Friday, September 30, 2022

Conservatives must stop being cowards

The election victory of Giorgia Meloni and her Brothers of Italy party came as welcome news this week. Welcome news for the world’s entirely predictable mainstream media who – and this, sadly, includes even centre-right publications in Australia – immediately resorted to employing as many variations of ‘far-right’ and ‘fascist’ as they could find in a Thesaurus and squeeze into each and every sentence regarding Ms Meloni’s victory.

More importantly, the victory is also welcome to conservatives and traditonally-minded voters across the West excited as well as relieved to finally hear and see a politician of the right who not only is passionate about traditional values, but has the stomach to fight tooth and nail for them.

The curse of conservatism over the past decade or two has been the almost universal lack of courage among conservative leaders to actually defend the causes they supposedly believe in. For sure, there are the occasional speeches or doorstop interviews where the typical centre-right leader mouths a few reassuring platitudes on the free market, or freedom of expression (within certain boundaries, of course!) to keep the party faithful happy, but these soothing words are never matched by full-throated, unequivocal, aggressive defence of those values that the Left has so successfully denigrated and vandalised across the West.

Those politicians who do defend traditonal values are immediately dismissed as ‘populists’ and swiftly dumped into the maverick bin. Donald Trump is and was a staunch and proud defender of most conservative values, but his theatricality and his unflinching style were viewed by other conservative leaders as something to be embarrassed about, rather than something to emulate. Boris Johnson had plenty of Trump’s flamboyant style, but he had none of his convictions, instincts or common sense. Trump announced he would build a wall across the southern states of America because he wanted to stop illegal immigrants coming across that border. Full stop. Boris Johnson announced he supported Brexit because he thought it would suit him politically. There is a difference.

Jair Bolsonaro and Victor Orbán have successfully been painted by the mainstream media as oddballs or fascists, which is clearly what Giorgia Meloni can look forward to over the coming months and years. Indeed, the week before her victory, the European Union’s unctious Ursula van der Leyen sneeringly suggested that should Ms Meloni win in Italy, the EU would employ unspecified ‘tools’ against her. So much for democracy, a plurality of points of view and so on. Within the EU mindset, Ms Meloni, like Mr Orbán, and their countries, must be punished and brought undone – rather than be accommodated or listen to – for having had the temerity to express dissatisfaction with the EU behemoth.

But the times may well suit Giorgia Meloni. This time around, it’s not climate change, it’s not immigration, it’s not welfare, although they are all still critical to her success. This time the overreach of the Left has entered the public domain and cannot be ignored. Having successfully captured all the major institutions, corporations and most of the political parties, the Left may come to regret the day they also tried to march through the bedrooms of troubled teenage boys and girls. There is no question that the sheer revulsion felt by many conservatives and traditionally-minded individuals, not to mention religious folk, at the entire transgender/pronouns/chest-binding/puberty-blocker/gender-surgery/ what is a woman? horror show, all of which can be summed up in the word ‘woke’, has driven blue-collar, solidly traditional people away from the old parties of the Left and into the comforting, motherly, Christian, family-oriented embrace of Ms Meloni. When she pounds her fist on the podium and rants to the adoring, cheering faithful, it is accompanied by words and phrases such as ‘family’, ‘mother’, ‘Italian’ and ‘Christian’. Identity politics may have finally come full circle.

In Australia, a nation where we now have almost wall to wall Labor governments, the lesson is crystal clear. Only conservatives who have the courage to not only articulate but to passionately fight for conservative convictions have a hope of cutting through to the electorate. Pandering to the Left by adopting net zero, or playing the insidious diversity, inclusion and equity game, deservedly spells disaster.

The times have changed. Conservatives must stop being cowards. The CPAC weekend in Sydney is as good a place to start as any.


Pfizer Covid vaccine caused 'debilitating' lesions om her tongue that left 60-year-old woman unable to eat for months

A 60-year-old woman suffered 'debilitating' lesions on her tongue after receiving Pfizer's Covid vaccine – with each shot making her symptoms worse.

Her side effects, which also included a dry mouth and inflammation, were so painful she was left unable to eat.

Doctors struggled to find the culprit for nine months, during which she lost 17 pounds (8kg).

By the time she was finally diagnosed, her swollen tongue had began to split open leaving deep, agonizing sores.

She was diagnosed with Sjögren's syndrome, a condition that sees the immune system go haywire and damage healthy parts of the body. Her symptoms were finally cured with a six-week course of topical steroids.

Doctors chronicled the rare side effect in a report published last month in the American Journal of Case Reports.

The unidentified patient, from Australia, received three vaccine doses in total – two of which formed the initial course, as well as a single booster.

Similar symptoms were also documented in patients infected with coronavirus, which led to the condition being dubbed 'Covid tongue'.

Oral sores are not a new phenomenon after a vaccine and have been spotted in people following flu, hepatitis B and papillomavirus jabs.

But only a handful of cases have been reported after Covid vaccines, despite billions of doses being administered worldwide.

The unnamed patient developed sores in her mouth about three days after receiving the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Her symptoms had partially abated before she received the second dose, after which the symptoms returned still more severely.

She underwent a cadre of blood tests to rule out other diagnoses such as HPV and other infections.

She was referred to an outpatient rheumatology clinic with suspected Sjogren syndrome, an autoimmune disease which causes the immune system to attack glands that produce moisture in the eyes, mouth, and other parts of the body.

Doctors first prescribed a topical version of clonazepam, a benzodiazepine that when ingested orally, can treat burning mouth syndrome.

When that did little to alleviate her symptoms, doctors prescribed an oral steroid which caused symptoms to improve 60 per cent, but treatment stopped because it was causing the woman abdominal pain.

Doctors finally settled on a lower dose topical iteration of the steroids dissolved in water and taken consistently for about six weeks until symptoms abated.

The condition was not easily diagnosed and doctors were puzzled at first. While oral symptoms can be associated with the Pfizer vaccine, they are uncommon and likely under recognized by providers who do not specialize in oral healthcare.

Writing in the journal, the doctors said: 'A subsequent review of the timeline of history and medications, including vaccinations, identified a clear relationship between the exacerbation of oral symptoms after each [Pfizer-BioNTech] vaccination.'

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) database for Covid vaccine side effects does not include oral symptoms.

A major caveat is that reporting the adverse effects is voluntary and therefore cases may be underreported.

'This case demonstrates that oral symptoms can be associated with BNT162b2 vaccination, which is likely under-recognized by practitioners outside the field of oral health,' the doctors said in the case study.


The "voice" for Aborigines will be powerful

Some recent events in Melbourne and in the Federal Court have shown us what is in store for us if the Aboriginal Voice is implemented. First, poor Daniel Andrews. He must feel that the whole world is against him. All he did was announce that his government will massively expand the Maroondah hospital in Melbourne and rename it the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital, as a suitable monument to mark the reign of our late Queen. It was therefore a proposal that he would do something worthy and decent and undoubtedly within the proper role of an elected government.

But now, he has been set upon by the entire left-wing establishment who have demanded that the re-naming of the hospital be abandoned and that it keep its present name of Maroondah, which is a perfectly good Aboriginal word meaning ‘throwing leaves’. And the proposed new name has sent the Left and its camp followers into a frenzy. For them, to rename the Maroondah Hospital after the monarch is an endorsement of colonialism, imperialism, racism and all the other horrors that allegedly come with our history and our present system of government. No Aboriginal, it is said, would feel safe going into a hospital with such a name.

In one sense it serves Andrews right that he is in such trouble. He was trying to capitalise on the upsurge of sentiment and sympathy for the monarchy and the outburst of love and respect for the Queen. He was trading on this development and bathing in its reflected glory when, suddenly, the whole issue rose up from nowhere, turned on him and has given him an almighty kick in the backside.

He is now under siege from his own cabinet and party, the wider Left and their hangers-on, and the sycophantic media, all of whom have told him to revoke his decision. If he does, the Left will claim it as a great victory and manoeuvre for more such victories; he will then be putty in their hands and lose all authority. If he sticks with the decision, he will galvanise the entire left-wing apparatus against him and, with the state election only three months away, anything could happen. So, perhaps it serves him right. Let him squirm!

But far more significant than Mr Andrews’ travails and embarrassment is the fact that the whole issue shows us what life would be like if the Voice were put into our constitution, passed by legislation and set to work. It will intimidate elected governments until it gets it own way.

And, to complete the equation, we have the second significant event of last week, which can only increase the likelihood that the Voice will not just be a debating society, but will exercise real power to change the decisions of elected state and federal governments.

That is because a federal court judge has just handed down his decision in the Santos Barossa case. Albanese has said many times that litigation will not be able to change government policy. But the court has decided, even without the Voice to back it up, that the giant, $3 billion Barossa gas field cannot go ahead because Santos, according to the judge, did not adequately consult with those who have ‘spiritual connections’ and hunting and gathering rights over the ‘sea country’ of the Timor Sea. If litigation can stop a major project of this size and importance, even without the Voice, how much more ferocious will the litigation war become with the Voice in full flight as it moves to stop major developments. How many projects like Barossa will be stopped when the Voice starts baying for blood?

To show us how this will happen, let us return to the ‘throwing leaves’ among the sylvan groves of Maroondah, but imagining a time when the Voice is fully operational. The elected government decides to double the size of the Maroondah Hospital to cater for the vastly expanded population and to rename it the Queen Elizabeth II.

