Friday, February 28, 2020

Bob Katter launches into a rant slamming 'un-Australian' vegetarian pies while calling for people to eat more meat and boycott the new snack

Politician Bob Katter has slammed a new vegetarian pie as 'un-Australian' while calling on people to boycott the product.

The Queensland MP blasted Four'N Twenty's new offering - which the brand claims will be indistinguishable from the meaty original - saying eating a meat pie was 'the most Australian of all activities'.

The company will launch the pie in March, saying it is 'very excited' about the trendy vegetarian snack.

But Katter called for a boycott of the pie, saying people should 'eat our Aussie beef'.

'The most Australian of all activities is to be at the football and eat a meat pie and (have) a beer or a Coke,' he said in a Facebook video, clutching a pie in his hand. 'That is the essence of our Australian-ism.'

Katter wasn't the only Australian left unimpressed by Four'N Twenty's new pie, with some saying it 'must be an early April fool's joke'.

The beloved brand will begin selling the new vegetarian option in March in supermarkets, service stations and stadiums around the country.

The pie took eight months to perfect, with the filling made from soy protein.

General manager of marketing and innovation at Patties Food Group Anand Surujpal said customers won't be able to tell it was a vegetarian pie. 'If I hadn't told you it wasn't a meat pie, you wouldn't know,' he said.

The pie is meant to taste and smell just like their regular meat pies and contains no animal products as ingredients, but isn't vegan.

'It's got the same colours, textures, the taste profile, the mouth feel, you've got all those elements,' Mr Surujpal said.

It generated a polarising response on social media, with some commentators backing Four'N Twenty for opening up their menu to vegetarians.

'This is great news! I'd love to see them in party pie size too,' one comment reads.

 'Yay! No need to harm animals,' another post says.

'Fantastic news! Hope they are available at all AFL games this season and that a Sausage Roll is in development!' yet another reads.

Others weren't so supportive.

'Plants! Name one good thing a bloody plant has ever done for us!' one post reads.

'Why don't they invent pastry made out of meat instead so we can have meat wrapped in meat and avoid bloody plants altogether? Furious.'

'Four'N Twenty why don't you just call it for what it is.... a quiche. That's it. It's not a pie, it's a quiche,' another comment reads.

'Is this an April Fool's joke?,' another asked.


One third say ABC is out of touch with ‘ordinary’ Aussies

A new poll suggests the ABC is out of touch with the views of “ordinary Aussies” – and a surprising age group is turning against the broadcaster.

Sky News host Chris Kenny says the issues plaguing the BBC, such as it being ‘out of touch with mainstream concerns’, mirror similar issues facing Australia’s ABC.

Less than one third of the country believes the ABC “represents the views of ordinary Australians”, a survey by the Institute of Public Affairs suggests.

The Liberal-aligned think tank says the result shows “public broadcasting has passed its use-by date”. The IPA is renewing calls for the $1.1 billion-a-year national broadcaster to be privatised.

In the poll of 1016 people conducted by marketing research firm Dynata in early December – largely before the bushfire crisis – respondents were asked to agree or disagree with the statement: “The ABC does not represent the views of ordinary Australians.”

Overall, more people sided with the ABC than not, with 32 per cent either somewhat or strongly disagreeing with the statement, compared with 30 per cent who either somewhat or strongly agreed.

Thirty-eight per cent were neither here nor there.

“Over two thirds of Australians either don’t believe the ABC reflects their views or they are on the fence,” Liberal Senator James McGrath told

“The ABC is becoming the pianola of media — it does a job but is increasingly irrelevant. In a pluralistic media market, Aussies are tuning out. The ABC is running a 1980s media model for a 21st century media market.”

When broken down by age group, the results tell an interesting story — and suggest the “zoomer” generation may be getting more conservative.

Predictably, people aged over 65 — the first half of the Baby Boomer generation — had the most negative view on the ABC, with 47 per cent agreeing the broadcaster is out of touch.

But surprisingly, they were closely followed in that view by their grandkids.

Thirty-three per cent of those aged 18 to 24 were in the anti-ABC camp, the second largest cohort. Only 21 per cent of Gen Z took the other side, the smallest proportion of any age group.

The strongest age group in favour of the ABC were those aged 55 to 64 — the second Baby Boomer wave — followed by Gen Xers aged 45 to 54.

In general, people aged under 44 were the most “meh”.

Just under half of those aged 35 to 44 were on the fence. That was closely followed down the age brackets, with 48 per cent of those aged 25 to 34 and 46 per cent those aged 18 to 24.

Only 19 per cent of over-65s said they neither agreed nor disagreed.

“These polling results suggest that young people are optimistic, ambitious and patriotic,” said IPA policy director Gideon Rozner.

“They are not interested in programming awash with negativity, black armband history and climate hysteria. These results prove there is no future in public ownership of the ABC.”

It comes after ABC chair Ita Buttrose sat down with Scott Morrison earlier this month, reportedly to ask the PM for more cash using goodwill the broadcaster earned from its highly praised bushfire coverage.

The government froze the ABC’s base funding last year at $1 billion. The Australian reported Ms Buttrose intended to ask the PM for “adequate” funds, as the ABC had been forced to dig into its reserves to fulfil its role as the country’s emergency broadcaster.

“The Morrison Government must rule out giving more taxpayer dollars to a state-owned broadcaster that already receives $1.1 billion a year,” Mr Rozner said.

“If the ABC is unable to fulfil its existing duties as the emergency broadcaster within its existing $1.1 billion budget then the Morrison Government should reduce its funding even more and run a competitive tender between the commercial broadcasters for the emergency broadcaster function.”

In the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently confirmed he was “looking at” scrapping the TV licence fee and turning the BBC into a subscription service.

The IPA is calling for something similar in Australia. “If only one third of Australians think the ABC speaks for them, maybe public broadcasting has passed its use-by date,” Mr Rozner said.

“The ABC seems to be playing to its loyal base in an era of audience fragmentation. It’s understandable, but let’s not maintain the fiction of a ‘national broadcaster’. Even if that were possible once, it’s not anymore.”

Mr Rozner said the ABC was “not the only media outlet that has some sort of bias, far from it, but it is the only media outlet that every taxpayer is forced to pay for”. “Rethinking state ownership is not an ‘attack’ on the ABC, any more than privatisation was an attack on Qantas or Telstra,” he said.

Speaking to Sky News earlier this month, Senator McGrath accused Ms Buttrose of “having a laugh” in her request for more funding, saying while the ABC “does a good job in parts of Australia” it was becoming “a left-wing blob of boring, woke views” and needed to “get in tune with the quiet Australians”.

“I’ve got a three-point plan — sell off their inner-city headquarters, make sure we have a review of the ABC Charter and Act, and stop this self-selection process where like-minded ABC people keep recruiting like-minded ABC people,” he said.


Audiences have had a gutful of incessant pontificating and virtue signalling by Hollywood and actors generally

While normally not one to believe conspiracy theories, I sometimes muse there is a secret and sinister political movement that over many years has infiltrated our creative and performing arts industry and now controls it. Its members are actors, writers and singers, and they range from the highest paid celebrities to those struggling to make a name for themselves.

If there is such a movement, its methodology is to subject audiences and the wider community to incessant pontificating and displays of virtue, the aim being to elect and defend centre-right governments worldwide. You read that correctly. Conservatives are massively indebted to celebrities for sabotaging so-called progressive causes.

You probably thought Hollywood is a hive of leftist activism, that writers’ festivals are an imbibing of wokeism, and that concerts take the form of endless social justice homilies, interrupted only by the occasional song. If so, you failed to look beyond the superficial. While ostensibly supporting movements that the left holds dear, these artists use self-ridicule not only to discredit themselves, but everyone associated with the cause in question.

When Sir Elton John paused his concert in Verona, Italy, last year to rage against the evils of Brexit, he personified the petulance of Remainers. “I’m ashamed of my country for what it has done,” he wailed. “It’s torn people apart … I am a European. I am not a stupid, colonial, imperialist English idiot.”

Not so ashamed, apparently, that he would surrender his knighthood, together with its connotations of a colonialist and imperialist country of old. Only months later Britain’s conservative government, led by prime minister Boris Johnson, won a landslide victory under a Brexit banner.

As for US president Donald Trump, the celebrities who so loudly opposed his election in 2016 are doing their best to ensure he is given a second term. To acknowledge all of them would be too massive a task. Two warrant special mention: first: actor Robert De Niro, who announced in a choreographed scene just before the 2016 election that he wanted to “punch” Trump in the face.

It reeked of De Niro trying to trade on his onscreen tough guy persona, and merely highlighted the Democrats’ bluster and impotence.

The other is singer and actor Bette Midler. When she’s not tweeting foul-mouthed insults to Republican supporters, she composes what can only be described as erotic Vogon poetry as she speculates about Trump’s sex life.

There once was a girl from Slovenia
Who now lives right on Pennsylvinia
To the East Room she’ll flee
From her husband’s wee wee
While he plays with his own schizophrenia

— Bette Midler (@BetteMidler) June 18, 2019

It is behaviour that is imbecilic, pathetic and counterproductive. Given Midler’s abysmal record in trying to unseat Trump, prime minister Scott Morrison is unlikely to be fazed to learn that last month she questioned his leadership, as well as labelling him an “idiot” and a “f**kwit”.

Pity the poor #Australians, their country ablaze, and their rotten @ScottMorrisonMP saying, “This is not the time to talk about Climate Change. We have to grow our economy.” What an idiot. What good is an economy in an uninhabitable country? Lead, you fuckwit!!

— Bette Midler (@BetteMidler) January 3, 2020

As for Australia, we too have a tradition of celebrities lending their support to causes, only to botch them completely. When the minority Gillard Government rolled out a publicity campaign for its carbon tax in 2011, remember who fronted the camera to serenely inform financially strapped Australians this was all in the name of addressing “carbon pollution”?

