Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Disgrace:  Leftist Qld. Premier rejects cash for firefighters on a technicality

After much anticipation over the public pressure to support our Australian firefighters on the front line, Scott Morrison finally announced that volunteer firefighters will get to see some financial relief.

At the moment, the payments will be available to Rural Fire Service NSW volunteers who are self-employed or work for small and medium businesses. These firefighters will be able to access payments worth up to $300 a day, capped at a maximum of $6000 if they have served for more than 10 days fighting the current fires.

Mr Morrison extended the scheme to other states and territories who wished to participate, with the federal government setting aside $50 million for the cause.

But, it has been revealed that Queensland volunteer firefighters might not receive the $6000 cash boost offered to them. Queensland has not signed off on the proposal and implied Mr Morrison was disappointed by the decision.

The publication said that Annastacia Palaszczuk's government had so far refused to give the funding the go ahead because it was not a national scheme and was being offered to each state individually. 

Both South Australia and Victoria have confirmed that their firefighters will receive the money.

But on Monday, Ms Palaszczuk says she did not turn down the offer of compensation for volunteer firefighters in Queensland on Monday morning. "Queensland's volunteer firefighters deserve the same level of federal government support as do other volunteer firefighters across the country," Ms Palaszczuk said in a statement.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said it is important for firefighters to receive compensation but agrees it needs to be made nation-wide.

"One of the things I know from being on the ground on the north coast, in Queensland, on the South Coast, is that many firefighters are travelling from interstate," he told the Today Show.

"These fires don't recognise State boundaries and nor do firefighters, I've got to say. That's why it needs a national approach."


Proposed Queensland water reforms anger graziers

Aims to "protect" rivers.  Protect them from what?  From being used, most likely

Farmers fear their livelihood could be undermined by the Palaszczuk government’s “sneaky” pre-Christmas announcement that it would review the management of some of the best cattle grazing country in Queensland.

State Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch released a scantly detailed statement on December 20 saying the government was consulting “with stakeholders” to protect the Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre basin under the Regional Planning Interests Act.

The catchment for the giant salt lake in South Australia runs through some of the Queensland outback’s prime cattle grazing country.

It is understood the government has been working on the proposed reform for at least six months, with input coming from green groups, traditional owners and farming groups.

Graziers fear the legislation will be a significant reform with far-reaching consequences.

Birdsville grazier David Brook, who is also the chairman of OBE Organic, a beef supply company that gets most of its products from properties within the Lake Eyre basin, said farmers were confused by the government’s statement and had not been able to get more details over the Christmas break.

“We’re in the middle of a terrible drought, and the government’s Christmas present is to give no notice to potentially hundreds of impacted outback graziers that the way they run their business is about to be changed,” he said.

OBE Organic managing director Dalene Wray said the government needed to provide more details about the proposal.

“We’re concerned that poor timing, unreasonably and unnecessarily short timeframes, and an inadequate consultation process may lead to significant and avoidable mistakes by bureaucrats when determining the most ­appropriate administration of this pristine region,” Ms Wray said.

The pristine basin, which covers a sixth of the Australian landmass, is one of the world’s largest internally-draining river systems.

The water that fills the lake usually falls hundreds of kilo­metres from the shallow lake, draining the low-lying plains around the meeting points of the Queensland, NSW, Northern Territory and South Australian borders. Much of the water that falls in the basin never reaches the lake and is swallowed by the desert channels.

Ms Enoch said the consultation process was to fulfil a 2017 election commitment to protect Queensland’s rivers.

“The proposed framework will increase protections for streams and floodplains in the Queensland section of the Lake Eyre Basin, since those protections were removed by the former LNP government,” she said.

“We are going to work in partnership with First Nations peoples and support their establishment of the Lake Eyre Basin Traditional Owner Alliance, which will have an active role in the decision-making and management of the area.”

Natural Resources Minister Anthony Lynham said it was vital to strike a “balance between economic prosperity and ecological sustainability”.

Agriculture lobby group ­AgForce accused the government of a “sham” consultation process and conducting “secret meetings with green activists groups”.

Chief executive Michael Guerin said the government had used the cover of Christmas to draw ­attention away from the reform.

“They have deliberately made the submission time so short and over the Christmas holiday period, to ensure few or no submissions are received,” he said.

“It is hard to overstate how dodgy the process is. The Lake Eyre Basin legislation could lock up huge tracts of inland Queensland from agricultural or resource developments, which may have a huge impact on the very survival of farm businesses and towns in the region.”

Diamantina Shire Council mayor Geoff Morton said it was “a bit sneaky” of the government to release the announcement so close to Christmas. “They obviously don’t want people to study it with too much detail,” he said.

Mr Morton, who runs the 518,000ha Roseberth Station near Birdsville, said he was not aware of what impact the reform would have on his livelihood.


A new voice for class teachers

Australian education could benefit from a shake-up of teachers’ unions, many of which oppose NAPLAN testing, reject the idea of merit pay for the best and brightest teachers, embrace fads such as critical literacy in English teaching and support students’ climate change boycotts of classes. Teachers’ unions are also highly politicised, backing Labor’s push to pour billions of dollars extra into the education system, despite classroom standards declining amid vast spending increases.

But the unions have baulked at efforts to promote phonics in early reading teaching, despite overwhelming evidence that it is the most efficient way to redress Australia’s poor performance in literacy.

Against that background, an interesting, fledgling development is under way in Queensland. Craig Johnstone reports on Monday that moves to break the stranglehold of political and industrial influence by Labor-leaning unions have taken another step. A new body, the Teachers Professional Association of Queensland, is promising lower fees and a ban on political donations to attract members.

The TPAQ has signed up about 100 members since its launch earlier this month. At this stage, it is no threat to the 47,000-strong Queensland Teachers Union. But it is modelled on the Nurses Professional Association of Queensland, which was formed six years ago as a rival to the Queensland Nurses and Midwives Union. It has grown to 5000 members. The QTU insists it is not affiliated with any political party. But it is affiliated with the Queensland Council of Unions, a major donor to the ALP.

If the new group is to succeed it must offer teachers better services and value, for which it is planning to charge a flat fee. Conscientious teachers would also appreciate their professional body taking a more constructive approach to the chronic problems in education.

As reported on Saturday, more than half the students offered building apprenticeships do not complete their courses because they lack basic skills in key subjects, such as maths. A teachers’ union with a better focus should be part of the solution, not the problem.


Our charming African refugees again

Their way of thanking us for giving them refuge

Beloved grandfather, 50, left brain-dead with just hours to live after being 'stomped on and beaten with baseball bats' by gang of 10-15 youths outside his home after Christmas Day with his family

Brother-in-law said gang of 10-15 'African guys' set upon the family in the street

A 50-year-old grandfather who was allegedly bashed with baseball bats outside his home in a Christmas Day dispute with neighbours will have his life support switched off.

Anthony Clark, 50, was allegedly 'thrown around like a rag doll', stomped on and hit with bats in the street outside his home at Moorolbark in Melbourne's outer eastern suburbs shortly before 11pm.

His wife was also knocked out in their driveway and Mr Clark's stepdaughter Jessikah Clark said he was 'pretty much gone'.

'My daughter's lost her everything now. She just wants her poppy to come home and he's never going to come home,' Ms Clark told Nine News.

'My mum is worried about everyone and is just lying there with him praying. But he's pretty much gone that's it.'

'We have lost the best man in our whole lives,' Ms Clarke told the Herald Sun.

'No-one should have to die on Christmas Day just for looking after his wife and kids.'

The man's family was scheduled to arrive from Ireland and Canada on Sunday after which Mr Clarke's life support will be switched off. 

The violence began as the family were saying their farewells on the street and fireworks were let off, causing a dog to bark and the owners to get angry, Jessikah Clark said.

The family said a gang of youths with weapons, including bats and metal bars, were involved in the attack.

Ms Clark also claimed there were about '15 men' that set up on them she and her mother were hit.

'They had bats...they smashed my car and they threw mum around like a rag doll.' 

Mr Clark was allegedly confronted by a large group of men during the massive brawl.

His wife and 25-year-old stepdaughter were also allegedly attacked, his brother-in-law Mark told 3AW. 

'He's a gentle giant, and he was brutally, and I mean, savagely, attacked,' he said.

'A whole gang of African guys, ranging from teenage to mid-20s, approximately 10-15 of them with cars and baseball bats, attacked him, knocked my sister out.'

Mark said he believed his brother-in-law was trying to shield his baby during the brutal attack.

'They knocked my sister out, and had my niece - from what I understand - by the hair,' he told 3AW.

The man was repeatedly bashed in the head and was taken to hospital in a critical condition and placed in intensive care.

The family said there was no hope of recovery and his life-support will be turned off.

