Friday, November 24, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG thinks PM Turnbull is on his way out

There’s a touch of fluidity in comments on Safe Schools program

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk argues that the Marxist-inspired Safe Schools gender and sexuality program is not being taught in Queensland’s schools and, if re-elected, her government has no plans to impose it on students.

The LNP, in its election policy, says that if it wins government it is committed to “withdrawing the Safe Schools Coalition resources from Queensland schools” and implementing a general anti-bullying and anti-discrimination program.

Who to believe? Based on the ALP’s 2017 state platform document Putting Queenslanders First, it’s clear, while not specifically mentioning Safe Schools, that a Palaszczuk government intends to force schools to adopt similar radical gender and sexuality programs. These are programs and resources that a commonwealth inquiry found unsuitable for students and that have been withdrawn from schools interstate, except for Victoria, the Albania of the south under the Andrews ALP government. The Palaszczuk platform document says an ALP government would “invest in professional development, training and ongoing support for school principals, teachers and support staff so that they can support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer/questioning students”.

Couple that with the ALP’s plans to “reduce discrimination, harassment, abuse and bullying against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer/questioning students” and it’s clear who to believe.

The only comfort is that the ALP’s gender and sexuality policies are not as extreme as the Greens’. A watermelon party that argues gender, instead of being genetically determined, is a “lived” social construct where individuals, including schoolchildren, can self-identify as whatever gender they desire.

It’s not just gender and sexuality where the two major parties differ. The LNP is committed to giving schools greater autonomy over decision-making based on research that proves flexibility at the local level raises standards.

Queensland Labor promises to stop funding the program and to undertake a review. This review, no doubt, given its reliance on the support of the Australian Education Union, would return schools to inflexible, bureaucratic control. As an example, instead of letting schools choose staff best suited to their culture and mission, the ALP document states teachers will be chosen by a “a statewide staffing system”.

Dr Kevin Donnelly is director of the Education Standards Institute and author of Dumbing Down


China will finance Adani coal mine, insiders say, as Greenies vow obstruction

The Adani Group is close to securing finance for its controversial coal mine and railway project in outback Queensland, with an announcement expected in coming weeks that Chinese state-owned enterprises, banks, and export credit agencies are backing the venture.

Australian taxpayers may be let off the hook under the deal, which could mean Adani no longer requires an Australian Government-subsidised loan of up to $1 billion for the railway it needs to transport the coal to port.

But China's money will come at the cost of local jobs.

Chinese enterprises and export credit agencies invariably require that materials for key infrastructure are sourced from China, effectively shifting work out of Australia and undermining Adani's claims its project will create many thousands of additional jobs for Queensland.

Jobs and exports from existing coal regions will be decimated by new project, according to new research.

Just days ago, a director of Adani Mining, an Australian subsidiary of the Adani Group's flagship company Adani Enterprises, told industry figures Adani had secured Chinese funding for the Carmichael mine in North Queensland and the Carmichael rail project.

He said Adani would not need the loan from the Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) to fund the 388-kilometre railway, and claimed a formal announcement of "financial close" was imminent, the ABC has been told.

Details are sketchy, however the ABC revealed earlier this month that a Chinese state-owned enterprise, China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC), was in negotiations with Adani for contracts to build key mining plant and equipment in return for China's financial backing of the Carmichael mine.

CMEC is listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange, but is 78 per cent owned by the giant Chinese state-owned enterprise China National Machinery Industry Corporation Ltd, or Sinomach.

Media player: "Space" to play, "M" to mute, "left" and "right" to seek.

We asked if you thought leaving Australian taxpayers off the hook in funding the coal mine was more important than keeping jobs in Queensland.

Adani Mining's chief executive Jeyakumar Janakaraj told Reuters in October that Adani was in talks to secure loans from export credit agencies for its mining equipment and tie up other funding.

"The company is in advanced discussions in all these cases with merely term sheets under final negotiations," he said.

Mr Janakaraj said Adani was looking to sell minority equity stakes in the coal project, and rail line, to financial institutions and contractors to help fund it.

"By the end of this financial year, all things will be in place," he said.

The Indian financial year ends on March 31.


Manus Island: Police enter former Australia-run asylum centre

Image caption PNG authorities have given asylum seekers a deadline to leave, the former detainees say

Police in Papua New Guinea (PNG) have entered a former Australian-run detention centre in a bid to get asylum seekers who remain there to leave.

Hundreds of men have refused to leave the Manus Island centre since it was shut down on 31 October, citing fears for their safety.

On Thursday, men inside the camp said that PNG police had given them a one-hour deadline to leave. One refugee, a journalist, was reportedly arrested.

Australia said it was a PNG operation.

Under a controversial policy, Australia has detained asylum seekers who arrive by boat in camps on Manus Island and Nauru, a small Pacific nation.

Australia shut down the Manus Island centre after a PNG court ruled it was unconstitutional, urging asylum seekers to move to transit centres elsewhere on the island.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said his nation would "not be pressured" into accepting the men, reiterating a long-held policy that such a move would encourage human trafficking.

"They should obey the law and the lawful authorities of Papua New Guinea," Mr Turnbull said.

One refugee, Abdul Aziz Adam, said about 420 asylum seekers were in the centre early on Thursday. PNG police later told Australia's ABC that about 35 men had left voluntarily.

The Sudanese refugee told the BBC a large number of police officers had entered the compound.

"They had a really big microphone in their hands and started telling people 'you have to move'. They are taking all the phones away, destroying all the rooms and belongings and everything," he said.

Another refugee, Iranian reporter Behrouz Boochani, was arrested, according to Australian media outlets and journalism union Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA).

The MEAA called the arrest of Mr Boochani, a prominent voice within the centre, an "egregious attack on press freedom". A video and a separate photo appeared to show him being led away by officers.


Australian school apologises for 'suggestive' saint statue

An Australian school has covered a statue from view because of its "potentially suggestive" depiction of a saint handing a loaf of bread to a boy.

The Catholic school in Adelaide apologised on Wednesday for the statue, which was completed recently.

The sculpture, portraying St Martin de Porres, was widely criticised after images of it were posted online.

The unfortunate position of the loaf of bread held by the saint led to some misreading the scene.

Blackfriars Priory School said it had commissioned a new sculptor to "substantially alter" the design.

In a message posted on Facebook, principal Simon Cobiac apologised to the school community for "any concerns and publicity" caused by the statue.

He said the school had approved its design and commissioned a sculptor in Vietnam, but "upon arrival the three-dimensional statue was deemed by the [school] to be potentially suggestive".

The Adelaide Advertiser newspaper said the statue had been installed last week and later covered with a black cloth.

It drew public attention after an image of the statue was posted on a popular Adelaide Instagram account, where it attracted hundreds of comments.

"Who designed that...surely someone has to say 'mmm big mistake'," wrote one commenter, in a sentiment echoed by many.

Mr Cobiac said the design had been intended as a "depiction of the tireless work of St Martin de Porres, a Dominican brother, for the poor and downtrodden of the 16th Century".


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, November 23, 2017

Legal battle: James Cook Univer­sity trying to muzzle critic of reef alarmism

Outspoken James Cook Univer­sity professor Peter Ridd has taken Federal Court action claiming conflict of interest, apprehended bias and actual bias against vice-chancellor Sandra Harding.

Professor Ridd wants JCU to drop a misconduct investigation launched following his interview with Alan Jones on Sky News on August 1 in which he criticised the quality of Great Barrier Reef science.

In the interview, he said research findings by major institutions could not be trusted. “We can no longer trust the scientific organisations like the Australian Institute of Marine Science, even things like the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies.

“The science is coming out not properly checked, tested or replicated, and this is a great shame.”

JCU responded in late August by launching a formal investigation for misconduct which could result in Professor Ridd’s employment being terminated.

Professor Ridd engaged legal counsel, with new accusations being made by JCU and Federal Court action being lodged by him.

JCU has said Professor Ridd’s comments were “not in the collegial and academic spirit of the search for knowledge, understanding and truth”. It said his comments had denigrated AIMS and the ARC Centre and were “not respectful and courteous”.

In letters lodged with the court, JCU said Professor Ridd’s comments could damage the reputation of AIMS and the university’s relationship with it.

In a letter to JCU on September 7, Professor Ridd’s legal team, ­Mahoneys, called on JCU to drop the case. They said the university suffered a conflict of interest in its investigation.

“The vice-chancellor is a council member (akin to a director) of the Australian Institute of Marine Science,” Mahoneys said. “The vice-chancellor is in a position of conflict between her duties and ­office to the AIMS and to bringing an impartial mind to a decision on the allegations (against Professor Ridd).”

JCU responded on September 19 that it was “not satisfied that there has been no serious misconduct or that the allegations are unsubstantiated”. It said Professor Ridd “must not disclose or discuss these matters with the media or in any other public forum”.

Mahoneys responded on September 27, repeating concerns about conflict of interest: “There are only two conclusions our ­client can reach as to why the complaint is continuing to be prosecuted: incompetence or act­ual bias, neither of which is satisfactory or tolerable to our client.”

JCU then engaged law firm Clayton Utz, which on October 6 wrote to Mahoneys to say: “The matters you have raised are not matters that prevent JCU from ­addressing your client’s conduct and JCU’s expectations of your client as a JCU employee.”

Mahoneys responded on ­October 13 that the Utz response was “evasive and inadequate”.

