for refunds, cash or tax.

Moreover, the fact the value of franking credits is expected to grow is the good news. After all, franking credits are the result of taxpaying (actually tax-withholding) companies paying dividends after making profits.

There is still a deep misunderstanding about how dividend imputation actually works. Using figures derived by actuary Tony Dillon — the figures relate to 2014-15, which are the latest available — there were $47.5bn of franking credits attached to company dividends.

Of these, $23.5bn were eligible for franking credits refunds, either cash or as tax offsets. The remaining amount did not attract refunds because the shares were held by foreign owners or companies. Most of the refunds took the form of tax offsets ($17.6bn) and the rest were distributed as cash.

Why Labor didn’t think that it was preferable to crimp the benefits of those receiving these tax offsets rather than those receiving cash refunds is anyone’s guess. With few exceptions — and Smith is one of them — the former group is much better off than those receiving cash refunds.

And what’s overlooked in the slanted media coverage, almost half of the cash refunds are paid to individual shareholders outside superannuation funds.

Labor’s decision to significantly increase the tax-free income tax threshold to $18,200 meant that even more investors were eligible for cash refunds.

But, say the boosters of eliminating the cash refunds for franking credits, Australia is alone in having this arrangement.

As Adrian Blundell-Wignall, a former director of the OECD, has noted, this would be because Australia is one of only five countries that have dividend imputation.

Moreover, only New Zealand has tax-exempt drawdowns from superannuation (similar to Australia) but New Zealand has never had compulsory superannuation. In other words, New Zealanders can plan to ensure the tax credits are used.

The truth is that Labor would be out of its mind to contemplate another version of a policy that tinkered with cash refunds for franking credits.

Putting a limit on annual amounts would create an unworkable distortion, with people on middle-level incomes disadvantaged relative to those on higher incomes who can make use of the tax offsets.

And let’s not forget the scale of the figures we are dealing with. More than half of members of self-managed superannuation funds receive an annual income of less than $60,000 and the median fund size — the vast major­ity has two members — is just under $700,000.

Taking away even $1500 a year in cash refunds would have been significant for those affected.

But in many ways Labor’s policy proposal went beyond money. It was an attack on people’s good intentions to work hard, to save and to be independent from the government in retirement. They had played by the rules but, all of a sudden, the rules were going to changed.

They were told they had been receiving unjustified “gifts”. Mind you, the cash refunds were not deemed to be unjustified “gifts” for age pensioners.

Labor continued to delude itself through the election campaign that its policy was sound because 92 per cent of individual taxpayers were unaffected. Bear in mind, this figure is dubious and ignores the family members of those affected.

But incensing 8 per cent of voters is a very strange way to go about winning an election.

My advice to Labor is to give this a wide berth next time even if its mates in the media recommend otherwise. I am also looking forward to the press release on the rearrangement of Smith’s financial affairs so his payment of tax can be maximised.


 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

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Why I was once fired from a State government bureaucracy

It has just occurred to me that I have never written anything about the time I was sacked from the NSW Public Service.  It has never been a secret.  It just didn't seem important in my scale of values.  But maybe there are some small lessons to learn from it.  Though it was over 50 years ago now.

When I had completed my B.A. degree with honours in psychology from the University of Qld. at the end of 1967, I decided I needed a change of scene from Brisbane so I moved South to Sydney.  Being Mr Frugality, I had a comfortable level of savings, no debts and a sky blue VW beetle -- so the transition was an unproblematic one.

I did however want a job.  So I went along to the Army recruiting office.  From my time in the CMF in Brisbane I was a fully qualified Sergeant in the Psychology corps so thought I might get work there.  They grabbed me.  An extra qualified hand was very welcome.  So within days of arriving I  was back in the Army! 

I was not however interested in an army career so I looked around for an alternative.  So I took the selection test for the NSW public service.  Taking tests is one of the few things I am good at so I got an immediate welcome.  One of the tests I did was a test of computer aptitude.  Bill Bailey was the man in charge of that so he called me in for a chat. He revealed that I had gone off the scale for the test. I had got every single item right.  Bill wanted to see who this freak was!  The reason I did well, however, was not very freakish.  I was by that time already an experienced FORTRAN programmer.  When I told Bill that he was greatly relieved.  It meant that his test had given the right answer after all

I was assigned to the Dept. of Technical Education as a graduate clerk.  Their graduate clerk program was however a typical bureaucratic bungle.  The only work they had for me was filing, something I had done years ago as a junior clerk in the Queensland Dept. of Public Works.  I was quite miffed at being given such dumb work so I refused to do it.  And it was all downhill from there.

Eventually I was transferred to Head office where they gave me some slightly more interesting work. I did what was asked but there was not much of it so I had a lot of spare time on my hands.  I was at the time enrolled with the M.A. program at the University of Sydney so I mostly used the spare time on academic work.  The managers apparently felt unable to do anything about that.

But one morning, just after I had handed in my Master's thesis at U Syd towards the end of the year, I unintentionally slept in and arrived at work late.  That was it!  They had me. Lateness was something they could act on.  So I was promptly fired that day.  There would have been access to an appeal but I didn't bother. I knew I was going on to other things next year.

So I went and saw Harry Beanham, whom I had worked for at one time in Brisbane.  Harry had been impressed with my work in Brisbane.  I sold lots of diehead chasers for him, if anybody knows what they are. Few do. Anyway Harry promptly put me to work preparing his stock for sale.  So in the space of less than a year I had got 3 jobs, none of which were advertised!

