Thursday, June 01, 2023

The garlic cure

A report by the Peter Doherty Institute suggests that good old Aussie garlic is good for warding off the coronavirus. ‘Scientists at Doherty have been researching garlic properties over the past 18 months and have discovered a certain Australian grown garlic variety demonstrates antiviral properties with up to 99.9 per cent efficacy against the viruses which cause Covid-19 and the common flu,’ reported the AFR.

It was always the case that the grotesque government over-reach that blighted (and destroyed) so many lives during the so-called pandemic of 2020 and 2021 would either end in tragedy or – as is clearly now the case – in farce. Were the lockdowns, the internal border closures, the mask and vaccine mandates, the social distancing, the banning of various therapies, the hotel quarantines, the endless press conferences and the ‘pandemic of the unvaccinated’ all potentially avoidable using the oldest naturopathic remedy known to mankind?

Ultimately. some human actions occur on such a vast and incomprehensible scale that they defy normal responses. Surely the common-sense reaction to the Covid years would see a sensible royal commission or other such official inquiry taking place to determine what we as a society can learn from where we went right and where we went wrong during Covid. This is how we normally respond to unusual events, be they hurricanes or other natural disasters on a confronting scale, or criminal or other unsavoury behaviour by our authorities or elected officials.

What the Covid era showed so insidiously and so uniquely was that there was a grotesque abuse of power in two entirely different spheres: the political and the medical.

Covid should already be in the hands of some form of judicial commissioner charged with determining why pregnant women were being arrested in their PJs, why men and women were being put in chokeholds or kicked in the head or slammed to the ground by burly Victorian police officers, why weird detention centres were being constructed, why little old ladies couldn’t take the chihuahua for a walk in the park outside a 5km perimeter and so on. Equally, some form of medical commissioner or public coroner should already be poring over the well-documented excess deaths data to determine whether or not the mandated mRNA vaccines were responsible for killing an unprecedented number of young or healthy people who were never in any serious danger from the virus anyway.

But no, instead the abuses of the Covid era are being busily swept under the carpet. And we watch idly as those who were responsible for potentially some of the greatest of those abuses of power – and, let’s be totally frank here, potentially criminal activity – slink off into early retirement or are safely parachuted into highly paid positions on the international globalist job circuit.

As Rebecca Weisser writes this week, we are now teetering on the brink of an even more potentially devastating event: the possibility of a Global Pandemic Treaty courtesy of the deeply compromised and discredited World Health Organisation. The Spectator Australia has repeatedly warned against this continually developing threat, which has been in the making for several years.

Days before last year’s federal election, then prime minister Scott Morrison rushed onto radio 2GB with astonishing haste to deny and denigrate as a ‘conspiracy theory’ our Flat White editorial warning that Australia was set to sign the treaty that very week. A year on, that warning is more needed than ever.

Instead, as the world hurtles towards a totalitarian health system that would make Orwell spin in his grave, we are hilariously told that a decent diet of Aussie garlic may well have been the answer all along


Australians could be jailed for three years for hateful social media posts

Australians in the state of Queensland could be jailed for up to three years for sharing social media posts that violate sweeping hate crime laws.

The Criminal Code (Serious Vilification and Hate Crimes) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 proposes tougher penalties for those who commit crimes motivated by prejudice on the grounds of race, religion, sexuality or gender identity.

The proposed laws would increase the maximum prison time for making bigoted statements from six months to three years.

Inflammatory social media posts fall under the purview of the bill, which prohibits the vilification of specified groups through “any form of communication to the public,” including via electronic means.

Sharing a Nazi symbol on social media, or carrying it around publicly, will also result in jail time.

The bill introduced into the Queensland Parliament in March would modify the criminal code to introduce a “prohibited symbols offence”. This would ban the display of hate symbols, including those tied to Nazism and the Islamic State.

As part of the clampdown on hate symbols, Queensland will ban the display of Nazi swastika tattoos. The Queensland government says its hate crime laws will be among the strongest in Australia.

Displaying a swastika is already illegal in Victoria and New South Wales (NSW), with Western Australia set to follow and South Australia also considering the issue. In NSW, it results in a year-long jail term or a $100,000 (£81,000) fine.

