Tuesday, July 16, 2019

'I don't get it': Pauline Hanson says Australians SHOULD be able to climb Uluru - and compares the 'ridiculous' ban to shutting down Bondi Beach

Pauline Hanson has slammed the looming ban on climbing Uluru and compared shutting down the iconic rock to closing Bondi Beach.

The One Nation leader said the sacred rock should remain open for climbing because 'we've been climbing the Ayers Rock, or Uluru, for many years'.

'People have been climbing the rock all of these years and now all of a sudden they want to shut it down?,' Ms Hanson told Deb Knight on Channel Nine's Today.

'I really don't get it. And how are they going to pay back the Australian taxpayer?'

Uluru will be closed off to climbers in October after a decision was made to prevent future scaling of the sacred site. 

Senator Hanson said the upcoming closure of the climb was 'ridiculous', pointing out that it provided significant revenue to the local indigenous community.

'The Australian taxpayers put in millions, hundreds of millions of dollars into it and they're wanting another $27.5 million to upgrade the airport there for the resort,' she said.

'Now the resort has only returned $19 million to the taxpayers only just recently. It employs over 400 people there, 38 per cent are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

'The fact is, it's money-making. It's giving jobs to indigenous communities, and you've got thousands of tourists who go there every year and want to climb the rock.'

Senator Hanson said the ban was 'no different to coming out and saying, 'We're going to close down Bondi Beach because there are some people that have drowned'. How ridiculous is that?'

Radio host Steve Price supported Sentaor Hanson's stance and said he felt keeping the climb open would be more beneficial than closing it.

'We go on the outside of the Harbour Bridge, we dive the Barrier Reef,' he said.

'What we should be doing is assisting the local indigenous population to make this a growing tourism concern. We've seen, apparently, a huge spike in people that want to climb it since the announcement it's going to close in October.'

Mr Price said he saw no issue with keeping the climb open so long as it was 'well managed'.

Last week Senator Hanson wrote a letter to Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt saying she hoped the park managers would change their mind and keep the climb open, The Australian reported.

'My greatest fear is the closure of the climb will only lead to a gradual but significant decrease in tourist numbers to the national park that will cripple indigenous jobs and risk tourist number dropping in nearby towns, including Alice Springs,' she wrote.

'We're so quick to shut everything down these days due to cultural sensitivity and fear of hurting the environmental.

'We're becoming more and more of a nanny state every year and I think it's a crying shame for adventurous outdoorsy people who enjoy real-life experiences instead of simply watching National Geographic shows on TV.

In the 12 months to June 2019, more than 395,000 people visited the Uluru-Kata National Park, according to Parks Australia, about 20 percent more than the previous year.

Yet just 13 percent of those who visited also climbed the rock, the government agency said.

Tourism operators say that Australian and Japanese tourists most commonly seek to climb Uluru.

The Aboriginal connection to the site dates back tens of thousands of years and it has great spiritual and cultural significance to them.

'Since the hand back of Uluru and Kata Tjuta to traditional owners in 1985, visitors have been encouraged to develop an understanding and respect for Anangu and their culture,' a spokesperson for Parks Australia said.

'This is reflected in the 'please don't climb' message,' they added.

Lyndee Severin from Curtin Springs station and roadhouse, one of just a few camping venues within 100 kilometres of Uluru, said 'the vast majority of people are doing the right thing' but hundreds were setting up illegally by the side of the road or down a bush track.

'So we have some people that think that the rules don't apply to them,' she told AFP.  


Australia's crap new submarines

The Collins boats never worked properly but the new French ones will be even more useless

Australia’s defence outlook is changing rapidly and new defence minister Linda Reynolds faces a daunting task.

She is being bombarded with material from defence officials defending what are increasingly obvious past mistakes or strategies in danger of becoming obsolete.

The submarine contract and the joint strike fighter (JSF) are at the top of the list with yet another defence expert warning over the weekend that technology change is endangering the $90 billion French submarine gamble.

The Australian submarine contract is vital for France and its president. Accordingly Reynolds was last week feted by President Emmanuel Macron at the historic French port of Cherbourg in Normandy, which was developed by Napoleon and was a key target in the D-Day invasion.

And the international political pressure is even more intense on the JSF front. There are many reasons why our prime minister is being invited to dine at the White House but one of them is to make doubly sure Australia does not follow Canada and turn its back on the JSF.

My readers are well aware of the JSF problems but at least our entrapment is part of the US alliance.

