Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Transgender righteousness becoming very oppressive

The rise of the gender affirmation industry and its relationship with children is one of the most important stories of our time.

Under the guise of science, we are being told that toddlers can know with certainty that they have been ‘born in the wrong bodies’.

Under the guise of healthcare, we are being told that it is harmful and cruel to do anything other than affirm a child’s belief that they are a different gender.

Under the guise of medicine, we are being told that it is perfectly fine to treat children with drugs that stunt their natural development.

And if you dare criticise any of this, you run the career-ending risk of being labelled transphobic and turned into a social pariah.

In reality, this remains an open social and medical debate that is being pursued across the West where gender affirmation enjoys far less community support than advertised.

Not in Victoria, however, where the Victorian Education Department’s LGBTQ Support Policy, available on its website, encourages teachers to assist minors to transition genders without parental approval, or even their knowledge.

There may be circumstances in which students wish or need to undertake gender transition without the consent of their parent/s (or carer/s), and/or without consulting medical practitioners.

If no agreement can be reached between the student and the parent/s regarding the student’s gender identity, or if the parent/s will not consent to the contents of a student support plan, it will be necessary for the school to consider whether the student is a mature minor.

If a student is considered a mature minor they can make decisions for themselves without parental consent and should be affirmed in their gender identity at school without a family representative/carer participating in formulating the school management plan.

There is to be no debate after the Victorian government made it a criminal offence – on threat of fines and/or jail time – to attempt to counsel a child out of transitioning genders.

Other Australian states are considering similar legislation.

This runs contrary to decades of accepted best-practice which treated gender dysphoria primarily with therapy, as most children grow out of these feelings.

The previous federal Liberal government watched as bureaucrats edited gendered language within Australian health services against the wishes of the general public. Even medicare forms referred to ‘birthing parents’ until outcry led the incoming Labor government to correct it.

It is very much a one-sided conversation in which the media runs a steady stream of pro-transgender stories, while typically ignoring any negative news, such as the tragic stories of de-transitioners seeking to sue for their lifelong injuries.

There was a good deal of media silence when the UK’s main gender clinic, Tavistock, was closed down with 1,000 families threatening to sue the NHS for harm done to their children.

Meanwhile, you are more likely to find trans puff pieces about teenage girls having double mastectomies.

It is the end result of a cultural shift that has seen the entertainment industry increase LGBTQ+ representation targeted at young audiences – from Buzz Lightyear’s gay kiss to a transgendered character in The Umbrella Academy.

Schools and local councils, particularly in America, continue to integrate Drag Queens into the lives of toddlers despite public backlash against what are traditionally adult performers in sexualised attire.

A doctor friend of mine who dared to suggest, in a very well-written and calm email, that his local council should not be promoting a sexualised all-ages drag show, received a curt response from his local member suggesting he was an ‘overly zealous’ religious ‘bigot’ whose ‘wrongheaded’ ideas were ‘harmful to society’.


Consider the dilemma Victorian parents face. If you complain that your children ought not be exposed to gender ideology, you will be labelled a bigot.

So you keep quiet.

If your child – having been exposed to gender ideology at school or at a community event – ends up momentarily confused during a time when kids are confused about lots of things related to their changing bodies, you will be criminalised if you fail to agree with them.

So you keep quiet.

Children are effectively at the mercy of schoolteachers, health professionals, and the state – instead of their parents. Many agree that this is fundamentally wrong.

It is also logically bizarre. Your child, who is not able to take a Panadol at school without parental permission, is assumed capable of making life-changing decisions that often result in permanent medical intervention and sterilisation.

Over the weekend, Libs of TikTok, a conservative social media account that highlights Woke progressive videos, released recordings of a conversation with staff at the Children’s National Hospital in Washington DC.

Libs of TikTok contacted the hospital as a parent asking if they would perform a ‘gender-affirming hysterectomy’ on a 16-year-old.

Both the hospital operator, who took the initial call, and a hospital staff member to whom the caller was subsequently transferred, confirmed that performing such an operation would not be a problem. Hospital staff said that such operations had been performed on children younger than 16.

On the recording you can hear the hospital operator ask:

‘How old is your patient?’

‘Sixteen,’ the caller says.

‘Okay,’ the operator replies. ‘Alright. So they’re in the clear.’

After confirming with a second person over the phone that a 16-year-old would be eligible for a gender-affirming hysterectomy, the caller asks whether it is a common procedure for that age.

‘Yes, we have all different type of age groups that comes in for that,’ the hospital worker responds.

‘For the hysterectomy?’ the caller asks.

‘Yes, ma’am,’ the employee says, adding later that she has ‘seen younger kids, younger than your child’s age’ undergo the surgery.

The recording went viral, and the outrage was palpable.

And the next day the story was picked up by the Washington Post under the title: Children’s hospital threatened after Libs of TikTok recording on trans hysterectomies.

It continued:

‘Children’s National Hospital has been inundated with threatening emails and phone calls after an influential right-wing Twitter account published a recording that falsely suggested the hospital is performing hysterectomies on transgender children, a hospital spokeswoman said. The torrent of harassment was accompanied by social media posts suggesting that Children’s be bombed and its doctors placed in a woodchipper.’

So the story was not that two hospital staff wrongly told a prospective patient that gender-affirming hysterectomies could be performed on a teenager. The story was that hospital staff had been threatened. Of course, the threatening behaviour is unacceptable, but that does not mean the core of the story should be overlooked either.

The people behind the recording were demonised as ‘right wing’. Later in the story they are called ‘activists’.

The Children’s National Hospital has since corrected the record and confirmed that, despite what its staff said, the surgery is not offered for anyone under 18.

This doesn’t change the scorn with which readers are treated if they raised their eyebrows at gender-affirming surgery on children – even if it is only in speculation.

In this case, the whistle-blowers were slurred as hateful rather than the hospital criticised for managing to make such a strange error about a serious procedure.

It was an error made by the hospital staff, not the reporter – and why did the staff make this error? Why did they hold the belief that surgery was available for young children? And why was their (now corrected) website in error stating that gender-affirming hysterectomies were available to patients ‘between the ages of 0-21’?

They are not the only American hospital to make this mistake, with a hospital in Boston also exposed by the Libs of TikTok. They also had to correct the record.

These are mistakes, but again, why are these patterns of mistakes being made in the field of gender affirmation and young children?

Society is still having a conversation about whether ‘medical care’, as classed by these hospitals, includes giving healthy young girls (at 18) hysterectomies.

I always thought The Washington Post’s adverting slogan – ‘Democracy dies in darkness’ – was meant to imply that the Post existed to shine a light into dark places.

There is a new darkness in our society, and that is the silencing of criticism when it comes to the future health of our children.

Australia doesn’t have a voice in this debate – that has been silenced by the legislation of our premiers – so we must wait to see if legal action in other countries is able to give those harmed by gender affirmation a voice.


Questions for the cult of climate hypocrisy

Ron Pike

In my recent article When truth is flummoxed by sophistry, hopefully I rationally and successfully established that not only is Climate Change a fraud, but that present government policy to fight Climate Change has failed.

As I highlight in that article, there is no dispute that CO2 concentrations have risen from around 280 parts per million to a present concentration of around four hundred parts per million in the last thirty years or so.

There is equally no dispute that this increase in CO2 has been advantageous, not prejudicial, to life on earth.

It is widely agreed that our planet is ‘greener’ and more productive than previously. Not only that, dreaded apocalyptic heating has not occurred despite these increases in CO2 concentrations.

So why, dear leaders, are you pursuing policy that cannot make any difference to a hyped problem that does not exist?

Why are you touting the obvious nonsense that ‘renewable energy’ sources can supply our power needs, and then extending the lie by claiming that this so-called ‘renewable power’ will be cheaper than our previous power sources? Do you expect those of us who are impacted by your productivity-killing efforts to applaud this policy madness?

Why are our leaders (in name only) insisting that the main source of their ‘renewable power’ should be the sun when it falls dark for around thirteen hours per day?

Where, dear leaders, do we get our power from when the sun does not shine? Could it be from our old coal-fired power stations? If so, how do you justify using solar at all? Why not just let the coal-fired power stations do what they have done so effectively for over one hundred and twenty years and produce cheap power twenty-four hours per day?

In summary, if the production of CO2 from burning fossil fuels is doing no harm to our planet, and given that most other countries are presently increasing CO2 emissions by building new coal-fired power plants (many using Australian coal), why are we destroying our previous advantage of abundant and cheap power? Why are you making it difficult for our businesses to compete with other nations who are using cheap power and gas, often supplied from Australia.

Surly, dear leaders, this is hypocrisy writ large… You are destroying Australian jobs, not creating them.

It is time for our leaders to answer these questions.

Why did we vote for you in the first place?

Why are you not acting in the interests of the Australian people?

Why can’t you accept truth and act accordingly?

Why should the people accept anything you have to say on this subject?

Why can’t you acknowledge that ‘privatisation’ of power production and distribution was not in the interests of the Australian people? It only benefited the numerous monopolies created; all now gouging Australian consumers.

Why indeed… Because every day you perpetrate more questions, but answers are nowhere to be found.


EV chargers to be deployed on power poles

Not exactly a great leap forward. Note that it takes a whole hour to get enough charge to drive 50km

A local tech company has won a grant to deploy 50 electric vehicle chargers on streetside power poles, overcoming one of the key obstacles to widespread EV adoption.

The scheme is similar to others that have been rolled out across Europe, the United States and Canada in the past three years. London has more than 1000 public lamp post chargers, ranging in capacity from 3kW to 50kW.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) – set up to fund investment in EV infrastructure – has awarded Intellihub $871,000 to install the 7.4kW chargers, which can add roughly 50km of charge every hour.

The company will install EV chargers on power poles across nine local government areas in New South Wales, connected directly to the overhead electricity supply.


AEMO warns of power 'gaps' in Australia's biggest grid within three years as coal exodus gathers pace

With a brainless claim that more "renewables" could fill the gap. How?

Electricity supplies are forecast to fall short of demand within three years across Australia's eastern grid, unless new renewable energy and transmission capacity is urgently brought online, according to an official report.

In its latest 10-year outlook for the national electricity market, to be released today, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) warns of reliability "gaps" affecting New South Wales from 2025 and Victoria, Queensland and South Australia by the end of the decade.

