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?


Also see my other blogs. Main ones below:

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

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

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

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

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

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


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