US defence is actually appalled at our incredible costly submarine gamble because it lessens our ability be an effective force in the Pacific and Indian oceans for the foreseeable future.

The ABC reports that former government defence adviser Derek Woolner and fellow researcher David Glynne Jones say that Australia’s objective to produce a “regionally superior” submarine is “now under challenge” and by the time the new submarine hits the water around 2034 “it’s going to be obsolete”.

Woolner says our submarine is to be built with a heavy metal main battery, as part of a process already initiated under a contract signed by France’s Naval Group company and MTU Friedrichshafen for diesel generator sets.

“A number of countries in the region are already proceeding to build boats around lithium-ion batteries that promise something like five to six times the submerged stealthy performance and a great deal more high-speed performance than you can get from a lead-acid battery submarine”, Woolner reveals.

I am not a submarine expert but I have never seen anything like the succession of alerts that surround our massive submarine contract.

They start with the delivery time---crucial to Australia’s defence.

In February 2015 then prime minister Tony Abbott said the new submarines would enter into service by the mid-2020s. A few months later Kevin Andrews, then defence minister, said it would be 2026-27. It’s now 2034 but it turns out that the Barracuda project in France is a disaster and is three or four years behind schedule so that will inevitably delay the Australian submarine closer to 2040. By 2034, let alone 2040, there will be a whole new generation of submarines. Abbott was right they had to start being operational in the mid 2020s.

But Australia was subject to a brilliant marketing campaign by the French.

The French tender for the Australian submarine was led by the then minister for defence, socialist Jean-Yves Le Drian (now foreign minister). Le Drian’s initial plan was to sell Australia France’s Barracuda nuclear submarine and to offer a link with the French nuclear industry, including fuel rod production, a nuclear energy reactor, and a desalinisation plant in Australia.

He soon discovered that this plan had no hope of being sold to the Australians, but out of that came a plan to use the much larger nuclear submarine hull with diesel electric rather than nuclear power and the pump-jet rather than propeller system. It had never been done before.

Le Drian concluded that the legendary head of the French naval industrial operation HervĂ© Guillou was the wrong person on push the deal through the Australian defence decision-making system. He appointed Marie-Pierre de Bailliencourt as effectively Guillou’s second in command.

The Marie-Pierre de Bailliencourt vision and selling was magnificent. Guillou’s Naval Group would deliver to Australia the opportunity for a unique partnership with the French to design and deliver a regionally superior submarine over which Australia would have the sovereign capacity to operate and sustain over its life. Not surprisingly she was dumped soon after the selling was done.

In April 2016, in announcing the contract, then Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull was definitive and all 12 submarines would be built in Adelaide ---- that was the Marie-Pierre de Bailliencourt deal. But the French headquarters intended to build the first two in France and announced that 4000 people would be required in France.

Then came the cost. Australia originally announced that the $50 billion cost estimate was after adjusting for inflation. It was a shock figure and more than double the $20 billion firm tender from Germany.

Then last year defence dramatically lifted the cost to around $80 billion (probably because of building the first two submarines in Australia).

Then add $10 billion for the combat system, which is useful for a submarine, and we have a total cost of around $90 billion. Maintenance costs are likely to take it above $200 billion over the submarines’ life.

And as it happens it looks like the Adelaide facility can’t do all the work and defence wants part of it shifted. More cost.

But we have also hit a second technology problem. Hydraulics expert Aidan Morrison’s detailed research paper last year showed that the while the pump-jet system works well with nuclear submarines, at the slow pace required for diesel electric it fails.

After a long delay, defence countered by claiming that pump-jets could be efficient across the entire speed range. Morrison responded: “It is a bizarre, irrational claim with no basis whatsoever in physics. It is frankly bewildering that such a claim could be made, given how easily its falsehood can be established by even moderate research, or simple logic.”

We have just seen in the current trade war between China and the US how important a local supply chain is in defence. The supply chain is more important that the actual assembly. The supply chain has to be integrated into the design. There are few signs that is happening.

Indonesia is buying three South Korean submarines for $US500 million each

Maybe we will be lucky and after spending $90 billion we will have 12 better submarines in 20 or 30 years, but by that time the Indonesians will be buying 2040 technology and they will have had submarine superiority over Australia for two decades.


Amazing:  Australias's leading Greenie is AGAINST a wind farm

He's now in his mid-70s.  Is the usual turn to conservatism with age getting him too?

