Monday, December 16, 2019

Aboriginal rugby coach Jarred Hodges has boycotted the term 'Indigenous'

We can't win.  Australians have been told in recent decades that "Aborigine" is wrong and "indigenous" is right.  Now another change may be coming

When I was growing up many decades ago, we just used to call them all "boongs", which, rather surprisingly, is an Aboriginal name for themselves, a tribal name.  My Kuranda relatives used to refer to them as "Boories", which was the local tribal name in the Kuranda area

After being put in charge of a fledgling program to discover Indigenous playing talent this year, Hodges sent a timely message to mainstream Australia in naming it.

Instead of using the "Indigenous" tag, he called the talent-spotting rugby sevens program "First Nations", to create a more inclusive feel to what is an important program for the sport.

"The 'First Nations' term not only recognises [Aboriginal] people as the sovereign people of our land but it also recognises the unique language groups and sovereign nations that exist," Hodges said.

Hodges says the idea to call the program "First Nations" came to him after seeing how some other countries celebrate their traditional owners, using a similar term.

"Canada is probably one of the leaders around the world pushing for the rights of native people and acknowledging the differences that exist," he said.

"The word 'Aboriginal' or 'Indigenous' just brackets everyone but we know we have differences. "There are over 250 nations and language groups across the country. "We have got saltwater people, we have got desert people, we have got freshwater people, for example."


Climate change is not the era’s burning issue

Stoic. We used to be stoic and sensible. And proudly so.

In Britain this was encapsulated by the wartime poster “Keep calm and carry on”. Here in Australia we have exhibited a phlegmatic hardiness down the gen­erations, dealing with all that a sunburnt country of droughts and flooding rains could throw at us.

Now hysteria reigns. That British poster today would read, “Cry panic and herald Armageddon”. The Australian visage of calm practicality has been replaced by a Munch-like scream.

On Christmas Day 1974, households around the nation were shocked by news coming through from Darwin and rang to offer their homes to house families evacuated in the wake of Cyclone Tracy. If it happened today many people would go and protest against the climate instead.

Rational arguments, hard facts and intelligent debate have been cast aside in favour of woke whingeing. In this information age, ill-informed emotionalism dominates public debate (although thankfully the great mainstream remain level-headed and smart, as they showed in this year’s so-called climate election).

We live in an age when Greta Thunberg can be named person of the year for doing nothing more than allowing herself to be the face of protest, bringing teenage hyperventilation to what should be a ­rational and scientific policy ­debate. She is to the climate debate what the Bay City Rollers were to music.

But she is far from alone. When Sydney was smothered in bushfire smoke this week The Sydney Morning Herald published Mark Mordue. “There is no other way to see it,” he wrote, “our dead future is here.” In The Guardian Australia Charlotte Wood wrote about her trauma from Sydney’s inner-west suburb of Marrickville. “We’re used to turning our attention briefly, ­intensely, to ‘those poor people’­ ­affected by climate change, then returning to normal life,” Wood wrote, without telling us who or what she was referring to. “Now those poor people include us.”

The New York Times fed the hyperbole, quoting novelist Anna Funder looking at bushfires on a flight into Sydney. “It was as if the country were being devoured by a chemical reaction,” she said.

“Dear prime minister,” Katharine Murphy wrote in The Guardian Australia, “the country is not parched but desiccated, and it is burning like a tinderbox, and people are frightened.”

Remember when journalism was about facts?

A host of people from the prominent to the anonymous took to social media to tell us that “Australia is burning”. NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean blamed the fires on climate change — without evidence.

Rather than explain what his department had done or failed to do to reduce fuel loads in national parks and forests — the one part of the bushfire equation humans can control — he promised more action on carbon emissions reductions policies that, of course, can and will never do anything to ­reduce or alleviate the bushfire threat. Yet, in this post-rational age, he was applauded by many.

People rallied in the streets not to offer their services with other fire volunteers for hard yakka on the frontline with backpacks and rakes or making sandwiches to help; no, they rallied for more government action on carbon emissions reductions. We have reached an absurdity when people blame governments for deliberately lit fires and the smoke they produce. Grown adults blame governments for weather.

Therese Rein, wife of former prime minister Kevin Rudd, took to social media to sheet home blame for destructive fires at the feet of Scott Morrison. Needless to say, she has never publicly blamed her husband for the 170 deaths on Black Saturday, when Rudd was prime minister just over a decade ago.

The divide in approaches was illustrated by the actions of two other former prime ministers. While Tony Abbott has spent weeks on distant fire fronts vol­unteering with his local Rural Fire Service brigade, Malcolm Turnbull jetted back to Sydney, posted a picture of the smoke and said we needed to take more climate action.

The silliness is constantly reinforced in the media. ABC presenters ask daily inane gotcha questions. Hamish Macdonald ­demanded drought tsar Shane Stone declare whether anthropogenic global warming was a thing, and Michael Rowland demanded to know whether federal Communications Minister Paul Fletcher would join Kean in blaming climate change for bushfires.

The point about this game-playing is that nothing turns on the answers, except to desired creation of political embarrassment or the chance to shame someone for defying the zeitgeist. Whatever we do to combat drought and bushfire is what we have always done — build dams, supply feed, reduce fuel, protect houses and so on — because these are threats that are endemic to our land.

The expert analysis shows that if there is a long-term influence from climate change on either of these blights, it will be to make each of them slightly more common in a land where they are common already. Whatever Australia does on carbon emissions can have no impact on any of this, at least for decades to come as global emissions continue to rise. And if, at some unlikely time in the future, international resolve sees substantial cuts in global greenhouse gas emissions, Australia will still be a land menaced by drought and fire.

There is no drought-free and bushfire-free Nirvana awaiting us, no matter how much nonsense we hear from Kean, Turnbull and Thunberg. It is only the practical that matters. Yet it is usually the gotcha moments, emotional cries and virtue signalling that dominate the public debate. We are our own worst enemies.

Look at the ridiculous coverage and response given to the Climate Change Performance Index ­released in Madrid this week. It is the work of European climate activist think tanks — comparable to The Australia Institute in our country — yet their findings are reported as though they are dispassionate assessments.

The overall ratings had the US ranked last and Australia third from last despite both these developed nations having reduced emissions and, in our case, being committed to further reductions. China — a country that is increasing its emissions ­annually by more than Australia’s total emissions — was ranked almost 30 places above Australia. India, too, was ranked high on the list.

Australia was marked down for approving the Adani coalmine but India was given a leave pass for burning the coal. The index pays more ­regard to climate politics and ­posturing than to emissions facts and outcomes.

Yet this week ABC opinionista Barrie Cassidy tweeted about the index by saying: “I don’t think we’ve ever had a government so out of touch with a national concern and an opposition so incap­able of putting pressure on them.” I guess Cassidy has already forced himself to forget the “climate election” of seven months ago.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese also used the index to criticise the government’s performance and his frontbencher Mark Dreyfus said our nation was now an “international embarrassment”. But the ALP’s climate spokesman, Mark Butler, would not be outdone: “Australia is burning. We can feel the impacts of climate change. Scott Morrison’s climate policy is ranked dead last, below Donald Trump. This is a crisis and the government won’t act.”

Against all this panic and politicking, we need to consider the facts. In NSW this has been a bad bushfire season, one of the worst the state has seen, certainly since 1974. With NSW’s drier winters and wetter summers, the season is usually earlier and less intense than the most bushfire-prone states of Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania.

With widespread fires this year the smoke haze has been bad too. But, again, not unprecedented.

In 1936 the smoke haze was so bad in Sydney a ship from Hong Kong, the Neptuna, struggled to find the heads and sounded its foghorn but the harbourmaster couldn’t find the ship or see across the harbour. In 1951 all Sydney airports, from Mascot, through Bankstown to Richmond, were shut for hours because the smoke was too thick for planes to land.

Apart from rampant arson, the reason NSW’s fire season is bad is the drought. On this point it is ­important to note the clear assessments of University of NSW’s ­Andrew Pitman, who heads the Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes. “This may not be what you ­expect to hear but as far as the climate scientists know, there is no link between climate change and drought,” he said. “Now, that may not be what you read in the newspapers and sometimes hear commented but there is no reason a priori why climate change should make the landscape more arid.

“And if you look at the Bureau of Meteorology data over the whole of the last 100 years there’s no trend in data, there’s no drying trend, there’s been a drying trend in the last 20 years but there’s been no drying trend in the last 100 years and that’s an expression of how variable the Australian rainfall climate is.”

