Australian culture is backward (?)
Below is the first part of a familiar rant from an unhappy lady. Her ethnography is correct. Australians really are like that.
I would be regarded s a deep-dyed villain in her book. On family BBQs, my ex-wife sometimes gets me my meal, then usually gets me my dessert and then asks me later on if I would like a cup of tea. I rarely get up.
So why does she do that? It's to a small degree because we are a pretty traditional family but the real reason is simply that she is a very kind person. She knows that I am rather clumsy and get involved in conversations with the men present so she simply looks after me. I noted the same in Scotland when I was there. I asked one of the Scotsmen at a BBQ why they did not fetch their own meal from the BBQ. He said: "My wife knows what I take"
There are many kind women in Australia who willingly do most of the housework. They have various expectations of their men and if those expectations are fulfilled they are happy to do their bit. The writer below seems not to know that.
The basic truth that she misses is that all relationships are different and the mix of expectations will differ too. As she herself acknowledes, the pattern I am familiar with is the norm. She wants to change the norm. That is rigid and dogmatic on her part. She should respect differences and stop trying to impose her preferred relationship pattern on others.
In fact, she has the unshakeable conviction about the rightness of her values that one so often sees on the Left -- a conviction that in Communist regimes regularly leads to mass murder. How much better for all of us it would be if the values of the carpenter of Nazareth were our guide
AT A party a few weeks ago, I witnessed a blood-boiling example of inequality. Through the entire three courses of dinner — for which the women had put together salads and baked desserts, organised decorations and gifts for the birthday boy — the majority of men remained glued to their seats as we milled among them, collecting plates, serving food and effectively waited on them, hand and foot.
It was a clear example at the huge gulf between the sexes in Aussie culture.
While there’s plenty of talk about Australian men increasing their housework effort, and being ahead in their contribution of men in other countries, it’s clear women are still picking up far too much of the slack. While I am fortunate to be in the minority of women with a husband more anal than I am about germs, women continue to do up to two-thirds more housework than men, according to data from the 2016 Census. I should also point out that while neither of us cares that much about housework, both of us are aware of the fine line between pretending not to care and hoarding empty wine bottles and “Pods” packets under the bed.
In his article, “Dirty Secret: Why Is There Still A Housework Gender Gap”, Oliver Burkeman sums up the problem rather succinctly when he says: “The ‘housework gap’ largely stopped narrowing in the 1980s. Men, it seems, conceded that they should be doing more than before — but then, having half-heartedly vacuumed the living room and passed a dampened cloth over the dining table, concluded that it was time for a nice sit-down.”
I can believe it.
Shorten’s stumbles over strategy cause pain for Labor
This is the week Bill Shorten’s “big end of town” class warfare collided with the reality of his policies — medium-sized and family businesses and their employees being hurt — a reminder that when you build a house on populist crusading the foundations are rotten.
The Opposition Leader has been exposed by his own blunder, typical of a pattern of bold yet reckless stances in recent months.
Addicted to a form of confidence-building assertion, Shorten’s judgment is faulty as he purports to a leadership authority he does not possess. This week’s train wreck was long in the making. It reflects Shorten’s character defects and the flaws in his class-based populism.
Shorten’s backdown at Friday’s shadow cabinet meeting was humiliating but essential. After offering the Turnbull government seemingly limitless opportunities his doorstop this week pledging to impose tax increases on medium-sized companies was a gift that Malcolm Turnbull, finally, could not fail to bank.
Shorten has an excuse. Labor’s expenditure review committee had decided on the position he announced. That’s telling. It means this was a collective blunder, not just Shorten’s mistake as leader. The original decision had not gone to shadow cabinet but it was a serious mistake by senior Labor figures.
Shorten had offered the Prime Minister a devastating weapon at the July 28 by-elections and beyond. This blunder had the potential to bring both the leadership into conversation and seriously prejudice Labor’s entrenched polling lead over the government.
Shorten, like Turnbull late last year, will live to fight another day. His embarrassment this week was self-inflicted, not Turnbull’s achievement. Indeed, it highlights the strange nature of their contest: Turnbull and Shorten sustain each other because neither has the ability to establish command over or destroy his opponent.
