Monday, April 23, 2018



We're starting to give up on the ideal of Australia as a nation of equals

Self-promoted ethics "expert" Simon Longstaff below "feels" that there is great heartburn among many Australians about inequality in the country.  People feel very alienated from the society in which they live.  I talk with everyday Australians quite a lot and have yet to hear a complaint about inequality.  I think Longstaff is just projecting his own chronic Leftist anger onto others. In my thorough 1982 study of Alienation in Australia, I found that on average Australians were slightly below the midpoint on Alienation.  There was some alienation but it was not high overall.

And why should there be equality?  There IS no objective equality in Australia, there never has been such equality in Australia and utopian experiments in equality emanating from Australia have all been spectacular flops.  Given that circumstance Dr Longstaff should surely offer an argument about why there SHOULD be equality.  He does no such thing.  Given the twisted mazes of moral philosophy I don't blame him but it leaves his argument entirely up in the air. He just expects us to agree with his inchoate values.

He points out that in some contrived experimental situations  people are uncomfortable with inequality.  And that may be true.  But moving from an 'IS' to an "ought" is a totally unsustainable doctrine.  Many Yemenis are at the moment being starved to death.  Do we therefore argue that Yemenis SHOULD be starved to death?

So what is this "fundamental" equality that the man with the long staff talks about?  It is undefined and therefore unexaminable.

He is however talking about something that is a sort of tradition in Australia.  Australians are often said to have "egalitarian" values. "Jack is as good as his master" is the usual formulation of it.  And Australians do tend to feel that Australia is mostly pretty egalitarian.  So how do we deconstruct that popular belief?  I think it is talk about dignity.  I think that we Australians tend to treat everyone among us with equal dignity.  We don't treat Jack's master any more deferentially than we treat Jack.  And I think Australians have largely achieved that in practice. 

But the man with the long staff wants far more than that, it would seem. He wants material equality. He is unlikely to get it.  The Soviets tried and they failed

And why do such attempts always fail?  The unthinking Longstaff has not considered that. Could it be that IQ is a major determinant of economic success and that IQ is unequally distributed?  It is probably beyond Longstaff's capacity to think that thought but, if he can ever get his brain off its Leftist tramtracks, he might like to look at Charles Murray's book on the subject


One of the most significant findings to emerge from the work of behavioural economists is that human beings would rather go without than be treated unfairly.

This was discovered in a series of experiments involving two people — one of whom had $100 and the other who had nothing.

The person with the money was told they must offer an amount to the other — with each keeping the amount agreed.

Older economic theory assumes the person with nothing should be happy to receive as little as one dollar. After all, they are then better off than they would be with nothing.

Class Act

Australia has a class system, and it has real consequences in people's lives. Explore the full series.
However, the theory seemed to bear little or no relationship to practice.

It turned out that most people would rather have nothing than accept anything less than about $40. That is, people expected to receive a fair — rather than equal — share of the money.

What might explain this behaviour which seems, on the face of it, not to be rational?

In my opinion, the best explanation is that those insisting on fairness did so because they could see no fundamental basis for distinguishing between themselves and the lucky person who had the $100 in hand.

Growing sense of discontent

In other words, there is a presumption that — at the most basic level — people are equal in intrinsic dignity.

This idea is deeply written into the ethical codes of most societies. Whether arising out of religious beliefs (e.g. that all persons are made in the image of God) or from the work of philosophers like Immanuel Kant (all persons belong to the "kingdom of ends"), the idea runs deep that human beings possess intrinsic dignity — that can neither be earned nor diminished.

It is this concept of "respect for persons" that lies behind the prohibition of slavery — or any other practice that reduces a human being to the status of a mere tool to be exploited by others.

Yet, in recent years, there has been a growing sense of discontent — and this is despite a general increase in affluence across the developed world.

It used to be that the feeling of being marginalised was experienced by those who were literally on the margins of society.

The most egregious cases of deprivation, in Australia, have fallen on a significant number of Indigenous Australians — precisely because of a failure to acknowledge their fundamental equality.

However, that unsettling feeling has been spreading.

My sense is that a growing number of Australians feel that the mythic ideal of Australia as a nation of equals is losing all credibility.

They are angry. They are disappointed. They are vengeful. Above all, they are fearful that the nation's underlying "social compact" could have been so carelessly broken — and that the presumption in favour of basic equality has been replaced by indifference to a widening gap between: city and country, "elites" and ordinary folk, the "haves" and "have nots", the "political class" … and just about everyone else.

In essence, a very large number of people have come to feel they are just cogs in a machine — counting for nothing more than their capacity to work and vote.

They feel they serve a system that is indifferent to their hopes and interests — and that will exploit and discard them at will.

They feel robbed of their intrinsic dignity — and the basic equality that is their due.

The Committee for Economic Development of Australia's (CEDA) latest research report, How unequal? Insights on inequality, turns the spotlight on this dimension of contemporary life. It provides a factual account of the extent of the problem — along with analysis and recommendations for addressing the underlying issues.

My contribution to the report has been to provide a philosophical underpinning to the discussion of inequality.

But beyond this, I have tried to show how the current situation is at odds with the intentions of philosophers like Adam Smith, who established the intellectual foundations for market economics.

Opportunity not merit-based, but 'accident of birth'

Economics as a discipline — and the market as a tool — were originally conceived of as means for increasing the stock of common good. Smith had no time for a kind of dog-eat-dog, let-it-rip economy. He championed a free market that depended on the maintenance of solid ethical foundations.

He denied the legitimacy of those who lie, cheat or use power oppressively because all such vices distort the market.

Furthermore, the market was supposed to be an arena in which all could transact as equals — not in terms of outcome but in terms of opportunity.

Despite this idea being written into competition legislation, we seem to be a long way from realising Smith's ethical ideal.

Technically, the market is "open" and "free". In reality, too many people are denied the basics in education, health, civic infrastructure, etc. to be on a genuinely equal footing.

Worse still, the lack of opportunity, for some, has nothing to do with merit — but everything to do with mere accidents of birth.

We can and should do better. We should reform markets — and our democratic politics — to realise their original purposes as arenas in which all are fundamentally equal.

SOURCE 





Our segregated cities keep rich and poor as far apart as possible

This is normal.  All cities that I know of worldwide have prestigious and less prestgigious areas.  Towards the end of the article the writer has some silly dream of getting the rich and poor to mingle more.  What he overlooks is that the rich FLEE the poor.  Why? Because crime is much higher in poor areas.  Those who have nothing tend to steal to get something.

“For richer, for poorer” is a popular phrase used in wedding ceremonies to demonstrate commitment. It is intended as a galvanising statement. But in the world of the social geography of Australian cities, the phrase has come to symbolise the reverse. There are rich suburbs and there are poor suburbs scattered across metropolitan Australia, and each kind represents different tribes.

In fact, so effective are our cities at enforcing segregation that Australia’s rich and poor need never meet or even cross paths.

Let me explain how this works.

There are many ways to measure the rich and the poor using the census, but perhaps the simplest method is median personal income. For Australia in 2016 this figure was $34,000, which meant half the population aged over 15 earned more than this amount and half earned less. The figure is dragged down by the unemployed, pensioners, students and non-working spouses.

Median personal income typically rises in the well-to-do yuppie suburbs of the inner city. Lots of double-income-no-kids and professional-type households have the effect of injecting buckets of disposable income into a local area. This is a different world to what are effectively welfare suburbs. My point is that Australia’s Goldilocks suburbs — places where income levels are astronomically high — are located close to the city centre. The rich do not commute. The poor, on the other hand, have no choice in the matter and are flung out to the city’s edge as if propelled by some centrifugal force to the margins of civilisation.

And therein lie the two worlds of metropolitan Australia — each, of course, containing different life forms — that now orbit the central business district at different radiuses and that never, ever connect.

Occasionally someone will shoot from the world of the poor to the world of the rich — Eddie McGuire made the transition from Broadmeadows to Toorak in one generation — but for the most part, and here is the bit that I think we need to change, each world tends to beget and envelop its own. Social mobility should be integral to the story of the Australian people in the 21st century.

The richest community in Sydney, and indeed within Australia, is the harbourside enclave of Point Piper, located 4km from the CBD, where the median personal income reaches $89,000, or almost three times the national average. The poorest suburb in Sydney by this measure is Yennora, located 22km west of the CBD and 27km west of Point Piper. The median personal income in Yennora was just $19,200 at the time of the last census. I doubt many Point Piper residents have been to Yennora or many Yennora residents have been to Point Piper, even for a Sunday drive. How about both suburbs do precisely that this weekend? Go to Yennora. Go to Point Piper. See how the other half lives. And this is my point. The social geography of Sydney is such that the richest and the poorest can live out their lives without bumping into each other. Each group sticks to its own geography. The cross-fertilisation of ideas and of aspiration and maybe even of compassion is constricted by the separation of the richest from the poorest parts of Sydney.

