Thursday, April 25, 2024


ANZAC DAY is the High Holy Day for the entire Australian people. The Left try to portray it as a celebration of militarism. All the troops marching through the streets can give that impression. But they overlook that on this day we actually celebrate a military DEFEAT. Pretty poor militarism. Two typical ANZAC day scenes below. Note the big crowd turnout.

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ANZAC commemorations are stlll widely embraced in Australia. To the undoubted chagrin of the Left, there are marches in most of our cities and crowds turn out to watch them and applaud.

What we are really doing on ANZAC day is remembering and thanking our war dead. And as demographer Berard Salt rightly notes, No family was untouched by the two world wars. Some of my relatives were among the dead.
The deaths among the ANZACS at Gallipoli were among the more insane of the military engagements of that war so we rightly praise the grit and endurance of those who participated.

I personally see war as the greatest of human follies. To have men marching into gunfire seems barely sane. Yet it happened and still is happening in Ukraine. Chapter 1 of the Bhagavad Gita makes most sense to me of any writing on the matter.

Yet I am not a pacifist I volunteered for service in tha Australian Army and reached the rank of Sergeant. I served in both the CMF and the ARA back in the 60s. I can see why some wars probably have to be fought, WWII, particularly. But WWI can be understood in the context of its times

I exist, however because both my grandfather and father never went to war. My grandfather was excused because he provided a highly skilled essential service. He was a bullocky. And transport is in huge demand during a war. My father volunteered but was rejected on medical grounds. He had a slight limp. I volunteered for the Vietnam war but failed to get a posting there. So here I am still kicking at age 80.

I think it is worth noting that the Gallipoli engagement was greatly marred by the cowardice of the British generals involved. The first landings were unopposed. The Turks were taken by surprise. But instead of charging to take advantage of surprise on as any German general would gave done, they decided to wait in place for reinforcements to arrive. The Turks used that warning well. If only the British generals had studied Vom Kriege in their staff colleges

Below is a commentary on ANZAC day by somepone who is far better qualified to speak than I am: Heston Russell, a special forces combat veteran.



Let the ANZAC Spirit Unite Our Divided Country

You don’t have to revel or revere the ANZACs, that is your choice. But we should always remember and respect what they did for us and all of Australia.

Throughout World War I, at a time when the population of our nation wasn’t even five million strong, nearly half a million young Australians decided to volunteer and fight for the freedoms of our allies on shores far away.

To board boats and sail waters never before travelled by so many, who were so young, with almost a quarter of their number to never return.

They went to fight for what we still hold dearest today—freedom. To help those in need and in such a way that they left the fingerprints of our island nation on the great places of history.

From the famous charge of our light-horsemen to what is modern-day Jerusalem, to the great Arc du Triomphe in Paris, where they still commemorate our ANZACs every day.

Their ultimate example on display for all who were there, our ANZACs stormed the shores of Gallipoli in a battle that etched the “Cooee“ echo of our soldiers forever in the history pages of the world.

Our Australian soldiers fought with such spirit and inspiration that it caused monuments to be made to the men they were—through their actions and attitudes facing perils I pray we will never again see on this earth.

But sadly, our military might was again needed to defend our homeland in World War II.

Again it was their actions, not simply their words, that defined their identity and that of modern-day Australia. As they fought without fear for themselves, to protect each other and the lands of our allies we wanted to protect.

Selfless service is epitomised by the blood and lives lost too young. So many in number that it would literally impact the gene pool of Australia for generations to come.

Regardless of what you may think of the ANZACs—truth, myth or any other opinion—their spirit is real and carried by those who carry the standards for Australians today.

Will you do what it takes to be counted in this number?

The greatness of our great nation depends on the strength of all our people and tribes put together.

Australia was once overpowered, colonised by those stronger in weapons, united in purpose, and resourced to do so.

The greatest lesson we must carry forward from this time is to reflect upon the risks we expose ourselves to, as people and a nation, should we continue to become separate tribes in conflict here at home. To provide the potential for these fractures and fault lines in our society to be exploited by those with sinister or selfish intent.

It is our actions and attitudes each day that will be the true mark of respect for our nation and all our people.

Let us show a truer love for our sunburnt country, protect our land of the sweeping plain, and progress all of our people and tribes together—inspired by the blood and spirit of our ANZACs that courses through our veins.

This is the ANZAC day message I want to carry forward. The competence and character of our champions fought with fury and respect for all including their enemies. Their example has set the standard for us to remember, reflect, and lead with, from today and each day forward.

I ask all Australians to please RESPECT the ANZACs—and let this value be the measure for how we treat each other, and ourselves, each and every day we share together on this earth.

Lest we forget.


Christian Bishop Wants Video of His Stabbing to Remain Online

This will put the cat among the pigeons. It will make the authoritarians of Left and Right who want to censor us explain WHY they want to ban this video. To my simple mind I cannot see any intelligent rationale for the ban. It happened so let us show it. People need to know what is going on, Not have it covered up. Bravo for the bishop

The Assyrian Christian bishop who was attacked during a live-streamed sermon has said he does not want footage of the incident removed from the internet.

The video of the multiple stabbing attack, is at the heart of an ongoing war of words and a legal battle between Australian authorities and X owner Elon Musk.

On April 22, lawyers for the eSafety Commission applied to the Federal Court for an injunction to compel the social media platform to block all videos of the incident across IPs globally—a request, X says, extends far beyond the jurisdiction of local authorities.

On April 24, during a case management hearing, X representative, Marcus Hoyne, provided an affidavit from injured Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel who said the video should not be censored.

“There’s recently been an affidavit … from the bishop, the victim of the attack, stating that he’s strongly of the view that the material should be available,” Mr. Hoyne said.

Mr. Hoyne also said the attempts by Australia’s eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant to implement a global ban on the spread of the video was “exorbitant.”

He further said the footage was now subject to the “Streisand effect”—the unintended consequence of attempting to hide, remove, or censor information—and instead, resulting in even more publicity.

Any move to remove the video would now be pointless because it had spread beyond the few dozen URLs initially identified by the eSafety commissioner.

The judge ordered the matter to be heard again on May 10 when X could supply more detailed arguments.

The attack occurred in the Western Sydney suburb of Wakeley with footage showing a 16-year-old walking up to the bishop during a live-streamed sermon, before the young man began repeatedly striking the church leader with a flick knife, which appeared to malfunction.

The incident occurred barely two days after a knife attack spree in the east of Sydney, at the sprawling Westfield Bondi Junction shopping centre, that resulted in six deaths.

Both incidents have spurred authorities to crackdown on “misinformation” and related videos on social media.


Jacinta Nampijinpa Price slams move to ban tourists from Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre after traditional owners' request - as she makes bombshell statement about Indigenous culture

Indigenous senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price has slammed a proposal to ban visitors from Australia's biggest lake to protect its Aboriginal cultural significance.

Thousands of tourists flock to Lake Eyre in South Australia's far north every few years when flooding rains moving down from Queensland transform the normally arid lake bed into into a spectacular kaleidoscope of colours, and attracts animals from far and wide.

It's also a sacred site for the Arabana people, who have lived in the region for millennia and are the lake's native title holders.

Under a proposed management plan, all recreational access to the lake bed will be banned out of respect for Arabana culture.

Swimming, driving, boating and landing aircraft on the lake are already banned, but the new plan would prevent visitors setting foot on its bed without permission.

Senator Nampijinpa Price slammed the move claiming that Indigenous culture had become the 'new religion' and that Australia was 'locking up' tourist hotspots around the country.

The shadow minister for Indigenous Affairs is concerned that another of Australia's natural wonders may soon be put off limits, with access determined by race.

‘There’s this trend going on around our country, where we’re locking the place up from visitors being able to see our own backyard,' Senator Nampijinpa Price told 2GB's Ben Fordham on Wednesday.

'We all belong here as Australians, we all belong to this country, we all have a significant connection to this country, especially if we’re born here, regardless of racial heritage.

'We’re shooting ourselves in the foot if we continue down this path where we’re going to limit access for the potential for tourism, growth and all other things.'

The senator also referenced the tourist ban at Mount Warning (known as Wollumbin by Indigenous people) near Murwillumbah in northern NSW.

The tourist spot once welcomed more than 120,000 visitors every year, but it has been off limits since 2020 despite some Indigenous elders questioning its cultural significance.

In the Northern Territory, tourists have been banned from climbing Uluru, formerly known as Ayers Rock, since October 2019.

Senator Nampijinpa Price believes Australian and international visitors should not be deprived access to such sites for no other reason than not possessing the right heritage.

'It opens the opportunity to for those who take advantage of the situation to create their own stories, control the narrative and control access to these places,' Senator Nampijinpa Price continued.

'I don't understand to what end really, why this has to take place.'

'It's almost become a new religion and everyone has to respect it.

'We've all got different cultural backgrounds as Australians and yes, we should respect it in our own way.

'But I was brought up that it was about sharing. It's about sharing understanding and knowledge and having something to be proud of.'