Shorten presents as a champion of Labor values but this week merely reveals the cynicism and self-interested expediency that drives his strategy as leader. This week’s fiasco had nothing to do with values and sound policy. It was a panic to correct for the electoral damage Shorten had done. This time his colleagues had an unanswerable case to reverse Shorten’s captain’s pick.
Labor should be worried. Shorten presides over a party that flirts with overreach; witness his false comments for months that no Labor MP was in the dual citizenship trap, the pledge to repeal the bulk of the government’s personal income tax cuts and the electorally sensitive restriction on franking credits for retirees.
The upshot now is that companies in the $10 million to $50m turnover zone will not be penalised by an incoming Labor government. Their legislated tax cut to 27.5 per cent as implemented from July 1 will stay — but Labor still will repeal in office any further legislated tax cuts and respect only tax cuts already being paid. This means Shorten remains pledged to repeal stage two of the government’s plan taking the corporate tax rate to 25 per cent for all companies — if Turnbull, or rather Senate leader Mathias Cormann, can get it legislated.
Shorten and Labor have not surrendered the fight over company tax cuts; they have merely shifted tactics to achieve a stronger position. Don’t think Shorten will retreat from his class warfare populist rhetoric.
What is Labor’s logic for keeping a 30 per cent corporate rate for companies above the $50m cap and a 27.5 per cent rate for those companies below the cap? There is no logic; just self-interested politics. Why should a two-tied corporate tax system be imposed? No reason, except to suit Labor’s political needs.
This week’s legacy will stick on Shorten. It reminds that his strategy of class division to mobilise a voting majority is far different from that of the three previous leaders who in the postwar age brought Labor to office by winning elections: Gough Whitlam, Bob Hawke and Kevin Rudd.
Shorten is coming from a different place and gambling that Australia is a different country. This week destroyed Shorten’s claims that his opposition to company tax cuts was mainly about banks and greedy multinationals. He was exposed as a dogmatist refusing to accept the decisions of the parliament. He was prepared to impose tax increases on the almost 20,000 companies with turnovers in the $20m to $50m zone employing upwards of 1.5 million Australians.
For many people this seemed unreasonable, a bridge too far. The people Shorten was ready to punish are not the ‘big end of town’. Why were they being punished? What was the principle that Shorten sought to uphold?
In truth, the same issues and questions still apply. There are hundreds of companies above the $50m turnover cap that are not banks or greedy multinationals yet Shorten is bent on denying them.
Indeed, he mocks them saying a tax cut for such companies would be “unfair” and a “giveaway.” He is still ready to repeal corporate tax cuts passed by the parliament. He refuses to concede the 25 per cent tax rate for small and medium-sized companies.
This week opened the door to an even greater danger — by revealing the real-world implications of his assault on company tax cuts, Shorten risks undermining support for his entire policy.
It became apparent to everybody — media, public and Labor MPs — that a competitive tax rate was linked to investment, jobs and wages. Why wouldn’t an employee prefer to have his company paying a competitive rate?
It was no surprise Labor MPs began to revolt. Shorten’s stance was bad policy and bad politics. Labor members were rendered dumb; they literally couldn’t defend it.
Turnbull was being invited to identify the companies being punished, their streets, towns, suburbs and employees — the losers from Labor’s redistribution.
Any competent Coalition MP would seize on this tactic and apply it in their seats all the way to the next election.
Populism hinges on exaggeration, blame and creating division — in this case Shorten’s pretence is that a company tax cut is merely a windfall for the better-off. This is a brain-dead proposition.
The destructive, class-prejudiced, energy-sapping brawl in this country about company tax is an indulgence that diverts from the bigger tax reform debate that is needed.
It is timely to recall that the 2009 Henry tax review commissioned by Rudd said company tax was the most damaging tax for the economy. It recommended the company tax rate be reduced to 25 per cent “over the medium term” to increase business investment across all sectors including foreign investment to “promote more entrepreneurial activity”.
This is not a radical policy; it is modest and orthodox. Beyond the clamour, opposition Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen uses the budget situation to oppose the company tax cuts. Yet the company tax cuts are phased in over the next eight years and the Henry report was delivered eight years ago.
