Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Neutral toilet plan could be flushed

The Queensland Labor party has always been fairly conservative and seems to be getting more so after the losses of Federal Labor in Queensland in the recent national elections

PREMIER Annastasia Palaszczuk says she will raise the issue of shared toilets at a new Brisbane high school with the Education Department, declaring boys and girls should have their own facilities.

Ms PalaszcZuk said the first she had heard of a plan to install gender-neutral facilities at the $80 million new Fortitude Valley State Secondary College was when she read it in The Sunday Mail.

"Look, I am happy to talk to the department about that," she said. "I think in our high schools we should have facilities available for both boys and girls." Asked whether she had a problem with the plan, she said "I will be making it very clear that you should have toilets for boys and girls."

Ms Palaszczuk, Who established an anti-bullying task-force last year, was asked whether she had concerns over bullying or other problem behaviours that could flourish in shared bathrooms. "Like I said, there has to be toilets for girls and toilets for boys."

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said young, impressionable teens needed privacy and protection. "I'm a mum of three teenage girls and it's deeply concerning to think that a 12-year-old girl would be in the same bathroom as a 17-year-old (boy)", she said. "When it comes to fitting out the bathrooms at schools, we need to make sure that girls have their bathrooms and boys have their bathrooms."

From the Brisbane "Courier mail" of 9 December, 2019

Controversial ex-politician slammed for his 'repulsive' and 'shameful' tweet about the New Zealand volcano catastrophe that has left at least five dead

Must not make sarcastic comments about Warmists.  Volcanoes are a big source of alleged greenhouse gases so it is a relevant comment

David Leyonhjelm has been slammed for mocking climate change in the wake of the White Island eruption in New Zealand that has left five people dead.

The former NSW Senator made the comments on Monday while replying to a viral tweet showing footage of smoke billowing from the deadly volcano moments after it erupted. 

'But the emissions...' Leyonhjelm tweeted, referring to greenhouse gas emissions that have contributed to climate change.

The politician has since come under fire with dozens slamming his remarks and branding him 'ignorant' and 'insensitive.'  

'How is this appropriate when people have died including Australians!' one woman said.

New Zealand authorities confirmed at least five people were killed and dozens more were severely injured after a volcano erupted off the coast of New Zealand's North Island on Monday afternoon.


Scott Morrison and Christian Porter release second draft of religious discrimination legislation

Including a "Folau" clause

In the wake of Israel Folau's controversial GoFundMe campaign, is it time for a Religious Discrimination Act in Australia?
The government’s religious freedom reforms have taken another step forward with the release of a second draft, which includes a number of concessions following extended consultation.

Stakeholders from religious groups to aged care providers and LGBTI rights advocates have been involved in long-running negotiations for months.

Those talks led to the release today of the second and final exposure draft of the Religious Discrimination Bill, announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Attorney-General Christian Porter.

What Australians believe, both those of faith and no faith, is “such a personal matter”, Mr Morrison told reporters in Sydney.

“It’s hard to imagine something more personal,” he said, adding it was for that reason the process had to be one that was “on a platform of tolerance and inclusion that brings people together around the big issues”.

The changes would enshrine the protection of religious belief and activity while also “unifying our country’s firm belief in religious freedom”, Mr Morrison said.

The second exposure draft includes 11 key changes, most of which focus on clarifying the definition of what constitutes a religious body and tightening the definition of vilification.

But perhaps the most timely change relates to someone suffering professional consequences for a religious view they’ve expressed outside of work, including on social media.

The change to that provision comes less than a week after Israel Folau and Rugby Australia reached a settlement to their long-running dispute.

Folau was sacked from the NSW Waratahs and the Wallabies teams for declaring on social media that homosexuals are destined for hell, after a warning for a similar post several months prior.

Under the draft legislation, should an employee be reprimanded for expressing a view based on their faith, that could be considered religious discrimination unless damage is proven.

“(Companies) would have to show there’s undue financial hardship (as a result of the belief being expressed),” Mr Porter said.

Similarly, professional registration bodies, such as those for doctors and lawyers, would not be able to impose social media policies that infringe on the free expression of beliefs.

But, in all respects, the second draft also “finetunes” the definition of “vilify”, Mr Porter said. “It protects statements of religious belief, it doesn’t protect statements that vilify … that incite hatred or violence,” he said.

