Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Adam Bandt slammed as ‘idiotic’ for divisive anti-Aussie flag stunt

Bandt has wormed his way to the top of the Greens but it looks like he is still the nasty old Trot he always was

A racially divisive publicity stunt by Adam Bandt which saw the Greens leader hold a press conference with the Australian flag pushed off to the side of the room with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders flags front and centre has been labelled “idiotic”.

The event occurred Monday afternoon in Sydney shortly before Bandt was to hold a press conference with Deputy Greens leader Mehreen Faruqi at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Offices in the CBD.

Shortly before Bandt and Faruqi appeared a staffer moved the Australian flag to the side.

When asked why the flag was moved from behind the speakers, Mr Bandt said the symbol was “hurtful” to many Aboriginal Australians, a charge that was rejected by Indigenous leader Warren Mundine.

“It’s idiotic,” Mundine said. “Are the Greens actually in the Australian Federal Parliament? Seriously? Do they actually hate Australians that much,” he asked. “Aboriginals call themselves Australians all the time. “The Greens are just a fringe university type group trying to run down the country.”

Dr Bella d’Abrera, Director of the Foundations of Western Civilisation Program at the Institute of Public Affairs said the actions were “completely out of touch with real Australians who are proud of their country, and proud of their history”.

“As an elected member of the Commonwealth parliament, Adam Bandt has shown he is unfit to be a member of parliament when he demonstrates contempt for one of Australia’s most unifying symbols.”

“This is exactly the type of empty virtue signalling we have come to expect from the Greens Party.”

“The Australian flag is a unifying symbol that is a pillar of our history and the Australian way of life,” she said.

Dr d’Abrera pointed to polling by her organisation which in January found that 84 per cent of Australians agreed they were “proud to be Australian”, with only five per cent disagreeing.

Nationals Senator Matt Canavan likewise called the move a “disgrace.”

“If the Greens are not proud of our Commonwealth they should not be using taxpayer funded Commonwealth offices for their press conferences,” he said.

The Greens’ actions come after NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet pledged $25 million to fly an Aboriginal flag permanently from the Harbour Bridge, despite not knowing why it would cost so much to add an extra flagpole to the structure.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton’s office declined to comment on the Greens leader’s actions, however one Coalition source said that Bandt’s behaviour “spoke for itself”.


How Australia's biggest state is spending $633MILLION on electric cars when fewer than one per cent of Aussies own one

Australia's most populated state is spending more than $630million on its electric car strategy even though just 0.6 per cent of Aussies own one, NSW budget figures reveal.

State Treasurer Matt Kean - known for climate change campaigning - announced on Tuesday that his government will spend an extra $38million on its electric car strategy, taking total investment to more than half a billion dollars.

The cash will be spent on rolling out more charging points in streets, apartment buildings and designated charging stations.

Australia lags the rest of the world when it comes to the take-up of electric vehicles, which account for less than one per cent of the million new cars sold every year. Across Australia, fully electric vehicles have a minuscule 0.6 per cent market share.

The NSW government wants to drive that figure to more than 50 per cent by 2030-31 under its Electric Vehicle Strategy.

Critics say the policies only help the rich because electric cars - which start at $44,000 - are too expensive for average income earners.

But supporters insist investment needs to be made now in preparation for when electric cars are cheaper and more popular.

Software billionaire and clean energy investor Mike Cannon-Brookes is among those who support electric car take-up.

Earlier this month he shared his surprise that the Moss Services Club in the southern highlands had a charging point.

'Kudos to the Moss Vale Services Club for having an @NRMA double EV charger in the car park,' he wrote.

'Charging my car while getting a schnitzel at the RSL with the kids felt like a new future for Australia… one that was nicely connected with our past.'

NSW Treasurer Matt Kean said rolling out more charges will 'allow more EV drivers to benefit from their cheaper running costs and a cleaner, quieter and more sustainable road network.'

He added: 'You'll never be far from a charger on our major highways, in regional destinations, apartment buildings and on kerbsides in metropolitan areas with limited off-street parking.'

