Australian Politics 2019-10-16 15:45:00

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Dutton to deny asylum seeker's dad entry

The home affairs minister is refusing to allow the father of an asylum seeker to accompany her to Australia from Nauru for medical treatment.

The woman will travel to Australia for psychological assessment.

Peter Dutton will table documents in parliament detailing his decision on Wednesday regarding the father, whom he alleges would expose the Australian community to a serious risk of criminal conduct.

Under medical evacuation laws, doctors can recommend asylum seekers held offshore be brought to Australia for treatment.

They can generally be accompanied by family members. However, the minister can reject transfers on national security grounds.

Mr Dutton has approved the Iranian woman to travel, along with her brother.

However, the minister has received intelligence the father had a history of violence and was allegedly involved in drug importation and prostitution.

Mr Dutton will tell parliament the man has a history of violent and manipulative behaviour, including allegations of physical assault against his children.

Labor home affairs spokeswoman Kristina Keneally said his decision proves the so-called medevac laws were working as they should.  "Why did Scott Morrison and Peter Dutton claim people of bad character could be transferred to Australia under medevac when it's clear they have the powers to deny such transfers?" she asked.

"Peter Dutton is so desperate to distract from the 95,000 aeroplane people who have arrived on his watch, he's boasting about using a power Labor ensured was in place to keep security threats out of the country."

The Morrison government is looking to scrap the refugee medical evacuation laws, and is lobbying Senate crossbencher Jacqui Lambie for her support. Senator Lambie has said the deteriorating situation in Syria may see her support the repeal.

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Things hotting up at Bureau of Meteorology

Why is the Australian Bureau of Meteorology a protected species? How many warnings does the government need before it conducts a parliamentary inquiry and independent audit.

Surely, for $1m a day, taxpayers are at least entitled to reliable data. Yet what we get are homogenised records achieved by mixing, matching and even deleting temperature data, often from unreliable or geographically unrelated sites and almost always with a warming bias.

In 2015 minister for the environment Greg Hunt saw off a golden opportunity when he batted away then prime minister Tony Abbott’s wish to have an audit. Hunt found the bureau’s “hard science, hard data and literally millions of points of information through satellite and local monitoring” convincing.

Hunt’s successor, Josh Frydenberg, similarly refused to have an audit. Both turned a blind eye to the BoM’s unscientific obsession to report record heat.

When satellite data conflicted with its “hottest-ever summer” hype, they ignored it. And they listened to colleagues and BoM supporters who were consumed by climate-change politics.

The bureau’s focus on politics rather than science was revealed a decade ago in the leaked “Climategate” emails which exposed unscientific practices and appalling quality control.

Professor Phil Jones, former director at the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit, referred to Australians “inventing the December 1995 monthly value” and wanting to see “the section on variability and extreme events beefed up”.

A frustrated CRU climatologist/programmer, Ian (Harry) Harris, wrote: “Getting seriously fed up with the state of the Australian data. So many new stations have been introduced, so many false references … so many changes that aren’t documented.”

The bureau’s supervisor of climate analysis, Dr David Jones, dismisses sceptics as “scientifically incompetent. We have a policy of providing any complainer with every single station observation when they question our data (this usually snows them)”.

Former chief executive Rob Vertessy confirms this thinking, saying: “People … running interference on the national weather agency are unproductive and, it’s actually dangerous.”

This patronising fortress mentality does little to dispel concerns about integrity.

The BoM’s casual approach to Celsius conversion with its warming bias sticks in the memory. So too the spectacle of Rutherglen, where a 0.35C cooling became a 1.73C warming. When hot and dry Hillston, 300km away in southern New South Wales, is included in the “homogenisation” process, no wonder.

There’s also the mystery of Goulburn Airport, in NSW southern tablelands, where the lowest ever July temperature was -9.1C, recorded in 1988. In 2017 that was broken when the temperature dropped to -10.4C. The bureau recorded -10C. A similar under-recording occurred at Thredbo Top Station.

After an inquiry from Frydenberg, the BoM responded there were issues with those automatic weather stations but, out of 695 sites, they were the only ones where temperature records had been affected. How reassuring that the ever-alert Dr Jennifer Marohasy, who raised the alarm, had found the offending two.

Respected climate writer Joanne Nova recently reported another example of the bureau’s reluctance to record cooler temperatures. Although Friday, April 19, was the coldest April day in Albany, Western Australia, the bureau somehow “lost” the crucial Albany Airport data set.

So, while temperatures for hundreds of kilometres around registered similar maximums to the airport’s 10.4C, the official airport maximum for April 19 remains blank, while the city of Albany records the day before’s temperature of 25.1C.

The bureau’s warming bias is shameless. It couldn’t wait to announce January 7 last year as the Sydney Basin’s hottest-ever day. But it was required to quickly retract this and acknowledge 1939 was hotter — but not before the captive media had sensationalised the headlines.

Suspicions of BoM neglect and carelessness are being confirmed by diligent volunteer auditors. A number of weather stations have been found on or near asphalt, busy highways, beside galvanised iron fences and metal sheds, atop tin roofs or adjacent airconditioning units. Even when these sites are not included in the official ACORN set, they are still used to adjust temperatures within it.

