Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Cricketers want a lot

Australian batsman Chris Lynn above -- pictured with partner Karlie. If I were "stranded" in India with Karlie I don't think I would be feeling too sad about it

When I read that Brisbane Heat captain Chris Lynn had asked the Australian Cricket Board to organise and pay for a charter flight to repatriate Australians playing in the Indian Premier League, I couldn't believe my eyes.

Especially when Lynn also revealed that he and other IPL players were jumping the queue to receive COVID jabs next week.

And it got worse. It turned out that Lynn had made his request before prime minister Scott Morrison's announcement on Tuesday that all flights from India to Australia had been cancelled following over 350,00 positive cases of COVID being recorded the previous day.

So he wasn't even saying that he and his 16 fellow IPL mercenaries needed an emergency airlift to escape immediately from virus-ravaged India.

He was requesting that the flight be arranged to take off after the IPL finishes next month.

Or, put another way, after the likes of Lynn, Smith, Warner, Pat Cummins, Glenn Maxwell and co have collected their full pay packets. And hefty pay packets they are too.

Cummins' contract is worth $3.16 million, Maxwell is on $2.52 million, Warner $2.3 million, and Chris Lynn $406,000.

And incredibly, they are still getting it, with the IPL continuing to be played and generating enormous amounts of money while bodies are lining up on the streets of Indian cities and towns.

Yet Lynn is crying poor. His reasoning being that the ACB takes a 10 percent cut of all Australian IPL contracts, meaning a commission this year of just over $1.6 million.

That's money that goes towards funding junior cricket and to insure against the risk of Australia's top players being injured while playing in a privately run competition amongst other things, but which he believes could be best spent flying some of Australia's highest-paid athletes home from India.

Well here's another idea, maybe the players could spend some of $16.3 million they are picking up for less than two months work on paying for their own flights.

After all, Lynn and the others chose to travel to India during a pandemic to reap the rich rewards on offer.


Police minister calls for teacher to be sacked from primary school where students were 'brainwashed' into making Black Lives Matter posters saying 'stop killer cops' and 'pigs out of the country'

A primary school teacher who instructed students to make anti-police posters in which officers were called 'pigs' should be sacked, NSW Police Minister David Elliott said.

Pupils in Years 5 and 6 at Lindfield Learning Village in Sydney's north made placards with the words 'stop killer cops' and 'pigs out of the country', slogans which have featured in the Black Lives Matter movement in the US.

Others read: 'white lives matter too much' and 'you can't silence the speechLess'.

A furious Mr Elliot called for the teacher involved to be stood down for demonising brave police officers.

'The headmistress should be fronting the media today to explain why taxpayers' dollars are being spent to educate children in this manner,' he told 2GB radio on Wednesday morning. 'They have completely let their student body down by indoctrinating and brainwashing them,' he added.

'We are supposed to be telling our kids that if you wear a uniform you're a hero and teaching these kids the history of Australia is one of tolerance and sacrifice and courage and then we get this crap stuck to us.

'If my kid was at this school I'd want my money back and I'd be getting my kid out of there.'

Mr Elliot apologised to the parents of police officers. 'We don't think that your children are pigs, we think your children are fantastic,' he said. 'Police haven't done anything wrong, they are the pillar of our society. This sort of mentality has no place in Australia.'

Host Ben Fordham said the teacher should be sacked and Mr Elliot said: 'That's right.'

Mr Elliot later spoke about the incident on Nine's Today show where he slammed 'ideologues that work in the education department'.

'Children don't need the police built up as some sort of bogey man which is what we're seeing with this indoctrination,' he said.

Images of the posters were shared on social media and featured in the Daily Telegraph which broke the story on Tuesday night.

Education Minister Sarah Mitchell told the newspaper she would launch a review to find out how this happened.

'These posters should not be displayed in a classroom. Any teacher found to be politicising a classroom will face disciplinary action. 'Political activism has no place in a school,' she said.

Black Lives Matter is a movement founded in the US in 2013 to protest about some high-profile incidents of black men being killed by police.

It came back to prominence after George Floyd was killed by a police officer who in Minneapolis, Minnesota last year.

That officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty on Wednesday morning Australian time of murdering Mr Floyd by leaning on his neck for nine and a half minutes on May 25.

The BLM movement spread to Australia where Indigenous rights activists held marches in major cities last winter.

One Nation's NSW Legislative Council MP Mark Latham backed calls for the teacher to be sacked, and said the principal should also be dismissed.

'For a student to be saying 'white lives matter too much' and for the teacher to display it in the classroom is appalling,' Mr Latham said.

'It is not education it is indoctrination, they’re polluting the minds of little kids. It is not humanity, it is not compassion, it is a warped mutant ideology shoved down the throats of little kids.'

Lindfield Learning Village was established in 2019, with children not required to wear uniforms, and with no structured lessons or classrooms but instead using open-learning spaces.

The Learning Village said its education model was based on 'three archetypal learning spaces – the campfire, cave, and watering hole – that schools can use as physical spaces and virtual spaces for student learning.

'Our approach is designed to create independent, resilient learners who possess the learning dispositions required for success in their life within and beyond school.'

The school's stated 'Code of Collaboration' vows to 'listen actively and challenge each other's ideas to help them grow'.

'We will notice what is not being said and enable all voices,' the code reads.

The controversy came just a month after the school held Harmony Day 2021 in which students and staff were encouraged to wear orange or 'cultural dress' and to make donations to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre's Feast for Freedom.


Angus Taylor says Australia won’t ‘declare war’ on industry to cut emissions

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will address a virtual climate summit on Thursday evening as industrialised nations declare their intention to drastically reduce emissions.

The federal government has avoided joining the UK, the US, and other major powers in committing to a net zero emissions target by 2050 but has claimed it remains on course to reach a 26 or 28 per cent reduction by 2030.

Energy Minister Angus Taylor insisted Australia would not “declare war on industry” in order to reach more ambitious goals.

“Technology is the key. It’s always been the key of humans solving hard problems and it will be the case,” he told ABC radio on Thursday. “The goal here is not to declare war on an industry.”

The European Union in December declared its intentions to slash emissions by 55 per cent by 2030, while US President Joe Biden was expected to use the summit to announce a 50 per cent target by that date.

That would follow a commitment this week from the UK to cut emissions by 78 per cent within 14 years in what Westminster described as “the world’s most ambitious climate target”.

But Mr Taylor rejected suggestions Australia was in danger of falling behind the rest of the industrialised world. “Politicians’ promises are one thing (but) delivery is what counts. There are lots of countries that have made promises in the past and pulled out … What counts, at the end of the day, is delivery,” he said.

And Mr Taylor claimed Australia aimed to surpass its comparatively low emissions reduction target, which he described as “always a floor … not a cap” on its ambitions. “We always shoot to meet and beat our targets. That’s exactly what we seek to do, but we deliver,” he said.

“So set the bar low and then over-deliver. Is that it, minister?” asked host Fran Kelly.

Mr Taylor said Australia had over-delivered on its Kyoto targets despite public scepticism.

But clean energy groups say the claim was based on a credit claimed in the early 1990s based on a reduction in land clearing, but Australia had since allowed fossil fuel use to grow.

The federal government on Wednesday unveiled a $539m plan to boost hydrogen and carbon capture technology as part of the May budget, along with $565.8m towards international low emissions technology partnerships.

The Energy Minister was pressed on whether the hydrogen spruiked by the government would be made with fossil fuels. Mr Taylor said hydrogen would be made with “anything that allows us to reduce emissions”. “You know what: If it’s zero emissions, it’s fine. That’s the point. It’s got to be clean,” he said.

Labor frontbencher Tony Burke demanded the government follow the rest of the industrialised world by committing to a net zero target by 2050.

“It needs to happen. It’s in the national interest, it’s in the commercial interests of Australia, and it’s in the environmental interests of Australia for that to happen,” he told Sky News.

Labor has yet to commit to a mid-range target, but its climate spokesman Chris Bowen said its 2030 or 2035 aims would be revealed “well before the next election”.


Angry response from China after Australia scraps Belt and Road Initiative

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has scrapped Victoria’s controversial Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) deal with China, calling it “inconsistent with Australia’s foreign policy”.

The decision made late on Wednesday night threatens to inflame already fraught diplomatic tensions between Canberra and Beijing.

Deploying Australia’s powerful new veto powers under legislation passed last year for the first time, the Federal Government ended the deal, warning it was against Australia’s interests.

“I consider these four arrangements to be inconsistent with Australia’s foreign policy or adverse to our foreign relations in line with the relevant test in Australia’s Foreign Relations (State and Territory Arrangements) Act 2020,’’ Foreign Minister Marise Payne said.

“I will continue to consider foreign arrangements notified under the Scheme. I expect the overwhelming majority of them to remain unaffected. I look forward to ongoing collaboration with states, territories, universities and local governments in implementing the Foreign Arrangements Scheme.”

China quickly hit back at Australia over what it called an “unreasonable and provocative move”.

In a statement, a Chinese Embassy spokesman slammed the decision which is expected to plunge the fractured relationship into greater acrimony. “We express our strong displeasure and resolute opposition to the Australian Foreign Minister’s announcement on April 21 to cancel the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation within the Framework of the Belt and Road Initiative and the related Framework Agreement between the Chinese side and Government of Victoria,” the spokesman said.

“This is another unreasonable and provocative move taken by the Australian side against China. It further shows that the Australian government has no sincerity in improving China-Australia relations. It is bound to bring further damage to bilateral relations, and will only end up hurting itself.”

