Tuesday, August 30, 2016



If they take our concert, what's the point of Australia Day?

I am not sure why the article below is appearing in August when the holiday is in January but maybe it is entirely ironic.  At any event, Australia day was always low-key.  Our real national day is Anzac day.  As I see it, Australia day is becoming more popular.  People fly flags on their cars these days, which they never used to do. It has become a day for reunions over a BBQ and that seems just fine to me

It's bad enough that they've canned Canberra's annual Australia Day Eve Concert on the lawns of Parliament House .

It's worse that they're turning the Australian of the Year Ceremony into a invite-only affair inside the ultra-exclusive, high-security, hermetically sealed Parliament House.

A more un-Australian effort is hard to imagine, but it gets worse. Have the people behind this so-called decision considered the ugly gaping hole they've gouged into the heart of our national holiday?

We go on a lot about the laid-back, low-key nature of the January day-off, how all those scorched sausages, backyard cricket games and beers reflect our easy-going way of life and how we're glad we're not like those chest-thumping Americans.

All true, but isn't that a bit of a cover story for the vacuum at the heart of our big national holiday?

Where, after this appalling decision, are we supposed to gather in our thousands, waving silly little plastic flags and get all enthusiastic about, well, just about being Australian?

Rocking up to the Sydney Big Day Out – before they canned that – in a pair of Aussie-flag boardies doesn't count. Never did.

I'm not saying  Australia Day Live was clever, I'm definitely not saying it's cool, but most other nations around the world get to have a thing, a central thing for their national day.

The French mark their Bastille Day with military parades, fireworks and concerts in major towns and cities, in Ireland St Patrick's Day sees the massive parade through the streets of the capital and have you seen Red Square on May Day?

The Australia Day Concert is daggy, no denying that, but we always accept, even expect a little naffness with our official celebrations. Attempts to be cool at these affairs are best avoided, for all sorts of good reasons.

The kids love the concert, that's important, and while it can't claim the be the only multi-generational event going around, it is nice to see family groups of 8 to 80-years having a nice time on the lawns every January.

If you can't or won't go to Canberra, it's on the telly. Even locals in the capital who wouldn't be seen dead at the thing are still kinda glad that its around.

Compared with the bombast on show at other national days around the world, the concert and its prize-giving is low-key, non-militaristic, has a festival feel and has never lost sight of its central purpose: it celebrates the best thing about Australia, its people.

Now, the bureaucrats of the Australia Day Council  - and I'm suspicious about whether these people are really fair dinkum Aussie public servants – have denied us even that.

To say nothing of what Jimmy Barnes is supposed to do for a gig during that quiet January period.  Who's thinking of Barnsey in all of this?

And as for the excuse trotted out by Australia Day Council chief executive officer Chris Kirby for canning the concert: that this year's storm "brought the event to a standstill and potentially put the public at risk".

Lame Lame Lame. If the Prime Minister can get one of his magnificent suits wet and not mind (that much) then Mr Kirby should bloody well harden up.

Fire and flood and famine, Chris, remember that bit?

No, my friends, this is unacceptable. A nation cannot sustain itself on beer, backyard no-balls and burnt snags alone.

The concert must be restored, immediately, before our already low-profile national day dwindles to nothing.

SOURCE





Turnbull's betrayal on 18c

James Allan

Okay, let’s stop pretending that the Liberal Party has a deep commitment to free speech. We’re now at the stage where ‘Liberal Party’ and ‘commitment to free speech’ go together about as well as ‘European Union’ and ‘democratic decision-making’ or ‘Mike Baird’ and ‘greyhound racing’. It’s plain that a lot of Liberal MPs simply don’t give a rat’s you-know-what about one of the core Enlightenment values that powered the West’s success and prosperity these past couple of centuries. Beyond the occasional Je suis Charlie tweet, to indulge in a little bit of bumper sticker moralising and virtue signalling, these parliamentarians simply don’t get the value of the John Stuart Mill conception of free speech (assuming they know who Mill was) and are not likely to change any time soon.

And it’s worse under Turnbull than it was under Abbott, if you can believe it. I was assuredly one of the loudest and angriest critics of Tony back when he caved in on his attempt to repeal most of 18C, our invidious Labor-legislated hate speech law. I thought at the time Abbott was making a huge mistake by selling out his political base to try and win a bit of slack from the ABC (laughable, when you think about it) and from what he called ‘Team Australia’ which is a euphemism for the ethnic vote, and especially the Muslim vote. Again, on what planet does it make sense to sell out one of your core values – because it was and is a core value for Abbott personally – for such an ethereal and unlikely prospect of getting these votes based on the sole fact you did not press on with repealing 18C?

But to be fair to Abbott it was clear that many in his party did not share his personal desire to be rid of 18C. Whoever the people preselecting Liberal Party candidates are, they don’t care about free speech. Just look at the new intake of MPs. More than a few seem to hold Labor-lite views generally; a bunch haven’t got a word to say in favour of free speech; and of those that do voice support for free speech I’d be surprised if any of them would go to the wall and cross the floor to support it. Okay, maybe one or two. For the rest, the job and a cushy pension come above all else.

So Abbott had to deal with that in caucus. And he had a feral Senate that would never have passed a Bill amending 18C. Nevertheless, it would still have been the politically right thing to do to push on and make the Senate block the repeal of 18C. Right in principle and right politically for the party, and for him in keeping his PM’s job. So Abbott made a huge error in not doing so. Indeed, very recently in his speech at the Samuel Griffith Society he acknowledged this error and that he should have tried.

Which brings us to his successor, the most left-wing Liberal party leader and Prime Minister ever. Mr Turnbull last week laid down the law. Everyone in Cabinet was ordered not to vote for any Private Member’s Bill seeking to water down 18C. This is a disgrace. This isn’t giving up on trying for reform, as Abbott did. This is actively blocking reform.

So out trots Mr Morrison soon after the Turnbull edict on 18C came down to say his focus is elsewhere; it’s on the economy, not on free speech. In themselves those words are pretty frightening, given that Morrison has thus far proven to be a big spending, high taxing, Labor-lite Treasurer. I don’t know about you, but I’d be pretty happy if Morrison focused on just about anything other than our economy, given the decisions he’s made so far. I bet not many of you thought that Joe Hockey’s successor could one day make you get down on your knees and wish Hockey were back as Treasurer.

But who’s Morrison kidding? You either decide to support emasculating 18C, and so reinvigorating free speech in this country, or you don’t. Focus on whatever you like. Just vote for Bob Day’s private member’s Bill to delete the words ‘offend’ and ‘insult’ from 18C. Heck, this is a watered-down, half-hearted response to the awfulness of 18C to begin with. There’s nothing taking him away from his core Ministerial responsibilities involved here, and it’s embarrassing that Morrison could pretend otherwise.

Then there is our Attorney-General Mr Brandis. Last year he had some sort of Damascene conversion. Beforehand he’d travelled the country beating the drum for some sort of repeal of 18C, often likening himself to a latter day John Stuart Mill. Today the man can’t even support the QUT students being dragged through Human Rights Commission 18C hell, and through the courts. Brandis has the power to at least indemnify the legal costs of these students. He has decided not to do so. What a disgrace for someone who styles himself a Liberal. Then again, this is the same Attorney General who appointed Ed Santow to replace Tim Wilson on the HRC, the same Ed Santow who has yet to say a word in defence of free speech. Brought to you by your Liberal Party, my friends.

And that brings me to various acquaintances who listed Malcolm’s support for free speech (and Tony’s lack of such support) as the main reason they favoured the defenestrating coup. Still think the shift to Turnbull was a good idea? Still think the massive transaction costs involved in ditching a sitting PM and alienating a million plus party members was worth it? Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if it were Turnbull doing the undermining of Abbott on 18C back before the latter threw in the towel on this.

Andrew Bolt asks ‘name one thing that Turnbull has done in his year in the job?’ That’s not quite right because he’s done plenty. It’s just that they’re all left-leaning; like throwing more money at renewables and ‘innovation’ (don’t ask me??), trying to buy a few seats in SA by coughing up huge amounts on inferior home built subs, undermining superannuation, doing deals with the Greens, and so on. The actual question should be ‘name one thing that Turnbull has done in his year that a Liberal voter could be proud of?’ Those of you who thought fixing up 18C might be on this invisible list might like to concede you were wrong.

SOURCE






Mapping the Indigenous program and funding maze

Sara Hudson

More than $5.9 billion in government and not-for-profit funding for Indigenous programs is disappearing into a black hole because no one is really tracking what is happening to that money and whether it is delivering results.

Although there is much goodwill in Australia to improve Indigenous outcomes, too many programs are implemented because of their perceived benefit rather than a rigorous assessment of what works.

Of 1082 Indigenous-specific programs identified in a review of government and non-government programs, only 88 (8%) have been evaluated. And of those programs that were evaluated, few used methods that actually provided evidence of the program's effectiveness.  On the whole, Indigenous evaluations are characterised by a lack of data and an overreliance on anecdotal evidence.

But calling for more evidence does not mean adding to the voluminous collection of meaningless data that already exists. Currently there are seven federal government reports reporting on Indigenous outcomes and disadvantage. Together, these reports and the data that accompany them come to more than 7000 pages, with much of the data duplicated across the reports.

Instead of endless data monitoring the lack of progress in 'closing the gap' between Indigenous and non-Indigenous outcomes, the government should focus on making organisations and agencies formally account for how they are spending money. This can only be done by providing credible evidence of the program's impact and whether it is meeting its intended objectives - and making this evidence publicly available.

Because of the lack of accountability there have been cases of outright fraud, such as the 44 organisations being investigated by compliance officers at the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet's Indigenous Affairs Group for misuse of funds. One organisation had not filed any annual reports for eight years.

If Indigenous people are to ever benefit from the considerable investment by government and the not-for-profit sector, the lack of accountability that has plagued the Indigenous sector must end.

SOURCE






Is the gay marriage plebiscite heading down the gurgler? Bill Shorten indicates Labor will block the PM’s plan

Labor appears set to block Malcolm Turnbull's same-sex marriage plebiscite amid mounting fears a popular vote would set back equality in Australia.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten stopped short of pledging to scuttle the vote, but has stepped up his rhetoric against the planned February poll.

'I'm worried Malcolm Turnbull will just stuff it up,' he told the Sun-Herald.

Labor has not yet reached a final decision on the plebiscite, but it appeared the party was set to vote it down after closed-door discussions over the past week.

The party strongly supports gay marriage, but was worried the plebiscite would fail and make it harder for it to be legislated once it is back in government.

It insists research shows the vote would fail, especially if the vote is not compulsory and the motivated and well-resourced 'no' campaign pulls out all the stops.

There were fears Mr Turnbull would put little or no effort into supporting the 'yes' campaign because of friction in his party, giving opponents the upper hand.

