Sunday, June 28, 2015
New Matilda says so -- so who am I to argue? I can see no logic in it however. I think "Blue blooded" just seemed like a good term of abuse for them. As good Leftists they of course think that government should fund everything. The idea that Greens are just another political lobby who should pay their own way is incomprehensible to them. A few excerpts from the usual long-winded ramble below
In December 2013, the Abbott government gutted the Australian Network of Environmental Defenders, cutting off all funding, including $10 million over four years despite the agreement being just six months in.
Much of it was effective immediately, and the eight EDOs around the country were told that beyond June 2014 the recurrent base-funding the organisations had received from federal governments for 18 years would be pulled.
The flow of federal funds to the EDOs was critical to their ability to perform their public interest role, but the Attorney General refuses to meet with them to discuss the cuts.
There had been no warning, no consultation, and despite recommendations from the Productivity Commission and a Senate Inquiry, there has been no back-down.
The government has made it clear it does not value the work that the 20 full-time legal staff and 17 non-legal support staff around the country do, or the function they serve our democracy.
Driving them out of the democratic contest over the environment will diminish citizens’ access to justice, the quality of environmental protections, and the scrutiny and awareness of the corporations whose operations have the potential to permanently damage our environment.
The Productivity Commission has noted that the work EDOs do - on law reform, on public education, in outreach and importantly, running cases for people who otherwise couldn’t afford them - is not being done by anyone else.
Environmental Defenders Offices are a recognised bulwark against corporate power over the biosphere. Implicit in that, Smith said, is the fact they “can’t apologise for being relevant and playing the role we do”.
“We are not a lobbying group, we’re not a campaign group. But the work we do - public interest environmental law - is, by nature, about being relevant,” he said.
“That means working in the areas which are often high-profile and highly contested.
“At the moment that is definitely in the area of coal mining and coal seam gas, but it wasn’t so long ago we were working almost reservedly in the area of, say, native vegetation reform.”
Earlier this year EDO Queensland brought a case which revealed that coal mining company Adani had provided decision makers with extremely high estimates of the taxes, royalties and jobs its mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin would create.
The company plans to build the biggest mine in Australia’s history, along with the world’s largest coal terminal, adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef. In August, a separate EDO case will examine its environmental record, which is scarred with breaches and negligence in its home state of India, and whether the Environment Minister should have taken the development's vast carbon emissions into account.
Despite the potential for huge environmental damage and dodgy calculations the state government, under Campbell Newman’s tenure, had been offering to help pay for critical and expensive rail infrastructure to ensure Adani’s mine (and nine others) went ahead.
Recent weeks have shown that the Abbott government - which George Brandis reiterated last week believes “coal is very good for humanity indeed” - is more than willing to extend the same favour through its $5 billion Northern Australia Investment Facility.
The case the EDO brought - through logic and proper application of environmentally law - directly challenged the legitimacy of the Galilee developments.
And yes, it potentially damaged proponents’ chances of approval and financial close.
The small community group the Queensland EDO represented could not have funded a five-week case involving nearly two dozen expert witnesses, but the new information it dragged into the public domain has added substantial weight to widespread community concern.
Facilitating communities’ use of the law is central to the EDOs function, which is largely why the Senate Inquiry Into the Abbott Government’s Attacks on the Environment this week found that “the long-term cost to communities and to the environment will far outweigh the short-term financial gains achieved by the defunding of the EDOs.”
To the EDO, access to justice for communities and the environment is a public good: “The dominant purpose is not to protect or vindicate a private right or interest, but to protect the environment.”
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
They have overcome their chronic Leftist rage long enough to see that the Abbott government really is trying to be fair. I can rarely read much of "New Matilda". Wading through all that rage is too depressing for a cheerful soul like me. So am pleased to find something sensible and positive for a change
Last week, Social Services Minister Scott Morrison said something rather unusual. “I commend the Australian Greens, and their new Leader Senator Di Natale, supported by Senator Siewert, for their constructive engagement with the Government,” Morrison wrote in a media release.
Did you read that right? Was Scott Morrison commending … the Greens?
