Sunday, February 23, 2020

RSL branch bans Aboriginal flag and welcome to country at ceremonies

ANZAC day is when Australians remember family members who have died in war.  Intruding other concerns into that solemn occasion is offensive

A state branch of the RSL has taken the extraordinary step of banning the Aboriginal flag and traditional indigenous ceremonies on Anzac Day.

The Western Australian branch of the RSL has taken the extraordinary step of banning the Aboriginal flag and performance of welcome to country at its ceremonies honouring war heroes.

A report by the ABC today claimed that some RSL members last year were upset after an Aboriginal professor read the Ode of Remembrance, traditionally recited on Remembrance Day ceremonies, in an indigenous language last year.

The reading on last year’s Anzac Day ceremony by Professor Len Collard in the Noongar language reportedly sparked the change in rules. Professor Collard had translated the Ode himself. Members told John McCourt, the chief executive of the RSLWA, that reading poem in another language wasn’t appropriate.

After receiving complaints the RSLWA board developed new policies to control Anzac and Remembrance Day ceremonies held in the state.

“While having utmost respect for the traditional owners of land upon which such sites and memorials are located, RSLWA does not view it appropriate that a Welcome to Country is used at sites that were specifically established to pay homage to those who died and who came from a wide range of cultural backgrounds,” the new policy reads.

The new policy includes guidelines that all content be delivered in English (except the New Zealand National Anthem); only flying the Australian, New Zealand and WA flags and; having no welcome to country ceremonies.

The policy, which outlines rules for the RSL’s commemorations regarding “culture”, recognises Australia as a diverse and multicultural nation, before going on to acknowledge a “trend among sectors of the Australian community to seek to include specific cultural and ethnic elements into major commemorative events” including Anzac and Remembrance Day.

“While it is important to recognise cultural and ethnic contributions to the defence of Australia, it is also important to maintain Anzac Day and Remembrance Day as occasions to express unity, a time when all Australians – irrespective of race, culture or religion – come together to remember and reflect.”

A welcome to country is performed at the beginning of events in Australia to bring awareness about the traditional history and cultural owners of an area. A welcome to country is usually performed by an indigenous elder.

Mr McCourt said these ceremonies are only banned on Anzac and Remembrance Day. “All the RSL is asking for is two days,” he told the ABC.

He said the RSLWA “remains appalled” at the discriminatory treatment of indigenous Australians who returned after serving in World War I.


Anthony Albanese bets leadership on zero emissions

Labor has decided to live or die by climate change. Anthony Albanese has bet his leadership and the Labor Party on the bushfires shifting our political culture such that the public accepts the gains from net zero carbon emissions by 2050 outweigh the losses.

Labor asks people to accept this act of faith. It is a tactical gamble by Albanese that the summer has shifted Australian values. The 2050 target is transformational in its consequences. Its logic is a carbon price but Labor rejects that.

Albanese pledges the target without a plan, guidelines, implications for industry and regions or the slightest explanation on how to manage the millions of winners and losers, what compensation — if any — he envisages, and how it would be financed. The big emitters have yet to embrace this target.

The detail will come before the next election. This means Labor must build its economic policy around its climate change agenda, an epic step. Albanese seeks to prevail where Julia Gillard and Bill Shorten failed.

The upshot is the Morrison government and the Business Council of Australia will release their own road maps for this 2050 journey before Labor.

By this decision Labor pins its future as a party on climate change and its economics. Albanese has doubled down on Shorten’s 2019 stance but adopted a more distant 2050 target to minimise the upfront electoral damage.

The tactic makes sense but is high risk. Setting a 2050 benchmark to transform the economy, energy markets, prices and emissions is a grand hoax without any of the policy mechanisms to achieve it.

Telling the Australian people that the scientists, economists and modelling experts can show that net zero at 2050 will be a nirvana of more jobs and cleaner energy might not be as easy a sell to a cynical electorate as Labor thinks.

Albanese is following the Kevin Rudd method from 2007 — elevate climate change to define yourself as a leader of the future as opposed to Scott Morrison (or John Howard then). This must constitute a political threat to Morrison. And Albanese will have plenty of allies.

The 2050 benchmark is winning global and local acceptance. It has international momentum. It is backed by global finance, multinationals, the Australian states, the business council, banks, corporates, environmental groups and the progressive media. There will be rebel Liberals who want to sign up, a disciplinary test for Morrison’s side.

But Albanese will face immediate pressure on the question: is his pledge credible? This is because, as the UN points out, many nations pledge net zero by 2050 but have no game plan to get there.

Morrison unleashed an immediate attack: Albanese can’t say what it costs, what industry will be affected, how many jobs will be lost. The prospect of Morrison pledging the 2050 target this term — he has it under review — is now even more unlikely. The climate change war will continue.

Albanese invokes Ross Garnaut’s idea of Australia as a clean energy superpower. His vision is Australia at 2050 with more jobs, lower emissions and lower energy prices. He bets the Australian people will now decide “the cost of inaction is too great”.

Labor, it seems, took this decision influenced by the bushfires, the polls and the belief that sentiment had changed decisively on climate change. It is, however, highly unlikely this summer’s mood will be permanent.


Unions at root of Holden death spin

If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is, and eventually the artifice crumbles.

This week, the utter folly that is enterprise bargaining claimed another high-profile victim. Another business cuts its losses, sacks all the staff, turns the lights off and leaves the country. In this sorry situation there are no winners.