Like NSW and Victoria before it, Queensland will exempt Hindus, Buddhists and Jains, for whom swastikas are religious symbols. There will also be an exemption for when hate symbols are used for educational purposes.

The Queensland Law Society (QLS) opposes the increased maximum imprisonment for serious vilification. In its submission to the government, the QLS urged it to closely examine how effective and practical the higher penalty would be.

The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) has previously welcomed bans on the Nazi symbol in NSW and Victoria. It also pushed Queensland and other Australian states and territories to move quickly to adopt similar legislation.

“These bans are an important tool to deter open displays of antisemitism and further marginalise racist extremists, and will help strengthen communal cohesion and harmony across Australia,” the AIJAC said in June 2022.


The Budget’s rivers of gold bypass education

Comedy writer Robert Orben is credited with saying, ‘If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.’ It is a phrase the federal government appears to want to put to the test.

This is despite handing down a Budget earlier this month which shows government spending is set to reach its highest level since 1993.

It was surprising to find education funding did not share in the rivers of taxpayers’ gold, given it was a fairly traditional Labor Budget. Treasurer Jim Chalmers did not even mention schools or universities in his Budget speech.

The little funding for education announced in the Budget papers was laser-focused on forcing the issues of race and gender onto students in a manner that almost put the cross-curriculum priorities in the National Curriculum to shame.

Perhaps the activists consider the long march through our educational institutions and our national curriculum complete…

As postmodern ideologies infiltrated the National Curriculum, Australia experienced a two-decade-long decline in education standards. A trend that is continuing, according to the OECD’s latest report.

Worse still, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) shows the average 15-year-old is more than a year behind students 10 years ago in reading, science, and maths. Today, Singapore, Poland, and Canada are among the many countries whose students are ahead of Australian 15-year-olds in these three key areas.

What is abundantly clear is that our education sector is failing young Australians.

A rare, glaring admission of the dire state of things was this Budget’s provision of $436 million for a foundation skills program to improve adults’ literacy, numeracy, and digital skills.

So, after 12 years of the National Curriculum, schools have been unable to inculcate the basics into a sizable number of their students. Any responsible government would recognise this as a profoundly significant problem and seek to address it forthwith.

According to the IPA’s research report, De-Educating Australia: How the National Curriculum is Failing Australian Children, students are being taught to view the world through a postmodern lens that recognises no objective fact.

This year’s Federal Budget has an obvious political slant, directing funding at minority groups while failing to address the broader problems in the Australian education system.

Independent schools are the losers, with funding expected to fall as inflation outstrips government support over the next financial year. Not surprisingly, the National Curriculum was the winner, with funding for ‘progressive’ priorities like Indigenous education and gender equity while infinitely more important outcomes like literacy and numeracy are ignored.

Funding for Indigenous education highlights the federal government’s focus on race as a key issue. The Budget sets aside $14.1 million to place educators in 60 primary schools to teach First Nation languages and provide greater cultural understanding. The problem with this decision is that it takes time and funds away from teaching the English language and the foundational skills students need.

Last year, the Federal Education Department’s performance measures showed that 11.2 per cent of Year 3 students failed to meet the minimum standard in national literacy tests.

Gender equity is another priority, with $20 million going toward teaching students about sexual consent and respectful relationships. Here the state takes on the role of the parent while once again failing to deliver core outcomes: literacy and numeracy. Programs like The Good Society, Respectful Relationships, Safe Schools, and Consent training promote a politicised narrative about gender and sexuality that disregards the views of many parents.

Gender equality and women’s participation in male-dominated sectors is another area underpinned by major funding. Women have been placed at the core of a $3.7 billion agreement between the states and territories to fund vocational education and skills training over the next five years. This feeds into the narrative that any disparity in the number of men and women working in a particular field is due to discrimination rather than choice.

The Labor government should stop and consider if women even want roles in male-dominated fields before they spend billions of taxpayers’ dollars on such programs.

The failure of leaders to understand key educational data and act accordingly is deeply concerning. While the $10 million set aside for phonics-based reading instruction for teachers is a step in the right direction, it is undercut by activities that clutter the curriculum.