The Voice will have control, so Albanese has told us, of ‘matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’. Clearly, extending a hospital, part of the public health activities of the government, and giving it a name that is said to make Aboriginals feel unsafe, is a matter relating to Aboriginals. A cavalcade of organisations and individuals have told us so. Accordingly, the Voice has the right to object to it and to advise the state government to reverse its policy, which Andrews is now being told. The government considers the whole thing all over again and decides to proceed with the re-naming.

The Voice could not fail to be emboldened by the obvious willingness of the federal court to do as it did in the Santos Barossa case and set aside a government decision because there was inadequate consultation with Aboriginal interests. Nor could the Voice fail to be emboldened by the willingness of the High Court to find that Aboriginals are not subject to the regular law because they are Aboriginals and above the regular law. The matter goes through the courts which have no difficulty in finding that the government did not consult properly or fully with the local ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’. Moreover, the court will say that the Voice has immense and powerful standing because it was passed at a referendum and the decision to re-name the hospital should therefore be set aside. That clearly is what will happen because it is what is intended to happen.

Will this be the end of democracy? No, but it will be a fundamental and immense upheaval to our democratic system of government as competing interests are locked in litigation over every decision of significance and race will determine how those decisions are resolved. Is that what we really want for Australia? I hope not.


Fantastic lies about white settlement of Australia

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has thrown his support behind truth-telling as a softener for the emotional campaign for the Voice to Parliament referendum. Let’s hope he’s not relying on the SBS series "The Australian Wars" billed as ‘the documentary that reveals the truth of Australia’s history’.

The first episode of the show, produced by Rachel Perkins, daughter of the late Charles Perkins, made a number of claims which cannot be verified but serve to vilify the nation’s European colonisers.

In the introductory episode the staggering claim is made that 100,000 Aboriginals were murdered by troops or settlers in wars which lasted a century.

There is no evidence presented to justify this statement and even the final findings of the eight-year long Colonial Frontier Massacres Digital Map Project (elements of which have been successfully challenged) conducted by University of Newcastle emeritus professor Lyndall Ryan do not support this figure. The Guardian, which supported Professor Ryan’s flawed project, analysed the data and found that between 11,000 and 14,000 Aboriginal people died.

Which leaves a credibility gap into which Perkins’ 89,000 to 86,000 alleged deaths have fallen.

War is usually defined as a state of armed conflict between two countries or different groups within a country but it clear that there was never a state of war between Great Britain and an Aboriginal nation as there were no Aboriginal nations, no matter how nation is defined.

Further, the groups of Aboriginals who resisted European settlement did not constitute a coherent body.

Wars is too strong a term for what were at best deadly skirmishes between soldiers and a handful of Aboriginal clan leaders initially and later between small Aboriginal bands and police or settlers.

The claim is also made that children were taken as ‘slaves’ and that women and children were the most valuable commodities in the nascent colony though there is no evidence that slavery was ever practised by the colonisers and certainly no evidence that women and children were traded as commodities.

The wars, according to the documentary, were brought about because Governor Arthur Phillip bypassed an ancient legal system on his arrival.

This is Bruce Pascoe humbug on steroids. There was no Aboriginal legal system covering the continent. It was very much different strokes for different folks depending upon which clan or tribe they belonged to. In much the same way as some Aboriginal oligarchs today sequester all the royalties arising from mining in their areas and deny funding to those who aren’t part of their clan or kinship group.

Another of the many demands the Voice makes is for a treaty with Australia, which not only supposes that there is an actual cohesive Aboriginal nation and that such a nation could have a treaty with the nation that it exists within, which is patently nonsensical, but it also begs the question why didn’t any Aboriginal seek a treaty as the Maori had done when the tide of European settlement reached New Zealand?

I put this question to Sir Tipene O’Regan (now Ta Tipene O’Regan) twenty-three years ago at his Auckland home during the 1999 APEC conference.

O’Regan, who was named 2022 New Zealander of the Year in March, is the son of an Irish surgeon and activist Rolland O’Regan and Rena Ruiha, who was a member of Ngai Tahu tribe.

As the driving force behind a number of successful land and sea fisheries claims for the Ngai Tahu with legendary negotiating skills, his views on indigenous claims are worth listening to.

He told me that there were vast cultural differences between the Maori and the Aboriginals. All indigenous people are not the same. He said he had attended international meetings of indigenous groups and felt closer to Native Americans from the Pacific Northwest (in particular the Kwakiutl), than the Australian Aboriginal representatives.

‘We are both seafaring people, when Europeans arrived we understood trade and treaties, culturally we are similar, we carve, we had complex oral histories detailing our heritage.’

The Maori nobility, he said, were able to recite their family lineage and this oral recitation of genealogy (whakapapa in Maori) was essential to define who was privileged and who was a slave.

‘Because knowledge of your whakapapa was essential, the Maori embraced writing to set down their family trees so they would not lose their identities and within the first century of the arrival of Europeans, the level of literacy was higher among Maori than among the settlers.’

The Maori, he said, were pressed for space and resources and each tribe or iwi had clearly defined boundaries which required the development of a diplomatic code if there was not to be perpetual war.

When Europeans landed, the shore dwellers could not retreat as they would be encroaching on the tribe up the hill. They had to negotiate a settlement with the new arrivals and arrangements for them to collect wood and water. They could not retreat.

Aboriginals, on the other hand, in his view, had almost unlimited opportunities to withdraw and they did.

I was unfortunately unable to contact Ta Tipene through the University of Auckland to seek his view on the Voice but as we don’t yet know in what form the Labor government proposal will be presented, the questions would be hypothetical.

Perkins and her crew are in no doubt about the need for a Voice, treaty and truth-telling.

Perhaps they could just start by telling the truth and letting the nation decide whether the rest is necessary.




Thursday, September 29, 2022

A major overhaul of Queensland’s energy sector will involve construction of the ‘world’s biggest’ pumped hydro project

This is nonsense. For pumped hydro you need TWO dams, at astronomical cost. Where is the money going to come from? Will it reduce the funding for hospitals, police and pensioners? Realistic cost estimates and realistic statements about how other spending will be affected are needed. There is no sign of either.

When there are so many other needs for funding (ambulancees, housing etc.) already crying out, this proposal is verging on criminal. And for what? To replace s perfectly good electricity supply that we have already. It will buy a few votes from Greenies, that is all

A major overhaul of Queensland’s energy sector will cost $62bn over 13 years and involve construction of the “world’s biggest” pumped hydroelectric power plant project, ending the “reliance” on coal in the state’s publicly owned power plants by 2035.

The goals of the Queensland Energy Plan include hitting a new, higher renewable energy target of 70 per cent by 2032, though the state’s emissions reductions target of 30 per cent below 2005 baseline levels will not change.

The targets will be legislated.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk released the state’s long-awaited 10-year Queensland Energy Plan at her annual state of the state address on Wednesday afternoon, saying the “race was now on” to secure “clean energy supply chains”.

“We must invest now, not just for our climate,” she said. “We must address this issue at the same time we focus on new job opportunities to bring everyone along with the clean energy industrial revolution at our doorstep.”

Ms Palaszczuk confirmed Queensland’s plan was to get 70 per cent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2032, and 80 per cent by 2035.

Natural renewable resources are energy sources with an endless supply so they can be continuously replenished. Some examples of renewable resources include the wind, sun, geothermal heat and water.

Part of the plan will include building two new pumped hydroelectric plants — one west of Mackay and the other at Borumba Dam by 2035.

There will be a new “SuperGrid” built to connect solar, wind, battery and hydrogen generators across the state.

“The super grid brings together all of the elements in the electricity system with the poles and wires that provide Queenslanders with clean, reliable and affordable power for generations,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“That super grid delivers around 1500 kilometres of transmission lines from Brisbane up to North Queensland and out west to Hughenden.”

Publicly owned coal fired power plants, which make up the majority of the state’s coal fired assets, would be “converted” to clean energy hubs from 2027. And their “reliance” on coal would be stopped by 2035.

Ms Palaszczuk said this would be “done in a measured way”. “We won’t convert coal power stations until there is replacement firmed generation,” she said. “We will keep our coal fired power stations as back up capacity until replacement pumped hydro energy storage is operational. “We will be able to turn the stations back on if something goes wrong.”

The state will also build a “hydrogen gas ready turbine”.

The energy plan will cost an estimated $62bn between now and 2035, with the funds to be spread across state and federal governments and the private sector.

“By 2035 Queensland … will have no regular reliance on coal and be at 80 per cent renewable energy,” Ms Palaszczuk said. “That’s because we will have more pumped hydro energy storage than the rest of Australia combined. “Today is about being bold with an energy and jobs plan that has tangible aims and palpable outcomes.”

The latest data shows Queensland’s energy mix in 2021/22 was 21.4 per cent renewable, up from 19.6 per cent between August 2020 and July 2021.

The state government has been ramping up its energy-related announcements in the last week, with Ms Palaszczuk travelling out to South Burnett on Monday to reveal a $780m commitment to building Australia’s largest publicly owned wind farm. The Tarong West Wind Farm in the South Burnett would create enough electricity to power up to 230,000 homes.

At a press conference this morning, Energy Minister Mick de Brenni said it would power “the size of the Gold Coast”, and would be the “equivalent of taking 230,000 cars off the road”.

He said existing cattle farmers located near the wind farm would be able to operate as usual.