Yes, he was. Morrison was talking about the government’s latest move on pension reform: a change to the way the pension is tested. As a result of the changes, about 170,000 mostly poorer pensioners will receive higher pension payments, while more than 320,000 wealthier pensioners will be negatively affected. Perhaps 90,000 Australians will lose their payments altogether.
The pension move saves the government $2.4 billion over four years. It also gets the Coalition out of a tight spot. Joe Hockey’s horror 2014 budget had foreshadowed a big cut to pension indexation, reducing all pensions inexorably over time.
Like so much of Hockey’s first budget, the pension indexation crimp was abandoned last year in the face of widespread community opposition to the measure. The new Liberal-Greens deal on pensions replaces that measure, but still saves the government some money.
The decision by new Greens leader Richard Di Natale to strike a deal with Morrison and the Coalition has drawn considerable criticism. Labor has launched a stinging attack on the compact, arguing it leaves many retirees on middling incomes worse off.
“The Greens and the Government have done a deal to sell out pensioners,” Labor’s Jenny Macklin thundered last week. “While the Government would like to portray this measure as only affecting millionaires, the reality is this pension cut is an attack on middle Australia.”
The Greens deny this. They say the current reform will make for a fairer pension system. They also point out it is longstanding Greens policy.
“More Australians who don’t have the advantage of a healthy super balance will be able to access a full pension when we undo John Howard’s tampering with taper rates,” Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said last week.
The Greens have put out a fact sheet that details the government modelling of the pension changes. This shows that the pension reforms do indeed help those at the lower end of wealth spectrum. But they also affect many pensioners in the middle and upper tiers.
So who’s right? The University of New South Wales’ Rafal Chomik has crunched the data... As you can see, the new pension test cuts in at a higher initial figure, but then tapers more quickly.
What this means is that some senior Australians with fewer assets will receive higher pension payments. Some pensioners with a lot of assets will lose their part-pension altogether.
In other words, the changes are progressive, even as they punish pensioners with higher assets. They help those in the lower tiers, and exclude more of the wealthy from accessing it.
For pensioners with very little, the changes will have no impact. There are nearly a million pensioners who neither own their home nor have more than $300,000 in assets. These pensioners will not be affected.
Thursday, June 18, 2015
According to the Cairns Post, police will not be pressing charges against the North Queensland politician following a three-month investigation.
Mr Gordon resigned from the state Labor party in March after making history as one of only three Aboriginal MPs to be elected to Queensland’s Parliament.
It followed allegations of domestic violence made by his former partner, which he denied at the time. It was also revealed Mr Gordon had failed to disclose his criminal history to the party, including break and enter offences committed when he was a teenager. He was under no legal obligation to disclose the charges.
There were also allegations that Mr Gordon had failed to lodge tax returns and dodged child support payments.
Newly-minted Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was quick to respond to the allegations, saying Mr Gordon had let her, the party, and Queensland down.
In the midst of a police investigation, Mr Gordon publicly stated he hoped he would be afforded “natural justice” and opted to remain in Parliament as an Independent.
It was later revealed that his LNP opponent for Cook, David Kempton, had assisted Mr Gordon’s former partner in revealing the allegations, as well as federal LNP Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch. The allegations were made public on a website linked to former LNP Cook MP Gavin King.
Today, Mr Gordon told the Cairns Post that he had never perpetuated domestic violence in the relationship and condemned the “dirty” political tactics that forced his resignation from the Labor party. “It’s the ultimate baptism of fire,” he told the Cairns Post.
Mr Gordon is now focused on his family, although he has not had contact with his 11-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter from the relationship, he told the Cairns Post.
“I haven’t seen the kids since it’s blown up, but I know they love me and I love them,” he said.
He told the Cairns Post he was now focused on his electorate.
Gordon represents the sprawling electorate of Cook, which takes in Cairns, Cape York and the Torres Strait – which has a sizable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.
He is the second Aboriginal MP to hold the seat, following in the footsteps of Eric Deeral in the 70s.