The same is true for Melbourne, where the median personal income peaks at $70,400 in Cremorne (Richmond). Cremorne (population: 2000) and Point Piper are small residential enclaves, especially when compared with the vastness of the mighty Toorak nation that spills and sprawls its way across 14,000 residents. The injection of aspirational but nevertheless proletarian apartments right into the ribs of Toorak has had the effect of dragging down the suburb’s average income. Toorak’s rich are there on large garden allotments but they’re kinda intermingled with flat dwellers.

Point Piper’s poshness is a tad less trammelled than are the tribes of Toorak.

Melbourne’s poorest suburb is Meadow Heights, located 21km north of Cremorne; there the median personal income is $19,800. Cremorne is to the Melbourne CBD as Point Piper is to the Sydney CBD. And Meadow Heights is to Melbourne as Yennora is to Sydney. It is almost as if the narrative of both cities has been scripted to some grand design.

In Brisbane the richest suburb by the same measure of income is Teneriffe whereas the poorest suburb is Inala. Teneriffe is a nifty 3km from the CBD; the public housing estates of Inala are 18km further south.

The bigger the city, the farther the poor are from the rich. In Sydney, the Yennora-Point Piper axis is 6km longer than Melbourne’s Cremorne-Meadow Heights axis, which in turn is 3km longer than Brisbane’s Teneriffe-Inala axis.

If nothing else, Australian cities are clinically efficient at social segregation. The distance between Adelaide’s richest and poorest suburbs — Unley Park and Woodville Gardens — is 12km. Perth also follows the trend with Mirrabooka’s poor being positioned 18km from Cottesloe’s rich. Even in the smaller capitals the rich and the poor manage to separate themselves. Hobart’s richest citizens live barely 1km from the CBD at Battery Point, but even in this smallish capital city the poor are sent 17km up the Derwent River to the province of Gagebrook.

Darwin’s smart set bunkers down on the waterfront’s Bayview whereas the battlers do the best they can 15km farther to the east in Moulden.

And in Canberra the place to be for aspiring mandarins is Barton, which is 16km from Belconnen’s battlers at Charnwood. Although I must say that the idea of rich and poor is differently defined in the nation’s capital.

Median personal income in Barton at $82,000 is second only to Point Piper in this exercise. But the same figure for Charnwood ($39,000) is not that much lower than the best for Hobart at Battery Point ($47,000).

We can say the poorest urban communities in Australia are located in the public housing estates of Sydney and Melbourne. We can say Point Piper really is in a league of its own. We can say it is the poor who have shifted across time from the now gentrified suburbs of the old walking city to the creeping edges of the modern car city. And we can say that the bigger the city, the farther from the city centre the poor must live.

By the middle of the 21st century it is likely that Sydney and Melbourne will be approaching the eight million mark. Based on the figures and the ratios cited above, I am pretty sure that Point Piper and Cremorne and Teneriffe and even Battery Point still will be locations prized by the city’s rich.

But it is the poor who’ll move during the 2020s and the 2030s. Perhaps farther upstream from Gagebrook, perhaps farther north from Meadow Heights and perhaps farther west from Yennora. And if this is the case then the chances of inspiring social mobility will drop as each of the city’s bubbles tightens around its kin.

And of course between these hot spots of prosperity and despair there lie broad stretches of middle Australia blossoming on our great suburban savanna.

Our cities are on the move demographically and socially, and perhaps even geographically, as the poor push farther outwards in search of shelter and support. But it doesn’t have to be like this. Maybe we can inject enclaves of prosperity into the middle and outer suburbs. Maybe we can create affordable housing for the marginalised within the hipster zone. Maybe we can create a truly diverse society where all ethnicities, all social groups, all income levels at least occasionally get the opportunity to serendipitously bump into each other.

I’m sorry but I find the alternative — the retreat into ever tightening tribal bubbles — not only boring but perhaps even corrosive to our national ideal of social mobility, inclusion and tolerance.

There are better ways to organise the way we live — and with the right town planning responses I think we can deliver even better big cities in the future.

SOURCE 






"Dry" Western Australia gets heavy rain

Despite the doom talk of Greenie false prophet Tim Flannery

WA’s South West and Peel regions copped a drenching in the past 24 hours, with rainfall of between 30mm and 39mm.

There is more expected too, with the Bureau of Meteorology forecasting between 50mm and 60mm in some centres south of the Perth.

Highest falls recorded in the past 24 hours were in Mayanup (39mm), Balingup (35mm) and Waroona (32.6).

Closer to Perth, Rottnest Island received 13mm.

Up to 3mm was recorded in the Perth metropolitan area, with forecast rainfall of up to 30mm in the city today.

Bureau duty forecaster Jun Chen said centres south of Perth, such as Rockingham and Mandurah, could receive between 20mm and 40mm today, with some places receiving between 50mm and 60mm.

Today’s forecast for the South West is 15mm to 30mm of rain, with up to 50mm in some places.

Miss Chen said rainfall in Perth was expected to continue throughout the day and overnight, with isolated showers tomorrow and clearing on Tuesday.

SOURCE 





Aussie men calling for change of discriminatory singlet rule

I wear blue singlets with no shirt quite a lot when I go out so this affects me personally

SURF clubs across Queensland are facing backlash for “discriminatory” dress standards that see women able to wear singlets but not men.

Clubs Queensland has reportedly sent out a newsletter to member clubs in order to highlight the issue with this dress rule.

“A prohibition on men wearing singlets is arguably less favourable to men than women who are permitted to wear singlets,” Clubs Queensland said in a March bulletin to its members.

“This will also apply to other prohibitions such as footwear and hats.”

Adding that the controversial dress code “may inadvertently be breaching Australia’s anti-discrimination laws by discriminating on the basis of gender”.

The common differences observed between dressing standards for men and women include:

Men not being permitted to wear hats inside the club

Men’s singlets (or sleeveless T-shirts) being prohibited inside the club, and

Men’s open footwear being prohibited inside the club.

The Anti-Discrimination commission has warned that it is against the law to set different rules for men and women and doing so may be a breach f the federal Sex Discrimination Act.

Coolum Beach Surf Club has already changed this singlet rule, telling the ABC that they were losing customers over the “sexist” dress code. “We’d have a couple come in they’d both be wearing singlets we’d say yes to her and no to him,” general manager Mal Wright said.

“If people have got a good attitude we want them to be customers at the club, we don’t want them to go away and be unhappy just because of the clothes they’re wearing.”

In response to the question of why this is suddenly an issue now, Clubs Queensland stated in a newsletter that it has been unlawful since the enactment of the Sex Discrimination Act in 1984.

They said that the reason most places are only hearing about it now is that “no one has taken the club to task over it”.

The newsletter stated that any club that refuses entry because of gender-specific dress codes may risk having a discrimination complaint filed against them with the Australian Human Rights Commission.

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, April 22, 2018



Social class in Australia

To advance economically in Australia, you are often told to get lots of education.  And it's true that the higher you go educationally, the better paid you will usually be.  But is it actually education at work?  The great predictor of educational success is IQ -- so those who go furthest through the educational system will be those with the highest IQ. So it is most probably your IQ that gets you that good job.  Education is just an IQ marker that anyone can read.

As a result of that, some thinkers say that the class system is  a series of IQ levels.  What we see as Upper class and what we see as lower class will be effects of IQ, and not much more.  That is why social mobility is so poor.  IQ is highly hereditary so if you are born into a poor family you are unlikely to have the IQ assets to rise above your parent's station.

A curious example of class characteristics in fact being IQ characteristics is from the findings about breast feeding. Affluent mothers make quite a point of breast feeding these days.  To put your baby on the bottle will get you scorned and seen as uncaring, ignorant and very low class. Yet We read, for instance, that "The mother's IQ was more highly predictive of breastfeeding status than were her race, education, age, poverty status, smoking, the home environment, or the child's birth weight or birth order". So it's all IQ.

So your eventual place on the socio-economic scale will be where your level of IQ places you, with education being a marker, not a cause.  And your IQ is essentially unalterable. So rising up socially will only happen if you are one of the unusual people who come from a humble background but are lucky enough to be born with a high IQ.  Your IQ will place you in the right social rank for your level of ability.