Former Greens leader and veteran activist Bob Brown is campaigning to stop a $1.6 billion wind farm development in Tasmania because it will spoil the view and kill birds.

The proposed Robbins Island wind farm in Tasmania’s northwest will be one of the world’s biggest, with up to 200 towers measuring 270m high from ground to blade tip.

If it goes ahead, electricity from the Robbins Island project will be sent to the mainland via a new ­undersea cable to help make Tasmania a “battery for the nation”.

But in a letter to local media and on his foundation’s website, Dr Brown has slammed the project, which he said had echoes of earlier attempts to build skyscrapers in Hobart which were stopped by protests.

Despite the criticisms levelled at former prime minister Tony Abbott and treasurer Joe Hockey for describing wind turbines as “ugly”, Dr Brown said the Robbins Island plan was, visually, a step too far. “Mariners will see this hairbrush of tall towers from 50km out to sea and elevated landlubbers will see it, like it or not, from greater distances on land,” Dr Brown said. “Its eye-catchiness will divert from every coastal scene on the western Bass Strait coastline.”

Dr Brown, who fought against Queensland’s Adani coal mine, said the world needed renewable energy to replace fossil fuels, and fast, but the Robbins Island wind farm “is an aileron too far”.

He said the public had not been properly informed of the private deals, or public impacts or cost-benefit analyses (economic, social, cultural and environmental) of what would be one of the biggest wind farm projects on Earth. He said details of the arrangements between the Hammond family, which farmed wagyu beef and owned the land, and developer UPC Renewables were not known. “Tasmanians have a right to know much more about the Robbins Island development,” Dr Brown said. “It is a huge resource extraction venture which will be lighting up no Tasmanian homes.”

Dr Brown’s opposition is shared by some locals, including the Nietta Action Group, which is fighting both the wind farm and a transmission line.

Members of the Nietta Action Group told The Australian last month that natural values would be destroyed if the planned transmission line across Leven Canyon went ahead. Others have raised concerns about whether a walled causeway to the island, as part of the project, would interrupt tidal flows, damaging the vital sandflat ecosystems.

However, Anton Rohner, chief executive of UPC Renewables, and the Hammond wagyu beef farming family, last month told The Australian expert modelling suggested several bridge sections in the causeway would avoid ­adverse impacts.

“We are cattle people; we love the environment,” said Alex Hammond. “Part of our brand, which sells our beef around the world, is that we are in the cleanest, greenest area in the world.

“So we certainly don’t want to do anything to impact on that.” Dr Brown sparked anger in central Queensland during the election campaign when he led a convoy of anti-coal activists to coalmining towns in protest against the Adani coalmine. The intervention was credited by some pundits with driving voters away from Labor and to the ­Coalition in the May 18 election.

In his letter on the wind farm, Dr Brown wrote: “Besides the impact on the coastal scenery, wind turbines kill birds. Wedge-tailed eagle and white-bellied sea eagles nest and hunt on the island. Swift parrots and orange-bellied parrots traverse the island on their migrations.”

He listed the multiple species of international migratory, endangered and critically endangered shorebirds that used the wetlands for six months of the year. They included Australian fairy tern, fork-tailed swift, little tern, white-throated needletail, ruddy turnstone, sharp-tailed sandpiper, sanderling, red knot, curlew sandpiper, red-necked stint, great knot, double-banded plover, greater sand plover, lesser sand plover, Latham’s snipe, bar-tailed godwit, eastern curlew, whimbrel, golden plover, grey plover, grey-tailed tattler, common greenshank, terek sandpiper, hooded plover.

“For which of these species will the wind farm be the thousandth cut?” Dr Brown asked.

He said the transmission lines for the wind farm were planned to cut through wild and scenic Tasmania, including the northeast Tarkine forests, to link up with a new export cable beneath Bass Strait. “In the name of private ­enterprise, why not UPC build its own cable under the Strait from Robbins Island straight to wherever,” Dr Brown said.

UPC said the project was ­located close to the Australian Energy Market Operator’s (AEMO) proposed second interconnector between Tasmania and Victoria.

“Once built, it will complement the Prime Minister’s recently announced strategy for Tasmanian wind and hydro systems to act as southeast Australia’s renewable energy battery,” the company said. The project faces local and federal regulatory hurdles and unrest about the citing of both the Robbins Island wind farms and the transmission line. Dr Brown said Tasmania already had more than enough electricity to meet its own needs and UPC was a multinational corporation with projects in China, The Philippines and Indonesia.

