Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Deputy Premier Steven Miles says the state government is unlikely to implement a rental freeze

Fronting the media 24 hours after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the government was “very seriously” considering a cap on rental prices, Mr Miles said there needed to be a “conversation” on whether a limit should be placed on the size and frequency of rent increases.

He accepted the investors needed to “see a return on their investment”.

“In an environment where inflation is very high, where property prices have increased and where interest rates are increasing, that investors will need to see an increased return,” Mr Miles said.

“But whether there should be limits placed on that increase, or whether there should be limits on how often and how they can be increased, they are all the sorts of things we want to discuss”.

Ms Palaszczuk on Monday revealed the state government was “very seriously” considering how to put a rental cap in place, prompting economists to warn the move would make the state’s housing crisis worse.

A Labor-controlled committee, in reviewing a private members bill by the Greens on a rent freeze in 2022, noted rent controls generally were “not effective in improving housing affordability for renters and can lead to distortions in the rental market”.

Mr Miles was adamant the state government was not attempting to rehash Greens’ policy, saying it was “highly unlikely” that Labor would adopt a rent freeze approach.

Ms Palaszczuk’s comments came after a report commissioned by the Queensland Council of Social Service revealed 300,000 people across the state were experiencing housing insecurity amid soaring rental prices and inadequate social housing supply.

The Blueprint to Tackle Queensland’s Housing Crisis report revealed the rate of homelessness surged 22 per cent since 2017 – nearly triple the national rate.

New data from PropTrack also recently revealed tenants in more than 1140 Queensland suburbs were paying up to $430 a week more than they were a year ago, with strong interstate migration and the return of international students adding to pressures.

But economists, including the Grattan Institute’s Brendan Coates, said interfering in the market by putting a cap on rents was bad policy and would make the “race for space even worse” by discouraging investment in rental housing and reducing supply.

“You could potentially make things better in the short term for existing renters, but the very act of making it easy for existing renters will make it worse for those that need housing,” he said.

“A better policy in our view would be boosting the incomes of those struggling to keep a roof over their heads, by raising rent assistance by at least 40 per cent.

“That should be the No. 1 priority right now.”

A Labor-controlled committee, in reviewing a private member’s Bill by the Greens on a rent freeze last year, noted rent controls generally were “not effective in improving housing affordability for renters and can lead to distortions in the rental market”.

Details on what the state government is proposing on rent caps is being finalised, with Deputy Premier Steven Miles signalling a “range of options” would be put forward at a housing roundtable next week.


Attempts to bring NDIS under control will trigger outrage from Greens, lobby groups

Over the next four weeks, the federal government will hand out almost $3bn in National Disability Insurance Scheme payments and a further 6000 Australians will join the scheme.

Next month, this figure will be significantly higher, and the month after that it will be higher again because the cost of the scheme is increasing by an average of $75m a month, and in the year to January it increased by $900m.

The NDIS, meant to provide assistance for people suffering from a significant disability, has become a financial sinkhole.

Are an additional 1500 people every week being found to be genuinely suffering from such a disability? You could be excused for wondering.

To suggest that is has become the National Rort The Taxpayer Scheme is to risk being labelled as uncaring and cynical.

But the reality is that successive governments have allowed the scheme to spiral out of control, fearful of the electoral backlash that could attend any attempt to cap the funding and tighten eligibility rules.

Admittance to the scheme has now become yet another entitlement.

Even supporters of the NDIS such as Sylvana Mahmic, one of the country’s leading autism advocates, are voicing their concerns at what would appear to be systemic abuse of the system.

According to Ms Mahmic, private diagnostic services are charging parents $5000 and more to provide a diagnosis of autism for their child, telling them that their money will buy them, courtesy of the government, “a guarantee of funding for life”.

This might account for a sharp increase in the number of children with what are described as “developmental delays” joining the scheme, with about 42 per cent of NDIS participants now under 14.

The scheme is virtually open-ended.

Something has to give but who is going to blow the full-time whistle on the rorters?

Bill Shorten, the person to whom Prime Minister Anthony Albanese handed the poisoned chalice that is ministerial oversight of the NDIS, is doing what governments do when faced with an odious issue, which is to hold an inquiry which is scheduled to report in October.

The government doesn’t need an inquiry.

It knows the depth of the problem and if it wants some forensic detail, it only has to ask the chief of the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission Michael Phelan.

He went public in The Age newspaper and on 60 Minutes last year, saying that ACIC’s investigations had revealed that the NDIS was easy to exploit and was the subject of widespread fraud that could be siphoning off as much as 20 per cent of its total expenditure, which at current rates it is exploding and could exceed $60bn by 2030.

This would represent the annual theft of $12bn of public funds.

