Australian Politics 2020-02-08 15:43:00
Sandstone statue in Aboriginal Stolen Generation Memorial is vandalised in vile attack causing $50,000 in damage
A memorial to a lie. It should be erased. Leftists tear down statues to real events and real people. A statue to a lie should all the more be torn down
The "stolen generation" is a fiction invented by Leftist historians. White social workers in the '30s did their job and sometimes removed endangered children from severely dysfunctional black families and sometimes fostered the children into white families for their own safety. THAT is the so called stolen generation
And if a "generation" were removed, there should be thousands ready to tell their story. There are in fact at most a handful. The thing is a lie from beginning to end
A Sydney memorial for the indigenous Stolen Generations has been vandalised, with the damage bill estimated to be $50,000.
Police were called to the Australian Botanical Garden at Mount Annan in southwest Sydney on Thursday, after reports a sandstone statue in the Aboriginal Stolen Generation Memorial was deliberately damaged.
Police believe the memorial was targeted between 10am on Wednesday and 10.45am on Thursday.
Confused Australian Marxists
They are afraid to admit their authoritarian impulses
I'm SO glad Marxists will again hold their annual conference at Melbourne University. When you check out Marxism 2020, you'll stop worrying and start laughing. "A world to win!" its website declares, promising a discussion on "revolutionary struggle across the globe today".
To illustrate this "revolutionary struggle", it shows a picture of one of last year's massive protests in Hong Kong. Wait!! Those protesters weren't struggling for Marxism but against it. They were fighting for their freedom from China, which is, er, Marxist
Hmm. When Marxists praise the people struggling against their tyrannical creed, it's clear they're not the sharpest sickles in the shed. But this isn't the only sign in this conference that Marxism is in decay. I know, this isn't the impression you've got from the media Left or from protests on our streets.
In fact, you've probably fretted that Marxism seems much more in your face. Last October, for instance, Marxists from the Socialist Alliance battled police in Melbourne for days outside a mining conference. Just last week, the Queensland University of Technology student union said it would allow the Marxist Socialist Alternative to set up a recruiting stall for orientation week, but banned Generation Liberty, a youth arm of the libertarian Institute of Public Affairs.
And last year the ABC's youth network announced "young people are losing faith in capitalism and embracing socialism" ... well, at least in America.
But Marxism 2020 should put your fears to rest. For a start, the quality of the speakers is appalling.
When I checked the 2014 Marxism conference I found 12 speakers were at least academics (which was alarming). But this year's conference boasts just four academics, including the ubiquitous Roz Ward, who designed the controversial "Safe Schools" program for Victoria's Labor Government. Another, Rick Kuhn, is now half out the door as an honorary associate professor at the Australian National University.
It seems Marxist academics are getting rarer. Most of this year's speakers are instead ageing street radicals, imported nonentities from the US, and some excitable youngsters from student politics and "refugee" politics. This intellectual decline shows in the crass early-bird special — book now and get your "F--k ScoMo" T-shirt.
Marxists must be thick or blind not to realise Marxism has led to tyranny in every place it's been tried — Russia, China, Cambodia, Poland, Cuba ... But Marxism 2020 seems to be organised by people so dumb that they've planned a session to praise the "contribution of early Korean women revolutionaries and communists" but none to discuss what a hellhole those communists actually created in North Korea.
Instead, there are two sessions to make excuses for Marxism's unbroken record of bloody failure. You know all those Marxist regimes that created all that misery? They weren't Marxist at all! They got hijaCked! Student activist Jairnine Duff will explain that "the Russian Revolution is the closest that the world has ever come to achieving socialism", until it was eventually crushed" by terrible Mr Stalin.
Attention, Jasmine: Russia's revolution was rotten from the start when it was led by nice Mr. Lenin, Stalin's boss. Just one year after the Bolsheviks overthrew Russia's elected government in 1917, Lenin was already issuing orders like this:
"Introduce at once mass terror"; "Hang (absolutely hang, in full view of the people) no fewer than one hundred known ... filthy rich men."