China argues the BRI is an initiative for economic co-operation. “The BRI co-operation between China and the Victoria state is conducive to deepening economic and trade relations between the two sides, and will promote economic growth and the wellbeing of the people of Victoria,” the spokesman said.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews blindsided the Federal Government when he first signed the Belt and Road deal with the Chinese government in 2018.

It outlined a memorandum of understanding to take part in the $1.5 trillion infrastructure program, which is widely viewed as a global power play by Chinese Communist Party and a national security threat.

The states had previously been offered a deadline of March 10 to inform the Commonwealth of their deals with foreign governments.

“I haven’t seen the benefits of it,” Mr Morrison said earlier this year. “If there are benefits, what are they and what was paid for them? I don’t have the answers to those questions at this point, but the assessment of those arrangements will continue.”

The Victorian Premier, who remains on medical leave had previously defended the deal against allegations it could pose a national security risk.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese has declared his own opposition to the deals pledging Labor would never seek similar agreements.

“Certainly, there shouldn’t be agreements that are inconsistent with Australia’s national interest, or our foreign policy,” Mr Albanese said.

A Victorian government spokeswoman said: “The Foreign Relations Act is entirely a matter for the Commonwealth government.”

“Victoria will continue to work hard to deliver jobs, trade and economic opportunities for our state.”

Relations between China and Australia have been tense since a bitter trade war erupted in 2020.




Tuesday, April 27, 2021

PM Scott Morrison on climate summit with Joe Biden: ‘We have targets and we will beat them’

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said Australia not be updating its 2030 emissions target ahead of the climate change summit put on by US President Joe Biden.

He said Australia has serious commitments “and we’re meeting them and will beat them”. “We’re keen to ensure there’s a transparency. Australia is one of the few countries in the world where we report our emissions every single year,” he said.

“That was not our plan to do that this evening. We’re making a range of commitments that we have already announced in terms of our critical technologies and partnerships which we have been discussing in particular with the US.

“The last discussion I had with former secretary [John] Kerry, the special envoy, about the partnerships we were putting together with the US on energy technology.

“We are keen to pursue that. I’d make this one comment on the report. And that is the trajectory to any net zero outcome is not linear. Anyone who thinks it is I know doesn’t get it. “The way technology works is there is a long lead time into its development and commercialisation and once the technology is in place, you can see a massive transformation.

“And so your achievement of net zero over time has more of that type of a curve. If you think it’s linear, then that just doesn’t, that isn’t supported I think by the science or the research.”

Australia will not get the comprehensive climate flogging some activists have predicted at Mr Biden’s summit, a leading analyst of the US/Australian alliance has suggested.

The virtual summit of 40 world leaders taking place on Thursday and Friday has already generated policy momentum, with Washington and Beijing committing to work together on climate issues, and Canada announcing it will cut CO2 emissions by 36 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030.

The US, Japan and South Korea are all poised to announce ambitious new emissions targets for 2030 during the summit, which could be as high as 50 per cent.

Professor Simon Jackman from the United States Studies Centre said the Biden summit would be primarily “scene setting before Glasgow”, with the aim of “nudging countries toward tangible goals”.

“You don’t invite people and wag a finger at them,” he said.

And despite frequent references to Australia being a “climate laggard”, Canberra “has a reasonably strong set of talking points”, Prof Chapman said, noting that unlike the US, we never left the Paris Agreement.

The Morrison government’s “technology not taxes” approach to tackling climate was not dissimilar to the Biden administration’s, Prof Chapman said. “It’s really hard to see a carbon tax getting up in the US Congress,” he said.

According to Prof Chapman, Washington has developed a good understanding of the peculiar complexities of the climate debate down under, with former ambassador Arthur Culvahouse calling it “the third rail of Australian politics”.

The “third rail” – a metaphor often ascribed to social security in US politics – refers to the electrified rail in the New York subway, which brings instant death to all who touch it.

“The State Department also well remembers how upset the Australians were during the G20 summit in Brisbane. Obama’s speech at the University of Queensland blindsided the Australians on climate,” Prof Champan said.

“Getting Australia off-side on climate is really counter productive to some of the bigger issues,” he said.

While the Biden summit includes leaders of several developing nations, no Pacific countries other than New Zealand have been invited, and their absence “may make (the summit) a little easier for Australia,” Prof Chapman said.

Their omission pushes focus away from the effects of climate change and toward its causes, and was justifiable, Prof Chapman suggested, because “it’s really the emitters you want to extract commitments from”.

“There will be plenty of opportunity for smaller nations to have their say at Glasgow,” he said.

Pressure on Australia may come from European nations, particularly if carbon tariffs are raised, Climate Council economics expert Nicki Hutley said.

“It’s not something that’s been flagged, but given the Europeans will be there and this is something that’s clearly on their agenda … I’d be surprised if it was not part of the conversation,” she said.

The Europeans are “definitely going ahead” with carbon tariffs, the US is looking at the issue and Australian protestations that it was a new form of protectionism were likely to carry little weight, Ms Hutley said.

There will be enormous pressure on Australia to up its climate commitments, she said.

“We want to have a voice and a role in other areas and if we don’t play ball on climate change that will reduce our ability to have a voice on a whole host of other issues where we want our voice to be important,” Ms Hutley said.


Shopper slams Bunnings Warehouse over seemingly innocent picture of its stylish fire pits - so can you see why they are so angry?

An Australian shopper has been left furious over a seemingly innocent display of outdoor gear at Bunnings Warehouse on Wednesday. The display, which showed off the hardware giant's winter fire pits, was slammed as 'totally unacceptable'.

The photograph was posted on Twitter by the 'Ban Recreational Wood Burning' page. 'Promoting these polluting firepits. Do you promote cigarettes as well? Firepits emit much more toxic pollution then cigarettes,' the post read. 'It's time to make sales of wood burners illegal. Clean air is a basic human right. Not Karen using her firepit,' it continued.

But the complaint didn't get much support from the Twitter community.

'Nothing like a few mates gathered around the fire with a few beers. Even better when you can cook on it. I love the smell of wood smoke,' one man wrote.

Bunnings Warehouse Outdoor Living Category Manager Mick Heanue also commented on the complaint, telling Daily Mail Australia: 'All our fire pits comply with state and national safety standards.'

Some readers actually thanked the page for the heads up after spotting some fire pits they liked in the picture.

'Thanks for the reminder - I’m gonna fire mine up tonight. Won’t use it for warmth but it’s always nice to watch through the windows from inside the house. Can’t wait,' said one man.

'Thanks for letting me know, will pick one up before it gets cold,' another added.

Others called out the use of the name 'Karen'. 'Karen is actually one complaining about people using BBQ in the park so (the page) is actually being a Karen,' one person said.

More people joked that fire pits were amazing for bringing family and friends together and 'scaring off the "woke"'. 'Is it OK if I burn old furniture in my fire pit? Shouldn't stink too much once the vinyl has burnt off,' said another.

But the page's author was not amused by the reactions.

'It's a definition of a Karen when their privilege effects others human right to clean air,' they countered. 'Any exposure of wood smoke isn't good for us. Wood smoke lingers to other peoples homes.'

The account has just 97 followers and constantly posts about the impact of wood burning.


Outrage as innocent schoolboys are forced to stand in front of class and and labelled 'oppressors' – all because they are white, male and Christian

A youth worker forced Year 11 male students at a co-ed public school to stand up in front of the class as she condemned them as historical 'oppressors' because they are white, male, and Christian.

The female Kingston City Council worker gave a talk about privilege, pronouns, and intersectionality at Parkdale Secondary College in Mordialloc, Melbourne, last Wednesday.

She then asked students who are white, male and Christian to stand up, The Herald Sun reported.

The woman told these students that they were 'privileged' and 'oppressors', sparking outrage among parents and local councillors.

Kingston councillor Cameron Howe said it was 'disgraceful behaviour' as he wrote in response to reports of the incident on Facebook.

'Reverse racism is becoming more prevalent and not only does it not belong in our schools, but those who hold these toxic views are not morally or intellectually superior to others,' he wrote.

Mr Howe called for the female youth worker to be fired, along with the father of a male student at the school.

'The council needs to take this extremely seriously, there are a lot of furious parents of young boys and we need guarantees that something like this will never happen again,' a father in the school community said.

A 16-year-old female student said she was 'shocked' by the presentation and the male students felt 'ashamed' and 'targeted'.

'It was so messed up, we thought for a moment it was a joke, but then we realised it wasn't and we were so upset and angry by it all,' she told the Herald Sun.

'She basically said straight, white, Christian males were oppressors and they held all the power and privilege in ­society.'

Principal David Russell said the school did not 'support or condone this approach and messaging' as presented by the guest speaker', in a statement to parents on Sunday.

He said the school wrote to Kingston Youth Services and Kingston City Council to express its disappointment about the 'inappropriate' presentation.

Kingston mayor Steve Staikos apologised to affected students and said the council’s chief executive would investigate.

China's trade attacks fall flat: Impact of sanctions on Australian goods is 'limited' as exporters switch to other markets

The impact of myriad Chinese trade sanctions on Australian goods in the past year has been 'quite limited', with most exporters managing to find other markets, according to a new report.

China has targeted Australian beef, barley, coal, copper, cotton, seafood, sugar, timber and wine.

Before the sanctions, these exports were worth about $25 billion in 2019, or 1.3 per cent of gross domestic product.

As of end-January, the value of these exports to China had dropped to about $5 billion a year, the analysis by Lowy Institute chief economist Roland Rajah shows.