This year’s budget fails our children while propping up a radical political agenda focused on gender equity and indigenous studies. It’s an education Budget for the Canberra bubble and inner-city elites, to the joy of left-wing activists and lobbyists.

But it is far removed from reality and the pressing needs of Australian students who after more than a decade of the National Curriculum still cannot keep pace when it comes to the basic skills of reading, writing, and understanding maths.


Australia’s insurmountable housing shortage explained

This week, The AFR View published an editorial claiming “Australia’s housing affordability crisis is due to the supply side, stupid”.

That, it claimed, is the lesson policymakers must learn, according to research from former Reserve Bank economist Tony Richards, published in the paper.

The tenet of Mr Richards’ argument was that the rate of dwelling construction relative to population growth slowed significantly in the 20 years to 2021.

In turn, 1.3 million fewer dwellings were built than otherwise would have been had the rate of dwelling construction matched the 20 years to 2001.

The assertion from Richards’ research is that Australia has gotten worse at building homes, which has left the nation desperately short of housing, resulting in the current affordability crisis.

This ‘lack of supply’ view is frequently parroted by the media, the housing industry, and policy makers. Yet it is fundamentally wrong.

Australia is a world leader in home building. The OECD’s Affordable Housing Database shows that Australia has built significantly more dwellings per capita than most other OECD countries:

Australia ranked fourth in the OECD for housing construction in 2020. Australia’s dwelling construction rate was also unchanged from 2011, according to the OECD.

The fundamental problem is not Australia’s ability to build homes, but that Australia has run one of the world’s largest immigration programs, thus ensuring that housing demand has always outpaced supply.

In the 20 years to 2001, Australia’s net overseas migration (NOM) averaged 95,000 people a year and population growth averaged 217,000 people a year.

In the 20 years to 2021, Australia’s NOM averaged 182,000 and population growth averaged 320,000 people a year. And this period includes the negative NOM experienced over the pandemic:

The housing supply situation will only worsen if the May federal budget’s aggressive immigration forecasts come to fruition.

The Budget projects net overseas migration to reach 400,000 for the first time ever in 2022-23 before slowing to 315,000 in 2023-24. It will then moderate to an historically high 260,000, where it will remain over the forward projections.

The federal budget, therefore, projects a record 1.5 million net overseas migrants to arrive in Australia over the five years to 2026-27 – equivalent to an Adelaide’s worth of people.

However, this construction boom was not enough to keep pace with the massive increase in immigration-driven population growth from the mid-2000s, which is projected to hit new heights going forward.

Australia’s housing shortage will worsen. Building housing for such a massive rise in population is an impossible undertaking even under ideal housing conditions.

It is even worse when the entire housing construction sector is on its knees due to widespread insolvencies and skyrocketing materials and financing (interest rate) costs.

According to ASIC data to 14 May, 1872 home builders have declared bankruptcy so far in 2022-23, which is the largest number of insolvencies on record.

Among the insolvencies listed above are industry titans such as Porter Davis Homes, which went into administration in March with over 1500 homes partially constructed, as well as a slew of smaller firms.

Since 2021, it is estimated that builders responsible for about 5200 homes worth a total of $2.2 billion have gone bankrupt. As a result, fewer builders are left to satisfy the nation’s housing needs in the face of unrelenting immigration demand.

This week’s dwelling approvals data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics were an unmitigated disaster, with total approvals collapsing to a 13-year low:

To add further insult to injury, Treasury secretary Steven Kennedy told Senate Estimates this week that the downturn in dwelling approvals is expected to continue until 2025, with investment in new dwellings likely to contract by 2.5 per cent this year and a further 3.5 per cent in 2023‑24 and 1.5 per cent in 2024‑25.

Growing Australia’s population by between 400,000 and 500,000 people a year amid falling dwelling construction necessarily means Australia’s housing crisis will worsen, resulting in higher rents and increasing homelessness.

It’s the immigration, stupid!

If the Albanese Government truly cared about ending the nation’s housing shortage, it would run an immigration program that was substantially lower than the overall expansion in the housing stock, not the other way around.

It is time to stop scapegoating a ‘lack of supply’ and start addressing the immigration elephant.




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