Sunday, May 08, 2022

Role of women

Mark Richardson is philosophically inclined conservative blogger from Melbourne. He has just put up a new post that I am not sure I agree with. Here is an excerpt:

Liberalism is based, at least in part, on the idea that we should be free to follow our own will and that anything that limits our will is an unjust constraint that should be remedied by political action or by personal empowerment or by technological innovation. The liberal faith is that there will be "progress" toward these ends.

This is not a belief system that encourages individuals to recognise that there are constraints built into the nature of reality that we must acknowledge and prudently consider when making our life choices. Instead, the mindset of many of the women that Kevin Samuels interviewed was that a decent person should be rewarded by getting what they wanted. These women did not consider what they might contribute to a relationship; what men might be looking for in a woman; what stage of life they were at; where they stood in terms of attractiveness; and what it was realistic to expect of men in terms of employment status or finances or looks.

And here's the thing. As a generalisation women are not meant to be good at providing the reality principle. What we look for from women is emotional warmth, a talent for homemaking, the nurture of young infants, and some of the more appealing soft and sensitive qualities of the human personality. It is mostly a responsibility of men to provide the stable structure within which the feminine qualities can successfully operate and long-term, faithful relationships can be secured.

Men do not have the same authority in society to carry out this responsibility that they once had. What we can do, however, is to try to model a masculine personality which is tough enough to hold people (including ourselves) to account and to insist on the reality principle, even in a culture that sets itself against the idea that our lives should be ordered to an objective good and to a reality that exists outside of our own will and desires.

In the meantime, the chaos of modern relationships is likely to get worse

Is he right? Are women not good at being realistic in their lives? I would have thought that women are the supreme realists and that it is men who get lost in abstractions

I have had a few comments on Mark's ideas previously


Albo plots against Australia’s self-employed

There’s one seemingly small ‘bit’ in Labor’s election policy that should scare the hell out of Australia’s two million-or-so self-employed independent contractors.

Put simply, Albanese’s Labor intends to close us down.

Sound extreme? The ALP Secure Jobs Plan (one of the few clearly stated policies) says:

‘Labor will extend the powers of the Fair Work Commission to include ‘employee-like’ forms of work…’ Labor intends to attack ‘…new forms of work such as gig work.’

It’s clear what this is about. The history is known. The ‘justification’ Labor uses is well documented. The motivation is clear and the self-interested parties to whom Albanese must kowtow are obvious.

What Albanese plans to do is invent new law that says that self-employed people are a ‘little bit’ an employee, like being ‘a little bit pregnant’. It’s complete nonsense. It defies common sense, but whoever said that politics is about common sense?

If introduced, such laws would attack, even smash, the incomes of people who choose to be their own boss via self-employment.

We know this will be the result because this is what happened in California in early 2020. California introduced a law called AB5. The political spin was that it would ‘protect’ self-employed people. Except it was a job killer which hit the most vulnerable self-employed people. Think of single mums running their own hairdressing business from home … closed down!

There are thousands of examples. Large numbers of Californian self-employed people have had to leave California to continue earning an income. IT contractors, virtual assistants, and self-employed truckies are just some examples.

Way back in 1996, the United Kingdom created a ‘little bit pregnant/employee’ independent contractor law that’s been ‘asleep’ for a while and rarely used. With the introduction of drive-sharing, the UK transport union decided to use this law to declare that Uber drivers are a ‘little-bit’ employees but still independent contractors. It’s thrown common law into chaos in the UK.

In the most recent Australian High Court ruling on employee versus independent contracting (2022) the Court has, however, declared that the UK-type laws are not part of Australian law. This is why Albanese and his Labor crew will need to invent new law.

Labor’s policy is to do this in the name of ‘secure’ work. Labor says that ‘insecure’ work is increasing and a major problem. Labor has been caught out running a beat-up on this and their claim is not supported by the facts. Casual work has actually declined. The size of the self-employed workforce is stable, even down a little as a percentage of the total workforce.

