Monthly Archives: November 2017

We exist because there is nothing else.

“The question is more fundamental: What does our existence say about the government and the services it fails to provide? We exist because there is nothing else.”
Azam Ahmed has a report entitled ‘They Will Have to Answer to Us’ for the New York Times that provides an overview of gang politics in El Salvador. There's too much narrative and not enough evidence and analysis in the piece for my taste but it is still worth the read.

The article is told mostly through the eyes of Santiago, a 33-year-old member of the 18th Street Sureños (Southerners). Santiago has been around for awhile. He spoke with Danny Gold for Vice in 2016. He spoke with Anastasia Moloney for Reuters in 2015. Here he is with PBS in 2014.

Santiago often performed the role of  human rights lawyer for his gang and had been a member of the gangs' political commission. At this point, he seems to be disenchanted with everyone in El Salvador - the government, the gangs, the police. He's now left the country.

If we think that the elections in Honduras are a mess, Santiago gives us something to look forward to in El Salvador. With municipal and legislative elections scheduled for 2018 and presidential elections for 2019, Santigato says that his gang will no longer support the FMLN.
Well before the trial, Santiago wrote a manifesto for the gangs. For the first time in decades, they would not support the F.M.L.N. at the polls. They would instead use their political might to swing the elections away from them, whether to the right-wing party or, potentially, third-party candidates. The quid pro quo had always been support — in return for money — for the F.M.L.N. But President Sánchez Cerén of the F.M.L.N. had broken its longstanding relationship with the gangs by waging war against them. So the gangs would respond by wielding their 10 percent of the vote to punish them in the Legislature. The approaches from political parties had already started: politicians seeking access, favors, votes ahead of next year’s election. “We are the pretty girl that everyone wants to dance with right now,” Santiago told me.
I wanted some follow up on how the gangs had supported the FMLN for "decades." Given that gangs negotiated with both the FMLN and ARENA in 2014, it doesn't sound like their agreement had been that sincere. Why should we believe that the gangs control (only) ten percent of the vote? Since the release of video recording related to the 2014 negotiations between the major political parties and the gangs, have representatives from political parties continued to negotiate with the gangs?

Santiago left the country months ago and said that he has no plans to return to El Salvador for at least a year or so. How much should we weigh about his opinions about the upcoming elections?

Australian Politics 2017-11-30 15:55:00


Strange justice: Mother who admitted killing her own baby walks free

When a father kills a child he usually and rightly receives about twenty years in prison. Whether he has depression of not is irrelevant. But the maximum to which a woman can be sentenced for infanticide in Victoria is 5 years in prison. And she seldom receives that.

She might receive a year or two but more often walks free from court with an order to have counselling or to do some community work such as a few hours a week in a local op-shop. This week – along with white ribbon day – we had yet another woman walk free from court after deliberately killing her child.

There are plenty such cases of infants being killed – drowned, suffocated, stabbed with scissors, brains dashed out on door frame...  by their mothers and she not serving prison time or perhaps just a little.

Having one law for men and a lenient law for women is not equality. It is an example of feminists desire for rights without accountability

A MOTHER who admitted suffocating her 15-month-old daughter before throwing her body into a suburban Melbourne creek will be released from custody.

Sofina Nikat, 24, was on Thursday sentenced to a 12-month community correction order after earlier pleading guilty to infanticide over the April 2016 death of her daughter Sanaya Sahib.

“In the unusual circumstances you have already served 529 days of pre-sentence custody,” Victorian Supreme Court Justice Lex Lasry said.

Nikat served 529 days of pre-sentence detention after being charged over Sanaya’s death, before she was released on bail in September.

The maximum prison sentence for infanticide in Victoria is five years. Prosecutors had pushed for a jail term, but her lawyers said a non-custodial community corrections order was appropriate given Nikat’s mental state.

Victorian Supreme Court Justice Lex Lasry said he accepted evidence from a psychiatrist that Nikat was depressed when she suffocated Sanaya and threw her body into Darebin Creek. “Since I accept the (psychiatric) conclusions, I will sentence you on that basis,” he said.

