Monday, September 30, 2019

Labor ‘dragging heels’ in drought efforts

The Labor party is in the grip of the Greenies, who hate dams.  But building more dams is the only way to cope with drought

Deputy Nationals leader Bridget McKenzie has lashed the Labor state governments of Queensland and Victoria for “dragging their heels” when it comes to building new dams.

Senator McKenzie told Sky News on Sunday the lack of co-operation between the Federal government and their state counterparts meant “drought busting” infrastructure was being prevented from “getting off the ground.”

“This is one of the most frustrating topics I think as a National Party MP and somebody that cares about rural and regional Australia,” she said. “We’re a government that has been able to manage the economy well enough we’ve got money on the table to build infrastructure … that helps us to be able to droughtproof for the next time.”

“The reality is the Commonwealth government can’t just roll in with our diggers and graders and roll into a state and start digging,” Senator McKenzie said. “We have to have a partner in this in state because the sovereignty of states to actually build the things the money’s on the table.”

As revealed by The Australian, the Victorian government has ruled out building any new dams, saying climate change will mean not enough water will flow into them to make them worthwhile.

“At the end of the day if you’ve got Lisa Neville here in Victoria saying no more dams despite the CSIRO saying we should get on with it and you’ve got [Anastasia] Palaszczuk up in Queensland dragging her heels on Rookwood and other drought-busting infrastructure and you get NSW finally coming to the table today with $84 million dollars, which is fantastic news, the reality is we’ve been here this whole time waiting.”

Senator McKenzie also announced the Farm Household Allowance would be extended and made available to farmers for four years every decade instead of once over the lifetime of a farmer.

“Right now farm household allowance you’re only able to access for four years in your entire lifetime as a farmer, which is just ridiculous,” she said. “In this country every two decades we’re going through a period of significant hardship, as we are now, so we’ve made a change now that every decade, farmers will be able to access this payment for up to four years.”

It comes as Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced an additional $100 million in drought relief funding.

Of this, more than $50 million will be put towards expanding and simplifying the Farm Household Allowance, a payment for farmers struggling to pay bills. The latest package comes on top of the $7 billion set aside in drought relief funding.

Senator McKenzie said the subsidy program wouldn’t affect Australia’s free trade agreements.

“This is this is not an American or US-style farm bill subsidy program at all and as an exporter that exports 70 per cent of what we produce we don’t want to be doing anything here at home that puts us at risk our ability to trade.”


Scott Morrison is flying to the Queensland Outback today to help drought-stricken farmers. The Prime Minister, who has been criticised for not doing enough for rural communities, will announce $100million in aid.

The money will go to 13 local government areas to help farmers pay for food, water and fuel and have access to counselling.

Mr Morrison will land in Sydney after his state visit to the US and will immediately take a flight to Dalby in south Queensland.  He said: 'We know we can't make it rain, but we must keep finding ways to do everything we can to make life just a bit easier and remove some of the burden.'

Earlier this month Labor agriculture spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon said Mr Morrison was doing too little for drought-affected farmers.

'The farmers have become Scott Morrison's forgotten people,' he said. 'No real action on his part despite the fact that it's very, very clear based on all the advice that this thing is not going to get better any time soon.'

On the Today Show on Friday morning Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton defended the Prime Minister. 'This is not our first trip out. This money builds on a mountain of support that is already there,' he said.

Labor frontbencher Chris Bowen said his party would look at the proposals but said 'we doubt they will be enough after years of inaction'.

It comes after farmers slammed Mr Morrison for plegding $150million to support a NASA mission to Mars.

Amanda Bolton, who runs Birkwood Farm in the Queensland town of Mutdapilly, posted a photo to Facebook of her dried-up dam. 'The Australian Prime Minister has just announced that the Australian government will be contributing 150 MILLION dollars to the upcoming Mars missions,' she wrote.

'150 MILLION dollars is a lot of money that could buy some pretty cool stuff. 7.5 million small square bales of hay, roughly 880,000 large round bales, 7.5 million bags of basic stock pellets, roughly 30 BILLION litres of water from our local council water collection station.

'Worst drought in recorded history, a number of regional towns will run out of water within weeks, record bushfire season, record dust storm activity etc... This country is desperate. 'But yeah, sure, the Moon is fun too, I guess.'

The deal between the Australian Space Agency and NASA was announced in Washington DC on Saturday.

Ms Bolton's confronting post has been shared more than 50,000 times with thousands of Australians slamming Morrison for turning his back on battling farmers. 'Scott Morrison, please pay attention, stop rubbing up to that Trump moron and look after our farmers. They die, we die,' one person wrote.

'Too busy making himself look good on the World Stage while a major portion of his own country is if not dead its dieing! (sic),' read another comment.

Australia is currently on the grips of the most severe drought on record.


Do sharks have a right to eat us?

That seems to be the Queensland Labor government's position

FOR almost 60 years, the State Government's shark control program has been making Queensland beaches safer. The program has been one of very few public policies to have endured for such a time while remaining blessedly free from the foibles of partisan politics.

The reason for this has been simple. Who would dare argue with the results? From 1915 to 1962 there were 36 recorded cases of shark attacks in Queensland. These resulted in 19 deaths. But since the dragnet of baited drumlines was introduced in 1962, there's been only one fatal shark attack at a protected Queensland beach.

Little wonder the program has been gradually expanded. However, the program finally found a naysayer in the shape of fringe environmental group, the Humane Society. And inexplicably, the Federal Court has agreed with the group's view that the drumlines do little to protect swimmers.

How the court came to such a view simply beggars belief. Surely, they only had to look at the statistics of recent attacks in northern NSW where there are no permanent drumlines to realise how effective the Queensland program is? What was required here was a bipartisan approach and a plan to ensure swimmers were protected

The court's decision was clearly out of step with public sentiment and requires the politicians who've supported the program to fix it. Given the long history of bipartisan support, not to mention the implications for. Queensland's tourism industry, you'd like to think it would be a relatively quick fix.

However, what has ensued instead has been an unedifying display of pointless political point scoring that has done nothing but advertise to the world that some of the Sunshine State's most famous northern beaches are less safe now than they were a few weeks ago.

Much of the controversy has centred around the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries' decision to remove 160 drumlines from within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The court's decision only related to the marine park zone and that's why the department only removed drumlines in this area.

Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley has been particularly vocal. She's accused the Palaszczuk Government of choosing "public alarm over personal safety" by removing the drumlines when the court only said caught sharks should not be killed.

"Queensland should reinstate the existing drum lines, while increasing surveillance and exploring modern complementary technologies such as drones, smart drum lines and tags," she said.

There's ample reason for Ley to be sceptical about the Palaszczuk Government's motives in ordering the removal of the drumlines within hours of the court ruling. After all, the administration isn't exactly known for doing anything at pace.

And the States handling of last year's Cid Harbour shark attacks —when it first said drumlines were the answer but then recanted and claimed all it could do was erect signs instead — hardly inspired confidence.

However, what on Earth is Ley suggesting when she says the State Government should just drop the drumlines back in and increase surveillance? Is she saying to hell with what the court has ordered? Or does Ley reckon fisheries officers should just harden up and start arming themselves with a decent set of pliers so they can simply release the sharks?

It might be news to the minister but these officers are dealing with marine life a bit bigger than the cod they catch in the Murray River in her electorate. In fact, cutting a cranky 4m tiger shark loose from a hook is nearly as dangerous as getting between Ley and a bargain Gold Coast apartment buy, something she's somewhat famed for.

Yet, while Ley is happily ordering fisheries officers back into the water, the Morrison Government hasn't come up with a timeline for a legislative fix to what the court has ordered.

The LNP Opposition might be right when they say SMART drumlines, where sharks are caught and released,should be considered as temporary solution. However, it would take time to train officers and whether that's worthwhile depends primarily on how long it's going to take their federal colleagues to come up with a legislative answer.

Dropping in new drumlines at 17 locations just outside the marine park was a prudent move by the State but that still leaves 27 beaches no longer with protection.

However, what wasn't needed was State Fisheries Minister Mark Furner's ham-fisted suggestion that Ley would be blamed if there was an attack.

While the politicians squabble, the reputation of Queensland beaches is taking a further battering, the last thing the tourism industry needs after those terrible Cid Harbour attacks.

From the start, what was required here was a bipartisan approach and a plan to ensure swimmers were protected by drumlines again as soon as practical. Instead what happened was the political sharks began circling as soon as they saw an opportunity for a cheap feed.

"Courier Mail" 27 Sept. 2019

Queensland Public Hospitals still missing targets as delays blow out

QUEENSLAND hospitals, are failing to meet their own benchniarks to see emergency patients in time and have abandoned elective surgery targets they can't reach.