The warning from the government agency follows a period of turmoil in the market, which has been buffeted by soaring coal and gas prices fuelled by Russia's invasion of Ukraine and higher-than-usual demand.

Central to the upheaval has also been a spate of coal-fired plant outages, which at one stage in June affected a quarter of the fleet in the eastern states.

AEMO said those supply pressures were likely to get worse in the coming years as five coal plants closed, taking with them 14 per cent of the National Energy Market's total capacity.

Further complicating matters is an expected surge in demand amid efforts to electrify big chunks of the economy, such as the transport industry.

Race on for new capacity

AEMO chief executive Daniel Westerman said that unless replacement capacity could be built in time, demand was forecast to periodically outstrip supply by 2025.

First hit would be NSW, where major energy retailer Origin has announced plans to close Australia's single biggest power station, Eraring, in the same year.

But Mr Westerman noted the shortfalls were forecast to spread to Victoria from 2028, Queensland from 2029 and South Australia by the beginning of next decade.

"The report reiterates the urgency of progressing generation, storage and transmission developments to maintain a secure, reliable and affordable supply of electricity to homes and businesses," Mr Westerman said.

"Forecast reliability gaps have emerged across NEM regions due to considerable coal and gas plant closures, along with insufficient new generation capacity commitments needed to offset higher electricity use.

"Without further investments, this will reduce generation supply and challenge the transmission network's capability to meet reliability standards and power system security needs."

To help plug the gap left by exiting coal and gas-fired generation, AEMO has called for governments and industry to urgently get on with building new renewable energy projects.

The agency said the projects, with a combined capacity of 3.4 gigawatts, or enough to power more than two million homes, would be crucial to keeping the lights on.

'Paying through the nose'

What's more, AEMO said there were five high-voltage transmission lines that needed to "progress as quickly as possible" to ensure the new green power could be delivered to where it was needed.

The Australian Industry Group, which represents major manufacturers, said the report was aimed at holding "ministers' and industry's feet to the fire".

Tennant Reed, the group's climate and energy director, acknowledged AEMO tended to err on the side of caution given its responsibility for maintaining the security of the grid.

Mr Reed said the report did not take into account some projects that were likely to be up and running within its timeframe.

But he said the size and the urgency of the task to replace retiring coal capacity was undeniable. "We've got a lot of work to do to meet the existing timeframes," Mr Reed said.

"Ideally, we would be accelerating a lot of those timeframes because we are going to be paying through the nose for electricity and gas over the next few years because of the price of coal and natural gas in international markets.

"The faster we can make the transition to clean energy happen, the less of that Ukraine invasion premium we will be paying.

"But we have our work cut out for us just to deliver the existing timeframes, let alone to do the acceleration which would benefit us."




Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Home insurance dilemma

I live on the side of a hill in a generally elevated area so my exposure to flood risk is nil. So I was rather unhappy that my most recent annual insurance premium was around $2,000. So it is obvious that people in flood-prone areas must be much more heavily hit in order to insure their properties. And Australia has been having a lot of flooding recently

The actuaries have to be realistic. Premiums must reflect the probability of a successful claim. And in areas where natural hazards are great, that means that premiums have to be very large -- so large as to be unaffordable in unlucky cases.

There is no cure for it. The value of a house is large so any payour will be large. And a lot of large payouts could bankrupt the insurers. So they have to recover enough money to cover their claims. And that can mean sky-high premiums.

In the circumstances many people will go uninsured. They will have to cover their own risks however they can. And unless they are big savers when the expected adverse events happen, they will be without a home and penniless.

Governments can sometimes do something to help the most disastrously affected people. Some governments offer "buybacks" of flooded properties but the cost ensures that only a few people can be helped in that way.

The real solution is for people to stop setting up house in endangered areas. That would denude whole suburbs if it was widely done, however, so is likely to be done to only a small extent.

A small consolation is that the price of a home in a badly affected area will be significantly reduced but whether buying there is worth the gamble has to be an individual and personal decision.

One million households in Australia already face “extreme” levels of insurance stress and will bear the brunt of future premium hikes.

The report, prepared by analytics firm Finity Consulting and commissioned by the Actuaries Institute, examines the cost and affordability of home insurance this year and in 2050, in both a high-emissions and low-emissions future.

Previous estimates have found that by 2030, more than half a million homes would be “uninsurable” because of spiralling premiums.

This latest research is even more dire.

Vulnerable households – defined in the report as the one in ten households spending the largest share of income on insurance – currently pay an average of 7.4 weeks’ pre-tax income on their premiums.

This compares to an average of one week of income paid by the rest of the population.

“That it is already as much as 10 per cent of households, or 1 million households, that was surprising. I didn’t think it was that bad,” says Sharanjit Paddam, the report’s lead author.

Previous research into household insurance risks did not include income in their calculations, and may not accurately reflect what is affordable for different households.

This report defines “extreme affordability pressure” as more than four weeks’ pre-tax income – a threshold that aligns with other research on financial stress and vulnerable populations.

“This is not just a problem about the cost of insurance; it’s also a problem of people’s ability to pay,” says Mr Paddam, an actuary with Finity’s climate and ESG practice.

“So, if [other reports] are talking about 500,000 [uninsurable homes] by 2030, then we think that we’re already there.”

Every neighbourhood has vulnerable residents

While vulnerable households are concentrated in northern Queensland, the Northern Territory and northern New South Wales, the report emphasises that vulnerable households exist in every council area in Australia.

Some of the most vulnerable populations are in metropolitan or inner-city locations.

In the City of Melbourne, for example, one in five households is under extreme affordability pressure, while in the City of Adelaide, it’s one in 11.

In both these local government areas (LGAs), the annual insurance premium already costs some residents, including retirees, more than 20 weeks’ income, a nominal figure indicating they effectively have no income.

In the City of Sydney, where one in seven households is vulnerable, the median household in this group spends an average of 5.8 weeks’ income on the annual premium.

“People on low incomes are impacted first, worst and longest by extreme weather events … because they don’t have the same financial means to cope, adapt, and recover,” says Kellie Caught, Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) climate and energy program director.

On top of that, low-cost housing, including rental properties, tends to be in higher-risk areas, like flood or bushfire zones, and built to poorer standards.

This overlap between climate risk and socioeconomic disadvantage means the most vulnerable people are likely to live in the least resilient housing and in the riskiest areas. “Because that’s what they can afford,” Ms Caught says.

Half of households paying premiums of more than $2,000 earn less than $65,000, according to the report.

“Retirees, individuals over 60, and single adult households are very much in the vulnerable group,” Mr Paddam says.

They are also more likely to be single parents or living alone, women, renting, and to have low insurance literacy and low savings.

“The reality is that the people who are most impacted by natural disasters are often low socioeconomic status … and don’t have the capability to move or to pay to improve their homes,” says Actuaries Institute chief executive Elayne Grace.

And when catastrophe strikes, the financial and emotional toll can be unbearable, Ms Caught says.

It’s not just the task of rebuilding an uninsured home. Families are usually hit with pricier food, rent and other essentials as the area struggles to recover, while moving elsewhere often means leaving jobs, schools and support networks, she says.

“So you just have these compounding factors that have a significant impact on your ability to keep your head above the water …. I mean, there’s a breaking point, right?”


Police drop anti-lockdown incitement charge against Ballarat woman Zoe Buhler

A Ballarat woman who was charged with inciting others to breach a state lockdown has had her case thrown out of court.

Zoe Buhler was arrested in her Ballarat home in September 2020 while pregnant.

The mother-of-three livestreamed her arrest, showing police handcuffing her in a video that later went viral and sparked concerns from the Australian Human Rights Commission.

The arrest came after she created a protest event on social media, citing concerns about the impacts of lockdowns during the pandemic.

In the Ballarat Magistrates Court this morning, police prosecution applied to have the charge struck out, which was approved by Magistrate Mark Stratmann.

In a statement, Victoria Police said they withdrew the single charge following an assessment of the case, determining it was "not in the public interest to continue with the prosecution".

Ms Buhler, now 30 years old, said she was relieved but had "no regrets" outside the court this morning. "I think it's disgusting our rights and freedoms were taken away. I've pretty much felt that way the whole time," Ms Buhler said.

"I'll be considering my options going forward, especially with regards to being handcuffed while pregnant."

Ms Buhler said she believed she had been experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the legal costs of contesting the incitement charges had been a burden.

Costs will be agreed upon between the parties at a later date.

"There was money raised to help with the costs of lawyers," she added. "I don't even know how much [it was]. A ridiculous amount."

In March 2020, the Victorian Chief Health Officer and Commonwealth Health Minister were granted special powers to issue lockdowns, if necessary, to minimise the rate of transmission of COVID-19.

They have not enacted a lockdown in Victoria since October 2021.

"In the end justice will be served where it is needed. It's important to stand up for what is right," Ms Buhler said.

"I guess my message for Dan Andrews would be, I hope one day you'll have your day in court."

Since the start of the pandemic, 5,264 people in Victoria have lost their lives due to complications relating to COVID-19.


School bullies have weaponised a much-loved children’s book series to taunt and humiliate vulnerable students

Six months after social media users began turning the popular Little Miss and Mr Men book characters into fun memes, bullies have hijacked the trend for sinister purposes.

Dozens of TikTok accounts — each targeting a different school — have popped up, posting cruel versions of the memes, mocking individual students, before flashing an identifiable photo of their target.

The anonymous accounts, apparently created by students, use phrases such as “Little Miss Hated By Most”, “Little Miss Racist”, and “Little Miss Wears No Bra”, to denigrate their schoolmates.

Students in Victoria are joining in, including those at Sunbury College, Berwick College and Fountain Gate Secondary College.

Some students are using the viral trend to compliment their friends, with posts about Little Miss Perfect, Little Miss Best Style and Little Miss Really Kind Girl Who Deserves Better.

Others are derogatory, including Little Miss Thinks She’s Black, Doesn’t realise no one likes her, Fakes her pregnancies, Anorexic, Fat and Self Harm.

In one clip, Sunbury College students pose in front of their own Little Miss monikers flashing above their head, settling on the one that best suits them. Descriptions include Doormat, Banned on Uber, Attachment issues, Bad taste in men, Childhood trauma, Hits curbs and Avoiding my problems.

