Friday, May 25, 2018



Now the nanny state wants control of YOUR chocolate bar: Calls for graphic tobacco-style warnings on junk food - with claims 80% of Aussies will be overweight by 2025

Just a small problem:  How do we decide what is "junk" and what is not?  A big Mac was once said to be junk because it contained fat.  But fat is now said to be good for you. A big Mac may be unprestigious but there is no certainty that it is bad for you.  Its bad name seems just pure snobbery

There are calls for graphic warnings, similar to those on cigarette packets, to be introduced on junk food packaging to fight skyrocketing obesity rates.

Health experts want graphic images including fat-covered hearts, to be branded across junk foods after it was revealed 80 per cent of Australians would be overweight by 2025 if drastic action wasn't taken.

The call comes after a study found images like fatty hearts or decayed teeth displayed on packaging would successfully deter someone from making unhealthy choices.

Speaking on Sunrise on Thursday, commentator and lecturer Jane Caro supported the idea. 'It would literally put you off your food,' she said. 'It's proved very effective with [cigarettes] it's something we should look at with junk food.

'I think all of society has to come together and make junk food as socially unacceptable as cigarettes have become.'

Melbourne's 3AW presenter Tom Elliott disagreed. 'Can you imagine going to a kids party and having to display all these pictures of diseased organs?' he said. 'If you have it on junk food how do you separate it from kids and adults. 'If it's up there at a Maccas and kids are being taken to Maccas, kids are not going to enjoy the experience too much.'

The University of Melbourne and Cancer Council Victoria study, which was published on Thursday, found negative text combined with explicit images, was twice as effective at sending a message, than negative text without the image.

For the study, 95 hungry participants were shown colour pictures of 50 different snack foods ranging from chips, chocolate bars and biscuits to nuts, fruits and vegetables.

They were asked to rate on a scale how much they would like to eat each food at the end of the experiment.

In addition, participants' brain activity was monitored with electrodes attached to their heads.

The results revealed the warning labels prompted participants to exercise more self-control rather than act on impulse.

'The study shows that if you want to stop people choosing fatty and sugary packaged foods, health warnings actually work,' said study co-author, Dr Stefan Bode.

'It sheds light on the mechanisms in the brain that underlie the effects of health warning messages on food processing,' Dr Bode said.

Cancer Council Victoria behavioural researcher Dr Helen Dixon said the graphic images worked because they 'disrupt' the strong cues - like taste - that images of junk foods elicit. This then allows a person to consciously consider the health implications of their food choices, she explained.

Obesity Policy Coalition executive director Jane Martin says the use of packaging should be used for good, not for bad. 'This research demonstrates that powerful, relevant information on food packaging can influence people and push them away from junk food,' said Ms Martin.

'Poor diets and being above a healthy weight are risk factors for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. To address this Australia needs a comprehensive strategy, which should consider improved labelling,' she said.

The public health advocates have called on the government to make the graphic labelling mandatory, as part of the revised Health Star Rating System.

SOURCE 





Is Bill Shorten going to bring back the boats? Labor leader under pressure to bring 1,341 asylum seekers being held offshore to Australia within 90 DAYS if he's elected PM

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is under pressure from his own party to bring more than 1,300 asylum seekers to Australia within three months if Labor wins the next federal election.

A pro-refugee group from his own Victorian branch is demanding an end to offshore immigration detention, despite such a policy causing a dramatic surge in boat arrivals when Labor was last in government and the deaths of 48 people at Christmas Island.

The motion, revealed by the Guardian Australia, called on a Labor government to 'close offshore detention centres, transit centres and other camps on Manus and Nauru within the first 90 days, and to bring all the children, women and men who are refugees or seeking asylum remaining there to Australia'.

The cross-factional Labor for Refugees group within Mr Shorten's party is putting forward an urgency motion at this weekend's Victorian conference calling for all remaining asylum seekers to be transported to the Australian mainland within three months.

The activists are demanding an end to the detention of asylum seekers at Christmas Island, Manus Island in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific island of Nauru, which would see 1,341 boat people brought to Australia.

However Bill Shorten said Labor was committed to offshore detention and clarified that state conference motions on border protection weren't binding on national policy.

'Labor's policy on asylum seekers is clear – we will never let the people smugglers back in business,' a spokeswoman told Daily Mail Australia today.

'Labor believes in strong borders, offshore processing, regional resettlement and turnbacks when safe to do so because we know it saves lives at seas. 'Resettlement in Australia for those on Manus and Nauru is not an option.'

When Labor last won an election from Opposition a decade ago, it immediately ended the Howard government's Pacific solution.

This led to a surge in boat arrivals, rising from just three in the 2007/08 financial year, to 117 in 2009/10.

Or put another way, the number of asylum seekers surged from 25 to 5,327, figures from a Parliament House research paper showed.

The policy change also coincided with the deaths of 48 people, mainly asylum seekers from Iran and Iraq, as their boat sunk and washed on to cliffs at Christmas Island in December 2010.

Former federal Labor leader Mark Latham described the Labor for Refugees motion as a 'sickness inside Labor'. 'Labor For Refugees want to repeat all these errors, all those deaths,' he told his 64,892 followers on Wednesday.

'It's a tragic example of people losing their marbles in life, blindly putting ideology, a borderless world, ahead of practical policy lessons and common sense.'

The surge of boat arrivals in 2012 led to then Labor prime minister Julia Gillard reopening the Manus Island detention centre.

Since then, seven asylum seekers have died there, including a Rohingya refugee this week.

Ms Gillard's Labor predecessor Kevin Rudd took back his old job in a party room coup in 2013 and soon declared boat people sent to Manus Island would have 'no chance' of ever being settled in Australia.

Department of Home Affairs data shows there were 330 asylum seekers detained at Christmas Island and 269 at Nauru as of March 31, 2018.

It listed a zero figure for Manus Island, however that was because the detention centre there, which previously housed 742 people, was closed down with its residents transferred to the nearby, low-security Lorengau facility.

Were Labor for Refugees motion to become government policy, 1,341 asylum seekers would be brought to Australia.

The Australian mainland is already housing 1,059 asylum seekers, including 101 in Bill Shorten's own Melbourne electorate of Maribyrnong.

SOURCE 





Pauline Hanson claims immigrants are forming 'dangerous ghettos' in Sydney - after Labor leader said white families have been forced to leave a suburb that took in 6000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees

Pauline Hanson says immigrants are forming ghettos in parts of Australia and the situation is becoming so bad there will be 'no-go zones' that even the police will avoid.

Appearing on the Today show on Thursday, the One Nation Party leader praised New South Wales Opposition leader Luke Foley for starting a conversation on the 'white flight' from parts of Sydney.

Mr Foley said on Wednesday white families were being forced out of western Sydney suburbs, such as Fairfield, after it took in 6000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees.

'I've been saying this and I said it 20 years ago. I said there'll be places in Australia that we won't even recognise as being Australian,' Senator Hanson said.

'I said they're forming ghettos and that is exactly what is happening and people are starting to talk about it.'

Senator Hanson again backed the NSW Opposition leader, and claimed 'people are forced out of their homes that they grew up in'. 'They don't want to live in these suburbs anymore because [immigrants] are not assimilating,' she said.

Senator Hanson warned the situation would only become more extreme as the Australian government accepted more immigrants.

'There'll be ghettos here, and there'll be places like there are in France and Sweden and other countries around the world that will be no-go zones,' she said.

'We won't even go in those places, the police will be told not to go in those zones. Even now, the police don't want to go in those areas. 'Good on Luke Foley, because it needs to be debated.'

Senator Hanson acknowledged it was a sensitive subject, but said it was an important conversation people needed to stop tip-toeing around.

'Let the people have their say. Stop shutting us down because the lefties believe that you're offending people,' Senator Hanson said

Mr Foley said on Wednesday he was particularly concerned about Sydney's south-west suburbs taking in a disproportionate number of refugees and forcing white Australians out.

'It's all right to come up with a grand gesture of we'll take 10,000 Syrian or Iraqi refugees but where's the practical assistance?' he told The Daily Telegraph.

'I'm saying, what about that middle ring of suburbs that have experienced, if anything, just a slow decline. In terms of employment, in terms of white flight - where many Anglo families have moved out?'

'I'm not prepared to see the people of those suburbs denied opportunities that are taken for granted elsewhere.'

In January, it was announced at least half of the 12,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees coming to Australia would be settled in Fairfield City Council, a trouble-prone area with nine per cent unemployment and high levels of drug use. 

Fairfield and the surrounding area is home to more than 200,000 people, many from non-English speaking backgrounds. Fairfield has settled 75 per cent of the Syrian and Iraqi refugees moving to western Sydney.

One of the fastest growing areas in Australia is Cobbitty-Leppington in Sydney's south-west, due to high immigration. Iraqi-born residents make up more than a third of the recent arrivals, which is more than 10 times the Sydney average of three per cent.

SOURCE 





Sexism? Medical clinic comes under fire for charging patients an EXTRA $7 to see a female GP

Patients have been left outraged after a medical centre charged MORE money for them to see female GPs.

The Melbourne clinic, Myhealth North Eltham, has come under scrutiny after it was found charging patients more for standard consultations with female GPs than it does for a consultation with male GPs.

A sign displayed in the clinic showed the discriminatory pricing policy - and it's attracted criticism online.  

The photograph was uploaded to Twitter with the caption: 'This is so f***ed. My friend goes to Eltham North Clinic in #Victoria, and they've just instituted extra fees for female doctors because "women's issues take longer". Surely this is illegal ... if it's not illegal, it's still outrageously sexist.'

The post was shared online by the user's followers, who also vented their anger.