But most exporters - barring wine and beef producers - appear to have managed to shift their goods to markets other than China.

'Looking at exports of barley, copper, cotton, seafood and timber, sales of these products to other markets rose sharply, but only after China's sanctions intensified in late 2020 - with the stark shift signalling this was indeed mostly a result of trade diversion,' Mr Rajah said.

'However, Australia's wine industry has struggled to make up for the loss of the premium China market.

'Total beef exports are also down, though this is more a reflection of supply-side issues after years of drought.'

The effect of China's trade sanctions on Australia's exports 'has been completely swamped by the booming iron ore trade - which China hasn't been game enough to touch'.

'Hence, the total economic impact of China's trade coercion against Australia seems to have been quite limited thus far,' Mr Rajah said.

Mr Rajah argues while China had targeted products for which it had alternative suppliers, there were also alternative buyers for Australian goods.

'And this shuffling of global trade is precisely the reason the damage inflicted on Australia has been limited,' he said.

The research published on Thursday comes after the federal government urged exporters to look for new Asian markets to combat the economic fallout of coronavirus and strained relations with China.

Trade Minister Dan Tehan on Wednesday released the final report of the Asia Taskforce - a joint project between the Asia Society and Business Council of Australia.

It provides a blueprint for Australia to compete more successfully in the region.




Friday, April 16, 2021

Yes, Minister, you can entice our best and brightest into teaching. You will have to pay them more

The article below by two education academics is close to brain dead. Evertything they say is reasonable but they are ignoring the elephant in the room. They ignore the stressful nature of teaching under a regime of effectively no discipline. The article folowing the one below sets that out in stark detail.

NO well-advised person would take up teaching in a chaotic Australian government school

Federal Education Minister Alan Tudge wants Australia’s best and brightest to take on teaching. Good on him for aiming high – there could hardly be a more worthy goal – but to succeed he will have to reverse a damaging, decades-long trend of bright young Australians turning their backs on a career in teaching.

Demand from high achievers for teaching has steadily declined over the past 30 years. Strikingly, the number of top students wanting to become teachers fell by a third over the past decade – more than any other undergraduate field of study in Australia.

A Grattan Institute survey of almost 950 young high achievers in 2019 showed that better career paths and higher pay are key to encouraging them to choose teaching as their profession.

It showed high achievers worry about getting stuck in the one classroom. And they want pay rates that recognise teaching expertise rather than simply years of service.

Teacher salaries at the top need to be more competitive with other professions. A high achiever going into a career in law or engineering will earn many tens of thousands of dollars a year more by their mid-40s than if they went in to teaching.

This is not to suggest that high achievers are only concerned about themselves. Our research shows high achievers are highly motivated by a sense of altruism – but they believed they could make almost as much of a difference in other careers compared with teaching.

We would urge Minister Tudge’s new initial teacher education review, announced on Thursday, to recommend setting a national goal of doubling the proportion of high achievers who choose teaching over the next 10 years. Our 2019 report shows this is achievable if governments take these three steps.

First, offer $10,000 cash-in-hand scholarships to encourage high achievers to study teaching. Scholarships are one the most cost-effective ways to sway young high achievers.

Second, governments should launch a marketing campaign to “sell” teaching as a rewarding and challenging career. But the campaign can’t be rhetoric alone. There is no point attracting good candidates if they are not supported, challenged and satisfied once they start working in schools.

So the third part of the package requires state governments to significantly improve teacher career pathways, so that expertise is recognised and rewarded. We suggest creating new expert teacher roles, with extra time and extra responsibility to improve teaching across the school system, along with extra pay of up to $80,000 a year more than standard classroom teachers.

This reform package would not only help to attract more high achievers into teaching; it would ensure current teachers received better support and guidance.


Qld teachers’ reveal the abuse and assault hell they face each day

Assaulted and spat on by students, abused and threatened by parents - Queensland teachers have described the harrowing conditions driving them to drink and prescription medication.

Tormented teachers and principals have shared distressing claims of a broken Queensland education system failing to protect their health and wellbeing.

Their shocking revelations have lifted the lid on a culture of overworked staff left to turn to alcohol and prescription medications to cope, with a trail of broken marriages and mental health breakdowns left in their wake.

Following the revelation by The Courier-Mail that more than $28 million in WorkCover claims had been paid out to Department of Education staff in just eight months, numerous current and former staff have reached out to share their own stories.

One teacher, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, described how a life-changing assault by a student several years ago left her in a years-long battle with the department over an alleged botched return to work program.

Her WorkCover claims have so far been denied, while her anxiety and depression has gone “through the roof” from the resulting financial stress, which left her in fear of losing her home.

“I love my job – I’ve done it for 20 years – but when I really needed them (the department) to be there for me, they abandoned me,” she said.

A further frightening incident at another school following her initial assault spiked her anxiety, and has left her barely able to leave her house.

“All I wanted to do was get back to work,” she said.

“No one is taking responsibility for the hell I’ve been through.”

Another former teacher of a southeast Queensland state high school was brought to tears as she described the eventual breakdown of her marriage following almost two decades in the classroom.

“I was leaving for school by seven in the morning, and often getting home well after six o’clock at night,” she said.

“By then I was so stressed I would pour a glass of wine the second I walked in the door, and then usually another, and another.”

She said she would often have several students in each class with high-needs, and though her principal was supportive, he too was swamped with work.

“A lot of these kids needed their own individual support but our concerns to the department just fell on deaf ears.

“I’ve had chairs thrown at me, been spat on ... while they say to report incidents but these aren’t one offs - they’re multiple times a day.

“How can you possibly report all that?”

The Australian Principal Occupation, Health, Safety and Wellbeing survey released last month showed Queensland school leaders were among the most at-risk of assault in the country.

More than 40 per cent of Queensland school leaders were either physically assaulted or threatened with violence last year – about nine times greater than the general population.

And Queensland principals reported the highest rates of stress and depressive symptoms in the country.

Queensland Teachers’ Union president Cresta Richardson said the union would continue to pressure the department to provide enough resources to support teachers who were suffering, as well as encourage members to report workplace violence.

“Teachers are considered frontline workers and that does come with some risks, but everyone deserves to be safe at work,” she said.

“Programs are good, but if we don’t have a full picture of what’s happening in schools then they are only programs.

“People need to be aware of how they can report, and also provided with the time to report.”

One regional Queensland school leader described being regularly verbally abused and threatened by parents, to the point where they had panic attacks at the supermarket.

“I would sit in my car and be afraid to get out, not knowing who I was going to face,” they said.

“I went to my doctor because my hands wouldn’t stop shaking, she said I essentially had a form of PTSD from so many years of abuse.

“I take medication now, and probably will for the rest of my life.”

The school leader claimed their mental health concerns were mishandled, at best, by the education department.

“They did the official stuff but I never felt like they actually cared, like I was a real person whose life was being effectively ruined,” they said.

Another school leader was forced on stress leave after months of alleged bullying, harassment and belittling by education department superiors.

The school leader’s husband detailed the sustained pressure heaped on his wife over a number of months, while her official complaint against her departmental superior languishes without a response more than a year later.

He said his wife was effectively “white anted” out of her position at great distress to her after decades of serving the community in a role she relished.

The couple even moved out of the area to avoid potential run-ins with those involved.

“Everything she has done throughout her career, she has always put the student outcomes first,” he said.

He went on to say no one from the complaints unit had been in touch to check on his wife’s welfare since she has been on leave.

“I’m shocked they would treat her this shabbily, after all she has done.”

A spokesman for the Department of Education said there were a number of processes to assist injured employees, including workers compensation where staff suffered work-related injuries.

“Our employees are our most valuable resource and we work diligently to prevent the risk of harm within our school and workplaces, we trust and support principals to deal with inappropriate behaviours within their schools appropriately,” he said.

“We are working to actively promote community-wide understanding of the department’s behaviour expectations, eradicate anti-social and high risk behaviour, (such as) verbal and physical abuse and violence, and reducing the risk of occupation violence or abuse within the workplace.

“The department has a number of supportive processes and counselling services dedicated to assisting employees who have experienced incidents in the workplace.”




Thursday, April 15, 2021

The world will break through the more ambitious Paris climate target of 1.5 degrees as soon as 2030 but may still avoid a more catastrophic 2 degrees of warming if governments act immediately to dramatically reduce emissions, according to a new report.

Just another prophecy based on guesswork and bound to be as wrong as all the ones before it

The Climate Council report, Aim High, Go Fast, is based on new data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and echoes similar findings by the Australian Academy of Science issued last week, but has prompted a dissenting report from one prominent Australian climate scientist, Bill Hare.

It warns that the more ambitious Paris target of holding warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels cannot be achieved without what it calls “significant overshoot” and “drawdown”. Drawdown refers to the possibility of using as yet non-existent large-scale carbon dioxide removal technology to help cool and stabilise the climate after overshooting the target.

In the report the Climate Council says that in view of Australia’s historical contribution to global warming, its high emissions and its natural advantages in renewable energy generation, the government should now aim to reduce emissions by 75 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 and reach net zero by 2035.

So far the government has committed to reducing emissions by 26-28 per cent by 2030 and has set no net-zero target, but said it would prefer to reach that milestone earlier than 2050.

Barrier Reef doomed as up to 99% of coral at risk, report finds
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is expected to face more pressure to commit to more ambitious actions at a climate summit to be hosted by United States President Joe Biden next week and during the lead-up to the next UN climate talks in Glasgow in November.

