Tuesday, February 20, 2018



Is the Labor Party too trusting of China?

Clive Hamilton below thinks so. He is very much of the Green/Left so that is something of a surprise but it may be part of Greenie anti-development thinking.  He actually sounds quite nationalist below -- not far from Pauline Hanson.  I don't really see what the fuss is about.  If they buy up bits of Australia nothing is lost.  They can't pick up the bit they have bought and take it back to China


Canberra is finally beginning to push back against Beijing’s long-running campaign to seduce our elites so completely that the nation kow-tows before China’s wishes.

The first phase of the pushback culminated in December with the Turnbull government introducing legislation to outlaw foreign interference operations and novel forms of espionage. Afraid that its well-made plans will be thwarted, Beijing has been making panicky claims that it’s all motivated by “anti-Chinese racism”.

Led by shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus, the Labor Party is gearing up to oppose the legislation. Dreyfus says his concern is to protect press freedom, but that is being used to undermine the rationale of the laws themselves.

Amending the legislation to protect democratic freedoms is easy. The harder task is undoing the deep penetration of the Labor Party by proxies for and agents of the Chinese Communist Party. The spectacular downfall of Sam Dastyari was one clumsy instance of a more insidious problem for Labor.

The Liberal Party has been subject to the same kind of influence operations and the party undoubtedly has a problem. Yet, going by the Turnbull government’s determination to enact the foreign interference legislation, the Liberals still remain willing to put basic Australian democratic freedoms before Chinese money.

Apologists for China in the Labor Party have been working, wittingly or otherwise, to entrench China’s structure of influence. Last week, Kevin Rudd played perfectly into the hands of Beijing by lambasting the Turnbull government’s proposed laws as an “anti-China jihad”.

The Mandarin-speaking former prime minister said that current laws are perfectly adequate. If that’s true, why have there been no prosecutions? And why are several Western nations watching events here so intently, expecting to follow the trail being blazed in Australia?

The Rudd government’s approach to China was weak and indecisive, perhaps best represented by Rudd’s disastrous decision in 2008 to wreck the emerging Quadrilateral Security Dialogue with India, Japan and the United States. His pull-out, under Chinese pressure, soured relations with India and delayed for a decade cooperation between the four democratic powers to begin acting jointly to resist Beijing’s aggression.

Rudd believes what he put in place is enough to protect Australia. Anyone who has tracked China’s growing influence over the last several years, including our intelligence agencies, knows that is laughable.

It’s to be expected that a former leader will attempt to burnish his legacy, but when he uses his residual influence to expose the nation to foreign domination he needs to be called out. Rudd’s Labor predecessor Paul Keating retains much greater influence in the Labor Party and beyond. He chairs an international advisory council for the huge China Development Bank. He regularly praises the Communist Party bosses for their brilliant achievements—“the best government in the world for the last 30 years”—and calls for Australia to loosen our ties with the United States.

Keating is the godfather of the powerful NSW right faction of the ALP that has been so corrupted by Chinese influence. Dastyari may have gone because of his unseemly relationship with Chinese billionaire Huang Xiangmo, but plenty of powerful Beijing sympathisers remain.

Former NSW premier and foreign minister Bob Carr has been castigated for agreeing to run a “think tank” established with a large donation from Huang Xiangmo. Carr proudly proclaimed that the Australia-China Relations Institute would adopt a “positive and optimistic” view of China.

Tony Burke, a federal leadership aspirant, is also a beneficiary of Chinese money. His election campaign was boosted by a $30,000 donation from a source flagged by ASIO as connected to the CCP.

When asked on radio about the $30,000 donation, Burke said it was donated by a family friend, whom he holds in the “highest regard”.

There are current and former Labor politicians who understand fully the danger posed by the Chinese Communist Party to our democratic freedoms and support measures to protect our sovereignty. They include Richard Marles, Kim Beazley, John Faulkner, Michael Danby, Stephen Conroy and Anthony Byrne. But the party has a cancer growing in it, and it must cut it out.

SOURCE






Rise of the eco-cup enterprises as war on waste steps up

I am sort of sympathetic to this. I grew up in a long-gone era where the motto was "Waste not, want not" and nothing was "disposable".  So mountains of old disposable coffee cups do seem a waste. 

On the other hand, digging big holes and filling them with rubbish is not exactly hi-tech or difficult.  And when the dump fills up it is customary to resurface it as a sports field or park.  A lot of our sports facilities originated that way. 

As it happens, I always drink my coffee out of a china cup -- because I like it that way


When Simon Karlik saw rubbish bins overflowing with water bottles, coffee cups and takeaway food containers, he thought the amount of waste was “just insane”.

“I thought, can’t we go back to, in my terms, grandma's day, where you didn't rely on this very lazy option of just using something once and throwing it away,” says Karlik.

That prompted Karlik to start Cheeki, the Sydney-based company which makes vacuum-insulated stainless steel coffee cups you can carry to your café.

Today, his company, which produces a range of eco-friendly food and drink containers, turns over between $3 million to $4 million.

Reusable coffee cups rose in popularity in the wake of the ABC’s groundbreaking television series, War on Waste, which accelerated the public debate about Australia’s waste disposal problems.

According to the program, we throw out around 1 billion coffee cups each year.

Karlik started Cheeki in 2009 with stainless steel water bottles. “The water bottle was my focus for the first year or so and then we fairly quickly went into the coffee cups. And more recently, lunch boxes and food containers.”

He says while the water bottles were well received from the outset, “the coffee cups were certainly slower in the beginning. I remember early on we had a slogan, ‘No excuse for single use’. People didn't even understand that. We tried to speak to a lot of cafes about offering a discount if you brought in your reusable cup and they just didn't really understand.

“And then it really took off with the War on Waste TV show last year. That was the big one that put it into the mainstream consciousness. But there certainly had been a groundswell leading up to that TV show.”

Karlik says he saw an instant spike in website traffic. “It has dwindled away somewhat. But for the month after the TV show, it was incredibly powerful.”

Cheeki products are available through around 1200 retailers including health stores, organic grocers, pharmacies, homeware stores, which account for 95 per cent of their sales. They are also available online.

Karlik says Cheeki focuses on “insulated stainless steel cups and mugs which keep the product very hot for a long time. We have a couple of different styles, but our most popular style is leakproof, meaning you could literally get your coffee and put it in your handbag and run to the bus or something.”

He says the company does “considerable R & D work” and the overseas market is firmly on its radar.

While Cheeki sells in the UK and European market in “a small way”, it is planning to launch properly in the US and Europe in March.

Another product surfing this trend is the JOCO coffee cup.

“The JOCO brand was created in 2008,” says founder Matt Colegate. “The concept or the basis behind the brand was developed out of a personal protest against disposable waste and plastic.”

Colegate says the goal was to have a brand with values that could create eco-friendly products and solutions that then empower those values, “and also empower the individual to make a difference in their everyday life without sacrificing any luxuries as well”.

While the brand was born in 2008, Colegate says the “first product from the JOCO brand was literally a mug I grabbed from the office where I worked. I made a lid for it and started using that at the local cafes rather than disposable cups.

“The JOCO Cup that we feature is far more refined. We didn’t start production till a few years later because it was a side project for us. We had day jobs and the development process was substantial because we were attempting to work outside of the plastic world and that proved to be a big challenge.”

The first cups from the Torquay-based company were rolled out around 2012.

“When we started developing the product, we chipped in around $2000 to work out the design and so forth. Once we got around to the sampling stage, and our first production, we invested around $40,000.”

Colegate says things picked up from there. “Every year we have seen really good growth in uptake of reusable vessels and plastic-free vessels. The business was inefficient basically due to the fact that we were operating outside the plastic world, our costs were huge.

“In the last 24 months, we have really seen a big uptake, especially within parts of Europe and Australia. And then in the last year, with the War on Waste, we have seen increases of over 500 per cent in particular regions.”

The reusable glass JOCO cups are designed, developed and produced in-house, he says. “In the development process we worked very closely with leading baristas from around the world to get the input as to what they need to make the cup a perfect tool for their processes.”

SOURCE






Barnaby Joyce’s greatest sin is being conservative

JENNIFER ORIEL

While less offensive than a Bob and Blanche biopic, the Barnaby and Vikki show is best viewed in a dimly lit interior. Australians aren’t prudish but the suggestion that Barnaby Joyce and a staff member had an affair on the public purse offends common decency and aesthetic sensibilities.

The Deputy Prime Minister ­arguably misused his power as the highest-ranking conservative in government by having an extramarital affair with a staffer. He is compounding the damage by refusing to resign.

His sense of entitlement is degrading public discourse and deepening the democratic deficit as people ­question whether any politician can be trusted. While it is fair to charge Joyce with hypocrisy, we should beware the double standard that condemns conservatives for ­immoral behaviour while ­exonerating their progressivist counterparts.