That’s right, it was actor and multimillionaire Cate Blanchett, accompanied by fellow actor Michael Caton, whose idea of establishing his common man cred was to wear a flannelette shirt. One of the few who thought the choice of Blanchett was a good idea was then Treasurer Wayne Swan, which only showed he knew as much about connecting with ordinary Australians as he did delivering budget surpluses.

In 2015 — just prior to the executions of Australian drug traffickers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran — actors Bryan Brown, Geoffrey Rush, Guy Pearce and Joel Edgerton and others featured in a video titled “Save our boys”. It was based on the false and slanderous insinuation the Abbott Government was doing nothing to ask the Indonesian Government to grant clemency.

While the celebrities were largely restricted to reciting “I stand for mercy”, the video also featured lesser known types indulging in rank opportunism. Some examples: “Show some ticker,” “Come on Abbott, be a leader,” “Imagine if it was your child”, and “The time for diplomacy has now passed”. The corollary being an invasion of Indonesia I take it?

If you thought that was abject stupidity, wait for this: “Tony Abbott you need to give diplomatic immunity and protection to Andrew and Myuran before it’s too late,” an anonymous blonde woman tartly states. But the daddy of them all was from actor Brendan Cowell.

“Tony, if you had any courage and compassion, you’d get over to Indonesia and bring these two boys home,” sneered Cowell as he was filmed reclining on a bed. “Show some balls,” he added contemptuously.

As to who was lacking a pair, that was made very clear when Cowell hurriedly deleted his Twitter account in response to a social media backlash. He also conceded to radio station 2UE that he had no idea how Abbott could prevent the executions.

Brown surfaced again in 2018, along with New Zealand actors Sam Neill and Rebecca Gibney and singer Jimmy Barnes, this time in a video decrying the policy of detaining asylum-seekers in Manus and Nauru. Urging politicians to “stop playing politics with people’s lives” (oh the irony), Neill described these measures as a “barbarity”. For good measure Gibney’s voice quavered as she urged Australians to lobby politicians. As expected, none of the celebrities concerned suggested a viable alternative to mandatory detention.

All these cases and countless others serve as an example to celebrities that the best thing they could do for their pet causes is not to be a part of them, at least not overtly. Or if they must appear publicly in these movements, they should not condescend or patronise.

Clearly this was lost on actor Simon Baker, star of the television series The Mentalist. This week Greenpeace launched a climate change and renewable energy campaign video titled “Dear Scotty” featuring the actor, which targeted the prime minister. “Mate, sorry to do this to you,” he says in the opening scene, dripping with faux melancholy as he and others lambast Morrison in sequence for his supposed failings. “How will history remember you?” he asks pensively.

Should not a renowned actor be expected to — how does one put this — act? Likewise, they should be able to recognise a lousy script. “The audience should be treated with a certain level of intelligence, and I get very upset when we talk down to them,” Baker told the Glasgow Times in 2015. “It annoys me,” he added. Yes, Mr Baker. It annoys us too.

In 2018, Baker campaigned against Adani’s Carmichael Mine, telling viewers it was “just inland” from the Great Barrier Reef. In fact, the distance between the two is around 350km. “It’ll unleash one of the biggest reservoirs of carbon pollution we’ve ever known,” he said. “It’s a death sentence for the reef.” This is fearmongering. It is also elitist, given the unemployment rate in regional Queensland is higher than 14 per cent in some areas. Then again, it is all too easy to forget the plight of the unemployed when your lifestyle reflects that of the highest-paid actor in US television.

Predictably he also voices his opposition to “fossil fuels”, yet when Baker resided in Los Angeles he and his family frequently travelled between the US and Australia. “Mate, sorry to do this to you,” you might ask him, “but can we assume none of these multiple international trips involved a zero-carbon yacht?” Or “When you were filming in Western Australia in 2018 and someone stepped on your glasses, is it true you flew to New York just to get a replacement pair from your favourite store?”

Again, sorry for the impertinent questions. We are just compiling a record about you and all other activist celebrities. Its title is “How will history remember you?”


Zero net emissions: Look no further than New Zealand for economic impacts

In some respects, the Labor Party is as Australian as the Magic Pudding, both revel in fantasy. According to past Labor leaders, high public spending won’t raise taxes and, in any case, high taxes won’t damage economic growth. Now we have Labor’s greatest magic pudding yet, we can cut our carbon emissions to zero and no coal miner will lose their job.

The Labor Party refuses to produce numbers to explain this remarkable outcome, but fortunately others have. Last year, New Zealand passed into law a net zero emissions target and in doing so they commissioned actual economic modelling on its impact.

The analysis, by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research, evaluates a number of different assumed scenarios. All of these incorporate optimistic assumptions on future technologies, including for example a methane vaccine (which stops sheep from “emitting”). And, in another leap of faith, 50 per cent of trucks go electric by 2050.

Even with these assumptions, the negative impact of net zero emissions on the New Zealand economy is massive. The policy would reduce the size of the New Zealand economy by 10 to 20 per cent. In Australian terms that would amount to a $200 billion to $400 billion annual impact. Employment would fall by 2 to 4 per cent. If that happened in Australia 200,000 to 400,000 people would lose their jobs.

New Zealand’s main industry of agriculture would be smashed. Its dairy industry would reduce by more than half and that leads to a much poorer nation. Depending on technological assumptions, wages reduce by 8 to 28 per cent. In Australian terms, that would mean a $7000 to $24,000 annual hit to an average worker.

Of course, the economic impact on Australia would be bigger given that we have large coal and gas industries, as well as agriculture.

As it turned out, the New Zealand Government ended up exempting agriculture from its net zero emissions target. Agriculture makes up half of the country’s carbon dioxide emissions. New Zealand’s “brave” target that was welcomed by environmental activist groups is literally an example of doing things by half.

Here in Australia, however, the Labor party has not ruled out imposing a net zero target on our farmers. A net zero target is a double hit to the agricultural industry. They pay the direct cost of having to pay more for fuel, for feed and for vehicles. They also pay the cost of having productive farmland turned to trees (so we can sequester more carbon) and the loss of future growth opportunities because more land can not be developed.

This is where the “net” part of net zero kicks in. Under “net zero”, rich people can still fly to Davos to lecture others about carbon dioxide emissions. To do so, some pay an “indulgence” to have farming land locked up. Productive farm areas, in effect, would be turned into National Parks to house more weeds and fuel for bushfires.

Net zero emissions means net zero development, net zero jobs but far from net zero hypocrisy.

Labor has been keen to quote the CSIRO’s latest National Outlook report to conclude that net zero emissions is achievable but the CSIRO report does not do what Labor is saying it does. The CSIRO concludes that agricultural production levels “experience a substantial decline once the rising carbon price improves the relative profitability of other land uses such as forestry”. Up to 24 per cent of our agricultural land would be converted plantings on the CSIRO’s analysis.

Nor does the CSIRO measure the net impact of net zero emissions. It measures the economic outcomes of two scenarios, one dominated by a protectionist world with high barriers to trade and the other a world of free trade, global cooperation on climate and magically high productivity. Surprise, surprise, free trade and high productivity lead to higher economic growth. The unique and separate impact of net zero emissions remains unmeasured by the CSIRO’s analysis.

Also, to get to net zero, the CSIRO estimates that a global carbon price of $273 a tonne is required. Once again Labor shows their addiction to a carbon tax.

In The Magic Pudding, the possum and the wombat create a fire to distract Bunyip Bluegum while they steal the pudding. A similar distraction seems to have afflicted the modern Labor Party, where this summer’s fires have distracted them away from their founding mission of defending and protecting workers. Labor once again has not seemed to learn the lesson that you can’t have your cake and eat it too.


Some Australian Private schools may see government funding boost

Billions in extra funding could flow to private schools favoured by less well-off parents under changes by the federal government.

Private schools chosen by less well-off parents could receive a multi-billion dollar funding boost under changes proposed by the federal government.

New legislation introduced to parliament on Wednesday would change the way the government calculates the income of parents to measure of how much taxpayer money a school is entitled to.

"(This) will ensure more funding flows to the schools that need it most," Education Minister Dan Tehan told parliament.

The government estimates the change will open up an extra $3.4 billion for non-government school funding over the next decade.

"The new methodology will use the best available data to estimate the capacity of parents and guardians to contribute to the cost of schooling," Mr Tehan said.

It follows recommendations by the National School Resourcing Board to change the way the government calculated the incomes of student's parents and guardians.


 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, February 27, 2020

Neo-Nazis among Australia's most challenging security threats, ASIO boss Mike Burgess warns

If so, where are they?  We've seen nothing of them.  I think this is just a red herring to deflect attention from the real threat: Muslim Jihadis

Neo-Nazis are emerging as one of Australia's most challenging security threats, according to the country's top intelligence chief.

In a rare public address from inside ASIO's heavily fortified Canberra headquarters, Mr Burgess said foreign espionage and interference activities against Australia were higher now than at any time during the Cold War.

While delivering ASIO's annual threat assessment, the director-general warned a terrorist attack on Australia was still "probable" and it was "truly disturbing" to see extremists trying to recruit children as young as 13 or 14.

And he said "violent Islamic extremism", embodied by Islamic State and al'Qaida, remained ASIO's top concern.

"The number of terrorism leads we are investigating right now has doubled since this time last year," Mr Burgess told an audience of diplomats and intelligence officers.

"The character of terrorism will continue to evolve and we believe that it will take on a more dispersed and diversified face."

Mr Burgess said right-wing extremism had been in "ASIO's sights for some time", but had obviously come into "sharp, terrible focus" following last year's Christchurch mass shooting.

"In Australia, the extreme right-wing threat is real and it is growing," he said.

"In suburbs around Australia, small cells regularly meet to salute Nazi flags, inspect weapons, train in combat and share their hateful ideology," he said.

