Monthly Archives: August 2017

July 2017 Median Household Income

For July 2017, our estimate of nominal U.S. median household income ticked upward to $58,340 from our previous estimate of $58,258 for June 2017. The following chart picks up on the format that Doug Short pioneered using the median household income estimates originated by Sentier Research, who terminated their coverage after reporting the data for May 2017.

Median Household Income in the 21st Century: Nominal and Real Estimates, January 2000 to July 2017

In terms of current U.S. dollars, the median household income in the U.S. has been slowly rising since January 2017. However, after adjusting the nominal income data to be in terms of inflation-adjusted, constant July 2017 U.S. dollars, we can see that the trend since January 2017 has been flat after having trended slowly downward from its most recent "real" peak at the beginning of 2016. Our estimates of median household income since January 2000 indicate that this measure of the well-being of the typical American household has not recovered to the peak levels recorded in either late 2000 with the peak of the Dot-Com Bubble or the peak that was reached during the Great Recession that coincided with the failures in the U.S. automotive and financial industries in the last quarter of 2008.

The methodology for the approach we've developed to generate these replacement estimates is described here. In generating the July 2017 update for the Median Household Income in the 21st Century chart above, we've used the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) to adjust the nominal median household income estimates for inflation.


The BEA revised its aggregate wage and salary personal income data for the period from January 2017 through June 2017. For June 2017's revised data, our methodology produces an estimate for median household income of $58,266, which is just $8 higher than our previous estimate for that month.

Data Sources

U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Table 2.6. Personal Income and Its Disposition, Monthly, Personal Income and Outlays, Not Seasonally Adjusted, Monthly, Middle of Month. Population. [Online Database (via Federal Reserve Economic Data)]. Last Updated: 31 August 2017. Accessed: 31 August 2017.

U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Table 2.6. Personal Income and Its Disposition, Monthly, Personal Income and Outlays, Not Seasonally Adjusted, Monthly, Middle of Month. Compensation of Employees, Received: Wage and Salary Disbursements. [Online Database (via Federal Reserve Economic Data)]. Last Updated: 31 August 2017. Accessed: 31 August 2017.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers: All Items, Monthly, Not Seasonally Adjusted. [Online Database (via Federal Reserve Economic Data)]. Last Updated: 11 August 2017. Accessed: 31 August 2017.

Jimmy Morales: "He was in this no-win situation."

I spoke with Angelika Albaladejo for InSight Crime yesterday about what has been transpiring in Guatemala and what we can expect over the coming days and weeks.
Morales' decision to take preemptive action against CICIG by ordering Velásquez's removal may have been the result of lessons learned from his predecessor Otto Pérez Molina. Although Pérez Molina faced a similar crossroads when he resisted renewing the CICIG's mandate, international pressure forced him to cave. Ultimately, the commission uncovered that Pérez Molina was the leader of an intricate embezzlement scheme, revelations that led to his resignation and put him and his Vice President Roxana Baldetti in jail.
"He was in this no-win situation," Mike Allison, a Central America expert at the University of Scranton, told InSight Crime.
Allison added that based on how the situation played out for Pérez Molina it is unsurprising that Morales "put himself in a position of offense."
You can read "Guatemala Court Rules President Cannot Remove Anti-Corruption Head" here.

Australian Politics 2017-08-31 15:45:00


School kids to rethink Captain Cook claims

This is an attack on a straw man.  Kids have always been told that Cook discovered the EAST COAST of Australia.  He mapped it

Primary school students are being encouraged to “suggest another, more accurate description of Captain­ Cook’’ after weighing up whether the British explorer was the “discoverer of Australia’’.

Year 4 students are asked to consider the implications of the word “discoverer’’ in relation to the presence of Aboriginal people in Australia before the arrival of Europeans and consider other ­explorers who reached Australia before James Cook, such as Willem Janszoon, Dirk Hartog, William Dampier and Abel Tasman.

The teaching resource, developed by the State Library of NSW, is designed to introduce children to the concepts of contested history and multiple interpretations of history. It also asks whether they consider as accurate a 1934 inscription on a plaque recognising the parish of Cooks River. It describes Cook as the “discoverer of Australia’’.

“If the information is not accur­ate, why was it written on the plaque in 1934? Suggest another, more accurate description of Captain­ Cook,’’ it says.

A NSW Education Standards Authority spokesman said teachers and schools could choose to use the resource or other resources in class. “The appropriateness of any resources is a matter for ­individual schools and teachers to determine,’’ the spokesman said.