Lessons:  Don't be late in a bureaucracy and finding a job is easy if you have usable skills and qualifications -- JR.

Complaint lodged against judge who made 'offensive', 'discriminatory' comments to Aboriginal defendants

He was simply describing Aboriginal reality

A previously-reprimanded Northern Territory judge's comments to Indigenous defendants were "disparaging, discriminatory and offensive, insulting and humiliating to Indigenous Australians based solely on their race", the president of the Law Council of Australia has said.

Comments made by Alice Springs Judge Greg Borchers will now be the subject of a formal complaint.

Court transcripts from the past year show Judge Borchers — who was sanctioned in 2017 for "harsh" and "gratuitous" commentary and "inappropriate judicial conduct" — accusing one Aboriginal woman, who appeared before him after breaching a court order, of failing her children.

"Yesterday probably was pension day, so you got your money from the Government, abandoned your kids in that great Indigenous fashion of abrogating your parental responsibility to another member of your family, and went off and got drunk," the judge told her. "Got the money from the Government, straight down, buy grog, pour it down your throat."

He told another defendant's lawyer that "anthropologists" might one day study "what's called Indigenous laissez-faire parenting" to shed light on "why it is that people abandon their children on such a regular basis".

In another transcript from March, Judge Borchers told an Indigenous defendant who had "dragged" his partner "though the house by her hair" that he was "just like a primitive person".

The comments appeared in the media last week.

"There is no doubt that these comments are racist," said Arthur Moses SC, president of the Law Council of Australia. "These comments are racist because they are disparaging, discriminatory and offensive, insulting and humiliating to Indigenous Australians based solely on their race.

"Those type of comments are not appropriate for anybody to make, let alone a judicial officer within a courtroom. "Engaging in racist stereotypes or making racist remarks is not upholding the rule of law on behalf of the community, and no individual worthy of the name of a judge ought be making such remarks."

It is not the first time Judge Borchers's courtroom comments have caused controversy. Two years ago, an official complaint was lodged against him after he told a 13-year-old boy that he was "taking advantage" of his mother's murder.

The judge told that investigation into his conduct there was "no excuse" for some of his remarks, but spoke of the "unremitting process" of churning through matters involving violence and the abuse of children, with "no days off" and "no counselling".

He was subsequently sidelined from youth matters in Alice Springs.

Now, a week after the latest comments have been made public, another official complaint about the judge is being lodged by the NT Criminal Lawyers Association.


Australian troops training Filipino forces to combat ISIS threat

Australian troops deployed to the Philippines say the threat of ISIS is now on Australia’s doorstep, as the terror group moves closer to home.

More than 100 Australian troops from the army, air force and navy are currently based in the southern Philippines, training local forces in combat techniques they learnt on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Their mission - known officially as Operation Augury - is not only to equip Filipino forces with new battle techniques, but to also help safeguard Australia’s own regional security.

“We just need to be ready and make sure we can counter it,” Group Captain John Young tells 60 Minutes reporter Liam Bartlett. “It may not be in Australia, but this part of the world is in our backyard… they’re our neighbours.”

Highly-skilled at fighting in the dense jungle, the Philippines military were caught off guard when ISIS forced them to the streets of the major urban city of Marawi.

ISIS seized Marawi City in the southern Philippines in May 2017 and claimed it as their East-Asia headquarters.

Marawi was once home to more than 200,000 people. Now, it is a ghost town. Homes and shopfronts have been bombed out, with all the cities infrastructure in ruins.

Though the siege ended in November 2017, the streets are still too dangerous for locals to return home with hundreds of unexploded bombs hidden in the rubble.

The Marawi city siege was the second time in five years that Islamic extremism brought mass bloodshed to the southern Philippines.

But the destruction and devastation is a reminder that ISIS is not a far-off threat for Australia - Marawi city is just three-hours flight time from Darwin.

60 Minutes reporter Liam Bartlett confronts the threat of the Islamic State head-on, in an astonishing interview with radicalised Islamic State recruits.

Initially lured to extremism by the promise of a wage and better life, the young ISIS recruits sitting across from the 60 Minutes cameras now believe the sickening ideology of those who recruited them.

In a shocking interview, 24-year-old Filipino ‘Sadam’ says he joined ISIS three years ago – and tells 60 Minutes he is ready to fight for Islamic State – both at home in the Philippines or across international waters. “We’re just doing what God told us to do,” Sadam says.


The balls now in feminists’ court

If a penis is female, does it enjoy human rights? A Canadian trans woman, Jessica Yaniv, who retains intact her boy bits, believes she’s entitled to a Brazilian wax. Rejected by 16 beauticians in Vancouver, including migrant women working from home with children, Yaniv trotted off to a human rights tribunal. Some of the beauticians paid money to make her go away, some still face the prospect of being branded hateful transphobes and ordered to pay fines.

Ignored by most mainstream media, this has Twitter transfixed as the #WaxHerBalls case. British comedian Ricky Gervais tweeted: “It’s a sad state of affairs when a lady can’t have her hairy balls waxed.” All of which gives the impression it’s nothing more than the latest grotesquery of social media. But Gervais has detected a fundamental question of principle that Victoria’s politicians — and Anglophone elites generally — seem mostly oblivious to.

An Andrews government bill allows a self-declared trans man or woman to go back in time and alter the sex on their birth certificates, even if they’ve had no surgery, no treatment, no change at all, apart from a stated wish to make their debut with a new pronoun. The bill is back before parliament next month.