Lake Eyre is one of a number of culturally significant sites in SA to enforce strict rules around entry to visitors, including Koonalda Caves in the Nullarbor, Sacred Canyon in the Flinders Ranges, and Ngaut Ngaut Conservation Park.

The public can have their say on the proposed management plan until July 19 on the SA Department for Environment and Water website.




Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Police failures, racial bias cited at inquest for Indigenous teenagers who died almost 37 years ago

Claims that Aborigines have been badly treatd are no doubt true in some cases but this case is a stretch. There is no doubt that what happened was a road accident but there is some possibility that the driver in some ways behaved badly. And in response to that accusation the police brought the driver to trial and he was found not guilty. So how is that a police failure? It looks to me that the police went out of their way to be fair in the matter. The girls died in a road crash. How did racial prejudice cause that?

And if the driver did behave badly after the crash what evidence do we have that he would not have behaved similarly if the girls had been white? If such behaviour matters

A state coroner has found that racial bias within the NSW police impacted on what was an “inexplicably deficient” investigation into two Indigenous girls found dead on a lonely stretch of ­highway in NSW’s outback more than 36 years ago.

State coroner Teresa O’Sullivan on Tuesday handed down her findings in the Bourke courthouse – the same court where the man accused of killing Jacinta Rose Smith, 15, and Mona-Lisa Smith, 16, in a devastating road crash, and of molesting Jacinta’s dead body, was acquitted in 1990.

He died in 2017 without ever having spent a day in jail over the girls’ deaths.

She said the concerns raised by the families “on a number of occasions over the last few decades” about the “inadequacy” of the police investigation, which were repeatedly dismissed, had been “entirely vindicated” by evidence received in this inquest.

Mona’s sister and mother, Fiona and June Smith, and Cindy’s sister and mother, Kerrie and Dawn Smith, were in attendance on Tuesday. The coroner acknowledged their “unrelenting advocacy” for their “inseparable” young girls, calling the inquest their “final hope” for answers about the circumstances of their deaths, “albeit decades too late”.

“The grief and anguish of their tragic passing remains raw for their families,” the coroner said.

On December 5, 1987, Jacinta, a Wangkumara girl known as Cindy, and her cousin, Mona-Lisa, a Murrawarri and Kunja girl, died hours after they accepted a lift from Alexander Ian Grant, a 40-year-old white excavator driver.

Mona and Cindy, described as “young, bright girls sparkling with life and excitement”, entered the vehicle sometime after 8pm hoping to get a lift a short distance to the levee, but were instead “plied” with alcohol by Mr Grant whose conduct was described as “predatory and disgraceful”.

Ms O’Sullivan found that both girls died in the early hours of December 6 after sustaining injuries caused when the ute, travelling north on the Mitchell Highway between Bourke and Enngonia, ran off the road, and rolled over. The girls weren’t wearing seatbelts and were ejected from the vehicle, which “rolled onto” them, causing critical injuries including severe internal bleeding.

She found that Mr Grant was driving the car despite his initial claims to officers, and by his lawyers at trial, that Mona had been driving the manual ute when it crashed. She said “contributing factors” of the single-vehicle crash included “intoxication, fatigue, road speed and lack of lighting”.

Ms O’Sullivan also found, “horrifyingly”, that there was “some form of sexual interference by Mr Grant” including touching Cindy’s breasts or genital area “after she had passed”.

In a 1990 trial, Grant was charged with indecently interfering with Cindy’s corpse and culpable driving causing the deaths of both girls but was acquitted by an all-white jury.

The coroner found that it was “clear beyond doubt” that the initial investigation “suffered very serious deficiencies” such that vital evidence, such as Mr Grant’s truck, was not secured at the scene.

She said these “failures” in the hours, days and weeks following the accident had an “irreparable impact” on the investigation and its use in any future criminal prosecution.

The coroner also found that there was racial bias within the NSW police force at the relevant time and that “impacted upon the investigation into the deaths”, saying she had “little hesitation” in making that finding.

She placed “great weight” on the evidence of June and Dawn Smith “of their treatment in the aftermath of the girls’ deaths, and the numerous distressing failings they endured, which started with the manner in which they became aware of the girls’ deaths from other family members, rather than being formally advised by police”.

An officer at the scene also blindly accepted Mr Grant’s account that Mona had been driving the vehicle, which she said “cannot be understood without imputing level of unconscious bias on his part”.

The charge of sexual interference with Cindy’s body had been withdrawn by prosecutors at the 1990 trial because of a technicality - that the precise time of a victim’s death cannot be ascertained - without the family’s knowledge.

Ms O’Sullivan said she would write to the Attorney-General to “draw this issue to his attention” as to whether legislative reform may be warranted.


Unions’ vile anti-Israel diatribe

As Jewish families leave an empty place at their Passover tables in memory of the hostages still missing at the hands of Hamas, comments by ACTU president Michele O’Neil and secretary Sally McManus about Israel are ignorant. The pair have ignited a battle with Australia’s Jewish community, calling for the Albanese government to end military trade with ­Israel, enforce sanctions against Israeli government officials and ­inject a further $100m of humanitarian aid to Gaza and the West Bank. Bob Hawke, a former ACTU president who warned “If the bell tolls for Israel, it won’t just toll for Israel, it will toll for all mankind”, would be horrified.

In demanding immediate recognition of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, the union bosses do not appear to understand why a two-state solution is out of the question until Hamas, a proscribed terrorist organisation that controls Gaza, is defeated. Or does it not bother Ms O’Neil and Ms McManus that Iran is running a war to annihilate Israel through proxies, including Hamas, and is an implacable opponent of the US and its allies? The ACTU is living in “an alternative reality”, Zionist Federation of Australia president Jeremy Leibler said.

The union bosses’ views are immoral in view of the brutality and values of Hamas, seen in the unprovoked attack that killed 1200 people in Israel on October 7 and in the terrorist group’s kidnappings of 250 Israelis. The comments are contrary to Australia’s strategic and economic interests, and could help fuel anti-Semitism that has reared its ugly head in the past six months.

Israel, the Middle East’s only democracy, has superior military technology and outstanding intelligence capabilities. It has been a staunch Australian ally for more than 75 years and has “shared intelligence with us and thwarted terrorist attacks against our own interests, including against members of the Australian Defence Force”, as Peter Dutton said in his Tom Hughes Oration in Sydney a fortnight ago. In July 2017, a tip from Israeli intelligence helped authorities stop a plot to blow up an Etihad Airways flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi with a bomb smuggled in a meat grinder. Two brothers behind the plot were sentenced to 40 and 36 years’ jail.

Nor is the ACTU’s opposition to Australian companies supplying parts used in supply chains for F-35 fighter jets legitimate. Doling out bad advice on foreign and strategic policy is not the ACTU’s role, which is promoting the pay and conditions of its members. Rank-and-file workers deserve better from highly paid leaders who are remote from the interests of the nation and its allies. The Albanese government should ignore these officials’ rantings.


Peta Credlin slams Anthony Albanese over major problem with immigration after country reached worrying milestone

Sky News commentator Peta Credlin has taken aim at Anthony Albanese after a record number of immigrants were welcomed into Australia in just one month.

More than 100,000 immigrants came to Australia in February, after 765,900 arrived throughout last year, another all-time record.

The massive influx has raised fears it will strain the crippled housing and rental markets with new housing proposals being accepted at the lowest rate in 11 years.

This is despite the Albanese Government promising to bring immigration down to 300,000-per-year and build 250,000 homes.

Credlin said the inaction was also abetting social disharmony.

Ms Credlin, in her weekly column, said successive governments have 'increasingly sent signals to migrants that the culture of the country they’re coming to is built on a history of shame, illegitimacy, and racism'.

'Is it any wonder that some migrant communities become reluctant to integrate or insistent that Australia must change to accommodate their preferences, when weak officialdom will only fly our national flag apologetically, in company with two other flags representing people with a particular racial heritage?' she wrote.

'Or when our civic culture now seems to revolve around indigenous ancestor worship while denigrating the Judaeo-Christian basis of our fundamental institutions like the rule of law.'

She added that it is 'hardly the fault of immigrants' who chose to come to Australia, but that of governments who failed to 'insist on (them) joining Team Australia'.

'It’s way past time for governments at every level to start stressing unity over diversity, to rebuild a patriotic love of Australia, rather than to preside over the diminution of our national symbols, like Australia Day,' she wrote.

Credlin claimed the 100,000 migrants who came to Australia was 'significant'.

She compared the figure to the Howard government era where 110,000 migrants came on average every year during that period.

'It’s no secret then, why housing is unaffordable, wages are flat, and roads and public transport are clogged because that’s just what happens when you don’t have a population policy and instead, use migration as a way to make the budget bottom line look better than it really is,' she wrote.

Institute of Public Affairs deputy executive director Daniel Wild said high immigration rates with few properties being built is a recipe for a housing crisis.

'The data proves that the federal government’s unplanned mass migration program is unsustainable,' he said.

