Australian Politics 2022-05-10 04:03:00

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10 May, 2022

Federal election: Top high school graduates to be given $12k if they study teaching under Labor plan

This is pretty dumb. Teaching has long been known as an option of last resort for high school graduates. Getting the brighter graduates with more options into it is going to be a rarity.

It seems, though, that you only have to do a teaching degree to get the money. You are not obliged actually to teach. That might attract some takers. A teaching degree is notorious for low standards but it is probably no more futile than an Arts degree.

Some jobs (mainly in the government) require ANY degree. That's where Arts graduates go at the momnent. A teaching degree could end up the same



Anthony Albanese will on Monday announce the $146.5m plan, saying the incentives will lead to a “brighter future” for students and the nation.

“We want to make sure our kids get the best education they can,” the opposition leader said.

“That means we have to make sure they get the best quality teaching.”

If elected, 1000 students a year who obtain an ATAR of 80 or above will get $10,000 to study an education degree.

They would also get a bonus $2000 if they complete their placements at regional public schools.

Graduates who cash in could reap almost $50,000 over the course of their degree, typically four years, to spend how they please.

Only 3.3 per cent of students with an ATAR over 80 choose to study teaching.

The five-year scheme aims to double the number of high achievers becoming teachers to 3600 a year over the next decade.

Labor’s education spokeswoman, Tanya Plibersek, said lifting teaching standards would help stop the slide in students’ results.

“I want students competing to get into teaching like they do to get into medicine or law,” Ms Plibersek said.

“If we want a better future in Australia, we need a smart, skilled workforce so we can compete for jobs and growth with our neighbours.”

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There's no such thing as a happy Greenie

The minerals needed to make electric car batteries have to be mined, and that produces lots of pollution and other problems

Electric cars, solar panels, large batteries and wind turbines — the technology needed to go green relies on what can be a dirty industry.

"It's absolutely ironic, but to save the planet we are going to need more mines," says Allison Britt, director of mineral resources at government agency Geoscience Australia.

The need for one of the biggest increases in mining the world has ever seen is forcing some tough choices and redrawing old battlelines between environmentalists and miners.

In Tasmania, a mine that's been leaking contaminated water for the past five years wants permission to expand into a wilderness area because the lead, zinc and copper it produces are vital for solar panels, electric cars and wind turbines.

King Island, famed for its high-end produce and rugged beauty, will soon be home to one of the world's largest tungsten mines.

Outside Darwin, an open-cut mine that will produce lithium vital for electric car batteries looks to be already impacting local waterways.

An electric vehicle needs about 200kg of minerals like copper, nickel, cobalt, and lithium. That's six times more than a petrol-powered car.

A wind turbine needs four times more minerals than a coal-fired power station to generate the same amount of electricity.

King Island tungsten

Not everywhere is the battle to develop critical minerals so fraught.

King Island, off the Northern coast of Tasmania, is famous for its beef and cheese, oysters, kelp and crayfish.

Soon it will be famous for something quite different — one of the world's largest tungsten mines.

Demand for renewable energy and anxiety over China's dominance of the tungsten market will see the King Island mine reopen after 30 years.

It's a test of whether tourism and agriculture can happily exist alongside mining.

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Morrison says schools not expelling gay students, doubles down on religious discrimination act

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says gay students are not being expelled from religious schools, doubling down on re-introducing the failed religious discrimination act (RDA) without extra protections for gay and transgender students.

The government attempted to pass the legislation earlier this year but shelved it after five of its own MPs crossed the floor to vote with Labor and the crossbench on amendments that bolstered the sex discrimination act (SDA) to give transgender students extra protections.

Mr Morrison had promised extra protections for gay students to accompany his religious discrimination bill but has since walked back from the pledge.

Today he said if the Coalition won government, he would introduce the religious discrimination act on its own and amend the sex discrimination act "sequentially".

"We've been having this conversation for about the last four years, and on each occasion it has been presented that apparently students are being expelled each and every day, each and every week, or each and every year," Mr Morrison said.

PM remains firm over religious discrimination bill
The Prime Minister says a re-elected Coalition government would push ahead with its long-promised religious discrimination law without making changes to protect LGBTQI children at the same time.

"There is no evidence [of that] because the religious schools themselves don't wish to do that. They don't wish to do it. This is an issue that is actually not occurring in these schools."

When pressed to reveal how much time there would be between the two bills, Mr Morrison would not specify. "They are different issues and that is my view," he said. "They're both important issues and the government's position is they'll be dealt with sequentially."

Earlier this year, just before the legislation was introduced to parliament, a Brisbane school was criticised for sending a letter to parents demanding they sign a contract affirming students identify as their birth gender and that homosexuality was "sinful".

The contract was withdrawn a few days later after backlash from parents and the wider community.

At the time, the Prime Minister said he did not support the controversial contract and reiterated his promise to protect gay children from discrimination.