“It’s seen as the next civil rights issue — oh, now we have gay marriage, on to the next thing,” says Holly Lawford-Smith, a young University of Melbourne philosopher and lesbian writing a book on radical feminism.

But there are stirrings of civil war in what’s called the LGBTI community, and angry sniping over who qualifies for an entry pass to women’s sport, toilets, dorms, prisons and, yes, the waxing studio. For the Yaniv case is seen not as an aberration but a logical extension of pick-your-own-gender into the anti-discrimination apparatus. If blokes can become official sheilas in the blink of an eye, what happens to the rights, protections and political culture inspired by feminists and gay activism?

In Australian sport, where hormone controls can complicate things, an awkward debate has begun but it is more advanced in Britain. Brits have a well-organised lobby, Fair Play For Women, and this week The Guardian surprised readers with an even-handed piece by sport blogger Sean Ingle, who declared: “No longer can men tell women, such as Martina Navratilova, that when they stick up for a separate women’s sport category that they are ignorant or prejudiced.”

It’s a question not only of competition but also trust and vulnerability. Troubled by the Yaniv case, National Review writer David French has warned that a proposed Democratic change to US law might expose schoolgirls to so-called “female penises” in toilets and locker rooms. As well, he said, “the very act of objecting to the sight (of a penis) could itself be considered to create a hostile environment for the trans girl”.

Meanwhile, sex is turning philosophy into fight club. This month Australia’s thinkers had their annual talkfest at Wollongong University. Lawford-Smith was booked to argue the case for excluding “all male people, regardless of gender identity” from female-only or lesbian-only spaces. Activist academics tried to “deplatform” her and student agitators girded their loins for a demo under the banner “F..k off Holly Lawford-Smith”. Their Facebook post said she was “not welcome to spew her disgusting discriminatory and exclusionary hate speech at our university”. They ignored her nuanced arguments, dismissing her as a TERF or “trans-exclusionary radical feminist”.

The Australasian Association of Philosophy, the conference organiser, issued a statement acknowledging “serious concerns” about Lawford-Smith’s presentation. There followed a sprinkling of diversity-speak platitudes. No stated concern about the abuse and threats directed at Lawford-Smith, no defence of her academic freedom.

She felt “quite intimidated” going in to her talk, but the university had beefed up security and the protest was muted. Even so, this is not how philosophy is supposed to be. “It’s our bread-and-butter to really dig down into the details of things and have these really difficult conversations in a calm, dispassionate way,” Lawford-Smith says.

Like other “gender critical” feminists, she has been banished from Twitter. It’s supposedly “hateful conduct” to use pronouns in a way that tracks sex rather than gender identity. But this “progressive” platform allows #punchaterf as a trending hashtag, and trans activists can attack a TERF as a “c..t” or “bigoted piece of shit” with impunity. Anti-TERF tactics include campaigns to dislodge people from their jobs, smearing them as fascists, threatening harm to their families and, in one case, pissing on an academic’s office door. Nobody denies there are genuine cases of distress among trans people, and some gender-critical feminists may seem high-handed.

One Oxford don took to Twitter with the hashtag #transawaythegay, conjuring up a story that “Emmett wasn’t allowed to be a lesbian and had to wear skirts and makeup. But when he realised he was supposed to be a boy and started taking testosterone, his church accepted him. All better now!”

In March, activists successfully pressured 3:AM Magazine, a fearless online journal of radical philosophy, to pull an interview with Lawford-Smith because it touch­ed on the TERF war. Her remarks seem temperate: “My stance is that a person can’t change sex (not even with sex reassignment surgery), that ‘gender identity’ has no bearing on sex, and that with very few exceptions gender identity should have no bearing on a person’s sex-based rights.”

Things have got so unpleasant that 12 prominent philosophers from around the world, including Australia’s Peter Singer and Melbourne-based Cordelia Fine, felt moved this week to publish an open letter deploring the attempt to silence gender identity sceptics with “frequently cruel and abusive rhetoric”. The letter says: “Policymakers and citizens are currently confronting such metaphysical questions about sex and gender as What is a man? What is a lesbian? What makes someone female? Society at large is deliberating over the resolution of conflicting interests in contexts as varied as competitive sport, changing rooms, workplaces and prisons. These discussions are of great importance.”

This month Lawford-Smith interrupted the chorus of bland approval for Victoria’s law, which magically transforms the enduring truth of birth sex into the changeable wish of gender identity. In a Melbourne newspaper she wrote: “Despite the fact that this bill changes what it means to be a person of a particular sex in law, and despite the fact that sex is a protected attribute in both the Victorian Equal Opportunity Act and the Australian Sex Discrimination Act, the group that faces the most sex discrimination — namely female people — have not been consulted about the bill, and the implications of the bill on their legal protections, if any, have not been adequately acknowledged or explored.”

Might horrified fascination with Canada’s #WaxHerBalls case rouse our MPs to ask some hard questions? This week Vancouver-based writer Meghan Murphy (banned from Twitter) issued an “I told you so”. “(The Yaniv case) is precisely what feminists tried to warn politicians, the media, activists and the public would happen should we accept the notion that it is possible for men to ‘identify’ as female. How can we possibly protect women’s boundaries, spaces and rights if men can be women, regardless of their male biology? No woman should be bullied into touching a man’s penis against her will.”

