Friday, January 20, 2017



Another "hottest year"

Once again we have an example of how to lie with statistics. It appears to be true that ON AVERAGE, 2016 was unusually warm.  But my favourite graph below shows that the warm months were all at the beginning of the year during the El Nino weather phenomenon.  By the end of the year and the end of El Nino, temperatures had slumped, with December 2016 COOLER than December 2015 -- with an anomaly of 81 compared to 111 -- According to the NASA raw data here



And how sad for Australia's BOM, that they could only report that the year was only 4th hottest for Australia,  Australia is a rather large lump of real-estate so the warming we are looking at is not exactly global is it?

Two amusing things to note below: 

1). The high temperatures reported are nowhere in the article attributed to "climate change". The BOM know that what was at work was El Nino and not CO2 and have become too embarrassed to lie outright about it. 

2).  The BOM carefully define the record they are dealing with as:  "the 137-year history of modern accurate and standardised meteorological observation".  The point of that, of course is to avoid confronting the careful and validated 1790 observations of Watkin Tench, which show that Sydney has had near-unbearable hot temperatures long before the modern era



It's official: 2016 set another record for being the world's hottest. Three international agencies have confirmed today that last year was the hottest on record.

NASA reported that 2016 was 0.99 degrees Celsius hotter than the 20th-century average, while the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) called it at 0.94 degrees Celsius. NOAA also calculated that global land temperatures were 1.43 degrees Celsius higher. The UK Met Office, using its own data, also reported that 2016 is one of the two hottest years on record.

The figures vary slightly, depending on the baseline reference period used.

Heat records don't linger for long any more. 2016 surpassed the 2015 record, which surpassed the 2014 record. Three record hot years in a row sets yet another record in the 137-year history of modern accurate and standardised meteorological observation.

For Australia, the Bureau of Meteorology described 2016 as a "year of extreme events" and the fourth hottest at 0.87 degrees Celsius above the 1961-1990 average. The warming trend is clear.
BOM's key 2016 climate facts and events

Australia is already on average 8 degrees Celsius hotter than the average global land temperature, so further warming means our heat risk is far greater than for other industrialised countries.

This dangerous warming trend sends a dire warning, as average warming delivers many more extreme heat events, as we're currently seeing in Queensland and New South Wales. These are the killers.

As Australia lurches from heatwave to heatwave, the message is clear: extreme heat is the new norm – so Australia needs to get "heat smart".

Rising extremes

In Australia the number of days per year over 35 degrees Celsius has increased and extreme temperatures have increased on average at 7 per cent per decade.

Very warm monthly maximum temperatures used to occur around 2 per cent of the time during the period 1951–1980. During 2001–2015, these happened more than 11 per cent of the time.

This trajectory of increased temperature extremes raises questions of how much heat can humans tolerate and still go about their daily business of commuting, managing domestic chores, working and keeping fit.

SOURCE





Helen Szoke shows her colours



From Wikipedia:  "In 2004 Szoke joined the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, holding roles as Chief Conciliator and Chief Executive, before being appointed in 2009 as Commissioner and Chairperson of the Board. Following a change of state government, these roles were separated, and Szoke continued as Commissioner". 

Her determinations always seemed perverse, although carefully put.  We see from the excerpts below from an article by her just why.  She is a totally one-eyed far-Leftist, not an impartial public servant.  You will, for instance, not see her telling anybody that Life is getting much, much better for the world's poor, however you want to measure it – whether it's in terms of average incomes, life expectancy, child mortality, disease, poverty, or women's rights



As the world’s political and business leaders come together in Switzerland for the annual World Economic Forum, Oxfam has released a new report revealing the shocking scale of the global inequality crisis.

The globe’s richest eight men have a staggering net wealth of $621bn – coexisting in a world of extreme poverty where one in 10 people are surviving on less than US$2 a day, and where one in nine people go to bed hungry every night.

While public attention will inevitably turn to the identity of the super-rich individuals, this is a distraction from the true crisis at hand: the current economic system is broken. It is one that serves the interests of multinational corporations and the super-rich, leaving the rest of us behind. The new statistics show that the global inequality crisis is more extreme than we had feared.

While there have been inroads in eradicating poverty, the stark truth is that the rich are becoming richer and dwarf the gains made by everyone else, leaving the poorest unable to lift themselves into better lives.

Oanh in Vietnam is just one of the billions of individual human faces of this great divide. She needs kidney dialysis three times a week. While Oanh’s dialysis is covered by insurance, the need for her to pay for medicine leaves her US$100 short every month.

Oxfam’s analysis shows that in Australia today, the richest 1% of the population own more wealth than the poorest 70% of our citizens combined.

Turning to the absolute extreme, the two wealthiest billionaires in Australia – between them worth US$16.1bn – have the same amount of wealth as the bottom 20% of the country. That is, they have more wealth than 4.8 million of the poorest people in this country. Meanwhile, the people in the bottom half of the Australian population have just over 6% of national wealth between them.

But there are ways to bridge the divide and fix the broken system that is breeding discontent, destabilising political institutions, fracturing societies and risking further economic instability.

The inequality crisis is being fuelled around the world by immoral and unethical practices of big business – the use of tax havens to avoid paying a fair share of tax, which could be used for essential public services; the failure to pay workers a living wage and the expenditure of billions to lobby governments for rules in favour of the super-rich.

SOURCE






Consider deporting child criminals: Dutton

The age criminal migrants can be deported could be lowered to 16, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton says.

A federal migration committee is looking at the issue of youth crime gangs, including the potential for children to be deported if they commit crimes in Australia.

"Whether for example the bar can be lowered from 18, to 17 to 16, or whatever the case may be," Mr Dutton told 3AW on Thursday. "But we don't deport children (under the current laws)."

Four adult migrants have had their visas cancelled after they were convicted of crimes in Victoria, and Mr Dutton said more were being investigated.

"Biting the hand the feeds them is not the way we want to run the migration program," he said. "If they cherish the life they lead in Australia, they need to start respecting Australians, they need to abide by the law and respect Australian values."

Mr Dutton also says questions should be asked of anyone who has resided in Australia for a number of years, is able-bodied and of working age, but "hasn't worked a day since they've been here".

Victorian Police Minister Lisa Neville says the visa cancellations send a strong message to others breaking the law, from all backgrounds.

"We have always said that there are laws in place to deport criminals who are not Australian citizens," she said in a statement.

"We are dealing with some very serious violent offenders in our community, and using these laws to deport them is entirely appropriate."

A Victoria Police statement says a number of offenders have been referred for deportation.

"The referral of children under 18 years of age will only occur in exceptional circumstances, however Victoria Police has made some referrals in respect to that age group for consideration," the statement said.

SOURCE






Malcolm Turnbull did NOT get an invite to Donald Trump's inauguration - but One Nation's leader Pauline Hanson did

Donald Trump has left Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull off his guest list for his presidential inauguration but has invited Pauline Hanson.

Almost a year ago, Mr Turnbull spoke by phone with Democrat Hillary Clinton and the U.S. president-elect's Republican rival Marco Rubio during a visit to Washington, without reaching out to Mr Trump.

It appears Mr Trump has returned the favour by instead giving an invitation to One Nation leader Pauline Hanson for his January 20 swearing-in.

The Queensland senator will be represented by her New South Wales colleague Brian Burston, as Mr Trump takes to oath of office to become the 45th President of the United States.

'Because of work commitments I'll not be attending Donald Trump's inauguration,' Senator Hanson tweeted on Monday.  'My duties to the people of Queensland and Australia come first.'

Senator Hanson celebrated Mr Trump's election victory in November by drinking champagne outside Parliament House with fellow Queensland senator Malcolm Roberts and American Trump supporters.

Like Mr Trump, Senator Hanson has also called for a ban on Muslim migration.

Mr Turnbull, who criticised Mr Trump's 2005 comments about grabbing women 'by the p****', has confirmed Australia's Ambassador to the United States, Joe Hockey, will instead attend the inauguration.

'The PM is not invited nor is going,' a spokesman confirmed to Daily Mail Australia on Monday.

SOURCE






Some examples of fake news at the ABC

* The Australian, December 23 last year:

Resources Minister Matt Canavan has accused the ABC of running “fake news” as part of a campaign against the Adani coalmine, in a blistering attack on the national broadcaster for abandoning regional Australia. Following reports on the ABC that Adani companies use tax havens and are under investigation in India over fraud allegations, Senator Canavan said the reports lacked “credibility” and suggested activists were directing the broadcaster’s coverage.

* One way to avoid fake news is to be wary of your partner organisations. The Australian, January 12, 2015:

The ABC has defended using Qatari-based news service Al Jazeera for its coverage of the Paris terror attacks, after leaked emails revealed the network had denounced the satirical magazine at the centre of the violence. Labor MP Michael Danby said yesterday the “scandalous” emails should prompt the ABC to reconsider its use of the news service.

* And ensure your presenters play a straight bat. The Australian, November 14 last year:

At least a dozen of the ABC’s high-profile radio and television presenters, including Insiders host Barrie Cassidy, PM host Mark Colvin and journalist Annabel Crabb, expressed their disdain for the “nightmare” of a Trump presidency and asked if there was an “off switch” for his campaign.

* Of course, it always pays to check your facts. The Australian, February 1, 2014:

The Australian can reveal after two days of witness interviews that allegations aired by the ABC that the Australian navy tortured and deliberately burned the hands of asylum-seekers cannot be corroborated.

* Yep, fake news sure can be a problem sometimes. The Australian, October 19 last year:

The ABC has endured excoriating criticism of its flagship current ­affairs program, Four Corners, after Monday’s episode about refugee children on Nauru was found to include old photographs of facilities no longer in use, and random footage of brawling adults, previously published on YouTube by a user known only as “NoRulz”.

* Ex-ABC Media Watch presenter Jonathan Holmes, The Sydney Morning Herald, April 5 last year:

But much of the ABC’s factual output is not, strictly speaking, “journalism” … It’s also undeniable, as the likes of (Andrew) Bolt and (Gerard) Henderson have complained for years, that the ABC’s capital city radio presenters come across, overwhelmingly, as leaning more to the left than the right … The leftiness of ABC radio output is doubly problematic when it comes to Radio National.

* Finally, is the end point of Trumpism … the crown? The Sydney Morning Herald letters page co-editor Julie Lewis with a novel defence of constitutional monarchy, yesterday:

What is needed is an explicit and authentic agenda to restore the faith of the people in their parliament, preferably bipartisan, but if not, the party leader that pledged him or herself to it would reap the electoral benefits. And in the meantime, let’s keep the Windsors. They might make for dull television and a political system yet to reach its full promise, but I’ll take that over Trumpist excitement any day.

SOURCE

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




Thursday, January 19, 2017



We’ve become a nation of uni dropouts

This may be a good thing.  It may mean that more students are waking up to the uselessness of their dumbed down and politicized education

MORE Australians are making the wrong decisions about their future when it comes to education.