One user said: 'If you're asking people who are paid 30 per cent less to fill that 30 per cent wage gap, it doesn't help. It means even greater financial inequality for those at the bottom.'

Another added: 'I don't think this is the scandal you think it is. I'd pay more to see a female colleague knowing they get ~30% less take home pay than their male counterparts. On top of fewer opportunities, and institutional/societal sexism.'

According to Fairfax, Federal Health Minister Greg is calling for an urgent investigation of the matter.

Kristen Hilton, Victoria's Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner told The Guardian, the Melbourne clinic may be breaking the law and it can be considered discriminatory for charging patients more to see female GPs.

'It is against the law for doctors to treat someone unfavourably because of their gender,' Ms Hilton said.

SOURCE 





Claims emerge that a mass exodus is afoot at 2Day FM with staff refusing to work with controversial feminist host

Tensions at Sydney radio station 2Day FM are reportedly reaching 'breaking point' after an insider claimed that people just 'can't work' with host Em Rusciano.

The Daily Telegraph reported that 'several people' had departed the show while others were seeking new employment.

A source told the publication: 'Things are at breaking point, people just cannot work with her [Em's] energy. There have been... casualties at the hands of Em Rusciano.' 

The insider added: 'The audio producer is now working on another show, the publicist is refusing to work with her and one of the producers has told the company that they are looking for other work.'

Meanwhile, Em's previous co-host Harley Breen departed the show last November following just one year on air.

The comedian herself has spoken out about the changes at 2Day FM.  Talking to Wil Anderson on his podcast last week, Em expressed her frustrations at the radio station.  Em, 39, claimed the breakfast program was 'her show' and that she has 'taken all these big ego hits' since new co-hosts Ed Kavalee and Grant Den­yer were brought in at the beginning of the year.

She said: 'It was hectic. It was the Em Rusciano Radio Show - it was my show! 'And then all of a sudden Ed's anchoring and the show's called "The 2Day FM Breakfast Show."'

The mother-of-two confessed she was 'hurtling towards an implosion in the next six months' and said the solution to her problems could be to 'leave' morning radio for good. 'I don't think I'm suited to breakfast radio - I struggle with it,' Em added.

SOURCE 

Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here



Thursday, May 24, 2018



"Righteous" critics of a reasonable statement

In the age of Twitter, you must emote appropriately.  A plea for balance is not possible amid grief

Former Queensland premier Campbell Newman is standing by a series of tweets he made about police "creating total and utter chaos" around the Brisbane CBD when responding to a pedestrian hit and killed by a bus this morning.

A woman was crossing Ann Street near the intersection of Wharf Street just before 7:00am when she was struck by a bus. She died at the scene.

Police closed the intersection for hours and asked motorists to avoid the area.

In response, Mr Newman shot out a series of tweets, saying police could have handled the situation better to minimise traffic disruptions:

"There must be a better way for the Qld Police to deal with a tragic pedestrian death than to shut down the entire northern side of Brisbane and create total and utter chaos extending more than 5 km from the CBD."

"And for those of you who don't agree, what about the surgeons and doctors who didn't get to the hospitals on time, the cancer patients who were heading for treatment, the kids who had exams, the people who missed job interviews etc. etc.

 Gee. What would they say if someone had died in the back of an ambulance this morning that had been injured in an incident elsewhere but couldn't get to the RBH in time due to the traffic? Let's stick to the point rather than name calling and invective"

They were quick to attract criticism.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Mr Newman's criticism was uncalled for. "Someone has lost their life, a family will be grieving tonight and I think it's very sad to hear that Campbell Newman has come out and criticised police," Ms Palaszczuk said. "The police have to undertake an investigation as quickly as they can where that event occurred."

Queensland Police Minister Mark Ryan said police took appropriate action at the scene.  "I must say that I was appalled by comments made by former premier and former Brisbane lord mayor Campbell Newman about the police management of traffic while they were taking the necessary steps to investigate and respond to this morning's tragedy," Mr Ryan said.

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington also voiced her disappointment at the comments made by her party's former leader. 

Speaking to the ABC, Mr Newman said he stood by his tweets, that he recognised the tragedy of the situation, but there was a need to examine if there was a better way of handling such incidents.

Mr Newman said police needed to consider the potential danger of delaying medical staff on other urgent tasks elsewhere in the city. He said if he were still premier, he would have invited the Police Minister and Police Commissioner to his office to discuss the matter.

A Queensland Police Service (QPS) spokesman said it handled the scene of Tuesday morning's fatality by the book. "It is standard procedure to close a road where a fatality has occurred while investigators from the Forensic Crash Unit conduct thorough scene examinations without interference from traffic," the spokesman said. "The QPS is also conscious of ensuring scenes of fatalities are managed with dignity and respect for the victims and their families.

"On this occasion, a traffic alert was issued to the public within minutes of the incident and local diversions were put in place while the intersection was closed to traffic for two hours."

SOURCE 







'Lucy Turnbull has a way of life most people don't': Pauline Hanson slams the Prime Minister's wife for 'out of touch' comments that Sydney has plenty of room for more immigrants

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has slammed Lucy Turnbull for saying Sydney is far from full.

Speaking in a television interview on Tuesday night Ms Hanson said the Prime Minister's wife has a standard of living and way of life many Australians don't.

The Queensland senator said Mrs Turnbull, head of the Greater Sydney Commission, is out of touch and unable to judge whether the city can accept more immigrants.

'I don't think she's in a position to say whether Sydney is full or not full, Ms Hanson told Alan Jones on Sky News.  'For Lucy to say "Oh, Sydney can take more people" you might have your standard of living Lucy ... she's got her way of life, many many Australians don't have that.'

Ms Hanson, who sensationally withdrew her support for the government's corporate tax plan earlier this week, said people are 'screaming' for immigration to be halted.

On Tuesday Mrs Turnbull, former Lord Mayor of Sydney, told The Daily Telegraph the city is far from full, while discussing the commission's recommendations.

Social media users backed Ms Hanson's comments, bringing up Mrs Turnbull's multi-million dollar mansion in exclusive Sydney suburb of Point Piper. 'Lucy needs to venture out of that harbourside abode of hers and see what's happening in the real world,' said one Twitter user. 'Her husband's high-immigration program is overloading and trashing our major cities.'

'Point Piper's not full. Plenty of room for a refugee camp,' said another.

Callers to talkback radio agreed, flooding an open line to slam Mrs Turnbull's comments on 2GB.

'With all due respect Mrs Turnbull, it mightn't be full at Point Piper, but come to south-west and western Sydney and you'll see it's more than full,' said one caller.

'But let me tell you, and it's an open invitation to you Lucy, I'll chauffeur you around.' 'I'll show you the explosion of many high-rise apartments, particularly in my area in north-western Sydney, which are unwanted,' said another.

Mr and Mrs Turnbull bought one harbourside property for $5.4million in 1994, and purchased a neighbouring home for $7.1million five years later. They used the second purchase to expand the waterfrontage of the first property - now estimated to be worth tens of millions - and sold the rest for $13million.

Mr Turnbull's net worth was estimated to be over $200million dollars in 2015.

SOURCE 






Bringing a new meaning to nanny state: Primary teachers forced to answer 1,000 questions about their students' progress every five weeks so school's can assess their 'feelings and needs'

Teachers are being made to fill in over 1,000 questions about the progress of their students every five weeks under a new system that will assess how children 'express feelings and needs.'

The new Assessing Literacy and Numeracy (ALAN) program is 'over the top,' according to NSW Primary Principals Association executive Rob Walker.

Mr Walker told the Daily Telegraph some schools had been forced to hire relief teachers just to enter data.

The process involves grading every K-2 child on 791 literacy and 307 numeracy indicators every five weeks.

A spokesperson for the program said it will 'help track students movement along the literacy and numeracy continuum.'

Teachers will need to fill out an online form marking each child on listening, speaking phonics, grammar punctuation and interaction.

The Assessing Literacy and Numeracy program is being implemented at 661 schools across NSW this year.

The questionnaire software, called PLAN 2, will be available to all teachers by the end of 2018.

A spokesperson for Education Minister Stokes said PLAN 2 is just one way the department is hoping to improve the learning experience.

'The Department is always looking at better ways to help students and support teachers,' the spokesperson said.

SOURCE 







'Just work a little bit harder': Liberal politician is heckled by an ABC audience for calling on women to stop being 'bitter' about not being promoted at work

A female politician was heckled by an ABC studio audience for declaring women needed to work harder and stop being bitter if they had failed to get promoted in the workplace.

First-term Victorian Liberal senator Jane Hume told the Q&A program that women, being half of the population, needed to stop thinking of themselves as a minority.

'I really dislike being patronised as if I am a minority,' she said.

The 47-year-old Melbourne-based senator, who is opposed to gender quotas, stirred up the Monday night audience when she suggested women needed to get by on their abilities instead of demanding special treatment. 'We are capable of anything but we are entitled to nothing,' she said.

'We have to work for what we want and for women that don't get there, the trick is work that little bit harder.

'Don't get bitter, get better. Work hard. Nothing that is worth getting doesn't come without hard work.'

Senator Hume's call for women to work harder antagonised the Q&A audience, where 41 per cent of the studio spectators identified as either Labor or Greens voters, compared with 32 per cent who declared themselves as Liberal or Nationals supporters.

The panel discussion took a tense turn when Senator Hume, a former banker, suggested an African schoolgirl in the audience from Melbourne's western suburbs, Sarah Ador Loi, could get ahead if she joined the Liberal Party and was mentored.

Macquarie University research fellow Randa Abdel-Fattah hit back by referencing the senator's skin colour. 'Spoken like a white, female politician,' she said as she sipped on a glass of water.