The Courier-Mail can reveal that not one hospital and health service (HHS) saw all of its sickest patients within recommended times, with hospitals south of Brisbane and on the Gold Coast performing the worst

While most came close to seeing the most critical patients within two minutes, many wait times blew past the 10-minute and 30-minute markers for those with conditions "imminently" or "potentially" life-threatening.

Only three of the state's 15 HHS met the previous 25-day target for elective surgery waits used in 2017-18. The target is now missing from the 2018-19 annual reports released yesterday.

The results come amid presare on Health Minister Steven Miles to fix blown-out wait times, ambulance ramping and IT bungles relating to the integrated electronic medical record system (ieMR) and ordering system.

The worst elective surgery results were in regional areas, with Central Queensland and Central West recording the longest wait of 59 days. Patients in the. South West district covering Roma and Charleville waited 55 days, Gold Coast residents waited 49 days and Mackay residents waited 43.

Those in the Torres Strait waited just a week for elective surgery and an average of five minutes in ED.

More than half of the services recorded deficits. West Moreton recorded a $26.88 million deficit because of projects like ieMR. The Sunshine Coast also recorded a staggering $222 million deficit, up from the $13.9 million deficit in 2017-18, and attributed the result to increased demand.

The troubled Metro South HHS recorded a $15 million deficit and blamed increased demand on population ageing and the prevalence of chronic disease conditions.

The Children's Health Queensland HHS, which runs the Queensland Children's Hospital, finished the financial year with an operating surplus of $27.79 million. It found the implementation of the ieMR "has continued to result in increased efficiencies and service improvements".

The hospital was one of the state's best-performing hospitals. It exceeded its target of treating the second-most serious category on time.

"Courier Mail" 27 Sept. 2019

 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

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Abortion is decriminalised in New South Wales after weeks of contentious debate and heated protests

This is a storm in a teacup.  Abortion has been decriminalized in NSW for years -- ever since the Heatherbrae case. The 1971 case of R v Wald ruled that abortions do not contravene the laws in certain circumstances.

That case involved a criminal trial of five people – most of whom were health care professionals. The five defendants were involved in performing an abortion at the Heatherbrae clinic in Bondi. All were charged under section 83 of the Crimes Act.

The trial judge found that an abortion is lawful if there is an ‘economic, social or medical ground or reason’ upon which the doctor could honestly and reasonably believe that an abortion could avoid a ‘serious danger to the pregnant woman’s life or her physical or mental health.’

All five defendants were ultimately found ‘not guilty’ on that basis – and the ruling opened the doors to women seeking to terminate a pregnancy for reasons such as financial disadvantage or instability, or fears of social stigma and judgment – factors which may negatively affect a woman’s mental wellbeing.

The judgment also affirmed that abortions do not need to be performed in hospitals – paving the way for women’s health clinics around the state.

NSW parliament has passed laws decriminalising abortion following a marathon debate and weeks of protest. There was applause in the lower house on Thursday as the Abortion Law Reform Act 2019 passed its final hurdle.

It comes after the controversial bill passed the upper house 26 votes to 14 on Wednesday night following nearly 40 hours of discussion - making it the third longest debate in the state's house of review.

The bill, presented to parliament in August by Independent MP Alex Greenwich, takes abortion out of the criminal code and allows terminations up to 22 weeks.

'Thank you to all members for the role you have played in this historic reform ... we can feel proud that part of our legacy will be the decriminalisation of abortion in NSW,' the Member for Sydney said. 

An amendment passed in the upper house recognised doctors performing abortions after 22 weeks could seek advice from a multi-disciplinary team or hospital advisory committee.

'With the passing of this bill, our parliament affirms that we trust women,' Labor MP and bill co-sponsor Jo Haylen said just before the final vote. 'We trust women to make decisions about their own lives and about their own bodies.'

The legislation was opposed by religious groups, anti-abortion activists and several MPs who raised concerns about late-term and sex-selective abortions, conscientious objection and the way the bill was introduced. 

Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce, and former prime minister Tony Abbott were both outspoken in their opposition of the bill.

Joyce described it as the 'slavery debate of our time,' while Abbott accused the NSW government of putting forward 'the most radical abortion laws in this country.'

Liberal and Labor MPs were allowed a conscience vote on the bill.

Tensions in the government reached a climax last week when Liberal MPs Tanya Davies, Mathew Mason-Cox and Lou Amato said they would move a leadership spill motion against Premier Gladys Berejiklian over her handling of the bill.

The rebel MPs, who ultimately withdrew the motion, said it had been made clear that 'at an absolute minimum' four key amendments were required to ensure continued Liberal Party membership.

Ms Davies on Thursday supported amendments made to the bill, saying they created more safeguards and brought the bill to a better place.  

Abortions after 22 weeks are allowed with the approval of two 'specialist medical practitioners.'

All terminations after 22 weeks will now have to be performed in a public hospital.

'Many of us within the Parliament, and also outside in our communities, had concerns with the original bill ... concessions, amendments, changes to the original bill were moved through both houses of Parliament and that is a good thing,' she said.

The legislation that passed on Thursday is more conservative than the initial bill that Greenwich introduced after changes were made following opposition.

Labor MP Penny Sharpe, who is one of 15 co-sponsors of the bill, on Wednesday night said the vote was 119 years in the making.

'The current law has meant women and doctors have a threat of 10 years in jail for making this decision and that not okay,' she told parliament. 'This is a massive step forward for women in this state.'


Don’t kill free speech to kill hate speech

Flawed ‘hate speech’ laws are a threat to free speech. The best way to protect minorities – while also properly protecting free speech – is to ensure the criminal laws prohibiting incitements and threats of violence are effective.

Inciting and threatening violence has long been against the law. Liberal democracies, such as Australia that have strong traditions of valuing free speech, accept speech that endangers the safety of others should be illegal.

However, there has been a push to expand legislation to ban anything deemed ‘hate speech.’ The United Nations has said they want to ‘scale up [their] response to hate speech.’ Although wanting to stop hatred and bigotry is admirable, such statements should be viewed with caution.

‘Hate speech’ is a broad, vague, and ill-defined notion that would simply catch in the legal net the kinds of contentious speech that some people find offensive or hurtful — or simply do not like.

There is a fundamental difference between speech that criticises ideas and threats of violence.

But as my research shows, protecting community safety and free speech is possible. Most state and territory governments are reviewing their vilification laws — they should adopt the model NSW introduced last year.

The NSW parliament passed the Crimes Amendment (Publicly Threatening and Inciting Violence) Act, which criminalises incitements and threats of violence against an individual or group who possess a protected attribute.

In addition to setting a high threshold for proving an offence, these laws vest investigative powers to the police as opposed to the anti-discrimination board of NSW. This allows for a more thorough investigative process, minimising the risk trivial complaints will be brought.

These laws passed with bipartisan support, and the support of community and ethnic lobbies, satisfying an objective of these laws that they are required to ensure minorities feel safe in their community.

Any law that restricts speech needs to be scrutinised and the NSW approach is obviously not perfect. But it presents a workable model — akin to the old criminal laws against incitements and threats of violence.

Free speech cannot be sacrificed by flimsy and unnecessary ‘hate speech’ laws.


Surfers Paradise Beach, where people have been warned to swim at their own risk should drum lines be removed

The mayor of the Gold Coast — one of the nation’s most prolific international drawcards — has warned the removal of drum lines from northern Queensland beaches sends the wrong message for tourism in the state and people in affected areas should “swim at your own risk’’.

Tom Tate warned the decision — sparked after a federal court ruling — would undermine the safety of swimmers in the Sunshine State.

Councils are concerned that the decision to remove 160 drum lines from beaches from Cairns to Gladstone on the Great Barrier Reef could become a precedent to remove the lines from other areas of Queensland.

Mr Tate has said he is concerned activists will come for the Gold Coast’s drum lines next. “The group’s already said that they are going to try and expand and take it all the way down to the border.

“[The government] is just being led by the nose by the Greenie bureaucrats.”

The debate was sparked by the Federal Court’s upholding of a decision from the Administrative Appeal Tribunal, which declared if the state could not tag and release sharks, the state government needed to end its program.

The state government failed to appeal the decision and followed by removing 160 drum lines along 27 beaches in northern Queensland.

In a press conference called on Thursday to attack the plan, Mr Tate said: “The people of the Gold Coast and tourists want to be safe on the beach. “That’s why it’s called Surfers Paradise. You can go and swim and the only things that’s in there with you is your kids ... not some shark looking around to have their meal.’’

Mr Tate said there had been no shark attacks since drum lines had been in place for the past 50 years. “If it’s not broken leave the hooks out there.’’

He called on Queensland Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch to reconsider the decision to remove drum lines, comply with the federal court’s conditions and maintain the program.

Asked what it would mean for the safety of swimmers, Mr Tate said: “Swim at your own risk because areas where its Byron or out in Western Australia where there’s no nets or drum lines, you get shark attacks recorded and that’s one statistic you don’t want to be.’’

Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley on Wednesday condemned the Queensland government’s removal of shark drum lines, accusing them of putting the public at risk for a political stunt.

Ms Ley chastised Queensland for removing drum lines “in the full glare of social media” 24 hours after a federal-court decision which stops shark culling in the Great barrier Reef Marine Park.

“(Queensland) needs to read the judgment a bit more carefully, the judgment did not tell them to take those drum lines out within 24 hours, it makes it very clear there was no need to take the drum lines out,” Ms Ley said on 2GB.

Ms Ley said she had shared her own legal advice on the court’s ruling with the Queensland government, to prove their actions were unnecessarily putting people at risk.

“My call to action with Queensland is put (the drum lines) back in. I don’t want to get into a political spat over something as important as this. Put them back in, admit you were wrong, that you, for whatever reason, decided to make this political,” Ms Ley.

Ms Ley reiterated her advice from the Australian Government Solicitor was that removing the ruling did not require drum lines to be removed.

“The Queensland government chose public alarm over personal safety, knowing that any legislative change at a federal level could not be made overnight and knowing that the State Government had sat back for five months since the initial decision without preparing alternative options,” she said.



Four current articles below

Climate: The Conversation becomes a lecture

The Conversation has always been heavily behind the alarmist side of the climate debate, and has featured in this blog many times in the past.

Now however it has taken the extraordinary step of banning any dissenting views on climate:

Climate change deniers, and those shamelessly peddling pseudoscience and misinformation, are perpetuating ideas that will ultimately destroy the planet. As a publisher, giving them a voice on our site contributes to a stalled public discourse.

That’s why the editorial team in Australia is implementing a zero-tolerance approach to moderating climate change deniers, and sceptics. Not only will we be removing their comments, we’ll be locking their accounts.

There is a huge range of dissenting opinion, from outright “denial” to educated and careful scientific critique, but we can be sure that The Conversation will interpret the ban as widely as possible so that nothing disrupts the desired consensus viewpoint. No doubt will be allowed.

The Catholic Church had the same idea when they sentenced Galileo to house arrest for “falsely” claiming the Earth orbited the Sun. Look how that worked out…

We really haven’t come that far since the 1600s.


Time to up the ante on climate change strategy

A sobering lesson from the latest UN science report on climate is not how much still needs to be done but how little has been achieved for all the effort and money already spent.

Temperatures are rising and fossil fuel use is increasing with no sign of peaking. Despite the extraordinary growth in renewable energy the world overwhelmingly is powered by fossil fuels. This will continue as the yearly rise in global energy use is greater than investment in renewable energy, which has been showing signs of fatigue.

To change the trend, the UN’s United in Science report calls for a doubling of effort to meet the two-degree target and a five-fold step-up to limit future warming to the more ambitious 1.5C.

Rather than new findings, the report brings together the already published state of play. It mentions recent extreme weather and says the pace of sea level rise has accelerated from 3mm to 4mm a year.

The main purpose of the report was to lay a foundation for action at the special UN climate summit called by Secretary General Antonio Guterres in New York this week. About 60 nations were to make presentations to the UN Assembly on what they would do to increase action on climate change.

The report underscores the fact pledges made under the Paris Agr­eement will not achieve anywhere near what is judged to be needed.

According to the report, current commitments are estimated to lower global emissions in 2030 by up to six gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent compared to a continuation of current policies. If implemented this would still see temperatures rise by between 2.9 and 3.4C by 2100, the report says.

This level of ambition is a fraction of what the UN says is required. But none of the big emissions nations, the US, China, India or the European Union are expected to offer to do more.

Rather, discussions remain mired in the same old arguments about how there must be different responsibilities for developed and developing countries and funding.

The UN report says technically it still is possible to bridge the gap in 2030 to ensure global warming stays below 2C and 1.5C. But the evidence is that even existing ambitions are proving difficult for many countries to honour.

This should be no surprise. It has been anticipated by big thinkers such as Bill Gates and was at the heart of a Mission Innovation program unveiled in Paris to boost research funding. Governments, including Australia, have fallen well short on what was pledged.

It is time to redouble efforts to invest in new solutions.


'Australia's got nothing to apologise for': Scott Morrison hits back at 'completely false' critics of his climate change policies in his United Nations address

Scott Morrison has hit back at critics of his climate change policies during an historic address to the United Nations.

The prime minister has faced backlash for missing special climate conference in the United States and the government has been accused of lacking a 'credible climate or energy policy'.

While speaking to the general assembly in New York on Wednesday, Mr Morrison fired back, accusing critics of overlooking or ignoring the efforts Australia had made.

'Australia is doing our bit on climate change and we reject any suggestion to the contrary.

'Australia's internal... and global critics on climate change willingly overlook or, perhaps, ignore our achievements, as the facts simply don't fit the narrative that they wish to project about our contribution.'

He said the country was committed to its target of cutting emissions by 26-28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, describing that as a 'credible, fair, responsible and achievable contribution'.

During his speech he highlighted that Australia was responsible for just 1.3 per cent of global emissions and how the country had pledged $13.2 billion to invest in clean energy technologies in 2018

Ahead of the speech, the Prime Minister said Pacific leaders he spoke with were often surprised to learn what Australia was doing on climate.

'Oftentimes the criticisms that have been made about Australia are completely false,' he told reporters in New York.

'Where do they get their information from? Who knows? Maybe they read it, maybe they read it.'

Asked if he was saying it was 'fake news' - a favourite insult of US President Donald Trump - he replied: 'I'm not saying that. All I'm saying is when I've spoken to them, they've been surprised to learn about the facts about what Australia has been doing'.

He told the UN that Australia would beat its 2020 Kyoto targets and claimed it would also meet its 2030 Paris pledge.

Environment department figures show Australia's emissions have risen since 2014.

Under the Paris agreement, all countries are expected to update their pledges to cut emissions at the 2020 climate conference in Glasgow. But Mr Morrison indicated that at this stage, Australia is unlikely to do so. 'We have our commitments, and we're sticking to those commitments,' he said.

Mr Morrison also confirmed to the UN that Australia won't contribute any more to the global Green Climate Fund.

The May budget papers said Australia made its last payment into the fund in December 2018.

Instead, Australia is redirecting $500 million of its aid money to help Pacific Island nations become more resilient in the face of the effects of climate change. 'I'm not writing a $500 million cheque to the UN, I won't be doing that. There's no way I'm going to do that to Australian taxpayers,' Mr Morrison told reporters.


Climate pressure on Suncorp

Suncorp is Queensland's biggest insurer and a major bank

ENVIRONMENTAL activist shareholders of Suncorp say its lucrative insurance business is under threat from global warming weather events but have failed to get the Queensland financial group to target specific reductions in fossil fuel investments.

Environmental group Market Forces moved at Suncorp's annual general meeting yesterday to push the company to set targets to reduce investment in and underwriting of oil and gas projects.  Suncorp has already committed to phasing out investments in coal by 2025.

Suncorp chairman Christine McLoughlin said the company accepted that human activity was causing climate change and the frequency of severe weather events was accelerating. But Ms McLoughlin said Suncorp had taken steps to reduce its exposure to the fossil fuel sector and disclosure of specific investment targets was not needed.

She said fossil fuel-related business made up less than 1 per cent of its insurance business and a negligible part of its lending and investment portfolio.

Activist shareholders said that targets were necessary as Suncorp's insurance business came under threat from worsening natural disasters linked to global warming.

Activist Jan McNicol said Suncorp's insurance business could end up in a "death spiral" due to global warming. However, a resolution that would have led to Suncorp disclosing short, medium and long-term fossil fuel reduction targets was voted down by an overwhelming majority of shareholders.

Grazier Simon Gedda said that he became convinced human activity was causing worsening weather conditions when a flood hit his central Queensland property in 2017 and was "14 foot" higher than the previous record flood in 1991.  He told the AGM he was concerned that continued investment by Suncorp in oil and gas projects would put its insurance clients at continued risk of severe weather events.

Suncorp CEO Steve Johnston said the company's involvement in funding and underwriting of fossil fuel projects was minimal and there were no plans to in-crease its investments in oil and gas.

"Courier Mail" 27 Sept. 2019

 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

Friday, September 27, 2019

Sarah Nix has been left more than $30,000 out of pocket because of ongoing surgeries despite spending $5000 a year on private health insurance

The situation of the poor woman grieves me but she is placing the blame in the wrong quarter.  If private insurance were to cover ALL medical costs, the premiums would be unaffordable. Basically, private health insurance covers HOSPITAL costs only.  It does not pay for the doctors and others who operate there.  So you have to pay them yourself. 

And if it is only one adverse medical episode you have, most people will be able to do that.  In cases like Ms Nix, however, who needs multiple surgeries, that can easily become impossible.  Private health insurance is not for people in her situation.  It is the public system that she has to turn to.  Only the public system covers BOTH hospital and doctor costs.