Surprising things keep happening. Early this year at a free-market think tank in Washington, DC, radical feminists and political conservatives made common cause in a public debate on the trans conundrum. “Together they argued that sex was fundamentally biological and not socially constructed, and that there is a difference between women and trans women that needs to be respected,” reports gay conservative blogger Andrew Sullivan. Some may feel schadenfreude recalling the feminist track record of denouncing mainstream research on sex differences as a patriarchal plot. And the anti-trans argument built on biology is a delicate one for gay and lesbian identity.

The whole agonising affair is a reminder that abstruse ideas on campus can turn the world on its head. Without postmodernism and its reality-busting offshoots, who could ever have imagined a troublesome “female penis”?


 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

Friday, July 26, 2019

Sydney University suspends aggressive protest organiser

Bettina Arndt

We have finally learnt that Maddy Ward, the key organiser of the Sydney University protest against me, has actually been given a one semester suspension from her studies next year for misconduct in relation to the protest. She has written about this for an online “progressive” journal,, where she whines about left-wing students being targeted, having codes of conduct used against them by sinister “external figures and organisations”.

Back in June we discovered Ward had been charged with misconduct – she posted on Facebook that she was outraged that I had “weaponised” the bullying and harassment laws against her. Pretty funny, really, because it’s her tribe, the authoritarian left, which was responsible for persuading universities to regulate this type of behaviour.

So now it turns out she’s facing a real publishment, not just a slap on the wrist – mainly because she was subject to a previous suspended misconduct charge over her harassment of an anti-abortion group on campus, where she flashed her tits at the Christian protesters. Ward was also in trouble earlier this year for endorsing violence against Israeli soldiers in the form of a "martyred" female suicide bomber on the front page of the student magazine.

The Australian wrote about the decision today -

The reporter, Rebecca Urban, noted that the University has previously declined to provide details of findings against individual students for privacy reasons, but Maddy Ward  told The Australian that she had been found guilty of breaching the student code of conduct by “unreasonably impeding access to a lecture theatre” and failing to treat members of the public with “respect, dignity, impartiality courtesy and sensitivity”.

The paper quotes Associate Professor Peter McCallum commenting on the decision: “Any findings made in this case are not in any way intended to discourage free speech or protest.”

Yet the fact that the University has imposed a suspension on Ward sends an important signal that expression of free speech does not include screaming students bullying and harassing audiences for campus events and preventing them from accessing the venue.

This serious action puts a lie to Vice Chancellor Michael Spence’s persistent claim that the protest was no big deal. If, as Spence has claimed many times, the fuss about the protest was simply a circus, why would his University derail the young activist’s studies for half a year?

Ms Ward said she would appeal against her suspension. “I know I’m controversial and have quite left-wing views, but there’s a real hypocrisy occurring,” she said. “I do worry about the impact on other students because the code of conduct is impeding on students’ freedom of speech in an invasive and punitive way.”

From protests to trigger warnings: the creeping threats to free speech at our universities

Leading American intellectual Jonathan Haidt says academic freedom at Australian universities is in a healthier state than in the United States but there are danger signs that warrant nationwide action.

Professor Haidt, a social psychologist based at New York University, has held meetings with Education Minister Dan Tehan and academics during a visit to Australia and found indications that free expression is in retreat on campuses, consistent with a global decline in the state of debate.

American intellectual Jonathan Haidt says Australian universities need to act to protect freedoms on campus.
American intellectual Jonathan Haidt says Australian universities need to act to protect freedoms on campus.CREDIT:ANDREW KELLY

American universities have been convulsed by arguments about free expression, with controversies surrounding the free speech of speakers on campus and the ability of academics and students to explore sensitive topics.

Professor Haidt, author of The Coddling of the American Mind, said his experiences in Australia led him to conclude "things are not as bad here but it's starting, so it's vital that your professors and administrators respond consistently to them" by putting safeguards in place.

There were some cases of politically "radical" students shutting down academics and pressure from other lecturers and university administrators.

"If everyone buckles and changes their language, then you will have what we have," he said.

He said protests against controversial speakers, including author Bettina Arndt, pointed to a problem.

"Everyone agrees that students have a right to protest but there is a clear, sharp line. The point at which any student interferes with the ability of another student to listen to another talk is a violation of core academic values," he said.

The violation should be treated as equal to plagiarism and punished accordingly, according to Professor Haidt.

He said rules and norms needed to be enshrined to protect pursuit of truth as a university's ultimate goal that must not be restricted.

Australia's universities are considering a model code to protect free speech and inquiry, proposed by High Court chief justice Robert French in a review commissioned by the Coalition government.

Professor Haidt backed the idea of a code but said the French model, while reasonable, contained "very large loopholes" that could still be deployed against controversial content. This included wording on a university's "duty to foster the wellbeing of staff and students".

Mr Tehan said his meeting with Professor Haidt was "thought-provoking" and the pair agreed it was important to promote a diversity of opinions in academia.

"One message I took away, is that Australia should look at what has happened at universities in the US and the UK and act now to prevent it happening here," Mr Tehan said.

As Australian institutions examine the strengthened protections, Professor Haidt said it was important for academic leaders to be "much more vocal from the moment students arrive on campus through to graduation, they must enforce those norms and punish people who violate those norms in a serious way".

He questioned the growing popularity of trigger warnings and safe spaces in academic environments.

He said there was no evidence that trigger warnings helped students with difficult content and a handful of studies suggested they had no positive effect.