[The above report is excerpted from the far-Left "New Matilda". I have reproduced the factual part and left out all the huffing and puffing. So are we surprised that Matilda does not mention which party Eric Deeral represented? It was the Country party, the major conservative party in Queensland at the time. I had forgotten all about him but when Matilda failed to mention his party, I knew immediately what his politics would be. "New Matilda" are amusing in their predictability. Balance and fair comment are totally alien to them. They also fail to mention that Australia's first Aboriginal parliamentarian, Neville Bonner, was also a conservative nominee]
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
I am probably one of the very few who take any notice of Matilda but they are so determined to come to their foreordained conclusions that I find them amusing.
I find the latest effusion particularly amusing because I spent 20 years as a university survey researcher -- resulting in many academic publications. So I am quite sure how the sleight of hand below works.
What they do is to compare a properly conducted survey with responses gathered over the internet. And they found a great divergence of results. But such comparisons always do diverge. People contacted over the internet are not representative. They differ from the mean in being better educated, more socially isolated, more Leftist and in various other ways. As far as generalizing to any known population is concerned they are invalid and useless. It takes Matilda to hang their hat on such a survey
A survey distributed on social media has recorded dramatically different results to those released by the government-funded group, finding stronger support for constitution reform among white Australia than black. Amy McQuire reports.
Only 25 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people support the “grassroots” Recognise group, and a majority would vote no in a referendum if it delivered only symbolic recognition, according to a new poll that pours cold water on the Recognise’s claim that nine out of ten blackfellas support their campaign.
In May, the government-funded Recognise group released research suggesting nine in ten Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people supported constitutional recognition.
The polling was conducted by Polity Research, which surveyed 750 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and 2700 non-Indigenous voters, according to Recognise.
Recognise said the “research confirms continuing support for recognition from the vast majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people”.
The group released its media statement without detail of the question that was posed to interviewees, or where it had retrieved its sample of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voters.
But the claim of overwhelming Indigenous support is one that was controversial among many who believe the issue is being met with a much more diverse sample of opinions in Aboriginal communities.
While conservative opposition to constitutional reform has been highly publicised, the concerns from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people has been largely overshadowed by the Recognise campaign’s claims of almost unanimous support.
In February, the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples acknowledged that there was a growing opposition to constitutional reform from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, with co-chair Les Malezer saying “we are already receiving messages from our people that they are determined to vote against any referendum”.
This opposition is confirmed by an online survey conducted by Luke Pearson at IndigenousX, a social media platform across Twitter and Facebook, who released the results last night.
The survey drew responses from 827 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across the country, with the majority of responses coming from New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.
The poll, conducted on Survey Monkey, was widely shared across Twitter and Facebook, the latter of which has high rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander users.
The survey acknowledges that, like the Recognise polling, the sample size was “still quite small”.
“Questions regarding the distribution of data collected by Recognise should be similarly asked and caution must always be exercised when claiming that a survey is ‘representative’,” the group says.
But the IndigenousX poll produces radically different results to those promoted by the Recognise campaign.
It found that rather than Recognise’s stated 87 per cent Indigenous support, only 25 per cent of IndigenousX respondents supported the group. 58 per cent were in opposition, while a further 17 per cent were still unsure.
Monday, June 8, 2015
I always enjoy the bulletins I get from the devious far-Leftists at New Matilda. Wendy Bacon, scion of the old Communist Bacon family, is writing below. The elephant she ignores is the horrendous Sydney traffic congestion. Traffic jams waste huge amounts of time for millions of people -- and anything to relieve it has to be seized upon.
And time is of the essence. Any major infrastructure project is treacle-slow in getting done these days so the way to speed things up is to do things simultaneously rather than sequentially. And that is exactly what the breakfast lady is whining about. If all the paperwork had to be done before anything else happened, the project would be delayed for years. But gumming up the works is what Communists have always aimed at so that motivation is clear here too. If she had her way, traffic congestion in the affected area would last years longer than it needs to
NSW Labor and NSW Greens are calling on the Baird government to halt all forced acquisitions until the business case for its WestConnex motorway is made public, environmental assessments are complete and planning approvals are granted.