There are even male accounts such as “Little Mr Can’t get any Girls”.

In one post there are signs saying “Little Miss Self Harm” and the caption “@horrible little miss accounts, do you realise what your (sic) doing?”

One post said “my heart goes out to the people who get called ugly on the little miss school accounts.”

A spokesman for the Department of Education said Victorian schools “take strong action in relation to incidents of bullying, with disciplinary action for the perpetrators and full support for impacted students”.

“Social media providers have a critical role to play in preventing the publication of content that promotes bullying - and we are continuing to raise this issue with the platforms directly,” he said.

The online trolling trend can be revealed as new data shows cyberbullying reports are up 95 per cent for the first six months of this year. The figures, from the eSafety Commision, show 948 people reported being bullied online in the first half of 2022 compared to 485 in the first half of 2021. The data also reveals 1 in 5 children experience cyberbullying.

eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said she was aware of the Little Miss material and similar variations.

“Where once bullying stopped at the school gate, through technology it now follows children home and into their bedrooms, sometimes at all hours of the night,” she said.

“Content that demeans, belittles or objectifies anyone, particularly children, is never okay… young people may not realise how cruel, isolating and damaging this kind of online bullying content can be.”

Child psychologist Dr Kimberley O’Brien said the public nature of the Little Miss memes was a “lot more serious” than other types of bullying because “humiliation and ridicule are really powerful things”.

“The feeling of humiliation, there are not many things that compare to that,” she said.

Dr O’Brien said when teenagers felt they were being laughed at, they catastrophise the experience, often believing they could never recover.

“Humiliation has the power to make kids want to withdraw, hide and feel very anxious,” she said.

The resulting isolation can also increase the risk of suicide, she said.

Social Media expert Molly Speechley said while some oversight and restriction was appropriate, parents should focus on educating their children, and encouraging communication within the family.

“Checking behaviours can erode trust between parents and children… and may make teens less likely to come to parents when they do have an issue they cannot solve on their own,” she said.


The plague of the green elephants

Viv Forbes

Legend says that if you displeased the King of Siam, he would give you a white elephant. These rare and protected elephants were incredibly expensive to keep. So a ‘White Elephant’ came to mean a possession that is useless, troublesome, expensive to maintain, and difficult to dispose of – like a Sacred Cow, but much bigger.

Today the deluded rulers of the Western world are gifting us and future generations with plagues of Green Elephants – useless, expensive, and protected green rubbish.

The biggest green elephants in Australia are the five desalination plants built hurriedly around the same time climate catastrophist Tim Flannery forecast that burning hydrocarbons would create perpetual drought.

Climate botherers forgot about La Niña, with its cycles of rain and floods for Australia. These complex and expensive de-sal plants have largely sat idle.

The sun powers the greatest desalination plant on earth, all for free. If we had spent all that desalination money on dams we could have moderated La Niña flood damage, insulated against El Niño droughts, and provided naturally desalinated water for many towns and industries.

Australia was also conned into a war on hydrocarbons by American climate catastrophist, Al Gore, and his animated cartoon. This generated another epidemic of Green Elephants – solar panels, wind turbines, and spiderwebs of power lines that squander capital, uglify our landscapes, and destroy grasslands, forests, and bird life, as well as dismantling our once-cheap and reliable electricity supply. Future generations will be faced with the removal and disposal of these Green Monuments to Stupidity.

Another Green Elephant is being suckled in the Snowy Mountains – Snowy 2 Pumped Hydro. Its plant and transmission lines will cost $10 billion. More huge batteries are required to ‘solve’ the chronic intermittency of wind/solar energy.

More Green Elephants are being planned by hydrogen speculators. These net consumers of energy will guzzle huge quantities of fresh water to produce a dangerous explosive gas that cannot be used by motorists or industry without much research and new infrastructure. Some even dream of exporting our precious fresh water via hydrogen (nine tonnes of water for every tonne of hydrogen).

Perhaps the world’s biggest Green Elephant is being bred in Australia’s Northern Territory. This green folly would connect the world’s biggest collection of solar ‘farms’, wind turbines, and batteries to Singapore via the world’s longest under-sea extension cord across a deep submarine trench that is subject to many earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions.

These disastrous Green adventures are driven by the UN Billionaires’ club and promoted endlessly by government media and education bureaucracies, and vocal vested interests.

This plague of Green Elephants will destroy our industries, our farms, and our access to cheap reliable fuels and electricity.

It is time for a Green Elephant Hunt




Monday, August 29, 2022

Crime coverup on behalf of a well-connected Leftist?

Many moons have passed since Kristina Keneally’s son, an officer with the NSW Police Force, was confirmed to be under investigation for allegedly falsifying evidence against a civilian who wound up being sent to prison.

In a case that could defy the limits of what is definitionally corrupt, Senior Constable Daniel Keneally accused the young man, Luke Moore, of threatening to kill a detective during a telephone conversation held in February last year, a call which Moore fortunately recorded.

His house was raided the next day and he was chaperoned to Nowra Correctional Facility where he spent the next three weeks imprisoned with bail refused until the recording was uncovered and the charges withdrawn.

A letter of apology arrived a few months later on behalf of the state of NSW. It said: “The State accepts that SC Keneally was in error when he said that you wanted another police officer ‘dead’.” Moreover, the State equally regretted that Moore’s declarations of innocence were not examined “more expeditiously”, the letter stated.

Yes, what a great pity. Moore has already rejected several offers of compensation and is continuing to sue the NSWPF for upwards of $800,000.

Meanwhile, the NSW Law Enforcement Conduct Commission confirmed in December that it would investigate Keneally’s conduct but the matter has hitherto disappeared into a bottomless black hole without a syllable of further information.

But Margin Call can reveal that the LECC, which disgracefully refused to touch the matter in the first instance, has dispatched a brief of evidence to prosecutors seeking to know if criminal charges should be laid against Keneally.

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions declined to comment, but we’re reliably informed that a leading official has completed an assessment of the LECC’s case, with their report currently undergoing review at the upper managerial levels of the agency.

A final decision is likely to be made by ODPP Director Sally Dowling SC.

The LECC confirmed in response to questions it had “taken a number of steps to progress the investigation with the matter remaining under consideration”, a response nearly as mystifying as what its officials actually do during their working hours.

This is the same agency that formally refused to investigate Moore’s complaint in the months after he was released from jail because, in their own words, “it is not a matter justifying investigation”.

Come again? If allegedly loading up a civilian on a false charge that leads to their imprisonment does not reach the threshold for LECC’s examination then we can only wonder what levels of depravity are required to pique their interest.

Does someone still need to be beaten with a bag of oranges, or a phone book, to get LECC’s attention these days?

As for Keneally, he remains employed by the NSWPF although a spokeswoman declined to formally confirm his status. The DPP has been given six months to provide their response, a time frame due to expire in the coming weeks.

It also appears that its deliberations skirted the mayhem of the federal election, where former senator Keneally stood for the Sydney seat of Fowler.

Then again, who can really say whether this matter would – had it come to light – have damaged her prospects, given they were so bad to begin with.


More Leftist racism

As Neil Brown points out this week, the Victorian government has now embarked on the insanity of ‘our very own third chamber of parliament, the Orwellian-named Aboriginal Representative body and its stepchild, the Treaty Authority that will negotiate treaties between the Victorian government and aboriginals’.

Neil Brown QC, apart from being a brilliant writer, was of course deputy leader of the federal Liberal party and a shadow attorney-Ggneral. Which is our way of saying he knows of what he speaks when he writes:

‘The two bodies created by the Victorian legislation are clearly racist because the electoral roll and the qualification for standing as a candidate for election can be reached only by members of one race, the aboriginal race; all other races are excluded. Moreover, their function is to confer benefits and privileges on the members of one race, but not of any other race, and to compel compliance with the race laws by the rest of us.’

Part of the process that Victorians will be subject to in coming years, as will all of us if the referendum on the Voice succeeds, is the equally Orwellian named ritual of ‘truth-telling’.

‘Truth-telling’ – ironically – first came to prominence during the end of apartheid in South Africa. Part of Nelson Mandela’s idea to heal his bitterly divided nation was the concept of all the old ills being aired for future generations to fully understand the depths of evil that apartheid had spawned. But a key component of Mandela’s plan was that once the ‘truth-telling’ process was over, that was that. Forgiveness and reconciliation would automatically replace racial hatreds and tribal conflict. Peace and love would fill the South African skies.

To what degree the South African ‘truth-telling’ helped or hindered unifying blacks and whites is a matter of conjecture. But regardless of outcome, the intent was clear: this was to spell the end of apartheid.

How depressing and how bitterly ironic that indigenous Australians, the Labor party, the Greens and leftist activists are desperate to embark on an Australian version of ‘truth-telling’ that will usher in, as opposed to usher out, our very own uniquely Aussie form of apartheid.

More depressing of course is the fact that in this post-modern, neo-Marxist world – where according to the likes of Oprah Winfrey and Meghan Markle ‘your truth’ is as valid as ‘my truth’ even if they are self-contradictory – it is highly unlikely that there will be much genuinely objective historical truth in the much-touted telling. Expect a plethora of poisoned blankets, massacres, lynchings, slavery and so on that fits the leftist narrative regardless of whether the stories have much historical validity or credibility.

Also expect a howling silence from the Left when it comes to ‘truth-telling’ about how dire and desperate were the conditions many aborigines lived in prior to settlement and how for many individuals and their offspring the white man’s arrival, accompanied by health, modernity and industrial power, was to prove a blessing rather than a curse.


Coal mine would ‘improve’ Barrier reef, mining company claims

Clive Palmer’s Central Queensland Coal Project would actually improve the quality of the Great Barrier Reef, would help retain Marlborough’s sole remaining paramedic and create “more jobs per hectare” than the reef does, the billionaire’s company claims in a surprising official response to mine’s rejection.

Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek earlier this month refused the coal mine on a number of reasons, including that it is only 10km from the Great Barrier Reef.

In its official objection to the mine’s refusal, obtained by The Courier-Mail, Mr Palmer’s Central Queensland Coal Project claims this reason is “emotive and misleading”.