"The way to get over a fear or phobia or PTSD is through repeated exposure to a stimulus in a physically safe environment and that's exactly what a classroom is," he said. "So I think there is no space on a university campus for content warnings."

He also said no classroom should ever be treated as a "safe space" because of the risk it would shut down candid discussion.


Morrison is no Donald Trump or Boris Johnson

Where Trump was committed to upsetting the status quo, Morrison stood for stabilty against Labor's program of destruction

In its cover story on the crisis of conservatism The Economist excoriated right-wing leaders — with Donald Trump as demon-in-chief — and cast Scott Morrison as one of those reactionaries who exploit grievance and betray the true essence of conservative values.

Attacking leaders for their “repudiation” of conservatism, it branded them as “usurpers” who follow in Trump’s path and “are smashing one conservative tradition after another” in tactics designed “to stir up outrage and tribal loyalties”.

Morrison is traduced in the article. The magazine says conservatives should be pragmatic. It continues: “The new right is zealous, ideological and cavalier with the truth. Australia suffers droughts and reef-bleaching seas, but the right has just won an election there under a party whose leader addressed parliament holding a lump of coal like a holy relic.”

Indeed, Morrison is sandwiched in the article between Trump and Italy’s leader of the Northern League, Matteo Salvini, a nationalist and populist who warns about an Islamic caliphate engulfing Europe and who, the magazine reports, has encouraged the anti-vaccination movement in Italy.

Those familiar with the periodic bizarre views of The Economist about Australia may be unsurprised. What is missing in this report is the distinctive politics of each nation. The irony of Morrison’s inclusion as a wrecker of true conservatism is that far from being Trump’s political blood-brother, Morrison is the opposite.

His election success arose not because he followed Trump but because his conservatism, at nearly every point, defied or contrasted with Trump. Morrison will hardly advertise this before his Washington visit where Trump is rolling out the red carpet for him. Trump sees a connection between them, a useful but also a risky image for Morrison.

The President has compared Morrison’s “surprise” win with his own 2016 victory and the Brexit vote in Britain and, no doubt, Morrison’s visit will generate plenty of copy suggesting a Trump-Morrison concord of interests and shared conservative visions.

The real significance, however, of Morrison’s election in terms of global conservatism lies not in his populist duplication of Trump or European reactionaries or the Brexit vote but his adherence to a pragmatic conservatism far more geared to upholding traditions than destroying them. The Economist could not have been more wrong.

Trump, unlike Morrison, campaigned to dismantle the status quo, in his case the Washington establishment. He came as an outside agent to disrupt the system, repudiate internationalism and operate according to a new “America First” rule that meant protection, trade wars, nationalist exclusion and compromise of the US alliance system and global leadership, an agenda guaranteed to create trouble for Australia.

Morrison’s win, against this global backdrop, sent the message from Australia that pragmatic conservative traditionalism is not extinguished. The expected elevation of Boris Johnson as British PM — with his assumed affinity of sorts with Trump and his pledge to take Britain out of Europe — will highlight the different nature of Australian conservatism, contrary to The Economist’s simple-minded generalisations.

Morrison, of course, will not advertise such differences because his interest lies in the best relations possible with Trump and Johnson. But the facts are undeniable. While Trump and Johnson are agents of radical, often dangerous change, Morrison campaigned against dangerous and radical change from the Labor Party and won on this platform. Morrison presented himself as the leader offering trust, reliability and reassurance, hardly the diet of Trump and Johnson. Yet many politicians and media commentators are manifestly confused and cannot grasp what Morrison represents or what drives him.

In the latest Quarterly Essay, Erik Jensen reveals Bill Shorten’s confusion about Morrison. “I don’t know who the real Scott Morrison is sometimes,” Shorten conceded during the campaign. “Is he far right-wing? Is he not? I don’t know. I don’t know.” Shorten, like many commentators, is worried about Morrison’s religion. “I find him a bit hard to interpret,” Shorten said. “I know his Christianity — his Pentecostalism — is very important to him, so — I don’t know how much that is him.”

The progressives seem at a loss. Shorten’s remarks are incredible. If you don’t understand your opponent how can you defeat him? Yet Labor didn’t understand Morrison. For six months it kept running its big-end-of-town rhetorical attack after Morrison replaced Malcolm Turnbull when it was obvious this attack didn’t work against the “common man” Morrison.

The progressives cannot purge their belief that Morrison wants to play the politics of race, religion and security. This is part of their DNA — consider the hysterical claims made about him after the white supremacist Christchurch massacre. Climate change is another trigger. During the campaign a highly emotional Shorten went over the top denouncing Morrison as “a coal-wielding, climate-denying, cave-dweller”.

This reveals an emotional condition of frustrated righteousness that blinds its exponents. Shorten, after refusing to reveal the costs of his own climate change policy, branded his climate change opponents as “malicious and stupid”.

Labor’s problem is that Morrison had a superior and more accurate understanding of the Australian character. Progressives struggle to come to grips with this — it means admitting their view of the country was wrong. The instinctive reflex is denial and they search for a psychological explanation that excuses their failures and blames Morrison. There are several options — that Morrison is a religious freak or a milder version of Trump or too devoid of any vision to run the country efficiently.

Nowhere is this confusion greater than the critique that Morrison won on an unacceptably limited agenda, thereby overlooking the reality that if Morrison had run on a more ambitious agenda giving Labor a better target then he would have lost. After the chaos of previous years it would have been electoral suicide for Morrison to roll out a big reform agenda that his critics now profess to miss. Morrison was astute enough to recognise the obvious.