Nikat was originally charged with murder but this was downgraded because of her depressive disorder.

On April 9, 2016 she told police a barefoot man of African appearance who smelled of alcohol had snatched Sanaya from her pram while they were at a Heidelberg West park.

The Fijian-born woman later admitted she took the infant to the park and played with her before suffocating Sanaya until she stopped moving. A family who joined the public search found Sanaya’s body in Darebin Creek, and Nikat admitted what she did three days after the killing.

“It is a tragedy for you and everyone connected with your family,” Justice Lasry said. “I accept that the way you acted after you had killed Sanaya was consistent with your irrational mental state.”

Outside court, Sanaya’s paternal family said the sentence was unfair. “Our justice system has really failed us today. We have not had justice for her death,” Zahraa Sahib told reporters.
“We were expecting something, and I don’t think it’s fair that we’ve lost a little girl.”


University dropout rate is telling us something

The disappointing news from the Federal Government on university completion rates and employment outcomes should inspire reflection. Is university a wrong path for many?  Youth career coach Steve Shepherd comments:

“These figures clearly highlight a systemic problem with the way we educate young people on their career path. We’ve created a herd mentality, where high schools, parents and peer pressure are pushing young people towards university, saying it’s the only way to get a good career, earn good money and get ahead.”

“As such, is it the University’s fault that so many young people end up dropping out? Are we encouraging too many young people to go to university, when it doesn’t really suit their strengths? Is this creating a problem where young people pick any degree to say they’ve been to university, without thinking about the impact it will have on their careers?”

According to research from TwoPointZero, nearly a quarter (24%) of young people are unsure of which career direction to take, with over half (55%) coming to regret their electives.

Should we be blaming universities?
“In my mind, the problem starts before university. Applications for university are higher than ever but you can’t tell me everyone wants to go to university or is suited to it? In reality, that’s not really the way it should work.”

“Many of the most in demand jobs at the moment, don’t require a degree. So why all the pressure to go to university? There needs to be a better balance and we need to start educating young people on their career paths much earlier. This would help prevent people from taking a degree for the sake of it and better align their education with their chosen career path, making it more relevant to the employment market.”

“And, if they still want to go to university, we need to have safety nets in place to intervene if they are likely to drop out. In our experience, one small tweak to the subjects they take or changing course can prevent them from dropping out and see them succeed.”

Performance funding a distraction from the real issue
“Performance funding is not the answer. It doesn’t actually address the issue, just distracts from it and could lead to higher education being out of reach for many young people today.”

“We need to better fund career education in schools, as most schools currently spend less than a cup of coffee per student per year on careers advice. We need to provide more guidance to parents to help them understand the employment market isn’t the same as when they left school. And, we need to stop thinking going to university is the be all and end all.”

“Everyone is different. Everyone likes different things. Everyone has different strengths. It is time we accept that and better align our educational institutions to encourage diversity and create better career paths for our young people.”

“Otherwise, we’ll continue to see the youth unemployment rate rise. Continue to see an increase in drop-outs and more young people in debt. And, will end up creating a huge problem for the Australian economy, as we will not have a strong workforce to support our country moving forwards.”

Via email

Victoria has become the first Australian state to allow euthanasia

THE Victorian State Parliament passed the government’s “voluntary assisted dying” laws on Wednesday morning, meaning the state will become the first in Australia to allow euthanasia.

After more than 100 hours of tense debate, the bill passed through the lower house just before midday.

Once it receives Royal Assent —considered a procedural formality — it will become law. The laws will come into force in 2019.

A second attempt to curb Victoria’s controversial Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill earlier failed. The attempt was brought on by opponent and lower house Liberal MP Robert Clark. It lost 46-37 votes just before question time on Wednesday.

But when the matter resumed late on Tuesday afternoon for what was expected to be a purely administrative exercise, Mr Clark issued an amendment for debate to “be deferred indefinitely”.