The Joyce affair is another nail in the coffin for Coalition conservatives. When Tony Abbott was rolled as prime minister by Malcolm Turnbull’s Liberals left faction, the Nationals became flag-bearers for traditional social values in government. Many people voted for the Coalition on the basis that the Nationals would balance Turnbull’s tilt to the left. Joyce’s appointment as deputy prime minister was part of the ­balancing act.

Joyce is no titan of Australian politics but he is the highest-ranking conservative in government and campaigned for traditional marriage during last year’s same-sex marriage plebiscite. After news of his extramarital affair broke, the left was quick to cry hypocrite over his public stance against gay marriage. Fair enough.

The anger over Joyce’s protracted extramarital affair with a staffer is shared broadly. But outside of his family, few are more disappointed than conservatives. Many feel that he has made a mockery of conservative values.

The conservative disappointment with Joyce is palpable in the media, where right-leaning journalists are holding him to account. Conservative commentators are putting the principle before the side and calling for his resignation. However, sections of the pro­gressivist media are taking a markedly different approach. Somewhere along the line, Joyce’s midlife crisis became an excuse to bash conservatives. The Deputy PM is a bad boy for sleeping around but an appalling sod for being right-wing, so the story goes. The progs should beware the boomerang effect.

Barnaby Joyce, hypocrite, is an acute angle with popular appeal. And it has the easy virtue of being true. The news of a hypocrite in the House was splashed across the media left and right, national and international. London’s The Times captured the essence of the story and impending social opprobrium with the headline: Barnaby Joyce, ‘family man’ of Australian politics, moves in with his pregnant lover. Note the scare quotes and unleash the hounds.

On Saturday actor Susan Sarandon had her say about the Joyce affair in Fairfax. “It just seems as if government these days is so full of reactionary hypocrites,” she said. “It always seems it’s the guys who are the most right-wing — either homophobic or the least empathetic with women — that you suddenly find out were leading this other life.” The conflation of right-wing, bigoted and deceptive is a neat rhetorical trick. But you can’t erase Bill Clinton from history, no matter how convenient the revision might be to damning conservative politicians from the lofty heights of political purity.

It’s true that Joyce has a lot to answer for and the charge of hypocrisy will stick. If he had campaigned as a libertarian or a card-carrying member of the Sex Party, few would care if he crossed a moral line.

But he rose to power as leader of the Nationals on a family values ticket. He defended the traditional family by arguing that monogamous marriage confers higher status upon women. Then he had an affair with a member of his ­political staff ­while his wife and four kids were none the wiser.

Joyce might have got away with the affair, except he’s pro-life and the proof is plain to see. On that matter, at least, he stuck with conservative principles and ­deserves some credit for it.

There is less furore when left-wing politicians cross a moral line on the public purse. When Kevin Rudd admitted to hitting a strip club while representing Australia at the UN, his ratings went up. The public liked a bit of dirt on the clean-cut technocrat often pictured leaving church with his wife. He won the federal election in a landslide a few months later.

The extramarital affair of Labor’s longest-serving PM, Bob Hawke, with Blanche d’Alpuget posed no ­obstacle to his career. It began in 1976, with a proposal two years later allegedly cancelled because Hawke aspired to be PM. He had been married to Hazel since 1956 and they had four children at the time. D’Alpuget later wrote that Hawke said: “Divorce could cost Labor 3 per cent.”

ABC iView recently aired Hawke, The Larrikin and the ­Leader, describing him as “a man with character, humour, individuality and flaws — making him an unforgettable leader”. What have they said about Joyce’s flaws?

Perhaps the most shocking case of double standards for double-crossing politicians was the progressivist response to the allegations of sexual abuse levelled at then US president Bill Clinton. When Clinton was accused of rape and sexual assault, feminists formed a virtual protection racket around their progressive icon. Bubba couldn’t be guilty — he was a Democrat, after all.

In The New York Times, cele­brity feminist Gloria Steinem penned an opinion piece revealing feminism had become the domain of the partisan left. She defended Clinton by questioning the credibility of some alleged victims. The message seemed clear; unless you march left, don’t expect the sisterhood to have your back.

There is no doubt that Barnaby Joyce has done wrong and he has admitted as much. However he seems suspended in a deep state of denial about the gravity of the situation and the deleterious ­effect of his actions on government stability and unity. For the sake of the nation, it’s time to man up and move on.

SOURCE






Accidental Queensland plums a 'cracking piece of fruit'

A Queensland-born plum accidentally created by state government researchers could help Australians lower their risk of heart disease, researchers say.

The Queen Garnet plum was created in the Queensland Department of Primary Industries research centre at Stanthorpe about eight years ago in an attempt to grow a disease-resistant plum.

Brisbane-based Nutrifruit director Alistair Brown, whose company owns the commercialisation rights to the fruit, said that after a number of cross-breeds, the “cracking piece of fruit” was born.

“It was something they weren’t purposely looking for but they ended up with and certainly developed it from there,” he said.

Trials to unlock the antioxidant-rich plum's potential have been underway ever since, kicking off at the University of Southern Queensland and extending south to the University of Wollongong, where researchers were determining whether the fruit could help protect against age-related disease such as cancer, heart disease and brain function.

Initial tests were underway to determine the impacts of Queen Garnet plum juice on blood pressure, University of Wollongong PhD student Katherine Kent said. “We showed that over the short-term, anthocyanin-rich juice can significantly reduce blood pressure, over the long-term it has the potential to improve short-term memory in people who have dementia,” she said.

Mr Brown said interest in the fruit had grown since its inception, spreading from four core Queensland growers to interstate farmers keen to get their hands on the fruit. "There has been an amazing amount of interest and to be honest we have probably had more demand from growers than we have supply of trees but we have to be careful not to overplant or oversupply a market,” he said.

Third-generation fruit farmer Brendon Dunn owns a plum orchid south of Stanthorpe and has just wrapped up his eighth harvest of the Queen Garnet plum. “It was a lighter crop this year so ... we only got maybe 112 tonnes of them,” he said. “The crop itself was lighter and we had some problems with too much rain just before harvest which split the skin on quite a few of them.”

Mr Dunn said the Queen Garnet was a bit more of a “challenge” to grow than other varieties, but at about $8 to $10 a kilo, it was worth it.

“With another plum you might pick them when they are not quite ripe and they will ripen in the box or on the shelf,” he said.
“These ones, you have to let them get almost soft on the tree, that is when they get the antioxidants and everything in them, the really dark flesh.

“But all that extra time on the tree means they are susceptible to damage from storms, birds coming in and eating them and everything else. “It is a bit of a challenge to grow them but that is just the nature of them.”

Mr Dunn said that the taste of the fruit was like “describing a sunset ... it is something you have to try for yourselves".
“They are sweet, they have a good sugar content in them, they are very juicy but also they are quite mealy,” he said. “It is quite a large plum with (a) very dark...purple colour and very dark flesh, a beetroot coloured flesh.

“They are exceptional eating quality, and then of course on top of that they are quite a healthy plum as well, they kind of tick all the boxes.”

Mr Dunn sends his fruit each year to wholesalers at Brisbane's Rocklea market before pruning the trees for winter and starting the whole process again from spring.

“It is one thing to be able to grow fruit that tastes excellent, but on top of that to produce fruit that is going to be beneficial to people’s health, that is something we are really happy to be able to produce that fruit,” he said.

SOURCE

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


Monday, February 19, 2018



Political bias: leftist DFAT holds our foreign policy hostage

Mark Higgie

Bureaucracies are shaped as much by the political views of those who staff them as their commitment to implementing government policies. Having observed our diplomats from the prime minister's office as an adviser to Tony Abbott and on five diplo­matic postings, I have no doubt that their views of the world, advice and decision-making in the main reflect — to a greater extent than other parts of the federal government machinery — the politically correct pieties that also dominate the ABC, the Fairfax press, our universities and, increasingly, our schools.

To any Canberra insider, espec­ially those in Coalition circles, the fact most of our diplomats are leftish is a given. But the foreign service's political bias matters and is a real issue for Liberal-National governments — obviously not so much for Labor. If the bias isn't corrected by close government management, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's bureau­cracy and operations (cost: $5.1 billion this financial year including overseas aid) will go their own way and capture ministers and even prime ministers along the way.

The spirit of Gough Whitlam continues to hover over DFAT's RG Casey Building in Canberra. Most of our diplomats dream of an Australia less aligned with the US and have an often unqualified enthusiasm for the UN. They prefer Greens/Labor approaches to climate change to those of the ­Coalition. They're deeply uneasy with recent Coalition border protection policies and like the 1970s version of multiculturalism that “celebrates diversity” without much concern for common values and integration. They want us unshackled, as they see it, from our symbolic linkages with Britain.

