Friday, August 30, 2019

This top university is giving women 10 bonus points on their ATAR if they apply for STEM degrees like IT or engineering

The unending bigotry of the Left.  Always favouring one group over another.  Why does it matter which degrees women do? Why can't they be allowed to be different?  The push to make everybody equal is insane.  Women now get more degrees than men anyway

Women who apply for undergraduate degrees in engineering, IT and construction at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) will be given extra points toward their Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) as the university aims to boost the number of women in Australia’s STEM sector.

Women who apply for undergrad degrees in the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology or apply for the construction degree in the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building will get 10 adjustment points on their score, giving them an extra lift up if they are gunning for a spot at the university.

While adjustments won’t change your ATAR, it will change your selection rank when you apply for uni, meaning you stand a chance of getting into one of those STEM courses at UTS if you were just a few points shy.

UTS told Business Insider Australia in an email that in order to be eligible for the adjustment points, applicants “must be a female domestic student who has achieved a minimum ATAR of 69.00 (not including any other adjustment factors) applying through the Universities Admission Centre.” They also have to satisfy all the other application requirements in the course description.

The move is designed to get more women to consider degrees and careers in industries that have been male-dominated for years.

According to UTS, women make up only 13% of the engineering workforce, 28% of IT roles and 11% of positions in the building and construction sector. These stats are even worse when you consider that women make up more than half of all Australian undergraduate students (58%).

Arti Agarwal, Director of UTS Women in Engineering and IT (WiEIT) said there has been little progress in the number of initiatives designed to support more women in engineering, IT and construction. The WiEIT program provides weekly drop-in sessions for students, networking events and a mentoring program that pairs students with industry experts.

“We need our education institutions to encourage girls and women at all levels, and create a stronger ‘pipeline’ to acquire the skills and knowledge to build successful careers in dynamic areas,” she said in a statement.

The NSW Anti-Discrimination Board approved the extra points and the process will be available for the 2020 intake of students.
Keeping women in STEM positions

The Australian Academy of Science, together with the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering developed a ‘Women in STEM Decadal Plan’ to attract and keep women in STEM industries.

Unveiled in April 2019, the plan calls for a “bold” and “sustained” effort across the whole STEM ecosystem to keep women in those industries. And that, of course, includes the education sector.

Justine Romanics, National Manager for Professional Diversity and STEM at Engineers Australia said, “We need to be disruptive – what we have been doing is not working.”

“It’s time to flick the switch. We need to show the benefits that greater diversity will create for everyone – for individuals, for teams, for organisations, for the profession.”

According to the Decadal Plan, the STEM gender gap becomes measurable in high school. In the final year of high school, the report said more young men choose to study advanced and intermediate maths, physics and chemistry compared to young women.

That trend then continues into tertiary education, with women becoming underrepresented in certain STEM courses. According to the report, they account for less than 25% of participants in engineering, computing, physics and astronomy.

Once women finally get into the STEM workforce, they are hampered by systemic barriers such as gender-based discrimination, bullying and harassment and gendered expectations around caring responsibilities.

“All of these issues combine to lead to a significant reduction in the proportion of women at every stage of professional progression in STEM fields, particularly in research and industry,” the report said.

And amid all the challenges women face in the sector, the report said one of the main reasons they choose to leave is lack of career progression.

Jessica Massih, a fifth year Civil and Environmental Engineering student from UTS, said supporting young women into tertiary studies and while they are studying, helps them believe they have a role in the industries.

“Once you are at uni, you have to do the same subjects, same assignments, and work just as hard to get good grades and opportunities,” she said in a statement. “Getting there is just the start.”

So for the young women already working hard to get a spot in engineering, IT or construction degrees at UTS, the extra points will be the icing on the cake.

And hopefully they can stay the course once they’re in.


State or climate — an easy choice

Looking at remote sensing data from NASA’s satellites across the past two decades, the Earth has increased its green leaf area by a total of 5 per cent, roughly 5.5 million square kilo­metres — equivalent to the size of the entire Amazon rainforest.

Who knew?

Certainly not French President Emmanuel Macron. In an alarmist tweet featuring a photo of an Amazon fire said to have been taken 30 years ago, he told the G7 leaders conference: “Our house is burning. Literally. The Amazon rainforest — the lung which produces 20 per cent of our planet’s oxygen — is on fire.” Well, not really. Atmospheric scientists claim that even though plant photosynthesis is ultimately responsible for breathable oxygen, only a fraction of that plant growth actually adds to the store of oxygen in the air. Even if all organic matter on Earth were burned at once, less than 1 per cent of the world’s oxygen would be consumed.

No doubt the Amazon fires are worrying. However, an analysis of NASA satellite data indicates that total fire activity across the entire Amazon Basin this year seems relatively unexceptional. Indeed, NASA observed on ­August 21: “It is not unusual to see fires in Brazil at this time of year due to high temperatures and low ­humidity. Time will tell if this year is record-breaking or just within normal limits.”

Nevertheless, with the next UN Climate Summit due on September 23, it’s time to ring the alarm bells. Before each UN climate action conference the media rhetoric ramps up and new evidence of an existential threat is provided. A blazing Amazon rainforest is perfect propaganda ­material. But then, as British scientist Philip Stott observes: “In essence, the Earth has been given a 10-year survival warning regularly for the last 50 or so years.”

Still, CNN obediently turns NASA’s cautious observation into a catastrophe, declaring: “Amazon rainforest is burning at an unprecedented rate.” NBC News despairs: “Amazon wildfires could be game over for climate-change fight.” And, predictably, The New York Times fails to mention that while today’s fires are significantly worse than last year’s, they appear close to the ­average of the past 15 years.

For Macron, the Amazon fires give him ammunition to attack someone he dislikes, right-wing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro’s unfiltered style has seen him dubbed the “Trump of the Tropics” and, like the US President, he attracts condemnation for his attitude, ­especially on climate change.

It’s true, since coming to office in January, Bolsonaro has moved Brazil further away from climate action and Brazil’s commitments under the Paris Agreement. Critics argue his government has weakened the institutional and legal framework that helps fight deforestation and lessened the participation of pro-environment groups. Indeed, before Bolso­naro coming to office, Amazon deforestation had declined almost 80 per cent in a little more than a decade. Now the Brazilian President is opening up previously protected areas to private ownership. He believes forests and forest protection are impediments to Brazil’s economic growth and that his critics are leading a “disinformation campaign built against our nation’s sovereignty”.

Indeed, Brazilian farmers ­believe they have a right to burn. They see fires as a natural part of life. Most fires are agricultural in nature; smallholders burning stubble after harvest or clearing forest for crop land. For this, Don­ald Trump is also blamed. Toby Gardner, director of non-government organisation Trase, reckons the huge growth in Brazil’s farms is because of Trump’s trade war that “sent China, the top buyer of US soybeans, shopping in South America”.

But while international condemnation is directed at Brazil, what largely goes unreported is that the worst fires are in Bolivia. But then Bolivian President Evo Morales is of the hard left and seeking a fourth term in office. Unlike Bolsonaro, Morales talks the global warming talk. In 2010 he hosted a summit to tackle “the threats of capitalism against life, climate change and the culture of life”. Having politically correct credentials gives him a free pass. He can approve oil ­exploration and fracking in indigenous territories. All 11 of the ­nation’s protected areas have been opened for oil and gas exploration. But still Morales is spared criticism.

Of course, Bolsonaro’s threat to withdraw from the Paris Agreement and his abandonment of Brazil’s offer to host a key Latin America and Caribbean climate week on the grounds “the event only serves as a platform for NGOs … which has nothing to do with climate change” did nothing for his global standing.

Nor with Macron, whose relationship with the Brazilian is now toxic. A proud Bolsonaro accuses Macron of having a “colonialist mentality”, while the Frenchman calls him a liar over a broken pledge to fight global warming. Macron says he will block efforts to seal a major trade deal with Brazil. Now the relationship has completely broken apart after a Brazilian supporter posted an insulting comment about Macron’s wife that Bolsonaro re-tweeted.

Such are the politics of climate change. Like the US, Brazil believes its national interest lies outside the Paris Agreement. It is not alone. Countries such as Bolivia, Poland and others, including Aus­tralia, find it increasingly difficult to balance domestic priorities with the economically crippling demands of their Paris commitments.

Something will have to give. Environmental awareness is one thing but outsourcing sovereignty is something else. Amazon fires have exposed what has long been suspected. Despite international agreements and peer group coercion, in the end nations will pursue their self-interest. With the passing of each survival deadline that decision becomes easier.


NAPLAN results spark further calls for overhaul of student testing system

There seems to be a lot of blaming the messenger here

Victoria is leading a push for an overhaul of the NAPLAN school testing system, proposing a job certificate to help engage students and a change to the ages of test-takers, to combat flagging results in high schools.

National preliminary figures for the 2019 tests showed while primary school students had small lifts in average scores in some areas, results were stagnant for most categories.

Nationally, Year 7 and 9 students slid backwards on the baseline score in writing and Year 9 students' scores were flat across the board.

The results, released this morning, are further ammunition for critics of the assessment scheme, with three states, including Victoria, already leading a review into the tests.

Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan conceded there was "further work to do" in bringing up literacy and numeracy scores.

Victorian Education Minister James Merlino said Year 9 was "the most difficult" cohort to engage in their education. "If they don't see the relevance in the test, they're not going to take it seriously," he said.

In a bid to boost engagement, he has proposed linking the tests to a literacy and numeracy certificate for Year 9 students to show would-be employers.

"We need our Year 9 students to think 'OK, this test means something, I'm going to give it my best shot, and I'm going to give it my best shot because I'm going to get a certificate that's going to go into my careers portfolio'," he said.

A newly-established advisory committee of principals from government, independent and Catholic schools will begin assessing the proposal.

The National Assessment Program — Literacy and Numeracy, better known as NAPLAN, is standardised testing taken by students in years 3, 5, 7 and 9 across the country.

