Monday, May 16, 2022

I don’t need to be ‘welcomed’ to my country

Its just endemic Leftist stupidity and race-hate but it gets tedious

Lincoln Brown

The notion that Australians must be welcomed or invited to their own country by Indigenous leaders – as occurs at the opening of state and federal parliaments, conferences, and school assemblies – is a divisive and destructive one.

This practice, while it may appear reasonable or harmless, is a manifestation of the ongoing assault on Australia’s Western heritage and implies that non-Indigenous Australians, whose families have called Australia home for many generations, do not really belong here.

I recently attended an event where the audience (mostly comprised of Australians with European heritage) were ‘welcomed’ by an Indigenous speaker. It was a pitiful display of bitterness, resentment, and even hatred towards white Australians. Indeed, it was little more than a scolding for the colour of their skin.

The speaker bluntly stated that Australia still belongs to ‘First Nations’ people (a nonsensical and ahistorical term lifted from Canada’s debates about colonialism) and does not belong to so-called ‘white people’ (or presumably any other migrant families). He then asserted that the audience needed to learn Australia’s ‘true history’. This, even though ignorance of Australia’s British heritage has never been more apparent than it is now.

It was an overtly adversarial presentation – devoid of hope or a positive vision for Australians. Not a trace of recognition for the fact that Indigenous people enjoy the same fundamental rights that all Australians enjoy, or the tremendous efforts that governments, charities, and individuals have put into improving life for Indigenous Australians over many decades. Instead, the speaker aggressively asserted that Indigenous people are still colonised and that white people must continue to be reminded of this until colonialism ends.

The belief that all Australians, Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike, have a right to call the country in which we were born home is now openly attacked.

The desired outcome for such activists is unclear. How, exactly, will we know when enough has been done to overcome racism? What measurable goals must be achieved? When will we be able to congratulate ourselves for elevating Indigenous voices and dismantling colonialism enough? Will it be when all references to Christianity are removed from the national curriculum, as was attempted (and, thankfully, negated) last year? Or when we abolish the Australian flag? At what point will we have made enough progress?

Ironically, as I flew home on a Qantas jet, the pilot acknowledged the traditional custodians of the state I was returning home to. It is a strange form of colonialism in which major corporations, from airlines to the AFL, feel the need to constantly remind everyone that the land belongs to Indigenous people. One would think that if racism were the ubiquitous problem that we are told it is then major corporations would not bother with such sentiments.

White people, as nebulous as that concept is, are not guests in Australia. My ancestors were also born and raised here many generations ago. No one should be made to feel guilty for the colour of their skin or blamed for the actions of people who have long since died. This attribution of historical, collective guilt to an entire group of people due to their ethnicity is not only racist but is a symptom of a dying Australia. It is a direct, ideological assault on Western values based on selective distortions of history and the Marxist idea of class guilt, now applied to race, which divides humanity into ‘oppressed’ and ‘oppressor’ classes and ascribes sinfulness or virtue based on whatever group one happens to belong to.

If you are Indigenous, you are a victim, and therefore virtuous. If you are white, you are an oppressor, and therefore sinful. If you disagree, this demonstrates that you are entrenched in your oppressor privilege, which makes you more of a racist.

This is a dangerous fiction.

The reality that nobody is allowed to acknowledge, but everyone knows, is that Indigenous Australians not only enjoy the same basic rights as everyone else but are now viewed by mainstream institutions such as government, media, and education as having a kind of culturally protected status thanks to policies concerned with promoting ‘equity’. Such policies mean that Indigenous people have access to a range of opportunities, from scholarships to employment, that non-Indigenous people do not.

Welfare policies for Indigenous people abound, yet so do high rates of alcoholism, abuse, imprisonment, and early deaths in Indigenous communities. Is this because of racism? How many more apologies, more welcomes to country, more equity programs, are needed to remedy these issues and undo the supposed harms of our colonial heritage? Or could it be that these policies, which negate personal responsibility (that nasty colonial idea), do more harm than good?

People are afraid to suggest these things because they will be accused of racism. To call someone a racist is one of the most destructive slurs available. It destroys careers and reputations. This constant threat of ostracism for saying ‘the wrong thing’ is a cudgel the Left wields to shut down debate and discussion about how to view Australian history and how issues in Indigenous communities can be addressed. The tragic irony is that ‘welcome’ ceremonies, apologies, and other pointless gestures do nothing whatsoever to address the real and serious problems faced by Indigenous communities (especially those who live in remote areas). The virtue-signalling activists do not care about helping them, only about getting revenge on white people, and promoting themselves as victims.

None of this is likely to be new to most readers of The Spectator Australia. We know that Western values are under attack and that Australian history is more complex than being entirely good or entirely bad.

What is needed is the courage to say the unsayable: it is not right for white people to be chastised for their skin colour, nor is it right to blame every problem that Indigenous people face on so-called racism. This assault on Western values only ends when cancel culture is countered with courage culture, and name-calling stops being a weapon that can be used against people who see through the pernicious cultural-Marxist worldview.