'It actively undermines Australians who are struggling to find a home as increasing demand and a lack of supply is pricing them out of the market.'

Australia's median capital city house price of $956,782, based on CoreLogic data, is well beyond the reach of an average, full-time worker on $98,218.

That's because banks are only able to lend 5.2 times their salary to someone with a steady job and a 20 per cent mortgage deposit.

The average wage would only be enough to buy a $639,000 home, which in greater Sydney would only buy a unit or a house 100km away from the city centre.

Renters are also suffering with 175,960 international student arriving in February, adding to competition for somewhere to live.


Sims: don’t saddle nation with high cost solar panels, wind farms

Former competition tsar Rod Sims has warned that embracing an ad hoc “Made in Australia” approach to the net zero transition by 2050 could “destroy” the chances of Australia becoming a clean energy superpower.

In an address to the Melbourne Economic Forum, the former chair of the ACCC warned against the nation embracing flawed approaches to achieving net zero and took aim at those who belonged to the “Made in Australia” camp as well as those whom he regarded as “market fundamentalists.”

Mr Sims, the chair of the Superpower Institute – a body dedicated to helping the nation capitalise on the opportunities of the green energy transition – used the address to warn against saddling the nation with high cost solar panels and wind farms.

But he also made clear there was a role for government in helping the nation make the most of the coming green revolution. However, he said any government support needed to be finely geared towards areas where Australia had a comparative advantage – such as in green iron.

He also listed a series of conditions that would be needed to govern any taxpayer support for industry.

First, he said assistance should be aimed at the so-called “superpower industries” where Australia “has or will have a comparative advantage due to the net zero transition.”

READ MORE: ‘Made in Australia’ sets new, dangerous course for Labor | What’s the point of PM’s flagship policy? | Future budget deficits to be Made in Australia | PM ‘betraying Hawke reforms’ |
Second, the purpose of any assistance needed to be clearly defined to address well-understood problems.

Third, there should be clear “qualification rules” for assistance and, fourth, support needed to be fully funded to ensure the nation maintained a strong budget position.

Mr Sims used the address to take aim at the proponents of the Made in Australia philosophy, arguing it was unclear – at this stage – what the policy was about or how it would work.

“We have the ‘Made in Australia’ group. The problem here is that it is unclear what this group seeks. Make everything we need, import nothing? What is the framework in this slogan for deciding what Australia does, and does not, make in Australia?”

He expressed grave concerns that simply throwing money at any green energy project would “destroy the Superpower opportunity.”

“Should government support be provided to ensure we make our own computers, cars, clothing?” he asked. “Without a clear framework Australia will take a series of ad hoc measures that invite rent seeking by businesses, raise Australia’s cost structure and lower our productivity.”

“The government’s current rhetoric around “Made in Australia” suggests there is a focus on projects relevant to the net zero transition. But again, what does this suggest we do? Is it ‘any green project deserves taxpayer support?’”

Mr Sims asked how the nation could achieve “low cost renewable energy if we are saddled with high cost solar panels, wind farms and electrolysers through a ‘buy local’ imperative?”

“Under this form of “Made in Australia” approach, Australia will not achieve the lowest cost inputs to the supply of such goods, so Australia will not be cost competitive in their supply, and the green traded products will not be as cost competitive with existing fossil fuel-made products.”

Mr Sims said such an approach would be damaging for three reasons – it would remove Australia’s ability to make the most of its comparative advantage in making green energy-intensive exports, it would displace budget dollars that could be better allocated and force labour into unproductive areas of the economy during a worker shortage.

His preferred approach to making the transition to net zero would only allow for goods to be made in Australia “where the economics have ‘flipped’.”

For example, Mr Sims said Australia was a leading exporter of iron ore, coal and gas.

“The “Made in Australia” camp, as some are expressing it, would have us use all these Australian ingredients and make iron metal in Australia now,” he said.

“There is no logic to government intervening in the choices the market has made; it seems best for Australia in the fossil carbon world to do as we are.

“We would undermine the advantages of other industries and see lower wages by having workers in always struggling industries who would be constantly lobbying government for help.”

But Mr Sims said it was sensible to make green iron in Australia, because this was an area where the nation had a comparative advantage.

“Green iron will very likely need green hydrogen as the reductant that gets the iron ore into iron metal,” he said. “Green iron should be made in Australia because the economics flip.”

“All overseas studies that I am aware of suggest that Australia is likely the cheapest place in the world to make green iron. And those seeking to make green iron by importing hydrogen, those studies say, will be uncompetitive.”

Mr Sims concluded that the world needed Australia to make many green products because the nation had more low cost renewable energy resources than its needed. By contrast, Japan, Korea, most of Europe and China did not have sufficient renewable energy resources to make all the electricity they needed.

“They will need to either import renewable energy, ammonia as a derivative of hydrogen and/or use nuclear energy – all at great cost – to meet their domestic electricity needs,” he said.

He concluded by arguing the government had not clarified what it meant by its “Made in Australia” agenda.

If it amounted simply to a suite of ad hoc measures that invited rent seeking by businesses and raised Australia’s cost structure while lowering productivity, the Made in Australia vision would only “kill the superpower ambition.”

“Australia cannot afford to follow this lead. Nor will it suit the world for this to happen,” he said.

“If the government is ... targeting producing goods in which Australia now has a comparative advantage in the net zero world, through clear qualification mechanisms that address well defined market externalities, the government must be applauded.”

“We will wait and see on May 14, budget night, which group they are in.”




Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Teachers’ group to focus on Palestine on Anzac Day

This is a lot of nonsense. The charge of the Australian Light Horse at Beersheba and related action was against the army of the Ottoman Turks, not Palestinians. It was incidentally the last successful cavalry charge in history so is well worth remembering as an achievement of Australian troops. And there is no doubt that charging into the guns of 1,000 Turkish riflemen in an entrenched position was heroic, if heroism matters any more

A pro-Palestine teachers group has excoriated the Anzac legacy just two days before Australia commemorates its military history.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the Teachers and School Staff for Palestine group called for the Anzac legend to be “dismantled” and linked a slaughter committed by World War One Anzac troops to the current war against Gaza.

Secondary schoolteacher Lucy Honan said it was important for students to understand Australia’s role in the Middle Eastern conflict.

“It is so important that students know that the Anzacs left a long and violent historical imprint in Palestine and in Sarafand al-’Amar in particular,” Ms Honan said.

“The British created a prison camp for Palestinian activists at Sarafand al-’Amar.

“The residents fled or were evacuated in the 1948 Nakba, and the site then became one of Israel’s largest military bases.

“This is a legacy to dismantle, not to glorify.”

The group has developed an educational resource for classrooms, aiming to redress current Anzac narratives and “enable rigorous, critical and empowering education”.

Primary schoolteacher Bill Abrahams said it was important to use objective teaching resources rather than relying on information from parties with vested interests in Israeli weaponry.

“Rather than depending on teaching resources published by the Australian War Memorial — which is funded in part by weapons companies implicated in the genocide in Gaza, like Boeing, Thales and Northrupp Grumman — we will use resources that help us and our students reflect critically on Australia’s military involvement in Palestine,” he said.

Teachers have been encouraged to foreground the massacre of as many as 137 people in the Palestinian village, Sarafand al-’Amar, committed by ANZACs in 1918.

The booklet is a 40-page resource featuring explanations about how Anzac Day relates to Palestine, the British Mandate, the Sarafand al-’Amar massacre, the 1948 Nakba, and many primary and secondary historical sources.

The group has connections within hundreds of schools around Australia.

Secondary schoolteacher Pippa Tandy, a member of TSSP, said the booklet was in line with curriculum requirements and was age-adaptable for different grades.

“People talk about Anzac Day as being about Australian identity, but a lot of people are feeling that we want an identity arising out of truth and honesty, rather than lies and obfuscation,” Ms Tandy said.

“We actually find by looking at the curriculum, looking at the outcomes we’re supposed to be achieving in school, we’re finding that talking about Palestine is actually not something we should be prevented from doing.

“It’s quite legitimate to talk about Palestine in the classroom.

“Obviously, we’re not promoting a particular point of view, but we are committed to the idea that there is no neutrality in genocide.”

She said while it was possible there could be backlash from parents, criticism had always been outweighed by support.

“If parents raise issues with us, we talk to them – and that’s the only way through,” she said. “Ultimately, by informing students about this piece of history, all we’re doing is educating them.”

An RSL Australia spokesman said the matter was “more for education authorities” but emphasised the importance of commemorating the lives of veterans.

“Whatever the political, constitutional and international treaty obligations prevailing at the time (WWI), the RSL’s role is to represent our veterans and remember and honour their service, commitment and bravery, and encourage all Australians to do the same,” they said.

“We do this continually, but particularly on Anzac Day, Remembrance Day and on other key commemoration dates.”