Mr Shorten has instead called for a free vote in Parliament, and hoped Labor's opposition to a plebiscite would pressure him to defy conservative Liberals.

'He's only doing it because he is too weak to stand up to the radicals in his own party. Why should everyone else have to pay for his weakness?' he said.

'The plebiscite is unnecessary, expensive and divisive. There's a better, faster way to make much marriage equality a reality. The Parliament should do its job and deal with a marriage equality bill, with all parties afforded a free vote.'

However, Coalition sources told the Sun-Herald Mr Turnbull was unlikely to reverse his position because of his tenuous hold on the House of Representatives after the close election.

Labor was also concerned the plebiscite would cost as much as $250 million - far more than the frequently cited $160 million - and stretch the Australian Electoral Commission too far.

The Greens have already pledged to oppose a plebiscite, meaning if Labor blocked the poll the government would need the support of minor parties in the Senate.

One Nation has signalled it's support but Nick Xenophon and others want Parliament to decide, leaving Mr Turnbull without enough votes.

There were widespread concerns the campaign leading up to vote could be bitter and lead to 'hate speech' against gay Australians.

Mr Shorten called it 'a taxpayer-funded platform for homophobia' at his election campaign launch in June.

Tony Abbott, who does not support same-sex marriage and came up with the plebiscite idea before he was deposed as Prime Minister, remained staunch in his support for the poll.

'Why do they think the politicians are so much wiser than the public,’' he told the Sunday Telegraph. 'I can’t see why Labor and the Greens won’t trust the people to make this decision.’'

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, August 29, 2016



The fashion for university rape protests reaches Australia

I have followed a lot of these protests but I have nowhere seen a reasonable comparision of university rape incidence with rape incidence for the same age group in the general community.  Rapes do occur at universities.  They occur most places.  But tasking universities with rape prevention may be to task them  with changing human nature -- a notoriously difficult task

University students have crashed a university open day lecture protesting against the against the way sexual assaults are handled at universities.

A group of male and female students entered the Sydney University's Eastern Avenue lecture hall on Saturday during an information session.

They brought with them single sized mattresses with slogans such as 'protect students', 'welcome to the hunting grounds' and 'red tape won't cover up rape' scrawled across it in red and black permanent marker.

The event was organised by Sydney University Women's Officer Anna Hush who said 'We organised this event because we want to show parents that sexual assault and harassment are significant problems for students', in a report by News.com.au.

Among the group were victims of rape who told of their harrowing stories in front of parents and prospective students.

'I lasted three weeks in my first year of university before I was raped. Three weeks. As a first year student. And I'm still studying, but my life is completely different,' one brave female student said. 'I never expected that to happen at my university,' she said.

The student added: 'It's evident, if we want to protect our child and also allow them to have an education at a tertiary level we need to help change the system, revolt against the universities and demand change before we ever decide to sent our brothers, our sisters, our children to university'.

A short time after university security and management interrupted the protest by turned off the lights and ushered parents out of the hall in an attempt to stop the group for reading out their demands.

The 10 demands were for how universities should improvements their policies towards sexual assault and how it should be responded to.

A mother of a prospective student who was at the lecture said: 'It was so moving for me — each of those girls would have gone through a lot to get up there [and talk about their assaults].'

 SOURCE






When a Briton defends free speech in Australia

In Q&A, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s flagship political panel show, spiked editor Brendan O’Neill once again prompted the right-thinking first to tweet their spleen, and then to fire off snarky op-eds. And the reason for the riling? Was it O’Neill’s criticism of the Australian state’s incarceration of migrants on the micro-island of Nauru, ‘a kind of purgatory, a limbo where aspiring migrants are stuck between a place they don’t want to be and a place they want to be’, as he described it? Or was it perhaps his criticism of pro-refugee campaigners, whom, as The Australian reports, O’Neill accused of ‘infantilising’ migrants, treating them as weak, helpless, other?

Nope, none of the above. What got up the nose of the unthinkingly politically correct was O’Neill’s attack on Section 18C of Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act, which prohibits speech ‘reasonably likely… to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people’ because of their ‘race, colour or national or ethnic origin’. Or, to put it another way: Brendan O’Neill defended free speech. And, it was this, this defence of one of the cornerstones of radical, liberal, enlightened thought, that outraged the nominally liberal and leftist.

Here’s what O’Neill said: ‘I love hearing hate speech because it reminds me I live in a free society.’ Got that? O’Neill loves hearing hate speech, not in itself, not because he just loves vitriol, as some of his detractors really seem to believe. No, he loves hearing it because of what hearing it means: namely, that we live in a society that is confident enough in itself, in its liberal values, that it can tolerate dissenting and hateful views. O’Neill then went on to explain why freedom of speech is precisely the mechanism through which we can challenge racism: ‘The real problem with Section 18C is it actually disempowers anti-racists by denying us the right to see racism, to know it, to understand it and to confront it in public. Instead it entrusts the authorities to hide it away on our behalf so we never have a reckoning with it.’

For anyone faintly familiar with a liberal and radical tradition of thought, from Voltaire to Frederick Douglass to Karl Marx, O’Neill’s argument shouldn’t be controversial: it is only through the airing of prejudice that it can be reckoned with. And it certainly shouldn’t be difficult to understand. But sadly it seems that, for too many, it is. To these, the liberal-ish and the right-on, it is an anathema, thought from another planet.

First came the high-profile Twitterers, the attack dogs of elite sentiment. Celebrity chef Georgina Dent said: ‘See, if hearing hate speech is the bit you love most about living in a “free country” you’re doing it wrong.’ Commentator Jane Caro quickly joined in: ‘Brendan O’Neill may not be aware of how privileged he is to “like” hearing hate speech. I’ve seen it intimidate people into silence.’ And in chimed the widely retweeted campaigner and columnist, Mariam Veiszadeh: ‘Those who argue that S18C should be repealed have the privilege of never having to seek its protection.’

Then came the op-eds. A Sydney Morning Herald writer declared: ‘The audience of Q&A has exercised its freedom of speech to call BS on a white man who courageously declared, among a panel of fellow white folk, that he loves hearing hate speech.’ And 9News talked of ‘a white male free-speech crusader’ being ‘mocked online after declaring on last night’s Q&A programme that he “loves hearing hate speech”’.

What’s immediately striking about the response to O’Neill’s defence of free speech is the incredulity. ‘An extraordinary statement’, remarked one commentator, as if O’Neill had just proclaimed the Earth’s flatness. Another said it was ‘ridiculous’. All of which shows just how removed today’s liberals and lefties are from their own liberal, left-wing traditions.

Then of course there is the substance, if you can call it that, of their criticism. That is, O’Neill, as a white man, is in no position to criticise the criminalisation of racist hate speech. Why? Because, as a white man, he has not experienced racial hate speech; he does not know how it feels to be subject to racial hate speech, and therefore he has no authority to comment on it. Where do you start with this steaming pile of emotivist, particularist proverbial? First, O’Neill is making a universalist case for free speech. Not for himself. Not for white people. And not for middle-class tweeters. He is making a case for free speech for everyone. Second, O’Neill’s own background – a son of working-class Irish immigrants, as it happens, which is hardly a marker of privilege in Britain - is not important. What matters is the argument, not its propagator. If a ‘person of colour’, as O’Neill’s critics have it, had made the same argument, would it suddenly have become more persuasive, more legitimate?

And third and finally, who exactly do they think is empowered by Section 18C? Is it indigenous Australians? Is it the wretched of the Earth? Or is it the Australian state, complete with its retinue of privileged white judges and civil servants who, thanks to this pernicious bit of legislation, are now authorised to adjudicate on what is illegal and what is legal speech? And here we come to the miserable irony of those who are mocking O’Neill for his defence of free speech: they would rather support the state, the most powerful and, yes, privileged force in the land than give people the freedom to say what they think. It seems there are none so dangerous as the unthinkingly self-righteous.

In his Crikey column, Guy Rundle captured well the irony of the anti-O’Neill, anti-white-privilege backlash, particularly as it came from O’Neill’s fellow panellist, the comedian Corinne Grant: ‘It’s particularly counterproductive when people from a creative background — playwrights, comedians — take so easily to the task of censoriousness and state control of speech. It is an invitation to hand over freedom on the promise that the state will guarantee it for you – and reach the point where you positively welcome having judges “authorising” speech. Nothing much can be achieved while this attitude persists, unexamined, unreflected upon, among people who should be challenging elites, not forming new ones.’

And it’s precisely the freedom to challenge elites and elite views that animates O’Neill’s defence of free speech. As the man himself put it in that heated TV studio: ‘It’s very important when it comes to expressing opinion, even if it’s ugly opinion, to protect people’s right to do that. Otherwise you’ll end up in a situation where the state has the right to decide what’s a good opinion or a bad opinion. And least of all minority groups should support that. Every marginalised group in history has seen free speech as their greatest friend. It’s the means through they can express themselves, can argue against their oppression, through which they can challenge the authorities. We have to defend the right for free speech for everyone, particularly for marginalised groups.’

SOURCE






Cindy Prior: Doctors cast doubts on QUT employee’s 18C racism claim

She's a neurotic and a chronic complainer so her upset in the QUT matter is readily seen as irrational

Comprehensive medical reports question the severity and reasons for a stress disorder affecting an indigenous university staffer who is seeking $250,000 damages from students in a section 18C ­racial hatred case.

The medical reports, introduced to the controversial case as formal public exhibits by the Queensland University of Technology employee and her Brisbane solicitor Susan Moriarty suggest Cindy Prior carries past grievances and overreacted to students’ Facebook posts.

Simone Shaw, a psychologist who conducted a long interview and examination, said in a 13-page report that Ms Prior was “unlikely to attribute personal responsibility to events that occur in her life”.

“As a result of this personality style, she is likely to blame and ­begrudge others when she perceives she has been mistreated, which appears evident in relation to the incident on 28 May, 2013,’’ Dr Shaw reported.

“She may be blindly uncritical of her own behaviour and insensitive to negative consequences ­associated with her behaviour, tending to minimise the negative impact that her behaviour has on others and on herself.

Dr Shaw said Ms Prior ­appeared to have had numerous workplace occurrences that she had perceived as bullying, harassment and racial vilification.

“It appears that these experiences continue to cause distress to Ms Prior in relation to her perceptions of justice,” she said.

“Ms Prior reported an extensive history of experiencing racial abuse from early childhood until the present time. This history of abuse has resulted in a sense of re-traumatisation for Ms Prior in ­relation to the incident on 28 May 2013.

“Ms Prior presents with strong convictions in relation to fairness and equity and her sense of injustice, not only in relation to the most recent workplace incident, but this was also evident through her recollections of her involvement in four previous workplace incidents and two historical personal incidents that subsequently caused her significant distress and she reportedly instigated legal ­involvement on several occasions to resolve those issues.

