Wednesday, December 07, 2016

UN "rapporteur"  says Australians (and their leaders) have a big racism problem

This is part of the U.N. -- itself a highly corrupt body -- hiring people from corrupt Third World countries -- in this case Kenya -- to criticize First world countries. But no country is perfect so they will always find something to pick at. 

What is lacking is any metric, any sense of proportion.  Even an ordinal scale might be interesting:  Is Australia the 3rd most racist or the 133rd most racist?  We are not told.  Which makes the criticism pretty meaningless.  The criticisms below are entirely consistent with Australia being the least racist country in the world.  If that is so, it does put a rather different light on the criticisms, does it not?

Even politically correct old Britain has been in their firing line

One wonders at the reasons behind these pointless exercises. Are they meant to make the inhabitants of poor countries feel good?  Are they meant to make the United Nations look good?  Who knows?  There is certainly nothing scientific or even original about them.  They just regurgitate the talking points of the political Left

The United Nations' special rapporteur on racism has condemned Australian politicians from major and minor parties whose statements are contributing to an increase in "xenophobic hate speech" and negative views about migrants.

Mutuma Ruteere has also warned that political leaders who do not denounce such views are tacitly contributing to the normalisation of hard-right and racist opinions.

"If they do not speak out they lend legitimacy to them. It's very easy for darkness to drive out the light. It's very easy for the bad to demean the good. It's much harder to clear out the political space once it's infected by racists," Mr Ruteere said in Canberra on Wednesday.

Mr Ruteere was finishing a visit to Australia, the first by someone holding his position in 15 years. He comments will form the basis of a report he will deliver to the United Nations Human Rights Council next year.

Mr Ruteere said Australia was not unique among western democracies in grappling with popular support for parties with discriminatory policies and racist views.

He said the "danger" for Australia was the experience of other countries where "the fringe elements keep moving to the centre, to the mainstream [and] the fringe becomes the mainstream".

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton was criticised in November for comments he made about migrants. "That's a threat not just for Australia but all open multicultural societies. This is something open democratic states need to be aware about and to take pre-emptive action against," Mr Ruteere said.

Western democracies were "reckoning with history", he said, and "have to make the decision whether to confront the bigots and racists who purport to speak for the people but contradict" the values on which those societies were founded, such as equality of all people.

Mr Ruteere's visit to Australia coincided with the final two weeks of Parliament in which Immigration Minister Peter Dutton was criticised by Labor, the Greens, security experts and multicultural groups when he suggested Australia's immigration program in the 1970s had made "mistakes".

Challenged in Parliament to identify the groups he was referring to, Mr Dutton said "of the last 33 people who have been charged with terrorist-related offences in this country, 22 are from second and third-generation Lebanese Muslim backgrounds".

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull later praised the performance of Mr Dutton although he stopped short of endorsing his minister's comments.

The visit also coincided with a speech given by One Nation leader Pauline Hanson in which she said she was "fed up" with being called racist and backed the review of section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.

Mr Ruteere said there was no need to change the law.

"Removing this provision would undermine the efforts taken by the various levels of government for an inclusive Australia and open the door to racist and xenophobic hate speech, which has been quite limited thanks to this provision," Mr Ruteere said.

He also praised the work of the Human Rights Commission and its president, Gillian Triggs.

During his visit, Mr Ruteere was briefed on the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory.

He recommended Australia re-examine its criminal justice system to "embrace alternatives to detention and avoid mandatory sentences" and urged Australia to grant constitutional recognition to Indigenous peoples as soon as possible.

Greenie panic about Great Barrier Reef could harm tourism and agriculture

The Queensland and Federal Governments' reef 2050 progress report to UNESCO says land clearing is a significant challenge to future sustainability.

Scientists link land clearing to sediment runoff and poor water quality, and the report says it could put the reef on UNESCO's 'in danger' list.

Cynthia Sabag, who runs a tropical fruit farm halfway between Townsville and Cairns, said she is concerned about the health of the Great Barrier Reef, but does not think farming is to blame for its deterioration.

"It seems that agriculture has often been made the scapegoat in this debate," she said. "There was no evidence on our land that any of our farming was causing runoff, which would affect the Great Barrier Reef."

The State Government recently failed to pass laws to stop clearing, and now the Federal Government says it might intervene.

That would be a win for conservationists, but for Ms Sabag a return to more precarious times when she was not allowed to clear land for farming. "The way it was prior to the legislation, we had no hope whatsoever of ever selling our property and no hope of retiring, which is pretty demoralising," she said.

"This sort of has given us some hope, but we've lost 10 years of our life and 10 years of developing a property."

Agricultural industry body AgForce echoes Ms Sabag's concerns.

President Grant Maudsley said some politicians do not understand the challenges of managing rural properties.  "It's easy on the left side of politics ... to point at the bush and say the bush is doing the wrong things," he said. "It's simply not the case."

"We would prefer to go down a policy outcome ... and have a little talk about things, but to keep pointing the finger consistently time and time again at one issue as being the problem is rubbish."

Mr Maudsley hopes the reef will not make UNESCO's 'in danger' list and disputes evidence that land clearing is the problem.

"What we're all looking for is reducing runoff, but you don't do that by having all trees and all grass, you have a combination of both," he said. "If you have a complete tree landscape, you actually end up with a really high density of trees, which actually reduces the cover on the ground and water actually runs off."

Mr Maudsley also points out other sectors, including mining, have a role to play in restoring health to the reef.

Conservationists agree and criticise the report's failure to make any substantial policy commitments to dealing with climate change.

Imogen Zethoven from the Australian Marine Conservation Society said reducing fossil fuels is a key part of that. "We really have to start taking some tough decisions, and one of them is that we really should not be opening up any new coal mines," Ms Zethoven said.

She is concerned about the proposed controversial Adani coal mine in the Galilee Basin, which has just secured a rail line, a temporary construction camp and is now seeking federal government funding. "[It's a] devastating mine that will really spell disaster for the reef," she said.

"We are also extremely concerned that the Federal Government appears to be using taxpayer money to fund this reef-destroying project."

"We know that there is a serious issue with jobs in north Queensland, but it's not about any old job, it's the right job.

"It's about jobs that are in industries that are the future, like renewable energy, jobs that are in the tourism sector, which is growing, that will be terribly hurt if this massive Adani coal mine goes ahead."

If the reef is placed on the 'in danger' list it could potentially lose its world heritage status and that could have devastating impacts on the tourism sector.

Daniel Gschwind from Queensland's Tourism Industry Council said it could deter visitors and undermine Australia's reputation as a tourist destination.

"The money they spend on the visits to the reef, to Queensland, to north Queensland amounts to between $5-6 billion every year," Mr Gschwind said.

"That money circulates through local communities, regional communities, on and on, and it employs and generates employment for about 50,000 Queenslanders."

He said UNESCO's assessment is putting the international spotlight on Australia, and the next few years could see it emerge as either the hero or the villain of environmental management.


Dick Smith backs One Nation leader Pauline Hanson

Dick is probably the most popular man in Australia so this is a huge win for Pauline

Dick Smith Businessman Dick Smith is reportedly planning to lend his support to Pauline Hanson's One Nation party as they launch a major campaign in Sydney at the next NSW state and federal elections. 

The Australian entrepreneur predicted Hanson would be met with a surge of Trump-like support in traditionally conservative parts of Sydney, such as the north shore, the Daily Telegraph reports.

Mr Smith told the Telegraph he supported many of Pauline Hanson's policies, but said he did not agree with her views on Muslim immigration.

“I support her policy on Julian Assange. I support her immigration policy. She says she’s going to have a policy to help general aviation. I’ll certainly support that,” he said.

“I agree with her views on immigration numbers, that is about 70,000 a year, not 200,000. But I do not agree with her views on Muslim immigration.”

Mr Smith said he had an initial conversation with Hanson last week, where he asked her tough questions about Muslim immigration, and was planning to meet with her again before Christmas to advise her on policy.

He said that with his support he could help her secure tens of thousands of voters from the aviation industry, because they have "been let down by the ALP and the Liberals".

Mr Smith, who in 2011 authored a book titled "Dick Smith's Population Crisis", said he was also drawn to One Nation because it was "the only political party that has a policy on not having perpetual population growth".

“That means we’ll end up stabilising our population so young people will be able to afford houses,” he said.

He ruled out financially backing One Nation, saying he had never donated to a political party.


Daniel Andrews’ war on religion falters

The Victorian Labor Government has run into heavy weather trying to convince the Legislative Council to pass its Religious Exceptions Bill.

Most people would agree that an organisation formed to advance a cause or a way of life — whether social, political or religious — should be able to choose not to employ people whose beliefs or lifestyle contradict or undermine the cause. Current Victorian anti-discrimination law permits this type of discrimination.  Political parties can apply a political values and activity filter in employment — the Greens don’t have to employ climate change deniers as fundraisers or in media relations. Imagine if they did. Religious bodies can employ a religious values and activities filter -– they don’t have to employ people whose beliefs or actions flatly contradict the religion. And clubs to preserve minority cultures don’t have to accept as members people who don’t have the attributes of that culture. And fair enough. Organisations which advance a cause or way of life need the freedom to choose to employ people who will be ambassadors for the cause.