His wife suffered minor injuries and has been by his side at the hospital ever since.

An 18-year-old man was arrested but was later released.


 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

Monday, December 30, 2019

Scott Morrison Defies ‘Reckless’ Climate Protesters, Backs Coal Exports as Demand Soars

Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison has slammed calls from radical climate activists to end the export of coal – an industry worth $67billion a year to the nation’s economy – as a new report shows global demand is set to keep increasing over the next decade and beyond.

Strong demand from China and India for this electricity-generating commodity is driving the growth. Morrison wants Australia to maintain its edge by staying a key exporter and protecting the jobs of Australians who rely on the coal mining industry for their future and their financial security.

Nationally, the coal mining industry employs 50,400 people, when thermal and coking operations were combined, Australian Bureau of Statistics labour force data for November showed, with exports going mainly to China, India, Korea, Japan and Chile.

The conservative coalition leader spoke on the back of protests last week that called for Australia to end coal exports to ease pressure on the climate.

Morrison, who once once famously brandished a lump of coal in parliament, crying, “This is coal – don’t be afraid!” vowed those climate protesters – including Greta Thunberg  – would not be dictating energy or trade policy.

“I never panic,” he told the local Sunrise program last week. “I don’t think panicking is to way to manage anything and the urge for panic that has come from some, often politically motivated, to pursue a particular agenda is not something I’m ever intimidated by or distracted by.”

“We won’t embrace reckless targets and abandon our traditional industries that would risk Australian jobs while having no meaningful impact on the global climate,” he said in an opinion piece for the Daily Telegraph.

“In short, we will continue to act responsibly on climate change, avoiding extreme responses and get the balance right.”

He spoke just days after a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) revealed Australia’s coal exports are expected to rise over the next five years on the back of growing demand from Asia.

The report, published by the IEA on 17 December, found demand for coal in India could rise by 4.6 percent by 2024 and by 5 percent in Indonesia and Vietnam. As a result, Australia’s total coal production is expected to rise 1.4 percent annually from 409 million t in 2018 to 444 million t in 2024.

Coal exports were worth an estimated AUS$67 billion (US$45.9 billion) to the nation’s economy in the 2018 – 2019 financial year, overtaking iron ore as Australia’s most valuable export.

Matt Canavan, Australia’s Minister for Resources, said the report supported the need for new coal mines in the states of New South Wales and Queensland. He commented: “We will need more than Adani,” referring to the Carmichael coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin.

The Adani mine, which received final environmental approval in June, is expected to produce at least 10 million t of thermal coal every year.


NSW volunteer firefighters to be paid in fair dinkum scheme

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has urged other states to follow NSW’s lead and sign up to a scheme that will pay volunteer firefighters up to $300 a day to cover lost income while fighting fires.

Mr Morrison defended the “fair dinkum” scheme as a well-considered process for compensating volunteers for lost income, not paying them to turn out. “This is about helping fight the fires,” he told a media conference on Sunday.

“This basically equates to around 20 days of emergency services paid leave for self-employed people and for people working for small and medium-sized employers,” he said in Sydney on Sunday.

“We have carefully worked through how best to deal with the issue of income loss that has been suffered as a result of people stepping up to defend their communities.”

Mr Morrison’s comments came after the federal government announced the payments of up to $300 per day will be available to Rural Fire Service NSW volunteers who are self-employed or work for small and medium businesses. They will be capped at $6000 per person.

It also follows the government’s announcement last week that Commonwealth public service volunteers would get at least four weeks of paid leave to fight bushfires, which continue to rage across parts of NSW. Fires this season have already cost eight lives, 1000 homes and burned through millions of hectares of bushland. More than 100 fires continue to burn and weather conditions are set to worsen over the next 48 hours.

Mr Morrison said that the government had entered into the arrangement with NSW, which will administer the payments on behalf of the Commonwealth, on the expectation that other states would also sign up.

However, he stressed that decisions needed to be made by each of the states, which had jurisdiction over fire fighting authorities.

Mr Morrison also pointed out that while firefighters had not been asking for compensation. “I haven’t had volunteer firefighters say they want to be paid,” he said. “I do know … particularly for self-employed people this is really starting to bite and really having an impact.”


Parents outraged as Hillsong church caught recruiting in Queensland public high schools

Constant Leftist preaching of sexual perversion in the schools is OK but Christian preaching is not?

Controversial megachurch Hillsong has pulled a page on its website detailing plans to recruit teenagers in state schools across NSW, Victoria, Queensland and the Northern Territory in 2020.

The information was pulled on Wednesday, three days after a group of angry parents in Melbourne began a change.org petition calling on federal and state education ministers to ban the evangelical movement from proselytising in public high schools.

The petition has attracted more than 13,000 signatures since it was launched on Monday.

Information retrieved by 7NEWS.com.au through Google Cache shows the Hillsong Youth Schools Tour has already provided "life-giving messages about our lord" to 34,000 school students, including teenagers in at least three government schools in Queensland.

Until the site was disabled on Wednesday, it was running testimonials from the three schools' chaplains, who are funded under the federal government's National School Chaplaincy Program.

The program, which was recently expanded to $247 million over four years (2019-2022), stipulates that chaplains must not proselytise and must "respect, accept and be sensitive to other people’s views, values and beliefs".

Melbourne mother Fiona Newton, co-author of the petition to stop evangelising in public schools, said Hillsong's well-known hostility towards the LGBTI community had no place in the public education system.

The church campaigned against the same sex marriage bill and has been embroiled in the past with discredited gay conversion therapy.

"I grew up in a Pentecostal church, I know how they operate," Newton told 7NEWS.com.au.

"I'm now in a same sex relationship myself and I want my son to feel safe at his public school, that he won't be exposed to a religion that is anti-LGBTI."

"When you enrol your child in a secular public school you expect it to be free of any sort of religion.

"But Hillsong's mission is a clear and obvious mission of recruitment."

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has credited Hillsong's founder, Brian Houston, as his spiritual mentor.

Morrison is not a member of Hillsong, which was founded in Sydney's north west and now has about 80 megachurches in more than 19 countries.

The prime minister attends a different Pentecostal church called Horizon in Sydney's south, which shares with Hillsong an affiliation under the Australian Christian Churches banner.

Morrison's friendship with Houston has attracted considerable criticism because the wealthy pastor was adversely named in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

That inquiry recommended Houston be investigated for failing to report to police his father Frank Houston, a self-confessed paedophile, for crimes committed while Frank Houston was an Assemblies of God minister.

NSW Police confirmed to 7NEWS.com.au on Wednesday that the Hills Police Area Command is still investigating Brian Houston.

Brisbane public relations operator Lyle Mercer, who handles media queries for Hillsong, would not say why the church pulled details of its 2020 schools tour plan from the website.

"Schools across Australia offer various optional activities to students," Mercer said in a statement provided to 7NEWS.com.au.

"Hillsong – like many other outside organisations – has for many years created programs that provide students with positive values and in many situations these don’t even mention Christianity.

"These are done in student time and are always optional.


Green ideology, not climate change, makes bushfires worse

The article by Miranda Devine below is from March 5, 2019 but it has lost none of its relevance

Melissa Price, the new federal Environment Minister, has done untold political damage to a government already divided over climate action by spouting idiotic green propaganda about Victoria’s bushfires.

On Tuesday, she linked the fires to climate change, claiming there is “no doubt” of its impact on Australia.

“There’s no doubt that there’s many people who have suffered over this summer. We talk about the Victorian bushfires … There’s no doubt that climate change is having an impact on us. There’s no denying that.”

Sorry, minister, it wasn’t climate change that caused the latest bushfires which have so far destroyed nine homes in Victoria, and it wasn’t climate change that killed almost 200 people in the Black Saturday fires ten years ago.

The real culprit is green ideology which opposes the necessary hazard reduction of fuel loads in national parks and which prevents landholders from clearing vegetation around their homes.

The ongoing poor management of national parks and state forests in Victoria and green obstruction of fire mitigation strategies has led to dangerously high fuel loads over the past decade.

That means that when fires do inevitably break out they are so intense that they are devilishly difficult for firefighters to contain. As a federal parliamentary inquiry heard in 2003, if you quadruple the ground fuel, you get a 13-fold increase in the heat generated by a fire.

Locals know the truth. Andrew Clarke, owner of Jinks Creek Winery, which has been destroyed by a fire which raged out of the Bunyip State Forest, “begged” for fuel reduction burns to protect his property.

“I’ve been begging them [Forest Fire Management Victoria] for 20 years to burn off the state forest at the back of our place and still to this day it hasn’t happened,” he told the ABC’s Country Hour.

Clarke said a planned burn-off was called off because of concerns about nesting birds.

So how did that work out for the birds?