It was the second unsuccessful attempt to do so, after the first was proposed by deputy premier and euthanasia opponent James Merlino when the matter was previously in the lower house.


Want a nuclear reactor in your backyard? Step this way

Volunteer communities are being sought for Australia’s first small nuclear reactors, which developers hope could be in operation by 2030.

SMR Nuclear Technology has set a timeline for the development of Australia’s nuclear power ­industry, which would require a site to be identified within three years. Building nuclear power stations in Australia would require changes to state and federal laws and overcoming deep community objections. SMR director Robert Pritchard said the company had adopted an aggressive approach to nuclear development in ­Australia based on small reactors.

“We now realise that politicians will follow the community view,” Mr Pritchard said. “We have to get out and spend a year getting the community on side.” He said interest had been widespread.

In a submission to the Energy Security Board, Sydney-based SMR said small modular reactors had become a game-changer. “It would be imprudent not to factor SMR nuclear generation into Australia’s energy security plan at this time,” SMR said.

The company claims nuclear offers the prospect of safe, affordable energy free of greenhouse gas emissions. “Nuclear may be the only reliable, low-emissions source of electricity generation technology that is suitable for you, unless your area has an unlimited supply of water for hydro electric,” the SMR pitch says.

“The construction of any ­nuclear power plant is currently prohibited by Australian law but there is a growing realisation that maintaining the reliability and ­affordability of our electricity ­supply whilst lowering emissions will require all low-emissions technologies to be considered.”

SMR said small modular reactors were compatible with renewables, factory built and affordable.

It said despite the billions of dollars spent on renewables, Australia had not yet been successful in significantly reducing emissions from electricity generation.

The company said the most ­recent cost analysis by the UK ­Energy Options Network showed the levelled cost of electricity for nuclear was an average of $US60/MWh and as low as $US36/MWh. It said at the lowest level, new nuclear plants could be the lowest-cost generation available.

The construction and operation of a nuclear power plant in Australia is prohibited by two commonwealth acts: similar prohibitions exist in state law. SMR said these prohibitions were put in place at a time when there was no real appreciation of the contribution that modern, safe nuclear power plants could make to ­energy security, affordability and emissions reduction.


Gillard mocked by Yiannopoulos

Right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos has branded former prime minister Julia Gillard "a prick" as he prepares to embark on his speaking tour of Australia.

The self-described "one man wrecking crew" and "internet supervillian" hurled the insult - along with plenty of others towards feminists and those on the left-wing of politics - during his first news conference on Australian shores on Wednesday.

After attacking several Australian journalists for cancelling interviews with him, he admitted he was a fan of former Liberal prime minister Tony Abbott but not of Australia's first female prime minister.

"I liked that guy Tony Abbott, I thought he was cool because he was ballsy ... he was up against Julia Gillard who seemed like a complete prick," Yiannopoulos told reporters.

Yiannopoulos added that his experience of Australia was more cultural than political, saying he was a fan of the satirical TV comedy Kath and Kim and "what's his name who does Dame Edna....Barry Humphries".

But he still weighed into plenty of political issues, calling on federal politicians debating same-sex marriage laws not to let them pass because there is no constitutional protection for freedom of religious expression and conscience like in the US.

"And I say that as a married gay person," he said.

He also praised Australia's immigration system, described section 18 of the Racial Discrimination Act as "the worst law", and urged conservative politicians to realise they "have the high moral ground" and should use it to highlight free speech.

Yiannopoulos has sold 10,000 tickets for his speaking tour of Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, the Gold Coast and Adelaide.

The venues are being kept secret until 24 hours before he appears for the two-hour shows, with Yiannopoulos claiming if he reveals the locations journalists will "invent" stories about protests.

One Sydney venue has already been switched, with organisers claiming it was because of security and access issues.

The Greens have urged the Senate president to stop Yiannopoulos addressing politicians at parliament house in Canberra next week given his controversial views on women, transgender people and Muslims, as well as his links to neo-Nazis.