The Muslim academic, who grew up in Melbourne, suggested Sarah would not have the same connections to become a politician as someone who came from the wealthy suburb of Toorak.

The discussion had also focused on how just 21 per cent of federal Liberal Party politicians were women, compared with 44 per cent in the Labor Party, which has had gender targets since the mid-1990s.

SOURCE 






Commuters are ditching public transport and choosing to drive to work because their travel times are DOUBLING as Sydney struggles to cope with population growth

Sydneysiders are spending almost twice as long on public transport as commuters living in bustling cities like San Francisco and Madrid, a new report has revealed.

Urban growth experts claim the city is approaching a tipping point where fed up residents will boycott public transport and further clog up roads by driving to work. 

International urban expert Professor Greg Clark, who authored the report, said the problem was made worse by Sydney's inability to cope with population growth.

'Public transport is struggling with capacity as passenger demand from new developments around train stations increases,' Professor Greaves told the Sydney Morning Herald.

'Sydney's population is growing at a higher rate than many other global cities and we're playing catch up.'

The report found that Sydney's commute times are well above what is normal for the population.

It also found Sydney's brand didn't reflect the reality with the city performing lower than its reputation in about 300 benchmarks.

The city is fragmented by over 30 local councils which was identified as contributing to the issues with other cities such as Totonto, Copenhagen, and even Brisbane having more efficient larger centralised governing bodies.

Property Council of NSW executive director Jane Fitzgerald said Sydney is not operating as well as it could be.

'We need to get our planning and city policies right to ensure we don't fall behind comparable cities across the world,' she said.

When all performance benchmarks were taken into account Sydney ranked 13th in the report, Melbourne 20th, and Brisbane ranked 40th.

Coming in at the top of the best performing cities across the 300 benchmarks were London, Singapore, Paris and New York.

SOURCE 

Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here


Wednesday, May 23, 2018



Birds are dropping dead off Australia's coast, and it's all our fault (?)

There is no doubt of the problem but its real cause is getting the Nelson's telescope treatment.  The marine plastic debris does NOT come from developed countries such as Australia.  Such countries have efficient waste collection systems (garbage trucks) which take the waste to a place where it can be dissposed of responsibly. So the debris is not from Western countries.  It comes from AFRICA and ASIA -- where people dispose of their rubbish by tossing it into their local river -- whence it flows to sea.

But reforming Africans and Asians is "too hard" so the do-gooders pretend that the problem is where it is not.  To admit its real source would be politically incorrect.

If they could bear for any length of time to admit reality, they MIGHT be able to do something useful for the problem -- putting garbage collection barriers across the mouths of the major African and Asian rivers.  But that would be too practical, of course.  Much more attractive to go around finger-pointing and criticizing your own society.



Deep in their burrows, hungry shearwater chicks on Lord Howe Island await a meal. Their parents have been scouring the sea in search of fish and squid. Instead, they return to feed their babies clothes pegs, bottle tops and Lego pieces.

The flesh-footed sheerwater population at Lord Howe Island is dwindling due to a tidal wave of marine plastic being mistaken for food.

After 90 days the fledglings emerge from their burrows, stomachs bulging with plastic. They prepare for their first flight. Many are so malnourished they die outside the nest. Others make it to the beach, but their undeveloped wings flap in vain and waves engulf them.

Ian Hutton, a naturalist and museum curator on Lord Howe Island, pulls the bodies off the beach. Researchers slice open their stomachs to confirm the cause of death. Once, they found 274 plastic fragments.

“It’s so upsetting to think this bird has been reared by its parents, it’s been fed and it should have a chance to go to sea but it’s died,” he said.

‘When you cut the stomach open and pull out the plastic, some people actually cry when they see it.”

The flesh-footed shearwaters embody what the United Nations has called a “planetary crisis” posed by an unremitting tide of marine plastic.

In the few decades since mass production began in the 1950s, plastic waste is overwhelming rivers and oceans – tossed into waterways, carried by stormwater and winds, and lost overboard from boats.

In Australia 1.5 million tonnes of plastic were used in the year to June 2013 - about 65 kilograms for each person. Only 20 per cent was recycled [The rest went to a proper tip]

Brisbane City Council this week committed to banning plastic straws, single-use plastic bottles and helium balloons from all council events. Environmentalists say other federal, state and local governments can do much more.

University of Tasmania marine eco-toxicologist Jennifer Lavers said the birds “are not picky eaters” and easily tricked by ocean plastic. She said the birds’ numbers are declining due to a range of pressures.

NSW Greens MP Justin Field, who travelled to Lord Howe Island this month, said single-use plastic items such as straws or utensils were often unnecessary and could be limited through stronger regulation.

“It is going to require much more than a recycling mentality. It might even include banning single-use plastics,” he said. “It wasn’t that long ago that food courts had ceramic plates and stainless steel knives and forks. We need to return to that type of thinking.”

A Senate report in 2016 presented 23 recommendations, including developing alternatives to plastic packaging and urgently putting marine plastic pollution on the Council of Australian Government agenda.

The federal government has not responded to the report. It is developing a threat abatement plan to reduce the impact of debris on marine life – a draft version of which Mr Angel described as “unbelievably weak”.

A NSW Environment Protection Authority spokeswoman said the government’s Return and Earn scheme will help meet the state goal of reducing litter volumes by 40 percent by 2020, and 320 million drink containers had so far been returned.

Most major supermarkets will voluntarily phase out lightweight plastic shopping bags this year and NSW was taking part in a national microbead phase-out. The mass release of gas filled balloons is against the law in NSW.

The federal Department of the Environment and Energy said a recent meeting of environment ministers agreed all Australian packaging should be recyclable, compostable or reusable by 2025 or earlier, that Australia’s recycling capabilities be increased and waste reduction be encouraged through consumer awareness, education and industry leadership. A national waste policy will be updated this year and government agencies will prioritise projects that convert waste to energy.

SOURCE 




Elsternwick Primary School in Victoria fenced off an old  tractor in the playground as a health and safety risk to children



A school has caused outrage by banning children from a playground tractor. Elsternwick Primary School in Victoria fenced off the tractor because it was deemed 'too dangerous' and posed a health and safety risk to children.

One father Glenn Riseley protested by posting a picture of his son playing on the tractor to Facebook. He wrote: 'Just asked my son why there's a fence around this old playground tractor? 'Apparently some bureaucrats with cardigans and clipboards and diplomas in clipboard management did a 'safety audit' and deemed it too risky... so it has to be removed.

He added: 'It seems the biggest risks to children these days are lack of physical activity, excessive screen time, poor nutrition and an alarming epidemic of type 2 diabetes, online bullying and mental health issues. None of which are connected to cemented in old red tractors.'

Commenters on his post agreed. One wrote: 'World gone made' while another said: 'Growing up on a farm and riding in dad's rusty Bedford truck was the highlight of my childhood.'

Mr Riseley told Daily Mail Australia: 'The lad on the tractor is Oscar. He’s four years old. He starts at Elsternwick primary school next year. His older brother is already there. Sadly the tractor won’t be when he starts.

'It's not the school's fault - Some overpaid public servants with too much time on their hands I suspect.'

SOURCE 





Australia needs to fix its hospitality reputation before infrastructure boom

WORKING weekends and public holidays for slashed penalty rates and increasingly disinterested customers has turned Australia’s hospitality industry into a place where not many people want a job anymore.

Across Australia’s cities and especially in the nation’s regional towns, the hospitality industry is on the brink of a crisis.

Most young people dip their toe into the waters of hospitality for jobs while studying.  But even as a stepping stone, fewer and fewer young people are embracing hospitality.

The industry now has a 28 per cent vacancy rate, according to findings from Edith Cowan University lecturer Dr Edmund Goh, as older people retire and the younger generation refuse to fill the vacancies.

Previous studies on past generations, cited by Dr Goh, found high turnover patterns were “a major human resource problem in this dynamic industry”.

A 2017 survey from hospitality software provider Impos also found more than half the businesses it spoke to had difficulty hiring and retaining staff.

While young people continue to reject hospitality as a viable industry, the nation keeps growing, attracting tourists and building the infrastructure to complement that.

In Brisbane alone, projects along the city’s river, including at Queen’s Wharf and Howard Smith Wharves and the proposed concert venue Brisbane Live, will guarantee thousands of new jobs — most of which will fall into the tourism and hospitality sector.

The tourism infrastructure is great news for the Queensland capital — but bad news when its locals won’t want to be the ones servicing the new tourist hubs.

The Brisbane revitalisation is expected to create a whopping 9000 more jobs over the next two years.

In a bid to find answers to Australia’s growing gap between the tourism boom and a lack of people to pick up the jobs that go with it, Brisbane hosted the World Tourism Forum.

The forum’s chief executive Martin Barth told the Brisbane Timesthe answer lies in making hospitality “sexy” again. “The image of working within the tourism industry has changed,” he said.

“A poor salary and long hours may be right, but there are also business and international opportunities, so let’s tell that story and show the world how interesting the industry is.

“It’s not just long hours and weekends, let’s see what is important to the young generation and see what we need to do to make it sexy and attractive for them.”

Listening to the complaints of marginalised and underpaid workers might hold the key.

Maddy McCormack, who has worked in the hospitality industry for six years including at restaurants in NSW and Victoria, said getting “screwed over” in the industry was a given.

“I don’t get paid penalty rates and the only time I received some extra pay was because when I was told I was working Anzac Day, I asked my boss, ‘What will my public holiday rates be?’” she told news.com.au. “She said she’d check with her bookkeeper and I was paid a few extra dollars per hour. I don’t know if anyone else got the same.