Now, Nova reveals, volunteers have discovered changes at the Port Hedland site have over the years corrupted its data. It is one of only 112 certified locations and its temperatures are used in the “best practice” official set which forms part of the global record. How many more non-compliant, certified sites are there? And why is it only volunteers can find them?

And why, to quote Nova: “After all the headlines, after it was measured on supposedly modern first-class equipment, even data just 18 months old is being re-fiddled?”

So when satellites suggest 1991 was our hottest summer, and the bureau says 2019, who should we believe?

The BoM is a large and expensive agency, employing almost 1700 people. It requires $400m a year to run. The importance of its database and the reliability of its forecasts go well beyond daily bulletins. Many industries depend on them. Yet, despite the bureau’s boasts of scientific integrity, government cannot ignore the continual release of conflicting evidence nor the BoM’s repeated failure to predict catastrophic weather events such as floods and droughts.

Moreover, despite the bureau’s protests of “best practice”, evidence is being produced which questions the bureau’s compliance with World Meteorological Organisation standards.

The bureau rejects this but then this question may fall into the “unproductive” and “actually dangerous” category.

If the bureau was a public company ASIC would have long since investigated it. What makes government so frightened to act?

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CFMMEU Bullying Targets Small Business    
         
The latest case of CFMMEU bullying reinforces the need for Parliament to pass the ‘Ensuring Integrity’ laws

"This is the fifth judgment handed down in the last four weeks where the CFMMEU has bullied small businesses to either sign union deals, or to force workers to join the union.  - resulting in almost $600,000 in penalties for what the Court has now called a "war" by the CFMMEU against the rights of workers and small business" said Denita Wawn, CEO of Master Builders Australia said.

“The 'Ensuring Integrity' laws will mean that the CFMMEU will have to learn to play by the rules while giving desperately needed extra protections for small business people, workers and apprentices,” she said.

“This decision is the latest to highlight that the CFMMEU’s Construction and General Division has an entrenched culture of bullying and that John Setka is merely the most infamous of its officials when it comes to repeatedly showing his contempt for the law,” Denita Wawn said.

The Federal Court has imposed fines of almost $70,000 against the CFMMEU and an official for conducting what it observed to be a "war" against the right of workers to be free to decide whether or not to join a union.

This latest judgment - Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Pattinson [2019] FCA 1654 – found that the CFMMEU and its official unlawfully stopped an apprentice and an electrician from working on a Frankston construction site because they weren’t union members.

The Court found the union had broken the Freedom of Association provisions within the Fair Work Act, when the official told the apprentice and the electrician that they weren't allowed to come on site because they didn’t have a union membership card.

In making the findings, the Court ordered the highest available penalty given the long list of similar recent contraventions, combined with a failure to show contrition or take steps to stop further contraventions, with His Honor Justice Snaden noting:

"…The Union is a ’serial offender” that has, over a long period, exhibited a willingness to contravene workplace laws in the service of its industrial objectives; and one that appears to treat the imposition of financial penalties in respect of these contraventions as little more than the cost of its preferred business model.

 …I regard the Union’s Agreed Contraventions – viewing them, as I do, against the backdrop of its sorry record of statutory contravention – as very much of the gravest, most serious kind. It is bad enough that it should so casually intrude upon rights of free association so valued by societies of conscience; much worse that it should do so, yet again, in deliberate defiance of the law that it has been told time and time again that it must obey.

…it appears to be wholly unmoved by the prospect that it might be forced yet again to dig into its members “big pots of gold” in the name of “fight[ing] the good fight”…"

The Court decided to use the description of "war" with reference to the official involved, causing His Honour to say:

"…given his long-held position and rank within the Union, it is patently absurd to conclude anything other than that he did what he did out of fealty to his Union’s policy of enforcing a “no ticket, no start” regime at the construction sites over which it wields influence. Mr Pattinson is merely the latest foot soldier in what seems to be the Union’s war against free association on Australian building sites."

“Since the start of 2017, have accounted for 88% of the total breaches of the Fair Work laws that deal with Freedom of Association, Right of Entry and Coercion - which is 44 times higher than the breaches of all other unions combined,” Denita Wawn said.

"Today’s judgment hammers home the message that workers and small business deserve better than the CFMMEU. Bullying and thuggish behaviour have no place on building sites or in any workplace, Denita Wawn said.

Via email. For more information contact: Ben Carter, National Director, Media & Public Affairs, 0447 775 507






Golden skirts! It’s the social engineering ball

Affirmative action programs for women are not merely offensive and patronising but are badly targeted

In the course of one week, we had the rare good fortune to be given three penetrating insights into a single truth: namely that many, probably most, affirmative action programs for women are not merely offensive and patronising but are badly targeted.

These programs produce results the opposite of those intended, and are possibly unlawful, if not also immoral. Many are simply disguised devices to heap more privilege on already privileged women at great cost to other women, shareholders, consumers and ordinary Australians.