Hundreds of emergency workers have worked across Victoria throughout the week to bring fires under control. Picture: AAP / David Crosling
Just three weeks ago, Victoria’s former chief fire officer Ewan Waller warned that state forest fuel loads were reaching deadly, Black Saturday levels. No one paid any attention.

But you can bet Premier Daniel Andrews will hide behind the climate change furphy.

Parroting green lies suits politicians because then they can avoid blame for their own culpability.

The Black Saturday Bushfire Royal Commission criticised the Victorian government for its failure to reduce fuel loads in state forests. It recommended more than doubling the amount of hazard reduction burns.

Instead, in the last three years, alone, the Andrews government has slashed the amount of public land being hazard reduced by almost two thirds.

It’s a crime.

The wonder is that the Morrison government is helping him with his alibi.


 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, December 29, 2019

Activists hijack worthy groups like the AMA, RSPCA


It is understandable that, across the world, trusted organisations have become havens for left-wing activists. After all, the reputation of venerable institutions precedes them, making them ideal Trojan horses in the battle for ideas.

Take the Australian Medical Association. It is presumed to be the voice of the nation’s medical profession. Perhaps it is. But gone is the heyday of the 1960s when 95 per cent of medical practitioners were members. Today, a mere 20,215 doctors, or about 19 per cent of registered practitioners, belong. So it’s far from clear the AMA represents the views of most practising doctors.

Yet it remains influential in public health in a left-wing kind of way, and increasingly fancies ­itself more generally. But, then, health — like the environment — can be weaponised to bring pressure on legislators on a range of social and economic issues, and the AMA’s leadership knows this.

For example, it was a long-time campaigner for marriage equality, citing mental and physical health issues as reasons to vote for change. Yet, despite its advocacy and the publicity pushing for a Yes vote, last year, the first full year after legal recognition, when a surge in same sex-marriages would have been expected, only 6538 couples tied the knot. That’s only 5.5 per cent of all Australian marriages.

While the $100m spent on promotion, and the plebiscite itself, may have been well-intended, there is the matter of opportunity cost. With $100m, the AMA could have concentrated its time and resources arguing for less fashionable, all-embracing health priorities. ­Indeed, University of Sydney psychologists found that the increased exposure to negative messaging during the campaign added significantly to levels of ­depression, anxiety and other “psychological distress” for the gay, lesbian and bisexual community.

The AMA’s high-profile position on the Urgent Medical Treatment Bill, championed by then independent member for Wentworth and former AMA president Kerryn Phelps, seems to be ­another case of questionable judgment driven by politics. AMA president Tony Bartone argued: “There is compelling evidence that the asylum-seekers on Nauru, especially the children, are suffering from serious physical and mental health conditions, and they should be brought to Australia for appropriate quality care.” AMA federal executive member Paul Bauert compared offshore detainees to those ­interned under the Holocaust. Given the number of medical professionals on Nauru and the ­reality it is an open centre, that claim is obscene. Indeed, 40 of 300 refugees resettled in the US ­applied to return.

Twelve months after enactment, the medivac legislation was repealed. But not before 135 offshore detainees were transferred to the mainland for medical treatment. Only 13 were ­admitted to hospital. Five refused treatment altogether. One, ­despite allegedly being ­involved in 50 violent incidents, was admitted after botching a DIY penis ­enlargement.

It now seems clear the AMA’s primary motivation was political. By dramatising the health issues of offshore detainees, it sought to undermine Australia’s border ­security policies that had twice been endorsed by the electorate. Passing the bill may have been a momentary triumph for left-wing activism but, in so doing, the AMA nailed its true colours ­firmly to the mast.

On climate change, too, the AMA’s motives seem ideological. While Bartone says he relies on “empirical evidence”, he treads a well-worn alarmist path despite there being ample evidence to show some of his assertions are mistaken. He dwells on “significant linear associations between exposure to higher temperatures and greater mortality”, ignoring an international study published in The Lancet that finds cold weather kills 20 times as many people as hot weather. Of course, to embrace The Lancet’s findings also would mean acknowledging that climate change policies were causing many needless deaths for the frail and elderly through increasingly unaffordable energy costs. How does this reconcile with the Hippocratic oath’s “First, do no harm”?

Just as the AMA exploits health for political purposes, so the RSPCA weapon­ises animals. Along with the Greens, Animals Australia and the Animal Justice Party, it has supported the abolition of horse racing, zoos, farming, fishing and the eating of meat.

In 2011 it campaigned with ­Animals Australia for the Gillard government to ban live cattle ­exports to Indonesia. In 2014 it co-sponsored a full-page advertisement in The Age supporting a Greens candidate for the Victorian elections. In 2017 it collaborated with Animals Australia and the ABC in a sensationalised documentary that resulted in NSW temporarily banning greyhound racing. Yet, when there are mass cattle deaths on ­indigenous properties in Western Australia because of “catastrophic failures” of cattle management, the RSPCA is strangely silent. WA farmers claim different standards apply when animal neglect occurs on indigenous-owned pastoral leases.

The RSPCA also was slow to declare its position on vegan ­activists breaking into farms and abattoirs. This follows its sister ­organisation calling for animal-rights protesters to shut down Britain’s top meat market. British animal rights activists claim veganism is the best way to save the planet. In Australia, the RSPCA also supports the “scientific consensus that climate change is caused by greenhouse gas emissions from human activities, ­including electricity generation, agriculture (including livestock farming), industry, waste and land use”. It seems Australia’s RSPCA is preparing to follow its British counterpart’s lead.

By posing as wolves in sheep’s clothing, left-wing activists have been most effective in influencing political outcomes. And the AMA and RSPCA are just two of the many respected organisations captured. No longer should we ­assume trusted names are true to label.


Religion is being ousted from the public square

Values: it is a term we hear a lot about these days. Many people, some of them writing for this newspaper, are crowing over a shift in public tolerance

The evidence for this, they assume, is the success of the Conservatives in the British election and, before that, the triumph of Donald Trump and the installation of our own conservative Morrison government.

Even the fact Israel Folau was able to elicit an apology and damages from Rugby Australia has comforted them that events here and abroad are indicative of this shift.

Forget about it. Why are people not asking, if that is so, why do we Australians have to pass a bill to guard the most fundamental of all our rights, the right to religious liberty?

We have never needed a bill for the protection of religious freedom in the past and we don't really need one now. But leaders of all the major religions are nervous that our current open and easy compact with religion will not last, and many individuals and religious bodies are fearful of the aggressive secularism that wants to expunge religion from the public square altogether.

Religious freedom is a fundamental "value" for a democracy. Yet it was a "values" campaign that made a religious freedom bill necessary in the virulently aggressive and overtly anti-religious campaign to change the meaning of marriage.

That campaign succeeded largely because many people who saw marriage as a purely legal form thought that the Yes vote would satisfy the gay lobby and "settle" the question. It hasn't settled anything, of course.

Most religious people abhor the concept and they don't see any reason they shouldn't say so in public, whether in schools, from the pulpit or on social media, and they rightly resent being forced into artificial lawfare to shut them up.

That is one reason for the bill. Religion is not a private matter. It is by definition public. One lives a faith. Hence people such as Folau, whether you agree with him or not, have suffered a great injustice. Folau wasn't given his job back, he can't play anywhere else and he could have expected better in a nation where free expression of religion or politics is supposedly the norm.

We know that this was done simply because the corporate masters of rugby didn't like what he said. No other players have been reprimanded for support of any social campaigns they approved of, whether it was gay marriage or against coal-seam gas — and never mind some players' dreadful off-field antics.

It is an appalling indictment on our so-called values that in the matter of free speech and religious values Australia has behaved in the Folau fiasco as badly as communist China. The parallel that highlights the extent of the injustice done to Folau is last week's case of the Muslim football player for Arsenal, Mesut Ozil, who tweeted against the Chinese treatment of the minority Uighurs. His protest caused that despotic government to punish him and the Football Association by cancelling the televised match. At least the player wasn't sacked by his own team and refused any outlet to play anywhere else, as was Folau.

Like it or loathe it, intruding into sport, whether it was diplomatic or dopey, the Arsenal player has a right to do that, as did Folau. But the Folau case is only one example where freedom of religion and conscience have been attacked in Australia. There have been other more serious cases, notably that of Catholic Archbishop of Hobart Julian Porteous, who faced anti-discrimination proceedings after disseminating a pamphlet on the Catholic doctrines of marriage.

Many readers may not realise the action was not brought against just him as an individual. As the pamphlet also was circulated by all the bishops in Australia.  If the case had succeeded it would have brought the entire Australian Catholic Bishops Conference to the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Tribunal. There was a real danger that one jumped-up tribunal could challenge a fundamental 2000-year-old teaching of the Catholic faith, not to mention the even older Jewish tradition, and Muslim too.

