Australian Politics 2019-06-24 16:47:00

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Time to dump the books? Tradies earn up to $1MILLION more in their careers than those who do degrees - and graduates are finding it harder to secure full-time jobs

New data comparing the salaries of tradies and university graduates suggest young people would be better off picking up a drill than a textbook.

The surprising data has revealed tradies could make $1million more than university graduates throughout their lifetime.

The figures from the Australian government's Job Outlook website showed blue-collar workers who have come through apprenticeships or having completed vocational training certificates (VET) could be significantly wealthier than the tertiary-educated over the course of their careers.

According to the Job Outlook website, a university-qualified human resources professional could expect to make about $2.78 million over an average 40-year career, and an advertising professional and accountant would make $2.91 million.

On the other hand, a VET-qualified steel construction worker could make $3.15 million, an electrician could make $2.91 million, and a metal fitter could make $3.12 million.

Tradies also avoided HECS debt - the cost of university courses which graduates must pay back once they are in the workforce and their salary reaches a set threshold.

The figures were backed up by research conducted by social demographer Mark McCrindle, which showed people with a tertiary education also had a higher chance of being underemployed.

Mr McCrindle found that from 2008 to 2014, university graduates in full-time employment fell from 86 per cent to 68 per cent, indicating that universities were losing touch with what employers wanted from staff.

By comparison, VET graduates had a full-time employment rate of 78 per cent after training, and 82 per cent of apprenticeship graduates found a job after training. 

Data by recruitment agency Withyouandme also found that tertiary education could be leading to underemployment and a loss of national productivity.

'Individuals are invariably ending up in underemployment and jobs which don't match their potential,' the report said.

'The results show that the number of graduates in every industry is set to outstrip the number of jobs which will be created, making the chances of securing a job in a graduate's industry a difficult proposition.'

'Too many Aussies with Bachelor degrees are pulling beers in pubs or working in retail - careers which are not aligned with their studies.'

A report by Skilling Australia also stated the university drop-out rate was 26.4 per cent between 2005 and 2013, and 21.8 per cent of HECS loans will never be repaid as degrees go unused.

According to experts, employers are more focused on people who have actual skills, employment history, and are job-ready - something fresh university graduates don't always have.

Despite the relatively poor outcomes for graduates, there was no slowing in the number of people seeking university places.

Data showed the number of Australians with HECS debts above $50,000 in 2017-18 reached 208,146, compared to 159,475 in 2016-17.

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Power without earning it: How the Greens plan to push their extreme left-wing agendas on Australians - to ban private schools, oppose free speech and legalise drugs

If the Greens had their way, conservative media opinions would be banned, drugs such as ecstasy legalised and private schools phased out.

While the hard-left political party doesn't win elections, it continues to share the balance of power in the Australian Parliament, putting it in a position to shape national laws.

The Greens are unlikely to ever win government in their own right - scoring just 10.4 per cent of lower house votes at last month's federal election.

This was a minuscule increase from the 10.23 per cent share they received in 2016 as they campaigned in May to ban coal-fired power stations within 11 years.

However, the Greens still remain ambitious, with the party's founder Bob Brown in 2011 predicting it would one day replace Labor as Australia's major party on the left.

Before that supposedly happens, the Greens have their sights set on holding the balance of power in the Senate within three years - forcing whichever major party is in government to adopt their agenda to get laws passed.

And it's no secret - the party's leader Richard Di Natale declared this as the party's goal this week.

He claimed a 0.17 percentage point increase in their primary vote as a sign of political success, even though their Senate numbers remained at nine.

'If we repeat this result in 2022, we'll see an extra three senators returned and we'll see the Greens with sole balance of power in the Senate based on these numbers,' Senator Di Natale told Sky News earlier this month.

Griffith University politics lecturer Dr Paul Williams said the Greens had an outside chance of having a crossbench monopoly in the upper house of federal Parliament.

'It's errantly possible that they could have solely the balance of power,' he told Daily Mail Australia.

After the 2010 election, the Greens were able to impose a hated carbon tax on Australia, following the failure of former prime minister Julia Gillard's Labor Party to win a majority in the House of Representatives.

A minor party in the Senate, however, hasn't had the balance of power to itself for almost two decades.

This was during an era when the centre-left Australian Democrats successfully demanded that fruit and vegetables be exempted from the GST, as proposed by a Liberal-National Party government.

Dr Williams said the fracturing of the minor party vote made that a big ask for the Greens in the Senate by 2022.

'I can't see a time when they'll only be Greens, Labor and the L-NP,' he said.

In recent weeks, Senator Di Natale has declared his support for press freedom following Australian Federal Police raids on the ABC and the Canberra home of News Corp Australia journalist Annika Smethurst.

Three months ago, however, the Victorian senator told supporters at Brunswick, in Melbourne's inner-north, he would seek to ban conservative commentators, ranging from Sydney radio 2GB broadcaster Alan Jones to Sky News hosts Andrew Bolt and Chris Kenny.

'We're going to make sure we've got laws that regulate our media, so that if people like Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones and Chris Kenny - and I could go on and on and on and on - if they want to use hate speech to divide the community, then they're going to be held to account for that hate speech,' he said.

Dr Williams said the Greens and Labor both wanted more press regulation, however impractical that may be, because they were suspicious of conservative-leaning media outlets.

'Given that Alan Jones dominates the airwaves,  I'm not sure how you'd regulate that,' he said.