The first insight came last Friday when The Australian Financial Review’s Boss Magazine published its list of the 10 most powerful company directors in Australia, measured by adding the market capitalisation of the Australian Securities Exchange-listed companies on whose boards the director sits. Lo and behold, the long-predicted consequences of quotas for female directors became clear: seven of the top 10 directo­rs are women.

That 70 per cent of Australia’s busiest company directors are women does not mean the numbers of female company director­s on ASX-listed companies overall has moved much — that figure remains stuck at about 30 per cent.

Nor does it mean that women are becoming chief executives of listed companies in greater number­s as a prelude to a career as a non-executive director.

While women fill 70 per cent of the top 10 directors list, men still fill upwards of 90 per cent of chief executive positions­ at ASX 100 companies. That is some anomaly. With some honourable exceptions, such as Catherine Livingstone, the female board members in the top 10 directo­rs list are not the corporate titans one might expect or like to see there.

These stark numbers reveal that the “golden skirts” phenomenon, first observed in Norway after gender quotas were mandated, has taken hold in Australia. The golden skirts spectacle happens­ when quotas meet shortages of qualified women. A few qualified women get swamped with offers of board seats. The combination of shortages and quotas drives up the economic value of the scarce resource.

So next time you read about lobby groups such as Chief Executive Women (whose members don’t have to be chief executives) or the Australian Institute of Compan­y Directors lobbying for female quotas for company directorships, understand that this is a naked demand for those women who are already on the lucrative company board roundabout to be given more gigs. It is a demand for more privilege for the already privileged.

Steps that would make a real difference to women in the workforce, such as getting more women into chief executive or C-suite roles, take too long and are too difficult for the quota cheer squad because they require women to have serious­ long-term business careers and build skills and experience across decades. As men do.

Even worse for the golden skirts, delivering a healthy pipeline of qualified women with chief executive or C-suite CVs would alleviate the scarcity that drives up the golden skirts’ market value. More women in the market would strip a few women of their artificially inflated market value.

The second insight came on Monday, when Australian Super repeated its threats to use its voting­ power to coerce boards of ASX-listed companies to have at least two female directors. Politic­ally activist industry super funds such as Australian Super provide the heft and oxygen to grow and enforce these programs for the privileged.

Note Australian Super adds no rider that female appointments be made only where they are the best-qualified — in other words, that appointments are made in the best interests of the company.

No, this is an unqualified, unconditional­ demand to appoint more women, or else Australian Super will vote against existing direct­ors. It is saying, in effect, that the circumstances of the particular company and the interests of its shareholders are irrelevant to them. The interests of individual shareholders will be sacrificed, if necessary, on the altar of Australian Super’s social engineering program.

And, of course, weak boards surrender to them by instructing search firms not to bother even considering male candidates. If the Don Bradman of company directors volunteered for a board being targeted by Australian Super, he would be ignored in favour of a woman. How can a gendered outcome that consciously ignores a sizeable part of the talent pool, including possibly the most talented, be a proper exercise of director’s duties? The short answer is that it is not.

By the way, shouldn’t our regulators be checking that Australian Super is meeting its “best interests” duties under superannuation legislation? Is anyone home at the Australian Securities & Investments Commission and the Aust­ralian Prudential Regulation Authority? Or are “woke” causes now beyond the reach of the law?

The third illustration of the power of special pleading for the already privileged came with a whinge released on Friday by the Law Council of Australia, headed by Arthur Moses SC. The Law Council’s report complains that the “pay gap” between male and female barristers is widening.

Apparently, women conducted 25 per cent of court cases last year but received only 17 per cent of the fee pool. At least when The Australian reported this it quoted Sydney­ barrister Sophie York, who acknowledged that the results­ are more complex than a simplistic whine about a “pay gap”. For example, York acknowledged that “different life choices” may be at play here.

Let’s include more nuance from the real world. It takes a long time to deliver social change and the report­ simply reflects a fee pool dominated by, and heavily skewed to, present leaders of the profes­sion. In other words, by men who went to law school 40 years ago when the university intake was mainly male. In 40 years from now the division of the fee pool will ­presumably reflect the fact today’s university law school intak­e is mainly female.

But, for now, using affirmative action directives to favour women simply privileges an already privil­eged group of female barristers above the entitlement their numbers­, skills and experience deserv­e.

This does not appear to trouble the Law Council. Its “equitable briefing” policy demands affirmative action outcomes now, or at least by next year. It wants women briefed in 30 per cent of all matters and paid 30 per cent of all fees by then, irrespective of how many women are at the bar, how long they have been there or what their skills and experience may be.

Its briefing policy requires that when a client requests their solic­itor to prepare “a list of barristers who might be engaged, women barristers should be included in that list”.

Can you imagine choosing your neurosurgeon this way? You go to your GP and ask for a list of neurosurgeons for your life-threatening operation and your GP gives you a list chosen, at least in part, by gender. Would you be grateful to be told that your sur­gical needs should give way to sociall­y progressive outcomes?

Similarly, how can a briefing policy that subordinates the best interests of the client in that ­client’s individual circumstances to desired gender outcomes be a proper exercise of a solicitor’s fiduc­iary duty of care? How can the Law Council and its constit­uent law societies tolerate this?

Maybe woke causes are indeed above the law.

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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