The project will include up to 150 turbines and generate 500MW, with 200 jobs created during the construction phase and 15 ongoing roles when the farm up and running.

Earlier, the Greens said Queensland risked being “laughed out of the room” over its climate policies, with the party urging the Palaszczuk government to accelerate the closure of coal-fired stations and adopt a transition plan for the workforce.

Greens MP Michael Berkman said Queensland risked breaching its Paris Agreement unless it includes the closure of the state’s power stations by 2030.


Albanese government would ‘absolutely’ welcome a Tesla manufacturing plant

Australia had a long history of making cars. It stopped because it was uneconomical. It just bumped up the cost of living. Would Musk's Australian factories be able to compete with his factories in China? Not likely. Not without a nice little subsidy out of the pocket of the Australian taxpayer

Infrastructure and Transport Minister Catherine King says the Albanese government would “absolutely” welcome Tesla opening a manufacturing plant in Australia.

Her comments come after the company’s most senior executive in Australia hinted the electric vehicle giant could expand its manufacturing capabilities here.

Board chair Robyn Denholm told the National Press Club in Canberra earlier this month the company wanted to have manufacturing capability on every continent.

She said Tesla needed to “be in all of the major markets” in order to compete in a world moving towards the widespread use of electric vehicles and lithium-ion batteries.

Ms King said on Wednesday the “incredibly disappointing” winding down of the Australian car manufacturing industry had implications for research and development across the manufacturing sector.

The Albanese government has been enthusiastic about ramping up local manufacturing and indicated this could include making cars once again.

But Energy Minister Chris Bowen was noncommittal when asked on Wednesday if he thought it was realistic to expect cars to be made in Australia again.

“We’re very excited as (Ms King) said, right up and down the supply chain,” he said.

“The economics of electric vehicle manufacturing are very different to traditional internal combustion engines, whether it’s full vehicles or those components of vehicles along the way.

“And as I said at the outset, the more we have an electric vehicle market in Australia, the more that will support electric vehicle component and indeed, potentially in due course, manufacturing.”

Mr Bowen and Ms King made the comments as they unveiled the federal government’s consultation paper, outlining the framework for a new national electric vehicle strategy.


Camp fees spark fears popular Straddie beach spot Blaksley will close under native title

Restrictions on access by others nearly always result from a grant of native title

Boaties and campers to a popular beachside camping site on Minjerribah, North Stradbroke Island, fear the introduction of camping fees by the state government could lead to the closure of their holiday hideaway.

The $7-a-night per permit fee, or $28 for a family, was put in place last week, on the first day of the September school holidays, when the state government also set out stringent regulations for the beach site.

The site will be limited to 10 tents and bookings capped at seven nights with permit fees paid to the state government prior to arrival.

Despite the site being a remote bush setting with no inroad, campers must abide by check-in and check-out times with no arrivals before 2pm and all vacated by 11am.

Further regulations will be implemented this week, when the state will remove all rubbish bins and make it mandatory for each camping booking to have its own Australian-standard portaloo.

Long-time visitors pegging out tent sites last week were surprised to see a new billboard advertising the fees and announcing the “new campground” rules.

Blaksley Slip is on aboriginal land and is part of the Naree Budjong Djara National Park, jointly managed by the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation, known as QYAC, and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.

Traditional owners and departmental officers worked together to develop the visitor management policies.

A spokesman for the Department of Environment and Science said the introduction of overnight permit fees was not a precursor to closing the site. “We need to be able to monitor the site to make sure that campers are being respectful in the area,” the spokesperson said. “Having people buy permits makes patrolling a lot easier.

“Native title exists at this site and it is aboriginal land under the Aboriginal Land Act 1991 but QPWS has no plans to close this site in the near or distant future.”

The spokesperson said because the camping area was in the national park, land, flora and fauna was protected and it was illegal to disturb, remove or destroy it.

The permit system, introduced this month, followed concerns unregistered campers were unlawfully bringing pet dogs and illegally cutting down trees for firewood.

But Cleveland resident Luke Seaborne, who has been visiting the campsite for 30 years, said he believed the new regulations were designed to drive people away and has started a petition to keep the area public.

He said it was not the first time changes to rules at public campsites on the island had been made over school holidays with the worst occasion in July 2020 when the island’s five main caravan parks closed.

Adder Rock and Adams Beach campgrounds closed in 2020 for maintenance work while Bradbury’s Beach site, at Dunwich, remains closed to the public.

A year later, campers were astounded when the island’s Minjerribah Camping banned tents at three of the island’s main campgrounds over Easter.

Caravan sites at Amity Point, Adder Rock, Thankful Rest, Bradbury’s Beach and Adams Beach all closed to tourists for the two weeks despite the state government easing Covid restrictions the week before.

Mr Seaborne said taking away the bins and introducing permit fees would deter tourists.

“Having a maximum of 10 tents is ridiculous and limiting camping to one week is also a way of driving people away,” he said.

“My friends and I will pay the fees but we are furious with the limits on tents and booking times and we believe they are designed to get rid of campers.

“Taking away the bins will inevitably mean rubbish is left on the beach.


Peta Credlin says Australians are being treated as if 'we're all but racist' if they don't support the Voice to parliament

Australians are being 'morally shamed' into voting for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament, a conservative columnist argues.

Peta Credlin, the former chief-of-staff for Liberal prime minster Tony Abbott, said the proposed Voice will be a race-based body that is more about 'power than recognition' but this is not how it is being sold.

'It will be pitched to voters in oversimplified terms: as being for or against Aboriginal people,' Ms Credlin wrote in The Australian.

The Voice is a proposed body of representatives from First Nations peoples across Australia that will advise federal parliament on matters concerning Indigenous people.

Its creation will require a change to the Australian Constitution that will have to be brought in by a successful referendum vote.

As an example of 'oversimplification' Ms Credlin pointed to the launch this week of what she called the 'big business' campaign for a 'yes' vote, which is backed by the Uluru Statement Group.

The ad features Indigenous playwright and actor Trevor Jamieson telling rapt children the hopeful story of how First People are allowed a 'say' in matters affecting them, which they haven't had.

'The "feel-good" yarning to children around a campfire, is a sign of things to come,' Ms Credlin wrote of the minute-long commercial, which will be mainly targeted at online audiences.

She noted that for previous referendums the federal government had funded campaigns both for a yes and no vote, but Ms Credlin doubted that would be done this time by the Albanese government.

'Labor will rely on big corporations to deluge us with the Yes message and hope, without the millions to match them, that no one picks up the arguments of the No side,' she said.

Ms Credlin accused those pushing for a Voice of being deliberately vague about what the body will do.

'The voice has to make a difference or what's the point of having it?' she wrote. 'Yet that difference can't be spelled out without almost certainly dooming it to defeat, hence the lack of detail.'

Ms Credlin believed Indigenous people already have a substantial say in the nation's affairs, pointing to the number of MPs who identify as Indigenous.

'Why establish a separate Indigenous voice to the parliament when it already includes 11 individual Indigenous voices that were elected in the usual way, without any affirmative action or race-based selection criteria?' she wrote.

'Why give one group of people, based on race, a special say over the actions of our parliament and our government that's denied to everyone else?'

She argued the Voice was really a grab for power. 'There's abundant reason to be cautious about entrenching in our Constitution a race-based body that even Malcolm Turnbull once described as a third chamber of the parliament,' she wrote. 'It’s easy to see where this could end up going – down the path of co-governance.'

Ms Credlin said the Voice had not really been 'thought through' and the danger is that Australians would be morally shamed into voting a 'race-based' Voice 'based on a vibe'.

'A couple of decades ago, we would have marched in the streets about a race-based body in our Constitution,' she wrote. 'Now we’re told we’re all but racist if we don’t support it.'

Will Australians vote for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament?
A poll by the Australia Institute in July found strong support for the Voice to be added to the Constitution.

The poll found 65 per cent would vote yes, up from 58 per cent when the same poll was run in June. Some 14 per cent said they would vote no, with the other 21 per cent undecided. Support was highest among Greens voters, but even 58 per cent of those Coalition aligned would vote yes.

For a referendum to succeed, a majority of the states must also vote yes, but the poll showed that was also easily covered.

All of the four biggest states had comfortable majorities with Victoria on 71 per cent, Queensland 66 per cent, WA 63 per cent and NSW 62 per cent.

Support was highest at 85 per cent for Australians aged 18-29 but those over 50 were still above 50 per cent yes.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has indicated the Voice referendum question is likely to be: 'Do you support an alteration to the Constitution that establishes an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice?'

Three lines would be added to the Constitution to create the advisory body; one stating it may 'make representations to parliament' on issues concerning Indigenous Australians; and that Parliament may legislate how it works.

To succeed a referendum must both get an overall majority of votes and a majority of voters in the majority of states.

Polls conducted in July indicated Australians strongly support the Voice to parliament with 65 per cent of respondents saying they would vote yes.




Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Record Deaths in Australia from COVID-19 Despite 96.4% of 16+ Fully Vaxxed

Despite the fact that the population of Australia is nearly universally vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2, TrialSite has reported that record numbers of deaths accumulated at the beginning of 2022. This is despite the universal protection of the vaccine. Yet breakthrough infections led to growing numbers of deaths in the most at-risk cohorts such as the elderly.