On October 17, Clayton Utz wrote “further allegations and concerns” had been raised against Professor Ridd. “These matters ­related to allegations of similar conduct and/or a pattern of insubordination and denigration of the university,” Clayton Utz wrote. It rejected the allegation of bias, ­apprehended bias, or inability of the officers of the university to ­address Professor Ridd’s conduct.

JCU again wrote to Professor Ridd on October 23 highlighting comments made to Jones. In the Jones interview, Professor Ridd said: “I think that most of the scientists who are pushing out this stuff — they genuinely believe that there are problems with the reef; I just don’t think they’re very objective about the science they do, I think they’re emotionally ­attached to their subject.” In its letter, JCU said it “is not satisfied that the principles of academic freedom excuse or justify your comments”.

The university said it did not accept a conflict of interest or apprehended bias existed.

On November 7, Mahoneys said “new evidence” was “entirely separate”. “The revised offending conduct cannot reasonably have had any effect on the relationship of trust and confidence between employer and employee, that is, of course, unless the employer was hypersensitive in the extreme and determined to find slight in every action,” Mahoneys responded.

Professor Ridd said in correspondence to The Australian he hoped the court action would “draw attention to the quality ­assurance problems in science and the obligation of universities in general to genuinely foster debate, argument and the clash of ideas”.

“I think it is right to challenge our science institutions about whether their work is reliable and trustworthy,” he said.

A JCU spokesman said “it is not appropriate to comment on confidential matters’’.


These Liberals have missed the point of the party

Government bloat continues under the Turnbull government

Having imprudently cancelled parliament for a week, the Turnbull government could use its spare time to reacquaint itself with the liberal mindset. The one that believes in more — not less — liberty, greater individual responsibility and the corrupting power of big government. And the one that understands the three vices of government: taxing us too much, spending too much of our money poorly and, worst of all, presuming to tell us how we can spend the bit we’re left with after we’ve paid our taxes.

It was once a safe assumption that a Liberal leadership team understood all of this. They understood that a system that taxes work and investments while subsidising non-work has an inherent flaw of discouraging work and investment and encouraging non-work.

Sadly, today there is bipartisan weakness when it comes to genuine tax reform to provide incentives, not penalties, for work.

Malcolm Turnbull told a Business Council of Australia dinner on Monday that tax reform has been a personal priority of his since entering parliament in 2005, when he compiled a paper detailing tax reform options. The test will be whether the Prime Minister can move beyond being a tax teaser, writing a tax paper 12 years ago to rile then treasurer Peter Costello and giving a speech this week, to delivering real tax reform.

In the meantime, as the Parliamentary Budget Office paper revealed last month, during the next four years bracket creep will move 1.8 million taxpayers, particularly middle-income taxpayers, into higher tax brackets through routine wage rises. The top 40 per cent of taxpayers will see their tax rate rise by almost three percentage points compared with tax rates in 2000.

Worse, the PBO analysis found that the Turnbull government is relying on bracket creep and other tax revenue to deliver its 2021 budget surplus. In other words, a surplus will be thanks to taxpayers putting more of their money into the coffers, not through spending cuts.

This raises the other vice of government. When the government spends other people’s money on other people, it invariably makes poor spending decisions. The aim then should be to spend less of other people’s money, leaving more for them to spend themselves.

Sadly, high spending has become bipartisan, too: spending as a percentage of gross domestic product sits at 26.6 per cent in 2016-17, higher than the 26.1 per cent in 2008 under Kevin Rudd and much higher than the final years of the Howard government, at 23.6 per cent in 2006.

You might think that a Liberal government would at least resist the third vice of telling us how we can spend our own money. That sin of government is a truly illiberal form of nanny-statism, the home of paternalistic, far-left Greens who assume they know better than us how we should spend our own money.

Except the Turnbull government is due to put its name to this third vice, too, making it three-for-three on the scorecard of government vices.

Changes to consumer lease provisions, soon headed for the partyroom and then the House of Representatives, breach the most basic principles of individual liberty. The draft legislation lauds as a “key reform” a prohibition on consumers entering into a consumer lease for household goods if rental payments exceed 10 per cent of their income. In a bill of many ill-conceived changes to consumer lending, this one change really stinks.

Paternalistic caps on how much money a person can spend are usually limited to recipients of welfare. Except that the Turnbull government wants to impose the same prohibition on everyone when it comes to consumer ­leases. It raises the simple question: what business is it of government to tell Australian taxpayers — even those on modest incomes — how they spend their money?

Last year, Revenue and Financial Services Minister Kelly O’Dwyer explained it on the basis of “financial inclusion”. Like other faddish phrases such as social justice, diversity and tolerance, financial inclusion is one of those sweet-sounding expressions we expect from the Greens when they try to justify government intervention. And as with so many feel-good words, you can usually count on opposite outcomes. So it is with O’Dwyer’s daft allusion to financial inclusion.

Telling consumers how much of their income they can and cannot use on leases for household goods will end up penalising those who most need the goods quickly, and under the terms of a consumer goods lease that allows them use of goods while shifting risk over maintenance and repairs to the lessor.

That’s why consumer leases cost more and, like other financial products, they must comply with a plethora of laws, from responsible lending requirements to credit licensing to misleading and deceptive conduct provisions.

When the misnamed “reform” was handballed to Small Business Minister Michael McCormack, he said O’Dwyer’s review found that high-cost consumer good leases “have the potential to result in very poor consumer outcomes”. Except that the hard facts, as opposed to “potential” risks, point to very few cases of unscrupulous behaviour in an industry worth $569 million with about 300,000 present consumer leases. On the contrary, in the past financial year just 270 complaints about consumer leases were lodged with the Credit and Investments Ombudsman.

The government urge to “do something” is seductive. But it ought to be part of the skill set of a sound Liberal government to make the case as to why they’re not adding new laws to the books, not telling people what to do with their own money, and not adding more red tape on business.

Smaller government, and less government interference in our lives, used to be a core Liberal Party principle accepted as a good starting point within a Liberal leadership team, meaning the prime minister, the treasurer and senior cabinet members.

So too was personal responsibility. Even if we sometimes make the wrong decisions, mistakes teach us how to become more responsible. It was once a safe assumption that, in contrast to Labor and the Greens, senior Liberals responsible for policy understood that politicians should not infantilise people by encouraging them to see government as a curer of all ills, because that would inflict far worse evils on society.

Not any more. Instead, it’s left up to a solid and growing group of Liberal backbenchers to protect the party brand, keeping it true to liberal values and clearly distinguishable from the paternalistic illiberalism of Labor and the Greens.

When parliament last sat in mid-October, Russell Broadbent spoke up in the Liberal partyroom meeting, challenging the leadership team about the illiberal moves to regulate who can be a senior banker under Scott Morrison’s kneejerk banking accountability regime. The usually quiet backbencher from Victoria described the government’s intervention as the “opposite of everything we stand for”.

Broadbent has emboldened many others across the ideological divide of the party. They talk of the “Russell Broadbent moment” as breaking a dam of silence of those previously concerned about speaking out for fear of being victimised by a leadership hierarchy that has become values-free and transactional.

The silver lining of a truncated parliamentary sitting period is that the Turnbull government will have less time to pass this lousy law and more time to listen to backbenchers who are asking that the Liberal leadership group give liberal values a chance. It can’t turn out worse than the government’s current downward trajectory.


The Four Scorners stopped truth from ruining its ripping yarn

Don Dale remains open. Last year the ABC’s Four Corners announced to the world that the Northern Territory “tortured children”, and engaged in “barbarism” in facilities such as Don Dale. It sparked an inquiry — the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory — which reports on Friday.

More than $50 million was spent trawling through the system that “tortured” so many innocents. The time for investigation more than doubled and the commission heard from hundreds of witnesses, yet Don Dale remains open.

How could this be? Neither has a single person been referred for criminal investigation. If any further recommendations are made regarding criminal investigations, it will most likely be the reinvestigation of matters already ­examined.

Four Corners was told at the time that these matters had ­already been investigated. But that went unreported. The ABC made only passing reference to the fact the Don Dale in which the gassing events and the other acts that so shocked Australia took place had already been closed.

The gassing episode has since been examined by the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory and declared to be an exercise in reasonable force. Neither are charges likely over the use of the restraint chair and spit-hoods. Their use was lawful and was overseen by a panel of experts. The old Don Dale was decrepit and had been closed long before Four Corners arrived. Its reporter did a piece to camera standing in a cell decrying the awfulness of it, but the empty building had long been vacated. The new Don Dale Centre, a former prison, had been declared fit for purpose by Michael Vita, an expert in youth detention in the NSW corrections system.

In conversation with me, Four Corners’ Caro Meldrum-Hanna said: “All I’m saying is we can talk … about change and progress but unless we see it and you can take us into the facilities where the change and progress is occurring, it’s very difficult for people to … to fully understand it unless they’re shown it.”

They were shown it. The public and the Prime Minister were not. Meldrum-Hanna also acknow­ledged the plight of many of the youth in the Territory, saying it was “sad” that Don Dale might be the safest place for some children.

That observation reflected the complexity of the issues faced by young offenders in the Territory.

In correspondence, the ABC indicated it was aware of the substantial improvements in the Territory’s corrections system and wished to report on that and the challenges it faced. Those issues were explored at length but were not broadcast because Four Corners came into possession of footage that then condensed 10 years of events into a few minutes of CCTV footage.

