Australian Politics 2020-12-21 10:30:00


Australian Bureau of Statistics: Australian deaths, 1 January to 27 October 2020

The coronavirus has actually SAVED lives. It has wiped out some of the elderly but the rest of the population is doing fine

Deaths have been lower than average during the winter months in 2020.

Respiratory disease deaths have been lower than historical minimums since June.

Throughout this report, counts of deaths for 2020 are compared to an average number of deaths recorded over the previous 5 years (2015-2019). These average or baseline counts serve as a proxy for the expected number of deaths, so comparisons against baseline counts can provide an indication of excess mortality. The minimum and maximum counts from 2015-19 are also included to provide an indication of the range of previous counts. Minimums and maximums for any given week can be from any of the five years from 2015-19.

Deaths remained below historical averages since mid May, although the difference temporarily narrowed in late July and mid August. The number of deaths typically declines during spring with the end of the influenza season. Despite the lack of a severe 2020 influenza season, the number of deaths has followed traditional patterns, declining during the spring months.

Deaths were below the historical minimum range for most of June and July, late August and since mid September. Between 3 June and 27 October, there have been 57,939 deaths, 3,388 below the average of 61,327.

Electricity prices are set to plunge by up to $190 a year by 2023 - but only in those states where coal-fired power stations are not being closed

Natural gas and subsidies at work

Australian electricity bills are set to plunge by up to $190 within three years - but only in states where a major coal-fired power station isn't being closed.

The Australian Energy Market Commission predicted major power price plunges in Victoria and Queensland by the 2022-23 financial year.

The falls arise from reduced wholesale costs in most states and territories as gas becomes cheaper and renewable energy more plentiful

On a national level, power prices were expected to fall by 8.7 per cent or $117 within three years.

In Victoria, annual residential power bills were expected to plunge by 15.2 per cent, or $172, in a state where the Hazelwood power station in the Latrobe Valley was decommissioned in 2018.

Queensland was expected to see electricity bills dive by 14.2 per cent or $190 by 2023.

New South Wales, however, was only expected to see a 2.2 per cent or a $29 decrease in electricity bills due to the fall in coal-powered energy.

Australia's most populated state is also home to the Liddell power station in the Hunter Valley north of Sydney.

Owner AGL has begun shutting down the Muswellbrook plant, which is closing in 2023.

The AEMC report said the Liddell closure would tighten the supply of electricity and see power prices increase in 2022, after two years of price falls.

Its modelling did not take into account a federal government target for the electricity industry to deliver 1,000 megawatts of new energy to replace Liddell before it closed down in 2023.

Nonetheless, Energy Minister Angus Taylor hailed the government's decision to increase the supply of power to cope with the Hunter Valley power plant in less than three years.

'The government is on the side of consumers,' he said. 'We are taking strong action to ensure Australians are paying less to keep lights on.'

The report said cheaper gas prices and more capacity from solar and wind projects would contribute to lower wholesale prices.

South Australia, which in October became the first place in the world to be entirely solar powered for one hour, was expected to see a 10.8 per cent or a $203 fall in power bills.

The Australian Capital Territory, however, which is now 100 per cent renewable energy powered, was only expected to see a 2.3 per cent or a $45 decrease in power bills.

Tasmania which sources 90 per cent of its energy from renewable sources was tipped to see a 3.6 per cent or a $70 drop in electricity bills.

The report didn't offer forecasts for Western Australia or the Northern Territory.

The never-ending feminist push for one-eyed justice

Bettina Arndt

Good to see yet another high profile #MeToo case collapse this week when actor Craig McLachlan was found not guilty of the sexual assault and related charges which have hung over him for the last three years. Even though the magistrate Belinda Wallington reached the appropriate verdict, she was careful to give a nod to the sisterhood by praising the “brave and honest” complainants who had accused the actor of misbehaviour during a Rocky Horror show production. She also took a swipe at McLachlan, describing him as an “egotistical and self-entitled man”.

Note that this is the magistrate who first ordered George Pell to stand trial and then famously appeared in an ABC photograph with Louise Milligan, author of the notorious book, Cardinal, which very effectively poisoned public opinion before the Pell case went before a jury. The unanimous High Court decision dismissing the Pell allegations speaks volumes about the judgement of both women.

Magistrate Wallington at least made her decision in the McLachlan case based on the facts, not feminist ideology. Janice Fiamengo in Canada this week tweeted about a far more extreme example of a feminist judge who made no pretence of being impartial. A sexual assault conviction was overturned by the Court of Appeal of Alberta because the trial judge, Stephanie Clearly, was found to have “entered the fray” and acted like a victim’s advocate, interrupting and deflecting questions to the female complainant to such an extent it created an unfair trial. Imagine finding yourself as a defendant in a rape case up before a judge with that history.

Meanwhile, more Milligan shenanigans.

Despite such rare setbacks, the feminist push to influence rape trials just rolls on, led most recently in Australia by activist journalist Louise Milligan. Funnily enough Milligan was the reporter for the pathetic 4 Corners’ programme, Inside the Canberra Bubble, which alleged sexual misconduct from government ministers but served only to reinforce the organization’s reputation for biased, shoddy reporting. Here was a classic feminist witch-hunt, short on facts but long on innuendo and anti-male smears.

Now Milligan is busily promoting her latest book, Witness, which she claims highlights the elusive justice on offer to sexual abuse victims in our “broken, sexist legal system”. According to Witness, the criminal justice system is maladapted to meet the needs of sexual assault complainants. “For sex crimes, rates of complaints, prosecutions, and convictions are persistently low,” the book claims.

