Thursday, June 15, 2023

Newspaper apologises for coverage of 1838 Aboriginal massacre

How can they apologize for something they didn't do? The SMH has undergone several changes of ownership since 1838 and the staff have undergone even more changes. There is no known link between the person who wrote the 1838 article and anyone now involved with the paper.

So what is the "apology" about? I think it has to do with the current obsession with Aborigines that has been been put on high beam by the "Voice" referenduum. The SMH just wants to be in among the virtuous as far as Aborigines are concerned.

And part of that would simply be to raise awareness of the bad things that 19th century whites sometimes did to blacks. It is an attempt to put present-day white Australians on a guilt trip. But there is no cause for such guilt. British justice prevailed in the 1838 matter and the white murderers were hanged for their deeds. Equality before the law prevailed even back then. If anything, present day Australians can be proud of how justly the institutions of their ancestors ultimately acted

The Sydney Morning Herald has issued an apology for their historical coverage of the Myall Creek massacre.

In 1838, at least 28 unarmed Indigenous Australians were killed by 12 colonists at the Myall Creek near the Gwydir River, in northern New South Wales.

“In several editorials published before, during, and after two Sydney trials in late 1838 relating to the massacre, the Herald essentially campaigned for the 11 accused mass murderers to escape prosecution,” an editorial in the 9 June edition said.

“It also opposed the death sentence eventually handed to seven of the men.

“In one editorial published ahead of the trials and amid a public debate about legal protections for Aboriginal people, the Herald proclaimed: ‘The whole gang of black animals are not worth the money the colonists will have to pay for printing the silly documents on which we have already wasted too much time’.”

The newspaper also encouraged readers “to shoot and kill Aboriginal people if they ever felt threatened”.

The newspaper owned up to the errors made and issued an apology for their coverage, writing: “The Herald has a long and proud history of telling the Australian story. But on Myall Creek, the truth is we failed dismally.”


More trans disturbances

Last week, Twitter restricted the availability of a documentary called What is a Woman? The title might sound innocuous, but when political commentator Matt Walsh puts the question to the trans clerisy in his mild-mannered, deadpan voice and scrutinises their advocacy of the surgical and chemical modification of the bodies of minors, he rattles their ideological platitudes.

The reason Twitter gave for throttling the visibility of the film was that it might ‘violate Twitter’s rules against Hateful Conduct’. The capitalisation of Hateful Conduct suggests that it isn’t just undesirable behaviour but a formal crime. Even free speech advocate and owner of Twitter Elon Musk seemed nervous. He responded to early criticism by referring to the movie as ‘sensitive content’.

Once Musk had watched the film, he shared it himself tweeting, ‘Every parent should watch this’ and joking that, ‘The Streisand Effect on this will set an all-time record!’ He was right. In less than a week, more than 170 million people have watched the film. Yet mainstream critics have refused to review it calling the director a ‘transphobic bigot’ and telling the publicist that she should be ‘ashamed to be associated with him’.

All this might be just another skirmish in the looking-glass land of 21st-century culture wars but the question ‘What is hateful conduct?’ just got a little more pointed, at least in Queensland, which is poised to criminalise hate speech. And it’s not messing around. Vilification based on racial, religious, sexual, or gender identity will be punishable by up to three years in prison.

That’s a dramatic increase. At present, offenders face a maximum fine of 70 penalty units or six months in jail, but that’s not enough it seems. According to the explanatory notes provided with the Bill, the increased sentence reflects ‘the seriousness of this type of offending and the community’s denunciation of such conduct’.

The bill was based on the recommendations of a report by the Queensland Parliament’s Legal Affairs and Safety Committee tabled in January 2022. It called on the government to protect the community from the distress and insecurity associated with the public display of hate symbols.

The government responded by making it a criminal offence to display hate symbols used by Nazis and Isis but just to cover all eventualities, the Bill gives the minister the power to prohibit ‘emerging symbols and images associated with extremist ideology’ by regulation.

It will also be a lot easier to charge someone with a hate-speech crime. Under the current civil law, a written complaint must be sent to the anti-discrimination commissioner within a year. By law, the commissioner must reject complaints that are frivolous, trivial, vexatious, misconceived, or lacking in substance. If the complaint is not dismissed, it may be dealt with through conciliation. For the police to commence a prosecution, they must first seek the written consent of the attorney-general or director of public prosecutions.

