Thursday, July 18, 2019

Why Sydney is a disaster: Mark Latham on everything that's wrong with Australia's biggest city - and its troubling future thanks to a booming population

The planners have been caught flat-footed by the huge and sudden growth of population from third-world countries, mostly Muslim

Sydney's planners suffer from a 'total lack of sense' and seem 'permanently asleep at the wheel' as the city goes through a massive population boom, Mark Latham has warned. 

In an exclusive interview, the newly elected New South Wales One Nation leader has given a scathing diagnosis of the biggest problem with Australia's largest city. 

The powerful crossbencher, 58, still lives in Sydney's south west near Camden with his wife and children and commutes to work by train. 

But Mr Latham described the area as 'population boom town' and painted a vivid picture of schools and local services already under immense strain.

That comes even as the Government plans to build a new city the size of Adelaide on Sydney's outskirts - without setting aside land for a single public hospital.

'I got involved with politics because of bad planning where I grew up ... and fifty years later you're having the same problems,' Mr Latham said.

'You have to wonder, are these people permanently asleep at the wheel? Because these are obvious, obvious problems that come from bad planning.' 

'You have to wonder, are these people permanently asleep at the wheel? Because these are obvious, obvious problems

Mr Latham's comments echo those of former premier Bob Carr, who predicted last March that a crowded and 'dystopian' future Sydney would lead to popular beaches like Bondi and Manly getting turnstiles and ticketing.

However, Mr Latham's remarks this week aren't just based on his imagination, but what he has already seen developing on the city's fringes. Particularly the State Government's plan to build an 'Aerotropolis' near the under-construction western Sydney airport, at Badgery's Creek.

The Government has said as many as 1.3 million people could end up living in the so-called Aerotropolis. But Mr Latham complained it hasn't even put aside a 'patch of dirt' for a public hospital.

The One Nation leader said he was pleasantly surprised by how receptive the Gladys Berejiklian government's top ministers had been to his ideas.

Mr Latham said it had been 'refreshingly straightforward' to argue a case and get things done with ministers.  'At least in state politics ministers say 'my door's always open, just wander around''.

'In Canberra, the idea you could've walked into a senior minister's office unannounced ... you'd have to make an appointment for a week or catch them in the corridors.'

Mr Latham is a crucial vote for the government on its crossbench, and he begrudgingly admits it may be one of the most powerful roles he has had.

'I think you're better off up front trying to persuade people that something else makes sense than coming with a sledgehammer up front'.

'The State Government says 'we're building a city the size of Adelaide',' Mr Latham said.  'Adelaide has four public hospitals and we're building a city with none.'

Meanwhile, he said, new suburbs on the city's south-western reaches, like Oran Park, are already struggling.  The local school, Oran Park Public, opened six years ago but already has 1500 students, double its capacity. It has a staggering 42 demountable buildings. 

'What, they think it's going to be a retirement home, Oran Park?' Mr Latham scoffed. 'No, there's young families moving in, they're going to have kids, going to school.

'So how do you end up with a school with 42 demountables, that even the dunnies are demountable? 'It's just a total lack of planning sense.' 

Meanwhile, Mr Latham said the new train station at Leppington, completed by the previous government, had just 900 car spaces when it needed almost four times as many.    

'People are parked up side streets and around the corner in the dark. It's a safety risk for women walking to their cars. 'It's an absolute traffic nightmare'.

And while the Government is planning a driverless metro line to the new airport, Mr Latham said the plan was flawed.

That new metro would force jetsetters to have to catch three different trains if they wanted to meet a connecting flight at Sydney's main airport. The Government's planned driverless metro runs from the airport to St Marys station, on Sydney's main suburban commuter line.  

'We all love St Marys, but it's not in the tourism books,' Mr Latham said.

'Then with your big bags you've got to change from a metro train to a heavy rail and again to go to the (airport at Mascot).'

Mr Latham said the previous Labor government had built a train line out to Leppington with an eye to extending it to the new airport.

That line already connects up with the international terminal - but the trains would have to be driven by people, not robots, like the metro.

'So why wouldn't you do a heavy rail? Because the Government has an aversion to heavy rail because they've got drivers and unions. 'Well, you can't plan an international airport in western Sydney around an industrial relations agenda.'

Despite his comprehensive list of issues with Sydney's planning, Mr Latham said he was otherwise settling in well to his new role as a NSW Upper House powerbroker.

Gladys Berejiklian's government doesn't have a majority in the chamber and Mr Latham and his One Nation colleague Rod Roberts, a former detective, have immense power in allowing - or blocking - legislation. They are two of an eleven-strong crossbench, including three Greens, two Animal Justice MPs and two Shooters, Fishers and Farmers.

