Thursday, February 02, 2023

Alice Springs mayor Matt Paterson demands Ita Buttrose retract ‘white supremacy’ stories

The mayor of Alice Springs has demanded ABC chair Ita Buttrose retract multiple stories on the public broadcaster that claimed the town’s community forum on Monday was beset by sentiments of “white supremacy”.

Matt Paterson said the reports that aired nationally on the ABC following Monday’s meeting at the Alice Springs Convention Centre were a complete misrepresentation of what took place and “it could not be further from the truth”.

“Ita Buttrose should retract the stories and issue a public statement of apology to the community of Alice Springs,” he told The Australian. “I was in the meeting and I’m not a white supremacist”.

He said he would give the ABC 24 hours to do so or he would be filing a formal complaint with the organisation.

The ABC aired several reports, including a live cross to its Indigenous affairs correspondent outside the Alice Springs Convention Centre, during which she stated: “People were leaving early and streaming out of that Convention Centre in Alice Springs, we spoke to some who were quite emotional.

“One resident who was non-indigenous said the meeting was, quote, ‘a disgusting display of white supremacy’.”

Mr Paterson said the community was “already full of anxiety” and this story was only “adding fuel to the fire”.

“This story is not correct and now has national media attention and it’s why the Alice Springs community loses faith with the rest of the country, because of these stories that portray as all as racists and it’s absolutely not the case,” he said.

The suggestion that the forum was a “white supremacist fest” were also refuted by Country Liberal Party MP Josh Burgoyne who was born and raised in Alice Springs.

He told Sky News Australia host Andrew Bolt on Tuesday night the public broadcaster’s reports were “extraordinarily disappointing”.

“I was at the meeting yesterday afternoon, what I witnessed was actually a coming together of the community,” Mr Burgoyne said on Sky News on Tuesday night. “It showed that people in Alice Springs had had enough.”

Sydney’s 2GB breakfast radio host also Ben Fordham also took aim at the ABC’s coverage on Wednesday morning.

Fordham referenced some of the comments that he said the ABC had “cherrypicked” from people outside the meeting, and accused the broadcaster of only covering one side of the story.

“And there were no examples given of the so-called ‘white supremacy’.”

Issues discussed at the meeting included the rising crime rates in the town and whether class action should be taken against the Northern Territory government for its failure to address the problem.

Indigenous leader Warren Mundine said on Sky News Australia the ABC’s reporting was “disgraceful”.

“They … just spoke to a small handful of people and they made out there’s sort of like some Ku Klux Klan meeting going inside which could be no further from the truth,” he said.

“These are decent Australian citizens black and white who were there to resolve a whole lot of issues happening in that community.”

However the ABC defended its reporting of the community event.

“The ABC’s long-running reporting on the issues facing Alice Springs has included a range of perspectives and will continue to canvass people’s views and experiences as coverage continues,” a spokeswoman said.

“Many strong and conflicting views and opinions are expressed within the community, including some confronting views and the news coverage reflects that and doesn’t shy away from it.”

Despite being heavily critical of some of the ABC’s reporting, both Mr Paterson and Mr Burgoyne commended the public broadcaster’s local reporters who are stationed permanently in the area.


No acknowledgment of Aboriginal country for Gold Coast council. Mayor says national anthem is 'enough'

The City of Gold Coast is the largest council in Queensland that does not conduct an acknowledgement of country at its ordinary meetings, which instead begin with a prayer and the national anthem.

Other larger councils, including Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast, Cairns and Townsville conduct acknowledgements of country.

According to the council's minutes, about 60 per cent of Queensland's local councils deliver an acknowledgement of country at the beginning of their ordinary meetings.

Mayor Tom Tate said he would take the matter on board but there would be no changes until the current term ends in March 2024. "Everything is going great here. [During] citizenship [ceremonies] we do acknowledgement," he said.

"Council business is council business. "We do our national anthem and I think it's good enough."

Speaking again on Thursday, Cr Tate said holding an acknowledgement before council meetings was "not efficient".

"You've got all the staff there, everyone is per hourly rate, I don't waste a minute on other things," he said. "We do our prayer, we do our national anthem and we get on with our business."