Shorten, on the other hand, feeds the public a diet of grievance along with the need to deliver fairness and justice. The Henry review also addressed this issue, saying “the personal tax structure should be the sole means of delivering progressivity in the tax system” along with the transfer payments.
It would be folly for the Turnbull government to assume the political wheel has turned. Manifestly, it has not. There was a revealing question from Shorten last Wednesday in parliament: “Is the Prime Minister telling victims of that company that AMP deserves a big business tax cut?”
It was a good, precise, probing question. Later Shorten repeated the same question. Yet the government was unable to provide a precise and telling answer.
There is such an answer: that the bad behaviour of any one company should not be allowed to penalise all companies and all workers in Australia.
Any party that lives by that ethic is betraying the community interest.
The lesson, however, is that Shorten’s campaign against the big end of town retains much momentum from the unions, low-income and public sector workers and a range of progressive lobbies in the welfare, education and environment sectors.
The corporate tax battle will be resumed after the by-elections and the winter recess. This flows from the Thursday announcement by Cormann that the government will not be retreating on its second stage bill to cut taxes for companies above the $50m threshold and achieve by 2026-27 a cut from 30 per cent to 25 per cent for all companies.
Cormann, sensibly, refused to put this bill to the Senate last week because he lacked the numbers. Why take a defeat for no purpose? The government believes after the July 28 by-elections it has another chance to win this legislation since Cormann cut an earlier deal, since revoked, with the Pauline Hanson Party. Will Hanson change her mind again later in the year?
Cormann said: “I respect the fact that Pauline Hanson, with whom I have had many very good conversations … is focused on making the right decisions as she sees it in Australia’s national interest. I absolutely respect that. I hope the fact that One Nation voters increasingly appear to be coming on board with our plan for lower business taxes will, over time, help to persuade Senator Hanson that this is the right thing to do.”
We shall see.
At some stage — perhaps closer to the election — the public will focus on the Shorten paradox and decide whether he fits the test of prime ministerial material. John Howard used to say this about Rudd in 2007, only to find that Kevin passed the test with flying colours. Each leader is different but the Rudd-Shorten contrast is illuminating.
Rudd projected as an agent of New Labor hostile to the party machine. “Kevin wasn’t an orthodox Labor man,” said then ALP national secretary Tim Gartrell. Rudd defied the Labor stereotype. He felt being an orthodox Labor man was the kiss of political death.
Kevin loathed the factions, distrusted the unions, shunned the union “heavies”, never went into their debt, kept reassuring business, took pride in his status as an outsider and a Queenslander, and thrived as a new generation modernist who won the 2007 election by matching most of Howard’s election campaign tax cuts and then stealing the middle ground from the battlers’ champion.
Shorten, by contrast, is a factional operative from a trade union power base and astute manipulator. His position is sustained by the Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union, a union aggressive for its members and pursuing a quasi-criminal business model, an issue Turnbull has singularly failed to exploit to the full.
The public also seems indifferent to the compromises that plague Shorten. While suspicious of Shorten’s tactics and pledges, it seems more responsive to Shorten’s stirring of its resentment towards elites, banks and big business in the belief they rip off the system and exploit workers.
Shorten offers a powerful emotional agenda as he invokes compassion, a fair go, pitches to women, the plight of minorities and pledges a bigger spending agenda in health and education. He engages, campaigns endlessly and is utterly convinced that he has a better feel for the Australian psyche than Turnbull.
In typical fashion Shorten depicts this week’s retreat as proof of his ability to listen. He boasts he is always prepared to change his mind. Yes, that is an important quality for a politician. But there is an even more important quality: being convinced a leader means what he says.
Below is the media release that sank Shorten
Labor's Call On Company Tax Cuts A Blow To SME Builders
Master Builders Australia is bitterly disappointed with Labor’s pledge to ramp up the tax burden for thousands of small and medium building businesses.
Denita Wawn, CEO of Master Builders Australia said, “Labor’s decision to abolish tax cuts for SME builders turning over $10-$50 million per year will deal a harsh blow to SME builders, many of them family businesses.”