So it is the public system that Ms Nix should be condemning.  And their services do leave much to be desired.  The care you get in public hospitals is not much  worse than what you get from private doctors and may be as good.  As Ms Nix points out, the big problem with the public system is the WAIT you have to undergo before you get in front of a doctor or surgeon.  And that wait can be very distressing.

So what is the solution?  Unless someone invents a money tree, there is only one solution:  Public hospital services have to be rationed in some way.  Self-inflicted injuries and illnesses in particular should not be treated: Damaged joints caused by obesity and lung cancer caused by smoking for instance.  People suffering from such illnesses could probably take out special insurance for their needs.  But people who are ill through no fault of their own should always be at the front of the queue.

That is unlikely to happen -- though something like that does often happen informally.  So we have to go back to money.  A small charge could be levied every time a person attends a public hospital -- a charge equal to the price of a packet of cigarettes, for instance.  Such an idea was discussed in Tony Abbot's time but was abandoned as poltical poison.  So we are probably stuck with distressing waiting lists.

A compromise that is already used for cancer patients is to give them special priority but even that can be a dangerous delay.  It might help a little, however for similar priority to be given to people in need of multiple surgeries, such as Ms Nix

Sarah Nix has run out of money and is now being forced to make a life-altering decision.

The 26-year-old from Brisbane and her husband Matthew can no longer keep affording to fork out thousands of dollars for her endometriosis surgeries on top of the $5000 a year they already pay for their private health insurance.

Mrs Nix was diagnosed with the debilitating condition that causes tissue similar to the lining of the womb to grow outside it two years ago. Her pain is so horrendous she hasn’t been able to drive or work for the past 18 months.

But on top of the horrific pain, Mrs Nix has the added burden of ongoing medical bills.

And she’s not the only one — tonight’s episode of Insight on SBS highlights how patients are paying high out-of-pocket fees for specialists and surgeries, from people who have had cancer to those with disc problems.

When Mrs Nix tallied up her costs, she was actually worse off than some of the cancer patients. “I’ve had five surgeries in total but it just keeps coming back,” she told “I can’t get rid of it.”

She estimates the surgeries plus everything else have put her out of pocket more than $30,000, with lost wages of $14,000 on top of that.

The couple had to get rid of their car and have set up a GoFundMe page to try to recuperate some of the costs.

“We have top hospital and top extras but they only cover my bed stays,” she said. “Private health is really misleading. “I always thought I was covered, but no.”

But Mrs Nix said she couldn’t afford not to have insurance, with waiting times in the public system too long. She’s had to wait more than three hours for pain relief presenting to a public emergency department compared with five minutes in the private system. “I wouldn’t get that in the public system so I can’t afford not to,” she said.

“But at the same time I can’t afford to keep it because it doesn’t cover anything.

“The public system isn’t good enough — it’s a 12-month wait for surgery and to see a specialist is a few months.”

Mrs Nix said on one occasion she was in so much pain her doctor made a decision to perform surgery on the spot, a luxury she wouldn’t get in the public system.

Now Mrs Nix is being forced to make the harrowing decision of having a hysterectomy when the couple were planning on having children.

“We just can’t keep affording to pay for surgeries, so my husband and I have made the decision if by the end of the year I’m still in pain that’s what I’m doing,” she said.

“It sounds like a hard decision as a young woman, but you know when you are in so much pain that you just want to end it, no matter how you do it? Financially, we just can’t continue this way. We’ve got nothing left.”

That surgery will also cost between $2000 and $6000.

“A lot of people are calling on the Government to change it (private health insurance), but I’m calling on private health insurance companies to change,” she said.

“I remember when I was a kid private health used to cover everything, whereas now it covers nothing. If they fix that our public system would probably be better off because more people would take out private health.”



As most people reading this will be aware, you can get a range of cover for "extras" with private hostpital insurance. And for services that are not too dear and not too often called upon that can be worthwhile. The cover is for such things as spectacles and hearing aids and dental costs up to a limit.  A small contribution to some "in hospital" costs can also be available.

I have maximum ("top") cover so my experience might help others to get a grip on what is available.  The premiums I pay to my fund (CUA) are higher than most but they are unusually generous with hearing aids.  My last lot cost nearly $4,000 and they paid nearly half of that.  I rarely have dentistry and what I have is simple so last time they paid all my costs.  There was also a substantial benefit for new spectacles.

But the most interesting case is what it cost me for my recent big cancer surgery. I was on the table in Brisbane Private Hospital within a week of the cancer being detected. I was in intensive care for a couple of days afterwards so that would have generated an enormous bill from the hospital which my fund paid in full.

The surgeon and her assistant sent me a bill totalling over $5,000, of which Medicare paid $1500 and my fund paid nearly $500.  So I was around $3,000 out of pocket.  In my younger days however I lived frugally and was able to put aside substantial funds to cover "a rainy day" -- so $3,000 was no problem.  Savings are the true health insurance.  It's towards the end of your life that you incur most of your life's medical bills. Proverbs 6:6-8 refers.

Hundreds of doctors call for an urgent inquiry into risky treatment of children who believe they are transgender - as website of man who led the petition is sabotaged

More than 200 doctors have called for an urgent inquiry into the risky medical treatment of children who believed they were transgender.

John Whitehall, a professor of paediatrics at Western Sydney University, is taking a stand against minors being prescribed puberty blocker hormones as a precursor to getting a sex change in adulthood.

His petition to federal Health Minister Greg Hunt, calling for a parliamentary inquiry into childhood gender dysphoria, received 131 signatures on its first day earlier this week.

That number grew to 200 within three days, with doctors concerned about children as young as nine being rendered infertile as a result of taking the controversial medication.

Their Word Press site, however, has been sabotaged with hackers preventing it from accepting new signatures.

'The site has been subject to an attack, subsequent to it being publicised in the media, and the signatory page is suspended until we can work out how to prevent this,' it said on Wednesday. 'Apologies – watch this space for developments.'

Professor Whitehall also wants the inquiry to determine if puberty blockers had the potential to cause 'the irreversible loss' of fertility.

'I write to thank you for your concern about the rapidly increasing number of Australian children reported to be suffering from gender dysphoria and to express my concern at the lack of a scientific basis for the medical pathway of treatment of childhood gender dysphoria,' he said in his letter.

Shortly before noon on Wednesday, his Word Press website was sabotaged.

Transgender activists and the ABC's Media Watch program have been critical of Professor Whitehall, even though he has a medical career spanning 50 years.

Puberty blockers are a relatively new treatment but there is evidence they can affect fertility, with Professor Whitehall concerned at children as young as nine getting the medication.

He is leading the charge against the sharp rise in the number of children being prescribed these puberty blockers.

In his letter to Mr Hunt, he referred to evidence from Dr Robert Kosky, a former director of psychiatric services at Perth's Princess Margaret Hospital for Children and the state director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Services.

He noted that between 1979 and 1984, only eight gender-confused children sought help.

Now, two to three children were being presented to the Perth children's hospital every week.

'I respectfully propose that a parliamentary inquiry would be the best forum for the proper consideration of a social phenomenon that has emerged with such speed and caused such consternation,' Professor Whitehall said in his letter.

'It seems that public policy and medical "best practice" is being declared in haste without a sufficient foundation of fact and reflection, and a formal parliamentary inquiry could provide that foundation.'

The spokesman for the doctors' letter, Rob Pollnitz, a retired paediatrician with 50 years' experience, said he believed gender confusion in children and adolescents was chiefly a psychological issue, not biological.

'Before we give them unproven treatments with hormones and surgery, we ought to do our very best to sort out their psychological issues,' he said.

World-renowned child and adolescent psychiatrist Christopher Gillberg said the unproven treatment of gender-confused children was 'possibly one of the greatest scandal¬s in medical history'.

Last month Carlotta, Australia's first transgender woman to star in a TV drama show, spoke out against teenagers being prescribed puberty blockers.

The 76-year-old cabaret singer, also known as Carol Spencer, told the Studio 10 program she was 'strongly against' doctors approving hormone treatment for children before they had a true grasp of who they were.

The former television actress, who had a sex change in 1971, said children 'should not be put on treatments' until they have 'matured and are of age'.

Kirralie Smith, the director of the grassroots Binary group concerned about the de-gendering of society, said doctors needed to be allowed to speak frankly about puberty blockers.

'We need these doctors to be able to do the research, do the studies without being labelled or threatened in any way as bigots or bullies,' she told Daily Mail Australia.

'This enquiry needs to go ahead so that doctors can have the unhindered ability to look at the research without activists trying to shut them down.' 


'She should be getting treatment': Leading Australian psychologist says he's worried about the mental well-being of 'entitled' autistic climate change poster girl Greta Thunberg

A leading psychologist has voiced his concern about the mental well-being of autistic teenage climate change activist Greta Thunberg.