Now, mainstream media starts to acknowledge the trend. Recently, the Sydney Morning Herald reports in “COVID complications Push Australian deaths to highest number in 40 years,” that based on an analysis of the Australian Bureau of Statistics population data that total deaths nationwide are 18% higher in the quarter when compared to the prior year, rising from 36,100 to 46,200 deaths.

Labeled as “COVID-19’s hidden impact,” more people have died in Australia in the March quarter than any time in the last 41 years. Half the deaths in this period were from COVID despite an overwhelming vaccination rate.

Australia is one of the most vaccinated populations in the world against COVID-19 yet as TrialSite reported earlier this year has experienced unprecedented pandemic related deaths. Does this trend evidence a failure of the COVID-19 vaccines?


Pauline calls out Muslim whiner

Pauline Hanson has been labelled a 'scumbag' in the Senate for refusing to withdraw a tweet telling Greens senator Mehreen Faruqi to 'p*** off back to Pakistan'.

Ms Hanson doubled down on her attack on Tuesday, offering to take Ms Faruqi 'to the airport' after she tweeted saying she could not mourn the Queen's death.

The One Nation leader's offer shocked politicians with Greens senator Jordon Steele-John shouting 'you scumbag' across the chamber.

Ms Faruqi moved a motion to censure Ms Hanson, saying 'I have the right to talk about this issue (the Queen and the empire) without being racially vilified'.

Ms Faruqi had originally moved that the Senate (a) condemns all racism and discrimination against migrants and people of colour;

(b) assures all migrants to Australia that they are valued, welcome members of our society;

(c) affirms that, if Parliament is to be a safe place for all who work and visit here, there can be no tolerance for racism or discrimination in the course of parliamentarians’ public debate;

and (d) censures Senator Hanson for her divisive, anti migrant and racist statement telling Senator Faruqi to 'piss off back to Pakistan', which does not reflect the opinions of the Australian Senate or the Australian people.

Labor later amended the motion, changing the first and last parts to condemn all racism and discrimination 'in all its forms'.

The government also removed the censure of Ms Hanson in particular to broaden it to 'calls on all senators to engage in debates and commentary respectfully, and to refrain from inflammatory and divisive comments, both inside and outside the chamber at all times'.

During a heated debate on Tuesday, Ms Hanson would not retract her comment, which followed a tweet from Ms Faruqi calling the Queen 'a leader of a racist empire' on the day of her death.

'Condolences to those who knew the Queen. I cannot mourn the leader of a racist empire built on stolen lives, land and wealth of colonised peoples,' Ms Faruqi posted.

'We are reminded of the urgency of Treaty with First Nations, justice & reparations for British colonies & becoming a republic.'

Speaking in the Senate, Ms Hanson said: 'As I have explained myself, I will not, NOT retract what I've told Senator Faruqi or any other Australian that's come here for a new way of life, to disrespect what is Australian to me.

She then referenced her previous comment telling Ms Faruqi to go back to Pakistan if she did not support the Queen. 'And she can do and go where I've said,' she added on Tuesday. 'I make the offer, also, to take her to the airport'.

Mr Steele-John then roared 'you scumbag' at Ms Hanson.

Ms Faruqi had previously slammed the British empire for 'enslaving millions of black and brown people around the world'.

Ms Hanson, who once moved a motion in the Senate that it was 'OK to be white', fired back at the Greens politician by suggesting she get out of Australia and that she had taken advantage of everything the country had given her.

'Your attitude appalls and disgusts me. When you immigrated to Australia you took every advantage of this country,' Ms Hanson said.

'You took citizenship, bought multiple homes, and a job in a parliament. It's clear you're not happy, so pack your bags and p*** off back to Pakistan.'


A habitual criminal to be farewelled at Victorian state funeral

Marvellous the difference that skin colour makes

The Boon Wurrung, Dja Dja Wurrung, Woiwurrung and Taungurung man died at the age of 79 earlier this month.

The state funeral will take place at the prestigious Hamer Hall on October 18 and will be streamed into the state's prisons, where Uncle Jack volunteered to support inmates.

A member of the Stolen Generations, Uncle Jack was taken from his family by the state when he was just four months old.

His early years were marked by abusive institutions and disconnect from his Aboriginal identity.

The trauma of his upbringing left a long-lasting mark and Uncle Jack battled drug addiction, homelessness and imprisonment at various stages of his life.

But he forged a path back to his family and culture and became an advocate for truth-telling, using his life experiences to educate Australians.

After his death, Ian Hamm, the chair of the Healing Foundation Stolen Generations Reference Group, said Uncle Jack "dedicated his life to healing our nations".

'No Victorian quite like Uncle Jack Charles'
Now known as the "father of black theatre", Uncle Jack co-founded Nindethana, Australia's first Aboriginal-run theatre group in 1971.

His acting career spanned decades, with his star soaring when he was the subject of the award-winning 2008 documentary Bastardy.

As Australians mourn the loss of an acting legend, those close to the 79-year-old Aboriginal actor say his legacy of love, warmth and truth-telling will endure.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said Uncle Jack's family had accepted the offer of a state funeral. "There is no actor, no activist, no survivor and no Victorian quite like Uncle Jack Charles," Mr Andrews said.


Tyrannical pseudo-science

As if we haven’t had enough of politicians in our faces in the Peoples Republic of Victoria in the last two and a half years, we now have Dr Monique Ryan in the Federal Parliament courtesy of the Woke and bespoke voters of Kooyong. Dr Ryan is a neurologist and says she is a woman of science; therefore (presumably) she cannot be questioned on her views on Climate Change, after all, she is a scientist and the science is settled

I live outside Melbourne on the edge of the western plains in a tiny town called Toolern Vale, where there are more horses and rabbits than humans. We are 70km from Ballarat and the westerly wind in winter blowing from Ballarat is infinitely colder than any mother-in-law’s kiss. We are very much aware of, and exposed to, climate change, but out here we call it the weather.

I have had a gutful of being hammered with the new climate religion which appears to have little basis in science. Its adherents are a group of virtue-signalling, privileged elites who, in their delirium and zealotry, use selective climate data and extreme language to spread the word via propaganda and are brainwashing our young, infecting our Parliament, and slowly destroying our prosperity.

At present I am paying at least four times the amount I should for electricity despite having a bank of solar panels. In the near future, I can look forward to a completely random electricity supply which will interrupt my ability to earn an income and put me in third-world living conditions. My taxes are propping up the renewables market thereby deliberately sabotaging the supply of essential fossil fuels.

Chris Bowen is hell-bent on forcing me to sell my V8 ute, replacing it with a not-fit-for-purpose EV and, to top it off, wind turbine transmission lines are coming through my neighbour’s property. I hear our Prime Minister thinks the changing climate is a threat to the ‘survival of our way of life’; well Prime Minister, it is not the weather that threatens my way of life, it is your bizarre, delusional, religion-based reaction to it.

News from the UK and Europe informs us that their citizens are soon to enter the winter from hell – not because of the weather per se, but because of a shortage of baseload power and the available power they do have is astronomically expensive. Many people will be unable to afford both food and heating and people will die. Already governments are telling their citizens how they can use the available power.

Is Dr Ryan aware of this situation? If so, does she think the science differs in the southern hemisphere, or that we live in a parallel universe?

Not being a woman of science, I will put it in layman’s terms. Let’s say you walk into a pub and sit down at the bar; the bloke next to you orders a drink, he takes a swig of it and falls to the floor – dead. Would you turn to the barmaid and say I’ll have what he’s having, but make it a double? That is what Dr Ryan wants you to do; despite having already seen the first season of the blockbuster series European Dream – No Electricity, No Industry, No Future, she appears to want us to follow the UK and Europe over the edge of a cliff.

Make no mistake, this is not about saving anything – this is about an entire class of privileged zealots in wealthy seats forcing their religious beliefs onto us. If you question them and ask for a reliable energy source, you’ll be cast out and called a heretic. If you object to following UK/Europe into third-world chaos and misery you’ll be told the science is settled.

In the spirit of science Dr Ryan, I propose an experiment.

The electorate of Kooyong goes off the grid. Wind turbine transmission lines will be run along the Yarra River in Kew and Hawthorn. Solar farms will be built in the parks and golf courses of Balwyn, Canterbury, Deepdene, Hawthorn, Mont Albert, Camberwell, Glen Iris, Kew, and Surrey Hills. The electorate is to function solely on wind and solar-generated power. Limited battery storage will be permitted – baseline domestic batteries, the type the government would install in public housing. In my electorate of Hawk – I volunteer to go off the grid, no renewables, no batteries and I will have a small modular reactor installed in my back paddock.

It’s about time Dr Ryan and the rest of these self-righteous, puffed-up toffs made a real sacrifice on the altar of Climate Change. Money means nothing to the virtue-signalling green electorates, so they should feel some Climate Change piousness by turning their green spaces into wastelands of solar panels and transmission lines; they should live with the result of relying on 100 percent renewables.

Dr Ryan, charity starts at home, lead by example; get out of my face and out of my environment.




Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Did the Reserve Bank's money printing cause inflation? The bank says it's complicated

This is a sophisticated article so it is good to see it in the public prints. It omits mention of two important facts.

1). The banks initially got the new money. So what did they do with it? No mystery. They almost gave it away as low interest housing loans -- which rocketed up real estate prices, including rents. So that was a HUGE blow to the cost of living.