The tests have proved controversial, particularly their move from pen and paper to online, which has seen widespread computer glitches affecting students and concern over the legitimacy of the results.

The three largest states — New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria — are running a review of the system, which has been operating in its current form for more than a decade.

Mr Merlino said he had asked the review to consider changing the target students to those in years 4, 6, 8 and 10. "It makes common sense to me," he said.

Any recommendations made by the states' review would need to be accepted by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA).

'Let's not blame the tests,' Tehan urges.  Mr Tehan said he wanted to work with states and territories to make sure they kept "their eye on the ball" to improve secondary school results.

His Opposition counterpart Tanya Plibersek said the Government had shown a "a complete failure to address the problems in our schools". "Of course the Federal Government has a responsibility here," she said.

The Australian Education Union (AEU) seized on the results to renew its criticism of online NAPLAN testing, which it said was plagued by issues that "fundamentally undermine the credibility of the data".

"Despite whatever story ACARA tries to spin, this data is so seriously compromised it should not be relied upon by education departments, schools, parents, and the broader community," AEU acting federal president Meredith Peace said.

"Teachers and principals cannot trust NAPLAN or the results it has produced."

Mr Tehan defended the system and said Australians would not know about problem areas without them. "Let's not blame the tests. Let's make sure that we understand what the results are and where we need to put the work in," he said.

ACARA CEO David Carvalho said the results were reviewed by independent measurement advisory experts before their release and results should be interpreted "with care".

Despite the flagging results for Year 9 students, Victoria's primary schools led the country in seven out of 10 different measures. Across the country, there was an upturn in all student writing results compared to 2018.

"NAPLAN results for 2019 in writing have shown a pleasing improvement from last year, and it is a trend we would like to see continue, given the decline in recent years across all year levels," Mr Carvalho said.

Students and schools will receive their individual results next week.


Liberal Party architects of SSM bill back Christian Porter’s religious protections bill

The Liberal Party architects of Australia’s same-sex marriage laws have broadly backed Scott Morrison’s religious discrimination bill.

North Queensland MP Warren Entsch led the push towards the legislation of marriage equality from within the Liberal Party when it returned to power in 2013. WA Senator Dean Smith wrote the bill that was ultimately passed after 7.8 million Australians voted in favour of same-sex unions.

Today’s draft Religious Discrimination Act partly exists to address concerns from religious Australians who feared same-sex marriage could encroach on their beliefs and rights.

Senator Smith and Mr Entsch both said Attorney-General Christian Porter’s decision to avoid enshrining freedom of religion and instead molding his laws in the image of other anti-discrimination was the right move.

“I wholeheartedly support the introduction of a religious discrimination bill,” Senator Smith told The Australian.

“Pursuit of a religious discrimination bill was initially proposed by the Senate Select Committee which examined same sex marriage and has been comprehensively examined and endorsed by the Ruddock Review.

“Substantively the draft bill is a faithful expression of the Government’s response to the Ruddock Review released in December last year.

“The case for a positive rights approach has been poorly made and the Attorney-General is correct to have rejected the idea as inconsistent with Australia’s legal approach and fraught with inherent legal risk.

“Australia’s anti-discrimination architecture has served Australians well and enjoys broad endorsement across the community and it would be careless to dismantle it now.

Mr Entsch told The Australian today he was pleased the Attorney-General had avoided a freedom of religion bill, but he was still to read the full bill and wanted to consult with LGBTI groups.

“This bill is always what was intended. That’s what the Ruddock Review recommended and it couldn’t be anything else, otherwise we’d need a whole other review,” he said.

“I have to say Mr Porter has been good and he’s always kept me up to scratch. There is no reason to think the Attorney has done anything other than his absolute best on this.

Attorney-General Christian Porter has unveiled laws to protect Australians from discrimination on the basis of their religious belief, but the laws do not go as far as many church leaders want.

The Attorney-General’s Religious Discrimination Bill will take the form of similar anti-discrimination laws on gender, age, race and disability, and be brought before parliament in October.

It will not be a broader “religious freedom” act which Mr Porter said today would be too vague and lead to courts ultimately deciding what rights matter more in Australia.

“Australia has a strong anti-discrimination framework with specific protections for people against discrimination on the basis of their age, sex, race and disability,” Mr Porter said.

“This draft Bill released today extends those protections to provide protection for people against discrimination on the basis of their religion or religious belief, or lack thereof.

“The Bill would make it unlawful to discriminate on the basis of religious belief or activity in key areas of public life. The Bill does not create a positive right to freedom of religion.”

The Religious Discrimination Act would create a new Freedom of Religion Commissioner and provide comprehensive protection on religious belief and activity.

“Whilst there will always be competing views on issues such as this, the government considers the draft Bill presented today strikes the right balance in the interests of all Australians,” Mr Porter said.

“Consultation has already been undertaken through my office and the office of the Prime Minister with a range of stakeholder groups, including religious organisations.

“Further consultation with a wide range of stakeholders will now follow the release of the Bill and I look forward to working constructively with interested parties in settling a final Bill over the coming weeks. The first of these consultations will take place next week.

“I expect the Bills can be introduced in October and considered by both the House and Senate before the end of the calendar year, allowing time for a Senate inquiry.”

Some religious leaders boycotted the speech by Mr Porter at Sydney’s Great Synagogue because of his inclination against a broader act enshrining freedom of religion.

Mr Porter today said he was always opposed to such a broad law and this religious discrimination bill would provide courts with a better structure by which to weigh up religious issues.

He also said that some religious leaders did not understand the fallout any religious freedoms bill could entail.

“Aside from not being what was recommended from the extensive consultative analysis of the Ruddock Review, or indeed what was taken and promised at a full federal election, there are several obvious problems with the positive rights approach,” he said in Sydney.

“At several points of the consultations, I might respectively say, on this issue it appeared people had not thought through the positive rights approach — including those in church groups who were calling for it.

“I have always found vague and unconvincing ... a list of rights and leaving the courts to determine the outcomes.”


 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, August 29, 2019

AG plays to win back our liberty

A religious bill of rights would be too sweeping.  Small steps will work best

Following last week’s cabinet meeting, the Attorney-General said there would be finetuning to the government’s bill to bolster religious freedom before it goes to the Coalition partyroom on September 10. That gives MPs time to dust off some works by John Locke or Thomas Jefferson on the nature of rights.

The demand by a handful of conservatives for something akin to a charter of religious rights is both myopic and misplaced. If they get their way, they will be cheered by every left-wing legal academic who has been pushing for a broad-ranging charter of rights for two decades. That alone should stop these misguided conservatives in their tracks.

In case it doesn’t, here are other reasons they are wrong. There is no quick fix to bolstering religious freedom in this country. It is a long game, not for the impatient, the imprudent or the faint-hearted. Religious freedom in Australia has been curtailed by myriad laws, introduced over decades by legislators who had little interest in protecting religious freedom and did not value free speech either.

For a half-century, there has been an unsuitably named “progressive” project to treat certain groups of people, distinguished by sex, race and sexuality, and a long list of other legislated characteristics, as victims in need of protection from speech deemed offensive.

The resulting laws are regressive, up-ending what has been called a “delicate ecosystem of liberties” where freedom of conscience and freedom of religion cannot exist without the right to speak freely.

None of this will be fixed by a single new law giving religious freedom to Australians. Religious freedom can be fully restored only by going to the source of what has taken away our liberty.

And the sources are many.

They include a raft of state anti-discrimination laws that prohibit speech that “offends, humiliates, intimidates, insults or ridicules” a person on the basis of a listed attribute. While these provisions are not always direct curbs on religious freedom, that is their effect when laws limit what we can say.

When Catholic Archbishop of Hobart Julian Porteous distributed a pamphlet setting out Catholic teaching on marriage, Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Commissioner decided he had a case to answer under the state’s anti-discrimination laws. And that remains the state of play; the woman complainant dropped the case before it was determined.

The Attorney-General’s plan to address the Porteous problem will be a major win for religious freedom in this country. But it will not, and should not, be done by passing a religious bill of rights.

The Australian understands Christian Porter has in mind a new federal provision making it unlawful to drag someone to an anti-discrimination tribunal for expressing a religious belief.

That would be an important start to unwinding the morass of anti-discrimination laws stifling freedom of expression and religious freedom.

The Australian also has been told that Porter wants laws to address the legal saga entangling Israel Folau. That could be done by providing a new act, separate to provisions in the Fair Work Act the rugby player is relying on in his stoush with Rugby Australia. These provisions could prohibit sections of a workplace code of conduct that have a disproportionate effect on a particular employee because of their religious beliefs.

These reforms, and others planned, could give the ambitious Attorney-General the chance to prove his leadership, by meshing political nous with sound legal judgment.

Politically, Porter has framed the proposed reforms as part of a new but entirely orthodox anti-discrimination law to protect people of faith. That will satisfy voters that the Morrison government is keeping its election promise.

But legally, Porter must know the last thing we need is another layer of anti-discrimination laws. It would add insult to the injury of identity politics to add another anti-discrimination law, creating another category of victim — the person of faith — requiring special protection. Given that there is no prospect of the states and territories repealing their various anti-discrimination laws, Porter will prove that he understands the hindrances to the exercise of faith if he punches sizable holes in today’s anti-discrimination laws — in other words, legislating a series of carefully targeted exemptions to present laws to bolster religious freedom, rather than cementing into society another new layer of anti-discrimination laws.

If that is his plan, keep punching, Attorney-General. And don’t lose sleep over earlier assurances that new federal laws will not override state laws.

That is a passing scuffle compared with the long game that Porter can lay claim to: the first federal attorney-general to start a long-term liberty project to unwind, with a series of tactical and targeted exemptions, anti-discrimination laws that have multiplied since the 1970s.

By contrast, the demand by some conservatives that the Morrison government legislate a religious bill of rights is wrong on so many levels. It is a concession of defeat, an admission by them that they will no longer argue from first principles.

And that first principle — that our fundamental rights are inalienable to us as human beings — is a dangerous one to throw out in the rush to find a quick fix.