Asked to comment on whether he believed Cook discovered ­Australia or whether it was an ­inaccurate description, NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes said: “Of course Captain Cook did not discover Australia.

“There were people living in Australia for thousands­ of years before Cook first visited.

“As far as we know. the first ­Englishman to visit Australia was William Dampier.

“Captain Cook was an incredible explorer and naval officer. He was the first ­Englishman in recorde­d history to visit Australia’s east coast. I learned all this in a NSW public school.’’

The chief executive of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, Robert Randall, said the national curric­ulum, “which offers a balanced view of historical events, was endorse­d by every education minister­ across Australia”.

“The curriculum provides stud­ents with the opportunity to ­explore a great variety of topics, including stories of the First Fleet, the reasons for the journey, the people who travelled to Australia, and their experiences upon ­arrival,” he said. “In the same area of the curriculum, students can learn about Australia’s first peoples and their experiences before, during and after the arrival of Europeans. This is the right balance.

“It is important to remember that the Australian curriculum does not specify how content must be taught.

“Schools and teachers have the flexibility to make decisions about how they teach the curriculum. They are the best-placed to do so in their classrooms.’’


Anti same-sex marriage campaign airs: ‘School told my son he could wear a dress’

THE first television advertisement for a ‘say no to same-sex marriage’ campaign has aired on Australian television.

The advertisement from the Coalition for Marriage — the key organisation behind the ‘No’ campaign — features Australian mothers who speak out as part of a series aimed at highlighting what they claim are issues that could arise from the proposed legislation.

Cella White, the first Australian woman who appears in the advertisement, tells viewers that her son’s school told him “he could wear a dress next year if he felt like it”. A second woman then stares down the barrel of the camera and claims that “when same-sex marriage passes as law overseas this type of program become (sic) widespread and compulsory”.

The comments are followed by a black screen with text: “In countries with gay marriage, parents have lost their rights to choose”, it reads.

A third woman expresses concern that “kids in Year 7 are being asked to role play being (in) a same-sex relationship”.

The advertisement ends with the caption: “We have a choice. You can say no.”

It prompted a mixed reaction on social media with some users calling it an outrage and others expressing their support.

Australian Labor Party and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten told Fairfax Media the ad was “offensive and hurtful to LGBTI Australians and their families”.

“This is exactly what was predicted when Malcolm Turnbull decided to waste $122 million on a postal survey. He gave the green light to this rubbish,” Mr Shorten said.

Equality Campaign executive director Tiernan Brady told the “ad is disgraceful in its dishonesty”.

“The people behind this ad know that the Australian people are for allowing all Australians the right to marry so they want to desperately pretend this simple straightforward question is about something else,” Mr Brady said.

“As they try to divide Australians will continue to campaign to unite all Australians.”

Coalition for Marriage spokeswoman Sophie York said in a statement that “radical LGBTIQ sex and gender education programs” had started to become mandatory for primary schools in Canada and the UK.

“Every day across the country, on social media, in coffee shops, in mothers’ groups and at barbecues, hundreds of thousands of parents are speaking to each other about the impacts of radical LGBTIQ sex and gender education programs,” Ms York said.

“Millions of Australians are now concerned about the consequences of changing the Marriage Act.

“Australian parents have a right to know how a change in the marriage law will affect what their kids are taught at school. The education departments won’t tell them. Those lobbying for change won’t tell them.”

The advertisement will run on all of the main commercial networks and pay-TV stations and is also supported by the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL).

“Changing the marriage law will have consequences for what is taught in our kids classrooms,” the ACL wrote in an online post.

“Changing the marriage law to allow same-sex couples to marry will mean taking gender our of our laws.

“If same-sex marriage becomes law, parents will not have a leg to stand on if they don’t want their kids taught radical sex education, and gender ideologies.”

Earlier, the head of Australia’s Anglican Church said he won’t be advising its members on how to vote in the same-sex marriage postal survey, but will himself be voting no.

Archbishop Philip Freier has written an open letter urging all Anglicans to “exercise their democratic right” and engage in the debate in a sensitive way.

“Anglicans, like other Australians, have a wide range of opinions on same-sex marriage, supporting or opposing it for a variety of reasons in accordance with their conscience and their understanding of the principles and issues,” he wrote.