“On Mother’s Day we all worked 12 hours straight because we had tables coming in all day — no break or time to stop and eat something.

“Sometimes on a weekend, they’ll pay you your pay for the week even when you’re still working. How can they clock me out when I’m still working?”

The Melbourne uni student, who currently works at a Middle Eastern restaurant in the city, said workers’ tips were also a big issue. “Sometimes I’ll be paid a little bit extra, if tips are like $37 for everyone they will pay you $40 or something.

“When I used to work at a pizza restaurant it was similar, we’d share our tips and they’d all go into a tip jar and once every blue moon you’d see an envelope with some cash in it. Often they’d use it to buy things we needed or breakages in the restaurant and stuff,” she said.

And in February last year, hospitality’s depressing reputation wasn’t helped when the Fair Work Commission decided to slash Sunday penalty rates.

Full-time and part-time hospitality workers had Sunday rates slashed from 175 per cent to 150 per cent. Sunday rates for casuals remained at 175 per cent.

Full-time and part-time fast-food workers had their Sunday rates cut from 150 per cent to 125 per cent.

SOURCE 





Q&A: ‘The royal wedding has killed off the idea of Australia becoming a republic’

THE ROYAL wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was one of the most watched televised events in the world’s history.

But what was it about this real-life fairytale that captivated some two billion people around the globe and 2.5 million Australians?

It was a topic that the ABC’s Q&A panel discussed on Monday night’s program, prompting fierce debate about whether or not the couple’s undeniable popularity signalled a collective desire for Australia to shun the notion of becoming a republic once and for all.

Panellist from The Australian, foreign affairs editor Greg Sheridan, described the royal wedding as “genius PR by the British royal family” because it had greatly improved its public image.

“I’m sure Harry loves Meghan and Meghan loves Harry, but this was a strategic marriage,” Mr Sheridan said. “It makes the monarchy multicultural, hip, and suddenly people of colour can identify with the royal family.”

Victoria Liberal party senator Jane Hume said she was initially concerned about the wedding “turning into a bit of a circus” because of the “Markle debacle” that plagued the family in the lead up to Saturday’s ceremony. But her fears were soon allayed.

“I was really proud and had a little tear in my eye, along with most Australians, on Saturday night,” Ms Hume said.

“I was watching it and the football at the same time. I love the fact Harry and Meghan do tend to bring a more contemporary edge to the monarchy and make it more relevant for young people.

“They feel more accessible and more approachable. I think they take their humanitarian work very seriously. It’s a terrific addition to the monarchy.” It was a sentiment echoed by thousands of Australians who declared their admiration for the royals on social media while watching the royal wedding.

But according to Ms Hume, intense interest in the royal wedding did not equate to the concept of Australia becoming a republic having been “killed off”. “I think it’s an entirely separate issue and an awful lot of republicans were watching. Had a tear in their eye,” she said. “I think you could have enjoyed the royal wedding without being a monarchist.”

Opposition minister for ageing and mental health, Julie Collins said Australia was a “free and independent country” and should have its own head of state. “I’ve always believed that,” she said.

“The royal wedding hasn’t changed my mind and I don’t think it will change many other Australians minds. “[The royals aren’t] relevant to Australia anymore. Yes, it was a lovely wedding. Yes, they’re clearly in love.”

Author and academic Randa Abdel-Fattah was less sentimental. She told the panel that the monarchy represented “an institution of imperialism and racism”.

“It has been enriched by that: by corruption, imperialism, racism, slavery and for me it’s not just suddenly we have a bi-racial bride and that diversity politics erases the history of that institution,” she said.

“For me, we need to be critical and we shouldn’t lose our critical eye when we look at these things and not be seduced by the pomp and ceremony and recognise what this institution stands for.”

Ms Abdel-Fattah said that royal wedding enthusiasts had their priorities askew. “The fact that homeless people were taken away from the streets [and] the Grenfell fire people have not been compensated: These are the real issues,” she said.

“Not what Meghan was wearing and whether or not she’s now reformed an institution that is sick at its core.”

Last week, University of Sydney researcher Luke Mansillo — who has analysed trends in Australia’s sometimes wavering support for the royal family during the past few decades — said the royal wedding was expected to provide the monarchy with a popularity boost.

Based on research he had published in 2016, Mr Mansillo found support for the monarchy in Australia began to wane in the 1960s and crashed to a low about the time of the republic referendum in 1999.

However, since then, there’s been a slow but steady improvement aided in part by events including Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding in 2011 and the births of their three children.

“Events such as royal weddings contribute to improvements as people get to witness the grandeur, the splendour, the pomp and ceremony and this self legitimises the institution,” Mr Mansillo said.

“After Kate and William’s wedding I found that there was a pretty big bump in the number of people who saw that royalty was important, a seven to eight per cent increase in how many people who thought that what these people do for Australia is important.” Mr Mansillo’s research, published in the Australian Journal of Political Science, found support in Australia for the monarchy hit its lowest point about the turn of the century.

During the 1990s, the royals were rocked by scandals leading up to the 1996 divorces of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, and Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson.

It was also the decade that debate about Australia becoming a republic ramped up before the 1999 referendum.

At the same time, there was a sharp dip in support among Australians for retaining the monarchy and those who believed the Queen was important, Mr Mansillo’s research found.

However, that fall in support bottomed out about 2001 and 2002 and has risen steadily ever since.

Mr Mansillo attributed that to many young Australians, particularly Generation Y, having no memory of the royal scandals of the 1990s.

“And because we don’t have royal scandals (the Australian Republican Movement’s national chair) Peter FitzSimons can’t get up and complain about it with a really, really big megaphone,” he said.

“So there’s fewer bad media images and stories about the royals coming out from London and more good stories which make it very difficult to campaign against.” The most recent Newspoll on support for an Australian republic, published in April, found support for the monarchy was at 41 per cent — its highest level in 18 years.

Fifty per cent said they wanted a republic, with nine per cent uncommitted.

Addressing the Q&A panel on Monday night, philosopher Peter Singer said the push for Australia to become a republic had lost its momentum long before Harry and Meghan had even met.

“Republicanism goes off the agenda when the former head of the Australian Republican Movement becomes the Liberal prime minister and doesn’t show any interest in pursuing [it],” he said in a reference to prime minister Malcolm Turnbull’s past role as Chair of the organisation.

SOURCE 

Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here





Tuesday, May 22, 2018


University Professor Sacked for Telling-the-Truth about coral

by Jennifer Marohasy

BACK in 2016, when I asked Peter Ridd if he would write a chapter for the book I was editing I could not possibly have envisaged it could contribute to the end of his thirty-year career as a university professor.

Considering that Peter enrolled at James Cook University as an undergraduate back in 1978, he has been associated with that one university for forty years.

Since Peter was fired on 2 May 2018, the university has attempted to remove all trace of this association: scrubbing him completely from their website.

But facts don’t cease to exist because they are removed from a website. The university has never challenged the veracity of Peter’s legitimate claims about the quality of much of the reef science: science on which billions of dollars of taxpayer-funded research is being squandered. These issues are not going away.

Just yesterday (Friday 18 May), Peter lodged papers in the Federal Court. He is going to fight for his job back!

If you care about the truth, science and academic freedom, please donate to help bring this important case to court.

It doesn’t matter how little or how much you donate. Just make sure you are a part of this important effort by donating to Peter’s GoFundMe campaign.

Peter deliberately choose to frame the book chapter about the replication crisis that is sweeping through science.

In this chapter – The Extraordinary Resilience of Great Barrier Reef Coral and Problems with Policy Science – Peter details the major problems with quality assurance when it comes to claims of the imminent demise of the reef.

Policy science concerning the Great Barrier Reef is almost never checked. Over the next few years, Australian governments will spend more than a billion dollars on the Great Barrier Reef; the costs to industry could far exceed this. Yet the keystone research papers have not been subject to proper scrutiny. Instead, there is a total reliance on the demonstrably inadequate peer-review process.

Ex-professor Peter Ridd has also published extensively in the scientific literature on the Great Barrier Reef, including issues with the methodology used to measure calcification rates. In the book he explains:

Like trees, which produce rings as they grow, corals set down a clearly identifiable layer of calcium carbonate skeleton each year, as they grow. The thicknesses and density of the layers can be used to infer calcification rates and are, effectively, a measure of the growth rate. Dr Glenn De’ath and colleagues from the Australian Institute of Marine Science used cores from more than 300 corals, some of which were hundreds of years old, to measure the changes in calcification during the last few hundred years. They claimed there was a precipitous decline in calcification since 1990

The LHS chart suggests a problem with coral growth rates – but the real problem is with the methodology. When corals of equivalent age are sampled, there has been no decline in growth rates at the Great Barrier Reef – as shown in the RHS chart.

However, I have two issues with their analysis. I published my concerns, and an alternative analysis, in the journal Marine Geology (Ridd et al. 2013). First, there were instrumental errors with the measurements of the coral layers. This was especially the case for the last layer at the surface of the coral, which was often measured as being much smaller than the reality.

This forced an apparent drop in the average calcification for the corals that were collected in the early 2000s – falsely implying a recent calcification drop. Second, an ‘age effect’ was not acknowledged. When these two errors are accounted for, the drop in calcification rates disappears

The problem with the ‘age effect’, mentioned above, arose because in the study De’ath and colleagues included data from corals sampled during two distinct periods and with a different focus; I will refer to these as two campaigns. The first campaign occurred mostly in the 1980s and focused on very large coral specimens, sometimes many metres across.

The second campaign occurred in the early 2000s due to the increased interest in the effects of CO2. However, presumably due to cost cutting measures, instead of focusing on the original huge coral colonies, the second campaign measured smaller colonies, many just a few tens of centimetres in diameter.