The NSW government's strategy involves offering stamp duty exemptions for new and used electric vehicles worth up to $78,000.

Buyers are also spared paying up to $3,000 in charges that buyers of petrol and diesel cars still have to pay.

With a stamp duty exemption of $2,537.50 and that $3,000 rebate, they are getting back up to $5,540 from the taxpayers.

One Nation's NSW leader Mark Latham noted there was a a larger uptake for the subsidy in wealthier areas of Sydney's north shore and north-west.

'This shows how delusional NSW Treasurer Matt Kean has become in thinking he can save the planet with schemes like this,' he told Daily Mail Australia.

'Even from these early numbers, the inequity of the scheme is clear.

'This was always going to be a cross-subsidy from the poorer parts of NSW to the wealthier suburbs.'

As more people use electric cars, less fuel will be bought and governments will lose fuel duty revenue.

To make up for this the NSW government will introduce a road user charge of 2.5 cents per km (indexed to CPI) to electric cars from 1 July 2027 or when EVs make up 30 per cent of all new vehicle sales, whichever comes first.


Premier introduces a LAW instructing schools to teach students about the 'trauma' of white colonisation

Schools will teach kids about the 'significant trauma' of white colonisation, commemorate 'Sorry Day' and fly the Aboriginal flag under new laws in Victoria.

Premier Dan Andrews said he expected every school to adopt the reconciliation initiatives and that every year level would take part.

'Being reconciled is just that. You can't be reconciled if you're not prepared to acknowledge some pretty awful stuff that happened in the past,' Mr Andrews said on Tuesday.

'It's about making sure that everybody feels equal, everybody feels included and everybody feels safe.' 'I think it might be the whole school and I don't see anything wrong with that.'

Victorian Opposition leader Matthew Guy said it was important for kids to learn about history but it must be done carefully not to create division in children. 'It is important that they do learn lessons of fact from the past, but that is done respectfully,' he said. 'When it involves kids, we've got to make sure that we're not pitting one against the other.'

The new legal standards require that from next term all educational facilities including universities and high schools but also primary schools, kindergartens and childcare centres provide a 'culturally inclusive' environment.

This includes a recognition that will affect teaching frameworks that 'Australia's colonial history has caused significant trauma and hurt that individuals, families and communities still feel'.

Days marking significant reconciliation steps will also be commemorated including Close the Gap Day on March 18, Mabo Day on June 3, and Sorry Day on May 26.

National Close the Gap day, held annually since 2009, is part of a social justice campaign advocating for equality and the health of First Nations people.

Mabo Day marks the concept of 'terra nullius' or land belonging to noone being overturned in a legal case which gave Indigenous Australians land rights.

While Sorry Day notes the apology issued by former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to the 'stolen generations' who were removed from their families and communities and raised in colonial settings.

In addition to the national days, schools will be encouraged to display plaques noting traditional ownership and take steps to respect Indigenous culture and stamp out racism.

The standards will also apply to government departments, hospitals, councils and also to businesses where children attend such as play gyms and party venues.

The new laws are part of revised Child Safe Standards overseen by the Victorian Commission for Children and Young People.

Principal commissioner Liana Buchanan said compliance would be achieved by working with and supporting educational facilities as well as sanctions for those lagging behind.

New laws to create an independent authority to oversee Victoria's treaty negotiations are also set to pass with bipartisan support.

The Victorian coalition initially reserved backing the Treaty Authority Bill after the Andrews government introduced it in state parliament a fortnight ago. But Opposition Leader Matthew Guy confirmed the Liberals and Nationals would vote for the bill without amendment after a joint partyroom meeting on Tuesday morning. 'We'll be supporting the legislation when it comes to parliament tomorrow,' he told reporters.

'Reconciliation is a topic that should be around uniting Australians ... that's why this is an important step.'

The Victorian coalition announced its support for treaty negotiations in May after Mr Guy suggested a federal process would 'make more sense' before the 2018 state election.

