Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Doom for Albo: Reserve Bank says inflation expected to last for another three years

He will be tossed out at the next election for failing to control it

The Reserve Bank has admitted hiking interest rates aggressively doesn't necessarily bring down inflation quickly.

Australian inflation grew by 7.3 per cent in the year to September - a level unseen since 1990.

It was also more than double the Reserve Bank's longstanding two to three per cent target.

A new RBA 'forward guidance' paper released on Tuesday admitted fulfilling an inflation target was difficult.

'Experience in Australia and elsewhere has shown that inflation is difficult to finetune within a narrow band,' it said.

The Reserve Bank's statement on monetary policy released earlier this month forecast annual inflation remaining above its target until 2025, after falling to 3.25 per cent in December 2024.

Should that forecast materialise, Australia's inflation rate would have remained above the target band for three years.

Beyond the introduction of the GST in July 2000 and the mining boom in 2008, Australia hasn't experienced a long run of inflation outside the target range since the RBA adopted a two to three per cent target in 1993.

Even then, inflation remained above the target for a year, not three as the RBA fears with this current bout of consumer price pressures.

In another quiet mea culpa, the RBA admitted it made a mistake last year suggesting interest rates would remain on hold at a record-low of 0.1 per cent until 2024 'at the earliest'.

'Forward guidance on interest rates will not always be provided, although the board will continue to outline how monetary policy settings are adjusted in response to evolving economic conditions,' it said.

RBA Governor Philip Lowe last year suggested interest rates would not increase for another three years but those statements were made before Russia's Ukraine invasion led to higher crude oil prices.

But since May, borrowers have been dealt with seven consecutive monthly interest rate rises, taking the cash rate to a new nine-year high of 2.85 per cent.

This has seen a borrower with an average, $600,000 mortgage grapple was a $839 surge in monthly mortgage repayments, this month rising to $3,145 from $2,306 little more than six months ago.

This occurred as a typical Commonwealth Bank variable rate rose to 4.79 per cent from 2.29 per cent in May, as the RBA embarked on the most aggressive monetary policy tightening since 1994.


The disturbing Australian school environment today

As described by a 13 year old girl -- below

School is a great place to be with friends and learn new skills. I am a student in Year 7 and I want to tell you about the stressors I have been finding at school and in every day for those who would like to listen.

Firstly, living through Covid, lockdowns and new vaccines has been a scary time. There was a lot of talk about Covid, with adults often scaring us kids with the things they told us. A teacher in primary school told us that we could die from getting Covid. After that, I was worried about my family and I thought I would die if I got sick which made me scared to go to school.

The vaccines came out for people who were working. My mum got vaccinated for her job, but she got really sick after and it has changed her and now it feels different. I don’t think people understand how much stress we have been through in the past year. I didn’t get vaccinated in case I got sick too.

One of my friends was so worried about me not being vaccinated that she begged me to wear a mask even when I was eating, which is a pretty tricky thing to do. She has since had Covid and said sorry for being so worried about catching it from me.

At school, masks were required to be worn no matter how hot it was. We would have problems breathing and felt like we would pass out. I felt like I would gasp for air when I was allowed to take it off and so did my friends. How is getting Covid any different from getting the flu before? We used to get really sick before, but no one was forced to wear masks at school. We just practiced good hygiene and stayed at home when we were sick to stop the spread.

Lockdowns were really hard on all us kids. We worried about our families and friends and also missed them a lot. One thing that affected me the most was working from home. I know the teachers were trying their best, but they were unprepared and we didn’t get to learn as much due to the technical issues. I felt stressed because I wanted to catch up with my learning before Year 7, but I am still finding gaps in what I should know.

Secondly, cultural discrimination. Learning about Aboriginals and their culture is so cool! But the information is now a weapon of discrimination. When I was younger, teachers guilted me because of my skin colour, making me think it was my fault that half-blood Aboriginals were taken from their families. I cried and felt ashamed to be who I am. This year, when I entered Year 7, I met this girl whose grandmother is half-Aboriginal and looked similar to me. She called me European and excluded me by saying hurtful comments about ‘European people’ followed by ‘no offence’. I felt hurt.