Looking back, the wages and conditions granted by managers at Holden were irresponsible and absurd. Restrictive, old-fashioned, totally out of touch with reality, too good (for the unions) to be true, and so here we are, at the point where we were always going to arrive; after billions of dollars and so much wasted time and effort, the cupboard is bare and the air is thick with angry grief.

Back in 2013, this column exposed, in a series, the embarrassing detail of various enterprise agreements in the car manufacturing sector. At the time, the federal government was deliberating the issue of further support. The Productivity Commission had recommended against it, and after the columns were printed, senior car industry types appeared before various politicians in Canberra, red-faced and spluttering.

As The Weekend Australian had provided links to the enterprise agreements, everyone could read them. There was no hiding from the ludicrous details.

It may make sense to subsidise an industry, for security or economic reasons, or it may not. That is for policymakers to ponder. However, when subsidies are granted, it does makes sense to scrutinise how the money is spent or wasted.

Way back in the old days, before enterprise bargaining at Holden began, the wage of an entry-level process worker was $462.80 a week. In 1992, enterprise bargaining began, and by 2013 a worker at that same classification level had a base rate of $1194.50 a week.

This represented a 158 per cent increase, or a compound increase of 4.4 per cent year on year for 22 years. By 2013, wage rates for process workers were in the $60,000 to $80,000 a year range, while modern award rates for such workers were in the $37,000 to $42,000 range.

By 2013, union privileges were beyond the pale. The union controlled Holden sites, it vetted who was employed and dismissed, how they worked and how much they were paid. Union delegates worked full time for the union on the company’s time and acted as paid onsite enforcers for the rules. To hone their skills, Holden was compelled to pay them to attend 10 days of union training a year. The best two delegates, as nominated by the union, were entitled to one paid month off to “further their industrial and/or leadership development”.

An ex-employee from Adelaide was interviewed and described the workforce as “over-managed”, with one team leader for every six workers on the production line, when one for every 25 workers would suffice. He admitted their work was worth about “20 bucks an hour” and detailed how, years earlier, some of his mates had taken redundancy packages in the order of “$280k plus”.

Today, the foolish arrangements at Holden continue. The latest GM Holden Warehousing Operations Enterprise Agreement 2018, available on the Fair Work Commission website, does show that in the past three years (2017-2020) the base rate increases moderated to 2 per cent a year. However, the plethora of other payments and restrictive arrangements make for sorry reading. The document, more than 140 pages, is a case study in how enterprise bargaining will kill a business.

All enterprises with fluctuating workflow need to hire casuals or agency staff in the peaks to supplement their permanent workforce. People are called on as the need arises, but at Holden a staggering list of requirements — more than one page long — must be met before the company can even consider hiring an extra body.

Providing the criteria are met, a shift plan must be given to the union, which must give its agreement before extra people can be hired. If a casual is hired and works full-time hours continuously for three months, Holden is compelled to give them a permanent job.

The union has to agree on which labour-hire company can be used — this is a clear pathway to potential corruption as union officials can set up labour-hire companies, take part-ownership or just demand kickbacks.

Holden’s provisions for forced redundancies are staggering in their largesse. Separation payments of four weeks’ pay per completed year of service are capped at 90 weeks’ pay. On top of this, add four weeks’ notice, another week’s additional separation payment per week of service, uncapped, a maximum of eight weeks’ unused sick leave payment, and pro rata long service leave payments from five years.

To put it simply, long-term employees can expect redundancy payments of two years’ pay or more. In stark contrast, Australia’s National Employment Standards provide redundancy payouts of no more than 21 weeks’ pay.

Perhaps the most telling section of the agreement is labelled “Information Sharing”. In a stunning display of idiocy and delusion, Holden management is compelled to provide updates for union officials four times a year, covering its business plan, business plan performance, key forward activities and events, continuous improvement activities, meetings of state committees and union meetings in each facility.

Considering a handful of union officials were running Holden, they should pack their bags and leave with the rest of the executive team.


New wave of coral bleaching raises concerns for Great Barrier Reef

Given the Greenie lies about the last bleaching  -- Peter Ridd won a court case over his criticisms of them --  this report is fit only to be ignored

Perhaps the most amusing part of the previous scare was when the Federal minister visited the reef to see for herself how bad it was.  She found it looked fine.  We read:  "The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has supported Environment Minister Sussan Ley's appraisal that the reef is "good" and has "a vibrant future"."

They completely walked back their cries of doom.  I guess not all Greenies are crooks but most of them seem to be

Another wave of coral bleaching is hitting the Great Barrier Reef as temperature levels surge above average.

The federal government’s lead reef protection agency on Wednesday discovered significant bleaching on three reefs in the far north of the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem.

“That is the first time we’ve seen significant bleaching so far this summer,” said David Wachenfeld, chief scientist with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

“It is a confirmation of our growing concern about what is happening out on the reef at the moment.” Heat stress that has built up on the far northern, central and southern parts of the reef over the summer has intensified over the last week. “These levels of heat stress are definitely capable of causing coral bleaching and we are now at a heightened level of alertness for what is happening out there in the park,” Dr Wachenfeld said.

A bleaching warning has been issued for large parts of the Torres Strait and far northern management areas of the marine park, where significant bleaching across multiple hot spots is likely.

Most of the area covered by the marine park was 0.5 to 1.5C above average as of February 11, with some central and southern parts being 2 to 3C warmer. “February is the hottest month of the year on the reef so these anomalies are really very concerning,” Dr Wachenfeld said.

The reef authority has been told of bleaching in other areas and is sending staff to survey the damage.

Further heat stress is expected over the next few weeks as temperatures remain high.


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

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