Victorian senator shares banned footage of church stabbing

There is certainly a widespread view that this footage should be censored but nobody has said why. The event happened and it is surely important that people know that such things happen. Censoring vision of the event will not make it go away. It is some sort of ostrich effect and its wisdom is highly debatable. Kudos to Senator Babet for being a voice of reason and free speech in the matter. He is our libertarian voice in Federal parliament. He was elected as a voice of free speech and he is being true to his mandate

Communications minister Michelle Rowland has accused UAP Senator Ralph Babet of “appalling behaviour" after he reposted a video of the Wakeley church stabbing to X with the caption: “To the Australian government and the eSafety commissioner go f**k yourselves”.

Senator Babet uploaded the video – which is currently subject to an injunction order – alongside a six-minute monologue in which he vowed to keep the video up and called the Liberals, Labor, and the eSafety commissioner a “threat to democracy”.

In a statement to Guardian Australia, Ms Rowland had harsh words for the Victorian senator, who was elected under Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party banner in the 2022 election.
“The Albanese government supports efforts by the eSafety commissioner to have this content removed from digital platforms in Australia,” she said.

“This is appalling behaviour by a serving senator and he needs to explain why he’s sharing this harmful content.”


WA Liberals to ban transgender drugs for kids

A pledge by Western Australia’s Liberal leader to ban the use of puberty blockers in children could be the start of a nationwide political battle on the issue, with party leaders in other states confirming they were scrutinising practices in the wake of a landmark United Kingdom review.

Libby Mettam on Monday declared that the Liberal Party, if elected, would ban the use of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormone treatments and surgical intervention for children under 16 for the purpose of gender transition.

She said her decision was based on the recent findings of the UK Cass Review – handed down this month – which recommended the National Health Service exercise “extreme caution” in prescribing masculinising or feminising hormones to under-18s.

The NHS England had already stopped the routine prescription of puberty blockers in the weeks leading up to the release of the Cass report, while two Scottish health boards have since said they were pausing the prescription of puberty blockers for children. The likes of Sweden and Finland had earlier introduced restrictions on the use of the drugs.

Ms Mettam said the Cass Review was the largest of its kind and had identified the long-term and permanent harm caused by interventions being used in WA.

“When experts are saying that the permanent side-effects can be liver disease, heart disease, obesity, infertility and other conditions, we must act,” she said.

“We owe it to the next generation of Western Australia to utilise and listen to the best evidence.”

Around 100 children a year are treated by WA’s Gender Diversity Service, according to data tabled in state parliament, and the youngest child to receive treatment last year was 10. There were 63 young people on puberty blockers in WA at the end of March, representing just 0.03 per cent of 12-17-year-olds in the state.

WA Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson accused Ms Mettam of politicising young people “to appease extremists in the Liberal Party”, and noted that a 2021 review of the state’s Gender Diversity Service found it to be sound and appropriate.

“The decision to use puberty blockers is rare and not made lightly. The decision is made between clinicians and families, after a comprehensive mental health and multidisciplinary team assessment,” Ms Sanderson said.

“It is not appropriate for politicians to interfere in clinical decisions.”

Ms Mettam denied the policy position was driven by ideology, instead arguing a precautionary approach was needed at a time when restrictions were being put in place in countries around the world.

Other opposition leaders on Monday echoed Ms Mettam’s concerns about the latest findings on gender treatments.

A spokesman for Queensland’s Liberal National Party said the party was very cognisant of the concerns around the “questionable practices” around gender services in the state.

The Queensland government earlier this year launched a review into the state’s Children’s Gender Service, which treats around 1000 patients a year, after several pediatricians called for a moratorium on gender treatments on children.

“We are awaiting the findings of the inquiry that the government promised would be completed by April,” the LNP spokesman said.

“We are calling on the government to release the terms of reference for the inquiry, and the inquiry report in full once it is completed.”

Victorian Liberal opposition health spokeswoman Georgie Crozier confirmed she too had been examining the findings out of the UK.

“The Cass Review is an important review that should not be dismissed,” Ms Crozier said.

“There are a range of medical views into this matter that need to be taken into consideration, and we will be guided by those medical and health professionals.” Dr Hilary Cass’s review this month found “remarkably weak” evidence around treatments such as puberty blockers, with results of studies either exaggerated or misrepresented by people on all sides of the debate to support their views.

The reality, Dr Cass wrote, is that there was “no good evidence on the long-term outcomes of interventions to manage gender-related distress”.

The findings of the Cass Review and the election commitment by Ms Mettam have been criticised by advocacy groups.

Equality Australia chief executive Anna Brown said matters of gender transition were deeply personal decisions that should be left to young people and the doctors and parents who support them.


Zombies cast fear across renewables dreamland


Last Thursday, the Queensland parliament passed a law committing the state to reduce carbon emissions by 75 per cent by 2035. Debate resumed at 11.44am, and the Energy (Renewable Transformation and Jobs) Bill was done and dusted in time for lunch. Back-slaps all round.

At 4.32pm on Friday, Ark Energy announced it was withdrawing its application to install 42 wind turbines at Chalumbin in far north Queensland following advice that the federal Department of Climate Change and Energy was about to reject it.

The meagre odds that Queensland can meet its legislated emissions target using renewable energy are now too small to be visible under a microscope.

For the wind industry, Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek’s rejection of Chalumbin is its Franklin Dam moment. It was a test case of the federal government’s willingness to weigh the environmental cost of installing turbines against the assumed benefits of low-carbon electricity.

Last July, when I drew national attention to the Chalumbin proposal in The Australian, I opened my column by noting that it would destroy 1000 of the remaining 8000 hectares of wet sclerophyll forest, the buffer zone between the rainforests and the open plains to the south.

Nine months later, the minister reached the same conclusion, telling The Guardian at the weekend the forest “provides a vital habitat for many birds, plants and animals, including the spectacled flying fox and the northern greater glider”.

Her decision measures how far the wind industry’s fortunes have sunk since June 2022, when the Queensland government approved the Chalumbin proposal under the corner-cutting assessment process. It applies to anything with the word “renewable” attached.

Bulldozers were ripping swathes through hundreds of hectares of remnant native forest at nearby Kaban, blasting 330,000 tonnes of rock and dirt from the sides of hills to build access roads and turbine pads bigger than football fields.

All of this was occurring without a squeak from environmental groups, every one of which appeared to have swallowed the renewable energy Kool-Aid and, in some cases, its cash.

Energy Minister Chris Bowen set a target of installing a giant 7MW wind turbine every 18 hours until 2030. He boasted of the number of projects in the pipeline, the implication being they were just a short step away from approval.

Today, the renewable energy industry has a name for projects that slip off the back of the pipeline: zombie projects. Last year was the worst year for the financial approval of renewable energy projects since 2016 and the worst for wind since 2015. The latest Green Energy and Investment Markets Review reports the window is closing fast on the government’s 2030 target.

Assuming an average of two years for construction, 8GW of new projects must receive financial approval every year from 2024 until 2027. That is almost five times higher than the amount approved in 2023.

Bowen could ill-afford the 400MW Chalumbin project to fall into the zombie zone, particularly since it was backed by Korean Zinc, a cashed-up corporation keen to get a slice of Australia’s renewable energy action.

Chalumbin signals to renewable energy speculators that the Dirty Harry days are over. The environmental costs of wind, solar, hydro and transmission will no longer be overlooked because of their assumed noble goal.

Now Plibersek has knocked back Chalumbin, it is impossible to see how she can approve the Upper Burdekin project in an equally sensitive area 4.8km from the boundary of the Wet Tropics World Heritage area.Global tech giant Apple read the writing on the wall a year ago when it walked away from an agreement to buy power from the proposed plant. Andrew Forrest, whose WindLab company is behind the project, might as well throw the towel in today.

The odds must be rapidly closing against Mt Fox, a 350MW wind turbine project in mountainous remnant forest on the edge of the wet tropical Girringun National Park, 50km southwest of Ingham. From there, the ruler must be run through cascading proposals hugging the Great Dividing Range to the Darling Downs. Few, if any, will be situated in already degraded environments since developers seek ridge lines that are unprofitable and, in many cases, impossible to farm. The remnant bush line has provided sanctuary for enough vulnerable and endangered creatures to fill Noah’s ark.

The Chalumbin precedent subjects every proposal to potential trade-offs. How many hectares of bulldozed koala habitat are too many? Which species are so unlovely, small or insignificant that we are prepared to sacrifice them in order to save the planet? If the same rules that apply to mining were applied to wind, solar and pumped hydro, the jig would be up.

Plibersek will be aware of her decision’s taming effect on the animal spirits of renewable energy speculators. On Saturday, she issued a keep-calm-and-carry-on press release announcing she had approved 63 wind turbines at the aptly named Mt Hopeful in central Queensland. “I’ve now ticked off 46 renewable energy projects … and we have a record 130 renewables projects in the approval pipeline.”

Yet the minister’s tick does not make Mt Hopeful immune from zombification. The developer, Neoen, still struggles to make the numbers stack up. Costs are ballooning as it discovers that making a project work on a spreadsheet is very different from making it work on planet Earth.