Greta made international headlines last week after inspiring millions of people across 150 countries to take to the streets for the Global Strike 4 Climate on Friday.

The 16-year-old schoolgirl from Sweden then made a passionate speech berating world leaders for climate inaction at the UN summit in New York on Tuesday.

But as the teenager continues to divide opinion for her opinions on climate change, one of Australia's most-high profile psychologists has accused the girl of being an 'entitled political pawn' in need of treatment.

Dr Michael Carr-Gregg compared Greta's position in the spotlight to the fame of a child TV star who could 'burn out' after being thrust into the spotlight.

'I worry about her going the same as child TV stars, that they just burn out and potentially have a disastrous psychological outcome,' he told 3AW on Wednesday.

'Can I make it clear, I am not a climate change denier. I actually think that we do need to do more about saving the planet.'

Dr Carr-Gregg said he was wary of Greta's Asperger's and history of mental health in his analysis of the teenager, who he believes has a 'sense of entitlement'.

'I am worried that we use a kid like this, who arguably should be getting treatment because she's said she's had anorexia, said she's got Asperger's and said she's battled depression,' he said.

'As a parent, if this was my child, I'm not sure I'd be putting them on the world stage.'

Dr Carr-Gregg said he was worried about Greta's future, her current psychological health and how it would impact other young people.

'It sends a message to other teenagers that they can speak to adults in this very, very dismissive way',' he said.

'She seems to be caught up in a doomsday scenario where she's massively exaggerating the threats posed by climate change and that has a flow-on effect because it causes all this existential anxiety in our children, hence the climate strikes,' he said.

He said kids should be in school but are instead rallying because 'they've been convinced the end of the world is nigh'.

'She's now put herself at the centre of worldwide either Greta-phobia or Greta-mania and I don't think any 16-year-old girl should be,' he said.

Dr Carr-Gregg mentioned the 'Twitter war' between Greta and Donald Trump where the president appeared to mock the teenager.

'She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!,' Mr Trump tweeted following Greta's impassioned speech.

The climate activist swiftly responded by changing her Twitter bio to 'A very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future.'

In her explosive speech, Greta said: 'We are in a mass extinction. And all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!'

The teenager first rose to fame a year ago when she held a one-person climate strike out the front of Swedish parliament.

The School Strike for Climate protests quickly rose to success, with millions of people across the world rallying for action during the most recent demonstrations on Friday.

Dr Carr-Gregg said he didn't think children should be used as 'political props'.


How can using the ‘wrong tone’ end Israel Folau’s career?

The case has just come to court.  At issue is whether you can be fired over repeating Bible teachings on homosexuality

“Rugby Australia’s objection to the posts at issue was not their religious content but rather their tone and attributes.”

Did RA boss Raelene Castle watch The Castle and rework Dennis Denuto’s “vibe of the thing” into the “tone of the thing?” If RA’s killer point, outlined in its defence filed on Friday, is enough to allow them to sack Israel Folau, then we are all in trouble. If the wrong tone in an employee’s social media post, rather than the substance of that post, is enough to end a career, what’s next?

RA has made a number of assertions in its defence filed in the Federal Circuit Court last Friday afternoon, and served on Folau’s legal team the same day. To avoid the accusation that they sacked a man for his religious beliefs, RA’s defence is that they sacked Folau because of the tone of his posts. This is how RA plans to fend off claims by Folau that his termination was unlawful for breaching section 772 of the Fair Work Act which makes it illegal to terminate a person’s employment for reason of, or for reasons that include, his religion. RA also claims that Folau knew his social media posts in April last year, and again in April this year, were offensive to some people, and that Folau freely contracted to curb his social media usage, and that he conceded breaching his contract during a code of conduct tribunal hearing earlier this year.

RA’s core defence about the tone of Folau’s posts is nothing short of extraordinary. Who gets to determine what is an unacceptable “tone”? If RA does not object to the religious content of Folau’s posts, that must mean that Folau is entitled to say homosexuals will go to Hell, but only if he says it nicely. It means that RA accepts there could have been a way for the rugby champion to express the same sentiment, and not get sacked. What formula of words would RA have found acceptable?

RA boss Raelene Castle claims that she told Folau he had “hurt and offended some people with his comment” in April last year that homosexuals would go to Hell, and that he needed to be “considered and respectful” in his social media posts. Folau, a Christian, believes that his religion is both considered and respectful. Folau, an evangelical Christian, also believes that his calling is to evangelise his beliefs in his own personal time.

Two core issues — control and consequences — sit at the heart of RA’s defence. First, RA claims the legal right to control how Folau expresses his religious faith away from the workplace. Second, RA claims the right to impose the most severe consequences on Folau for failing to meet their demands.

This case will decide how much control an employer can or should have over an employee’s life away from his or her job. Sporting bodies have long claimed control over how a rugby player behaves off the sporting field, for example requiring that they should not break the law by taking drugs or engage in violent behaviour because this brings the game into disrepute.

RA’s defence is that its legal authority reaches into new territory, claiming a legal right to control how a rugby player may or not paraphrase the Bible. Contrary to some claims, RA cannot point to a specific clause in Folau’s contract aimed to control his social media usage. There is only a generic clause in a code of conduct (although, to be clear, that code is incorporated into his contract). Given the high stakes, and in fairness to Folau, shouldn’t RA have given precise explicit instructions to Folau about his social media usage before they used a generic clause in a generic code of conduct to sack him?

If the court decides that RA was entitled to sack Folau using an entirely subjective measure about “tone,” it will arm employers with tremendous power drawn from generic and widely worded codes of conduct to legally control the tone of an employee’s posts about their religious beliefs on private social media platforms.

Worse, it will mean that employees can be sacked at will by an employer for entirely subjective, highly contestable “tone” offences about which Folau was given no clear definition or direction during his many conversations with RA.

This leads to the second issue thrown into stark relief by RA’s defence filing. This dispute goes far beyond people disagreeing with Folau’s religious beliefs, or condemning his views, or choosing to take offence over his social media posts. It presumes that enormous consequences can legally flow from people taking offence from a few social media posts about biblical teachings. In employment law, there is nothing more enormous than bringing a person’s career to an end.

RA has hung much of its defence on the decision of the tribunal earlier this year that the “termination of [Folau’s] Player Contract was the only clear practical way for Rugby Australia and Rugby NSW to distance themselves from the views of Mr Folau’s in order not to be seen to be condoning those views, and to protect themselves from further damage.”

Folau’s legal team will surely challenge this in its response which must be filed by October 4. Coupled with a clear public condemnation of Folau’s social media posts, RA could have suspended Folau. RA could have said the sporting body vehemently disagrees with Folau, that his views are offensive to some, but that posting his religious beliefs on private social media platforms has no bearing on the game of rugby. There were plenty of other options. RA might have been more strategic, understanding that by taking the nuclear option, they turned Folau into a celebrity martyr and caused damage to the game, and RA’s reputation.

RA has gone to great lengths in its defence to say that its termination rests on Folau’s concession at the tribunal hearing that he breached the code of conduct. It is true that Folau made concessions at the hearing — to try to mitigate the damage and lessen any penalty — rather than to hand RA the justification to sack him. Folau seems to have put little faith in the Tribunal hearing. Indeed, his legal team must have been concerned that RA had a self-serving agenda in nominating Kate Eastman SC to the three-person code-of-conduct panel which ruled on Folau, given Eastman’s long history of pushing for new “rights” against discrimination in the workplace and in the law.

RA also claims that fundamental principles of freedom of contract mean that Folau knowingly agreed to restrict his social media usage. Expect Folau’s team to point out that the entire industrial relations system, including the Fair Work Act, is premised on limiting what can and cannot be agreed between parties of unequal bargaining power. And that Section 772 cannot be contracted out of.

The central question remains whether Folau was sacked because of, or for reasons that included, his religion. On this point, RA bears the onus of proving that the “tone” of the thing was enough to warrant terminating Folau’s contract. Dennis Denuto, eat your heart out.


 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, September 26, 2019

Australian scientist lets the drought cat out of the bag

A transcript from a talk he gave Wednesday 19 June, 2019, at he Sydney Environment Institute (SEI), University of Sydney.  He is Director, ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes:

“…this may not be what you expect to hear. but as far as the climate scientists know there is no link between climate change and drought.

That may not be what you read in the newspapers and sometimes hear commented, but there is no reason a priori why climate change should made the landscape more arid.

If you look at the Bureau of Meteorology data over the whole of the last one hundred years there’s no trend in data. There is no drying trend.  There’s been a trend in the last twenty years, but there’s been no trend in the last hundred years, and that’s an expression on how variable Australian rainfall climate is.

There are in some regions but not in other regions.

