Australian Politics 2022-10-04 04:49:00


Ugly truth behind dating apps revealed in key statistic

I am very sad to hear this. I have been using advertisements to find partners for most of my adult life and have had excellent results. I have had 4 marriages and some good long-term relationships out of it. And all four marriages ended amicably. So the system can work well. And just this year I have acquired a new partner via a dating site who is both smart and good-looking -- despite the fact that we are both now in our 70s

I think it is all up to the people involved. Men who are selfish will be nasty however they are encountered. The key is to approach with caution. Meet somewhere safe initially and learn as much as you can of the other person's background as soon as you can. Google can be a help there but old-fasioned reputational enquiries also have a place.

Milieu is important too. I always insist that a lady I take an interest in should like classical music. So I am moving in a very civilized milieu there. There are however many milieus and moving in an unsafe one must have its problems. I think there of women who date men with criminal records. No matter how good-looking and manly the man may be, he is high risk. So choose your milieu carefully. Low educational achievement is another red flag. The jails are full of poorly educated men

Most people who have used dating apps have also experienced some level of sexual violence via the increasingly popular medium, a new survey has revealed.

The study by the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) released on Monday found three in every four respondents had been subjected to sexual violence through dating apps in the past five years.

The most common form of behaviour reported was sexual harassment, with abusive and threatening language and unsolicited sexual images also commonly experienced by those seeking love online.

In a troubling sign, the study also found sexual violence via dating apps was experienced far more frequently by LGBTIQ+ men and women compared to heterosexual participants.

Problems didn’t end when users of dating apps met face-to-face, with one in three survey respondents saying they experienced in-person sexual violence such as sexual assault or coercion, reproductive and sexual health related abuse and in-person image-based sexual abuse.

AIC deputy director Rick Brown said steps needed to be taken by dating app developers to improve user experience and safety. “The high levels of online and in-person DAFSV in this report demonstrate the need to embed safety by design principles in their development processes,” he said.

Despite the exponential explosion in popularity of dating apps over the past 10 years, few studies have been done exploring technology-facilitated sexual violence.

“This study aims to address these gaps in knowledge and provide valuable information that can assist in the development of policies and practices to prevent this kind of violence from occurring,” Dr Brown said.

Last year, dating app Bumble launched an initiative to provide free online trauma support to users who had experienced sexual assault or relationship abuse.

Earlier, the company also introduced an AI driven feature, which automatically identifies and blurs lewd images, leaving it at the recipient’s discretion if they want to view them.

A spokesperson from Bumble said they were saddened by the latest findings and that the company was taking steps to combat the specific types of abuse mentioned in the report.

“We hold everyone on Bumble accountable for their actions,” the spokesperson said.

“Any instance of violence, harassment or abuse is unacceptable to us and we do not hesitate to permanently remove perpetrators from our platform.

“We take our block and report tool very seriously, and have made it easy for our members to report any behaviour that makes them feel uncomfortable or unsafe to us so that we can take action.”


Energy aspirations all well and good but unrealistic

Cheap electricity forever and cities filled with electric vehicles gliding silently along emission-free streets – the future has never looked brighter. This green-tinged nirvana is of course a target or more prosaically, an aspiration.

Aspirations are fine. You can aspire to lose weight, drink less and be nice to idiots but the likelihood of achieving any of these is dubious. This is not to say that they are unworthy, but that they are unrealistic.

Aspirations have been very much in vogue these past weeks as our leaders race to be the first to grasp the Holy Grail of environmental politics, net zero emissions!

The Queensland government put on an impressive burst of speed by lifting the state’s target from 70 per cent renewable energy generation by 2032 to 80 per cent by 2035. A quick reference to your mobile phone’s calculator will reveal that this is 13 years away.

Anyone who can confidently predict what our world will be like in 13 years’ time is possessed of powers more usually attributed to a higher being yet federal and state politicians, some of whom it could be easily argued are not the sharpest shovels in the shed, trot out these statistics with absolute certainty to what they hope is a gullible electorate.

To reinforce these incredulous flights of fancy, they rely on modelling, easily the most discredited science in the universe.

It doesn’t matter that, like your determination to achieve a sylph-like figure by Christmas, the target is unachievable because by 2032 or 2035 – pick a number, any number – the current crop of politicians will be long gone and enjoying second careers as overseas trade commissioners, foreign diplomats or resting their feet up on the boardroom tables of union-controlled super funds.