Outrage at Deves ignores gravity of her message

British teenager Keira Bell was 14 when she began to feel dysphoria about her body. She was not a traditionally feminine girl but, instead of rejecting feminine stereotypes, she came to reject her own femaleness instead.

In doing so she decided she was, in fact, a boy. When she saw professionals about these issues – at a British clinic for gender dysphoric children – the health practitioners affirmed her belief that she was a boy. The clinic did not explore whether she was suffering from depression, or whether she had a history of trauma or low self-esteem, and promptly placed her on a treatment path to halt her normal development.

It took only three appointments before Bell was prescribed puberty blockers at age 16. She then took testosterone from the age of 17 and underwent a double mastectomy at 20. When Bell, at 23, decided to sue the clinic for malpractice, she said these treatments did not alleviate her dysphoria and she wished the clinicians had challenged her more about her beliefs that she was a boy. Reflecting on her transition, Bell has said: “I look back with a lot of sadness. There was nothing wrong with my body, I was just lost and without proper support. Transition gave me the facility to hide from myself even more than before. It was a temporary fix, if that.”

In Australia, activists have argued that gender-affirmation surgery is unavailable to children and therefore concern about such medical treatments is unfounded. But this applies only to surgery on the genital region. Children still can access double mastectomies if they have permission from a doctor and a parent or guardian. And children still are prescribed puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones.

We don’t know how many children have undergone double mastectomies or how common puberty blockers and cross-sex hormonal treatment is, as there is no data publicly available for journalists to access.

It is for this reason, as well as many others, that outrage over comments made by the Liberal candidate for Warringah, Katherine Deves, has been disingenuous. While her choice of words may have been indelicate (Deves has likened gender-confirmation surgery to mutilation) these issues are serious and are in dire need of debate in this country.

Several journalists and activists have made efforts to paint Deves as a culture warrior railing against trans children – much like a puritan railing against gay boys and lesbian girls a generation or two ago. The issue has been framed as a battle between progressive values and conservative prejudice, with conservatives just lagging behind in their acceptance of children who are different.

But this framing is factually wrong. There is no scientific consensus on the treatment for childhood gender dysphoria.

Sweden, for example, recently has halted the prescription of puberty blockers for minors and Finland prioritises mental healthcare for gender dysphoric children over drugs and surgery. When the most socially progressive countries in the world are pumping the brakes on using medical treatments to transition children, the idea it is only conservatives who have legitim­ate concerns is as shallow as it is dishonest.

The medical community knows puberty blockers are associated with significantly reduced bone density in developing children. They know cross-sex hormonal treatments can lead to infertility, which is irreversible. They know after double mastectomies patients are at risk of bleeding, infections and blood clots. They know after genital reconstruction surgery many patients can expect to experience lifelong sexual dysfunction. And they know while severe complications are rare, they can be debilitating: males who undergo vaginoplasty are at risk of fistula – a rupturing of the colon.

Sky News host Chris Kenny has rubbished claims his interview with Katherine Deves was “set up”.
It is for these reasons the issue of transgender children and how to treat them is profoundly different to the issue of accepting lesbian and gay children in decades past. For a gay teenager to embrace their sexuality, they must learn to see themselves as no less of a boy because they are attracted to other boys (or no less of a girl because they are attracted to other girls). It involves learning to love one’s body while overcoming feelings of shame and alienation.

By comparison, embracing a transgender identity involves rejecting one’s body and medicalising one’s shame. This is a process that leads individuals to have a lifelong dependence on medical interventions such as drugs and surgeries. In some cases this may be liberating; in others this path may be tragic and unnecessary.

The way in which outraged media commentators have framed the issue is to portray Deves as attacking or belittling gender dysphoric children, when in reality Deves’s comments appear to come from a place of genuine concern for these vulnerable individuals.

Bell had no one in her corner when she took her feelings of distress to the British gender clinic that prescribed her puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones, and that led to the removal of healthy female breasts. We need more discussion, not less, to ensure that stories such as Bell’s do not become more frequent than they have to be.

When asked how people can support gender dysphoric children without pushing them into medicalisation, Bell has offered the following advice: “It has to start with how we look at gender nonconformity, and nonconformity in general. Almost every girl (if not all) that wants to or has transitioned has felt like they are wrong because they do not conform to something that this society deems as important or necessary … Gender nonconformity needs to be accepted …

“We need better mental health support, and I think that speaks for most countries. Mental health support is a great preventative measure.”

We do our children no favours if we ignore the advice of brave individuals such as Bell. Similarly, our society does not benefit if people such as Deves are demonised simply for sharing honest opinions on such complex and important issues.


Parents turned away as childcare centres don’t have enough staff

Queensland’s childcare industry is being crippled by worker shortages with many centres forced to turn parents away due to regulatory child and staff ratios.