2.) Due to the lockdowns, there was a HUGE loss of available goods and services. There were far fewer goods and services for ANY money to buy. There was a big new mismatch between demand and supply. So what was available came at an increased price. So that too greatly increased the cost of living.

So between those two things, The increased money supply WAS largely responsible for inflation. It was not the only factor. Bad weather and Mr Putin also played a part in their own way

Do you remember how the Reserve Bank printed a huge amount of money in the pandemic? Have you been wondering if it's responsible for the inflation we're seeing?

The RBA says it's a complicated question to answer, and it's trying to encourage people to think more deeply about money itself. Here's what that means.

The bond-buying program

In late 2020, the RBA began buying hundreds of billions of dollars worth of government bonds.

It was an emergency stimulus measure. The program ran from November 2020 to February 2022, and saw the RBA buy $281 billion of federal, state and territory government bonds.

Last week, the RBA published a review of the program which found it broadly helped to support economic activity during the crisis.

However, there were a few passages near the bottom of the review that were very interesting.

They had to do with money printing.

RBA official says outlook for global economy is worrying
RBA deputy governor Michelle Bullock warns of risks in the global economy, but says the RBA's ability to create money helped Australia's economy through the pandemic

A Caucasian woman with brown hair, wearing glasses and a blazer.
Read more
See, the RBA's bond buying was an exercise of "money printing" because the bank was creating money to buy the bonds.

To be more precise, it was waiting for Treasury to sell the government bonds to authorised investors (ie institutional banks), then it would buy the bonds from those banks.

And when it bought the bonds, it would pay for them by simply electronically crediting the accounts that those banks had at the RBA.

For example, let's say the RBA bought $100 million worth of bonds from a particular bank.

It would say to that bank, 'Here you go, we've gone to the computer and added an extra $100 million to your exchange settlement account. Thanks for the bonds."

The RBA's act of money printing clearly increased the supply of money in Australia. But the RBA says it didn't have a significant impact on the overall supply of money. What does that mean?

Well, think of what qualifies as money.

Money comes in many different forms. It comes in the form of currency (notes and coins), and savings deposits, and term deposits, and a bunch of others.

Consider what happens when you withdraw currency from an ATM: the value of your currency holdings increases, and the value of your deposit holdings decreases, but the stock of "broad money" in the economy doesn't change.

So, when we talk about an increase in the supply of money, we need to be clear about what type of money is increasing, and how that's impacting the overall supply.

And we also need to know if the extra supply of money is actually being spent, or if it's being stashed in savings accounts or under peoples' beds where it won't be adding to inflation.

It won't add to inflation if it's not being used to buy anything. Which brings us back to the RBA's bond buying.

The Quantity Theory of Money

In the RBA's review of its bond purchase program (BPP), it's defended itself against accusations that its "money printing" is largely responsible for the inflation we're experiencing now.

It says some people have been drawing on a theory popularised by Milton Friedman that links inflation to the rate of growth of the money supply.

According to that theory, if you assume money circulates in the economy at a constant rate (ie a constant "velocity"), then a large increase in the money supply, owing to the bond-purchase program, would lead to a sharp increase in inflation.

But the RBA says the world's not that simple. Why? Because the "velocity" of money isn't stable, for one. It's been falling for decades in Australia, and it crashed in the pandemic when people couldn't leave their homes and there were fewer opportunities for money to circulate in the economy. That's why the RBA began buying bonds in the first place, to push more money into the system.

Now, you get the velocity of money by dividing nominal GDP by broad money.

Broad money, as the name implies, is the broadest measure of money that includes every type of money in the economy (I've produced a table below that shows the different types of money).

Eagle-eyed readers may notice that, according to the graph above, the velocity of money has actually picked up a little recently.

That suggests broad money has started circulating through the economy at a faster pace, after lockdowns ended.

Wouldn't it follow from that, with so much extra money in the economy and with people starting to spend that money more quickly, inflation would obviously be picking up?

Well, again, the RBA says it's not that simple. It says its bond purchase program only significantly increased a particular kind of money, and we need to understand how that type of money can be spent.

"While inflation has increased following the bond-purchase program, it is not clear that this can be explained by the Quantity Theory," the RBA review says.

"Different components of the money supply can move independently over time. "While the bond purchase program led to a sharp increase in exchange settlement (ES) balances and thus 'base' money, the increase in the broader money supply, which is relevant for nominal expenditure in the economy, was not as large," it says.

So, what exactly is "base" money?

The RBA makes a distinction between different kinds of money depending on how accessible the money is.

If you're able to get your hands on the money quickly to spend it, it's considered "liquid."

For example, the cash in your pocket is extremely liquid, but the money in your term deposit isn't as liquid because it can take time for you to gain access to it.

That's why central banks categorise money into different "monetary aggregates" to reveal what type of money is in an economy, and who has access to it.

That's the category of money that experienced a sharp increase in supply from the RBA's bond-buying program.

When the RBA bought the government bonds from banks in the secondary market, it credited the banks' ES accounts which are held at the RBA, and those balances, which are a form of money, fall into the category called "money base."

As you can see from the table above, the value of the entire supply of "money base" money was $550 billion in July.

In February 2020, it was worth $116.2 billion. So, the supply of that specific category of money has increased by $433.8 billion since the pandemic began. Meanwhile, the supply of broad money - which captures all money in the economy - has increased by $624.3 billion.

That means the increase in base money accounted for 70 per cent of the increase in the economy's entire money supply during the pandemic.

And crucially, that "base" money wasn't put into the deposit accounts of individuals who could freely spend it. It was initially put into the ES balances that large financial institutions held with the Reserve Bank.

It was up to those institutions how they spent it. They could try to lend it to other people, or they could try to invest it in other assets, or they could use it to buy their own bonds, or whatever.

And it's not like they can collectively rush out and spend it all at once, keeping other things equal, because they still have to satisfy their liquidity requirements with the regulator.

In other words, the financial system is complicated. According to the RBA, it's wrong to simply assume that its money printing was a big driver of this inflation.


Our nation’s real crisis is our rental stress

It’s a reasonable question to pose: should we have had a summit on the rental crisis rather than a summit on jobs and training? After all, we are very close to full employment and most of the suggestions from that talkfest had already been decided or were unhelpful – multi-employer bargaining being an obvious example.

Let’s face it, hardly a day passes when there isn’t a story about a stressed family or individual unable to find affordable rental accommodation. Reliable tenants are turfed out of their rented house; renters make several applications, only to be knocked back each time; rents are increasing at alarming rates and gobbling up higher proportions of net incomes.

Given that affordable and safe shelter is one of our most basic needs, the rental crisis is an issue that should concern all levels of government. Let’s not forget here that around one-third of the population are renters and even though the proportion of the population who are homeowners appears to have levelled out in recent years, the absolute number of renters has risen quite sharply. When it comes to dealing with the rental crisis there is a great deal of woolly thinking, and initiatives are put forward (and sometimes implemented) that make matters worse.

There really is only one word you need to focus on when it comes to the policy challenge of ensuring adequate rental accommodation: supply.

Before we get to the core solutions, it’s worth painting a picture of rental accommodation in Australia. There are actually some differences across the states and territories; there are also some differences from other countries.

The vast majority of rental accommodation is provided by the private sector, with public housing accounting for a small proportion (around 4 to 5 per cent). There is relatively more public housing in South Australia and the ACT. Until recently, public housing has been declining proportionately as old stock is demolished and new building programs have been slow to get going.

The type of rental accommodation varies from stand-alone houses to apartments. There is some boarding house accommodation, but a lot of this is substandard. The proliferation of high-rise apartment buildings in several cities has led to higher proportions of renters living in apartments than was once the case.

In terms of who owns these rental properties, it’s very much a mum-and-dad affair in Australia, with 70 per cent of owners of rental housing owning just one investment property. Less than 2 per cent of investors have five or more properties. (Several parliamentarians own multiple investment properties.)

There is very little corporate ownership of long-term rental accommodation in Australia, which contrasts with several other countries. While there is a lot of discussion about a build-to-rent model, there are numerous impediments to the involvement of property trusts and superannuation funds, particularly related to tax. The fact is that the returns on investment in residential rental accommodation have been too low to attract large-scale investment.

In the meantime, there is a stereotype of the avaricious owner with multiple properties making huge claims against the taxpayer via negative gearing. This is highly misleading. In point of fact, the fiscal costs of negative gearing have fallen significantly – at least until recently – in line with falling interest rates.

According to the latest figures (2019-20), the cost of negative gearing to the budget was only $166.5m compared with more than $9bn in 2007-08.

Indeed, one of the factors explaining the rental crisis is the relative absence of investors in the residential real estate market.

Following on from the direction of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority in 2016, loans to investors were rationed and by 2020 investors were selling more homes than they were buying. In addition, some owners of rental properties were switching from long-term rental arrangements to Airbnb. It’s not clear that the overall impact of the switch has affected long-term rental supply or prices significantly, but in particular markets it clearly has had an impact.

Some state governments also have decided to introduce legislative measures intended to give tenants a better deal on ending of leases, permission for pets and other measures. For the owners of properties, these laws have made their investments less attractive and potentially discourage new investment. Changes to land tax also have eroded the value of investment properties, with the recent proposed Queensland law (to include interstate properties in the determination of the rate to be levied) potentially driving down the returns for investors.

Unsurprisingly, governments have shown concern for the predicament facing so many renters.

