Sunday, September 19, 2021

Australia poised to rent nuclear submarines in just a few years while it waits up to two decades for new fleet to be built

The Australian government is prepared to lease nuclear submarines from the US while its own fleet is being built, Defence Minister Peter Dutton says.

Last week, Australia entered into a surprise regional security pact with the US and the UK, known as AUKUS, which includes building US nuclear submarines but these will not be ready until the late 2030s.

Asked on Sky News' Sunday Agenda program whether the government would consider leasing nuclear submarines in the interim, Mr Dutton said: 'The short answer is yes'.

'There is all of that discussion to take place in the next 12 to 18 months,' he said.

'The talk that you can just buy a nuclear-powered submarine off the shelf, of course, is just not accurate or correct.'

He said the Chinese are pumping out submarines, frigates and aircraft carriers at a record rate and so the rest of the world has stepped up its own production. 'That unfortunately is the dynamic we are operating in at the moment,' he said.

However, Australia's decision has caused a stir in the region, and backlash from the French.

The scrapping of the $90 billion diesel submarine deal between Australia and France has prompted the European nation to recall its Australian ambassador.

If Australia had chosen a French nuclear model, it would have involved setting up a nuclear industry in Australia as they need to be refuelled every seven to 10 years.

The technology used by Britain and the US means the reactor does not need to be refuelled for the life of the submarine - about 35 years. 'Therefore, we don't need a domestic industry around nuclear,' Mr Dutton said.


Tenancy Reform Bill One Step Closer to Becoming Law – Will an Owner still be able to terminate a lease?

Well the Bill is now before the QLD Parliament!

The Community Support and Services Committee has now published its Report into the Housing Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 recommending that the Housing Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 be passed. This Bill is presently before Parliament for debate and could be passed before the year is out.

In this series of updates on the reforms “Qld Tenancy Reforms – What An Investment Owner Needs to Know” by the Property Management Team at Clark Real Estate we provide interested investors with some further detail on these proposed reforms. We’ll keep you up to date with the progress of the Bill through Parliament, crucial info you need to know and when the changes are due to come into effect.

Removal of “Without Grounds” Terminations of Tenancies.

One major policy of the current government, which has been a point of contention between tenants and investment property owners, is the provision of an expanded suite of additional approved reasons for lessors/providers and tenants/residents to end a tenancy.

Initially, the proposal was to remove the ability of an owner to terminate a tenancy “without grounds” altogether. For owners, this caused some angst facing the prospect of a fixed term contract turning into a perpetual lease unless one of a limited number of circumstances arose such as wanting to sell or move into the property themselves. Understandably, investors were left feeling as though control of their asset was slipping into the shallow end of a social housing pool. However, a change has been made so that ‘without grounds’ terminations were still removed but an additional ground added for termination if a fixed term tenancy is due to expire. The relief from owners is audible.

The Queensland Law Society highlighted what investors were arguing, ‘This is consistent with the fundamental nature of a contract, under which the parties reach agreement at the outset that the contract is for a specified period”.

So the new proposed grounds for termination are:

fixed term tenancy agreement is due to expire

the premises is to be vacated so that redevelopment (eg conversion from a house into flats) or demolition of the property can be undertaken

the premises is to be vacated to allow significant repair or renovation works to be undertaken

the premises is subject to a change of use (such as changing from long-term accommodation to short stay accommodation or holiday lettings)

the owner or their immediate family needs to move into the premises

the premises has been sold and vacant possession is required

the premises is to be vacated so that it can be prepared for sale.

In each case, the lessor would be required to give the tenant two months’ notice. However, a fixed term agreement could not be ended before the contracted end date, unless the tenant agrees.

There are also penalties for providing false reasons, restrictions on who are deemed ‘immediate family’ and an inability to rent the premises for a 6 month period after ending a tenancy on the grounds the property was to be sold, change of use or owner occupation. (Housing Legislation Amendment Bill, cl 56, 58, 59, 61, 63, 76, 77 and 80 and cl 88)

It still leaves the question though, how are periodic tenancies to be handled? The very nature of a periodic tenancy is a rolling tenancy. Arguably, the proposed legislation does not sufficiently provide for ending a periodic tenancy which could lead to an unintended consequence of creating a lease in perpetuity.

The Committee has recommended that the Department “maintain a close watching brief on the impacts, intended and otherwise” and to collect data on how leases are managed and ended.


Queensland introduces social reforms slowly so as not to give conservatives too many scares

Three years ago, when a fledgling movement for voluntary assisted dying laws in Queensland began meeting with MPs to gauge support, campaigners were told not to hold their breath.

Those consultations revealed what the state parliament has now confirmed – significant support among politicians for VAD. The move also had strong public approval. So why the delay?

At the time, the Queensland government made it clear to campaigners that it would not pursue an aggressive agenda of social reform. The state was already about to begin debate on decriminalising abortion, which had been in the criminal code since 1899.

The premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, said in 2018 an inquiry into VAD could be considered “down the track”, but that the issue wasn’t a priority at the outset of her government’s second term.

Change would come. But slowly, cautiously.

Labor has followed a consistent template for social reform in Queensland, where it has held office for most of the last 32 years.

In 2018, former Labor minister Anne Warner told Guardian Australia that when the Wayne Goss government was elected in 1989 there was a lot of “fear” about the idea of opening up debate on abortion laws.

We have to recognise that we have progressed and become more recognisably progressive.

“[At one point] I got a phone call from [Goss] saying ‘don’t scare the horses’,” Warner recalled.

“We’d been out of government for 30 years, change would have to happen slowly and systematically.”

Chris Salisbury, a Queensland political historian from the University of Queensland, says “don’t scare the horses” became like a mantra to Goss during his term in office.