As Murray Campbell described on Flat White some time ago, and as the Institute for Civil Society has explained elsewhere, the Religious Exceptions Bill limits this freedom, but only for religious organisations. It will require religious organisations, including schools, to justify to an arm of the government, like the Human Rights Commission or a tribunal, why it is “an inherent requirement” of any position for a potential employee to conform to the values of the religion.

If the government disagrees, the religious organisation will have to take on employees who don’t agree with the basic values of the organisation or pay them compensation. The law will effectively remove the ability of parents to send their children to a religious school where all the staff are selected to express and live out the values of the religion.

The law will make it hard for religious organisations to maintain their religious identity and culture. Why should a church (or mosque) have to justify to the government why its youth leader needs to be a Christian (or Muslim) and follow Christian (or Islamic) teaching on sex and marriage?

Imagine if the Collingwood Football Club were forced to accept one-eyed Carlton supporters as members of the Collingwood cheer squad. How would that work? Or what about a political party? Imagine if the ALP could not refuse to hire a vocal union hater as a fundraiser? It wouldn’t work.

The proposed law also contains a massive double-standard. Churches, mosques, synagogues, religious charities and welfare agencies, and religious schools will all need to justify to the government their “conformity to values” requirements in employment. But not political parties or organisations and not clubs for minority cultures. Only religious organisations.

The Bill looks like it is designed to undercut the ability of religious organisations to continue to be true to their basic beliefs and values. And this, it seems, has not cut the mustard with the cross bench in the Legislative Council. At least so far. The Government seems to know it may not have the numbers to pass the Bill and has adjourned debate without a resumption date.

Thankfully for Victorians, common sense and freedom of association seem to have the numbers so far in the upper house. Let’s hope good sense will continue to prevail and this bill never sees the light of day again or if it comes back it will suffer the fate required by its inherent flaws.


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, December 06, 2016

Some observations about Aborigines from a very kind Christian social worker who knows them well

To appreciate the latter part of his story  below, you may need to know that he is also an accomplished martial arts exponent

Basically, they are a stone age race, that has had the modern world thrust upon them.  As  they have been in the modern world only 4 x 50 years, we cannot expect them to cover 15,000 years of development in only a few generations.

In life there are problems that can be solved, and there are problems that cannot be solved but they can be managed. We cannot solve the Aborigine problem, but we can manage it. That is all we can do. They are destined, generally, to occupy the lowest rung of our society, and we should make that as comfortable and as helpful to them as we can, alleviating suffering while encouraging their development without too much pressure and stress on them.

And we should just accept that is how it has to be, and they should accept it too. Their men especially, are deeply shamed that they cannot get ahead in our society and do what white men can do and provide a good living standard for their people. They fall into shame and despair, and to relieve it, to live with themselves, they counter the shame with blame, and blame the white man for their failings. Their blaming is a coping mechanism to relieve their shame and sense of inability, which is heavy on them.

They know they are backward compared to us, they know they are ugly, they are a depressed and defeated race. They desperately try to find something they know about that we don’t, so they can feel smart and worthy of living.

Others give up and find a sort of alcoholic/drug addled peace in their failings. Like long term unemployed white men do, eventually to counter their depression and sense of repeated failure which is too unbearable to live with, they give up applying for jobs and become accepting and “contented” with unemployment. It is a survival mindset.

The Aborigine is in a survival mindset too: Just trying to live with himself as a primitive man existing on the lowest rung of a modern world that he cannot get ahead in.     

If an advanced race of humans, 15000 years more advanced than us, came from another planet and colonised this one, then we would find ourselves occupying the lowest rung of their society. That is just how it would be. Nothing the colonisers do would make us as advanced as them or able to function amongst them as equals. They would have to carry us, probably for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years, until we gradually adjusted or died out through interbreeding.

Aborigines who marry whites tend to marry whites of similar intelligence to themselves, and also for some reason, it seems there only has to be a little bit of Aborigine blood in them and they easily become what we see as lazy, feral, and prone to alcohol and drug abuse.

I get along with them well. Some of the local ones call me Graymo. I was in one of their homes last week doing an assessment for council services for home maintenance, and dealing with some of the issues they struggle with.

I can’t solve their problems, only relieve the weight of them. So I put in services for them, like grass cutting, home maintenance and such. It is the only way. They do not have the intelligence or the initiative to do themselves what needs doing.

When on or off duty I will often veer my path or cross the road to talk to them because I know they need it. They need sincerity. They like to joke and laugh, and they like affection. I always make them smile and laugh, shake their hands, give them sincere goodwill and smiling eye contact and touch them on the shoulders and back. They love that.

Stupid lefty psychs say not to give them eye contact because they find it threatening, that is bullsh*t, that is because lefties are phony and because most people look down on Abos and it shows in their eye contact. I don’t look down on them. I know they are an inferior race but I don’t look down on them no more than I look down on students in lower classes than higher students. They are just coming along behind, that is all, and may never catch up, but they are no less than me in the creation of their souls. That is how I see it.

The most aggressive ones will warm to me a little, but they can be dangerous, some are ready to kick off any moment, but I am ready for that, if no weapon is involved I would cover my head and vitals and ride it out, as long as its not too savage, I have done it before, then immediately show I hold no resentment, show no fear, just answer with friendliness and forgiveness and reassurance that it is alright.

I don’t like to say it but some can be like an aggressive dog that can snap and attack if its buttons are pushed but is soppy underneath and needs some love and soothing to settle down. When the dog bites there is only two ways to deal with it, either thrash it severely so it never dares bites you again, or let it bite and be unmoved and hold it and stroke it till it settles, which messes up its mindset and resets it.

That is what I try to do with Aborigines. I once got mugged in a park in Rockhampton and could have thrashed them but they could barely mug me well, even with me doing nothing to prevent it, just laying there and covering vitals. My back got very bruised but so what? Then I sat and chatted with them and won them over. They had never experienced that before.  
Via email

Mark Dreyfus, Australia's Jewish outrage machine

Outrage is the Left's routine substitute for rational debate so one can understand his use of it. But for an educated man such as he to mainline on it just exposes him to ridicule. He dishonours himself by his actions. Leftism does seem to fry brains at times. Additionally, one would have thought that a Jew would keep his outrage for the really important challenges Jews face -- such as Islam.  Has he never read the Koran?

Peak outrage is opposition legal affairs spokesman Mark Dreyfus’s stock-in-trade, especially when complaining about Attorney-General George Brandis.

How many times does someone have to call for the resignation of a minister, making outlandish claims of corruption without evidence, before they themselves should resign, or at least dial back the inflated rhetoric?

On no fewer than 41 occasions in the past 20 months, Dreyfus has demanded that Brandis resign or be sacked.

He probably has made the call more times than that, but that’s how many occasions I was able to confirm.

Media releases, doorstops, in parliament, via Facebook and Twitter, and of course in countless media interviews, Dreyfus has assumed the role of the boy who cried wolf.

“It is always the novice who exaggerates,” CS Lewis wrote, but Dreyfus is no novice. He’s a former attorney-general, a Queen’s Counsel, no less, and an experienced politician. Frankly, he should know better.

To be sure, Brandis has been involved in some controversies recently, including the present saga regarding the Bell Group litigation.

And there is every chance that Brandis does move on sometime next year. With two significant changes to the High Court announced this week, Brandis has achieved what he wanted: helping to shape the highest court in the land for the decades ahead.

Brandis’s colleagues would prefer he made fewer headlines for the wrong reasons. He has been accident-prone.

And as comprehensive as Brandis’s statement to the Senate this week was when it came to his involvement in the Bell Group saga, questions remain, especially in assessing what discussions Joe Hockey as federal treasurer had with West Australian Treasurer Mike Nahan that led the latter to believe he had a deal, which was never consummated.

But the peak outrage Dreyfus displays time and time again when it comes to Brandis, rushing to extreme judgment before all the facts are in, displays the sort of temperament we don’t need in the senior ranks of any political party.

Dreyfus claimed Brandis was corrupt but failed to produce one shred of evidence to support such a serious accusation. Nineteenth-century American clergyman Hosea Ballou said: “Exaggeration is a blood relation to falsehood and nearly as blamable.” Dreyfus is the one lowering public confidence in the body politic, not Brandis. By exaggerating to try to score political points Dreyfus is prepared to tarnish the political class (Brandis in particular) to help achieve the end of winning office. But the office Dreyfus hopes to secure will be diminished because of the distrust he seeks to foment.

If Dreyfus, like a latter-day Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, were revealing a cover-up, then power to him for his persistence in prosecuting the case against Brandis. Were he more considered in his criticisms, Dreyfus would have had a point. (There has been plenty to criticise.) But a glance at the issues Dreyfus has used to demand Brandis be sacked highlights the overreach and the tendency to shoot his mouth off too soon. Dreyfus demanded Brandis be sacked for his last-minute appointments to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal before the July election.