Toby Young sets out in more detail the case for society being invisibly ranked by IQ

Social class in Australia is a topic that often goes undiscussed — but if the response to our series on class is anything to go by, some of you are ready to start talking about it.

Some people got in touch to say they believe the archetype of Australia as the lucky country, where opportunity abounds, rings as true as ever.

But others told us the idea that hard work and application are the only barriers to social mobility is laughable.

What was constant is that everyone had an opinion.

The ABC's recent class quiz prompted a number of curious results.

More than a few people were surprised to find their tastes, according to data compiled as part of the detailed Australian Cultural Fields project, aligned them with middle or upper-class woman aged between 40-59.

Taste — whether you'd rather see a pub band than go to opera, for instance — only explains so much of course, and there are many other factors that help explain where we each sit within Australia's complex and confusing class structure.

Sue, a public servant from Darwin, describes herself as a "late baby boomer". She once lived in Sydney, but moved to the Northern Territory with her husband for his job in construction work. "I'm definitely a middle-class person," she said.

"Class in the NT looks much different to what it would in New South Wales. In terms of access to housing, education, employment, health outcomes — it keeps class very much at the forefront of your mind."

Julie wrote in to tell us about her family full of "shop-stewards, miners, railway workers, shipbuilders and plumbers".

"All politically aware, self-educated and proud of their working-class community solidarity," she said.

"My grandfather would say to explain wealth and class: 'Remember no-one is better than anyone else, it is just some people are better off'."

Education opens doors

A running theme through the conversations was the notion of education as being key to class mobility.

Greg, from Melbourne, comes from a working-class background.

"Education was the 'mobility enabler' for me. A beneficiary of Whitlam's education reforms in the 1970s, access to university was merit-based. It opened the door to me," he said.

Brisbane-based policy officer Chris believes his upbringing and education provided him with a platform that's not necessarily attainable for all Australians.

"I have relatively secure professional work and I'm paid reasonably well, I'm aware of my privileged position in the social hierarchy," he said.

"It was impressed on me that I should go to university, that I should improve myself intellectually, financially."

But education isn't always easily accessible.

Alice comes from a modest background and decided to go to university after achieving a UAI of 97.7.

Throughout her time at university, she has struggled to make ends meet, despite working multiple jobs.

"I'm safe for now. But should I choose to embark upon a Master's component, and my benefits are taken away … who knows where I'll end up. As an intelligent woman in her mid-thirties, I shudder to think that my future may very well lie in the streets as a homeless person, making me yet another uncomfortable statistic for everyone else to gawk at."

SOURCE






Prison officers are ordered to shave off their beards and are sent home if they turn up to work with stubble – but Muslims are allowed to keep theirs on religious grounds

Staff at Melbourne Assessment Prison have been ordered to shave their beard or risk losing their job. Sources have told the Herald Sun those who arrive at work with stubble or a beard are asked to shave, with some being sent home to do so.

Facial hair prevents a proper seal with breathing apparatus in the emergency of a fire in prison, staff have been told.

'Management are standing at the front door arbitrarily sending people home or down to the supermarket to get shavers,' one prison officer said.

Corrections Victoria has banned staff from beards, long sideburns and big moustaches, expect those who have facial hair for religious reasons. 'People are getting exemptions from doctors and from religious orders like imams to keep their beards,' said the prison officer.

The Community and Public Sector Union has labelled the policy a 'total dictatorship.' 'There has been a lot of disquiet since the order was issued. But unfortunately if staff want to keep their job, they have to keep turning up to work fresh-faced,' the CPSU's Julian Kennelly told the Herald Sun.

A Corrections Victoria spokesperson said the policy is to ensure all prison workers are ready to assist in case of an emergency

'We believe the new arrangements are fairer for everyone, meaning that all relevant operational staff- not just those with acceptable facial hair- are able to don breathing apparatus and respond to fires,' the spokesperson said.

SOURCE






Western civilisation at risk from its ignorant young

Left-dominated schools have erased most of our history

JANET ALBRECHTSEN

A friend of mine came to Australia from Czechoslovakia as a 14-year-old in 1970. Like others who have lived through another form of government, he views democracy differently from those of us lucky enough to know no other system. He treasures it more, understanding its intrinsic connection to freedom. And he sees more clearly the warning signs of a system that is being undermined from within.

My friend left his home country two years after the Prague Spring, that brief period in 1968 when reformists stood up to the communist yoke of the Soviet Union. Reform was extinguished when the Soviets invaded Czechoslovakia in August that year. It wasn’t until 1989, and the Velvet Revolution, that the central European country was freed from communist rule.

My friend’s escape from communism turned on a dime. His mother sought authority to leave their closed country to visit her “dying” mother in Austria. It was tricky. It took years, so the “dying” mother was on her deathbed until the authorisation came through. They packed up their tiny car and headed for the Austrian border. A checkpoint officer asked the boy’s mother for her citizenship papers, then waved them on. Then the officer shouted: “Stop!” The family froze, thinking they had been caught trying to escape. The boy’s stepfather reversed the car back to the officer, who handed back the citizenship papers. “You’ll need these,” he said. In that moment, he was the white knight silently helping them escape.

After a few months in a refugee centre in Vienna, where the boy heard ABBA singing Fernando on the radio and drank Coca-Cola for the first time, the family left for Australia. At his local high school in Sydney’s Hunters Hill, he was the cool kid with a ghetto blaster. Except he wasn’t listening to music. He recorded his lessons so that, at home, he could slowly decipher the words in this strange new language. He recalls a terrific indigenous teacher who spent afternoons teaching him English.

Now in his early 60s, my Czech friend, a doctor and brilliant businessman who cares about boosting educational outcomes, is worried about the future of our democracy. He doesn’t pine for the patriotic indoctrination of Czech communists or their repression. But he tells me that he is worried by a different kind of indoctrination in the West.

Today, hurt feelings and being offended are enough to limit fundamental freedoms. And a swath of laws and bureaucracies are committed to those same repressive ends. It doesn’t matter that the intentions behind these laws were once good, it is enough that the outcomes are now rotten.

Consider the poor barber at the Hunters Hill Barber Shop just down the road from my friend’s old school. Late last year Sam Rahim turned away a woman who wanted him to cut her daughter’s hair. Sam the barber told her he was qualified only to cut boys’ hair, politely directing her to a salon up the road. She took to social media and ran to the Australian Human Rights Commission claiming he breached anti-discrimination laws. He offered an apology. And now he has been served with court papers for a claim that he breached the Sex Discrimination Act.

Sam and his wife, Ronda, have set up a GoFundMe page because, as he told the media, “The legal costs are more than we have ever anticipated.”

If his actions contravene the law, then the law stinks. But even being drawn into the morass is a travesty of common sense. Yet this is where we are today: common sense is on the decline.

That said, the Rahims have support from people who understand the end point of these doctrinaire laws. As Matthew Lesh, a research fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs, wrote on the Rahims’ fundraising page: “Your treatment is absolutely reprehensible. An individual should not be forced to do a service that they do not provide, nor should they have to defend themselves in court. Good luck.”

Good luck to rest of us, too. We live in an age of hyper-reactions by givers and takers of offence. At Starbucks in the US a couple of employees in an organisation of 175,000 workers make a mistake, and now 8000 stores will be closed while all employees are sent to racial-bias training. A basic sense of proportion has been lost.

Today, words are being struck off as unacceptable by workplace language police. Schools and librarians are more fixated on the word “nigger” than the moral teaching in a text such as To Kill a Mockingbird, to the point that the whole book has been banished.

Our basic biology is under attack by an obsession with transgender identity when only a small fraction of people swing that way. Jobs are lost when a dissident ­employee says something even slightly nonconformist about a workplace diversity policy.

And worst of all, we’re not having a debates over ideas. We’re having a contest over whether there should be a contest of ideas. Increasingly, words and ideas are being censored for psychological reasons, where they are treated as a form of emotional violence, and those who utter such words are seen as not just wrong but evil.

As writer Lionel Shriver wrote in Prospect magazine earlier this year, “If words that cause umbrage are acts of violence, the state has every right to impound your dictionary.” We’re not there yet, but the empowering message that words will never hurt me is lost to a past era. And the whiff of a new kind of repression is unmistake­able to those who recognise the smell.

It’s worth asking whether the ideas of the Enlightenment are at risk of being forgotten. Is Western civilisation headed down a path of un-Enlightenment? Will it be too late before more of us understand what is being sacrificed on the altars of politically correct fashion and self-loathing?

