Friday, November 11, 2022

Australia's new homeless: Meet the hardworking mother who works six days a week but STILL can't find a rental and is forced to sleep in a tent and a car

Tenants are paying the price of anti-landlord legislation. And being a single mother has its price too. Where is the father?

A hardworking mother has revealed how she was forced to sleep in a tent and in the back of her sister's car after suddenly losing her home.

The woman, named Jessica, appeared on a Four Corners investigation into homelessness and shed light on the rental crisis that is gripping Australia.

In an emotional interview, she said her landlord suddenly kicked her out after deciding to renovate the property she was living in with her nine-year-old son.

Jessica said she had applied for more than 60 properties since being evicted but was knocked back every time.

The mother shared her fears about losing her son and desperately asked for 'someone' to help her and other low-income earners find stable housing.

'There was no vacancies in town,' she said as she explained her situation. 'So it was a phone call to my sister and she works full time. She lives above a pub and children aren't allowed above the pub but there was no choice.

'I slept in the back of her car that first night, and my son slept upstairs. It was scary to not know what's going to happen the next day.

'I paid for my own accommodation out in the caravan park. It's the cheapest place I could get a cabin. That's $110 a night and that's the cheapest in town.'

Jessica was entitled to 28 days of crisis accommodation after losing her flat but, despite applying for 10 properties a week, she was unable to find a new rental.

This led to her being left homeless and living in a caravan park - though she admitted she couldn't afford to carry on the arrangement.

'Essentially, my son will have to go with my sister. I'm in the back of her car, but if not, I've got a tent to sleep in. That's scary.

'I don't want to lose my boy. A simple thing of not being able to house my son means I could lose him and that's not that's not fair when I raised him solely.

'To work so hard and to get so far and to have everything gone from underneath you.

'Not for my own choices. Not because you're a bad mum. No. It's because there is no housing. You go through every avenue to try and you get nothing.'

The mother called on Anthony Albanese or anyone to help her and other low income earners.

'Help us, help us do something. Help the low-income earners and the unemployed to get good stable housing.

'Just help us. We need help. Someone needs to do something for us.'

Jessica's story is the latest example of the growing rental crisis that is gripping Australia.


Fiery moment a race row erupts between Jacinta Price and Penny Wong in the Senate over plan to have a world ambassador for Aboriginal Australia

Outspoken conservative Senator Jacinta Price and Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong have clashed in Parliament over a plan to appoint an ambassador to represent Australia's Indigenous people on the world stage.

During a tense showdown at a Senate Estimates hearing, the Country Liberal Party MP told Ms Wong that as an Indigenous person she found the idea of such a role 'divisive' - and invoked the minister's Malaysian heritage.

Ms Price asked Ms Wong if she would accept only 0.03 per cent of the Asian community having the power to make decisions that would directly impact her life.

The two politicians repeatedly spoke over each other as they clashed over the concept of the new role, with the Speaker at one point forced to call for order.

Ms Price sensationally accused the government of creating the role as part of an 'international PR stunt' amid debate over the Indigenous Voice to Parliament - with Ms Wong accusing the senator of making a 'political statement'.

'You don't want to hear our answer,' she told Ms Price. 'I've tried to, in good faith, explain to you senator, why we have done this, and you don't listen.

'You have a view, that's your view.'

During the fiery exchange, Ms Price questioned why the Labor government thought it was necessary to 'segregate' First Nations people with their own foreign policy.

She referenced Ms Wong's Chinese background, asking the minister if she would appreciate only 0.03 per cent of her community having power to make decisions.

'I doubt that you would accept 0.03 per cent of your community of the Asian community on anything in regard to any decisions in regard to the Asian community of Australia, which is on the same sort of principle,' Ms Price said.

'Well, I'll answer that. You want to talk about my ethnicity and my heritage, I am deeply proud and deeply grateful that the Australian people have chosen to put more people from diverse backgrounds into our Parliament,' Ms Wong hit back.

Ms Price tried to interrupt the minister but was quickly slapped down.

'You asked me a question about being Chinese, so I am responding,' Ms Wong said.

Earlier in the fiery race row, Ms Price claimed the ambassador role would only further divisions between First Nations People and the rest of Australia.

'I reject that. It's not about segregation. It's about inclusion. And a place in our international story that we have not told,' Ms Wong replied.

'I think in the world telling the full story of who we are is a good thing to do, regardless of one's political views over the Uluru Statement.

'This is about telling the full breadth of the story about who we are.'

Ms Price cited Ms Wong's Malaysian heritage when she argued that an ambassador couldn't possibly represent all Asian voices.