Queensland has embraced pumped hydro as its path to lowering emissions from electricity generation.

Energy Minister Mick de Brenni said that, after researching about 1000 sites, one west of Mackay had been found to be “simply the best”.

Within 24 hours of this revelation, it was revealed that “simply the best” was actually simply not quite the best and that simply put, the government was now looking for another site that could provide the massive areas of land required for water storage for the upper and lower dams without significantly damaging the environment, a site that could be connected to the grid to supply the power necessary to pump the water and transmit the power generated.

How much will this cost when they find simply the best placed to build it? The figure is $12bn, with the total cost of achieving that mirage-like figure of 80 per cent shimmering on the 2035 horizon, being $62bn.

Where will the money come from? Tricky one, that. The federal government and private infrastructure funds will be relied upon to bring this wondrous scheme to fruition. How much has been committed thus far? Not a cent.

It is worth noting that Snowy Hydro 2.0, the result of a Malcolm Turnbull thought bubble, was budgeted to cost $5.1bn. That now looks like blowing out by a further $2.1bn and is beset by problems.

Meanwhile, if you are leasing a servo, it might be good time to start looking for an exit strategy because, according to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s pre-election policies, by 2030, 89 per cent of new vehicle sales in Australia will be electric vehicles.

How did the Labor Party arrive at this incredibly precise figure? You guessed it – modelling. What percentage of new car sales were electric in Australia last year? Two per cent.

Federal Energy Minister Chris Bowen has been talking about getting tough on vehicle emissions. I don’t envy him the task of telling the nation’s tradies that they’ll have to give up their treasured four-wheel-drive utes and buy something more environmentally friendly.

He might also get a less than warm reception from the caravanning community who will have to say goodbye to their Toyota Land Cruisers and Nissan Patrols and park their vans in the yard because electric vehicles are incapable of towing heavy loads over long distances.

There will come a time when electric vehicles will be practical in this vast country and when renewable power will replace that generated by fossil fuels but it will be determined by technological advances and not grandstanding politicians with both eyes fixed firmly, not on the well being of the next generation but the next election.

And that sylph-like figure by Christmas? Good luck with that.


Flags on a bridge won’t change anything

Common sense scored a rare victory over tokenism and virtue signalling last week and we have Brisbane’s Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner to thank for it.

At issue was a move by the Labor councillor for Morningside Kara Cook to have two new flags flown atop the Story Bridge, joining the Australian and Queensland flags presently in place.

No discount on your rates notice for guessing that the flags in question were the Aboriginal flag and the Torres Strait Islander flag, with Ms Cook demanding Mr Schrinner “show leadership on this”.

“Reconciliation is something that should be a priority for our city, and this is one way we can stand with our First Nations communities,” she said.

Mr Schrinner replied that it would cost millions of dollars to install two new flagpoles and that the money could be better spent elsewhere.

Mick Gooda, co-chair of the Queensland Treaty Advancement Committee, was quick to offer a solution, saying the Brisbane City Council could take down one of the existing flags and replace it with an Aboriginal one, a move which would be part of what he called a “path to Treaty and truth telling in Brisbane”.

Here’s another truth, inconvenient though it might be. The Australian flag represents all Australians and the Queensland flag all Queenslanders regardless of their race, so why should either of them be removed in order to fly a flag which represents one particular racial group?

Commissioner for the Queensland Family and Child Commission and Gamilaraay Yinnar woman Natalie Lewis also weighed into the debate, saying if new flagpoles were to be installed, she wanted Indigenous businesses included in any works.

So the normal tendering process designed to give everyone a fair go and ensure the council got value for money would be cast aside and Indigenous businesses given preferential treatment, exclusion masquerading as inclusion.

Mr Schrinner is to be congratulated for having the courage to suffer the wrath of the Twitterati and for refusing to spend ratepayers’ money pandering to virtue signallers.

What a simple thing it is to demand the flying of a flag representing 3 per cent of the population and tell yourself how inclusive and “woke” you are.


Dam operators face balancing act of flood and drought

The Lord Mayor is right. As far as possible, the Wivenhoe dam flood compartment should be kept empty

As the rain-soaked eastern seaboard stares down another ­summer of floods, the mayor of the nation’s most at-risk capital has demanded a review of dam management to enable pre-emptive water releases ahead of the forecast deluge.

Brisbane’s Adrian Schrinner said the level of the city’s flood shield and principal water supply, Wivenhoe Dam, must be lowered before the third successive La Nina event took hold.