But the Marxism 2020 speakers seen unable to accept that a political theory which calls for a workers' "dictatorship" is the enemy of freedom and the creed of thugs.
They seem torn between knowing violence looks bad yet wanting to use it "We oppose terrorism and acts of individual violence as a strategy for change," says one speaker. On the other hand: "Marxists are not pacifists ... there will need to be an insurrection led by a revolutionary party ... seizure of power ... dictatorship of the proletariat" As for the police who'd defend our democracy: "Abolish them."
Notice how police are most likely to get hurt at Marxist protests? Such a history of failure, such an itch for violenCe and such ignorance.
Be glad Marxists are dying out, at least according to a survey last year by the United States Studies Centre and YouGov. "Older Australians use more positive words to describe socialism than younger people," it found.
How reassuring. The young are more woke to Marxism than their elders, and Marxism 2020 will just add one more nail to the coffin of that stinking corpse.
From the "Courier Mail" of 3 February, 2020
Police and firefighters’ representatives take big slice of union pay
Emergency services union leaders are the country’s highest-paid unionists, and more than 20 CFMEU officials earn over $220,000 a year, exceeding the pay of ACTU secretary Sally McManus and president Michele O’Neil.
Six employer representatives receive more than $230,000 a year, led by former Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief Mark Stone, who was paid $469,763 last financial year, the highest individual remuneration declared to the government’s Registered Organisations Commission.
Analysis by The Weekend Australian of salary disclosures by registered union and employer groups show four officials from the Police Association of Victoria receive more than $200,000 a year, including secretary Wayne Gatt, on $292,326, and his deputy, Bruce McKenzie, on $286,159.
The country’s highest-paid union leader is United Firefighters Union secretary Peter Marshall, whose remuneration of $419,697, plus $8580 in car and income-protection allowances, is believed to be double the amount paid to Ms McManus.
Of the 59 employer representatives and union officials who declared annual remuneration of more than $200,000, half work for the Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union, with national mining division president Tony Maher topping the union’s list at $287,470.
CFMEU mining general secretary Grahame Kelly received $275,046, followed by NSW president Rita Mallia on $253,728, Queensland construction secretary Michael Ravbar on $244,017 and NSW secretary Darren Greenfield on $240,826.
CFMEU national secretary Michael O’Connor was paid $239,065 and Victorian construction secretary John Setka received $229,842 plus a car allowance of $18,773.
Five of the top 11 declared earners were employer representatives, including Pharmacy Guild national president George Tambassis ($387,931), National Electrical Contractors Association secretary Suresh Manickam ($260,577), NECA NSW secretary Oliver Judd ($251,850) and Australian Security Industry Association chief executive Bryan de Caires ($244,583).
While Mr Stone, who finished as chief executive of the Victorian chamber in December, had the top declared remuneration, many employer organisations are not required to declare remuneration of senior employees to the commission.
Industry figures said several chief executives for national employer organisations earned significantly more than Mr Stone.
The ACTU, which is not obliged to declare the remuneration of senior officials to the commission, declined to reveal specific remuneration details on Friday but is it understood Ms McManus receives about $210,000 in remuneration annually.
“The leadership of the ACTU is paid less than half of what (Mr Stone) is paid,” an ACTU spokesman said.
“Apart from small percentage adjustments each year, the remuneration arrangements have not significantly changed during the last nine years, and remains lower than the lowest-paid federal parliamentarian.”
Union sources said the remuneration declared by CFMEU officials, which included superannuation, was commensurate with industry wages.
However, officials said the remuneration received by Mr Marshall and Police Association of Victoria officials was significantly higher than the pay of most members.
A qualified Victorian firefighter, on completion of three years of service and a certificate of proficiency, earns a base pay of $86,060 and receives nine weeks’ annual leave a year.
Mr Marshall did not respond to requests for comment.
As well as Mr Gatt and Mr McKenzie being among the top four union earners, commission records show the association’s industrial relations manager, Chris Kennedy, received $236,019, and president John Laird got $215,189. Mary McNicoll, the association’s corporate service manager, received $195,825.