In summary, the first campaign focused on large old corals, while, in contrast, the second campaign focused on small young corals. The two datasets were then spliced together, and wholly unjustifiable assumptions were implicitly made, but not stated – in particular that there is no age effect on coral growth…

Dr Juan D’Olivo Cordero from the University of Western Australia collected an entirely different dataset of coral cores from the Great Barrier Reef to determine calcification rates. This study determined that there has been a 10% increase in calcification rates since the 1940s for offshore and mid-shelf reefs, which is the location of about 99% of all the coral on the Great Barrier Reef.

However, these researchers also measured a 5% decline in calcification rates of inshore corals – the approximately 1% of corals that live very close to the coast. Overall, there was an increase for most of the Great Barrier Reef, and a decrease for a small fraction of the Great Barrier Reef.

While it would seem reasonable to conclude that the results of the study by D’Olivo et al. would be reported as good news for the Great Barrier Reef, their article in the journal Coral Reefs concluded:

"Our new findings nevertheless continue to raise concerns, with the inner-shelf reefs continuing to show long-term declines in calcification consistent with increased disturbance from land-based effects. In contrast, the more ‘pristine’ mid- and outer-shelf reefs appear to be undergoing a transition from increasing to decreasing rates of calcification, possibly reflecting the effects of CO2-driven climate change."

Imaginatively, this shift from ‘increasing’ to ‘decreasing’ seems to be based on an insignificant fall in the calcification rate in some of the mid-shelf reefs in the last two years of the 65-year dataset.

Why did the authors concentrate on this when their data shows that the reef is growing about 10% faster than it did in the 1940s?

James Cook university could have used the chapter as an opportunity to start a much-needed discussion about policy, funding and the critical importance of the scientific method. Instead, Peter was first censored by the University – and now he has been fired.

When I first blogged on this back in February, Peter needed to raise A$95,000 to fight the censure.

This was achieved through an extraordinary effort, backed by Anthony Watts, Joanne Nova, John Roskam and so many others.

To be clear, the university is not questioning the veracity of what ex-professor Ridd has written, but rather his right to say this publicly. In particular, the university is claiming that he has not been collegial and continues to speak-out even after he was told to desist.

New allegations have been built on the original misconduct charges that I detailed back in February. The core issue continues to be Peter’s right to keep talking – including so that he can defend himself.

In particular, the university objects to the original GoFundMe campaign (that Peter has just reopened) because it breaches claimed confidentiality provisions in Peter’s employment agreement. The university claims that Peter Ridd was not allowed to talk about their action against him. Peter disputes this.

Of course, if Peter had gone along with all of this, he would have been unable to raise funds to get legal advice – to defend himself! All of the documentation is now being made public – all of this information, and more can be found at Peter’s new website.

Together, let’s fight this! Go fund ex-professor Ridd at:

https://au.gofundme.com/peter-ridd-legal-action-fund.

The Institute of Public Affairs published Climate Change, The Facts 2017, and continues to support Peter’s right to speak the truth. For media and comment contact Evan Mulholland on 0405 140 780, or at emulholland@ipa.org.au.

Buy the book if you haven’t already: this is another way of showing your support.

The most important thing is to not be silenced, shout about this! I received an email last week: “Bought Climate Change, The Facts 2017, as requested, to support Peter Ridd. I’m not making any friends at dinner parties at the moment. Stuff ’em.”

SOURCE 





No more boys, no more girls - and no more Winnie-the-Pooh or Barbie dolls: Books and toys could be banned from schools due to radical push to make classrooms 'gender-neutral'

This is just ideology.  What proof is there that boys who are deprived of male role-models are better off?  There is none.  It's just Leftist theory. Most role-model researchers say that boys need MORE male role models in our feminized schools

Winnie-the-Pooh books, Barbie dolls, and superhero play are among things children could be banned from after a radical study on 'gender stereotyping'.

A number of Victorian councils will respond to the study by Australian National University, which found educators should avoid using the terms 'boy' and 'girl' and classifying children according to gender.

The study means Melbourne schools, kindergartens and libraries could be without children's classics such as Thomas the Tank Engine, which wouldn't pass the guidelines, Herald Sun reported.

The research found 'prejudice along race and gender lines can be observed' in children as young as three-years-old.  

Girls who played with 'feminised characters', such as Barbie dolls, had fewer career options, while those who engaged with Disney princess toys had more female-stereotypical views.

Meanwhile, boys who watched superhero shows were more gender stereotyped in their thinking, the study found.  

Now councils across Victoria are set to review educational resources, ensuring stories and experiences go beyond 'gender stereotypical narratives'.

Teachers will also be encouraged to not select toys in gendered colours, or to use expressions such as 'boys will be boys', according to the publication.

Manningham City Council already checks books for gender modelling and diversity, while teachers are asked to refrain from calling girls 'honey' and 'sweetie'.

Libraries in Maribyrnong City Council are asked to promote 'gender equity' and to 'challenge gender stereotypes' in their book selections.  

Minister for Women and Prevention of Family Violence Natalie Hutchins told the publication that 'the change needed won't happen' without gender equality. 

But Opposition youth and families spokeswoman Georgie Crozier slammed the possible decision to ban certain books. She said: 'It's crazy. Boys should be boys and girls should be girls.

'Any funding should be focused on interventions to prevent family violence, and not radical gender-based theories.' 

SOURCE 





Say No to chuggers

YOU see them everywhere. People in a sloganed T-shirt carrying a clipboard as they stand outside train stations, set up in shopping centres, or even knocking from door-to-door.

They claim to be from a charity organisation and aggressively target members of the public in an attempt to get credit card details under the guise that it is going to a worthy cause.

But in many instances, the charities they purport to work for, never see a cent of your donation.

Charity muggers, or “Chuggers,” are ruthless and will do whatever they need to meet their quota and sign as many people up as they can.

“Chuggers are slugs, they’re dogs. Look I’ve really got no time for them to be honest,” Samuel Johnson told Today.

Johnson, 40, knows all about reputable charity work, co-founding Love Your Sister with his late sister Connie Johnson in 2014.

The Molly actor’s charity raises funds to encourage women to check for signs of breast cancer and improve survival rates. Connie sadly passed away in 2017, but Johnson has continued the charity work raising more than $7 million in funds since its inception.

While a large number of Aussies still sign up via commissioned street workers, studies have found the majority of those people cancel their subscription within the first eight months of sign up.

What they don’t realise is that for the first 12 months, the money only goes towards commission costs, paying the third party that employs the street collectors. So in many cases the charity never actually sees a cent of what you donate.

“They’re not doing anything illegal. But if you’re not prudent about how you give, if you don’t know about the organisation that you’re giving to, then I’d be pretty cynical about how much is actually going to the cause,” said Johnson.

Charities, as good as their intentions are, often don’t have the skills or resources to raise funds themselves. This is why they outsource to a third party, a group who at face value are there to raise money for the charity but on the books are actually making ridiculous profit before the money even gets to the charity. If it gets there.

So in those instances where people cancel because they were pressured into signing up or are bad at saying no and cancel shortly after, the charity actually never sees a cent of the donated money.

It’s worth considering, next time you want to donate to a worthy cause, cut the middle man out and go straight to the organisation themselves.

SOURCE 






MPs push to punish AGL for knocking back power station sale

FURIOUS government MPs want to punish AGL for today’s refusal to sell its Liddell power station, with former prime minister Tony Abbott comparing the electrical company to a militant union and again urging it be nationalised.

And MPs repeated accusations AGL wanted to decrease electricity supply to cash in on demand.

“It’s in their narrow commercial self-interest to get the price of power up because that pads their profits,” Mr Abbott told 2GB.

The demands for a government takeover of a private power station are too extreme and expensive to be even considered by the government, but are a measure of the anger among some coal activist MPs.

Former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce said the government should “cart back in” AGL for some tough talk.

The AGL board today revealed it had rejected a purchase offer from Alinta Energy because it “significantly undervalues future cash flows to AGL of operating the Liddell power station until 2022 and the repurposing of the site thereafter”.

“Consequently, AGL has reaffirmed its decision to close Liddell in December 2022 and will continue progressing its NSW generation plan, which includes repurposing Liddell,” the company said in a statement.

“The Australian Energy Market Operator has confirmed that completion of this plan will address the capacity shortfall that may occur as a result of Liddell’s closure.”

Industry players believe Alinta made the offer primarily because the government asked it to, and that AGL was never likely to sell Liddell, its NSW coal-fired power station, which it wants to shut down in four years and convert to running on gas and other fuel sources.

The government argues the loss of the coal-fired generation would create a shortfall that renewable energy could not make up.

Mr Abbott repeated his demand on 2GB today for taxpayers to fund a compulsory acquisition of AGL, and to then offer it for sale to someone who would keep the coal component.

“This is a strike against the national interest by a big business,” he said.

“My very strong view given that the federal government has effectively got responsibility for energy security, the government should compulsorily acquire this power station for the price that Alinta were prepared to pay, and then it should sell it to Alinta, who can operate it.”

Mr Joyce said: “We need to grab AGL, cart them back in and say, ‘This is BS. You’re taking us for a ride. You think we’re fools, and the Australian people are not’.”

Labor frontbencher Andrew Leigh scoffed at the threats, which he linked to what he called “an internal fight within the Liberal Party — the coal dinosaur factions who want to see taxpayers’ money go to subsidise coal-fired power plants”.

“That’s not good for energy prices in Australia and it’s certainly not good for our carbon emissions, which have continued to rise,” he told Sky News.

The official government response was to insist AGL guarantee the closure of Liddell would not cause a power shortfall.

