Thursday, August 01, 2019

Domestic violence: The feminists are on the move again and we need to stop them

Bettina Arndt

They are up in arms at the move by the Federal Government to provide some counselling for couples dealing with domestic violence. A tiny $10 million out of a budget of $328 mill, which is the latest raft of funding adding to the huge cash cow which supports the domestic violence industry. This includes ongoing funding for the male-bashing Stop It At The Start television campaign which has already cost $30 million.

See this Guardian article showing all the lobby groups lining up to try to put a stop to the couple counselling. You’ll see they all promote the usual feminist propaganda, claiming domestic violence invariably involves dangerous men controlling their partners and suggesting couples counselling puts women at risk.

I’ve long argued that we are enabling the feminist capture of government policy by failing to challenge the persistent lobbying of this tiny minority group. This is a classic example. The government is finally making the right move in giving some funding to start to properly address this issue – after having wasted hundreds of millions of dollars on domestic violence money spent mainly on advertising campaigns to demonise men and boys, blaming misogynist attitudes for the entire problem. But unless we get moving the wicked witches will win again. The Guardian article makes clear they intent a ferocious scare campaign to try to get the government to back down.

So come on, people. Get active and write to relevant Ministers, your MP and to the Prime Minister and support this move to properly address one of the real issues at the heart of this problem. If you all wrote one letter we could really support the government and persuade them to stick to their guns.  Here’s some of the basic information you will need to make the argument that this is a sensible move:

There is strong evidence that most violence begins early, with couples at the start of their relationships reacting to conflict with two-way violence. Years ago, Professor Kim Halford and colleagues from the University of Queensland conducted a series of studies which focussed on couples at the start of their relationships, newly-wed couples and couples expecting a child together. Even with these early relationships about a quarter of the women admit they have been violent towards their partners – just as many as the men.

Professor Halford, who is one of Australia’s leading family relationship experts, points out this evidence means it is really important to help couples learn to deal with conflict without resorting to violence. He makes the point that one of the strongest risk factors for a woman being hit by a male partner is her hitting that male partner. “It’s absolutely critical that we tackle couple violence if we really want to stop this escalation into levels of violence which cause women serious injury.”

It’s nonsense to suggest that couples counselling will put women at risk, as this article by Maccollum and Stith makes clear, provided there are exclusion policies making sure no member of the couple is coerced, that there’s not ongoing mental illness, nor history of severe violence or weapon use. Avoiding couple counselling mean we are not addressing the patterns that lead to violence, leaving men and women trapped in conflicted relationships without the tools to find other ways of dealing with marital stress, and putting women and children particularly at risk. Here’s another review and meta-analysis of this subject which suggests couple therapy can significantly reduce domestic violence.

In fact, there are some good relationship counsellors across the country already doing this work. You may remember Perth counsellor Rob Tiller who was forced out of his job with Relationships Australia last year, after he posted my article on domestic violence on his personal Facebook page. I made a video with Rob at the time when he talked about working successfully with violent couples helping them learn to deal with conflict. Unfortunately, Relationships Australia, one of our peak counselling bodies, proudly promotes feminist policies on domestic violence which means couples are often refused help in these circumstances.

This is only one aspect of a proper comprehensive approach to tackling family violence, which would include support services for male victims of violence and their children and targeting at risk groups like people with drug and alcohol problems and mental illness. Such targeted approaches are being trialled overseas, with significant success.

Let’s hope this small move by the government is a sign that they are willing to deal more effectively with this major social problem rather than simply supporting the male-bashing feminist domestic violence industry. But this won’t happen if we sit back and let the feminists bully the government into backing down.

Here’s some addresses you can use to lobby on this issue, as well as your local MP:

Minister for Families and Social Services, Hon Anne Ruston:

Minister for Women, Hon Marise Payne:

Prime Minister:

Anthony Albanese’s political strategy of backing government plans is passive and risky, says Peter van Onselen

The debate as to how political parties should react to electoral failure is an interesting one: both philosophically and in terms of pure political strategy. Should they respect a government’s mandate, getting out of the road of most legislative initiatives, or should an opposition hold the line on policies tested with the community but ultimately rejected at the recent election?

There are virtues and vices in both options.

Right now new Labor leader Anthony Albanese is indicating that his preferred strategy is for the opposition to wave through government plans, in particular those it took to the election. The context Albanese is using for this strategy is what happened after the Coalition’s 2004 victory, when John Howard gained control of both houses and hence forth implemented Work Choices, which cost him dearly at the following election. So Albo is largely thinking strategically.

However Work Choices was implemented against Labor’s will, and of course it wasn’t taken as a policy script to the 2004 election either. In other words, the circumstances were very different.

Nonetheless, it is clear what is behind Albanese’s thinking: let the government have its way, unfettered and without the opposition saving the government from itself. Remember, Labor was devastated at the 2004 election but won a thumping victory just three years later. Politics can change quickly, and giving a government what it wants can evoke hubris.

