Monday, November 25, 2019

Are the Left now toning down the hate?

I believe Joe Hildebrand is right below in saying that the current level of hate in Australian Federal politics is an historical departure. 

Sir Robert Menzies, Australia's most storied conservative Prime Minister, ran Australia for most of the 50s and 60s and always had a good reply to his Leftist critics.  And he kept them out of office over many elections. 

In his retirement he wrote two autobiographies.  I read both  shortly after they came out.  That is a long time ago so I remember now little of what I read then.  The one thing in them that has stuck in my mind is his praise for his erstwhile opponents in the Labor party.  He described them quite warmly -- as good and sincere men who honestly believed they were working for the good of the country.

So what Hildebrand says below of the Hawke era in fact goes back a long way.  Politics in Australia were for a very long time marked by real interpersonal civility

I was talking to Bob Hawke’s widow Blanche d’Alpuget.

It was the first time we had spoken since Hawke’s death – which is hardly surprising since we hardly know each other – but like anyone with a passing relationship with the Labor Party, I somehow felt that they were part of my extended family.

At any rate, I certainly felt very close to her then and as we talked about Bob’s death it was clear that she was a woman blown apart. You could see right through to her shaken soul.

But when we talked about Bob’s legacy that soul turned to steel. Hawke was, above all else, a consensus builder – a peacemaker. He took not just his party with him on his and Keating’s grand economic project but often the opposition too.

As Blanche angrily lamented, even amid all the fire and fury of political and parliamentary life, politicians always used to work together behind the scenes to get things done. They would shake hands, do deals and share jokes behind the Speaker’s chair. They would work across the aisle – bridging the often artificial divide between left and right – in pursuit of what used to be known as the common good.

This was Australian politics’ dirty little secret: The people that pretended to hate each other actually quite liked each other.

And this was the culture that prevailed in Canberra under both Labor and the Coalition for a quarter of a century – so much so that when an escalating travel rorts war resulted in a senator attempting suicide both sides immediately agreed to a ceasefire.

But a decade ago that all changed. A nasty condition known as “the NSW disease” crept into Canberra, a culture in which leaders were brutally knifed at the first whisper of discontent and which swept through both the Labor Party and the Coalition, decimating them both.

It is no coincidence that all of this took place in the new age of social media – in which politicians, activists and any member of the public could slug it out directly without the niceties of standing orders or news cycles.

And it is no coincidence that it happened amid the online news revolution, in which both old and new media outlets became more tribal than ever in an effort to hold or attract their audience.

One man who was at the centre of it all was Craig Emerson, a softly-spoken economist and academic who was an adviser to Hawke before entering parliament and becoming a minister under the fractious Rudd and Gillard governments.

Emerson’s latest thankless task for Labor was to find out how it lost the unlosable election, which he and former premier Jay Weatherill dutifully performed. Their conclusion is neatly summarised in the report as follows:

“Labor should position itself as a party of economic growth and job creation. Labor should adopt the language of inclusion, recognising the contribution of small and large businesses to economic prosperity, and abandon derogatory references to ‘the big end of town’. Labor’s policy formulation should be guided by the national interest, avoiding any perception of capture by special interest groups.”

In short, the party needed to be inclusive, not divisive. And it was a philosophy Emerson took to heart when he bravely defended Barnaby Joyce in the unbecoming shitstorm that accompanied last week’s bushfire disaster.

Emerson observed that contrary to the outrage being generated by both social and mainstream media, Joyce had not been attacking two dead bushfire victims for being Greens supporters but clumsily trying to say that he wouldn’t – albeit for reasons known only to Barnaby himself.

For this attempt at nuance Emerson was naturally crucified on social media, leading him to write a thoughtful piece for the Australian Financial Review lamenting the blind ideological tribalism that had taken hold of politics.

And of course for this he was naturally crucified by blind ideological tribalists. He was condemned for breaking a cultural embargo in his effort to bridge the divide.

But he was not alone. In the small pond of Australian politics, Emerson’s piece received a tsunami of support – not from alt-right fascists, as his extreme left accusers tried to claim – but from the leading lights at the ABC. The Germans might have brought down the Berlin Wall but it was Annabel Crabb who brought down the AFR paywall when she tweeted a picture of the whole column as a vital read for her half a million followers.

And of course Emerson joins a growing number of leaders from the moderate left who are coming to realise the extreme left poses a greater threat to their cause than the moderate right does. No less a figure than Barack Obama this month condemned “woke” cancel culture and plenty of once-woke celebrities from Sarah Silverman to Michael Leunig have found out the hard way that the hard left only loves you until they come for you.

The champions of censorship like to claim that they are on the right side of history but it is just possible that future historians may remember this November as the time when cancel culture got cancelled.

Man, I hope I live to see that.


Update from Bettina on firefighters

Just a quick post-script to my recent firefighter skirmish.