Far right-wing groups are now more organised and security conscious than they were in previous years according to the ASIO boss, who has revealed Australian extremists are seeking to connect with like-minded individuals in other parts of the world.

In a previously undisclosed case from earlier this year, ASIO advice led to an Australian being blocked from leaving the country to "fight with an extreme right-wing group on a foreign battlefield".

"While these are small in number at this time in comparison to what we saw with foreign fighters heading to the Middle East, any development like this is very concerning," Mr Burgess observed.

"Meanwhile, extreme right-wing online forums such as The Base proliferate on the internet, and attract international memberships, including from Australians."

The ASIO boss said his organisation expected such groups would "remain an enduring threat, making more use of online propaganda to spread their messages of hate".

"While we would expect any right-wing-extremist-inspired attack in Australia to be low capability — i.e. a knife, gun or vehicle attack — more sophisticated attacks are possible."


Exploration under the gas pump in Victoria

Green/Left ban on gas exploration is costing Victorians

As gas emerges as the politically palatable alternative to coal, pressure is building from within the Andrews government to end the five-year moratorium on onshore conventional gas exploration in Victoria. The shift by Labor figures follows mounting pressure from unions, industry and consumers.

It comes after Scott Morrison issued a passionate plea for gas supplies in NSW and Victoria to be unlocked, declaring there is “no credible energy transition plan for an economy like Australia which does not involve greater use of gas as an important transition fuel”.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chair Rod Sims has repeatedly called on NSW and Victoria to lift their bans, declaring in August: “If we really want permanently lower prices in the south we need more gas in the south.” Santos’s Narrabri project, with potential to fill half of NSW’s domestic supply, has been a particular bone of contention, with approvals continually delayed by the state.

The federal government is pushing for a national gas reservation policy to improve supplies for manufacturers and heavy industry, along with a price measure to the gas export trigger to ensure the national market is operating efficiently. The Australian Energy Market Operator predicts that offshore gas supplies in Bass Strait are unlikely to meet Victoria’s needs ­beyond the next five years. AEMO estimated late last year that coal would contribute less than a third of power supply in the grid by 2040 as demand for gas and other ­renewables surges.

The Morrison government has struck a $2bn deal with the NSW government to pay for carbon abatement and energy projects in return for increased production of natural gas. It says it will not fund a similar deal with Victoria unless the ban on onshore gas exploration is lifted.

With the results of a geological survey of the state’s onshore ­conventional gas resources expected next month, ahead of the expiration of the moratorium on June 30, energy experts say the Victorian government faces a stark choice: it can either cease being the only state with a ban on conventional gas exploration or import more expensive, less environmentally friendly gas from ­interstate.

Far from banning conventional gas exploration, Queensland allows all forms of unconventional gas exploration, including fracking, and is home to almost 90 per cent of Australia’s 2P (proven and probable) gas reserves, and about 63 per cent of Australia’s 2C (best estimate of contingent) reserves. NSW permits conventional and unconventional exploration but the Berejiklian government frequently declares it has the “toughest” regulations in Australia, particularly in relation to fracking of coal-seam gas.

In 2014, the then O’Farrell government froze new CSG exploration licences and introduced exclusion zones, making residential areas in 152 local government areas of the state, including Sydney, “off limits”. While the freeze has since been lifted, no new licences have been granted.

The West Australian, South Australian and Northern Territory governments have all recently lifted their moratoriums on fracking, except in the southeast of South Australia where it is still prohibited. Tasmania maintains a fracking moratorium but allows conventional and unconventional gas exploration.

While Victorian state Labor MPs remain publicly tight-lipped about which way they are leaning on the conventional gas moratorium, internal sources say there is significant support within the right of the party for its overturning, including from Treasurer Tim Pallas, Resources Minister Jaclyn Symes and key factional powerbroker Adem Somyurek.

Energy and Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio — of the Socialist Left faction — has previously supported the moratorium but declined a request from The Australian to clarify her present position.

One source said they would “bet London to a brick” D’Ambrosio would continue to support the moratorium but others said they believed she could be persuaded to support its overturning should more senior members of her faction, including Premier Daniel Andrews, do so. The decision sits within Symes’s resources portfolio.

Australian Workers Union Victorian secretary Ben Davis is one ALP member who has been publicly critical of the moratorium since its inception, saying it is ­costing jobs. “It sends a terrible ­investment signal to gas companies and manufacturers alike,” Davis says. “I look forward to the review of the moratorium, and we’ll be campaigning and agitating to get it lifted.”

NSW-based federal opposition resources spokesman Joel Fitz­gibbon is another within the Labor camp who does not mince words in calling for the Andrews government to not only lift the moratorium on onshore conventional gas but also overturn its ban on ­unconventional gas exploration. “Every project, whether it involves fracking or not, should stand on its merits,” Fitzgibbon says. “Blanket bans make no sense.”

While all forms of gas mining involve the extraction of methane from kilometres below the earth’s surface, conventional gas extraction involves releasing gas trapped in sandstone, under solid rock, with minimal impact on the surrounding geology.

Unconventional gas is trapped in a coal seam or shale and is more difficult to extract, often but not ­always requiring fracking, or fracture stimulation, which involves pumping fluid down the gas well at high pressure to produce small cracks in the target rock reservoir.

Victoria’s moratorium on conventional onshore gas exploration dates back to May 2014, when Napthine government energy minister Russell Northe opted to suspend decisions on all onshore gas exploration in the state until after the November state election, which was won by Labor.

At the time the Coalition feared punishment at the ballot box if it approved a controversial application from Lakes Oil to drill for gas 1500m below Seaspray, in then Nationals leader Peter Ryan’s South Gippsland electorate. Far from lifting the suspension post-election, the new Andrews government maintained it, intro­ducing legislation in 2017 that placed a moratorium on all conventional onshore gas exploration and production until June 30 this year, and permanently banning all unconventional gas mining and exploration, including fracking.

Ahead of the 2018 state election, Andrews went a step further, making a yet-to-be-delivered promise to enshrine a ban on fracking in the state’s constitution. The state Coalition continues to oppose all unconventional gas ­exploration but this week renewed its calls to lift the moratorium on conventional onshore gas.

Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor says the “great irony” of Victoria importing ­increasing amounts of gas from Queensland is that 20 per cent to 40 per cent of Queensland gas is from coal seams.

“That’s exactly what they’re objecting to with their ban on unconventional gas — which they’re not even considering lifting — and yet they’re OK with importing coal-seam gas,” Taylor says.

Anti-fossil fuels groups are ramping up their campaigns ahead of the moratorium expiring. Friends of the Earth campaigns co-ordinator Cam Walker says he is “very concerned” about the possibility of the ban being lifted. “The greatest concern is the climate change implications of the methane that comes from fugitive emissions,” he says. “Looking to mainstream science, it’s clear that we need to stop producing new ­reserves of fossil fuels if we want to have the hope of keeping temperature rises under 1.5C globally.”

Grattan Institute energy program director Tony Wood says that unless one takes the Friends of The Earth approach of opposing all fossil fuel extraction, there is “no scientific justification” for banning conventional or even all unconventional gas exploration. He concedes lifting the ban on fracking is “too politically sensitive”.

As the June 30 sunset clause on the moratorium approaches, Victorian Lead Scientist Amanda ­Caples, a stakeholder advisory panel and a team of scientists have been commissioned by the Andrews government to complete a three-year, $40m inquiry into ­onshore conventional gas as part of the Victorian Gas Program.

One of the key questions they are addressing — which gas companies say they would have ­answered at no cost to the taxpayer had the moratorium not been imposed — is how much ­unconventional gas there actually is under Victoria, and therefore what impact it might be able to have in terms of keeping a lid on prices, creating regional jobs and saving manufacturing jobs.

As part of the gas program, scientists from the Victorian Geological Survey are developing comprehensive 3D geological models of the Otway and Gippsland basins, where most of Victoria’s onshore gas is believed to be located. The results of that investigation are expected to be made known next month.

Recent discoveries in the South Australian section of the Otway Basin, near Penola, have encouraged companies with acreages in western Victoria, including Beach Energy, Cooper Energy and Vintage Energy, to hold out hope of finding more gas on the eastern side of the state border.

While the decision on whether to lift the moratorium will be made by the politicians, and not the scientists, The Australian understands the Geological Survey team is working to compile “pre-competitive data” on prospective locations for gas wells.

Should the moratorium be lifted, this would allow the industry some minimal compensation for five years of lost work, in the form of being able to restart ahead of where it was when the moratorium was imposed.

‘Plenty of gas’

The gas program stakeholder advisory panel includes representatives from a wide range of interest groups, including the manufacturing industry, AWU, Victorian Farmers Federation, gas company Beach Energy, the Australian ­Industry Group, the Great South Coast Group (which represents councils in the Otway Basin, some of which have publicly voiced their support for lifting the moratorium), as well as green groups ­including Frack Free Moriac and Environment Victoria.

State Resources Minister Jac­lyn Symes says the gas program work will “inform decisions about potential onshore gas exploration”. Symes maintains that Australia “has plenty of gas”, blaming escalating prices on an ­increase in gas exports over the past five years and calling on the federal government to activate its domestic gas security mech­anism to put Australian consumers first.

But as AEMO forecasts a 34 per cent decrease in Victorian winter gas production by 2023 because of dwindling supplies in Bass Strait, it is clear the Andrews government is under pressure to increase supply, with new offshore exploration and production licences recently approved at state and commonwealth levels.

The state government, which has jurisdiction to three nautical miles (5.56km) from the coast, ­recently gave the go-ahead to two onshore-to-offshore wells being drilled by Beach Energy in the Otway Basin.

The wells are permitted under the moratorium, despite beginning on clifftops before extending 1.5km out to sea, kilometres under the earth’s surface.

While Victoria does import some gas via pipelines that connect it to the rest of the east coast gas market, it is a net exporter, with about two-thirds of the gas processed locally being used in the state, and the rest sent to neighbouring states.