Asked if such an abrupt reduction was possible, one of the report’s authors, executive director of the Australian National University Climate Change Institute Will Steffen, cited the example of allied nations transforming their economies in five years to defeat the Axis power in World War II.

“The point is, it’s going to be a tough decade, no doubt about it,” he said. “There’ll be some disruption soon, but it’ll be an exciting decade and it’ll set us up for a much brighter future after 2030.”

To reach such targets Professor Steffen said the government would need to immediately halt the expansion of coal and gas and plan to support affected communities as fossil fuels were phased out. Secondly, Australia would have to reach almost 100 per cent renewables in its energy system by 2030.

The report finds “multiple lines of evidence” that the world will break through 1.5 degrees: the increasing pace at which the world has been warming since 2016; new scientific understanding of the climate system’s sensitivity; and the increasing rate of sea levels rising. There is also an analysis of global greenhouse gas emissions which are now in line with the highest of four scenarios considered in the fifth assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the UN’s lead climate change body.

“We now face a more dangerous future, with further risks and damages locked in,” says the report.

“We have reached the endgame and if we are to limit further disruption then we must dramatically step up the scale and pace of action. Inaction or delay in the face of so much evidence is in fact an active commitment to massive global climate disruption and damage.”

Counting the increasing costs of droughts and flooding rains
Professor Steffen said the impact of temperature rises did not go up in a linear fashion, and that 2 degrees of warming was far worse than 1.5 degrees.

“The issue here is that past inaction on climate change has cost us dearly. There is plenty of momentum in the climate system, it is like trying to turn a battleship around,” he said.

“The mantra I keep going back to is that every tenth of a degree matters.”

But Bill Hare, a lead author on the fourth IPCC assessment and founder of Climate Analytics, said he believes both the Climate Council and the Australian Academy of Science had found further evidence for the need for immediate and dramatic action. But he did not agree with the view that holding global temperatures rises to 1.5 degrees was virtually impossible.

His dissenting report, co-authored by his colleague Dr Carl-Friedrich Schleussner, said it is not possible to draw conclusions on temperature rises over short time periods used by the Climate Council report; that sea level rise is a lagging rather than leading indicator of climate change; and that the Climate Council had made mistakes in its interpretation of so-called carbon emissions budgets. They further question the report’s analysis of climate sensitivity.

“The evidence presented in the Climate Council of Australia report itself does not support their claim that 1.5°C will be exceeded,” they write.

Mr Hare told the Herald and The Age he believed the evidence of physics and economics showed that 1.5 degrees was still achievable and that the target itself was a critical policy tool supporting international efforts to tackle climate change.

“[The 1.5 degree target] has become mainstream in the global climate debate, it is why nations are talking about net zero by 2050 rather than 2070.”


Sweeping changes made to sexual harassment laws which could change the Australian workplace forever and see staffers fired for unwanted compliments

Scott Morrison will move to toughen up sexual harassment laws with a series of changes that will make it easier to fire offenders.

The government will change the Fair Work Act to categorise harassment as serious misconduct, meaning an employee can be terminated for offences such as making unwanted sexual advances or suggestive comments or jokes.

Mr Morrison also wants to include sexual harassment in stop bullying orders which allow employees to request to work different shifts to a bullying boss or colleague.

The government will also change the Human Rights Act to extend the time victims have to make sexual harassment complaints from six months to two years.

Attorney-general Michaelia Cash said the new rules will bring clarity for employers.

'So we are going to ensure they know... that if you want, if sexual harassment is occurring in the workplace and it is proven, you can terminate a person for that,' she said.

'We will amend the definition of "serious misconduct" in the Fair Work regulations to include sexual harassment.

'We will also clarify that sexual harassment can be a ground or a valid reason for dismissal.

'This will give employers the certainty they need to take action, but what it also says to employees and victims of sexual harassment is there are consequences for this action in the workplace,' Senator Cash said.

Also under the changes - which the prime minster wants to pass parliament by July with bi-partisan support - MPs and judges will no longer be exempt from the Sex Discrimination Act, meaning they can be subject to discrimination complaints.

Independent MP Rebekha Sharkie tried to make that change in March but the government shut her down.

The changes come in response to the 2018 Respect@Work Report by Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Kate Jenkins.

Mr Morrison said his government has agreed in whole, in part or in principle to all 55 recommendations.

'Sexual harassment is unacceptable,' he told reporters on Thursday. 'It's not only immoral and despicable and even criminal, but particularly in the context of the Respect@Work report it denies Australians, especially women, not just their personal security but their economic security by not being safe at work.' 'Everyone has a right to be safe at work. Sexual harassment must be prohibited in the work place,' he added.

The government has been under pressure to take action on harassment after former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins alleged in March she was raped in Parliament House in 2019.

What is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment is defined as any unwelcome sexual advance, unwelcome request for sexual favours or other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature in circumstances where a reasonable person, having regard to all the circumstances, would anticipate the possibility that the person harassed would be offended, humiliated or intimidated.


Australian children's cartoon about dogs is attacked for not having 'disabled, queer or single-parent dog families'

Hit children's cartoon show Bluey has come under attack for not having disabled, queer, poor or 'gender diverse' characters.

Journalist Beverley Wang slammed the ABC program's lack of diversity in a piece for the national broadcaster's own Everyday website, where she opened-up about her 'struggles' with the Emmy award-winning show.

She asked why Bluey, set in Brisbane, was not 'more representative' of the city it is based in, while acknowledging her comments 'may come across as asking too much of a show that's already so tender, nuanced and joyful'.

'Where are the disabled, queer, poor, gender diverse, dogs of colour and single-parent dog families in Bluey's Brisbane?,' wrote Ms Wang, who describes herself on her Twitter profile as an 'Asian female broadcaster

Ms Wang said as a parent of colour, she was 'conscious of the presence - or absence - of diverse representation in kids' pop culture'.

Bluey, dubbed Australia's most popular children's television show, follows the adventures of 'a loveable, inexhaustible six year-old Blue Heeler dog' along with her family which includes her mum, dad and younger sister, and her friends.

One person who slammed Ms Wang's piece said: 'These people are obsessed with pushing their unhinged ideology onto two-year children who literally have no idea about sexism, racism etc'.


Australian of the Year Grace Tame says 'men are not the enemy' as she opens up about her relationship with 'soulmate' Max, the teacher she confided in after being raped

Australian of the Year Grace Tame has defended the male gender by highlighting the men in her life who steered her towards 'positivity and hope'.

Tame, 25, will be the first non-celebrity to appear on Maire Claire's cover next month, since the magazine was founded the year she was born.

The feminism activist opened up about her marriage to American actor Spencer Breslin - best known for his role in the 2003 movie The Cat In The Hat - and described her current partner Max as her 'soulmate' who she met last year.

'We've both been in long-term relationships. I was even married [to Breslin]. But I'm already closer to Max than I was to my husband,' she said.

She also described her 11-year-old brother Oscar, as her 'little hero'. 'He's a very, very special person. He came into the world right when the abuse started, and pardon the pun, he was a literal saving grace.'

Ms Tame also spoke highly of Dr Simon Williams, the teacher to whom she first detailed the sexual abuse she suffered for years when she was just 15 years old.

Ms Tame was a young schoolgirl battling anorexia when her high school maths teacher Nicolaas Bester, raped her on the classroom floor at St Michael's Collegiate School in Hobart.

A decade later she was named Australian of the Year for her tireless efforts to fight an archaic gag order that banned sexual assault survivors like herself from telling their stories publicly.

Ms Tame made a powerful acceptance speech in January that paved the way for Brittany Higgins and others to go public with rape accusations against powerful people.

She insists she is just a 'tiny domino' that helped prompt others into action - such as the March for Justice of 100,000 women last month.

'People are sometimes deterred from action or doubt the value of their contribution in change,' she said. 'There's a whole set of dominoes waiting to be pushed over. Just be that one domino. Your tiny little contribution has enormous catalytic potential.'

Tame said a frenzied uprising is not the answer, instead advocating a more 'manageable, reasonable momentum that's not so overblown, it's just measured'.

But the activist said she would keep fighting until child sexual abuse was eradicated and the laws around consent have a standard national definition.

'I won't stop until I see the end of child sexual assault,' she said. 'It's as simple as that.'




Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Scientists reworking abandoned University of Queensland COVID-19 vaccine

University of Queensland scientists are secretly reworking their cancelled COVID vaccine after a new study revealed it could have been the world’s best weapon in the fight against the deadly virus.

The University of Queensland’s abandoned COVID vaccine could have been the world’s best weapon in the fight against the deadly virus, with a new study revealing it was effective after just one jab and could be stored at fridge temperature.

Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines, which are being relied on to protect the nation, require two doses each – a huge logistical challenge which is further complicated by Pfizer needing to be stored at -70C.

UQ’s crack vaccine team is now working behind the scenes to move the vaccine technology forward after the research, released today, showed if it was reworked and problems ironed out it could still be a boon in the fight against COVID-19 and future global novel viruses.

“We are working day to day and moving the technology forward but we are trying to stay under the radar as the focus needs to be on the AstraZeneca vaccine that is being rolled out as it is our best line of defence,” the professor said.

The local vaccination trial was unceremoniously terminated last year after some patients recorded false-positive HIV results.

This was due to the trial’s unique ‘clamp’ technology that fused two fragments of a protein found in HIV.

When the vaccine was administered these proteins prompted the production of antibodies that were picked up in HIV tests.