So the fundamental problem we have is that we don’t understand what causes droughts.

Much more interesting, We don’t know what stops a drought. We know it’s rain, but we don’t know what lines up to create drought breaking rains.”


Greta Thunberg is a hysterical child who should be ignored by sensible adults

Climate “saviour” Greta Thunberg speaking at the UN overnight made for some extremely painful watching.

It was painful not because of the apocalyptic message that she was trying to convey, but because of her childish, petulant and hysterical overreaction to the non-issue of modern-day climate change, something the planet has endured (and survived) for four and a half billion years.

It was painful because she is the product of a family, a society and a progressive media that is happy to elevate a kid with serious mental health issues to a level of exposure and publicity that will surely damage her even more.

I wonder how long it will take for any remaining sensible adults in the room to realise it is time to stop listening to a hysterical child when determining policies that will affect billions of people.

Most of the deluded kids on the climate “strikes” last week didn’t have a clue why they were there.

Enthusiastically cheered on by the mainstream media, it was a cheeky bludge off school and all they were doing was trying to “save the planet” right?

No of course not. These gullible kids are being exploited by all kinds of extreme-Left and anti-capitalist groups in order to bring about a wholesale societal change, using our children as their innocent pawns.

The website for the strikes refers to the need for “climate justice” which we all know is code for wealth redistribution from rich countries to poor, and an excuse for the usurping of normal democratic processes.

And as we no longer educate children to think for themselves, you can bet this brainwashing will last decades – possibly their entire lives.



Multi-billion-dollar Indonesian trade deal at risk in crossbench revolt

Export orders worth billions of dollars could be torpedoed with key crossbenchers set to oppose the Indonesian free-trade deal and Anthony Albanese under pressure from union bosses to stop the entry of 5000 Indonesian temporary workers a year.

Pauline Hanson told The Australian on Tuesday the agreement was not in the national interest, while crossbench senator Rex Patrick said his Centre Alliance was likely to oppose it, as are the Greens. This means the government will need Labor support to get the agreement through the Senate.

Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said he would likely bundle into a single bill the Indonesian agreement with those for Peru and Hong Kong, and try to push it through parliament by the end of the year. But Labor has yet to deliver a clear position on whether it will support the enabling legislation required to help bring the Indonesian trade agreement into effect next year.

National Farmers Federation chief executive Tony Mahar warned against allowing farmers’ interests to be “compromised by short-term partisan politics”.

“That’s even more relevant as drought continues to devastate rural and regional Australia — the last thing we need is politicking over a trade agreement which gives farmers hope for big new markets and more export ­opportunities.”

The ACTU has resumed its ­attack on the deal, and is understood to be lobbying Labor to ­oppose part or all of the agreement, particularly arrangements that would open up the rural and regional labour market to temporary workers.

Under the proposed deal, the cap for reciprocal 12-month visas for travellers aged 18 to 30 would rise from the current 1000 per year to 4100 in the first year of the agreement, and then to 5000 a year by the sixth year.

ACTU president Michele O’Neil said: “We are deeply concerned that the Morrison government has done yet another dodgy deal that opens the door to an increased number of temporary workers being exploited when we should be prioritising hiring and training local workers.”

Senator Hanson, the One ­Nation leader who commands two Senate crossbench votes, said she did not trust the government to ratify a deal in the national interest. She was particularly concerned about more Indonesian workers coming to Australia under the FTA.

Senator Patrick, whose party also controls two Senate votes, said he had not examined the full detail of the Indonesian agreement but understood it had no ­“labour market testing”.

Senator Patrick and the ACTU also object to what are known as investor-state dispute settlement provisions. The ­arrangements allow foreign investors in some circumstances to sue the federal government in international tribunals if they consider new Australian laws harm their interests. “They’re things we would object to,” Senator Patrick said.

Greens trade spokesman Jordon Steele-John said the party would oppose the FTA “all the way”. Without the support of Labor or the Greens, the government must win over four out of six Senate crossbenchers to pass the ­enabling legislation.

If Senator Hanson, Senator Patrick and the Greens maintain their opposition, the government would need Labor’s support for the legislation to pass.

The proposed agreement grants vastly expanded access for Australian farmers, but also offers big opportunities for steelmakers, educators and the health sector.

A government source said the deal would not involve skilled workers, but only working holiday makers who would largely perform seasonal tasks such as fruit picking. In a sign the government may attempt to wedge Labor and the union movement, Senator Birmingham said: “I find it astonishing that the ACTU are criticising a deal that will actually create more jobs for Australians.

“This is misleading scaremongering from the ACTU who are betraying the interests of Australia by turning their back on a deal that will provide more opportunities for our farmers and businesses to export more, to do more business and create more jobs.”

A spokesman for Mr Albanese said “we won’t pre-empt the parliamentary process or the processes of the federal Labor caucus”.

Senator Birmingham said the lack of clarity in Labor’s position on the Indonesian trade deal meant “the only doubt that hangs over it from Australia’s perspective is whether or not legislation can cleanly pass the Senate”.


Federal Government announces inquiry into family law and child support systems

The Federal Government will launch an inquiry into the family law system, after accusations the court system is failing vulnerable Australians. A report released earlier this year recommended sweeping changes to the system

Coalition backbenchers and the crossbench, including One Nation leader Pauline Hanson, have been calling for an inquiry for some time, arguing the system is too expensive and slow.

The inquiry will be run by former social services minister and long-serving Liberal MP Kevin Andrews.

A tearful Senator Hanson welcomed the announcement, saying it was something she had campaigned for since her first stint in Parliament in 1996. "It's not the Pauline Hanson inquiry, this is the Australian people's inquiry," she said.

"For those contemplating suicide and facing potential family violence, I'm asking you to stop and know you have finally been heard. "I beg you, please give me a chance to try and make change."

The crossbencher said she wanted to be an active member of the inquiry, which she argued was not a condition of her support for Coalition legislation.

"There was no bargaining chip, I actually put my case forward to the Prime Minister, and I put my case forward to the Parliament," she said.

Concerns review will cause further delays

In 2017, the Federal Government ordered the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) to conduct a wide-ranging review of the system.

That report was released earlier this year, and recommended sweeping changes including scrapping the current Family Court and giving the states the power to judge such cases.

While waiting for that review to be released, Attorney-General Christian Porter announced plans to merge the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court in a bid to ease crippling delays in the system.

That proposal was widely canned by lawyers, arguing it was a policy developed by spreadsheet rather than with the best interests of families at heart.

Responding to the announcement, Angela Lynch from the Women's Legal Service of Queensland said she held concerns the review would delay much-needed reform to the sector, noting the Government has not even responded to the ALRC report.

"How many more women and children have to die in this system, and we are now going to wait another 12 months?" she said. "We were told to wait 18 months when the previous ALRC report was established. "And now .… women and children are required to wait another 12 months before this inquiry and its recommendations."


 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, September 25, 2019

'It doesn't feel justifiable': The couples not having children because of climate change

I really enjoy reports like this.  It would  be great if all Greenie fools took themselves out of the gene pool that way

Morgan and Adam have always wanted children but fears over climate change are making them reconsider.

The committed pair, aged 36 and 35, are part of a growing trend for young couples to abandon plans for a family because of the climate crisis.

Millions of people around the world rallied for climate action over the past two days, including 300,000 in Australia on Friday, ahead of a United Nations climate action summit on Monday.

"I feel so sad, it's such a hard thing to let go of," says Morgan, who works in logistics. "My conscience says, 'I can't give this child what I've enjoyed, I can't give them the certainty of a future where they can be all that they can be ... or have the things they should have, like breathable air and drinkable water'."

Morgan is feeling "pretty damn certain" a baby is off the cards, even though she fears she might regret it. She has at least two close friends in their early 30s, with good partners, who have made the same decision.

Her partner Adam, who works in web development, agrees. "I have a lot of love to give and would love to raise a child … but it doesn’t feel justifiable. The world is heading blindfolded towards catastrophe."

Prince Harry made headlines when he revealed in an interview in British Vogue, in the September issue guest-edited by his wife Meghan, that the couple would have two children "maximum" for the sake of the planet.

The idea of limiting family size to two children to represent net zero population growth has been around for decades. But is no children the new two children?

Dr Bronwyn Harman, a lecturer at Edith Cowan University in Perth who studies people without children, says it is a progression of the same theme. She says some people are avoiding parenthood because they are worried for their unborn children, while others are motivated not to make things worse.

"They're saying things like ‘we don't want to add children into the mix and put more strain on the planet’," Harman says. "It's started coming up [in my research] in the past six months but it's not very common."

The phenomenon is growing. The Age and Sun-Herald have spoken to 20 and 30-somethings all over Australia wrestling with the dilemma. Most asked to use first names only to avoid online harassment.