This country has fought tyranny when tyrants stripped people of their inalienable rights: Hitler, communism, Saddam Hussein, Islamic State. It is not up to governments, no matter how benevolent, to give fundamental rights to people. The essence of liberty is that elected government makes the case to voters why our inalienable rights should be curbed.

Test it this way. Consider how each scenario looks in another 50 years. In the first scenario, various Australian governments (even Labor governments after the party was punished by voters back in 2019 for ignoring people of faith) have worked assiduously to return fundamental rights to Australians by dismantling, section by section, laws that unreasonably limit religious freedom and freedom of expression. Legislators understood that their project to restore liberty would take time, just as the previous project by “progressives” took decades to distort our liberties.

In the alternative scenario, the Morrison government legislated a religious charter of rights. And when it comes to power, the next Labor government passes a wide-ranging charter of rights converting all kinds of claims into rights. Crackpot cases clog up the Human Rights Commission, like the transgender woman complaining after a beautician refuses to wax her testicles. Turns out there is no human right to a sac wax. But still, we kick ourselves for not learning, all those years ago, from Canada’s mistakes.

Within 20 years, there is a transfer of power from parliament (meaning we, the people) to judges who determine the limits of our fundamental rights.

If the plan is to punch holes in existing laws, Porter’s liberty restoration project is the best chance of returning lasting freedoms to Australians. And perhaps the misguided conservatives are merely positioning themselves, asking for much more, but happy if a few minor tweaks go their way.

If, on the other hand, they are serious about demanding a religious freedom act, then, as one Liberal MP told The Australian this week, “they really have lost their marbles”.


‘Low-paid work provides dignity’: MPs urged to scrap $19.49 minimum wage, unions slam ‘appalling’ push

Low-paid work “provides dignity” and is an “important first rung of the career ladder”, according to a document distributed to MPs calling for the minimum wage to be scrapped.

The parliamentary research brief distributed by conservative think tank the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) argues Australia’s minimum wage of $19.49 an hour is the highest in the developed world and “undermines work opportunity and job creation” by “removing the entry rung” for young and low-skilled workers.

“Low-paid work equips workers with important experience, builds transferable skills, demonstrates a willingness to work and provides references and contacts for future work opportunities,” the paper says. “It also functions as a starting point for young people to experience the dignity of work that provides meaning and direction and fosters personal responsibility and independence.”

Using data from government submissions to the Fair Work Commission’s Annual Wage Review, IPA research fellow Kurt Wallace calculated nearly two-thirds of minimum wage workers moved to higher-paid work within two years and just 3 per cent remained in low-paid work after five years.

“Contrary to suggestions that low-paid work is a ‘dead-end job’, these jobs have high upward income mobility,” Mr Wallace said in a statement. “Over half of low-paid Australian workers move to higher-paid work within a year, 64 per cent move to higher-paid work within two years and 75 per cent move to higher-paid work within five years.”

Mr Wallace added, “Australia’s stringent labour regulation significantly raises the cost of employment, making it difficult for those who lack experience to find work. The superannuation system and leave entitlements alone increase the minimum wage to $25.34 per hour worked.”

The World Economic Forum ranks Australia the 105th least flexible labour market out of 140 countries. The IPA argues the minimum wage is a large reason 38 per cent of 15 to 19-year-olds are either unemployed or underemployed and an estimated 250,000 Australians aged 15 to 24 are not engaged in work, study, or caring for children.

“All work provides dignity, skills and financial independence,” Mr Wallace said. “Low-paid work is an important rung toward higher-paid work and career success. Australia’s high minimum wage and restrictive labour regulation undermines the ability of young people to enter the workforce and experience the dignity of work.”

An IPA spokesman added the think tank did “not believe there should be a minimum wage”. “It is not a policy which is well targeted at alleviating poverty — most who are on the minimum wage are not poor,” he said. “And it prevents the lowest skilled from getting a job. Instead governments should explore alternatives such as earned income tax credits.”

Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Sally McManus slammed the research. “The proposal by the extreme big business advocates at the IPA to abolish the minimum wage is appalling, dangerous, but predictable,” she said in a statement.

“This group believes that workers should have no rights or protections and our society should be run solely according to the wishes of big business. At the same time, former and current IPA members who are Liberal MPs are also pushing for the removal of unfair dismissal protections.”

Ms McManus said Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter should “publicly reject any suggestion that minimum wages or unfair dismissal protections should be abolished and stand up for working people”.

“Should they not do this, it will be clear that they are allowing extreme groups like the IPA to drive their agenda,” she said. “Ideas like this are fundamentally unfair and would drive our country into recession. The only thing keeping wage increases in line with inflation are our minimum wages system and the pay rises won by unions.”

More than two million Australians got a pay rise at the start of last month after the Fair Work Commission’s 3 per cent increase to the minimum wage took effect. Unions were pushing for a 6 per cent increase at the Annual Wage Review in May, while business groups wanted 2 per cent.

Mr McManus said the IPA was using the Morrison Government’s shock election victory as an “opportunity to once again push their extreme agenda”.

“They have a list of demands which over six years the Coalition government has been ticking off, but they’re not done,” she said. “The Morrison Government has given them this soapbox with the announcement of a review of workers’ rights. It is up to them to make clear they will not be entertaining any proposal that makes workers worse off.”


World's first transgender actress Carlotta slams 'ridiculous' bill that allows people to change their sex on birth certificates - and says children should NOT be allowed to transition

Her appearance on the Australian soap Number 96 in 1972 marked the first time a transgender actress played a transgender character on TV anywhere in the world.

And Carlotta shared her opinion on a major trans issue on Monday, slamming a decision by the Victorian legislative assembly to pass a bill that allows transgender and non-binary people to change the sex listed on their birth certificate without gender reassignment surgery.

Speaking on Studio 10, the 75-year-old trans icon and cabaret performer claimed the whole bill is 'ridiculous'.

'It is a different generation today, but I really believe that unless you've had the sex change [you shouldn't] have your papers changed… because anyone can do it,' she said.

Emphasising that transitioning is far more complex than simply changing information on legal documents, Carlotta turned to host Sarah Harris and said: 'You could go in and say, "I want to be a boy", and you're not a boy. It's ridiculous!'

The TV personality, who rose to fame in the stage production of Les Girls in 1962, went on to say that she doesn't believe children should be allowed to transition either.

'I have a lot of people writing to me about little kids - a little girl wants to be a little boy, or a little boy wants to be a little girl - and they go to school dressed that way,' she said.

Carlotta added that she is 'strongly against' doctors approving hormone treatment for children before they have a true grasp of who they are.

The outspoken star said that children 'should not be put on treatments' until they have 'matured and are of age'.

'Your hormones change... they could get to 15 or 16 and decide they don't want to be [a different gender],' she added.

Carlotta acknowledged that her views reflect her own experience growing up transgender in a less permissive age, saying, 'I'm only being sensible because I did it the hard way.'

According to Carlotta, when she went overseas for her own gender reassignment surgery, she was forced to get a new passport issued to reflect the fact she had become a woman.

At that time, she was still obliged to have a separate page in her passport with her old identity, so as not to cause confusion.

She concluded: 'I do not believe that [transgender people] have the right to go and have their birth certificates changed when they haven't had the changes.'

Carlotta's return to Studio 10 comes after she dramatically quit the show last year, claiming at the time that the show's producers had treated her 'unfairly'.

Announcing her comeback last month, she said: 'I thought mummy needed to comeback with a bit of political incorrectness! Mummy's here because you know I say it how it is. I'm back, honey, but I'll behave.'


Super giant to impose 100pc carbon reduction targets

This is just virtue signalling puffery that can achieve nothing.  What will happen if the power stations fail to comply?  Nothing.  They could sell the power stations at a huge loss but what good would that do them?

Australia’s biggest energy network will face an unprecedented emissions reduction target as its owner — industry super­annuation giant IFM ­Investors — launches an ambitious project to cut carbon across its vast asset holdings.

Emissions reductions targets of up to 100 per cent by 2030 will be slapped on a broad range of infrastructure assets across the nation, including the Ausgrid electricity network, Melbourne and Brisbane airports, and NSW ports.

The move risks stoking a conflict­ with the Morrison governmen­t, which has sought to clamp down on social and environme­ntal activism by industr­y super funds.

The $140 billion IFM Invest­ors, chaired by former ACTU head Greg Combet and co-owned by 27 of the biggest industry super funds, including Aust­ralianSuper, Hostplus and Cbus, also controls or has large stakes in assets such as the Port of Brisbane, Southern Cross Station in Melbourne and Northern Territ­ory Airports.

IFM Investors will announce today a move to strip 200,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annual­ly from the assets by 2030 — equal to removing almost 70,000 cars from the road.

According to its Paris Agreement target, Australia will reduce emissions to 26-28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030.

Following the collapse of the Coalition’s national energy guarantee last year, IFM Investors will apply an emissions reduction target of ­between 8 and 25 per cent on infra­structure projects by 2024, and of 38 to 100 per cent by 2030.

Ausgrid, which was half-privatised by the NSW Liberal government for $16bn in 2016, is the largest energy network in the country, supplying more than 1.6 million homes and businesses across Sydney, the NSW central coast and the Hunter region.

It will now attempt to reduce its emissions by 8 per cent over the next five years, and by 17 per cent by 2030. To achieve this, IFM will invest in a range of solar energy projects, launch ­effic­iency upgrades on its buildings, install thousands of energy-efficien­t lights and use low-emissio­n vehicles. NT Airports, meanwhile, is hoping to achieve a 100 per cent emissions ­reduction by 2030.

The emissions reduction prog­ram comes after the government’s $10bn Clean Energy Finance Corporation, established by the Gillard government in 2012, invested $150 million last year into IFM to help lower emissions across the country’s largest infrastructure assets.

IFM head of Australian infrastructure Michael Hanna said it made “perfect business sense” to cut emissions by “reducing costs, mitigating future business risks and contributing to outcomes that our customers value”.