Yet it turned out that most of the “appointments” were simply reappointments as recommended by AAT president Duncan Kerr (who happens to be a former Labor MP appointed to the AAT post by Labor in 2012 when Dreyfus was cabinet secretary).

Dreyfus has called for Brandis to be sacked over his treatment of Australian Human Rights Commission president Gillian Triggs, yet in the end it was Triggs who was embarrassed by revelations that she boasted about her ability to “destroy” a Senate committee, only to besmirch the journalist who wrote the story by claiming the quotes were inserted by a subeditor. When a recording of the interview emerged, Triggs beat a hasty retreat.

The most frequent issue Dreyfus has used to demand Brandis be sacked is the feud between the Attorney-General and now former solicitor-general Justin Glee­son.

Yet Gleeson lost a lot of credibility in their feud when Brandis was able to prove the pair did meet, as he claimed in parliament, and when it was revealed Gleeson and Dreyfus held talks during the election campaign without informing the government (as convention dictates should happen).

As it happened, Dreyfus put Gleeson in that awkward position when he put through an unsolicited telephone call.

One can only imagine how outraged Dreyfus would have been about such actions were he applying the same standards to himself that he does to Brandis.

While exaggeration may be what the art of politics occasionally calls for, the single-minded obsession Dreyfus is showing when it comes to Brandis is at a point where it needs to be called out. Had his rhetoric been more controlled this column would have praised his ability to keep the heat on a minister under pressure.

Sadly, the overreach has become a parody, giving Malcolm Turnbull the opportunity to start mocking Dreyfus in question time for his “unhealthy obsession”.

The art of having an impact when making an argument is not to overdo the outrage.

Dreyfus, by continually overreaching, hopes that political journalists and, by extension, the public have short memories; that we will all approach each resignation demand as though it’s a stunning new moment: a considered call for a political scalp that’s worth reporting and worth considering because it comes from someone well credentialed in the law.

Yet where was Dreyfus during Labor’s time in government, when ministers oversaw the sort of missteps that really do require resignations or sackings? What is now a lion’s roar against Brandis was the timidity of a mouse when the pink batts fiasco occurred. Not a single Labor MP I spoke with this past week could recall Dreyfus raising concerns about the issue within the party even once.

Inflated rhetoric can be tolerated if at least it is consistently applied. On this score Dreyfus isn’t the only offender.

The political class more broadly is upping the outrage when complaining about opponents. It’s designed to create a political advantage, which it may well do.

The unintended consequence, however, is that politicians writ large are damaged in the eyes of voters.


Toowoomba accused by activists of being Australia’s most racist city after chemist shop display

The accusation is just an off the cuff comment by a known whiner.  It has no statistical basis.  Golliwog controversies keep cropping up thoughout the English speaking world as a result of attempts by Leftists to make something offensive out of a children's popular soft toy. I had a golliwog myself as a kid over 60 years ago

TOOWOOMBA has been dubbed the “most racist city in Australia” after a display of nine golliwog dolls appeared at a Terry Whites Chemist store in Clifford Gardens.

The dolls were placed underneath a sign inviting shoppers to “Experience a white Christmas”, in a move that’s been slammed by Indigenous activists.

Author and activist Stephen Hagan, who famously campaigned against the “N*gger Brown Stand” in 1999, said the display was offensive.

“Toowoomba is the most racist city in Australia,” he told the Sunshine Coast Daily. “Words can’t describe this behaviour in the 21st century. I can understand it in the 1960s but to do it today is inexcusable.”

The store’s Managing Partner Alwyn Baumann offered an “unreserved apology” in a statement, saying the store had made a “regrettable error” with the display dolls, which they will “not stock in future”.

A spokesman for the store clarified the connection between the dolls and the sign was completely unintentional.

Golliwogs are considered offensive due to their history as a blackface motif, in which people of colour are depicted as comically idiotic and as plantation slaves.


Carbon tax debate revived

The debate over pricing carbon has been reignited after the Government confirmed introducing a carbon price for power companies would be considered as part of a climate change review.

It's a politically touchy topic — the ousting of Malcolm Turnbull as opposition leader in 2009 and Kevin Rudd as prime minister in 2010 can both be attributed in part to positions on emissions trading schemes (ETS).

It's also a topic with a long history. Former prime minister John Howard first floated the idea of an ETS in 2007.

Here are the five things you need to know if you want to join the conversation.

The Government says it's not talking about another carbon tax, but another way to reduce emissions.

Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg announced the terms of reference for a review of climate changes policies, to be undertaken and completed next year.

Mr Frydenberg said there was potential for an "emissions intensity scheme", where power generators could pay for emissions above a set level.

It sounds similar to a standard ETS, where the government caps total emissions and issues permits to emit up to that amount.

Mr Frydenberg has promised any changes would ensure power prices don't skyrocket for consumers and that the "lights will remain on", as part of a shift towards a reduction in emissions.

But it does all sound very familiar.

The carbon tax introduced by the former Gillard government — and scrapped by Tony Abbott — was a scheme that covered the entire economy.

The new proposal being discussed by the Federal Government would apply to individual sectors.

It all hinges on what penalties would be faced by power generators when their emissions go above that set level.

There's no legislation before Parliament and no guarantees anything at all will be adopted.

The Coalition was responsible for axing the carbon tax.

The former Abbott government was responsible for the repeal of the tax in 2014 after the legislation was initially blocked by the Upper House.

It followed an election campaign on the issue with Mr Abbott vowing to have the repeal legislation before Parliament within 100 days of his victory.

You may remember him talking out against the tax in 2011, when he made headlines for addressing a rally in front of a "ditch the witch" placard.

But that was under Abbott, who rolled Turnbull over climate change in 2009.

Mr Turnbull was ousted as Liberal leader in 2009 after a lengthy brawl over climate change policy.

His support for then prime minister Kevin Rudd's amended ETS led to weeks of division within the Coalition.

Mr Abbott, who won the leadership spill by one vote, withdrew the party's support for the scheme and said a Coalition policy would not involve any new taxes.

Abbott instead introduced Direct Action. And that's what we have in place now. Instead of a tax, Direct Action provides financial incentives for polluters to reduce emissions though the Emissions Reduction Fund.

It also included the creation of the Green Army, an employment program for young people. It is reported to be axed in the near future.

Mr Turnbull refused to confirm the reports today, but said the review into climate change policies was "nothing remarkable".


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

Monday, December 05, 2016

Weasel words from the Salvation Army

A little while ago, the Victorian branch of the Salvation Army gave unconditional approval to the "Safe Schools" program -- a program that promotes homosexuality and undermines the traditional family.  The Marxist authors of the program smuggled in the propaganda by using the language of "safety" and the Sallies have followed suit.

This sparked outrage from many quarters, including, one gathers, Army members.  Not so long ago the Sallies opposed homosexuality on scriptural grounds but they now have bowed down before the the false god of secularism. The false god who led the children of Israel astray after the Exodus was often Baal of Peor, a god of sexual license.  Not much has changed it seems. Despite their expansive lip-service to Christianity, Bible teachings no longer matter to the Sallies, it seems.  The gods of Canaan are OK for them now.

But in response to the flak that they have received from Godly and family-oriented people the national organization has now done a very half-hearted backdown. In the statement below, the only words of the backtrack are: "The Salvation Army cannot unconditionally support the Safe Schools programs in Australia in their current form".  They don't say why and the ordinary reader would never guess why. For them to say more would expose the hypocrisy of their claim to be Christian.  Clearly, they no longer support the Biblical view of homosexuality.  In Christ's words, they are "whited sepulchres" (Matthew 23:27)

The Salvation Army is a Christian movement dedicated to sharing the love of Jesus. We purposefully work to reveal this love to everyone by building loving communities combined with the provision of spiritual, emotional and material support. Our compassionate participation has evolved over 136 years of service in all spheres of the Australian community, especially to people who are vulnerable, suffering and underprivileged and we are humbled that our efforts are so widely welcomed, encouraged and supported.

This non-discriminatory commitment to love and serve others is highlighted in our international mission statement which says we are: ‘to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination’. We believe that God loves everyone. We call on all Salvationists and community members to show this same love to others.

We have zero tolerance for bullying and as such, there is no situation where it is acceptable. Every person regardless of race, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or religion has the right to feel safe so they can achieve their full God-given potential. We emphasize that the alarming high rate of bullying and suicide among LGBTIQ school students evokes deep concern within The Salvation Army.

There are many accounts of marginalised students benefiting from aspects of the Safe Schools programs which have resulted in a safer, more caring culture forming in those schools. In this regard, we recognise the program’s intent to address bullying. Whilst acknowledging such positive outcomes, The Salvation Army cannot unconditionally support the Safe Schools programs in Australia in their current form. We believe there needs to be consideration and refinement to the scope and form of implementation.

We believe the availability of support services for every vulnerable student including those identifying as LGBTIQ is vital. We also believe the provision of a government approved anti-bullying program needs to consider all high risk student groups. To this end, The Salvation Army is open to working with State and Federal Governments and other agencies to develop a program that more comprehensively addresses the issues associated with bullying within schools.