Last week I heard from a professional firefighter telling me he’d approached his employers for funding for a small event to be held on International Men’s Day. He was told none was available but he could “apply for funding” for possible future events. Last March their organization, which consists of over 95% male employees, held lavish celebrations for International Women’s Day.

Here’s what he wrote to me: “I would love for you to be a voice for male firefighters to bring attention to this brazen inequality and insult to men; who risk their lives for others day in day out during their professional careers as firefighters. As you know, sadly in this current climate it is probably not wise for me to make noise about it myself for the backlash and fallout may be career limiting. 😔”

I was very happy to be able to appear on Sky News last Tuesday, for International Men’s Day. And my short interview with Chris Kenny did focus on our brave firemen and the fallout over former Victorian equal opportunity commissioner Moira Rayner’s attempt to smear me.

We’ve made a short video of that interview. Given that over 5,600 people ‘liked’ her twitter post having a go at me, it would be great if you could circulate this video so people know she fell flat on her face. Here’s the link:

Via email

Decline in nurse education standards

Union claims graduates unable to perform basic tasks

Student nurses nearing the end of their training are unable to perform basic tasks such as calculate medication doses, set up IVs or take blood pressure, leaving them flailing in high-pressure hospital wards.

Explosive claims by the Nurses Professional Association of Queensland highlight the career is in crisis and some graduates are declaring their $20,000 nursing degrees are worthless.

The union says the "dumbing down" of bachelor of nursing degrees means necessary practical skills are missing, knowledge of anatomy is poor and patient interaction often appalling, posing serious risk not only to patients but to the students themselves who are filled with anxiety and fear.

Veteran nurses report that many registered nurse trainees lack the stamina for a busy shift in today's hospitals that have fast turnover of patients and some have no more knowledge of health conditions than the patients themselves.

The Queensland Nurses and Midwives Union says that the problem lies with the lack of time available for experienced clinicians to act as mentors and instructors to students on clinical placement and to nurses at other stages of practice development.

"That is the systemic fix we need far more than any tinkering with the educational preparation program," QNMU assistant secretary Sandra Eales told The Sunday Mail. The QNMU insists that nursing work is at the core of why hospitals exist and nurses are not "bottom rung".

The Nurses Professional Association of Queensland was set up five years ago as an alternative to the QNMU. It is not a registered industrial body but has close to 4000 members.

Phill Tsingos is 'a clinical nurse in the emergency department of a Queensland hospital. He has been nursing for 27 'years and is a supervisor to student nurses, and is very concerned about the level of nurse education. "I have worked with students who were doing a bachelor of nursing and gained access to the degree with an OP 20.[A very low high school mark]

I see some in their third year and am stunned at times over the lack of knowledge. "Don't get me wrong, we have some great young people but the general standard is not up to scratch," he said. "Many do not know how to spike an IV fluid bag or calculate medication doses when they are at the end of their degree. "Patients often know more about health conditions than the students. "I would struggle to trust some of the students."

Mr Tsingos says student nurses need more on-the-job experience rather than being stuck in a classroom learning the difference between private and public hospitals.

"The universities are turning out a glut of nurses, many of whom have little chance getting a job," he said. "One girl went for an interview for one of 30 jobs in Brisbane and there were 90 plus vying for the positions. "The whole sector needs an overhaul."

State Health Minister Steven Miles says he is disappointed to hear an association talk down the skill set studies of nurses. "We have highly trained and hardworking nurses and midwives employed in our public hospitals," he said. "There are many rutal areas in Queensland that are struggling to recruit nurses  and midwives.

"The National Graduate Outcomes Survey suggests that 90.4 per cent of graduate nurses were employed in 2019 and 91.5 per cent in 2018.” Tertiary education, including university places, are the responsibility of the Federal Government.

Flagging the need for change, an independent national review "Educating the Nurse of the Future" has just been completed and the final report, taking into consideration 83 submissions, has been presented to federal Health Minister Greg Hunt. The report will be considered by government and a plan for public release developed soon. The review was announced as part of the 2018-19 Federal Budget.

Ms Eales says there is no evidence of admissions to nursing with OP 20s. "Skills acquisition within the workplace, both practical and theoretic, is as important as classroom or simulated learning environments," she said. "Professional Practice Environment is key to ensure safe learning at all levels and stages of nursing practice development."

NPAQ founding director Graeme Haycroft says if there is a shortage of nurses their value goes up. "The first responsibility of any union is to ensure there is a 'small' shortage of your member base skills," he said. "If there is a shortage of nurses wages go up in response."

Mr Haycroft says there has been an ongoing campaign by the QNMU to constantly train and recruit more nurses to the point that there is a glut "There are thousands and thousands of three-year degree nurses who will never get a fourth and final grad year enabling them to become a trained nurse who can start on the bottom rung in a hospital" he said.

From the Brisbane "Sunday Mail" of 24 November, 2019

Fuel tax hike will send us broke, truckies warn

A massive hike in trucking taxes, being secretly considered by state and federal transport ministers, could send firms broke and increase the cost of groceries and other goods, the industry warns.