He ran on trust, reliability and economic delivery. In a fashion typical of John Howard or Robert Menzies, Morrison rejected Labor’s class warfare theme. He decided Australia wasn’t a broken polity, that unlike the US it didn’t have a busted middle class without health insurance or proper school education. He decided the public didn’t want sweeping changes or the vast agenda of taxes and spending offered by Labor.

“This is the thing Australians really baulk at,” Morrison said before polling day. With voter distrust of politicians at an all-time high, Morrison said the public’s attitude was Labor will “stuff it up and won’t deliver on what they promised”. Morrison’s calculation was that the “quiet Australians” had no stomach for grand plans or ambitious reforms — they just wanted economic delivery they could rely on.

Morrison corrected for the mistakes of his predecessors: Tony Abbott was too ideological; Turnbull could not appeal to conservative voters because he was not a conservative. Morrison is a social conservative elected against Peter Dutton by the Liberal Party moderates. The logic of this vote defines his politics — a traditional, pragmatic conservatism tinged with some liberal instincts, spurning ideological aggression but reflecting the Howard legacy of border protection and national security vigilance.

As Morrison said, he will seek to govern “from the middle” while his opponents will be desperate to deny any such successful strategy. Morrison’s model is apparent — restrain spending but back the compassion politics of the NDIS and mental health; support a religious discrimination act but not a religious freedom act; support constitutional recognition but not the voice to parliament.

The trick, of course, is whether he can maintain economic growth without a far more ambitious reform agenda.


Global order, climate targets for newcomers

A crumbling global order and the fight against climate change are the key targets for Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott’s successors in parliament.

Wentworth Liberal MP Dave Sharma and Warringah independent Zali Steggall joined a host of other new MPs who gave their maiden speeches in parliament yesterday.

Mr Sharma, Australia’s former ambassador to Israel, warned that the decline of the US and the rise of China meant Australia needed a more independent foreign policy, even if it meant missing out on trade and market opportunities. “Our strategic holiday is over,” he told the house yesterday.

“Our neighbourhood is getting tougher; the certainties on which we’ve depended for decades are no longer so certain; and we will need to rely more on ourselves, and less on others, in safeguarding our freedoms and our independence.

“At times, we may need to pay an economic or political price — a trade opportunity forgone, a market missed, a bumpy period in diplomatic relations — in order to retain our freedom of action as an independent and sovereign nat­ion, or to stand up for values we support, or to uphold key principles in the current global order.”

The new MP for Wentworth echoed Mr Turnbull in calling for greater investment in technology start-ups and argued for more political stability safeguarded by four-year parliamentary terms.

“During my time as Australia’s ambassador to Israel, I dealt with only one Israeli prime minister, but I served four different Australian prime ministers,” he said.

Ms Steggall, who defeated Mr Abbott in the Sydney seat of Warringah on a platform of tackling climate change, said conservatives needed to lead on the environment and pointed to another conservative leader, former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher. “In the 1980s, a conservative Thatcher government led the way in banning CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) in the atmosphere,” Ms Steggall said.

“Thatcher’s words to the UN General Assembly in 1989 are ­appropriate today: ‘We carry common burdens, face common problems and must respond with common action.’

“I urge this 46th parliament to be remembered for developing a comprehensive plan to decarbonise every polluting sector by 2050 and then putting it into action.”

Ms Steggall became emotional as she recalled her time in 1998 as a bronze medal-winning Winter Olympian.

“It was a long hard and often lonely road, with many sacrifices but ultimately so rewarding as I took Australia to the peak of alpine skiing,” she said. “I felt a huge sense of responsibility representing Australia … especially when carrying the Australian flag into the closing ceremony in Nagano.”


 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

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Devastated junior footy team has all their competition points stripped because they are TOO GOOD

This absurdity springs from the Leftist obsession with  equality.  But people are not equal and never will be.  It's grossly unjust that people are arbitrarily denied the fairly won fruits of their efforts. Australia is not the Soviet Union yet

It would be different if the competition was unfair.  That does happen. St. Joseph's college at Nudgee in Brisbane in 2010 tried to pull a fast one on those lines.  They recruited a substantial number of Polynesian students using scholarships.  Polynesians tend to be rather large.  They then fielded a Rugby football team that was mainly comprised of Polynesians, who were markedly larger than the Caucasian players from other schools. 

Such matches were swiftly stopped for the safety of the players in the other teams. Some teams refused to field with them at all. Another prominent Catholic college threatened to ban their students from playing Rugby altogether. So Nudgee's attempt to gain an unfair advantage just disrupted the fixtures and earned them scorn for bad sportmanship.

A junior football team has been stripped of its shot at a premiership because its players are too good.

The West Australian Football Commission has stripped South Coogee Junior Football Club's Year 10 A division team of all of its premiership points and given them a $500 good behaviour bond.

This was reportedly in reaction to five of the six A team players refused to move to a B division team, which has been struggling to win its league matches.

That means any team playing against the South Coogee A team in the remaining six games is automatically awarded a win - with a victory margin pre-set at 60 points.

The WAFC's attempt to even the competition has left players and parents devastated.

'It is just a shame because these are just young boys who want to play footy yet they are forced to face the politics that goes on behind the scenes, at such a young age,' a club source told WAtoday.

'And the WAFC and other officials wonder why so many are turning their back on footy to play other sports like soccer.