“This exciting initiative represents a genuine commitment and start to aligning our assets to the Paris Agreement,” Mr Hanna said.

Clean Energy Finance Corporation boss Ian Learmonth said the reductions had “the potential to make a material impact” on Australia­’s carbon footprint. “This … sets an important example for other major infrastructure owners and managers,” he said.

Deep divisions between union-backed funds and big business surfaced this year when Josh Fry­den­berg asked the prudential regul­ator whether it had the power to ensure union-appointed super trustees did not pursue political objectives at the expense of ­members’ interests.

The Treasurer’s ­intervention came after the ACTU backed a Maritime Union of Australia ­campaign for industry funds to pressure BHP and BlueScope Steel into reversing a decision to forgo the renewal of a legacy contract­ for two Australian-crewed vessels — the last servicing the iron-ore industry.

AustralianSuper, the nation’s largest fund — where ACTU president Michele O’Neil is an alternate board director — also joined a throng of major instit­utional investors to pressure global­ commodity group Glencore to cap its coal production.

Industry funds have an equal-representation board model, meaning they appoint ­directors from unions and employer groups. Together, they have $677bn of assets under management — more financial power than the bank-run retail fund sector ($623bn), or public­ sector funds ($475bn).

Last week, the US Business Roundtable overturned 57 years of corporate orthodoxy holding that the only purpose of a corporation was to generate profit for shareholders by publishing a new “statement­ on the purpose of a corporation”. The statement sought to elevate the concerns of customers, employees and com­munitie­s. It was signed by 181 chief executives, including Lachlan Murdoch, the chairman and chief executive of Fox Corporation and co-chairman of News Corp, ultim­ate publisher of The Australian.

Ausgrid, which owns the ­NSW energy distribution network, triggers the majority of its emissions through electrical line losses by transmitting power over long ­distances. While these particular costs would be too “prohibitive” to clamp down on, IFM said it would tackle inefficient street lights, which account for 11 per cent of emissions, and convert more than 250,000 to energy-efficient bulbs.

The company will also install more than 11,500 rooftop solar panels across its work sites. Excluding­ the emissions for line losses, the program will cut Ausgrid­’s emissions by 44 per cent by the end of 2024.

IFM and AustralianSuper jointly own 50.4 per cent of Ausgrid­ for a 99-year lease. IFM owns 25 per cent of Aust­ralia Pacific Airports Corporation, which owns Melbourne Airport under a 50-year lease.

It also owns 20 per cent of Brisbane Airport Corporation, which controls the airport under a 49-year lease. IFM owns 45 per cent of NSW Ports, which manages Port Botany and Port Kembla, the Enfield Inter­modal Logistics Centre and Cooks River Intermodal ­Terminal.


 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

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Nina Funnell has been very busy

Bettina Arndt 

Nina Funnell is a rape survivor who has built her journalism career exaggerating the risk of rape to young women at our universities. She’s the key spokesperson for End Rape on Campus which played a significant role in prompting the Human Rights Commission’s survey on sexual assault and harassment. Then, when that proved a fizzer, her organisation still bullied universities into measures to tackle ‘sexual violence’ – like sexual consent courses, rape crisis lines and so on. She’s currently trying to persuade universities to do new surveys, trying to cook the results more to her satisfaction.

In the past two years Funnell has published nine articles which attack me or include material designed to damage my professional reputation – plus there was a Sixty Minutes programme, a recent ABC 7.30 Report and numerous other newspaper reports based on the damaging material she has been promoting, using material she has clearly supplied to the journalists.

Last year she linked the rape and murder of the La Trobe student Aya Maarsarwe to my campus tour in an article in The Saturday Paper. I posted a detailed analysis of the many inaccuracies in that article on my Facebook page and encouraged my readers to report her to the Press Council.

Clearly my loyal followers did their homework because I then suddenly received a letter from a female law firm threatening defamation action over that post. This petered out following a letter from the formidable Brisbane QC Tony Morris, who is well-known for successfully defending the QUT students in the indigenous computer lab scandal.

Morris wrote to Funnell’s lawyers saying we did not wish to discourage her from commencing legal proceedings. “Ms Arndt cannot conceive of a better way to ventilate the issues about which she is passionate, than at a trial where the focus of the tribunal of fact will be as to your client’s honesty, integrity and professionalism as a journalist.”

Yet most of the Funnell attacks relate to a YouTube video I made with Nico Bester, a Tasmanian teacher who went to prison for having a sexual relationship with one of his students. I decided to interview Bester after a judge spoke out against vigilante justice when feminist activists were targeting him following his release from prison, trying to stop him studying for a PhD at the University of Tasmania. In that interview I condemned Bester’s criminal actions, we discussed the seriousness of his crime and agreed his prison sentence was absolutely appropriate.

Funnell is persistently using carefully selected edits from that video, taking comments out of context to suggest I’m a pederast apologist. See the blog in which I explained all this following the ferocious 60 Minutes attack on me last year, where Funnell launched her  “Let Her Speak” campaign to allow Bester’s victim to speak about what happened. Tasmania has now changed its laws to allow sexual abuse victims to go public – which has enabled Funnell to launch a new wave of attacks on me as part of the victim’s new version of events involving Bester, which differ significantly from the evidence presented in the criminal trial.

Apart from all this, there have also been two complaints in the last six months to the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission claiming I am misrepresenting my professional qualifications. Both times the Commission dismissed the complaint. I am always careful when describing my qualifications to say that I “trained as a clinical psychologist,” rather than suggesting I am currently practising.  I haven’t worked in this field for over 40 years but it’s difficult to avoid inaccurate descriptions appearing occasionally in the media.

It’s obvious that people are gunning for me. My next campus talk is in September at UNSW and social media chat from one of the feminist campus groups revealed End Rape on Campus has “confidential damning information” on me which they plan to release prior to the event.

Via email from

Electric vehicles have ‘higher carbon emissions’

When you count how their electricity is generated

Electric vehicles in Australia’s eastern states are responsible for more carbon dioxide emissions than regular petrol vehicles, according to an expert report that warns Labor’s green cars policy would require up to $7 billion in upgrades and installation of recharging infrastructure across the nation.

A pre-election briefing obtained by The Australian, which was prepared by engineering firm ABMARC, concedes the immediate benefit of electric vehicles in Australia “is not guaranteed”. It also states Bill Shorten’s electric vehicle target of 50 per cent of new car sales by 2030 would need between $5bn and $7bn in recharging infrastructure and additional investment in “switchboards, transformers and poles and wires”.

“Installing this level of charging infrastructure would require a significant increase in the rate of investment in recharging infrastructure,” the report says.

The report, released to stakeholders in May, also provides a breakdown comparing average CO2 emissions of hybrid, petrol, diesel and electric vehicles in Australia.

ABMARC, which is used by government departments, motoring firms and major energy companies, reveals “CO2 emissions from electric vehicles in Victoria are particularly high, similar to the average diesel CO2 emissions”.

On average, in NSW, Victoria, ACT and Queensland, petrol vehicles “provide less CO2 than electric vehicles”, with ABMARC linking the emissions disparity with “Australia’s continued reliance on coal-fired power stations”. The consultancy firm also notes that the Australian Average Diesel emissions data was “heavily skewed by light commercial vehicles (utes) and larger SUVs”.

The report says hybrid vehicles “provide greater environmental benefits in nearly all states and territories” than electric vehicles with the exception of Tasmania, which primarily uses hydro-electricity.

The ABMARC analysis also unravels the argument for Australia to replicate Norway’s electric car market, which imposes heavy taxes on passenger vehicles and provides generous incentives for EVs.

Pro-electric-vehicle groups and the Greens, who want 100 per cent of new car sales to be electric by 2030, use Norway, Denmark, Ireland and The Netherlands as models for supporting electric vehicle uptake.

As a result of Norway’s pro-EV policies, the ABMARC report shows the cost of a Hyundai i30 in the Scandinavian country is $54,204 compared with $18,498 in Australia.

In addition to reducing taxes on EVs, Norway provided incentives to boost electric car uptake, including free parking, excluding or limiting conventional vehicles from parking in some locations, reducing registration fees for EVs, exempting them from road tolls, free charging on public charging points and access to fast lanes.

In April, Mr Shorten unveiled a $100 million commitment towards the rollout of 200 fast-charging stations across the nation, a 50 per cent electric vehicle target for government vehicle purchases and new tax incentives for fleet buyers to purchase green cars instead of conventional combustion engine vehicles.

On May 7, in response to Coalition “scare campaigns”, Anthony Albanese declared “the whole world is moving towards electric vehicles”. “When we announced our policy you’d think that the world was going to end with nonsense like we’re coming for people’s utes and all this sort of rubbish,” Mr Albanese said.

ABMARC notes that a 50 per cent target by 2030 would be “extremely challenging and not possible without very significant policy changes and incentives”.

“Incentives similar to those in Norway are likely to be required and it is not clear how these could be readily achieved as Australia does not currently have Norway’s policy mechanisms at its disposal”.

Scott Morrison’s criticism of Labor’s electric vehicle policy — in tandem with the Coalition’s attacks on Labor’s big tax-and-spend agenda and climate change costings — was viewed by some inside the ALP as a weak point for the opposition in some electorates.

Along with Labor’s major policies put forward at the May 18 election, the electric vehicle target is now subject to an ALP review, due to be finalised by October.

Following Mr Shorten’s electric vehicle policy announcement, Tesla boss Elon Musk suggested EV sales could hit 50 per cent of new cars sooner than 2030. Musk cited the Norwegian experience, which through generous subsidies and benefits has increased its EV uptake.

“Norway has already proven it could be done last month. No question Australia could do this in far fewer than 11 years,” he tweeted. Electricity prices in Norway are among the lowest in first- world nations.


President Trump meets his ‘King of Australia’

Scott Morrison has lent support to Donald Trump over the escalating trade war with China, saying the US had “legitimate issues”, but it needed to be resolved quickly with collateral damage threatening to hurt the Australian and other third party economies.