If the state cannot produce enough of its own gas in coming years — or refuses to do so by maintaining the moratorium — it will need to import gas, predominantly via a pipeline from southwest Queensland, which AEMO has found would need to be seriously upgraded to carry larger volumes to Victoria.

As the ACCC has highlighted, Queensland gas already costs $2-$4 a gigajoule more than Victorian gas — or up to 50 per cent more.

Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association chief executive Andrew McConville says the industry remains hopeful that the Andrews government will “see sense” and lift the moratorium, given Victoria’s longstanding requirement for more natural gas, with 80 per cent of the state’s homes connected to more than 31,000km of gas mains distribution pipelines.

“The Victorian government’s renewable energy target (of 50 per cent by 2030) will also see the ­demand for natural gas increase,” McConville says.

“Modelling undertaken for the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning in 2017 assumes that as other sources of baseload power (coal) no longer become viable they are replaced by natural gas generation capacity.

“Under every scenario modelled for the department, natural gas has a bigger role to play in ­delivering energy stability to Victoria out to 2050.

“Unless new gas resources in Victoria are developed, families and businesses in the state will pay more than those in states continuing to develop new supply.”


Activist chief executives are ‘stealing’ from shareholders

It's not their money to spend on "good" causes

Every other day a corporate chief somewhere will declare, in sombre tones and often for applause, that business must take a stand on an issue for the sake of the community. These big-noting corporate chaps justify their grand plans for humanity in many ways.

They claim businesses have a legitimate interest in matters affecting the wider community in which they operate. Political leaders are not doing enough, they say. Workers and consumers want us to do this, they assure themselves.

While it is not evident how they canvassed the views of workers or consumers, it is patently clear these new activist chief executives are endearing themselves to other activists with the same ­visions for the planet.

These reasons for corporate activism were, more or less, laid out last week by John Denton, the first Australian to head the Paris-based International Chamber of Commerce. He waved away as “completely ridiculous” the notion that corporate leaders should stick to their knitting. “This is our knitting,” Denton declared.

This is also the same tedious click-clacking sound emanating from many self-important business people who make up the Business Roundtable in the US, and swan around at Davos. They imagine their own beliefs are so brilliant they form a modern-day list of corporate commandments.

Like the harm that’s done to the human body from ingesting too much sugar, Denton’s attempt to encourage corporate bosses to be more activist is loaded with so much corporate saccharin it threatens to kill off the company as a vehicle to pool people’s money.

If activist chief executives, and their Paris-based spokesman, are impatient with politics, they could, of course, stand for parliament and spend other people’s money as a politician. In choosing much ­higher-paid gigs running companies and managing shareholders’ money, credibility comes from ­explaining how, at law, an activist chief executive fits in the company model. But this is where modern-day ­corporate preachers fall silent.

When was the last time any chief executive, let alone the bloke running the International Chamber of Commerce, discussed the agency costs of activist chief executives?

When did any of them last mention the importance of rules that govern how managers spend other people’s money?

Talking about such matters is painfully dull compared with setting out your vision for ­humanity. But the bigger reason they don’t ­address this dry issue of agency costs is that it might cramp their activist style. If chief executives admit to the agency costs they have created for shareholders by spending shareholders’ money on issues that have nothing to do with running a company, they might have to stop doing what earns them applause from their friends. It could even jeopardise them receiving an AO or an AC on Australia Day.

There is a deadly serious issue. Soon after the earliest companies were formed, separating the ownership of business ventures from management, agency costs were recognised as a critical issue.

How do the owners of a ­company stop management using shareholders’ money to feather their own nest? Or to put it more simply, how do owners stop ­employees stealing from them?

While some agency costs might be inevitable, others are ­entirely avoidable.

Doctrines of fiduciary duty evolved to regulate how managers use shareholders’ money. While managers learned they shouldn’t use shareholders’ money for their own benefit, they grew more creative about how they used shareholders’ money.

It was clearly wrong to take money from the petty cash tin and use it to buy yourself a new TV. And it was equally wrong for a manager to use the petty cash tin to pay for a romantic dinner with a lover. But what if the manager used shareholders’ money to pay for a big party for employees? This was probably legitimate because keeping employees happy makes for a more successful business. Similarly, using shareholders’ money to sponsor a local football or netball team might be good advertising, buying local goodwill that helps a business thrive.

But, of course, that way danger lay. As shareholders’ money began to be used in a wider range of ways, it became even clearer that some red-line rules were needed to separate legitimate uses of shareholders’ money from ­illegitimate ones.

To deal with these agency costs, company law established some sensible rules for managers, imposing duties on them to act in the best interests of shareholders, and the company, and basically preventing them from using other people’s money to line their own pockets.

Importantly, English and Australian common law dating back to the 19th century recognised that managers needed some flexibility to use shareholders money in a way that doesn’t directly benefit shareholders but does benefit the business, and thus shareholders, indirectly.

Courts apply the notion of shareholder primacy to separate legitimate from illegitimate uses of shareholders’ money by management. It means that the financial benefit to shareholders of expenditure for social purposes does not need to be immediate or direct or even terribly obvious — but it does need to exist, and be able to be demonstrated.

It is a deliberate furphy when activist chief executives and their spruikers claim that shareholder primacy must be dismantled because it ­requires managers to seek short-term profits. That is a straw man concocted by those who want no rules restraining chief executives from their glorious plans for the world.

The other straw man put up by activist chief executives is the claim that capitalism needs a clean-out. In fact, the clean-out is needed among the vainglorious chief executives, and their chamber of commerce boosters, who are creating a new, and egregious, set of agency costs for shareholders.

They want free rein to use other people’s money, not to line their pockets but to warm their hearts, and to earn kudos from other people like them.

Frankly, it is theft — idealistic theft, perhaps — but still theft. The fact Robin Hood stole money for noble purposes did not change the nature of his act: taking money from others without their consent.

Managers could ask shareholders to donate the profits they receive as dividends to a climate change fund. But to simply use company money on management’s pet causes without so much as a “by your leave” from shareholders is theft.

If activist chief executives think society should be putting more money into climate change or other noble causes, they should use their own money rather than shoving their sticky fingers into the retirement nest eggs of superannuants and ­investors.

And let’s be honest here. Much of the confiscation of shareholders’ money is done not for noble causes. There is a sizeable bullshit factor where chief executives seek self-aggrandisement rather than tangible outcomes.

It is not at all sexy to talk about rules that manage, and minimise, agency costs inherent in a public company where ownership is divorced from control. But this is a critical issue. And not just to protect today’s shareholders from a new form of theft.

If we allow chief executives and other activists to chip away at these foundations, they will end up destroying the company as a proven way to pool money from many people in order to do business.


Not learning to teach

As students returned to school recently, a new crop of graduate teachers was well-equipped to talk to them about the politics of diversity and the deconstruction of traditional education.

Sociology, diversity in education and debates over education funding have taken precedence over the teaching of literacy, numeracy and basic classroom management skills for new teachers.

At UTS, cultural competence is the chief goal of Beyond Culture: Diversity in Context. The subject analyses different features of culture like multiculturalism, indigeneity and disability which it claims are vital to the practice of teaching.

Critical Studies in Education and Practice at Charles Sturt University critiques traditional education methods through the prism of sexuality, ethics, citizenship and social sustainability. These are all put forward as necessary ways to modernise education.

Similarly, Teachers as Educational Innovators and Agents of Change at the University of Queensland tells students they need to bring a technological edge to their role as innovators of change. The outline states that this is a vital part of being “a future educational innovator and agent of change in classrooms and schools”.

These are just some of the baseline requirements universities have deemed essential for teacher education degrees across the country.

Before the 1990s, teachers were educated in specialist institutions before they were absorbed by the university sector.

Salisbury Teachers College – now part of the University of South Australia – outlined the necessities of teaching in the student handbook of 1968. The only time social institutions are mentioned is in the context of class management and child interaction.

In the course outline of 1960, Newcastle Teachers College summarised the importance of good social development of kids, child pedagogy and perception. It also looks at how to avoid straining the attention of young children for too long.

The modern belief that technology, cultural diversity, learning needs or even globalisation has changed the nature of teaching is fundamentally misguided.

The only thing that has changed is Australian universities and the decision to minimise the importance of teaching methods that work. This has reduced the quality of teaching degrees and with it the quality of teachers themselves.


Viewers unload on Eddie McGuire for DEFENDING Sam Newman over his blackface stunt

Viewers of a documentary featuring AFL great Adam Goodes have slammed Eddie McGuire for defending Sam Newman's infamous Footy Show blackface stunt. 

The Australian Dream, which had its television premiere on the ABC on Sunday night, focused on Goodes, who turned his back on the game after he retired in 2015 in the wake of an ugly racism row and years of booing from opposition fans.

The film includes a clip from a 1999 episode of the AFL Footy Show showing Newman with his face painted black as he imitated St Kilda champion Nicky Winmar, who had failed to turn up for a guest slot.

In the documentary, McGuire defended his long-time friend and colleague, who was born in 1945. 'He [Newman] didn't understand the nuance. He was a product of those times,' he said. 'He was a 60s 70s vaudevillian who was sending up Nicky Winmar because he didn't turn up on the show that night.'

McGuire's defense of Newman was criticised by some viewers on Sunday night. 'Sam Newman is disgusting, but Eddie McGuire is equally vile. Making excuses for his behaviour creates space for it to exist. Gutless to the end,' Seb Conway said on Twitter.


 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, February 26, 2020

Shocking standard of new teachers

They don't know primary school stuff, let alone show any benefit of a university education.  It's a tremendous revelation of non-existent school standards.  The blind are leading the blind.  No wonder so many parents send kids to private schools

Clare Masters

GRADUATE teachers are leaving university, without basic literacy skills, including spelling and grammar, and are increasingly needing tutoring to pass the literacy portion of their qualifying exam.