Moderate Liberals want the government to pursue the religious discrimination act and changes to the sex discrimination act at the same time to protect vulnerable students.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese today pointed to a letter in which Mr Morrison promised to protect gay students at the same time. "I'm astonished he has walked away from that," Mr Albanese said. "We need to protect people from discrimination, whether its religious discrimination or on the basis of sexuality.

"If people don't think some young people are discriminated against and vilified, then that just does not reflect reality."

While being questioned by journalists today, Mr Morrison took aim at Labor for not supporting the legislation in its original form, rather than admitting his own party was split on the issue.

"I'm quite determined," Mr Morrison said. "People have learnt that about me. I don't give up on things. "I had hoped to pursue these issues in a bipartisan way. I'd very much hoped to do that. "But the issue was hijacked and the outcome was thwarted … it was hijacked by the Labor Party and the crossbench."

The Prime Minister was asked if he thought the moderate Liberal MPs who crossed the floor had changed their minds, or if he had written them off because they were under threat in their seats from independents and Labor.

"The issues that they were addressing were not related to the religious discrimination act; they were related to the sexual discrimination act, and we should be able to see those, we should be able to pursue them sequentially, as we set out," Mr Morrison said. "That's the government's policy. There's no change to the government's view here."

Moderate Liberal MP Katie Allen, who was one of the five Liberals who crossed the floor earlier this year, today would not rule out doing the same again, if there was no protection for gay and transgender students. "I will be very clear: I have a very strong view on this and I will not be changing my position," she said. "I believe that you can protect religious freedom and protect gay and trans students at the same time."

"That's the thing about political negotiations, it is always a negotiation and I will stick with my position, because I believe in the protection of gay and trans students."

Federal Labor supports new religious discrimination laws but Mr Albanese has not given a specific time frame for any accompanying protections for gay and transgender students.

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Interest rates: Big issue for the Federal election?

It’s one thing for the Reserve Bank board to set monetary policy independent of government. It’s entirely something else when the board intervenes to raise interest rates in the middle of an election campaign, especially when only a few months ago it insisted such a rise could not be justified before 2023.

The consequences for mortgage-holders on variable-rate home loans are immediate as banks rush to pass on the rise, and opposition leader Anthony Albanese, and shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers, haven’t wasted time in pinning the blame on Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg. Their attack is simple: the rate rise happened on the government’s watch, and it destroys the economic credibility of the Prime Minister and Treasurer.

Yet the Reserve Bank governor, Phillip Lowe, effectively gave the Coalition’s economic management a ringing endorsement. ‘During that (pandemic) period and especially during 2020, the national health situation was precarious, the economic outlook was dire, and it was clouded by a lot of uncertainty,’ Mr Lowe said. ‘In those unprecedented times, (the board) judged that the economic damage from the pandemic was likely to require that interest rates remain low in Australia for years. As things have turned out, though, the economy has been much more resilient than we expected. Which is clearly very welcome news.’ Indeed.

Just as is the national unemployment rate falling to four per cent, and projections of the Australian economy growing by four per cent (repeat after us, Mr Albanese, four per cent) are good news. Furthermore, the inflationary pressures the rate rise addresses are largely due to fallout from the Wuhan virus and the Russian war on Ukraine, and labour shortages, and are mild compared to the United Sates and other leading economies.

Instead of cringing under Labor’s cynically false attacks, the government should be counter-attacking with confidence. For a start, Mr Morrison and Mr Frydenberg know home mortgage rates are still historically low, especially compared to former treasurer Paul Keating’s 17 per cent monster in ‘the recession we had to have’. They can highlight statistical full employment being reached under their stewardship and, of course, that millions of jobs were saved by the short-term pandemic emergency intervention that was JobKeeper. And they can argue that only the Coalition can be trusted to pursue restraint on both sides of the inflationary equation: prices and wages.

On that last point, it wasn’t Mr Albanese’s policy launch – with the Sky News straplines at the bottom of the television screen giving more detail about his policies than did the Labor leader – that should alarm fiscal conservatives. Rather, it was his starring at a massive union rally in Brisbane the following day, where he surrounded himself with union heavies and Labor luvvies, all backing the ACTU’s shrill demand for ‘real wage justice’.

Still a son of the far Left despite his window-dressing, Mr Albanese as prime minister won’t preach wage restraint and risk being condemned as anti-union. His heart wouldn’t be in it. Even if Mr Albanese did want to show a bit of fiscal backbone, the ACTU wouldn’t let him, the militant unions wouldn’t let him, and his own caucus wouldn’t let hm. Inflation hurts but, as far as the Left is concerned, we can have it all, including a renewal of the price-wage spiral that so blighted the Australian economy and spurred unemployment in the 1970s.

To be truly effective in countering Labor, however, the Coalition needs belatedly to be honest with the electorate, and admit the tough times aren’t over. The next government will have to rein in, and cut, spending as well as pay back massive debt. It needs to be prepared to hold real wage growth in check. It must acknowledge growth alone, to raise enough tax revenue to fulfil every single item on electoral wish lists, is Alice in Wonderland fantasy.