“Singling out our Companies and Directors within our group is unfair treatment by the Government and in particular the Labour (sic) Governments within the Commonwealth and the State,” the document stated.

It stated that while the mine is 10km from the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, it is 192km from the actual reef itself.

In a unique argument, it says that while the reef generates $6.4 billion a year to the economy of 64,000 jobs, the objection says this is spread out of 3.44 million ha.

“The CQC proposed mining lease extends over 1915ha and generates up to $3.1 billion per year and 500 full-time jobs,” the document stated.

“This equates to the Great Barrier Reef generating $1858 per ha, whereas CQC generates up to $1,618,799 per ha being an 871 times multiplier.

“Similar logic applied to jobs presents a 14 times multiplier.”

Levees to be constructed as part of the mine mean there will be less sediment run off and “the current Great Barrier Reef will be protected and water quality improved”, the document claimed.

Earlier this week, Special Envoy for the Great Barrier Reef Senator Nita Green said Mr Palmer had to pass the same environmental approvals as anyone else.

“I have not seen the reasons for the proposed decision, but I am fully aware that poor water quality is an ongoing risk to the Reef and the jobs it supports. It’s up to any proponent to show how they can mitigate such risks,” Senator Green said.


Warmist deceit in Australia

‘Global heating pushing Australia’s Platypus towards extinction’. So reads a recent headline in Oceanographic magazine reporting a study released by researchers from the University of New South Wales and the University of Melbourne.

Relying on alarming projections of worsening, more frequent droughts, the researchers concluded ‘platypuses face increased local extinctions’, with numbers plummeting by up to 73 per cent.

But then, apocalyptic premises will inevitably result in catastrophic conclusions even when weather patterns are not unprecedented. Indeed, the five worst single years of recorded drought occurred before 1900. And, despite the latest floods, 2021 was only the wettest year since 2010 and, the sixth-wettest year since national records began in 1910. This was well before humans began emitting ‘dangerous levels’ of CO2.

But for catastrophists, if droughts and floods don’t do it, the Bureau of Meteorology’s ‘homogenised’ average land temperatures, which can’t be independently verified, are always a safe bet. They consistently record higher temperatures than more accurate lower-troposphere satellite observations. Satellites have been measuring temperatures since January 1979 and have observed no statistically significant global warming for a decade. No matter. The BoM knows there is a ready market for warming data.

But wait. Haven’t platypuses been around for 16 million years and wouldn’t they have survived more hostile climatic conditions than modern times? And, despite all the panic, isn’t the reality that the actual global rate of temperature increase is about one-third the projected centennial rate?

Still, studies which conclude climate change threats to wildlife survival, not least cuddly koalas, are career enhancing. But, as researcher Maria Nilsson and colleagues at the University of Münster, assert, Australian marsupials have also been around for a long time. They ascribe a migration scenario whereby possibly one group of ancestral South American marsupials migrated across Antarctica to Australia. This occurred prior to the landmasses separating during the warm Cretaceous period, some 80 million years ago when the poles were ice free. Volcanic eruptions and an asteroid put an end to that. Sea levels began to fall and temperatures started to drop. So extreme was the fall in temperatures that dinosaurs became extinct. But not marsupials.

And, it’s not just our fauna. The Great Barrier Reef has been a popular focus of climate catastrophists. Not as ancient as many wildlife species, the reefs have grown on Queensland’s south continental shelf for about two million years and for up to eighteen million years in the north. In their current incarnation they are probably 12,000 years old.

Over their entire existence, sea levels have changed many times. During the last ice age, which began around 2.6 million years ago, the sea level dropped more than 100 metres, making it possible to walk to the outer reef. When the ice age ended around 15,000 years ago, sea levels rose rapidly and new corals grew to form today’s reefs.

Despite this extraordinary record of survival, since the early 1970s activists have been predicting the end of the reef. The latest warning came in a study from James Cook University’s ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies. It claimed the reef had lost more than half of its corals since 1995 due to warmer seas driven by climate change. The study’s lead author predicted ‘The northern Great Barrier Reef will never look quite the same again…. There is no time to lose – we must sharply decrease greenhouse gas emissions ASAP’.

This call to arms was enthusiastically joined by the ultimate global warming cheerleader – the United Nations. It warned that should temperatures reach 1.5 degrees celsius above pre-industrial times, 90 per cent of corals will be wiped out. It called for the reef to be put on a list of world heritage sites that are ‘in danger’. Its Unesco agency lectured Australia to take ‘decisive and immediate action to mitigate the impacts of climate change’.

Both JCU and the UN seem ignorant of the fact that Australia already spends per capita ten times more on renewable energy than the world average and four time more than China, Europe, the United States and Japan. And by making Australia a convenient scapegoat, they cravenly avoid exposing the real villain – Beijing, whose emissions in the last decade alone have grown by 25 per cent and now exceed all developed countries combined, almost matching them on a per capita basis.

Which makes the latest Australian Institute of Marine Science annual report proving coral coverage on the northern and central parts of the Great Barrier Reef is at its highest level since monitoring began 36 years ago especially unwelcome. It validates Dr Peter Ridd’s views whose scholarship countering the prevailing apocalyptic orthodoxy, had him fired from JCU.

That said, while the results are reliable, AIMS’s methods are outdated, which raises questions as to why, with $1.44 billion in government grants and pledges, the Great Barrier Reef Foundation has not funded AIMS into the latest Japanese technology? Perhaps in ignorance lies financial bliss? True or not, blaming global warming for the projected decimation of the platypus, certain marsupial populations and, the Great Barrier Reef, has proven to be a lucrative source of funding for activists and rent-seekers.

It’s also an excuse for the federal government to institutionalise massive wealth transfers through a 43 per cent 2030 emissions reduction target. It knows this ambition is utterly unattainable but that a lie told often enough becomes the truth. So the enforced economic and social distortions which follow will enrich the few at the expense of the many and be justified on the familiar, yet dishonest, ground that the cost of emissions reduction is far less than the damages of inaction.

As US House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi neatly summarised when supporting the Democrats’ historic climate bill, ‘How can they (Republicans) vote against the planet? Mother Earth gets angry from time to time and this legislation will help us address all of that’. In a world led by superstitious authoritarians, who will argue?




Sunday, August 28, 2022

Christianity told to bow to Woke

There’s an old definition of news that goes like this: ‘If a dog bites a man, that’s not news. But if a man bites a dog, that’s news!’

I was reminded of this when, flicking through The Age newspaper on Friday, I saw an article headlined, Catholic school refuses to show student’s same-sex movie.

Dog bites man, I thought.

That a Catholic school refuses to promote things that undermine its Catholic values is hardly surprising. The Age might as well have reported that Lefties like cancelling people, or that Joe Biden is a walking house plant.

Dog bites man.

But the media is now so appalled by Christian values and so ignorant about Christianity that it is news to them when a Catholic school stands by its doctrine.

The Age reported that a parent was upset his daughter’s film project, which features a lesbian kiss, would not be posted on her Catholic school’s website or showcased at her school’s visual arts exhibition.

Mount Lilydale Mercy College principal Philip Morison told The Age: ‘Some scenes are not in keeping with our values as a Catholic school.’

If you’re unclear, that would be the girl-on-girl action.

The budding LGBTQ+ filmmaker had been told she was welcome to submit her project as part of her VCE assessment, nevertheless ‘a queer film’ would not be promoted by the school at their exhibition.

The student complained to The Age: ‘I thought they would be okay with it. I thought we had gotten past that, but obviously not.’

One can only imagine the Year 12 student’s surprise to learn that the 2000-year-old Catholic church had not gotten past its Catholicism.

The ‘distraught’ student continued: ‘I believe it’s an act of discrimination. All I want them to do is change their minds, so I can be included with my classmates.’

Of course it’s an act of discrimination. Discriminating between Catholic values and non-Catholic values is what keeps Catholics Catholic, just as discriminating between conservative values and Woke progressive values is what keeps the Liberal Party … er, maybe that’s not such a great example.

But I digress.

All the Year 12 student wants is for her school to change their minds about the teachings of Jesus, Saint Paul, and Moses. All the school wanted her to do was to save the lesbian kissing for after-school hours.

Jesus had better change his tune.

As for being included with her classmates, she is. She is enrolled in the school, she is included in classes, and her project was included in VCE assessment. She, however, excluded herself from the Catholic film exhibition when, despite warnings, she went ahead and made an LGBTQ+ film.

Animal Justice Party MP Andy Meddick has taken the girl’s case to state Parliament where he accused the school of failing to reflect ‘community values’.

He told The Age: ‘I personally believe that if you’re a school, regardless of your religious beliefs, if you’re receiving public funding, then you have a responsibility to reflect the values of the community, not of your particular faith.’

Well Mr Meddick, two can play that game.

I personally believe that if you’re an Animal Justice Party MP, regardless of your political beliefs, if you’re receiving public funding, then you have a responsibility to reflect the values of the community, not of your particular Party.

Incidentally, 20 per cent of Victorians are Catholic while just 2.71 percent of Victorians voted for the Animal Justice Party when Mr Meddick was elected to the Upper House in 2018.

Tell me again who is more reflective of ‘community values’?

Macquarie School of Education Professor Tiffany Jones cast doubt on whether Catholic beliefs are really Catholic beliefs since some Catholics seem not to practice them.

She said: ‘The teaching of the church is arguable … because you will get Catholics who support LGBTIQ+ people, you will get Catholics who are LGBTIQ+ people.’

I think what Ms Jones meant to say was that while Catholic teaching on marriage and sexuality has been crystal clear for 2,000 years, the commitment of some Catholics is arguable.

Imagine if Catholics changed their doctrine whenever they came across Catholics who did the opposite of Catholic doctrine so as to ensure Catholic doctrine was fully inclusive of those people who disagreed with Catholic doctrine…

In what way would that still be Catholic doctrine?

But LGBTQ+ activists have no time for such logic. They are not committed to fairness or choice. Gay rights activist Rodney Croome, condemning the Mount Lilydale Mercy College for not allowing the student to show her gay film, said:

‘This kind of discrimination is illegal in Tasmania and now Victorian law. It should also be illegal in federal law. Before the election the new Government promised to act. The time is now.’