My Czech friend raised some of these questions during a recent visit to Australia by Robert Tombs. The historian, who has taught history at the University of Cambridge for almost a half-century, spoke to sold-out audiences about Western civilisation. Maybe there is hope on the horizon. Jordan Peterson is a cultural rock star for retelling some common sense. And Tombs’s tremendous book from 2014, The English and Their History, was named book of the year by five publications: The Economist, The Daily Telegraph, The Times Literary Supplement, The Times and The Spectator. Even The Guardian lauded it as “a work of supreme intelligence”.

Speaking to audiences in Sydney and Melbourne at events organised by the IPA (of which I am a director), Tombs pointed out that a generation ago if he had told colleagues he was off to Australia to defend Western civilisation, they would have yawned and wondered why he needed to do the bleeding obvious. Today it’s provocative.

Tombs defies the self-loathing critics because he is no rah-rah cheerleader for Western civilisation. “The West,” he says, “ravaged continents, burnt heretics, invented the gas chamber and the atom bomb, and almost destroyed itself in two world wars.”

But Western civilisation, when seen in its full sweep, is also how we learned to end slavery, to defeat totalitarianism, to be ashamed of war and genocide and persecution. It is a story of innovation, one of unsettling change and impassioned debate. It is, he says, “an action-packed adventure story, not a philosophical treatise”. And that is how it should be taught at school and university.

Tombs recalls speaking to a class of senior secondary students in Britain. He asked the class whether they could see any parallels between Hitler and Mussolini. The teacher interrupted: “We don’t do Mussolini.”

Did the class understand the relationship between Hitler and Stalin then? “We don’t do Stalin, either,” said the teacher.

Tombs suggested they consider the connection between Hitler’s rise and World War I. You guessed it. “We don’t do that anything before the second world war,” said the teacher. Tombs reminded us we short-change students by teaching history as a series of ad hoc skirmishes.

Learning from history, understanding the full sweep of Western civilisation, depends on understanding perspective, throwing up parallels between events.

As we sit on the cusp of an era of un-Enlightenment, we should remember that this story of innovation, of ideas about equality, the rule of law, universal human rights, property rights and freedom, is not one preordained towards success.

Tombs suggests we view the story of Western civilisation as being ruled by something akin to the laws of cricket rather than, say, the laws of physics. “We don’t discover them, we make them up and agree to them.”

That was a few weeks before some Aussie cricketers in South Africa cheated, but you get his drift about ideas emanating from us and needing our commitment.

Tombs mentioned a young PhD student supervised by one of his colleagues at Cambridge. The young woman was a Mormon, she was home-schooled in Salt Lake City and studied at Brigham Young University, a Mormon university. She told her Cambridge supervisor that she felt freer at that Mormon University to express views outside the orthodoxy of the Mormon community — at least they believed in redemption. When she expressed ideas outside the confines of orthodox thought at Cambridge, she was seen as beyond the pale.

When freedom of expression is lost, we lose the ability to continue that story of innovation. Here are a few clues that suggest the story of Western civilisation is not being taught. An annual Lowy Institute poll tells us that only 52 per cent of Australians aged between 18 and 29 believe democracy is the preferable form of government.

Now brace yourself further. Polls in the US suggest that 50 per cent of American millennials say they wished they lived in a socialist country rather than a capitalist one. In Britain, 24 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds see big business as more dangerous to the world than communism.

And this: almost one-fifth of Americans aged between 21 and 29 see Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin as a hero (23 per cent). Even more consider Vladimir Lenin a hero (26 per cent), while Kim Jong-un is a hero for 23 per cent of them.

A third of millennials think ­George W. Bush killed more people than Stalin did.

And here’s the rub: 71 per cent of millennials can’t define communism and four-fifths don’t know how many people died under communist rule.

If the younger generation haven’t lived it or learned about the horrible consequences of repressing freedom, how can they value the freedom they have?

My Czech friend knows better than most that our challenge is to make sure they do learn, so they don’t live it. The alternative is us sliding further into an age of un-Enlightenment.

SOURCE





Soldiers banned from displaying ‘symbols of death’ by new Defence chief Angus Campbell

Does the general want an Army of men or an army of old women?  It seems that old women would disturb him less

Defence’s soon to be new chief has banned soldiers from using any display of the “symbols of death” like skulls and cross bones in patches, badges or imagery.

Chief of Army Lt Gen Campbell on Tuesday issued the directive to the Army banning the “display or adoption of symbols, emblems and iconography” which he says are “ at odds with the army’s values and the ethical force we seek to build and sustain”.

He cited the use of “death symbology or iconography such as the pirate skull and crossbones, the phantom or punisher symbols, the Spartans or the grim reaper.”

The skull or cross bones, he stated, was associated with maritime outlaws and murders, the phantom with vigilantes, the Spartans as extreme militarism and the grim reaper as a “bringer of death”.

“Such symbology is never presented as ill intentioned and plays to much of modern popular culture, but it is always ill-considered and implicitly encourages the inculcation of an arrogant hubris and general disregard for the most serious responsibility of our profession the legitimate and discriminate taking of life,’’ he said.

“As soldiers our purpose is to serve the state, employing violence with humility always and compassion wherever possible. The symbology to which I refer erodes this ethos of service.’’

Lt Gen Campbell called on commanders to take immediate action and remove such symbols in any and all formal or informal use within the army.

“I appreciate that without explanation some will rile at this direction, so please ensure my reasoning is explained; but to be clear that I am adamant that this is right for the army, I have asked RSM-A to have my direction incorporated into army dress code and seek your immediate attention to addressing this issue within your command.”

The directive was issued the day after Lt Gen Campbell was announced to be the nation’s new chief of the defence force replacing Air Chief Marshall Mark Binskin in July.

Queried about the decision, a Defence Department spokesman said the minute was issued as a general directive on April 17 — to reinforce all such symbols used across the organisation must align with army values of courage, initiative, respect and teamwork.

“Death symbology demonstrates a general disregard for the most serious responsibility of the army’s profession; the legitimate and discriminate taking of life,’’ he said.

SOURCE

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



Friday, April 20, 2018



Great Barrier grief: Coral 'cooked to death' in scorching summer heatwave

This is just an academic republication of some claims made in 2016, which were shown at the time to be greatly exaggerated.  And note below that global sea surface temperatures actually FELL during late 2016. 



So if there was a big warming event in North Queensland waters at the time it was a LOCAL event, not a global one.  So any coral damage was not caused by global warming. 

The BOM does record high temperatures in the reef area in 2016 but admits that there were several factors contributing to that.  I quote:

"The 2015–16 El NiƱo suppressed and delayed the monsoon, leading to reduced cloud cover and weakened winds this summer. Additionally, a relatively low number of summer storms occurred over the Reef. These factors led to increased surface heating and reduced mixing, resulting in substantially warmer ocean temperatures around northern Australia from December to March 2016."

And note that the BOM places the warming in early 2016, not late 2016.  Pesky!

Something else that happened in 2016 was a regional sea-level fall --which really is detrimental to coral and could alone explain any damage.

And note the announcement from late last year that bleached corals are already recovering nicely.  So no fear is warranted.

It's just propaganda below -- propaganda in a scholarly disguise.  I actually wonder whether they did all the surveys they claim to have done? A little bit of interpolation here and there, perhaps?  JCU has a record of dubious integrity.  Ask Peter Ridd about that



Millions of corals on the Great Barrier Reef were 'cooked' during a scorching summer in the northern region, according to scientists.

The underwater heatwave eliminated a huge number of different species of coral during a process which expelled algae after the polyps were stressed.

'When corals bleach from a heatwave, they can either survive and regain their colour slowly as the temperature drops, or they can die.

'Averaged across the whole Great Barrier Reef, we lost 30 per cent of the corals in the nine-month period between March and November 2016,' said Professor Terry Hughes from James Cook University said.

Prof Hughes who acts as the Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at JCU said his team was very surprised to see a quarter of the corals die in just two to three weeks during the March heatwave.

Scientists researched the entire reef by analysing water surveys at various locations along its 2,300-kilometre distance, and combined insight with aerial data and satellite monitoring. 

Results showed 29 per cent of the 3,863 reefs which make up the world's largest reef system lost 'two-thirds or more of their corals', which dramatically impacts the ability of the reefs to maintain full ecological abilities.

'The Great Barrier Reef is certainly threatened by climate change, but it is not doomed if we deal very quickly with greenhouse gas emissions.

'Our study shows that coral reefs are already shifting radically in response to unprecedented heatwaves,' said Prof Hughes.

The team warn that if changes are not made to consider climate change it will have a huge effect on tropical reef ecosystems and, therefore, a detrimental impact on the benefits those environments provide to populations of poor nations.