When Pitman was embarrassed by the use of his quote in the climate debate, he issued a statement saying he should have used the word “direct” — so there is no “direct link” between the drought and climate change.

There you have it. Most of the rest is just noise.


OK boomer for now, but a revelation awaits millennials


I have some sympathy for the millennial generation and their latest gibe at Baby Boomers. For those who haven’t caught on, “OK Boomer” – popularised in social media this year – is a kind of eye-roll put-down of older people’s lecturing of the young on topics ranging from housing to climate change to personal resilience. I have some sympathy with Millennials (born 1984-2002) because this is pretty much what Baby Boomers (1946-1964) did to their elders 50 years ago.

In the late 1960s the hippie movement and the anti-war student protest movement, stemming from privileged cities in America but quickly spreading to Sydney and Melbourne, involved teenagers and 20-somethings (Baby Boomers) railing against an older elite they called The Establishment. These young and “disrespectful” protesters were mightily confronting to middle-aged people who had survived the privations of the Great Depression, who fought in and whose comrades died in World War II, and who therefore, naturally enough, had a prescribed way of thinking.

The way to survive a war or an economic depression, they believed, was to subjugate individuality and to place trust and faith in the institutions that delivered victory: the instruments of government; a structured, almost militaristic society in which everyone did their duty; and the church, with its central tenet of self-sacrifice and endorsement of the pursuit of redemption and eternal salvation.

The Establishment had built quite a machine by the 1960s. Pity it was flawed. Viewed in hindsight there was, and remains, every reason to be suspicious of the instrumentalities of government. During World War I, Australia, with five million people, lost 60,000 men over four years, an average of 300 per week. Can you imagine modern-day Australia accepting such a sacrifice? The structured, ordered, dutiful society that flowed out of World War II may well have been disciplined, but it also crushed the gay, ignored the indigenous, was oblivious to the disabled (including returned soldiers with PTSD) and pigeonholed women. This society was repressive for many people and in desperate need of a makeover.

I’m not sure those student protesters and their hippie confreres knew what they were taking on with their derision of, and contempt for, The Establishment. What they did know was that the Vietnam War was wrong and that the pursuit of personal freedoms, the notion of individual sovereignty, was a better basis upon which to build a strong and fair society. It took the baby-boomer generation less than a decade – from the Summer of Love (1967) to America’s ignoble exit from Saigon (1975) – to disassemble the political and social apparatus of The Establishment. Out of these ashes came a new boomer-based society that found voice in the 1980s.

Not all Baby Boomers, of course, were authority-challenging visionaries; most, including me, merely watched from the sidelines. The same is true of Millennials today, although social media allows timid sideline-sitters to offer moral support from behind the safety of an anonymous “like”.

The systematic deconstruction of the thinking, perceived privileges and institutions of the baby-boomer generation may continue for a decade. But by the end of the 2020s all the usurping and upstarting will fall eerily silent as a great revelation descends upon the generational battlefield. As the Millennials breach their 40s they will realise that while it may have been OK, even brave, to target powerful 60-something boomers, it’s not OK to continue berating the old and frail.


The expat dilemma

By Nikki Gemmell -- who was born in Wollongong in 1966.  She has written a number of successful books.  Her writing is popular in France, probably because of its existential tone.  Despair sells in France. Her mother committed suicide. She now lives in Sydney.  Her biography suggests that her perceptions may be unusually sensitive, for good or ill

They're the risk-takers; the flexible, the adaptable, the brave. Those among us willing to dive into the unknown, embracing pioneering Aussie traits of enterprise and courage and resilience. They're our expats, striding out to all corners of the globe. The Aussies who dream of shaking off sameness and safeness; of seeking something beyond the small worlds they've been raised in. Expats are the workers who relish the benefits of diversity over homogeny; who revel in a life of challenge and change.

Surely all that is to be admired? Surely it's seen as an asset in the local jobs market? Yet, say it isn't true — our returning expats are hard done by in their homeland. They're not valued when it comes to landing jobs as they head back.

New research has found that many Aussies who work overseas struggle to find employment after heading home. To secure a job, many are considering pay cuts and demotions to get a foot in the door, a majority of returning expats have shrinking ambitions and expectations. Ah, Australia.