Even the environmental movement is waking up to the realisation that wind turbines might not be the answer to their prayers. Bob Brown, the father of the green movement, led the campaign to stop turbines chewing up birds in his home state of Tasmania. In Victoria, wetland conservation groups opposed the proposed terminal for offshore wind construction at the Port of Hastings, which Plibersek blocked in January.

The Chalumbin decision brought Queensland conservationists scurrying out of the woodwork to make out as if they had opposed the proposal all along. A year ago, all the Queensland Conservation Council was prepared to say publicly was that the issue was “complicated”. On Friday, the Council declared the Chalumbin decision as “welcome”.

“Today, our community breathes a sigh of relief as those important bits of nature remain intact,” said Lucy Graham, director of the Cairns and Far North Environment Centre.

It is too early to declare that the renewable craze has peaked, but that moment is a step nearer in Queensland, where expectations rise of an LNP victory at the state election in October. LNP leader David Crisafulli’s decision not to oppose Labor’s legislated target invites an intriguing question.

Since the LNP has pledged to pull back Labor’s renewable excesses, might Crisafulli be the first Coalition leader to seek an electoral mandate for lifting the ban on nuclear?




Monday, April 22, 2024

I own three properties and I'm sick of Aussies blaming landlords for the rental crisis. Here are the two things really driving our country into the ground

I can confirm that, by being careful with money, you can start off with nothing but still make money and own properties at a young age. I retired when I was 39 -- JR

A Gen-Z property investor who owns three properties has shut down claims landlords are at fault for Australia's current rental crisis.

Harley Giddings, 24, has worked hard since adolescence and in every job 'under the sun' to own a house and is now the proud owner of multiple investment properties.

The young investor posted a TikTok to his thousands of followers saying he often gets comments 'all the time' that blame investors for the housing shortage.

The savvy landlord said he can understand Aussies' frustrations but thinks this is 'misguided', firmly believing the sky-rocketing rents and housing shortage lie with high immigration and low building approvals.

'In 2022 and 2023 the government let in over a million migrants into the country,' he said.

'According the Australian Bureau of Statistics, this is the most amount of migrants Australia has ever let into the country since they started recording.

'These one million migrants were let in at a time when Australia already had a housing crisis.'

Mr Giddings said that when people arrive in Australia they are looking at renting and not buying, which is why so many people are at inspections for rental opens.

'Basic supply and demand,' he said.

The second reason the young property investor gave for the housing shortage in Australia was the low amount of homes being built.

'We are simply not building enough properties,' he said.

'In Victoria, my home state, we currently have the lowest amount of building approvals that we've had in the last decade.

'This issue is Australia-wide.'

The 24-year-old quoted research from the Institute of Public Affairs that by 2028 Australia's housing supply will be short by 252,800 homes.

Many Australians agreed with the young investor, also blaming the government.

'Absolute master stroke by the government,' one wrote.

'Not to mention all of Victoria's new tax laws on investments, landlords are getting rid of them,' one said.

'If you can't keep up with supply reduce the demand,' another wrote.


The flat-earth economics of a future made in Australia

With the government peddling economic nostrums from the 1940s, it is bit rich of Anthony Albanese to call Gary Banks a “flat-earther”. Thursday’s labour market figures could have been better, a 2.6 per cent annual growth rate needs lifting, but they could have been way worse – key indicators were stable or improving. So why does the government want to chance the economy on a new version of an old and failed idea – a state-led strategy based on picking winners with public money?

The Prime Minister spent the past week selling what is less a plan and more a platform for the next election, “a future made in Australia”. The idea is that because governments of other nations are investing in hi-tech industries we should do the same – whether or not Australia has a comparative advantage, whether or not it takes resources away from the industries that produced Thursday’s growth statistics. “This is about how Australia supports industries, which will be able to stand on their own two feet,” Mr Albanese said on Thursday in an interview in Adelaide. Professor Banks, the inaugural head of the Productivity Commission, is not convinced. Neither are his successors, up to and including the government’s hand-picked appointment, Danielle Wood, who was quick to warn there was a risk to “a whole class of businesses whose livelihoods depend on ongoing support” to survive.

Professor Banks’s response to Mr Albanese’s proposal is that it looks like more of the same old protectionism. “Import displacement is at the heart of both. Seeking to obtain benefits to society through ­subsidies for particular firms or industries, including in the form of tax concessions, has proven a fool’s errand, particularly where the competitive fundamentals are lacking,” he said in a Wednesday speech. To which Mr Albanese replied, when asked why Professor Banks was incorrect: “The world is round, not flat. That is why he is wrong.” It was not a response to inspire confidence among voters familiar with the decay of the old Australian economy, based on import taxes and public subsidies, for four decades from the end of World War II, which prime ministers Bob Hawke, Paul Keating and John Howard worked so hard to deconstruct. And it is not a response likely to inspire Jim Chalmers, who knows more than a bit about Mr Keating’s work. “We want to incentivise more private investment, not just replace it … a lot of the heavy lifting will be done by the private sector,” the Treasurer said on Wednesday.

The problem so far with “a future made in Australia” is that the incentivising will be done with public money. On Wednesday Mr Albanese announced $400m in loans for an aluminium processing plant in Gladstone. Also on Wednesday, Health Minister Mark Butler and Industry and Science Minister Ed Husic released the government’s medical science co-investment plan, which it wants the National Reconstruction Fund to support with $1.5bn. This is not so much a plan as a list of potential products and services Australian researchers are good at that may or may not make money. As such, it appears the outcome of political-economy enthusiasm, which assumes Australian research expertise merits reward for effort regardless of what the international competition is up to. Or, as the Prime Minister put it in Gladstone, “if we have confidence, if we have optimism and move forward, we can make things here”.

Mr Albanese said last week his plan to respond to “strategic competition” around the world “is not old-fashioned protectionism or isolationism – it is the new competition”. Maybe, but if it reads like protectionism, and appeals to protectionists, it’s more than probably misplaced protectionism. As Professor Banks warns: “Australia is in danger of repeating the wrong history.”


Queensland Introduces Bill to Set 75 Percent Emissions Reduction Target Into Law

Silly dream

Queensland Premier Steven Miles has introduced legislation into the state’s Parliament to cut climate change emissions by 75 percent.

The bill sets out emissions reduction targets in Queensland and also commits the minister to making 2040 and 2045 targets in the future.

The premier said he first became interested in climate change in 2007 when his wife Kim was expecting their son, Sam.

“Now, as the state’s premier, I think it is important to protect not just my children’s future but the future of all Queenslanders,” he said.

“Queensland is already the most disaster-affected state. We have experienced more than 100 disasters since 2011. They are the kinds of disasters that we know will be more regular and more intense as average temperatures increase.”

An explanatory note on the bill states the legislation aims to “support jobs and secure Queensland’s economic future by enshrining the state’s emission reduction commitments into law.”

The bill (pdf) sets out emissions reduction targets for Queensland of 75 percent below 2005 levels by June 30, 2035, as well as 30 percent below 2005 levels by June 30, 2030. In 2050, the law sets an emissions reduction target of zero.
“The Clean Economy Jobs Bill 2024 sets a clear emissions reduction target of 75 percent on 2005 levels by 2035—a responsible, credible, and critical target on the path to net zero emissions by 2050,” Mr. Miles said.

“The 75 by 35 emissions reduction target positions Queensland as a world leader on the pathway to net zero—a target that continues Queensland’s record of having reduced more tonnes of emissions than any other state or territory.”

In addition, the bill states that the minister must decide a target for reducing net greenhouse gas emissions in Queensland for 2040, along with a target for reducing net greenhouse gas emissions in Queensland for 2045.

“The minister must decide the 2040 interim target by Dec. 31, 2030, and the 2045 interim target by Dec. 31, 2035,” the bill says.

Reaction from Political Opponents

The Queensland opposition Liberal National Party has yet to announce an official position on the legislation, according to media reports, as leader David Crisafulli continues focussing on youth crime issues.

In response to the announcement, One Nation Australia, however, raised concerns the policy would drive up electricity prices.

“Don’t look now but Queensland Labor has just announced their new policy to drive up electricity prices, drive away industry, destroy jobs, and make the cost of living crisis worse,” the party said in a post to X.

James Ashby, One Nation’s candidate for Keppel at the state election, said, “Be upfront Miles, are you planning on ruining our beaches and reefs, our farmers, or both?”

Mr. Ashby drew on a Victorian Legislative Council report that said meeting net zero targets with renewables could result in 70 percent of Victoria’s agricultural land being repurposed for wind turbines and solar farms.

“So why don’t you tell the people how much of Queensland’s land and sea you are planning to deface for your climate alarmist agenda,” Mr. Ashby said on X.

A Queensland state election is due to be held on Oct. 26, 2024. By-elections will also be held in the seats of Ipswich West and Inala on March 16, 2024.

Demonstrating ‘Queensland’s environmental, social and governance credentials’: government

Explanatory notes on the Clean Economy jobs Bill 2024 state the legislation will help attract investment to Queensland and decarbonise the state’s existing industries.