Commissioner Phelan didn’t pull his punches. “You’ve got to wonder how far down the scumbag scale you get before you start ripping off our most vulnerable people,” he said.

He claimed the rip-offs had been happening since the scheme began in 2013 and said that ACIC believed criminal syndicates were threatening and extorting people on the scheme and stealing their NDIS entitlements.

He said others were in league with doctors, pharmacists and accountants who they used to bill phantom clients, inflating invoices and charging for non-existent services. Due to the poor auditing procedures within the NDIS, these fraudulent practices are not detected.

Shorten has conceded he is “very concerned” at the reports of widespread overcharging and false invoicing and that the original concept of the scheme, which was to give people who have significant functional impairment assistance so that they can live an ordinary life, had become lost.

Queensland and other states are also guilty here, Shorten accusing them of folding their mental-health programs into the NDIS, saying that it was never meant to cover everyone with a psychosocial illness or to be for every Australian with a disability.

He’s right, but we don’t need to endure a lengthy inquiry, another voluminous report and its attendant lengthy debate to take action.

Any attempt to bring the scheme under control will inevitably trigger shrieks of outrage from the Greens and lobby groups, but so be it.

The Albanese government has a big-spending agenda and no particular idea of just how it’s going to fund it. It could start by reining in the NDIS, which has become a $100m-a-day money pit.


Transgender laws critic Kellie-Jay Keen cleared to speak at Hobart rally

A Hobart rally led by British transgender rights critic Kellie-Jay Keen will go ahead, after state parliament rejected demands it ban the gathering in the wake of Melbourne’s neo-Nazi protest.

Presiding officers of the Tasmanian parliament on Monday ruled that the rally on the parliamentary lawns planned for Tuesday could proceed, rejecting demands by transgender activists and the Greens to ban the event.

Greens leader Cassy O’Connor accused the group behind the rally, Let Women Speak, of being “fake feminists who play footsies with fascists”.

However, LWS and its supporters said the neo-Nazis at its rally in Melbourne on Saturday were gatecrashes and that the group ­opposed Nazis as much as anyone.

LWS called for its own ban – on a counter rally being organised by transgender rights activists for about the same time and the same location.

House of Assembly Speaker Mark Shelton, a Liberal, and Legislative Council president Craig Farrell, of Labor, rejected both demands on the grounds of protecting free speech.

“The lawns at parliament have always been a gathering place for democratic activity, including protests of all persuasions,” they said in a joint statement.

“While there may at times be opposing views to the protests ­occurring, censoring free speech is not in the interests of a democratic society. All protests are ­expected to be conducted peacefully and lawfully.”

LWS said its rally was about saying “no to men in women’s changerooms, toilets, refuges and prisons”, opposing “sex self-identification laws”, and defending the rights of lesbians to “meet in women-only spaces”.

In a letter to Mr Shelton, Anna Sharman of Women Speak Tasmania said the only “risks and ­occasions of violence and harm” at Melbourne’s rally “came from the trans rights activists”.

“The neo-Nazi men in black were not there to support LWS and have publicly stated their ­opposition to LWS,” Ms Sharman said. “The women attending LWS denounce their presence and ­actions and considered them an equal threat to our society as the trans rights activists.”

But Ms O’Connor accused the group of “standing shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with Nazis” and “sharing an ideology of ­demonising a minority – transgender people”.

Equality Tasmania said free speech “comes with a responsibility not to harm others”. “Parliament House, the home of Tasmanian democracy, should not be giving a platform to speakers who attract Nazi sympathisers,” spokesperson Rose Boccalatte said.

The Tasmanian government said the rallies were a matter for the presiding officers, but Liberal cabinet minister Guy Barnett ­appeared to endorse their decision. “We support free speech in Australia including in Tasmania but it needs to be respectful,” he said.


Let Women Speak event hijacked: clowns to the left of Moira, Nazis to the right

John Pesutto advised Moira Deeming on Sunday night that her position in the Victorian Parliamentary Party was untenable after she attended the Let Women Speak event in Melbourne on Saturday organised by Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull.

Moira deeming was recently elected to the Victorian Upper House, and is a former local councillor and school teacher. In her maiden speech, Deeming presented a clear platform for women’s rights and talked about her broad association with more left-leaning woman in solidarity against gender identity ideology.

The women’s rights rally has since been skirmished by neo-Nazis who proceeded to do a Sieg Heil salute on the parliamentary steps where the women were speaking.

Speaking after the rally, Moira Deeming said she was frightened when she first saw the men dressed in black wearing masks because she assumed they were trans activist that were about to attack women. She was however confused that the police appeared calm and didn’t approach the men or initially attempt to remove them.

Deeming said until the men did the Sieg Heil salute there was no outward indication that the men were Nazis, even though they were clearly not associated with the women’s group.