We call on all Salvationists and the community at large to treat each other with respect and grace. Jesus said that after loving God, the second most important commandment is to love our neighbour as we love ourself. Everyone has the right to always feel safe and to be treated with respect and grace.


Storage king hits out at gender cop

SELF-STORAGE mogul Sam Kennard has lashed out at the government’s gender equality watchdog after his business was “named and shamed” for not filling a complicated annual questionnaire.

In its latest annual report, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency has published the names of businesses which fell foul of the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012.

Under the law, companies with more than 100 employees are required to lodge a report with the WGEA every year detailing “gender equality indicators” such as male-to-female ratios and salaries. The WGEA itself, which costs taxpayers $5 million a year to run, employs five male and 25 female staff.

Among the 74 businesses deemed “non-compliant” by the WGEA this year include household names like Kennards Self Storage, Bing Lee, Vittoria Coffee, Palace Cinemas and Sportsmans Warehouse. Also named were the likes of Williams-Sonoma, EB Games, and a number of plumbing, cleaning, freight and transport companies.

“Non-compliant organisations may not be eligible to tender for contracts under Commonwealth and some state procurement frameworks, and may not be eligible for some Commonwealth grants or other financial assistance,” the report warns.

Mr Kennard, who contested Joe Hockey’s North Sydney seat in the December 2015 by-election for the Liberal Democrats, said the WGEA was an organisation “dripping with hypocrisy” that “should be abolished”.

“My company does not discriminate for race, age, sex or religion,” he said.

“If someone has a good attitude, not afraid of work and willing to learn they’re a starter in our view. This is not a particularly profound or enlightened perspective — it is just common sense. It is good for business.

“I can confirm that we do discriminate against time-wasting bureaucracies. The WGEA is a prime example of unnecessary government intrusion into the activities of businesses. My business has much more productive endeavours to pursue than filling out paperwork for government agencies like the WGEA.”

Mr Kennard said his company was challenged enough to “make our business better, to give customers a better experience and to operate efficiently without distractions like this”. “The WGEA impost is 100 per cent pure overhead,” he said.

“While politicians and economists lament the declining productivity in our economy, it is exactly this red-tape and the imposts of these bureaucracies that tax the efforts of enterprise. If the government was serious about tackling productivity it would get out of our way — it would abolish the WGEA and the abundance of other regulations they lay on.

“I am personally driven to the see the best outcomes for my business and believe strongly that good performance should be encouraged and rewarded irrespective of sex. We are conscious of HR shortcomings, appreciate the challenges and work to overcome them.”

Mr Kennard added that it was “pleasing that there are plenty of non-taxpayer funded advocates for the success of women, which further emphasises that this is an area the government does not need to participate in”.

Meanwhile, Mia Johannsen, head of people and culture at Palace Cinemas, said the company was deemed non-compliant because it wasn’t willing to share “private individual salary information” with the WGEA.

“Initially we did send through some information regarding gender split and the different roles, but we didn’t want to comment with anything confidential such as the private salaries of our employees,” she said.

“We employ more females than males, 53 per cent to 47 per cent, so obviously we are completely for gender equality. We have many women in senior management, including myself.”

Ms Johannsen said Palace Cinemas “regret being labelled as non-compliant”. “It would be a lot easier if the process was simpler,” she said.

“The process to be able to lodge all of this information was very long and extensive and it took days for my predecessor to even locate that information, so I think that was the issue [in previous years].”


Candy canes banned for Christmas under Tasmanian Primary School's healthy eating policy

A Tasmanian primary school has banned students from including candy canes and similar treats with their Christmas cards this year.

Bellerive Primary School announced a new healthy eating policy on its school association Facebook page on Wednesday. Under the policy, birthday cakes would also be banned from next year in favour of healthy options.

Reactions at the school have been mixed. Parent Ian Green said the school's healthy eating policy had gone too far. "They are depriving kids of being kids," he said.

"They're not going to get obese because they have a cupcake, they're not going to fall over and have a heart attack because they have a candy cane at Christmas."

Another parent Kirsty Shaw said parents had not been consulted.  "I think the school community is a little bit sick and tired of being told what we can and what we can't feed our children," she said.

But not all parents disagree with the ban. Charrhara Harma said it was a good idea. "Yeah that's good because junk is not good for children," she said.

Student James Overton could see both sides of the argument. "It's not really good for your health, but no because people like them and they don't really want them to be banned from school," he said.

The Education Department has distanced itself from the decision.  It said its policy Move Well, Eat Well encouraged the wider school community to support limiting "occasional" foods. In a statement, the state's Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff urged the school to reconsider.

The Bellerive Primary School Association and the school's principal declined to comment.

Tasmania School Canteen Association executive officer Julie Dunbabbin said she believed eventually all schools would ban confectionery.

She said many schools were trying to address the issue of children being exposed to too many cakes due to classmates birthdays. She said cakes could be healthy if baked the right way. "We certainly promote the more healthier version, the ones with less sugar and saturated fat," she said.


Never, ever, mess with old soldiers, and least of all old artillery blokes

This week the former artillerymen who have raised the money to refurbish an old 18-pounder gun sought permission from the ACT police to attach the "ANZAC Centenary Gun" to horses and a limber and take it for a trundle this Sunday morning around Canberra and Parliament House to commemorate the centenary and also for St Barbara's Day (St Barbara is the patron Saint of artillerymen worldwide). ACT Policing have said, categorically, no. The response of the artillerymen, I am reliably informed, is that they're going to do it anyway.

You can expect to see a refurbished 18-pounder gun like this one trundling through the streets of Canberra on Sunday.
You can expect to see a refurbished 18-pounder gun like this one trundling through the streets of Canberra on Sunday. Photo: Australian War Memorial

"They're going to ignore the protocols," my source says, "take their right to drive horse drawn-vehicles on any road and generally act like Australian soldiers have always done (and still do) – that is, act like larrikins."

Standby, sports fans. I hope the ACT police will reconsider. These are very good people, out to honour the extraordinary soldiers of 100 years ago. Can it really be so hard to put a police car with flashing lights in front, and one behind, and let them go for their lives?

By hook or by crook, they'll be leaving Duntroon at 10.30am on Sunday and heading to Parliament House. Gawd help the government.


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, December 04, 2016

Total dishonesty about last Thursday's blackout in South Australia

The S.A. government is shrilling that the new blackout had "nothing to do" with the previous big one in September.  I suppose that there is some trivial sense in which that is true but the root cause of both blackouts is the same:  South Australia does not have ANY baseload power of its own.  Had they not decommissioned all their coal-fired stations, neither blackout would have happened.  Their windmills are just not a reliable source of power.  During the latest incident they were delivering only 6% of their capacity. 

When the big wind hit in September and shut down the windmills the South Australians could easily have spun up their coal-fired generators to take the load -- if they still had them.  And the same thing applies to the recent loss of supply. 

You have got to have hydrocarbon or nuclear powered generators to get reliable supply and S.A. just does not have enough.  All they have are some small gas-fired ones.  They rely on importing power from hydrocarbon-powered generators in Victoria but Victoria has its own problems -- and will soon have much bigger ones with the closedown of the Hazelwood generator.

The South Australians were so proud of themselves for having such a "Green" electricity system but it was a fantasy.  They need to get a couple of their coal-fired generators spinning again or businesses will start leaving the state and taking jobs with them. New investments will CERTAINLY grind to a halt now. See below

South Australia's electricity system separated from the national power grid overnight, prompting a stern warning from BHP Billiton about threats to Australian jobs and investment.

About 200,000 homes and businesses lost power for over an hour, but BHP’s Olympic Dam operations in the north of the state were interrupted for about four hours.

BHP CEO Andrew Mackenzie issued an urgent warning to policy-makers after the latest incident, which comes two months after the statewide blackout led to about two weeks of lost production at Olympic Dam.

“Olympic Dam’s latest outage shows Australia’s investability and jobs are placed in peril by the failure of policy to both reduce emissions and secure affordable, dispatchable and uninterrupted power,” he said in a statement.

“The challenge to reduce emissions and grow the economy cannot fall to renewables alone. “This is a wake-up call ahead of the COAG meeting and power supply and security must be top of the agenda and urgently addressed.”

Opposition Leader Steven Marshall said Labor had “chased cheap and reliable power out of South Australia”.

“South Australians are now saddled with the most expensive and least reliable electricity system in Australia,” he said.

“The statement from BHP this morning demonstrates how dangerous this situation has become. The CEO of the world’s biggest mining company has singled out South Australia’s fragile electricity system as a threat to mining in Australia.

“Affordable and reliable power is critical to running a business – it’s not a luxury, it’s an essential!”


A church that is embarrassed to be a church

They are Australia's successors for the Methodists, who were notably confident in their faith. So it is sad to see how far they have fallen. They even deny Christ.  The Bible has some advice for them: 

Mark 8:38 "For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels." 2 Timothy 1:8 "Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God". Matthew 10:33 "But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."