“Her core belief of fairness and equity justice has resulted in a sense of injustice in relation to the incident on 28 May, 2013.”

Ms Prior has an ongoing Federal Circuit Court action against students under section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, which makes it unlawful for anyone to “offend, insult, humiliate or ­intimidate” another person or group on the grounds of race, ­colour or ethnicity.

On May 28, 2013, engineering student Alex Wood wrote on Facebook: “Just got kicked out of the unsigned indigenous computer room. QUT stopping segregation with segregation?”

He wrote it soon after Ms Prior, an administrative officer in QUT’s Oodgeroo Unit, had ­directed Mr Wood and two other students to leave the unit. She had first asked whether they were ­indigenous as the Oodgeroo Unit was established for Aboriginal students. Mr Wood and his friends packed up and left the unit peacefully after Ms Prior’s intervention and questioning.

Another student, Jackson Powell, who is also being sued, read Mr Wood’s post and wrote a sarcastic reply: “I wonder where the white supremacist lab is.”

A third student who is being sued and accused of racial vilification under 18C, Calum Thwaites, said he was not the ­author of a Facebook post which used the word “niggers”.

The 18C case, which has led to confidential cash settlements by several other students in return for their release from the legal ­action, advanced to the Federal Circuit Court after going first to the Human Rights Commission.

Mr Wood said: “I morally ­detest racial discrimination. I made my comment in good faith. I am really struggling to understand how this relatively minor act has left me facing a criminal prosecution for ‘hate speech’ and a claim for damages in an amount well in excess of $250,000.”

The students and their lawyers say the case is a glaring example of how section 18C can be misused to demand money and smear people as racists, while proponents of ­reform have called for section 18C to be abolished. Malcolm Turnbull says he and the government are focused on the economy rather than looking at 18C, but conservative backbenchers and independents want action.

The Weekend Australian has examined numerous exhibits attached to Ms Prior’s affidavit, filed by her solicitor, as judge Michael Jarrett is set to rule on whether her case should be dismissed.

One of the exhibits, the report of Dr Shaw for QUT, was part of a worker’s compensation process that began soon after May 28, 2013, as Ms Prior said she was ­unable to return to the Oodgeroo Unit due to her severe stress and fears of a “Ku Klux Klan” cabal of students.

University executives assured her there was no such group, while Mr Wood, who had not breached the student code of conduct with his comment about segregation, took down the Facebook post as soon as he was asked by QUT.

Dr Shaw said Ms Prior had complained that a short time ­before the May 28 incident she had experienced racism from a QUT tutor. Ms Prior had ceased studying a bachelor of arts course, majoring in human rights and ethics, as she disagreed with an ­assignment requirement to ­observe indigenous offenders.

Dr Shaw reported that Ms Prior’s responses in a comprehensive psychological evaluation were “unusual in that they indicate a defensiveness about particular personal shortcomings as well as an exaggeration of certain problems”.

Ms Prior has refused to accept some of the clinical psychologist’s key findings, adding that “it is clear she is not my advocate” and that she “found it difficult to connect” with Dr Shaw.

“I felt she lacked empathy,’’ Ms Prior states in her affidavit when describing Dr Shaw.

“She appeared to have no grasp or feel for the unique problems which are part of being an Aboriginal person. At the assessment, she pushed me hard to agree to a graduated return to work program when I still felt ­incapacitated by anxiety and fear.

“Her ‘client’ was QUT, not me. QUT’s agenda was to get me back to work as soon as possible and her sole role was to do just that, ­irrespective of how I felt.

“As an example, she told me at one point to have self-defence lessons so that I could feel more confident in fighting back if I was assaulted and mentioned that WorkCover would most likely pay for the lessons.”

Dr Shaw told QUT staff involved in trying to help Ms Prior get back to work that they should discuss the feasibility of safety measures including a security guard patrol, erection of indigenous flags at the Oodgeroo Unit, 24-hour swipe-card access, and fast dial to security

Within two days of the incident, QUT director of equity Mary Kelly was advised by Ms Prior that she would not be returning to her workplace as it was unsafe and she feared verbal and physical attack from students.

Another clinical psychologist, Jonathan Mason, in a subsequent 14-page report stated that Ms Prior told him: “I can’t even think about going back there. They know me, I’m scared I’ll be physically attacked by the students.”

Dr Mason said there were indications that Ms Prior “tended to portray herself as being exceptionally free of the common shortcomings to which most individuals will admit”.

He said she had a post-traumatic stress disorder “with clinically significant symptoms in relation to the workplace incident”, and would need a careful program to restart work.

Documents filed by both QUT and a third medical examiner, psychiatrist John Chalk, report that Ms Prior had begun seeing another doctor for a PTSD complaint several weeks before the students went to the Oodgeroo Unit and put any posts on Facebook.

Dr Chalk reported that Ms Prior was “cagey about what she expected QUT to do”, but he added that she wanted them “to, in some way, punish those who posted what she regarded as ­racially abhorrent comments on Facebook”.

Dr Chalk disagreed with a ­diagnosis of PTSD, finding ­instead “a chronic adjustment disorder with a depressed and anxious mood”. It was at the “mild end of the spectrum and (she) could return to gainful employment”, but not at the same campus of QUT.

Psychiatrist Simone Becker, who had previously diagnosed PTSD due to “years of racial discrimination and vilification” ­(before the Oodgeroo Unit incident), stated that Ms Prior’s work-related condition was “adjust­ment disorder with anxiety” — which exacerbated the PTSD.

Dr Becker said in her five-page report: “Ms Prior’s experience and interpretation of the work-related incident was directly shaped by her past experiences of persecution and helpless vulnerability. Her incapacity is partial and situational in nature.”

The exhibits disclose that a Queensland government Medical Assessment Tribunal made a ­December 2013 decision which stated that “as a result of the racial vilification that occurred in the Oodgeroo Unit”, Ms Prior had ­adjustment disorder with 7.5 per cent impairment. A fortnight later, Ms Prior’s then solicitors, Slater & Gordon, complained to QUT that there had been discrimination, offensive behaviour, ­racial hatred, lax security measures, and a general failure of the university to act appropriately and respond to safety concerns.

Ms Prior discloses in her affidavit that she felt “physically sick and abandoned” at an early meeting with Ms Kelly, adding: “I could not understand how or why the students had not already been suspended or disciplined. I felt as though I had personally been found ridiculous for fearing physical assault and a KKK presence in the university.

“I was never told what action, if any, was ever taken against the students.

“None of them ever offered me an apology for the suffering their conduct and online posts caused me. I felt I had been warned off from pursuing any kind of ­accountability for the students’ conduct …’’

SOURCE






Nyland's heartless attack on adoptive parents

 Jeremy Sammut

South Australia's Nyland Royal Commission has recommended a staggering 260 changes to the state's child protection services.

The sheer number of recommendations indicate a lack of strategic priorities that will address the root systemic reasons why the system fails too many children.

This is typified by the Nyland Report's treatment of the key question of adoption.

In his 2015 report into the death of four-year-old Chloe Valentine, Coroner Mark Johns found that Chloe died because Families SA was obsessively focused on practicing 'family preservation' --  on doing everything it could to keep even an appallingly maltreated child with their abusive and neglectful families.

Hence the Coroner recommended that more children be removed earlier and permanently before they are harmed by their parents, and that the use of adoption be expanded to give more children safe and stable families for life.

Commissioner Nyland, however, rejected increasing the number of adoptions, based on the spurious notion that adoption is somehow not in children's best interests. This is impossible to fathom, given the major and well-documented harm the current system does to children.

But the welfare of children was a secondary consideration, at best. Taking her cue from fanatical anti-adoption academic-activists, Nyland suggested adoption was actually all about the interests of the adults who want to 'own' adopted children.

Adoption, in Nyland's words, is primarily a "means to satisfy the desire of adults to create or expand their families."

This is monstrously absurd given the child welfare issues at stake.  It is also a heartless attack on the motives of adoptive parents accused of being especially selfish.

This is ridiculous and mean spirited given that parents hardly decide to have kids naturally for entirely selfless reasons -- let alone in the 'best interests' of their yet unborn children -- but for a whole range of deeply personal -- and biological -- reasons.

Adoptive parents should not be held to a higher standard in an absurd effort to discredit adoption as an illegitimate practice. Adoption needs to be accepted for what it truly is -- a legitimate way to form families when more adoptions could do so much good for so many children.

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, August 28, 2016



Now Bunnings is pandering to Muslims

Beef OK, vegetarian OK but no bacon in their sizzles!  And DEFINITELY no pork sausages!   They say defensively they are just trying to keep it simple.  If so, how is vegetarian allowed? And what is complicated about pork sausages?  Good that Woolworths still includes bacon & eggs in their sizzles.  I had some recently

For many Australians, a Bunnings sausage sizzle is an institution, a reminder of being dragged to the hardware store on a Saturday morning by your partner or parents.

Others see the tradition as a way to raise funds for local sports clubs or community groups.

However shoppers have been left confused after it was revealed the sausage sizzles, which are a fixture at the hardware giant, also come with a strict set of guidelines.

The most baffling rule to one social media user was that bacon is not allowed to be sold at the BBQ's.

'I went to Bunnings yesterday and as you do I stopped at the Rotary sausage sizzle on the way out,' Dave wrote on Facebook.

'There was three or four blokes about my age working on the BBQ and I couldn't help myself, I just had to find out if it was true or an urban myth. 'So I asked; Is it true that they can't cook bacon on those stalls?

'I'm sad to say it is true, if you want a bacon sanga don't go to the Bunnings sausage sizzle, anywhere in Australia!,' his post finished.

Bunnings said they keep the barbecues 'simple' to allow all community groups equal opportunity.

'Our reasons behind keeping the offer simple and offering meat sausages is to ensure that all community groups are able to host a fundraiser sausage sizzle with the greatest amount of ease, along with providing a consistent offer for customers across all our stores,' Michael Schneider, Bunnings Managing Director told Daily Mail Australia in a statement.

'On a case by case basis, we also allow community groups to have a vegetarian fundraising sausage sizzle if that is their preference, which is supported by appropriate customer signage,' he added.

SOURCE






It's bad news for democracy when frank discussion is shut down

The great divide in Australia is not the mountain range stretching along our eastern seaboard but the boundary between those prepared to say what they think and those who deign to keep debate within confined parameters.

The country is divided between the political/media class who set and abide by the rules of political correctness, and the mainstream and mavericks who dare to talk outside this artificial range of acceptability.

Climate change, Islamic extremism and immigration are the issues most affected, although discussions on gay marriage, gender and indigenous affairs are similarly constrained. Ask Bill Leak.

Incredibly, in this information age, it is not only certain opinions that are frowned on but unpalatable facts as well.