The Prime Minister said he had raised the issue during a 20-minute meeting with the US President on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Biarritz, after which Mr Trump humorously described Mr Morrison as “the King of Australia”.

“The US has legitimate issues they wish to pursue as part of that trading relationship … it’s not for us to dictate to them any more than it is to China what they should be concluding … it’s just more broadly in everyone’s interests that they proceed to a conclusion.”

Australia is attending as an observer to the summit with the G7 confined to the US, France, Britain, Canada, Japan, Italy and Germany. It was formed primarily in response to the 1973 oil crisis.

However, in a sign of Australia’s growing status, Mr Morrison’s meeting with Mr Trump was elevated to an official engagement and included US National Security Adviser John Bolton, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and senior adviser and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner. Australian officials included the Prime Minister’s chief of staff John Kunkel, national sec­urity adviser Michelle Chan and executive officer Nico Louw.

The meeting was held after Mr Trump had sent mixed messages over China, claiming he was having “second thoughts” about the latest round of tit for tat tariff hikes. After being interpreted as a softening in the US position, the White House said the President had been referring to having second thoughts on whether he should have raised the tariffs even higher.

Mr Morrison also talked up Vietnam’s emerging role in the ­region during his discussions with Mr Trump. Vietnam is engaged in a maritime dispute with China. “I’ve just come from Vietnam to this and was able to have a good conversation about the engagement I had with Vietnam and the positive role they are playing in the Indo-Pacific,” he said.

He said Mr Trump had expressed his gratitude for Australia’s military commitment to the international coalition to protect shipping in the Strait of Hormuz while touching on the Hong Kong protests and North Korea.

Mr Morrison is using the G7 to try to head off a European push, led by France, for an international tax standard to be applied to digital companies such as Google because of fears it could be extended and hit Australia’s commodity exports.


Left-wing journalists try to censor the inconvenient facts

The hysterical preeners of the virtue-signalling Left must exhaust themselves daily with mental contortions working out what facts are suitable for public consumption and what needs to be suppressed. Slaves to political fashion, social media memes and their own sanctimony, these people seem to lack any guiding principles or ­intellectual integrity.

If they had their way, media ­reports last week would have told us about a fatal stabbing rampage and shown a man standing on a car in Sydney’s CBD, beeping out the audio of what he was yelling and telling us merely that there was some shouting. Apparently, the public could not be trusted with the knowledge that the man yelled “Allahu akbar”.

You need to remind yourself that these same activists tend to have an anarchical attitude to government secrecy, supporting the Julian Assanges of this world who would share even the most highly classified secrets. Yes, ­secrets are evil to these leftist ­activists, except the secrets they want to keep from a public they believe is not wise or woke enough to be trusted with reality.

They want to save the mainstream from their own bigotry and knee-jerk reactions. They must consider themselves secular saints — arbiters of the national debate for the common good — but in truth they are delusional.

My Sky News colleague Laura Jayes ran headlong into this idiocy when she happened to tweet breaking news from last week’s stabbing, including the fact that a man, armed with a knife, was ­yelling “Allahu akbar” as he called for police to shoot him. Jayes ­posted video showing exactly this.

Soon enough on social media Jayes was criticised for being ­unhelpful, encouraging “unnec­essary othering” — whatever that is — and “Islamophobia”. News reports yesterday revealed “Allahu akbar” also got a mention on a grotesque video made by the alleged killer; I guess that should never have been reported either.

We have seen a similar response from ABC presenter and purveyor of offensive and violent abuse on social media, Benjamin Law, over transgender issues. He has slammed this newspaper for collating its extensive reporting on these issues, much of it written by Bernard Lane, on to a web page.

On the one hand Law thinks we should be alive to the complexities confronting transgender-identifying children but on the other he doesn’t want the national broadsheet to facilitate an informed discussion. Truth is, of course, he is only interested in his views and those of people he agrees with. His problem with The Australian’s coverage is simply that he won’t agree with all of it.

Instead of welcoming a page on these issues, or perhaps offering an article, Law took to Twitter (where else?) to call it a “despicable” move to “demonise” trans and gender-variant kids and give vent to “extremist” voices. We are to presume that in an ideal world Law’s would be the first and last word on this issue.

Never mind that federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has now launched an inquiry into the medical processes involved, prompted largely by the cases and concerns reported by Lane. Federal and state medical authorities are examining whether they can handle these difficult cases better — we are left wondering whether this is acceptable to Law or whether this too fits under the category of demonisation.

Law, who still appears regularly on ABC radio and television, has publicly threatened to “hate-f*ck” Coalition politicians he disagrees with on gay issues and to “projectile diarrhoea” on the kids of other protagonists.

He sounds like a lovely chap with, at least, some expertise in the demonisation of which he speaks.

The activist Left seems to demand a virtue-signalling monoculture. We saw plenty of that last week when the Left — including most journalists, of course — sided with the illogical, hypocritical and alarmist criticism of Australia by some small island nations and New Zealand over climate action.

Cartoonists couldn’t resist drawings of drowning islands. Journalists with furrowed brows talked about the existential threat of climate change to these islands.

Never mind that Tuvalu’s land mass has expanded by almost 3 per cent over the past few decades, with three-quarters of its islands growing rather than shrinking. Never mind the most pressing dilemmas for almost all of these nations is poor governance, inadequate education, healthcare and employment opportunities.

And never mind that Australia is committed to Paris Agreement emissions reductions and that global emissions continue to rise steadily thanks mainly to China — a benefactor these Pacific nations don’t criticise. We must be the only country where our journalistic cohort’s natural disposition is to agree with any criticism of our country, no matter how ill-founded.

The facts often don’t fit the narrative, so the Left prefers to leave them out. And increasingly they will bully any journalist impertinent enough to report any facts that the green-left evangelists find too confronting.


 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, August 27, 2019

Australian sunshine could soon be farmed to power an Asian nation

Setting one thing aside, this is one Greenie scheme that could work.  Australia is mostly desert so uninterrupted sunshine will happen most of the time.  So Singapore could get cheap daytime power from Australia and turn on its gas-fired generators at night.  And if there was any interruption to the Australian power supply they could just turn on their gas generators during the day as well.  Perfect. Cheap uninterruptible power.  The Holy Grail,

So where is the African person in the woodpile? Cost. Particularly with the undersea cable, there would be a huge capital cost before startup, a cost borne by banks who will want their usual 4% pa on funds invested.  Generating the power may not cost much but paying the huge bills needed to get the generating going will be another matter.  Just about all big projects cost at least twice the initial estimate so to pay the banks the operators will have to charge big for what they supply.  Will it be so big that the Singaporeans will simply say "No thanks"?  Could be.

And let me mention another nettle: Solar farms actually require a lot of maintenance and with so many panels that will be a big cost too. 

If the project goes ahead, it is my prophecy that all investors, including the banks, will lose their shirts.  And in a capitalist society destruction of capital is a big issue.  It means that money which could have been used productively was in fact wasted.  But that's standard Greenie form, of course

An Australian entrepreneur wants the Northern Territory desert to become home to the world’s biggest solar farm, with the electricity generated sent along undersea cables to Singapore.

David Griffin is an entrepreneur and leader in the development of Australia's renewable energy industry and his ambitious new plan to power Singapore from a 15,000-hectare solar farm in the Northern Territory has investors taking interest worldwide.

“It is first and foremost the largest solar farm under development in the world,” the Sun Cable CEO told SBS's Small Business Secrets from Singapore.

The Sun Cable project will be the first of its kind to try and export clean energy internationally.

A former GM Development at Infigen Energy, David has been developing solar and wind farms in Australia and South Africa for nearly 20 years.

His Sun Cable project would send electricity to Darwin, then along a 3,800-kilometre undersea cable to Singapore.

“It’s an extremely complex problem that we are solving. There are risks associated with that [undersea cable] and that’s why it’ll take a long time to go through the entire design process,” he said.

“It is the longest proposed project on the table at the moment but it’s certainly not the deepest.”

The solar farm would sprawl over 15,000 kilometres, backed by a 10-gigawatt plant.

The Northern Territory Government recently granted ‘major project’ status with construction expected to start in 2023. Environmental approvals are pending.

“If we look at Asia, no-one wants to see forests cleared,” Mr Griffin said.

“In order to truly see an electrification of global economy and to see it done in a way that doesn’t lead to climate catastrophe, we need to be able to move huge volumes of renewable electricity over vast distances and this is the technology that’ll allow it to happen.”


Report suggests changes to teacher pay and $10,000 scholarships to attract top students

Rubbish! Money is not the answer.  Making schools a pleasant working environment is.  That can be done but it needs a restoration of classroom discipline  -- which is mightily resisted these days

Australia’s top teachers should earn $80,000 a year more, and top students should get $10,000-a-year scholarships if they take up teaching, a new report has recommended.

The Grattan Institute has proposed a $1.6 billion reform package to double the number of high achievers who become teachers, and increase the average ATAR of teaching graduates to 85, within the next decade.

Attracting Australia’s best students could pay dividends, with the report suggesting a typical student could gain an extra six to 12 months of learning by Year 9 with a higher-achieving teacher workforce.

“Australia needs more high achievers in teaching, because great teachers are the key to better student performance,” Grattan Institute school education program director Peter Goss said.

“The low status of teaching in Australia has become self-reinforcing, putting off high achievers who might otherwise want to teach. By contrast, high-performing countries such as Singapore and Finland get many high-achieving students to apply, and then select the most promising candidates.”

The report recommends three changes.

1. $10,000 cash-in-hand scholarships for high achievers to study teaching. Scholarship holders should be required to work in government schools for at least several years.

2. The creation of two new roles in schools: an Instructional Specialist and Master Teacher. These teachers would be paid more and have responsibility for improving teaching at their schools and in their regions. Grattan suggests Instructional Specialists make up about 5 to 8 per cent of teachers and that they be paid about $140,000 a year — $40,000 more than the highest standard pay rate. Master Teachers would make up about 0.5 per cent of teachers and they would be paid about $180,000 a year — $80,000 more than the highest standard pay.