Tutoring agencies are seeing a rise in the number of graduates seeking help to pass the Federal Government's Literacy and Numeracy Tests for the Initial Teacher Education (LANTITE) test, required to become a teacher, and experts are saying the test should be done as an entrance' exam to weed out unsuccessful candidates.

Some agencies say students are struggling with basic skills like fractions, grammar and even knowing the number of weeks in a year. "We have been surprised by the number of university students studying to be teachers who are seeking assistance with their literacy skills to pass their LANTITE, and who may have already failed this test a number of times," said Dr Selina Samuels, chief learning officer at tutoring service Cluey. She said there had been over 750 inquiries for LANTITE support in just four months.

Teacher Melinda Wood, from The Tutoring Academy, said many of her students were missing basic foundation skills. "With literacy, they don't know the simple rules for grammar, punctuation and how to spell or do fractions.

"I had one student who didn't attend primary school in her own country and came to Year 8 in Australia and has difficulty reading. She is doing a Masters of Education and she is struggling a lot."

Ms Wood gave one example of a question that asked students to estimate an annual income from weekly pays and said students were failing it in practice tests as they "don't know how many weeks are in a year".

"They use spell check and stuff at home to help them but the. second they are in exam conditions they don't know how to cope."

The recent PISA scores show Australian students are falling behind and Centre for Independent Studies' Blaise Joseph said a teacher's core skills needed to be high. "Evidence shows it is really important teachers be high achievers. Over the years we have lowered the bar for entry standard for teacher education degrees," he said.

"We have about one in five Australian students below the minimum standard for literacy and that is going to be reflected in new teacher intakes. It defies common sense you have uni students who don't have basic literacy and numeracy skills who are then going to be responsible for teaching literacy and numeracy to children."

From the Brisbane "Courier Mail" of 24/2/20

Great Australian Bight: Equinor abandons plans to drill for oil

Norwegian oil company announces it has scrapped its $200m plan to deepwater drill in Great Australian Bight Marine Park

After extensive Greenie harassment

Norwegian oil giant Equinor has abandoned plans to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight, declaring the controversial project did not make commercial sense.

The company said on Tuesday it had told federal, South Australian and local authorities it had decided to scrap the $200m project to deepwater drill in the Great Australian Bight Marine Park.

It is the third major oil company to abandon plans to drill in the bight, following BP and Chevron.

“Following a holistic review of its exploration portfolio, Equinor has concluded that the project’s potential is not commercially competitive compared with other exploration opportunities in the company,’’ the company’s country manager for Australia, Jone Stangeland, said in a statement.

The decision is a significant win for environment groups and other opponents of the project, including Indigenous elders and local councils. The proposal sparked protests supported by tens of thousands of people opposed to fossil fuel extraction in a marine wilderness area.

Equinor’s announcement comes shortly after the proposed Stromlo-1 well site, in water more than 2.2km deep and nearly 400km off the South Australian coast, was granted environmental approval by the federal offshore petroleum regulator. The Wilderness Society launched legal action challenging the decision last month, arguing opponents had not been properly consulted.

Peter Owen, the Wilderness Society’s South Australian director, welcomed Equinor’s decision to “responsibly withdraw” from the project.

“It’s been a while coming, but the right decision is the right decision, and we have no doubt that the hundreds of thousands of people that have supported the campaign to fight for the Bight will be both delighted and relieved to hear this news,” he said.

Owen called on the Morrison government to “listen to the people and permanently protect the unique waters of the Great Australian Bight from drilling for good”.

The federal minister for resources, Keith Pitt, said the government was disappointed about Equinor’s decision, but pleased the company had made clear it would still be part of the oil and gas industry in Australia. It said the decision would be “particularly hard for South Australia”.

He said the government remained committed to “encouraging the safe development of Australia’s offshore petroleum resources. “The Bight basin remains one of Australia’s frontier basins and any proposals for new oil and gas fields in this area will be assessed fairly and independently,” he said.

Equinor was granted a petroleum title over areas in the Bight in 2011. In December, it cleared the second of four regulatory hurdles it needed to pass before it could start drilling, when the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority, known as Nopsema, granted its environmental approval.

The company described the decision as an important milestone that followed more than 400 meetings with community and other organisations. Environmentalists, local councils and elders of the traditional owners of the Bight, the Mirning people, denied they had been properly consulted and vowed to continue to fight the project.

Industry body the Australian Petroleum and Production and Exploration Association said the company’s decision to drop the project was disappointing for South Australians, who would have benefited economically, and for the “wider Australian community”, which needed new energy supplies.

Matthew Doman, the association’s chief executive, said: “The proposed exploration activity had been subject to an extreme campaign of false and exaggerated claims that deliberately overstated the risks and ignored the potential benefits.”

Greenpeace Australia Pacific’s chief executive, David Ritter, said the decision was an “incredible win for people power and nature”. He said it followed years of relentless campaigning by coastal communities, Indigenous traditional owners, surfers, the seafood industry, tourism operators and local businesses.

“Never doubt the power and determination of the Australian people,” Ritter said.

Sarah Hanson Young, the Greens environment spokeswoman and a South Australian senator, called on other parties to back Greens’ legislation that would put the Bight forward for world heritage protection.

“Opening a new fossil fuel basin in the middle of our ocean was always madness,” she said. Moving to net zero emissions by 2050 means we must reduce pollution now, not give the green light to new polluting projects.”

Noah Schultz-Byard, South Australian director of the Australia Institute, said polling suggested an overwhelming majority of people would support world heritage listing for the Bight.

Stangeland said Equinor said it still held an offshore exploration permit in Western Australia and would maintain “other ongoing interests and activities in Australia”.


‘Secretive’ GetUp angers volunteers

A feeding trough for a Leftist elite?

GetUp faces rising dissent in its ranks from supporters who claim the left-wing campaign group’s leadership is “secretive” about how it spends millions of dollars raised from public donations, and no real power is allowed to so-called “members” in running the organisation.

Longtime GetUp volunteers who have worked in senior campaign roles said the group’s senior executives disliked criticism, and questions about operations were often rebuffed.

“GetUp is terribly secretive,” a former volunteer said. “They seem to take the view that new people are coming in all the time, so it doesn’t matter if they lose others.”

The Australian has obtained internal correspondence between GetUp’s economic fairness campaigns director, Ed Miller, and several disillusioned supporters who claim the group “lacks transparency” and has not addressed “specific concerns about where and how funds are spent”.

Other disillusioned GetUp ­activists gave the example of $250,000 allegedly raised in donations as part of GetUp’s “protect the ABC” campaign, yet they had no evidence the money was used for campaign billboards or ads.

The Australian reported on Monday that GetUp spent more than 70 per cent of the $12.4m in public donations it raised last year on staff salaries, administration costs and travel, despite telling supporters in its online appeals for funds that “every dollar” would be used to build a fairer Australia “with spending on billboards, hard-hitting TV ads and rallies”.

GetUp devoted $3.6m of its annual donations total to “campaign expenses” while outlaying $7.2m on salaries, according to the group’s audited 2019 financial report. Another $1.4m was spent on administration, $806,000 on rent and more than $500,000 on travel.

GetUp, however, says 89 per cent or $12.4m of total expenditure was “related” to campaigns, including the $7.2m “wages for the staff”. It says its expenditure should not be compared with charities delivering social services.

Disillusioned GetUp followers complain the group gives no breakdown of spending on each campaign and rebuffs attempts to gain such information.

A longtime GetUp activist from Brisbane told Mr Miller in internal online communications that his concern, shared by others, related to a “lack of transparency”. “Despite what you say, an outsider cannot easily obtain the ­information,” he wrote.

The complainant also claimed volunteers helping GetUp’s unsuccessful campaign to oust minister Peter Dutton from his Queensland seat of Dickson at last May’s election stormed off “in ­despair” on polling day because voting cards were “so off-topic and irrelevant to local voters”. “All this dysfunction contributes to the sense of unease about GetUp’s ­attitude to their volunteer base,” the complainant said.

Mr Miller responded that he was “genuinely really sorry” the GetUp volunteer felt aggrieved, and conceded many staff and volunteers were feeling “burned out” after the election because of “strategic errors”. Another volunteer from the NSW central coast joined the online conversation. “Yes, we had the same experience during election day,” he said.

The Brisbane complainant later directed criticism at GetUp national director Paul Oosting, disputing his claims during a recent National Press Club address about the group’s “responsiveness and responsibility to its members’ input”.

Mr Oosting has repeatedly declined to respond to questions from The Australian about whether some concerns had been raised internally about spending.

He has also declined to disclose salaries for GetUp executives, including himself, or how GetUp’s donations income-to-spending ratio compares with other groups in the charity and not-for-profit sector. Mr Oosting defended the $7.2m in salaries, saying GetUp’s strategists, campaigners, organisers and developers were some of its “greatest assets” and the “driving force”. A GetUp spokeswoman said she was not aware of internal concerns about GetUp.

As a not-for-profit company, GetUp does not pay income tax because its financial reports show annual deficits. GetUp says it did not launch a “bushfire relief efforts” appeal, or directly raise funds for bushfire relief, instead referring members to the NSW Rural Fire Service or Red Cross.


Desperate white South African farmers who rushed for protection visas in Australia have their claims rejected

It's a lot easier if you are an Afghan or an Iranian

A surge of South Africans seeking protection in Australia have been disappointed as no visas have yet been approved.

Rejection letters to the families applying for protection and humanitarian visas have said they are not refugees because the violence in South Africa is widespread, random and opportunistic.

'The risk of murder and serious physical/sexual assaults is one faced by the population of the country generally and not by the applicants personally,' said the letter, quoted in The Australian newspaper.

South Africa's minority white farmers say there has been a concerted campaign to drive them off their land, and violent murders - some involving horrific rape and torture - have been forcing them to leave.