One common response has been to support first-home buyers to enable renters to escape the rental treadmill. Examples include first-home buyer grants, exemptions of discounts on stamp duty and access to concessionary finance. Almost all of these increase the price of housing by acting on the demand side. There is also an incorrect assumption that most renters in distress are just one step away from home ownership. The reality is many renters are not close to home ownership nor is it on their radar.

Two new terms have entered the discussion: social housing and affordable homes. Social housing is just another term for public housing – in part to gloss over the many problems known to be associated with public housing.

All state governments have ambitious plans to fund the building of additional social housing but, given the waiting lists, the new accommodation will be filled quickly. With the low turnover of existing tenants, there will be a need for more supply.

Affordable housing refers to below-market rental accommodation for frontline workers close to places of work. Judged by the shambles of a previous attempt to establish such housing under Labor’s National Rental Affordability Scheme, it should not be assumed new initiatives will succeed.

Notwithstanding, the federal government is proposing to a $10bn Housing Australia Future Fund to build 30,000 new social and affordable housing properties across five years. This is a drop in the ocean and encroaches into a space that is the role of states.

The only real solution to the rental crisis is more rental properties. This solution is even more important given the federal government’s determination to drive up the number of migrant arrivals. Getting the corporate/superannuation sector involved would be helpful, but this is unlikely to deliver short-term gains given the impediments that need to be removed.

State governments should realise that putting their feet on the accelerator and the brake at the same time doesn’t work – they need to make it unambiguously more attractive for private investment in the rental market to relieve the extreme pressures we see and the hardship for families and individuals this entails


Qld fishing being hijacked by Green extremist thinking

The fishing industry in Queensland has been hijacked by greenies and it’s sending professional anglers out of business.

The latest Palaszczuk Government decision has been masqueraded as some sort of “save the fish’’ campaign, suggesting unless fishing bans on Spanish mackerel stocks were made they wouldn’t survive.

Rubbish. Spanish mackerel stocks have been replenished spectacularly in recent years.

It’s a stitch up by a fisheries department that has been infiltrated by conservationists who’d rather eat salad than fish.

This move by Fisheries Minister Mark Furner is just another example of a government caving into the Green movement, which it is tied to at the hip.

Charter boat operator and Cairns Professional Game Fishing Association spokesman Dan McCarthy is furious but not surprised. “Minister Furner and the QLD Labor government seem to always back green extremist ideology over hardworking Queenslanders,’’ he said. “More small businesses are now looking at their life’s work and their futures being trashed to please urban greenies.

Mr Furner’s anti-fishing program has reduced recreational catch to close to zero at one fish per person or two per boat.

Mr McCarthy says it’s the dodgiest science he’s seen. “These include warnings from scientific experts who specialise in Spanish mackerel and fisheries management who have been very critical of the process,’’ he said.

“They’ve used a baseline biomass from 1911. You can’t make this stuff up.’


Telstra consumer and small business calls are being answered in Australia

What a relief! Dealing with foreign accents over the phone can be difficult

Over the past months, we’ve hired around 2000 new team members across the country so we can answer consumer and small business calls in Australia. It’s another of many changes we’ve made to create a better customer experience.

Our team are your neighbours. They’re located in cities and towns across Australia, including regional hubs like Maryborough, Bunbury and Bathurst. Thanks to hybrid working, this means the person helping you could be in your state, suburb, town or – who knows – even your street. On any given day, nine out of 10 of our consumer and small business service team choose to work at home.

Answering your calls locally

We regularly ask you what you want to see from us. What we heard loud and clear was that you wanted a change in the way we answered our calls, so we did it. It’s a change that also deepens our local expertise.

For quick questions – like checking your bill summary, managing your services or even troubleshooting connection issues – we have the My Telstra app. But for more complex problems or a bit of extra help, you told us you want to speak to someone who gets you. Someone who understands your service history, and knows what you’re going through.

During the Queensland floods earlier this year, we had customers in Brisbane speaking to local team members who understood first-hand the challenges they were facing. Being there – locals helping locals – this motivates our team every day.




Monday, September 26, 2022

Former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard reflects on her blistering 'misogyny speech' 10 years on

Amusing. Omitted below is that the views she criticized were widely held among Australian men. So her popularity among male voters dropped to only 10%, fatal for the next election. So her own party then booted her out of the PM job

The former Australian Prime Minister - the first and only woman to hold the role - famously delivered a blistering speech on sexism in Australian politics during a session in parliament in October 2012.

The comments sparked a debate that reverberated around the world.

A decade later, the 60-year-old says that she did not realise at the time how significant her words would be.

'Giving the speech, I didn't have any sense of the impact it would have' Gillard tells this week's issue of Stellar Magazine.

'If you'd asked me 30 seconds after I sat down, "How is the press gallery going to report this? How is it going to reverberate?" I would have said, "I don't see that this is going to reverberate in the world." So I didn't have that sense about it.'

Within minutes, Gillard realised the true impact of her rousing words. 'Even by the time I'd walked back to my office from the chamber – which is only a two- or three-minute walk – there were starting to be calls and a reaction beyond Canberra' she tells the publication. 'So I got an early inkling from that, that it was going to have some sort of emotional resonance beyond the confines of Parliament House.'

Gillard believes her speech resonated with women around the world who shared her experiences.

'I think its power has been that there are millions of women – and I feel like I've met millions of them – who have lived through sexist experiences, misogynistic experiences' she said.

Julia served as prime minister from 2010 to 2013. In 2012, she was praised for her strong stance on sexism in government during a heated debate on the parliamentary speaker's text scandal.

Gillard spent 15 minutes attacking leader of the opposition Tony Abbott before the Australian House of Representatives during a debate over a motion to sack the Speaker of the House, Peter Slipper after a series of text messages he sent to his male assistant referring to women in a derogatory way were made public.

She accused Abbott of sexism, addressing the former Liberal prime minister throughout her speech.

Among her comments she said: 'I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man. I will nota nd the government will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man. Not now, not ever.

'If he wants to know what misogyny looks like in modern Australia, he doesn't need a motion in the House of Representatives. He needs a mirror.'

Gillard was widely praised for her speech, with New Yorker Magazine even suggesting at the time that then-American President Barack Obama could learn a thing or two from Gillard in politics following the heated debate.


Climate models ‘a global bank risk’

Bank regulators could cause “major systemic risk to the global financial system” if they continue to use climate models with little understanding of the uncertainty inherent in model projections, some of Australia’s most senior climate scientists have said.

The warning, published in the August issue of the journal Environmental Research, comes as ­efforts to assess risks to the financial system associated with climate change are growing.

Lead author Andy Pitman, ­director of the ARC Centre of ­Excellence for Climate System Science, told The Weekend Australian: “Climate models are very valuable tools for many applications but they are not something I want used to decide investment strategies for my superannuation.”

The central issue is the difference between weather and climate and the inability of models to predict weather events at city scale.

Professor Pitman said attempts to use dynamical downscaling to get far higher resolution data was “excellent science but not science designed for the financial sector”.

Climate risk is a growing concern for financial market regulators and central banks.

In 2017 a group of central banks and financial supervisors formed the Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS), to work out how to future-proof the global financial system from climate change.

The network hypothetical scenarios provide a common reference point for understanding how climate change (physical risk) and climate policy and technology trends (transition risk) could evolve in different futures.

The network’s climate-risk methods are rapidly emerging as the de facto standard.

The Reserve Bank has said it will use network-derived climate scenarios in its internal analysis of climate-related risks.

According to the Environmental Research paper, the network’s efforts commonly combine the use of integrated ­assessment models to obtain changes in global mean temperature and then use coupled climate models to map those changes on to finer spatial scales.

But the UNSW scientists, warn that deep uncertainty exists in climate projections, at local scales, that cannot be ignored.

The paper said “if all central banks use a methodology that is systematically biased, this could itself lead to major systemic risk to the global financial system”.

The main problem is that climate models are not designed to predict the weather.

“While it is understood that ‘weather’ (the day-to-day variability) and ‘climate’ (the average of the day-to-day variability over several decades) are not interchangeable, and despite acute risks being weather-related, ‘weather and climate’ tend to be combined when discussing material risks to the financial sector,” the paper said.

“Unfortunately, physical climate models do not represent weather-scale dynamical responses or how weather changes the interactions between the thermodynamic and dynamical responses to global warming ­reliably. This is linked, in part, to the spatial resolution used by the models (approximately 100 × 100km pixels) which are too coarse to capture weather-scale processes.

“Broadly, this introduces a ­serious limitation in determining future climate risk for the financial sector.

“Material extremes will almost always be weather-scale phenomena which are least skilfully simulated by existing global climate models.”

The paper said the current NGFS scenarios do not represent the range of plausible climate outcomes at a country level and most banks, insurers and investors are using these scenarios without fully accounting for uncertainty.


Grid renewal generates billion-dollar shock as costs of energy transition become clear

Australian consumers have been told to brace for big hikes in their power bills after a watchdog revealed the true costs of overhauling the grid to deal with the renewable energy transition.

In a decision heralded as a landmark, Western Australia's economic regulator this month said the state's major electricity network provider should be allowed to spend $9 billion over the next five years – $1 billion more than it requested.

Network— or poles and wires — costs typically account for up to half the average electricity bill, with the rest made up of costs associated with generation, retailing and environmental policies.

Economic Regulation Authority chairman Steve Edwell said the draft decision reflected the urgent need for upgrades to Western Power's network to ensure it could handle the surge of renewable energy flooding onto the system.