State politics wags have said Mr Latham's arrival in the chamber has been like a 'first grader' playing against the 'reserve grade' state politicians. But Mr Latham said Ms Berejiklian's Coalition has managed to nurture their talent pool over the past three terms in government.

'I think the Berejiklian government has half a dozen ministers that would fit onto a federal front bench - they're quite talented and know their stuff.

'I think Labor's got a bigger problem with talent ... they're struggling to get a couple of openers out.'


Climate change protesters have been arrested after another peak-hour demonstration caused traffic chaos in Brisbane’s CBD

Environmental activists have wreaked havoc in Brisbane’s CBD for the second time this week as climate change protesters took to busy inner-city streets this morning.

The demonstration was organised by the Extinction Rebellion group, a global organisation aiming to raise awareness of the world’s “sixth mass extinction” brought on by climate change.
The group staged similar action on Monday and last Thursday, with scores of activists blocking traffic in the Queensland capital.

The Courier Mail reports nine participants have already been arrested today, including two who allegedly glued themselves to the street.

The publication revealed some motorists had been “unleashing their frustration”, with some yelling “get a f***ing job”.

Seven protesters arrested on Monday were charged with various offences such as public nuisance, disobeying police move-on directions and impeding the flow of traffic.

They have been specifically targeting busy intersections, although police have warned they will be arrested if they refuse to move on when requested.

The protesters hope to raise awareness of environmental issues and are strongly against the controversial Adani coal mine.

But they have been widely criticised by many Australians who have slammed the commuter chaos caused by the action. “Ratbag alert! These left wing extremists are reportedly gluing themselves to major Brisbane streets. Enough is enough, Police should enforce the law and they should be punished in court,” LNP MP Deb Frecklington said in a tweet.

It proved controversial, with commentators attacking the “lazy opportunistic tweet” and arguing you “don’t have to be left wing to be against Adani”.

The protests have also angered ordinary Australians who hit out at the disruption caused during their busy early-morning commute.

Earlier this week, Queensland’s Labor premier Annastacia Palaszczuk warned the protest could lead to injury. “Everyone has a right to protest. But not to hinder people trying to earn a living. And some day someone will get hurt, and won’t get to a hospital in time and that’s simply unacceptable,” she posted on Twitter.

Posting below the call to action, one commenter branded protesters “morons” who will “never make a difference”.
However, despite the controversy, the worldwide Extinction Rebellion group is drawing increasing support for its cause.
According to Extinction Rebellion’s website, Rebellion Day “will see hundreds of nonviolent rebels orchestrate a shut down of the business as usual of central Brisbane.”

Adani declared earlier this month it was full steam ahead for its controversial mega coal mine in central Queensland after the State Government issued the final approval needed to begin construction.


Anti-Israel Year 12 assessment task angers Jewish community

A sample exam paper for Year 12 students claimed as fact that ­Israel has persecuted Arabs by demolishing their homes ­because “they don’t follow the Jewish religion”.

The contents of the paper provided to Victorian schools has angered the Jewish community, which has criticised the “false” and “libellous’’ claim for potentially fuelling anti-Israel sentiments through the community.

The Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation last night agreed to recall all copies of the practice ­assessment task meant for Health and Human Development students, following a complaint from a prominent Jewish school in Melbourne.

The paper, part of the council’s 2019 package of school-­assessed coursework tasks, known as SACs, that are provided to schools for a fee, contains questions and answers, including one asking students to demonstrate how religious discrimination affects mental health and wellbeing.

According to the sample ­answer provided: “An example of an individual being persecuted for their religion could be the Arab families living in Israel who practise the Islam religion rather than the Jewish religion. Including unlawful demolition of homes and forced displacement and detainment of these families.” It claims that “when a person is discriminated against … it could push a person to become more dogmatic in following their ­religion, possibly leading to ­extremism”.

Mount Scopus Memorial College principal Rabbi James Kennard said he was “naturally disturbed” when the contents of the paper were brought to his ­attention and immediately lodged a complaint.

“I didn’t expect to find something very political, very biased and inaccurate in a Year 12 sample assessment paper,” Rabbi Kennard told The Australian. “It’s an utter falsehood. It creates a negative impression of Israel, which is actually a centre of ­religious tolerance … and the only democratic country in the Middle East.” He said it was a “libellous” to suggest “Israel is to blame for extremism”.

The council, a professional body representing health and physical education teachers, initially defended the document.