'The reality is, both teams will probably leave and not play next year because of all of this.'

The football team was split after South Fremantle junior competition director Mark Brookes moved a proposal to WAFC in February this year.

The permission was granted on the condition that both teams need to be competitive.

South Coogee's A division team was selected with those who wanted to advance to a higher level and the B division team had players 'who just wanted to play the game with their mates.'

Initially, the teams were supposed to play in A and C divisions, but South Coogee had to field its 'second' team in division B after another football club Willeton withdrew from division C.

The C division team was forced to play in the B division.

WAFC and officials from South Coogee Junior Football have been contacted for their comments.


‘I’d do it again if I could’: Tourists’ defiant Uluru comments

It's our heritage too.  It's basically a public property so why are we discriminated against in favour of one small religious group?  It's a major tourist drawcard so the ban will be a big hit on the tourist industry

A sign sits at the base of Uluru, imploring visitors to reconsider scaling Australia’s most famous natural landmark — an act that is deeply offensive to traditional landowners.

And yet day after day Australian and international tourists walk past the sign and scale the iconic rock, eager to tick the experience off their bucket lists before a total climbing ban comes into effect on October 26, this year.

As the deadline grows closer the pace of visitors is increasing with many insisting it is their right to climb Uluru and urging others to do the same.

In a number of Facebook groups, including those where backpackers look for farm work, tourists and Australians comment that people need to “chill out” about the rock and encourage others to make the climb.

In one post, a German tourist posted a picture of herself standing at the top of Uluru and said, “I would do it again if I could”.

Another person in the group said “climbing it is fun” and described the view as “fantastic”.

A man from Sydney also encouraged people to climb, attaching a laughing emoji to the end of his comment. “Climb it like every other rock on the planet,” he said. “People need to chill the f**k out, it’s like they’ve all given birth to this rock.”

Another tourist said they didn’t “give a s**t”. “Have climbed it and definitely worth it. I dont give a s**t,” they wrote.

In the same group, an Aussie described climbing the sacred rock as a “birthright”. “Australians have a birthright to climb Uluru. Regardless see ya there in 2020, ” he said.

Uluru senior custodian Sammy Wilson told ABC’s 7.30program on Monday night that tourists were increasingly aware of the cultural significance of the area to the indigenous people. “I’ve noticed more and more people are coming on tours to learn from us Anangu (the traditional owners),” Mr Wilson said. “I enjoy people asking about and wanting to learn about our country.”

Yawuru woman Shannan Dodson, who works as an Indigenous affairs adviser for Media Diversity Australia and is on the committee for NAIDOC week, told that Uluru should have the same significance as other sacred sites around the world.

“The issue around climbing Uluru is that it is a sacred place and at the end of the day, when you see how much the world rallied around the destruction of Notre Dame and how significant that is, people understand there are sacred places based around culture and religion,” she said.

“The fact you can’t then translate that to Uluru having the same significance is undermining. “For me, it feels like Western cultures and values are always elevated above other cultures and values. It’s saying Aboriginal cultures and values are less important. It’s just a thinking that we’re less than them and that our culture and values don’t matter.”

In November 2017, the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Board started the countdown to when the climb would be closed permanently.

The date of October 26, 2019 was put forward — a significant day for the Anangu indigenous community because it was that day in 1985 that the government returned ownership of the land to the traditional owners.

But since setting the date, the number of people climbing Uluru has skyrocketed.

Before park management announced it was closing the climb, about 140 people were climbing Uluru each day.

Since then, the number has doubled and at times tripled to 300-500 daily visitors.

In early July, a photo taken at the base of Uluru went viral after it showed hordes of tourists snaking up the rock face.

The Anangu traditional land owners say tourists are leaving rubbish bins overflowing, illegally dumping human waste from caravans along the roadside, and have made Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park the “busiest they’ve seen it”.

“There’s cars parked for one kilometre on either side of the road leading up to the carpark at the base,” an unnamed photographer who supplied the photo to the ABC said.

Traditional landowners are devastated by the masses rushing to climb Uluru before the cut-off date and ignoring the fact the act is deeply offensive.

“It makes me sick looking at this photo at the disrespect and disregard shown for the traditional owners’ wishes,” a spokesperson from the Darug Custodian Aboriginal Corporation said.

“Not only do people climb it but they defecate, urinate and discard nappies and rubbish on it.

“I for one cannot wait for the climb to be permanently closed and our sacred lore, culture and traditions to be acknowledged and respected.”

At least 35 people have died while attempting to climb Uluru, and many others have been injured. From 2011 to 2015, the climb was closed 77 per cent of the time due to dangerous weather conditions or cultural reasons.


'Bad science': Australian studies found to be unreliable, compromised

Hundreds of scientific research papers published by Australian scientists have been found to be unreliable or compromised, fuelling calls for a national science watchdog.

For the first time, a team of science writers behind Retraction Watch has put together a database of compromised scientific research in Australia.

Over the past two decades, 247 scientific research papers - some associated with the country's most reputable universities - have been found to be compromised.

The database reveals the scale of scientific misconduct in Australia, although senior scientists claim it is just the tip of the iceberg.

"The public should be concerned. Almost 250 [papers], that’s a number that many people would find unconscionably high," said Professor Simon Gandevia, deputy director of Neuroscience Research Australia. "The public should be aware the bulk of medical research in Australia is paid for by the taxpayer. You are paying for this."

