Friday, July 05, 2019

Morrison burns the Labor party

The Prime Minister has secured the four crossbench votes it needs to pass its $158 billion tax cut package in a deal that secures a key election promise

As at this morning, Labor is looking rudderless.

Despite the announcements from the two Centre Alliance Senators and Jacqui Lambie, Opposition Treasury spokesman Jim Chalmers could only say that the ALP will be moving its amendments and if they are defeated, the shadow cabinet will form a final position on the entire package.

Labor has backed the first phase of the plan which will hand $1080 to low and middle income earners and called for the second tranche to be brought forward to stimulate the economy. It does not support legislating the third phase.

Its amendments will put this position to parliament, which has allowed Anthony Albanese to argue Labor is the only party backing tax cuts for all workers.

But these amendments will fail, the independents will back the government and Scott Morrison’s original package will pass.

The takeout will be that the government has delivered tax cuts with the help of crossbench Senators and Labor didn’t back it.

That’s game, set and match to the government on the first big political skirmish of the new parliament. You can bet Morrison will be hammering home this message this afternoon when he faces off against Albanese in the first Question Time since the election.


Labor have subsequently decided to drop their opposition -- now that it would be pointless.  Nobody needs them now

Self-loathing activists have created a parallel university

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the noun “university” is derived from the Latin expression universitas magistrorum et scholarium, which roughly translated is a “community of teachers and scholars”. I am curious as to what is Latin for “a community of taxpayer-subsidised, freeloading, self-loathing activists bent on universities succumbing to primitivism,” as that would best describe where today’s tertiary institutions are headed.

Admittedly, the once great humanities departments have long been lost to academic charlatans, but this malaise has spread to the STEM faculties — you know, the ones that still impart information that is actually useful. Last week The Australian reported that science lecturers at the University of New South Wales have been told it was inappropriate to assert that indigenous people have been in Australia for 40,000 years.

The reason for this, lecturers were informed, is that assigning a date, irrespectively of how scholarly that estimation would be, “tends to lend support to migration theories and anthropological assumptions’’. Well yes. Much like the balcony railing on a high-rise building tends to lend support to the theory of gravity and metallurgical assumptions, I suppose.

Some indigenous people, the guidelines further specified, “see this sort of measurement and quantifying as inappropriate”. It would be cynical of course to suggest it more likely than not that indigenous people on the whole could not care less about this practice, and that the document was compiled by various well-remunerated diversity consultants whose primary aim was to justify their existence.

Sadly, this idiocy is not confined to the HR department. The UNSW science faculty research centre declared last year that indigenous people “arrived soon after 50,000 years ago, effectively forever, given that modern human populations only moved out of Africa 50,000 to 55,000 years ago”. Note to the person who wrote this: the planet is over 4.5 billion years old, and it is laughable to suggest that 50,000 years equates to “effectively forever”. To put things in perspective and based on the calendar of the earth being only one year old, Homo Sapiens emerged around 11.36pm on December 31.

As ludicrous as the UNSW mentality is, it provides fantastic opportunity for the budding entrepreneur. Imagine, for example, tendering for a university catering contract to feed, say, 5000 students for a year. You secure it by significantly undercutting your competitors. When the time comes to feed the mass of students, simply produce five loaves and two fish while you invoke Matthew 14:13-21 and declare yourself a doctrinaire Christian. How dare others deny the well-documented miracle and suggest this is insufficient to feed the multitude? This is blasphemy!

It gets even better. UNSW encourages lecturers to promote a court in “ethnoscience” and the “science of indigenous knowledge”, involving “traditional indigenous knowledge about the natural world, including astronomy, weather, medicine, geography and mathematics,” together with “ways in which indigenous knowledge can inform and benefit Western science”.

These are extraordinary claims, but this revisionism is part of a wider movement that claims many Western achievements should in fact be attributed to indigenous Australians. “Aborigines invented democracy”, wrote author and indigenous woman Melissa Lucashenko for Meanjin in 2015. “As a result, the many First Nations here were able to enjoy millennia of what Bunurong writer Bruce Pascoe has called ‘the Great Australian Peace’.”