So precious was the footage that it was never put to me. I suspect that was because they knew I had ­already referred the matters for investigation and it would have diluted the impact. The ABC insisted it secured the footage late in the piece but it didn’t ask anyone in the Territory about it. Its Darwin office could have told Four Corners it was known and much of it had been reported on.

Four Corners wanted to shock, not give oxygen to the real issues. The net result was a royal commission. So where are the scalps? Why is Don Dale still operating? The royal commission will likely find systemic problems, but there clearly is no urgency.

What Four Corners did was gravely misleading and it did so after having been told openly that crimes had been investigated and, where necessary, people had been charged and/or sacked.

Since that time, Four Corners has snarled at critics of its conduct.

The ABC sought to suppress criticism of it at the royal commission and subsequently has refused to investigate Four Corners on the grounds the complaint was not made within six weeks, despite a discretionary power to overturn that rule. Anyway, it said, most of that material would now be “unavailable”.

Really? Material that could have been called as evidence before a royal commission is suddenly unavailable?

I don’t know if Malcolm Turnbull would have called for a royal commission had he been told all these matters had already been investigated. But he wasn’t told. The ABC says he would not have made his decision based solely on its report. Actually, yes, he did.

During conversations with Four Corners, I sought and repeatedly was given assurances that the highest ethical standards were being applied. In the opinion of other news outlets, trusting the ABC was a rookie mistake. That trust was why it was given the ­extraordinary access.

Those ethical standards can be found in the ABC’s Code of Practice under the heading Impartiality and Diversity of Perspectives. I believe Four Corners failed all five guidelines.

The ABC is a federally funded public service organisation. It withheld information from a Prime Minister and based on partial information the Prime Minister made a call to spend $50m. Since that time, the ABC has declared its footage unavailable; attempted to suppress evidence before a royal commission; and, when asked, has refused to investigate itself. Even an ABC journalist referred to it as a “hatchet job”.

If the royal commission report does not deliver scalps or, worse still, fails to even recommend criminal investigations and prosecutions, it will be because the information that led to its establishment was deeply flawed and misleading.

If any other public service department conducted itself in that fashion, it would be worthy of a Four Corners expose.


Brace yourself NSW – you can expect a return to the bad old days unless ICAC's funding is fully restored

Geoffrey Watson, SC

The need for a powerful and independent anti-corruption agency in NSW is obvious. The Independent Commission Against Corruption has been effective, especially in the past five years, in exposing corruption and removing corrupt individuals from government. This work has been an essential step in restoring some confidence in governmental decision-making.

That is why recent revelations that the ICAC is insufficiently funded are disturbing. A failure to properly fund the ICAC undermines its power and destroys the ICAC's independence from government.

We know from evidence given by the chief commissioner, Peter Hall, QC, that as a consequence of funding cuts the ICAC has had to eliminate one-quarter of its investigative team and is constantly hampered by a lack of staff and a lack of funds.

I know from my own days at the ICAC that, even when there was full funding, not all suspicious activities could be investigated because there were insufficient resources. Compromises were made. Because of the funding cuts the position at the ICAC is much worse now than it was then.

It is enlightening to understand how the present problem came about. In June 2016, then premier Mike Baird made two consecutive announcements. His first announcement was he and his government had "zero tolerance" for corruption. This was a strong, positive sentiment for which he could be admired. But his second announcement was he intended to inflict massive funding cuts on the ICAC.

Baird never got around to explaining how he could reconcile these two inconsistent propositions.

Just as a matter of timing, the funding cuts were made shortly after the ICAC had exposed numerous members of Baird's party as committing election funding "irregularities". It is hard to imagine the funding cuts were completely unrelated to the ICAC's work.

Whatever the reason for the cuts, this inadequacy of funding robs the ICAC of its real power. Now, more corrupt transactions will go uninvestigated, and more corrupt individuals will escape exposure and punishment. Brace yourself NSW – you can expect a return to the bad old days.

But the funding cuts have a second effect – it takes away the ICAC's independence. By reducing its funding, the government makes the ICAC subservient to it. It means the ICAC will be required to go to the government outlining why it needs money and justifying it by outlining what it is doing. This leads to the unsettling idea that the investigative agency needs to beg for money from those persons it should be investigating.

It all depends upon what you want. If you do not mind corruption then you will not mind a weak ICAC. If you want to stop corruption and you want to expose corrupt individuals, then you need a properly funded, powerful and independent ICAC.

I say that if you really want to stop corruption in NSW then the chief commissioner should be given all of the funding he wants – and then it should be doubled.


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

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

'Overpopulation will destroy Australia'

Dick Smith claims skyrocketing immigration will cause mass unemployment and most of our children 'will sell coffee to each other'

Dick Smith has launched a new ad campaign, warning overpopulation will cause mass unemployment and poverty. The entrepreneur's new advertisement, titled Overpopulation will Destroy Australia, will appear in six newspapers on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Appearing on Sunrise, Smith denied he was anti-immigration, but said migrant intake needed to be capped at 70,000 people per year.

The businessman said at current growth rates Australia could be home to 100million people by 2100, causing mass unemployment and poverty.

'In a primary school class today 65 per cent of the kids there will have a job that hasn't been invented yet,' said host David Koch during a discussion on Sunrise.  'Most of their jobs will be selling coffee to each other,' Smith replied.

'I think you are going to have a lot of poor people like America, where they can't even support a wage,' he said.

Smith launched a controversial advertising campaign earlier in the year, warning unchecked population growth would lead to famine, disaster and war.

The latest ad, appearing in two newspapers today and four on Wednesday, claims eight out of ten Australians want a population plan.

'Voters - ask your state and federal politicians to come up with a plan - otherwise, tell them you will be voting for the Sustainable Australia Party...or Pauline!' it reads.

'Don't let the wealthy donors to political parties destroy Australia as we know it today.'

Smith said the increase in immigration to over 200,000 people per year started under John Howard is unsustainable, and is calling for a cap of 70,000.

He accused the ABC of bias in September, claiming they portrayed him as anti-immigration in a panel discussion.

Politicians are afraid to speak up about immigration and overpopulation for fear of being labelled racist by the national broadcaster, he claimed.

Smith said he would support any political party that comes up with a population plan, but at present only Pauline Hanson's One Nation was addressing the issue.

Figures released earlier this month show Australia  is growing at an annual pace of 1.6 per cent, double the average among the world's 78 richest nations.

A survey by the Australian Population Research Institute released in October found 74 per cent of Australians believe the country is 'already full'.

Of those surveyed, 54 per cent wanted a reduction in the annual migrant intake and 48 per cent backed a partial ban on Muslim immigration.


Leftist hate never stops

The angry, foul-mouthed phone calls to Liberal MP Andrew Hastie’s electorate office started soon after the results of the same-sex marriage survey were declared last Wednesday.

Then came a deluge of abusive emails, tweets and Facebook messages from victorious same-sex marriage advocates that have shocked the usually unflappable Mr Hastie and his staff — some of whom voted Yes in the survey.

Many are furious over Mr Hastie’s controversial decision — flagged months ago — to abstain from voting on the issue in parliament even though his own electorate of Canning, south of Perth, returned a 60 per vote in favour of same-sex marriage. For this he has repeatedly been labelled a “homophobe” and a “coward”.

One anonymous correspondent emailed Mr Hastie’s office: “Listen you f..king maggot. You are there to carry out the wishes of your electorate & not to enforce your own homophobic & bigoted views. Don’t be a c... Vote for it in parliament.”

Even a reporter from a local newspaper expressed her fury with the MP. “F..k you Hastie,” wrote Rachel Fenner, using her maiden name of Steward, as she shared a story on Facebook by her paper, the Mandurah Coastal Times, about the MP’s decision to abstain from voting.

The editorial director of Perth-based Community Newspapers, Ken Burrowes, said yesterday Fenner had posted to what she believed was a “closed group of friends” and she had learned a “valuable lesson”.

In a separate comment on Mr Hastie’s Facebook page, Fenner said of the deeply religious MP: “Thank you for letting your imaginary friend and a book of fables written 2000 years ago dictate your actions instead of the people you were voted in to represent.”

Nick Kapirnas also joined the debate on Mr Hastie’s Facebook page. “You are a useless piece of shit Hastie,” he wrote. “You don’t deserve to be in your seat.”

Facebook user Tyron Gore chipped in with: “Hastie is an arrogant bigoted fool who needs to ­either do the right thing and represent the majority in his electorate or resign as a coward and a failure of a man and politician.”

Others questioned Mr Hastie’s war record and brought up allegations that a soldier under his tactical command in Afghanistan had cut the hands off dead Taliban soldiers during the heat of battle. (Mr Hastie was cleared of any wrongdoing over the incident.)

“Andrew Hastie needs to look deep within his psyche. He’d rather kill another man than kiss them,” wrote Facebook user Alan Gordon.

Mr Hastie declined to comment yesterday. But he has told friends it has been the most brutal week he has experienced since he entered parliament at a by-election in 2015. A spokesman said the MP respected the outcome of the survey, which is why abstaining was the most appropriate action.



Four current articles below

Green voters are snobs, says Labor Party survey

About 70 per cent of Greens voters in inner Melbourne are rich, dislike unions and think suburban people are backwards, ­racist and bigoted, Labor has concluded based on its own research.