Evidence and data are shunned in favour of the views preferred by the so-called elites, or the group Robert Manne self-identified as the “permanent oppositional moral political community”. This community commands establishment strongholds in academe, media, political parties and, increasingly, even big business.

From these positions of privilege its members seek to define themselves by opposition to what may be mainstream views. Others who express angst or scepticism about the totemic issues are derided and mocked as racists, sexists, homophobes, Islamophobes and climate deniers.

Up against this sort of intimidation it is little wonder we often see the majority cowed into silence. Aside from noisy fringe-dwellers, most save their voice for the ballot box.

Despite a political/media class preaching incessantly on climate alarmism, republicanism and the need for open borders, the silent majority have used the anonymity of the polling booth to strike down a carbon tax, reinstate border protection and support the constitutional monarchy.

At this year’s election both major parties ignored such voters: Bill Shorten and Malcolm Turnbull fought the election from the same side of the politically correct divide. It probably cost Turnbull a comfortable majority.

Little wonder, then, that unorthodox outsiders with unsophisticated views — such as Pauline Hanson (and three running mates), Nick Xenophon (and three running mates), Jacqui Lambie, Bob Katter and others — were elected airing mainstream grievances without coherent plans to address them.

Elsewhere, politicians won’t entertain a citizen’s right to be concerned about Islamist extremism (let alone Muslim immigration), globalisation or the efficacy of our largely bipartisan climate policy. These are nuanced issues worthy of ongoing discussion but are reduced to binary choices.

They are subsumed by gesture politics in which subscribing to the appropriate postures on climate, refugees or Islam is about defining political character rather than prescribing policy outcomes. In all the years of ongoing debate about pricing carbon, for instance, there has seldom been a word spoken about what practical difference such a move in this country could make to the planet.

Publicly supporting a price on carbon is not about cooling the planet or even, given bipartisan emissions reductions targets, about abating more carbon. It is about adopting a policy position to parade allegiance to an emotional stance — backing a price shows that you care. Real questions about whether the target is worthwhile, cost effective or futile are left aside while a faux debate rages over a mechanism.

The elite discussion on such issues is so constrained that dissenting opinions and frank discussions are left to renegade politicians and outspoken media commentators who win large followings and unflinching loyalty because they dare to say what many may think.

When One Nation senator-elect Malcolm Roberts appeared on the ABC’s Q&A this month and dared to raise the homogenisation of temperature data by NASA (and other climate science centres), celebrity scientist Brian Cox responded not with facts but with mockery. “Just one thing,” he said incredulously, “NASA, NASA, the people that landed men on the moon.”

The crowd laughed, along with the panel, and the case was closed. But many viewers would know there was a serious issue here and might like to hear an intelligent answer.

Some might be attracted to conspiracy theories but with historical temperature records at NASA, Britain’s Met Office and our own bureau being revised, most might have been interested in having someone such as Cox explain how this scientific adjustment apparently improved the data. Pretending the issue away adds nothing to the discussion except suspicion.

The following week on the same program we had a similar disregard for the facts on refugee issues. Leftist comedian and refugee activist Corinne Grant seemed to know enough to be upset about what she knew she didn’t know. “They (government) do not want you to know what is happening in these centres because if you did — if you genuinely knew what was happening to these people — no one in Australia would allow it to continue to happen,” she said. She was not able to impart any knowledge or facts. But she was able to demonstrate her own virtue by suggesting other Australians, Nauruans and their governments were behaving appallingly.

On the other side of the great divide people speak with more frankness. They know the policy is tough, they know it works and they know there are options other than giving in to demands for repatriation of offshore refugees here. They also have enough respect for their fellow citizens to treat claims of routine abuse with some scepticism.

Likewise, while major party politicians, law enforcement officials and public servants struggle to talk openly about the threat of Islamic extremism, people on the other side of the divide know it is vicious and insidious, and can openly discuss it without tarring every Muslim as a terrorist. They even may talk in practical terms about curbing Muslim migration from some countries while we confront the upsurge in terrorism.

Unless the political/media class enters this space and engages in debate we will see extended and divisive debates on these issues, polarised positions shouting across the great divide.

These are strange times. Journalists — who should be professional contrarians — are part of the problem. Many barracked for Labor’s proposed de facto regulation of print media content. Now they dismiss concerns about section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act even though it saw two of Andrew Bolt’s columns banned. And they have signed petitions against Leak’s cartoons.

Bureaucrats, politicians and academics discuss the need for spending restraint while awarding each other unaffordable increases in wages and perks. Even at local government level, those on one side of the divide diss the national day most of us embrace.

The opportunity is obvious for Shorten or Turnbull — or others within either major party — to fill the vacuum in public debate. Mainstream discussion of difficult issues, without condemnation, could help shape sensible approaches and it certainly could replace patronising disdain with real engagement.

We have become used to a privileged minority telling us that the majority on the other side of the divide are getting it wrong — on immigration, climate, the republic and even Brexit. And now they are worried the majority will get it wrong on gay marriage, too. But in democracies the majority tends to be right.

SOURCE






Sir Lunchalot still being pursued by his shady past



He fought to keep criminal charges against him secret but former NSW mining minister Ian Macdonald has been revealed as the second Labor identity charged over a multimillion-dollar coal deal at the centre of an explosive corruption inquiry.

Fairfax Media previously revealed that Eddie Obeid and his entrepreneurial middle son, Moses, were quietly charged last year over a $30 million coal deal involving their family property at Mount Penny in the Bylong Valley.

The charges were suppressed to ensure Obeid snr, 72, suffered no prejudice in his recent criminal trial in the NSW Supreme Court over his business dealings at Circular Quay.

The former Labor powerbroker was convicted of misconduct in public office in June and the Crown is pushing for a jail sentence.

Mr Macdonald, who was mining minister at the time a lucrative coal tenement was created over the Obeids' property, was also charged last year over the Mount Penny deal and faces allegations of misconduct in public office.

His legal team fought to keep the charges secret on the basis it could prejudice his trial early next year on unrelated charges stemming from a separate inquiry by the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

But Local Court magistrate Jennifer Atkinson rejected the application on Tuesday, saying there was a "public interest in open justice".

SOURCE






Backpacker sues NSW Police accusing force of cover-up over  alleged bashing

A backpacker who was prosecuted for a petty offence after allegedly being the victim of a serious assault is suing New South Wales Police, accusing the force of an institutional cover-up over the failure to investigate or discipline an off-duty officer involved.

English backpacker Liam Monte claims he was unlawfully imprisoned in 2013 following a fight in the Sydney CBD which broke out after a heavily intoxicated police constable pulled out a police badge and attempted to arrest him at a McDonald's restaurant.

Mr Monte was pursued down George Street by the off-duty officer and his friends following the McDonald's incident, and a witness to the fight said Mr Monte was repeatedly kicked and bashed while he lay on the ground.

According to a magistrate, police initially investigated Mr Monte for assault of the off-duty officer. However, when the evidence indicated Mr Monte had in fact been the victim of an assault, officers charged the backpacker with stealing the constable's police badge.

Mr Monte is now suing the police for damages including assault and battery, misfeasance in public office, unlawful imprisonment and collateral abuse of process.

He said he was pursuing the civil claim against the police because he believed he had been the victim of an injustice.

"I've lost a lot of faith in the police," he said. "I felt like they're meant to be there to protect us, and I didn't feel like they protected me on that night."

How the fight unfolded

The altercation between Liam Monte and off-duty police officer Osvaldo Painemilla began when Mr Monte objected to the behaviour of the off-duty officer and his friends who were dining at a McDonald's restaurant in George Street in Sydney's CBD.

In a judgment delivered in 2014, local court magistrate Michael Barnes said Mr Monte threw a chip at the men, who then pursued him out of the restaurant when Mr Monte went to leave.

At the exit of the McDonald's, Mr Painemilla, who admitted in court to having consumed 16 drinks, produced a police badge and said to Mr Monte: "I'm a cop and you're under arrest."

Mr Monte, who said he did not believe the badge was real, grabbed the badge and exited the restaurant.

According to evidence accepted by the magistrate, Mr Painemilla's friends then dragged Mr Monte backwards out of a cab and chased him up George Street. Mr Monte threw the police badge back, but one of Mr Painemilla's friends continued to pursue him. He tackled Mr Monte to the ground on a footpath, allegedly punching and kicking him repeatedly.

According to the statement of a bus driver who witnessed the assault tendered to the local court, Mr Monte was "punched approximately 10 times to the face as he lay on the ground".

Mr Painemilla and his friends denied the claims and disputed Mr Monte's version of events.

Following the fight on April 19, 2013, Mr Monte was taken to hospital by ambulance with severe facial bruising and a suspected fractured eye socket.

Monte charged over stealing officer's badge

Shortly after he was discharged from hospital, detectives from The Rocks police station in central Sydney arrived at his backpacker's hostel and arrested him.

The case against Mr Monte for stealing proceeded to a full prosecution in 2014, and at the time, the magistrate hearing the case, Michael Barnes, described it as an abuse of process.

Magistrate Barnes said it was difficult not to conclude that police had brought the prosecution in an attempt to "somehow negate the suggestion that the force applied to Mr Monte was otherwise completely unjustifiable". Mr Barnes said Mr Painemilla had abused his powers of arrest.

"In my view abuse of the power of arrest goes far beyond being merely undesirable," Mr Barnes said.

"When the officer purporting to exercise the power is very drunk and in the company of others who have provoked the confrontation leading to its exercise, the arrest can readily be classified as unnecessary and improper."

Mr Barnes found that the facts that supported the police's charging of Mr Monte for stealing a police badge were proven, but he did not convict Mr Monte of the offence, instead giving him a Section 10 bond.

Mr Monte's statement of claim argues that the NSW Police is vicariously liable for Mr Painemilla's actions and that the police officers investigating the 2014 incident failed in their duties.

The claim argues Mr Monte suffered "extreme fear and substantial pain" during the assault, "embarrassment and distress" during his subsequent arrest, and "a strong sense of ongoing injustice" over the failure to investigate Mr Painemilla's behaviour.

"Two things shocked me, first of all that I was arrested on that night, and then that I was handcuffed while I was clearly concussed and had taken a severe beating," Mr Monte said.

"It was clear as day that they had assaulted me and it was a three-on-one situation which was a group beating. So I was incredibly shocked that they weren't arrested at that point."

NSW Police are yet to file a defence in the case. When contacted about the case, a spokesperson said NSW Police would not be making any comment as the matter was before the courts.

Last month, lawyers acting for the NSW Police applied to the NSW District Court for security of costs.

In that application, NSW Police asked the court to order Mr Monte to pay $60,000 upfront to cover the costs of the court case in case he lost the case and was ordered to pay the police's costs. The application failed.

Stephen Blanks, president of the NSW Council of Civil Liberties, said he was disturbed by the legal tactic.