Cr Tate said he had not been approached by traditional owners but that he understood the council was planning to appoint an Indigenous liaison officer.


Treasurer Chalmers’s essay is terrible economics, but a very good guide to the radical nature of the Albanese government

It’s not often I quote Paul Keating but his declaration, “when you change the government you change the country”, encapsulates the left’s mindset for government. To the left, government exists to pursue an aggressive agenda, using the organs of state to remake individuals, institutions, and society. Whereas to the right, government’s purpose is only to do what citizens can’t do for themselves, hence government should normally be smaller, not bigger.

So when Jim Chalmers talks about “reinventing capitalism”, to base markets on “values”, he’s talking about the Labor Party’s values, not yours.

Hence there’ll be even more government interference, dressed up as greater fairness, on your freedom to buy, sell, own and invest. This latest missive, from a Treasurer who hasn’t even had 12 months behind his fiscal desk, reveals a government already looking far more radical than the “safe change” platform it was elected on.

Chalmers’s essay in The Monthly is terrible economics but a very good guide to the real nature of the Albanese government that not only wants to change the way we’re governed but to make government bigger and more domineering than ever, despite the absence of any demonstrable mandate.

Before May’s election, Anthony Albanese was at pains to reassure us he’d cut electricity bills, raise real wages, and do more on climate, but only in ways that created jobs and boosted the economy. There’d be no deals with the Greens, and his role model would be Bob Hawke, the last Labor prime minister who actually delivered a budget surplus.

Exploiting Scott Morrison’s unpopularity, Albanese skilfully created the impression all he really intended to change was the identity of the prime minister. But that’s not how it’s turning out.

Pre-election, then-shadow treasurer Chalmers denied multi-employer agreements were “part of our policy” to lull business groups into a false sense of security. Post-election, the law was changed to permit industry-wide bargaining and industry-wide strikes after dragooning business into a “jobs summit” that was a pre-planned stitch-up with the unions; Hawke-Kelty in style but nothing like it in substance.

And there was more. The government pre-empted legislation to abolish the building industry watchdog by first stripping its funding. It then announced emissions-intensive industries would have to buy carbon credits at up to $75 a tonne to keep operating. Most recently, to limit the power price rises driven by attempts to prematurely retire fossil fuels, the government took the unprecedented step of imposing price controls on gas and thermal coal.

Now, the Treasurer has tried to lend a spurious intellectual rationale to this abandonment of economic responsibility via supposedly reinventing capitalism to deal with what he calls the “poly-crisis” of war, pandemic, climate change and inflation. Markets are not perfect but they’re the most efficient way to allocate scarce resources. And what Chalmers finds mysterious and attributes to the failings of markets is much more often the failure of governments: such as today’s inflation due to governments’ unfunded spending to deal with the pandemic, and supply chain bottlenecks due to government-ordered pandemic lockdowns.

Labor has form when it comes to masking economic ineptitude under a thin veneer of moralising. In a 2009 Monthly essay, Kevin Rudd claimed the global financial crisis proved the failings of capitalism. Like Chalmers, he wanted markets with a higher purpose; only in practice, his legacy was massively overpriced school halls, a multibillion-dollar failed pink batts scheme, and billions more spent on hospitals and schools without any commensurate improvement in outcomes.

In early 2012, Chalmers’s then boss, Wayne Swan, also penned a Monthly essay, but his supposedly superior insights into capitalism didn’t save him from the worst economic prediction of all: namely, his 2012 budget boast about “the four years of surpluses I announce tonight”, of which none ever arrived.

Chalmers asks: “How do we build this more inclusive and resilient economy?” His answer: “By strengthening our institutions and our capacity with a focus on the intersection of prosperity and wellbeing, on evidence, on place and community, collaboration and co-operation. By reimagining and redesigning markets – seeking value and impact, strengthening safeguards and guardrails in areas of unchecked risk. And with co-ordination and co-investment: recognising that government, business, philanthropic and investor interests and objectives are increasingly aligned and intertwined.”

This pretentious blather is worth quoting at some length because it typifies his essay, which is almost entirely devoid of any meaningful, specific content.

He seems to regard the government’s energy policy as a good example of how values-based capitalism might work. And it’s true that as long as there are consumer subsidies and government incentives for renewables, rent-seeking investors will rush to install more wind turbines and solar panels.

Unfortunately, apart from the inflated profits of the businesses restricting supply, the result of too much intermittent and not enough reliable power is much higher prices to consumers and the likely loss of all our heavy industry to jurisdictions that don’t care about how power is generated; just that it’s cheap and 24/7. The problems in our energy markets are much less from any market failure than from successive governments trying to run them to reduce emissions rather than for optimal power generation.

The Treasurer also seems to regard the nation’s compulsory superannuation balances as the perfect place for governments-that-know-best to partner with impact investors to advance a “social purpose economy”. In practice, though, this means the union-dominated super funds not investing our money to maximise returns to us but to meet the political imperatives of government.

What Chalmers fails to appreciate (and his doctorate is in political science, not economics; his thesis was “Brawler Statesman: Paul Keating and prime ministerial leadership in Australia”) is that what he refers to as “capitalism” is just ordinary human freedom in the economic sphere.

No country has taxed and regulated its way to prosperity, although plenty of governments have tried; always to their citizens’ cost. Likewise, while there are some things that only government can do, such as defending the nation and exercising physical force over citizens, there are no goods or services the public sector can provide more efficiently than the private sector, if the private sector is prepared to invest.

Chalmers is going beyond the obvious point that markets can only operate within a framework of law that government sets. His sermonising against the way markets have operated in Australia, including under the Hawke government, can only mean more regulation, higher taxes, sweetheart deals with rent-seeking big business and big unions, and government forcing money to move from more to less efficient parts of the economy.

“Reinvented capitalism” means stopping us from doing what we want, in favour of forcing us to do what government wants. If Chalmers’s essay is the government’s road map, forget the PM’s spin about emulating Bob Hawke. It’s on a Whitlam-esque path to becoming the most left-wing government in our history.


Immigration minister orders changes to assessments for New Zealanders facing deportation

Most of the offenders are Maori and NZ jails are full of them already

The immigration minister has ordered his department to soften its stance on deporting New Zealanders convicted of serious crimes, saying how long they have lived in Australia should now be made a top consideration.

Australia has deported hundreds of New Zealanders using laws made almost a decade ago that allowed long-term residents to be deported on character grounds, as well as those who had been sentenced to a prison term of at least 12 months.

The most common reasons for visa cancellations of any nationality were drug offences, child sex offences and domestic violence offences.

A spokesperson for Immigration Minister Andrew Giles said the government had told the department to take a "common sense" approach.

"Under these changes the Department of Home Affairs must now consider the length of time someone has lived in the Australian community as one of the primary considerations when determining whether to cancel someone’s visa," the spokesperson said.

"Where individuals pose a risk to the community, the Australian government will continue to cancel their visas and remove them."

Successive New Zealand governments have complained that the people deported to New Zealand had no meaningful links to the country or had spent most of their life in Australia.

New Zealand's recently departed prime minister Jacinda Ardern in 2019 labelled the policy "corrosive" to the country's relationship with Australia during a joint press conference with then-prime minister Scott Morrison.

Ms Ardern raised the issue again with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese following his election win, where he said Australia would not change its core position on deportations, but that his government would take New Zealand's concerns into consideration "as friends".

New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said the decision was a welcome "first step".

"The acknowledgement on the Australian side that actually some of the people that we are talking about have had a long history in Australia – some of them have been there since they were very young children – and sending them to New Zealand when they have no connections here other than a very historic one isn’t really a fair or just outcome," Mr Hipkins said.

"I think the acknowledgement of that by the Australians is very, very welcome.

Mr Hipkins said further work with Australia around visa cancellations would continue, as well as "the general treatment of New Zealanders living in Australia".

"That's something that was discussed with Jacinda Ardern in the first meeting that was held," Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said in Perth.

"Some common sense needs to be applied here between Australia and New Zealand.

"But we retain, of course, our right to take action on the basis that it's appropriate action."




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