SOURCE






Victorian firefighter's union still  being Bolshie

They recently gotb the seetest cdeal imaginable from  Leftist Premier ansreews but are still unhappy

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews repeatedly denies the claims made by union boss Peter Marshall about a pact and says the appointment of the MFB chief Dan Stephens will stand.

Premier Daniel Andrews insists the powerful United Firefighter Union has no compromising material about him and that he did not strike a secret deal in exchange for support in the 2014 election.

Mr Andrews is under renewed scrutiny over his relationship with the volatile leader of the firefighters' union, Peter Marshall, just a month after peace appeared to have finally broken out with a new industrial agreement.

But in a Thursday morning press conference studded with the word "no", Mr Andrews sought to shoot down the speculation that had been running hot since Wednesday's incendiary radio interview Mr Marshall.

"No", there was no secret deal with the union, Mr Andrews  told the gathered media at Moorabbin Oval, and "no", there would be no review of the decision to hire the new Melbourne Fire Chief that has so incensed the union boss.

And "no", the Premier does not believe Mr Marshall has a secret recording of him that he is using to blackmail him.
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Mr Andrews said any pre-election pledges about fire services were already in the public realm. "We made election commitments which are public and well known because we’ve been getting on and delivering them," Mr Andrews said.

Mr Andrews said the union had been given no assurances that it would be consulted about the MFB's incoming chief executive, contradicting a statement Mr Marshall issued to UFU members on Wednesday.

"The MFB has run, as we indicated they would, an international process to get the very best CEO," he said. 'That process is run by the MFB, it has been concluded, the best candidate has been chosen and that candidate will take up his position next month and that is the end of the matter."

Firefighters campaigned for Labor during the election.

Opposition Leader Matthew Guy said on Thursday that he had been pressing Mr Andrews for a long time to reveal if he had entered into a secret deal with Mr Marshall.

"They’re similar points to which I have raised in question time to the Premier and the minister for the last three years and that is, 'Is there a deal you did before the election with the United Firefighters Union and if so what’s the details of it?'" Mr Guy said.

When asked on radio station 3AW if he would refer the matter to the state’s anti-corruption watchdog, IBAC, he said the Coalition would consider it.

The opposition promised last year to conduct a royal commission into Victoria’s fire services and the persistent industrial unrest that has gripped it, at a cost of about $10 million.
Mr Guy reiterated that promise on Thursday.

Mr Marshall is furious with the appointment this week of British fire chief Dan Stephens as the new boss of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, arguing that firefighters have been betrayed. [LOOKS LIKE MARSHALL WANTED THE JOB HIMSELF]

He said in a radio interview with the ABC's Raf Epstein on Wednesday that Mr Andrews had broken promises he made to firefighters and shattered their faith in his government.

Mr Marshall declined to go into details but threatened to reveal more before the next election in November.

The head of the Metropolitan Fire Board called for calm, arguing that former Merseyside fire chief Mr Stephens will soon demonstrate to all sides why he is the right person to lead Victoria’s fire services out of its state of perpetual industrial conflict.

SOURCE






Australian unemployment hasn't fallen much despite booming jobs growth

Australian employment surged by 420,700 in the 12 months to March, close to the highest level on record for a comparable period of time.

Under normal circumstances, such a scenario would normally lead to a steep decline in unemployment. The only problem is that it hasn’t.

According to the ABS, Australia’s unemployment rate currently sits at 5.6% in seasonally adjusted terms, down just 0.2 percentage points on the level reported in February 2017.

Even with employment growing in each of the past three months, extending the streak of job creation to a record-breaking 17 months, unemployment has actually risen since November, increasing by 0.2 percentage points.

So what gives? Why, with near-record hiring over the past year, is unemployment still sitting in the mid-5% region?

Helping to explain why unemployment hasn’t fallen further despite booming employment growth, the percentage of working age Australians in the labour force has also risen sharply, jumping by 406,700 over the past two months in seasonally adjusted terms.

With employment growing 420,700 over the same period, it’s meant that the total number of unemployed Australians has fallen by only 14,000 since February last year. Supply of labour has nearly kept pace with demand, in other words.

As Morgan Stanley explains, the sharp lift in labour force participation has been driven by two distinct factors — a lift in immigration and stronger job market conditions encouraging those not previously in the labour market to actively look for work.

[The increase has been] due to a strong increase in labour supply, as migration boosts the size of the population — 250,000 in the year to June 2017 — and more people, especially females and retirement-aged, returning to or not leaving the workforce.

“This has seen both the unemployment and underemployment rates tick up to 5.6% and 8.4% respectively as of February.”

And with increasing numbers of workers entering the labour market, Morgan Stanley says this has contributed to ongoing weakness in worker wages, keeping unemployment above the 5% level many believe it will need to fall to before wage pressures begin to build.

“[This] leaves the prospect of an increase in wage growth looking unlikely in the near future,” it says. “Despite strong jobs growth, wage pressure in the labour market remains minimal.”

SOURCE






South Australia's trial of England's year one phonics check shows why we need it

The proposal to introduce a phonics check - employed in schools in England towards the end of year one - into Australian schools has created considerable controversy. It has been said it would prove stressful to young children and is unnecessary, because phonics is already taught adequately in most Australian schools as part of the literacy curriculum.
Read more: Explainer: what is phonics and why is it important?

The South Australian government commissioned a trial of the utility of the phonics check last year. The results allay many of the reservations about the check and confirm the need for its introduction.

The phonics check consists of 40 single words children read aloud to a teacher. There are 20 real words and 20 "pseudo words" - all of which can be read using phonic decoding. The pseudo words are included because they can't be read from sight memory and are a purer test of phonics ability.

The headline data on student performance shows the majority of children in Reception (the first "foundation year" of school) and year one found the test items difficult. The average number of correctly read items was 11 out of 40 for Reception students and 22 out of 40 for year one.

Given the phonics check is designed for students in year one, it was expected Reception students would score low. This confirms the wisdom of the SA Department of Education and Child Development's decision to expand the trial from the original design (Reception only) to include year one. But the year one performance was also low relative to their counterparts in England and the expectations of their teachers.

In England, student performance is reported against a "threshold score" of 32 out of 40. For the past two years, 81% of year one students in the UK achieved this score. Only 15% of children in the SA trial achieved at this level.

According to the trial evaluation report, teachers and leaders observed:

students did more poorly than expected, across the board. Numerous respondents reported feeling surprised and disappointed by the results based on students' known reading abilities and results on the Running Record.

This is a clear indication existing assessments in these SA schools were not providing an accurate measure of students' decoding abilities.

The distribution of scores in SA was very different to the distribution of scores in England. In SA, student scores were distributed on a bell curve. English student scores are skewed to the right of the distribution. This means most children in SA scored around the middle, whereas most children in England score at the higher end. In many English schools, 100% achieve the threshold score.

Four ways South Australia's phonics check was different
The phonics check trial in SA employed exactly the same word items used in England in 2016. But there were methodological differences in how the checks were conducted in SA and in England, which may cloud the comparability of the results obtained.

The sample. In SA, the group of 4,406 students in 56 schools who participated in the trial was from a self-selected sample of schools who volunteered. In England, all schools are required to administer the check annually. So, the SA sample may not be truly representative of the state as a whole, let alone of students Australia-wide.

The font. Teachers raised the issue that the font used in the check was different from the standard font used in SA schools. But by the end of year one, children will have encountered many different fonts in books and elsewhere. It's unlikely this will have been a major factor influencing performance on the check.

Timing. In England, the check is given to students about a month before the end of year one (after nearly two years of initial instruction). But in the SA trial, the check was given earlier, in term three. The SA students had about a term less to learn letter sound correspondences, and this needs to be kept in mind.

The "stopping rule". More significant was the decision to advise teachers to discontinue testing once a child had made three consecutive errors. This stopping rule has the potential to deflate scores on the check, because students who had been stopped might have gone on to answer few more questions correctly. The evaluation report also found the stopping rule was not consistently applied. It's unlikely many children failing three items in succession would be able to achieve the threshold score of 32 items out of 40.

A stop rule is not part of the standard conditions used in England, although teachers do stop children if they are struggling. As many as 41% have been found to do this.

Students liked it

Teachers and leaders in the trial reported all students responded positively, including struggling readers, and they were engaged and interested. There were no reports of anxiety or stress for students. Teachers "universally" commented that students "loved the one-to-one time with the teacher".

Teachers and school leaders were overwhelmingly positive
The feedback from teachers and school leaders was encouraging and positive about all aspects of the administration of the check and the information it provided, including:

the sufficiency of training and support materials

the ease of administration

the length and duration of the check for young students

the engagement and effort of the students, and

the usefulness of the data it yielded on student reading abilities, for the purposes of guiding instruction and for identifying and supporting students who "may otherwise be slipping under the radar".