"The police attempted to shut this case down by using litigation tactics of a kind that normally only happens in the big commercial courts," Mr Blanks said. "And they were using it against a victim of their own violence."

"What we need in the NSW Police force is a culture of intolerance of wrongdoing, an intolerance of violence by police against innocent members of the public, an intolerance of using the courts to prosecute cases that ought not to be prosecuted.

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



Saturday, August 27, 2016


Homosexual judge dislikes democracy

The people might vote the "wrong" way

Former High Court justice Michael Kirby says a plebiscite on same-sex marriage will create a dangerous political precedent in Australia where MPs avoid making decisions on controversial issues, instead opting for unnecessary and expensive popular votes.

The government is expected to try to pass enabling legislation for a nationwide plebiscite in coming weeks, before a possible vote in February asking Australians if they agree people of the same sex should be allowed to marry.

But Justice Kirby, who served at the High Court from 1996 until 2009, said plebiscite votes were "alien" to Australia's system of representative democracy and the campaign would drive hatred and abuse towards gay and lesbian Australians.

He said Australian voters had rarely supported referendum questions and there was no reason a plebiscite would be any different.

"It will mean any time that there is something that is controversial, that's difficult for the parliamentarians to address or they don't want to address, they'll send it out to a plebiscite.

"I think that's a very bad way. Our Parliament, our parliamentary institutions in Australia and elsewhere are really not working all that well at the moment and what we should be doing is strengthening Parliament and ensuring it gets on with the job," Justice Kirby told ABC radio.

Justice Kirby – who has lived with his partner Johan van Vloten for 47 years – said Britain's Brexit vote had showed unexpected outcomes were possible.

"This is going to be, if it goes ahead ... running out the old issues of hatreds and animosities, abominations and all the old arguments against gay people.

"We didn't do this for the Aboriginal people when we moved to give equality in law to them, we didn't do it when we dismantled the White Australia policy ... we didn't do it in advances on women's equality, we didn't do it most recently on disability equality.

"Why are we now picking out the LGBT, the gay community? It's simply an instance of hate and dislike, hostility to a small minority in our population. It's unAustralian."

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield said the government hadn't broken a promise to hold the plebiscite in 2016 but AEC advice had strongly recommend against a vote this year.

"We always said it would be held as soon as possible, so our commitment hasn't changed," he said.

"We always said when talking about this commitment, that we would want to do it as soon as possible, as soon as practicable, as soon as we can, also recognising that legislation would always first need to pass the Parliament," he said.

SOURCE






Turnbull slams Baird ban on greyhound racing

Malcolm Turnbull criticised the NSW Liberal government at a private dinner in Perth for shutting down the greyhound industry, suggesting the shock move was an “over-reaction”.

As the industry in NSW reels from Premier Mike Baird’s decision to end the sport, The Australian can reveal the Prime Minister expressed concern about the move, legislated this week through the Greyhound Racing Prohibition bill.

MPs who attended a dinner with Mr Turnbull at the Chophouse steak restaurant early this month have told The Australian the Prime Minister expressed the view that closing down the industry in response to animal-welfare concerns was not a proportionate response.

He is understood to have told MPs he believed outrage over treatment of rabbits used in live baiting — a key ­reason for the industry losing political support — was surprising, given that rabbits were a feral pest and were regularly shot and poisoned.

It is understood Mr Turnbull expressed his “surprise” and “concern” at Mr Baird’s decision to ban the sport in response to ­issues raised during a commission of inquiry into the NSW greyhound racing industry.

“He was critical of the decision and the message was, ‘If we are shutting down an industry on the basis of what happens to rabbits, well, we are not very nice to rabbits in this country; they are a pest’,” one MP said.  “It was Malcolm Turnbull the farmer talking.”

Another MP made clear that Mr Turnbull was not indicating support for live baiting, but confirmed he had criticised how the state government had handled the issue.

The special commission of inquiry claimed it had found evidence of systemic animal cruelty, including mass greyhound killings and live baiting. The report, which drew on material which has been heavily contested, said the state’s industry had “fundamental animal welfare issues, integrity and governance failings that cannot be remedied”.

Under the new legislation, anyone caught organising a race faces a one-year jail sentence and a maximum $11,000 fine.

The proposed laws did not win uniform support from within the NSW government, with state Nationals MPs Katrina Hodgkinson, Chris Gulaptis and Kevin Humphries choosing to side with Labor to oppose the controversial bill.

Another MP at the dinner, which took place on the eve of the WA Liberal conference on August 5, said there were few federal parliamentarians who supported the Baird government’s decision, and they were pleased that Mr Turnbull “got it”.

Mr Baird said in July that “as a humane and responsible government” he had no choice but to shut down the industry.

SOURCE





Fremantle’s fireworks cancellation ‘likely to cause more division’: Ben Wyatt

FREMANTLE’S decision to cancel its Australia Day fireworks for a more culturally sensitive approach is “likely to cause more division”, indigenous Labor MP Ben Wyatt says.

Council’s decision on Wednesday night divided opinions across the nation on Thursday on social media.

Labor’s Treasury spokesman took to Twitter on Thursday night to claim City of Fremantle’s controversial decision would do nothing for reconciliation.

“The (relationship) between Aboriginal people and Aust Day is profound. Cancelling fireworks a facile response and likely to cause more division,” he said.

“Cancelling popular events in the name of reconciliation does not advance the cause. “If its because of cost, then call it cost.”

But Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt was quick to respond, saying the council’s decision was all about inclusion, not cost saving.

“Ben. Agree this conversation should head towards inclusion not division but it’s a conversation elders in Freo want us to have,” he said.

“Just to be clear, this is not as all about cost saving. All of fireworks budget will go towards new more inclusive events.”

SOURCE






Wind Power Obsession Sends South Australians Back to the Stone Age

Amidst the panic and chaos being experienced by the wind industry, its parasites and spruikers – due to the unfolding and inevitable wind power calamity in South Australia – one of the newly invented catchphrases is “transition”.

It’s a term now employed by wind spinners, dimwitted politicians and gullible journalists; and is often coupled up with lines such as “interconnectors”; “rapidly improving battery technology” and “gas”.  Gas, apparently, is now seen as a “transition” fuel to a … ahem … fossil fuel free future and the interconnectors proposed would connect to coal-fired plant currently chugging away in Victoria and New South Wales [note to Ed is this ‘pure irony’?]

Last time we took a peek at the climate-calamatists’ websites, gas was right up there with coal as the source of all peril and evil on earth, so we’re not sure that the Chicken Littles will buy the line about gas being anything other than a ‘spawn-of-the-Devil’ fossil fuel.

And adding ‘fuel’ to the fire, the gas destined for this “transition” isn’t going to be used in highly efficient Combined Cycle plants, but squandered in gas-thirsty and highly inefficient Open Cycle plants that emit 3-4 times the CO2 per MWh of a modern coal-fired plant.

Open Cycle Gas Turbines (OCGTs) are literally jet engines, run on gas or fuel oil (diesel) or kerosene. The initial capital outlay is low, but their operating costs are exorbitant – depending on the fuel input costs (the gas dispatch price varies with demand, for example) operators need to recoup upwards of $300-400 per MWh before they will even contemplate firing them into action. For a wrap up on “fast-start-peakers” see this paper: Peaker-Case-Histories As to the insane cost of running them, see this article: OPEN GAS CYCLE TURBINES: Between a rock and a hard place

And the line about “transitioning” to a wind powered future with “rapidly improving battery technology” comes sprinkled with a fair dose of pixie dust: nowhere in the world is there an example of grid-scale electricity storage using batteries (of any description); not in Germany; not in Spain; not in Denmark; not in California; not in South Australia – or anywhere else stupid enough to attempt to run on sunshine and breezes.

Now that the mainstream press have caught up with the energy disaster that is South Australia, journos are, for the first time in their lives, starting to grapple with the tricky concept of electricity generation: terms such as “load following”; “frequency control”; and “grid balancing” are starting to find their way into the pages of the Australian Financial Review and The Australian.

These aren’t just fancy nouns and verbs of recent invention, they go right to the heart of whether customers at the thinnest end of an electricity grid get to enjoy electricity on demand, or at all.

What media hacks are starting to understand is that there is a world of difference between the quality of electricity produced by conventional generation sources; and that thrown occasionally into the grid by a wholly weather dependent source, abandoned centuries ago, for pretty obvious reasons – eg, SA’s wind farm’s efforts in April:

It’s not just a question of delivering power when and where it’s needed; frequency control is a matter that determines whether a grid functions at all (see our post here).

Where the chaos and intermittency of wind power destabilises the grid (see our post here), it’s down to conventional generation sources that can ramp up output at the press of a button to keep the grid alive: “reactive power” that allows for the 50Hz frequency of the grid to be controlled and maintained around close tolerances.

In a place like South Australia, where wind power capacity tops 40% of its entire generating capacity, every time a breeze turns to a zephyr, voltage and frequency drops, which requires an instantaneous response from coal or gas-fired generators (hydro is exceptionally good at responding in an instant) – with recent efforts to rely on the chaotic delivery of wind power, those selling power for frequency control and load following now recoup a very solid premium for their service.

Remove that class of generator from the system and the wind cultist and his fellow travelers are soon left tossing chaff about the wonders of wind, while sitting freezing in the dark.

SOURCE






Probe launched into wrongful conviction of Sudanese refugee jailed over Edward Spowart murder

Released on the grounds of insufficient evidence

The NSW Director of Public Prosecutions has launched an inquiry into a miscarriage of justice that saw a young Sudanese refugee wrongly convicted of murder.

The family of the young man, who spent almost seven years in prison for a crime they insist he did not commit, say their experience in the justice system has destroyed their faith in the rule of law in Australia.

"What has happened to my nephew is something unbelievable," the refugee's uncle told the ABC. "He's an utterly broken man."

The conviction of the Sudanese boy, known only as JB, was quashed in late April by the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal.

The teenager had been convicted in 2009 of murdering western Sydney man Edward Spowart and sentenced to 23 years in jail.

In submissions to the NSW Supreme Court, the NSW Attorney-General said the Crown prosecutor as well as the prosecuting solicitor, and investigating police had all failed to reveal to the defence that the key witness who implicated JB in the stabbing murder was a registered police informant.

The Crown Prosecutor during JB's trial was experienced barrister Terry Thorpe. However, the court made no findings about who within the prosecution knew about the status of the police informant, when they knew, or exactly what they had been told by police.

The failure to disclose the crucial evidence is now being criticised not just by the young man's family, but also by a retired Supreme Court judge.

The CCA said in its April judgment that JB's trial had miscarried because of "failures of the prosecuting authority".

According to the Attorney-General's submissions, the Crown Prosecutor and his instructing solicitor had met with A107, but notes of that meeting provided to the defence "appear to have been edited" and did not mention that A107 was a police informer.