Yiannopoulos said he was "flattered" by the attempt to have him banned from parliament, but accused the Greens of "casting out the right of free speech".

"I just try to describe the world as I see it...wrapped up in good jokes," he said.

His speeches on university campuses in the US have sparked violent protests, and he was banned from Twitter last year amid a barrage of racist abuse directed at Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones.

The British-born, US-based commentator also lost a book deal after a video emerged in February in which he appeared to suggest it was ok for older men to sleep with young teenage boys.

Yiannopoulos branded Twitter's decision cowardly, and initially said his comments about same-sex relationships between men and boys were taken out of context before eventually issuing an apology.


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

29/11/17: Four Omens of an Incoming Markets Blowout

Forget Bitcoin (for a second) and look at the real markets.

Per Goldman Sachs research, current markets valuation for bonds and stocks are out of touch with historical bubbles reality: As it says on the tin,

“A portfolio of 60 percent S&P 500 Index stocks and 40 percent 10-year U.S. Treasuries generated a 7.1 percent inflation-adjusted return since 1985, Goldman calculated -- compared with 4.8 percent over the last century. The tech-bubble implosion and global financial crisis were the two taints to the record.”

Check point 1.

Now, Check point 2: The markets are already in a complacency stage: “The exceptionally low volatility found in the stock market -- with the VIX index near the record low it reached in September -- could continue. History has featured periods when low volatility lasted more than three years. The current one began in mid-2016.”

Next, Check point 3: Valuations are not everything. In other words, levels are not the sole driver of blowouts. In fact, per Goldman, valuations explain “less than half the [markets] variation since 1900.” But, when blowouts do happen, involving 60/40 portfolios “over the past century [these] amounted to 26 percent in real terms on average, lasting 19 months. It took two years to get back to previous peaks, on average.” And the problem with this is that there might be no firepower to fight the next blowout. “Central banks “might not be able or willing to buffer growth or inflation shocks.” They also face fewer options to ease monetary policy given low rates and big balance sheets.”

So to sum the above up: levels of market valuations are screaming bubbles in both bonds and stocks; investors are fully bought into the hype of rising valuations; and there might be a shortage of dry powder in store at the Central Banks.

Goldman’s team, predictably, thinks the likeliest unwinding scenario from the above will involve, you’ve guessed it… a soft landing.

Now to Check point 4:

Source: ZeroHedge

Observe the following simple fact: the rate of the ‘balanced’ portfolio appreciation in the current cycle is sharper than in the 2002-2007 cycle. And it is sharper, in cumulative terms (both nominal and real), than any other cycle in modern (post 1970s - end of Bretton Woods and stagflationary environments) period.

So the Check point 5 adds strong bubble dynamics to bubble signals of levels of out-of-touch valuations, investors complacency and risks to the Central Banks’ commitment.

This is, put frankly, ugly. Because all four components of a major market blowout are now in place. So while the froth might still run for some weeks, months, quarters, … and may be even a year or two, the longer it runs, the worse the fallout will be. And the fallout is coming.

29/11/17: China vs U.S. – the WTO Fight

Per latest reports, there is a renewed spat between the U.S. and China in the WTO. As reported in the FT (

"The Trump administration has lambasted China’s bid for recognition as a market economy in the World Trade Organization, citing decades of legal precedent and what it sees as signs that China is moving in the opposite direction under Xi Jinping. The US move to oppose China’s longstanding efforts to be recognised as a market economy in the WTO came in a legal submission filed last week and due to be released publicly on Thursday in a case brought by Beijing against the EU."

Here are background slides to the dispute from my recent lecture @MIIS :

First, what's behind the WTO dispute: the fight between the U.S. and the EU against China and other emerging economies in core Bretton Woods institutions - the IMF and the World Bank

 Plus the geopolitics of trade:
 All of which informs the current fight in the nearly-comatose WTO:

So the case is not new, but the case is highly important. Not because China is or is not a market economy. But because China is directly challenging U.S. (and European) dominance over the post-WW2 international institutions. 