“I do not presume to advise others how they should vote, though I myself intend to vote no.” Although the survey was not binding the parliament would find it hard to ignore the will of a majority of Australians, Archbishop Freier said.

Meanwhile, polling commissioned by same-sex marriage advocates found two-thirds of Catholic Australians say they’ll vote yes — broadly in line with polling for the wider community. The proportions were similar for Australians from other religions, the Newgate Research poll found.

Meanwhile, a group of conservative Australians who support same-sex marriage has launched a campaign to convince voters to say ‘yes’ in the upcoming postal survey. The campaign features quotes from Liberal and Nationals party elders — including federal cabinet ministers Christopher Pyne and Kelly O’Dwyer, Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman, and former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett — as well as voters and party members.

“There is a very strong case for same-sex marriage within the liberal and conservative traditions embodied by the Liberal party,” spokesman Luke Barnes said.

That was reflected in support among party members and politicians as well as growing support within the Nationals.


Cory Bernardi warns Liberal Party in danger as it neglects conservative base

Cory Bernardi has warned that the Liberal Party is on the way to oblivion unless it listens to its supporter base. Senator Bernardi, who in February defected from government benches to set up a rival conservative movement, issued the blunt assessment of the party’s fortunes at a Sydney fundraiser tonight.

He was addressing a function held by the Roseville branch of the Liberal Party, with the title “Is the party over?”.

“If the party’s not over, it’s well on its way,” he said.

Senator Bernardi said it was “about time” politicians levelled with the voting public.

The “Evening with Cory Bernardi­” was an ­initiative of the Northern Sydney Conservative Forum, which invited former Labor leader Mark Latham to a fundraiser at the same venue in February.

It was organised by Libera­l branch president George Szabo and his committee, but was “rebrande­d” as the Northern Sydney Conservative Forum.

After being introduced by Mr Szabo, Senator Bernardi said of his host: “It seems we have a new agent provocateur.

“I thought I was the bad boy of the Liberal Party.”

Opening up about his objective as head of a new movement, Senator Bernardi said: “We’re positioning ourselves as a safe space for conservatives.”

He said the aim was not to oust the coalition government, but to merely remind it not to take conservatives for granted.
Senator Cory Bernardi is addressing the Roseville Liberals
Senator Cory Bernardi is addressing the Roseville Liberals

Senator Bernardi also took at aim at “career politicians”.

“Politics has become a vehicle (for people) to pursue their own ambitions,” he said. “Rather than the ambitions of the country.”

The Roseville Liberal Party branch promoted the evening with Senat­or Bernardi as a chance to listen to “the ultimate outsider” on “just where the political landscape is heading at the moment”.

Earlier this year, Mr Abbott’s former­ chief of staff and now Sky News presenter Peta Credlin spoke to a packed Roseville branch event about why Liberals should shun “identity politics”.


Lawyers demand apology over endorsement of gay marriage

The dean of law at Sydney’s Notre Dame University and a coalition of barristers and academics have joined the revolt over the endorsement of same-sex marriage by the legal profession’s peak associations in NSW.

Professor Michael Quinlan, who heads the university’s law school in Sydney, is the most senior of 11 legal academics and lawyers who have issued a joint statement denouncing the NSW Law Society and the state’s Bar ­Association for endorsing same-sex marriage “laws” before draft legislation has been made public and without consulting members.

Their statement calls for both organisations to apologise and ­immediately withdraw the ­endorsement.

It contained errors of law and had left the misleading impression that all lawyers in NSW support gay marriage, the statement says.

“Had there been consultation with members, and had the members supported the issuance of such a document, improvements in the language and content could have been made to ensure the joint release accurately states the law,” their statement says.

The Law Society is under growing pressure for endorsing gay marriage in a joint press release with the Bar Association and the NSW branch of the Australian Medical Association.

Sydney solicitor Robin Speed, who is president of the Rule of Law Institute, has given Law Society president Pauline Wright until 4pm next Friday to dissociate the ­organisation from the joint press release or face the prospect of legal action.

Mr Speed believes the Law ­Society has given the false and misleading impression that gay marriage is favoured by all 29,000 solicitors in NSW.

An organisation of Catholic lawyers, the St Thomas More ­Society, says solicitors have complained of being intimidated at their workplaces for publicly criticising the endorsement of same-sex marriage by the professional associations and law firms.

The statement by Professor Quinlan and the other signatories says the three professional bodies made an error when their joint press release suggested the definition of marriage in Australia may be discriminatory under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

“This is simply not correct,” the statement says.

