Monday, April 04, 2022

There is still no rape crisis on campus

Bettina Arndt

Five years ago, the Australian Human Rights Commission conducted a million-dollar survey to try to find evidence of a rape crisis on campus. It proved a huge letdown for the activists because all they found was a lot of unwanted staring and tiny rates of sexual assault. I was the only journalist in Australia to suggest we should be celebrating our safe universities whilst mainstream media beat up a new narrative about widespread campus ‘sexual violence’ which activists used to bully universities into setting up the kangaroo courts, implementing sexual consent courses and the like.

Now they’ve tried again, and contrary to what has appeared in the media this week, the results are even more disappointing for the feminists. The latest survey published last Wednesday was a dud, with sexual harassment rates less than a third of those reported in 2015-16 (8 per cent compared to 26 per cent), and minimal rates of assault (1.1 per cent for the year surveyed compared to the earlier figure of 0.8 per cent).

What a joke, given that they’d done everything they could to expand the definitions of sexual misconduct, as I explained in this blog last year. The latest survey included as harassment such items as staring, making comments about your private life or physical appearance, and repeated requests to go on a date.

Enthusiastic consent featured in defining sexual assault, with all sexual acts including kissing deemed assault if your partner ‘made no effort to check whether you agreed or not’ and including all sexual acts as assault if you were ‘affected by drugs or alcohol’.

The response rate for the survey was just 11.6 per cent – 43,819 self-selected responses from those invited to participate, who were in turn just part of the 1.6 million university students in this country. So, the new report is based on a piddling 2.7 per cent of the student population.

Not that the statistics matter two hoots when our blinkered media remains determined to sing from the feminist songbook. They carefully shifted the goal posts, highlighting such critical matters as the newly discovered peak sexual assault rates for pansexual students and claiming one in three students experienced sexual assault over their lifetimes, a figure which no doubt includes all the drunken schoolkid gropes that feature in Contos’s testimonials – nothing to do with the supposed campus rape crisis.

Not a single one of the so-called reporters bothered to look at official sexual assault rates for this age group. The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Personal Safety Survey shows sexual harassment rates for 18-24-year-olds of 27.3 per cent and sexual assault at 3.4 per cent – making it very clear that our universities are extremely safe compared to the general community.

For the last two days graduates across Australia have been receiving emails from Vice Chancellors apologising for the ongoing crisis and promising to do better. How about all you Australian graduates spend a few minutes writing to these snivelling leaders of your former institute of higher learning to tell them that we’ve had enough? Call out their lack of integrity in participating in this farcical misrepresentation of the important issue of the safety of our universities. And urge them to put a stop to this ongoing, contrived campaign to demonise the next generation of vulnerable young men.


Corrupt limits on election spending in Qld.

At the next state election, expenditure by third party organisations will be restricted to $90,748 per electorate, with an overall cap of $1,043,087 per election.

The capped electoral expenditure period for third party organisations will be from April 1, 2024 to 6 pm on election day,, October 26, 2024.

It will be far from a level playing field. There are 26 Labor-affiliated unions in Queensland, each with the capacity to spend up to $1,043,087 in a state-wide third party advertising campaign to support Labor.

But here’s the real sting. Direct donations to political parties and candidates at the next state election from July 1 this year will, for the first time, have maximum limits.

In the donation cap period from July 1, 2022, to November 25, 2024 – that is 30 days after the election - the maximum donation any person or entity can make to a political party will be $4000 and the maximum donation any person or entity can make to a candidate will be $6000.

So a developer, for example, who wants to donate $100,000 to the LNP, will be restricted to $4000.

Yet unions can donate more than $1 million. It’s a shameless attack on democracy and yet another example of the Rafferty’s Rules we see from this mob.

They are strangling the life out of the political donation process, while at the same time ensuring their union mates can pretty well donate what they like.

The most any political party can spend on the next state election campaign in 2024 will be $95,964 per state electorate, and $8,924,660 for the whole campaign if they contest all 93 seats. Unions are not part of those limits.

According to Electoral Commission of Queensland figures, here are the top 10 third party spenders at the 2020 state election:

Mineralogy Pty Ltd was first with $958,183.36, then Queensland Council of Unions, $842,559.53, Together Queensland Industrial Union of Employees $700,909.74, New Hope Corporation Limited $658,528.31, Queensland Master Builders Association Industrial Organisation of Employers 440,721.05, United Workers Union, $411,955.92, Queensland Resources Council $388,972.91, Cherish Life Queensland Inc $352,739.40, Shooters Union Qld Pty Ltd $204,120.25 and the Queensland Nurses and Midwives’ Union $177,799.93.

The four major Labor-aligned unions spent a total of $2.13 million on the 2020 campaign. Expect a lot more in 2024.

Democracy Queensland-style.


Whitehaven Coal wins ‘dangerous’ thermal coal mine expansion at NSW’s Narrabri

Whitehaven Coal has received approval to expand a major coal mine in NSW’s Narrabri after a review by the state’s Independent Planning Commission which has imposed 152 conditions on the project including new measures to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The approval was immediately slammed by critics concerned the mine extension was at odds with urgent climate change goals, with the Australia Institute branding the decision “reckless and dangerous” given the nation’s need to cut pollution.

The Sydney-based coal miner has been operating Narrabi since 2012 where it employs 500 people and previously held a licence to produce 11m tonnes a year of coal until 2031.

The new expansion extends the life of the mine until 2044 and allows an extra 82m tonnes of thermal coal to be extracted after the IPC approved its plan.

“The Commission finds that, on balance, the application is not inconsistent with ecologically sustainable development principles, and that the project would achieve an appropriate balance between relevant environmental, economic and social considerations,” the IPC’s statement of reasons said.

The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment had spent more than a year reviewing the project and gave the green light in January 2022 for the scheme which will extract coal to the south of the existing mine.

The IPC said it took into account the NSW government’s policies on mining and emissions reductions and objectors’ concerns on greenhouse gas emissions, including the increased methane that is predicted to be released beyond 2030.

“The Commission has set strict performance measures to curb the intensity of the mine’s Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions, which Whitehaven must comply with during the life of the mine,” the IPC said.

“Whitehaven will also be required by the Commission to complete an Emissions Minimisation Plan to investigate and implement innovative, economically-feasible ways to further reduce the mine’s Scope 1 emissions, including through deploying existing, emerging and future technologies.”

The Australia Institute slammed the IPC’s decision.

“The IPC claims that approving new coal production out to 2044 is ‘not inconsistent’ with net zero emissions goals or the Paris Agreement,” said Rod Campbell, research director with the Australia Institute.

“This will be a particularly dirty coal mine with massive direct methane emissions, so the NSW government cannot hide from the fact these emissions will be its responsibility.”

Activists Lock The Gate Alliance said it was “incensed” by the decision.

“We know that Whitehaven has no problem violating the conditions placed on its mining operations. The conditions imposed by Commissioners are cold comfort and hold no credibility,” Lock The Gate spokeswoman Georgina Woods said.

The IPC said Scope 3 emissions, pollution by Whitehaven’s coal customers, would add to climate change but said the pollution would be covered by international environmental pacts such as the 1.5 degree target outlined in the Paris climate accord.

“The Commission acknowledges that while the project’s Scope 3 emissions would contribute to anthropogenic climate change, they are more appropriately regulated and accounted for through broader national policies and international agreement such as the Paris Agreement,” the IPC said in its statement of reasons.

A number of submissions raised fears that the Narrabri extension would be inconsistent with the NSW government’s emissions reduction targets for 2030 – where it targets a 50 per cent but below 2005 levels – and a long-term net zero goal for 2050.

However, the IPC said the coal mine was consistent with broader goals and said Whitehaven was required to “continually investigate” technologies to cut fugitive methane emissions.

“The Commission is of the view that the project is not inconsistent with the NSW Climate Change Policy Framework, the Net Zero plan or Australia’s current obligations under the Paris agreement in respect of Australia’s current nationally determined contributions.”


Footdragging on dam building

While it was very pleasing to this old water conservation enthusiast to hear PM Morrison announce a 5.4 billion funding for the Hells Gate Dam in Queensland, I believe it is important we put this announcement in an historical context and understand where it fits in relation to overcoming our now urgent water shortages. Yes, I know there are floods across Australia and many of our dams are spilling, but this old Bushy also knows that we have had eleven years of above-average rainfall and the next inevitable drought cannot be far away and when it does things will be different.

Therefore, it is important to note that this announcement by the PM comes 46 years after the last major dam announcement, which was Wivenhoe Dam in Queensland, commenced in 1975. During the intervening period our population has grown by eleven million people. Those eleven million people require one million three hundred thousand megalitres of water each year just for municipal use, so it is not difficult to see that despite present flooding we will be in huge trouble come the next inevitable drought. It is also important to highlight that total dam capacity is not as important as annual dam yield. That is the average water that can be released from the dam while maintaining storage capacity for future dryer years. While this yield will vary from dam to dam, and from year to year, it is reasonable to suggest that in most years it would not be above 40 per cent of total capacity. So just to supply the municipal needs of our increased population since the building of Wivenhoe we would need to have a dam or dams with total capacity of over five million megalitres, plus our increasing agricultural needs.

Obviously, these dams have not been built and just to add to our water plight, over two million, four hundred thousand megalitres of our stored water has been given to the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder, who is flushing this valuable resource to the sea. Again, I know we are presently awash with water, but a couple of years into the next drought many areas of southern Australia will be out of water; including Sydney and likely, Snowy Hydro. Why? Because we stopped building dams over forty years ago and our need for water has not stopped growing. Our forebears knew what to do but it seems we lost both plans for our future and interest in our future.




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