That’s so much hogwash. Just last weekend one of Australia’s leading criminal barristers, former prosecutor Margaret Cunneen SC, was quoted in The Weekend Australian, pointing out Australian legal system is at the forefront of advances in prosecuting sexual assault. “The environment for a complainant has never been more receptive or encouraging,” said the lawyer who achieved national fame leading the prosecution of the Skaf gang rapes that occurred in Sydney in 2000. Cunneen is now concerned that prosecutors are under such pressure to take sexual crimes seriously that far too many cases are being pushed through to trial, even when the evidence is lacking to ensure a conviction.

The numbers of such cases are certainly way up. NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics (BOSCAR) data shows a huge increase in rape convictions, which almost doubled between 1995 and 2020, up from 579 to 1006 - a 14% increase in conviction rates.
Almost 66% of people convicted of sexual assault in NSW go to jail, compared to about 10 per cent of people convicted of other crimes. Just look at the leap in the last five years – in this graph based on 2015-2019 data from BOSCAR.

In the last five year there been a 72 % increase in people sentenced to prison for sexual assault. Here’s BOSAR’s neat little summary of this very significant change.

It’s very telling that these statistics, proudly on display in this leading crime statistics organization website, never attract any media attention. Our captured media far prefers to spin feminist mistruths about our failing justice system.

Tough justice but never enough for the feminists.

Last month the NSW Law Reform Commission released recommendations for reform of the state’s sexual consent laws, after a review lasting over two years. There was an immediate outcry from feminists complaining that the state had missed their chance to require ‘yes means yes’ consent when defending sexual assault allegations.

The activists have been pushing the case for “enthusiastic” or “affirmative consent” to be enshrined in these laws, mimicking Tasmanian legislation which requires the accused to actively check out whether they have consent, not just at the start of sexual activity but throughout the process.

Despite massive lobbying from women’s groups, the Commission decided not to go this far, although they recommend that it’s not enough to assume consent simply because your partner does not verbally or physically resist – in recognition of the fact that victims can “freeze” during an assault.

There’s a bunch of other recommendations which further strengthen the rights of complainants, including the notion that consent is impossible if the person is “so affected by alcohol as to be incapable of consent” – a very problematic definition particular as intoxication of the accused is not deemed a relevant defense.

But what the most alarming aspect of media coverage of the Commission’s announcements was the reported comment by the very woke NSW Attorney General Mark Speakman who, when he tabled the report in parliament, suggested the “low conviction rates’ for sexual assault compared to other offences may contribute to the reluctant of victims to come forward.

Compared to which offences, Mr Speakman? The conviction rates for sexual assault are high compared to many other serious crimes which attract long prison sentences. The latest BOSCAR statistics show a conviction rate of 57 % for proven sexual assault, compared to 33 % for murder or 36 % for attempted murder. Sure there are lesser crimes, like stealing a car, with higher rates (73%) but these are often easier to prove than the he-said, she-said evidence that comprise most sexual assault cases, particularly in date rape situations.

Sensible juries are not going to send men away for long prison sentences when they are faced with contradictory evidence and cannot work out whom to believe. Nor should they. This is nothing to do with prejudice against rape victims, as explained in a recent article from spiked-online, quoting research surveying jurists by Professor Cheryl Thomas, director of the Judicial Institute at University College London. Thomas dismisses misconceptions about “low” conviction rapes for rape cases pointing out that the current UK rate (68.5) is the highest on record.

Speakman’s posturing doesn’t surprise me – after all this is the man who so readily parroted the lies being circulated about me when he urged my honours award be rescinded.

But it is concerning that the state’s senior legal officer chooses to fudge crime statistics, particularly when this man could influence the feeble NSW coalition government to bend to the feminist push and take things even further. Some of my long-time readers might remember when law professor Augusto Zimmermann led the WA Law Reform Commission which mounted a strong argument against proposed domestic violence laws, only to have the government ignore their advice and push ahead with policies which set up men for endless false accusations.

So, good people, I need you to write to key conservative members of the NSW Cabinet, such as Barilaro, Perrottet and Elliot, urging them to rein in Speakman, and ensure minimal changes to the already tough sexual assault laws. We only have ourselves to blame if we sit back and allow Speakman and his feminist fan club to make the running.

Feminist con job in budget hand-out

Did you notice the nice little feminist rort introduced in the NSW budget last month? With workers losing jobs across the state as a result of Covid lockdowns, this supposedly conservative government decided to offer women in this situation back-to-work grants of up to $5000.

Naturally these grants are not available to men - regardless of need. In a press release, the Premier’s justification for focussing on gender was: "It is estimated that women make up 53 per cent of directly affected industries and 65 per cent of secondary industries impacted by the pandemic."

One of my correspondents kindly sent in an analysis showing that here too the government is pulling the wool over our eyes.
Read on:

The Minister for Women Bronnie Taylor, stated that women have been "inadvertedly more affected" by unemployment during the pandemic. The clear implication is that, as a result of the pandemic, unemployment is higher for women than men. However, the Government statements are highly misleading.

Australian Bureau of Statistics data reveals that it is men, not women, who have been disproportionately affected. For every woman added to the NSW unemployed in the last 12 months, 2.7 men have become unemployed. The unemployment rate for men has risen by 2.4% but only by 0.9% for women. (Data Series A84423494R, A84423718R, A84423490F & A84423714F.)

You may like to add a note about this to your letters to the NSW Ministers, asking why they are alienating the majority of the population who believe in fair treatment for men and women.

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