It should not be lost on anyone that while the Left love to accuse Christians of wanting to impose themselves on the public, it is the Left who literally make laws by which they will be able to impose themselves upon Christians.

The Left preach tolerance for all beliefs whilst being completely intolerant of Christian beliefs.

And the Left demand inclusivity while seeking to exclude Christian schools from government funding; this despite the fact that Christian parents pay taxes and the state system would collapse if Christian schools suddenly closed for lack of funding.


Covid skepticism on the rise

James Allan

The tide has turned. Finally. Recently that organ of pro-lockdown orthodoxy, the New York Times, ran an editorial to the effect that during the Covid pandemic no schools should ever have been closed. And that it would take decades to recover from this public policy fiasco. Sure, the NYT buried this editorial in a Saturday edition. But it’s a start. Especially for those of us who doubted the imposition of lockdowns from day one, publicly and in print, and were faced with a barrage of unhinged abuse about being ‘grandmother killers’ or ‘denying the science’ or having some talking head suffering from a toxic overdose of his own supposed virtue ramble on about ‘not on my watch’ as regards adopting the Swedish approach.

Last week the front page of the London Telegraph (far more sane through the pandemic, by the way, than the Australian) published a front page piece with a headline ‘lockdown effects feared to be killing more people than Covid’. In fact, the article by the paper’s science editor Sarah Knapton cites excess deaths data from Britain’s Office for National Statistics that make it plain this will happen. Knapton says that ‘over the past two months, the number of excess deaths not from Covid dwarfs the number linked to the virus’. Even some doctors’ organisations, who were all too willing to try to suppress and cancel lockdown dissenters for over two years, are doing about faces – not least the British Heart Foundation. Others, like the man who goes by the moniker ‘The Naked Emperor’ (for obvious reasons) on Substack, have taken this data and drilled down further. For instance, for the week ending 5 August there were 1,350 excess deaths in England and Wales.

Guess what? That is 14.4 per cent higher than the 5-year average. And you’re seeing those noticeably higher excess deaths in Australia too. But the Naked Emperor makes a point the science editor of the London Telegraph still shies away from, a point related to wide-open, honest debate: ‘There is no doubt that lockdowns are one of the major causes [of these really high excess deaths numbers] but it would be stupid to not even consider vaccines. Investigate whether they have contributed to these excess deaths in any way, present the evidence and then say no they haven’t. But don’t just dogmatically say they are safe and not look into it.’

That sums up the view of this twice-vaccinated, no-boosters, writer. I have so little trust in the expert class (including the medicos) after the last two years I am taking nada, nothing, zero on trust from these people. Many of them spent the last two-plus years stifling dissent; or keeping their heads down and being too cowardly to voice honestly held doubts; or revelling in a heavy-handed ‘we are the incarnation of science and we’re not prepared to brook any dissent’ form of modern-day aristocracy. And this in the context of Anders Tegnell’s Swedish approach (the same as the one recommended by the Great Barrington Declaration) looking better and better with each passing day – on every axis of concern and on every criterion. Not just as regards kids’ schooling outcomes. Not just all the economic outcomes from debt to small business closures to ruined CBDs to incredible asset inflation. Not just the invidious massive transfers of wealth from the young to the old and from the poor to the rich that lockdowns (and the money printing and massive spending needed to support those lockdowns, triggering the above-mentioned asset inflation, now price inflation and a hammered private sector) brought about. No, even on straight-up ‘which policy choice will have the fewest excess deaths’ criterion, lockdowns were a mistake. The right choice, the one that was WHO and British policy in October of 2019 based on a century of data, was to protect the vulnerable and leave everyone else alone to make their own calls while definitely not locking down, not closing schools, not weaponising the police as the enforcement arm of two-bit public health bureaucrats. It was right even if the only axis you cared about, the only one, was how many deaths your response to Covid would lead to.

So to be blunt, Australia’s response to Covid was nothing to be proud of. As time goes by it is looking worse and worse. Scott Morrison and John Howard may say that Australia’s response was top of the class. But I strongly disagree. I don’t know what data they’re looking at but what I’m seeing indicates bad choice piled on bad choice – all while shutting down dissenting views; centralising decision-making within an incredibly narrow band of people; and maybe worst of all ‘engineering a situation whereby those with decision-making power had no skin in the game’. They paid virtually none of the costs they imposed on others.

When I made this critique a year ago and more, most people said I was wrong on the facts. These days more and more agree with me on the substance. They concede we should not have gone down the road we did. But they offer this secondary defence of our (and to be fair most of the democratic world’s) political and public health castes. They say something along the lines of: ‘Look, there was great uncertainty. No one knew for sure how potent this virus was. It was better to be safe than sorry, to opt for the least risk option. Maybe we were too slow to reverse course. But in the swirl of uncertainty we can forgive the initial lockdowns, school closures, massive spending, etcetera, etcetera.’

Again, count me a strong dissenter to that plea in mitigation. In the face of uncertainty that is exactly the time when you should be guided by your core principles and values. If your initial response is to copy China and more or less weld people in their homes that seems, to me, to be a despotic and wrong-headed response. It is certainly not a recognisably liberal response. It amounts to invoking the precautionary principle on steroids, all while doing only ‘benefit’ analysis, not ‘cost-benefit’ analysis – because many people right at the start pointed out all the many likely medium-term costs to this sort of authoritarian, thuggish lockdown response.

Yet throw in some wildly wrong modelling by Neil Ferguson out of Imperial College. Stir in a bit of Pravda-like fear porn press coverage. Add a lot of cancelling those with dissenting opinions, especially by Big Tech. And here we are today. But uncertainty in no way justifies what our politicians did. Heck, if we’re giving the full picture there was much less uncertainty than this attempted defence suggests. Right from the start they had the data from the cruise ship Diamond Princess. Not a single young person on that boat who caught the disease died or went into ICU. And the death rate even amongst the many elderly cruise ship passengers never came close to that of the Spanish Flu, forget the Black Death.

Anyway, I want politicians who fall back on liberal values in the face of uncertainty, when it counts. I don’t want those who, faced with uncertainty, resort to what you’d see from the Chinese Politburo.

Vote them all out. They richly deserve it.


‘Fuel emissions standards’ just a costly leg-up for EVs

Judith Sloan

You have to hand it to the passenger motor vehicle industry – they are past masters at securing favours from governments. They have been doing it for decades – arguably it’s their core skill set.

When the US car companies got into trouble during the global financial crisis, the executives flew off to Washington in their private jets to plead with the Obama administration to be bailed out. Their request was granted.

Notwithstanding the fact that Volkswagen was involved in one of the largest corporate scandals ever – in relation to falsifying the emissions standards of their vehicles – the company remains a favourite of the German government as well as other governments around the world.

The reasons that the car industry holds sway with politicians are obvious. Most of us drive cars and car factories stand out and employ lots of people who are relatively well paid. There are both patriotic and masculinity aspects to cars – they need to be defended.

Car manufacturing in Australia lasted several decades in the context of extremely high rates of protection. Over time, the number of manufacturers shrank but at the end, the overseas-owned companies could not convince the federal government to continue to prop them up.

Australian consumers had paid dearly with high prices and a limited range of cars on offer. Some people might have loved their locally produced Holdens or Fords. But by dint of high tariffs and other measures (government-imposed quotas were favoured at one point), Australian drivers came off badly.

Just because we no longer produce cars here doesn’t mean that the multinational car companies have given up seeking to influence government policy to their benefit. And this is precisely what is happening with fuel emissions standards. Don’t think for a minute they are motivated by saving the planet; it’s all about ensuring that what is decided yields their company the best commercial result.

It’s why there is actually an all-mighty spat going on between the premium European car companies which are represented by the Electric Vehicle Council and the companies that supply the bulk of cars for income-constrained customers – Toyota and Mazda, in particular – which are represented by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.

The European car companies are led by VW – there’s an irony there. Their aim is to kill off the push to hybrid vehicles, preferring instead for government policy to leapfrog the hybrid phase and head straight to fully electric vehicles, something which they specialise in. (Mind you, given that VW is essentially paid by the German government to produce fully electric vehicles, it’s hardly surprising that the company made the switch away from internal combustion engine vehicles.)

FCAI, by contrast, sees hybrids as being a popular and convenient stepping-stone to accommodate lower net emissions arising from car transport. (It accounts for around 10 per cent of our total emissions.) According to its modelling, fully electric vehicles will make up less than 20 per cent of new car sales in 2030, with a further quarter internal combustion and the remaining hybrids.

The preferred government modelling and one also favoured by the EVC is that over 90 per cent of new cars sales will be fully EV by 2030. (In their dreams, by the way.) The EVC is lobbying to make sure that only plug-in hybrids are counted in this percentage, thereby serving the interests of its members. (Most hybrids at this stage are not plug-in.)

Where do fuel emissions standards come into this argument? Before answering this question, it needs to be pointed out that Labor rejected changing these standards as part of its election manifesto. That’s right – any changes were explicitly ruled out. But this has not stopped Climate Change Minister, Chris Bowen, from effectively reneging on this pledge and opening the issue up for discussion. In other words, expect changes to fuel standards very soon. (Didn’t I warn you about Bowen (and Burke)?)

The push is on from the EVC to insist that Australia comply with European emissions standards – referred to as Euro 6 – which, incidentally will provide a massive commercial boost to its members. The shift is opposed by the FCAI. This standard puts a maximum of 95 grams of CO2 per kilometre driven by passenger motor vehicles. Most of Australia’s most popular current vehicles have emissions in excess of 200 grams per kilometre.

But here’s the important feature to note – the way these new emissions standards will work is that each manufacturer must comply with a Corporate Average Fuel Emissions figure. In this way, the manufacturers cross-subsidise the sales of their EVS while jacking up the price of popular cars on the Australian roads. This suits the premium European car manufacturers to a tee, but will hurt the average driver who requires an affordable vehicle combined with convenience.

When Bowen summarily rejected the idea that these new fuel emissions standards are the equivalent of a sector carbon tax, he was dead wrong. That’s what it is, that’s what its intention is.

There is another major complication to the insistence on Euro 6 in Australia and that is that our two remaining refineries are not in a position to comply at this point of time. There has been considerable progress with the sulphur issue and a solution is now likely by 2024. But the problem of aromatics has not been solved. Additions of ethanol would help but would also significantly add to the price of petrol, which wouldn’t be politically popular.