Liberal MP Tim Smith, who will not recontest his seat in November after a drink-driving crash, said he does not support 'illiberal and divisive tokenism' and will vote against the legislation. 'I will be crossing the floor,' he tweeted.

Shadow Aboriginal affairs minister Peter Walsh would not say if Mr Smith or others spoke out against the bill in the partyroom. 'Tim, as an individual, is entitled to his opinions,' he said.

If the legislation passes, as expected, the treaty authority will have legal powers to oversee treaty talks and resolve any disputes between the state government and the First Peoples' Assembly of Victoria.

It will be led by Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander people elected by an independent panel and be grounded in culture, lore and law.


Sordid timeline shows dysfunctional building watchdog must be abolished

The QBCC is a dysfunctional rabble, and on the evidence presented to The Courier-Mail, it must be blown up and totally reformed.

No amount of cheesy TV ads telling us how good it is can camouflage a body that is in crisis, scarred by scandal after scandal.

Once the Varghese report is handed down, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk must strip the responsible Minister, Mick de Brenni, of the portfolio and give it to a person who won’t use it as his or her personal plaything.

Mr De Brenni is arguably the most incompetent minister within Cabinet.

The real test for Mr Varghese lies in a case known as the Kirra Vista controversy, where the building company Groupline was singled out for special QBCC treatment.

The drama began in June, 2019 when Groupline – a boutique Gold Coast building company – began work on an eight-level, 16 unit project at Kirra, known as Maya.

A month later, during retention piling of Maya, movement was detected in the 50-year old building next door, Kirra Vista.

A month later, Kirra Vista body corporate outlined concerns, and Groupline said its insurance would cover any remedies required at Kirra Vista. Soon after, Groupline installed monitoring equipment.

On September 6, 2019, Kirra Vista body corporate chairwoman Toni Bowler – who has strong Labor ties – met Public Works Minister Mick de Brenni.

On the same day as the meeting between Ms Bowler and Mr De Brenni, then QBCC Commissioner Brett Bassett wrote to a senior employee - after receiving a call from the MO (Minister’s office) - ordering a briefing.

A day later, a senior QBCC employee did a report into the dispute, and two days later Mr Bassett issued a show cause notice saying Groupline had undertaken building work in contravention of the building code. On September 19, 2019, the QBCC issued a stop work notice to Groupline

Two days later, Commissioner Bassett wrote to two senior Ministerial staffers, Ravi Chandra and Melissa Hallam, “re an update on the status of Kirra Vista stop work’’.

On November 13, 2019, Groupline’s building licence was cancelled. On December 18, 2019, the Supreme Court rules QBCC acted unlawfully in cancelling the licence.

In early 2020, the QBCC appealed the decision and a week later the Court of Appeal dismissed the QBCC appeal and says it acted outside its jurisdictional control.

On August 10, 2021 Minister de Brenni told an estimates committee hearing, when asked had he or his office intervened in any operational QBCC decisions, that “in respect of individual cases, there is no role for anybody on the boards of the QBCC or myself or my office in any circumstance’’.

Groupline now wants a Commission of Inquiry into the matter to determine “why the Minister and Board members were involved in the operational matter that eventually the actions of the QBCC proved to be unlawful’’.

“Further, Groupline requests that the inquiry to put forward a process and recommendations by which the QBCC pay to Groupline damages for the unlawful suspension of its licence,’’ a Groupline spokesman said.

“Despite Minister De Brenni denying in parliament that he had not been involved in this matter as an operational matter it is quite clear that he had a significant involvement in arranging for Groupline’s licence to be unlawfully suspended.

“We also can see that (QBCC chair) Dick Williams was involved in the meeting which the QBCC board members (and) he should not involve themselves with operational matters.

“At this meeting there was an agenda for the meeting in which it quite clearly shows that the decisions that were made in this matter came from the meeting with the Minister and the Board member present.’’

Both Mr de Brenni and Mr Williams have always maintained they do not get involved in individual QBCC cases.

For Mr Varghese, cleaning up the QBCC will be a big challenge. His recommendations must address alleged board and Ministerial interference in matters such as the Kirra Vista affair.




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