Another lesson the teacher taught us ‘white people’ was that only Aboriginals could do Aboriginal art. They also said that only Aboriginal people could have a deep connection with their land. I felt hurt. Growing up in the bush and loving the flora and fauna of my area had become so much part of my life. I felt like a local connected with the land. I appreciated the Aboriginal culture, but felt that we were being pushed away like we were not good enough to appreciate where we live or the culture of the Aboriginal people.

I have always loved Australia, where I feel I belong. I had an assignment about Aboriginals and my thoughts. In my response I wrote, ‘I feel a connection with this land, I was born here and raised here and lived here.’

If I don’t belong here, then where do I belong? I know this place I call home is a home to all no matter what race. If someone shames me for the people of my ancestry, I feel I should stand up for who I am and what I experience.

My father was not a good person. He did bad things to me. Thankfully he is not in my life anymore and I am loved and cared for. That makes me ask though, am I to blame for his actions? I am not my father and I am not my ancestors. I should not be blamed for anyone else’s actions. I can only be the best person I know how to be.

In a class at the beginning of the year, my teacher was very political and made me feel uncomfortable to be around her. She would voice her opinions in class. She stated ‘women are much smarter than men, and that’s why more women were at university and women are the key to our future’. She also said men are abusive to women and said women should have more rights than men. It didn’t make sense to any of the students. We were all extremely uncomfortable. I found it rude and unjust to state her views with such anger. I felt sad for the boys in my class and also felt angry because I have a brother who I love and don’t like people pulling him down because he is male.

I believe that equality for men and women would mean no one pulls down the other sex, and that we appreciate the differences and similarities between each other. I hope that we can all find a place to appreciate both men and women and not criticise each other because of skin colour, ancestry, sex, or sexual preferences – where we can learn to be kind to one another instead of judging and lumping everyone into a category.

Sexualized themes are being pushed into very young people. I am in Year 7 and over 50 per cent of girls believe they are bi, pan etc. 100 per cent of the boys in my class believe they are gay. I have no problems with what they want to do, but I am in Year 7… Why are so many people worried about their sexual preferences? I have felt pressure to identify my sexual identity at school and I am just a kid. I was bullied because I was not interested. I thought school was about Maths, English, History, Art, Science etc. I feel that there is so much talk about this stuff that kids are being pushed into something they don’t understand. Shouldn’t that be for when they are older and ready to date? I’m only 13-years-old.

My cousin has two friends who are very particular about their pronouns and get angry when my cousin accidentally gets them mixed up. One prefers she/them and the other they/them. I thought pronouns are referring to another person and not to the person directly, so why are they offended, unless the person is saying mean things about them. I feel really confused. Going from primary school to high school has been difficult with all these changes and I feel I have needed to grow up before I am ready. I think the kids are too worried about things that don’t matter. People get my name wrong all the time and I don’t mind. I just don’t understand why it wasn’t an issue in primary and now it is?

Since starting high school, I’ve been really stressed with all of the things that I have been talking about affecting me daily. I have developed high anxiety. I struggle every day. I feel unsafe and uncomfortable and I don’t want to go to school anymore. I am a good student. I work hard and want to learn, but now I feel under attack. I feel excluded and constantly worried that I will say the wrong thing or be judged because of my ancestry, and not wanting to be involved in gender or sex talk. I just want to learn and feel safe and included. My Mum has decided that I need to change to distance education due to my anxiety.

At this time, I do not wish to identify myself as I have been bullied enough for standing up for my beliefs. However, I am willing to consent to an interview if you believe that my voice will make some difference to the situation that my peers and myself are being burdened with.


Student at one of Australia's top universities lost marks on final engineering exam - because the paper didn't include an Indigenous Acknowledgement of Country

Coerced speech! Certainly not free speech. Leftist arrogance knows no bounds

A student's final year project was marked down because it didn't include an Indigenous Acknowledgment of County.

Melbourne's Monash University recently introduced a policy requiring students to add the message recognising traditional owners at the beginning of all assignments - or face losing marks.

But the rule has since been overturned after the engineering student made an official complaint.

The university has agreed to reinstate the original marks and says students will not be deducted in future for failing to include it.

Monash made the concession even though it argued that including it showed 'the standard of professionalism required of an engineer in Australia'.