Liberal National Party member Savanna Labuschagne, herself a migrant from South Africa, said some people had their skin ironed off and holes drilled through their knee caps.

'An elderly couple had boiling water poured down their throats. I could go on for days. How do we help our people?' she told The Australian.

Ms Labuschagne said both blacks and whites had suffered from the South African government's 'corruption'.

She also shared some of the racial hatred that has been directed at the white minority by black South Africans on Facebook.

One black South African man had posted to social media that it was his duty and the duty of others to 'eliminate every white person in South Africa'.

'The only way to end racism and the oppression of my people is to destroy the white race. This must be done as quickly as possible,' his post read.

Ms Labuschagne along with fellow LNP member Patti Maher, also a South African migrant, said they were feeling frustrated as South Africans were prevented from receiving assistance by the bureaucracy. 

South Africa has been divided by deep racial grievances since the apartheid system of racial segregation ended in 1994, and this has been worsened by an economic gulf between rich and poor.

White people, who are less than 9 percent of the population, own most of the farmland in South Africa.

They are vastly outnumbered by black people who make up 80 per cent of the country's 57.7 million population, but who have the least amount of land ownership.

South Africa's ruling party the African National Congress, led by Cyril Ramaphosa, plans to take land without compensation from minority white farmers, who own most of the farmland, and redistribute it to black South Africans.

South Africa's parliament voted in 2018 to amend the constitution to allow land seizures, and has issued a proposed land expropriation bill on which the public comment period is open until 29 February, Business Tech reported.

In March 2018, Mr Dutton suggested white farmers were being persecuted and deserved special attention under Australia's humanitarian program.

He instructed his department to consider claims from persecuted South African farmers, alongside people from Asia, the Middle East and other African countries.

Liberal politicians pushed for up to 10,000 South Africans to come to Australia.

South Africans responded with a surge of 220 claims for humanitarian visas made in the last two years, almost triple the previous rate.

South Africans had previously made just 350 applications for humanitarian visas from 2008 to 2010, an average of 35 per year.

However most of the visa applications have so far been denied leaving South Africans disappointed.

Of the 570 humanitarian visa applications since 2008, only 41 were granted and 340 are still to be finalised, The Australian reported.

Protection visa applications have also failed with 97 rejected in the past three months.

Of 33 protection visa applications lodged since November, none have been approved.

A Home Affairs spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia on Monday that anyone who makes a claim for protection will be considered under the humanitarian program, and that there are many other visas available to South Africans such as the skilled, temporary and family visas.

'Almost 80,000 visas have been granted to South Africans since July 2018, allowing them to come to Australia,' the spokesperson said.

'South Africa is the 9th largest source country of permanent migrants in Australia.'

To be considered a refugee, a person must have a well-founded fear they will be seriously harmed because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a social group, the Home Affairs Department says on its website.

The serious harm can be to their life and liberty, or the denial of a capacity to earn a livelihood to survive.

Australia's Refugee Review Tribunal wrote in 2011 that despite concerns among white South Africans that they were being targeted for race, most evidence pointed to other motivations such as financial gain.

Crime is widespread in South Africa where 14 million people live in extreme poverty, and farmers are isolated and thus can be seen as easy targets.

In 2018, South Africa suffered almost 20,000 murders with most of the victims being black victims of black violence, while only 62 were farm murders - not all of them white, according to government figures quoted by investigative journalist James Pogue writing in Harper's Magazine.

Mr Pogue wrote that the brutality of the torture inflicted on some of the white victims does indicate a level of racial vitriol in the attacks.

In May last year, South African activist Annette Kennealy, 51, who spoke out against attacks on white farmers was found stabbed and beaten to death on her own farm in Limpopo province.

Kennealy was a public supporter of the white Afrikaner community and in her last Facebook post, she shared a link alleging that 10 farm attacks, including one murder, had been reported in just four days in 2019.

She also routinely shared links and stories relating to politics in South Africa, and the government's plans to start expropriating farms from white land-owners.

The South African Human Rights Commission has said black farmers have given evidence that farm safety isn't the preserve of any one racial group, although it does not dispute that there are attacks motivated by racial hatred.


Tuesday, February 25, 2020

‘Don’t bastardise all men… these things happen’: Pauline Hanson says cowardly dad who murdered his entire family may have been ‘driven to do it’

It's good that we have sensible women such as Pauline Hanson and Bettina Arndt to speak up against the hateful and totally unreasonable feminist claim that Hannah Clarke was murdered by her estranged husband because that is what "men" do. Baxter's maleness has been given as the sole explanation for his evil deeds.

That millions of women are NOT murdered by their partner is ignored.  It is surely the vast non-murdering majority of men who tell you what "men" do. But feminists are so full of hate that they cannot see that.

So why did Baxter really do it?  Unless we know that, how are we supposed to prevent similar deeds by other troubled men?

Until we are given the full facts about the family history involved we cannot know for sure how it all worked out but from my point of view as a psychologist there is one highly likely explanation for the tragedy:  Baxter was a bully.

He was a common bully type, physically imposing and very egotistical.  The combination of a strong body and a big ego can be very problematical.  We see it in schoolyards all the time.  Some stronger kid will pick on some weak and "loser" kid.  In the course of a schooling that behaviour will usually be suppressed in some way, partly by teachers, partly by parents and partly by other students.

I remember a question I once asked my well-built son when he was in High School  I asked him whether any other kids picked on him.  He said "No. I'm too big for them.  And if I see them picking on some smaller kid, I put myself in between them".  So the corrective role of other students should not be ignored.

Sometimes, however, the bully gets away with a lot and forms behaviour patterns that last into adulthood.  But such patterns are very limiting in adulthood.  The bully will find himself avoided if not ostracized.  The bully of course sees this and endeavours to change his ways at least superficially.  He practices being "nice". But that pretence periodically breaks down.  His real motivation comes out in hostility of some sort.

So in the end he will be mistrusted and socially excluded.  And for anyone that is very grievous.  Among Aborigines, social exclusion is the mechanism behind a wrongdoer being "sung" to death.  So the bully in any society has usually been locked into a behaviour pattern that badly hurts him emotionally.

And when that hurts too much he may strike out fatally at the one whose disapproval hurts him the most.  He blames the other  person -- such as his ex-wife --  for his own deep unhappiness rather than himself. He sees that his life has been a failure and there is nothing left in it for him.  So death seems to him to be welcome.  So murder-suicide ensues.

So what can be done?  Just one thing:  Bullying has to be stopped at its source.  It has to be stopped during the bully's schooldays.  All Education Departments have high-sounding policies that claim to do that but enforcement is very lax.  So we cannot look at the existing system for hope.  A firmer approach is needed.

I would advocate sending bullies to a special school where bullying behavior is vigilantly watched for and heavily punished.  Bullying must be negatively reinforced, to use psychologist's jargon.  And talk is no good.  The bully has to be subjected to treatment that is a replica of what he normally does to others.

Politician Pauline Hanson has defended controversial comments about the horrific Brisbane murder-suicide, saying 'these things happen'.

In a crime which rocked Australia on Wednesday, Hannah Clarke, 31, was murdered by her estranged husband along with her three young children.

Aaliyah, 6, Laianah, 4, and Trey, 3, were burned alive by their own father on their way to school after he poured petrol in their car and lit a flame.

But Ms Hanson said the cowardly murders shouldn't lead to people 'bastardising all men' - saying Baxter could have been 'driven to it'. 'Don't bastardise all men out there, or women for that matter, because these things happen,' she said on Monday morning.

Speaking about domestic violence murders, she added that: 'A lot of people are driven to this, to do these acts for one reason or another.'

The killings have led to calls for more protection for domestic violence victims, after Ms Clarke was emotionally, sexually and financially abused by Baxter for years.

Speaking on Today, Ms Hanson said the murders have been in the news more than if it was committed by a woman - and that Baxter may have been 'driven to it'.

'You know, this has been for a week we have been in the news nearly every day about this horrific tragedy,' she said on Today on Monday morning.

'But we don't hear much about it when a woman has murdered her children by driving a  car into a tree, she threw out a suicide note. 'Or the woman who doused her husband with fuel and set him alight an said she was possibly driven to it.

'Hopefully the family law inquiry will get to the bottom of it.'

She also defended commentator Bettina Arndt, who made controversial comments about the Baxter murders.

Some MPs want Arndt to be stripped of her Order of Australia, after she praised a Queensland police officer for saying Baxter may have been 'driven too far'. Queensland detective Mark Thompson was taken off the case after making the comments.

'Congratulations to the Queensland police for keeping an open mind and awaiting proper evidence, including the possibility that Rowan Baxter might have been 'driven too far'," Ms Arndt wrote on Twitter. 'But note the misplaced outrage. How dare police deviate from the feminist script of seeking excuses and explanations when women stab their partners to death, or drive their children into dams but immediately judging a man in these circumstances as simply representing the evil violence that is in all men.'

Speaking about Ms Arndt's comments, Ms Hanson said she should not be stripped of her Australia Day honour.

'It was a horrendous act of what he did to his children,' she said. 'It was a tragedy and I am very deeply sorry for everyone.

'But Bettina Arndt should not be stripped of her Order of Australia. She is clearly stating what she thinks and what a police officer said.

'This is why I have pushed for the family law inquiry to get behind what is happening on this.'

The mum-of-three had desperately tried to keep her young family safe from their evil dad, but was struggling after her domestic violence protection order was watered down.

It has since emerged that he subjected Hannah to years of domestic violence, prompting the brave mum to finally leave him last November.

There was a domestic violence order (DVO) in place, but she expressed frustration that the conditions wouldn't be enough to keep her family safe.

Despite being stalked every day by her monstrous ex, the DVO was watered down to allow her husband to be a close as 100 metres from her.

'I have to go back to court and had to drop off an application today to get the DVO conditions changed as he keeps turning up where I am,' the mother-of-three said in text message to a friend, sent on January 30.

