Tuesday, January 14, 2020

'They can't even get the weather right': Pauline Hanson says the bushfires were not caused by climate change - and urges Aussies to 'look at the facts'

Pauline Hanson has rubbished claims that climate change caused  the Australian bushfire crisis, saying it was caused by the build-up of forest-floor fuel and restrictions on land clearance.

The One Nation leader appeared on the Today show on Monday, where she told hosts Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon to 'look purely at the facts'.

'As far as predicting the climate change... they can't even get my weather right and tell me if it's going to rain,' she said.

'They can't get it right over the next seven to 10 days and they're trying to tell me what it is going to be like in the next hundred years.'

Ms Hanson said a lack of hazard reduction burns in fire ravaged communities had contributed to the rapid spread of the blazes.

Authorities in New South Wales and Victoria previously told Daily Mail Australia the majority of recent fires in both states were sparked by lightning strikes in dry, remote areas.

Fires at Gospoers Mountain, as well as in the Snowy Mountains and at Green Wattle Creek, were believed to have been triggered by lightning strikes.

Ms Hanson also criticised Prime Minister Scott Morrison's handling of the crisis.

Throughout the nation, she said voters are becoming increasingly frustrated with Mr Morrison and his lack of leadership.

'People don't feel that he has done enough in dealing with the drought and the dairy farmers,' she said.

'I'm disappointed with him myself. When he was immigration minister I predicted he would be the prime minister but he's not as strong a leader as he was then.'

The PM has considered holding a Royal Commission into the fires, which Ms Hanson supports as long as the investigation studies 'pure facts' on how fires spread and efforts to stop them, and 'throws bloody climate change out of the window.'

Ms Hanson said her major concern is that in an attempt to lower emissions, the government will continue to raise taxes.

'How on earth is that supposed to reduce temperatures?' she asked.

'It is killing the communities. They can't afford the electricity. You have people moving out of the towns, these are going to become ghost towns.'


Siemens sticks with Adani contract after intervention from Canavan

German industrial giant Siemens says it will continue to work with Adani’s controversial Carmichael coal mine after the company’s CEO cited arguments from federal resources minister Matt Canavan in an open letter justifying the decision.

Siemens had been awarded a contract by the Adani project to deliver services and equipment to the rail network connecting the coal mine to export terminals on the coast.

Siemens had signed the contract with the Adani project in December but announced that it would review this decision following calls from environmental groups. At the time, the company’s CEO said that he wasn’t aware of the company’s contract with the Adani project.

Siemens had faced growing pressure to walk away from the Adani project, including from environmental campaigners in Australia and in its homeland in Germany. More than 57,000 Germans signed a petition calling on the company to cancel its contract with the Adani mine, with campaigners protesting outside of the company’s headquarters in Munich.

President and CEO of Siemens Joe Kaeser said in an open letter published on Monday that the company considered the Adani contract to be a “very small signaling order for the project”, and confirmed that the company had decided to honour the contract.

Kaeser provided a list of reasons to justify the decision, including that the mine had received approvals from traditional owners, despite ongoing challenges to this claim, and quoted Canavan who wrote in a letter to Siemens that the 2019 federal election had effectively served as a referendum on the Carmichael coal mine.

“The Australian people clearly voted to support Adani at the federal election in May 2019, especially in regional Queensland. It would be an insult to the working people of Australia and the growing needs of India to bow to the pressure of anti-Adani protestors,” Canavan told Siemens in a letter dated 19 December.

Adani’s Carmichael coal mine, which is set to become one of Australia’s largest, has faced several years of strong opposition from environmental groups who have pointed to the impacts the project will have on both local land and wildlife, as well as become a major new source of fossil fuel emissions at a time when stronger action on climate change has been needed.

Swedish climate campaigner Greta Thunberg joined calls for Siemens to refuse to work with the coal mine, tweeting this week that Siemens “have the power to stop, delay or at least interrupt the building of the huge Adani coal mine in Australia.”

The Siemens CEO said that the company remained committed to being part of the transition to a decarbonised economy, including the company’s aim to become carbon neutral by 2030.

“Siemens, as one of the first companies to have pledged carbon neutrality by 2030, fundamentally shares the goal of making fossil fuels redundant to our economies over time,” Kaeser said.

Kaeser argued that a refusal by Siemens to provide services to Adani would not prevent the project from going ahead, suggesting that competitors would simply fill the gap. Siemens also argued that the need for the company to honour its established contractual arrangements outweighed the climate change considerations of the projects it worked with.

“While I do have a lot of empathy for environmental matters, I do need to balance different interests of different stakeholders, as long as they have lawful legitimation for what they do. This is my responsibility as a CEO and that of the management team. Keeping our promises is Siemens’ highest priority.” Kaeser said.

“We should have been wiser about this project beforehand. Now, we need to be a supplier, who sticks to its commitments as long as the customer stays on legal grounds, too. Because being a company, which is not a reliable source for its customers is simply not an option,” Kaeser added.

The decision by Siemens places the company at odds with other businesses that have sought to distance themselves from the controversial coal mine. All of Australia’s ‘big four’ banks, which includes the NAB, Westpac, ANZ and Commonwealth Banks have declined to provide finance to the Carmichael coal mine following targeted campaigns from customers and shareholders.

Shareholder advocacy group Market Forces said that the decision was “appalling”, saying that the decision undermined Siemens’ own environmental credibility.

Global engineering giant GHD has also ceased its engagement with the Adani project, after the company faced internal pressure from staff to do so, and more than a dozen major insurance companies have also declined to provide financial services to the Adani coal mine.