The Queensland government said achieving the 75 percent emissions target is dependent on the state and federal governments working together.

The government said (pdf) legislating the state’s credible targets would “send an important signal to investors and demonstrate Queensland’s environmental, social and governance credentials.”

“Policy certainty will enable businesses and communities to make effective plans to secure their economic futures.

“It will enable industry to invest in innovation and new technologies in sectors like agriculture, resources, and manufacturing as well as leveraging Queensland’s world-leading solar and wind resources, new economy minerals, and proven workforce capability.”

The government said the bill will “protect Queensland communities” and “mitigate the impacts of climate change,” including for “Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

“Coordinated and early climate action will support the creation of more job opportunities in Queensland’s emerging clean economy industries like hydrogen, critical metals and minerals, and advanced manufacturing, especially in Queensland’s regions. It will help to support jobs in existing industries by ensuring they remain competitive and meet market expectations in a decarbonising world.”

Australian Institute for Progress executive director, Graham Young, said, “As Anthony Albanese has just demonstrated, it’s easy to legislate, and it’s almost as easy to repeal. Which is just as well as they will never meet these targets in this time frame,” in a post to X.


In maths, truth and knowledge can’t be mere matters of opinion

From an analytical philosophy viewpoint, mathematics is a set of conventions with useful properties. If you break those conventions, you destroy its usefulness
In universities across the world, humanities departments have, over time, come to reject the notion that there is such a thing as objective truth.

This nihilistic outlook was originally promoted by a small group of academics in the mid-20th century, but is now the dominant philosophy in a range of disciplines from literary criticism to gender and cultural studies. And while the doctrine has quietly swallowed the humanities, many thought it would never infiltrate the hard sciences. If one is engineering a bridge, for example, it would be reckless to reject the objective truth of gravity. If one is studying mathematics it would be foolish to deny that 2 + 2 = 4.

Yet the notion that postmodernism would stop at the walls of the hard sciences looks naive in retrospect. In recent years, efforts to “decolonise” the sciences have been successful in New Zealand with Maori “ways of knowing” to be taught alongside chemistry, physics and biology in science classrooms. Commenting on the New Zealand policy, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins has described it as “pernicious nonsense”.

To understand Dawkins’ ire, it’s worth digging a little deeper into what “decolonising science” actually means. It is an outgrowth of a larger push to “decolonise knowledge” inside the universities. Academics leading this movement explicitly reject the notion there are objective facts that can be discovered via rational or scientific inquiry.

And, rather than being a method to discover how the world works, such theorists argue Western science has been used as a tool to subjugate others. Efforts to “decolonise” science are therefore efforts to undo this subjugation, by bringing into the fold other “ways of knowing” that exist outside scientific methodology. These might include local knowledge about land management, religious knowledge about cosmology, or traditional ways of healing.

Writing in The Conversation, academic Alex Broadbent, of the University of Johannesburg, argues: “There is African belief, and European belief, and your belief, and mine – but none of us have the right to assert that something is true, is a fact, or works, contrary to anyone else’s belief.”

But if we are to treat this claim seriously it takes us to some interesting destinations. It would mean ignoring modern medicine in favour of traditional healing practices when treating cancer or heart disease. It would mean denying the laws of physics that allow planes to fly safely, based on myths about human flight. And it would mean disregarding engineering standards for building safe bridges, roads and buildings, because such standards derive from colonial methods.

Of course, this would be highly impractical. In the real world, we do not recognise the opinions of flat-earthers are equal to those of astronauts, or the knowledge of a psychic is equivalent to an oncologist. We recognise that while everyone is deserving of respect and dignity, not all opinions – or indeed “ways of knowing” – are equal in standing. But recognising the validity of science does not mean we cannot respect or study Indigenous culture. A deeper understanding of non-Western cultures is important – and we have an entire academic discipline devoted to just that. Anthropology exists to study the practices, cosmologies and knowledge systems of Indigenous populations.

Yet decolonial thinkers will argue that by isolating the study of Indigenous ways of knowing the anthropology department is itself a form of oppression.

From their perspective, knowledge grounded in spirituality and folklore should not be seen as mere cultural artefacts, but as being equal to physics, chemistry and biology. Decolonial activists reject the hierarchy that places scientific rationality above superstition and intuition.

Australia is not immune to this line of thinking, and neither are the hard sciences at our most prestigious institutions. The Australian National University’s Mathematical Sciences Institute this month released a press statement about a special topics course in Indigenous mathematics. Course convener Rowena Ball is quoted as saying “Indigenous and First Nations peoples around the world are standing up and saying: ‘Our knowledge is just as good as anybody else’s − why can’t we teach it to our children in our schools, and in our own way?’.” The press release also states that “Numbers and arithmetic and accounting often are of secondary importance in Indigenous mathematics”.

What are some forms of Indigenous mathematics? The example given by Ball is directions in smoke signalling. “One interesting example that we are currently investigating is the use of chiral symmetry to engineer a long-distance smoke signalling technology in real time,” she says. Theory and mathematics in Mithaka society were systematised and taught intergenerationally. You don’t just somehow pop up and suddenly start a chiral signalling technology. It has been taught and developed and practised by many people through the generations.”

Commenting on her assertion that smoke signalling is a sophisticated form of mathematics, Jerry Coyne, a professor of evolutionary biology at the University of Chicago, said bluntly: “I don’t find this at all convincing … patterns of smoke, like drumbeats, is a kind of language, and how to make the patterns and get them understood correctly is based on trial and error. Where does the math come in?”

In establishing a special topics course for Indigenous mathematics, the ANU is trying to serve two masters. On the one hand, universities such as ANU want to portray themselves as vanguards of social justice, in an attempt to attract students and placate activist staff. Yet on the other hand, these same institutions seek to justify collecting public funding and student fees on the premise that they provide a rigorous and substantive education.

But herein lies the irony – by indulging the decolonial activist agenda that rejects the existence of objective truths or a hierarchy of knowledge, universities undermine the very premise on which society deems them worthy of public funding. If we accept the decolonial notion that no form of knowledge can be deemed superior to any other, then what exactly are students paying for? What specialised skills or benefits do university graduates gain that non-graduates lack?

The contradiction is that the university as an institution exists solely because certain forms of systematised knowledge were historically elevated above others and deemed worthy of dedicated study, preservation and expansion. So why should the public continue to fund these multibillion-dollar organisations if the knowledge they offer is just as valid as any other “way of knowing”?




Sunday, April 21, 2024

Suicide of 10-year-old Aboriginal boy in the care of Aboriginal relatives described as 'unimaginable'

The "stolen generation" myth put about by Leftist historians means that social workers trying to help a neglected Aboriginal child are obliged to rehouse the child with other Aborigines, who are often as feckless as the neglectful families.

If the old custom of fostering the endangered child into a white family had been followed, the boy would almost certainly still be alive. Attention-seeking Leftist lies can kill

A suicide prevention advocate says a 10-year-old Indigenous boy who took his own life in Western Australia is the youngest child to have died by suicide in child protection on record.

The boy, who cannot be named, died on Saturday night while living with a relative while under the care of WA's Department of Communities.

Veteran advocate Gerry Georgatos said there were "high categorical risks" of suicide in child protection.

"One so young it should be unimaginable, particularly in care under the state," Mr Georgatos said. "He's the youngest recorded suicide in child protection custody in any form of out-of-home care."

The boy was found by his carer in the back room of the home.

The 10-year-old's parents had not seen him for eight months and had been working towards being reunited with him.

Mr Georgatos has been offering support to the boy's family in the wake of the tragedy. He said the family was "distressed" and "devastated". "The father described to me that he just collapsed in front of the police, the mother was distraught. They couldn't believe it," he said.

The boy has been in child protection custody for several years, according to Mr Georgatos.

"There are laws that prohibit a family from speaking out. And that is actually a tragedy in itself. Because the families want to speak, they want to say his name," Ms Krakouer said.

"He's this beautiful little boy, 10 years old." She said the "angelic-faced boy" was taken into state care in 2020.

"The father and the mother, they couldn't pay their rent. It is a poverty narrative across the country," Ms Krakouer said.

Ms Krakouer urged the Department of Child Protection to give custody of the parents' remaining children back to them.

"In terms of the mum and dad, they're beautiful, strong, solid people. They're kind," she said. "There is no reason for them not to have their children returned."


Aussies ‘locked out’ of national parks to protect cultural heritage

A growing number of Australia’s most beautiful natural environments are being closed off to the public for opaque cultural heritage reasons, with one commentator labelling it a “crazy” trend that’s creating “bad vibes” between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.

In NSW, the four-year closure of Mount Warning in the Northern Rivers region’s Wollumbin National Park has been a long-simmering controversy.

The breathtaking mountain, which once attracted more than 100,000 people a year, was initially closed to the public amid Covid restrictions in 2020 and in 2021, the local Aboriginal owners requested the track be closed permanently.