If Mr Morrison and Mr Frydenberg can do this, they deserve re-election. Even if they fall short, they can then honourably set the tests under which their successors will be judged in three years’ time. This week is crunch time: if the government can win the economic management battle against a Labor leader who, on the campaign’s first day, exposed his economic ignorance, and a Labor party whose alternative economic policy is little more than one-liners and thought bubbles, it still has a chance of pulling this election off.

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Alan Jones says Australia will struggle to pay for roads, schools and hospitals as the government signs up to net-zero climate change policies

Alan Jones claims it will be an 'economic suicide note' if Australia continues to commit to net-zero climate change policies.

The veteran broadcaster cast the grim warning during his nightly program on the digital streaming service ADH TV on Wednesday.

'Going net zero will cost Australia,' the conservative media personality said. 'I've called it a national economic suicide note.'

Both The Liberals and Nationals agreed to an unlegislated target of net-zero emissions by 2050, following tense negotiations ahead of the COP26 UN climate change conference in late 2021.

Labor is aiming for a 43 per cent emissions cut by 2030, exceeding the government’s forecast figure of 35 per cent, but falling well short of a 75 per cent pledge by the Greens.

Jones said he 'hoped' residents in the Hunter Valley or 'resource-rich' Western Australia were 'making their voices heard' as the net-zero policy would essentially phase out coal.

'If net zero becomes etched into the national psyche, which I fear it has thanks to weak-kneed politicians on both sides, their jobs will be gone,' he continued.

The broadcaster then begins questioning what the country would be able to pay for in the near future as both Liberal and Labor 'stick to going net zero'.

'How do we build better roads? How do we build more schools and hospitals? How do we afford to pay for those on welfare? How do we afford better conditions in aged care?' he says.

Jones argues that Australians forgot that exporting resources and minerals 'pays for nearly all of this stuff'.

'Politicians who've never read a book or a piece of legislation are trying to eradicate coal from the Australian economy, thereby creating a poorer Australia.'

After discussing the suggested impacts of net zero emissions in the Hunter Valley, Jones turns his attention to North Queensland, where there is a high proportion of jobs in the resources sector.

He cites research conducted by the Institute of Public Affairs that suggests ending resource-related projects already in development would 'stop the creation of 125,000 jobs' in the region.

The IPA's report also alleges that '274billion in unrealised economy activity' and 'over 478,000 jobs' would be lost across the country if Australia heads towards net zero.

'The depressing thing is that most major parties are on board with this nation-destroying nonsense,' Jones added.

Jones' comments come as Nationals senator Matt Canavan declared a net-zero target 'dead' as Prime Minister Scott Morrison reaffirmed his party’s pledge as 'absolute policy'.

Mr Morrison on Wednesday defended the government’s target of net-zero emissions by 2050, following comments made by a coalition candidate who described it as not binding.

Senator Canavan went further, telling the ABC: 'Net zero is dead anyway. Boris Johnson said he is pausing it, Germany is building coal and gas infrastructure, Italy is reopening coal-fired power plants – it’s all over.'

Colin Boyce, the LNP candidate for the Queensland seat of Flynn, labelled the commitment 'flexible' and noted 'wiggle room' within it, a view Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce described as 'completely understandable'.

The comments prompted Labor to demand the prime minister clarify the government’s position.

'Scott Morrison has a job to do today. Is net zero a firm commitment of the government? Or is it simply a flexible guideline as the candidate for Flynn has said?' opposition energy spokesman Chris Bowen told reporters in Sydney on Tuesday.

Mr Bowen said the coalition was saying one thing on climate change in seats such as Hinkler in Queensland, and another in Higgins in metropolitan Melbourne and Queens Park in eastern Sydney.

'They want to be on both sides of the stream – well they can’t be.'

Mr Morrison claimed Mr Boyce was talking about the pathway to net zero, rather than the strength of the pledge. 'He wasn’t talking about the commitment itself, he has clarified that,' he told reporters in Townsville. 'Our commitment to net zero by 2050 is a commitment of the Australian government that I made in Glasgow. It is the government’s absolute policy.'

Mr Boyce earlier said the net-zero pledge would not be legislated, although moderate Liberal MP Dave Sharma has previously described it as binding.

'It leaves us wiggle room as we proceed into the future. Morrison’s statement that he has made is not binding,' Mr Boyce told the ABC on Tuesday.

Mr Joyce acknowledged the government was on a pathway to net zero, but insisted major export sectors such as coal could not be exited immediately.

'We have acknowledged that, along that pathway, it is not a lineal form,' he told reporters in Shepparton while campaigning in central Victoria.

'We understand that for this nation’s economy to prevail, we cannot just step aside from our second biggest export or our third biggest export – that would be completely and utterly economically irresponsible.'

Asked whether Labor’s own climate targets were designed to appeal to voters in a number of marginal seats, Mr Bowen said the party’s targets would be sold nationwide.

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Also see my other blogs. Main ones below:

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM -- daily)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

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