Thursday, October 08, 2020

Eskimo Pie to change its ‘derogatory’ name

An almost 100-year-old ice cream brand has settled on a new name for its Australian version saying “now is the time for change”.

Multiple brands have announced their decision to rebrand or rename products with “racist” or “offensive” packaging and labelling.
An iconic Australian ice cream brand is changing its name, saying it’s “committed to being a part of the solution on racial equality”.

Peters Ice Cream has told it will change its name from Eskimo Pie to Polar Pie.

“Peters Ice Cream is committed to being a part of the solution on racial equality and we acknowledge that now is the time for change,” a spokesperson for Peters said in a statement.

“Eskimo Pie is a brand which has been within our portfolio for many decades and has a loyal consumer base who adore the product. We have chosen to rename the product ‘Polar Pie’ as this retains a strong association back to the original brand and product idea – a frozen treat you eat much like a pie – with your hands and hence the name Polar Pie!”

According to Peters website, Eskimo Pies are the oldest ice cream in the company’s range, and were introduced to Australia in 1923 by the Peters family.


Mining giant BHP splits with Greens

Multinational resources giant BHP has split with the state’s powerful resource lobby after it urged Queenslanders to vote for anyone but the Greens.

Multinational resources giant BHP has split with the state’s powerful resource lobby over its foray into the state’s political campaign after it urged Queenslanders to vote for anyone but the Greens.

The company issued a statement in which it said it had given notice to the Queensland Resources Council that it was suspending its membership immediately after advertising that targeted a specific political party.

“BHP has expressed to the QRC on several occasions its opposition to this advertising approach and had formally requested that it be withdrawn,” the statement said.

“Unfortunately this has not occurred.”

BHP said it supported campaigns around policy issues that affected the mining industry and its workers, and the current approach was “not consistent with that contribution”.

It follows the QRC publicly calling for Queenslanders not to support the Greens party this October 31, and to preference them last.

QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said: “The Queensland Resources Council has made a decision in relation to the anti-jobs policies of the Greens that is in the best interests of Queensland mining and gas members and the 372,000 people and 14,400 businesses who rely on the resources sector for their livelihoods.

“The resources industry will continue to support the economy and jobs of Queenslanders despite the Greens wanting to shut the industry down.

“The current situation is so dire the QRC has to stand up for its industry, particularly people in regional areas.”

The council also put out a media statement welcoming Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s “promise of ‘no deals’, ruling out a power-sharing alliance with the Greens to stay in office”.

“Now is not the time to risk a single job in Queensland by voting for the Greens or by putting them anywhere but last on your ballot paper,” QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said.

“The Greens want to stop jobs in our sector and others.”

Mr Macfarlane said he would continue to warn Queenslanders about the risk to jobs of voting for or preferencing the Greens up until 6pm on election night.

Greens MP Michael Berkman issued a statement acknowledging BHP’s criticism.

“We know the vast majority of Queenslanders support raising mining royalties and it looks like BHP has acknowledged this by splitting from the QRC’s nasty campaign to attack the Greens,” he said.

“The Greens terrify the QRC because if we win, multinational mining corporations will have to pay more in royalties so we can invest in jobs, health and education.

“The ultimate question for this election is who benefits from Queensland’s enormous mineral wealth. The Greens are the only party who have proposed raising mining royalties so every Queenslander can benefit, so it’s no surprise the QRC has had a little meltdown.”


Australian government cuts refugee places by thousands

The Morrison government has slashed the maximum humanitarian intake by thousands on the basis it is too difficult to bring refugees into Australia in the same numbers as before the coronavirus pandemic.

The humanitarian intake was reduced from 18,750 places to 13,750 over the next four years in Tuesday’s budget.

Asylum seeker advocates have slammed the move, which is expected to save almost $1 billion, saying the country should be accepting more refugees at a time when its net overseas migration will drop by hundreds of thousands a year.

But the government insists the number of humanitarian places had to be slashed because of international travel grinding to a halt and refugee services around the world being significantly impacted.

Most of Australia’s refugees are taken through the UNHCR’s resettlement program – meaning they have to fly here from other countries to get to Australia.

The humanitarian intake will still be reviewed every year, allowing the government to return the cap to pre-pandemic levels if the global situation improves.

The change will keep Australia as accepting the third-highest number of refugees via the United Nations resettlement program, behind the United States and Canada.

Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge said the new cap was in line with last year’s outcome of 13,171 and reflected the “global impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic”.

“The government will continue to focus on settlement and integration support for humanitarian entrants,” Mr Tudge said.

“This will include prioritising supporting people in work and improving English language skills.”

Opposition immigration spokesman Andrew Giles said the reduction in the humanitarian intake was a “very big change”.

“And while we are in very novel and uncertain circumstances it does require a proper explanation and then a very serious examination,” Mr Giles said.

“Who will be the next Frank Lowy, Majak Daw or Anh Do that Australia will miss out on due to the Morrison cuts to our humanitarian program?

“We can recover from COVID-19 and continue to provide a lifeline to people in need – like Frank, Majak and Anh who have contributed so much.”

Australia’s collapse in overseas migration and a falling fertility rate has forced Treasury to downgrade the nation’s population forecasts by about one million over the next two years, which is a long-term blow to economic growth.

Amnesty International campaigner Shankar Kasynathan said the government’s decision was “inhumane and makes no sense”.