It is interesting to note that Antifa were present to protest the women’s event but at no point objected to the neo-Nazis. The neo-Nazis were dressed in very basic black shorts and T-shirts and black masks and carried a sign that said ‘destroy paedo freaks’ (which is a sign the women’s campaigners would not have carried, obviously).

Many women at the rally, including Māori woman Michelle Uriarau, Co-Founder of women’s group Mana Wāhine Kòreo, said the salute was ‘chilling’. Moira Deeming is also a Māori woman and was reading out a letter from a Muslim migrant at the rally, she seems an unlikely person to be targeted as a white supremacist by her own party.

The Australian Jewish Association have made comments that the women’s event was ‘crashed’ by far-right extremists, accepting that the women’s event had no association with the unwelcome intruders. The Jewish Association also raised questions as to why the police were unable to keep the men out of the event appearing to have deliberately let them in.

Far-right website XYZ reported that the group of 20 men dressed in black were led by a well-known neo-Nazi. The report called Keen an ‘atheist radical feminist’. She is not a radical feminist, but right-wing men’s group are often too stupid to understand the difference between a grassroots women’s movement and more structured and academic-based radical feminism.

Women’s right’s campaigner Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull has been no stranger to controversy, cancellation, and police attention since she first commissioned a billboard with the dictionary definition of a woman; ‘Adult Human Female’ in the UK in 2018. The billboard was removed because it was offensive to the transgender community.

Keen and her organisation, Standing for Women, have since become famous for holding outdoor ‘speakers corner’ free speech events for women, that are regularly protested by trans activists. The events are often littered with Keen’s trademark merchandise, her rallies always start with her in brightly coloured outfits singing a short tune, and making bold and now controversial statements like ‘women don’t have penises’, ‘no man has a vagina’, women are ‘adult human females’, and ‘transitioning children is child abuse’.

Keen is a single-issue campaigner and takes a deliberate non-partisan stance, having previously been a supporter of the Labour Party in the UK. Trans activists and some radical feminists have made accusations the Keen is ‘far right adjacent’, in that her events are sometimes attended by far-right groups of men that are never invited to speak and are clearly separate from the, mostly left-leaning women.

Nonetheless Keen has come under criticism within the gender-critical community for not dealing with the right-wing groups with repeated ‘denouncement’. There is no indication that Keen has any far-right sympathies, but she knows enough about social media politics to see that these groups turn up to her events for their own purposes, and as a free speech absolutist she can’t stop them attending.

However, the event on Saturday was long planned and co-ordinated with the Victorian Police, event organisers made public warnings that far-right groups were expected and not welcome. The motivation of the far-right groups can only be speculated, but for my money they attend for their own social media optics, for the clashes with the trans activists, and for the flashpoints that feed the new social media political landscape. It is also extremely convenient for the Andrews government, which has taken gender identity policies to draconian levels, to associate all resistance with Nazis.

I met Keen last week when she was in Brisbane as part of her Australian Let Women Speak tour, she is a tiny, intelligent, and very savvy woman. Keen is friendly and personable, while being understandably guarded. While we chatted, I noticed her glancing at my phone that was sitting on my lap to check if it was recording. She is cautious without being paranoid, political without being partisan, and in possession of sharp operational instincts.

I am absolutely astounded at the stupidity of the Victorian Liberals. As if allowing a dictator like Daniel Andrews take over the state unopposed is not humiliating enough, they seem to be determined to lose at every point. Conservatives around the world who are adopting gender-critical feminist points are seeing some success against the onslaught of gender identity ideology in institutions. In the UK, women have at least maintained sex as a protected category in law, fought off self ID, and secured the right to speak about their issues in public, in their workplace, and in the media. This is more than Australian women currently enjoy.

It is only a matter of time that the self ID laws in Victoria will breed a scandal that we have seen in Scotland, that has seen the downfall of Sturgeon. Trans-identified male rapists are already in women’s prisons in Victoria but the media has so far managed to ignore it in exactly the way the police ignored the fascists entering the rally. This situation can’t be sustained, even with a virtual media blackout on these stories.

A woman wearing an Adult Human Female shirt was attacked in Melbourne by a trans-identified man last year, leaving her disabled. The attack appeared to be motivated by political prejudice and misogyny but doesn’t register as a hate crime in any Victorian law that protects only identity and not sex. The incident was only recently reported in an international feminist publication. Australian media are not fit for purpose.

The systemic corruption in Victoria currently hides the crimes against women of the Andrews government, but when these atrocities come to light, there will be no high ground for the Victorian Liberals to take after they have refused a publicly elected woman of colour the right to political assembly, free association and have smeared her as a Nazi.


Also see my other blogs. Main ones below:

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM -- daily)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

http://jonjayray.com/blogall.html More blogs


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