About half of Victorian Police’s 15,115 full-time-equivalent employees as of last July were senior constables earning base pay ranging from $85,279 to $104,685. Another 22.8 per cent were constables earning $69,836 to $77,735, while sergeants made up 17.3 per cent receiving base pay ranging from $106,859 to $116,452.
Other Victorian union leaders were among the nation’s highest-paid, including state secretary of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation Lisa Fitzpatrick, who declared remuneration of $241,782, while her state deputy, Paula Carew, received $207,836.
John Berger, the Victorian and Tasmanian secretary of the Transport Workers Union, received $234,764, and his deputy, Chris Fennell, declared $201,767 in annual remuneration.
The commission has not yet published all disclosure statements filed by unions.
Outcomes before inputs in education
Each new school year elicits mixed emotions for parents and children, ranging from excitement to anxiety. For policymakers, the new year needs to be greeted with a steely-eyed determination to lift schooling performance for the benefit of the four million Australian students in school, and ultimately for the national good.
That means putting aside the habitual mudslinging, buck-passing and tinkering at the edges by policymakers of both parties and at each level of government. Too often, politics has clouded education policy — perhaps more so than any other major portfolio — much to the disservice of students, families and educators.
The way forward must necessarily start with a candid, sober understanding of what has gone on in the past and be followed by a clear vision for the future. Holding up a mirror to the school system will be confronting but it’s past time for an honest accounting of success and failure.
Any serious introspection will note the inconvenient truth that, everywhere in education policy, performance has become a dirty word — for students, schools and teachers — while productivity and getting education bang for the buck are long gone as policy priorities.
Last year the OECD-run Program for International Student Assessment revealed that Australian students’ test results, particularly in mathematics, have continued to slump considerably. All the while, education ministers across the country have boasted about providing “record funding” to schooling.
It is easy to see that a cabal of vested interests and the same old players hold tight control of policymaking, particularly in relation to assessment, competition and performance management. The losers every time are students, taxpayers and even teachers.
It’s no secret that student assessment isn’t what it used to be, and PISA shows we’re certainly a class below high-performing countries when it comes to setting high expectations at school. There is a national commitment to “learning progressions” — which privilege students making progress rather than achieving to an expected standard.
That means those who start behind the curve are likelier to lag behind their peers and have their career opportunities hindered — since employers will invariably want the best candidate for the job, not the most improved.
There is also a push to do away with end-of-school examinations and exit scores on the basis that testing is simply too stressful and ranking a student’s performance might shatter their fragile confidence. But tests are just that — a test of performance under pressure, much like what happens daily in adult life and work.
National Assessment Program — Literacy and Numeracy reporting remains under constant fire. Its opponents say it’s unfair to measure a school’s performance according to such arbitrary and summative measures as test results in basic literacy and numeracy. State education ministers routinely flirt with the idea of scrapping the tests altogether or hiding the results from the public.
However, watering down competition around performance is no recipe for improvement. Quite the opposite: it licenses an accountability-free protection racket, ripe for slackers.
But it is teachers who may be most let down by an inadequate performance management system. Once in the classroom, staff performance is not assessed consistently, independently or objectively, and principals often feel their hands are tied — both for teachers who exceed expectations and for those who don’t meet the bar. Teachers don’t enjoy the benefits of further development from the basic performance management practices found in just about any other Australian workplace.
There is virtually no nexus between pay and performance for teachers, and wage increases are doled out across the board, thanks to centrally determined pay deals with the unions.
If teachers aren’t working in an environment requiring, encouraging and helping them to meet high standards, is it any wonder that students don’t perform?
An aspiration for school policy, characterised by an unapologetic and unrelenting drive for higher performance and productivity, should be an obvious imperative, no matter one’s political persuasion. It also means putting to bed the naive assumption that simply spending more will deliver better outcomes. We’ve already tried that, to no avail.
If doing the same thing over again and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity then repeatedly spending more money on the same thing for the same results makes policymakers look utterly braindead. All the Gonski “needs-based” funding in the world won’t improve education outcomes without a change in performance culture throughout the system, root and branch.