It is not known who edited the notes, however, the submissions raise questions about who in the prosecution knew about A107's status and why it was not disclosed.

Registered informants receive benefits for their assistance to police and are often given discounted sentences in their own criminal matters.

A spokesperson for the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions Lloyd Babb told the ABC a probe was underway.  "This matter is being reviewed internally and accordingly it is not possible to provide any comment at this stage," the spokesperson said.

The NSW Police are also conducting an internal investigation into its role in the matter. In a statement, the force said: "As a result of the acquittal of JB, NSW Police Force has become aware of the apparent non-disclosure connected with the matter.

"NSW Police Force will have to conduct its own investigation and until such time that is concluded it is not appropriate to make comment on specific issues concerning the matter.

Now, the retired Supreme Court judge who rejected a 2012 appeal by JB against his conviction, Anthony Whealy QC, has spoken out to express his concern, saying that, if substantiated, the failure of disclosure would be a "serious dereliction of duty" on the part of the prosecution. "It's a terrible situation where this man has spent nearly seven years in jail as a consequence of a confession that should never have been allowed into evidence," Mr Whealy said.

Mr Whealy said he would have acquitted JB in 2012 if he had known the key witness was a registered police informant. "I'm quite sure that had we known those facts … the appeal would have taken a completely different course," Mr Whealy said.  "That course would have resulted in the conviction being set aside and more than likely a verdict of acquittal being entered on behalf of this young man who has needlessly spent all these years in jail."

The ABC submitted detailed questions to Mr Thorpe. In response, the Crown prosecutor said he had no comment.

JB was sentenced to 23 years in prison, with a non-parole period of 16 years, for the stabbing murder of Edward Spowart. Mr Spowart, 54, was killed in April 2008 during a fight between two groups of young men in the south western Sydney suburb of Granville.

He was not participating in the fight, in which the two groups of men armed themselves with sticks, bricks and street signs.

He was standing by the side of the road carrying a plastic shopping bag when he was stabbed in the stomach, thigh and trunk.

JB, aged 15 at the time, was initially arrested for affray over the incident.

When police seek to interview juveniles, the child must be supplied with a youth support person. When JB was in custody in April 2008, detectives called in a support person who is now known only as A107.

The man entered JB's cell for a private conversation, and after he emerged he told police that the 15-year-old had confessed to stabbing Spowart.

"It was the key plank in the prosecution's case," Mr Whealy said. "The prosecution relied on it even to the absence of other evidence to convict the young person."

A107 avoided jail on fraud charge after police cooperation

In 2014, defence barristers unearthed sensational fresh evidence which revealed the youth support person A107 was a registered police informant.

At the time, he told police JB had confessed to stabbing Spowart, A107 was himself facing charges of having defrauded victims of $40,000.

Police later swore an affidavit that laid out the assistance A107 had given police in the JB case, among others.

Largely as a result of A107's assistance to police, he avoided jail and received a suspended sentence.

Prominent Sudanese lawyer Deng Adut said he had visited JB in prison in the years before he was acquitted. "He told me clearly that he did not kill that man," Mr Adut said.

"He didn't have a knife. He didn't even have anything in his hand. He had nothing in his hand. He never did anything."

In its April judgment, the CCA ruled that without the evidence of A107 that JB had confessed to stabbing Edward Spowart, the prosecution had insufficient evidence to conduct a retrial.

The judges said the case had been a miscarriage of justice. "The trial of JB miscarried because of failures on the part of the prosecuting authority," the judgement said.

"These consisted of an inadequate investigation of the position of A107 and an inadequate disclosure of that position to the defence. "There was no conduct on the part of JB which contributed to the mistrial."

The trial hinged on the evidence of the police informant. The ABC understands that Merrylands detectives never recovered the murder weapon.

The ABC has been told their investigations ceased after the alleged confession was obtained.

It was also revealed in the CCA that the defence lawyer who was on the record as acting for JB, Robert Kaufmann, was also acting for the police informer A107 in his criminal case.

Mr Kaufmann attended the first day of the trial but afterwards relied on a junior solicitor at his firm to defend JB.

Mr Kaufmann said he was unaware A107 was a registered informant and rejected any conflict of interest. "I reject any suggestion that I acted under a conflict of interest in relation to matters for JB, either before his trial, during his trial or for his initial appeal," Mr Kaufmann said.

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


Friday, August 26, 2016



Lying Greenie alarmists found out:  Reef tourism operators find less than five per cent of coral dead under ‘extreme’ bleaching

REEF tourism operators have found less than five per cent of coral has died off — compared to the 50 to 60 per cent estimated by scientists — under “extreme” mass coral bleaching on the northern Great Barrier Reef.

Latest findings exclusively obtained by The Courier-Mail show coral mortality in the outer shelf reefs north of Lizard Island was between one and five per cent with “spectacular” fish life and coral coverage.

Teams of divers in a joint two-week expedition sponsored by Mike Ball Dive and Spirit of Freedom surveyed 28 sites on 24 outer shelf reefs along a 300km section of the hardest-hit part of the reef from Bathurst Head to Raine Island.

Spirit of Freedom owner Chris Eade said reports of 93 per cent bleaching on the 2300km long Great Barrier Reef had made global headlines and damaged the reputation of the $5 billion reef tourism industry.

“Scientists had written off that entire northern section as a complete white-out,’’ Mr Eade said.  “We expected the worst. But it is tremendous condition, most of it is pristine, the rest is in full recovery.  “It shows the resilience of the reef.’’

Mike Ball Dive Expeditions operations manager Craig Stephen, who conducted a similar survey on the remote reefs 20 years ago, said there had been almost no change in two decades despite the latest coral bleaching event.

“It wasn’t until we got underwater that we could get a true picture of what percentage of reef was bleached,’’ Mr Stephen said. “The discrepancy is phenomenal. It is so wrong. Everywhere we have been we have found healthy reefs. “There has been a great disservice to the Great Barrier Reef and tourism and it has not been good for our industry.”

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority estimated a mass coral white-out of between 50 to 60 per cent, on average, for reefs off Cape York under the world’s biggest-ever mass coral bleaching event.

Scientists with the Townsville-based ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies reported about 35 per cent mortality but warned “the final death toll” on some reefs may exceed 90 per cent.

In April, aerial and underwater surveys of 522 reefs in the northern sector showed 81 per cent had been severely bleached and one per cent not bleached.

Professor Terry Hughes, convener of the National Coral Bleaching Taskforce, at the time said “it’s like 10 cyclones have come ashore all at once.”

Professor Hughes yesterday welcomed the positive news but had not yet seen the latest survey findings. “We won’t know the true coral mortality until we can get back up there in October and compare before and after impacts from our March survey,’’ Prof Hughes said.

“Those coral will either survive or more will die.’’

A GBRMPA spokeswoman said they would closely examine the findings of the first independent expedition into the isolated region.  “Obviously if they’ve found reefs with a lower than expected mortality rate that is fabulous news,’’ she said.

“Our initial findings noted that the level of bleaching and mortality was expected to be very variable across the entire reef system.’’

SOURCE





The grievance industry's lust for bigots

It may seem unfair to the 24 million Australians who have yet to master the pronunciation of the six tones of Lao, but as Thinethavone Soutphommasane often tells us, we should always call out racism when we see it.

“If someone says to me they’re not even going to try to pronounce my name, that doesn’t necessarily send a good signal,” the race relations commissioner told The Australian Financial Review in a revealing interview this month.

“It says that they’re not even bothered to treat me with respect. How would they feel if they were told that every day — that people weren’t going to even try to pronounce their name?”

Just when you think the threshold for taking offence could not get lower, the salaried hand-wringers of the grievance industry prove you wrong. Every slight, real or imagined, is tendered as evidence of the bigotry eating away at our society.

It is in the nature of the racism-calling business to imagine the worst in everybody. Like a prosecutor in a Kafka novel, the commissioner is deemed to possess extraordinary powers to examine the souls of others and expose the thought crimes within. To declare oneself innocent or suggest there’s been a mistake is futile for, as Josef K was told in no uncertain terms, “that is how the guilty speak”.

There are many reasons parliament should abolish clause 18C of the Race Discrimination Act, but the most compelling is that the Australian Human Rights Commission has its mitts on it.

The commission’s failure to kill off the sinister Queensland University of Technology case, in which students have been put through the mill for daring to object to being ejected from an indigenous-only computer room, shows that commissioner Gillian Triggs and her team have no regard for natural justice, let alone a sense of proportion.

The chance that a complaint will be dismissed as wobbly is getting smaller every year. Of the 979 complaints finalised by the commission between 2001 and 2005 almost three in 10 were declared trivial, vexatious, frivolous, misconceived or lacking in substance.

In the same period 10 years later, under presidents Catherine Branson and Triggs, the proportion dismissed as insubstantial was less than one in 20.

The commissioners’ inclination to take the grimmest view imaginable of their fellow citizens — those, at any rate, with white skin — is at best uncharitable. At worst it suggests they are subject to the same hidebound prejudice they so freely identify in others. Why else would Soutphommasane believe the election of Pauline Hanson could trigger civil unrest? What else but prejudice would lead him to regard One Nation’s white, non-university-educated voters with such condescension? A few choice words from the red-haired demagogue, apparently, and they’ll be rioting in the streets. “We have plenty of examples about how licensing hate can lead to serious violence and ugliness in our streets and our communities,” Soutphommasane declared. “There’s great potential for harm to be done when you’re talking about inflammatory rhetoric or appeals to xenophobia.”

His attempt to censor an elected politician seems impertinent, but in the racism-calling caper that’s the way they think. Branson, in her farewell speech in 2012, said building a human rights culture was “much too important to leave just to governments”.

To be condemned as a racist is one of the worst slurs one can cast on a fellow citizen, particularly when amplified by the pack-hunting boors on social media. Yet there is no presumption of innocence when one is hauled before the commission, despite the seriousness of the charges, nor any sense that the commissioners wish to be seen as impartial.

It is all in a day’s work for Soutphommasane, who warns: “If you don’t want to be called a racist or a bigot, you can start by not expressing a racist or bigoted opinion.”

In any other context he would be appalled at the kind of extrajudicial vilification he now practices. Indeed, in his former career as a humble columnist for this newspaper, he criticised the “trial by media” of former Hey Dad! star Robert Hughes. Allegations of sexual molestation, published at length by Woman’s Day, had “all but guaranteed Hughes won’t receive a fair trial”.

“Justice is dispensed in the courtroom, not before some cameras in some TV studio, and certainly not in the pages of some trashy magazine,” he wrote.

Six years later the niceties of natural justice appear to trouble Soutphommasane somewhat less.

He has no compunction towards prejudging his fellow citizens on whatever platform he is offered.