Australia's Uniting Church will avoid using religious symbols and the word 'Christ' as part of it's new advertising campaign to distance itself from child sex scandals.

The survivors of child abuse have hit back at the Uniting Church accusing the change as an attempt to 'disown' the past in a bid to avoid addressing the situation.

But the Uniting Church defended the change claiming it was the right move to no longer use 'overt' faith-based language after the royal commission into child sexual abuse ruined the image of religious institutions, The Daily Telegraph reported.

'You are right to highlight that sometimes we do not mention Christ's name in our advertising,' executive director of Uniting, Peter Worland, said.

'Since the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, faith-based organisations like ours are perceived pejoratively. So, sometimes we are overt with our religious language, sometimes we are not.'

However Mr Worland said if you look closely you can still see religious symbols.

‘Sometimes we are overt with our religious language, sometimes we are not…The symbol of the cross at its heart (the ‘t’), with a person either side of it (each ‘i’) to represent this connection and inclusivity.’


Freedom fighters stop free speech. Surprised?

The Fascism of the modern Left again

Melbourne-based group Jews against fascism claims to be standing up for freedom. But stamping out free speech and intimidating fellow Australians are tactics direct from the fascist playbook.

Conservative Jewish gym owner Avi Yemini had every right to invite One Nation senators Pauline Hanson and Malcolm Roberts to speak at a meeting in Caulfield.

And no surprises for guessing the topics that were likely to be discussed: Islamic immigration, repeal of s18C, Halal certification, and the rest. All fairly mainline topics in conversations around the nation.

You are perfectly free to make up your own mind on any of these issues. Surely the best way of doing so is to listen to opposing points of view and weigh the arguments.

But Yemini’s plans have collapsed into a catfight complete with flying fur, hissing and teeth. Glen Eira — where 4 out of 9 councillors are Jewish — revoked permission for the event.

That, in turn, provoked Roberts to accuse the councillors of anti-Semitism; and then peak Jewish group, the Anti-Defamation Commission, weighed in on the side of the council. It’s a mess.

Victorian Police say they “respect the right of the community to express their views peacefully and lawfully.” But now they’ve pulled the plug saying they can’t guarantee the safety of attendees.

 On Facebook, Jews against fascism brag — without irony — that they’ve won a great victory for freedom. “We organised against fascism and we won.” Pardon?

In their totalitarian contempt for free speech and for democracy, and in their demagogic drive to stamp out any dissenting views, it is Jews against fascism who are behaving like true fascists.

Whatever you think of Avi Yemini, the man was doing nothing illegal. And One Nation polled nearly 600,000 votes at the federal election. Hanson and Roberts are legally entitled to their Senate seats.

But fascists are quick to identify those they brand the enemy. In Hitler’s Germany it was the Jews who were the enemy, and the engine of the Nazi state was soon turned against them.

When fascists catch the enemy’s scent, they won’t allow the rule of law to obstruct their hunt. They are contemptuous of democracy and insist on total obedience to their own cause.

Violence, intimidation, threats to personal safety, and vilification are all tactics regularly used by fascists to get their own way and to grind down the resistance of their opponents.

And that is precisely how Jews against fascism have won their great ‘victory’ for ‘freedom.’ Even the police gave up on enforcing the law to defend the right of ordinary citizens to meet publicly.

Intolerance is on the march — but it is wearing the disguise of ‘diversity’ and ‘inclusion’, professing to be concerned only with securing justice and peace.

It’s a lie, of course. The Left is doubling down for a long fight to defeat what it claims to be the capitalist tyranny of hatred and oppression — a fight it is determined to win.

Once victory is secured, it will build a new tyranny of its own. Who will fight against that?


Leftist educators not concerned by the poor results that they have delivered in Australian schools

The latest international maths and science results suggest that Australia is a slow learner when it comes to improving school performance. Our mean maths and science scores in the Trends in International Maths and Science Study (TIMSS2015) are the same as they were when TIMSS started 20 years ago.

It’s not just the Asian ‘tiger economies’ that are beating us: England, the USA, Ireland, Russia and Kazakhstan have also improved in the last decade and are now doing significantly better than we are. Australia has dropped down the international rankings to the middle of the pack.

At the same time as the TIMSS results were released, several hundred education academics were in Melbourne at the conference of the Australian Association of Research in Education — our peak educational research body. Given that the downward trend in test results has been apparent for some time, it might be expected that the education academy would be hell-bent on seeking out the best ways to teach maths and science so we don’t end up with a third-world economy.

The pre-occupation of the academy is apparently focussed elsewhere, if the presentation topics at the conference are an indication. They included such critically important subjects as ‘Thinking and doing research on female bodies differently – ‘listening’ to moving bodies’, ‘Nietzsche on aesthetics, educators and education’, and ‘Meet the phallic lecturer: Early career research in a neoliberal imaginary’. Among the several hundred presentations, 14 titles contained the word ‘maths’ or ‘mathematics’, while 10 contained the word ‘neoliberal’, and 18 contained the word ‘gender’.

The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), which leads the TIMSS study in Australia, described the results as a ‘wake up call’. The fact is, the alarm about maths and science (and reading) went off a decade ago. We keep hitting the snooze button while other countries stopped crying into their pillows over neoliberal conspiracies, rolled out of bed, and got on with it.


Donald Trump victory shows Tony Abbott could have won 2016 election

Our political/media class seems to have conveniently overlooked the most telling domestic lesson from the Trump ascendancy. Perhaps they worry it exposes their lack of judgment.

Donald Trump’s election triumph buttresses the argument that Tony Abbott’s overthrow was unnecessary — that he would have won this year’s election. It gives weight to the claim his poor midterm polling was meaningless and that his known strengths were electorally compelling.

Those of us who have long made this case believed that, for all his faults, Abbott’s strong positions on border protection, national security, climate caution, union corruption and budget discipline would contrast sharply with Labor. The political/media class, however, declared Abbott an embarrassment and barracked for a coup.

We will never know. But everything that has transpired since Abbott’s knifing tends to bolster the position: from the way Malcolm Turnbull has struggled to display certitude to how Bill Shorten hasn’t had to duck a punch; from the Prime Minister’s own polling and near defeat to Britain’s clear statement of faith in sovereignty through Brexit; and from Trump’s focus on borders and disdain for the dominant media narrative to his victory despite the polling consensus.

Some conservative Liberals and Nationals are still seething about all this and hope for a “Lazarus-with-a-triple-bypass” Abbott comeback. It is unlikely — besides, their sense of injustice tends to overlook the needless errors, self-inflicted wounds and unheeded warnings that saw Abbott engineer his own vulnerability to Turnbull’s understandable aspirations.

So this post-Trump observation is worth making not to stir ­enmities, settle grievances, delegitimise Turnbull or encourage a leadership rethink but, rather, to help identify the lessons Turnbull must heed to succeed.

It is another reminder that contrary to the urgings from the political/media class, Turnbull cannot afford to change the policy direction of the Coalition by softening important policies or drifting to the left. It reaffirms the warning not to believe his own publicity. On climate policy, borders and national security the sensible centre of politics wants the prescription already laid down by the centre-right Abbott government. Turnbull messes with that compact at his peril.

There are encouraging signs he understands this: his new focus on energy security over renewable energy gestures; his strong words in New York on terrorism; and his push for a lifetime ban on unauthorised boat arrivals to help prevent his humanitarian US visa deal from undermining border security. Despite the Senate frustrations, fiscal restraint, budget repair and economic reform must remain top priorities.

Turnbull’s ability to pass his double-dissolution trigger bills and some modest budget reforms enable him to end the parliamentary year with baby steps of purpose — as foreshadowed in this column almost three months ago.

It also provides some vindication for his strategy. Many critics have mocked his double-dissolution strategy because it produced a menagerie of a Senate. This is disingenuous because no serious observer would have said the Coalition had any chance to win a Senate majority.

Turnbull’s Senate reforms, also planned under Abbott, are worthwhile and will eliminate accidental senators in the future. And, notwithstanding shambolic negotiations and side deals, the Coalition is getting some reform through the parliament.

Those who slam the double-dissolution strategy need to ask what Turnbull would have run on without it. He had a thin agenda, was out of time and was losing standing with every dawdling day.

Without this strategy built around the union accountability measures he would have limped through the budget to a predictable spring election, struggling to outline a cause. Instead, he seized the agenda, created a purpose for the election and managed — just — to hold on.

And now he has ushered the trigger bills through the Senate, along with a backpacker tax arrangement. With his team, he shows the adaptability to do deals with One Nation, Nick Xenophon, Derryn Hinch and others, as well as the Greens. The only immovable object (after some early savings co-operation) appears to be Labor.

Turnbull’s error this year was not his double-dissolution strategy but that he didn’t use it months earlier to capitalise on his honeymoon. Also, he ran a poor campaign. The Coalition failed to attack the Opposition Leader and failed to put the most pertinent questions into the daily campaign rhetoric — what was the risk of a return to Labor on border chaos, electricity prices, union behaviour and deeper deficits?