University student completion data, released by the federal government, has revealed the university dropout rate is worsening with around one in three students failing to complete their studies within six years of enrolment.

The worrying figures have prompted the government to encourage thousands of prospective students to think long and hard about enrolling when they receive their course offers this week, and have also raised the question, who’s to blame?

Putting responsibility on universities, the data has also prompted the government to reveal for the first time the worst offending institutions.

The universities with the worst dropout rates have been exposed, with some well below the already concerning average.

The Northern Territory’s Charles Darwin University boasted the most shameful completion rate with only 41.8 per cent of students who enrolled in 2009 wrapping up their studies by 2014.

The bottom five universities, including Western Australia’s Murdoch University, The University of New England in NSW and two regional universities in Queensland — the University of Southern Queensland and Central Queensland University — all saw less than half of the cohort graduate.

The top performers saw up to 88 per cent of students complete their studies within the measured period, but high completion rates were found to be rare. Only seven out of Australia’s 43 universities boasted completion rates above 75 per cent.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham suggested a lack of transparency from universities was to blame, and said it was time our institutions were straight with prospective students.

“We’ve heard too many stories about students who have changed courses, dropped out because they made the wrong choices about what to study, student who didn’t realise there were other entry path ways or who started a course with next to no idea of what they were signing themselves up for,” he said.

“Students should be looking for feedback on the reputation of the university they want to attend, how well-known they are for particular courses, how satisfied current students are with the resources and teachers on offer and the employment outcomes of graduates from those universities and courses.”

Mr Birmingham said the government was committed to lowering dropout rates, and announced he had asked the Higher Education Standards panel to review attrition and completion rates and “consider what further reforms are required to help improve student success”.

“While there will always be a number of students who don’t complete university for a variety of reasons, our ambition to protect both students and taxpayers from a waste of time and money is to keep this number as low as practical,” he said.

The government is pressuring universities to present information that is easily understood to prospective students to help kids the best choices for them, rather than simply boost enrolment numbers.

Better defined ATAR thresholds and clearer data on student experiences, outcomes and employment prospects are also on the way.

But universities may not be solely to blame.

Commentators regularly cite a culture in high schools and among parents pressuring school leavers into enrolling in university courses, as well as a disconnection between what kids are learning at university and other institutions and the “real world”.

Speaking with news.com.au, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s education and employment director said the key to boosting completion rates was a better informed market, and greater focus on jobs.

“There needs to be more effort by the government to promote that information about where the jobs are likely to be,” she said.

“When people start their university degree they may have an over-inflated expectation that everyone out of university gets a job.”

Employment outcomes for university graduates are falling, and while it’s too early to tell whether that’s a fixed change or if it’s just the labour market adjusting to the numbers of university graduates coming through, Ms Lambert said, it’s something students and prospective students need to be aware of.

“Students should be looking at certain courses, certain universities that might be above and below the average for employment outcomes, and all that data is available through student surveys, it’s just about better informing the market.”

Ms Lambert said it was also important that parents and schools were better informed as well as wannabe university students. She said there was also reasons outside of the institutions’ control that people failed to complete their degrees.

In a previous interview with news.com.au, Universities Australia Deputy Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said the biggest factors for students who consider leaving university are often related to issues beyond university.

“Research suggests attrition rates are higher for mature age and part-time students — and if you think about it, they’re the ones who may often be juggling university study with jobs, children and caring for elderly parents,” she said.

“Students battling disadvantage — including those who are first in their family to attend university — area also more likely to have thoughts about leaving.”

The Education Department’s report found students older than 25 were three times more likely to drop out in their first year of study than school-leavers under 19.

Completion rates were also affected by students’ admission scores as well as their locations — if they were from remote locations or low socio-economic areas, and whether they were indigenous.

Increasingly popular online courses were also found to be a contributor to the growing dropout rate with one in five students who studied externally dropping out in their first year, compared to fewer than one in 10 who were based on campus.

SOURCE






Absurd Leftist wailing

Wailing is what they do

Former Labor Treasurer Wayne Swan found the publication of the 2016 OECD Better Life Index late last year to be a great disappointment, saying that it 'shows why we must fight harder to defeat Liberal/One Nation trickle-down agenda' and to focus more on '#inclusivegrowth'. The focus of his ire? Australia placed second -- a rise of two places over last year, but a fall from first in 2013.

I think I might be missing something here. If Australia had rated poorly, or fallen significantly from last year, you may be able to argue that our approach is wrong and fundamental change is needed. However typically when we compare well to other countries it means our policy settings are right!

This is just one example of a troubling trend in politics and public debate -- confirmation bias. All facts are filtered through an ideological lens until they provide evidence for your preferred position, no matter what those facts are.

Australia has plenty of policy problems, but to say the evidence for these problems is our high rating on a quality of living index seems a perverse argument.

I guess this shouldn't surprise. Last year, we were told that the extraordinary growth in Ireland's GDP is an argument against their low corporate tax rate.

The common factor here is that you can't win. Good news is bad news, and bad news is bad news. All evidence, whether good, bad or mediocre is an argument against a disliked policy.

Maybe we would be better off with an index of politicians' consistency, where we pay more attention to coherent and consistent pronouncements. One index where an improvement truly would be an improvement.

SOURCE





Julie Bishop distances Australia from global statement on Israel-Palestine peace

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has distanced the Turnbull government from a communique agreed by ministers and diplomats of 70 nations, including Australia, concerning the pathways to peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

The concluding statement called on both sides to "take urgent steps in order to reverse the current negative trends on the ground", including acts of violence and the construction of Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories.

The communique specifically welcomed resolution 2334, passed by the UN Security Council last month, which declared the settlements violated international law and called on Israel to immediately cease all settlement activity.

Following the conference, Ms Bishop distanced the Australian government from the contents of the concluding statement, insisting the government did not necessarily agree with everything its diplomats had agreed to in Paris.

"Australia was represented at the conference by diplomatic officials from the Australian embassy in Paris," Ms Bishop told Fairfax Media.

"While the Australian government was represented at the Paris conference this does not mean we agree with every element of the final statement."

Without specifically mentioning the conference's endorsement of resolution 2334, Ms Bishop noted the Coalition did not support "one-sided resolutions targeting Israel".

"The most important priority must be a resumption of direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians for a two-state solution as soon as possible," she said.

Australia became one of the few countries other than Israel to condemn the New Zealand-sponsored resolution 2334, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull labelling it "one-sided" and "deeply unsettling".

Crucially, the resolution was allowed to pass because the US - Israel's foremost ally on the security council - did not use its veto power and instead chose to abstain.

Sunday's meeting in Paris did not involve Israel or the Palestinians and was dismissed in advance by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as "futile" and "rigged".

Chairman of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas welcomed the communique and said the endorsement of resolution 2334 was among a number of "positive elements" in the text, Israeli media reported.

But Britain, attending the conference as an observer, also expressed reservations about the final agreement, arguing it was a time to "encourage conditions for peace" rather than entrench hardened positions.

"We have particular reservations about an international conference intended to advance peace between the parties that does not involve them," the British Foreign Office said in a statement.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault used the summit to warn Mr Trump against his proposal to relocate the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, calling it a provocative and unilateral move.

Ms Bishop would not comment on Mr Trump's pronouncement but reiterated the Australian government had no plans to move its own embassy in Israel, despite the call from former prime minister Tony Abbott.

SOURCE





The hypocrisy goes on:  Green party big spenders on air travel

Greens leader Richard Di Natale and the party’s community ­services spokeswoman Rachel Siewert are among the top 10 spenders on taxpayer-funded flights despite loudly condemning excesses by Coalition and Labor politicians.

Senator Siewert claimed more expenses for domestic flights in the first half of 2016 than her fellow West Australians, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann.

Her travel spending was the fifth highest, while Senator Di Natale’s was 10th of the 226 members of both houses of parliament. Senator Siewert claimed $63,934 in travel expenses in six months while Senator Di Natale racked up $56,526.

The Greens leader has sought the moral high ground on expenses claims following the controversy over Health Minister Sussan Ley’s Gold Coast travel claims, and has called for a new national anti-corruption watchdog to identify and punish politicians rorting the system. Ms Ley, who was forced to stand aside from her portfolio on Monday pending an inquiry into her travel claims, could discover her fate as soon as today, with Malcolm Turnbull keen to bring the travel expenses debate to an end.

Senator Di Natale criss-crossed the country in the lead-up to the July 2 election while the long flight across the Nullabor means West Australian politicians generally have higher expense claims. However, Senator Siewert’s claims exceed those of many of her state counterparts, notably Ms Bishop ($51,212), Senator Cormann ($50,683), fellow Green Scott Ludlam ($46,692), and Assistant Health Minister Ken Wyatt ($46,353).

Her spending was only topped by three West Australians — Justice Minister Michael Keenan ($83,808), Social Services Minister Christian Porter ($77,469), Employment Minister Michaelia Cash ($73,550) — and Labor leader Bill Shorten ($71,182).

Senator Di Natale described the government’s commitment on Tuesday to implement long-promised changes to the parliamentary expense system within the next six months as “anaemic”. “What parliamentarians should recognise is that if they’re going to claim a workplace expense, then they should be working. It’s a pretty basic test,” he told the ABC.

Senator Di Natale told The Australian his flights and those of all the Greens were all work expenses. “They reflect the fact that we have some of the hardest-working senators in the whole parliament,” he said.

“We recognise that it is absolutely critical that expenses are only claimed when members of parliament are doing their jobs, which is why we support much stronger reform measures than those put forward by the government this week.”

A spokeswoman for Senator Siewert, who is overseas, said that as a member for Western Australia, she was required to travel on parliamentary business along the most expensive routes in the country.

“Her work as the Greens’ spokesman for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues often requires her to travel to the country’s most remote and isolated communities,” the senator’s spokeswoman said. Senator Siewert is also chairwoman of the community affairs reference committee and a member of other committees that require travel to attend hearings around Australia.

SOURCE





Blue Mountains Anzac Day marches given council lifeline after security costs dispute

Four cancelled Anzac Day marches in NSW's Blue Mountains region may go ahead after the local council said it would help cover the costs of new anti-terrorism requirements.

The RSL sub-branches in Katoomba, Blackheath, Springwood and Glenbrook said on Wednesday they had cancelled their annual marches after being advised they would need to spend thousands of dollars on security protections.

Katoomba RSL director David White said the sub-branches could not afford to pay for the measures, including the installation of barriers to prevent trucks being used in attacks like those in Nice and Berlin last year.

The cancellations led to a stoush between the Blue Mountains City Council and the State Government, each of which said the other should cover the costs.

On Wednesday night, Blue Mountains Mayor Mark Greenhill said the council would provide funding and offer the use of its trucks as barriers to ensure the marches went ahead.

He said it was unclear how much the council would have to pay, but the Katoomba RSL sub-branch said it had been advised compliance costs could be more than $10,000.

"We're hoping that we don't have to contribute the whole cost and we're hoping that perhaps the provision of our trucks will offset some of that, but this [funding] will come from council services, there's no doubt, and ratepayers can thank the State Government for that," Cr Greenhill said.