But Mr Edwell, who was also the inaugural chairman of the Australian Energy Regulator, said it was also a sign of what was to come around the country, where poles-and-wires companies face a race against time and a huge increase in costs to make sure they can keep up with the energy transition.

"The period between now and 2027 is pivotal," Mr Edwell said. "We've got to get it right and we've got to make sure the grid is in as good a shape as it can be to enable this transformation to continue at pace. "That's the broad context and it's a context which is repeatable across the nation.

"With a whole bunch of new technologies coming in and the generation mix fundamentally changing rapidly, we're in a different paradigm."

Throughout Australia, poles-and-wires companies that transport electricity between generators and consumers are required to have their spending plans vetted by regulators.

This is because network providers are considered what are known as natural monopolies, which would otherwise not face competitive pressures in their spending and pricing decisions.

Biggest shifts at the small scale

Under its draft determination, the ERA said Western Power's five-year spending plans to 2027 would be allowed to rise significantly compared with the past five years.

The watchdog noted that while much of the increase accounted for the effects of higher inflation and interest rates, there also needed to be a "material bump" in spending on new pieces of kit.

Chief among them were renewable technologies such as medium and large-scale batteries to help "firm" the network as the amount of wind and solar on the grid increased.

But Mr Edwell said there was also an allowance for smart meters, which gave those responsible for keeping the lights on much greater visibility over things such as rooftop solar output.

On top of this, Western Power would be allowed to spend more putting power lines underground to reduce the risks from storms, floods or bushfires, while the utility would be able to fast-track the rollout of so-called standalone power systems in regional and remote areas.

Crucially, Mr Edwell said there would also be room for a big bump in spending on cyber security – an area identified as a key risk as things such as smart meters made the grid more vulnerable to attack.

Widespread adoption of rooftop solar panels and smart appliances are increasing the risk of crippling cyber attacks on Australia's electricity grid, say experts.

As a result, he said capital expenditure by Western Power would rise from $2.9 billion between 2017 and 2022 to $3.7 billion over the next five years.

"What's happened is the distribution system, the small poles and wires, hasn't had a lot of visibility before," he said.

"In some respects it's been the quiet part of the network – all the action is happening upstream in the transmission area.

"What's happening now with so much solar PV and two-way energy flows and then battery storage ... is that distribution network owners have got to have a lot more visibility over what's happening in that part of the network."


Cashless debit card users voice anger, apprehension about its looming end

It's what kept the women and children fed in many Aboriginal communities

As Labor moves to axe the cashless card, there is apprehension in northern Australia about life after the controversial form of compulsory income management.

The scheme quarantines 80 per cent of people's welfare pay onto the card which can't be used for alcohol, gambling or cash withdrawals.

More than 17,000 people in Western Australia, Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory use the card – and once it's gone, Labor says income management will be made voluntary in all of those sites, except the NT and parts of Far North Queensland.

In those areas, a "new enhanced" income management card will be rolled out next year.

Mixed feelings on card's demise

In Kununurra, views of those on the cashless debit card are
nuanced and varied.

Some are glad to see it go, while others fear its removal could cause mayhem in an area that has long grappled with domestic violence and social dysfunction.

For Mr Green, he said he eventually appreciated the card, as it helped make sure he always had rent money, and enough funds to see his kids through school.

"To me it was a lifesaver ... it controls my spending," he said.

Labor went to the recent election pledging the card's end, citing reports it stigmatised people and failed in its bid to break the welfare cycle and reduce social woes.

Legislation is before the Senate which, if it passes with amendments this week, will mean people can transition off the card from October.

Miriwoong woman Majella Roberts said the card helped her save money for her six children. "On pay day you save it for a couple of days ... without people asking for it," she said. "Use it in the shops, clothing shops, even for cabs as well."

Now, however, she is happy it is being scrapped, because she is sick of struggling to find cash when she needs it. "Some shops, like the garage, they don't use those cards. You have to have cash," she said.

About 30 kilometres away in Cockatoo Springs community, elder Ben Ward said the card should go, and agreed with the move towards a voluntary system.

"It's not giving us our freedom and self-determination," the senior Miriwoong man said. "If we don't have the choice then why the hell are we here?"

Under Labor's new voluntary system, the government said those who choose to be on income management will have 50 per cent of their income quarantined, as opposed to 80.




Sunday, September 25, 2022

Why would anyone bother being a landlord these days?

Like most businesses, being a landlord can have both big rewards and big losses. One unscrupulous tenant can send a small landlord broke.

A crucial factor is government. Only a government could implement policies that harm both landlords and tenants. Yet they often do just that.

Part of the reason why is seen in an old saying among economists: "All the worlld loves a farmer and hates a landlord". It's pretty true. Governments subsidise farmers and harass landlords. Yet both food and housing are essentials

“We are now asking Queenslanders out there – business, organisations, church groups – if you have any properties or land that can help us, we will work with you.”

That was Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk last week, quoted in this newspaper, delivering a laugh-out-loud moment to those familiar with the issue.

Words are cheap, action counts, and when it comes to action Queensland is doing the exact opposite of working with people who own property or land to help them provide rental accommodation. The state has just changed its laws so as to effectively levy tax on land owned in other states.

The move has shocked and angered the property and investment sector, and is predicted to cause more landlords to sell out of the Queensland private rental market, and make the current rental shortage worse.

However, Queensland isn’t the only state in the grip of a rental shortage and it isn’t the only jurisdiction that has driven private investors out of the housing market.

Propertyology research data says more than two million individual investors fund 27 per cent of our current housing stock, and more than 70 per cent of them have a taxable income under $100,000. Ninety per cent of these investors own one or two investment properties, and only 0.9 per cent own more than six.

Yet in recent years various levels of government, local councils, banks and insurers have acted on the assumption that these small-time investors can tolerate being slugged with ever higher levels of interest, rates, fees and taxes, and being asked to meet ever higher levels of compliance and obligation. There also has been the assumption that these investors will always continue to carry the cost, the risk and the hassle of the provision of accommodation for others while being on the receiving end of community hostility due to being portrayed as taking houses off first-time home buyers and otherwise being greedy, immoral and terrible to tenants.

In February last year, the Australian Landlords Association produced a paper, Safe as Houses, on the topic that forecast the rental shortage across our nation. Our national vacancy rate is less than 1 per cent, the lowest level on record, and rent, nationally, has risen almost 14 per cent in the past year.

“Being a landlord is becoming increasingly less attractive,” the ALA said back then. “With less landlords, there are fewer rental properties, increasing competition between tenants, resulting in increased rent and in some case homelessness.”

Whether dwellings are for rent or sale, there simply are not enough of them to meet our needs.

The Grattan Institute points out that heading into the Covid-19 pandemic, Australia had just over 400 dwellings per 1000 people, which was among the least housing stock per adult in the developed world. We also had experienced the second greatest decline in housing stock relative to the adult population across the 20 years leading into the pandemic.

During the pandemic, many people felt the need for more space. The Reserve Bank estimates this created demand for an extra 140,000 homes, offsetting the temporary fall in population growth.

In a recent address called The Great Australian Nightmare, researchers from the Grattan Institute put forward several solutions to the rental crisis. One idea is that industry super funds such as Cbus and AustralianSuper should buy swathes of houses and rent them out at market rates, to step in and fill the gaps left by the individual investors who have abandoned the market.

According to the Grattan Institute, ordinary investors often make “terrible landlords” anyway. As they have mostly small holdings, they apparently prefer shorter leases and relaxed tenancy laws and often are reluctant to make simple repairs.

However, if an industry super fund were the landlord, the theory is they would have “a brand to protect”. They also could use “economies of scale across thousands of properties to offer a higher-quality service directly – think professional tradies on call 24 hours a day – rather than sit behind traditional property managers”.

The only problem with all this is the current regime of land taxes, which “simply make it uneconomic for large investors to own residential property rented at market rates”. These land taxes need to be reduced dramatically so the super funds can viably invest. However, taxes on ordinary landlords should be increased by abolishing negative gearing.

I approached Cbus and AustralianSuper for comment. Are they interested in dipping into their cash reserves to buy thousands of houses to rent? Neither fund would expressly rule it out, although both funds emphasised that their role was to create a return for their members.

I do not agree with the theory that institutional landlords are generally better than individual ones. Australia has a high cost base and buying a house is difficult. There are no longer enough rental properties to go around because there are no longer enough people willing to be landlords. It has been made all too hard for too long.

Yet the governments that punish landlords will not step up themselves and provide enough rental accommodation to meet our needs. As a society, we do need private individuals to take the risk, make the effort, buy a house and rent it out. Before too long, and after enough pain has been felt, governments will have to make being a landlord attractive again.


Australia’s disastrous ‘Zero Covid’ experiment

What if I told you that lockdowns and zero-Covid mania did far more harm than good to human life?

Unlike sharp lockdowns in Europe and the Americas, Australia’s early lockdown in March 2020 did reduce Covid cases to zero for a time. Flush with this success, Australia imposed sharp travel restrictions on Covid-ravaged countries around the world. Australian ex-pat citizens were barred from coming home, even if their visit was to care for elderly parents suffering from isolation.

Despite this extraordinary policy, Covid kept coming back to Australia. Over and over again, entire regions were locked down whenever a few cases were found. Through October of 2021, Melbourne’s residents had suffered through nearly 270 days of lockdown – the most in the world.