A few examples of DFAT's thriving leftist bias and the tendency among many of its staff to make judgments out of step with mainstream Australian attitudes:

* Yassmin Abdel-Magied has become notorious for her contemptuous attitude towards Australia, highly controversial views of Islam (“the most feminist ­religion”) and preparedness to seek advice from the extremist ­organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir — banned in many countries because of its defence of Islamist terrorism, one of its spokesmen having ­described Australian troops in ­Afghanistan as “fair game” whom Muslims had an obligation to ­attack.

Nevertheless, Abdel-­Magied was appointed in 2015 to DFAT's Council for Australian-Arab Relations and the following year, after she said on the ABC's The Drum that sharia law was “about mercy” and “kindness”, DFAT funded and promoted her travels around the Middle East, representing Australia.

* This case of DFAT's desperation to prove itself hip to Islam wasn't an exception. Its Twitter account for some years has extended greetings to Muslims on the occasion of Ramadan and last year the usual message was supplemented by an additional message from the DFAT secretary. But no equivalent courtesies were tweeted last year to the world's Jews — or indeed to the world's Christians.

* DFAT also recently created a Twitter storm by enthusing about the Muslim “modest fashion market” of hijabs and burkinis — apparently oblivious to the fact the pressures and in some cases requirement to wear such garments are deeply controversial in many Muslim communities, as highlighted by recent anti-hijab protests in Iran. There was much social media incredulity that DFAT could imply that women who don't wear such garments are somehow immodest and what this says about an organisation that is supposed to represent Australia to the world and to champion the rights of women and girls.

* Most Australians would be aghast that about $44 million of their taxes will be paid this financial year for aid projects in the Palestinian territories, while the Palestinian Authority managed to find $US347m last year for payments to convicted terrorists and their families under its “martyr payments policy”, thus encouraging terrorism. The US House of Representatives in December unanimously passed the Taylor Force Act, which would link continued US aid to the Palestinian Authority ceasing such payments. But the Australian government, advised by DFAT, continues to resist any such linkage.

* In June last year the EU funded an EU-Australia Leadership Forum in Sydney, with round tables discussing various matters of mutual interest, organised in co-operation with DFAT. One of the round tables was focused on migration issues, an opportunity for European participants to learn more about Australia's success in stopping the people-smugglers' trade while maintaining a generous refugee intake — an achievement in which Europeans have been increasingly interested since their catastrophic and continuing migration crisis. But the round table was chaired by then Human Rights Commission president Gillian Triggs, one of the most strident critics of the government's border protection policies.

* In Brussels I discovered widespread awareness that a DFAT ­officer at the mission was moonlighting openly as the president of a political lobby group, using social media to make charges of racism and homophobia against prominent European political figures, including the leader of an EU and NATO member-state with which Australia enjoys cordial relations.

* Another DFAT official at the mission used Twitter to call for Rupert Murdoch to “become a hermit”, to describe the government as “utterly backward” on gay marriage — but Julia Gillard as “a personal hero” and “a strong female progressive” — and to barrack for a Labour win in the 2015 British election.

* At a US embassy reception arranged on November 9, 2016, to watch the results of the presidential election, a DFAT officer present wept openly once it became clear Donald Trump had won.

The problem with our foreign affairs bureaucracy isn't just the consistent political correctness and suspicion of the Coalition. Much effort is devoted to activity often marginal to Australia's international interests. Much fretting goes into how to achieve increased staffing diversity in DFAT, including through “diversity networks” and “champions” — even though the days when it was dominated by Anglo heterosexual men are long gone. No one wants discrimination against minorities, but most taxpayers would see DFAT's participation in last year's Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras as an activity remote from the protection of our international interests.

Agonised introspection chews up much effort more broadly, with the regular generation of often impenetrable managerialese: for ­example, with its “capability improvement program” — not to be confused with its “capability action plan” — DFAT is on a “capability development journey”, ever on the lookout for “capability champions” (to supplement the “diversity champions”).

The effort put into this gibberish, which now includes “unconscious bias” training for managers, requires much expensive staff time. The appalling lapse by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet in losing hundreds of cabinet documents raises the question of whether these fashionable corporate obsessions distract attention from important priorities, such as ensuring national security and maintaining the confidence of our allies in sharing their secrets with us.

Even more effort goes into DFAT's favourite activity, campaigning for more influence in the UN. If this didn't require such effort, money and distortion to our foreign policy, it might not matter. But, as with Labor's campaign for the UN Security Council, that's rarely the case. In that instance, in pursuit of votes, hundreds of millions of dollars of extra aid money were pumped into Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa, and we softened our traditionally strong support for Israel.

To avoid a repeat performance, Abbott resisted DFAT pressure to launch a campaign for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council. That partly reflected its particularly dubious nature — its members include Saudi Arabia, Cuba and China. But after Abbott lost the leadership, DFAT quickly got the green light. As The Australian's Greg Sheridan observed, this signalled that the Turnbull administration was going to be a bit more cuddly and progressive interna­tionally. It chewed up huge am­ounts of effort as we hawked our credentials to be admitted into the company of some of the world's worst human rights violators.

With its managerial and UN preoccupations, DFAT has long neglected some of the basics of what we should expect of a foreign service. Foreign language skills, one of the keys to understanding other countries, aren't taken all that seriously. Unlike most diplomatic services, foreign language ability isn't compulsory for recruits. Several officers in Brussels, after years in the city, hadn't bothered to learn enough French to be able to order a cup of coffee.

The writing skills of recruits are generally poor considering the competitive selection process. Many struggle to string together a coherent paragraph, let alone reports that may find their way towards the top of a minister's or prime minister's in-tray.

An especially insidious manifestation of DFAT's right-on tendencies is the widespread instinct to shun political forces its officials disapprove of, be it members of Trump's team during the US presidential campaign or Brexiteers ahead of the British referendum on EU membership.

On networking skills, many DFAT staff are painfully shy and passive about developing contacts. More useful than unconscious bias courses for DFAT staff would be training on developing networks, writing well, and developing conversation skills.

A curiosity is that as skills once considered core for our diplomats have declined, accommodation of dietary preferences has seen explosive growth. Colleagues at Meat & Livestock Australia have encountered vegetarianism so often among DFAT staff at their promotional events that they would occasionally ask in semi-jest if it was a selection criterion. One of our young diplomats once, when told that fish was to be served at an embassy function, demanded evidence that it had been sustainably sourced.

Our foreign affairs bureaucracy can be sloppy when it comes to what should be basics such as how we define our key area of strategic interest — where precision is important. The recent foreign policy white paper confirmed this as the “Indo-Pacific”, defined as the eastern Indian Ocean to the Pacific — so excluding the western parts of South Asia, Pakistan and Afghanistan. But at another point in the document, the authors treat the whole of South Asia as part of the Indo-Pacific.

Another basic is that DFAT should be prudent with taxpayers' money. In 2012 it famously paid $388,000 to send 23 officials to a climate change summit in Rio de Janeiro; four years later it paid $192,000 to send a similar number to Paris to find ways to save costs. There was further extravagance last year when our 113 heads of mission were recalled home for discussions at a cost of $1.17m. As reported by The Australian, Alexander Downer, when foreign minister, rejected proposals for such meetings as a waste of money and time. Nothing about last year's meeting suggested this assessment needed revision.

The 2015 review of DFAT led by Brendan Nelson recommended extending postings to four years, which would have saved millions of dollars. But after union objections, DFAT dropped the idea. To her credit, Julie Bishop, on becoming Foreign Minister, banned first-class travel in DFAT, prompting probably the most bitter objections from its leadership to any decision of the current government.

But probably DFAT's worst failing is its lack of alertness to opportunities to advance the national interest. Why, for example did it not persuade Kevin Rudd or Gillard to pursue a free-trade agreement with the EU?

The EU is the world's second largest economy but its protectionism heavily restricts Australian exports in key areas such as beef and lamb. During Labor's last term in office, the US, Canada and Japan launched talks on securing free trade agreements with the EU. The Canadians in 2012 estimated that an FTA with the EU would result in a $C12bn increase in Canada's gross domestic product and 80,000 new jobs. Such analysis should have prompted Australia also to bang on doors in Brussels to start FTA talks. Why did that have to await the Abbott government?

SOURCE






Good for graduates, bad for society. Why university is a waste

Never have I been more excited than on my first day at university.

Orientation week, which is about to begin throughout the nation, opened a door to an entire world of courses, clubs, concerts, films, friends and beautiful facilities in which to have endless fun and be treated like an adult without ever having to act like one.

Ditching the idea of science, my original first choice, I chose drama, because I fancied myself as a producer of radio plays, politics, because I was obsessed with it, and economics because there was so much about it in the papers, and it was really, really, interesting; all the more so because no-one seemed to know the answers.

At university I was allowed to grow up slowly and learn stuff I wanted to learn, for its own sake. Never, for a second, until the final few months did I think about whether it would get me a job.