From The Weekend Australian of 21 December, 2019

RSPCA calls for South Australian rodeo to be cancelled

Nonsense.  Rodeos have never been for powder puffs.  Many RSPCA branches have been infiltrated by animal rights warriors and this looks like another instance of that

Heatwaves are a hallmark of an Australian summer. But they're getting hotter, becoming more frequent, and lasting longer.
The RSPCA wants one of the biggest night rodeos in South Australia to be postponed due to heat but organisers say it’s going ahead.

The leading animal welfare organisation is shocked Carrieton Rodeo won’t reschedule its Saturday night event as the day’s top temperature soars to 40C before dipping to 36C for a 6.30pm start.

“In the forecast conditions, it’s likely some animals will suffer heat stress but it will be difficult to verify how many have suffered or to what extent,” RSPCA’s Rebekah Eyers said.

“To demonstrate that animal welfare is a priority, we had hoped Australian Professional Rodeo Association and event organisers would follow the lead of other organisations using animals for entertainment, and cancel or reschedule the event.”

Club president Daniel Williams said the 67th annual rodeo was “absolutely going ahead” with up to 3000 people to attend and pump money into the drought-stricken town.

“It is an absolutely beautiful day. We have a water sprayer on hand if necessary and have the option of delaying if the heat is extreme,” Mr Williams told AAP. “They (the horses) are kept in excellent conditions, treated like royalty, get to run around.

“The RSPCA is an activist group that no one actually cares about these days ... their stated objective is to shut down rodeos.” The temperature in the far north South Australian town is due to hit 36C when the rodeo kicks-off, before quickly cooling down, the Bureau of Meteorology said.

“36C is quite reasonable for that time of day, but it will cool down pretty quickly so by midnight a temperature of 24C is expected,” a spokeswoman said. “Once the sun goes down it’ll be OK and they will get help from the sea breeze.”

There is no legally enforceable top temperature to prevent the animals from performing in rodeos across the state, and rodeos are legal events.

Even if the temperature drops, the RSPCA still has concerns about the transport and handling of animals to and from the event, risk of heat stress and other physical stress.


GetUp stirs the climate claims of fire activists

The GetUp activist group is driving the campaign of some bushfire survivors who blame climate change for fires burning in southeast Australia and are calling for “100 per cent renewable energy for all”.

Key among demands of the Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action group is that the Morrison government curb the nation’s ­reliance on fossil fuels by vetoing development of the Adani coalmine in north Queensland — a campaign priority similar to GetUp’s own.

The bushfire survivors’ group gained national attention when it was launched in February with a personal endorsement from decorated former NSW Fire and Rescue commissioner Greg Mullins.

GetUp promoted the launch on its Twitter feed in advance, telling supporters Mr Mullins would join Bushfire Survivors for ­Climate Action at a press conference in Canberra.

Mr Mullins leads a group of ex-fire chiefs — Emergency Leaders for Climate Action — funded by Tim Flannery’s Climate Council. They have accused Scott Morrison of a “policy-free zone” on climate change and urged the government to respond to the bushfire crisis with curbs on carbon emissions. A spokesman for the former NSW fire chief stressed that, while not demurring from his support of the bushfire victims’ group, he had “no affiliation” with GetUp.

The GetUp website promoting Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action provides harrowing ­accounts of fire victims’ experiences. It seeks support for their cause and is authorised by GetUp’s ­national director, Paul Oosting.

The site says GetUp provides “in-kind support” while “ad hoc media support” comes from the Climate Media Centre.

Asking supporters to “join us” in urging the government to take action, Bushfire Survivors says the Morrison government can no longer ignore the way climate change is hurting communities. “They must take Australia ­beyond coal projects like Adani and move to 100 per cent renewable energy for all,” it states.

Prominent among the group’s survival stories is Lyn Trindall’s account of how she escaped her lower Blue Mountains home at Winmalee in October 2013. Ms Trindall, the local GetUp group co-ordinator and a former Blue Mountains councillor, tells of a frightening evacuation as the wheelchair she uses spilt into a garden bed and a fire team came to her aid.

Another survivor, ­retired teacher Janet Reynolds from Bega and a supporter of ­recent “school strike” protests over climate change, tells of confronting a wall of flames and fallen trees during her escape.

The fire chiefs group led by Mr Mullins has no direct link to GetUp but some of the Climate Council’s supporters and contractors do have GetUp connections. The Mullins group, with Climate Council support, is pledging to hold a national summit after the fire season has ended early next year to devise a strategy on combating future fires that would take account of climate change.

The Prime Minister has been criticised by both Mr Mullins and the Bushfire Survivors group for refusing to meet them.

Government insiders say Mr Morrison has been reluctant to kowtow to lobby groups linking climate change to bushfires.

His office is believed to be wary of the politics involved, arguing the groups’ associations with the Climate Council and GetUp as support organisations suggests they are anti-Coalition, leaning more to Labor or the Greens.

A Climate Council spokesman rejected claims of an “anti-­Coalition association”, saying his organisation was strictly non-­partisan.

 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

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Greenies want global speed limits on roads

The Greenies are getting their meddling fingers into even more pies.  It's only a "declaration" that they are asking for  at this stage but once the declaration has been signed, governments will come under pressure to implement it

Hopefully, most governments  will foresee its unpopularity and kick the can down the road, in a way that governments are good at doing.  The 55mph limit that Nixon and Jimmy Carter imposed on Americans was hugely unpopular so was eventually rescinded -- by Bill Clinton

Australia is preparing to sign an international road safety declaration in Sweden that endorses a 30km/h limit on suburban roads in response to "traffic injuries, air quality and climate change".

Nationals leader Michael Mc-Cormack is scheduled to attend a global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety on February 19, where he will join other transport and infrastructure ministers in ratifying the Stockholm Declaration, which will be referred to the UN.

A draft obtained by The Weekend Australian includes a preamble recommending integration of road safety with UN Sustainable Development Goals, including climate action, gender equality and reduced inequalities targets. The summit is expected to endorse speeding up the "shift toward cleaner, safer and more affordable modes of transport, incorporating higher levels of physical activity such as walking, cycling and using public transit".

Clause seven of the draft declaration suggests mandating lower speeds on urban roads, which would have a significant impact on Australian residential limits, currently 50km/h. It resolves to strengthen "law enforcement to ensure zero speeding and mandate a maximum road travel speed limit of 30km/h ... in residential areas and urban neighbourhoods within cities as efforts to reduce speed will have an impact on both road traffic injuries, air quality and climate change".

The two-day road safety summit, which includes sessions with Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf and Prince Michael of Kent, will also focus on "sustainable transport. The Stockholm Declaration calls on public and private organisations to purchase "safe and sustainable vehicle fleets".

It flags addressing "the connections between road safety, mental and physical health, development, education; equity, gender equality, environment and climate change". A spokesman for Mr McCormack said the Deputy Prime Minister "has had no approval or input into the wording of the current draft text". "The draft Stockholm Declaration will be considered at the Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety in February," he said.

Despite The Weekend Australian understanding Mr McCormack and his chief of staff were confirmed to represent the government in Sweden, his spokesman said they were not sure whether his "schedule will permit him to attend". "If the Deputy Prime Minister does attend, the draft text will be carefully reviewed and the government would provide input where necessary," he said.

If he pulls out, Assistant Road Safety Minister Scott Buchholz would likely attend. Mr McCormack did not answer questions on whether he supported 30km/h limits, integrating road safety with climate action or if the government would purchase a "sustainable vehicle fleet".

In October, Scott Morrison delivered a speech urging Australia to "avoid any reflex towards a negative globalism that coercively seeks to impose a mandate from an often ill-defined borderless global community ... And worse still, an unaccountable internationalist bureaucracy".

Mr McCormack's visit comes after the Australian Automobile Association in August warned about government inaction on the national road safety strategy. The AAA released analysis showing only nine of 33 individual safety performance indicators were "on track" to be met. Pressure is also building on the Coalition to accelerate policy settings in response to the influx of electric vehicles.

From The Weekend Australian of 21 December, 2019

Using the haters

Leftist hate speech

Leftists call all sorts  of things hate speech but that is projection. They are the real haters. Their constant finding fault with normality shows that clearly.  They are obsessed

Nick Cater

Few things lift the human spirit like the triumph of the underdog. Which is why we must welcome the dispiriting news that the hitherto undistinguished personal pronoun “they” has been named word of the year by the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

We are told that the number of people looking up they has risen by 313 per cent this year, which is a surprising statistic since practically no one had thought of looking it up before.

Seven centuries after it entered the English language from the Norse, the personal pronoun’s plurality has transitioned to singular. It is deemed to be less hurtful than he or she by those who care more for political correctness than correct grammar.