The phonics check was reported to be a "good eye-opener for teachers", and widely seen as complementing rather than duplicating existing assessments.

What should happen next?

In spite of the differences in methodology compared with the phonics check in England, it's unlikely their combined effect could account for such a difference in performance between the two. SA's results suggest there is little room for complacency about the state of phonics teaching in SA.

Almost all teachers in the trial said they taught phonics using either synthetic or analytic methods, reflecting the claim that Australian teachers already teach phonics. But there was no information to verify that phonics teaching is systematic or explicit, and these results clearly suggest they don't teach it well enough.

The SA trial of the year one phonics check has been an important initiative. The evaluation report will be a valuable guide to changes that need to be made for a state-wide implementation.

Even more significantly, the trial has provided strong support for implementation of the year one phonics check across Australia. Or, at the very least, for other states and territories to conduct similar trials. It supports the findings of the expert panel for the Australian government, and has validated the arguments of advocates that the phonics check gives teachers vital information about decoding skills not gained from other systemic assessments, and is neither burdensome for teachers nor stressful for students.

SOURCE






Australia May Replicate US Shale Revolution

Australia’s Northern Territory has lifted a moratorium on fracking, the process of extracting gas from shale rock, to replicate the US shale revolution in a vast region with massive mineral resources.

The decision on Tuesday was welcomed by the oil and gas industry, which is promising to invest billions of dollars in exploration and create thousands of jobs in an underpopulated region roughly six times the size of the UK.

Australian energy companies Origin Energy and Santos have identified the Northern Territory as a potential source of gas to meet a shortage of the fossil fuel in Australia, which has led to surging energy prices and prompted Canberra to implement export controls on liquefied natural gas — one of the country’s most valuable exports.

“Member companies stand ready to invest billions of dollars in new projects in the territory,” said Malcolm Roberts, chief executive of the oil and gas industry lobby group Appea, after the territory’s government’s decision to lift the moratorium.

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





19 April, 2018

How Treasury found that immigrants make Australia money

This is an old chestnut that in typical Leftist style ignores the main issue.  Immigration overall has always be known as a  positive.  The receiving country gets new workers without the expense of bringing them up from babyhood.

The big issue, however, is WHICH migrants do we take in.  Most countries have categories of migrants that they take or do not take.  Requiring at least a High School graduation in an intending migrant is a common stipulation.  So categorization of migrants is nothing new.

The problem arises when normal filters are bypassed for some reason -- usually for humanitarian reasons.  And what happens when those filters are bypassed strongly validates the wisdom of the filters.

Australia bypasses most of its filters to admit refugees.  And refugees are rarely like other migrants.  Where selected migrants soon get a job and put little strain on the social security system, refugees tend to be heavily welfare dependant. 

Additionally, black and Muslim refugees are more violoent.  Africans everywhere are very prone to crime and violence and Muslim refugees subscribe to a religion that both forbids  assimilation and encourages "jihad" against the host nation. 

So the article below is a red herring.  the issue is not WHETHER migration but WHICH migrants.  Readers are supposed to infer that ALL migrants are beneficial, which is not at all the case.



Immigrants consume less in government services than they pay in tax, making the federal government billions over their lifetimes, a landmark Treasury analysis has found, even when their expensive final years of life are taken into account

But the research, published by Treasury and the Department of Home Affairs, has come under fire from some population experts who believe it glosses over the link between migration and higher home prices, congestion, and strain on the environment.

The landmark study found in total, permanent skilled migrants deliver the federal government a profit of $6.9 billion over their lifetimes, temporary skilled migrants a profit of $3.9 billion, and family stream migrants $1.6 billion.

Treasurer Scott Morrison and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton have had the report for some time. Fairfax Media unsuccessfully tried to get a copy under freedom of information rules late last year.

Although the report was prepared by officials from Treasury and Home Affairs, it was Mr Morrison who decided to release it on Tuesday amid debate inside the Coalition over whether Australia's permanent and temporary migration program should be cut.

The government is expected to maintain migration of 190,000 per year in the May budget, despite the internal push for a reduction.

Australian National University demographer Liz Allen said the report makes it "very, very clear that migrants are not to blame" for infrastructure failures.

"Migrants make a net contribution to the Australian economy," she said. "If we are concerned about the failings of infrastructure such as those in the road network and rail network and housing, the issue is not migrants. The issue is the way that infrastructure funding and policy have failed to keep up with what is necessary, even to meet the population growth we would have had without migrants."

While concerns were often expressed about population-induced infrastructure pressure in cities where immigrants settled, the Treasury and Home Affairs study said there were benefits to population growth occurring in capital cities rather than regions. It said a higher population in the same geographical space increased the number of people that would benefit from a project, and could make a previously unprofitable infrastructure project viable.

University of Queensland emeritus professor Martin Bell said the report presented the “conventional conservative Treasury view,” focusing on the economic benefits of growth while paying less attention to the potentially negative effects.

“It’s important to give attention to the negative impacts as well, and the public perceptions of people in their 20s and 30s who are attempting to bid for houses,” he said.

“The report focuses on what Treasury thinks ‘might’ happen in the long term. The experience for a certain segment of the community right now is that there are negative redistributional effects as a result of high levels of migration.”

Scott Morrison has shut down suggestions from Tony Abbott, that the government should lower its immigration levels.

“There also seems to be faith in immigration as a solution to multiple issues. We are told that it generates the financial resources to meet the long-term demands for infrastructure and for the needs of an aging population. It's not going to do both.”

Mr Morrison on Tuesday said Australia’s natural population increase of around 150,000 a year had been falling as a proportion of the total. Permanent immigration was little changed. It was the rise in temporary migration that had fuelled population growth.

“You’ve got to understand what's driving the population pressures, but in addition to that you have to plan for the growth, which is what our budget is doing," he said.

The report found humanitarian migrants cost the budget $2.7 billion, with one third the result of resettlement in the first five years, including the cost of education, and the other two thirds the effect on the budget of earnings and tax too low to cover the cost of the services they consume.

Around 11 per cent of working age migrants earn no income, compared to just over 7 per cent of the working age population.

The Treasury said the higher figure most likely reflects the time it takes to acclimatise to a new country and labour market. The income of migrants grows after additional time in Australia, with substantial improvements over the first three years of roughly four times the average annual wage increase.

SOURCE




Adelaide Uni's Star Chamber

Bettina Arndt

Why on earth would universities choose to get involved in the messy business of determining which story to believe in a date rape case involving two students?  UTS in Sydney now has a committee of staff and students conducting investigations and recommending punishments for accused students.

The university has caved in to demands from activists and is foolishly blundering into legal territory potentially undermining proper process in what could be serious criminal matters.

For the past eight months I’ve been supporting a PhD student at Adelaide University under investigation by a similar committee after being accused of sexual assault by another student. The committee had no idea what they were doing, failing to even provide the student with full details of the accusation.

I found a criminal barrister to advise the young man on how to handle the ham-fisted efforts of the committee to force him to comply with the investigation. Scary stuff for the young man given that the committee had the power to recommend the university withhold his degree.

The university ended up dropping the case and backtracking madly when the Uni’s General Counsel realized the committee was at risk of denying basic legal rights to the male student.

I’ve made a YouTube video talking to the young man about his harrowing ordeal.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDmYW8TW6nI

The Adelaide Advertiser is publishing a news story about all this tomorrow and an opinion piece from me. Plus I am on The Outsiders on Sky News tomorrow night with my good friends Ross Cameron and Rowan Dean. I will also attach a feature to be published in Spectator Australia on Friday, which gives international context to what’s happening.

Via email from Bettina (bettina@bettinaarndt.com.au)






Australia hosting unprecedented numbers of international students

Being in a similar time zone to China helps.  No jet lag

Australia is hosting unprecedented numbers of international students, who now make up more than a quarter of enrolments at some universities.

Department of Education figures show that in February, Australian universities, private colleges, English language courses, and schools registered a combined 542,054 enrolments.

That compares with 305,534 total enrolments five years ago.

Students from China make up the largest proportion of students at 31 per cent, followed by India, Nepal, Malaysia and Vietnam.

But universities have been seeking to diversify their international student markets, and the latest figures show there have been big rises in the numbers of students from Brazil and Colombia.

Western Australia has even opened up a market for students from Bhutan, with almost 1,000 students from that country enrolled in courses at WA institutions this year.