'It is your position that the Uluru statement of the heart should represent us all, and I'm suggesting to you that it doesn't,' she said.

The foreign minister replied that like any ambassador, the person who was chosen for the role would consult widely to get a 'diversity of views'.

During the fiery exchange, Ms Price questioned why Australia thought it was necessary to separate First Nations with their own foreign policy.

Ms Price on Wednesday tweeted she was: 'In Senate Estimates pulling 16 hour days and holding this disgraceful Albanese government to account'.

The conservative politician, among other Indigenous leaders, has been critical of the the Indigenous Voice to Parliament, saying the proposal for an advisory body for First Nations people was another act of 'racial separatism'.

The Labor government plans to allocated $1.3million to its First Nations Ambassador budget to start a taskforce for the department, remuneration for the ambassador, international and domestic engagement as well as meeting facilitation.


Restraint on "sacred sites" needed

We are constantly being told that the Uluru Statement is an invitation from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to ‘walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future’. But we can only join in the walk to Canberra on their terms. We cannot, under any circumstances, walk with the Bundjalung people to the top of Mount Warning. This was once one of the most popular walks on the NSW North Coast and those who got to the top early enough were able to enjoy a magnificent coastal sunrise view. Not anymore.

In an earlier article about sacred sights, I tried to describe the Bundjalung initiation ceremonies which took place on Mt Warning 120 years ago (‘Sacred Sites – A warning to us all’ Spectator 13/3/2021). The account of the ceremony was so shocking that the editors, in their infinite wisdom, decided the details were unfit for a family magazine and excised some of more graphic descriptions of the procedures from the article. It must be admitted that, if the traditional ceremonies were repeated today, criminal prosecutions would follow. Volume 37 of the journal, Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society for promoting useful knowledge, published in 1898, contains a fascinating article on the ‘Initiation ceremonies of Native Tribes of Australia’ for those who wish to know more. But the fact that the Bundjalung people can no longer follow their traditional sacred ceremonies never seems to worry those who claim the ceremonial sites are still sacred places.

Australians are no longer permitted access to Ayers Rock/Uluru and a host of other ‘sacred sites’ for ‘cultural reasons’. And of course it’s not just in national parks that Aboriginal groups are wielding power in the sacred sites fandango. While we are being asked to walk together to a better future, at the same time, billions of dollars of mining projects which would enrich us all are being stymied because of indigenous intransigence. Australian operator Santos has had to suspend drilling activities at its $3.6-billion Barossa offshore gas project following a legal challenge brought by indigenous groups. Santos has similar setbacks at its Narrabri gas project. At a recent public meeting, hosted by Santos, Ms Dorothy Tighe, a representative of the traditional owners of the land on which the mine will be based said, ‘We’re here to tell you you’re not welcome on Gomeroi and Githabul and Ngarabal country because there’s not any proper consent done for our people. You never consulted with us as traditional owners…. We don’t want you on country. Gamil means no’. In response to Ms. Tigh, the chair of the meeting said, ‘We have been working with the authorised applicants of the Gomeroi people, and we’ve been working with them in informal negotiations since 2012 and formal negotiations since 2015. We have undertaken extensive engagements to ensure the Gomeroi are fully informed on the aspects of the project.’

So, at a time when the Australian east coast is facing a critical shortage of natural gas supply a major project which has been under development for over a decade cannot progress without court action. The Gomeroi people are the traditional owners of the land in the Pilliga state forest on which Santos wish to mine the gas which will be solely for the Australian market. Santos will need access to 1,000 hectares for the life of the project. This is one fifth of 1 per cent of the land controlled by the Gomeroi people but they will not relinquish even that tiny fraction of the land they control. Not much of the ‘walk with us’ spirit there.

Of course every major mining group in Australia has similar problems. Projects which would benefit us all are inevitably resisted by people claiming a deep spiritual commitment to the land on which the projects are to be based. The raising of the Warragamba dam wall is also being resisted by traditional owners because it will flood sacred sites but there is almost no photographic evidence of the alleged sacred sites. The proposed widening of the Great Western Highway connecting Sydney to Western NSW is said to be of national significance but that doesn’t concern Wiradjuri man Adrian Williams who is deeply worried about 20 sacred sites that may be affected by the widening of the highway.