“Beyond the indisputable environmental losses, what is the guaranteed money this giant venture is returning to the state of Tasmania as against UPC’s foreign stakeholders?’’ he asked.


The Labor party's new identity-obsessed faith is not a winner

They have given up on the workers and the workers have given up on them

Labor is searching for answers to explain its long losing streak. Its internal review will likely produce standard frank and fearless advice about improving communication, democratising the party to engage the base, increasing membership, tapping into grassroots movements and closing the credibility gap. But the problems besetting Labor cannot be resolved by perception management. The party is floundering in no-man’s land.

Throughout the election campaign, former Labor leader Bill Shorten struggled to convince voters he could be trusted. He could win a debating point and led the party to poll favourably on some policy issues, but his lack of popular appeal persisted.

The credibility gap was more than political. Shorten could not master the narrative because Labor could not reconcile its origins as a party of the working class with the identity politics that has come to consume it.

The extent of the crisis engulfing Labor was revealed in Queensland last week. It has been a horror year for the state’s resources industry: six workers have died in mines and quarries. Despite the tragedies, the government’s mining safety committee did not meet for months. The reason? It did not have enough women to meet the Labor government’s gender target.

Premier Annastacia Palasz­czuk has been vocal in support of a 50 per cent gender equity target for boards by next year. Queensland’s Coal Mining Safety and Health Advisory Committee, tasked with providing advice to the minister, went missing in action during a critical period because it did not satisfy Labor’s gender agenda.

One might expect a degree of outrage that Labor appears to have put political correctness before basic human rights. Between the Labor Left’s war on mines and the Right’s PC elitism, all that’s left for workers is outdated class-war rhetoric.

Ironically, Palaszczuk once attributed Labor’s electoral defeats to the party losing its way. She thought the recovery of core principles, such as workers’ rights, would pave the way to redemption. Yet at a critical juncture her government failed to practise good governance to safeguard workers. Nothing quite captures the dire state of modern Labor like miners dying on the job while the party prioritises gender ideology.

But the Western left’s transition from a movement of workers’ rights and legal equality to a party of political correctness and affirmative action seems irreversible.

The decline in support for left-wing parties is partly attributable to the popular backlash against PC. One response has been to turn hard left. The discredited ideology of socialism is making a comeback.

Red chic is returning to campuses teeming with undergraduates born long after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The Centre for Independent Studies commissioned research into the trend of youth lurching left. The survey of young Australians found 58 per cent of those born between 1980 and 1996 held a favourable opinion of socialism. University-educated millennials were particularly susceptible to seeing socialism through rose-coloured glasses: 63 per cent viewed it favourably.

Young people are turning a deeper shade of red in the US, too. A poll published by Axios this year found that American youth were more willing to embrace socialism than previous generations. Sixty-one per cent of people aged between 18 and 24 had a positive reaction to the word socialism. As observed in many polls, fond feelings for socialism tend to decrease as citizens mature. Overall, 39 per cent of Americans were “well-disposed toward socialism”.

The US Democrats are trying to spin gold from the revival of red chic. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a socialist-leaning Democrat who made this year’s Time 100 most influential people list. She has joined three other female Democrats — Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley — in pushing the barrow for open borders and divisive identity politics.

To understand where leading American socialists sit on the scale of sense and sensibility, consider recent comments made by Bernie Sanders. In an interview with Teen Vogue, he said: “As president, what I will do is not only help transform the energy system of this country away from fossil fuels but bring the entire planet together.” He has yet to provide a strategic plan for the glorious planetary unification.

The left’s experiment with socialism has taken a turn for the worse in Britain, where Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is dealing with fresh allegations of anti-Semitism from numerous former party officials. The BBC interviewed more than 20 former officials and uncovered up to 1000 allegations of anti-Semitism. Labour leaders have rejected the claims.

Corbyn has a long record of sympathising with Islamists and communism. The BBC revealed that his communications chief, Seamus Milne, “worked for a magazine produced by the Communist Party of Great Britain”.

Corbyn hired Andrew Murray for his campaign team. Murray was a Communist Party member who has publicly praised terrorists such as Joseph Stalin. After The Independent reported on Murray’s “Stalinist” sympathies, Corbyn said he was just “a democratic socialist and member of the Labour Party like me”. The British seem unconvinced about the supposedly harmless nature of Corbyn & co. A recent YouGov poll for The Times showed that only 18 per cent of respondents said they would vote Labour. It is the worst result since polling began.