If the inclusivity police get their way, kids in the future will encounter gender-normative personal pronouns only in Shakespeare, and then presumably only under supervision.

The use of they was made compulsory this year by the American Psychological Association when clients refer to themselves as they. The APA instructs members to scan their written work for bias just as they once checked for spelling. It offers a helpful style guide designating expressions as problematic or preferred.

Males and females are in the problematic column. An array of unproblematic alternatives is listed in the column marked preferred: “Cisgender men, cis men, cisgender women, cis women, cis people, cis allies, transgender men, trans men, transgender women, trans women, transgender people, trans people, gender-fluid people, gender-nonconforming people, gender-expansive people, gender-creative people, agender people, bi-gender people, genderqueer people”. If in doubt, the authors suggest, use the word humans.

With a resource such as this so easily to hand, it is disappointing that the scriptwriters of the popular BBC television comedy show Gavin and Stacey chose to use the word “faggot” in this year’s Christmas special.

In their defence, the six-letter F-word is in the lyrics of a song about an argument between drunk people by the Pogues, sung by members of the cast in the ironic tone in which it was first performed.

The offence seekers will have none of it. Last week Alex Dyke, a DJ at BBC Radio Solent and therefore a minor Southampton celebrity, said he was no longer comfortable playing the song. He took to Twitter to condemn it as “an offensive pile of down-market chav bilge”.

Apparently, “chav”, a derogatory term used by snobs to describe the ill-bred, is not problematic.

Rock stars once regarded offending people as an essential part of the job. Indeed, for a glorious period in the late 1970s after the arrival of the Sex Pistols, the imperative to scandalise ranked above the requirement to learn an instrument.

Today, however, any artist with a career that began more than 10 minutes ago is liable to fall victim to “cancel culture”, which happens to be the Macquarie Dictionary’s 2019 word of the year. To suggest that it is two words would be an unwarranted cultural presupposition. The rise of cancel culture explains why you won’t be hearing the Rolling Stones’ Brown Sugar or Under My Thumb on an FM radio station any time soon.

The cancel culture’s objection to “faggot” explains why Dire Straits’ Money for Nothing has been banned by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council.

Homophobic hate speech also would rule out Taylor Swift’s Picture to Burn and Katy Perry’s Ur So Gay.

Lou Reed’s borderline-transphobic Walk on the Wild Side wouldn’t get a look-in.

Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder’s anthem to racial equality, Ebony and Ivory, has been promoted from mildly irritating to highly problematic. The contemporary zeitgeist favours rappers such as Noname who refuses to dance on stage for white people. On the plus side, the avoidance of racial stereotypes and cultural appropriation means we may never again have to listen to Carl Douglas’s 1974 hit Kung Fu Fighting.

You can’t be too careful these days. Actor Benedict Cumberbatch has yet to recover after he referred to “coloured actors” in an American TV interview four years ago. What he should have said, of course, was “actors of colour”.

American commentator David Roberts must have thought he was on safe ground when he compared “refugees who have walked thousands of miles to escape oppression” with “sedentary, heart-diseased, fast-food gobbling, car-addicted suburbanites” who cast judgment on them.

Yet this unfortunate example of fat-shaming enraged the grievance-mongers on social media who laid into him for being “only half-woke”. Fat people, one presumes, should now be referred to as people of girth.

One hesitates to refer to religion in these judgmental times, even at Christmas.

Yet we cannot but reflect that cancel culture is yet another of the birth pains of a new religion, ugly and badly formed, conceived to take the place of the old religion from which many of us drew our moral compass as recently as five minutes ago.

Cancel culture was what once drove the Catholic Church to excommunicate heretics, pull out their fingernails and burn them at the stake. Cancel culture motivates the Exclusive Brethren to avoid contact with apostates, drawing authority from St Paul in his Letter to the Thessalonians “that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us”.

The new religion, like the old one, requires us to wrestle with seeming contradictions. Why in the name of the they-hood of humankind are people so readily excluded in the cause of inclusivity? Why does their God, if they have one, appear to care more for the suffering of some minority groups than others?

How does their declared love of global humanity fit with their contempt for their neighbours?

In the end we are drawn back to the great insoluble, the hidden wisdom known only unto the faithful that leaves the rest of us stumped.

Who appointed this new priesthood and why do they spend so much time on Twitter?


So you’re a vegan ... but are you, really?

The number of animals that die each and every day to produce vegan food is astonishing.

There’s a lot to be said for veganism. For the thinking eater, it gets around a whole bunch of ethical grey areas. If you care about what you put in your mouth, it is probably the most black and white way to approach the whole meat thing. There are no grey areas about so-called “ethical” meat, or questions over exactly how “free range” are the hens when there are 10,000 chickens to the ­hectare. Not eating meat, not buying products that come from animals — surely that means you’re doing better not only for those animals directly affected, but also the environment, and your health?

But while veganism is on the rise in Western nations, it’s still far from mainstream. Why, then, is it so hard to convince people of its worth if it really is a win all round? The vegan philosophy is, at its heart, quite often about ­reducing suffering. By not eating ­animals, you — by definition — reduce suffering. It’s a lovely idea. And I wish it were that simple.

Let’s start with peas. Collydean (not its real name, but a real farm) is a 2700ha mixed farm in northern Tasmania. They grow beef cattle, some sheep, do agroforestry, have barley and some years grow peas. A lot of peas: about 400 tonnes a season.

And to protect the peas, they have some wildlife fences, but also have to shoot a lot of ­animals. When I was there, they had a licence to kill about 150 deer. They routinely kill about 800-1000 ­possums and 500 wallabies every year, along with a few ducks. (To its credit, Collydean only invites hunters onto its farm who will use the animals they kill — for human food, or for pet food — and not leave them in the paddock, as most ­animals killed for crop protection are.)

So, more than 1500 animals die each year to grow about 75ha of peas for our freezers. That’s not 1500 rodents, which also die, and which some may see as collateral damage. That’s mostly warm-blooded animals of the cute kind, with a few birds thrown in.

Collydean’s owners assure me it wouldn’t be financially viable for them to grow peas without killing animals. Which means that every time we eat peas, farmers have controlled the “pest” species on our behalf, and animals have died in our name.

The number of animals that die to produce vegan food is astonishing. Consider wheat, a common crop in Australia. And let’s look at the nutrient density of the food in question, because not all foods are created equal. According to an article by Mike Archer, Professor in the Faculty of Science at the University of NSW, roughly 25 times more sentient beings die to produce a kilo of protein from wheat than a kilo of protein from beef. Thanks to monocultures, mice plagues and our modern farming systems, a hell of a lot of small animals die to produce wheat. Yes, most of them are rodents, but surely in the vegan world all warm-blooded life should be honoured equally?

On average, 1 billion mice are poisoned every year in Western Australia alone. According to a 2005 Senate report, if we didn’t kill mice the cost of food would rise drastically; even with heavy baiting programs, mice cost the Australian economy about a $36 million a year.

Let’s look at birds. Over a five-year period up to 2013, rice farmers in NSW killed nearly 200,000 native ducks to protect their fields. That’s right, to grow rice. That’s in addition to the animals indirectly affected, such as those that once thrived in the waterways drained by such a heavily irrigated crop on a dry continent.

That’s how farming works. To grow something, other things are affected. Sometimes it’s an animal, sometimes it’s a helluva lot of animals. The most animals that die on Fat Pig Farm, our property in the Huon Valley south of Hobart, are the snails and slugs that would destroy our garden if left unchecked. We kill close to 5000 moths, slugs and snails each year to grow vege­tables, and thousands and thousands of aphids.

Insects bear the brunt of all annual vegetable production. And the most exploited insect of all is the European honeybee. True vegans don’t eat honey because it’s the result of the domestication, and utilisation, of the European honeybee. They don’t eat it because eating honey is “stealing” honey from the hive, and because bees die in the process of beekeepers managing the hives and extracting the honey. And they’re right, bees do die in that process.

Problem is, honeybees are very, very good pollinators, and a whole heap of crops are pretty much reliant on these bees to produce fruit — and even more crops would suffer from far lower production due to poor fertility if we didn’t have bees. About one-third of all crops globally benefit from direct interaction with pollinators, of which ­European honeybees are by far the most efficient.

Whether we eat honey or not, we are the beneficiaries of the work of the domesticated European honeybee. In their absence, some crops would come close to failure, and others increase substantially in cost. Gobs of bees die every year doing the work of pollination for us. According to Scientific American, up to 80 billion domestic honeybees are estimated to have a hand in the Californian almond industry each year, up to half of which die during the management process and the long journeys to and from the large almond orchards. And that’s the carnage from just one crop.