Earlier, a spokeswoman for Police Minister Troy Grant said the State Government had offered to halve the costs with the council, but Cr Greenhill said he had not received that offer.

"If we provide financial support and they provide financial support, then all the better," Cr Greenhill said.

The Government had accused the council of trying to dodge its responsibility to cover the costs.

In a letter to the Katoomba RSL sub-branch provided to the ABC, Roads Minister Duncan Gay wrote: "Councils across the state have always been the 'first point of contact' to help assist and fund the NSW Returned & Services League and its sub-branches in hosting Anzac Day marches."

"[The] Blue Mountains City Council constantly cries poor in the lead up to Anzac Day (indeed, I'm not aware of any other council which behaves in such a manner)," Mr Gay wrote.

Cr Greenhill said the Blue Mountains events were subject to stricter requirements than events elsewhere in the state, and it was not clear why.

The North West Metropolitan Region's police commander, Assistant Commissioner Denis Clifford, said he was "extremely disappointed" the marches were in jeopardy.

"I understand the concerns about the environment we currently live in, but I would like to assure all the veterans, their relatives and concerned members of the public that we are not aware of any specific threat to Anzac Day marches," he said.

Assistant Commissioner Clifford said he had called for a meeting with all involved parties next week to ensure the situation was resolved.
US volunteer Kari Wesighan and Riaan van der Merwe, a snake handler at the Rhino Orphanage, with the python.
Women save pet dog from four metre python

SOURCE

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




Wednesday, January 18, 2017


March on Trump-haters, but remember girls mutilated at home

CAROLINE OVERINGTON below has some restrained comments about the butchered genitals of *Australian* Muslim girls.  I would add:  "What about Clemmie?" Alleged feminist Clementine Ford wrote recently and angrily about the rude way some young Australian men at a car rally spoke to some of the women present. 

Where is her sense of values?  There is no record of any women being hurt by men at the Summernats but there is ample record of what some Australian Muslim families do to their daughters.  If rude car-freaks burn up Clemmie, female genital mutilation should set her on fire.  But there is no record of that.  No rage at all.

It is quite clear that Clemmie, like most so-called feminists,    doesn't care about women at all.  All that drives her is her hate of her fellow Australians -- in the best Leftist tradition.  She is a towering hypocrite and a nasty piece of goods.   She should be proud that even while in a drunken mob, young Australian men did women no harm. Her misdirected anger defiles Australian society.  Does someone have to perform a clitoridectomy on her to get her attention to it?  I think it would take that much.



Now, I’m a feminist, obviously. I believe in equal rights for women: to work, to vote, to drive, to travel. But the Women’s Marches around the nation this weekend has me worried.

The Women’s Marches have been organised so Australian women can “show solidarity” with American women as Donald Trump becomes president.

The organisers hate him, obviously. He’s the pussy-grabber. The misogynist-in-chief. The group behind the Women’s March has a Facebook page that promotes Meryl Streep’s speech at the Oscars,; and the hashtag Love­TrumpsHate. And that’s fine. Trump was democratically elected but nobody has to like him, and protests against government are an important part of democracy too. So, march away.

But where, I wonder, is the thousand-strong march, the loud protests, the hashtags and the Twitter campaign for women and girls suffering the vilest forms of misogyny right here at home?

Last week the Australian pediatric surveillance unit at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead in western Sydney released a report on female genital mutilation in this country. It found 59 brutalised girls. But here’s the line you don’t want to miss: the study’s author, Elizabeth Elliott, said “most of the procedures on the girls were performed overseas”.

The key word in that sentence is “most”. Most of girls had been cut overseas. But some were Australian-born. Meaning they had definitely been cut here. It’s very likely that some of the others had been cut here, too, after they arrived. Of the 59 — according to the report, that’s a gross underestimation of the actual numbers — only 13 were referred to child protection services. Why only 13?

These were girls whose parents — usually their mothers — had taken them to have them cut. What will happen to them next? Will they be shoved into an arranged marriage with a much older man to whom they already may be related? Because that, too, is happening.

Last October, a young Iraqi girl, Bee al-Darraj, told The Australian that she knew several girls from her former Islamic school who had been sent to Iraq to be married, while still underage. Nothing was done. She knew one girl who gave birth while underage in a public hospital in Sydney with her 28-year-old husband standing by. Nothing was done. She knew girls in Year 9 who were married and had 30-year-old husbands picking them up from school. Nothing was done. (To be clear, there’s no suggestion the school knew, for to know and not report would be a gross breach of mandatory reporting obligations. What we’re talking about here is child rape.)

Last week, we had a prominent cleric, imam Ibrahim Omerdic, 61, charged with conducting a child marriage between a girl under the age of 16, and a man aged 30.

This is real, and it is happening here, and it is right now. Dozens, maybe hundreds, maybe thousands of girls are suffering vile abuse, but it’s like screaming in an abyss. Where is the march? Where is the hashtag?

Genital cutting is not as fancy a topic as Hollywood pay for women, obviously, but it’s a creeping tragedy that threatens the freedom of all Australian women. A freedom our grandfathers and great-uncles died for. A freedom the feisty Australian suffragettes of yesteryear, with their dry wit and their long skirts and their button-up boots, once marched for.

I get that there’s cultural sensitivity. People don’t want to be accused of racism or bigotry. They don’t want to discriminate. But what about the discrimination against girls going on right now in Australian schools? Don’t believe it? Cast your eye over this, the official uniform list for the al-Faisal College in Sydney’s west (see below).

What jumps out? Only the girls, from age five, have to wear long sleeves, even in summer.

Only the girls have to wear skirts to the floor (ankle-length) summer and winter. The hijab, or head covering, also is compulsory for girls, from age five. It is compulsory even for sport. The boys scamper about in short sleeves.

A friend of a friend who is a teacher at the school recently sent out some pictures of children at the school receiving certificates at an assembly.

The boys are relaxed and grinning. The girls are swathed in so much fabric you can see only their faces. You support this, with your taxes.

It’s blatant discrimination. It tells girls that there is something sinful about them, something that will drive men to distraction, something they need to keep covered while out in the world.

The sight of your wrists, or ankle, or forearm is offensive and wrong.

Now, Australian women are smart, and most of them are very used to carrying more than one bucket at a time. Meaning: they know that you can adore pretty clothes and still want equal pay.

Likewise, you can be outraged by female genital mutilation, and forced marriage, and lousy school uniform codes, and Donald Trump. But which is more important? Macho bragging about pussy-grabbing in a trailer on the set of The Apprentice? Or acts of extreme violence against girls — and the rights of girls — here and now?

Yes, it’s possible to carry more than one bucket, so, if you’re marching this weekend, good on you, that’s your right — but maybe also carry a placard for your Australian sisters, suffering vile misogyny as we speak.

They’re hidden from view but they deserve attention, too.

SOURCE




An Aboriginal success story?  Look below at what the Sydney Morning Herald calls an Aborigine



I wish the girl every success but to call her a black defies all reason

Born eight weeks premature, Kirilly Lam was a fighter from the beginning. Almost 18 years on, the student from Sydney's west has overcome the odds to become the first person in her immediate family to finish year 12 and go to university.

She has been accepted into an advanced nursing degree at Western Sydney University, fulfilling a lifelong dream.

The government supports needs-based school funding says Parliamentary Secretary for Education Senator Scott Ryan.
"I almost can't believe it myself - I'm pretty happy," the 17-year-old Aboriginal student said.

Ms Lam is the youngest of seven children, raised in social housing in Cambridge Park near Penrith. On top of her studies, she cares for her 21-year-old sister Caitlyn​, who has cerebral palsy, and provides support for her mother, who suffers mobility problems following back surgery.

Her premature birth resulted in delayed speech and learning difficulties which she has overcome to study English, general maths, biology, physics and chemistry for the HSC at her Llandilo school.

But it was a $1000 NSW Government scholarship which gave her the financial boost she needed to help reach her academic goal. 

"It meant I could pay for internet access at home," she said. "I used to stay back at school in the afternoons to use the internet there until they told me to go home because they had to lock up. Having the internet at home made a huge difference but I also bought text books and printer ink."

Her mother Rebecca McCredie​ is "thrilled" with her daughter's results, expressing her pride in a letter to the Department of Family and Community Services which administers the scholarships aimed at the most severely disadvantaged students.

SOURCE





48 HOUR HEATWAVE: No relief in sight with temperatures expected to hit nearly 30C overnight in Sydney - and the hot sleepless nights won't stop

This is just sensationalism.  the "heatwave" is just a normal summer. Temperatures peak at different times each year but there are no exceptional temperatures.  The Brisbane temperature on the thermometer in my anteroom hit 34.5C mid-afternoon Tuesday -- which is nothing unusual


Another heatwave is set to hit Australia on Tuesday and last until Sunday with temperatures set to skyrocket in the first 48 hours. 

Temperatures are tipped to climb as high as eight degrees above average as the second heatwave in as many weeks makes its way across much of the east coast.

The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a series of heatwave warnings for most of Queensland and NSW, as well as parts of South Australia and the Northern Territory.

While temperatures will soar to the high 30s with ease during the days, nights too will be unbearable with temperatures around the 27C mark overnight on Tuesday in Sydney.

Brisbane should reach a top of 35C on Wednesday, while temperatures in the west of the state could soar to 41C.

Sydney and Canberra are also forecast to reach 36C several days this week and as high as 43C in the northwest.

Melbourne is expected to hit a high of 38C on Tuesday.

SOURCE






Unhinged electricity policy of the Leftist Queensland government

Everyone remembers the slogan: Queensland — beautiful one day, perfect the next. I have to inform you there has been an update: Queensland — beautiful one day, insane the next.

The idea that the state could achieve a target of 50 per cent of electricity generated by renewable energy by 2030 is bizarre, unachievable and mischievous — in a word, it is insane. And it is not just because such a target would drive up electricity prices for households and businesses to the high levels of South Australia — probably higher. It also would destroy the value of most of the electricity assets held by the Queensland government. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

Given Queensland’s extreme level of government debt, there is no doubt that, in due course, most of the government-owned cor­porations will be sold, particularly if the cost of servicing the debt were to escalate. The tragedy is that it is likely the value of most of these assets will have fallen through the floor by then.

In the meantime, the flow of dividends that the government is relying on to create the appearance of fiscal rectitude will dry up, even if the present unconventional directive of ordering a payout ratio of 100 per cent of profits of the government-owned corporations continues.

An important question is: why would the Palaszczuk government opt for such an economically harmful and foolish policy? We should not forget that Queensland has the lowest percentage of electricity generated by renewable energy — at just more than 4 per cent.

So the policy involves an increase of 46 percentage points in the penetration of renewable energy as a source of electricity generation in the space of 13 years. Pull the other one.

To provide cover for this madcap policy, the Queensland government appointed a “renewable energy expert panel” to provide a veneer of credibility to the feasibility of the target.