“Some may believe that the joint release, given its authors, is a correct statement of the law but it is not, as the Senate committee ­report which looked into this question found.

“The claims made in the joint press release suggest a version of the international jurisprudence on same-sex marriage that is difficult to justify on any view of the current law.

“There is simply no international covenant that confers a right to same-sex marriage.’’

Professor Quinlan and the other signatories issued the statement in their personal capacities under the auspices of the Wilberforce Foundation, an organisation devoted to protecting common law values, rights and freedoms.

“Before making a statement on such an issue, the Law Society or NSW and the Bar Association of NSW ought to have consulted with their members or, at least the statement ought to indicate that bit has been prepared without consultation with members,” their statement says.

The Law Society’s Ms Wright said the society regularly makes resolutions through its council on a range of important legal policy issues.

“I recognise there will be divergent and strong views within the profession on any of these matters,” Ms Wright said. “But the overwhelming majority of responses received from the profession following the release of the joint statement have been supportive.

“We welcome the contribution of the Wilberforce Foundation to this important issue just as we ­always welcome and consider open debate on all policy matters.’’

The Bar Association has earlier stated its policy on gay marriage has been in place for several years.

The signatories to the Wilberforce Foundation’s statement ­include Notre Dame associate dean of law in Sydney Keith Thompson, Sydney barrister ­Michael McAuley, Adelaide barrister Christopher Brohier, Neil Foster of Newcastle University’s law school, Brisbane barrister Simon Fisher and Perth academic Augusto Zimmermann from the West Australian Law Reform Commission.


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

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Australian Politics 2017-08-30 15:46:00


Schoolboy sex articles spark review of gay ‘health’ website

HEALTH Minister Greg Hunt has ordered an urgent review of a federally funded gay health website that has published articles about schoolboy sex with men.

The Australian reports the Health Minister was unaware of the Emen8 website, which was established with a federal government grant intended for health promotion.

It recently published an article titled “Who’s the perfect daddy for you?” which provides an analysis of the relationships that can occur between mature and younger men.

The article asks: “Does your fantasy include some condomless after-school action with your papa”, despite the site being restricted to adults.

Other articles reportedly feature tips on picking up at the gym and reviews for kinky sex toys.

Another recent article appears to be at odds with national health guidelines on safe sex. The article titled ‘Australian Opposites Attract study: condomless sex with an undetectable viral load is safe sex’ reports on recent study that found HIV-positive men with an un­detectable viral load were extremely unlikely to transmit the virus to a HIV-negative partner.

The study found no instances of HIV transmissions between more than 300 partners it tracked. It warned however that the “true transmission rate” could be higher at up to 1.56 per cent a year.
The article does not mention the warning and conclude “condomless sex with an undetectable viral load is safe”.

It also does not mention other sexually transmitted infections could be contracted through unprotected sex.

A spokesman for the Health Minister said The Australian that any associations with “underage or unsafe behaviour” was “utterly inappropriate”. “Any funding provided by the Australian government for health education should be used for health education and must be in appropriate context,” the spokesman said.

“This grant was provided in 2016 for health education. Minister Hunt was not aware of the website and has now ordered an urgent review.”

ACON Chief executive Nicolas Parkhill yesterday defended the site.  He told The Australian the organisation was confident it was in accordance with the original tender specifications.“In  rder to effectively target this at-risk population group, the tone and voice of some articles on the site need to reflect their culture, interests and behaviours; the language resonates,” he said. “The content integrates sexual health messages that are familiar to a range of gay men.”

The site was established through money from the Prevention and Service Improvements Grants Fund, which aims to tackle bloodborne viruses and STIs in priority populations.

ACON and the VAC, both majority-funded by their respective state governments, were successful in a joint application to develop resources for “gay men and men who have sex with men”, receiving $1.6m over two years.


Winter rain fills Perth dams to highest levels in decade

Greenie guru Tim Flannery once prophesied that Perth would become a ghost city through lack of water

LATE winter rains have spared the cash-strapped State Government from a potential billion-dollar upgrade to the water network after boosting the city’s dams to their highest levels in almost a decade.

Just weeks after the Water Corporation warned it may have to fast-track a major new source of drinking water amid plunging dam levels, heavy rainfall in July and this month has helped avoid the need for an expansion.