You might imagine the resulting closure of the refineries would weigh on Bowen’s thinking – on national security grounds, at the very least – but there is little doubt that some of his advisers and the bureaucrats will be telling him not to worry too much. Just think of the contribution to the reduction in our national emissions that their closure would involve!

So where do consumer preferences fit into this policy about-face? The reality is that very many Australians, particularly those living in outer metropolitan and regional areas, are quite rightly attached to their powerful ICE cars and spending five minutes max to fill them up. The last thing they want is to pay top dollar for an EV and wait hours to charge it up, having driven around to find an available charger.

But consumer preferences won’t count for much when Bowen thinks he is saving the planet but is actually being conned by lobbyists. More sighing.


The need for moderation in politics

My two-year-old daughter has had a shocking cold with a chesty cough for a few days now and it just won’t shift.

The other night, her mum had applied a healthy dose of Vicks Baby Balsam to her chest and back and then left her alone in her room for a few minutes.

When I walked into the room a little while later, our toddler had managed to open the Vicks and was in the process of smearing the entire tub all over her face and upper body.

It’s lucky she didn’t get it in her eyes.

There was a lesson in what my little girl had done that’s worth sharing.

Our little girl had seen a potential solution to her problem but instead of a measured response, she emptied the whole tub on herself, almost to her detriment.

We do the same thing as she did. And by ‘we’, I mean society and our governments.

We see a problem like Covid and instead of a measured reaction we apply lockdowns, curfews, bans on protests and gatherings, mask mandates and vaccine mandates, and then we top it off with societal division and segregation.

Unlike my little girl, we went so hard in scooping everything out of the jar and smearing ourselves with it (for the sake of a virus with 0.27 per cent infection fatality rate) that our eyes are still stinging and will be some time.

And despite all of those authoritarian measures being proven, by real-world experience, to be completely and utterly useless in dealing with the ‘pandemic’ or Covid, there are still people calling for their return.

Our governments then reacted to the economic hardship that was about to unfold, principally because of the ‘pandemic’ measures that they enacted.

The answer should have been to provide targeted assistance while also getting as many industries back to work as soon as we realised Covid wasn’t the plague.

Instead, we emptied the jar (and then some!) with a Covid stimulus cash splash.

Australians got $750 a week to stay at home and watch Netflix while small businesses struggled to find anyone willing to work for them.

And once again our eyes are going to be stinging for some time as the resultant inflation – from spending too much money – continues to spiral out of control.

Away from the ‘pandemic’, we see even societal issues like racism being dealt with similarly.

Of course, the structural racism of Australia’s past may have hindered some Aboriginal people from getting ahead.

But instead of a measured response of seriously targeting areas of disadvantage, we smear ourselves with virtue signalling and Wokery.

The other day, a friend told me about his young child who asked him why white people stole the Aboriginal peoples’ land.

His son was actually told that at preschool!

Why punish kids with such guilt trips for sins of the past, especially when that same sin of conquest has happened in just about every nation, in just about every culture, and in just about every age of humanity?

Why does Australia need to insert a racist clause into its Constitution (as the government plans to do) that sets up a new de facto chamber of Parliament which has the colour of your skin as its membership and voting criteria?

We over-egg it with sexuality too.

I certainly recall my school years and the wholly inappropriate homophobic bullying that went on against certain kids.

But instead of dealing with such bullying, schools today run programs where girls who are a bit boyish are taught to bind their chests, where boys who are a bit effeminate are taught to tuck their groins, and where both of them are taught to go on puberty blockers and get hormonal and surgical treatment without parental consent.

The tub is empty, folks, and our eyes are well and truly stinging!

Away from cultural matters, we also know have a big problem with our global economic system.

True capitalism – the free enterprise system – is supposed to be based on the natural economy where people use their initiative, talents, and hard work to generate not only rewards for themselves but rewards for others as well.

The natural economy creates a connected community where the fruits of our skills and labour are given to others who can’t do what we do and, in return, we enjoy the fruits of the skills and labour of others who can do what we can’t.

But the corporate behemoths that control the global marketplace and the politicians who have had their palms greased by those behemoths have corrupted capitalism.

They now call it crony capitalism.

And it has resulted in some huge disparities in wealth and ownership.

The World Inequality Lab has worked out that the ‘wealth of richest individuals on earth has grown at 6-9 per cent per year since 1995’ and that, in those past 27 years, the share of global wealth owned by billionaires has tripled, with 2020 marking ‘the steepest increase in global billionaires’ share of wealth on record’.

So there is a problem. A big problem.

But instead of dealing with the corruption of capitalism by multinational corporations and interfering governments, Klaus Schwab and the World Economic Forum (WEF) propose a Great Reset.

This will be where those corporations and governments get even closer, so much so that both are somehow going to be responsible for managing societal issues.

Together they will Build Back Better or so the Great Reset slogan goes.

Let’s get this straight.

The problems of the global economy have been caused by corporations and governments being too close … and the WEF proposes to fix the system by making corporations and governments even closer?

To come up with that one, Klaus and the Davos ‘elite’ are certainly smearing something all over the place, but it sure ain’t Vicks.




Friday, August 26, 2022

Why a rule change that makes it harder for landlords to evict a tenant will also make it harder to find a rental property

I once owned 7 houses in Brisbane, 6 of which I let out. I got so tired of managing them amid laws that privileged tenants over landlords that I sold them and put the money into company shares instead. As far as I can tell, all 6 houses went to owner-occupiers so were removed from the rental market.

Landlords already have little protection from bad tenants and the new laws will make it worse. I have had to replace $1000 of carpet after an outgoing tenant let his pet piss and shit on it. The smell made the place unlettable without new carpet. And the outgoing tenant was poor and not worth suing.

The only protection from that sort of thing is to ban pets. But that will now be illegal

Tenants in one state of Australia will soon be immune from being evicted without a good reason under new laws coming into effect in October.

Queensland renters will soon only be allowed to be kicked out if the landlord is renovating or demolishing the home, the owner wants to move in or rent hasn't been paid.

But, provided the tenant has been well-behaved and hasn't acted illegally on the premises, they will have the right to remain in the property under that state's Housing Legislation Amendment Act 2021.

Landlords will also need to have a good reason for refusing a renter permission to keep a pet.

Simon Pressley, the head of research with buyers' agency Propertyology, said the new rules coming into effect on October 1 would force landlord investors to sell, exacerbating Queensland's rental crisis.

'At a time when the sunshine state already has its biggest ever shortage of rental accommodation, it is likely that thousands of existing landlords will sell, thereby shrinking the size of the rental pool and leaving thousands of Queensland tenants with nowhere to live,' he said.

Brisbane's rental vacancy rate stood at 0.7 per cent in July, SQM Research data showed. The Gold Coast and Cairns had an even tighter vacancy rate of 0.6 per cent.

Mr Pressley argued the new arrangements would also end the 'periodic lease' whereby landlords could continue renting out the property to the same tenant without formal paperwork.

'New draconian legislation effectively means that once a Queensland rental property is on a periodic lease arrangement, the tenant can remain living there for as long as they want,' he said.

'The only way that the asset owner can force the tenant out is if they move into the property themselves, sell the property or commence a major renovation.'

The legal changes remove a landlord's right to evict a tenant 'without grounds' and will only allow fixed-term agreements with renters.

Queensland Housing Minister Leeanne Enoch in February argued the new laws would give certainty to renters.

'By ending no grounds evictions, renters and property owners now have more certainty about how and when parties can end their tenancy arrangements,' she said. 'Everyone deserves to live in a safe and secure home.'

Tenants under the rules will also have the right to have pets from October 1.

A landlord will be required to explain in writing, within 14 days, why a pet can't be kept on the rental property, and what by-law this would breach.

But they can also stipulate conditions for keeping a pet on the property, including that a dog be kept outside or that carpets are cleaned.


The Greens demand a TWO YEAR rent freeze for every single Australian tenant as prices soar across the country - but the plan could have dire consequences

Another attack on landlords. The prices they have to pay go up while their income is fixed. The more you attack landlords, the fewer of them you will have -- making rental accomodation less and less available. Clever!

The Greens are calling for a nationwide two-year rent freeze to allow incomes to catch up with surging prices. The party also wants to see rent increases capped at two per cent every 24 months once the two-year suspension lapses.

In the 12 months to June, rents have soared 9.1 per cent across capital cities and 10.8 per cent in regional areas, CoreLogic data shows.

Greens housing spokesperson Max Chandler-Mather said: 'Rents are out of control, millions of Australian renters are struggling to pay the rent. 'Unless the government wants to see more families sleeping in their cars they need to do their job and act now to stop this crisis boiling over into a national tragedy.'

The proposal would see wages catch up with rents by the end of the decade.

However, economists fear the proposal would have dire consequences and actually increase rents in the long run.

Grattan Institute economist Brendan Coates said a rent freeze would deter developers from building new houses which are badly needed in Australia. 'Rent control has a seductive, intuitive appeal which is that if you if you basically cap rent increases, then you're going to protect renters that are struggling to pay higher rental costs,' he told the ABC.

'But it also potentially has some big costs in the long run, which is that if you do have rent control in place, then you're limiting the ability of the market to tell investors, developers, everyone else that we need more housing.

'And you can have a situation where basically the existing housing stock isn't maintained very well and there's less new housing built.'

Mr Coates said increasing rental assistance - government payments to low income Aussies - would be a smarter short-term measure.

The Greens also proposed an end to no-grounds evictions, which allow landlords to evict tenants without providing a reason if they are no longer covered by a fixed-term lease, and minimum standards for rental properties.

The party pointed to rental freezes during the pandemic and the use of rental controls around the world to support its proposal.

While rental control measures are often criticised as disincentive to construction of more low-cost rental properties, Mr Chandler-Mather said there was no evidence rent stabilisation and rent control decreased the supply of housing in the research on the subject.

'In some instances, that actually increases the supply of affordable housing to buy because some investors might sell their homes which is actually a good thing,' Mr Chandler-Mather said.

He added that rent control should be considered as part of a holistic strategy to improve housing affordability, such as introducing a vacancy levy, phasing out negative gearing and capital gains exemptions and building more public and social housing.

