Sunday, November 24, 2019

As Australia Burns, Its Leaders Trade Insults

The NYT has noticed our bushfires.  Bushfires suit their agenda a lot better than the punishing cold that is gripping most of America at the moment. Global cooling?

As was to be expected from the NYT, the fires are all due to global warming.  Global warming explains everything.  It would be good if we DID have warming at the moment.  Ocean warming causes more rain, which would tend to put the fires out

Excerpt only below

When a mass shooting shattered Australia in 1996, the country banned automatic weapons. In its first years of independence, it enacted a living-wage law. Stable retirement savings, national health care, affordable college education — Australia solved all these issues decades ago.

But climate change is Australia’s labyrinth without an exit, where its pragmatism disappears.

The wildfires that continued raging on Wednesday along the country’s eastern coast have revealed that the politics of climate in Australia resist even the severe pressure that comes from natural disaster.

Instead of common-sense debate, there are culture war insults. The deputy prime minister calls people who care about climate change “raving inner-city lunatics.” Another top official suggests that supporting the Greens party can be fatal. And while the government is working to meet the immediate need — fighting fires, delivering assistance — citizens are left asking why more wasn’t done earlier as they demand solutions.

“We still don’t have an energy policy, we don’t have effective climate policy — it’s really very depressing,” said Susan Harris Rimmer, an associate professor at Griffith Law School. [LAW school?]

But in Australia, where coal is king and water is scarce, the country’s citizens have spent the week simmering with fear, shame and alarm. As a 500-mile stretch from Sydney to Byron Bay continued to face catastrophic fire conditions, with 80 separate blazes burning and at least four deaths reported, Australians have watched, awe-struck, as life-changing destruction has been met with political sniping.

Michael McCormack, the No. 2 official in the conservative government, kicked it off on Monday, telling listeners of the country’s most popular morning radio programs that fire victims needed assistance, not “the ravings of some pure, enlightened and woke capital city greenies.”

Barnaby Joyce, the government’s special envoy for drought assistance, followed up by suggesting that two people killed by fires near a town called Glen Innes over the weekend might have contributed to their own deaths if they supported the Greens.

The victims’ neighbors called his comments “absolutely disgraceful.”

But a Greens party senator responded with his own outrage: He said the major parties were “no better than arsonists,” an insult carrying special weight for the world’s most arid inhabited continent....

Just a few days before the fires, for example, Prime Minister Scott Morrison told a mining group that new laws were needed to crack down on climate activists and progressives who “want to tell you where to live, what job you can have, what you can say and what you can think.”

What’s galling for many scientists is that the public wants the federal government to do more; polls consistently show that Australians see climate change as a major threat requiring aggressive intervention.

Aborigine shot after attacking police

He was an habitual law-defying criminal so his behaviour was in keeping with his record.  But because he was black there is a furore

He was a decorated rookie cop commended for his bravery. Now, he stands accused of the shooting murder of a young Aboriginal man.

Footage from police body cams will likely play a vital role in finding out exactly what happened last Saturday night that led to the final moments of the teenager’s life.

Police and the family of 19-year-old Kumanjayi Walker dispute what occurred in those fraught and violent few minutes before Constable Zachary Rolfe allegedly shot him either two or three times, splattering his blood across a mattress.

The footage may shed a light on why the cop made the decision to unload his firearm.

Police said Mr Walker was attacking officers. His family say the force used was out of proportion and he could have been Tasered rather than shot multiple times.

There are also questions as to why there were no medical staff in Yuendumu, deep in the Northern Territory, that night.

And why locals weren’t told of Mr Walker’s death until about 10 hours after it was confirmed as police tuned off the lights at the station and refused to speak to the distraught family outside.

Yesterday, Constable Rolfe, 28, was charged with murder.

At court hearing in Alice Springs, Constable Rolfe was granted bail and suspended with pay. The NT Police Association said he would plead not guilty. He is understood to have now left the Territory due to death threats.

The killing, which has been declared a death in custody, has stirred up ongoing anger about the deaths of Aboriginal people at the hands of police.

Again, questions are being raised as to whether the police’s responses to incidents involving Aboriginal Australians veer too quickly to lethal force.

This morning, NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner urged people to let the justice system do its job. “There are many people hurting in Yuendumu and around the Northern Territory and in our police force,” he said. “As Territorians we have been through challenging times before, we cannot and will not let this divide us.”

Constable Rolfe was a decorated officer before he was charged with murder.

According to the NT News, he was a star pupil at exclusive private school Canberra Grammar before joining Northern Territory Police in 2016.

Just days after he graduated from police college, he rescued two Hong Kong tourists who had been swept away in floodwaters at Alice Springs.