A six-month survey of Melbourne Greens voters has encouraged the Victorian Labor Party to give up on campaigning to most of them, arguing they do not share Labor values and are closer to the Liberals.

Labor has dubbed them “Teal Greens”, with teal being a colour blend of green and blue. The party has decided to target the 30 per cent “Red Greens” in Melbourne’s inner city who are typically university students or Millennials starting their careers.

“Red Greens” are usually renters who are more likely to come from Labor families, while “Teal Greens” own expensive inner-city homes and have parents who vote Liberal.

The qualitative research surveyed more than 50 Greens voters in inner suburbs such as Fitzroy, Brunswick and Clifton Hill, from January to June this year. Party sources said the findings showed the biggest concern of many Greens voters was the ­notion of living in the outer suburbs that contributed to their ­interest in local planning laws.

“Teal Greens” are usually highly paid professionals in two-wage households, are aged in their 30s and 40s and “look down on” ­people in suburbs, thinking they hold Australia back from being “tolerant” and “just”.

After the Greens’ victory in the state seat of Northcote at the weekend, Labor faces a fight to hold inner-Melbourne federal seats such as Batman, Wills and Melbourne Ports. Labor thinks the broader boundaries of the electorates will help it retain the seats as they encompass modest suburbs as well as affluent inner-city ones.

Victorian senator Kim Carr said: “The blue Greens are really the hardcore Liberal types in their attitudes, the red Greens are more sympathetic to our message. There is the homeowners and the renters big divide.

“The homeowners talk about their sense of privilege and their sense of entitlement, their wealth is the natural order of things ­rather than good fortune.”

Senator Carr, the federal ­opposition industry spokesman, said many “blue Greens” migrated into inner-city Labor seats from traditionally Liberal areas or from Sydney and Brisbane.

“These are traditionally Liberal voters that are moving into these areas. They are not Labor people,” Senator Carr said. “They claim to be progressive social values but we surveyed them and their biggest fear was actually being forced to live in Pascoe Vale and Coburg.

Their real anxieties are different to what they claim them to be. Their preoccupations are ­essentially material conditions, not with the state of the world ­environment.” The “blue Greens” traded on “snob appeal” and were closed to Labor, he said.

Greens MP Adam Bandt said the claims were “fairytales” and voters were shifting because of Labor’s support for offshore processing and the Adani coalmine.


Greenie dam-hatred to cost Queenslanders big

Foot-dragging on building Rookwood Weir

Queenslanders face a $500 million bill to pay for 600 B-double trucks to transport water into central Queensland every day unless the weir was built, an explosive report kept secret by the State Government revealed.

A shock business case for Rookwood Weir warns Rockhampton and nearby towns could run out of water from just one “failed wet season”, raising questions why the State Government repeatedly refuses Mr Turnbull’s offer to build the weir.

The Prime Minister yesterday accused the Premier of being “beholden to an inner-city Green-Left agenda that doesn’t like dams”.

Sources told The Courier-Mail that Mr Turnbull had pledged to fund the entire project in a meeting with Ms Palaszczuk earlier this year.

Speaking in Mackay this morning, Ms Palaszczuk said her Cabinet is still yet to receive the full business case for the project but conceded her Government has received the Lower Fitzroy River Infrastructure Report.

“Let’s be very clear, with Rookwood Weir, I attended a meeting with the Prime Minister, Senator Matt Canavan and Barnaby Joyce,” she said.

“What was discussed there very clearly was ... they would look at building and operating it themselves. Subsequently to that we did not hear anything further about that proposition that they were canvassing at that meeting.

“Let me make it clear, after the meeting some of his (Mr Turnbull’s) senior officials came up to my senior officials and said ‘oh no they don’t mean that’. So lets get some clarification from him, does he want to pay for the whole lot? If he does, all well and good.”

Ms Palaszczuk also said she was not concerned that Rockhampton would run out of water, despite the project continually being stalled. “I am not concerned because the detailed work is happening and will be discussed by Cabinet,” she said.

“Unfortunately I believe there is a little bit of politics being played locally but I believe in the best interests of Central Queensland — we need to work together.”

Asked in north Queensland yesterday if there had been any progress on the Rookwood Weir business case, the Premier said: “No, not at the moment.”

The 229-page Lower Fitzroy River Infrastructure Project report, exclusively obtained by The Courier-Mail, was commissioned by State Government-owned corporation, the Gladstone Area Water Board. It implores the Government to build the weir and soon, advising it is the cheapest way to secure water for the region.

The report was handed to the State Government on October 27, which was two days before the election was called.

However, Building Queensland, which provides the State Government with independent advice on major infrastructure, provided its assessment in September.

Rockhampton’s main source of water is the Fitzroy Barrage storage, which is heavily reliant on regular seasonal inflows, including the annual wet season, to maintain supply.

The report flagged water would have to be trucked in from Awoonga Dam if there was not enough water.

“Building Queensland estimated ... a total cost for five months’ emergency supply at $486 million, while noting that there were doubts over the feasibility of this solution,’’ the report said.

“Gladstone Area Water Board’s position is that this solution is not feasible at the required scale (and) the logistics involved are daunting. “(It would mean) 4000 daily B-double movements of a 260km round trip.

“Working 24 hours, seven days and assuming a filling, travel, delivery and return travel time of only 3.5-4 hours, a fleet of at least 600 B-doubles would be required.

“The as-yet unidentified filling point(s) and delivery point(s), and the regional road network would need to be able to accommodate the constant movement of 300 B-doubles in each direction between Rockhampton and Awoonga, ie approximately two departures per minute.”

The report revealed power could become more expensive for Queenslanders because Stanwell power station might need to reduce its water use during severe water restrictions.

“Rockhampton’s continued reliance on a single source is particularly risky because that source is uniquely vulnerable to low inflows,’’ the report said.

“The characteristics of the barrage storage and the Fitzroy flows, combined with Rockhampton and the Capricorn Coast’s demand, mean the storage is insufficient to make sure supply can survive a single failed wet season.

“In the event of a period of low rainfall, such as a failed wet season, Rockhampton has no means to respond with demand management measures or contingent water supply arranges and instead is likely to experience a complete supply failure.”

The report also pointed to a boom for the agricultural sector because more water meant more crops.


Diesels win the day

They are very polluting and run on "fossil" fuels but what the heck!  Anything is better than the demon coal

South Australia, Australia’s wind power capital, has signed up to squander $150 million on one of Elon Musk’s creations, that would power the state for all of 4 minutes when the wind stops blowing and/or the sun goes down.

Weatherill’s wonder has been nicknamed the ‘NeverReady’ battery by wits in SA, because, despite being trumpeted for months as SA’s saviour, it is unlikely to be operable this Summer.

Meanwhile, over the border in Victoria, a long-touted plan for mega-batteries in that State has just run out of juice.
Instead of running on wind and sunshine – having killed the 1,600 MW baseload plant, Hazelwood earlier this year – Victorians (like their South Australian cousins) are going to be running on diesel powered generators. Oh, the irony.

Plans for two large-scale batteries to help secure Victoria’s power supplies this summer are in disarray, with a $25 million proposal by the Andrews government still in the planning stage months after construction was due to start.

Touted as a “game-changer” by Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio when she and Premier Daniel ­Andrews announced the investment in March, no successful bidder has been announced for the storage initiative.

The project, which is meant to deliver two 20-megawatt batteries with combined capacity of at least 100MWh, was due to start construction in August so it would be ready for peak demand in January.

The state will now rely on diesel generators pumping up to 100MW of power into the grid to guard against blackouts during heatwaves. It is understood the government is still assessing the bids to provide the batteries, but a spokesman for Ms D’Ambrosio yesterday declined to answer questions about the delay and whether the battery plan would proceed.

“We’re making sure Victoria is equipped with the next generation of energy technologies that will support a resilient energy system,” the spokesman said.

The batteries were to be installed in western Victoria, and each would be capable of powering a town such as Bendigo or Ballarat for up to four hours during a peak demand period.

Opposition energy spokesman David Southwick said the Andrews government was “delivering a third-world energy policy” and changing its policy on the run.

“These are desperate policy ­announcements by a government who simply can’t figure out how to solve the problem they created in closing down Hazelwood and taking 22 per cent of energy out of the market,” he said.

Experts have previously questioned the business case for large-scale storage in Victoria and whether $25m would be sufficient to pay for it. The government has claimed energy storage will play a “vital” role in integrating renewable energy into the network and improving grid reliability.

“This initiative will highlight Victoria’s position as a leader in managing the transition to a secure and modern energy system through deployment of new energy technologies,” the state’s Environment Department said in an information packet for potential bidders.

AGL Energy has flagged plans to build a 250MW battery — which would be the world’s biggest battery and more than twice the size of the 100MW plant being built by Tesla in South Australia — at the site of the Liddell black- coal power station.

The federal government last month unveiled the National Energy Guarantee, which attempts to align climate and energy policy by obliging retailers to buy certain amounts of energy from ready-to-use power such as coal, gas, pumped hydro and batteries, and from renewable sources such as wind and solar to lower emissions.


'No plans' to shut power plants: Qld Labor

Queensland's Labor government says it has no plans to shut down state-owned coal-fired power stations so it can meet its renewable energy target.

Energy Minister Mark Bailey has rubbished a new analysis of Labor's 50 per cent renewable target by 2030, which warns of power station closures and an increased risk of widespread blackouts.