“It’s a retrograde step at the expense of local builders and local jobs in local communities around the country,” she said.
“Building projects are highly capital intensive and the cost of labour, materials and equipment mean that there are many ‘mum and dad’ businesses with an annual turnover of more than $10 million,” Denita Wawn said.
“This means that the tax cuts which Labor has committed to repealing are particularly important for our members, the people they employ directly and the sub-contractors they engage,” she said.
“Turnover should not be confused with profit. SME builders typically operate on tight margins and do not take home anything like $10 million,” Denita Wawn said.
“Labor should understand that there are more SMEs in the building and construction industry than any other sector of the economy,” she said.
“Our industry employs in 1 in 10 Australians and in the last few years has been one of the most important sources of skilled jobs growth. SME builders are at the forefront of this and employ most of the 1.2 million jobs in the construction industry workforce,” Denita Wawn said.
Email from Ben Carter, 0447 775 507
Kathleen Clubb defends right to challenge abortion
Clubb, who last year became the first person to be convicted under abortion protest laws in Victoria, will play in what may become one of the most important free speech cases heard by the High Court.
She wants Australians to know that it’s not about abortion. It’s about the right to protest.
Clubb can anticipate all your questions: yes, she is opposed to abortion in cases of rape; yes, in the case of profound disability; yes, in the case of incest.
She also believes that Australians have been denied a national debate about abortion.
“In some states, it’s now legal all through nine months for any reason, and we have not had a debate about that,” she says — and plenty of readers will no doubt think: good.
Those people who stand outside abortion clinics with gory signs and, in some cases, with blood-splattered dolls in prams, they’re pests — and also, it’s none of their business.
Clubb says she has never done that. She prays and she offers pamphlets.
“But the point is, if parliament can ban this kind of protest, what other kind of protests can they ban?” she says. “I am fighting for all Australians.”
Legislation creating 150m “safe zones” around the Victorian clinics came into effect on May 2, 2016. This was always going to be a problem for Christian groups that hold their vigils outside the doors.
Court documents show that Inspector Gerard Cartwright of Victoria Police met a group he called “the Helpers” (the full name is Helpers of God’s Precious Infants, and Clubb is a member) several times in an effort to impress on them the importance of the law, telling the court: “These were law-abiding people and I did not want them coming before the courts.” He asked them to steer clear of the 150m zone. In July, “the Helpers” contacted him to let him know that “a man in his 70s and a woman in her 50s” would breach the zone on August 4, 2016, outside the Fertility Control Clinic in Wellington Parade, East Melbourne.
Twenty officers were briefed to attend, “to ensure calm”.
Clubb says she had a friend drop her off near the clinic. En route to the safe zone, she saw two detectives at a nearby cafe and stopped to say hello. As arrests go, it was all very civilised. She walked into the exclusion zone. Video of the event, shown to the court, shows her attempting to engage a couple as they approach the clinic, by speaking to them and handing over a pamphlet. The male of the couple declines the offer and the young woman moves away.
A police officer steps up and tells Clubb she is breaking the law. Was she prepared to leave? She was not.
From there on, events felt to Clubb like something from NYPD Blue. She was not cuffed but put in the back seat of a squad car. She had a mugshot taken at the station, which her delighted kids are now trying to get her to use as her Facebook profile picture.
There was a confusing moment in the cop shop bathroom: everything was stainless steel and she couldn’t find a tap, just a button to press to wash her hands. She had to hand over personal items but was allowed to keep her rosary beads, although one officer said: “Don’t harm yourself with them.”
“They weren’t jovial,” she says, thinking back. “More businesslike.”
It took some time for the case to make its way to the Magistrates Court but ultimately, on October 11 last year, with magistrate Luisa Bazzani presiding, Clubb was told she had been charged with breaching section 185D of Victoria’s Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008; that she had insisted on “communicating about abortions” within a safe access zone in a manner “reasonably likely to cause anxiety or distress”; and that she had done so despite two warnings, “defiantly and deliberately”.
Of course she had. That was always the point.
Clubb’s legal team appealed her conviction to the Supreme Court of Victoria, with grounds one and two concerning the constitutional validity of the law in question. A short time later, Victoria’s Attorney-General Martin Pakula also applied to have the case transferred to the High Court, which is due to hear the matter later this year.