"I’m terrified that in another 50 years, if my hypothetical child was all grown up, what would our world look like?" says Jessica Ivers, 29. The digital specialist and yoga teacher from Northcote in Melbourne says she is "100 per cent certain" about her choice.

In Mackay in Queensland,  community organiser Emma, 32, says she and her partner Mick, 33, were planning to start trying for a family next year but changed their minds after the federal election.

"After the LNP won - with no climate plan - we cried and agreed that the dream of a family wouldn't be for us," Emma says. "It's a terrifying thought for us that the world will be uninhabitable in a few decades if we continue charging ahead with fossil fuels and approving coal mines like Adani."

Melanie, 24, from Highgate Hill in Brisbane terminated an unplanned pregnancy last year and says the climate crisis was the "ultimate deciding factor". She read scientific articles about the best and worst-case scenarios and decided she would never have children.

"It's been a hard year coming to terms with the reality of the situation," says Melanie. "I cannot justify bringing children into a world in the midst of a mass extinction event and facing total ecological collapse. "

Shalini, 33, and David, 35, from Summer Hill in Sydney have decided not to have biological children but would like to adopt or foster in the future.

"It makes more sense for us to look after a child that is here and needs someone rather than make more children," says David, a 3D animation artist.

Shalini, a public servant, says climate change is a big reason, along with her focus on career.

“I don't eat meat and I'm really conscious about consuming goods and services that that are more sustainably produced and in the same vein, I don't want to produce more people,” Shalini says. She finds it hard to discuss with friends because she doesn't want them to feel judged.

Maddie, 32, from the lower north shore, sought counselling to deal with her grief and anxiety over climate change and her dilemma over having children.

“My psychologist is having more and more couples coming to her about this,” she says. “The first thing she said to me was, ‘this is not a manifestation of normal anxiety, this is a real threat and real grief that you're carrying’.”

Maddie would love children but feels an obligation to fight for her newborn niece and friends' children instead.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures suggest one in four women aged 15 to 35 will never have children. Harman says roughly two-thirds of those women make an active choice to be "child-free" while one-third are "childless" because of circumstances, including fears over the state of the world.

A global trend

In Britain musician and activist Blythe Pepino, 33, kicked off the "BirthStrike" - a movement of people pledging not to have children "due to the severity of the ecological crisis and the current inaction of governing forces in the face of this existential threat".

In February, US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez commented on the grim scientific outlook and political inaction: "It does lead young people to have a legitimate question: is it OK still to have children?"

American singer and actress Miley Cyrus, 26, told Elle magazine’s August 2019 US issue that Millennials didn't want to reproduce because they knew the Earth could not handle it.

"We’re getting handed a piece-of-shit planet, and I refuse to hand that down to my child,” Cyrus says. "Until I feel like my kid would live on an Earth with fish in the water, I’m not bringing in another person to deal with that."

Yet even at the coalface of climate change research, some see this as extreme. Earlier this month, Petteri Taalas, secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organisation (parent body of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), weighed into the debate.

"The latest idea is that children are a negative thing," Taalas told a Finnish magazine. "I am worried for young mothers, who are already under much pressure. This will only add to their burden."

He warned facts could be hijacked to justify "extreme measures" in the name of climate action.

Taalas told The Sun-Herald  in a statement he supports strong climate action and a science-based approach offers hope.

“We must not be driven to despair, given that reasonable solutions are available to the international community, governments and civil society," he says.


Qld public servants to be given $1250 bonus to ‘boost economy’

So where is the money coming from?  Other taxpayers.  Why should one class of taxpayer be rewarded at the expense of other taxpayers?

Queensland public servants will be in line for a cash bonus of $1250 in a move labelled by the Opposition as a ‘cash splash for votes.’

Treasurer Jackie Trad announced the bonuses for more than 200,000 workers. It comes on top of annual wage increases of 2.5 per cent, which is more than the current rate of inflation.

Almost all public servants who sign, or have signed new workplace agreements from March 2018 to March 2021 will be eligible for the bonus. That includes, nurses, midwives and teachers.

Senior executives and senior officers will not be eligible.

It’s set to cost taxpayers $250 million, with the Opposition slamming the move. “This taxpayer funded cash splash should be tied to guaranteeing better services as Labor have created a major health crisis, with waiting lists blowing out, and education results slipping,” Deputy LNP Leader Tim Mander told News Corp.

Ms Trad insists the payment is about supporting Queensland’s economy. “The Governor of the Reserve Bank last month called for all levels of Government to provide additional support above existing caps on wages growth to drive economic growth,” she said.

But experts have dismissed the Treasurer’s claims saying it will do very little to boost the economy. University of Queensland economist John Mangan says most of the money will end up going towards bills and credit card payments. “People will pay debt off. It’ll do nothing at all,” Professor Mangan told AAP.

“That’s what always happens when you get these one-off income jolts. “If it were a permanent pay rise, that would be a completely different thing.”


Climate-sceptic academic seeks $1.5m in donations to fight unlawful dismissal appeal

The climate-sceptic academic Peter Ridd has asked supporters to donate another $1.5m to fund ongoing legal costs after his former employer, James Cook University, lodged an appeal against an unlawful dismissal ruling.

This month the federal court awarded Ridd $1.2m in compensation. The court has made clear its finding related to Ridd’s employment rights and not his academic freedom.

After JCU lodged its appeal and most of the compensation payout was ordered to be quarantined in a trust account, Ridd relaunched a public fundraising site for his legal costs.

The site has collected more than $350,000 in total public donations, including about $100,000 in the past 24 hours.

In recent months Ridd has held a speaking tour, promoted by agricultural groups, that supported their campaign against new Great Barrier Reef pollution regulations. Ridd has personally promoted their cause and joined lobbying efforts.

In a statement soliciting donations, Ridd cites his position on the reef issue – which disputes the scientific consensus and has been compared with the strategy used by the tobacco industry to raise doubt about the impact of smoking – as a “point of principle we must fight for”.

“JCU will use its infinite financial resources – effectively government money – to appeal,” Ridd said.

He said donations would “send a powerful message to governments about what the public expect of our universities”.

The court last week put a stay on the compensation payout. JCU is required pay more than $1.2m into a trust administered by Ridd’s lawyer. Of that money $1m will be quarantined and $215,000 made available for Ridd’s legal costs.

In April federal circuit court judge Salvatore Vasta found the actions of the university, including Ridd’s repeated censure and ultimate dismissal, were unlawful.

Vasta made clear the case was about employment law and not – as Ridd, his supporters and conservative media outlets have repeatedly stated – about academic freedom.

“Some have thought that this trial was about freedom of speech and intellectual freedom,” Vasta said. “Media reports have considered that this trial was about silencing persons with controversial or unpopular views.

“Rather, this trial was purely and simply about the proper construction of a clause in an enterprise agreement.”

JCU’s appeal argues there are “errors of law” in the judgments.


Thirty million by 2030: Mass immigration will see Australia's population grow by 160,000 a YEAR - putting more pressure on home affordability and public services

More than 160,000 migrants are expected to arrive in Australia every year over the next four years putting unprecedented pressure on the nation's infrastructure.

A new report reveals government plans to spend billions of dollars on improving roads and transport to cope with exploding population numbers.  

Sydney, Melbourne and southeast Queensland have absorbed 75 per cent of the nation's population growth in the last 10 years.

The boom has taken its toll on public transport and roads, which are now overcrowded and congested, and the cost of housing has soared.

'The freeways have slowed, trains are sometimes at crush capacity and housing construction has not always kept pace,' said the report, called Planning for Australia's Future Population. 

 'Avoidable congestion is already estimated to cost $25 billion and is forecast to reach $40 billion by 2030 without further change.'

To cope with the growth the government has vowed to spend billions of dollars trying to relieve the congestion in the pressured capitals pledging a $4billion urban congestion fund to relieve pressure on the roads.

The government also plans to spend $4.5 billion on regional roads connecting ports, airports and freight routes, in an effort to boost regional employment.

And another $9.3 billion for an inland rail corridor stretching from Melbourne to Brisbane and $2 billion for a fast rail connection from Melbourne to Geelong.

Since 2010, migration rates have outstripped birthrates with about 59 per cent of Australia's total population growth coming from migration, the report said.

Of those migrating to Australia, the vast majority have moved to urban areas.

In the past 20 years, migrants have made up nearly two-thirds of Sydney's population increase and half of all population growth in Melbourne and Perth.

More than 1,400,000 international student visas granted since June 2015 according to Home Affairs department figures.

Population growth needs to be sustainable, the report said.

'It needs to occur at a rate where infrastructure and services can be put in place to match the growing population. If this does not occur, the result is increased congestion, housing pressures, pollution and lack of support and amenity. This has adverse consequences for quality of life.' 

Australia's total population is forecast to expand from 25 million to 29.5 million by 2029, the report said.  