Make no mistake here: trade status is just the current, momentary, battle field in what is a long, and quite outright nasty, geopolitical war.

Australian Politics 2017-11-29 15:37:00


White "Aborigines" soaking up funds needed for blacks

Andrew Bolt got prosecuted and convicted for saying this.  Good that someone now is allowed to say it

Cosseted urbanites who belatedly self-identify as indigenous are ­ripping much-needed funds from the pockets of their disadvantaged brethren in remote communities farther north, according to one of the nation’s highest-profile Aboriginal bodies.

The Yothu Yindi Foundation, which runs the annual Garma Festival in Arnhem Land, yesterday told the Productivity Commission that counting indigeneity in the formula used to allocate GST revenue might be hurting those in areas with the highest need.

YYF representatives said “exponential” growth in the indigenous-identifying populations of southern states — over and above that attributable to natural factors — was “draining away” money from the Northern Territory.

Bob Beadman, who previously chaired the local branch of the body responsible for implementing the GST formula, said YYF was also concerned about identity “fraud” and called for “greater efforts to distinguish degrees of need among the Aboriginal population”.

“We believe the self-identification provision in the census is encouraging people to come ­forward for reasons of their own. Some of those reasons might be to do with the work of genealogists … if there was an indigenous ancestor 200 years ago, suddenly an ­entirely new family appears on the census data as indigenous,” Mr Beadman said.

“We know from census data that 80 per cent of marriages interstate are to a non-indigenous partner, and the kids of that union then become indigenous … all of this growth in numbers is drawing money away from the Territory.”

Mr Beadman made the comments at a PC hearing into the horizontal fiscal equalisation formula, which governs the Commonwealth Grants Commission’s allocation of GST. Over half the Territory government’s annual budget typically consists of GST.

“A double university-degree, double-income family in their own house in Parramatta should have much lesser value in the weighting that the CGC would give to an indigenous family (as compared) with (a family consisting of) several intergenerational levels of welfare dependency, all unemployed and in a humpy in a remote community like Papunya,” he said.


Religious freedom laws not included in same-sex marriage bill

Malcolm Turnbull is facing mounting hostility among conservative MPs after an overwhelming majority of Coalition senators last night voted for amendments to the same-sex marriage bill only to be shot down when six Coalition senators, including three cabinet ministers, sided with Labor and the Greens to scuttle them.

The move is likely to see Liberal senator Dean Smith’s bill rammed through the Senate unchanged as early as this morning, crushing attempts by 18 of 26 ­Coalition senators to secure significant amendments to broaden religious protections.

Liberal frontbencher Zed ­Seselja last night accused colleagues of conspiring with the Greens and Labor to undermine the rights of parents and freedom of speech.  “Labor, Greens and a handful of Liberals are undermining freedom of speech, religion and parental rights in Australia by voting down these amendments,” he said.

The defeat of the first two rounds of amendments put by Liberal senators David Fawcett and James Paterson came as six No voting Labor senators buckled to internal pressure to not cross the floor in support of the amendments, prompting claims Labor’s conscience vote had been torn up.

Cabinet ministers Simon Birmingham, Marise Payne and Nigel Scullion joined Senator Smith and Jane Hume in voting against changes to the Smith bill, ensuring it will pass unamended. The remaining Fawcett/Paterson amendments, including parental rights, also failed.

In a final bid late yesterday to secure a token protection measure, cabinet ministers Matt Canavan and Attorney-General George Brandis moved a reworked amendment to protect people from discrimination for expressing a religious view.

WA Liberal Linda Reynolds voted in favour of the Canavan and Brandis amendments but voted against the others.

Conservative MPs have warned that the Prime Minister faces a potentially hostile partyroom next week with six cabinet ministers and a growing number of frontbenchers supporting amendments, which will now be taken to the lower house when it returns next week to vote on the bill. The same-sex marriage split comes as Mr Turnbull faces pressure from the Nationals to support a commission of inquiry into the banks, as crossparty support mounted for the probe pushed by LNP senator Barry O’Sullivan.