With carefully chosen panel members, the draft report — unsurprisingly — concluded that there were no problems with reaching the target and that electricity costs to households and businesses in Queensland would probably stay steady. Again, pull the other one, but I am running out of other ones.

We should just take a look at the figures. There will need to be between 4000 megawatts to 5500MW of new large-scale renewable energy capacity between 2020 and 2030, something that has not even been achieved for Australia as a whole across the same period. The consensus view is that 1500MW of additional renewable energy a year is the top of the range for Australia and Queensland is only 15 per cent odd of that total.

And don’t you just love the prediction of the panel that electricity prices will remain steady for households and business in Queensland as a result of the government’s bold, go-it-alone policy? The background to this, as noted by the Queensland Productivity Commission, is that “since 2007, Australian residential retail electricity prices have increased faster than any other OECD country and Queensland prices have increased faster than any other state or territory”.

Mind you, it is clear why the Palaszczuk government didn’t simply ask the Queensland Productivity Commission to analyse the feasibility of the 50 per cent state renewable energy target. That would be because it wouldn’t be seen as “reliable”, having made the wholly rational suggestion last year that the state government withdraw the generous and unjustified subsidies to households with solar panels on their roofs.

Premier Annastacia Palasz­czuk was not having a bar of that idea. How could she continue to conflate small-scale solar panels with large-scale renewable energy, thereby buttressing the support of the public (well, the better-heeled part of the public that can afford solar panels) for anything called renewable energy? If X is good, 2X must be better and 12X must be a blast. Continuing to subsidise households with solar panels is part of the political game, hang other electricity users.

So what does that “independent” panel conclude about the impact of the 50 per cent renewables energy target on electricity pricing? The answer is “broadly cost neutral to electricity consumers where the cost of funding the policy action is recovered through electricity market mechanisms”. (This is code for: we could always skin taxpayers or ask Canberra to chip in.)

But here’s the rub: “This occurs as a result of increased renewable generation placing downward pressure on wholesale electricity prices, which is projected in the modelling to offset the payments to renewables.”

Mind you, the point is added that “the pricing outcome is not guaranteed and could differ, for example, if existing generation capacity is withdrawn from the market, especially coal-fired generation”.

Think about this. What the panel is saying is: if existing generators, which are owned by the government in Queensland, are driven out of the market, which is likely because of the renewables energy target — see the South Australian and Victorian cases as live examples — then prices will rise. And the capital value of these withdrawn government-owned generators will be close to zero, having probably experienced years of underinvestment in maintenance.

This leaves the question: why would the Queensland government decide on such a dimwitted, self-defeating and economically damaging policy position?

In keeping with the rule of following the money, it is clear that the lobbying efforts of the clean energy rent-seekers have been directed at the Queensland government, in particular.

After all, the large energy providers generally have a foot in both camps — conventional electricity generation plus renewable energy assets.

But they don’t stand to lose anything in Queensland by virtue of the astronomical state renewable energy target because the conventional electricity generation assets are all owned by the government. If these generators are driven out of business, it’s a big plus for them, not a negative.

Silly estimates of the gains in employment and billions of dollars of investment, mainly in the regions, associated with renewable energy make gormless politicians simply salivate. The sad thing is that it will be lose-lose for Queenslanders down the track.

The challenge for federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg is to convince state governments to junk their vacuous, go-it-alone renewable energy targets that will lead to even higher electricity ­prices and further threaten the reliability of the grid.

SOURCE





University language policy: Not safe, just absurdly soft

As if Australia Day isn’t dangerous enough for the culturally insensitive, we are now advised not to celebrate the Australian belief in mateship and the fair go. The language police at Macquarie University have declared these are dangerous stereotypes, generalised images of a person or group that “may have potentially harmful real-world consequences”. The university’s latest guide on correct speech also instructs Queenslanders not to stereotype those living south of the Tweed as Mexicans, implying that they are ”hot-blooded, irrational, untrustworthy”.

Extreme linguistic governance of this kind was once restricted to religious sects and the political fruitcake fringe. Today it is chillingly mainstream; universities see it as part of their duty of care to offer written guides, training courses and counselling on “appropriate” and “inappropriate” language.

Since one can never be sure about the latest rules, every utterance is potentially suspect. Irony and sarcasm must be avoided at all costs. “To talk about a ‘huntsperson spider’ is an ostensibly humorous ‘non-discriminatory’ act of renaming,” the Macquarie University guide intones. “The joke here nonetheless mocks serious uses of non-discriminatory language and the struggle for gender equity.”

Incredibly, this is a statement of official policy at a major university, signed off, presumably, by the dean and other serious people. If perchance it is slipped past their guard they must remove it forthwith from the university’s website, for the damage imposed by this passive-aggressive chin-stroking is considerable.

The regulation of speech is one of the maladies of academe investigated by British sociologist Frank Furedi in a new book exploring the infantilisation of students.

The notion that people in their late teens and early 20s could not be trusted to act as adults, and that university authorities should protect their moral welfare in loco parentis, disappeared in the wake of the campus radicals in the 1960s.

Furedi, once a campus radical himself, says today’s academic paternalism is far more insidious. The baby boomer generation was taught that “sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me”. The millennial generation is warned constantly of the harm language causes “vulnerable” people. Indeed, they themselves are vulnerable and must be protected from the psychological damage presumed to flow from linguistic aggression.

To explain how yesterday’s student militants evolved into today’s moral guardians, Furedi describes the rise of a risk-averse culture where precaution and safety have become fundamental moral values.

“The term ‘safe’ signals more than the absence of danger: it also conveys the connotation of a virtue,” he says. “The representation of safety as an end in itself is integral to a moralising project of monitoring both individual and interpersonal behaviour.”

Censorship became unfashionable in the late 1960s when it was seen as an instrument of repression. Today it has become a form of therapy, underpinned by a cultural script of vulnerability.

The adjective “vulnerable” has mutated into a noun. The downtrodden have been recast as “the vulnerable”; the wretched have become “the most vulnerable”; universities have been transformed from an intellectual adventure into safe spaces for “vulnerable students”.

We are right to worry about the resilience of those who emerge from these cosseted, hypersensitive campuses. The vulnerable are inclined to fatalism, since vulnerability presents as a permanent feature. They are seldom encouraged to draw on inner strengths to make themselves less vulnerable. Indeed, to suggest they should toughen up is condemned as victim-blaming, denying the vulnerable the ritualistic empathy to which they feel entitled.

Vulnerability, together with the ethos of survivalism — the modern belief that danger lurks around every corner — are the narratives that bolster the infantilisation of students. Hence the semantic tsars at Macquarie deem that the expression “Australians believe in the fair go” is not just distasteful but “potentially harmful” to non-Australians or to Australians who don’t think that way. The purpose of their rules is to develop “a university environment characterised by sensitivity to cultural diversity, and in which the number and seriousness of discriminatory experiences are reduced or eliminated”.

Censorship, like compulsory seat belts or fences around swimming pools, is a matter of public health and safety. So, when activist Maryam Namazie was banned from speaking at Warwick University, the student union justified itself with “language that would have done any risk manager proud”, writes Furedi.

“Researching Namazie and her organisation had raised a number of flags,” declared the students. “We have a duty of care to conduct a risk assessment for each speaker who wishes to come to campus,” they wrote. It is not the intended meaning of words but their supposed impact that matters. “Verbal purification is not simply directed at cleansing politically objectionable words but also at providing psychological relief,” Furedi concludes.

It may be too early to predict what lasting effect the censorious, mollycoddled environment of modern academe will have young graduates.

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, January 17, 2017



Photograph of women in hijabs on billboard advertising Australia Day celebrations sparks heated online debate

One would think that Australia day would celebrate Australia as it is.  It is definitely NOT Muslim. They are a small minority and a poorly assimilated one that that. They are distinguished mainly by their high rate of welfare dependency, meaning that the positive contribution they make to the rest of us is minimal

I can see a case for celebrating Australia's diversity with a picture that included someone from our largest minority -- people of Han Chinese ancestry.  They have fitted in brilliantly and differ from Caucasians mainly in their superior educational achievements.  With the many services they provide to us all -- from medical specialists to restaurateurs, we are lucky to have them. That could indeed be celebrated



A billboard advertising Australia Day celebrations in Melbourne sparked debate online for appearing to feature two women wearing hijabs.



A picture of the huge sign showed it having an Australian flag on the left with the two smiling women on the right underneath the event details. There were no other people in the design.

It was said to be by the side of a road in Cranbourne, in Melbourne's southeast, and first shared by far-right groups on Facebook on Friday.

The debate attracted hundreds of comments with a variety of opinions, and was shared thousands of times.

Some commenters were outraged that Australia was only represented by a pair of Muslim women instead of a more diverse crowd.

'Some culture doesn't belong! Meh all this multi cultural bs being rammed down our throats,' one angry Facebook user wrote.

'Muslims on that is a disgrace... I don't know what's going on in this country... It's just going downhill... Muslims are not the face of Australia,' another said.

'PC to the extreme. There's nothing wrong with including people from different backgrounds as Australia is more or less a melting pot of different cultures,' a third wrote.

'But to represent Australia as just Muslim people (as the billboard implies) is just as ignorant as assuming Australians are all Caucasian,' they added.

'I find this advertisement for Australia day offensive yes I'm proud that we are a multi cultural nation but sorry to all the bleeding heart public and politicians when it comes to Australian views on Muslim values,' another wrote.

But the billboard also had its supporters, with many pointing out that Australia was a diverse nation of different people that should be celebrated. 'It doesn't matter what is on the board. Only thing is Australia is [a] multicultural county and everyone who lives there must be proud [of] Australia. So stop that nonsense,' one wrote.

'I don't get why people seem to think that one race or any race owns any land more so then the other. Those views are so close minded. We share this earth together, even if you don't like it,' another said.

A third person replied to another commenter claiming the billboard was evidence of the government 'bending down to the minority to make them feel better about themselves' and that Australia would slowly become Muslim.

They replied: 'No one seems to be suffering mate, our country is multicultural and if you've got a problem with that then you've got a problem with Australia.'

The billboard was advertising a RACV Australia Day Festival at the King's Domain Gardens in the centre of Melbourne, including a parade and flag raising ceremony.

SOURCE





Shocking research reveals babies as young as five months are victims of female genital mutilation in Australia

A study into the female genital mutilation has revealed a startling number of young girls are undergoing the procedure.

Researchers from the Australian paediatric surveillance unit at Westmead Children's Hospital in Sydney found 59 girls around the country were given the most extreme form of the FGM procedure as far back as since 2010, the ABC reported.

The victims' ages ranged from as young as five months old to 18 years old.

Professor Elizabeth Elliott, Consultant Pediatrician at the Children's Hospital at Westmead, said of the 59 girls reported eight experienced complications.

'About 20 per cent of them had had infibulation - that is [the] removal of the clitoris - and external genitalia removed and sewing up of the opening,' she said.

'Many of these girls were experiencing physical complications such as urinary tract infections, difficulty passing urine, difficulty with menstruation, but a lot of them were also suffering from psychological consequences of having had the procedure.'