His valour won him the National Bravery Medal and the Royal Humane Society’s Clarke Medal for bravery, and Hong Kong awarded him the Bronze Medal for Bravery, the first time a foreigner had been given the gong for an incident outside of the Chinese territory.

As last Saturday dawned, police set off for Yuendumu, 300km northwest of Alice Springs.

Their plan was to arrest Mr Walker, a Warlpiri man. He was released from prison in October after serving eight of a 16-month sentence for unlawful entry, property damage and stealing offences with the remainder suspended, AAP reported.

But Mr Walker was allegedly breached his parole by removing an electronic monitoring device, among other offences.

Police had agreed to postpone the arrest to later that day to allow Mr Walker to attend the funeral of a relative.

It was a busy day in Yuendumu. As police were arriving and the funeral preparations were under way, medical staff were shipping out. There had been break-ins at the local clinic and rocks thrown through the car windows of staff. Health bosses said it wasn’t safe.

Once the funeral was done, at least two officers, including Constable Rolfe, went to arrest Mr Walker. It was 7pm and there was no immediate medical staff available should the arrest turn violent.

Which it did in the worst way.

“They came with two police cars; one parked on the other side of the house,” witness Elizabeth Snape told The Australian.

According to some reports, Mr Walker was on his bed looking at his phone when police entered the property.

The NT News has quoted a source “close to the police” who said there was “face-to-face combat” between Mr Walker and the officers. One officer was reportedly stabbed, which allegedly led to the teen to be shot.

“During that time a struggle ensued and two shots were fired and he sadly passed away later,” NT acting deputy commissioner Michael White said.

The teenager allegedly lunged at one officer as the pair tried to arrest him. “My understanding is he was armed with a weapon,” Mr White said.


Farmers ‘subsidising drivers of electric cars’

Farmers who drive long distances, and pay hefty petrol excise, are subsidising inner-city electric car drivers who pay none, prompting a peak infrastructure body to call for a “road user charge” on electric vehicles to share the tax burden more fairly.

Rapid forecast growth in electric vehicle sales will sap federal government fuel tax revenue but give state governments an ­opportunity to secure a growing source of revenue, according to a report by Infrastructure Partnerships Australia. “Applying a simple distance-based charge to electric vehicles will ensure every motorist makes a fair and sustainable contribution to the use of the roads and will help secure a vital stream of transport funding for generations to come,” said IPA head Adrian Dwyer.

The report, released on Thursday, says: “Electric vehicle motorists pay nothing at the pump, and only contribute to the road network through state-based road access charges such as registration and licence fees.

“All motorists should pay their fair share. Without reform fewer road users, especially in regional areas who drive vast distances, will increasingly subsidise electric vehicle motorists.”

Fuel excise collected per kilometre driven has steadily fallen from more than 7c in the late 1990s to just over 4c in 2017 as consumers switch to more ­efficient cars and electric vehicles, which are expected to grow from 0.3 per cent of new car sales in 2018 to 8 per cent by 2025.

“While a shift to electric vehicles could be great for the environment, we still need to make sure we can fund transport services to help people spend less time in their cars,” Mr Dwyer said.

The IPA said a 4 cent per kilometre road user charge, broadly equivalent with what most other motorists pay, wouldn’t discourage take-up of electric vehicles, which are expected to increase in cost effectiveness against petrol-powered cars as battery technology improves and charging stations become more prevalent.

It was imperative to act soon, though, given electric vehicles made up only 0.076 per cent of the light vehicle fleet, before a new tax became politically untenable. “While the revenue raised is unlikely to be substantial in the short term, it could raise rapidly as uptake grows — into the hundreds of millions each year for a large state and the billions by 2030,” the report says.

The NSW government’s review of federal financial relations, released last month, canvassed alternative state revenue sources to replace “highly inefficient” property stamp duty, shrinking coverage of the GST, including road user chrging.

The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics predicts the electric vehicle share to hit 27 per cent in 2030 and 50 per cent by 2035.


Phonics a recipe for reading progress

Independent schools across NSW have bolstered thousands of students' early literacy skills through an evidence-based explicit phonics program. Data from the program has revealed a substantial lift in the number of first-year primary students mastering the key foundational skill of phonological awareness, which includes the blending of sounds to form words, from 13 per cent at the beginning of 2018 to 84 per cent by the end of the school year.

The word-reading ability of Years 1 and 2 students also improved, with at least three-quarters of them able to read fluently from a selected list of single-syllable words by the end of the year, up from 42 per cent and 30 per cent respectively.

The targeted initiative, rolled out to 38 previously underperforming schools across the sector, has so far trained 600 teachers to provide explicit and systematic literacy and numeracy instruction to students.

In the case of literacy, phonemic awareness and phonics, which is the ability to map speech sounds to letter patterns, are considered key components of effective early reading and writing instruction.

Despite research recommending the skills be taught explicitly, systematically and sequentially, many schools continue to preference a "whole language" or "balanced literacy" approach, which emphasises learning whole words and phrases in "meaningful contexts", such as reading a book or a poem, rather than through phonics exercises.

Association of Independent Schools NSW chief executive Geoff Newcombe said the pro-gram was a "resounding success", having benefited more than 6300 students. "The initiative has had an amazing impact on the students and teachers in the schools where it is being implemented," he said. "It ensures K-2 teachers are supported and equipped to teach foundational skills to students who would otherwise struggle."

Participating school St Philip's Christian College in Cessnock has recorded impressive results since introducing an explicit and systematic approach to teaching phonics two years ago. At the K-12 college, which operates in a low socio-economic area, it is not uncommon for students to start school lacking basic early literacy skills. Among the current Year 2 cohort, 80 per cent started kindergarten below the expected level for a five-year-old, with 40 per cent flagged for needing "significant support".

Two years into the new program, almost all of the 80-plus students are performing at expected levels. Its NAPLAN results have also shown sustained improvement, with Year 3 spelling and grammar average scores lifting from below state average in 2017 to at and above average in 2019. "We've seen a massive difference," said principal Darren Cox. "The pace of lessons is a lot quicker, students are focused and on task ... every teacher knows with certainty what they need to deliver and when."

Mr Cox said a similar explicit approach to teaching mathematics had also improved base numeracy skills.

From the "Weekend Australian" of 16/11/19

Government flags changes to union laws

The Morrison government has released its proposed amendments to union-busting legislation after extensive negotiations with Senate crossbenchers.

Katina Curtis, AAP Senior Political Writer
Australian Associated PressNOVEMBER 22, 20195:10PM
Union officials could rack up $37,800 in fines in a 10-year period before being sacked under government amendments to its union-busting legislation.

The government hopes changes released on Friday will get its "ensuring integrity" laws over the line in the Senate.

Unions have flagged a last-ditch lobbying effort to battle the laws.

The new so-called demerits scheme would also apply a threshold of $189,000 in fines to an organisation before it could be deregistered.

Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter says the "sensible" amendments were developed in discussions with Senate crossbenchers.

"Both Centre Alliance and One Nation have engaged by suggesting and discussing amendments; their constructive engagement on the bill to address issues of relevance has been a very positive process," he said.

"The amendments circulated by the government today reflect those discussions and provide additional safeguards, whilst still ensuring the bill is able to achieve its key purpose - ensuring registered organisations and their officers finally obey the law."

Other changes include removing the minister's power to apply for deregistration, reducing the grounds for disqualification, and only applying a public interest test to union mergers if one of the organisations has a history of rule-breaking.

ACTU president Michele O'Neil said while the union movement appreciated the efforts of crossbenchers, the amendments did not stop attacks on ordinary working people.

"If the tests in these amendments, and this bill, were applied to politicians, political parties or corporate executives many would not be able to continue to hold office or run corporations," she said in a statement.

"We will now meet with the crossbench senators and ask them to only consider their final position on the bill after they have heard from and considered the views of those directly affected and experts in this area of law.

"This proposed bill will have serious implications for all Australian workers and should be treated with the utmost care."

The government needs crossbench support to pass the legislation because Labor is staunchly opposed to what it sees as an existential attack on unions.

Opposition industrial relations spokesman Tony Burke says even with the changes, the bill remains "fundamentally unfair".

"It will entrench the double standard where if a bank breaches the law 23 million times the prime minister considers it 'a matter for the board' - but three paperwork breaches could bring down an entire union without the members getting a say," he said in a statement.

"The truth is these laws will hurt ordinary workers by taking away their advocates: the organisations that fight for better wages, combat wage theft and exploitation, and keep workers safe."

The legislation is set to be debated in the upper house on Monday.


 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...

The NYT (or JYT as many now call it) is no more than a mouthpiece for the Global Banking Elites.

Paul said...

Personally, I think Law Enforcement should stay out of Black communities as much as possible and leave Blackie to his/her fate among their own kind. Perhaps a team could go in once a month and hose the blood off the paving, and then leave them to it again. The crime rate around Cairns and surrounds is off the charts now, all Black of course, but hold them to account and its all "that be racis' and we dindu nuffin" (as this case amply demonstrates). We actually have a team here (a mate is on it) that goes into Aruakun Hospital to organize the restock and restoration after the local Proud-Persons of Colour have trashed it over a drunken weekend. I'm all for soundly enforced Apartheid myself. Let the morons run things their way in their own communites because they be all proud 'nsheeit. Should result in zero population growth, even with their terrifying fertility.

The Africans are starting to be sprinkled around here in larger numbers now so things can only go (further) downhill.