3. A $20 million-a-year advertising campaign, similar to the Australian Defence Force recruitment campaigns, to promote the changes and re-position teaching as an attractive, challenging, and well-paid career option.

The report shows bright young Aussies are turning their backs on teaching, with demand among high achievers falling by a third in the past decade — more than for any other undergraduate field of study.

Only 3 per cent of high achievers now choose teaching for their undergraduate studies, compared to 19 per cent for science, 14 per cent for health, and 9 per cent for engineering.

But a Grattan survey of nearly 1000 young people aged 18 to 25 with an ATAR of 80 or higher, found they would take up teaching if it offered higher top-end pay and greater career challenge.

The report recommends all three schools sectors in Australia — government, private, and Catholic — implement the reform package.

It believes state and territory governments, some of which have failed to adequately fund schools, should pay for the reforms in government schools.

Private and Catholic schools should pay for the reforms themselves, without extra taxpayer money.

“Our reform package would transform Australia’s teaching workforce,’ said Dr Goss. “In the long term it would pay for itself many times over, because a better-educated population would mean a more productive and prosperous Australia.”


ABC, Guardian journos give Pacific Islands leaders a free kick on climate

“Trust the science.” It’s the mantra of left-wing news outlets on any climate change story, yet many ­reporters at the ABC, Guardian Australia and the Nine Entertainment newspapers don’t seem to know the science.

The ABC’s reporting of the ­Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Tuvalu from August 13 to 16 was a spectacular case in point. In a bid to wedge Scott Morrison on the public broadcaster’s favourite subject, climate, Pacific leaders received a free kick. But here’s the thing: most of the islands are not sinking. That is what the peer-reviewed science shows.

In a famous paper from the University of Auckland released last year and based on sophisticated physical models, scientists showed many of the atolls on Tuvalu, Kiribati and Tokelau are actually rising. The finding confirms observations from satellite photos showing the islands are increasing in area, Tuvalu by 73ha between 1971 and 2014.

It gets worse. The ABC’s own fact check unit confirmed this in a ruling last year on claims by conservative federal Liberal backbencher Craig Kelly, who had said the Pacific’s islands were not sinking.

The fact check unit said on December 21 last year: “Mr Kelly’s claim checks out. The research cited by Mr Kelly suggests certain islands — specifically larger atolls and reef platforms — can adapt to the current pace of sea level rise.”

Where was Paul Barry’s Media Watch, normally the ABC’s ­climate science policeman? Perhaps news director Gaven Morris should have emailed the ABC’s own fact check to staff before the Pacific Islands Forum meeting so they would not be treated like useful idiots in a cash grab by the states Australia supports with aid.

Patricia Karvelas did not ­appear to know the science when she interviewed Tuvalu Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga on RN Breakfast on August 14. “What impact is the changing climate having on your country right now?” Karvelas asked.

Sopoaga replied: “People are about to be … swallowed into the sea because of erosion …”

Karvelas offered no defence of the science, allowing Sopoaga to make claims that fit the long-term, and to date false, narrative of ­climate refugees. Remember all the scare stories in the 1990s and early noughties quoting the UN predicting “50 million climate refugees by 2010”?

The interview went on for ­another six minutes as the leader of a nation of 12,000 citizens was allowed to demand Australia stop mining coal and open no new coalmines. Karvelas did not ask how Sopoaga thought Australia could keep the aid money flowing to the South Pacific if it shut down its largest export industry, worth $70 billion a year.

Nor did she ask about the ­elephant in the room: why are the Pacific Islands flirting with China if they are so concerned about carbon dioxide emissions they think will drown their island homes given China produces half the world’s man-made emissions of CO2 and Australia only 1.3 per cent? The best she could do was ask: “Do you think a bit of healthy competition is good for the ­Pacific?”

Karvelas hosted Insiders the following Sunday morning, Aug­ust 18. On the couch were Guardian Australian editor and climate activist Lenore Taylor, Peter van Onselen, columnist for this paper and Network Ten political editor, and David Crowe, political correspondent for Nine’s papers.

Taylor kicked off a session on climate saying Australia had a problem at the Pacific Islands Forum only because it lacked a credible climate policy. No mention Australia has one of the highest penetrations of renewable power generation in the world and has destroyed its competitive advantage in low-cost electricity in the process. PVO chimed in with the right observation: “We let China off the hook in relation to where their emissions are at and where their influence is at in the South Pacific.”

Taylor shot back in the carbon giant’s defence: “China is on track to meet its Paris targets.” That would be the target that allows China to increase emissions each year until 2030 by more than Australia’s total annual emissions.

Karvelas played footage of New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters bagging the island ­nations for their double standard on China’s emissions while criticising Australia, which he said had been generous to the region for decades.

Interview subject for the program was Labor foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong. She claimed with no evidence and without challenge by Karvelas that Labor would have done better at Tuvalu. She eventually was forced to admit Labor would not cut coal exports or ban new mines.

Wong said forum nations were at the forefront of the war on climate change, but she was not confronted with the science on sea-level rise. To be the “partner of choice” for the Pacific over China, Australia needed to do more on climate, Wong said. Again no mention of China’s emissions.

The media really should know more about changes in climate ­science, especially given UN forecasts on temperature and sea-level rise have been revised down regularly in successive Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports.

And journalists covering the Pacific should know much more about the history of Australia’s ­relations with its island neighbours. Since the forum was launched by New Zealand in 1971 this has largely been the work of Coalition governments as Labor after the Keating era looked increasingly to Indonesia and China for its foreign policy impetus. The Morrison pivot to the Pacific is back to the future.

This is something Peters understood even if his Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, and many journalists, did not. Even a combative Fiji today is replete with social and business connections back to Australian expats, many influential long before Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama stopped democratic elections in 2009 and his country was barred from the Pacific Islands Forum and the Commonwealth Games.

Yet Guardian Australia was breathless in its reporting of Bainimarama’s criticisms of Morrison in what it badged as an exclusive on August 17. Bainimarama said: “China never insults the Pacific. They don’t go … and tell the world we’ve given this much money to the Pacific Islands. They’re good people, definitely better than ­Morrison …”

Perhaps the Fiji Prime Minister should ask the leaders of north Pacific states such as Vietnam, The Philippines, Thailand and Japan if they think Chinese territorial expansion into the South China Sea is as benevolent as Bainimarama seems to imagine China’s influence in the South Pacific could be.

A rare beacon of sense from the progressive side of politics was Labor deputy leader Richard ­Marles, interviewed by Hamish Macdonald on RN Breakfast last Tuesday. Macdonald tried desperately to link a Papua New Guinea request for a $1.5bn loan to repair its budget to the forum climate troubles and increased Chinese influence in the region.

Marles said it was many years since we had underwritten PNG’s budgets, Australia was giving more than $600 million a year to PNG and “it is really important that we not engage with the Pacific by reference to China”. Macdonald claimed the Pacific was saying “give us what we want or we go to China”. Marles insisted that was in fact not the Pacific’s position and Australia should focus on the ­Pacific for the right historical and geographic reasons rather than to deny access to China.

Marles was correct but the ABC and Guardian Australia saw the entire Pacific Islands Forum meeting and China’s South Pacific interest as no more than a means to damage a new conservative prime minister on climate policy.


Chinese 'cash cows' For Australian universities

I think this is a false alarm. Chinese kids are coming to Australia not at the behest and expense of the Chinese government but at the behest and expense of their rich Chinese parents.  So the politics are unlikedly to affect anything

Australia’s universities are taking a multi-billion-dollar gamble with taxpayer money to pursue a high-risk, high-reward international growth strategy that may ultimately prove incompatible with their public service mission. Their revenues are booming as they enrol record numbers of international students, particularly from China. As long as the China boom continues, the universities’ gamble will look like a success. If and when the China bubble bursts, taxpayers may be forced to step in to clean up the mess.

The CIS Analysis Paper The China Student Boom and the Risks It Poses to Australian Universities published this week pulls together data from universities, state and Commonwealth agencies, foreign governments, international organisations, and press reports to present a full picture of the risks being taken by Australian universities in enrolling unprecedented numbers of Chinese students.

While the report was being researched, ABC’s Four Corners came out with its own investigation into international students, ‘Cash Cows’ (aired May 6, and now available online). The documentary uncovered weak international admissions standards at Central Queensland, Southern Cross and Murdoch, but our report shows that the potential exists for similar problems even at highly respected institutions like Sydney, Melbourne, ANU, UNSW, UTS, Adelaide, and Queensland.

Even more worrying, these seven universities have become so reliant on Chinese student money that it may pose a serious financial risk to the universities’ continuing operations. At these seven universities, Chinese students seem to account for more than 50% of all international students. All seven have higher proportions of international and Chinese students than any university in the entire United States. And they rely on Chinese student course fees for anywhere from 13% (Adelaide and ANU) to 22-23% (UNSW and Sydney) of their total revenues.

The University of Sydney alone seems to generate more than half a billion dollars in annual revenue from Chinese student course fees.

Chinese enrollments are particularly unstable because of macroeconomic factors like the slowing of China’s economy, the lack of full convertibility of the Chinese yuan, and fluctuations in the value of the yuan versus the Australian dollar.

Australian universities, and particularly the seven leading universities spotlighted in our report, should act now to mitigate the risk of a sudden revenue collapse by raising admissions standards and reducing international student enrollments. They should make, publish, and implement plans to reduce their reliance on international students (and Chinese students in particular) to manageable levels, with targets set both for the university as a whole and for individual programs.

Australia’s universities are taking massive financial risks in pursuit of international student revenues. As the world’s leading banks in 2008, they must be aware that they are ‘too big to fail’. As public and publicly-accountable institutions, they enjoy an implicit guarantee that if things go wrong, the government will come to the rescue. The government should step in now to ensure that the universities change course before it is too late.