Professor Elliott said that most of the procedures were performed overseas, while only two were performed in New South Wales. 

'We really have no idea of the prevalence and we suspect this is a gross underestimate of the number of girls who have been affected by this procedure,' she said.

To help make changes, she said a revision of the policies was necessary to help victims so paediatricians and health service professionals could determine if a patient had the surgery and if they need to call the authorities.

FGM is a criminal offence and is recognised as physical abuse across all Australian states and territories.

SOURCE


   


Unholy matrimony and the Islamic culture’s hidden stain

Piers Akerman

AS much as it may discomfort the multi-culti crowd, Australia must realise that there are some appalling aspects of ­Islamic culture that can never be embraced here.

In the 2015-16 financial year alone, the Australian Federal Police investigated 69 ­incidents of forced marriage, more than double that investigated the previous year.

Just last week, an imam, a Muslim religious leader, faced a Melbourne court after allegedly forcing a child into marriage, while the 34-year-old “husband” of the minor appeared via videolink charged with sexually penetrating a child under the age of 16.

Ibrahim Omerdic, 61, appeared before the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday over an alleged forced marriage at Noble Park, in Melbourne’s southeast, along with the husband, who cannot be identified. The latter is also charged with being a party to a forced marriage.

Ibrahim Omerdic was charged with forcing a child bride to marry him against her will. Picture: Nicole Garmston
The court heard that a DVD of the ceremony being conducted at a mosque last year may form part of the evidence. ­ According to The Weekend Australian no person has been convicted of arranging or being involved in a forced marriage in Australia despite the number of referrals of possible offences soaring since 2013, when the act was criminalised, according to data from the Attorney-General’s Department.

In 2013-14, the Australian Federal Police received 11 referrals of allegations of forced marriage. The AFP received 33 in 2014-15 and 69 in 2015-16.

Mr Omerdic is the imam of the Bosnia-Herzegovina Islamic Centre and Mosque at Noble Park and reportedly said in 2005 that there was no “clear proof” Osama bin Laden was behind the 9/11 terror attacks.

The Victorian Board of Imams released a statement earlier this week condemning marriages that are illegal in Australia.

“Imams are advised to meet both the bride and groom in person prior to the nikah ­(Islamic marriage) ceremony to ensure they are of marriageable age and both are consenting to the marriage,” the statement said.

“As Australian Muslims, we are required to observe and ­respect the laws of Australia.”

The average reader might well assume that the Victorian Board of Imams aren’t ­unhappy with forced child marriages in other countries. Little wonder that young Australian Muslim girls are at risk of being spirited abroad to marry older men.

Given the imams’ collective responses to the case of the imam charged in Melbourne on Friday, the young girls might be better advised to look elsewhere for protection.

The Islamic Council of Victoria also released a statement condemning forced marriage.

“It is true that marriage at a younger age is permitted in other countries and cultures, but this is not a justification for marriage below the legal age or child marriages here in Australia,” they said.

Which might make some readers wonder why the Islamic Council members didn’t say they think forced child marriage is absolutely abhorrent wherever it is practised?

Do they think that they lack the stature to condemn this disgusting tradition or are they afraid that by doing so they will open up the obvious questions which surround the marriage of their Prophet Muhammad to his child bride, Aisha, who, according to traditional sources was married to Muhammad when she was six or seven though the marriage was not consummated till she was nine or 10, and he was then 53.

School principals and teachers have reported girls as young as nine being taken overseas, where they are forced to marry, the NSW government has said.

Family and Community Services Minister Brad Hazzard is in no doubt about the magnitude of the problem. He said data collected by his department since a telephone hotline was set up in July 2014 left him in “no doubt that there is a tsunami of young girls, some as young as nine, who are being taken overseas and being forced to become child brides”.

During a 2016 press conference he said the Muslim community needed to be vocal opponents against the practice.

Given the imams’ collective responses to the case of the imam charged in Melbourne on Friday, the young girls might be better advised to look elsewhere for protection.

As these young girls are most at risk from their families, there is a huge reluctance on their part to report the crime because of the shame and ­embarrassment that conviction and publicity would bring.

The same goes for the hideous cultural practice of ­female genital mutilation.

According to Australian Bureau of Statistics and UNICEF data, as many as 83,000 women and girls in Australia may have been subjected to FGM, a statistic that rests on the fact that a girl is most likely to be subject to this procedure if her mother has had FGM.

It is estimated that 5640 girls under 15 may be in danger and 1100 girls are born every year to women who have had FGM. The extrapolation was cited by Professor Gillian Triggs, the president of the Australian Human Rights Commission, in April 2016.

Professor Triggs and her ­organisation would be among the first to defend multiculturalism and just behind them would be Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Why not, it’s been a howling success across Europe, hasn’t it? Even the queen of multi-culti, Germany’s leaderene Angela Merkel, has been forced to admit the policy stinks.

Time our leaders did the same and dumped it.

SOURCE






Australian energy bills soar in shift from coal power stations

Electricity companies have begun hiking consumer prices around the country, blaming the closure of coal-fired generators and the increased cost of renewable energy for higher-than-predicted increases of more than $130 this year.

EnergyAustralia and AGL have increased electricity tariffs in Victoria by $135 and $132 on average for the year respectively — greatly exceeding state government modelling that concluded bills would rise by $27 to $100.

The Victorian price rises will flow from this week but the companies’ customers in other states, including South Australia and NSW, face a yet-to-be announced price rise in June.

Red Energy, the retailing arm of Snowy Hydro, informed customers in NSW its rates would increase this week because of “increases in the wholesale cost of electricity and the large-scale renewable energy certificates”.

Some tariffs were raised by almost 25 per cent.

The consumer price rises will increase political pressure on state and federal governments to deal with escalating energy costs that have sparked business warnings that rising power charges are undermining competitiveness.

The Australian Energy Council has warned the impact will be greatest in Victoria and South Australia, which face the biggest wholesale price increases.

The South Australian government is under pressure over its heavy reliance on renewable energy, particularly with the closure of the Northern power station and blackouts sparked by severe storms. Queensland, which has a regulated market, is reviewing its energy tariffs with results expected by the middle of the year.

The Energy Council’s corporate affairs general manager, Sarah McNamara, said the Victorian wholesale price increases were a “byproduct of the reduction in the state’s generation capacity by around 20 per cent, a direct consequence of the upcoming closure of the Hazelwood power station in March”. The Energy Council, which represents major electricity and gas producers, has repeatedly called for a national strategy to deal with supply issues and price volatility as older power stations are retired and an increasing amount of large-scale renewable energy is made available.

An EnergyAustralia spokesman said the average $11 a month increase in Victoria reflected “higher generation, general business and government green-scheme costs”. In that state, there was an increase in the cost of buying electricity for 2017 from about $40 a megawatt hour in January to more than $60 a megawatt hour in November, he said.

“The closure of the Northern power station in South Australia, increased demand for gas by large LNG projects in Queensland, reliability issues and … the market’s reaction to the closure of Hazelwood were among the main factors,” he said.

AGL, through a spokesman, said residential electricity prices would rise by $2.59 a week, on average, or a 9.9 per cent increase, while small and medium-size businesses would see costs increase by 13.4 per cent.

Despite the higher charges, the closure of Hazelwood could boost earnings at AGL, which owns the Loy Yang A power station, by up to 10 per cent, according to analysts at investment bank JP Morgan. That analysis, released late last year, assumed the closure of Hazelwood would increase wholesale prices by 15 per cent in Victoria and 10 per cent in NSW.

Victorian coal generators will also face increased royalty costs this year, with the subsidy intended on making renewable energy more attractive rising to 22.8c a gigajoule for companies mining brown coal from 7.6c, netting the government about $250 million over four years.

The Minerals Council’s Victorian executive director, Gavin Lind, said the brown coal royalty increases introduced by the Andrews government were harmful and ignored the practicalities of the electricity market.

“The expected increase in electricity costs will hit Victorian businesses hard, especially the manufacturing sector where uncertain economic conditions are already placing the industry under strain,” he said. “The Victorian government seems intent on increasing the state’s dependence on expensive and part-time energy sources and committing Victorian households and industry to higher energy prices. It will pass the cost of the scheme on to electricity users via their energy bills. In so doing, it will subsidise uneconomic renewable energy projects while driving out affordable, reliable coal-fired energy.’’

A government spokesman defended the increase. “The royalty rate has not changed in a decade, and this will simply bring Victoria into line with the other states. We are ensuring Victorians get a fair return for the use of our state’s natural resources,” he said.

In Queensland, the state’s Competition Authority is in the final stages of setting electricity tariffs for 2017-18, with the Palaszczuk government unveiling a 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030 that could slash earnings at the government-owned electricity generators.

Renewable energy schemes were blamed by Red Energy for this week’s increase in retail prices, although Snowy Hydro declined to provide details about the increases. “There are a number of factors that can push energy prices higher for consumers and the need to source renewable energy certificates to cover a portion of the energy consumed by customers is one of them,” a spokesman said. “We cover the resulting REC liability through a combination of RECs generated by the Snowy Scheme with the remainder sourced from the market.”

The price of those certificates has jumped in recent months, netting some electricity retailers windfall gains, as concerns grow that Australia will not reach its 2020 renewable energy target.

The spot price of those certificates rose to about $87 at the end of last month compared with an average of $54 in 2015, although the largest retailers can obtain RECs as part of the normal course of business or at lower contract rates.

SOURCE





Pauline recognized by Trump

ONE Nation leader Pauline Hanson has confirmed she was sent “gifted tickets” to Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration this weekend.

The One Nation leader - who drank champagne on the steps of Parliament House the day Trump was elected - said she was still deciding whether to go.

Senator Hanson posted on social media this morning that it was an honour to be invited.

“Would you believe it? I have been gifted tickets to the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony of @realDonaldTrump - what an honour,” she said on Twitter.

The senator quickly followed with a tweet saying she was still deciding whether she could attend because of her duties to the people of Queensland and Australia.

Australian Ambassador to the US Joe Hockey will officially represent Australia at the 45th President of the US’s inauguration on January 20.

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, January 15, 2017



The latest Bureau of Meteorology shenanigans

This summer has been very frustrating for the BOM.  As tireless global warming missionaries, they wanted the Sydney summer to be the "hottest yet".  And the headlines they generated have on several occasions claimed just that. 

But the thermometers have in fact been unobliging.  If you read the small print, coastal Sydney has failed to get into the 40s. It was only localities that are normally hot which did that. 

And hanging over their heads is the awful truth that the temperature in coastal Sydney reached 42 degrees (108F) in 1790, long before there were any power stations, SUVs and all the other Greenie bugaboos in Sydney.

So what  to do?  They have had a brainwave (below).  Instead of reporting maximum temperatures they are now reporting MINIMUM temperatures.  They say that various minimum (night-time) temperatures have been unusually hot.  But global warming is supposed to cause high maximum temperatures so it is a pretty desperate bit of fake news



SYDNEY residents sweltered through the harbour city’s hottest January night in recorded history last night.

