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

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