And on it goes. Almost every road project in rural Australia encounters problems with people claiming that a tree or rock is sacred. Rarely is any evidence produced in support of such claims. Instead journalists are content to merely repeat whatever a self-appointed spokesperson chooses to say. Just as uttering the word ‘Shazam’ turned mild-mannered Billy Batson into the 1950s superhero Captain Marvel, so anyone who utters the magic phrase ‘sacred sites’, turns into an indigenous expert who will mysteriously appear on ABC news programs.

Whenever an Aboriginal group gets control of land then, almost invariably what follows will be a struggle by various members within that group for supremacy and access will usually be restricted or denied for non Aboriginal Australians. Economic development will invariably be impeded or delayed.

It is time we recognised that places that were once undoubtedly sacred to people can no longer claim that status. Stonehenge which must once have had a sacred purpose is now a tourist attraction. The same status now applies to almost every pre-industrial animist religious site in the modern world and although many Aboriginal Australians, especially those from the Canberra tribe, would argue otherwise, Australia is part of the modern world.

Giving greater power to Aboriginal groups will not reduce their resistance to economic development and the Voice treaty truth campaign is not a way forward. It is an unashamed grab for even more power and will inevitably result in greater difficulty developing the resources which have made Australia one the most successful and wealthy nations the world has ever seen.

It would be helpful if credulous journalists could start asking Aboriginal spokespersons some direct questions about this mysterious voice to parliament. They might ask why we are all to walk together for a better future when Aboriginal groups invariably resist economic development. Perhaps they could ask for a deeper explanation of how discontinued religious and ceremonial practices are still regarded as essential to their self identity. ?


Net Zero? The hypocrisy of the religious clergy

It is a rootless age when 100 of the leaders of various Christian and other churches in Oceania can pen an open letter to Prime Minister Albanese demanding Australia stop ‘approving new coal and gas projects’.

This is not an area where they have any expertise, unlike morality. Whether from a practical or moral angle, this open letter is wrong.

Australia needs to produce more gas for its own use, and more gas and coal for the world’s use.

To deny that is to destroy any chance of a pivot to a low-carbon economy and to deny the role fossil fuels play outside the power grid, producing fertilisers, pharmaceuticals, plastics, and other necessities.

Ceasing the approval of new coal and gas projects would be a real death sentence on millions in the developing and developed world.

Take the practical first.

The official Australian Energy Markets Operator (AEMO) plan is for Australian power generation to transition from a mix that is currently 53 per cent coal, 19 per cent gas and 27 per cent renewable to 98 per cent renewable plus storage and gas backup.

Most of this under the federal government’s promises is to happen within the next 8 years.

How is this to work? Let’s look at exhibit one, the state of South Australia which is the furthest state along the road to decarbonisation, bar Tasmania, which is a one-off because of its extensive, and unique hydro capacity.

South Australia is 61 per cent renewable on average, and has been reported as high as 92 per cent for short periods of time, but if it weren’t for the gas-fired backbone, and interconnectors to Victoria, it wouldn’t function as a grid. Renewable energy is unreliable, so it requires grid-scale storage and/or flexible, on-demand back-up.

On the storage side, as far as the grid is concerned, batteries are almost entirely absent. Despite boasting the largest battery in the country at Hornsdale, SA only deploys about 0.75 per cent of its electricity from batteries according to the AEMO Data Dashboard.

The only currently viable form of larger-scale storage is pumped hydro. In 2019 there were four potential pumped hydro schemes in SA vying for ARENA funding of $40 million.

Now there is only one, a project at Baroota with a potential capacity of 250 MW (10 per cent of total state peak demand) and total discharge potential of 2 GWh (5 per cent of South Australia’s daily requirement). It was supposed to start construction in 2022, but as yet there is no sign of it, so perhaps it also has been shelved.

In the absence of pumped hydro, the only way of keeping the lights on in South Australia is gas, which currently supplies 38 per cent, the same amount it supplied in 2014-15, although it has been as high as 53 per cent in 2012-13 and 52 per cent in 2017-18.

It’s possible it could reduce further with the building of more renewables, but not by much without storage.

There are already so many renewables in the system that on days like Wednesday of this week when the sun is shining and the wind blowing, they can be 95 per cent of output.

In fact, that day there was actually more power being generated than the grid could use, so the price of electricity was negative at -$48.21 (14:14 GMT-10:00).

When power is so cheap you can’t give it away most of the time there would be no profit in building more of it.

These factors are recognised in the 2022 AEMO Integrated System Plan which projects a need for 10 GW of gas-peaking capacity in 2050 (p11) supplying overall around 2 per cent of energy demand (p38). In 30 years, the gas to fuel this capacity probably won’t come from any wells in existence today, it will come from new wells the government must approve.