I don't know what's changed in more recent years, perhaps the economy, but it doesn't seem to be like that these days. Students often work part-time, they choose courses on the basis of job prospects and they limit the time they spend on campus.

If I had my way, I would recommend the full university experience to everyone, but I'd be wrong.

Financially, there's an advantage, one I didn't know much about at the time.

Over their lifetimes university graduates earn 40 to 75 per cent more than workers who go to work straight from school. One estimate puts the lifetime earnings of male graduates at $2.3 million compared to $1.7 million for those who go straight to work. The earnings of female graduates are put at $1.8 million compared to $1.4 million.

You might have noticed those figures say nothing about whether or not university education is the cause of those extra earnings. Those people might have done well anyway. It is my unfortunate duty to tell you most would not have. University education brings about extra earnings, rather than being merely associated with them. An ingenious Australian study of identical twins (“by definition, the same innate ability and family background”) found that it's the twin that does the extra study that gets the extra earnings.

Research conducted by Dr Andrew Leigh, now a member of parliament, found that each extra year of education beyond Year 10 added an extra 10 per cent to lifetime earnings.

But it didn't answer the more important question: what is it about those extra years that makes the students so much more valuable? If you think the answer is "learning more stuff" you'll have to answer to Bryan Caplan.

A university professor himself, he has just published a book titled The Case Against Education. Its implications are enormous. He is in no doubt that graduates earn more, and that graduation is the reason. But he thinks it has little to do with what they learnt.

Consider two students who had each learnt as much. One had a family tragedy and couldn't sit the final exam, the other could. US statistics show that the one who got the final piece of paper earns roughly 10 per cent more than other people for each extra year of education, whereas the one who learnt the stuff but missed out on the certificate gets only 4.2 per cent more.

Or ask someone whether they would have rather have learnt stuff without getting a degree or got a degree without learning stuff.

And what could they possibly have learnt at university that would be of use to an employer anyway? Calculus? Literature? Most jobs don't even require algebra, and literature doesn't help people write, which is what's required in jobs. There are exceptions: economics might be one, engineering another. But most courses teach things that aren't useful for employers.

So why do employers pay so much for people who've done them, or at least have got the certificates to show they once did them?

Caplan reckons it's profiling, a bit like racial profiling, where police use the way someone looks as a rule of thumb to work out whether they are likely to commit a crime, or the profiling by insurance companies who use postcodes to tell them what to charge. It mightn't be fair, but it's quick.

Seen that way, university is a sorting tool for employers, one they don't pay for. It helps them identify characteristics that will be needed on the job but have nothing to do with what was learnt. One is intelligence. You need a certain amount to get enough marks to pass, whatever the subject. Another is conscientiousness. You need to apply yourself. And the third is conformity. Sane free-thinkers realise quickly there's not a lot of point to what they are learning and drop out. Degrees certify IQ, the ability to knuckle down and a worker who won't make trouble.

So they are great for employers and great for graduates, albeit at the cost of enormous wasted resources. Employers could get the same outcomes if the courses lasted for two years instead of four, or even one. Or if they administered tests themselves.

If Caplan's right, we should be pushing politicians for less education rather than more, especially as the ageing of the population makes workers more scarce. My own company, Fairfax, is doing just that. It has taken on several truly excellent journalists precisely for the reason that they left university rather than see it through. They wanted to do the job rather than study it.

University isn't for everyone, but life is. And it's even better than university.

SOURCE





Construction Set To Surge To Decade High

Activity in the commercial construction sector is set to have the best year in more than a decade.

“With forecast growth of more than 14.5 per cent (equal to $5.3 billion) commercial building activity will be strong enough on its own to drag the whole industry back into positive territory for the first time in four years," Matthew Pollock, Master Builders Australia's National Manager Economics said.

The latest Building & Construction Industry Forecasts produced by Master Builders Australia show that total commercial construction activity is expected to contribute $42 billion to the economy in 2017-18.  

“With a small moderation expected in the value of residential construction work and another year of consolidation in the engineering sector, the timing of this surge in commercial construction couldn't be better," Matthew Pollock said.

“Better yet, new commercial construction projects will provide job opportunities for workers who may be finishing up on major high density residential projects over the next 12 months or so," he said.

“New retail related construction is expected to rise to $6.9 billion in 2017-18, led by the recent introduction of some big international retailers, including Amazon which recently built a large distribution centre in Melbourne's Dandenong South and plans by Aldi to open another 30 stores across the country in the next 12 months," Matthew Pollock said.

“Asia continues to be a strong source of tourist visitor numbers, particularly from Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and China. Asian investment is following the tourists with $4 billion committed to the construction of new pipeline of resorts and hotels with Queensland's resort sectors forecast to do particularly well," he said.

“Looking a little further down the track, the Government's investment in major transport infrastructure is ramping up and will support a boom in transport related construction over the next 5 years. There are currently more than $170 billion in transports projects in the pipeline, with activity expected to peak in 2019-20. This work will provide jobs for years and also provide much need productivity enhancing infrastructure. Master Builders has called for a greater focus on infrastructure investment to support businesses, but also to boost new housing supply and help with housing affordability," Matthew Pollock said.

“On the residential building front, the last three years saw unprecedented growth in new housing construction. We have built more than 200,000 new dwellings per year – a feat unmatched in our history," he said.

“Despite the forecast showing a moderation in new dwelling construction, we expect new commencements in 2017-18 to top 195,000 and average around 185,000 thereafter. To keep pace with population growth we will need to build at least 185,000 new dwellings each year for the next five years," Matthew Pollock said.

Media release






Renewable subsidies and the destruction of Australian energy competitiveness

Alan Moran

Yesterday I was the token rationalist speaker at the Australasian Agricultural and Resources Economics Society’s “The Future of Australian Energy Symposium”.

Two other speakers were Tony Wood (from the ALP’s think tank Grattan Institute recently rewarded for the damage his advice has done with an AO) and Danny Price from Frontier Economics (also an ALP consultant).

In so far as their advice has been followed, these two prominent characters have been instrumental in forging the taxing policies on fossil fuel generators that have destroyed our energy market. They now acknowledge the market is broken, it being impossible to shrug off the line ball reliability and doubling soon-to-be trebling of prices

But the politicians’ favoured consultants’ solution is one further attempt to get the interventionary policies right. Like the fans of socialism, they say its failure is because it has never been done properly!

The other speakers were operationally oriented – largely consultants – who proffered ways that the renewable target, now sanctified by the Paris Agreement few recognise as dead and buried, could be operationalised.

We have seen the wholesale price for electricity rise from under $40 per MWh with very little trend up until 2012, and was still $40 in 2015, to its present level of around $90 per MWh

​Wind has risen from nothing in the early part of the century to a share of over 10 per cent today. All of that wind is dependent on subsidies currently around $85 per MWh. In addition, there is the roof top solar (subsidised at $40 per MWh plus advantageous export tariffs). ​

Due to its abundant coal supplies, Australia had perhaps the cheapest electricity in the world ten years ago. As a result of the renewable subsidies it is now among the most expensive. Aside from increased direct costs to households, this has immense adverse consequences for the competitiveness of Australian industries and hence the nation’s living standards.

We can reverse direction and perhaps the demonstration effect of the US will provide the catalyst.

More HERE 

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, February 18, 2018



Gun Confiscation in Australia:  A model for the USA?  

The writer below is correct in saying that differences between Australia and the USA mean that what works in Australia would not work in the USA.  He ignores the elephant in the room, however.  America has many blacks who frequently mount assaults of various kinds on whites.  So whites need guns to defend themselves.  Australia has for a long time had almost no Africans so has had much less personally endangering crime.

The situation has however just changed.  Australia has recently taken in a population of Africans as "refugees".  And in one Australian city -- Melbourne -- they have become numerous enough to form gangs of criminal black youth.  These gangs frequently break into people's homes even while the family is home and even use crowbars to defeat security doors.  That is immensely disturbing to the people victimized and leaves them feeling helpless and very insecure.

The response so far is to demand that the police stop the raids but the police clearly have got not a clue what to do about it.  Talk has been the only response so far.  Once the impotence of the police has been widely accepted, Australians too will be demanding guns to protect themelves


In the wake of last October's mass murder by a sociopath in Las Vegas, comes tragic news of another mass murder on a school campus in Florida.

The contrast between the response of two presidents is revealing, one focusing on culture and the other focussing on guns. Despite all the Democrat rhetoric about “gun control," as is the case with their faux rhetoric about immigration, when Barack Obama took office in 2009, Democrats had full legislative control of the 111th Congress. In the Senate there were 57 Democrats and two Independents who caucused with Democrats. In the House there were 257 Democrats and 178 Republicans.

Democrats could have enacted every gun control measure they wanted between 2009 and 2011 – but didn't. Why?