This is the opposite to the planning approach being taken by the NSW government for tollway planning.
NSW Shadow Minister for Roads, Jodi McKay and Greens WestConnex Spokesperson Jenny Leong are also concerned about potential conflicts of interest involved in WestConnex contracts awarded to engineering company AECOM, revealed by New Matilda last week.
On Thursday, the WestConnex Delivery Authority (WDA) announced that a Leightons, John Holland and Samsung C&T consortium has been awarded a $2.5 billion contract to build the M4 East tunnel from Homebush to Haberfield in Sydney's Inner West. At the same time, 180 households were being issued with forced acquisition notices.
Other residents learned that they would lose part of their gardens, leaving them living on the edge of the motorway, or that their children would be attending a public school near an unfiltered ventilation stack or motorway portal.
In Sydney's south west, the small community of St Peters has been campaigning since last November against the forced acquisition of scores of homes, which would leave their neighbourhood decimated and its school close to the massive M5 interchange. Residents in Beverly Hills are facing imminent expansion of the existing M5 toll road to within a few metres of their fences and the removal of local open space and vegetation in preparation for a second M5 tunnel.
This massive community disruption is happening without the business case for the WestConnex being completed or made public, or a draft EIS released for either the M4 tunnel or duplicate M5 toll road. Almost nothing is known about Stage 3, which is a tunnel that would link the M4 and M5.
Jodi McKay told New Matilda that "neither the planning process nor property acquisitions should go ahead until the completion and release of the business case". She said the rush to issue the contract and acquire houses was "poor governance" and that "the project should not progress any further until the EIS is released for extensive consultation, which I doubt is what the government has in mind. This government has shown time and time again that they will go out of their way to shut down transparency.”
Greens WestConnex spokesperson, Newtown MP Jenny Leong’s first act in NSW Parliament after becoming MP for Newtown was to call on the Government - in the interests of good governance and financial accountability - to suspend all activity on the WestConnex project until the full business case and Environmental Impact Statement are made public. She told New Matilda that "in the interests of transparency and the public interest, until the business case and EIS is released there must be a halt to acquisitions, exploratory works and construction”.
“The current crash-through approach by Roads Minister and WDA shows a blatant disregard for good planning, the community interest, the health and safety of our communities and our environment. Now the contracts have been signed, what happens if the EIS discovers that there will be dangerous levels of pollution delivered right into residential areas in Concord, Homebush or Haberfield?” Leong asked.
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
"New Matilda" reports below something that would normally be cause for alarm but fails to look at the bigger picture. People who took airline flights to Indonesia from places like Pakistan and then got into boats to Australia are not impoverished and desperate refugees. They are middle-income economic migrants who have deliberately flouted Australia's border controls, fully aware that they cannot reach the standards that Australia requires of immigrants. If it was refuge they needed, they already had it in Pakistan, Indonesia or any other Muslim country. Muslims have a duty of hospitality to fellow-Muslims.
As such they deserve no sympathy and tales of encountering hardship in Australia are likely to deter any others from coming.
I have no idea if such people are harshly treated by officials in detention centres but it seems clear that they do often treat one-another and everyone else badly. They are unscrupulous Muslim lawbreakers after all. It also seems clear that some claims of bad treatment arise from "plays" put on to deceive gullible observers and sympathetic Leftists, probably with the collusion of the Leftists concerned. Lying for a cause has always seemed OK for Leftists and Muslims
So New Matilda has done us all a good turn below by amping up the apprehensions would-be illegals will feel when deciding where to go. They now mainly seem to be going to countries in S.E. Asia, who are no pushovers. When that option is recognized as too hard, we need for them not to reconsider Australia
Doctors and contractors who formerly worked in Australia’s immigration detention network say new legislation criminalising disclosures will have a chilling effect, and is designed to deliberately target those wishing to blow the whistle on the conditions and standards of care being provided to asylum seekers.
The Australian Border Force Bill passed the Senate in mid-May with little fanfare, and is ostensibly designed to consolidate Customs and the Border Protection Service into the Department of Immigration.