But he said the danger extended to the entirety of Australia’s east coast, after meeting emergency service heads and other key players at a planning summit last week called by the state government.

“As that meeting heard, the warning about another unusually wet period over the next few months isn’t just for Brisbane, but the entire eastern seaboard,” Mr Schrinner told The Australian.

“Along with Brisbane, many of the populated areas along the east coast already have full dams and sodden soil ... the question I am asking, and will continue to ask, is whether state authorities should adapt their approach to dam management with these severe warnings. I still haven’t had a proper answer.”

More than 20,000 homes flooded over February and March when the Queensland capital received 80 per cent of its annual rainfall in six days and Brisbane River and feeder creeks erupted.

But Mr Schrinner said the coming summer was potentially more problematic because a wet winter had saturated catchments, leaving them unable to absorb further run-off.

As unseasonably cool and wet conditions blanketed the city, Wivenhoe Dam was on Sunday at 90.5 per cent of its notional 200 per cent capacity – counting both flood mitigation and water storage compartments.

Somerset Dam was 80 per cent full and Enoggera Reservoir in Brisbane at 100.6 per cent. All up, the South East Queensland water grid was at 87.9 per cent capacity.

Wivenhoe’s official operation manual, signed off by the Palaszczuk government, prevents dam engineers from making active releases when extreme rainfall is forecast by the Bureau of Meteorology. Instead, they are forced to wait until rain is on the ground before controlled releases can be ordered to free up space.

However, The Australian understands there is provision for the state-owned operator Seqwater to request that state Water Minister Glenn Butcher declare a temporary fully supply level authorise draw-downs at Wivenhoe, Somerset and North Pine dams.

Mr Schrinner said the government must review the manual to allow for more flexibility.

“If you look at how quickly the dams filled up earlier this year, it was remarkable, we have never seen anything like it and it shows what’s possible. They filled up far faster than they did in 2011,” he said, referring to a disaster that inundated thousands of homes in Brisbane and Ipswich, some of which flooded again this year.

“The dam operating manuals were developed out of 2011 and I'm not sure if they envisaged just how quickly the dams could fill.

“Obviously, we must take advice from the experts, there’s no doubt about that, but as situations change, manuals, operating procedures should also be questioned as well.”

Emergency releases from the bulging dam in 2011 were blamed for 80 per cent of the flooding.

While last summer’s flood was not pinned on the state-owned dam operator, releases kept the swollen Brisbane River topped up, prolonging the duration of the ­crisis. Mitigation releases did not begin until three days after the BOM warned of heavy rain.

Mr Schrinner noted that ahead of the last flood, South East Queensland was on the brink of drought, with Wivenhoe’s 2.08 million megalitre flood-storage ­compartment empty and the water grid below 60 per cent.

With “just a few days of rain” Wivenhoe was inundated with 2.2 million megalitres, four times the volume Sydney Harbour.

Such was the intensity of the rain across the South East that storm drains were overwhelmed, suburban creeks erupted into torrents and overland flows cascaded through homes not known to have previously gone under.

Water Minister Glenn Butcher said he would continue to take advice on dam management, balancing the priorities of water storage and flood mitigation.

“We know wet weather is forecast, but we don’t know when or where rain will fall. We take advice from the experts,” he said on Sunday. “Once water is released from a dam, we cannot get it back, so it is absolutely critical that we take expert advice from both Seqwater and department officials.”

Given Wivenhoe’s flood storage compartment was for now empty, any immediate releases would have to come from the region’s drinking water supply and if the anticipated rains did not fall over summer “then it’d be a different story”, Mr Butcher said in other recent comments.

Professor Hubert Chanson, a hydraulic engineering expert from the University of Queensland, said dam operators were ­engaged in a high-stakes balancing act, preparing for both drought and flood.

“Wivenhoe is essential for ­providing South East Queensland with water for long duration droughts, so early releases prior to any run-off in the catchment could increase the risk of southeast Queensland running out of water during a dry period,” Professor Chanson said. “While we have had a lot of rain between 2011 and now, what happens if we have a 40-year drought?”

Dam releases a few days before heavy rain was predicted could be considered, but it would be difficult given the unpredictability of weather forecasts, he said.

Mr Schrinner said the solution was to bolster Brisbane’s water security, so dam engineers could make releases from Wivenhoe without risking drinking supplies.

The state government is considering an independent report on its preparations and management of the floods handed to them by the state’s Inspector-General of Emergency Management in August.