But the good news for the sleepless masses is relief is in sight, with a cool change on its way.

Temperature records tumbled across Sydney as the extreme heatwave peaked overnight.

Among the new records set were in Observatory Hill, where the temperature dropped only to 26.4C, Bankstown (26.2C), Camden (27.1C), Penrith (28.6C), Richmond (28.2C), Horsley Park (26.2C), and Terrey Hills (26.9C).

But relief is on its way.

Conditions across the southern half of NSW are expected to ease over the weekend but the mercury will likely remain in the low to mid 40s in the state’s north.

After copping temperatures up to 45C on Friday, Sydney’s west is forecast for a milder maximum of 35C on Saturday while in the coastal parts of the city it is due to reach 31C.

But for those in the far north it is expected to remain hot with a predicted high of 41C at Grafton.

Queenslanders who have been in the grip of the same heatwave are set to endure another day of blistering conditions before conditions cool on Sunday.

A top of 34C is forecast for Brisbane on Saturday, which is five degrees above the average maximum for this time of year.

(Rubbish!  The temperature in my anteroom regularly tracks the official observations for Brisbane and at 34.5C yesterday  afternoon it did go higher on my thermometer than the forecast. But it had been right on 34C for a week or so)

SOURCE






Kirralie Smith tells it like it is

Being critical of Islam is not "extremist" or "right-wing".  It's fake news to say so








School uniforms are sexist? Oh, please

By Jane Fynes-Clinton (The fine Clinton is one of Australia's many excellent conservative women journalists.  As in Jennifer Oriel, Grace Collier, Miranda Devine, Rita Panahi, Janet Albrechtsen, Judith Sloan, Caroline Overington, Corrine Barraclough etc.  Eat your heart out, feminists)

An academic from Queensland University of Technology this week hurled the first of the school preparation grenades, contending that school uniform requirement should no longer be split along gender lines.

The focus in the school uniform discussion should be about climate and occasion appropriateness, not sexism. (Pic: iStock)

Cultural learning senior lecturer and psychologist Amanda Mergler pointed out in her piece on The Conversation that some parents felt requiring their daughters to wear dresses and skirts was outdated and amounted to gender disadvantage.

To this, I say piffle.

Dresses are not passe. Skirts are not discriminatory or symbols of sexism. They do not limit female power or confidence.

And having our boys and girls dressed the same — as boys, effectively — does not make them the same.

They are not, never should be, and clothes do not make the man (or woman). Celebrate difference, because difference between genders does not mean better or worse and schoolchildren should not be encouraged to see themselves as a homogenous, genderless blob.

Dresses are not by their nature sexualising creations.

Dresses and skirts are cooler in the heat of summer, have more wriggle room for wearers and are more easily kept looking neat.

But there are naysayers. A Journal of Gender Studies paper published in 2013 said dresses and skirts as school uniforms “ritualised girling” and affected the performance of the wearer.

Proponents of homogeny say dresses require girls to be more demure, and to walk, run and sit differently.

Dresses have a habit of ballooning in a breeze and girls are always at risk of showing their underwear.

The anti-dress brigade also argues dresses make girls more quickly available sexually. Yes, they seriously say that.

It is not sexist to wear a dress, just as it is not sexist to call someone a woman, as if by saying that, it is all she is. It is discriminatory to act as if wearing a skirt delegates that person to a lesser station, which is effectively what is contended by Mergler.

This is political correctness gone loopy, a distraction from the core issues around school uniforms. Surely, they are about practicality, appropriateness and, because this is a world where we seem to require it in every facet, choice that are subjects of discussion, not whether girls should wear dresses.
Girls are not being “disadvantaged” by wearing skirts as their school uniform. (Pic: Getty Images)

School uniforms have a long tradition in Australia.

They level the playing field and stabilise a school’s community branding. They provide certainty at a changeable, important time in a human’s development. They are here to stay.

The focus in the school uniform discussion should be about climate and occasion appropriateness. And given school should be a relatively formal, learning-focused place, surely discussions should hinge on practicality and comfort,

as well as presenting an appropriate public face of the school.

I think school uniforms should not be overly fashionable and not because of a dislike of fashionability or disregard for style, but because a school’s core purpose is the delivery of learning experiences.

And if skirts are done away with in coeducational settings to mitigate the risk of sexualising females, it follows that girls at same-sex schools would be left out on a rather provocative limb.

I attended an all-girls school in Brisbane. We wore unflattering dresses for lessons and unattractive skirts with undershorts (never to be seen in public except on the playing field) for sport. We were told how long they had to be.

The uniform and the rules are the same at that school today.

We were constantly told we were girls, or young ladies, that we must act with integrity and modesty, as all young people should. The uniform regulation was uniformly unforced.

Sure, our box pleats meant we had to take special measures in stiff winds and deal with sweaty, slidey seats in summer. And yes, we were forbidden from sitting cross legged on the ground in public, lest the good name of our school be erased in a thoughtless flash.

Fair enough. We were girls and girls wore modest dresses and skirts to school. No contest. If we didn’t like it, we could leave.

It was a slice of life and we expressed ourselves elsewhere and in other ways.

I am old enough to recall a time when female members of the public who attended Brisbane City Council meetings were forbidden from wearing pants. I also recall a female journalist in the 1980s attending in slacks to push the envelope and make a point. She was excluded.

And a public relations firm in Brisbane forbade its all-female staff from wearing trousers in the early 1990s.

Those who require such things now enforce the wearing of a uniform to get around claims of discrimination.

Surely the point now is that choice is key, not demonising the dress and skirt as old-school, sexist creations that are vehicles for lust and degradation?

Please, let common sense prevail in any discussions about school uniforms.

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Australia Day lamb advertisement draws criticism from blacks

It was highly politically correct -- failing even to mention Australia day and being super-multicultural -- but you can't please some people.  

Australia Day commemorates the landing of the first white settlers in Australia.  It is a popular day for getting together with friends and relatives over a BBQ.  The sheep farmers want us to put lamb chops on the BBQ

The annual television advert encouraging people to eat lamb on Australia Day is often controversial, and it seems this year is no different, with members of the Indigenous community describing it as "highly offensive" and "disgusting".

While Meat and Livestock Australia says the response has been mostly positive, some in the Indigenous community say it is highly offensive.

The campaign, which depicts a European invasion, makes no mention of Australia Day. It begins with a group of Indigenous Australians having a barbecue on a beach as one by one, ships of explorers reach the shore.

The cast of the ad is diverse, with guest appearances from Cathy Freeman, Wendell Sailor, Poh Ling Yeow and former chair of the National Australia Day Council Adam Gilchrist.
YouTube: 2017 Australia Day lamb ad

While some have taken umbrage at the complete omission of references to Australia Day, some within the Indigenous community have criticised the ad.

"[Using] the continual pain, the real pain felt on this date for their own purposes, for a marketing stunt ... that's the most offensive part of it," said journalist and Darumbal woman Amy Mcquire.

"There's Aboriginal people dying in custody, having their children taken away, suiciding ... and that oppression stems from that original invasion.   "So to use that as a marketing ploy to sell lamb ... is even more disgusting I think."

But Andrew Howie, group marketing manager of Meat and Livestock Australia, says the organisation held consultations with several Indigenous groups throughout the creative process.

Mr Howie says an effort was made to respect "cultural sensitivities".

"The work that we create is never designed to be offensive, it's not designed to cause offense to people," Mr Howie said.

"This year's campaign is a celebration of Australia's history. This year, and with the essence of the brand being very much around unity, we realised that this time of year there are cultural sensitivities.

"If we were going to be inclusive … we needed to understand some of those cultural sensitivities."

Tim Burrowes from the media and marketing website Mumbrella says the ad is risky, but most good marketing is.

"I think if one thinks about the motives involved behind creating this ad, they come from a place which is trying — through sense of humour — to move on a conversation and get a message out there."

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The real reason Centrelink is wasting your time

CENTRELINK is wasting Australia’s time. Monstrous amounts of it. Whole lifetimes are being chewed up by Centrelink’s outrageous slowness.

It takes 43 million calls a year and people wait on the line for hours to get answered. The worst story I found was a woman who waited on hold for 15 hours.

The Minister says the average wait time is 12 minutes and his last annual report says it is 15 minutes. Even if that was true, it isn’t good enough. And don’t forget Centrelink had 29 million unanswered calls, plus 7 million calls where people got tired of waiting so long and hung up.

Why does Centrelink do it? Because they can! They save a bit of money by understaffing — there are no consequences for them when they use up our time to save money.

TEMPORAL ALCHEMY

This trick — turning our time into their money — pops up time and again in Australia. Consider Australia Post. When they drop off a note saying they tried to deliver a parcel they are using up a lot of my time to save a little bit of their money.

It looks great on the bottom line: expenses are slightly lower. Imagine if they had to include our time in their accounts — things would be very different indeed.

Too many organisations will happily trade hours of my time to save seconds of theirs. It is incredibly inefficient, and it happens mostly in a particular kind of large organisation.

For example, I do not get screwed around at my local burger shop. They try to be efficient because they know customers will go somewhere else if they’re not fast. Wasting customers’ time is the signature move of big organisations that don’t have enough competition.

WHERE THE HOURS DRAG BY

We get screwed around by government entities like Centrelink and the local council. By semi-government entities like Australia Post. And by big private businesses like airports, phone companies and banks that don’t have enough competition.

In the early 2000s, banks were a bit like Centrelink is now. They made you queue for hours if you went into a branch. Likewise, there was an era when Telstra was famous for its wait times if you needed help. Around a decade ago, people hesitated to use them because their customer service was famously abysmal.

But Telstra and the banks fixed their issues and these days they have a reputation for being maybe not perfect — but pretty good.

Airports are probably the worst example in the private sector. Australian cities each have only one airport. There’s no competition, so when they tell you to get there very early you comply. You normally spend ages queuing up (because they’re saving money on security, etc). Then you still have a long time to wait. The industry motto is “dwell time is sell time.”

Airports count on you buying a few overpriced items during that dwell time. That comes back to them in the shape of high rents for airport retail. It’s an elaborate system and it all depends on you giving up your time for free.

We need to put a stop to this. Australians time has been disrespected for too long, and organisations need to stop turning a blind eye to it. These organisations know time is valuable: they try to use their own staff’s time at maximum efficiency. But not ours

Government ministers knows the value of time too. That’s why they spend up on a charter flight instead of taking a regular flight later — to make sure not a moment is wasted. If only the same courtesy was extended to the rest of us.

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, January 13, 2017



Shell Australia blames Victorian government for rising gas prices

Australia has heaps of natural gas in the ground but the Green/Left want to keep it there for their usual disruptive reasons

The head of oil giant Shell's Australian multibillion-dollar operations has laid the blame for the east coast gas squeeze squarely with the Victorian government, declaring that rising prices caused by the state's ban on onshore gas will take a direct toll on jobs.

