Australian Politics 2017-11-28 15:31:00

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Bob Katter versus crocodiles versus "experts"

Crocs mean "no swimming in coastal waters or in rivers within a certain distance from the coast" but that's OK, apparently. The Greenies below look at the long term average of croc attacks and say it is low but that is an inappropriate statistic where the population is rising.  They should look at the trend.  And if you do that you see the four recent attacks as a minimum not as an outlier.

And to demonstrate ecological benefit from lots of crocs they had to go to Brazil.  Pretty good evidence that there are no such benefits here.

They are right in saying that crocs are a tourist attraction and some areas should be set aside for that purpose.  But limiting their Queensland population to the Daintree and parts North would be a reasonable compromise.  That would leave a big areas for crocs while leaving most of the North Queensland coast safe.  But compromise is alien to Greenies.  They always want it all



Australian politician Bob Katter wants to launch a war … against crocodiles. 

Katter, known for his controversial opinions on multiple topics including same-sex marriage, claimed on Nov. 15 that there are too many crocodiles in Australia. They have no natural enemies, and in the Australian region of North Queensland alone, they eat up to four people each year, he said.

Katter made the anti-croc statement on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's program "Insiders"

But crocodile experts assert that the ancient reptiles are, in fact, good for Australia.

The animals have a positive effect on the ecosystem, as well as the local economy, said Adam Britton, a leading crocodile expert and zoologist at Charles Darwin University in Australia. Though Britton conceded that crocodiles in the rivers of northern Australia can threaten people's lives, these dangers can be easily managed, he said.

"There are probably between 150 [thousand] and 180 thousand crocodiles in the Northern Territory [of Australia] and some 40 [thousand] to 50 thousand in Queensland," Britton told Live Science. "They are certainly not endangered. But over the last 30 to 40 years, we were able to deal with the risks [posed by crocodiles] via a management program."

For local people, that program means no swimming in coastal waters or in rivers within a certain distance from the coast.

Britton, who runs the website CrocBITE, which monitors attacks by all sorts of crocodile species around the world, noted that North Queensland has experienced an unusual streak of crocodile attacks over the past year. However, he said that he doesn't think there are too many crocodiles in Queensland's rivers. Rather, the croc population is still recovering from overhunting that occurred in the first half of the 20th century, he said.

"This year has been a little bit unusual for Queensland," Britton said. "They had four attacks in total. Two of them were fatal. It has been the worst year they've had for a long time."

But in the long term, the statistics look less sinister, Britton said. "Over the last 10 years, there have been 14 crocodile attacks in North Queensland, six of them fatal," he said. "That would be about one person killed by crocodiles every 20 months."

Most of the victims had ignored a slew of warning signs, Britton said. The crocodile habitats are known and marked by warning signs, yet some people decide to risk their lives nonetheless.

In one of the recent cases, for example, a guy "was attacked by a crocodile when he was showing off to a girl," Britton said. "He jumped into the water, where he knew there were crocodiles, and sure enough, one of them bit him. It's like putting on a blindfold and walking into a highway. You may be lucky or you may not."

Britton added that even though crocodiles place limitations on people living in the areas, northern Australia benefits from the animals' presence. The reptiles attract adventure-seeking tourists, and the wild-crocodile egg-harvesting program is an important source of income for Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory, he said. Harvesters can sell the eggs to crocodile farms that breed the animals for skins, which are popular in the fashion industry.

Moreover, artificially reducing the crocodile population could disrupt the balance of the wider ecosystem, Britton said.

"There are examples from other parts of the world," Britton said. "For example, in Brazil, when they removed black caimans [a large crocodile species], the economically valuable fish that were captured by local people disappeared."

After the reintroduction of the caimans, the fish population recovered. Researchers eventually found that the juvenile caimans feed on crabs, which eat fish eggs. The lack of juvenile caimans had meant too many crabs in the water, which resulted in a reduced fish population and economic problems for local fishers.

Katter said he is concerned that crocodiles don't have natural enemies and that the only way to keep the population within limits is to kill off the animals. But Britton said the population will stabilize naturally once it reaches healthy levels.

"As the crocodile population recovers, the mortality rate of juveniles increases through competition," said Britton. "Crocodiles actually self-control their own population growth, eventually slowing down and reaching a stable level like any wild animal population with limited resources."

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Queensland election: Stephen Andrew won't be last to win seat for One Nation, Pauline Hanson says

A gun dealer and feral pig shooter from Mackay who secured One Nation's first, and likely only, seat in the state election will be a strong voice for regional Queensland, party leader Pauline Hanson has said.

With 75 per cent of the vote counted, One Nation's candidate Stephen Andrew has secured enough preferences to take the northern seat of Mirani, ousting Labor MP Jim Pearce.

ABC election analyst Antony Green officially called the seat for Senator Hanson's party late yesterday afternoon.

Labor is predicted to get the required 47 seats to form government in the next few days, while the LNP has 36 and could get 40.

Green has predicted One Nation and the Greens may win one seat each, Katter's Australia Party possibly three seats, and one independent.

Mr Andrew would also become the Queensland leader of One Nation, by default, after the current leader Steve Dickson was turfed from his Sunshine Coast seat of Buderim.