The reason all this is relevant now is that these questions remain palpable for Turnbull. Now that he has begun to display a modicum of governing ability, he must look to accentuate the choice between the Coalition and Labor’s alternative.

Again, thanks to its crack cocaine-like addiction to polls, the political/media class is writing off Turnbull. But, at the risk of repetition, the polls are almost meaningless right now.

Certainly, to become PM, Turnbull exploited the polls and, unwisely, even cited them. But he needs to recognise that conceit now (and hope everyone else does) while comprehending that what matters are policies, conviction and performance.

The most bankable quality for governments is competence. In difficult circumstances — and no doubt with more stuff-ups to come — Turnbull at least has started to claim some ground on this score.

Aside from more of this, he needs to work hard to appear in touch with voters: more interviews, more mainstream public events and more listening.

His budget strategy is vital; Scott Morrison must deliver fiscal restraint and economic reform significant enough to begin the repair task and satisfy ratings agencies, but moderate enough to pass the Senate. It won’t be easy but the welfare reforms being touted by Christian Porter and Alan Tudge provide fertile ground by embedding the mutual obligation and personal investment concepts that are working well in New Zealand.

This is a true centre-right approach and underpins long-term budget recovery.

Under Shorten, Labor has dug itself further in on the wrong side of crucial arguments. On climate policy, it offers a national 50 per cent renewable target that will escalate costs and undermine energy security. On border protection, it has a record of capitulation and mismanagement and it has abandoned its pretence of bipartisanship by rejecting temporary protection visas and the lifetime ban. On national security, Turnbull needs only to utter the words “Islamic extremism” to demonstrate he understands our current threat and smoke out an Opposition Leader unwilling to name our enemy. On union corruption, Labor appoints tainted unionists to the Senate and promises to abolish the Australian Building and Construction Commission for a second time. And on budget repair, Labor is committed to higher taxes and deeper deficits.

National politics and government are monumentally difficult any time, especially in the contemporary age of hyper-fascination, rampant demands and strained resources. But any right-of-centre government that cannot explain its rationale, embed its policies and win re-election against that Labor agenda has only itself to blame.


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, December 02, 2016

Reversing Warmist spin

The latest article from shifty Peter Hannam, environmental writer of the Sydney Boring Herald has great but unintended humour potential. He has some boring statistics to convey but by biased language has made them seem to suggest global warming.  Let me use different language to describe the same stats.  I will suggest cooling:

"A long run of overcast days in Sydney has finally come to an end.  Sydney is at last back to where we were in 1990 but will it last?

Last month's temperature had three Novembers warmer than it in the past

"It's been persistently cool, particularly in the West," Acacia Pepler, a climatologist at the bureau, said.

The month had 18 days above 25 degrees, at last breaking a long run of cool days -- going back to 1894

The past six months have also been a standout for Sydney. A relatively wet winter - with rainfall about 250 millimetres above average - switched to sharply drier conditions, with rain tallies sinking 100 mm below average.  But there were similar conditions in 1885"

Contrast the above with what appears below.  Note that I have unspun only the statistics Hannam has chosen to mention.  They were undoubtedly the one best suited to his cause.  If they can be shown to suggest cooling, one wonders what all the unmentioned statistics show. 

Deception is the name of the game for Warmists.  Honest reporting is in general alien to them.  It has to be.  They cannot accept the plain truth of the climate record, which just shows normal ups and downs with no significant trend

Sydney has just capped its sunniest November since 1990, with the relatively warm and dry conditions set to extend well into the start of summer.

Last month was the city's equal-fourth warmest November for maximum temperatures in records going back to 1858, with average temperatures reaching 26.1 degrees, the Bureau of Meteorology said in its latest report. Sydney Airport had an average of 9.5 hours of sunshine during the month.

"It's been persistently warm, particularly in the east," Acacia Pepler, a climatologist at the bureau, said.

The month had 18 days above 25 degrees, the most since 1894 , and its coldest day was a mild 22.7 degrees. All previous Novembers had at least one day below 21 degrees in the city.

The lack of cool days extended across spring, with just six days failing the reach 20 degrees. That's the fewest on record and roughly one-fifth of the average of 31 such days, the bureau said.

The past six months have also been a standout for Sydney. A relatively wet winter - with rainfall about 250 millimetres above average - switched to sharply drier conditions, with rain tallies sinking 100 mm below average.

That's the biggest turn in the weather for the city in 53 years, and the third-most on record with 1885 the other rival year, Brett Dutschke, senior meteorologist with Weatherzone, said.

"Since the start of October, it's been drying out" in coast regions, Mr Dutschke said, adding the western parts of the state had more recent rains and will take longer to cure.


Conservative radio host David Oldfield says Aborigines  'should just be Australians'

It is he who is the non-racist.  Most racial discrimination comes from the Left these days

Former One Nation politician David Oldfield says Aboriginal culture should have 'died out with the Stone Age'.

Oldfield, from Sydney, made the comments on SBS' First Contact program, which deals with race relations issues in Australia by taking well-known white people to experience Aboriginal life.

'Is there something celebratory they lived in the Stone Age longer than anybody else? I can't see it,' Oldfield said.

'It's not actually good for Aborigines to remain Aborigines. They should be Australians. And you just naturally let it die out. I mean frankly it should have died out. Like the Stone Age died out.

Oldfield has been slammed on social media for his comments.

In the first episode of First Contact, aired on Tuesday night the group it centres on - including singer-songwriter Natalie Imbruglia, television personality Ian 'Dicko' Dickson, former Miss Universe Renae Ayris, comedian Tom Ballard, and actor Nicki Wendt - were invited to join a family in a traditional fishing ceremony.

Oldfield refused to participate and during a conversation, Timmy 'Djawa' Burarrwanga told Oldfield: 'You know this country is so racist.' 

Burarrwanga had taken OIdfield's behaviour as a lack of respect for his culture.

'David can I ask you one question? Are you not actually accepting the oldest culture in this country? You're not accepting this. I need to know what's bothering you,' Burarrwanga said.

'I accept this dominant world. I accept your law - your system. And you know, this country is so racist. In the constitution it's so racist. We're not actually in the constitution. It doesn't recognise Aboriginal people,' an exasperated Burarrwanga replied.

Oldfield was not backing down though, and believed that the constitution didn't recognise any group of people or mention any races. [Which is true.  Australia actually had a successful referendum in 1967 to REMOVE mention of race from the constitution]

Comedian Ballard then got involved, making it clear to Oldfield that stating that the omission of Aboriginal people from the the constitution in the first place was 'in itself a racist act'.

However Ballard wasn't about to back down and argued that it was 'an all-encompassing document' for all Australian people whatever their background.

'I'm pretty sure they had white people in mind, David,' Ballard laughed.

When asked by Burarrwanga if he accepted that Aboriginal people were the first people of this country, Oldfield agreed but he stopped short of saying he respected that.

But as things became tense he went as far as saying that if Burarrwanga was unhappy with his presence there he would 'happily leave his land'. 


Is going to uni a waste of everyone’s time and money?

AUSTRALIANS are more qualified than ever. A record number of Australians now have a bachelor’s degree, masters or PhD. But a dangerous idea is out: Degrees might be a big fat waste of time and money.

Thirty years ago you didn’t need a degree to be a journalist, for example. Now? Most job ads demand a degree and plenty of the people applying have taken a masters degree, so they look even more qualified than the competition.

The same “degree inflation” applies in a huge range of fields.


The idea is this: you don’t actually learn much at university. Under this idea, university is a way of showing off that you’re good. It’s like the peacock’s tail — not useful in itself, just a big signal that you’re hot stuff.

Is university just signalling? If it is, it would explain why it doesn’t seem to matter that you forget a lot of what you learned — and perhaps why employers of graduates are always complaining their recruits don’t have any valuable skills

If the signalling theory is right, we would, as a society, be better off making people spend less time in uni. But the reality is the opposite — we are sending more and more people to uni.
More people are graduating with degrees, but do they really need them?

More people are graduating with degrees, but do they really need them?Source:Supplied


As people work harder and harder for qualifications, a backlash is brewing.

Some very powerful businesses have stopped requiring a degree. Professional services firm EY is one. In the UK it no longer looks at academic qualifications in its entry criteria.

Google is also expanding its ranks of the degree-less, according to its head of hiring. Those firms think they can get good value from people without degrees.

US entrepreneur Peter Thiel is famous for questioning the benefit of higher education. He pays scholarships of $100,000 — called Thiel Fellowhips — to brilliant young people in return for dropping out of uni and becoming entrepreneurs instead.


Now, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go to university. Even if it is a waste of time in some ways, most jobs still require a degree. Going to uni is still very much worthwhile for most people.

The data is very clear — people with a Bachelor’s degree will earn $2.9 million over their lifetime compared to $2.07 million for people who finished year 12 without going to uni.

This can’t be used as proof that uni makes you more productive though.

If university is just signalling these people would have been just as useful in the workplace if they hadn’t gone to uni. (And maybe even more useful, because they’d have extra experience instead of a qualification.)