The new legislation gives police the power to lay charges without consulting anyone if they believe someone has committed a crime using ‘any form of communication to the public including by speaking, writing, printing, displaying notices… or by electronic means’, which would cover social media posts.

It is not hard to imagine what Queensland police might designate as hate speech in the current environment. In March, for example, the Let Women Speak movement organised a series of rallies in Australia and New Zealand headlined by Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull, aka Posie Parker.

The purpose of the rallies was to defend single-sex rules in places where women feel vulnerable such as changing rooms, bathrooms and prisons, the right to single-sex sporting competitions, and to shield children from radical gender theory.

Little more than a decade ago, such practices were uncontroversial. Suddenly, they are unspeakable. Anyone who espouses them is labelled a ‘transphobe’. And since gender identity is protected under anti-discrimination law, ‘transphobic’ behaviour is unlawful. In the workplace, it can be grounds for dismissal. In the public square, it is grounds for cancellation. The question for Queensland is, if the new Bill passes, will women who demand single-sex rights which are deemed transphobic be guilty of a criminal offence?

If that sounds daunting, it’s not the only threat women’s rights activists face. The Let Women Speak rally in Melbourne was besieged by hundreds of trans activists and about 30 black-shirted Nazis who the police ushered through the crowd allowing them to make Nazi salutes as they passed the women.

It was all very convenient for Victorian Premier Dan Andrews who branded the women ‘anti-trans activists’ who had ‘gathered to spread hate’ and conflated them with the Nazis by saying that ‘some of them performed the Nazi salute’.

It got very ugly, very quickly. Liberal MP Moira Deeming was threatened with expulsion from her party for speaking at the rally. She alleges that the Victorian opposition leader John Pesutto accused her of being a ‘Nazi sympathiser and Nazi associate’ and used that as a basis to eventually ‘threaten and bully’ her out of the parliamentary party. Pesutto denies the allegations so Deeming is suing him for defamation.

The UN’s Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls, Reem Alsalem, weighed in on the stoush expressing concern that women and girls were being silenced on issues of sex, gender and gender identity through ‘the incitement of hatred’ by smearing them and their allies as Nazis and extremists. She condemned the fact that women politicians ‘have been sanctioned by their own political parties with a threat of dismissal or actual dismissal’.

It’s all bad enough as it is. People are already too frightened to speak out about women’s rights or trans issues for fear of losing their jobs or their reputations.

It would be even worse if what was at stake was the loss of your liberty and a criminal record.

This wouldn’t just have a chilling effect on free speech, it would put it in a deep freezer that all the sunshine in Queensland couldn’t thaw.


Albanese government plans to ban contract work

Call a plumber to fix something and he becomes your employee?

If you’ve ever been to a pub gig, you’ll have taken part in what the Albanese government wants to (effectively) close down. The Albanese agenda became starkly clear in 2022 after Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke declared the ‘gig economy’ is a ‘cancer’. Burke stated that it’s an agenda not open to discussion, and that legislation will be introduced in late 2023.

The gig economy is not something new. The Beatles, The Stones, Cold Chisel, AC/DC … they all did and/or do ‘gigs’. Like countless musicians, stand-up comedians, crooners, harpists, you name them, they all do gigs. It’s the lifeblood of the entertainment industry locally and globally.

And gig makes for some disparate traditional bed partners. Yes, every barrister is a gig worker. So too is each sex worker!

A gig is pretty simple. There’s a contract for a set price to do something. ‘Come to my pub. Play for three hours and I’ll pay you a thousand bucks,’ says the pub manager. ‘Done,’ says the singer. The singing done and the money paid. End of contract.

Every barrister is required to give an upfront estimate of costs to each client. Yes the specifics of each job can’t be precisely determined but the broad parameters are set. As work unfolds and if/when the work moves beyond those parameters, a renewed costs estimate must be given to the client. When the jobs done, the money is paid.

Sex workers have control over what they do. This is actually stipulated in relevant prostitution control laws. Every job(gig) has a pre-agreed price for pre-agreed services.

Gig work is not new, odd, or threatening. In fact it is very traditional and ‘old’.

But somehow, for the Albanese government, this is a ‘cancer’.

What’s happened over the last 15 years or so is that this familiar entertainment and other industry ‘gig’ model has taken new forms. Now gig work is available for ride-share, food delivery, aged and disability care, and odd jobs. The list goes on. And, yes, the entertainment industry has gig platforms.