“We make sure that for the ­answers we provided, there would be evidence for them,” said professional learning manager Bernie Holland, adding SACs were written by four expert teachers and reviewed by two others.

Mr Holland said the subject matter dealt with in the unit ­required students to consider inequality and discrimination based on race, religion, sex, sexual orientation and gender identity, which could prove “controversial” at some schools. As a result, teachers were encouraged to cater sample questions to their own circumstances, he said.

However, it is understood that council chief executive Hilary Shelton contacted Rabbi Kennard last night to advise that “it was not anticipated nor intended that the example … would offend any individual or group”. She said the council had requested a recall of all issued copies of the sample SAC and reissued a new sample assessment addressing the key knowledge area.

However, Rabbi Kennard said he wasn’t concerned about only Jewish students. “I will be explaining to my students that this not something they should pay any attention to but I’m also concerned about students at other schools,” he said. “What is the effect on these students reading this stuff?”

Zionist Federation of Australia president Jeremy Leibler said it was absurd that the publishers elected to single out Israel, “a country where Arab citizens have full equal rights” to highlight ­religious discrimination.

“We should all be concerned that ACHPER have hijacked an important educational issue in the curriculum,” he said.

Mount Scopus student Ramona Chrapot, a “proud Jewish student”, said she was concerned that “innocent and unsuspecting” students were being misled. “It’s instilling in them something that just isn’t right,’’ she said.


There could have been a real Aboriginal working class, but government cruelled the chance

Government "protection" is always an open invitation to corruption.  And when the "protected" group is very backward ...

It’s bad enough that they stole a decade’s worth of Hans Pearson’s hard-earned wages; worse for him and his family that for so long Australian governments at state and federal levels regarded it, quite literally, as business as usual.

The proud 80-year-old Aboriginal stockman finally saw justice done this week when the class action that bears his name as lead applicant, Pearson v Queensland, was settled out of court, with the state agreeing to pay $190 million in compensation for treating indigenous workers like “slaves”, in the words of one of their lawyers.

If you want to understand why the dispossession that flowed from European settlement still cuts raw for Australia’s first peoples, this saga opens a window into the grinding hurt, indignity and subjugation that was their lot under the law of the land.

We are not talking dusty colonial history here.

The acts of parliament that were used to plunder what should have been Pearson’s earnings for 10 years between 1953 and 1963, as he drove cattle from one end of Cape York to the other, remained in force in Queensland until 1972 and $10.8m in frozen proceeds of the “stolen wages” were still on the government’s books in 2008.

His celebrated nephew, Noel Pearson, the community leader and nationally ranked thinker who has championed welfare reform on the peninsula, insists there can be no true reconciliation between white and black Australia until there is “truth telling” about what happened on the frontier of settlement to Aborigines and islanders, and how the impact of this cascaded through subsequent generations.

“For me, it’s really the third part of the formula put forward at Uluru — the voice, treaty and truth,” he tells Inquirer, citing the 2017 road map to reconciliation now at the centre of an intensifying political row over whether indigenous people should speak to parliament through a representative body enshrined in the Constitution.

“And the truth is that Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders contributed to the development of the state … my father and Uncle Hans, they went out in pursuit of work in the post-war period and they never got rewarded with an equal footing with everybody else. That’s the truth.

“We have become mired in the welfare problem over the past 40 years because rather than offering us a place in the economy, the accommodation was reached that we were given a place in the welfare system. There was a fork in the road when the discrimination of the past could have led to a new era … where people who worked hard could have enjoyed the same opportunities as other Queenslanders had. “There could have been a real Aboriginal working class.”

Instead, a system hatched in the late 19th century to harness tribal labour for the emergent beef industry across the vast top end of Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia morphed into one to control and exploit the entire indigenous population when it was herded into missions, forerunners to the troubled remote communities of today.

Wages that were supposed to be paid to the state and held in trust were either pocketed by dishonest graziers and police or put to other use by the government.

When Canberra began to pay pensions and child endowment to Aboriginal and islander people, all too often the money never got past the state capital. It’s not as if the powers that be were blind to what was happening.

Consultant historian Ros Kidd, whose research on the stolen wages underpinned a 2016 Senate inquiry as well as the class action in Queensland run by Cairns solicitor John Bottoms, now set to be rolled out nationally by big-city firm Shine Lawyers, uncovered one government audit after another that called out the rorts. “For Aboriginal people, it was institutionalised poverty from the very first years of settlement that lasted to the late 1960s,” Kidd says.