When asked to comment by Fairfax about the latest controversy — the one about a feckless Aboriginal father in a Bill Leak cartoon — Soutphommasane happily goes in for the kill.

“Our society shouldn’t endorse racial stereotyping of Aboriginal Australians or any other racial or ethnic group,” he said.

“A significant number” of people would agree the cartoon was a racial stereotype and he urged anyone who was offended by it to lodge a complaint under the Racial Discrimination Act.

Thus the fears of those who opposed Gough Whitlam’s Racial Discrimination Act legislation in 1975 have been fulfilled.

Far from eliminating social tension, the Racial Discrimination Act’s draconian measures have increased it.

We have ended up, as former senator Glen Sheil warned, with an official race relations industry staffed by “dedicated anti-racists earning their living by making the most of every complaint”.

Hughes, for the record, is serving a non-parole period of six years for paedophilia.

His complaint that media coverage had prejudiced his trial was dismissed by the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal last September.

Meanwhile a fine cartoonist has had an unjustified slur cast over his name by a 33-year-old with a philosophy degree who is paid more than $6000 a week from the public purse.

Soutphommasane should apologise.

SOURCE






Bob Katter calls for end to Middle Eastern immigration

Pauline is too

Independent MP Bob Katter has said that the 'time has come' to stop people from the Middle East and North Africa coming to Australia, reports Sky News.

The minister’s comments come in the wake of the fatal stabbing of British woman, Mia Ayliffe-Chung in a Townsville Backpacker hostel where the assailant allegedly yelled ‘Allahu Akbar’ during the attack.

“The time has come now to stop people from those countries coming to Australia – and if that is an extremist position, is it an extremist position for Saudi Arabia and Dubai… they won’t let any of those people in,” Mr Katter said.

“I think the risk to the Australian people now is so great that that should not occur anymore,” he explained.

The member for Kennedy said he was astounded the Government continues to let “630,000 people into Australia each year in an economy that’s only generating 200,000 jobs.”

Meanwhile the man believed to be responsible for the frenzied knife attack – which also left another victim, Tom Jackson, 30 fighting for his life – is a French national with no known links to terrorism. Smail Ayad was arrested at the scene.

The minister’s comments come in the wake of the fatal stabbing of British woman, Mia Ayliffe-Chung in a Townsville Backpacker hostel where the assailant allegedly yelled ‘Allahu Akbar’ during the attack.

“The time has come now to stop people from those countries coming to Australia – and if that is an extremist position, is it an extremist position for Saudi Arabia and Dubai… they won’t let any of those people in,” Mr Katter said.

“I think the risk to the Australian people now is so great that that should not occur anymore,” he explained.

The member for Kennedy said he was astounded the Government continues to let “630,000 people into Australia each year in an economy that’s only generating 200,000 jobs.”

Meanwhile the man believed to be responsible for the frenzied knife attack – which also left another victim, Tom Jackson, 30 fighting for his life – is a French national with no known links to terrorism. Smail Ayad was arrested at the scene.

He may be a French National but he is no Frenchman.  His name is a Muslim one, probably Pakistani

SOURCE






Street preacher continues right to preach fight over Launceston by-laws

A Christian street preacher who created controversy in Adelaide has moved his fight to Tasmania and claims to have achieved some success in the Federal Court on his right to preach in malls.

Caleb Corneloup was a member of the Adelaide Street Church in 2009 when Adelaide City Council took the group to court for preaching in Rundle Mall in the CBD without a permit.

The group then challenged the validity of council by-laws, which they said breached their right to free speech, and the council eventually clarified its permit guidelines for preachers and buskers, which Mr Corneloup claimed as a victory.

Now the controversial preacher has moved to Launceston and fought the local council for the right to preach in the regional city's mall.

"Basically the Launceston City Council created a by-law, similar to Adelaide, and they refused to give us permits," he told 891 ABC Adelaide.

"The by-law says you can't preach without a permit, and then you go to get a permit and they won't give you one."

The street preacher said he took the issue to the Federal Court and there had been favourable outcomes on some of the issues he fought.

"I applied for a permit and was refused so I went to the Federal Court ... and raised a series of arguments," he said.

"Many of them weren't resolved but the court ruled in my favour ... [that] the wrong person had made the decision to deny me a permit."

He said a second ruling in his favour by the Federal Court could have wider ramifications for street preaching.

"When a by-law says you can't do something without a permit, it assumes that a permit can be granted," he said of the court's decision.

In Adelaide, city traders were often unhappy when noisy preaching happened outside their stores, but Mr Corneloup remained adamant his religious group was doing important work wherever it went.  "Basically what we preach is there is coming a day when Jesus Christ will return and he will judge the world," he said.

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, August 23, 2016



Political Correctness Has Skewed Our Understanding Of Racism

By Hsin-Yi Lo, Melbourne-based writer and freelance journalist



Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres has caused a storm when she posted an edited photo of Usain Bolt carrying her on his back with the tweet saying, "this is how I'm running errands from now on." But critics have taken the post amiss and blitzed the comedienne on social media demanding her to take off the post. Political correctness is once again the culprit that's killed our joy to make witty jokes, and the parameters of what actually constitutes racism.

PC started in the 1970s which was the era that spawned a generation of activists crusading against institutionalised thoughts that discriminate ethnic minorities, and people from different sexual orientations, religion and physical abilities. Credit should be given to the movement since it has corrected derogatory words like the N-word, and replacing it with 'Afro-American'. PC has also encouraged us to use gender indeterminate descriptions for jobs i.e. chairperson and businessperson so we don't subconsciously think that only males dominate particular roles.

As we live in a more pluralistic world, we should try to eliminate prejudice for the sake of social harmony. But PC has inadvertently bred a "I'm so easily offended" culture where we blow things out of proportion. This year Red Cross' pool safety poster for children came under fire because there were more 'coloured children' portrayed as the naughty kids. If we must be PC about this, could this poster be racist when there are 'white children' also illustrated as disobedient and there is a 'coloured' safety instructor?

Like DeGeneres' post, humour, wit or good intentions are mistaken for spite and racism. In Australia we're encouraged to be more culturally aware in our day-to-day interactions. This also extends to avoiding the greeting 'Merry Christmas' because it could potentially offend non-Christians and give out the idea that only Christmas is celebrated across the country. Instead, we should use religiously-neutral salutes like 'Seasons Greetings'.

I don't have a religion myself, but I don't mind when friends and associates say Merry Christmas to me because I know they wish me well. I also remember when I was studying in the UK, one of my flatmates kindly put a small Christmas tree in the kitchen so those who were alone wouldn't feel desolate and bleak.

In the immortal words of George W Bush: "The notion of political correctness has ignited controversy across the land. And although the movement arises from the laudable desire to sweep away the debris of racism and sexism and hatred, it replaces old prejudice with new ones. It declares certain topics off-limits, certain expression off-limits, even certain gestures off-limits".

PC has barred us from openly discussing race, religion, sexuality, etc. If freedom of expression is limited, we lose opportunities to explore more about ourselves, society and the world. Examples include criticism over Hollywood's decision to cast Scarlett Johansson as Major Motoko in 'Ghost in the Shell'. According to political correctness, Major Motoko is exclusively Asian even though the character sports a set of blue eyes. I'm also denied the freedom to have open discussions about mixed marriages.

We're also obsessed with finding the perfect description to identify non-white Australians. The word 'ethnic' is considered racist because it implies non-white Australians are 'backwards' and separate from the 'default' Australian race – the white Australians. There are multiple interpretations of the word ethnic, but essentially it describes groups of people who share a common religion, race, cultural heritage and language. To replace it, we used NESB (non-English speaking background) to define non-white Australians.

Unfortunately, NESB didn't fit the shoe because the term hints that second generation migrant Australians could be included. And now, we've got CALD (culturally and linguistically diverse background) – a seemingly immaculate description for non-whites. But with PC's high alert on race and ethnicity – it's hard to address the implications this phrase brings.

I remember I had a debate with a member of the PC brigade who didn't accept that 'CALD' also suggests that Irish-Australians or even Anglo-Australians could be included. And if non-whites have exclusive membership to the CALD club, then we've contradicted ourselves because we're maintaining that there is a divide between whites and non-whites. Since the word ethnic and CALD serves the same purpose, 'ethnic' should be a foul word. As humans we tend to categorise people, who are dissimilar to us, according to their different traits. Through this, this is how we can openly learn about others who are different from us.

Unfortunately, black slavery is part of our world history and it's understandable we're more vigilant when it comes to race relations between black and white people. But now we don't have a proper sense of what bigotry really means, and we've become so preoccupied with taking the self-righteous moral high ground we're carelessly labelling people someone as racist without understanding the full consequences.

SOURCE






Rising sea levels caused by global warming could be GOOD news for coral reefs

It all depends on your modelling

Global warming could do at least as much to protect the world’s coral reefs as it will to damage them, new research from Australia suggests.

Climate change has long been believed to be disastrous for the fragile marine environments, but fresh modelling has predicted that oceanic changes caused by the phenomenon will also work to the reefs’ advantage.

Rising sea levels, caused by melting polar ice caps, could help moderate the extreme and often damaging conditions found in many reef habitats, according to scientists at the University of Western Australia.

By studying reef systems off the coast of north-western Australia, they showed how rapid sea level rise could substantially reduce the volatile daily extremes of water temperatures in the shallow reef habitats over the next century.

The resulting changes, they say, may potentially ameliorate the other effects of global ocean warming.

Mounting levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide are predicted to cause substantial changes to ocean temperature over the next 100 years, increasing the frequency and severity of mass bleaching, where corals expel the symbiotic algae living in their tissues, turning them completely white.

In April scientists announced that 93 per cent of the famous 1,500 mile Great Barrier Reef, on Australia’s East Coast, had now been bleached as a result of an underwater heatwave caused by global warming.

The situation caused some scientists to urge the Australian government to decide which parts of the reef it wanted to save.

Reefs in the Caribbean and in other regions such as the Maldives have also been badly affected by bleaching.

Warming seas are part of a “triple punch” said to be hitting coral reefs as a result of global warming, along with ocean acidification, which makes it more difficult for corals to build and maintain their skeletons, and more frequent and powerful reef-wrecking storms.

The new research by Professor Ryan Lowe and his team is the first to attempt to predict in detail the positive effects rising surface levels on reef environments.

Temperatures within shallow reefs often differ substantially from the surrounding ocean, so predicting future patterns of bleaching and other stresses is difficult.

However, recent science has focused on trying to improve predictions of regional ocean warming patterns driven by long-term climate change, as well as by the intensification of short-term climate patterns such as El Nino.

Using a collection of detailed field measurements, Prof Lowe and his team developed a modelling framework for predicting how local temperature extremes in shallow reefs will change in the future as a result of rising sea levels.