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Socialism appeals to the young but many don't know what it means

Red is the new black, right? Jeremy Corbyn leads the British Labour Party. Bernie Sanders came close to winning the Democratic Party's nomination for the US presidency describing himself as a "democratic socialist".

And the 2018 US midterm elections saw a surge of enthusiasm for Democratic candidates running on policy platforms at least as leftist as Mr Sanders espoused in 2016.

That the young are thought to lead the revival for socialism is not surprising.

The most prominent face of the leftward turn among Democrats is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, just 29 years old and only four months into her legislative career.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez is one of the sponsors of the Green New Deal, a suite of social-democratic and pro-environmental proposals, supported by several of the Democratic presidential candidates (eg Senators Booker, Gillibrand, Harris, Sanders, Warren).

It's happening here too. Australian public opinion also exhibits an unmistakable age gradient, with younger Australians more likely to support Labor — and especially the Greens — than older Australians.

But what do people — and younger people in particular — mean when they say they favour or oppose socialism?

New polling by the United States Studies Centre and YouGov reveals considerable confusion and ignorance about socialism in both Australia and the United States.

We asked: "What is your understanding of the term socialism?"
Respondents could provide any answer they liked, in their own words.

Twenty-eight per cent of Australians fell at the first hurdle, with "don't know", "unsure" or "no clue" responses.

Another 13 per cent of Australians gave answers indicating they understand socialism as being sociable (eg "spending time with friends", "talking with people").

Just 59 per cent offered a response that was even close to any conventional definition of socialism (greater equality, public control of the means of production, etc).

Younger Australians are more likely to offer "don't know" or the "being sociable" classes of responses.

Less than one in three of our youngest Australian respondents could offer an even vaguely correct definition of socialism, a rate that rises to about two in three or better for respondents in their 50s or older.

The "s" word has been thrown around far more frequently in America than in Australia in recent years. Seventy-four per cent of Americans respond with something close to a conventional definition of socialism.

Although younger Americans were less likely than older Americans to be able to define socialism, more than 60 per cent of even the youngest US respondents could do so, compared to less than 30 per cent of young Australians.

Socialism is generally much more popular in Australia than America, but there are nuances in what Australians and Americans like and don't like about socialism.

Despite plenty of Australians being unable to define socialism, Australians do have strong views on the components of socialism, whether specific sectors of the economy should be owned and operated by the government, by the private sector, or if respondents were indifferent.

Here Australians report more socialist preferences than Americans, with clear majorities for government control in six out nine cases, spanning roads and highways (70 per cent), health care and hospitals (67 per cent), public transport (62 per cent), schools and universities (59 per cent), electricity, gas and water (58 per cent) and aged care (53 per cent).

A much different picture emerges in the United States.

In one only case out of nine — roads and highways — do a majority of Americans prefer government to private sector control or indifference, and only barely, with 51 per cent support.

Australians are more likely to support public ownership and control than Americans, but not because young Australians are embracing socialism. Just the opposite.

In six out of nine sectors we asked about, older Australians support public ownership and operation at rates of around 75 per cent or higher, typically outpacing younger Australians on this score by more than 20 percentage points.

Perhaps older Australians are pining for the "pre-privatised" Australian economy of their youth, while younger Australians have known nothing else.

It's the opposite in America

In the United States we see not only less enthusiasm for government ownership across the board, but a reversal of the age gradient we observe in Australia.

Younger Americans are almost always more enthusiastic about government ownership than their elders, typically by about 15 percentage points. There's is the only sector of the American economy with majority support for public ownership and control among any age cohort: roads and highways.

This finding helps explains the political headwinds encountered by advocates of public-private partnerships in the United States, including the Australian Ambassador Joe Hockey.

Roads and highways have been the domain where public-private partnerships have had some acceptance in the US, with Australian institutions prominent among the private investors and operators.

Americans sure aren't socialist, but roads and highways is the domain where support for public ownership runs the strongest and support for private ownership is weakest (just 23 per cent, compared to 11 per cent in Australia).

While generally quite sceptical about socialism, Americans need further convincing of the utility of "Australian style" asset recycling and public-private partnerships as a model for transport infrastructure.

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Sydney to declare a climate emergency in face of national inaction

Just showboating

Sydney, the largest city in a country acutely vulnerable to global warming, moved on Friday to declare a climate emergency, joining hundreds of local governments around the world in calling for urgent steps to combat the crisis, some in the face of inaction by national politicians.

The declaration does not include any major new actions. But Mayor Clover Moore said it was important that Sydney, which has already made ambitious pledges to reduce greenhouse emissions, raise its voice in a global demand for action.

"Cities need to show leadership, especially when you're not getting that leadership from the national government," Moore said.

Amanda McKenzie, chief executive of the Climate Council, a research center, said Sydney's declaration - which the City Council is expected to easily approve - underlined "just how serious the climate change issue is." "It is a genuine crisis," she said. "Sydney has responded in an appropriate way."

Australia, home to some of the most extreme natural environments on the planet, is recovering from the hottest summer on record - a season of raging wildfires, burning fruit on trees, and crippling drought in farming regions.

But in national elections last month, voters rejected the major party calling for stronger action on climate change, delivering a surprise victory to the incumbent conservative government, which has resisted proposals to sharply reduce carbon emissions.

The conservative coalition was propelled to victory in part by support in the state of Queensland, where the state government cleared the way this month for a fiercely contested coal mine.

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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