Both Sydney and Melbourne are expected to add just over a million people each,  increasing to 6.4 million and 6.3 million respectively over the next decade.

The Morrison Government said on Monday that the permanent migration intake had been lowered from 190,000 per year, and it would try to deflect new migrants to regional areas in order to relieve the pressure on Sydney and Melbourne.

Population minister Alan Tudge said the 160,000 yearly cap would include 23,000 skills visas requiring people to work outside the big cities for three years before being eligible for permanent residency.

Seven Designated Area Migration Agreements have been made to allow regional employers to sponsor skilled workers.

Changes have also been made to the Temporary Graduate visa for international students who have completed their studies at a regional campus of a university, so they can continue to live and work in regional Australia, the report said.

Mr Tudge said the plan would also create incentives to encourage international students to go to regional areas and smaller cities to study.

Economist Leith Van Onselen, who worked for Treasury, Goldman Sachs and now writes for website Macrobusiness, was scathing about both the Coalition and Labor's plans to cope with mass migration through infrastructure spending or diversion to regional areas.

 'The only 'solution' to maintaining Australia's liveability is to slash immigration back to historical levels – well below 100,000 people a year – to allow housing and infrastructure to keep pace,' he wrote on Monday.

'Anything else is treating symptoms, not the cause, and are merely policy smokescreens.'

Daily Mail Australia has asked Mr Tudge's office for economic modelling to show the cost-benefit analysis of mass migration set at 160,000 per year. 


 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, September 24, 2019

I was a good prophet

On July 22, 2005, I wrote:

Patriotism, immigration and the Sudanese

After having lived for various periods of time in the USA, the UK and India, I am firmly convinced that Australia is the best place in the world in which to live. I imagine that 99% of Australians would agree with that. But I have never been patriotic. I have always seen faults as well as advantages. I am pleased to be an Australian but not proud to be Australian. If I identify with any group at all, it is with the Anglo-Saxon population worldwide. The Anglos versus the non-Anglos seems to me the differentiation that is most useful in identifying locations of civility and moderation.

But I don't see even the Anglos as a whole as being the pinnacle of anything. Most things in this life could be improved (with the exception of J.S. Bach) and I think that applies to populations as well. But how? I see some role for eugenics as long as it is voluntary and the success of the NYC Ashkenazim in almost eliminating Tay-Sachs disease from their community is a shining example of that. And human genetic engineering will undoubtedly in the future be a great boon too.

One thing I would particularly like to see is the minimization of the "Yobbo" or "Chav" component of Anglo-Saxon communities. And I think that SELECTIVE immigration is the only way of doing that which is currently feasible on a large scale. Just because the percentage of "good" genes (however defined) in one population is slightly higher than the average does not mean that there are no similarly "good" genes elsewhere. So a rational immigration program would aim to bring in the bearers of those good genes from wherever they are found and thus dilute the percentage of "bad" genes in the immigration-receiving country. And that I think is broadly what Australia's past immigration policy has done. We have very civilized Asian minorities which greatly enhance the amenity of our country.

The "refugee" component of our immigration program is however a worry. There appears to be some degree of selectivity even in that component of our program but only time will tell if it is sufficient. The disastrous situation in Sudan has led the Australian government into allowing into Australia a considerable number of Sudanese and I see them even in the streets of suburban Brisbane. Given the social pathologies that are uncontrovertibly associated with populations of African origin worldwide, I think it is most likely that the quality of life in Australia will be diminished by the Sudanese presence. I make no apology for predicting that Australian kind-heartedness will have been to our detriment in this instance.

The huge crime problem with Sudanese youth in Melbourne is only too well known by now.  I was not really a prophet, though.  I was just facing the facts

Christian and Muslim protesters gather outside KIIS FM studios demanding Kyle Sandilands be FIRED over his 'offensive' comments about the Virgin Mary

Cerrtainly offensive to many and quite bad manners

Christian and Muslim protesters gathered outside KIIS FM's studios in North Ryde, Sydney on Monday demanding that radio presenter Kyle Sandilands be fired.

Police were called to intervene as dozens prayed in the street and called for Kyle's sacking over offensive comments he made about the Virgin Mary last week.

The shock jock had already apologised for the segment on The Kyle & Jackie O Show in which he called Mary a 'liar' who got knocked up 'behind a camel shed', but the religious protesters were not satisfied with his response.

'We live in a country that has double standards because in the commercial code of conduct clause 214 states that a radio station cannot offend [or] discriminate against religion, sex, gender,' Georgie Clark, who led the protest, told The Daily Telegraph.

'Kyle from 106.5 KIIS FM went and discriminated against not only one religion but two.

'What is the difference between offending a homosexual or a thief or a liar or an adulterer or a fornicator like Israel Folau did? But when it comes to religion they just want to sweep us under the carpet.'

In a statement to Daily Mail Australia on Monday, an Australian Radio Network (ARN) spokesperson apologised for Kyle's comments.

'As we said last week, we echo Kyle's [apology] and unreservedly apologise for any offence that may have been caused,' they said.

'Last week when this content ran, we immediately recognised that it wasn't appropriate for distribution and it was removed immediately.'

During the offensive radio segment, Kyle claimed that Mary was not actually a virgin.

'I thought Mary was his [Jesus Christ's] girlfriend but apparently it was the mother,' he said. 'And the mother lied obviously and told everyone 'Nah I got pregnant by a magical ghost'. Bulls**t.

A video of the segment was later removed from KIIS FM's social media channels and Kyle apologised for his remarks.

'I'm sorry if I offended anyone with my comments,' he told The Daily Telegraph. 'Everyone is entitled to their own religious beliefs and I'm fully supportive of that right.'

In May, axed Wallabies star Israel Folau was found guilty of breaching Rugby Australia's code of conduct and his four-year NRL contract was terminated after he shared an Instagram post claiming that all homosexuals are going to hell.


'Switch off the air-con, walk to school, make a sandwich': Baby boomer blasts 'selfish' students for skipping class to protest against climate change

An open letter penned by a frustrated baby boomer has resurfaced in the wake of the global school strike for climate rallies.

More than 300,000 protesters in 110 towns and cities across Australia flooded the streets on Friday as part of a global movement to demand action on climate change.

The viral letter, originally shared to social media last year, is addressed to 'school kids going on strike for climate change'.

'You are the first generation who have required air-conditioning in every classroom,' the letter reads

'You want TV in every room and your classes are all computerised.

'You spend all day and night on electronic devices.

'More than ever, you don't walk or ride bikes to school but arrive in caravans of private cars that choke local roads and worsen rush hour traffic.'

The author then continue by taking a swipe at young people's consumer culture, arguing the youth of today opts to replace 'expensive luxury items to stay trendy'.

'How about this... Tell your teachers to switch off the air-con,' the letter said.

'Walk or ride to school. Switch off your devices and read a book.

'Make a sandwich instead of buying manufactured fast food.'

The post swiftly takes a turn, targeting the character traits of young Australians.

'No, none of this will happen because you are selfish, badly educated, virtue signalling little 'princesses', inspired by the adults around you who crave a feeling of having a 'noble cause' while they indulge themselves in Western luxury and unprecedented quality of life.'

'Wake up, grow up and learn to research facts and think for yourself and not blindly accept the words and thoughts of others.'

Protesters were demanding a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2030 and a transition to 100 per cent renewable energy.


Tas council ditches Australia Day events


A council in Tasmania's north will scrap official Australia Day celebrations and move citizenship ceremonies to another date.

Launceston City Council on Thursday voted unanimously for the changes, made in respect of the nation's indigenous people. "(We did this) to be an inclusive council and city where we recognise the Aboriginal community," Mayor Albert van Zetten told AAP.

Citizenship ceremonies won't be performed in the municipality on January 26 and will instead be held the day before.

"We're not stopping anyone from celebrating on the 26th, if that's what they want to do," Mr van Zetten said.

"Yes there will be people who are disappointed and who don't understand.

"I'd just like to remind people, go back and have a look at the history. "Try and understand how you would feel if that was a day your family was on this lovely country and you were invaded and taken over."

The council has also replaced its National Australia Day Awards program with a community awards ceremony, now to be held on January 25.

"The voice of Tasmanian Aborigines are being heard," Graeme Gardner, from the Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania, told the ABC.

"What we would want to see is the country collectively change its whole perception of what it is to celebrate Australia and make it a celebration of all history."

But the changes may be overruled by the Morrison government, who earlier this year pledged to introduce legislation making it mandatory for councils to hold citizenship ceremonies on January 26.

Several Victorian councils have been stripped of the power to hold citizenship ceremonies after shunning Australia Day.

Mr van Zetten said the council would follow any directions from the federal government. "They're aware of our position (but) we've got to do what we feel is best, as a council, and that's what we've done," he said.

Launceston is the second Tasmanian council to shift Australia Day events, following the Flinders Island Council in 2013.


 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