“[Former premier] Peter Beattie said you had to be conscious of not frightening the electorate with too much reform at too quick a pace,” Salisbury said.

“Palaszczuk has got around to some of these harder social reforms that her predecessors couldn’t bring themselves to touch, but there’s a very pragmatic nature to the reform agenda.”

As Palaszczuk’s Labor government now settles into its third term in office, it has come to exploit that pragmatic upside of social progress in Queensland. Two weeks before the 2020 election, a promise to bring voluntary euthanasia laws to the parliament tapped into the more than 80% of voters who supported VAD.

Issues like abortion and VAD have become political third rails for their LNP opposition – wedging them between constituents who want reform and the majority of grassroots party members with fundamental objections.

Many of these reforms are years – even decades – slow in responding to the views of Queensland citizens. They are safe, overdue and popular. They are also plentiful, in a state shaped by anachronisms that hark back to the ultraconservative Bjelke-Petersen years.

The state government has already started work on the next tranche of social reforms. The include a review of the sex work industry that will look at decriminalisation, in a state where the laws are described as “puritanical”. The government has taken steps towards a treaty with First Nations people.

All of which is not to say the current government is particularly leftwing either. Laws targeting climate change protesters and ongoing “tough on crime” rhetoric are not popular with progressive groups. The state does not have an independent environmental protection agency.

ABC Vote Compass data shows Queensland is notionally conservative – sitting marginally to the right of other states.

And while Vote Compass data from the past two federal elections shows community views in Queensland becoming more progressive, voters shifted firmly to the right on polling day in 2019.

Queensland is unquestionably a conservative place in the sense that voters have entrenched reformist governments and rejected radical ones. The rise and fall of Campbell Newman’s one-term Liberal National government seemed to underscore that sentiment; even when the dial shifted to the right, voters felt uneasy with hasty and wholesale changes.

Polling on VAD, gay rights and abortion consistently shows that on those issues – even in regional areas – Queensland is no more conservative than any other states.

Salisbury says the decentralised nature of Queensland has accentuated some very conservative pockets, but that overall the nature of the state has changed substantially.

“We have to recognise that we have progressed and become more recognisably progressive than how we used to be characterised and caricatured,” he says.


Feminists throw children under the bus

Bettina Arndt

There’s no end to the dreadful chicanery being used to prop up the feminist narrative of virtuous women and villainous men, as we have seen in two recent examples, one from the UK and the other Australia. It is astonishing how hard the ideologues work to deny that essential truth about human nature – that neither gender has a monopoly on vice nor virtue.

Last month an Australian social issues journal published the most fascinating research - Allegations of child sexual abuse – which showed judges determined that only 12 % of the child sexual abuse allegations involved in contested family court cases were found to be true.

Accusations of abuse that were deliberately misleading were found to be twice as common as true allegations, according to the study by Webb, Moloney, Smyth and Murphy, which reviewed family court cases from 2012 to 2019.

You might wonder how many of the 102 cases of deliberately misleading accusations were prosecuted for perjury? Anyone who followed submissions to the recent Family Law inquiry will know the answer to that one - precisely zero.

Though startling, these results shouldn’t come as a surprise. Over thirty years ago I published an article quoting a retiring family court judge speaking out about the proliferation of false accusations of child sexual abuse in contested cases. Other judges have raised concerns about the problem and it has long been known that false accusations are more common in custody disputes.

That’s the real world, very different from the alternate reality occupied by these researchers who make it clear they hoped to prove false accusations were rare. Nola Webb, barrister and lead author of the study, proudly told the ABC that she commenced the research because she was shocked to hear from mothers reporting their child abuse accusations were being dismissed in family court.

Faced with devastating evidence that judges conclude most of the allegations didn’t stack up, the researchers do their best to massage the results to disguise the extent of the false allegation problem. For instance, they exclude allegations which are “one of a multitude of criticisms of the other parent” claiming this might “minimise their seriousness and compromise their believability.” What, a mother fires off a barrage of complaints including child sexual abuse allegations and that somehow makes these allegations less serious? Go figure….

Also excluded from the false accusation category are cases they deem as "genuine but mistaken belief" which is clearly a phony category designed to minimize the rate of false accusations. (For data wonks, my brilliant researcher has put together a brief explanation of some of the complexities of this study’s statistics here).

The bottom line is, here we have an important study revealing the true extent of the problem of false allegations of child sexual abuse in family court cases – allegations which often result in small children being subjected to multiple intrusive interviews by court experts and the shaming of innocent fathers.

But this significant news is totally ignored by our mainstream media, apart from one skewed ABC article claiming the judges have it all wrong. Oh yes, there was also a bizarre blog in Diplomat magazine claiming the study proved “the family court offers a prime example of how male supremacist groups are able to alter the culture of public institutions to the detriment of our collective social health.”




1 comment:

Norse said...

Don't scare the horses, well, good on horses for not merely being self-aware and but also for paying attention to their surroundings. I suspect leftist politicians "know what is better for others" and thus can be bothered to abide by cooking their frogs slowly rather than not being able to cook them.

It is sensible to introduce (proposed) change slowly, if any change at all, because it is not a given that change is for the better, other than on paper or in the heads of those who do not value caution but insist that "do what winstre wilt shall be the whole of the law". Slow change spells one can easily step on the break before it is too late.

Euthanasia has the potential to both end a life of suffering and end temporary suffering permanently, which is a serious decision to make based on a mood passing by. That is the nature of freedom though, if a door to that which is seemingly or actually beneficial is opened then the opposite is usually opened too.

Abortion ends potential life. We see around us what that potential is in the lives and experiences of those who were not terminated. That said, there is a span of time between conception and the final seconds before birth where the subdivision is still at an early stage. Leftists tend to see no problems going for later rather than sooner, some so late it is clear they do not value human life.