A new vision for school funding should be outcomes-based. Simply dishing out funding based on inputs (the number and demographics of students), rather than outcomes, doesn’t make for a productive education nation.
Market-based incentives can be used to cultivate greater competition, stimulating the drive for better performance and productivity.
Most school funding goes to paying staff. If this pay were performance-based (particularly in terms of student achievement), it could revolutionise the culture within schools. A renewed focus on performance would flow through to students’ attitudes towards learning and assessment. It’s well documented that highly motivated students, with high expectations set for them, are much likelier to do well.
It’s often said that a country’s education system is a predictor of its future economic prosperity, since human capital is key to national productivity. Last month’s national accounts revealed a persistent, long-term slide in Australia’s labour productivity results, spelling bad news for future economic capacity. It’s no coincidence that productivity has collapsed, as the education system has shirked performance for too long.
The new year is as good a time as any to chart a new policy course. At a national level, the interests of the country and its students must finally be put ahead of the unaccountable, vested interests that have been a dead weight on Australian schooling. For the sake of our future productivity and prosperity, education policy in 2020 needs a jolt of market-based reform — accountability with high expectations, competition, and performance management.
Glenn Fahey is an education research fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies and was an expert witness to the Inquiry into Measurement
Bushfire politicking latest trick in Green New Squeal
Climate politics in this country are so wacky that informed adults ought to scoff at them and move on. But with Labor, the Greens, much of the media and some Liberal moderates caught up in this nuttiness, Scott Morrison is confronted by a serious challenge.
The climate election should have settled all this but, alas, the climate saga is alive again. The Prime Minister should accept this long-running policy schism as a useful opportunity that can give shape to his agenda and put the government on a positive footing — he should relish the climate wars.
To get a sense of how ludicrous this debate has become, consider this: Inexperienced, socialist US Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez proposes a radical climate and redistributive agenda dubbed the Green New Deal. It sets the practically impossible and economically destructive goal of having the US reach zero net emissions in a decade.
It will never happen, of course, but the revolutionary agenda and catchy phrase have been adopted by the new leader of the Australian Greens, Adam Bandt.
While Bandt and Ocasio-Cortez are the sort of politicians who are one soy latte away from gluing themselves to the road, there is another prominent political figure who has adopted this slogan. Writing in Guardian Australia, former Liberal prime minister Malcolm Turnbull said this country should have its “own green new deal” to deliver zero net emissions.
And before we dismiss him as an embittered former leader exacting revenge on his former colleagues — true as that might be — it is worth reminding ourselves that many of his supporters are still in the Liberal partyroom and acted up this week demanding more climate action.
Never mind that cautious climate policies got them into government and allowed them to stay in power; never mind the Coalition is committed to the Paris climate targets; never mind that Australia’s emissions effort is incapable of having any impact because global emissions are rising; and never mind that we just had an election on these issues, these opportunists are spooked by the bushfire politics and want to go closer to matching Labor and Greens climate gestures. At this rate there will be Liberal MPs supergluing themselves to the partyroom carpet.
Driven by the public broadcasters and woke elements of the Canberra press gallery, the media is relentlessly alarmist. There is a McCarthyist zeal to their gotcha questions that distil a vast array of complex scientific modelling, observations and possible policy responses into a banal binary: Do you believe in human-induced climate change?
Aside from the ridiculous conscription of belief into science, the point about this question is that nothing turns on it — except perhaps political humiliation for anyone who considers the wrong answer. What matters is not what our politicians believe but what they do, their policy responses.
In this emotive climate there is widespread reluctance or refusal to discuss practical policy options and their costs and benefits. The hysterical, ugly and deceptive pointscoring over our horrific summer bushfires had Greens, Labor and media activists linking the Coalition’s emissions reduction policies to the fire conditions.
As I argued from November last year, when former NSW fire commissioner Greg Mullins and other climate activists positioned themselves to make political points out of inevitable bushfire challenges, the linking of Australian emissions reduction policies to global climate trends is a science-denying absurdity.
