Friday, May 27, 2016
Once again a Leftist shows an inability to mount a valid argument, let alone a thought-out argument. Ms Kovesi below quotes the case of two highly qualified central Europeans in the '50s as some sort of argument against Australia's current immigration policies. But the people trying to force themselves on us at the moment are nothing like highly qualified central Europeans. They have low levels of literacy even in their own languages and few (about 16%) obtain full time jobs. The rest parasitize the Australian taxpayer. So her example is completely irrelevant. And the fact is that the two Europeans concerned came to Australia LEGALLY, whereas the "boat people" arrive illegally.
Ms Kovesi seems herself to see that the examples she gives have no real force so she trails off into saying that shared humanity is the reason why we should throw open the doors to all and sundry. But we have shared humanity with rapists and murderers too. So should we welcome them with open arms too? Perhaps Ms Kovesi would like to billet a serial rapist in her own home? He's human too, you know. And that's all that matters, is it not? She may have a doctorate in history but I think most ordinary Australians would see her as a drongo
Last week’s comments by Peter Dutton that ‘illiterate’ refugees will take Australian jobs misses the point at several levels, writes Catherine Kovesi.
Unsurprisingly, the electoral debate has brought the handful of tragic asylum seekers who live forcibly at our peripheries to our emotional centre stage once more. This time the argument is based on their possible illiteracy and job taking aspirations.
The response by some has been immediately to show the number of highly literate former asylum seekers who are now active and productive participants in Australian society. Others have shown instead how their illiterate parents became productive members of Australian society.
But does this advance the nature of the debate? Are literacy skills or the lack thereof what we should be basing the argument around in the first place?
My father and his brother filled out asylum seeker application forms to come to Australia in 1950. They were 19 and 23 respectively. Both were men of the mind. Highly literate, politically engaged young intellectuals. Fluent in Hungarian, and German, passable in French, and well versed in Latin. But with no English.
My father had studied Philosophy at Budapest University, and then, as a refugee in Austria in 1949, at Salzburg University. My uncle had studied medicine at the same institutions.
However in 1950, Australia was not interested in refugees’ literacy skills. In fact the very opposite. The country was only accepting refugees who had demonstrable practical skills.
My father had only just learnt to drive on the steep alpine slopes of the Tyrol, but he was accepted into Australia on the pretence that he was a truck driver, and my uncle that he was a shoemaker.
Anxiously, as they sailed towards Australia on the good ship Skargum with many other middle European refugees, my uncle studied an old shoemakers’ manual that he had hurriedly bought prior to departure, in case he arrived in Fremantle, Western Australia, to find materials to make a shoe waiting for him at Customs, in order to demonstrate his shoemaking expertise.
Both did indeed take on manual jobs when they arrived. Whilst living in the Northam refugee detention centre, my father worked variously as a gardener (planting out the grounds of the University of Western Australia), as a kiosk salesman on Cottesloe Beach, and as an orderly in a tuberculosis sanatorium in Perth. It was in that sanatorium that he spied some philosophy books on the table of one of the patients.
That patient, Professor Selwyn Grave, encouraged my father, who spoke little English, to come and study at the University of Western Australia – in the glory days of free undergraduate education. My father and my uncle did so.
Within five years my father had a scholarship to Oxford University. My uncle went on to Cambridge to study English Literature (although he always lamented that reading Shakespeare in the original was a disappointment).
But both returned to the country that had offered them asylum. Both went on to academic careers at the University of Western Australia – my uncle teaching English literature with a special focus on Shakespeare, and my father teaching Philosophy to generations of students.
Both are remembered with great fondness.
Sadly both are now dead.
But what they both offered Australia was not their literacy or otherwise. They offered quite simply all that we in turn can hope to offer desperate people who recognise something of good in the traditions of our island sanctuary – their humanity.
Can the debate please be removed from questions of literacy, and return to common questions of our shared humanity?
Thursday, May 19, 2016
Warmists just LOVE the Barrier Reef
It enables them to tell SO many lies. That coral "bleaching" (expulsion of symbiotic algae) has been happening for millions of years goes unmentioned below -- as is the fact that corals have in the past coped with far greater temperature variations than anything we have seen recently. And they are still with us, funnily enough.
They do respond to temperature, among other things, but the "bleaching" is mainly in order to recruit different varieties of symbiotic algae. And corals are hardier than they look. In "bleached" form they can survive for quite a while on their normal filter feeding. "Bleached" corals are NOT dead.