It is unclear, however, if voters will credit Labor with getting out of the road right now, when it has the capacity to stifle agendas it might philosophically oppose. Or indeed policy settings it has genuine concerns about. In looking to avoid being cast as wreckers unwilling to accept the voters’ collective judgment Labor thus risks being accused of standing for nothing. It’s a catch-22.

Should Labor dump all its policies from the 2019 election and find a new agenda? Or should it recalibrate what was offered and hope that the sales pitch (and the then leader) were the real problems which led to the defeat? In truth it’s never such a black and white choice.

Labor as a party needs to stands for certain values, which means being prepared to argue for policies which aren’t always popular. That likely means not dumping everything it took to the election. Yet it is important that the party makes clear that it understands it was rejected by voters, including because of policies it campaigned on.

Albanese is right to therefore pause for thought. And one suspects voters are in a mood for governments to be given a reasonably free rein to govern, with voters then able to judge them three years later come election time. It’s a form of elected dictatorship which ignores the parliamentary processes and their value in the crafting of policy, but it still represents a form of democracy in action.

The danger for Labor is what if Scott Morrison governs effectively? Labor would be out on a limb, and unlikely to be competitive at the next election.

Albanese’s strategy is therefore passive and risky. It also won’t appeal to Labor’s base. Even though he is giving most voters what they want.


Government rejects Keneally’s calls to ban far-right activist

The government will reject Labor frontbencher Kristina Keneally’s calls to ban a far-right British writer from Australia over misogynistic, racist and homophobic tweets, as a pair of Liberal MPs defended appearing alongside him.

The Australian understand that the Department of Home Affairs will not revoke a visa for former Brietbart UK editor Raheem Kassam despite his offensive tweets which have included calling on Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to “shut her legs” after she revealed she had a miscarriage.

Immigration Minister David Coleman refused to comment on individual cases. He has blocked far-right celebrities like Milo Yiannopoulos coming into Australia in recent months, but The Australian understands Mr Kassam already has a visa and the government will not intervene.

Liberal backbenchers Amanda Stoker and Craig Kelly will appear at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Sydney next month, where Mr Kassam will also speak.

Senator Keneally highlighted both Coalition MPs’ attendance in her attack on Mr Kassam.

Senator Stoker said the Labor home affairs spokeswoman wanted conservative views “silenced and siloed.  If we are doing our job properly as politicians, we should be talking with people from all walks of life, every day. We won’t agree with them all,” Senator Stoker told The Australian.

“Trying to shame into silence anyone who would speak to a person who is wrong on an issue damages our capacity for constructive democracy. When we are confronted with people with whom we disagree, we need to talk to them more, not less.

“Clearly Kristina Keneally would rather see Australians silenced and siloed, rather than able to interact with people who have different beliefs.

“While I don’t know all of the speakers at CPAC, I’m proud to be talking about economic productivity at an event with people of the calibre of John Anderson AO, Jacinta Price and Janet Albrechtsen, to name a few.”

Mr Kelly said Australia cannot ban everyone with offensive views. “I’m sure the organisers of CPAC in Australia would like to thank Kristina Keneally for giving the CPAC Conference in Australia publicity,” he told The Australian.

“We are a nation with a long and proud history of free speech and Senator Keneally’s demands are part of a disturbing recent trend of attempts to silence those that hold different political views.

“If we banned everyone from Australia that said something offensive things on Twitter — our tourist numbers would be well down.”

CPAC director Andrew Cooper said he was proud to bring Mr Kassam to Australia and said Senator Keneally’s attacks showed the success of his upcoming conference in Sydney.

“Raheem Kassam is a Brexiteer and popular commentator and is attending and speaking alongside the head of the UK Brexit Party, Nigel Farage,” he said.

“CPAC is proud to bring Raheem Kassam to Australia and rejects Senator Keneally’s embarrassing attempt to shut down political opponents.

“Australia is a country with a long history of free speech, something authoritarian hard left opponents such as Senator Keneally seek to change simply because they sometimes do not like what their opponents might say.”


Australia approves controversial oil and gas deal with Timor-Leste

Now they will no longer be able to blame their third world economy on Australia "robbing" them.

Australian parliament has approved a new treaty with Timor-Leste governing how the two nations carve up rich oil and gas deposits.

Impoverished Timor-Leste and Australia signed a treaty in March last year ending a long-running ocean border dispute.

Legislation passed federal parliament on Monday to create a new regime to share oil and gas under the Timor sea, in an area known as the Greater Sunrise fields.

An authority will be established to act on behalf of Australia and Timor-Leste to facilitate joint management of the new area.

Australia backed the treaty days after Timor-Leste's parliament did the same, paving the way for Prime Minister Scott Morrison to make a historic visit later this year to the tiny nation, which gained independence from Indonesia in 2002.