But the release of new “success” data shows the technology is highly effective after just one jab and is stable at fridge temperature – something the successful Pfizer vaccine doesn’t achieve.

The research Clinical & Transitional Immunology was published on behalf of the Australian and New Zealand Society for Immunology.

All of Queensland was behind the UQ team who worked night and day to fast-track their COVID-19 vaccine.

Human trials began last July with 120 volunteers in Brisbane.

Due to the race for time to find a protective vaccine, in December CSL decided to cancel further development of the vaccine.

Then Prof Young said that while his team was “devastated”, they would pick themself up and keep going.

Dr Russell Basser from Seqirus, a CSL company, said then that public confidence was a big driver in the decision to shelve development of the UQ vaccine.

“We have come to a mutual agreement with the Government. Public confidence is critical and if there were no other vaccines in the works we may have persisted. Even though the vaccine was safe “the burden to move forward was too great,” he said.

The UQ vaccine was one of four the Federal Government had committed to purchasing with plans to produce 51m doses.

The study findings were from the university’s original animal trials.


Malcolm Turnbull is DUMPED from his new climate change job after widespread public outrage at the unpopular ex-PM's plum new gig

Malcolm Turnbull has been dumped from his new job as the NSW government's climate change tsar after widespread public ridicule at the appointment.

NSW Climate Change minister Matt Kean was forced into an embarrassing backflip on Tuesday over his decision to appoint the unpopular former prime minister as chair of the Net Zero Emissions and Clean Economy Board.

Mr Kean said in a statement that the position should be 'focus should not be on personality'.

'It is important that the focus is on achieving these outcomes, based on facts, technology, science, and economics,' he said in a statement on Tuesday.

'The focus should not be on personality,' he said.

Mr Turnbull had 'contributed much to our country ... however, no person's role on the board should distract from achieving results for the NSW people or from the government's work in delivering jobs and opportunities for the people of NSW'.

'For this reason, I have decided not to proceed with his appointment as chair.' The NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer will act in the role until a new chair is named.

The announcement comes hours after The Daily Telegraph published a letter Mr Turnbull wrote to the NSW government objecting to the expansion of a coal mine in the Upper Hunter near his family's 2,700 acre property.

Mr Turnbull last week said there was 'massive devastation' being caused in the area as a result of the continuation and extension of mines.

'I think [approvals for new mines are] out of control,' Mr Turnbull told Fairfax. 'It's like a lunar landscape ... There is massive devastation that's going [on].'

Deputy Premier and Nationals Leader John Barilaro was the first person to declare Mr Turnbull had been axed. 'We are not proceeding with the appointment of Malcolm Turnbull as chair,' he told Sydney radio 2GB ahead of Mr Kean's statement.

'You need someone who brings people together and not divides and unfortunately Malcolm has done the opposite.


To be righteous is one thing, to be right another

The Liberal staffers who videoed themselves masturbating in Parliament House are morons, not monsters. And if we gasp at Andrew Laming’s conduct, it is less because it was manifestly unethical than because it shows, all too clearly, that while you are only young once, you can be immature forever.

That such things occur is hardly surprising. As Carlo Cipolla, a great historian, concluded in his marvellous book on The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity, there is in every human subpopulation — be they philosophers or pole dancers, members of parliament or members of criminal gangs — a constant proportion who are idiots. And precisely because they are and act like idiots, the sole aspect of their behaviour that is utterly predictable is that it will astonish those who are not.

But those obvious facts didn’t stop the leaks from provoking howls of outrage, as if they proved that the Morrison government had plunged from the thunderbolts of Sinai to the insensate debauchery of the Cities of the Plain. In an already overheated atmosphere, the opposition was able to raise the temperature to boiling point, further eroding the government’s standing.

To some extent, the pressures, which have intensified steadily since Brittany Higgins’s allegations emerged, reflect factors that were apparent in the response to the bushfires of 18 months ago.

Convinced a new age was about to dawn, large sections of the left, and its allies in the media, never accepted their election defeat, accumulating reserves of rancour that the COVID crisis suppressed but hardly diminished. As that crisis ebbed, the claims of pervasive misogyny allowed the rancour to explode in righteous anger.

But to be righteous is one thing, to be right another. In reality, far from deteriorating, the core indicators of gender equality have improved, in many cases spectacularly, under the Coalition.

For example, the gender pay gap soared during the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd years from 15 to nearly 19 per cent, as Labor’s splurge on pink batts and school halls compounded the mining boom’s boost to earnings in male-dominated occupations; but since the Coalition took office, the earnings differential between men and women has shrunk to an unprecedented low of 13.4 per cent.

And just as women’s relative earnings have risen towards those of their male counterparts, female labour force participation has reached record highs, aided by policy changes that make working more worthwhile.

None of that implies that the problems have disappeared. But the contrast between the progress and the protests underscores Alexis de Tocqueville’s observation of nearly two centuries ago that revolutions are triggered not by dashed hopes but by mounting expectations.

Noting that the devastating famines of 1693-94 and 1709-10 had caused barely a murmur, Tocqueville argued that the measures the French monarchy adopted in 1730 to ensure relief was widely available meant that it came to be viewed as being responsible for food supplies, setting the scene for the uprisings that occurred in the wake of the much milder short­ages of 1788-89.

In other words, the government’s expanding role, instead of assuaging expectations, boosted them, creating a vicious spiral in which outcomes could never keep up with what public opinion believed it had been promised.

Compounding the tensions, the economic and social progress that followed the monarchy’s successive reforms had instilled an entirely new sense of limitless possibility. The eternal “tomorrow” of utopian political visions suddenly seemed to move closer, fuelling the belief that — come the revolution — injustice, superstition and poverty could all be eradicated in the next glorious hour.

The Revolution was therefore the progeny of the ancien regime’s achievements rather than the symptom of its failings. But while the revolutionaries stormed to power under the banner of freedom, they delivered the exact opposite. That, said Tocqueville, was no accident.

Inevitably, those who want to drastically reshape social arrangements find themselves strengthening the apparatus of repression, as if “liberty, like a child, had to go through a stage of tears and weeping in order to reach maturity”.

And equally inevitably, so as to justify the greater coercion, they adopt a “grotesquely distorted account of reality” in which they portray themselves as “wholly good”, while attributing “demonic power to the adversary”.

Ignoring “the ineluctable imperfections of human existence”, they come to hold others to moral standards they could never live up to themselves, thereby preparing the ground for those excesses of rage and frenzy that, in Edmund Burke’s words, “pull down more in half an hour than prudence, deliberation and foresight can build up in a hundred years”.

To say that is not to suggest that the guillotine beckons, although there is a distinct whiff of burning in the air. It would, however, be a mistake to think the mechanisms Tocqueville identified have lost any of their relevance.

On the contrary, today’s upheavals have all the hallmarks of those that preceded them: the reluctance to acknowledge how much has already been achieved; the relentless demonisation of real or imagined adversaries; the thirst for what Yeats grimly called “the blood-dimmed tide”.

And even if they are not as deadly, they are no less vitriolic, insisting, as did the Jacobins, the Bolsheviks and the Maoists, that any alleged perpetrators (or their presumed accomplices in the government) must be in bad faith, with the only way of proving good faith being for the “enemies of the people” to concede what their assailants seek — that is, abdication or self-annihilation.

The changes that have occurred in our culture only aggravate those dynamics. As the traditional Australian virtues of stoicism, and a laconic, somewhat disabused, realism, have given way to the glorification of uninhibited emotions, the nation’s capacity to distinguish tantrums from traumas seems to have completely disappeared.

And with it has vanished the capacity to distinguish sanctimonious grandstanding from serious consideration of the difficult questions — including those related to sexual assault and to our political culture — that do need to be addressed.

Unfortunately, simply understanding the processes at work doesn’t make them much more tractable: merely to cry, as Dostoevsky famously did in The Possessed, that “the fire is in the minds of men and not in the roofs of houses” does not quell the flames, any more than psychosis can be relieved purely by being diagnosed. And with no shortage of stupidity left to surface, the hysteria isn’t about to abate.

But the worst response would be to cave in. Rather, we remember our Kipling: keep your head when all others about you are losing theirs. And as the crowds swirl and the howls mount, make sure you hold it tight.




Monday, April 05, 2021

Nursery teachers must teach toddlers about 'white privilege' so they can learn to 'develop anti-racist views', unions say

LOL. Teaching toddlers this crap will certainly give them exactly the "wrong" message. Being told that they are privileged will make them PROUD of being white and make them look down on non-whites.

The message is an inherently racist one and will simply inculcate racism in a generation of kids

Nursery teachers should be telling toddlers about 'white privilege' so they can learn to 'develop anti-racist views', according to teaching unions.

The new 128-page guidance has been given as an alternative to the Government's statutory guidance and has received criticism from Conservative MPs.

It was issued after an official government report concluded that factors such as family structure and socio-economic background had 'more significant impact on life chances than the existence of racism'.

The guidance adds that 'children's racial prejudice' is at risk of being 'maintained or reinforced' unless teachers received training in 'understanding white privilege' and 'systemic racism', according to The Telegraph.

Conservative MPs argued on Saturday that teaching toddlers about white privilege risked 'becoming some kind of political Soviet indoctrination session'.

The guidance, called Birth to 5 Matters, was developed by a group of 18 including the National Education Union, the National Day Nurseries Association and the Association for Professional Development in Early Years.

While the Government's guidance states that five-year-old children should 'know some similarities and differences between different religious and cultural communities in this country', Birth to 5 Matters advises staff 'talking about race is a first step to countering racism'.

