Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Senate motion condemning Bettina Arndt a 'complete freedom of speech violation'

Bettina Arndt is Australia's no. 1 critic of feminist hate.  Feminists are therefore out to shut her down in any way possible.  They got a big help with their campaign when she speculated why a dire murderer did what he did.  The man murdered his wife and children and then suicided.

And it wasn't even Bettina's own  speculation. She simply repeated a speculation from a cop on the case.

Bettina's big mistake was to take an interest in why the murderer did it.  Apparently you are not allowed to do that.  You are not allowed to ask what drove a man to a horrible crime

Why not?  I don't think there was any rational reason.  In such circumstances you are just supposed to emote.  Your emotions are all that is needed and anything more is dangerous

Like myself Bettina has qualifications in psychology and for both of us it is elementary to ask WHY a thing occurred. That is science. It is totally anti-intellectual to do otherwise.  But the Left are always the loudest voices so their purely emotional reaction was taken as the morally right one. So they "got" Bettina on a charge of inappropriate emotions.  That examining the facts might be by far the most useful thing to do was not considered

For the record I agree entirely with what Bettina said.  She was the only truth seeker in the whole affair.  Emotions are not enough

Those few who have defended Bettina normally disown what she said.  That is just a weak way out.  I challenge them to point out WHAT she said that was in any way wrong.  To some it was clearly wrong emotionally but surely we can do better than that

The headline above refers to the fact that the Australian Senate did a brainless emotional pile-on too.  It was good virtue signalling to condemn Bettina, apparently

I have put up my dissection of the motives of the murderer here.  Subsequent reports showing him to have been be aggressive from childhood on would seem to confirm my analysis

"Outsiders" host Rowan Dean says while he was "deeply disturbed" by Bettina Ardnt's comments on Hannah Clarke, he thinks the Senate motion to condemn her was a "complete violation" of freedom of speech.

Mr Dean said there was no “justification or excuse for the horrific terrifying murders committed by Rowan Baxter" and he did not support Ms Ardnt's comments but would defend her right to express her views.

"I don't support Bettina Arndt's comments, but I do defend her right to express them and for anyone else to express their opposition to them," he said.

Mr Dean said because the Senate decided to pass a motion condemning Ms Arndt for the controversial comments, it was “using the overwhelming power of government to crush one individual's reputation for expressing a point of view”.

“Only two senators were brave enough to vote against the motion - One Nation senators Pauline Hanson and Malcolm Roberts.


ABC seeks extra $5m for cynical campaign on climate

The delinquency of the ABC on climate issues knows no bounds and we must continue to call it out because if we don’t, who will?

The annual expenditure of more than $1.5bn of taxpayers funds in public broadcasting ought to be used to inform the public rather than to try to deceive them and campaign against their interests.

Not content with repeatedly and dishonestly asserting that global warming was the critical factor in our summer of bushfires, the national broadcaster has now been ghoulish and crass enough to try to use the tragedy of those fires, together with their disingenuous spin on climate change, to demand even more taxpayer largesse.

“We estimate it’s going to cost an extra $5m per annum from next financial year, where we’re going to have to build up our capacity to respond — this being the new normal,” said ABC managing director David Anderson before Senate estimates.

That the government has neither condemned this tactic nor ruled out this request speaks volumes about the Coalition’s crisis of conviction. But let me unpack some of the travesties in this request.

First, there is the false assertion the bushfires were somehow different or worse than fires or other natural disasters we’ve seen before.

Second, there is the false assertion, linked to climate alarmism, that we can expect this annually from now on.

Third, there is the outrageous proposition that an organisation generously funded by taxpayers to cover news is suddenly complaining that, because it covered bushfire news this summer, it requires more money.

Fourth, there is the rank opportunism of using the damage and deaths of the nation’s worst bushfire season for a decade to bolster its bid for extra cash.

Frankly, the ABC should have $5m stripped from its funding as a punishment for this effort. Instead, Communications Minister Paul Fletcher has asked the ABC to detail its case.

But back on honesty in reporting, readers of The Australian or viewers of Sky News will be aware the CSIRO was caught out burying a significant fact when it comes to bushfires and climate change.

In a recent two-page document, The 2019-20 Bushfires: A CSIRO Explainer, the organisation outlined the impact of weather and vegetation on bushfire behaviour, the need to better plan and prepare for them and said climate change was already making fire seasons longer and more intense.