The Albanese plan is entirely a repeat of the disastrous Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal introduced by the 2012 Gillard Labor government. It took until 2016 for it to be fully implemented. When it got rolling, it was about to put 50,000 self-employed truckies out of business. The Small Business Ombudsman said it was totally dodgy. The High Court said that constitutionally it was potentially suspect just before the Turnbull government repealed the law in 2017, thereby saving those jobs.

Labor’s and the unions’ near-hysteria on the ‘evil’ gig economy is silly. Research by the Victorian Labor government showed that only 0.19 per cent of the Australian workforce earned their full-time income through gig work. For everyone else in gig work, it’s top-up income. The alleged ‘crisis’ call by Labor is a smokescreen for something else.

Further, the International Labour Organisation, a United Nations body, declared in 2006 that national laws should not interfere in commercial relationships. Independent contractors operate through the use of commercial contracts. That’s how ‘we’ work. This is the basis for the Australian Independent Contractors Act which provides core protections for independent contractors. And that Act requires that independent contractors should not be paid less than employees.

So here is what Labor promises with an Albanese-led government. They are determined to create a law to harm independent contractors. To do this they will need to do a range of things.

They need to copy the Californian laws that have ripped apart the livelihoods of huge numbers of people. They need to create the common law chaos that’s happening in the UK.

They need to go against Australia’s international obligations under ILO labour law principles and ignore, or somehow get around, constitutional issues on this matter.

They need to reintroduce the anti-self-employed truckie laws but apply these to every independent contractor in Australia, thus threatening the jobs of some two million self-employed people.

Effectively, Albanese is running a policy to prop up a declining union movement.

With union membership down to 9 per cent of the private-sector workforce, unions are running dead in the water. And they are looking for excuses and someone or something to blame. For Albanese’s Labor the ‘solution’ is to attack the jobs and incomes of self-employed people.


Facebook deliberately blocked Australian government and health care pages last year: report

The social media platform Facebook deliberately blocked pages of Australian government and health care services accounts last year as part of its effort to fight the passage of the media bargaining code, the Wall Street Journal has reported, citing whistleblowers and internal documents.

Based on Facebook documents as well as testimony filed to US and Australian authorities, whistleblowers claim that the platform, owned by Meta, “deliberately created an overly broad and sloppy process to take down pages”.

Legislation for the world-first media bargaining code, which requires platforms to reimburse Australian media companies for news content they share, was opposed by the US-based companies such as Facebook and Google.

Immediately after the final legislation was passed in Canberra in February 2021 Facebook blocked Australian media pages for a matter of days. At the time, Facebook said the inclusion of government and hospital sites was “inadvertent”.

The Facebook documents were submitted by whistleblower complaints filed with the US Department of Justice and the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission. They were also shared with members of Congress, the Wall Street Journal reported.

At the time, content on Facebook pages from The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, News Corp newspapers such as The Australian and The Herald Sun and all ABC content were made unavailable.

The effort extended as well to pages for local governments and medical authorities.

Facebook disputed the conclusions of the WSJ report.

“The documents in question clearly show that we intended to exempt Australian government Pages from restrictions in an effort to minimise the impact of this misguided and harmful legislation,” said Facebook spokesman Andy Stone, referring to the media bargaining code.

“When we were unable to do so as intended due to a technical error, we apologised and worked to correct it. Any suggestion to the contrary is categorically and obviously false.”

The Facebook documents, seen by the WSJ, were filed as complaints with the US Department of Justice and the ACCC on behalf of a Facebook employee who worked on the project by Whistleblower Aid, a Washington, DC-based non-profit.

“Facebook maintained a chokehold on the channels the Australian government and key community groups use to communicate with the public,” said Andrew Bakaj, who is representing the anonymous whistleblowers.

“When its interests were threatened, Facebook didn’t hesitate to squeeze. Hard.”

The whistleblowers claim that Facebook took “deliberate steps to hide key information about plans for the takedown even from its own employees,” according to a statement from the group.


Wishy washy "conservatives"

James Allan

This past Friday night, Australia’s best legal organisation, the Samuel Griffith Society, was having its yearly conference in Sydney and our first night speaker was none other than Mark Latham. His speech was a tour de force, aimed squarely at the NSW Liberal party. Listeners didn’t know whether to laugh or cry as Mr Latham went through chapter and verse of the failings of the NSW Libs – and to be abundantly clear I mean the failings solely in terms of having caved in to wokeness, identity politics and the new religion of ‘diversity’ (which is just new clothes for the old affirmative action and quotas religion). Any conservative who listened to Latham would never again say that New South Wales has the best state government in the country. Heck, I suspect many would find it tough ever to vote for these virtue-signalling Libs In Name Only whatever the alternatives on offer.

Let me give you just some of Latham’s examples. But be warned, it’s better to read what follows on an empty stomach. Who out there knew that NSW has the fastest falling school academic results in the world? They do. You know, things like basic maths, writing, reading, grammar. But at least, mocked Latham, ‘the NSW Cabinet is fully versed in the new LGBTIQAP alphabet’. (And I hope I got those letters correct and that my computer didn’t auto-correct or something.) Latham mentioned the many complaints his office received from parents about the Umina Beach Public School, for instance, and its running of ‘a gender fluidity class for its Year 2 students, telling seven-year-old boys they can be girls, and vice versa’. Well, we know how Florida Governor Ron DeSantis would deal with that. But not in NSW. Latham pointed out that the reaction of the National party Education Minister (yep, National party???) was to defend the school and praise the implementing teachers. Sort of beggars belief doesn’t it?

Relatedly Latham pointed out that last year the Upper House Education Committee he chaired recommended to the Perrottet government that where gender issues have arisen for a child at any NSW government school, the parents must have an automatic right to be told what’s happening. Somehow making the audience laugh when most of us wanted to barf, Latham recounted how Premier Perrotet (the supposed conservative) ‘not only rejected this [recommendation], but said that the children themselves have a legal right to tell the school to keep their parents in the dark’. Can that possibly be true, I asked myself? I’d spend every dollar I had to keep my kids out of schools like that. And I’d stick pins in my eyes before I voted for a party like that.

There were plenty more examples of the same sort of ‘capture’ by the forces of stupidity and wokeness. Rainbow cake-cutting and flag-raising ceremonies. Training modules in reconciliation, critical race theory and degendered language. ‘Safe spaces’ for Depart-ment of Education aboriginal staff. (I actually think it’s the kids in the schools who need the safe spaces from the curriculum and some of the teachers.)

Then there were the examples of Matt Kean’s turning of the NSW electricity grid upside down. (Blackouts, here you come, baby!) And Mark, using data supplied by the parliamentary library, pointed out that Minister Kean’s carbon abatement program will (on their generous presuppositions, I’d add) reduce global surface temperatures by 0.00055 degrees Celsius. And wait for it – that temperature reduction of basically zero is over the next century. So it’s a 0.00055 degree reduction by the year 2122. This is empty virtue-signalling at gigantic cost. Or, as Latham claimed, it’s the new secular religion of Liberal and National parties.

I won’t go into some of his examples as regards Attorney-General Mark Speakman, including his disgraceful ‘positive consent’ laws for sex based on what can in the politest terms going only be described as being based on some of the most dubious data going. So the NSW Coalition are not just delivering wokery and green fanaticism. They are today’s Puritans – Cromwell’s latter-day Roundheads, to use a reference no one educated in NSW will remotely understand.

As I said, it was a truly splendid performance; a sort of Mark Steyn account of how the world is ending but yet the way it’s presented makes you laugh despite yourself.

Here’s the thing. It’s something I’ve been saying for a while now. Pauline Hanson is a nice, well-meaning woman. I think her policies are better than those of the Libs. But she’s not up to the job. If Mark Latham were to become leader of One Nation federally, and bring his Ron DeSantis-type bravery and willingness to speak truth to the forces of political correctness, Australia would be the better for it. I think the One Nation vote would shoot up to 12 or 15 per cent within months.

I think this would place the same sort of pressure on the Coalition that Nigel Farage’s Brexit party placed on a then very wayward Tory party in Britain, thereby driving the lefty cuckoos largely out of the nest. It’s the best way forward as far as I can see because things are hardly much better at the national level.




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