And the present ocean warming is clearly due to El Nino, a temporary warming that is part of a natural cycle. It's actually the La Nina that normally follows El Nino that is the biggest concern. Corals are more likely to "bleach" in response to cooling than they are to warming.
And let me again mention my favourite fact about coral: In 1954 the USA exploded a 15 megaton thermonuclear device over Bikini atoll. And Bikini atoll had lots of coral. So there is no coral there at all now? Far from it. The corals there now are huge, abundant and thriving. So if coral reefs can recover from an H-bomb blast, why is a pissy one degree temperature rise in GBR waters of concern?
Corals at Bikini atoll today
Strange that all that goes unmentioned below, isn't it? You would not suspect any of it from the screeches below. The words below are "an orchestrated litany of lies". They just want more funding and are prepared to lie and deceive to get it. Global warming is a global racket dreamt up by scientists for the benefit of scientists
The Federal Government’s plan to save the Great Barrier Reef is “totally inadequate,” and if whoever forms government doesn’t commit at least $10 billion this election the natural wonder is likely to be doomed, scientists at James Cook University have said.
This extraordinary warning comes from leading water quality expert Jon Brodie and Emeritus Professor Richard Pearson, who are speaking out after they published a paper this week. In an interview this morning, Brodie said the Reef “will never be in its full gory again, we can’t expect that, [but]it’s going to get worse unless we do something”.
The Scientists said the twin threats of poor water quality and climate change could put the Reef in “terminal” decline within five years, unless whoever forms government comes to office with a comprehensive, cohesive, and adequately-funded rescue plan.
The Coalition Government has released a plan, known as Reef 2050, but it scarcely mentions climate change and Brodie said it is “totally inadequate”. “I’m probably the leading water quality expert for the Great Barrier Reef over the last 30 years and I’m saying the water quality [aspect of the plan]is absolutely inadequate,” he said.
“It was meant to be a comprehensive plan, of course, but as has been pointed out by everyone, and particularly the Australian Academy of Science, it’s totally inadequate,” he said.
The James Cook University scientists said catchment and coastal management programs need to be funded in the order of $1 billion per year over the next ten years. “We need a plan to fix up water quality as best we can, to provide some resilience against the oncoming climate change impacts,” Brodie said.
The Great Barrier Reef has made headlines over recent months as 93 per cent of the Reef, which is the only living structure that can be seen from space, has been affected by coral bleaching.
Fuelled by warming waters, the coral bleaching event was the worst in recorded history. The uncompromising heat was a result of an El Nino climate system, superimposed over baseline temperatures already pushed up by climate change.
“Before climate change kicked in we simply never saw bleaching,” Professor Terry Hughes has previously told New Matilda. “It’s quite confronting that we’ve now got to the stage that every El Nino event – and they happen every few years – is a threat to the Great Barrier Reef,” said Hughes, the Director of the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies.
The threats posed by climate change are exacerbated by plague-like outbreaks of Crown of Thorns Starfish, which are triggered by poor water quality. According to the James Cook University Scientists, the next outbreak is most likely to occur around 2025.
If we don’t make serious inroads at improving water quality by then, the fate of the Reef looks grim.
Brodie and Emeritus Professor Pearson are calling for management of the Reef to be extended beyond the bounds of the World Heritage Area, north to the Torres Strait, south to Hervey Bay, and inland to include the Great Barrier Reef catchment.
This would of course come at a cost. But Brodie points out that while $10 billion over ten years “may seem like a lot of money, we know that amount would be effective and it’s small by comparison to the economic worth of the Reef, which is around $20 billion per year”.
Current Federal funding, he said, “is almost nothing”. And that doesn’t look likely to change. “So far in the election campaign, we’ve seen no major commitments about the Great Barrier Reef at all from anybody really,” Brodie said.
The Great Barrier Reef Campaign Director at the Australian Marine Conservation Society, Imogen Zethoven said “the massive coral bleaching taking place right now on the Reef and the latest science over recent months all point in one direction: The outlook for the Reef is dire and we must act now.
“Things are worse than we thought for the Reef’s future, we are close to the brink of what this fragile ecosystem can tolerate without a credible plan for restoring it to good health,” she said.
“Australia’s current plans to protect the Reef are inadequate, short-sighted, lack appropriate funding and will not prevent its decline.”
Thursday, May 5, 2016
A reluctant defence of Australia's illegal immigration policy
By Jonathan Holmes
Nick Riemer has a choleric response to the article below on New Matilda -- but I can't see that he offers any arguments that hold water. I am amused that he waxes righteous about what is the "moral" thing to do. Stopping unauthorized arrivals is immoral, apparently. I wonder how he deduces that? And since he and his ilk would in other contexts argue that "there is no such thing as right and wrong", I can't see that he has any basis for his moral claims at all. As I pointed out long ago, Leftists who use moral claims are just being manipulative and dishonest.