 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, August 26, 2019

Refashioning corporations in a bonfire of the vanities

Company big bosses decide they are no longer interested in boring old things like profits.  They would rather be loved.  Feel sorry for their shareholders

I forgive Greta Thunberg. She is a young girl with a misguided sense of doom about humanity. Her mission to convince us that ­instru­ments of our magnificent progress, such as airline travel, are weapons of self-destruction would lead us back into a new dark age.

Alas, modern missionaries trying to destroy other instruments of our progress are everywhere. And they get no forgiveness. This week one group of mostly old rich men made their mission public: to get rid of the corporation as we know it. Maybe the wolves of Wall Street are trying to repent for their unimagined wealth by becoming the conscience of Wall Street. Whatever their motivation, their moralising project to change the purpose of a corporation will end up killing it off.

At first glance, the joint letter released by 181 bosses of America’s biggest companies sounds rather appealing. Led by JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon, who chairs the Business Roundtable, the letter redefines the purpose of the company as follows: “While each of our individual companies serves its own corporate purpose, we share a fundamental commitment to all of our stakeholders … We commit to deliver value to all of them, for the future success of our companies, our communities and our country.”

This sort of sweet-sounding bumpf used to be harmless, part of a chief executive’s public branding exercise, like a politician saying he supports motherhood. Back then, chief executives returned to the office with a clear understanding that a corporation cannot exist without upholding the primacy of shareholders whose money and assumed risk holds up the whole damn show.

But this refashioning of the corporation by some of America’s richest men is something else. This is a bonfire of the vanities, where the corporation is being condemned by latter-day Savonarolas as sinful. Now consider what they want to throw on the dust heap of history: recognising the primacy of the shareholder has allowed the company, as a ­vehicle to pool people’s money by limiting their liability to the amount invested, to deliver tremendous advancements that started with perilous merchant ventures by the Dutch and British East India companies in the early 1600s.

These self-appointed corporate moralisers have grown bored with a corporate structure that, for hundreds of years, has ­unleashed unthinkable innovation and creativity, opening borders, employing and moving millions of people, providing ­infrastructure, essential goods and services to mass populations across the globe, not to mention the grand luxuries that we want.

The corporate wowsers have something else in mind for us for the next few hundred years. Exact­ly what, they haven’t made ­entirely clear. And maybe that ambiguity is part of their ruse.

What is clear enough is that their attempt to change the purpose of a company is an audacious attempt to blur its purpose. Are these chief executives proposing an equal commitment to each stakeholder? Or are they after something like Animal Farm where some are more equal than others? Who takes precedence when there is a conflict between interests? Which “community” are they talking about? And who and what determines what is in the best interests of the community? The obvious, but perhaps ­deliberate, flaw in their plan is that the purpose of a company will henceforth be whatever management wants it to be. That means that their stirring commitment to all stakeholders will make them accountable to no one.

Chief executives at the Business Roundtable should also know better than trying to socialise profits and privatise losses. Why would people invest in a company, let alone risky ventures, unless their interests take priority over a nebulous category of other “stakeholders”? After all, when a company goes bust, shareholders, not stakeholders, blow their dough.

Notice that the most vociferous of these self-proclaimed corporate reformers get religion after they get rich — very, very rich. Dimon’s net worth is estimated at $US1.3 billion ($1.9bn); his pay last year was $US31 million. Other signatories to the letter include Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, the richest person on the planet, with a net worth, after his recent divorce, of $US111.7bn; Apple’s Tim Cook (net worth of $US625m); Bank of America’s Brian Moynihan (net worth of $US64.8m); Boeing’s Dennis A. Muilenburg (net worth $US85.2m); Morgan Stanley’s James Gorman (net worth more than $US84m) and BlackRock’s Larry Fink, whose net worth surpassed $US1bn last year.

Good on them for amassing such wealth. These masters of the universe made their fortunes the old-fashioned way, when shareholder primacy and profit mattered. Now they want to pull the drawbridge up, stripping the same opportunities from future generations of shareholders. And what do we get in return?

So far, a chorus line of chief executives committing companies to “the countries, regions and communities where they operate”, to quote from Fink’s annual letter to investors in January.

“The American Dream is alive but fraying,” Dimon said this week. But which part of the dream is fraying? Who decides how to mend it? And who pays to fix it?

That’s the real kicker behind their project: rich chief executives are using other people’s money to prosely­tise their personal social visions for the future. It’s terrific they care about the American Dream. And when they use their own money to those ends, we might take them more seriously.

When they use shareholders’ money for these pursuits and then try to justify this expropriation by defining down the importance of shareholders within the corporation, their mission will end up killing the structure that has been responsible for hundreds of years of human flourishing.

The claim that we must redefine the purpose of a company to enable long-term decision-­making is simply not true. Old law dating back at least to 1883 ­remains current law: directors and chief executives may look beyond the shareholder and short-term profits, to other stakeholders, when it is done for the benefit of the ­company. But many chief executives today don’t like constraints on their freedom to import social issues and other stakeholders into corporate decision-making. Hence the Business Roundtable’s plan.

Other activists are also champing at the bit to overturn the primacy of the shareholder. Last year in Australia, a cunning group of activists, mostly from industry super funds, tried to hijack the ASX corporate governance principles. The new rules, pages of ­social engineering baloney, would have effectively redefined the property rights of shareholders, creating an armoury of new legal weapons for activists to harass, ­intimidate and blackmail boards at AGMs. Corporate Australia’s response was to leave it to others to defeat this proposal.

One down, more to come. The International Standards Organisation, a body that makes money by drafting and selling standards, is busy putting the finishing touches on ISO 37000, a new global standard for corporate gov­ernance. It’s a safe bet that the ISO’s mission creep will cause the attempted hijackers of the ASX standards to turn green with envy.

Meanwhile in the US, Democrat Elizabeth Warren is still trying to sell her Accountable Capitalism Bill to the country, ­requiring big companies to obtain a charter from government to ­operate. And maybe the senator, dubbed Pocahontas by Donald Trump, is somewhere between 1/64th and 1/1024th correct.

Companies could do with a clear charter of their objects. Not a charter granted by government; that would take us back when the colonial whims of a 17th-century monarch controlled the purpose of a company. Just as controlling are the modern corporate moralisers, and their brazenness has reached the point where we need new laws to rein them in.

So here is an alternative idea to the Roundtable’s proposal to blur the purpose of the company: the law should require that companies have a charter established by those who put their money at risk, namely shareholders, which clearly sets out the objects of the company. That would stop free-range virtue-signalling CEOs in their tracks. To be sure, they could always devote their own time and money to causes that stray from the stated corporate purpose. But they will only be able to use shareholders’ money for the purposes for which shareholders contri­buted the money in the first place.

Corporate law used to have just such a thing — it was called the doctrine of ultra vires. If it sounds dreadfully dull, that’s ­because running a company is not meant to be an exhilarating gig for a social-engineering CEO unless that is a stated purpose laid out for shareholders when they invest. If corporate bosses hate these new legal restraints, shareholders should be all in favour of them.

At the very least, governments could respond to the plethora of grandstanding CEOs by legislating to make it optional for a company to set down a clear purpose that attracts real and enforceable lines of accountability, something the present Corporations Law lacks. In other words, give shareholders a real choice about the kinds of companies they can ­invest in.

There is little to lose from this proposal. Only upside for the real owners of a company, whose money is blown when a company goes belly-up. By contrast, if the Business Roundtable gets it way, other “stakeholders” will be thrilled. But not for long because we will be destroying one of the most important and inventive contributors to global growth over the past 400 years, the limited liability company.


Thousands gathered in Sydney to protest against the abortion legalisation bill

Opponents of a bill to decriminalise abortion gathered in their thousands near the NSW parliament for a rally so loud it could be heard from inside the chamber where the draft laws were being debated.

Holding aloft crosses, pictures of Jesus and signs saying 'stand for life', thousands gathered in Sydney's Martin Place on Tuesday evening to listen to MPs and religious leaders who oppose the bill.

Pro-choice activists had rallied on Macquarie Street earlier in the day.

Some had hoped the bill would go to an upper house vote within days but Deputy Premier John Barilaro on Tuesday confirmed that wouldn't happen amid reports Premier Gladys Berejiklian had buckled to pressure from conservatives.

It means the upper house debate, which began on Tuesday, is likely to drag into September.

Liberal MP Tanya Davies told the crowd they had been given a 'stay of execution'.

She asked them to 'gather a tsunami of opposition to this bill' [and direct it] to Ms Berejiklian, Mr Barilaro and upper house MPs.

The crowd chanting 'abort this bill' and 'love them both' were so loud they could be heard in the upper house chamber, where the bill was being debated.

Chantal Czeczotko, who is 26 weeks pregnant, took to the rally's makeshift podium, a bench in the middle of Martin Place, where the heartbeat of her unborn child was broadcast over speakers for the crowd to hear.

'This baby's heart is beating strongly for us tonight and if MPs have their way in the house behind us, a baby with this strong a heartbeat has no right to life,' said Right to Life NSW chief executive Dr Rachel Carling, eliciting boos from those gathered.

Sydney's Catholic Archbishop Anthony Fisher said the draft legislation was the 'abortion industry's dream bill'.

He called for more people power and more 'God power' - more prayer, fasting and lobbying - to ensure those opposed to the bill had their voices heard.

Melkite Catholic Bishop Robert Rabbat said the rally had gathered in response to 'the call to defend life'. 'Abortion is not simply a religious or philosophical issue, abortion is not an a la carte menu to choose from. It is a matter of rights and the pre-born do not have fewer rights than the powerful or the outspoken or the legislators,' Bishop Rabbat said.

Federal Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce was the last to speak, telling those gathered the clause requiring two doctors to sign off on an abortion after 22 weeks 'is not a reflection of a civilised society'.

'I am not here to try and espouse a religion. I'm not here saying I'm some saint. I'm here because I'm trying to argue to those people on logic,' Mr Joyce said.