But the legislation also contained a new two-year jail sentence for employees in the Department and those working for contractors who publicly disclose information.
Dr Peter Young, a former senior employee at private health contractor IHMS – which provides medical services in on and offshore detention centres – told New Matilda there are not adequate pathways in place for whistleblowers to raise their concerns. “I’m certainly very concerned that this legislation seems to further extend the secrecy and restrictions that affect staff working in immigration detention,” Dr Young said.
Head of Mental Health Services at IHMS for close to three years, Dr Young went public with his concerns about the impact prolonged detention was having on children, providing astounding testimony at the Australian Human Rights Commission’s inquiry in July 2014.
Aside from detailing incidents of self-harm among minors, Dr Young told the Commission he had been asked by the Department of Immigration to withdraw figures from IHMS reports that documented increased rates of psychological distress among children in detention.
Dr Young said policy makers who passed legislation discouraging whistleblowing were directly responsible for any harm that would occur as a result. “I think that it will in some instances have a chilling effect, but the problem is that by introducing policies that make the system even more secretive and less transparent, it increases the risk of more abuse occurring and will inevitably result in more harm being done,” he said.
When the Border Force legislation was debated by the Senate, the Greens moved an amendment allowing disclosures that would not harm the public interest. It was voted down by Labor and the Coalition, with Nick Xenophon the only non-Green to back it.
Minister for Immigration, Peter Dutton as well as Labor MPs, have previously dismissed concerns now coming to the fore about the legislation’s implications for those wishing to speak out about detention centres and their operation.
Senator Kim Carr said Labor had not been consulted on the Greens’ amendment. “Labor supports the existing whistleblower arrangements and would oppose any attempt to dilute those protections,” he said.
“The advice we have received is that this bill does not include any provisions that would prevent an employee of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, including the Australian Border Force, from making a public interest disclosure in accordance with the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013, which is the act that provides protection for whistleblowers.”
But that hasn’t reassured critics, who point to the fact the Public Interest Disclosure Act is relatively weak, and only sanctions a public disclosure where there is an “imminent danger to health or safety” – a very high bar.
Tuesday, June 2, 2015
Australia May Need to take in many Pacific islanders as their islands sink under the waves?
More nonsense from "New Matilda". They quote all sorts of "authorities" who say that many low-lying islands will be flooded as global warming melts polar ice. Their reliance on authorities is amusing. Leftism has always been authoritarian. Once freed from democratic restraint, we see just how authoritarian. What were Soviet Russia, Mao's China and Pol Pot's Kampuchea if not authoritarian?. And the Kim dynasty in North Korea is still providing us with a graphic example of Leftist authoritarianism.
To any reasonable person, however, it is the facts that are the ultimate authority and the facts are pesky for the alarmists. For a start, global warming stopped 18 years ago. Even Warmist scientists like Jim Hansen recognize that. They call the last 18 years a "pause" -- which acknowledges the halt but adds a prophecy that warming will resume. But prophecies are so far from facts that they are almost always wrong. So no warming means no flooded islands and no humanitarian crisis.
And even if warming does resume, it probably will not be a problem. While there are thousands of articles online shouting the theory of submerging islands, the reality is a little different.
Lots of low lying islands and shorelines have in fact been GROWING. Gradual rises in sea-levels have been going on for a couple of hundred years as a correction to the little ice age but accretion of island-building material has more than cancelled that out in many places. And its not only Pacific islands that have been GAINING land mass. It has even been happening in Bangladesh, contradicting many prophecies. See here and here and here and here and here and here
Countries like Australia and New Zealand may have to provide special humanitarian visas and put in place international evacuation plans as less developed nations in the region are hit by “disasters on steroids” occurring as a result of man-made climate change, the United Nations has been told.
In a submission to the UN’s World Humanitarian Summit, the UNSW’s Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law has warned the impacts of anthropogenic warming are already being felt in the region, and that governments must prepare for large population displacements as the intensity of natural disasters increases.
“The people most affected are generally the most vulnerable already – the poor, living in environmentally precarious parts of the country, without the social networks or resources to get out of harm’s way early,” a written submission by the Centre’s director Jane McAdam said.