“He will have to respond to this and realise there is a problem. If the Smith bill had been put to a partyroom vote it would have had no chance of being passed,” one senior MP said. “He risks being completely out of step with his partyroom on this.”

Queensland MP Scott Buchholz and senator Ian Macdonald yesterday criticised the Prime Minister for lacking an “inner mongrel”, saying he had failed to take on Labor with more “passion and aggression”.

Senator Macdonald, who is based in Townsville, said Mr Turnbull — who has visited north Queensland only three times since last year’s federal election — was not appealing to Coalition supporters by playing to people “that will never vote for us”.

In September, Mr Turnbull had offered hope to Christian groups and conservative MPs when he pledged to protect ­religious protections following the same-sex marriage survey.

“I just want to reassure Australians that as strongly as I believe in the right of same-sex couples to marry, as strongly as I believe in that, even more strongly, if you like, do I believe in religious freedom,” Mr Turnbull said. “Religious freedom is fundamental and it will be protected in any bill that emerges from this ­parliament.”

Scott Morrison, a leading proponent and most senior cabinet minister backing religious freedoms, tried to turn the tables on Labor, accusing Bill Shorten of binding his No-voting senators against backing the amendments and effectively reneging on a promise of a conscience vote.

“Bill Shorten has turned his back on people of faith and ­religion, including Labor voters, for political advantage,” the Treasurer told The Australian. “Many people of faith voted against same-sex marriage in Labor electorates and wanted protections for ­religious freedoms. “If you are person of faith in Australia, you can have no faith in Bill Shorten and the Labor Party.”

Senator Smith told The Australian religious freedoms “does not end with the passage of the same-sex marriage bill”.

“The strength of the government’s pathway for legislating for marriage equality has always been its decision to allow individual ­Coalition senators a parliamentary free vote,” Senator Smith said.

“This has allowed Coalition senators in good faith to represent the views of both Coalition Yes and No voters in designing the legal architecture for same-sex marriage. Equally, it has allowed the ventilation of various attitudes on how to best protect religious views and uphold our effective anti-discrimination laws.

“The matter of religious freedoms in Australia does not end with the passage of the same-sex marriage bill.

“It has been clearly demonstrated the matter warrants careful, comprehensive examination.

“The result of the survey highlights many things, not least the need to carefully balance the contemporary values of many Australians with the more socially conservative approach of other Australians. Guaranteeing the co-existence of these attitudes is important for Australia and critical for the future electoral success of the Liberal Party.”

Labor legal affairs spokesman Mark Dreyfus denied Labor senators who had signalled an intention to vote with conservative Coalition MPs in favour of amendments had been stripped of a conscience vote.

He said Labor MPs who were opposed to same-sex marriage would not get a conscience vote on enshrining further ­religious protections after the review of the freedoms ordered by Mr Turnbull and to be conducted by former Howard minister Philip Ruddock was completed next year.

Labor senator Helen Polley, who has strongly suggested to ­Coalition senators that she would vote with the amendments, last night said she would oppose them on the basis there were “legitimate concerns regarding religious freedom” that should be investigated in the Ruddock review.

“It’s important that these issues be investigated by the Ruddock review and that religious freedom protections in Australia be considered in greater detail,” she said.

“Those who know me know that I have always had a very strong view regarding marriage. “Unless we ensure appropriate protections are in place, this is the type of intolerance incident I fear could become the norm if safeguards are not put in place in the future,” Senator Polley said.


The universities and degrees with the best outcomes revealed

Three Sydney universities are among the best in the country for their six-year degree completion rates, but the national graduation rate has fallen to its lowest level recorded.

Overall, the six-year university completion rate has dropped to the lowest levels recorded since the Department of Education began collating the data, with only 66 per cent of students who started their degree in 2010 finishing by 2015.