Figures from the Water Corp show there has been 62.8 billion litres of “stream flow” into the city’s reservoirs so far this year after a surge of more than 50 billion litres in the past month.

The run-off has left the dams at 41.6 per cent capacity — or holding 262 billion litres. This is 73 billion litres (or almost 40 per cent) more than at the same time last year.

While the run-off into Perth’s dams is still only broadly in line with the city’s post-1975 average, it is the highest level recorded by the Water Corp since 2009.

The dam boost has prevented the need to bring forward a major new drinking water source such as a desalination plant to prop up supplies.

Under the Water Corp’s planning, the State-owned group still assumes it will receive at least 25 billion litres into the dams every year to ensure it can meet demand from customers.

The corporation said that despite the relatively wet end to winter, Perth’s rainfall levels for the season were still below their long-term average.

Spokeswoman Clare Lugar said the long-term decline in Perth’s rainfall meant its dams were still only at a fraction of their capacity.

In a bid to further bolster supplies, the Water Corp will launch its latest efficiency campaign this weekend, when the winter sprinkler ban ends. “While it may feel like we’ve had a lot of rain this winter, we are still only just above the year-to-date average,” Ms Lugar said.

“As our catchments are so dry following nearly 20 years of abnormally dry weather, we’d need to get double the average rainfall for years on end to fill our dams again.”

‘We are still only just above the year-to-date average.’


Australia Day debate: reclaim history instead of distorting it

By historian Geoffrey Blainey

The move to disown Australia Day has become a minor stampede. Curiously, it comes not from Canberra or Darwin but from gentrified suburbs in the southern cities of Fremantle, Hobart and Melbourne.

Many Aboriginal activists view the national day as a reminder of a painful event, but many others don’t. At the big Garma festival in Arnhem Land earlier this month, the main message sent south was not about Australia Day.

Aboriginal leaders hope for a significant change to the Constitution, and ABC journalist and author Stan Grant is becoming a central spokesman. Some critics wonder about his blunt observations, not realising that he is enlarging on dubious statements in textbooks and some university lectures.

This week he soared into fantasy. He lamented that indigenous people are “a postscript to Australian history”. In fact, an enormous amount of money and talent has gone into researching and teaching Aboriginal history in the past half century, thus increasing Aborigines’ knowledge and self-respect. He laments that Aborigines, “excluded” from the Constitution, were not even worth counting, but in fact a determined effort went into doing so, census after census.

Grant deplores the “belief in the superiority of white Christendom that devastated indigenous people everywhere”. Maybe he forgets that polygamy blighted the lives of countless Aboriginal families, and Christians did more than any group to curtail that practice. Of course, in the past two years Grant has also made valid points, expressing them powerfully.

Until we realise that the initial confrontations between Aborigines and the British were perhaps the most difficult and puzzling in the recorded history of the world, we will minimise the problems faced by those who arrived and those who had long lived here. Some obstacles are still here, 229 years later. Both sides deserve blame and praise.

One of the advantages of Australia Day is that it often throws these important topics into the debating ring. However, the latest move against Australia Day, often led by suburban Greens, is unexpected. At a time when there is a widespread fear that the nation could be weakened by the hidden circles of Muslim terrorists, more social cohesion is essential. And yet the Australian people are now selected as a major cause of disunity. Apparently their failure, visible every Australia Day, is to be ignorant of their nation’s history.

The city council in Yarra, which contains about 90,000 people in Melbourne, hopes to convert January 26 into a day of “community education” about Aborigines. It will run an “education workshop” for young Aborigines (will they attend?). It will abolish citizenship ceremonies for that day and translate a correct “information sheet” into the six main foreign community languages spoken in the Collingwood-Richmond-North Fitzroy area. It hopes to organise a smoking ceremony followed by a “culturally sensitive event”.

There is a hint that, if successful, it will try to smoke out the word Australia from the national day. It claims that January 26 is for many a day of mourning “and the beginning of generations of trauma and suffering”.

Without doubt, most Australians favour the present type of Australia Day. In contrast, the Yarra City Council, after a local poll, insists its residents think differently. But its poll contacted fewer than 300 people, many of whom did not reply. A nearby municipality, Darebin, conducted an even smaller poll.

The fact remains that many Aboriginal people do have a deep sense of grievance. They describe the planting of the British flag in Sydney Cove on January 26, 1788 as “invasion day”. I myself have used the phrase to cover the first Aboriginal settling of the land 60,000 years ago and then the later European inflow. For a whole continent to be embraced by two such distinct inflows — perhaps without parallel in the world’s history — deserves a powerful descriptive word.

Today the word “invasion” is often imagined as denoting a long-term British military conquest of Australia. In fact, the event was usually accomplished by a few civilians and only occasionally by British regiments. It was sometimes supported or carried out by Aboriginal people. In Queensland, the native mounted police killed other Aborigines on a large scale.

In the first decades after 1788, it was not envisaged that the inflow or invasion would cover most of the continent. But in the end it did. Devastating and dislocating, it caused far more deaths through new diseases than through firearms. Alcohol — which was new to Aborigines — strongly increased the death toll.

This sequence of events has sometimes been magnified by the rewriting of indigenous history in recent years. The rewriting, often by television producers and Aboriginal expositors, depicts a peaceful paradise that flourished in the millennia before Europeans arrived.

Aborigines are now depicted as living in peace and harmony, with each other and with nature. In truth, they were human beings: they fought one another. From time to time they invaded neighbouring territory, killing and maiming children and women as well as men. But the words “invasion” and “massacre” are rarely used to describe these Aboriginal attacks. The evidence of their frequency has multiplied in the past quarter century.

Some Aboriginal leaders promote this new interpretation of old Australia. Impressive politicians, they frequently out-argue federal and state leaders. In time to come, various historians, looking back, may well argue that of the 10 most effective national politicians in the early 21st century, perhaps three were indigenous. These champions have no seat in parliament — probably to their advantage.

While they argue, with truth, that many of their kinsfolk are still suffering deeply, it is also true that in many ways Aborigines have gained from events since 1788. Most indigenous people live in cities, large and small: NSW that holds the highest population of Aborigines. They are part of mainstream Australia.

Their success is not often reported in the media, but in each Australian state about 35 to 45 per cent of urban Aborigines are paying off their own houses. They increasingly occupy places in more or less all the professions: perhaps 13,000 of the young are now enrolled in universities. These points are briefly set out in my recent book, The Story of Australia’s People.

The typical indigenous families — and they live in urban Australia — have gained enormously from advances in medicine. Their life expectancy is higher than mine when I was born. Of more relevance, most Aborigines are now, materially, better off than if they had still been living in their traditional hunter-and-gatherer society, with all its distinctive merits as well as its weaknesses.

In contrast, a substantial minority of Aboriginal people today are living in wretched conditions in the outback. Perhaps they constitute one in four or five of all the people who are called indigenous. They love to be close to their own heartland and relatives; they wish for the old freedoms; and they resent the intrusions of officialdom. Some control the use of alcohol on their lands. But the prospects for their children are low — infant health and attendance at school are poor and violence is widespread.

These families pay the high penalty for their determination to live in tiny settlements where civic amenities, health and police services, and even running water are usually deficient. Though out of sight, they are widely seen as a grim advertisement for Australia.

Nothing does more to cloud a discussion of the state of the nation and the role of Australia Day than the existence of two such contrasting indigenous groups. There is even a third, with a very different history and background.

Torres Strait Islanders traditionally do not speak of “invasion day” but rather of the Coming of the Light. Their special day annually commemorates the arrival of the London Missionary Society and its Pacific Islander evangelists in the early 1870s.

On the other side of Australia, in the Pilbara, the Torres Strait Islanders were famous for their feats as railway builders.

Meanwhile, what could we create in place of Australia Day and its genuine but generally subdued patriotism and overall popularity and acceptance?

It would be risky to transfer the day. It is more successful than it has ever been, but real success has come only since the 1990s. When I was a child, Victoria did not even call it Australia Day, preferring the name of the ANA (Australian Natives Association) weekend.

In 1988, the bicentenary of the founding of Sydney, the nation’s leaders did not agree on what they should celebrate. Even Jonathan King’s bold venture in organising a replica of the First Fleet — it sailed into Sydney Harbour on Australia Day — aroused strong official opposition in Canberra.

Some critics even wondered whether Anzac Day, April 25, should become the real celebration. But the original Australia Day at last began to triumph in its quiet way, and is now widely accepted, though it has legitimate critics.

It has been suggested that the day be renamed. I have no objection, so long as the new name has wide public support. After all, it is the Australians’ day.

We have a long history of renaming days and places. Three east coast colonies, now called states, each adopted a new name in the 1850s, and the exotic name of Van Diemen’s Land was one that disappeared. Henry Parkes, NSW premier and the father of federation — what a magician he was — believed that New South Wales could change its name to Australia. In living memory, Uluru has replaced Ayers Rock.