It also implies that plenty of people who didn’t go to uni would do even better at those jobs than the people with degrees. After all, going to university is still mostly for wealthier people, despite the way the HECS scheme has made access way more widely available. (People who are born to rich and well-educated parents are the ones who tend to end up at uni.)


But the problem remains this. We don’t know for sure if this big idea is right. Do people really learn at uni or not? I asked the man who invented the HECS/HELP system, Professor Bruce Chapman, what the evidence had to say.

“We just don’t know,” Chapman said. He has trawled through hundreds of studies to try to figure out if university is mostly learning or mostly just signalling. “We don’t have a good measure for it.”

Some degrees are more practical than others, Chapman said, for example, dentistry: “Would you want an accountant pulling out your teeth?”

Philosophy degrees, he said, are different. They may be more of a way of showing that you are able to think clearly and obey the rules and requirements of a university environment for three years.

Ultimately, Chapman reckons uni is most likely to be a mix of learning and signalling. “If I had to guess, I’d say 50:50.”

Other experts, like Professor John Quiggin of the University of Queensland, disagree, saying the proof is out there and university mostly builds skills.

Debate will continue on whether or not sending more and more Australians to university is a good investment. But one thing most experts agree on is that a very different kind of education is a guaranteed winner. The advantages of early childhood education are enormous, and can last for a lifetime.

One American study found the return on early childhood interventions is $10 for every $1 invested. And the benefits go to everyone, not just the people who are lucky enough to go to uni.

So, maybe, as a society we should worry more about whether Australians go to kindergarten, rather than whether they go to uni.


ABC and SBS to pay price for Senate ABCC victory

The ABC and SBS will be forced to hold special Q&A-style board meetings with members of the public after Liberal Democrat ­senator David Leyonhjelm horse-traded with the government over its key industrial relations bill to re-establish the construction ­industry watchdog.

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield last night confirmed the government had agreed to a policy that would “provide opportunities for greater community engagement” with the public broadcasters as part of a deal that will see Senator Leyonhjelm vote for the re-establishment of the Australian Building and Construction Commission.

Under the policy, at least half of the ABC’s and SBS’s board meetings each year will be followed by “open community board forums”, with at least two to be held in regional areas, in a bid to make the government-owned broadcasters more “representative” and their processes more transparent. “These open community board forums will give the public greater opportunity to provide feedback directly to the boards responsible for running the ABC and SBS, and for the boards to engage directly with their audience,” Senator Fifield told The Australian.

“We expect the broadcasters will implement this policy as part of their broader approach to community engagement.”

The public broadcasters last night defended the amount of time they spent receiving community feedback.

“The ABC ­already engages with the community and its audiences through regular public events, forums and media appearances both in major cities and rural and regional Australia,” an ABC spokesman said.

But Senator Leyonhjelm said he received feedback “all the time” that the ABC — and to a lesser ­extent SBS — was unrepresentative, declaring the policy change would help alter a perception that those who run the broadcasters “live inside the goat cheese ­curtain”.

“There is a different point of view to be heard outside those areas and it would be good for the ABC’s diversity and its ability to reflect what taxpayers or shareholders are saying if the boards ­actually went out and listened to them,” he said.

“ABC CEO Michelle Guthrie herself has warned … of the perils of political parties failing to ­engage with disenfranchised voters. The same principle applies to the ABC and SBS.”

The ABC and SBS held six board meetings in the 2015-16 ­financial year.

The initiative, part of a series of side deals to secure passage of the ABCC legislation through the Senate, comes as the ABC’s news coverage is under fire from a range of high-profile Australians, including former prime ministers Paul Keating and Tony Abbott.

The government has no power to direct the ABC and SBS on programming but controls their funding and appoints board members.

SBS had not received a formal letter from the government alerting it to the plan. If necessary, the government can issue SBS a written direction to compel it to hold the community forums. That process can be replicated with legislation in the case of the ABC.

SBS said it was “committed” to engaging with the many diverse cultures and communities and fostering “vital connections and understanding” between the organisation and those who contributed to “social cohesion” and a multicultural Australia.

Senator Leyonhjelm said he wanted the ABC and SBS board sessions for the public as part of the price for his vote for the ABCC. He said he and the government came up with a list of possible “liberty offsets” or “freedom” changes.


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, December 01, 2016

When does physical discipline of a child become unlawful abuse?

This highlights something I have long said.  Some, perhaps most, children are tractable enough to diverted from undesirable behaviour without spanking.  But others are so unruly that no control of their behaviour can be achieved without corporal punishment.  All men are not equal nor are all kids equal, difficult to understand though that seems to be for Leftists.

In the case below, a man used very violent behaviour in an attempt to control extremely violent behaviour by two out of five kids in his household.  What else was he to do?  Shut the kids out on the street?  He was in fact being responsible in trying to teach them restraint.

The judge apparently saw that, pointing out that the behaviour was illegal but  taking a very mild view of the matter.  He ruled that the father could have access to his own untroubled son but cut off access to the violent children, who are now in state care anyway. Rather a Solomon-like verdict, I think

The question arose in the case of a father who had beaten his two eldest children with a cricket bat, but who argued he should still be allowed to see his six-year-old son.

The boy lives with his mother, who opposed her estranged husband having any contact with their boy.

Both she and the father had previously smacked the boy, the Family Court in Newcastle heard. But the mother claimed he was at risk of physical abuse if left with the father, because of the way the man punished his older sons from a previous relationship.

Under the NSW Crimes Act, the defence of lawful correction permits a parent, or someone acting with their authority, to punish a child with physical force. But the force must be reasonable in light of the child's age, health and maturity, as well as their alleged misbehaviour. Force applied to any part of the child's head or neck, or elsewhere on their body in a way likely to cause harm "for more than a short period", is not considered reasonable.

The court heard that from around the time they were aged aged six or seven, the father hit his two eldest sons with a cricket bat and once left them with bruises and welts after beating them with a broken broom handle. In what judge Stewart Austin called a description of "cruel brutality", a sibling recalled hearing the boys beg for mercy and scream with pain, saw the bat used with such force it broke and saw welts on the boys' bottoms.

The boys are now in their early teens and in state care. The three other children in the household had not been abused by the father.

In determining the case, Justice Austin said it was necessary "to differentiate between physical 'discipline' and physical 'abuse'".

"Despite modern society's changing opinion about the morality of corporal punishment of children, the law of NSW still envisages the legitimate administration of physical discipline by an adult to a child, subject to certain constraints," he said. "It is only when the discipline transcends those constraints that it becomes abusive and ceases to be lawful correction."

Justice Austin described the two older boys as "very troubled children", throwing objects, damaging property and "using weapons like knives, broken glass, hammers and loaded spear guns to threaten people".

But the fact that their behaviour "presented an extraordinarily difficult parenting challenge was not an excuse for the severity of their treatment", he said. Their punishment amounted to abuse and "criminal assaults".

However, the judge granted the father unsupervised visits with his six-year-old son, ruling it was in the child's best interests.

The father was not "so unfit as a parent that he is utterly incapable of safely caring for the child for short stints", Justice Austin said. He noted that the father had undergone parenting courses and the little boy was unlikely to be as challenging as his older stepbrothers.


African migrants at heart of daycare scandals

Another triumph of multiculturalism

Family daycare operators and teachers from non-English-speaking backgrounds are being targeted by state authorities in a bid to crack down on abuse and bending of rules that have cost taxpayers more than $1 billion in two years and put children at risk.

Senior departmental staff and Queensland Education Minister Kate Jones have confirmed a trend in rorting and noncompliance among ethnic communities, which has resulted in scarce investigative resources being focused on new services and migrant groups. Analysis of state government enforcement action in the past six months reveals family day care services slapped with conditions, suspended or cancelled were almost exclusively run by migrants from Africa, most from Somalia or Sudan.

Sudanese migrant Aluel Mawiir provided false and misleading information and failed to meet service conditions for her Victorian business, Dombai Family Daycare.

In one West Australian case, Sudanese woman Anyieth Makuei had her approval to run her Zebra Family Day cancelled on May 19 because she provided fake documents to the regulator regarding the first aid and asthma training of her staff. Weeks later Ms Makuei lost her ability to be a supervisor in the same industry because, according to the state, she “persuaded family daycare educators to produce false documents and provide false information at the interview” with the state government.

In Victoria, Milky Way Family Day Care, which lists its directors as Ethiopian-born Jale Tujuba and Adnan Yusuf, was put on notice by the Victorian government for providing false and misleading information, not meeting service conditions and failing to run required educational programs.

Family daycare providers fall under the National Quality Framework, introduced by the previous Labor federal government in 2012, and attract federal government child care subsidies.

Queensland’s Acacia Ridge service Maka Family Day Care Scheme has been suspended until Christmas Eve because “there was an immediate risk to the safety, health or wellbeing of children being educated and cared for”.

Family daycare services have grown 61 per cent in the past two years, compared with just 7 per cent for ­centre-based childcare operators.

The hike in activity, which has been higher than 300 per cent in some regions, has placed pressure on state governments, which are responsible for making sure the businesses meet stringent rules and regulations under the quality framework.