“Throughout COVID-19, refugees across Australia have gone above and beyond to help their communities get through these difficult times,” he said.

“Instead of seeing these people as a financial burden, this government should be welcoming them with open arms.

“It’s the humane thing to do; it’s also, economically and for our communities, the most sensible thing to do. When refugees move to regional communities like Wagga Wagga and Armidale they restart their lives and in doing so support schools, infrastructure and businesses.”


Universities welcome $1 billion research bailout package

Universities say their pleas have been answered after the federal budget contained a $1 billion research bailout package to help plug the hole caused by the collapse of the international student market.

The funding lifeline comes amid a horror year for the sector as many universities were forced to slash hundreds of jobs in response to a sudden decline in international student enrolments due to border closures.

The Group of Eight – which represents the eight institutions that account for 70 per cent of Australia’s university research – said the funding would “reverberate positively” through industry an security sectors which rely heavily on research advancements in technology and science.

“We have been quite desperate in past months as researchers were being stood down and research programs faltered or halted all because we were missing the International student fees which previously paid for Australia’s research” chief executive Vicki Thomson said.

“With no idea when or even if that market will ever recover, the silver lining is that Australia can once again claim it is funding its own research. That will be welcomed much further afield than our university campuses.”

The coronavirus pandemic has underlined the over-reliance of Australia’s universities on the high fees paid by international students which are used to cross-subsidies research programs.

Researchers at the University of Melbourne’s Centre for the Study of Higher Education have estimated the shortfall in research funding could hit $7.6 billion over the next four years due to the loss of international student revenue.

The Rapid Research Information Forum, chaired by Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel, found universities job losses could hit 21,000 full time positions by the end of the year, of which up to 7,000 could be research-related academic staff.

In his budget speech on Tuesday evening, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the $1 billion injection for research over the next year was about “backing our best and brightest minds whose ideas will help drive our recovery.”

Peak body Universities Australia said the government had “heard the alarm bells” and the funding would stabilise research programs and jobs.

“This will ensure world-class research and discovery can continue on Australia’s universitycampuses,” Universities Australia chair Professor Deborah Terry said.

Higher education expert Andrew Norton, from the Australian National University, said lifeline was bigger than the sector had been expecting and would save some jobs in the firing line.

“This will give universities breathing space meaning they will have sack fewer people in the next few months,” Professor Norton said.

“It would’ve been much much better if they had announced it a few months ago because the universities have already set in motion some of these job cuts.”

National Tertiary Education Union president Alison Barnes criticised the announcement as insufficient, saying the funding represented only “a fraction” of the research shortfall universities were facing.

“The budget also fails to seriously address the funding and jobs crisis that universities are experiencing. Livelihoods and careers have been demolished in the past six months with 12,000 jobs lost and $3 billion in revenue disappearing,” Dr Barnes said.


Australia’s Federal debt not a big problem

The federal government is spending roughly an extra $75 billion over the next two years to keep you and your boss happy and positive as we go through the deepest economic recession in living memory.

Yep, this is all about you and your job … because you are the economy. It’s that simple. Unemployment will peak at 8 per cent in December and take another two years to get back under 6 per cent.

That’s what is wreaking havoc with the economy. Jobs really are at the core of a healthy economy … and recovery from this recession.

If you’re in a job, you’re earning an income. Part of that income gets paid to the government in tax and by spending what’s left over keeps businesses open so they can pay tax (from profits) to the government and employ staff who, in turn, earn an income, pay their own tax and spend more.

What makes the economy go-round is pretty simple really. You earning an income from your job, spending it with a business so they can create jobs and everyone pays tax.

Yes the $213 billion Budget deficit and net government debt of over $700 billion looks scary but — and I know this may sound weird — don’t worry about it.

While the figures look huge, our economy is also huge by comparison and our debt as a proportion of the economy is much lower than virtually every other advanced economy in the world.

As a bonus, the government is paying less that one per cent interest on that debt … so it’s cheap money.

So what’s in the Federal Budget to make you feel good and positive?

  • The tax cuts due to start in July 2022 will be brought forward two years to start last July. Yes that means you’ve been paying too much tax for the first four months of this financial year but it also means you’ll get a bigger tax refund and there will be less tax taken out of your wage from now on.

For most working Australians that’s an extra $3000-$5000 (depending on your tax bracket) a year extra to go out and spend.

  • Aged pensioners will receive a $500 bonus in two equal payments in December and March.
  • There are a raft of new job training programs, and billions being spent on infrastructure projects, all designed to create new job opportunities if you’re made redundant.

There will be new job training programs available.
There will be new job training programs available.
Now to your boss. What’s in this Budget to keep them positive, keep you in a job and create more jobs?

  • As we know already, the $101 billion JobKeeper program keeps going until the end of March even though the amount is reduced and eligibility rules have been tightened.
  • For businesses not on JobKeeper, they can receive a “hiring credit” of $200 a week if they add an eligible under 30-year-old to their staff and $100 a week for a 30-35 year old new employee.
  • If their business makes a loss this financial year they can offset that loss against profits they’ve made in the past two years (usually they can only offset losses against future profits). While they’ve already paid tax on those past profits, they’ll get a refund back once the losses are offset against them.
  • Any investment in new assets for the business can be written off against their tax immediately instead of over a few years. Less tax means more money to spend or hire more staff.

The Australian economy was in pretty good shape going into this pandemic. It’s fair to say, if you had to be in any country in the world to get through this recession it would be Australia.


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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