The policy proposal follows a report showing rentals have become so expensive and hard to find that it's stopping workers from moving to regions for new job opportunities.


Government releases 10 sites for oil and gas exploration, angering crossbench

A surprise from a Leftist government

The federal government will release a further 10 sites for exploration for new oil and gas projects off the coasts of Victoria, the Northern Territory and Western Australia, triggering rebukes from crossbench senators who say it doesn’t align with the government’s own climate goals.

Industry Minister Madeleine King announced the release of the sites, totalling 46,758 square kilometres of Commonwealth waters, on Wednesday saying it would play an important role in securing future energy supplies.

“The annual release of areas for offshore petroleum exploration supports ongoing investment in the nation’s petroleum sector, which is vital for the economy and meeting the energy needs of Australians,” King said.

“At the same time as we strive to reduce emissions it must be emphasised that continued exploration for oil and gas in Commonwealth waters is central to alleviating future domestic gas shortfalls.”

The new sites are in Commonwealth waters in 10 areas, including Victoria’s Gippsland basin and Western Australia’s Carnarvon basin.

Australia remains a net exporter of gas, and imports much of its oil due to the lack domestic of oil refinery capacity.

According to an analysis by the International Energy Agency last year the world cannot build any new oil and gas projects if it expects to meet Paris Agreement climate goals.

Senator David Pocock said on Wednesday night he was concerned the government was pursuing “business as usual” with the oil and gas industry given the IEA’s analysis and the government’s own target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson said the release of the sites “made a mockery” of its own climate targets with the announcement.

“We already have enough oil and gas in reserves to trigger catastrophic climate change to our planet,” he said.

He noted that the Morrison government had stopped the controversial Pep-11 exploration off the coast of NSW due to community concerns and that while in opposition Prime Minister Anthony Albanese had agreed it should be halted.

“If opposing fossil fuel exploration due to community and environmental concerns was good enough for NSW, then it is sheer hypocrisy not to do the same for coastlines right around Australia,” Whish-Wilson said.

Anthony Albanese declared an “end to the climate wars” after Climate Minister Chris Bowen negotiated support for Labor’s 43 per cent target to cut greenhouse gas emissions, which was approved by the new House of Representatives at the start of August.

But King’s announcement follows warnings from Greens’ leader Adam Bandt and Pocock that they will use their casting votes in the Senate to enforce the target by opposing any legislation that approves high-polluting new projects.

King also announced the approval of two sites for greenhouse gasses to be stored underground in offshore geological formations as part of potential future carbon capture and storage projects.

“Carbon capture and storage has a vital role to play to help Australia meet its net zero targets,” she said.

Climate scientists and activists argue that despite billions being spent, large-scale carbon, capture and storage has never worked commercially.


Welcome mat for Indian students in Australian universities

The higher education sector is pushing Labor to ­lure thousands more Indian students with cheaper visas and ­easier working arrangements to secure the nation’s stake in a ­market set to produce 500 million graduates and undergraduates by 2035.

Education Minister Jason Clare is holding rolling talks this week with his Indian counterpart Dharmendra Pradhan to tick off on key parts of the interim free-trade deal struck between the two countries in April, boost research collaboration and get more ­Indian students enrolled in Australian universities.

As universities try to diversify their foreign student intake and wean themselves off a decade-long overreliance on the Chinese market, the number of Indian students granted a visa almost doubled between June and July, from just over 3000 to close to 6000 as visa backlogs were worked through by the Home Affairs ­Department following a boost to staff under Labor.

Mr Clare said on Monday a “relatively small number of ­Indian students” studied in Australia, with 59,000 currently ­enrolled – 5500 of whom were offshore. “India has a challenge of another magnitude … the sheer scale of training half a billion young Indian students is enormous,” he said.

“I think I can confidently speak for Australian universities … that we’re keen to work with (India) to help implement that bold agenda.”

Mr Pradhan said his government wanted to “take the best practice of higher education of Australia to India”.

“A lot of Indian-origin students are coming to Australia for higher education … India is thankful to you for that,” he said.

While pushing for Australia to take up the “opportunity” of ­attracting more Indian students, Mr Clare said there were only so many places available.

“There’s a lot more we can do to help in the implementation of India’s education plan in India ­itself, either universities setting up campuses in India like the University of Wollongong is intending to do, or also the opportunity to provide courses online,” he said. But chief executive of the powerful Group of Eight, Vicki Thomson, warned fewer Indian students had taken up studying online during Covid compared to cohorts in China.

Ms Thomson said Australia was facing “stiff competition” in the international education market from Britain, the US and ­Canada, and raised the need for a high potential visa that would target graduates in areas of workforce need and encourage them into employment once they ­graduated.

“Our engagement with India, the world’s fastest-growing economy, is critical to the future ­success of our sector,” she said. “Building on our strong bilateral relationship with India in the higher education and research sector will be mutually beneficial to both nations.”




Thursday, August 25, 2022

Hidden jobless: Welfare payments defy record low unemployment

The low unemployment rate is a mirage. It exists only because large numbers are not seeking work. During the pandemic they got used to living on the dole. Add in the dole recipients to the official unemployed and the unemployed rate is huge

Welfare payments are stuck at levels higher than before the pandemic, driven by more older, disabled and unhealthy Australians on JobSeeker, despite record low unemployment.

Anthony Albanese’s Jobs and Skills Summit next week will focus on creating new pathways via TAFE and apprenticeships to ­assist people off welfare and into work, but there are concerns about how long it will take to upskill Australians for available jobs.

New Department of Social Services data reveals more than 892,000 people are receiving JobSeeker and Youth Allowance (other) payments, with the average duration of a person on income support now 293 weeks.

The Australian can reveal that the proportion of mature age JobSeeker recipients increased from 18 per cent in July 2012 to 29 per cent last month. The average duration of a mature age recipient on income support is now 344 weeks.

Another challenge for the ­Albanese government is how best to support 41 per cent of people on JobSeeker payments who have a partial capacity to work. About 22 per cent of unemployed Australians report average earnings of $774 a fortnight.

After the Australian Bureau of Statistics last week revealed there were more job vacancies than unemployed people, Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth said she would use the summit to help “lift workplace participation and reduce barriers” for jobseekers.

“Of the roughly 890,000 currently on JobSeeker or Youth ­Allowance, around 80 per cent of these are classified as long-term unemployed (on payment for more than a year), around 40 per cent have a partial capacity to work (for example, because of disability or health concerns),” Ms Rishworth told The Australian.

“Around 14 per cent are Indigenous and 18 per cent are from a culturally and linguistically ­diverse background.

“Indications are that these ­cohorts face significant barriers to entering the workforce, for a variety of reasons, and my goal is to work with participants at the summit to address how we can collectively do better at finding and securing opportunities for these people to work.”

Ms Rishworth will hold a social security roundtable this week and held a disability employment roundtable on Monday with stakeholders including Australian of the Year and Get Skilled Access founder Dylan Alcott.

She said the opportunity to provide jobseekers with access to ­secure work at a time of severe ­labour shortages must be seized.

“With such low unemployment across the board right now and employers calling out for staff, business, government and industry need to work together to make sure the right support is there to help jobseekers find and stay in work,” she said.

Compared with July last year, when the Covid-19 Delta variant was peaking, JobSeeker and Youth Allowance (other) recipients have fallen by 193,000 but ­they remain higher than ­February 2020 levels when ­the unemployment rate was 5.1 per cent.

While lifting the migration cap and getting more foreign workers into the country has dominated debate ahead of the summit, the Albanese government is moving to address the disconnect between the unemployed and a labour market crying out for workers.

The Prime Minister on Monday flagged that his government was determined to make sure that as many unemployed Australians were given the best opportunity to participate in the hottest labour market in decades.

“We need to look at employment services and the way they have been operating,” the Prime Minister said. “We need to make sure that no-one is left behind. And that means whatever we can do to get long-term unemployed into work with training, we need to do.


A 24-year-old man charged with murder and torture of 5-year-old in Aboriginal community

Aborigines are notoriously hard on their children

Jason Ross Allan Fourmile, the alleged offender

QUEENSLAND Police have charged a man with murder and torture after the death of a five-year-old boy following an incident in a Far North community.

Initial findings showed that the five-year-old boy was taken to the Yarrabah Hospital with life-threatening injuries and was flown to Townsville Hospital in a critical condition at 12.30pm on Tuesday August 16.

The boy then passed away on Monday August 22.

A 24-year-old man, who was known to the boy, was arrested and charged with one count each of murder, grievous bodily harm and torture.

He has been remanded in custody to also face two counts each of assault occasioning bodily harm while armed and assault occasioning bodily harm in the Cairns Magistrates Court on Wednesday, August 24.

Detectives from Cairns CPIU have established an Incident Centre in the Cairns Police Facility with assistance from Child Trauma Unit detectives from Brisbane after being alerted of the incident.


Unbelievable: Application to develop gas field rejected as "not in the national interest"

The new federal Environment Minister has rejected a partially Rinehart-owned company’s bid to fast-track Queensland gas fields.

A company part-owned by mining magnate Gina Reinhart has been denied a request to fast-track federal environment approvals so it can tap into undeveloped Queensland gas fields it bought at the end of 2021.

Senex, a joint venture between South Korean steel giant Posco and Reinhart’s Hancock Energy, asked the federal environment minister in March 2022 to let it develop two Queensland gas fields without going through the usual environmental approvals process.

Senex argued an exemption would be in the national interest because it would allow Senex to develop the acreage quickly, and aid Australia’s domestic gas supply and energy security issues.

An exemption request is meant to be dealt with within 20 days, but the minister at the time — Sussan Ley — did not make a decision by the deadline of April 21.

New federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek, in a decision published late on Monday, said granting the exemption was not in the national interest.

“Having considered all the available information, I have decided not to grant Senex Energy’s requested exemption under the EPBC Act. I was not satisfied that such an exemption was in the national interest,” she said.

“Exempting this proposal from the requirements of the EPBC Act would not provide short-term relief to east-coast gas customers, given that gas supply from this project is at least 15 months away.

“I also understand that given the scale of the project and what is already known about the site, any assessment process under the EPBC Act is likely to be relatively straightforward.”