The overall short and medium-term employment rates for students with undergraduate degrees have also fallen significantly since 2007, with 67.5 per cent of students who graduated in 2014 finding full-time work within four months, compared to 83.6 per cent of students who graduated in 2007.

About 89.3 per cent of students who graduated in 2014 found work within three years, compared to 92.6 per cent of students who graduated in 2007, according to the 2017 Graduate Outcomes Survey, which is funded by the Australian government and conducted by the Social Research Centre.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham said universities could do more to improve outcomes for students. "It's clear some of our universities need to take a close look at their efforts and do more to support the students they enrol with significant taxpayer subsidies," Senator Birmingham said.

"While the results show most institutions are supporting the vast majority of their students through to completing their courses, some with already below-average results have seen further declines."

The University of Melbourne is the best university in Australia in terms of completion rates, with nearly 88 per cent of domestic bachelor students who started their degrees in 2010 graduating by 2015, according to the latest Department of Education figures.

The University of Sydney has the next best completion rate, with nearly 83 per cent of students finishing their degrees within six years of commencement, followed by Monash University, with a six-year completion rate of 80 per cent.

The University of NSW is also among the top universities by completion rate, with 79.6 per cent of students finishing their degree within six years, followed by the University of Technology Sydney, with a completion rate of 76.7 per cent.

At the other end of the spectrum, less than half of all students at the University of New England in northern NSW had finished their degrees after six years, with a completion rate of 47.2 per cent.

Other universities with low completion rates include Federation University Australia in Victoria, with 36.4 per cent of students finishing their degree within six years, Charles Darwin University in the Northern Territory with a completion rate of 41.2 per cent, and the University of Southern Queensland, with a rate of 42.5 per cent.

Nationally, students who graduated with medicine degrees had some of the best outcomes, with the highest short and medium-term employment rates and median salaries.

About 97.7 per cent of medical graduates were in full-time jobs four months after graduating and had a median full-time salary of $63,000.

In comparison, students who graduated with creative arts degrees had some of the worst graduate outcomes, with only 45.7 per cent finding full-time jobs within four months of finishing their degree, and reporting an initial median salary of $45,000.

This increased to 79.4 per cent of graduates in full-time work within three years of finishing university, and a medium-term median salary of $55,000.

Similarly, only 48 per cent of science and maths students found work within four months of graduating and had a median salary of $52,000. This increased to 83.5 per cent of students in full-time jobs within three years, with a median salary of $62,000.


Barrier reef not as fragile as once thought

It has inbuilt recovery from damage mechanisms

About 100 coral reefs within the Great Barrier Reef have been identified as having particular resilience that may help corals recover from bleaching and other threats.

The hardy "robust source reefs" – about 112 in number or about 3 per cent of total coverage – were found to be in cooler, outer reefs.

Their location helped shield them from the recent back-to-back annual bleaching that had devastated corals, the Australian and British researchers found.

Their proximity to stronger ocean currents than inland reefs also meant their annual spawning events could disperse coral larvae over a large region, fostering recovery after bleaching or cyclones.

A third characteristic was a relative absence of crown-of-thorns starfish, lowering their susceptibility to that threat.

Peter Mumby, one of the authors of the reef paper appearing on Wednesday in PLOS Biology, said a single coral spawning event from the robust sites could "almost reach half the reefs of the Great Barrier Reef".

"These sites are important ecologically, providing some of the backbone of the reef," said Professor Mumby, who is based at the University of Queensland's School of Biological Sciences.

"We are trying to uncover the natural life-support system of the reef, so we can then support it," he said, adding: "The reef is much better connected than we thought."

The importance of supporting natural recovery processes would likely increase in the future "as climate change reduces the average size of coral populations and the need for recolonisation becomes more frequent," the paper said.

But with most of the robust sites clustered off Mackay in the central-south region of the Great Barrier Reef, any relative resilience might be of little benefit to more distant regions, such as the northern end.


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