What about vegan wine, you say? It doesn’t use fish bladders, or milk extracts, or egg as a fining agent (ingredients used to clarify many wines, beers and ciders). But don’t forget the harvest. Come with me to watch grapes being picked, watch as huge tubs of plump grapes are tipped into the crusher along with mice, spiders, lizards, snakes and frogs. Sadly, vegan wine is a furphy.

Let’s move on to peanut butter, that wonderful practical protein staple. Do you know how many parts of an insect are in each jar? According to ­Scientific American, each of us eats about 0.5-1kg of flies, maggots and other bugs a year, hidden in the chocolate we eat, the grains we consume, the peanut butter we spread on toast. According to US regulations (which are easier to access than ­Australian data), 125g of pasta (a ­single portion) may contain an average of 125 insect fragments or more, and a cup of raisins can have a maximum of 33 fruit fly eggs. A kilogram of flour probably has 15g of animal product in it, from rodent excreta to weevils to cockroach legs.

I don’t bring this up for the “ick” factor, but simply to show the true impact and cost of food production. When you eat, you’re never truly vegan. When humans grow and process food, any food, other things die — and often we eat them.

Vegans are welcome to voice their opinion that raising and eating meat has consequences. Indeed, some of those consequences, from the personal to the animal to the environment, are worth serious thinking about. It’s quite possible that eating less meat might mean less suffering. But don’t be fooled into thinking that being vegan hurts no animal.

More HERE 

 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, December 27, 2019

Bank regulator should stick to his knitting

I noted yesterday that Greenies had gained control of the banking regulators.  A few excerpts from comments on the matter by the mocking Terry McCrann below

I don't think APRA boss Wayne Byres is a capital-C capital-L Climate Loon — but he is of course entirely free to prove me wrong. However, the jury remains out for so long as he allows himself to be led around by the — of course, entirely figurative, nose-ring by his APRA colleague Geoff Summerhayes, who is an out and proud and campaigning capital-C capital-Z Climate Change (sorry Geoff, emergency) Zealot

Summerhayes is one of the three top executives under Byres at the regulatory agency which is supposed to be about ensuring that financial institutions behave "prudentially". That's after all the key word in its title and job description: the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority.

Specifically, his responsibilities cover oversight of the general, life and private health insurance sector. Summerhayes is also chair of the Sustainable Insurance Forum, It's a combination which has spurred the full flourishing of his CE Zealotry, like in a greenhouse with added carbon dioxide.

Spurred by Summerhayes's enthusiasms, it's not sufficient for APRA to limit itself to the job it's supposed to do; and do that rather more than indifferently–crudely and broadly but reasonably, to do its best to ensure that banks and other financial institutions don't go broke next year.

Oh no, now APRA is setting out to ensure that the banks & co will have taken the necessary steps to "insure" against what the climate might be in 2080. So, if they lend money to people to buy beach houses, they will have to assume that the house and their money will have been swept away by then. That is of course if the house has not been earlier crushed by the climate-induced falling sky or fried by rising temperatures.

Just quietly Geoff and Wayne — if somebody borrows from a bank to buy a beach house tomorrow, it is probably a more than reasonable working assumption that the loan will have been paid off some time —maybe even some considerable time— before 2080.

That is to say, such a loan in 2019, or even 2020, has zero additional "climate" prudential risk for a bank over and above the conventional financial prudential risks, which in a saner era is what people in your jobs focused on.

In any event, how are the banks supposed to work out what these climate risks are supposed to be? As we reported exclusively yesterday, in revealing how the increasingly "climate woke" APRA was embracing its task, the assessment will be based on "climate models". Ah the infamous "climate models" ....

More at "The Australian" of 21 December, 2019

Dangerous electric scooters

Saddening scooter crash rate revealed.  These have had quite an uptake among young people and clearly kept cars off the road.  Another Greenie idea that creates problems

THE rate of horror injuries caused by Lime Scooter accidents could be almost 30 times higher than originally believed, according to shocking new research. The data reveals almost 450 people presented at Brisbane emergency departinents in the 12 months to October this year, equating to 27 serious accidents per 100,000 trips.

A leading Queensland lawyer has called on the State Government to force companies like Lime to register their scooters and obtain Compulsory Third Party insurance. "Perhaps the State Government would be thinking twice about allowing e-scooter companies to skip registration and therefore Compulsory Third Party insurance," lawyer Travis Schultz said.

From the Brisbane "Courier Mail' of 23 December, 2019

Mothers choosing kids over paid employment

MANY women with children choose to work part-time so they can be home with their kids, a new study has found. Researchers studied under-employment in a sample of nearly 5000 Australian women and found those with children under 15 are not likely to want to work more hours. Therefore they have lower underemployment levels than women with no children.

The study, published by the Life Course Centre from the University of Queensland, goes against an assumption that mothers would work more hours if they could balance it with caring for children.

Lead author Parvinder Kier found younger women, women without tertiary qualifications and those with no kids at home are 50 per cent more likely to want more hours of work. "Females prioritise their off-spring upbringing and hence choose to seek employment opportunities with limited hours so they can be more readily available during their children's vital formative years," Dr Kier, from Griffith University, said.

Women now make up 47 per cent of the overall work-force but 68 per cent of the part-time workforce. Mothers work on average 20 hours a week in paid employment

From the Brisbane "Courier Mail of 21 Dec. 2019

Derailing Australia’s Campus Rape Panic

by Bettina Arndt

As 2019 draws to a close, the manufactured rape crisis on Australian university campuses has suffered an important setback. Last month, a Queensland Supreme Court ruled that universities have no jurisdiction to adjudicate sexual assault. This prompted a major speech by the Federal Education Minister in which he affirmed that “If a student alleges they are the victim of a crime then our criminal justice system is the appropriate authority to deal with it.” This is hugely significant, but the media has been noticeably reluctant to report on this development.

Late last year, new regulations were introduced by a number of universities to establish committees and secretive processes to investigate and adjudicate sexual assault. These reversed the burden of proof, denied the accused normal legal rights, and required only a “balance of probabilities” to secure conviction. Many other universities have apparently made plans to proceed down the same path.

This followed a campaign orchestrated by activists who have spent the last decade successfully convincing the media that young women are unsafe on our campuses. As a result of their lobbying, the Australian Human Rights Commission spent a million dollars on a survey intended to uncover evidence of this alleged rape crisis. However, the survey found that only tiny numbers experienced sexual assault (an average of 0.8 percent over each of the two years studied), even when a broad definition of sexual assault was applied that included touching by a stranger on public transport to campus. The main finding was low-grade sexual harassment (mainly unwanted staring) which the universities then promoted as alarming levels of “sexual violence.”

Despite this setback, the higher education sector continued to toe the feminist line, setting up new measures to respond to the perceived crisis. Our university regulator—the Tertiary Education, Quality, and Standards Agency (TEQSA)—swiftly issued a “guidance note” advising universities to provide evidence of how they respond to sexual assault. This was widely interpreted by universities as a requirement to get involved in the criminal law business.

The kowtowing of key players to activist demands has been extraordinary. Prior to the recent Federal election, lobby groups almost succeeded in establishing a government task-force aimed at further bullying universities in this direction. “We were so close,” lamented Darren Brown, the former higher education officer working for the Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham, before Birmingham’s successor shelved the proposal.

Former barrister, now Queensland Senator, Amanda Stoker used a parliamentary committee to grill TEQSA officials about the impact of that “guidance note.” A video shows bureaucrats squirming as Stoker points out that the resulting university regulations contain barely a word about ensuring proper legal rights for accused young men. The accused, Stoker explained, had no access to evidence against them, there was no effort to ensure the reliability of that evidence, no power to call evidence in their own defence, no legal representation, no presumption of innocence, and no right of appeal.

A secretive, unsupervised committee would determine guilt on the balance of probabilities with power to impose serious penalties including expulsion from the university. As Stoker observed, this means that any student so punished will have wasted money and time invested in their degrees and are likely to be excluded from chosen professions—all penalties absent from the criminal justice code.

I’ve spent the last year touring Australian university campuses speaking about what’s happening, and Stoker played a pivotal role in our first major achievement. When the riot squad had to be called to remove violent protesters blocking my audience from accessing the venue at which I was speaking at Sydney University, Stoker used a similar Senate Estimate committee to question TEQSA about Sydney University’s failure to protect free speech. This led to the Federal government setting up an inquiry which ultimately led to our universities imposing new free speech codes.

But the major breakthrough came when the Queensland Supreme Court decision in November determined that universities have no jurisdiction to adjudicate sexual assault. This landmark case involved a University of Queensland medical student who was accused of sexual assault by another student. Wendy Mulcahy, the lawyer for the accused student, took the matter to the Supreme Court arguing that UQ did not have the jurisdiction to adjudicate such matters. In her judgement, Justice Ann Lyons concluded that universities are only entitled to make decisions in sexual assault cases which have been proved in criminal court.