Among the cases is a researcher at the University of New South Wales, who designed a drug to treat skin cancer that was trialled on humans. Although an investigation by the university made no findings of error, a research paper about the drug was retracted due to concerns about the accuracy of some of the scientific data behind it.

Five other papers, which the same scientist was involved in, have also been retracted, the last being voluntary.

In 2017, researchers at the University of Melbourne had to retract a study on a possible treatment for motor neurone disease after it was discovered the work made false claims based on inadvertently duplicated images. The research was severely compromised and the paper was withdrawn.

In May this year, research on wind turbines by scientists at the University of Tasmania was retracted from the Energy Science and Engineering journal due to issues with the peer review process - the independent scientific assessment of the study's accuracy.  "The retraction has been agreed ... due to evidence indicating the peer review of the paper was compromised," the journal said.

In 2016, a former University of Queensland professor pleaded guilty to 17 fraud-related charges relating to Parkinson's disease research.

The scale of the problem strengthens the case for the government to establish a "bad science" watchdog, Professor Gandevia said.

Countries, including the USA, have a government agency charged with investigating scientists.

Professor David Vaux, deputy director of the Melbourne-based Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, said he has seen dozens of cases of possible scientific misconduct.

"Researchers are under tremendous pressure, and falsifying data is the easy way out," he said. "In Australia, universities and institutes self regulate, so they’re able to cover it up, and they rarely resist this temptation. "When I raise this, I worry people will say you cannot trust scientists and that would be a disaster. There is a lot of good science.

"The problem is the Australian model of self regulation, which is a problem because of conflicts of interest. Australian researchers are no better or worse than those from other countries, but unlike other countries, Australia does not have a national office to handle these concerns."

Professor Vaux said it was extremely difficult to get a journal to retract a paper, and many more problematic papers go unretracted, meaning the 247 retractions were "just the tip of the iceberg".

Professor Gandevia and Professor Vaux have been campaigning to establish an Australian Office of Research Integrity – essentially a bad science watchdog, empowered to investigate academics. They took the proposal to Health Minister Greg Hunt 18 months ago, and believed he was supportive.

But the proposal has stalled, which the professors attribute to strong opposition from Universities Australia.

Catriona Jackson, chief executive of Universities Australia, strongly denied suggestions the institutions did not invite scrutiny, and pointed to a new Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research which has been put in place.

"We are not opposed to an office of research integrity, but note that a number of other mechanisms for monitoring research integrity and quality are in place," she said in a statement.

"Researchers must comply with [the] new code or face strong sanctions including repercussions for their employment at an institution, loss of public funding, and even the potential for criminal procedures in cases of very serious breaches."

The response to retractions from universities varies widely.

After being contacted by The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald about scientific research papers which had been retracted, the University of New England and Griffith University both launched investigations.

The University of Tasmania said it "does not disclose details of matters concerning individual students or staff members".

The University of NSW said no findings of misconduct had been made against the professor with six retracted papers. "In each case and when considered together, where errors were identified by the panels, they were found to be unintentional and not affecting scientific conclusions in published papers," a spokeswoman said.

The University of Melbourne said it received a formal complaint about the paper that was later retracted, and conducted its own investigation. Disciplinary action was taken against the academics involved, a spokesman said.


Wind farm bird kills ‘should be revealed’

Wind farms should be forced to detail eagle, bird and bat deaths and other environmental impacts on a public online register and face tougher controls on the use of independent experts, Aust­ralia’s Wind Farm Commissioner has said.

In response to concerns about the impact of wildlife, Commissioner Andrew Dyer said his recommendations for tougher noise monitoring controls should be extended to environmental harm.

Former Greens leader Bob Brown has objected to a wind farm development in Tasmania because of its visual impact and potential to kill eagles and shore birds. Other wind farm projects have killed many birds, particularly raptors.

A spokesman for Dr Brown said he did not wish to comment, and the office of federal Greens leader Richard Di Natale did not respond to questions.

Wind industry enthusiasts have said more birds are killed by tall buildings, cars and cats.

The use of independent ­experts to estimate the impact of wind farms on animals has been controversial, with accusations of poor data-handling and the ­deletion of nesting and sighting records.

Wind farm developments engage­ experts to estimate the ­potential impact on wildlife. Post-construction monitoring of existing wind farm developments has often shown that the impact on bird life has been worse than ­anticipated.

Despite strict guidelines on how bird and animal losses should be offset, critics argue that little has been done to force wind farm companies to act.

Mr Dyer said his recommend­ations for tougher reporting and reviews of noise issues should also apply to birds.

“Different independent experts should be used before and after projects are commissioned and findings should be properly audited,” he said.

In his latest annual report, the commissioner said the design and approval of a proposed wind farm relies heavily on third-party consultants to prepare a range of ­reports, including assessments ­related to noise, visual amenity, shadow flicker, aviation impact and various environmental ­assessments.

Many of the assessment ­reports rely on complex calculations or results from predictive computer modelling.

Once the wind farm is built, experts are often re-engaged to carry out post-construction ­assessments.

These assessment reports use data from the wind farm, but still rely on assumptions and modelling to analyse the collected data.

“It is very common practice that experts engaged to perform the design assessments and ­reports during the planning phase are the same experts engaged by the developer to perform the post-construction assessments,” Mr Dyer said.

“There is certainly scope for a much better separation between the experts used for the predictive assessments used in the design, versus the experts used for the post-construction assessments of a wind farm, along with the ­addition of audits of the expert­’s work.”


 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