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg today called the no-sale decision disappointing.

He added that the continuation of Liddell beyond 2022 would benefit consumers and had the backing of some of Australia’s largest manufacturers.

“It is also disappointing because it was AGL’s CEO that first raised the prospect of Liddell’s sale in a meeting with the Prime Minister and other ministers last year,” he said in a statement.

“While the government recognises AGL has put forward a replacement plan, it has only financially committed to a fraction of the projects — namely, a 100MW upgrade to its existing coal fired Bayswater power plant and a 250MW gas peaking plant.

“The government calls on AGL to financially commit to all other stages of its replacement plan.

“Wholesale power prices in the National Electricity Market have declined nearly 30 per cent year on year and AGL’s latest half yearly report announced a 91 per cent, or $297 million, increase in statutory profit after tax for the half. Given this, customers are entitled to expect to see lower wholesale prices passed through to them in the next round of retail price determinations in July.”

SOURCE 

Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

Monday, May 21, 2018


School envy

Because the government schools are so woeful in most instances, parents send 40% of Australian teenagers to private schools.  That is such a big voting bloc that no government would dare doing much about it -- as Mark Latham found out. 

But the Left see an easier target in State selective schools.  There are not many of them but the fact that you have to have a good record of academic achievement to get into them brings their standards up to about equal with private schools. And you don't have to be rich to afford them. They were conceived as schools that would give a private school education to the more able poor.

But the pupils who pass the adnmissions tests tend to be from affluent backgrounds so it is mostly they who get in.  The unmentioned fact in most discussions about this is that IQ and affluence are highly correlated -- so it will always be mostly  rich kids who can profit from a high-standard education.

But the numskulls below want to square the circle.  Because most of those eligible to attend selective schools come from well-off backgrounds they think the system is somehow "unfair".  So they want to let more poor students into selective shools -- which would make them less selective and therefore less able to offer an alternative to private schooling.

But surely, the obvious thing to do is to lift the game of the mainstream state schools, not try to pull down the selective schools.  That might seem blue sky but it is not.  At a small unselective country State school in the '50s I got an education modelled on Eton, including physical punishment for misbehaving.  And I profited greatly from what I learnt then.  I learnt stuff at primary school that these days is taught in High School, if at all.  I was a long way from Berkshire but I got something quite similar to an Eton education

How come?  In those days all politicians wanted "the best" for their schools and Eton was acknowledged as being the best.  I am inclined to think it still is.  So they simply modelled their syllabi on Etons'.  They even copied the Eton "house" system  as far as one could in a State school where all students went home at night.

So the problem is not privileged schools but the crazy ideology and unproved methods that most modern-day education theorists inflict on mainstream schools



Monica Garcia-Pineda remembers feeling as though the partially selective Sydney high school she attended was made up of two completely different places.

“I can’t describe it in any other way,” she says. “It felt like going to two schools. There was always this divide between the selective and community kids, because you weren’t treated like you were in the same school.

“The selective kids were always encouraged to choose more academically challenging subjects so there was very little opportunity for the cohort to kind of be alongside one another in class, which affects how you socialise when you’re not in class.

“We used to sit on different sides of the quad.”

Selective school policies have come under increased scrutiny in recent months as state governments grapple with evidence that the schools are overwhelmingly populated by students from advantaged backgrounds and may be reinforcing existing class differences.

The overwhelming majority of Australia’s selective schools are in New South Wales – 19 fully selective and 29 partially selective. Its education department last year announced a review of competitive entry tests to address concerns that the system was being gamed by wealthy families who could afford tutoring.

Garcia-Pineda was a selective student at Macquarie Fields high school in Sydney’s south-west. She grew up in Wattle Grove, only about 12km away but another world in the socially complex jumble of Sydney’s western suburbs.

“I never used to hang out in the area at all,” she says. “I really didn’t feel like I was part of it.”

Macquarie Fields is demographically typical of western Sydney. Unemployment is higher and wages are lower than the Australian average. Fewer people are university educated and the population is dramatically more multicultural than the rest of the country.

A few years before Garcia-Pineda graduated in 2008, Macquarie Fields made national headlines when teenagers threw stones and molotov cocktails at police officers during riots sparked by the deaths of two local teenagers who were killed during a police car chase.

The statistics are reflected in the makeup of most of the local public schools.

Education data published by the federal government breaks school populations down into four “socio-educational” advantage quartiles. At Ingleburn high school, 2km away from Macquarie Fields, 54% of students come from the bottom quartile while only 3% come from the top.

At another neighbouring school, Sarah Redfern high, the figures are almost identical.

Both neighbouring schools rank below the national average for educational advantage, a yardstick determined using the Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage, or Icsea, which measures factors such as parents’ occupations, education level and the location of the school.

But at Macquarie Fields only 15% of the students come from the lowest advantage quartile, and 27% are from the top. Its Icsea score of 1,054 is above the national average of 1,000.

It’s a trend which is reproduced over and over across Australia wherever selective schools are found.

Analysis of My School data by Guardian Australia reveals that students at selective schools are strikingly more advantaged than other nearby schools. They are overwhelmingly attended by the most educationally advantaged students and in many cases are dramatically unrepresentative of the suburbs in which they are located.

The divide is more pronounced in fully selective schools than partially selective. In fact, Guardian Australia’s analysis found that in some cases partially selective schools are less advantaged than their neighbours.

But at fully selective schools such as Penrith high school in western Sydney, the Icsea is 1,163, compared with an average score of 976 at the 20 closest schools. Only 1% of the school’s students are from the bottom advantage quartile. At Jamison high school, about 3km away, the figure is 42%.

The trend is even apparent for schools in highly affluent areas of Sydney and Melbourne, though these have the smallest gap between selective and non-selective.

The difference comes in part because selective schools do not have geographic catchment areas like public schools and can therefore be attended by students from anywhere in the state.

Education data suggests some selective schools may be becoming more advantaged over time. In 2013 the average score for students at Macquarie Fields was 1,047, rising to 1,054 in 2017.

But changes to the way the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (Acara) calculates disadvantage means it’s impossible to accurately assess how much the school’s demographics have changed over a longer period.

Christina Ho, an academic from the University of Technology, Sydney, says selective schools are reinforcing class and cultural divisions.

“They’re elitist. And not only are they elitist but they’re becoming more elitist,” Ho says. Any review of selective schools’ admissions would amount to “tinkering around the edges” of a system she says has become “warped”.

“There is obviously an education culture emerging that means these schools have a certain kind of status within the community which is quite different to what it was designed to be,” she says.

“Selective schools were supposed to be public schools that were accessible for gifted kids. The fact that there are almost no disadvantaged kids in these schools tells us they’re no longer accessible and they’re not genuine public schools because they’re not open to anyone except the most advantaged families in NSW.”

Not everyone agrees the system is broken.

Jae Yup Jared Jung, a senior lecturer in the school of education at the University of NSW, says the positive role of gifted education programs such as academically selective schools is backed up by research.

He points to a 2016 US academic paper which reviewed 100 years of research on ability grouping in education.

The study, published in the Review of Educational Research, looked at 172 papers on “ability grouping” published between 1922 and 1994, and concluded that the “preponderance of existing evidence” suggested special grouping for gifted students can “greatly improve K–12 students’ academic achievement”.

He says the process of choosing students for selective schools “isn’t perfect”, but that the system helps gifted students advance faster by coupling them with students of similar ability.

“There are certain selective schools with students from a higher socioeconomic background than other schools, but you could say the same thing about the Catholic and independent sectors,” he says.

“There’s no perfect way of selecting students for selective schools, but I have confidence in the NSW department of education that the current systems are such that someone who doesn’t deserve to be there isn’t being permitted to enter.”

Brendan Ma graduated from James Ruse Agricultural high school in 2015. The school’s Icsea value of 1,236 is one of the highest in Australia, and in 2017 87% of its students came from the top advantage quartile. [And most are Asian]

But Icsea doesn’t consider income, and Ma says it is wrong to assume that most selective students come from advantaged backgrounds.

“I had a lot of friends from my cohort who would have parents working double jobs, coming from an immigrant background where their parents still didn’t have a strong grasp of English,” he says.

For Ma, going to a selective school meant getting access to opportunities he never would have been able to afford otherwise.

“For a lot of people at my school who might have worked really hard or been academically gifted there were a lot of opportunities to advance those gifts,” he says.

“Study tours, musical events, things that cost a lot money. Usually it wouldn’t be something they could go to because their parents couldn’t pay for it, but our school made a really strong effort to make sure they could provide opportunities at low cost or for free.”

Guardian Australia’s analysis also compared the percentage of selective school students from a language background other than English with that of neighbouring schools.

It found that across fully selective schools the average proportion of students from a non-English speaking background in 2017 was 66.5%, compared with 36.2% at nearby non-selective schools.

In some schools the difference was more stark. At James Ruse, 97% of students come from non-English speaking backgrounds, compared with 38.7% at nearby schools.

In February Guardian Australia reported on research showing Indigenous students were disproportionately represented in Australia’s most disadvantaged schools. Christina Ho argues that the concentration of students – mostly from east Asia – in selective schools is another example of “monocultures” forming within the education system.

“Because these schools are now seen as ‘too Asian’ there’s been a real backlash from non-Asian families, so Anglo Australians are now saying ‘those schools are not for us’,” she says.

But Ma, the James Ruse student, says being at a selective school allowed him to explore his identity.

“I think for a lot of students who did come from immigrant backgrounds it did in some way support their development of an identity,” he says.

“My experience coming from a Chinese immigrant background was that as a young person you get conflicting signals about what your identity should be or how you fit into the Australian landscape.