What’s happened is that online technology has made gig work more secure. Gig platforms enable anyone wanting to do a job to connect with someone needing a job done. The revolution is that job specifics and price are upfront and agreed by the parties. The gig platforms also make the payments and enable both the ‘doer’ and the ‘receiver’ of the service to rate each other. The platforms make the market work efficiently, transparently, and securely.

It’s fantastic. The risk of not being paid is massively reduced. Think of how many times a pub manager has failed to pay the full amount agreed upon, screwing over the worker (singer)? It’s the security of payment and security and clarity of the gig work agreement that’s made this expansion of gig work so seemingly popular. And it’s all happened without government sticking its nose in!

Yet this is a cancer? So here comes the Albanese government promising to mess it all up. How do they say they are going to do this?

Put simply, Minister Burke is going to create laws that will require gig workers to have holiday pay for example. How will this work? Let’s take our pub gig as an example.

The pub manager will have to pay holiday pay on top of the $1,000 agreed. How is this to be calculated? Holiday pay is for full-time employees who’ve worked a full year. How is this to be calculated for 3 hours work and no more? Ouch! That has heads scratching! But let’s say it’s $70. It’s clear what will happen. The pub manager will only agree to $930 for the gig. $70 will have to be held back.

But when does the gig singer get the $70? Does the singer determine when it’s ‘holiday’ time or does the pub manager decide? Sounds like a recipe for scamming! So, will Albanese then set up a massive new government-run department to manage gig workers’ holiday pay? Or maybe the entertainment union will be sanctioned to run a ‘holiday’ fund. Will the singer need to apply to the government or the union for the $70?

Just think. Will barristers suddenly become ‘entitled’ to holiday pay? What about sex workers? The mind boggles. Who’s going to pay? Who’s going to manage the holiday pay accounts? It’s a recipe for a mess.

We know this will be a mess because this is what’s happened in the UK. Old 1996 UK laws were used in 2021 to declare that UK Uber drivers are ‘entitled’ to holiday pay. Uber are trying to work out how to adjust prices and to manage this. When does Uber pay holiday pay to an Uber driver? When Uber decides or the driver?

And in the UK it’s impacted tax issues resulting in a rolling saga of court cases, distorted tax liabilities, and more, under the general heading of ‘status’ dramas. (See Spectator 5 June 2023)

But there’s more. Research from the Victorian government into the gig economy (2020) shows that around 830,000 Australians did gig platform work in any year. But only 0.19 per cent of the workforce used gig for their full-time work. In other words, around 810,000 Australians (about 7 per cent of the workforce) were only using gig work as part-time top-up work. How is gig holiday pay to be calculated for all these part-timers?

In the government’s recent Consultation Paper on the issue, they flagged that they’ll limit the laws but weren’t specific. It’s perhaps predictable that the government will apply its version of ‘common sense’ and keep barristers, entertainers, sex workers, and more out of the measures. However, so far they’ve been vague about who’s in and who’s out!

And their ‘limiting’ assurances are weak because for their agenda to work the legislative structure will require treating a commercial contract as an employment contract. I’ve explained this before in Spectator Australia. The ‘limiting’ problem is, that once this contract threshold is crossed (treating a commercial contract as an employment contract) ‘limits’ become impossible to contain.

This is demonstrated in California. In 2020 California (incredibly) made illegal the use of self-employed people. But politically powerful self-employed groups had themselves excluded. Powerful people such as lawyers, movie directors, financiers, and others had themselves put outside the law, for now. But such exclusions are entirely politically dependent. Over time such exclusions become corrupted by the political process. Inevitably, like a cancer, the contract corruption encroaches into areas thought safe from such corruption.

This is the real cancer that should be of concern. In their determination to proceed with their gig economy agenda, the Albanese/Burke government will introduce cancer into Australia’s commercial contract process.


Nursing targets forcing aged care beds to close, members warned

​One in five public aged-care beds is being forced to close under ­Victoria’s union-backed nurse-to-patient ratio rules, sparking warnings that Labor’s 24/7 nursing targets will trigger residential aged-care shutdowns when they come into force next month.

The bed closures come as figures from the Department of Health and Aged Care project a nursing shortfall of about 8100 in residential aged-care facilities between 2023-24, as the sector grapples with new reforms including 24/7 nurses and minimum care requirements.