“Humanitarian assistance in the aftermath of disasters is essential, but it is ultimately a band-aid solution and is not enough.
“The cost of inaction will be higher than the cost of implementing measures to reduce displacement now, both in financial and human terms.”
Simon Bradshaw, Climate Change Advocacy Coordinator at Oxfam Australia, said it was not clear what ongoing support Australia was providing to Pacific nations to help them deal with the threat of climate change.
Monday, June 1, 2015
Waltzing New Matilda again: Aborigines and Adam Goodes
The latest cannonade from the Matildas covers a lot of ground but I don't have time to comment on much of it so I will concentrate on the one issue that will get me most abused. I find pompous and self-congratulatory Leftist rage amusing.
Matilda has a commentary on the aggressive charge towards opposition supporters by part-Aboriginal football player Adam Goodes. It was said to be a war-dance but a prance was what it looked like to me. An Aboriginal corroboree it was not. It was a fairly hateful act of an ungracious player and I think the alleged Aboriginality of the action was an afterthought to excuse unsportsmanlike behaviour.
Compare what I have just said with the excerpt from the Matilda account below. A very different story. I have reproduced below all that the author said about the episode but there is no description of what Goodes did at all: Only the vaguest of references. We can't let reality get in the way of a hate opportunity, can we? But I have watched the video of the episode a couple of times and have tried to describe exactly what I saw. It was Goodes who was hateful.
The comment on Goodes was preceded by a wail about how badly blacks are doing generally -- and there is no doubt that they are doing very badly indeed by white standards. But who is responsible for that? The attendance of Aboriginal children at school is very patchy -- so much so that governments try to bribe Aboriginal parents to send their kids to school. And the major talent of Aboriginal adults seems to be for sitting down. They even get paid "sit down money" on occasions.
That Aborigines live very poorly by white standards has long attracted the interest of Australian governments. And everything that could be tried has been tried -- from pernmissiveness to paternalism to just giving them things. And nothing works. Aboriginal behaviour patterns remain unchanged regardless of the government regimes adopted towards them.
There is something that DOES work, however. I have had a fair bit to do with Aborigines over many years and I think most people who know much about them will admit that their behaviour has deteriorated over the years. I have known quite a few older Aborigines who dress well, take care of themselves generally and who could almost pass as whites.
Who were they? They were Aborigines who had grown up on church missions. Aborigines are a very spiritual people in general and the Presbyterian church and others were influential in preaching a gospel that included not only the message of redemption from sin but also a message of redemption from Aboriginal ways. The missionaries did not always do it consciously but they tried to make whites out of blacks. And they had considerable success. The rampant alcoholism and abuse of women and children was rarely found on the missions. And misbehaviour was greeted with a preachment on the resultant danger to your immortal soul. As an atheist, I find that a bit amusing but it worked with a spiritual people.
Bring back the missionaries? It won't happen. The only "correct" religion these days is Islam. So the bulk of the Aborigines will continue to suffer from the bigotry that denies them the one thing that might help them: Orthodox Christian Faith.
For the most part, sporting contests represent a safe space where white Australians can access black Australia, devoid of the uncomfortable truths that they have had to overcome on their path to sporting glory.
The athletic prowess of people like Greg Inglis, and Johnathan Thurston, Lance Franklin and Lewis Jetta, serves to overshadow the true reality in Aboriginal Australia – that we are behind on every health indicator, that we are shockingly over-represented in jailing rates, that our suicide and self-harm rates are a national emergency and that the rights to practice our culture and heritage are being severely undermined by governments all across the country.
The latest incident came yesterday, when Goodes celebrated a goal with an Indigenous war dance while playing against Carlton in the annual Indigenous Round.
The Daily Mail lead the charge with a shrieking headline “Goodes defends ‘war dance’ goal celebration that included pretending to throw a SPEAR at rival fans… triggering another race controversy”.
News Limited asked its readers this morning in an online poll: Did Goodes go “too far”?
The social media furore included allegations Goodes was unsportsmanlike, a wanker and aggressive.