“I found though that I could be more comfortable with my identity at school. All those doubts I had about being proud of my heritage or language I could be open with people who understood.”

In January the NSW education minister, Rob Stokes, said he was concerned selective schools could “create a rigid, separated public education system”, and raised the idea of opening more selective schools to local enrolments.

Laura Perry, an associate professor specialising in education research at Murdoch University, says schools with partially selective academic programs in specific subject areas such as music or sports are preferable to fully selective schools, because they have the dual benefit of keeping high-performing students in the public sector while “promoting socially mixed schools”.

For Garcia-Pineda, despite experiencing a social divide between selective and community students at her school in western Sydney, there were benefits in being exposed to students from different backgrounds.

“I think for a lot of kids who were in the selective part of the school it was a good experience for them because they mostly came from families with money and weren’t always exposed to that,” she says.

“I know for me it was confronting. When I came to high school I didn’t know people who came from single-parent households [or] grew up living in housing commission.

“I think that’s a major benefit of a school with a mixture of backgrounds. You become a different kind of person. It opens your eyes a little bit.”

SOURCE 






High-profile business figure Chris Corrigan slams the push to vastly increase the number of women on company boards

And says that the besieged AMP chairwoman never would have got that job if she was a man

High-profile business figure Chris Corrigan has criticised the push to vastly increase the number of women on company boards.  

In slamming the campaigning for more women to be promoted within corporate Australia, Mr Corigran revealed the move was a major consideration when leaving the board of port and logistics group Qube Holdings last year.

He said besieged AMP chairwoman Catherine Brenner never would have got that job if she was a man, believing it was 'demonstrably the case' that she was advanced because of the 'mood of the moment' to pursue gender fairness, The Australian reported. 

'Can you imagine that a man with moderate investment banking experience at a second-rate ­investment bank would have got to be chair of the AMP?' he said.

Sharing that although he isn't opposed to equality, Mr Corrigan said he does mind when the ability to do the job is impacted. 

In July 2015 Mr Corrigan wrote in a letter for the board: 'I am uncomfortable about being bullied to add females to the Qube board irrespective of requirement, suitability and potential contribution but solely on the basis of their sex.'

He outlined new measures which could be taken to ensure a fairer process which included one where shareholders could nominate candidates and they could be voted in at yearly meetings.

'It provides an invitation to the social engineers to put up or shut up and it emphasises the role of shareholders in the choices for which they should take responsibility,' he wrote.

ACSI chief executive Louise Davidson said Mr Corrigan's claims were inaccurate, telling Newscorp that members have the right to oversee improvements in corporate governance.

SOURCE 






The University of Queensland has been recognised as the top university in Australia for global research quality in the 2018 CWTS Leiden Ranking

This really means something.  The Leiden ranking is the only purely objective ranking.  UQ was my first university and I did well in publications so I find it easy to believe these findings

UQ ranked number one in Australia and 28th in the world as measured by one of the highly-regarded international ranking’s Impact indicators.

During 2013-2016, using fractional counting UQ contributed 11,793 publications in recognised journals, with 183 in the top one per cent of most frequently cited publications, which places UQ 28th globally, up five places from last year.

Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj said the University’s outstanding performance in the Leiden Ranking sent a strong signal to potential partners and collaborators that top-quality, highly cited research was produced across all disciplines at UQ.

“The Leiden Ranking does not rely on data obtained from reputational surveys, or the number of Nobel Prize winners on staff, or information provided by universities themselves. It focuses entirely on scientific impact and collaboration,” Professor Høj said.

“By this measure, no other university in Australia published more top one percent cited research than UQ.

“Of the 938 universities from 55 countries ranked by Leiden, only 27 institutions publish more top one per cent cited research.

“This is a tremendous result and I congratulate our researchers for the quality of their work, and their efforts to translate this work so that it  benefits people everywhere.”

Professor Høj said a number of Australian universities performed strongly in this ranking.

“If business and industry leaders want to partner with universities that can form expert teams from a wide range of disciplines, then Australia is a terrific place to start looking," he said.

UQ was also Australia’s top-ranked university in the research categories of life and earth sciences, and social sciences and humanities as measured by publications in the top one per cent cited globally.

The University’s life and earth science ranking jumped from 18th to 11th globally, with 2453 publications in recognised journals, including 42 in the top one per cent most frequently cited.

UQ’s social sciences and humanities leapt 14 places – from 44 in 2017 to 30 this year – with 1634 publications in recognised journals, including 23 in the top one per cent most frequently cited.

The 2018 CWTS Leiden Ranking measures the impact of research publications and collaborations of universities around the world, and is based on Web of Science indexed publications. This ranking system differs from others in that it separately reports scientific impact and collaboration rather than aggregating many dimensions of university performance into a single rank. The CWTS Leiden Ranking thus provides a more detailed perspective on university research performance.

UQ ranked number one in Australia and 28th globally based on the Impact indicator: P, P(top 1%), PP(top 1%), Ordered by: P(top 1%). Calculated using fractional counting. P(top 1%) = The number of a university’s publications that, compared with other publications in the same field and in the same year, belong to the top 1% most frequently cited.

The ranking offers insights into the scientific performance of 938 universities worldwide. It uses a sophisticated set of bibliometric indicators that provide significant statistics on the scientific collaboration and impact of universities.

SOURCE 






Emboldened by passing 1 million jobs mark, Turnbull pushes for business tax cuts

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is set to launch a fresh lobbying blitz to get the Senate to pass the rest of the company tax cuts after beating a key performance benchmark months ahead of time.

The April employment figures show the Coalition has delivered 1,013,631 extra jobs four months ahead of its fifth anniversary in office, fulfilling a promise made by the former prime minister Tony Abbott to create one million new jobs in five years.

Humbled by exceeding the benchmark, Mr Turnbull acknowledged Australia's historically low-wage growth and that many Australians were still missing out due to underemployment.
"I appreciate not everyone is sharing in the benefits of our stronger economy," he told Fairfax Media. "There is more to be done and we must keep working on getting people into work."

He accused Bill Shorten of being a "job destroyer", warning the opposition leader would “go to war” with businesses by opposing the $35.6 billion remaining of the Coalition's company tax cuts.

Mr Abbott made the pledge in November 2012, almost a year before taking office, committing the next Coalition government to “creating one million new jobs within five years and two million new jobs over the next decade”.

Driving jobs growth would be the axing of the Labor’s “job destroying carbon tax” and scrapping the Gillard government’s mining tax, “restoring Australia’s reputation as a safe place to invest”.

But in Mr Abbott's first year in office from September 2013 employment barely grew, climbing only 75,900 at a time when the working age population grew 287,825; an even worse result than in the final year of the Gillard and Rudd government, as the mining boom was winding down. Only 10,600 of the 75,900 jobs were full-time.

Mr Abbott's fortunes turned around in his second and final year in office when employment surged an exceptional 240,200 at a time when the working age population grew 285,252.

In the Coalition's third year and Mr Turnbull's first, jobs growth eased to 154,800 before surging 380,100 in the forth year. In the year to April employment grew 332,200.

A slim majority of the jobs created in five years of Coalition government have been full-time: 532,216, or 52.5 per cent.
Most, 58.1 per cent, have gone to women. In the past year an extraordinary two thirds of the extra people to take on jobs were women. All but 67,000 of the 332,200 new jobs have been full time.

Labor's employment spokesman Brendan O'Connor said despite the strong employment growth Australians were still being stung by insecure work, record low wages growth, and cost of living pressures.

"Australians are feeling the pinch," he said. "The Coalition focus all their energy on advocating for an $80 billion tax cut to the big end of town."

Mr Turnbull said the jobs boom had delivered the budget a revenue bonus. "It is a million more Australians, that are paying tax," he said. "That's why the government's revenues are stronger."

Mr Abbott himself also took credit for the record rate of jobs creation saying it flowed "from being under new management since 2013 and once more open for business".

The Bureau of Statistics figures show 22,500 jobs have been created each month since Mr Turnbull took over the Liberal leadership. Around 13,200 a month were created under Mr Abbott, 12,500 under Kevin Rudd, 13,600 under Julia Gillard, 16,400 under John Howard, 12,700 under Paul Keating, and 13,000 under Hawke.

Treasurer Scott Morrison said the rate could not be taken for granted. "These one million jobs didn’t happen by accident," he told Fairfax Media. "They come from the hard work of Australians and businesses all around the country."

Mr Turnbull will use the figure to press for the Senate to pass the Coalition's company tax cut to 25 per cent for all businesses.

The government has so far been unable to secure the nine out of 10 crossbench votes required to pass the legislation despite renewed interest from the Centre Alliance party, formerly known as the Nick Xenophon Team.

It believes the tax cuts are necessary to meet the second promise Mr Abbott made in 2013: "Two million jobs in manufacturing as well as in agriculture, services, education and a still buoyant resources sector in a decade."

JP Morgan economist Tom Kennedy said the employment surge was due, in large part, to a flurry of hiring in the healthcare and construction sectors. "Together they contributed more than half of last year’s total employment growth."

The ABS figures showed full-time job creation has slowed, from 321,000 between December 2016-17 to 265,300 between April 2017-18.

SOURCE 
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here




Sunday, May 20, 2018




Number of Australians who earned more than $1m a year yet paid no tax surges 30%

This story no doubt refers to gross income.  There are many reasons why net income could be lower.  A failing business might for instance have a very large gross income but practically no net income

Sixty-two Australians who earned more than $1m in the 2015-16 financial year paid no income tax. That represents a 30% increase from the previous financial year.

New data from the Australian Tax Office, released on Friday afternoon, shows that despite a political focus on wage stagnation and income inequality in recent years, the ranks of Australia’s millionaires paying no income tax is growing swiftly.