They found that even a modest sea level rise could substantially reduce local reef water temperatures in the future, meaning the change may partially contribute to limiting reef heat extremes in an overall warming ocean.

Despite the international carbon emissions caps agreed at the Paris climate talks last year, atmospheric warming is still expected to rise to between 2.7 and 3C above pre-industrial levels, breaching the 2C threshold beyond which many scientists say heatwaves and significant sea level rises are inevitable.

In 2015 the United Nations World Heritage Committee agreed not to list the Great Barrier Reef as an “in danger” site, providing Australia reports back to the committee in December this year with an adequate account of what is being done to preserve the reef.

SOURCE






Dumped files show influence of George Soros on Western politics

In perhaps the biggest political scandal since WikiLeaks, a group of hackers has dumped hundreds of files exposing the influence of socialist billionaire George Soros on Western politics.

The files show Soros has established a transnational network that pressures governments to adopt high immigration targets and porous border policies that could pose a challenge to legitimate state sovereignty. His Open Society Foundations target individuals who criticise ­Islamism and seek to influence the outcome of national elections by undermining Right-leaning politicians. The Australian arm of the Soros network is GetUp!.

GetUp! was established by ­activists Jeremy Heimans and David Madden with funding from Soros. The Labor-affiliated Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union donated $1.1 million to the group. Bill Shorten and John Hewson are former board members. A major funder listed on its 2014-15 Australian Electoral Commission expenditure return is Avaaz, the US GetUp! ­affiliate that has received copious amounts of funding from Soros networks.

Like most NGOs, GetUp! claims to be independent from political parties. Like many NGOs, however, it has close ties to the Left. As Sharri Markson ­revealed in this paper, GetUp! chairwoman Sarah Maddison urged people to vote for the Greens in the past federal election.

In the wake of the election, GetUp!’s Paul Oosting revealed its campaign strategy was to target conservative MPs to reduce their influence. Immigration Minister Peter Dutton was a primary GetUp! target. In Tasmania, the organisation spent up to $500,000 to unseat Andrew Nikolic and forked out $140,000 on campaign advertising alone.

GetUp! has engaged in an ­effective reframing of politics by rebranding conservatives as the hard Right while recasting the Left as moderate or progressive. Many sections of the media have uncritically adopted GetUp!’s rhetoric, which effectively divides the ­Coalition by aligning conservatives falsely with a range of hard-Right views that they abhor.

Soros-affiliated organisations follow a well-worn political and rhetorical strategy updated for the digital age. Like the socialists and communists of old, they attack liberal democracy by delegitimising the classically liberal values of ­individualism, free speech, logical argument and public reason. They attack democratic states by advocating a porous border policy, ­reframing illegal immigrants as refugees and degrading critics of totalitarian tendencies such as ­Islamism in orchestrated campaigns of PC censorship. Documents uncovered by Soros leaks reveal a pattern of funding for programs that prosecute porous borders, mass immigration into the Wes­t nations from Islamist regions, and overt campaigns against dissenters. OSF has provided several million to the Centre for American Progress, whose programs ­include the explicit targeting of free­thinkers critical of Islamism. A recent program grant described a strategy to target six critics of ­Islamism and the “right-wing media” in an “audit of Islamophobic activities”.

OSF has extended its reach in the European Union through NGO and human rights networks. It sought to influence EU elections by thwarting the success of candidates it deemed xenophobic or racist. The term xenophobic is commonly applied by the Left to politicians who seek ­rational immigration with a focus on resettlement rather than the disastrous porous border policy championed by the EU’s Green-socialist bloc. The OSF also funded a range of media projects focused on changing how journalists report on politicians and policies cast as xenophobic, intolerant or far Right. Leaked documents reveal OSF’s endorsement of questionable tactics to achieve its aims. A document ­reviewed by news source Breitbart states: “Naming and shaming from us is problematic: we are also in the business of channelling money into other countries for political purposes.”

It is neither uncommon nor ­illegal for philanthropists to fund political advocacy groups and lobby politicians. However, there is an ethical line between evidence-based advocacy by NGOs and disproportionate influence on the democratic process.

Following the Soros leaks, concerns have been raised about the influence of groups claiming to be disinterested third parties and NGOs on core Western values such as free speech and government by the people. In one of the leaked documents, there appears to be a problematic connection ­between Soros funding and campaigning against politically incorrect media. OSF took credit for funding an advocacy campaign in which a group worked to “take away” news anchor Lou Dobbs’s platform on CNN. Dobbs resigned from CNN amid controversy over his critical views on immigration. I would criticise some of Dobbs’s statements but conform to the view that free speech is protected unless an individual or group ­incites violence or engages in terrorist or treasonous activities.

Another leaked report suggests Soros and OSF played a direct role in Barack Obama’s decision to ­increase the US immigration target. Soros wrote to Obama to ­request the increase while OSF advocates organised a group to act. In its 2015 report, the OSF board stated it took “very active efforts … to provide a special allocation of an additional 100,000 refugee slots for Syrians … In the face of this pressure, the Obama administration announced … that by 2017 it would raise to 100,000 the total number of refugees the US takes worldwide each year.”

While NGOs and human rights groups routinely demand greater governmental transparency and accountability, they are rarely required to live up to their own standards. A new global transparency group, Transparify, rated Soros’s foundations zero for transparency among 200 organisations. Ironically, Transparify ­receives funding from OSF.

The belief the NGO sector has been hijacked by interests intent on challenging sovereignty to ­destabilise legitimate states is driving governments to introduce legislation to neutralise the perceived threat. A NGO transparency bill introduced by Israel was condemned by the EU, the UN, US Democrats and many human rights organisations. The law ­demands that NGOs whose primary support comes from foreign political entities publicly disclose the fact. Unsurprisingly, many of the NGOs exposed by the law were left-wing and human rights organisations that challenge ­Israel’s right to sovereign power by attacking its border ­security policy.

Expect NGOs to continue ­attacking conservative MPs who champion liberal democracy by defending Australia’s sovereign border and national security policy. It is perhaps time to rewrite the NGO sector’s demand for government transparency and accountability as a mutual obligation.

SOURCE






Employment surge is mainly in the form of more government employees

Rampant growth in public-sector jobs and wages is exacerbating the nation’s debt and deficit woes and stoking concern among business leaders about continued government borrowing to pay wages bills.

An analysis of jobs data by The Weekend Australian shows that the rapid expansion in public-­sector employment and wages comes as workers in the private sector face increased job insecurity and record-low salary rises.

Tony Shepherd, the chairman of the National Commission of Audit for the Abbott government, said this growth was a “serious concern” because it was underpinned by rising debt levels.

“We have to be very careful as to what is the underlying cause of increased employment and where it is taking place,” Mr Shepherd told The Weekend Australian.

“A lot of that growth is in healthcare, the aged-care sector, and a lot of that is taxpayer funded. It’s recycling taxes. We are borrowing money to fund this. To cover increased and increasing expenditure, we are going further into debt.”

Australian Bureau of Statistics wages data for the June quarter show the public sector is out-­competing the private sector for jobs. While the overall wages growth was the lowest on record, at just 2.1 per cent for the year, public-sector wages grew by 2.4 per cent.

Wages in the retail sector, Australia’s biggest employer, rose by just 0.1 per cent in the quarter compared with 0.6 per cent in the public sector. As secure work in the public sector expands, workers in retail and hospitality face demands by employers to cut ­penalty rates and hire more casual and junior workers.

Private-sector wage growth has stalled amid warnings that Australia’s debt could blow out by more than $100 billion if the budget is wrong in its prediction that the economy will return to pre-crisis growth and if the Turnbull government is unable to win ­Senate support for all of its outstanding savings measures.

Deloitte Access Economics ­director Chris Richardson said part of the windfall gains from the China boom had been spent on more public-sector employees last decade, but these elevated numbers had been maintained after the boom ended.

Prior to 2002, the share of the labour force attributable to core public-administration jobs was about 5.8 per cent. After 2002, when revenue from the China boom began to feed into the budget, it moved to more than 6 per cent of the economy, “and has been on a mild up trend for the last decade and a half’’.

Mr Shepherd, a former Bus­iness Council of Australia president, said there was a “risk of squeezing out” the private ­sector because the public sector could offer well-paid and more ­secure employment. “This does not add much to our national prosperity,” he said.

ABS figures show that hours worked in the non-market economy have grown 1.9 per cent in the year to June, outstripping those in the market economy, which grew by 0.1 per cent. Since March 2008, before the global financial crisis, hours worked in non-market ­industries have grown by 24 per cent, ­compared with 4 per cent for the market sector. Excluding ­educa­tion and training, non-market hours worked grew by 29 per cent over the same period.

The ABS defines the non-­market economy as comprising education and training, public ­administration and safety, and healthcare and social assistance.

The growth in non-market hours worked comes as public-sector salary costs for health and education are rising sharply. Salar­ies paid to public-sector workers in education and training rose 43 per cent to $38bn over the same period, while salaries for health workers rose at the same rate to $35bn.

Wages paid to public-sector employees working in public ­administration and safety rose by 30 per cent to $45bn in the seven years to June 2015, even though the number of workers in this category was unchanged at 580,000.

The strongest growth in job numbers and wage bills has been in state government jobs. The number of state government ­employees grew by 10 per cent to 1.476 million in the seven years to June 2015, while federal public servant numbers were virtually unchanged.

Queensland’s Labor government came into office with a promise to increase public-service job numbers, which have grown by 4000 in the year to March. In Victoria, the Labor government has budgeted for a $3.5bn ­increase in public-sector wage costs over the next four years. The Coalition government in NSW has also ­expanded its ­numbers, by 15,000, to 464,000 in the four years to June 2015. ABS data shows that almost one in three Australian workers is now employed part-time or as a casual, up from 21 per cent in the late 1980s.

ACTU secretary Dave Oliver said increasingly insecure work in the private sector was ­becoming common, and this was reflected in the modest ­increase in wages. He said the slow rate of wages growth was a drag on consumer spending. “Wage stagnation is a remind­er that pressure on business isn’t coming from wages, it’s coming from a lack of confidence and not enough demand in the economy,” Mr Oliver said.

The peak union body has made a submission to the Fair Work Commission to address growing insecurity in the workforce.

The ACTU has called for a minimum four-hour shift and a right of conversion to permanent work for casual workers in a ­variety of awards. It has also called for a requirement that employers offer any additional hours to existing casual and part-time employees before increasing the number of casual or part-time employees.

Mr Oliver said he could not understand why businesses and ministers were calling for penalty rates to be abolished when these benefits were a major source of ­income for many thousands of low-paid workers. “Why would someone suggest a wage cut?” he asked.

Grattan Institute chief executive John Daly said much of the increased public-sector employment cost was people working in the health system. He said every major health ­indicator was improving and life expectancy was increasing.

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