But it did not include important information contained in the CSIRO’s technical report, Climate Change in Australia. That document is more than 200 pages long and on page 51 talks about increases in fire weather conditions but noted: “However, no studies explicitly attributing the Australian increase in fire weather to climate change have been performed at this time.”

This has only come to light because of questioning by Senator Matt Canavan in an estimates committee hearing last week. The embarrassing pauses and jumbled explanations from the CSIRO representative made for excruciating theatre.

Yet the story was not covered by the ABC. This is par for the course — inconvenient facts are censored and only the alarmist line or information to support it will be ventilated by the national broadcaster.

Remember, the ABC has failed to report and analyse the scientific conclusions of Professor Andy Pitman, the director of the ARC Centre for Excellence on Climate Extremes at the University of NSW, when it comes to drought.

His conclusion that there is insufficient evidence to directly link the current (almost past) drought to climate change has been studiously ignored by the ABC — except for pathetic attempts by Media Watch host Paul Barry to pretend his detailed findings were turned on their head by the ex post facto inclusion of one word; “direct link” rather than “link”.

This is crucial because it has been the drought-induced drying of vegetation that has helped create the bad fire conditions, along with the weather which delivered record highs in some bushfire-affected areas in early summer.

The science on all this is highly relevant and deeply interesting. The most recent peer-reviewed research says observational data reflects a higher frequency of fire weather extremes, but that it is too early to separate natural variability from climate factors.

“Impacts of anthropogenic climate change on fire weather extremes and fire season length are projected to emerge above natural variability in the 2040s,” says ScienceBrief Review’s summary.

Against this backdrop the ABC last week conducted a fact check on a crucial point made by Liberal MP Craig Kelly when he was engaged in a slanging match on British television in January over our bushfires and whether climate change was to blame. Kelly insisted that “the first 20 years of this century we’ve had more rainfall in Australia than the first 20 years of the last century”.

To those who have read a bit on these issues, this will not have been a surprising claim but the ABC and its fact-check partners, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, decided to test it.

They shared Bureau of Meteorology records and a graph showing a long-term average increase in Australian rainfall.

“Data collected by the Bureau of Meteorology shows an increase in Australia’s annual average rainfall for the first two decades of this century compared to the years 1900 to 1919,” the fact-check article duly reported.

In other words, the assertion made by Kelly was 100 per cent accurate — no ifs, no buts, just demonstrably correct.

So, what was the ABC/RMIT fact-check verdict? “Mr Kelly’s claim is flawed,” it declared. I kid you not.  Flawed claim ... or flawed fact-checking?

This is how far from their charter the ABC has strayed; how far our universities have wandered from searching for truth.

These publicly funded institutions now demean the truth and seek to either hide it or mischaracterise it. They have arrived at a bad place and we all ought to be deeply concerned.

The justification for this “flawed” finding is that national rainfall averages, experts argue, are not the best way to measure climate effects because rainfall patterns vary region by region.

While the nation is receiving more rain, some parts are receiving less, others more, and others still, might be receiving less when they need and more when they don’t.

While these are facts — other facts and relevant facts — they don’t disprove, undermine or render “flawed” the empirical fact shared by Kelly. Introduce such facts into a debate to provide context or support your different conclusions, sure. But don’t pretend they render false or “flawed” other facts cited by others.

It is dishonest to take a known fact and pretend it is not correct. The only reason anyone would attempt to portray claims, data and facts in this way would be to deceive the public in pursuit of an ideological agenda.

Fact check that.


Easier university admission for girls outrageous, says PLC principal Kate Hadwen

The principal of Australia’s largest private school for girls has ­described as “outrageous” the ­decision by the University of Technology Sydney to lower entry standards for female students who want to take STEM courses.

“We don’t need it, do we, girls? No,” said Kate Hadwen, head of Pymble Ladies College, one of the best-performing schools in the country.

The scheme, announced by the UTS for 2020, says girls can enter STEM courses with 10 fewer Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank points than boys.

The girls are then encouraged to aim at careers in science, engineering, IT and maths.

Dr Hadwen was asked for her opinion about the program by one of her students during a Women and Education event hosted by The Australian for International Women’s Day.