The data shows Australia has 12,706 taxpayers earning more than $1m, the vast majority of whom have paid some sort of tax on their taxable income.

But in the 2015-16 financial year, 59 millionaires claimed to have taxable income below $6,001, one claimed to have taxable income between $6,001 and $10,000, and two claimed to have taxable income between $10,001 and $18,200, putting them all below the tax-free threshold.

None of them paid the Medicare levy.

Twenty-two reduced their taxable income to zero by claiming a combined $4.34m for the “cost of managing tax affairs” – nearly $198,000 each.

Fourteen claimed gifts or donations worth $54.9m to help them do so.

A tax office spokesman said there were legitimate reasons why a wealthy taxpayer may not pay tax in a particular year, including prior year tax losses (which are able to be carried forward indefinitely), large costs associated with the production of assessable income (such as the start-up phase of a business), and the cost of managing tax affairs.

The “cost of managing tax affairs” includes the cost of getting advice from a registered tax agent, barrister or solicitor, the cost of preparing and lodging tax returns and activity statements, and the cost of court appeals.

“Notwithstanding this, a wealthy taxpayer who does not pay tax is more likely to attract the ATO’s attention and be subject to further scrutiny to assure they are complying with their tax obligations,” the spokesman said.

SOURCE 






The PC sickness in Australia

“I’M GOING to miss this,” said the comedian. And for a moment nothing was very funny anymore.

We had been chatting about our respective mongrel ancestries when we realised we were both part Scots-Irish.

“I never understood exactly what Scots-Irish was,” I said. “As far as I can tell some Scots went to Ireland because they didn’t like the Scottish and then when they got there they decided they didn’t like the Irish — or the English for that matter.”

“Yep,” he said. “They basically just rocked up and said to everyone: ‘If you don’t like it then f*** off!’”

“They’re so disagreeable!” I said. And that’s when my friend paused.

“I’m going to miss this,” he said.

For a moment I was scared he was about to tell me he had some terminal disease but then the penny dropped — and like a true Scotsman I noticed it.

“Soon we won’t be able to talk about this anymore,” he said. “We won’t be able to laugh or take the piss out of people for their differences. Everybody will just be exactly the same.”

It was an extremely depressing thought and for a moment I wished he really had told me he had a terminal disease.

Comedians are of course notoriously melancholy creatures but there have been several recent developments that make me more sure than ever that my mate is on the money.

One was a report this month that the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions had ordered his Newcastle office to complete a sexual harassment course after a lawyer “tweaked” a colleague’s nipple.

Sounds fair enough, you might think, until you read on. You see, it wasn’t a lecherous old man groping a young vulnerable clerk. It was a female solicitor mucking around with a male colleague when she gave him a little nipple-cripple over his shirt. Call the prosecutors!

And it gets better. It wasn’t even the bloke who had his nipple tweaked who made the complaint. He wasn’t fussed at all. Instead it was someone in the office who witnessed it and reported it as “inappropriate”.

As a source rather plaintively told The Daily Telegraph: “It was just a joke.”

But as my comedian mate now knows, there are no jokes anymore. There’s just appropriate and inappropriate behaviour.

And so, as a result of a playful exchange between two friendly colleagues who were completely untroubled, dozens of legal experts have to sit through an interminable sexual harassment lecture delivered perhaps by some po-faced bureaucrat or perhaps by a disembodied online portal. It’s hard to know which would be a bigger waste of the taxpayer’s time or money.

Moreover, the female solicitor is said to be “highly embarrassed” by the whole affair. So well done to the #metoo mole who called it in. You’ve just humiliated a woman for having too much fun at work. What a victory for progress that is.

It would be tempting to write this off as just a rogue PC absurdity — even if it did come from the highest prosecutor in the nation’s biggest state. If only this were so.

Recently I learned of colleagues at another government organisation who were forced to undergo cultural awareness training after an eerily similar incident.

In this case, two people, one white and one black, were talking about how absurd it was that a certain derogatory racial term was still allowed to be used in some contexts. Another person in the office overheard the conversation and reported them.

And so it was back to the re-education camps for that happy little workplace. Yes, even a black person discussing a racist word can now be sanctioned for racism.

Again, you could be forgiven for thinking that this is as dumb as society could possibly get but, again, you’d be wrong.

Because just last week an educator infamously suggested that parents should ask their babies for consent babies before changing a nappy [diaper]. Needless to say, in any such exchange it would not just be the nappy that was completely full of it.

I had words about this on Studio 10 and apparently it became a “Twitter Moment”, so I don’t want to add further to the mob frenzy. All I would offer is that anyone who compares changing a nappy to rape needs to seriously consider their world view.

SOURCE 





NAPLAN much more gain than pain

More than a million Australian students sat NAPLAN tests this week, assessing their standards in reading, writing, language and numeracy.

Despite some hysterical criticisms, the national assessment program remains a vital educational tool and there is no rigorous evidence it has widespread negative effects on students. And in general, parents groups continue to support the tests.

Claims that it harms students are at best superficial, and at worst downright misleading. There have been very few studies to date on the impact on students, and the existing research is mostly based on surveys or samples so small as to be insignificant.

There is a world of difference between serious mental health issues and the low levels of nervousness associated with any school assessment.

The other target of NAPLAN naysayers is the MySchool website, where school results are published and can be compared to other schools and the national average. It is argued MySchool harms schools by making them focus excessively on NAPLAN test results. But again, there is little evidence to support this claim, and ultimately schools focusing more on literacy and numeracy is almost always a good thing.

MySchool is important for parents. Parents choose schools based on multiple factors, including academic achievement. Having access to NAPLAN results allows parents a more informed choice for their children’s education success.

And when we’re constantly told parents should be more engaged in their children’s education, it would be bizarre to tell parents they shouldn’t know how their local school is performing compared to national standards.

NAPLAN helps improve schools and teaching, by identifying problems in the school system over time and enabling potential solutions — from the national level all the way down to individual students. It also provides transparency for school results. And it holds governments and schools accountable for the more than $50 billion of taxpayer money invested in the school system every year.

So what is the future for NAPLAN?

It is reasonable to investigate how NAPLAN data can be used more effectively to help students. A possible review of NAPLAN — which education ministers are currently considering — should focus on such issues, rather than simplistically scrapping the whole program.

SOURCE 






High hopes for economic boost from Australian Space Agency

AUSTRALIA is placing a big bet on space technologies with the creation of our own space agency — and the pay-off could be huge.

TECHNOLOGISTS, university researchers and start-up companies are expected to benefit from the establishment of an Australian space agency that could provide a boon for things like precision agriculture and autonomous mining vehicles.

The government officially launched the Australian Space Agency on Monday, setting up the agency to capitalise on the $420 billion aeronautical industry and create thousands of hi-tech jobs, with a review forecasting that the industry will be worth $12 billion by 2030.

Dr Rosalind Dubs is the former Chair of the Australian Space Industry Innovation Council and current Board Director of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE).

She said the cash, and more importantly the government commitment, will foster investment and allow burgeoning Aussie tech companies to tap into the growing global space industry.

“In terms of industry there are a lot of small players already in Australia but they don’t have a champion at the big table ... a space agency will be sitting with its peers with NASA, with the European Space Agency, with the UK Space Office to prosecute their case,” Dr Dubs told news.com.au.

She hopes it will stop a brain drain of top engineering talent leaving Australia to work in space-related industries in the US, Canada and the UK.

“On the research side, there are a number of universities looking to create critical mass around their own space technology capability,” she said.

ASX-listed Electro Optic Systems (EOS) is a Canberra-based defence and space company that, among other things, works with international partners on solutions to the issue of space junk.

“They look at what’s called the space environment and use laser technology to monitor space debris ... and are working on methods to actually push dangerous space junk out of the way of valuable satellites that create vital services for the world,” Dr Dubs said.

While EOS is “already successful in their own right,” she believes the new agency will provide a focal point for research and innovation, allowing other small companies to emulate that success and get a piece of the pie.

She is hopeful the policy certainty anchored by the space agency will encourage large overseas aeronautical and space players such as Boeing, Northrop Grumman and others to “start investing here, in local technologies”.

“It will enable partnerships and allow smaller companies to grow,” Dr Dubs said.

The global space industry is growing at about 10 per cent a year worldwide, an expert review panel estimated Australia accounted for only 0.8 per cent of the industry.

Dr Dubs thinks Australia can reach 2 per cent within the decade.

The review into the coming space agency recommended Australia build on its strengths in communications technology, debris monitoring and space services including situational awareness, ground stations, and other areas where the domestic industry could “leapfrog” other countries.

In addition to the $41 million allocated to kickstart the establishment of the space agency, Dr Dubs praised the government’s $260 million investment in global positioning system (GPS) technology and satellite imagery as part of its 2018-19 federal Budget.

“Satellite data are vital for everything from the monitoring of the environment, to understanding the weather, border security and emergency response, precision farming and time-stamping of financial transactions,” Dr Dubs said

“Every $1 million spent on satellites can drive up to $5 million in economic benefits back on Earth.”

Minister for jobs and innovation, Senator Michaelia Cash, said Australia’s move to join the global space industry had the potential to be worth as much as $12 billion by 2030.

“We have an extraordinary opportunity to increase our share of the growing global space economy,” she said.

“Space technologies are not just about taking people to the moon; they open up opportunities for many industries, including communications, agriculture, mining, oil and gas.

“An Australian space agency will support the long-term development of space technologies, grow our domestic space industry and secure our place in the global space economy.

“Through our $300 million investment in space industry and technology, the Turnbull government is allowing businesses across the economy to prosper, enter new markets and create jobs.”

SOURCE 

Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here