He says the analysis is the work of former LNP federal candidate Jonathan Pavetto, and claims of plant closures are politically-driven nonsense. "We have got no plans to close any of them," Mr Bailey has told ABC radio.

"Mr Pavetto was intimately involved in the privatisation program as a consultant by Tim Nicholls and Campbell Newman ... you've got to see it in that context."

Mr Pavetto, an electricity economist, produced the analysis for the Australian Institute for Progress, whose executive director is former Queensland Liberal Party vice president Graham Young and whose directors include former Queensland Liberal Party state president Bob Tucker.

Mr Pavetto's analysis says Stanwell's Tarong plant near Kingaroy would be first to close in 2018-19, followed by two units at the Gladstone Power Station in 2020-21 and Stanwell's Rockhampton station in 2026-27.

He also warns Labor's green power policy could result in blackouts across the state, for up to 15 per cent of the year, once the policy is in full force.

Mr Pavetto went on ABC radio on Monday to defend his views, which he says are backed by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

"What their reporting shows is that to get to a 50 per cent renewable target by 2030 - and they have modelled this - is that there will be some requirement to close down power stations in Queensland," he said.

He says AEMO has stated in its National Transmission Network Development Plan that coal-fired power generation would have to be cut to reach the 2030 renewables target, with Tarong, half of the Gladstone plant, and then Rockhampton to close.

"If you're going to be having a 50 per cent renewables capacity ... you have to displace some of that coal generation from somewhere," Mr Pavetto said.

The Electrical Trades Union backed the Labor government, calling Mr Pavetto's work a "deeply partisan" analysis from a right-wing think-tank backed by Liberals. Union spokesman Keith McKenzie says the ETU trusted Labor not to shut power plants and not to sell public assets.

LNP leader Tim Nicholls says he's seen the reports of plant closures, and his party flatly rejected Labor's "crazy" renewable energy target.

"Queenslanders want reliable and affordable power; they don't want to end up like South Australia with blackouts and the most expensive power in the western world," he told reporters in Bundaberg.


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, November 21, 2017

Violent burglaries linked to Sudanese youth - including children as young as 10 and Apex-linked members have 'surged 400 per cent in three years'

An imported problem. It was John Howard who started accepting African refugees

Sudanese youth as young as 10 have committed 400 per cent more violent burglaries in just three years.

Federal Liberal MP Jason Wood, a former police detective who is heading a parliament inquiry into migration, has released terrifying crime data on Apex-linked gangs, who are known to particularly active in south-east Melbourne suburbs like Frankston and Pakenham.

It shows the number of Sudanese-born criminals, aged 10 to 18, committing aggravated burglary in Victoria surging from 20 in 2014-15 to 98 in 2016-17.

The Melbourne-based politician accused Labor of overlooking the data to avoid being labelled 'racist'.

'With South Sudanese hugely over represented in violent crimes in Victoria, the protection of all those living in Melbourne and Australia must come first,' Mr Wood told the Sunday Herald Sun.

The Liberal backbencher is calling for the deportation of visa holders who commit home invasions.

The data he released also showed a 55 per cent increase in serious assaults by Sudanese youth, between 2014 and 2017, from 29 to 45.

Car stealing by these African youths had also doubled in the same time period, from 63 to 150.

Sudanese-born youths, aged between 10 and 18, are the most represented ethnic group when it comes to aggravated burglaries, car thefts and sexual offences, the newspaper report said.

Sudanese comprise just 0.11 per cent of Victoria's population, but 4.8 per cent of aggravated burglary offenders.

Victoria's Crime Statistics Agency last year released data showing aggravated home invasions by Sudanese-born youth, aged 10 to 18, had risen 10-fold between 2012 and 2016, to 40 incidents.

Apex-linked gangs are notorious around the Frankston, Sandringham and Cranbourne/Paken­ham rail lines, the Victorian police revealed in 2016.

But there have also been incidents in Melbourne's inner-west and western suburbs.

In June, a man was struck in the head with a tomahawk when a gang of men burst into a Melbourne barber shop and started brawling.

Up to 15 men, many who are believed to be of African descent, entered the shop in inner-city Footscray and began fighting.

In April, a gang of five Sudanese teenagers allegedly bashed their autistic classmate, in a horrific attack on a bus at Tarneit, in Melbourne's west.

The 17-year-old student was travelling alone to the city centre, when five boys approached him and told him to hand over his mobile phone and new Nike shoes.


Christians commiserate after same-sex marriage vote loss

The campaign against same-sex marriage in Australia was an “extraordinary success” despite losing the national postal survey, crossbench Senator Cory Bernardi says.

The Australian Conservatives senator believes this is because it convinced about 40 per cent of participants to vote ‘no’ despite competing with a “ten-year campaign” by marriage equality supporters who enjoyed “tens of millions of dollars” in funding.

“That is a fantastic start,” Senator Bernardi told about 700 delegates at the Australian Christian Lobby’s national conference in Sydney on Saturday.  “You have established an amazing base, you have some wonderful leaders, you have some extraordinary technology and you have it all in the palm of your hands.”

Senator Bernardi attempted to further rally the religious troops, saying if only half the ‘no’ voters elected “decent Senate candidates” at the next election there would be up to a dozen politicians in the upper house to drive change.

“We can no longer be silent, we can no longer sit back and rely on prayer to change the course of earthly events,” he said.

“Prayer is important - never underestimate that. If you want to pray for things, pray for strength for those who are leading in this battle.”

Senator Bernardi said he went into the process of changing the Marriage Act with “a degree of optimism”.

But he also warned parliament was “tortured” - as illustrated this week when he moved a series of provocative motions including a failed attempt to oppose Medicare funding for gender-selective abortions.

That motion, Senator Bernardi explained, caused confusion as some senators left the room and other merely sat on the observers benches.

“You’ve got a party of government effectively not knowing whether they’re Arthur or Martha on gender-selective abortions,” he joked, drawing laughter and applause. “We need people in parliament who know whether they’re Arthur or Martha.”

The faithful gathered amid reports federal Attorney-General George Brandis is considering incorporating article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights into the same-sex marriage legislation.

The move to appease conservatives demanding better protections for freedom of religion, speech and parental rights was supported at the conference by ACL managing director Lyle Shelton.

“I welcome that because that’s essentially what the (alternative) James Paterson bill was doing and yet he’s been demonised all week,” Mr Shelton told the 700 delegates.

“The ICCPR is actually quite a good document. It’s one that we at ACL ... have quoted in our government submissions for years.”

Article 18 of the covenant — which Australia agreed to in 1980 — states: “Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.”

Leading No campaigner and Queensland senator Matt Canavan told Saturday’s conference he’d be moving amendments to Dean Smith’s same-sex marriage bill to enshrine those protections.

Asked later if he’d work with Senator Brandis, the Nationals senator said: “I plan to move my own amendments but obviously it’ll be worked out.”

He said if conservatives lost the battle to protect the freedom of religion, speech and parental rights “that does strike at the foundation of our Western society”.

“I’m trying to fight to ensure that we’re not a persecuted minority,” Senator Canavan said. “There is no other country to flee to in the world if we lose ... there’s no other planet we can take ourselves to.”

Just.equal spokesman Rodney Croome says the only reason for inserting the ICCPR clause into the Marriage Act would be to override state and federal laws preventing discrimination against LGBTI people.

“Senator Brandis’s proposal risks clogging the courts with claims that religious freedom trumps other rights,” he said in a statement.

New Zealand Family First national director Bob McCoskrie told the ACL conference that since gay marriage was legalised in his country in 2013 Christians have been discriminated against for holding traditional views.

He warned of “new frontiers” in the battle, including an acceptance of polygamy, and urged delegates to stay strong.

“We’ve had some losses ... but we are not called to win, we are called to speak truth.” Mr Shelton said the No campaign lost because the “rainbow coalition” was better organised.

“We didn’t lose this in a three-month campaign we lost this because of 20 years of silence when the other side was talking and advocating,” he said. “We haven’t been showing up ... that has to change.”

Mr Shelton urged Christians to join a political party to challenge “bad ideas”. “A wonderful take-out of this campaign is there now is a standing army emboldened to continue fighting for freedom.

“Thousands of volunteers have had a taste of political campaigning and activism and they’re saying ‘What’s next? We want to stay in the fight. We want to keep going.”


Victorian power bill likely to jump by $470. Energy Australia announces MORE hikes to electricity and gas prices for 2018

Victorian households are expected to be slugged with a significant increase to their power bills by the start of 2018.

The state's third largest energy retailer Energy Australia is rolling out significant price jumps in the coming year, according to the Herald Sun, pushing up the cost of both electricity by almost 15 per cen and gas by 13.5 per cent.

The average residential customer will be slugged an extra $278 a year for electricity, pushing their annual bill to approximately $2134, while gas customers' bills will jump to $1612.

But it's not just Energy Australia customers either - other retailers are expected to announce similar increases by December 1.

Experts blame the price surge on a combination of the 'steep climb' in wholesale energy prices and the closure of the Hazelwood coal-fired power station.

Energy Australia's chief customer officer Kim Clarke said wholesale electricity prices have risen about 55 per cent since the start of the year and this pain was being passed on to customers.

'With this (latest) price increase that we have got there is zero retail margin increase in that,' she told the publication.

'Since August, calls to our contact centre are up 30 per cent and it's easy to under­stand people are looking for a better deal on energy.'