Deflecting criticism that Queensland's LNG industry is to blame for the difficulties being experienced in the east coast gas market, Shell Australia chairman Andrew Smith pointed instead to "short-sighted political decisions" such as Victoria's, which is keeping much-needed gas in the ground.

"Victorian manufacturers have a right to be angry about the gas supply situation, but their anger should be directed toward the Victorian government," Mr Smith told The Australian Financial Review.

"It is the Andrews government's ban on onshore gas production that will lead to price hikes to Victorian manufacturers – and this will cost jobs in Victorian factories."

Victoria's Acting Resources Minister Phil Dalidakis rejected the idea the moratorium is impacting prices.

A surge in demand for gas on the east coast was always expected because of the start-up of Queensland's $70 billion LNG export industry, which shipped its first gas to Asia in late 2014 and is still ramping up production. But at the time those plants were conceived, there was little suggestion that governments including Victoria, NSW and the Northern Territory would erect hurdles to the development of plentiful onshore gas resources.

Undeveloped gas

As it is, the squeeze has caused difficulties for industrial gas users to access competitive sources of gas, with some pointing the finger at the Queensland LNG industry. One of the three monster LNG export plants on Gladstone's Curtis Island is owned by Shell, which also holds half of the biggest chunk of undeveloped gas on the east coast, through the Arrow joint venture with PetroChina. Some manufacturers have reported a doubling of prices for their gas supplies within the last 12 months.

Last November the Victorian government introduced legislation to permanently ban all onshore unconventional gas exploration and development, and extended a moratorium on conventional onshore gas until 2020. The move triggered a $2.7 billion damages claim from explorer Lakes Oil, which had ambitions to tap the "vast potential" of its acreage in the onshore Otway and Gippsland Basin for conventional gas.

Lakes had loose accords to supply gas from its Wombat field to food manufacturer Simplot and chemical maker Dow Chemical, and Lakes chief executive Roland Sleeman said that were it not for the four years lost through moratoria Lakes believed it could have been in production already.

"There is no justification at all for the actions they are taking," Mr Sleeman said, describing the ban and moratorium as "ridiculous".

But Mr Dalidakis insisted that the moratorium on conventional gas drilling "will not impact on gas prices in the short-term" and the ban wouldn't have any immediate impact either because there were no proven or probable unconventional onshore reserves in the state.

"What has impacted on local gas prices is the east coast Australian gas marketplace, as the domestic market is competing against the LNG export markets to Asia, making it difficult for local gas users to secure new or longer-term contracts," he said.

Infrastructure costs

Yet Mr Smith said Queensland's coal seam gas industry would not even have been developed without the scale of the LNG export market to offset the huge infrastructure costs.

Unless the Victorian drilling ban is reversed, "all Victorian gas customers will be paying the price of gas in Queensland plus the hefty expense of pipeline access to transport the gas more than 1000 kilometres south," Mr Smith said, adding the impact would be felt by Victorian families, manufacturers and small businesses.

Spot prices for gas in the east coast market are increasingly being set by the "netback" cost of gas for LNG production in Queensland plus the cost of transportation, which is understood to be around $3 a gigajoule down to Victoria, about a third of the state's wholesale gas price on Wednesday.

Just one of Lakes Oil's permits in Victoria is thought to hold about 11 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas and Mr Sleeman said that unlocking only several hundred billion cubic feet of that would be "a gamechanger" as producers would be competing, bringing prices down.

"You've seen that happen in Western Australia when there's more gas than the market needs, people compete and they are prepared to compete potentially down to their cost of production," he said.

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Pauline Hanson criticises Waleed Aly while pushing for a ban on Muslim immigration

PAULINE Hanson has criticised The Project co-host Waleed Aly after his showdown with multi-millionaire Dick Smith. The entrepreneur last night appeared on the show to defend his support for the controversial One Nation leader.

Ms Hanson said: “I don’t bother watching him. I think he’s very one-sided and biased in his opinion, he’s not interested in listening to any real debate in this.  “I think he’s rude. Do I really care what his opinion is? No.”

The comments come as Ms Hanson pressed for a total ban on Muslim immigration telling news.com.au we are seeing a “worldwide revolution” after “appeasing the minorities for too long”.

“When a religion is so incompatible with our culture and our lifestyle we then must have a close look at it,” Ms Hanson told news.com.au.  “The people in our society are feeling the impact of Muslim immigration and the way they’re expanding their numbers in Australia.”

She said President-elect Donald Trump’s win proved “people feel the governments aren’t representing them, their needs and their real concerns”.

Meanwhile, Mr Smith reiterated his criticism of Aly, telling news.com.au the presenter and academic doesn’t “understand basic economics”.

Mr Smith said he “didn’t understand” the point Aly was trying to make when the pair clashed during the fiery segment on the The Project.

The former Australian of the Year appeared on the program after publicly throwing his support behind Ms Hanson, saying he is aligned with her tough immigration stance and other policy positions.

While Mr Smith clarified that he doesn’t support Ms Hanson’s stance on Muslims, he used his interview on The Project to declare Australia’s population growth should be limited.

Mr Smith said he had no personal issues with Aly — “I think I’ve probably spoken to him before” — but blamed his interviewer’s “misunderstanding” on education.

The Project did not respond when approached by news.com.au.

The patriotic entrepreneur said he had been pleased with the reaction to his decision to back the One Nation leader, and that the feedback he received had been “all positive”.

“There’s the odd person who will say ‘Pauline Hanson’s a racist’ and put you down, but here is an Australian who was a fish and chip shop proprietor who’s got through to the senate totally through hard work and democratic means, you can’t but admire that,” he said.

“I don’t agree with every single point just as I don’t agree with every single point of Malcolm Turnbull ... she’s now dealing with the Prime Minister of Australia and I admire her for that.

“What the intelligentsia do is chant ‘racist’ to any person who isn’t as educated as they are and I believe that’s wrong.”

Ms Hanson maintains there is growing grassroots support for her political party due to her strong stance on issues she believes Australians feel have been neglected by the major parties.

“We’ve been appeasing the minorities for too long, and people want change, people want leadership and they want someone with vision,” Ms Hanson told news.com.au.

Ms Hanson tweeted overnight that she would “continue to push for a ban on Muslim immigration” and urged the public to revisit her party’s policies.

Those policies include calling for an inquiry or Royal Commission to determine if Islam is a religion or political ideology, stop further Muslim immigration and the intake of Muslim refugees and banning the Burqa and Niqab in public places.

“What I’m saying about banning Muslims is Muslims from very heavily dominated practising countries who have no regard for Christianity and our culture and our way of life. The pure fact is, if you look at these women that get around in their full burqas they are very staunch Muslims who have no, I don’t believe will ever assimilate into our society or respect our culture and Christianity,” Ms Hanson said.

Ms Hanson praised Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s comments last month in which he blamed former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser for current problems with radicalisation and gang violence. “The reality is Malcolm Fraser did make mistakes in bringing some people in the 1970s and we’re seeing that today,” Mr Dutton said.

Ms Hanson said Mr Dutton was “spot on” in his criticism, and claimed the Fraser government “started this by opening up the flood gates from people from Lebanese Muslims to come out to Australia.

Ms Hanson said the Lebanese community “are actually very much supportive of me, saying ‘we lost our country, we don’t want it to happen here in Australia’.”

When asked how she would directly change the law to ban Muslims from entering the country, Ms Hanson said: “What I’m going to have to do is try to talk some common sense to the other members of parliament, to Peter Dutton to the Prime Minister.  “This is a debate we need to have, that’s what I’m saying.

“I can say these things but I think Australians have a right to be included in this debate. We have never had a debate on immigration. We have never had a debate on the numbers. We have never had a debate on where they come from and this is what we need to have. I’m going to have that debate.”

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Perth woman claims Centrelink hounded her for $26,000 debt but she was owed $5k

Still it goes on

The bungled Centrelink debt-recovery controversy has again come under fire with a Perth woman claiming she was hounded to pay back more than $26,000 she allegedly didn't owe.

The Turnbull government is in the midst of trying to recover $4 billion believed to have been incorrectly paid to welfare recipients using Centrelink's new automated data matching system.

More than 17,000 debt notices were sent out by the Federal government over the Christmas break, with hundreds of people around Australia complaining they were wrongly hounded for repayments. 

Following the litany of complaints, Commonwealth Ombudsman Colin Neave said he would investigate the automated data-matching processes being used to check welfare recipients' eligibility for some Centrelink payments.

It came on the back of Independent MP Andrew Wilkie, Senator Nick Xenophon and Labor calling for the system to be shut down.

Perth woman Claire Etheridge said she was shocked when a letter from Centrelink claimed she owed $26,274.

"It had been a very stressful time," she told Radio 6PR on Wednesday morning.

"Having to deal with that and making complaints to Centrelink and getting calls at 6.30 in the morning because they didn't take the time difference into account from over east.

"I would get text messages from Centrelink saying they were going to call me that day, but they never did.

"I took time off work and I fought it... it was an absolute shambles."

A Perth woman claims Centrelink said she owed $26,000. © Provided by WAtoday A Perth woman claims Centrelink said she owed $26,000. After battling red tape for weeks, Ms Etheridge then got another letter from Centrelink saying she actually owed just $180 for an overpayment of Newstart Allowance from 2011.

She refused to believe she had any debt and, after numerous calls and complaints to Centrelink, it turned out she was actually underpaid and owed close to $5000.

"I'm glad I had to go through that but I don't wish it on anybody because it was an absolute debacle," she said.

"The reason I came forward is because I don't want other people to accept they actually owe money."

Human Services Minister Alan Tudge told Fairfax Media on Wednesday the system "wasn't flawed". He said despite the ongoing controversy, the system would not be shut down.  ​"I don't accept that the system is fundamentally flawed," Mr Tudge told Fairfax Media.

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Grieving widow’s nightmare to get $150 a week from Centrelink

WHEN Lucy Johnson’s* husband died suddenly after a cardiac arrest in September, her whole world fell apart. Not only did she have to arrange his funeral and sort out his affairs, she was broke.

The 55-year-old turned to Centrelink for support, and her problems got worse.

Mrs Johnson was forced to spend months returning to the agency’s office in her small town just west of Sydney, which repeatedly mislaid her paperwork.

“I was in and out once or twice a week,” she told news.com.au. “It became so complicated. They were the most unhelpful. It could be an hour and a half wait.

“The dealings with them were so terrible that on literally every occasion I went there, I was sent away with another form to sign. Every time I handed forms in, they seemed to be misplaced and I had to queue up again.”

Bill* died in September aged 58, and had no life insurance because he was considered high-risk. It took two months for his widowed spouse to receive backdated bereavement allowance, during which time she had to rely on her extended family for money.

Four weeks later, the allowance ran out and she had to return to apply for a “mature age” Newstart support while she looks for work, which is just $150 a week.

“My husband and I worked and were self-sufficient for 30 years,” said Mrs Johnson, who retired from her job in aged care two years ago because of back problems, and began doing bookwork and accounts for her husband’s transport business. “I’ve come for a little assistance. I don’t want Centrelink to support me for the rest of my life.