Grattan Institute higher education program director, Andrew Norton, said some universities were making huge profits out of the international student market.

"Because the Government has effectively capped the number of domestic students, international students are becoming an increasing percentage of all students," Mr Norton said.

"A lot of that revenue to universities is being invested in buildings and in research activities."

International students are concentrated in the larger Group of Eight universities and technology universities.

"That means there are huge numbers of international students living in the inner cities of Australia's big capitals," Mr Norton said.

"That is transforming the rental market, it's transforming the nature of the restaurants in the area, it's changing what the streets look like. So this is having a big effect on certain parts of Australia well beyond the university gates."

Chinese student Eva Li, 22, is studying finance at the University of Sydney. She said she chose the university because of its high international ranking. "There are lots of Chinese students here, education is very high level," Ms Li said. "It's not better than the good universities in America or England, but it's also quite A grade.

"The teachers are very good. It's a different type of education in Australia than in China. We have more chance to communicate with the teacher than in China. There are a lot of group works and it is not quite like this in China.

"It's a very good experience for me. Maybe I will be back to China for my job, but I will still have a good memory (of) here."

The value of the international student market has increased 22 per cent since 2016 and is now worth $32.2 billion a year.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the Government was committed to maintaining a stable regime of visa entry rules to provide certainty for international students.

"We'll continue to work to promote the value of our education system to the rest of the world," Mr Birmingham said.

Universities Australia's chief executive Belinda Robinson said the growth in the international student market reflected the quality that was on offer.

"We have almost doubled enrolments over the past decade and built international education into Australia's third-largest export sector," Ms Robinson said.

"This supports Australian communities, jobs, regional economies and our relationships in the world.

"These half a million international students will become tomorrow's global leaders, returning home as informal ambassadors for Australia and extending our nation's worldwide networks in business, diplomacy and politics."

SOURCE





Australian minister claims foreign aid spending too unpopular to increase

Aid groups have criticised as “unfortunate and inaccurate” a government minister’s comments that Australia’s foreign aid commitment could not be increased while the public overwhelmingly opposed more spending on developing nations.

The idea of increasing Australia’s foreign aid commitment is opposed by 80% of Australians, the minister for international development and the Pacific, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, has told a UK audience, arguing any increase in foreign spending would be politically untenable in the current economy.

The minister’s comments were condemned by the aid sector, which said Australia’s influence in the Asia-Pacific had already been diminished by successive deep cuts to foreign aid spending.

Australia’s foreign aid commitment stands at $3.9bn, its lowest ever level as a proportion of the budget: 0.22% of gross national income.

In 1974-75 [under the egregious Gough Whitlam] that figure was 0.47% and the trend has been generally downward since then. Aid spending rose during the 2000s but has declined precipitously since 2013.

Fierravanti-Wells, speaking at the Overseas Development Institute, was repeatedly challenged over Australia’s falling aid budget, as she called on the UK to increase its aid to the Pacific region.

The minister said Australia’s aid budget would be fixed at $4bn a year over the next two years and could not be increased until the “economy was back on a sustainable footing”.

But even with a stronger economic base, Fierravanti-Wells said, increasing aid spending would be politically difficult because of public opposition. She revealed polling showing overwhelming opposition to increasing Australia’s foreign aid commitment. The minister said that while she would make the case for overseas aid, many Australians did not understand it was an investment not a handout.

“In Australia we had some research done where it showed that about 80% of Australians believe that we should not be spending more on foreign aid or that what we spend is about right,” Fierravanti-Wells said.

She said there was a “schism” between broad public opinion, which was sceptical about the benefit of aid, and those involved in the aid sector, who believe “the complete opposite”.

“You do have to take your public with you,” she said.

The chief executive of the Australian Council for International Development, Marc Purcell, said the minister’s comments were “unfortunate and inaccurate”.

“The government should take its lead from the Australian people. Australians are sticking by longstanding values of a fair-go, equity for those doing it tough and generosity to help others.”

The UK, where the minister was speaking, has ring-fenced its aid spending at 0.7% of GNI, despite significantly higher public debt than Australia and a decade of government austerity measures.

The director of policy and international programs for Save the Children, Mat Tinkler, said the level of need in Australia’s region and globally was acute, with threats posed by terrorism, climate change and large-scale displacement from places such as Syria and Myanmar. He said a robust foreign aid program was demonstrably in Australia’s national interest and that, as a wealthy, stable nation in a developing region, Australia had an obligation to assist.

“When Australians are given the facts about the levels of need and the reality of Australia’s level of investment in overseas aid, which stands at just 20c out of every $100 in gross national income, we believe they support a strong role for Australia’s aid program and certainly don’t support the aid budget being raided again,” Tinkler said.

Australia’s role in the Pacific, where it has traditionally been the dominant power, is under increasing threat. China has poured up to $1.7bn in aid into the region over a decade, still far behind Australia’s $7bn over the same time. But China’s growing interest has been followed by reports of plans to build military bases in countries such as Vanuatu and its assertiveness in militarising atolls the South China Sea is seen as a template for increased military influence.

Other measures by which Australia can contribute to the regional prosperity have been suggested: the World Bank recently recommended that Australia scrap its regional work requirement for backpackers in Australia in favour of getting more seasonal workers from the Pacific woking in Australia’s horticultural industry.

The remittances earned by seasonal workers have been shown to be effective in increasing household budgets, improving education and healthcare for children, and benefiting broader communities.

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, April 19, 2018



How Treasury found that immigrants make Australia money

This is an old chestnut that in typical Leftist style ignores the main issue.  Immigration overall has always be known as a  positive.  The receiving country gets new workers without the expense of bringing them up from babyhood.

The big issue, however, is WHICH migrants do we take in.  Most countries have categories of migrants that they take or do not take.  Requiring at least a High School graduation in an intending migrant is a common stipulation.  So categorization of migrants is nothing new.

The problem arises when normal filters are bypassed for some reason -- usually for humanitarian reasons.  And what happens when those filters are bypassed strongly validates the wisdom of the filters.

Australia bypasses most of its filters to admit refugees.  And refugees are rarely like other migrants.  Where selected migrants soon get a job and put little strain on the social security system, refugees tend to be heavily welfare dependant. 

Additionally, black and Muslim refugees are more violent.  Africans everywhere are very prone to crime and violence and Muslim refugees subscribe to a religion that both forbids  assimilation and encourages "jihad" against the host nation. 

So the article below is a red herring.  the issue is not WHETHER migration but WHICH migrants.  Readers are supposed to infer that ALL migrants are beneficial, which is not at all the case.



Immigrants consume less in government services than they pay in tax, making the federal government billions over their lifetimes, a landmark Treasury analysis has found, even when their expensive final years of life are taken into account

But the research, published by Treasury and the Department of Home Affairs, has come under fire from some population experts who believe it glosses over the link between migration and higher home prices, congestion, and strain on the environment.

The landmark study found in total, permanent skilled migrants deliver the federal government a profit of $6.9 billion over their lifetimes, temporary skilled migrants a profit of $3.9 billion, and family stream migrants $1.6 billion.

Treasurer Scott Morrison and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton have had the report for some time. Fairfax Media unsuccessfully tried to get a copy under freedom of information rules late last year.

Although the report was prepared by officials from Treasury and Home Affairs, it was Mr Morrison who decided to release it on Tuesday amid debate inside the Coalition over whether Australia's permanent and temporary migration program should be cut.

The government is expected to maintain migration of 190,000 per year in the May budget, despite the internal push for a reduction.

Australian National University demographer Liz Allen said the report makes it "very, very clear that migrants are not to blame" for infrastructure failures.

"Migrants make a net contribution to the Australian economy," she said. "If we are concerned about the failings of infrastructure such as those in the road network and rail network and housing, the issue is not migrants. The issue is the way that infrastructure funding and policy have failed to keep up with what is necessary, even to meet the population growth we would have had without migrants."

While concerns were often expressed about population-induced infrastructure pressure in cities where immigrants settled, the Treasury and Home Affairs study said there were benefits to population growth occurring in capital cities rather than regions. It said a higher population in the same geographical space increased the number of people that would benefit from a project, and could make a previously unprofitable infrastructure project viable.

University of Queensland emeritus professor Martin Bell said the report presented the “conventional conservative Treasury view,” focusing on the economic benefits of growth while paying less attention to the potentially negative effects.

“It’s important to give attention to the negative impacts as well, and the public perceptions of people in their 20s and 30s who are attempting to bid for houses,” he said.

“The report focuses on what Treasury thinks ‘might’ happen in the long term. The experience for a certain segment of the community right now is that there are negative redistributional effects as a result of high levels of migration.”