'He got the DVO adjourned and when they did that they took off the no contact and made it just 100m from my home so technically he’s not doing anything wrong … hence why we need it changed!'

Even the female police officer who helped Hannah lodge her DVO last year told her it would do little to protect her from her evil husband.


The domestic violence double standard

Bettina Arndt

Across Australia, we reeled when we heard news that former Rugby League player, Rowan Baxter had set fire to his car, killing his ex-wife and three young children, and then stabbed himself to death. Unthinkable acts that chilled everyone to the bone.

Then came the press conference from the Queensland police, a very strange event where the police spokesman, Detective Inspector Mark Thompson, suggested it was important to keep an open mind and compile proper information about what had happened. “Is this an issue of a woman suffering significant domestic violence and her and her children perishing at the hands of the husband, or is it an instance of a husband being driven too far by issues he’s suffered by certain circumstances into committing acts of this form,” he said.

It was an extraordinary statement, given the pressure the police are under to simply promote the violent man narrative, ignoring any inconvenient truths that muddy the waters. Thompson looked most uncomfortable, suggesting he was privy to much more information.

My initial reaction was to stay out of it, given the battering I have taken on recent weeks. But then I discovered that even though I had made no public comment about the case,  I was trending on twitter as my enemies used this tragedy as a means of beating me up, claiming I was misguided to challenge the feminist narrative on domestic violence. Baxter was proof that men are dangerous, posing immense risks to women and children.

Immediately our media fell into line, using this tragic case to promote the need to protect women from violent men. And slamming Detective Inspector Thompson for daring to suggest that men can ever be “driven” into acting this way.

Learning more

Then, out of the blue, I heard from a woman who was close to the Baxter family, telling me that many in the community were alarmed that the truth of what happened was being so distorted. I had a long phone call with her where she explained the background to Baxter’s actions – information I hope will be revealed in the coroner’s inquiry. The people with real knowledge of the case are naturally nervous now of speaking publicly, although I hope they will eventually be willing to give media interviews.

It led to a sleepless night as I wrestled with the knowledge of what would happen if I got involved in this explosive issue versus my reluctance to allow the bastards to win. That would be the result if I was cowered into silence, avoiding public engagement on an issue which is at the heart of over a decade of my writing about the way domestic violence is being misrepresented to demonize men.

In the end I decided I have nothing to lose - and the truth matters. Someone reminded me of James Baldwin’s quote about “the most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose.”  Man or woman. Despite the attempts to damage to my public reputation through media pile-ons, I’m still standing and will keep fighting.

So, this morning I posted a few carefully written social media comments

Next I pointed out how differently we treat women who commit similarly horrible acts, immediately searching for reasons, asking what drove them to it. I posted this blog, which outlines some of the cases where women have committed violent acts, murdering their partners and children.

We’ve seen many cases of women committing homicide or filicide, where the press coverage is entirely focussed on explanations for her behaviour. See this article about a Cairns woman who killed 8 children.

I’ve also posted research showing both men and women commit such crimes such as this comprehensive study published in 2009 by Nielsen et al in the Medical Journal of Australia, looking at all cases of child homicide in NSW between 1991 and 2005. It found that, in cases of family homicide/revenge/homicide-suicide like the Rowan Baxter case, men were the perpetrators of child homicide in 10 cases, while women were the perpetrators in seven cases. Yes, tiny numbers. There’s no epidemic of these violent acts, thank goodness. But men certainly aren’t the only perpetrators. 

The filicide evidence shows children are killed by mothers and fathers at roughly similar rates. The most recent figures covering 2000 – 2012 show 76% of the 284 victims were killed by a custodial parent—46% by a custodial mother & 29% by a custodial father.

Pissing in the wind?

Maybe it is stupid to even try to counter the mighty onslaught from the domestic violence industry, who are cynically using this tragedy to recruit politicians and prominent people to call for more funding to protect women and children. This is after many, many millions have been spent on our feminist domestic violence policies which so clearly are failing to address the complexities of the problem.

It is just amazing that the media is so united in constructing a careful narrative of a battered woman and controlling man, with violence orders failing to protect a vulnerable family from his murderous rage. This video of Baxter rough-housing with his children is being used to demonstrate his dangerous toxic masculinity – despite the obvious delight of his children and the fact they keep coming back for more.

How come not a single journalist has the courage to investigate what drove police officer, Mark Thompson, to risk his career by voicing concerns about the complexity of the case? Now Thompson has been forced to step down from the investigation, apologising for his “ill-chosen” words.

This is Stasiland in action. Police across the country must be shuddering at the fate of this brave colleague who paid the price for doing his job with professionalism and honesty. Look at this article from the Courier Mail.

I am calling on people to write to the Queensland Police asking that he be reinstated to his position in the investigation. And please write also to your local MP, asking that they resist the cynical push for more money for domestic violence policies which fail to address the real issues.

A public inquiry

If the coronial inquest into this case reveals the truth, it could make a strong case for a public inquiry into how this happened. Why can’t we ask the hard questions that we would have asked if it was a female perpetrator? Like:

How did he get to such a state of irrationality, despair and desperation that he could do such a thing?

Why wasn’t he seeking support? Is there any support available for men in his situation?

What could we as a society have done better to prevent this?

That does not mean we are victim blaming or seeking justification. Merely a deeper understanding. Why is this so unacceptable simply because we are talking about a man?

Well, that’s it for now. I will keep you informed as this important issue develops, Tina

Via email from

Gang rapist Mohammed Skaf loses latest parole bid

In a sense Skaf is a victim of his Satanic Muslim religion, which teaches that women are things secondary to men

Notorious gang rapist Mohammed Skaf will remain behind bars for the rest of the year after his bid for freedom was knocked back for a third time by the NSW State Parole Authority.

Skaf, who was convicted alongside his brother Bilal over a terrifying series of rapes in Sydney in 2000 that shocked Australia, became eligible for parole in January 2017.

The parole authority has repeatedly rejected the now 36-year-old’s pleas for release, citing the fact that he has continued to blame his victims for his offending after being convicted.

Former District Court judge, Michael Finnane, QC, who presided over the “Skaf trials” said the series of gang rapes amounted to a crime “worse than murder”.

“In the worst case, a girl was raped 40 times by 14 men in four hours,” Mr Finnane told The Australian. “To be kidnapped and raped, and to be raped by a gang, only to find another gang turns up ... I doubt they will ever get over that.”

Mohammed Skaf was originally sentenced to 31 years in jail by Mr Finnane but his sentence was later reduced on appeal to 22 years with a non-parole period of 18 years.

Skaf can next apply for parole in November this year, and Mr Finnane said the community would likely be safer if the rapist is released on parole before his sentence expires in January 2024.

“At some point, he will be released,” Mr Finnane said. “That’s what is staring parole authorities in the face, this man is going to be released. “It’s better to put someone on parole and put them on tough conditions then just let them walk out at the end of their sentence,” he said.

Skaf can still apply to have this latest decision reviewed but if that application is rejected then the order to refuse parole will stand.

In one attack, Skaf tricked a 16-year-old school friend into going to Greenacre’s Gosling Park.

At the park, she was pinned down by her arms and legs and raped by Mohammed’s brother Bilal and one other man while twelve other men watched who were “standing around, laughing and talking”.

The second man held a gun to her head and kicked her violently in the stomach before she was able to escape.

Bilal Skaf led and orchestrated the sadistic attacks by using SMS and mobile phones in a “military style” operation, Mr Finnane said.

They called ahead to other attackers in a bid to co-ordinate the transport of gang members to the locations where women were being held.

“The victims were passed from group to group and each group was called by mobile phone. It was a calculated crime and I’ve never seen anything like it before or since,” he said.

A pre-release report compiled by Corrective Services in 2018 said Skaf “has demonstrated no change in his attitude toward his offences since the beginning of his sentence” and “continues to blame the victims.”


Frogs be dammed … Australia needs more water

It is no surprise that with a continent as dry as Australia our most precious resource would be water.

If that is a given, how is it that it is well nigh impossible to build a dam in this country? We had a brilliant start with the Snowy River Scheme, but it is almost as if we completed that and decided to rest on our laurels.

Those laurels are getting pretty parched now. It is a forlorn task to find a site for a new dam that the Greens might support. Greens opposition to new dams is implacable and, when combined with the understandable hysteria of those who will be displaced because their properties lie within the area to be flooded to create the new dam, you have the perfect confluence of forces to create the big media campaigns that can terrify governments and send them weak at the knees. Too many pollies run at the first whiff of grapeshot and opportunities are lost.

Michael McCormack, the leader of the Nationals, and Barnaby Joyce, the man who wants to be leader of the Nationals, and Matt Canavan, the man who should be leader of the Nationals, are the only politicians who seem to have any interest in building more dams. The Greens can always find an endangered frog that should be saved at the expense of human ­beings’ need for clean water, so there are guaranteed to be plenty of citizens death-riding any plans to construct a dam.

I hope we find someone in power somewhere prepared to tell the nay-sayers where to get off. It would be wonderful if Scott Morrison could find the courage to build a dam as well as finance a new coal-fired power station on the east coast of Australia. If he showed that kind of courage, Anthony Albanese would be flat out ever beating him.

Any pollie with the ticker to defy the noisy frontline of demonstrators that opposes building almost anything and go ahead with real nation-building infrastructure projects will experience a surge in support. The punters love action but they don’t get much of it. Australians are getting to the point, after a period of stable economic growth, to look for a leader prepared to drag us back up towards the top of the developed world’s list of countries that make things happen.

Gladys Berejiklian has shown us the way on infrastructure and that is why she is winning. Whether it’s road or rail, her government has plans in place that, once implemented, will keep NSW ahead of the game in the decades to come. The big plays do matter and she gets it that every parent has an eye on the kind of future being built for their children.


 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, February 24, 2020

Dam operator to defend its role in 2011 Brisbane flood catastrophe

This whole affair was a disgrace to the Queensland Labor government of Anna Bligh and her bureaucrats. Anna was basically an emptyhead and the bureaucrats thought they could do no wrong.

A Conservative government had built a big flood-control dam at Wivenhoe that should have ended Brisbane floods for good.  But it was not proof against opportunistic politicians and inert bureaucrats.

To avoid building a new dam, the "Green" Labor government proceeded to use the flood compartment of the dam to store water.  Then the bureaucrats managing the dam just stuck to their regulations and saw no need to do anything when the floodwater came surging into the dam.  They ignored all approaches to open the floodgates until it was too late and flood it did.

People died in the resultant flood, to say nothing of property damage and loss

In the circumstances, it is no  wonder that the insurers are denying liability.  They did not ensure aginst irresponsible politicians or brainless bureaucrats.  They will no doubt claim that the dam operators followed the book so are not liable.

The plaintiffs need to show that following the book was irresponsible when the whole of the flood compartment was not available

THOUSANDS of victims of the 2011 Queensland floods face losing compensation payouts after state-owned dam operator Seqwater confirmed it will appeal a landmark class action result. The confirmation comes a week ahead of a deadline for parties to seek leave to appeal to the NSW Supreme Court.

The Queensland Government has ruled out an appeal but as The Courier-Mail revealed in December, both Seqwater and Sunwater were planning to appeal. Sunwater has not yet confirmed whether it will go ahead with its appeal. Seqwater chief executive Neil Brennan said the decision to appeal had been taken after advice from its insurers.

"The decision to appeal has not been taken lightly," Mr Brennan said in a written statement. "It has followed an extensive review of the judgment and consultation with its insurers."

Natural Resources Minister Anthony Lynham hit out at Seqwater's decision. "I am disappointed that Seqwater's insurers did not heed our call not to appeal," Dr Lynham said. "As the Treasurer and I said at the time, if a Ministerial Direction could be given to Seqwater to not appeal, it would not bind their insurers. Further, it may compromise Seqwater's insurance policies."

But Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said the Government could have prevented the appeal. "(Premier) Annastacia Palaszczuk had the power to direct these government-owned  corporations to not undertake this cruel action, but she failed to act," she said. "Seqwater will now slug taxpayers to defend itself in Court"

Maurice Blackburn Lawyers principal lawyer Rebecca Gilsenan, who is representing the victims, also called for the state to step in. "These appeals and disputes mean real justice is a long way off for our clients, who have won their case and deserve to be paid for what they lost when the dam operators flooded them," she said.

"The only way to bring this to an end is for the state to step in with a whole-of-government approach."

Former Ipswich councillor Paul Tully, whose Goodna home was flooded in 2011, said the move would add to the distress of flood victims. "Flood victims have endured nine long and tortuous years," he said. "This could drag out another two years in the court of appeal and the High Court of Australia. "These insurance companies are toying with people's lives and futures."

From the Brisbane "Courier Mail" of 22/2/20

The strange saga of Fireman Paul

Volunteer firefighters, like volunteer life savers, hold an almost sacred status in the Australian community and the hearts and minds of its citizens.

Nobody forces or even asks them to do what they do, nor do they gain any material reward. Instead they sacrifice their time and sometimes even their lives to save others. And they do it purely because they choose to.

Little wonder that they are so universally venerated and little wonder that they almost always awkwardly eschew it.

Even though they are the ones who are most literally on the ground and are almost always characterised as “down to earth” they are also seen to float above politics and personal pride. They are the closest we have to real-life superheroes.

It is for this reason that Rural Fire Service member Paul Parker’s expletive-laden spray against the Prime Minister was so shocking – despite also being pretty forgivable.

Parker was obviously a man under an enormous amount of stress – even as his own home was damaged by the bushfires that ravaged NSW he was out saving others, fighting the flames to the point of exhaustion. He is also obviously something of a character – a vital prerequisite for an unlimited bar tab.

But it is equally understandable that many of his comrades were angry and felt he had brought the unimpeachable status of volunteer firefighters into momentary disrepute.

It is, after all, a fiercely protected convention in Australia that uniformed personnel such as police and military officers are never seen to be remotely political or partisan. And so having a member of the RFS – which is arguably held in even higher regard – tell the Prime Minister to “get f***ed” is clearly pretty jarring.

But obviously not to everybody.

Through no fault of his own, Fireman Paul was instantly elevated to Messianic status by green-left social media warriors who seemed to see him as some kind of revolutionary hero. And then when he claimed this week to have been sacked by the RFS it was instantly seized as further proof he was a glorious martyr to the cause.

The only catch was that within 24 hours it emerged that the cause Paul Parker was fighting for wasn’t the Greens but One Nation.

As Nine’s political editor Chris Uhlmann so archly observed while posting a more fulsome interview with the man, the only politician Parker didn’t think should “get f***ed” was Pauline Hanson.

This, needless to say, caused a bit of cognitive dissonance with the hard left social media warriors who had ridden the #IStandWithFiremanPaul hashtag like drunken bar room cowboys on a broken mechanical bull.

Of course it had never occurred to any of them that Parker was attacking the PM from the opposite end of the political spectrum. It’s easy to forget that a conservative has enemies on both sides when you define a fascist as anyone who sits to the right of Fidel Castro.

As a result the groundswell of woke activist support for poor Fireman Paul has now disintegrated – so much for solidarity forever.

And yet the hard left unquestioningly flocked in their thousands to support him purely because he publicly swore at the PM only to just as quickly desert him when it emerged his politics didn’t match theirs. This tells you everything you need to know about both their intellect and their loyalty.

Again, for all their talk of solidarity, loyalty has never been the hard left’s strong point – just ask Comrade Trotsky.

For even the most passingly critical mind it was obvious from the outset that this story was crude, inconsistent and illogical and yet it was swallowed wholesale. No wonder it is so easy for the Hansons of this world to cry “fake news”. And no wonder the #IStandWithFiremanPaul movement sank beneath the waves quicker than a Swedish surfer.

All of this is just more evidence, were any needed, of the aching stupidity of so much of the social media commentariat and the tidal lunar idiocy of hashtag activism. All it took was a supporter of the far right to tell the PM to “get f***ed” and the far left just assumed he must be one of them. It’s hardly a Mensa-level entry threshold.


Pumped hydro project in  South Australia dies

Pumped hydro is a great Greenie dream but is very costly.  To be viable you have to find two big holes in the ground that are near to one another but at different levels.  Such sites are rare -- with big mines being the only likely source.

AGL had planned a 250MW pumped hydro storage for a SA copper mine site

The mining company had been due to hand part of its Kanmantoo mine over to energy company AGL, but changed its mind after discovering more copper ore nearby.

The ore could only be accessed via tunnels from the bottom of the mine's giant pit, which would become impossible when AGL filled the pit with water for its hydro-electric project.

AGL planned to store water in a dam at the mine site, allow it to flow down into the pit to generate electricity when power prices are high, then pump it back up when prices are low.

The facility would perform the same function as a battery: providing extra power to stabilise the energy network at short notice.

In April 2019, Hillgrove announced it had entered into binding agreements with AGL Energy Limited (AGL), to sell the right to develop, own and operate the Pumped Hydro Energy Storage (PHES) project at the Kanmantoo mine site.

The sale was subject to the satisfaction of a number of conditions which needed to be satisfied within specified timeframes. Several of those conditions remain unsatisfied.

After a period of extensive negotiations, Hillgrove and AGL have mutually agreed to terminate the PHES Project Agreement and associated project documents and effect a clean break without any further obligations on either party.

Since signing the Project Agreement, Hillgrove has conducted work on an underground mining project below the Giant Pit. As announced 30 October 2019, Hillgrove undertook a limited drilling programme, which resulted in the preparation of a new Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) for the Central and East Kavanagh underground area in accordance with the JORC Code 2012 Edition.

The resource estimate is constrained by the extent of the drilling and not by the geology, in both the along strike and down dip directions.

As announced 31 January 2020, Hillgrove received the regulatory approval to commence underground mining. The approval includes expanded capacity of the tailings storage facility, providing optionality for future mining within haulage distance to the Kanmantoo processing and tailings complex.

However, Hillgrove and AGL could not reach agreement on a way forward that enabled Hillgrove to commence underground mining and AGL to progress development of the PHES simultaneously.


Public School bans parents from entering grounds

Parents have simultaneously been outraged and baffled after a school on the NSW Central Coast banned them from entering the grounds to drop off or pick up their children.

Wamberal Public School has instead set up designated family meeting areas for parents, citing security reasons for the decision.

It comes amid concerns about violent outbursts by parents at schools across the country.

The change was announced in the school’s first newsletter of the year which said meeting areas for parents would be established at both entrances.  “Parents are encouraged to use these areas to minimise disruption to teaching and learning, increase safety for students & reduce pedestrian track in congested areas,” the newsletter read.

Each morning, teachers are stationed at both gates “to supervise and care for students”.

Parents accompanying children have been “asked to not proceed into other areas of the school” and “are encouraged to say goodbye at the gate where their child can enter”.

The school said the areas were introduced following parent feedback and consultation with “the Wamberal P&C, the Department’s Health and Safety, School Safety and Security experts, and our Project Reference Group”.

Angry parents fronted a Parents and Citizens meeting on Monday to get the ban reversed, the Daily Telegraph reported.

They argued they were never consulted about the change and students have grown anxious or stressed about navigating the grounds alone.

In a more recent newsletter, school principal Paul Miller addressed the issue.  “We value and appreciate feedback from our community,” he said.

“This year we are trialling new ways to make sure the school day starts and ends smoothly. The changes take into account our school’s growth, safety, community feedback and the school’s unique physical layout.”

Parents have been encouraged to complete a survey to share their thoughts regarding the family meeting area.


 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