“I was frustrated and angry. If I had been a dole bludger, it would have been easier. They should treat people with a little more dignity.”

Mrs Johnson is still seeing a grief counsellor after she went into shock following her husband’s heart attack at their home.

“Myself and my sons watched him die at the ICU,” she said. “I was medication-free before my husband died. Now I have acute anxiety, stress ulcers and stomach problems. I was in hospital twice, it was too much. At the same time, I was dealing with Centrelink.

“They tend to want to flip you off to the next queue so someone else can deal with you.

“I went to the doctor’s surgery and broke down. I couldn’t handle it, it was too distressing. Every time I walked out I felt like reaching for the anxiety tablets. I told the doctor, I can’t take any more.

“None of them have any empathy. The way Centrelink treat people, particularly in this situation when a husband unexpectedly dies, it’s much harder than it needed to be. And it’s not over yet.”

The welfare agency has been heavily criticised recently for sending out thousands of inaccurate debt letters, and for being inefficient, confusing and disorganised with an out of date IT system.

Vulnerable Australians say they have spent hours queuing at offices and waiting on the phone, with 60 per cent of callers in 2015-16 not reaching a human.

Mrs Johnson eventually contacted her local MP, Susan Templeman for help her situation. But the trauma of the past few months has left her distraught, like many others who have been wrung out by the system.

The public sector union says standards have dropped to unacceptable levels following thousands of job cuts in the Department of Human Services, with the scandal over the debt recovery system piling on more pressure. The CPSU warned the public will suffer as staff struggle to cope.

“There’s a perfect storm of work coming, with this debt recovery scheme likely to be just part of the problem,” assistant national secretary Michael Tull said on Tuesday.

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May God help these cotton wool kids

Kevin Donnelly

IT doesn’t surprise that private schools are spending millions on wellness centres because students are stressed and lack resilience. It also doesn’t surprise that one of the fastest growing activities in primary schools is teaching meditation and mindfulness.

According to the latest Mission Australia survey, close to 22,000 young Australians rank mental health issues among their top three concerns.

And according to Beyond Blue, one in four young Australians aged between 16 and 24 has experienced a mental health issue some time in the past 12 months.

Instead of optimism, confidence and resilience it ­appears that more and more young people are suffering insecurity, anxiety and stress.

Why are so many students and young Australians at risk and unable to cope, and what’s to be done?

The first thing is that parents have to stop wrapping their children in cotton wool. Free-range children are a thing of the past and long gone are the days when kids were allowed to take risks.

Trampolines now have safety nets. Instead of walking or riding a bike to school children are chauffeured by a parent, and reprimanding or punishing a child is now politically incorrect and equivalent to child abuse.

Many children are so spoilt and indulged that at the first sign of not getting what they want, they collapse in tears or manufactured rage. The Asian tiger mums are far from perfect but at least they discipline their children and teach them the benefits of application and hard work.

Progressive, new-age education is also to blame as teachers are told that nurturing self-esteem and making sure all are winners are more important than teaching children to be competitive and to overcome adversity.

For many years it was forbidden in Australian classrooms to grade students 10 out of 10 or A, B, C, D and E (where E meant fail). Instead teachers had to use meaningless ­descriptions such as consolidating, not yet achieved and ­satisfactory.

Instead of optimism, confidence and resilience it ­appears that more and more young people are suffering insecurity, anxiety and stress.

Compared with top performing Asian education systems, where students regularly face high-risk tests and exams, the first time Australian students are pressured is at Year 12. And even then, each year more and more Year 12 students are ­applying for special consideration as a result of the stress and anxiety caused by the fear of being ranked in terms of performance and not doing as well as expected.

Growing up during the ’60s when at primary school we loved to play British Bulldog and Stacks on the Mill. Such games have long since been banned as too dangerous even though they taught us to overcome fear and that there was nothing special about a sprained wrist or a grazed knee.

A number of local councils are also getting rid of monkey bars and swings because of the risk that children might be hurt. Add to that the fact that in many junior sports no one is allowed to keep the score and it’s understandable why many children lack ­resilience and the will to succeed.

The American author ­Joseph Campbell, who helped to inspire George Lucas to produce Star Wars, argues that children must learn about the archetypes, myths and fables that teach how to deal with challenges and loss and how to overcome adversity.

Tales such as the Iliad and the Odyssey, where the hero overcomes fear and doubt, teaches children, especially boys, to be resourceful and brave. Norse legends such as ­Beowulf and stories like Queen Boadicea should also be compulsory reading.

Unfortunately, such traditional legends and stories are now considered old fashioned and students are more likely to be fed a diet of contemporary stories about dysfunctional families, teenage substance abuse and gender confusion and dysphoria.

Even though religion is often sidelined and ignored, it’s also true that Christianity provides an anecdote to anxiety and depression. Stories such as David and Goliath ­illustrate how ingenuity and faith can beat what appear to be insurmountable odds.

Believing in something spiritual and transcendent also counters the emptiness and sterility of secular ­society’s focus on commercialism and self-interest.

No amount of social networking on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram can replace the very human need for a deeper and more lasting sense of fulfilment.

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Why Australian voters want to ‘drain the swamp’ in Canberra

AUSTRALIAN voters are so fed up with entitled members of parliament and their excuses for using taxpayers’ cash they are seeking to drain the Canberra swamp of career politicians, a prominent electoral expert has warned.

Drawing on shocking results from his recent research that showed Australian voter satisfaction at a record low, ANU political professor Ian McAllister told news.com.au the latest controversy surrounding sidelined Health Minister Sussan Ley’s use of taxpayer funds was exactly the sort of behaviour by politicians that’s stirring an electoral revolt.

The embattled MP has been stood down from her senior parliamentary position while taxpayer-funded trips to the Gold Coast — where she bought a luxury investment property and attended social events — are being investigated.

While the government is seeking a quick fix to the growing scandal, Professor McAllister warns the issue at hand goes deeper than a few suspicious taxi receipts and questionable trips to Queensland’s resort capital.

When a politician is busted taking advantage of their position, be it hitching a ride on a chopper, double-dipping on tax deductions, or chauffeuring their pets around the countryside, we hear cries to rein in spending and make pollies more accountable.

But Prof McAllister says voters outrage is over their representative’s behaviour rather than the system that facilitates it.

“The real problem is not the legal framework. The problem is there’s a lot of discretion. The real issue is this demand for a cultural change so that you get more politicians that are directly interested in serving the public than their own careers,” he said.

The Australian Electoral Study, led by Prof McAllister and published ahead of the new year showed Australians were more dissatisfied than ever with their political representatives. It’s a phenomenon that has been spreading around the world — crystallised by the election of Donald Trump to the most powerful office in the US. And it is slowly rearing its head in Australia with the protest-driven election of inexperienced parliamentarians like Pauline Hanson and Clive Palmer.

“Australia would be one of the leading countries with the proportion of politicians that we have who spend their careers in the political system, and it’s becoming very clear that people don’t want and won’t stand for this,” he said.

“There’s a real disaffection with career politicians and a lot of it seems to come back to entitlements, using money in particular ways, this grey area where people in power have flexibility in the way they use money, travel, things like that.”

Prof McAllister says voter dissatisfaction has been building significantly since 2007, but the 2016 data, which used the same questions and methodology the significant survey of 3000 Australians has relied on for more than four decades, he “thought there was a mistake in the software”.

“There was no mistake, there’s something going on,” he said.

“There’s clearly a disaffection there which is being indicated.”
Australian voters are keen to “drain the swamp” in Canberra, like Donald Trump supporters in the US.

Voters in the US backed president-elect Trump’s aim to “drain the swamp”, a catchy slogan that translated to ridding the political system of entitled career politicians, and Prof McAllister said Australian voters have indicated they’re keen to do the same.

There is some difficulty, however, with Australian voters quickly turning on the alternative politicians they elect out of protest, meaning we tend to end up with the same brand of major party politicians the electorate claims to despise.

“The government needs, both sides of politics need to enforce better behaviour amount their members and that’s tough — you’ve got a lot of people in government and you can’t regulate them all the time so you have a lot of flexibility and discretion,” he said.

“The longer term issue is how do you get different sorts of people into politics, that is a much bigger ask. That involves institutional change to politics.”

Prof McAllister said the government’s grip on economic management was also to blame for voters’ dissatisfaction, and explained the resounding reaction to entitlement scandals like Ms Ley’s.

“We talk about people’s distrust in politicians, but what all of this is over is really a lacklustre economic performance,” he said.

“There’s a significant proportion of people out there who are having their pensions cut, their super cut, having these things they’re used to taken away and they’re feeling under economic pressure and children at school and mortgages and things, then they see this behaviour among politicians.

“That’s what’s driving it. If people were feeling very prosperous and the economy was growing, if politician took a trip to the Gold Coast they wouldn’t care. That’s at the back of it as well.”

Ms Ley has maintained she has done nothing wrong as details of her taxpayer-funded trips continue to emerge, and the opposition bays for her scalp.

Revelations she bought a $795,000 luxury apartment from a Liberal National Party donor during an official visit to the Gold Coast in 2015 have been followed by details of claimed travel costs to the popular holiday spot for New Year’s Eve celebrations in 2013 and 2014.

Fronting the media on Monday, Ms Ley said she was “confident that the investigation will demonstrate that no rules were broken whatsoever”.

The longtime public servant, who has represented the rural NSW division of Farrer since 2001, risks joining a growing list of Australian political figures who were undone by travel claims that didn’t stand up to public scrutiny.

Former Speaker Bronwyn Bishop’s decades-long political career came crashing down in 2015 after she repaid more than $5000 over chartering a helicopter from Melbourne to Geelong to attend a Liberal Party fundraiser, and was revealed to have claimed flights to attend the weddings of two former Liberal MPs.

Another former scandal-plagued Speaker, Peter Slipper, had to pay back $17,285 over a decade including $7000 in family travel perks.

Labor Senator Sam Dastyari was forced to resign from the frontbench last year after having an education company with links to the Chinese government foot the bill for a travel charge he “didn’t want to pay” after exceeding his parliamentary travel budget.

When parliament resumes, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will be under pressure to act on a proposal to scrap travel entitlements for retired MPs and their families which they are currently entitled to under the Life Gold Pass Scheme. It was a Bill the parliament didn’t have time for last year.

The will also face a renewed push to clean up entitlements for federal politicians with at least two senators pledging to push for changes when parliament resumes.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale and crossbencher Nick Xenophon have vowed to reintroduce legislation to overhaul the rules around expenses.

In an interview with ABC radio, Mr Xenophon said he wanted an independent watchdog to oversee the disclosure of claims and enforce harsher penalties for those who exploit the rules.

“I’d like to think that there’ll be a keener interest on the part of my colleagues on both sides from the major parties to consider this seriously because clearly what they’ve done to date doesn’t work,” he said. “This is why so many Australians hate so many politicians.”

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