So the clerics who demand the end of approvals to new gas projects want to sabotage the market operator’s thoughtful scheme to get to Net Zero. Because they know better, or because they know nothing? What is the morality behind this tinkering?

Australia also has a role to play in ensuring Europe doesn’t freeze to death because of the lack of Russian gas. Europe uses 400 billion cubic metres of gas per annum, of which Russia supplied approximately 160 bcm.

To replace Russian output to Europe we need to increase total internationally tradable production by 16 per cent. Australia, as the 5th largest exporter with 9 per cent of total volume, has a moral obligation to do more than its part because we have the scale to make a difference, along with the USA, Qatar, Norway, and Canada, the other big exporters. Otherwise, people will die from cold and starvation, and Europe will have to rely on activating mothballed coal-fired power plants, and burning forests, as it is now doing, to keep its citizens alive.

How many deaths do our churchmen want on their conscience? What is the point of their plea if it leads to increased emissions?

They might retort that climate change is killing people today, but the evidence is that many more lives rely on reliable energy for a prolonged life, and to deal with the challenges of climate, than any change in the climate currently threatens.

Does God value hypothetical lives in the future more than he values real lives in the present?

They also fail to take account of the other 50 per cent of oil and gas – the 50 per cent that goes to make plastics, pharmaceuticals, fertilisers, and other useful substances like bitumen.

Without plastics to provide the lightweight components that reduce energy consumption the low carbon future is even more difficult. Without pharmaceuticals managing health becomes harder and life shorter. Famine in Sri Lanka shows exactly where absence of fertiliser leads. And without bitumen where will we drive our Teslas?

If churchmen and women want to make a statement about Net Zero, then let them start at home before lecturing the rest of us.

Most lead comfortable middle-class lives with tax-sheltered above-average incomes (an Anglican priest in Brisbane earns around $104,000 after tax, equivalent to $140,000 before tax). They have mostly working spouses, second cars, overseas sabbaticals, and often holiday homes.

As a consequence, their carbon footprint is much larger than the average.

Rather than signing open letters telling the government what to do, they should concentrate on their daytime job. The Bible has some good advice for situations like this.

‘And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, “Let me remove the speck from your eye”; and look, a plank is in your own eye?’ Matt: 7:4-5

Without a proper understanding of the practicalities, there is no way to make moral pronouncements. God might work in mysterious ways, but he only works within the physical world that he has made, and it has limitations.


Big reversal by Sydney University over exam

The University of Sydney has torn up a law exam after a student complained that she had been depicted as an HIV-positive, fanatical conservative who ran over a “socialist” in a car in a bizarre legal scenario.

Law student Freya Leach, 19, said she was horrified when she discovered her criminal law final assessment featured a “right-wing” woman named Freya and received dozens of messages from classmates who recognised the character to be her.

Students completing criminal law take-home exam will be required to complete a new assignment after the original was withdrawn out of a desire to preserve the sandstone university’s “academic integrity”.

In the colourful legal scenario, Freya runs over a man in a Mercedes to give “that chardonnay socialist a fright” and has unprotected sex while HIV-positive.

Ms Leach – who is active in the Young Liberal Club and the University of Sydney ​Conservative Club – said she believed she was being targeted by the paper and has written to the Dean of the law school asking for an apology.

Sydney University has confirmed to The Australian that students were told via their online portal that the paper had been withdrawn and apologised to those who had “dedicated a substantial amount of time” to working on the existing assessment.

Sydney University Law student Freya Leach has expressed outrage after an assignment question included a…
READ MORE:‘Shocked’: Student depicted in exam as HIV positive
“We understand that many students have already dedicated a substantial amount of time to the short release assignment, and sympathise with and understand your frustration,” the message to students said.

“However, the university and the law school set a high value on the integrity of assessments, which are crucial to preserving the good standing of our qualifications for graduates, the legal profession and society.

“Regrettably, we feel that there are no alternatives to withdrawing and replacing the short release assessment that would ensure academic integrity.”

Ms Leach said she believed she was being singled out by the left on campus after she spoke out against “zoom bombing”, a form of industrial action in which students intentionally disrupt online lessons as part of a push by the National Tertiary Education Union for better pay and conditions.

“So it is almost inconceivable to think it’s an accident, given my name is not common and everyone has been able to piece it together and identify it as me,” Ms Leach said.

“I think it’s really concerning that faculties think they can abuse their power to single out students for political beliefs.”

Sydney University has denied the character portrayed in the exam was based on real students and said the similarities were “entirely a coincidence” as the name had been in usage before.




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