The number of job vacancies in the early learning sector are at record highs across the country with one in 10 roles vacant nationally and 1371 in Queensland. Hiring difficulties are so dire fears grow that some centres will not survive and many have had to apply for a government waiver to legally operate as they have not enough staff.

The Australian Childcare Alliance in Queensland is deeply concerned by the job crisis and has been lobbying all parties in the lead up to the Federal Election to recognise the need for strategies to attract workers to the sector and in the long run keep more mothers, who need childcare, in the workplace.

“The workforce crisis in early childhood education has been on our radar for many years but this became even more of an issue during the pandemic when we had a significant number of educators leave our sector, either taking early retirement because they were simply exhausted, or due to vaccine mandates,” president of the ACA in Queensland Majella Fitzimmons said.

The ACA has been working with members on the most effective ways to find new staff.

“We highlight government programs for staff and businesses to support new entrants to the sector. There are some great packages and grants that bring new entrants to our sector and allow them to ‘earn while they learn’ through supported work placement programs,” Ms Fitzimmons said .

The early education peak body believes the government needs to look at reduced fees for qualifications in this field, and a boost in Skilled Visa Immigrants.

Lucy Schweizer Cook, general manager of a chain of Amaze early education centres across the state plus outside school hours care services, told The Courier-Mail that all but one of the Amaze centres are at capacity due to staff shortages.

“Parents are on waiting lists until we can meet the ratios to enrol more children. During Covid a lot of educators had a life reboot with many deciding they would stay home rather than work or looking for jobs with higher wages. We are doing all we can to make things more attractive for workers. We give loads of bonuses, pay four per cent above award wages, have staff childcare discount, flexibility, free uniform,” she said.

“It is such a rewarding career, who wouldn’t want hugs from babies and children every day,” she said.

Under The National Quality Framework there must be one educator for four children under 24 months in child care settings, two to three year olds require one staff member for five children and in outside school hours care and vacation care one educator for 15 children.


Sydney upsizers face record gap between unit and house prices

Making the leap into a larger home has become increasingly difficult for Sydney upsizers, who need to bridge a record price gap to trade up from a unit to a house.

Sydney houses now cost twice as much as units, Domain data shows, with the price difference between the two property types widening rapidly during the pandemic.

More than $794,000 now separates the harbour city’s median house price of almost $1,591,000 and the unit price of about $796,500, climbing from a 54 per cent gap in late 2019 to just shy of 100 per cent last quarter.

Domain chief of research and economics Dr Nicola Powell said demand for houses has soared amid the pandemic as buyers sought more space, with house prices growing six times faster than unit prices over the past two years.

Despite Sydney’s cooling property market – with house price growth flatlining and unit prices down 1.2 per cent last quarter – a record price difference remains.

However, that gap is likely to narrow, Powell said. Unit prices were first to fall, but house prices would follow and could see sharper declines, given their stronger growth during the boom.

Apartment demand could also be propped up by increased investor activity, at the same time as affordability constraints pushed or kept more people in the unit market.

The premium paid for houses varies greatly across the city, with the smallest difference found in more affordable outer suburbs and the Central Coast, and the starkest difference in the city’s east, north shore and inner west.

Median house prices in Vaucluse are more than five times higher than unit prices, while house prices are at least four times higher in Bellevue Hill, Mosman and Strathfield. It’s a virtually impossible gap to bridge for most, though Powell said few apartment owners in such areas would ever expect to be able to upsize locally.

The smallest price gap was in Ingleburn, at just under 10 per cent, or $66,000.

House prices in Riverstone, Quakers Hill, Norwest and Terrigal were also less than 30 per cent above unit prices. Medians were only recorded and compared for suburbs with a minimum of both 50 house and unit sales over the year to March.

Higher price gaps highlighted the extreme cost of land in inner markets, Powell said. While land was more affordable in outer areas, reducing the premium for houses, there were also more low-density apartments and villas on offer. These and newer units could command higher prices, reducing the price difference.

In the inner west, where the house median of $2.4 million is three times the unit median of $800,000, it’s become very difficult to upsize locally, said buyer’s agent Hamada Alameddine of BuyerX.

Apartments had been subject to softer price growth, and owners had built up less equity. More people were leaving the area to upgrade, or opting to upsize to a larger apartment as a result.

“People upgrading from a unit to house are struggling if they’re relying on capital growth. Unless they’re higher earners or have the capacity to borrow a lot more money, it’s hard,” Alameddine said.

Buyer’s agent Pete Wargent, co-founder of BuyersBuyers, said a lack of suitable stock, strong competition and rapidly rising prices had made upsizing more difficult over the past two years. Moving from a unit to a house in suburbia was usually the hardest gap to jump, he said.

However, conditions for upsizers would improve with increasing stock levels giving buyers more choice and time. He also expected the higher end of the market, which was traditionally more volatile, to see greater price declines, narrowing the price gap between houses and units.

While the borrowing power of upgraders would be affected by rising interest rates, most upsizers were not borrowing to their maximum capacity, he said. Rate rises would also put downward pressure on property prices.




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