Transport industry associ­ations have told The Australian they are aware of plans to increase the Road User Charge, which already adds 25.8c to the cost of every litre of diesel used by heavy trucks.

The Queensland Trucking Association said it understood the hike, ending a three-year freeze on RUC rises, to be as much as 11.8 per cent over three years when combined with increases in the roads component of state registration charges.

“When you’re looking at companies on margins of about 4c in the dollar, an increase like this could well send a number of businesses to the wall,” QTA chief executive Gary Mahon said.

“It is three times the CPI for three consecutive years. It may only be 3c a litre but when you look at the consumption levels of our industry, that is big money.

“The second biggest bill a transport company gets is fuel, after wages. It’s a significant component of road freight, and there is nothing that happens in the economy that road freight does not underpin.”

He said the proposed tax hike would cost trucking companies an estimated $650m over three years, flowing through to consumers when contracts were renegotiated, or else forcing firms to cut jobs or close.

In an industry contributing to 8.6 per cent of the nation’s gross domestic product, this could have a disastrous further dampening effect on the sluggish national economy.

“One way or the other, the taxpayer is going to feel the difference,” Mr Mahon said.

The Transport and Infrastructure Council of state, federal and New Zealand ministers is due to meet in Melbourne this week to discuss the proposed tax hike.

Any commercial heavy vehicle weighing more than 4.5 tonnes pays the RUC, as well as state heavy vehicle registration charges, with proceeds used to fund road construction and maintenance. The federal transport minister can vary the rate and collects the diesel component of the charge, which was set at 25.8c per litre in November 2016.

Mr Mahon said the industry already paid its “fair share” towards road funding. This included via toll charges, which had grown in recent years to raise $1.5bn a year along the eastern seaboard alone, an amount equal to ­registration charges levied by all jurisdictions.

The industry believed increases in the RUC above inflation treated the sector as a “cash cow” and were unjustified and “intolerable”.

The national Australian Trucking Association has been in talks with federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Michael McCormack, seeking to head off the plan.

ATA chairman Geoff Crouch, also managing director of Ron Crouch Transport, said trucking firms were already overcharged for their impact on roads.

“The projected over-recovery for 2018-19 was $189.5m, all money that trucking operators should have been able to use to employ more staff and buy new equipment,” Mr Crouch said.

“There is no justification for ­increasing the Road User Charge and registration charges.

“It’s a tax grab by the state and territory governments, and comes on top of dramatic increases in toll road and port access charges. The trucking industry simply can’t ­afford another tax hit.”

Mr McCormack’s spokeswoman said: “No decision has been taken on heavy vehicle road users. This is a matter for all states and territories to discuss at a ministerial council meeting next week. “No changes will be made without extensive consultation with industry.”


 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


Paul said...

"Labor’s policy formulation should be guided by the national interest..."

Sadly, they needed an enquiry to tell them this. Obviously this wasn't their default position. It wouldn't have been though, with a sociopath like Shorten running things.

Paul said...

Some years back, I undertook to do some final assessments for students who were resitting their practicum after failing first time around. I was told by my colleague who did the first round that their were two I will (and must) fail, but she would let me find out for myself who they were. They declared themselves very early in the process. One in particular (a diversity) demonstrated quite clearly that she was incapable of performing the most basic of drug/dilution calculations. She clearly mimicked what she saw other people doing but had no understanding of what exactly they did. I had to actually abandon the drug prep part of the assessment and get her to move on until the clock ran out, and bear in mind this was a final-assessment, not a first year. In the Hospital-training model she would have been given a few chances to learn, then she would have been taken to the Director-of Nursing's office and gently shown the door. In this case she pulled every ace from the deck, because, really, she'd paid a lot of money and been allowed to progress to the final assessment without being pulled up on something so basic. There's the problem: she had got this far. I know they are scared of anyone who pulls out the diversity card when they fail, and I also know that there are too many transient contract teachers who don't develop real learning relationships with the students. I did talk around this time to a number of students and they all felt that they were drifting through their course with zero direction from their educators, and they liked the patient contact time but their wasn't enough.

The dumbing down is real and right through the system. Critical thinking and decision making has been squeezed out with everything being reduced to an algorithmic process, and many nurses are incapable of actually understanding what they see before them. They take vital signs with machines that take away their use of the sense of touch, and they respond to numbers that appear based on what an algorithm tells them to do. An unskilled kid from Centrelink could do this. I remember at an emergency call asking someone what a pulse felt like (weak, bounding, thready etc) she replied that we have machines that do that. She hadn't touched the patient, and didn't even know what I meant. This is our new normal, and throw in masses of diversity that have no cultural understanding or empathy with the patient population and you have a failing system. And no, going Private won't save you. Its across the board, in fact its becoming worse in the Private sector as they take lower-wage Indians and Filipinos who want the sponsorship over local graduates by abusing 482 visa requirements.