Clubb is opposed by the Solicitor-General for Victoria, Kristen Walker; commonwealth Solicitor-General Stephen Donaghue; the Solicitor-General for NSW, Michael Sexton SC; the Solicitor-General for Queensland, Peter Dunning QC; the Solicitor-General for Western Australia, Peter Quinlan SC; the Solicitor-General for South Australia, Chris Bleby SC; and barristers acting for the private abortion providers, who seek to be heard as amicus curiae (friend of the court.)
Clubb’s supporters include the Helpers — they are largely Catholic and wholly anonymous, without so much as a website — the Human Rights Law Alliance, which hopes to raise an estimated $120,000 to cover the cost of being heard in the High Court; and the Australian Christian Lobby.
The case — officially, it’s No M46/2018 — concerns something that should concern us all: freedom of political communication. Australia doesn’t have a bill of rights but in 1992 the High Court did recognise what it has called an “implied freedom of political communication”. To be clear: that’s not a personal right to speak your mind. It’s a burden on legislative power, meaning our parliaments are restricted in the laws they can pass.
Walker, the Victorian Solicitor-General, has rejected the free-speech argument in her submission to the High Court, saying Clubb is “trying ignore or downplay the demonstrable harm” the protests cause “to people seeking abortions”. She describes the protests as “harassing and intimidatory conduct”, with the most extreme case in Victoria involving “the fatal shooting in 2001 of a security guard at the East Melbourne clinic”.
The commonwealth argues that such protests are not political because protesters are not trying to change the law, they are interfering with the personal choice of an individual woman. Furthermore, Clubb’s freedom to communicate has not been taken from her: she can protest abortion outside parliament; she can write to her local member; she can take out newspaper ads; she can campaign in certain seats, even run for office. What she can’t do is approach a vulnerable, pregnant woman trying to access a lawful medical procedure at an abortion clinic.
And this, in the view of Clubb’s legal team, is the point.
In their submission, they say: “Australian history is replete with examples of political communications being effective precisely because they are conducted at the place where the issue is viscerally felt.” There’s the Franklin Dam blockade, for example, and the Pine Gap protests, the Freedom Rides and the Eureka Stockade.
Clubb’s team acknowledges that her protest isn’t popular, and that too is important because the “very purpose of freedom” is to permit the expression of unpopular, minority view points.
“In order to rouse, political speech must first excite,” the submission says. “Sir Robert Menzies’ ‘forgotten people’ speech, Paul Keating’s Redfern speech, Kevin Rudd’s apology … each was apt to cause discomfort not incidentally but deliberately.”
It will not be an easy case for Clubb to win. Australia has no proud free speech tradition. Four states and the commonwealth have already made submissions aimed at silencing her protest.
But in her pocket Clubb has what she believes is a reason to keep going. It’s a short video, stored on her phone, of a child she describes as “the last baby we saved”.
“His parents are Nepalese, they hadn’t been in Australia very long,” she says. “They approached the clinic and I could see they didn’t want to do it.”
She helped them away from the door, into a nearby carpark, where the mum-to-be, buckled by morning sickness, vomited. They explained their circumstances: he was working in a convenience store, earning not much money. She was newly arrived and now pregnant. They didn’t have stable accommodation. The GP had given them a pamphlet for the abortion clinic.
“I told them we could help,” says Clubb, and the groups with which she works stepped up with money for rent, doctor’s fees, a cot and a car seat.
The child being carried in the womb that day is now a two-year-old. In the video, he’s bopping along to an Ed Sheeran song.
“I believe we did God’s work that day,” says Clubb. “You don’t have to agree but I should be allowed to say it.”
CIS poll shows ignorance of history
By John-Paul Baladi, an intern in the Culture, Prosperity and Civil Society Program at the CIS
The Centre for Independent Studies/YouGov poll released last week rightly gained national attention for highlighting the negative effect left-leaning universities are having on historically ignorant millennials.
The poll found 58% of Australian millennials hold a favourable view of socialism. This finding might astonish those who were old enough to see the Berlin wall come down.