But while Financial comparison website Mozo's spokeswoman Kirsty Lamont said energy price rises would continue, she advised people to keep shopping around. 'Energy bills are the second biggest household cost after the mortgage or the rent, so an increase of around 13-14 per cent will be a huge pain point for many households,' she said.

'When it comes to energy, if you are not shopping around you are not saving because energy providers generally reserve their biggest discounts and best deals for new customers.

'If you have been with the same energy provider for a few years, chances are you are paying a lot more than you could be.'

In an attempt to minimise the financial pain, Energy Australia is giving both new and existing customers the chance to  to sign up to their Secure Saver two-year energy plan. The new plan locks in energy prices on both electricity and gas for 24 months and will put the 'pause button' on price rises.

Customers have until January 31 to sign up to the Secure Saver and avoid the January price hike.


Bob Katter grabs an opportunity to talk about the unchecked crocodile population in the Far North

The Far North is too far away for most politicians to bother about a few people getting chomped

North Queensland Federal MP Bob Katter has bizarrely talked about marriage equality in the same sentence as the growing crocodile violence in his electorate.

Footage of the interview was played on Insight which shows a relaxed Mr Katter brightly speaking about the same-sex marriage debate in a tender tone before things take a turn.

'I mean, y'know, people are entitled to their sexual proclivities. Let there be a thousand blossoms bloom, as far as I'm concerned,' he said during a press conference last week.

Moments later the conservative politician's entire face changed into an expression of anger.

'But I ain't spendin' any time on it, because in the mean time, every three months, a person is torn to pieces by a crocodile in North Queensland,' he managed to spit out.

The maverick Queensland crossbencher previously said he is so worried about parents losing the right to object to their children being taught the Safe Schools program he wants the law changed.

The Katter's Australian Party leader and renegade Nationals MP George Christensen, a fellow Queenslander, are working on a parliamentary bill that would give parents the right to pull their kids out of the controversial gender theory lessons.

Mr Katter, who holds the vast far-north Queensland seat of Kennedy, said the legalisation of same-sex marriage would force children into learning about gay sex and relationships.

'I don't want anyone to underestimate the damage that is being done here to the people of Australia,' he told Daily Mail Australia.

'It opens the way for them to teach same-sex marriage in school.'


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, November 20, 2017

Yes vote means a new minority needs protection

Miranda Devine

ON Thursday night, 24 hours after the same-sex marriage result, young Christians from the No-voting western half of Sydney took five litres of black paint to Yes-vote heartland, inner-urban Newtown, and painted over an offensive mural of Cardinal George Pell and Tony Abbott engaged in a sex act.

The giant mural depicted the former Prime Minister as a bride with his hand down the topless Cardinal’s rainbow underpants, complete with pubic hair and caption “The Happy Ending”. It was painted on the wall of the Botany View Hotel on Wednesday as a perverse celebration of the 61.6 per cent same-sex marriage ‘Yes’ vote.

Within hours someone had splashed white paint across the wall, obscuring Cardinal Pell’s face.

But it took 28-year-old Maronite Catholic builder, Charbel, to do the job properly.

He and a mate drove to Newtown and proceeded to paint over the mural using a long-handled roller, respectfully leaving the artist’s name intact and choosing a colour that blended in with the rest of the building. He was impervious to abuse from passers-by calling him “fat wog” and “bigot”.

And then on Friday night, to the horror of locals, a group of 30 Christians from the western suburbs turned up with rosary beads and incense to pray the “Hail Mary” next to the painted-out mural.

“This mural was a direct attack on Christians or anyone who believes in a god,” says Charbel. “This is homosexual activists saying we are here, we are loud and strong and when you oppose us we’ll accuse you of hate and not being reasonable and acceptable. What I want to know is, where’s our acceptance?”

This is the cry of the four in ten Australian who voted No and are being treated now like outcasts by gloating Yes campaigners, chief among them the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

In his triumphalist speech when the result was announced, the PM lauded the 7.8 million Australians “who voted yes for fairness”.

But he barely acknowledged the 4.8 million Australians who voted No, not because they believe in unfairness, but because they are concerned about the consequences of such a profound change to our foundational social institution. He said nothing to allay their fears.

All he said was: “I know a minority obviously voted no. But we are a fair nation.”

To be fair, he deserves credit for sticking with his election promise to hold a plebiscite, and he has been vindicated with an extraordinary participation rate of almost 80 per cent.

Same-sex marriage has been legitimised by the mandate of the majority, and those of us who were on the losing side accept the result in good faith.

But Turnbull assured us during the campaign that he believed in religious freedom “even more strongly” than in same-sex marriage.

And now social conservatives find themselves disenfranchised and unprotected.

Last week they were being ridiculed for trying to protect basic freedom of expression, association, thought, conscience or religion, and for upholding the right of parents to ensure the education of their children is in accordance with their beliefs.

Crikey accurately described the “general hilarity” that greeted Senator James Paterson’s serious effort to craft a bill that balances competing rights when same sex marriage becomes law. Ignored was his 35,000-word explanatory memorandum containing 19 examples from countries where people have been persecuted for holding a traditional view of marriage, from the Irish baker, the Canadian law school and the British adoption agency to the Washington florist, the Sydney GP and the Tasmanian bishop.

According new rights to one minority should not leave another minority vulnerable and afraid that they will be persecuted for deeply held beliefs.

This is why treasurer Scott Morrison, who was the first politician to advocate a plebiscite, in June 2015, has intervened now to insist on amendments to the marriage bill to protect basic freedoms.

“There are over four million people that voted no in this survey who are now coming to terms with the fact that on this issue, they are a minority.

“They have concerns that their broader views and their broader beliefs are also now in the minority and therefore under threat. And they are seeking assurances that… the things that they hold dear are not under threat also because of this change.”

If Morrison, and those valiant Liberal MPs who still believe in freedom, don’t prevail, the gulf between No-voting Australia and Yes-voting Australia will tear our society apart in ways we can’t even imagine.

WITHIN hours of the same-sex marriage announcement on Wednesday, an outspoken No voter who owns a beauty salon in Perth was floored by a gay wedding request.

Belinda received a booking inquiry on her salon’s Facebook page from gay couple Brad and Chris for “a full body wax to make our honeymoon extra special”.

“My partner Chris and I have started planning our big day for Jan now the vote thing is over, So excited!”

Belinda, who is afraid to use her real name, is certain she is being trolled by gay activists. “It’s not genuine. They know I’m an active No voter and they think they can goad me…

“Are they going to turn up at the shop tomorrow? Where do I stand now if there are people out there deliberately trying to force me to participate in gay weddings?”

Belinda says her Catholic faith prevents her from endorsing a gay wedding. “But I’ve been in business 15 years and I have heaps of gay clients. I have no problem with gay people but I need a safeguard from crazy people.”

In other countries where gay marriage exists, activists have targeted conscientious objectors, florists, bakers and innkeepers who don’t want to service gay weddings.

Labor, the Greens and like-minded Liberals insist the rights of No voters need no protection, but Belinda’s dilemma is just the start.


Australia slow at adopting electric cars

In the race to adopt electric vehicles, Australia is sputtering along in the slow lane.

Rather than growing, Australian sales of electric cars are actually in decline. In 2016 they represented just 0.02 per cent of new car sales — even lower than in 2013.

Contrast that with Norway, the country with the highest levels of electric car adoption. Almost 30 per cent of new cars sold there in 2016 were electric.

Why are Australian motorists rejecting electric cars while those in other advanced economies are embracing them? As the National Roads and Motorists' Association (NRMA) has previously pointed out, high vehicle prices are an obvious barrier.

But that is only part of the answer.

Our current research, in which we used online questionnaires to survey Australian motorists' attitudes to electric vehicles, suggests that a comprehensive network of recharging stations — particularly on popular intercity routes, is essential to encourage drivers to go electric. This seems to be even more important than subsidising the cost of the cars themselves.

Rechargers on highways, in country towns and at service centres need to be fast and convenient, so that motorists are not unduly delayed. Without the right charging infrastructure, there is no foundation to allow Australian motorists to go electric with confidence.

The average Australian motorist drives 36 kilometres per day for all passenger vehicles. This is well within the range of modern fully electric vehicles - more than 150km for the models on sale in Australia — and actually less than Norwegians, who drive more than 40km a day on average.

Norwegian drivers also enjoy the highest proportion of rechargers in the world. But on another criterion the world leader is Estonia. It's credited as the first nation to build a country-wide network, with a recharging station every 50km on major roads, and one in every town with a population of at least 5,000.


'Yeah, nah': She's a top fighter but Keneally won't win Bennelong

Imre Salusinszky

Sometimes I think about my seven years reporting on state politics as a love-affair with the NSW Labor Right faction. My brief during those seven years, or at least the brief I constructed for myself, was to capture some of the unusual characters who populate NSW political life and make it so special.

In NSW politics, there are vivid, interesting characters in all parties and all factions. For example, to have any considerable experience of Fred Nile is to suspect one has entered the pages of a Charles Dickens novel. And whatever you think of Lee Rhiannon​'s politics, which in my case is not much at all, she's a character all right, all the way down to her made-up surname and her insistence on saying "v" instead of the word "very".

Former NSW premier Kristina Keneally is Labor's candidate for the byelection in Bennelong, taking on Liberal John Alexander.
But for sheer political cunning, mixed with policy nous, and all wrapped up in a delicious package of profoundly filthy language, it's hard to go past the NSW Right.