Regarding the most recent tragedy, predictably Democrats and their MSM propagandists have re-warmed their latest batch of lies about the murder of children in order to peddle their political agenda.

The BIG lie this week, in order to bolster the Left's calls for “gun control," is that there have already been “18 school shootings" this year. Even The Washington Post has called foul on that claim, noting it's “a horrifying statistic. And it is wrong." Indeed, it is wrong, but most of the Demo/MSM colluders don't allow facts to impede their political agendas.

However, this is an indisputable fact. There are three things the Leftmedia's saturation coverage always communicates to future mass murder assailants: 1. We will make sure you are famous by devoting all our air time, 24/7, to you! 2. As targets go, a school is best because that will get you the most attention, and nobody will shoot back! 3. Use an AR-15 – they are the most popular gun for the job and we can call it an “assault weapon"!

There are many media myths about gun control being propagated by the Left this week, and by extension, all their lemmings who regurgitate those “facts."

Most prevalent myths in social media forums are calls echoing the MSM's solution: Enact the Australian gun confiscation model. By way of addressing this claim, allow me to repost here a debate with my friend Neville, who is a deeply entrenched liberal from the UK now living in the US, and who has taken it upon himself to reform our nation. Here is an abridged summary of that debate…

Neville:

The time is now to talk about Gun Control! The maiming and death of these children is so pointless, unnecessary and PREVENTABLE. Get rid of the guns. No mass shootings in Australia for over 20 years and counting after a government gun ban.

MA:

The tragic murders in Florida were, indeed, senseless — as are the emotive “solutions" that, predictably, follow such tragic events. I share your grief for these victims and their families, but not your prescription to resolve the culture of violence.

As for your solution … as I am sure you are aware, the culture in Australia has not been conducive to violence in decades. In fact, at one time the culture in America was not conducive to violence either. Not long ago, there were plenty of guns on high school campuses, but no mass shootings.

Yes, Neville, there have been no mass shootings in Australia since the gun ban was enacted, but there were few before then.

In fact, there are few murders in Australia, period. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 1996, before enactment of the gun ban, Australia had had 311 murders, 98 by assailants with guns (including the 35 people killed in one mass shooting that prompted the confiscation). In the latest year of record, there were 227 people murdered, 32 by assailants using guns.

I should note here that the population of Australia is only 7% that of the United States, but when adjusting for population size, the number of murders in Australia are still only 20% of the US annual total, of which about 70% were assailant using firearms. But note that, after Australia confiscated all guns, assailants are still using guns to murder people… I guess only law-abiding citizens turned in their guns.

Of course, crime in the U.S. has actually declined more than in Australia over the last two decades. Concurrently, gun ownership in America has increased significantly while homicides by assailants with guns have also declined.

Apparently, more guns, less crime.

So what accounts for the difference in murder rates?

Australia is not plagued with urban poverty plantations created by five decades of failed Democrat social policies, and the resulting epidemic of violent crime. For the record, the top urban crime centers have the most restrictive firearm regulations in the nation. Using Demo-logic, shouldn't these “gun-free zones" be the safest places in America?

As for the “gun problem," if you are NOT a gang-banger or associated with drug trafficking (and Neville, I think you are clear on both counts), the probability of your being murdered in the U.S. falls in line with the probability of your being murdered in your beloved native UK homeland — where most types of guns have been banned for years.

Notably, however, American children are at much greater risk of being killed by a drunk driver than an assailant with a gun. Thus, while I know you favor the finer labels of liquid libation and use it responsibly, by your logic, the government should confiscate it because there are far more deaths associated with alcohol use than firearms — in fact, in many cases assailants using a firearm are alcohol impaired…

As for your sentiments about guns, I would be pleased to provide you with some “Gun-Free Household" stickers so you can broadcast the fact that your home is the best neighborhood option for uncontested intrusion!

SOURCE






Court says 'no' to Pell lawyers push to view accusers' medical records

This sets up a challenge to any verdict against Pell.  Why would they so undermine their own enquiry?  Obviously, at least some of the witneseses have an unsafe background

George Pell's legal defence team has been denied access to the medical records of the people who have made allegations of sexual offences against him.

Magistrate Belinda Wallington on Wednesday said she had to weigh up the whether there was any legal value in letting the defence lawyers look through the accusers' medical records and what harm that might do to the complainants.

"I am not persuaded the applications will have a substantial probative value," Ms Wallington ruled in Melbourne Magistrates Court.

Cardinal Pell, 76, faces charges of historical sexual offences involving multiple complainants. Details of the charges are yet to be revealed.

The court heard on Wednesday one charge related to a key complainant would likely be withdrawn.

The cardinal, who was not in court on Wednesday, has repeatedly denied the alleged offending.

His lawyers last week applied for access to the medical records of the people who have made allegations, ahead of the four-week hearing that will determine whether the cardinal stands trial. That hearing is due to start on March 5.

Prosecutor Mark Gibson, SC, last week told the court the complainants objected to the request for their medical records, as they wanted their privacy maintained. Mr Gibson described the defence request as "a fishing expedition".

Cardinal Pell's lawyers have requested medical records relating to one complainant from Justice Health, which provides medical services for Victorian prisoners.

But prosecutor Fran Dalziel on Wednesday said that, given the magistrate's ruling, medical records shouldn't be sought via another route.

Ms Wallington said she would rule on the Justice Health medical records at a later date.

The defence lawyers have also sought legal documents from Victoria Police, law firms, victims' advocacy group Broken Rites, the ABC and journalist Louise Milligan, whose book Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of George Pell was published before the cardinal was charged.

Melbourne University Press withdrew Ms Milligan's book from Victorian shops when Cardinal Pell was charged last year.

Defence counsel Ruth Shann said on Wednesday the reliability and credibility of one of the accusers would be tested during the committal hearing, given that man had a "domino effect" on other people contacting police.

Cardinal Pell has taken leave from his position as Vatican treasurer to be in Australia to fight the charges.

His case will return to court for another administrative hearing next week.

SOURCE






Channel Seven commentator and former world champion Jacqui Cooper is blasted for 'racist' comments about Chinese skiers

Seven's Olympic coverage has attracted further criticism after a commentator was accused of being 'racist' for saying 'all Chinese competitors look the same'.

Former Australian Olympian Jacqui Cooper was commentating the first stages of the women's aerials at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics on Thursday evening when she was speaking about the Chinese skiiers.

'Very Chinese,' Cooper said of Yan Ting's first jump. 'They all look the same, they're very hard to tell who's who.'

Cooper's comments were immediately slammed on social media, with many stunned by what they had heard.

'Did Jacqui Cooper really just say that all the Chinese athletes look the same? #7Olympics' one shocked viewer asked.

'Jacqui Cooper with the casual racism whilst commentating on #7Olympics,' another person tweeted.

Channel Seven issued a statement through their social media accounts on Thursday night explaining Cooper was specifically discussing the Chinese style of aerials and not their physical appearance.

'During tonight's cover of the women's aerials, commentator Jacqui Cooper a former Olympian and World Champion - noted than an aerial manouevre was in a technical and style sense, very Chinese,' Seven said.

'Meaning that the whole of the Chinese aerial team are trained in the same way - and the manouevre referenced was a classic technically perfect, trademark of that team's style.

'At no time was the commentary racist, intended to be racist or offensive.'

SOURCE






Barnaby defended

HOURS after Malcolm Turnbull announced his now aptly-nicknamed “bonk ban", the Q&A panel has slammed the Prime Minister's decision, calling it a “gross overreach".

Thursday night's Q&A - a special episode for the #MeToo movement - stepped carefully when it came to discussing the global campaign.

But when Barnaby Joyce's sex life came up, specifically how it inspired Mr Turnbull to ban sexual relationships between ministers and staffers, the panel didn't hold back.

Josh Bornstein, a prominent workplace lawyer who has dealt with a number of sexual harassment cases, called it a “panicked response" and said it “detracts from the Me Too movement".

Mr Joyce's relationship with his former staffer Vikki Campion — albeit an affair and the one that ruined his 24-year marriage — is and was consensual.

“My view might be totally out of line but it's that consensual relationships are perfectly OK at work. I don't have a difficulty — despite some of the issues with Barnaby Joyce — he's had a consensual relationship with a 33-year-old woman who is perfectly able to decide," Mr Bornstein said.

“The bonk ban is a gross overreach," he added.

Mr Bornstein's sentiment was supported by Janet Albrechtsen, a columnist for The Australian.

Ms Albrechtsen has been particularly outspoken about the #MeToo movement over the past few months, expressing concerns it is promoting a social media mob mentality.

In regards to Mr Turnbull's decision to ban sex amongst those working in Parliament, Ms Albrechtsen said Australia was getting on a “very fast train" and “we don't quite know where it's going to go".

The decision to ban sex in the workplace is a difficult rule to enforce as, all the panellists agreed, a large number of people meet their partners in the workplace.