Scott Morrison has shut down suggestions from Tony Abbott, that the government should lower its immigration levels.

“There also seems to be faith in immigration as a solution to multiple issues. We are told that it generates the financial resources to meet the long-term demands for infrastructure and for the needs of an aging population. It's not going to do both.”

Mr Morrison on Tuesday said Australia’s natural population increase of around 150,000 a year had been falling as a proportion of the total. Permanent immigration was little changed. It was the rise in temporary migration that had fuelled population growth.

“You’ve got to understand what's driving the population pressures, but in addition to that you have to plan for the growth, which is what our budget is doing," he said.

The report found humanitarian migrants cost the budget $2.7 billion, with one third the result of resettlement in the first five years, including the cost of education, and the other two thirds the effect on the budget of earnings and tax too low to cover the cost of the services they consume.

Around 11 per cent of working age migrants earn no income, compared to just over 7 per cent of the working age population.

The Treasury said the higher figure most likely reflects the time it takes to acclimatise to a new country and labour market. The income of migrants grows after additional time in Australia, with substantial improvements over the first three years of roughly four times the average annual wage increase.

SOURCE




Adelaide Uni's Star Chamber

Bettina Arndt

Why on earth would universities choose to get involved in the messy business of determining which story to believe in a date rape case involving two students?  UTS in Sydney now has a committee of staff and students conducting investigations and recommending punishments for accused students.

The university has caved in to demands from activists and is foolishly blundering into legal territory potentially undermining proper process in what could be serious criminal matters.

For the past eight months I’ve been supporting a PhD student at Adelaide University under investigation by a similar committee after being accused of sexual assault by another student. The committee had no idea what they were doing, failing to even provide the student with full details of the accusation.

I found a criminal barrister to advise the young man on how to handle the ham-fisted efforts of the committee to force him to comply with the investigation. Scary stuff for the young man given that the committee had the power to recommend the university withhold his degree.

The university ended up dropping the case and backtracking madly when the Uni’s General Counsel realized the committee was at risk of denying basic legal rights to the male student.

I’ve made a YouTube video talking to the young man about his harrowing ordeal.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDmYW8TW6nI

The Adelaide Advertiser is publishing a news story about all this tomorrow and an opinion piece from me. Plus I am on The Outsiders on Sky News tomorrow night with my good friends Ross Cameron and Rowan Dean. I will also attach a feature to be published in Spectator Australia on Friday, which gives international context to what’s happening.

Via email from Bettina (bettina@bettinaarndt.com.au)






Australia hosting unprecedented numbers of international students

Being in a similar time zone to China helps.  No jet lag

Australia is hosting unprecedented numbers of international students, who now make up more than a quarter of enrolments at some universities.

Department of Education figures show that in February, Australian universities, private colleges, English language courses, and schools registered a combined 542,054 enrolments.

That compares with 305,534 total enrolments five years ago.

Students from China make up the largest proportion of students at 31 per cent, followed by India, Nepal, Malaysia and Vietnam.

But universities have been seeking to diversify their international student markets, and the latest figures show there have been big rises in the numbers of students from Brazil and Colombia.

Western Australia has even opened up a market for students from Bhutan, with almost 1,000 students from that country enrolled in courses at WA institutions this year.

Grattan Institute higher education program director, Andrew Norton, said some universities were making huge profits out of the international student market.

"Because the Government has effectively capped the number of domestic students, international students are becoming an increasing percentage of all students," Mr Norton said.

"A lot of that revenue to universities is being invested in buildings and in research activities."

International students are concentrated in the larger Group of Eight universities and technology universities.

"That means there are huge numbers of international students living in the inner cities of Australia's big capitals," Mr Norton said.

"That is transforming the rental market, it's transforming the nature of the restaurants in the area, it's changing what the streets look like. So this is having a big effect on certain parts of Australia well beyond the university gates."

Chinese student Eva Li, 22, is studying finance at the University of Sydney. She said she chose the university because of its high international ranking. "There are lots of Chinese students here, education is very high level," Ms Li said. "It's not better than the good universities in America or England, but it's also quite A grade.

"The teachers are very good. It's a different type of education in Australia than in China. We have more chance to communicate with the teacher than in China. There are a lot of group works and it is not quite like this in China.

"It's a very good experience for me. Maybe I will be back to China for my job, but I will still have a good memory (of) here."

The value of the international student market has increased 22 per cent since 2016 and is now worth $32.2 billion a year.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the Government was committed to maintaining a stable regime of visa entry rules to provide certainty for international students.

"We'll continue to work to promote the value of our education system to the rest of the world," Mr Birmingham said.

Universities Australia's chief executive Belinda Robinson said the growth in the international student market reflected the quality that was on offer.

"We have almost doubled enrolments over the past decade and built international education into Australia's third-largest export sector," Ms Robinson said.

"This supports Australian communities, jobs, regional economies and our relationships in the world.

"These half a million international students will become tomorrow's global leaders, returning home as informal ambassadors for Australia and extending our nation's worldwide networks in business, diplomacy and politics."

SOURCE





Australian minister claims foreign aid spending too unpopular to increase

Aid groups have criticised as “unfortunate and inaccurate” a government minister’s comments that Australia’s foreign aid commitment could not be increased while the public overwhelmingly opposed more spending on developing nations.

The idea of increasing Australia’s foreign aid commitment is opposed by 80% of Australians, the minister for international development and the Pacific, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, has told a UK audience, arguing any increase in foreign spending would be politically untenable in the current economy.

The minister’s comments were condemned by the aid sector, which said Australia’s influence in the Asia-Pacific had already been diminished by successive deep cuts to foreign aid spending.

Australia’s foreign aid commitment stands at $3.9bn, its lowest ever level as a proportion of the budget: 0.22% of gross national income.

In 1974-75 [under the egregious Gough Whitlam] that figure was 0.47% and the trend has been generally downward since then. Aid spending rose during the 2000s but has declined precipitously since 2013.

Fierravanti-Wells, speaking at the Overseas Development Institute, was repeatedly challenged over Australia’s falling aid budget, as she called on the UK to increase its aid to the Pacific region.

The minister said Australia’s aid budget would be fixed at $4bn a year over the next two years and could not be increased until the “economy was back on a sustainable footing”.

But even with a stronger economic base, Fierravanti-Wells said, increasing aid spending would be politically difficult because of public opposition. She revealed polling showing overwhelming opposition to increasing Australia’s foreign aid commitment. The minister said that while she would make the case for overseas aid, many Australians did not understand it was an investment not a handout.

“In Australia we had some research done where it showed that about 80% of Australians believe that we should not be spending more on foreign aid or that what we spend is about right,” Fierravanti-Wells said.

She said there was a “schism” between broad public opinion, which was sceptical about the benefit of aid, and those involved in the aid sector, who believe “the complete opposite”.

“You do have to take your public with you,” she said.

The chief executive of the Australian Council for International Development, Marc Purcell, said the minister’s comments were “unfortunate and inaccurate”.

“The government should take its lead from the Australian people. Australians are sticking by longstanding values of a fair-go, equity for those doing it tough and generosity to help others.”

The UK, where the minister was speaking, has ring-fenced its aid spending at 0.7% of GNI, despite significantly higher public debt than Australia and a decade of government austerity measures.

The director of policy and international programs for Save the Children, Mat Tinkler, said the level of need in Australia’s region and globally was acute, with threats posed by terrorism, climate change and large-scale displacement from places such as Syria and Myanmar. He said a robust foreign aid program was demonstrably in Australia’s national interest and that, as a wealthy, stable nation in a developing region, Australia had an obligation to assist.

“When Australians are given the facts about the levels of need and the reality of Australia’s level of investment in overseas aid, which stands at just 20c out of every $100 in gross national income, we believe they support a strong role for Australia’s aid program and certainly don’t support the aid budget being raided again,” Tinkler said.

Australia’s role in the Pacific, where it has traditionally been the dominant power, is under increasing threat. China has poured up to $1.7bn in aid into the region over a decade, still far behind Australia’s $7bn over the same time. But China’s growing interest has been followed by reports of plans to build military bases in countries such as Vanuatu and its assertiveness in militarising atolls the South China Sea is seen as a template for increased military influence.

Other measures by which Australia can contribute to the regional prosperity have been suggested: the World Bank recently recommended that Australia scrap its regional work requirement for backpackers in Australia in favour of getting more seasonal workers from the Pacific woking in Australia’s horticultural industry.

The remittances earned by seasonal workers have been shown to be effective in increasing household budgets, improving education and healthcare for children, and benefiting broader communities.

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