'Monash respects the rights of students to respectfully and appropriately decline to provide an Acknowledgement of Country if they believe it conflicts with their right to free speech or academic freedom,' a spokeswoman told the Herald Sun.

'Monash will continue to encourage students to include the Acknowledgement of Country where relevant and appropriate.'

On the university's web page it states that 'recognising traditional owners is important and that all staff and students are encouraged to do so.

It is the second major backdown by Monash this year in linking academic grades to recognition of Aboriginal land.

Following an outcry generated by media reports the university removed the threat that students who did not complete a mandatory module on 'Indigenous Voices' would not be allowed to sit exams or graduate.

The university said the module was to 'ensure students fully understand Monash values' and 'contribute to a society that respects Australia's Indigenous Peoples, cultures and knowledges'.

While the institution quietly dropped the threat of denying academic awards to those who fail to complete the course, anyone who does not finish it remains locked out of Monash's online learning system.

A spokesperson for the university confirmed Indigenous Voice remained a compulsory unit along with units on academic integrity and respectful relationships.

Victorian shadow education minister David Hodgett said although universities should offer courses on Indigenous people it was wrong to force students to study them.

'This is really yet another mandate by stealth as students are going to be punished and lose access if they don't complete,' he said

'Universities are about education. If they can't present this information in a way that encourages take up, then it's almost an admission of failure by the university'.


WA: democratic freedoms for religious schools under attack

On August 16, Western Australia’s Attorney General John Quigley tabled in Parliament the Law Reform Commission’s report into the Review of the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (Project 111). As stated on the website of the Western Australian government, the Commission, which authored the report and where I served for five years (2012-17), made 163 recommendations including anti-discrimination protections to those that identify as ‘trans, gender-diverse, or non-binary without the need for recognition from the Gender Reassignment Board’, as well as strengthening legal protections for ‘LGTQIA+ staff and students in religious schools’.

The understanding in this recommendation to portray religious schools as somehow different from other social institutions is unfortunate. When recruiting staff or appointing officeholders, a political party could be expected to display discrimination resembling that practised by religious bodies. It is reasonable, for example, that a politician from the Labor Party might discriminate against individuals with conservative views when recruiting staff for her office team. Likewise, environmental advocacy bodies such as Greenpeace or the Australian Conservation Foundation might reasonably be expected to discriminate against Climate Change sceptics when appointing scientists to their Scientific Advisory Committees.

Why then is it considered necessary, in some quarters, to curtail the ability of religious organisations to follow positive discrimination practices when seeking to develop their organisations according to their core values? This is why the general exception guaranteed under the present legislation in WA should continue to apply to all employment positions of religious schools, and include all attributes of employees except for race, age, and a person’s responsibilities as a career. Of course, some religious schools may only need protections for some employment positions, but the State should still provide these schools with the same right to make these decisions and protections that are often provided to other organisations whereby membership is strictly based on other relevant attributes such as gender, sexuality, political opinions, or race. As law professor Patrick Parkinson writes from a Christian perspective:

‘The issue of Christian issues is not the right to ‘discrimination’. That puts the issue in negative and pejorative terms. The core claim is a right of positive selection. Christian schools and organisations only ask to be treated equally with other employers that may have legitimate reasons for wanting to appoint only those with certain characteristic relevant to the identity of the organisation. It is quite understandable that gay bars might prefer to appoint only gay staff, that Thai restaurants might prefer to have Thai employees, and that government ministers would want to staff their officers with people sympathetic to the values of their political party. Recognition of minority group rights on an equal footing is another version of equality. A right of positive selection is rather different from discrimination. It is easy to see the problem if a restaurant advertised for staff of any nationality, so long as they were not Thai. That would be discriminatory. However, it is quite different if a Thai restaurant advertise for Thai staff. Selection based in part on the characteristic which is relevant to the employment is not discriminatory.’

This, of course, is very much about protecting freedom of association, which plays an important role in promoting democratic pluralism by supporting an authentic environment of social diversity. To show due respect for this important right of every true democratic society, the government in Western Australia must avoid interfering in the internal matters of religious schools and allow their adherents to retain the capacity to determine these issues for themselves. As noted by law professors Rex Ahdar and Ian Leigh in their insightful book Religious Freedom in the Liberal State (Oxford University Press, 2013):

‘Freedom to associate with others of like mind necessarily involves freedom to exclude people who do not share the beliefs in question. In a liberal society, those so excluded are free to join other religious groups (or to form their own group) and so this should not be seen as harmful. On the contrary: if the State were to prevent exclusivity through its non-discrimination laws, this would amount to denial of a basic aspect of religious liberty. Paradoxically, perhaps, exclusive societies add to the diversity of society.’

In this sense, it would be deeply regrettable if these LRCWA recommendations were accepted by the WA government and incorporated in the relevant legislation. These recommendations reveal an illiberal mindset which is uncomfortable with the existence of religious diversity within Western Australia, and favours a dominant public system in which young Australians are educated according to a particular, state-sanctioned perspective. After all, the establishment of religious schools is an effective way that people of faith can freely educate their children (and other members of the community) of the merits of their religion.

Rather than fostering diversity in the educational sector, the recommendations made by WA Law Reform Commission will produce an educational system where people of faith are forced to have their children educated in light of the secularising hegemony of the State. Of course, this would be inconsistent with Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which declares, ‘The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to have respect for the liberty of parents and, when applicable, legal guardians to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions.’ And also Article 19 which states that the right to freedom of expression ‘shall include freedom to seek, receive, and impart ideas of all kinds’.

William Wagner, who is an emeritus professor of US constitutional law and retired US federal judge, explains that the right of parents to direct the upbringing of their children ‘rests upon deeply rooted common law foundations’. This right, according to him, aims to ensure that parents maintain the primary role in educating their children, whilst being able to delegate part of that role to other bodies of their personal choice. Accordingly, a significant way in which governments can protect this right is by providing religious diversity by providing religious schools with sufficient freedom, so that they can employ persons compatible with the school’s worldview.

Demonstrating a genuine respect to equality in our culturally diverse community necessitates a protection for the choices of people of faith, and affirming their expressions of religiosity. Of course, a key way that the WA government could achieve this important goal is through allowing religious people to create supportive educational institutions, and permitting them to manage group membership so that they remain committed to the values and principles of their founders. As noted by law professor Ian Benson:

‘Religion is an equality right itself and religious people are entitled to non-discriminatory treatment in terms of their religion as well, so placing equality and non-discrimination over against religion or placing some forms of non-discrimination (say, sexual orientation) as things more important than the religious person’s freedom against non-discrimination is an error – though an all too common one.’

Of course, educational institutions that are committed to the preservation of their religious identities may eventually decide to employ persons with poor mission fit due to operational necessity, or because some diversity in the staff body may not have a significant adverse impact on the religious environment of the school. However, these decisions do not constitute evidence that mission fit is not important for teaching and non-teaching employment positions at these schools. On the contrary, a person’s mission fit is often quite crucial for a religious school as it allows the school to promote its own religious identity as an authentic religious institution. The Rev Dr Mark Durie, an academic who writes on relations between human rights and religious freedom, explains as follows:

‘For a secular person, teaching mathematics has nothing to do with religion. However, for a religious person – and indeed for a religious organisation – all actions can be considered to be worship. What distinguishes many religious organisations is that they see their whole actively as a corporate act of worship, done in devotion and service to God, in accordance with the doctrines and principles of their faith. One reason they want to employ people of faith is that they want the whole organisation to corporately serve God through its activities. The secular judges regard faith as an essentially personal and individual affair, and cannot understand this perspective because their religious worldview cannot comprehend it.’

This goes without saying that religious schools also play an important role in protecting the rights of minorities. They assist minority groups with the enjoyment of their religious culture, acting as positive measures of protection, and for allowing the participation of these minorities in decisions that affect their own communities. This is why the general exception guaranteed under the presently legislation should continue. Of course, some religious schools may only need these protections for some employment positions, but the WA government still must provide these schools with the same democratic freedoms to make decisions and protections that are often provided to secular organisations whereby membership is often strictly based on other relevant attributes such as political opinions.

Above all, it is essential for these religious schools that they can freely choose people of likewise persuasions during the appointment of non-teaching officeholders and recruitment of teachers. And since no government should have a right to disrespect not only religious freedom but also freedom association and the right to equality, the WA government should reject, and not endorse as it has done, these recommendations of the WA Law Reform Commission about strengthening protections for LGTQIA+ staff and students in religious schools.




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