The findings have emerged from a study by job site Indeed, and Advance, a group helping Aussies work overseas. Seven hundred returning expats were interviewed: 85 per cent reported trouble finding work, and this alongside 83 per cent of local recruiters who expressed caution about recommending expats for positions.

What is it in the Australian psyche that wants to overlook our bravest? Is it the curse of the tall poppy syndrome? A desire to put that person who thought they were too good for their country back in the narrow little box where they surely belong?

So why return? Sometimes, as Patrick White put it, "I am compelled into this country." Hiraeth, a Welsh word, means an intense, bittersweet longing for a homeland; a grief for a lost place of your past. Many expats suffer from it; I certainly did.

It was the siren-lure of this land, its vaulting sky
and hurting light that eventually sung me home; the cathedral of beauty that is Australia. And a desire to raise three little Pommies as confident, bold Aussies alongside beloved ageing parents.

Yet according to this latest report, 67 per cent of returning expats have considered heading back overseas again to land the right role, and 70 per cent said their self-esteem was impacted by difficulties in returning home.

Advance's Yasmin Allen says Australians who believe that overseas experience is always a bonus to their CV should think again: "What's really important is to keep our networks alive when we're offshore... [Because] when expats with great global skills come home to Australia... these skills aren't valued."

Why did I leave? Because I was starting to feel suffocated by the narrow little world I came from. I wanted more dynamism, less homogeneity; wanted to break loose from the tightness I grew up among, where I was expected to live a small, boxed-in, obedient little life.

If I became a good wife and mother that would be celebrated as a great victory, the pinnacle of womanhood — who was I to have tickets on myself?

I still go back into that sphere, occasionally, and the utter absence of curiosity about wider worlds or lives always strikes me. As a woman, the compulsion is to keep you small, unthreatening, reduced, one of them in a narrow little world.

It still shocks me. Which is why I find a natural affinity with expats around me — we think alike. It's such a relief. When I came home and fell into old circles there was no curiosity about what my life had been; I slipped right back in like I'd never been away. It was disorienting, alienating. Which is why, for many returning expats, we now live in Australia with the taunt of perpetual restlessness. We've found our way home — but dream of elsewhere. Still. No wonder many head back overseas.

From the Weekend Australian magazine of November 9, 2019

Evil doctor should be burnt at the stake

A Melbourne anaesthetist who used a needle on himself before injecting 55 pregnant women with hepatitis C has failed in his bid to overturn a 14-year jail term by arguing the disease is not that serious.

James Latham Peters intentionally infected the women at the Croydon Day Surgery between June and November 2009 after stealing syringes of fentanyl from the operating theatre, injecting himself and then using the same syringes to inject patients.

Fifty-five women were infected with hepatitis C and experienced a range of symptoms. In victim impact statements, some victims described being “really sick for about eight weeks”, body aches, liver pain, constipation, lethargy, loss of vision and no certainty of a cure.

Some endured lengthy treatments that resulted in hair loss, vomiting, nausea, memory loss and 30kg weight loss, according to court documents.

Peters was jailed for 14 years with a minimum, non-parole period of 10 years.

The victims were awarded a share of almost $14 million in compensation in 2014 but today they were traumatised again as Peters attempted to downplay the seriousness of his offending.

In the Victorian Court of Appeal, he argued new treatment options for hepatitis C have become available since he intentionally infected the pregnant women and therefore his crimes did not constitute “serious injury”.

But it was an argument that Court of Appeal judges rejected.

A legal source involved in the original trial told The Age newspaper Peters was a “vile human with no regard for anyone”.


 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

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I wonder why no one stopped Dr shithead James Latham Peters from infecting those women with his syringes. I presume he would have had nurses and other doctors working alongside him who would have observed him using syringes that were not from a properly sealed wrap. It only takes a few words: "Stop doctor. That syringe was not sealed."

Evil people can be found anywhere, in the medical professions, the police, emergency services, the trades, hospitality, ...etc. They seldom act in isolation. Often they take quiet delight in doing horrible deeds under their colleague's noses. I know it because I've seen it, and I've discussed their deeds with them. Good people need to open their mouths, immediately confront and report the scoundrels who work among us. To do less is to be complicit. Is being a weakling.

I have been against capital punishment most of my life, and I know the worst of crims. To infect all those women, this doctor would be intelligent, dark hearted and very very cunning. I would hang him myself.