Earlier Thursday, the ABC expressed its disappointment over Charles Waterstreet's decision to withdraw from Thursday night's Q&A panel.

Mr Waterstreet, a controversial Sydney barrister who has been accused of sexual harassment and inappropriate comments, withdrew from the #MeToo edition late on Wednesday night.

The high-profile barrister has always denied the allegations, but made the decision after he was contacted by the NSW Bar Association's President Arthur Moses.

Mr Moses wrote to Mr Waterstreet informing him “it was his firm view that it was neither appropriate or prudent for him to appear on Q&A to discuss issues concerning the #MeToo anti-sexual harassment movement."

Despite withdrawing from the panel, Mr Waterstreet wasn't spared from Thursday night's discussion.

When introducing fellow lawyer Mr Bornstein, the panel's host Virginia Trioli said, “Josh, I'll start with you — our only male panellist tonight — which wasn't our intention, but that's what we've ended up with."

Ms Albrechtsen however, defended Mr Waterstreet, saying he was the sort of person who needed to be a part of the #MeToo conversation when asked about alienating men.

“Charles Waterstreet would not have come under pressure, for example, from the Bar Association to come on, because these kind of voices are the ones that need to be part of the conversation," she said.

“When we start excluding voices — as happened here tonight with Charles Waterstreet — I think that's really sad," she added.

SOURCE

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

Friday, February 16, 2018






Defence call for public support from ‘allies’ of LGBTI soldiers

POLITICALLY correct defence chiefs have told members of the Australian military to signal they are an “ally” of the LGBTI community by putting a rainbow flag next to their name in the national ADF staff directory.

The latest attempt at “inclusion” comes after the Human Rights Commissioner fired a salvo at defence chiefs saying there were still “pockets of resistance” to “embracing diversity” within defence.

But Army veterans warned the rainbow flag attempt at inclusion could backfire by excluding many members of the military who chose not to be a Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Intersex (LBGTI) ally.

Defence’s “Diversity and Inclusion Adviser” Thomas Hoffman wrote to members of the military about the “sweet new function” which allowed people to show they are an “LGBTI ally” by putting the rainbow flag next to their name on the Defence Corporate Directory.

“The broad principal (sic) with workplace allies is that they are visible, supportive people who can act as a POC (point of contact) should someone have an issue in the workplace,” he wrote last month.

“We are not putting strict rules in place on who is or isn’t an ally because we don’t want to stifle the fantastic, positive and uplifting conversations you know you’ll be having amongst colleagues and peers,” he said.

Australian Peacekeeper and Peacemaker Veterans Association NSW President Bruce Relph said: “This is nuts. Sexuality has no place in the military.

He said there were concerns that not conforming to the rainbow tag could affect opportunities for promotion. “Something like this should not be allowed to affect someone’s career path,” he said.

Former Army officer and Australian Conservatives member Bernie Gaynor said that by not signing up, those members of the defence force “will be publicly outed” and their career affected.

“Defence members who refuse to sign up are likely to face difficulties obtaining promotions, especially to the higher ranks.”

The move comes after Human Rights Commissioner Edward Santow told the Military Pride Ball last year that “pockets of resistance remain in the ADF”.

“Embracing diversity will not only allow the ADF more effectively to meet the challenges of modern warfare, but will also allow it to live up to the expectations of the communities they defend,” he said.

Mr Gaynor said: “It is extremely concerning that this program has been launched following the Human Rights Commissioner’s declaration that there are ‘pockets of resistance’ to homosexuality within Defence.

“We are facing a ‘rainbow jihad’ inside Defence. This policy is not about acceptance. It is about pressuring all Defence members to celebrate homosexuality.”

SOURCE

Non-compliance will most likely be perceived as a lack of tolerance and be discriminated against because of that.  So anyone declining to join the rainbow flag mission could themselves become victims of intolerance. 

Were I still in the forces, I would ask for an Australian flag against my name







High Court Rules Union Officials Can Be Held Personally Liable For Breaking Workplace Laws    
         
Union officials will held more accountable for their behaviour on building sites following a decision by the High Court that they can be penalised for their individual conduct.

“The High Court’s ruling signals that union officials are not above the law. It means that unions will not be able to indemnify their officials by paying court fines on their behalf. Officials will now face the consequences if they break the law, just like everyone else in the community,” Denita Wawn, CEO of Master Builders Australia said.

The High Court ruled on an ABCC challenge to a full Federal Court decision setting aside Justice Mortimer's ban on the CFMEU paying Victorian branch organiser Joe Myles' $18,000 penalty for unlawful conduct in 2013.

In Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union [2018] HCA 3 (14 February 2018), the High Court found that Courts may impose personal fines against Union Officials for their misconduct and breaches of the Fair Work Act, on top of fines to Unions. The decision affirms the Courts can force union officials to pay fines personally – rather than have the union pay them on their behalf.

In their reasoning, the High Court found that the Federal Court was not able to impose an order for ‘non-indemnification’ against penalties. However, they ordered that a proper construction of the penalty provisions of the Fair Work Act did allow the Courts to make a personal payment order against Union Officials.

The matter has now been referred back to the Federal Court for re-consideration of penalties in line with the new interpretation.

"We can only hope that this decision will mean that union officials will think twice before breaking the law,” Denita Wawn said.

Media release






'We're approaching our limits - if we haven't already exceeded them': Controversial new senator Jim Molan says Australia can't take any more migrants in maiden speech

Controversial new senator Jim Molan has used his first speech in parliament to call for stricter immigration controls.

The right-wing former major-general was savaged by Greens MPs for sharing anti-Muslim videos on Twitter soon after taking his seat on the Liberal Party benches last Monday.

Today he spoke for the first time to say legal immigration was 'excessive' and putting a strain on Australian cities.

'Control of our borders and immigration are important to me, as they are to most Australians,' he told the chamber.

'We now effectively control our borders in a way that few now trust the opposition to do.

'However, I am concerned that the level of legal migration, now that we control our borders, is in excess of the capacity for our cities to absorb, both culturally or in terms of infrastructure.

'We are approaching limits on this, if we have not already exceeded them. I don't have the answer, but I certainly have the concern.'

Senator Molan also defended Operation Sovereign Borders, a policy he helped Tony Abbott introduce to stop illegal immigrants arriving in boats, by saying it had 'saved lives.'

He went on to praise the armed forces by saying they 'represent everything good about Australia' and said he wanted Australia to be more self-reliant in defence.

'I have no expectation that governments immediately spend one more dollar on defence, but for years I have advocated that we must be more open about the strategic risks that are being taken in the name of the Australian people,' he told parliament.

The NSW Liberal then insisted he was not a member of a faction in the senate but said he 'proudly stood' by prominent conservatives John Howard, Tony Abbott, Scott Morrison, Peter Dutton, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells and Stuart Robert.

The speech came after Molan refused to accept Greens MP Adam Bandt's apology for describing him as a 'war criminal' and a 'complete coward' on national television.

Senator Molan - who has a decorated 40-year military career - threatened to hit Mr Bandt with a lawsuit if he did not retract his statements and make an apology.

Mr Bandt suggested in a TV interview on Wednesday the father of sports presenter Erin Molan may have committed war crimes during the battle for Fallujah.

Senator Molan gathered his legal artillery after the Greens MP said he would 'probably be up for prosecution' if an independent inquiry was launched into his actions in the Iraq War.

The Liberal senator said he would pursue legal action if he wasn't given an appropriate apology. 'I would invite Mr Bandt to offer me a public apology,' Mr Molan told The Australian on Wednesday. 'If he publicly apologised to me for the statements that he made, then that would end the problem.'

Speaking to Sky News earlier in the week, Mr Bandt condemned Mr Molan for sharing videos by far-right UK group Britain First on Facebook.

The retired major-general and now NSW Liberal senator shared the videos in March last year which purport to show Muslim violence in Europe.

Senator Molan has since described the Britain First group as 'scum' but has not apologised for sharing the videos.

Senator Molan told parliament on Monday he was not racist or anti-Islam and had shared the videos because he was against violence and anti-social behaviour.

Mr Bandt said Senator Molan was 'a coward' for refusing to apologise.

'When you share white supremacist videos and then you justify it by saying 'Oh, I'm doing it to stimulate debate', and that is the line that came out of his office, you are a coward, you are a complete coward,' he said.

'If there was a proper inquiry, in an independent inquiry into the war in Iraq in Australia, like there has been in other countries, I think you would find Jim Molan would probably be up for prosecution rather than praise for his role in the atrocities in Fallujah.'

The Fallujah campaign was heavily criticised for its indifference to civilians.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale earlier accused Mr Molan of committing war crimes.

He made the comment in Parliament on Monday night, and was therefore protected from defamation by parliamentary privilege.

His colleague Mr Bandt made his comments about the war veteran outside parliament and is therefore not protected from defamation.