Despite the failure of socialism as a political project, the ALP is set to hire an apparent Corbyn fancier as national secretary. Brad Norington reported in The Australian the other day that Paul Erickson is favoured to take the coveted role. Erickson has described Corbyn as “within the mainstream of post-war social democracy” and praised his politics.

Australians voted against Labor’s class-war rhetoric at the election. They rejected its weak position on national sovereignty and border security. They refused to vote for identity politics and social division. Whoever takes the role of rebuilding Labor will need all the skills of a master craftsman. It is unclear what foundations of the party still stand. All that remains is the ghost of class warfare and the sound of PC fury signifying nothing.


How to become a philanthropist


The Australian’s recently published list of the country’s 250 richest people made for interesting reading.

Of course, financial success is only one measure of a fruitful life, and wealth alone will not secure good health and happiness, the two most important ingredients to a fulfilling life.

Australia will see an intergenerational wealth transfer of an estimated $2.4 trillion during the coming two decades. So what will those people with great wealth do with the fruits of their success?

Some are already generously supporting a range of good causes.

Alfred Felton, who died as a bachelor in 1904, left a considerable sum of £383,163 in his will that established the Felton Bequest.

After 115 years, the corpus has grown to almost $50 million, with half distributed between selected Victorian charitable organisations (particularly those benefiting women and children) and the other half to purchase works of art for donation to the National Gallery of Victoria.

Valued at more than $2 billion, his is the most valuable bequest to the arts in Australia. Alfred Felton lives forever.

For those with families, the question in this era of extraordinary wealth is how much do you need to leave children and grandchildren — $10m each, $50m, $100m?

For many, even after they have provided for their family, there will be substantial sums left that could ensure they also do great work long after their passing.

Many today are living well, as they deserve to, but what about altruistic pursuits such as tackling social problems and providing support to those who are vulnerable and in need, or supporting research and innovation?

It’s common for parents to want to help their children, but I would encourage readers to think about establishing a family charitable foundation as a way of creating a lasting legacy and involving family members in a common altruistic goal.

Giving by bequest in Australia remains low. In 2012 only 7.6 per cent of final wills had a direct charitable bequest, and charitable bequests accounted for only 2.7 per cent of the total value of estates.

Setting up a charitable foundation during your lifetime is a very satisfying pursuit and one I would encourage people to approach with strategic intent. By choosing one or two causes or organisations to support in a meaningful manner (rather than spreading your giving too thinly) you will improve the long-term social impact.

It also helps take the surprise factor out of a family’s decision to leave a portion of its wealth to charity.

And involving younger generations in a family foundation helps foster that culture of giving — down the track families are aware of the intentions of loved ones and understand what plans are in place for their parents’ or grandparents’ estates.

Through my role at Equity Trustees Ltd, a trustee company, I have seen first-hand that it is common for family members to challenge a will in which a charity has received a large bequest.

However, if someone has set up a charitable foundation during their lifetime and received a tax deduction for donations made to it, then the foundation does not form part of the estate — it’s a separate pool of funds whose income and capital can be used only for charitable purposes.

The number of philanthropic foundations is growing, along with a greater understanding about the charitable causes needing support.

There is also an increased sense among ageing baby boomers that they want to support these causes in a concerted, strategic manner. In the same way they have operated successful businesses or have been valued executives and managers, they want to direct their skills and experience towards their philanthropy and get actively involved.

There are two tax-effective ways to become an active philanthropist. The first is to set up a private ancillary fund. In this case the founders receive a tax deduction for the funds initially invested and any subsequent contributions, and they have a say in the investments and grants.

An option requiring less capital to seed is a sub-fund established under the umbrella of a public ancillary fund managed by a corporate trustee or community foundation that takes care of the administration and investments.

In the case of a public ancillary fund, the sub-fund generates income from its investments in a tax-free environment, with a minimum 4 per cent of the value of the fund distributed each year. The founders also can receive tax deductions for any additional donations into it.

So instead of making individual tax-deductible donations directly to charities and reducing your taxable income that way, you donate the same amount to your sub-fund and receive the same tax deduction while your fund generates income and capital growth in a tax-free environment.

I congratulate those who have been successful, and that success has resulted in great wealth. But with so much money in the hands of so many, I hope that some, like Felton, may make a decision to live forever.


 Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

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