Senex announced last November it had entered into a binding agreement with Australia Pacific LNG to acquire two undeveloped gas fields in the Surat Basin, right next to its existing holdings.

The tenements, PL209 and PL445, were meant to have an estimated 184PJ of gas and an additional 600PJ though this needed “future appraisal”.

“Initial acquisition cost of $50 million, with a further $30 million payment upon receipt of satisfactory Commonwealth environmental approvals, funded from an acquisition bridge facility and existing cash and debt facilities,” the company stated at the time.

Senex, on August 11, announced a major $1bn expansion of its Queensland gas field, noting it would pump enough resources into the domestic market to cover 40 per cent of the state’s needs.

Chief executive Ian Davies on the day said the project had approvals for two of the three areas which required it and was working on securing the green light for the final acreage.


Christian schools fear closure if WA discrimination laws strengthened

The peak body representing Christian schools has “grave concerns” schools will close if new laws dramatically reducing their ability to preference staff and students of faith go ahead.

Last week, Attorney-General John Quigley announced broad support for 163 recommendations to improve the state’s anti-discrimination laws following a Law Reform Commission of WA review of the outdated Equal Opportunity Act.

One of the key reforms is an “inherent requirement test” that will force religious schools to prove religious belief or activity is an essential requirement of the job.

Australian Association of Christian Schools executive officer Vanessa Cheng said that change would make it difficult for religious schools to employ staff and preference families in enrolment who shared the beliefs of the school.

“The Christian school model requires that all staff, from the principal to the music teacher, share and practice the faith of the school community,” she said. “We believe this provides the best, holistic learning environment for our students.

“Parents who choose to enrol their children in our schools want an education based on Christian values, which the state school system can no longer provide, and these changes are trying to squeeze faith out of our schools too.

“Surely it is not for the government to determine how a Christian school should be a Christian school?”

Under existing legislation it is lawful for private religious schools in WA, including those receiving taxpayer funding, to sack lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer staff, expel LGBTIQ students, and refuse to enrol children of same-sex parents.

The current law also means religious schools can discriminate against staff who are unmarried parents or living together out of wedlock.

Quigley said the new Act would bring WA into line with other jurisdictions, including Victoria, which introduced changes to its Equal Opportunity Act in June in a bid to ensure a fairer balance between the right to religious freedom and the right to be free from discrimination.

One of the key reforms in both states is strengthening equal opportunity protections for LGBTIQ staff and students in religious schools.

“Since WA’s nation-leading anti-discrimination laws were first introduced, community expectations regarding discrimination have progressed and WA now lags behind most other jurisdictions,” Quigley said.

“This is not about granting additional rights to any one group of people, but ensuring all Western Australians are free from discrimination, harassment, vilification and victimisation.

“Whilst still subject to drafting and further consideration, it is our ambition that the new Bill will achieve a balance between the rights and interests of a wide variety of Western Australians and ensure that employers are not unnecessarily burdened with complex legislation.”

But Cheng has called on the state government to push back against some recommendations. “Unless the government pushes back, it will be very difficult to operate a Christian school according to Christian principles and beliefs once they become law,” she said.

“The sign of a mature and tolerant society is allowing challenging and thought-provoking ideas in the areas of religion, science and the arts to thrive; suppressing religious expression only robs society of its diversity and richness.”

Equality Australia legal director Ghassan Kassisieh said every teacher or staff member should be confident that they are treated fairly by their employer, and judged only by their capacity to fulfil their role.

“The Law Reform Commission recommended reforms would ensure religious schools and organisations play by the same rules as others,” he said.

“By narrowing the carve-outs which currently allow discrimination against LGBTIQA+ staff, students and service users, the laws would bring the practice of religious schools and organisations in line with 21st century community expectations.”


Fighting back against bureaucratic oppression of men and boys

Bettina Arndt

Every day, men are mown down by petty bureaucrats revelling in their feminist-bestowed power to crush ordinary blokes. With my correspondence bearing witness to the ongoing massacre, it’s a thrill to occasionally see someone take them on and win.

This week I have two stories, both of people facing injustice, who reached out to me recently for help.

One is a senior medico, working in the health bureaucracy in Queensland, who suddenly found our draconian Child Support Agency (CSA) had overnight taken half his wages to pay for a child who didn’t exist. Child support officials simply refused to believe it was a mistake, and piled on the torture, rendering him technically insolvent, potentially wrecking his credit rating and his marriage. When he first wrote to me, he was sleeping in the spare bedroom – his wife found it hard to believe that he’d never fathered this mythical son.

The other case involved a 15-year-old boy who’d been suspended from his school after a girl in his class made a bizarre allegation that, three years earlier, in the middle of a crowded classroom, he’d suddenly reached under the desk and thrust his fingers in and out of her vagina. She also claimed he repeated the process two days later.

Four months after the suspension his distressed mother wrote to me, describing the family’s fear that the school’s investigation was going nowhere, critical evidence was being ignored and their son seemed set up as the sacrificial lamb to be summarily tossed out of school to appease the alleged ‘victim’ and her followers.

After long conversations with both these troubled people, my advice was similar. Take them on. Go in all guns blazing, right to the top of the food chain, armed with substantial threats about guaranteed severe consequences if they failed to address the issue properly.

It worked. Both issues have been resolved. It took three days for the medico to have his income restored, his confiscated money paid back, and the garnishee notice removed. He even received a groveling email from a very senior bureaucrat who wrote: ‘I would like to unreservedly apologise for the Agency’s errors and the frustration you experienced in having the errors corrected.’ That’s worth framing, isn’t it? The perfect badge of honour to hang on a toilet door.

Amazingly, the teenage boy has been welcomed back to school. His accuser is now being home-schooled, claiming she doesn’t feel safe back in class. We suspect she’s simply embarrassed that her allegations failed to stack up. The boy’s parents are relieved but still contemplating whether they will take further action.

So, the lesson is to fight back – hard. So many institutions be they government departments, bureaucracies, or schools – appear to be run by petty, anti-male bullies who can’t be bothered to ensure proper rules are being fairly applied. They prefer to target men and boys, winning brownie points from their feminist colleagues in the process. Usually, they get away with it – because we let them.

Let me tell you more about the doctor’s story – I’ll call him ‘Alan’. It came as a huge shock when this mild-mannered man checked his bank account and discovered half his salary had been held back. He quickly learned the culprit was the CSA which has the power to garnish wages.

Alan then suffered through a two-hour phone call with someone we will call Owen, a smug child support officer who assured him that it simply wasn’t true that they had the wrong man. ‘No, no, we have the right person,’ Owen assured him, giving ‘Robert’ as the name of his alleged son, explaining they proposed to garnish Alan’s wages until he’d paid off the money they claimed he owed, and adding cheerfully that they were imposing an order prohibiting international travel.

‘I can understand why men commit suicide under such circumstances,’ wrote Alan, appalled and humiliated by his treatment from this despot who simply refused to believe that he had no such child.

I consulted various knowledgeable people and was told by a child support expert that he should send a legal letter to the big boss, the Secretary of Services Australia, threatening action under CDDA (a body that compensates people for defective administration by Commonwealth agencies). She also suggested Alan should follow up with complaints to the Commonwealth Ombudsman and the Privacy Commissioner over the alleged lack of procedural fairness and breach of privacy.

The letter to the Secretary was sent and within two days he learned he officially no longer had a child called ‘Robert’, nor a child support debt, his legal expenses would be reimbursed, and a full investigation was being made into CSA’s handling of the matter. Owen’s career advancement is not looking too healthy.

Yes, we realise this all happened because Alan was enough of a big shot to look as if he could cause real trouble, and he still could hock himself to the hilt to pay the bills for his lawyer to handle the whole thing. I have many hundreds of letters from ordinary blokes who shouted from the rooftops over the way they were treated by the CSA and similar bodies, all to no avail. Men who spent their last dollar and then some on lawyers and got nowhere. Many are now totally destitute. I talked recently to a disabled man living in a rotting boat on the Queensland coastline, who has just such a dreadful story.

But the fact remains that many people don’t seize the reins when they find themselves being terrorised by these bureaucrats. And if they do employ a lawyer, they often end up with pen-pushers who are lazy, inept, or afraid of rocking the boat.

When the mother of the suspended 15-year-old boy first contacted me, the family had employed a lawyer who was supposed to find a way of stopping their son from being thrown under the bus. But the school was stalling and the boy’s prospects didn’t look good.

The school claimed to be conducting an investigation into the girl’s allegations but hadn’t interviewed the two teachers present in the classroom when the girl was apparently being fingered. There was a critical sexy Snapchat conversation allegedly written by the boy which featured perfect grammar and spelling – unlikely from this kid who had known learning difficulties. The accuser had another Snapchat account where she attempted to solicit dick pics from boys, including their son, in order to blackmail them but that never seems to have been investigated by the school. So much potential evidence is being ignored. It did, however, provide good reason for the parents to fear their son was being framed.

It wasn’t hard to find a way of forcing a resolution. Luckily the boy was in a private school, with a school board full of fat cats who wouldn’t be at all keen on their fancy school attracting adverse publicity over a sordid lawsuit about an alleged sexual assault in one of their classrooms.

We arranged for the parents to instruct their lawyer to approach the school board, informing them they were planning legal action over the case. When members of the board learned where this was all heading, suddenly the parents were summoned to the school and told their son was welcome to return. They were informed there was insufficient evidence to determine the truth of the allegations. ‘We are angry, damaged, and exhausted,’ wrote the mother, explaining to me how relieved she was to have her son back in the classroom, a clear signal that the girl’s presumed lies had gone nowhere.

And perhaps also a message to the school that they can’t always assume they can just ride roughshod over the rights of boys, responding to dubious claims from girls who may not be nearly as innocent as they make out.

That’s what we need. More people refusing to sit back and take it. Parents to start yelling loudly about the presumption that girls don’t lie and boys are expendable.

More committed, activist lawyers are willing to go that extra mile to ensure fair treatment for male clients.

It would be great to have more support networks to guide people through these battles, planning strategies, finding the right contacts, helping them pick the right lawyers, and ensure they do their jobs. Please get in touch if you have the time and skills to be an occasional cheer squad for men and boys who are being kicked to the kerb. ?