That wasn’t quite the phrase that observers of the First Fleet used when they documented the appalling, widespread and brutal treatment of indigenous women by their menfolk. But to speak of that now is to invite criticism, even if you are an eminent Australian historian. Professor Geoffrey Blainey, wrote University of Newcastle professor John Maynard in 2015, “has been unable to let go of his fixation with the supposed violence of Aboriginal life”.

Students of indigenous history, at least those wishing to gain approval of their tutors, would be well-advised to ignore Blainey and instead quote from Pascoe’s best-selling book Dark Emu. Among Pascoe’s claims are that indigenous people cultivated crops, constructed villages, and designed complex dams. “Many academic experts also believe Dark Emu romanticises pre-contact indigenous society as an Eden of harmony and pacifism,” wrote Richard Guilliatt in The Weekend Australian in May, “when in fact it was often a brutally tough survivalist way of life. It’s a criticism most are reluctant to air publicly, given the sensitivity of contradicting a popular indigenous historian”.

In UNSW’s indigenous studies course outline, students are advised they will “learn about the history of colonial ‘scientific’ practices that disempowered indigenous people and led to environmental damage and unsustainable practices”. Presumably lecturers will avoid mentioning that more than 85 per cent of Australia’s mega fauna became extinct after the ancestors of indigenous people arrived in Australia. As Herald-Sun columnist Andrew Bolt noted when SBS reported those findings, the broadcaster conveniently omitted any references to the noun “Aboriginal” in that article, instead using terms such as “early Australians” and “early humans”.

In fairness to these institutions, they are following a worldwide trend. A few years ago I holidayed in Canada, a beautiful country with lovely people, aside from its insufferable prime minister, Justin Trudeau, whom I can only surmise entered politics because he was too flamboyant to continue working as a drama teacher.

While visiting a museum in Vancouver, I was bemused by the excessive curatorial tiptoeing in reference to Canadian native tribes, otherwise known as ‘First Nations’ peoples. A young museum guide of that demographic solemnly informed us that he possessed esoteric and magical skills that far science could never explain. Perhaps anticipating my question, he added he could not elaborate on or disclose this knowledge as it would be “dangerous” in the hands of an outsider. My fellow palefaces lapped it all up.

In November, the chair of Universities Australia and vice-chancellor of Monash University, professor Margaret Gardener, reacted indignantly to the federal government’s review into freedom of speech on campus. “Australian universities have been on the public record through the ages affirming our longstanding commitment to informed evidence-based discussion and vigorous debate,” she stated. Through the ages, maybe. Not the present. It was once heresy to dispute the church’s teachings that planets and stars orbited the earth. Now universities promote the philosophy that victimhood and primitivism are at the centre of our universe.

So what subjects can future students expect? My prediction is Gaslighting 101, which begins with unlearning the indoctrination of whiteness. Students will be taught to despise themselves and everything associated with Western Civilisation. By the end of this course students will be able to provide informed discourse on themes such as hegemony, imperialism, racism, disenfranchisement, and genocide. Pretty straightforward really. Recognise your unconscious bias, check your privilege and defer to those in the intersectionality hierarchy.

Then there’s Virtual Orchidectomy 203, which will explain why it is insufficient for male students to renounce their “toxic masculinity”, given there is no other kind. Students will explore theories such as whether ‘Sir’ Isaac Newton was in fact a trans-woman lesbian, and they will be subjected to bouts of abuse by guest lecturer Clementine Ford as she explains why feminism is a kinder and gentler philosophy. Required pre-course reading: ‘Tony Abbott’s women in white a symbol of what’s to come,’ Sydney Morning Herald, 2015, by Deakin University research fellow Dr Michelle Smith.

In Technocracy 203 students will learn why government by experts, particularly scientists, academics and human rights officials, is the leadership our society requires. Required pre-course listening: ABC Radio National podcast ‘The Minefield’, 2019 — otherwise known as Grandiloquence Central — where hosts Waleed Aly and Scott Stephens ask ‘Is democracy an impediment to addressing climate change?’