Ms Jones said Queensland was now rejecting 60 per cent of new applications. “Queensland has put in place the toughest regulation process in the country for family daycare approved providers,” she told The Australian.

“In addition (to approval rejections) there are strict conditions on approvals and ongoing monitoring and compliance checks.”

Of the 15 most recent compliance crackdowns across the nation, all but one of the services are owned and operated by African directors, with six from Sudan and another six from Somalia.

The Australian revealed the case of Sudanese migrant Ruben Majok Aleer Aguer who received $1.6 million in federal funds over just 16 months to run a network of family daycare educators which authorities could not confirm were officially employed by him.

Nor, during at least 17 inspections, did any of the ACT department staff confirm a single child was ever in care.

Sharing of regulatory responsibility between Canberra and the states means the federal government only investigates fraud offences when it ­suspects money has gone missing. The largest proven case of family daycare fraud ended last week when Albury-based 29-year-old Melissa Jade Higgins was found guilty of stealing more than $3m from the federal government.

Victoria has moved to take the heat out of the market by increasing inspections and investigations.

The family daycare sector in Victoria represents 10 per cent of the total childcare pool but ­accounts for almost 80 per cent of enforcement actions taken by the state. Services have grown by 341 and 339 per cent respectively in Melbourne’s highly multicultural western and northern suburbs.


Australian students are worse at maths and science than children in KAZAKHSTAN

Thanks to "modern" (Leftist) ideas in the classroom

Australian students are worse at maths and science than students in countries such as Kazakhstan, Bulgaria and Serbia.

The latest results from the four-yearly Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), shows Australian students have gone backwards as other countries have improved.

The study looked at how well Year 4 and Year 8 students have mastered maths and science lessons, asking questions like how many legs an insect has, which animals lay eggs and what the angles in a triangle add up to.

The Australian Council for Educational Research, which reports on the study, said it should be a wake-up call.

The council's Sue Thomson said the long tail on results was of particular concern.

Between a quarter and a third of Australian students are still not meeting the proficient standard.

'In terms of children in classrooms, that's probably seven or eight students in your average 25-student classroom,' Dr Thomson told AAP.

'That is a big worry and it's not something that's changed over the last 20 years.'

But Dr Thomson says the results only reveal the problem, not solutions.

It could be that Australia has not set its sights high enough, with the 'proficient' standards here set just above the TIMSS intermediate level.

'Since TIMSS 2011 we haven't really put in much that would lift performance at those lower benchmarks so nothing really has happened,' Dr Thomson said.

She highlighted the huge role socio-economic background - measured by the number of books at home - played in a student's success.

If just the results from the richest students were used, they would be among the top eight countries in the world, whereas those from poorer families are within the bottom quarter.

'I'm not necessarily going to relate it to funding, however we're back at the table insofar as school funding goes and we're still finding that disadvantaged students from disadvantaged schools are those who are not achieving well in these sort of tests,' Dr Thomson said.

'They're the ones we need to be targeting to try and improve their achievement.'

Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the fascination of some with how much money was being spent in schools came at the detriment of examining its distribution and what would actually boost results.

He will use the maths and science results as a key part of his mid-December discussions with state counterparts about a new funding agreement.

But Labor said it was disingenuous to use the TIMSS results to say Gonski funding hadn't made any difference because students were tested in 2014, when less than 10 per cent of the total money had gone to schools.

'(The results) show governments must act immediately to break the link between poor performance and disadvantage,' Labor's education spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek said.

'Both Liberal and Labor state governments know the positive difference extra needs based funding is making in their schools - that's why they have put politics aside to campaign together against Malcolm Turnbull's cuts.'


A big win for Australia

Malcolm Turnbull has hailed Senate approval of the government's plan to restore the building industry watchdog as a vital reform that will benefit every Australian family.

At the same time the prime minister took a swipe at Labor, accusing the opposition of being nothing more than apologists for the militancy of the construction union.

"This is a great day for Australian families - this is not union busting, this is economy boosting," Mr Turnbull told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

"It is backing the rule of law, it is backing Australians to get ahead."

Employment Minister Michaelia Cash, who guided the legislation through the Senate, said the government was restoring law and order to the construction sector.

"Under Labor, with their mates in the CFMEU, this was an industry that was marred by bullying, intimidation and thuggery," she said.

Labor fought passage of the legislation all the way through the parliament, Senator Cash said.

"They continue to put their heads in the sand and deny, despite royal commissions, despite Federal Court judgements, that there is something wrong with the building construction industry," she said.

Mr Turnbull rejected suggestions the concessions the government made to secure passage of the bill meant he was a "hollow man, horse trader".

"We feel pretty good about it, I have to tell you," he said, conceding the negotiations with cross benchers had been "a slog".

"We have always said this is a parliament where we will set out to ensure it works."

Senator Cash dismissed criticism the amendments to the original legislation meant the ABCC was a watchdog without a bite.

"This is all about cultural change within the building and construction sector," she said.


NSW: Ethanol mandates costing motorists $85m

Why do Greenies want ethanol in motor fuel?  It just combusts to give off small amounts of CO2 the way other fuels do.  It makes no sense
MOTORISTS in NSW are spending up to $85 million more on petrol due to the state government’s push to force service stations to sell ethanol-laced fuel, according to the competition watchdog.

In its latest petrol market report, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says the NSW Government’s ethanol mandate has led to less choice and higher costs for Sydney motorists.

Introduced in 2007, the ethanol mandate requires service stations to sell at least 6 per cent ethanol as a proportion of their sales. E10 fuel is a mixture of 10 per cent ethanol and 90 per cent petrol.

Earlier this year, the Baird government ramped up its ethanol push by introducing harsh new penalties of more than $500,000 for service stations that do not stock E10 fuel. Manildra Group, the monopoly provider of ethanol fuel in NSW, is a major donor to state and federal branches of the Liberals, Nationals and Labor.

Former NSW Upper House whip Peter Phelps, who quit in March out of protest against the ethanol fuel laws, told the ABC earlier this year that it was “literally the worst piece of legislation NSW has introduced”.

According to the ACCC, the reduced availability of regular unleaded petrol (RULP) has led to higher sales of premium unleaded petrol (PULP) and E10. In 2014-15, PULP made up 54 per cent of total petrol sales while E10 made up 36 per cent. Nationwide excluding NSW, PULP sales were 23 per cent and E10 just 4 per cent.

The ACCC calculates that as a result of the ethanol mandate, Sydney motorists have spent between $75-$85 million extra on PULP, which averaged 11.5 cents per litre more expensive for 95 octane and 18.5 cents per litre for 98 octane than RULP in 2015-16.

“While the use of E10 may be better for the environment, the ethanol mandate has reduced consumer choice and cost Sydney motorists up to $85 million,” said ACCC chairman Rod Sims. “It has also boosted Sydney retailer’s profits due to the higher margins on premium fuel.”

Mark McKenzie, chief executive of the petrol retailer peak body ACAPMA, said government interference in motorists’ choice of fuel was unwanted and created “perverse economic effects”.

“Simply put, people are making a choice as to what product they put in their car and really are thumbing their nose at the government,” he said. “We’re talking about a mandate that’s been around for seven years. People have tried E10 and have fled from it.

“The issue here is the arrogance of the Baird government. They think they can make policy to suit themselves and their mates, when there is a broader community they’re supposed to be serving.

“Our view is the choice of fuel is that of the motorist and the government has no place interfering in a core product.”

NRMA spokesman Peter Khoury said while it was true people were buying more premium fuel, there had been a lot of “misinformation” about E10 and it was “demonstrably not true” that it was bad for engines.

“The majors are advertising premium fuels quite heavily. People can buy regular fuel or E10 but they’re buying 98 octane and paying upwards of 30 cents per litre more for no real benefit,” he said.

“About three-quarters of the NSW fleet can run on E10. The remaining that can’t are either cars built before 1986 or they are high-performance vehicles that are mostly imported. The manufacturer will specify if a vehicle must run on premium fuel.”

Mr Khoury also disagreed with the ACCC’s finding that regular fuel was harder to find. “There is plenty of regular out there,” he said. “When we quote petrol prices we’re talking regular, not E10. People are buying it all over the place.”

Queensland is set to become the second state to introduce an ethanol mandate from January. Queensland Biofuels Minister Mark Bailey told The Australian many NSW motorists “wrongly assumed” their car could not use E10 because the NSW government did not roll out a consumer education campaign.

“Our ethanol mandate from January is set at a level that will ensure fuel retailers continue to offer a broad range of fuel grades,” Mr Bailey said.

NSW Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Victor Dominello said the ethanol mandate had been a bipartisan policy since 2007.

“The government made changes to the legislation earlier in the year that will boost competition in the marketplace and provide consumers with greater choice,” Mr Dominello said.

“The reforms ensure the mandate is focused on the bigger petrol station operators while providing appropriate exemptions for smaller operators.

“Consumers are encouraged to use the government’s FuelCheck website which empowers them to find the cheapest fuel by publishing petrol prices in real-time for every service station across NSW.”


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