Dan Tehan, our Federal Education Minister, used this legal decision to instruct TEQSA that the criminal justice system, not a university disciplinary process, is the right place to deal with alleged crimes that occur on campus or in the student commun­ity. “Universities have a duty of care to their students and that ­includes ensuring processes around the enforcement of any codes of conduct are legal, fair, and transparent,” he told a TEQSA conference in Melbourne later that month.

Earlier this year, a university administrator admitted in private correspondence with a student representative that his university had assumed they might still proceed with a misconduct hearing to determine the guilt of the perpetrator even if the accused had been found not guilty in criminal court. The reason? The university had a lower standard of proof, he said. That’s the point of this whole exercise—to use “victim-centred” justice to ensure more rape convictions. Feminists are angry that juries so rarely convict young men in he-said, she-said date rape situations, and “believe-the-victim” campus investigations make securing a conviction much easier.

That was widely acknowledged as the goal in 2011 when President Obama required all publicly funded universities to establish tribunals to adjudicate rape on campus. This led to over 200 successful lawsuits against universities for failing to protect the due process rights of the accused —rights the Trump administration is now seeking to restore. Given that recent history, it is extraordinary that our higher education sector has allowed itself to be led down the same path. Universities Australia has just commissioned a new survey on sexual assault intended to cook up more impressive rape statistics after the failure of the AHRC to produce the desired results.

It’s a relief to see a few shots finally fired across the bow of this misbegotten enterprise, and hopefully there are more to come. I’m about to launch a campaign to enlist alumni from all Australian universities to send Vice Chancellors a series of questions, drawn up by the legal team assisting me, asking about these institutions’ plans regarding the direction given by the Education Minister.* (Some universities have already written to the Minister stating they are discontinuing investigations.) I’ll be continuing my campus tour to educate male students about the risks presented by this manufactured crisis. I now have a list of cases of young men who have had their lives derailed by these courts and have made YouTube videos featuring two of these students, one in Adelaide and another in Perth.

One other minor development bears mention. In my previous Quillette article I mentioned I’d made a complaint to the university about key organisers of the Sydney protest, providing hours of video evidence and numerous witnesses to show they were breaching the university’s bullying and harassment regulations. After an investigation that lasted over 8 months, the university finally took action, suspending the key organiser, Maddy Ward, for a semester. Ward is a serial troublemaker who already had a strike against her following a notorious protest at which she exposed her breasts to an anti-abortion group. Ward proudly took ownership of the protest against me but was outraged that I had succeeded in “weaponising the university codes of conduct” against her. It was the authoritarian Left that insisted on regulating behaviour on campus, but they do not, it seems, like being held to the standards they impose on others.


 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, December 26, 2019

Australian banks first in line for climate stress tests

The banking regulators have fallen into the hands of the Greenies. So banks now must not lend to projects Greenies disapprove of. 

If they do it will be regarded by the regulators as a "risky" investment, even if the only risk is from global warming and is hence an entirely fictional risk. 

Greenie investments will be favoured over rational ones, thus greatly limiting bank support for many industries -- such as mining and dam building

Stress tests of banks by regulators have a legitimate role. They make sure banks do not overlend or lend foolishly.  They aim to stop banks going broke.  So they control what banks can do.  But the stress tests are now being perverted so that only Greenie-approved investments are regarded as safe. 

The truth is probably the opposite:  Greenie investments are the risky ones, not the safe ones.  Remember Solyndra?

Australian banks will be the first sector in the firing line for the prudential regulator's tough new institutionally focused climate change stress tests, which will be rolled out following the launch of new economic and environmental scenario modelling by global central banks next year.

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority will target the $45bn general insurance sector with its audits on the vulnerability of companies to a potentially "disorderly" transition to a low-emissions economy.

Finally, superannuation fund managers overseeing the nation's $3 trillion pile of retirement savings will feel the heat of APRA's soon-to-be-launched climate stress tests, which will measure how the funds are preparing their portfolios for an unpredictable future in which asset prices could fluctuate wildly depending on the rate of warming of the planet or
the policies put in place to achieve emissions targets.

Regulatory sources have confirmed to The Weekend Australian the running order for the sectors soon to face an Australian prudential probe measuring the exposure of banks, insurers and super funds to both the physical risks of climate change such as floods, droughts, fires or cyclones — and the economic "transition" risks, such as orderly or abrupt changes in prices, possible stranded assets, or long-term productivity changes.

The insights from the stress tests could be used to encourage companies to exit potentially risky assets or investments, re-price policies or loans, or even to force banks and insurers that refuse to ready themselves for an unpredictable climate to hold more capital as a buffer in times of crisis. The climate models to be used to analyse the financial strength of companies are being developed by an international group of regulators, chaired by Bank of England governor Mark Carney, who this week warned that large financial groups in the UK would imminently face the world's toughest climate stress tests.

As revealed by The Australian this week, the Network of Central Banks and Supervisors for Greening the Financial System (NGFS), chaired by Mr Carney, is due to finalise a number of climate transition scenarios in the first half of 2020, at which point APRA will begin tuning the economic models to the local context to begin stress testing large financial institutions.

The Reserve Bank, a member of the group, will use the financial models to analyse economy-wide impacts of climate change and policies seeking to shift the nation to a low-emissions future. The Australian Securities & Invest-ments Commission will also be engaged in the work, mostly through monitoring whether companies are properly disclosing known risks to shareholders.

Mr Carney this week said the BoE would measure UK financial companies against three scenarios, which were under development by the NGFS. "The catastrophic business-as-usual scenario where no further climate action is taken, a scenario where early policy action delivers an orderly transition to the targets set in Paris, and a third where late policy action leads to a disorderly and disruptive transition," Mr Carney said.

This aligns closely to recent remarks by APRA executive Geoff Summerhayes, who chairs the global Sustainable Insurance Forum, who said Australian regulators were contemplating "three broad models" of climate change scenarios and what the ensuing "implications would be for assets and business models" stemming from those scenarios.

"A hothouse world, where there is no discernible change to the warming profile; an orderly adjustment to a lower-carbon future, which would envisage a significant amount of transition risk, albeit smooth; and a late adjustment where the world continues to warm and there is a realisation from a policy sense much later in the piece which requires a very rapid ,adjustment to a lower-carbon future,"

Mr Summerhayes told parliament this month: "Each of those scenarios has implications for the pricing of assets, for business models, for physical impacts and liability impacts to a range of firms' investments."

Fitch Ratings head of sustainable finance Andrew Steel on Friday said the gap between how ambitious global governments pledge to cut emissions and the actual policies in place to reach those targets highlighted the "risk of a sharp shift" in the global regulatory environment.  Mr Steel said the possibility that global governments could ratchet up carbon pricing policies to meet emissions targets was a key risk to company credit ratings.

From "The Australian" of 21 December, 2019

Feds put foot on the gas

A NEW power station to help keep the lights on in Queensland and NSW will "be announced today, the first of a series of new electricity generators to be given the tick. The gas-fired power plant at Gatton will be underwritten by the Morrison Government and is one of 12 generators short-listed just prior to the election.

No decision has yet been made on a coal-fired power station at Collinsville, championed by some LNP MPs, which was also short-listed.

At 132 megawatts, the Gatton gas plant is a smaller generator but can be used to firm up renewable power and can switch on with little notice during peak periods. It is also hoped it will put downward pressure on power prices should it be given final approval by the company behind it, Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners.

Quinbrook, which specialises in renewable and low-carbon projects, has previously warned the project would not go ahead without government support. Energy Minister Angus Taylor said the decision to underwrite the project was made after consideration of the project's financial viability, benefit to consumers and potential environmental impacts: "The Government will now enter detailed underwriting and contractual negotiations with the project proponent ahead of its financial investment decisions," he said.

Construction will begin once private sector funding is secured. The Federal Government is not funding the project, but instead underwriting its debt, so taxpayers will not have to fork out for the construction and any financial exposure is expected to be minimal.

Mr Taylor said it would increase competition, helping to keep energy prices down. Any excess gas from the project will be put on the Queensland gas market, which would increase competition for AGL and Origin.

An interconnector linking the Queensland and NSW power grids means the project could boost the southern state's energy supply if needed.

In relation to Collinsville, Mr Taylor said a first study was due this week, but further feasibility studies would be needed early in the new year.

From the Brisbane "Courier Mail' of 23 December, 2019

Unfair attack on Sea World by Greenie fanatics

SEA World operators have dismissed animal rights protesters, slamming a NSW politician's "appalling" decision to use the popular Gold Coast theme park to grandstand.