Witness this scene described by the Cairns Argus in 1886, 10 years after the settlers belatedly arrived, a “kind of government function that certainly was not creditable to the authorities and should bring a blush of shame to the cheeks of every colonist”. A crowd of 150 tribal people is milling in the police paddock, where officers of the peace are busily tearing in half blankets to hand out. In the middle of this a telegram arrives from Brisbane. Hold on, there’s been a mistake! They should get a whole blanket each.

It was too much for the paper to stomach. “Astounding magnanimity,” the Argus noted sarcastically. “We have taken from the Queensland natives no less than 428,663,360 acres of land. Out of this vast and luxuriant area, about 10 million acres have been sold (for) six and a quarter million cash. Another 300 millions of acres have leased, from which the state derives an annual rental of £332,800. In return for this governments, past and present, give these black-skinned, patient, uncomplaining children of the soil one whole blue blanket per year, costing perhaps five shillings each. And yet we profess to call ourselves Christians.”

By Federation in 1901, Queensland had established a contract system for indigenous workers — covering pearlers in the Torres Strait, stockmen, labourers, female domestics — setting a notional minimum wage starting at five shillings, an eighth of the rate for whites. Notional, because enforcement was mainly left to the local “protector of natives”, typically a police sergeant.

After World War I, the state mandated that with the exception of “pocket money”, wages were to be paid into an “Aboriginal Provident Fund”, to hold the money in trust for the “relief of natives”.

Impressed by the Queensland scheme, WA set up similar arrangements, while the Northern Territory had a medical benefit fund and NSW withheld the pay of indigenous apprentices and some security entitlements.

Working the system, the Queensland government went on to establish a consolidated “Aboriginal Account” that would continue to operate in one form or another into the 1990s.

The trouble was, very little if any money ever ended up in the hands of those it was supposed to be benefit.

Like most of his contemporaries, Hans Pearson received only the sketchiest education before he was sent to work at 14 in Hope Vale, a one-time Lutheran mission outside Cooktown. But the woman he married in 1960, Anna May, a Palm Islander who was good with numbers, calculated that he was owed £7000 by 1963 — equivalent to $235,000 in today’s dollars. The couple had picked out a house in the picturesque sugar town of Innisfail and agreed a price with the seller.

But when he turned up to ask the local police sergeant for his cash, Pearson, who had never been paid in all the years he had worked, was cut a cheque for a risible £28. He couldn’t believe it.

“I said, ‘You’ve got to be joking’, but he wasn’t; he was dead serious. He told me, ‘that’s all you’ve got, mate. Off you go.’

“My missus had tears in her eyes,” Pearson remembers. “She said, ‘That can’t be right. You worked for 10 years.’ But that’s how it was … I know people who grew up on the cattle stations, worked there all their lives and came to Hope Vale with only their swags. No money, no nothing.”

He and Anna May never got to own a house. Widowed and alone — his wife died in 2009, two years after Bottoms took the case that now bears Pearson’s name — he lives in a housing commission rental in Townsville. As his nephew points out, the effect on the family has been lasting. “You know, he didn’t get to join that story of working, saving, putting a deposit down, owning your first home,” Noel Pearson says.

“It’s his great regret. Every Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander was like him and his wife — hard workers, engaged in the mainstream economy in whatever form of work that was available. But because of this system of managing wages, they were robbed. It went on because it was sanctioned by the state.

“If they had got to own their own home back in the 1960s, then their nine children would have had a chance to get into home ownership; they would have the role model of that, but also the assistance. Once your parents have a home, they can also help you with a loan. And a virtuous cycle continues after that. He’s now got scores of grandchildren, scores and scores of great-grandchildren. His tribe is massive now.”

Queensland’s move to settle the class action sets a precedent for similar cases in the works in WA, where Shine Lawyers has ­already signed up 400 potential claimants, plus the Territory and NSW.

The clock is ticking. About two-thirds of the 10,000 anticipated beneficiaries in Queensland are deceased, with their allocations set to be paid to next of kin. The litigation covered a three-decade period from 1939 to 1972, when the so-called control system was finally dismantled.

Hans Pearson, reasonably enough, hopes Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad will deliver on her promise to expedite the process. He’s thinking of his old mate Eddie Mabo, the lead applicant in the landmark 1992 High Court case that created native title, changing the law of the land. Poor Koiki — he didn’t live to see his life’s work vindicated.

“I did for my mates what Mabo did for all of us,” Pearson says, savouring his victory. “I’m 80 years of age and I know an old lady in Rockhampton who’s nearly 100 and she’s waiting, like me, for them to come through. I can tell you … they’d better hurry up, eh.”


 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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