The advice, seen by The Telegraph, continues: 'It is a mistaken assumption that treating all people in the same way and ignoring differences in race is a sufficient response to racism.

'This approach simply allows the continuation of bias in society which disadvantages people from black and minoritised groups.

'Practitioner training is an important step toward opening dialogue and developing understanding about white privilege, systemic racism, and how racism affects children and families in early years settings.

'It is also time to challenge the widespread notion that 'children do not see race' and are colour blind to difference.

'When adults are silent about race, children's racial prejudice and misconceptions can be maintained or reinforced.'

The chairman of the House of Education select committee called the advice 'unacceptable' and said it 'insults white working class people from disadvantaged backgrounds'.

He said: 'The whole purpose of children learning is to learn, not for some kind of political Soviet indoctrination session.'

Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch has previously said that teachers who tell their pupils that white privilege is a fact are breaking the law.


Job vacancies are surging, and employers say it's hard to find suitable labour

You can't say how quickly it will take for Australia's economy to recover. But with job vacancies rising, it means there's growing demand for labour and positions aren't being filled, which is a positive sign.

And job vacancies are surging at the moment. In February, there were 289,000 vacancies, up 13 per cent in the last three months. The vast bulk of them were in the private sector (260,300) compared to the public sector (28,400).

Ben Udy, an economist from Capital Economics, says his "composite" measure of vacancies, where he combines the number of job vacancies and skilled vacancies with ANZ's job ads survey, is sitting at its highest level since the mining boom in 2011.

"Taken at face value, that implies the unemployment rate could dip below 5 per cent by the middle of the year," he wrote in a note to clients last week.

If the unemployment rate fell below 5 per cent in the next few months it would be a remarkable outcome.

They say one piece of evidence is the surge in job vacancies in recent months.

The ABS says there are clear labour shortages in some industries.

There are thousands of vacancies in industries such as accommodation and food services, retail trade, construction, health care and social assistance, according to the ABS.

If you look at construction, there were 16,600 job vacancies in the construction industry in February 2020, before the pandemic hit, but that number halved to 8,300 in May 2020 when the lockdowns were put in place.

However, the industry has bounced back and there are now 26,700 job vacancies there.


Militant culture warriors make all men the bad guys

The principal of a Victorian school now concedes it was “inappropriate” to shame her male pupils into standing before the women and girls to atone for the sins of their gender.

One might have wished for a little more contrition from the head of Warrnambool’s Brauer College but, since responsibility is collective rather than personal these days, inappropriate is probably the best we can expect. As Thomas Sowell writes: “We seem to be getting closer and closer to a situation where nobody is responsible for what they did but we are all responsible for what somebody else did.” The delusion that the culture war is being fought in a far-off land is shattered by events at Brauer College and countless other incursions into our everyday lives.

Political correctness has hardened into a ground war headed by an activist vanguard enjoined by teachers, journalists, bureaucrats and other professionals who lack the courage to resist. Their crusade is informed by critical theory, a virus that escaped from the lab of French philosophy, germinated in universities andrunning rampant though our society.

Those in public life ignore it at their peril. Its fundamental assumption, that society is divided into oppressors and oppressed, and that all human interaction is a struggle between these two groups, is disrupting civic life, undermining liberal democracy, and dividing the nation into tribes.

The casual abandonment of the presumption of innocence by the ABC’s Four Corners in its unsupported allegations against a senior cabinet minister is more than a dereliction of professional duty. In critical theory, guilt is determined not by wrongdoing but by membership of the wrong class. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn explained this system of justice in The Gulag Archipelago, quoting from the Russian revolutionary newspaper, Red Terror.

“The first question you should ask him is what class does he belong to, what is his origin, his education and his profession. These are the questions that will determine the fate of the accused.”

The new radical feminism in which leading politicians are now entangled is very different from the liberal feminism that greatly advanced the position of women in the 20th century. Liberal feminism’s champions included men as well as women, driven by the egalitarian principle that every citizen, regardless of biology, should enjoy the blessings of liberal democracy, starting with access to education and employment. Their reforms have ensured that differences in outcomes, in most walks of life, are not the result of discrimination but the exercise of free choice.

In the past decade, however, feminism has taken a harder form, turning men and women into class enemies. Women, along with gays, are the victims of “toxic masculinity”, a term coined by psychiatrist Terry Kupers in 2005 to describe “the constellation of socially regressive male traits that serve to foster domination, the devaluation of women, homophobia and wanton violence”.

Toxic, or hegemonic, masculinity has become the dominant frame of reference in Australian popular feminism. Male violence — physical, sexual and verbal — is no longer merely socially unacceptable or criminal behaviour for which individuals are responsible. It is a trait common to all men that serves to reinforce the patriarchy, denying women their just position in society.

This poisonous opinion is no longer confined to the radical corners of the academy. It is the unchallengeable assumption of most graduates entering the workplace, reinforced by HR departments and government bureaucracies that take the theory as read. Fair-minded Australians are entitled to feel dismayed. Aggressive behaviour towards women by men has never been acceptable or even excusable in our liberal democracy. Until recently, swearing in the presence of women was considered an offence in middle-class Australia. The most obvious determinants of physical violence in crime statistics are not gender, but employment status and socio-economic disadvantage.

Hard evidence, however, is not enough to overturn postmodern theory. Gender studies, like post-colonial theory, queer theory, disability and fat studies, has become hostage to standpoint theory, the argument that only those who are members of an oppressed group possess the insight that allows them to contribute to the debate. The Prime Minister could give a thousand press conferences, all word-perfect, and still not assuage his critics, simply because he is male. This divisive narrative has infused almost all media commentary, right down to the questioning of the PM by Tracy Grimshaw on A Current Affair.

The allegation of rape by a parliamentary staffer that the PM correctly described as a catalyst for debate on the treatment of women “hasn’t been a wakeup call to 52 per cent of Australians”, declared Grimshaw. “It was critical and a lightning rod for me when tens of thousands of women took to the streets around Australia, including here, to protest, to say, ‘enough is enough’, to protest against rape and sexual assault and discrimination and marginalisation and the patriarchy and underpayment and all of those things … perhaps you’d be better off starting to actively discriminate against Neanderthal men like the so-called Big Swinging Dicks Club”.

When standpoint theory has taken hold on prime-time commercial television, obliging the holder of the highest elected office in the land to sit back and take it like a man as Grimshaw says her piece, egalitarianism has been overturned. Grimshaw is to be accorded respect as a woman, the Prime Minister deserves none.

We are touching only the edge of the intersectional web woven by critical theory that radicalises marginalised groups and sets one against the other. Biological and transgender women find themselves at odds over the right to compete in women’s sport. White men and women alike are guilty of bearing invisible knapsacks of white privilege. Boys as young as 12 must stand in shame at Brauer College for complicity in misogyny, domination, and violence.

Woke, in other words, is no joke. It represents the biggest threat to liberalism, Australia’s riding philosophy since European settlement, since the rise of totalitarian ideology a century ago. For liberals, there can be no leave passes from the culture war until this alien ideology is defeated.


Claim academic research funding is becoming politicised

A former policy adviser to the Australian government says funding for academic research is becoming increasingly politicised and projects that are critical of the government are less likely to be funded.

Yun Jiang, director of independent research organisation the China Policy Centre, said ministerial discretion on Australian Research Council grant funding decisions was “opaque” and could lead to the “political interest” being dressed up as the “national interest”.

Five applicants for Australian Research Council grants were last year denied funding of up to $500,000 a year after then-education minister Dan Tehan ruled they would be against Australia’s national interest.

The Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee is currently holding an inquiry into the contribution of government funding for public research into current and emerging foreign policy issues.

In a submission to the inquiry, Ms Jiang, a former adviser in the Department of Defence, Treasury and Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, said no full and proper explanation has been offered for the ARC grants that were knocked back last year on national security grounds.

She said Australian research was “subject to increasing political interference, as government ministers seek to intervene in research grant decisions”.

“The opaque process of referring specific applications to national security agencies as well as the lack of explanation by national security agencies or the Minister on the decisions mean there is substantial scope for political interference and corruption,” she said.

“As the process is not transparent and the scope for discretion is high, there is a real risk of censorship. The Minister may use grant decisions to promote only those views that are aligned with the government.

“Future applicants are also more likely to self-censor as they try to guess the Minister’s intentions for vetoing projects. Such politicisation of Australian government research funding extends to funding for foreign policy issues.”

Ms Jiang said there was no objective criteria for assessing the “national interest”, and it was “deeply problematic and undemocratic if only the government of the day or the minister gets to decide what is in the national interest”.

“This can lead to abuses where the minister substitutes ‘political interest’ for ‘national interest’,” she said. “The risk of this happening is why it is extremely important that a full public explanation is provided if a decision is said to be made in the national interest.

Collaboration between Australia’s intelligence services and universities has ramped up over the past three years in response to the escalating threat of foreign interference on campus.

While anti-espionage agency ASIO has said a number of foreign countries are of concern, there has been growing fears from national security experts that partnerships with Chinese-government organisations have resulted in Australian academics giving Beijing access to sensitive research and technologies.

ASIO boss Mike Burgess has previously said that his agency is not concerned with research that is critical of Australia or tied to a foreign government so long as it declared transparently and the foreign government isn’t using “covert, clandestine and deceptive means to obtain Australian research”. Mr Burgess last month said the existence of China’s Thousand Talents Program was “in and of itself not concerning”. The program gives financial scholarships to top talent in return for China getting access to their research.