The decision from Siemens to work with the Adani project has been criticised by environmental groups who had hoped Siemens would join other companies in refusing to work with the Adani mine.


Murdoch University cuts ties with Indian student agency

This is a pretty clear admission that the maligned professor was right.  If the leaders at Murdoch had any decency they would now apologize to him.  But they are probably too Leftist to admit any error

A university suing one of its own academics after he raised concerns about international students with poor English has parted ways with the agency supplying Indian students.

Murdoch University in Perth took court action against Gerd Schroder-Turk after he alleged irregularities in its Indian tertiary student intake.

Dr Schroder-Turk and two Murdoch colleagues publicly claimed Indian students with inadequate English were being “set up for failure” and were failing courses in higher than normal numbers.

Murdoch is suing the associate professor for potentially millions of dollars in lost international student income after he publicly criticised the university’s student recruitment, particularly from India, on ABC’s Four Corners program in May last year.

The university attempted to remove Dr Schroder-Turk as staff-elected member of the university senate, prompting him to launch action in the Federal Court. The university has filed a counterclaim for damages, saying his comments led to a decline in international student intake “likely to cause revenue impact in the order of millions of dollars”. The case is due to begin in April.

On Friday, Murdoch University confirmed it had terminated its contract with a major recruiter of Indian students, Overseas Education and Career Consultants. The Punjab-based company has offices in Australia.

The termination follows an Indian media report that OECC had been accused of fraud by Indian authorities and had its migration licence cancelled.

The Times of India reported in December that the deputy commissioner of Ludhiana in the north Indian state of Punjab had acted against OECC “after they were found to be committing fraud with people on the pretext of sending them abroad”.

The newspaper reported that the deputy commissioner warned people “to not fall prey” to OECC and to check the list of approved supply agencies on government websites.

In a written statement, Dr Schroder-Turk told The Australian the legal battle had taken a toll on him and his family.

“I’ve got three young kids who have noticed my worries and also the time the case has absorbed,” he said. “The counterclaim and the potential financial consequences it poses for me have created a lot of uncertainty for my family’s future.”

When The Australian raised the report of the fraud allegation against OECC with Murdoch University, a spokesman said the university “is no longer associated with Overseas Education & Career Consultants” and “has provided OECC with notification of the termination of its contract”.

The university later said it wrote to OECC on January 10 confirming that the contract had been terminated.

Dr Schroder-Turk said his concern for the wellbeing of foreign students was unchanged. “It is apparent that some of our international students — right across Australia — find themselves in distressing situations beyond their control,” he said.

“I, and others, are ultimately fighting to ensure that the Australian universities keep up the best standard, both for kids who grow up in Australia, and also for those who are attracted to Australia for their studies.”

After the university countersued Dr Schroder-Turk, Murdoch adjunct professor Robert Cribb resigned from his university post after saying that he considered the legal action to be a “dangerous and uncollegial persecution of a principled academic colleague”.

The case may come under scrutiny if proposed free speech amendments to the Higher Education Support Act come into effect. Parliament is considering amendments that include the freedom of academic staff “to express their opinions in relation to the higher education provider in which they work or are enrolled”.


Bureaucracy short-circuited

THE State Government has backed off sacking firefighters without Blue Cards this summer after entire brigades threatened to quit in protest. Barely a third of Queensland's rural firies met the January 1 deadline to get a working-with-children check, forcing Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to grant a three-month amnesty.

But volunteers will be turfed out of rural fire brigades and fined up to $6500 unless they apply for a Blue Card by March 31. And Queensland Fire and Emergency Services will refuse to give new uniforms to volunteers until they have applied.

"QFES personnel who refuse to apply for, or are unable to hold a current Blue Card, will not be eligible under law to continue their work, volunteer or undertake a practical placement within regulated roles at QFES," a spokesman said.

Queensland is the only state forcing firies to have Blue Cards
based on legal advice that they provide a "health service". The QFES spokesman yesterday said 21,378 volunteers require a Blue Card, yet only 8039 had met the original January 1 deadline to apply.

Twenty-six volunteers had applications rejected due to criminal records for "serious offences", which can include murder, rape, kidnapping, burglary and supplying drugs. Army reservists and interstate volunteers will be granted week-long waivers to fight fires in Queensland, a spokesman for Fire and Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford said.

Rural Fire Brigades Association Queensland boss Justin Choveaux warned communities could be left undefended as entire brigades quit in protest against the requirement. "Whole brigades will close down," he said. "No one thought this through.

The plan is to grow volunteers — sacking half of them is not part of that plan. "The more volunteers there are, the safer communities will be. Reducing the number of volunteers to fight fires and carry out hazard-reduction burning is going to leave the community more exposed."

In Mareeba, in far-north Queensland, four senior members of the Paddy's Green rural fire brigade have quit in protest "These members have nothing to hide; evidenced by having to pass a criminal check at the first instance to become a member of a RFB," brigade secretary Kay Eccleshare wrote to the Cairns area director.

Dr Eccleshare said Blue Cards were required for people providing services to children, but the role of firefighters was to pro-tect communities from fire.

The Western Australian Bushfire Volunteers' Association blasted Queensland's Blue Card rule yesterday. "To suggest that the aver-age fire volunteer needs a Blue Card is the equivalent of arguing that the same requirement should apply to every retail assistant in every local convenience store because they both occasionally interact with children," executive officer Darren Brown said.

From the Brisbane "Courier Mail of 9 January, 2020

 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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