Dr Hadwen replied: “It’s outrageous. The thinking is to try and encourage girls into STEM. But I just think that it’s absolutely saying women need help. We don’t need help. We’re great as we are, thanks very much.”

Dr Hadwen said only 40 per cent of students used the ATAR to access university. “So 60 per cent of students will get a university placement through a portfolio and a multitude of other entries,” she said. “You have to earn your place there … I’m a believer in that.”

UTS declined to comment, saying it had nobody available to ­defend the “ATAR-adjustment” program for girls.

The university was criticised when the program was announced last year, prompting Verity Firth, director of UTS Centre for Social Justice and Inclusion, to say: ­“Reviews were oddly mixed. The word ‘merit’ was thrown around like a javelin.”

Women comprise half of all university students, but they don’t tend to do the courses that are still seen as “male” such as engineering, IT and building and construction. Men don’t do the courses seen as “female” either: arts and communications.

The federal government has several programs designed to ­encourage girls to study STEM subjects, such as Curious Minds for talented girls in Years 9 and 10.

Program manager Vanessa Kates said the program, delivered by the Australian Mathematics Trust and Australian Science ­Innovations, identified excellent candidates through a competition, “and the girls, when we contact them, often don’t realise how well they are performing”.

“Very often, they say: Are you sure you mean me? We say ‘Yes, we think you are talented, you are fabulous, you can do this’. And they are often surprised.”

She agreed “something needs to be done” to encourage girls “but I fear that it (ATAR adjustment) may entrench the prejudice against girls, if people are able to say, ‘Oh, you only got in because of the special credit they gave you’.

“The girls we see are … intelligent and have many options, and it’s up to us to say give it a crack, you’re actually excellent.”

The University of South Australia has a STEM Girls program, targeting Year 11 students, some of whom are thinking of dropping maths and science in favour of subjects thought to be “easier”.

“It’s because there is so much emphasis on the ATAR,” she said. “We hear things like: I don’t think I should do the harder subjects, or subjects that are perceived to be harder, like high-level mathematics, because then I won’t get the ATAR I need.

“But if you don’t go on with high enough level mathematics, you can’t actually get the STEM career you want.”


Students’ reasons for right-wing ban ‘wrong’

A student guild was wrong to cite the non-alignment of values as a reason to veto participation in its Market Week by a right-wing youth group, a vice-chancellor says.

The Queensland University of Technology Student Guild ­refused to offer the group, Generation Liberty, a stall in Market Week, which is held the week after the university’s Orientation Week.

Vice-chancellor Margaret Sheil said on Friday that Market Week, which was run by the Student Guild, not the university, did not host stalls from any political group. “But Generation Liberty was wrongly advised that its ­application had been declined on the basis of its values,” Professor Sheil said.

The Student Guild had provided Generation Liberty “an ­incorrect reason for the decision”, she said.

Professor Sheil said her statement was intended to correct the record. “Any assertion that I or the university have exercised bias or failed to protect free speech are factually incorrect,” she said.

Professor Sheil was backed by Nicholas Saunders, chief commissioner of higher education regulator the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency, who told a Senate estimates committee hearing on Thursday night that after investigating QUT’s ­actions, it considered the matter closed.

Professor Saunders told the committee that Professor Sheil had learnt through media reports of the Student Guild’s rejection of the Generation Liberty application for a stall.

“The vice-chancellor took immediate steps to remedy the matter by first informing the Student Guild that the university considered its response to Generation Liberty as inadequate, and it emphasised to the guild that it was expected to operate in ­accordance with the university’s commitment to academic freedom and freedom of expression,” Professor Saunders said.

“Secondly, the vice-chancellor invited Generation Liberty to participate in the university-run Orientation Week, which ­occurred in the week preceding Market Week. “I understand Generation ­Liberty did not accept the university’s offer.”

Professor Saunders said the QUT Student Guild was “quite separate from the ­university”. “It has its own legal status, it has its own governance and its own management. “It runs Market Week, not the university,” he told the Senate estimates hearing.

He said TEQSA was empowered to regulate universities, and did not regulate the QUT Student Guild.

But he said he had seen The Australian’s report that Generation Liberty, which is the youth arm of libertarian think tank the Institute of Public Affairs, had made a complaint to the Human Rights Commission alleging discriminatory behaviour by the QUT Student Guild.


 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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