Federal Parliament’s powerful intelligence and security committee is holding an inquiry into foreign interference at Australian universities, including the role of the Chinese government’s talent recruitment programs.

During a hearing last month, it was revealed the Department of Home Affairs and ASIO are currently drawing up an expanded list of emerging technologies that should be protected from foreign interference.




Sunday, April 04, 2021

Three jeers for the left’s two-faced double dealing

Sometimes the culture wars are exhausting. One minute you are denounced as a culture warrior in wars they say are confected and ­redundant; next minute the government is in “crisis” because the green-left is hyperventilating about another skirmish in their identity/culture wars.

The so-called progressive activists are nothing if not predictable, conducting themselves in the opposite fashion to what they demand of others. They demand we are blind to gender, and then that is all they see; they insist Labor MPs are afforded the presumption of innocence, then pivot to full Crucible mode against conservatives; they tell us the culture wars do not matter, then they protest against core elements of our culture and history.

For a simple man raised in the suburban foothills of Adelaide, it is often too much to comprehend. Why, for instance, is the horrible crime of sexual assault considered a national disgrace and a federal ­responsibility now but it was not when Julia Gillard or Kevin Rudd lived in the Lodge?

Why is it laudable to highlight obscene alleged assaults against women in Parliament House or at the hands of politicians, but it is racist and cruel to draw attention to sickening domestic violence and sexual assaults in remote Indigenous communities?

The paradoxes are everywhere. Why do the activists and commentariat demand more women are promoted to prominent positions in the Coalition cabinet, yet when they are elevated condemn them for not being ideologically suitable? Why did they not criticise Labor and the Greens for refusing to support a woman as president of the NSW upper house?

How can advocates such as ­Anthony Albanese tell us electric cars are so convenient, practical and efficient that they will soon dominate car sales, then argue that we must subsidise them to make it happen? Were early automobiles and tractors subsidised to take over from horses and oxen?

Likewise, the woke tell us renewables provide the cheapest power and assure us it can be reliable, yet they demand funds, legislation and schemes to ensure it is taken up. Do you remember subsidies to encourage the upgrade from black and white to ­colour television, from VHS recorders and DVDs to Netflix, or from records and CDs to iTunes? Me neither.

People such as NSW Energy and Environment Minister Matt Kean and his newly appointed clean-energy adviser Malcolm Turnbull keep telling us that coal is not commercially viable and that falling global demand will see it diminish as an export industry. Yet they want to block a rush of ­applications to invest in new coalmines — presumably these proposals are being pushed by commercial sadomasochists.

And, by the way, where is the logic in appointing a man whose political career was characterised, above all else, by failures on climate policy as a lead adviser on, you guessed it, climate policy? Surely it cannot end well.

We had severe floods a year ago and this autumn they were the worst for at least 50 years in some places — as is often the case, ­severe drought has given way to flooding rains. Yet there is no ­frenzy to blame the floods on climate change and/or Scott Morrison in the way that zealots argued he and the Coalition were culpable for a bad bushfire season at the tail end of the drought.

Is this because the green-left advocates and their media comrades know that the apportioning of political blame for our endemic scourges is scientifically absurd? Or, more likely, because fire suits their narrative better than rain?

Someone should explain how daubing Liberal MP Nicolle Flint’s electorate office and Facebook page with words like “skank” and “whore” and suggesting she was a cheap prostitute might not be sexist, but that getting angry about Gillard breaking a carbon tax promise could be construed as misogynistic. It confuses me that we are urged to respect the political judgment of ABC commentators on the ­Coalition’s “women problem” or pandemic management when they were all wrong about the last federal election, Brexit, Donald Trump’s prospects in 2016 (not to mention his run in 2020), border protection policies, the trial of ­George Pell, and how quickly we would be overwhelmed by the coronavirus in Australia.

It is difficult to comprehend how it is OK to gather in the streets to conduct antipodean versions of the US Black Lives Matter protests but it would have been a deadly breach of pandemic measures for veterans and their supporters to march on Anzac Day. It also seems incongruous that thousands of activists could March 4 Justice when many effectively called for trial by media and the abandonment of the rule of law when it came to attorney-general Christian Porter.

For the life of me I cannot understand how someone being required to wear a mask in Birdsville or Cairns is an appropriate response to a clutch of coronavirus infections from a known source in inner-city Brisbane. And I cannot understand how Labor politicians can blame the Coalition for not bringing more Australians home from overseas when it is the state Labor governments that have closed or sev­erely limited overseas quarantine places because they have not been able to run them effectively.

It seems a misnomer to call a meeting of our government leaders the national cabinet when they refuse to abide by uniform policies in the national interest and none of their decisions has the legal imprimatur of a cabinet decision. It is passing strange, if not galling, that states such as Western Australia and Queensland were happy to take funds from the taxpayers of NSW — but refused to allow the people who paid those taxes to travel into their states to spend their own, after-tax income.

Some of us were left scratching our heads too when the so-called social progressives who argued for decades to legalise the repugnant and exploitative trade of prostitution (and demanded we protect the dignity of prostitutes by calling them sex workers) then scandalised those who used the services of said sex workers if they happened to be politicians of a certain hue. I am old enough to remember some of these same people demanding forbearance when it came to a certain Labor politician accused of doing the same on union members’ coin.

It is bewildering when we are told to respect all religions and treat any criticism of any faith as an affront to worshippers’ rights, except for Christianity, of course, whose adherents face an open season of mockery and disdain, and are admonished for not seeing the funny side of Piss Christ.

Likewise, racial stereotypes must be erased unless we refer to the callousness and privilege of white people, the insularity of the Americans or the innate spirituality of Indigenous peoples.

Double standards abound. It has become accepted wisdom that it is a crime for the Japanese to harvest abundant minke whales but there is silence about the taking of humpback whales by Indigenous people in the ­Caribbean, Greenland or Russia.

Help me out here. It is fine for climate activists to own several homes, crisscross the globe in jets and continually expand their carbon footprints while they minimise their tax bills, but the rest of us need to pay higher electricity prices to save the planet?

All the while, our largest trading partner continues to slander our country, expand its military, increase its emissions and oppress its people, and we are told by some in our own country that we are only getting what we deserve for daring to speak out against Chinese human rights violations, and suggesting the world might want to know the truth about the origins of the coronavirus. Our external critics need only echo our own leftist malcontents.

If we harbour so many people undermining our values, economy and culture, we need more people fighting back. We should not be ashamed of culture wars, we should embrace them as a necessity — the price of keeping all we prize.

Perhaps our Easter reflection could be to consider the value we might harness in a media/political class that understood our ­values and strengths and was prepared to buttress them. We might even dare to imagine a political debate that pays heed to principle and consistency over partisanship and opportunism.


Confected ‘justice’ brigade is blind to the real problem

This Easter, as we approach the end of the pandemic, we are supposed to be thinking about the resurrection, the most powerful symbol of hope for 2000 years — but we probably have our minds on less elevated concerns.

Instead of dwelling on the great symbol of the triumph of life over death, of good over evil, we are immured in petty scandals, pure hypocrisy and almost comic posturing by members of parliament and the media. Witnessing the spectacle of grim-faced women on the high ground and breast-beating men trying to placate the manufactured fury of the mob is emblematic of our inability to unravel reality from perception, truth from falsehood.

A lot of people were asking what exactly was that women’s march about? What were their specific complaints? No one could really answer that question because there was no answer. Instead, the media has to keep on using the tired trope of the “Canberra bubble”. Canberra is not a bubble. Canberra, the national parliament, is a microcosm of the whole of Australian society.

The people in parliament are no better or worse than any in Australia, which is both a wonderfully free society and one that has become weighed down by ideological correctness. In our ­hypersexualised society, which infects women as much as men, the family has been decon­structed. Consequently, Western society is losing its centre, so we have trouble disentangling the real from the image, truth from falsehood, especially in sexual ­relations. It is a society where the mainspring is power, not love. It is a society that, to preserve some semblance of order and decency, encourages hypocrisy — and hypocrisy is not the sole preserve of men.

However, there is one place in Australia where real evil against women and children is consistently ignored, and it wasn’t addressed by the women marching on parliament. Rather, it was ­addressed by three women led by Jacinta Price who arrived at Parliament House on another day and sat quietly in the public gallery. They looked very different from most of the marchers because they were black, and they are the ones who really have something to complain about.

For years, their situation has been the stuff of nightmares. For years, the damning reports about what they and their children endure every day has been our ­nation’s greatest shame. The places where those women live exist in convenient isolation from where the media and most of the marchers live. Make no mistake, the marching women were never marshalled to march for them. ­Instead, a political demonstration, and indeed an entirely confected political crisis, was hypocritically presented as some great wellspring of female dissatisfaction against the whole male sex. That is a feminist mental landscape that only values and craves power. The real misery of Indigenous women was not the main focus of that demonstration, although the group of three women, who appeared in parliament at the tail end, should have been the ones leading it, not the newly found heroine Brittany Higgins.

Unfortunately, during this ­debacle, Scott Morrison, a ­sincere Christian person who has done a good job (and still has an approval rating far and above Anthony Albanese) seems to have lost the sheer guts necessary for a member of the church militant. Rather, he looks like he is being pushed around because he keeps on apologising. For what? Parliamentarians, particularly the Prime Minister, are supposed to address everyday important issues. At this time, and for the past few weeks, the most pressing issue was the growing flood crisis. Not too many women sweeping the floodwaters out of their houses or, worse, hopping in a tinny to get away from the deluge were worrying about whether they were getting the requisite amount of respect from various males.

