Monday, November 11, 2019

How the world has reacted to the NSW, QLD bushfires

Brain-dead Lefty journalists who know nothing about Australia (or anything else much) say: "Climate change" did it.

Australia has always had big forest fires, with some of the biggest many years ago.  So there is no way you can tie the present fires to global warming.  It is just empty assertion by brainwashed dupes

Where the fires mainly are at the moment -- Southern Queensland and Northern NSW -- is normal for spring, which is where we now are

Media outlets around the world have been reacting to the fires burning across Australia’s east coast, saying climate change is to blame.

Three people have been confirmed dead, five are missing and 40 have been injured, with 150 homes already destroyed — and the worst is yet to come.

“We’re not even in summer yet,” NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said.

“I’m quite concerned that … we’re going to see more fires as we close through the season.”

Mayor Carol Sparks told the Sydney Morning Heraldthat her community has been “devastated” and the entire country is at risk from dangerous climate change.

Sparks, a member of the Glen Innes Severn Council, has no doubt that global warming is increasing the number of fires and their intensity.

“We are so impacted by drought and the lack of rain,” she said.

“It’s climate change, there’s no doubt about it. The whole of the country is going to be affected. We need to take a serious look at our future.”

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told the Today Show that the discussion around climate policies being to blame is not one that will be had “for the next weeks.”

“We need to focus on saving lives,” the Premier said, and “the communities who are doing it tough.”

“Often, the first couple of days when I meet someone whose lost everything, they seem resilient.

“But you know that in the next few days when the shock wears off and they face reality, that’s when we really need to provide our support and I just asked everybody to put politics aside and just consider the human toll and what we can do as humans to support people in our state.”

Readers of the BBC’s coverage on the fires have shared Sparks’ concerns. While some shared “thoughts and prayers”, many others blamed climate change and the Australian government for the situation, with one reader writing, “Climate in peril as the world burns.

“Governments are to blame,” wrote Suzanne G Kelly on a BBC post.  “They have ignored climate change even though all of the experts including Risk Analysts have been talking and warning about this for over two decades. “It’s now gone beyond blame. Governments have to be held to account and have to act now. They have been warned for decades of this and have done very little. “It’s shameful and heartbreaking.”

It was a sentiment echoed by other readers, with another writing, “Climate change is truly the topic now. Government should take this seriously. But some take climate change as their advantage to win elections.”

The Guardian have also provided significant coverage on the fires — where readers have also pointed out there’s no denying climate change is the catalyst for the blaze.

UK’s The Times coverage included quotes from Adam Bandt of the Australia Greens party, who accused Prime Minister Scott Morrison of inaction in the face of the global climate crisis, saying that he hadn’t done enough to reduce carbon emissions.

“I’m not saying the Prime Minister is directly responsible for the fires and the loss of life but he has contributed to making it more likely that these kinds of tragedies will occur,” he said.


Cancel that privilege before lecturing the rest of us about how bad we are

We need to talk about privilege. No, not about “white privilege” or “straight privilege” or “cis privilege” or any of the other made-up privileges that the woke lobby bangs on about endlessly. And I don’t mean we have to check our privilege, either.

Checking one’s privilege is one of the weirdest rituals in the cult of identity politics. It is essentially a form of self-flagellation, where supposedly privileged people — especially white men — must metaphorically whip themselves across the back for having allegedly enjoyed super-comfortable existences.

Identity politics is an extremely binary system. It sees only two kinds of human beings.

There are the oppressed, who are Good. These include Muslims, black women, brown women, some gay people (not white male gay people) and, of course, trans people.

And there are the privileged, who are Bad. These include white men, especially old white men, who are behind every ill on earth. White women are privileged, too. Remember the woke fury visited upon those sisterhood-destroying white women who had the temerity to vote for Donald Trump or Brexit in 2016.

Cis people are also privileged. Cis is short for cisgender, a word invented by people who have blue hair, degrees in queer studies and way too much time on their hands. It refers to people who remain the sex they were born. So, er, the vast majority of humankind.

No, we need to talk about the meaning of the word privilege. The real meaning, not the warped meaning dreamt up by woke warriors who are hellbent on organising humanity into lists of The Oppressed and The Privileged.

Because it strikes me that one of the most unfortunate consequences of identity politics has been its hollowing-out of the word privilege and the way this has made it impossible to have a serious debate about where power and authority really lie in 21st-century Western society.

This was brought home to me while watching Mona Eltahawy’s excruciating appearance on the ABC’s Q&A on Monday night. I cringed so hard as I watched Eltahawy, an Egyptian-American feminist and author, spout the F-word and boast about being uncivil. It was all so adolescent. I can’t believe someone over the age of 14 thinks it’s cool to say f..k.

But even more striking than that was how try-hard it felt. It came across as extraordinarily performative. It felt like an act.

Then it struck me. Eltahawy is playing at being oppressed. She’s donning the garb of the downtrodden to distract attention from the fact she has had a very nice, comfortable and, dare I say it, privileged life. Consider her Q&A comments on Barack Obama’s sensible criticisms of woke culture and the trend for “cancelling” people who hold different views to our own. Eltahawy slammed Obama. She said she often went online precisely to say “f..k off” — cringe! — to people who criticise her.

She said: “I do not have the luxury or the privilege to sit there and be civil with people who do not acknowledge my full humanity.”

In short, she’s a member of the non-privileged. And therefore she is good and you must listen to her.

There’s only one problem with this: it isn’t true.

Eltahawy has had a privileged life. And I’m using the word privilege in its true sense here. She grew up in a middle-class family in Egypt. Her parents had PhDs. They worked in medicine. They even got government grants to study and work overseas, including in Britain and Saudi Arabia.

A third of Egyptians live in extreme poverty. In contrast to them, Eltahawy grew up in great comfort. And that’s an inconvenient fact for someone who’s super keen to be a member of the woke, where being oppressed gives you moral power and social influence. So Woke Mona must pose as someone who lacks “luxury or privilege” and who cannot be expected to be polite to her detractors.

This is a woke form of blacking-up, where middle-class people self-identity (to use politically correct language) as oppressed to improve their social standing in PC circles and give themselves the right to lecture the rest of us, especially white men, about how dumb and prejudiced we are.

Indeed, Eltahawy insisted on Q&A that words such as civility and respectfulness were invented by white men for the benefit of other white men. Which white men? Rich, powerful white men such as Donald Trump? White men such as my father, an immigrant to Britain who worked on building sites his whole life? The white men who fix the plumbing in Eltahawy’s no doubt lovely apartment block in New York City?

The woke elite’s sweeping, dehumanising category of “white men” erases everything to do with class and wealth. It views all white men, whether dirt poor or filthy rich, as culturally problematic.

So Eltahawy, from her lovely, privileged background, is oppressed while white men, including the ones who have no money or power, are privileged. This is morally perverse and historically illiterate.

Woke Mona isn’t alone in using the language of oppression to disguise her privileged origins. The woke universe is full of plummy Guardianistas, feminists from wealthy backgrounds and Ivy League activists who all claim to lack privilege.

Identity politics increasingly looks like the revenge of the elites against the masses. It is the disguise well-off people wear as they lecture the throng, including working-class white men, about our moral defects.

That’s the great irony of wokeness: it poses as a revolt against old power structures but it is itself a new power structure, one of moral censorship and social control led by posh people pretending to be victims. And no matter how many times Eltahawy says f..k, she can’t hide this fact.


Opposition realises they need conservative votes

It’s a brave Labor Party parliamentarian and self-declared “progressive” who admits to being “on the same side of an argument as Alan Jones” — on occasions at least. But that’s what Clare O’Neil, the Labor MP for Hotham in southeast Melbourne, told the John Curtin Research Centre on Thursday.

O’Neil has not embraced the fan club of the Macquarie Radio (2GB in Sydney, 4BC in Brisbane) and Sky News presenter. It’s just that, in the wake of the Bill ­Shorten-led Labor defeat last May, O’Neil has recognised that she and her colleagues “need to take people with us”.

It’s not that O’Neil has become a convert to political conservatism. Rather her concern turns on tone. She recognises that many Australians regard themselves as being talked down to by progressives. And they resent it.

She added: “Not everyone with a concern about the immigration rate is a bigot; not everyone with a concern about changing gender roles is sexist; not every social change is inarguably a good one.”

There is no reference to the ABC in O’Neil’s speech. But the tone to which she refers inhabits the conservative-free zone, progressive hangout that is the taxpayer-funded public broadcaster. On the other hand, unlike the ABC, Labor has to win the support of conservatives.

The recently retired Melbourne ABC radio presenter Jon Faine went from being a left-wing activist at Monash University to a left-wing activist lawyer and then to more than two decades as an ABC presenter, of the leftist bent. In his much-hyped final show on Melbourne Radio 774 on October 11, Faine described those who regar­d the ABC as out of touch as “hypocrites”.

Faine seemed unaware that, earlier in the week, Gaven Morris (the director of ABC News) told The Australian that the ABC could definitely improve its coverage of suburban Australia. Morris asked: “Are we tuned in to what people are interested in in Bankstown (in Sydney’s west), or Ipswich­ in Brisbane, Frankston in Melbourne, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast?”

He could well have added such areas as northern Tasmania and northern Queensland.

From a political perspective, O’Neil has recognised the problem­ of being out of touch with those who live outside the inner cities or suburbs close to the CBD.

In her John Curtin Research Centre speech, she specifically looked at the seat of Capricornia in central Queensland. She ­described it as “a blue-collar, ­regional electorate of Australians Labor strives to represent”.

O’Neil then reminded her audience that the primary vote swing against the Labor Party in the May election in Capricornia (which includes the city of Rockhampton) “was a full third of the electorate”.

She was polite enough not to remind the comrades at John Curtin Research Centre that much coalmining takes place in Capricornia — and that the electorate’s town of Collinsville was the target of Bob Brown’s ill-fated and counter-productive Green Left convoy to northern Queensland of recent memory.

In her address, O’Neil did not specifically focus on belief. This issue was addressed by Labor frontbencher Michelle Rowland last September. She told Nine newspapers that Labor “didn’t get it right with religious voters”. Rowland added: “I don’t think it’s lost on anyone that there was clearly an issue with Labor and people of faith at the last election.”

Rowland is the popular ­member for Greenway, in western Sydney. It is home to many recent migrants of numerous faiths. Greenway was one of the electorates that had a majority vote “No” in the 2017 same-sex marriage postal survey. Rowland clearly underst­ands her electorate.

And then there is Joel Fitzgibbon’s speech from early October. He argued that the modern Labor Party needs to adapt to the reality that “Australians are inherently conservative”.

Fitzgibbon holds the seat of Hunter, north of Sydney, in which there are significant agricultural and mining industries. Fitzgibbon urged Labor to understand the interests of “coalminers and retired­ mine workers”.

In the past four decades, Labor has won a majority of seats in the elections of 1983, 1984, 1987 and 1990 (under Bob Hawke’s leadership), 1993 (under Paul Keating’s leadership) and 2007 (under Kevin Rudd’s leadership). All three leaders had an appeal to economic and social conservatives at the time of their victories.

The likes of O’Neil, Rowland and Fitzgibbon understand that, to win more elections than it loses, Labor needs to respect conservative views. Even if, like O’Neil, it calls itself progressive. The alternative position is offered by the left-wing faction operative senator Kim Carr. Carr told The Australian this week that Labor’s message at the May election was sound — but poorly communicated. That’s political denial.

The breakthrough in O’Neil’s speech is a recognition that, being identified with what are called “progressive” causes, Labor also identifies with those who call themselves progressives.

As she put it: “There is a culture developing in the progressive movement where membership is granted with a box of ideas. And if you don’t accept one of those ideas in the box, you do not merely have a different opinion, you are obviousl­y wrong, probably stupid and possibly subhuman.”

Many in the electorate resent the condescending tone of the self-proclaimed progressive voice. The sneering secularists who mock religious believers. The born-again eco-catastrophists who rant against mining, agricult­ure and industry while living off the products of such enterprises. And the inner-city types who live close to work and benefit from subsidised public transport while berating those who rely on cars and who love their four-wheel drives.

On the eve of the May election, the oh-so-progressive Faine warned Josh Frydenberg that Shorten and Greens leader Richard Di Natale would soon address a Friends of the ABC rally protesting at cuts to ABC funding. Faine seemed to believe that this collection of inner-city progressives would cause the Coalition problems at the forthcoming election. They didn’t.

Labor’s immediate task is not to appeal to progressives but to win back as many economic and social conservatives as possible — quite a few of whom follow Jones.


Demerits to bust rogue union chiefs

Union officials who breach workplace laws would be banned from holding office under a new demerit-points system the government will adopt in a bid to get its union-busting "Ensuring Integrity Bill" through parliament as early as next week. The new system would involve a 180-penalty-unit threshold for law-breaking trade unionists, and could lead to Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union officials being banned for just one breach of civil laws, while other officials would be exposed to ban applications for multiple, minor breaches.

Attorney-General Christian Porter told The Weekend Australian that proposed amendments, resulting from negotiations with Centre Alliance, meant penalty units would accumulate for breaches across three separate pieces of workplace legislation. Centre Affiance senator Rex Patrick said on Friday he was "close to an agreement" on the bill, which significantly expands the grounds for banning union officials and deregistering unions.

The government said on Friday the bill could be brought on for a Senate vote as early as next Wednesday.

One Nation is due to meet Mr Porter on Tuesday. A spokesman for senator Malcolm Roberts indicated on Friday that One Nation supported the demerit-points system in principle but had questions about how it would work in detail.