SOURCE






An end to separate men's and women's sport? Government MP makes radical suggestion for 'desegregated' competitions during heated debate about females in war

This should set the cat among the pigeons

A Turnbull Government MP has suggested men and women should compete against each other on the sporting field.

Perth-based Liberal senator Linda Reynolds made the radical call during a Twitter debate about women serving on the frontline of war.

In a social media battle with former Australian Christian Lobby boss Lyle Shelton, the 52-year-old backbencher suggested sporting codes allow women to compete against men - like the Australian Defence Force does when it comes to recruitment.

'So why don’t we take the lead from the ADF and desegregate women in sport, so men and women compete equally on talent, not by gender?,' she said.

Mr Shelton, who plans to run as an Australian Conservatives candidate at the next federal election, is opposed to the idea of female soldiers fighting in battle.

'If the AFL and the NRL are allowed to recognise the physical differences between men & women, why can’t the Army?,' he said.

Senator Reynolds, who spent 28 years in the Australian Army Reserve before becoming a brigadier, had described Mr Shelton's views as '1950s'.

'Your flippancy does great disservice to the thousands women who have, and continue, to serve our nation with great distinction side by side with their equally capable male counterparts,' she said.

She pointed out the Women's Royal Australian Army Corp was disbanded in 1985 when women were fully integrated into the Army.

The Australian government took another 26 years to allow females to join combat regiments.

Her proposal on mixed-gender sports could see the likes of Women's One Day International cricket star Ellyse Perry play on the same Test team as Steve Smith.

Australian women's soccer star Sam Kerr could be playing on the same side as Socceroos goal-scoring legend Tim Cahill.

However almost all sports have seperate competitions for male and female athletes, because of the difference in physical traits such as speed and strength.

Senator Reynold's call to gender desegregate sport comes as the AFL allows transgender footballer Hannah Mouncey to play in women's state and territory league matches.

SOURCE

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




Thursday, February 15, 2018



Kids incarcerated in Australia have 'alarming' levels of neurodevelopmental impairment

This is worse than political correctness.  It is straight out political deception.  The word "Aboriginal" is not mentioned below but most of the kids concerned will be Aboriginal.  Fetal alcohol syndrome is, for instance, common among Aborigines.

So what can you do about it?  Take the Aboriginal children out of their dangerous home environments and give them to whites to bring up?  Then you would have another "stolen generation" and we have been through that ad nauseam before.  Any other ideas?  I know of no realistic ones. 

The do gooders below say that "care plans can be put in place."  That could conceivably help a little whilst the kids are in detention but they will never be detained for long -- and do you have any idea of how much notice an Aboriginal family would take of a "care plan"?

While Aboriginals commit every dietary sin imaginable  -- including the drinking of metho (methlyated alcohol) -- both they and their children will always have bad health



An alarming world-first study into the cognitive abilities of young people in detention in Australia has found evidence of severe neurodevelopmental impairment in almost every child assessed.

Researchers from the Telethon Kids Institute assessed 99 children aged 10 to 17 incarcerated at the Banksia Hill Detention Centre in Western Australia. The findings uncovered an unprecedented prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and severe neurodevelopmental impairment.

Most of the impairment had been left undiagnosed despite multiple contacts with government agencies and sentencing in court, leading the experts to call for improvements in the way health, education, justice, child protection and other systems took care of young people who presented with school difficulties, mental health issues or behavioural problems.

The study, led by Professor Carol Bower and Clinical Associate Professor Raewyn Mutch, will be published in the British Medical Journal Open on Wednesday. It found WA had the highest known prevalence of FASD in a custodial setting in the world.

"Of the 99 young people who completed full assessments we found 36 of them – more than one in three – had FASD," Professor Bower said.  "Of this 36, only two had been previously diagnosed."

They also found 89 per cent of sentenced youth had at least one severe neurodevelopmental impairment, whether they had FASD or not. Two thirds had at least three domains of severe impairment, while 23 per cent had five or more domains impaired. These domains included executive function, not being able to relate cause and effect, memory, attention and cognition problems.

A quarter were found to have an intellectual disability, with an IQ of 70 or less.

"These findings, which document an unprecedented prevalence of FASD and severe neurodevelopmental impairment, highlight the vulnerability of young people within the justice system and their significant need for improved diagnosis to identify their strengths and difficulties, and to guide and improve their rehabilitation," Professor Bower said.

"We recommend that young people be fully assessed on entry into the juvenile justice system and preferably much, much sooner, at their first encounter with the law or before, so their vulnerabilities are recognised, and specific and appropriate interventions and care plans can be put in place."

SOURCE






Australia is missing the Closing the Gap employment target by decades

Of course it is.  Nobody really expects the gap to close.  The plan is just window dressing.  Australian Aborigines have one of the lowest average IQs ever recorded.  Nothing in the world would bring such people up to white standards

Australia is missing its target to halve the unemployment gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia by several decades, according to the latest Closing the Gap report.

The report also highlights many other problems with current Closing the Gap targets. For instance, the unemployment target misses other aspects of economic life, such as income. The targets need to be rethought so that they address economic well-being and more closely guide strategy and policies on the ground.

The unemployment rate for Indigenous Australians is going down. But 2016 Census data show that it will take until 2031 to halve the gap, and until about 2051 to close the gap entirely. Even New South Wales, which leads Australia on this measure, won’t meet the target until about 2026.

One reason why some states are doing better in tackling the unemployment gap is that different opportunities are available for urban and rural Australians. In 2014/15, only 5% of the NSW Indigenous population lived in remote areas. This compares to 21% nationally, 79% in the Northern Territory and 19% in Queensland.

Under the Indigenous Procurement Policy, 3% of all federal procurement contracts go to Indigenous businesses. This is a big part of the federal government’s plan to achieve the employment target.

However, while there may be some success stories, a recent report also warned that “the policy’s target measurement system greatly exaggerates its success”.

SOURCE





Plan to use Illawarra steel for defence vehicles to shore up manufacturing jobs

Australian steel is tipped to play a key role in the country's fledgling defence exports industry, with a deal being signed in the Illawarra region of NSW.

German defence technology firm Rheinmetall will team up with Bluescope Steel, which operates the Port Kembla steel works, to create a new military vehicle.



The armoured vehicles will be developed at a new "centre of excellence" west of Brisbane and if successful, will be sourced from 100 per cent Australian steel.

The first shipping of 15 tonnes of steel is bound for Germany for testing.

Rheinmetall director of strategy Tim Pickford said if successful, Bluescope would be the only supplier in the Southern Hemisphere to meet the "stringent" standards.

"There are only two companies in the world that we go to for high-hardness armour," Mr Pickford said.

"We've continued to be nothing but impressed with the capability here in the Illawarra region, it's a world beater.

    "One of the problems is that because manufacturing's kind of a dirty word at the moment, we don't believe in ourselves, but I think the Australian steel team will put this place back on the map."

Plans for a global military vehicle export hub

Mr Pickford said the plan was to supply the vehicles to the Australian Defence Force and for export.

"Europe is big for us, but let's not forget South East Asia and what's going on down here, and the requirement for renewal of military capabilities for this region," he said.

"What we see Australia representing is a hub for export to not only this region but globally as well."

The Port Kembla steel works has seen a significant turnaround since it was facing potential closure in 2015, and the new deal was being hailed as a long-term boost.

Bluescope Steel spokesman Troy Gent said it would help shore up local manufacturing jobs.

"We've been on a long road to make ourselves cost competitive," Mr Gent said.

"We've taken huge costs out of the mill, and doing what we've done over the last three or four years has enabled us to compete in a space like this."

SOURCE





New council bird ban could ruffle some Brisbane feathers

Greyhounds in. Peacocks out

Laws surrounding owning an animal in Brisbane are set to change for the first time in 14 years, including prohibiting ownership of an unusual pet and the abolition of a law many consider outdated.

Brisbane City Council has two different pieces of legislation surrounding animals that date back to 2003, but a new law, which consolidates the two, has been proposed.

While many basic laws remained unchanged there were several differences under the proposed law, including adding an animal to the list of prohibited animals. Under the new law, it would be illegal to keep peacocks and peahens in a residential area.
Currently, up to 20 peacocks can be kept on a property more than 800 square metres and up to six on premises under 800 square metres.

A council spokesman said it had been proposed to prohibit keeping peafowl after several complaints were made in the past financial year. “Council has received 11 noise complaints about peafowl, which can be excessive during mating season,” he said.
It was unclear if existing peafowl owners would have to surrender their pet if the proposed law was adopted.

Under the current law, roosters are also banned in residential areas along with some dog breeds considered to be dangerous, but this is set to remain unchanged under the new law. The proposed law would also impact owners of an increasingly popular dog breed.