Under the treaty, Timor-Leste will get the biggest share of revenue from exploiting Greater Sunrise.

It will be split 80-20 if gas is piped to Australia for processing or 70-30 if it is piped to Timor-Leste.

Mr Morrison said the government had worked with Timor-Leste's government and offshore petroleum operators on arrangements to provide commercial certainty.

"With the passage of the treaty's implementing legislation today, Australia is now ready to partner with Timor-Leste to jointly develop the Greater Sunrise gas fields for the benefit of both countries," he said in a joint statement with senior cabinet colleagues.

"Greater Sunrise will provide new opportunities for income, and commercial and industrial development in Timor-Leste, and is an important part of Timor-Leste's economic future."


Wind and solar turn up pressure on electricity supply in South Australia and Queensland

A complicated balancing act from coal and gas is needed to keep the lights on

Daily price ramp on Australia’s wholesale electricity markets is quite strong in most states right now,  and particularly in South Australia and Queensland. The evening peak price ramp is about $100/MWh difference between low and high price, but the duration of low and high price is short.

Despite exports to NSW, coal in Qld is ramping up and down about 1000 MW twice a day. However, it’s the gas-driven QLD early evening peak that really moves prices. In South Australia in July, there were mostly exports even in the early evening peak. Those exports to Victoria required more high price marginal gas to enter the system.

Even in winter the aggregate influence of  rooftop and utility solar is very noticeable and a vast transformation from a few years ago. In South Australia at the moment wind and solar are well over 50% of generation driving prices on average below Victoria.

Victoria’s average price for July is about $11/MWh higher than either South Australia or NSW and $20 MWh above Qld,  basically because its midday price in July was around $70 MWh, compared to say $40 MWh in the solar richer States.

The five year total average in the NEM in front of the meter is around 193 TWh as measured by metered demand using NEM Review as a source. Although it looks like 2019 is soft in Autumn and Winter, due to the hot start to the year , the 2019 year to date average is right in line with the five year number.

The annualized level of the last 30 days is around 193 TWh which is in line with the full year average.  So when we look at what’s happening to price we are in effect seeing price at the average level of demand. Following so far?

Solar output is depressed in Winter  (it’s about 5% of total demand including behind the meter now, versus a peak  in the March quarter of over 8%).

Despite all that we are seeing some strong price ramps up and down in the daily average numbers. Two interesting cases are solar-strong Qld and wind-strong South Australia.

It seems self evident the spike in QLD when the Sun goes down and demand goes up and also the depressed price at lunch time. Looking at the supply and demand side what we see is that when the solar comes into action QLD exports and turns down its gas and coal. In the evening peak this is reversed although on average there are still some exports.

What’s most interesting to me is that even in Winter we are seeing coal ramping up and down 1000 MW pretty much twice  a day in QLD.  Coal has always had to be flexible because demand is itself volatile, but the ramping is already becoming stronger.

I don’t know how efficient it is to have the coal generators doing that morning ramp for just 2-3 hours but clearly they can still outcompete gas in that time frame.

I expect, based on the new Mt Emerald wind farm, that as the Coopers Creek wind farm gets into action it may start to eat into that morning peak. Note demand includes behind the meter and solar is combined utility and behind the meter.

Also it’s interesting to look at the daily average wind pattern in Qld from Mt Emerald. Unlike the other charts this is a 9 month average and there may well be seasonal factors I haven’t looked at. Assuming its representative of Qld in total though its quite encouraging.

The wind output drops off in the middle of the day and picks up again when the Sun goes down. Wind won’t quite pick up the early Qld peak but it will assist with the latter part. Again we look for more data over time and more wind farms to see if these early results can be replicated.

Enthusiasts might recall that one of the several far sighted principles underlying  the German Energiewende that kicked off the whole globabl energy transformation was that wind and solar were complementary to each other.

This is also supportive of the hybrid wind and solar farm pioneered by Windlab for Qld and now proposed by for instance by Goldwind at the Clarke Creek wind and solar farm and shortlisted by Cleanco in the recent tender for 400MW.

South Australia

In wind heavy South Australia price is softest early in the morning and the solar induced middle of the day reaction is less, probably because  thermal  supply in Victoria is constrained.

As with Queensland, South Australia is exporting most of the time right now. In this case though its exporting wind to Victoria, just not enough to reduce Victorian prices down to the level of other States.

Wind is 50% of supply in July 2019. On average wind has a remarkably steady hourly output in South Australia during the seasonally windy July. Most of the gas ramp is driven by solar.

It looks like peak prices in the South Australian evening would be lower except for the export opportunity.  The extra 250 MW of gas in the evening peak over the the morning peak requires a higher price but mostly wouldn’t be needed save for exports.

Both QLD and South Australia exhibit about $100 MWh afternoon ramp move  low to high but the duration of the low price and the high price is small suggesting it wouldn’t take much to arbitrage out both the low and the high.


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

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