The Wollumbin Aboriginal Place Management plan stated that the mountain was considered a “men’s site” and that the “sanctity” of Wollumbin Aboriginal Place “may also manifest physically”, making people sick or putting women in “physical danger”.

“For example, if women access areas that are restricted to men, women are in physical danger and likewise for men,” the plan stated.

The closure sparked protests as some people defied the ban to climb the peak. It was revealed earlier this year that the private security guards had been hired to the tune of $7000 per week to keep people away from the mountain.

NSW parliament is now preparing to debate whether Mount Warning should be reopened after a petition, sponsored by Libertarian MP John Ruddick, gained more than 10,000 signatures.

“The petitioners of New South Wales state that Mt Warning, which has been walked by visitors young and old for generations, has been closed to all but select Indigenous males by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, in violation of liberal democratic principles,” the petition said.

“The petitioners request that the House call upon the Minister for the Environment to reopen Mt Warning’s summit track so it can be enjoyed by all, regardless of race or gender.”

Mr Ruddick told 2GB’s Ben Fordham earlier this week that it was about time the issue was properly debated.

“Mount Warning is one of the biggest reasons people come to NSW,” he said. “Mount Warning is the most beautiful national park NSW has. Mount Warning is a warning to all of our other national parks. We’ve got to draw a line in the sand here.”

NSW Environment and Heritage Minister Penny Sharpe has indicated she no plans to reopen the mountain, however.

Speaking on his Friday program, Fordham said “if you think this is an isolated case, think again”, as he outlined several similar examples.

In 2019, climbing was banned on Uluru, ending a decades-old tradition for visitors to the Red Centre, in recognition of the rock’s cultural significance to the Anangu people.

Fordham argued that the while “most Australians accepted it” at the time, “it was just the thin edge of the wedge”.

“Then it was the Grampians in Victoria, many iconic rock climbing routes were closed to the public in 2020,” he said.

“The shutdown was allegedly to protect rock art, including some art that is invisible to the naked eye — let that sink in. Then they came after the Glass House Mountains in Queensland. Restrictions have been proposed on three summits in that area, including Mount Beerwah.”

And in South Australia’s Flinders Rangers, St Mary Peak, the highest point which “people have been climbing for decades” was also now closed.

“Now there are signs requesting visitors stay away from the summit,” Fordham said.

“But wait, there’s more. In Alice Springs, Mount Gillen has been shut, walking tracks have been closed. Are you starting to see what’s happening here? Australians are being locked out of more parts of their own country, and in many cases Indigenous people can’t agree on the reasons why.”

He added: “Make no mistake, we are damaging tourism with this, we’re punishing people who’ve done nothing wrong, and we’re essentially creating bad vibes between Indigenous communities and other communities. I reckon future generations will think we’re crazy.”

Last year, a section of rock at Mount Beerwah, considered a sacred Indigenous site to the Jinibara people, was defaced with a message reading “Jesus saves just ask him”.

Jinibara elder Kenny Murphy told The Guardian at the time that he believed the vandalism was “clearly payback” for efforts by traditional owners to stop people climbing the mountain.

“The mountain is very important, it’s like our St John’s Cathedral, it’s a special mountain to us,” he said.

“Why can’t we have that respected? It’s just bulls**t what they’ve done, this is a birthing site, it has a special meaning to us, but Jesus is clearly the only spiritual thing this person understands.”

He added, “They want to show that there isn’t anything significant to the mountain, they would’ve cried if it was their cathedral. They can’t just leave us alone, they’ve killed our way of life, killed all the animals, poisoned our waters, and now this. It’s a big insult to us.”


Schools have been ordered to use this teaching method. Will staff comply?

This should be a non-issue. A good teacher will do both things: Get the kids thinking first then tell them what they need to know

Last month, every public school teacher across the state was told they would be getting some training.

On their first day back from the autumn holidays, a professional learning session would cover explicit teaching.

For some veteran educators, it meant revisiting what they had known for decades and covered in teachers’ college. For their younger colleagues, explicit teaching – where students are given clear, step-by-step instructions – represents the industrial-era model of schooling their university lecturers taught them to fear.

Explicit teaching typically involves telling students sitting in rows the steps required to perform a skill or task at the start of the lesson before allowing them to practice it. In contrast, inquiry learning means confronting students with a problem and asking them to try and work out the answers for themselves, similar to how a scientist might. Advocates say inquiry-based learning fosters more in-depth understanding and deep thinking. Explicit teaching adherents believe inquiry learning is ineffective, wastes time and unnecessarily confuses students.

While schools in NSW over the past two decades have adopted inquiry-based learning, conservative voices in the education sector have been increasingly agitating for the use of explicit teaching.

Backed by academics who had studied the science of learning, The Australian Education Research Organisation reviewed more than 328 studies and found explicit instruction was an effective teaching practice across a variety of contexts for different subgroups of students.

In the wake of that evidence, the NSW Department of Education told staff this month that teachers would be supported “to ensure explicit teaching strategies are embedded in every classroom”.

“Explicit teaching is effective when learning is new or complex because it is responsive to how the brain processes, stores and retrieves information,” an email sent earlier this month said.

At a recent meeting in Sydney’s CBD at the headquarters of the conservative think tank, The Centre for Independent Studies, University of Texas education researcher Sarah Powell gave a talk alongside Australian maths teacher Toni Hatten-Roberts. Both are explicit teaching proponents and believe students should rote learn certain facts, such as multiplication tables, in primary school.

Powell said when schools prioritised inquiry-based learning, they missed out on opportunities for children to learn their times tables.

“It ends up a lot of the time related to socioeconomic status – parents who have the time and the knowledge and the wherewithal are practising their [multiplication] facts, they’re doing flashcards, they’re singing the songs, and they’re doing this in the car as they go to soccer practice,” she said.

“There are other parents who don’t have the time. They’re working two shifts at the hospital and they maybe don’t even know that they should be practising [times tables] in the home. It ends up being the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer.”

Like the decades-long reading wars or the maths wars that have gripped US educators, the debate between explicit and inquiry learning has morphed into a kind of culture war in Australia, where academics’ views are pitted against right-wing think tanks.

While those who adhere to the inquiry ideology believe more in-depth learning happens when students work things out for themselves, those who see the value in explicit teaching believe students must have the ability to perform mathematical calculations using well-rehearsed procedures quickly and accurately.

Students should also be able to recall some facts, like times tables, to the point of automaticity. Doing so, they say, provides a strong foundation for higher-level mathematics skills needed for problem-solving, reasoning, and critical thinking, as well as real-world problem-solving.

In response to the department’s explicit teaching focus, university academics across the country rose into action to criticise it for overemphasising explicit instruction. They described it as unproven by research while undermining teachers’ professional authority.

Western Sydney University senior lecturer Dr Lynde Tan acknowledged a variety of skills could be taught and improved through explicit teaching, but research found the method was laden with inherent risks and required precautions.

The teaching style behind the state’s top-performing schools
“These risks include: students’ over-reliance on the teacher as the knowledge provider inhibits self-directed learning, which is a key 21st-century skill in today’s fast-paced, ever-changing world. The rigidity inherent in explicit teaching prioritises recall of facts and rote learning over critical thinking,” she said.

Associate Professor Jorge Knijnik said the edict undermined teachers’ professional autonomy. He said explicit teaching, which was centred around the teacher who does most of the talking, could complement more contemporary approaches to maximise learning.

NSW Mathematical Association president Katherin Cartwright told the Herald that explicit teaching and inquiry-based learning were not mutually exclusive.

“It is not free-for-all when you see inquiry-based learning. It is a joy to see kids understand how something works and why it works,” she said.

“Death by PowerPoint seems to be returning. Now all these teachers are making PowerPoints for every single lesson. You might get immediate results on tests, but it is not giving them deep knowledge and skills in how to reason.”

But Dr Greg Ashman, a maths teacher, author and long-time proponent of explicit teaching said occasionally explaining a concept or skill to students was not the same as using explicit instruction in every lesson.

“As long as I have been arguing about explicit teaching versus inquiry learning, I have had people respond that their version of inquiry learning includes a lot of explicit instruction. What they mean is that they occasionally explain things to students,” he said.

“However, that’s quite different to a systematic approach where all concepts are explained, and all procedures demonstrated before students are asked to use these concepts and procedures. That’s what I mean by explicit teaching.

“I honestly have no idea how NSW is going to train all its teachers in explicit teaching in a day, especially given the entrenched inquiry ideology.”

The push towards explicit teaching is part of the NSW Department of Education’s plan for public education, which has a focus on reducing gaps in student outcomes, due to structural inequities.

NSW Teachers Federation deputy president Amber Flohm said explicit teaching was a valuable methodology but cautioned against making it mandatory.

“Explicit teaching must not be mandated. Ultimately, teachers will adapt and adopt when explicit teaching is critical, but there are other times when students demonstrate understanding of a concept, the teacher should be able to use their judgment.”

The Herald asked the department how it planned to monitor whether teachers were actually using explicit teaching in light of opposition from proponents of other methods. A spokesman did not directly answer that question, but said it could survey students and parents to ask them about their experiences of explicit teaching.