And -- OF COURSE -- stopping the boats is RACIST! Everything that Leftists disagree with is racist. So how does Herr Riemer (Riemer is a German and Yiddish name for a maker of leather reins and similar articles) decide that it is racist? Because the illegals are brown. But they mostly are not. Iranians and Afghans are white -- not as white as Northern Europeans but no darker than Southern Italians. And seeing that Australia accepts immigrants of all races through legal channels, the racism accusation is patently absurd anyway.
So I can't see that Riemer has any basis for his opposition to immigration control at all. He certainly does not show that it is in Australia's best interests to accept poorly educated arrivals who subscribe to a barbaric religion and who often hate us and who mostly become welfare dependent. All he has is his rage and his faux morality. The rage could be faux too.
I doubt that he would be happy about a third world family moving into his house and living there without his permission -- but other Australians should accept the something very similar, apparently. Australians are not allowed to regard their country as their home. He wants to deny their government the selectivity that he himself would exercise.
But now for Jonathan Holmes. I have omitted the initial throat clearing:
During the so-called "Tampa" election in 2001, I was the executive producer of the ABC's 7.30 Report. Every time we aired an item that was in any way sympathetic to boat people, we would get a flood of reaction from viewers: outraged, furious, bitter. It gave me some inkling of the tide that was washing into MPs' electoral offices.
And nowhere more than in western Sydney and western Melbourne, the heartlands of Australia's post-war immigrant population, where to have parents who were native English speakers made you the exception, not the rule.
These were people who had stood in the "queue" that others called fictional, who had waited years for the family reunion scheme to bring their wives and kids and parents to Australia; who had relatives and friends hoping desperately to join them; who knew that every boat person allowed to stay was one fewer of their own people who'd be admitted through the off-shore humanitarian visa intake.
They are also the parts of Australia where most people know someone who arrived by boat. They know about the networks of agents set up by people-smugglers, have seen the phone calls to families in Malaysia and Indonesia.
In three Four Corners programs (links here, here and here) that made far less impact than they deserved, Sarah Ferguson revealed beyond doubt that the criminal people-smuggler networks are not just a fantasy dreamt up by immigration ministers. They exist. And a lot of Australians know it. They don't see why people who can pay criminals should be able to buy a chance at a life they themselves had to get by legal means.
I still see the opposition to boat people dismissed by refugee advocates as "racist". That's a fundamental misunderstanding. Australia is rightly proud of its immigration program. It has created one of the most diverse and successful multi-ethnic nations in the world. The reason the boat people had to be stopped was that – justifiably or otherwise – they were undermining Australians' belief in a fair and orderly immigration program.
But, say many of the current policy's opponents, there are other solutions. In this four-year-old blog on the ABC's Religion and Ethics site, Aly argues that it's just a matter of taking more refugees from Indonesia. If people could get here legitimately, they wouldn't risk the boats. The Guardian's Richard Ackland put much the same proposition just last week.
Both blithely ignore that the people in Indonesia and Malaysia who want to come to Australia are not Indonesians or Malaysians. Overwhelmingly, they are Hazaras from Afghanistan, and Iranians; if the way to Australia were open, they would now be Syrians too.
They've already travelled a long way – helped by people smugglers – to get to Indonesia, and there are hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, more where they came from.
Taking a large proportion of would-be Australian migrants from Indonesia would only induce more to follow; very soon there would be far more than any orderly migration program could accommodate. The Indonesians and Malaysians would not thank us for that. That's why we source so much of our refugee intake from camps close to where they've fled from: Somalis and Sudanese from Kenya, Afghans from Pakistan, and so on.
As Europe is discovering, there is an almost limitless demand, through the Middle East, and central Asia, and Africa, for a better, safer life. Whether these people are "genuine refugees" or "economic migrants" may matter to the lawyers, but is immaterial in policy terms.
The brutal fact is that we cannot take them all. We cannot, without risking social disruption, take more than a tiny fraction of them. And as John Howard famously said, it should be our government that decides who comes to this country, not a free-for-all scramble for a place on a leaky boat.
For the poor souls who are its victims, the "Pacific Solution" has provided a living hell. I doubt their agony can be justified philosophically. I don't believe we should be sheltered from it by censorship. I hope, somehow, that it can soon be ended.
But I don't know what the alternative policy should have been in the past, or could be in the future.