Schools closed and children suffered. Vital medical treatments were delayed or cancelled, including for cancer patients. The initial purpose of the lockdowns was to protect the Australian healthcare system, but even in 2021, when there was almost no Covid circulating, queues for care lengthened. Depression and anxiety levels skyrocketed, especially among young people. Thousands of small businesses shut down forever.

Australia’s initial zero-Covid ‘success’ created a trap. Official public health exaggerated the risk of death from Covid. This, despite the fact that studies found that Covid infection primarily poses a high 5 per cent+ mortality risk for unvaccinated elderly people. For the young, survival rates exceeded 99.9 per cent. For young and old Australians alike, the lockdowns imposed far more harm than Covid.

Public support for lockdown stayed high in Australia on the heels of public health propaganda that Covid infection posed a high risk of death for all, regardless of age or underlying health condition. And the government obliged, implicitly promising a zero-Covid future that it knew it would never be able to deliver.

The advent of a vaccine in December 2020 should have provided a way out of the zero-Covid trap. At great cost, the lockdown policy had ‘worked’, but there was no endpoint to it that did not involve isolation from the international community forever.

Perhaps complacent because of its zero-Covid ‘success’, the government delayed securing contracts with vaccine manufacturers. Since lockdown was popular, It did not feel the urgency to vaccinate that the rest of the world felt. At the beginning of August 2021, only 16 per cent of Australians were fully vaccinated.

And the public health officials used the vaccination campaign to chase an impossible goal – herd immunity through universal vaccination. Covid spread in many countries with high levels of vaccination, infecting vaccinated and unvaccinated people alike. The vaccine, effective in reducing mortality risk from Covid infection for the elderly, is ineffective at stopping disease spread. Nevertheless, government and public health officials demonised the unvaccinated, often rendering them second-class citizens.

When the Omicron wave arrived, the inevitable happened in Australia. Zero-Covid and lockdowns failed, and the disease spread everywhere. By May 2022, Australia passed America in total Covid cases per capita, and by August 2022, Australia passed the European Union. If Australian policy aimed to keep Australia free of Covid, it failed.

With two and a half years of hindsight, an evaluation of Australia’s lockdown-focused zero-Covid strategy is possible. On the plus side, Australia delayed the inevitable spread of Covid throughout the population to a time after the development, testing, and deployment of a vaccine. Despite having experienced more Covid cases per capita than the US, it has a fraction of the number of Covid-attributable deaths per capita.

On the negative side is the tremendous burden on the Australian population that has come from being isolated from the rest of the world for such a long time and from the intermittent lockdowns the government imposed on the people. All-cause excess deaths – below baseline levels in 2020 – were 3 per cent above baseline in 2021, despite zero-Covid, and are far above baseline thus far in 2022. Among the causes of this spike in excess deaths are the lockdowns themselves.

After the vaccine arrived, Australia’s decision to use it to free itself from its zero-Covid trap was smart. However, Australia failed to vaccinate its population with urgency, exposing its people to a full year of zero-Covid harms. If the government had adopted the strategy of vaccinating for focused protection of older and high-risk populations, Australia could have opened much earlier.

So, the best case for Australia’s Covid strategy is that it delayed the entry of Covid in-country until the development of effective vaccines. However, it’s not even clear whether the strategy saved lives, with cumulative all-cause excess mortality on par with Sweden’s focused protection strategy. And the harm done by disconnecting Australia and other developed economies from the rest of the world included millions of poor people thrown into poverty. Ultimately, Australia’s zero-Covid strategy was a grand, immoral, and incoherent failure.


Transgender worship

It is commendable that the Australian Football community embraces former North Melbourne player and coach Dani Laidley. But it is nauseating to see that embrace transformed into mindless fawning.

It should be possible to accept Dani Laidley as a person without turning the famous footballer into a transgender icon.

Laidley, who admitted to being a deeply troubled person, is trying to rebuild a life after drug abuse and facing criminal charges for stalking and breaking an AVO.

Laidley now identifies as a woman.

Like I said, no one begrudges 55-year-old Dani Laidley happiness, nor the right to live as they choose.

But wanting the best for Laidley is not reason enough to blind ourselves to reality.

Dani Laidley is a biological man – who pleaded guilty to stalking a woman – who has now appropriated womanhood.

The football media would have you believe Dani Laidely is Cinderella.

And no, I’m not exaggerating. That was literally how The Age newspaper described Laidley’s appearance in a long white dress at the Brownlow Medal ceremony on Monday night.

‘Dani Laidley’s Cinderella moment steals the show at the Brownlow,’ the newspaper reported.

The Daily Mail went further, reporting that Laidley ‘brought a touch of old Hollywood glamour to the carpet’.

image from

Both newspapers went into great detail about Laidley’s dress, shoes, makeup, and handbag.

Laidley wore a ‘stunning off-the-shoulder white gown’ and ‘was all glammed up for the outing, her makeup palette consisted of dewy foundation and a smoky eye’ reported the Daily Mail breathlessly.

Seven Network presenter Emma Freedman gushed that Laidley was the highlight of the Brownlow Medal red carpet.

Many said Laidley ‘stole the show’, suggesting that Laidley looked better in a dress than the women.

Of course, the media coverage insists that Laidley is a woman.

But the public is not so easily convinced, and the backlash on social media was enormous.

People are prepared to quietly accept grown adults living as they please. What they are not prepared to do – or not yet anyway – is to be gaslighted by Woke sporting organisations or journalists.

Many people questioned Laidley’s invitation to the Brownlow Medal ceremony considering Laidley had never won the award and was not a current player or a coach. Invitations to the black tie event are strictly limited.

Perhaps the AFL invited Laidley as a gesture of goodwill, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Again, it’s commendable that people go out of their way to include a much-loved former player who has lost their way.

And Dani Laidely can wear whatever Dani Laidley wants.

But for the AFL, the Seven Network, and major news outlets to pretend Laidely is a glamorous woman, bringing style and glamour to the event as if Laidley were some kind of later-day Grace Kelly is just silly.

And for the public to then be chided for failing to play along is sillier still.

Women’s rights campaigner Sally Grover wrote:

‘To be honest, I can’t imagine a man getting a “Cinderella moment” after drug, stalking and DV charges *unless* he claimed he was a woman, and therefore is “stunning & brave”.’

Grover is right, of course. If Laidley had still identified as a man it is highly unlikely there would have been an invite to the Brownlow, even if Laidley did qualify with on-field deeds.

The double standards of the media and the AFL are as obvious.

You have to feel for Laidley’s former teammate Wayne Carey. Carey, regarded by many as the greatest player the game has seen, was kicked out of a Perth casino last month after he was found to be in possession of white powder.

Carey has insisted he was not carrying any illicit substances, and that it was an anti-inflammatory drug to help manage pain.

Nevertheless, he has been dumped from a radio role, his regular column in The Age has gone missing, and a recent speaking engagement at the annual St Kevin’s Old Boys grand final luncheon in Melbourne was cancelled at the last minute. Perhaps he should have gone in a dress…

If that comment seems nasty, it’s not intended to be. Many people on social media made the connection. It’s the obvious conclusion from watching the carry on around Dani Laidley; a carry on that invites incredulity.

Dani Laidley deserves compassion because Dani Laidley is a fellow human being and none of us are immune to the vicissitudes of life.

But compassion that demands everybody lie, and that chides those who don’t, is no longer compassion; it has become something else altogether.


Courts lift suppression orders on Tax Office whistleblower Richard Boyle’s landmark case

The South Australian courts have lifted suppression orders that would have stymied the media’s ability to report on a landmark case launched by tax office whistleblower Richard Boyle.

The decision, which follows an intervention by Guardian Australia, paves the way for media to more freely report on the first major test of Australia’s whistleblowing laws, which will likely have significant consequences for the protections available to others who speak out about government wrongdoing.

Boyle, an Adelaide-based tax office employee, blew the whistle in 2018 on his agency’s aggressive use of extraordinary garnishee powers to claw back debts from taxpayers and businesses, which devastated small businesses and destroyed livelihoods.

Boyle is now facing 24 charges, including the alleged disclosure of protected information and unlawful use of listening devices to record conversations with other ATO employees. He faces a potentially lengthy term of imprisonment if convicted.

Boyle has taken the unprecedented step of invoking Australia’s whistleblower protections to shield himself against prosecution.

It is the first time the Public Interest Disclosure Act has been used in such a way, and Boyle’s case is widely regarded as a major test of the nation’s whistleblower laws, which are already overdue for reform.

Our Australian morning briefing email breaks down the key national and international stories of the day and why they matter

Last month, after Guardian Australia and other outlets requested access to documents in the case, commonwealth prosecutors sought suppression orders, which would have hindered the ability to report on the whistleblower case.

Prosecutors argued such reporting would have prejudiced Boyle’s criminal trial, should it proceed.

Guardian Australia, represented by Stephen McDonald SC, intervened to argue the suppressions were too broad and unnecessarily infringed on the principles of open justice.

District court judge Liesl Kudelka on Friday decided to revoke the existing suppression order and grant access to key documents supporting Boyle’s case.

She did so after Boyle indicated he opposed the making of the suppression order.

The PID Act hearing is expected to begin on 4 October in Adelaide.

Labor has publicly committed to overhauling the PID Act, though the scope of those reforms are not yet clear.