We know this country will always experience catastrophic fire conditions and if they have or will become more prevalent because of global warming, then the role of our emissions, one way or the other, is nil or infinitesimal.
Even Chief Scientist Alan Finkel publicly declared that if we took all of Australia’s annual emissions out of the atmosphere it would do “virtually nothing” to the climate. Yet still the vicious and absurd attempts to blame the terrible fire season on the Coalition continue.
While relevant facts are deliberately ignored by the public broadcasters, social media and a largely progressive journalistic groupthink, none of this changes the facts. As Winston Churchill said of the truth, “Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.”
This week Labor MP Matt Thistlethwaite joined me on television and sought to make the now familiar political attack against the Morrison government over the bushfire season. This raised the question about what climate policies could possibly have done to make things less severe, so I asked Thistlethwaite whether Labor would be taking climate policies to the next election that would ameliorate the bushfire threat in Australia.
It is nonsense, obviously, that any national emissions reduction policy could influence our fire weather. Thistlethwaite could do no more than dodge a direct answer. So I asked him if it was possible for national climate policies to reduce our bushfire threat. Again, a non-answer.
I persisted, asking whether Australia’s emissions reduction policies could lower our bushfire risk. Despite being implored to give a yes or no answer, he continued to talk around the issue.
The only truthful answer to these questions is no.
But if Labor, the Greens, activists and campaigning journalists were to answer this question honestly they would effectively be admitting that their entire political pile-on against the Coalition was baseless.
Members of the green-left often point to “the science” but they are not interested in science-based, factual analysis of policy costs and benefits. They demand climate gestures as a political ploy or as a form of virtue signalling but have nothing to say on practical outcomes or costs.
Imagine if we tried to assess the practical and economic costs of Australia shifting to zero emissions within a decade and compared them with the environmental benefits. Clearly, the costs would be too immense and complex to quantify accurately, and the benefits would be too small to identify.
This is not my argument for doing nothing — although that is a perfectly rational position — but it is my case for doing our bit under Paris and not a tonne of emissions more until we see more concerted global action and firmer scientific cost-benefit analysis.
Morrison needs to embrace this debate and avoid offering head nods to the activist left by pretending our policies will improve the climate, even while global emissions rise.
Members of the left don’t thank him for Paris, they just up the ante. They don’t thank Donald Trump for lowering US fixed-energy emissions or promising to plant a trillion trees.
The climate evangelists cannot be reasoned with and they must be defeated in a blunt and factual debate.
Even within his own party the Prime Minister faces weathervane moderates who think they can trade deeper emissions for holding leafy Liberal seats. Such pathetic politicking should have no place in a serious policy debate that presumes to encompass the future of our national economy and the planet itself.
There is nothing about the climate debate in Australia that is normal. The level of misinformation is disturbing and deliberate. The amplification of the issue’s significance in this country by environmental, media and political activists is inversely proportional to the nation’s global role in the solution.
A moderately important policy issue has been elevated to an existential threat and almost two decades of partisan polarisation, drowning out much more pressing policy debates. From this, surely, springs Morrison’s main opportunity.
He deftly charted a centrist course on climate in the lead-up to the election and beyond, sticking with the Paris emissions reduction commitments. But now he must fight against the alarmists and demolish arguments to inflict further economic pain.
Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis wrote last week that “climate change is capitalism’s Waterloo”. He said we could not achieve “restabilisation of the climate” and maintain “capitalism’s main pillars”.
His piece was highlighted on Twitter by the ABC’s Jonathan Green, who commented: “The great truth we are circling.” This is an argument the left and its allies will continue to pursue relentlessly, for all kinds of reasons — and it must be defeated.
Green’s tweet demonstrates the institutional jaundice the Coalition and the Prime Minister are up against.
This is not a minor battle. It is a crucial social, environmental and economic debate that demands a rational, ideological and political campaign.
Morrison must fight back against the climate madness. The country needs it, the economy needs it, and the contest will give shape to a Coalition agenda that looks a little anaemic.
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