Mr Pearce said while he topped the primary vote, preferences proved to be his downfall. "With One Nation and the LNP swapping their preferences, I really had no chance of hanging onto the seat once they did that, because the preferences have been coming through in large numbers for the One Nation candidate," Mr Pearce said.

In a statement, Ms Hanson said Mr Andrew had worked "exceptionally hard over the past 12 months" and would be a strong voice for regional Queensland. "I suspect he and the Katters will hold the balance of power in the state," Senator Hanson said.

Senator Hanson also posted on Facebook this morning, saying she thought the party would win other seats. "I'm very proud of Stephen Andrew's win in the Queensland election," Senator Hanson wrote.  "He won't be the last, with things looking very strong in at least five other seats." "I sense we will have some other exciting announcements over the coming days," Senator Hanson said.

Mr Andrew is a fourth generation South Sea Islander who lives in Mackay. He is also heavily involved in the gun lobby movement and is a licensed weapons dealer.

Mr Pearce was elected as the Member for Broadsound in 1989, before moving to the electorate of Fitzroy. He retired in 2009, but won Mirani in 2015, the first time Labor held the seat.

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Perth Modern School wants bigger classes

Larger class sizes can in fact be highly beneficial if they expose more students to good teachers.  But the unions are afraid of them in case they reduce the number of teaching jobs available

WA’s only academically selective school is offering teachers up to $500 cash in exchange for taking extra students above maximum class-size thresholds, raising the ire of the teachers’ union.

Perth Modern School has told teachers they can “negotiate” compensation for accepting bigger classes above the limit of 32 pupils in Years 7 to 10 or 25 in Years 11 and 12.

A document circulated last week to staff at the Subiaco school said it was not compul-sory for teachers to take on extra students but there would be trade-offs for those who chose to do so.

“Examples of negotiated compensation may include trading off yard duty or, in some cases, for middle years there is a figure of $300 for an extra student and $500 for senior years, or you are welcome to negotiate for something else if you require,” it said.

State School Teachers Union president Pat Byrne said offering teachers a financial incentive for extra students was “highly unusual”. The union had raised its concerns with the department after Perth Modern teachers flagged the issue.

“Planning to have classes that exceed the limit is a breach of our industrial agreement,” Ms Byrne said. “So that’s certainly a concern.”

She said that under the union’s agreement with the Education Department, schools were not permitted to plan for classes to be above the agreed maximum. The agreement recognised that classes sometimes exceeded the limit after new students enrolled, so teachers could discuss reducing other duties in recognition of the additional workload.

“There is nothing unusual about that,” Ms Byrne said. “Where it gets unusual is the notion that people are paid extra. It means the school is actually not prioritising class sizes. Class sizes are fixed at a number for a range of reasons — a lot of that is to do with the size of the classroom and safety, particularly if you’re in a science lab or home economics room.

“It isn’t just about workload, it’s also about the actual attention that a teacher can give to individual students.”

Ms Byrne said she had not heard of any other public schools making a similar offer but worried it could set a precedent.

“It undermines the whole rationale for having smaller classes,” she said. “Schools are funded according to the class size ratio, so there should be no reason for a school to be needing to offer that sort of payment,” she said.

“The implication here is that as long as people get paid money, it’s all right to have larger class sizes.

“But we wouldn’t support that at all. It’s about the quality of education you can provide for that class and the bigger it gets the harder it is to do that.” An Education Department spokeswoman said: “This matter was brought to the department’s attention recently and we are currently looking into it.”

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Our tax system rewards losers, so it reaps failure

Scott Morrison is looking at our income tax system with a view to proposing tax cuts before the next election. Well, he may have a really hard look because our system is set up all wrong and needs the rules dramatically changed. Our tax game incentivises losing. We need fewer losers, more winners. So we must incentivise winning. Our system takes too much off those who are bright, who work the hardest, take the most risks and, yes, have the best luck, too.

Our system incentivises us towards failure, and so the result is failure and an undesirable, tall poppy-hating culture. In Australia there seems to be no point in working overtime, working too much, trying too hard and becoming a champion. We punish those who try to create wealth. We sneer at our winners. We line up to lose and cheer ourselves on as losers.

Virtually half the country lines up at Centrelink every fortnight with their hand out, without a moment's thought towards the person who had to go to work to put that money into their possession.

One half of our community supports the other half. Surely, everyone can see how ridiculous this is. Worse, the supported half seem insatiable; no matter how much they are given it is never enough and constantly there is loud clamouring for more.

The Treasurer, to put it mildly, is a disappointment of the highest order. With regards to his tax proposal he is likely to do something characteristically foolish and self-defeating yet again. If he cuts income taxes it will probably be by a few measly bucks a week. This will be an insult that will infuriate, and hasten his demise.

The government needs a circuit breaker and strong product differentiation from Labor. Wise heads within the government should push Morrison to turn the income tax system on its head. The system should drive wealth creation and reward self-sufficiency. People should be incentivised to earn as much as possible, to stand on their own two feet. Avoiding contact with Centrelink should become a source of pride and a national obsession, the ultimate goal everyone strives to achieve.

There will always be people in our community who need support but there is no way that number is 50 per cent. At the moment, because of our tax system, dishonesty, mediocrity and failure are rewarded, therefore aspired to, and ultimately revered. Imagine how much better our country would be if all of that were totally reversed.

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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