The Animals Subordinate Local Law 2003 states greyhounds are to be muzzled and under the control of a person over 16 years when in public. Under the newly proposed law, there is no specific legislation about keeping greyhounds.

Greyhound rescue group Friends of the Hounds secretary Kim Meteyard said while owners knew the muzzling law existed, many chose not to enforce it because it was outdated.  “I rang city council a number of times and it depended on who you got ... they would say if they are not a racing hound it wasn’t a law and someone else would say they did [need to be muzzled],” she said. “It’s an old rule, I’m glad they’ve ditched it. Greyhounds are just like any other dog, they are like any other pet.”

Council lifestyle and community services chairman Matthew Bourke said the proposed laws would make it easier for residents to be responsible pet owners by reducing red tape and simplifying the animal permit system. "A lot has changed over the past 14 years, including a change in state government legislation, Brisbane population and density, and the new Animals Local Law 2017 is designed to better respond to community expectations,” he said.

The council's new Animals Local Law 2017 would replace and consolidate the existing Animals Local Law 2003 and the Animals Subordinate Local Law 2003. The new law is open for public consultation until February 22.

SOURCE

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



Wednesday, February 14, 2018



More Muslim morality

The garbage just 'wanted some attention'. Muslim ego at work again

In a disturbing incident a doctor was grabbed from behind and choked by a patient at a hospital in Perth.

Mohamed Arab was sentenced in court this week following the attack last November at the Royal Perth Hospital.

Arab was given a suspended prison sentence in the hearing before magistrates despite begging for the maximum sentence - a seven year prison term.

The 21-year-old, who has psychological problems according to his lawyer, was a regular visitor at the city hospital emergency room.

Shocking CCTV footage was played to the court showing the moment Arab grabbed the doctor from behind in an unprovoked attack and puts him in a strong chokehold.

His grip around the doctor's throat was so strong that it partially crushed the doctor's windpipe and affected the his voice, Perth Now reported.

The tape then goes on to show a host of doctors, nurses and security staff rush to free the doctor - who is now back at work - from Arab's clutches.

The court heard he later said he felt he was getting the treatment he needed but just 'wanted some attention'.

East Metropolitan Health Service chief executive Liz McLeod said: 'I was absolutely appalled, bewildered and distressed that we can have incidents like that in our hospital against our staff, who come to work to care for the sick and the vulnerable. 'It was beyond my comprehension,' she told Perth Now.

Arab was given an eight-month prison sentence suspended for 16 months and told to agree to medical treatment necessary for him.

SOURCE






Peter Dutton says the ‘scourge’ of Islamic State terrorism in Australia is here to stay

A politician who acknowledges reality!

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton says the 'scourge' of Islamic State will be with Australia for a long time, after another alleged terror attack in Melbourne.

Momena Shoma, 24, is accused of stabbing a 56-year-old man in the neck and shoulder at his Mill Park home while he was asleep with his five-year-old daughter on Friday.

'Last week there was a terrible incident that took place in Melbourne. Sadly it's not the first terrorist-related incident to take place in Melbourne,' Mr Dutton told parliament on Monday.  

'We need to recognise this scourge is with us, and with us for a long period of time.'

Mr Dutton praised Victoria's anti-terror police and ASIO for preventing more attacks: 'There's a lot of work that goes on around the clock that Australians aren't aware of.'

Shoma, the Bangladeshi national who allegedly attacked the 56-year-old father at his Callistemon Rise home in Mill Park on Friday afternoon has been charged with engaging in a terrorist act.

The victim was taken to the Royal Melbourne Hospital where he underwent surgery on Saturday for non-life threatening injuries. His man's five-year-old daughter was also present during the stabbing, but was thankfully not injured. 

Neighbours told Herald Sun the victim was a 'nice family man' and was a 'nice guy'.

Another neighbour said the man called them for help, where they found him lying in the garage in a pool of blood, saying the amount of blood was 'shocking'.

The woman was arrested at the scene and taken to hospital with a hand injury.

'She's only been in Australia for a week, they took her in because they felt sorry for her,' another neighbour said.  Police also allege the woman was 'inspired by the doctrines of ISIS'.

The victim was left in a stable condition after undergoing surgery. Shoma was remanded in custody to return to court on May 2.

SOURCE





Labor considers company tax reform in big turnaround

Trump's big cut to company tax is of course the elephant that has suddenly turned up in the room

Labor would consider introducing company tax reform if it wins the next election - but only if it can get the budget back into surplus - in a sign it is changing its stance on the contentious issue.

Labor has spent the past year arguing big business did not deserve a cut and campaigning strongly against the Turnbull government's proposed tax cuts for all companies to 25 per cent, but Tuesday marked the first time the party said it would consider business tax reform.

Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen said his focus remained returning the budget to balance in an effort to place Labor as sensible economic managers, traditionally a Coalition strong suit, as it prepares to move to an election footing.

"When the budget has returned to surplus then you can look at further tax reform of both personal and company tax, but you have to be able to afford it, you have to pay for it," Mr Bowen told ABC Radio.

Labor has previously flagged it would consider income tax cuts when the budget returns to surplus but maintained its staunch opposition to company tax cuts for businesses turning over up to $50 million a year.

"My objection to the company tax cut is that it is unaffordable in the current environment," said Mr Bowen, who said he had no philosophical opposition to affordable company tax cuts in his 2013 book Hearts and Minds.

Treasurer Scott Morrison's mid-year budget update showed the deficit had dropped to $33.2 billion, with a small budget surplus not pencilled in until 2020-21.

Under the Turnbull government's plan the cut from the current corporate tax rate of 30 per cent is designed to be phased in over 10-years, with the majority of cuts coming after 2021.

That means only firms turning over less than $100 million a year would have taxes cut to 27.5 per cent before the predicted surplus. The reduction to 25 per cent for all companies, including those with more than $1 billion in turnover would be introduced by 2027.

Mr Morrison has been out selling the government's proposed company tax cut in an effort to convince a sceptical public and a Senate that appears implacably opposed.

He has previously warned businesses would flee Australia while Australians were sitting on the beach after the company tax cuts were passed by the Trump administration in the US.

But the Coalition has also begun shifting its rhetoric on the unpopular tax cuts by seeking to appeal to the concerns of workers starved of wage rises.

"We know that it doesn’t make any sense that if you want businesses to be in a position to pay wages that are higher than today, you don’t insist on them paying higher taxes to the government," Mr Morrison said on Tuesday.

"The Labor Party is standing between a wage rise for workers and this plan."

It is understood the government is also looking at personal tax cuts worth between $500 to $1000 per year for middle income earners this year, but only if it does not risk the planned return to surplus.

SOURCE






Australia takes the most refugees since start of humanitarian program

But the Left still want more

More than 24,000 humanitarian arrivals settled in past financial year, including special intake of Syrian and Iraqi refugees

Australia accepted more refugees to its shores last year than any year since it began a dedicated humanitarian migration program.

New statistics from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection – now part of the home affairs portfolio – revealed 24,162 humanitarian arrivals settled in Australia last financial year. That figure includes Australia’s annual humanitarian program, and refugees arriving as part of the special intake of Syrian and Iraqi refugees.

The previous highest intake, according to figures from the parliamentary library, was under the government of Malcolm Fraser, when 22,545 refugees arrived in 1980-81.

The method by which humanitarian entrants to Australia are counted by government has changed over decades.

But figures show that, outside of a significant spike in the early 1980s, a steady trend upwards from the low tens of thousands each year. There were also spikes in the mid-1990s, and under the Gillard government in 2012.

But 2016-17 was the highest year on record. The intake of 24,162 was part of a far-larger and broader migration program. Last financial year, there were 225,941 permanent additions to the Australian population.

About 92,000 of those people were already in the country, and were moving from temporary visas, like student visas, to permanent visas;and 133,000 were new people arriving in to live.

Measuring historical migration flows is an imperfect science, as methods of arrivals and categorisations have changed over the years.

In the wake of the massive displacement caused by the second world war, there were sustained movements of millions of people across the globe.

Between 1947 and 1975, an estimated 297,000 refugees came to Australia, the majority of whom were assisted by the government.

The Refugees Convention which legally defines a refugee, was written 1951. Australia became a party to the treaty in 1954. In 1977 the Fraser government established a formal humanitarian stream to Australia’s migration program.

But the mass movement of people across the globe is now at record numbers. The UN refugee agency says there are 65.6 million people displaced around the world, internally in their own country and externally. Of those 22.5 million are refugees, outside their country of origin.

Some 84% of the world’s refugees are hosted by developing countries, the majority in nations adjacent to the places refugees have fled from. Turkey is hosting more than 2.7 million refugees, while Lebanon and Pakistan have more than one million living inside their borders.

Third-country resettlement, the type of which brings refugees to Australia, accounts for only a tiny fraction of the world’s refugee population. Fewer than 1% of the world’s refugees are resettled in any year.

SOURCE

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