Senator Jacqui Lambie declined to comment but her office maintained she intended to vote for the bill if CFMEU Victorian leader John Setka continued to refuse to resign.

Senator Patrick confirmed the 180-penalty-unit threshold for union officials under the deal with the Coalition. He said officials could be subject to a ban application for "multiple, minor breaches". He said the proposed trigger for a deregistration application for a union was 900 penalty units but that figure was "ball-park" and yet to be agreed.

Under laws applying across the building and construction industry, conduct including coercion and unlawful industrial action and other offences attract 200 penalty units, meaning a CFMEU official would be exposed to a Federal Court ban application if found guilty of one civil breach.

"Many of the serious breaches that we see by members of the CFMEU — and which have prompted Federal Court judges to describe the union as one of the most recidivist offenders in Australia's industrial landscape — can now attract 200 penalty units per contravention and so, under the proposed approach would, if the CFMEU officials continue to reoffend, give rise to potential disqualification action," Mr Porter said. The points system would apply to breaches under the Fair Work Act

From "The Weekend Australian" of 9/11/19

"The Conversation" is a Leftist rag

On November 1 the Prime Minister addressed the Queensland Resources Council in Brisbane. Some media reports drew attention to Morrison’s presence in Queensland as a sign that he was intent on holding the seats of Herbert and Longman, which were won in the May election in a state heavily reliant on agriculture and mining along with gas production. That’s true.

But it’s also true that the Coalition would not be in a majority government without the two seats it won in northern Tasmania, Bass and Braddon. They happen to be areas that have some of the lowest incomes in Australia. In other words, the Coalition’s support for mining in this year’s election was an important factor in its victory. But not the only factor. Labor failed to connect with its traditional base in many parts of Australia.

Towards the end of his Brisbane speech, Morrison said the ­Coalition was “not interested in closing down the mining industry but building it up”. He spoke about mining as a hi-tech industry that created good, high-paying jobs. And he spoke about “a new breed of radical activism” that was “on the march … sneering at wealth-creating and job-creating industries” in the regions.

While acknowledging that “there should always be a place for peaceful protest”, he argued that this was not “an unlimited licence to disrupt people’s lives” and said there was “no place for economic sabotage dressed up as activism”.

Morrison went on to express concern about “the escalating trend towards a new form of secondary boycotts in this country”.

Currently, secondary boycotts are banned with respect to trade union activism. This was one of the few industrial relations reforms of Malcolm Fraser’s Coalition government four decades ago. When he was minister for business and consumer affairs in the early years of the Fraser government, John Howard introduced legislation banning secondary boycotts.

A secondary boycott applies with respect to a situation where Company A is in dispute with a trade union. The union takes industrial action against Company B, which trades with Company A, to put pressure on Company A to settle with the trade union. Secondary boycotts have been outlawed as a trade union leverage tactic for many years.

However, the legislation provides an exemption concerning environment and consumer groups. They can engage in secondary boycotts by putting pressure on Company B to act against the interests of ­Company A.

There is no logical reason a trade union should be prevented from engaging in a secondary boycott but an environmental activist group is free to do so. As the Prime Minister put it: “Environmental groups are targeting businesses and firms who provide goods and services to firms they don’t like, especially in the resources sector.” He added that businesses of all sizes are being targeted.

The Prime Minister acknowledged the difficulties of legislating to stop secondary boycotts initiated by environmental and/or consumer groups, but added that he was working with Attorney-General Christian Porter to “identify a ­series of mechanisms” to outlaw such practices.

Also, Morrison recognised that the Australian government “cannot force one Australian company to provide a service to another”.

All up, this was a considered speech that raised a real problem without offering a dogmatic immediate solution. Yet it has led to a storm of opposition.

Writing in The Conversation on Tuesday, University of Queensland law professor Graeme Orr criticised the Prime Minister’s speech and suggested that it might be mere “kite flying” in an appeal to small businesses.

This was a reasonable critique. The same cannot be said for the howl of outrage that appeared on The Conversation’s comments page.

There were references to “Fuhrer Morrison”. The Prime Minister also was referred to as a “cunning mongrel”. And then there was a sneering reference to Morrison as a “rancid creationist” and he was told “get your head out of your bum”.

Now if this were social media it would be par for the course. But The Conversation’s editor, Misha Ketchell, takes its comments section seriously, so much so that he has banned anyone he regards as a climate sceptic from taking part in the online journal’s discussions.

Yet The Conversation readily runs commentary on its website comparing Australia’s democratically elected Prime Minister with the one-time leader of the Nazi Party.

So debate in Australia has come to this. A journal funded by many Australian universities provides the opportunity for Morrison to be compared with Hitler.


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

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