Just the beginning of a list of noteworthy characters from the faction would include Bob Carr, Michael Egan, John Della Bosca, Frank Sartor, Barrie Unsworth, John Robertson, Morris Iemma, Carl Scully, Amanda Fazio and – my spiritual adviser for many years – Michael Costa.

And, of course, Kristina Keneally. Smart, funny, confident, and yes, American, she was one more thing that made NSW politics between 2007 and 2011 every journalist's dream gig – and one more incredible and indelible character thrown up by the Right.

Her swearing wasn't as good as Costa's or Sartor's, but it wasn't bad.

I first interviewed Keneally on the day she became Minister for Disability Services and Ageing in 2007, and pretty much tracked every move she made between then and her retirement from parliament in June, 2012. She was always great copy.

Following Keneally around on the 2011 campaign was to exist in a parallel universe. The Labor government's numbers, and her own numbers by this stage, were catastrophic, yet she was mobbed everywhere we went. Like a subsequent NSW premier to whom I eventually got much closer, she had star power.

Eddie Obeid and Joe Tripodi played a decisive role in Keneally's victory over Sartor for the leadership in December, 2009. That said, she did not have a close personal relationship with Obeid. She was extremely close to Tripodi.

Did she know the pair were corrupt, as eventually found by the Independent Commission Against Corruption? Absolutely not. Love her or hate her, Keneally is as straight as a die, and has strong values rooted in her family and her faith. Anybody who knows her is aware of the deep sense of betrayal she harbours towards Tripodi today.

Even Sartor, the chief nemesis of Obeid and Tripodi, wouldn't swear they were corrupt in 2008 or 2009. There was one senior Labor figure who looked me in the eye back then, on Phillip Street as it happens, and said the pair were corrupt and would end up in jail. That was the MP for Liverpool, Paul Lynch.

So Keneally was certainly Obeid and Tripodi's candidate, but was she their "puppet"? I don't think anybody can nominate particular outcomes she engineered for the pair once she was premier.

I speak with considerable authority on this subject, because if anybody was a puppet of Obeid and Tripodi, it was I. I liked and trusted them and used them as sources for innumerable stories. I wrote an essentially positive profile of Tripodi for my newspaper's glossy weekend magazine.

On the day Keneally became premier, The Daily Telegraph branded her a puppet on its front page, and she instantly became a highly popular figure across NSW. This popularity was worn down over time: by the venality of her colleagues, by the clever long game of Barry O'Farrell, and by her own missteps in the back half of 2010.

The Tele repeated the treatment on Wednesday, and it will give her a mild electoral boost. People dislike victimisation and vilification, especially of women.

But will Keneally unseat John Alexander in Bennelong and trigger a change of government in Canberra?

No, she won't. Bill Shorten's gambit is the sort of thing political tragics love, but for the voters of Bennelong it will be more a case of, "Yeah, nah."

Keneally is a great fighter, but Alexander is a popular and hardworking local member. His citizenship travails are likely to engender sympathy, particularly in a heavily multicultural electorate. The big issues in Bennelong are usually over-development and housos, and he will know exactly what to say.

But Keneally will improve the result for Labor, which will signal "Mission Accomplished" for Shorten. I fully expect she will be nominated for a winnable seat in 2019 and will be a real asset in a Shorten ministry, if there ever is one.


Queensland has too many public servants: Howard

Former prime minister John Howard has hit out at the size of Queensland's public service, undermining Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls' promise not to cut jobs.

The Liberal Party elder statesman campaigned alongside LNP MP Tarnya Smith in her marginal Brisbane electorate of Mount Ommaney on Friday as he joined the state campaign for the first time.
Former prime minister John Howard said Queensland has too many public servants despite LNP leader Tim Nicholls promising no cuts.

Asked about Queensland's rising debt problem, Mr Howard said economic growth and activity would help eliminate money that was owed but also said a slimmer public service would reduce the burden.

"You also eliminate debt by not just appointing unnecessarily large numbers of state employees," he said. "You need a certain number of state employees but I think it's fair to say that the number appointed by the present government has got a little bit out of proportion."

Mr Nicholls has been haunted during the election campaign over the role he played in the sacking of 14,000 public servants during Campbell Newman's government.

The Opposition Leader has repeatedly apologised and ruled out axing government workers if he is elected to govern.

Mr Howard also lashed Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk over her mixed messages about the Adani coal mine. "The first requirement of effective leadership in politics, whether you're Labor or Liberal or National Party or LNP or whatever, is to know what you believe in and where you stand," he said.

"The problem Annastacia Palaszczuk has is that I don't know where she stands on the Adani mine."

Mr Howard said the premier's views had changed based on where she was in Queensland. "In one part of the state she's for it, in another part of the state she's sort of against it and in another part of the state (she's) right against it," he said. "Now that is unimpressive irrespective of what your politics are."

The premier has come under fire during the election campaign over her handling of the Adani issue after she vowed to veto a $1 billion federal taxpayer-funded loan to the mining giant.

She initially said the decision was to avoid the perception of a conflict of interest following revelations her partner Shaun Drabsch worked on the loan application with employer PricewaterhouseCoopers. But Ms Palaszczuk later said it was to meet a 2015 election commitment.


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, November 19, 2017

Two words that may not be spoken in the same breath

Leftists hate everything that is normal in their own society -- which leads to them championing everything that is abnormal in their own society -- such as homosexuals and Muslims.  They want to be on the side of both those groups.  But what if Muslims despise homosexuals?  A problem?  Not for a Leftist.  You have lots of Freudian defence mechanisms to use.  A good one is compartmentalization.  You just never mention or even think about the two in the same breath.  Tim Blair mocks that below in his commentary on the people who voted "No" to homosexual marriage in the recent plebiscite. You would never guess who they were:   Excerpts only below:

“Why did western Sydney overwhelmingly vote no?” asks academic Andy Marks, who subsequently spends several hundred words avoiding the obvious answer.

The assistant vice-chancellor at Western Sydney University continues:

    Here's the breakdown on the across western Sydney's 10 federal electorates. On the "no" side of the ledger: Blaxland 73.9 per cent, Chifley 58.7, Fowler 63.7, Greenway 53.6, McMahon 64.9, Mitchell 50.9 and Werriwa 63.7 per cent.

    Barring Mitchell, "no" dominated in all Labor held seats. Longstanding MPs, Jason Clare, Ed Husic, Chris Hayes, Michelle Rowland and Chris Bowen might well be considering the implications with respect to the social dimension of the party's broader policies. Or not ....

Instead of "engaging with an incredibly complex debate on cultural values with the sophistication it deserves", we ask "who will think of the cake makers". It's time to recognise the consequences, political and otherwise, of the shifting epicentre of Australian conservative values.

Marks is right that Western Sydney, as a region, is no longer “a homogenous whole”. But he declines to join a “complex debate on cultural values” that recognises the massive Islamic homogeneity within certain Western Sydney suburbs.

Instead, ridiculously, he apparently includes the opinions of non-English speaking Muslims within the broader category of “Australian conservative values”. Similarly evasive is the ABC


One step closer for Kidston solar and pumped hydro generator

Pumped Hydro electricity is intrinsically an enormously expensive way to generate electricity.  You need two dams for a start.  So it will never be anything but the tiniest contribution to baseload.  No wonder the project below is "world first"!

The folk below, however, seem to have found two conveniently located existing dams so might have a workable project with taxpayer support

The world’s first integrated solar and pumped hydro hybrid project in Kidston is one step closer to being built as the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) today announced up to $5 million in funding to Genex Power Limited (Genex) to help bring the landmark project to financial close in 2018.

This morning, Genex Power Limited made an ASX announcement that ARENA, on behalf of the Australian Government, would provide up to $5 million to support pre-financial close activities.

The Kidston Stage Two is a hybrid solar and hydro project is expected to comprise a hybrid 250MW pumped hydro electricity storage (PHES) facility and 270MW solar PV, generating around 783GWh of renewable electricity per year and powering over 140,000 Australian homes.

The Kidston site is located 270km north west of Townsville and will utilise two existing gold mining pits as the reservoirs for the project to minimise construction time and costs.

The solar PV and PHES hybrid enables Genex to create a reliable, dispatchable and affordable energy generator that is entirely renewable. PHES will also be also be able to provide stability and support to the grid, including ancillary services.

During peak power demand periods water will be released from the upper to the lower reservoir, passing through reversible turbines. During off peak periods and when sun is abundant, water will be pumped back from the lower reservoir to the upper reservoir using electricity primarily from the solar farm.

“Stage Two of the Kidston hydro and solar project is an important step in achieving a secure and reliable grid for Australia and increasing the value delivered by renewable energy,” ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said.

“Kidston will be the only grid connected solar project located in Australia’s solar red zone, providing consistent strong sun throughout the year, and combining it with pumped hydro will provide Queensland access to an entirely renewable flexible energy option,” he said.

ARENA’s funding will help the project reach financial close by mid-2018, with up to $4.5 million of the grant to be convertible at the Minister’s discretion.

ARENA has previously provided $4 million to Genex towards the technical feasibility study of the PHES portion of the project, and a further $8.9 million towards Kidston Stage One solar PV project as part of the $92 million large scale solar PV competitive round.

Genex Managing Director Michael Addison said: “Genex is grateful to the Australian Government for its continuing support of the Kidston Stage 2 project, and the help of ARENA in bringing this to fruition in the near future.