However, to a politically conscious student at the University of Sydney, it is unsurprising. I am all too familiar with the far-left activism embedded within the education system.
From junior high school through to the HSC and on to university, social science and humanities teachers and academics bombard students with criticisms of western culture, from colonialism to orientalism, to the White Australia policy.
This kind of identity politics is thinly disguised as ‘compassion’ for the excluded and oppressed.
Yet while students are taught about the flaws and failures of western culture under the rubric of intellectual freedom and ‘balance’, uttering fair criticisms of Islamic teachings and history, or highlighting systemic issues in Indigenous communities, is considered bigotry.
And it’s not only high school and university syllabuses that are skewed to the left side of politics. In my experience, the teachers, tutors, and lecturers — whose role is to enlighten our generation — are sometimes further left-leaning than the syllabus.
I’ve heard a tutor explain that conservative political parties only exist to defend the “aristocracy” and another claim the Australian Greens weren’t “radical enough”.
The recent open letter signed by more than 100 Sydney University academics — which was redolent of Marxist analysis and identity politics clichés — rejected the Ramsey Centre’s proposed degree in Western Civilization on the grounds that this would violate “the standing norms of academic independence.”
But when most of the humanities faculties lean left, and some academics are openly hostile to Western Civilisation, talk of academic independence rings hollow.
Melbourne has its coldest day in 25 YEARS as wintry conditions show no signs of warming up with a bleak weekend in store across Australia
Melbourne has experienced its coldest day in more than two decades - with the chilly conditions set to continue over the weekend.
A high of just 9.8C recorded on Thursday was the coldest maximum temperature during a day in the city since June 12, 1993 according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
There will be no respite from the bitter cold across most of the country this weekend as frosty mornings are predicted for both Saturday and Sunday.
Weatherzone meteorologist Graeme Brittain said Sydney will be 'pleasant but cold'. 'It will be dry and sunny during the day but there will be a couple of cold morning, with Sunday being the coldest'.
A low of 9C is expected on Saturday before reaching a high of 19C, with light winds predicted for the evening.
Sunday will be mostly sunny with fog in the outer west part of the city and some frost, with a low of 7C and a high of 16C predicted.
Melbourne will likely have rainfall on Saturday morning with possible hail in the southeast.
Sunday will be even colder, with a low of 5C and a high of 15C. There is a slight chance of rain for Melbourne on Sunday afternoon.
Brisbane will have fog and possibly showers on Saturday morning, with a low of 14 and a high of 24.
Goyder to be new Qantas chairman
I am delighted to hear this. I have had a small amount to do with Mr Goyder and found him to have a really human approach to his businesses. I have a hand-written note from him which I treasure. It is in a frame above my desk. His balanced approach will be invaluable to Qantas
Former Wesfarmers boss Richard Goyder will be the new chairman of Qantas, succeeding the outgoing Leigh Clifford in October.
Mr Clifford will retire from the chairmanship of Australia's national carrier after 11 years in the role.
"It's been an absolute privilege to lead the Qantas board for these past 11 years," Mr Clifford said in a statement on Thursday.
He has overseen a sometimes tumultuous period for the airline alongside chief executive officer Alan Joyce, with the carrier having endured a painful turnaround period before enjoying its current record high profits and soaring share price.
Qantas in May flagged a record full-year underlying pre-tax profit of between $1.55 billion and $1.60 billion, a far cry from the plummeting stock prices of the late 2000s and the 2011 grounding of the entire fleet in 2011 over industrial action.
"Leigh has been a stellar chairman for Qantas and I'm looking forward to working with Richard in the years ahead," Mr Joyce said.
Mr Goyder joined the Qantas board in November after ending his long tenure as managing director of Wesfarmers, the conglomerate that owns supermarket giant Coles and hardware chain Bunnings.
Mr Clifford said Mr Goyder is "one of the most experienced business leaders in Australia and an excellent choice to lead the Qantas board into the future".
Mr Goyder will take over as chairman at Qantas' annual general meeting on October 28.
Mr Goyder is also chairman of Woodside Petroleum and the AFL.
Mr Clifford will also leave the Qantas board at the October AGM.
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