Another major change makes it clear that religious bodies are able to make employment and other administrative decisions based upon faith.

But now, that definition of ‘religious body’ would include charitable organisations that have a predominantly commercial function, such as St Vincent de Paul.

After the release of the first draft, LGBTI groups objected to the broad definition of medical professionals when it came to allowing conscientious objection for religious reasons.

The new draft narrows that to nurses, midwives, doctors, psychologists and pharmacists – something that Mr Porter pointed out was largely supported by religious groups.

However, the new draft makes it clear that the objection provisions don’t give the right to discriminate against individuals – but rather procedures themselves.

The new draft also makes clear that religious hospitals, aged care facilities and accommodation providers can make staffing decisions based on faith.

Religious camps and conference centres can also take faith into account when deciding whether to provide accommodation, but must make their policy publicly available.

Mr Morrison said he was confident that the legislation could protect religious freedoms and prevent discrimination without “cutting across the broader rights and liberalities of all Australians”.

“We’ve been listening to everybody,” he said of the latest consultation.

“The practical issues that have been brought up during the consultation process have been very productive … it deals with the everyday experience of how religious organisations and people of faith go about expressing and conducting their faith.”

The reform process has been slow due to objections from religious groups after the release of the first draft.

A new round of submissions will now open, with stakeholders having until January 31 to offer feedback.


Students are the biggest losers as self-interested academics and politicians tinker with the curriculum

Fake history being taught in the schools.  Bruce Pascoe is just a fantasist

Chris Mitchell

Two stories last week show why education journalism informed by the interests of students rather than the self-interest of politicians or teachers is critical.

A story on Wednesday highlighted again the poor performance of Australian school students in international testing. It came in the middle of a heated media debate about Bruce Pascoe's book "Dark Emu", now being studied in schools despite its contentious thesis and disputes about the author's aboriginality.

Senior members of all three tribes Pascoe claims he is descended from deny he is in any way linked to them. Several Aboriginal leaders reject the book's descriptions of an Aboriginal farm
culture and villages of up to 1000 people in stone huts before white settlement

The Saturday Paper's Rick Morton countered with an unnamed Aboriginal source last Saturday week defending Pascoe and his claims.

It's a great media stoush but surely the book's claims and Pascoe's identity need to be resolved for it to be suitable for school geography lessons. The academic left regularly cites cultural appropriation to de-platform authors, so Pascoe certainly needed Aboriginal identity to ensure the success of a book that has already sold 100,000 copies.

Yet a detailed 5500-word genealogical study by Perth writer Jan Campbell with 75 original documents suggests Pascoe's ancestors are English. A fact check by a professional genealogist is available on the website Australian History — Truth Matters. I have no problem with reconsidering Aboriginal life before European settlement. Much modern imagery about that life is based on our understanding of desert tribes rather than, for example, the Brewarrina, NSW, tribes who used fish traps or northern saltwater people with abundant sources of food.

Pascoe's work has not sprung from an intellectual vacuum. The Conversation website in June 2018 traced the many books that have reconsidered pre-settlement agricultural lifestyles going back to the work of Barbara York Main and W.K. Hancock in the 1970s, Eric Rolls in the 80s and Tim Flannery's The Future Eaters in 1994.

Particularly influential was Bill Grammage's The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australia in 2012. This paper reported in May that Pascoe admits he borrowed heavily from Rupert Gerritsen's 2008 book Australia and the Origins of Agriculture. Gerritsen's brother Rolf, a professor of indigenous policy studies at Charles Darwin University, says "90 per cent of Bruce's book is taken from my brother's work". Rupert, convicted over an attempted terrorist bombing in Perth in 1972, died in 2013 without academic success.

Aboriginal women Josephine Cashman and Jacinta Price raised crucial cultural issues when they spoke on the Bolt Report in separate interviews about the eurocentricity of Pascoe's claims. Both women are proud of their hunter gatherer ancestry and dislike attempts to paint their forebears as farmers in the European mould. As Price said last Wednesday, if any of Pascoe's theories were true they would be referenced in some of the thousands of Dreaming stories that have kept Aboriginal people safely on this land since long before agriculture in Europe.