One fact is certain. Aborigines need to celebrate more effectively their own contribution to early Australian history. While some complain about the statue and status of Captain Cook, they have failed to erect a striking monument or memorial in honour of their distinguished heroes, the unknown discoverers of this continent. They made the discovery before the great rising of the seas separated Australia and New Guinea, but it is still the momentous event in the long story of our nation.

A national report in 1975 first suggested a special monument be created. It has been recommended again and again, including by me. The money could easily be found. Nothing has been done. Aborigines must ask themselves: Why?



CONGRATULATIONS to the leading doctor and lawyer who had the intellectual independence and personal courage to condemn the coercive tactics being used by proponents of homosexual marriage.

Those of us who haven’t made up our minds on how to vote may take some guidance from paediatrician Robert Hardwick.

He became the second medic to resign from the Australian Medical Association, claiming its support for same-sex marriage “completely overlooks the best and largest studies that have documented considerable long-term adverse outcomes for children raised in same-sex marriages”.

Hardwick said yesterday the AMA’s position was “flawed, deceitful, unscholarly and unscientific”.

“They have only referenced very poor quality, biased studies to back up their claims,” said Dr Hardwick, who is a specialist at the Sydney Adventist Hospital.

His resignation comes soon after Chris Middleton, a former president of AMA Tasmania, ­renounced his life membership in the national body’s roll of fellows because of a lack of consultation on the issue.

And Sydney solicitor Robin Speed has picked a fight with the NSW Law Society for issuing a press release suggesting 29,000 solicitors supported same-sex marriage.

Speed has given the Law Society a ­deadline of 4pm on September 8 to make it clear that the legal ­profession “is not in unison on the issue and may vote as they choose”, The Australian reported. He may take legal action.

So not all doctors and lawyers have jumped on the same-sex marriage bandwagon.

It seems to me the only organisation is the country in full agreement on same-sex marriage is the ABC.

I suspect that voters who have no dogmatic views on same-sex marriage may vote “No” just to protest at the terribly one-sided debate.


Hundreds of asylum seekers will be booted off Centrelink and out of taxpayer-funded housing

The federal government is moving to cut welfare payments to hundreds of asylum seekers who are temporarily in Australia to receive medical treatment.

The move will slash $200-a-fortnight payments and public housing to up to 400 asylum seekers, forcing them to work or face being sent back to Nauru, Manus Island or their country of origin.

A Department of Immigration document said income support would cease from Monday and a 'final departure Bridging E Visa' would be issued, giving many just three weeks to find their own accommodation.

'What we're saying to these people is that until you leave, we do not want you continuing to be a burden on our welfare system,' government minister Dan Tehan told Sky News.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale said the party was seeking advice on whether the policy can be overturned when the Senate returns in a week's time.

'This announcement from [immigration minister] Peter Dutton is just unspeakable cruelty. We're talking about people who are traumatised, people that are vulnerable,' he said.

'We do call on members of the crossbench and the Labor Party to support us in doing everything we can to stop this unspeakable cruel act getting through the Senate.

'If this is a disallowable instrument, it simply requires a majority of the Senate to stop it. So the question is for Bill Shorten and Labor - will you end this cruelty?'

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said it was a new low for the government of Malcolm Turnbull.

'Malcolm, this is not strong. This is cowardly and cruel. It's your weakest move yet,' he said in a Facebook post.

Human Services Minister Alan Tudge could not confirm the precise number of asylum seekers at risk, but said there wouldn't be any further provision of taxpayer support in Australia.

Mr Tudge said the move was consistent with the principle that anybody who arrives by boat would not be settled in Australia.  'They will be settled elsewhere. That's what this is about,' he said.

He did not think it was unreasonable to withdraw taxpayers support if they refuse to return back to Manus or Nauru.

Human Rights Law Centre executive director Hugh de Kretser said the asylum seekers in question have been prevented from working. 

'And now, completely out of the blue, with no notice whatsoever, they've been told tomorrow, you have no income we're taking all of your income away and in three weeks time we're taking your homes away,' he said.

Advocate Natasha Blucher said the asylum seekers were 'very, very employable' and wanted to work.

But with their history of trauma and the short notice, getting on their feet in 'this time frame is absurd and it's impossible and it will end with children homeless.'


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