A confidential briefing from the Victorian Healthcare Association to its members, obtained by The Australian, has warned the state’s rigid workforce rules – ­requiring at least one registered nurse per seven residents in the morning, eight in the afternoon and 15 at night – are further ­exacerbating critical nursing workforce shortages.

The staffing requirements were implemented in 2015 after significant lobbying from the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, which argued staffing ratios eased workloads for nurses and ensured residents received better-quality care.

But the VHA has expressed concern that Victoria’s staffing requirements are inhibiting the ability of providers to service the public, with about 20 per cent of beds sitting vacant according to industry figures.

The VHA has warned that the workforce rules were not recommended by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, and has called for the law to be amended to enable state-owned providers to hire personal care workers to alleviate critical workforce shortages and deliver high-quality care and residential aged care to older Australians.

The sector is concerned that the aged-care closures across the state are forcing elderly people into hospitals for non-acute conditions, clogging up the healthcare system and leading to shortages in acute beds designed for elective surgeries.

“This problem is currently closing around one in five publicly funded aged-care beds in Victoria at a time when other aged-care services are closing their doors nationally,” VHA president Leigh Clarke said.

“We are deeply concerned about how this is impacting on people needing care in their own communities and the flow on ­effects for their families and other health services which often care for people waiting for residential aged care.”

According to Victorian industry figures, there are currently about 1200 empty beds out of 5300, with workforce shortages preventing providers from ­accepting new residents.

A Victorian government spokesman said no public sector aged-care beds had closed due to nurse-to-patient ratios and that the state government remained committed to the policy.

“We will always protect nurse-to-patient ratios – that’s why the Victorian budget 2023-24 invests $42m to help meet these ratios and ensure older Victorians get the best possible care,” the spokesman said.

Opposition health spokeswoman Anne Ruston said the Victorian aged-care closures were a “serious warning sign” of potential further stress to be put on the sector ahead of Labor’s 24/7 nursing targets set to take effect next month.

Senator Ruston said older Australians should not be forced out of their homes as a result of rigid workforce constraints, and that Labor governments were putting “politics and their union mates” ahead of care for the elderly.

‘This is a serious warning sign of potential further stress that Labor governments are prepared to put on the aged-care sector to appease their union mates,” Senator Ruston said.

“Implementing additional, mandated staffing requirements in the middle of a workforce crisis is irresponsible and will have significant detrimental consequences,” she said.

Aged Care Minister Anika Wells said facilities would not be forced to shut down if they could prove they had made genuine attempts to have a nurse onsite 24/7.

She told The Australian that the “vast majority” of providers would meet the 24/7 nursing target by July 1, and that the federal government would work with those unable to help them meet it “as soon as possible”.

“Come July 1 there will be many, many more nurses providing many, many more hours of care in nursing homes because of our 24/7 reforms,” Ms Wells said.

But The Australian last month revealed at least 23 aged-care homes had shut their doors since September last year, with a ­number of providers citing difficulty in attracting and retaining staff to meet the government’s targets.

The sector is scrambling to ­implement a suite of reforms including mandated minutes of care per resident, quality and safety standards and full-time nursing requirements, as it adjusts to a new funding model brought in last Oct­ober as recommended by the aged-care royal commission.

The overhaul comes as financial troubles plague the sector, with the latest figures from the Quarterly Financial Snapshot of the Aged Care Sector revealing 42 per cent of private providers are operating at losses.

One Victorian provider who spoke on the condition of anonymity said it was facing a $500,000 budget black hole which was projected to grow to $1m by the end of the year amid significant costs to rural and ­regional aged care.

The provider currently runs 69 beds in regional Victoria and has 24 people on its waiting list that it is unable to admit due to tough workforce requirements in the state.

Opposition immigration spokesman Dan Tehan, who represents the regional Victorian electorate of Wannon, said Victoria could no longer keep operating and urged the Victorian government to resolve the issue “as soon as possible”.

“We can’t keep operating with 20 per cent of our beds closed in our public aged-care sector in ­Victoria,” Mr Tehan said.

“That is 1200 people currently missing out on a bed with the number growing. This needs to be resolved as soon as possible.

“VHA is engaged in good faith with the Andrews government, they have to reciprocate on that good faith.”




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