This is a perfectly legitimate field of academic and media dis-cussion but why teach it as fact to schoolchildren? It sounds like curriculum activism to me. The release last week of the latest round of PISA tests comparing results from students in 79 countries in reading, maths and science showed Australia had slipped again. As usual the educational left reduced the results to grumbles about government funding, teacher pay and class sizes. Labor tried to maintain the fiction the Coalition has cut education spending, when it is up tens of billions in real terms over a decade.

The real problems are the curriculum, the teachers, the students and their parents. The introduction of national requirements for teachers to report on indigenous, sustainability and Asian engagement criteria across the national curriculum has only worsened problems of curriculum clutter.

Aboriginal leader Noel Pearson has shown another way with his support for direct instruction. His Hope Vale school on Cape York shows what can be achieved by committed teachers, even in an underprivileged area where many parents cannot read or write and where English may not be the first language. Here teachers stand in front of class and drill spelling, sentence construction and times tables into children so that this knowledge has what education academic Kevin Donnelly calls "automaticity".

Children are made to pronounce syllables and sound out words as they begin to read. The whole language reading method is rejected in favour of the phonics approach that has worked since reading started. Modern ideas of child-centred learning have no place here. The teacher is unambiguously in charge.

National education correspondent Rebecca Urban made a similar point last Wednesday. She quoted OECD education director Andreas Schleicher praising an English school "vilified for being the strictest in England". After visiting Michaela Community School in northwest London Schleicher said positive discipline and direct instruction were "creating happy and confident pupils with outstanding outcomes".

How many modern city homes are like those of Hope Vale if we are honest? How many middle-dass capital city parents use an iPad loaded with cartoons as a child minder rather than read to their kids before bed time? How many children ever see their own parents reading a book?

Teachers complain that too many students come to school exhausted after too much time on devices. Pasi Stahlberg, Finnish professor of education at the University of NSW, wrote in The Sydney Morning Herald last Thursday that even Finland, the poster child of educational standards, was slipping in PISA rankings because young Finns were spending too much time on devices and getting too little sleep.

On the role of teacher training, Sydney University vice-chancellor Michael Spence gave the game away in 2012 saying on ABC Q&A, "(we know) that nobody is ready as a professional at the point at which they leave university ... so a pro-fession has to take a certain amount of responsibility for on-the-job training. (Our responsibility) is about teaching critical thinking." This is unlike the teachers colleges of the past that turned out teachers equipped to stand in front of 30 children.

The government should consider reversing the changes of Keating era education minister John Dawkins in 1987 and recreate the binary system of colleges of advanced education, including teachers colleges, outside the university sector. This paper at the time predicted the change would harm teaching and it has.

Governments should ensure we no longer accept teachers with ATARs below 50, and in some cases as low as 20, if we want to emulate the education culture that makes students thrive in Singapore and Shanghai. Most of all education bureaucrats wanting to drive political change — such as the way we think of Aboriginal life before colonisation — need to be purged.

We need equality of opportunity rather than the left's equality of outcomes. Educators who think Google and a calculator make traditional education obsolete need to get out of the way.

From "The Australian" of December 9, 2019

The miserable ghost is a pot calling the kettle black

If Warmism is not a religion, nothing is

Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has launched a scathing attack on Scott Morrison's government for making religion a central issue of the climate change debate.

After being largely absent from the political scene since being ousted from the nation's top job, Mr Turnbull appeared on Monday night's Q&A program.

When asked about the bushfire crises, Mr Turnbull said a better plan was necessary as we will see 'more fires and hotter fires' due to global warming.

He then steered the topic to the collapse of his prime ministership over the controversial National Energy Guarantee plan. 

'There is a group within the Liberal Party and the National Party who deny the reality of climate change,' Mr Turnbull said. 'And will oppose to the point of essentially blowing up a government, my government in this case, if there is action taken to reduce emissions - and we saw that.'

Mr Turnbull said that while Mr Morrison and current treasurer Josh Frydenberg were supportive of the energy policy, the government was being 'held to ransom by a group of deniers within the party'.  

'The problem is that people… on the right, they are treating what should be a question of physics and science and economics and engineering as though it were an issue of religion and belief... and it's nuts,' Mr Turnbull said.


Note: Turnbull once said that defeated politicians who fail to shut up are "miserable ghosts"

 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

No comments: