Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Prominent Australian conservative lets fly during heated debate over coal and bushfires as climate expert tells him Australia faces 'unimaginable' blaze seasons

Michael Mann is a pseudo-scientist.  He is so nervous about the quality of the data underlying his research reports that he opted to lose a court case rather than reveal his data.  Such a breach of basic scientific principles makes all his words unproven nasturtiums

Barnaby is perfectly correct to say that adopting stricter CO2 policies would do nothing to extinguish the fires.  The fires will burn as long as the fuel to burn is there and dry.  No fuel no fire.  Lots of dry fuel, lots of fire.  That's the essence of it and nothing else much matters.  Control the fuel buildup and you control the fires.  Laws of any kind passed in parliament are irrelevant to that

Barnaby Joyce has gone up against a climatologist in a heated debate about coal, bushfires and Australia's climate change policies.

During a 60 Minutes panel discussion between the Nationals MP and former fire chiefs, renowned US climate expert Professor Michael Mann said the country's bushfires will continue to worsen if the Coalition doesn't step up.

But Joyce hit back, saying that despite recognising the climate is changing, 'we're not going to [put out fires] by having this incredible debate in Canberra'. 

Joyce said he believes Prime Minister Scott Morrison thinks Australia 'has got to do its part and is doing its part' to combat climate change and the growing fire threat.

Prof Mann shot down the outspoken MP's views, saying: 'In all fairness Barnaby, Scott Morrison and his government have played a destructive role in global negotiations to act on climate.

'[The Coalition] have literally dismissed the connection between climate change and these unprecedented bushfires that we're experiencing. 'The scientific community has spoken authoritatively on this matter.'

But when asked if he accepted that the fires have been driven by global warming, Joyce admitted climate change had played a role.

'I can absolutely accept that we've had a massive change in the climate. That is not my argument. My argument is one of immediate efficacy,' he said.

'We're going to put back into our fire breaks, we're going to make sure we build central watering points so that no [fire] truck has to travel more than 20km. 'These are the things that I want to concentrate on.'

Prof Mann fired back, saying politicians 'can't solve the problem if they refuse to accept the cause of the problem'. 

Mr Joyce argued Australia has complied with international agreements.

'No that's not true,' Prof Mann responded. 

Mr Joyce then went on to spruik the importance of exporting coal, and noted it's one of Australia's biggest exports next to iron ore.

'Therefore the money that comes from that - whether you like it or not - supports our hospitals, our schools, our defence force,' he said. '[We aren't going to] say to the Australian people "we're going to get rid of that income stream and you've got to accept that this money is not going to turn up".

'And I'll tell you what happens in politics if you do that - you lose the election.'

60 Minutes host Tara Brown asked Mr Joyce if he was overstating the wealth of coal to Australia, and reminded him the coal industry is just 2.2 per cent of the GDP and only employs 0.4 per cent of the population.

Prof Munn then doubled down on his views: 'How about the hundreds of millions of dollars being lost in tourism, the damage that's been done in these unprecedented bushfires?. 'The cost of climate inaction far outweighs the modest cost of taking action.'

But again, Joyce hit back. 'Are you saying that if Australia changes its domestic policies then the climate will change?.  'This idea that Australia unilaterally will make a decision that is going to change the climate is absurd.'

Prof Mann said there are a number of politicians around the world who are 'basically sabotaging climate action for the entire planet'.

'You can count [these countries] on the fingers of your hand. It's Saudi Arabia, it's Russia, it's the United States and Brazil. Does Australia want to be part of that family?'

But Joyce said Australians will lose their 'dignity' if Australia's economy becomes weakened if it stops exporting coal. 'If you want to sell this program, you have to say to [the Australian people] how you're going to make their lives more affordable and put dignity back into their lives,' he said.

His remarks angered retired Army General Major General Peter Dunn, who then went toe-to-toe with the former deputy prime minister. 'But what dignity have you got, Barnaby, when you are standing in the middle of rubble and saying "how on earth did this fire happen?",' he said.

He said the 'head of the serpent' fuelling bushfires is climate change. 'This country wants politicians to step up. It is the existential issue that the public have raised,' he said.

'It defeats me as to why you won't step up to it. All [scientists'] predictions have, damn it, turned out to be right.'

Prof Mann said the effects of climate change are 'actually worse than we predicted'.  'Here in Australia we are seeing an unimaginable crisis take place,' he said.

'We're not seeing the sort of action we need to be seeing here in Australia and around the world to avert truly catastrophic climate change.'

Former Victorian Fire Commissioner Craig Lapsley advised climate change deniers to 'go to the science'. 

Prof Mann, who works at Pennsylvania State University, claimed Australia's future bushfire seasons will be even worse than what the country endured this summer. '(Fires) will become more intense, they become faster spreading, they become more extensive,' he said.

'When you turn the entire continent or large parts of it into a tinderbox, there's really no amount of fire suppression or backburning that's going to get you out of the problem.

'People ask me, is this a new normal for Australia? It's worse than that.'

Maj Gen Dunn, who lives in bushfire-ravaged Conjola on the NSW south coast, echoed Prof Munn's sentiments. 'What happened here? It was like a nuclear explosion. It was terrifying. It's a monster,' he said.

'We've really got to think about these sorts of things; how we manage bushfire fighting. The traditional approach has been well and truly proven to be ineffective.'

So far, 33 people have died in the horror infernos and millions of hectares of land has been destroyed.


70% of refugees are parasites

The federal government plans to set up English classes in refugee camps to give potential immigrants a better shot at getting a job when they get to Australia.

Acting Immigration Minister and Minister for Population Alan Tudge has decried a link between unacceptably high rates of unemployment amongst refugees and a lack of English skills.

'Long-term welfare dependence is debilitating for anyone, be they a refugee, long-term citizen or anyone else. We have to do better,' Mr Tudge will say in a speech at the Menzies Research Centre in Melbourne, The Australian reported on Friday.

'Data shows that when identifying reasons for finding it difficult to get a job, close to 60 per cent of humanitarian entrants said 'my English isn't good enough yet'.'

A trial of English-language classes in overseas camps to upskill refugees before they arrive in Australia is due to begin on July 1.

More than 70 per cent of refugees are unemployed a year after arriving in Australia, the government says.


High Court ruling restricts free speech for government employees in Australia

It has long been possible for people to give up their right to free speech for some purpose -- in this case to get a government job.  And in this case that was part of the employment contract that people sign to get a federal government job in Australia.  And Ms Banerji knew that, which is why she posted anonymously.

But there is no "out" for anonymous posting.  Ms Banerrji used knowledge she gained as part of her employment to criticize the government.  And that was a clear breach of her contract -- one which exposed the government to criticism.  The damage was done even though it was done sneakily.

One could argue that the government should be more open to criticism but we will undoubtedly wait a long time for that to happen.  Governments of both Left and Right like their secrecy. Confidentiality clauses are common in contracts for employment by private firms so the government is not doing anything unusual by insisting on confidentiality and penalizing breaches of it

This has no implications for free speech in general in Australia.  And even public servants have free speech as long as they keep their mouths shut about their job or matters to do with their job

The High Court has ruled that a public servant should have been sacked after making comments that were critical of the federal government on an anonymous social media account outside work hours.

Michaela Banerji was sacked from her job at the Department of Immigration and Border Protection in 2013 when it was found she had been operating a Twitter account called @LaLegale that posted opinions criticising the government's immigration policies and treatment of asylum seekers.

Unofficial public comment tests limits of free speech
Even though Ms Banerji posted her opinions under a pseudonym and did so outside of work hours on her personal phone, the department said she had breached Australian Public Service Code of Conduct terms which aim to maintain an apolitical public service.

The public service argued she had breached guidelines on the use of social media and making public comments, even in an unofficial capacity.

Freedom of political communication and the right to free speech
Ms Banerji applied to Comcare for compensation for PTSD. The Administrative Appeals Tribunal found her sacking had impeded her implied right to freedom of political communication, contained in the Constitution, and ruled in her favour.

Comcare appealed to the High Court which ruled against Ms Banerji, saying the implied freedom of political communication is not a personal right of free speech and her dismissal was reasonable. (See Comcare v Banerji [2019] HCA 23, 7 August 2019.)

The High Court found that Ms Banerji had breached the Australian Public Service Code of Conduct, which was a condition of her employment, in that she had failed to uphold public service "values" and its "good reputation". The judges stated that a representative and responsible government must have an apolitical and professional public service.

The High Court decision is likely to have consequences beyond the Commonwealth public service.

With two million people employed in federal, state and local governments, the ruling will certainly impact their private out-of-work expression of political or social opinion.

It also throws into doubt the rights of everyone who is on a government payroll. Can teachers speak out about education policy? Can hospital workers complain of work conditions? Can scientists report flaws in climate change policy?

The implication of this ruling is that any employee who is critical of their employer's position on some political or social issue could risk being sacked. This is especially the case if a business has a policy against employees making comments regarding their workplace on social media.

The judgement may even have a bearing on cases like that of Israel Folau, who was sacked by the Australian Rugby Union for making homophobic comments on social media that breached his contract.

Following this ruling, does Australia have free speech?
After the Banerji sacking, the government tightened employment guidelines even further, stating that even liking or sharing a social media post could breach the rules.


Mother is horrified after discovering her four-year-old daughter's gruelling preschool schedule - complete with 'progressive' meals, meditation and lessons in maths and engineering

A mother who sends her four-year-old daughter to a $125-a-day preschool has been left shocked after discovering her gruelling daily schedule.

The Australian mother-of-two had dropped her daughter off at school when she decided to ask her teacher how she was performing in class, only to be told 'she has no concentration in all subjects'.

Confused at the teacher's response, the mother found the 'preschool routines' where she noticed an intense timetable listing the strict requirements her daughter had to follow between 7am to 6.30pm.

Her daily subjects included history, maths and engineering, creative arts, science and technology and PDHPE from 9am to 12.40pm.

After her 'progressive lunch', the students head into a meditation between 1.30pm to 2pm before they learn about 'news, letters and booklet' from 2.05pm to 3.45pm.

Some daycare centres offer 'progressive' mealtimes, where there are no strict eating schedules and children have food when they're hungry.

The kids get a 'free discussion time between 3.45pm to 4pm, a 'progressive afternoon tea' from 4pm to 4.30pm, and 'after school care' until 6.30pm.

'Is this what preschoolers are meant to be learning in a long day centre every day in their class? Or is it just me thinking this is really ridiculous,' the mother said in a Facebook group.

'Yesterday as I was dropping off my four year old, I asked the new hired head teacher with primary education degree how my daughter is going. She kept shaking her head, and said: "She's not doing well at all".

'And I said "oh really? In what ways and in which subjects?" And the teacher replied: "In all subjects. She has no concentration in all subjects".'

The mother said she was 'shocked' to hear the feedback, especially 'from a long day care and preschool where I pay $125 a day'.

But everything made sense once she saw her daughter's 'routine'.

'I looked at her schedule and no wonder why my four-year-old has no concentration,' the mother said.

Some daycare centres offer 'progressive' mealtimes, where there are no strict eating schedules and children have food when they're hungry.

During progressive morning or afternoon teas, children are given the option to eat snacks in a small, intimate group setting.

Teachers usually announce that snacks are available to eat, they place them on a table and allow children to come, sit down and eat items when they want them. A lot of children actually eat more food this way when their play isn't directly interrupted.

Other parents were shocked to see the extensive schedule, with many comparing the timetable to high school where students are aged between 12 to 18.

Many said children under the age of five should be focusing on 'play-based learning'. 'It's preschool, let them play,' one mother said.

Another said: 'This is a bulls*** routine. When do they get to be kids?'

One said: 'The teacher has forgotten where she is teaching. This looks like my high school kids' timetable.'

And another said: 'A four-year-old has limited concentration anyway, that's a harsh routine. I'm all for kids going to school at four to five, but they should be learning to socialise, interact, learn through play and enjoy their early school years. This looks ridiculous to me.'

Other parents who work in preschools described the routine as a 'joke'.

'I am an early childhood teacher and I have no words. Play play play play. Children need play... I would seriously consider providing this feedback to the director, and changing centres. Please,' one said.

Another preschool teacher who works at a daycare centre said their daily routine looks like 'nothing like that' as they only focus on 'basic learning'. 'Poor kids must be so confused and exhausted,' she said.


 Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

No comments: