Australian Politics 2022-06-13 10:25:00


Why girls’ schools succeed at producing women who lead

There is probably some truth in the claims below by the partisan Loren Bridge but she ignores the elephant in the room: Girls schools are almost all private, even if they are Catholic schools only.

And private schools are almost all selective in some way. Most require fees for attendance and that selects for parents who can afford such fees -- almost all being from better-off families. And richer people tend to be brighter, which their daughters inherit. So the pupils at such schools will mostly be of above-average IQ. And high IQ helps with almost everything in life

And at least some of the claims above are simply untrue. She says that boys and girls have equal basic ability at maths. But all the psychometric research shows otherwise. And how many Fields medals were won by women? Just one, an Iranian lady

And I haven't even mentioned testosterone

The whole article below is suffused by Leftist bias, so should be taken with a large grain of salt

Much has been said about this exciting “teal wave” of forthright, trailblazing, smart women. Five out of the eight female independents who will take their place on the crossbench of this parliament – Dr Monique Ryan, Dr Sophie Scamps, Dai Le, Allegra Spender and Zali Steggall – are graduates of girls’ schools.

This would be no surprise to anyone familiar with the benefits of single-sex education for girls, but for those who aren’t, it’s important to put this figure into perspective — girls’ schools make up just 2 per cent of schools in Australia.

Clearly, there is something inherent to the girls’ school environment that better prepares women for high-level leadership.

So what is it about a girls’ school education that ignites in young women the determination, inspiration and motivation to lead? What gives them the courage and grit to be change-makers in a world that continues to squeeze women onto the edges of the centre stage positions that men carve for themselves?

In girls’ schools, students are intentionally equipped with the knowledge and skills required to overcome social and cultural gender biases, and in doing so, actively break the stereotypical norms that define women in society. This is achieved through an education that rewires the implicit biases that so often limit women.

Women are expected to walk a tightrope between exhibiting the characteristics society expects of women and being seen to have the “strength” to lead. They are in a double bind. The obsession with former prime minister Julia Gillard’s empty fruit bowl in her kitchen illustrated this perfectly.

To resist this concentrated pressure, girls must be encouraged to take a leap of faith. They must leap from the tightrope and defy gendered pressure. To do this, they need the confidence to lead and be disruptors.

A study by the University of Queensland found that confidence levels for girls in single-sex schools matches that of boys, while girls in the general population consistently demonstrate lower confidence levels than boys.

In other words, the study found that a girls’ school provides the environment for girls to develop and maintain innate confidence and healthy self-belief. And it is confidence, or a lack of confidence, that is frequently attributed to the under-representation of women in senior leadership roles.

Let’s be clear — girls aren’t innately less confident or assertive than boys, they aren’t less capable in maths and sciences and they certainly don’t have more body image or mental health issues than boys as infants. It is our patriarchal society that stereotypes women diminishing their self-belief and self-efficacy, quashing their voice and ultimately, their power.

A girls’ school turns the tables on gender stereotypes, and this can be life-changing for a girl.

Girls’ schools provide significant leadership opportunities — 100 per cent of the leadership positions (not just 50 per cent) are held by girls. The power of mentoring and role modelling provided by past students, and the predominantly female leadership of girls’ schools, provides girls with leadership development opportunities beyond those available in co-ed schools. With no requirement to cater to boys, girls’ schools balance the inequality in broader society through purposeful, targeted education.

Data from a US study shows that girls’ school graduates are more likely than co-ed school counterparts to be involved in political activities, demonstrate social and political agency, and be supportive of societal improvements. They are more likely to be change-makers.

Research shows unequivocally that girls thrive in an all-girls environment; they do better academically, socially, and emotionally. Regardless of socio-economic factors, data — not just from a single study but from a plethora of unique studies from all over the world — indicates that girls simply do better in girls’ schools.

Girls in co-ed schools tend to be more self-conscious and less confident; they are less likely to speak up in class, ask questions or take on a leadership role. They are also more likely to have a negative body image and considerably more likely to experience sexual harassment or bullying. In contrast, girls in girls-only environments participate more freely in discussions, are more competitive and take more healthy risks with their learning — skills that are advantageous for life success.

Girls’ schools are at the forefront of gender equality, deliberately challenging gendered norms and purposefully building girls’ confidence, conviction and self-belief, making sure that girls have the skills and knowledge to speak out and to break down barriers.

These are skills our new female MPs will certainly need as they step into the male-dominated Parliament House, famed for its sexism and misogyny. May their voices add power to changing that culture and progressing the ongoing fight for a more equal society.


‘Outright lying’: Australian scientist hits out at TGA after ‘life-changing’ Covid vaccine injury

An Australian scientist, left unable to work for eight months after a debilitating neurological reaction he blames on the Covid shot, has likened the treatment of people suffering vaccine injuries to that of returning veterans with health issues after the Vietnam War.

Dr Rado Faletic has slammed the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s (TGA) adverse event reporting process, saying the medicines regulator tasked with vaccine safety surveillance was “simply uninterested” in investigating his symptoms despite submitting multiple reports.

“I’m similar to thousands of Aussies. After the vaccine I had a huge constellation of symptoms from head to toe,” the 46-year-old said, describing it as similar to “mutant long Covid”.

“The worst has been an oppressive brain fog. I’ve had headaches, chest pains, abdominal pains, unbelievable muscle twitching, issues focusing my vision. Basically I’ve been unable to work for eight months. I’m only now just starting to feel a little bit normal. This is not a mild side effect – this has been life-changing.”

Dr Faletic said doctors and specialists were unable to find anything obviously wrong with him.

“You go to the hospital, they take your blood, do an echocardiogram or X-ray or MRI and don’t find anything,” he said. “They say, ‘Well you look fine, go home and rest.’”

He added, “I don’t necessarily blame the doctors. The problem is there hasn’t been a test to find out what’s wrong. I know some people are getting misdiagnosed with anxiety or functional neurological disorder – that’s not what’s going on. It’s a physical injury.”

Dr Faletic, who earned his PhD in hypersonic technology from the ANU and now runs an international research consulting firm based in Canberra, says his faith in the scientific and medical community has been badly shaken by his experience.

He received his first Pfizer dose on October 19 last year and his second on November 9. He had a bad reaction to both “within hours”, but says the second was “dramatically off the charts”.

“I waited a little while (to take the vaccine) – I work with technology and have a science background, so I understood that with a new product, new technology, there could be some things we don’t know about,” he said.

“I thought, enough time has passed, surely our government would have flagged any reactions of concern. I took it and all this stuff happened to me. It’s not a matter of it being a coincidence – it all happened within hours of the shots. Then I thought, surely the government would be interested in what’s happened to me? Nope.”

Dr Faletic says it soon became clear to him that the TGA wasn’t interested. “I’ve done 50 rounds with the TGA on this,” he said.

“They’ve said, ‘We can find no safety signals,’ which I think is disingenuous if not outright lying. In my small personal circle I know over a dozen people with different long vax problems, [ranging from] ongoing headaches, memory problems or brain fog to some people who were basically bedridden for months.”

When he went searching for answers, he found “hundreds of people” in online groups who had experienced similar symptoms and submitted reports themselves.

“The TGA still claims there is nothing to see,” he said.

“We are being treated with the same type of derision and condescension as Vietnam vets when they came back damaged. The government doesn’t want to acknowledge us, people in the community look down on us. There are a lot of parallels.”

In the 1970s, Australian troops who had returned from Vietnam began to experience high incidences of cancer and other illnesses, with the government initially denying exposure to Agent Orange and other chemicals sprayed by the US military was to blame.

While health regulators and drug manufacturers including Pfizer have previously denied any causal link between the vaccines and neurological symptoms, the tide appears to be slowly turning as a growing number of experts call for more investigation.

Earlier this year, Sydney woman Daniella Lenarczyk, 34, spoke out about her persistent symptoms that included migraines, tinnitus, neck pain and numbness in her arm.

In the US, the National Institutes of Health conducted a small observational study last year of patients who reported neurological problems within one month of Covid vaccination, including pins and needles in the face or limb, orthostasis – sudden decrease in blood pressure when standing or sitting – heat intolerance and palpitation.

That paper, currently in preprint, concluded that “a variety of neuropathic symptoms may manifest after SARS-CoV-2 vaccinations and in some patients might be an immune-mediated process”.

“There doesn’t seem to be a majority theory,” Dr Faletic said.

“Whilst we’ve all been damaged in the same way, our cluster of symptoms vary from person to person.”

In a statement, the TGA said it “monitors the safety of Covid-19 vaccines using information from a variety of sources, including analysis of adverse event reports submitted to the TGA, emerging published literature, worldwide safety data submitted by vaccine sponsors and information shared by international regulators”.

“If the TGA identifies a safety concern it will take regulatory action to address the safety issue and promptly provide information to the public,” a spokeswoman said.

“The recognised adverse effects of Covid-19 vaccines are included in the approved Product Information (PI). These are updated as new safety information is identified. To date, the TGA has undertaken 26 actions with the sponsors to include new safety information in the PIs for Covid-19 vaccines.”

Those have included the addition of hypoaesthesia (reduced sense of touch or numbness) and paraesthesia (an unusual feeling in the skin, such as a tingling or crawling sensation) to the PIs for Comirnaty (Pfizer) and Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca).

Meanwhile, new figures obtained by reveal the federal government’s vaccine injury compensation scheme has approved just 16 payouts in six months of operation.

The Covid-19 vaccine claims scheme allows people to claim a one-off payment ranging from $1000 to $20,000 for lost wages or other expenses if they suffer a bad reaction, and in cases of death the family may be able to claim funeral costs.

But the scheme has been criticised by legal experts and victims as overly complex and narrowly targeted towards a very limited number of officially recognised adverse effects.

Services Australia confirmed it had received 2225 applications as of June 2. Of these just 16 have been approved, 49 have been withdrawn and 671 are “waiting further information from applicants”.

“The assessment process can be complex, and claims may also be reviewed independently by medical and other appropriately qualified experts,” a spokesman said.

“In many cases, Services Australia has had to seek additional information from applicants in order to further progress consideration of their application. In other cases, applications have also been withdrawn. If found eligible, applicants are given up to six months to accept an offer of compensation, therefore finalisation of claims may also take some time.”

Services Australia declined to provide any data on the amounts of payouts or types of claims, citing privacy concerns due to the small number involved.

According to the TGA’s most recent safety update, there have been 129,995 total adverse event reports from 59.4 million vaccine doses administered to June 5.

Eleven deaths have been ruled as likely linked to vaccination, all after AstraZeneca.

No deaths have been officially linked to Pfizer in Australia from around 41 million doses administered.

In New Zealand, three deaths have been ruled as likely due to vaccine-induced myocarditis after Pfizer, from around 11 million doses.

Last month, the family of one of the 11 Australians who died after receiving AstraZeneca spoke out for the first time.

Victorian woman Robyn, a “fit and healthy” 77-year-old, died in September last year from Guillain-Barre syndrome.

Speaking to ABC Radio, her children said while they still supported Covid vaccination, they felt let down by the lack of government support.

They said they believed they were entitled to a lump-sum payment of $70,680 plus funeral expenses, but were critical about the complexity of the application process.

Her son Ross said reading through the vaccine claims policy, it felt callous. “It’s a policy that’s designed to protect medical professionals from legal repercussions if something happens, like to my mother,” he said.

“My understanding is that it is to facilitate the actual vaccine rollout, so the doctors aren’t scared to administer vaccines. But for people who have suffered from the side effects, it feels like we’re just an afterthought to that.”

Dr Faletic said he had also looked over the scheme carefully and “it’s absolutely clear they’ve written it to not include people like me”.

“From a philosophical point of view we had these massive, broad, sweeping economic sanctions on all of us – lockdowns, travel shutdown – all done because someone may transmit Covid, the precautionary principle,” he said.

“But when it’s these vaccines it’s the exact opposite – you have to prove every single thing.”


Matt Canavan: Energy pie in the sky is great but how do we cook it?

We need coal still -- and gas mining opposition in NSW and Victoria needs to be stopped

The saying “pie in the sky” was coined by American labour activist Joe Hill. He penned a song criticising Christian labour activists who, in his view, let people live on “hay” in this life, but promised them “pie in the sky” in the next.

For a long time we have been promised our energy version of pie in the sky as long as we just keep investing in renewable energy.

Australia has swallowed this gospel and then some. We have installed renewable energy at a faster rate than any other country in the world. Australia has been building renewables at a rate of 200 watts per person per year. This is more than four times the rate of growth in Europe and North America.

Yet here we are are, with no pie, and power prices that are out of control in a country blessed with energy resources.

To get power prices down we must drop our obsession with pie in the sky solutions that we are told will work in the next world. Wind and solar that is not reliable is the most fashionable but there are a variety of pies that have been promised.

Hydrogen, batteries, pumped hydro and the latest, small modular nuclear reactors. None of these things have been successfully used at scale anywhere. Yet the energy charlatans continue to promise their latest snake oil to a gullible public.

I do think we should consider nuclear but the case for it is undermined when some push the myth that a small scale nuclear reactor can just be bought off the shelf. Modular reactors are still in the design and testing phase and could be years or decades away from commercial application.

We have an energy crisis today and we need solutions that will work within years not decades. The scale of the crisis is hard to fathom and has blindsided our energy regulators who had been drunk on the renewable energy Kool Aid. Since the Liddell coal fired power station shut its first unit in April (its remaining three will shut over the next year) wholesale power prices have skyrocketed to more than 5 times their average levels.

The wholesale power price makes up about a third of the electricity bill you pay in your home. So unless something is done soon your electricity bill will more than double.

The creation and distribution of electricity is a complex engineering challenge that few understand. But because of that there is a tendency to think that the economics of energy is complex too. It is not.

To bring down power prices we simply need to increase the supply of reliable power. To fix the crisis we have now we need to focus on options that work today, not ones that might help tomorrow.

Hundreds of High Efficiency, Low Emission coal fired power stations have built around the world yet we do not have one with the latest technology in Australia. We have the world’s best coal that is best suited to these modern coal fired power stations. We should build some to replace our ageing coal fired power fleet.

We should remove the red and green tape on the gas industry that is creating gas shortages especially in southern Australia. Victoria continues to demand that Queensland send more of its gas to it despite having a complete ban on fracking.

As Ronald Reagan said there are no easy answers but there are simple ones.

We simply need to generate more reliable power because more supply of electricity will bring the price down. If we don’t focus on the real solutions soon our only hope will be to pray for an intervention from the sky.


Public sympathy won’t pay costs of false refugee status


On the day Labor won the election, illegal immigrants set sail for Australia. Under the Coalition government, there had been no boat arrivals for two years. In the three weeks since Labor came to power, three vessels from Sri Lanka have been intercepted. Border security and immigration played a key role in Labor’s demise as a political force for nearly a decade. It is already showing weakness on national security and adopting a populist approach where firmer resolve is required.

By ministerial intervention, Sri Lankan couple Nades and Priya Murugappan were granted bridging visas last month. After fighting deportation for years, the Murugappans have a kind of celebrity status in the Australian media. Their protracted fight to gain citizenship is depicted as a battle between the persecuted poor and a conservative government that insisted on strong border security. Labor pledged to release them from detention if it came to power and made good on the promise when Jim Chalmers, acting as interim home affairs minister, intervened to grant them a bridging visa.

The media has painted the Murugappan story in a sympathetic light, portraying them as victims. New Labor Prime Minister Anthony Albanese joined the chorus of lament, describing the Murugappans being taken in the middle of the night by authorities and saying Australia should do better than that. Ethnic Communities Council of WA president Suresh Rajan said: “Despite everything we as a nation have thrown at them, they appear to be incredibly loving and incredibly fond of Australians.”

The widespread sympathy is at odds with reality, given multiple court proceedings found the Tamil family were not refugees. After the High Court of Australia rejected an application to hear an appeal from them last year, then immigration minister Alex Hawke said it “followed a series of previous decisions by the Department of Home Affairs, Administrative Appeals Tribunal, Federal Circuit Court, Federal Court, Full Federal Court and High Court in relation to the family”.

One of the most notable decisions was made by the Federal Circuit Court, which rejected the Tamil family’s appeal against deportation. Justice Caroline Kirton found the initial Immigration Assessment Authority denying them refugee status was valid. She noted the Sri Lankan civil war had ended in 2009 and Nades, who claimed a fear of persecution, had returned to Sri Lanka three times during the civil war without harm. Former home affairs minister Peter Dutton said the Murugappan case was “completely without merit in terms of their claim to be refugees”.

A Department of Home Affairs spokesperson told the ABC the Tamil family’s case had been assessed over many years by various tribunals and courts and consistently found not to warrant refugee status. The spokesperson said: “Foreign nationals who do not hold a valid visa are expected to depart voluntarily.” But the Murugappans declined to do so and in January, Federal Circuit Judge Heather Riley ruled that three members of the family could reapply for bridging visas.

The victory for the Tamil couple in gaining prime ministerial support for their permanent residency bid could be a green light to people-smugglers. Sri Lankan authorities have suggested the country’s current economic woes are a major push factor driving illegal boat arrivals on Australian shores. Yet it was a major issue back in 2019 when Dutton visited Sri Lanka.

Speaking to The Weekend Australian, Sri Lankan navy spokesman Indika de Silva said the navy had been apprehending at least one boat a week for the past month. He noted that people-smugglers are fooling the population into believing they will have a better life in Australia, even though Labor has not announced plans to welcome illegal boat arrivals. The Labor government has committed to maintaining the Coalition’s key border security policy, Operation Sovereign Borders. But people-smugglers are liars and cheats. They exploit legal loopholes, look for signs of weakness in government policy and play the victim when caught. One common tactic is to plead refugee status falsely. Some use boats to bypass proper vetting procedures because their passengers are economic migrants, not genuine refugees. Others ferry criminals across borders to escape justice in their home countries where the law may be less liberal. The reality of terrorists exploiting weak border policy was brought into gruesome clarity by the jihadi attacks on Western soil at the height of Islamic State power.

Albanese knows the history of Labor government includes disastrous border security failures. When last in office, Labor dismantled Howard-era policy for what it claimed was a more humane approach to people seeking asylum. The compassionate approach resulted in more than 50,000 people arriving by boat and 1200 dying at sea. More than 8000 children were left in detention. The Coalition cleaned up the mess and estimated the cost at more than $17bn.

In recent months, Australia has followed the rest of the developed world in facing inflationary pressures as a result of the Covid pandemic. Rising interest rates and the high price of basic necessities will force many Australians into financial hardship. The priority of the government must be ensuring a return to prosperity. Short-term feel-good policies must give way to long-term strategic planning. At the last census, more than 116,000 Australians were homeless. In the turbulent economic times ahead, priority must be given to helping existing citizens including newly settled refugees and migrants. We should welcome those who demonstrate respect for our country and rule of law by undertaking proper processes to gain visas.

The Murugappan case might be the exception to the rule, but people-smugglers will sell it as the rule. However well liked by the Biloela community, their case will encourage other foreign nationals to think they have a chance of permanent residency in Australia even with asylum claims not recognised by the courts. Labor will be faced with the consequences and taxpayers will be left with the bill.