Religion of Peace 401 will take students through the many misunderstandings about Islam. As part of this students will be regularly bussed to Gosford Anglican Church to gaze at billboard messages as they recite Father Rod Bower’s platitudinous homilies concerning the burqa.

As for what universities choose to teach about indigenous history, perhaps they will take inspiration from the Uluru Statement from the Heart, released in 2017, which among other things called for a Makarrata Commission to oversee a process of truth-telling about Australia’s history and colonisation. Regrettably, I suspect this “truth-telling” will be more of a narrative reinforcement.

But if universities still have a problem acknowledging unpalatable facts about indigenous history or keeping the pseudo out of science, government should give them a simple message when their vice-chancellors demand taxpayer funding. Tell ‘em they’re Dreaming.


Rock climbers outraged as scaling cliffs in world-famous national park is banned to 'protect indigenous culture'

There are fears one of Australia's most popular destinations for rock climbers could become a scale-free zone.

Climbers fear their enjoyment of Mount Arapiles is under threat after Parks Victoria recently imposed a ban on many routes in the Grampians National Park in the state's west to protect their rich Aboriginal cultural heritage.

The bans affect 30 per cent of climbing areas in Victoria's fourth biggest national park, which climbers claim was done without public consultation.

Thousands of climbers flock to the world renowned Mount Arapiles each year, with growing fears it could be one of the next to become off-limits.

Local John Fischer insisted climbers frequently interact with indigenous groups.

'Arapiles is the heart of trad­itional climbing in Australia,' Mr Fischer told The Australian. 'If we lose Natimuk, we lose the chance to connect to country, place and respect indig­enous culture.'

A Parks Victoria spokeswoman assured Daily Mail Australia that no-impact climbing is allowed on Mount Arapiles. 'Parks Victoria is not currently reviewing rock climbing in Mount Arapiles-Tooan State Park,' she said.

'Climbing is allowed in Mount Arapiles-Tooan State Park, as it is in around 100,000-hectares of Grampians National Park that is outside of Special Protection Areas.'

'We appreciate that there were rock climbers, tour groups and other park visitors who were not previously aware the Grampians National Park's Special Protection Areas.'

The spokeswoman acknowledged that climbers and tour operators have had to modify their activities in other areas of Grampians National Park.

'We do, however, have a responsibility – a legislated one ­– to protect and conserve the incredible natural and cultural values of Victoria's parks and reserves,' she told Daily Mail Australia. 'We intend to continue working with rock climbers, tour operators and other park users on how they can continue to enjoy the national park in a way that ensures it is protected as a national treasure.'

Penalties of up to $1.6 million apply to groups that fail to protect indig­enous heritage.

Parks Victoria announced on Friday that tour operators  that offer rock climbing and abseiling in affected areas in the Grampians National Park can continue undertaking activities in Barc Cliff, Back Wall and a section of Wall of Fools until September 30.

The extension allow operators to work with traditional owners to understand and protect the area's unique Aboriginal cultural heritage. Additional three-month extensions could be offered if strict conditions are adhered to.

'Summerday Valley is located in a Special Protection Area that excludes activities like rock climbing and abseiling, and Traditional Owners understand the pressure licensed tour operators might face while we work through the long-term future of the park, so we thank them for their consent,' Parks Victoria chief executive Matthew Jackson said in a statement.

'We continue to welcome all visitors into this precious part of the world, sharing the natural and cultural wonders that make this park so special.'

Grampians Climbing author Simon Carter accused Parks Victoria of pitting traditional owners and climbers against each other.'

'These bans are bewildering, they close some of the safest climbing in the state, they will ­seriously damage lifestyles, livelihoods and businesses,' he told The Australian.

'It's outrageous that Parks Victoria have not consulted climbers and involved them in the process here, instead parks have demonised climbers, and some at parks have maliciously misled the public about the impact that climbers have had.'