The continued support from ARENA is testament to the innovative nature of the project, and the growing importance of large scale energy storage in Australia’s energy system as it transitions,” he said.

Via email

Universities line up for new $3 billion Ramsey Centre for Western Civilisation

Ramsey clearly thought Western civilization was a good thing.  Sadly, it is unlikely that his money will go to teach that. The jobs generated will undoubtedly go to Leftist academics who will be doing their best to denigrate Western civilization

In the biggest philanthropic gift in the history of education in Australia, as many as 10 NSW universities are vying for the chance to offer a new western civilisation degree to be completely funded as part of a $3 billion bequest from health care magnate Paul Ramsay.

Mr Ramsay, who died in 2014, wanted a significant part of his personal fortune to be spent on funding an academic centre to revive the liberal arts and humanities.

The new Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation, to be formally launched on Monday, will offer a western civilisation arts degree in two or possibly three universities in NSW and the ACT, as well as fund 30 generous scholarships at each selected university.

About $25 million a year will be spent on the centre and its Ramsay scholars, as they will be known, will get at least $25,000 a year to cover tuition and living costs.

The centre's chief executive, Simon Haines, who was previously professor of English at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said the centre "would not be a think tank". "This will be a teaching enterprise, not a political one," Professor Haines said.

The centre is currently evaluating the expressions of interest from NSW and ACT universities which want to collaborate with the centre, with 10 of the 12 NSW universities having indicated that they would be submitting a formal proposal, Professor Haines said.

It is understood the two or three successful universities will be announced in the new year.

The board of the centre includes notable conservatives, including former prime ministers John Howard and Tony Abbott, but to broaden its political reach, the former Labor leader and US ambassador Kim Beazley and the powerful right-wing unionist Joe De Bruyn were recent appointees.

The male-dominated board will be boosted by some female appointments, Professor Haines said.

"There is no doubt this is the biggest thing for the liberal arts and humanities that has ever happened in this country," Professor Haines said. He said the centre would offer degrees that would "be as prestigious and as high quality" as some of the top universities in the US and UK. "We will be elite but not elitist," Professor Haines said.

The model of teaching would be very similar to the leading liberal arts universities in the US such as St Johns, Amherst and Columbia, with small classes of about six students rather than huge lectures.

The centre will recruit leading academics from around the world and Australia, Professor Haines said.

Professor Haines said although the centre would be fully funded, it would not dictate how the selected universities run the degree programmes. "We will not be telling them what to do, they will retain their independence," Professor Haines said.

There will also be several Ramsay postgraduate scholarships, which will be open to recent Australian graduates from a range of academic disciplines, for study at prestigious international universities, and the centre will run a program of summer schools, with distinguished visiting lecturers.

The centre says "generations of young Australians will eventually benefit from this unique opportunity, and learn to value their own civilisational heritage, at no cost to the taxpayer."


The writing is on the wall for ... writing itself

A New Yorker magazine writer lamented the demise of joined-up (cursive) writing in 1966. As Mark Twain might have said, that news was highly exaggerated. Handwriting was not dead but, like a histrionic opera heroine with a fatal illness, it was suffering a long lingering denouement. In recent years, the pace of decline has accelerated.

Australia Post tells us that the volume of personally addressed mail has slumped by half in the past eight years. A handwritten letter in the mail queue stands out like a vintage car in a stream of shiny new Teslas. A recent poll conducted by Docmail, a printing and mailing company, found that one in three people had not handwritten anything longer than a shopping list in the previous six months. In 2015, the Thomas Cook Group published a survey showing that, on any particular day, half the population never picks up a pen or pencil. This is not surprising; the Bic pen company says that one in 10 teenagers does not even own a pen.

Handwriting, increasingly absent from everyday life, is also vanishing from the professions. Doctors, long infamous for sloppy writing, are giving up scribbling prescriptions preferring to generate them by computer. Their patients should be relieved. Over the years, doctors’ illegible scrawls have resulted in thousands of medication errors, some fatal. Digital prescriptions are much safer. They are not only easy to read but computers also double-check dosages, side effects and drug interactions against online databases.

Medicine is not the only profession that is moving away from handwriting. Lawyers say that e-signatures are more secure and easier to verify than the obscure squiggles at the bottom of letters. Accountants no longer write in ledgers and newspapers do not accept handwritten articles for publication.

In a particularly ominous sign, Finland, widely considered an educational leader because of its students’ strong performance on international tests, has stopped compelling schools to teach cursive writing. Instead, Finnish teachers are advised to devote their time to “keyboarding”. According to Minna Harmanen, from the Finnish National Board of Education, “fluent typing skills are an important national competence” – implying that handwriting is not. The Finns are not alone. The Common Core State Standards (a school curriculum adopted by more than 40 American states) has gone down the same road. Students attending schools in Common Core states must learn to print individual letters, but cursive writing is optional.

In contrast to Finland and many American states, the Australian Curriculum (which applies to all states and territories) still requires instruction in cursive writing. Students begin with printing, but by Year 3 they are expected to “write using joined letters that are accurately formed and consistent in size”. The curriculum does not describe what these joined letters should look like because, in a throwback to the days of different railroad gauges, each state clings to its preferred style.

After Year 3, the Australian Curriculum does not specify any achievement standard for writing nor is penmanship assessed in national examinations. Given that no expectations have been set and no external assessments conducted, it is not surprising that many (perhaps most) schools expend minimal effort teaching writing. The results are evident to those who mark school examinations. Like President Trump’s tweets, the handwriting of many young people consists entirely of capital letters. SAD!

The decline of handwriting has been precipitous, but it has not vanished entirely. Some authors claim that writing by hand stimulates their creativity. That’s why JK Rowling drafted her Harry Potter books using a pen, and Quentin Tarantino writes his screenplays using a pencil.

For many professionals, there is no practical alternative to handwriting. Overstretched nurses find it more efficient to jot down their observations on patients’ charts than to type them on a keyboard. Convenience is the reason that teachers continue to write corrections in the margins of papers and why signatures, those hastily scribbled declarations of who we are, remain in wide use — on hotel registrations, marriage certificates and even electronic receipts for deliveries..

But, convenience is not the only reason handwriting refuses to perish; it is also kept alive by tradition and nostalgia. As Anne Trubek, author of The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting (2016) put it:

When a new writing technology develops, we tend to romanticise the older one … for monks, print was capricious and script reliable. Conventional wisdom holds that computers are devoid of emotion … [whereas] handwriting is the province of intimacy, originality and authenticity.

Intimacy, originality and authenticity are all highly valued. The Thomas Cook Group poll that found only half the population writes anything on a given day also found that 28 per cent of people save handwritten love letters (even from their exes). One quarter retains written thank-you notes and postcards. They may only be blue-black smears, but signatures are definitely original. This is why fans collect autographs and readers ask authors to sign their books. As for authenticity, the five-dollar note in your wallet may be graced with a portrait of the Queen, but it still relies on the signature of the Governor of the Reserve Bank to convey its trustworthiness.

Perhaps because it is old-fashioned and requires some effort, handwriting has acquired the aura of bespoke craftsmanship. “Handwritten” is the name of a rock album, a film producer and a fashion company. Catering to artisanal needs, shops such as the Il Papiro chain sell elegant papers, pens, blotters, wax seals, even quills. In addition to selling pens and stationery, the Officeworks chain sponsors Time to Write workshops that promise “a greater sense of life satisfaction” for those who spend “just 15-20 minutes of handwriting a day”.

For writers such as Anne Trubek, upmarket stationery shops and New Age writing workshops confirm that handwriting is no longer a quotidian form of communication but a craft. Like other crafts, Trubek believes that handwriting should be relegated to art classes where it could be taught to an ever-diminishing group of interested students. An editorial in The Los Angeles Times put this view quite bluntly: “States and schools shouldn’t cling to cursive based on the romantic idea that it’s a tradition, an art form or a basic skill whose disappearance would be a cultural tragedy.”

Many educators disagree. They say teaching handwriting in primary school produces cognitive benefits, such as fine motor skills and eye-hand co-ordination. These skills are not easy to acquire using a keyboard because the cognitive and motor processes required for typing are different from those used in writing. To handwrite a letter, a child must form a mental image of the letter’s shape. The child then uses this image to guide a pen or pencil.

Edouard Gentaz, an education researcher, calls this process “directing movement by thought”. With practice, the specific movements needed to draw each letter create a unique “motor memory” that not only facilitates writing but also helps children recognise letters when learning to read. Using a keyboard does not create unique memories because the motor movement required for typing any letter or punctuation mark is identical (a key press).

Handwriting also beats typing for remembering lessons. Psychologists Pam Mueller and Daniel Oppenheimer found that university students who took lecture notes on laptops performed worse on a subsequent examination than students who handwrote their notes. According to Mueller, the “laptop note-takers took … verbatim notes, signalling that they were processing the content less than the longhand note-takers.”

Students who took notes by hand could not get every word down, so they were forced to think about what they were hearing and reframe it in their own words thereby improving their memory. In the light of this research, some school systems (Singapore, France) have decided to re-emphasise cursive writing. Six American states have reintroduced it into their schools.

A potent combination of tradition, nostalgia, craftsmanship, practicality and educational research suggests that once again the “writing is on the wall”. Unlike King Nebuchadnezzar, handwriting has been weighed in the balance and found necessary.


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