Speaking after the rally, Mr Joyce said people turned up to the rally because they are angry. 'If you keep on working on angry people, they vote for somebody else and the next thing you know, you've got another job,' he told AAP.

His message to the premier was to be 'really focused on this'. 'You thought the greyhound debate was bad - the greyhound debate was for the bush, this is one for the city.'

A petition calling for upper house members to vote against the bill, signed by more than 77,000 people, was handed to Shooters, Fishers and Farmers MLC Robert Borsak who will table it to parliament on Wednesday.

Maketalena Afeaki, 33, travelled from Liverpool with a contingent of the Tongan Catholic Youth who she said were at the rally to 'give our voice for the unborn children'. 'We're all here to just vote no against the abortion bill only because we strongly believe in our faith that abortion is murder,' Ms Afeaki told AAP.


Religious freedom proposal passes cabinet, draft bill imminent

Cabinet has backed Attorney-General Christian Porter’s proposals for a religious discrimin­ation act, with minor changes to be made before a draft bill is released in the coming weeks.

Mr Porter on Tuesday outlined his ambition for the bill to come to a vote in both houses of parliament by the end of the year, ­enshrining it in law if it wins support from a majority of politicians.

After facing calls from the Catholic Church and some ­Coalition MPs for wider-ranging “positive right” protections than were being considered, Mr Porter said his reforms would act as a “shield” against discrimination and not a “sword” allowing ­religious people to discriminate.

“The laws will protect people from being discriminated against, but will not give them a licence to discriminate against other ­people,” he said.

“The draft bill will deliver a ­religious discrimination act that reflects other existing anti-­discrimination laws, such as those covering age, race and disability.”

Mr Porter said he would release a draft bill before the next September sitting weeks and hold consultations with Labor, ­religious leaders and LGBTIQ groups.

“It is my expectation that a bill can be introduced and considered by both the house and Senate before the end of the calendar year.

“Naturally, this will include time for a Senate inquiry,” Mr Porter said.

Opposition legal affairs spokesman Mark Dreyfus attacked Mr Porter for the short time for consultation.

“The Liberals have been arguing about this for two years but now want to give the rest of the country just weeks to debate this important bill,” Mr Dreyfus said.

“Every Australian is affected by this, not just the Liberal Party, and all Australians deserve to be given the chance to properly scrutinise what’s being proposed, and not have this rushed through parliament because of the government’s internal divisions.”

The Australian reported on Tuesday that Scott Morrison was headed for a showdown with the Catholic Church over the breadth of the religious discrimination laws.

The proposals that were mostly supported in cabinet aim to provide religious groups with exemptions from discrimination laws, while also banning discrim­ination on the basis of faith in areas such as employment, housing and the use of services.

The country’s largest church demanded the government go further than an exemption-based law and take a “positive approach to recognise religious rights” that would protect schools, hospitals and charities adhering to church teachings.

Catholic bishops, while supportive of an anti-discrimination act, are also asking for changes to the Sex Discrimination Act to provide positive protections to faith-based institutions to act ­according to their teachings.

Current protections under the act exempt religious groups from adhering to sex discrimination laws.

Mr Porter said the rights of faith-based institutions to teach issues such as marriage according to their doctrines would be investigated in a separate process.



Three recent articles below

Climate failures cost us: ALP election review

Bill Shorten’s Labor Party failed a basic test of politics by not articulating to voters who would pay for its climate change policies, how much they would cost and the ­impact on the economy.

A confidential submission to the party’s post-election review from the Labor Environment ­Action Network, obtained by The Australian, expresses “anger and disappointment”, and also “grief”, over the party’s failure to win what was expected to be an unlosable election. The submission is brutal about policy, political and leadership failures.

“Labor was unable to put a price on its climate change action plan,” a LEAN member says in the submission. “It couldn’t say how much it would cost, where the money was coming from or what economic dividend it would deliver or save. It is basic Australian politics — how much, who pays, what does it save. We had no answers.”

The submission reflects poorly on Mark Butler, Labor’s spokesman on climate change and ­energy. While LEAN members thought Mr Shorten was an ­“excellent leader” they concede voters “did not like or trust” him. This damaged Labor’s ability to sell a sweeping policy agenda.

LEAN has called for Labor to reconsider its “specific climate change policies” and how they are communicated, but warns “the party cannot ignore and must ­address the issue of expanding fossil fuel export industries”.

Labor’s franking credits policy, its wishy-washy stance over the Adani coalmine and its failure to “listen to the workers” are ­identified as additional reasons for its loss.

While LEAN members said they were “proud” of Labor’s bold policy agenda, the party failed to connect with voters and persuade them with a compelling message.

“LEAN members … felt we had many, many good and great ­policies but our narrative around them was problematic,” says the submission drafted by co-conveners David Tierney and Felicity Wade.

“Creating a narrative that connects with voters was ­identified as most important to win an election.”

A failure to balance mitigating climate change with the need for “economic opportunities” for workers, industries and rural communities is also recognised. LEAN argues Labor must rebuild its credibility with workers in areas such as the Hunter Valley, which swung against Labor.

“Addressing climate change has to be about the economic possibilities and prosperity, not the moral argument,” LEAN ­argues. “The new jobs need to be led and initiated by clever government policy and investment.”

LEAN urges Labor to stand by a bold emissions reduction target — currently 45 per cent by 2030 on 2000 levels — recommended by the Climate Change Authority and to also support a new federal environment act and the creation of an independent Environment Protection Agency.

However, it argues that Labor must recognise many voters do not trust market mechanisms and there is a worldwide backlash against globalisation, neoliberalism and deregulation. Many ­voters saw specific policy measures as a cost rather than an opportunity to deal with climate change.

“Labor’s policies were generally well received by the climate change, environment and ­renewables ‘industries’,” the submission notes.

“This support, however, didn’t translate to the voting public. While we have walked away from the policy purity of a carbon price across the economy, our policies are still in the technocratic and market mechanism sphere.

“They are supported by ­Treasury officials, corporations and the political class. It is hardly surprising many … people are suspect.”

LEAN urges Labor to build better links internally with members and externally with other environmental groups to help ­develop practical and pragmatic policies so they can help ­communicate and campaign for them.

The blistering submission to Labor’s post-election review comes as Labor, now led by ­Anthony Albanese, is yet to ­officially dump many policies some in the party regard as electorally toxic.


Sydney Lord Mayor backs climate change strike, in virtue-signalling madness

When your employer encourages you to go on strike, is it still a strike? And what about the people who pay your wages, should they get a say?

These and other imponderables are the latest questions thrown up by the ongoing spectacle of climate activist madness. While the stunts become increasingly silly, indulged by complicit politicians and media, it is taxpayers who are being taken for a ride.

Just two months after becoming one of the first virtue-signalling local governments to declare a “climate emergency”, Sydney City Council has voted to support the Global Strike for Climate Change.

The strikes in the past have been led by schoolchildren bludging a day out of the classroom, but now they are urging “workers across the world” to join them.

And, incredibly, so is Sydney’s Town Hall. A council motion backs the strike, calls on councillors to attend and even orders its administration to support council staff who want time off to get involved.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore and six councillors supported the motion last night, while three others voted against it. So, on Friday September 20th, when dewy-eyed school students and socialist activists rally in the streets of Sydney to ban this nation’s largest export industry, among other things, Town Hall will be cheering them on.

The council wants its own staff to be part of the strike and the protests; which could get kind of messy if the council needs to block off streets, provide security, issue permits or clean up the rubbish.

The campaign wants to ban all new coal or gas projects, demand all energy be renewable and insist that money, sucked from somewhere, is used to retrain workers from the axed industries so they can take up other unspecified jobs in other unspecified places at another unspecified time.

It sounds like a foolproof economic plan — next, they should demand the installation of a fountain of youth.

Sydney ratepayers, of course, are not left out. They are free to attend the strike and its rally — so long as they don’t mind the risk to their own jobs or the costs to their own businesses. September 20 should be a great day in Sydney; perhaps the rubbish bins will go uncollected, planning applications will sit unassessed, parks and gardens will be left untended and the libraries will be a free for all.

Presumably no parking tickets will be issued on that day. And all ratepayers, no doubt, can look forward to having an amount of their annual rate notice rebated to compensate for the day the council decided its service obligations didn’t really matter.

Strike me pink. If they shut down Sydney City Council, wouldn’t it have a non-existent carbon footprint? And what would be the downside?


Adani refuses to bow to climate activists

A climate activist has locked himself to machinery at Adani's Queensland mine site in defiance of the state government's move to outlaw lock-on protest devices.

The man locked himself to a drill rig at the Carmichael mine site on Wednesday morning, a day after the government announced it would push for an increase in penalties for protesters using the devices. Protesters will face up to two years' jail under the new laws.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk denied the crackdown was to silence protesters of the controversial central Queensland mine, which was finally given the green light earlier this year. "Absolutely this is not the case ... It's just this small element that are going to extreme lengths " the premier told the Today Show on Wednesday.

The government's move to outlaw the devices follows the arrest of dozens of Extinction Rebellion climate protesters who have brought major Brisbane thoroughfares to a halt in recent weeks.

They say stopping traffic gets people's attention, and want communities to collectively find solutions that would lead to zero carbon emissions by 2025.

The government claims protesters are filling the devices with broken glass and explosive gas to injure anyone who tries to cut them free.

Protesters say these claims are baseless. "The climate crisis impacts us all. Increasing penalties will not stop good people standing up for the environment and one another," Frontline Action on Coal spokesperson Kim Croxford said.

Adani is this week facing another hurdle in getting the mine off the ground, with engineering firm Aurecon's announcement it has severed its 20-year relationship with the company. Aurecon has been the target of recent protests by climate activists over its link to the project.

An Adani spokesperson said in a statement that company was surprised by the decision and was already in talks to replace Aurecon to ensure the mine went ahead.

"There has been a concerted campaign by extremists against our Carmichael Project and businesses that partner with us," the statement read. "It has not succeeded and construction of the Carmichael Project is well and truly underway."


 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