Appalling official censorship




Thursday, April 18, 2024

Australia's Olympic uniforms were unveiled on Wednesday, with big changes

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The green and gold used previously made sense as a reference to Australia's founding on gold mining and farming but all I see here is blue jackets and white skirts with yellow splotches on them that make it look like the ladies have wee'd themselves. They will be a laughing stock. Some people just don't know when to leave well enough alone. It's supposed to be "creative" but you need talent for that. Just being different is not enough

A number of hopefuls took to Clovelly Beach in Sydney to pose in their new outfits - which a global audience of over one billion people will see - while morning swimmers took to the waves.

The biggest twist of them all is the colouring of the uniform.

The classic green has made way for a trendy teal for the games in France

'We're on the fashion stage and we wanted to make our athletes proud, as well as putting a contemporary feel into the uniforms,' said Elisha Hopkinson, chief executive of APG & Co, owner of official uniform supplier Sportscraft.

'We have to use the green and gold. For us, the priority is making sure that the colours sing and feel contemporary.'

'Over the years, the shades of green have changed, and in Sydney 2000 we had the ochre blazers, but I think the green is beautiful,' added Olympic gold medallist and former senator Nova Peris. 'Just as important is having Indigenous identity and culture embedded in the uniforms.'

'It helps athletes understand that when you represent this country you don't just represent 250 years, you represent 65,000 years.'

The blazers will be worn over tank tops or white T-shirts, while stone chino shorts also feature teal and gold details.


What to do with a queer Iranian illegal immigrant?

He is right to think he would be hanged if he returned to Iran but the "refoulement" regulation says you cannot send him to any other place where he might be persecuted. That rules out the Muslim world and Africa. So where do you send him? Who else would want a queer Iranian?

And you cannot give him permission to live in Australia as both major parties have a policy that illegal arrivals will not be resettled. And any wavering on that policy would restart the flow of parasitical Muslim illegals

An Iranian asylum seeker's indefinite detention is not punitive, Australia's solicitor-general has argued, because he would be freed if he co-operated with attempts to deport him to his home country, despite his fears of the death penalty.

The detained 37-year-old man, known as ASF17, has taken his legal bid for freedom to the High Court in a case that could determine the fates of hundreds of immigrants and government policy.

Authorities have attempted to deport him to Iran every six months since 2018, when his asylum seeker visa was refused.

But as a bisexual man, ASF17 could face the death penalty upon return.

As a result, he has refused to co-operate and Solicitor-General Stephen Donaghue KC says this means his detention is not punitive.

"Where a person can be removed with their co-operation, that can't be characterised as punitive, whether or not the reason for non-co-operation was a genuine fear of harm," he told the court on Wednesday.

ASF17 had previously urged the government to remove him to any country other than Iran.

"Take me back to where you picked me up in the high seas, even take me to Gaza," the asylum seeker said during a Federal Court cross-examination, his lawyers recalled on Wednesday.

"I have a better chance there of not being killed than if you take me to Iran."

Dr Donaghue argued refugee applicants can genuinely fear what may happen on return to their home countries, but this may not be "objectively well-founded".

The government had investigated the possibility of deportation to a third country, but this could inflame diplomatic tensions or lead to the risk of refoulement, Dr Donaghue said.

ASF17's barrister Lisa De Ferrari SC said without being offered other deportation options, her client remained indefinitely detained.

"They've straitjacketed themselves and now they're turning the table on my client, saying 'you've been very unreasonable by not helping us get you to Iran'.

"How can it not be punitive (when) there's never any end point?"

His case springs from a November High Court ruling, which found it was unlawful to indefinitely detain people with no prospect of deportation. About 150 immigration detainees were released as a result.

The appellant wants this expanded to cover people who refuse to co-operate with authorities on their deportation.

The Federal Circuit Court previously ruled the continued immigration detention of a Baha'i man from Iran was unlawful and he was immediately released.

"This is another case that says, whatever has been happening to people who are vulnerable and have come to Australia for protection, they cannot be indefinitely detained," his lawyer Alison Battisson told AAP.

"It creates a precedent that somebody has non-refoulement obligations owed to them."

Baha'is are a persecuted religious minority in Iran and Australia has signed international human rights treaties which include the principle of non-refoulement, meaning refugees cannot be sent back to countries where they face persecution.

ASF17, who is not Baha'i, first arrived on Australian shores by boat in 2013 and has been in detention for a decade.

There are about 200 other people in a similar situation, and Human Rights Law Centre legal director Sanmati Verma said the government was using indefinite detention as a way to "coerce people into returning to danger".

In an attempt to pre-empt ASF17's hearing, the government tried to ram through laws to prevent a release of people from immigration detention.

Under the proposed laws, which could affect more than 4000 people, those who refuse to co-operate with the government over their deportation could spend up to five years in prison.

The legislation would also give the home affairs minister power to ban visa classes of relatives of asylum seekers who come from blacklisted countries that do not accept deportees.

But it was blocked in parliament and sent to a senate inquiry.

The High Court has adjourned and is yet to decide when it will hand down its decision.


Australia has reached a new immigration milestone with more than 100,000 foreigners arriving in just one month for the first time ever

The landmark total is eight times the number of new homes approved and is set to further fuel the worsening housing crisis.

February's net intake of permanent and long-term arrivals was 105,460 - almost double January's 55,330 level, new Australian Bureau of Statistics data showed.

This occurred as a large number of international students moved to Australia for the first semester of the university year.

Australia's capital cities also have rental vacancy rates under one per cent as construction activity fails to keep pace with booming population growth.

The 12,520 houses, apartments and government units approved in February was only one-eighth the monthly net immigration arrival figure, with capital city rents surging by double-digit percentage figures during the past year.

Institute of Public Affairs deputy executive director Daniel Wild said this was a recipe for a housing crisis. 'Australia's migration intake remains out of control, with promises to "normalise" arrivals in tatters,' he said. 'Combined with plummeting housing construction approvals, Australia is being set up for a disaster.'

Treasury's Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook forecast Australia's annual net overseas migration figure would moderate to 375,000 in the 2023-24 financial year.

But that is hardly happening, with 498,270 net arrivals in the year to February, covering permanent skilled migrants and long-term arrivals like international students.

A record 548,800 migrants arrived in the year to September, with the foreign influx making up 83.2 per cent of Australia's population increase.

The population growth pace of 2.5 per cent, with births included, was the fastest since 1952.

Mr Wild said high immigration was locking Australians out of the housing market.

'The data proves that the federal government’s unplanned mass migration program is unsustainable,' he said.


Another attack on housing

It had to happen in Victoria. With property investors already hit with a range of new land taxes from the state government, a shire council in the prosperous Mornington Peninsula region has now broken ranks with a plan for a levy on new property builds.

Awash with retirees, holiday homes and a rising population of one-time CBD workers who now operate from home – the expensive region, just 40km south of Melbourne, has little room for low-income housing.

Earlier this week the Mornington Peninsula Shire, which covers wealthy enclaves including Portseas, Sorrento and Flinders, put forward a plan to impose a social housing levy of 3.3 per cent on all new developments.

Despite recent activity, Victoria continues to have the lowest proportion of total housing stock allocated to social housing in the country.

As a new property tax, the Mornington move could become a test case – it has the potential to cover everyone from big time developers to “mums and dads” who want to build a home for themselves.

Cate Bakos, the director of the Property Investment Professionals Association, says: “This is a dangerous play, it is out of the blue and we have seen no consultation on it. Social housing needs to be funded, but not by a narrow segment of the population.

“This region became much more expensive after the pandemic – but a tax like this ignores the ‘permanents’ in the district who want to live in their home area.”

The levy proposal – which would add around $35,000 on average to new homes – is now out for community consultation.

The move will be watched closely by councils across Australia, especially in popular sea-change districts where social and low-income housing is an acute issue. The Queensland state government has already made a short-lived attempt to introduce new property taxes in 2022.

Across Victoria weak returns and high taxes have combined to offer mounting evidence that investors are already quitting the regional market.

A survey from the PIPA late last year of more than 1700 investors found the exodus was particularly pronounced in Melbourne, where a quarter of property investors who responded sold at least one rental home in the past year.

Melbourne is the weakest performing of the larger cities with price gains of just 11 per cent since 2020, against double that return in Sydney.

More broadly, the city is tracking at just one-third of the 33 per cent price increase seen nationwide since mid-2020, according to research group CoreLogic.

Just a year ago, the Victorian government put the property sector firmly on the front line when the state budget introduced taxes on property development windfalls and short-term rentals where an “Airbnb tax” was introduced at 7.5 per cent of annual ­revenue.

As The Australian reported at the time: “Just as the property sector was trying to digest these changes, Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas announced a few more tax moves for good measure. In October, the government announced it would widen a vacant residential land tax (that included holiday homes) from a handful of inner-city suburbs to include the entire state.”

The Mornington proposal will ultimately need to be signed off the Victorian state government.