A petition calling for the climbing ban in the Grampians to be reversed has attracted almost 28,000 supporters so far. It compared the closure  of these sites to climbers similar to akin to surfers losing access to Bells Beach.

'Climbing in the Grampians/Gariwerd is globally significant, with climbers travelling from not only all over Australia but also from all across the world to visit and climb,' the petition states.

'We believe that genuine collaboration between climbers and land managers will allow any restrictions on climbing to be finely and intelligently targeted, without resorting to the blunt instrument of the blanket bans that will drastically impact climbers' access to areas and also have immediate and profound effects on local tourism.'


The nuclear option for Australia has many attractions

Some excerpts from a very long-winded article below

A discussion paper prepared for the union-backed Industry Super Australia provides a blueprint for patient capital in the energy sector.

Superannuation is a natural fit for long-term infrastructure investment and has been a big supporter of renewable energy projects with mixed results.

The discussion paper seeks to strip away the ideological baggage to set out an over-the-horizon view of where Australia’s energy market may be heading.

While Australia has no plans to build nuclear plants, in 2016 the country joined the Generation IV International Forum, for which the Nuclear Energy Agency acts as technical secretariat.

Magwood’s talks with Australian authorities included the latest research and development on advanced nuclear systems.

Discussion thwarted

Nuclear energy is still controversial in Australia and has proved difficult for governments even to discuss.

Environment group Friends of the Earth continues to run an active anti-nuclear campaign team. It says Australia does not need nuclear power.

But after studying the evidence, Industry Super Australia chief economist Stephen Anthony has produced recommendations in his discussion paper that he says go against conventional wisdom and assumptions.

“No attempt is made to avoid this,” he says. “Our aim is to provide the best analysis possible. It is not to simply run with the herd.”

He says the inclusion of nuclear energy has caused some alarm but: “It does not mean we are pro-nuclear any more than not excluding solar means we are pro-solar.”

The conclusion, however, is that it is difficult to see Australia decarbonising its energy sector without the use of nuclear power.

Mainstream misleading

One of the themes of the discussion paper is that mainstream thinking on the energy market may be misleading in many areas.

It is often based on a partial analysis of the problem that ­ignores its economy-wide implication. The assessment of technologies is sometimes weak and based on time horizons that are too short.

Ultimately, there is the prospect that some wind and solar projects themselves may become stranded assets.

The problems of intermittency are at the heart of global concerns. Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor is trying to address the issue with a reliability obligation for generators.

Magwood says there is a need for strategies that more accurately reflect the costs and attributes of renewables. “As it becomes clear that the amount of baseload supply needed in the future is not zero, each country will need to decide how it will meet its future electricity supply needs,” he says.

Expensive option

One criticism of nuclear is that it is expensive, but costs vary widely depending on where projects are being built. They can be as high as $US7bn ($10bn) per gigawatt in Europe and as low as $US2bn a giga­watt in China. At its most expensive, nuclear is double the cost of onshore wind.

But nuclear has advantages that intermittent sources of energy cannot provide.

And a recent OECD report assesses the levelised cost using a 3 per cent interest rate at $US100 per megawatt hour for commercial solar, $US70 per megawatt hour for onshore wind and $US50 a megawatt for nuclear.

The OECD says “a cost-effective low carbon system would probably consist of a sizeable share of variable renewable energy, and at least an equally sizeable share of dispatchable zero carbon technologies such as nuclear energy and hydro-electricity and a residual amount of gas-fired capacity to provide some added flexibility alongside storage, demand-side management and the expansion of interconnections.

“What nuclear energy and ­hydro-electricity, as the primary dispatchable low-carbon generation options, bring to the equation is the ability to produce at will large amounts of low-carbon power predictably according to the requirements of households and industry.

“For the right decisions to be made, these factors must be understood and addressed.”

For Australia, Anthony says the likely energy mix will include renewable technologies such as solar, wind, hydro and battery storage, with some pumped hydro and combined-cycle gas generation as a back-up.

But this is unlikely to be good enough for the long term.


 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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