That is the real reason Morrison’s popularity has slipped. It’s not because he hasn’t addressed the issue for women (whatever “the issue” is) — but because he is acting like a wuss. It is, frankly, a purely political situation, and he is not calling it. He, like a lot of people in public life, is so hamstrung by the demands of ideological and emotional kowtowing that he is unable to identify the truth from falsehood, the image from reality.

The Prime Minister is, indeed, a good man and a practising, if not practical, evangelical Christian. One of the main lessons of Christianity is not to back down in the face of hypocrisy — and modern life, both in and out of politics, ruled by the norms not of good and evil but solely of “acceptable” behaviour, is full of it.

Christian commentators have decried the lack of Christian ideals in the sexual moral landscape. But Christian sexual morality requires something that is alien in our social hierarchy of values. It requires love. And not just erotic love, but the more profound type of love that gives and gives. It is enshrined in the emblem of the cross; it is the love that Jesus gave when he gave his life. It is love that is more powerful than power. Power is the antithesis of love, and I suspect that many women, and men, in Australia still instinctively know this.


The ALP has changed its stance on Israel

In Bob Hawke’s day, Labor was a staunch defender of Israel but now many in the party’s ranks view it as a “rich oppressor” that deserves routine condemnation, writes Peta Credlin.

This Easter week, as many Australians’ thoughts turned to the Holy Land and events 2000 years ago, the Australian Labor Party was also exercised about that region; only the federal opposition was engaged in a bit of political positioning rather than acknowledging the holiest time of the Christian year.

Few things better exemplify Labor’s lurch to the green-left than the changing nature of its allegiances in the Middle East. In Bob Hawke’s time, Labor was an absolutely staunch defender of Israel. The Jewish state was seen as a heroic manifestation of a people’s desire to survive the most savage persecution, and as a bastion of pluralist democracy in a part of the world wracked by fundamentalism, terrorism and despotism.

But not any more. Despite being the only place in the Middle East with robust free speech and full protection of minority rights (including the much persecuted Arab Christians), many zealots in Labor’s ranks view Israel as a “rich oppressor” that deserves routine condemnation in the UN and elsewhere. This is despite one of the truly under-remarked achievements of the Trump era in brokering deals for four Arab nations to formally recognise Israel; something not even arch-optimists thought they would see a decade ago.

It says everything that Labor, here, is more anti-Israel than Arab neighbours, there, doesn’t it?

But that’s that state of our politics with Labor finally breaking longstanding bipartisan support for a two-state solution recognising Israel’s right to exist behind secure borders; calling, instead, for the unilateral recognition of Palestine, without any precondition that the Palestinians surrender their longstanding aim to wipe Israel off the map.

Even in Labor’s dwindling right, few defenders of Israel remain; as the Muslim population grows in Labor’s heartland in western Sydney and Melbourne and former leaders like Bob Carr, most recently known for his pro-China posturing, push the Palestinian cause to the point of hysteria. Indeed anti-Semitism, usually dressed up as “anti-Zionism”, seems to be an ethnic and religious prejudice that Australians are allowed to keep, without the politically correct disdain so often directed at traditional Christian belief and practice.

These days almost every culture is respected, other than our own; and almost every religion is taken seriously, other than the one that’s shaped our society and helped to make it the most free and the most fair on earth.

Although educated in Christian schools, my faith in the Church has waxed and waned over my life – and at times, it’s been a challenge – but the values of my Christian faith are rock-solid and I’ve never lost my conviction that while Christian faith won’t necessarily make us good, it invariably makes us better, particularly as a community of people trying to live our lives alongside each other. The fact that our Judaeo-Christian heritage lies at the heart of our legal system and defines a code of moral conduct that has survived for two millennia is reason enough to want to defend it in the face of a relentless push from the hard left. It is this underpinning of faith that makes our legal system profoundly different from that, say, of communist China. Ultimately, for us, law is based on what’s right. We have the moral capacity to argue against bad laws, even if they have the sanction of parliament. For China’s people, by contrast, law is whatever the communist party says it is, hence no one has any real protection against the all-powerful state.

Take St Paul’s magnificent declaration that “there is neither Jew nor gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female for you are all one in Christ Jesus”. Almost two thousand years before the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, has there ever been a more ringing affirmation of our shared humanity? This is the deep human insight underlying our belief that it would be entirely wrong to treat an individual differently simply because that person happens to be female, gay or black. Or for that matter, white, male or old. Of course, our ancestors didn’t reach this conclusion overnight simply after listening to the apostle. But to their credit, they most assuredly did arrive at it after a millennium-plus of reflection on the human condition, informed and often inspired by the gospel message. Unlike in other countries and cultures where everyone is subordinated to the state, or where some are favoured over others on some basis other than merit, in Australia, generations before us have worked hard to build a nation where equality lies at the heart of who we are. I’m not pretending we have always got it right; no country ever does. But the fact that we have built one of the world’s most successful migrant nations speaks volumes for our willingness to welcome, and to build on what unites us, rather than our differences. Or at least, that was the way of Australia.

Today, rather than build on St Paul’s plea to see each other as brothers and sisters, we are being bullied, even legislated, into seeing difference. It’s no coincidence that the rise of identity politics – which does hold that people should be judged differently on account of their gender, sexuality or race – has accompanied the decline of Christian faith and the collapse, even, of Christian knowledge. Indeed, for all its apparent modernity, identity politics is essentially a reversion to ancient tribal rituals designed to strengthen “us” against “them”.

Last week on my Sky News program, for instance, I covered the seepage into NSW schools of the concept of “white privilege” via an education department website called “Racism No Way”. You can be certain that there are parallels in every other state. But if the aim is to encourage young Australians to be more respectful of others, wouldn’t the Parable of the good Samaritan have been a much better lesson plan than this brainwashing with cultural Marxism? Yet while politically correct, new age sociology increasingly pervades the educational establishment, lessons in the gospel stories are barely tolerated in our public schools, for a handful of students for an hour a week, despite their absolute centrality to any meaningful understanding of the best aspects of our society.

Is it any wonder that so many young Australians seem so adrift, that our mental health rates have never been higher? The paradox of these times is that while we have never been materially better off, as a society, we have rarely been so spiritually bereft.

It’s probably a forlorn hope, but I wish that Australians would turn out in record numbers to church services this Easter: if not always as a declaration of belief in God but as an affirmation of faith in ourselves and in the culture that a Christian subconscious still largely shapes. Just as everyday Australians have come out in their droves to support Anzac Day and resist the campaign to diminish Australia Day, Easter too deserves defending for the Christian message it embodies. I, like so many, have chafed under the strictures of Christian teaching but we will miss it when it’s entirely gone. And our society will be unrecognisable.

With professed Christians rapidly become a minority in this country, so the census tells us, and with Christian faith so widely scorned and rarely defended – even while the Prime Minister is a patently sincere and public Christian – I hope I am wrong, but I fear it can’t be too far off.

It has long been the project of the hard left, the radical secular left – to obliterate faith from our society – and who could say they’re not winning?


Student newspaper pulls story on academics’ links to Chinese government

The editors of Sydney University’s student newspaper have been accused of capitulating to Chinese Communist Party supporters on campus by pulling down a report revealing academics’ links to the Chinese government just hours after its publication.

The Honi Soit story named two professors in the engineering faculty whom it claimed were “associated with controversial Chinese government recruitment schemes and have collaborated with sanctioned Chinese universities on research with potential military end-use applications”.

The Australian government has concerns about espionage and theft of intellectual property under the talent recruitment schemes, with academics performing work for Chinese institutions while being employed full-time in Australia.

A federal parliamentary inquiry into Chinese interference in Australian universities has heard that more than 300 scientists and scholars have been recruited under the schemes.

The Honi Soit story appeared in print and online on March 31. But just hours after its publication, the online version was taken down and editors posted an apology on the paper’s Facebook page.

“We unreservedly apologise to the academics mentioned in the article and for the harm caused to them, the Chinese community, and to our readers,” they said.

“Honi acknowledges that directly naming those academics was negligent, particularly in the face of escalating Sinophobia and racism at the University of Sydney and in wider society.

“Moving forward, we will ensure that we are always critical of the sources on which we rely, and we recognise our duty as student journalists to actively combat Western imperialist and xenophobic biases presented in mainstream media.”

When contacted by The Sun-Herald, the 10 editors said they had received no complaints from the academics named in the story or from the university, nor was any part of the report incorrect.

A university spokeswoman confirmed: “The university did not make a complaint or provide any feedback to Honi Soit about its story.”

Rather, the editors said they removed the story due to “a small volume” of negative feedback from some readers, which “informed a discussion among the editors which resulted in the article being taken down and the apology being issued”.

They said they did not consider the report Sinophobic, but “in the present climate of increased Sinophobic violence, [we] agreed that it should be taken down”.

That decision prompted criticism on the newspaper’s Facebook page accusing the editors of caving to pressure from supporters of the Chinese Communist Party on campus.

“Capitulating to the CCP. How unsurprising,” wrote one reader, Matthew Lilley. Another, Ryder Ko, wrote: “How exactly is criticising the Chinese government ‘sinophobia’? You just made a complete joke of your newspaper.”

The Sydney University spokeswoman said: “We strongly defend the rights of our staff to collaborate with colleagues around the world – in accordance with all relevant Australian laws and government guidelines, as well as our own policies and codes of conduct.”