Yesterday about 30 people, armed with placards, chanted slogans outside the park at Main Beach during a two-hour protest. Among those leading the rally was NSW politician Emma Hurst from the Animal Justice Party. Ms Hurst said she had travelled to Queensland to protest against Sea World, as well as attend other protests.

"No animal should be forced into entertainment ... we want Sea World to stop the breeding of (dolphins). We need to make sure no more of these animals are born and bred in captivity," she said. She hoped Queensland would follow her state's lead by introducing an inquiry into animals in entertainment.

Village Roadshow Theme Parks boss Bikash Randhawa said it was "astounding" Ms Hurst had travelled out of her jurisdiction to be involved. "What is a NSW senator doing in Queensland? I don't get it. It's insanity," he said. "It's appalling that (she) comes all the way to Queensland to get some

I was happy to go over and talk with them but when I looked at (the protest) and saw some of the messaging, I said this does not deserve any conversation because it's all based on opinion ... let's base it on science.

"They were all turning around taking pictures for their social media — seriously, it's ridiculous." Mr Randhawa said it was frustrating, given Village Roadshow theme parks voluntarily poured money into animal rescues. Sea World is an accredited zoological institution under the Zoo and Aquarium Association, and is also regulated by multiple government agencies.

From the Brisbane "Courier Mail' of 23 December, 2019

Academic agitators rely on the public purse

On Sunday the ABC published an article stating that masculinity is the biggest obstacle to climate ­action. The highly offensive piece, which was steeped in misandry and titled “Is fragile masculinity the biggest obstacle to climate action?”, was written by University of Sydney academic Megan Mackenzie. It was published exactly the way you would expect: with a triple barrel of taxpayer funds.

First, Mackenzie is employed at Sydney University, which is a taxpayer-funded institution. According to its annual report last year, the university pocketed a total of $710.3m in Australian government grants, plus an extra $45.5m in NSW government grants. This is hardly an insignificant amount of taxpayer dollars.

Second, Mackenzie’s research work also has been generously funded by the taxpayer. In 2014, she received an Australian Research Council grant worth $434,692 to fund a project entitled Women in Combat: A Comparative Analysis of Removing the Combat Exclusion.

Third, her article has been published by the ABC, which is, of course, another taxpayer-funded institution funded to the tune of more than $1bn a year.

While Mackenzie has completely bought into the notion that white men are the embodiment of evil, she needs to remember that a large number of Australian taxpayers who are funding her research are hardworking white men against whom she rallies.

It is wrong for researchers such as Mackenzie to continue to take benefit from the money of people who they consistently and openly deride in the public forum.

Last year, Sydney University hosted American professor, author and “renowned anti-racism educator” Robin DiAngelo on campus so she could harangue white people about how racist they were. Taxpayer money is being used without the slightest hint of questioning, self-reflection or consideration for the taxpayers themselves. If academics such as Mackenzie were to attempt to make a living from propounding identity politics, radical gender theory and eco-poetics, they would not survive in this world. This is because there is no market among the general populace, who naturally have little desire to pay someone to insult them. The harsh reality for those employed in the humanities is that without funding via other people’s money, they would struggle to earn their keep.

What Sydney University academic Mackenzie has done is to connect two diametrically opposed topics that currently obsess the elite of this country: gender and climate change.

This is something at which the university appears to excel. Readers will now be familiar with its FutureFix program, in particular the Multi­species Justice project, which is described by the univer­sity as “a post human reconceptualisation of justice via a multi­species lens” and that looks at how “justice across the human and natural world (would) look like and entail”. Moreover, a lecturer also proposed that we need to consider seriously the “arguments for the formal inclusion of animal interests in democracies”.

The university even has its own all-encompassing Environment Institute, which covers everything from the Great Barrier Reef to justice and culture. In October, the institute hosted a two-day symposium titled Unsettling Ecological Poetics, during which various participants from universities around Australia gathered to read poems about climate change, sustainability, radical feminism, racism and LGBTQ+ issues.

The move to combine disciplines is part of a growing worldwide trend to create new and exciting interdisciplinary studies. In a recent article for The Conversation, a couple of academics from the University of California stated the case for combining climate change science and the humanities with their article “Why science needs the humanities to solve climate change”.

There is little doubt that Australian universities are in crisis. This is because academics such as Mackenzie have completely rejected the cornerstones of Western civilisation and, in doing, so are cutting themselves and students off from truth, reason and knowledge. The reason student numbers are falling in the ­humanities is because academics appear to be indulging in their own interests without consideration for anything else.

These cloistered academics are completely out of touch with mainstream Australians, but even in the face of resounding defeat they refuse to see it. They belong to the elite who were voted out in May by mainstream Australians and rejected en masse by the British public last week.

Yet the government continues to fund agitators who are filled with the zeal of the righteous, and who not only believe their own propaganda but also insist everyone else must believe it, too. By giving money to institutions such as the university, the ARC and the ABC, the Coalition is funding a progressive ideology that is contrary to tradition, contrary to what people believe and contrary to the truth. The Coalition might keep winning elections, but as long as it keeps funding left-wing institutions that promulgate insidious identity politics it will continue to lose the battle of ideas.


 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, December 25, 2019

A great Australian Christmas poem

The Fire At Ross's Farm

By Henry Lawson

The squatter saw his pastures wide
Decrease, as one by one
The farmers moving to the west
Selected on his run;
Selectors took the water up
And all the black soil round;
The best grass-land the squatter had
Was spoilt by Ross's Ground.

Now many schemes to shift old Ross
Had racked the squatter's brains,
But Sandy had the stubborn blood
Of Scotland in his veins;
He held the land and fenced it in,
He cleared and ploughed the soil,
And year by year a richer crop
Repaid him for his toil.

Between the homes for many years
The devil left his tracks:
The squatter pounded Ross's stock,
And Sandy pounded Black's.
A well upon the lower run
Was filled with earth and logs,
And Black laid baits about the farm
To poison Ross's dogs.

It was, indeed, a deadly feud
Of class and creed and race;
But, yet, there was a Romeo
And a Juliet in the case;
And more than once across the flats,
Beneath the Southern Cross,
Young Robert Black was seen to ride
With pretty Jenny Ross.

One Christmas time, when months of drought
Had parched the western creeks,
The bush-fires started in the north
And travelled south for weeks.
At night along the river-side
The scene was grand and strange --
The hill-fires looked like lighted streets
Of cities in the range.

The cattle-tracks between the trees
Were like long dusky aisles,
And on a sudden breeze the fire
Would sweep along for miles;
Like sounds of distant musketry
It crackled through the brakes,
And o'er the flat of silver grass
It hissed like angry snakes.

It leapt across the flowing streams
And raced o'er pastures broad;
It climbed the trees and lit the boughs
And through the scrubs it roared.
The bees fell stifled in the smoke
Or perished in their hives,
And with the stock the kangaroos
Went flying for their lives.

The sun had set on Christmas Eve,
When, through the scrub-lands wide,
Young Robert Black came riding home
As only natives ride.
He galloped to the homestead door
And gave the first alarm:
`The fire is past the granite spur,
`And close to Ross's farm.'

`Now, father, send the men at once,
They won't be wanted here;
Poor Ross's wheat is all he has
To pull him through the year.'
`Then let it burn,' the squatter said;
`I'd like to see it done --
I'd bless the fire if it would clear
Selectors from the run.

`Go if you will,' the squatter said,
`You shall not take the men --
Go out and join your precious friends,
And don't come here again.'
`I won't come back,' young Robert cried,
And, reckless in his ire,
He sharply turned his horse's head
And galloped towards the fire.

And there, for three long weary hours,
Half-blind with smoke and heat,
Old Ross and Robert fought the flames
That neared the ripened wheat.
The farmer's hand was nerved by fears
Of danger and of loss;
And Robert fought the stubborn foe
For the love of Jenny Ross.

But serpent-like the curves and lines
Slipped past them, and between,
Until they reached the bound'ry where
The old coach-road had been.
`The track is now our only hope,
There we must stand,' cried Ross,
`For nought on earth can stop the fire
If once it gets across.'

Then came a cruel gust of wind,
And, with a fiendish rush,
The flames leapt o'er the narrow path
And lit the fence of brush.
`The crop must burn!' the farmer cried,
`We cannot save it now,'
And down upon the blackened ground
He dashed the ragged bough.

But wildly, in a rush of hope,
His heart began to beat,
For o'er the crackling fire he heard
The sound of horses' feet.
`Here's help at last,' young Robert cried,
And even as he spoke
The squatter with a dozen men
Came racing through the smoke.

Down on the ground the stockmen jumped
And bared each brawny arm,
They tore green branches from the trees
And fought for Ross's farm;
And when before the gallant band
The beaten flames gave way,
Two grimy hands in friendship joined --
And it was Christmas Day.